Songs from Aging Hippies Come

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Songs from Aging Hippies Come

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a huge fan of singer/songwriters, though my passion is fairly well-centered on the newer artists of the genre: there's the gang that emerged in the late '80s -- Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls, and Edie Brickell -- along with the group that has come into their own in the past five years or so -- including Ray LaMontagne, Brandi Carlile, and Katie Herzig.

What my knowledge and fan-dom is light on is the generation that largely set the stage, those who made their mark beginning in the late '60s. I have a deep affection for Joni Mitchell, and that's about it. I've even been so fortunate as to meet and hang out with her a few times, including when she did an unannounced set at a club I used to book in Los Angeles.

Actually, I've long-favored James Taylor, too, though I've never seen JT in concert despite knowing a couple of his band members. Maybe this is the year I remedy that. In fact, I could kill two classic birds with one ticket because James Taylor and Carole King are touring together. From Portland to Boston, the charismatic, though not entirely dynamic duo will make the rounds. Hmm....

A few of my favorite contemporary singer/songwriters, guys like Robby Hecht and Steven Delopoulous, draw unapologetically and directly from JT, Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, and Jackson Browne. That's how I sometimes find my way into those back catalogs.

As for other oldies but goodies, I've decided lately to dig more into that realm. Classic Elton John, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan now claim their rightful spots in my collection, though I'm still in the courtship phase of our relationship as they try to woo me with Tumbleweed Connection, After the Gold Rush, and Blood on the Tracks.

Don't hate, but I have always loved some of the Paul McCartney and Wings stuff. I have a very specific and happy memory attached to tunes like “Uncle Albert” and “Listen to What the Man Said.” That helps, certainly.

You see, I grew up in a house filled with Dionne Warwick, Bread, and Barry Manilow. The edgiest of our family LPs was maybe the Fifth Dimension. Joni Mitchell and Elton John were nowhere to be found, so it's a wonder my tastes and collection are as developed as they are.

Hippie parents may have given their kids some strange names, but they also gave them some great musical heritage... certainly something more substantial than "Mandy."



Comments [31]

Meiohmy's picture

Love singer songwriters

We just lost a really good (and under rated) one with Kate Mcgarrigle this week.

Ann

minniesota's picture

Speaking of Barry Manilow

Kelly, speaking of Barry Manilow, I happened to catch him on Conan O'Brien last night and thought, "He really needs to get his money back for that plastic surgery."

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Kelly McCartney's picture

No kidding

He was much better looking in the 80s.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Not2Taem's picture

Right?

Laughing out loud

I thought the same thing back when they had him coaching the contestants on American Idol.

Tex's picture

My triggered random....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhFDjCtDDM&feature=related

Been listening to Norah's cd The Fall lately on my long rides....

Twitter Time @kdhales

Tex's picture

Doin' a lot of name droppin' (edit to K-Mac on the bottom)

another  hehehehehehe

Ah come on! Move me to the back of the room!

Twitter Time @kdhales

Not2Taem's picture

Is that where

we keep the paddle?

And can I join you?  Evil

Kelly McCartney's picture

I hate that.

I don't actually like name-dropping at all and I always think thrice before doing so. I often won't say anything. Can't help that I know famous folk.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Tex's picture

Helen Reddy!

Not2Taem's picture

Auntie!

Kelly McCartney's picture

Thanks!

Thanks!

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

minniesota's picture

Laura Nyro

Kelly, if you haven't already, listen to some vintage Laura Nyro. I still miss her.

I have been a Joni Mitchell fan since 1968. Yowsa, that's a while.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Kelly McCartney's picture

Turns out...

I have two Nyro records in my iTunes... Eli and Angel in the Dark.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

minniesota's picture

Nyro Recommendations

Those two are good. There a CD called Season of Lights..Laura Nyro in Concert (Complete Version) that is excellent as it contains 16 songs and includes materials of her live performances from the '70s.

Way back in the 1980s, I made a cassette tape of a 10-song vinyl version of Season of Lights. Then around 2000-01, I looked for a CD version of Season of Lights because I figured my cassette tape would become fragile. At that time, I found only a Japanese pressed CD that contained a few more songs and in different order than the vinyl version. I see that now you can get the CD from Amazon.com or another online music store and for half the amount I paid for the Japanese-pressed disc.

