...Along with the usual recent stuff, lately it's been Philly Soul hits of the early '70s!
I was already listening to and loving Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, but thanks to Sony/Legacy's cheap Philly Soul best-of, I'm hearing again for the first time in awhile O'Jays hits like "Love Train" and "Back Stabbers" -- both of which sound REALLY good in the digital format. The singing, the playing, it's all great.
About the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money" I'm less sure -- I tend to have trouble with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's more "messagey" songs -- but I quote from it almost every time someone brings a stack of winning Scratch tickets into the store....
I've already raved about Teddy Pendergrass's GREAT singing on The Blue Notes' "The Love I Lost" and "Bad Luck," two old favorites. One of the bonuses of this Philly Soul best-of is that you get the LONG versions of the hits ... but sometimes less is more, in this case.
Also gave me a chance to hear for probably the first time in 30 years MFSB's "TSOP" and The Three Degrees' "When Will I See You Again" -- which sounds like heaven, like a latter-day Diana Ross and the Supremes hit, just gorgeous.
I thought in a best-of like this, Sony might actually list who the members of MFSB WERE, might give the studio musicians some credit, for a change. But there are no credits here, so if you want to know who's PLAYING this stuff, you're out of luck. They sure sound great, though.
My only other complaint is -- why isn't the O'Jays' "992 Arguments" on here?
...My Ghod, what's next for the white kid from Idaho? Barry White??
Have also been playing at work ... I'm sort of embarrassed to admit ... TAPES of the best stuff from KPLU-FM's "All Blues" program, tapes of the stuff that's impossible to find, or that a guy on a tight budget like me can't afford.
So far, that includes Johnny Guitar Watson's silly "Gangster of Love," Dr. John's hilarious "Why Come it is?", Eric Bibb's moody "Follow the Drinking Gourd," guitarist Sonny Landreth's great "Zydeco Shuffle," Ry Cooder's silly "Crow Black Chicken," and guitarist Johnny A's gorgeous "Wichita Lineman" -- yes, the old Glen Campbell hit. This veers kind of close to muzak in places, but it's really an amazing piece of work. If you're a fan of the original, you should try to track this down. Or check out "All Blues," streaming on kplu.org between 6 p.m. and midnight Pacific Time, Saturdays and Sundays.
My newest e-book memoir, WHAT HE MEANT, a tribute to my old writer buddy Don Vincent, is now available for $2.99 at Amazon.com's Kindle Store.
The book's an attempt to make sense out of my best friend's sudden death a couple of years ago, and to figure out why he apparently gave up writing in his later years and went silent -- despite his many big plans for huge fantasy-novel writing projects.
The book recaps some of the experiences we went through together. We shared an apartment twice -- he let me sleep on his couch for free for six months once when I had nowhere else to go. Once we were in love with the same woman. We both went into shock at the death of his fiancee in a car wreck. I was later the best man at his wedding, and he was the best man at mine. And he encouraged me to join the Air Force and make a skill out of the one talent I had.
He was always a better, funnier, more vivid, more imaginative, more disciplined writer than I was. And I told him so. I wouldn't be writing this without him as a role model.
This may be another book that hardly anyone will be interested in, but I had to write it. I had to get it out of my system.
What will I write next? Well, I've been thinking about that old rock-group novel....