Showing posts with label Neil Young. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neil Young. Show all posts

Monday, June 06, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 12

A complete rust bucket by 2025? That's my prediction of this metal bucket turned flower pot purchased a couple of years ago at Ross Dress For Less on the senior 10% off Tuesday. I'm always on the hunt for Mexican clay pots or metal containers that I can stick my succulents in. 

Now let me tell you straight up, I don't know squat about succulents. I don't know know their names, I don't know what this one's name is, I'll call it, "Not Dead Yet" succulent.  All I know is that if it has a thick rubbery petal, it's a succulent. All I have to do is snap off a limb from a larger plant (thanks mom) and stick it in some kind of pot with planting soil, and I'm good to go. People ask me what I do to have such green plants? um.... "I send them positive vibes." I was going to say, "I pray with them" but the proof-reader in me said, "Maybe just try not to piss off anybody in authority this week."

Now the impending rust bucket is a daily visual reminder for me to stay sharp, keep moving, and to do a little more in life, than "just add water," as you can see what it's done for this bucket, just sitting around. Hey, I even drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom of this bucket for drainage and all. The gratitude of such objects, probably is going to start calling itself, "shabby chic" any day now. (Is he going to talk about music at some point here?)

So I bumped into Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps (1979) (from Youtube's AI watch over me) the other day, and I thought I'd marry my succulent bucket with Neil's sentiment to keep moving forward... like ride your bike or you're going to freeze up the gears and chain, something like that. (Can you believe he's not going to talk about the song, 'My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)' and Kurt Cobain and everything about better to be this than that? I tell ya, he's no Robert Hilburn. I just checked the playlist and it's not there either.)

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below. https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE7OYmYUxGQdvT4LIATgjm3Cx4559Xzjj&feature=share

Monday, February 21, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • February, 1972

 
February 1972 , I get down to the record shop to promptly purchase Neil Young's new album Harvest. It's got a great album graphic but I'll never forget the tactile textural feel of the recycled paper cover. Vinyl albums for me in the 1970's sometimes became a total sensory experience. Now in my opinion Harvest is a really good album, but not as great as his previous album in 1971, After The Gold Rush. Harvest would become the best selling album of 1972. 

The success of Harvest scares Neil, he's become too mainstream, too popular and promptly retreats into making non-commercial albums for many years thereafter.

Sometime in 1972, I visit my friend Paul Hobbs as he wants me to listen to Todd Rundgren's new double album, Something/Anything? We both love it! In 2003, the album was ranked number 173 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The success of Something / Anything? apparently scares Todd too. He's become too mainstream, too popular and promptly retreats into making non-commercial albums for many years thereafter.

What the f***?

Paul, I guess we were just two young and stupid consumer capitalists feeding the corporate record gods. Geez and 1972 was a good music year too... but not as great as 1971...
•••••••••••

1972 is a continuation from the late 60's of all these wonderful bands just falling apart and members making solo albums or forming new splinter bands. This past week, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Hot Tuna, the break-off project of Jefferson Airplane's members Jorma Kaukonen (guitarist/vocals) and Jack Casady (bassist). I also enjoyed Traffic's Dave Mason and Jim Capaldi's solo albums. But that lead me down the path of 'what if' these bands had just stayed together and made better albums together with their mothership bands. I guess it was just 'too soon' at the time with my break-up traumas of The Beatles and CSNY. Hell, I still haven't gotten over that, not to mention the late 60's break-ups of Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, and The Mamas & The Papas.

•••••••••••

Speaking of  The Beatles and 1972, let's finish this installment with my recommendation to watch Good Ol' Freda. (Here is the link on Amazon Prime.) This is a 2013 documentary about The Beatles secretary, Freda Kelly hired by Brian Epstein when she was only 17 years old. She was also the The Beatles fan club president and worked for them from 1962-1972. I came upon it the other night and thought it was fantastic.

Enjoy the playlist my friends!

