(August 9, 2016): Jeff Beck Group – Situation

K-SHE Classic.  From the 1971 album, Rough and Ready.  This issweetmeat the third LP by the Jeff Beck Group.  The outing followed a long period of recuperation for Beck after a serious car accident in 1970. Rod Stewart and Ron Wood had departed and Beck reformed the band with Bob Tench, Cozy Powell, Clive Chaman, and Max Middleton.  “Situation” is the second tune on side A for the LP and also featured as side-b on the only single off the album (with “Got That Feeling”).

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(August 6, 2016): Niacin – Prelude and Funky Opus

From the 2012 album, Krush.  A jazz fusion trio (Billy Sheehan, John Novello, and Dennis Chambers)  that takes its name from vitamin B3, which is also reflected in the name of the B3 Hammond organ that Novello plays.  Fans of Brian Auger will be at home here. Get your headphones out and turn it up to listen to this.


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(July 28, 2016): Oscar Brand – For Jefferson and Liberty

From the 1999 album, Presidential Campaign Songs 1789-1996.  Getting into the swing of things with the Conventions, here is a very old “campaign song” with continuing relevance song by folk legend Oscar Brand.  Schoening and Kasper provide backgound on this tune in the book, Don’t Stop Thinking About the Music: The Politics of Songs and Musicians in Presidential Campaigns 37 (2012).

One of the more notable songs of this type is “Jefferson and Liberty,” which, like “Adams and Liberty ,” was also written by Robert Treat Paine Jr.  The song’s title gives reference to the previous rendition of Paine ‘s “Adams and Liberty.”  This could be viewed as a jab at Adams, who came in third in the election, thus losing both the presidency and the vice presidency.  It could also be a reflection of Paine ‘s loss of support for Adams (interestingly, Paine’s father. Robe1t Treat Paine, signed the Declaration of Independence with both Adams and Jefferson). The song was set to the tune of “Gobby-0,” an old Irish tune popular at the time.

Verse 1: The gloomy night before us flies, The reign of terror now is o’er; Its gags, inquisitors, and spies, Its herds of harpies are no more! (Chorus)

Chorus: Rejoice! Columbia’s sons, rejoice! To tyrants never bend the knee; But join with heart and soul and voice, For Jefferson and Liberty.

Verse 2: O’er vast Columbia’s varied clime, Her cities, forests, shores and dales, In rising majesty sublime, Immortal Liberty prevails. (Chorus)

Verse 3: Hail, long expected, glorious day! Illustrious, memorable morn, That freedom’s fabric from decay Rebuilds for millions yet unborn. (Chorus)

Verse 4: His country’s glory, hope, and stay, In virtue and in talent’s tried, Now rises to assume the sway, O’er freedom’s temple to preside. (Chorus)

Verse 5: Within its hallowed walls immense, No hireling shall e’er arise, Arrayed in Tyranny’s defense, To crush an injured people’s cries. (Chorus)

Verse 6: No lordling here, with gorging jaws, Shall wring from industry the food; Nor fiery bigot’s holy laws Lay waste our fields and streets in blood. (Chorus)

Verse 7: Here strangers from a thousand shores, Compelled by tyranny to roam, Shall find, amidst abundant stores, A nobler and a happier home. (Chorus)

Verse 8: Here art shall lift her laureled head, Wealth, industry, and peace divine; And where dark, pathless forests spread, Rich fields and lofty cities shine. (Chorus)

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(July 24, 2016): Alpha Blondy & The Solar System – Dictature

From the 1999 album, Elohim.  Alpha Blondy (Seydou Koné) is the Rastafarian from Ivory Coast whose political lyrics often strike a chord.  It’s not hard to translate the French word Dictature.  There are at least three different covers for this release (Ivorian, French and U.S.).  This one is from the 2000 Une Musique release.

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(July 23, 2016): Leo Reisman and his Orchestra – Happy Days Are Here Again

From the 1929 single, Lucky Me – Loveable You / Happy Days Are Here Again.  This was the first recording of this Eger and Yellen tune that has been covered countless times.  It was used as the finale in  the 1930 film “Chasing Rainbows” and was famously used as the theme song of the 1932 Democratic Convention (without any complaint by composers or performers).  I suspect we will hear it again next week.  A bit of a turn up after all the GOP doom and gloom. Vocals by Lou Levin.

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(June 26, 2016): Carlos Santana and Jacoby Shaddix – Smoke on the Water

Today’s little heard cover: from the 2010 album, Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time. A big claim for an, but Santana’s interpretations do not disappoint – even if you disagree about a particular tune’s inclusion.  As you can probably tell by the appearance of Shaddix, the album is replete with guests, including Ray Manzarek, Joe Cocker, Nas, Y0-Yo Ma, and so on.  This is another cover whose original makes it hard to be noticed. It also appeared on a 2012 tribute album to Deep Purple’s “Machine Head.”

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(June 25, 2016): Al Martino – Sweet Caroline

Today’s little heard cover: from the 1970 album, Can’t Help Falling In Love.  Overwhelmed by Diamond’s own 1969 release of his song, after which there would be no rival.  Bobby Womack fared little better in the early 1970s, but not much.  That’s not to say others have not covered or performed it (as the wiki page demonstrates), but they are mostly as little heard as Martino.

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