(March 26, 2017): Tom Russell – The Ballad of Edward Abbey and Benediction: Edward Abbey

A compilation from the 2004 album, Indians Cowboys Horses Dogs, and the 2005 album, Hotwalker. Clearly Russell had Abbey on his mind in the mid-2000s.  The first item is a song by Russell about missing Abbey’s presence in the world.  The second is Russell “introducing” Abbey posthumously, and then Abbey, himself, reads from the preface to the 1988 Univ. or Arizona Press edition of his 1968 book, Desert Solitaire, to an audience at the University of Utah.  Today’s selection is a replay of what I created for an old blog I used to have on WordPress with the pedestrian name, “Song of the Day.” Someone ripped it and put it up on Youtube in 2012, but I thought it was about time to repatriate. As a comment on the Youtube page points out, Kirk Douglas’s horse was named Whiskey, not Brandy.

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(March 25, 2017): Aaron Copland – Prairie Journal

From the 1994 album, Copland: Music for Films.  One of many Leonard Slatkin’s “American series” releases on BMG/RCA while still Music Director of SLSO. As Steve Schwarz writes:

Prairie Journal” has a curious history. Copland originally titled the work “Radio Serenade.” CBS, who commissioned it, decided to use the piece as part of a promotion. It invited listeners to send in their suggestions for a new title, to be picked by the composer. In the meantime, it called the work “Music for Radio” (the title under which you normally find it) until the contest winner was announced. Copland found no title completely satisfactory but chose Saga of the Prairie as a subtitle. Now the piece was known as “Music for Radio: Saga of the Prairie.” In 1968, when radio no longer commanded the attention it had in the 30s, Copland renamed the piece “Prairie Journal.”

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(March 24, 2017): Bob Dylan – Desolation Row

From the 1965 album, Highway 61 Revisited.  Not much to say, except one of the best albums of all time.

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(March 23, 2017): Sweathog – Hallelujah

The title track from the 1972 album, Hallelujah.  This was the band’s second and last outing.  So far as I can tell this was the end of the musical pedigree of all four band members – Lenny Goldsmith, Bob Morris, Dave Johnson, and Barry Smith. I used to wonder if the writers for Welcome Back Kotter took the name “Sweathogs” from this band.


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(March 12, 2017): Amy Beach – May Flowers

From the 2004 album, Songs.  This song was composed by Beach, who also did the lyrics, in 1932.  The composition was requested at the request of mezzo-soprano, Lillian Buxbaum.  Here, Catherine Bringerud is on piano and Katherine Kelton is the mezzo-soprano.


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(March 12, 2017): Chase – Get It On

From the 1971 self-titled album, Chase.  A short lived band from Iowa that had a distinctly Chicago (the band) feel. A plan crash killed Bill Chase and a number of members of the band in 1974 after three LPs.  I can recall listening to this on AM top forty radio – “The Big 630” — KXOK — when I was eleven.

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(March 7, 2017): Bachman-Turner Overdrive: Gimme Your Money Please

K-SHE Classic. From the 1973 self-titled album, Bachman-Turner Overdrive. “I liked them before before they were “big”. I can recall walking up to a Target store with my mom, dad, and sister during a week when middle school was closed because of snow and  buying this LP (and Deep Purple’s Machine Head).  The band had been formed in 1972 by ex-The Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman and his younger brother, Rob Bachman, on drums. At first they were called Brave Belt. They changed their name when vocalist Fred Turner joined. Tim Bachman (also a brother) joined on guitar.

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