Category: Tunes

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 6/21-22/19 Part II

An interesting blend of the 70s graces our Top 5. Per an internet search it appears that we have, in order, the following genres: Soft Rock, Baroque Pop (never heard of that one), Hard Rock, Jazz Fusion and Rock. Perhaps a little too categorized but suffice to say that 70s radio still rules in my book.

5. I’d Really Love to See You Tonight – England Dan & John Ford Coley (1976) – I always liked this mellow tune and find it fun when a song features one side of a phone conversation (see also “Operator” by Jim Croce or “Telephone Line” by ELO). I also enjoyed the late “England” Dan Seals as a solo artist who had great success on the country charts in the 1980s with tunes like “Bop”, “My Old Yellow Car” and “Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold” among others.

4. Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) – Edison Lighthouse (1970) – Kinda hip, kinda groovy, kinda 70s, this one has always struck a chord with me. It’s one of those songs that I could listen to over and over and always leaves me wishing it was a little or a lot longer. No doubt it could use an additional verse or even another round of the same stuff. An interesting detail on this cut is that the singer, Tony Burrows, contributed vocals to a batch of other one hit wonders including “Beach Baby” (First Class), “My Baby Loves Lovin’” (White Plains) and “Gimme Dat Ding” (The Pipkins).

3. Beautiful Girls – Van Halen (1979) – Now if you say that the Van Hagar incarnation of this band was better, we’re going to have an argument and I give you Exhibit A to begin my case. “Well, I’m a bum in the sun and I’m having fun…” Rock and roll at its finest and funnest, classic VH with a shout out to lovely ladies. “On top of the world” indeed. Hey, wasn’t that phrase recycled down the road? Not bad, but not as good.

2. My Old School – Steely Dan (1973) – There’s no such thing as a bad Steely Dan song, some are just better than others and this is one of them. Clever as always and an entertaining blend of ambiguous and obvious in the lyrics. I’m always entertained by unique words in songs and the fellows work in “Oleanders” and “Guadalajara” into this tune, pure genius.

1. Blinded by the Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1976) – Written by Bruce Springsteen and recorded to perfection by Mann and his troupe. Darn near gibberish at many spots along the way making me wonder not only exactly how one would write something like this but also how it works on the ear and beyond. Took me many years to get that “revved up like a deuce” thing right too.

Another fun tangent for me and coming your way tomorrow is the regular Friday Flashback. Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 6/21-22/19 Part I

Here’s another batch of trip tunes gleaned from several hours of surfing the airwaves during the back to back round trips to the fishing holes on June 21 and 22.

10. Legs – ZZ Top (1984) – So, ZZ Top of the 80s had the trademark coupe in several of their frequently played MTV videos, including this cut. Never really been a car guy so luckily this video also featured some attractive young ladies. Which, as a 17-year old guy, were more my speed. Always liked the older ZZ Top stuff better but hard to deny the impact of music videos on selling some records. 35 years later I still find the video a treat and even sport a modest ZZ Top look of my own from time to time.

9. Enough Is Enough – April Wine (1982) – It’s always fun when you hear a cut on the radio that makes you say, “Wow, I haven’t heard this one in ages!” And even better when you think, “Oh man, is that April Wine?” And it is. A fun tune and rewarding to know that my musical memory is still pretty spot on.

8. We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel (1989) – Somewhat panned by critics, I particularly enjoyed this song being a trivia, history, education, encyclopedic kind of guy. The entertaining ride through 40 years of world events, pop culture and personalities was not only a hit with this listener but also managed to top the charts for two weeks in December of 1989. Although this song would likely not crack my Top 20 Billy Joel favorites it’s always worth the stop on the radio dial just to see how well I can sing along with the rapid fire history lesson. Quick, name the first and last individuals mentioned in the lyrics.

7. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot (1976) – Speaking of history lessons, this somewhat haunting tune was a favorite of a nine year old kid intrigued by the tale and honestly a little creeped out by the musical interpretation of the tragic event (my original 45 pictured above). A legendary song from a legendary Canadian artist, the tune narrowly missed reaching the peak of the Billboard chart hitting number two behind Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night.”

6. Centerfold – J. Geils Band (1981) – Well, you’re a fourteen year old boy and this video hits your favorite channel, MTV. Instant favorite, one of those drop what you’re doing clips. Runners-up to the lovely young ladies that grace the screen are lead singer Peter Wolf’s dancing and the drum surface actually being milk. Distant runners-up, by the way, but entertaining and memorable nonetheless.

