I Love that Song! #8: “Don’t Be Mad at Me,” by the Davenports

the-davenports-don't-be-mad-at-meThe subtly pounding, lithe piano run which appoints itself at the start of the Davenports’ achingly beautiful new song, “Don’t Be Mad at Me,” now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, is joined by a gregarious, almost romanticized string section pleased to acquaint itself with a very “Martha, My Dear” ambiance in tow, an ambiance that later trades off with a lovely pop melody and, at the end, an even harder-edged, slightly manic, giddy even, melodic electric guitar attack straight out of the Carpenters “Goodbye to Love” school, but for now leads into the first words of the opening verse, which themselves lead to a cautionary plea: “Betty, don’t be mad at me, Betty,” delivered by the always soothing and satisfying voice of Scott Klass as he seeks to make it all better with more than a few dollops of sincerity. “Don’t cry girl, I’ve got your keys,” he sings, because the time has come to take pause and leave the driving to someone else.

“It’s not conspiracy, revenge or trying to hurt your feelings, Betty,” Klass asserts, lovingly. It’s just the way it is, is what it all means, and you barely wrestle with the idea that at a certain point in everyone’s life–yours, for example–time will come to change the course and allow a loved one or a friendly neighbor or someone else with the power of love in his or her pocket to help, just help, just help steer the course. “But it’s clear now that you’re mixing up your Christophers and Larrys…”

And so it goes as Klass, who wrote the song, sings a litany of wise words that make it all clear as we tumble along the way in our lives. This gorgeous creation, just such a grand achievement and a raise of the bar in the ongoing songwriting life, blinks brightly with all the hallmarks of a Davenports song: the way the words match the rhythm of the melody around quick breaths; the seemingly disparate instrumental elements that come together perfectly to create a winsome, winning musical base; and the idea that a whole life, and all its twists and turns, can be communicated quite clearly in only four minutes and 13 seconds with lively invention and the truth of the songwriter’s craft.

the davenportsYes, this is a pop song with strings and a catchy melody and percussion and swooping background vocal harmonies reminiscent of the closing sections of Andy Partridge’s “1,000 Umbrellas,” and it just begs, literally begs that you sing along with it (and you can, because the video, which you can watch below, includes some of the lyrics right there on the screen) and, even if there wasn’t any begging going on, you’d want to sing along anyway, because it’s that kind of a delightful number and that’s what great pop music does: it includes you as if you’re a member of the family, and, of course, you are.

The Davenports have never been anything less than top-flight purveyors of fanciful, melodic pop songs. Here, as stated above, they have upped their game and delivered a momentous achievement. There is nothing like this song in the whole wide world–a world, as depicted in this song’s video, that is alive and well within the confines of a View-Master lying in a box left silently on a sidewalk. A young girl, curious as to the box’s contents, takes hold of the View-Master and there is Betty’s, or someone’s, life, conveyed to the girl in one snapshot after another; little wisps out of time that tell a story.

“Generally,” it is said on the band’s website, this song is “about salad days to sad days, youth to old age, power to weakness, forefront to backdrop. ‘Betty’ is an old great aunt who was once almost like a matriarch of the family–strong, with style, a leader, who drove a huge old Caddy. The narrator is a younger relative who has to take away the keys to the Caddy because Betty has grown old and demented.”

“Betty, don’t be mad at me…” Undoubtedly, this song could be about someone in your life, which makes the message universal. Betty, well, could well be you, some day.

Buy the Davenports’ “Don’t Be Mad at Me” on iTunes

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Elton John’s Behind the Piano During Tonight’s Edition of Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Spin a couple of Beatles cover songs from a pair of legendary musical duos, welcome Elton John to the stage and studio, and hit the ground running with five classic Beatles and solo Beatles numbers, and you’ve got another stellar edition of Ken Michaels’ weekly Beatles get-together, Every Little Thing. The fun kicks off tonight at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

The hits come at a fast and furious pace right from the start with a set featuring some great group and solo tunes, including the Beatles’ “Good Day Sunshine,” Paul McCartney’s “At the Mercy,” and Ringo Starr’s “Vertical Man.” Then, in tonight’s second segment, Ken plays a pair of Beatles covers delivered by Chad and Jeremy, and Peter and Gordon. The Fabs’ “Rocky Raccoon” and Wings’ “Country Dreamer” round out the set.

Elton John pounds the piano in Ken’s third, themed segment. Not only will you hear Elton and John Lennon thrilling the audience on Thanksgiving night 1974 at New York’s Madison Square Garden with a rousing rendition of “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” but you’ll thrill to Elton’s pumping piano on Ringo Starr’s “Snookeroo” and Elton’s touching tribute to Lennon, “Empty Garden.” It’s a great set that we know you’ll enjoy.

It’s all for you tonight on Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing, kicking off at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio. Don’t miss it!

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Timmy Sean’s Songs of the Week Project Rolls On With Poppified Cover of BTO’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

timmy-sean-song-of-the-weekFollowing two original songs made available as part of his ambitious Songs of the Week project, musician extraordinaire Timmy Sean has seeded week three’s slot with a poppified cover of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” B-b-b-baby, it’s something that you’re never gonna forget!

Says Timmy: “I was given the opportunity in 2014 to record a cover of this song to be pitched for a television commercial. I believe the description of what they asked for was ‘A COMPLETELY ORIGINAL take on ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, that is INSTANTLY recognizable as ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ by Bachman-Turner Overdrive…a little confusing.

“Anyway, they ended up going (in) a completely different direction for the commercial, but at least it left me with an apropos song title if I really wanted to sound cocky about what else I have coming this year…which I don’t…so, maybe we can re-title it ‘You’ve Seen Something…And There’s More That’s Probably, Give-Or-Take, Roughly The Same Quality.'”

There’s no roughly about it from our perspective: This is Timmy Sean at his best, tearing it up with a classic rock staple, Timmy Sean-style. Dig those poppy background harmonies near the end of the track.

Forty-nine songs to go, as Timmy Sean hits the bricks behind the scenes for week number four’s tune. Check back here next week for the skinny on the next entry in the Songs of the Week project! And check out Timmy’s Bandcamp page, where you can purchase these very cool tunes!

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More New Music Debuts! Join Us for Top of the Pops Thursday!

You say you want more new music added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist? We’re only too happy to accommodate! Let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are more of the new songs and artists that are now shaking the walls in rotation here at our sumptuous broadcasting headquarters:

michael-carpenterMichael Carpenter | “The Only One” Longtime Pure Pop Radio top fave Michael Carpenter returns with an instant classic track, a taster for his upcoming long player that may drop as early as May. It’s a great song–a great performance–that kicks in with a sumptuous Rolling Stones rocking vibe and settles into a typically catchy pop groove with great background vocal harmonies, a killer melody, and joy to spare. This is one you won’t want to miss; it’s now playing in rotation for you to enjoy, and enjoy it you most certainly will.

the-windThe Wind | Re-Wind We love it when old favorites come together again and make more beautiful music. For their first album in three decades, Lane Steinberg, Steven Katz, and Steve Burdick have teamed up with pop maestro David Grahame, who co-produced and mixed, for an album featuring the much-loved band’s unique blend of pop goodness. From the easy sixties soul pop of “Baby, I Can Take a Punch” and the Buddy Holly-meets-modern pure pop vibe of “Fight Like a Girl” to the breathless piano-led pop of “Weak Spot” and the straight-ahead melodic joys of the mid-tempo ballad “Yes and No,” Re-Wind is a major triumph and one heck of a kick-start to the year. We’ve added all of the aforementioned numbers, plus “Can’t Find the Words,” “Just Play Along,” “Let Me Show You How It’s Done,” “There’s a Clamoring,” “Think On Your Feet,” and “Unattainable.” Glorious.

graham-alexander-repeat-deceiver-coverGraham Alexander | Repeat Deceiver We’ve already reviewed this phenomenal album (read that here), so anything we add will just drive the point home with more fervor. Well, okay…why not? As we wrote, “(Graham Alexander has) upped his game considerably for a powerful pop and roll tour de force that dazzles every step of the way.” Enough said. We’ve added eight tunes to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: the title song, “Romeo Blue,” “Games,” “Two Ships Passing in the Night,” “Third Wheel,” “People are Only Sorry When They’re Caught,” “Total Cartography,” and “Wait in the Rain.” A great album through and through, and proof that this is an artist that will continue to deliver the goods for many years to come.

