Music Suffers More Loss

Closing Thought–26Oct20

It has been a bad year for music…..rock and country…..and the losses are not finished yet.

Arlo Guthrie, the son of famed folk singer and activist Woody Guthrie has decided that he will no longer tour and give live performances….

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant—but it appears we’ve seen Arlo Guthrie tell us that in person for the last time. In lengthy posts on his Facebook page and website, the 73-year-old folk singer announced Friday he’s retiring from performance immediately. He’s canceled numerous shows he had planned around the country for the next year and said he won’t be booking any more, per the AP. “It’s been a great 50-plus years of being a working entertainer, but I reached the difficult decision that touring and stage shows are no longer possible,” he said in the statement titled “Gone Fishing.” Guthrie didn’t respond to email and phone messages asking to elaborate, but he indicated in his statement that health issues played a major role. He said he’d suffered two strokes in recent years, including a serious one that hospitalized him for several days last year.

The son of folk music legend Woody Guthrie rose to overnight fame in 1967 with the release of “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” a hilarious 18-minute talking blues ballad about how his Thanksgiving Day 1965 arrest for littering kept him out of the Army during the Vietnam War. He went on to record more than 30 albums, write several children’s books, and occasionally appear in TV shows and films, including playing himself in the 1969 movie “Alice’s Restaurant.” Guthrie, who frequently declined to play “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” for audiences over the years, had planned to perform it at next year’s shows. In July he released a new song, Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” and indicated Friday that his retiring from the stage doesn’t mean he’ll go away completely. “In fact, I hope to be a thorn in the side of a new administration pretty soon,” he said in a veiled reference to President Trump.

This is not the only bad news……country rock musician Jerry Jeff Walker has died…..he was most famous for the hit song Mr. Bo Jangles….

Jerry Jeff Walker, a Texas country singer and songwriter who wrote the pop song “Mr. Bojangles,” has died at age 78. Walker died Friday of cancer, family spokesman John T. Davis told the AP. “He had battled throat cancer for many years, and some other health issues,” Davis said Saturday. Walker emerged from New York’s Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s and he was a founding member of the band Circus Maximus. He moved to Texas in the 1970s and in 1972 scored a hit with his version of the Guy Clark song “LA Freeway.” Walker and the Lost Gonzo Band in 1973 recorded an album live in Texas called “Viva Terlingua” that became a classic of the country-rock scene. Walker had since released more than 30 albums.

In 1986, he formed independent music label Tried & True Music and released albums under it. Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, he told the Austin American Statesman in 2018. “I guess I took my singing for granted, and now I don’t,” he told the newspaper. In 2017, it was announced that Walker had donated more than 100 boxes of his music archives to The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, including tapes, photographs, hand-written lyrics, and artifacts. Walker’s survivors include his wife, Susan, son, Django, and daughter, Jessie Jane.

But for me his best song was …..

I’m an old fart so I remember both these artists as if they were here yesterday…..

The one I did not know was Viola Smith the World’s Fastest Girl Drummer”…..

The “fastest girl drummer in the world” is gone. Viola Smith, a swing musician who fought for female inclusion in the big-band era, died Wednesday at home in Costa Mesa, Calif., the Washington Post reports. She was 107. At a time when jazz giants like Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman dominated the dance-band world, Smith led her own group—the all-female Coquettes—with a 12-drum kit that featured two big tom-toms by her shoulders. The band was best-known for the playful arabesque “The Snake Charmer” with Smith’s dramatic drum-frills. She also made waves with a 1942 DownBeat essay called “Give Girl Musicians a Break!” that urged top band leaders to include more women—especially with so many men fighting in World War II.

“Instead of replacing them with what may be mediocre talent, why not let some of the great girl musicians of the country take their places?” she wrote. “Girls work right along beside men in the factories, in the offices. … So why not in dance bands?” They mostly didn’t, but Smith found steady work in Phil Spitalny’s all-girl band—which played in the Abbott & Costello comedy Here Come the Co-Eds—and later in the Kit Kat Band jazz quartet heard in the musical Cabaret on Broadway, per the Guardian. Born in Wisconsin in 1912, Smith lived much of her life on the road, then moved to New York, and later settled in Costa Mesa. She left no immediate survivors. “I really had a charmed life,” she told Tom Tom in 2013. “Unless people call drumming work. Then I worked hard in my life.”

