Alex Wise’s notes on the music from Sea Change episodes:
3/12/13 (Vote Solar’s Adam Browning: A Shining Example):
Gene Ammons with Jack McDuff – “Twisting The Jug”: A 1961 Prestige recording from one of the twentieth century’s finest saxophonists, Ammons recorded this in between lengthy prison sentences for narcotics. One of America’s most treasured musicians was incarcerated from 1958-60 and then from 1962-69. And this was before the “war on drugs.”
Ray Charles – “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'”: Off the 1959 album, The Genius of Ray Charles, Ray’s voice really shines on this track.
Don Reno and Bill Harrell – “Keep On The Sunny Side”: All the cool banjo players dig them some Don Reno.
3/5/13 (Not Business As Usual: Bill Reed & Rob Deitz):
The Meters – “Pungee”: New Orleans funk = The Meters. A masterful instrumental from their classic second album, Look-Ka Py Py.
Alex Wise – “Big Poppa”: Heyyy… this guy’s good. The twisted offspring of the Buena Vista Social Club and Flight of the Conchords.
The CBS Trumpeteers – “I’ll Fly Away”: The only gospel quartet I know of that named itself after a broadcasting company.
2/26/13 (Gone Fishin’: Australis Aquaculture CEO Josh Goldman):
Leo Kottke – “The Fisherman”: An appropriately titled track by fingerpicking wizard Kottke.
Louis Armstrong & Bing Crosby – “Gone Fishin'”: A popular tune later covered by Pat Boone, Gene Autrey and others, this was the original recording from 1951.
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton – “The Fish”: A classic by the growling blues woman best known for her cover of “Hound Dog”.
2/19/13 (Rock & Droll: Chuck Leavell and “Rep.” Jack Kimble):
Allman Bros. Band – “Jessica”: A Dickey Betts classic highlighting Chuck Leavell’s considerable keyboard talents
Eric Clapton – “Old Love”: One of Chuck’s favorite solos
Rolling Stones – “Honky Tonk Women”: Another fine Chuck Leavell solo from the Tokyo Dome March 12th, 1995
2/12/13 (Robert Boyd on the Hydrogen Economy):
Curtis Mayfield – “Can’t Say Nothin'”: A slinky groove to open the show by an impresario of funk.
Monsters of Folk – “Baby Boomer”: My favorite tune of an interesting album by this “indie supergroup” consisting of members Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, and M. Ward.
Dolly Parton – “She Drives Me Crazy”: If you can’t appreciate Dolly Parton covering the Fine Young Cannibals, I don’t know what to tell you.
2/5/13 (Zac Unger: Looking Polar Bear Endangerment In The Eye):
Mike Marshall – “Little Bears”: A fine little acoustic ditty by the very talented mandolinist and multi-instrumentalist Marshall.
Randy Newman – “Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear”: This song was covered by a bunch of folks but most importantly was featured in the first episode of The Muppet Show.
Lyle Lovett – “Bears”: From Lovett’s album of cover tunes titled Step Inside This House, “Bears” was penned by 2007 Texas poet laureate, Steven Fromholz.
1/29/13 (Strange and Rare Birds: Ralph Steadman & Ceri Levy):
Rolling Stones – “100 Years Ago”: Some fine work by Nicky Hopkins (keys) and Mick Taylor (guitar) on this under-appreciated Stones classic off of Goats Head Soup.
John Coltrane – “Tunji”: A dark, simple modal classic by the master.
Alistair Anderson – “In Trim Mount Hooley Leamington Bank”: I know nothing about this artist or song but it sounds like something that might be playing in the background of a British pub while Ralph Steadman is waxing poetically about Hunter S. Thompson.
1/22/13 (Teeny Weeny Technology: Heather Millar on Nanoparticles):
Rodney Jones – “Groove Bone”: A funky instrumental from Maceo Parker’s former guitarist.
Mose Allison – “Molecular Structure”: One of my favorite Mose tunes. Brilliant lyrics.
The Police – “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”: A great acoustic version I came across. I have no idea where and when it was recorded and would love a better recording of it.
Bobby Hebb – “Sunny”: One of the most covered pop songs, Hebb wrote the song right after the day JFK was assassinated and Hebb’s older brother Harold was stabbed to death outside a Nashville nightclub (h/t Wikipedia).
1/15/13 (Get The Lead Out: Kevin Drum & Sarah Hess):
Stevie Ray Vaughan – “Chitlins Con Carne”: A great minor blues cover of the Kenny Burrell classic.
Eric Clapton – “Got To Get Better In A Little While”: From the Sandy Relief benefit concert (Madison Square Garden, NYC 12/12/12).
Led Zeppelin – “Gallows Pole”: Get the “lead” out, “Led Zeppelin” – get it?
1/8/13 (Tom Laskawy: Food Monopolies and the Antitrust Legacy of Robert Bork):
James Brown – “Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose”: A funk classic written by the Godfather of Soul’s manager, Charles Bobbitt.
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens”: A great cover of a tune originally made famous by Louis Jordan, if you don’t know The Gatemouth, spend some time discovering him. A Texas-based jazz/blues guitarist and fiddler, Gatemouth Brown, with his trademark pipe in mouth had a lengthy and storied career. This track is off what I consider to be his finest album, “Pressure Cooker.”
Janis Joplin – “Me & Bobby McGee”: A more stripped-down version of Janis’s cover of the Kris Kristofferson classic. It was recently released as part of the 2-CD set, “The Pearl Sessions.”
1/1/13 (Tim Faulkner: On the “Rhode” to Progress):
Jimi Hendrix – “Auld Lang Syne”: From the Live at The Fillmore release, recorded New Year’s Eve, 1969-70, a version that might have just blown Guy Lombardo’s mind.
