Archive for the ‘blues’ category

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 Act You’ve Known For All These Years

The Hunt For New Music:

“It was twenty years ago today, when Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play”….

Sg. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Lennon-McCartney)

Editor’s Note: Actually, it was 50 years ago that “Sgt. Pepper’s” was introduced in America. In celebration of that event, there are several posts and interesting links to checkout and enjoy about the most celebrated album of our time. 

There is an exact moment when The Beatles started the transition that would move them from their position as the world’s biggest rock band into the dominant cultural and musical influence that they became after “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released.

That moment was 29 August 1966, when The Beatles played their last live rock concert, in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. The stadium was jammed and security for The Beatles was so tight that they had to be taken to the stage in an armored truck. One of The Beatles–looking out at the crowds and chaos that surrounded them–said simply “we can’t do this anymore”.

And after San Francisco, 1966, they didn’t.

As the band grew in popularity all over the world, the music was getting left behind. The screaming at the concerts was so loud that band members couldn’t hear each other, couldn’t hear their own instruments and, individually, they were getting restless–creatively, intellectually, musically. It was time for a change.

Ten months later that change materialized, in the form of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. It was the first rock concept album, a total break with The Beatles tight and carefully Brian-Epstein- groomed image, a reach in terms of music and technology and instrumentation, a musical composition so complex it could not be performed live and stressed the limits of the then-available recording technology, a very complete break from the past. Those paying attention to the musical evolution of The Beatles knew that their music was changing, becoming more adventurous and complex. It started with “Rubber Soul” and gathered momentum on “Revolver”, an album that provided an early test of some of the concepts and musical ideas (“Eleanor Rigby”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”) that would reach full definition in “Sgt. Pepper”.

To produce “Sgt. Pepper”  took 400 hours of studio time and 129 days–an immense amount of time for that period in popular music, but nothing compared to the amount of time it can take a 21st century band to record an album today. Working for The Beatles was their drive to change, to create, to push the boundaries, along with a team that included their legendary producer George Martin (later and deservedly, Sir George Martin) and recording engineer Geoff Emerick. Working against them was the technology of the day: all analog, a modest four track Studer tape recorder, analog audio tape, the limits of electronic recording technology and techniques of the time.

It mattered not. Through diligence and drive and experimentation–and listening to what each other had to say–The Beatles pushed through, expanded the very limits of what was possible in the studio, turning the studio itself into a musical and creative instrument, not merely a recording device, and produced the album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band”,  that Rolling Stone magazine has called the great rock album of all time.

At the core of the album’s concept was a step away from all The Beatles had been before and a step into what they would be going forward. Everything changed, from image and dress to composition complexity and musical density. The Beatles, in essence, created a band that could free them from the success and popularity of their past and give them again control over their musical destiny.

It was a risk. A massive, huge, intellectual, financial, business risk. If it went wrong, if their audience didn’t “get it”, if the album failed commercially, The Beatles could easily have been “over”.

But they did not play it safe, and that is the very greatest thing about “Sgt. Pepper’s”. They were fearless and opened a door into the future for themselves and for other bands by expanding the vocabulary of rock music. They elected to toss out the known for the unknown. Brian Epstein–their manager at the time” Sgt. Pepper’s ” was written, produced, and released–proved again to have perfect pitch for what to do and when to do it. Unlike other managers who  might discourage such an adventurous leap, Epstein–admittedly a little bewildered but totally committed to the group–backed the venture.

On June 2nd, 1967, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released in the United States. It was released in the “summer of love” and became the background music for a huge cultural change in the United States and the rest of the world. The album was loved, hated, revered, despised, analyzed, deconstructed, misunderstood, applauded.

But–it worked. “Sgt. Pepper’s” changed music and the possibility of rock; it also became the soundtrack the world needed at a time of volcanic change and international unrest.

There is a cost to change–there is always a cost to change. By August of 1967, Brian Epstein had died, the victim of “incautious self-overdosage” according to the English coroner. Friends of Epstein noted that he was worried if his management contract would be renewed, that he had been contemplating suicide for some time, that he knew his value as someone expert in staging large concerts and drawing huge crowds might be less valuable going forward when all the creative work would be done within the confines of the Abbey Road studio; that the band he had nurtured and grown into a worldwide phenomenon had, finally, and with his own urging, outgrown him.

