When Was The Last Time You Played This Album?

Singer / Songwriter

Bonnie Raitt “Nick of Time”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#160 in the Series) is Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time.

In 1988, Bonnie Raitt was one of many performers that would continuously pound out good release after good release but never really popped!  We’ve seen a ton of these acts. ‘Boy is she good. I’m surprised that she’s not better known.’  There was the odd Me and the Boys or Angel From Montgomery, but the lady from California still wasn’t a household name.  Heck she wasn’t as well-known as her stage star father John Raitt.

Then she met Don Was.  Don was a producer that had done well with the great band Was (Not Was) and had produced a few other acts as well.  Be his career was quite a bit like Bonnie’s. Ok, but not spectacular.

They met when Don was putting together a compilation of Disney songs for an album. The session went well and Raitt and Was decided to continue in to another project that would become, Nick of Time. It was if the title track decribed both of their feeling about meeting the other at this point in their careers.

Nick of Time ended up selling 5 million copies and garnered Ms. Raitt three Grammy Awards.  It was ranked #229 on Rolling Stone Magazines Top 500 Albums of All Time.  It won Grammy’s for Album of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

The biggest hit on Top 40 radio was Have a Heart. The biggest hit on rock radio was John Hiatt’s Thing Called Love.  The best song on the album was the title cut, Nick of Time.

Guest artists a plenty were on the album. To name some, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens from Was (Not Was), Paulinho Da Costa, Ricky Fataar, Herbie Hancock and Kim Wilson.

Don Was continued to produce Bonnie on her next album, Luck of the Draw. It sold seven million copies.

Here’s some Bonnie Videos. Nick of Time, Have a Heart and lastly a live version of Thing Called Love from an old Farm Aid show complete with John Hiatt!


Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Déjà Vu”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#158 in the Series) Is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Déjà Vu.

I was just sharing the story on Facebook about remembering buying Déjà Vu back in 1970.  I purchased it at the famous Chicagoland record chain called Hegewisch Records.  I was spending the summer at a cousin’s in Calumet City. We road our bikes to Hegewisch  and quickly we were in the store.  I plopped down my $3.49 and we were off.  All their LPs were $3.49 back then.  I still remember the sticker on the shrink wrap!   On the way back I wiped out on the bike and the album went flying.  Fear not, it was OK.  I still remember the fear as that brown square cover hit the ground, hard.

Déjà vu was the first album by CSNY, however, it was not their first recording.  That was the single ‘Ohio’ recorded a little earlier.  Ohio never did appear on an album before it appeared on the greatest hits package called So Far.

Adding Neil Young to a band with Steven Stills was not a huge stretch since they had played together for years in The Buffalo Springfield.  In fact, the opening number Stills’ Carry On contains lyrics from The Buffalo Springfield’s song, Question.

Teach Your Children features a fine pedal steel part by Jerry Garcia.

Almost Cut My Hair is David Crosby’s first addition to the disc.  I remember discussing this album when I was a freshman in high school. I told my friend that I didn’t like this song all that much. I distinctly remember him saying ‘If you don’t like that song, then you don’t like rock and roll.’  I think he was wrong.

Neil Young joins with his first solo writing credit on Déjà vu with his classic Helpless.

Side one ends with the Joni Mitchell penned classic, Woodstock.

We open side two with the title cut written by David Crosby, But then again, haven’t we all been here before? Listen for John Sebastian on harp.

Graham Nash makes his first lead vocal appearance with Our House. A song that would remain in his, and their live shows for years.

4 + 20 was always one of my favorite Steven Stills songs.

Country Girl (Young) and Everybody I Love You (Stills, Young) end our journey.

As the front cover told us Greg Reeves, bass and Dallas Taylor drums filled out the band.  This would be the highlights of both of their careers.

Déjà vu was a #1 album on the Billboard Album Chart.

Woodstock peaked at #11 on the Billboard Singles Chart

Teach Your Children hit up to #16 and while Out House made it up to #30.

Here’s a live Carry On from ’74. It’s in two parts. It’s followed by Teach Your Children, 4 + 20 and Deja Vu.


