Showing posts with label B.B. King. Show all posts
Showing posts with label B.B. King. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2021

Fifty Years of Music • February, 1971

Last week, I focused on the 50th anniversary of Carole King's, phenomenal album Tapestry. This week, I finish up February, 1971 with fifty songs mainly from twelve albums. Every month, I take a musical journey in the past with my '50 Years of Music' theme and I usually discover one or more albums that I paid little attention to at the time, but now think are fantastic albums. This month I found two, Crazy Horses's self-titled album, Crazy Horse, and Donovan's children double-album, HMS Donovan
Danny Whitten, Jack Nitzsche, Billy Talbot, Ralph Mollina
Crazy Horse is best known for being Neil Young's backup band. Crazy Horse originally started in 1963 as Danny and the Memories, a doo-wop group with Danny Whitten as the lead singer. The group, with its two life-long bandmates Billy Talbot on bass and Ralph Molina on drums morphed into a San Francisco band called, 'The Psyrcle' and then moved down to LA as the 'The Rockets' (a folk-rock band) in 1968. In 1969, Neil Young began to rehearse with The Rockets and liked them so much he used the band in his 1969 solo album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. It is during this time that Young himself renamed The Rockets, 'Crazy Horse' as they are given credit on the album cover, "Neil Young with Crazy Horse." In 1970, Young used Whitten, Talbot, and Mollina, including Jack Nitzsche (on piano), and Nils Lofgrin (guitars, vocals) on his solo smash hit, After The Goldrush. On After The Goldrush, Crazy Horse is not given a band credit, but it did lead to the band getting their own record deal and the release of the album Crazy Horse in 1971. The album would include Lofgrin and Nitzsche with both contributing songs to the album. Jack Nitzsche was also the album's Producer. 

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After The Gold Rush are two of my favorite albums of all-time. Why I wouldn't have dived into the first Crazy Horse album in 1971 is beyond me? The raw energy of Young's early solo albums has a lot to do with Crazy Horse's 'three chords and the truth' basic rock 'n' roll playing style that jumped right out at me 50 years later.


To answer my own question above, I came up with two main reasons. One, the album sold poorly; and two, I believe one reason the album sold poorly was because the album cover art sucks. Did the design and photograph literally have to be- a crazy horse?

I started thinking about it. In 1971, every rock 'n' roll fan was very much into the vinyl album art as most devoured the front, inside and back jacket art and liner notes on albums. I think the first album Crazy Horse cover art just scared most teens off, it puts out a very aggressive negative image, that says, "Don't touch this." I do remember seeing the album in a record shop album bin sometime in college and said to  myself, "WTF!"
What if they had simply gone with some cool graphic of Chief Crazy Horse right from the get go, like when they (probably Neil's people) started using the Crazy Horse logo shown here to the right. All I'm saying is Crazy Horse could have used some promotional artistic help after recording a very fine first album... presentation, presentation, presentation.

Sadly during this time, Danny Whitten had become a heroin addict and quickly descended into the hell that it brings. By early 1972, Talbot and Mollina had to fire their leader and main songwriter Whitten from Crazy Horse because he simply could not function to be an active member of the band and work on their second album.

In April of 1972, after receiving a call from Young to play rhythm guitar on the upcoming tour behind Young's Harvest album, Whitten showed up for rehearsals at Young's home outside San Francisco. While the rest of the group hammered out arrangements, Whitten lagged behind, figuring out the rhythm parts, though never in sync with the rest of the group. Young, who had more at stake after the success of After The Gold Rush and Harvest, fired him from the band on November 18, 1972. Young gave Whitten $50 and a plane ticket back to Los Angeles. Later that night Whitten died from ingesting a combination of diazepam, which he was taking for severe knee arthritis, and alcohol, which he was using to try to get over his heroin addictionWikipedia

Back in February of 1972, Neil Young had released the song, Needle and the Damage Done from the Harvest album, a heartfelt lament that was written directly about his friends Danny Whitten and also Bruce Berry, a roadie for Crazy Horse and CSN&Y. Whitten had in fact turned Berry on to heroin and he would also later die of an overdose in 1973.

The story of Crazy Horse continues in its many iterations, including Whitten's replacement on guitar in 1975 with Frank "Poncho" Sampedro who would become one of Neil Young's greatest compadres over the years working with and without Crazy Horse. Poncho retired from the band in 2014 and is a neighbor of Neil's in Hawaii. Since 2018, the current lineup of Crazy Horse has Nils Lofgrin on guitars who plays with them on their reunion gigs with Neil, and has been a regular member of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band since 1984. 

