Top 5: You Don't Have Very Far to Go
(Edited since first being posted to add one more cool link.)
And now for something completely different. Instead of the usual Friday Top 5 or record chart review thing, here's a list of five of the best MP3 downloads I've found in recent days at various locations around the web. Don't wait to click them--as per usual in the MP3 blogosphere, the links will soon disappear.
"Sugar Baby Love"/Rubettes. The Rubettes were a British studio creation, and "Sugar Baby Love", their debut single, went to Number One in England and Number 37 here during the summer of 1974. The group was intended to cross glam rock with Sha-Na-Na- style 50s revivalism, but "Sugar Baby Love" sounds more like what you'd get if you mated "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes" with "Born to Run."
"AM Radio"/Everclear. The Stepfather of Soul strayed a bit from his usual thang to feature this big ol' crunchy rock record and tribute to old-school Top 40, which incorporates a sample from Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff." Get it here as part of the Stepfather's "Mr. Big Stuff" tribute set.
Van Morrison at the Fillmore West/Van Morrison. One of my favorite things about the MP3 blogosphere is the way various bootlegs sometimes find their way online. (Jefitoblog is famous for this, with a regular "Bootleg City" feature that has left me stupid with delight several times in recent months.) On my planet, one can never have enough Van Morrison, so I was pleased to find this boot, posted by Jennings at rbally. It captures an April 1970 performance of songs from Moondance.
"Over the Rainbow"/Toots Thielemans. I'm not sure if anybody really needs to hear "Over the Rainbow" again--but this is a fine version of it, and it gives me an excuse to write about Thielemans. He's that unlikeliest of musicians, a jazz harmonica player. He doesn't appear until halfway through this track, but when he does, you'll hear his uniquely mellow, soulful tone, which is as recognizable as Stevie Wonder's.
"You Don't Have Very Far to Go"/Candi Staton. Merle Haggard wrote it; Rosanne Cash made it a hit; Candi takes it down home on her new album His Hands. This is great country soul, a style that's American roots music at its rootsiest.
The best way to find what's playing at MP3 blogs all over the web is the Hype Machine, which is how I found all these. Take note that each of the links above takes you to a single entry at the blogs listed--however, you should explore the main pages of each blog, too. You'll find plenty of fresh tunes for the holiday weekend.
Late Addition: You should check this one, too--at the Late Greats, a live Rosanne Cash performance, broadcast on WXPN in Philadelphia in February, featuring "unplugged" versions of songs from her latest album, Black Cadillac. Superb.