Harry Chapin’s Mr. Tanner

Harry Chapin wrote a song, “Mr. Tanner” about a Midwest cleaner who dreamed of being a professional singer. We learned to identify with someone pursuing the desire of becoming famous beyond a meager existence. Only to have those dreams dashed by a NY Times critic’s review. The sweetest solace is the last verse.

Music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.

As it turns out Connecticut and Mr. Tanner have quite the bond. The song was recorded in   Bridgeport at Paul Leka‘s Connecticut Recording studio in 1973. On Saturday night , 11/12 at the Quick Center on the Fairfield University campus three related events intersected with Harry Chapin’s “Mr. Tanner”.

  1. The real Mr. Tanner and the inspiration for the song, Martin Turbidy is discovered  living in Weston, CT.  He is invited to attend The Chapin Family concert as their special guest.
  2. He joined The Chapin Family on stage to sing, “Mr. Tanner” which validated the real person featured in the song from 1974 performing the song live.

3. There will be a children’s book, Mr. Tanner, based on Harry Chapin’s song with a                        happy ending :). The author, Bryan Langdo and book company representative, Rod                  Broder  of Ripple Grove Press were in attendance in the lobby, promoting the future                book with preliminary copies on  display  and  taking pre-orders.

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The Legacy of Bert Berns

The purpose of this blog post is to promote awareness of the inherent genius of the late Bert Berns. He was born in New York in 1929 and died tragically of a heart attack at just 38 years of age. But in his short career, Berns left an indelible mark on popular music; he made fifty-one pop chart singles in seven years and became one of the most successful songwriters of the 1960s.

Recordings  – There is an interesting catalog of Bert Berns that spans three volumes from Ace Records, UK.

Book

A gem of a book you will want to sink your teeth into is, Here Comes The Night: The Dark Soul Of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business Of Rhythm and Blues researched (16 years) and written by authoritative music journalist Joel Selvin.

Here Comes the Night is both a definitive account of the golden age of rhythm and blues of the early ’60s and the harrowing, ultimately tragic story of songwriter and record producer Bert Berns, whose meteoric career was fueled by his pending doom. His heart damaged by rheumatic fever as a youth, Berns was not expected to live to see 21. Although his name is little remembered today, Berns worked alongside all the greats of the era—Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, anyone who was anyone in New York rhythm and blues. In seven quick years, he went from nobody to the top of the pops—producer of monumental r&b classics, songwriter of “Twist and Shout,” “My Girl Sloopy,” “Piece of My Heart,” and others.

This book serves as a major source for the documentary about Bert Berns mentioned  below. Joel Selvin wrote the narration for the film.

Documentary

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Bob Sarles. He has captured on film many moving testaments about the important music industry giants of our time. He has an incredible knack for highlighting people who deserve our focus and attention. I’m grateful for his work.

Bang! The Bert Berns Story – Music meets the Mob in this biographical documentary, narrated by Steven Van Zandt, about the life and career of Bert Berns, the most important songwriter and record producer from the sixties that you never heard of. His hits include “Twist and Shout”, “Hang On Sloopy”, “Here Comes The Night” and “Piece Of My Heart.” He helped launch the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond and produced some of the greatest soul music ever made. Filmmaker Brett Berns brings his late father’s story to the screen through interviews with those who knew him best and rare performance footage. Included in the film are interviews with Ronald Isley, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Van Morrison, Keith Richards and Paul McCartney.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award

Bert Berns was inducted as a non-performer and given the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award with the 2016 class to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Broadway Musical 2016-2017

The Piece of My Heart, The Bert Berns Story, is slated to open as a Broadway Musical.  Steven Van Zandt and Paul Shaffer, along with Maureen Van Zandt and Joe Grano (Jersey Boys), will serve as lead producers. It was also announced that Mr. Van Zandt will serve as the show’s musical director.

Piece of My Heart tells Bert’s triumphant and tragic story through the eyes of Jessie, the daughter he never knew. Experience what Rolling Stone calls “one of the great untold stories of rock and roll.” This world premiere musical pulls you into a journey of discovery told through his chart-topping hits (and some rare gems) including “Twist and Shout,” “I Want Candy,” “Hang on Sloopy,” and the immortal title song, “Piece of My Heart.” Meet the man you never knew through the music you’ve loved for years.

Cradle to the Grave – Squeeze

The band, Squeeze released their first studio album in 17 years, Cradle to the Grave in the UK on October 2nd. According to The Guardian, the reaction the band is getting live is, “Play more new material!”. That is quite an acknowledgement for the songwriting duo of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. They have built an enviable reputation with their classic hits (Up The Junction, Tempted, and Black Coffee  in Bed just to name a few ditties).

