The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

I hope everybody is spending a nice weekend and would like to welcome you to another Sunday Six. While I love blogging about music, this weekly recurring feature has been my favorite since its inaugural post in January 2021. Unlike most other more thematic posts, I feel The Sunday Six allows me to write about any type of music I dig within the same post. As tempting as it may look to broaden the series to other days of the week, I think it would lose its appeal to me, not to mention many if not most readers. With that said, let’s jump in the time machine and embark on another fun trip!

Charles Mingus/Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Our first stop today takes us back to October 1959 and Mingus Ah Um, a studio album by Charles Mingus. Over a 30-year career, the double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader played with many other jazz greats like Louis ArmstrongDuke EllingtonCharlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and released about 50 albums as a bandleader. Initially, Mingus started on the trombone and later studied the cello before picking up the double bass. As a teenager, he felt excluded from the classical music world since he couldn’t join a youth orchestra because of his inability to read musical notation quickly enough due to a poor education. These experiences, along with lifelong racism Mingus encountered influenced his music that oftentimes focused on themes like racial discrimination and injustice. By the mid-70s, sadly, Mingus had developed ALS. Eventually, this heinous disease made it impossible for him to play bass. Mingus continued to compose music until his untimely death in January 1979 at the age of 56. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat is a Mingus composition that first appeared on his above-mentioned 1959 album. Apart from Mingus (double bass), the track featured John Handy (alto saxophone), Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone), Horace Parlan (piano) and Dannie Richmond (drums) – so beautiful and relaxing!

Teresa James/Ticket to Ride

From the past, we shall jump to the present: January 20, 2023. That’s when Teresa James released her latest album With a Little Help from Her Friends, a collection of Beatles covers with a twist. In case you’ve never heard of James before, neither had I. According to her website, the vocalist and keyboarder is a Los Angeles-based contemporary blues artist who has released albums with her band The Rhythm Tramps since 1998. She has also recorded with the likes of Walter Trout, Eric Burdon, Spencer Davis, Tommy Castro and Randy Newman, and been a featured act on Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beaches Cruises for more than twenty years. This brings me back to With a Little Help from Her Friends, which features fun bluesy renditions of Beatles tunes. Let’s check out Ticket to Ride. Primarily written by John Lennon and, as usual, credited to him and Paul McCartney, the original first appeared as a single in April 1965. It was also included on the studio album Help! released in August of the same year. I like that bluesy take!

Bob Dylan/Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts

For this next tune, we travel to January 1975 and Bob Dylan’s 15th studio album Blood On the Tracks. Initially received by critics with mixed reviews, it has subsequently been acclaimed as one of the maestro’s greatest – haven’t we seen that movie before? Anyway, I was reminded of Mr. Zimmerman’s gem the other day when my streaming music provider served up Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts. It immediately occurred to me the epic story ballad would make a great pick for a Sunday Six. Wikipedia notes the tune was one of five songs on the album, which Dylan initially recorded in New York City in September 1974 and then re-recorded in Minneapolis in December of the same year. It’s the latter version that became the album track. Dylan (vocals, guitar and harmonica) was backed by Gregg Inhofer (Hammond), Billy Peterson (bass) and Bill Berg (drums). Man, I love this tune, including Dylan’s vocals, the cinematic lyrics and the sound, especially the Hammond organ!

Otis Redding/I’ve Been Loving You For Too Long

Time for some sweet soul music. And when it comes to that genre, I always enjoy going back to the heyday of Stax. I’ve Been Loving You For Too Long is a gem co-written by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler. It was included on Redding’s third studio album Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul, released in September 1965. Sadly, it would mark more than the half point of the five-year recording career of the man nicknamed the “King of Soul”. By the time Redding died in a plane crash in December 1967, he had become Stax’s biggest star and just recorded what became his biggest hit, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay. He was only 26 years old. Like his two previous albums, Redding recorded Otis Blue with Stax house band Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Isaac Hayes on piano, and a horn section consisting of members of the Mar-Keys and the Memphis Horns. What a killer backing band, and what a voice and soulful performance!

Matchbox Twenty/3 AM

Some of you may be surprised to see me feature a tune by post-grunge pop rock band Matchbox Twenty. I didn’t see that one coming myself until I recently came across 3 AM and remembered I’ve always liked this tune. It was included on their debut album Yourself or Someone Like You, which came out in October 1996. Co-written by the group’s lead vocalist and bassist Rob Thomas and Brian Yale, respectively, together with John Leslie Goff and John Joseph Stanley, 3 AM also became the album’s third single in November 1997 – and their first no. 1 in the U.S. on Billboard’s Adult Pop Play and the Adult Alternative Airplay charts. It also topped the Canadian singles chart. Elsewhere, it performed more moderately, reaching no. 31 and 64 in Australia and the UK, respectively. While I hadn’t heard the name Matchbox Twenty in many years, they are still together, evidently as a touring act, with Thomas, Yale and two other co-founding members comprising the current line-up.

