Thank You Cream For Introducing Me To The Blues

I found myself wondering where the blues took hold with me. I attribute my 47+ year fascination with the blues to the band Cream.

The year was 1968 a formative time in my life. I was listening intently to progressive rock format via WNEW-FM 102.7, New York City.

The radio personalities on that station were influencing my tastes and direction. They poured a healthy amount of Cream during their shifts.

The standout recording for me was “Sunshine of Your Love” from Disraeli Gears. I wore that vinyl LP down along with several stereo needles on the hi-fi system in my bedroom.

This song and album anchored my interest in Cream. I purchased their other two albums, Fresh Cream and Wheels of Fire in short order. Cream constituted my listening hours for months.

I discovered a great deal about the blues with “Spoonful” by Willie Dixon, “I’m So Glad” by Skip James and “Crossroads” by Robert Johnson.

Time to give Cream a deeper blues appreciation this weekend. 🙂

I can walk down the street, there’s no one there
Though the pavements are one huge crowd
I can drive down the road, my eyes don’t see
Though my mind wants to cry out loud

I Feel Free – Fresh Cream, Writer(s): Jack Bruce, Peter Constantine Brown, Pete Brown, Ben Langmaid, Copyright: Dratleaf Music Ltd., Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.

 

 

Advertisements
Advertisements

Eric Clapton & Friends – The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)

Eric Clapton has often stated that JJ Cale is one of the single most important figures in rock history, a sentiment echoed by many of his fellow musicians. JJ Cale’s influence on Clapton and many of today’s artists cannot be understated. To honor JJ ‘s legacy, a year after his passing, Clapton gathered a group of like-minded friends and musicians for Eric Clapton & Friends – The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale). With performances by Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, Derek Trucks and Don White, the album features 16 beloved JJ Cale songs and is named for the 1972 single “Call Me The Breeze.”

The Breeze, An Appreciation of JJ Cale is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.

1. Call Me The Breeze (Eric Clapton)
2. Rock And Roll Records (Eric Clapton & Tom Petty)
3. Someday (Mark Knopfler)
4. Lies (John Mayer & Eric Clapton)
5. Sensitive Kind (Don White)
6. Cajun Moon (Eric Clapton)
7. Magnolia (John Mayer)
8. I Got The Same Old Blues (Tom Petty & Eric Clapton)
9. Songbird (Willie Nelson & Eric Clapton)
10. Since You Said Goodbye (Eric Clapton)
11. I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me) (Don White & Eric Clapton)
12. The Old Man And Me (Tom Petty)
13. Train To Nowhere (Mark Knopfler, Don White & Eric Clapton)
14. Starbound (Willie Nelson)
15. Don’t Wait (Eric Clapton & John Mayer)
16. Crying Eyes (Eric Clapton & Christine Lakeland)

You may also pre-order and listen for Free for a limited time to the entire album on iTunes right here!

White Room By Cream (1968)

Cream ruled the progressive rock FM airwaves from 1967 through 1969. Their albums were prized by psychedelic and blues rock fans alike. This supergroup formed the first rock power trio and played extensive “live” jams.

One Cream track I played often on my hi-fi system was  “White Room“. The song originally appeared on the US release of their double album Wheels of Fire in July 1968 and then was released as a single in September 1968. Wheels of Fire was the first platinum-selling double album. Jack Bruce wrote the song along with poet Pete Brown.

I especially love Eric Clapton’s wah-wah pedal on this track along with the kick of  Ginger Baker slamming those skins in animated fashion while seated behind the drum kit.

Narada Michael Walden – Thunder 2013

Wishing I could be in Oakland, California at Yoshi’s tomorrow evening September 5th to attend the pre-release party for Tarpan Record’s owner and consummate artist, Narada Michael Walden‘s album. Thunder 2013. Know that I am there in spirit. My enthusiasm goes out to my friend Steffen Frantz, who I am proud to share with the readers of this music blog, recently became President of the Tarpan Records label. I wholeheartedly agree with Narada Michael Walden’s choice for his top executive 🙂

Thunder 2013 is due to drop on Tuesday September 17th. It’s a vibrant recording with a unique depth of soul that peacefully envelops the music of our heart.

“Brother Narada’s new sound is young and vibrant. Listening to Thunder, is uplifting and transforming! Narada’s vision is powerful with lots of soul. It is a tapestry of vibrant ideas, universal tone and the great vocal hooks that he is known for. This album rocks hard-core with supreme light and raw energy divine.” – Carlos Santana

My favorite track so far is “Dreams of Vinyl” 🙂

I last saw Narada Michael Walden live at Madison Square Garden on February 18, 2010. He was playing drums for Jeff Beck that evening. The group featured selections from Jeff Beck’s Emotion, Commotion, months before its release. I was  totally blown away by what I heard and experienced.

