Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #8

#9 Iggy and the Stooges Search and Destroy 1973
The Stooges were the FIRST punk band. Punk 101 for anyone who cares. Their debut album came out in 1969. Iggy and his band mates shot out of Detroit with an insane style that nobody had ever seen before...and Iggy (James Osterberg) was a frontman like Jim Morrison+ a years supply of amphetamines. The Ramones were later, and the Sex Pistols were later than that.
In 1973 Iggy regrouped the Stooges in the UK after a long breakup to record the incredibly influential Punk cornerstone RAW POWER...produced by David Bowie. This song is the peak point of that just jumps through the speakers and grabs you by the throat...
To me, this song is instant courage music....and of all of my NYC 1999-2004 anthems...this one is the denim and leather cream that rose to the top....walking in bad neighborhoods, fists clenched and ready, come on and tempt me music....."I'm a street walkin' cheetah with a heart full of napalm!" It was a mainstay on my Mp3 many times I felt like the "world's forgotten boy" and this song put away my troubles and allowed me to seek inspiration, or a cold PBR on those mean streets of the Lower East Side.
I had the chance to see Iggy Pop and the Stooges in SF last year. I've never seen any frontman move the way he did and I doubt I ever will again. He's 60 years old by the way.
Easily one of the top 5 frontmen of all time.....if you mimic his moves you would burn more carbs than 2 spinning classes back to back...exhausting...exhilirating..... Long Live Iggy!
06 Search And Destroy.m4a
3278K Download

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #9

#9 Queens of the Stone Age Song For the Dead 2002

Hold the Prozac prescription. I've got something WAY better. If this song from Queens of the Stone Age doesn't shove you right out of a dark funk and up and at 'em, you've been superglued to your chair or there's an assload of sand in your ears.
Maybe you were a frozen vegetable to begin with. No wimps allowed on this one. No exceptions.

This tune has everything a hard rock song needs to shake your foundations, call yourself to arms and take to the streets. After living through 2001 in New York City, QOTSA's 2002 Album Songs For The Deaf was a welcome release from the melancholy and the dreary mood that we were feeling in the big apple. This album was an open hand slap in the face to the ones wallowing in the sorrow, and I was one of them.
Band leader Josh Homme drives the riffs through your skin like heated needles...Dave Grohl(proving what an insane drummer he truly is) levitates you out of a grounded stance with methlab jackhammer rhythms...and Mark Lanegan lays down an ominous, spooky vocal from the pits of purgatory. The message is simple : Get up...Get going...quit pussyfooting around the past you're pasted to....fuck shit up positively and change your life. Or get the fuck out of the way while the road is paved for those who know better.

The semi-automatic drum/guitar firing squad that carries the song out is just are assaulted to the point of doing another rep....curing a disease....walking the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn at 3 am like you're a member of Up With People.....pull out that tooth thats been bothering on glass, whatever. You're invincible, brother.

QOTSA have become one of my favorite bands of the last 10 years...they push the limits of what a hard rock band should be. Josh Homme has a smooth high croony voice that at first seems out of place for the ferociousness of the guitar sounds beneath him...which are truly his own...his guitars sound like nobody else. His work in the Stoner rock band Kyuss is legendary and the sound basically created the genre. QOTSA is where he gets to spread his wings and rip a hole in the sky to let the lightening through. Check them out if you've got a pair. You're gonna need 'em.

One of the highlights of my life was walking up to the Bowery Ballroom, NYC 2002 and scalping a ticket to The QOTSA show with Dave Grohl guesting on drums. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen. My spine has never been the same.

Top 5 QOTSA songs
1) Song for the Dead- Songs for the Deaf 2002
2)Feel Good Hit of the Summer-Rated R 2000
3) Regular John-Queens of the Stone Age-1998
4) In the Fade-Rated R-2000
5)Avon-Queens of the Stone Age-1998

Honorable mentions: Everybody Knows that You Are Insane-Lullabies to Paralyze 2005, If Only-Queens of the Stone Age 1998, Tension Head-Rated R 2002, Better Living Through Chemistry-Rated R 2002
04 Song For The Dead.m4a
5580K Download

Monday, July 28, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #10

#10 The Beatles Hey Jude 1968

Happy Monday to you...This is the top 10 everyone.....and we start with a monumental one..Hey Jude was recorded 40 years ago this week in London, and is one of the most well known songs in recorded history.Happy almost birthday, Hey Jude! Paul McCartney wrote it for Julian Lennon to ease his pain during his parent's divorce and changed it from Hey Jules to hey Jude because it sang easier. It was released as a single in late August 1968 to introduce the world to the Beatles' new record label Apple Records. It spent nine weeks at #1 in the that you have your history lesson...I'll tell you why its so high on my list.

When my son Hudson was born in June 2006 I was overjoyed. My wife and I were so blessed, so lucky to have a healthy happy baby. I now had someone I could pass on all of this sort of useless knowledge of rock minutiae to. I now had someone to force to take guitar lessons at age 3. I now had someone to give my hopes and dreams of becoming an artist to. I now had a reason to be a lunatic" stage Dad".
We started Hudson out early with the Beatles of course. Good Day Sunshine and Here Comes the Sun were piped in through headphones applied to Pamela's pregnant belly. They were the first songs he ever heard. But I knew I had to do more so I decided to start learning some Beatles songs on guitar after bringing home a Beatles guitar chord book from a trip to Las Vegas. I've always been a singer, who can play drums and a little guitar....VERY little. I never had the patience to properly learn, but picked up a few chords from all of the bands I was in over the years.
This was a perfect opportunity to learn some songs to SING to my son while playing guitar and not a cappella. It has worked out really well....and Hey Jude was the first song I ever committed to memory. Hudson just loved it. To see my son look up at me while I sang to him for the first time was a moment I'll always treasure. He took to the guitar quickly and was always interested in strumming with a pick even as early as 7 months old. He knew portions of the lyrics right around age 1. I guess you could say "Mission accomplished".
I'm so lucky to have a wife who is just as interested in making music and the arts such a large part of our son's upbringing. Pamela has a fantastic memory and is much better at remembering and singing all kinds of songs for Hudson to learn and appreciate. She has enrolled him in a music "class" program called Music Together where children learn rhythm,and beats and melody and dance. The light in his eyes when he participates is precious. He is most interested in any sort of instrument he can get his hands on. He is a little too young for guitar, I'll wait a year. But we did get him his very own mini drumset recently so he can bang away. Who knows where he'll go from here. For sure not American Idol but perhaps a loud rock band that I can cheer on from the sidelines. Love is all you need. And some good guitar lessons.

And it all started with The Beatles.
34-Hey Jude(Rehearsal).mp3
4225K Play Download

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #11

#11 AC/DC Love Hungry Man 1979

So many AC/DC songs.....such a short list.....But, I had to settle on my favorite Track off of my favorite AC/DC album. Highway to Hell. Love Hungry Man tells the simple story of boy meets girl. Our protagonist, Mr. Ronald "Bon" Scott is romancing a lady of his fancy. Hunger overtakes him and regardless of the fact that he doesn't know what the fair lady's name is or what she may be chattering on about, he intends to "make a meal" out of her.
In between the release of this album in July 1979 and his untimely death at age 33 in February 1980, I am sure he was WELL FED.
Sure I could have picked Touch Too Much, Beating Around the Bush, Girls Got you see a theme here?
SEX, people......making flippy floppy...the old in out-in out. There was a time as an 11 year old when I thought this song was about cannibalism.....but then several years later in the Halls of Martha Brown huddled with my cohorts as some high haired cutie with Jordache Jeans and a training bra on turned all of our heads away from Mattel Electronics Football... did I GET IT. And from then on EVERY listening adventure of the Highway To Hell album, enriched my Sex. Ed experience. Thanks, Bon.
This was the first AC/DC album produced by Mutt Lange, who went on to make many millions producing Back in Black and all of Def Leppards cheesy albums....Now most of those millions will end up in Shania's pockets, dude-you should have hired an ugly assistant.
5 Quick facts about AC/DC
1)Bon Scott was the truck driver for AC/DC before being a member. He wanted to audition for drums, but Phil Rudd got the slot, so he tried out for singer.
2) Malcolm Young(rhythm GTR.) , not Angus, is the leader of the band.
3) Malcolm has played the same 1963 Gretch Jet Firebird guitar for the band's entire career.
4) The band is popularly known as Acca Dacca in Australia. They are Australian, not British.
5) There IS hair under Brian Johnson's cap.

