Pockets of Bliss Vol. 3

Cruising through my favourite songs has resulted in a journey through my memories. As I said before, music is a companion and travels with us. Through high school and painful experiences with parents and/or the opposite sex. Through friendships began and abruptly ended. Through tragic loss and wondrous gain. Through moments of joy in the sunshine. On the grass. With headphones.

And it’s also been a trek through emotions. These songs run the gamut. So, this list celebrates not only great songs but it also celebrates memories and honours the times we have felt; really felt the myriad emotions of life. Of living. You have your own memories and many have a distinctly remembered soundtrack. While these songs are my favourites, reading through this list will hopefully put you in mind of your own and you can journey down your own memory lane as I have been. Additionally, maybe my 100 faves will pique your interest and you’ll look into some of these tunes and artists. Because, you know what? I would go so far as to say that these 100 songs are not only my favourites, they could probably be considered the 100 greatest songs ever. So, as Marvin Gaye once said, let’s get it on. Or, as Shannon so eloquently put it, let the music play and he won’t get away. Poison? Those poets said when I hear the music, all my troubles just fade away so let it play. Alabama said play me some mountain music. I am the words, you are the tune, said Neil Diamond, play me. Anyways…

50“Roll With the Changes” by REO Speedwagon (1978) // I notice there’s a lot of emotion in my favourite songs. And a lot of piano. A song I discovered working midnights sweeping and mopping at McDonalds, “Roll With the Changes” was a minor hit for the boys from Champaign, Illinois and was their highest-charting single up to that time. What a well-crafted song. Props to composer Kevin Cronin, lead singer of REO Speedwagon and only their occasional pianist; he plays the instrument magnificently here. It is a deluge. There is so much going on, particularly in the final minute when the back-up singers come in with “keep on rollin'”. Searing guitar and a great Hammond solo to boot. What a finish, what a song. “I heard the thunder clappin’, felt the desert burnin’, until you poured on me like a sweet sun shower”

49“Lilah” by Don Henley (1982) // One of the sweetest songs you will ever hear. Though Henley’s sophomore release, Building the Perfect Beast, is the classic, his debut offering boasts this gem as well as “Dirty Laundry” and other great songs. Where beautiful “Lilah” came from I don’t know. Gorgeous featherweight piano from Benmont Tench and the uilleann pipes of the late Paddy Maloney lend it an ethereal air; as if Don is singing of a mythical, nut-brown-haired beauty that has appeared to him out of the mists of a dream. Which is how the listener feels about this song. Henley sounds wonderful when he ascends to a higher register. “After I’m gone, there are some things that I know I will miss – the taste of your mouth, the smell of the perfume on your wrist. Oh, Lilah…”

48“Tossin’ and Turnin'” by Bobby Lewis (1961) // There are songs I have called the pillars of rock & roll, the original classics that define an era and are textbook examples of “oldies”. Not much need be said here except Lewis puts in a vigorous vocal that drives this exciting song. I always enjoy the oldies who’s lyrics depict a bit of life in the golden age, as well. Big, fat sax and the chicks with their “doo doo do-do doo”. “Jumped out of bed, turned on the light. I pulled down the shade, went to the kitchen for a bite. Rolled up the shade, turned off the light. I jumped back into the bed, it was the middle of the night. The clock downstairs was strikin’ four…”

47“Let’s Dance” by Chris Montez (1962) // Maybe not on the level of the previous tune, but this one is a beauty and it simply has long been one of my faves, one I used to always love to hear on oldies radio. Chris’ nasal voice is aided by the punctuations of a great, old school organ sound. There’s an exuberance, too, in this song’s sentiment; hey, baby. We’re both young, attractive and full of life. So, let’s celebrate. Let’s dance. Great drumming driving the beat. “Hey, baby, things are swingin’ right. Yes, I know that this is the night. A-let’s dance…”

46“Moondance” by Van Morrison (1970) // Of all the artists I’ve ever loved, perhaps Springsteen, Tom Waits and Van Morrison have really spoken to me like no other artists. With Van, it is his blue-eyed soul embrace of all things pure and holy which usually are manifested in songs celebrating nature and a woman and the necessity of each for a good life. Van’s music is akin to Antônio Carlos Jobim’s and actually to Kerouac’s On the Road. Morrison’s first two proper albums are sublime. The first is an esoteric idyllic journey and the second – Moondance – is a fantastic mix of jazz, rock and folk. The title track is a stone groove. Listen to the first seven seconds; popping piano and the sweetest jazzbo rhythm section workin’ it. Van’s smoky cool vocal never sounded so appropriate to its setting. It is a confluence of the supreme. Everything gelling to create ecstasy. Piano trills, floating flute, throaty sax solo. Listen to the acoustic guitar while the piano solos. The alternate way he takes the first verse later on. This track is night, this track is soul, this track is what it is all about. “Well, I wanna make love to you tonight. I can’t wait ’til the mornin’ has come…”

The Foundations. A bold, pioneering soul conglomerate.

