The Music of David Lynch

The day before yesterday I wrote about the David Lynch Foundation Music project and Record Store Day 2012.  I am compelled to delve further into transcendental meditation, renew my relationship with his stellar film making and explore his interpretation of music.

The best summary of David Lynch’s music comes from wikipedia.  I have taken the liberty of lifting those paragraphs from the David Lynch wikipedia page.

I am struck by the breadth and depth of his musicianship. David Lynch’s artistic and creative muse in music is expansive.

Lynch has also been involved in a number of music projects, many of them related to his films. Most notably he produced and wrote lyrics for Julee Cruise‘s first two albums, Floating into the Night (1989) and The Voice of Love (1993), in collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti who composed the music and also produced. Lynch has also worked on the 1998 Jocelyn Montgomery album Lux Vivens. He has also composed bits of music for Wild at HeartTwin Peaks: Fire Walk with MeMulholland Drive, and Rabbits.

In 2001, he released BlueBob, a rock album performed by Lynch and John Neff. The album is notable for Lynch’s unusual guitar playing style: he plays “upside down and backwards, like a lap guitar”, and relies heavily on effects pedals.[113] Most recently Lynch has composed several pieces for Inland Empire, including two songs, “Ghost of Love” and “Walkin’ on the Sky”, in which he makes his public debut as a singer. In 2009, his new book-CD set Dark Night of the Soul was released.[114]

Dark Night Of The Soul

In 2008, he started his own record label called David Lynch MC on which its first release Fox Bat Strategy: A Tribute to Dave Jaurequi was released in early 2009. In August 2009, it was announced that he was releasing Afghani/American singer Ariana Delawari’s Lion of Panjshir album in conjunction with Manimal Vinyl Records in October 2009.

In November 2010, Lynch released two electro pop music singles, “Good Day Today” and “I Know”, through the independent British label Sunday Best Recordings. Describing why he created them, he stated that “I was just sitting and these notes came and then I went down and started working with Dean [Hurley, his engineer] and then these few notes, ‘I want to have a good day, today’ came and the song was built around that”.[115] The singles were followed by an album, Crazy Clown Time, which was released in November 2011 and described as an “electronic blues album”.[116] The songs were sung by Lynch, with guest vocals on one track by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,[117] and composed and performed by Lynch and Dean Hurley.[116]

Crazy Clown Time

On September 29, 2011, Lynch released This Train with vocalist and long-time musical collaborator Chrysta Bell on the La Rose Noire label. [118] The 11-song album was produced by Lynch and co-written primarily by Lynch and Bell. [119] It includes the song “Polish Poem” which is featured on the Inland Empire soundtrack.

This Train - Produced by David Lynch

Our Top 5 Concerts of 2011

We attended 32 live performances in 2011. We love our role as patrons of the arts. 2011 proved to be a dynamic year for music. It’s a challenge to pinpoint only the Top 5 concerts from this extensive and varied list.

The one persistent theme that drives my rationale centers upon artists I have long waited to see live. I finally got to see Charles Lloyd, The Radiators, Joe Sample, Anthony Braxton, Paul Simon, Todd Rundgren, Johnny Rivers, Burton Cummings, Lucinda Williams, TOP & AWB, and Chris Botti. These artists represent a third of the music performances we witnessed.

Concerts 2011

1. Bowsers Doo Wop Gig 1/16
2. Charles Lloyd Quartet 1/28
3. Taj Mahal, Los Lobos 2/19
4. Patti Smith 2/16
5. The Radiators 2/26
6. Joe Sample 4/5
7. Bob Seger 4/16
8. Roger McGuinn, 4/23
9. Crosby & Nash 5/22
10. King For A Day 2/23
11. Anthony Braxton Septet 5/20
12. Paul Simon 5/29
13. 7 Walkers 8/12
14. Garland Jeffreys 6/5
15. Todd Rundgren 6/26
16. Happy Together Tour 7/9
Turtles, The Association, Mark Lindsay, The Buckinghams
17. Manzarek-Rogers Band 5/25
18. Johnny Rivers 6/18
19. Jimmy Webb 7/28
20. Renaissance 9/16
21. Paul McCartney 7/16
22. Nighthawks Infinity Stars Party 8/20
23. Patti Smith 12/2
24. Burton Cummings 7/2
25. Gary Puckett 8/11
26. Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman 11/2
27. Janis Ian 8/27
28. Lucinda Williams 11/1
29. Tedeschi Trucks Band 10/29
30. Stephen Stills 10/21
31. Tower of Power, Average White Band 11/17
32. Chris Botti 12/28

Top 5 Concerts of 2011

1. January 28, 2011,  The Charles Lloyd New Quartet, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Ct.

I have been a fan of Charles Lloyd for 40+ years. I savor the opportunity to have heard Charles Lloyd, one of jazz’s living legends, play in such an intimate, acoustic setting. The blog post I wrote about Charles Lloyd earned me a free pair of tickets to any Wesleyan concert we wished to attend in the future. That was a very nice complement from Wesleyan, a renowned world music university I value and respect. Here is that concert review.

2. May 11, 2011, Crosby-Nash – The Palace Theater, Stamford, Ct.

The Palace is one of our favorite venues. The David Crosby and Graham Nash concert was broadcast live on HDnet that evening. The added value of a live broadcast with two famous singer/songwriters created a focused, magical experience. The concert is available on DVD and we have watched it over the holidays.

3. June 18, 2011, Johnny Rivers, Mohegan Sun Wolf Den, Uncasville, Ct.

Mohegan Sun went all out this year. They celebrated in high style their 15th anniversary as an entertainment complex. The Wolf Den calendar offered a lot of quality choices for free to patrons willing to wait online to attend the shows. My brother-in-law’s favorite artist is Johnny Rivers. We were excited to get him inside to see Johnny Rivers live.

Johnny Rivers was in excellent voice and proved to be a proficient guitarist. I was blown away by his showmanship and the number of hits he has made famous. Here is the set list from the concert.

4. July 2, 2011, Burton Cummings, Mohegan Sun Wolf Den, Uncasville, Ct.

I have been a fan forever of Burton Cummings, of The Guess Who. To me he has one of the best soulful voices in all of rock and roll. He and his band were kick ass great. He is a true legend and it was wonderful to see him at long last. Here is my blog post concert review of that evening.

5. July 16, 2011, Paul McCartney, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

What can I say, its Paul McCartney live at Yankee Stadium. Here’s what I wrote about that amazing summer evening.

The Beach Boys Smile Sessions Box Set

Image via Wikipedia

My son gave me as my sixtieth birthday present, The Beach Boys Smile Sessions Box Set. I have to tell you it is one amazing package of music and art. Capitol Records and The Beach Boys have done a marvelous job with the graphic art coupled with documenting the music sessions to bring to life for us this fundamental time capsule recording.

I was skeptical of how good Smile was going to be. It didn’t take long to dispel an unrealistic concern. The first song that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck is “Surf’s Up“. It is a masterpiece that opens my heart and soul to the orchestral beauty of The Beach Boys vocals and harmonies layered over rich sounds. A monumental recording written by the genius team of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks that I first heard in 1971 the same and only year I saw The Beach Boys live in Central Park.

It’s unfair to just single out “Surf’s Up” on Smile. There are many songs that flow with spiritual intent and divine purpose. The Beach Boys Smile Sessions box set engages the listener’s sensibilities. I love how Smile reawakened the love and purity of The Beach Boys sound.

I continue to explore the five CD set, sipping the music a glass at a time from a fine bottle of wine. The 60 page booklet is my reading companion that happily unearths more about the efforts that went into the making of Smile. 

Al Jardine sums up Smile best, “It’s truly life changing.”

My Jazzy 60th Birthday in the West Village with Family :)

Yesterday was just one of the coolest, laid back days in my recent universe. Rosemary and I headed down to the West Village section of New York City to celebrate my sixtieth birthday. We first stopped off at Tabouli Grill in the Bulls Head section of Stamford. Rosemary has raved about this eatery so we had a quick-lunch which featured a Mango Smoothie and roasted veggie pita. It was delish.

We then proceeded on to the Jazz Record Center at 236 West 26th Street in Chelsea. I have yearned to shop at this store for years. I had just read an interesting article in Jazz Times magazine about jazz retail which gave me more specifics about this jazz mecca. It was well worth the journey as I immersed myself in one of the most extensive inventories of jazz merchandise I had ever browsed before. I made a solemn vow to return at another time to look and buy more extensively. The amount of books, vinyl and t-shirts to look at were amazing to say the least. I purchased three CDS, Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colussus, Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, A Night in Tunisia.

We then checked into our hotel, the SoHo Grand Hotel on West Broadway. Catching our breath for a second we soon headed off to the West Village for dinner and a late evening jazz concert at The Blue Note.

We parked near our son’s apartment which saved us a parking fee. Matthew joined us as we walked to One If By Land, Two If By Sea. It is a contemporary restaurant that used to be the carriage house of Aaron Burr. The food is over priced but very delectable. We had a few laughs and it was nice to dine as a family in our son’s backyard.

My son gave me a great gift for my sixtieth birthday, The SMiLE Sessions Box Set by The Beach Boys, the long-lost now, happily resurrected music collection has finally seen the light of day in late 2011.

Trust me this going to get a serious listen on the Bose sound system the next few days 🙂

Music is God’s Voice – Brian Wilson

Rosemary and I bid Matt goodnight. We headed around the corner to 131 West 3rd Street to The Blue Note to catch Chris Botti and friends at the 10:30 p.m. show. We waited online outside the prestigious jazz venue. It was our first time attending a jazz concert at The Blue Note. It was cold and we were online for an hour before they let us inside. We were given really good center section seats directly across from the bandstand where Chris Botti would be stationed.

They squeeze you in tightly at the long tables but the chairs were more comfortable than they appeared. Chris Botti and his band took the stage at 11:00 pm and played an eclectic 90 minute set. This was our first Chris Botti concert. We liked his horn playing and his stage camaraderie a lot.

I have just become familiar with the music and mastery of Chris Botti. He is a very apt horn player, bandleader and composer. He cuts a great figure as a celebrity and he is a fashionable guy.

This is his seventh annual extended appearance at The Blue Note. He calls this jazz club his residency, deservedly so. Chris exudes a strong electric magnetism which increased my respect for his musicianship. He plays the horn in a very skilful way that is never intimidating, captivating your senses. He serenades on the trumpet as you find yourself being happily carried along.

The Blue Note jazz club creates an immediacy that allows you to interact with this popular jazz artist and his fellow musicians. Chris Botti was joined by Geoffrey Keezer on keyboards. I first discovered Geoffrey Keezer on Artist Share where I downloaded Aurea. He proved to be phenomenal live, proficient with his touch on the keys.

Carlitos del Puerto from Cuba played standup and electric bass. He articulated the instrument well. I enjoyed how he accented notes and chord progressions. He was fun to watch. Leonardo Amudeo was the lead and rhythm guitarist from Uruguay. He proved to be powerfully deceptive as the evening progressed. I was taken with his guitar playing, which I found confident and explorative.

The core musician who blew me away the most was Billy Kilson. He had such a way of popping the drums in his kit that I was never bored with any selection he played. He brings an excitement to the drums as Chris Botti pointed out. When Billy Kilson hit his stride I was bopping along enthusiastically and Chris Botti took delight in my enthusiasm for his drummer.

There were two special guests that added a rich dimension to the evening’s music. Caroline Campbell was a spirited and authoritative violinist. She had a very commanding style with the violin which you eagerly followed.

The other guest was Lisa Fischer who is a very strong r&b (and much more) songstress. Her demeanor puts you immediately at ease as she ranged from torch song to opera to popular song. I could see readily why Mick Jagger values her as a backup singer for the Rolling Stones. Chris Botti mentioned that Lisa Fischer has been singing with him these past 18 months and the benefits of that partnership were quite clear last night.

I love that Chris Botti made himself available after the show to sign his new CD. I had him sign his Chris Botti in Boston work. I thanked him for making my 60th birthday very special. He smiled as he looked up from signing and said, “Happy Birthday”. It was a cool way to end a marvelous evening.

The Secret Of Life

Today is my 60th birthday. Wow, I can’t believe it. Who knows where the time goes….Its a day I have both welcomed and dreaded. But I have told myself the past few days that the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. A song by James Taylor. The strength of James Taylor’s words and conviction offer solace as I reflect on what my life has been and what I have accomplished.

I could not have completed this journey up until this point without my loving wife Rosemary and my son Matthew. They give me reason to live. I am excited that tonight we’ll all be together for dinner in Greenwich Village. I couldn’t have a better birthday present than enjoying their company.Then Rosemary and I will attend a jazz concert by Chris Botti at The Blue Note in the Village.

To me this is the secret of life, enjoying the passage of time with those I love and having music tie the bow neatly on the package of my existence. It  truly is a good life that God has given me to live. 🙂

The Secret of Life

By James Taylor – Copyright 1977 Sony Entertainment, Inc.

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time
Any fool can do it
There ain’t nothing to it
Nobody knows how we got to
The top of the hill
But since we’re on our way down
We might as well enjoy the ride

The secret of love is in opening up your heart
It’s okay to feel afraid
But don’t let that stand in your way
‘Cause anyone knows that love is the only road
And since we’re only here for a while
Might as well show some style

Give us a smile now
Isn’t it a lovely ride
Sliding down
And gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It’s just a lovely ride

Now the thing about time is that time
Isn’t really real
It’s all on your point of view
How does it feel for you
Einstein said that he could never understand it all
Planets spinning through space
The smile upon your face

Welcome to the human race
Isn’t that a lovely ride
Sliding down
Gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It’s just a lovely ride

Isn’t that a lovely ride
Oh mama yes
See me sliding down
And gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It’s just a lovely ride

Now the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time

Van Halen on Tour 2012

I received an email yesterday from Interscope Records simply entitled, “Van Halen – The Future”. I interpret it to mean that Van Halen will have a brand new album that they will be highlighting with a tour. The tour tickets start selling January 10th. The hint is to stay tuned on January 10th for more details about where they will be playing.

