I am still bummed out about the untimely departure of Jason Molina. If you want to see how great he was, check out these High Definition videos from Alabama Public Television’s “We Have Signal.” (I wish my local PBS Station would carry this program.) You can watch Jason and the excellent, Magnolia Electric Company doing a nearly 30-minute set.
I discovered this obscure gem while searching through a record store bargain bin back in the early 1980s. At the time, I was unaware of who Alex Taylor was and I had no idea about his lineage.(More on that later) However, the album’s cover photography and the Capricorn record label were enough to persuade me to drop a few bucks and take a chance on this record. Looking back, Dinnertime was one of my best all-time bargain bin scores.
Who is Alex Taylor? Imagine a more bluesy and funkier version of his younger brother, James Taylor. From Wikipedia:
Alexander “Alex” Taylor (February 28, 1947 – March 12, 1993) was an American singer. Alexander Taylor was the eldest child of Dr. Isaac M. Taylor and Gertrude Taylor. He was a member of a family which produced a number of musicians, the most famous of whom is James Taylor, but also includes Livingston, Hugh and Kate Taylor.
Dnnertime is an excellent vehicle that demonstrates Alex’s soulful blues chops and heartfelt crooning. For this record, all the right elements came together: The talent of Alex Taylor, coupled with a fine cast of supporting musicians, working in the legendary Muscle Shoals studio. Add it all up and you get a classic recording.
From the first track, ” Change Your Sexy Ways” to the final song, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “From a Buick Six,” there is not a weak track on this record. Some standout tracks to look for are covers of Randy Newman’s “Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield, Jessie Winchester’s “Payday” and Charlie Rich’s “Who Will The Next Fool Be.”
Here’s an example
I can’t for the life of me understand why Dinnertime is “obscure.” In my opinion, it’s criminal that more people aren’t aware of this classic record. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find examples of songs from Dinnertime on the web to share with you.
Allmusic.com has some short clips from each song and if you’re a member of Spotify you can find Dinnertime streaming. Dinnertime was also re-released as a CD and Mp3s a few years back. You can find it at places like Amazon.
“Change Your Sexy Ways” (Alex Taylor, Chuck Leavell, Jim Nalls) – 7:07
“Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield” (Randy Newman) – 4:25
“Comin’ Back to You” (Scott Boyer) – 4:15
“Four Days Gone” (Stephen Stills) – 3:56
“Payday” (Jesse Winchester) – 4:53
“Who’s Been Talking?” (Howlin’ Wolf) – 4:45
“Who Will the Next Fool Be?” (Charlie Rich) – 4:50
“From a Buick Six” (Bob Dylan) – 4:54
Alex Taylor – vocals
Scott Boyer – guitar, background vocals
Chuck Leavell – piano, keyboards, vibaphone
Paul Hornsby – organ, keyboards
Johnny Sandlin – bass, moog synthesizer
Wayne Perkins – bass, guitar, slide guitar
John Hughey – steel guitar
Jim Nalls – guitar
Charlie Hayward – bass
Jaimoe – percussion, conga, timbales
Bill Stewart – drums
Roger Hawkins – percussion, conga, tambourine
Lou Mullenix – percussion, timbales
Earl Sims – percussion
Charles Chalmers – background vocals
Sandra Chalmers – background vocals
Ginger Holladay – background vocals
Mary Holladay – background vocals
Donna Rhodes – background vocals
Sandra Rhodes – background vocals
Temple Riser – background vocals
Steve Smith – background vocals
Producer: Johnny Sandlin
Recording Engineer: Steve Smith/Johnny Sandlin
Remixing: Johnny Sandlin/Jeff Willens/Richard Rosebrough/Danny Tuberville
Photography: Barry Feinstein/Tom Wilkes
Executive Supervisor: Phil Wald
This is a new feature I’m adding to the blog because I think it’s important to listen to a lot of different music. It’s my hope that I will help turn you on to an artist or recording you might not be familiar with.
First up is songwriter extraordinaire, Jill Sobule and her excellent recording, “California Years.” Songwriter’s take note and listen Jill’s songs. She is a master at her craft.
Here’s a video of Jill performing a song from the record, “Where is Bobbie Gentry.”
Roots music and folk music are the songs of the people. I think it is important to look back at the musicians who came before us to understand how their musical contributions helped shape the songs we sing and play.
Alan Lomax was one of the more prolific “folklorists” who helped document and preserve many of the treasures of American and International folk music. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Lomax, check out his Wikipedia Page:
Alan Lomax (January 15, 1915 – July 19, 2002) was one of the great American field collectors of folk music of the 20th century. He was also a folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker. Lomax also produced recordings, concerts, and radio shows in the U.S and in England, which played an important role in both the American and British folk revivals of the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s. During the New Deal, with his father, famed folklorist and collector John A. Lomax and later alone and with others, Lomax recorded thousands of songs and interviews for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress on aluminum and acetate discs.
Here’s a clip with Simon Wood going through the original tracks from David Bowie’s classic song, “Space Oddity.” I always find it useful to hear the individual elements of the mix in order to gain a better understanding of the song as a whole. I am especially fascinated the supporting musical elements that make the song, what it is. Note the really excellent bass and drum interplay near the end of the song. H/T Drew Dundon.
Tape Op Magazinehas been around since 1996. Each bi-monthly issue is packed with a wealth of information for the recording musician – Everything from interviews with producers and engineers, to reviews of the latest gear and recording technology. I love reading about the famous and not so famous people who worked behind-the-scenes to create some of iconic recordings that helped influence my musical tastes. Besides hearing about these people, you also get to read about some of the famous recording studios where the magic was created. In addition, you will find many valuable recording tips to help you in your own musical pursuits. Tape Op Magazine is one of the few magazines I read from cover to cover. If you are a recording musician, this is a must have resource.
Did I mention that mail subscriptions of the print edition are free? That’s right. For people who live in the United States and the United Kingdom, magazine subscriptions are free.
Click on this link and get started with your subscription. You won’t be sorry.
I first heard about these microphones while browsing though the forums over at Gearslutz. These low cost Shure SM57 and SM58 knockoffs, available through Orange County Speaker, rated very well with people from the on-line recording community. Because they are so inexpensive – as of this writing, the mics sell for $29.99 (U.S.) each (You can get a slightly better deal if you buy them in quantity) – I decided to take the plunge and order one ES-57, (SM57 copy) and one ES-58-S (SM58 copy with an on and off switch). I would find out for myself if the internet hype on these mics was true.