Tag Archives: Tuneage

Musical palate cleanser, “the greatest record producer ever” edition

A horrible man, a musical genius has passed away.

Phil Spector, one of the most influential and successful record producers in rock ’n’ roll, who generated a string of hits in the early 1960s defined by the lavish instrumental treatment known as the wall of sound, but whose life was upended when he was sentenced to prison for the murder of a woman at his home, died on Saturday. He was 81.

It’s a weird world we live in.

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Musical palate cleanser, “I am the natural born taildragger” edition

Could you use a little live Howlin’ Wolf this morning?  Everybody could use a little live Howlin’ Wolf this morning.

There’s a consummate performer for you.

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Musical palate cleanser, young love edition

Let’s get the week started with this peppy little number:

Come for the power pop; stay for the pubescent Rob Lowe.

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Musical palate cleanser, another great, gone edition

His health had been failing and he’d been out of the public eye for years, but this still comes as a shock and with great sadness:

Tony Rice, the bluegrass guitarist and vocalist known for his elegant, innovative flatpicking, died Friday at his home in Reidsville, North Carolina. He was 69. Rice’s death was confirmed by the International Bluegrass Music Association, which inducted him into its Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

Born David Anthony Rice in Virginia on June 8th, 1951, Rice learned about bluegrass from his father, an amateur musician who raised his family in Los Angeles, and Tony’s older brother Larry Rice, who played mandolin. When Tony was 20, he joined his sibling as a member of the New South, the bluegrass group led by banjoist J.D. Crowe. The band played throughout Kentucky and introduced Rice to Ricky Skaggs, who joined the New South in 1974. Upon his death, Skaggs heralded Rice as “the single most influential acoustic guitar player in the last 50 years.”

That’s not an exaggeration.

Rice’s death on Christmas morning resonated throughout the bluegrass world as well as the guitar-playing community at large. “The list of guitarists who reinvented the most played instrument in the world is very short. Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix… a few others. Tony Rice is on that list,” Charlie Worsham told Rolling Stone in an email. “Hang out long enough with a couple guitar players, and you’ll hear phrases like ‘Manzanita, or ‘Cold on the Shoulder,’ dropped into the conversation like code, like a test to see how much you know about the good shit. Anyone who strives to flat pick a guitar with a solid right hand, to meld raw physical power with the grace and precision of a hummingbird’s wings owes a debt of gratitude to Tony Rice.”

That is astounding stuff.

I don’t either.

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Musical palate cleanser, unexpected pleasure edition

Almost as if he personally wanted to make sure 2020 wasn’t a complete bummer, Al Green has, after a lengthy hiatus, released a new single.

Let me repeat that:  there’s a new Al Green single!

I don’t know what we’ve done to deserve it, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you, sir.

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Musical palate cleanser, cover edition

Here’s Delbert McClinton, covering a 1968 R&B chart topper, “Can I Just Change My Mind”.

That’s a sweet, sweet groove there.

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Musical palate cleanser, bring your own lampshade edition

How ’bout a little introspective ‘Mats this morning?

“If bein’ wrong’s a crime, I’m serving forever” is one of Westerberg’s best lines ever.

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Musical palate cleanser, quasi-collaboration edition

How ’bout a little Zevon to get your day started?

From Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School, this is a song that Bruce Springsteen started (sorta) and Warren finished.  The live version below kills the album one.

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Musical palate cleanser, “these are the horns we wanted” edition

Today’s MPC is a little different — it’s not about a song; it’s about a… well, I guess you’d call him a glorified session musician.

Bobby Keys, as Charlie Watts refers to him, was the greatest rock saxophone player ever.  And his career was extraordinary.  That’s not an exaggeration, either.  Here’s a list of some of the musicians and groups he played with:  The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Delaney & Bonnie, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Warren Zevon, Joe Cocker, Joe Ely, Sheryl Crow, John Lennon, Leon Russell, Plastic Ono Band, Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney.

Anyway, I mention all of this because last night I watched a documentary about his career, Every Night’s A Saturday Night, that was fabulous.

It’s almost startling to hear how casual he is about his career path.  It’s basically a Who’s Who of late sixties rock.  And it’s more than a little sad to hear him speak about his drug abuse and what that cost him with the Stones.

It’s on Amazon Prime and it’s well worth your time, especially if, like me, you’re a firm believer that the Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones were the best rock band evah.  Highly recommended.

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Musical palate cleanser, John Prine tribute edition

Man, I really love some of these pandemic collaborative efforts.  Here’s one playing John Prine’s “Paradise”.  Beautiful and moving.

Have fun identifying all the artists in the comments.

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