Thursday, April 30, 2020

A Million Miles Away

Back in the early 80s I spent a lot of time at Whiskey a Go Go, the Roxy, the Starwood, and anywhere else there was live music in and around West Hollywood. In one of those clubs would be where I first saw the Plimsouls, and then rushed down to Tower Records to buy their first EP.

For a time they weren't known beyond the reach of the clubs and Rodney Bingenheimer's radio show, but that all changed after a couple of years, when they were picked up by Geffen, and A Million Miles Away (Case/Alkes/Fradkin) broke them all over.

The song was written in a booth in the back of Barney's Beanery, another place I used to spend a lot of time... #quarantinehootenanny #43 of ???

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Go Your Own Way

Who hasn't fantasized about writing a song about what a slut your ex has become, and then making your ex sing harmonies on the recording and it becoming one of the biggest hits of your careers? Oh, you haven't? Well Lindsey Buckingham pulled it off with Fleetwood Mac's Go Your Own Way (Hell, that was the theme of the entire Rumours album).

Trivia time: Lindsey and Stevie Nicks met in High School in Atherton (near Standford University) and went to (and dropped out of) San Jose State together before heading to LA to become rock stars. Mick Fleetwood initially just asked Lindsey to join the band, but Lindsey insisted he and Stevie were a team and he needed to hire them both.

#quarantinehootenanny #42 of ???

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Listen to the Music

We've got at least five more weeks of shelter-in-place here in the Bay Area, and what the people need is a way to make 'em smile. How about some early Doobie Brothers? Listen to the Music (Tom Johnston), written on 12th Street, downtown San Jose, a couple of blocks from San Jose State, and performed from my mountain home, just below Loma Prieta. #quarantinehootenanny #41 of ???

Old School Vlog - April 28, 2020

Just checking in on how I'm doing: six weeks into shelter-in-place and at least another five weeks to go.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Kids are Alright

Playing the Who's The Kids are Alright (Pete Townshend) for #quarantinehootenanny #39 of ???

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Goodnight Irene

Before Tom Petty picked up a 12-string guitar, there was Roger McGuinn, and before Roger, Pete Seeger played 12-string, and inspiring Pete, there was Huddie (pronounced "Hyoodie") Ledbetter, also known as Lead Belly or Leadbelly, the "King of the 12-String."

Leadbelly was discovered by John and Alan Lomax, who had set out in the 1930's to record authentic folk music, wherever they could find it. The first sessions with Leadbelly took place at Angola Prison, in Louisiana.

Goodnight Irene is one of many traditional folk songs adapted and brought to the mainstream by Leadbelly. It has since been covered by too many artists to name, frequently covering up some of the darker lyrics.

George Harrison once said, "if there was no Lead Belly, there would have been no Lonnie Donegan; no Lonnie Donegan, no Beatles. Therefore no Lead Belly, no Beatles."

#quarantinehootenanny #38 of ???

Friday, April 24, 2020

Love and Mercy

Not the song I thought I was going to do this morning. But as I was reaching for the guitar rack, it hit me: Love and Mercy, that's what we need tonight. This is from Brian Wilson's first solo album, as well as the title of the biopic about Brian's life. #quarantinehootenanny #37 of ???

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Never My Love

Never My Love by The Association (R & D Addrisi) is another great song from my youth. About a year ago it was featured in the Jakob Dylan hosted documentary, Echo in the Canyon, about the 60's music scene in Los Angeles, with a great cover by Jakob and friends. #quarantinehootenanny #36 of ???

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Blue Moon of Kentucky

Blue Moon of Kentucky is today's #quarantinehootenanny (#35 of ???). Originally by Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys in 1945, it was covered by Elvis Presley as his first single in 1954, and it's been a standard ever since, covered by everybody from Patsy Cline to Paul McCartney to Tom Petty.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

It's up to You

Today’s song was suggested by Kevin North (aka Kevy Nova): It's up to You by The Moody Blues (Justin Hayward), from one of each of our favorite albums, A Question of Balance.

I’m actually kind of embarrassed that it took this long, and a reminder from a friend, before I included a Moody Blues song here. Back in October of 1970, at the age of nine, my brothers and I rode the MTA down to Boston Garden, for what would be my first big rock concert, to see them when this album was still new. I’ve seen them many times since then, and Justin Hayward, solo in Napa just a couple of years ago.

#quarantinehootenanny #34 of ???

Monday, April 20, 2020

Give The People What They Want

This morning felt like a day that needed another rocker from the Kinks, 'cause I always like to Give The People What They Want (R.D. Davies) #quarantinehootenanny #33 of ???

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Searching For A Heart

Today's song is Searching For A Heart, by Warren Zevon - #quarantinehootenanny #32 of ???

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Different Drum

And the hits just keep on comin'... In 1965 Michael Nesmith, done with Texas, and done with the Air Force, was living in Los Angeles, and working as the "Hootmaster" for the weekly hootenannies at Doug Weston's Troubadour in West Hollywood. He'd introduce the various acts, and play a few songs of his own, including this one: Different Drum.

Nesmith got his big break when he was hired to be part of the Monkees later that year. The producers of the show turned down this song, but it did get picked up by the Stone Poneys, featuring a young Linda Ronstadt, and it became her first hit in 1967. (Although the Monkees never recorded the song, Mike ran through a couple of verses for laughs in the episode "Too Many Girls" in 1966.) Nesmith finally recorded his own version, more true to his Texas roots, in 1972.

And that's the story behind #quarantinehootenanny #31 of ???

