FMF Episode #54 – Giving Thanks

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DJ: Welcome back, theme fiends, to another round of Feel Me Flow! Happy New Year! With the new year comes new hopes, but we also want to look back on last year a bit. For our first episode of this year, we are going to give some thanks where thanks are due.

Sometimes we give thanks sarcastically, like ‘Hey, thanks a lot for stepping on my toes.”. Sometimes we want to thank someone for loving us. Many times we’re just thankful in a general sense.  It’s important to stop and be thankful for the things you DO have. A loving family, caring friends, a happy career, a nice cold glass of ice water, the air that you breathe; all it takes is reflection.

Kicking off our thankful theme today is a song about a mice elf. Ok, that’s just not true.  But the track title might make you wonder. Sly and The Family Stone put out some of the best political soul and funk music of the late 60s.  After the release of 1969’s Stand!, Sly and the band would face some tumultuous times in drug land. Living neck-deep in PCP and cocaine addiction might be enough to deter you from working. Maybe. Either way, they released one single during the 1969-1971 session and were clearly thankful for something. Here’s Sly & The Family Stone doing their smash single “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”.

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DJ: Ahhh. What a smooth finish.  Our first set began and ends with a couple of thankful 1969 tracks. From Zeppelin’s II, that was “Thank You”. The song brings the magical melodic vibe that other Bonham-less tracks would do in later years, featuring only John Paul Jones’ Hammond organ and Jimmy Page’s guitar under Robert Plant’s vocals.

We were graced with the last single The Damned recorded with Captain Sensible still in the group. “Thanks For The Night” was released in 1984 as a standalone single before the band rearranged themselves. Another version of the song was released on Captain Sensible’s 1983 solo album The Power Of Love. Listen to that version if you’d prefer cheesy 80s synths layered over the track.

More British garage rock played before The Damned with Kaiser Chiefs’ sophomore effort being showcased. In an interview with NME in 2006, the band mentioned Led Zeppelin’s sophomore album selling 23 million copies and wanting to mimic that with their own release. I don’t think they hit that number, but a solid effort nonetheless! We played “Thank You Very Much” from Yours Truly, Angry Mob; their second album.

Gary Lewis & The Playboys asked “How Can I Thank You” with their 1968 deep cut. The band found huge success in 1965 with their debut single “This Diamond Ring”, but sales slowly tapered away with the evolution of 60s rock music. By the beginning of the 70s, the band had been released from Liberty Records and would dissolve not long afterward. 

Our next set starts with one of those annoying pop punk tracks you used to hear on the radio back in 2007. Fall Out Boy rode that pop punk popularity wave as long as the fad would let them, reaching new heights with the release of their 3rd album Infinity On High. The album starts off with Jay-Z introducing them. What an achievement for a pop punk band that was virtually unheard of only 4 years earlier! Anyway, here’ one of the smash singles from that album, “Thnks fr th Mmrs“.

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DJ: My Morning Jacket wraps up our second set with a pretty little ditty thanking someone. The track “Thank You Too!” comes from their 4th LP Evil Urges. The album was a the second to showcase the band’s new funkier sound after forming as more of an alt country / indie rock group. They still incorporate the lap steel guitar to this day, though.

Perhaps one of MMJ’s influences preceded their gratuitous endeavor with Big Star doing “Thank You Friends”. Alex Chilton makes appearances regularly on FMF; from his debut with the Box Tops to Big Star to solo work and even some Replacements cameos. Hell, we’ve even played this particular track before on our Best Friends episode!

Half Japanese made their way onto the infamous Top 50 by Nirvana list that Kurt Cobain wrote in his journal. The art punk band has been consistently releasing music since 1980, with another album announced for 2019 – Invincible.  We heard “Overjoyed And Thankful” from their 2014 effort Overjoyed.

Ty Segall dropped in with “Thank God For Sinners” from his fifth album. 2012’s Twins was apparently influenced by Nirvana and The Doors among other rock legends. The poetic heavy doesn’t go unnoticed. In fact, it pairs nicely with Half Japanese’s artsy approach. Almost like a Cobain sandwich.

Up next is the classic soul jam from Sam Moore & Dave Prater; the “Soul Men” known as Sam & Dave. Mopping up a few hits in the late 60s, the duo saw a resurgence in attention in 1978 when Dan Akroyd and John Belushi performed a cover of their song “Soul Man” during the cold open of Saturday Night Live as their soul revival group The Blues Brothers. You might even know “Soul Man” as a Blues Brothers song. Here’s another one that was covered by countless artists; “I Thank You”.

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DJ:  Seattle technical indie rock band Minus The Bear’s debut album fell in line with other indie bands’ style when it came to titling their songs. For some reason, bands in the early 2000s thought it was cool to use a quirky, out of context quote or reference as a song title – breaking the form of yesteryear. Some of these ended up being pretty great, but then some ended up going too far. See: Sufjan Stevens. Many of the titles referenced on this album were from Starship Troopers.  From 2002’s Highly Refined Pirates, that was the lead track “Thanks For The Killer Game Of Crisco Twister”.

Before Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips started singing like Neil Young, the band would struggle to breakthrough onto the mainstream (not that they really wanted to). After he switched, the band would release their major label debut Hit To Death In The Future Head. From their sophomore 1987 album Oh My Gawd!!! and prior to the high pitched singing, that was “Thanks To You”.

More psychedelic rock played before the Lips with White Denim’s bluesy trip “Thank You”. The song comes from the 2016 album Stiff, the band’s first without original drummer Josh Block and guitarist Austin Jenkins. They left to work on Leon Bridges’ debut album Coming Home the previous year. 

