Glen Campbell is Gone.

We knew this was coming. The Big A claimed him some years back and he had a dignified last stand.

But today, my first thought was Gentle on My Mind, which is I think the first time I ever knew his name.

My second thought was watching them shoot Rhinestone Cowboy, the movie, on Bank Street. By them I mean Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone.

My third thought was plumbing the depths of Campbell’s time in the Wrecking Crew and the Beach Boys.

But finally, really, this bit of corny soundtrack to a good movie he starred in and contributed the soundtrack is a testament to his giant talent and versatility and big hearted spirit. A little more country than rock ‘n’ roll, a little more mainstream than any of us would like, he cut a big swath across the culture. Good for him.

A Bob Lefsetz Anecdote about Gregg Allman

I’ve quoted Bob Lefsetz’s newsletter before. He’s a former music industry guy who, in his later years writes about a range of topics in an energetic and provocative way. Provocative mostly because he states his opinions directly. You can read and subscribe to his stuff here. In a post this week he wrote a history of the Allman Brothers and Gregg, and his first personal encounter with Gregg. I quote:

ANYTHING GOES

My favorite cut on the “I’m No Angel” album, there’s a moment, after the break, when Gregg Allman reaches down deep and at the top of his lungs screams…ANYTHING GOES! It’s at 3:20in the song if you wanna check it out, and it’s moments like these that are personal, that keep you going, putting one foot in front of the other, so when we were hanging out before the show…

Yes, I ain’t got no money, but I’m rich on personality, and that has allowed me to meet all my heroes, get e-mail from them, it thrills me, and about an hour before they took the stage at the Greek I was introduced to Gregg and I had to ask him, about that emotive explosion.

Now you’ve got to understand, they’re not like you and me.

First and foremost, he was wearing his boots, the original American rockers never got over the Beatles. And he’s towering above me, and he leans down to my ear, his long hair almost falling on my shoulder, and he starts whispering, telling a story, sotto voce, like we’re the only two people in the universe, like he’s gonna reveal a deep dark secret.

“I can’t hit that note every night. But there are certain evenings, when I’m sitting on the piano bench, and I reach over to hit a note and my left nut gets caught under my leg and I yell ANYTHING GOES!”

I swear to god, just like that, that’s about an exact quote.

And he backs off, stands straight, but gives me a poker face, and I’m not sure if he’s making fun of me, pulling my leg, putting me down, or initiating me into the ways of the road, making me an honorary insider, but one thing’s for sure, he was still COOL!

I don’t know. You be the judge. I remember this album, and it seemed Gregg modernized and wrapped in frou frou. Not terrible, his was a great voice, but this was not music from our roots.

But if Gregg explained this moment to Bob this way, it’s very swell, no matter if it is actually true. A fine ad lib. Check it out:

 

Obituary: Chris Cornell (1964-2017)

Chris Cornell, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and driving force behind theband Soundgarden, and one of the leaders of the grunge movement in music has died.

Cornell had a fantastic voice, and his band was certainly a rock band, but they played with form and time much in the way the Allman Brothers did, using some jazz progressions and signatures to establish and develop the band’s sound.

I was a big fan of the album Superunknown, from which I drew the clip below, but Cornell, who was just 52, also played a bit part in Cameron Crowe’s lovely film, Singles, which also boasts a great soundtrack. Soundgarden were also featured in the film.

A sad loss. If you don’t know the band, check em out. They were good.

Jonathan Demme has died.

Jonathan Demme’s life is rightly noted for his versatile and diverse talents and interests, though his love of music seems to be the unifying connection between his genre films, documentaries, blockbusters, and humanitarian work. I liked much of his oeuvre, maybe not as passionately as some, but I admired his restless and generous life. And when I heard the news I thought of this, as I’m sure did many:

J. Geils Blues Band Loses J. Geils

John Miller came into the lunch room at Smithtown Central and said something like, I’ve got the new Rolling Stones. What he meant was he’d heard the J. Geils Band’s first album.

It turns out that the J. Geils Band wasn’t the new Stones, the Stones themselves were just escalating into an incredible streak of great music, but the J. Geils Band was great fun. Especially before they became sexy hitmakers. Good for them to make the money, but the love was in those early cuts, like this one.

But Good Old Can Make Good New (Relatively New, At Least)

Have still been thinking about Chuck Berry’s passing and I’m most always thinking about my beloved Hellas. This morning I woke up realizing how this song that knocks about in my head from time to time is little more than souped up “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

And by the way, the righthanded guitarist (not lefty Nikke the singer) died in February.

Another one bites the dust.

Chuck Berry Is On Top

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28740659

Dick Clark introduces an appearance by Berry promoting this album and stumbles over the title, with the audience tittering at the double entendre. Really?

It is 1959, and, as Clark mentions, this is an album that has on it Carol, Maybelline, Johnny B. Goode, Roll Over Beethoven, Little Queenie and many more.

Those were the days of album oriented rock. Not.

It’s an incredible trove, not a greatest hits album, that the Rolling Stones particularly mined for their early (and later) setlists.

Berry, of course, looks right at home playing along to this other cut, Back in the USA, that is also on Chuck Berry is on Top, with the totally white and polite audience clapping along.

 

 

Al Jarreau has died.

We like what we like. You get to judge. Here’s my story, and no apologies.

Al Jarreau died yesterday. When I heard the news I immediately thought of Teach Me Tonight. I loved that song.

I don’t know much of Jarreau’s career, which was a good one according to everyone, but what I know is that album that has Teach Me Tonight on it. I have that album in my basement, and if I had an actual record player I think I would play it sometimes.  Or would have.

When I got back to my house today, after the news of Jarreau’s demise, I searched YouTube for Teach Me Tonight, and after listening I wasn’t so sure I should write about it. But that’s crap. I should write about it.

Jarreau’s version of a classic is all crudded up with mature music frou frou, and if I was smarter I would have hated it. But I didn’t. I really liked it as a contemporary soul/jazz sounding version of an old song. It’s good to be soft. I love his voice. It is clear and melodic. I liked it. I have to admit it.

https://youtu.be/hDhkSsTt0VQ

On the other hand, I was also familiar with Dinah Washington’s version.

https://youtu.be/emkqc3PIw8E

This gets it. Enough said.

 

Ack, Butch Trucks (1947-2017), Too? It’s All Too Much!

Gad ,what a bad run of obits here the past few days. Now, the great time keeper for the Allman Brothers Band has passed on, just shy of 70 years of age

Trucks, who was with the band starting in 1968, had that great swinging percussive style that drove, complemented, and cemented the otherwise fluid playings of the band, just as Bill Kreutzman was at the bottom of the Dead, with Jai-Johanny Johnson playing the rhymthic counterpart to Trucks that Mickey Hart was to Kreutzman.

I guess that is a pretentious sounding sentence of nothing, but what I mean is the band certainly could interplay as on One Way Out , a song that holds arguably the best live trading of licks/solos anywhere ever with a pair of ass-kickers knocked out by Brothers Duane and Betts.  But, beneath the guitars, check out the drumming, which is so there and in time behind some very difficult time and phrasing.

And, well everyone who owns a Bic lighter knows the drive that Whippin’ Post held,

and, the band could also be so melodic and soulful with tunes like In Memory of Miss Elizabeth Reed.

Trucks’ DNA is also linked to nephews Derek Trucks (Tedeschi-Trucks Band guitarist)  and Duane Trucks (drums for Widespread Panic).

Live the eternal long, and prosper Butch…