45“Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations (1968) // Then there are the gems, the gems of late Sixties pop/rock, the staples of today’s oldies radio. You may not hear them in every commercial or movie soundtrack but they are what they are and people that know, know. Case in point, this tune and the next. The Foundations were comprised of West Indians, White British and Sri Lankans and were the first multi-racial group to top the pop charts in England. A stone, cold polished R&B sound created an ocean away from Motown. Wonderful piano at the start. Great backing vocal arrangement. I love it when they sing “oooo, oooo” while the congas play and then they break back into “why do you…”. “I need you more than anyone, darlin’, you know that I have from the start. So, build me up, buttercup. Don’t break my heart”

44“Give Me Just a Little More Time” by Chairmen of the Board (1970) // This Detroit-based group featured Canadian-born Harrison Kennedy (born in Hamilton in 1942) but it is General Johnson’s outrageous lead vocal that makes this tune such a joy. It’s the aching, searching way he pleads with his love. His desire is so overwhelming that he is reduced to uttering a “brrrrrrrrip!” sound in the engaging break that is utterly delightful. Johnson is straining at the top of his range and its adds to the song’s gravitas. The bass line. Wonderful, sweeping strings enter during the chorus and this song is a romp through the meadow on a warm spring day. “Give me just a little more time and our love will surely grow. Baby, please, baby…”

43“Rubberneckin'” by Elvis Presley (1969) // One of a handful of the very first Presley songs I ever knew and loved. This is 120 seconds of the purest, unbridled energy. Mature, virile Presley vocal. Killer rhythm section, nice horn chart. I’ve gushed about this song and this singer so much before, I’ll leave it at that. “Sittin’ on the back porch all by myself. Along came Mary Jane and I’m with somebody else”

42“I Will” by Dean Martin (1965) // What’s my favourite Dean Martin song? This beauty – and “Once in a While” (1957). Once Dean adopted a sound at Reprise that was different from the one he put forth at Capitol, he became what I always have called a “country crooner”. I’ve come to understand that this sound is more accurately called “countrypolitan” and/or “adult contemporary” – two topics we’ve looked at here at SoulRide. It’s a great sound, one that Dean worked into two well-worn grooves in the road that his tires would fit snugly in for the rest of his days. From the outset on “I Will”, you hear that wonderful ride cymbal (that continues throughout) and the drummer also hits two cracking snare notes that I love. Lazy Dean comes swaying in injecting some emotion into a poignant lyric; “I will” indicates a plain admission of fact. I will miss you. I will cry when you go. My face will look out at you from the faces of other men. Wonderful Tijuana Brass-inspired horns in the middle. The bold and simple five letters of the title signify an unending devotion. It’s the old “For the Good Times” theme of though you are gone, I will love you forever. A nice finish, too. “‘Cause I’m the one who told you I would love you ’til forever and I will”

41“7” by Prince (1992) // I really respect Prince though I don’t necessarily love his music. This song though has been one that so enchanted my ears that, the rare times I do listen to it, I listen to it over and over and over and over again. An exotic, Middle-Eastern vibe permeates (dig the castanets) and The Purple One delivers some lyrics that deal with the seven deadly sins and the seven seals of the Book of Revelation. Prince multi-tracks his voice and – though he’s singing of esoteric things – it’s a straight soul vocal. This basically electronic song benefits greatly from the presence of acoustic guitar and a sprinkling of sitar. Listen at about the 4-minute mark to “singin’ while we watch them fall…” and then a bit of a floater until he comes back in strong with “all 7 and we’ll watch them fall”. “I am yours now and you are mine and together we’ll love through all space and time so don’t cry…”

40“Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin (1979) // Perhaps the greatest rock band ever, Led Zeppelin never sounded like anybody else; and no one ever sounded like them. Certainly no drummer ever sounded like John Bonham. What he does in this song from the group’s last days is indescribable and nothing short of remarkable. It starts with the beginning with Bonzo, Jimmy Page on guitar and John Paul Jones on piano joining together on the same riff. I know jazz-based, rhythmic master drummer Ginger Baker scoffed at Bonham’s style but what John is doing in “Fool in the Rain” is mind-blowing. To listen and to try to picture him making those sounds… The dance between his hi-hat and his snare, the atomic crash of his cymbals. The man, in this song, is an orchestra unto himself. After the salsa break, Bonham returns with a vengeance. But let’s not short-shrift JPJ who pounds the keys wondrously after the whistle sounds the charge and Page’s typically-brilliant solo. Zeppelin could make hard rock sound so refined. And consider this: the lyrics tell of a man who thinks he has been stood up but he’s waiting on the wrong block. This hearkens back to the classic “Silhouettes”, a song in which the singer thinks he sees his love with another man but he’s looking in the wrong window. “Now I will stand in the rain on the corner. I watch the people go shuffling downtown…Ooh, now my body is starting to quiver and the palms of my hands getting wet, oh. I got no reason to doubt you, baby, it’s all a terrible mess”

39“Peg O’ My Heart” by Dropkick Murphys (2011) // Ear candy, this. The Boston-based Irish bar band does right – SO right – by this venerable tune from their shared heritage. And what a glow it gives them that Bruce Springsteen guests on this track. It gives Bruce extra sheen, too that he would roll with a band like this. On the surface, this is a bar band. A drunken group of Irish Bostonians playing butt-kicking music while wearing kilts. But this is ages-old “Peg O’ My Heart”. This beloved 1913 ditty is a romantic ode to the love a young man feels for a wee, bonnie lass. It is sweet and gentle. It may be novel, the way the Murphys rock it up, but what they haven’t altered is the core lyrics and those enchanting chord changes. They cannot hide from me the sweet, hand-holding bashfulness of the song and though its given a rough outer coating, at its heart it is still saccharine. Something about this paradox always touches me when I hear this song. The mandolin. “I always knew it would be you, Peg of my heart. Since I heard your lilting laughter its your Irish heart I’m after. It’s your Irish heart I’m after, Peg of my heart”

See what I’m saying about the tenderness? Guy brings out his grandmamma! Video courtesy Mark Higgins/YouTube.

38“Something for Sellers” by Henry Mancini (1964) // One of my favourite movies begat one of my favourite albums. Mancini brought the lounge jazz vibe like no one before or since and this tune and this album bring that vibe to me in spades. Great percussion, popping horns being answered by popping piano, a groovy sax solo while the vibes play behind. Just a rollicking good time that brings to mind Claudia Cardinale and RJ frolicking in Cortina.

I’ll always remember being in the library at my high school and reading the Rolling Stone book of the 100 greatest albums. The forward provided me with something I hadn’t really considered. It was the idea that a compilation is, by definition, the best of a given artist. It is therefore bound to be good from start to finish. That book, though, was looking at the very best albums ever made; the best examples of an artist going into the studio armed with a group of songs and emerging with a cohesive program of music. Songs that blend well together and present an accurate portrait of the artist at that time. Since then I’ve often considered which albums were my favourites. I remember a buddy of mine from back in Apartment Zero Days – Juice, we called him – raving about the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik and saying that “every song is good. It’s like a greatest hits!” While I like that record, it wouldn’t make a list of my favourites but these ones would. Here’s my favourite albums, starting with Number One from my man, Herb Alpert.

  • Rise (1979) – Herb Alpert
  • Brothers and Sisters (1973) – The Allman Brothers Band
  • Francis Albert Sinatra and Antônio Carlos Jobim (1967) – Frank Sinatra
  • Black Moses (1971) – Isaac Hayes
  • That’s the Way It Is (1970) – Elvis Presley
  • My Name is Roosevelt Franklin (1974) – Roosevelt Franklin
  • Different Light (1986) – The Bangles
  • Two of Us (1962) – Robert Goulet
  • Bat Out of Hell (1977) – Meat Loaf
  • Rain Dogs (1985) – Tom Waits
  • The Pink Panther [Music from the Film Score] (1963) – Henry Mancini
  • Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (1977) – Jimmy Buffett
  • Band on the Run (1973) – Paul McCartney and Wings
  • The Game (1980) – Queen
  • Tunnel of Love (1987) – Bruce Springsteen
  • Blue Train (1958) – John Coltrane
  • Lady (1967) – Jack Jones
  • The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992) – The Black Crowes
  • Warm and Willing (1962) – Andy Williams
  • L.A. Woman (1971) – the Doors