By 1970,  after the release of  “Let It Be”,  it was over, as The Beatles, rich and famous and influential beyond comprehension,  lacking a centering influence (Epstein),  displayed signs of transitional difficulty from being merely the biggest rock band in the world to the dominant creative influence of an era, as infighting and self-absorbed musical and personal directions and personality conflicts mixed in with confused business activities and management, took it all apart.

What was left was the music, and in particular, this one rather spectacular piece of music, that changed everything.

The Fine Print: Image embed courtesy of our friends at Getty Images, who have the photographic history of the 20th and 21st century on file. This image has not been altered in any way. We thank them for sharing.



The Weekend Concert Series: Chuck Berry

The Hunt for New Music:

A classic to honor a classic: Chuck Berry live at the BBC, in 1972, with Rocking Horse. The camera work is very good (you would expect it from the BBC) and the sound is surprisingly clear (from the soundboard). We lost Chuck Berry this past week but he’s going to be around for quite a while, as his performances and music live on and on and on. Kick this one to the flat screen and run the audio through your sound system. It’s a good one and gives you an idea of the magic that was Berry on stage.

The Fine Print: Embed courtesy of our friends at YouTube, originally posted by Jimmy Saa(thanks Jimmy). All rights belong to their respective rights holders. 


Bruce Springsteen Plays Chuck Berry

Paying Attention:

To get an appreciation of how deep Chuck Berry’s influence went, you just have to look at the royalty of rock&roll and their performances of  his music. Here’s a great clip  of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band doing the Berry classic “You Never Can Tell”. It starts off as rock&roll classic and bumps into a Dixieland tribute to the man at the top of the rock&roll food chain. Kick this one to the flat screen, run it through the stereo, and turn it up.

The Fine Print: Embed via YouTube, from Vevo, (c)2013 Bruce Springsteen. All rights reserved by respective artists, rightsholders. We thank them all for sharing.

Transitions: Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

Paying Attention:

“You know, my temperature’s risin’
And the jukebox blowing a fuse
My heart’s beatin’ rhythm
And my soul keeps on singin’ the blues
Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news…”
–from Roll Over Beethooven by Chuck Berry
Charles Edward Anderson Berry died on Saturday. He was 90 years old and he was known throughout the world as Chuck Berry. The New York Times published an excellent appreciation of Chuck Berry’s life this weekend. Written by Jon Pareles, it will provide not just the starting point, end point, and specifics of Berry’s life, but also an appreciation of why Chuck Berry was so important to music, specifically rock&roll music.
Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of rock&roll music. John Lennon said “if you tried to give rock & roll another name it would be Chuck Berry”. The Beatles, like the Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys,  and Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan all put Berry at the top of the rock&roll food chain. Berry played with Clapton, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen.  Chuck Berry songs were frequently on their albums and live show playlists. It was Berry who put the rhythm in rock&roll,combining country and blues and R&B into one new music form,  sorted the chord structure and progressions, insisted on the driving drum and bass beat and the carefully articulated lyrics–the better to drive home the freedom of the message. Chuck Berry was present at the birth of rock&roll. His importance was such that he was in the first batch of honorees to the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame; Keith Richards handled his induction.
It wasn’t just the music that Berry shaped, it was the very soul of rock&roll–the attitude. Berry, in trouble more than once with the authorities, brought a rebellious attitude about life, love, and the importance of having a good time to his music. His songs talked about the driving forces of teenage life in America: cars, love, rebellion, lust, music, yearning, “You didn’t know whether Chuck Berry was black or white. It wasn’t a concern”, said Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. His message and his voice was  universal and his attitude was perfect for the times and the music. Rock&roll is not the music of obedience; it is the music of rebellion, of push back, of dissent, of freedom.  It was, as my old pal and running buddy Professor Robert O. McAlister, Phd. says, “tire slashing rock&roll”.
On stage Berry was an accomplished, comfortable, energetic, charismatic performer. He was both an artist in performance and a performance artist. Nothing was left to chance: not the way he dressed, the level at which his guitar was strung, the choreography of his moves–the legendary “duck walk” among them–the carefully crafted pompadour hairstyle (Berry went to cosmetology school); the flamboyant sideburns and pencil thin mustache. Berry played with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, acutely aware of the intimate connection he had with his audience.  He didn’t ease into a show; he blasted into it, setting the tone for the night. His performances were powerful and jumping and joyful–a worship service in the mobile road show temple of rock&roll.
Chuck Berry has gone but he’s still here, present in the music and attitude he created and developed, and in the thousands of musicians he influenced. To get a wider appreciation of Berry’s influence, take the time to go through the Chuck Berry ClickPak below.
Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs (Rolling Stone magazine)
Roll Over Beethoven (Slate online)
With essential background provided by the ClickPak, below please find all you need to know about Chuck Berry:a collection of  songs that Chuck Berry left for us, from various performances.
Click through and turn it up.
You’ll feel a lot better if you do.
Johnnie B. Goode
My Ding-A-Ling
You Never Can Tell
Sweet Little Sixteen (intro by Dick Clark..”let’s turn him loose”…got it)
Brown Eyed Handsome Man
No Particular Place to Go
Run Rudolph Run
Back in the USA
Roll Over Beethoven
The Fine Print: Video embeds courtesy of our friends at YouTube. All rights belong to their respective artists. 

