Friday, June 26, 2009
The inimitable Michael Jackson has left us. I don't own a piece of his music, but that's probably about to change. What I DO know is that ANYTIME I've heard most of his better known songs, I've been movin', dancin' and singin'. 'Thriller' alone was electrifying, and the video itself was a historical event. A couple of memories struck me in the last 24 hours, looking back on Jack-o. The first is learning years ago that the late, and very great Fred Astaire, not long before he died, gave a monumental nod to Michael's dancing skills, describing him as the only person as good as he (Fred) was. Damn! Fred, we were seeing it too.
The other memory I have is of a night around 10 years ago watching TV in a hotel on a business trip. Flipping around, I found Michael Jackson kicking off what might have been (not sure here) his last 'Return Tour'. By then he had no place in my musical consciousness, except 'talented, strange and getting stranger'. Jackson came out onstage, postured completely still, centerstage, with the hat and signature glove, and proceeded to THRILL me for the next hour or so. I'd expected to flip away from the show, not be more than passingly interested, and not want to be gawking at this odd man with almost no bone structure left in his multiple-plastic-surgery-re-arranged face. What I 'saw' instead was a performance that left me cheering alone in my hotel room. The artfulness with which he incorporated the use of his hat to shade his face, in conjunction with clever dance steps to keep him from frontally facing the audience ... ALL THE WHILE dancing and singing with his renowned energy and magic, that I was hypnotized. Later on I found fellow non-pop-music world friends who'd also seen this performance, as overjoyed to see it as I was. I'll never forget it. Jacko, you were a weird and at times sad guy, but you left us a cultural pop legacy that reached around the world. You were part of this great country's stars. Thanks.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I've seen Sonia Dada 3 times in the Philly area. People don't sit down, even if there are seats. They are a rockin' gospel-blues music genre group, based in Chicago. One day in 1990, songwriter-guitarist Dan Pritzker got off a subway train and heard the three-part harmonies of Michael Scott, Paris Delane and Sam Hogan. Pritzker had already been working with a group with long time friends, guitarist Dave Resnik, drummer Hank Guaglianone and bassist Erik Scott. The three singers joined the quartet, and Sonia Dada had a new lineup with keyboardist Chris "Hambone" Cameron.
The CD I heard that night in the car was '' A Day At The Beach". Yowza. It's still one of my favorite sounds, and they are GREAT live...really great. Get yourself to iTunes or Amazon and listen to some of the cuts. In fact, go to YouTube and listen to Screamin' John. It's great for openers (sold me!), but the whole album is killer. Sail Away, Crazy Jane and Lester's Methadone Clinic are masterpieces. If music had not become so crushingly competitive, these guys would be headliners ... my opinion of course! They're stars in my book, anyway. Look 'em up or comment here.
Rory Gallagher. Man, I don't even remember when I stumbled across him. He died in the '90's, sadly of liver failure and you-guessed-it, a fatal love affair with alcohol. What an insane GIFT to the music world was this guy! Eric Clapton apparently once stated that Gallagher gave him a whole new understanding of the blues. The best albums are the live ones, if you can get them. My first 'hard listen' was on a business trip by car, and I remember driving across a big bridge to our state capitol, and listening to As the Crow Flies. I almost went off the road with excitement. This guy probably outdid Springsteen onstage for frenetic, insane dedication to kicking out the jams for his audience. Some of the great albums: "The Irish Tour" (As the Crow Flies is on this), "The BBC Concert", and "Stage Struck". Go to YouTube and watch him play Goin' to My Home Town (give this a good 50 seconds of intro to KICK IN to the good stuff...love it!), Cradle Rock, Messin' With the Kid (give this 50 seconds of intro too), Bullfrog Blues (great googely-moogley as Frank Zappa used to say!!!!), Rory Gallagher and Stevie Ray Vaughan ... oh and much, much more.
What a terrible, terrible loss to the music world that Rory isn't with us anymore. One of his songs I listen to, Too Much Alcohol, portends with creepy accuracy, this artist's demise. Our boy apparently drank with the same dedication that he so passionately played his music onstage.
That's it for today. I could write forever about the music I love, and hence the title to this blog.
Next time: we'll talk about Papa Mali and Daniel Lanois. Over and out ...
Free Fallin' Kristin
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Post comments if you can about these guys!
This is a short post today, but upcoming will be posts about Sonia Dada and the ever-ever astounding and late Rory Gallagher from Ireland. Teaser: Listen to Rory doing 'As the Crow Flies' to get your ya-yas on!
Free Fallin' Kristin
PS William Topley is STILL performing in Jim Thorpe, PA July 18. Go to his website and just listen...the guy has a rich blues and soul vibe, and I love him.
Free Fallin' Kristin
Friday, June 12, 2009
This wonderful Brit sounds like he grew up on the bayou along the Mississippi. How do the Brits do that???? Anyway, he's wonderful. I never would have discovered him, if it weren't for volunteering at WXPN a few years ago. Volunteers are allowed to look over sample and demo CD's to take home, as a 'thank you' for their efforts on a fund raising shift. I plucked out a CD entitled 'Feasting With Panthers'. Whoa! Outstanding...the whole thing.
So I got interested and started looking him up. This guy deserves WAY more attention. Check out his website for some of the music (plays right off the bat).
If anyone's going to Jim Thorpe for this, say 'hey'. This should be a great concert and I'm thrilled to see him around here.
Free Fallin' Kristin
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Every year I go through the same thing. The summer concert schedules come out, and I start trying to talk people into going to events with me. This is like herding cats!!!! Can I go my myself? Sure. Half the fun is, sharing the fun, the comments, and the whole experience with other music lovers. Your music friends come and go. Sometimes you have a built-in 'music buddy', and sometimes they go off into another world, and either don't have time, or lose interest.
In April-May for instance, my annual pilgrimage to New Orleans and JazzFest happens. For a while years ago, we had a whole group. Little by little it dwindled, until the year before last, I pretty much went by myself. You do meet people there, and sometimes make plans to hook up later at selected events. You can stay in touch long after that, which is cool.
But one of the things I started thinking about this year was starting a blog to find people in the Philly area (Jersey and Delaware of course!) who love this stuff, follow music, and maybe go to JazzFest folks. This year in New Orleans I did spot a number of Philly peeps at the fairgrounds, and it's great to greet one another. But it would be wonderful to kind of have a group of people with whom one had discussed the upcoming schedule, who's playing, write musical reviews, and other cool things to look for in New Orleans.
So back to the subject at hand: the 2009 summer concert events. This is purely through my eyes, and reflecting my taste, but here goes with what I thought looked WELL worth paying attention to:
May 29 - (Trocadero, Philly)
JJ Grey & Karl Denson's Tiny Universe - OK, this one's over, but wow...what a great show I missed. Did anyone out there see this? I've seen JJ Grey at the World Cafe, and this is a musician's musician!!!! I've also seen him at JazzFest in New Orleans. Ditto Karl Denson. Grey is tight, cool, sophisticated, and way not-boring. Denson is a little jazzier but kind of fits the same description.
June 12 - Appel Farm
Subdudes - Who doesn't love these guys? I saw them in New Orleans 2 years ago. They love 'em there, and we love 'em anywhere. I think they are from NOLA, correct me if I'm wrong. But the locals there certainly love them.
June 19 - Longwood Gardens
Boz Scaggs - I was listening to Scaggs in the '70's. What a treasure. What a cool musician.
July 26 - Pocono Blues Festival Day 2 (Jack Frost) WHAT A DAY!
Ruthie Foster - holy cow, has anyone seen this all-girl band from Austin? I confess to being a tad sexist with women in the rock world, because most of them don't rock enough for me, nor do they play instruments with outstandintg skill (small handful: Chrissie Hynde-Pretenders, Bonnie Raitt, Anne McCue-awesome Aussie girl who plays with Lucinda Williams a lot, and my list of women sort of peters out there). I saw Ruthie Foster in the Blues Tent at JazzFest in 2008. Yikes! Brought the house down with her Blues-Rock laced with gospel revue. Yowza. Austin be proud!
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials - Looked them up and sampled them on iTunes. Yes!!!!
Buckwheat Zydeco - don't need to explain this do I?
Harrison Kennedy & Fruteland Jackson - also looked them up in iTunes. Yes!!!
Chris Thomas King - didn't know him, listened on iTunes. Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!!
So that's it for now. I'm really interested in hearing from music lovers, finding out who's going to some of these events, finding out who's new and noteworthy out there in the funky-rock-blues world, or who wants to go to JazzFest and share 'buzz' and information, and just exchange music info.
August 6 - Longwood Gardens
Rufus Wainright - WXPN made much of Wainright about 10 years ago with the release of Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk. It's not usually my kind of music, but I liked it a lot. Then, I had the pleasure of seeing him live at Appel Farm a few years ago. Blew everyone right out of their socks. A mindblowing concert, and what fun it was to experience him onstage. I'll be going to this one.