It’s a notion I’ve kicked around for some time. Weren’t the songs we call “standards” simply popular music when they were written? Many may aspire to write songs for the ages, but to which do we still listen? Here are two from 1974 that both topped the pop chart – “I Shot The Sheriff,” by Eric Clapton, and Bo Donaldson’s “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero.” You’re still listening to one of them, right?
So to which will we still be listening to thirty, forty or fifty years from now? At her website, Robin McKelle writes of her decision to record Steve Miller’s 1982 hit “Abracadabra” on her latest album: “I was coming home from a gig one night and I heard that song, and the idea popped into my head. I turned up the radio and thought, this could be great as a swing tune!”
Led Zep as the “Music of Your Life?” Yeah, it’s time.
Wave Mechanics Union – Second Season
Released: October, 2008
The anonymous liner notes say, “…those who grew up post-Beatles will never be immune from the influence of rock music.” So we’re eight bars into the first track, and I’m locked in. I’m thinking – okay, this is “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and it sounds so familiar, that I know exactly where it’s going to go, “Bomp-bom…”
Oh. Wait. We’re off in a new direction. The Lydia McAdams vocal begins, and yes – it all sounds so familiar, yet so different – syncopated and Latin and swingy – and yet.
And yet – all the touchstones are there. You know this music. Hell, I lived this music. This is my music.
“Killer Queen” with a big band? Yeah, you’ve got to hear it. I played Led Zep’s “The Rain Song” back to back with this version. Seamless. It simply sounds like the song went in a different direction…one that’s a little more modern.
Lydia McAdams is the vocalist of this talented pack, and I don’t know where she’s been – but I get the impression she’s going somewhere important. She handles this material with confidence – nailing each of the vocals, whether the high energy “Killer Queen,” or one of my favorites, Sting’s cool groove, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.”
Also in high rotation on my iPod, a nod to the old with 1953’s “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” the 1990 remake of which by “They Might Be Giants” escaped me.
Highest recommendation for this disc – I dare you to go listen, and tell me you’re not hooked. Even the instrumental “Eleanor Rigby” has me hooked.
Big band jazz for aging baby boomers? Hell, no.
Getting back to the holiday wrap-up, I got to spend some quality time back home in Detroit – at my favorite used record shop. I picked up a copy of Marilyn Scott’s “Avenues of Love,” from 1998. And that led me to her MySpace page– and her latest album, “Every Time We Say Goodbye.”
Frankly, I’d forgotten about Ms. Scott, and that’s a shame. It’s nice to have some of her tracks back into the rotation for my personal soundtrack.