The Fillmore East 40 Years On

NYC - East Village - Fillmore East: Allman Bro...
Image by wallyg via Flickr

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East on June 28, 1971. No rock hall echoes stronger in the music of our heart than Bill Graham’s legendary venue in the East Village section of NYC.

The concert that closed The Fillmore East is equally, if not more historic.  The Allman Brothers Band headlined that night, with J Geils Band as the middle act and Albert King as the opening act. Guest stars who joined The Allman Brothers Band and the other scheduled acts on stage that night included Mountain, Country Joe McDonald, Edgar Winter’s White Trash with Rick Derringer and The Beach Boys. I listened to the entire concert which was broadcast live over WNEW-FM 102.7.  The concert went from 8 p.m. on June 27th until 6 a.m. in the morning of June 28th.

This tile was a gift to the Fillmore East employees

 

There were 40 albums recorded live at The Fillmore East from 1968 through 1971. Considering there were 111 main concerts during that time frame (more if you count both early and late show events) 40 concerts was close to 1/3 of all shows that were performed there. You can see the complete list of live Fillmore East albums, sorted A-Z by recording title on this Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Live_at_the_Fillmore_East_albums

Many people associate The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East as “the” recording that captured the music live of the last night. Truth of the matter is that only when the deluxe edition of  this dual CD was released did we get to hear two tracks from June 28th, “One Way Out” and “Midnight Rider”. According to Peter Wolf, lead singer of the J Geils Band who performed that night, “the Allman Brothers started at around four in the morning. At dawn, they were still playing “Crossroads,” or something like that.” (Graham and Greenfield, 2004).

The late, great photographer Jim Marshall took the photographs for the cover of  The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East in the alley next to Capricorn Recording Studios in Macon, Georgia. (not in the alley of The Fillmore East as many, including myself, always thought).  This is my favorite pose by the band that Jim Marshall’s unique lens captured.

There are several definitive sources of information available about The Fillmore East. I refer you to my reference section at the end of this blog post.

As we get closer to celebrating the real 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East I will update this blog post with any potential celebrations and events. Trust me  I plan to take part as fully as I can in those events.

Reference

My favorite Web site about The Fillmore East is the The Fillmore East Preservation Society. I love this Web site and the freaks who put it together!

An immensely satisfying book about the Fillmore East authored by Amalie R. Rothschild who worked for the  Joshua Light Show and was the official photographer for The Fillmore East. Her camera captured many intimate moments as they occurred during those exciting three years. Live at the Fillmore East,  A Photographic Memoir, http://www.amazon.com/Live-Fillmore-East-Photographic-Memoir/dp/1560252790


Amalie R. Rothschild’s Web Site http://www.amalierrothschild.com/Allman/index.html

Bill Graham and The Fillmore East are synonymous. This is a well written autobiography and collaboration.

Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield, 2004, Bill Graham Presents, My Life Inside Rock and Out, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA

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Canned Heat, Don’t Forget To Boogie

Canned Heat played a definitive role in establishing the blues with sixties generation music fans. They cemented their role as blues foundation artists delineating the sounds known as blues-rock and boogie.  Members of Canned Heat were serious blues music collectors who remained true to the principles of the blues through their music.

The video sequence of Canned Heat from Monterey Pop in 1967 shows the band getting down in earnest pleasing the afternoon crowd with the Muddy Waters classic, “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”. Take special note of Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, dual guitarists Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Henry Vestine, with Bob “The Bear” Hite onvocals.

Many people are familiar with Canned Heat’s headlining role at Woodstock and how their song “Going Up The Country” is considered the unofficial theme song  for Woodstock, the movie.

This is my favorite video of Canned Heat at Woodstock. Bob “The Bear” Hite epitomized the festival of peace and music by allowing this fan to hang on stage with him, even after he took a cigarette from his t-shirt pocket 😉

I was lucky to see Canned Heat on August 14th, 2009 during the Heroes of Woodstock Tour at Foxwoods. You hope in your heart that they will be able to rekindle the classic sound you had grown up with live. When Country Joe McDonald asked us, “Are you ready to boogie with Canned Heat?”, we was as was Canned Heat that night. It was just like yesterday but even better.

 

Pandora Internet Radio

I re-established my listening relationship with Pandora Internet Radio today. My students have been raving about the music they are hearing on Pandora and they have been urging me to plug back in. So I did 😉

I was an early adopter of Pandora’s Music Genome Project. I listened for awhile, periodically, but never steady. There are many music inputs I tune into, Sirius Satellite Radio, iTunes, Zune, Rolling Stone magazine, Jazz Times magazien and my CD collection. These inputs are my centricity and actively drive my ever-evolving music listening habits.

I am favorably impressed with the user experience revisions they have made to their Web site.   I am enjoying the interaction levels with My Profile.  I upgraded to an annual membership at $36 a year. Its worth one thin dime a day to be Ad free and support what Pandora is doing. I know they have secured funding  from Crosslink to the tune of $33 million but each subscriber helps to pay the freight.

Pandora continue to wow and educate me as a music listener.  Tim Westergren I am so proud that you persevered when many people were counting you and your business model out.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is ever-expanding his musical capabilities with rich textures gathered from across the world stage. Taj ranges with natural motion from the blues, through calypso, diving into reggae and swaying us  like palm trees with island music.

It has been 37 years since I last saw Taj Mahal perform live at The Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Ct on October 30, 1974.  I spent quality time with Taj Mahal that evening as I interviewed him for a local music magazine. He played a National Steel Guitar underneath the interview as we talked in his dressing room. Sitting right outside his dressing room that night was James Cotton who joined Taj Mahal  softly on his harp. That is one of my fondest backstage moments when two pivotal blues musicians broke out in improvisational song as background accompaniment in my presence.

I also saw Taj Mahal open for the Mahavishnu Orchestra at Staples High School in Westport, Ct. 1973. Taj Mahal had Howard Johnson on Tuba with him that evening and Taj’s set was reminiscent of The Real Thing recorded live at The Fillmore East in 1971.

My lovely wife Rosemary purchased tickets to see Taj Mahal and Los Lobos live at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Ct. on Saturday February 19th. My modus operandi before I attend a concert is to immerse myself in that artist’s music and read as much as  I can about them and their art. I enjoy researching the artist’s Web pages, catching up on what has been written and learned about the artist. Its going to be both fun and a challenge assimilating Taj Mahal’s 40+ year legacy in the next 10 days 😉 Thankfully I have Zune to help me do that 😉

When I attended the University of New Haven(1972-1974) I took a music course that covered the blues extensively. I chose to write my term paper that semester about Taj Mahal. Having established a nice working relationship with Ed NaHa at Columbia Records in New York City, I availed myself of CBS Record’s research department utilizing press release and extensive artist background information files. Ed was a tremendous help to me in 1973 and 1974 when I needed background information on Mahavisnhu John McLaughlin and Taj Mahal. Ed made me feel right at home at the Big Black Rock as CBS was known as in those days. He understood it was my desire as a student majoring in business and minoring in music that I wanted to work for CBS Music when I graduated. That dream never did materialize for me but I always stayed in direct touch with music as best I could over the years.

So today’s WordPress post is dedicated to old friends and the ever unfolding music of Mr. Taj Mahal. 🙂

Taj Mahal’s latest recording is Maestro, give it a listen soon 😉

 

Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart Together Again

In the summer of 1969, July 3rd to be precise, I saw my first rock concert at the age of 17. We scored tickets to see, Soft White Underbelly (who would become Blue Oyster Cult), Jethro Tull and The Jeff Beck Group at The Fillmore East in the East Village section of New York City.

It was the first and only time I ever attended a rock concert at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East. It’s a fantastic memory in the annals of my 42 years of attending concerts.

The concert was held on the eve of the Newport Jazz Festival going Rock. Jethro Tull and The Jeff Beck Group were scheduled to change jazz festival history by being on that lineup in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Jeff Beck Group headlined The Fillmore East concert. I recall vividly 42 years ago watching Jeff Beck guitar slinging against the Lights by Pablo light show extravaganza. Rod Stewart was the vocalist extraordinaire. He was the dandy with a long scarf that he threw about his neck as he strutted the stage like a peacock.

The Jeff Beck Group that night also featured Ron Wood on bass guitar, Nicky Hopkins on piano and Tony Newman on drums. They tore the roof off The Fillmore East venue that night. Here is a vintage YouTube  video from that evening.

The concert left a lasting impression on my psyche.  I recall that on the way to the subway station we stopped at The Gramophone Record Store and I bought The Jeff Beck Group album Beck-Ola. I wore the needle down on my hi-fi system playing that record that summer.


The Jeff Beck Group broke up the following month just before Woodstock which they were scheduled to play.

A lot can happen in 42 years. Jeff Beck had a fantastic 2nd comeback year in 2010 with his recording, Emotion & Commotion which is nominated for five Grammy awards to be announced on Sunday, February 13th. Rod Stewart has being having great success with his Great American Songbook recordings. Ron Wood is the bassist for The Rolling Stones and a highly successful painter in his own right.