mothboxer-2Mothboxer | We’re All Out of Our Minds EP It seems like kind of just yesterday that we proclaimed Mothboxer’s Sand and the Rain to be one of our favorite albums of 2014 (it was this past November 18 to be exact; read our review here). Hot on the heels of that momentous record comes this EP, featuring perhaps our favorite song on Sand, “We’re All Out of Our Minds.” Three new recordings make their debut here, and we’re spinning them all because, well, they’re great and chief ‘boxer Dave Ody is making every note count these days and, well, we think they’re pretty great. Now spinning in rotation are “One Day at a Time,” “I’m Working” (featuring Finchey, Ody’s wonderful side project), and “Laughing Out Loud. Classics all, of course.

jay-stansfieldJay Stansfield | Birth and Death Pure Pop Radio favorite Jay Stansfield’s latest album is another typically adventurous collection of songs concerned with the human condition. Delivered with Jay’s usual attention to classic song construction, these songs are valuable additions to a growing and vital catalog. We’ve added three songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: the gorgeous “Sex on My Mind,” with its welcome Pink Floyd overtones; the relaxed, poppy vibe of “Superman Thief,” with its McCartney-esque up-and-down bass line; and “The Sadness,” a folky, hymn-like, emotional wonder. Welcome back, Jay.

the-martinetsThe Martinets | Rock and Roll Will Probably Never Die There is probably no probably about it, but these guys have their eye on the prize, so we think it’s all going to be good. Nestled somewhere between Rolling Stones swagger and sixties pop, the Martinets load up the guitar buzz with melody-infused attacks on the senses. Perfect for practicing air guitar, for sure. We’ve added five songs: “Good Friends For,” “I Know Where I’m Going,” “Good Times to Come,” “Places You Go,” and “If We’re Going Down.” Rock and pop and roll…one of our favorite combinations.

little-boy-jrLittle Boy Jr | Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry? and “Tell Me” Thanks to old friend Francesc Sole for the tip on this wonderful pop band from Chicago, who write and perform catchy songs that demand repeat listens. These guys, with a little 1950s flash and a decidedly sixties-ish approach, know how to write a sturdy hook, and they know how to deliver them to your ears. We’ve added seven tasty tracks from their latest album, released last February: “Perhaps, Annie,” “Full of Lies,” “Don’t Forget,” “Let Me Bleed,” “Mine,” “Dead Radio,” and “Blame.” We’ve also added one track from the band’s 2012 single, the energetic pop number, “Tell Me.” Both the album and single are free downloads on Bandcamp. Head right over and get ’em.

the-lsb-experience-flashbacksThe LSB Experience | Flashbacks Just over a month ago, we added tracks from this Netherlands trio’s wonderful album, The Experience. At the beginning of this past December, we wrote that “Fans of exquisite vocal harmony matched with genuinely catchy songs will embrace the LSB Experience with a great big hug of love.” We stand by that assessment, and present a half-dozen examples of how this trio’s approach makes a bunch of well-known songs from other artists their own. You’ll hear the band cover “Helplessly Hoping,” “Shower the People,” “You Can Close Your Eyes,” “Our House,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” and there won’t be a dry eye in the house. Just gorgeous.

kylie-hughesKylie Hughes | Calipopicana Pop, dipped in a gloriously happy glaze, is the name of the game on this lovingly produced EP, capturing the essence of Southern California pop and answering the musical question: What would the Beach Boys sound like in 2015 if the lead singer was a female? The hooks run deep in these delightful, harmony-drenched songs. There’s some supreme ear candy happening here. We’re playing four of Kylie’s very cool tunes, co-writes with the likes of John “Fin” Finseth of the Tearaways, and Brent Bourgeois from Bourgeois-Tagg: “Calipopicana,” “Short Skirts,” “Dream Dream Dream,” and “Leave ’em Wanting More.” That last song title really says it all: More please, and real soon!

We hope you enjoy the latest adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist, now playing in rotation. We’ve got lots more coming up next week. Don’t miss a single note!

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

New Songs? New Artists? We’ve Got ’em! Welcome to New Adds Wednesday!

Welcome to New Adds Wednesday, for which we have gathered together a melodically-charged group of songs and artists that are new to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We’ve got so much music to add–more than 150 songs have been added in just the past few days, with more to come–that we’ll also be reporting on our buoyant crop of newbies tomorrow and next week.

