Tag Archives: classics

Monday Mixtape: 5 Songs for Freedom


Today being Martin Luther King Day, it seemed appropriate that today’s selections reflect the values and teachings that Dr. King fought for so tirelessly. Of peace, of love, of humanity and compassion, and, above all else, of equality for all.

Certainly we’ve come a ways from the days when buses, trains, and other public spaces were segregated, and now more than ever the positive effects of their work can be seen across the US by the wonderfully diverse make up of so many schools, universities, and businesses. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Even as we’re making good progress towards a healthier, more accepting society, racism is very much still alive, and one only has to take a look at the comments section of any social media site where whatever celebrity, athlete, or even regular old joe featured there can become a lightning rod of intensely racially charged rhetoric overnight.

It’s not just black vs. white either (if ever it was). Latinos, people of middle eastern descent, sexual preference or orientation all have some equity, ironically enough, when it comes to being in the discrimination spotlight.

As much as I often feel hard pressed to believe that we’ll ever be able to “just get along” and put an end to racism and discrimination in this country, I know that as long as children continue to be taught to love their neighbors as themselves and to respect each person’s right to life and happiness– there is hope.

The songs below echo this belief, from trying to deal with the world as it is (Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?”), to beginning to see how freedom and social justice can be brought about (Amos Lee’s “Freedom”), to taking the steps ourselves to be the change we wish to see (Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World”), and everything in between.

Change, as Mr. Cooke says, good, positive, lasting change is gonna come, but it’s not going to happen with out the conscious effort of regular people like us, willing those changes into being.

The time is always right to do what is right.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

5 Songs For Freedom, Equality, and Justice (+1 Extra For the Man Himself).


Monday Mixtape – Top 5 Side 1, Track 1s

To quote Rob Gordon, “I’m feeling kind of basic today.” Not to mention tired. It’s been a fantastic weekend full of wine, women, and song (but mostly song), late nights, early mornings– because it’s in my genes and because i’m a bit of a sadist– and the week’s looking good ‘n long ‘n busy with no signs of letting up. And that’s all right by me.

I’m also honestly intrigued and curious about the concept of a mix derived from only such material. Say what you will about the need for going deep and understanding an album as the sum of all of its parts– side one, track ones set the tone for what’s to come, giving them the power to make or break whatever album experience you were hoping to have. Whether you’ve been lured to the record by the wildly successful single you’ve heard on the radio all week and are hoping to hear more of the same, or, as is more often the case these days, you stumbled upon the artist through related artist categories on your streaming music player of choice– that first song will determine whether you’re in it for the long haul or jumping ship by side one, track one, minute two.

And heaven help you if you believe that having that shiny new single on there as the pivotal track one is enough to carry you through an otherwise bland and colorless record. There’re definitely some examples of where it works, and likely a few of the following tracks will be among those examples, but generally speaking, if you’re leading off with your barnburner of a single, you better believe with all your soul and down payment on your yacht in Maui that the rest of your album is sold gold. Nay, diamond platinum.

With this in mind, I humbly submit my Top 5 Side 1, Track 1s.

1. Mike Doughty – Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well
Haughty Melodic – ATO, 2005

Starting off with a fantastic example of a side one, track one that, although being the first single from Doughty’s 2005 album, not to mention his first solo major label release (ATO), serves as a nice warm up for the rest of the record. In fact, as strong a song as it is, greater depth and all-around wonderfully hearty sonic goodness is still to come in the tracks that follow. Continue reading Monday Mixtape – Top 5 Side 1, Track 1s