Showing posts with label Eagles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eagles. Show all posts

Monday, March 02, 2020

JD Souther, hey he wrote that song...

Photo: Patrick Breen/The Republic























Well, I guess I'm standin' in a hall of broken dreams
That's the way it sometimes goes
And every new love never turns out like it seems
I guess the feelin' comes and goes

Faithless love like a river flows
Like a raindrops fallin' on a broken rose
Down in some valley where nobody goes

Faithless love has found me
Thrown its chilly arms around me
Faithless love, faithless love like a river flows
from Faithless Love, JD Souther

Many rock fans may have never heard the name John David (JD) Souther, the singer-songwriter with a fantastic singing voice matched by his mastery of lyric and rhythm in crafting haunting love songs mostly made famous by other people including, the EaglesLinda Ronstadt, and James Taylor. In relation to the Eagles and Ronstadt, Souther directly participated as a songwriter or co-songwriter of some of their biggest hits, not to mention being a close friend, confidant and essential collaborator for two of the greatest acts in rock 'n' roll history.

In 2013, Souther was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and called "a principal architect of the Southern California sound and a major influence on a generation of songwriters." Wikipedia

JD Souther was born in 1945 in Detroit, grew up in Amarillo, Texas and like so many of his contemporaries moved to Los Angeles in the 1960's.  During this time, Souther was Linda Ronstadt's boyfriend and lived with her, and was also roommates or close neighbors with Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, and Don Henley in the Hollywood hills. In 1969, Frey and Souther formed the band Longbranch Pennywhistle and released one album with the same title as both were at the forefront in creating country rock as a genre in the 1970's.

In 1972, Souther released his first solo album, John David Souther and in 1974 formed the super country rock band, Souther-Hillman-Fury Band that made two albums and broke up in 1975 as the three continued to pursue their solo careers.

JD Souther (second from left)
If you've followed the Eagles from the beginning with their first album in 1971, you've probably wondered or even wished like I did, why JD Souther was never a formal member of the band? With co-writing credits on Best of My Love, James DeanNew Kid in Town, Victim of Love, Heartache Tonight, and How Long, this guy should have been in the starting lineup. I've read that Randy Meisner the original bass player in the Eagles rejected the idea of Souther joining the group, but I think, like Jackson Browne that their solo careers were their primary focus. Also, I think Souther's life-long friendships with Henley and Frey were more important than being another chef in the Eagles kitchen.
Eagle's Desperado Back Album Cover - Photo Henry Diltz
Jackson Browne (dead guy far left)
JD Souther (dead guy far right)

I have a tendency to play- Should've Could've, but I personally think if JD Souther had been a full-time Eagle that band would have soared even higher, maybe even into the 80's? And, when Glen Frey died in 2016, I think JD should have become an Eagle and not Vince Gill. Don't get me wrong, Gill was a wonderful choice, but he is a country star and not part of the Eagles rich history like Souther. Who knows the private conversations that took place between Henley and Souther, but that's just me being a fan...

Now if you're a fan of Linda Ronstadt and who isn't, JD Souther is so much more than a former boyfriend and duet singer on some of her albums. In fact, Linda recorded ten songs by Souther, three of which are bonafide rock 'n' roll ballad classics and all-time favorites of mine- Faithless Love, Prisoner in Disguise, and Silver Blue. In this week's playlist I've included Linda's versions of these three songs with JD's stellar backup vocals on these classic tracks that never get old.

Ronstadt & Souther in the 1970's
Last Thursday, I got to see JD Souther live at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. It was a great show and I spotted Jack Tempchin (Eagles songwriter, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Already Gone) coming from backstage to sit down for the show. Souther performed solo and moved between acoustic guitar and piano to play a great setlist for the mostly boomer faithful crowd who were respectfully quiet during the songs. JD is also a great storyteller and I appreciated his setup stories between many of the songs- like the drunk Australian who was driving on the wrong side of the road and hit Souther's Lotus sports car stopped at a Stop sign. Souther had a split second to turn the car a little left so that it wasn't a straight head-on collision that probably saved his life as the fiberglass shell disintegrated around him.  He got out, staggered to a lawn as Don Henley drove up from behind a minute later. He tells Don, "Go look inside the glove box and make sure there's no cocaine," before the police showed up. There was no cocaine, but another interesting story from the high flying 1970's in the hollywood canyons.

