Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Fourth of July Mix



We are pleased to offer this music mix for your Fourth of July listening pleasure. It features 27 tracks and runs just under two hours. Many of the tracks are self-explanatory but we have some notes on the mix to give you the necessary whys and wherefores. But first, here are a few songs from the mix. The Aimee Mann track is a perennial favorite on the fourth, and the Yes and Kansas tracks represent the best of what used to be called progressive rock back in the seventies. If you'd like to hear the complete mix, drop us an email.

Listen to Aimee Mann - "4th Of July"


Listen to Yes - "America"


Listen to Kansas - "Song For America"



Photo courtesy of visitphilly.Com

Notes On the Mix: First things first, you've got to have some John Phillip Sousa on the 4th of July and "Washington Post" is one of our favorites, not nearly as overplayed as "Stars and Stripes" plus this is a great performance by the Eastman Wind Ensemble. Ray Charles is truly an artist for whom the genius tag is not just a marketing concept. Both directly and indirectly, Ray did much to improve race relations in this country (see the excellent biopic Ray), so who better to sing "America the Beautiful". Bruce Springsteen's "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" is another perennial 4th favorite.

Paul Simon's "American Tune" is one amazing piece of songwriting, with lyrics that seem more and more relevant with each passing year. Pieta Brown is the daughter of folk/blues legend Greg Brown. Gretchen Peters' "Independence Day" was a hit for Martina McBride, but Gretchen's own version is even better.

The Hooters' remake of the folk classic "500 Miles" is all about the quest for freedom, and being they're from Philadelphia, it's the perfect lead in to Mark Knopfler's "Sailing to Philadelphia". This duet with James Taylor tells history more tunefully than just about any other such attempt in recent memory and sets the stage for "Philadelphia Freedom". This cover of the Elton John classic is well done by Hall & Oates, who originated in Philadelphia.

Jon & Vangelis' original version of "State Of Independence", a song that was also a hit for Donna Summer. Jon is Jon Anderson of Yes and Vangelis is a keyboardist/composer who has done many incredible soundtracks for movies like Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner as well as playing keyboards for Yes on their Relayer album. Linda Ronstadt covered the Chuck Berry classic "Back in the U.S.A." back when a new Linda Ronstadt albums and what songs she did were a big deal.

Kim Wilde topped many a guilty pleasure list in the 80s with her "Kids in America". This cover by The Donnas is true to the spirit of the original. The mix climaxes with two ten plus minute tracks that represent the best of the 70s' progressive era. Yes did a lot of cool cover songs in their first few years, including an amazing cover of the Beatles' "Every Little Thing".

By their third album, they had left covers behind were doing only original material. However, they took time out during the recording of the Fragile album to cut their last cover, which retains the soul of Paul Simon's "America" while turning it into a quintessential Yes track, clocking in at 10:33.

They may be known now as the top forty band that gave us "Carry On My Wayward Son" but Kansas began life as a progressive outfit, featuring violin as a lead instrument on their first two albums. Their progressive period peaked on the title track of their second album, Song for America. We can't close without one more shot of John Phillip Sousa; "Liberty Bell" will be mighty familiar to anyone who ever watched Monty Python.

The Tracklist
:
  1. Eastman Wind Ensemble - Washington Post (2:30) - Sousa Spectacular
  2. Bart Simpson, Homer Simpson, Lisa Simpson & Marge Simpson - America Rules (1:25) - Testify
  3. Ray Charles - America The Beautiful (3:43) - Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles
  4. Bruce Springsteen - 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (5:37) - The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
  5. Joni Mitchell - Night Ride Home (3:19) - Night Ride Home
  6. Aimee Mann - 4th Of July (3:21) - Whatever
  7. Paul Simon - American Tune (3:45) - There Goes Rhymin' Simon
  8. Grateful Dead - U.S. Blues (4:41) - From The Mars Hotel
  9. James Taylor - On The 4th Of July (3:26) - October Road
  10. Lori Carson - Fourth Of July (5:31) - Stars
  11. Suzy Bogguss - Baby July (4:34) - Sweet Danger
  12. Pieta Brown - 4th Of July (3:57) - In The Cool
  13. Gretchen Peters - Independence Day (3:45) - Circus Girl (The Best Of Gretchen Peters)
  14. Bruce Springsteen - Independence Day (5:10) - Live 1975-85
  15. The Hooters - 500 Miles (4:26) - Zig Zag
  16. Mark Knopfler - Sailing To Philadelphia (5:30) - Sailing to Philadelphia
  17. Hall & Oates - Philadelphia Freedom (5:11) - Two Rooms: Celebrating The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
  18. The Byrds - Chimes Of Freedom (3:54) - There Is A Season
  19. Jon & Vangelis - State Of Independence (4:22) - The Best Of Jon & Vangelis
  20. Victoria Vox - America (3:38) - Victoria Vox & Her Jumping Flea
  21. Homer Simpson - America (I Love This Country) (1:07) Testify
  22. Linda Ronstadt - Back In The U.S.A. (3:04) - Living In The U.S.A.
  23. The Donnas - Kids In America (3:52) - Nancy Drew - Music From The Motion Picture
  24. Black 47 - Funky Ceili (Bridie's Song) (4:16) - Black 47
  25. Yes - America (10:33) - Fragile [2003 Remaster)
  26. Kansas - Song For America (10:03) - Song For America
  27. Eastman Wind Ensemble - Liberty Bell (3:29) - Sousa Spectacular

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