With the exception of Bruce Springsteen's classic song, this week's Rhythm Planet features some Independence Day theme songs that don't get a lot of play. Alyssa Graham does a beautiful job on the Simon & Garfunkel classic, and so does Brubeck's great alto saxophonist, Paul Desmond. Jazz singer Teri Thornton gives us a vocal version of Nelson Riddle's theme for the classic TV series Route 66, a legendary highway also celebrated by Nat Cole (it's an early version, with two botched intros!)
Panamanian superstar Ruben Blades then sings, "Buscando America" (Searching for America), a song from the mid-1980s with his great band Seis del Solar. With young children being deported to uncertain futures in Honduras and Guatemala, this song is particularly poignant.
James Brown's scorching "Living in America" is next, from an old Scotti Brothers LP that isn't nearly as well known as his earlier or later recordings. Blues legend Koko Taylor teams up with Mighty Joe Young (the blues singer, not the 1949 movie with the star Simian). Ornette Coleman's former guitar player gives us his classic, "Are You Glad to Be in America", a song that both Ry Cooder and I have always liked for its offbeat wonders. Then a beautiful piece of instrumental Americana from Charlie Hadenand the late Michael Brecker, with a lovely orchestral arrangement by Alan Broadbent. To finish a BBQ classic from Brother Jack McDuff.
Have a peaceful and safe July 4th!
Rhythm Planet Playlist: 7/4/14
- Alyssa Graham / America / Echo / Sunnyside
- Paul Desmond / America / Bridge Over Troubled Water / A&M
- Teri Thornton / Open Highway (Route 66 Theme) / Teri Thornton Sings Open Highway / Sony Music
- Nat 'King' Cole / Get Your Kicks On Route 66 / The Nat King Cole Story / Capitol Records
- Ruben Blades / Buscando America / Buscando America / Elektra
- James Brown / Living In America / Gravity / Scotti Brothers
- Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald / Summertime / Sing America / Warner Brothers
- Bruce Springsteen / Born In The U.S.A. / Born In The U.S.A. / Columbia
- Koko Taylor & Mighty Joe Young / Voodoo Woman / American Roots / Rough Guides
- James Blood Ulmer / Are You Glad To Be In America / Are You Glad To Be In America / Rough Trade
- Charlie Haden feat. Michael Brecker / American Dreams / American Dreams / Verve
- Jack McDuff / Hot Barbecue / Bar-B-Que Soul-A-Bration / Rhino
Various (Tom's Pick for Rhythm Planet Angel Club)