26 December 2008

"From a Buick 6", Dylan Drives Dixie Down "Highway 61"

From Owen, after a healthy discussion of the film "I'm Not There", right here at little ole Gold Coast Bluenote.

Aw, shucks Bobby, go ahead and play "Dixie" -- we don't kill our poets any more.

20 December 2008

"The River's Gonna Run" - Sam Bush (with Emmylou Harris)

Sam Bush and Emmylou Harris (2006) during "Laps in Seven" Sessions

Sam Bush and Emmylou Harris collaborate brilliantly on this searing version of Julie Miller's "The River's Gonna Run"

'A storm of love going wild...'

16 December 2008

Ron Howard's New Film: "Frost / Nixon" (Trailer)

Ron Howard's new film on the story behind the story of Sir David Frost painstakingly drawing some truth out of Richard Nixon in 1977, opening in wide release Christmas Day, is a must see film for anyone under 60 years of age. You dude's 60 and over already know you should see it.

The trailer and back story of the film may be found here: http://www.frostnixon.net/website.html

11 December 2008

"Just Like Pagliacci Did, I've Got to Keep My Sadness Hid"

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: The Tears Of A Clown

Bob Dylan called Smokey Robinson our greatest living American poet. To my mind, this song is one of the pillars of this argument. Enjoy.

07 December 2008

The Kennedy Center Honors: Roger Daltrey & Pete Townshend

Check out this great piece from WashingtonPost.com, beginning with the epistemology of Pete Townsend, at a clearly too old too rock 'n' roll age, and in a mystery land of folks who, in this rock 'n' roll ballet, want to get fooled again and again and again.

"The Kids Are Alright".

06 December 2008

03 December 2008

29 November 2008

Anita, Keith, Gram, and Gretchen: Keith and Gram Solidify Their Outlaw Addict Images and Invent British Invasion "Cosmic American Music"

(left to right) Anita Pallenberg, Keith Richards, Gram Parsons, Gretchen Parsons

That vague reflection in the mirror is photogragher Dominique Tarle', responsible for a lot of pictures during the Exile on Main Street sessions.

Thanks to my commentors for helping me identify this picture.

21 November 2008

From "Blue": "A Case of You" - Joni Mitchell

From "Blue": "A Case of You" -- Joni Mitchell

A rhythm all her own. A voice for the gods. A rock 'n' roll soul. A river "to skate away on."

17 November 2008

"It's Me and One Good Wiper Blade, Up Against the Rain" -- Kim Richey

Kim Richey -- Those Words We Said (1995)

A new young voice and guitar that inspire as she breaks your heart. Check it out.

05 November 2008

Martin Scorsese 'Shines a Light' on The World's Most Once-Dangerous Band That's Still Around

"Champagne and Reefer" ( -- McKinley Morganfield) (featuring Buddy Guy)

'This Will Be the Only Scorsese Movie Without Gimme Shelter in the Sountrack'
( -- quip by Sir Mick Jagger regarding Shine a Light (film))

Sometimes, for this wanna-be professor of rock film, the ironies the Rolling Stones have amassed in their 45 year-and-going-strong run are almost overwhelming. In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a Stones fan for 35 years and have studied Scorsese's work for a quarter century. Now, instantly transforming myself from fan to critic, I gotta try to "... stick my knife right down [their] throat, and baby, and it hurts!"

Shine a Light (2008, film) slams me with responsibility I don't want. I just wanna enjoy the film. But my gosh darn "boy scout" ethics force me to muster whatever objectivity I can find in discussing this major rock film -- this collaboration by auteur Scorsese and these rock pioneers (and the cast of hundreds of technicians and musicians and inspirational artists that fuel their jets).