They will be missed.

Thanx for the memories.

Another One Gone

Closing Thought–07Oct20

It has been a terrible couple of weeks for music….we have lost Helen Reddy, Mac Davis, Eddie Van Halen and now Johnny Nash.

Johnny Nash, a singer-songwriter, actor, and producer who rose from pop crooner to early reggae star to the creator and performer of the million-selling anthem “I Can See Clearly Now,” died Tuesday, his son said. Nash, who had been in declining health, died of natural causes at home in Houston, the city of his birth, his son, Johnny Nash Jr., told the AP. He was 80. Nash was in his early 30s when “I Can See Clearly Now” topped the charts in 1972 and he had lived several show business lives. In the mid-1950s, he was a teenager covering “Darn That Dream” and other standards, his light tenor likened to the voice of Johnny Mathis. A decade later, he was co-running a record company, had become a rare American-born singer of reggae; he was among the first artists to bring reggae to US audiences and helped launch the career of his friend Bob Marley.

He peaked commercially in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when he had hits with “Hold Me Tight,” “You Got Soul,” an early version of Marley’s “Stir It Up,” and “I Can See Clearly Now,” still his signature song. Reportedly written by Nash while recovering from cataract surgery, “I Can See Clearly Now” was a story of overcoming hard times that itself raised the spirits of countless listeners, with its swelling pop-reggae groove, promise of a “bright, bright sunshiny day” and Nash’s gospel-styled exclamation midway, “Look straight ahead, nothing but blue skies!”, a backing chorus lifting the words into the heavens. The song, which Nash also produced, was covered by artists ranging from Ray Charles and Donny Osmond to Soul Asylum and Jimmy Cliff, whose version was featured in the 1993 movie Cool Runnings. It also turned up everywhere from Thelma and Louise to a Windex commercial, and in recent years was often referred to on websites about cataract procedures.

They will be missed……true musical talent has lost its founders.

Johnny’s biggest hit…….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

It’s Been A Bad Week For Music

It has been a horrible week for music icons from them70s and 80s…….death has taken two of the greats from the era…..Mac Davis and Helen Reddy.

First Helen Reddy…..

Helen Reddy, who shot to stardom in the 1970s with her rousing feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and recorded a string of other hits, has died. She was 78. Reddy’s children Traci and Jordan announced that the actor-singer died Tuesday in Los Angeles, the AP reports. “She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, and a truly formidable woman,” they said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.” Reddy’s 1971 version of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar launched a decade-long string of Top 40 hits, three of which reached No. 1. The Australian-born singer enjoyed a prolific career, appearing in Airport 1975 as a singing nun and scoring several hits, including “Ain’t No Way To Treat a Lady,” “Delta Dawn,” “Angie Baby,” and “You and Me Against the World.”

In 1973 she won the best female vocal pop performance Grammy Award for “I Am Woman,” quickly thanking, among others, “God because she makes everything possible” in her acceptance speech. The song, which she also performed at the awards ceremony, would become her biggest hit, used in films and television series. In a 2012 interview with the AP, Reddy cited the gigantic success of “I Am Woman” as one of the reasons she stepped out of public life. “That was one of the reasons that I stopped singing, was when I was shown a modern American history high-school textbook, and a whole chapter on feminism and my name and my lyrics (were) in the book,” she said. “And I thought, `Well, I’m part of history now. And how do I top that? I can’t top that.’ So, it was an easy withdrawal.” Reddy’s death comes less than three weeks after the release of a biopic about her life called I Am Woman.

Next was Mac Davis…….

Mac Davis, who wrote hits including “A Little Less Conversation” and “In the Ghetto” for Elvis Presley before forging a successful solo career, has died. Jim Morey, the 78-year-old’s longtime manager, says Davis died Tuesday in Nashville after becoming critically ill following heart surgery. As a country singer in the ’70s and ’80s, Davis had a string of easygoing hits, including “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” which topped both the country and pop charts in 1972, the Los Angeles Times reports. Davis, who was born in Lubbock, Texas, also had his own NBC show, The Mac Davis Show, and made numerous film and TV appearances, reports the AP.

