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My iPod has Friday on its Mind – Six Degrees

10 Feb

Because this is awesome...

My iPod feels left out. Yes, it is a jealous piece of technology and its temperament is unstable. It needs love on the Music Court or else it may rebel against my craving for music and turn off for good which would be a travesty of massive proportions. So, let’s humor it. It’s six degrees time.

I do Six Degrees of your iPod posts infrequently. I do love doing them, though, because I get to reveal the variety of music I am listening to on my iPod. Sharing music is the whole purpose of this blog and if I can provide some videos of great songs for enjoyment, I am doing my job. This is how I play the game. I take my iPod, put it on random, and skip through the first six songs I find. I post them below. For songs one and six I write a little synopsis and then try to find a connection between the two. In some cases it is easy, but in most cases it is not too obvious. As I type this, though, I have absolutely no clue if my job is going to be easy or difficult today. How about we find out?

1.) “Welcome to Your Wedding Day” by Airborne Toxic Event

This track is off of the band’s most recent album, All At Once, released in April of 2011. The band, a five-piece indie/alt rock act, features creative rock/orchestral arrangements and this song is no different – perhaps leaning a little more towards the theatrical hard rock movement that bands like System of a Down and Coheed and Cambria mastered. It’s a concise, upbeat song from a talented band.

2.) “Friday on My Mind” by The Easybeats

A very apt song with a GREAT video.

3.) “Helicopters” by Barenaked Ladies

4.) “Best Imitation of Myself” by Ben Folds

5.) “High” by Lighthouse Family

6.) “The Twist” by Chubby Checker

Chubby Checker introduced the Twist when he was 19 years old and he has lived off the song since, creating follow-ups like “Slow Twistin” and “Let’s Twist Again” (which I actually think is a better song) and even a rap version of the Twist. He is the only recording artist to place five albums in the Top 12 all at once. The twist was HUGE!

CONNECTION:

This is impossible! Seriously, without doing research I can damn well give up now and save myself the time. How can there be a connection between a 60s novelty song/dance craze and a modern-day indie act. But don’t worry, I’m not giving up. I have a connection! It is not really a connection at all but it will do.

“The Twist” was featured in an episode of Quantum Leap. Chubby Checker himself had a cameo in the episode as a young Chubby Checker hoping to get his record, “The Twist” played on the air. Scott Bakula’s character Dr. Sam Beckett convinces the station owner to play the record. This connection is going to go through Mr. Bakula and soundtracks. Bakula starred in the modern show Men of a Certain Age which featured a Bob Dylan song on its soundtrack. The Airborne Toxic Event was featured on a soundtrack of the show NCIS where a Dylan song was also featured. It is a mindless, discursive, stupid, haphazard “connection,” but, hey, it’s the best I can do. Can you find another one? Try your luck! Happy Weekend!

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Six Degrees of Your iPod – ZZ Top on the 13th Floor

19 Oct

Oh it’s totally Six Degrees of Your iPod time! If you haven’t seen this game played on the blog before I will explain it briefly. By now you probably own an iPod or other mp3 music playing device. Well, on said device there should be a shuffle option. The point of this game is to shuffle randomly through six songs. Now can you connect the first and the sixth? Occasionally you get a gift (like I have today), but sometimes it is extremely difficult, and there have been times where I have made connections through several other bands. Now do keep in mind one very important part of the game. You do NOT have to connect the specific songs together. If you do, well, you get serious bonus points. That is sometimes actually impossible. But you can trace the artists to each other in fun ways. Let’s play.

1.) “La Grange” by ZZ Top

The little ol’ band from Texas with the exceptionally long beards (except for dummer Frank Beard ironically) released “La Grange” on their 1973 album Tres Hombres. The song is so recognizable because of guitarist Billy Gibbons‘ epic guitar riff. The riff is an absolute classic. You know a riff is good when it is known to mostly everyone who listens to the genre, and the genre is the wide world of rock. “La Grange,” which is about a brother on the outskirts of La Grange, Texas, is a hard-hitting, southern rock staple, and it is always enjoyable to listen to.

2.) “Friend of the Devil” by the Grateful Dead

3.) “Love Reign O’er Me” by The Who

4.) “Freedom (Part 2)” by the Beautiful Girls

5.) “Slow Ride” by Foghat

6.) “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by The 13th Floor Elevators

I have written about the 13th Floor Elevators extensively in the past. This Texas-based psychedelic act was one of the first psychedelic bands to come out of the Texas psychedelic scene, and it also was one of the first psychedelic bands in general. The band featured Rory Erickson and electric jug player Tommy Hall. The music was garage psychedelia, a true inspiration to many psychedelic bands who premiered in the ’67, ’68 and so on.