Monday, March 08, 2021

Fifty Years of Music • Live at Massey Hall 1971

Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 is my favorite live album of all-time.
@ Amazon
It was recorded January 19, 1971 and circulated for years as a bootleg before Neil officially released it March 13, 2007. Now I'm a couple months late in getting this post out, but it's timely because Mr. Young has a wonderful surprise for his fans and a birthday present for me coming up on March 26th.

On that date, he is going to release Young Shakespeare, a live concert album recorded just three days after Massey Hall on January 22, 1971 at the Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut.

What makes Young Shakespeare special unlike the Massey Hall performance is that the Shakespeare Theater concert was filmed (although from what I've seen so far on YouTube, it looks like a ten year old was behind the camera). 

I'm planning on presenting the Young Shakespeare concert in my March 29th post as my readers and I can just take in this new release in our continuing journey through the past together. Being only three days apart we can compare to see if Young Shakespeare rivals Live at Massey Hall 1971. Here is what Neil has said on the subject.

Coming March 26th
“[Producer] John Hanlon and I both feel Shakespeare is superior to our beloved Massey Hall,” Young wrote last year on the Neil Young Archives. “A more calm performance, without the celebratory atmosphere of Massey Hall, captured live on 16mm film. Young Shakespeare is a very special event. To my fans, I say this is the best ever. Young Shakespeare is the performance of that era. Personal and emotional, for me, it defines that time.” Rolling Stone, Andy Greene, 2/12/21

Okay Neil we trust you all the way, but for the moment we're going to take in your famous Massey Hall performance and a little shout out to your best bud and producer, David Briggs.

According to Young, "This is the album that should have come out between After the Gold Rush and Harvest...David Briggs, my producer, was adamant that this should be the record, but I was very excited about the takes we got on Harvest, and wanted Harvest out. David disagreed. As I listen to this today, I can see why." Wikipedia

Enjoy my friends, this one's very special. 
stay well and mask-up.

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.



Resources

Monday, December 14, 2020

My Favorite Songs of 1970





1970 was an incredible year in rock 'n' roll history. Some of my favorite songs of all-time are contained in the albums above. The playlist this week is a treasure of jewels for me, some discovered in 1970, and some discovered much later.

The year was full of great music and news.

The biggest news of 1970 was the biggest band break-up that ever was as The Beatles go their separate ways and start making their own albums. Their fans never stop hoping that they will get back together.

The Beatles also released their last album, Let It Be recorded before Abbey Road and released after. 

Simon and Garfunkel also made their last album together, Bridge Over Trouble Water. The album wins 6 Grammy's and wins The Song, Record, and Album of the Year. Their fans never stop hoping that they get back together.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young make a masterpiece, Déjà Vu  and then promptly break-up for the first time, as their fans never stop hoping that they will get back together again, and again, and again...

Drugs and death also intersect in 1970, as both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both die of overdoses just three weeks apart at the tender age of 27. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones had died the year prior in 1969 at 27, and in the following year of 1971, Jim Morrison would also die of an overdose at 27 and fuel the rock culture phenomenon of Club 27.  

Speaking of phenomenon, the singer-songwriters to emerge as stars in 1970 is literally on the charts. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, and Elton John all breakout with solo albums that will put them on the map and on the road for years to come. In 1970, Stevens, Morrison, John, and Badfinger each release two albums during the same year as fans cannot get enough. 

I was hooked by all these talented people and I start buying their albums whenever I could scrap up the money. My friends are doing the same, and we are all listening to each other's albums. Getting into rock concerts was going to be the next big step.

At fifteen, I'm becoming aware that two of my new heroes- James Taylor and Neil Young, are a bit like me, painfully shy to the point that it wasn't helping me move forward in life. By listening to their songs by myself in my bedroom, I began to get a sensibility for their music and what they were communicating to the world. I began to internalize their music, like millions of other kids. I start to examine who I am- my self-worth, what will I do? James and Neil didn't magically answer these questions, but they did give me a feeling, a new sense that I wasn't alone. James has this beautiful voice and yet he's always hunched over (like me), walking and talking without a lot of confidence. Neil's as quirky as hell and has this unique shaky voice and distant stare. But yet, both are opening up on a big stage in the spotlight, and becoming massively successful, folk-rock stars no less. Could I actually make something of myself? 

