21 November 2014

Paco Malo, Meet BradleyQ

This evening, through some mutual friends and fans, I learned of the passing of a relatively obscure songwriter/musician whom I had never had the pleasure of listening to. Because the news of his passing was eloquently shared on a social media post, an interest was sparked, and I took the opportunity to visit his Reverbnation page. What I got there was a close-up view into the beautiful soul of BradleyQ. And as I sat there listening, it occurred to me that, aside from any prayers of sympathy I could offer to his loved ones, the best thing I could do to celebrate BradleyQ's life was to listen, and to share that listening experience with others. How serendipitous it is that I would first share it on a blog that I have attempted to maintain in memory of a personal friend of mine, and creator of Gold Coast Bluenote, Paco Malo. He was such a big fan of and supporter of the arts, and I know that one of this blog's primary missions was to explore that passionate interest. So tonight, as Paco Malo and BradleyQ meet for the first time in that quaint little cafe on the corner of Celestial Avenue and St. Peter's Way, I simultaneously celebrate both their lives with a post of my own. Paco Malo, meet BradleyQ...

14 November 2014

I Remember Tampa

This is the original unplugged version of the Tampa Natives Show Theme Song, I Remember Tampa. Those of us who knew Paco Malo personally, know that he was very passionate about Tampa's history and that he was a huge fan of the Tampa Natives Show, as well as it's theme song. Here, the song is accompanied by video from a short film called "The Flower of Tampa", which was made in the 1950's by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce to promote Tampa and the cigar industry. The original 16mm film resides in the City of Tampa Archives and Records Department along with historic photos from the film's shooting. 

26 September 2014


16 July 2014

Thanks For the Memories...

Gold Coast Bluenote was founded in 2005, by Jim Kearney (aka, Paco Malo). It was a labor of love that he took on to share his knowledge and express his feelings about the music, the movies, the art, and the literature that shaped his life.  There are over 500 entries in this blog, and each contains Jim's unique insights and observations about a host of different subjects. Today would have been Jim's 57th birthday.  I am honored to be able to keep GCB up and running, and accessible to all who pass through to research, review, and remember the topics he covered. Please feel free to browse through his posts, commenting and sharing on any of them that has a special meaning in your life.

12 July 2014

Great Music, Great Friends

  The other night, I received a rather serendipitous email from a close friend of Jim's. It tells the story behind a Gold Coast Bluenote post that dates back to 2005. I thought it would nice to share the story as a post on it's own, complete with links to the original post, as well as to the music of Alison Krauss, who's beautiful voice inspired it.

It's funny how our lives weave together disparate elements, and make them inseparable. I was listening to some tunes last night. The music got me thinking about Jim, and GCB, and that in turn made me think of you.

Here's the back story behind an old post on GCB:(http://goldcoastbluenote.blogspot.com/2006/12/all-my-answers-turned-out-to-be.html). Alison Krauss and Union Station were scheduled to play Lakeland in Dec 2005. I wanted Jim to go see them, and to cover the concert for GCB.

Why? Union Station is the tightest band I have ever seen. Every member is a master musician. Some bands sound great on an album, but just so-so live. Union Station delivers the goods live, every time. Alison Krauss was then (is still) one of the best singers in the world. And she also has the instrumental chops to play with Union Station. Jim had never seen them; I wanted to fix that.

I knew Jim was a bit tight on funds, so I bought him a ticket. As we exchanged emails, it dawned on me that he had no way to get from Tampa to Lakeland and back. In for a dime, in for a dollar. I bought another concert ticket, and a plane ticket, and arranged to fly in from NC so that Jim and I could see the show together. One of the best nights of my life, by the way.

As Jim put it

First timers think they are just going to a concert; but after they listen to these musician’s musicians, they leave the show, just having found that Yahweh cuts us sinners a break now and again.

