We’re approaching the dog days of summer and my posts have been infrequent at best. I have been busy working on different projects and playing music with my friends. At least that is my excuse at the moment.
Summertime always gets me thinking about the blues and when we talk about blues, there’s the one and only Robert Johnson. Here’s a documentary I stumbled across that may be of interest for blues aficionados. The video examines the life and influences of the legendary guitar player.
10/7/14 Edited: Changed Video Source from YouTube to Archive.org. (YouTube toasted the original video.)
I came across this video while browsing Dangerous Minds, one of my favorite websites. This is an incredible video that examines Miles Davis and his “Electric Period.” I found the program very informative, especially hearing from the musicians who knew and played with Miles. For musicians, there are many important lessons to be learned in this excellent video. To cap it all off, the 2nd half of the program (around the 43 minute mark) features Miles’ historic performance at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival. Enjoy!
Here is an excellent video with Pharrell Williams interviewing Daniel Lanois. Lanois talks about his vast musical history and gives us a glimpse into his personal studio. Highlights to look for: Lanois gives us an demonstration of his pedal steel playing and shows us some cool vintage gear. It is definitely worth the taking the time to watch the entire program.
Musicians, whether they are recording or just playing music, need to understand the importance of “room treatment” and how it plays a key role in the sound you hear. I have had mixed results trying to explain this concept to others. In my own case, I noticed the difference immediately after I hung my first homemade absorber over my listening position at Tangled Wire Studios. Since then I have added several absorbers and bass traps to my recording space. I can say with confidence, I have a decent sounding room.
I recently cam across an excellent and short video that explains how sound travels within a room. (Hat tip to the Tape Op Blog) The explanation is concise and the terminology used is simple enough for non-scientific minds like mine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g33wjg9IbhMHere’s something I came across while browsing Youtube. I remember watchingDon Kirshner’s Rock Concert when I was a kid. I have no recollection of this episode, though. Maybe Black Sabbath was too much for my local TV station in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I consider it really amazing, seeing audience’s enthusiastic reception to Black Sabbath’s high energy performance. I especially like the band’s rendition of “Hole in The Sky,” from the underrated record, “Sabotage.”
Here’s the setlist:
2. Killing Yourself To Live
3. Hole In The Sky
5. War Pigs
Update – August, 2015 Unfortunately, the powers that be decided to remove the entire concert from YouTube Here’s a single song from the concert – an excellent rendition of “Snowblind.”
Here’s a great little film featuring one of my favorite songwriters, Jim White. Filmed during a recent U.K. tour, we get a glimpse into Jim’s music and his personality. I have had the good fortune to see him perform several times and was never disappointed. Check out the film and look for his records. You won’t be sorry.
This is something to behold! This clip is entertaining and educational on so many levels. Note how the songs and the harmonies are constructed. This is how singing should be – from the heart without autotune. This video clip is a must watch for anyone who writes and arranges song!
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