The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random songs at a time

It’s hard to believe another Sunday is upon us – I feel I just wrote the previous installment of The Sunday Six! For first-time visitors, the idea of this recurring feature is to celebrate different genres of music from different decades, six tunes at a time. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Julian Lage/Boo’s Blues

I’d like to start where I left off yesterday’s Best of What’s New: Julian Lage, an American jazz guitarist and composer who released his solo debut album in March 2009. I first came across Lage’s music on Friday in connection with his new album Squint and immediately fell in love with his guitar tone! Borrowing from yesterday’s post, according to his Apple Music profileLage has been widely acclaimed as one of the most prodigious guitarists of his generation. The New York-based musician boasts a long resume as a desired sideman with artists as diverse as Gary Burton, Taylor Eigsti, John Zorn, Nels Cline, Chris Eldridge, Eric Harland, and Fred Hersch, to name just a few. Equally important is his reputation as a soloist and bandleader. He is equally versed in jazz, classical, pop, and show tunes, and has spent more than a decade searching through the myriad strains of American musical history via an impeccable technique and a gift for freely associating between styles, tempos, keys, and textures that adds to his limitless improvisational spirit. Here’s another track from Lage’s new album, which also features bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King: Boo’s Blues. Beautiful music for a Sunday morning!

The Jimi Hendrix Experience/One Rainy Wish

I trust Jimi Hendrix doesn’t need an introduction. One Rainy Wish is a tune from the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love, which first appeared in the UK in December 1967, followed by release in the US the following month. The song wasn’t on my radar until my streaming music provider served it up as a listening suggestion the other day. Also known as Golden Rose, One Rainy Wish was written by Hendrix and recorded in October 1967 at Olympic Sound Studios in London, together with Noel Redding (bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums). Based on the lyrics, the song was inspired by a dream Hendrix had. Quoting the Hendrix biography Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy, Wikipedia notes the song is “creak[ing] with radical harmonies and rhythmic concepts, not least the fact that the verse is in 3/4 time while the chorus is in 4/4.” Songfacts adds Hendrix used an octavia, an effects pedal that reproduces the input signal from a guitar eight notes higher in pitch, mixing it with the original note and adding distortion. The octavia had been designed for Hendrix by Roger Mayer, a then-21-year-old electric engineer wunderkind. One Rainy Day Wish also became the B-side to the U.S. single Up From the Skies, which was released in February 1968, the only single from the album.

Bob Dylan/Series of Dreams

This next selection of the Bob Dylan tune Series of Dreams is a bit out of left field. Initially, I had planned to feature Angelina, a song I had come across recently and immediately thought would make a great pick for The Sunday Six. Dylan first released Angelina in March 1991 on his 3-CD box set The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991. However, I couldn’t find a YouTube clip, something that rarely happens. This bummer prompted me to check whether other songs from this box set are available on YouTube and led to Series of Dreams. Dylan first recorded the tune in March 1989 for his 26th studio album Oh Mercy that was released in September of the same year. But Series of Dreams was ultimately omitted from the album. The version that ended up on the box set is a remix of the original with overdubs added in January 1991. Dylan also included an alternate take of the song on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006. While finding Series of Dreams was entirely circumstantial, I’m quite happy with it, so farewell, Angelina! 🙂

Joni Mitchell/This Flight Tonight

The first time I heard This Flight Tonight was the cover by Scottish rock band Nazareth, which must have been in the late ’70s on the radio back in Germany. I had no idea then that this tune was penned by Joni Mitchell. Another prominent example is Woodstock, which I first heard by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on the Déjà Vu album and simply assumed it was their song. I was very young back then! Anyway, Mitchell recorded This Flight Tonight for her widely renowned fourth studio album Blue, which was released in June 1971. The song tells of her regrets as she leaves her lover on a flight and wishes to return. The entire album, which Mitchell made after her breakup with Graham Nash and during her relationship with James Taylor, revolves around different aspects of relationships. While I always liked Mitchell’s songs, it took me a while to get used to her voice, which I felt was very high, especially on her earlier songs.

