Keep Christ in Christmas

keep

Advertisements

He was lost, and is found.

Christmas is a special time  when we receive blessings from the angels that are all around us. A beautiful reunion story of brotherhood, compassion and support comes to us from Oakland, California.

Brotherhood

Thanks to the efforts of San Francisco news reporter Stanley Roberts, who came across Marcus Malone earlier this month while reporting on illegal dumpsites for his segment ‘People Behaving Badly’ for the station KRON4.

Marcus Malone, original conguero of The Santana Blues Band from 1967 to 1969 has been living in desolation in Oakland. He has been making do with a parked trailer and harvesting the streets. The vagrant revealed to Stanley Roberts that he was a composer and part-time landscaper who used to play with Carlos Santana’s original band.

Stanley Roberts investigated what he was told and he learned Marcus Malone was indeed telling the truth. He got in touch with Santana Management and arranged for a reunion between Marcus Malone and Carlos Santana.

The parable of the Prodigal Son comes full circle.

“But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.” – Luke 15:32

The reconnection of Marcus Malone with Carlos Santana takes on a special tone in the music of our heart. It turns out that Gregg Rolie has written a song “The Magnificent Marcus Malone”. Carlos Santana has a vision of Marcus Malone getting back in touch with his musical self by making arrangements for Marcus to get an apartment, play some LP congas he will be giving him soon and to have Marcus Malone join Gregg and Carlos on the Santana IV reunion track Gregg has written. I think that is so outasight!

I love the video sequence where Carlos turns Marcus’s hand over and rubs his palm to determine how able Marcus will be to play again. That was one beautiful expression as was the picture Marcus kept in his trailer of the Santana Blues Band that Carlos and he reminisced about.

Marcus Malone co-wrote “Soul Sacrifice” which is a fiery song for Santana all these many years. You can hear Marcus Malone perform  on Santana, Live At The Fillmore 1968.

  • Carlos Santana – Guitar, Vocals
  • Gregg Rolie – Organ, Piano, Vocals
  • David Brown – Bass
  • Bob Livingston – Drums
  • Marcus Malone – Congas

Santana Blues Band

I love where this story is going. Thank you Stanley Roberts and Carlos Santana for redeeming Marcus Malone from the streets. There will be more to follow I am sure 🙂

Midlake – Antiphon

Music is about discovery, taking risks. Yet not everything clicks with the listener. But when it does an inner magic begins to ensue.  I have found that elixir trail in Midlake. Their new album, Antiphon is both vibrant and intoxicating.

Midlake is an American rock band from Denton, Texas, formed in 1999. The band consists of Eric Pulido, McKenzie Smith, Paul Alexander, Eric Nichelson, Jesse Chandler and Joey McClellan.

Explore them with me, should you like 😉

Interstellar Overdrive – The Shindig! Guide to Spacerock

I was leaving through Issue No. 36 of Shindig! when I happened upon a forthcoming special edition magazine from Shindig!, The Shindig! Guide To Spacerock, Interstellar Overdrive. It’s due to be published on January 16, 2014.

This special edition of Shindig! explores spacerock’s peculiar mix of heavy riffs and electronics through the age of the space race, the resulting sci-fi explosion and the mind-expanding influences of the acid-fried ‘60s and beyond.

The magazine reawakened a deep passing interest I once had with an early 1960’s magazine, Spacemen from Warren Publishing. I treasured that magazine as a boy growing up.  There were only eight issues ever published and it is a rare magazine collectible today.

Needless to say I’ll be placing a preorder for this Shindig! special edition magazine. The question becomes will it be the iBook from iTunes or the real magazine.  Or better yet I may order both (who knows this could be a future collectible like Spacemen 😉 As soon as I decide I’ll let you know in the comments section below.

Until the publication date I plan to stay plugged in via their Facebook Page and Blog.

C’mon, c’mon, c’mon let’s go Space Truckin

I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake

Certain songs say Christmas to the music of our heart. “I Believe in Father Christmas” is one of those songs. The song is accented by the fine guitar playing and stellar voice of Greg Lake.