Country superstar Kenny Chesney was among many artists who paid tribute to Davis, Variety reports. He recalled how Davis and his “tremendous creative light” helped him when he was starting out. “A small town boy who’d achieved the greatest kinds of fame, he remained a good guy, a family man,” Chesney said. “That was Mac: a giant heart, quick to laugh and a bigger creative spirit. I was blessed to have it shine on me.” Davis also wrote hits for stars including Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, and, in later years, received co-writing credits on songs by Avicii and Bruno Mars.

Of all of Reddy’s songs my favorite was not one of her better known tunes…..

Thank you guys for your contribution to my life and my music…..

May they Rest In Peace.

Know When To Fold Them

Sad news the lead singer in the 1960s group First Edition has passed away…you may know his as “The Gambler” or maybe better as Kenny Rogers.

Actor-singer Kenny Rogers, the Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country, and pop with hits like “Lucille,” “Lady,” and “Islands in the Stream” and embraced his persona as “The Gambler” died Friday night. He was 81. He died at home in Sandy Springs, Ga., his representative tells the AP, adding that Rogers was under hospice care and died of natural causes. The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys, and was the star of TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ’70s and ’80s. Rogers thrived for some 60 years before he retired from touring in 2017 at age 79. Despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer. Rogers was a five-time CMA Award winner and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

A true rags-to-riches story, Rogers was raised in public housing in Houston Heights with seven siblings. His breakthrough came when he was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels folk group in 1966, which re-formed as the First Edition. After the group broke up in 1974, Rogers started his solo career and found a big hit with the sad country ballad “Lucille” in 1977, which crossed over to the pop charts and earned Rogers his first Grammy. Suddenly a star, Rogers added hit after hit for more than a decade. “The Gambler,” the Grammy-winning story song, came out in 1978 and became his signature song, spawning a hit TV movie of the same name and several sequels. Over the years, Rogers worked often with female duet partners, most memorably Dolly Parton, with whom he performed “Islands in the Stream.” Rogers’ family is planning a private service “out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency,” per a statement. A public memorial will be held at a later date.

May he Rest In Peace……

Please enjoy Kenny from the past….

 

 

Please enjoy your day……be well and be safe….

“lego ergo scribo”

That Old Time Country Music

What great weather we are having down here……the forecast is for light rain….

Light rain my ass!

Looking out my front door…..CCR “Who’ll Stop The Rain”……

Image

It is the weekend again and I need to flush the turds of American politics out of my mind…..

I have always enjoyed music…..of course the rock of my generation….I enjoy classical…..even some jazz but not all…..I even enjoy country music….not the crap of today but the music of Don Williams, Hank Williams (senior not that worthless lump of crap Junior), Conway, Waylon, Willie, Loretta and the rest of true country music.

Speaking of Loretta…..she has weighed in on today’s country music….and I agree with her 100%…..

Country music is dead, according to a legend of the genre. “I think it’s dead. I think it’s a shame,” Loretta Lynn tells fellow country singer Martina McBride on the latter’s podcast Vocal Point, per People. “I’m getting mad about it. I am. Because it’s ridiculous,” says the 87-year-old, whose career has spanned 60 years. “I think that they’re completely losing it. And I think that’s a sad situation.” This isn’t the first time the singer has offered her take on modern country music. “Some of these new country singers aren’t really country … I think some of them should be singing pop music and leave country alone,” she wrote in the introduction to her memoir, Coal Miner’s Daughter, when it was reissued in 2010, per the Boot.

But all hope isn’t lost. “I think that every type of music should be saved, and country is one of the greatest. It’s been around, as far as I’m concerned, longer than any of it,” Lynn tells McBride. And at 87, “I’m here to start feeding it.” Though the singer has suffered health issues in recent years—including a stoke in 2017 and a broken hip in 2018—her 2018 album hints at more gas in the tank. “Spring is just around the bend/Ain’t no time to go darlin’ … The children need your guiding hand/Ain’t no time to go darlin’,” Lynn sings in “Ain’t No Time to Go” from Wouldn’t It Be Great.

