It has been well over a year since we did a music playlist on this site. At some point late in my wife's second pregnancy, I stopped listening to new music and started buying a lot of older records (remember the vinyl womb torture?). I had an amazing encounter with Jim Shaw at a record store in Hamtramck, where I followed him around as he pulled records out of the stacks and practically ordered me to buy them. From my casual mention of Sweetheart of the Rodeo he shared his vast knowledge of obscure roots music to help some guy that just wandered in off the street obtain a dozen records he would thoroughly enjoy and would lead to dozens more. Later, after Jim was stricken with a particularly ruthless cancer, I would read about how he had done this for countless others, especially musicians (including the Gories). Say what you want about the elitism of record stores: even with the glut of music available online, record stores are still places where records that should not be forgotten are placed directly in the hands of someone who will keep them turning.

So Jim Shaw handed me my cherished original issue of Jim Ford's Harlan County, Porter Wagoner's wonderfully insane What Ain't to be Just Might Happen, and Gene Clark's Echoes. And Matt at Underground Sounds handed me the reissued Death album, raving about it well before the New York Times ever did. And Brad at Peoples Records shares his amazing knowledge of Detroit music with anyone who walks into his new Woodward Ave. store. And there are also folks like the guys at The Rising Storm sharing their amazing record collections online. No one's musical taste evolves in a vacuum and I feel so thankful that there are people with such an amazing knowledge of old music sharing it instead of hoarding it.

For this mix, I wanted to share with you some of these cool older albums (in this case generally recorded between 1969 and 1972) that others have helped me discover. I don't have the ability to rip vinyl right now, so I chose songs that are generally available online elsewhere. Luckily they're still really good ones:

[streaming playlist]

1. Jim Ford: I'm Gonna Make Her Love Me, from Harlan County (1969)
2. Death: Keep on Knocking, from . . .For the Whole World To See (1974)
3. Diana Ross and the Supremes: Not Fade Away, unreleased (1964 cover of Buddy Holly song, based on the Rolling Stones' version)
4. Lonnie Mack: Asphalt Outlaw Hero, from The Hills of Indiana (1971) (I have many hundreds of trucker songs, but this is the only one that sounds like it was recorded for Motown).
5. Link Wray: Fire and Brimstone, from Wray's Three Track Shack (1971)
6. Gene Clark: Elevator Operator, from Echoes (1967) (there's this little chair in a 1920s elevator we frequent, and I laugh about this song every time we see it).
7. Paul & Linda McCartney: In the Heart of the Country, from Ram (1971)
8. Bob Martin: 3 Mill Town, from Midwest Farm Disaster (1972) (I don't have the vinyl for this amazing album (introduced by Jason@Risingstorm) but I was able to get the CD. Martin went on to become a high school economics teacher!)
9. Loudon Wainwright III: Motel Blues, from A Live One (1979) (I know he sings that douchey wedding song about daughters in the water, but I like this version way better than Alex Chilton's (which I heard first)).
10. Ernie Graham: So Lonely, from Ernie Graham (1971)
11. Karen Dalton: Something On Your Mind, from In My Own Time (1971) (I can't remember where I first heard Karen Dalton, but anyone who enjoys Joanna Newsom or Gillian Welch might be amazed by some of the songs Dalton recorded in the early 1970s)
12. Kim Fowley: Something New, from International Heroes (1973)
13. John Prine: Souvenirs, from Diamonds in the Rough (1972)
14. Bobby Charles: Small Town Talk, from Bobby Charles (1972)
15. Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson: My Rifle, Pony and Me from Rio Bravo Soundtrack (1959) (Okay, I know this doesn't really fit with the rest, but the Rio Bravo soundtrack was one of the records I was looking for when this whole thing started. I wanted to get a version of this song (one of my daughter's favorite lullabies) without the rascally old man in it. This song (and his performance in the movie) totally made me rethink Dean Martin and look up some great old songs by Ricky Nelson)
16. Porter Wagoner: Rubber Room, from What Ain't to be Just Might Happen (1972) (Jim Shaw's eyes widened when I told him I'd never heard this song. It is amazing. The lyrics are one thing, but consider also the reverb and echo effects. My daughter thinks this is a song about a bouncy castle)
17. Son Volt: Gramophone (live, 2005)

* * * * *

So, finding out about new music (or even old music) takes work (and help). We've got one last Sandisk Slot Radio player to give out (a $100 value). Sandisk is an advertiser on this site, and the little devices they're advertising are designed to take some of the work out of discovering new (and old) music. They come with 1000 preloaded songs and additional cards organized by genre can be purchased for $4o or so. Note: the playlist I created above is not affiliated with Sandisk or necessarily representative of any of the artists you will find on the SlotRadio.

We've had such an overwhelming response to these giveaways that I'm going to try to make this one a little bit harder to better the odds of those who participate. To enter the random drawing, tell us about some way you were exposed to new music that had a profound effect on you. It could be an old girlfriend, her cool older brother, a record store, a website, or a concert you just stumbled across. Anything. Or you could just say something about any of the songs I've posted above.

The contest ends at 3:00 p.m. EST on August 14, 2009. Good luck.