Two of my favorite things in this world are good music and good beer. Somehow they've always gone hand-in-hand with me, so I thought I'd spend a little bit of time explaining what I like in both. The making of each to me is an art form and both are necessary to a good outlook on life and general happiness. They both seem better while you're sharing them with others, and each enhances the other.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Beatles Let It Be - the second Glyn Johns mix

I'm sure you are all aware of the story behind the Beatles' Let It Be album, how they kept recording and recording and then finally hired Phil Spector to go through the mess and come up with a good sounding record. Spector was legendary for overproducing music. His work was sometimes referred to as the Phil Spector wall of sound.

Anyway, Glyn Johns, a legendary producer in his own right, did a lot of the work beforehand and had actually produced Let It Be to be released prior to Abbey Road. The Beatles didn't care for it and then had Spector come in. Johns naturally preferred his version which he claimed was closer to how nature intended it to sound.

Here's the original Let It Be. Happy holidays.

And as a bonus, the trippiest version of Revolution you'll ever hear:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pink Floyd - 40 years ago today

On November 21st, 1970, forty years ago today, Pink Floyd played the first night of a two night stand at Montreux Casino. This show began at a very late hour and Roger Waters said during the show that it was "Too late for mind expanding." The show ended up so late that they felt it was best to conclude the set with some slow blues.

The two shows are my favorite Pink Floyd shows of that era. They showed glimpses of many works that were to be released later on. This is the first night of those two nights. This is a very good recording that you should enjoy.I hope to share the second night's entertainment with you soon.

FYI: The numbering of these tracks indicate the disk and track number of each piece.

(In case you're wondering this is a full year before the fire at the casino that Deep Purple wrote a song about entitled Smoke on the Water.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leon Russell - Sideman and showman

Photo by Evan Semon,
I really like the fact that Elton John decided to pluck Leon Russell out of relative obscurity and do an album and tour of duets together. Leon's always been one of my favorite session guys, and I always liked his solo work. He's one of the most overlooked sidemen in the second half of the last century. When Joe Cocker's band broke up days before a big tour, Cocker called Russell who got together a very good band and with very few rehearsals pulled off one of the most memorable tours of Joe Cocker's career. This was documented nicely in the film entitled Mad Dogs and Englishmen and also made a fine album as well. Leon is also a very good songwriter, with many of his songs covered by others, probably most notably George Benson performing This Masquerade.

Leon's feet are failing him these days and needs a cane to walk from his chair onstage to the piano, but his vocal range and playing ability haven't suffered as much. If your not familiar with Leon Russell, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Delta Lady or Leon Russell and the Shelter People.

Like I said before, Leon is legendary for all his work as as a sideman. Here's a recording of Leon at his home studio. Sitting in are for sure Eric Clapton, and probably Leon's then wife Mary Russell, Carl Radle, along with Jim Gordon or maybe Jamie Oldaker on drums. Those are all guesses outside of Clapton.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Drink! Drink! Drink! - The Student Prince

It's Friday evening and its a great time for a beer! I mentioned this song in an earlier post and it's great background for the first beer of your weekend. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy - The Roundhouse, London, October 29, 2010

1st Band of Joy, with Plant (middle) and Bonham (front)
Musically, Robert Plant has been around the block. He and drummer John Bonham were picked out of a band called Band of Joy by a certain guitarist to play in a band that I'm sure a few of you may have heard of.

That band broke up after reaching cult status, and afterward Plant performed in the Honeydrippers, reunited with Jimmy Page in a group curiously named Page and Plant, recorded and toured with the Strange Sensations for a half dozen years or so, and then at the request of  renowned record producer T-Bone Burnett, recorded an album called Raising Sand with country music singer/violinist Alison Krausse of Union Station and did a world tour in support of the album, which won multiple Grammy Awards. Raising Sand was a mixture of blues, folk, country, and R&B and seemingly was a relevation to Plant.

Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, two of the remaining members of that cult band, planned a reunion album and tour but were unable to convince Plant to join them. The Led Zeppelin reunion now appears to be all but a broken dream to many.

Plant on the other hand, seems to have awakened in a huge way to other forms of music. I saw him about 13 months ago in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park during Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Plant walked on stage unannounced during Buddy Miller's set and perform two or three songs. Plant recently recorded a new album of music with a group called he decided to call Band of Joy. It's not like he's trying to forget that other band he's identified with, he's still performing songs first done by them, but with a twist. Plant is simply returning to the his roots, his new roots.

Here's a great sounding show recorded way back earlier this week at the Roundhouse in London. Check out Robert Plant and the Band of Joy.

Like always, either stream it or download it for later by clicking on the Divshare logo.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs - RIP to the Cool Ruler - UPDATE

Gregory Isaacs died today at the age of 59. He was known throughout the reggae world as the foremost proponent of "lovers rock". He was the favorite performer of many women reggae fans. He had the smoothest style of anyone in the genre I can think of. Listen to him once and you know why he was called the Cool Ruler.

The first time I ever saw Gregory was in a movie called Rockers. He played a character called Jah Tooth and he sang Slave Master in the film. Of all the reggae stars in that movie - Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Burning Spear, Jacob Miller - Gregory came off the best.

I have a very good soundboard of a recent show but I'll get that posted in the next day or so. Here's Gregory Isaacs performing Night Nurse at Reggae Sunsplash, 1983. 


I said I'd post a show so if you never heard him sing before, here's your chance. Here's a show from 2008 that he did in Baltimore that was recorded digitally off the soundboard. Sounds great.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

U2 - the Pro bono ethic

U2 began its life as an Irish rock band in 1976. Paul Hewson (Bono),  Adam Clayton, Larry Mullins, Jr., and David Evans (The Edge) got together, taught themselves how to play their instruments, practiced, and about 5 years later managed to become good enough to secure a contract with Island records. In another 5 years they'd become one of the top bands in the world.

It is impossible to write about U2 and Bono without mentioning their social activism. In 1984 they played Band Aid for Ethiopian famine relief, in 1985 they played at Live Aid which was a bigger venue for Ethiopia and in 1985 played at the Conspiracy of Hope for Amnesty International and Self Aid for unemployment in Ireland. They've since raised money for Greenpeace, raised awareness for the Bosnian war, worked in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The band's activism is better documented  here and here and here. Paul Hewson was given the nickname Bono, short for bono vox, or good voice. Now it could be taken from pro bono, for the public good.

There are many people who think that Bono and U2 as being international meddlers, self-important people who use their celebrity to bring attention to an issue solely because of publicity it generates for themselves. I believe that's the furthest thing from the truth. There should be more people like U2. And there are, and I'll shed some light on them from time to time.

U2 first and foremost is still a rock and roll band. Here's an absolutely great concert from their Joshua Tree tour, which was documented in the film Rattle and Hum. I can think of more than a couple of times that a band was recorded on consecutive night for a project and then only one of the nights recording were used. The last post on Clapton included a dynamite sounding show from the first night that wasn't used. This U2 show was recorded along with another show at McNichols Arena in Denver to be used for Rattle and Hum. The other show was used, this one wasn't. Lucky us! The following is that complete show from November 7, 1987.