Singer-Songwriters – Chapter Two

Today’s entry is Chester Williams Powers, Jr.  Never heard of him?  Not surprising since he didn’t preform under his birth name.  In fact, he not only used a stage name, Dino Valenti (sometimes Valente), he wrote under a different name, Jesse Oris Farrow.  As confusing as some of my family tree has turned out to be.

So just who is this guy, or maybe it’s “these guys”? 

You would know him best from the psychedelic 60’s and 70’s group Quicksilver Messenger Service.  Their biggest hit was “Fresh Air” which I thought I’ve already linked here on the blog, but I can’t find it.  But that’s okay, since I’m not using that song anyway.

While listening to Earle Bailey on the Deep Tracks channel this morning, he played the song I will use.  He also talked about how Chet (at least that’s what his Wiki page says he calls himself) had the different names.  Naturally, I had to go and check.  The next obvious step was to write this post so I might be able to educate you, my wonderful reader(s).

One thing I did learn was that Chet wrote “Let’s Get Together”, or as it’s more widely known “Get Together”.  I may or may not have already posted Jessie Colin Young and the Youngbloods’ cover of that tune here.  That version made it to number 5 in 1967. 

After an arrest for possession of marijuana, he was searched again by police (who found more marijuana and amphetamines in his apartment) while awaiting trial. He received a one-to-ten-year sentence served in part at Folsom State Prison. To raise money for his defense, he sold the publishing rights for “Get Together” to Frank Werber, the manager of The Kingston Trio.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chet_Powers

This is the title track of the groups fifth album, “What About Me”, released in December 1970.  The song only made it to number 100 in 1971.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 12 November

So sometime around 3 AM this morning this popped into my head and woke me up.  Not sure why, maybe it’s that stupid tropical storm that’s been threatening us on and off for the last few days.  Maybe it’s the constant back pain, or more likely the meds I’m taking for the pain that keeps me up. 

But maybe, just maybe it’s kismet that the song came to me the way the title came to Tommy James;

The title, “Crimson and Clover”, was decided before a song had been written for it. The combination of unknown meaning came to James as he was waking up, comprising his favorite color – crimson – and his favorite flower – clover.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimson_and_Clover

In any case, this has always been one of favorite songs.  As a youngster the effects are what caught my attention.  But as I grew older (I still refuse to grow up) how those effects were accomplished is what kept me listening to the track.

I will admit that all I know of Tommy James and the Shondells are their singles.  I didn’t know that the album version of tis track is two minutes longer.  I’m not surprised, it never occurred to me that there would be an album as well.  Ah, the obliviousness of youth!

This track has been covered by Prince and more famously by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.  The original reached number one on 1 February 1969, Joan’s cover made it to number 7 in 1982.  Other songs that the group gave us that made it big are “I Think We’re Alone Now” covered by Tiffany and “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol.  Both of which hit number one in November of 1987.  “Crystal Blue Persuasion” is another track I always enjoyed.  I do have a bit of a psychedelia streak in me (see here, here, here, and here). 

“Crimson and Clover” entered the U.S. charts on December 14, where it stayed for 16 weeks on Billboard Hot 100 and 15 weeks on Cash Box Top 100. Following a performance of the song on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 26, it became number one on February 1, 1969, a position held for one week on Cash Box Top 100 and two weeks on both Billboard Hot 100 and Record World 100 Top Pops. Internationally, the song reached number one in Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and Switzerland. It also charted in Austria, Brazil, France, Holland, Italy, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Despite this, the song did not chart in the United Kingdom.

Ibid

And to even out the music spectrum, they also gave us the bubblegum “Hanky Panky”.  Mother nature may abhor a straight line, but she does enjoy balance.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. I’ve got a new genealogy blog now.  The link is down below!

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Checking All The (Music) Boxes

This could go under Guitar Gods, Singer – Songwriters, or What’s Stuck In My Head.  This video checks all the good boxes on my theoretical checklists.

First, it’s one of my favorite Eric Clapton tunes that he co-wrote with Bonnie Bramlett, she being the Bonnie in Bonnie and Delany that Eric toured and recorded with.  Second, it has Peter Frampton who I’ve already featured on this here blog.  And lastly, it’s the Doobie Brothers without Michael McDonald.  I have nothing again Michael or his solo music, it’s just during his time with the Doobies, it didn’t come across right to me.  It was almost like the Doobies were his backup band.  But I do miss Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on guitar with the band.  I guess he’s too busy doing defense work now a days.

The song and its accompanying video were recorded virtually, with Frampton and every member of the Doobie Brothers contributing their parts remotely. “Let It Rain” is a perfect choice for the Doobies and Frampton, who add a little extra instrumental oomph — especially when Frampton and Tom Johnston start trading guitar solos — but otherwise remain faithful to the original’s cathartic pop-rock charms.

