Friday New Release Playlist

Friday New Release Playlist

Friday was my record shopping day.

Monday was my record returning day.

That’s what people seem to forget about the vinyl revival, the imperfections. Most companies did not use 100% virgin vinyl, they employed regrind. As in when you returned records, they steamed off the labels, maybe, ground up the what remained and then made new discs out of it. Such that the new stuff was laden with pops and clicks. The worst offender was Atlantic, although they were all pretty bad. And never mind the warps. Your needle would skip, you’d get wow and flutter, and then you’d have to return the LP. Casual buyers would just keep ’em. But dedicated fans were in search of purity. If it didn’t play, if it skipped, you absolutely returned it. But how much surface noise could you tolerate? And if you were a dedicated customer, addicted to the sound, you’d be returning records en masse and you’d get to the point where the store would say “no mas” and you had to find another outlet to shop at.

That’s what was so great about CDs, the lack of imperfections.

But still, you could not hear it unless you bought it. You purchased the next albums by your favorites, unless the buzz was deafeningly bad. You bought the new releases with the most buzz, the ones with songs you heard on the radio, and then there was stuff that got good reviews, you’d take a chance. And if some week there was nothing to buy, you’d fill out the catalog. As years went by, stores stocked less and less of it. You had to find an indie which knew what to bring in. So you might go back and buy Neil Young’s debut, an exquisite production, one of his best, or you might finger it for years, waiting to have enough money and nothing else at the top of your list.

But today, today, everything is at your fingertips.

But you don’t even know it’s out. Did you know there’s a new Eric Clapton live album? And a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band one too? Used to be you went to the new release bin and saw what came out. But now, there’s a plethora of product and the hype never reaches you and albums go unheard. But I’ve become addicted to Spotify’s “Your Release Radar” playlist and I saw these recommendations under the Discover tab, under “New Releases For You.”

So I’m gonna tell you what grabbed me this week.

“Somebody Else” – alt edit
The 1975

There was tons of buzz, but it never closed me, but this track did immediately. How did I miss it? I knew I missed it, because there’s been no recent buzz, and with the hip acts I hear the hype.

Turns out this came out back in February, of 2016. And it’s got 49 million plus plays on Spotify already. But that’s the original studio take, which is not quite as magical.

And “magical” is the operative word. Stay until just past the half minute mark, when the song changes, when it starts to march. Funny, in the original it happens fifteen seconds later.

I could analyze deeper, but despite the band’s moniker this is more akin to eighties English music. A sound that washed over you, took you away, made you feel good.

Jamestown Revival

And this sounds positively seventies, and if you were alive back then you’ll hear the similarity to the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver’s masterpiece “(I Don’t Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway.” It’s not on any streaming service, but you can hear it on YouTube:

Sutherland Brothers And Quiver – (I Don’t Want To Love You But) You Got Me Anyway – 45 RPM

This is a crazy video wherein the maker shows you the actual 45 and then puts it on the record player and drops the needle, but when he does…YOU’LL GET IT! And I did immediately when I heard it driving my ’63 Chevy convertible from Amherst to Middlebury in the fall of ’73, this is what music used to sound like, I immediately had to buy the album, I had to have this song at my fingertips.

Anyway, this Jamestown Revival song has got the groove of “(I Don’t Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway” but the sound bleeds into the darkness of the sixties, as if you were walking down a rainy street in the U.K., even though this is an American band. This is subtle, but it’ll get under your skin.

“Tennessee Stud” (feat. Vince Gill)
“Circlin’ Back – Celebrating 50 Years (Live)”
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

This album flies so far under the radar it’s not even referenced on Wikipedia yet, which is where we go to do our research. I’ve got questions, exactly when was this recorded?

I didn’t buy the three LP set “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” until the late seventies, half a decade after it came out. I was aware of it, but never heard it until I was at a party in Salt Lake City and a guy who made money fishing to pay for his skiing dropped the needle on “Tennessee Stud.” The original version, via the Dirt Band, featured Doc Watson, who had a different vocal style from Vince Gill, but Vince’s smooth as scotch pipes add their own special quality. If you think music is for listening as opposed to selling, that it’s about the sound as opposed to the commerce, check this out.

