The Raspberries – Power Pop

I saw The Raspberries at the campus center Oak Room at Fairfield University in 1975. I was on the WVOF-FM 88.5 as a Sunday morning disk jockey. The station manager Mick McCullough invited my wife and I to attend both the 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. concerts. Mick had booked the band for the Fairfield U. concert committee.

They were very on that night. They pulled out all the stops and I loved their collective energy. However the Fairfield U. crowd of just a couple of hundred people sat on their hands instead of showing their appreciation. We stood and gave them a much deserved standing ovation. But it just wasn’t enough to counterbalance the indifference that was sitting all around us.

I recall they had a British manager who ripped into the late show audience. He yelled at them saying, “Is that all you have for these guys? They tore their heart out for you”. Alas his urging was to no avail as the the audience remained complacent. The Raspberries manager pulled the plug on the encore and that’s how the concert ended. It wasn’t much later in the year that The Raspberries broke up.

I’m glad I caught them live before they disintegrated. They rocked.  The highlights that evening were three hits by The Raspberries, “Go All The Way“, “I Wanna Be With You” and “Overnite Sensation (Hit Record)”.

The band member who impressed me the most that night was Eric Carmen. He was superb on piano and lead vocals. He also sang his hit single for us, “All By Myself”.

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Pat Metheny Unity Group – KIN (←→)

I dig Pat Metheny. He is a creative musician who composes and performs rich, textured music that I love to get lost inside.  I was informed this past week that the Pat Metheny Unity Group will be releasing a new album,  KIN (←→).

My affinity for vinyl prompted me to pre-order the German pressed 140-gram 2 LP set that includes a complete CD and an exclusive print of the cover art signed by Pat himself 😉

I love the graphics design for the album cover.

“The core quartet of Chris, Ben, Antonio and I played over 100 concerts over the year that followed the release of our Unity Band record. Over the course of that period, the band became one of those rare combinations of players where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – it gelled in every way, and that just seemed to beg for expansion and further research. Concurrently, I had been kind of itching to write more in the style that I had developed over the years with my regular groups and projects where there is a lush and more orchestrated kind of compositional conception that went beyond the sonic limits of what a straight ahead quartet might invoke. But I really didn’t want to lose the energy, focus and intensity of what this band had developed. I wanted to take it further. If the first Unity Band record was a thoughtful, black and white documentary of four musicians in a recording studio playing, this record is more like the Technicolor, IMAX version of what a band like this could be—but with that hardcore thing still sitting right in the middle of it all.” ~ Pat Metheny

The Pat Metheny Unity Group consists of Pat Metheny (Guitar), Chris Potter (Sax), Antonio Sanchez (Drums), Ben Williams (Bass), and Giulio Carmassi (Multi-Instrumentalist).

I see that the Pat Metheny Unity Group has announced a world tour and that a concert is taking place at the Quick Center for the Arts on the Fairfield University campus on March 25th, 2014. I plan to make that our first concert ticket buy for 2014 😉

In Honor of Buddy Miles

I’m writing to thank my loving wife for the surprise gift she gave me today. I was happily surprised with this framed piece for my music wall in my home office.

It’s a poster of Buddy Miles that has a couple of his signatures. I was corresponding with Buddy Miles and his wonderful wife, Sherrilae Chambers in 2004. He signed this poster and the CD cover of Buddy Miles Bluesberries I sent him. Buddy Miles surprised me by including a pair of signed Vic Firth drum sticks in the return package.

If you zoom closer you can see his signature on the mounted drum sticks.

I love the shadow box technique that Jason of Framer’s Edge Gallery & Frame did for this piece. He frames our music art and we love his attention to detail.

I especially love the color green he and Rosemary chose for the frame, isn’t it cool 🙂

I was very fortunate to see Buddy Miles with Poco on December 6, 1970 in the Fairfield University Gym. We sat in the second row that night. He was in rare form getting the gymnasium on their feet saying “Hell Yeah” to the song “We Got To Live Together”. I’ll never forget the energy he gave us that night.

The song I liked the best by Buddy Miles and his band that  evening was “Dreams” a powerful soul cover of The Allman Brothers. Of course they played “Them Changes” which was great to hear as well.

