Thursday, May 28, 2009

NEW RELEASE: Woodstock - 3 Days of Peace and Music, The Director's Cut

Hi all,

Patrick Sammon from Mammoth Advertising ( has sent me notice of a fantastic new release available on Blu-ray and DVD, of the 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition of Warner Home Video's WOODSTOCK: 3 DAYS OF PEACE & MUSIC, THE DIRECTOR'S CUT, with three hours of enhanced content, including two hours of bonus performances, some unearthed after four decades, and with five groups who performed but never appeared in the original 1970 Oscar-winning documentary. The official release date is JUNE 9th 2009.

Watch this cute Youtube video promoting the release:

Here's a review of the original (before this new release) from Jeff Shannon to give you a taste: The three-day Woodstock music festival in 1969 was the pivotal event of the 1960s peace movement, and this landmark concert film is the definitive record of that milestone of rock & roll history. It's more than a chronicle of the hippie movement, however; this is a film of genuine historical and social importance, capturing the spirit of America in transition, when the Vietnam War was at its peak and antiwar protest was fully expressed through the liberating music of the time.

With a brilliant crew at his disposal (including a young editor named Martin Scorsese), director Michael Wadleigh worked with over 300 hours of footage to create his original 225-minute director's cut, which was cut by 40 minutes for the film's release in 1970. Eight previously edited segments were restored in 1994, and the original director's cut of Woodstock is now the version most commonly available on videotape and DVD.

The film deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and it's still a stunning achievement. Abundant footage taken among the massive crowd ("half a million strong") expresses the human heart of the event, from skinny-dipping hippies to accidental overdoses, to unpredictable weather, mid-concert childbirth, and the thoughtful (or just plain rambling) reflections of the festive participants. Then, of course, there is the music - a nonstop parade of rock & roll from the greatest performers of the period, including Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Canned Heat, The Who, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Ten Years After, Sly & The Family Stone, Santana, and many more. Watching this ambitious film, as the saying goes, is the next best thing to being there - it's a time-travel journey to that once-in-a-lifetime event - Jeff Shannon.

Product Description

1969 was a year unlike any other. Man first set foot on the moon. The New York Mets won the World Series against all odds. And for three days in the rural town of Bethel, New York, half a million people experienced the single most defining moment of their generation; a concert unprecedented in scope and influence, a coming together of people from all walks of life with a single common goal: Peace and music. They called it Woodstock. One year later, a landmark Oscar®-winning documentary captured the essence of the music, the electricity of the performances, and the experience of those who lived it. Newly remastered, the film features legendary performances by 17 best selling artists. Bonus content includes: • NEW retrospective The Museum at Bethel Woods: The Story of the Sixties & Woodstock.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OPINION: The Old Hippies Music Review

B.B. King B.B. King via

The Old Hippies Music Review by Jim William

Well of course I mustn't tell the little lady's age, but we've been married almost 40 years. Some subtraction reveals the musical era that she and I grew up in. We didn't make it to Woodstock but did get to go to a 3 day music festival at Goose Lake, Michigan in the summer of 1970.

Details are a little foggy, because the promoters announced "Do Not Take The Brown Mescaline!" a few minutes too late for me. One of the biggest disappointments, other than the bad psychedelics, was that one of the best English blues groups, Savoy Brown, was a no-show.

The good news was Ten Years After, The James Gang and Jethro Tull were there, and dozens of other super, famous groups. The wife and I were music buffs then and now. In the summer of '66, when I woke up in the hospital with nothing much to do (except to eat Seconal for pain), I teethed on "The Pied Piper", "Sweet Pea", "Summer In The City", "I Saw Her Again Last Night".

I think I also fell in love there for the first time but I never saw that princess again - well maybe once. My future wife knew her first love about the same time and she also had a second love, the Beatles. She got to go to their concerts in 1968 and 1969. She probably couldn't hear the singing for the screaming but it had a lifelong effect on her nonetheless. So I'd say 1966 was about the beginning of our musical travels.

Over the years our eventual accrual of LPs, CDs and tapes has reached over 600 collectibles. Unfortunately (or fortunately from my point of view) my family's music taste got stuck in the 1960's and 1970's. I tell myself that this is not unnatural. We have advanced just a little bit into the following three decades. The following are the best plays in the collection and consciousness of an opinionated couple.

Hopefully every musical taste is present:

Judy Collins - Recollections (Elektra, 1969)
Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks (Columbia, 1975)
Beatles - White Album (Apple, 1968)
Grateful Dead - American Beauty (Warner Bros, 1970)
Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (London, 1969)
Janis Joplin - Pearl (Columbia, 1971)
Spirit - The 12 Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus (Epic, 1970)
Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story (Mercury, 1971)
Bob Marley and The Wailers - Legend (Island, 1984)
Pink Floyd - The Wall (Columbia, 1979)
Paul Simon - Graceland (Warner Bros., 1986)
Patsy Cline - 12 Greatest Hits (MCA, 2003)
Johnny Cash - American IV/The Man Comes Around (American, 2003)
Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble - The Real Deal: Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (Epic, 1999)
Abigail Washburn - Song Of The Traveling Daughter (Nettwerk, 2005).

Out of so many decisions the girl and I only agree on fifteen. So she is half wrong on the next seven. She likes "Are You Experienced?" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience but I prefer "Axis, Bold As Love".