The Brian Johnson -era must be represented here as well. So I will include two Top 5s
Top 5 Brian songs
1) Hells Bells
2)Shoot to Thrill (Angus' best solo)
3) Evil Walks(FTATR '81)
4)Lets Get It Up (FTATR)
5) R+R Ain't Noise Pollution

Top 5 Bon Songs
1) Love Hungry Man
2) Whole Lotta Rosie(Let There Be Rock)
3)Shot Down in Flames(HTH)
4) Rocker(Dirty Deeds)
5) Touch Too Much(HTH)

Shazzbottt, NANU, NANU!

I had the iron on baseball jersey, I dressed as Angus Young , schoolboy outfit+ devils tail for Halloween, and I eventually bought a cheap Gibson SG to be like Angus(and Tony Iommi). I am an AC/DC fan.
09 Love Hungry Man.mp3
5018K Play Download

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #12

#12 Led Zeppelin Misty Mountain Hop 1971

I remember the first time I realized that I wanted to be a singer. I was watching my friend Anthony's band Black Tie perform in a friends driveway on some sunny suburban day. Their lead singer John was not a very good singer but he was bursting with charisma, had great hair, a couple of moves and the chicks dug him.But something was off, besides his pitch.... I remember thinking that I could sing much better than him because I had been practicing in my room for years...singing along to Led Zeppelin IV, and dreaming of being Robert Plant.....tight jeans, flowing locks, white dove released from his hand onstage, participating in the mud shark incident......"Doe's anybody remember LAUGHTER????" Robert Plant and John Schofield are the two reasons I ever stepped behind a mic in the first place. And all these years later Robert and I are still singing, while John is a surgeon somewhere out there in the great unknown.

It was this song on Zeppelin IV that ripped me a new one back then ....a monster riff shared by Pagey and Jonesy, the titan John Bonham bludgeoning the drums into submission and the Golden God Himself hooting and hollering about getting busted for smoking weed in a park somewhere and seeking solace and Freedom in Tolkien's Misty Mountains.
"I-di-dn't-no-tice but it had got very dark and I was really.....REALLY OUT OF MY MIIINNNNDDDDDD!! " Holy Kneel at the rock altar, Batman!

I had a dream......crazy dream that I would someday meet Robert Plant and tell him how much the Mighty Zep meant to me, but then I realized he'd probably think I was a psycho fan boy and as the words spilled out of my mouth...".R, Robert, I j-j just want to th th thank you f-f-f-f-for ev-ev- ev-rything, man you you you really helped me, gave me I couldn't uh, have done.....its nice to m-m-m-meet you." , He'd just nod and say thank you in a high pitched british way and ignore me like he should.
Anthony did the right thing when He had a chance to meet Geddy Lee(Ant's a huge Rush Fan) at his workplace. He had a co-worker who had no idea whom Mr. Lee was follow him around and ask him for his autograph. This avoided a potentially tear soaked gushing hapless disaster. Fanboys are freaks. Starstruck rock nerds are worse.

I sung this song at my wedding reception and it was great to channel Robert Plant while looking out into the crowd and seeing Pamela. It was my first real chance to show her I was a singer. I felt like one at that moment.

This past year something weird happened. I make it fairly well known that Robert is my favorite singer. And the bluegrass legend Alison Krauss has long been Pamela's favorite singer. They just happened to put out one of the best albums of this past year called Raising Sand......phenomenal. Check it out if you know what's good for you. Raising Sand, Misty Mountain Hop and keeping your rock fantasies to yourself.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Top 40 at 40 # 13

#13 Alice In Chains Rooster 1992

This is my Atlanta song. I lived there in 1992-1993. My attachment to it and Alice In Chains preceded its heavy rotation on clear channel rock stations throughout the 90s.So sue me if you'e heard this one before... I had so much trauma connected to the end of my stay in Atlanta that I needed release,but I needed a displacement of the brutal anger and sadness as a result of the complete betrayal at the hands of everyone I knew in fucking Georgia. I knew if I had stayed, I would have hurt someone. It was that bad. I'm not a violent guy. The only "fight" I've ever been in was not really a fight at all. A close friend of mine(on this e mail list)
asked me a question, I gave him a hurtful answer and he punched me in the face right at the place we work. I deserved it.
end of story. I didn't hit him back, I'm not a fighter. And I've never been back to Georgia either. Dog fights, confederate flags, the KKK...all got their starts in Georgia. I think. Besides, the NORTH won, assholes.
The late great Layne Staley, singer of Alice in Chains....had demons that punched him in the face every day until his last breath came soon after a lethal speedball was enjoyed during a game of Halo...... those demons made sure he was alone and finally took him in 2002. He was not a violent man, but his music was his release from addiction, alienation,pain and sorrow. I love Layne's voice.Effortless flow from low moan to gritty screams.... It is probably, besides Eddy Vedder's and Elvis', the most imitated voice in Rock and Roll history....I will not dignify the one hit blunder grunge-lite bands that tried and failed here . Just know that they all suck shit through a straw.
The Dirt album, in 1992-1993, was the album I played more than anything before or since, mostly because I really only played Siamese Dream and Astral Weeks and Dirt in those two years...All Atlanta music....Layne's pain resonated with me and the crushing guitars,drums and fantastic harmonies did too. They were the only high ranking Seattle band to pull off such powerful harmonies, and sometimes I could never tell if it was Layne's voice or Jerry Cantrell's(guitar).

The song tells the story of Jerry's fathers "vision" of Vietnam, he being the"Rooster". That's cool....I cannot really relate to that but I can relate to the brain punishing, soaring wail of Layne throughout the song....hard to process words like YEAHHHHHHHHHH and NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. But boy did they hit where it hurts...That's Release, people. And it helps in a pinch, believe me.

Long live Layne Staley's legacy. A true original who never even knew what talent he possessed......

Top 5 Alice in Chains songs 1) Rooster 2)Junkhead(Dirt-Monster of a song) 3)Am I Inside(Sap EP) 4)Dirt 5) Angry Chair(Dirt)

05 Rooster.mp3
7330K Play Download

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #14

#14 Neil Young Don't Let it Bring You Down 1970

So what do you do when you cannot possibly choose that ONE song from an artist so dear to you for a list like this.....You just pick one and try not to piss off the other songs, that are just as crucial. Neil Young is a prolific God of songwriting. I cannot imagine a musical tapestry without him. He's tried everything...Hard Rock(Freedom,Ragged Glory),Bluegrass,Banjo,Piano, Harmonica, Jazz/Blues)Neil and the Bluenotes/The Shocking Pinks, Punk(Rust Never Sleeps), Country(Comes A Time, Old Ways)and of course singer/songwriter acoustic.(Sugar Mountain,I am a Child) He blazed a path after Leaving Buffalo Springfield.that opened the doors for people like James Taylor and Jackson Browne.Never tied to one genre,he has shied away from nothing.....and most of it strikes gold.

There are entire albums from Mr. Young that have guided me through a troubled mess, through proud artistry and just being a lifelong fan. Most of his songs sound simple, but to me they cut to the bone..some albums that stand out:

Tonight's the Night from 1975 was my therapy for several years...its a very hard album for the general public to listen to...Neil's least favorite..written after the drug overdose of his band mate Danny Whitten and his Roadie Bruce Barry(no relation)..the songs are mostly stumbled through and tell tales of drug dealers, troubles on the road, and self preservation.
A song called Borrowed Tune was my audio calling card while I sat in my room and grabbed another Genesee from the old college fridge, brooding and burning inside. The entire album is medication, but not for fans expecting "Heart of Gold".

After the Gold Rush-1970 an absolute must have if you take Neil 101 from your sonic college of choice. From this album comes my choice for the list. Don't Let it Bring You Down- a bizarre lyrical escapade with white canes lying in gutters,castles burning and blue moons sinking "from the weight of the load", but you have that Neil Young classic simple bass and drum beat (later perfected by the Stray Gators and Crazy Horse, his two well known backing bands)backing up a piano, and Neil's fantastic falsetto.

Harvest('72) and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere('69). Enough has been said about Harvest, his most popular album, but seek out Everybody Knows... for gems like Cinnamon Girl,Down By the River and Cowgirl in the Sand. All classics and containing great harmony backing vocals by the late great Danny Whitten.

