Apologies, readers, for the paucity of new material here on the blog of late. In a couple of weeks, I'll be back with more regularity. In the meantime, however, I have re-added a link (in the column to your right) to the archive site for my now-defunct old Rhodes Radio program "Americana the Beautiful," which used to air on Sunday nights, so you can go listen to some of Dr. J's favorite music. Which is ALL good music. Download the programs to your iPods, because life is always easier to manage with a soundtrack.
Here are some of my favorite episodes, if you can't stand the quiet of your world no more:
-- "Dr. J's (Almost) Birthday Mix (Part 1)" and "(Part 2)": This is the show I did a few days before my birthday in 2008, which includes a greatest hits compilation of all my favorite music. There's plenty of grooves that will put some pep in your step here. A healthy helping of good old rhythm & blues, a dash of gospel-infused secularity, a generous seasoning of country and alt-country, some straight-up singer-songwriter brilliance, and yours truly providing the play-by-play commentary.
-- "Sad Songs Say So Much (Part 1)" and "(Part 2)": I'm a connoisseur of sad songs. I love them. I study them with the intensity and rigor of a scientist. I have an unofficial PhD in the musical stylings of the desparate, the lonely, the downtrodden, the heartbroken, the broke, the lost, the rode hard and hung up wet. This episode is a Master Class in hermeneutics of sad songs. WARNING: Do not listen if you don't have a strong constitution. These songs are not for the faint of heart. Nor for the heartless.
--"Valentine's Day Love Song Mix (Part 1)" and "(Part 2)": If you're trying to woo someone, this is the episode for you. It originally aired just after Valentine's Day, and was meant to be a prepatory exercise for those who might be trying to assemble the perfect mix for "next year's" V-Day. There's always next year, lovers!
-- "Memphis IS Music": You would be surprised how many songs are either about Memphis or have "Memphis" somewhere in the lyrics. I mean, there are hundreds of them. This episode assembles some of the best from that long, long list of Memphis-lovin' songs. Everybody knows that the best music around is IN Memphis, but it's good to remember also that some of the best music around is also ABOUT Memphis. This episode is a love letter to my one true love, my town, the city that sits on the banks of the Big Muddy, that weathers all the vicissitudes of its weather and its people and its sicknesses and its sometimes-secret virtues. And it is a celebration of everything that makes this place holy.
-- "Depression Ain't ALL Bad": Originally aired in February 2008, this episode memorialized the end of the print version of the alt-country music magazine No Depression. (There's still an online version of No Depression, but oh how I miss getting those oversized copies of it in the mail... sigh...) Next to blues and soul, alt-country is the most gut-grinding music there is. This episode features some of the best of the best of alt-country. Neophytes take note: there's a whole lot of learnin' to learn here.