Fresh Songs for a Stale Quarantine

The first couple of days are new and novel. Then it’s neither. Whether you’re all about homeopathy or suffer from home apathy, tunes always help. Here’s 20 (no particular order) on the new side that have been working for me lately.

“You’ve Got This” by Jim Lauderdale. “I don’t believe in a lot of things. But I believe in you.” An old pro serves up an anthem for our times.

“We’ve Got to Get Ourselves Together” by The Staple Singers. Off the new Come Go With Me – The Stax Collection. The Staples got us thru the Vietnam era with “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself.” And doing what timeless bands do, here they are again. (Keeps me wondering what might have happened had Mavis accepted Dylan’s marriage proposal back in the day.)

“Marathon” by Chuck Prophet. “It’s a marathon; we’re gonna dance ’til dawn.” After you listen to this, check out “Summertime Thing.”

“Take It As You Find It” by The James Hunter Six. Off The Nick of Time. Somehow, I had never heard of this guy until he popped up on my Spotify account this week.  (FWIW, In 2016, MOJO mag deemed him “The United Kingdom’s Greatest Soul Singer.”) He’s Old School serving up quality stuff worthy of the classiest nightclub.

“Don’t Even Believe in Love” by Shelby Lynne – “I don’t want you near…” Play this song three times and you’ll keep clicking on it.

“Sequestered in Memphis” by The Hold Steady – Off Stay Positive.  “I’m gettin’ pretty sick of this interview…”  Another band that should’a been huge. They remind me of The Bottle Rockets. (Another band that should’a been huge.) And don’t miss the title track.

“Heaven Knows” by Josh Ritter – “Patience, please have patience. Can you give me just a little more time. Patience, please have patience. Heaven knows how hard I tried.”

“Me Voy Pa’l Pueblo” by Mapache – Request to Hyde Spanish teachers: As part of your on-line teaching this spring, have your students translate these lyrics. Then get back to me.  I’m guessing that the words are as beautiful as the music.

“I Stand Alone” by Al Kooper – Off I Stand Alone (1968) My Hyde frosh roomie (Mike Frieman ’72, RIP) turned me on to this Al Kooper album a half-century ago in our 4-man Mansion room. It might be old, but it certainly fits current circumstances.

“In My Room” by The Beach Boys – “There’s a world where I can go and tell me secrets to… In my room.”  Speaking of old and current, not to mention timeless, gotta include the greatest boarding school song ever written. (That oughta spark some reaction…) Did the Wilson boys go to boarding school? No, but, besides Dennis, neither did they surf.  (Brian: “I tried it once, but found it far too frightening.”)

“Money’s No Option” by Circles Around the Sun – When this pops up on my Spotify “Liked Songs” playlist, I start dancing around the room. (Note: It has been said that I can’t/won’t dance.) Give it a try.

“Where is My Home?” by Forest Sun – “I wanna put my roots down. Take a walk into town. See people I know. And stop and say hello.” Something to look forward to.

“Dance Monkey” by Bette Smith & Kirk Fletcher – Motown meets Stax. “Never seen anybody do the things you do before…”

“Easy As Rolling Off a Log” by James Taylor – Off American Standard. “It’s so easy to fall in love with you.” New release w/ the quality we have expected (and taken for granted) for 50+ years.

“Trust Yourself” by Blackie & The Rodeo Kings – Off King of this Town. “You can’t trust anyone, ’til you trust yourself.” It’s got a John Hiatt “Memphis in the Meantime” vibe to it. The singer even sounds a bit like John.

“Believe Me, Angela” by Whitney Rose – “Hey, Angela, I like that name. I know you’re not who I should blame. I talked it over with my friends. Went and keyed his car instead.” Jilted lover reaches out to her successor.

“In My Girlish Days” by Rory Block – Off Prove It to Me. “I flagged a train. Didn’t have a dime. Tryin’ to run away from that home of mine. But I didn’t know no better in my girlish days…” Thank-you, Rory Block, for always bringing it!

“Fool About Me” by Paul Burch – “Wouldn’t it be nice if she’d just play along? Maybe I’ve been a fool too long… How could I set her free when she’s a fool about me?” Great question from a great Nashville singer/songwriter.

“That’s All Right” by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (1905-74) – Newly mastered off an old 78. “Well, My Mama she done told me, Daddy told me too. ‘This woman you got, son, she ain’t no friend of you.’ But that’s all right now Mama, any old way you do.” Sometimes you gotta compromise.

“I’d Rather Go Blind” by King Solomon Hicks – Off Harlem. “There’s only one thing that I want you to know: I’d rather be blind than to see you go.” A catchy Robert Cray vibe.

BONUS: “Memories” by Swamp Dogg and John Prine – Two old salts (a step beyond old pro) serve up a song for us to play when this whole thing is over.

Onward, Malcolm Gauld