It was 35 years ago when Bob Dylan confounded his fan base once again with his Born Again period from 1979. Dylan played music exclusively from his Slow Train Coming and Saved albums, nothing from the back catalog. The Gospel Tour shows opened with vocalist Regina Havis delivering a monologue on Christian faith. She was then joined on stage by vocalist Helena Springs, pianist Terry Young, and his wife Mona Lisa Young who performed a half-dozen gospel songs, such as “If I Got My Ticket Lord”, “It’s Gonna Rain”, “Do Lord, Remember Me”, “Look Up And Live By Faith”, and “Oh Freedom”.
The backing band might have been one of Dylan’s finest Spooner Oldham (Rock Hall inductee and Muscle Shoals studio wiz), Terry Young (keyboards, vocals), Fred Tackett (Little Feat member), Tim Drummond (bass), Jim Keltner (drums). As you might imagine in the pre-internet era, many in the audience didn’t see this coming and walked out.
The playing is amazing and I find this era in Dylan’s life fascinating so let’s set the way back machine for November 18, 1979 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Click on the photo to get to the music.
Dylan on Saturday Night Live October 18, 1979. This is “Gotta Serve Somebody” The solo Fred Tackett plays is esquisite
“When You Gonna Wake Up”. Love the Hammond organ from Terry Young on this one
Sinead O’Connor’s version is still my favorite but this is a great version of “I Believe In You”
For those of you that have yet to visit the refurbished Ace Hotel in Downtown LA, now is a great opportunity. Playing at this intimate theatre on Thursday is Irish singer songwriter James Vincent McMorrow. His second album, Post Tropical came out earlier this year and his haunting songs come to life in a concert setting.
Saturday, The Head and The Heart with Nashville’s Los Colognes, come to the Ace. You know THATH from their song, “Lost In My Mind” and their new album Let’s Be Still is just as worthy of your attention. Make sure to grab a drink on The Mezzanine before the show and enjoy!
Band Aid 30 Artist lineup 2014
Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure are at it again by creating Band Aid 30 to raise money to fight the spread of Ebola and to care for its victims. They’ve assembled quite a nice lineup of artists although no appearnace from Adele and thankfully Bono has a different line then the cringing “Thank God it’s them instead of you” line. Like all sequels, this is not better than its predecessor (but better than Band Aid 20). If you would like to donate please click on this link. There’s no need to be afraid. Here are the four Band Aids in descending order.
Band Aid 30 (2014)
Band Aid 20 (2004)
Band Aid II (1989)
Band Aid (1984)
Band Aid artists 1984
This is the last week of the year in which there is actually some new music. Next week, it’s all greatest hits, reissues, live performances and holiday music.
Seeds is the new album from TV On The Radio and the first one since the death of bassist Gerard Smith who died of lung cancer in 2011 days after their last album was released. It’s hard not to think of Gerard when listening to the album. Normally you would listen to their first single “Happy Idiot” and think it’s a song about an ex-love. But it’s easy to think of Gerard when you hear these lyrics.
Since you left me babe
It’s been a long way down
Yea you left me babe
It’s been a long way down
What you don’t know won’t hurt you yea
Ignorance is bliss
I’m a happy idiot
Then you’ve got this video with Paul Reubens aka Pee-Wee Herman and you forget about the lyrics and just enjoy the ride.
I’m not sure that at this point we need to stop and reflect on the brilliance of Paul McCartney. his legend is beyond secure. But lo and behold, out comes The Art Of Paul McCartney a double CD of Paul’s music done by peers and artists influenced by Sir Paul and you got yourself quite a selection of decent material.
My favorite is “Hello, Goodbye” by The Cure. I’ve never seen so much joy on Robert Smith’s face. Paul’s son, James plays keyboards on this track.
Billy Joel does “Maybe I’m Amazed” and you start to think it was this song from 1970 that made Joel realize he could be an actual pop star.
You can also hear Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Allen Toussaint and The Airborne Toxic Event among many others and you will be amazed yet again at the breadth of this music catalog.
Last week at a show I was reminded of how much fun music can be for the players as well as the audience when I got to witness Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford play a one-off performance.
The concept is simply enough, you take a notebook of Bob Dylan’s late 60s lyrics and set them to music. The key ingredient is to have put T-Bone Burnett in charge. He recruited this group of musicians that could rise to the challenge of creating a proper framework for the lyrics. The result is the album Lost On The River: The new Basement Tapes.
And just like T-Bone did with the movies O Brother Where Art Thou and Inside Llewyn Davis he was able to get the musicians together for at least one performance to play in front of an audience and then most likely a TV broadcast as I’m sure this was filmed to be shown later.
