Raphael Saadiq Chases The Blues Away

I am SOOOOO tired of the crappy, cold, rainy weather we are having here in the midwest. OVER IT! So I had to go find a song that would break me out of the spring blah’s mode and I found it. Although his new album doesn’t drop until next week and this song isn’t available until then, I found it on YouTube and HAD to share! Turn up the speakers and get ready to shake your butt ’cause :08seconds in the bass kicks in, the beat takes over and it doesn’t stop throughout the entire 3:30+ of the song. Awesome track form this R&B revivalist! Can’t wait to hear the entire album!!!!

Ear Nuggets: Wye Oak Speaks To Me With It’s Lyrics And A Wailing Guitar Solo

I have to admit…I’ve never heard of the band Wye Oak, but they have all of a sudden appeared to be a front runner as one of my favorite songs of the year with “Civilian,” a slow to build rocker that displays deft guitar work and remarkable restraint. According to Wikipedia, Wye Oak hails from Baltimore and are only a 2-piece band. How they manage to create this kind of sound with only 2 people is beyond me however I LOVE how this song builds to a crescendo and then takes me to sweet oblivion with one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in some time!

Lead singer Jenn Wasner has one of those voices that is soft & calming and it lulls you into the lyrics of the song. The lyrics are very poetic and have some lines of interest to me (“I don’t need another friend/when most of them/I can barely keep up with them/perfectly able to hold my own hand/but I still can’t kiss my own neck”) but it’s the guitar work of partner Andy Stack that catches my ear in this one and it’s his work at the end of the song that lifts it to new heights. At 2:35 he rips into one of the most earth-shattering solos and with Wasner singing ghostlike in the background, his guitar transforms the song into an experience…not just a song. Check it out for yourself. Sometimes I get excited about some pretty unusual things but I believe this song will be playing in my CD player for many months to come…and this solo will go down as one of my favorites of this year!

Wye Oak’s new album is due out in early March. Look for it at your favorite music shop and if you’re interested in what others are saying about “Civilian,” check out Spin Magazine’s review! Sounds like a winner to me!

And now I like them even more!!! In & Out for everyone!!!

Ear Nuggets: David Coverdale Screams & The Song Cranks In “Still Of The Night”

Dunno about you, but I love me some hair band 80’s rock and this quintessential track from the late 80’s (1987, to be exact) is what I’m talking about. With all the heat and sexual context of most songs of that decade, “Still Of The Night” is one of those songs that has an edge to it. The guitar work is classic, the drums bombastic and David Coverdale’s vocals screech with the best of them. Add to it that Coverdale used his then future wife, covergirl Tawny Kitaen, in the video and you got yourself one hot number.

The place that speaks to me as far as this song is concerned is at 3:55. The song has become a crawl. Coverdale has taken his vocals to a low growl and the music has slowed to a slow simmer. Then there’s what sounds like a violin builds to a crescendo and then…at 3:55…Coverdale lets out a guttural howl and the song picks up pace and you can almost feel the heat of the song as the guitar kicks in. The hair on my arm stands up every time I get to this part of the song. I don’t know what it is…whether its the energy or the guitar or the violin or what, but it’s a purely sexual sensation and Coverdale and the band take it and run with it.

“Still Of The Night” is easily one of my favorite tracks from that year and this ear nugget is one of the many reasons why. Well…that and for lyrics like this…

In the Still of the Night
I hear the wolf howl, honey
Sniffing around your door
In the Still of the Night
I feel my heart beating heavy
Telling me I gotta have more

Now I just wanna get close to you
An’ taste your love so sweet
An’ I just wanna make love to you
Feel your body heat

Yeah….that’s STILL kinda hot.And so is Tawny Kitaen.

Ear Nuggets: Angus Rips Us A New One In “Thunderstruck”

Oh how I love me some AC/DC. Doesn’t matter where or when, just throw on “Back In Black” and I’m a happy man. But if I were to choose my FAVORITE AC/DC song…”Thunderstruck” might be it. Released during my college days back in 1990, this track is easily one of my favorite memories.

