Time to catch up on reposting my writing from other sites. Not that there’s been a overwhelming demand for it, but it is a way to fill time between real posts.
On Cover Me, I haven’t been all that active. The powers-that-be there recently came up with a new category–“That’s A Cover?” about songs that most people probably don’t realize were covers. I wrote about The Youngbloods’ iconic 60’s anthem, “Get Together,” which was far from the first version of the song. By the way, if you like cover songs, the creator of Cover Me, and its editor-in-chief, Ray Padgett, has a book coming out in the fall, Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time. As the blurb notes, “each of the 20 chapters investigates the origins of a classic cover—and uses it as a framework to tell the larger story of how cover songs have evolved over the decades.” Ray’s a hell of a writer, and worked really hard on this book, so you should pre-order it here.
I’ve been a bit more active over at Star Maker Machine. For the “Songs From Movies About Musicians” theme, I contributed a piece about the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” focusing on the great vocals contributed by Merry Clayton, as detailed in the incredible documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.
The next theme was “Gold,” and I wrote about The Golden Palominos, a loose collection of musicians gathered by drummer Anton Fier to create a series of albums in the 1980s and 1990s. The great Richard Thompson played on some of their songs, and during this period also joined up with John French, Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser for two albums, the first of which had a short song called “Killerman Gold Posse.”
We then moved to a “Large Numbers” theme, and I somewhat twisted it to write about Bill Million, best known as a member of The Feelies, a band whose influence has greatly outstripped their sales, and who played a gig that I went to in college, in a gym with terrible acoustics.
Next up at Star Maker Machine was “Hard,” and I figured out a way to use that as an opportunity to write about Jazz Forum, a new jazz club that opened in Tarrytown, where I live. My wife and I attended the third show of the opening weekend, featuring amazing trumpeter Roy Hargrove and his band. And I also figured out a way to use that theme to write about the Clearwater Festival, at which I heard some fabulous music, and got both rained on and sunburned. We recently returned to hear remarkable jazz vocalist Roberta Gambarini and her trio.
“Right” was the next theme, and I wrote about the theme song from the intense TV show Peaky Blinders, “Red Right Hand,” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and moving down the body and remaining color-coordinated, about The Decemberists’ typically odd love song, “Red Right Ankle.”
The current theme is “On/Off,” and right now I’m mulling over reaching back into my prog bag for Genesis’ “Turn It On Again,” but we will see.
Finally, I saw a great show at the Beacon Theater–The Mountain Goats opening for Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit. The Mountain Goats’ set was, I think, marred by a bad mix that had way too much drum and not enough vocals, making it hard to hear John Darnielle’s interesting lyrics. Isbell and the band were incredible. Having seen him perform over the years, it is interesting watching his confidence as a band leader grow. Isbell made the rounds recently promoting their wonderful new album, The Nashville Sound (frontrunner for my best of 2017 list), appearing on, at least, NPR, The Daily Show, The Late Show, PBS News Hour, CBS This Morning, and Charlie Rose. Isbell is a great interview–smart, funny and acerbic–and I recommend all of them. But if you just want to watch one, The Daily Show interview is short, interesting, and Trevor Noah’s final line is priceless.
Today’s featured song is “Whipping Post,” by, of course, The Allman Brothers, for two reasons. First, it is a weak attempt to relate the “Repost” title to a song, and second, because Isbell and the band played it as their final encore to honor the Allmans, who regularly played the Beacon, and the late Gregg Allman. They brought on guitarist Scott Sharrard, who played in the Gregg Allman Band, for the song. I haven’t found a full version of the song as played that night, but here‘s a long excerpt (apparently taken by someone sitting near me, based on the angle), and here‘s a short one, from the wings, posted by Sharrard. If you are really motivated, YouTube does have full versions of the cover performed at other dates on the tour.
Because this is my blog, I’m just going to post a slideshow of some pictures that I took at the concert.