Long live Crazy Horse! And, rest in peace Danny Whitten, as I can hear from your five songs on this first Crazy Horse album, you were on your way and Neil Young still misses you.


The second album that caught my attention 50 years later was Donovan's HMS Donavan. It's a double album of children's songs but I looked at it as more than just that, as it connects Donovan with his Scottish roots. I was most impressed with his guitar work as I had always just thought of him as 'a strummer over a picker.' Here you get to hear Donovan's skilled finger picking on many tunes from the album. If you think of it, Donovan is the perfect children's musician with his cosmic quality to songwriting and singing that's so completely unique and makes him a beloved person around the world.

Donovan also knew something about album art.


Enjoy my friends! Stay well and mask-up, it's beginning to get better.



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Monday, October 26, 2020

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1970



B.B.King's Indianola Mississippi Seed released in October, 1970 is an outstanding album and one of my favorite album covers of all-time. The album begins with "Nobody loves me, but my mother, And she could be jivin` too." I can't remember where I first heard that lyric, but I do remember laughing out loud it was so funny! This was B.B's 18th studio album and he finally gets his mainstream attention due as Producer Bill Szymczyk decided to follow up on the success of the [1969] hit "The Thrill Is Gone" by matching King with a musical all-star cast [including Leon Russell, Carole King, Joe Walsh and Russ Kunkel]. The result was one of King's most critically acclaimed albums and one of the most highly regarded blues crossover albums of all time. Wikipedia

Bob Dylan's New Morning released in October, 1970 was purchased by my friend Bill DeVoe, who I remember invited me over to his house to listen to it. His parents had an old portable turnable with crackling speakers that gave it an older feel like you were listening to an old 78 rpm rather than a 33 1/3 LP. The record player was set up in their dining room that led right into the kitchen. I mention this because we would often make a snack of Oroweat® 'HoneyWheat Berry' toast and would wash it down with a Coke. I had many a snack and meals at that table with Bill and his parents. So my memory of listening to New Morning for the first time is fondly associated with toast, my all-time favorite morning, noon, or night snack. 
This album has the song, If Not For You that I really liked and was happily surprised when George Harrison also recorded it for All Things Must Pass, a month later. 

I was a Johnny come lately to Dylan, and was really impressed that Bill had purchased this album, and as a result started listening to him more and more. I'm kind of disappointed that Bob Dylan has only released two songs from that album on YouTube (If Not For You and The Man In Me) and found one more (Went To See The Gypsy) to include on the playlist this week. So here are the links to the album on Spotify and Amazon Music. It's really worth a complete listen, I suggest in the morning with toast, butter and apricot jam.

New Morning on Spotify

New Morning on Amazon Music

I was never a huge Led Zeppelin fan like so many of my peers, but Led Zeppelin III kind of woke me up that this band was more than just a hard rock band. The folk and blues roots really jump out here and I just loved listening to this whole album the past several weeks. I've said this many times, my blog is just an excuse for me to go back and appreciate all the albums I didn't zero in on when I was young and stupid.
This week's playlist has enough songs for several sits, walks or runs. Two weeks ago, I featured Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection (read here) and have included all the songs again here as I simply love that album! This playlist also includes an outtake that I recommend you hear. It is an early version of Mad Man Across the Water, which in 1971 we all thought was Bernie Taupin's thoughts about Richard Nixon. Bernie Taupin had this to say: Back in the seventies, when people were saying that "Madman Across the Water" was about Richard Nixon, I thought, That is genius. I could never have thought of that. (Wikipedia). I wonder if he's thinking that now about Donald Trump? This version features Mick Ronson on guitar and I think you will enjoy this one.
Also on tap are songs from Arlo Guthrie (see- Arlo Guthrie Retires From Touring: ‘It’s Time to Hang Up the Gone Fishing Sign’), Joan Baez, Genesis, Tom Rush, Don McLean, The Supremes, Tony Bennett, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Pink Floyd, Paul Siebel, The Strawbs, and Frank Zappa. 

Enjoy my friends, stay well, mask up and vote. Eat it up!



Monday, September 28, 2020

50 Years of Music • September, 1970

Repipe came in through the bathroom walls
September, 2020 finds me in my (almost) 50 year old house and she's starting to show her age. The past several months have been, "Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling" as the ol' copper pipes sounded like a jackhammer when we turned the water on. This condition in the plumbing biz is actually called, "water hammer" or as the plumber called it, "Hammer Time."

