The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

Happy Sunday! After another busy week on other fronts, I’m ready to time-travel to explore different flavors of the music world. Hope you’ll join me!

The Horace Silver Quartet/Serenade to a Soul Sister

Today’s journey starts in June 1968. This month saw some notable new music releases by artists like Aretha Franklin (Aretha Now), Iron Butterfly (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida) and Pink Floyd (A Saucerful of Secrets). And Serenade to a Soul Sister, a studio album by The Horace Silver Quartet. The group was formed in 1956 by jazz pianist Horace Silver after he had left The Jazz Messengers which had co-founded with drummer Art Blakey in the early 1950s. The Horace Silver Quartet became Silver’s long-term combo he led into the ’80s. He continued to release albums until 1998. In 2007 and passed away in June 2014 at the age of 85. Here’s the groovy title track of the aforementioned record, composed by Silver. He was backed by Charles Tolliver (trumpet), Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Bob Cranshaw (bass) and Mickey Roker (drums).

Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs/Maggie Mae

Ever since I first listened to power pop artist Matthew Sweet’s collaborations with Susanna Hoffs, who is best-known as a co-founder of The Bangles, I was hooked by how well their vocals blend in their covers of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s songs. Here’s their version of Rod Stewart classic Maggie Mae, which Stewart co-wrote with Martin Quittenton and recorded for his studio album Every Picture Tells a Story. Sweet and Hoffs included the tune on Under the Covers, Vol. 2, their second of three collaborative efforts that appeared in July 2009. The album featured covers of ’70s songs. From a vocal perspective, admittedly, there are perhaps more compelling examples of the Sweet/Hoffs harmony singing, but I just love that Rod Stewart tune!

Leon Russell/A Song For You

Our next stop takes us to March 1970 and the solo debut album by Leon Russell. Over a 60-year career that started as a 14-year-old in 1956, Russell proved to be a versatile artist spanning multiple genres, including rock & roll, country, gospel, bluegrass, R&B, southern rock, blues rock, folk, surf and Tulsa Sound. A Song For You from his eponymous solo debut album that came out in March 1970 is one of his best-known compositions. It’s probably not a coincidence the soulful ballad is Russell’s most popular song on Spotify. In addition to singing and playing the piano, he also provided the tune’s tenor horn part. The album featured multiple notable guests, including George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and most members of The Rolling Stones.

Sting/The Soul Cages

Ever since my wife and I recently considered seeing Sting who is currently on the road, the ex-Police frontman has been on my mind. I was going to pick a track off Ten Summoner’s Tales, my favorite solo album by the British artist but then decided to select the title track from predecessor The Soul Cages. Sting’s third full-length solo effort from January 1991 was a concept album focused on the death of his father. It helped him overcome a prolonged period of writer’s block he had developed after his dad’s passing in 1987. I always dug the rock vibe of the title track, which also yielded Sting his first Grammy award in 1992, for Best Rock Song.

Bruce Hornsby and The Range/Mandolin Rain

During a recent interview, Bonnie Raitt revealed that Bruce Hornsby is her favorite artist, citing his versatility if I recall it correctly. I guess this planted a bug in my brain to feature a track from the album that brought Hornsby on my radar screen in April 1986: The Way It Is, the first with The Range, his backing band during his early recording career. And what a debut it was it was for the singer-songwriter and pianist who had been active since 1974. Led by the huge success of the title track, The Way It Is achieved multi-Platinum status and helped the band the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987. I pretty much love every tune on that album. Here’s the beautiful Mandolin Rain, co-written by Bruce Hornsby and his brother John Hornsby.

Quaker City Night Hawks/Suit in the Back

And once again, we’ve reached the final stop of our little music excursion. In the past, I’ve repeatedly recognized examples of great music suggestions Apple Music had served up. This time the credit needs to go to Spotify. That streaming platform has what I find is an interesting feature where once you’ve listened to all songs in a playlist you created they continue playing music, selecting tunes they feel fit with your playlist. And that’s exactly how I came across this tune, Suit in the Back, by Quaker City Night Hawks. I had never heard of the Texas band combing southern rock, country and blues, who released their debut ¡Torquila Torquila! in May 2011. Suit in the Back, written by the band’s vocalist, songwriter and guitarist Sam Anderson, is from their most recent album QCNH released in March 2019. Quaker City Night Hawks, who also include David Matsler (vocals, guitar) and Aaron Haynes (drums), certainly look like a band worthwhile to further out.

Last but not least, here’s a Spotify playlist featuring the above tune. Hope you enjoyed this Sunday’s mini-trip.

Sources: Wikipedia; Quaker City Night Hawks website; YouTube; Spotify

17 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. A lovely Sunday Six today!

    I watched lots of videos by Sting on MTV, but never saw “The Soul Cages”. Nice tune! By the way: Would you have chosen “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” when it comes to “Ten Summoner’s Tales”? That’s my favourite of Sting.

    I own a copy of Bonnie Raitts “Road Tested” and Bruce Hornsby is not so unknown on this record.

    When I read “Quaker City Nighthawks” I went to my physical music collection and discovered that they covered “Darlington County” for the worth listening tribute album to “Born In The U.S.A.”. Hu, that’s a very rough video you’re presenting.

    Have a nice Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, glad you liked it. “Ten Summoner’s Tales” is my favorite Sting album as well. In terms of top song, I think it would be between your choice and “Fields of Gold.”

      I’m completely new to Quaker City Nighthawks. I can well imagine them covering Springsteen’s “Darlington County” and will check it out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great group of tunes. The polish of that first song starts things out just right and you sustain the good throughout. Hadn’t heard of the last group before but they got the groove going on. I own and love Sting’s first two solo albums and have and like Soul Cages also. I like the original Maggie Mae as Rod’s voice seems to fit it better, although the musicianship on both are good. Russell has a soft place in my heart, and there is no doubt that Hornsby is an exceptional musician.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa. When it comes to that Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs album, in retrospect, perhaps I should have picked a tune that plays more to their strength. I really dig Maggie Mae and made a biased choice! Quaker City Night Hawks seem to be worthwhile to further explore!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. that’s a good set! I didn’t know the last one at all but the others, pretty solid! I agree on Sweet & Hoffs, to me that particular one wasn’t one of their best, but it’s still OK and all in all they are one of my favorite acts (not just duos) of the past couple of decades. They really do a good job on all those covers. “Soul Cages” is one of my faves by Sting and Leon’s great. I was lucky enough to see him play a small theater not too long before he died, and a “Song for You” was a highlight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dave. That Leon Russell concert must have been cool. He seemed to be an intriguing artist.

      My wife and I were contemplating to see Sting in Atlantic City. It was tempting, but it would have been during the week and as such difficult for me to accommodate jobwise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could hear the both of them sing anything together…they do them right…whether you like the song or not…
        I would love to see them live. Dave turned me on to them a year or so ago…they work so well together.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. While my favorite Sting album is “10 Summoner’s Tales”, I agree “The Soul Cages” is great as well. I’d like to do some further exploration of Leon Russell. So many intriguing artists, such little time! 🙂

      Like

  4. Some great tunes as per, dude. That Sting song is a cracker that I’ve not listened to in a while and though I can’t hear The Way It Is anymore without thinking of Chevy Chase’s take Hornsby is always a welcome spin

    Liked by 1 person

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