Flashback to February 7,1964. The Beatles land at JFK in New York for the first time and are greeted by thousands of screamers. Shortly after that, it was time to play meet the press.
The questions were pretty terrible, though some of the answers were priceless.
Two days later they would make their inaugural appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show". 73.7 million viewers tuned in to get a look at the band and popular music changed radically from this point on.
Cost of living at that time?
Average yearly income $5,880
Gallon of gas .25¢
Gallon of milk $1.06
Loaf of bread .21¢
1st class postage stamp .05¢
Pay phone (local call) .10¢
Look Magazine .25¢ an issue
Life Magazine .35¢ an issue
Movie ticket $1.25
Emerson 11" portable TV $139.95
Admiral 19" portable TV $139.95
Emerson transistor tape recorder (reel to reel) $79.95
Best Homes-(pre fabricated houses) $8,990-$17,990
Rolls Royce Silver cloud III sedan $16,655
Sunday, January 05, 2014
John and Paul, Paul and Art, Graham and Allan are just a few of the singers that were inspired out of their skulls by Phil and Don Everly. DNA cemented that beautiful pairing of voices, with Phil's harmonies walking a few feet off the ground, perfectly tracking his brother.
Countless hits, banned in Boston, twin Jumbo Gibsons, Two Yanks in England, decade long estrangement, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors...like so many others who have been captivated by their sound, I never tire of listening to the Everlys.
They crossed genres effortlessly, making some of the most influential music of the 20th century. Phil Everly retained that pure, golden voice right up to the end. His exit from this realm on January 3rd deprives the world of a true talent.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Weary, moribund with a touch of alcohol/drug fueled dysfunction thrown in to make things interesting , the five members of The Band decided to make their exit in grand fashion by serving up one big musical Thanksgiving feast at the Winterland on November 25th, 1976. Bringing a host of famous faces to perform alongside the quintet was an added bonus to those who secured a spot in the audience. Ask Martin Scorsese to capture everything on film? Now it becomes a momentous evening.
Despite having weathered the steady decline of their LP sales as the seventies progressed, internal interest in the group dynamic was waning. The spirit of communal creativity and work ethic that had fired their first two records had all but disappeared. Northern Lights/Southern Cross was a surprising return to form but that disc had to be squeezed out of them, taking a long time to complete. Uninspired in general, Islands could have been just as easily titled "Contractual Obligation". Robbie Robertson did not have much to say at that point, left unsupported by certain players whose debilitating habits had gained control of their calendars. The decision to pull the plug was met with a mix of consternation and relief.
Moving ahead with their plan to stage a monster send off, booze flowed, lines were chopped, turkey dinners prepared and consumed. Whispers that Dylan would show up were abound.
The resulting film is a gripping document, slightly pretentious in places and an unintentional wake for sixties attitudes that were swept away by what Tom Wolfe would christen as the "Me Decade". Given theatrical release in 1978, it remains a very stylish farewell.
Big time, Bill!
Musically, this is an incredibly tight affair with plenty of highlights. Having watched the footage many times over, it still retains a freshness that can mainly be attributed to the timeless quality of the songs. Joyous abandon can be witnessed on the faces of the musicians as they get swept up in moments that we are very fortunate to have etched in celluloid. From this vantage point, all of the big names that grace the stage are still young and in full command of their power as performers. Flashes of brilliance as Dr. John tickles the ivories in an extended solo piano outro to "Such a Night", the wicked grin of complicity that Neil Young and Rick Danko exchange during "Helpless" with Young wired tighter than an E string thanks to a buffet of coke that he had availed himself of before stepping out on stage. Clapton's guitar strap giving way and his neat recovery as both he and Robertson play like madmen, Levon's powerful reading of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" putting 100 years of southern anguish into a perfect few minutes. Van the man, resplendent in his sparkling purple suit, blazing through "Caravan" after a few whiskeys. Joni Mitchell? She turns in a stunning version of "Coyote". It's all there along with a sense that this isn't simply a loud, happy celebration of one of the most understated and influential musical aggregations that ever was. You are watching the spirit of a bygone era making one last, flickering appearance. Mr. Zimmerman strolls out toward the end to cap an amazing night. Drained and exuberant, all of the players assemble to join him and lend their voices to "I Shall Be Released".
With the three main voices of The Band no longer with us, The Last Waltz gives contemporary listeners a chance to experience the ragged, soulful beauty of the music. Make no mistake, these guys were top drawer in every respect. If you do own a copy, throw it on and turn it up really loud. That's what birthdays are for, after all.
Monday, September 02, 2013
Joseph Bridge has another teaser for listeners to check out in advance of his album release.
"Mr. Waterpump" bears the stamp of the adventurous, psychedelic songcraft that colored the work of certain UK artists in the mid sixties (Syd Barrett era Floyd, early Traffic). There is great structure here with a clever, wordless hook built in to the chorus. Radio Caroline in the UK has embraced the tune, where it has been heavily aired and requested. Refreshing in its austere arrangement, the song embraces an element of eccentricity coupled with a fine pop sensibility that makes it wholly accessible. Impossible to dislodge from the brain once you have taken it in, "Mr.Waterpump" is inspired.
From what I have heard of the tracks that will comprise the full length disc, there is much to be commended. Stellar set that is highly anticipated. Enjoy this gem for now...
Saturday, August 31, 2013
This blog is devoted to music of all types and those who create it. Please read on as I ask a small favor of those who kindly stop by to regularly read the posts here. I really do appreciate it.
A friend of mine is currently reaching out to folks who regularly utilize social media to engage and help support a very worthy endeavor. His name is Gordie Sampson and his CV as a musician/songsmith is quite impressive. He won a Grammy Award in 2007 for best country song of the year for Carrie Underwood’s smash hit “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” co-written with Brett James and Hillary Lindsey. Not to mention all of Sampson’s other hit songs, awards and achievements.
Sampson, who earned an honourary doctor of letters degree from Cape Breton University earlier this year, hasn’t forgotten where he comes from, either culturally or musically.
Continuing that legacy of strong, sophisticated songwriting perpetuated by Cape Bretoners such as Rita MacNeil, Allister MacGillivray and Jimmy Rankin, he’s found a unique way to nurture it in a younger generation of multi-genre musicians with the annual four-day Gordie Sampson Songcamp in Ingonish.
The Gordie Sampson Songcamp is fortunate to have The Ceilidh Cup golf tournament choose to donate funds from their annual event to assist Songcamp in expanding its activities throughout the year.
This means that the Gordie Sampson Songcamp has access to a $25,000 matching dollars fund where every dollar fundraised in 2013 has the potential to be matched by Softchoice Cares on a first come first serve basis for Ceilidh Cup 2014. Songcamp is also competing in the “P2P Challenge” for the remaining $25,000. First place receives $15,000, second place receives $7,500 and third place receives $2,500. Being a part of this Softchoice Cares is an excellent opportunity for future Songcamp funding.
To earn points in the challenge, a Facebook page called Ceilidh Cup for Gordie Sampson Songcamp has been created. Here’s the link
So what am I asking of you?
1. “Like” their page (They get 1 point for each "like")
2. “Share” their posts with your friends on Facebook (1 point for each)
3. “Comment” on their posts and page (1 point for each)
4. “Post” any pictures, videos and comments on their page and your pages (5 points for every post – these could be posts of any of their musical guests’ songs, videos, pics)
5. Encourage all your friends on Facebook to Like, Share, Comment and Post on their page.
6. “Tweet” a link to their page, videos, pics that are posted on Facebook to encourage more people to check them out.
This challenge goes to October 18th. With your kind help you can really make some impact. All you need to do is "like" and share the news on social media. Thanks again in advance!
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Joseph Bridge has just released a taster single with accompanying video and the industry buzz surrounding his efforts is growing exponentially.
"Phyllis the Parking Meter Lady" is a stunning exercise in creativity, esoteric beauty and economy, wrapped in a hook that ranks with the best that you've ever had the pleasure to encounter. Joining Joseph on the track is UK singer/songwriter Ian McNabb, who raises the game with his peerless vocals. All of the excitement and eclecticism that powered classic elite pop/rock anthems is present here with high production values, great musicianship and originality.
Remember a time when radio provided a diverse group of sounds and was never sparing on surprises? While it is new, this record has a timeless quality that will quickly earn a coveted position in your music collection and remain fresh when all other contemporary flavors of the week fall victim to obsolescence.
Phyllis was recently crowned record of the week in Holland and is now garnering airplay in the UK and Canada.
Over the next few days, I will be featuring two more fantastic new songs from Joseph Bridge. Stay tuned!
Find out more about the artist here
Issue of a full length disc is planned for fall 2013. Here's what people are saying about Joseph Bridge:
"WONDERFULLY ECCENTRIC ; A PSYCHEDELIC SUPERSTAR IS ON THE RISE!" -Radio Caroline (UK)
"GREAT TRACKS" -Bob Kraushaar;(Producer: Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Elton John)
"THE BEST BAND I'VE HEARD THIS YEAR" -Captain Sensible;(The Damned)
“REALLY SOLID STUFF” - Peter Noone;(Hermans Hermits)
"THE SONGS ARE STRIPPED DOWN AND SOLID TO THE CORE!" -Reverb Magazine
Thursday, August 08, 2013
The Great American Robber Barons have just issued a subtle, quiet song cycle that features the majestic crystalline lead guitar of Keith Dion, impassioned powerhouse vocals from Diana Mangano and masterful songcraft. They are joined by drummer Prairie Prince and jazz pianist Ricardo Scales.
Reno Nevada... and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal is a stellar debut record.
Keith’s lyrics are poignant, political, and literate. His poetic social commentary covers the 99% (“At The Hands Of The Robber Barons”), the atrocities of war, gun control, animal rights (“Conquistador” and “You Don’t Know The Half Of It”), and women’s rights. He also explores the painful complexities of growing up as a child of a Vietnam veteran.
Keith: “Every song on the album is about gambling, vice and betrayal, and we really mean it.”
Underpinning this subject matter with incredibly deft playing from all involved, as a listener you get a sense of space in the notes that they purposely don't play. The arrangements perfectly frame Diana and Keith's vocals, never overpowering them. Traces of the Byrds, Nick Cave, Lou Reed and Judy Collins are detected in the mix, though these elements are merely a reference point for those who want to get a preview of what the album has on offer. Highlights include "I Know You Just Don't Want Me Anymore" with Mangano turning in a dynamite vocal and their cover of Richard Farina's "Reno, Nevada" which has a dark, smoky vibe that lingers in your brain. The delicate, delayed guitar figures are the icing on the cake. Much to be commended here, though you would be advised to take in the entire disc to fully appreciate what Keith has to say. There are great rewards in store for those who take the time to seek this one out. Overall, it's an extremely satisfying listen.
Get your hands on Reno Nevada... and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal right here
Hit and like their Facebook page and find out more about the group.