Another Nyro album I'd recommend is Mother's Spiritual (1984). It is, as the title says, spiritual.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Kelly McCartney's picture

But...

I don't like live records.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

karrr's picture

yeah i agree, i'll bypass a

yeah i agree, i'll bypass a potentially good song because i can't stand the bad quality of the recording

minniesota's picture

Live records

Coming back to say that Season of Lights is the best live album I've ever heard, at least the original 10-song version that I copied onto a cassette many years ago. Have you ever heard of the percussionist, Lydia "Liberty" Mata? She plays percussion on many of the songs on Seasons of Lights.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Kelly McCartney's picture

Hero Nyro

I know a woman who was very close with Laura, played bass for her, too. "Stoned Soul Picnic" is about all I know musically, and that's because of the aforementioned Fifth Dimension. Will dig in.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Meffle's picture

Stoned soul picnic

That's a 5th Dimension song.  Did Laura Nyro write that?

There's a thin line...still...

minniesota's picture

Yes

Yes, Laura Nyro wrote the song. She also wrote Sweet Blindness covered by the Fifth Dimension. I used to sing Sweet Blindness all the time when I was in my 20s.

Oh Sweet Blindness, all over me...

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Tex's picture

Tuff Enuff.....

Kelly McCartney's picture

ewww

ewww

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Tex's picture

hehehehehehehehe

hehehehehehehehehe

Twitter Time @kdhales

Meffle's picture

Carole King

Carole King is my personal music Goddess, as she should be for everyone, in my humble opinion.  She is by far one of the most, if not the absolute most prolific singer/songwriter ever.  Few could even come close to her song book.  Prince, maybe.  That's about it.

I've never had the honor of seeing her in concert or --- Oh My God -- meeting her, but she has definitely written the soundtrack of my life!

There's a thin line...still...

karrr's picture

melanie safka????? i find

melanie safka????? i find them to both having amazing and powerful voices

karrr's picture

GODDESSSSSSS

!!!!!!!!!!! carol king !!!

Kelly McCartney's picture

Nice

I know her stuff a little and I actually am acquaintances with her daughter. eMusic just added a bunch of classic records so I look forward to the exploration.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Meffle's picture

Unfortunately...

I find it unfortunate that Tapestry is her best known work.  I think "Rhymes & Reasons" is her best.  It's certainly my favorite.  "Music" is also excellent.  "Thoroughbred" tries hard...perhaps too hard, and "Jazzman" is a real stretch.  Be even with those codicils(sp?) there's something to admire on just about every album (or whatever they're calling them these days).

Also, look into Cat Stevens when he was still Cat Stevens.  As you can tell, I'm fond of the folk/rock/pop genre.  That's the music with which I learned to play guitar, so it holds a special place in my heart.  All thoses C, D, E, F, G & A chords that made making music so easy!

After that, I got into the dance/house music craze, but I'm really fortunate that my parents instilled in all of us a true love of all music (exceptions: acid &/or punk rock, gangsta rap and opera, but that's just me...)

 

There's a thin line...still...

Not2Taem's picture

An everlasting vision

I love tapestry!

Meffle's picture

Tapestry is a great work!

I'm of the opinion, however, that it's not her best work.  The orchestration and arrangements on R&R are far more ambitious and well delivered than on Tapestry.  Lyrically, both R&R and Music  are more intense and insightful than Tapestry.

Yes, Smackwater Jack, You've got a Friend, I Feel the Earth Move, etc are all great.  But compare them to Brother, Brother, The First Day in August, Back to California, even Weekday Morning (from Wraparound Joy).

To say nothing of her pre-Tapestry work with R&B and girl groups.  She penned My Boyfriend's Back, Up On The Roof, The Locomotion, Oh No, Not my Baby and countless others.

I just wish folks would look beyond Tapestry when it comes to Carole King.

A good overview work is her "Living Room" collection, but if you listen to that, go back to the original recordings.  Like Kel, I'm not a big fan of live recordings (or reality TV, for that matter).  But she does this medly of some of her earlier work.  If you know music of the late 50s early 60s, you'll be blown away by all she's written.

 

JMHO

There's a thin line...still...