Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Musical palate cleanser, just a shot away edition

This’ll give you chills.  (h/t)

This’ll give you the whole enchilada.

This’ll give you the background story.

BONUS:  This’ll give you Merry on her own, live.

I think I’m done here.

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Musical palate cleanser, take me down to your dance floor edition

I hadn’t heard this song for a while, but it popped up on my player and I can’t get it out of my head now – Gram Parsons’ “A Song For You”.

He may know what the song is about, but for me those lyrics have always been more about a general sense of longing and loss than anything more specific.  What really kills me about the song, though, is the poignancy of his vocals.  Parsons’ life was like something out of a Southern Gothic novel, and you can feel the pain and his inability to deal with life leaking out of every line he delivers.

When Emmylou Harris joins in, it sounds like how I imagine the angels harmonize.  Sadness has never been delivered more beautifully.

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Musical palate cleanser, it’s not about Lane Kiffin’s wife edition

Way back in 1971, I had a friend who raved about an album I hadn’t heard and did everything short of frog marching me into a record store to buy it.

It was Derek and the Dominos’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.  He was right.  As many times as I’ve listened to the title track since I bought the record, it still manages to grab me right from the introductory riff (which came from Duane Allman).  It’s a remarkable piece of work.

As much as it’s about the musicianship, it’s Clapton’s passion that seals the deal.  He rarely sounded this involved with his work and it elevates everything.

But, yeah, those guitars.

I hated the acoustic jazz version Clapton adapted many years later.  It sounded sleepy and passionless.  But reinvented with the help of Wynton Marsalis as a New Orleans-style dirge-like blues, it connects with me again.  (Check out Marsalis’ look at about the 5:40 mark as he watches Clapton wail away on the guitar.)

 

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Musical palate cleanser

Gee, I wonder why this popped into my head last night.

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Musical palate cleanser, another God bless, RIP edition

Allen Toussaint passed away yesterday.  At least he went out the way any musician would prefer.

Allen Toussaint, the versatile producer, songwriter, pianist and singer who was a fixture of New Orleans R&B, died after appearing in concert in Madrid on Monday night. He was 77.

He’s written more great music than I can list here.  This, thanks to a cover by Little Feat, may be his most familiar.  (Bonus:  he’s backed by The Meters.)

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Musical palate cleanser, anti-disco edition

Mike Leach, this one’s for you, baby.

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