Archive for the ‘Auto Tune’ Category

Auto Tune: “Shoulder Holster” by Elton John

June 10th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Elton-John-Blue-MovesIf you know anything about Bernie Taupin, the man who wrote the lyrics to Elton John’s most recognizable tunes, then you know he is great lover of American roots music. In fact, he even has a weekly radio show on SiriusXM devoted to many of these early 20th century recordings.

This is germane because our Auto Tune this week, Elton John’s “Shoulder Holster,” is loosely based on a blues tune from the turn of the century – 1900 that is — by Mississippi John Hurt called “Frankie and Johnny.”

What qualifies it as one of my top Auto Tunes is how Mr. Taupin updated the cheating husband story to a late 1970s ethic complete with transportation. Dolly Summers, our song’s subject, has a lovely life in the American Midwest somewhere save for the fact that her husband ran off with another woman. Not one to be spurned, and obviously holding a bit of a grudge, she grabs her gun, jumps in her Mustang and goes searching for the runaway couple.

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Auto Tune: “Bumming Around” by Dean Martin

June 3rd, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Dean-Martin-Im-the-one-who-loves-youIn the mid to late ‘60s it was hard to find anyone cooler than Dean Martin. Not only did he have a top-rated variety show, but he was the anti-James Bond playing the tongue-in-cheek secret agent Matt Helm as well as a recording powerhouse for his buddy Frank Sinatra’s label Reprise. It’s the latter that leads us to this week’s Auto Tune.

Because he was so popular, Dean was putting albums out two, sometimes three, per year. Buoyed by young producer Jimmy Bowen who always managed to find the right mix of songs for Dean’s Reprise releases, the team gave us “Remember Me” (I’m The One Who Loves You) in 1965. The last track on the album is a little chestnut written by Peter Graves (no, not Peter Graves the actor) and produced by Bob Gaudio (yes that Bob Gaudio from the Four Seasons).

The song was called “Bumming Around” and it featured Dean, doing his best hobo imitation for about 2:43. He had his “old slouch hat” and his ”roll on his shoulder” as he toured around town without a care in the world. The song doesn’t translate well to 2015 but just to hear Dean pretend to play a down on his luck laborer just hanging out in all the right spots shows how different today’s music is from just 50 years ago. But in spite of the generational differences this a great Auto Tune from one of the coolest cats to nudge up to a microphone ever.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.

Auto Tune: “Lord of the Highway” by Joe Ely

May 27th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Joe_Ely_Lord_of_the_HighwayJoe Ely is a legend in Texas. If you’re not aware of the name, wander down to Houston, Dallas or hang out at Waterloo Records in Austin and you’ll soon discover he is one of the foundations in Texas music.

A rock and roll guy from way back, early in his career Ely joined forces with fellow Texans Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, both who favor country and folk genres, and formed The Flatlanders in 1970. The group has only released a handful of albums over their 45 years together, but that hasn’t stopped the trio from playing and influencing each other’s solo efforts.

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Auto Tune: “Run, James, Run” by Brian Wilson

May 20th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Beach Boys Pet SoundsIt was 1966, the greatest year in music but that observation is for another column. In movies there’s was nothing hotter than the nascent James Bond series. The fourth installment of Ian Fleming’s Super Spy, Thunderball, was still basking in critical acclaim and filling theaters as the team began work on the next film in the suite “You Only Live Twice.”

Meanwhile in music, the Beatles and the Beach Boys were waging a spirited battle for the hearts, minds & wallets of the music listening public. In fact, while the rest of the band toured Europe, head Beach Boy Brian Wilson stayed home in California creating what would become arguably the greatest pop album of all time.

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Auto Tune: “Ridin’ in my Car” by NRBQ

May 13th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

NRBQ_All-Hopped-UpThese days Al Anderson is a first rate songwriter in Nashville, TN playing gigs around town every now and then. But back in the early days of his career he was the guitarist for one of the most beloved bands who still performs today, The New Rhythm & Blues Quartet, or better known by its initials: NRBQ.

The band has been a favorite of any self-respecting hipster who has been listening to music since the ‘60s. And what’s so great about the band is that it’s, well, just a band. Despite several talented iterations, these guys have never made it big which is probably one of the reasons it’s still kicking today. However, if I were to choose, it’s a no-brainer that the ’74 to ’94 version of the band was the best by far.

Led by pianist Terry Adams –- today’s remaining original member — with drummer Tom Ardolino, Joey Spampinato on bass and Al Anderson on guitar, this band released 18 albums during its 20 years together and influenced countless future musicians. And without a doubt, the best song these four ever recorded is the upbeat but heartfelt break up tune called “Ridin’ In My Car.” Written by Al, I call it the sweetest fantasy breakup song ever. With summer just around the corner, plug it into your audio system and see if you don’t agree.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.

Auto Tune: “The Heart of Saturday Night” by Tom Waits

May 6th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

TomWaits_TheHeartofSaturdayNightIn the early ‘70s, pianist Tom Waits was a Sunset Boulevard vagabond. He crafted songs that featured a world of Jack Kerouac characters, probably because he interacted with them on a daily basis.

Hanging out a LA’s famous Troubadour club paid off when he was signed by Asylum Records, which released his first album called Closing Time in 1973. It was followed quickly by his sophomore effort the next year, “The Heart Of Saturday Night,” which was an unmistakable homage to the great Sinatra concept album “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” in both cover art and content.