There really is too much to say about Neil Young. He is much more than a folky balladeer or the "godfather of grunge". He's a Canadian/American musical icon.
Two insanely memorable shows for me, both attended by my great friend Ken Warner were the solo acoustic tour stop in Darien Lake, NY on June 8, 1989. We were very close and the stage was very low.....just fantastic. And our 4th row seats on Aug 18,1996 at the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, we could not contain ourselves.
Apparently another show we attended was not as memorable, but is labelled "legendary" by super fans was the August '88 show also at Darien Lake with Neil Young and the Blue Notes. There was an 11 verse medley of Sixty to Zero,Days that Used to Be and Ordinary people that he had never done before or since and a fifteen minute version of Tonight's the Night.......

Top 5 List of Neil Young Songs that changes all of the time 1)Don't Let it Bring You Down 2)Albuquerque(Tonight's The Night) 3)Tell Me Why(ATGR) 4)For the Turnstiles(On The Beach '74)
5)Powderfinger(Rust Never Sleeps)

07 Don't Let It Bring You Down.mp3
3473K Play Download

Top 40 at 40 #15

#15 Mark Lanegan The River Rise 1994

There comes a time when an album can change your life or at least the way you feel about living it. Mark Lanegan's second solo album Whiskey For the Holy Ghost is one of those albums for me. Most of you have no idea who Mark Lanegan is, and he could not care less. He likes it that way. But for your possible benefit, I will tell you he is the former lead singer of the Seattle band The Screaming Trees.

He has never returned and has since put out album after album of incredible music. His smokey mesmerizing baritone has turned up on albums from Queens of The Stone Age, Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs and Isobel Campbell, former singer in Belle and Sebastian. I say mesmerizing because I have never heard anything like him...a little bit of Tom Waits,Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, and a Dash of Dean Martin funnelled through the ghosts of busted old Mississippi bluesmen. A spooky crooner, solitary sufferer, burning through lost nights and punished by the morning after. And living hard to tell about it.

This is music for people who have had their share of trouble..but can still etch the beauty into a stone face at sunset...I certainly would fist bump him if we ever met, because his music has set the pace and lit the soundtrack for my life during my wandering years. But this album, introduced to me by my great friend Mark S. was like a warm jacket for a burned out frozen soul. This album from beginning to end has a snapshot attached to each in a shanty like shack of a garage in West Seattle with a sleeping bag, a roll of insulation to sit on and a seven dollar a week sustenance on jugs of wine and Ramen....shuffling through pages of curses and comforts....waking up to find another sleeping bag in the adjacent room filled with a man who would not wake for three days.....Stepping out into the gravel driveway on a morose and misty morning and retracing your steps......Autumn hymnal music.....trees rustling and howling on a deserted road while delivering pizza in a Mazda truck way past dusk, waving you through the stark nothingness..somewhere in Monroe County....wasting time and tying up dead ends.........There is deep beauty in Mr. Lanegan's music, you may have to dig through miles of memory to get it or it may just slap you in the face and send you on your way., it just may refuse your inquiry............a deity in flannel waiting in the dark in your room for you......with questions about your journey. Kingdoms of rain.................pouring down.

So much much to leave much to have to sneak into the next escape.

I love this guy so much I would gladly one of his albums for you people.....he's that good.

Top 5 Mark Lanegan Songs 1)The River Rise 2)Borracho(Whiskey for the Holy Ghost) 3) One Way Street(Field Songs- '01) 4)El Sol(WFTHG) 5)Methamphetamine Blues

01 The River Rise.m4a
4271K Download

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #16

#16 Van Halen Feel Your Love Tonight 1978

Let me take you back to 1981, 13 years old....I took the plunge and got the Columbia House 6 cassettes for 1 penny deal from the back cover of a comic book. All you had to do was buy one album or cassette at full price within the following year. I still remember my six, Zep 2, Zep 4, Billy Squier-Don't Say No, Back In Black, Dirty Deeds and Van Halen's self titled debut. I don't think I ever bought that cassette at full price....I was too busy playing the Van Halen cassette until the tape thinned out and a shrilly hiss eminated from my Panasonic tune box with Dolby AND auto reverse, thank you very much.

First front man I wanted to be....Diamond Dave, First Poster I ever bought- Van Halen- From the Diver Down tour,(From Camelot Music in Eastview Mall) first glossy page from Creem Magazine hung in my 8th grade locker- Van Halen.(I used to "wet-rip" the pages and steal them from Wegmans Supermarket..this involves going to get a free cookie from the bakery with my cookie club card and heading over to the magazines and licking the crease of the page I wanted until I could wet rip it out w/o making a noise., put it in my back pocket, no not the one with the purple comb, the other one.....First Concert- VH at the Rochester War Memorial May 18, 1981..and so on.

Can't say enough about the influence of VH One.....nobody had ever heard anything like Eddie Van Halen before...the originality,finger tapping, the Kramer Guitars taped up and spray painted and the Brown Sound. I had to look up the brown sound when my buddy A. Ferrari told me about it. I thought it was something invented while pushing too hard on the bowl......You can Look it up too. Just know it is his...never duplicated...though many have tried.

And David Lee Roth..WOW. The ultimate showman.....the mid air splits, the vaudeville, the leather chaps, the chest hair....the dude set the rock world on fire. And the women dropped and gave him plenty.

Feel Your Love Tonight is just one of many VH classics heard round the skating rinks, parking lot keg parties, beach blankets and sweaty back seats of used Camaros throughout the late 70s and early 80s. Dave Meets Girl, Girl's Boyfriend gets pissed, Dave Gets girl........3:43 minutes, a solo takes you through the party and out the back door with Cindy Suburbia.......and.....its on its way through the uprights........and......ITS GOOD!

Have you ever heard a better guitar solo at the end............? Go ahead, go find one, I'll give you a decade's head start.

For all of you in the VH camp which included he -who-will-not-be-mentioned as their lead singer....I've got news for you..Van Halen's last album was put out in 1984 and it was called..1984. Now go have a shot of Cabo Wabo and cry yourself to sleep, you weaker-thans.

Top 5 Van Halen Songs 1) Feel Your Love Tonight 2)Hear About It Later(Fair Warning- '81) 3) DOA(Van Halen II- "79
4) Everybody Wants Some(Women and Children First-'80) 5)Fools(WACF)
08 Feel Your Love Tonight.m4a
3563K Download

Monday, July 21, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #17

#17 Deep Purple Lazy 1972

Right about now,just about everybody except A. Ferrari is saying, HUH? Oh, Please! or Enough with the Classic Rock already!First of all...How dare you! But you see, the general public really only knows the song Smoke On The Water from Deep Purple, and that's a shame.With the Mighty Zep and Sabbath, they are the creators of Hard Rock(heavy metal) as we know it. They've been around as long as me. Deep Purple had several incarnations, but this one, labeled Mk.II by fans, put out their best albums In Rock('71),Machine Head(the album from which this track is chosen) and Made in Japan(live, 1972). This line-up included 3 musical masters: Richie Blackmore on Guitar, Ian Paice on Drums and Jon Lord on organ/keys, as well as one hell of a vocalist by the name of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover on Bass.
What made Deep Purple stand out was the phenomenal intricate mastery of Blackmore's guitar and the heavy distorted Hammond organ of Lord volleying back and forth over the fantastic bombastic beats of Ian Paice. The keys were used almost like percussion in this band(yes, I know keys are percussion,technically but I mean he pounded on the suckers), Jon Lord used to rock his heavy Hammond back and forth like a pianist possessed while playing live. And with Gillan wailing away in front of everyone, it made for good bong smoking head banging British music.Head smoking,bong banging music.Whatever...turn it up and shirk you responsibilities!
I know most of you could not care less but this song Lazy just plain RAWKS! With an emphasis on RAWK.It reminds me of a guy whose so hung over he tries to face the day, gets up showers, does the old "wake and bake", looks at his schedule and sees video games between noon and 4 and waitin' for the man the rest of the day and says Fuck it, and goes back to bed...Cmon.we all need heroes! It yawns and stretches its way awake over a long fuzzed out keyboard whine, and kicks into gear while the slacker gets reprimanded for drownin' and not clutchin' any straws..... its one of the best heavy blues song ever in my book. Thats why its on my list........and because Richie Blackmore must be represented.

My dad will also be represented again....BECAUSE HE HAD THIS ALBUM TOO! He's turning out to be quite the influence without ever playing NOTE One for me. Cmon pops, break out the LPs, vinyl is hip again!