37“Funny How Time Slips Away” by Al Green and Lyle Lovett (1994) // Odd that my favourite song by my favourite singer should be this duet with an unlikely partner. At 48 years old, Al sounds absolutely glorious. He is restrained – until the end, at least – but adding all of his trademark touches that so many have come to love. And try to comprehend the band Don Was put together for this album, a curious combo of R&B and country music – a combo you may not think works but does. On this track, Benmont Tench is back on keys, Billy Preston glows at the Fender Rhodes and ex-Beach Boy, Ricky Fataar, of all people, is at the drum kit. I don’t know Lyle Lovett well but he acquits himself nicely. What they’ve done to the melody of this Willie Nelson-penned country classic is enchanting. Bass line. “Gotta go now”. Every. Single. Utterance from Al’s mouth fills me to overflowing with happiness. But dig the video. Watching Al Green sing this is emotional for me. Listen to him riff as the song drifts to a close. And his joy when the song is over. Watch Lyle’s face; he’s not sure what’s happening. It’s just that Al is so happy with what they’ve just done that he has to go hug his partner. This…this…. Dang. “Gotta go now. Welll, I’ll see you somewhe-er-er-ere around”

36“Banana Republics” by Jimmy Buffett (1977) // Ahhh, Jimmy Buffett. Purveyor of sunshine and leisure. The Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes album may be his biggest because it contains his break-out and still greatest hit, “Margaritaville”. But this is one of those cases of the album being about so much more than that one song. There are some really high-functioning, splendidly-realized songs on the record like “Biloxi” and this one I love so much. Jimmy tells a fascinating story about expats in the tropics. This is a case of a song transporting me back to a happy place in my life. Back to the inlet in our small beach town. Quite a storyteller, Buffett is. “Down to the banana republic, down to the tropical sun, go the expatriated Americans, hoping to find some fun…late at night you will find them at the cheap hotels and bars hustling the señoritas while they dance beneath the stars”

35“Silhouettes” by the Rays (1957) // Nothing less than one of the greatest oldies of all-time. One of the finest examples of the doo-wop and rock & roll of the golden era. What is that percussive sound that starts the song? The sound of that piano and the lads’ voices blending. There is just an aura present. Nice, medium gait with the leader taking a line and being joined by the group for a line. The perfect simplicity of the one-word chorus. There is a romance inherent and the nostalgia is palpable. I’ve read that the lyric is topical and refers to the suburban sprawl of the era; many of the houses and neighbourhoods looked alike. The pay-off here is the singer’s realization that he’s on the wrong block. The song modulates – goes up a key – which heightens the emotion. And here it’s redemption and relief and the guy loves his girl like never before. Basically perfect, this one. “Rushed down to your house with wings on my feet. Loved you like I’ve never loved you, my sweet, now that you and I would be two silhouettes on the shade. All of our days, two silhouettes on the shade”

34“Layla” by Derek and the Dominos (1970) // Majestic. I said Zeppelin made refined rock music. Well, Eric Clapton and Co. took rock refinement to another level with this staggering acheivement. You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a more historic song in this idiom and the story of Derek and the Dominos is the stuff of legend. In a nutshell, Slowhand was looking for a place to light when he assembled the Dominos. Recording in Florida, Eric recruited Duane Allman to play on the sessions. So, what you have here is two of rock’s greatest guitarists playing together, probing, exploring and searching for the lost chord and a state of bliss. They certainly found it with a blending of other-wordly guitar sounds centered on an iconic rock riff. Listen also to Bobby Whitlock’s Hammond weaving a path throughout. Almost another song altogether is the second movement of “Layla”, composed and played on piano by the group’s drummer, Jim Gordon. And here again I am moved mightily by the emotional longing of the chord changes lead by a piano – played by a drummer, mind you – in this second half. Just a sonic marvel, an aural feast, that in the end drifts off on the tender wings of a nightingale. Essentially a sad song. Heartbreaking, really, especially when you factor in Clapton’s lyrics about Pattie Boyd and the fact that the next and last song on the album is the melancholy “Thorn Tree in the Garden”. “Please don’t say I’ll never find a way and tell me all my love’s in vain. Layla, you’ve got me on my knees”

The iconic cover art for Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. La Fille au Bouquet by Frandsen-De Schomberg.