In putting together the playlist this week, I came across an absolute gem of an album that had escaped my attention during my many years working a day job. This is Souther's 2011 album of new stripped down acoustic versions of many of his hits by to other people or his personal favorites. I've included most of the recordings in the playlist, but I highly recommend you go out and buy JD Souther Natural History immediately, it is that good my friends!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Eagles at The Fabulous Forum 9/12/18

Andy Keilen / Forum Photos
It's been 43 years since the Eagles played The Fabulous Forum for the first time. I did not see any of those famous Forum shows, but did see the band in 1979 at the Sports Arena in San Diego. Back in the day, both the Forum and the Sports Arena were designed for sporting events, not music concerts. But as rock 'n' roll acts got bigger and bigger arenas became prime locations for rock concerts. 

I saw Elton John at the Forum in 1974 and remember what many would call "the sound bounce" off the walls, but nothing was worse than the Sports Arena bounce if you were sitting up high. Speaking of high, most were, so I guess the acoustics didn't matter much but to a nerd like me.

The Sports Arena today is a tad better with probably a $1000 worth of hanging ceiling panels to baffle the sound. I did still hear the sound bounce several times at a James Taylor concert at the Sports Arena (now called the Valley View Casino Center) in 2015. James Taylor, really... Yeah James Taylor and his wall of Marshall amplifiers!

Now the Forum is a whole different story these days and truly a horse of a different color. In 2012, the Madison Square Garden Company purchased the Forum and immediately put $50 million into a complete renovation including $18 million more by the City of Inglewood. A good deal of that money went into transforming the acoustics in the building. In 2015, I saw Don Henley on his Cass County Tour, I couldn't believe the sound quality of not only the excellent band, but the building itself, it was well, fabulous!

So this past week on September 12th, we continued (my wife) Mary Kit's passion of seeing either the Eagles or Don Henley somewhere on the west coast of the United States, as much as possible. This time it was the Eagles first night stay at the Forum.

On this first night of three concerts at the Forum, Don opened the show with the announcement that their manager, Irvin Azoff would probably be making a boxed set of these shows. I'm thinking to myself, how many boxed sets can the Eagles make of their 1970's material and who's going to buy that? Well, I looked to my immediate right, and my lovely wife says to me, "Oh I'm getting that!"

Okay, if you read or watch TV you know that Glenn Frey died in 2016 and the Eagles then added Vince Gill and Glenn's son, Deacon Frey to the band. This has literally proven to be a sound move on the band's part to first- continue the legacy of Glenn through Deacon and then, bring in one of the finest singers and guitar players in Country music with Vince Gill. Both add tremendous new elements to a very familiar act and harmony of sound that has defined this band and a generation of fans. You'd think the sea of gray at the Forum was an AARP convention.

This new version of the Eagles were perfect from my old ear, and I mean perfect musically and vocally. Both the band and building made the sound magical, and this is an audience who knows every word of every song in this sing-along night with every guitar lick as clean and clear as their album recordings.

Now that brings me to Don Felder and his famous dismissal from the Eagles in 2001. Much has been made of this over the years. My idealistic hope was that after Glenn's death, maybe Don Henley would see the light like both Glenn and Don did on their 2014, History of the Eagles Tour when they invited Bernie Leadon back for that tour. I will say when I saw that that tour here in San Diego, I had tears in my eyes on that night when Bernie come on stage. Nobody even dreamed of Glenn's passing just two years later, but I was hoping against hope that bygones would some how be bygones, but that wasn't going to be. If you don't understand what I'm saying, just watch the 2013 documentary, History of the Eagles on Netflix.

