VA- Round Up

Yesterday marked the passing of a legend of Pop/Country music, Glen Campbell.  Campbell had been suffering from Alzheimer’s since 2011 and finally succumbed to the disease at age 81.

Obit from New York Times

Obit from Rolling Stone

An interesting perspective from Collaborator Jim Webb

 

Campbell, born outside of Little Rock, Ark, in 193, picked up guitar at age 4 and was performing on radio by age 6.  He really cut his teeth in Los Angeles as a session musician and , what I find fascinating, he never learned to read music.  Despite this, his natural ability led him to become a member of “The Wrecking Crew” and by his count, appear on 586 recordings in 1963 alone.  His session work with the Beach Boys landed him a spot with the band when Brian Wilson stepped back from touring.

And finally, after putting out albums under his own name in the early 60’s, found success in 1967 with his version of “Gentle On My Mind”.  Of course bigger hits followed including a massively successful run of Jim Webb tunes which led to massive fame, tv shows, movies, record sales, marriages, divorces, alcoholism, drug addiction, recovery, and redemption. You know, the whole cycle.

How much appeal did Campbell have?  Well reading outside the attached articles, two things.  First, the massive amount of his records I see when I shop for used records.  This means that he sold a lot of albums. Second, the high number of appearances on country compilation albums, this being one of them (personally, I am not a great fan of country-pop, hence I do not have any of his albums.).  I had about 10 compilations to choose from with Campbell on them.

This collection, released by Capitol Records in 1969, features Campbell along with Bobbie Gentry, Al Martino, The Letterman, and Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Th e album features two songs from Campbell as well as one duet with Gentry from the album I featured on thus blog two years ago (for the record, it is “Little Green Apples” which I feel ranks among the worst songs ever written).  As further proof as Campbell’s legacy, the album features two songs of Webb’s, popularized by Campbell, “By the Time I get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman”.  This was $1.  I probably bought it for Gentry’s cover of “Son of a Preacherman”, which is somewhat decent. Anyway, from this album, here is Campbell with Rod McKuen’s “The World I Used To Know”.

Rest In Peace Mr Campbell.

The J Geils Band- Hotline

  1. Guitarist J Geils, the name sake of the J Geils Band was found dead yesterday at age 71 in Groton Mass, most likely of natural causes. I believe I paid a dollar for this.

Born in New York in 1946, he formed the band in the late 60’s while attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  The band had a good following in the 1970’s as a touring band.

Obit on CNN

Obit on Variety

Obit on Billboard

 

The band’s biggest hit (and 1980s’ staple), “Centerfold” brought them the commercial success which proved a bit elusive in the prior decade.  Most people assumed J Geils was the singer.  He was not.  That was Peter Wolf.

This album was the band’s 7th studio effort, released in 1975. This was another DJ promotion copy, stamped with not for sale, yet here it is purchased on the secondary market. Decent record.  Kind of rock, rhythm and blues.  Side two really has more of the guitar work, but regardless, this album definitely showcased the band and stood out from the other music of the decade.

In tribute to J Geils, here is with “Mean Love” with a blistering guitar solo.

RIP J Geils

 

The Alexandrov Ensemble AKA The Red Army Choir

Yesterday, on Christmas, a Russian military aircraft crashed into the Black Sea, killing all 92 people on board.  Among the passengers were 68 members of the famed Alexandrov Ensemble, formerly known as the Red Army Choir.  Authorities are still working out the details of the crash but this is very bad for Russia and its arts.

Story from CNN

Story from USA Today

Story from The New York TImes

The Ensemble has been a favorite of mine.  I have posted two of their albums in the past.  Below are links to those posts

First Red Army post

Second Red Army post

The Ensemble will no doubt rebuild and continue but it is a sad day indeed for the storied group and music in general.  Our thoughts and prayers go to their loved ones at this time.

OBIT- Greg Lake

Greg Lake, singer and bassist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer died today.  He was 69.  He was battling cancer for some time.

Obit from BBC

Obit from Rolling Stone

Obit from NPR

Besides his work with ELP, he was also known for his work with King Crimson.  He was a giant in the world of progressive rock.   He was also paid tribute to by Homer Simpson.

If it were not for the fact that I am totally spread thin and need to be in three places at once, I might have spent a bit more time on this post.  But this is not the case and I need to make this brief.  Here is an excerpt from the Pictures from an Exhibition album I posted earlier this year.  From that effort, here is two pieces i did not post. You can search for in on this site for more information.

RIP Greg Lake

Leon and Mary Russell- The Wedding Album

wedding_album_leon_and_mary_russell_album_coverTwo big names in music died over the weekend.  Friday, we lost Leonard Cohen and Sunday, we lost Leon Russell.  I have no Cohen albums.  I thought about posting somebody doing a version of his work, but changed my mine.  I do however, have something for Russell.leon_russell_1970

Obit from the New York Times

Obit from the Telegraph

Obit from Reuters

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I knew Russell from an eight track my dad had (maybe cassette, hard to remember for sure).  It was a duo album with Willie Nelson.  Pretty good stuff.  I reviewed it below.

Link to Prior Post

Russell LP 2
Russell LP 2

This sample comes from  an album he did with his wife at the time, Mary McCreary, aptly called The Wedding Album.  It was released in 1976. Here is “Satisfy You”.  Good album overall.

Musician Leon Russell poses for a portrait in New York June 15, 2011.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

RIP Leon Russell

Bobby Vee- Meets The Crickets

mi0003983020Bobby Vee died today at age 73 from complications from Alzheimer’s.  He had been suffering from the disease for some time.  bobbyveepromo5

Obit from the BBC

Obit from the St Cloud Times

Obit from People

Born in Fargo, North Dakota, Vee had 38 singles in the Top 100, 10 of which made the top 20.  His bigger hits include “Take Care Of My Baby”,  “The Night Has 1,000 Eyes”,and “Rubber Ball” which was posted earlier this month by Jimmy Osmond.  He also toured with a young Bob Dylan, before Dylan got famous.  As a result, Dylan regarded Vee pretty highly, both personally and professionally.

