The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

Happy Sunday and welcome to another trip into the beautiful and diverse world of music, six tracks at a time. Hop on, fasten your seatbelts and let’s go!

Miles Davis/So What

Today, I’d like to start our journey in August 1959 with some early Miles Davis. I have to admit I find this more accessible than Bitches Brew and other of his later more experimental music I’ve heard. I guess I’m not alone. According to Wikipedia, many critics regard Davis’s Kind of Blue album as his masterpiece, the greatest jazz record, and one of the best albums of all time. In 1976, it became his first album to reach Gold certification in the U.S., and as of 2019, it has reached 5X Platinum. More importantly, the album’s influence reached far beyond jazz. None other than the great Duane Allman, guitarist of The Allman Brothers Band, said his soloing on songs like In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, “comes from Miles and Coltrane, and particularly Kind of Blue.” Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright noted the chord progressions on Kind of Blue influenced the structure of the introductory chords to the song Breathe on their 1973 gem The Dark Side of the Moon. Meanwhile, Davis ended up viewing Kind of Blue and his other early work differently. During a 1986 interview, he said, “I have no feel for it anymore—it’s more like warmed-over turkey.” Here’s the album’s opener So What composed by Davis. BTW, Davis (trumpet) was in formidable company on the album, including saxophone greats John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, as well as Paul Chambers (double bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums).

Christine McVie/One in a Million

For our next stop, we’re jumping 25 years ahead to January 1984. I trust Christine McVie (born Christine Perfect) doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s safe to assume most folks know her as a long-term member of Fleetwood Mac. She joined the group as keyboarder and vocalist in 1970 after her departure from blues band Chicken Shack and the release of her first solo album Christine Perfect. Following the Mac’s 13th studio album Mirage from June 1982, they went on a temporary hiatus, giving McVie the time to record her second eponymous solo album, Christine McVie. She was backed by Todd Sharp (guitar, backing vocals), George Hawkins (bass, backing vocals) and Steve Ferrone (drums, percussion) who 10 years later would join Tom Petty’s band The Heartbreakers. Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham (guitar) and Mick Fleetwood (drums) had guest appearances on certain tracks, as had Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. Clearly, McVie didn’t have any challenges to secure high-caliber talent for the album. Here’s One in a Million, co-written by her and Sharp. It’s one of the tunes featuring Winwood who in addition to synthesizer also provided lead and backing vocals. Nice pop-rocker!

The Moody Blues/Watching and Waiting

This next pick has been on my list of earmarked Sunday Six songs for several months – not quite sure what took me so long! Watching and Waiting is the beautiful closer of the Moody Blues’s fifth studio album To Our Children’s Children’s Children, released in November 1969. Co-written by band members Justin Hayward (vocals, guitar, sitar) and Ray Thomas (vocals, flute, tambourine, bass flute, oboe), the tune also appeared separately as a single. It didn’t chart, unlike the album, which climbed to no. 2 in the UK, no. 11 in Canada and no. 14 in the U.S. The band’s remaining members at the time were Mike Pinder (Mellotron, piano), John Lodge (bass) and Graeme Edge (drums, percussion). During a 2014 interview Hayward said, “when we heard that song in its studio beauty, we thought, “This is it! All of those people who had been saying to us for the past 3 or 4 years, “You’ll probably just do another Nights in White Satin with it” — no! We had shivers up the spine, and that kind of stuff. But when it came out and you heard it on the radio, you kept saying, “Turn it up! Turn it up!! Oh no, it’s not going to make it.” So it didn’t happen.”

Tom Faulkner/River On the Rise

On to the ’90s and Tom Faulkner, a great American singer-songwriter who isn’t exactly a household name. My former bandmate and longtime music buddy from Germany brought him and his excellent 1997 album Lost In The Land Of Texico on my radar screen last year, and this is the second track from that album I’m featuring on The Sunday Six. To date, Faulkner has only released two albums. His most recent one, Raise the Roof, appeared in 2002. For the most part, he has made his living with commercial music for radio and TV. According to this bio on last.fm, Faulkner has created hundreds of national jingles and scores, including some of the most memorable commercial music on television and radio. Most notably, he composed and sang the wildly popular “I Want My Baby Back” for Chili’s, a jingle that has since found its way into motion pictures (Austin Powers) and over a dozen major network TV shows. He also created the multi-award winning music theme for Motel 6 and Tom Bodett, the longest running commercial campaign in the history of advertising (23 years, 5 CLIOs, and counting). Check out River On the Rise, a nice bluesy tune!