1970 was a new decade but still part of the 1960's, and I wanted in, to be a long-hair. Music was becoming a part of my identity and it was a cornerstone of the counter-culture. I wanted to be part of something bigger, something completely different from my parents and my conservative upbringing.

This year in the blog, I started the reoccurring monthly post of 50 Years of Music. As I reflect back over the entirety of 1970, the blog often serves as a retro-journal to myself. This year, I also caught myself playing an old game, the 'shoulda-woulda-coulda' mind game. I wished I had joined the cross-country team, I wished I had started playing tennis with my dear friend Bill DeVoe as he would eventually go on to become the number one player on the high school varsity team. I wished I hadn't quit piano lessons, and I wished that I had starting writing a journal when I was young. In retrospect, all these wishes where not a lack of opportunities presented to me, but a basic lack of self-confidence on my part. 

I would go through most of the 1970's with that general lack of confidence that slowly melted away as I began my professional career as a K-12 teacher with a variety of job assignments and experiences. Over the years, I discovered that confidence is often revealed in a couple basic ways. One, you see the overt confidence, often coupled with words over action. Second, and the confidence I tried to model from the good people around me was the purposeful actions that followed their words.

On this day, I'm thankful for my core group of friends who helped me believe in myself, and I'm thankful for the music we shared together as kids and continue to share today with old and new songs.

The playlist(s) this week are 220 songs as it is contains some of the best music I ever heard when first released 50 years ago that has endured the test of time. To quote John Lennon on the roof of Abbey Road Studios in the Let It Be film, "I would like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we've passed the audition." Yes John, your band certainly passed the audition- giving all the people you inspired to pick up musical instruments and make rock 'n' roll. Those musicians and the listening fans from all over the world are forever indebted and eternally grateful for the music of 

(Note- I just discovered this morning in publishing the blog that an embedded YouTube playlist will only display 200 videos, damnit-all. So, I have taken the last 20 videos and created a Part II Playlist and embedded below the first playlist. There's some great songs in the last group of 20, including the last song which has a lot of meaning to me.)

Merry Everything! Stay well my friends and mask-up. 

So let's now get back to where we once belonged.


 

 Reference:

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, September 14, 2020

50 Years of Music • After The Gold Rush

Inside jacket

Album cover
September 19, 1970 is the 50 year anniversary of After the Gold Rush by Neil Young and is often ranked as one of the best albums of all-time. In my recent blog - List Your FAV FIVE Albums, I ranked it #2.

1. The White Album, The Beatles
2. After the Gold Rush, Neil Young
3. Who's Next, The Who
4. Late For The Sky, Jackson Browne
5. Buffalo Springfield Again, Buffalo Springfield

Album back cover
In that FAV FIVE Albums blog, I didn't give a back story for any of my above selections and thought I'd share a couple of thoughts here about After the Gold Rush

In September, 2015 I wrote a blog, The songs playing in our heads this week where I said this, "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 sophomore 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 15 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."

The part above where I say I wore the album out in my bedroom is actually the part that I was reflecting on this past week. I'm sure you have heard Brian Wilson's In My Room,

There's a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it's dark and I'm alone
But I won't be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room

In My Room has always touched me deeply. I think as a young person when you're still living at home, your bedroom is your retreat, the place where you can sit still, think, and try to make sense of your world.



As a fifteen-sixteen year old, listening to After The Gold Rush was my go to 'in my room' album to listen to by myself. Most of the songs on After The Gold Rush would simply thrust me into a state of introspection that as I look back, was self-therapy.

