Tag Archives: music mondays

Music Mondays: “Superwoman” by Alicia Keys

I’m back (momentarily) with Music Mondays. And today I just wanted to share this one from several years ago by Alicia Keys. “Superwoman”. Hmmmm, makes me wanna write a story. Enjoy. Bon appetit.

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Music Mondays: Talkdemonic and Ryan Avery (Chance’s End)

Let me be the first to say I’m not a fan of anything electronic or synthetic when it comes to music. But of course, there are always exceptions.

Especially when you can put a classical instrument as the centerpiece to synth beats. This is, by no means, my endorsement of electronica or synth music. I am simply saying there are exceptions to almost every rule.

And this is what Ryan Avery does with his music and particularly this song:

“Diamond in Disguise” by Ryan Avery (aka Chance’s End)

Likewise, the group Talkdemonic (yeah, I’m not a fan of the name either but the music is genuinely good) does something very similar. Although I’d say there’s is a little less synth and a little more modern instruments mixed with classical.

“Final Russian” by Talkdemonic:

Remember when I said I’d never post Rebeccah Black or Lady Gaga? Yeah, because I simply don’t value their music in the least bit for any reason. Call me old fashioned but I like real music that is at least partially made from pure talent and musical knowledge. The kind that makes ridiculous lyrics like the afformentioned obsolete because the music speaks for itself. And don’t get me wrong, I have NOTHING against lyrics… as long as they’re good. But nowadays lyrics just aren’t good the majority of the time. And those are just two of a multitude of examples.

If you haven’t already noticed by now, I’m a sucker for music made from classical insturments (Break of Reality and Yoshida Brothers). I guess I am old-fashioned. Oh well, take it or leave it. This music definitely doens’t need me to speak for it. Enjoy.

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Music Mondays: Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

One of my all-time favorite songs. And that’s saying a lot given my affinity for music.

Oh, Lord Please don’t let me be misunderstood. The trumpet and the Spanish guitar give it away as a Mexican tribute. I LOVE Mexican music and that flowing, yet quick Spanish guitar that sustains the rhythm of songs like:

“Cancion del Mariachi” by Antonio Banderas in the film “Desperado”. It’s extremely complex and hard to do. If you’ve ever even attempted to play the guitar, you know.

f you listen closely to the beginning of “Cancion del Mariachi” in Robert Rodriguez’s film “Desperado”, you;” notice an eery similarity to the beginning of  “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” by Nancy Sinatra in the Quentin Tarantino film “Kill Bill, Vol. 1”. Not a coincidence at all, I think.

But anyway, back to my original post, I particularly love Nina Simone’s version of this song. And this, by John Legend:

Just some food for your soul. Bon appetit.

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Music Mondays: Love Potion #9

If you’re old enough, you may remember when this song came out. For those of us not born in that era, we have to rely on youtube to be exposed to it. I guess technology is good for SOME things.

Originally, “Love Potion No. 9” was written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1959 and performed by The Clovers that same year. So here is The Clovers version:

The song has been covered many times over the years by the likes of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Ronnie Dio and the Prophets, Hurriganes (yes, that’s spelled correctly), The Nylons, Alvin and the Chipmunks and even The Alley Cats.

I know, those are some blockbuster names. But have no fear, it was also covered by Neil Diamond, Robert Plant, and AC/DC a few names that should be very familiar to everybody, whether you care for them or not (I could really only care less about Robert Plant, to be honest).

I could post every version of the song on here, but nobody really wants to listen to several dozen renditions of the same song. So I’ll just leave you with my personal favorite, another early R&B group called The Coasters:

Now isn’t that special? Actually, I think it musically captures the essence of the lyrics. And it also reminds me of Margo.

Here’s to Margo and Love Potion No. 9. Enjoy.

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Music Mondays: Yoshida Brothers

I did it again! I discovered somebody. And wouldn’t you know, the Japanese can make some pretty incredible music with traditional Japanese instruments.

This latest discovery (thought they’re at least a year and change old in my discovery) is the Yoshida Brothers who hail from the island of Hokkaido in Japan (yes, where Sapporo beer is from, double score!).

