He Is Risen – Happy Easter 2013

Happy Easter to those who celebrate ūüôā


My Goals Beyond – Mahavishnu John McLaughlin

My Goal’s Beyond¬†by Mahavishnu John McLaughlin creates a¬†spirituality and healing power that resonates within the music of our heart.¬†Listen to “Peace One” permitting the joy to radiate within and about you this day.¬†Namaste’

My Goal’s Beyond – Mahavishnu John McLaughlin

Reverend Gary Davis, Ragtime Guitar

Dave Van Ronk was quite the musicologist. His book, The Mayor of MacDougal Street,¬†informs and educates us in-depth about the late 50’s and early 6o’s blues and folk music of the Village. He takes great delight in sharing the time he spent influenced by the¬†Reverend Gary Davis.

Rev. Gary Davis was renowned for his ragtime guitar method.  He offered guitar lessons at his New York apartment. Dave Van Ronk was one of his students who carried on the ragtime guitar tradition.

Roy Book Binder was another student of Rev. Gary Davis. Listen to his stories about the impact that Rev. Gary Davis has had on his blues career.

Rev. Gary Davis had a major influence on Hot Tuna and Jorma Kaukonen. ¬†Jorma and Jack have played Rev. Gary Davis’s body of work for decades. He does his blues style incredible justice.

Here is my favorite Rev. Gary Davis song ¬†by his student Jorma Kaukonen, “I Am The Light of This World” from¬†Quah.¬†

I hope you will seek to learn more about the life and music of Rev. Gary Davis. I suggest visiting a great fan site dedicated to the blues legend, http://reverendgarydavis.com/index.htm

This YouTube video was filmed for his Folk Alliance International Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Rock Candy Funk Party

I was listening to the music player on the Elmore Magazine Website. Normally most music player play lists don’t do much for me. I find many music players very “cheesy” representations of the artist’s music. The playlists are typically “weak” and “”thrown together” in haphazard fashion. However, this funk track has dramatically shifted my reservation towards the positive.

The band is a stunning collaboration of funk, rock and blues superstars. Rock Candy Funk Party is made up of  album producer Tal Bergman (drums), Ron DeJesus (guitar), Joe Bonamassa (guitar), Mike Merritt (bass), and Renato Neto (keyboards).

As Booker T says ūüėČ

Jessie Ware Is Everywhere

Jessie Ware is everywhere. The word ingenue comes to mind when I hear her sing.¬†Her d√©but album¬†Devotion¬†a top seller in 2012 is being re-released on April 15th¬†with the addition of four bonus tracks including two previously unheard cuts ‚Äď ‚ÄėImagine It Was Us‚Äô and ‚ÄėWildest Moments – Feat. A$AP Rocky‚Äô.

Is there a track on the album you’re proudest of?

I think maybe “Running“. It came right at the end of the album, and maybe that was when I was at my most relaxed and content and confident, so it became I easier to write. I feel so proud of that song: it sounds like everything that I wanted to achieve, with the references to old soul and dance, and the groove and electronic feel.

Expect more hype to follow when Jessie Ware invades America next month for concert dates in the New York Area and two appearances at Coachella.

Dave Van Ronk, The Anthology of Folk Music by Harry Smith

Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger
Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been sheer joy listening to Dave Van Ronk‘s memoir,¬†The Mayor of MacDougal Street¬†on Audio CD.¬†Dave Van Ronk and Elijah Wald¬†guide readers along like Robin Hood and His Merry Men on a passionate journey¬†through the colorful past of Greenwich Village’s folk music scene. The story has added significance as our son lives right in the heart of the neighborhood. He is next to¬†Washington Square Park and Dave Van Ronk Street across from Sheridan Square.

The book has rekindled my dormant flames of interest in folk music. I got the yearn for musicology when I attended the University of New Haven minoring in music. Thankfully that interest continues to guide my conscious flow. The first album by Dave Van Ronk ¬†that played endlessly on my hi-fi was¬†Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger¬†(Prestige). I had no idea until I heard the book how important Izzy Young‘s Folklore Center (pictured on the cover) was to Dave and the folk music idiom.

Which brings me to the folk music foundation classic, The¬†Anthology of Folk Music¬†by Harry Smith. I first learned about the uniqueness of Harry Smith from Patti Smith’s book,¬†Just Kids.¬†Patti Smith and Harry Smith (no relation) were neighbors and close friends residing at The Chelsea Hotel. Harry Smith was also friends with Allen Ginsberg who captured his image in the last week of his life.

“Harry Smith, painter, archivist, anthropologist, film-maker & hermetic alchemist, his last week at Breslin Hotel Manhattan January 12, 1985, transforming milk into milk.” – Allen Ginsberg, Photo by Allen Ginsberg, Courtesy of Allen Ginsberg Trust and Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

After hearing Dave Van Ronk speak his praises of this essential box set I have to ask myself why haven’t I seen fit to add these essential recordings to my music collection.¬†Arguably the most important release of all-time (1952),¬†The Anthology¬†is a collection of old-time music from the late 20‚Ä≤s and early 30‚Ä≤s that spawned the folk and blues revival of the 60‚Ä≤s and influenced everyone from Dylan to the Grateful Dead.

I must rectify that situation and trust me I will, soon ;). For the music of our heart is incomplete until I have the works by Harry Smith safely listened to and tucked away in my music library.

Let’s Make A Deal – Taj Mahal Edition

As they say on Let’s Make A Deal, do you want what’s behind Door #1, Door #2 0r Door #3? The Taj Mahal Edition for blues music collectors appears below

Record Store Day 2013

Taj Mahal and  SONY Legacy Recordings announce the release of The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal and The Natch’l Blues on vinyl for Record Store Day 2013.

Collectible Grade: RECORD STORE DAY FIRST’ RELEASE.  These are titles that you can find on Record Store Day at Record Store Day participating stores. So if you’re a fan of the artist, you get first listen. At some point in the future, generally four to six weeks, these titles will be available, in the same format, at other retailers.

Behind Door #1 – The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal

Two 12″ 180-gram vinyl LPs in an individually numbered gatefold jacket – Amazing studio demos chronicling the early years of the American bluesman Taj Mahal.

Behind Door #2 – The Natch’l Blues

12″ 180-gram vinyl in an individually numbered jacket – Taj Mahal’s breathtaking second album, originally released in 1968, showcased a band featuring Al Kooper and Jesse Ed Davis while introducing a generation to deep blues classics like “Corinna,” “She Caught the Katy (and Left Me a Mule to Ride),” and “The Cuckoo.”

Door #3 –¬†The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

The box set includes both prizes behind Door #1 and Door #2 along with 11 other vinyl recordings.

So many choices, so little time ūüėČ

Nederpop, Music of the Hague

The year was 1970. The group was Shocking Blue, Dutch musicians from The Hague with a #1 US Hit on February 7, 1970 “Venus“.

I remember attending Career Academy Broadcasting School at 8 West 40th Street in New York City when “Venus” exploded upon¬†the airwaves. My listening tastes were still being shaped by Top 40 AM radio but progressive FM radio was my consuming passion. I wanted to become a professional disk jockey in the worst way. I played that 45 r.p.m. record religiously as part of my afternoon radio show class.

Roll the tape ahead 43 years later. I am picking through music magazines at Barnes & Noble when I notice the cover of Shindig Magazine from the UK. Shocking Blue is their cover story. I buy the magazine to learn more about why Shocking Blue was more than the one-hit wonder. I get a side education about the Dutch music scene as a by-product.

I learn that The Hague is Holland’s number one music city. Nederpop home to groups Shocking Blue, Golden Earring (Godfathers of Nederpop) and Focus just to name a few.

File:Golden Earring - Moontan.jpg

I saw Golden Earring open for King Crimson in Central Park in 1975. I will never forget how the lead singer ran behind the stage during “Radar Love” and used a mini-trampoline to jump over the drummer to hit the stage standing right at that point in the song after the drumming where the vocals start again.

