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Classic Rock

Classic Rock

What is now referred to as 'Classic Rock' was just plain ole R&R when I was growing up, so while the music is now 'classic', me...not so much. In part thanks to baby boomer parents like myself who exposed their children to the songs, 1970's and 80's Rock is alive and well. What has really kept it alive though (apart from demographics) is the music itself, a lot of really talented artists making great tunes. Everyone I think has some songs from their youth that hold a lot of meaning, but few era's of music have the staying power these bands produced.



So a generation has packed up and carried this music, spreading it as we go. And I mean that literally, back then between milk crates full of albums, a stereo receiver, tape deck, turntable and speakers this took up half the living room and most of my net worth!
Today I can fit the equivalent of 800 albums on my phone and play it on a wireless speaker the size of a sausage bun.

While the somewh…

Jeff Lynne and ELO

Jeff Lynne and ELO

Jeff Lynne (born 30 December 1947) is about to turn 71 years of age. I just finished watching the documentary "JEFF LYNNE'S ELO: WEMBLEY OR BUST" and it was a reminder of why I loved (Electric Light Orchestra) ELO so much in the 1970/80's and why I still do today.
First his voice is still amazing, second all the songs hold up and exceed most of what's being produced today and lastly the doc's a very well put together blend of concert footage, interviews and a look behind the scenes. So why does he need to call it Jeff Lynne's ELO? There are past band members that have tried to capitalize on the name so he wanted people to know this was the real deal. For someone who does not read or write music, Lynne has produced some of the finest orchestral rock music ever, and it's all in his head.

"Rock 'n' Roll is King" by Electric Light Orchestra (1983), written by Jeff Lynne and something upbeat to get things started.
&qu…

The Monkees

The Monkees

For a TV series that only ran for two years (1966-68) albeit 58 episodes it has had a significant effect on music even today. I recall sneaking with two of my sisters to watch the shows (by this time it was Saturday morning reruns) as my father was very much against us watching such "garbage". I tried watching a couple of episodes recently, it's about a wacky group of guys struggling to make it in the music business, and apart from the music my father was not all wrong. However, for the time period it was great entertainment for tweens and teens especially and that demographic bought their records-lots of them. The demise of the wacky TV show was due to a backlash regarding the 'manufactured' nature of the band itself and a change in the format in season two, the ratings dropped and that was it. The TV show was gone and all that was left was a lot of great songs and by now, an actual fully functioning band with the Monkeys themselves playing instrume…

Banned Songs

Banned Songs

Unless you've successfully insulated yourself from the media lately (at least in Canada and the U.S.) you have heard of the latest casualty of 'social' and or 'political correctness', as I write this "Baby it's Cold Outside" is being dropped like a hot potato. I hope more rational heads will prevail but we'll see; this may not be the last song on the list to be banned this season.
Originally from the movie "Neptune's Daughter" written by someone who apparently should have known better; Frank Loesser who won an Academy Award in 1949 for this song (so they will need to be banned as well). As will the movie 'Elf' where the song makes an appearance. It's originally performed in the movie by the actors Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalb├ín (1949) and note in the video clip the roles are reversed with  Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. The first record release was by Don Cornell and Laura Leslie with Sammy Kaye and Hi…

David Bowie

David Bowie

Born David Robert Jones (January 8, 1947) he died January 10, 2016 at the age of 69. I find that the more well known an artist is, one runs the risk of just blogging about stuff everyone already knows. If I stick close to my theme of cover songs, there might be something here you have not already read or heard.
Bowie's first record release was a 45 r.p.m. with "Rubber Band" on the 'A' side. "Rubber Band" a cover by Shane Devon (2017) who hails from Owensboro, KY of all places does an amazing job. This song written by an 18 year old Bowie and recorded at 19 seems an odd choice for one so young in the 1966 music scene but he is emulating one of his early influences Anthony Newley . Still I find the song quite remarkable. On the 'B' side is one of my favorite Bowie songs "London Boys" written by David Bowie, the two songs are quite different and this one gives us a glimpse I think of the David Bowie to come, brilliant and uniq…