And though there are several cuts on the album that could’ve been this week’s Auto Tune, our choice today is the title cut. Here, the song’s protagonist has got his weekly pay, gasses up his Oldsmobile, picks up his girl and goes “barrelin’ down the boulevard… cruisin’ with a 6… looking for the heart of Saturday night.” The song is a melancholy bit of nostalgia that causes many of us, as Waits so aptly observes to be, “dreamin’ of them Saturdays that came before.” Of course memories and age play a big part of that, but so do songs that capture the essence of the car culture and what it means to us, especially when we’re young.

This song was recorded in 1974, but listening to it today it seems just as fresh as it must’ve been then. Check it out and maybe like Tom says, “this’ll be the Saturday you’re reachin’ your peak.”

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.

Auto Tune: “Crawling from the Wreckage” by Dave Edmunds

April 29th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

dave_edmunds-repeat_when_necessary(1)Disco might’ve been ruling the roost in 1979 but that didn’t stop new wave artists from making their impact felt. Super producer Nick Lowe teamed up with pub rocker Dave Edmunds to form the group Rockpile which not only issued its own album but the same team of musicians played on Lowe’s “Labor of Lust” record as well as Edmunds’ “Repeat When Necessary,” the home of this week’s Auto Tune.

Dave Edmunds was an incredible guitarist however not much of a songwriter. He relied on his contemporaries like Elvis Costello and Graham Parker for that sort of heavy lifting. In fact, Parker wrote “Crawling From The Wreckage” about a rather rambunctious young man, his crazed acquaintances and driving, of course, which ended up on this, perhaps Edmunds’ best all around album.

All this background info is fine but the reason “Crawling from the Wreckage” is this week’s Auto Tune is because it’s a full-throttle no holds barred sing-a-long about driving. Kind of a theme song for the Fast and Furious crowd.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.

Auto Tune: “99 Miles from LA” by Art Garfunkel

April 22nd, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Art-Garfunkel-BreakawaySometimes great “Auto Tunes” have strange origins. Take the Albert Hammond story for instance. Who, you ask? Well if you don’t know the name you certainly know his work. He had a top five hit in the early ‘70s that’s still in heavy rotation on the oldies stations with “It Never Rains In Southern California” co-written with fellow Brit Mike Hazelwood. They also teamed up with “The Air That I Breathe” which was a hit for The Hollies. But perhaps this pop singer’s strangest collaboration came when he co-wrote a couple of songs with unquestionably the greatest lyricist of all time Hal David. One song, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” made Julio Iglesias a household name – and plenty of money — while the other is this week’s Auto Tune.

99 Miles From L.A.” appeared on Hammond’s 1975 album of the same name but never generated the attention he hoped. That same year, however, Art Garfunkel released “Breakaway,” a star-studded disc that contained not only with his duet with former partner Paul Simon (“My Little Town”), but also his cover of “I Only Have Eyes for You.” But in addition to those hits, tucked away toward the end of Side 2 was the Hammond/David tune, which on its face sounded like a simple drive to Los Angeles, but in fact was, and remains, a hauntingly beautiful understated song about the evanescence of love. The Albert Hammond score married with Hal David’s heartbreaking lyrics sung by Garfunkel — one of the greatest voices to ever record music — is a treasure to enjoy over and over again. Especially if someday you find yourself on the 5, 10 or 405 as you’re driving around Southern California.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Feedback on Auto Tunes? Send us your comments.

Auto Tune: “In My Gremlin” by the Rave-Ups

April 15th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

The Rave-UpsYou may remember the band from its angst-ridden ‘80s hit “Positively Lost Me.” You might recognize the band from its brief appearance in the John Hughes blockbuster “Pretty in Pink.” Then again, perhaps you’ve heard the founder and lead singer, Jimmer Podrasky, is the cousin to our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts.

However, you may or may not know The Rave-Ups, this “alt country” or “punkabilly” band which only put out three albums before its demise, did craft one of the greatest “Auto Tunes” dedicated to arguably one of the worst cars of all time entitled “In My Gremlin.” Yes, it was sort of an ‘80s anti-version of one of those epic 1960s Cali cars songs complete with the rather rough harmonies (on purpose) and even a nod to the Beach Boys’ 409, though that song never asked “Do you have a buck for gas?”

Like the car itself, this band and this song isn’t for everyone, but if you’re nostalgic for a 1970-78 Gremlin, this song may just put that hankering on ice.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

Auto Tune: “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got” by William DeVaughn

April 8th, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

william_devaughnIn the early ‘70s, government worker William DeVaughn had a dream. As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, he hoped to move from the office to the studio and record music for a living. His first effort, which he wrote in 1972 while still pushing papers, was entitled “A Cadillac Don’t Come Easy.” His Philly producers, members of the soon to be famous MSFB session musicians – remember TSOP you Soul Train fans – had him change the title, gave the song a tasty groove and when it was released in 1974 William DeVaughn had a hit on his hands. The song, now called “Be Thankful For What You Got” became known as the Curtis Mayfield song that had nothing to do with the great artist. “Thankful” was so similar to his style many thought it was written and performed by Mayfield which may have contributed to DeVaughn’s inability to stay in music.

Shoot 40 years into the future and if Cadillac wants to be relevant with the hipsters as well as the hip-hop crowd, it probably wouldn’t hurt it to reach back to 1974 and use “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got” in a campaign or two. If you’ve never heard it just click on the link to check it out.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline