Unless someone comes out with an excellent Christmas album in the next couple weeks, here’s my top ten of 2014:
St. Paul and the Broken Bones Half the City
The Budos Band Burnt Offering
Lee Fields and the Expressions Emma Jean
Benjamin Booker Violent Shiver
Prince Art Official Age
. . . → Read More: Top Ten Albums of 2014, by Graig Markel, Celebrity Guest Blogger
This 14th century image by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci depicts the newborn Virgin Mary about to be bathed.
When I decided to write fiction set in the days of Charlemagne, I knew very little about the Middle Ages but was certain of one thing: medieval people didn’t bathe. I recall being told by teachers . . . → Read More: Yes, People in the Dark Ages Bathed, by Kim Rendfeld
40 years ago today, Van Morrison released the Veedon Fleece album – for every person who moans that Van never recorded another Astral Weeks – this album is for you. For everyone who claims Van is an “old git” – but thinks that someone like Robyn Hitchcock is still relevant, then keep in mind . . . → Read More: Van Morrison – Linden Arden Stole the Highlights, by Pat Thomas
The Dixie Hummingbirds, one of the great Gospel vocal groups of the past half century, are perhaps best known to listeners as the background vocalists on Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock.” (I’m posting their own version below.)
One fact about the group has always fascinated me: After one of their members, William . . . → Read More: Dixie Hummingbirds – Loves Me Like a Rock, by Jacob Slichter
Having walked past various coin-op kiddie rides in the neighborhood, I sometimes wonder if these contraptions provide a child’s first experience of being underwhelmed. Toddlers eagerly climb atop the plastic horses as their exhausted parents fish out the coins and drop them into the slot. Then, as soon as the canned music starts and . . . → Read More: Coin-Op Kiddie Rides, by Jacob Slichter
Goodnight Pete Seeger. One hates to think of the songs that might disappear with his passing. Like us all he got some things wrong…his reaction to “electric” Dylan for example. But his belief in hand-made, rooted music as a progressive force was infinite and inspiring.
– Chris Eckman
Pete Seeger’s Wikipedia Page
No . . . → Read More: R.I.P. Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014, By Chris Eckman
Whenever I hear Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” I’m reminded of a time when as children we rode unseatbelted in cigarette-smoke-filled big cars and were left alone to figure out the world from carelessly laid issues of National Lampoon.
– Nick Millward
I’m not going to do a post on Ray Manzarek. I met him once. He was a good guy. I was part of a group of students that brought him and the poet Michael McClure to Washington State University for a standing room only performance. Ray was a perfect gentleman, a seasoned entertainer, and . . . → Read More: R.I.P. Ray Manzarek – Jazz From Copenhagen, By Davin Michael Stedman
This “Bayou” video is from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1970 appearance at London’s Royal Albert Hall and is one of the few clean and crisp videos of CCR in concert that still survive. Creedence was a very unique band, especially in their late 60s-early 70s era when most performers were showing their ability to jam, . . . → Read More: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou, By Lou Caruso
Part of my job is to listen to a lot of music. Rough life, I know. So I like to share some gems I run across. Here’s Jason Isbell, formerly of Drive-By Truckers, with a song he wrote about his father’s advice.
– John Moe is the host of the stellar NPR show . . . → Read More: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Outfit (Live on KEXP), By John Moe
Remember when music was created by people that weren’t by the book, didn’t look like they just rolled out of a diaper, or were hatched from some technological egg? Remember…? They could be complicated motherfuckers and you still loved them… God I’m glad I experienced those days…
A dear friend of mine, John Bosch, . . . → Read More: Paul K – Wilderness of Mirrors – Documentary To Be Released by Fall 2013, By Jesse Sykes
I always think of this song as the pop music center of the 20th century. There are those 33 1/3 books, and the one on Low did a great job of describing its importance this way. Basically what you have here is Northern European melody with rhythm and blues backbeat; synthesized, but analog; intimate . . . → Read More: David Bowie – Sound and Vision, By Chris Estey
While I have sung and played music since childhood, a number of mundane personal detours led me away from music, my first love, and into the corporate world. One day I peeked outside my cubicle and realized that music was still there waiting for me. So we kissed, made up, and ran off together. . . . → Read More: Celia Chavez – She Understands These Things
The Stone Roses are one of those bands I never really got, probably because I was living in Seattle when they were on the way up and there was so much local music at the time. Here’s an interesting documentary about everything that is bad about the music industry… Self destruct now, and watch… . . . → Read More: The Stone Roses – Documentary – Blood on the Turntable, By Gary Heffern
Thanks to Pat Thomas for rediscovering this Lester Bangs quote about Van Morrison‘s legendary 1968 album, Astral Weeks.
“What Astral Weeks deals in are not facts but truths. Astral Weeks, insofar as it can be pinned down, is a record about people stunned by life, completely overwhelmed, stalled in their skins, their ages and . . . → Read More: Lester Bangs on Astral Weeks
Still have a soft spot in my heart for The Deftones. I remember when the band was in Seattle recording their 2nd record “Around The Fur” and as soon as they got done with one of the mixes of “Be Quiet and Drive Far Away”, they came over and played it on my 107.7 . . . → Read More: Deftones – Entombed, By Marco Collins
Everybody who knows music knows Beethoven had a big ol’ AFRO. His 9th rocks so hard. Makes you want to light a big ol’ blunt and conduct the symphony with a wooden baseball bat on your roof top. This is the Deffest Jam of the 19th Century, NO DOUBT.
I’m just saying… if . . . → Read More: Beethoven – Symphony No. 9, By Davin Michael Stedman
After our High Noon show at the Keystone Berkeley in late July, 1981, Mickey Hart told the rest of the band “Anyone who wants to go, we’re heading over to the Hell’s Angels’ clubhouse in Oakland”. I followed the others in a caravan to somewhere in Oakland. We all pulled into a corner parking . . . → Read More: Steppenwolf – Born to Be Wild – RIP James “Fu” Griffin, By Michael D. Hinton
After she left Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll recorded a solo album in 1969 (also titled 1969) with Chris Spedding on guitar, future husband Keith Tippett on piano, and Soft Machine‘s horn and woodwind players. Recorded by Eddie Offord, it’s a delightful slice of English progressive pop/jazz.
– Pat Thomas is the author of . . . → Read More: Julie Driscoll – Walk, By Pat Thomas
I love a cat in a uniform…
– John Petkovic and his band, Cobra Verde, enjoy life to the fullest in Cleveland, Ohio.