California

California
It is unimaginable what some of the people of California are suffering right now. In a part of the world known for its natural beauty, nature and mankind have delivered a tragic blow. I’d like to dedicate this blog edition to the people of California, those who have lost and are suffering and those who are no doubt deeply affected by these terrible fires. My family and I have some close friends in California and thankfully they have not been directly impacted.
There are thousands of songs that sing the virtues (and a few the opposite) of the state of California, its cities, towns and landmarks. There are hundreds of different songs each named just "California" alone. Likewise many an artist has come from California or honed their craft there in its rich music scene. In no particular order here are some songs (many sung and or written by residents of California) that to me are representative of the people and places from the Golden State.
I Left My Heart in San F…

Country Covers of Classic Country Songs (Part 2)

For this edition I'm looking to the women of Country Music for some inspiration, and there are plenty of great covers to choose from over the years.
Here is a notable song to start with, a rarity in that it's the first country female artist to have a million seller (1935). She wrote the song while missing her then boyfriend in 1934, the melody is based on the great Stuart Hamblen's tune "Texas Plains".
"I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" by Patsy Montana Accompanied by the  Prairie Ramblers, written by Patsy Montana, (Ruby Rebecca Blevins, October 30, 1914-May 3, 1996). Covered at least 28 times.
Suzy Bogguss (1989), Cyndi Lauper featuring Jewel (2016).

Next we have a song many women may be able to relate too ;)
"Don't Come Home A'Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" by Loretta Lynn, written by Loretta Lynn and her sister Peggy Sue Wright. First recorded in 1966, covered just 10 times. Gretchen Wilson from the 'Coal Miner…

Songs from your Country

Songs of Social Change, Protest or Love.

This Land Is YourLand” (1944-47) written and performed by Woody Guthrie. Words were changed over the period of years as it was adapted from another one of his songs.
Woody is well known as folk singer/songwriter, political activist and cross-country traveller. He wrote this song to remind Americans and in particular the Politicians just who the good ole’ U.S.of A was for - the people-all the people. A version with name places changed by a Canadian Group ‘TheTravellers’ (1958). How we feel about our home country or country of birth has been embodied in songs both pro and con I would imagine as long as singing and songwriting has been around. To represent our country does it mean we have to exclude or even hate others in order to protect our own interests? Do we have to mistreat the planet? Or other people from other parts of the world or from our own country for that matter in order to feel better about ourselves? More importantly who gets to d…

Delta Blues Part 2

Delta Blues (Part 2)


As I mentioned in my blog (part 1) the Delta Blues has travelled near, far and throughout the world. Here are some additional notable artists from the Delta region, many of whom roamed from place to place often never staying for very long. Despite my blog views being somewhat dismally low for topics such as these, it is a subject critical to the understanding of today’s music, in particular modern blues and much of classic rock. While I feel the need to set a baseline by mentioning these artists, later I think I’ll reverse engineer from names such as Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Canned Heat and today's biggest guitar hero Joe Bonamassa. There is much to say about these legendary characters, originally just referred to as “songsters” or “wandering songsters” and “minstrels” many of whom have several stories written about them and I should do a blog or two on their own.
John Smith Hurt know as Mississippi John Hurt (March 8, 1892 or 1893, Teoc, Mississippi…

Country Covers of Classic Country Songs (Part 1)

Country Covers of Classic Country Songs (Part 1)
Can’t think of a better place to start than with the amazing Chris Stapleton who is a throwback to the great voices of Country music. Here he takes a classic by one of the celebrated singer songwriters of Country Music, ironically though he didn’t write this one…but what a fantastic song. And no far as I know they aren't related.
“Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, written by Linda Hargrove and Dean Dillon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zAThXFOy2cTennessee Whiskey” by David Allen Coe, the original.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJmPZqQOlXU Some songs are just destined to be hits but there are few that have done that with three different artists. First was the original, Dec. 24, 1988 by Keith Whitley, #1 on US Hot Country Songs (Billboard).Next Alison Krauss hit #3 in 1995 and then Ronan Keating in 1999 where it hit #1 in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand. Personally I came to this song through Alison Krauss, how about you?