So, without further ado, here are just a half-dozen of the latest musical finds we’re now spinning in rotation on our humble  radio station (remember: more coming tomorrow!):

kyle-vincentKyle Vincent | Detour. The King of Soft Pop–a master craftsman sculpting peerless, lusciously-rendered songs with deep hooks and even deeper feeling–returns with a typically catchy collection of melodies that come from the heart and soul. Featuring two songs co-written with longtime compatriot Tommy Dunbar from the Rubinoos and another with heritage power popper Parthenon Huxley, Detour is practically overflowing with riches; we’ve added seven of Vincent’s marvelous musical tapestries, including “Happy Me,” “Too Much Time In My Head,” “Whenever the Rain Falls,” “Forget You Girl,” “A Rock In My Shoe,” “Ooh Bop Baa,” and “San Francisco.” It’s always a pleasure to welcome new Kyle Vincent songs into the Pure Pop fold.

luke-potterLuke Potter | So Sugar. The young Earl of Ear Candy delivers a delightful collection of sugary, radio-ready, instantly singalongable delights. Produced by Bleu, who also plays and sings on the album, this is feel-like-a-million-bucks music, just like the kind that AM radio used to play–singable, danceable, catchy tunes designed to get you smiling and tapping your feet. We were hooked as the first notes played. Our playlist is now featuring five great Potter numbers, including “So Sugar,” “There It Goes Again,” “Sadie,” “Possibility,” and “Chance Worth Taking.”

donny-brownDonny Brown | Hess Street. Released this past Christmas Day by the fine Futureman Records label, Hess Street sounds like it was recorded especially for Pure Pop Radio. Delightful from start to finish, Brown’s pure vocals combine with lovely arrangements, delicious background harmony stacks and great songs for a delightful listening experience that delivers every step of the way. Brown is a real find. We’ve added all five songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: “Lucky Number,” “The Driving Song,” “Bitter Rival,” “Call Me,” and “The Night I Fell for You.” We anxiously await Brown’s next release. Sooner than later, please.

one-like-sonOne Like Son | New American Gothic. In 2014, One Like Son’s Stephen Poff recorded a song each week for a project he called 52 Weeks. The songs collected on New American Gothic began life as entries in Poff’s yearlong exercise. New American Gothic is a powerhouse collection that packs more oomph into 51 minutes than is seemingly possible. Catchy power pop numbers like “Falling from My Arms” and “What Momma Knew,” along with guitars, guitars and more guitars, propel this one to the top of the pops. We’ve added these two songs, and two more besides: the title track and the wonderfully titled “Punk Rock Prom Queen.”

kurt-bakerKurt Baker | Muy Mola Live! Recorded at Salty Peet’s Rock Shack in Kenosha, Wisconsin in June of last year, Muy Mola Live! delivers a blazing hot set of originals and choice covers that will literally knock your socks off (we say this from personal experience). Baker’s been a Pure Pop Radio favorite for years, so it’s only natural that we jumped on this one in ASAP fashion. Our playlist is popping and rocking with a quartet of tunes that make us wish we’d been in the audience for this performance: “Love Potion #9,” an amped-up “Cry for a Carajillo” (Beatles fans will recognize this one straight away), “Tried and True,” and “Don’t Go Falling in Love.” Dynamite, to put it mildly.

small-facesSmall Faces | Small Faces. We’re on a mission to boost our collection of ’60s classics. Our first move in that direction is to pump up the beat in our playlist by adding seven stellar tunes from Small Faces’ 1966, self-titled debut: “You Better Believe It,” “It’s Too Late,” “One Night Stand,” “What’cha Gonna Do About It,” “Sorry She’s Mine,” “Sha La La La Lee,” and “Patterns.” Hearing these songs again is an instant transport back to our favorite decade for pop–a trip back in time to pop music’s grooviest era. More sixties classics to come on Pure Pop Radio.

All of the above-noted classic tracks, and all of the classic artists, are now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. We’ll have more new adds in the spotlight tomorrow. Be here for all of the fun!

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

I Love That Song! #7: “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” by The Beatles

the-beatles-white-albumBuried near the end of side two of the Beatles’ 1968 self-titled masterwork (more commonly known as the White Album), and coming right before the sweetly sung romantic ballad “I Will,” “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” finds Paul McCartney posing a musical question still not properly and conclusively answered so many years later.

“Why don’t we do what in the road?” Why don’t we have a bit of a frolic, play catch, dig for buried treasure or reach for the stars on a hot summer’s day? And what are the chances of being caught? “No one will be watching us,” McCartney assures. So there’s that guarantee of walking, or perhaps limping silently, away scot-free.

paul-mccartney-white-albumMcCartney has explained the song’s meaning before, or answered the question with a loaded retort. Quoth Wikipedia: “McCartney wrote the song after seeing two monkeys copulating in the street while on retreat in Rishikesh, India, with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He (marveled) in the simplicity of this natural scenario when compared to the emotional turmoil of human relationships.” So that theory goes. It’s the “fish and finger pie” thing all over again–a smutty little joke…a wink wink, nudge nudge between singer and listener and, you know, say no more.

