Music

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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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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Guitar Gods – Chapter Four

Last night my dear older brother (whose birthday was Friday – so Happy Birthday again), texted me to go to you tube to listen to Europa by Santana.  He was impressed by the bass line.  Realizing that he was an amazing bass player in his day, but I wonder how he could avoid the absolute genesis of Carlos Santana.  I have written about this particular track some time ago, in Guitar Gods – Chapter One, so I guess it slipped his mind that I knew the song.

Over the course of the two hours or so we went back and forth via text (well I went on for two hours, he gave up about 90 minutes in) we talked many guitarists from Santana, where we started, to David Gilmore, Mark Knopfler, and Stephen Stills.  But these guys didn’t come up once until I stumbled on the video below.

Stevie Ray Vaughn is way up there on my guitar gods list.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, son-the-younger was almost named for him.   Albert King, on the other hand, was not on the list.  But he is now.  I knew of Mr. King from the blues channels on Sirius.  But I thought he was, as a guitar player, of the B.B. King and Muddy Waters style.  By that I mean he would play little licks only when not singing.  Both King and Waters are amazing blues artists, but I find their guitar work not as strong as King’s.  Maybe I just haven’t seen the proper videos.  Leave a comment directing me to watch something to educate me. 

This is from a 1983 In Session recording.

In Session is a blues album by Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan recorded live for television on December 6, 1983, at CHCH-TV studios in Hamilton, OntarioCanada, when Vaughan was 29 and King was 60. It was released as an album on August 17, 1999 and re-released with a supplemental video recording on DVD on September 28, 2010.  It has also been released on CD and SACD.

It was the first of two collaborations captured for television, the second being as invited guests on a show led by B.B. King in 1987. It was recorded for one of a series of live television sessions recording the performances of various artists. The show was called In Session.  The album includes a few short segments of the banter by King and Vaughan between songs.

Initially, King was not going to do the show as he did not know who Vaughan was.  He did not realize that Vaughan was actually ‘little Stevie’, the ‘skinny kid’ that he let sit in when King played in Texas.  King talks about this on one of the conversation tracks.  When he realized who Vaughan was, he agreed to play.

The album’s material is mostly King’s concert line up, with one Vaughan cut, “Pride and Joy” on the audio CD (the DVD also features Vaughan’s “Texas Flood”).  King is ‘driving’ the session, but he features Vaughan’s guitar extensively on most of the songs. According to the introductory credits on the DVD, a number of the tunes are included there for the first time, having been omitted from the original TV broadcast for reasons of time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Session_(Albert_King_and_Stevie_Ray_Vaughan_album)

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 7 August

Taking a break from the genealogy today.  I did set up a couple of test family trees for the two matches I mentioned yesterday, but that’s it.  Not going to stress over finding long lost cousins right now.

Today’s stuck song features two gentlemen that are on some of my other lists.  Walter Becker is on the Guitar Gods and Wizards list, and Donald Fagen in also on the Singer – Songwriter list.  But this song is not what I had in mind when I will feature each of them later.  This is a Steely Dan song.  Donald and Walter will show up later.

Steely Dan is an American rock and jazz fusion band founded in 1972 by core members Walter Becker (guitars, bass, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals). Blending elements of rock, jazzlatin musicR&Bblues and sophisticated studio production with cryptic and ironic lyrics, the band enjoyed critical and commercial success starting from the early 1970s until breaking up in 1981. Initially the band had a core lineup, but in 1974, Becker and Fagen retired the band from live performances altogether to become a studio-only band, opting to record with a revolving cast of session musiciansRolling Stone has called them “the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies”.

After the group disbanded in 1981, Becker and Fagen were less active throughout most of the next decade, though a cult followingremained devoted to the group. Since reuniting in 1993, Steely Dan has toured steadily and released two albums of new material, the first of which, Two Against Nature, earned a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. They have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. VH1 ranked Steely Dan at #82 on their list of the 100 greatest musical artists of all time. Founding member Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017, leaving Fagen as the sole official member.

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

I have mentioned “The Dan” in an earlier blog post.  Well, at least I thought I did.  I can’t seem to find it now. So, I guess I’ll have to retell the story.  It’s not too long but go get an adult beverage if you’d like.

I was about 13 years old just throwing a football around with a neighbor.  He was older than I, about my brother’s age maybe even a few years older.  As we were playing catch, we were talking music.  Yes, even at an early age I was trying to learn about the music I was listening to on the radio, and from the albums I was “borrowing” from my older siblings.

When we got around to talking about The Beatles (they had broken up by this time) Ol’ Tommy told me that Steely Dan would be the “next Beatles”.  They may not have made it quite that big, but they did have a very loyal following.  This was about the time that “Reelin’ In The Years” was out so I knew the band. I did my best from then to get every album of theirs I could find.  I still have them.  Somewhere…

“Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” must be their biggest hit, but it’s not my favorite.  For whatever reason “Kid Charlemagne” takes that title.  But that’s not the song that’s stuck in my head.  This one is.

Oh, I think I scared off the every Friday vistor. I have seen him/her since I mentioned it. Too bad!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Storm (?) Followup

It now looks like my weather predictions weren’t all that far off.  Here, locally, this has been a non-event.  We may have received a grand total of 7 minutes of rain since Saturday morning.  Wind conditions are at worst, breezy.  There were a few gusts yesterday evening and overnight, but not ‘tis nothing.

My tweet from yesterday evening. Just before the one rain band we had hit.

I’m not trying to downplay this, or any storm.  Growing up in South Florida in the 60’s and 70’s, I know how devastating hurricanes can be.  I count myself as lucky that we missed this one.  It was a Cat1 as it approached, but then dropped down to a strong tropical storm the closer it came to us.  As the graphic below shows, wind speed at 0800 (8 AM) was still sustained at 70 MPH.  That’s just 5 MPH below a Cat1 hurricane.  And we are still under a tropical storm warning since the winds can wrap around the back of the storm and still affect us.

The track as of 0800, Monday 3 August.

Guess today will be spent moving everything back into the yard that we brought in.  Guess there’s worse things we could be doing.


Not much else going on today, so here’s a somewhat relevant video. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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