132. inner city blues (make me wanna holler)

“For all the suburban whiteness of my so-called tweens, at least the DJs at the local FM rock station were still allowed to be halfway cool. So you can bet they were digging deep into Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, which truly is one of the great †albums, every note, every sorrowful, soulful texture all flowing† together like one vastly complex song. So I’m sure I heard Inner City Blues†† when it was still pretty new, even if I wasn’t aware of it. Just part of the ongoing flow that was filling me in and filling me up with what was really going on† out there in that part of the world that wasn’t organized into easy suburban shapes.” (Philip Random)

Advertisements

175. living for the city

 

“I’m pretty sure Ray Charles was considered to be past his prime by 1975. And indeed the rest of this album, Renaissance, tends toward ballads of an over-produced nature, but damn if he doesn’t take Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City to church here. Which isn’t to say it’s superior to the original, just so righteously pumped up that angels can still be heard wailing. But are they laughing or crying?” (Philip Random)

RayCharles-1975(photo: Phil Stern)

422. loving cup

Second of two in a row from Side Two of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St. “The best side, I think. Or certainly the one I’ve listened to most over the ages. Some call it the country side, but I think roots is better, because it’s not all twang. In the case of Loving Cup, that means a piano driven sort of gospel groove that can’t help but celebrate all manner of wasted pleasures, like one of those parties that’s still going strong come noon the following day. So why stop now? I’d say it captures the decadent spirit of what went down at the mansion in the south of France through 1971, the Stones year in exile, but it was actually recorded in L.A. after all that. So let’s just say the spirit of it was still with them, finding its way out into the world.” (Philip Random)

RollingStones-1971-Nelcotte

430. love ritual

“The secret for me with the Reverend Al Green is generally to catch him when he’s in a less reverend phase. Which is definitely the case with Love Ritual, a track I originally discovered via a mid-90s remix. Which got me looking for the original vinyl, which was easy enough to find. And it was better. More emphasis on the vocals, and thus the soul, set in motion by the groove, but not bound by it.” (Philip Random)

ALgreen-1976

459. we can work it out

“In which a still quite young Stevie Wonder takes an entirely optimistic Beatles nugget straight to church and sort of saves us all. I suppose I may have heard it at the time (1970) percolating away in some pop radio background (while riots were no doubt tearing sh** up not so very far away). But it would be the 1990s before it slotted into the regular pop summertime playlist – all goodness and light, with children playing, birds tweeting, only occasional explosions.” (Philip Random)

StevieWonder-1970-live

922. where the soul never dies

Delaney and Bonnie (Bramlett) and Friends (Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Duane Allman, among others) cut loose with exactly the kind of raw, unpolished sort of stuff you needed after a decade like the 1960s – so many young minds burned, souls stretched thin.  Not that I was on that particular track myself at the time. I wasn’t even twelve yet. But I’d get there eventually, crashlanding from my own weird and wild early adult adventures, and then somebody put on precisely the right album.” (Philip Random)

delaneybonniefriends