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.

Billie Eilish On Protests

I have been saying every time some protest breaks out that it ain’t over until a solution to the problems are found…..my words have been falling on deaf ears so when I saw this young performer let the words fly I was taken aback…..her words are marvelous……

As protests and violence continue to spread across numerous American cities in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Billie Eilish wrote an impassioned statement on Instagram to condemn white people who aren’t willing to engage with the Black Lives Matter movement. Or rather, people who don’t want to escape their White Lives Matter mindset. “I’ve been trying to take this week to figure out a way to address this delicately. I have an enormous platform and I try really hard to be respectful and take time to think through what I say and how I say it, but holy fucking shit I’m just gonna start talking,” Eilish wrote in all-caps. “If I hear one more white person say ‘All Lives Matter’ one more fucking time I’m gonna lose my fucking mind. Will you shut the fuck up? No one is saying your life doesn’t matter. No one is saying your life is not hard. No one is saying literally anything at all about you. All you [motherfuckers] do is find a way to make everything about yourself. This is not about you. Stop making everything about you. You are not in need. You are not in danger.”

(there is so much more….read more)……

https://www.vulture.com/2020/05/billie-eildeath.ish-instagram-on-george-floyd-and-all-lives-matter.html

Well said Billie!

These protesters are making the news about the violence and destruction and not about the issue of the death…..the MSM looks for chaos that they can analyze ad nauseum and seldom touch on the death/s….

I still wait for the real conversation on race in this country……so far we have NOT touched on the issue….we have analyzed it to death (no pun intended) and still it is a reoccurring problem.

Where does this end?

Well it does not….until the race question is addressed.

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”

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

Death Of A Working Class Hero

I apologize this post was suppose to be posted yesterday but I got all sidetracked with medical stuff…..

37 years ago on this day, 08 December, John Lennon was shot and killed……I have chosen his best work in my opinion as a tribute to the man and the musician…

This one song tells more about society than a wealth of philosophers……

His talent has been sorely missed……chuq

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Sunday and another day in the garden……well what’s left of it…….a little sun, some heat, snacks and wine…sounds perfect, right?

Back in the day I was a budding guitarist…I just knew that I was gonna be one of the greats…..then in 1967 I visited a club, the Oleo Strut, and saw a live performance of a up and coming rock star…..

After watching this man play a guitar I realized that I would NEVER be that capable of playing and after that I abandoned all pretense of being a “rock star”……

You had to be there a small club that sat 200 people maximum and see this individual play….I shall never forget it….EVER!

I bring this piece of personal history up because of something that I read recently……

The convention couldn’t sound less rock-and-roll — the National Association of Music Merchants Show. But when the doors open at the Anaheim Convention Center, people stream in to scour rows of Fenders, Les Pauls and the oddball, custom-built creations such as the 5-foot-4-inch mermaid guitar crafted of 15 kinds of wood.

Standing in the center of the biggest, six-string candy store in the United States, you can almost believe all is well within the guitar world.

Except if, like George Gruhn, you know better. The 71-year-old Nashville dealer has sold guitars to Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift. Walking through NAMM with Gruhn is like shadowing Bill Belichick at the NFL Scouting Combine. There is great love for the product and great skepticism. What others might see as a boom — the seemingly endless line of manufacturers showcasing instruments — Gruhn sees as two trains on a collision course.

Source: The death of the electric guitar – Washington Post

I too see a problem…the music today is too mamby pamby….all blue skies and lollipops…..techno crap is replacing artistry…..slowly the real guitar artists are disappearing…I am only glad that I was there when there were real artists playing for the love of music……

My day is done and I feel like listening to some rock from my day…..

Have a good day and get some rest…..peace out…..chuq

Closing Thought–06Jan17

I thought I would do something different today…a musical interlude…..I have had enough of the trolls and idiots for this week…….

One of the best blues guitarists that you have never heard of…..

Ana Popovic….I must take my leave there is a winter storm brewing and lots of crap is going on……TTFN….(tah tah for now)……ENJOY!

Everybody please enjoy your weekend….chuq

Closing Thought–16Dec16

Back in 1967 I went to this small club, “Oloe Strut”, seating about 200, to see a up and coming rocker….one Jimi Hendrix…. because this week 50 years ago he released his first album, “Hey Joe”……and the rest, as they say, was history.

The best way to explain his genius is to sit back and listen……enjoy.

Please have a good weekend my friends…..chuq

Say Good-Bye To Leonard Cohen

On the weekends I try to post on subjects other than what is in the news….and this Sunday some sad news….the songwriter Leonard Cohen has died….

Did you know that one of his signature songs was not that popular originally?

Don’t be surprised if you hear Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah dominating airwaves today as a tribute to the man described by some as the best songwriter who ever lived. But there’s quite the story behind the song covered by more than 300 artists, including Rufus Wainwright, Willie Nelson, Justin Timberlake, Neil Diamond, and Bob Dylan. Part of an album released in the US by an independent label in 1986—Sony “didn’t think it was good enough,” Cohen later said—it took more than a decade before it became famous, USA Today reports. Jeff Buckley, who first heard John Cale’s cover on a 1991 Cohen tribute album, recorded his own version in 1994. It was that version that finally became popular when Buckley died in 1997.

The creation of the song is also fascinating. Cohen reportedly wrote some 80 verses for Hallelujah—which took five years to complete—though the finished version contained only five, reports the Washington Post. He later recalled sitting in a New York hotel room in his underwear while “banging my head on the floor and saying, ‘I can’t finish this song.”” Today, it’s considered “pop music’s closest thing to a sacred text,” according to Maclean’s magazine. In his 2012 book on the song, Alan Light called it “an open-ended meditation on love and faith” that’s both “joyous and despondent, a celebration and a lament.” Of course, it’s not the only Cohen song worth listening to. Time points out five others, including one released this year.

In honor of his music and the sadness of his passing……I ask you to celebrate his music with me…..26 fabulous songs…..

Good bye old friend….you will be missed….Rest in Peace