Since only a handful of chaps will listen to this song....and the rest of you Coldplay, talk radio and Tapes N Tapes...I will now address those chaps and throw out not only my top 5 DP (deep purple, not double penetration, sickos) songs but my top5 Guitarists as well....for those obligatory shits and giggles. I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top 5 Deep Purple Songs 1) Lazy 2) Maybe I'm a Leo(Machine Head) 3)Into the Fire(In Rock) 4)Speed King(in Rock) 5)Rat Bat Blue(Who Do We Think We Are)

Top 5 Guitarists 1) Eddie Van Halen 2) Jeff Beck 3)Richie Blackmore 4)Tony Iommi 5) Brian May
Hendrix bores me sometimes, but he would be #6), call me crazy. I need more than blues. #7) would be Jimmy page, but hes frequently sloppy and can't play any more, the rest of these guys still can.

Seek out Robert Quine(Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Lou Reed), Audley Freed (Cry of Love, Black Crowes), Josh Homme(QOTSA), Doug Martcsh (Built to Spill), Nels Cline(Wilco) and Derek Trucks

2-10 Lazy (Quadrophonic Mix).mp3
8106K Play Download

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #18

#18 Black Sabbath Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots 1970

You didn't think I would leave out The Ozzman, did you? Black Sabbath invented Heavy metal.....way back before the Cookie monster vocals,the pointy guitars and the blurry hands speed scaling the necks of them....there was these four gentlemen from Birmingham....Geezer, Tony, Bill and, Ozzy in a band called Earth. These guys hated the psychedelia of the late 60's and would rather stomp flowers up and snort them than wear them in their hair.(although Ozzy was a HUGE Beatles fan)...they wanted to play HEAVY blues based rock....and took their own variation on a theme started by bands like Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf....and made it darker,harder...ominous. They had to Change their name because another band in England was called Earth as well and chose the name to a Boris Karloff movie "Black Sabbath". For the youngsters...Boris Karloff was a monster movie George Clooney in Frankenstein make-up.
The name sounded (D)evil-ish and they began to write music that sounded like they supported that theory. But really, the only thing they worshipped was bludgeoning riffs and substances....YEAH.
This band was nothing before OZZY Osbourne fact they had a saxophone player in a very early incarnation....they still haven't found his body.....Ozzy's grey to black lyrics mostly about the war in Vietnam, fear of God and drugs propelled by his warm banshee tenor and pure insanity shot these guys into the rock stratosphere. I like Ronnie James Dio's vox better.....but nobody touches OZZY in influence..under or over....he is the Prince of Darkness. He is one of the reasons I became a singer in the first place.......
Back again to my Dad's stack of records.....he had Paranoid(The fact that my Dad had Paranoid, makes him cooler than your Dad....HORNS UP, DAD!) and I listened and listened to songs like Paranoid, the fantastic War Pigs, Planet Caravan and Electric Funeral.....and Fairies Wear Boots. I used to sing this song while checking out the spooky purple-red man on the cover with a sword and helmet...jumping out from behind a tree. It didn't sound like anything I was listening to as a 10 year old......I could never necipher most of it...epecially the "went to the window, was suprised what I saw....Fairies with Boots a dancin' with a DWAFF!" What was a dwaff? I had to know, a spaceship? A smoking device? Was it the otherworldish sword that the man held on the cover?
Years later, and Way before OZZY added several syllables to any word he spoke...I found the lyrics....he said DWARF! The fairie was dancing with a dwarf! Eureka.....another drug song! It all made sense.
Besides Ozzy...we have the one and only Tony Iommi on guitar. Who really made this band special.....his iconic guitar playing was heavy AND different, often with three or four difficult parts to play within one song...brilliant ,heavy,ethereal and the guy was missing a tip of one of his fingers! His riff catalog is a bible for riff monsters.....he has more than Angus Young and Jimi Hendrix combined.He put the solo on a high pedestal as well.
The bassist Geezer Butler is also an icon. A very busy bass of the first to take the bass to a new level with chords and solos.................and sooooo louuudddd!
I once saw a T-shirt that said simply "Listen to Black Sabbath". Better advice I have not often taken............

Top 5 Black Sabbath Songs 1) Fairies Wear Boots 2)Supernaut(Sabotage) 3)Sabbath Bloody Sabbath(Sabbath Bloody Sabbath) 4)Into the Void(Master of Reality) 5)War Pigs(Paranoid)
08 Jack the Stripper_Fairies Wear Bo.m4a
5921K Download

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #19

#19 Nirvana All Apologies 1993

There could not be a more fitting swan song for Kurt Cobain than this song....the last track from their last album In Utero.
It almost seems like he was atoning for his sins and for the sins committed against him. Possibly tongue in cheek, most likely serious and scathing. You never knew what you were going to get from his lyrics...which is why I loved them so much.....especially the line in this song "I wish I was like you, easily amused." That has always been a mini mantra of mine...tortured artist-speak for the perpetually challenged. Challenged to complete something creative that you may have started....but never returned to. I have so many on my list....a novel called The Flip Side, college, pictures, podcasts....and so many songs. The restraints we get shackled to are usually falsely manifested...and they only turn into regrets. Kurt makes me think of regret. He could never get past being a poster boy, a junkie, a messiah for the flannel masses.
He could not escape he opted out..... and left us with questions and Courtney.
Kurt was always so put upon and tortured throughout his brief life....more than I could ever relate to. But this song seemed to tie all of his loose ends together...All in all is all we are.

I highly recommend the novel Heavier Than Heaven by Charles Cross. It is the one and only real story of his life from a rising rock phoenix to a burn out who may or may not fade away.

I was able to see Nirvana live only once, while visiting my friend Mark out west in Washington. It was to be their last American Concert at the Seattle Center on January 7th 1994. It is a great memory of looking out into the crowd on the floor of a hockey arena and watching 18000 kids thrashing and jamming in unison.

Top 5 Nirvana songs 1) All Apologies 2)Breed(Nevermind)We can plant a house, we can build a tree 3) Aneurysm(Incesticide)Come on over and do the twist, come on over and shoot the shit! 4)Polly(Nevermind)lemme clip, dirty wings 5)Dumb(In Utero)maybe just happy... Just missed: School(Bleach)NO RECESS!
12 All Apologies.mp3
4495K Play Download

Friday, July 18, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #20

#20 Radiohead Pyramid Song 2001

This is the top 20 now. Everything you've read so far has been fun and folly, surface and simple. We dive............deep......deeper to the depths of my heart and soul. No holding back. My love of music prevents me from doing so. 1998,1999, 2000, and 2001 were not great years. They could have been. But I was a prisoner of loss, disillusion, fear, doubt, loneliness, regret, anger and deep deep depression like a plague, raining down steel mallets crushing me in my footsteps, carving out my innards and giving them away, locking me out of the world outside of my head. There was nothing out there, I was sure of it. Severe heartbreak, my grandfather passing away in '99, moving to NYC for a new start, another escape, a place away from Rochester where everything had disintegrated, everyone had fooled me. A fading reality, really because when I got was no better.
I was living at a YMCA in Brooklyn.....roaches, addicts, sharing a bathroom with the scum scraped from earth's underbelly....nicotine soaked wallpaper....I embraced it.
I was living in a loft in Brooklyn with 2 roommates from good Connecticut homes who eventually went crazy from drugs and left me to take over....I hadn't left my room for two years...amped on ephedrine to crawl the walls, drowning in alcohol to build newer, inpenetrable ones.
I saw my city crash and burn and get hollowed out to a husk in September 2001. It is something I will never ever forget ,The faces, the smells, the pictures of lost souls..... and a part of me was left there to wander aimlessly and survive.
I had to find a way out. I was tired of looking up to see the bottom of my shoes, so tired of wasting away, waking up paralyzed......I had friends and family I would not call, I had memories I would not release.......I had one thing left I could
There is a soundtrack for these times. There always had been, and there always will be. When the only thing you can do is retreat , regress and fade can chose to fight or you can choose to lose. Radiohead was one of the bands that helped me stand up, turn the doorknob and battle the days, knock the dark lights out of the nights......and love NYC.

I took consideration for songs on this list very seriously.....and up until one half hour ago(its 9:21 pm)..I had a different Radiohead song picked for # 20. There were 3 to choose from. I remember telling you about "goosebump material" before this list started. Pyramid Song from Amnesiac, Radiohead's album from 2001 is just a monumental song. Its like God descending and putting his hand on my shoulder... My gooseflesh rises like armor for angels whenever I hear was absolutely essential for me to have and to hold in 2001, it was part of me. It still a snapshot in a junk drawer..that you happen upon.......
Today my son was going through the drawers of what I call the Pyramid in our house...a triangular shaped piece of furniture with drawers......he pulled out a pile of pictures and scattered them on the floor in a flurry of 2 year old mischief.....they were the pictures I took on the evening of September 11, 2001 from the west bank of Williamsburg, Brooklyn looking into lower Manhattan as the smoke billowed into heaven and the forever emptiness took hold........It was a coincidence that made me realize Pyramid Song for today........

