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Wilco forms own label called dBpm Records

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Six Planes Over Marina City

Good for them: artists should take control of their own destiny in the 21st century: major labels may have distribution power, and vertical integration clout, but so often the corporations don’t have the interest of the band, or its fans, as part of their mission. Can Wilco revise the Lounge Ax too?

Wilco took another step Wednesday toward becoming a self-contained music company when the Chicago band announced it was forming its own label, dBpm Records.1

The label will be based in Easthampton, Mass., and run by the band’s manager, Tony Margherita. Distribution will go through Anti- Records, an offshoot of Los Angeles punk powerhouse label Epitaph. In recent years Anti- has released albums by a wide range of acclaimed artists, including Tom Waits, Neko Case and Mavis Staples.

The sextet is working on its next studio album in its rehearsal space on Chicago’s North Side. No release date has been set. The band’s 2011 tour dates include an appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and a reprise of its Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Mass., on June 24-26. 

(click to continue reading Turn It Up: Wilco forms own label, severs ties with majors.)

 

Footnotes:
  1. no website yet []

Written by Seth Anderson

January 27th, 2011 at 9:48 am

Posted in Business,Music

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Wanda Jackson and Jack White

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Sounds interesting. I liked Jack White’s collaboration with Loretta Lynn from a few years ago too

In the years since, [Wanda Jackson] has swung from rock to country to gospel, earning a cult following as the Queen of Rockabilly. Now, like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Mavis Staples before her, she is the latest veteran artist to work with a devoted younger producer, in the hopes of a third-act career shift.

On Tuesday, Third Man and Nonesuch Records will release “The Party Ain’t Over,” Ms. Jackson’s first studio album in eight years and the first produced by a paragon of contemporary rock: Jack White. The collaboration, with Mr. White playing guitar, is largely retro, a collection of covers recorded live with a 12-piece band. But everyone involved hopes it will introduce Ms. Jackson to a new audience, affording her a level of attention that’s closer to her more famous contemporaries like Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, all of whom she performed with. “She’s influential to every modern female singer, whether they know about her or not,” Mr. White said. “She broke down those walls in the beginning, when it was the hardest to do.”

Since she was discovered at 15 in Oklahoma City, Ms. Jackson’s career has been etched by men: Hank Thompson, the country star who got her signed after hearing her on local radio; Elvis, who encouraged her to wield her singular voice — a graveled purr — in rock instead of country; Wendell Goodman, her husband of 50 years, her tour manager and constant companion; and now Mr. White. But through it all she has become a shimmying emblem of female independence in a male-dominated industry, testing boundaries with her forward style and lyrics about mean men and hard-headed women (and those are the love songs). As she allowed, winkingly, at the Knitting Factory show, “No wonder I have a bad-girl reputation.”

(click to continue reading Wanda Jackson, Rockabilly Queen, Prolongs Her Party – NYTimes.com.)

Jack White and Ms. Jackson seemed to have gotten along:

Initially Ms. Jackson and her husband hoped to make a Sinatra-and-friends-style duet record. “I think those kind of albums should be made illegal, they are such a bad idea,” Mr. White wrote in an e-mail. Instead he preferred to get Ms. Jackson in the studio at his home in Nashville, recording an album of her own.

She was reluctant at first. “I was nervous about it because I didn’t know what he was going to expect,” she said. And she worried that her rockabilly fans would rebel at more contemporary stuff. “Wendell kind of had to drag me into the studio kicking and screaming,” she added.

Mr. White, who first heard “Let’s Have a Party” as a teenager in a cover by the 5678s, an all-girl Japanese garage-rock group, put her at ease quickly, helped by the familiar songs he selected: the Andrews Sisters’ “Rum and Coca-Cola,” Bob Dylan’s “Thunder on the Mountain” and the country staple “Dust on the Bible.” Ms. Jackson suggested an Elvis tune, “Like a Baby,” and they both loved “Teach Me Tonight,” recorded by the Cuban-born De Castro Sisters.