James Taylor “That’s Why I’m Here”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#157 in the Series) is James Taylor, That’s Why I’m Here.

“Come on everyone, come on… let’s go!  James is recording a new album.  We all have to help him out!

Was that the clarion call throughout Los Angeles in 1985 when James Taylor decided to record for the first time in years,who knows? ButI’m guessing it was close.  It seems like every hot musician from within 100 miles played on this album.

So before I get into the rest of album, let me make a list of who answered that call.

Here’s who makes an appearance on That’s Why I’m Here.

Don Henley, Leland Sklar, Peter Asher,  Randy + Michael Brecker ,  Russ Kunkel, Tony Levin, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Billy Payne, Deniece Williams, Rory Dodd, Clifford Carter, Greg ’Fingers’ Taylor, Jimmy Maelen, Airto and David Sanborn.

I wonder is songwriters feel the need to write exceptionally well when they know the heavyweights are right outside the studio door?

If James Taylor felt that weight then he certainly delivered.  There are some absolute gems on this one.

Some of the best on the disc are the title cut, That’s Why I’m Here, the great ballad, A Song for You Far Away,and  Only a Dream in Rio.  There’s also one of the few songs I know about a pig, Mona.

James also does a fine rendition of his brother Livingston’s Going Around One More Time.

He also adds a couple of nice covers, Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s …thru Gene Pitney ..(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance and Buddy Holly’s Everyday.

I remember seeing James Taylor at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago in 1991.  It was an interesting crowd. One half were old hippies, the other half, yuppies.  Safe to say I wasn’t one of the yuppies.

It also was the best sound I ever heard at a concert. Sitting directly in front of the mixing board didn’t hurt!

That’s Why I’m here was produced by JT along with Peter Asher and Frank Filipetti.

It reached #34 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.

Here’s a few live cuts followed by Liberty Valance.


Joni Mitchell “Court and Spark”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#152 in the Series) is Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark.

Court and Spark was the album that took Joni Mitchell from a pretty darn good selling artist to a star. It was a monster album.

It reached #2 on the Billboard Album charts but had long time staying power on rock radio. It fit in perfectly with the singer/songwriter period which was very hot in 1974.

Sure this was three or four years after she had written Woodstock, but it’s Court and Spark more often than not when people think Joni Mitchell.

This album contains songs such as Help Me, Free Man in Paris, Car on a Hill, Raised on Robbery and the fun, Twisted.

As you know, I always like to say who played on an album. Especially when I have names to type such as Tom Scott, Davis Crosby, Graham Nash, Larry Carlton, Robbie Robertson, Jose Feliciano and even …Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong!

They all appeared on the album.

Court and Spark was produced by Joni Mitchell.

Rolling Stone Magazine called it the 111th Best Album on their All-Time Top 500.


Dave Mason “Let it Flow”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#149 in the Series) is Dave Mason, Let it Flow.

Dave Mason has put out a big ol’ chunk of good music.  From the days he spent with Traffic through a long solo career.  His latest album, 26 letters and 12 Notes is as good as anything he’s done.  It’s too bad radio didn’t go near it.  He commented from the stage at a recent show I saw, It’s like ‘I’m Selling Encyclopedias to them.’

Let it Flow was released in 1977.  Yup, that’s 33 years ago folks!

It contained his biggest hit. ‘We Just Disagree.’  I think it’s one of the best divorce songs ever written.

Memorable moments here include So High (Rock Me Baby and Roll Me Away), Let it Go, Let it Flow, Spend Your Life With Me and Mystic Traveler,.

I was surprised to read that Let it Flow only hit #37 on the Billboard Top Album Charts. I would have bet big bucks that it would have been much higher than that.

Three singles charted. We Just Disagree peaked at 12.  I would have thought that was higher too. Let It Go, Let it Flow peaked at 45. So High hit to 89.

It was produced by big time producer Ron Nevison.  (Bad Company, UFO, Zep Physical Graffiti, Starship, Heart, Chicago.

