Music

Singer-Songwriters – Chapter One

Before we begin this series, I need your input; what exactly (in your most humble opinion), is a “Singer – Songwriter”?  Does one have to be a solo act, or are band members in amongst this talented group?

Case in point – Paul Simon (you can read my thoughts on Paul here).  He is most definitely a singer – songwriter, but does he qualify for his solo work only, or does his work recorded under the Simon and Garfinkle duo count as well?  The same could be asked of any of The Beatles or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

As per my usual, I asked my brother his thoughts.  He says, and I tend to agree with him, that anyone that has written the song that they’re singing qualifies. In that way, any of the gentlemen in The Beatles or CSN&Y qualify.  For the most part, I will limit myself to solo artists for now, with some exceptions such as Mr. Simon and maybe a few others.

So, I ask you, dear reader, to leave a comment with your thoughts.  I won’t guarantee I’ll take your advice, but let your vote be counted anyway.  Also, please let me know any folks you would think qualify for this list (or any other of my series).  As with my other list, Guitar Gods (in the process of being expanded to Guitar Gods & Wizards), this list is in my head only.  As such names are likely to be forgotten (hey – I’m old!) and a reminder now and then would be helpful.

One last note on suggestions.  Please leave all comments here on the blog.  Anything placed on the various social media sites are not likely to be seen quickly.  I have become very scarce on most social media, and Facebook particularly.  Now, on with our first of the “Singer – Songwriters”.


Carole King Klein (born Carol Joan Klein; February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making her the most successful female songwriter on the UK singles charts between 1962 and 2005.

King’s major success began in the 1960s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King’s success as a performer in her own right did not come until the 1970s, when she sang her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. After experiencing commercial disappointment with her debut album Writer, King scored her breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years.

King has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being Tapestry, which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.

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

As most young kids of the time, my musical introduction to her was the Tapestry album.  I bought a pirated 8-track (told you I was old!) at a flea market, and promptly wore it out.  I was lucky enough to see Ms. King live on Halloween night, 1975.  It was a David Crosby and Graham Nash concert and she joined them for a couple of songs.  It was spectacular. 

As the quote above mentions, along with her then husband she wrote so many songs that other artists recorded.  I remember how surprised I was when I learned that they wrote “The Loco Motion”.  As far as I was concerned that was a Grand Funk Railroad tune, not to mention the Herman’s Hermits hit “I’m Into Something Good” or Aretha Franklin’s monster hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”. I could go on and on.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Guitar Gods – Chapter Three

For us music geeks the sad news this weekend that Peter Green had passed away came as a real blow.  May folks may not know who he was, so here’s a quick recap.  He was the guy that replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.  Still not ringing a bell?  He was a founding member of Fleetwood  Mac.  Surely, you’ve heard of that band!

Of course, the version of Fleetwood mac you probably recognize is not the original group.  Seems that back in 1966 (I won’t mention who young I was) Peter left the Bluesbreakers taking drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, who had only been with the Bluesbreakers for a few weeks to start Fleetwood Mac as a blues band.  Fleetwood Mac didn’t really become the commercial juggernaut of rock/pop fame until Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham came along a bit later.

Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum; 29 October 1946 – 25 July 2020) was an English blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. As the founder of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Green’s songs, such as “Albatross“, “Black Magic Woman“, “Oh Well“, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” and “Man of the World“, appeared on singles charts, and several have been adapted by a variety of musicians.

Green was a major figure in the “second great epoch” of the British blues movement. B.B. King commented, “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” Eric Clapton praised his guitar playing; he was interested in expressing emotion in his songs, rather than showing off how fast he could play[8] and used string bendingvibrato, and economy of style.

Rolling Stone ranked Green at number 58 in its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. His tone on the instrumental “The Super-Natural” was rated as one of the 50 greatest of all time by Guitar Player. In June 1996, Green was voted the third-best guitarist of all time in Mojo magazine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Green_(musician)

Peter was featured on the Bluesbreakers album A Hard Road in 1967 with two of his songs making the album.  One of which is featured below.  I have also featured one of my favorites of his originals here.

It seems that Peter may have really messed his head up with a bad acid trip in March 1970 while in Munich.  Most reports say this was the beginning of his mental illness issues.  He did spend time getting treatment and managed to get back to playing about 1979.

In 1988 Green was quoted as saying: “I’m at present recuperating from treatment for taking drugs. It was drugs that influenced me a lot.  I took more than I intended to. I took LSD eight or nine times. The effect of that stuff lasts so long … I wanted to give away all my money … I went kind of holy – no, not holy, religious.  I thought I could do it, I thought I was all right on drugs.  My failing!”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Green_(musician)

He was 73 when he died in his sleep on the 25th of July, 2020.  He will be missed.

Peace,
B

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Guitar Gods – Chapter Two

Today is a 3 for 1 blue light special!

No, I’m not trying to get through my list quick.  I thought it would be cool to combine several of the gods in one post.  There is an exceptionally good chance that all these gentlemen will appear here again.