Johnston tells Rolling Stone how the collaboration came together, saying: “A couple of months ago, Peter and I were going over various tunes after deciding to do a song or video together. I tossed out ‘Let It Rain’ by Eric Clapton and he loved the idea. He’s a phenomenal guitarist and a fan of Clapton’s as am I, so it seemed a great idea to take to the rest of the guys. Peter, Pat, and I took verses and solos and John played some cool pedal steel and helped us put that together with Bill Payne on piano, John Cowan on bass, and Ed Toth on drums. Also Rob Arthur who did all the video work played B3. It was a team effort! We really enjoyed working together on this with Peter.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/doobie-brothers-peter-frampton-eric-clapton-let-it-rain-cover-1081180/

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Odd Thoughts

So, here’s the deal.  We have an 80-pound dog, and an 8 pound cat.  They don’t see eye to eye physically or figuratively. One thing they do have in common, is they love to lie down in the middle of the doorway or entry way all over the house.  If you try to step over them, the dog will try to stand up which makes you straddle him like riding a horse.  While the cat will freak out and run into your legs. 

Baron the dog lying on the floor.
Baron von LardAss – “I’m not blocking the walkway! Honest!”
Rashi the cat in her monorail cat pose
We call this “monorail cat”. But she does this across the doorway too.

When this happens and your foot comes in contact with the dog, you break your foot.  If your foot happens to run into the cat, you break the cat.  In either case, you’ll fall and break your hip.  Only the dog gets out of this unhurt. 


I grew up in Miami in the 60’s and 70’s.  I know hurricanes and really feel sorry for the folks in the New Orleans and Bermuda areas.  They have been getting slammed with storms this year.  Back in when we were hit with three hurricanes in six weeks.  Here in Daytona Beach area we had Charley, Frances, and Jeanne, while Ivan stayed far enough away from us, it did affect parts of the state.

But here’s what I’m seeing; “Life threatening storm surge”.  I don’t remember seeing that phrase so often in previous years.  My older brother tells me the hurricane Donna in 1960 caused a massive storm surge that flooded our yard, and we lived a good 10 miles from the coast.  I have to believe that climate change is the main reason that storms have become more frequent and stronger.

Hurricanes seem to hit so more frequently in my youth, nut not as hard.  Later, when I was grown, I always joked that if we didn’t get at least one hurricane a year we got mad because we were missing out on a hurricane party.  That’s not true of course.  Well it may be truth for some folks.

You have to understand that hurricanes are such a way life in south Florida we nicknamed the university the Hurricanes.  Their mascot is Sebastian the ibis.  Why an ibis?  Because the ibis is the last animal to leave the everglades before the storm and the first to return after the storm. 

Here’s a joke we used to say before that started using male names for storms; “Why don’t they name hurricanes after men?  Because they wouldn’t make it past the Virgin Islands!”.   Hey – it was funny when I was 10.


Genealogy isn’t rocket science.  It’s much, much harder!  I’m not necessarily saying that tongue in cheek.  Take this post from my genealogy blog.  It was so very difficult to put the dilemma in words that it may not make sense to those that do have experience in genealogy.  In short, I think I have two ladies with the same name in the wrong places. The one I have as my great grandmother may belong with the family of her cousin and vice versa.  The do have the same names and are rather close in age.  In any case, I set that problem aside and started working on Wifey’s family for a bit.


Let’s return to the cat for a moment.  For a tiny little thing, she makes one hell of a mess.  She will grab a mouthful of food then let most of it fall out of her mouth on to the floor while she chews.  She throws her head around like it’s something still alive and she has to kill it.  So know we have little kibbles all over the bathroom floor.  She also tends to splash her water out on to the floor as well.  I’m wondering if she thinks she’s a racoon and is washing her paws.  She used to splash water into her food dish and let it sit there.  Then she wouldn’t eat the mushy food.  She doesn’t like any wet food, nor will she eat any tuna, shrimp or other seafood.  She is a very weird cat.


Well, that’s all I have for now.  Here’s a semi-related video.  It’s about a dog, and it’s political.  This is election season here in the USA.  I will be so happy when all the ads stop! Thanks for reading!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 19 October

Full the for back story on this go here

But his song does pop into the ol’ brain case now and then. Back in the day I was a fan of CDB. I drifted away from his music for no particular reason, just changing tastes I guess. But this along with The Ballad of the Uneasy Rider are still on my playlist. Even if he does spell Trudie wrong (see the link above).

Charlie was a damn good musician, although his twang distracts from the vocals for me. He could play that fiddle something fierce. I have several big cowboy hats like his. Plus a really nice Stetson my late, great mother-in-law bought me in New Orleans back about 1995.

