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.

Closing Thought–18Sep20

50 years ago today….the music truly ceased.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of rock legend Jimi Hendrix….

Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942, and was raised mainly by his father Al, since his mother struggled with family life.

Already as a child, Jimi was crazy about playing the guitar. Coming from a poor background, he never considered going to college, and joined the army in 1961 instead, a way for young Black men to make a decent living.

But after spending only one year with the paratroopers, Hendrix broke his ankle during a jump and had to be discharged from duty. That’s when Hendrix started to accompany different R&B bands. 

He went on tour with the Isley Brothers, Little Richard and many other stars of those days; his turf was the so-called Chitlin’ Circuit, an association of African-American dance clubs dotted across the eastern and southern United States. His start in the music business was anything but easy, yet Hendrix got to learn from some of the best and fiercest performers of his time.

https://www.dw.com/en/jimi-hendrix-still-a-legend-50-years-after-his-death/a-54911395

I was fortunate enough to see Jimi in a club called the “Oleo Strut”…..the club held about 200 people and it cost me 2 dollars to get in the door.

Let me close out the week with a few Hendrix songs….and remember.

All Along The Watch Tower…..

Hey Joe……

Jimi has been missed for 50 years….without his guitar we wind up with crap like Nickleback.

Jime Hendrix…..1942-1970……

The Real Day The Music Died.

“lego ergo scribo”

Say Goodbye To A Legend

Yesterday the world got some sad news…..rock legend, Little Richard had died…..

Reactions are rolling in to the death of rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Little Richard, who died Saturday at 87, the AP reports. Among them:

  • “I’m so saddened to hear about the passing of Little Richard, he was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50’s,” Mick Jagger wrote on social media. “… I will miss you Richard, God bless.”
  • “Absolutely heartbroken this morning at hearing the news of the passing of my brother & friend, the great Little Richard,” Quincy Jones wrote on social media. “From our connection through our mutual mentor, Bumps Blackwell, to recording ‘Money Is’ & ‘Do It To It’ for the $ soundtrack, to doin’ the hang-thang at countless awards shows & industry events, every moment spent in Richard’s company was a thrill.”
  • “I just heard the news about Little Richard and I’m so grieved. He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy. His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do,” Bob Dylan tweeted. “…Of course he’ll live forever. But it’s like a part of your life is gone.”
  • “With his exuberance, his creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself, Little Richard laid the foundation for generations of artists to follow. We are so lucky to have had him. Sending all my love to his family and friends today,” Michelle Obama tweeted.
  • “Without a doubt—musically, vocally and visually—he was my biggest influence,” Elton John wrote on social media. “Seeing him live in my teens was the most exciting event in my life at that point. Goosebumps, electricity and joy came from every pore. His records still sound fresh and the opening few seconds of ‘Tutti Frutti’ are the most explosive in music history. … #RIP Little Richard.”
  • “I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in LA. I was a college student. He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much. God rest his soul,” filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted.
  • “#LittleRichard was a genius, pure and simple. He paved the way for (code for he was ripped off by)so many artists. Watch his YouTube performances to see what I mean. I met him on Down and Out in Beverly Hills”, in which he was hilarious. What a legacy. God bless you, Richard,” Bette Midler tweeted.

May he rest in peace…..

Be Well….Be Safe…….

“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

Closing Thought–12Jul18

I like rock and roll…put another dime in jukebox, baby……and now I would like to drop some history on you guys…….

The Day the Music died……and I am not talking about the song from the 70’s……….

Today, more like tonight, we will celebrate the day Disco Dies…….

Thirty-eight years ago this evening, a doubleheader at Chicago’s Comiskey Park devolved into a fiery riot when crazed fans stormed the field as part of anti-disco promotional event dubbed Disco Demolition Night. The whole thing was the brainchild of disc jockey Steve Dahl, who dressed up like the general of an anti-disco army and called his followers “The Insane Coho Lips.”

“I hate the taste of pina coladas,” he told newscaster Greg Gumbel on the fateful evening shortly before smashing a disco record against his head. “I’m allergic to gold jewelry, so there’s nothing there for me. You have to spend so much time blowdrying your hair. It’s a waste of energy.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/flashback-watch-disco-demolition-night-devolve-into-fiery-riot-206237/

Now you know the rest of the story……you are welcome.

I must go down for the day…..important stuff that needs my attention…..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

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

1984: The Musical

Day two of my mental relaxation…all is well…..cool nights, warm days, birds chirping and all is idyllic…..and then some a/hole has to crank up a leaf blower…….

Does anyone remember the rock opera Tommy?  Did you know there were others that were in the process but never quite made the cut?

Since Trump was elected president there has been an uptick worldwide in the popularity of the book 1984 by George Orwell…..but did you know that Bowie was working on a musical adaptation of the book?  (some great tunes)

David Bowie’s 1974 album Diamond Dogs introduced a new hodgepodge of musical styles: “The music,” writes Nicholas Pegg, “was a four-way tussle between the receding sounds of glam, the rising influence of black soul, the synthesized nightmares of The Man Who Sold the World, and the ubiquitous rock’n’roll swagger of Jagger.” With its echoes of A Clockwork Orange and William S. Burroughs’ The Wild Boys, Bowie called the songs on the album part of a “glitter apocalypse” and described its conceptual scenario as “the breakdown of a city… a disaffected youth that no longer had home-unit situations, but lived as gangs on roofs and really had the city to themselves.” His “fragmented lyrics and the portrait of urban America’s sordid meltdown,” writes Pegg, “were clearly indebted to Burroughs.”

Source: David Bowie Dreamed of Turning George Orwell’s 1984 Into a Musical: Hear the Songs That Survived the Abandoned Project | Open Culture

I hope my reader enjoyed this trip down memory lane with the great David Bowie and that the music was to their liking……

That is it for my weekend posts…..time to enjoy my days and nights….see you guys Monday with more stuff.