In a vain attempt to
demonstrate some objectivity, I observe that Ms. Christina Aguilera wishes we saw her public persona as a street-wise tramp credible, but she has no business on this stage: she would run screaming from the 1968 Jagger dreamscape nightmare of an apartment Sir Mick creates in the edge-of-madness-and-joy anthem "Live With Me" -- fake-skank at it's worst. On the other hand, guest contributor here, the Paullinator (a real musician), loved her performance in the film -- c'est la vie! You gotta make your own call on this one, I got bigger fish to fry -- and (drumroll):

Top Five Rock Films of All Time (in order):

1. The Last Waltz
2. Gimme Shelter
(documentary) (see Gold Coast Bluenote posts Part I and Part II)
3. Woodstock (Director's Cut)
4. Shine a Light
5. No Direction Home (documentary).

Honorable Mention: Festival Express, Hard Day's Night, This Is Spinal Tap, Rattle and Hum, High Fidelity


Shine a Light

Scorsese does it again folks, and all the time battling the headwinds of Sir Mick's ego. Analysis: of those "top five films" above, three were made and one was edited in part (Woodstock) by Martin Scorsese -- this body of work on rock definitively demonstrates two things: Scorsese is the man when it comes to rock 'n' roll film making; second, the Scorsese-heavy top five list above demonstrates conclusively why it ain't "only rock and roll".

Some Details:
  • "Under My Thumb" is both the soundtrack and documentary theme of the first ten minutes of pre-show mania. From both a flatbed truck promoting the tour on the streets of Chicago, and in Scorsese's first soundtrack album cut, Marty and Co. turn the cleave lights on The Glimmer Twins doing their eternal rock n' roll machine.
  • Jagger does his prima donna routine in front of, and at, Marty, putting his hubris on display so Marty can call him on it. Who's under whose thumb, anyway? Revealingly, Jagger is relentless doing his job, and Marty's patience appears boundless.
  • Almost everything here is the best live versions of these particular songs in films (I've been studying the old Stones concert movies and original studio tracks), e.g. Jumpin' Jack Flash (see below), Shattered (only better live when I saw them in '78), All Down the Line (Ronnie finally gets a chance to strut his stuff), Loving Cup (first time in film set list), and Just My Imagination (the horn arrangement makes it transcendent).
  • The "wave-riff" Keef and Mick Taylor weave in the studio version of Tumblin' Dice on Exile on Main Street is unsurpassable. Word up. Even here, the Exile original remains the definitive version of this classic. But here, with Ronnie on fire, Darryl Jones rolling the bass riff even better than Bill Wyman's effort on the original -- add Scorsese icing this cake with his choreographed editing, and this, mates, is the best Tumblin' Dice can be captured live.
  • Shine a Light shows a whole new Keef -- the happy ole man whose "Glad to be Here, Glad to Be Anywhere!" Mick Taylor and Brian Jones are unknown to most folks under 50, except, of course, my Godson "Captain Happy" (I am so proud of him!). Captain Happy gave me the inside scoop on Jack White, guest guitarist and duet vocalist on "Loving Cup": that would be Jack White of The White Stripes (Grammy winners for their last three albums, each record winning the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album (source: Wikipedia contributors)). White is letter perfect singing this duet of acoustic rock poetry with Jagger, with a smile on White's face showing he is realizing the dream of a lifetime. And his performance shows it -- he stands toe to toe with Jagger every note of the way through yet another Exile on Main Street deep album cut cover. (Capt. Happy reports further that he really liked The White Stripes' album Elephant.) (Anyone who thinks I digress here, just check out all the talent the Stones have toured with over the past four decades, bringing forgotten superstars and rising talent to their audiences. If the Stones are guilty of being a little too capitalist, they are all about promoting music their audience needs to hear.)
  • Jumpin' Jack Flash starts the set with Scorsese directing on the fly -- he gets the set list about two seconds before Keith hits the first chord, and Scorsese elegantly captures Keith flying across the stage getting the festivities under way. (I just bought the "Though the Past, Darkly" CD and have been listening to the original, all of it, for a comparison. They were a much more dangerous band back then. Now, it's really only rock and rock, great as it is. Back then it was still a revolution in our minds.)
  • You may notice that you never see anything but the entire Beacon Theatre stage lit perfectly throughout the film. As with the "Last Waltz" lighting, that is Scorsese at work. He is obsessive about his lighting, only stopping short of burning Jagger to get a particular lighting effect. "We want the effect, but we can't burn Mick Jagger," Scorsese quips to his lighting technician in the opening pre-concert segment of the film. Though the lighting in "Last Waltz" is superb, the lighting of the theatre here is perfect. You don't always notice, but it is always right. Again, Scorsese sets a new standard for the rock film genre.
  • DO NOT see "Shine a Light" in IMAX. Bent Guitar necks, wrinkles 8 inches long, grainy archival footage, flash editing by Scorsese that works fine in other formats -- just skip the IMAX.
  • For Stones addicts -- buy the DVD with the baby food money, NOW. Not tomorrow, now.
  • Across the Rest of the Universe -- see this film; its high point is in the clip above. Covering Muddy Waters' "Champagne and Reefer" with the Stones, Buddy Guy's lead breaks add a Chicago blues meltdown -- dude, Buddy burns the silver screen down. Jagger takes his harp playing to new heights because Buddy is staring him down: "Go on man, show me your stuff." A rare role for Keith emerges as he doesn't have to front the guitar work and gets to play fills, completely entranced by Guy's mojo. Keith then follows an old tradition of giving a guest performer your guitar if the guest artist tears up the main act's stage. This operatic moment closes with Guy humbly walking off stage, smiling, and all the while Scorsese and his boom mikes catching every detail. This is truly a performance for the ages.
"Shine a Light" will be the definitive document on a remarkable band. Hats off to Martin Scorsese, The Glimmer Twins, and both of their teams here. This film rewrites the book on how to make a rock n' roll concert movie.

Epigram: I can't get out without mentioning the last bit of Scorsese magic -- it's the closing steady-cam shot of the film, and just remember "Up, Up!"

31 October 2008

Just for fun: "99 Luft Balloons" -- Nena (1984, German version)

99 Luft Balloons
-- Nena (1984, German version)

Nena performing in Vienna on 3 May 2008

21 October 2008

George's Garden

With a little help from my friends:

04 October 2008

"Got Live If You Want It."

Hog Farm Members in Free Kitchen, Woodstock Music and Art Festival, 1969, photo (c) Lisa Law
[Editor Epigram:] More wisdom from inside the business: essential Guest Contributor King Bishop's second helping:
Let me begin this diatribe with a statement: I DON'T LIKE LIVE ALBUMS! Most are sloppily recorded excuses for getting an album out while we write material for the next studio album. Sometimes it's an excuse to revive previously released material and hopefully give it a second chance to hit (KISS ALIVE and FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE are two phenomenally popular examples of this), but my little article is about 10 live albums that I personally find exciting. This is just my opinion, but since I am King Bishop, my opinion is gospel!

Though this was the breakout performance for the most influential guitarist of the rock era and includes fantastic tunes (for example, LIKE A ROLLING STONE that Jimi dedicates to Bob Dylan's grandmother who he swears is in the audience!), the stage was stolen by the Incredible OTIS REDDING as white audiences were introduced to the electrifying performances of I'VE BEEN LOVING YOU TOO LONG, SHAKE, and TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS among others. Otis hadn't broke onto the airwaves yet, and sadly didn't till after his death. At the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME they have a piece of the plane that Otis died in. It says OTIS REDDING on it and gave me and my wife chills.

Not really completely a live album per se, because one side was studio (and strong! HEARD IT ON THE X, TUSH, MEXICAN BLACKBIRD, etc.), but the live side showcases the fun and power "the little band out of Texas " can display! One of their best!

Frank at his creative peak! Flo and Eddie telling the story of that famous MUD SHARK! (If you don't know the story, I'm not gonna tell you!) NOTABLE QUOTES: "Everyone in this room is wearing a uniform. Don't kid yourself!"

