Friday, 24 June 2016

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Fascinating article in the NY Times a while ago called, Which Rock Star Will Historians Of The Future Remember?

Note the singular Rock Star.  The authors premise is that in 300 years, Rock will have been rendered down to a brief footnote represented by one person.  Given our human propensity for over-simplification, and our attraction to hero myths, this is completely plausible.

Having successfully established that premise, the article goes on to examine and eliminate most of the obvious candidates, arriving at Chuck Berry.

Thats a very good conclusion, eminently argued in the article.  But my money is on John Lennon.  Yes, as the article explains, he was part of the Beatles, and groups dont qualify for the hero myth.  But Lennon has all the attributes ascribed to Chuck Berry and then some.  He also has the advantage of being a martyr, and the past 35 years would suggest that his hero-martyr persona will ultimately relegate the other three Beatles to walk-on roles in the larger Lennon legend.

Its not a stretch. 
John Lennon took a passing American musical fad and, with his band, turned it into an international sensation, defining the music and the culture of the times.  He died tragically, but his influence lived on for generations. 

So says the as yet unwritten music history textbook.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Let It Ring For Evermore

One of Jeff Lynne’s signatures – as a songwriter, as a singer, and as a producer – is poignancy, his ability to match the melancholy with the sublime.

Have a listen to ELO’s Telephone Line.   I think it’s one the best examples: heartbreakingly sad but so beautiful it’s sweet.

Thanks, Jeff.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Every Single Day Of My Life

Have a listen to The Beatles Got To Get You Into My Life.

9 notes spread over 2 bars;  in 3 seconds George delivers a perfect guitar solo.

Friday, 27 May 2016

After Considerable Thought …

Here’s all I can say about Rolling Stone’s 14 Classic Albums That Flopped When They Were Released.

Yeah, well.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Different Shades of Blue

One of the things I really dig about Joe Bonamassa is he’s an all-in-one deal.  

Play one of his CD’s and by the time you’re done you’ve had your Cream fix, your Zeppelin fix, your Allman fix …  Buddy Guy, B.B., Gary Moore, Rory Gallagher, Mark Knopfler, Taj Mahal … Humble Pie, Savoy Brown – the list goes on and on.

With Joe, you get all the major food groups in one very tasty blues-rock stew.

Like all great musicians, Joe Bonamassa has his own voice.  But like all great musicians, he’s a superb student of what’s come before.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

So Many Roads

With apologies to the purists, here are the songs that helped me figure out that  The Blues was the thing:
·      Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
·      Led Zeppelin When The Levee Breaks
·      The Doors Riders On The Storm
·      Canned Heat On The Road Again
·      Cream Crossroads
·      Led Zeppelin Since Ive Been Loving You
·      Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel
·      Johnny Winter Highway 61 Revisited
·      The Beatles Come Together
·      Creedence Clearwater Revival Suzie-Q

Yeah, I know but we all get there by different roads.  For me, Main Street was called Beatles Avenue.  Take a right at Rock & Roll Drive, left on Psychedelic Boulevard, left again at Hard Rock Road, slip down a back alley and you find this cool juke joint where theyre all playing:  B.B., Muddy, Sonny Boy, Howlin’’ Wolf, Hooker   all of em.

Does the road matter if we reach the destination?

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Relax and Float Downstream

Heres some Socratic reasoning:  Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles is an R&B tune because it has a hypnotic, driving beat.  It is also a folk song because its carried by simple strumming on an acoustic guitar.  But its pretty heavy, so you could argue its a rock song.  Or compromise and call it folk rock. 

Then again its very trippy, so really its psychedelic rock or maybe even early prog rock, since it lifts from other genres and quotes strange modalities.

Or you could say its all of those things, which happens to nicely sum up The Beatles.  Now, if you can say a single song can represent the diverse canon of the best group of all time, then obviously that song is the best song of all time.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Nevermind the …

According to Rolling Stone, punk is now 40 years old, as celebrated in The 40 Greatest Punk Albums of All Time.

Sure, you could call the release of The Ramones a start.  Or you could go back to the 60s with MC5 or The Velvet Underground.  Or you could look at pictures of The Beatles in Hamburg and marvel that the same guys played on Ed Sullivan wearing suits.  Then theres Elvis, or Eddie Cohcrane, or

Lets face it:  Rock and Roll has an edge.  It has attitude.  It has barely contained and badly channeled rage some of it sexual, some of it social.  Its for kids who have energy and excitement but no power.

Sometimes that music is raw and unnerving.  Sometimes its subjected to more refined production.  But the edge is always there.

Personally, I prefer well-produced music, but that doesnt mean I dont get (or enjoy) it when I hear whats come to be called Punk.  So rock or punk on, people.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

I Stick Around For More

Theres no way you could argue Bonnie Raitts Spit of Love, recorded in 1998, is an R&B tune.  Its got a classic hook, a hypnotic groove, and a solid, driving beat.

So how come Ive got it on my Psychedelic playlist?

Thursday, 14 April 2016


With the recent death of George Martin, Rolling Stone inevitably published a list of his Top 10 Albums.

The entry for America’s Hearts, and in particular the hit single Sister Goldenhair, got me thinking that he was really trying keep the Beatles sound alive.  I mean, can’t you hear The Beatles doing that song?

Then again, maybe that’s what they were all doing.  Let Me Roll It could be Paul doing a John song from the White Album.  John's Starting Over could be on Abbey Road.  So could George’s All Those Years Ago.

Not surprising, I guess, that they would all continue to share what they had learned from each other.

Lucky us.