Top 5 up tomorrow with a full dose of the 1970s. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 6/11/19 Part II

Here we go with the Top 5 which fittingly finishes with a little Father’s Day flourish.

5. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash (1982) – Thanks to the Netflix series, Stranger Things, this tune has been introduced to a whole new generation. Our kids included as they eagerly await season three of the series slated to kick off on July 4 (although we’ll have to wait for the video release). It’s always cool to hear your kids get excited when an “oldie” comes over the airwaves or when you hear them singing such a tune out of the blue.

4. You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac (1977) – Back in fifth grade I had a favorite album, something called Rumours, perhaps you’ve heard of it. This tune featuring the vocal stylings of Christine McVie was the fourth single release and is one of those tunes that has grown on me over the years as a change of pace from the always enjoyable Buckingham\Nicks leads. Good stuff when you’ve got three varied vocalists to choose from when creating such memorable music.

3. Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis (1987) – The mid to late 80s were a great time to be a country fan. Acts like Alabama, George Strait and Hank Jr. were well established and a new batch of traditional artists in Randy Travis, Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam were hitting the scene. The former of that trio was my favorite, what a voice, and tough to find a better love song than this one. I was able to hang onto country music as the 90s dawned with another trio of artists hitting the scene in Clint Black, Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt. I suppose I am getting old now as I can’t stomach most of what’s out there these days as “that ain’t country.”

2. December 1963 (Oh What A Night) – The Four Seasons (1976) – As a dedicated eight year old listener to Chicago’s WLS I was quite fond of this often played track. I knew a little of The Four Seasons from a few 45s around the house but this one had a different sound and vibe than “Sherry” and “Rag Doll.” Sounds like a whole new act for much of the song with Frankie Valli taking a backseat.

1. Cats In The Cradle – Harry Chapin (1974) – Fitting for Father’s Day, I caught this tune as I was just reaching the gate at the fishing hole. A little stiff after the hour plus drive it took several steps for my gait to resume a normal feel. Made me think of all those times Dad said, “one of these days you’ll see…” I’m starting to understand and as I reached to unlock the gate, I thought, “my hands are looking more like Dad’s.” Of course, my hairdo has long begun resembling his as well, my floppy hat now serves as sun protection on the fishing hole instead of hair. Like Chapin sings, “I’ve grown up just like him” but ideally in a bit better way than the lament in the lyrics.

Until next time, solid Top 5 Update tomorrow, Happy Father’s Day to the Dads out there and talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 6/11/19 Part I

Haven’t done one of these since March so here we go again.

10. Children of the Sun – Billy Thorpe (1979) – If your criteria for a “one hit wonder” requires a Top 40 hit, well, this one does not qualify…barely. The popular rocker from down under managed to fall one spot short as this cut peaked at #41 in September of 1979. Not sure where I was hearing this tune but I was spending plenty of time with WLS and Q93 dialed in as the 70s were ending and the teenage years were about to begin.

9. Dumas Walker – Kentucky Headhunters (1990) – So many songs take me back to a specific place and time and this is one of them. Me and my buddies’ road tripping up to Sheffield, Illinois to hang out with the Hansen brothers at their small town saloon known as “R&J’s.” Some of the rest is a little blurry but this entertaining and catchy country cut went hand in hand with just a few cold ones back in the day.

8. Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osbourne (1980) – For better or worse, I was more in tune to Top 40 radio as the 80s dawned as opposed to some of the edgier stuff at the local Co-Op Records store on Henderson Street in Galesburg, Illinois. Fortunately, I had a buddy who would crank a few albums such as Ozzy’s Blizzard of Oz which contained this interesting tune. And speaking of albums and record stores, internet search engines just aren’t the same as flipping through those racks of eye-catching designs.

7. Rag Doll – Aerosmith (1988) – With an unlikely assist from Run DMC, the bad boys from Boston saw a dramatic resurgence in popularity. For my money, this one was the best of that bunch. Joey Kramer slamming drums kicks this one off and it never stops movin’ with Steven Tyler’s incessant lyrical banter and some cool slide guitar from Joe Perry rolling along. Music is a lot of things and one of those things is fun. This jam definitely fits the bill.

6. Rooster – Alice in Chains (1993) – This gritty ditty hits home with the late Layne Staley’s vocals knocking it out of the park on guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s tribute to his Vietnam veteran father. Another song that takes me back to a place and time, 12-hour shifts in the National Seal Company quality control lab with the radio running all night long. Good times with good co-workers including a Middle Eastern fellow who used to croon this tune with an entertaining Iranian accent.

