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1412 tracks from USA have been recommended.
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Noah’s Dove  performed by 10,000 Maniacs  1992
Recommended by genebean [profile]

The sound is just perfect. The piano part has been stuck in my head for years. Its another one of those rainy day songs that kind of make you stop everything you're doing and just sit there and listen.

from Our Time in Eden (Elektra)


Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood  performed by Nina Simone  1966
Recommended by MickeyPeas [profile]

"Baby you understand me now..." sends chills down your spine.
This is the best version of this song that I have ever heard!! If you are familiar with The Animals version, then give this one a try. You won't be disapointed.

from Lady Blue (Charly Records UK B00000369Q)


Kid Charlemagne  performed by Steely Dan  1976
Recommended by thewilyfilipino [profile]

"Kid Charlemagne" sounds like it's starting in the middle -- a little instrumental passage between stanzas, or the middle of a drug bust. Whatever it is, it works: the song drops you right into a seedy, sun-soaked, coke-fueled, sour-tasting hangover of a scene, populated by "Day-Glo freaks" and "low-rent friends."

What makes the song most memorable for me are the two all-too-brief soaring guitar solos unleashed by Larry Carlton (and drums by Bernard Purdie!), particularly the one that still echoes in the ears of the listener on the way out. That and the unforgettable couplet, bracketed in the last verse (and sung by Donald Fagen with a half-faltering note that makes it sound like undisguised joy) for maximum effect:

"Is there gas in the car?
Yes, there's gas in the car."

Sometimes it's just the slightest detail that turns a song into a masterpiece.

from A Decade of Steely Dan, available on CD (MCA)



  02 Oct 03 ·tinks: i've never thought much of steely dan. and i still don't. but reading this review set off a frenzy of activity in my little brain trying to figure out where i knew "kid charlemagne" from as a pop-culture reference. at first i thought..."was it the name of a boxer on the simpsons?" was it from mr. show? no...it was the college radio handle of the dad on "malcolm in the middle".
  05 Apr 04 ·Latimer: Chuck Rainey's bass work on this track is absolutely great. It's the epitome of his style, a veritable thesaurus of syncopation. - Kid Charlemagne supposedly refers to Augustus Owsley Stanley III, sometime purveyor of high-grade acid to the hippie elite, and raided in 1967.
Danger! She’s a Stranger  performed by The Five Stairsteps  1967
Recommended by delicado [profile]

I fell in love with this song this evening. At this point it's hard to find many words to describe it; I'm just dazzled by how wonderful it is. It's a mournful and spooky-sounding soul song, opening with some percussion, and then some harmonized background vocals, drums, brass and piano. I guess the kicker for me are the shimmering strings in the arrangement, which come in with the main vocal. The vocals are fraught with emotion, and there is a very interesting use of vocal sounds as the song fades out.

Being a Five Stairsteps novice, I'd like to know if they recorded many other tracks like this. I gather that the record was produced by Curtis Mayfield, but I've never heard anything by him with quite such a delectable arrangement. Any advice would be appreciated!


available on CD - The First Family of Soul (Buddah)




  30 Sep 03 ·Arthur: The Five Stairsteps have a history going back to the mid sixties -they recorded for Curtis Mayfields 'Windy C' label and later for George Harrison's 'Dark Horse' label Group main man Kenni Burke is still active in the music business, having co penned the much copied and sampled "Rising To The Top" and has recently (last year) visited the UK where he performed a number of PA's and recorded at least one song. I have to confess I never heard "Danger! She's a Stranger" but will make it my mission to do so!
  01 Oct 03 ·tinks: oh my god, this is one of my all-time favorite songs! i can't believe i never thought to put it up. i love the backing vocals..."danger! stranger!"
  16 Oct 03 ·delicado: You have excellent taste! For the record, I was able to find one other Five Stairsteps track that has a similar moody feel to it. It's called 'Something's Missing', and is almost like a prototype version of 'Danger...'
  31 Mar 04 ·bobbyspacetroup: Sampled by Outkast incidentally (check out "Two Dope Boyz In A Cadillac").
  31 Mar 04 ·delicado: Yeah, I read about this and checked out the Outkast song. I have to say I wasn't that impressed. I think maybe the big beat over the piano and gentle shimmering strings killed it for me a bit!
  26 Apr 07 ·artlongjr: Fascinating to read the comments here...I didn't know Outkast had sampled this. I remember first hearing this song when I got their first album way back in 1981, and it is my favorite tune on there. It's a classic of Chicago soul. The strings, horns and Clarence Burke Jr.'s lead vocals and the group harmonies add up to a delightfully foreboding, almost sinister mood on this number. This came out in 1966, I also have "Something's Missing", which came out on Buddah in 1967. I keep telling everybody I know that the Stairsteps are easily the equals of the Jackson Five! They also did a terrific funk-psychedelic number in 1969 on Curtom called "Madame Mary"...I can't figure out the lyrics but it may be about marijuana!
  06 May 07 ·karen: If you like "Danger She's a Stranger", you will love "You've Waited Too Long". I remember the Five Stairsteps, and they were a lot more talented than the Jackson Five (and better looking). But unfortunately they were not on a major label like Motown, but they got a lot of respect and admiration in the Black community and plenty of airplay in DC, NY, Philly, etc. "Oooh Child" was a major hit...I wonder what they are doing now and how they look.
"The Glow" pt. 2  performed by Microphones  2001
Recommended by Open Book [profile]

I call it "THE - concept album." It's almost as if Phil Elvrum nearly single-handedly did what all others before him had tried to accomplish in attempting a thematically based musical piece of artwork. The title track from his stunning masterpiece digs deep into the thoughts of the main character as he battles life, struggles with suicide, and breaks down entirely. Besides the heart-wrenching lyrics, musically, the song is equally brilliant- utilizing both channels of the stereo to spin the listener around, sweeping organs, and a drop-dead gorgeous vocal performance all beginning with a kick ass fuzz-drone rock out featuring blazing drum fills. This songs brings me to tears every time I hear it.

from "The Glow" pt. 2 (K Records)
available on CD - "The Glow" pt.2 (K Records)


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