The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

Welcome to another installment of The Sunday Six. After a two-week hiatus, it’s nice to get back into the blogging groove again. At the same time, taking a break wasn’t a bad thing, especially in this case where I used some of the time for a long-sought vacation in Germany to see some family and friends again. Following is a small collage of photos from my visit.

From top left clockwise: Karlsruhe Palace; village of Buschhoven, in which I grew up; Frankfurt/Main; and Königstein, a health spa in the Taunus region close to Frankfurt

Time to get to some music. Three of the picks are inspired by my recent visit to Germany.

Sonny Rollins/In a Sentimental Mood

Our journey today starts with beautiful music by American tenor saxophone great Sonny Rollins, who is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians. Over an incredible 70-year-plus career, Rollins has recorded more than 60 albums as a leader and appeared on many additional records as a sideman. He has played with the likes of Charlie ParkerMiles DavisDizzy Gillespie,  Thelonious MonkMax Roach and Modern Jazz Quartet. In a Sentimental Mood, composed by Duke Ellington, Manny Kurtz and Irving Mills, is among Rollins’ earliest recordings as a leader. It appeared on a 1956 compilation album, Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet. On this particular tune, he was backed by John Lewis (piano), Milt Jackson (vibraphone), Percy Heath (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums). My kind of music to ease into a Sunday morning.

Wolf Maahn/Irgendwo in Deutschland

Next, we jump to 1984 and the first German-language song featured in The Sunday Six: Irgendwo in Deutschland (somewhere in Germany), the title track of the third studio album by German rock artist Wolf Maahn. The singer-songwriter, actor and producer, who was born in Berlin in 1955 and grew up in Munich, initially started his music career in 1976 as a founding member of the Food Band. Mixing soul, jazz, pop and rock, this group sang in English. Wolf Maahn’s “German language music career” kicked off in the early ’80s with the studio album Deserteure. He gained broad national popularity in the mid ’80s, starting with the Irgendwo in Deutschland album. I listened to that song in my rental car on the day I arrived in Germany. That’s when I decided I would feature it in a Sunday Six.

Arthur Conley/Sweet Soul Music

I’m in the mood for some soul and the other day I remembered a tune I’ve always loved, loved: Sweet Soul Music, a big U.S. hit for Arthur Conley in 1967, climbing to no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, it peaked at no. 7 on the Official Singles Chart. The song, which also became the title track of an album Conley released the same year, was co-written by him and Otis Redding – and Sam Cooke. It’s a version of Cooke’s Yeah Man, a tune that appeared on Cooke’s first posthumous studio album Shake from January 1965. Initially, they didn’t give him any credit. Cooke’s estate eventually sued Conley and Redding and received songwriting credit and a settlement.

Del Amitri/Always the Last to Know

During my visit to Germany, I met my former bandmate and longtime music buddy who always gives me great trip listening tips. The next two picks are inspired by him. First, he reminded me of Scottish alternative rock band Del Amitri, who were formed in Glasgow in 1980. During their initial run until 2002, they released six studio albums and two compilations. Since the band reemerged from hiatus in 2013, it looks like they have mainly been a touring act. Only one live record, one compilation and one studio album have since appeared. Always the Last to Know takes us back to their third studio album Change Everything released in June 1992. Written by Justin Currie (vocals, guitar, piano), who remains with Del Amitri to this day, the tune also became the album’s lead single in April 1992 – a nice melodic pop rock tune!

The Sadies/Stop and Start

This next pick is from the new album by Canadian band The Sadies, Colder Streams, released on July 22. From their AllMusic bio: One of the most accomplished bands to emerge from the North American indie and roots rock scene, the Sadies are an eclectic group founded by brothers Dallas Good and Travis Good, who crafted a distinctive sound, absorbing influences from traditional country, surf music, and garage rock, and blending them into something unique with their estimable instrumental skills. The band’s best work emphasized mood as much as melody, and they were open to collaboration with artists they respected, cutting albums with Neko Case, John Doe, Gord Downie, and Andre Williams. Here’s Stop and Start, credited to all four members of the band at the time of the recording. Sadly, Dallas Good died unexpectedly on February 17, 2022, at the age of 48 from a recently detected heart condition.

The Knack/My Sharona

And once again, we’ve reached the final stop of yet another Sunday Six. Let’s wrap up with a fun tune by Los Angeles power pop band The Knack: My Sharona, their first single that became an international sensation, topping the charts in the U.S., Canada and Australia, peaking at no. 3 in New Zealand and reaching the top 10 in the UK, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. The song’s huge popularity also propelled the band’s debut album Get the Knack to no. 1 in the U.S., Canada and Australia – a level of success the band never managed to replicate. After their third album, they split for the first time in mid-1982. The Knack had a few reunions thereafter until their permanent end in February 2010, following the death of the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist Doug Fieger from cancer at the age of 57.

Here’s a playlist of the above tunes. Hope there’s something there you like.

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube; Spotify

11 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. Nice list. The Knack, for all the snarky comments they’ve earned, did put out a good album there . And The Sadies! How in the world did you hear of them? They have a decent but rather underground following in Toronto but even in Canada they’re not mainstream. I have one friend who knows them well though.
    Nice pix of Germany. I was reading an article on Berlin in a nature magazine recently, sounds pretty good – system of parks built along the old wall site, having sheep in to graze and cut grass in some of the parks, huge bike trail network etc. Do you see things like that all across the country?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. The Sadies were a tip by my longtime music buddy I mentioned in the post. “My Sharona” is the only tune by The Knack I can name – I always liked it.

      While I don’t know the grazing sheep, I can confirm bike trails are very common in Germany, including in many cities. Biking is very popular, especially among university students. It’s not only limited to students. My best friend who I’ve known since I was seven and saw during my recent trip, used to bike to his bank job pre-pandemic. His wife who works for the European Central Bank and is back to working in the office bikes there as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nice. I wish American cities not named Portland would do a lot more of that- bike trails and paths. In this city, there are a handful of “bike lanes” on some roads near the university, but they’re not that well respected by motorists (ie, quite a few cars drive along them) and they’re not terribly well connected so the overall effect is very minimal.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa. 🙂

      I had never heard of The Sadies until my German music buddy mentioned them during my recent visit. I don’t know The Smithereens well enough to draw comparisons between the two groups. What I can tell you is I immediately liked the sound of The Sadies. This probably also means I should take a closer look at The Smithereens!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. Yep, things worked out really nicely, where I ended up visiting most friends at the beginning and the tail end of the trip. This minimized driving back-and-forth, which in turn allowed me to spend more time with my parents. The latter was really important to me. I’m planning to return for Christmas and hope to see some additional friends I couldn’t meet during the past trip.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome back, Christian. Wow, what an impressive and tall skyline Frankfurt has! A nice, eclectic mix of songs here. I really like the Sonny Rollins track, so mellow and smooth, as well as the one by The Sadies, who I was not familiar with. Always great to hear “My Sharona”, and I never knew that Del Amitri were Scottish.

    Liked by 1 person

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