I get a similar feeling plus more from Thunder 2013. It has great feel flow. Give it a listen on Sound Cloud, you’ll crave the vibe 😉

Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 – Special One Night Event, Tuesday August 13th

The indoor edition of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 arrives in select cinemas nationwide for a special one night event this Tuesday, August 13 at 7:30pm (local time)!

For tickets and the cinema near you go to: http://www.fathomevents.com/#!clapton-crossroads

The cinema event will include exclusive video from this year’s legendary guitar festival including behind-the-scenes footage at Madison Square Garden.

Performing Artists: Allman Brothers Band, Blake Mills, Booker T., Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr., Gregg Allman, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes

God Bless Your Soul, JJ Cale

It was sad to learn about the death of legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist, JJ Cale yesterday.

He brought us some great music and served as a major influence to musicians and fans alike.

“Of all the players I ever heard, it’s gotta be Hendrix and JJ Cale
who are the best electric guitar players” – Neil Young

God Bless Your Soul JJ Cale, the music of our heart goes out to your memory and your family during their time of need.

Naturally (J. J. Cale album)
Naturally (J. J. Cale album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

108 Rock Star Guitars by Lisa Johnson

I love coffee table books. Lisa Johnson has put together a definitive music coffee table publication, 108 Rock Star Guitars.  It’s a 396-page art book, bound in embossed red leatherette, and features 300 images of iconic guitars. It’s a 17 year labor of love. The book is slated for release on October 8th, 2013. The date of the book release has 108 in it, 10/8 😉

I admire what she has accomplished with this stunning photographic and annotated portfolio of the rock star guitar. Competent design is a reflection of technique. Lisa Johnson uses a macro lens and showcases a variety of the last film stock ever manufactured for Kodak Professional and the transition to digital.

The foreword was written by the late Les Paul in 2009. It adds an intimate rainbow hue over this gala guitar collection. Lisa Johnson is dedicating a portion of the book proceeds to help The Les Paul Foundation. (See below)

In honor of the 4th of July 2013 here is Wayne Kramer of MC5 fame’s 2010 Signature Fender Strat.

Les Paul Foundation

The mission of the Les Paul Foundation is to honor and share the life, spirit, and legacy of Les Paul by supporting music education, engineering and innovation as well as medical research. The Les Paul Foundation is an approved IRC 501(c) 3 organization.

The Les Paul Foundation:

  • Awards grants to music, music engineering and sound programs that serve youth.
  • Establishes music-related scholarships at schools and programs for students.
  • Provides grants for medical research and programs related to hearing impairment.
  • Supports public exhibits displaying Les Paul’s life achievements.

Carlos Santana is My Favorite Guitarist

There are many great guitarists we encounter in this life.  A question posed to me recently was, “Who’s your favorite guitarist of all time? And where does Eric Clapton fall on the list?”

Courtesy of Hal Miller

My response is that Carlos Santana is my favorite guitarist of all time. When I hear the notes from Carlos’s finger’s as he plays his Paul Reed Smith guitar I become happily transfixed. Carlos Santana invokes a spirituality that communicates, then transfers the healing power of music.

Musicians are the angel’s messengers and like a shaman they have the mission to cure people who are sick. We each receive a gift in this life that we are allowed to share with others. The gift that Carlos Santana shares with us is his energy and light. He expresses himself to the world through his instrument the guitar in recorded and live form.

I have seen Carlos Santana perform 20 times live in concert. Why see one guitarist play live that many times you might ask? Well it has everything to do with how his artistry and how healing I find the experience to be. It is often said that music solves what ails us. Life poses us many challenges and problems. For me, there is nothing like a Santana concert to remove the blues.

Speaking of the blues that’s where Eric Clapton comes into sharp focus. Eric Clapton has been a blues journeyman much of his life. He is a leading acolyte of the blues tradition. If I had to put together a short list of guitarists in rank order, it would be 1) Carlos Santana(20), 2) B.B. King (9), 3) Jeff Beck (3) and 4) Eric Clapton (4). I have been fortunate to see all of these guitarists live in concert on many occasions as denoted ().  I rank Eric Clapton fourth on my list because that’s where he is situated in the music of my heart. I hear B.B. King and Jeff Beck ahead of him because that is how their guitar playing reaches me inside. It’s the nature of the strings and how they are strummed that makes us all one!

Major Showtime at the Apollo Lately

Apollo Theater anniversary: Celebrating 78 years of classic performances (SLIDESHOW)The Apollo Theater in Harlem has been the showcase venue of late. The blues are getting the much due respect and attention it deserves as is rock and roll.

Howlin’ for Hubert

Last month, on the evening of February 24th, there was an event held that honored the late blues great Hubert Sumlin.

The evening was a benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America, which supports 6,000 musician emergency cases each year. A fund has now been established in Hubert’s name which will help jazz and blues legends in crisis. It was Hubert’s wish that no musician need to go through what he did – die in poverty due to lack of health care.