CONNECTION:

Now comes the fun part of the game. Like I said in the introduction, I was given a gift. Well, the answer is not a wide-known fact, but if you are familiar with ZZ Top guitarist’s Billy Gibbons’ first band, then this will not be difficult. Billy Gibbons, a Texas native himself, was originally in a Texas-based psychedelic band that he founded. It was called the Moving Sidewalks. Texas is a large state, but the psychedelic scene in the mid 60s was small enough that the Moving Sidewalks and the 13th Floor Elevators knew each other. The Moving Sidewalks actually opened for the 13th Floor Elevators at the Love Street Emporium, which was a Houston psychedelic music venue. The concert, though, was ended when Rory Erickson was arrested by police!

Get in the action and play the game yourself. Make sure to comment below with your results!

Blackbird with Blue Eyes

13 Sep

Can you guess the two songs that are going to be featured in this version of “Six Degrees of Your iPod?” For those new to the Music Court, “Six Degrees of Your iPod” is a little iPod-related game we play at the blog. It’s not iPod specific, actually. Any randomized music generator will do. Here are the rules. Take out your music device and put it on shuffle. Then skip through six songs and write them all down. Can you connect the first song to the sixth song? That’s the purpose of the game. Random music connections! I’d love to read any of your own attempts at the game, so if you happen to be shuffling through your portable music device and you play, please comment with your results. Here is what I came up with today. The first song to appear was:

1.) “Blackbird” by The Beatles

Can you get any better than this simple McCartney classic? Seriously, McCartney and Lennon were masters of short and sweet pieces. Well, they were masters of all types of songs. I’m sure if you asked them to lay down some salsa beats they would have obliged. But that is completely irrelevant.

McCartney wrote “Blackbird” as a symbolic piece dedicated to the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the United States. The peaceful guitar riff was inspired by Bach’s “Bourree in E Minor, which was a lute piece that, as children, George Harrison and him tried to learn to show off. And, humorously, “Blackbird” is now a beginner guitar necessity. Just like “Smoke on the Water” anyone who picks up a guitar must try his/her hand at playing “Blackbird,” in some parts to show off to the room.

The song appeared on the White Album.

2.) “In The Pockets” by The Tallest Man on Earth

3.) “Genesis 3:23” by The Mountain Goats

4.) “Why Can’t We Be Friends” by War

5.) Generator ^ First Floor” by Freelance Whales

6.) “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by CSN(Y)

Crosby Stills Nash and Sometimes Young. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” arguably this super groups most famous song, sparked the formation of CSN in the first place. The song, written by Stephen Stills, works with a crafty, somewhat deceptive title. Suite, in the classic sense, means an ordered set of musical pieces, usually four in number like the song. And then the possible  Sweet refers to the song’s subject, Stills’ ex-girlfriend, singer-songwriter Judy Collins, who apparently has some pretty sweet blue eyes. It really is one hell of a break-up song.

Connection: There are some interesting connections between both the Beatles and CSNY and there is an independent connection between the songs. After forming, prior to Neil Young joining the group, the group failed an audition at the Beatles’ Apple Records. That wasn’t a very wise move for the label. The band became pretty succesful. But there were no hard feelings. The band’s first live gig was at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago in August of 1969 and the band opened with “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” before launching into a cover of…”Blackbird” by the Beatles. Cool, right? The show was on August 17. Hmm…that date sounds familiar. They mentioned that they would be performing the next day at something called Woodstock, wherever that was. Well, after the show they went to Woodstock, where they went on stage at 3 a.m., August 18, and performed “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” followed by “Blackbird” again.

The Beatles did not perform at Woodstock for a variety of potential reasons. Lennon may have requested there be a spot of Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band which was denied. I doubt that, though. I could’ve performed there. I mean, Sha Na Na did. Another potential reason was that Lennon wanted to play but his entrance into the U.S. from Canada was blocked by Nixon. Also, seems a bit farfetched. Most likely it was a combination of the Beatles’ being on the verge of collapse and the fact that they had not performed an official concert since 1966.

Six Degrees of Your iPod: The Impossible Task

4 Feb

Six Degrees of Your iPod has become an excuse to embed several awesome songs into one equally as awesome post. Then, I tirelessly search for a comparison between the first and sixth song which would be significantly easier if I only liked The Beatles. Yes, I do believe that “In My Life” and “A Day in the Life” are quite connected. Unfortunately, my job becomes significantly harder when I attempt to link songs that have absolutely nothing to do with each other (which is what I often try to do). Let’s get to it.

1.) “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” by B.J. Thomas.