33“Rock Me Gently” by Andy Kim (1974) // These next three; watch out, now. Clear the floor! Another oldies radio standard from my young adulthood from Andy Kim, a Canadian of Lebanese descent who co-wrote “Sugar Sugar” and sang with the Archies. A wonderful creator of sound, Andy doesn’t get the love he deserves. This #1 song begins with a great bass line and some nice Fender Rhodes. The chicks singing back-up add much energy to the chorus. The pay-off comes after the second rendering of the chorus and starts with a majestic clavinet solo. This funky keyboard is my absolute favourite instrument. It continues to pop behind Andy’s vocal as we reach ecstasy with a crescendo of the choir of voices leading us back into a slamming revisiting of the chorus. Energy, energy, energy! “Ain’t it good, ain’t it right, that you are with me here toniiiiiIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTTT. Rock me gently, rock me slowly…”

32“A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley (1968) // Yet again I can say that Presley here delivers a sound that is akin to the very joy of life and – again – I’ve spoken much before about not only this artist but this song, as well. Check out the Elvis Presley category here at Your Home for Vintage Leisure for articles on the best Presley music of the 1960’s, the best movie songs and the excellent soundtrack for Live a Little, Love a Little. “Baby, close your eyes and listen to the music. Dig to the summer breeze. It’s a groovy night and I can show you how to use it. Come along with me and put your mind at ease. Hey!”

31“Medicated Goo” by Traffic (1969) // Never mind its unfortunate title, this tune is a stone groove. Steve Winwood and I go way back and his band Traffic had a captivating sound though there always seemed to be a coherence missing. But this time they nailed it. At the outset, Steve’s whining guitar joins his ringing piano until drummer Jim Capaldi smashes four mighty blows and Winwood’s blue-eyed soul voice appears. A driving bass line propels the nonsense chorus and dig Capaldi throughout this tune. Honking saxes and bass take over the breakdown until Jim takes us into the chorus again and out. Groovy, man. “So, follow me, it’s good for you. That good, old fashioned medicated goo. Oooo, ain’t it good for you. My own homegrown recipe will see ya through”

30“My Whole World Ended (the Moment You Left Me)” by David Ruffin (1969) // Among these 100 songs, there are four or five that are the most devastating songs I’ve ever heard and this one may be the most heartbreaking. The mighty voice of David Ruffin had left the Temptations and this was to be the start of his solo career. Motown had a way of creating music that was filled with emotion. Overflowing with it, sometimes. Ruffin starts gently as if in the retelling of his heartbreak he must go slow. Gradually, though, as he examines his predicament, the feeling of loss grows. Comes the chorus, you can hear in his voice that Ruffin is ruined. After he has broken the seal and released his feelings, his story and the telling of it in this song increase in emotional impact. The back-breaker comes when the song modulates up a key as David delivers a falsetto wail. When he comes back in – “Now my body is numb” – the listener as well is crushed by his pain. Dig that shaker throughout. Such a well-crafted song, one of the saddest I’ve ever heard. “Tell me, where did I go wrong? Whatever changed your mind?…How can I face tomorrow when yesterday is all I see? I just don’t wanna face tomorrow if you’re not sharing it with me. Baby, baby, my whole world ended the moment you left me”

29“For Crying Out Loud” by Meat Loaf (1977) // Nothing less than the most magnificent rock song I’ve ever heard. Or you’ve ever heard. There should be an alternate designation for this one song but what on earth would you make it? No one wrote songs like Jim Steinman, crafter of the musical identity of the late Meat Loaf. Bat Out of Hell stands alone as a rock album and “For Crying Out Loud” is a fittingly grand finale for that particular musical journey. I’m actually surprised that more time is not spent heralding, analyzing and consuming this song. On a record dominated by the wonderful piano sound of Roy Bittan, I find it interesting that it is not the “Professor” but one Steve Margoshes who plays the instrument to staggering effect on this song. It and the Loaf’s magnificent voice combine with a stunning orchestral score – also by Mr. Margoshes – to make this one of the only two or three songs that I simply do not listen to often, their effect is so overpowering. The emotion – even in the first few notes – is poignantly evident throughout these nine minutes. The recording increases in intensity by the 2-minute mark. The first movement ends about at about the 3:20 point and then the orchestra sweeps in. Celestial. And then back to intense. At 4:35 the listener’s control of himself is abandoned. The last 2-and-a-half minutes is another event altogether. Loaf sings of the many things his woman has done for him and Steinman weaves his tale in his inimitable way; “For taking and for giving and for playing the game. For praying for my future in the days that remain…” By the time Meat Loaf states that “For crying out loud, you know I love you”, the listener is drained. Drained of any physical strength but that just makes room for the immensity of what this aural experience pours into you.