I make it my mission to delve more into the music of The Hague at my next opportunity ūüėČ

The Rewarding Influence of Richard Hell

Last month I wrote an extensive A-Z music journalist series. The tree of music journalism I planted continues to harvest fruit.

I commenced InterWeb reading this morning with Robert Christgau’s Barnes and Noble Review column Rock & Roll &.¬†I was rewarded with a thought-provoking essay about Richard Hell’s new book,¬†I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp.

The more I dug into Richard Hell, Television, his (s)exploits and writing prowess the more intrigued I became.

I have tried to find  copy of the book at my local Barnes & Noble Stores so I can give you a closer perspective but no luck thus far.

I add this book to my ever-increasing music book reading list.

There is a tie-in event with Richard Hell, Fashion and Punk that I also want to share with you. The exhibit takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art May 9-August 14, 2013.

PUNK: Chaos to Couture¬†will examine punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the early 1970s through its continuing influence today. Featuring approximately one hundred designs for men and women, the exhibition will include original punk garments and recent, directional fashion to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear borrow punk’s visual symbols.

Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of “do-it-yourself” and the couture concept of “made-to-measure,” the seven galleries will be organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style. Themes will include¬†New York and London, which will tell punk’s origin story as a tale of two cities, followed by¬†Clothes for Heroes¬†and four manifestations of the D.I.Y. aesthetic‚ÄĒHardware,¬†Bricolage,¬†Graffiti and Agitprop, and¬†Destroy.

Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques. –¬†Description Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art 2013

A book, Punk: Chaos to Couture, by Andrew Bolton, with an introduction by Jon Savage, and prefaces by Richard Hell and John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), will accompany the exhibition. This publication will be illustrated with photographs of vintage punks and high fashion. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the $45 catalogue (hard cover only) will be distributed worldwide by Yale University Press.

John Densmore, The Doors: Unhinged and Record Store Day 2013

I was looking on The Record Store Day Website for The List 2013 when I found something much more valuable.  John Densmore, drummer for The Doors has written and self-published a new book, The Doors: Unhinged, available on April 17, 2013 (CreateSpace and Kindle Direct). There will be a special hardcover edition available  exclusively for sale at independent Record Store Day retailers, April 20, 2013.  John Densmore is conducting a book tour to be held at various record stores across the United States.

The book was self-published with Amazon’s CreateSpace an on-demand publishing platform. I am vehement about this distribution method of distribution. My plan is to self-publish a book this way in the future.

The premise of John Densmore’s book is¬†the ‚Äúgreed gene‚ÄĚ, and how that part of the human psyche propels us toward the accumulation of more and more wealth, even at the expense of our principles and friendships and the well-being of society. In effect¬†no amount of money seems to be enough for even the wealthiest people.

This is an important societal characteristic to check. It’s at the heart of the Occupy movement which denotes the classic struggle between the haves and have-nots.


I recall when John Densmore sued The Doors of the 21st Century. I was upset for the rift amongst The Doors. I had seen Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger twice live as that namesake band. I liked the moniker and how it felt to see them perform with Ian Astbury on vocals and Ty Dennis on drums. I originally sided with Ray and Robbie in the matter. But after closer examination of the issue and the understanding of honoring Jim Morrison’s wishes, I realized friendship and integrity trump greed.

I’ll am eager to read John Densmore’s interpretation of the lawsuit to get a better understanding about his sentiments and belief. The music press served as a “filter” for what transpired and I feel its best to read this from John’s point of view. I am hoping I can meet John Densmore at one of the record store tour events and get a signed copy of the hardcover edition.

The Record Store Day Official List was published on Wednesday March 20. You can find it here.

The Doors will once again have a Record Store Day Release Exclusive. A¬†special 7″ release in the Warner “Side By Side” series. Side A is The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” and Side B includes X’s cover of the song, produced by Ray Manzarek. This one is on milky clear colored vinyl and limited to 3000 copies,