Modern country music is nothing more than what we use to call “Southern Rock”…..we need the old days to return to save country music from itself.

For a musical interlude….a few true country singers…..

Enjoy some TRUE Country music.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What If The Blues Had A White Baby?

AS an old fart I can remember the days of great guitar players….Hendrix, Clapton, Kooper and Bloomfield…..and that is where I would like to pick up this post.

Please do not get me wrong I do not want to take anything away from the great blues musicians like King, Hooker, Waters, et al……just that it was amazing that a young white boy could feel the music in his soul……

I have always been a great fan of the blues and especially what has been called the “electric blues” like Beck, Lee, etc mostly white guys that were excellent at the guitar….and Mike Bloomfield was one of the best……at least in my opinion…..

One of my favorite albums was the one titled Super Session….with Stills, Kooper and Bloomfield…..and then the world in 1981 lost a great giant of a guitar player when Bloomfield died…..

Michael Bloomfield began playing in Chicago blues clubs while still in high school. By 1968 he was considered one of the best guitarists in the world along with Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. By that time, Bloomfield had joined and left the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, played on Bob Dylan’s masterpiece album Highway 61 Revisited and formed the genre busting group The Electric Flag. Like so many other musicians, especially of his generation, he had also developed a taste for opiates and the relief they provide.

Michael Bloomfield died in 1981 on Valentine’s Day. Although the autopsy report was somewhat contradictory, he probably overdosed on fentanyl (sold mistakenly as China White heroin), which had recently made an appearance in the San Francisco streets. I was never a user of opiates, but friends of mine were. They talked about a new monster high that was like heroin but much more powerful. The only reason I was personally familiar with fentanyl was because a friend had almost died from it earlier in the decade after buying some in Washington, DC. Bloomfield was supposedly cleaning up his act, but like most users, he wasn’t done completely with narcotics. Unfortunately, he went back one too many times.

The Blues Had a White Baby and His Name was Michael Bloomfield

Let me help those that may not know the name……first…..from the group Electric Flag…..

This one from the Super Session album….Season of the Witch…always a favorite of mine…..

Please enjoy and hopefully it will bring some great memories to us old farts…..

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–07Oct19 #2

In my younger days I was a huge fan of Cream…..Clapton, Bruce and Baker…..their music will live forever.

Sad news the drummer of Cream and Blind faith has died at 84…..

Ginger Baker, the volatile and propulsive British musician best known for his time with the power trio Cream, died Sunday at age 80, reports the AP. Baker wielded his blues power and jazz technique to help break open popular music and become one of the world’s most admired and feared musicians. With blazing eyes, orange-red hair, and a temperament to match, the London native ranked with The Who’s Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham as the embodiment of musical and personal fury. Using twin bass drums, Baker fashioned a pounding, poly-rhythmic style uncommonly swift and heavy that inspired and intimidated countless musicians. But every beat seemed to mirror an offstage eruption—whether his violent dislike of Cream bandmate Jack Bruce or his on-camera assault of a documentary maker, Jay Bulger, whom he smashed in the nose with his walking stick.

Baker and his many admirers saw him as a rounded, sophisticated musician—an arranger, composer, and student of the craft, absorbing sounds from around the world. “He was so unique and had such a distinctive personality,” Stewart Copeland of the Police said in 2013. “Nobody else followed in his footsteps. Everybody tried to be John Bonham … but it’s rare that you hear anybody doing the Ginger Baker thing.” Baker teamed with Eric Clapton and Bruce in the mid-1960s to become Cream—one of the first supergroups and first power trios. The band broke up in 1968. He endured his old enemy, Bruce, when Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and for Cream reunion concerts a decade later. Baker performed regularly in his 70s despite health issues. No stranger to vice and not a fan of modesty, he called his memoir Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Drummer. “John Bonham once made a statement that there were only two drummers in British rock ‘n’ roll; himself and Ginger Baker,” Baker wrote. “My reaction to this was, ‘You cheeky little bastard!'”

May he Rest In Peace.