This past month has been a scene right out of Beetlejuice as the walls would rattle and the downstairs bathroom floor tiles were getting warmer and warmer. It finally dawned on me, "Dear I believe we've sprung a hot water leak underneath the concrete slab."

Well, After consulting my old buddy and contractor, Ron Zieman he guided me to go with a complete "Pex" repipe of the entire house. A repipe, cuts off the copper lines leading under the slab and are replaced with the Pex pipe rerouted within all of the walls and ceiling. Why, because you don't have to tear out the floor and slab to fix one leak, and then do it all over again somewhere else in the house and keep rolling the dice.

Anyway, the repipe and drywall jobs went great and I just have to repaint the exterior stucco by the kitchen, the kitchen, downstairs bedroom, laundry room and this downstairs bath just completed yesterday to the missus specifications.

The really cool thing now is we have new shower and bath fixtures in both bathrooms with great water pressure throughout the house, and you don't have to worry about flushing the toilet in the downstairs bathroom and scalding the person taking a shower in the upstairs bathroom anymore!

I still found time this week to musically go back in time to 1970 where 'they' came up with the brilliant idea to put the plumbing system underneath the concrete foundation.

Music wise September, 1970 was a great month with releases from: The Byrds, The Rolling Stones (Live also featuring B.B. King and Ike and Tina Turner), Billy Preston, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, The Allman Brothers Band, Seals and Crofts, Jesus Christ Superstar, Glen Campbell, Santana, Johnny Winter, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and James Brown.

So, I now got a new playlist to whistle while I work. Enjoy my friends, register to VOTE, and stay well.


Monday, December 04, 2017

Christmas Mix 2017

Christmas Mix:  2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020


Update Monday, December 18, 2017
Ok, last call on this blog, I've added a few more songs. Bill, you now have 46 songs and comedy bits for your office building party! The Hope and Music fund is now at $2,105 as of this morning!

Update Monday, December 11, 2017
I got busy over the weekend and upgraded the blog with a new and cleaner look! I also added some new songs and comedy bits to this post that I think you will enjoy. I will continue to add more videos up until Christmas so keep checking back to the playlist. Also, I included my Youtube Christmas mixes from years past to play at your office party or just around the house.

Note - Bob Caligiuri's Hope and Music fund is now at $1,755 as of this morning! Yippee, more music instruments for the children of Aquila, Mexico!
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I want to thank the people who read my Monday Monday Music blog this year as many of you continue to give me positive feedback to keep this little blog going (most) every Monday!

Before I get to my Christmas Mix playlist this year, I would like to revisit my blog from two weeks ago, Hope and Music for the Children of Aquila. As of this writing, it is my most successful blog to date with close to 200 hits. More importantly, I'm hoping in a very small way to help my friend Bob Caligiuri reach his goal of creating a youth center filled with musical instruments and music lessons for the children of Aquila, Mexico.

It is my Christmas wish that you visit his GoFundMe page @
Hope & Music for Children of Aquila and pledge a donation of $10 to help Bob get over the $1,000 mark of his goal for $18,600. Bob leaves for his third trip down to Aquila in mid-December through Christmas. Bob's a damn skinny Santa, but every bit will help as he goes down with his fat Santa bag of musical instruments!

Now on to this year's (and third annual) Christmas mix. My current favorite singer-songwriter is Texas born, Kacey Musgraves. I'll be writing a blog on her soon as I continue to discover her song catalogue on Amazon and videos on YouTube. I would love to see her live, so if you all hear anything on a Southern California stop on tour, let me know. Anyway, I somehow missed her Christmas album last year, A Very Kacey Christmas, but this year it's front and center on my 2017 Christmas mix.

I'm sure I'm repeating myself from year one or two about being so damned tired of hearing the same 1940's - 1960's traditional Christmas recordings.  Not that I'm above a new take on a traditional Christmas song (as there's several here) but please a little more variety. My local UPS clerk, Patrick was telling me how the traditional Christmas loop tape in his branch store was sheer torture. I think Bing's White Christmas was playing through the ceiling speakers during my package drop-off, but kind of like having to listen to Hotel California on classic radio, or even John and Yoko's Happy Xmas (War is Over) for the millionth time. (Too soon? and really, Yoko on the chorus, yes my friends and I still haven't gotten over it.)

So here's my latest mix, again heavy in the Americana genre, but that's how I holly jolly roll these days. I wish you all a Merry Merry Christmas (and no Donald, I'm not saying that because of you)!


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,

Buddy”


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.