Its quite difficult to explain to people who don't "get" Radiohead.......I'm tired of it actually. If you don't know by now, you never will.... I put this song on with headphones before stepping on the J train which took me into Manhattan every day. I was crippled with anxiety at the time, strung out on sadness....I used to picture having a panic/heart attack while on the train and worry about everyone being late to work as my heart stopped, over and after day............I used this song to live again....
Jumped into a river
black eyed angels swam with me
a moon full of stars and astral cars
and all the figures I used to see
all my lovers were there with me
all my past and futures
and we all went to heaven in a little rowboat
there was nothing to fear nothing to doubt
there was nothing to fear nothing to doubt...................

Wecome to the top 20.
02 - Pyramid Song.mp3
11283K Play Download

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #21

#21 David Bowie Starman 1972

As I stepped out of the lunar module through into space gasses and glitter clouds I almost stuck my lucite heel and tripped on the bottom of the pod door,HAL. But I caught myself just in time and floated onto this moon's surface. It looked a lot like a stage... my footing was heavy and my hair perfect.... shooting stars descending in the distance, or was it a joint being passed from visitor to visitor....A satellite floated by and the holodeck window opened, dropping a glowing guitar into my hands, as the violins hummed like lasers. Just behind me, the monolith took new shape as a breakwall of amplifiers. My antennae unwound and stretched from my head to meet the input jack. Upon insertion....the room spun, asteroid shrapnel and smoke machines cojoined to meet the music, eminating like patient radiation. Singing out spellbound, I watched a nebula shatter and smother the masses. And in unison, we vaporized to rise and meet the red giants of the glam galaxy....

Top 5 David Bowie Songs 1)Starman(Ziggy Stardust '72) 2)Life on Mars( Hunky Dory '71) 3)Black Country Rock(The Man Who Sold the World '72) 4)Cracked Actor(Aladdin Sane '73) 5)Moonage Daydream(Ziggy Stardust '72)

We miss you, Mick underrated here on earth..wherever you are you command sonic battalions now.

04 Starman.mp3
4949K Play Download

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #22

#22 The Police So Lonely 1978

It was the first week in August,1983 when I went to my first outdoor concert at the late great Holleder Stadium in Rochester, New York: The Police on their Synchronicity Tour, supported by The Fixx and A Flock of Seagulls. What a show. Sting came blazing out in that tattered bright orange-red jumper from the Synchronicity video, hair all spiked and blowing in the breeze of a late summer day. Andy strutted into place on stage left near the comfort of his guitar pedals and Stewart spanked the skins in focused abandon from the riser.They charged through a variety of super radio hits but I was waiting patiently for the intro to the song I desperately wanted to know the intro to So Lonely don't you?

One smack of the snare, Two bass notes....A reverb-y reggae riff..."Well someone told me yesterday.....AHHHH. I almost wet my Levi's cords right then and there. .....This song has absolutely everything people. The almost meloncholy reggae verses with Stewart cornering the high hat like a bully and Sting wailing sky high, then the punk chorus that slams the clutch into 4th, and then cleanly and discreetly back into the verse.... Beautiful harmonies on the choruses, a atypically LONG solo by Andy, 2 quick bursts of harmonica, even. A completely perfect song! As I write this it makes me mad. Because Sting is such a TOOL now. So insanely talented....I'm sure he still has it(I saw them live in Oakland last year,he does)...but he just doesn't WANT it anymore......He'd rather sit in one of his 3 castles, do tantric yoga and fuck in rainforests for six hours while noodling around with his jazz band until something shits itself out and calls itself pretty.......Sting,Stank,Stunk.

I miss the Police.(or The Cops as my friend Tom calls them) There will never be another band like them. The first 3 albums represent the best run any band has ever had. Even though I put Outlandos D 'Amour , the album this track is from on top today, it could very well switch places with Regatta or Zenyatta, yadda yadda yadda. Sting is an incredible bass player, but he's so fucking hunky people don't notice. Andy had so many tricks in his guitar bag..jazz,reggae,punk and prog.....and Stewart Copeland is merely one of the top 5 drummers of all time. There isn't a high hat in the world that ain't afraid of him....a true master...could switch it up like nobody else..when you'd least expect it. We have our memories...but don't call The Cops....after August you'll never hear from them again. But I still have So Lonely to keep me company.

De Do Do Do De Da Da Da will always have a special place in my heart as well. It was the first song my son Hudson ever danced to. He had to hear it over and over and would do this shake and shuffle from side to side...priceless.

Top 5 Police songs 1) So Lonely 2)The Bed's Too Big Without You 3)Driven To Tears(some of the best drums I've ever heard) 4)Can't Stand losing You 5)Man in a Suitcase(just listen to the DRUMS,man)

02 So Lonely.m4a
4577K Download

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #23

#23 Miles Davis So What 1959

I never would have dreamed I would have a jazz song on my list 20 years ago, as a young buck with a rock chip on his shoulder. But here I am, snapping and tapping the praises of one Mr. Miles Davis and one of his many, if not the most classic album he ever put out, Kind of Blue in 1959. Now I am not a jazz aficionado by any means. I'm sure jazz purists would laugh at this choice. Its like choosing Stairway to Heaven as my favorite rock song. (Its #617 by the way). This is one of the most popular jazz pieces of all time...but man it just makes me think of good times every time I hear it. It was conceived by Miles after he began to grow tired of bebop. He delved into modal jazz where each players improv is based on a series of scales. It gives the album a very non-tedious repetitiveness and rhythm that flows out soooo smooothhh. It was recorded in NYC and makes me think of that fine city with a wind down of the hustle after the sun goes down, people pouring drinks into martini glasses and forgetting the day away. Smoky corners of secret rooms, deals going down, lines being crossed. And in the background Bill Evans taps the keys and Jimmy Cobb mans the a silky cadence....waiting for the man Miles to blow...straight on to sunrise.
This is friday night before you go out music. Perfect for the hours of 9:30-11.
Put on a suit, straighten up and fly right...and let Miles assist in making the world your oyster.......

Top 5 Miles Davis Songs 1) So What 2)All Blues(Kind of Blue) 3) Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (Bitches Brew) 4)Shhh/Peaceful (Miles in the Sky) 5)What I Say(Live-Evil)
01 So What.mp3

Monday, July 14, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #24

#24 Wilco Handshake Drugs 2004

We have cracked the top 25 together...worlds apart.... holding hands through the journey... or this will be deleted like the rest of them were.

So here I am ensconced with one of the most influential bands in my life for the last six years or so and an incredible song to show you. As I'm sure most of you have never heard it,from the album A Ghost Is Born. But it doesn't really matter, nor do the lyrics which are about one man's search for sanity or release through the "handshake drugs " that he bought downtown. This is the group that my wife and I really bonded over during our courtship in NYC. She was a bigger Wilco fan than I was. She was keen to the genius that is Jeff Tweedy(nucleus, singer, guitar) long before me. God bless her.

I was painting a loft in Williamsburg,Brooklyn in 2004. The owner's name was Sam and he just happened to be the chief booking agent for a great club in NY called Irving Plaza and for all of Clear Channel's venues as well. He and I were talking music of course and he asked if I liked Wilco. I said I only knew what my fiance had told me about the band, and that she was a huge fan. I kind of felt that they were too much of a hipster band for me. He invited us to see them at Irving Plaza in the VIP section. We went and I was transformed...right then and there. I had not seen a band gel so well and have so much to "say" in a long long time. Jeff Tweedy is a story teller, a poet and a beacon for those who crave something more than the dull fluorescence of typical rock songs. Jeff's emotional pathways can just overtake you. And Wilco is not too indie for those who are deterred by non melodic, whiny, dischordant non song- like indie rock (like me). The melody, the story based songs and a band that is second to none...Chicago's own Wilco have it all. I'm glad to be a closet hipster because of them. I can SING these songs. I can hang with the crowd. I almost bought a trucker hat when back when they were hip. I started to mess up my hair even more than it already is but I digress....
I really have to thank my wife Pamela for my love affair with Wilco. It is one of the many things she has introduced me to that have made our own love affair all the more better. We've seen them together now many NY, Berkeley, Oakland, Austin and every live show is better than the last.
Wilco is a live band. Many of their songs are far superior live than on record, and their records are great. Something for everyone, believe me- you stuck in the mud rockers! I was one of you once. But if you have to start somewhere, try Yankee Hotel Foxtrot from 2002, or A Ghost is Born from 2004. You might just find a dusty gem that you'll want to keep shined up from now on. If not, get yourself checked out, you may have no feeling from the ears up............