Photo by Jon Gitchoff
So whatever you think of Don Felder, nobody can deny his contribution to the songs and sound of the Eagles. Today that lead guitar sound and back up vocals is filled by a very accomplished musician named Steuart Smith. Steuart replaced Don Felder in 2001 and has been with the band ever since. He is also a band member in Don Henley's band on his solo tours. In 2007, the Eagles last album of original material, Long Road out of Eden has five songs where Steuart Smith shares cowriting credits.

I thought for this post, I would be writing about Vince Gill, who was fantastic in his own right on backup vocals and guitars with also some great shining moments on several lead (Glenn) songs. I was glad they let him sing one of his solo hits, Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away. I guess if Joe Walsh gets to do his solo hits at Eagles concerts then the others can now get a solo hit into the Eagles' setlist. Hell, they even did Don's, Boys of Summer to our delight!

But for me, I kind of zeroed in on Steuart Smith as he has a unique position in the band- a first tier player on the front line, but with second citizen status as a band partner. He plays right next to Joe Walsh and shares as many lead guitar duties as Felder always did. In fact Steuart Smith had so many close up shots on the big screens behind the band simply because he's doing so much of the lead guitar playing.

I'm sorry but I was kind of appalled that he was never introduced during the evening, not even a shout-out after several great songs where he did most of the heavy guitar work. This just struck me as odd. He should have been out there with the band taking their final bow at the end of concert, especially with the future box set cameras rolling. (At a Paul Simon concert this year, Paul literally introduced every member of his large ensemble band, and that goes a long way with enduring fans.)

I'm sure Steuart Smith has no complaints, is paid extremely well, and is as happy as punch to be in the Eagles for the long run.

(And if the Eagles [=Don Henley] won't do it in their show, here's my appreciation for the man on the far right of this picture below. And to be fair to Don... here's an entertaining article of Don ejecting a concertgoer for shouting Don Felder's name while introducing Steuart Smith at a 2015 show in Detroit.)
Left, Vince Gill, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Deacon Frey, Joe Walsh and Steuart Smith @ the Forum 9/12/18
(Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

I haven't found a good Steuart Smith clip at the Forum (so far) so here's a phone video I found on YouTube from the Eagles 2017 show at Safeco Park in Seattle that Mary Kit and I attended, featuring Timothy B. Schmit and Steuart Smith on I Can't Tell You Why.



Here's a quality clip of Don and Steuart doing Boys of Summer with Don's solo band and Steuart playing the Mike Campbell guitar composition for the song.



If you get a chance, try to see a concert at The Forum, you'll have a great experience. As for the Eagles, they are still flying high with their two new band mates. Deacon Frey is not a gimmick. At 25 he has big shoes to fill and is doing a great journeymen's job. The new pairing with Vince Gill is brilliant marketing but backed with a quality of sound that is unmatched, not even by the original members of the Eagles.

I decided not to do a playlist this week because you've already have heard the Eagles tunes a million times. If you can, try to see the Eagles live (see current tour) once before they are gone as a group; it's as crisp a sound as putting on a new vinyl record of the best selling album of the 20th century, Eagles Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975).

Monday, October 02, 2017

The Classic Northwest - Eagles 9/30/17 Safeco Field




I'm writing this Sunday morning, Oct. 1 after just seeing the Eagles hours before at Safeco Field in Seattle. The show was called, The Classic Northwest with the Doobie Brothers as the opening act and lived up to the billing. I generally don't write reviews of the concerts I go to, more of an observation than critique. MK and I loved the show with a packed ballpark of fans channeling their inner 1970's. I've been to Safeco now three times (all this year), first seeing a Mariner/Yankee game, Tom Petty and now with the roof over our heads as a light rain fell (if you are from San Diego), but just a little nothing mist for the locals. 

Here is the setlist from last night and I believe the same set the Eagles played at Dodger Stadium recently. If you didn't know, since the death of Glen Frey in 2016, the Eagles have added Glen's 24 year old son, Deacon Frey to the line up along with country legend, Vince Gill. Both Vince and Deacon trade Glen's lead vocals on all the classic hits and I must say, I was blown away by both. For Vince, you would expect only the best, but he is better than that, he has totally immersed himself in team Eagles, and I don't think there is a better pick for the Eagles than Vince Gill's voice, guitar and kindness. The addition of Deacon Frey is not a gimmick, like a live cardboard cutout of Glen on stage. Deacon is the real deal, his singing is solid if not impressive, and you have to admire his ease on stage to fill the shoes of his famous dad. Deacon Frey is not going to allow himself to let anyone down.

In the Seattle Times, Don says this about Deacon, “It’s uncanny," the band’s drummer and an accomplished solo artist. “I feel Glenn’s spirit is very near. I look out from the drums to where Deacon is standing and his hair is exactly the same as his father’s was in 1976. He’s taller, but looking at him from the back there, it’s freaky.”

“It’s extraordinary the way he was able to compose himself,” Henley said. “He decided that rather than living in his father’s shadow, he would pick up the torch and carry it forward. “We are extremely proud of him, and we know his father would be.”

Don Henley gets a lot of credit for making the 2017 band everything as exceptional as the 1970's group. The hallmark of the Eagles is their country rock vocal harmony that made them one of rock 'n' roll's greatest bands. That classic tradition carried on Saturday night. The rest of the core band including,  Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit and Steuart Smith (who plays much of Don Felder's part) were outstanding, not to mention horn, rhythm and orchestral sections. The band had a rich, full sound. I last saw the Eagles on Glen's last tour, History of the Eagles in 2014 in San Diego, and this one matches that fantastic show as one of my all-time favorite concerts.

As for the playlist this week, I wasn't impressed with the distance and quality of the phone videos uploaded to YouTube (so far) from the Saturday show. I'll just leave this compilation of Glen as this wonderful band moves forward without him. Long live the Eagles!

(More photos of The Classic Northwest, here)


Monday, September 07, 2015

The songs playing in our heads this week

The past couple of days, Mary Kit has been singing,

"Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It's a girl my Lord in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin' down to take a look at me
" (from Take it Easy)...

The Eagles - Desperado.jpgSo this gets me singing in my head one of my favorite songs, actually the final medley from the Eagles 1973 album DesperadoDoolin' Daltons/Desperado (Reprise). This album came out when I was a senior in high school when themed albums were still being done by bands. If you didn't get a chance to see the History of the Eagles tour from 2013 to this past July, the band shows video of their old west shootout scenes featuring Jackson Browne and JD Souther who contributed to the concept and song writing on the album. I was especially thrilled to see Bernie Leadon join the stage with the Eagles on this tour. Glenn Frey wished Randy Meisner well and if you know anything about the Eagles recent history, Don Felder wasn't even mentioned. I do recommend seeing the documentary film, History of the Eagles (Netflix, Showtime), where you can learn many tidbits like the Felder feud and other back stories.

After the Gold Rush.jpg
Next up and in my head this past week, a couple of songs from Neil Young's 1970, After the Gold Rush. I absolutely wore this vinyl record out on my bedroom record player. It is a classic with Tell Me Why and Only Love Can Break Your Heart as two more favorites of mine since I was a sophmore in high school. I remember once writing my first girl friend a letter (whom I had broken up with as a freshman) and included the lyrics to Tell Me Why. She wrote back and said she didn't understand what the hell I was trying to say to her. Well, being a 16 year old kid, I probably didn't know what I was trying to say either. So who better for me to quote than the brilliant and often abstract Neil Young.

I'll take these three gems and include them in My 100 Songs playlist and enjoy your music Monday!




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.