New Music For Old People: Social Distortion, Timi Yuro, Leslie West

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. “Up Around the Bend” — Social Distortion

Times have changed. When the punk/slash ripped guitars of 1983 evolve into a John Fogerty track from a cartoon movie, you’re either brave (which I think they are) or confused (which I think they are not). As they enter their fourth decade of popularity and sold-out shows, I say do what you wanna do. As a matter of fact, this is a credible Creedence Clearwater cover and shows just how diversified they can be. The movie’s a bomb, but what do you expect from a 2013 item titled Free Birds?

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2. “Night Time Is the Right Time” — Timi Yuro

Timi covered this Ray Charles chestnut just about the time the Rolling Stones were making their first album. And her voice is waaay closer to the Genius than Jagger’s was when his merry band covered this about two tours ago. This is a great example of the diversity of the late Ms. Yuro, who set an early example of what dedicated, talented white people can do with an ethnic music that was originally not their own. Since then Mike Bloomfield, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse have followed in her footsteps. But for a tiny gal, I think her shoes were bigger.

3. “Dyin’ Since the Day I Was Born” — Leslie West

I have been a fan for many decades and we are two Jews from Long Guy-land as well. Jimmy Vivino and I once played on a bill with him and, of course, he was the closer. He came out onstage and started playing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” After a few bars, he stopped and SCREAMED at the audience, “STAND UP! THIS IS THE GODDAMNED NATIONAL ANTHEM!” And they did. All of ‘em. In 2011, he had his lower right leg amputated due to diabetes complications. Based on his album Still Climbing, I think his playing and singing are at their career best and I couldn’t find a bad track on the whole album. I like this one the best, though — great title and wonderful guitar solos. He is the king of tone and I hope he keeps recording for the rest of his amazing life… amen.

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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