One look at this poster shows you why this was the hottest ticket in town last month.

From what I have read around the Web and watched on YouTube there were several great collaborative sets. The collaboration that pleased me the most was James Cotton on the mouth harp, Eric Clapton on guitar and Keith Richards on guitar, handling the vocals on Spoonful. It was Richards’ first major musical performance since the last Rolling Stones tour ended five years ago.

Robert Johnson at 100

Next Tuesday, March 6th, the Apollo hosts the event, Robert Johnson at 100.  A musical tribute to Robert Johnson with various artists celebrating his 100th birthday.  This special evening is a fundraiser to assist with the building of the Blues Hall of Fame by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Robert Johnson at 100 tribute at the Apollo Theater March 6 will include Macy Gray, Chuck D, Living Colour, James Blood Ulmer, Savion Glover, Pedrito Martinez Group, Otis Taylor, Sarah Dash, Dough Rollers, Sugar Blue, The Harlem Blues Choir, and The Rev. Steven Johnson, grandson of Robert Johnson. They’re joining previously announced artists The Roots, Shemekia Copeland, Bettye LaVette, Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’, Sam Moore and Todd Rundgren. Directed by Joe Morton, the night will be led by Musical Director Steve Jordan and special guest Jeffrey Wright.

“Robert Johnson’s story is the fabric of myth,” comments producer Joe Morton. “His music continues to weave its way, beyond the blues, into and through almost every other popular genre today. Our concert is a celebration of the man, the myth, and the omnipresent influence of his music.

Sirius XM Presents Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Later on the same week on Friday March 9th, in celebration of its tenth anniversary, SiriusXM Radio presents Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live in concert at the Apollo Theater, performing songs from the forthcoming albumWrecking Ball.  The concert airs live nationwide on Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Radio, Channel 20.

This show is exclusive to Sirius XM subscribers only (which we are…). Due to finances and situation we are limited to listening to the broadcast on SiriusXM. But we doubt the show will have any limitations that night 😉

Paul McCartney, Technology + Collaboration

Members of the Paul McCartney Fan club ( like us) can order the high-resolution deluxe digital download edition of Paul McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom recording. This package includes two extra tracks, “Baby’s Request” and “My One and Only Love“, plus access to a free live download on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Paul McCartney is very meticulous in his recording methods. The high-resolution production process utilized is described by engineer Allan Rouse of Abbey Road Studios:

The audio industry has seen many technical innovations since Paul McCartney and Wings’s Band on the Run was first released on vinyl in 1973, the most notable being digital recording. However, with the introduction of CD came two advances, “de-noising” and “peak limiting” which have become increasingly unpopular within certain areas of the music industry and amongst audiophiles.

De-noising was introduced to remove the inherent sound, or hiss, associated with analogue tape. The amount of processing used to remove tape noise can be varied, but when used excessively, many believe that it also has a detrimental effect on elements of the musical sound.

Copyright 2012 Paul McCartney Website

Peak limiting is a process that increases the loudness of music. It is achieved by holding the loudest peaks down and raising the overall level of the music. Much depends on the amount of limiting applied, but at its most extreme the result can be a serious reduction in the dynamic range and often audible distortion.

The release of The Beatles’ remasters in 2009 saw a marked change in attitudes towards these issues, where both noise reduction and limiting were used sparingly with the aim of representing the master tapes more accurately. Such is the case with the newly remastered Paul McCartney and Wings CD of Band on the Run: tape noise reduction has scarcely been used and the degree of limiting is subtle. In addition digital technology has advanced with the ability now to offer recordings in 24 bit/96kHz/16 track. The high resolution version is being made available via download and is being offered in two formats: limited, which is comparable in volume to the remastered CD, and un-limited, which in comparison with the limited version will sound quieter, but retain the dynamic range of the original master recording.

Rosemary and I love most about Paul (in addition to his ability to leverage technology) is his incurable romantic personality. The timing of this new album, just a week before Valentine’s Day makes it the perfect gift for your Valentine.

Copyright 2012 Paul McCartney Website

The majority of the tracks are solo efforts with the exception of  two  Paul McCartney written songs, “My Valentine” and “Only Our Hearts”.

Eric Clapton plays guitar on “My Valentine”.

Stevie Wonder collaborates with Paul McCartney on “Only Our Hearts”. This marks the 30th anniversary of their classic hit, “Ebony and Ivory“.

Stevie Wonder joined Paul McCartney at LA’s Capitol Studios to record the track.

Paul McCartney spoke about working with Stevie again.

Copyright 2012 Paul McCartney Website

“Stevie came along to the studio in LA and he listened to the track for about ten minutes and he totally got it. He just went to the mic and within 20 minutes had nailed this dynamite solo. When you listen you just think, ‘How do you come up with that?’ But it’s just because he is a genius, that’s why.”