Song of the Week – Cover Girl & You Might Say, Browning Bryant


This weekend marks the 8th Anniversary of the SotW. Thank you for you continued support and feedback. It inspires me to keep on keepin’ on.

Back in November, shortly after Allen Toussaint died, music industry critic Bob Lefsetz dedicated one of his blog posts to his favorite Toussaint covers. It was a comprehensive list of great recordings.

A few weeks ago he posted this response by the great Al Kooper from his “mailbag.”

Subject: Re: Re-Allen Toussaint

Missa Lefsetz

I was kinda surprised that no one mentioned a rare WB album that Allen produced in the early 70’s self-titled it was called “Browning Bryant”. A young white kid who totally understood New Orleans musica. The opening track has always been one of my fave AT compositions. I told him so when we met at a concert in NYC where each act played just one Dylan song. It was about 8 years ago. I told him I loved that Browning Bryant track he wrote called “Cover Girl.” I wondered if he still recalled it. He started singing it to me and I joined in and we laughed. That was one of my favorite bump-into-somebody-you-cherish moments. Have a listen – Ya might like it.

Since I’d never heard of Browning Bryant I immediately did some research, besides listening to “Cover Girl.”

I learned that “Cover Girl” wasn’t the only Toussaint song Bryant recorded. I fact, his 1974 album had 11 cuts – 3 originals and 8 written by Toussaint! Further, the album was produced by Toussaint and used the New Orleans based R&B group The Meters as Bryant’s backing band.

Also of note, the 6’5” Bryant was only 15 years old when the recording began. I was shocked that I missed an album of this quality for all these years, so I’m presenting a second song this week – “You Might Say.”

If you liked Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees, this will be right up your alley.

Thanks to Al Kooper for exposing me (us) to this great, obscure artist and album. But this should come as no surprise since Koop has been doing this for a long time. In fact I’d recommend you check out his podcasts called New Music for Old People.

Enjoy… until next week.

OBIT: Maurice White (1941-2016)

Once again a significant figure in the pop music world has passed to another plane, this time in the form of Maurice White, leader, songwriter, and force behind the dynamic Earth, Wind, and Fire.

My first real job out of college was spent as a social worker for the Housing Authority of the City of Oakland. That meant managing public housing units, and that meant my day was indeed spent on some of the city’s tougher ghettos.

I did always get on just fine in such circumstances, and though I was indeed into 801, Springsteen, and then punk when it arrived, I never backed away from soul, starting from the earliest days of Motown.

EWF, or “the elements” as my cool work mates referred to the group, were certainly a band at the time I really did like, but I probably would not have been exposed to White and crew in the same way had I not held my job.

But, my workmates turned me onto their Way of the World album, that featured the great Shining Star. And, though Shining Star is a killer cut, I chose the title track as my tribute to White, who passed this morning after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease at 74.

Way of the World is a love song that indeed features White’s strong melody and lyrical skills, his band at full skill, and this particular cut has a killer guitar solo, something we all love.

EWF are still the elements, and White is eternal. Sigh.


Afternoon Snack: My Morning Jacket “I’m Amazed”

When I was going through yesterday’s mix disc that had Avi Buffalo on it, I also ran into a fave for a while in My Morning Jacket, Jim James’ band out of Kentucky.

I like them a lot–at least I love a pair of their albums, Z, and Evil Urges–which were in regular rotation and recommendations from Mojo, as was Avi Buffalo.

I will keep it short as the video pretty much speaks for itself, but how can you not love the pop, harmonies, reverb, and cranked guitar?


Afternoon Snack: Avi Buffalo, “What’s In It For Me?”

Back in the days before the market crash and stuff like that, I subscribed to Mojo Magazine. But, it got expensive and well, print is dead, so after six or seven years I let it drop.

I do sort of miss the rag even though I was forever behind in reading and remotely staying current with the what was new, for Mojo was great for that in my view.

I found Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, and Avi Buffalo, among others via Mojo, which made it a lot easier to identify newer bands I might find challenging.

I had pretty much forgotten about Avi Buffalo till last week, when I accidentally wiped out the albums I had stored on my car playlist. So, in the process of rebuilding, I found a mix disc I burned with What’s In It For Me.

Granted, this tune is nothing earth shattering, but it is tuneful pop with really fine guitar interplay and pretty good drums. The bass player plays a Hofner, but he is the weak link.

Anyway, for what it is worth.


The Tar Babies: A Sampler

The guitarist from the Tar Babies, Bucky Pope,  has a new album out with a band called Negative Example. Ben Ratliff tells me so in the NY Times. He calls Pope “one of the great non virtuosic guitarists of the era.”

Here’s a Tar Babies song,  Rockhead.

Here’s another tune.

Well, actually, it’s hard to tell who are Tar Babies and who are other bands called Tar Babies. But this is their first release, a 12″ put together from sessions produced by Butch Vig and Bob Mould. It’s a much heavier headbanging sound than the funk-inflected tunes above.

Tar Babies were from Madison Wisconsin in the 1980s. They reformed in the 90s for an elpee, and then played some more in the Aughts as the Bar Tabbies.

The only Negative Example album I could find on YouTube was this cover of the Beach Boys Disney Girls.


Political Song with no illusions

I can’t get away from all this political bullshit – yeah, “both” “sides”  – so might as well join in. I represent the Reverb Party. I might have posted this before but I love it because it rocks LAMF AND it’s pop. And the words that I can understand are great. I don’t want to understand all the words at first, it’s better when you discover them gradually. It took me 25 years to figure out that Jagger was saying “burns like a red coal carpet” in the 2nd verse of Gimme Shelter. I never looked at a lyric sheet, which are often wrong anyway, especially with the Stones and others who are hard to decipher.


Signe Toly Anderson Died the Same Day as Paul Kantner

Screenshot 2016-02-01 14.35.25The chick singer on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Signe Toly Anderson, died the same day as Paul Kanter.

ABC News has a nice story about her. She left the band because it was too hard to tour with a baby, and she had a baby.

Grace Slick joined the band and brought fire and confrontation and hit songs.

But Anderson sung on this one from Takes Off!

Mastodon, Blood and Thunder

I don’t listen to that much metal, of any type. It would have suited my 15 year old head, but didn’t exist them (as far as I knew). Deep Purple filled that space a year or two later.

So, I saw the movie the Big Short today. It’s a fun and energetic telling of the story of the 2008 worldwide financial meltdown, with goofy period costumes (a la American Hustle), and lots of music, a la Scorcese and his imitators.

It also has Christian Bale playing an autistic genius MD with a thirst for metal. And a need to drum when things go bad. Almost all the writing and acting in the movie is on the mark, but Bale (as he often does) is above and beyond, not only chewing the scenery but making you (me) believe it needs to be chewed. That is, unostentatious ostentation.

I don’t listen to much metal, but one of the metal bands I like is called Mastodon, and they’re in the movie. Which is a good excuse to revisit this one. (And go see the movie. It is actually fun, and if you aren’t mad about the financial industry and government, you should be, with blood and thunder!)