My story goes like this…my college radio station (I was the program director that year) didn’t get a promotional copy of “Thunderstruck”, so someone recorded it off a rock station from another city and brought it in. We dubbed it off and ran it off cart (which sounded like crap but who cares?!? It was AC/DC!!!) until we finally got a copy of the CD. It was in heavy rotation for weeks and we played the hell out of it! And the guitar solo at the beginning pretty much defines my college radio career…

If you REALLY want to hear it loud, the live version on their double-disk set is my favorite. It starts with a low rumble, you can hear the crowd chanting “Angus” for a few seconds and then…out of nowhere…you hear the guitar. And it just keeps getting louder & louder. Truth be told, I blew the speakers in my last car playing this live version at full volume. It’s the loudest song in my arsenal when I’m driving and it’s easily one of my favorite rock songs ever!  Still…to this day…whenever I hear that guitar riff I crank it up. Don’t care if my kids are in the car, don’t care if my mom is in the car, don’t care if the President is in my car. I hear that, I crank it up. Here’s the video from MTV many, many years ago. Crank it and enjoy!

Ear Nuggets: When The Guitar Takes Over At 4:48 Into “Baker Street”

It is MY opinion that “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty is one of, if not THE greatest pop song featuring a saxophone ever made. I picked it as my favorite sax song of all-time in my “Top 10 Favorite Sax Songs” and whenever I hear it I am mesmerized. As a matter of fact, I’m not the only person who thinks that it’s simply awesome. According to Wkipedia, the bastion of useless knowledge, the saxophone solo in “Baker Street” actually led to “a jump in saxophone sales, and a noticeable increase in the use of the instrument in mainstream pop music and TV advertising.” Now I dunno about all that, but the article then goes on to say that originally the sax solo was written for a guitar and that the guitarist wasn’t available to work at the time of the recording. So saxophonist Raphael Ravenscroft offered to play the solo using his instrument instead and voila! An instant classic!

But as much as I love the sax throughout this song, I would be amiss if I didn’t tell you that there is a moment in it that always gets my blood pumping and my fingers strumming and it always makes me wanna rock out. We all know that moment…and it’s the guitar solo late at the end of the song. Now there are various versions of “Baker Street”, so the one that I am listening to right this second clocks in at 6:09. At 4:48 into the song, Hugh Burns takes the stage and rips into a solo that still gives me chills to this day. Considering I’ve been listening to this song since 1978, that’s pretty amazing. Don’t get me wrong, the sax is my favorite instrument and Ravenscroft’s whispering solo is one of the greatest hooks of my lifetime, but Burns’ solo takes this track to new heights and gives it that extra kick. And I LOVE it! Check it out…here’s Gerry Rafferty singing about the famous street in London and helping me forget about everything with “Baker Street.”

Oh…and in THIS version…the solo happens at 3:30 into it. Just so ya know…although it’s hard to miss…

Ear Nuggets: The Calm Before The Storm At 2:45 In John Butler Trio’s “Close To You”

My favorite song so far this year (granted it’s only May) is John Butler Trio’s “Close To You.” It’s a classic rock song with lots of guitar and drums. I love the lyrics as well (as will you if you have a job that keeps ya hoppin’) and it just works for me. Anyways, at about 2:30 into the song, there is a guitar solo that is excellent but then at 2:45 it transitions into a slower drum solo with some background guitar work which slowly builds into a furious drum that hits it’s peak and then the song picks up again. It’s an awesome bridge that always makes me crank up the song even louder and has me tapping my fingers to the drums. Check it out when you get a chance and see if you don’t agree! Just a warning…if you get motion sickness, you might wanna just check out the song on ITunes. This video is NUTS! LOL

Ear Nuggets: When Edge Plays The Blues In “Silver & Gold”

I make no bones about it…U2 is my favorite rock band. They have been for years. And one of my favorite tracks from their live album, “Rattle & Hum”, is “Silver & Gold”. It’s got meaningful lyrics and was written about a man in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg. A man who had lost faith in the peacemakers of the west. While they argue and….well…go listen to the song for yourself.

Anyway…at the 4:58 mark of this song that clocks in at 5:50 in length, Bono steps aside from the message and lets The Edge do his thing and it is a glorious guitar solo that makes the hair on my arm stand up. It’s classic U2 with a bombastic, guitar anthem sound and it just makes me want to grab my air guitar and get down. Check it out yourself and see if I lie. THIS moment is one of my personal, all-time favorite guitar solos…EVER.

Oh…and I’m going to see U2 in Seattle on June 20th. Anyone wanna join me?