Music Night, January 30 2015

Honestly, this song was officially an “oldie” even in my day but it’s a doo wop classic and still makes me smile. I love the fact that the Penguins can still pull off the vocals after all these decades. And they still look sharp.

Music Night, January 16, 2015

My friends and I made a desperate attempt to get into Fillmore West for the last weekend Janis Joplin would perform with Big Brother and the Holding Company but, to no one’s surprise, it had sold out. (We were forced to trip at the Avalon Ballroom for a performance by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, then with Mick Taylor. Not Janis but still fantastic.)

Music Night, January 2, 2015

I hated hearing about Joe Cocker’s death last month, just hated it. I’ve been in love with Cocker since 1969. Thanks to YouTube there is a ton of material available online but this remains one of my favorites, because Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Leon Russell, and 1970 and because The Letter was a great hit song. For years I thought Alex Chilson wrote it but it turns out it was written by Wayne Carson, a country music musician and songwriter. Of course I also thought the Box Tops were a Black group… Cocker’s genius was his ability to reinterpret really really good music, to own it, but to be true to the original. Paul and John reputedly loved his treatment of their songs, and I’m guessing George Harrison did as well.

Music Night, December 19, 2014

I was a huge fan of The Blues Project in the late 60s although I didn’t get to see them live until their reunion tour in the early 80s. For the most part they hadn’t lost their chops or their voices by then so it was pretty satisfying. This is an excellent video from their performance at Monterey Pop in 1967 displaying their improvisational skills.


Music Night, December 5, 2014

There’s no question in my mind that my father’s love of goofy humor lives on in me (and my son). He would drag me to the radio to listen to The Goon Show and any other zany British comedians and to see the Marx Brothers whenever the opportunity arose. When we lived near NYC this meant being able to go into the city and watch them in a real theater, including one glorious triple bill.

My childhood was often punctuated by his LP of collected songs by Spike Jones and the City Slickers until I could (and probably still can) spout the lyrics and sound effects of every song. When we were living in Oregon in the late 50s, he took me to see them. At a boat show.