Song of the Day – “New Music” Wednesday – “Hell Broke Luce” – Tom Waits

I usually post songs that show off the whiskey-soaked softer side of Tom Waits’ writing. But his cracked voice can also be used in the service of some brutal and hellish songs as well, as is the case here. This anti-war song is perfect for a Halloween Song of the Day entry.

A lovely, nightmarish video is accompanied by some NSFW lyrics on this number from last year’s Bad as Me.

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Song of the Day – “Name’s the same” Tuesday – “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”

Gerry and the Pacemakers

It’s more common for songs with shorter titles to show up on “Name’s the Same” Tuesday, but about 50 years ago two artists performed different songs with this long name.

Gerry and the Pacemakers, who actually kept pace with the Beatles for a short time, lead off with Gerry Marsden’s 1964 classic that was their first song to hit it big in the States. They were done two short years later, never evolving their sound as the Beatles did.

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Ray Charles

In 1959 Ray Charles recorded a Joe Greene song of the same name, a jazzy standard that, while not as famous as the Gerry and the Pacemakers song, still holds its own.

Song of the Day – “Every Word Means No” – Let’s Active

Mitch Easter and Don Dixon were the procuding team that brought us the lovely, murky sound of R.E.M.’s Murmur and Reckoning. I’ve featured Don Dixon several times, and now it’s time to bring you my favorite song from Mitch Easter.

Let’s Active was active in the ‘80s, bringing more southern jangle pop to the public. The earliest incarnation of the band, featured in the video, was unusual in that the rhythm section was female, while the guitarist/vocalist was male. Sara Romweber on drums and Faye Hunter on bass both do a stellar job on this track from their debut EP, afoot.

Song of the Day – “The Lonely Bull” – Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

This song from 1962 obviously was cross-influenced (meaning they influenced each other) by Ennio Morricone’s seminal “spaghetti-western” soundtracks.

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’ instrumental hits were everywhere in the ‘60s, but Alpert’s ability to recognize great talent was more influential: he was the “A” in A&M records.

Check out the insane zoom at the beginning of the video! Great camera work from a helicopter.

Song of the Day – “The Memphis Train” – Rufus Thomas

Let’s get on board the Memphis Train with Rufus Thomas and all those great backing musicians on the Stax label. Thomas was a fun-loving guy who taught us to do the Funky Chicken back in the early ‘70s, and he continued to give audiences a great time until his passing in 2001.

Sho’ ‘nuff it’s the Memphis Train!

Song of the Day – “Happy Hour” – The Housemartins

It’s Friday, and time for happy hour again!

Bouncy songs with biting lyrics have always been the theme of Paul Heaton, whether in groups like the Housemartins and the Beautiful South, or in his solo work. This lead-off track from the Housemartins’ debut, London 0 Hull 4, set the tone for his career.

Song of the Day – “On Broadway” – George Benson

George Benson is a fine jazz guitarist who has achieved some success crossing over into the R&B charts. This Mann/Weil song was originally recorded by the Drifters, but this stellar live performance remains the standard.

It was featured on the soundtrack to the Bob Fosse film All That Jazz, one of my favorites.