Tag Archives: Tuneage

Musical palate cleanser, trivia question edition

What was the only number one hit played at Woodstock?

(Answer in the comments.)


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Musical palate cleanser

It was Janis Joplin’s birthday last week (she would have turned 80) and I don’t think she’s ever been the subject of an MPC before, so here’s her remarkable cover of “Ball & Chain” at the Monterey Pop Festival:

Man, that voice and that delivery…


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Musical palate cleanser, another passing edition

One of the iconic musical figures from my youth is gone.

David Crosby, the outspoken and often troubled singer, songwriter and guitarist who helped create two of the most influential and beloved American bands of the classic-rock era of the 1960s and ’70s, the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, has died. He was 81.

Patricia Dance, a sister of Mr. Crosby’s wife, Jan Dance, said in a text message on Thursday evening that Mr. Crosby died “last night.” She provided no other details.

Mr. Crosby was inducted twice into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as a founding member of the Byrds and as a founder of CSN&Y.

The number of people who could make a claim like that make up a short list.  David Crosby was one of rock music’s great harmonizers.  Together, that’s a remarkable resume.

Unfortunately for David, his personal shortcomings were just as big as his musical influence.  CSN&Y were pretty much a constant soap opera and his ego and substance abuse were major contributors to that.  (When Neil Young thinks your drug and alcohol use is excessive, buddy, you’ve got a real problem.)  He was fired from the Byrds by McGuinn and Hillman, again for being a colossal dick, and fifty years later, when Crosby asked the two if he could join them on their Sweethearts of the Rodeo tour, they told him to fuck off.  Now, that’s how you hold a grudge.

This is how you manage to deliver your own epigraph:

“All the guys I made music with won’t even talk to me,” he said. “I don’t know quite how to undo it.”

At least the music will last.  That’s not nothing.


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Musical palate cleanser, a giant passes edition


Jeff Beck, one of the most skilled, admired and influential guitarists in rock history, died on Tuesday at a hospital near his home at Riverhall, a rural estate in southern England. He was 78.

The cause was bacterial meningitis, Melissa Dragich, his publicist, said.

Skilled and influential is right.

Along the way, Mr. Beck helped either pioneer or amplify important technical innovations on his instrument. He elaborated the use of distortion and feedback effects, earlier explored by Pete Townshend; intensified the effect of bending notes on the guitar; and widened the range of expression that could be coaxed from devices attached to the guitar like the whammy bar.

Drawing on such techniques, Mr. Beck could weaponize his strings to hit like a stun gun or caress them to express what felt like a kiss. His work had humor, too, with licks that could cackle and leads that could tease.

And two great quotes from the article that sum up the man:

“Everybody respects Jeff,” Mr. Page said in a 2018 documentary titled “Still on the Run: The Jeff Beck Story.” “He’s an extraordinary musician. He’s having a conversation with you when he’s playing.”

“I’ve never made the big time, mercifully,” Mr. Beck told Rolling Stone in 2018. “When you look around and see who has made it huge, it’s a really rotten place to be.”

So many great songs, but I’ll pick this one, because its melancholic tone seems appropriate.

Also, this.

Rest in peace, brother.


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Musical palate cleanser, different direction edition

Released about a year after “Fairytale of New York”, “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” is the most un-Pogues like single they ever cut.  After all, who would have expected them to channel their inner Motown?

But, damn, if it’s not fantastic.


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Musical palate cleanser, sweatin’ the blues edition

Etta James, working an eight-minute version of “I’d Rather Go Blind”… and I do mean working.


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Guess who turns 79 today?

You realize he’s gonna outlive everyone reading this post, right?


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Musical palate cleanser, couple of good ol’ boys edition

Ladies and gentlemen, “Country Honk”, 55 or so years later…


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Musical palate cleanser, Classic City edition

Athens supergroup the Bad Ends pack a lot of punch. In the collective are: Mike Mantione of Athens staples Five Eight (guitar/vocals), Dave Domizi (bass/vocals), Geoff Melkonian (keys/vocals), Christian Lopez (guitars, mandolin), former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry. In fact, this will be Berry’s first band since his R.E.M. days. Today, the Bad Ends are announcing their debut album, The Power And The Glory, out January 20 via New West Records. They’re also premiering a rollicking lead single, “All Your Friends Are Dying,” which comes with a video directed by Lance Bangs.

The “All Your Friends Are Dying” video also features cameos from friends of the band such as Mike Mills of R.E.M., Vanessa Briscoe Hay from Pylon, Jody Stephens of Big Star, producer David Barbe, and more. The band will also play their first-ever show on November 27 (the Sunday after Thanksgiving), which will be at Nuci’s Space — constructed at the site of St. Mary’s Church, where R.E.M. played their first show in 1980.

All pretty cool, but what really caught my ear from the single was this:

Here’s what Mike Mantione had to say about “All Your Friends Are Dying”:

The song and the video are a celebration of Athens. The song is also a tribute to Big Star and The Glands. I’m really singing it to a friend who missed this special performance of the Big Star Third album and I’m warning my friend not to miss stuff because life doesn’t last very long. We thought there was only cell phone footage of the show, but our friend Dan Jordan ended up having three cameras rolling that night. We were able to grab shots of Jody singing ‘Thirteen’ and Frank playing his guitar (which was a telecaster that night, which is why he plays an SG in the van, as namechecked in the song).

He had me at “Big Star”.

Here’s the single.  The surroundings might look familiar to you.


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Musical palate cleanser, reactionary edition

Haven’t done one of these in a while, so here’s a little power pop from Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander.

“Well, baby, have a bitchin’ summer, see ‘ya next fall” is a killer line.


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