And the hits just keep on comin.’ Fresh Songs for a Stale Quarantine playlist continues to grow. If you’ve got Spotify, just click on it, click “Shuffle,” and chill. Here are some of the choice recent entries:
“The Late Great John Prine Blues” by Will Kimbrough – These times have been hard, but I’ve had it pretty good. After all, my music-listening life has coincided with the work of John Prine, RIP. “His songs would still a room. Handsome Johnny’s comin’ home, the late, great John Prine Blues.”
“The Next Best Thing” by San Gabriel 7 (Femi Knight, vocals) – Off Red Dress. Where have Femi and this band been all my life? So far, this is my fave album of 2020. Jazz, blues, soothe… Also love their cover of the classic “Never Make Your Move too Soon.”
“Unemployed Highly Annoyed” by Jeremiah Johnson – A bluesy rocker. “Calm the hell down, stop freaking out. Have a little faith in the human race.”
“George Floyd” by Dan Bern – One of our great songwriters. Feel the Bern. “And the world took notice; the world took to the streets. And the world echoed, I can’t breathe; the world rose to its feet.”
“Ashamed” by PJ Morton, Tobe Nwigwe – This is PJ’s second entry on FSSQ. Here, he and Nwigwe channel Stevie Wonder and come up with one of the most beautiful songs on this playlist.
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by Jo Harman – Ms. Harman keeps it simple and gives great cover to the classic Carole King number.
“La Vie en Rose” by The Belfast Cowboys – No, it’s neither Irish nor country music. These guys are from Minneapolis and play a lot of Van Morrison. Here they interplay trumpet and vocals on a French song. Yeah, you could say they’ve got range.
“100 Years of Blues” by Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite – Two old pros laying down a century’s worth (between them) of blues. Elvin sings: “You know, they tell me, Charlie, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I guess it is true, we’ve been around since the Dead Sea was sick.”
“He Was a Friend of Mine” by Max Gomez – “And we took his life for granted, long before his time. He was a friend of mine.”
“Going Down to Sing in Texas” by Iris DeMent – Gotta love Iris Dement! (This is her second FSSQ number.) Such a distinctive, unique, compelling voice. If you’re gonna release a 9+ minute song, you better have Dylanesque game. She brings it here. Catchy.
“As I Walked Out” by Van Morrison – Ever the contrarian, Van the Man takes on the Covid precautions, as only he can.
“Vote” by Graham Nash – The N in CSNY released this call for voter participation 2 weeks before the election. It appears people took it to heart. “Vote. You can vote.”
“Rocket to Nowhere” by Randall Bramblett – Off the forthcoming Pine Needle Fire. Bluesy. Never heard of this guy, but he’s been recording since the mid-70s with the likes of Gregg Allman, Widespread Panic, Traffic, and Chuck Leavell. He’s now in my wheel-house.
“Shake Your Money Maker” by The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Never trust a rockin’ blues ensemble that does not do this song. I mean, I think it’s a law. “I gotta gal that lives up on the hill. She say she gonna love me but I don’t think she will.”
“I Shall Not Be Moved” by Ronnie Earl. Off Rise Up. Just Ronnie strumming on acoustic. No vocals. Perfect.
“Cross That Line” by Timothy Schmitt. The guy in the Eagles you might not have known. (Fun Fact: He was also their only Californian.) He did bass and some vocals (incl. lead on “I Can’t Tell You Why”) Good song.
“Guess Again” by Jeff Tweedy. – Wilco leader on a side project. I need to explore this guy more. “Guess again, my love. It’s you.”
“Quarantine Blues” by Steve Poltz – Fifty years from now, people studying our time will listen to this song. “I need a nurse, I suppose; to shove a Q-Tip up my nose. I’m gettin’ kinda grouchy; I’m in love with Dr. Fauci. Uh-huh”
Uh-huh, indeed. Onward, Malcolm Gauld