Leslie West – Soundcheck

Leslie West’s forthcoming album, Soundcheck pegs the needle in the red. That is the infamous sound we have come to expect from this premier rock guitarist.

Soundcheck is the sixteenth solo album from the legendary rock guitarist Leslie West.

Leslie lays down some of his most inspired musical magic to date with by collaborating with renowned British guitarists Peter Frampton and Brian May, ex-Jeff Beck keyboard virtuoso Max Middleton, vocalist extraordinaire Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie) and the late great Cream bassist and longtime friend of Leslie’s, Jack Bruce.

Closing out his new album “Soundcheck”, is a treasure for all longtime fans of Leslie West: a live version of Willie Dixon’s, “Spoonful,” recorded with Jack Bruce on bass and vocals and Joe Franco on drums, played in the classic Cream style as captured on 1968’s Wheels of Fire. “Back in 1988, I recorded an album called, Theme, which featured Jack on bass. We recorded at Millbrook in upstate New York, and the owner of The Chance in Poughkeepsie called and asked if we wanted to come over and do a set there, with no advertising, no nothing. Jack was into it, and the engineer at Millbrook, Paul Orofino, came with us and recorded the gig with a small portable stereo machine. “After hearing of Jack’s passing, we edited it down from its original length and decided it would be great to include on the record. As you can hear, I was trying to reincarnate myself into Eric Clapton! The first time I listened to Jack’s voice and the tone of his bass on the recording, I had tears in my eyes. I loved Jack so much.”

LESLIE WEST – SOUNDCHECK

Label: Provogue Records
Release Date: November 20, 2015

Tracklist:

01. Left By The Roadside To Die
02. Give Me One Reason
03. Here For The Party
04. You Are My Sunshine
05. Empty Promises Nothin Sacred
06. A Stern Warning
07. People Get Ready
08. Going Down
09. Stand By Me
10. Eleanor Rigby
11. Spoonful

Humble Pie, Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore, The Complete Recordings

Cover of "Rockin the Fillmore"
Cover of Rockin the Fillmore

There have been some electrifying live rock performances in the history of recorded music.  The early 70’s produced the best rock music recordings ever done! A favorite live show of mine from WNEW-FM progressive radio listening days and The Fillmore East was Humble Pie‘s, Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore (1971).

Omnivore Recordings has released all four sets recorded that weekend in a four CD box set “Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore-Complete Recordings”.

 “My God, it just took my breath away,” Jerry Shirley said of hearing the new mixes by engineer Ashley Shepherd. “You feel like you’re sitting in the Fillmore East, five or six rows back. In the quiet bits, you could hear a pin drop, and in the loud bits, you can almost feel the room shaking. And all four shows caught Steve at the absolute zenith of his powers. It’s  astonishing. I’m only sorry that he, Greg, and Dee aren’t around to enjoy it with the rest of us.”

“It was amazing to hear the new mixes of these shows after all these years,” says Peter Frampton. “This really was that version of Humble Pie at the peak of its powers—playing in a venue with a wonderful vibe.”

Edward The Mad Shirt Grinder – The Beautiful Articulation of Nicky Hopkins

Cover of "Beck-Ola"
Cover of Beck-Ola

Jeff Beck Group HandbillNicky Hopkins is without question rock’s greatest session musician. His signature contributions are still felt strongly today, 18 years after his passing. I continue being blown away by the breadth and depth of Nicky Hopkins piano contributions to rock.history

My first encounter with Nicky Hopkins’s musicianship was with The Jeff Beck Group and Beck-Ola. I saw Nicky Hopkins play with The Jeff Beck Group at the Fillmore East on July 3, 1969. He is depicted performing with The Jeff Beck Group on the cover of this definitive book by Julian Dawson.

Nicky Hopkins got his recording start with Del Shannon. You can hear his piano virtuoso as a lad of 17 on the 1961 hit, “Runaway”.  His frail health (he suffered from Crohn’s disease) forced him into the life of a session musician, where he excelled.

Nicky Hopkins was known as the Sixth Stone. His body of work with the Rolling Stones is immeasurable, ranging from “Ruby Tuesday” to “Waiting On A Friend”.

Nicky moved to Mill Valley, California to improve his health and took up with such San Francisco bands as The Jefferson Airplane and Jerry Garcia Band. He was considered a full-partner in Quicksilver Messenger Service and his touch played a fundamental role in Shady Grove and Just For Love.

The musicians he worked with over the decades were very taken with him.

“It was such a thrill to work for him as well as have him work with me. Every time I hear Joe Cocker’s ‘You Are So Beautiful’ I want to cry before Joe’s even come in. People try to emulate that piano piece, but there’s only one person could have played that—Nicky Hopkins.”
Peter Frampton

He worked with all four of the Beatles when they went solo. I am especially fond of his song, “Edward (The Mad Shirt Grinder)” that he recorded with QMS and on his best solo album, The Tin Man Was A Dreamer George HarrisonMick TaylorKlaus Voormann and Hopkins’ fellow Rolling Stones sidemen Bobby Keys and Jim Price.)