Another birthday for Ray Ray, another mix tape. If you are wondering about the title, check out the following clip. The joke lands around 2:50.
Audience feedback indicates approval with management’s decision to temper new music with old. While Ray Ray and I appreciate hearing new music and adding new artists to our collections, it’s easy to forget the great music of the past. In fact, there are only a handful of tracks from the last five years or so. The “youngest” track is a song by The Weeknd, a special request by the birthday girl due to some recent air play that has her grooving to the tune, and Black Pumas are the biggest nods to what is current. The latter may not be as well-known as the former, but they are every bit as talented. Songs by Panic! At the Disco, The Killers, and Saint Motel also make up some of the newest material.
Of the newer tracks, my favorite has to be Famous Last Words, by The True Loves. I put them on the December 2018 mix when I first heard them on KEXP, the eternal font of great new music, and they continue to feature prominently in my rotation.
Not too long ago I included a track by Robert Finley, a new musician who has been around a while. The man is in his seventies, but music has been part of his entire life. He has only recently become a recording artists and he is the real deal when it comes to a soulful blues sound. If you haven’t done so already, look him up.
Heart, one of Ray Ray’s favorite additions, makes it into the rotation yet again. We also spend a decent amount of time in the 1980s with songs from Lionel Richie, DeBarge, and Talking Heads. David Byrne recently made an appearance on Saturday Night Live and, with his current music troupe, performed Once in a Lifetime. I recognized it immediately and less than a minute in, Ray Ray suggested I add it.
This collection, the 18th for those keeping count, extends the music education aspect of this recurring project. Kool and the Gang, Jackie Wilson, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, The Who, and Dr. John provide some of the old time religion. These songs aren’t obscure deep cuts but rather well known songs that are good for the soul.
If you have been paying close attention, you’ll notice a familiar hook. December’s collection included You Hit the Nail on the Head, by Arthur Adams. Ray Ray liked that tune quite a bit, so I thought Capitol 1212’s track, which heavily samples it and adds a funky-as-hell beat on top, would be a fun twist.
Lastly, I’ve included two tracks that are quickly becoming part of our soundtrack here in El Salvador. We’ve become fans of a local band, a quintet of women who bring down the house with their various covers. Ray Ray specifically asked that I include Eres Para Mi and El Chico del Apartamento 512, two staples of their set that gets the crowd bopping. The band is Lavanda and I recommend you find them on social media and give them a listen.
That’s all for this round. Things are getting crazy with the COVID-19 outbreak and uncertain times lie ahead. If you think these tracks will help you cope with it all, please check them out, press the Repeat button, and take it one day at a time.
And remember Big Papi’s advice: Don’t!
Diana Ross - I’m Coming Out
The Who – Baba O’Riley
Lionel Richie – Dancing On the Ceiling
Julieta Venegas & Anita Tijoux – Eres Para Mí
Dr. John – Right Place Wrong Time
The True Loves – Famous Last Words
Black Pumas – Colors
Heart – Crazy On You
Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers – Bustin’ Loose
Capitol 1212 – Good Feelin
Saint Motel – My Type
DeBarge – Rhythm of the Night
Selena – El Chico del Apartamento 512
Panic! At the Disco – High Hopes
Kool & the Gang – Get Down On It
The Killers – The Man
Talking Heads – Once In a Lifetime
Jackie Wilson – Whispers (Getting Louder)
The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
Stevie Nicks (with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
Robert Finley ( with Dan Auerbach & the Easy Eye Sound Revue) – Medicine Woman