The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

Another Sunday is upon us and I hope everybody is feeling groovy. It’s time again to embark on another trip to visit music from different decades and in different flavors, six tunes at a time. Let’s do it!

Lou Donaldson/That Good Old Feeling

Our first stop today is June 1957, which saw the release of Wailing With Lou, a studio album by Lou Donaldson. The American jazz alto saxophonist who is now 96 years officially retired in 2017 after a 64-year career as an active performer. Here’s an excerpt from the bio on his website: Jazz critics agree that “Sweet Poppa Lou” Donaldson is one of the greatest alto saxophonists of all time. He began his career as a bandleader with Blue Note Records in 1952 and, already at age 25, had found his sound, though it would continue to sweeten over the years — earning him his famed nickname –“Sweet Poppa Lou.” He made a series of classic records for Blue Note Records in the 50’s and takes pride in having showcased many musicians who made their first records as sidemen for him: Clifford Brown, Grant Green, Blue Mitchell, Donald Byrd, Ray Barretto, Horace Parlan, John Patton, Charles Earland, Al Harewood, Herman Foster, Peck Morrison, Dave Bailey, Leon Spencer, Idris Muhammad, and others. Coming back to the above-mentioned album, here’s the beautiful Donaldson composition That Good Old Feeling. The recording featured various of the above-listed jazz musicians, including Bryd (trumpet), Foster (piano) and Morrison (bass), along with Art Taylor (drums).

The Blasters/Crazy Baby

After having been eased in with smooth jazz, let’s visit 1980 and pick up the speed with great music by The Blasters. I first read about this American roots rock band on Cincinnati Babyhead’s blog. Formed in Downey, Calif. in 1979 by Phil Alvin (vocals, guitar) and his brother Dave Alvin (guitar), together with John Bazz (bass) and Bill Bateman (drums), the group had an initial 6-year run before they first broke up. Various incarnations of The Blasters have since been led by Phil Alvin who together with Bazz has been the only constant member. The current line-up also includes cofounder Bateman who rejoined in 2008. Crazy Baby, co-written by Ron Volz and Ron Wemsman, appeared on the band’s 1980 debut album American Music. It’s got a cool retro rockabilly vibe!

Bee Gees/To Love Somebody

Time to go back to the ’60s and a beautiful early song by the Bee Gees. Co-written by Barry Gibb and his brother Robin Gibb, To Love Somebody first appeared in June 1967 as the second upfront single of the group’s international debut studio album Bee Gee’s 1st, which came out in July of the same year. Prior to that, they had released two albums in their native Australia only. To Love Somebody reached no. 17 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 and no. 49 on the UK Official Singles Charts. Ten years later, the Bee Gees would rule the charts in both the U.S. and the UK, as well as many other countries with their no. 1 soundtrack album Saturday Night Fever, which spawned multiple no. 1. singles. Oftentimes, the Bee Gees are associated with the disco era, but early songs like To Love Somebody show there was much more to the group. You can read more about the Bee Gees in my four-part series from December 2020 here, here, here and here.

Cordovas/High Feeling

Now, let’s set our music time machine to the current century, more specifically to October 2020. That’s when Americana and country rock band Cordovas released their third full-length studio album Destiny Hotel. The four-piece group from East Nashville, Tenn. first entered my radar screen in the summer of 2018 when I caught them during a free concert in a park not far from my house. Their multi-part harmony singing proved to be an immediate attraction. So was their sound that reminds me of bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash & YoungThe Band, Grateful Dead, Eagles and Little Feat. Led by bassist Joe FirstmanCordovas have been around for more than 10 years. Here’s the album’s opener High Feeling. These harmony vocals and the warm sound are right up my alley!

Pink Floyd/Us And Them

This past Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of The Dark Side of the Moon, one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums, an appropriate occasion to go back to March 1, 1973. Developed during live performances before work in the studio began, the eighth studio release by the British psychedelic and progressive rock band was a concept album revolving around dark human themes, such as conflict, greed, time, death and mental illness. One of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon is a sonic gem that not only represents one of the peaks in Floyd’s recording career but also a highlight in sound engineering provided by Alan Parsons. It catapulted Pink Floyd to international stardom and perhaps somewhat ironically made its members pretty wealthy. For more on this album, you can read an excellent recent post by fellow blogger Bruce from Vinyl Connections. Us And Them, composed by Richard Wright with lyrics by Roger Waters, became the album’s second single in February 1974 after Money from May 1973. A reissue, The Dark Side of the Moon 50th Anniversary, is set to appear on March 24. Among others, the box set includes remastered edits of the studio album and The Dark Side of the Moon Live at Wembley 1974.

