Saturday, December 04, 2010

Out of the Blue Mix

Looking over the playlist for the Out of the Blue Mix, I see that it's very heavy on slightly off-the-wall '70's songs. I didn't mean for that to happen, although I'm not sorry it has.
A lot of good music was released in the 1970's, and even though I spent a good part of the decade working in records stores, I freely admit to ignoring much of it at the time. I was deeply involved in the New York punk/new wave/no wave scene, and I was drawn to a certain type of music - starting with the Velvets and the Stooges and the Dolls and extrapolating out from there. I wasn't nearly as narrow-minded as a lot of my friends - I did champion Abba and Steely Dan - but still, a lot of music fell through the cracks.
Thanks to Ipod Shuffle, I have been exposed - or re-exposed - to a lot of the music which I had ether dismissed or ignored previously.
I love the fact that, after all these years, I'm still finding music from 30 or 35 years ago that's capable of exciting me. Three examples of that stand out in this mix:
Everyone knows Steveie Wonder, everyone is probably sick of his most popular songs - Superstitious, Living for the City etc.  In the 70's he was one of the best selling artists in America. I saw him open for the Stones in 1972, and I appreciated him, but as he more more deeply into fusion, (and he won more and more Grammys) I lost interest. I came across "Journey to India" on the subway a few months ago and was surprised to hear him doing music that made me see him in a whole new light.
I was familiar with Wishbone Ash from listening to WBCN in Boston when I was in high school. I thought of them as a competent folk rock band slightly less interesting then the Richard Thompson/Ian Matthews  bands like Fairport Convention, Mathews Southern Comfort and Plainsong. But I heard "Time Was" recently and was blown away by the way the song moved from an early '70's folk pop gem into a vicious guitar face-off over a sly shuffle beat, and then back into a CSN/Bread soundalike.
Dust was a favorite of Creem Magazine. They were American heavy metal, and I think their drummer may have later played with the Ramones. I vaguely remember Chris Gray, the guitarist in Jack Ruby, playing their album, Hard Attack when it came out, but I don't remember anything about it.
"Thusly Spoken" kept coming up on my Ipod over the summer, and every time it did, I thought it was something that had been released in the last couple of years. Certain things (the lyrics!) betray the song's origins, but in many ways, it's much more modern than any of the accepted sacred texts that we've all been listening to for the last 30-40 years.
There are some other '70's things sprinkled in with the above mentioned gems - some disco some Krautrock, a song by Television, as well as some modern stuff that, in one way or another references the '70's. As I said, I didn't set out to build a mix around the '70's, but the experience has convinced me that there was a lot more going on than what we were listening to below 14th St at the time.

Here is the mix:
Out of the Blue Mix

Here is the playlist:
1. Music Of Life - Cerrone
2. Voyage To India - Stevie Wonder
3. Jolene (remix)
4. Move Me No Mountain - Love Unlimited
5. Don't Beat Around The Bush - The Salsoul Orchestra
6. Like Tears In Rain - The Bamboos
7. Things Get Better - Delaney and Bonnie
8. I'll Be There - Sun Kil Moon
9. Snake Charmer - CFCF
10. Castle In The Air - Eloy
11. Friction - Television
12. Time Was - Wishbone Ash
13.Thusly Spoken - Dust
14. Rattler's Hey - Belbury Poly
15. Sweet Love - The Commodores
16. Paris Nights/New York Mornings - Corinne Bailey Rae
17. Renegade - Kings Of Convenience

(Photo by Joseph Szkodzinski)

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