7.) LITTLE RICHARD'S GREATEST HITS (Okeh Records -1968 -- recorded at the Okeh Club)
This was at the height of Little Richard's revived career via TV talk shows as he tears through a set of his 50s hits and presents his over-the-top personality that makes this an absolute must! Listening to this helped create a love for 50s rock and roll that beats forever in my heart till this very day. NOTABLE QUOTES: "WANT ALL THE WOMEN SAY WHOOOOOOO! WANT ALL THE MEN SAY UGH!! OOOOOH MY SOUL!"

Jim Morrison. A live mike. Phenobarbital. Magic. NOTABLE QUOTES: "SHUT UP!!! NOW IS THAT ANY WAY TO ACT AT A ROCK AND ROLL CONCERT???"

Frampton was gone, Steve Mariott don't need no doctor and everything is cool...cold actually, STONE COLD FEVER! Their best!

Country's first million selling album (FOLSOM), Country's first # 1 album (SAN QUENTIN) and the only man who could make country music "cool" for everybody. Cash is at full power as excellence prevails. Both albums have been re-issued with the entire concerts included and we are all the luckier for it! NOTABLE QUOTES: "COULD SOMEBODY BRING ME MY BAG FROM THE BACK? YOU KNOW....THE BAG I KEEP ALL MY DOPE..ER...THINGS IN!"

Forget that Centerfold shit! Forget that Freeze Frame crap! This early Geils release has the band at their truest as WHAMMER JAMMER/HARD DRIVIN'MAN will scorch the speakers! With minor hit LOOKIN' FOR A LOVE, the band sears through some Otis Rush and other blues greats covers that will blow you away! Highly recomended!

This double album made GOD DAMN THE PUSHER MAN a household name! I don't believe I ever knew anybody of my age group that didn't have this album! Parents freaked as "I SMOKED A LOT OF GRASS...LORD I POPPED A LOT OF PILLS" blared through the weekly bunco club meetings and set the tone for the unrest to come! And it had a really cool lookin' wolf on the cover!

The soundtrack of a generation!! NOTABLE QUOTES: Arlo Guthrie: NEW YORK THROUGHWAYS CLOSED MAN! LOTTA FREAKS! Stephen Stills: THIS IS ONLY THE THIRD TIME WE'VE PLAYED LIVE. WE'RE SCARED SHITLESS!" [Editors Note: Stills is not kidding either; he has an ego the size of Texas and that Woodstock gig terrified him.] The music runs the gamut of Ritchie Havens, Joan Baez to Santana and the Star-Spangled Banner immortalized by Jimi! The soundtrack of a generation!!

There are many other "Live" albums that are worth noting (ALLMAN BROTHERS AT THE FILLMORE, LIVE/DEAD; AFTER BATHING AT BAXTER'S, etc.) and I'm sure you folks have your own personal faves! These are some of mine!
[Endnote: Thanks to my editorial staff and, again, to King Bishop.]

02 October 2008

27 September 2008

Cool Hand Luke Paroled Today

Requiescat in Pace.

"It's Only Make Believe"

The old video to this end of the fifties rock scene masterwork was a little too washed out, so I pulled up the tape of the first time I saw Conway Twitty do "It's Only Make Believe." Not only did this rather unremarkable kid (later Conway) go to school with my Mom, made me believe understand that serious rock and rock from the 50s contained a cohort of very cool musicians who dumped rock when they saw what was coming.

This clip is from Michelob (Anheuser-Busch's) "Night Music" series, hosted by David Sanborn with an eclectic studio musician house band that can blow your socks off and leave your shoes tied:

16 September 2008

Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt: "For A Dancer" (Turn it Up!))

The definitive cover of the most important song Jackson Browne ever. The "Western Wall" studio sessions cut is cleaner, but this live version has something a studio cut can never ever have again: these two angelic voices untouched and doing their sacred magic -- and Buddy Miller runnin' the band just to make sure everything behind these vocalists is letter perfect.

13 September 2008

"We Can Be Heroes, Just for One Day"


Original Video (partial), Studio Version of Heroes recorded in Berlin (1977)

Here, with Brian Eno co-producing, Tony Visconti producing and engineering, and Bowie doing his thing with an East Berlin Guard Tower in the studio window bringing the Cold War Berlin tension right into the tracks, The Artist formerly know as David Jones recreates the audio universe.