 

Ultimate Music Guide – Elvis Costello

I have acquired a decent collection of Uncut Magazine‘s Ultimate Music Guides. Uncut Magazine has published 23 special issues to date, I have six of their special issues (25%).

Uncut Magazine publishes a strong specialty publication because they offer an in-depth review of every album in the artist’s discography. Each album review provides TrackMarks in an insert which delineates track sequence, 1-5 star ratings, label, production information, personnel, chart position etc. It is in the lower corner of a typical two page album spread.

They also take the painstaking effort to publish live album, compilation, UK singles and rarities information. As an avid music collector I learn much more about the artist’s recorded output via the music guides. It is helpful when I want to listen to the artist’s catalogue on Spotify or my collection. I have many more facts and details to enhance the deeper interest my music historian self demands.

The latest Elvis Costello Ultimate Music Guide is informative and assuring. Elvis Costello(EC) is the #2 music artist in my collection after Santana (I own every commercial recording in the Santana catalogue…). I own 24 of EC’s recordings. I stopped purchasing his music in 2004 (Il Signo). I want to resume my EC collection beginning with The River In Paradise with Allen Toussaint right up to today (primarily the last five commercial albums). I can’t put my finger why I “cut-out” on EC’s music 10 years back. I may have reached maximum exposure but I have no real “root-cause” for why that sentiment built up inside me about his songs and acerbic wit.

The EC Ultimate Users Guide helps to rekindle my interest in his musical creativity and prolific songwriting.

I best get busy savoring the pages of this guide and pulling out all those CDs to play in the Honda ;). I’ll be writing more about Elvis Costello’s past 10 years in later music posts. Once I’ve listened intently first of course.

Before I forget to ask, What is Your Favorite Elvis Costello song? Mine is “All This Useless Beauty”.

Feel free to leave a comment about what your favorite Elvis Costello recording is below.

The Diving Board – Elton John

Elton John commences his US and European Tour with a concert this Friday, November 8th in Bridgeport, Ct. at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.

As I prepare the music of our heart to more fully appreciate one of our greatest music legends I turn first to his latest recording, The Diving BoardThe album was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin and produced in Los Angeles by producer T-Bone Burnett.

This video features Elton John giving a track-by-track breakdown. It is insightful and will add to your listening pleasure of The Diving Board

Leslie West’s Still Climbing Drops At My Door

I received my Leslie West Still Climbing Audio CD and Poster today. Very cool of Leslie West and Mascot Label Group to ship early to pre order customers. I love that I have the four days to hear this rocking album before it officially drops for all to buy and hear on Tuesday October 29th.

The color scheme for the trifold CD cover is soothing with its brown and orange space planets theme. It always helps to get liner notes to dig into each recording more thoroughly.

Still Climbing Track Listing and Interpretation

1.  Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born (Leslie A. Weinstein & Jon Tiven)

Leslie West is joined by special guest Mark Tremonti on guitar

This song cooks and I love the way it builds, its an energy rocker that hooks you good.

2. Busted Disgusted Or Dead (Leslie A. Weinstein & Jon Tiven)

Leslie West kicks it abetted by Johnny Winter‘s 2nd half of guitar solo

The silkiness cross-thatched with the grittiness meshed totally works. The track produces an effective layered sound. Johnny Winter pushes out a slide guitar passage that grabs you and doesn’t let go. I have such total respect for two rock and roll survivors carrying on the tradition in tight formation.

3. Fade Into You (Nashville TV Show) – (Matt Jenkins, Shane McNally and Trevor Rosen)

I find myself watching this show some evenings.  I like the original music written and performed. I’m glad Leslie West covered it and helps share this music with his fans.

4. Not Over You At All (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein)

The first of four husband and wife collaborations. I love the support and sharing that takes place here.

I was subsequently sad to learn that Arno Hecht (Uptown Horns) who plays sax on this track daughter Ava died recently. Leslie opens his heart to her , stating Arno’s daughter would be very proud of him. He then states this is his favorite song.

5. Tales of Woe – (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein)

We learn how Leslie West and his wife Jennifer cope with the loss of Leslie’s leg due to diabetes. His road back is an encouraging one for all of us to be proud of for them both.

6. Feeling Good (Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse)

Featuring Dee Snider (Who I loved on The Apprentice)

An old chestnut takes on new life between Leslie and Dee’s respective energies and mutual appreciation.

7. Hatfield or McCoy (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein, Joseph M. Piazza)

8. When A Man Loves A Woman (Calvin Lewis & Andrew Right)

Featuring Johnny Lang

I have seen Johnny Lang live twice. He posses that true conviction when he plays. I love how he sucks you in. Well played gentlemen.

