SotD: Nulla In Mundo Pax · The full ti­tle is Nul­la In Mun­do Pax Sin­cera, which will leave many blank. A bet­ter way to put it is “Em­ma Kirk­by singing Vi­val­di”, a com­bi­na­tion that will bring a smile to the faces of many who lis­ten to any clas­si­cal mu­sic at al­l ...
 
SotD: All Blues · Ob­vi­ous­ly there’s noth­ing ob­scure about Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, prob­a­bly the best-selling (and one of the most-praised) jazz al­bums ev­er. But All Blues is a lit­tle more sub­dued than the rest of the songs and it’s got a spine-chilling lit­tle high­light that I’ve nev­er no­ticed any­one else point­ing out. With that, and with some notes from Miles’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, I might have some­thing new even for long-time Miles fan­s ...
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SotD: Just Like This · Once again a Song of the Day that’s a song from to­day, more or less; there is ac­tu­al mu­si­cal life out there on the pop chart­s. And Some­thing Just Like This isn’t just pop, it’s par­tic­u­lar­ly pop­py pop fea­tur­ing teen sen­ti­ment and min­i­mal struc­ture; but hey, it’s a pret­ty tune and it’s got a beat, you could dance to it. It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Cold­play and The Chainsmok­er­s, and I don’t know the first thing about ei­ther of them ...
 
SotD: Elizabeth Reed · The full ti­tle is In Me­mory of El­iz­a­beth Reed; it was writ­ten by Dick­ey Betts of The All­man Brothers Band and is a high­light on their live al­bum At Fill­more East, a col­lec­tion of songs that is very spe­cial to a lot of peo­ple, in­clud­ing me. It’d be pret­ty ob­vi­ous­ly jazz if it weren’t for all the bril­liant rock-guitar im­prov ...
 
SotD: Moustaki · After all that hardass rock the last cou­ple of days, I feel the need of some­thing soft­er. Alors, prof­i­tons d’une très douce chan­son française de Ge­orges Mous­ta­ki… oh wait. I’m talk­ing about Ge­orges Mous­tak­i, a fran­co­phone singer-songwriter of gen­er­al­ly Mediter­ranean ex­trac­tion who was hot stuff when I was in high school a hun­dred years back. This is se­ri­ous­ly sweet sonorous stuff ...
 
SotD: Hoochie Koo · Yes­ter­day I veered glee­ful­ly off the road of High Cul­ture in­to the mu­si­cal gut­ter. So, let’s hang out down here one more day. For your plea­sure I of­fer “Rock & Rol­l, Hoochie Koo”. It was writ­ten in 1970 by Rick Der­ringer, who is OK by me, orig­i­nal­ly for John­ny Win­ter. Rick’s laid down some ace record­ings both on his own and with one or more Win­ter­s ...
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SotD: Sharp Dressed Man · This se­ries has been get­ting kind of re­fined and in­tel­lec­tu­al in re­cent days, so we’re go­ing to fix that right now. I don’t think I’ve ev­er heard a ZZ Top song I didn’t like, and Bil­ly Gibbons’ gui­tar sound is un­equaled in its grit and its steel-spined groove. You al­so have to love the per­for­mances; the guys clear­ly don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ous­ly (I once de­scribed their moves as “a back-beat pa­vane”). Sharp Dressed Man is pure fun ...
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SotD: Mishima · This isn’t a song, it’s a movie sound­track, I hope that’s OK. It’s by Philip Glass, and the movie is Mishi­ma: A Life in Four Chap­ters from 1985. The name refers to Yukio Mishi­ma, a Ja­panese nov­el­ist who went crazy and tried to lead a restore-the-sacred-Empire putsch against the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment in 1970 and, when it pre­dictably failed, com­mit­ted sep­puku ...
 
SotD: Misa Criolla · Writ­ten in 1964 by Ar­gen­tini­an Ariel Ramírez, Misa Cri­ol­la is the Mass in Span­ish set to mu­sic with a sound and struc­ture that com­bines sev­er­al in­dige­nous styles. You know those buskers that set up in pub­lic mar­kets ev­ery­where in col­or­ful South-American out­fits with gi­ant Pan-pipes and gui­tars both huge and tiny? That style of mu­sic. Misa Cri­ol­la is great stuff, sold a zil­lion copies back there, and I can’t imag­ine any­one not lik­ing it ...
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SotD: La Isla Bonita · This is a beau­ti­ful and sim­ple lit­tle Spanish-inflected melody, writ­ten by Madon­na, Pa­trick Leonard, and Bruce Gaitsch. It sold a lot of records for her and is a sta­ple of her live shows ...
 