Digging around on youtube I found a great concert recording of AK/US. It's about three years before the show we went to, but has a quite a bit of overlap with the show we attended. I saw this 2002 tour in Durham NC, and it made me a fan for life. Sometime when you have an hour or so, read Jim's post, open a cold one, and give this a spin: http://youtu.be/HKgTra0QldE

Just one thing though. The concert Jim and I went to had a different encore, as mentioned on GCB. It gave me chills. Here it is, as performed on the Leno Show:

later bro,

01 July 2014

"Baby Doll": Our first glimpse of legendary character actor, Eli Wallach

For my first official GCB blog entry, I would like to pay tribute to Hollywood legend, Eli Wallach, who passed away last week, at the age of 89. His screen debut in Baby Doll (1956) showed us all a glimpse of the talent that would ultimately make him one of the greatest character actors of our time. Below is the link to a beautiful video produced by Turner Classic Movies, featuring many of the highlights of his career. Knowing the kind of movie buff that Paco Malo was, it is highly unlikely that he would have let the opportunity to recognize Eli's contributions to the silver screen slip by.

26 June 2014

The Shangri-Las: One Adaptable song I used to play as well as a Phil Sector "Wall of Sound" Gem

Hello Gold Coast Bluenote friends and followers. My name is Mike Baluja, and I am honored to say that I've been granted permission by Jim's family to maintain his blog. My primary objective will be to make sure that his body of work remains accessible to all those readers out there who are interested in the the topics Jim wrote about. I plan on reblogging many of his 512 posts and sharing them on various social networks. I will also do the best I can to attend to any comments or questions along the way. On occasion, I may be moved to post something of my own, sticking as close as possible to Jim's blueprint for GCB. I can't guarantee the same commitment to this blog that Jim showed, but I will definitely try to maintain the integrity and the love he had for music, movies, and art, in general. That said, I would like to leave you with what would have been Jim's final post. It was saved in draft form, so I imagine he still had a few things to edit before publishing it, but he never got the chance to. Here it is...

First, before the Phil Spector mono trip to Paradise, a personal favorite: The Shangra-Las The Train from Kansas City. With easy chords and adaptable lyrics I did a personal rewrite for acoustic guitar every time I play it -- depending on a special city of the lady the song was addressed to. I even included a spoken-over slowing and speeding that train up with a choppy D chord. I played Train from Kansas City every chance I got.

The song Paradise I discovered on a late friend's Phil Spector box set I'd highly recommend, Back to Mono from 1991. It's a comprehensive journey through Spector's pioneering work, including his most ending "Wall of Sound" work. What is the Wall of Sound? he Wikipedia Contributors let songwriter John Barry, "who worked extensively with Spector", describe it:
[It's] basically a formula. You're going to have four or five guitars line up, gut-string guitars, and they're going to follow the chords...two basses in fifths, with the same type of line, and strings...six or seven horns, adding the little punches…formula percussion instruments–the little bells, the shakers, the tambourines. Phil used his own formula for echo, and some overtone arrangements with the strings. But by and large, there was a formula arrangement.
From the songs include and Tom Wolfe's included essay, I learned the merits of mono production. To experience the Wall of Sound is quite simply to fall in love with it.

It seems I'm always working backward; the girl groups were biggest in the early '60s, when I was six. These days its trying to learn the music from the black R and B charts I've never had a chance to explore

For my money, lead singer Betty Weiss (front right) is the hot, hot, hot -- sexier to me than my imagination can muster.

15 June 2014

It is my sad duty to inform the readers of Gulf Coast Bluenote that its author, Paco Malo, has passed away.

As you may have imagined, "Paco Malo" was a pen name. I want to say a few words about the man I knew as "Jim".

We met in high school, and were friends for more than forty years. Jim was a gentleman and a scholar. He held a PhD from Johns Hopkins, and a JD from U of Maryland Law School. He loved to laugh, and did so in spite of a life too often touched by pain. He was a compassionate and generous soul. Jim was that guy who really would have given you the shirt off his back.

And he loved music, man did he love music. The GCB blog was his way to share that love and his wide-ranging knowledge of all things musical. Jim loved the community of blogging, the back and forth of comments, the connection with his readers. On his behalf I say to every reader of this blog, thank you.

For me this post completes a circle. Back in the day when blogs were a new thing I ran a blog, now long shuttered. Jim was fascinated, and had the idea to contribute guest postings, always about music. After a bit of that, he decided to go solo, and Gold Coast Bluenote was born.

Over the years Jim and I shared many a musical discovery. The last note I sent him contained links to a couple of performances I think he would have enjoyed. I don't know whether he got the chance to watch them. I will post them here, for you his readers, his friends.

The first is a bluegrass cover of "Wild Horses" by Old and In The Way. Jim was huge Stones fan, and he appreciated good bluegrass. The second performance features the superb Ana Vidovic. Jim never could resist a guitar.

I hope you enjoyed those, Jim. Ave atque vale, my friend.

One more thing. One of Jim's musical collaborators is going to try his hand at running GCB. That's a tall order, but I think Paco would have been pleased.


18 May 2014

Steve Earle, "This City" from "Treme" (2010)

Here's Steve Earle -- as a friend wondered "why isn't this guy famous?" -- doing the track over the closing credits for season one of the acclaimed HBO series Treme'.  The track documents the Army Corp. of Engineers engineered severe flooding of my beloved New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. . For a self-proclaimed Texas hillbilly singer-songwriter, Earle covers post-flood New Orleans like he grew up in this neighborhood.

Story-songs don't get much better than This City. The story Steve weaves together is solid American history. This City will last 'til the marble crumbles in D.C.

10 May 2014

"Laughing Out Loud": The Wallflowers (1996)

I love this deep album cut from The Wallflowers 1996 break-out CD Bringing Down the Horse. I've intentionally included the lyrics because they're so damn good. Enjoy.

25 April 2014

Warren Zevon: "The Wind" (2003): 'Fending Off Death Naturally Through the Transition from Immortality'

Warren Zevon's last record was released two weeks before he died. The CD arrived in yesterday's mail.  I give this masterpiece five stars with a bullet. Nonetheless, greater minds than mine have evaluated this record. Robert Christgau has been the quintessential rock 'n' roll critict, to my mind, since I first discovered him in 1972 and way before that. Here's Christgua on Zevon's The Wind:
The Wind (Artemis, 2003) Naturally he fends off death-the-fact the way he fended off death-the-theme -- with black humor. "I'm looking for a woman with low self-esteem" is how he sums up the succor he craves, and he finishes off a painful "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" with impatient cries of "Open up, open up, open up." But "El Amor de Mi Vida," "She's Too Good for Me," "Please Stay," and "Keep Me in Your Heart" mean what their titles say. Only by hearing them can you grasp their tenderness, or understand that the absolute Spanish one seems to be for the wife he left behind, or muse that while the finale addresses his current succor provider, it also reaches out to the rest of us. Everyone who says this isn't a sentimental record is right. But it admits sentiment, hold the hygiene, and suggests that he knows more about love dying than he did when he was immortal. A-
 That's an A+ analysis, but, in my humble opinion, I disagree on Christgua's rating. This essential "facing death" record gets an A.

Disorder in the House (w/ Bruce Springsteen)

21 April 2014

Ruben "Hurricane" Carter Passes

The StoryHirsch, James (2000) 
Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter
New York: Houghton Mifflin Company

The Song:
Bob Dylan lays this travesty of justice raw
during The Rolling Thunder Revue Tour
with his song Hurricane, from the album Desire (1975).
(Above is an alternate master.)

From the Wikipedia Contributors: "Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter (May 6, 1937 – April 20, 2014) was an American middleweight boxer who was convicted of murder and later freed via a petition of habeas corpus after spending almost 20 years in prison."

Rubin Carter, Requiescat in Pace.

18 April 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude", Redux

Gabriel García Márquez

This giant of modern writing passed away April 17th -- yesterday -- at the age of 87.
Señor Márquez, Requiescat in Pacehttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-27073911

A good cure for thinking the United States, capitalism, and magical realism are correctly called American is our fine, current Latin American literature. Garcia Marquez' masterwork should be a fixture in every library -- at home and for the public -- in North and South America. Truly a masterpiece and object lesson for nortes'. Verdaderamente instructivo.

13 April 2014

Carolyn Wonderland at Skipper's Smoke House: Texas Burnin', with a Cherry Red Custom Telecaster and a Lone Star Lady Singin' the Blues

Carolyn Wonderland at Skipper's Smoke House (April 8, 2014)

Carolyn blew my socks off. Carolyn was on fire, Texas style. Here's a little recent evidence:

TEXAS BURNING with Carolyn Wonderland: I Live Alone With Someone

04 April 2014

An Event that Changed America on April 4, 1968: "Shot rings out in the Memphis sky"

At 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, a shot rang out as [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther] King stood on the second-floor balcony of the [Memphis motel where he was staying while he supported] black sanitary public works employees ... who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages, [pay equity with white employees] and better treatment. From the Wikipedia Contributors on Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Reverend King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee -- the wreath marks the spot where King fell, mortally wounded. 
One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come, he to justify
One man to overthrow
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach.
One man betrayed with a kiss
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
(nobody like you...)
Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

In the name of love

What more in the name of love

In the name of love

What more in the name of love 

(U2, Pride (In the Name of Love), The Unforgettable Fire (1984)

31 March 2014

"Lost but not forgotten, from the dark heart of a dream"

Bruce Springsteen (1976)

You're born into this life paying,
for the sins of somebody else's past ...
You inherit the sins, you inherit the flames ...
Lost but not forgotten, from the dark heart of a dream,
Adam raised a Cain
Adam raised a Cain

26 March 2014

Steve Earle Covers His Mentor's Best: "Townes" : "Pancho and Lefty" (2009)

Backstage before going on at a gig with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan explains why Townes Van Zandt's song Pancho and Lefty is a national treasure:
He's (Townes) is like a philosopher-poet. He gets to the heart of it in a quick way; gets it out. It's over, and just leaves the listener to -- think about it. 
Here Steve Earle covers this superb, truly American song.

25 March 2014

Stephen Stills' "Manassas": "Both of Us (Bound to Lose)" (1972)

In the spring of 1972 perspective, Stephen Stills' band Manassas, Crosby and Nash, and Neil Young shared the Top Ten Billboard LP charts with three separate releases. During this record dominance by former members of the shattered supergroup, Rolling Stone found it "reassuring to know that Stills has some good music still inside him". (RS (109). Manassas stands by far as the best of what those artists released in '72. And with this record Stills expands on his original song structures.

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes established Steven Stills as a composer who could take three shorts songs about his ex-girlfriend and form an exquisite suite. On Manassas, each of the double albums four sides consist of a multi-song suite. Below is the track Both of Us (Bound to Lose) that closes the side one -- Suite: The Raven. On this track Stills not only gets to show off his harmony vocal prowess with Chris Hillman, but the song also closes with a fine latin rock movement powered by Joe Lala's percussion. Stills' deft electric lead guitar is on display throughout.

Yep, it was 1972.

(Manassas percussionist and Tampa native Joe Lala passed away this month. This one's in memory of you, Joe.)

13 March 2014

Toots & The Maytals - "Pressure Drop" / The Slickers - "Johnny Too Bad"

Here's a couple of cuts from The Harder They Come soundtrack that turned me on, in the early 80s, to the real deal -- reggae straight from the source: the isle of Jamaica. When it comes to my favorite deep album cuts from this record, Pressure Drop blew my mind the first time I heard the track and still gets me out of my chair to this day, over three decades later. 5 stars with a bullet!

The second cut, from The Slickers, has, to my ear, a whole different feel. And it still get 5 stars from me. Enjoy! 

18 February 2014

"Knockin' on Heaven's Door": Eric Clapton's Reggae Cover (1975)

Composed by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack of Sam Penkinpah's 1973 western drama Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Knockin' on Heaven's Door has gone on to become a folk rock classic. As the Wikipedia contributors note, "[t]he song describes the collapse of a deputy sheriff, dying from a bullet wound; he tells his wife 'Ma, take this badge off me; I can't use it anymore.'" Here's my favorite cover, a reggae influenced version by Eric Clapton from 1975, released as a single and on later compilations.

13 February 2014

"Sleepless in Seattle" (1993): The Perfect Valentine's Day Movie

I just saw this romantic comedy for the first time last night. Today, with a little help from some online research, I realized this 1993 film -- co-written and directed by the late, great Nora Ephron -- would make the perfect Valentine's Day film. Based in part on the classic Cary Grant / Deborah Kerr romance An Affair to Remember (1957), here's a contemporary film romantics of all ages can enjoy.

Happy Valentine's Day!

08 February 2014

Bonnie Riatt & Aretha Franklin: "Since You've Been Gone" (live)

In 1993, at the Nederlander Theatre in New York City, Aretha Franklin did an AIDS benefit featuring some gifted talents of the era, including Smokey Robinson, Bonnie Raitt, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Gloria Estephan and P. M. Dawn. Each spoke of how thrilled they were to perform with Ms. Franklin. When Bonnie stepped up, the two Rhythm and Blues greats combined to give us a unique, moving duet performance. That said, save some attention for Bonnie's soulful slide guitar.

28 January 2014

Genre Pioneer Pete Seeger Passes on to His Reward

Pete Seeger in 2007 (photo by Anthony Pepitone)

Folk legend Pete Seeger passed away yesterday. As one of my blogger mentors covered Seeger's passing so well, I pass it on here. 

Pete, Requiescat in Pace.

23 January 2014

A Mature Bruce Springsteen and The Big Man's Last Solo for Him

Bruce on tour in Europe (top photo) in support of Wrecking Ball (2012)

I just finished reading a collection of interviews, speeches and encounters, Springsteen on Springsteen (2012) containing Bruce's 2011 eulogy for his E Street Band's founding sax player, dear friend Clarence Clemons. After giving the eulogy, Bruce told an interviewer, he went home, put on The Big Man's sax solo in the yet unreleased song Land of Hope and Dreams, and cried. I love that song off Wrecking Ball (2012), an album I've enjoyed thoroughly since I got a copy last summer.

Mature; that's what this record is. Bruce's recent speeches and interviews attest to that maturity. Not really surprising; the man is 64. 

The daring arrangements and historically-aware ethnic diversity in the tracks, some of Irish and traditional immigrant folk with complete, authentic instrumentation. But there's plenty of the straight ahead, take-no-prisoners social commentary about the world we live in. I see plenty of charismatic rocker I've followed devotedly since the late 70s.

Springsteen on Springsteen may be best for die hard fans, but the album should bring new listeners from Bruce's international audience to the fold. (His photo up top was shot at a festival gig in Denmark.  

Here's a taste of mature, pure rock n' roll redemption.

14 January 2014

Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night": The Hitchhiking Sequence

{Reposted from 2009}
From Frank Capra's 1934 ground-breaking It Happened One Night -- the first film ever to sweep the major Oscar categories -- here's the film's most famous sequence: "Hitchhiking".

Claudette Colbert plays a runaway heiress and Clark Gable is the worldly reporter who can both help her escape her controlling father and also "get the story" that will bolster his career. ("Runaway heiress" was a common theme in films of the 30s and 40s. This film came out to low initial expectations, but, as word mouth got around, the film found it's audience and remains popular to this day.)

Two things to keep in mind regarding this sequence: first, the theme: "The limb is mightier than the thumb"; second, watch the film editing carefully as Colbert gets a car to stop from them. It's a perfect demonstration of the power of editing, showing Capra's genius emerging.

03 January 2014

"Where the eagle glides ascending, there's an ancient river bending ...." --Neil Young

From 1979, a year that rock saw punk and Anglicized reggae ascending -- here, with audience reaction removed, is an acoustic track from a live collection comprising one of Neil's finest albums.