New Music For Old People: The Pillbugs, Billy Bragg, Simple Kid



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. “Life As It Happens” — The Pillbugs

A Toledo, Ohio band from the late ’90s bathed in the ’60s psychedelia category. By the mid-2000s they were accomplished at writing the equivalent of The Byrds’ first originals circa 1965. This is a great example.

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2. “Swallow My Pride” — Billy Bragg

Billy has reached the second leg of his career where his influences have changed from Woody Guthrie to Jackson Browne. This is not a bad thing. His former rough edges are now replaced by better personal songwriting and much more care in production albeit still charming simplicity. I am now less of a casual listener then I was before, but I hope the reverse is NOT true for diehard original fans.

3. “Staring at the Sun” — Simple Kid

This is from his first album and he’s quite adept at getting the appropriate settings for his songs. I think he probably plays everything and engineers it all as well. This is from 2003-4 and I wish more people in 2013 were making home studio records that sounded this good. And deceptively $imple, kid…

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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