pop

Neil Diamond – Shilo

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I want to give props to the drummer on this track but even Google can’t seem to tell me the name. Just tried to raise Neil (or someone at his publicist’s office) via @NeilDiamond on Twitter so we’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, listen to what I’m talking about. What great, aggressive, drumming in this track. Sometimes right the hell up in your ear…other times laying back, rattling that snare like a viper…

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The Connells – Over There

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From 1987’s ‘Boylan Heights,’ a sort of anti-war message. Bill Spencer’s trumpet calls listeners to arms, only to ask them to stand down again with lyrics like these:

Won’t abide, pushed aside
Let me know when you’ve decided
I’ll decline when the sign
says “Over There”

In which the author loves-up on Michael Jackson; implies haters can suck it

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An excerpt from a message to a friend:

You know me to be a man of singularly music-obsessed standards, __. I turn off other people’s music if it sucks: no shit. I won’t have it in my brain. That expectation set, Michael Jackson was a musical prophet. His grooves…his soul…the singularity of his joy & showmanship goes unmatched and is just gonna’

Listen to this –not even his best vocal track– for the voice track alone. Picture his face singing as you listen. Now imagine singing along with the lead, even in your favorite register. You automatically know what a physical feat it was to create these vocal sounds (perhaps even moreso as a voice-worker yourself). Now imagine what it’d take to inflect your voice with that much soul & conviction. Now imagine doing it while dancing. 150 nights a year. Respect.

The track in question was ‘Human Nature.’ I’ve linked to two other favorite MJ tunes as well. No surprises in any of these selections hits as they all were.

Michael Jackson – Human Nature – Album: Thriller

Michael Jackson – Rock With You – Album: Off the Wall

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean – Album: Thriller

Lloyd Cole & the Commotions – Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?

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Of all  I learned at boarding school a love of Lloyd Cole (with or without the Commotions) sits interchangeably atop the rankings with lockpicking.

Pumped up full of vitamins
On account of all the seriousness

Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You

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Andy Williams was the first pop singer I learned to identify by voice. Consider the moment when music becomes something other than a seemingly-divine abstraction, when we realize that voices are people: consistent, personal, the original instrument. Close on its heels the arrives realization that we too have a persistent, original voice that’s 100% keyed to our willingness to employ it. The nascence of our creative selves happens in moments like these: waiting out a lightning storm in an Oldsmobile outside my grandmother’s house with my mom, hearing an Andy Williams song come on the radio, and calling him out by name. It’s one of my earliest memories, and as the wellspring of my creative self-awareness one of my fondest as well.

Fans of the English Beat will recognize this song from their 1980 release ‘I Just Can’t Stop It,’ and will inevitably prefer that version:

Reggae Covers: Nicky Thomas – Love of the Common People (Hurley & Wilkins)

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The song ‘Love of the Common People’ (Ronnie Wilkins/John Hurley) performed here by Nicky Thomas, a recording that hit #9 on the UK Pop Charts in 1970.

Living on free food tickets water in the milk from a hole in the roof
Where the rain came through what can you do
Tears from your little sister
Crying because she doesn’t have a dress without a patch
For the party to go oh but you know she’ll get by

‘Cos she’s living in the love of the common people
Smiles through the heart of a family man
Daddy’s gonna buy her a dream to cling to
Mama’s gonna love her just as much as she can and she can

It’s a good thing you don’t have a bus fare
It would fall through the hole in your pocket
And you’d lose it in the snow on the ground
You got to walk into town to find a job

Tryin’ to keep your hands warm
When the hole in your shoe lets the snow come through
And chills you to the bone
So now you’d better go home where it’s warm

So you can live in the love of the common people
Smiles from the heart of a family man
Daddy’s gonna buy you a dream to cling to
Mama’s gonna love you just as much as she can and she can

Living on a dream ain’t easy but the closer the knit the tighter the fit
And the chills stay away you take ’em in stride for family pride
You know that faith is your foundation
Whole lot of love and a warm conversation
But don’t forget to pray just make it strong where you belong

So you can live in the love of the common people
Smiles through the heart of a family man
Daddy’s gonna buy you a dream to cling to
Mama’s gonna love you just as much as she can and she can.