One song that Mr. White offered made his singer balk — Amy Winehouse’s “You Know That I’m No Good.” Some of the raunchy lyrics were too much for Ms. Jackson, a born-again Christian since 1971. So Mr. White rewrote them. “He sang in my headphones with me to teach me the melody,” Ms. Jackson said, “and then once I got it I said, ‘Oh yeah, this is a great song.’ ”

But he was a demanding producer. “I’m not really used to that,” she said.

In the studio Ms. Jackson likened his approach to a “velvet brick,” which he said was one of the best compliments he’s ever received. (“It’s got me wondering about coating my tombstone in red velvet flocking,” Mr. White said. “I’m looking into that.”)

They played with the song selection to achieve the right mix of inspiration and believability. “Making an album of rockabilly covers would’ve been too easy and boring,” he said. “The idea was this woman has an attitude in her that can work in calypso, funk and yodeling, just like it can in rockabilly. Wanda and I wanted to get someplace further out there and see what she could pull off at this stage in her career.”

Written by Seth Anderson

January 23rd, 2011 at 3:32 am

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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Bob Dylan signs six-book deal

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Wild mercury

Bob Dylan has signed a deal to write six more books for his publisher Simon & Schuster, including two works of autobiography to follow Chronicles: Volume One, the highly-praised memoir of his early years published in 2004.

The prospect of further Dylan memoirs will create great anticipation even though publication date remains tantalisingly unconfirmed. Fans have been agog since Simon & Schuster revealed in 2008 that Dylan had begun work on the next book.

Waterstone’s spokesperson Jon Howells said it was “hugely exciting for any Bob Dylan fan and for any aficionado of rock history” to hear that two more books of memoir were definitely on their way. “Chronicles set a new standard in what people expected from a rock’n’roll autobiography, and was a revelation,” he said. “No one expected him to be so open, and the writing was completely in his voice, and essential reading. Another volume is great, two more is fabulous news.”

(click to continue reading Bob Dylan signs six-book deal | Books | guardian.co.uk.)

 


“Chronicles: Volume One” (Bob Dylan)

Chronicles Volume One was surprisingly good

and of course, Bob is Bob:

Dylan’s publisher has suffered a hiccup in obtaining a follow-up. Hannah Corbett, a spokeswoman for S&S, said the initial arrangement with Dylan had been made on “shifting sands”, with the singer-songwriter “very hard to pin down” on how many books he wanted to write.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 19th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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Bukka White – Aberdeen Mississippi Blues

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Amazing tune, really, from an amazing guitarist. Sounds simple, but yet it isn’t.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsMpHHSLSlc

I’ve studied this song for a long time, and cannot get this phenomenal right hand rhythm string-slapping pattern down. Probably why Bukka White is a guitar god, and I am not.

Bonus: Poor Boy Long Way From Home, lap style.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0jRX69mxcE

And since I looked it up, since it is Booker T. Washington White’s hometown:

Aberdeen is a city in Monroe County in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The population was 6,415 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Monroe County.Located on the banks of the Tombigbee River, Aberdeen was one of the busiest Mississippi ports of the nineteenth century. Cotton was heavily traded in town, and for a time Aberdeen was Mississippi’s second largest city. Today Aberdeen retains many historic structures from this period, with over 200 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. In the spring of each year, Aberdeen hosts pilgrimages to its historic antebellum homes. The most prominent of these antebellum homes is The Magnolias, which was built in 1850.

(click to continue reading Aberdeen, Mississippi – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

One version of the lyrics goes something like this (but not the song above, some is the same, not all):

I was over in Aberdeen

On my way to New Orlean

I was over in Aberdeen

On my way to New Orlean

Them Aberdeen women told me

Will buy my gasoline

Hey, two little women

That I ain’t ever seen

They has two little women

That I ain’t never seen

These two little women

Just from New Orlean

Ooh, sittin’ down in Aberdeen

With New Orlean on my mind

I’m sittin’ down in Aberdeen

With New Orlean on my mind

Well, I believe them Aberdeen women

Gonna make me lose my mind, yeah

(Slide guitar & washboard)

Aber-deen is my home

But the mens don’t want me around

Aberdeen is my home But the men don’t want me around

They know I will take these women

An take them outta town

Listen, you Aberdeen women

You know I ain’t got no dime

Oh-oh listen you women

You know’d I ain’t got no dime

They been had the po’ boy

All up and down.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 17th, 2011 at 12:11 am

Posted in Music

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The Pope Finished Reading Keith Richards Life

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The Pope reading Keith Richards autobioThe Pope finished reading Keith Richards autobio, Life.

