.. but it just don’t work on you…today in rock history, in 1983, McKinley Morganfield "Muddy Waters" dies of a heart attack at the age of sixty-eight in Chicago. Morganfield is buried at the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. The epitaph on the burial marker reads: "McKinley Morganfield, 1915 - 1983, The Mojo is Gone The Master Has Won."
Well, I would submit the Mojo is still workin’ – Muddy lives on in his excellent recordings and the homage that other blues players pay him every time they play one of his tunes. The other day I got a recording of one of his classics – “Breakin’ It Up & Breakin’ It Down,” an recording of him on tour in 1978-79 with James Cotton and Johnny Winter. This is, IMHO, one of the best blues albums of all time, and it showed Muddy in fine form, on the comeback trail after recording his seminal album, 1977’s “Hard Again.” It was also the inspiration for Johnny to take up the blues full time and leave that rock and roll behind. So let’s celebrate Muddy’s life, and check out a tune from Muddy from a live date back in '71. Thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muddy_Waters and www.rockhall.com/notes/today-in-rock/ for the info, and let’s play a slow blues, shall we?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
… of Motown. Today in rock history, on this date in 1953, James Jamerson moves to Detroit and takes up the bass. James was a member of the “Funk Brothers,” who, along with founding members Joe Hunter and Earl Van Dyke (piano); Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin and Richard "Pistol" Allen (drums); Robert White, Eddie Willis, and Joe Messina (guitar); Jack Ashford (tambourine, percussion, vibraphone, marimba); Jack Brokensha (vibraphone, marimba); and Eddie "Bongo" Brown (percussion), made up the “house band” at Motown in the ‘50’s ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. They were responsible for the “Motown Sound” of the Supremes, the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, the Temptations, and on and on. Until the documentary “Standing in the Shadows” was released in 2002, little was known about the tightest, most bad-ass R&B/soul band around – Motown did not start crediting studio musicians until Marvin Gaye’s 1972 album “What’s Goin’ On” was released. The band used innovative techniques. For example, most Motown records feature two drummers, playing together or overdubbing one another — Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" used three drummers. A number of songs utilized instrumentation and percussion unusual in soul music. The Temptations' "It's Growing" features Earl Van Dyke playing a toy piano for the song's introduction, snow chains are used as percussion on Martha & the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run", and a custom oscillator was built to create the synthesizer sounds used to accent Diana Ross & the Supremes' "Reflections" A tire iron was used in the Martha & the Vandellas "Dancing in the Streets". One interesting thing I noted while watching the documentary is that most of the musicians still used charts when playing songs that they’d probably been playing for 30 years or more. I remember thinking, “jeeze, you’d think they’d have memorized their parts by now!” At any rate, let’s enjoy the Funk Brothers one more time (and any time you listen to a classic Motown tune), the great unsung heroes of the Motown years. Thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funk_Brothers and http://www.rockhall.com/notes/today-in-rock/ for the info, and keep on rockin’!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
just twirlin' her baton... On the road, day...well, I've lost count...been here in Salt Lake City for 4 or 5 days visiting my son at college. While here we've walked the campus, gotten some souvenirs, ridden a train (two different kinds), ran a 5K, and just generally hung out with "the boy." Heading home tomorrow, so I'm writing this in anticipation of ending up in North Platte, Nebraska tomorrow night. This is one of my favorite tunes from The Boss; it speaks well of the stark wind swept plains of western Nebraska. Perfect spot for a killing, I guess... keep on rockin', and we'll see you back at the ranch...
Monday, April 6, 2009
... he's a little bit rock and roll...greetings from the road, day 3 - Salt Lake City, UT. Visiting my son here at the Univ of Utah here in Mormonland. We experienced another day of temperature extremes - from 4 degrees overnight in Frisco, CO to 65 here in Utah. We'll be here for a week, so I won't guarantee I'll post everyday...here's a classic from the most Mormon of Mormons, Donny and Marie...I'll apologize in advance, keep on rockin', and we'll catch you later...
Sunday, April 5, 2009
... in Colorado...greetings from the road, day 2; Frisco, CO - after having fought our way across Kansas in a snowstorm with 40 mph winds, through Denver and more snow and wind, we find ourselves at the Alpine Inn, gateway to the Breckenridge ski area. I wish this trip would settle down into more predictable weather - 75 degrees yesterday, and 20 today. Oh well...I should quit complaining; we drive across Colorado tomorrow through the gorgeous Rockies, and the weather is supposed to improve. So I hate to beat the proverbial dead horse, but here's Mr. John Deutschendorf to sing their praises. Yeah, that's me, wandering through the lush green meadows... Keep on rockin', and we'll post again tomorrow in Utah.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
... all we have here in Kansas is dust in the wind...Greetings from the road! On a road trip to Utah; day one, Salina, KS - you might well ask, what the heck are you doing in Kansas if you're going from Minnesota to Utah? Well, at the last minute, we rerouted our trip and dropped south to avoid what was supposed to be a significant blizzard in Nebraska and Wyoming... so here we are, in the land of heat (75 here today), wind, and museums commemorating just about anything - we drove right by the Oz Museum in Wamego today; shoulda stopped! Can't drive through Kansas without a nod to one of their most famous products...shown here in the form of a classic amateur home video...enjoy, keep on rockin', and we'll see you tomorrow in Colorado...