The great Ben E. King died last week at age 76. He was one of the lead singers for the Drifters for a short time and then launched his solo career in 1961 with Spanish Harlem and then his signature song Stand By Me. The latter, along with Save the Last Dance for Me are at the top of my personal list of songs that give me a chill every time. Digging through YouTube, I found one video in which King is joined by some of the best voices of our time.
It can be a lot of fun surfing through YouTube, starting out with one intention and following the breadcrumbs to something very different. At any rate, I ran across this video of one of my all-time favorite guitarists, John Cipollina, best known for his work with Quicksilver Messenger. This is from a band he formed with the terrific blues-rock belter Nick Gravenites (think Butterfield, Electric Flag). This cut is almost all Cipollina which is, I think, a rarity. From 1980.
As a young man, I had convinced myself that I had the proper range to sing along with the Everly Brothers. In the car, with no passengers, it worked pretty well. Even I knew better than to attempt this in public, but hearing them on the radio always felt good. There are some interesting videos online with the brothers joined by all manner of amazing musicians but this one captures them in their youth, complete with pompadours.
NPR came through for me yesterday with their Heavy Rotation suggestion, a Canadian duo called Whitehorse and this song. When I got home I didn’t hesitate to buy the whole album. Hope you like it. (Does the opening remind anyone of a classic song used as the title for a story and a film employing this imagery?)
Tonight’s a two-fer because I fear that both of these artists are fading or have faded from the collective consciousness of folk music. Show of hands, who knows about Judy Henske? The video isn’t the greatest quality but it does capture the power coiled up in this slender, demure-looking woman.
But I couldn’t resist including an early Richie Havens take on the same classic folk song. Because, hell, Richie Havens.
The music scene in the late 70s and early 80s was one of my mostest favorite.
When I first started posting Music Night, I used musicians’ birthdays as a theme. Everyone once in awhile I’d pull out a plum and this time it’s Henry Rollins. If you don’t know about Henry Rollins, for shame, and do your due diligence. And look up some very early Black Flag videos; Rollins is unrecognizable compared to today.