I did too.

I’ve consistently done a horrible job memorializing the books I read and films I watch1 because I’m a damn lazy blogger. Before I started working for myself, which coincidentally was also before the omnipresent distraction of the internet and Netflix, I easily consumed five or ten books a week, every week, for years and years without fail. Those days are gone, but still, I do manage to read a few dozen books a year, too bad I haven’t been more diligent about recording which ones.

Films aren’t so hard – I don’t have a moral objection to posting the blurb about movie with a sentence or two of my own reaction, and in fact, expect to see more of those sorts of blog posts in 2011, but book posts are more difficult.

I assume part of the problem is that I always am juggling ten or fifteen books at any given moment: I keep a stash of books in most places I might snatch a moment or two of leisure time – office(s), bedroom, living room, camera bag, iPad, wherever. Unfortunately, this often translates into me *not* finishing books nearly as often as I finish.

Also, since I have fond memories of being a history student at UT, I catch myself wanting to delve a little too deeply into my reviews, instead of tossing out a few thoughts. I’ve had a blog since 20032, so know myself well enough to be cognizant that long posts are rarely completed. Nobody is issuing me a grade based on the profundity of my thoughts, I need to stop pretending .

Long winded intro aside, new year, new rules. Well, attempted new rules. Check back in a few months, and see.

—————-

Keith Richards and James Fox wrote Life, an enjoyable romp through the 1960’s, 1970’s, and beyond through the eyes of the most interesting member of the Rolling Stones. Richards frequently claims the reason he survived his decade of being a junky was because he was never greedy about trying to “get more high”, but a few pages later, Richards is so out of it, he’s nodding off while driving a carload of people. Internal contradictions, and unreliable narrator, in other words. Some of Life is a bit self-serving, especially when Richards boasts of his drug-induced stamina, and some is cringe-worthy such as when describing his relations with women met on tour, but fun nonetheless. By the mid-1980’s, Richards runs out of interesting things to say, and the last chapter is even worse – less recollection directly from Keef and more from various compatriots in his circle, or his son, Marlon.

Patience please

No matter, the Rolling Stones made three great, desert island records,3  another near great album,4 and a bunch of great songs on various other albums, or as singles, and Keith Richards would be a fun dude to be buddies with, if you could handle it. If they would have broken up as they released Tattoo You, I’d respect them a lot more, since nothing released since then5 has been much good. I cannot really criticize musicians for continuing to do what they love, we’ll just say I’m not interested in the current incarnation of the Stones.

Liz Phair:

He’s been a global avatar of wish fulfillment for over four decades and managed to eke more waking hours out of a 24-hour day than perhaps any other creature alive (thanks, Merck cocaine and amphetamines!). As Keith puts it: “For many years I slept, on average, twice a week. This means that I have been conscious for at least three lifetimes.”

You better believe it. This cat put the joie in joie de vivre. As the legendary guitarist for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards has done more, been more and seen more than you or I will ever dream of, and reading his autobiography, “Life,” should awaken (if you have a pulse and an I.Q. north of 100) a little bit of the rock star in you.

“If you want to get to the top, you’ve got to start at the bottom,” he says, “same with anything.” Born in 1943 to parents who met as factory workers, Keith was raised in Dartford, an industrial suburb of London. Through the marshes behind the many “lunatic asylums” that seemed to populate Dartford in disproportionate numbers, Keith learned what it felt like to be helpless and afraid, serving as a daily punching bag for bullies on his way home from school. By the time he fought back and won, he’d discovered a fury in himself for which he would later become infamous. The plight of the underdog was his passionate crusade, and anyone or anything that represented injustice in his eyes was fair game. Kate Moss recounts a hilarious anecdote from 1998 in which Keith, sidestepping the festivities of his daughter Angela’s wedding at his manor house, Redlands, finds he’s short some spring onions he laid on a chopping block while fixing himself a light nosh of bangers and mash. When the thieving guest totters into the kitchen with the greens playfully tucked behind his ears, Keith grabs two sabers from the mantelpiece and goes chasing after the poor guy in a homicidal rage. I won’t even touch on the incident involving shepherd’s pie.