The touring band hit Baton Rouge with this riff live and washed the town into the river -- I'm still swimming towards the top to get some fresh air.

Essential with a bullet.

08 September 2008

From Sublime Stratocaster Prowess to Texas Flood Blues in a Hurricane: SRV

"It took me quite a while to realize that THE REAL DEAL is to be enough of a person on your own to know when somebody loves you and cares about you."
(-- Stevie Ray Vaughn)
Starting today, we will be mainlining Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble as our September Featured Artist on my black jukebox in the left column here. Today we start with with two peaceful electric cuts, SVR covering Hendrix' Little Wing in the YouTube live clip above, and Tin Pan Alley (The Roughest Place) as the lead cut on my jukebox. Each day I will add a cut filling in the raw power he holds in check with today's sublime warm up masterpieces.

Fasten your electric blues-rock safety belts. Nobody of his era shredded notions of what was possible on a Strat the way Texas-born SRV did.

SRV, as immortal as your music is, we miss you. Another victim of the road.

[Editor's Note, 18Jun2011: The black jukebox referred to above is lost to the blog-o-sphere.]

28 August 2008


Bright points of light
Shining out of darkness,
Dazzling me.
Like Neptune
Governing the depths,
Tossing me the occasional wave.
(-- Anonymous)

22 August 2008

From Mod to Glam to Metal to Dead: T Rex Rules

When I first heard Bang A Gong -- I was, instantly, Marc Bolan's riff-rock slave -- he kept me mesmerized with that riff he coined, latter briefly gathered together again by INXS, until two tragic deaths, years apart, killed it.

Or so I thought. That's what I get for thinking -- because rocker philosopher King Bishop gonna take over. Introducing, the living legend in my own mind, newe Guest Contributor King Bishop take:

(Me): Ready King...1...2....1,2,3,4 --

[King B.:] T.REXTASY!!!! After several years of folk-rock sucess in lesser -known bands like God's Children and Tyrranesaurus Rex, Marc Bolan and Percussionist Mickey Finn broke onto the british charts in spring of 1971 with the infectious HOT LOVE.Britian fell into a mania that wasn't seen since the Beatles.Combining simple, uncomplicated chord changes, nonsensical lyrics and a complete overdose of charisma Marc Bolan exploded and domineered Britian for the next 18 months. In the states, we embraced BANG A GONG, the album ELECTRIC WARRIOR and not much else.Production genius Tony Visconti was another important factor in the sound ( as were former Turtles-Zappa -Springsteen back up vocal specialists Flo and Eddie:Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman) but the breathy, almost whispering leads by Bolan make his sound unmistakable! TV commercials and modern films have embraced Bolan as his music is still all over the place. I have always said that Marc Bolan gets away with things I would hate somebody else for doing but when he does it, it's cool! Do I understand it? Naw, just love it! T.Rex made one film, an Apple film(The Beatles Apple, mind you) with Ringo at the helm, co-starring and playing a mouse. Elton John also appears and segments were filmed in John Lennon's back yard. This was commercially released in 2005. My son, taking a college course in audio engineering was studying recording techniques taught by a former BABE RUTH bassist. T.Rex became the discussion and my son mentioned the movie BORN TO BOOGIE. No one had ever heard of it and my son became the class kingpin for not only hearing of the film, but actually seeing it! His dad has owned a bootleg copy since 1989.
(-- by King Bishop, all rights reserved; copyright Mango Turnpike Ltd, LLC, 2008.)

13 August 2008

"I been walkin Central Park, singing after dark"

Rolling Stones
, Miss You.
'People think I'm crazy. But I miss you chile'.'
(Unedited) original issue (1978) Some Girls album cover with photo sleeve faces

Yo! China -- Either Lay Off Tibet or ....!

