After Over 40 Years, I Want You Back!

Lake Street Dive recently covered the Jackson Five’s debut major label single “I Want You Back”.   The J5 released it in 1969, and it went to the top of the singles chart in January 1970.  Lake Street Dive has been getting buzz from an eclectic set of directions including reviews in the Wall Street Journal, an appearance on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” and sets at SXSW.  Fronted by jazz singer Rachael Price, their sound is as eclectic as their buzz.

Enjoy the laid back Lake Street Dive cover and the historic original.

Of course, Lake Street Dive isn’t the first band to cover this song. Here are some other great renditions from KT Tunstall (showing that she can use the live loop), and Graham Parker knocking it out old-style with The Rumour in 1979.

Buy Music

Roots Rock Lives! – Suggestions from All Around

Bluesy roots rock is alive and well, with plenty of soulful, raspy voices, guitars of all sorts, and lyrics about heartbreak and women.

A reader suggestion (thanks, Pete!) leads us to JJ Grey from Jacksonville, Florida, recently proclaimed “The Swami of Swamp Rock” in this article from Oxford American magazine. Here is his band, JJ Grey and Mofro, performing “99 Shades of Crazy” from the April 2013 CD “This River”,

Music blog pH balanced, posted news of Amos Lee’s upcoming release, “Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song”, and here’s a live performance of “The Man Who Wants You” from that CD. If you check out more of Lee’s material, you’ll see it generally runs in a softer vein that this track.

While JJ and Amos have solid followings, The Tedeschi Trucks Band is roots rock royalty. Singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi opened for acts ranging from B.B. King to Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones early in her career. Her husband, Derek Trucks (nephew of Butch Trucks from the original Allman Brothers Band) was a child prodigy who played guitar with his uncle’s band and is now perhaps the best known slide guitar player working. The Tedeschi Trucks Band’s first album “Revelator” won the 2012 Grammy for Best Blues Album, and their second release “Made Up Mind” is just out.  Here’s the title track.

Buy Music

Janelle Monae Delivers Some End of Summer Fun and Recalls Great Girl Rock

As we mark the first day of fall, Janelle Monae hands us a last bit of summer fun with “Dance Apocalyptic” from her recently released “The Electric Lady”. How can you not love a song with a lyric “chalang-alang-alang”?  In the video, Janelle departs from her signature tuxedo style and lets her hair down literally and figuratively.

The song can’t help but recall infectious tunes given to us over the years by other talented women.  Here are some bands and songs that come to mind listening to “Dance Apocalyptic” – and they may have inspired Monae’s white-on-white motif: Veruca Salt in the 90s, The Bangles in the 80s, and the B-52’s in the 70s (delivering the other party song we’ll certainly play at the Apocalypse).

Buy Music

Holland’s Bo Saris – Recalling the Soulful Falsettos of Motown

Our blogger friends at Read and Hear surfaced an artist with a retro-soul-falsetto style that recalls Smokey Robinson and Curtis Mayfield. You can read a bit about Bo Saris in this Billboard article. Like many “new” artists, he’s been working and recording for years.

You won’t see Bo in the video for “She’s on Fire”; instead you’ll see clips of Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield and Bo’s library of stripper movies.  “The Addict” was released recently, and this one hides Bo behind clever animation.

To see Bo without any artiface, visual or otherwise, watch this live, unplugged performance of “Tender”.

Since Bo paid homage to Curtis Mayfield in the video for “She’s on Fire”, let’s do the same, and then let’s listen to Smokey Robinson and Daryl Hall having fun with a Miracles classic.

Buy Music:

Danny Gatton – The Greatest Guitarist You Never Heard Of

Been waiting to write this post all year.  September 4th was the birthday of the late Danny Gatton – the best guitarist the world never heard of and one of the best guitarists of all time, period.  Nicknamed “The Humbler”, Gatton combined dazzling technique with his own creative fusion of rockabilly, blues, jazz, country and a bit of everything else.

He grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and spent much of his life playing close to home. His aversion to touring may have been a major factor in his lack of commercial success, but he was a musician’s musician. Legend and innovator Les Paul said of Gatton, “He could do anything the other guy could do … and do it better”.

“Funhouse” from his 1993 album “Cruisin’ Deuces” shows Gatton’s massive technique delivering tasty solos that don’t easily fit into any genre.

Gatton’s closest brush with mainstream fame may have been his Grammy nomination for the track “Elmira Street Boogie” which showed off his bluesy, rockabilly side.

For those who got to see Danny play live, a favorite stage trick was his slide work with a beer bottle. His solo starts around 4:20 in this video, and don’t worry about the beer dripping from the fretboard of his Fender Telecaster – at around 5:30 he cleans it up!