Several weeks ago, I asked and got back many of my original vinyl albums from my youth from my ex-wife Pam, who happened to have them. She also gave me our old turntable that I connected to my current bedroom stereo system. Thank you Pam! It's kind of cool after all these years to have my old vinyl record collection back in my room.

Last Friday, I pulled out After the Gold Rush from the collection and listened to it while lying on my bed. It was very relaxing. My back-to-the-future therapy.

So my suggestion, make some time this week to listen to After The Gold Rush in a quiet space, by yourself.

Stay well my friends.


Monday, August 17, 2020

List Your FAV FIVE: Singer-songwriters




"Singer-songwriter" is used to define popular music artists who write and perform their own material, which is often self-accompanied generally on acoustic guitar or piano. Such an artist performs the roles of composer [writes the songs music], lyricist, [writes the songs words] vocalist, sometimes instrumentalist, and often self-manager. According to AllMusic, singer-songwriters' lyrics are often personal but veiled by elaborate metaphors and vague imagery, and their creative concern is to place emphasis on the song rather than their performance of it. Wikipedia

Again, I enlisted my dear friend and singer-songwriter Paul Hobbs to help me navigate the guidelines for this week's challenge, list your five favorite singer-songwriters of all-time. Paul helped me clarify a couple key points to lay down the basics for filling out the Google Form below.
  1. You can only list one person on each line 1-5. By the definition above, the singer-songwriter composes the music, writes the lyrics and performs the song by singing and/or playing an instrument. My wife Mary Kit immediately threw a wrench in the works by saying she was going to write, "Elton John and Bernie Taupin" together on one line. I started to get into the weeds saying, "You know, Bernie first writes the lyrics separately and then Elton writes the music to craft a song around the lyrics, so by definition... Mary Kit cuts me off and says, "If you're going to make this too complicated, nobody is going to fill out your form." I get it. Elton John is 3/4th a singer-songwriter, and a hell of one at that so I tell her, "Just write Elton John on the bloody form."
  2. This list is based on a singer-songwriter's SOLO career. Okay, getting back on the lawnmower and heading to the weeds again- somebody like Tom Petty is a good example where the mower can get hung up. Tom is mainly known for his body of work with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Traveling Wilburys. If you look at Tom's discography, he has three solo albums. So, if you write Tom Petty in you list of five, you are selecting him based on his solo work NOT his band compositions. Same for Neil Young, John Lennon, Pete Townshend, etc.
As a teaser for next week, we're going to list our FAV FIVE Bands where all the fabulous writing combinations of Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, Stills/Nash/Crosby, etc. are all contained within by simply naming your favorite bands, albeit the short list.

Okay, here's my ranked list of FAV FIVE Singer-songwriters. Boy this was tough as a couple of readers have said in the previous FAV FIVEs, it's something like Sophie's Choice. For me, what it came down to was how many albums/CD's did I own of that artist as a solo singer-songwriter.
  1. James Taylor
  2. Joni Mitchell
  3. Jackson Browne
  4. Paul Simon
  5. Neil Young
Note- Like last week you can see my random brainstorm list at the end of this blog.

Now it's your turn.


If for some reason, the Google Form does not appear in your web browser, click on this direct link here - https://forms.gle/JDRCVasREuAtDPadA

_________________

Mary Kit McIntosh's FAV FIVE  Singer-songwriters
  1. Don Henley
  2. Elton John
  3. Glenn Frey
  4. Prince 
  5. Stevie Nicks

Ron Zieman's FAV FIVE  Singer-songwriters
  1. Joni Mitchell
  2. Neil Young
  3. George Harrison
  4. Eric Clapton
  5. Don Henley


Ken Forman's FAV FIVE  
Singer-songwriters
  1. Bob Dylan
  2. James Taylor
  3. Neil Young
  4. Jackson Browne
  5. Pete Townshend