12 August 2008

And the Great Wall of Moaist Mainland China Comes A Tumblin' Down

Repost due to breaking news relevance:

With Tibet in the News

Of late, Tibet has been, and will continue to be, much in the news. For a quick, artful study of what all the fuss is about, see Martin Scorsese's biopic of the early life of the current Dalai Lama, Kundun (1997).

28 July 2008

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Channeling Sacred Fire in 1978

The force-of-nature pop music professor, whiteray, at Echoes in the Wind, found this YouTube clip. I note below both his take on it, and then mine, (both entries below reposted from his blog (link supra), on Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's 1978 tour. The YouTube clip and the show I saw were less that two months apart. Wanna know why Jon Landau said, "I have seen the future of rock and roll ...", check this out.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Channeling Sacred Fire, on "The Darkness on Edge of Town" Tour (1978)

whiteray: "....And here’s a black-and-white clip of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band performing “The Promised Land” at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey, on September 19, 1978. The visuals are a little grainy, but the music is excellent. ...."

: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band were on the "Darkness on the Edge of Town" tour during the show in the clip -- I saw their St. Petersburg, FL gig in August, very soon befor this clip was shot.

Bruce was burning up with an inferno of inspired passion, of sacred prophet fire that I do not believe, until The Rising, his 9/11 album.

Live Darkness beats families turning to pink dust in the New York sky ever time.

Guitars wailed through the night like "singing winds and crying beasts." And then, you enter,
Candy's Room .... 'Yea, I'll pay the price, and I'll be there on time.'

"We are born into this life payin', for the sins of somebody else's past."

Are you down with that?


23 July 2008

Classic Screwball Comedy: "Unfaithfully Yours"

With unwarranted modesty, "Miss Spaulding" -- a colleague of mine at Golden Age of Hollywood -- has kindly consented to reposting of her take on this little known, multi-faceted, masterful screwball comedy by the inimitable Preston Sturges:
I hope you can forgive my lack of a professional explanation on this. ...I'll do my best. :-)

It's full of blunt, hateful and snappy wit, which I love. It's brisk, but not too fast paced.
I like how different it is to most comedies that are of a similar plot, it's more clever. Instead of a guy typically confronting his wife of her unfaithfulness, or even hiring somebody to follow his wife on the suspicion of her possibly having an affair, this guy relies solely on himself to handle the situation. While conducting his orchestra, and driven by extreme paranoia and jealousy, he comes up with three possible solutions to his problem: murder, forgiveness or even suicide. All three of which he day dreams. He rushes home after the symphony to carry out one of his solutions, but it doesn't work out, in fact, none of three possibilities go as planned. (Isn't that how it always goes?)
Like I said, it's different. Maybe I like it so much because I'm a day dreamer myself. The fact that he schemes up each solution while day dreaming is appealing to me I suppose.

I suggested this movie [to covert someone who avoids black and white classics] because I think a woman would probably find a little more enjoyment out of it, hence the fact that Rex Harrison's character is being driven out of his mind with paranoia and jealously over the woman he loves whom, he believes, is being unfaithful. It's sick, but I think us gals tend to get a kick out of such things. :-D

I really hope this helped.
You have, Miss Spaulding, thank you.

17 July 2008

What Is the Most Important Event of July 1969?

Controversial, but the real, cover of the self-titled Blind Faith album (1969)

July 1969? -- no, not my 13th birthday, but thanks.

Answer: release the album Blind Faith. The tracks
Can't Find My Way Home (live filmed version here) and Presence Of The Lord (audio only album version here) will live forever.

Can I get an

Most folks pick the
first moon landing as the most important event of July 1969. Very important, I was there watching the rocket take off on the 16th, but without the two songs noted above, my life would be empty and confusing. Now it is neither.

13 July 2008

"Some People Always Finish Last, Still I Ended Up a Badass."

Yes, folks, the circle game. I'm back in a Kacy Crowley faze. Luckily, I fell for her musical talent before I ever saw here. When I found this video for her achingly beautiful "Badass", it became "too many for me."

08 July 2008

"I Could Drink A Case of You, And I Would Still Be on my Feet"

Publisher's note: Fan reaction to the Gold Coast Bluenote jukebox rocketed her to #8 on the Rosedale, Mississippi Juke Joint charts this week. The Publisher will therefore leave the juke joint jive up top, as lead post for a while longer, until demand drops off. And the Sandman, our graveyard shift DJ, has a great new track for you today: dedicated to the one who everybody loves -- that old school universal love thing: "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell, from her 1971 album Blue.

Et Toi!

04 July 2008

Our New Jukebox - Front and Center for a Few Days

A good deal of this music is here because dear friends have helped me rebuild my collection. I cannot thank them enough. Underlying software platform and server space provided courtesy of Kevin and all the fine folks at Golden Age of Hollywood. Moreover, the members at GAOH have built jukeboxes of their own that cover everything you could want in an eclectic on demand collection. It will blow your mind.

Thanks to all you swingin' cats!

30 June 2008

".... Some fools fool themselves I guess, But they're not foolin' me ...."

"Love Hurts" (-- Felice and Boudleaux Bryant),
from Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris, Grievous Angel (1973);
also included on Emmylou Harris' retrospective Heartaches & Highways (2005)

Discussing this song, the All Music Guide notes, ".... As a vocal duo, Parsons and Emmylou Harris only improved on this set ["Grievous Angel" album], turning in a version of "Love Hurts" so quietly impassioned and delicately beautiful that it's enough to make you forget Roy Orbison ever recorded it. ..."

That's a good assessment, but what follows is a great one. One of my collaborators, who wishes to remain anonymous, reacted the same way I did the first time she heard this Parsons / Harris cut:
First, this version is infinitely better than the one I know from the radio. Why don’t they play this instead? I had never heard this version, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
The version I know (Nazareth?) is maudlin compared with this—wailing instead of telling the story from the heart. [Editor's note: "... (Nazareth?) ...." -- correct; also covered by "Incubus": both heavy metal bands doing this number as a "power ballad".]

This version is much more tender, which softens the message “love hurts” and makes it not a complaint but a wise acceptance of the risks of love. Emmylou’s singing adds something especially delicate; I just wish her voice were a bit louder in the mix.
It starts out beautifully—I loved it instantly—but then it gets even better. The phrase “Love is like a cloud: holds a lot of rain” is almost unbearably beautiful. Emmylou’s intonation is spot on.
You can check out "Love Hurts," performed by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, on my jukebox in the left column here.

25 June 2008

Good Morning, Internet!

Legendary Disk Jockey Wolfman Jack

{Different station, a digital world now; 12:11 am, any night you're listening:}

Yes, dudes and dudettes, this is the Sandman here introducing the new Gold Coast Bluenote jukebox. Tired of reading that Paco dude go on and on as he learns to write? Just check out our new expanded left column: there you will find the greatest little jukebox in the world. To get your mojo workin' this morning let's start with a blast from the past -- the ever sensual Miss Dusty Springfield leading you right down the path to solace and destruction, with "Breakfast in Bed," from her Ultimate Collection.

Note: This jukebox is made possible by the software engineer and fine folks over at The Golden Age of Hollywood.

23 June 2008

George Carlin, 1937- 2008

In his later years, Carlin could be brilliantly funny, sometimes bitter, and philosophically mind blowing.

George, rest in peace, you rapscallion you.

19 June 2008

"One More Cup of Coffee Before I Go, To the Valley Below"

Cate Blanchett
as one of six actors portraying a distinct aspect of Bob Dylan's Internal Personal Journey
in Todd Haynes' film I'm Not There.

As with many great films,
I'm Not There asks more questions than it answers. For example:
  • How would one get Cate Blanchett to look like Bob Dylan in his angry early 20s?
"Every picture tells a [thousand] stories, don't it?"

That is she in silhouette above. She truly channels the young, tortured genius (it must be noted, Mr. Dylan would rather I just wrote "Portrait of the Dog as A Young Artist," and shut up.) It's like a chocolate subway full of Canadian mucisians, a wanderer from Minnesota, Jesse James, and an Arkansas drummer. Nobody tells Blanchett, Dylan, or Me what to do, except our Muses -- as for me and Bob, our demons get a big say too.
  • Six actors to play one, real, living person?
If there was ever any doubt as to how important Bob Dylan has been to our culture, the fact that Hayes pulls this off settles that; Dylan is a legend in his own time. Are you down with that?
  • Yes, the remaining doubters might say, but what about that sandpaper voice?
That is the voice of you and me, of every man, woman, and child. When Dylan teaches us strident intolerance of any lie, you be glad he sounds like that. I'm thankful I got one overlapping reincarnation.

I'm starting to rant; let me wrap this up. To summarize:
This is a modern masterpiece for Dylan junkies and also a perfect introduction for those open to learning about our greatest living philosopher poet.

Now, how about one more cup of coffee while we wait for the city to fix the pump handle broken by the vandals?


Because of the fashion in which I'm Not There handles one of the five most important moments in rock 'n' roll -- Dylan, Bloomfield, Al Cooper, and The Hawks going electric at the Newport Folk Festival, see No Direction Home first. This Martin Scorsese documentary is also available on DVD and well worth buying.

15 June 2008

"Love in Vain": Before Mr. Johnson Wrote This -- There was Nothin' ...

Robert Johnson's Love in Vain performed by the best Stones lineup ever

After Robert Johnson wrote this song in 1937, there was rock n' roll.

Keef handles the arpeggios; Mick Taylor handles the Olympian duties on slide guitar, masterfully. Gram Parsons, working with Keef at the time, was a big influence on the final arrangement performed here.

"Welcome to the very first blues/rock song. Glad to see you! Settle back, can I get you a drink?" (-- Me)

Epigram: My editor, quite correctly, points out that a bold statement such as "first blues/rock song", from 1937 no less, deserves more discussion. When she's right, she's right.

The key dilemma here that lead me astray is that the story behind that "bold statement" is a legend. I am saved, however, because rock 'n' roll is, in essence, all legend.

Anyway: In the Mississippi Delta country, Mr. Johnson was just an average player, not even a match for his collaborator Sun House. Then, one moonless night, Mr. Johnson went down to a rural crossroads. At that crossroads, there he saw an apparition -- turned out to be The Devil.

Robert and Mr. D. got to talkin' -- a bargain was struck. Johnson got the original rock licks from The Devil, gladly trading his mortal soul for such a treasure. That legend continues to grow today, over three quarters of a century later.

10 June 2008

Music of the '80s That Matters: "Fortress Around Your Heart"


Fortress Around Your Heart: Sting & Co.

Fortress Around Your Heart is from Sting's first solo effort after The Police disbanded -- the trio has never officially broken up. That album, Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985),
is Sting's attempt to form a serious jazz band fused with, well, Sting.

In the film Bring on the Night, director Michael Apted documents the promotional tour preparation process. The live album Bring on the Night covers the tour itself; the clip above is from this tour.

And when I say all-star jazz band, I mean all-star jazz band -- just check out the lineup here. The Branford Marsalis saxophone mojo is just the start.

With such a timeless allegorical love poem as this, you deserve nothing less than access to the lyrics. They are reprinted below. Be prepared to totally dig this tune.

"Fortress Around Your Heart"
(-- Sting, album version lyrics)

Under the ruins of a walled city

Crumbling towers and beams of yellow light
No flags of truce, no cries of pity
The siege guns had been pounding all through the night
It took a day to build the city
We walked through its streets in the afternoon
As I returned across the fields I'd known
I recognized the walls that I once made

I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I'd laid

And if I built this fortress
Around your heart

Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge

For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire

Then I went off to fight some battle
That I'd invented inside my head
Away so long for years and years
You probably thought or even wished that I was dead
While the armies are all sleeping

Beneath the tattered flag we'd made

I had to stop in my tracks for fear

Of walking on the mines I'd laid

And if I built this fortress around your heart

Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire

Then let me build a bridge

For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire