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Showing posts from July, 2020

The Monkees

The MonkeesThis is an updated repost from Dec. 18, 2018

For a TV series that ran for only two years (1966-68) albeit 58 episodes, it has had a significant effect on music, even today. I recall 'sneaking' as my father was very much against us watching such "garbage" with two of my sisters to watch the shows on Saturday morning reruns. 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. In fact about 75 million records to date. The demise of the silly 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…

Bluegrass

Bluegrass

History of Bluegrass
If we look at the roots of Bluegrass music, it most certainly begins in large part with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants to the area known as Appalachia as early as the late 1600s, but in greater numbers from about 1720 throughout the 1800s. Appalachia is part of the Appalachian Mountains which geographically extend from Newfoundland to Alabama for over 2000 miles. It seems the name Appalachia and Appalachian have become somewhat interchangeable. You can see the area on the map inset below.
However, the cultural and musical region related to Bluegrass is pretty much confined to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to the Smokey Mountains on the Tennessee and North Carolina border. So I will refer to this region by it's name of Appalachia, sorry I'm no geographer, bottom line this is where Bluegrass originated!
The instruments transported by these early immigrants were almost exclusively string based. For the most part this was the fiddle …

I Write the Songs Part 3

I Write the Songs (part 3) Jerry Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011) and Mike Stoller (born March 13, 1933) This pair met in Los Angeles and by age 17 their songs were being recorded. With the success of "Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton in 1953, they, along with their mentor Lester Sill, formed Spark Records which was the first of many businesses. Though they were not initially fans of Elvis's rendition of Hound Dog, they grew to have a great relationship with him and wrote some of his #1 hits such as "Don't" (1958) and "Jailhouse Rock" (1957) as well as several other top tens. They wrote "There Goes My Baby" and "On Broadway" for The Drifters, and "Stand By Me" and "I (Who Have Nothing)" for Ben E. King, which would go on to be a hit song for at least five other artists. Their favorite group were The Coasters who had four #1 R&B songs and a dozen other hits on Billboard's Hot 100 and the R&…

Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day!

Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day!
To celebrate these birthdays, I will be listing some of the well-known groups with both American and Canadian members.The BandAs good a place to start as any, The Band is known for classics like "The Weight". Levon Helm, who played drums and sang lead on many songs, was the only American born member. The others were Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson. They produced many great songs such as "Up On Cripple Creek" and "Stage Fright". They also have a song about the Civil War that has gone under the radar of recent protests and bans, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".As we know, the American rocker Ronnie Hawkins with his Hawks were the genesis of The Band. Post The Band, he hired Canadian Domenic Troiano, who played guitar with Ronnie as part of Robbie Lane & The Disciples. Troiano later worked with The Guess Who. Domenic wrote "We All Need Love" with lead voca…