I love Leo Kottke's "6 & 12 String Guitar" but she prefers "Greenhouse".
She loves the great Tom Waits extravaganza "Orphans", but "Rain Dogs" is a little better for me.
She likes The Traveling Wilburys' Vol 3, I prefer Vol. 1.
As for Bruce Springsteen, she likes "Born In The U.S.A." and I like "The Rising" better.
Her favorite Led Zeppelin album is the first, I prefer the varied compilation "Early Days & Later Days".
Of course her Fleetwood Mac pick "Rumours" is not close to "Then Play On", even though the group is the same on these two selections in name only.

Now female and male opinions diverge completely. The rest of HER picks are (PFFFFFT):

The Concert For Bangladesh, Blessed Are... by Joan Baez
Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town by Emmy Lou Harris
Against The Wind by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel
Moondance by Van Morrison
Belladonna by Stevie Nicks
Angel Band by (OH NO NOT) Emmy Lou Harris again
Brave & Crazy by Melissa Etheridge
The Principle Of Moments by Robert Plant
Running On Empty by Jackson Browne

The rest of my picks are:

Disraeli Gears by Cream
The Doors' first album
Rides Again by The James Gang
Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround by The Kinks
Waiting For Columbus by Little Feat
The Inner Mounting Flame by The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Uncle Meat by The Mothers of Invention
Shine On Brightly by Procol Harum
The Joshua Tree by U2
Recycling The Blues & Other Related Stuff by Taj Mahal
Shady Grove by Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
The Eminem Show by Eminem
and any "Best of" Beethoven

My copy happens to be put out on the Metacom label.


"Idiot Wind" - Bob Dylan
"Piece Of My Heart" - Big Brother & The Holding Company
"Mother" - Pink Floyd
"No Woman No Cry" - Bob Marley
"Closer To Fine" - Indigo Girls
"Hard Rain" - Bob Dylan
"Willow" - Joan Armatrading
"Talkin' About A Revolution" - Tracy Chapman
"Sugaree" - Jerry Garcia
"River" - Joni Mitchell
"Boulder To Birmingham" - Emmy Lou Harris
"Hello In There" - John Prine
"Anchorage" - Michelle Shocked
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel
"Red, Red Wine" - UB40
"Shine A Light" - Rolling Stones
"Too Far From Texas" - Stevie Nicks
"Strong Enough" - Sheryl Crow
"Who Will Save Your Soul?" - Jewel
"Into The Fire" - Bruce Springsteen
"Let It Slip Away" - John Hiatt
"Tears In Heaven" - Eric Clapton
"Trouble Me" - 10,000 Maniacs
"She's A Mystery" - Roy Orbison
"Oh Happy Day" by The Edwin Hawkins Singers

Some of those singles I can see are not too bad, but I can do better. My taste in music is so ancient that not all of the recording labels mentioned are still in existence. Elektra is a now dormant subsidiary of Warner Bros. which itself is now a subsidiary of Sony. The Rolling Stones' London label is now managed by Polydor. MCA has been absorbed by Geffen Records.

I have to mention the sound reproduction equipment I used in researching the survey. My primary speakers are as old as my marriage. They are Realistic Mach 1s (the good screw terminal #4024) and sound as good as the day they were born. I would be interested to know if many people still use these. They are unbelievable.

My secondaries are little Optimus 7 1/4 x 4 1/2 speaker enclosures with big sound. I use a Yamaha turntable with Audio-technica cartridge. My CD changer is Optimus. My digital synthesized receiver is also an Optimus which is a Radio Shack brand. Realistic was the ancient Radio Shack brand. I can see people snickering but it is good stuff at a good price for the most part, although I am not enamored of the cd changer. The double cassette deck I use is a Teac.

Picks for the best guitarists, lyricists, & vocalists (as these categories define rock) are.........


HERS: Leo Kottke, Jimi Hendrix (this amazing talent could play his instrument with his teeth), Jerry Garcia, Alvin Lee, Stevie Ray Vaughn
HIS: Same except Frank Zappa instead of Garcia


HERS: Lennon & McCartney, Bob Dylan (nee Zimmerman, who will be recorded in history as one of the 20th century's great poet's), Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton
HIS: Tom Waits, Keith Reid (wrote for Procol Harem), Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem), Dylan & Springsteen


HERS: Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, Emmy Lou Harris, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen
HIS: Jagger, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia, Tom Waits, Alan (Blind Owl) Wilson. Blind Owl's voice is the antithesis of Tom Waits's. Even though Bob (The Bear) Hite was technically Canned Heat's lead singer, Al sang their most famous song.

That's a good lead in for THE ACTUAL 25 BEST SONGS OF ALL TIME (in my opinion), as "On The Road Again" is one of 'em. Then there's:

"Rattlesnake Shake" - (original) Fleetwood Mac
"Trouble Comin' Every Day" - Mothers of invention
"Alcohol" - Kinks
"The Thrill Is Gone" - B B King
"Louis Collins" - Garcia/Grisman
"Lose Yourself" - Eminem
"Wang Dang Doodle" - Koko Taylor
"Graceland" - Paul Simon
"Well Intentioned Blues" - Guest/Horowitz (National Lampoon)
"Darlin' If" - Spirit
"Tusk" - Fleetwood Mac
"Yellow Moon" - Neville Bros
"Tango Till They're Sore" - Tom Waits
"Voodoo Child" - Stevie Ray Vaughn
"Star Spangled Banner" - Jimi Hendrix
"Hurt" - Johnny Cash
"Strawberry Fields Forever" - Beatles
"Cry Baby" - Janis Joplin
"Love In Vain" - Rolling Stones
"Unsquare Dance" - Dave Brubeck
"Visions Of Johanna" - Bob Dylan
"Nebraska" - Bruce Springsteen

and I agree with the lady on "Oh Happy Day" & "Willow".

Sadly many of the great stars mentioned have passed on. Janis Joplin, who I think is the greatest female blues vocalist of all time, died from too much Southern Comfort and heroin at the age of 27. That is one of music's great tragedies. Likewise the booze and drugs did in Jim Morrison of The Doors before he reached the age of 30. Frank Zappa died from prostate cancer. He was an absolute genius. Jerry Garcia & Roy Orbison had heart attacks. The great blues artists BB King & Koko Taylor are gone. Bob Marley died from brain cancer. The great country singer Patsy Cline died too young (30) in a plane crash and another country icon, Johnny Cash had diabetes finish him. Stevie Ray Vaughn died in a helicopter disaster.

I don't think Ludwig Von is with us anymore. John Lennon was murdered by a crazy fan. Another Beatle and also a member of The Traveling Wilburys, George Harrison, died of cancer. The two lead singers for Canned Heat, Blind Owl & The Bear died young, both in 1970, Alan Wilson committing suicide. All 3 members of The Jimi Hendrix Experience are gone now, drummer "Mitch" Mitchell succumbing in late 2008. 3/5 of Spirit are dead (Ed Cassidy, Randy California, & keyboardist John Locke). John Bonham of Led Zeppelin choked on his vomit in 1980.

Fortunately many of the rest are still with us, making great tunes. How does Keith Richards keep going? I would have picked him to go 1st, not his bandmate Brian Jones (drowned). Thanks for listening to good music.

Article Source:

The History of the Temptations

Paul Williams (far right), with the Temptation...Image of The Temptations in 1967 via Wikipedia

The History of the Temptations by Robert D Hill

The history of The Temptations is long and convoluted, involving a number of bands commencing in 1955. Four childhood friends, namely Paul Williams, Wiley Waller, Kel Osbourne and Eddie Kendricks formed The Cavaliers in 1955. Starting in Birmingham, Alabama, their hometown, the group moved as a trio to Cleveland and then to Detroit when Wiley Waller left the group. In Detroit, they became known as The Primes.

Meanwhile, Otis Williams had formed a group known as Otis Williams and the Siberians and was also singing in the Detroit area. Not long thereafter, the Otis Williams and the Siberians group was renamed to be The El Domingoes. Later when The El Domingoes signed up to record with Northern Records, their name was changed once more to The Distants. Members from these two groups, The Distants and The Primes, came together to form The Temptations.

The lineup of The Temptations included Otis Williams, Elbridge "Al" Bryant, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks. They named themselves The Elgins and in March 1961 auditioned for Gordy at Motown.

The Temptations released two records "Check Yourself" and "Oh Mother of Mine" with Paul Williams as the lead singer. In the first two years, none of their 7 singles made it to the top 100 US singles charts. However, "Dream Come True" recorded in 1962 was 22nd on the Rhythm and Blues chart; it was not all bad. During this time, they began to make a name for themselves for their versatility. Kendricks and Williams were the lead singers and The Temptation's signature sound became known because of their lead.

While all this was going on, attempts at getting the group a hit song were almost frantic. They recorded songs like "Isn't She Pretty" and "I Want a Love I Can See" but none of these became hits. In an attempt to improve it was suggested that their name be changed to The Pirates under which they recorded "I'll Love You Till I Die" and "Mind Over Matter", but still nothing changed. Elbridge Bryant became restless with this and became uncooperative. In 1963 he was fired from the group and quickly replaced by David Ruffin.

Bobby Rogers and Smokey Robinson's co-wrote a song with Eddie Kendricks as the lead singer. It was known as "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and it became the group's first song to hit the Top 20 in April of 1964. Kendricks was the lead singer for the next two singles that followed in the same year, "I'll Be in Trouble" and "Girl Why You Wanna Make Me Blue." In the same year their first album labeled "Meet The Temptations" was also released.

At this time Smokey Robinson was working on a song that would be perfect for David Ruffin's voice. "My Girl" was recorded in the fall of 1964 and released on the day before Christmas. It became their first pop hit to make it to number one in March of the next year. From there, they had many other songs on the Top 20 in 1965 including "My Baby," "It's Growing," and "Since I Lost My Baby". Norman Whitfield became the producer of the group in 1966 and wrote "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." Other hits included "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep," "I know I'm Losing You," "Loneliness Made Me Realize It's You That I need," "You're My Everything" and "All I Need."

The albums they released between 1965 and 1968 included The Temptin' Temptations, The Temptations Sing Smokey, Getting Ready, The Temptations with a Lot o' Soul, and The Temptations Wish It Would Rain. Later "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" became another major hit for The group. As success came, wrangles on leadership came along with it, leading to many different singers joining and leaving the group.