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere”
“Circlin’ Back – Celebrating 50 Years (Live)”
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The definitive version is by the Byrds, it appeared on “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo,” I’m gonna include it, you should hear it. Despite becoming a legend, “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” was a stiff upon release, rockers weren’t quite ready for country and there was no hit, Gram Parsons transmogrified the Byrds but then moved on. I didn’t hear this until years later when I went to visit my high school buddy at Hampshire College where it was all the rage. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” was written by Bob Dylan in the “Basement Tapes” era. It leaked out. It was a classic passed on from player to player, over time everybody knew it, even though I’ve never ever heard it on the radio. Unfortunately, this Dirt Band version is not definitive, but I had to check it out, I need to each and every version of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

“These Days” (feat. Jackson Browne)
“Circlin’ Back – Celebrating 50 Years (Live)”
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Well I’ve been out walking
I don’t do too much talking these days

This’ll make you cry, make you remember what once was, when music was everything, when it touched your soul.

The arrangement is very similar to the one on Jackson’s double live LP, but this is just as good, with the original words to boot, which you have probably never heard.

Jackson was in the Dirt Band, however briefly.

But boomers recognized his genius when Gregg Allman covered this song on 1973’s “Laid Back,” which came out just about the same time as Jackson’s second LP, with his version, it was good timing. But Tom Rush debuted the number.

This is heartbreakingly good.

“Fishin’ In The Dark” (feat. Jimmy Ibbotson)
“Circlin’ Back – Celebrating 50 Years (Live)”
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

My old fave Wendy Waldman dropped out, left SoCal for NashVegas, and ended up writing this with Jim Photoglo, the Dirt Band covered it and it went all the way to number one and I never heard it because back in ’87 no rocker tuned into country, I didn’t experience it until much later when I heard Wendy perform it live. The original has a bit more energy and spunk in the chorus, but the groove in the verse of this iteration sustains, it’ll get you.

“An American Dream” (feat. Rodney Crowell with Alison Krauss)
“Circlin’ Back – Celebrating 50 Years (Live)”
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

I bought this album on one of those Friday afternoon excursions, I found it in the promo bin and took a risk. This is what made me a Dirt Band fan, I had no idea the track went all the way up to number 13 on the Hot 100 until I just checked it out on Wikipedia!

“Mr. Bojangles” (feat. Jerry Jeff Walker)
“Circlin’ Back – Celebrating 50 Years (Live)”
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

This will make you tingle.

The Dirt Band had the hit with this, but Jerry Jeff Walker wrote it, and he sings it here. Who even knew Jerry Jeff Walker was still alive? Our folkies have become like old bluesmen, hiding in plain sight, maybe some college kids will reach out and resuscitate their careers.

“Live in San Diego (with Special Guest JJ Cale)”
Eric Clapton

This is the cut that closed me on “Layla.” I vividly remember hearing it in Dave McCormick’s dorm room during winter term of ’71, freshman year. You see during January at Middlebury you only took one course, intensively, and then you skied and got high, which is what we were doing when I first heard this.

I was a huge fan of Eric’s solo debut, can you say “Easy Now” and “Let It Rain”? But I’d skipped “Layla,” there was little noise, it took time to build, ultimately it became deafening.

This take has the same powerful riff, a wave at Waimea that’s gonna plow you under. And then there are the dynamics, how it gets quiet and subtle.

“Tell The Truth”
“Live in San Diego (with Special Guest JJ Cale)”
Eric Clapton

Oh, that pickin’, and then they lay down in the groove.

“Little Wing”
“Live in San Diego (with Special Guest JJ Cale)”
Eric Clapton

Jimi Hendrix wrote it, Clapton popularized it and Sting brought it home.

I never bought “Axis: Bold As Love,” I was not rich in the sixties, I stopped at “Are You Experienced,” I didn’t even buy “Electric Ladyland,” even though at this point the Hendrix song I want to hear most is “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.” Do you know it? I know I’m going off point, but I’m gonna include it…oh that riff! We used to live for the riff, we used to sing them in our heads, they kept us going!

“Just Your Fool”
The Rolling Stones”

You’re gonna have to slow down for this one. Throw out your preconceptions, forget about the rat race and remember being in the basement spinning 45s, which the English lads did, they were American blues numbers, which the Yanks were no longer interested in.

The Stones haven’t been able to get arrested on wax for years. But this time they decided to chuck it all and go back to their roots, to where it all began, and it’s strangely affecting. By not trying to prove something, they’ve proved everything.

This is the sound that launched the British Invasion, it was this music filtered through the U.K. that revolutionized music. Maybe some young ‘uns will hear this and be inspired to go back to what once was. When first and foremost music was about emotion, when records were hermetically sealed, cut in a faraway land that we were privileged to listen to but could never penetrate. In the grooves was a whole world we wanted to enter, we peeled back the curtain and jumped inside, you can too.

There’s a wealth of music on streaming services. They’re making it easier for you to discover it. Could make you a fan once again. Could make Fridays my music discovery day once again.

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