In closing a little known album…Ginger Baker’s Air Force….

I Read, I Wrote You Know

Sunday– 07Oct2018

It is Sunday…let’s have some fun!

Back when I was younger and managing a bar I use to spend lots of time listening to musicians trying to find ones that would be a good fit for the club.

Back in those days “Folk Music” was all the rage and there were a couple of songs that were standard fair if you were a folk singer….one was about a restaurant and a dashboard fixture for your car……

Since today is a Sunday and a day of relaxation I will give the two songs as my musical interlude……

And second is a plastic dashboard fixture……

Hope you guys enjoyed the music….a couple of dittys from the past….being an old fart I spend a lot of time there…..

To further your entertainment……In closing the best comic routine EVER!

In Living Color came close to topping but fell a little short…..a bit more political than the original….be warned…..

I hope these small offerings made your day….and that everyone has a terrific Sunday……see you Monday with more stuff….chuq

Jimi, We Miss You

Closing Thought–18Sep18

There was a time when I thought of myself as a “rock star” then in 1969 in a club called the “Oleo Strut” I got to see a musician named Jimi Hendrix and from the that day on I knew I would never be a “rock star”…..

I bring up Jimi because on this day , 18 September 1970 Jimi Hendrix passed leaving a huge hole in American music scene……

Jimi Hendrix left us on Friday, Sept. 18, 1970. He was only 27. He pretty much lived the way he wanted to. But his time to die came much too early.

Forty years later, it’s hard to express the shock and disbelief we music fans felt that morning as the word spread from London. Hendrix was a rock star, and rock stars just don’t die at 27. Sure, there had been other rock ‘n’ roll star deaths, probably the most famous involving “the day the music died,” the plane crash in Iowa that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. But Jimi Hendrix had moved beyond being a mere rock star. He was a rock god. And gods just didn’t die, so we thought.

https://blog.chron.com/40yearsafter/2010/09/jimi-hendrix-burned-brightly-died-too-young/

In memory of this superb musician I give you this “Best Hits” interlude……enjoy the trip back in time……

Time for me to take my leave….I shall return tomorrow….chuq

 

Getting Old And Replaceable

One more Saturday and waiting for Spring to be sprung and that damn stupid….spring forward…..daylight savings time….the lamest idea ever!

Any way I am old….I can recall the music on the radio, then TV, then onto portable music…the 8-track and soon to be replaced by the cassette player….all the while my albums were still a source for enjoyment and then the CD was born and my vinyl lost popularity (it has since returned)….the CD killed the album and now the CD is a thing of the past…..

Bad news for the future of CDs (and, let’s face it, probably the future of CD wallets, too). Billboard reports two major CD retailers—Best Buy and Target—are reconsidering their relationship with the three-decade-old music format. Sources say Best Buy—which has gone from the “most powerful” music seller in the US to a “reduced and shoddy” selection that brings in only about $40 million a year—will stop selling CDs on July 1. Meanwhile, sources say Target—which is carrying far fewer CDs these days but still managed to move over 500,000 copies of Taylor Swift’s most recent album—wants to change to a consignment model where it wouldn’t have to pay suppliers for any CDs that go unsold. Sources say at least one major label is considering pulling its music from Target rather than agree to the new financial risk that would represent.

The changes at Best Buy and Target could speed up the CD’s demise, but they’re far from the first signs of its impending doom. USA Today reports CD sales hit $13.2 billion in 2000, and 712 million CDs were sold in 2001. In the 14 years since that peak, recorded music lost 40% of its global value, according to NPR. In 2016, streaming took over as Americans’ main means of listening to music and Kmart stopped selling CDs. In 2017, Ford manufactured its first car without a CD player in 25 years. That same year, CD sales in the US dropped 18.5%. However, while things look bleak now, CDs could always make a vinyl-like comeback a few years down the road. In fact, while Best Buy is giving up on CDs, it will reportedly continue selling vinyl records for another two years. (Speaking of: Sony is doing an about-face after helping kill vinyl.

That is all for me today……I shall enjoy my weekend as much as possible for I return to the surgeon Monday to get my check-up…..I have my fingers crossed…..chuq