Bryan Adams/Summer Of ’69

And we’re off to our final stop on this trip. If some readers perhaps were less surprised about Matchbox Twenty than I thought, it’s safe to assume my final pick will lead some to roll their eyes. I’ve said it before and fully stand behind these words, I do like a good number of songs by Bryan Adams, especially from his first five albums the Canadian artist released between 1980 and 1987. This includes Summer Of ’69, one of multiple charting singles off his fourth and most successful album Reckless from November 1984. For fair balance, I will add I’m not a fan of his big hit ballads (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, Please Forgive Me (-I will but the song is an atrocity) and Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? At the same time, I recognize big hits help artists sustain themselves. If I see this correctly, Bryan Adams hasn’t had any comparable hits since 1995, yet he continues to march on nearly 30 years later.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a Spotify playlist of all the above tunes. Even if Bryan Adams and Matchbox Twenty aren’t your cup of tea, I still hope there’s something you dig!

Sources: Wikipedia; Teresa James website; YouTube; Spotify

68 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. Interesting variety! As a Canuck, I’m happy to see how well-received Adams is globally, but I ‘m a bit tired of that one thanks to radio overkill – practically the only song by him Classic Rock stations ever play anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It looks like his last big U.S. hit was one of those ballads I’m not particularly fond of, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” His ’80s rockers hold up much better to me. I guess I’m also lucky that I hadn’t heard “Summer Of ’69” for many years. Sadly, you can kill most songs with heavy overexposure!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It seems to be clear to me lots of listeners agreed. It probably also didn’t hurt that one of these painful ballads, “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”, was featured in a Robin Hood picture starring Kevin Costner!

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    1. Brian Adams was pretty popular in Germany. I also saw him there once in the ’80s. It’s also correct that the singles from “Reckless” got plenty of radio play, and this certainly included “Summer Of ’69”. I hadn’t heard that tune in many years and still enjoy it.

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      1. While his most successful years may be behind him, Bryan Adams still seems to be pretty active. He released a new album in March 2020, “So Happy It Hurts” (I hope it doesn’t!) and apparently will tour in South Korea and Japan next month!

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    2. For some reason Dave…I’ve never got tired of that song. Our band broke up for awhile in 1985…and we would do this song later on after we regrouped and sing Summer of 85 lol…but I do still like it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL…unlike what Vic posted…I’m not a huge Matchbox Twenty fan… you talk about burnout…around the time he worked with Santana….his stuff was worn out.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Frankly, I only know a handful of Matchbox 20 tunes like “Push”, “Unwell” and “If You’re Gone”. It’s pretty catchy pop rock I take any day over “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”! πŸ™‚

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  2. Charles Mingus hit the jazz spot today! Teresa James did a fine job with Ticket To Ride. You can’t go wrong with Otis and Bob also…great picks today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Max. I did notice you politely skipped commentary on the two remaining tunes, especially the song by that Canadian artist. But I know deep inside you actually like Bryan Adams! πŸ™‚

      On a more series note, there’s actually a tribute band called The Blues Beatles. Have you ever heard of them?

      Here’s a little sample!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. THAT is a cool concept! Blues Beatle songs…and it works! I was just talking to someone the other day about soon….cover bands are the only concerts I will go to because the classic bands are vanishing. You were ahead of the curve on that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They sound pretty good! Not exactly like The Beatles but reasonably close. The hardest thing about covering The Beatles is to get the vocals right.

        I would say the best Beatles tribute band I’ve seen to date are Britain’s Finest from California. The camera on this clip or the operator or both evidently were so excited that the video goes in and out of focus! πŸ™‚

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      1. I would take her voice over every other female but Aretha Franklin…and they are on my tied list…and most males.
        I just read where Stevie Nicks said one of her most enjoyable events happened when Janis ordered her off stage…This is of course way before she got famous… Linda Ronstadt knew her much more… and liked her.
        Before I would have never thought they would have crossed paths.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I understand that Janis was a very kind woman. She clearly had some demons to deal with to die that young. I just don’t like the singing that much. With a scratchy voice, I prefer Bonnie Tyler…or, Nicks, even.

        I know you love Janis…πŸ’•

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’m writing something right now about her…it will explain a lot about the demons and such. Jimmy Johnson was a small part of it. The Jimmy Johnson that coached the Cowboys and is an announcer. He and his friends were just awful.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice selection of tunes. Really like the Mingus one. I’m an outlier here, I guess, as I love everything Bryan Adams does. His tender ballads are my favorite. One of his songs that I don’t think has gotten much airplay was his “Young Lust” when he played on The Wall: Live in Berlin, with Roger Waters and an assemblage of excellent musicians:

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. I agree about the album, which I have but haven’t listened to a lot. I actually have several jazz albums that I don’t listen to nearly enough. Not just jazz albums, albums in general. Too much music too little time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I definitely have the same problem. And even though I’ve made it a habit to feature a jazz tune in The Sunday Six, I would still consider myself to be a relative jazz novice. Luckily, one doesn’t need to be an expert to like music! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Otis Redding was so talented and such a soulful vocalist. And he was just 26 years old when that aweful plane crash happened.

      I know it’s probably a bit weird, but every time I read about a music artist (or another person for that matter) losing their life at such a young age, I get these fatherly feelings, and it just breaks my heart.

      My son is 21 – that’s only five years younger than Redding was when he passed!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the origianl version of Lily…. way more – that country bassline drives me crazy on the official bassline. Although listening now on my crappy laptop speakers it doesn’t sound so bad.

    That Mingus tune is classic.

    Liked by 1 person

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