Jim James let everyone know they didn’t know about this show “until a day and a half ago” and I think that helped keep the music fun and loose. Without worrying about production values or trying to connect with a big audience with exaggerated movements or elaborate costumes they just like the music speak for itself.
The highlight of the show was the back to back playing of Giddens’ smoldering “Hidee Hidee, Ho” compared to James’ old-timey arrangement.
Jim James version of “Hidee Hidee Ho”
Another great highlight is Taylor Goldsmith taking all the players off mic to create this version of “Card Shark” It was a truly memorable night!
Amazon has their monthly Artists To Watch list and it’s a good one including one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums this year from Alvvays. If you love First Aid Kit but need more beats, check out Haerts and if you love Pink Floyd mixed in with Todd Rundgren check out Foxygen. Click on the photo to get to all the music. Enjoy!
One of the best reasons to live in Los Angeles is the existence of Largo. Comedy, music, interviews and podcasts, you can always find a good time at the club. Never does it become more apparent how great their lineups are is when it gets closer to the holidays.
The “Ho, Ho Ho” starts next week with Canadian Jane Siberry “Holiday Hoes & Hosers. And yes, I am starting to post Christmas music.
You may have already missed out on the sold out three nights of Aimee Man and Ted Leo’s “Return Of Aimee Mann Christmas” but you can still get tickets for Fred Willard’s “Santa-thon 2014” Harry Shearer and Judith Owen’s “Christmas Without Tears (AKA Does This Tree Make Me Look Fat)“.
I just read today that the spot where Tower Records on Sunset used to stand will now become a showcase for Gibson Instruments. I’m actually happy that the city of West Hollywood is respecting the hallowed ground and history of the location. I’m hoping Gibson will do it right by promoting new music with showcases and also its future by introducing the new generations to the joy of playing a musical instrument.
Here are a few things to make you nostalgic for this bygone era.
Here’s John Lennon from 1974 on radio station KHJ talking up Tower Records
Here’s Elton John shopping at Tower in 1975.
An in-store from Fiona Apple in 2005. Tower would close a year later.
Here’s a unique look at Tower Records. Man, I miss those records prices.
I like Dave Grohl. I imagine he’d be a great guy to hang out with and swap stories over beers. His eight-part documentary Sonic Highways is fascinating for both the music fanatic and the casual fan. He really hits all the right notes paying homage to the punk rock/country heroes of years gone by. The problem may be his band Foo Fighters. They put on a dynamic live show but their studio input has been good when you really, really want it to be great. They’re a singles band posing as a deep tracks band, although I will admit each single over their twenty year career is extremely memorable. They continue their amazing run of singles with “Something From Nothing”.
My problem with the band for this album is their concept of going to a new city for each song and absorbing their influences,. Yet save for a few lyrical nods to the city, the music sounds the same. The visited Nashville and there’s no country influence, they visit Austin and remark about this amazing piano from Austin City Limits and then record a song without using it. It’s always guitar, bass and drums. Which I love but it never rises to great heights.
I like Garth Brooks. I imagine he’d be a great guy to hang out with and swap stores over beers….you get the idea. Garth is also a dynamic performer and he returns after a self-imposed 14 year hiatus to give us a new album called “Man Against Machine”. It probably won’t see a million copies in its opening week, but don’t put it past Garth to make it happen. I do expect that when all is said and done this record will probably compete for best selling album with Taylor Swift. He certainly knows how to sell his music, just listen to the commentaries for each of his songs.
Yes, Taylor Swift sold 1.287 million albums last week. Prior to this album not one artist had accumulated one million sales in total this year.
The amazing thing about this album is that everyone knows it exists from grandparents to adolescents. Of course a 15 year old girl is going to probably know the lyrics to every song already but ask a 50 year old man and he will probably know the “Shake It Off” move as evidenced by the Commander In Chief
Ask the 50-year-old man about the new Bob Seger record and you’ll get a puzzled look on his face. He may know that U2’s new record is in his iTunes account but ask him to name the album and you’ll get that same blank stare.
Part of her universal appeal is that she started in Country music before jumping ship into the Pop world and country is still trying to deal with it.
Taylor’s album has reached critical mass, it’s infected the entire nation and it’s making us nauseous because we may secretly like it.
And even if you do hate her, you still know about the music and that’s great for the music industry because we haven’t had this type of phenomenon since Adele and the only artist to be this divisive among all age groups is Miley Cyrus.
And with great power comes great responsibility (and right now what she says carries more weight than Bono’s opinions) Her newly formed war on streaming services by pulling her music from them is going to get people talking for a while. This should be interesting on how it plays out.
So love her or hate her she’s here to stay. Enjoy the ride. You love the game.
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Tagged as: Taylor Swift