Top 5 Wilco songs 1) Handshake Drugs 2) Shot in the Arm(Summer Teeth '99) 3)Hummingbird(A Ghost is Born '04) 4)Company in My Back(A Ghost is Born '04) 5)I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot '02)

The version of this song I'm attaching is Live from the album Kicking Television- 2005
05 - Handshake Drugs.mp3
8992K Play Download
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Top 40 at 40 #25

#25 Creamengine In Between 1997(written),1999(released)

For number 25, I chose a song that is one of my own and co-written by Mr. Anthony Ferrari. Is it egotistical, even hysterical to include something I created on this list? Probably, but it is my list and I consider this the best song we ever wrote as Creamengine. I rarely discuss the meaning of my lyrics, and quite frankly,few have asked about them. Mr. Ferrari doesn't even know the meaning behind 95% of the nearly 100 songs we wrote together. But as a 28 year old man, I had a lot going on in my head and now as a nearly 40 year old man, I will explain......In Between.

It is the story from the viewpoint of a singer trying to connect with a stone faced apathetic audience and getting it done by the time the song ends. It is also from the viewpoint of that skeptic in the audience who starts as a stalwart and finishes as a superfan.
I have been both of these characters.I have spent time "in between" both of these characters. I have had a "wall of sound to climb". I have wanted to "see and be seen". I have "watched the children push against my breath". I have tried "to make it cling to empty eyes".
It is a song about constantly being in between what moves me to create music and listening to what inspires me to love and be challenged by music.

It is also the best vocal take I've ever done. I remember recording the vocals standing in the corner of Anthony's bedroom while staring out the window on to a lonely and vacant street in Rochester, where most of my early rock dreams were forged. I knew I had nailed it, but was still amazed when I heard it back. To this day, I've never been able to reach the power, presence and ease of that vocal take. And I don't know where it came from. A vocalist knows if he's in the groove or not when he steps behind a mic. You need a mixture of perfect "ingredients" for a clean powerful vocal. It is different for every singer. It may be finding your mood, lighting, clear sinuses, "medication", a clear picture of conveying what you have to say,etc. That day it was just right. It was made much easier to achieve with Anthony's guitar riffing brilliantly underneath. The guy is just an awesome musician. I've recorded with others all over the country, but nothing matches the guitar prowess, common ideas and relationship I have with Anthony.

This song is beautiful, risky, turbocharged and all good rock songs should be. I hope you like it. It makes me proud to be an artist.
02 In Between.mp3
4204K Play Download

Top 40 at 40 #26

#26 The Who 5:15 1973

"WHY SHOULD I CARE? WHY....SHOULD I CARE?" Believe me, you should. This is The Who, Damnit! My favorite track off of Quadrophenia (for the moment-its always this one or The Real Me) their second rock opera from 1973. Mods VS. Rockers..and how one amphetamine teen named Jimmy fits in to the mix.... Pete Townshend is a genius. That is well known.Can you imagine any band besides maybe Radiohead attempting a rock opera these days? He wrote TWO that are masterpieces. I love this song because it has it all..the rhythmic fury of Moon the loon, an awesome vocal take by Roger Daltrey, the dazzling line "He man drag in the glittering ballroom, gravely outrageous in my high heel shoes". The boy ponders his place.... and the horns blaze his trail as he tumbles through the solo. The Ox rumbles all over the neck of his bass and we're all left OUT OF OUR BRAINS on the train, WHOO OUT OF OUR BRAINS! Yeah, I've been there!
I'd like to personally thank CB Schottland for introducing me to The Who all those years ago. Don't remember where or when, but I know it was you. Do yourself a favor CB, pull out Quadrophenia some time soon, it still does the job. Drowned, The Punk and the Godfather, I've Had Enough, The Real Me, Love Reign O'er Me....All brilliant .
I took my brother Kevin to see The Who do Quadrophenia in its entirety in 1996 at Darien Lake. He was 18. I hope he gave a shit. I kept saying to him "Thats Pete Townshend right there!" He kept looking around and wondered what he was doing there. I took him to see the Stones too. And what does he do a year later ? grows some white boy dreads, tours the country with Phish selling grilled cheese out of the back of his car to make gas money.We didn't see him for three years. Dang it! At least I tried, Pete!

Top 5 songs by The Who 1) 5:15 2) The Real Me 3)Getting in Tune(Who's Next) 4) Slip Kid(Who By Numbers) 5) Join Together (single-'72)
2-01 5_15.m4a
4748K Download

Friday, July 11, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #27

#27 The Rolling Stones- Loving Cup 1972

I fell for the Stones 1972 masterpiece Exile on Main Street earlier than most of my friends. I was 7 years old and going through my dad's LPs for the first time, and loved the album cover peppered with circus freaks and misfits and a man with 3 large balls in his mouth. I was mesmerized, but not enough to actually play the lp until the summer after 7th grade.Dad kept his albums inside an antique icebox and the turntable up top. It was a double album and I always put on side three first so I could hear "Happy". I never stuck around for more than 2 or three songs because I wanted to go ride dirtbikes in my very long driveway.

Fast forward several years and my love affair with the Glimmer Twins had blossomed into full fledged addiction. I delved back into dad's LPs. He never played them. I never remember my dad playing ANY albums except maybe Chuck Mangione, but he had everything from the Beatles to Big Brother and the Holding Co. to Tubular Bells. I took out Exile after reading about its legendary history(recorded 1/2 in the south of France,finished in LA, everyone including the producer Jimmy Miller were completely fucked up and/or absent) and it blew me away. Blues, dusty folk and spooky soul....and a song called Loving Cup.....great piano intro....bleeds into "I'm the man on the mountain, come on up"......WOW. Mick Jagger is a great lyricist.when he's not counting his money and keeping up with his seven kids by 4 women, he must get inspired..very underrated...and I think the lyrics on this song and this album are stellar.If you have time after reading a passage from your daily Seano bible...go check them out. When the chorus kicks the shit out of you.."Gimme Little Drink,From your loving cup, just one drink and I fall down drunk", there's no denying it, your beat up by the blues....and the horns carry you out.....I urge you to buy Exile on Main Street if you give a poop about music. It is a cornerstone in the foundation of RAWK.

My brother tells me that Phish do a great cover of this song. Feh! If it ain't broke....
I'll stick to the blueprint when I'm building my Fortress of Rockitude.

Check out Sweet Virginia, Casino Boogie, Torn and Frayed and All Down the Line in the deep cut dept.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #28

#28 The Black Crowes Wiser Time 1994

The Black Crowes have done a fantastic job of "keeping the dream alive" since 1990, whether that dream was playing Stonesy blues based rock songs to sit around the bong to, or churning out long dual guitar jams to tie your dyes to. I love them and I'm in neither camp. Chris Robinson can't sing very well and his brother Rich is just an OK guitar player, but put them together in a room and they sure can write great songs. I started my journey with the Crowes Bros. back in 1992 while living in Atlanta, their one- time home town. They had just released The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, which I consider their masterpiece. It had everything on it that the Stones weren't doing anymore. Rugged rock and blues riffs with a swagger and a soul. And solos....warm tones,blues based and plentiful on the cusp of the grunge era supplied by Mr. Marc Ford on Guitar and Ed Harsch on keys.

From there on I was hooked. In 1994, they released Amorica. If the songs didn't get ya', the album cover sure did. All I will say is "I salute the flag, brutha!" This fantastic song about life on the road was one of the tracks. In all of my travels, and I have had many (LA,NY, Atlanta, Seattle, NY, San Francisco, Philadelphia for those keeping score), This is my favorite travelling song...looking over traverse and terrain to my left out the window of my Mazda Truck, Blarney(my dog) hanging and drooling out the right while the world floats by in the fury of a blur. The interstates participate. The highways burn off into the sunrise and we're off again. Perfect all the way.

Chris Robinson was in the same bar as me in NYC, in the year 2000. A little club on the Lower East Side called Arlene Grocery. I had just come from work and had my "man bag" straddling my shoulder like I always did. As I passed him he said" why do all New Yorkers carry a bag with them everywhere." Well Chris, a man takes with him what he needs. And we were all "on the road" while living in NYC. Thanks for helping me with my travels, my friend.

