For this week’s post, I thought it would be a nice diversion to listen to some tunes. Better yet, to listen to some tunes while watching moving images. In this sampler we have a couple of music videos and a couple of live cuts from a few of my favorites—hope you find something you like, too. [NOTE: 2 of the links below are now deadends due to copyright issues. I encourage you to seek them out though.]
From the album, Kamakiriad, 1993.
Donald Fagen is of course half of the brain trust known as Steely Dan, creators of genius music puzzles for the past several decades. The album was a solo project for Fagen, which thematically explored a bleak, ironic future for mankind. The video was directed by Michael Gondry, the man behind a ton of cool videos and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Let me also state for the record that Gondry’s film Be Kind Rewind is an underrated gem which you should rent as soon as possible.
James Taylor (with J.D. Souther)
“Her Town Too”
From the album, Dad Loves His Work, 1981.
Apparently, this album came out while Taylor was simultaneously divorcing Carly Simon and suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. J.D. Souther, a widely-respected writer and musician in his own right, lends a sweet harmony to the song. It’s hard to believe this came out nearly 30 years ago (unless you look at their wardrobes).
Jackson Browne (with David Lindley)
“Late for the Sky”
From the album, Late for the Sky, 1974.
This clip is from an unknown 2006 folk festival and features a grizzled Jackson Browne and an understated David Lindley. Not that Jackson Browne has ever needed backup of any kind, but Lindley’s soaring guitar work helped shape Browne’s signature sound when he was a musical force in the 1970’s. If you haven’t listened to some of Jackson Browne’s earlier work, find these records and listen to them through an old pair of headphones. You will be moved.
Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
From the album, Hell Among the Yearlings, 1988.
I had the good fortune to see Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at Merlefest several years in a row and again at the Town Hall in NYC. The selected song is a higher tempo than some of my favorite Gillian Welch songs, but you get a sense of his brilliant guitar technique and her anachronistic songwriting, like haunted old tunes written in the 1840’s. The interplay of their voices is an amazing sound to hear live.