9. Long Red (Leslie A. Weinstein, Felix Pappalardi, John Elis Ventura, Norman Landsberg)

Featuring Larry West Weinstein, Leslie’s brother who played with him in The Vagrants

Long my favorite Mountain song, I couldn’t wait to hear the updated version on Still Climbing. Leslie West did not disappoint. I found myself rocking and drumming harder than ever.

10. Don’t Ever Let Me Go (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein)

Featuring Dylan Rose

11. Reverend Jones Time, an Over The Rainbow Instrumental

Leslie West – Guitar, Bass – Rev Jones

But just don’t take my word about this new recording. Watch Leslie West explain track by track what he accomplished with others with Still Climbing.

Graham Nash on the Howard Stern Show

It was a total buzz to catch Graham Nash on the Howard Stern Show this morning. It is electrifying when Howard is on his interview game, especially if he is enamored with a musician. The intimate sense that comes across the satellite is magnetic and captivating.

Copyright Howard Stern Show 2013

Graham Nash was in the studio promoting his new book, Wild TalesThe connection between Graham and Howard was crisp. I liked how open, nonchalant, and free ranging Graham Nash was about his life.

I learned a lot this morning about Graham Nash and his circle of famous musician friends. Many of whom I have come admire and respect these many decades. I can’t wait to hear the audio book of Wild Tales that Graham Nash narrates.

Be sure to visit HowardStern.com to learn Song by Song with Graham Nash and why Graham Nash is a Zelig.

Late For The Sky – Jackson Browne

Late For The Sky by Jackson Browne is one of those special albums you can play and soon become lost within for hours on end. The songs are brilliantly written and executed. The perfection of this recording rests with the soul’s “pathos” yearning to be heard and understood.

I discover more about the nature of my existence every time the lyrics reverberate strongly against the music of our heart.

Side One

  1. “Late for the Sky”
  2. “Fountain of Sorrow”
  3. “Farther On”
  4. “The Late Show”

Side Two

  1. “The Road and the Sky”
  2. “For a Dancer”
  3. “Walking Slow”
  4. “Before the Deluge”

 

WILD TALES by Graham Nash

The aging rockers autobiography series continues with Wild Tales by Graham Nash. The book will be released on September 17, 2013 in various media options, hardcover (Crown Archetype), audiobook CD (Random House Audio), amazon Kindle, Nook Book (eBook) and Apple iBook. (The ebook edition from various suppliers includes 4 videos, 34 audio clips, and 11 additional photos from Graham Nash’s personal collection. Audio and video content does not play on all reading devices. Check your user manual for details.

The amazon listing appears to be confused about Wild Tales in paperback as they show a “used book” listing from 1974, 64 pages  in length from Warner Brothers Publications. It was illustrated by Joni Mitchell. “Wild Tales” is also the name of Graham Nash’s late 1973 solo album.

Traditionally paperback releases follow hardcover publication after a certain “established timeframe”.

I am considering attending his Barnes & Noble book signing appearance in New York City on September 23rd if we can make it down to the E. 17th Street store that evening.

For those of you who are interested in more pictures and details about Graham Nash’s forthcoming book, I suggest that you read the Daily News Review by Sherryl Connelly. She dishes the dirt I’ll warn you in advance 😉

Abraham, Martin and John – Dion

We saw Dion Dimucci in concert yesterday evening at Mohegan Sun Casino Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. I expected a rock and roll concert from the Bronx music legend and he did not disappoint.

But I wasn’t ready for the moment in the concert that would move me so deeply. Dion took center stage with his guitar and spoke about recording a song in the late 60’s. I beamed inside knowing he was speaking about, “Abraham, Martin and John.”

The crowd grew hushed when the image of Abraham Lincoln filled the arena screens. Dion took us along the journey of famous American’s of civil rights fame. My eyes began to tear up when the image of John Kennedy and others appeared. No matter how many times I have heard this song since 1968 it has affected me. I did not realize until yesterday when I heard it live with the images of each man, surrounded by the voice of Dion I would become so deeply moved.

We clapped when John Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy’s images each appeared. The music of our heart melted in empathy when we reflected upon what each of these men meant to our sovereign nation.

I held back my tears as I recalled the men I grew up with as a young American. 1968 was a tumultuous year in our history, We learned how much more I loved and respected this song’s ultimate meaning.

Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free
Some day soon, and it’s a-gonna be one day …

Songwriter: Richard Holler, Copyright Regent Music Corporation

I stood and applauded when the song ended touched within by the sentiment remembered and felt.

Thank you Dion for performing this timeless classic that captures our love for leaders we admire to this very day.