Paul Hobbs' FAV FIVE  
Singer-songwriters
  1. James Taylor
  2. Joni Mitchell
  3. Bob Dylan
  4. Jackson Browne
  5. Paul Simon
Ron Ouellette's FAV FIVE  
Singer-songwriters
  1. Cat Stevens
  2. Warren Zevon
  3. Al Stewart
  4. Vienna Teng
  5. Joanne Shaw Taylor
Chuck Stark's FAV FIVE  
Singer-songwriters
  1. Neil Young
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. James Taylor
  4. Paul McCartney
  5. Bruce Springsteen


Roger Demchak's FAV FIVE  
Singer-songwriters
  1. Paul McCartney
  2. John Lennon
  3. Neil Young
  4. James Taylor
  5. Bob Dylan

__________________
Doug's random brainstorm list of his favorite singer-songwriters as a solo artist.
  • Paul McCartney
  • John Lennon
  • Jackson Browne
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Shawn Colvin
  • Randy Newman
  • Neil Young
  • James Taylor
  • John Prine
  • Paul Simon
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Van Morrison
  • Don Henley
  • Bob Dylan
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Carol King
  • Laura Nyro
  • Cat Stevens
  • George Harrison
  • Billy Joel
  • J.D. Souther
  • Harry Nilsson
  • Elvis Costello
  • Tom Waits
  • Eric Clapton
  • Jesse Colin Young
  • Sting
  • David Bowie
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Donovan
  • Peter Gabriel
  • and yes Mary Kit, Elton John

Monday, June 29, 2020

#NewMusicMonday • June • 2020

Hampton & Papa social distancing
with strangers in the kiddie pool.
A YEAR of #NewMusicMondays  

Summer's here
I'm for that
Got my rubber sandals
Got my straw hat
Got my cold beer
I'm just glad that I'm here
–James Taylor

Adaptations
So we've had a rough four months. Everybody's glad summer is finally here. My HOA pool has just reopened with 'new rules' - residents must register online to reserve a 2 hour block with limited capacity in designated social distanced squares. Most people never have anything good to say about any HOA (Hobby Opportunity for Authority), but I have to say they have done a good job trying to keep everyone safe.

A typical Pickleball setup using a tennis court
The HOA tennis courts have also just reopened right across from my house. Pickleball is back in full-swing, the game made for my generation who have either forgotten how to run or can't. I'm not poking pickleballers here, it's more about me dealing with my own body and what it used to do compared to now. I'm also lamenting about the wonderful game of tennis, with less young people playing real tennis, I just hope the original white court lines don't fade away.

Pickleball is a great social activity. Everybody is chatting it up with lots of laughter just like old times, but from my box seat view, I see no masks or social distancing. C'mon boomers, you still can be flexible, just like your pickleball wrist!

I have family driving down all the way from Seattle on several different trips this summer, finally merging our packs together. Quite a long distance travel adaptation, all the while airlines like American Airlines announced they will scrap social distancing and start booking full planes July 1.

For our visiting grandkids their parents have come up with a simple term to explain our times, No San Diego Zoo (opened last week), Legoland, or Disneyland because of the "Big Germs." :-(

It's a different summer in a turbulent year, but we are learning to do things differently and still have fun together.

Recently I wrote a blog, Outdoor Exercise In The Time Of Coronavirus: Who was that masked man? where I basically talked about the current culture war of wearing a mask. My working titles were, #ManUpMaskUp, or #MaskUpMother####ers, but opted for a little more informative heading in the end. For people walking, running or biking it's really not political, wearing a mask just has become more of a hassle and can't be bothered with, I call it, "an inconvenient truth- coronavirus edition." I see my regulars, the people that exercise around me in my neighborhood every week. Most everyone, young and old have just given up the mask outdoors. There is such irony here, people making the effort to exercise, but too damn lazy to adapt to a new simple behavior by wearing a mask that SAVES LIVES.

Breaking News- VP Pence gets pensive and decides to wear a mask to a Texas mega-church on Sunday. Better late than never... at least I hope it's not too late?  Anyway, baby steps for Trump's little bucko.