Al Stewart – Historical Folk Rock

I was shopping yesterday when I heard Al Stewart‘s “Time Passages” come over the Muzak sound system. I had forgotten how much I loved this song. It was a staple on the progressive FM radio station WNEW-FM 102.7 in the late 70s. This Metromedia affiliate station has left an indelible impact on my musical listening tastes.

I also reflected on the time frame when I was a college disk jockey at WVOF-FM 88.5 on the Fairfield University campus. I often played tracks from Al Stewart’s Past, Present and Future (Janus Records) on my show. The track I played the most often from this 1973 vinyl LP was “Nostradamus”

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Al Stewart has performed music for more than 40+ years. I especially liked his partnering with Alan Parsons as his engineer. Their first collaboration genius effort resulted in Modern Times with one of my favorite album covers.

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Alan Parsons and Al Stewart then produced together his two largest hits, “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages”.

Al Stewart is an artist I am hoping to finally see perform live in 2012.

Gil Scott-Heron, Winter in America

Mourning the late, great Gil Scott-Heron this morning, adding my Sunday prayers to the blessing of the ascension of his soul.

Gil Scott-Heron was insightful and visionary. He saw the world through a very introspective lens he admirably shared with us through the vision of his poetry and music. I especially loved his collaborative efforts with Brian Jackson. They were very in tune with the ecology. When I was a weekend disk jockey at Fairfield University on WVOF-FM 1974-1975 I played the Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson recording Winter In America often on my show. I leaned heavily on “H²Ogate Blues”, as I was very anti-Nixon as a liberal Democrat who worked on the McGovern campaign.

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When Gil Scott-Heron re-released Winter In Americain 1998  it contained four bonus tracks, three of which were live recordings. Posted out of deep respect for our environmental poet is “Winter In America“, recorded live at the Wax Museum in 1982.

It has been a season collectively of frozen aspirations, frozen hopes – Gil Scott Heron, Winter in America

Peace Go With You, Brother.

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Sniper and other Love Songs – Harry Chapin – Daily Post 2011 #3

Harry Chapin after his concert at the Paramoun...
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Harry Chapin is one of our favorite all-time singer-songwriters.  We were privileged to see him perform eight times from 1974 through 1979 . His concerts were a rich mixture of fun, provocative thoughts, and pinch of balderdash.

Harry was always personable and graciously accommodated my requests for interviews several times. I’ll never forget the night he did two back to back concerts for the World Hunger Year charity at Fairfield University and afterwards came back to the college radio station to do a 45 minute interview with me over the air live on WVOF-FM 88.5.  What made this interview significant was that this was the station where I conducted my “Sunday Morning Sunshine” radio show. Harry’s single was the song I used to open every show 🙂

Harry had a special quality about him, he treated you like an equal by honoring what you knew, then he would add to your collective consciousness with his unique perspectives about music and life.

His second album Sniper and other Love Songs was released in October 1972. It was a change in music direction with its added intensity and depth from Harry and his band. His Top 40 hit, “Taxi” from his first album, Heads and Tales was riding the charts in 1972, so Sniper and other Love Songs was quite the contrast.

Sniper and other Love Songs is a mixed bag of story songs, hit singles and folk classics. “Sniper” is a gripping song that puts you in the mind of Charles Whitman, the 1966 Texas  clock tower assassin. Harry’s portrayal of the sniper is eerily poetic as we find out why the sniper kills others. The voice in the sniper’s head that Harry sings about are the echoes of a mother ignoring and blaming her child for being born. The sniper’s last words, “I was, I am, and now I will be”, are an ironic triumph over a neglected life on earth which perhaps sheds the final insight into the psychology of the sniper, who is on a tortured quest for self-actualization.

Our other favorite two songs on this CD are “Better Place to Be“, which is a song that I urge you to listen to understand the aching of the human heart. “Circle” was a song Harry Chapin performed often as the encore at his concerts. We would join hands in the audience, chiming in with him and the band as their extended theater in the round.

I plan to write more about Harry Chapin on this blog, as I gather up my memories, so until that time 😉

Circle, Written By Harry Chapin, Lyrics copyright Harry Chapin Foundation

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
Season’s spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.

1. Sunday Morning Sunshine
2. Sniper
3. And The Baby Never Cries
4. Burning Herself
5. Barefoot Lady
6. Better Place To Be
7. Circle
8. Woman Child
9. Winter Song