Category Archives: Arrangements and Sounds

Infectious: The Isley Brothers, “Twist And Shout” (1962)

Chubby Checker spreading the Twist [Post for a pandemic.] Hook experience is “infectious,” we so often say, because musical content can easily enter your system (getting past the membranes that sheathe your old preferences) and change your state while changing … Continue reading

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The Octave that Reaches: Roy Orbison,”Blue Bayou”(1963)

We talk about singers reaching high notes. Why is that of any particular interest? Is singing high just a random talent, like whistling? Perhaps there’s more to it. Physically a higher-frequency wave is a more energetic wave, other things being … Continue reading

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Inventor of Styles: Jorma Kaukonen on Baxter’s (1967)

Jorma Kaukonen, the lead guitarist for Jefferson Airplane, developed not one but three original lead guitar styles in the Airplane’s prime recording period of 1966-1968, one for each great album: the reverby Surrealistic Pillow, epitomized by the relentlessly note-bending solo at … Continue reading

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The Combination: Baby Animals, “Painless” (1991)

In the past I’ve lamented the quick passing of a moment of peak interest in a song. Like on an actual mountain peak, you have to face the fact that there’s scarcely anything there and 99% of your time is … Continue reading

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When Did Pat Most Get to You? The Smithereens, “Listen To Me Girl” & “I Don’t Want To Lose You” (1986)

For Pat DiNizio (the sunglasses) 1955-2017 When did Pat most get to you? (Of course we’re talking about the band, not Pat alone.) I bet some would answer, “The whole somber mass of Green Thoughts” (1988). I feel like that too. But … Continue reading

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Comfortably Together: Traffic, “Heaven Is In Your Mind” (1967)

A December 1967 release: We’re sitting in Traffic’s living room and digging how the cozy ensemble isn’t trying too hard. The track speaks to us calmly and confidently like a jewel of a demo. Jim Capaldi’s unusual yet perfectly sensible … Continue reading

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The Phantom of the You: The Young Rascals, “How Can I Be Sure” (1967)

What an unexpected song! As emblematic of the whole wonder, I admire certain unexpected low notes in the melody. They come at these places in the first verse: Whenever I, whenever I am away from you (0:28) I want to die, … Continue reading

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Just Stay There: Beck, “Dreams” (2015)

This just in from Beck, as re-issued on his 2017 album Colors: a wonderful simple chord trick in “Dreams.“ The song’s main chord progression is stated right away (this forms the reference baseline for the trick that comes later). It’s … Continue reading

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Stepping Up: The Association, “Windy” (1967)

Nothing in 1967 affected me more strongly, more transportingly, than “Windy.” It’s true that the tune does not come out of the gate like three-weeks-at-#1 material. It’s stiff and slow (bouncy is what they’re going for), and the bass riff … Continue reading

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Scary: The Who, “I Can See For Miles” (1967)

Next in my series of fifty-years-late appreciations of music in the year of wonders, I turn to a September 1967 (U.S.) release. Some tracks burst into your life sounding unnervingly good in a deeply unfamiliar way. (The uniqueness makes this … Continue reading

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