So unless you're living under a rock, you know that there is more than a little uptick in coronavirus cases across the country in the month of June. I haven't heard, "flatten the curve" since the end of May. 

However, I still hear that we are still in the 1st wave, and there is going to be a second wave sometime in the fall. I think after the past several weeks, we probably should adjust our 'waves' talk too. For Western States who has lived through enough wildfires in the last twenty years, the analogy of the coronavirus being an 'uncontained wildfire' is a much more accurate way to describe how the virus is currently surging and spreading across the country. The term, "hot spots" seems quite appropriate.

Source - New York Times
The solid burnt orange of new coronavirus cases in Southern California is disconcerting to say the least, where as Disneyland staying closed is not really our biggest problem. When the brush fires do start in the coming days ahead, maybe the masks people aren't wearing now will suddenly have a function to them. Instead of Fire and Rain, we'll call it Fire and Fire and the masks will serve a dual purpose- keeping coronavirus from going red in your town while breathing in falling ash from your local brush fire.

Hey, but on the positive side, new music keeps rolling in everyday. I can't keep up with all the broadcast and Internet services with artists and bands just putting out more live and recorded music across all the streaming services everyday. I'm glad I've made #NewMusicMonday a series because I keep finding new songs and albums being pumped out in this first half of 2020.

If you are spending the time to read this blog, you probably love music, and I will suggest, you need to be listening to music more than ever! Make the adaptation necessary in your behavior to spend 15 more minutes a day listening to music. I'm just a guy here finding and organizing what I think are good songs to listen to and if you like my playlists, cool. If not, find sources where you can hear music that moves you emotionally. I need that movement more than ever, and I'm guessing so do you.

Stay well and enjoy this playlist my friends.



References

Monday, May 27, 2019

May 1969, Wow! 50 Years of Music


Earlier this month, I began to work on my now monthly feature of albums released 50 years ago in the month I post the blog. When I first looked at the Wikipedia 1969 in Music #May list I just said, "Wow!"

Here is a representative group of 50 songs from this monster month of albums released in May, 1969. Enjoy my friends!


Monday, May 13, 2019

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Celebrating 50 Years of Their Debut Album

Back and Front Album Cover - Photo by Henry Diltz | Source - PopSpots by Bob Egan
On May 29, 1969 Crosby, Stills & Nash was released by Atlantic Records. I love all ten songs today as much as I did when I was a teenager because their place in time helped define my place in time.

The album cover photo taken by Henry Diltz was scouted by Graham Nash and Art Director, Gary Burden in LA. As the two were driving around, they found an abandoned house in West Hollywood with the infamous couch in the front. On the day of the photo shoot, the band had not decided on a name yet. A day or so after the shoot, the boys decided on Crosby, Stills & Nash. They then went back to do a reshoot so that their names would correspond with their left right order on the couch. When they got there, the house had been torn down and lay in a pile of rubble. Oh well, the dye was cast, and Diltz's photo is a rock 'n' legend in its own right.

I love this story because I've always felt the band's last names order was always out of order. As any person that follows music in the 1960's knows (or at least in my opinion)- Stills' name should have gone first, Nash second, and Crosby third. Don't get me wrong, they are all truly gifted as they came together from famous bands to make the supergroup of harmony, but Stephen is the music genius of the three. Like a five-tool baseball player, Stephen Stills is a superstar songwriter, singer, and both an acoustic guitar and electric guitar master. And I suppose the fifth tool being, he publicly appeared to keep his ego a little more checked at the doorstep than his other star bandmates (starting with his name being second).

When I saw Graham Nash perform in San Diego last year, he warmly talked about the making of the debut album and how Stephen arranged and played every instrument on the album with the exception of Dallas Taylor on drums (shown behind the door on the back cover of the album photo).

