New Music For Old People: Rush, Spooky Tooth, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

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. Rush – “Mr. Soul”

This don’t look good on paper — the Canadian trio is known for a more progressive approach than this Neil Young staple from the Buffalo Springfield catalog. But they more than control themselves and play a pure tribute right down to Neil’s exact guitar sound. Hidden in the middle is also a four-bar guitar quote homage to a Byrds tune. Rush is not afraid to celebrate their roots and I find that refreshing.

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2. Spooky Tooth – “Society’s Child”

If I wasn’t old and whatever, I’d call Janis Ian and ask her what she thinks about this track. This UK ’60s fringe band — home to future Grease Band members and future soloist Gary Wright — liked to do covers. I think in some ways they were the British Vanilla Fudge. I just wonder how organist Gary Wright resisted playing the solo organ afterthought that was a benchmark of Janis’s original recording (produced by Shadow Morton who also gave us The Shangri-Las).

3. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – “Wild World”

I love this band! They are excellent musicians and humourists who love to play covers of formerly gentle ballads in a speed-metal mode. Last year I had dinner with the former Cat Stevens and asked if he ever heard this version of his work. He hadn’t, so we traipsed over to my hotel room and I played it for him off my trusty omnipresent iPod. I am happy to announce that Yusef laughed and appreciated it — even the spoken intro.

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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