As alluded to earlier, I had a chance to see Dave Mason recently, He was outstanding.  He played a tiny 400 seat venue.   He played everything from Feeling All Right, 40,000 Headman, Only You Know and I Know, Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave (a real highlight!) World in Changes (opening song). He encored with Dear Mr. Fantasy and All Along the Watchtower.

If you have the chance to see Mr. Mason, Go. . He’s highly recommended.  But be for warned.  You might not recognize him. He looks REALLY different. As you can see below.


John Prine “Bruised Orange”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#139 in The Series) is John Prine, Bruised Orange.

John Prine’s debut album, called simply John Prine is considered his masterpiece, and rightly so.

It’s quite the feat when you think that he wrote Sam Stone, Illegal Smile, Donald and Lydia, Angel From Montgomery, Paradise, Six O’Clock News, You’re Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore and of course, Hello in There ALL before he was 25.

Looking at that track list you can see why that album is held in such high regard.  I am, however, going to feature Bruised Orange.

I’m not sure why this album was always so high on my list of Prine classics.  Part of it might be that it was new when I got my first guitar and I learned how to play many basic chords strumming to what’s here.

The songs here that I enjoyed attacking and killing on that old Ovation were Fish and Whistle, Aw Heck, Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone and of course, That’s the Way That the World Goes ‘Round.

Some great players made their way to the great Chicago Recording Company studio in 1978 to help with the sound.  Jethro Burns (Homer and Jethro), John Burns (Flyer), Tom Radtke (Bill Quateman), Corky Siegel (Siegel-Schwall), Mike Utley (Coral Reefer Band), Jackson Browne, Bonnie Koloc, and many, many more.

It was produced by Steve Goodman.

It reached #116 on the Billboard Album Charts.

Here’s a great version of That’s the Way That the World Goes Down (aka Happy Enchilada).  By John, at his kitchen table.

I’m following it up with a song not on Bruised Orange, but a great song none the less. It’s just something I want you to hear.  It’s called In Spite of Ourselves.  It’s hilarious!!  Please check it out. It begins with John telling a story about a movie he made where he and Billy Bob Thorton played brothers.  Their father was Andy Griffith. How ’bout that!


Paul Simon “Hearts and Bones”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#135) is Paul Simon, Hearts and Bones.

Hearts and Bones could be considered the ‘Lost Paul Simon Album.”  It wasn’t Simon and Garfunkel. It wasn’t Still Crazy, It wasn’t Graceland.  It was between all those classics and never received it’s proper due.  Well not until now that is!

I myself hadn’t even played this for quite sometime.  Then I was on facebook and saw a video that James Eves III had placed by Al Di Meola.  In the thread beneath it, there was a comment by Richard Kent Burton who claimed that Di Meola had ‘the most pick control’ of anyone he could think of.

When I though, Al Di Meola and pick control, I could only think of one solo.  That would be the one that he does in the Paul Simon song, Allergies. It’s nothing BUT pick control!!

So I was going to add that to the thread but I quickly decided to be selfish and add it to my blog instead!

Hearts and Bones was recorded right after the period in which Simon and Garfunkel held their huge Central Park reunion concert.  In fact, I recently read that this was originally going to be a Simon and Garfunkel album called, Think Too Much.

It ended up being a Paul Simon record and Think Too Much became one of many great songs on the album.

The aforementioned Allergies is my standout track.  Others are the title cut, Hearts and Bones, where Paul tossed in a great line about he and future wife describing their vacation travels referring to themselves as ‘One and One Half Wandering Jews.’

When Numbers Get Serious, Song About The Moon, and Rene and Georgette Magrette With Their Dog After the War are all outstanding.

But there is one last song that needs mention.  A truly, truly masterful song called The Late Great Johnny Ace. There have been many, but this might be the best song written in honor of John Lennon.  It was written my Paul Simon with a haunting ending piece that was added by Phillip Glass.  This is a superb track.  A must hear.

Al Di Meola was not the only big name musician brought in to fill the sound.

Steve Gadd (drums), Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers from Chic (bass and guitar), Sid McGinnis (guitar), Richard Tee (piano), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Greg Phillinganes (keys) and Micheal Boddicker (synthesizer…. curve ball..OK, not THAT Michael Boddicker.)

Hearts and Bones was released in 1983.

