Monday, May 25, 2015

David Letterman and Paul Shaffer's late-night musical magic

This past week David Letterman finished a 33 year run with 6,028 shows on late-night television at NBC and CBS. This is truly a phenomenal feat of talent and stamina.  Letterman did this all the while with his musical director Paul Shaffer at his side. The trust and bond between these two men have provided the public with a treasure trove of memorable moments through the daily preparation and collaboration of Letterman and Shaffer. I don't think David Letterman would have done 33 years unless he had Paul Shaffer and the band to help deliver the show night in and night out. I'm sure that like Dave, Paul was not feeling it every night, but you would never know. Shaffer's passion and professionalism always shined through and made the Late Show with David Letterman the place to showcase almost every genre of music. From an eclectic selection of musical guests, including famous musicians who just wanted to play the night in Paul's band, we all got treated to music not always heard on mainstream television. America doesn't often play Americana music on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, but Dave did. Letterman's move to CBS ultimately didn't win the TV ratings war with Leno's and Fallon's The Tonight Show, but he won the hearts of a nation with his unique combination of angst and love. And, Dave loved the music.

With a show of this magnitude and duration, there is no way to capture the thousands of musical guests who created magic on Letterman's shows. This magic was especially preserved in the musical performances in the Ed Sullivan Theater once HD television enhanced the sight and sound of live music. Listen to the more recent recordings and you'll hear the theater's acoustics in the performances. We now have thousands of those moments to enjoy on the Internet and I had quite a task this week to screen a 100 or so videos. I selected 33 choice cuts for your pleasure and hope you enjoy my YouTube Playlist this week.

Dave and Paul, thanks for the memories and 33 years of wonderful music.

I have to end with David Letterman's first guest in 1982 and his last non-musical guest, Bill Murray. Bill takes to the streets and leads a classic Lennonesque chant with the crowd outside the studio,
"All we are saying, is more Worldwide Pants." 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lucille, the thrill is gone but not forgotten

This past Thursday, Riley B. King passed away at 89 in his home in Las Vegas. We all know him as B.B. King, the most influential Blues guitarist of all time. As Rock 'n' Roll was birthed from the Blues, B.B. is simply King of the Blues and the master of the solo to all the younger electric guitarists coming up in the 60's. B.B. King thrilled these young players as they emulated his style and in turn, these great players thrilled us beyond imagination.

Here is Buddy Guy's statement.

“This morning, I come to you all with a heavy heart. BB King was the greatest guy I ever met. The tone he got out of that guitar, the way he shook his left wrist, the way he squeezed the strings… man, he came out with that and it was all new to the whole guitar playin’ world. He could play so smooth, he didn’t have to put on a show. The way BB did it is the way we all do it now. He was my best friend and father to us all.

I’ll miss you, B. I love you and I promise I will keep these damn Blues alive. Rest well.

All my love,


Here is Eric Clapton's video message on the passing of his mentor and friend. 

B.B. King was a wonderful person and will be remembered not only for his great guitar playing and singing of the Blues, but also as a kind soul who opened up his heart to people and taught us how to share our talent with each other.

I must have played more than 50 videos on YouTube this past week putting together this playlist. I narrowed it down to 10 for your pleasure. Ladies and Gentlemen, the King of the Blues.

Monday, May 11, 2015

As time goes by Harry Nilsson, you hold up

Who is harry nilsson.jpgInto the late 1960's, pop and rock 'n' roll stars just couldn't sing other people's songs. Yes, all the greats still covered other artist's songs but it was a new day and the up and coming stars were both singers and songwriters. Harry Nilsson was one of the best. He could cover a tune as most of us first heard him on the radio in 1969 with the hit song, Everybody's Talkin' from the movie, Midnight Cowboy. Harry could also write songs with a range that put him in a very elite group of singer-songwriters by the early 1970's. But my god, the voice, this guy could sing as well as Bennett and Sinatra not only on ballads but rock 'n' roll tunes too.

If you haven't seen the documentary, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? Check it out on Netflix.

Harry Nilsson is one of my all-time favorites and his voice and songs simply hold the test of time. Enjoy my little YouTube Harry Nilsson Playlist here.

p.s. Blog update - With the demise of Grooveshark, I learned this past week how to make Playlists in YouTube. I played with Spotify and Amazon Prime music but for finding and creating playlists, YouTube is probably the best way to go.  YouTube has a treasure search of playing free music, not to mention making playlists on your Youtube Channel. With YouTube, I can also play my free playlists on my smartphone as well as share and embed them, like my blog here. Oh, and don't forget to put the lime in the coconut.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Riding with lady luck

Last week a couple of things happened that inspired this post. First off, Grooveshark was fatally speared as the sea of lawsuits by the BIG recording companies finally brought them down. And down they went, not to mention their parental scolding inspired apology statement on their former website. You could almost feel the tears - Please Please don't put us in jail! Kind of makes me think this will truly be the last (company-based) mp3 pirate of the free Internet. Almost makes you want to reminisce over the wild west days of Napster and Limewire. Anyway in 2011, Grooveshark was a free and subscription music service on the Internet and it got me actively back into listening to music from the 60's and 70's. I tried free Internet radio and playing with streaming services like Spotify,but nobody beat Grooveshark for having rare older songs and also the ability to customize free streaming playlists for both my computers and smartphone. But as it sometimes goes with free apps, here today and gone tomorrow. Hey, but I'll be on the search and will report back once I find a (probably fee-based) music service with customized playlists to share. In the meantime, I'll happily embed here with the deep pockets of Google's YouTube to share 40+ year old songs with you.

That brings me to my musical selection as business took me to Bakersfield this past week. From San Diego, one takes the I 5 north through LA, over the Grapevine, to Highway 99 and into Bakersfield. The whole trip was freeway, cars and trucks and it made me instantly think of the Tom Waits song, Ol' '55, covered by the Eagles on their 1974 record, On the Border. Well I was driving with my true lady luck, Mary Kit, as we must have passed a thousand trucks in the blazing heat . It's not like we were roughing it like in the old days, going over the Grapevine in a car with no AC, it's 95 degrees with the windows rolled down, and you're praying the radiator doesn't blow. Kind of decedent of me to admit having a Honda CRV with the AC on and the heated leather lumbar seats on to keep my old back loose on the trip, just talking with my lady.

Well here's the great song,  Ol' '55. I'll say bye-bye to the audio link in Grooveshark as this is now shared to you courtesy of YouTube.

This song goes out to the boomer's as they know the experience of being inside a 1955 car on the roadways. No need to buckle up.