New York Dolls, Subway Train

Some of us are living in a city that relies on mass transit, the subway and the bus (and for some of the Dolls, the Ferry). But those things are gone for those of us who don’t have to go riding, riding, riding. So much is lost because of the pandemic and the way we respond to it. I wonder if we’d be better off if we didn’t shut down, or we did as we did. I know my mother, in an assisted living facility is alive. For those in Sweden, which didn’t shut down, many more are dead. So, do your best. Right?

https://youtu.be/z-K4FPGdXbE

The Great Little Richard is Dead

For me, Little Richard, was a guy on late nite commercials. Great songs, like those of the Big Bopper. But familiarity meant we cared less, partly because all we got was the big songs.

But as I grew up, I found other stuff. I wrote about one of those here. Listen to this! Not a rocker, exactly, but as great as a transitional blues-rock-soul cut as you can imagine. When Little Richard died today I went back to his first album, which finally was released after something like six big hit singles (it was a different world then, or come to think of it maybe it was the same world then with the different one sandwiched in between). I won’t argue this was the best, but listening to it I’ll say rock hasn’t moved an inch.

https://youtu.be/xO-iAnsqt_s

Amy Madden, The Red and the Blue

There’s an excellent story in the NY Times about Amy Madden, who I wouldn’t have known about if Ginia Bellafante didn’t write about her.

You can read it here. And you can hear an excellent song by her here, with her playing the guitar and Jon Paris playing harmonica.

Here’s a clip of her playing bass in Jon Paris’s band. Which gets funner as it goes along.

Tony Allen is Dead.

Allen was the drummer who shaped the Afrobeat sound with Fela. The two of them combined jazz and Nigerian pop and lots of political edge to create a music that drove the central government wild. I once had tickets to see Fela in NY, but he was imprisioned in Nigeria and couldn’t travel. I did see Tony Allen once, at the Knitting Factory when it was on Leonard Street in New York’s Tribeca. A joy, and the opening band was Antibalas, a Brooklyn based Afrobeat band. They didn’t cover Fela, they didn’t impersonate him, but they surely inhabited his vibe and made it work. Antilbalas eventually became the house band when the musical about Fela and Tony Allen hit Broadway.

Tony Allen is drumming on this, maybe Fela and Afrika 70’s greatest song.

https://youtu.be/Qj5x6pbJMyU