The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights

Cover of "Under Great White Northern Ligh...
Cover of Under Great White Northern Lights

The music of our heart has always been intrigued with the live concert experience known as The White Stripes. I purchased their video, The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights on Amazon Instant Video today. I was motivated to do so because Consequence of Sound, the online music publication posted an influential article, “Best Ten Concert Films Since 2000” that crossed my Facebook stream.

Here is what Carson O’Shoney, Senior Staff Writer authored about the film. His sentimental words captured my soul.

Under Great White Northern Lights is one of the most emotionally touching concert films of any era. While the crew was filming The White Stripes during their Canadian summer tour of 2007, they never could have known that they would capture the band near the end of their rope. The fact that the film didn’t come out until years later– after Meg White reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown and the band went on what ended up being a permanent hiatus– only adds to its poignancy.

It’s not all emotionally charged footage, though. The live portions show the Stripes at the height of their performative prowess, and the various mini-shows in random places around Canada show their lighter side. The film remains the Jack & Meg White show throughout, as some of the most compelling footage simply comes from the duo backstage– especially the closing moments of the film. As Jack plays a version of “White Moon” on piano, he leaves Meg in tears. It’s the perfect encapsulation of one of our generation’s greatest bands near the end of their life together, simultaneously thrilling and heartbreaking. Regardless of whether or not the White Stripes ever play together again, Under Great White Northern Lights will live on as one of the best concert films of our– or any other– generation. If it truly is the end of the Stripes, we’re all lucky that we were left with this. – Copyright 2007-2014 Consequence of Sound

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The Fest for Beatles Fans 2014

2014 ushers in the 50th anniversary celebration of the British Invasion. I’ll never forget The Beatles arrival at New York’s Kennedy Airport on February 7, 1964. It was a school day and I had snuck my Sears

English: The Beatles wave to fans after arrivi...
English: The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Kennedy Airport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Silvertone AM transistor radio into 8th grade Science class listening to The Beatles being met at the airplane gate by thousands of screaming fans. I was fortunate that my Science teacher, Mrs. Barnum was hard of hearing so I could hear history in the making from inside my desk 😉

The British Invasion Bands 1964

The Fest for Beatles Fans 2014

A baby boomer’s dream event. The Fest for Beatles Fans will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles in New York City. It is scheduled to take place at The Grand Hyatt in NYC (and later in the year in Chicago and Los Angeles) from Friday February 7th through Sunday February 9th 2014 (50 Years from the night that changed music forever when The Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show in front of 73 million viewers!).

For more information about the event, the memorabilia, the exhibits, the concerts, what is happening when that weekend refer to The Fest for Beatles Fans Website

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Carlos Santana, Mesa Boogie, Limited Edition King Snake

The number one guitarist that I have seen live, 20 times now in 44 years is Carlos Santana. What I love the most about Carlos Santana live is his tone, how he touches the music of our heart. I thought it might be valuable to share with my readers some technical insight about the amplifiers Carlos Santana plays through to produce that “Universal Tone”. It’s the vibrato that keeps me coming back to his live shows again and again.

Carlos Santana signature sound is made possible by the Mesa Boogie, King Snake.

This tribute model is an exact replica of the amp Carlos Santana toured with in 1972/73 as he introduced the world to this new sound, right down to the unique chassis size and the aged Snake-embossed Lambskin covering. It is a limited edition signature model.

Here is Carlos Santana’s guitar tech Ed Adair giving us a rig run.

You can read more about Carlos Santana & Randall Smith and the “Magic Boogie” that changed guitar tone forever in the January 2014 Guitar Player Magazine. Its available on newsstands and Guitar Center stores 🙂

 

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Manassas – Stephen Stills and Friends

 

Rolling Stone Magazine posed the weekend question yesterday, What is your favorite double album? My answer was The Beatles (album), a.k.a. The White Album. 

 

I have added thoughts about other favorite double albums in my collection. The album Manassas from Stephen Still‘s band in the early 70s plays strongly in the music of our heart.

 

 

I’ve always found Manassas to be a pleasurable, well-flowing recording. What I love the most about Manassas is how the music gels as the four sides play out. The assembled musicians follow each other in a natural groove that builds into polyrhythms that envelop the listener.

 

Manassas has been relegated over time to the status of an overlooked and forgotten album in the annals of rock. The band was an intuitive, collaborative nucleus who knitted together cohesive sound. Along with the band members listed on the début album cover above, added people included Byron Berline (fiddle), Bill Wyman (bass) and Jerry Garcia (pedal steel guitar). Bill Wyman was reported as saying that he would have left the Stones to join Manassas.