Joe Jackson Band/Take It Like a Man

It’s time to feature a couple of songs from the current century, don’t you agree? First, let’s go to March 2003 and Volume 4, the 16th studio album by versatile British music artist Joe Jackson, released as Joe Jackson Band. For this project, Jackson (piano, organ, electric piano, melodica, lead vocals) brought back together his original backing band of Gary Sanford (guitar, backing vocals), Graham Maby (bass, backing vocals) and David Houghton (drums, backing vocals). And there’s definitely some of that cool vibe from Jackson’s first three albums Look Sharp! (January 1979), I’m the Man (October 1979) and Beat Crazy (October 1980). Over his now 50-plus-year career, Jackson has touched many different genres ranging from pub rock, new wave, swing, and jazz-oriented pop to even classical music. Here’s the album’s great opener Take It Like a Man, which like all other tunes was penned by Jackson.

Candy Dulfer/Jammin’ Tonight (feat. Nile Rodgers)

And once again, it’s time to wrap up. For this final track, we’re traveling back to the present and a funky tune by Dutch jazz and pop saxophonist Candy Dulfer: Jammin’ Tonight featuring Mr. funky guitar Nile Rodgers. Dulfer, the daughter of Dutch tenor saxophonist Hans Dulfer, began playing the drums as a five-year-old before discovering the saxophone a year later. Since the age of seven, she has focused on the tenor saxophone. By the time she was 11, Dulfer made her first recordings for her father’s jazz band De Perikels (the perils). Three years later, she opened up two European concerts for Madonna with her own band Funky Stuff. Two years later, in 1989, she duetted with Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics) on the worldwide instrumental hit Lily Was Here, from the motion picture soundtrack of the same name. The following year, she put out her solo debut album Saxuality. The above tune Jammin’ Tonight is from Dulfer’s forthcoming album We Never Stop, which is scheduled for October 28. Funky!

Last but not least, here’s a Spotify playlist featuring all of the above tunes. Hope there’s something for ya!

Sources: Wikipedia; last.fm; YouTube; Spotify

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18 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. Good stuff! “So What” is one of my go-to jazz classics. I don’t think I’d heard that Christine McVie track before — or, if I did, I didn’t realize it was her. Funkier than I would have expected!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marc. How do you feel about “Bitches Brew”? Many folks regard that album as Davis’ Mount Rushmore. While I’ve become more receptive to jazz fusion, I’m still struggling with that one.

      Christine McVie’s second solo album is pretty good pop rock. The best known tune off that record was “Got a Hold On Me”. BTW, do you realize she’s 79? Isn’t that crazy?

      So many musicians I love are well into their ’70s or even ’80s. It’s a good thing we’ll always have their great music!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Bitches Brew” is one of those albums that I’ve always wanted to like. And there are definitely things I like about it. It has a cool atmosphere. But if I’m in a mood to listen to jazz, that one doesn’t really fit the bill.

        That’s wild about Christine McVie… Of course, the older I get, the more my definition of “old” changes!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, your description of “wanting to like it” pretty much describes my situation. It’s a bit like “Pet Sounds” where I never quite understood all the fuzz many folks made about it. Not that it is a bad album. I just feel Sgt. Pepper is on a totally different level – of course, this is coming from a Beatles nut!

        You’re also right about age. It’s all relative. Mick Jagger (79), Sir Paul (80) and Ringo (82) are all still out there going strong. Or how about Buddy Guy (86)? By comparison, I guess we’re still vicenarians (yeah, I had to look that one up!). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You know the one that got me the most? Christine McVie because I haven’t heard it in so long…and I always favored her songs more than Nicks. The Miles Davis song is just incredible…love his stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I think it’s fair to say Stevie Nicks has a higher profile as a songwriter, in part because she has released more solo albums than McVie and worked together with Tom Petty, you’re right McVie has written some great stuff. For example, she solely penned the Mac’s “Don’t Stop”, “You Make Loving Fun” and “Say You Love Me”.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Bruce. And, dang it, now that you hinted at it, I remember you recently posted about that Miles Davis album as well. As such, I can’t deny the possibility of some subconscious influence. You see what you do to me? 🙂

      But, hey, I think Davis and that album are worth a back-to-back mention!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine McVie has definitely written some great songs, both for Fleetwood Mac and solo. The best-known tune on that album is “Got a Hold On Me”.

      My listening history of the Moodys is still a bit limited. I’m best familiar with “Days of Future Passed,” which I own on vinyl and think is a gem. Other than that, I know a few of their songs here and there.

      Liked by 1 person

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