Monday, February 17, 2014

Radio Daze (Revisited) Volume 1 by Hambonian Entertainment

About a year ago, loyal blog reader and twitter follower (@dirkdigglinator), recognizing my love for soft rock music, recommended Rhino Records' Radio Daze series to me.  I quickly purchased all five volumes and wrote about them over on The CD Project blog.  Inspired by those posts, fellow blogger Herc put together an additional 11 volumes of Radio Daze mixes on Spotify.  I wrote about those 11 volumes for his blog, Herc's Hideaway.  That's a total of 199 tracks of soft rock goodness! Somehow during the process I was given the nickname "Soft Rock Kid" which I wear as a literal badge of honor (below).  But even at 16 volumes, we ain't finished yet!

Not to be outdone, Dirk (who started this whole thing) has started to put together his own Radio Daze-inspired playlists using Mixcloud.  So now it's my pleasure to breakdown his first playlist.  Because of great playlists like this, Dirk has an open invitation to come to my place and be the house DJ/pool boy.

  • Good Times - Chic, Pop #1, AC #26, Dance #3, R&B #1. A great way to start off any playlist.  This song contains the most important, most sampled, most imitated bass lines of all time (see Bowie's Let's Dance, Queen's Another One Bites The Dust, and, of course, Rapper's Delight).  Hopefully, one of these days the Rock Hall will pull their collective heads out and induct Chic.  Nile Rodgers is a musical genius and hella guitar player.
  • Morning Dance - Spyro Gyra, Pop #24, AC #1, R&B #60. Dirk knows my love for Spyro Gyra and is shamelessly catering to me with this selection, but I don't care because its a great song and was my introduction to SG.  To my middle-aged ears, this song hasn't aged a bit.
  • Mama Can't Buy You Love - Elton John, Pop #9, AC #1, R&B #36. In which a green-eyed English bloke attempts to sing blue-eyed Philly soul.  Great material, poor performance.  Meh.
  • Suspicions - Eddie Rabbitt, Pop #13, AC #9, Country #1.  This really topped the country chart?  There isn't much country about it (when was the last time you heard a country song with a flute solo?).  With a solid Fender Rhodes part over strings pads and a smooth groove, this is all soft rock.  Reminds me of something Little River Band was putting out at the time.  I had forgotten about this gem, but not surprisingly, I remembered all the words once I started singing along with Eddie.
  • After the Love has Gone - Earth, Wind & Fire, Pop #2, AC #3, R&B #2.  Earth, Wind & Fire goes Westcoast with Jay Graydon and David Foster.  One of the best ballads of the '70s, bar none.  Taken from my favorite EWF album, I Am
  • Different Worlds - Maureen McGovern, Pop #18, AC #1. a.k.a. theme song from the short lived TV series Angie.  Love the disco beat, but there's something awkward about the phrasing that's off-putting to me.  The moral of this story: don't mix meters in a disco song.
  • Dependin' on You - The Doobie Brothers, Pop #25, AC #37. This is an interesting song because most of it sounds like an early Doobies boogie before Michael McDonald joined the group.  But then McDonald kicks in on the bridge and takes the song in a completely different direction, making it more soft rock.  Probably should have charted higher.
  • Where Were You when I was Falling in Love - Lobo, Pop #23, AC #1.  This one doesn't float my boat.  I find it boring, but it's harmless enough.
  • So Good, So Right - Brenda Russell, Pop #30, AC #8.  I don't think I had ever heard this one until this playlist.  I didn't discover Russell until the 1988 soft rock classic, Piano in the Dark.  This is excellent R&B: I'm loving the chord progressions, background vocals, and Russell's beautiful voice.  Put this in the "better late than never" category.
  • Street Life - The Crusaders, Pop #36, Dance #75, R&B #17. With Randy Crawford on vocals, this shoulda topped all the charts.  Click here for the full 11 minute album version because it will make your day better.
  • Half the Way - Crystal Gayle, Pop #15, AC #9, Country #2.  Is it me or are those some disturbing no-so-subtle lyrics?  Musically, I dig it, though.
  • Take the Long Way Home - Supertramp, Pop #10, AC #28. And the playlist finishes strong with this track.  I always liked the way the piano played against the strings and organ.  Then the solo trade off between the soprano sax and harmonica is the cherry on top.

Thanks for the trip back to junior high. That particular school campus is now closed, but songs like this keep it alive for me.

1 comment :

  1. Bout damn time. It's like peanut butter and chocolate, two great tastes that taste great together.

    Hammy and Softy FTW

    How long do we have to wait for Volume Dos?