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Category Archives: Music, From Way Back When to Now

Great finds around the WWW – with videos where possible

And You Thought Michael Jackson Had Moves

His real name was James Isaac Moore but he adopted the stage name Slim Harpo. Just a shade behind Lightnin’ Slim in local popularity, Harpo played both guitar and neck-rack harmonica in a more down-home approximation of Jimmy Reed, with a few discernible, and distinctive, differences. Harpo‘s music was certainly more laid-back than Reed‘s, if such a notion was possible. But the rhythm was insistent and, overall, Harpo was more adaptable than Reed or most other bluesmen. His material not only made the national charts, but also proved to be quite adaptable for white artists on both sides of the Atlantic, Moore never really dedicated his life full-time to music, he owned and operated a successful trucking business in the 60’s, even while several of his songs took off and made the charts. His style was called the electric swamp blues and included elements of Delta Blues, swamp rock, and Country and Western.

Elmore James was born Elmore Brooks in Richland, Holmes County, Mississippi, the illegitimate son of 15-year-old Leola Brooks, a field hand. His father was probably Joe Willie “Frost” James, who moved in with Leola, and Elmore took his surname. He began making music at the age of 12, using a simple one-string instrument (diddley bow, or jitterbug) strung on a shack wall. As a teen he performed at dances under the names Cleanhead and Joe Willie James.During World War II, James joined the United States Navy, was promoted to coxswain and took part in the invasion of Guam. Upon his discharge, he returned to central Mississippi and settled in the town of Canton with his adopted brother Robert Holston. Working in Holston’s electrical shop, he devised his unique electric sound, using parts from the shop and an unusual placement of two DeArmond pickups

He is known as the King of the Slide Guitar.

And last but not least – Sonny Boy Williamson -He first recorded with Elmore James on “Dust My Broom“. Some of his popular songs include “Don’t Start Me Talkin’“, “Help Me“, “Checkin’ Up on My Baby“, and “Bring It On Home“. He toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival and recorded with English rock musicians, including the Yardbirds, the Animals, and Jimmy Page. “Help Me” became a blues standard.

 

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Posted by on August 2, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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I’ll Play the Blues For You

Just because it’s Thursday – The Blues in different generations

Ain’t no Love in the Heart of the City –

Little Milton – Make Me Cry

Albert Collins – If Trouble Was Money-

Otis Rush –

Non-electric blues – Lightnin Hopkins for the early 60’s –

From the early 50’s – Son House –

And Mississippi John Hurt – “Cocaine Blues”

And lastly at the edge of R&B – Howling Wolf

 
 

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Vinyl Records are Back – Sony to Make Vinyl Records in Japan

Digital music sucks. Lets face it, your Apple/Microsoft digital music is pretty bad if played on anything other than your phone or iPod equivalent. If you listen to anything that is not synthesized music, you are missing a healthy percentage of what is there. Don’t believe me? Listen to a digitally downloaded version of a Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, or Thelonious Monk compared to a Vinyl version on any decent system. Gosh! Half the music got lost in the translation.

Vinyl is the fastest growing segment (and only growing segment) of the Music distribution industry Which is why the Millennial Generation is making a fast track to buy up Turntables, old amplifiers (especially vacuum tube) and speakers capable of producing. Look at the prices of what used to be relegated to the Yard Sale table! Even modest quality turntables made by the venerable BSR are selling into the hundreds of dollars. Vacuum Tubes? Yeah, those 1930’s generation technology devices long ago replaced by the transistor in the 60’s are making a comeback because of the sound they are capable of producing. The price of a modest tube amp versus its original outperforms Uber stock. We won’t even discuss high end.

Maybe I’m an old timer – but I enjoyed record stores…except for the usual teen staff who thought somehow that playing music at ear shattering volume would somehow induce you to enjoy it.

There is a business lesson here. Not everything new is good, or an improvement. I see this in the technology markets. The rush to adopt the newest shiny technological bauble often overlooks the key rationale of why the previous technology did what it did. Technology alone doesn’t solve problems – what it does is just fail faster because of the same human problems the previous iteration did. The Internet of today is obviously a vast improvement over the technologies which came before it. However it brings with it a number of issues, such as poor security which the old networks didn’t have much of an issue with. Lot of focus on making it faster, or more far reaching – not much thinking on how do we construct a system which by its design solves the major issues. Lot of thinking inside the very small box.

Gosh…I’m going to need a “new” tube amp to replace the one I sold 10 years ago. Lucky for me I kept the old Turntable!

If you enjoy Jazz Music from the 50’s through the 70’s this is very important. Th Japanese bought up all the original Analog tapes they could of Jazz Musicians, to feed their local market of Jazz aficionados. This could well mean some of that may be available in the original Vinyl format again.

Sony Will Start Making Vinyl Records Again In Japan, After Nearly 30-Year Hiatus

Sony Music is preparing to make its own vinyl records again in Japan, in another sign that albums are back from the brink of being obsolete. The company says it’s installing record-cutting equipment and enlisting the help of older engineers who know how to reproduce the best sound.

Vinyl sales have seen a resurgence since around 2008. And while records are still a small part of the market, the fact that in 2016 “a format nearly a century old generated 3.6 percent of total global revenues is remarkable,” as NPR’s Andrew Flanagan has reported.

Years of double-digit growth in record sales have left vinyl press plants in the U.S., Japan, and elsewhere struggling to meet demand. Sony’s plan reportedly includes the possibility that it will press records on contract.

As the creator of the Walkman and a co-developer of the CD format, Sony helped to end the era of vinyl albums. And while sales of digital music have been hit in recent years by the popularity of streaming audio on Spotify, Pandora and other outlets, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper quotes Sony Music Japan’s CEO Michinori Mizuno saying that when it comes to vinyl, “A lot of young people buy songs that they hear and love on streaming services.”

Fans of vinyl cite the rich sound it provides; they also say album art and liner notes gives them a more tangible sense of connection to the music they love.

Here’s what a 28-year-old record store customer told NPR about the format’s appeal, back in 2014:

“The way I consumed music has been so instant and so immediate, especially with Spotify and online streaming services,” Veronica Martinez said. “I kind of just want to go back to the way I used to listen to it as a kid.”

Sony has already installed record-cutting equipment at a Tokyo studio; it will start pressing records again in the spring of 2018 — nearly three decades after it made its last in-house vinyl back in 1989.

“Cutting is a delicate process, with the quality of sound affected by the depth and angle of the grooves,” Nikkei reports, “and Sony is scrambling to bring in old record engineers to pass on their knowledge.”

With the move, Sony will make records that could be played on the new turntable it sent to market last year — although we’ll note that the player includes an audio converter and a USB outlet for converting songs into digital files.

At the end of 2016, sales of vinyl records outpaced digital music sales for the first time in the U.K., as The Guardian reported.

 

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Release of New Thelonious Monk Album!

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Been a century since Jazz Great Thelonious Monk was born. Jazz fans are about to be in for a treat, the release of some Monk material previously thought lost.

Jazz Wizard Thelonious Monk’s Lost Masterpiece

To mark his centennial, the jazz legend’s lost album, ‘Les liaisons dangereuses 160,’ has finally been made available. And boy, is it special.

Ask any group of even token jazz fans who the best composer is in the history of the medium, and a series of hearty cries will go up for Duke Ellington. But are we being wayward if we suggest that Thelonious Monk might be in the runner-up spot?

There is good reason to kick around that notion: this is Monk’s centennial year, with a zesty little Monk treat for Record Store Day on April 22 coming courtesy of the release of the 2LP set, Les liaisons dangereuses 1960—a discovery in one part, a wonder in another….

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Just for the Joy of It – Thelonious Monk Live in ’66

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Chuck Berry Early Rock and Roll Great

Rock and Roll legend Chuck Berry passed yesterday at the age of 90. His music shaped Rock and Roll for decades.

“There’s only one true king of rock ‘n’ roll,” said Stevie Wonder. “His name is Chuck Berry.”

The Chicago bluesman, who has died aged 90, basically invented rock.

Sure, there were other contributors: Bill Haley’s northern band rock ‘n’roll; Pat Boone and his New Orleans dance blues; and Berry’s label mate at Chess Records, Bo Diddley.

But no-one else shaped the instrumental voice and lyrical attitude of rock like Chuck. His recordings were lean, modern and thrilling. In the words of pop critic Bob Stanley, “they sounded like the tail fins on Cadillacs”.

He was the first to admit he drew inspiration from days of old. “There is really nothing new under the sun,” he said in the mid-1980s tribute film Hail, Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll – citing the likes of T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian as his forebears.

Even the famous “Chuck Berry guitar riff“, which opened hits like Maybellene and Johnny B. Goode, was lifted – by his own admission – from a Louis Jordan record.

What he did with those influences, though, was something else. He gave country the bite of the blues, writing defiant odes to cars and girls at a time when rock lyrics were all Tutti Frutti and A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop.

As Brian Wilson said, he wrote “all of the great songs and came up with all the rock and roll beats”.

“He laid down the law,” added Eric Clapton.

 

The biggest knock on Chuck Berry is he typically performed with pickup bands. As such, the quality of his live performances varied wildly – often not to the good. In this video, he does his classic “Nadine”, backed up by Kieth Richards of the Rolling Stones.

 

Lastly, and interview with Johnny Carson in 1987…

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Music – Booker T. (Formerly of the MGs, and his Hammond 17

I remember as a kid when Hammond Organs were the staple of a number of local bands. There was nothing at the time that generated to deep base notes. Two of the most famous Hammond playing musicians were Booker T. Jones and Jimmy Smith. When the band got hot, and the Hammond started heating up, was about as good as it got back in the day. The Hammond pre-dated transistor technology, and used Vacuum Tubes, mechanical coils, and an oil trough which made a sound far more complex than today’s digital synthesizers.

Takes me back…

 

And not to leave him out, Jimmy Smith in 1964 –

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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