It was drizzling this morning when I got ready for a run, making this the third consecutive Monday to have my workout plans dampened, pun intended. Let’s see: rainy days and Mondays. Hmm…has the makings of a good song. Nah, it would never work.
I think I’ve already established the fact that I’m a fair-weather runner, and frankly, even though I do appreciate the moisture in this hitherto drought-ravaged year, I’m getting a little tired of having to adjust my Very Important Schedule to suit the vagaries of the weather. Nevertheless, I do have options: that infernal contraption in the garage beckoned to me, and I sighed and gave into the idea of a workout on the treadmill.
Normally, I’d pull up a movie on Netflix or Amazon to make the dreary workout go faster, but today I decided to link my iPhone to the Bluetooth sound bar below the TV and put my Music collection on shuffle. And out of the 6,358 songs on my phone, here’s what the algorithm decided to serve me during a 33 minute run.
Next up: The vacation photos from the time my family drove from Fort Stockton to Idaho when I was eleven years old. Don’t worry; there’s only 6,358 of them. What a coincidence!
- You’ve Got What It Takes — Dave Clark Five
I digitized my 45 rpm vinyl copy of this 1967 song, which still gets a lot of airplay on SiriusXM’s 60’s music channel. It’s the worst love song ever written, being the best example of “damned with faint praise” that you’ll ever run across. I’ll leave it to your imagination what it is that she has that’s so attractive.
- Treat Her Right — Billy Gibbons and The BFGs
Billy Gibbons is, of course, one-third of ZZ Top, as well as 50% of the surviving members of that classic trio following Dusty Hill’s death last year. This cut is from one of Gibbons’ side projects; the Latin-tinged album released in 2015 is entitled Perfectamundo.
- A Hazy Shade of Winter — Simon & Garfunkel
This well-known song was released as a single in 1966, and later appeared on the duo’s Bookends album in 1968. That album is thematically and stylistically appropriate for the dreary and somewhat depressing weather we’re having, and the lyrics to Old Friends really hit close to home nowadays.
- Sailing — Rod Stewart
This is one of the cuts from the 1987’s The Prince’s Trust 10th Anniversary Birthday Party, recorded live at Wembley Stadium, and which sets the bar for the most awkward album title. I’m not sure why I felt the need to buy this CD, but it does feature some good live music from acts like Elton John (I’m Still Standing), Howard Jones (No One Is To Blame), and Paul McCartney (Get Back). Unfortunately, Rod Stewart’s contribution is not particularly compelling, so thanks a lot, Apple Music Shuffle Algorithm. (In case you’re wondering, The Prince’s Trust is a charity in the United Kingdom created to help vulnerable young people get their lives back on track via mentoring, education, and grants.)
- Swingin’ — The Mavericks
John Anderson co-wrote and recorded this song way back in 1983 and it was named Single of the Year by the Country Music Association. The Mavericks covered the song on their 2019 album, Play The Hits. Their version isn’t necessarily an improvement over the original…but I don’t have a copy of the original. Plus, Raul Malo’s pronunciation of the title word is elocutionarily inferior to Anderson’s countrified “swangin’.” We’re all about authenticity here at the Gazette.
Now, I will say that the following video is approximately infinitely better than the recording on Play The Hits, and demonstrates why you really shouldn’t miss The Mavericks in concert if you can help it.
- Give Yourself to Jesus — Aretha Franklin
In 1972, the Queen of Soul recorded an album entitled Amazing Grace at The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles. This is one of the songs from that album. (A 1 1/2 hour documentary of the concert is also available on DVD, one review of which reads “It will make you feel as if you’ve seen the face of God.” The reviewer was writing for Rolling Stone Magazine.)
- How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) — James Taylor
This song was initially recorded in 1965 by Marvin Gaye, and it rose to #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. James Taylor covered it on his Gorilla album in 1975, and it did a bit better than Gaye’s version, chart-wise, hitting #5. My version comes from the 1994 album, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits, Vol 1. The song title was supposedly inspired by Jackie Gleason’s signature exclamation.
- Addams Family Theme Song — Bobby Morganstein
OK, this one needs even more explanation than usual. When we lived in Midland, one of my volunteer tasks was to provide a pre-recorded musical playlist for our ballroom dance club, to be used when we occasionally didn’t have live music. It quickly became obvious that 50 minutes per set of continuous music, without a break, was rather more strenuous than most ballroom dancers wanted. OTOH, 20 or 30 seconds of silence between songs was a bit weird (with a live band, if they have any personality at all, there’s a bit of banter going on during those short breaks, if only to introduce the next tune). So, I began to fill those gaps with snippets of music, usually with a common theme. For one dance, that common thread was theme songs from old TV shows. I still have all of those theme songs in my music collection. (I blogged about the process of doing this back in 2015.)
- Quizás, Quizás, Quizás — Andrea Bocelli & Jennifer Lopez
Speaking of ballroom dancing, this song is a classic, very danceable rumba or bolero. The title translates to “perhaps, perhaps, perhaps” and it was composed by the Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés, and it became a Spanish-language hit for Bobby Capó in 1947. The most well-known English-language version was recorded by Doris Day in 1964. I have both versions, but I gotta tell you, Bocelli/Lopez will make you want to dance even on a treadmill.
- I’ve Lost You (Take 1) — Elvis Presley
I didn’t get all the way through the last song in the shuffled list, because I finished my workout before my phone finished its. (Is that good grammar? Meh.) This cut comes from the album From Elvis In Nashville, which I blogged about two years ago. This version from the initial studio sessions is almost identical to the final version, and it’s a perfect example of the way Elvis could bring emotion to a ballad.