Friday, April 17, 2020

Can We Still Be Friends

Can you believe we're already at #quarantinehootenanny #30 of ??? This is one I've been wanting to do from the start, but I keep chickening out: Can We Still Be Friends by Todd Rundgren

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Make No Mistake

Keith Richards is the founder of one of rock's greatest bands: the X-Pensive Winos. Oh, you thought I meant that other band he's in, the Rolling Stones? Well, okay, Keith Richards is the founder or co-founder of two of rock's greatest bands. This song is from his first solo album (with help from the X-Pensive Winos), Talk is Cheap: Make No Mistake (K. Richards/S. Jordan) is #quarantinehootenanny #29 of ???

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better

Yesterday I did a Roger McGuinn solo song, so today I'm going back to a Byrds classic, I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better, written by Gene Clark, but featuring Roger's 12-string sound. (Yes, I know, I chickened out of doing the full, correct middle break, but this is as close as I could get on short notice.) This song also covered brilliantly by the Flamin' Groovies and Tom Petty. Buy 'em all! #quarantinehootenanny #28 of ???

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I'm So Restless

From Roger McGuinn's first solo album, following the final demise of the Byrds, comes I'm So Restless (R. McGuinn & J. Levy). Perhaps seeking some guidance from three of his most respected colleagues and coming up empty? #quarantinehootenanny #27 of ???

Monday, April 13, 2020


Today's #quarantinehootenanny song (#26 of ???) is Pure Prairie League's Amie (Craig Fuller)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)

Here's one from the one-hit-wonders file: Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) by the Looking Glass (Elliot Lurie). This will go much better if you do all the do-do-do-ahs on the chorus, and maybe add in your own horn section - #quarantinehootenanny #25 of ???

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Unboxing Vlog

"Unboxing" videos were all the rage at one time, but I never did one, and never really saw the point. Until now. A package has arrived, I don't remember what it is, and I'm very excited to open it up with you.

(There's a couple of skips in the video - I did not edit it, it's just some technical glitch, sorry)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Satan's Brother-in-Law

This is a song I wrote about three or four years ago called Satan's Brother-in-Law. It's a sad story, really, and every word of it is true. Or not. #quarantinehootenanny #24 of ???

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Alright for Now

Going out on a limb here with the mandolin, but tonight I give you Alright for Now by Tom Petty. #quarantinehootenanny #23 of ???

Books! Books! Books!

Today I'm talking about books! What I've read lately, what I've got next on deck, and whether I recommend any of them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mexican Home

Yesterday, one of America's great songwriters, John Prine, passed on due to COVID-19. Here's my version of his song, Mexican Home. May his memory be a blessing. #quarantinehootenanny #22 of ???

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Sad Sound of the Wind

Jules Shear is one of your favorite songwriters that you never heard of. He wrote the Bangles' hit, If She Knew What She Wants, co-wrote the Cyndi Lauper classic, All Through the Night, and If We Never Meet Again, covered by everybody from Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers to Roger McGuinn, and much more. This is a lesser known song of his called The Sad Sound of the Wind for #quarantinehootenanny #21 of ???

Monday, April 6, 2020

Daydream Believer

A change of pace today, with Daydream Believer as today's #quarantinehootenanny (#20 of ???). A big hit for the Monkees (after being turned down by a couple of other artists), it was written by John Stewart, then of the Kingston Trio (no, not that other Jon Stewart).

Stewart wrote a lot of great songs for many artists, including Never Going Back to Nashville for the Lovin' Spoonful; and one of the first songs I ever learned to play.

As a solo artist, however, Stewart only had a few hits in his long career. The biggest hit probably being Gold, featuring background vocals by Stevie Nicks and guitar by Lindsay Buckingham. ("Driving over Kanan, Singing to my soul, There's people out there turning music into gold.")

At one time in the mid-80s I worked his nephew James at a book store (yes, James Stewart, but not the actor). James got me a guitar strap signed by his uncle that was very cool.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

License to Kill

Finally getting to Bob Dylan near the end of three weeks of #quarantinehootenanny with License to Kill (#19 of ???).

The Infidels album (co-produced by Mark Knopfler) came out in 1983, when I was in my early twenties and, after Dylan's born-again Christian trilogy, it represented his return to secular rock music that was relevant to my life at the time, and it became a favorite.

In the decades since, I've returned time and again to these songs - Jokerman, Neighborhood Bully, Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight, and of course License to Kill - and found them still relevant. Along with Blood on the Tracks (of course), this is probably still my favorite Dylan album.

There's also a great version of License to Kill by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from the Dylan 30th Anniversary all-star concert.

Saturday, April 4, 2020


Back to the Kinks, 'cause I was just feeling a bit like an Apeman this morning (R.D. Davies). #quarantinehootenanny #18 of ???

Friday, April 3, 2020

Ain't No Sunshine

Ain't No Sunshine. RIP, Bill Withers, 1938-2020. #quarantinehootenanny #16 of ???

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Have You Ever Seen the Rain

Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogerty) is today's #quarantinehootenanny (#16 of ???). It's not about the weather.

How You Doin? (vlog)

What are you doing to maintain your sanity during the Shelter-in-Place? Creating anything new? Catching up on some old show? I wanna know. We're supposed to practice "social distancing" but I think it should be about "physical distancing, social connecting." So, come on, and connect.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Honky Tonk Women (aka Country Honk)

The Rolling Stones' Honky Tonk Women (aka Country Honk, depending on version, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger) is today's #quarantinehootenanny (#15 of ???).

According to Keith Richards, this song was born in Brazil, where he, Mick, Marianne Faithfull, and Anita Pallenberg spent some time. "Mick and I were sitting on the porch of this ranch house and I started to play, basically fooling around with an old Hank Williams idea. 'Cause we really thought we were like real cowboys."

"On Let It Bleed, we put that other version of 'Honky Tonk Women' on because that's how the song was originally written, as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers, '30s country song. And it got turned around to this other song by Mick Taylor, who got into a completely different feel, throwing it off the wall completely."

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