Everybody knew "What'd I Say," an early crossover hit, a basic 12-bar riff that I practiced on my guitar since I was 13 years old, but this was a live album, "Ray Charles in Person," recorded in Atlanta in May 1959.
In the aftermath of the Ferguson tragedy, the messages of Marvin Gaye's music, the youthful spoken word poets, and the shooting demise of young Michael Brown yielded a powerful mix of music and a gut-wrenching reminder of how far our society must go.
Sam Cooke's lament -- "Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody" -- summed up my social situation after, for reasons known only to my unconscious. I'd blown the Sweet 16 by ignoring my friendly good-looking date in favor of a sarcastic snob at the next table.
Music has a funny way of imprinting a time period in the listener's head. And maybe that's why we like it. As a work of both art and performance, listening to music becomes more than a passive experience.
The 1960s folk music scene was a chapter in a long story, one that began decades earlier and that continues today as a new generation of singers and songwriters connect -- directly and indirectly -- to the burgeoning progressive movements that are rippling across the country.
As I prepared to write about an act of uncommon decency by a professional athlete, I realized that calling it that was unfair, that it diminishes what happened, because this was simply an act of uncommon decency, period.
"I think it's super pop. I think it's pop, I think it's modern, I think it's current and it fits right in today with all of these danceable tunes. It does all of those things, it's drivable in the car. That's always the test."