It was produced by Simon, Roy Halee, Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker.

It peaked at #35 on the Billboard Top Album Charts.

I can’t believe that I could nor find ANY videos for Allergies not Late Great Johnny Ace. So here’s the title track.


Nils Lofgren “Nils”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#128 in the Series) is Nils Lofgren, Nils.

Nils is the sixth solo album by guitarist Nils Logren, and and the fourth studio release.

Nils came to prominence as a member of Crazy Horse and before that, Grin.

He’s been a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band for over 25 years.

Nils was my favorite for a number of reasons but mainly for No Mercy. No Mercy is a boxing song written from the viewpoint of the victorious boxer as he feels sorrow for his soon to be defeated opponent.  It’s quite the unique song.

But there indeed many great pieces of music here.  Others include I’ll Cry Tomorrow, and a great ballad in Shine Silently. Randy Newman’s Baltimore is another gem.

Nils was produced by Bob Ezrin. It was released in 1979. It peaked at #54 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.

Short and Sweet today.  It gives you more time to go listen to music!

Here’s a live, 1991 version of  No Mercy.


Harry Chapin “Sniper and other Love Songs”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#127 in the Series) is Harry Chapin, Sniper and other Love Songs.

We’re going back to the Singer/Songwriter genre today for a 1972 release by master storyteller, Harry Chapin.

One of the few artists that I’ve always been interested in, but never had a chance to see perform live.  As many of you know, Harry’s been gone for years so that chance has been passed.

There are other Chapin albums that I could have chosen that would have given me much more, and much more popular material to cover.  But I chose this album for one song, Sniper.

Quite possibly the most powerful song I’ve ever heard in all my life.  Nearly ten minutes in length, Sniper is a bone chilling narrative of the Texas clock tower shootings from 1966.

He not only gives us a near pay by play of the shootings, (Yes, names were changed) but also looks at what my have caused this famous flip-out.   Everything from the shooter’s (who’s name is also never mentioned) relationship with his mother to his need for celebrity.

Harry Chapin would often end his concerts with this song.  So you’d get a nice hour and a half of humorous story telling full of laughs and cheer, and then he’d send you leaving with this on your mind.  You had to love Harry Chapin.

Harry Chapin was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, known for his extensive work in helping world hunger.  He was on his way to a giving a free concert in East Meadow, NY when he suffered what doctors thought was a heart attack, slowed on the Long Island Expressway and was rear ended by a semitrailer.  His VW Rabbit burst into flames.  He was extracted by other drivers, including the semi driver.  He died that evening.

Harry’s brother was singer Tom Chapin.  Tom was a child actor who starred as ‘Jack’ in the original version of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Jack was the leader of the civil tribe.

A foundation was started to continue Harry Chapin’s fight against world hunger work.

For more information on the Harry Chapin Foundation please visit HarryChapinFoundation.org.

Here’s a live performance of Harry Chapin doing Sniper from one of the original episodes of Soundstage. Recorded in Chicago in 1975.  Watch it. Powerful stuff.

I think the heaviest part of the song is the final chorus.  ‘I Am, I Was, and now, I will Be! I will Be!!

Click on the album title for the full text of Lyrics.


Rosanne Cash “Rhythm and Romance”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#122 in the Series) is Rosanne Cash, “Rhythm and Romance.”

“Rhythm and Romance” is one of my absolute favorite albums of all time.   I of course knew about Rosanne Cash before this album but had never really known much about her music.  This changed all of that.  My respect for her and her music is as high as for any other musician of which I know.

This album did quite well on the country charts. But it was probably the least country sounding album she had done to that point.  She definitely did not have a country band on this one.

Her band included Toto’s David Hungate on bass, Willie Weeks on bass, CBS Orchestra’s Anton Fig on drums, Heartbreaker Benmont Tench on keyboards and everybody’s Waddy Wachtel on guitars.

The 1985 production was mainly written by Rosanne herself.  She did get a little help from Vince Gill on ‘Never Alone.’

