New Music For Old People: Jo Mama, Sam Sparrow, New York City

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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. “Midnight Rider” — Jo Mama

No, this not the Gregg Allman tune…calm down! I’ve always liked this and heard it recently — a few decades from the ’70s where it’s actually from. Jo Mama (cute name) was an LA band formed by guitarist Danny Kootch that featured his paramour at the time, Gail Haness, on lead vocals. Gail does some mighty fine vocalizing on this track with great keyboards by Ralph Shuckett as well. This came out in 1970, with a second album following in 1971 and then poof — Jo Mama was nobody’s mama no more. Kootch was good at short-term bands. Off the top of my head, The Flying Machine, The King Bees, The City, The Section, Attitudes, Slo Leak are more than a few that come to mind.

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2. “Let the Love In” — Sam Sparro

Sam was raised in Australia, with time spent in London and Los Angeles. His music is very dance-oriented with a bit of electronica thrown in for good measure. This is from his 2012 album Return to Paradise. I think it’s just a matter of right time and right place and he could be on the topomost of the popomost. This track is a good example of what he’s about. Keep your ear on the Sparro.

3. “Happiness Is” — New York City

In the world of arrangements, this track is amazing. The guitars and string parts are quite original and it’s a great piece of songwriting as well.

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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