1485. Just like perhaps too many other geeks, I have a Muxtape:
The theme is "Pretty Shinies that Won't Go 'way". Over my childhood and adulthood, single songs from groups have gotten under my skin and stayed there, as though my aesthetic sense were a crow spiriting bright shinies off to its cache. Also these are underrated album tracks that never got the fame I thought they deserved. They also have hooky, assertive bass lines and quirky tunes with obsessively-interesting motifs.
Here's the listing:
- Symphonic Soul, Henry Mancini, 1975. From Mancini's most "un-Mancini"-like album of the same name. This tune formed the sound basis for the brilliant KATU sign-off sequence This Is Oregon, which you can see if you go to For Portlanders Only here. If you don't, I weep for you. Seriously.
- Home and Dry, Gerry Rafferty, 1977. This was from Gerry's amazing City to City, the album that played #2 to Michael Jackson's Thriller's #1. Everyone knows the song with the Raphael Ravenscroft's sax intro, Baker Street, which was an instant classic. This quirky gem stood out from the Celtic/Folk/Pop of the rest of the album; Gerry was doing Howard Jones before HoJo even got started. One of the best songs ever done, and certainly about the most underrated.
- Bangin' On My Heart, The Outfield, 1987. Funky little rocker and the apparent title track to The O's Bangin' album. This was the group that hit it big with a song that started Josie's on a vacation far away about two years before and kept putting out solid satisfying guitar-pop with Tony Lewis' clear high strong voice and John Spinks' adept songwriting. They call The Outfield one-hit wonders. That's not true; people just quit paying attention.
- Electric Blue, Icehouse, 1983. Iva Davies is huge in Australia, but after this bit, from Man of Colours (one of the quintessential albums of the 80s) nobody heard of them. Icehouse (and its predecessor, Flowers) put out some crafty, moving pop bordering on punk. Clapton isn't God; Iva Davies is. If I could come back as anyone else, he'd be high on the list. Electric Blue was co-written by John Oates (of Hall and ... ) and features him as backing vocals. It's all there, the cool synths, the hard bass, the almost-obligatory sax solo during the bridge.
- Little Willy, Sweet, sometime during the late 60s. Yes, a Chinnchap bubblegum glampop confection which stays with me, and was put in here to keep the other songs on their toes. This Willy fella ... he gots it goin' on!
- John Stewart, Lost Her In The Sun, 1979. We go out on a synthy roll, with the underrated hit from John Stewart's famous Bombs Away Dream Babies. "Gold" was killer, but this, with its wispy melody, was what stayed with me. Particulary beguiling is the "breaky" percussion in the second verse.
Listen to the music. Favorite a few of 'em while you're there, neh?
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