This video reminds me of The Allman Brothers so much. With the two drummers and dual lead guitars. The song itself isn’t all that complicated, but I can’t play it. I can’t grow a beard that bushy, so I don’t qualify. Guess that means ZZ Top won’t be calling anytime soon either…

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. I’ve got a new genealogy blog now.  The link is down below!

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 12 October

I know how this one got stuck.

Saturday afternoon while I was do a little genealogy this played on the Classic Vinyl station.  I am very familiar with this song, it is a George Harrison original after all, but not this version.  A quick look at the channel guide showed me it was George and his best pal Eric Clapton.  I immediately brought up YouTube to see if I could find a video.  I did find a video for the two guitar gods playing together, but it didn’t sound quite right.

On the cover I heard, the vocals were really nicely balanced.  George’s lead vocal had more presence than both the original by The Beatles and this live video I had found.  It took a few changes to my search terms, and some scrolling to find at least the proper vocal mix.  If you go to the YouTube page for this song it says it is a 2004 remix of a 1991 concert from Japan.  The bootleg concert video (here) is interesting in seeing the interplay of George with the audience at the beginning, and of course to see Eric play in his usual laid-back style.  They didn’t call him slow hand for nothing.

The album Live In Japan features this track, and Eric also preformed it at the Concert For George tribute concert to Harrison in 2002.

The video I’m using is boring, true.  But I used it because of the superior audio quality.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. I’ve got a new genealogy blog now.  The link is down below!

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Happy Birthday

Some time ago I posted about a discussion between my brother and myself about who was the greatest American songwriter.  (Part 1 of that discussion is here, and part 2 here).  To sum it up we decided on Paul Simon.  Actually, my brother told me it was Paul Simon, I was holding out for Bob Dylan.  But we both agreed that John Lennon was the greatest songwriter of our era.

Today would have been John’s 80th birthday.

Happy birthday John.

Peace,
B

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Guitar Gods – Chapter Five

Today’s featured guitarist will not be on a lot of folks’ radar, even if he did rank 28th on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time” and then 47th on the 2011 list.  Not too shabby at all.

Mr. Stills has been around a while.  While known primarily for his work with Buffalo Springfield and the Crosby, Stills and Nash (with or without Young), he was part of the house band for the New York City club Café au Go Go, known as Au Go Singers.  While the groups name leaves some to be desired, the 9-part harmony was spot on.  At least that’s what I read; I was way to young to visit.  Plus, I lived several hundred miles away.

Since Stephen was a military brat (much like my boys) he travelled quite a bit as a youngster.  He spent several years in Florida and Central America.  You can tell he must have picked up his Spanish on the street and not in a class room by his basically unintelligible Spanish ramblings at the end of the CS&N hit “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”.  Having grown up in Miami I had many native Spanish (Cuban) speaking friends.  Not a single one could figure out what he was saying.  They’d get words here and there, but nothing that really made any sense.

Stills has said that he intentionally made the final stanzas unexpected and difficult, even using a foreign language for the lyrics, “just to make sure nobody would understand it” (not even Spanish speaking people). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suite:_Judy_Blue_Eyes

As much as CS&N or CSN&Y are a mainstay of my listening habit, Stills solo work can be just as good, and at times even better.  His eponymous titled first solo album features Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, two other guitarists on this list of guitar gods.  It also had his biggest solo hit “Love The One You’re With”.  That track peak at 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.  His guitar can also be heard on Bill Withers major hit “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

I think my first remembrance of him doesn’t even feature his guitar.  It would have been with the Springfield and “For What It’s Worth”.  Neil Young played lead on that one.  I featured that song some time ago here

Stills is known for using the “Palmer modal tuning” when playing acoustic guitar.  I think I need to learn this method as he’s using it in the video below.  And this is one of his songs that I have tried to learn and could never get it even close.  I know he was using a different tuning than the standard tuning I was using, but still.  Palmer tuning has the guitar set to D A D F# A D (or E E E E B E according to some places), whereas standard tuning is E A D G B E.

Stills received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Florida in 2018.  I had heard that he was a political science student at UF but dropped out, but have not be able to verify that.

So here is Stills, solo, with 4+20.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 27 September

Today is one of those days when I have a medley of songs stuck in my head. It was a difficult choice to pick just one of the songs bouncing around inside my noggin, but I picked this one.  Not really sure why.  Ringo Starr’s Act Naturally (with Buck Owens) was also a major contender.

If I had to come up with a single reason for this song over Ringo’s it would have to be the husband and wife duo of singer-songwriters.  I guess this post could fit under that theme as well. 