SotD: Hurt · No, not Trent Reznor singing the moany over­wrought Nine Inch Nails ver­sion; I mean John­ny Cash’s take on Amer­i­can IV: The Man Comes Around, his last stu­dio al­bum. It’s grainy and sad and gen­er­al­ly awe­some. To his cred­it, Trent Reznor said “that song isn’t mine anymore.” ...
 
SotD: Roads to Moscow · Even on the oldies sta­tion­s, you nev­er hear Al Ste­wart any more. In my youth he was a pret­ty big deal though, and had mega-hits with Year of the Cat and Time Pas­sages. Roads to Moscow wasn’t a big hit but it was al­ways my fave among his songs. I lis­tened to it again the oth­er night for the first time in years, and I was moved again by its sto­ry, and by its melod­ic grace ...
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SotD: Doin’ Summertime · I’ve al­ways liked Doin’ Time by Sublime which is (gasp!) ap­proach­ing twen­ty years old. But I have a se­cret rea­son, be­cause the breathy back­ing track is off a record ap­proach­ing six­ty years old by Her­bie Mann that my Dad bought when I was still in short pants, and I still have the orig­i­nal, and love it. Wel­l, and al­so be­cause it’s based on Sum­mer­time; I’ve been in a musically-literate room where some­one called it the great­est song ev­er writ­ten and while some­body else said “What about Good Vi­bra­tions?” a few heads were nod­ding. Let’s take a trip through the times ...
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SotD: White Room · Let me tell you a sto­ry. In 1968 when I was 13, my then-43-year-old Dad, a Pro­fes­sor of Agri­cul­ture, had a busi­ness trip to Lon­don, which was a white-hot cen­ter of the whole Six­ties thing. He walked in­to a record store and asked them to sell him a cou­ple of records for his son, what­ev­er was hot. He came home with two Cream sin­gles: White Room backed with Those Were the Days, and Badge b/w What a Bring­down. Was your Dad ev­er that cool? Any­how, that means I’ve loved White Room for fifty years ...
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SotD: Allegri’s Miserere · The work’s ti­tle is re­al­ly just Mis­erere (“have mer­cy on us”), but since so many com­posers have asked for mer­cy, and since Gre­go­rio Al­le­gri was sort of a one-hit won­der, ev­ery­body says it like in the ti­tle above. I think that we can each use all the di­vine mer­cy we can get, but maybe your need is less than mine. The (Lat­in, of course) text is Psalm 51. It’s a lit­tle over twelve min­utes of sim­ple soar­ing melody, built of a short choral frag­ment re­peat­ed five times, with a vari­a­tion last time around. It’s got a col­or­ful his­to­ry ...
[3 comments]  
SotD: Middle of the Road · In case no­body no­ticed, I have a thing for loud-voiced wom­en singing in front of heavy electric-guitar noise. Any list of those has to have Chrissie Hyn­de near the top. She wrote and sings this, pro­vides some of the gui­tar noise her­self, and throws in a tri­umphant har­mon­i­ca break ...
 
SotD: The Boys of Summer · This was re­leased by Don Hen­ley of the Ea­gles in 1984, his words to mu­sic by Mike Camp­bell. It’s on­ly a mi­nor mem­ber of the California-rock canon but it’s spe­cial to me, and I still love to hear it ...
[2 comments]  
SotD: Feel It Still · Another con­tem­po­rary  —  well, a year old  —  Song of the Day. What hap­pened was, I liked Feel It Still on the ra­dio, and liked that it quot­ed from Please Mr. Post­man, and when I went look­ing for video to see what Por­tu­gal. The Man were like live, the first I found fea­tured a stage sur­round­ed by pro­ject­ed words read­ing “NO COMPUTERS UP HERE, JUST LIVE INSTRUMENTS”. So I was hooked ...
 
SotD: Plutonian Nights · The Nu­bians of Plu­to­nia was record­ed by Sun Ra and his Arkestra be­fore 1960 and re­leased in 1966, but it’s not re­al­ly mu­sic of ei­ther pe­ri­od, it’s of the dis­tant fu­ture. Or at least that’s what Sun Ra claimed; mind you, he al­so claimed he was born on Saturn and that aliens were go­ing to be ar­riv­ing any min­ute. Hav­ing said that, Plu­to­ni­an Nights is one of the coolest jazz tracks ev­er record­ed in any galaxy; I’m glad it was this one ...
 
SotD: Crazy on You · Back in the Seven­ties when di­nosaurs walked the earth, Heart was a pret­ty big one, and unique among hard (oc­ca­sion­al­ly) rock bands in be­ing woman-fronted, by sis­ters Anne and Nan­cy Wil­son. Crazy on You was their de­but sin­gle and for my mon­ey their best song ev­er, and one of the bet­ter ar­gu­ments why Rock & Roll at its peak reach­es above all oth­er forms of mu­sic ...
 
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