She also included two songs written by others.  Ben Tench and Tom Petty wrote ‘Never Be You’ while John Hiatt wrote the rocking ‘Pink Bedroom.’  Then husband Rodney Crowell co-wrote with her one of the best songs here, ‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me.’

Rosanne wrote the remaining six tracks.  Best of that bunch included ‘Hold On, Second to No One’ and ‘My Old Man.’ He of course was Johnny Cash.

If you’ve never owned a Rosanne Cash album is indeed a great place to start.  There’s not a bad note of music on the disc.  She has a library of great music.  Here follow up, “Kings Record Shop” was a HUGE seller.  “Interiors” and “The Wheel” were a move more into a singer/songwriter type of sound. “The List” was flat out, one of the best albums of 2009.

“Rhythm and Romance” reached #1 on the Billboard Country Charts and #101 on the Top 200 Charts.

‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me’ reached #1 on the Billboard Country charts and #16 on the Adult Contemporary Charts.

‘Never Be You’ hit the top of the country charts while ‘Second To No One’ peaked at #5.

‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me’ earned Rosanne a “Best Female Country Vocal Performance” Grammy.

Check out the rockin’ Pink Bedroom video followed by a great live version of ‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me’ also featuring Rodney Crowell.


Tom Waits “Blue Valentine”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Tom Waits, “Blue Valentine.”

What a piece of music this one is.  I just love Tom Waits.  This is yet another example of the album I love is the tour I saw.

I can’t remember the name of the place. But there was a little roadhouse between Merrillville + Valparaiso, Indiana where I saw this tour.  It had to be in 1978 or ‘79.  The opening act was Leon Redbone who had laryngitis that night and did everything instrumental.  He then held up a ‘thank you’ sign after every song.

TW does an amazing version of ‘Somewhere” from West Side Story as an opening number on this album. It’s truly a remarkable version.

Other highlights include ‘Red Shoes By the Drugstore, Whistlin’ by the Graveyard, Romeo is Bleeding, $29’ and of course, ‘Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis.’

His concert from this tour was just as strong.  It’s hard to remember much of it.  I do know that he opened the show leaning against a gas pump smoking a cigarette.  I’ve actually seen this tour on Austin City Limits if you can catch it.


Bill Quateman “Bill Quateman”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#112 in the Series) is the debut self-titled album by”Bill Quateman.”

In 1972 I head a song on WXRT called ‘Changing of the Guard.’ ‘XRT has always given a run down on what they had just played. Usually as a set.  I loved the song and waited to hear who it was by.  Well That’s when I first heard the name Bill Quateman.

So made my trek to Hegewish Records and bought his debut.  Mind you I didn’t look at the song list.

Well somehow I got the album wrong.  The song I heard was Steely Dan.  But I screwed up what I was looking for and ended up with Quateman.

But I played the album anyway and it turned into one of my favorite albums of all time.  I still love it to this day!!

I’m not sure how he pulled it off, but Quateman was able to get Elton John’s backing band to play on this release.  Caleb Quaye and Davey Johnstone on guitar and Sid Simms on bass.   He also grabbed one of the best drummers in Chicago, Tom Radtke.

The music was wonderful. Folk – Rock I guess you could say?

Some of the tracks that jumped out were, My Music, Only Love, Only The Bears are the Same, Too Many Mornings, What Are You Looking For,’ and ‘ Get It Right On Out There.’

Jump forward about 30 or so years.  One night I was looking around on the internet and found Bill’s email address.  It was also a Yahoo Messenger address,  Well I saw he was online and we chatted for about 20 minutes.  It was pretty cool.  A few months later he did a show at Fitzgerald’s here in the Chicagoland area.  I was able to get together with him and I told him the Steely Dan story.  We both got a big kick out of it.

This is one of those albums that you can play over and over from start to finish. Check it out.


Lyle Lovett, “Pontiac”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day  is Lyle Lovett, “Pontiac.”

I was a music distributor in 1987. I was sitting at my desk when a Senior Vice President named Dennis Sinclair walked in and tossed “Pontiac” on my desk. He said, ‘Check this out, I think you’ll really like it.’ Senior VPs always got their hands on the goodies first.