Or is it? If McCartney were asked today about this song, he’d probably say he doesn’t remember what in God’s name it was about. “That was so 46 years ago,” he would probably opine. Or he might suggest that Ringo has the skinny. But Ringo would probably laugh and, with the wave of his hand, dismiss the question outright. “Don’t we have better things to talk about?” he might ask. Ha ha, and all that.

And so, I ask: What’s more fun than playing the “What is Paul talking about?” parlour game? Nothing, really. So, as we’re doing that, let’s up the ante a bit more and note that “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” is only four seconds shorter than “I Will.” Believe it or not, it takes McCartney about the same amount of time to express his undying love for his woman as it does to comment on copulating monkeys. Or preparing a will. Or having a contest to see who can suck a lollipop down to the stick in less time.

the-beatles-white-album-labelThe song, musically speaking, is simply, yet powerfully, stated: basic percussion, piano, bass, guitar and McCartney’s in-and-out Little Richard vocal stuck together for less time than it takes to fry an egg. “Why don’t we d-do it in the road? Why don’t we do it in the road? Uh, why don’t we do it in the ro-oad, mmm, why don’t we do it in the road? No one will be watching us, whyyy don’t we do it in the road?”

And one minute and forty-one seconds later, the song ends suddenly, abruptly–defiantly even, with a last “Why don’t we do it in the road?” The simultaneous slam on the piano, a fat pat on the snare drum, and a rigorous crash of the cymbal are all it takes to clear the aural decks and move on.

I must admit that I was one of those people who spent hours on end dissecting the obviously intended backwards messages in “Revolution 9,” stalling the motors on two, count ’em, two Symphonic all-in-one, fold-’em-up stereo turntables. I spent hours trying to figure the meaning of it all: Was Paul dead? Had my fab Paulie left this mortal coil? “You try to play that record backwards again,” my father warned, “and you won’t see another turntable in your room until you’re 25!” So I settled on letting other devoted Beatles fans figure out what the state of the Paul union was and concentrated instead on what it was that Paul, or his stand-in, was doing in the proverbial road.

It’s funny, really, how these odd, eccentric abnormalities associated with Beatles records stay with us in our creeping-up-slowly old age. In truth, it was all so silly, but it sure kept us busy and fixated. The prize at the end of all of the detective work was that all was well. Paul was alive and well and pouring a bucket of water on Life magazine’s photographer at his Scottish farm. I got another Symphonic turntable.

Perhaps the answer to the musical question, “Why don’t we do it in the road?”, is, simply, “I Will.” There. That takes care of another mystery in this life. You’re welcome.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Calling All Fools! Ken’s Spinning a Fool’s Set on Tonight’s Every Little Thing

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

If day after day you’re alone on a hill, you’ll want to tune in to tonight’s edition of Ken Michaels’ Beatles get-together, Every Little Thing, which begins at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio. Ken’s in the mood to spin a quartet of solo Beatles tunes with the word “fool” in the titles. Plus: There’s a special guest appearance by a former member of Wings.

But first, Ken rolls out his usual various tracks set at the top of the hour. This time around, there are special guest spins from actress/singer Evan Rachel Wood and veteran rockers, the Georgia Satellites. You’ll hear the Beatles’ “Revolution,” and Wood’s rendition of George Harrison’s “I’d Have You Anytime,” originally heard on the Quiet One’s All Things Must Pass album, among other stellar tunes.

In tonight’s second set, Ken examines a song that influenced a most famous and treasured Beatles tune. Does the name Bing Crosby ring any bells? You’ll also hear Harrison’s “Poor Little Girl” and John Lennon’s “Cleanup Time,” as well as the Fabs’ “Tell Me What You See.”

Then, it’s a little stroll through a fool’s paradise in Ken’s third, themed segment, featuring songs with the word “fool” in the titles. You’ll hear Denny Laine with his version of Buddy Holly’s “Fool’s Paradise” from Laine’s 1976 album, Holly Days, and Ringo Starr’s waxing of “I’m a Fool to Care,” among other numbers.

See you on the radio at 9 pm ET tonight. Join in the fun by bathing in the cool vibes of Every Little Thing!

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes