One of my favorite songs from Bee Gees’ pre-disco era is “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” It’s a classic pop song from the early 1970’s era, complete with a lush string section and beautful harmonies from the Brothers Gibb, It’s also a song that uses a 4/4 time signature – the most common time signature in pop and rock.
Have a listen:
In 1972, the Al Green, before he was “Reverend Al,” did a cover version of the song, which in my opinion, takes the original and raises it to entirely new level. Of course, with Mr. Green’s enormous talent and soul, any song he does will sound amazing. With his version of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” he changes the time signature to 6/8 – a time signature that is popular with many classic soul ballads.
Listen to Al Green’s Version:
See the difference? To my ears, the 6/8 time signature is less “choppy” than the 4/4 version and leaves a lot of space for Reverend Al to do his magic. What do you think?
Here’s a cool video that shows a young Eric Clapton demonstrating how he gets different sounds on his electric guitar and sheds some light on his fingerboard technique. This video was shot during the Cream days, when Clapton favored Gibson guitars. Enjoy!
I came across this fascinating video showing Neil Young, circa 1971, hanging out on his California ranch. This time period is right before he released his masterpiece, Harvest. We also get to meet, the “Old Man,” the subject of Neil’s classic “Old Man “.
As a songwriter, it’s not surprising that Neil’s ranch environment played such a vital inspirational role in his music of the day. Hat Tip to the excellent music blog, Aquarium Drunkard!
Here’s a clip showing the brilliance of Marvin Gaye a his band in the studio working on “I Want You.” I love this video because it shows Marvin being so chill as he hashes out the song. Much credit goes to his kick ass band.
Here’s a clip by of what I consider rock’s greatest rhythm section, The Who. This song demonstrates the prowess of these fine musicians just prior to their prolific record releases of Who’s Next andQuadriophia.
I stumbled across an excellent collection on Youtube Channel called FolkSeattle, which has several excellent old black and white footage of legendary blues player. Here are the videos of one of my favorite duos – Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. In our days of modern technology and studio gadgets and trickery, it’s refreshing to see the power of 2 men, one acoustic guitar and harmonica. Enjoy!
Tape Op Magazine recently added their extensive 2004 interview with Rudy Van Gelder to their web archives. I highly recommend this interview for recording enthusiasts. Mr. Van Gelder was the man who recorded so many of the greatest jazz records of all time, including John Coltrane and his classic quartet recordings for Impulse Records.
Introduction to the Tape Op Interview:
Rudy Van Gelder’s legend looms large, yet he has avoided most interviews throughout his 50-plus years in the recording biz. He has never discussed his techniques, and even in the following interview he didn’t divulge details. Van Gelder is best known for the LPs he recorded in the ’50s and ’60s for the Blue Note and Prestige jazz labels. In his youth he built a recording studio in his parent’s house where he recorded Miles Davis and many others. Having outgrown the first home studio, he built his own recording studio/complex/home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, which remains. The scope of Van Gelder’s work is unknown, but it’s a foundation for the maps, legends and history of the music of John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others. Van Gelder’s work is both intimate and mind blowing, and he might be the greatest recording engineer in jazz history.
We lost another great. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Cocker back in the late 1980’s. For this particular show, I was lucky enough to have a front row and center seat. All I can say is Mr. Cocker did not disappoint. In fact, I always put this show in my top five all-time concert going experiences. Rest in Peace, Joe!
Steve Albini recently gave the keynote address at Melbourne’s Face the Music Conference about the state of the music industry. Steve Albini, unlike many prognosticators who long for the old days of record company dominance, sings the praises of our modern internet model. Here’s an excerpt from his speech from The Guardian.
I work every day with music and with bands and I have for more than 30 years. I’ve made a couple thousand records for independent bands and rock stars, for big labels and small ones. I made a record two days ago and I’ll be making one on Monday when I get off the plane. So I believe this puts me in a pretty good position to evaluate the state of the music scene today, as it relates to how it used to be and how it has been.
We’re all here to talk about the state of the music scene and the health of the music community. I’ll start by saying that I’m both satisfied and optimistic about the state of the music scene. And I welcome the social and technological changes that have influenced it. I hope my remarks today will start a conversation and through that conversation we can invoke an appreciation of how resilient the music community is, how supportive it can be and how welcoming it should be.
It is definitely worth reading the speech in its entirety. Albini makes some valid points, most of which I agreee. (Except for his bashing of Prince!)