Friday Five : |ˈfrīdā – fīv| : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button in iTunes and share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up the media player of your choice and share the first five random tracks from your shuffle in the comments.
“Hate It Here” by Wilco (from Sky Blue Sky, 2007)
The first album from Wilco to feature guitarist Nels Cline, a welcome addition to the line-up for sure. That’s him in the left channel. With good performances from all concerned, this track mercifully cuts down the meander ratio of much of Wilco’s output, making it nicely straight-forward, focused, well-recorded, and listenable.
“Uninspired” by Traffic (from The Finer Things boxed set, 1995)
As a youngster I was beside myself with excitement for having scored a ticket to see Traffic on their first American tour. The group’s first and second albums were sacred tablets to me. At the last minute the gig was inexplicably cancelled and I was bereft beyond words. I waited 25 years to finally catch Steve Winwood in concert at Madison Square Garden and was fast asleep within twenty minutes. This aptly-titled live track is perfect evidence as to why. Ten minutes and thirty-three seconds of singing/soloing wallpaper.
“Jamaica Jerk-Off” by Elton John (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition, 2014)
Perhaps one of the least monumental tracks from the monumentally iconoclastic GYBR LP, but that still counts for something. Reg was in such complete command of his métier at this point that nothing could have knocked him from his perch and why would anyone want to? Just pop open another Red Stripe and soak in the sunshine!
“Rock ‘n’ Roll Deacon” by Screamin’ Joe Neal (from Desperate Rock ‘n’ Roll, Vol. 1, 1992)
A ferocious cut from the fabulous Desperate Rock ‘n Roll series of compilation albums that bring together all manner of obscure but sublime slabs of wax from rock’s formative years. I believe that there’s a total of twenty albums – collect ‘em all! Who Screamin’ Joe Neal is would be anyone’s guess, but Little Richard mighta taken a long hard glance over his shoulder when he heard this guy comin’! Wow.
“Tramp” by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (from King & Queen, 1967)
All hail this near-perfect gem from the Stax crew and their undisputed king and queen of soul! Penned by the great Lowell Fulson and Jimmy McCracklin, backed by Booker T. & The MGs, infused with the chemistry of the combined vocalists, and cut at the pinnacle of this crowd’s collective powers, this one couldn’t miss (and doesn’t).