I've always been a Stephen Stills and Neil Young fan, but I would say I was a Stephen Stills fan first starting with the two in Buffalo Springfield. As the two alpha's of Buffalo Springfield, Neil has always had a propensity to just leave and he did just that to Buffalo Springfield in 1968. 

In July of 1968, Cass Elliot took Nash (still in The Hollies) to meet the now band-less Stills (from Springfield) and Crosby (fired from The Byrds) to a party at Joni Mitchell's house in Laurel Canyon, and the birth of the band was born that day. 

In the formation of Crosby, Stills & Nash, I believe this was Stephen's chance to get out from Neil and do his own thing. The debut album is such a fresh start for all three that embodies the pure joy of collaboration. It was also Stephen's moment to lead and I became a HUGE Stephen Stills fan after this album with his fingerprints all over it. 

And yes, the album was a big hit, but more importantly, it was all the buzz within the music industry in Los Angeles. A few years later in the mid-seventies, another famous LA band would say in a famous song..."we haven't had that spirit here since 1969, and still those voices are calling from far away"...

In the months following the debut, Ahmet Ertegun, the President of Atlantic Records had the idea to suggest adding Neil Young to the group. Now that was both brilliant and ballistic at the same time. Brilliant because we get the album Déjà Vu and the song, Ohio in 1970, and ballistic because Neil is Neil and he tends to just do his own thing, which is also brilliant by the way.  

The storied history of CS&N and CSN&Y through their breakups, makeups and breakups has been well chronicled and I won't go into depth here. I will indulge in the idea of  "what if" because like Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash were broken up as a band shortly after take off. It would have been special for the trio to have ridden that moment of 1969 and carry on as a trio. The inclusion of Neil Young cut short the magical run that many monster bands or single artists have, 5+ successive years of lighting the fire and being at the top of the music game. Not surprisingly, Neil Young did just that in his 1970's solo run while using a splash of Stills, Nash, Crosby, The Stray Gators, and of course Crazy Horse mixed in.


Side note- I was in Maui last October and wanted to see Mick Fleetwood's restaurant. Fleetwood's On Front St. It's in an old general store building upstairs (pictured above), but the gem is walking downstairs to Henry Diltz's photo studio, Morrison Hotel Gallery in Fleetwood's General Store in Lahaina, HI. In the Gallery, was an original print of the Crosby, Stills & Nash album cover. The Gallery's Art Consultant, Sharon Cholet filled me in on all the history of the photo shoot and I appreciated her time. The print cost $500 and I wanted it so bad.

Enjoy my friends, this one is special.


Monday, January 28, 2019

50 Years of Music - January, 1969

In 2019, I will write a monthly feature of music released 50 years ago from that month in 1969.

I'm going to use 1969 in music from Wikipedia as my primary source as you can see by the January list here. If I (or Wikipedia) miss a big album, please feel free to write a comment, and I'm sure I will correct that in a re-edit from that blog.

I also plan to feature an entire album deemed 'great' (by me of course) from a month in 1969. Abbey Road and Crosby, Stills & Nash are just two albums that come to mind.

In January, 1969 I was in Mr. Richard Ziegler's 8th grade homeroom class. During that year, I became President of the Antique Bottle Club and certified nerd. Mr. Ziegler formed the club after his passion for finding and collecting old bottles in the creeks and old dump sites around the central coast of California. I did the same for a couple years and to this day still have boxes of antique bottles that I've carted to every apartment or house that I have ever lived in.

Looking back, I remember one Jr. High dance where a local cover band of high school students performed the song, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida while I watched from the sidelines as kids tried to dance to it. As a side note- the album also titled, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida released in 1968 was the biggest selling album of 1969.

If you follow Monday Monday Music, the real content is listening to the weekly YouTube playlists that I put together. And I thought it was my fantastic writing. No dummy, you just began the last sentence with, "And."

Ok, so one of the keys of life is making the time to do the things YOU want to do. If you've followed me this far, listening to music is one of those magical things of life.

So strike a match, light the incense and get back to a little 1969 in music.

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!