I was elated to learn that Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart decided over dinner in late December of 2010 to reunite and record an album together. To pick right up where they left off 42 years ago. Never say never in this life. 😉 For more specifics about this future collaboration please refer to the February 1st Rolling Stone Magazine article, Exclusive: Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck Getting Closer to Recording Together Again.

As it stands now Jeff Beck has sent Rod Stewart some tapes of the new album and Rod Stewart is adding the vocals. Should be real sweet when this recording is complete later this year.

This YouTube video will give you a taste for Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart live. Rod Stewart made a surprise appearance at Jeff Beck’s 2009 concert in Los Angeles at the El Ray, watch Jeff Beck’s reaction 🙂

The Light at the Edge of the World Through Three Unique Lens

I visualize the light at the edge of the world through three unique lens. Light defines our greater purpose as we travel ever towards it.

Sunset Over Water - Belize City, Belize
Copyright Brian Lewis

 

The first unique lens reveals rich textures of sound swirling in depths of dimensionality. The origin of the light at the edge of the world is an exquisite, ethereal instrumental written and composed by jazz saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders. Santana put me on to this jazz composition when it was included on the Hymns for Peace DVD filmed at Montreux Jazz Festival in 2004.

The video clip features Salvador Santana on piano ably leading an eclectic quartet that features Ravi Coltrane on tenor sax, Benny Rietveld on bass and Dennis Chambers on the drums. Once you connect with this instrumental you will embark upon a special journey.

While the first lens is still open I share a complimentary video of a hoped for documentary about Pharaoh Sanders.

The second lens opens wider to introduce us to worldwide indigenous cultures that have been reported studied, photographed, filmed and documented by the provocative mind of anthropologist, ethnobotanist, Wade Davis.

“The measure of a society is not only what it does, but the quality of its aspirations. – Wade Davis”

Wade Davis authored a book The Light At The Edge Of the World, A Journey Through The Realm of Vanishing Cultures. I happen to own and treasure this book. Again a direct influence from Santana, from the bookshelf of Carlos Santana.

Wade Davis produced, wrote, and hosted Light at the Edge of the World, a four-hour ethnographic documentary series shot in Rapanui, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Nunavut, Greenland, Nepal, and Peru.

Wade Davis is someone you want to listen to speak as well as read his books, study his photographs. You will gain such an appreciation for the preservation of societies, languages, cultures when you listen to his passionate articulations.

Here is Wade Davis talk from TED Ideas Worth Spreading, be ready to deeply educated. altered and changed when you open your mind and heart to indigenous cultures and how we are all one.

The third lens opens to a 1971 movie entitled The Light At The Edge of the World, starring Kirk Douglas, Yul Brynner and Samantha Eggar. The movie is based on the adventure work by Jules Verne 1905, The Lighthouse at the End of the World.

I’ll leave the connecting of the dots to these three unique lens about The Light At The Edge of the World to your discretion. Feel free to leave a comment about this blog post and let us know what you see the dots connecting to and why 😉

Instant Karma Released 41 Years Ago Today

Instant Karma!
Image via Wikipedia

I subscribe to the Moonalice legend on Facebook and today’s posting caught my eye.

According to Moonalice legend, John Lennon released the classic “Instant Karma” in the UK 41 years ago today. It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history, recorded the same day it was written, and arriving in stores only 10 days later. John remarked to the press, he “wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner.”

We would call that a viral music release in today’s world of the Web. When  I hear or read about “Instant Karma”  I always associate with my first college radio station show on WNHU-FM 88.7 in West Haven, Ct. It was 1973 and I was attending The University of New Haven, where I majored in business and minored in music. My goal when I graduated Brien McMahon High School in 1969 was to be a radio personality. I went right from high school to Career Academy Broadcasting School in New York City.  I commuted on the New Haven Railroad from Norwalk, Ct. to Grand Central Terminal for four months. It was an exciting time in my life moving through the hustle and bustle to my school at 8 West 40th Street, which overlooked the New York Public Library and Bryant Park.

I was an inaugural year afternoon FM disk jockey on WNHU-FM. My radio show was entitled, “Instant Karma”. I would begin my Tuesday/Thursday 2-5 p.m. show with the 45 r.p.m. Apple Records single by John Lennon.

That was against the grain of the radio programming I had been taught because “Instant Karma” was a rock and roll vocal.  You were supposed to use an instrumental to begin and end a radio show. I am a non-conformist what can I say 😉

“Instant Karma” by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band never gets tired or old.

We all shine on, Love You John and Yoko

Peace,

Ed