Lost Friends: Niles Siegel



“A man walks down the street,

He says, Why am I soft in the middle now?

Why am I soft in the middle?

The rest of my life is so hard!

I need a photo-opportunity,

I want a shot at redemption!

Don’t want to end up a cartoon,

In a cartoon graveyard ….. “

—–“You Can Call Me Al”, Paul Simon


Transitions: Niles Siegel. One night about many weeks ago, I woke up at 3:15AM in the morning, sat straight up in bed and started worrying.

I was worried that I had not heard in a couple of days from a long-time friend, Niles Siegel. A friend from the old days in New York when Siegel and I and Brad Olsen-Ecker and a few other young creatives prowled the streets of Manhattan, taking in concerts at Fillmore East and just enjoying being young, and working in cool jobs, and living in the city. I had the best job of the group because I worked in Peter Max’s studio and had a salary and everyone else was a free-lance creative or photographer or art director or writer. But who did what didn’t matter. It was a magical time.

Money was not important but friends were and we were all the best of friends, and put ourselves in all kinds of interesting situations on a regular basis. Maybe it was because I realized that the type of freedom we had was not going to be available forever, that we were riding a wave and knew it and that made us dangerous—at least creatively—at the time.

Siegel was a photographer. He had photographed a major campaign for some new Vodka (or maybe it was an old one, the facts do not shine through) and made a bunch of money doing it. It was that time when art directors and designers hired hot young photographers and tossed a lot of money at them for all types of rights and so if you did a couple of big jobs a year, you lived well. As I remember, Siegel lived downtown,in a loft, near the Village. He lived well.

But it was a brutal business and a hot photographer could shoot a big campaign and then cool off, and not work for a long stretch of time. There was a lot of competition and tastes in photography shifted like the wind. Siegel hit a slow period and started running out of money, which was not good because he was young and responsible and had a family, a wife and a young son, Evan.

Niles Siegel was not the type to ever ask for assistance. Ever. He was a true New Yorker, a child of the city, and he reveled in his ability to know the city and navigate his life in the cultural turmoil that is New York.

One day, I got a phone call from him and he asked me what I thought about the music business.

Loved it. I said, or at least loved the music. But it was a tough business, very competitive, full of people who got things done and could make things happen. But…brutal, too. Well, Siegel told me, he had received a tip on a great job at Elektra Records, which was the company founded and managed by the legendary Jac Holtzman. There was a position open for a record promoter-the guy who could get records and songs played on radio stations at a time when radio actually mattered—and Siegel had been granted an interview. Don’t know how he got his name in play, but Niles was very connected in the city and he did know his music. He had great taste and was spot on in his evaluations of who would make it and who would not.

“Would I come down to his loft to talk about the interview and how to handle it?” he asked, and, of course, I said yes. Peter Max—who had more influence on me than my own family, for which I am and will be eternally grateful– was very supportive of me and very generous and he told me to go and help my friend and come back to the studio when I was finished. I figured I’d be gone about an hour and a half.

I arrived at Siegel’s place at about 2PM and his interview was at 3:30. We talked about the possible questions he might be asked, about the artists currently on the Elektra roster (Bread, Carly Simon, The Doors, among others) and about Holtzman’s reputation (ferocious businessman, but very fair). Then it was time to go and we walked downstairs and onto the street and started heading toward 6th avenue. Elektra was at Columbus Circle, in the Gulf+Western Building (the first conglomerate, assembled and run by the charismatic Charles Bluhdorn about whom another post shall be produced) and as we got closer to Sixth Avenue, I saw Siegel take a turn for the 6th Avenue subway which went right to 59th Street and Columbus Circle.

Where are you going, I asked him.

“Got to catch the train,” he said.

“No man, you need to take a cab and arrive cool and rested for the interview. This is a big deal..”

He gave me a bit of a blank look and I realized what the look meant. He didn’t have the money to take a cab.

Without a second’s hesitation, I Pulled a 20 out of my pocket and gave it to him and said, “Take the cab.”

Sheepishly, he took the bill, gave me a big smile, stepped into the street and hailed a taxi and was gone to meet his destiny. I walked a few blocks and then grabbed a cab of my own for the ride back to Peter’s studio on the Upper West Side, simultaneously nervous for my friend and hopeful for him.

I tell this story now as a preamble to my remembrance of Niles Siegel, not to make me look good, because it was the type of thing that anyone with a good friend in need would do, but because of what happened afterwards, in his interview with the legendary Jac Holzman.

As it was relayed to me, Siegel did great in his interviews and was passed from room to room and person to person until, at the end of the day, he was in a conference room with The Man, Mr. Jac Holzman. Holzman looked Siegel over and he recognized him—the type at least—a young, hustling, talented, Jewish kid with something to prove and the drive and chutzpah to do it.

They hit it off, and Holzman offered Siegel a position as a record promoter. The deal was by any standard a sweet one. Record promoters lived off their company expense account and could bank their salaries. It was classic and it was just what Siegel needed—a regular check and a chance to make a name in a new field.

But there was a hitch. Siegel balked at the salary. Holzman was taken aback, and simply could not believe it. Here was a kid who knew nothing about the business but was already asking for a bump in compensation—and Holzman certainly didn’t know that Siegel didn’t even have cab fare to get to the interview. There was, I suspect, a bit of a stare down, and then Holzman, with a smile, basically said, “OK, kid, I like your style and your nerve. Now let’s see if you can back it up.”, Holtzman gave him the higher base salary and brought him onboard.

Jac Holzman is one of the entertainment industry’s all-time greats and he wasted no time testing the brash young hire. After a few weeks of training and grooming, Holzman put Siegel on the toughest assignment at Elektra.

The company had signed a brilliant young artist named Harry Chapin, and Chapin had a song, “Taxi”, that Holzman was convinced would be a huge hit if it could just get played. But no radio station in America would play it because it was a 6:44 (six minutes forty-four seconds) song in a world in which the standard single record was just two minutes and thirty seconds….No matter how great the song, the length was a problem.

Somehow, Siegel got it on the air. I don’t even remember where it played first…perhaps Boston. And then he domino’d it, pushing it from one station to another, across America, like a cold wave sweeping the country. That was the way the music business worked then, when the stations were programmed by Program Directors with taste and connections who took pride in “breaking” a new artist. The process was simple to explain, but brutal to execute: get your record played on one of the key stations in America and the other stations—not so key and in smaller markets—would take up the cause and play the record and before you knew it, the record was playing in every major market. With enough exposure, a song could become a  hit and a new artist’s career could launch.

The success of “Taxi” made two careers: Niles Siegel’s and Harry Chapin’s. Chapin went on to modest fame and an early exit (he died in an auto accident on the Long Island Expressway, driving to a benefit concert—Chapin was known, not coincidently, as a terrible driver).

Siegel’s career was no less dramatic. He eventually left Elektra (among the acts he promoted were Phoebe Snow and Leon Russell) and moved to other positions in the record industry. He managed the Atlanta Rhythm Section(“So Into You” is one of the great rock anthems), famed for their booming bass and lyrical songs. In addition to Elektra, he worked at Polydor, Shelter, Paramount, and RCA, where he was in power when Elvis Presley died and RCA had their biggest year ever.

Siegel did music, I did publishing and he stayed in New York and I moved from New York to Boston, Washington, Chicago, and assignments in Europe. By the oddest of coincidences, we both ended up in New England at one point. At that time, Siegel was head of Playboy Records, given the task of bringing a primarily low volume jazz based label into the mainstream. He pushed and he pulled but a lot of work had to be done in the A&R (Artist and Repertoire) area…i.e. Playboy had no big names on their roster (this is not to discount Cy Coleman’s excellent piano composition, Playboy’s Theme). I remember going over to his home outside of Boston, where he had created a very nifty office complete with a massive desk (which Playboy had purchased for him), and he was pounding away on his typewriter. “Whatcha writing?” I asked.

“My resignation”, he said. “They just don’t get it”.

Siegel had only been in the position for a couple of months but already he had hit a roadblock in the upper echelons of Playboy management: he had found a band, Bjorn and Benny, that he was convinced was going to be huge and he wanted Playboy records to go all in on the band. There were a couple of girl singers involved, the band was from Scandinavia and Niles was positive they were going to be massive world-wide hits. Playboy Records was small and wouldn’t make the necessary promotional commitment and Siegel was frustrated. He couldn’t get the budget masters to back him and the band and he was furious. He finished off the resignation letter and, a couple of days later, he sent the letter—nailed to the top of his desk—back to Playboy Records headquarters in Chicago.

Siegel was right about Bjorn and Bennie—they changed their name to ABBA and became one of the biggest bands in history, selling over 370 million albums.

Niles Siegel. Photographer. Record Promotor. Band Manager. Producer. Friend.

Niles Siegel. Photographer. Record Promotor. Band Manager. Producer. Friend.

Niles was like that a lot : right about talent and ahead of his time.

In the MTV years, he was one of the first producer/directors to realize the value of the medium. On his resume are some of the all time great videos: The Bangles “Walk Like An Egyptian”; the Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right to Party” and my favorite—the classic Paul Simon/Chevy Chase video of “You Can Call Me Al

Niles was never shy about what he did but he was not a major self-promoter either. He had brilliant radar for talent and would stretch himself to exhaustion for artists he believed in.

Niles Siegel died 3 years ago,  on May 12th, 2013. I had known him since 1969 and he was one of my oldest and very best friends.

Although we talked a couple of times a year, for reasons I cannot explain, it suddenly, urgently, seemed important that I call him in the beginning of 2013.

When I did, the news I got was not good. He was sick—again—and it was serious this time, cancer. He was getting treatment. It would be OK. He’d been through these things before, he said.

Siegel was never really in  good health. The music industry doesn’t encourage a healthy lifestyle. He had an endless series of very difficult issues with his stomach and digestive tract, but—despite the vast number of operations he endured—he always seemed upward and onward.

I started calling him on a regular basis and through those phone calls, I saw the arc of life of my friend turn irretrievably downward. The doctor visits turned into short hospital stays. He was living on his own with a girlfriend, but she left—the medical drama apparently too much. I started calling once a week, then twice, then more. The hospital stays got longer. He become a patient at Sloan-Kettering in New York—one of the world’s great cancer centers. The cancer “jumped”…metastasized.. went from his gut—always his weak spot—into his bones. My calls became more frequent and I got worried when I could not get him on the phone.

But he always popped up—sometimes via video chat on the Apple, sometimes via good ole landline phone. One of his kids was with him. People were looking after him. “It’s OK Pierce,” he said. “I’ll be fine”.

And then—one last phone call, while he was at Sloan-Kettering—when he told me that things had improved and that he was going home, they were going to release him from the hospital. “Talk to you in a few days”. He sent a shot of him in a bed, surrounded by tubes and machines, holding up his iPhone, smiling. “It will be OK”….no reason not to believe him, he had always made it before

And then…in a few days…when I had not heard from him, I woke up at 3:15AM in the morning and started worrying. Siegel had not called; had not answered my calls. I sensed a disturbance in the Force. I could not connect with him.

A couple of days later, on a Sunday, May 12th,  I received word from another friend—a musician who Siegel had helped—that Niles had passed.

There wasn’t a lot in the papers about Niles’ passing. It doesn’t seem fair, really. He was an important guy in a dynamic industry and he made things happen for himself and his artists through creativity and sheer force of will.  So it falls on me to write his tribute and relay to his friends and family and bands just how special he was and how positive he was until the very end, how considerate of everyone else he was so that no one would worry about him.  He would fib and bend the truth about how bad things were so that his pals wouldn’t be distressed.

“Don’t worry. I can handle it. I’ve always handled it.”

That was Niles. Classic Niles Siegel.

But if you didn’t know him—weren’t around the energy, the early velocity of his life,  and that incredible New York -smart street  sense that he had—the tendency would be to just see the credits and miss the art of his life. Not happening on my watch.

I suggest you get a look into his spirit and clean, streamlined, creative heart by just clicking here:  and watching the “You Can Call Me Al” video. It’s one of the most famous music videos of all time. You’ll recognize the participants; and, if you knew Niles Siegel, who was  the producer for this classic music video (Gary Weis was the director),  you would recognize the Siegel trademarks: a very simple idea maxed to the point of art.

That should leave you with the right impression of  Niles Siegel.

It’s what I watch when I think about Niles and I always feel better afterwards.










The Snow Weekend Concert Series: Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2004

The Hunt For New Music: It’s a winter weekend. Maybe you’re stuck inside because a blizzard is raging outside. Maybe you don’t want to watch the NFL playoffs. Maybe what you want to watch is a little blues, a lot of Eric Clapton, a bunch of good music played by very accomplished musicians—each of them a guitar ace. That your wish? Here’s your answer: Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, 2004. The festival was started by Clapton to fund the Crossroads Center  a drug treatment center in Antigua; the very first concert was in 2004. Who will you listen to: Clapton, Buddy Guy, James Taylor, Jimmy Vaughn, Robert Cray, Steve Vai, Joe Walsh, ZZ Top, Carlos Santana. Just listen to the darn’ll get it. As always, kick it to the flat screen (CHROMECAST works really well), punch the audio through your stereo system(we use big McIntosh amps and Wilson Audio Speakers) and get engaged. A wonderful way to spend an evening or a snowy Sunday.


The Fine Print: Embed Courtesy of YouTube. Posted by Remy Tena. All rights reserved by their respective artists. Thank you for sharing. 

Weekend Concert Series: Robert Cray Band

The Hunt for New Music: There’ll be lots of New Year’s Eve Concerts to select from this coming Thursday, but, just to wrap up the Extended Christmas-New Year’s Holiday Weekend, why not a little searing music from blues master Robert Cray and his band. Here, as the final Weekend Concert Series program for 2015 is The Robert Cray Band. As always..bump it to the flat screen (Chromecast works very well), run it through your stereo system (we like big McIntosh amps but Pass, Mark Levinson, and Classe’ will also do the job and pair up with Wilson Audio speakers) and sit back and enjoy the a concert from one of our finest bluesmen. As for what to expect, this  comment from the YouTube post pretty much sums it all up:”Sings like Sam Cooke. Plays like a cross between Buddy Guy and Albert Collins. Perfect.” And so it is. Merry Post-Christmas and Happy Pre-New Year. See you in 2016.

The Fine Print: Embed via YouTube (thanks guys). Original YouTube post by Brother Lebowski (thanks Bro). Cookin’ in Mobile is from a live CD/DVD release by Robert Cray. It was released  on 27 July 2010. The CD/DVD was published through Vanguard Records (support them, please).  The concert was recorded on 21 February 2010 at the Saenger Theater in Mobile, Alabama. All rights belong to their respective rights holders. 

The Weekend Concert Series: The Blues Brothers Live at Winterland, 1978

The Hunt for New Music. The Blues Brothers, a traditional blues/R&B/soul band, began as an comical/music act on Saturday Night Live, inspired by a meeting that John Belushi had with blues singer Curtis Salgado while Belushi was filming Animal House.   In the faux-blues-band-turned-real-live-performers, Belushi performed as “Joliet Jake” Blues (Vocals) and Aykroyd was Elwood Blues(Backing Vocals and Harmonica). The backing musicians for the band were music all-stars: Memphis legends Matt “Guitar” Murphy (lead and rhythm guitar,  who worked with Howlin’Wolfe)), Steve Cropper (lead and rhythm guitar, Booker T & The MGs), Donald “Duck” Dunne (bass guitar, Booker T & The MGs) , Murphy Dunne (keyboards),  Willie “Too Big” Hall (drums, The Bar-Kays), “Blue Lou” Marini  (SNL House band and Blood, Sweat, and Tears),  Alan “Mr. Fabulous” Rubin (trumpet, SNL House Band) , Tom “Bones” Malone (Trombone, Blood, Sweat & Tears) were in the original lineup of the band, but over time another, equally impressive list of R&B and soul musicians and singers played or toured with The Blues Brothers. What started as a musical parody (one of Belushi’s specialities..who can ever forget his imitation of Roy Orbison) turned into a band to be taken seriously, because Aykroyd and Belushi knew the very best way to cover up any of their musical shortcomings (vocals) was to be backed by a powerhouse showband. The Blues Brothers movie was directed by John Landis, who had become a comedic legend for his direction of Animal House.  Aykroyd and Belushi’s commitment to the band and it’s concept was real: they scheduled tours and played dates. By the time the movie was released, in 1980, The Blues Brothers was a legitimate, totally committed and  entertaining musical act. The concert shown here was the last of their shows at Winterland in 1978. It looks like a concert shot in 1978–the lighting is touchy, the staging much less polished than seen today, but the music and performances are very good, exceptional even, and the sound is excellent. It’s a little piece of cultural history. What’s a perfect way to end a hot summer’s weekend? A date with The Blues Brothers, Live at Winterland. As always, bump it to the flat screen, and run the music through the stereo and the big speakers.

The Fine Print: Concert embed via YouTube(thank you). This concert was recorded live at Winterland on 12/31/1978. All rights reserved by their respective artists. 

Weekend Concert Series: Curtis Salgado

The Hunt For New Music. You can find the blues in a lot of places and in the case of this weekend’s concert series, we find it in the form of Curtis Salgado, from Portland Oregon, playing in a Blues Festival in Gaildorger, Germany. You may not have heard for Curtis before, but like a lot of blues, rhythm and blues, and soul singers, he’s paid his dues with a lot of travel and appearance in a lot of bands. Salgado played with Robert Cray for six years and then played the under-the-radar-band Roomful of Blues. He’s toured with Steve Miller and Santana, an indication how respected he is by some of the best musicians of our time.

What you may not know about Salgado was that he was the inspiration behind the Blues Brothers, the famous blues (tribute) band created by John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd. Salgado met Belushi when Belushi was in Oregon filming Animal House (certainly one of the great comedies of all time); the combination of the two personalities created a cult classic film (The Blues Brothers)  and a top selling album (Briefcase Full of Blues).

Salgado was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2005 and a series of benefits were held to help pay for his medical treatment. The guests musicians included Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Steve Miller, Jimmie Vaughn, Everclear, and Charlie Musslewhite, among others.  Salgado has survived and evolved as one of the great artists of our era. In 2010 he won the Soul Blues Musician of the Year (and won it again in 2012) and in 2013, won the B.B. King Award as Entertainer of The Year.

Curtis Salgado knows the blues, has lived the blues, and can sing the blues. But don’t take my word for it.

Here’s his concert, from 2013 at the Gaildorfer (Germany) Bluesfest. The Full concert is included, so this is not just a single clip.

As always, bump it to the big flat screen (we use Chromecast off of Mac computers ) and through a big sound system.

Turn it on, and turn it up.

Thanks for listening (and watching).

The Fine Print: Embed via YouTube, upload by Marothhel Lehhtoram . All rights reserved to respective rights holders. Thanks for sharing.