This is a song written by George Harrison, and the lead guitar on the original recording (on The Beatles AKA “The White Album”) is played by Eric Clapton, and here is Peter Frampton doing it live.  I also saw covers by lots of other guitar wizards, but I went with this one mainly because as I was starting this post, as only a 2 for 1, with George and Eric. Then I heard Peter’s cover playing on the radio.  So, I changed the video and went with this one.

As I mentioned this was originally on the White Album; 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”). It was written by George Harrison, the band’s lead guitarist. The song serves as a comment on the disharmony within the Beatles following their return from studying Transcendental Meditation in India in early 1968. This lack of camaraderie was reflected in the band’s initial apathy towards the composition, which Harrison countered by inviting his friend and occasional collaborator, Eric Clapton, to contribute to the recording. Clapton overdubbed a lead guitar part, although he was not formally credited for his contribution.

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

I have featured this song here and here.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Guitar Gods – Chapter One

So…  Happy anniversary to me!  Today marks the 3rd anniversary of this here silly assed blog, AND the 12th anniversary of me on Twitter, which is even more silly assed!  So, I got that going for me.

But of course, that’s not what I came here to tell you about (been a while since I’ve used that line and thank you Mr. Guthrie).

For those of you that have been paying attention you may have noticed my every now and then mentioning a certain list of guitar gods.  On this most auspicious day (see paragraph one above) I feel it’s time to start honoring those gods (and goddesses).  As a reminder, this list has not been written down, it’s all in “me ‘ead”.  As such, it is a very fluid list.  Any ranking on said list is purely whimsical and is subject to change depending on my mood and/or alcohol consumption.

For those that know me best the artist I’m using to start this series off may come as a surprise.  Those that have been reading this blog (and thanks to each and every one of you) know that my “top three” guitar gods, both chronologically and favoritism are Mike Nesmith, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton.  I have featured each of those artists many times, so I went with someone else this time.

I guess it’s not all that surprising that my favorite songs by this gentleman are instrumental. After all, Carlos Santana doesn’t sing on his recordings. He is first and foremost a guitarist.  I can’t say for sure, but I would think the name Santana, as a band, first hit me with Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen. After all the AM radio stations didn’t play tracks like Soul Sacrifice it just wasn’t radio friendly. Along with the aforementioned Soul Sacrifice, the other great instrumentals I can dig are Samba Pa Ti and Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile).  

I remember the first time I heard Europa. When that track hit the stylus on my turntable everything else stopped. The sustain Carlos gets out of his guitar then followed by the machine gun like riffs just blew me away.

To see a young Carlos and band, check out the footage from Woodstock.  Rumor has it that Carlos was tripping on LSD while on stage.  Their set was delayed by a rain storm and Carlos was hanging out with Jerry Garcia (he of course is on the list as well) in the artist trailer and well, you can imagine what happened.

Major rock music promoter Bill Graham, a Latin Music aficionado who had been a fan of Santana from its inception, arranged for the band to appear at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival before its debut album was even released. Its set was one of the surprises of the festival, highlighted by an eleven-minute performance of a throbbing instrumental, “Soul Sacrifice”. Its inclusion in the Woodstock film and soundtrack album vastly increased the band’s popularity.

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

Here is a live video with two my favorite instrumentals.  Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 16 June

Coronavirus Edition Part 7

Before I get into the music, let’s do a quick catch-up since it’s been awhile since my last post.

Wifey starts her new job today.  She was laid off due to the coronavirus on St. Patrick’s Day (17 March for those that don’t have a calendar handy). She’s back in a law office, which is what she was doing for the last 5 years or so.  And trying to claim unemployment here in #Floriduh has been a pain.  But we made it work (again).

Obviously, I made it through the cardiac ablation fine.  I haven’t had a follow up with the cardiologist that did the procedure yet, but I did have a follow up with my regular cardiologist and have a tele-medicine call with my family doctor tomorrow. No big warning signs have popped up, although my blood glucose is trending a bit high as well as my blood pressure.  I’m blaming the blood pressure on the fact that I have had the anti-arrhythmia drugs stopped.  Plus the fact that I am more than a bit overweight, which adds to both the blood pressure and glucose issues.  Neither of the “problems” are serious at this time.  Wifey and I are trying to maintain a better diet and now that my heart is beating normal again, we have restarted our walking in the mornings.  The biggest issue I have from the procedure is the itching from where they shaved my groin for all the catheters they used.  By my count I had one catheter in my right femoral vein, four in my left femoral vein and one in the left femoral artery.  Even though I had stopped the Eliquis (blood thinner) two days prior to the procedure, I still bruised badly.

Other good news is that son-the-younger also has found a new job, and son-the-elder has finally made it back stateside from his Europe deployment, but back home quite yet.

Now, on to the music.

I have no clue why this is stuck in my head.  I am not that big of fan of Mr. Springsteen.  It is notable that the line “Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk” is what keeps repeating.  Realizing of course, that “talk” rhymes with “walk”, I’m more used to hearing that guitarists strive to make their instruments “sing”.  But then again, Bruce doesn’t really sing all the well either.  Not that I do any better, but still.  In retrospect, it’s no worse that Eric Clapton and George Harrison using the line “Then I told ‘bout our kid / Now he’s married to Mabel”.  Mabel rhymes with “table” the last word of the previous verse.  Artistic license as it best/worst?

