Here’s another one of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, this the 1997 iteration, which included Peter Frampton and Jack Bruce duetting on a simply stellar version of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” The guitar-and-bass solo at the end is simply one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen or heard. It will blow you away…..
One can never go wrong with Warren Zevon, and here’s a great song from his penultimate album, My Ride’s Here, “Sacrificial Lambs.”
Here’s another from Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band in 1989: a lovely version of “The Weight.” Besides Levon Helm and Rick Danko doing their vocals, just like on The Band’s original, we’ve got Dr. John playing fabulous piano (and also singing a verse) and a beautiful guitar intro by Nils Lofgren. Oh, and for this particular concert, another former Band member, Garth Hudson, plays the accordion!
Every time I hear this song, I’m nine years old again, as this song was released as a single in 1978. It was in huge rotation that year, and I remember hearing it all the time and absolutely loving the saxophone riff. Here’s Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.”
A song that is absolutely meant to be played loud. The lead cut on Talking Heads’s fantastic 1986 album True Stories (which was also a movie co-written, directed, and starring Heads frontman David Byrne, which used these songs on the soundtrack), it’s a great song to play while driving on the highway with the windows down…..
One of my absolute favorite songs by one of my absolute favorite bands, Uncle Bonsai is a folk trio I first learned of through Vin Scelsa’s “Idiot’s Delight” radio show in the 1980s. I got to interview them when they came to New York and played at the Bottom Line, and then they gave a great show where they double-billed with Christine Lavin.
This song, “Women with a Y,” has one of the greatest verses ever written:
Mary was a martyr
Mary must have been a martyr
‘Cuz her God in all his wisdom couldn’t look her in the eye
So he took her and he left her
With some jackass in a stable
While he boasted of the conquest to the other holy guys
So the man takes his position
With the woman in submission
‘Cuz the Bible says that’s how they do it here.
And the women fall from favor
All because some horny savior
Showed that men can come just once and disappear
I’m incredibly jealous of Andrew Ratshin for writing that verse. Just brilliant.
Anyhow, here’s the whole thing….
I have long loved the Irish band Clannad, and here are two very different versions of one of their standards, “Nil S’en La,” an Irish drinking song. The first is from their early live album Clannad in Concert, recorded in 1978, and which is entirely acoustic. The second is from a 1993 performance on Jools Holland’s show, and is more electronic (plus with a sax added). Both are superb.
Sarah Lee Guthrie, one of Arlo Guthrie’s children, has a magnificent singing voice. I first heard it when she was a teenager in the early 1990s when she joined her father and Pete Seeger on stage and belted out an amazing rendition of “Sailing Down that Golden River.” She’s gone on to an excellent musical career of her own, and this is her a year ago providing a cover of Joan Baez’s “Sweet Sir Galahad” in honor of the latter’s 80th birthday.
Mary Chapin Carpenter was part of a wave of women country music stars in the 1990s along with Nanci Griffith, Roseanne Cash, Shawn Colvin, and many others. One of my favorites of hers is “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” from her 1992 album Come On, Come On.
This live performance is superb, as she’s backed up by Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Patty Loveless, and Suzy Bogguss. The harmonies on the last chorus are just amazing.
Nanci Griffith has always been one of my favorite singer-songwriters, and she was a great storyteller as well. Here’s one of my favorites, as much for the introduction as the song itself: “Love at the Five and Dime,” a love letter to Woolworth stores all over the world. (Also “Unnecessary Plastic Objects” is the name of my next band….)