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The band that invented Americana music, 50 years ago this week.

July 1, 1968 the band called the Band released Music from Big Pink

They changed American music forever

But not just American music was widely influenced by this scraggly group of Americans and Canadians. Eric Clapton heard the record and decided to quite what he was doing and go do something else. He even considered moving to Woodstock, NY to meet these guys and talk them into letting him join the Band.

Here’s the Band 30 years later, joined by the Staple Singers, performing the most iconic song from that first record.

Happy 4th of July – Here’s Steely Dan in Concert

Uniquely American, Steely Dan in a full concert shot in 2006

For your Fourth of July listening pleasure

Songs

Turtle Talk
Bodhisattva
Time Out Of Mind
Aja
Hey Nineteen
I Got The News
Home At Last
Black Friday
Chain Lightning
Green Earrings
Dirty Work
Band Intros
Show Biz Kids
Do It Again
Peg
Don’t Take Me Alive
Kid Charlemagne
Pretzel Logic
FM
My Old School
Instrumental Outro

The Steely Dan Band

Donald Fagen – Keyboards and Vocals
Walter Becker – Guitar
Jon Herrington -Guitar
Freddie Washington – Bass
Keith Carlock – Drums
Jeff Young – Keyboards and Backing Vocals
Walt Weiskopf – Sax
Michael Leonhart – Trumpet
Jim Pugh – Trombone
Roger Rosenberg – Baritone Sax
Carolyn Leonhart-Escoffery – Backing Vocals
Cindy Mizelle – Backing Vocals
Michael McDonald – Keyboards and Vocals

50 Years Ago – CSN

Three unique voices joined as one for the first time, fifty years ago today… and became CSN

As the story goes, David Crosby listened to Stephen Stills and Graham Nash singing a song at a small dinner party, and asked them to sing it one more time…

As can often happen one half century later, Stills and Crosby differ on the exact where and when it happened. The important thing is, it happened.

Meet the Beatles

Released 54 years ago today, Meet the Beatles was the first Beatles album released in America

Meet The Beatles onemanz.com

My baby book said that my first favorite song was “I Wanna Hold Your Hand. “

Actually, it was “Saw Her Standing There,” but I think my mother felt that was a bit too risque, since the first line is, “She was just seventeen, if you know what I mean…”

It turns out Paul wrote the first half of the line, and John wrote the second. The rest is history

The Pink Floyd Reunited and Immortal

Think Pink. Pink Floyd that is

When the Pink Floyd reunited, for the only time, after a quarter of a century, in 2005 for the Live 8 worldwide concerts, it was bittersweet

To see Rick looking practically cured, and Nick looking like some old mathematics teacher if not a conservative Tory MP…

David shorn of hippy dreamboat locks looked more like a slightly sadistic gym teacher or football manager, and Rodger appeared like the aging leading man he was, with what little of his singing voice that remained.

But damn if they weren’t AWESOME none the less!

Only today did I realize they did more than just “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb,” which was all that aired in America. They actually did the opening of the Dark Side of the Moon album and “Money” too.
 
And here is the whole set with enhanced audio.

Life in a Blender at Joe’s Pub

After some 30 years, Life in a Blender keeps whirling

The new album Happy Enough is very good and very Blender

And their set at Joe’s Pub in the New York Public Theater was well attended and greatly received.

Granted they may be an acquired taste. And the shows may be a bit rough-edged when it comes to tightness and the vocals and strings all being in tune, over the years since front man Don Rauf moved to Seattle, so that they do not get much in the way rehearsal or gigging to stay honed and sharp.

But the current line up of Life in a Blender has been together over 20 years. And their many fans are more than happy enough to sing along to the old favorites and soak up the new songs imparted with gusto from the quirky, cathartic perspective from inside the Blender.

Another Fabulous Martinfest

Debuting Fat’s Waller’s Brand New Suit at the 16th Martinfest

It was great fun to be back on stage with the Paul Ukena Trio in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, trying out new (for us) tunes


And I am looking forward to our returning to rehearsing and gigging in New York City this coming Autumn.

It was a new official hotel for the five nights that the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum gather in Eastern PA to celebrate Martin guitars, made in Nazareth by one of America’s oldest family businesses, with new guest artists and many first time attendees. But there many of the old guard there to keep up traditions, even as they forged new ones.

You can read more about this very special event HERE in the article that I wrote after a previous Martinfest.

Positively 4th Street Revisited by Dylan

Bob Dylan Told Us What We Needed To Hear

Acrid truths that cut through the bubble gum and rose colored glasses

In September of 1965 the top charts of hit singles were full of young persons’ love songs, like Yesterday, I Got You Babe, Track of My Tears, California Girls, when Bob Dylan released Positively 4th Street…

“You got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend, when I was down you just stood there grinning…”

50 years later it is still an incredibly powerful song.

You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that’s winning

You say I let you down
You know it’s not like that
If you’re so hurt
Why then don’t you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that’s not where it’s at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it

I know the reason
That you talk behind my back
I used to be among the crowd
You’re in with

Do you take me for such a fool
To think I’d make contact
With the one who tries to hide
What he don’t know to begin with

You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, “How are you?” “Good luck”
But you don’t mean it

When you know as well as me
You’d rather see me paralyzed
Why don’t you just come out once
And scream it

No, I do not feel that good
When I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief
Perhaps I’d rob them

And now I know you’re dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don’t you understand
It’s not my problem

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you

Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music

Jerry Douglas and the Transatlantic Sessions Tour

Town Hall, NYC, May, 4 2017 – Final Concert of the Transatlantic Tour

Since 1995 the Transatlantic Sessions have delighted audiences with collaborations between Scottish, Irish, English, and American roots music devotees.

According to their official Wiki – Transatlantic Sessions is the collective title for a series of musical productions by Glasgow-based Pelicula Films Ltd, funded by- and produced for BBC Scotland,[1] BBC Four[2] and RTÉ of Ireland. Each half-hour episode features a core “house band” led by Shetland fiddler Aly Bain, and special guests, recorded at a unique location, such as a stately manner house.

The 2017 American tour was an almost-three hour extravaganza featuring some of the finest musicians ever produced in the UK or Ireland, along with many special guests from the USA, most of whom have appeared at various Transatlantic Sessions in the UK.

Here are some excerpts from the incredible Transatlantic Sessions show last night, with a list of performers listed beneath.

Jerry Douglas – Steel Guitars, Vocals (USA)

Aly Bain- Fiddle (Scotland)

John McCusker – Fiddle, Whistle (Scotland)

Michael McGoldrick- Pipes, Flute, Whistle (England)

Donald Shaw – Accordion, Piano (Scotland)

Russ Barenberg – Guitar (USA)

John Doyle – Guitar, Guizouki, Vocals (Ireland)

Daniel Kimbro – Bass (USA)

James MacKintosh – Drums (Scotland)

 

SPECIAL GUESTS

Mary Chapin Carpenter (USA)

Rosanne Cash (USA)

Sarah Jarosz (USA)

Declan O’Rourke (Ireland)

Aoife O’Donovan (USA)

John Paul White (USA)

Karen Matheson (Scotland)

Look for Transatlantic Sessions on BBC, PBS, and Youtube

 

The Last Waltz – 40 years later, remembered in a guitar

Robbie Robertson’s bronzed guitar from the historic Last Waltz concert recreated

This $14,500 limited edition Fender Stratocaster is a meticulous replica of the hot-rodded 1954 Strat Robertson had dipped in bronze to signify the final show of the Band, on Thanksgiving Day, 1976.

Although the other members of The Band reunited and played together for many years, Robbie Robertson never played with them again.

Influential Axeman

Perhaps more than any other guitarist, Robbie Robertson influenced my own sense of how to play fills as a lead guitarist.

But I am in good company there, Eric Clapton was so enamored of Robertson and the Band’s first album, Music from Big Pink, he said he was seriously considering quitting Cream and moving to Woodstock, NY to commune with the roots music rock band sometimes seen backing Bob Dylan.

Here is one of my all-time favorite performances played on the original article, you can see the gleam of the bronze in the stage lights, even on this lo-res archival footage.

Unfortunately and inexplicably, a pretty big chunk of the guitar solo was cut out of this song in Scorsese’ motion picture The Last Waltz. So here is the version from Winterland’s house archive camera, released after Bill Graham’s death, with the mix the audience actually heard.

 

I tried to synch up the mixed audio from the record album, with all its fancy EQ that combined the stage mix and house mix, but the actual timing on the CD version, the video on Youtube from the film, and this archival footage here, are all at different speeds so it was a no-go.

Also, you will notice the camera man stopped paying attention and pretty much misses Robertson’s playing on the solo – something that seems to happen VERY often when people are filming or video taping classic performances and end up shooting other people instead of showing iconic guitar solos I will only wish I could see in detail – or like in the Last Waltz film in general, where the editor keeps showing Robbie’s face contortions rather than what his hands are playing.