This melancholic catchy tune was written for the movie Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. Did you know that the song was initially offered to Ray Stevens and even Bob Dylan was reportedly offered the song. God, that would have been weird. B.J. Thomas took the assignment and the song propelled into a #1 hit and an academy award winner for best original song. Good choice B.J.

2.) “Happy Together” by The Turtles

3.) “Pure Love” by The Mountain Goats

4.) “I Want to Grow Up To Be a Politician by The Byrds

5.) “Imitation of Life” by R.E.M.

6.) “The One I Love” by David Gray

A great single off singer/songwriter David Gray’s seventh studio album. How am I going to compare these?

Comparison

And it is judgment time. I believe I am stumped. This is close to an impossible task. A B.J. Thomas song from 1969 to a David Gray song from 2005. An Oklahoma boy and a musician from Cheshire, England. A Grey’s Anatomy episode was named after “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and David Gray’s last name rhymes with the first name of the show. That’s not good enough. Here is the best I can give you. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head peaked at 12 on the U.S. Billboard Album charts while Life in Slow Motion, the album where “The One I Love” only hit #16 on the charts. Have anything better? I’m eager to hear what you can come up with!

Six Degrees of Your iPod: Kaleidoscope to The Amboy Dukes (with Rusty Day in between)

18 Jan

*I have a theory that all music is somewhat related. All artists have some connection (whether it be inspiration, concert, producer, etc.) with other artists which have connections with other artists. It may be confusing but it is most likely true. The iPod allows for all of this music to be randomly dispersed or, in iPod terms, shuffled. Six Degrees of Your iPod is an easy game to play. Go to your iPod (or other musical device) and play one song. Do not use that song. Then, after you make sure your iPod is set to random, skip to the next song. Starting with that song post six songs on the comments and attempt to connect the first and sixth song. If I am right, you will be able to find a connection between the first and sixth. And, that is exactly what I am going to try to do. Let’s play the musical version of the Kevin Bacon classic.*

The U.S. Kaleidoscope

1.) “Minnie the Moocher” by Kaleidoscope (US).

Kaleidoscope – not to confused with the UK psychedelic band with the same name – was a psychedelic folk band that operated between 1966-1970, releasing singles on Epic Records and then fading off into the abyss with many other talented bands like them. The band won their recording contract with Epic Records because of their stringed prowess. The group certainly knew how to play their strings. They also could play practically any genre of music. Seriously. Rock, blues, folk, jazz, middle-eastern; you name it they’d play it. This is evident in the song featured today. “Minnie the Moocher” is a jazz song first recorded by Cab Calloway (an influence on the group). It is based, both musically and lyrically, on Frankie Jaxon’s 1927 “Willie the Weeper.” Calloway’s version is famous for his call and response scatting, which Kaleidoscope attempts to imitate in their version (below).

2.) “Sleep” by The Dandy Warhols

3.) You’re the Cocaine” by Joshua James

4.) “My Fight” by Greg Laswell

5.) “Hang on Sloopy” by McCoys

6.) “Journey to the Center of the Mind” by The Amboy Dukes

“Journey to the Center of the Mind” is the pinnacle of The Amboy Dukes’ success. The song is a psychedelic-rock masterpiece. In 1968, the song was released as track 1 on side two of Journey to the Center of the Mind. The album is a solid piece of conventional late 60’s psychedelic music. The Amboy Dukes are most famous for launching the career of guitarist Ted Nugent.

The Connection

I think this is going to be an easy one. The last few times I have played Six Degrees I have been stuck with next to impossible connections. Today I get to play around with two American psychedelic bands that were playing music during the same years. The only difference is the type of psychedelic music. Kaleidoscope were playing psych folk in LA and The Amboy Dukes were playing hard psychedelic rock in Michigan.

This is actually too simple. I can take a shortcut on this one and immediately connect the record label. Kaleidoscope released their music on Epic Records and Ted Nugent, after dropping the Amboy Dukes band name in 1975, went to Epic Records. So, yes, at different times members of each band played under the umbrella of Epic Records. But come on, that’s too easy.

I have to choose something much more complex. Kaleidoscope’s band leader was David Lindley, who became a famous studio musician (mainly because of his proficiency playing a ton of musicians). His long list of collaborations includes one with Rod Stewart who had at one point of his career (before joining Faces) considered joining a supergroup named Cactus with Jeff Beck and others. Instead of joining Cactus he joined Ronnie Wood in Faces. Cactus did form eventually and it consisted of the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section, Jim McCarty of Mitch Ryder‘s Detroit Wheels and singer Rusty Day, who came from a short stint with The Amboy Dukes.

There you have it. I’m looking forward to your games below!



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