Top 5 Black Crowes songs 1) Wiser Time 2)My Morning Song('92) 3)Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye('92) 4)Sister Luck('90) 5)Thorn in My Pride('92)
09 Wiser Time.m4a

Top 40 at 40 #29

# 29 U2- Bad 1984

This is a song where the lyrics, although they are pretty special, had no influence on its inclusion on my list. The song is about heroin and a friend of Bono's who went too far. I never connected with that...I was too busy drinking Dixie Belle vodka with a pepsi chaser in the back of a yellow VW Bug to care about that...What I mean is... It is more about a time in my life that I hold dear. High School...I make no bones about cherishing my time at Fairport High School in upstate NY during the mid 80s. Sometimes I goes a bit overboard in the nostalgia the point where people might want to tune I had no "real" college experience long enough in one place to have any close friends from those years. My closest friends are the ones I know from High School and the couple years previous...a long...time...ago But the story behind my love for the song and the band during those years had always been one I could not forget....I'll try to make it short, ok?

It was January 1985 and I was a junior in high school. Van Halen had broken up and U2 picked up a lot more real estate on the inside of my locker door. I had enjoyed the WAR album from '83 but then on Oct. 1, 1984 The Unforgettable Fire was released and everything changed about what I liked about the band. The songs were dreamy, atmospheric and sparse, not nearly as hard hitting as WAR..thanks to Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the producers who chose to record most of the album in a Castle named Slane. Echo and orchestration and a loose rhythmic feel coursed its way through the album and I became instantly attached to it. The album came out in the Fall and it "sounds" like autumn to me. Especially 4 songs, A Sort of Homecoming, The Unforgettable Fire, Promenade and Bad. I smell the fallen leaves, wet ground at football games, fires burning at a keg party in the woods. I see scarves blowing and thick jackets and mud on boots.I feel a chill, the wind blowing the hair off of the back of my neck. To this day, when I think of an autumn soundtrack, I think of this album, and not just for the memories of those three years. It is by far, my favorite U2 album. Nothing touches it. You can have your Achtung,....Baby. Close your eyes and listen to Promenade.....and tell me you don't think of the Fall. Football, Coca-cola, radio,radio,radio,radio.......

Since I choose to not include all four of those songs on such a self competitive? list I chose Bad. I can remember singing this song at the top of my lungs in my Driveway on a cold,snowy January night in 1985, waiting to be picked up by my friend Chris Hixon. We were going to the basketball game where he would meet his future wife Lori at the concession stand. He was on crutches and couldn't drive, so he showed up in a big white van with a certifiably insane guy named Darryl at the wheel. I was so cold waiting...I just kept singing that refrain "I'm WIDE AWAKE, I'm not sleeping." overandover. I could never forget that night. All the pictures in my mind.... and this song was the score. This album was the soundtrack to 84-85 for me.

Top 5 U2 songs (surprise,surprise) 1) Bad 2 )A Sort of Homecoming 3) The Unforgettable Fire 4) Promenade 5)Surrender(War-'85) Just missed..Running to Stand Still(Joshua Tree)

07 Bad.m4a
5841K Download

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #30

#30 Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules 1981

Ronnie James Dio. The name is synonymous with greatness. This 65 year old man is in possession of the greatest heavy metal voice of all time. There, I said it. And I love Ozzy Osbourne. Dio is the metal god of all metal gods.. His mouth breathes fire. His eyes shoot severely wicked devil raybeams that freeze you in your denim jacket and force your head to start moving like its never moved before..His "devil horn" salute is the third most popular hand signal behind the peace sign and flipping the bird.. His name MEANS God in Italian(and Spanish for my latino friends)....Amen, my metal brethren, AMEN......

Growing up in Cortland, NY he payed in many bands and eventually formed the band Elf in 1967. Elf opened up for Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore stole Ronnie from Elf in 1975 and formed Rainbow. Tony Iommi stole Ronnie from Ritchie and put him in Ozzy's spot in Black Sabbath after Ozzy was fired for doing every drug west of Nottingham. He stayed for two classic albums Heaven and Hell('80), and MOB RULES in 1981 where this ferocious title track comes from.... The opening riff shakes the ground beneath sleeping demons, the drums thunder down like clashing swords swung from the hands of a medieval horde, the solo is the rush of a steed of sturdy stallions breaking and bleeding into battle lines.......YOU"RE ALL FOOLS..THE MOB RULES!!!! You better believe it!

On my first mp3 player, bought in 1999, I could only fit a half hours worth of songs. I was a bit overwhelmed by NYC, where I had just moved. I chose this as the opener. It made me feel "headphone invincible" amidst the crush of the crowd and the alienation in a city of 12 million. Ronnie's voice has that power over me. Regardless of lyrics like " Break the circle/stop the movement/the wheel is thrown to the ground..Just remember it/might start rolling and take you right back around.."...I'm still under his sonic spell.

I was finally able to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing him live 2 years ago in San Jose with Heaven and Hell(really Black Sabbath 80-81, but Sharon won't let them use the name....I'm sure you know which Sharon I'm talking about!) My goosebumps were like steel rivets when he hit the stage...all that for a 5 foot 2 senior citizen with a golden throat and balls of titanium. It was awesome...

He did one more album with Sabbath in 1992 called Dehumanizer.
His son is a weatherman in Binghamton.
His 66th birthday is Thursday!

Top 5 Ronnie James Dio songs 1) The Mob Rules 2) Rainbow in the Dark (Dio) 3) Heaven and Hell(Sabbath '80) 4) Kill the King(Rainbow('78) 5)Man on the Silver Mountain(Rainbow '75-BEST LYRICS EVER- Check them OUT at
Black Sabbath - The Mob Rules.mp3
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #31

#31 Bob Dylan- You're a Big Girl Now 1975

Bob Dylan as an artist can truly divide people. I need to tell you I've met just as many people who hate his music as those who think he's a genius, an American treasure. My friends and family lay on either side of the fence as well. I will not get on a Seano soapbox here and expell the virtues and wonder of Bob Dylan, except to say there are many songs of his that are etched in my very being, and some I could listen to once and never need to hear again. His lyrical output and influence are unparallelled, unreachable even by any other artist.

I chose this song because it became a mini soundtrack for the times I thought about failed relationships, not just mine but for the people I know and love. I still think about this song whenever that sort of journey through the depths of my mind is required, or just happens.It still resonates. It is quite simply, perfect for reflection of those times right out of the gate with"our conversation was short and sweet, it nearly swept me off of my feet. And I'm back in the rain, Ohh and you are on dry land.....". I'm quite certain Bob was writing about the end of his relationship with his wife Sara(Jakob's Mom), as is the theme throughout the album from which this came, the magnificant Blood On the Tracks from '75.So many great songs came from that album including Shelter From the Storm, Tangled Up in Blue, Idiot Wind, Simple Twist of Fate.The album's theme is another example of pain being good for something.

But alas, Bob Dylan is not for everyone. let me just say this. If you were to start listening to the Dylan because you lost a bet or something, start with Blood on the Tracks, move over to Blonde on Blonde('66), Highway 61 Revisited('65), and Check out New Morning from 1970 which has my second favorite Dylan song, Time Passes Slowly. I once used Time Passes Slowly as the sountrack to a Super 8 film I made of my friend Ken Warner "passing time" at his cabin along with his dog, Pepsi. I wish I could find that. I got an A in my film class.

As for newer Bob Dylan like Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft, I really don't understand the fuss. He has smoked his voice away like Joni Mitchell, and just doesn't care. I saw him in Austin last year and it was unbearable. Like a bullfrog with emphesema. We left early. It hurts to say it, but I think he should give it a rest. His legacy is intact for eternity. He's constantly changing up the structures and meters of even his well known songs to the point where you don't even know what he's singing, because he's so bored. I was bored, too.! Long live Nostalgia!

This is not the version on Blood On The Tracks, but an earlier version from different sessions, slower and moodier...included on his Biograph box set.