Tracy Chapman/Fast Car

I still remember when Tracy Chapman’s eponymous debut album came out in April 1988. Two songs from it, Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution and Fast Car, were very popular on the radio back in Germany. The combination of Chapman’s powerful voice, great lyrics and the relative simplicity of her songs blew me away, and I got the CD immediately. To this day, I believe it’s incredible. Chapman has since released seven additional studio albums. Her most recent, Our Bright Future, dates back to November 2008. There is also a Greatest Hits compilation that came out in November 2015. While Chapman has not been active for many years, she has not officially retired from music. In fact, last November, the night before the U.S. Presidential election, she made a rare TV appearance on Late Night with Seth Myers with a clip of her performing Talkin’ ‘about a Revolution and asking Americans to vote. Here’s a short related clip from Rolling Stone. While all of Chapman’s albums charted in the U.S. and numerous other countries, her debut remains her most successful. It topped the charts in the U.S., Canada, Australia and various European countries, including the UK and Germany. Here’s Fast Car. I absolutely love this song and hope eventually we will hear more from Tracy Chapman. She’s only 57 years old!

Green Day/Boulevard of Broken Dreams

This Sunday Six installment has been heavy on singer-songwriters, so I’d like to wrap it up with some rock from the present century: Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. Yes, that track from the band’s seventh studio album American Idiot from September 2004 certainly hasn’t suffered from under-exposure. And while I generally don’t follow Green Day, it’s one catchy tune I still dig. The song’s lyrics were written by lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong, with the music being credited to the entire band. Perhaps, not surprisingly Boulevard of Broken Dreams became Green Day’s biggest mainstream hit in America, climbing to no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and raking up U.S. sales of over 2 million copies as of 2010. By 2009, the tune had sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, making it the ninth-highest selling single of the 2000-2009 decade. Green Day are rocking on to this day. Since American Idiot, they have released six additional studio albums, most recently in February 2020. According to their website, Green Day are also scheduled to kick off an eight-week, 22-date U.S. tour in Dallas on July 24.

Sources: Wikipedia; Songfacts; Green Day website; YouTube

14 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. A great six pack- the only one I wasn’t familiar with was the Lage song. ‘Fast Car’- that is one of those songs that was so great- I can still remember the first time I heard it- as an MTV video. Bought the album on that song alone- and the album was excellent also. “Fast Car’ one of those songs that was an ‘instant hit’ in my mind and is one that I have never gotten tired of hearing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Hans, Lage’s guitar jazz is “my discovery of the week.” I really like what I’ve heard from him thus far.

      I also agree “Fast Car” is a timeless classic – not many ’80s song that fall in this category, IMHO.

      I wonder whether Tracy Chapman grew tired of the music business and decided to pause. Hopefully, she’ll reemerge. While not every artist goes on until 80 like Bob Dylan, she’s only 57, so have many years left – knock on wood!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will have to check out more on him- like what i heard on that one….. Chapman’s last album now 13 years ago hopefully she will reemerge at some point! Too great a talent not too

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another good batch, Christian.
    Comments on each:
    1) Julian Lage definitely has a Chet Atkins flavor to his playing;
    2) Jimi: that intro sounds like a sitar! Good song;
    3) Zimmy: not too hep on this one; maybe it’s a sleeper?;
    4) “Turn this crazy bird around!” Love this song and the whole album’
    5) Love the resonance in Tracy’s voice;
    6) Well-known and well-liked tune.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Lisa. Sounds like I did okay overall and passed the audition!😀

      Agree that Dylan tune wasn’t the most obvious pick – certainly the way I found it was arbitrary. I kind of like though. Obviously, I wouldn’t have included it otherwise!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Chapman’s Baby Can I Hold You was pretty big too from the first album – plus there was a terrible cover that got a lot of play.

    I don’t think Joni really hit her straps as a performer until Blue. There are good songs before that but she was a bit twee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, Graham, “Baby Can I Hold You” was another popular tune from that album. I don’t recall the cover version you mentioned, but it doesn’t sound like I missed much!😆

      My knowledge of Joni is still spotty and I’m certainly planning to do more listening!

      Like

  4. Christian…I saw this Sunday and was diverted over and over again. You did get me to listen to Fast Car all of this week! That song is classic…it was instantly classic because it was so timeless.
    Love the Jimi…there is never a bad time for Jimi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Tracy Chapman’s entire debut album is great. I’d like to listen to it again myself. That Hendrix tune was a coincidental find. I liked it right away and spontaneously decided to include it. The way the Dylan tune ended up in there was a bit arbitrary as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have heard it but its been such a long time….arbitrary is what your Sunday Six is all about and I love it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is how I started off posting….that is what I wanted to do…anything at anytime. I couldn’t keep it up

        Liked by 1 person

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