Treasury of Music #3: James Taylor

I know James Taylor for many years now, but I only ever knew some of his better known songs and that he sometimes collaborated with Carole King. So listening to (almost) all of his albums over the last three weeks was a really joyous experience. Unfortunately his two albums Never Die Young and Hourglass are not available on Spotify, so I couldn’t listen to them and include any of those songs in the playlist.
I already knew of James Taylor that he had a great voice and was very capable of writing beautiful pop songs with strong melodies and it was a joy to find that many of his songs also feature wonderful vocal harmonies, which I am always a fan of. But I had no idea that he did this really great groovy, bluesy, funky songs like Angry Blues or Family Man. So, a nice mixture of it all you can find in this playlist:

  • Something In The Way She Moves
  • Lo And Behold
  • Country Road
  • Fire And Rain
  • Suite For 20 G
  • Gorilla
  • Nothing Like A Hundred Miles
  • Shower The People
  • A Junkie’s Lament
  • Hymn
  • Fanfare
  • You've Got A Friend
  • I Was A Fool To Care
  • Woman’s Gotta Have It
  • Angry Blues
  • Carolina In My Mind
  • Family Man
  • Traffic Jam
  • One More Go Round
  • Raised Up Family
  • Far Afghanistan

Treasury of Music #2: The High Kings

When I saw the brilliant movie Sherlock Holmes six years ago (directed by Guy Ritchie with incredibly good acting performances by Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law), one thing that stood out to me was the traditional Irish folk song Rocky Road To Dublin being part of the soundtrack, performed by The Dubliners, a group I knew since I was a wee child listening to some of their LPs my dad owned. When I then searched online for that particular song, I found a YouTube video of a version by a then rather recently formed band called The High Kings and immediately loved it. That moment newly sparked my love for Irish Folk music, listening to which always makes me feel at home, maybe due to my paternal family’s Irish/Scottish origin.
The High Kings are my favourite Irish Folk group now with their repertoire of both traditional and original songs, and all four members being great singers and multi-instrumentalists (Martin Furey is in fact one of my favourite vocalists altogether).

Here is my compiled playlist of favourite songs of their four studio albums to date (updated on 20 June 2016 to include their fourth album):

  • Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore
  • Step It Out Mary
  • Star Of The County Down
  • Follow Me Up To Carlow
  • The Little Beggarman
  • The Beggarman Jig
  • Spancil Hill
  • Health To The Company
  • Come With Me Now
  • Marie’s Wedding
  • Kelly The Boy From Killane
  • As I Roved Out
  • Galway Girl
  • The Rocky Road To Dublin
  • Gucci
  • The Green Fields Of France
  • Musicmakers
  • The Parting Glass

Treasury of Music #1: The Beatles

Happy New Year and a warm welcome to the Treasury of Music!
This is a new series in which I will recommend one band every other Monday and share a Spotify playlist of my favourite songs where possible. I’d like to write about rather unknown bands mainly, but for two reasons I chose to begin with The Beatles.

First, they are finally available on Spotify since Christmas Eve.
And second, they are the band that shaped my musical taste the most. I listened to them a lot all during my childhood until now, really – although not as frequently as I used to. Just recently I read somewhere that at age 13 they were my absolute heroes, especially Paul McCartney, and that because of them I wanted to become a musician. That I had totally forgotten by now – I always thought that wish only manifested itself about four to five years later. (I had other plans in the time between.)
The Beatles also basically told me how to play many instruments as I spent many hours with the help of their Complete Scores singing and playing bass, guitar, and drums (on my knees, desk, and bed mostly).
So during the last week I very much enjoyed going through the whole repertoire to choose my favourite songs for this playlist:

Which proved to be quite a difficult task. I initially had about 50–60 songs in that list, and I already had left out many songs I really like. Kicking more songs out was not easy at all, but I wanted to reduce the length so all songs could theoretically fit on one CD (just under 80 minutes).
With some decisions about which songs got included and which didn’t, I surprised myself. For instance, before choosing I was pretty sure that Oh! Darling would make the list. On the other hand, I was quite surprised to see Penny Lane make it to the final selection.
I also newly realised two things: how good an album A Hard Day’s Night is with almost no weaker songs, and that Magical Mystery Tour has some of my most loved songs, although it doesn’t really work as an album because of unpleasant tracks like Flying, Blue Jay Way, or Baby, You’re A Rich Man.

At last here is the current order of my playlist for all who don’t use Spotify, so you can listen to the songs wherever else you have access to them. I might change the list slightly in the future, but for now I decided on these songs and put them in chronological order which makes a lot of sense with a band like The Beatles whose sound changed so much in so few years.

  • Please Please Me
  • From Me To You
  • It Won’t Be Long
  • Don’t Bother Me
  • If I Fell
  • Things We Said Today
  • I’ll Be Back
  • I’m A Loser
  • I’ll Follow The Sun
  • The Night Before
  • Another Girl
  • Drive My Car
  • Think For Yourself
  • The Word
  • Run For Your Life
  • Here, There And Everywhere
  • For No One
  • Got To Get You Into My Life
  • Fixing A Hole
  • She’s Leaving Home
  • The Fool On The Hill
  • Your Mother Should Know
  • Strawberry Fields Forever
  • Penny Lane
  • Savoy Truffle
  • The Long And Winding Road
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  • You Never Give Me Your Money