It’s tough to beat the “solitary” drive to the fishing hole while sharing time in the company old friends found on the radio dial (and yes, my truck still has a tuning dial). Old stories abound as I head out looking for some new fish stories. More tunes tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 3/23/19 Part II

Top 5 Trip Tunes need no introduction so here we go.

5. You’re All I’ve Got Tonight – The Cars (1978) – This is the fourth cut from The Cars debut album to make a Trip Tunes list since kicking off the project in September 2017. How’s that for a band’s first record? And there’s a couple more good tracks still left on the album, ranks as one of the best. This cut also makes me wish I knew more about music and crafting a song as there’s a whole lot going on here to enjoy.

4. Money – Pink Floyd (1973) – Similar to tune #5 above, this one hails from a great album, something called Dark Side of the Moon. In addition, it has some quirky musicality which I still can’t understand, not my thing. Perhaps a primitive music fan but I like ‘em because they sound and feel good. And while just a bit sophomoric, I also dig it when they sneak in an uncensored line on the radio.

3. Nothing From Nothing – Billy Preston (1974) – If this one doesn’t get you moving, whether simple toe tapping or a little air keyboard, well, I don’t know what to tell you. There are certain people who were born to do certain things and it is cool when it all works out. Billy Preston was one of those people and his enthusiasm for his craft is contagious with this tune being a perfect example.

2. Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh (1973) – Sticking with the born to jam theme, Joe Walsh is about as entertaining as it gets. Whether playing, singing or just rambling this guy knows how to have fun. I’m also partial to baseball references in song lyrics and Walsh’s “bases are loaded and Casey’s at bat” is a hit.

1. Do It Again – Steely Dan (1972) – Back in the days when a youngster rarely, if ever, got a glimpse of the rock stars from the radio there was always a mental image of the guys and gals. When I did get a look at Donald Fagen and Walter Becker at some point (probably on The Midnight Special or at The Platter record store), well, my imagination wasn’t even close. No matter to me, but wonder if these guys would be glamorous enough for today’s musical landscape. Ideally, their songwriting and musicianship would win out but not so sure as were not in the 1970s anymore.

And this concludes our Top 10 Trip Tunes. Back to regular programming tomorrow with another Friday Flashback and looking forward to stalking some bass as we head into a new month. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 3/23/19 Part I

As another year of driving to the fishing hole kicks into gear it’s once again time to kick out some more jams. Top 10 Trip Tunes comes your way with five tomorrow and five today.

10. The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) – The Greg Kihn Band (1981) – Here we go again, back to the summer of 1981 and here comes a new television channel called MTV. Mixed reviews on the channel’s impact on the music business but for a few years it sure had an impact on me…still does. Kihn benefitted with his “Jeopardy” video a couple years later even spawning a coveted (?) Weird Al parody. I always found the subtitled sentiment of this cut fun as half the words are “Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.”

9. Handy Man – James Taylor (1977) – Honestly didn’t know this one was a remake until the DJ on the oldies show told me after the song. Actually checked out the original 1960 version from Jimmy Jones which features a completely different tempo. Still prefer Taylor’s version as it’s the one I grew up on although never would be mistaken for a handy man with “pencil or rule” or otherwise.

8. Rock The Boat – The Hues Corporation (1974) – Before my MTV days there was something called AM radio and it played music instead of endless banter. And 1974 is about as far back as I can recall recognizing then current Top 40 hits on the airwaves such as this summertime #1 smash. And what a summer it was with the likes of “Band on the Run”, “Billy Don’t be a Hero”, “Sundown” and “The Night Chicago Died” also topping the Billboard chart.

7. Time Passages – Al Stewart (1978) – What can you say? Easy Listening at its finest complete with a double dose of solos, guitar and sax. And how about the added bonus of a fishing lyric as Al notes that “it’s just now and then that my line gets cast into these time passages.” One mark of a good tune for me is when 6:40 passes by in the blink of an eye and this one does just that.

6. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac (1976) – Sparse in composition but heavy on the heart and mind. I always marvel at how some of those “oldies” become new again when seen through the eyes of experience. “And I’m getting older too” delivered via a twenty something Stevie Nicks is a winner. Always amazed at the prescience of such songwriters crooning about “changing ocean tides”, ”seasons of my life” and “reflection” way ahead of their time.

One can never get enough tunes and the Top 5 are headed your way tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 1/5/19, Part II


And the Top 5 are…

5. Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue (1985) – I know, standard 80s Hair Band staple to include at least one ballad but doggone it this one is a winner. It’s tough to hit the nail on the head with a hit that has that anthemic quality so kudos to the Crue for pulling it off with this classic (see also “Rock and Roll All Nite”, “We Will Rock You”, “Paradise City”).

4. Feelin’ Satisfied – Boston (1978) – While much of this band was studio stuff, I saw them in the early 90s and they were real solid. I recall that you could physically feel the sound across the venue. I never fail to stop when I catch them on the dial and how good was the follow up album containing this cut after an incredible debut. Gotta dig some well-placed hand claps too. The title indeed sums it up whenever I hear this one.

3. I Need A Lover – Johnny Cougar (1979) – Actually, I don’t. Already got one. Anyway, I dig the intro and it would likely rank in my Top 10 Intros. The rest of the tune is darn good too although I still can’t get the lyrics right even with the assistance of a search engine. Cougar’s first single to chart was indeed a winner with plenty more to come as well as a couple name changes. Hey, at least he never chose to be represented by a symbol.

2. Heavy Metal – Sammy Hagar (1981) – Takes me back to being a 14-year old boy and brings a pleasant smile thinking about the look of those 80s young ladies. Tunes, fashion and hairdos have certainly changed but a good rocker never gets old. My musical ear also has an affinity for tunes about music, the fans and the performers from a perspective I’ll never know (see also “All Night Long” by Rainbow, “Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner, “Rock and Roll Band” by Boston, “Shooting Star” by Bad Company, “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp…).

1. Crazy On You – Heart (1976) – Is this the greatest intro and transition into full throttle in rock history? Got to rank among the best as do Ann Wilson’s vocals. A song from the Bicentennial Summer with memories of baseball in the front yard, Lakelawn swimming, WLS on the radio and the Midnight Special on the tube. Too young at that point to have a thing for the Wilson sisters but 40 some years later…

The loosely “outdoor” related antics continue with this completion of another list for another year. Definitely more tunes to come as 2019 moves along but may be a while as the early start on fishing has hit a snag. Mother Nature apparently realized it was several weeks past the official start of winter and brought out a half foot of snow and some single digit lows appear to be in store for next week. Midwest living at its finest. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 1/5/19, Part I

No bass on my earlier than anticipated first fishing trip of 2019 but I can always manage to find an enjoyable batch of tunes on the airwaves. Saturdays are easily my favorite radio day of the week as it is straight up music without the incessant rambles of morning hosts. But speaking of incessant rambles…

10. Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance) – Leo Sayer (1974) – I never knew quite what to make of Leo Sayer as a kid, still don’t and just tip my cap to his phenomenal talent. Interesting and varied personas (clown to disco) mixed with a range of vocal stylings (falsetto to growls) and tunes that were all over the place (ballads to romps). This cut hits the spot, brings a smile and takes me back to the 70s. Thanks Leo, “You make me feel like dancing” even though I know I can’t dance.

9. Big Shot – Billy Joel (1979) – An entertaining and rocking bit of trash talking from the 52nd Street album, which I had on 8-track once upon a time, so that’s kind of fun. And so is the interspersed mix of heavy guitar, heavy drums, heavy keyboard, heavy vocal, a bit of heavy sax…get it Billy! I also like lyrical quirks so “last word last night”, “white hot spotlight” and “front page, bold type” keep me so entertained.

8. Let It Whip – Dazz Band (1982) – Dang, what a bass groove! Definitely a hook as I do the air bass and make some sort of lame bass sounds before the vocals kick in whenever I hear (or think about) this jam. Of course, then I’ve got to sing along and get my groove on. Not pretty but you can’t help it when you hear such a tune. Fun, fun, fun!

7. Will It Go Round In Circles – Billy Preston (1973) – Such a fun song with so many musical bits of horns, harmonica and, of course, keyboards amidst the driving backbeat. And did anybody look like they were having more fun than the fellow who is sometimes referred to as “The Fifth Beatle”? Check out some of the early 70s performances of this cut for a rollicking few minutes and a killer afro. Great stuff, takes me back and has me on a mission to dig out my old basketball cards for an ABA revisit of Dr. J, Artis Gilmore and Darnell Hillman (nod to Oscar Gamble in the MLB as well). Note: Billy Preston’s hairdo is the lead pic on Wikipedia for “Afro”, now that’s cool.

6. Unchained – Van Halen (1981) – Rock and roll at its finest, a basic quartet of a charismatic lead singer, an innovative guitarist and a dynamic duo of a rhythm section doing their thing on this cut. And that thing is a mix of raw rocker, vocal histrionics, a dose of silliness and in my opinion, underrated harmonies. Say what you will about the successful “Van Hagar” years but I’ll take this stuff hands down any day, every day.

Love my tunes and hope you are looking to put the internet to good use in dialing some of them up. I also hope that there’s a few out there who, about a half hour from now, like me will wonder “how in the world did I wind up listening to…”

Part II tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

The Cover of the…

RIP, Ray Sawyer, the eye-patched co-lead singer of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show who passed away earlier this week.

Sawyer’s vocals are featured on the iconic hit, “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”, a satirical romp on making it big. If you’ve never checked out this crew doing their thing on this cut, it’s worth a search and brings a smile. It also leaves you wondering just what these guys were up to and to what degree their performances reflect a bit of chemically influenced reality versus an entertaining batch of leg pulling. At any rate, they sure looked like they enjoyed their craft.

A tongue in cheek assessment of the pinnacle of rock stardom was offered up in the following bit of the Shel Silverstein penned lyrics:

“Wanna see my smilin’ face on the cover of the Rollin’ Stone.”

Well, they made it once upon a time, in caricature. Mission accomplished by this wild crew who produced plenty of smiling faces on those who with an ear on their craft and an eye on their antics.

And being that this is an “outdoor” website, I do have a tie in to the world of fishing and one of its publications. While Illinois Game & Fish may not pack the star powered punch of Rolling Stone, it is kind of cool to see your smilin’ face looking back at you from the cover.

Don’t know what fraction of Andy Warhol’s “fifteen minutes” the 2010 appearance might rate but still fun nonetheless. Got a larger shot and a shout out in the accompanying article as well but that is a tale for another day, perhaps this spring.

Talk to you later. Troy

2018 Lyric of the Month – Part II

Much appreciated if you are back for more as we take a look at the second half of the lines from 2018.

“Everyone’s feeling pretty, it’s hotter than July.”
Master Blaster (Jammin’)
Stevie Wonder (1980)
Several months ago, a Facebook group that I follow posed the question of who is the greatest singer or musician of all-time. I narrowed it down to those I have seen or heard in my lifetime and sure think it would be tough to beat this fella.

“I feel it in the air, the summer’s out of reach.”
The Boys of Summer – Don Henley (1984)
I chose this one as once August rolls around these days I always feel that the summer is done since school starts so much earlier than when I was a kid. I always dug some of the imagery that Henley’s lyrics conjured up and as a 17 year-old kid “I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun” was quite fascinating.

“Hey, I heard you missed us, we’re back.”
Hot for Teacher
Van Halen (1984)
Just like the song above, here’s another one from the start of my senior year of high school. And if you have enjoyed that phase of life, are familiar with this tune and lived in the early days of MTV, well, you know where I’m coming from. If you have yet to hit to hit that age, enjoy it, and know that if we could trade places for a few days…

“We could exist on the stars, it’d be so easy.”
Miracles – Jefferson Starship (1975)
Hey, what do you know? Another love song and this one is a winner. Marty Balin croons it from the heart with nearly seven entertaining minutes of rambling without rhyme that just hits the spot. Sadly, my reason for selecting this cut was Balin’s passing on September 27, 2018.

“When the days get shorter and the nights get long.”
She’s So Cold – Rolling Stones (1980)
Proving that there is a method to my madness, this one was chosen to coincide with the onset of Daylight Savings Time and the coming Winter Solstice. I’m a science guy at heart and dedicated music buff so it’s kind of fun when it all of that potentially useless knowledge upstairs all comes together.

“It snowed today, its cold here for November.
If Hollywood Don’t Need You (Honey I Still Do) – Don Williams (1982)
Lots of stuff going on here. Always a treat to hear the “Gentle Giant” who passed away in September 2017. And his reference in this classic tune to Burt Reynolds was also timely as “The Bandit/Gator/Paul Crewe” had died in September 2018. Finally, a near 14” Thanksgiving weekend snowstorm deserved a shout out.

Okay, thanks to those of you who have hung in there for the musical interlude of this outdoor website. We now sort of resume our regular programming with a music/fishing tribute piece up next before moving on to some 2018 and all-time Top 5 stats. Actually have some fish up next week as well with the earliest start ever to our Top 5 project. In fact, the first catch of 2019 will never be beaten only equaled. Talk to you later. Troy