They use only a traditional Japanese instrument called the shamisen which is akin to the guitar or sitar but different. But spellt different. It’s a three stringed instrument with a neck to finger and a plucking instrument that looks like a large comb called a bachi (similar to the type that’s used to bang the large taiko drums of Japan). It has a higher pitch and less of a range than a guitar but is no less enjoyable to listen to.

And these guys play it so incredibly well that you don’t even care what it is that’s making the music, just that it sounds so good. Of course, they throw in some electronic and synth sounds to accompany their shamisen but it’s really about that composition and instrumental play that’s at the heart of it all. Here’s one song of theirs:

Yoshida Brothers, “Storm”

And not unlike Break of Reality, they have done a cover of famous rock songs. This one is their version of Radiohead’s “National Anthem”:

Yoshida Brothers, “National Anthem”:

And if you ask me, they outdid the original. Pure musical genius.

I mentioned that the shamisen (sometimes samisen or as a suffix -jamisen) is like a guitar. But really, it’s a lot more like a banjo. If you don’t believe me, here’s the proof that it can transcend cultures and once again be played for the very same music banjos were once known… yes, you got it: blues

Yoshida Brothers, “Overland Blues”:

And here they are, stripped down to the mostly bare essentials:

Yoshida Brothers, “Akai Tori/Red Bird”:

And even further down to the most bare essence of just the shamisen:

Yoshida Brothers, “Blooming (Live performance)”:

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I want to write my “House of the Rising Sun” story now…

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Music Mondays: Break of Reality

I have discovered something truly awesome. Well, actually, I didn’t discover it. I found it long after it already existed. And many people have known about it before me. I figure if Columbus can claim discovery, so can I.

And what is ‘it’ you ask? Break of Reality. No, it’s not a new illicit drug. If it was, I guarantee I wouldn’t be writing this right now. At least not here or now. Maybe on Tralfamador where I’d be sitting in a zoo with b-movie star Montana Wildhack discussing the intricacies of space-time and how it is as it always was and ever will be with the native Tralfamadorians. Reading that actually does sound like I’ve been partaking in illicit drugs. I assure you, it’s a reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse V.

No. What I discovered called Break of Reality is only the best cello rock cover band you’ve never heard of.

Before you snub your nose at ‘cello rock’ and ‘cover band’, hear me out. Or rather, hear them out:

I told you they were truly awesome! What’s even more awesomer is that these guys make music that’s conducive to writing. In fact, their music is the centerpiece musical muse to a new project I’m working on called “No Man’s Land (or Salt of the Earth)”.

More specifically, this song:

And this one:

These two songs are where I’ve derived a ton of inspiration for writing “No Man’s Land”. But that’s about all I got say about that. For now. I just wanted to share my Break of Reality with y’all.

Okay, that is all. You can go now. Thanks. And enjoy.

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Music Mondays: The Beatles Poetry in Music

I’m not a huge fan of The Beatles, especially their more pop sounding stuff and particularly not their acid-induced gibberish they produced and called music.

However, I can’t discount their contribution to music as a whole and there are certainly some gems within their hundreds of songs they recorded. I’m especially keen on their more poetic side.

And I’ll admit that even that aspect of their music is pretty extensive.

I’ve picked a few of my favorite Beatles songs to share with a more poetic feel.

First: Eleanor Rigby (Look At All the Lonely People)

And another beautiful lyric they created: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Honestly, I never even cared for The Beatles until I watched the movie “Across the Universe”, a musical set entirely to Beatles music. I think some of the remakes of their songs outdid the originals, particularly While My Guitar Gently Weeps, sung in this version by Martin Luther McCoy and Jim Sturgess.

This version just has too much soul to not mention.

And while I’m at it, I have to throw in another favorite version of a favorite Beatles song of mine, again from the Across the Universe soundtrack. This version of Let it Be is so gospel-inspired it’s hard not to want to get up and clap and dance to it. It’s sung by Carol Woods and a young Timothy T. Mitch:

A little music for your soul. Enjoy.

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