Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top 10 Mellow Grooves

Me, I love a good soul record. Heck, I love a good night of soul records! Nothing beats being out on a dance floor, groovin' and gettin' down to some sweet funky soul music... and that's what Mods do best, right? You bet!

But, if you're in my age group, chances are that spending mellow evenings at home seems more and more desirable. As much as I love me some soul-steppin', I'm also huge into mellow-diggin'. Mellow-diggin' on my couch, with a nice glass of wine, good book, and some soothing folkish, country, bluesy tunes fillin' my ears.

If you find yourself appreciating this speed more and more, then hopefully you'll enjoy my current Top 10 mellow grooves... the type of music I think perfect for wild-woodin' the day away. So, find a porch, a reclining chair, some wine, maybe a dog to sit at your feet, and enjoy:

1.  Ronnie Lane - Tell Everyone - Originally recorded by The Faces, here's Ronnie Lane's version from a few years later. These days, Ronnie has taken up the spot of my favorite Small Face and here he is owning his song. As much as I like Rod's vocal,  he just doesn't hold a candle to Ronnie's voice here. Plus, haunting sax solo... can't beat it.

2. Karen Dalton - Something On Your Mind - Taken from her 1971 In My Own Time record. This one's just a heart-breaking song, highlighted by Dalton's smokey voice and that beautiful violin. I found this Bob Dylan quote from Wikipedia, in which he describes hearing her for the first time in 1961: "My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed..."

3. Van Morrison - Sweet Thing - Off of Astral Weeks, one of my most favorite albums. The whole LP zones me out a good way, but this song in particular, with its steady build-up, hits my sweet spot.

4. Belle & Sebastian - Mornington Crescent - After over 10 years of hearing about how great these guys were, I finally became a B&S fan, thanks to my wife. One day, while I was washing dishes, she was playing one of their CDs in the living room. The music caught my mood at that moment and when I asked her who she was listening to, I was sold. This is one of my current favorites (out of many)... something about it that just has a nice, rolling, West Coast sound to me.

5. The Small Faces - Autumn Stone - Um... yeah, a no-brainer here.

6. Pete Molinari - Sweet Louise - A newer guy on the scene, Molinari's been putting out some great country-blues style music over the last few years. He's got a great, piercing voice and the band backing him is just top-notch.

7. The Gosdin Brothers - There Must Be Someone - Some Bakersfield country for you, featuring Rex and Vern Gosdin. These guys are probably best known for the album they recorded with Gene Clark and their connection to various Byrds. This song, in fact, was covered by the Byrds on their Ballad of Easy Rider LP and features a haunting vocal from Gene Parsons.

8. The Byrds - It's All Over Now Baby Blue - One of my all-time favorite Dylan songs and I've yet to hear a cover version I don't like! The Byrds recorded an earlier version back in 1965, but this version from a few years later, is the one I always come back to. Slow and brooding, it totally captures the sadness of the lyrics.

9. Bob Dylan (with Johnny Cash) - Girl From The North Country - I love both versions of this song: the original, released in 1963, and especially this one, a bit more countrified with Johnny Cash dueting. Come on, it's from Nashville Skyline... what else is there to say?

10. Susan Christie - Yesterday, Where's My Mind - Okay, last one for today, but you gotta bear with it for a bit... it's got a long, eerie, pysch-esque beginning. But hang in there and wait for it... wait for it... trust me, it'll pay off. Pretty powerful tune off of Susan Christie's Paint A Lady record, a song generally appreciated for its folk/funk blend.

Well, I hope these types of sounds are up your alley too. Even the best of us need a little down time in between the dancing.
Relaxing out in the sunshine, around 7 years ago.


  1. I agree with every one of those (bar Van Morrison who does me noggin in). Great list.

  2. I really wanted to list The Faces... either 'Debris' or 'Glad and Sorry', but this blog wouldn't let me embed the Youtube links! Probably a copyright thing.

  3. The Gosdin Brothers!! You continue to pleasantly surprise me.

    1. Thank you Buddy! Love those Gosdins! On a similar trip, I'm a total Dillards fan too!