Erin McKeown – ““Rhode Island is Famous for You”: Not a lot of classic Rhode Island-oriented songs out there but here’s a cover by one of my sister Catherine’s favorite artists. The song is originally from a 1948 musical revue called “Inside U.S.A.”
Jimmy Cliff – “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”: A fine sentiment from Mr. Cliff off his 1969 album originally titled “Jimmy Cliff” (the album was retitled “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” after the track of that name was released as a U.S. single).
12/18/12 (Joe Romm: Walking in our Footprints):
Brian Stoltz – “God, Guns & Money”: This is a track which Brian sent me a few years back. Not sure how much airplay it got but it features some of New Orleans’s finest musicians (Brian has played guitar for Bob Dylan, The Neville Bros, Dr. John and The Funky Meters over the years). It’s got a great groove and the words seemed quite appropriate in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Freddie King – “Same Old Blues”: A minor blues masterpiece by Eric Clapton’s favorite guitarist. Just a fantastic arrangement.
The English Beat – “End Of The Party”: A hidden gem of a track by the popular 80’s ska band. I always liked this band as a kid (saw them at Yale’s Woolsey Hall with REM opening in eigth grade!) but didn’t realize how much I dug this song until fairly recently.
12/11/12 (Richard Heinberg – “The Quest For Truth”):
The Who – “Sparks”: I had just finished the new Pete Townshend memoir, Who I Am, and was in a Who kind of a mood, I guess. You certainly can’t go wrong with this classic instrumental from “Tommy.”
The Meters – “Liar”: A much funkier cover than the Blood, Sweat & Tears original.
Shuggie Otis – “Inspiration Information”: Not as big a hit as Shug’s “Strawberry Letter 23” but a classic nonetheless. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings do a pretty nice cover of this track as well.
12/4/12 (Coping With The Rising Tides):
Tommy Flanagan – “Sea Changes”: An appropriately titled modern composition by the legendary bebop pianist
Alvin Youngblood Hart – “Deep Blue Sea”: Blues revivalist Hart is not to be missed live
Bob Dylan – “Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands”: Clocking in at eleven plus minutes, this is a Dylan opus from Blonde On Blonde that you don’t often hear on the radio.
11/27/12 (Driving Change In What We Drive):
The Dee Felice Trio– “There Was A Chance”: A funky little nugget from the compilation “James Brown’s Funky People, Vol. 3”
David Lindley – “Mercury Blues”: This blues standardcover turned out to be one of the most popular tunes by this slide master
Grateful Dead – “The Wheel”: A taste of the classic 6-14-76 Beacon Theater concert
11/20/12 (Frederick Kaufman – The Fix Is In):
David Grisman Quintet– “Blue Sky Bop”: This is what dawg music is all about.
Josh White – “One Meat Ball”: A big ’40’s hit by the blues legend and civil rights activist, who, along with Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, was the first folk/blues musician to be honored on a US postage stamp.
“Weird Al” Yankovic – “Eat It”: I just couldn’t resist…
11/6/12 (Neela Banerjee on Hurricane Sandy):
Medeski, Martin & Wood – “F**k You Guys”: A fine groove but I’m partial to the song’s title more than anything.
Bruce Springsteen – “Fourth Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” : Seemed appropriate in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the damage it did in particular to the Jersey coastline.
Rusty Kershaw – “Future Song”: A family friend who passed away about a decade ago. Rusty was a very talented National Steel-picking bluesman who co-penned the New Orleans classic “This Is Rock n’ Roll” with his brother Doug and played in Neil Young’s Stray Gators. This track is from his last recording with the subdudes, “Now & Then“.
10/30/12 (GMO: Your Right To Know):
Mandrill – “Can You Get It”: Underrated deep funk masters of Brooklyn headed up by three brothers Wilson.
Louis Jordan – “Beans and Cornbread”: I remember the first time I heard this classic was in Spike Lee’s movie “Malcom X.” Have loved it ever since.
Alex Wise – “Gonna Give It Back To Nature”: A little ditty I wrote with my five year-old daughter about worms. Off of my new album, “Blurred”
Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo – “Happy Go Lucky”: The Bay Area slide and harp legends teamed up for this track.
10/23/12 (John Boesel on Fuel Efficiency Standardsl):
Grateful Dead – “Truckin’ Jam”: One of my favorite jams from “Europe ’72” – this version is from The Lyceum 5-26-72
Madeleine Peyroux – “Lonesome Road”: A Billie Holliday-inspired version from Peyroux’s album of mostly covers, “Careless Love”.
Glen Campbell – “Truck Driving Man”: As a kid, I always thought of Glen Campbell as the cheesy singer of “Rhinestone Cowboy,” but as an adult I discovered he was a killer guitarist – on both his own albums and as a session musician for countless others.
10/16/12 (Matt Wasson on the Myth of Clean Coal):
Antibalas – “Ari Degbe”: From the new release by this Brooklyn-based afrobeat band, formerly known as Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Van Morrison – “Domino”: One of Van the Man’s timeless classics
Bruce Springsteen – “Born In The USA”: Not one of my favorite Bruce tunes (or albums), but I really dig this acoustic solo version from the 1986 Bridge School benefit
10/9/12 (Steve Almond Pt. 2: On The United States of Irrationality):
Horace Silver – “Señor Blues”: A jazz standard from the classic 1957 Blue Note release, 6 Pieces of Silver
Boris & The Saltlicks – “Charles Mingus Bird”: I learned about Boris McCutcheon in Steve Almond’s Rock ‘n Roll Will Save Your Life
Bob Schneider – “Moon Song”: Another from the Almond archives