Boom Bapa Boom

Boom Bapa Boom!

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Jimmie Vaughan: “Boom Bapa Boom” Play this track

A cool groove and a cool song. Nonsense lyrics be damned! –Rock Stamberg

As a fan of brother Stevie Ray’s roar and conviction on the guitar, I found Jimmy Vaughan’s playing too tame for my taste. But upon hearing his Nile Rogers-produced debut solo album, Strange Pleasure, I pronounce myself a changed man. The guitar playing hadn’t changed, but the rhythm and feel of songs like this one won me over. Let’s just say I like a lot of roll with my rock. –John Stix

Jackson Browne: “Boulevard” Play this track

I was late in digging Jackson Browne, but his Running on Empty album changed that. This rocker from his follow-up album, Hold Out, sealed the deal. —RS
The guitar riff sounds like Keef to me. Jackson Browne wrote himself a cool Stones song. -JS

Joan Armatrading: “Show Some Emotion” Play this track

The music is slinky and moves like liquid over a flat surface. The vocal and overall performance are full of quirky hooks, making it destined to become one of her signature songs. -JS

Tex Williams: “Smoke That Cigarette” Play this track

Western Swing with a sense of humor. Novelty song, yes. But with Menthol. -JS

Eric Clapton: “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” Play this track

I love this version of the old gospel standard more than any other. The deep groove of Jamie Oldaker’s drums and the pseudo reggae patina just plain work together beautifully. —RS

Rock turned me onto this Reggae Gospel tune. Oh boy, this feels good. It quickly became one of my most shared songs of the year. Relax, enjoy, and let EC and the band carry you home. -JS

Jeff Lynne: “Telephone Line (Acoustic)” Play this track

Further proof that a good song’s always good if it can be played acoustically and get you excited. Jeff Lynne’s stripped-down take on one of ELO’s most cleverly produced hit songs does just that. -RS
As we’ve said many times before, a good song needs but a guitar (or a piano in this case) and a voice to make its point. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you start with a song as good as this. -JS

Randy Newman: “The Story of a Rock and Roll Band” Play this track

Of course, Randy’s “history” of the Electric Light Orchestra as sung here is completely, absurdly fictional … but does that matter? Hell no. You can tell he really *does* “love that ELO.” – RS
Storytelling as only RN can. I laugh out loud every time I hear this one. And when I’m not laughing, I’m smiling. I’d say Randy’s sense of humor is Todd-esque on this ditty. -JS

Vulfmon (Featuring Jacob Jeffries): “How Much Do You Love Me?” Play this track

This is my song of the year and lyric of the year. The second time you hear it, the reaction will likely be, oh, I know this song. I sent it to my buddy Pat. He called and immediately sang the chorus back to me. The piano part and the simulated sound of the Fender Rhoads have that “Minute by Minute” vibe. The lyrics are silly and the vocal delivery on the whiny side. At 2:23 Jeffries cracks himself up. I smiled throughout and then pressed play again. -JS

Larkin Poe: “Sometimes” Play this track

Piano and voice can be foundational. Guitar and voice as well. In this case it’s handclaps and voice. Repetition as a mantra is no longer exclusively the realm of Van Morrison. Larkin Poe (Rebecca and Megan Lovell) start with a simple frame and build to a hot drumline Trombone Shorty vibe. -JS

10cc: “Rubber Bullets” Play this track

Jailhouse Rock with a sense of humor. I’m detecting a theme running through this part of NHT. It’s music that makes me smile. -JS

Michael Jackson & Ted Nugent: “Hey Baby Am I Black or White” Play this track

What we have here is a funky music bed by Ted Nugent and the vocals of Michael Jackson. Strange bedfellows making for some great music. -JS

The Beatles: “If I Fell (a cappella)” Play this track

Choral music of the first degree. -JS

Elton John: “Better Off Dead” Play this track

This is one of my all-time favorite Elton John songs from one of my favorite Elton John albums, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. Everything about it makes me jubilant. My god … Those drums! -RS

U2: “Desire” Play this track

They channel the Sun Records vibe here. They recorded this at Sun Studio in Memphis. -RS
Son of Bo Diddley. -JS

Fleetwood Mac: “Black Magic Woman” Play this track

Peter Green in his prime as a songwriter, guitarist, and singer. Say no more. -RS
Here is a bit of a conversation John Stix had with Carlos Santana:
JS: When was the first time you heard “Black Magic Woman?”
CS: It was in Fresno, California, at a soundcheck. Gregg Rollie brought the cassette in and said, “You’ll really like this song.” He wanted to know if we could try it. I remember I liked the way he (Peter Green in Fleetwood Mac) did it, but I didn’t like it for us. He starts with a different kind of chord in the blues. Now when I listen to it, I like it. But back then I said, “Let’s do something different to it.” So, we started messing around with it and basically put more of a Calypso, African/Cuban thing on it.
JS: But the instrumental melody in the beginning is the same.
CS: The descending Wes Montgomery kind of (vocal) melody is just basically “All Your Love” by Otis Rush. If you take the line “Got a black magic woman” and put in the words “All your lovin’ is lovin’,” you can hear that he changed the chords and made it so it’s not ripping anybody off. It’s like taking a seed and making a different tree with it.

The Black Crowes: “Diamond Ring” Play this track

Badfinger: “Day After Day” Play this track

Badfinger were an excellent ‘70s rock band who were protégées of The Beatles and were signed to that band’s Apple Records label. At one point or another each of The Beatles took a turn producing, writing for, and/or playing with the group. “Day After Day” was Badfinger’s 1971 hit single and was produced by George Harrison, who also handled the trademark slide guitar solo heard here. This was one of several hit records Badfinger produced between 1969 and 1974. -RS

Joni Mitchell: “Help Me (Demo)” Play this track

From the Joni Mitchell Archives 3 collection, which is filled with gems like this. -JS

Beautiful People (Jimi Hendrix): “ If ’60s Were ’90s” Play this track

Swampy and filled with voodoo, this total ”If 6 Were 9” remix is worthy of the Hendrix name. Santana used to use this song to announce the band coming to the stage. -JS

Santana: “Song of The Wind (Quadrophonic Mix)” Play this track

Santana has three indelible guitar instrumentals, “Samba Pa Ti,” “Europa” and “Song of the Wind.” They all demand to be played as they were recorded. To most of us, including me, this sounds like some mighty fine soaring Santana. The fact is Neal Schon starts the tune, Santana does the middle and Neal finishes. I can guess when they switch, but really who cares. This is taken from a quadrophonic surround-sound remix and emphasizes the percussion. The guitar is tucked in just a little bit so you must reach for it. It’s interesting to note that Santana rarely plays the tune live. Perhaps it’s because he wants Neal to be there. Regardless of his absence, this song still soars in the wind. -JS