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Throwback Tracks -- February 1, 2018


The Guys from {MUSIC}

Throwback Tracks -- February 1, 2018

David R. Smith

You guys will be so proud of me: it's Friday, January 26 as of my starting this list  I may not finish it today but it's been started. And that's huge. Because it means I'm not leaving it until the last minute as I am want to do. Most of my TBT lists generally start from me hearing a song and thinking it would go very well with a Throwback Tracks list and so that's my jumping off point. This week is no different. I heard a song while I was watching a show and then had to find out when it was released, just in case it might fit our parameters. Turns out it was released in 1966 so we're fine. Good news, right?? So yeah. That's where we start this week. 

The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.

At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible...which is totally hit and miss with oldies), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig.

Dirty Water - The Standells

So yeah. Apparently this song came out 50 years ago. That's absurd to me. Partially because it feels like it could be more recent (although it definitely isn't surprising that it's from the 60s) but also because it's hard to think that the 60s were 50 years ago. But that's just my perception of time. I think about how long I've been around. I'm rapidly closing in on 40 but it sometimes feels like I just got here. It's odd.


This song is great. Part of me loves it because it's a song about Boston but even more so, because they play it at the end of any home Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics game when they win. And I think that's a pretty cool tradition. I like when cities do that. I know the Flames have a similar tradition, as do most sports franchises, but I think it's cool that all Boston teams have the same one. A neat little through line there. Plus it means that when you hear that song in Boston, generally something good has happened!

Song 2 - Blur

So literally my reasoning for putting this song here was because I was writing out my template and just had Song 1, Song 2, Song 3, etc going down the line. When I got to this one, it just made sense to keep the title and just find a link to one of the shortest, yet best songs I know. 

Coming out in '97, this song was as massive as it is short. The simple chorus of "Woo Hoo!" makes it very easy to sing along to, but in keeping with a sports theme, even to this day teams will play this song when they score a goal. The crowd can then get into it and sing the Woo Hoo part and when you get ten to twenty thousand people chanting that, it's pretty cool. 

While Blur was certainly not a flash in the pan, this is easily their most famous song. And for good reason. 21 years later (see? Time is insane!) this song still makes me as happy as it did when I first heard it. 

Straight Up - Paula Abdul

I have very visceral memories of my sister singing this song when we were growing up. She was a massive Paula Abdul fan. And for good reason; she had a great voice and could dance. My sister listened to a bunch of her tapes but as somebody who was very big into dance, I could see why my sister would be a fan of her's. 

I, on the other hand, didn't appreciate Paula Abdul until later. Partially because I realized how foxy she was, but also because my taste in music grew and I could appreciate artists for who they were. Even if it wasn't necessarily my "genre" of music, I developed an appreciation for anybody who could sing (and if they could dance, even better. Mad props to those people.) Paula Abdul was one of those people for whom my respect grew and now I just really dig this song. 

Plus it seemed like the only logical song to follow Blur........

Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight and the Pips

Speaking of logical transitions. Paula Abdul to Gladys Knight? Sure! Why not?

I don't actually mean that. I just needed a way to start writing about this section. Although, one doesn't really need a way in. We could just sit and listen to this song and consider how good Gladys Knight and the Pips are. 

This song just makes me feel happy. The horns and funky bass just gets me going. Also, and I don't know why, but this song makes me feel nostalgic for something. I don't know what that something is. but it's there. Maybe it just has a wistful feel about it, so when you hear it, you can't help but think about something that happened in the past that you would like to revisit. They say you can't go home, but this song makes me wish that sometimes I could. So maybe it doesn't make me happy, but melancholic? I DON'T KNOW JUST LISTEN TO IT OKAY?????


Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers

This song came about this week almost through a six degrees of separation. I had just posted Gladys Knight's Midnight Train To Georgia, then I thought "Georgia On My Mind" but elected to go with the other notorious blind piano player and thought about "Superstitious" by Stevie Wonder. Well, it turns out Shaun already used that song a year and a half ago, so I had to go with a different Stevie song. I could have used Signed, Sealed, Delivered but... meh. So I figured why not this song? And then I figured, why not the Chili Peppers version??

So that's how we got here. And I'm okay with it. I do love some Chili Peppers stuff and I feel like they haven't gotten a lot of representation on Throwback Tracks, so why not get them in here? Plus as far as cover songs are concerned, this one is pretty terrific.

It's cool because the original is so funky already, and as the Chilis were known for their funk rhythms (particularly in their earlier years) it just seemed like a good fit. But you get that Flea bass happening right at the beginning and you KNOW it's the Chilis. This came off the first album the Chilis recorded after the death of their original guitarist, Hillel Slocak, and the departure of drummer Jack Irons. But they brought in Chad Smith to replace Irons and John Frusciante to "replace" Slovak and I use quotes there because I'm not sure anybody could every replace somebody like Hillel. Anyway, when you're restarting and replacing two band members, why not try a couple covers to get the feel of how things are going to go? And this one was the perfect choice. 

photo credit: jaumescar Trinidad, Cuba via photopin (license)