WTLX Mix Tapes: Side 1, Song 3

Note: This series originally appeared on Facebook in a slightly different form, Aug-Sept 16.

By complete coincidence, the next song is from the other, much better known, rock band to emerge from Champaign in the 70’s.

I started buying 45s in the summer of 1976 and continued (at least occasionally) until just about the time they stopped producing them. I frequently would check out the B-sides and over the years came across many gems (my favorite is almost certainly Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs,” the flip of “Go Your Own Way”). I first encountered this song as the B-side of “Keep on Loving You.”

One of the few albums I owned in high school was Hi Infidelity. Listening to this one, “Out of Season,” and “Tough Guys” (all of which I prefer to a couple of the singles) takes me back to late summer 1981, just before my senior year of HS…

American Top 40 PastBlast: 7/25/70

American Top 40 was first broadcast the weekend of July 4, 1970 on seven radio stations, mostly in CA. For the first ten months of the show’s existence, they used Billboard chart data from the following week (for instance, the 7/4/70 show used the 7/11/70 chart). I’m citing the chart date above, so this countdown was the third one overall. It’s no surprise that Casey’s delivery and style evolved in the eighteen years he did AT40. Based on shows I’ve heard over the past five years, it took him over a year to hit his stride, particularly in developing his storytelling chops. In the very early days, his patter was overall more rushed and clipped than later on.

Melanie Safka is best known for her #1 hit “Brand New Key,” which plenty of folks find really annoying (I’m okay with it); this one was her first hit. It was at its peak position of #6 on the first AT40 broadcast, and had fallen to #10 here. It’s about her experience performing at Woodstock. I find it pretty powerful. The Edwin Hawkins Singers (“O Happy Day”) are doing the backup work. Pleased to find a video for this one, though I have no idea why she’s hanging around with those big concrete pipes…

SotD: Maria Taylor, “Song Beneath the Song”

Ms. Taylor is absolutely right that subtext is important and “true meaning” is often not as it might first appear.  I fully expect there’s a song beneath my song in some (much?) of what I think, feel, and write.

Sometimes, though, that top layer is awfully nice, as it is here.  It’s another one of my Pandora discoveries.

WTLX Mix Tapes: Side 1, Song 2 (woohoo)

Note: This series originally appeared on Facebook in a slightly different form, Aug-Sept 16.

YouTube veterans know that when a song doesn’t have an official video, there’s often one consisting of just a still shot of the album cover for the visuals. Suffice it to say that you may see a fair amount of that sort of thing in this series. I hope you’re checking in for the music…

Today’s tune is from 75. It was a big regional hit in the Midwest and climbed to #68 late that year. I remember hearing it quite a bit on album rock stations when I was in high school. Since I don’t listen much to classic rock anymore, I don’t know how much it gets played much today, but I still think it’s a great one. In doing a bit of research on Head East for this post, I learned that they essentially formed in one of my old stomping grounds: Champaign, Illinois.

SotD: Vulgar Boatmen, “Katie”

In August 91, my last year of grad school, I moved into an apartment with my friend Greg.  It was a bit of an unconventional situation: Greg was married, and his wife Katie was moving to College Park, MD, to pursue a doctorate in applied math at the university there.  He was a couple of years out from finishing his own degree in EE, so they decided to live apart until he got done.  Greg and I had become close friends over the previous 18 months due largely to our mutual interests in bridge and music, and I was the obvious choice for a roommate, at least for that first year.

Early on, Greg suggested we share a “Song of the Day” with one another each evening.  While we certainly didn’t follow through on it every day, it was a great way to expand each other’s musical horizons.  I suspect this ritual had an influence on the direction my tastes evolved in subsequent years.

In that spirit, occasionally, maybe even somewhat regularly, I’ll post a Song of the Day here.  Since there’s usually a tune spinning around in my noggin, I likely won’t lack for material!

While I don’t remember if this was ever officially one of Greg’s choices, I know he introduced it to me.  I purchased Pop Beloved by the Reivers around this time and when Greg heard their version of “Katie,” he no doubt soon afterward popped the original, by the Vulgar Boatmen, into the CD player for me to hear.

WTLX Mix Tapes: Side 1, Song 1

Note: This series originally appeared on Facebook in a slightly different form, Aug-Sept 16.

In late May 85 I spent a couple of nights down in the old campus radio station at my alma mater putting together two mix tapes. I cued up records one after another and just let the tape run. In August 16 I listened to them for the first time in quite a while. Over the next six weeks or so, you can listen to the songs from those tapes, one a day, in the order they were recorded. There are songs that were hits at the time, album cuts from the early 80s, various obscurities, etc., etc. A few are certainly cringe-worthy in retrospect. You’ll also be getting a number of reminiscences from me along the way. My hope is that at least occasionally I’ll bring back some fond musical memories. All song rankings given refer to the Billboard Hot 100.

Side 1, Song 1: This song was beginning its ascent of the charts at recording time, on its way to #1. Here, have some Phil Collins.

Mix Tape Blogging

I made mix tapes for myself and others over the span of a decade, roughly 1985-95.  The number of cassette players in my life has dwindled considerably since then, but I still like to listen to the ones I’ve kept.  I posted about three of these tapes on Facebook in the second half of 2016.  Over the coming weeks those posts (with perhaps some modification) will be making their way here; I have plans to blog about others of my tapes in the near future, too.

Hello world?

I’ve been posting stories about music and its impact on my life to Facebook for about a year or so.  Wondering if maybe a blog isn’t a better format for my ramblings on that and other subjects.  So, here we are.  If all goes according to plan I’ll be mixing in many of my old FB posts along with new material in the coming months.  Enjoy.