Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14 Playlist: All Beat Farmers, All the Time

The Beat Farmers almost ruined me for live music. Two dynamite shows at The Canal Street Tavern in Dayton, Ohio, July 1986 and September 1987, were the two most bombastic, wildly enjoyable live music experiences of my life. I could have stopped going to shows right then and lived off the memories of those two performances the rest of my life.

The Beat Farmers' music propelled me through mid- and late-1980s road trips, all-night listening parties and summer BBQs. The band mixed country western and rockabilly sensibilities with chunky, raw power chords. Imagine Buck Owens playing with ACDC. And they had a wild card like no other band before or since -- drummer, singer and raconteur Country Dick Montana.

I loved the originals like "Bigger Stones," "Never Going Back," "Riverside" and "Selfish Heart." And the Farmers had the best taste in covers, from Bruce Springsteen's "Reason to Believe" to Neil Young's "Powderfinger" and Country Dick's rowdy rendition of Johnny Cash's "Big River."

The Beat Farmers - Big River

Sadly, The story of The Beat Farmers ended with Country Dick Montana's untimely death on stage in 1995. But the band's legacy and my memories of two amazing nights at The Canal Street live on.

It's Friday. They are The Beat Farmers. Turn it up.

Nice history of The Beat Farmers by the San Diego Reader.

The Beat Farmers at The Belly Up Tavern, complete show, 1992.

The Beat Farmers, Universal Studios, 1985.

The Beat Farmers - Channel 33 KCOX TV San Diego, 1984.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13 Playlist: Fred Eaglesmith, Water in the Fuel

Because when you're out on the road alone and you know that you'll be alone when you arrive, the best thing to do is keep driving, even if the light keeps coming on. The original sends chills every time I hear it and it's a great live tune. Also love Kasey Chambers' cover.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12 Playlist -- Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, "Some Velvet Morning"

Remember how I said Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walking" took me down a musical rabbit hole when I was six years old? Well, it happened again. And here I am at midnight listening to Nancy and Lee sing "Some Velvet Morning."

Talk about a song that sets a mood. "Some velvet morning when I'm straight / I'm gonna open up your gate / and maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra / and how she gave me life ..."

So trippy. So groovy.

I love the tension between Lee and Nancy's delivery in this song. There's a slight unsettling quality to Lee's vocals, like a guy coming out of a particularly good acid trip he desperately wants to return to, while Nancy or Phaedra is smooth and dreamy like, well, velvet.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11 Playlist: Kacey Musgraves -- These Boots are Made for Walkin'

I was not quite six years old when Nancy Sinatra released "These Boots are Made for Walkin'" and even at that young age it made quite an impression. In many ways, "These Boots..." was my gateway song to "Dusty in Memphis," Dean Martin's "Houston," Roger Miller's "King of the Road" and The Johnny Cash Show.

Yes, "Houston" and "King of the Road" were both released a few years earlier than "These Boots...," but this was the 1960s when songs hung around longer than a wink and a whistle. One of the great things about discovering a breakthrough favorite song is that it takes you both back in time and into the future.

Written by long-time Sinatra collaborator and unsung American music legend Lee Hazelwood, "These Boots..." combined rock attitude with country sass. And Sinatra's delivery was pure rocket fuel.

"These Boots..." as been covered by artists as diverse as Loretta Lynn, Jewel and Megadeath. More recently, Kacey Musgraves has taken her boots for a spin and she delivers. Not only is it a great cover in its own right, but it cleanses the palette nicely from that unfortunate Jessica Simpson version.


Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10 Playlist: Ryan Adams -- To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)

It's was a Ryan Adams kind of weekend for me. First the news that made the Internet kind of explode: Adams will cover Taylor Swift's 1989. Check out this tease for his version of "Bad Blood."

Then watching "Old School" (again) on Saturday evening, I was reminded of the great Adams song, "TO BE YOUNG (IS TO BE SAD, IS TO BE HIGH" that kicks off the movie. And I can't stop listening to it.

I admit, I'm late and slow the the Ryan Adams party. My loss. But I'm making up for it with the old stuff, the new stuff, and evidently, with a coming cover of a Taylor Swift album.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Jason Isbell featured on CBS Sunday Morning

Jason Isbell is truly an amazing songwriter and his new release, "Something More Than Free," is one if my favorite albums of the year.

August 9 Playlist: Keith Richards, solo


Looking forward to the September 18 release of "Cross-Eyed Heart," Keith Richards' third solo album. Any New Barbarians fans out there?

How about the X-Pensive Winos?