(click to continue reading Book Review – Life – By Keith Richards – NYTimes.com.)

Janet Maslin:

It is 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time in the New York office of Keith Richards’s manager, a place that might look ordinary if every wall and shelf were not crammed with some of the world’s most glorious rock ’n’ roll memorabilia. Mr. Richards has a 3 o’clock appointment. “Come on in, he’ll be here in a minute,” an assistant says — and here he comes in a minute, at 3:01. This from a man who once prided himself for operating on Keith Time, as in: the security staff ate the shepherd’s pie that Keith wanted in his dressing room? Then everyone in this packed stadium can bloody well wait. The Rolling Stones don’t play until another shepherd’s pie shows up.

Chalk up the promptness to the man’s new incarnation: he is now Keith Richards, distinguished author. True, he is far from the only rock star to turn memoirist, and far from the only Rolling Stone to write a book about himself — very much about himself. The raven-haired Ron Wood wrote “Ronnie,” in which he described Brian Jones as “me in a blond wig.” Bill Wyman, the band’s retired bass player and bean counter, wrote “Stone Alone,” in which not a 15-shilling demo disc went unmentioned. Now Mr. Richards has written the keeper: “Life,” a big, fierce, game-changing account of the Stones’ nearly half-century-long adventure.

“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” he says about the book. “I’d rather make 10 records.”

(click to continue reading As Keith Richards Remembers It, and He Says He Remembers It All – NYTimes.com.)

Michiko Kakutani:

For legions of Rolling Stones fans, Keith Richards is not only the heart and soul of the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band, he’s also the very avatar of rebellion: the desperado, the buccaneer, the poète maudit, the soul survivor and main offender, the torn and frayed outlaw, and the coolest dude on the planet, named both No. 1 on the rock stars most-likely-to-die list and the one life form (besides the cockroach) capable of surviving nuclear war.

Halfway through his electrifying new memoir, “Life,” Keith Richards writes about the consequences of fame: the nearly complete loss of privacy and the weirdness of being mythologized by fans as a sort of folk-hero renegade.

“I can’t untie the threads of how much I played up to the part that was written for me,” he says. “I mean the skull ring and the broken tooth and the kohl. Is it half and half? I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it.”

(click to continue reading ‘Life,’ Keith Richards’s Memoir – NYTimes.com.)

You get the idea…

For me, the gossip about Mick Jagger’s “tiny todger”, and Brian Jones beating Anita Pallenberg and that Chuck Berry was kind of a dick, and so on, was less interesting than discussion about the music. Keith Richards figuring out open string tuning, for instance, or that multi-track recording is less interesting than pointing microphones at the wall and collecting what bounced off it.

Footnotes:
  1. unlike Geoff for instance []
  2. or maybe 2004 []
  3. Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, and Sticky FIngers – by my estimation []
  4. Exile on Mainstreet – as much as I love this album, I listen to it less than the other three classics mentioned previously []
  5. that I’ve heard, anyway []

Written by Seth Anderson

January 4th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

Tagged with , ,

Complete Fela

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Fela Anikulapo Kuti - complete works

Just received my holiday present to myself, a 27 CD box set comprising of 46 Fela Kuti albums, and a bonus copy of the film, A Slice of Fela. Whoo hoo! I previously owned a few of these of course, but only from CDs issued long ago, or vinyl moldering in storage. Supposedly, the newer reissues have better sound. No matter, I’m excited and ready to dance.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 29th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing

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Andrew's Rock God Pose

Probably the best obituary of Captain Beefheart I’ve yet read is not even an obituary, but something written by Don Van Vliet himself:

1. Listen to the birds

That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar

Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush

Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil

Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re brining over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you’re guilty of thinking, you’re out

If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone

Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key

That’s your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He’s one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song “I Need a Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty — making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he’s doing it.

8. Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument

You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place

When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine

Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

Quoted from Rolling Stone’s Alt-Rock-A-Rama, as published by Beefheart.com

Written by Seth Anderson

December 19th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Music

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Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb

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This looks rather interesting

Roscoe Holcomb is one of the giant iconic figures in American traditional music. He personified the “high lonesome sound” so celebrated and admired today for its powerful and haunting effect. His style of singing and his brilliant banjo and guitar playing transport the listener straight back to the earliest roots of American music, a style that remained vital in his native eastern Kentucky long after disappearing everywhere else. Although Roscoe died in 1981, his masterful performances have only gained in recognition and respect since then. This DVD gathers together 2 documentaries about Roscoe made by filmmaker John Cohen and classic performances captured in the 1960s. It presents a comprehensive overview of Roscoe’s great and varied artistry as well as offering an incisive and intimate portrait of the man himself and his background and environment.

(click to continue reading Amazon.com: Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb: Roscoe Holcomb: Movies & TV.)

ABC published this:

Odds are you haven’t heard of Roscoe Holcomb. If you’re a fan of American music, though, his is most certainly a voice worth hearing.

Holcomb was the “high lonesome” singer of eastern Kentucky, a man whom performers from John Cohen to Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton revered as a source of spare, original mountain music and the hardship behind it. His voice, which reached almost into falsetto at times, told of work and pain and wondering — stoicism and emotion delivered by a man on a porch with his banjo and the traditions within him.

In the early 1960s, Cohen, a musician and historian, traveled to Kentucky to film a stark, black-and-white movie about Holcomb called “The High Lonesome Sound.” It helped propel the aging Holcomb into a career that took him away from manual labor and, for a time, into a world of performance where people appreciated him for his music.

Now, Cohen has taken unused footage from that session and several others to create a compelling new movie, “Roscoe Holcomb From Daisy, Kentucky.” It is the anchor of a definitive new DVD called “The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb” that also features other rare video of performances and a copy of the original 1962 movie.

Quiet, introspective and moody, the new film reveals a man trying to make sense of his life and his music — a kind of music that Dylan referred to as “an untamed sense of control.” In long, lingering clips around Holcomb’s house, interspersed with performances, he comes across as a man lost in time, figuring himself out. In short: authenticity, the kind that any Nashville wannabe today would hand over his pickup and his hound to acquire.

(click to continue reading Review: DVD Revisits a ‘High Lonesome’ Musician – ABC News.)

Written by Seth Anderson

December 19th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Busker – Marble Arch Station

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Busker - Marble Arch Station
Busker – Marble Arch Station, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Marble Arch, London

Playing either Bob Dylan or Radiohead, can’t remember.

Written by swanksalot

December 9th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Music,Photography

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New Herman Leonard Book – Jazz

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photograph © Herman Leonard –1 Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington at the Downbeat Club

I’ve always loved this photo, especially Duke Ellington’s expression of unmitigated joy…

Duke Ellington sits at the piano in a blackened theater, a brilliant shaft of light casting him in heroic silhouette.

Billie Holiday (sic – actually this is Ella Fitzgerald) stands before the microphone, lips slightly parted – as if in mid-phrase – smoke billowing softly behind her.

Oscar Peterson performs in close quarters with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis, Peterson’s hands a blur above the keys of his piano.

The black-and-white images could be the work of only one man, Herman Leonard, perhaps the most revered jazz photographer of the 20th Century and the subject of an exquisitely produced new book, “Jazz ” (Bloomsbury, $65). Though not the first, and probably not the last, published collection of Leonard’s photographs, “Jazz” captures the textural sumptuousness of Leonard’s photography, while crystallizing his personal philosophy about the music.

Leonard, in other words, chose to celebrate the jazz life, rather than demonize it. While many jazz lensmen sensationalized the dark side of jazz – as in those ghastly photos of a drug-ravaged Chet Baker toward the end of his life – Leonard went in the opposite direction. To him, jazz musicians were to be admired, not scorned or pitied. He saw poetry where others saw melodrama; he portrayed romance where others focused on decay.

(click to continue reading A new collection of Herman Leonard’s photography, ‘Jazz,’ portrays the music in a heroic light – chicagotribune.com.)

Footnotes:
  1. Tribune typo labeled this woman as Billie Holiday []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 7th, 2010 at 11:05 am

Antone’s on Lavaca

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Antone's on Lavaca

can’t be as cool as the former Antone’s location on Guadalupe1 where I witnessed Otis Rush and Stevie Ray Vaughan have an extended guitar duel (SRV won, even though Otis Rush was the headline act), or John Lee Hooker delve into grunge2

Too bad Clifford Antone has passed on. RIP.

Antone was like the music scene’s maitre d’, greeting friends and strangers warmly, always ready to help in any way he could. He was known for paying acts more than they took in at the door, dipping into his own wallet to help both aging bluesmen and young, broke enthusiasts who moved to Austin from all over the world because they had heard that the world’s greatest blues club was here.

One by one, Antone’s heroes passed away — Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Jimmy Reed, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown — but not before they played the club Antone opened as a 25-year-old in 1975 on Sixth Street, back before Sixth Street was known as an entertainment district. At that first of four locations, he’d often book them for a week at a time so the original electric blues cats wouldn’t have to travel between gigs. Every night, Antone would stand at the side of the stage with a broad smile. His gushy introductions were almost as legendary as his club.

While much of the Austin population became aware of Antone mainly through two high-profile marijuana busts — in 1984 and 1997 — for which he served two stints in federal prison, those who knew him personally describe a warm, big-hearted blues encyclopedia who truly did it all for the music more than the money. “He loved to book the big names, but he also liked to turn folks on to the great sidemen,” said Connie Hancock of the Texana Dames. Eddie Taylor, Wayne Bennett, Hubert Sumlin, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Luther Tucker may have been better known for backing others, but at Antone’s they were superstars. “Playing at Antone’s for the first time was an incredible thrill,” said guitarist Eve Monsees, who was called up to join a blues jam when she was just 15. “Clifford had never heard me play, but when he asked me who I liked and I said ‘Magic Sam’ he figured I’d be OK.” “He was a giant,” said blues musician Jon Blondell. “He lived for the music, and if you were a musician, that meant he existed for you.”

He backed his affinity with an unmatched knowledge of the blues and taught a class on the subject at the University of Texas for the past two years. “How many other teachers at the University of Texas got their name in the title of the course?” said Kevin Mooney, the music professor who organized “Blues According to Clifford Antone.” “He adored the students and loved giving back to them. He didn’t want that class to end every day; there was so much material he wanted to share with them.” If you liked the music of Lightnin’ Slim, Snooky Pryor or Sunnyland Slim, you had a good friend in Antone, the cherubic Lebanese American with the askew hair, who grew up in Port Arthur and came to love the blues when he traced the roots of acts such as Cream and Fleetwood Mac.

(click to continue reading Austin TX music: Music listings, bands, music news, reviews, SXSW and ACL | Austin360.com.)

Footnotes:
  1. 2915 Guadalupe St. []
  2. JLH turned up the distortion on his guitar, and really let it ring out []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 2nd, 2010 at 9:52 am

Posted in Music,Photography

Tagged with , ,

With Sound Investments, Lyon & Healy Harps Endures

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Lyon Healy Harp

Lyon & Healy, located at Ogden and Randolph, a few blocks from me.

We’ve written about Lyon & Healy previously, but the Chicago Collective1 has a slightly different slant:

In a recession that shuttered longtime manufacturers, reshaped whole industries and sent millions of people looking for work, one might expect a company that makes $100,000 harps to be wobbling at the knees, if not toppled over by now.

But Lyon & Healy, the Chicago company that produces one of the music world’s most esoteric instruments, knows something about weathering disasters, having survived the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 and the Great Depression.

Even as domestic sales fell by 25 percent since 2008, the company, which opened in 1864 and made its first harp in 1889, kept all 135 employees on the payroll and continued to build its instruments using carefully selected hardwoods and master carvers.

“I think people are still looking for things that are sound investments,” said Stephen Fritzmann, a master harpmaker and Lyon & Healy’s national sales manager.

(click to continue reading With Sound Investments, Harp Company Endures – NYTimes.com.)

though every article written about the harp seemingly has to mention Joanna Newsom:

Lyon & Healy’s harps “just speak beautifully,” Joanna Newsom, an innovative American harpist, wrote in an e-mail. “They have such dynamic breadth and coloration. And I think they each have a sort of ‘spirit.’ ”

The company may owe part of its economic durability to the fact that harps are having a bit of a moment. They have appeared on the hit television show “Glee” and have gotten a boost from Ms. Newsom, a Lyon & Healy devotee whose style has taken the instrument out of its classical mold and brought its sound to a general audience.

The aroma of drying wood and the din of harp music fill the company’s five-floor, 64,000-square-foot factory in the West Loop. The instruments pass through several stages of production — building the mechanism and body, carving the column and base, and gilding and stringing the instrument. “I still love just walking through those doors and being surrounded by all those harps,” Ms. Bullen said.

Ms. Newsom plays a rented style No. 23, which stands just over 6 feet, weighs 81 pounds and is intricately carved along the base and crown with flowers. She said she was awe-struck during her first visit to the factory, which she described as the equivalent of “stumbling on El Dorado.”

Footnotes:
  1. New York Times division []

Written by Seth Anderson

November 14th, 2010 at 11:32 am

Barbara Dane

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I’ve been a near obsessive collector of music since I was 13, and often I accumulate more than I can consume. Case in point, I stumbled upon this album in my collection by Barbara Dane. Wow, what a smoky, husky, sexy voice, accompanied only by herself on guitar. I have no memory of why I own this CD, apparently I bought it in August, 2007, but didn’t really listen to it until tonight1. No matter, I’ve heard her now, and am in love.

Barbara Dane’s parents arrived in Detroit from Arkansas in the 1920s. Out of high school, Dane began to sing regularly at demonstrations for racial equality and economic justice. While still in her teens, she sat in with bands around town and won the interest of local music promoters. She got an offer to tour with Alvino Rey’s band, but she turned it down in favor of singing at factory gates and in union halls.

Moving to San Francisco in 1949, Dane began raising her own family and singing her folk and topical songs around town as well as on radio and television. A jazz revival was then shaking the town, and by the 1950s she became a familiar figure at clubs along the city’s Embarcadero with her own versions of women’s blues and jazz tunes. New Orleans jazz musicians like George Lewis and Kid Ory and locals like Turk Murphy, Burt Bales, Bob Mielke and others invited her onto the bandstand regularly. Her first professional jazz job was with Turk Murphy at the Tin Angel in l956. “Bessie Smith in stereo,” wrote jazz critic Leonard Feather in the late 1950s. Time said of Dane: “The voice is pure, rich … rare as a 20 karat diamond.”

To Ebony, she seemed “startlingly blonde, especially when that powerful dusky alto voice begins to moan of trouble, two-timing men and freedom … with stubborn determination, enthusiasm and a basic love for the underdog, [she is] making a name for herself … aided and abetted by some of the oldest names in jazz who helped give birth to the blues.”

By 1959, Louis Armstrong had asked Time magazine readers: “Did you get that chick? She’s a gasser!” and invited her to appear with him on national television. She toured the East Coast with Jack Teagarden, appeared in Chicago with Art Hodes, Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon and others, played New York with Wilbur De Paris and his band, and appeared on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show as a solo guest artist. Other national TV work included The Steve Allen Show, Bobby Troop’s Stars of Jazz, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

In 1961, the singer opened her own club, Sugar Hill: Home of the Blues, on San Francisco’s Broadway in the North Beach district, with the idea of creating a venue for the blues in a tourist district where a wider audience could hear it. There Dane performed regularly with her two most constant musical companions: Kenny “Good News” Whitson on piano and cornet and Wellman Braud, former Ellington bassist. Among her guest artists were Jimmy Rushing, Mose Allison, Mama Yancey, Tampa Red, Lonnie Johnson, Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry.

(click to continue reading Barbara Dane – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

I’ll have to look for more albums by Ms. Dane

Footnotes:
  1. trying to learn a couple of Woody Guthrie songs on guitar, looked for cover versions, and stumbled upon the song, Danville Girl []

Written by Seth Anderson

November 5th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

Tagged with ,

Neil Young Album Le Noise and iPad app

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Neil Young knew he wanted to make a purely solo album — just himself and a guitar — when he recruited Daniel Lanois to produce the upcoming “Le Noise.” That it finds him primarily playing electric guitar, however, came as a surprise.

“It evolved from being solo acoustic into being solo electric,” Young tells Billboard.com. The singer-songwriter says that after a few acoustic songs were initially recorded, he pulled out “The Hitchhiker,” an autobiographical song Young first wrote around 1975, and began working it up for “Le Noise.” “Then I thought to myself, ‘This is definitely going to be better electric than acoustic,” Young recalls. “So we tried it and it sounded really interesting and really good and strong…So I went home and got my white [Gretsch] Falcon out…and I wrote a sound or two like that and then brought them in and that kind of opened the door for us.”   Neil Young Announces New Album, ‘Le Noise’   Lanois adds that the transition to electric “was not a deliberate move or anything. Neil was able to go off and write some additional songs, and I think there was

(click to continue reading Neil Young Goes Electric for ‘Le Noise’ | Billboard.com.)

Plus there is supposedly an iPad app or something

“Le Noise” will also be released as an App that Young says “is based on my ‘Archives’ Blu-ray set” with a variety of interactive extras including original lyric manuscripts, photos, a career timeline and possibly alternate or live takes of the songs, the latter of which come from preview performances while he was on tour earlier this year. “What it does is bring you back to the album cover experience we used to get when the album cover was something tangible and big enough to actually read and see,” Young explains. “(The App) creates a version of it for the iPad or for a computer or a smart phone.”

Amazon blurb Le Noise:

This eight-song album is a collaboration between the acclaimed rock icon and musician, songwriter, and producer Daniel Lanois, known for his work with U2, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, The Neville Brothers and many others. As producer or co-producer Lanois won Grammy Awards in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000, and 2001.

Young and Lanois have crossed paths musically over the course of many years, including Lanois’ performances at Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concert and Young’s performance at Farm Aid when Lanois was Willie Nelson’s music director, but this is the first time the two have recorded together. Recorded in Lanois’ home in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, ‘Le Noise’ features Young on acoustic and electric guitars with Lanois adding his trademark sonic textures, creating one of the most sonically arresting albums Young has ever recorded. No band, no overdubs, just ‘a man on a stool and me doing a nice job on the recording,’ as Lanois puts it.

‘Neil was so appreciative of the sonics that we presented to him,’ Lanois says. ‘He walked in the door and I put an acoustic guitar into his hands – one that I had been working on to build a new sound. That’s the multi-layered acoustic sound that you hear on the songs ‘Love and War’ and ‘Peaceful Valley Boulevard.’ I wanted him to understand that I’ve spent years dedicated to the sonics in my home and that I wanted to give him something he’d never heard before. He picked up that instrument, which had everything – an acoustic sound, electronica, bass sounds – and he knew as soon as he played it that we had taken the acoustic guitar to a new level. It’s hard to come up with a new sound at the back end of 50 years of rock and roll, but I think we did it.’

Written by Seth Anderson

September 22nd, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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African music the actual African diaspora likes

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Interesting observation really. When I travel, I try to find neighborhoods and restaurants the locals like, should do the same with music. Worth a listen at least.

 


"Tres Tres Fort (Dig)" (Staff Benda Bilili)

The Troxy in east London, and 2,500 pairs of hands are in the air. It’s been four years since the R&B duo P-Square played Britain. They’re household names back home in Lagos, were named artist of the year at this year’s Kora African music awards in Burkina Faso, and the brothers’ hook-driven blend of western and African rhythms has brought London’s Nigerian community out in force. “They’re just so wicked, man,” says a teary-eyed twentysomething over screams. “Where’ve you been?” she adds, incredulous, when I tell her I’ve only just discovered them.

Lately, I’ve been looking for African artists other than those beloved of the world music scene, which has had the west African colossi Salif Keita, Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour on heavy rotation for years. When they – and the likes of the Gibson-toting Malian chanteuse Rokia Traoré, the funky Congolese veterans Staff Benda Bilili and the red clay-smeared Ivorian diva Dobet Gnahore – come to Britain, they play to crowds that are largely white and middle-class, with little sign of the African diaspora. So there must be a whole other bunch of African artists whom Britain’s African communities are listening to.

(click to continue reading African music the actual African diaspora likes | Music | The Guardian.)


"Danger" (P-square)


"Bowmboi" (Rokia Traore)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 9th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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