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Archive for the ‘Music’ category


Christmas One More Time I(COMT I)

The Hunt For New (Christmas)Music:

For over a decade, I’ve been putting together a Christmas playlist.

The goal is simple: Introduce friends to new Christmas music they probably haven’t heard, or old Christmas music performed in a new version by a new artist. In the spirit of Christmas, it’s time to share these lists, all of them, starting with the very first playlist. There are now 16 lists in total and they will be posted every few days starting on  December 1st. Along the way, we will toss in some Christmas classic videos, with music and videos running all the way up to Christmas day, 2018.

It’s the season for great music–Christmas and otherwise–so spread the spirit of the season by playing and sharing.

no title artist
1 Jingle Bell Jamboree Keb 'Mo
2 Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow Bing Crosby
3 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Dianna Krall
4 Christmas Time is Here Vince Guaraldi
5 Last Christmas Wham
6 I'll Be Home For Christmas  Jimmy Buffett
7  Run Run Rudolph Dwight Yoakum
8 All I Want For Christmas Mariah Carey
9 The Christmas Song Ray Charles
10 Angels Running Cher
11 White Christmas The Drifters
12 Merry Christmas Baby Sheryl Crow & Eric Clapton
13 Layway Love Gloria Estefan
14 What A Wonderful World Keb 'Mo

To make it easy for you to enjoy the Christmas playlists, we have created a unique Spotify embed code. Just click the link

You can enjoy the entire playlist through the courtesy of our friends at Spotify. Just click this link: COMT  I…and you will be able to stream the Christmas playlist via Spotify’s excellent web player. Special note: when you click the link, you will be taken to Spotify’s web player. There, you’ll have a couple of choices: sign in if you currently have a Spotify account; signup for a free Spotify account (you’ll be glad you did) or take advantage of their $.99 special for three months of Spotify premium, which has a few extra features the free version doesn’t have –wider selection and no commercials. Either way, you should check it out if you like music.  Enjoy…and Happy Holidays. Special thanks to DJ Tschugge for compiling the list, along with the team at the Media Bunker. 


Annals of YouTube: Joe Walsh on Setting up a Gibson Les Paul Guitar

The Hunt for New Music:

Who can forget the searing, scorching, call-the-cops guitar solos in “Life in the Fast Lane”, the song written by Joe Walsh, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey, that owes its’ existence to Walsh’s opening guitar solo. So…..it’s a perfect world, it is, and someone–who really, really, likes you–has gifted you with a Gibson Les Paul Guitar and you’d like to get going on it but it needs, you know, to be set up. As before–it’s a perfect world, so here, to show you how to setup your Gibson Les Paul is the right man for the job, Joe Walsh.  This piece turned up in a YouTube search for something totally different but…it’s just too terrific to stay hidden in the search results. Even if you don’t play guitar, you should love it. Joe Walsh is a bit of a rock and roll treasure.

 

The Fine Print, Credit where Credit is Due Department. Published on YouTube.com, initially, on 7 June 2015, by mojoresen74.The video has a Gibson logo in the corner so Gibson may have made this video available or produced it. All rights belong to respective rights holders. We do want to thank everyone involved in this video for making it available. 


The Weekend Concert Series: Aretha Franklin Meets the Blues Brothers

The Hunt for New Music:

A classic that always brings a smile to your face: Aretha Franklin with her great performance of “Think” from “The Blues Brothers” movie. The direction by John Landis is spot-on and very, very, sharp–notice how he doesn’t bring the Blues Brothers into the choreography until late in the video. Absolutely terrific.

 

 

The Fine Print: Video embed provided by our friends at YouTube. Video posted by Juanjo de Goya on May 7th, 2013. The video has not been altered in any way. All rights belong to their respective rights holders. Special thanks to director John Landis who directed the Blues Brothers movie and is one of our very best comedic directors. The Hunt for New Music posts are produced by Perception Engineering and the Media Bunker;  we won’t go into details on the process, but we believe that very loud music, huge flat screens, and other special accessories are involved. 


The Playlist: 4 July 2018

The Hunt for New Music:

Just in time(barely) for the Fourth of July, a special playlist, created by DJ Tschugge on Spotify for your evening’s listening pleasure.

Clink the play button the link to Spotify (above) and you’ve got a soundtrack for the rest of the day…..

 

The Fine Print: Embed code provided courtesy of our friends at Spotify. All rights reserved by their respective artists and rights holders. Playlist compiled by DJ Tschugge. 


Transitions: Hugh Masekela, (1940 to 2018)

The Hunt for New Music.

Hugh Masekela, one of the world’s finest and most honored jazz musicians, has died at the age of 78. Masekela, called a “great son of Africa”,  was not just a terrific trump player, but also an anti-apartheid activist who spent three decades in exile. Masekela died from complications of cancer, a disease he had been fighting for several years.  Rather than re-note his major contributions both to music and to South Africa and race relations in that country, in this post we will simply present a Hugh Masekela concert, in full. Please click the link on the first sentence above to read the excellent New York Times obituary of this amazing man.

As a young man, I had the opportunity to see Hugh Masekela perform in person and it was uplifting to say the least. Part concert, part evangelical meeting, Masekela raised the music stakes and intensity with every song, the pureness of the notes coming from his trumpet enhanced and complimented by the complex rhythms and chords of traditional South African music updated to a new era and cultural consciousness. If like the  African influenced music that you heard on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album (which is 100% excellent), then maybe you would appreciate a deeper dive, by listening to Makela’s work and one of his earlier groups, the Jazz Epistles.

Enjoy the concert. We thank our friends at Arte Concert and  Archives Culturelles Afro for making this concert available. As always–kick it to the big screen, run it through your audio system, and enjoy.

 

The Fine Print: Embed courtesy of our friends at YouTube, who have more than you would ever imagine available online and ready for your education or enjoyment. We also thank Arte Concert and Archies Culturelles Afro for posting the video on YouTube. All rights belong to the respective rights holder. This post is a tribute to the character and music of Hugh Masekela. We need a lot more like him in our world today. 


The Poetry of Rock: Before The Deluge

 

Jackson Brown has been one our finest songwriters since the seventies. He has a very unique voice and writes exceptional lyrics–it can’t hurt that, at one time, he, along with John David Souther and Glenn Frey and Don Henley (Eagles) all lived in the same apartment complex in Los Angeles. His best work–at least in my opinion–was that in very early period, the one that produced “Late for the Sky”, “The Pretender”, “Doctor My Eyes”, Fountain of Sorrow” and other Jackson Brown Classics. Today, the focus is on “Before the Deluge”. Jackson has always had a little bit of melancholy in his work, an underpinning of sadness in his outlook and lyrics, but that only adds to the depth of his music. Below, the lyrics for “Before the Deluge”, and above, a clip from a documentary on Jackson and his work, which features a performance of the song. Enjoy both.

 

“Some of them were dreamers
And some of them were fools
Who were making plans and thinking of the future
With the energy of the innocent
They were gathering the tools
They would need to make their journey back to nature
While the sand slipped through the opening
And their hands reached for the golden ring
With their hearts they turned to each other’s heart for refuge
In the troubled years that came before the delugeSome of them knew pleasure
And some of them knew pain
And for some of them it was only the moment that mattered
And on the brave and crazy wings of youth
They went flying around in the rain
And their feathers, once so fine, grew torn and tattered
And in the end they traded their tired wings
For the resignation that living brings
And exchanged love’s bright and fragile glow
For the glitter and the rouge
And in the moment they were swept before the delugeNow let the music keep our spirits high
And let the buildings keep our children dry
Let creation reveal it’s secrets by and by
By and by…
When the light that’s lost within us reaches the sky
Some of them were angry
At the way the earth was abused
By the men who learned how to forge her beauty into power
And they struggled to protect her from them
Only to be confused
By the magnitude of her fury in the final hour
And when the sand was gone and the time arrived
In the naked dawn only a few survived
And in attempts to understand a thing so simple and so huge
Believed that they were meant to live after the deluge
Now let the music keep our spirits high
And let the buildings keep our children dry
Let creation reveal it’s secrets by and by
By and by…
When the light that’s lost within us reaches the sky”–written by Jackson Brown.

The Fine Print: Embed courtesy of our friends at YouTube. This video clip is from the DVD, “Jackson Brown: Going Home” . All rights reserved by their respective artists. We thank YouTube and Jackson for sharing. And remember–always listen deeply to music that you love. 


The Weekend Concert Series: Steely Dan, Two Against Nature

The Hunt For New Music

When we lost Walter Becker on 3 September 2017, we lost one of America’s great and innovative musicians. As one half of the music group Steely Dan (named after an item in a William Burroughs novel…so you get immediately the drift of the intellect of these two), Walter Becker teamed with Donald Fagan, to produce some of the most memorable music of our times. It is not an easy music to classify and anyone hoping to to “sum it up” with a label like “modern pop” or “pop rock” was going to find their description woefully inadequate. Perhaps the best place  to spot them on the musical spectrum would be Jazz Rock (the band is heavily jazz influenced) but the very fact that they can’t be easily classified is a statement of their originality and one of the reasons we like them so much. Enjoy it. Starting in 1972 with “Can’t Buy A Thrill” and continuing to their last album, “Everything Must Go” in 2003, the duo produced a series of classic songs that had a particular resonance for their generation. Songs like “Reeling in the Years” , “Do it Again”, “Ricki Don’t Lose That Number”, “Deacon Blues”,  and “My Old School” captured the zeitgeist of the post-Flower Power era of the 1970s and 1980s, simultaneously West Coast in attitude/musicianship and East Coast in cultural references. Becker, who went to Bard, where he formed an early band with Fagan and future SNL member Chevy Chase (on Drums) and Fagan were a perfect match in terms of their technical skills, musicianship, and ability to take big creative risks.  After the success of their first two albums, Steely Dan(i.e. Becker and Fagan) backed away from touring and become a studio band. The move suited their personalities and also one of their primary creative traits: perfection. They operated like film director Stanley Kubrick, who was notorious for doing up to a hundred takes of a single scene. In Becker and Fagan’s case, there were rumors of musicians being asked to do over 40 takes on a single song. But the music proves the effort was well worth worth it–you can’t go back and redo a CD once it’s released. The two–in sync creatively and professionally–disliked “messy”, and wanted their music tight and focused and controlled. They took big chances with compositions, no chances with musicians (they always worked with the very top musicians), and were industry leaders in recording performance, winning a Grammy in 1977 for “Best Engineered Recording-Non-Classical” for the album “Aja.” The group’s drive for perfection put a screeching halt to their musical production, as troubles surrounding the recording of “Gaucho” in 1980 resulted in a hiatus from recording and touring that lasted some 20 years. After the release of “Two Against Nature” in 2000, Steely Dan toured again. This weekends’ concert is from their “Two Against Nature” tour and was recorded in 2000 as part of a PBS In The Spotlight series of musical documentaries. Recorded before “Two Against Nature” was actually released, the set list includes songs from that album and some old favorites. We thank MatheusNews for posting this video (March, 2016) and making it available for sharing. The best way to honor Walter Becker is by playing and enjoying his music…and so we are. As with all of our weekend concert series presentations, we advise you to kick it to the flat screen and–especially with these guys–run the audio portion through your hifi or component audio system. And, of course,  turn it up.

The Fine Print: This video is made available through YouTube. All rights belong to their respective rights holders. We thank all for sharing. The Weekend Concert series is organized by The Media Bunker and HNM Productions. We thank Wilson Audio for their support. 


A Fourth of July Anthem

The Hunt for New Music.

Does anyone sing America the Beautiful better than Ray Charles? No, is the short answer. In addition to our national anthem, this may be our second greatest song. Ray Charles sings it here, live, with an orchestral accompaniment. Take some time and take it in. He was–and remains via his recordings–one our great national treasures.

You’ll feel better about America–and everything that goes on it–if you do.

Happy Fourth of July.


The Poetry of Rock: “Peace Like A River”

Music:

It’s been a while since anything from the Poetry of Rock series has been published and that just not  a good thing, as I was reminded this morning when, while working on another project, Paul Simon’s “Peace Like A River” came on the audio system. It is one of his most melodic compositions–very streamlined and pure–and also one of his very best in terms of lyrical poetry:

“Peace like a river ran through the city
Long past the midnight curfew
We sat starry-eyed
We were satisfied
And I remember
Misinformation followed us like a plague
Nobody knew from time to time
If the plans were changed
If the plans were changed.You can beat us with wires
You can beat us with chains
You can run out your rules
But you know you can’t outrun the history trair
I’ve seen a glorious day.

Four in the morning
I woke up from out of my dreams
Nowhere to go but back to sleep
But I’m reconciled
Oh, oh, oh, I’m going to be up for awhile:

–Peace Like A River, by Paul Simon

The music is very soft and melodic, a perfect counter point to the anger and power in the lyrics. The last time I heard this song–or used these lyrics–was in a eulogy for a very good and influential friend of mine who died unexpectedly a few years ago. The last stanza in particular really brought home the deep sense of loss when a good friend leaves us.  I managed to find a live version (from the iFest in London in 2011) to reacquaint you with the song. Like all Simon live performances, it’s a slightly different interpretation, not a note-for-note reproduction (there has been controversy about the piano solo at the end of this version). A very great song, worth a listen and your time.


Sgt. Pepper’s Re-boot

The Hunt for New Music:

Here’s an interesting idea for fans of “Sgt. Pepper” and The Beatles.

Re-boot the album.

Re-imagine, re-order, re-program it, because as terrific as it was, is, and remains, there were some very interesting conversations during the production of the record about what songs should be included and what should be excluded.

Here’s the original song list for “Sgt. Pepper”:

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

“With a Little Help From My Friends”

“Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds”

“Getting Better”

“Fixing A Hole”

“She’s Leaving Home”

“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”

“Within You, Without You”

“When I’m Sixty-Four”

“Lovely Rita”

“Good Morning, Good Morning”

“St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (reprise)

“A Day In The Life”

That’s it. A lot of great music but a lot left out that you may or may not know about.

The original album was only a little over 39 minutes long–it’s not a very long album–and there was certainly room for more.

In various articles and discussions, both The Beatles and George Martin discussed which songs should have been included on the album but were not –“Strawberry Fields” and Penny Lane”–and also which songs were included but perhaps should not have been–“Lovely Rita”, “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Good Morning, Good Morning” (Lennon disliked all three).

The audio style  and subject matter of “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” fit right in with the overall concept of “Sgt. Pepper”(at one time, the album was going to be developed as a homage to the traditional English lifestyle, but it outgrew that thought); indeed, George Martin, The Beatles producer and the producer of “Sgt. Pepper” said that the decision to leave those two songs off the album was “the biggest mistake of my professional career”(Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles did not want the two songs–released before “Sgt. Pepper” as a marketing move to keep the band in the public consciousness, repeated on an album). George Harrison thought “Only A Northern Song” would fit in nicely but “Tomorrow Never Knows” would have been even better.

A couple of other songs that fit the album’s style and time period, “All You Need Is Love” , “Hello Goodbye”, and “Baby You’re A Rich Man” would also fit–all songs are recorded in 1967 although not necessarily prior to the release of “Sgt. Pepper” in the U.S. in June of that year.

To reprogram the album, start with some givens: It’s going to open with the first two songs on the original program and close with the last two. Those are necessary to set the stage for everything follows. They are among the most iconic songs of all time and state the concept of the album (a band free to do music that the then-current iteration of The Beatles could not).

Next, review other songs made in the period close to “Sgt. Pepper”–anything in 1967, for example, and some of the music produced in 1966. There are some very good options in that group for inclusion in a re-boot of “Sgt. Pepper”.

Then fill in “Sgt. Pepper” with the songs that should have been included but weren’t: “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” , of course. Without the three songs that had some band ambivalence to them, a first pass at a re-boot would provide this lineup:

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

“With a Little Help From My Friends”

“Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds”

“Getting Better”

“Fixing A Hole”

“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”

“Within You, Without You”

“Strawberry Fields”

“Tomorrow Never Knows”

“Penny Lane”

“St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (reprise)

“A Day In The Life”

Not a bad lineup at all and you can try it yourself at home by setting up the playlist in iTunes and letting it roll.

But…a few other songs that fit either in mood or production technique (or both) creates an even more interesting re-boot.

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

“With a Little Help From My Friends”

“Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds”

“Getting Better”

“All You Need Is Love”

“Fixing A Hole”

“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”

“Within You, Without You”

“Strawberry Fields”

“Tomorrow Never Knows”

“Hello Goodbye”

“Penny Lane”

“St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (reprise)

“A Day In The Life”

In this iteration,  the iconic songs that set up the album are preserved, the key opening and closing sequences are intact, but new (to the playlist) songs that build on the “Sgt. Pepper’s” consciousness and sound add to the overall magnificence of the album.

It’s been called the “greatest album ever recorded” so there is no presumption that a new song lineup would be as good or better the original–greatest of all time is tough to beat. But..and this is the point…it would provide yet another take on the most discussed album of our time as well as a glimpse into different thoughts of how the album might be programmed.

If you’re interested enough to read this far…then send me your playlist and song order for a “Sgt. Pepper” reboot. I’ll post it, and will  look forward to hearing it.