The Temptations have made a name for themselves through the years, and are one group that has lasted for a very long time. The group has won three Grammy Awards, six of their members are members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and three of their songs have been included in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock & Roll. They have had four singles on the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 as well as 14 on the top spot of the Billboard R&B charts.

They have been called The Beatles of Soul and have sold albums in the tens of millions. They were with Motown for 40 years, second only to Stevie Wonder, and with Atlantic records for 13 years. They continue to record and perform with Universal records with Otis Williams, one of the founding members still in the lineup. There is no telling how much longer they will last, but they have come a long way with no sign of letting up. They have truly earned the name, The Fighting Temptations.

For the opportunity to learn more about the Temptations, shop for books, music, videos, and or apparel, check out You can also watch YouTube videos, view the latest Motown news and comment on our blog.

Article Source:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Gypsy

Written by Greg Bahr on

In 1959, James Marshall Hendrix enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a paratrooper, which is appropriate, because his style was so revolutionary that in retrospect, he seemingly dropped from the sky armed with a guitar and blazed a trail followed by a generation of players.

After being released from the Army, Hendrix cut his teeth on the "Chitlin' Circuit," a string of clubs in the South so named because they served chitlins' and other soul food. He was employed as lead guitarist by blues singer/harmonica player Slim Harpo, soul singer/guitarist Curtis Mayfield, rhythm and blues singer Sam Cooke, and rock and roll singer/piano player Little Richard, among others. These varied apprenticeships fed the wellspring from which Hendrix' musical vision flowed.

Looking to step out of the shadows and into the limelight, Hendrix moved to New York's Greenwich Village, where he fronted his own band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. While playing a gig at the Cafe Wha?, Hendrix was discovered by Chas Chandler, bassist of the Animals, who brought Hendrix to London and became his manager. Upon his arrival in England, Hendrix changed the spelling of his first name to "Jimi," and formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums.

In the early days of the Experience, Jimi began playing a Fender Stratocaster. While sitting in with Cream, he first plugged into a Marshall, which then became his amplifier of choice. Among the vanguard in the use of effects pedals, Hendrix used Crybaby and Vox Wah Wahs, a Uni-Vibe, and a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face to articulate his trademark distortion drenched leads. These musical engines fueled Jimi's journey into the rock and roll stratosphere.

The band's debut album asked the question "Are You Experienced?," and the answer was that no one had ever experienced anything like it. "Foxey Lady," "Fire," "The Wind Cries Mary," and "Hey Joe" are among the classic songs that have since become psychedelic rock standards. The LSD influenced "Purple Haze" featured the Octavia, a guitar effect invented by Roger Mayer that mixed the instrument's original note with a tone an octave higher. The title song was driven by an overdubbed, backwards guitar solo that took the listener on a musical acid trip.

In June of 1967, the Experience performed at the Monterey International Pop Festival on the recommendation of Paul McCartney. Their set included covers of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby," and the Troggs' "Wild Thing." Following The Who on stage, Jimi was looking for a way to top Pete Townshend's guitar smashing finale, "My Generation." Before the show, Hendrix searched the crowd for a bottle of lighter fluid, which he used to set his guitar ablaze, at the conclusion of "Fire." With his virtuosic musicianship and outlandish stage theatrics, Hendrix amazed the Monterey audience, heralding his triumphant return to America.

Jimi's second album, "Axis: Bold as Love," expanded the lyrical and musical universe he had created. "Up from the Skies" was a science fiction themed single with jazzy, wah wah inflected rhythm and lead parts. A Leslie speaker gave the slow, wistful "Little Wing" a liquid tonal quality. "If 6 Was 9" voiced the hippie street politics of the Sixties, and "Bold as Love" was colored by a studio produced phasing effect that transported the listener into outer space.

While recording "Electric Ladyland," Hendrix augmented his musical palette with the addition of various instrumentalists. Keyboard player Steve Winwood and Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady jammed on "Voodoo Chile," drummer Buddy Miles sat in on "Rainy Day, Dream Away" and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming," Al Kooper played piano on "Long Hot Summer Night," and guitarist Dave Mason strummed rhythm on Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." The album closed with "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," a masterpiece which captured the essence of Jimi's improvisational spirit.

After the "Ladyland" sessions, Noel Redding left the band, and was replaced by Jimi's Army buddy, bassist Billy Cox. Mitch Mitchell remained on drums, while guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez were added. This group, named Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, backed Hendrix at Woodstock. On a stunning version of "The Star Spangled Banner," Hendrix artfully manipulated the Strat's whammy bar to replicate the sound and fury of "the bombs bursting in air and the rockets' red glare."

On December 31st, 1969, Hendrix celebrated New Year's Eve by playing a concert at the Fillmore East with the Band of Gypsys. Flanked by Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, Jimi tore through a set highlighted by "Machine Gun," a Vietnam protest song in which Hendrix' Uni-Vibe laced guitar lines and Miles' military drum bursts simulated the sounds of battle.

Hendrix then formed the second Jimi Hendrix Experience with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell. This trio embarked upon a tour which included an appearance at the Isle of Wight, where they played the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," and "Red House," Jimi's signature slow blues composition. "Freedom," "Angel," "Room Full of Mirrors," and "Dolly Dagger" are among the unfinished sketches posthumously released on "First Rays of the New Rising Sun," the album Hendrix was in the process of recording before he died on September 18th, 1970.

Although his flame was extinguished at the early age of twenty seven, Jimi Hendrix' revolutionary guitar pyrotechnics ignited an inferno that still rages through the heart and soul of rock and roll.

Selected Jimi Hendrix Discography:

Are You Experienced?
Axis: Bold as Love
Electric Ladyland
Smash Hits
Band of Gypsys
The Cry of Love
Rainbow Bridge
Hendrix in the West
War Heroes
Loose Ends
Crash Landing
Midnight Lightning
First Rays of the New Rising Sun
BBC Sessions
Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix
South Saturn Delta
Nine to the Universe
Jimi Hendrix: Blues

Selected Jimi Hendrix Videography:

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live at Monterey
Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock
Hendrix Band of Gypsys
Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight
Jimi Plays Berkeley

Article written by Greg Bahr on

The Life of Malcolm X

Malcolm XImage by cliff1066 via Flickr

The Life of Malcolm X by Russell Shortt

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. His father, Earl Little was an outspoken Baptist preacher and an avid supporter of the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. The young Malcolm was to be moulded by his father and the terrible oppression that was inflicted upon his family.

The family was forced to move twice after receiving death threats from white supremacists. The family eventually settled in Lansing, Michigan but their efforts to escape trouble failed, the family home was burned to the ground and two years later Earl Little was found dead in suspicious circumstances.

His father's death had a devastating effect on the family, his mother began to suffer mental problems, eventually being committed to a mental institution. Devastatingly, the children were broken up and sent to different foster homes and orphanages.

The young Malcolm was moved around a series of white foster homes, he was certainly unsettled but he managed to remain focused on his studies, graduating from junior high school at the top of his class. However, when a favourite teacher scoffed at his lofty ideals of becoming a lawyer, telling him that such high aspirations were not for a black man, he dropped out of school entirely. He moved to Boston to live with his older half-sister Ella Little Collins.

Collins lived in Roxbury, which was the centre of the African-American community in Boston. Malcolm was attracted to the energetic, bubbling, communal lifestyle. He worked a number of odd jobs, before taking to the road and drifting from city to city; he eventually shored up in Harlem, New York. He began to peddle in the criminal underbelly of the city, becoming involved in narcotics, prostitution and racketeering rings. He managed to avoid the draft during World War Two by putting on a show of madness when he was being interviewed.

In 1945 he returned to Boston becoming involved in a number of robberies, he was soon arrested, charged and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. He served his sentence at the Massachusetts State Prison in Charlestown. It was there that he met John Elton Bembry, who would profoundly influence Malcolm's way of thinking. Malcolm was hugely moved by the way in which Bembry stirred respect amongst his fellow prisoners just through the use of words and language.

The two struck up a friendship, Bembry encouraged Malcolm to educate himself. In 1949, after being informed of the Nation of Islam by his brother, Malcolm began to become very interested in the movement. The Nation promoted the concept of black self reliance and actively sought to assist African-Americans in achieving political, economic and social success.

He began to correspond with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad and soon became a member. In 1952, Malcolm was released form prison, he went to visit Muhammad, becoming prominent in the movement. He changed his surname, dropping 'Little' as he viewed it as his slave name and adopting the surname X to signify the tribal identity that had being lost to him forever.

He was soon appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam and was charged with the establishment of new mosques. Charismatic and compelling, Malcolm began to seriously increase the membership of the Nation, utilising all forms of media to spread the movement's vision. He began to become a media magnet, being featured in countless interviews, programmes and articles.

He was featured in a week long television programme called The Hate That Hate Produced with Mike Wallace in 1959. The programme explored the movement and Malcolm's place in it, by the end of the run, it was apparent that Malcolm X had eclipsed his mentor Elijah Muhammad's influence within the movement. As opposed to the civil rights movement, the Nation condoned any means necessary to achieve it's aims. Such a stance alarmed the authorities, FBI agents infiltrated the organisation and began to monitor all the group's activities.

By 1963, Malcolm had become disillusioned with the Nation; he had learnt that his mentor Elijah Muhammad had secretly been having affairs with several women within the movement and indeed some had given birth to his children. Malcolm was dismayed, Muhammad had taught celibacy. Malcolm felt cheated and more importantly he felt that he had in turn cheated all the people that he had persuaded to join the Nation which he now perceived as a fraudulent organisation.

To compound the fall-out, Malcolm had made scathing comments about JFK's assassination, the Nation publicly censured their talisman, Malcolm had enough and split from the movement. He founded his own religious organisation, the Muslim Mosque Inc. and a secular organisation, the Organisation of Afro-American Unity, a group that advocated black nationalism. In the spring of 1964, he converted to Sunni Islam and embarked upon a pilgrimage to Mecca, it was to fundamentally alter his outlook.

During his pilgrimage, he encountered and observed Muslims of different races interacting as equals, he began to believe that Islam could be used as a vehicle with which racial problems could be overcome. On his return to America, he began to preach not just solely to African Americans but to all races, his vision had definitely broadened.

This led to an even further deterioration in relations between Malcolm and The Nation of Islam, the latter taking the rather drastic decision of marking him for assassination. Tragically, on 21 February 1965, whilst speaking at an Organisation of Afro-American Unity meeting, Malcom X was shot and killed by three gunmen who rushed the stage.

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt,

Article Source:

The Life of Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr.Image via Wikipedia

The Life of Martin Luther King Jr by Russell Shortt

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on 15 January 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Interestingly, he was named after the original Martin Luther, the initiator of the Protestant Reformation. The young King received his early education at Booker T. Washington High School; he excelled there, being allowed to enter Morehouse College at the tender age of fifteen without even formally graduating from high school.

He graduated from Morehouse in 1948 with a degree in sociology and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania from which he graduated with a Degree of Divinity in 1951. He then enrolled at Boston University, receiving his Doctor of Philosophy on 5 June, 1955. He married Coretta Scott in 1953, they began their lives in Montgomery, Alabama with King becoming pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

The civil rights leader Howard Thurman was a profound influence on the young King. Thurman had met with Gandhi and he arranged for King to meet with the Gandhi family in India in 1959, the trip was to greatly influence King's thinking, confirming his dedication to non-violent resistance. The civil rights activist Baynard Rustin further counselled King to confine his struggle entirely to non-violent means.

In 1955, Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks were arrested for refusing to give up their bus seats to white passengers. King was one of the prime organisers of the ensuing Montgomery Bus Boycott, which caused huge deficits in public transit profits. The boycott lasted or over a year and led to the United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery bus segregation laws were unconstitutional.

In 1957, King was one of the founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which was created to organise the black churches into mass protests by non-violent means, King would lead the movement until his death. King was a victim of an assassination attempt in 1958; while signing copies of his book, Strive Toward Freedom, in a Harlem department store, he was stabbed in the chest by a Izola Curry and narrowly escaped death. It didn't swerve him from his vision, he continued to work tirelessly, organising and leading civil rights marches. In December 1961, King and the SCLC became involved with the Albany Movement, a group which had mobilised thousands of citizens in a wide ranging non-violent protest on all elements of segregation within the city of Albany, Georgia.

King was scooped up in a mass of peaceful protestors, he declined bail until the city made concessions, agreements were made and King accepted to be released but the authorities rescinded on all their promises. A similar campaign was embarked upon in Birmingham, Alabama in the spring of 1963; it was more successful, the movement had learned from it's past mistakes. The SCLC leant it's influential sway to similar protests in St. Augustine, Florida and Selma, Alabama in 1964.

King was also one of the prime movers in the August 1963 massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It has become one of the most seminal moments of the twentieth century, providing the indelible image of over a quarter of a million people crammed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial onto the National Mall and around the calm waters of the reflecting pool. It also provided humanity with some of it's most powerful rhetoric ever voiced as King delivered his electrifying I Have a Dream speech.

However, resistance against the civil rights movement and it's goals was still fierce, as evidenced by the violence meted out to protestors on a series of attempted marches from Selma to Montgomery. King and others began to realise that they would need to spread the movement further, they knew they needed to go nationwide, that is they knew that they had to motivate the North of the country. They began this phase of their resistance in Chicago, where they met equal if not more ferocious opposition as they had in the South.

In 1968, King and the SCLC organised the Poor People's Campaign to address issues of economic injustice, King began to travel the length and breath of the country in order to assemble an army of multi-racial supporters to march on Washington. Towards the end of March, King arrived in Memphis, Tennessee to support black sanitary public works employees. Horrifically, he was assassinated in the early evening of April 4, 1968. However, they could not silence him, his legacy ensured the progress of civil rights in America and indeed throughout the world.

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt,

Article Source:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

NEW RELEASE: B.B. King Live At Montreux 1993 on Blu-ray & DVD

Eagle Rock Entertainment is releasing a DVD of B.B. King’s performance at the Montreux Festival in 1993. It will be in stores on June 2nd!

B.B. King/Live At Montreux 1993/Blu-ray & DVD

Perhaps the greatest living bluesman, B.B. King was but a mere 68 when he appeared at Montreux in 1993 to wow the faithful. And he didn’t disappoint. Both DVD and Blu-ray contain his classic 16-song set. The Blu-ray has an exclusive three-song bonus (“Why I Sing The Blues,” “When Love Comes To Town,” and “Guess Who”) from his Montreux appearance 13 years later in 2006 at the age of 81.

Clip of “Caldonia” from BB King Live at Montreux DVD:


Ziggy Marley to Revise Father's Songs For Children

Bob Marley live in concert in Zurich, Switzerl...Image via Wikipedia

Ziggy Marley to Revise Father's Songs For Children by James Dunsford

Fathers who are fans of Bob Marley's music, and who have always envisioned sharing their favorite songs with their children, may get the chance to do so in an innovative way this June.

Ziggy Marley, the eldest child of the late reggae singer, will be releasing two children-themed albums in the coming months, one of which will be a set of his father's songs that have been revised and remastered for children.

The album will be titled Family Time and is set for a June release. Proceeds from the album will reportedly go to Chepstowe Basic School in Port Antonio, Jamaica.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Marley admitted he never intended to do music for children, until he had what some may call an epiphany.

"I kind of realized why I'm being led into this world of family/children's music is because we have to speak to the children now," Marley said. "The children have the open-mindedness. They're going to grow up and make the world a better place, so it's them we have to have some kind of discussion with."

Marley added the album is "the beginning of a discussion with children," which may tie in to some fathers using their parenting skills to have open conversations with their kids.

This can also be a way for some fathers to bond with their daughter or son. Many dads have passed on their interests, such as sports or music, to their children. This can lead to a simple way for two different generations to bond.

With Marley's new album, it may work particularly well for fathers who grew up listening to Bob Marley albums, but who have been hesitant to introduce the singer's work because of some of the lyrical content. For example, a father may not want his child singing "I shot the sheriff" in school.

The four-time Grammy winning artist assured older fans that though the album will have "a different vibe," it will still be the same Bob Marley people have grown to love over the years only for children, according to the article.

"I'm keeping true to the spirit of my father, to the spirit of his music," Marley told the news provider.

James is a single-parenting and parenting skills specialist for

Article Source:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Remembering John Bonham

John BonhamJohn Bonham via

Remembering John Bonham by Mark Brownlee

The late great John Bonham is still regarded today as one of the greatest ever rock drummers, even decades after his death. Why? Well, why not! John's playing has inspired countless thousands of drummers around the world to pick up the sticks and play. His style has been hugely imitated, copied, and sampled and he paved the way for the hard rock drummers of today. Let's take a closer look.


John's style was one of the best features of his playing, he really got stuck into the drums hard and got a big powerful sound from them. He used big, deep drums when other drummers in the 70's were playing much smaller sizes. Not only that, but he tuned them quite tight and didn't use any padding or dampening at all. He wanted a huge, powerful, open sound, and that's what he got.


Just as good was John's feel, he could certainly lay down a mean groove. On Led Zeppelin tracks like 'Whole lotta love' for example where the beat is almost swung slightly, the track is brought to life and feels much more alive and edgy. Instead of just playing straight and solid, John brought the feel of a real drummer to the music with ghosted notes, dynamics, and a mild swing inspired by some of his jazz drumming influences like Buddy Rich.


Another great thing about John's drumming was his ability to come up with musical ideas that were integral to the song. Zeppelin's riffs weren't just on guitar and bass, they were on drums too! Big driving fills, and crash cymbals propelled the songs forward, while his intricate snare buzz strokes and bass drum triplets added substance and interest to the sound.

Drum Solos

John Bonham was also well known for playing some amazing drum solos, especially 'Moby Dick' that featured in live shows. Here John would use the whole drum set with sticks, play with his hands, and also use percussion like bongos and congas. He even had a large Paiste gong at the back of his set-up and sometimes used large orchestral timpani drums too. Talk about being creative and interesting! These solos could last as long as 15 to 30 minutes and showed the depth of John's drumming ability and technique.


Very few drummers have had such a lasting impact decades after their death. The fact that today's drummers look back at what John did in the 1970's and still regard it as some of the best rock drumming ever, goes to show how important it was. John has influenced, and continues to influence, the playing of tens of thousands of drummers around the world. And rightly so. John Bonham is one of the greatest drummers in rock music.

For further information about John Bonham including videos, pictures, biography, discography, quotes, set-up and more, visit the John Bonham page at

Mark Brownlee has been playing drums for more than 12 years and has obtained a BA Hons degree in popular music studies. He now writes drum related articles and supports the drumming community with his website which features articles, videos, lessons, news, drummer biographies, pictures and more.

Article Source:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lead Guitar Solos and the Guitarists Who Played Them

Jeff Beck Jeff Beck via

Lead Guitar Solos and the Guitarists Who Played Them by Ricky Sharples

In the early hours of the morning have you ever wondered where the great lead guitar solos came from and how did the guitar solo get firmly wedged into today's popular music? Did it all start with Chuck Berry in the nineteen fifties or with The Yardbirds or The Rolling Stones in the sixties? Or did it all start with the guitar solo in Rock Around The Clock by Bill Hayley And The Comets?

Of course before rock and roll took off as a musical force, Les Paul who was one of the earliest electric guitar players. The team of Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford made many records and had their own TV series, and most of the songs included a guitar solo in some form. But I don't think I have ever read of any lead guitarist being inspired by the solos of Les Paul.

You could change the question to "who was the first guitar player to make his lead guitar solos stand out noticeably?" Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins certainly made their own distinctive impressions during the early years of rock and roll but the nineteen sixties really brought the electric guitar into its own as a solo instrument through performers like The Shadows, The Ventures and Dick Dale.

There were also the simple but exciting instrumentals of Link Wray and Duane Eddy. Probably a contributing factor to the age of the guitar instrumental was that, apart from Hank Marvin of The Shadows, none of these guitar players could sing. The era of the guitar instrumental filled the three or four years before The Beatles and The Stones changed the face of music entirely.

By the time Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton emerged as the original guitar heroes, the instrumental groups had come and gone but they were very real influence on the guitarists of the late sixties.

George Harrison's guitar solos with The Beatles were always very tuneful but a lot of people say that George himself was not very good at composing solos and he just played what Lennon and McCartney suggested to him. The riffs on Day Tripper and Ticket To Ride are said to be the work of John Lennon.

The element of rock and roll that we refer to as the riff has been around for many years. The guitar was brought out of the jazz band rhythm section by men like Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt.

Once Jimi Hendrix had arrived on the scene it seemed as though every rock and roll guitar player had the world's permission to create lead guitar solos. And they are still doing it.

Do you want to learn to play the guitar? Learn How To Play A Guitar For Free is a constantly updated blog which contains all the resources you need for: learning to play solo guitar, how to learn guitar chords, how to learn to read and play easy acoustic guitar tabs, finding a free online guitar tuner, looking for free guitar lessons online, and how to learn guitar scales.

Article Source:

A Look at Famous Guitarists and Their Guitars

Gypsy Sun and RainbowsGypsy Sun and Rainbows via

A Look at Famous Guitarists and Their Guitars - Guitar Players by Eugene Walker

Jimi Hendrix's Guitar - Fender 60s Reverse Headstock Stratocaster

If you like music, then you know about an American guitarist, singer and songwriter named Jimi Hendrix. He was classed as one of best and influenced many a budding guitarist with his music. Though starting in England it wasn't until the Monterey Festival in 1967 that he was recognized worldwide. He later went on to headline The 1969 Woodstock Festival and with his style of playing using guitar feedback and overdriven amplifiers he turned an undesirable sound into a highly popular type of music.

Jimmy Page's Guitars - Gibson Les Paul Classic; Gibson Custom Shop Jimmy Page Double Neck Electric

Another amazing artist is Jimmy Page, from England he is also a composer and record producer. He started out as a studio guitarist then joined a band called the Yardbirds, which played from 1966 to 1968. He then founded one of the best and most popular English bands called Led Zeppelin. In rock history, Jimmy Page is a legend in his own right as a guitarist and songwriter. Page was also ranked the #9th greatest guitarist of all time.

Eric Clapton's Guitar - Artist Signature Stratocaster

You can't talk guitarists without talking about" Slowhand" Eric Clapton. This English award winning rock guitarist and singer is also a songwriter and composer. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 3 times and was one of the best musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries. Though he's tried different styles, the blues are always present in his playing. He has played with Cream, The Yardbirds and blues-rock band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

Joe Satriani's Guitars - Ibanez JS100; Ibanez JS1000; Ibanez JS1200

Another great guitarist from America is Joe Satriani. His style of instrumental rock music in a world previously dominated by pop opened the doors for a completely new type of music. His blues and rock tone has a warm sound and the influences of such artists as Jimi Hendrix , Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck can be heard in his music.

Carlos Santana's Guitar - PRS Santana II Gibson SG

Fame came to Carlos Santana and his band in the late 60s and early 70s. With a fantastic blend of rock, blues, jazz, salsa using Latin instruments such as congas, and timbales it was a sound with great melody that Santana perfected over the decades to come.

Angus Young's Guitar - Gibson Angus Young Signature SG

AC/DC is an Australian hard rock band and its co-founder Angus Young is an amazing guitarist and songwriter and is ranked in the magazine Rolling Stones list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time at 96th. He is known for his schoolboy-uniform outfits and his hard-edge style lead guitar playing.

Keith Richards' Guitars - Fender 1950s Telecaster; Gibson Les Paul Classic

One of the most famous bands of all times is by far The Rolling Stones. One of the co-founders. Keith Richards is a guitarist from England and sings as well as produces music with lead vocalist Mick Jagger. Together they have written and produced many hit songs and Richards is rated number 10 on the Rolling Stones Guitarist list.

These are but a few of the most famous guitarists and the guitars they play!

Jam with a live band with over 1000 guitar backing tracks at PlanetofRock Studios. Visit PlanetofRock below:

Jam with your favourite bands at the comfort of your own home with popular backing tracks for guitar from over 100 bands.

P.S: Visit Planet of Rock official site now and download free guitar video lessons now.

Article Source:

The Albums of Bruce Springsteen, Part Four

Cover of "The River"Cover of The River

The Albums of Bruce Springsteen, Part Four by Russell Shortt

He completed the trilogy of albums with The River (1980), a double album tour de force with a staggering range of styles on show. If Born to Run and Darkness at the Edge of Town detailed the experiences, The River throws up what people do after the realisation of the betrayals committed against them and indeed their complicity in them.

But Springsteen ain't offering a candy-coated path of redemption, no sir, rather he maps out the Dreiserian paths that are taken, the method of simply finding a way, to deal, to move forward. Springsteen was just over thirty, yet his world-weariness and sagely conclusions were like late Whitman.

The plight of the working classes troubled him, he had to sing their woes, the record's diverse musical range had the paradoxical effect of making us dance, sing, thrash and swoon whilst listening to The Boss voice our worlds and lives, at least someone was. Springsteen wasn't kidding around and this wasn't no commercial enterprise, Nebraska (1982) proved that. A stark, lo-fi record that found Springsteen alone with an acoustic, bitter and raging, gone is the support of E-street, it's all become too serious for musical distractions, Springsteen is facing down the barrel of it all, alone.

Never mind the expectation, never mind the industry, Springsteen wanted to make Nebraska and so he made Nebraska. Taking the baton from a long line of radical troubadours such as Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Blind Willie McTell and Hank Williams. He was opening up his arms to America, no longer restricting himself to the confines of New Jersey, taking up the cause of all the States, telling the people that he was the one to do it, and he could do it alone if needs be.

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland.

Article source: Russell Shortt, -

Article Source:,-Part-Four&id=2259195