I’m in, aren’t you? Eddie Van Halen plays the bitch-ingest guitar I have ever seen live. Would love to catch him with Alex, Wolfgang and David Lee Roth. Worth trying to get tickets to see them.

Check out the dog on the stage as David Lee Roth dances by, he looks happy 😉

Van Halen- The Future

Jefferson Starship – Blows Against The Empire

When I think of the music of Jefferson Starship, I am transported back to their premier recording, Blows Against the Empire (November, 1970). It echoes in my head and heart with a unique resonance these many years later.

I especially love the track, “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”. I can visualize being on a deck in outer space, looking up through a clear glass ceiling floating amidst the stars.

Blows Against The Empire is an amazing blend of science fiction combined with a rich textured musical synergy. One can only imagine what life was like back then in the canyons above San Francisco as members of Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Quicksilver Messenger Service and friends communed and recorded together.

This amalgam of musicians became known as the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Empire.

I purchased today from the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Store the 3 CD set that includes the Blows Against The Empire deluxe edition, the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra CD (the sequel to Blows…) and the bonus Perro CD. When I have received these items and digested the music I will write an update blog post.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the following information and for continually providing a great backdrop of music encyclopedia knowledge for research and blogging purposes.)

  • Paul Kantner – vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, banjo, bass machine
  • Grace Slick – piano, vocals
  • Jerry Garcia – banjo on “Let’s Go Together”, pedal steel guitar on “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, sound effects and vocals on “XM”, lead guitar on “Starship”
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums on “Let’s Go Together”
  • Mickey Hart – percussion on “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, sound effects and vocals on “XM”
  • Joey Covington – drums and vocals on “Mau Mau”, congas on “Hijack”
  • Jack Casady – bass on “A Child Is Coming” and “Sunrise”
  • David Crosby – vocals and guitar on “A Child Is Coming” and “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, background vocals on “Starship”
  • Graham Nash – congas on “Hijack”, sound effects on “Home”, background vocals on “Starship”
  • David Freiberg – background vocals on “Starship”
  • Harvey Brooks – bass on “Starship”
  • Peter Kaukonen – lead guitar on “Mau Mau”
  • Phill Sawyer – sound effects on “Home” and “XM”
Year Title Chart positions Certification
1970 Blows Against the Empire by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship 20 Gold (RIAA)
1971 If I Could Only Remember My Name by David Crosby 12 Gold (RIAA)
Songs for Beginners by Graham Nash 15 Gold (RIAA)
Sunfighter by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick 89
1972 Graham Nash David Crosby by Graham Nash and David Crosby 4 Gold (RIAA)
Rolling Thunder by Mickey Hart 190
1973 Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun by Paul KantnerGrace Slick, and David Freiberg 120
1983 Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra by Paul Kantner

Jefferson Airplane – Crown of Creation

The first album I owned by Jefferson Airplane was Crown of Creation, their fourth album. I was a late bloomer to the album rock sound of JA. I was familiar with their hits “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love” from extensive AM and FM radio airplay in 1967. It took me longer to establish an immediacy with their album content.

I’ll never quite understand why I didn’t own Surrealistic Pillow first as it was their most accessible and known album.

I fully embraced Crown of Creation when it was released in September of 1968. I loved many of the songs on this album. I was working part-time in a grocery store in those days, so I had a little more “pocket-money” to spend on vinyl LPs. I remember picking it off the rack on the wall at the record store in downtown Norwalk that I haunted frequently. The cover with its fiery mushroom cloud called to me.

File:JA Crown-Of-Creation.jpg

My favorite track on Crown of Creation is “Lather“.  It was written about Spencer Dryden (drummer), Grace Slick‘s lover then turning 30. I love when the word, “Child” is whispered at the beginning of the song…

According to the Wikipedia article on Lather (The Song):

“But Lather still finds it a nice thing to do,
To lie about nude in the sand,
Drawing pictures of mountains that look like bumps,

And thrashing the air with his hands.”

This section of the lyrics actually refer to the occasion when bassist Jack Casady was arrested nude on a beach in Santa Cruz, California, while on drugs.

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