An early b-side from The Beatles followed Sam & Dave. We heard “Thank You Girl”, the b-side to The Beatles’ 4th single “From Me To You”. “Thank You Girl”, although released in 1963, wouldn’t see an LP release until the 1978 compilation Rarities.

Our Set 4 Score this week comes from the Swedish garage punkabilly band The Peacocks. Even though they’ve been crushing out albums since 1995, you may be just as unaware of them as we were until recently. From the 2010 album After All, this is “Thank You For The Young Ideas”. 

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DJ:  Oooh I love how soulful that set became. What do you say we keep it going? First let’s talk about what we heard. Capping off our set was the neo-soul smash act Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. There was a swing in soul on the pop charts around 2015 and forward with Leon Bridges, Nathaniel Rateliff, and others, some being produced by Dan Auerbach like Shannon Shaw. From the debut release of Nathaniel with The Night Sweats (earlier released were solo efforts), that was “Thank You”.

William DeVaughn reminded us to “Be Thankful For What You Got” with is 1974 single. The song was originally titled “A Cadillac Don’t Come Easy” before being rewritten and smoothed out to a cool 7-minute single. The truncated single would go on to sell over 2 million copies and become an anthem for cruising. Diamond in the back, sunroof on top, diggin’ the scene with a gangsta lean…

Reigning Sound played us a perfect transition song from garage to street with their track “I’m So Thankful”. The album marked a new sound for Greg Cartwright after his work with Oblivians and Compulsive Gamblers. The track we heard closes out the album Break Up, Break Down, released in 2001.

Paul Revere & The Raiders enjoyed fame as a garage rock band in the mid 60’s but would succumb to the fate that many of their peers did in the latter part of the decade. Psychedelia. Drugs, maybe. From the clean cut image they originally portrayed to album titles like Hard N’ Heavy (With Marshmallow) and Alias Pink Puzz in 1969, the band would fade out briefly before returning as Raiders in 1971 with the big single “Indian Reservation”. We heard “Thank You” from Alias Pink Puzz.

Alright back to that soul session. Our next set starts off with Donny Hathaway. Donny’s debut single “I Thank You Baby” with June Conquest under the duo June & Donnie was co-written by Curtis Mayfield and Hathaway in 1969. Donny would break it big the following couple of years with “The Ghetto” and a cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You”. Right when he was making a comeback in 1979, he was found on the street below the Essex Hotel in New York City, presumably having jumped. Apparently he had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Poor guy. Let’s remember the light of him with that debut, though. “I Thank You Baby”!

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DJ: That harmonica, though. Stevie Wonder’s signature sound tails our soul set with “Thank You Love” from Down To Earth. Like the album before it, Up-tight, the album marked a change in Stevie’s sound toward a the Motown hitmaker role as opposed to a teen pop star.

If you felt like that Solomon Burke song was a little too much for you, maybe a little too risque or a little too…I don’t know. Innuendo-y? That might be due to “Thanks, I Needed That” coming from his 1975 album Music To Make Love By. Hey, sometimes you just need that.

Oh man, a super cool cut from Barbara Lynn strummed the middle of our set. “This Is The Thanks I Get” was a complete opposite vibe from the Burke song that followed it. The track comes from Barbara’s 1968 Atlantic Records debut Here Is Barbara Lynn. She had a few fairly successful singles in the years prior before Atlantic took a gamble on her. Her LP didn’t hit the mark and she was released by 1969. One of those successful singles was the 1967 Tribe Records single “You Left The Water Running”, which Otis Redding covered.

In 1965, Otis teamed up with Booker T. & The MG’s to record The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads. Rumors have long circulated that this was the first recording to feature Isaac Hayes, but due to him not being credited it hasn’t really been proven true. From that ballad album, we heard “I Want To Thank You”.

Our final set starts off with a Joe Walsh-penned prayer of sorts. James Gang’s Rides Again launched the band into the mainstream and helped create an even bigger name for Walsh. “Funk #49” drew fans towards the blues rock gem, and acoustic/electric jams like “Thanks” were great gap fillers. Let’s hear Joe’s prayer with James Gang doing “Thanks”.

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DJ: I mean it’s pretty hard to argue with Bing here. Even though he had plenty to be thankful for, we all can take a minute to think about what we have in our lives that make them worth living. In 1942, Irving Berlin would pen 12 songs for the musical Holiday Inn. Though “I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For” is a catchy tune, it was the films finale song “White Christmas” that would go on to win a Grammy and become a legend in time. The film is also known for its controversial blackface act during the performance of “Abraham”. Most TV versions edit this out during holiday broadcasts now, and for good reason.

More Swedish garage rock blasted our way with The Hellacopters doing “Thanks For Nothing”. This, here, is a prime example of one of those sarcastic thank yous we mentioned in the intro. Unlike it’s sarcastic counterpart “thanks a lot”, “thanks for nothing” directly indicated negativity. You could possibly hear “thanks a lot” in a positive and sincere way, though. The more you know. 

Scottish indie garage band The Pastels would begin their journey in the mid 80s before taking a stab at the international market in the 90s alternative rock world. Their final release before signing to Domino Records was a single for Paperhouse Records titled “Thank You For Being You” in 1993.

Michigan psych-rockers Heaters gave us a little taste of “Thanksgiving I” before the Scots. The song is part one of two and opens the 2017 album Matterhorn.  The band released their fifth album Suspended Youth in Nobemver of 2018, continuing on the epic sounds they’ve come tobe known for.

Thank you. Just thank you so much. We’re wrapping up our Giving Thanks episode with one phrase and it’s an important one. THANK YOU! We’ll see you next time on Feel Me Flow!

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