Top 5 Bob Dylan Songs 1) You're a Big Girl Now 2) Time Passes Slowly 3)Just Like a Woman 4)Girl From The North Country 5) I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

2-10 You're a Big Girl Now.m4p
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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #32

#32 Fleetwood Mac- Rhiannon 1975

"All your life, you've never seen a woman taken by the wind". Ohh had me at "Rhiannon rings....". I was/am/was/am infatuated with Stevie Nicks. Mysterious gypsy nymph with the pipes from heaven. Put music before everything in her life..marriage, kids, family just so she could sit down day after day and crank out spooky medieval tinged songs by candle light on a baby grand draped with gossamer scarves and frilly things.....thats DEVOTION folks. STAYS in the band with the guy whose heart she broke and wrote most of her hit songs about...sells millions more. And boys and men from the 70s to now would give anything just to set up the mic stand she twirls around and sings "Edge of 17" from every night. AWESOME.

How come when I went into the back of Spencer's (the Hot Topic of my day) as a teen I could never find a poster of her? I got stuck with Heather Thomas or Ginger Lynn...OH WELL...(secret fleetwood mac reference). Janis and Joni were geniuses too but I wasn't closing my eyes and thinking R rated thoughts of them. I love this song for so many reasons, the white witch behind the lyrics, the 3 part harmonies on the chorus, Lindsey's signature fingerpicking guitar style and Stevie's voice. My favorite female voice in rock....
From the self titled Fleetwood Mac album in 1975, this song was actually most Mac fans introduction to Stevie Nicks. It was her first composition brought to the band being that this album was the first to feature her and her partner, the genius that is Lindsey Buckingham. It went to #11 on the charts and the song Landslide was later covered by the Smashing Pumpkins and the freakin' Dixie Chicks. Stevie and Lindsey changed the fortune of this band and changed the course of 70s pop rock as well. This album and the mammoth 19 million selling Rumours from'77 are must haves for anyone who loves well crafted warm 70s pop songs and second to none production.

I have been known to have a fairly good "Stevie" singing voice, as witnessed by a few people. I've won a few karaoke contests with my version of "Dreams" and my old band the Blue Coolies used to do "Gold Dust Woman" all the time. I do not wear platform boots and spin my velvet shawls around my head while performing though. I just love her voice.

Top 5 Fleetwood Mac Songs 1) Rhiannon 2) Dreams 3) Second Hand News 4) World Turning 5) Gypsy

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #33

#33 Derek and the Dominos- Bell Bottom Blues 1970

I had a long affair with the album that this track comes from, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. It was really my first introduction to Blues Rock Music. It was the first CD box set I ever bought in 1990. The third CD in the set is previously unreleased jams....LONNNNGGG Jams. But they kick ass because Erik had invited Duane Allman to the sessions after checking out the Allmans live in Florida near the Miami Studio where Layla was recorded, and most of the jams contain these two guitar gods trading licks. This album is Eric Clapton at his very best. In my opinion, everything after this album is Eric "phoning it in". We needed more drugged out desperate lovesick pain screaming out of his Strat but never saw it again after this album. He got clean, started wearing suits and nice watches and worked with Tina Turner and Babyface....basically stopped trying. He was in love with Patti Boyd, George Harrison's wife at the time and poured out his pain caused by not being able to have her with almost every song. But it is on this track where his predicament is most evident. The guy is crushed. Strung out and sobbing through his lyrics. The solo is simple, but nails his emotion perfectly.

I had a hard time choosing between this, the second track and I Looked Away, the brilliant album opener. I almost never listen to one without the other. You know back in the day when radio was good and you used to hear songs together from the same artist without explanation? Like Heartbreaker/Livin' Lovin' Maid by Led Zep or We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions by Queen? Thats how I hear these two tracks. A perfect pair. But I chose this one because it brings the pain....and some pain is good, useful, even. I also love the high background vocals by keyboardist Bobby Whitlock..

Most of you know the big hit Layla from this album, and maybe ,like me, never need to hear it again. There is a cool story behind it, though. The piano coda in it was written by the drummer for these sessions Jim Gordon and he received a co-writing credit on what turned out to be one of Claptons biggest hits. Jim Gordon went on to be one of the most successful session drummers of all time. The dude played with everyone! Alice Cooper? Check! Steely Dan? Check! Soundtrack from the Muppet Movie? Check! He must have overfilled his plate one too many times though because he complained of voices in his head starting in the late 70s and killed his own mom in 1983. The acoustic version of Layla won a huge Grammy in 1992 for best rock song. The song it beat out? Smells Like Teen Spirit. If thats not bad enough, Jim Gordon is now the only grammy winner in history serving a life sentence.

Top 5 Derek and the Dominos songs 1) Bell Bottom Blues 2) I Looked Away 3) I Am Yours 4)Anyday 5) Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad

Top 40 at 40 #34

#34 Brian Eno An Ending(Ascent) 1983

Have you ever sought out or discovered by accident a song or piece of music that fits your need perfectly? Whatever the need may be? This is one of those songs. I have had periods of depression throughout my life, sometimes accompanied by ANXIETY. I believe in the healing power of music and have used it many times over to get me out (or in) to some mental jam. I happen to be afraid of flying. It wasn't always that way. I was a fine flier until a flight to Oregon in 1997 that was severely turbulent throughout, and after I changed my underwear that day, I changed as a person as well. The lack of control over my own environment started to send my mind and body into its own orbit of disarray, misuse and misinterpretation.

Eventually I rediscovered Brian Eno. The "godfather" of ambient music....who has produced albums for David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2, been a keyboardist for Roxy Music and had a long career of his own as an instrumentalist. This research led me to his 1983 album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. This LP was originally a soundtrack for film documentary called For All Mankind, about the NASA Apollo Missions. And this song is to me, quite simply the most beautiful piece of instrumental music I have ever heard. As I listen, I picture myself floating safely down to earth, or among the chaos of a storm erupts beside me, invincible as debris from the war of argument , asteroid clouds or emotional wreckage deflects off of me. It is THE calming factor for me while in flight now along with several other of Mr. Eno's compositions. I am calm and safe within these notes. Please give it a may do the same for you.

You may have heard this piece before and not have been able to place it. I have heard many bands use it as a warm up song before they come on stage in a large stadium. It has been used in TV shows, movies like 28 Days Later and Traffic, as well as in an Ad for Playstation 3.

Top 5 Brian Eno songs 1) Ending (an ascent) 2) 1/1 (From Music For Airports-'78) 3)Aragon (from Music For Films '76) 4)Sparrowfall(Music for Films) 5)Baby's On Fire(Here Come the Warm Jets)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #35

#35 The Allman Brothers Band- Ain't Wastin' Time No More 1972

I had a fairly long jam band phase in the late 80s through the early 90s. I saw the Grateful Dead live 12 times, Phish twice, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler. We used to go and see a Band called the Park Avenue Band do jam band cover songs every Wed. Night at a Bar in the Village Gate .Drove there in a bright orange VW Bus.... Lots of Labatt beer, groovy little granola girls and circle dancing. I will admit to owning one Tie dyed t-shirt with the Grateful Dead's Steal Your Face logo on it. And tripping my own face off more than several times.. And I can remember the mantra heard at every Dead Show parking lot affair as we walked around looking for contraband, bracelets and burritos......" Trips, Doses, Transparencies, Yin Yang...." All those dreadlocked white kids camped out behind their Jettas selling veggie the summer heat Jerry's Kids could really pack a rotting fruity stank., lots of flowing bandana dresses, toe rings and plentiful pit hair......what a scene, man... But it was all about the music, really for me.

The one band that stayed with me all of these years is the Allman Brothers Band. I love Greg Allman's voice. Besides maybe Paul Rodgers from Bad Company...he has the best Blues Voice...raspy, tired, downtrodden...a thick drawl that oozes like moonshine dripping into a still from within his lyrics. His brother Duane was the premier slide guitar player of all time and the true band leader up until 1971 when he crashed his motorcycle at age 24 and left this mortal coil. This song is the first track from Eat a Peach , the best Allman Brothers Album and the first without Duane.(Duane did contribute to two of the studio tracks-and all of the live cuts). I love the message....and it rings true with me, because I feel sometimes that I've wasted alot of time...."still have two strong legs, two wings to fly." I love Greg's piano and Berry Oakley's bass line which tags along with the slide guitar. (Dicky Betts provides the slide-its nice, but it ain't Duane). I also like the song because its under 10 minutes long. Back then I had the patience for a 23 minute long version of Whipping I'd rather have cinder blocks dropped on my toes or be trapped in a room with three gangster rappers........seano

Top 5 Allman Brothers songs 1) Ain't Wastin' Time No More 2)Black Hearted Woman 3) Melissa 4)Dreams 5) High Falls
01 Ain't Wastin' Time No More.m4a
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