Artificial Intelligence Helps Me Rock Out

by Kevin Burton

   There is a silly thing I do with my Amazon Echo, Alexa device that actually helps me find some pretty cool music.

   I explained it on the previous post on Page 7 (“Search For Swinging Tunes Aided By Alexa,” June 2).

   Since we have Amazon Music I can say, “Alexa play songs by” and then make up any goofy band name I can think of.  If it’s out there, Alexa can spin it.

   Some of the names I come up with aren’t attached to actual bands. Some of the bands are offensive or poor musically, but there are some gems. 

   I mentioned two bands Tuesday. Here are Four more.

  “Alexa, play songs by The Pistachios…” 

   This was my wife’s idea of a good snack and of a good thing to ask Alexa for.  Turned out pretty tasty all around.

   This is a really good band for an outdoor concert, the kind where you bring your own lawn chairs and people are selling food from little booths. 

   “The Scar” is a song that would make you want to put down your plate of barbecue beef and beans and dance, even if you are someone like me who hates dancing.

   The songs come from a 2005 set called “In The beginning.” I like the instrumental tunes best. Very good dance music, not something I would play at home on heavy rotation. 

  “Alexa, Play songs by The Hoofbeats…” 

   “Hoofbeats” appears to be some sort of program producing Christian music for children. Hoofbeats is the name of an animated horse doing the singing.

   The set is called “Hoofbeats Sings.” My favorite song on it is “God’s Big Ten Commandments.” Sample lyric, “God loves us so, He wanted us all to know, ten big ways to be happy all the days.”

   The human being doing the actual singing sounds a lot like Christine Wyrtzen.  But I can’t find anything on her website or the Rabbit Ranch Records site to confirm that.

   “Alexa, Play songs by Finders Keepers…” 

   Finders Keepers was a band from Wolverhampton England that was active in the late 60s, according to Wikipedia.  What they found and kept was one, a song written by John Farnham, and two, the sound of the Mamas and the Papas. 

    Listen to their version of “Friday Kind of Monday” and you think it could be a forgotten album track on a Mamas and Papas record, except the Mamas and Papas usually had more substance to their lyrics.

  “Alexa, Play songs by Cool Banana…”   

   If you are going to look for this, do not put an s on banana. Cool bananas is a whole other band.

   The set is called “Crib Notes” because the songs are so short and maybe also because there is a song called “Baby Again” with the lyric “Baby make me feel like I’m a baby again…”  What that latter is supposed to mean I have no idea. 

    “Chick Tracy” was the first song I heard. It’s about a female detective, a takeoff on the old Dick Tracy comic strip. It’s unbelievably catchy and since it’s so short it would be hard to get tired of.

   Sample lyric, “Come on Chick Tracy, why don’t you play me. I know that you’re always gonna get your man.”

    “Daffy Jr.” is an even shorter song. It’s one minute 37 seconds and the vocals don’t start until the 1:05 mark. The music is good, like maybe some old Stealers Wheel, but the lyrics when they finally come are silly.

     The set was released in October of 2018. The whole enterprise appears to be a joke, but the players are good musicians.  

    So Alexa finds me some interesting stuff. Some of it I am glad to have found. Some of it makes me scurry back to my old reliable Steely Dan, Supertramp and Beatles tunes. 

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