For a tribute sample, I pulled this record I got somewhere for free by Vee and The Crickets, Buddy Holly’s old band.  It is quite fitting as Vee’s career took off after the death of Holly.1391484206000-bobby-vee_1161699_ver1-0

Vee was part of a hastily assembled band, The Shadows, put together to play the show in which Holly was supposed to play the night after his crash.  This performance would start the chain of events that made Vee a star.  dscn5596

The record itself is very good.  Released in 1963, it is a collection of popular rock and roll song of the time with songs from Holly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley among others.  Here in tribute is “Well… Allright”, a Holly song that was also covered by Blind Faith.67845578aacb33b311b00ede68594cad5089474c

R.I.P. Bobby Vee

 

Jean Shepard and Various Artists- Blue Ribbon Country

dscn5452Country music pioneer and Grand Ole Opry mainstay Jean Shepard past away today of Parkinson’s disease. She was 82.

Obit from the Tennessean

Obit from Billboard

Obit from Rolling Stone

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Born in 1933 in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma, Shepard was raised near Bakersfield, playing in an all female band when she was discovered by Hank Thompson.  She signed to Capitol Records in 1952 and joined the Opry in 1955.

A true pioneer of country music, as well as one of the influential female singers behind Kitty Wells, she released 24 records and 73 singles to the Hot Country Charts during her career.  When she retired from the Opry last year, she was the first female member with six decades of service in the institution.

A note of interest, she married Hawkshaw Hawkins in 1960.  Hawkins would die three years later in the plane crash that killed Patsy Cline.4c4fe113d60b3346fae1b071543f0388

This record was purchased for one dollar.  It was a double record that for some reason, followed a logical side/record allotment (i.e. side 1/2 on one record and 3/4 on the other).  It was a sampler of the big country hits of the time from the Capitol label.dscn5453

It includes such stars as Glen Campbell, Sonny James, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Bonnie Owens, Bobbie Gentry, Tex Ritter, Wynn Stewart, and Ferlin Husky.  It also featured rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson.  Many hits songs are contained here including ” Ode to Billy Joe”, “A World of Our Own”, “By The Time I Get to Phoenix”, and “Gentle On My Mind”.  Overall, it is a good pick for $1.dscn5454

Here from that record is Shepard with her 1967 resurgence hit, “Heart We Did All That We Could”.  Note the light fuzz on the track.jean-shepard

RIP Jean Shepard

Prince Buster- The Ten Commandments 7″

busterThe world of music lost one of its giants this week with the death of Prince Buster, the King of Ska.  He died in Miami of complications from a series of strokes.  He was 78.

Obit from the Guardian

Obit from the BBC

Obit from the AV Club

pb-png_1718483346Born Cecil Bustamente Campbell in Kingston Jamaica, Prince Buster was influential in the sound system world of Jamaican music.  He pioneered ska and rocksteady in the 1960’s.  Moreover, without him, there would be no UK ska revival of the late seventies.  Madness took their name from one of his songs and the Specials liberally borrowed from him.  Both bands also covered his songs extensively.

I had this 7″ of his in my collection so I am posting it in honor of his passing.  From 1967, here is Prince Buster’s “The Ten Commandments”. The B-side of this was “Don’t Make Me To Cry”.princebuster1

RIP Prince Buster

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem- I’m A Free Born Man

DSCN4310Today is the 100th anniversary of the start of the Easter Rebellion in Ireland, when a rag tag group of volunteers hung the Irish flag over the GPO in Dublin.  The rebellion was short lived and its leaders were executed but it started the flame that led to the province becoming a nation once again._88900005_hi011968262

Wiki Page

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A page on the Rebellion

Some Irish rebels lying in wait on a roof getting ready to fire during the Easter Rising. Ireland, 1916 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Another Page

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Yet Another Page ( I am lazy on Sunday’s)

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An interesting article marking the peaceful observance of the event

I was going to play this album last month during St Paddy’s Day but decided to hold off until today.  Here is the Clancy Brothers with a Medley to commemorate what was at the time the 50th anniversary of the uprising.  It includes “The Foggy Dew”, O’Casey’s “Drums Under The Windows” and Yeats’ “Easter 1916”.  I have heard better medleys on this from the Clancy’s but this will have to do.

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I planned to do a better post for this but it is Sunday and I am lazy today.

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Merle Haggard- The Best of the Best

DSCN4320Well, 2016 is turning out to be a horrible year for losing musicians.  Country legend Merle Haggard passed away today on his 79th birthday.Merle_3New York Times Obit

Guardian Obit

Chicago Sun Times Obit

With 38 #1 hits, Haggard was a legend.  He helped define the Bakersfield sound at a time when all country music came from Nashville.  He also helped popularize the Outlaw Country movement.  Haggard, himself a small time criminal before his recording days, was influenced by Johnny Cash’s visit to San Quentin in 1958.  Haggard was a guest of the institution at this time. haggard-merle-001

Haggard, who died of pneumonia, had been making plans to tour with Willie Nelson .  The two had recorded an album in the last year.Willie-Nelson-and-Merle-Haggard-are-Teaming-Up-FDRMX

DSCN4323I got this early “Best of” compilation for a dollar.  This was and probably still is on the jukebox at Big Star Bar as well as many others.  In tribute to Haggard, here is my favorite song of his, which is somewhat biographical regarding his time in the pokey, “Mama Tried”.imagesddd

RIP, Merle Haggard, one of the last of the true country legends.

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