An Old-School Story (Four Great Songs)

How many good musical recordings have been made over the years? Man, coming up with an answer to that one is a tall, tall order. First of all, there are the millions upon millions of records you’d have to listen to. And then there’s this sticky point: Who’s to say what good is?

Still, I’m undeterred! I’ve placed the query on my TBDBIDBPL (To Be Determined Before I Die, But Probably Later) list, which now has 46,786 entries on it. I’ll take that list with me to my grave, where I intend to continue working on it. What, like I’ll have anything better to do?

Getting back to my questions: You know, some days you just plain luck out when it comes to hearing music that rings your bell just right, even within a really compact amount of time. That’s precisely what happened to me on a recent Saturday afternoon as I backed my car out of the driveway. The Hyundai, feeling parched, was pleading with me to inject some refined liquid down its maw. It was going on and on, making a big deal out of nothing. Hell, cars, like humans, sure as shit can be emotionally needy. “Yeah, yeah,” I said not so soothingly, “where do you think we’re headed?” And continued on my way to my favorite gas station.

The gas station is a measly 0.9 miles from my house. If I lived in a rural part of Pennsylvania, the trip to the station, by car, might take two minutes. But I live in suburban Philadelphia, which isn’t any better traffic-wise than living in just about any part of The City Of Brotherly Love itself. In my little town, traffic lights and stop signs abound. What’s more, a few blocks from my house are railroad tracks upon which passenger trains do their thing throughout much of the day. It’s not easy to avoid meeting railroad track gates in the down position. They seem to be down a whole, whole lot.

The point that I’m making, and it’s not exactly a genius observation, is that in our day and age it can take longer to get from Point A to Point B than you’d like. Normally I wouldn’t have been thrilled that my mini-trip to the gas station used up 10 minutes of my life, crawling along as I was on the first leg of the expedition, then coming to a total standstill at horizontal railroad track gates, then crawling along some more before pulling into the gas station.

But I wasn’t mad at all. In fact I was cheerful and loose as a goose, because I spent those 10 minutes bopping to four mighty fine songs. They came to me consecutively on Soul Town, a great station on SiriusXM satellite radio. It’s a good day when I Thank You (by Sam & Dave), First I Look At The Purse (The Contours), Bernadette (The Four Tops), and James Brown’s Hot Pants Part 1 enter your life. A very good day.

Now, I’ve decided not to devote much wordage to the beauty of these songs or to their artists. I figure that nearly everyone who reads my stories has heard these recordings any number of times and knows of their majesty. And if that’s not true for you, then you’ve got yourself some livin’ and learnin’ to do! The numbers are old-school classics (they came out between 1964 and 1971) and are guaranteed to get you reeling and rocking, which, generally speaking, are excellent ways to behave.

I listen to music of all different sorts from all different eras, but I never stray too far from the kind of fare that Soul Town broadcasts: soul, rhythm and blues, and funk. Funny thing is that I’ve gotten much deeper into these genres over the last eight or so years than ever before. I always liked them aplenty, but I’m a real nut about them now. Superb singing; fabulous arrangements; beats that’ll send you to the sky (and maybe to the chiropractor) if the tune is a heavy workout, or make your heart melt if it’s a ballad; and strong melodies. What more could you want? And yeah, I know that Hot Pants Part 1 isn’t blessed in the melody department, but that’s not what that tune’s all about. As James Brown says: One two, one two three, uh!!

So, get down while the getting down’s good, girls and boys. The four songs here are anything but of the ballad variety. Yeah, baby, I can see you, now you’ve got it, keep on going, c’mon, c’mon, oh yes you’re smokin’!

I’m seconds away from saying over and out, as this here is a piece whose main purpose, I suppose, is simple and clear: to set cyberspace a-tingling a bit with songs that have what it takes. You bet we’re lucky to live in a time when it’s oh so easy to bathe luxuriously in terrific music. Terrific music is all around us, only a click or a tap away.

Over and out.

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story. As always, sharing buttons are below. Gracias.)

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39 thoughts on “An Old-School Story (Four Great Songs)

  1. Glen available May 27, 2018 / 12:22 am

    James Brown (1933 – 2006) was definitely one of a kind.