As I jumped on Route 83 southbound I popped the disc into the player. The first song I heard was ‘If I had a Boat’ second up was ‘Give Me Back My Heart’ then ‘I Loved You Yesterday’ and on an on. OK, Lyle, you got me!

Other wonderful tracks include ‘She’s No Lady, M-O-N-E-Y’ and ‘She’s Hot To Go.’

I loved the variety in Lovett song writing. He can go from sweet ballad to some great up tempo shuffles.

Give a listen for EmmyLou Harris on back round vocals and Vince Gill on vocals and guitar. But also give a special listen for Francine Reed’s great vocal track on ‘She’s Hot To Go.’

On a personal note: ‘If I Had a Boat’ was the favorite song of one of my closest friends Jim ‘Hoss’ Gartland.’ He left us way before anyone should lose a friend like that. I can’t mention that song or hear that song without thinking of him. It proves that you can have a tear in your eye and a smile on your face at the same time.


Steve Goodman “Somebody Else’s Troubles”

Today’s Cool Album of The Day is Steve Goodman, “Somebody Else’s Trouble.”

We’re going back to the Singer/Songwriter genre today.  If you look up Singer/Songwriter in the dictionary you’d see Steve Goodman’s face on the description.

He was one of the best. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone 26 years now.

“Somebody Else’s Troubles” was Steve’s third album.  It’s full of goodies!

The album starts with one of his most well known songs, “The Dutchman.” It’s one of the few hits that Steve did not write.  It was written by Michael Smith.

Other tracks you might know include ‘Lincoln Park Pirates, Chicken Cordon Blues,’ and of course the title cut, ‘Somebody Else’s Troubles’ which features an uncredited Bob Dylan on vocals.  Nice ‘get’ for that point in Steve’s career!!

The disc ends with one of my favorite Steve Goodman songs.  ‘The Ballad Of Penny Evans.’ It is song acapella and in first person. It’s the story of a young war widow and her angst of the Vietnam War.  You’ll be moved by this quite powerful story.

David Bromberg adds some great string work to the effort.

Steve Goodman’s “Somebody Else’s Troubles.” Today’s Cool Album of the Day!!

Here’s a great live version of ‘The Dutchman’ with Steve and Jethro Burns.


The Byrds “Sweethearts of the Rodeo”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is the 1968 release by The Byrds, “Sweethearts of the Rodeo.”

Quite simply, a masterpiece. Was it the first country rock album? That’s debatable.

There has been so much written and discussed about this music that I’m not even going to try and invent an original idea.

Just listen to the music. I’d have loved to have heard Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons stay together longer. But then Gram might not have gone on to to record two other great pieces of music (Gram Parsons and GP). And maybe he wouldn’t have gone on to discover (along with Chris Hillman) EmmyLou Harris.

Some of the classic songs here are Bob Dylan’s ‘You Aint Goin’ Nowhere, You’re Still On My Mind.’ Woodie Guthrie’s ‘Pretty Boy Floyd,’ and of course, GP’s ‘Hickory Wind.’


Cat Stevens “Teaser and the Firecat”

Today’s Cool Album in the Day is Cat Stevens, “Teaser and The Firecat.”

I was going to feature “Catch Bull at Four” because it contains ‘Boy With the Moon and Star on His Head’ but went with “Teaser and The Firecat” instead.

You could go with a couple different releases, but ‘Teaser’ has just so many classics.
‘The Wind, If I Laugh, Tuesday’s Dead, Morning Has Broken,’ and ‘Moonshadow.’

But there is something that will always be special to me about this album. That something happened on the night of January, 29th 1973, 6pm.Chicago time.

At that time the cease fire in Vietnam went into affect. I remember that like it was yesterday.

For some unknown reason, at that time I went to WXRT to see what they were playing. The station was a huge part of my habits back then.

They were playing ‘Peace Train.’
To this time, whenever I hear that song, I think about ‘That Day.”


Elvis Costello “My Aim Is True”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Elvis Costello’s “My Aim Is True.”

The live Elvis’ debut release. I remember when it came out and ‘XRT jumped on it. Great song followed by great song. Little did I know that he’s be putting out great music with unmatched variety to this day.

