Harry Chapin 30th Anniversary – Daily Post #14

Verities & Balderdash
Image via Wikipedia

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Harry’s passing. I’ve been thinking about Harry a lot lately. I have written two blog posts this year alone about Harry Chapin, one about his second recording, Sniper and Other Love Songs and one about his third recording, Short Stories.

I plan to publish more concert and personal memories about Harry Chapin soon. I was very fortunate to meet Harry Chapin on several occasions. He was a warm, wonderful, obliging person. If I can ever find the interview I did with him at Paul Leka‘s Connecticut Recording Studio  I will publish that as well.

I hope you will enjoy these two pages scanned from my music concert scrapbook. In the mid-seventies I too was a FM jock on a couple of college radio stations. I also wrote music articles for a local free entertainment magazine known as The Entertainer.  I included the two articles I wrote in 1974 about Harry Chapin for this post.

I saw Harry Chapin and his band recording Verities and Balderdash in Bridgeport in 1974. That’s another story for another day 😉

As Harry always said, “Keep the Change”. 🙂

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John Lee Hooker – Daily Post 2011 #13

Cover of "Healer"
Cover of Healer

John Lee Hooker created the “talking blues” style. His improvisational method accompanied by his growling deep voice endeared him to his fans and musicians alike. Two songs he was very known for are, “Boogie Chillen” and “Boom Boom“.

One of my favorite John Lee Hooker collaborations is the The Healer, which was recorded in 1989 with Carlos Santana and Ms. Bonnie Raitt, to name a few. The Healer brought John Lee Hooker a whole new generation of music fans. The title song has such staying power 21 years afterward.

I was fortunate to see John Lee Hooker open for Santana on October 14, 1970 at the Capitol Theater in Portchester, NY. He held the concert hall spell-bound when he did One Burbon, One Scotch and One Beer as his encore.

Van Morrison also recorded with John Lee Hooker on several recordings, such as Never Get Out of these Blues Alive, “The Healing Game” and “I Cover the Waterfront“.

Willie Dixon – Daily Post 2011 Post #12

I received an e-mail from Willie Dixon’s grandson,  Alex Dixon about the launch of the new “Official” Willie Dixon Website. If you are a fan of the blues I urge you to browse over and take a look at the information Alex has created about his grandfather, the legendary “Godfather of the Blues” Willie Dixon.

You will find a rich set of content, starting with a biography and a timeline, lots of great pictures and videos.

I especially like this picture of  B.B. King, Willie Dixon and John Lee Hooker.

Soon to be added to the site will be the Willie Dixon store and the Willie Dixon fan club (I’m in!).

So take some time to discover more about the blues and one of its founding members, Willie Dixon.

Be sure to sign the Guestbook

Nice work Alex!!!!

Gregg Allman – Low Country Blues – Daily Post 2011 #11

Gregg Allman at New Orleans Jazz Fest
Image via Wikipedia

A renewed artist with a new lease on life after a successful liver transplant, Gregg Allman takes us back to the roots of American music with a gritty collection of classic country blues covers. The winning combination of Gregg Allman with distinguished vocals coupled with the instinctual music producer with the midas touch, T-Bone Burnett offers us a unique blend of music.

The recording utilizes the formula T-Bone Burnett chose with Robert Plant and Allison Krause for the Raising Sand CD. Place the musician in a natural music setting with stylistic period musicians as the support infrastructure and explore indigenous music.

This video gives you the panorama of the making of Low Country Blues.

Gregg’s notable side musicians include Dr. John on piano , Doyle Bramhall II on guitar, bassist Dennis Crouch and drummer Jay Bellerose.

Get an early listen to Gregg Allman’s Low Country Blues for free, click on over to NPR’s First Listen….

Track List:

1. Floating Bridge (Sleepy John Estes)

2. Little By Little (Junior Wells)

3. Devil Got My Woman (Skip James)

4. I Can’t Be Satisfied (Muddy Waters)

5. Blind Man (Bobby Bland)

6. Just Another Rider (Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes)

7. Please Accept My Love (BB King)

8. I Believe I’ll Go Back Home (Traditional)

9. Tears Tears Tears (Amos Milburn)

10. My Love is Your Love (Samuel Maghett)

11. Checking On My Baby (Otis Rush)

12. Rolling Stone (Traditional)

Harry Chapin – Short Stories – Daily Post 2011 #9

Short Stories (Harry Chapin album)
Image via Wikipedia

It’s such a comfort being back in touch with the musical spirit of Harry Chapin. I received his CD, Short Stories this past week. This was Harry’s third recording, following Heads & Tales and Sniper and other Love Songs. It was the first of four recordings produced by Paul Leka (Paul was Harry’s producer from 1974-1976) at Connecticut Recording Studios in Bridgeport. Connecticut.


Short Stories is just that, a collection of 10 short story songs written by master story-teller Harry Chapin. The recordings are backed up by Harry’s band at the time, Ron Palmer on guitar. John Wallace on bass and Michael Masters on cello. Paul Leka played all keyboards.  There are various other session musicians that were involved and they are listed here.

I played this album many times during my FM college days at WHNU-FM and WVOF-FM from 1974-1978.

My favorite tracks on Short Stories are W.O.L.D., naturally. I especially love the three songs in succession, “They Call Her Easy”, “Mr. Tanner” and “Mail Order Annie”. Theses tracks flow together with an effortless charm.

The first sentence in this stanza expresses how music will always feel to me. 🙂

But 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.

Mr. Tanner by Harry Chapin. Copyright 1973 by ChapinMusic.

“Old College Avenue” hearkens as my latest favorite as I wax nostalgic envisioning the imagery of walking around a campus university. There is just something about academia that fills my consciousness with dreams of youth and times gone by…

Expect more posts about Harry Chapin as the year progresses 😉

World Music and Wesleyan University, Daily Post 2011 #8

“When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school

It’s a wonder
I can think at all

And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none

I can read the writing on the wall

“Kodachrome”  – Lyrics by Paul Simon, Copyright 1972, Paul Simon Music

High school didn’t teach me very much. College was the real education, especially when I minored in music at the University of New Haven, from September 1972 – June 1974. I was exposed to audio experiences from music professors who were graduates of Wesleyan University‘s World Music program. Their knowledge of world music sounds, cultures and instruments expanded my horizons in ways I never imagined before.  I took courses on the music of the Far East, where we studied such countries as India, China, Tibet, Bali and Japan. We studied Black Music, diving deep into the eras of jazz, deciphering John Coltrane and gaining a full appreciation for Miles Davis. We studied the music of Africa and its relationship with American blues and jazz.  My favorite book we discussed and read was Savannah Syncopators: African retention in the blues by Paul Oliver . We also studied the music of Europe, especially the music of the gypsies and Django Reinhardt.

The term “world music” was coined in the 1960′s at Wesleyan University by ethnomusicologist Robert E. Brown.Robert E. Brown, who passed away in 2005, was one of the first students to receive a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from University of California Los Angeles. He was appointed assistant professor in Wesleyan’s Music Department in 1961 and joined the tenured ranks of the faculty in 1966. He introduced Carnatic (South Indian) music to Wesleyan.

Brown wrote that he: “… invented the term ‘world music’ … to avoid using … ‘ethnomusicology’ for a new graduate program we were cooking up, and to emphasize music and music performance as the core of the program, as opposed to musicological research.” (Robert Brown, letter to the editor, “His fault,” Folk Roots (208 Oct. 2000), 1-2.).

I also had Paul Simon to thank as he championed world music in exciting, innovative ways.  Simon’s relationship with world music began with  Bridge Over Troubled Water, which featured an Andean song called el Condor Pasa.  Then in 1972, when his first solo album Paul Simon was released he created the reggae influenced hit, “Mother and Child Reunion”. He continued on that path by adding layers, textures and world music influences by recording much of Graceland in South Africa.

Paul Simon continued to imbue world music cultures into his music, for example he moved on to the music of Brazil with The Rhythm of the Saints recording.

Another famous Wesleyan graduate, John Perry Barlow has worked with Gilberto Gil, Brazil’s Minister of Culture to create an online music archive to catalog all the music of Brazil. It is an open source initiative that I heartily embrace as it will make all the music available for free download.