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Musical palate cleanser, “blue-eyed soul singer” edition

Just call him Sir Ivan Morrison now.

VAN Morrison described himself as just a “blue-eyed soul singer” from Belfast as he was knighted for a musical career that has enthralled audiences and delighted critics.

Over more than 50 years the singer has gone from teenage stardom to innovator and is now a respected veteran, whose classic album Astral Weeks regularly makes the list of top 100 albums of all time.

The artist, whose full name is George Ivan Morrison, was introduced as Sir Ivan Morrison as he stepped forward to be dubbed a knight by the Prince of Wales in Buckingham Palace’s ballroom.

Afterwards he said about becoming a Sir: “It’s amazing, it’s very exhilarating, the whole thing.

“For 53 years I’ve been in the business – that’s not bad for a blue-eyed soul singer from east Belfast.”

Helluva career, Sir.

In your honor, let’s hear something you did when you were slightly younger – from American Bandstand, here’s “Brown Eyed Girl”.

I dare you to watch that without singing along.  It simply isn’t possible.

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Musical palate cleanser, down home edition

Inspired by the Oxford American Georgia music edition I posted about recently, I thought it was time to correct an oversight here at the blog.

Otis Redding.

And here he is, from a performance the day before he died, with “Try A Little Tenderness”:

Soul, baby.  What else needs to be said?

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Musical palate cleanser, my youth is disappearing edition

Damn, another obit.

Paul Kantner, founding member, guitarist and singer for Jefferson Airplane and Starship, died Thursday of multiple organ failure and septic shock. He had suffered a heart attack earlier in the week, according to San Francisco Chronicle. He was 74.

Argh.  In remembrance, here’s my favorite Airplane tune, “Somebody to Love”, performed on the Dick Cavett Show, with David Crosby in tow.

Heavy, man.

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Musical palate cleanser, look what popped up edition

Catchy little number forced its way onto my iPod last night and I thought I’d share – it’s by a group out of Nashville called The Thieves and it’s from their 1989 album Seduced By Money.  See how “When I Wake With Someone New” grabs you.

Honestly, this one’s a bit obscure.  I’m pretty sure the reason I bought the album in the first place was because I found out Marshall Crenshaw produced it.  I don’t think these guys had much of a career together, although one member has been in Steve Earle’s band forever and the lead singer’s knocked around Nashville for a while.

Great tune, though.

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Musical palate cleanser (this one with music!)

Springsteen rips into “Rebel, Rebel”:

(h/t)

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Not your usual Musical Palate Cleanser

89

For one thing, there’s no music.

That’s because this is a recommendation of a magazine issue.  If you love music, Georgia music in particular, then this issue of the Oxford American is a must get.  As you should be able to tell from this blurb, it’s a great read.

In the magazine, more than 45 writers take on the task of chronicling numerous musical traditions and artists from Georgia—including legends, innovators, and the state’s brightest visionaries. A few highlights: Peter Guralnick on his discovery of Blind Willie McTell and the electrifying experience of seeing the James Brown Show in 1965; Kiese Laymon on the influence of OutKast; Amanda Petrusich on the Allman Brothers Band and Capricorn Records; Elyssa East on Gram Parsons and his “Nudie suits”; and Brit Bennett on Janelle Monáe and Wondaland Records. The issue has a special section called “Athens x Athens,” in which musicians from the famous scene share stories and anecdotes about what makes the town an unmatched hub for creativity.

A few more highlights: David Ramsey contemplates Little Richard; a profile of the swing jazz bandleader Fletcher Henderson by Cynthia Shearer; Creative Loafing senior staff writer Rodney Carmichael talks Dungeon Family with Rico Wade; rapper Killer Mike turns 40; Wyatt Williams goes in search of Dust-to-Digital’s magnum opus; Dom Flemons pays tribute to “Father of Gospel” Thomas A. Dorsey; new poetry by MacArthur Fellow A. E. Stallings; and much, much more.

The section on Athens really gets into the weeds.  (If you think I’m kidding about that, there’s even a bit in there about Ort.)

Did I mention the issue comes with a 25-song CD?  Well, it does.

… the issue comes with a 25-song CD compilation that features music by Georgia artists such as James Brown, Sandy Gaye, Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, OutKast, Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers, the Allman Brothers Band, and many more. This showcase of Georgia music also includes a cover of the song “Midnight”—written by songwriting legends Boudleaux Bryant and Chet Atkins and recorded by Ray Charles—by the Athens-based band Futurebirds. This song was recorded exclusively for the Oxford American. The compilation ends with a recently discovered 1961 demo recording of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer performing “Moon River.” The CD was mastered by Grammy-winning producer Michael Graves of Osiris Studio in Atlanta.

There are a couple of omissions – I’ll leave it to you to figure those out – but taken as a whole, the magazine and the CD are a total blast.  Go get ’em here.

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Musical palate cleanser, another RIP edition

Man, I hate waking up to news like this.

David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personas, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

Mr. Bowie’s death was confirmed by his publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning.

He died after an 18-month battle with cancer, according to a statement on Mr. Bowie’s social-media accounts.

I have to confess I wasn’t that big a Bowie fan.  I appreciated his artistic restlessness and it was impossible to ignore his impact, if you were someone like me who was a passionate rock fan of the early to mid 70’s, but I never really felt much of an emotional connection with his music or his persona.  That’s not to say there wasn’t some of his work I didn’t like – from the opening guitar riff, “Rebel, Rebel” is a stone classic – but Bowie was one of those artists I could buy a Best Of album and feel like I had enough.

But I did enjoy his Let’s Dance phase a lot.  And this is a song of his from then that I do feel an emotional connection with every time I hear it.

Speaking of opening guitar riffs, Stevie Ray just tears it up there.

I’m sure some of you are much bigger Bowie fans than I, so feel free to share in the comments.

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