Check out SoulRide’s look at the late, great Jim Steinman

28“The Trio (Il Triello)” by Ennio Morricone (1966) // As much as I love the contribution that Henry Mancini’s music makes to the films it is featured in, I have to give the edge to Ennio Morricone as my favourite film composer. The gravitas that his music lends to the images presented by Sergio Leone in their work together is breathtaking and Leone’s films may not have had the impact they did were it not for Ennio’s scores. Case in point this stunning piece from Il buono, il brutto, il cattivoThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Such drama, such utter dread in the acoustic guitar in the first moments of the song while the flutes blow and castanets clack. The tension is built until the crescendo of the robust trumpet, played by either Michele Lacerenza or Francesco Catania – one of whom is a straight-up legend for this recording alone. Ennio is able to present much the same melody in different ways through the various movements of the piece. Always when the ascent comes and the trumpet returns it brings with it a majesty and a magnificence. The trumpeter eventually heads to such heights that he surely must’ve been lightheaded afterwards. The closing quadrant of the song is filled with menace; supported, no doubt, by the movie fan’s knowledge that someone’s about to die. Stirring ending.

27“Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison (1968) // I’ve said before that Van Morrison’s music is spiritual and often concerns itself with holy paeans to beauty; the beauty of nature and of the female of the species. What he accomplished with Astral Weeks is a rarity; especially considering his reluctance to commune with the musicians who played on the record. The bassist in the assembled team, Richard Davis, also served as the band leader and his magical performance places him in the driver’s seat on “Sweet Thing”. As much as I love the acoustic guitar work by Morrison here, Davis’ playing on the double bass is breathtaking. Van’s penchant for singing as if entranced fits this melody and this lyric well. From the outset he sings of walking through nature and drinking clear, clean water. Things build to a nice, easy groove accented by spirited hi-hat work and chirping flute. Once the wonderful string arrangement makes its presence known, the listener is strolling with Van through a mystical wood where the atmosphere is fairly dripping with sense-heightening purity and with the promise. Van Morrison has seen the other side. He has seen the alternate to this. He tells of it in “Sweet Thing”. He has found a place where he will not remember that he ever felt the pain, a place where he will never grow so old again, a place where he will be satisfied. “And I will walk and talk in gardens all wet with rain…” The place is fleeting, intangible, it slips through your fingers, not to be held or contained. But for these four minutes and ten seconds, the listener communes with Van in a state of the mind and of the senses. “And just to dig it all and not to wonder, that’s just fine”

26“Move Over” by Janis Joplin (1971) // Joplin’s last album, Pearl, is surely her masterpiece. And, for me, the record and Janis’ band, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, are what I would call pure music. Like the Allman’s, Janis and FTB deliver what sounds like soil, the earth. Organic music. “Fully, check-it-out tasty”, to quote a legend. Piano, organ and a boogie beat rooted in the American south, blues, gospel, soul and feeling. Groove. I’ve seen entries on websites that attach these genres to the record; blues rock, soul blues, blue-eyed soul, funk rock. “Move Over”, the tune that starts the record, is maybe the most exhilarating song on this whole list. It has a great set-up; cracking drum work and Janis’ magical voice. Like a savage bull at the rodeo just itching to get out of the chute. “Please, doncha do it to me, babe, noo!” and that two-note piano/organ punctuation just blows my mind. See, this is how music is supposed to sound. The piano and the organ are venerable, old instruments with solemn connections to classical and church music. So there is a purity to these instruments. They are solid, upright citizens of the music world. But used the way the Full Tilt Boogie Band or the Allmans use them, its clear that they can also provide an earthy, gritty, gut-bucket, groovy, chicken-shack-out-on-Route-101, oozing with the glorious dirt of life sound that makes you glad you are alive. So, the sounds are rooted in ancient goodness but can also bring it down and dirty. After a stellar guitar solo, the gang breaks it back down but now we’re bubbling, churning, we’re at a full rolling boil. Janis and the boys then riff on out the door. Balls. Out.

Stay Tuned for Part Four. You’ve come this far, you can’t miss the top 25 greatest songs ever recorded. The next 15 get classy but some also chart the origins of rock & roll. There are songs of heartbreak and of groovy strolls down a Seventies sidewalk. There are actually nine instrumentals still to come. Don’t miss it. Coming Soon…


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