Today is the 61st birthday for the man with the Space Bass and the star shaped spectacles, Bootsy Collins. Bootsy got his start in the ’60s, backing James Brown with his older brother, but eventually burning out (as many did). He resurfaced as the bass player for Parliament-Funkadelic, eventually leaving to pursue his solo career. Bootsy has been a gigantic influence on funk with his distinctive playing and stylish clothes. Let’s pay tribute to this legend by grabbing your iPod or MP3 player, hitting shuffle and sharing the first 10 songs that come up.
Blue Oyster Cult — Fire Of Unknown Origin (Fire Of Unknown Origin): This is the title cut of the album that yielded BOC’s final hit, “Burnin’ For You”. This is a bit of a lesser cut, which is really dated by the early ’80s keyboard ornamentation. The chorus is alright.
The Jam — When You’re Young (Direction, Reaction, Creation): Just a fun Jam song, with handclaps and relatively upbeat lyrics from Paul Weller, who, oddly enough, sounds much older than his actual age.
Idlewild — Not Just Sometimes But Always (Warnings/Promises): Idlewild perfected their sound on their second LP, 100 Broken Windows, and then spent the rest of their career trying variations on their sound. This is a slower, string driven number, and a good showcase for the plaintive vocals of Roddy Woomble.
Hawksley Workman — Ice Age (Treeful Of Starling): Starling is a lesser Workman effort, but any album where he plays slow tunes on the piano ain’t too shabby. This is just a nice tune and a good showcase for his great singing.
Goldfrapp — Cologne Cerrone Houdini (Seventh Tree): A sexy ballad at a slow tempo that makes good use of disco strings. The song is very well structured, leading to a wonderful rising melody in the chorus, which just keeps building. One of their best.
Cheap Trick — Heaven Tonight (Heaven Tonight): Sinister psych-rock from the Trick’s third LP. This is a great showcase for both Robin Zander’s singing and Rick Nielsen’s guitar playing, as the band plays out a bad drug experience. Cheap Trick has wisely brought this back to their live set.
Richard & Linda Thompson — Never Again (The Best Of Richard & Linda Thompson: Island Years): Linda’s crystal clear voice just perfectly compliments Richard’s dramatic folk rock compositions. The olde folk roots are there, but this is played with a bit of a rock edge.
Star — Various Gun Designs (Deevastator): Unheralded Chicago band put out a really good aggressive shoegazer LP about 10 years ago or so. This sounds like a cool cross between My Bloody Valentine and Curve.
Steve Miller Band — Wish Upon A Star (Book Of Dreams): When Miller wasn’t bubblegum-izing blues rock, he was breaking out the synthesizers and making some trippy pop ballads. Miller is not virtuoso singer, but his voice is so friendly and malleable, and he makes this tune really work.
Lee Harvey Oswald Band — Brontosaurus (Blastronaut): Sludgy and wonderful cover of The Move song by this band that allegedly had their career wrecked by prison stints by all three members. If only they had better legal representation.