Son Volt/Route

And once again it’s time to wrap up another musical journey. For the last stop, our time machine takes us to September 1995. Alternative country and Americana rock band Son Volt first entered my radar screen in July 2021 when their most recent studio album Electro Melodier appeared. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Jay Farrar formed the group in 1994 after the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, another alt. country outfit he had co-founded in 1987. To date, Son Volt have released 10 albums. Apart from Farrar, the current members include Chris Frame (guitar), Mark Spencer (keyboards, steel guitar),  Andrew DuPlantis  (bass) and Mark Patterson (drums). Route, penned by Farrar, is a nice crunchy rocker off their 1995 debut album Trace. It’s got a Neil Young and Crazy Horse vibe, which in my book usually is a great thing!

This post wouldn’t be complete without a Spotify playlist that includes all featured tunes. I gladly oblige and hope there’s something you dig!

Sources: Wikipedia; Lou Donaldson website; YouTube; Spotify

22 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. Dark Side remains one of the most impressive albums of our lifetimes. And ‘Us & Them’ is about as good as it got . Parsons got burned though not being given ‘Producer’ credit. Son Volt…I borrowed a CD of theirs at library years ago, liked it reasonably well though not as much as Wilco of the era. But I really haven’t heard much by them anywhere…on the bucket list of bands to delve into more

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frankly, I pretty much had missed Dark Side’s anniversary date, even though I had included this gem in a preview post a couple of months ago about great albums turning 50 this year. Bruce from Vinyl Connections brought the anniversary back on my radar screen!

      Jay Farrar oftentimes reminds me of Neil Young, who as you know has been among my favorite artists as well for many moons. That definitely make Son Volt an attractive proposition!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lots of good cuts here, Christian. I’m happy to say on Friday I’m going to a Dark Side of the Moon 50th Anniversary Concert by a Pink Floyd covers band that will be playing the music while The Wizard of Oz is up on the big screen. Flexadecibal is opening for them. It should be a blast!


      1. At first I thought I know them. I’ve seen a Floyd tribute band called Echoes. I’ve also seen Brit Floyd. Both were excellent. Hope you’re going to have a ball!

        “The Dark Side of the Moon” truly is one of my all-time favorite albums. It’s a masterpiece, both sonically and lyrically.

        Unexpectedly, I ended up having some extra time today and did what I should have done in the first place, write a dedicated post about the anniversary. It’s running tomorrow!


      2. I’ve been busy with family and writing on the short story this weekend. Will try to remember to look for your post tomorrow. When do you leave for Germany?


      3. March 16! We’re going for my mom’s 85th birthday, followed by a 10-day vacation in Portugal and Spain. My wife is still waiting for her new passport, so hopefully that will be sorted out in time!


      4. That would be great. Given it’s not the “real Pink Floyd”, I would hope they generally allow recording some clips.

        That was actually nice at my recent Los Lobos concert. All they asked was to avoid using flash and holding your camera above your head so you wouldn’t block the view of folks behind you – two perfectly reasonable requests!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Christian have you heard when you play Dark Side… with The Wizard of Oz it is supposed to “make sense” somehow? I asked my kids about it and they said yes it does mesh but the album has to be played twice through. I wonder how they will do it and what it will be like. Can’t wait!


      6. I just read about it on Wikipedia. Members of Pink Floyd have denied any intention to connect the album to the film. An alleged synchronicity between the album and the film does sound odd to me. I’ll be curious to hear what you think once you experience the two together!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Blasters and the various side projects and solo albums are never far from my music box. You’re hitting homeruns with your jazz selections. Son Volt are just plain good in my book. The Floyd hit it out of the park with ‘Moon’. I also checked out the Bruce take. He’s the man.

    Liked by 1 person

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