New Music For Old People: The Subdudes, Peter Rowan, Billy Bragg

Al Kooper

Al Kooper

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the ’60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don’t miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD’VE been!

1. The Subdudes – “Keep My Feet Upon the Ground”

This is a band you can always count on to deliver the goods and this is just more evidence of that. With the Crescent City in their heads and voices, they jump right in the groove and sing and play and write just right. I’ve been a big fan since the top and they’ve got me for life.

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2. Peter Rowan – “Howlin’ At The Moon”

One of the nicest guys I’ve met in my travels and the talent just oozes out of him. This is a nod to the incendiary country stars of the ’50s and other than the improved sound quality and perfect playing and singing, it could have been taped back then. These people know and respect their roots but that’s evident immediately. Nice mandolin solo, whoever you are…

3. Billy Bragg – “I Ain’t Got No Home”

It’s hard to believe this guy from a town called Barking in the UK could conjure up the spirit and disconcerting look at poverty in the ‘40s in the USA in the manner Bragg does on his album Tooth & Nail. He went through punk and hardcore left wing politics and has now settled comfortably in the embrace of the talents of the late Woody Guthrie. That’s how Robert Zimmerman started but he took the left and right turns as his career ambled along. Billy has found his comfort zone NOW and this collection is as honest as it is listenable. I’m currently enjoying all of this album; I believe every word in the Woody Guthrie lyric he is singing here and that is why I close with Billy/Woody this week.

This column originally appeared on The Morton Report. Click for more great selections from Al Kooper! As always, show some love to the Morton Report!

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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