Recently Greg Lake was asked in Facebook, What inspired you to write this song and what did it mean to you back when you wrote it? and What does it mean to you today and what do you want people to come away with from hearing this song?

Here is his response:

“I Believe in Father Christmas” was written by myself together with Pete Sinfield. It started out with this little guitar riff which I had buzzing round in my head for weeks but no matter how I tried I just couldn’t seem to develop it into a song. It actually started to drive me crazy and one day I found myself humming the tune to Jingle Bells over the riff. This is the sort if thing that happens to writers when they get a few steps away from total insanity.

Anyway I told Pete about hearing this melody in my head and he said maybe it could be a Christmas song. I really don’t like most of those good time Christmas party songs but after a while I began to reflect on what Christmas really meant to me as a kid and how this had somehow got lost in the commercial feeding frenzy that has taken priority in more recent years.

Pete and I started to think about this and after a while we began to identify the core belief that children have about Christmas that really encapsulates the magic and benevolent spirit of Christmas.

Basically it was the belief that all children have in Father Christmas and in a more general sense about how the story of the nativity represents the concept of peace on earth good will to all men.

I honestly can’t remember whether it was Pete or myself who came out with the actual line but it was something we pretty much realised simultaneously. It was the magic key which unlocked the door to the song. I Believe in Father Christmas.

Merry Christmas to Everyone. Greg.

I found this beautiful collaboration filmed live in 2006 at St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, in the City of London. Greg Lake performs his 1975 classic “I Believe in Father Christmas” with Jethro Tull’ s Ian Anderson on flute, David Arch on keyboards, Florian Opahle on acoustic guitar and the church choir.

“Take Me Out Into The Light” – Celebrating Lou Reed

The life of Lou Reed, New York City poet, singer and songwriter was celebrated with a memorial in Harlem at the historic  Apollo Theatre on Monday night (12/16).

The show honoring the Velvet Underground frontman was organized by Reed’s management, and his widow Laurie Anderson.

The memorial took place 50 days after Lou Reed’s death on Oct. 27, Laurie Anderson explained, at the end of the 49 days of what Tibetan Buddhists call the bardo, a transitional state after death.

The memorial gave witness to some of Lou’s notable friends/collaborators singing the songs of the Velvet Underground and his solo career plus reading or performing tributes to him, including Patti Smith and her bandmate Lenny KayeAntony HegartyDebbie Harry(of Blondie), Paul SimonJohn ZornPhilip Glass, former Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker, and others.

Maureen Tucker read a message from John Cale the keyboardist and violist that said, “Regardless of our differences, we never really drifted too far from what initially brought us together. I guess that’s what real friendship is, and I miss my friend.”

Patti Smith chose “Perfect Day” for what she called “Lou’s most poignant lyric”: “You made me forget myself/I thought I was someone else, someone good.”

Laurie  Anderson noted that her husband wrote songs in single bursts. “He would wake up in the middle of the night and just write the song down and it was complete,” she said. “He never changed a word. He thought, ‘First thought, best thought.’

“There was never a single doubt that we loved each other beyond anything else, from the time when we first met until the moment he died,” Laurie Anderson said.  “Almost every day we said ‘you are the love of my life,’ or some version of that in one of our many private, and somewhat bizarre languages. We knew exactly what we had, and we were beyond grateful.”

(Pictures courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan and the Lou Reed Website.)

Baroque Pop

Cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Clu...
Cover via Amazon

Baroque pop is a form of music that conflates rock ‘n roll with classical. Two of the most popular baroque pop albums in recording history are 1966’s Pet Sounds and 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Many believe that the sound was pioneered by The Zombies with the release of their first single, “She’s Not There”, in 1964.

I love the baroque sound The Rolling Stones forged on the tracks, “Ruby Tuesday“, “Lady Jane“, “Play With Fire” and “As Tears Go By“.

The Beatles created a wonderful baroque classic in  “Eleanor Rigby“.

Another one of my favorite baroque pop recordings is “Everyone” by Van Morrison from the classic Moondance album.

What is your favorite baroque pop song? Perhaps you could share that with the readership as a comment to this post. 🙂