 

I found an interesting video segment of Manassas on YouTube. Like many of the 70’s videos I have watched it was filmed and broadcast on Beat-Club for German television. It has held up well over time capturing the band live before Manassas was released in April 1972. I like witnessing Chris Hillman playing guitar and sharing vocals with Stephen Stills. There is a magic between that works effectively. My favorite song by Manassas is, “It Doesn’t Matter” which appears on the video.

 

 

 

 

 

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2014, My Year for Digital Content

The number one reason I wanted an Apple iPad Air was for the ability to read my favorite music magazine, Uncut on the day of publication.

I am excited to report that I have achieved that New Years resolution starting with the Uncut Magazine February 2014 issue. Today, January 3rd, 2014 is the electronic publication date for the magazine. I am happily paging through my downloaded edition as I write this blog post. The digital magazine cost me $3.99. It only took a few seconds of transfer time via my Ethernet cable network/802.11ac wireless router for it to appear in the Apple Newsstand shelf.

What I really love is that I am snowbound here today with Winter Storm Hercules.

I didn’t have to get dressed, drive on the snowy streets or spend the gas to not find the new magazine.

The problem I previously encountered with Uncut Magazine were several. The delay lag between England and the magazine reaching the Barnes & Noble’s USA retail newsstand was significant. I typically had to wait anywhere from four to six weeks (or more) for the hard copy magazine. The delivery schedule was unpredictable with the print publication so there were times I went to Barnes & Noble and came back “empty-handed”.

The next issue was price. Uncut Magazine is an import publication so the newsstand price translated to $9.99 (versus $3.99 for digital) Granted you get a music CD each month with the hard copy edition but at least now I don’t have to “unglue” it from the cover 😉  I gave thought to ordering the digital magazine through Barnes & Noble online but they charge $5.99 an issue and force you to use the nook iPad application. (I am testing the applicability of iPad Reader Apps such as the nook, Readmill, amazon Kindle, Adobe Reader and Zinio for a future blog post…)

As a music enthusiast I depend upon Uncut Magazine as a resource for music information. Trust me Uncut Magazine delivers effectively with well written, researched, and coordinated articles. Today’s digital content medium ushers me into the year of digital content I have looked forward to embracing. I am an advocate of digital publishing and giving serious thought to redesigning how I will publish in 2014 and beyond.

Tighten Up – Archie Bells & The Drells

There are songs from my past that bubble up warmly in the music of our heart. “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell & The Drells from Houston, Texas is a song written to showcase their new dance moves. I recall buying their 45 r.p.m. single at the 5&10 record department in the summer of 1968. I played it endlessly on the hi-fi system in my room.

I loved Archie Bell’s soulful voice set against that funky guitar lick that eggs you on. This hit sounds as fresh today as it did 46 years ago 🙂

 

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Brian Eno: Visual Music By Christopher Scoates

I have a Barnes & Noble birthday gift card (thank you dear) that is burning a hole in my pocket. I decided on the last day of 2013 to peruse the music book section at my local Barnes & Noble Store hoping to find a book to add to my music book collection. I cautioned myself, acknowledging this is the time of the year that store inventories are seriously depleted due to holiday shopping aftermath. My expectations were minimal that I would find a book title that would satisfy the music of our heart.

I conducted a diligent search of the music book shelves and I couldn’t find a book to buy. So I left firm in my conviction that I have plenty of books and magazines that still need to be read in my home office. I told myself as I walked to my car, “I’ll be back.” 😉

I am thinking today that I did look over a book from the shelf that I contemplated buying. The book is titled, Brian Eno: Visual Music. It was wrapped in cellophane so I couldn’t thumb through the pages or sit with it for a while to see if I bonded with the book. One of my goals with this book is to increase my depth perception and appreciation of Brian Eno the technology artist.

I attempted to do the next best thing to get closer to this book. I received an Apple iPad Air for Christmas (thank you again, dear). I downloaded a sample of the iBook edition to my Library. This allowed me to page through the Table of Contents along with various chapters, figure illustrations, photos, etc. I began to get a better “feel” for the visual nature of the book.

I then gave thought to comparing the nook for iPad App vis-a-vis the iBook App. Realizing I could buy the Nook Book eBook with my gift card I contemplated that alternative. My 2014 technology goal is to shift to the iPad as a more “dedicated” reading device. I have proclaimed 2014 as my year of digital content. The price of the eBook is attractive $21.99 vs. the hardcover price of $33.77 from a B&N Marketplace Vendor.

So I stand at a crossroad I wasn’t expecting, which “edition” of the Brian Eno: Visual Music book should I buy? I don’t think I can rationally make that choice until I can hold and review the hardcover edition in my hands, do you agree?

Well in any case that’s a decision for another day on earth 😉