New Music For Old People: Jack Nitzsche, The National, Gillian Welch



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 Lonely Surfer” — Jack Nitzsche

Sadly, this is the only top-tenner under his own name. Jack was a persuasive, cognitive wheel in the studio antics of Phil Spector and the early to mid-period Rolling Stones. His arrangements adorned many hits by Jackie DeShannon, Gene Pitney, Darlene Love, The Crystals, The Righteous Brothers, Neil Young, etc. This was a sweeping instrumental, worthy of a better title, that raised the quality of the hits of 1963. Later, he would win an Oscar for co-composing “Up Where We Belong.”

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2. “Fireproof” — The National

There is something about lead singer/songwriter Matt Berninger’s voice that reminds me of the softer side of Jim Morrison’s work. So far, I haven’t heard him employ the cutting slash ‘n’ burn that Morrison had tucked in for whenever it was appropriate, but it’s comparatively early in this band’s career. His soothing baritone adorns this piece well. It’s from their sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me.

3. “Lowlands” — Gillian Welch

A favorite of mine from the start, Gillian has the sotto voce of country-influenced folk music woven into her artistic make-up. She can wail when she wants to as well, but here she is captive to the appropriate low-key delivery. A basic, tasty listen.

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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