    I fondly remember his song LIVING IN AMERICA that featured in the movie ROCKY 4 (1985).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Alyson May 27, 2018 / 5:05 am

    You are lucky to live in a city with such a rich musical heritage and radio stations to match. A dull car journey can certainly be uplifted if just the right tracks play – Can form pesky earworms for a week, but hopefully of the pleasureable variety.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 27, 2018 / 9:21 am

      Hi Alyson. Of the four songs I write about here, Bernadette has been playing in my head a bit. I hope it doesn’t become a full-blown ear worm!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post! My wife and I have been watching Twin Peaks: The Return on DVD and enjoyed hearing Otis Redding’s live version of I’ve Been Loving You Too Long in the soundtrack. I look forward to future posts about your TBDBIDBPL list, it sounds like a good one!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 27, 2018 / 9:23 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by here, Brad.
      Yeah, Otis Redding was great. I have a box set with all of his studio albums. Fabulous.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Joyce Hamilton May 27, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    As usual l always enjoy the clicks!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 27, 2018 / 6:19 pm

      Hi. Yeah, I always forget that YouTube videos sometimes are blocked in certain countries. It’s lousy that that happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aunt Beulah May 27, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    Four fine songs, indeed. I know all of them and have enjoyed them many times. They didn’t get me rocking and reeling today, but they did make me happy. Thanks, Neil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 28, 2018 / 12:19 am

      Evening, Janet. I mentioned to someone else who added their comments that Bernadette is in my head. What a great song. A true classic.

      Thanks for stopping by. Appreciated.

      Like

  6. Ann Coleman May 27, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    I was just thinking how lucky we are to have instant access to such good music! Remember the days when we had to hope our favorite song was played on the radio? Or that we had the money to buy the 45 version of it to play on our record machines? I guess in some ways, the good old days weren’t quite so good!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. viewfromoverthehill May 27, 2018 / 11:11 pm

    My goodness Neil: I’ll need plenty of time yet on this planet to learn all about your songs. As always, a good read. Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 28, 2018 / 12:25 am

      Hi Muriel. The amount of good music is overwhelming. And more and more is released every day.

      See ya. Many thanks for visiting my humble website!

      Like

  8. Cindy Frank May 28, 2018 / 9:02 am

    I love all your posts, Sir. But I think I love your music posts the best of all. Your passion and understanding truly shines through.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 28, 2018 / 12:23 pm

      Hello there, Diane. Otis was a young man when he died. And yet he made so much great music. He was a major talent.

      Like

  9. Isabelle May 28, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    I failed to upload the videos of I Thank You and Bernadette, Neil. The message says the uploading is not supported in my country. I managed, however, to watch the other two video clips. I could feel the spirit and energy, wish I could dance the sort of dance they were dancing in The Contours. The movement, wow! Thank you, Isabelle

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Fictionophile May 29, 2018 / 8:04 am

    There is nothing like a good and familiar tune to ease life’s doldrums. We find we seldom listen to CDs (of which we have hundreds) anymore. Streaming music is so easy and convenient.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 29, 2018 / 9:02 am

      Lynne, your opening sentence is right on the money. Many people would be lost if they didn’t have music to help ease their way through life.

      I appreciate your stopping by. See you —

      Liked by 1 person

  11. cincinnatibabyhead May 29, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    We have Symphony Sid, Jocko Henderson, Alan Freed ‘King of the Moondoggers”, Wolfman Jack, and Hyundai Neil the “Philly Groover”. Great stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 29, 2018 / 7:00 pm

      CB, this is the Philly Groover saying hello to you. I just got back from a great nature hike. I’m headed to the shower to wash up. See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Laurie Graves May 31, 2018 / 8:59 am

    You are absolutely right about the sheer bliss of having easy access to so much music.And you can’t go wrong with soul, rhythm and blues, and funk. Bring on the noise, bring on the funk!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. aprilswopegreene May 31, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    My husband introduced me to James Brown’s “Hot Pants,” and ever since I’ve secretly considered it our song 🙂 Thanks for bringing this tune back to my mind, Neil!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. alhenry June 4, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    “As James Brown says: One two, one two three, uh!!”

    I love your love of music, Neil. Music is oxygen made aural. Sam and Dave, the Four Tops, all great stuff. If you haven’t yet, you might want to check out “Motown, the Musical.” The music of course was TDF, and the story was fairly respectable (not always true for musicals IMO). Now I’m going to go listen to “My Girl.” “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day … “

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger June 4, 2018 / 2:31 pm

      Hi Amy. “My Girl” is a great song. Never get tired of it. Smokey Robinson co-wrote it. To me, he’s one of the finest songwriters of the last 50 years.
      Thanks a lot for making my day a soulful one. See ya —

      Liked by 1 person

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