Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


A Bloggers Musical Look at 40!

Well, my dear, sweet, gentle blog readers, today is a milestone day for me.  Or, so I’m told.  Yep, it is my 40th birthday.  Feel free to comment on how old I am or must feel.  Candle jokes are always funny, and yes, I am actually typing this attired in black and with one foot in the grave.

I like to think that I have made my musical feelings abundantly clear over the last year or so in this blog.  Songs are snapshots along our continuum that allow us to recall special times, people, and places. Music shades us in many ways, some so beautifully moving that we are overcome by emotion, others etched in our fabric like a familiar scent that recalls the halcyon days of our youth, while others are just simply attached to a moment in time.

In my forty years, I have lived and experienced more life than I probably deserve.  I know I certainly lived more than my parents deserved.  Through it all, music is the one constant that I have turned to regardless of the situation.  Adolescent love, loss, birth of children, marriage, divorce, and death, and yes, much living in between, music has been my salvation. Music resonates within me at many different levels. The basic premise behind music is notes, keys, chords, rhythm, etc….   It is analogous to food in the fact that there is music for all occasions.

So today, is my musical look at 40!  Below are 40 songs that have colored me indelibly. I will offer no explanation as to why these songs resonate with me nor will I debate their worthiness of inclusion.  After all it is my birthday, my blog and my computer at which I type. 

Below is this Bloggers Musical look at 40:

Song

Artist
  • Blinded By the Light *note* Cause Mama that’s where the fun is!
Bruce Springsteen
  • Everybody Hurts
R.E.M.
  • Simple Man
Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Tiny Dancer
Elton John
  • With or Without You
U2
  • Louisiana Rain
Tom Petty
  • Dyer’s Eve
Metallica
  • Touch From Your Lust
Ben Harper
  • Fire Lake
Bob Segar
  • Masters of War
Bob Dylan
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
Arc Angels
  • There Is So Much More
Brett Dennen
  • Mystic Rhythms
Rush
  • Jimi Thing
The Dave Matthews Band
  • It’s In the Way That You Use It
Eric Clapton
  • Rearview Mirror
Pearl Jam
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
Guns N’ Roses
  • The Sea and the Rhythm
Iron & Wine
  • Waiting for the Sun
The Jayhawks
  • Little Wing
Jimi Hendrix
  • Highwayman
The Highwaymen
  • Gimme Shelter
The Rolling Stones
  • Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns
Mother Love Bone
  • When You Come Back Down
Nickel Creek
  • I’m Trying To Find It
Pat Green
  • Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd
  • Slip Sliding Away
Paul Simon
  • Sideways
Citizen Cope
  • Wheel In The Sky
Journey
  • Sign O’ The Times
Prince
  • What a Crying Shame
The Mavericks
  • Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond
  • Minutes To Memories
John Mellencamp
  • Band on the Run
Paul McCartney
  • Killing In the Name
Rage Against the Machine
  • Shades of Gray
Robert Earl Keen
  • Life Without You
Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Plush
Stone Temple Pilots
  • Badfish
Sublime
  • Into the Mystic
Van Morrison

When I hear any of these songs, I vividly remember the moments, feelings, situations, and the friends I shared the moments with.  I contend that these artists and their songs do or will stand the test of time and are just as relevant today as they were in the past or will be in the future.  At least for me!

So there you go, me sharing a little of my birthday with you.  Enjoy and come over later for some cake and ice cream.

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: Pass the Jar

Today’s Mixed Tape Monday is not so much a mixed tape as it is a live album with a varied assortment of artists and cover songs.  Zac Brown and his rowdy band of musical brothers did a benefit concert for the Georgia Theatre, a cultural haven of the Athens music scene that burned down in 2009, and released it as a live album entitled Pass the Jar.  The album is a two disc set that is accompanied by a DVD of the concert.  Zac’s music is typically fun in nature and drenched in the good time vibe.  The concert exemplifies that vibe and the diversity of the cover songs reflects his deep appreciation for music in general. 

The album is a good mix of some of Zac’s songs from his major label debut The Foundation such as:

  • Toes
  • Free
  • Chicken Fried
  • Highway 20 Ride
  • Whatever It Is
  • Where the Boat Leaves From

In addition to Zac and his band, Kid Rock, Shawn Mullins, Little Big Town, and Angie Aparo as well as several other artists lend their vocal prowess to the cause.  As diverse as the special guest are, the cover songs are the real gems. 

  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia (Charlie Daniels)
  • Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)
  • Blackbird (The Beatles)
  • Jolene (Ray LaMontagne)
  • Can’t You See (The Marshall Tucker Band)
  • The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band)
  • I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan)
  • One Love (Bob Marley)

The album is warm, fun, and a tribute to the strength of the band’s live shows.  To take nothing away from the band’s studio album, to truly enjoy the Zac Brown Band, you need to see them live.  While this album and DVD is as close as I’ve gotten thus far, I have added him to the list of folks I am on the lookout for on the DFW concert calendar.

 Great music awaits!


The Sweet Spot!

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself with more time to listen to music than when I was younger.  Part of this is due to the advent of portable music players, the evolution of digital files, and the technology that allows music to be played on computers.  The stability of a job provides the disposable income for concerts, an excessive catalog of music, and multiple playing options. 

The afore mentioned job also allows me time to listen to music.  When I am in my office, music is constantly playing.  The sanctuary of my truck is also a musical haven. The drive to work, the drive home, and the many miles that I drive weekly all afford another level of listening.  This is also the opportunity that I have to expose my children to music that is in fact played with instruments and songs written by genuine artists.

When I was younger and finding my musical way, I would delve into an album or artist and listen with relentless pursuit.  I would listen to songs, albums, and said artist almost exclusively until the next sonic epiphany.  These neurotic bouts of musical exclusivity could last days, weeks, or even months.  Looking back, it seems that the level of musical monogamy did indeed lend itself to my lifelong love affair with music.  As fleeting as some of those love fests might have been, they allowed a wide range of music to enter my live and much like all past loves, left a mark. 

At times, I revert back to the halcyon days of my formative years and roll the windows down and embarrass my kids with a litany of musical gems while singing and doing the obligatory air guitar or drums.  While my musical tastes have expanded, I still have a passion for the music of my youth.  The bombastic guitars and drums of Metallica always make my musical pants go crazy.  The southern drawl of Tom Petty makes me smile and remember old friends and good times.  Springsteen is still “The Boss” and makes me appreciate the importance of lyrics. 

As I discover new music, I do not seem to be searching for an exact musical type whereas before, I would strictly be looking for alternative music, heavy metal, or some other genre specific music that I heard on some commercial driven radio station.  I’ve come to appreciate the country landscape to some degree and am a huge fan of the burgeoning Texas music scene.  I actively pursue the independent artists and do not subject myself to the pandering of FM pop stations.  By the time the artists I like make it to the radio, I am on to the next thing. 

While each generation has their musical sins, looking back, I feel like I was in the sweet spot of music.  Old enough to appreciate the contributions of Dylan, Hendrix, and others of their ilk, young enough to have grown up with Tom Petty, Springsteen, Journey, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, and all the other great artists, and fortunate enough to be part of the musical revolution that brought Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys, Nirvana, and a myriad of other artist who changed the musical landscape of my generation.

The classic rock of yesterday is now ancient and the music of my childhood is now played on the oldies station.  While it makes me feel a little older, I do not begrudge the process.  I am just glad that I was part of it.

 Great music awaits!


Walt Wilkins and Tommy Alverson: A Night of Sweet Music and Barbeque

Last night was one of those night you just kind of stumble upon and realize how good life can be when you slow down a bit.  Walt Wilkins, a favorite of mine, was in town this week playing with the great Tommy Alverson.  He did a show in East Parker County on Tuesday night and then a show in North Richland Hills last night. 

I’ve mentioned Walt in several of my blogs and just can’t seem to get enough of his music.  Each show I find something that I did not see or hear before.  Last night was no different.  The show took place at the Big Barn Barbeque in North Richland Hills.  It consisted of Tommy, Walt, two guitars and songs traded between the two.  The set list was a variety of covers and original music from each.  There was plenty of good natured banter between the two as well as considerable amount of talking to and from the crowd. 

Walt’s music has a timeless feel to it with poignant lyrics about love, loss, and the varying stages of life.  His voice is comfortable and familiar with a hint of wisdom.  Walt’s honey dripped tenor is the embodiment of Texas.  Rich, smooth, with just the right amount of twang. 

Tommy Alverson is no slouch in the vocal arena and is a mighty fine guitarist.  His voice is warm and inviting with just a hint of mischief.  Promoting his new album Texas One More Time, his ninth studio album, Alverson played a few cuts from the album, as well as several fan favorites like Una Mas Cerveza”.

There was much discussion from each on how they just love to play and how much music has meant to each.  They covered songs from the likes of Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, and an impressive show closing cover of Van Morrison’sInto the Mystic”. 

The night had two defining moments for me:

  •  When B3, the current pseudonym of my bonus child, mentioned that she hoped that Walt would play his song “Poetry”, which has covered by Pat Green on his album Wave On Wave.  After some gentle prodding and a few words of encouragement from her mother and me, B3 marched up to the stage and politely asked Mr. Wilkins if he would play Poetry for her.  He responded with a hearty “Yes I Can” and lo and behold, the next song played was “Poetry”!  The ear to ear grin that washed over her face was pure bliss.  Even better was the 6-7 minute version that he sang, talked to the crowd, and did impromptu lyrical changes.  

 

  • As the show is winding down, Tommy and Walt are talking to the group and Tommy mentions that no one can sing this next song like Walt.  Walt begins strumming his guitar and then you hear the familiar word “We were born before the wind” and off he went into a beautiful Texas style version of “Into the Mystic”.  I just sat back in awe of what Ii was witnessing.  I’m a huge Van Morrison fan and am sometimes critical of the various covers of his music.  Not this one, he absolutely nailed it, played with complete reverence, and still made it all his own.

If you ever get a chance to see either Walt Wilkins or Tommy Alverson, take the time, drive the distance, and enjoy what music can do in the span of an hour or two.

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: Freedom or Free

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday and Happy Holidays to all of you celebrating our independence on this nationally recognized holiday.  I hope this blog finds most, if not all, of you away from your offices and with friends and loved ones or at least people you kind of like. 

So, my topic for today is, apropos with the feelings of many celebrating this past weekend and today, Freedom or Free!

Song:              Freedom

Artist:              Amos Lee

Album:            Supply and Demand

Song:              Freedom’s Road

Artist:              John Mellencamp

Album:            Freedom’s Road

Song:              Free Coffee

Artist:              Ben Folds

Album:            Way Too Normal

Song:              Freedom Fighter

Artist:              Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Album:            Riviera

Song:              O Freedom

Artist:              Billy Bragg

Album:            Mr. Love & Justice

Song:              Freedom Hangs Like Heaven

Artist:              Iron & Wine

Album:            Woman King

Song:              Set Your Free

Artist:              The Black Keys

Album:            Thickfreakness

Song:              I Shall Be Free

Artist:              Bob Dylan

Album:            The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan

Song:              The Running Free

Artist:              Coheed & Cambria

Album:            Good Apollo I’m Burning Vol. 2 No World for Tomorrow

Song:              One Road for Freedom

Artist:              Ben Harper

Album:            Fight For Your Mind

Song:              Rockin’ In the Free World

Artist:              Neil Young

Album:            Freedom

Song:              Free To Decide

Artist:              The Cranberries

Album:            To the Faithful Departed

Song:              Free

Artist:              Donavon Frankenreiter

Album:            Donavon Frankenreiter

Song:              Chimes of Freedom

Artist:              Bruce Springsteen (this is a cover of a Dylan song)

Album:            Songs & Artists that Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11

Song:              Free Radicals

Artist:              The Flaming Lips

Album:            At War with the Mystics

Song:              Free At Last

Artist:              G Love & Special Sauce

Album:            The Electric Mile

Song:              Free To Run

Artist:              Gomez

Album:            Bring It On

Song:              Feel Free

Artist:              Jay Farrar

Album:            Sebastopol

Song:              Freedom Time

Artist:              Lauren Hill

Album:            MTV Unplugged 2.0

Song:              Free Me

Artist:              Foo Fighters

Album:            In Your Honor

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 4/20/10

Today is Tune In Tuesday.  As you might have guessed, I listen to a lot of music.  I listen at work, while I drive, while I drive to work, in the house, driving home, doing yard work, just about anywhere and anything I’m doing involves music. 

Driving is where most of my listening happens during the day and sometimes night.  My vehicle of choice and necessity, I have a brood of kids and 3 dogs, is a Chevy Tahoe, affectionately referred to as the “Ho”.  Aside from the ample space needed for carting afore mentioned brood and dogs, the Ho has a great Bose stereo with a six disc changers.  Six slots of pure musical pleasure. 

Each week starts out with me selecting six random discs from my imposing musical collection.  Once selected, they are inserted into the musical pleasure slots and then I hit the random button. 

The thought behind Tune In Tuesday is that I will tell you what is in the changer for the week and give you a little background on the album, artist and key tracks.

This week, here is what is in the changer:

 1.      Drive-By Truckers: The Fine Print (a collection of oddities and rarities 2003-2008)

This album is a collection of covers, alternate versions of songs from already released albums, and a few odds and ends.  The cover to Tom Petty’s “Rebels” is pretty cool as is their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”.  Patterson Hood handles the majority of the vocals on the album.  For me, the stand out cover is Warren Zevon’s “Play it all Night Long”. 

 2.      Steve Earle: Townes

This album is a complete cover of Townes Van Zandt.  “Lungs” is the standout track for me.  Tom Morello (the Nightwatchman, Rage Against the Machine, Street Sweeper Social Club) plays on the album as does Steve’s son Justin. 

 3.      Amos Lee: Last Days at the Lodge

This is the third album by the Philadelphia singer/songwriter.  He has got a voice that just captivates you.  “What’s Been Going On”, “Street Corner Preacher”, and “Baby I Want You” are three really solid songs. 

 4.      Slaid Cleaves: Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away…

This Austin based singer/songwriter has a way with the words.  Lyrically superior to the vast majority of artist out there, his voice is calm and inviting in a way that brings it all together.  “Beautiful Thing: is by far the best track while “Hard To Believe” and “Dreams” are right up there.  This is an album that can easily be listened to start to finish several times.

 5.      Bob Schneider: Lovely Creatures

Another Austin icon, Bob really runs the musical gamut on this one.  “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)” is a great song and the most Bob like song on the album.  He gets pretty musically diverse as the album progresses.  “Tarantula” is just pure fun that will have you moving wherever you are.

 6.      State Radio: Let It Go

 This is the third full length album for the Boston based sociopolitical trio.  I’m a huge fan and love all of the music that they have done to date.  Their music is a bond between my oldest son and I can’t ever here it without thinking about him and the trips we have taken to see them live.  “Calling All Crows”,” Knights of Bostonia”, and “Blood Escaping Man” are great but then again, so is the whole album.

So, check them out and let me know what you think.

Great music awaits!