Your Top Ten (4/22/18 — Earth Day)

Don’t worry, I won’t. (Courtesy of You Tube)

Two dogs in the house, a brand new, renovated bedroom, and Sunday Morning Coming Down. Enjoy this week’s songs on this day after National Record Store Day!

10. “TVC-15,” David Bowie. From Station to Station, Bowie’s Happy Bicentennial album that produced the hit “Golden Years.” But I saw him perform TVC on, was it The Midnight Special? Could it have been? By that point, I knew two other guys who would admit openly to liking Bowie — my college friends Rick and Lee. They were scientists, too, or at least they were as college sophomores. Bowie would understand. “One of these nights I may/just jump down that rainbow way…”

9. “Crystal,” New Order. In the early 2000’s I had turned musically inward; most of the artists I had loved — Neil Young, Springsteen — seemed old or at least old hat. My kids listened to Top 40, and so if it weren’t The Spice Girls — not that bad — it might have been Jessica Simpson or Britney. I had forgotten, though, that bands like New Order were still out there, asking me to please remember dancing at that Factory club in Knoxville back in the Blue Monday days. Forget about it? Nah…just dance.

8. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” Arcade Fire. An older song from The Suburbs, this one came on the radio last Wednesday just when I needed a lift because Katie, at Indigo Flow, had kicked my hamstrings and other body parts with a supposedly gentle yoga flow. I didn’t know that my legs could feel the gas or brake pedals, but after the Sprawl, I was seeing reality clearly again.

7. “Mississippi,” John Phillips. I know he turned into a major sleazebag asshole, but if we started disqualifying artists for the shit they perform outside of their performances, just what would we have? “Down on the bayou, why you never know just what you’re doing.” Back in the early 70’s we didn’t know what we were doing most of the time, bayou or not.

6. “Shades of Blue,” Yo La Tengo. They do know what they’re doing and have for twenty plus years. This is the second track on their new record, There’s a Riot Going On, and if that sounds familiar, then you’re my kind of music nostalgist. I love writing to this band’s sound. Runners up: Beach House and Rhye. Anyway, don’t be waitin on that riot just yet.

5. “I’m Not in Love,” 10cc. According to You Tube reviewers, this one peaked at #2 on the Billboard pop charts back in June of 1975. I don’t wanna know what beat it out, what kept it from being #1. I heard it recently on the Netflix series, Mindhunters. Wow. From The Original Soundtrack, the duo behind the scenes must have known that college boys like me would listen late at night because they were, but didn’t know what to do about it. James loved this song, and I wrote about him, it, a while back. “It’s just a silly phase I’m going through. No, it wasn’t, James.

4. “Good Shepherd,” Jefferson Airplane. Originally from Volunteers, I first heard this song on The Worst of the Jefferson Airplane, a record Jimbo gave me for Christmas in 1973. My life was changing in so many ways; but when I heard this, even though I wasn’t religious, I thought about God a lot. Or maybe that was merely Jorma’s guitar. Oh shit, oh shit I love this song. “One for to make my life complete.”

3. “Birmingham Sunday,” Rhiannon Giddens. However you think she sounds on your stereo, that won’t match or come close or be in the same solar system as the way she sounds live. She sang for two hours last Sunday night at The Spinning Jenny in Greer. She played violin, banjo, and sang a cappella, too. This song put me away, partly because I’m from Birmingham, and partly because we have never recovered from that church bombing back in ’63. It’s the reality that gives “forgive and forget” the most hypocritical and impossible to live by award each passing year.

2. “Have You Seen Her?The Chi-Lites. Thinking about Birmingham and the 16th Street Baptist Church, listening to this song changes things. In 1971, I was supposed to be loving Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I didn’t. When I was alone and WSGN played this song, I always turned it up, and I saw Bessemer’s 9th street near the football stadium on a cloudy, cold autumn Saturday. I don’t know why. I don’t know how you get that opening guitar sound either, but it doesn’t matter since I know what it does to me.

And now….

  1. Never Gonna Give You Up,” The Black Keys. That guitar again. This one came to my attention on the BBC TV series, Luther. Luther is walking across the London Bridge, away from Rose, his femme fatale. I was watching on my laptop, sitting in my Hyatt room in Louisville. I had to grade AP papers the following day, and I’m sorry guys, but my mind was definitely elsewhere. Hope you got into the college of your choice anyway. Remember when we saw them live in Greenville, Layla Barr?

I write about music, culture, food, and my Alabama past in One Table One World, The Riff, InTune, FanFare, SongStories, Rock n”Heavy, Counter Arts, and Pop Off.