His backing band on ‘My Aim is True’ was an unheard of band called ‘Clover.’ They went on to become ‘The News’ as in Huey Lewis and….’ They should have suck with Elvis.

Many memorable moments here. “Angel’s Want To Wear My Red Shoes, Mystery Dance, Radio Sweetheart, Alison, Less Than Zero and Watching the Detectives.” It’s hard to find many better debut albums.


Arlo Guthrie “Alice’s Restaurant”

Today’s Cool Album of The Day is Arlo Guthrie, “Alice’s Restaurant.’

An American Classic, simply put.

“Alice’s Restaurant” was recorded and released in 1967. It was Woodie Guthrie’s son, Arlo’s, debut album.

The story of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ was the full Side A.

I’m not going to completely explain Arlo’s narrative here. It would take WAY to long and I’d probably screw it all up anyway.

But I will end with an interesting note. Richard Nixon was said to have this album.
‘The Song’ is 18:34 seconds, almost the exact same length as the Watergate tape gap.

Give this one a listen.


Warren Zevon “Warren Zevon”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Warren Zevon’s, “Excitable Boy.”

I don’t usually pick an artist’s most popular release. But this one is just too darn good.

Yes, it contains ‘Warewolves Of London.’ That track still sounds good. But song after song are just timeless pieces. ‘Lawyer’s, Guns and Money (How many times did you play air drums to those Rick Marotta fills?), Johnny Strikes Up The Band, Rolland The Headless Thompson Gunner, Tenderness on the Block’ and ‘Veracruz.’

Years ago, WXRT here in Chicago ran a Sunday Night hour ‘UnConcert’ of Warren recorded some time back. It was funny to hear a spot they ran right before the tape. It follows, “And You can see Warren Zevon this weekend at the Crown Point, Indiana Fair Grounds for just $9. Appearing with Zevon will be Poi Dog Pondering.”

Crown Point Fairgrounds? Yikes! How did I miss that one!

Go back and take a new listen to Excitable Boy. Today’s Cool Album of the Day!


Graham Parker and the Shot “Steady Nerves”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Graham Parker and the Shot’s, “Steady Nerves.”

Far, Far, Far from being Parker’s most popular album, “Steady Nerves” always was a favorite of mine. This was released in 1985 and I had just gotten my first full time music biz job and I remember this being one of the first ‘promos’ I ever received. Maybe that’s why I played it a bunch. Who knows.

It turned out to be his only Electra release. It featured some great tracks like ‘Break Then Down, Wake Up (Next To You), Mighty Rivers’ and ‘Lunatic Fringe.’

Give it a listen…..If you can find it!

Today’s Cool Album of the Day, Graham Parker and the Shot’s, “Steady Nerves.”


Corky Siegel “Corky Siegel”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#27 in the Series) is Corky Siegel’s self titled album, “Corky Siegel.”

Corky was better known for his work with picker Jim Schwall in the Chicago based blues act, Siegel-Schwall Band. But I was always partial to this solo release.

Corky used to do tons of solo shows around Chicago in the late 70’s. That’s when I got to really know most of this material.

The best known track here is ‘Half Asleep At The Wheel.’ Other highlights included ‘Am I Wrong About You,’ and ‘Mornin’ Corn.’

Rollow Radford from Siegel-Schwall played on this solo disc as well.

This is long out of print. But this and the follow up release called ‘Out Of The Blue’ have been released as a compilation. It’s called ‘Solo Flight.’

Some highlights from ‘Out of the Blue’ where more Corky classics like ‘Idhao Potato Man, Goodbye California’ and’ Southwest Coast Blues.’


Bob Dylan “Blood On The Tracks”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day  is Bob Dylan’s 1975 release, “Blood On The Tracks.”

After going obscure, I felt it was time for a biggie.  Well, “Blood On The Tracks”  surely fits that bill.  This is the album that included one of his best ‘early, middle period’ songs, ‘Tangled Up In Blue.’

Other highlights include ‘Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, Simple Twist of Fate and Shelter From the Storm.’

One of those songs can make up a decent album these days. There’s four on one disc.  The rest of the album was pretty darn good too.