I play music when I work, when I unwind, and when I do mostly everything. And as often as possible, I take advantage of the musical talent on display throughout NYC, one of the best places in the world to catch top performers. Some of my thoughts:
First great rock and roll song: “Sing Sing Sing,” by Benny Goodman (especially the classic live version recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1938).
Songs I liked when I was a teenager that I still like: “Gimme Three Steps,” by Lynyrd Skynrd (live version preferred); “Peace of Mind” by Boston; “If You Want To Sing Out,” by Cat Stevens.
Songs I liked when I was a teenager that I’m embarrassed about: “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” by Molly Hatchet; “Iron Man,” by Black Sabbath; “Jesse’s Girl,” by Rick Springfield.
Song my daughter was named after: “Jessica,” by the Allman Brothers.
What amazes me: Steven Tyler is bigger than ever; REO Speedwagon still goes on tour.
Worst musical aberration of all-time: That version of “Let It Be” with the George Harrison guitar solo scrubbed out.
Best musician my Dad ever introduced me to: Vince Guaraldi (all of his music, not just the Peanuts soundtracks).
Reason why: “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” & c.
Strangely captivating: “The Man Comes Around,” by Johnny Cash.
Happy new discoveries: Reckless Kelly; Ryan Bingham; James Maddock; Lucy Kaplansky.
Becoming old favorites: Steve Forbert; Lucinda Williams; Steve Earle; Shawn Mullins; Shelby Lynne.
Best radio host / national treasure: Jonathan Schwartz, as he airs on WNYC 93.9 FM, Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 pm.
Best Sinatra song: In the summer, “Summer Wind.” Other times of year, all the rest.
How Sinatra used to sign his letters, according to Jonathan Schwartz: “Best, Francis.”
Songs I don’t get tired of listening to: “The Long Way Home,” by Tom Waits (with a pretty good cover version by Norah Jones); “Ring of Fire,” by Johnny Cash (plus all the cover versions); “Reason To Believe,” (live version preferred, as always) by Bruce Springsteen.
Reminds me of my Grandpa Bud: “We’ll Meet Again,” as performed by Johnny Cash and friends.
Last concert I saw: Sinead O’Connor in New York City, Feb. 23, 2012.
What I thought: Much better than I expected—even though Sinead had laryngitis.