Delaney & Bonnie were an American duo of singer-songwriters Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Bramlett. In 1969 and 1970, they fronted a rock/soul ensembleDelaney & Bonnie and Friends, whose members at different times included Duane AllmanGregg AllmanGeorge HarrisonLeon RussellBobby WhitlockDave MasonRita CoolidgeKing Curtis, and Eric Clapton.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaney_%26_Bonnie

What a list of backing band members!  In Eric Clapton’s autobiography, he credits the late Delaney Bramlett with scaring him to broaden his music.  Eric really only wanted to be a guitar player, but Delaney thought he should go solo and sing as well.  “If you don’t use all your talents, God will take them away” was Delaney’s warning (paraphrased as I no longer have the book to get an exact quote).

All this happened while D&B were touring with Eric’s band Blind Faith. 

On the strength of Accept No Substitute, and at his friend Harrison’s suggestion, Eric Clapton took Delaney & Bonnie and Friends on the road in mid-1969 as the opening act for his band Blind Faith. Clapton quickly became friends with Delaney, Bonnie and their band, preferring their music to Blind Faith’s. Impressed by their live performances, he would often appear on stage with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends during this period, and he continued to record and tour with them following Blind Faith’s August 1969 breakup. Clapton helped broker a new record deal for Delaney and Bonnie with his then-US label, Atco (Atlantic) Records, and performed (with Harrison, Dave Mason, and others) on Delaney and Bonnie’s third album, the live On Tour with Eric Clapton (Atco; recorded in the UK, 7 December 1969, and released in North America in March 1970). This album would be their most successful, reaching #29 on the Billboard 200, and achieving RIAA gold record status. Clapton also recruited Delaney and Bonnie and their band to back him on his debut solo album, recorded in late 1969 and early 1970 and produced by Delaney.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaney_%26_Bonnie

So, what song did I pick you may be asking yourself.

Never Ending Song of Love” is a song written by Delaney Bramlett, and, according to some sources, by his wife Bonnie Bramlett. It was originally recorded with his band, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, in 1971 on the album Motel Shot. Released as a single by Atco Records the same year, “Never Ending Song of Love” became Delaney & Bonnie’s greatest hit on the pop charts, reaching a peak of #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number eight Easy Listening. It reached #16 in Australia.

“Never Ending Song of Love” has been prominently covered several times. A cover version by The New Seekers was a major hit in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1971. It spent a few weeks at no. 2 in the UK charts and in South Africa,[4] reached no. 1 in the Irish charts, and featured on their album of the same name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Never_Ending_Song_of_Love

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. I’ve got a new genealogy blog now.  The link is down below!

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A Little Funk For Your Day

While I was out driving today, I was listening to Peter Asher’s From Me To You show on The Beatles channel (#18 on SiriusXM).  I do enjoy this show for two reasons.  Not only did Mr. Asher have a great music career as both a member of Peter and Gordon but also as a Grammy winning producer.  Not to mention that his sister Jane was a longtime girlfriend of Paul McCartney (before he was Sir Paul). This gives him inside knowledge about almost all things Beatles.

One of the cool things about his show is that he always starts off with a Peter and Gordon song that sets the theme for that particular episode.  Today’s opening song was “Nobody I Know”, which was written by Sir Paul, but credited to Lennon and McCartney. 

One of The Beatles songs featured today was “I Want to Hold your Hand”.  A monster hit in the UK.

I Want to Hold Your Hand” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and recorded on 17 October 1963, it was the first Beatles record to be made using four-track equipment.

With advance orders exceeding one million copies in the United Kingdom, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” would have gone straight to the top of the British record charts on its day of release (29 November 1963) had it not been blocked by the group’s first million-seller “She Loves You“, their previous UK single, which was having a resurgence of popularity following intense media coverage of the group. Taking two weeks to dislodge its predecessor, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” stayed at number one for five weeks and remained in the UK top 50 for 21 weeks in total.

It was also the group’s first American number-one hit, entering the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 18 January 1964 at number 45 and starting the British Invasion of the American music industry. By 1 February it topped the Hot 100, and stayed there for seven weeks before being replaced by “She Loves You”. It remained on the Billboard chart for 15 weeks. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” became the Beatles’ best-selling single worldwide selling more than 12 million copies. In 2018, Billboard magazine named it the 48th biggest hit of all time on the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, it was the second highest selling single of the 1960s, behind “She Loves You”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Want_to_Hold_Your_Hand

Now what I found amazing about this piece was a cover by none other than Al Green.  I had never heard this cover, and it quite literally blew my mind.  OK, maybe not literally, but it came close.

So without further ado, from the 2011 album “Come Together:  Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney”, here’s the Rev. Al Green with an amazingly funky “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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