I picked this version of the song simply because of Melissa Etheridge.  I had a cassette tape of her first album when I was stationed in Korea.  I wore that tape out.  I love her voice!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. I had blood work done yesterday and I just got the results. My glucose is firmly in the normal area. So disregard the above!

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 26 April

Coronavirus Edition Part 6

Not too long ago (I can’t really remember exactly when – the days here in self-isolation just blend together), I watched the ZZ Top documentary on Netflix.  A very enjoyable show it was.  It gives a good background on how they got started and had bit and pieces of lots of their music scattered throughout the show, as well as the band playing live.

One line that stuck with me, but I can’t remember who said it (not a band member), was “ZZ Top took the blues and turned it into party music”.  That’s a very true statement.  It goes right along with front man Billy F. Gibbons’ reply when asked why fans still come to see them play live; (paraphrasing here) “I don’t know.  We’re just the same three guys playing the same three chords”. 

I hope they keep those same I-VI-V chords going!

This song has been stuck in my head off and on since I watched that show.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 24 April

Coronavirus Edition Part 5

So just yesterday, or maybe the day before, or was it last week, son-the-younger hit me up with one of his questions. It was a very good question. 

Would Jimi Hendrix be just as famous if he had had a lead singer?”

In my (not so humble) opinion, no he would not have been as famous.  Generally speaking only the front man of the band get’s the headlines. Without “googling” it, name the lead guitar player for The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, or The Animals.  See?  Not that easy.  (Robby Krieger (The Doors), Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), and The Animals was a trick question, they had more guitarists wander in and out you’d have to read the Wikipedia page for all the names).

Not that Jimi didn’t deserve his fame.  He was a brilliant musician, and is a member of my “Guitar Gods” list (I really, really need to actually put that list in writing).  My thought was since he died so young (a founding member of the 27 Club), he would not have had enough time to get out of the shadow of a really good front man.  Of course, we’ll never know.  Feel free to leave your response to the question as a comment!

Before you go thinking that this is a Hendrix post, read on.

The next (semi) logical step in our conversation was who else fit in this category.  We threw lots of names around.  Naturally, the whole discussion started looking for a rabbit hole.  As we were on our second Tequila drink (not sure exactly what we were drinking, something from son-the-younger’s warped mind) it didn’t take long to find said rabbit hole. 

We ended up discussing front men that really couldn’t sing.  Sometime during the course of the back and forth of throwing out names and laughing, I mentioned Roger McGuinn.  Since Earth Day and Arbor Day is right around now, this song has been getting a bit more airplay.  And when I played it for the boy, he had never heard it.  But we both agreed that Roger is not a singer.  A great song writer and guitar player, but we’ll leave it at that.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 18 April

Coronavirus Edition Part 4

Reading the news now-a-days makes it seem like we are living in a world without love.  This enforced isolation/quarantine is definitely messing with people’s heads. I have not seen any weird, outrageous, or cruel acts here in #Floriduh, which is surprising when you consider how moronic our “governor” is.  I won’t go into that here; I don’t want to spoil my good mood.

How are you dealing with all this time stuck somewhere?  For those that know me, it’s not surprising that for me it’s food and booze.  Son-the-younger and his girls are doing their best to cook up new things for us.  Of course, they’re focusing on the sweets, which I don’t eat too much.

My problem is different.  There are not enough salty snacks in the house.  My cardiologist may think that’s a good thing, but he is dead wrong.

But, our little pation garden is doing well. So we have that going for us!

Here’s one of only two songs credited to Lennon & McCartney to reach number one that are not Beatles recordings.  The other is Elton John’s cover of Lucy In The Sky.

Peter (of Peter and Gordon) and Paul McCartney are childhood friends.  And Paul was engaged to Peter’s sister, Jane. Of course, when Jane walked in on Paul in bed with another woman, the engagement was terminated.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 12 April

Coronavirus Edition Part 3

Here’s one you may not know. I had mostly forgotten about it until Alton Brown mentioned it on an episode of his YouTube show Quarantine Quitchen. I immediately went to find a video of it.

Sadly this single didn’t chart, but it was the “B” side to Run Straight Down which made it to #30 in 1989. The late Mr. Zevon is not on my “Guitar God” list. I guess I’ll have make another list for him. Yeah, he’ll rank very high on my singer/songwriter list.

I picked this video because it also has Neil Young who played on the original, and it’s live!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 10 April

Coronavirus Edition Part 2

I had to do the grocery shopping the other day. We’re doing our best to not go too often, but as I’ve mentioned before the shelves are so low of everything it requires multiple trips over several days to get everything we need. I have gone from having to feed just me and Wifey (with son-the-younger on his days off) to feeding all three of us plus the wee bonnie lasses. From two to five mouths.

While our liquor store will deliver to us, the grocery store we prefer does not offer delivery nor pickup.  So, one of us has to go shopping.

And that leads me to today’s song.  Most folks that were shopping along with me were very good about maintaining that social distance.  But not all.

I think Sting says it best.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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