Saturday, December 31, 2011

VIDEO: Return To Forever - Sometime Ago

Hi all,

Here's a classic from 1972.

Flora Purim, Chick Corea ... 1972

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Where Could The Door Of Perception Have Gone?

The DoorsCover of The DoorsBy Seth Frank

Jim Morrison's voice was a firm stone of reality, like the rock of Gibraltar, in an era of overzealous peace and love.

He was raw sexuality and unashamed of his unabashed masculinity. For over forty years The Doors have been dissected and written about. They have left a deep and beautiful wound on the history of music. It is hard to find the same telepathic nuance in a collective consciousness that they held as a group.

Ray Manzarek was the true founding member and the keyboardist who set the psychedelic background stage for Morrison's vocal onslaught of poetry. Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger joined after two other guys dropped out, one was Manzarek's brother, because they thought the band wasn't going to make it.

It was trying for The Doors to get recognized for their brilliance during an age of Beach Boys enthusiasts in LA. It just took a year for the intial Doors vinyl album to be released. The first Doors vinyl release had their haunting song "The End", as well as their two well-known hits and most recognized songs, "Light My Fire" and "Break On Through (To The Other Side)".

"The End" was always a crowd favorite because of the imagery that would spew forth from Jim's lips in a drug induced trance. The audience never knew what was to come at the real end of his rant. Would Jim kill his father and mother or would he commit unspeakable actions of treachery worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy? Or perhaps Jim would just faint before the end of the song.

Jim was the notorious poet in the group, but it was guitarist Krieger that penned the opening lines of the well-known hit, "Light My Fire". "Funeral pyre" was added by Jim, who claimed that the once uplifting love song required a bit of death added into it. Morrison believed that songs, much like life, must end in death.

A fairly true thought coming from a man who got the name of the band from a William Blake quote, "If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is - infinite."

Morrison died too soon in 1971 due to booze and drugs. The band never gathered the same audience after Jim's passing, and ended it for good in 1973. Too bad; who knows what may have been achieved through Jim's words and insight into the dark side of the unconscious.

The original Doors vinyl albums are one of the all time best selling collections for groups along with records by The Who and The Rolling Stones. The Doors sales are still going good, reaching 100 million plus worldwide in vinyl records. Not bad considering they only recorded six studio records with Morrison. The Doors will always be relevant because every year some new kid will connect with Morrison's deep soulful lyrics and realize they aren't alone in this world anymore.

SoundStage Direct, LLC is an online independent store based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. SSD has the largest selection of vinyl records online. And you don't want to miss amazing closeout deals available at our LP outlet! We have record albums in every genre (for example: Doors vinyl) and in a variety of formats available ready to be shipped at your doorstep.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

VIDEO: Spooky Tooth - Waitin' For the Wind

Hey all,

Here's another fantastic track from Spooky Tooth - from their second album, Spooky Two - a classic track by the 60's rockers. A Hammond B3, an overdrive, and a Leslie Tower, what more could you want?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

VIDEO: Spooky Tooth - Feelin' Bad

Hi all,

Who remembers Spooky Tooth? They were a great progressive rock band in the late 1960s, featuring Gary Wright. This is a track called "Feelin' Bad" from their second album, "Spooky Two".


Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Spirituality of Rock and Roll

Bob DylanBob Dylan (Image via Neal R Warner

Why has rock and roll lasted over fifty-five years when since the 1950s people have said that it was just a fad that wouldn't last five years?

Specifically, why has Classic Rock lasted forty-seven years with its own radio station format and its artists still popular not only with its original audience but with their children and now their grandchildren?

Teenage angst, rebellion, social protest and sex eventually lose their appeal, at least as song topics, so what is it about Classic Rock that keeps on rockin'?

One of the defining elements of Classic Rock are the somewhat obscure lyrics. If a lyric is too abstract to be easily understood it is often thought to be "deep" or poetic. If the average listener can't tell just what exactly the song is about then it is assumed to represent something that can't be told in plain English.

Rock songs are well known for saying things "between the lines" that can't be said in polite society. Sex and drugs were taboo subjects once and so the slang of the counter cultures of the times was used as code within the song lyrics.

If someone didn't readily understand the words it was assumed he or she just wasn't "in the know" or cool enough. This put the public in a position where it felt the need to project their own meaning to songs that may or not have been originally intended. But this really doesn't explain Classic Rock's lasting appeal.

What might explain it is that many Classic Rock fans get from the music the feeling that some kind of esoteric knowledge is hidden within the lyrics. Much of the lyrical content of Classic Rock and particularly of Progressive or Prog Rock is based on visual symbolism.

Rather than tell you facts, the lyrics paint you a picture and a picture is worth a thousand words, or rhymes. You get the feeling you understand the song rather than think you understand and feeling something is always much more involving than thinking it. Thinking does not necessarily involve emotion while feeling almost always does. It reaches a deeper part of your consciousness and that is why you may feel a particular song is "deep" or important even if you really can't explain why.

Symbolism is the universal language of our dreams. We all perfectly understand what's going on in our dreams while we are wherever "there" is. It is only when we awaken and cannot translate the meaning of the visual symbols of our dreams but only remember the symbols themselves do we think our dreams weird or strange. They certainly weren't weird or strange to us while we were dreaming them.

Unconsciously we do understand the information we were given in the dream state and in other cultures these dream events are taken just as seriously as any event in "normal" waking reality. In the lyrics to some Classic Rock and Prog songs the abstract nature of the lyrics reminds us of the language of our dream state and we instinctively recognize their importance even if we can't consciously interpret their literal meaning.

It is because of this connection with a deeper consciousness that the lyrical content of a song provides combined with the musical and sonic accompaniment that often is also dreamy or "trippy" as well that makes this style of music so important not only to its original fans but to new generations.

Some great examples of Classic Rock lyrics are in the songs:

Hotel California - (The Eagles) This song about time spent in a mysterious hotel is about modern life in California yet never leaves the hotel.

All Along The Watch Tower - (Bob Dylan) The most famous version has Jimi Hendrix trying to phonetically sing the first line, "none of them along the line know what any of it is worth," that he obviously doesn't understand.

Almost anything by the band Yes. Jon Anderson claimed he chose his song lyrics according to the sound of the words, not the meaning yet most Yes fans will tell you their lyrics are very deep and full of meaning.

I Am The Walrus - (The Beatles) John Lennon claimed to have written this in response to the fans and the press continuously trying to interpret his lyrics. His famous quote was; "Let the f#$%kers figure this one out."

Neal Warner is an artist, writer, filmmaker, member of the multimedia band, The Tooners and founder of Director's Clip, The Internet and Music Video Sponsorship Site ( and Rock & Roll Rehab, For The Control of Rock & Roll (

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jim Morrison's Rise And Failures As An American Singer

Jim MorrisonJim Morrison (Image via Seth Frank

During the 1960s, the Southern California community was taken by storm by a rock-and-roll band referring to themselves as The Doors, who combined a mixture of blues rock, hard rock and acid rock.

Despite their prosperity, the band received much criticism by the media because of Jim Morrison's often strange behavior both on and off the stage. However, despite Morrison's behavior, the band managed to witness worldwide success, releasing nine vinyl records during their eight-year existence.

Even after Morrison's tragic death in 1971, the band managed to live on, but the success of the band was short lived because Morrison was such an important member to the band's success.

Early History

The first individuals of The Doors were Morrison and Ray Manzarek, who would meet while at UCLA. Before the band got its start, Morrison found the inspiration to form a band when Manzarek was shooting a video for a project (which planted the idea in Morrison's head to start a rock band).

As the band became larger, Manzarek knew of a drummer who would be the best person for their band in John Densmore, and later, The Doors would hire Robby Krieger as their guitarist. Upon the start of the band, the title "The Doors" had yet to appear; it was not till the members saw inspiration from Aldous Huxley's book The Door of Perception that the title "The Doors" came into existence.

The band would create a name for itself while singing at the famous London Fog and soon after at the Whiskey a Go Go concert in Southern California. After experiencing success as a rock band performing around Southern California, the band would score a record deal and begin recording their first self-titled album.

Early Morrison Issues

During a show in New Haven, Connecticut, Morrison was arrested on stage after an officer had seen Morrison kissing a fan backstage. The event led the police officer to take Morrison into custody while on stage, making Morrison the first singer to ever be arrested while on stage.

In spite of their early success, Morrison would also become reliant on drugs and alcohol, leading to more issues with the band. His reliance on the two vices created tension among the band because it was difficult to record with a drunk or high Morrison. Despite Morrison's drug and alcohol issues, the band released their third Doors vinyl record and would continue their triumph as a group.

Death and End of an Era

Despite all the prosperity as a rock and roll band, Morrison was found dead in his Paris apartment with the cause of death considered as heart failure; however, this fact has yet to be proven. After Morrison's death, speculation started to form that there were other causes that may have led to his death, such as a drug overdose.

Despite what the cause of death was, the group would no longer retain the success they experienced while Morrison was alive. Without Morrison, the group lost the iconic voice he provided, and without him, the group only survived for two more years.

SoundStage Direct, LLC is an online independent store based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. SSD has the largest selection of vinyl records online. And you don't want to miss amazing closeout deals available at our LP outlet! We have record albums in every genre and in a variety of formats available ready to be shipped at your doorstep.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

VIDEO: Jim Morrison/The Doors - Soul Kitchen

Hi all,

Here's a tribute to Jim Morrison and The Doors, with a variety of clips and Soul Kitchen playing in the background. Enjoy!

This is brought to you by shamrocklady on YouTube:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Great New Talent: Redeem Yourself by Luke James

Hi everyone,

I don't do this very often, but I'd like you all to listen to a young man who I think is a great new talent. His name is Luke James, and he is the son of one of my close trusted colleagues, John James. Luke hails from Adelaide, South Australia, and as you will see, is a very talented musician and songwriter. The lyrics are powerful and match the strong visuals on the video.

It would be great to get some feedback, so ALL comments are very welcome indeed! Let's encourage local young talent!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

VIDEO: Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

by weissebrauen on YouTube

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" is a pop song musically composed by Lee Hazlewood and first written and recorded by Nancy Sinatra. It was released in February 1966 and hit #1 in the United States and United Kingdom Pop charts. Subsequently, many cover versions of the song have been released in a range of styles: metal, pop, rock, punk rock, country, dance, and industrial.

You keep saying you got something for me
Something you call love but confess
You've been a'messin' where you shouldn't 've been a'messin'
And now someone else is getting all your best
Well, these boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

You keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin'
You keep losing when you oughta not bet
You keep samin' when you oughta be a'changin'
What's right is right but you ain't been right yet
These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

You keep playing where you shouldn't be playing
And you keep thinking that you'll never get burnt (HAH)
Well, I've just found me a brand new box of matches (YEAH)
And what he knows you ain't had time to learn
These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you


Are you ready, boots?
Start walkin'

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Top 3 Greatest Progressive Rock Songs

Frank ZappaCover of Frank ZappaBy Jared MacTavish

In the early part of the 19th Century, near the end of the Romantic era of classical music, composers were stretching the limits of our musical minds, using more, and more varied sounds in their works. The mantra was to 'break all boundaries' and they certainly succeeded.

As the Fifties waned and the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties took us all on a magnificent aural ride, the advent of bands such as Miles Davis, The Beatles, Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa, and other groups too numerous to mention showed the listeners that here, in very normal garages across the country, were musicians as brave as their predecessors.

Through the amalgamation of rock, jazz and blues, folk, classical, and experimental structures, they created some of the greatest progressive rock songs of all time. My favorites - what I consider my top 3 (for the moment), follow.

1. "2112" Rush

Not only is the lyrical premise (penned by drummer Neil Peart) of 2112 massive in its scope, so is the accompanying music. Of course this piece is actually a series of movements, but for our purposes, I'm considering side one of Rush's "2112" album as a single piece of music; that's how it was intended, and I happen to agree with the authors/composers.

This work is bombastic, sometimes terrifying, gentle, passionate, and has some of the best rock guitar solos ever recorded, thanks to Alex Lifeson's tasteful playing. Backed up by one of rocks most outstanding rhythm sections (Geddy Lee, Neil Peart), the musical journey to recover humanity's long lost musical ways contains a plethora of interesting parallels with our fight for the arts in society today

2. "Heart of the Sunrise" Yes

From the album "Fragile" (which arguably contains more than one great progressive rock song on it), this track is incorrigibly driven by Chris Squires bass groove, offset perfectly by Bill Bruford (on drums) throughout. The 3:40 intro is enough to set any music lovers stereo on fire. Yet when Jon Anderson's vocal line finally enters, Steve Howe's perfectly orchestrated electric guitar contrasts it beautifully against the previous sections.

No stranger to odd time signatures, Yes continued to explore the dynamic crossovers of classical, rock, and folk with this exquisitely written and produced track. With Rick Wakeman on keys and no fear on ballot, Yes are truly one of the most outstanding progressive rock bands to emerge from the post-60's musical blaze.

3. "Cosmik Debris" Frank Zappa

No list of progressive music is complete without an entry by the premiere experimentation specialist, Frank Zappa. With solid grounding in jazz, classical, rock (of course) and any other format one might care to mention, Zappa blew away all boundaries with his creative harmonic structures and arrangements; no one ever came close to the achievements in his extensive catalog.

Cosmik is a vocal track (the lead by Frank himself) with some excellent contrasting lines, both in range and phrasing. Additionally much of the track bounces between straight and swing feel and of course contains a signature Zappa guitar solo.

With so much amazing music out there, each listener should make his or her own choice about the greatest progressive rock songs. For me, these three songs set much of the standard for edgy progressive tracking.

If you dig this music you may also like Brent Magstadt. He's released a wonderfully dynamic disc that encompasses a number of edgy progressive grooves.

To download a free copy of his track Samba De Los Rockos, Click Here!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Get Nostalgic With The Beatles And Enjoy Their Music On Vinyl

The BeatlesCover of The BeatlesBy Seth Frank

One of the most successful groups of all time, The Beatles continue to leave their mark on popular culture, proceeding to bring in additional fans with every new generation, showing that they posses the longevity to stand up to the test of time.

The band continues to sell millions of records every year, in each medium available, from vinyl to CDs, and now even in MP3s, discovering a means to be relevant throughout time, and with the power to re-master tracks, they sound better currently than they ever have before.

Not many groups possess the power to outlast their own union, also outliving some of its members, but The Beatles have done what other groups have only dreamed of. Allowing them to surpass their time as a group, short as it was, and in a lot of ways, ensure their immortality, their tracks have inspired fans, as well as other groups.

Their songs have been covered by thousands of assorted artists, and their records have been re-released multiple times, providing fans the chance to enjoy their songs in a variety of different ways, pretty much securing that whether you heard it performed by The Beatles or a cover of one of their songs, there's a Beatles song that speaks to everyone on some level or another.

Their vinyl records records could just be the best way to experience the band's tracks in such a way that is organic and true to the original method in which it was originally recorded, even though The Beatles have released multiple albums in various formats.

Sitting back and listening to one of the most inspirational bands of all time on a format that personifies the sound of their era is one of the best ways to actually enjoy the authenticity of the music itself.

Creating an experience that's unparalleled by any other format, record players have transformed into an exciting piece of furniture in any room, personifying the listener's taste, not just in music, but also in the method they enjoy it.

Many bands could be listened to in CD or MP3 format, but Beatles vinyl truly personifies the sound of the time by which it was born, and drastically surpasses any other format, providing a unique experience by which to enjoy any number of timeless Beatles songs in the comfort of your own home.

Vinyl records allow us to enjoy any genre of music in a unique way, preserving a medium that may be regarded as vintage, but timeless all the same.

SoundStage Direct, LLC is an online independent store based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. SSD has the largest selection of vinyl records online. And you don't want to miss amazing closeout deals available at our LP outlet! We have record albums in every genre and in a variety of formats available ready to be shipped at your doorstep.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where To Start - The Three Best Frank Zappa Albums To Hear First

Apostrophe (')Frank Zappa, Apostrophe(') - Image via WikipediaBy Zach Charge

Frank Zappa is undoubtedly an icon. Musicians, artists and people-in-general all over the world credit him as a source of inspiration, insight and enjoyment. With over 60 albums released over the course of his lifetime, spanning multiple genres and styles, getting to know Zappa's music can be a daunting task.

For years before eventually getting into Frank Zappa I had heard his name and wondered what he was about, but didn't know where to start. In this article, I hope to give you a few pointers to enable you to effectively sample Frank Zappa's work and, hopefully, inspire you to check out more.

As such, I now introduce you to what I consider to be the best Frank Zappa albums to listen to first.

Apostrophe(') (1974)

I have to put Apostrophe(') first because it is the first Zappa album that I heard. It is also still the most-played album that I own. While Zappa's music is incredibly varied and ranking any of his albums as 'better' or 'best' is somewhat useless, I rate Apostrophe(') as one of the best Frank Zappa albums out there.

Firstly, I think it's accessible because of it's heavy blues and soul undertones and because it contains actual 'songs', with words and everything.

It also has a healthy dose of Zappa's humour and sense for inanity - the first four songs are a 'suite', vaguely linked together by a story about an eskimo and littered with dirty jokes and nonsensical imagery. The story-telling, wordplay, thematic nature and sense of excitement in this album grabbed me immediately. For a single, try Cosmik Debris.

Hot Rats (1969)

For the second entry, I think Hot Rats is worth a try. It's an instrumental album - think rock/classical/funk/jazz/awesomeness. This album is on the list to gently give you a sense of the diversity of Zappa's music - the structure of the songs within is completely different from those of Apostrophe(').

Peaches En Regalia is a good place to start, or perhaps try the vocals of Captain Beefheart on Willie the Pimp.

Zappa In New York (1978)

As the final entry in this short round-up, I submit Zappa in New York. This album contains a broad selection of Zappa's repertoire and also imparts a sense of the experience of Zappa's live shows.

It is heavily laden with dirty jokes and various other shenanigans but, humour aside, the music and performances of the band are incredible - this album is a great representation of how hard Zappa and his band worked to achieve amazing things live on stage.

For a lengthy blues jam and poo-poo jokes, try The Illinois Enema Bandit, for dramatic storytelling and titty jokes, try Titties and Beer, for insightful social commentary, try I'm the Slime and for orchestral-style musical virtuosity, try The Black Page #1 and #2.

So, if you are looking for the best Frank Zappa albums to hear first, I think these three are a pretty good place to start.

Alternatively, if you are interested in Frank Zappa, you might like the music of Ardeem - click here to download a copy of his latest single for free!.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Adelaide Custom Tours: The Adelaide Experience

Old Government House in the Belair National Park.Old Government House, Belair National Park - Image via Wikipedia
Hi everyone,

If you are planning a visit to Australia, stop in to Adelaide which is a wonderful city. I operate custom walking and driving tours around the city and surrounds.

Experience #1: Adelaide's Universities - This is a half-day tour where you are driven to each university campus around Adelaide. As I have worked in all 3 universities here, I have a unique insight into the history, architecture and philosophy of each institution, and I know each campus intimately. Maximum - 4 people (A$50 per head).

Experience #2: Bushwalking in Belair National Park and Mount Lofty - This is a full-day tour where you will be picked up from the city to go bushwalking in the Park. I live about 5 minutes from Belair Park and so I know it intimately, the old buildings (Governor's residences, old railway stations and pavilions, the only cafe in the vicinity (included the best coffee in Australia, seriously!). I know the terrain and the story of much of the flora and fauna of the region. As for Mount Lofty, I know a number of trails, most of the cafes, the private Botanic Gardens, and the strange stories of the region (and there's a few). Maximum - 4 people (A$60 per head).

Experience #3: Cricket Adelaide style - This is a half-day walking tour for cricket fanatics! Being one of the spiritual homes of cricket, Adelaide has a great history and a great group of organisations who have recorded it's history. There's the Bradman Collection Museum, the South Australia Cricket Association Museum, Adelaide oval (of course), the State Library Bradman Collection, and the Bradman Digital Library. Also, having played cricket for many years and knowing lots of great cricket stories, this would be a very entertaining experience for people. Maximum - 25 people (A$40 per head).

Experience #4: The Aboriginal Bush Tucker Tour at the Adelaide Botanical Gardens - This is a short walking tour lasting for 2 hours, through the Aboriginal Bush Tucker (tucker is food) tour in the Adelaide Botanical Gardens. Very few people (even locals) know that this exists. I have taken a number of visiting school groups through this tour and they love it. This is an interesting cultural experience. Maximum - 25 people (A$20 per head).

Experience #5: Mitcham and Springfield, the heart of historic Adelaide - This is a full-day walking tour after being picked up in the city. These are some of the oldest suburbs in Adelaide, nestled into the foothills, where some of the first settlers lived, with many old homesteads still standing. Great old churches, cafes, tea houses, hotels, picturesque streets, Carrick Hill (Adelaide's most famous stately mansion), and even the beautiful Brownhill Creek Recreation Park. Lots to see, all of which can be done on foot. Maximum - 4 people (A$60 per head).

If you are interested in seeing Adelaide with your own personal guide, just call me on 0433 354 383 or email me on:

VIDEO: Imagine - Full Length Movie: Tribute to John on his Birthday (9 October)

To commemorate the anniversary of John Lennon, a very good documentary about the life of the musical genius.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Few Could Approach The Spark Of Lennon/McCartney, The Pop Music Songwriting Team Of The '60s

Screenshot of The Beatles from the trailer for...Image via WikipediaBy Seth Frank

No dyed-in-the-wool record collector who indulges in rock music could possibly call his collection complete without including some Beatles vinyl in the group, because those discs helped define that wild, creative time in our history.

It's still amazing what a lively time for popular music the 1960s was, and the Beatles were in top form, producing many record albums with songs that got played on radio stations everywhere.

While other acts that emerged in the era may have enjoyed greater longevity, or at least managed to stay together longer than did the Beatles, the four Liverpool lads ignited the most excitement, by far.

While the Stones and the Who keep running like the Energizer Bunny, their attraction to most these days is as relics of the past - '60s survivors whose top performances are well behind them. Much of the Rolling Stones 1960s catalog consists of cover versions of classic rhythm and blues music that were composed by black American acts who certainly didn't receive the widespread acclaim they deserved.

Mick and the boys slayed with their pop tributes to the game-changers of Chess Records in Chicago, and they even recorded tracks in that storied studio, but they were no Beatles when it came to creating hits. Lennon and McCartney got more kudos, grudgingly at first, from the older generation than did any other band for their songwriting and production genius, which they ably displayed on many record releases.

But all good things must come to an end, and one of them was live Beatles performances with all four members, which became a thing of the past when they decided to limit their creative work to the recording studio.

After a difficult 1966 tour of America, during which Lennon was harangued for comments he made that offended the religious community, the Beatles decided to avoid live concert performance, and they became a recording act that stayed clear of the public eye.

Lennon and McCartney dove into songwriting and recording in earnest, and during the post-concert phase, the Beatles created a number of conceptually-based albums that stretched the band's musical and production skills, as they burrowed deeper into the technology of the studio.

You can't work as closely as did the Beatles without nerves getting ragged from time to time, and after years of confinement together as Beatlemania paralyzed the nation, the members of the band experienced the inevitable claustrophobia that one would experience from the pressures they faced.

Increasingly, the Beatles were functioning more as a group of independent artists than as one united front, and indeed some members created their own solo projects isolated from and without the aid of the others. And so it all came to an end in 1970, a short while since they made that premiere appearance on American TV, performing their material on the Ed Sullivan show and changing popular culture like never before.

They gave us the impression they were with us for most of our lives, but when the Beatles finally split up, what was remarkable to think about was how much they had created in such a short time.

It's a mark of their greatness that people not only remember and play Beatles music today, musicians must still measure up to the very impressive standards they set back then in order to succeed.

SoundStage Direct, LLC is an online independent store based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. SSD has the largest selection of vinyl record albums online. And you don't want to miss amazing closeout deals available at our LP outlet! We have record albums in every genre (for example Beatles vinyl ) and in a variety of formats available ready to be shipped at your doorstep.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Janis Joplin RIP - 4 October 1970

Janis Joplin RIP

On 4 October 1970, Janis Joplin died of an overdose of heroin.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

VIDEO: The Easybeats - Friday On My Mind

by My Beat Club on YouTube:

You may think that British Invasion or Beat Music were typically British phenomena? No, they weren't ... Actually Australia got their own Beatlemania - here called "Easyfever" as a result of The Easybeats!

The Easybeats were the greatest Australian pop band in the 60s and scored the first international hit for an Australian band with the song "Friday On my Mind".

Later the two guitarists, George Young and Harry Vanda, became a famous songwriter and producer duo. Their work includes the first seven albums of AC/DC - featuring George's younger brothers Angus and Malcolm Young!

And don't forget their 80s pop group Flash & the Pan with the hits "Early Morning Wake Up Call" an "Midnight Man".

Friday, September 23, 2011

VIDEO: Canned Heat - On The Road Again (14/9/68)

Where are they now? -  American Blues/Rock Ban...Image by brizzle born and bred via Flickrby BeatClub on YouTube:

In 1965, the blues- and boogie-rock band Canned Heat was formed in Los Angeles by guitar and harmonica player Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson and lead singer Bob "The Bear" Hite.

They took the name for the band from an old delta blues song called Canned Heat Blues written by Tommy Johnson in 1928.

The worldwide hit On The Road Again is best known for Wilson's unique high-pitched vocals and famous for its harmonica solo.

Besides playing at all major festivals of the 60s, including Woodstock, Monterey Pop, and the Isle of Wight, the band also travelled to Europe for concerts and TV appearances, e.g. the German Beat Club, where they performed the song in a lip-synched version.

Tragically, on September 3, 1970 Alan Wilson died of a barbiturate overdose which led to numerous line-up changes in the following years. But the band still plays on today in the fifth decade of their existence.


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Monday, September 19, 2011

VIDEO: RIP Jimi, The Experience Always Lives On!

Hi everyone,

A momentous day - 18 September 1970.

This video is of Jimi Hendrix being interviewed in England just seven days before his death on September 11th 1970.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

VIDEO: Strange Brew by Cream

CreamCover of CreamHi all,

Another blast from the past with Strange Brew by Cream - with Eric Clapton (g), Jack Bruce (b) and Ginger Baker (d) on 20.05.1967 in the Beat Club.

Best known as one of the first "supergroups" in rock history, Cream combined the talent of three outstanding musicians of the 60s: Blues rock guitarist Eric Clapton, bass player Jack Bruce and jazz-influenced drummer Ginger Baker.

Together they fused blues, rock and psychedelic and put the idea of jamming music with 20-minute-jams into a higher level. They sold over 35 million albums and their third album, Wheels of Fire, became the first platinum-selling album in the world.


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Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Three Singing Australian Sheepherders Produced "Hang On Sloopy"

Hang On SloopyImage via WikipediaBy Lee Jensen

For seven years starting in 1960, Bert Berns was one of rock's most prolific writers and producers, responsible for classics like "Under The Boardwalk," "Brown Eyed Girl," "Piece Of My Heart," and "Twist and Shout."

Often using the pseudonym Bert Russell, Berns and Wes Farrell wrote and produced "My Girl Sloopy," a rhythm and blues hit for the Vibrations. It would take a new group, a new title and a year before the song would reach number one on the pop charts.

But who is Sloopy? Some say the song's inspiration was Dorothy "Dottie" Sloop, a New Orleans jazz pianist who performed from the 1930s to the 1950s as "Sloopy."

Brett Ruland, a relative of Sloop's, cites local legend and theorizes that Berns was inspired to write the song at a performance by the pianist. Sloop was a popular New Orleans musician who played at Dixie's Bar of Music on Bourbon Street in the 1950s. It's Ruland's theory that one night Bert Berns was in the audience.

"She was playing piano and something was wrong with the sound system and customers were getting rowdy and she was getting frustrated," Ruland said. "People were not paying attention, and he (Berns) saw that she was getting distressed, and one of the regulars yelled out, 'Hang on Sloopy!'"

Enter the Vibrations, a South Central Los Angeles group that recorded a few R&B hits in the 1950s and 60s. One of their best, "My Girl Sloopy," was produced by Berns for Atlantic Records in 1964. The song was a favorite of garage bands, including Rick and the Raiders from Union City, Indiana. Lead singer and guitarist Rick was Rick Zehringer, who would become Rick Derringer. As Paul Revere and the Raiders were becoming popular, the band would rename itself the McCoys.

Derringer's band appeared with many successful groups who toured the Midwest, including a gig in 1965 with the Strangeloves: Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer, three record producers from Brooklyn who rode the British Invasion wave by pretending to be singing Australian sheepherders. The Strangeloves scored a surprise hit in 1965 with "I Want Candy." The trio called themselves the Strange Brothers, Miles, Niles, and Giles, and went on tour.

While on the road, the Strangeloves hoped to discover a new group with the Mersey look to record "My Girl Sloopy" for their label: Bert Berns' Bang Records. Their substitute backup group in Dayton, Ohio was the McCoys.

Big R&B fans, the McCoys knew "My Girl Sloopy" well; it had been part of their repertoire. At the end of the tour, the McCoys were invited to come to New York City to record what would become "Hang On Sloopy."

The McCoys were brought to a studio where they first recorded the music track. The Strangeloves, who produced the record, came up with an idea that yielded the explosive vocals of "Hang On Sloopy." Instead of immediately recording the vocals, the group was given a portable record player and an acetate copy of the music track. The group was told to rehearse the vocals for a week... which they did, in a New York City park.

"So the following week when we went into the studio, we nailed that sucker," recalled Derringer. "The engineers jumped up and down in the control room and yelled 'Number One! Number One!' and within a few weeks it was."

Lee Jensen, author of Rockaeology, unearths the secrets behind the writing, production and recording of the great hits of rock, soul, doo-wop, the British Invasion and Rhythm & Blues. Get the stories behind the songs at

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Country Joe and the Fish: The War, the Cheer, and the "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag"

Cover of "Feel Like I'm Fixin to Die"Cover of Feel Like I'm Fixin to DieBy Lee Jensen

As the Vietnam War escalated in the mid-1960s and young men increasingly were drafted into the military, protest songs became more mainstream, even reaching the pop charts. Once a staple of folk music, like Phil Ochs' "I Ain't Marching Anymore," anti-war songs like Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," written by pop composer P. F. Sloan, hit number one on the Billboard charts.

Perhaps the most enduring protest song of the era was Country Joe and the Fish's "I-Feel-Like-I'm Fixin'-To-Die Rag." The song is written in the voice of a military recruiter/carnival barker (with horns, kazoos and an outrageous hurdy-gurdy organ accompaniment) who encourages young men to join the fight in Vietnam, then invites parents to be the first to "have your boy come home in a box." Its chorus: "Whoopee! We're all gonna die."

McDonald, in 1965 a folkie living in San Francisco, wrote the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag" in less than 30 minutes and recorded it as part of an EP (extended play) disc with guitarist Barry Melton and other musicians; they called themselves Country Joe and the Fish.

McDonald, a Navy vet who was raised in a family of American Communists, wrote that the song "attempts to put blame for the war upon the politicians and leaders of the US military and upon the industry that makes its money from war but not upon those who had to fight the war ... the soldiers."

Many were introduced to the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag" in the 1970 Woodstock documentary. On the 1969 festival's first show day, many performers were unable to reach the stage due to the weather and crowds. McDonald, standing onstage watching an exhausted Richie Havens wrap up a three-hour performance, was handed an acoustic guitar and was convinced to play.

McDonald, who understood his job was to kill time as much as entertain, has said that after playing for 25 minutes, he noticed that few in the crowd of more than 300,000 people were listening to him. That's when he shouted, "Gimme an F!" It got the crowd's attention and they shouted back, "F!"

The chant that followed was like nothing like you'll hear from cheerleaders at a football game; it was the "Fish Cheer," which always precedes the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag." McDonald, who felt unappreciated by the music industry, explained that the "Fish Cheer" was born at a 1967 recording session as a way for the band to pat itself on the back. Each band member shouted "Gimme an F," "Gimme an I," "Gimme an S," "Gimme an H." Then they shouted, "What's that spell?" "Fish!"

The "Fish Cheer" became a staple at concerts but the chant would undergo a change in 1968 that made it both controversial and memorable. At New York City's Schaefer Beer Festival, drummer Gary "Chicken" Hirsh came up with the idea to change the "FISH" part of the cheer to another four-letter-word. The audience enjoyed it but the Schaefer festival banned the group for life.

Even without the cheer, the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag" was considered so controversial that Vanguard Records president Maynard Solomon refused to let the group include the song on their debut album, Electric Music For The Mind and Body. Solomon believed the song would become a "thorn in their side and prevent the band from getting any single play on the radio." But Solomon would relent and "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" became the title song of the band's second album in 1967.

McDonald has said that he still enjoys performing the song because so many audience members "experienced" the song during the Vietnam war; in Vietnamese POW camps, the song was played to demoralize the prisoners but McDonald has been told it gave them encouragement. One vet told McDonald that his friend's dying words were "Whoopee! We're all gonna die."

Lee Jensen, author of Rockaeology, unearths the secrets behind the writing, production and recording of the great hits of rock, soul, doo-wop, the British Invasion and Rhythm & Blues. Get the stories behind the songs at

For even more on the "Fish Cheer" and the "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" visit

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

VIDEO: Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime (original 1970)

Hi everyone,

How do you like this for a blast from the past? Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" was an old favourite of mine. This video clip was made in 1970, and is the original Mungo Jerry line-up. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

VIDEO: "Hippies" (2007)

Hi everyone,

The video below comes from the History Channel. It's a 90-minute documentary about hippie culture and the hippie movement - below is an interesting summary of the program, followed by the video - enjoy!

The Hippie movement was the most controversial and influential of modern times. Free love, the peace movement, drugs, Eastern religions and communes are explored. Meet the figures whose words and actions inspired it and destroyed it.

See how the vibrations from that era are still resonating today in almost every aspect of American life, from the clothes we wear, to the Personal Computer and the Internet. Finally, historic footage, stills and period graphics are interwoven with expert commentary and eyewitness testimony.

The 1960's and 1970's were a time of change, a time of revolution, a time of the Hippies. Hippies reached across the nation and their effects are still felt today.

I'm glad to see that they actually dug deeper than most newsreels of the time to research the individuals and groups that were an active part of the "hippie" rebellion movement.

Most clips of the time just show lots of flower-power children of the time smoking dope and dancing, then we're off to Woodstock, for the freaks and problems of drugs, violence, and overcrowding.

In this show, they research the individuals and groups that were involved, which is more than most reports did. Sure, drugs were involved, but also there was the rebellion factor; so many of the children watched their fathers work Mon-Fri, nine to five, and this ten years after the McCarthy hearings, the children were determined not to let a big government be completely in charge of their lives.

Probably also some anger over the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam war, and later, the Kent State shootings (see for info). The show also points out that by the time the Beatles and more run-away hippies arrived, the original goal had disappeared.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place

Allen Ginsberg/Corbis, via Magnolia Pictures
Timothy Leary, left, and Neal Cassady, 
who drove Ken Kesey's psychedelic bus
in 1964, in footage from “Magic Trip.”
by Charles McGrath, on The New York Times website:

Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place,” a film by Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood that opens on Friday, is an exercise in what they call “archival vérité.”

It’s a documentary that uses old footage to recreate a documentary that Kesey intended to make about his 1964 cross-country bus trip - the one so memorably chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s account, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

In all Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, as his crew called themselves, shot some 40 hours of 16-millimeter film, but the project was never really finished. As Mr. Wolfe wrote, “Plunging in on those miles of bouncing, ricocheting, blazing film with a splicer was like entering a jungle where the greeny vines grew faster than you could chop them down in front of you.”

Kesey showed all 40 hours unedited a couple of times and also hacked the footage up into various shorter versions before stowing the film cans in his barn, near Eugene, Ore., where they rusted away - until Mr. Gibney and Ms. Ellwood showed up.

To read further, go to: 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

VIDEO: Free - All Right Now: RARE

Hi Everyone,

Here is an interesting, and very rare clip of Free released Circa 1969 performing All Right Now (live) brought to you by frozenfish91. Released in Australia in black and white. My favourite clip by this band and highlights Paul Kossoff's signature vibrato. Best lead ever done by Kossoff!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Woburn Abbey Festival 1967 - Festival of the Flower Children

Hey readers!

Dig this! This is some original footage from the 1967 Woburn Abbey Festival of the Flower Children brought to you by: rockvideos

It's an 8MM film - a direct transfer from the master 8MM reel. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

VIDEO: The Doors - Love Me Two Times - Live 1968

Hi everyone,

Just thought you might enjoy a Doors classic - Love Me Two Times. This clip was filmed during The Doors 1968 European tour in the cities of London, Stockholm, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

NEWS: Mick Jagger's SuperHeavy Supergroup to Drop Album in September

Mick JaggerCover of Mick JaggerFrom

Universal Music will release the album from SuperHeavy, a group featuring Mick Jagger, Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart, singer Joss Stone, composer A.R. Rahman and reggae artist Damian Marley. No exact release date is set, but Universal Republic will handle the United States and A&M will handle the rest of the world.

An official release said the album will be unveiled in September; the first single is titled "Miracle Worker" and the five stars will be recording a video for the track. Jagger and Stewart co-produced the album.

Video: Introduction to SuperHeavy

Recording in various studios around the world - France, Cyprus, Miami, India - the majority of the tracks laid down over three weeks in Los Angeles earlier this year. The quintet wrote 22 songs in their first six days together. The term "SuperHeavy" was inspired by Muhammad Ali.

Jagger and Stewart had worked together on the 2004 soundtrack to the film "Alfie," and Stewart produced Stone's last album. Both wanted to bring in a Jamaican musician and Damian Marley entered the picture with his rhythm section, bassist and composer Shiah Coore and drummer Courtney Diedrick. They met Rahman while recording in Los Angeles.

According to the band's bio, SuperHeavy came together after Jagger and Stewart wondered what a band of musicians from different genres would sound like. Jagger had his doubts it would come together.

One of the first on the album is Jagger singing in Urdu. He takes lead on Rahman's song "Satyameva Jayate," which translates to "the truth alone triumphs."
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

VIDEO: Tommy Bolin with Zephyr - Texas Pop Festival 1970

Hey y'all, dig this!

This is a rare video featuring the genius of Tommy Bolin. If you don't know Tommy, he is simply one of the greatest guitarists ever! Plainly and simply!

Here are the footnotes from YouTube, brought to you by JohnnyVisionquest:

This footage has been seen elsewhere with audio dubbed in from the first Zephyr album. This version has the audio dubbed from a live tape labeled Ebbets Field 1971, a song called "Goin' Home" (otherwise known from Woodstock in the version by Alvin Lee and Ten Years After).

As noted by one observant historian on the Bolin Board forum, the ending riff of this live song reappeared "more famously" on the classic album Spectrum by Billy Cobham, the acknowledged inspiration for Jeff Beck to explore Jazz fusion music in his own recordings.

Zephyr 1971:

Candy Givens vocal
David Givens bass
John Faris keyboards
Bobby Berge drums
Tommy Bolin guitar
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Yardbirds - 5 Best Songs

The Yardbirds, 1966. Clockwise from left: Jeff...Image via WikipediaBy Lando Frock

The Yardbirds had three of the hottest English guitar players of the 1960's: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Each man's peak of musical influence in the band was distinct, and each era pushed the boundaries of rock music.

Eric Clapton's era could be described as a mixing of straight blues and English rave-up. Jeff Beck's run retained the blues influence, yet mixed in elements of jazz and new sounds like the fuzz box. Jimmy Page took up the rains and brought in a powerful psychedelia and riffy style - still honoring the blues root - which of course lead directly to Led Zeppelin. That's quite a legacy for a single band.

Here I have assembled The Yardbirds 5 best songs. These are the ones you absolutely must have with you the day you get stuck on that desert island.

Too Much Monkey Business

During the Clapton era, the band's focus was on "pure" blues. Their set consisted of a collection of manically performed covers. They take this song by Chuck Berry and throw it down fast with swagger to spare. Eric Clapton, barely 18 years old, delivers a solo with authority and taste.

Here 'Tis

This is a good one for speed freaks. Here 'Tis fakes like it's going soft for about 5 seconds before it blasts of into blurry fast, jittering intensity; the gold standard of the rave up. It's blues alright. The song was written by Bo Diddley. But this interpretation sets it on fire.

Over Under Sideways Down

What an amazing style shift from the 'speed blues' of Clapton to Jeff Beck's strutting riff on Over Under Sideways Down. This song has all of the Jeff Beck elements: hooky fuzz riff, swinging rhythm, and a touch of space. It's a poppy tune, but the little bluesy elements like the double stop bends under the chorus give it a richness that makes the hair stand up. Genius!

What Do You Want

Another from the time of Beck. It takes the pop sensibility and also brings back a bit of the rave up craftsmanship of their earlier sound. Sprinkle in some feedback and spider legs guitar solos and get an infectious romp that won't let you sit still

Little Games

By the time Jimmy Page took over the band was all but burned up. From this difficult time springs Little Games. Of the songs on the album of the same name this song is like a telescope looking into a nearing future called Led Zeppelin. A lot of Page's signature sounds are being born here and his genius is already quite apparent.

Whether you agree with my picks for their 5 best songs or not, The Yardbirds were totally unique from beginning to end. Even when they were "blues purists" they still did it their own way. There are some great bands these days who invoke the sonic fire of old school bands like The Yardbirds - but do it in their own way. I'm very excited about a cookin' 3 piece called The Lovely Savages.

Get their blistering EP 'YES' for FREE at:
If know you're going to like it!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

VIDEO: The Doors - Love Me Two Times (minus Jim Morrison)

Hi all,

Thank you to Cherokee Billie for alerting us all to this great version of "Love Me Two Times" live in Germany in 1972 - after Jim Morrison died! Very rare indeed! Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Robben Ford Guitar Clinic Review - 14th March 2010

Miles Davis et Robben Ford in 1986 at Montreux...Image via WikipediaBy Clinton Carnegie

Jet-lagged and appearing a little surprised at the unusually vociferous welcome at his sold-out guitar clinic, Robben Ford strapped on his black Sakashta and plugged straight into a Fender Super Reverb amp.

And for the next hour and a half, he proved once and for all that tone comes from the head, heart and hands. The man exudes soul. Describing his style as 'freeform but with a method', Robben began by talking about his early years studying the saxophone. Growing up in the small town of Ukiah, CA, he listened to the local radio station, KUKI, "or kooky", as he says with a laugh.

His parents also joined a record club, where he was exposed to Ravel's Bolero and Dave Brubeck's Take 5. Listening to saxophonist Paul Desmond on Take 5 made him want to play the alto. Playing the saxophone for 11 years, Robben learned to read music, but admitted that his reading skills did not transfer readily to the guitar.

Teaching himself to play the guitar was a far more intuitive process, he states, and he learned by listening to the first Paul Butterfield Blues Band album featuring Mike Bloomfield. Listening intently to Bloomfield's playing proved to be a major turning point, and for a while Ford reckons he sounded a lot like his hero.

Having become a household name himself, and a guitar hero to many, Ford non-chalantly described his style as a combination of folk-blues and jazz., a musical fusion that has served him well. Elaborating further, Ford emphasized the need to experiment and make mistakes in order to develop a personal style. Likening his approach to being very similar to fingerpainting on the guitar, he was emphatic that music should come from a place of feeling and not just from technique.

When asked about his practice schedule, Ford replied that he practiced intensely at first. He joked that he learned his very first 'hip' blues chord from looking at the picture on the cover of the first Paul Butterfield Blues Band album where Mike Bloomfield was holding down a dominant 9th chord.

After that early epiphany, Ford decided to bone up on his chordal knowledge. Laughing, he recalled getting a hold of Mel Bay's Jazz Chords Vol. 1 book and started to use the jazzier chord voicings he learned when he began playing with Charlie Musselwhite. To demonstrate, Ford then launched into an elaborate jazz-blues progression throwing in a multitude of chord substitutions into mix.

Delving into his improvisational approach, Ford described how he learned a few scales and some standard bebop licks, and boiling everything down to ii-V progressions. Ford assured his audience that the language of music was actually very simple, and how, literally, it could all be learned in a few weeks.

Emphasizing the need for simplicity and the importance of finding one's own voice, Ford proferred that although musicians dilligently transcribed and learned Herbie Hancock and John Coltrane licks, it rarely evolved into finding their own voice. Doing it his own way, he says, has kept him unique.

Asked about his current amplification setup for tours, Robben expressed his preference for Fender Super Reverbs, explaining that his setup when he was with Jimmy Witherspoon's group consisted of a Gibson L5 archtop into a Super Reverb amp. With good speakers and matched tubes, the Super Reverb, he says, is his favorite.

When asked about pedals and effects, Ford was emphatic that they hindered one from finding one's own sound. Not having pedals when he started out, he states, enabled him to work on his tone and he encouraged every guitar player in the audience to do away with pedals, for at least a while.

Delving into his sophisticated soloing style, he spoke about his fondness for the diminished scale, which he learned from jazz guitarist Larry Coryell when Ford was19 years old. Coryell described it to him as the half-tone/whole-tone scale and Ford started practicing it immediately and making up a few of his own licks. He says he could instantly hear that the b9 on the dominant 7th chord reminded him of some ideas jazz trumpeter Miles Davis used in his own playing.

After a tasty demonstration of some lines that outlined the changes to a blues progression perfectly, Robben explained how the diminished scale acted as a transition to the IV chord in a blues. Elaborating further, he talked about finding the common tones in the diminished scale that moved seamlessly to the next chord and how they could be used in soloing when going to the IV and the V chord as well.

Concluding his guitar clinic, Ford shared his philosophy of music and playing the guitar, "Ultimately music comes from inside you, not from outside yourself. It's translated through you - it's intangible and I'd like to help people bridge that gap."

Clinton Carnegie is a music educator, jazz-rock guitarist and recording artist. He has two fusion guitar instrumental albums to his name, Say What You Mean and Santiago. His music blog can be found at

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

NEWS: Beatle George Harrison Has a New Documentary

Hi readers,

Here's an interesting announcement from Retro:Kimmer at:

Using rare and unseen photos and footage (including unreleased Beatles footage), Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese traces the life of George Harrison. Coming this Fall.

To coincide with the release of the film, in late September, Abrams Books will publish Olivia Harrison's George Harrison: Living in the Material World, a personal archive of photographs, letters, diaries and memorabilia from George's life.

Read the full announcement.

Friday, July 15, 2011

VIDEO: A Journey Through the Hippie Era by Robert Piser

Hi everyone,

Another great video - it's put together by Robert Piser, and is a wonderful journey through the hippie era.

Robert Piser is a working artist, living in Los Angeles. He works as an art director and scenic artist in film, music videos, commercials and photo shoots:

Enjoy the journey!

Hippie from robert piser on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

VIDEO: Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton - Can't Find My Way Home

Hi everyone,

Here's a fantastic version of the old Blind Faith track "Can't Find My Way Home". This version is from the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival, and features Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton, with Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall - a great line-up. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gregg Allman: Living Proof of Music's Healing Power

Gregg Allman at New Orleans Jazz FestImage via WikipediaBy Andrew Dobbie on Yahoo News:

LONDON (Reuters) - Gregg Allman is a believer in the healing power of music.

Barely a year after undergoing a liver transplant, the veteran American musician is back on the road with his regular band, looking a little frail but in good voice and excellent spirits.

The Gregg Allman band kicked off a European mini-tour at London's Barbican Center Friday, with two further UK dates scheduled plus more in Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany before they head home next month for a lengthy tour of the United States and Canada.

The backbone of their set is a series of songs from the album "Low Country Blues," his first record for 14 years.

It was released in February to critical acclaim and commercial success to match, debuting at No. 7 in the U.S. Billboard chart.

Diagnosed with hepatitis C and advised he needed a new liver, Allman decided to go into the studio to record an album of songs by his blues heroes, before going under the surgeon's knife in June last year.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top 5 Bob Dylan Songs That You Should Know About

Cover of "Freewheelin'"Cover of Freewheelin'By Jim A. Byrne

Who doesn't know Bob Dylan?

Even if you are not a music aficionado, you know him too well. He is an iconic songwriter-singer who made America's greatest songs for nearly four decades. He depicted America's rich and highly-faceted culture through his piano, guitar and harmonica. Best known for his nasal voice, Bob Dylan songs derived his early influence in Woody Guthrie.

This iconic figure has written hundreds of songs. While his song list goes on and on, here are the top 5 Bob Dylan songs of all time:

1. Desolation Row - this came from his album "Highway Revisited" and was the final track on this album; featuring an electric guitar. According to Dylan, this song has a minstrel tone that gained its inspiration from the carnival singers in blackface.

2. Masters of War - came from the album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan." This song has an endless appeal because of its versatility and was considered as his greatest social commentary.

3. Like a Rolling Stone - This song was first released as a single and is considered as Dylan's most recognizable songs.

4. Subterranean Homesick Blues - Dylan's very first Top Billboard Hit from the album "Bringing it All Back Home." This is one of his songs which feature the electric guitar as well.

5. Visions of Johanna - From the album "Blonde on Blonde," this song was said to be inspired by Joan Baez, who the songwriter was dating at the time the song was released. One of the Bob Dylan Songs that mirrors his life as he entered New York City.

As for Bob Dylan albums, here are my top 3 picks:

1. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - this is one of the Bob Dylan albums that is hard to forget - one of his most groundbreaking creations. Considered as the very 1st statement of Dylan's recording career, the songs on this album are mainly responsible fro putting Dylan in the map. One of the songs that stood out in this album is "Blowin' in the Wind," and this collection is distinguished by love songs such as "Girl from the North Country" and poetic protests such as "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." On Freewheelin", Dylan catapulted from the Woodie Guthrie influence of his debut album, and showed himself to the world as the groundbreaking songwriter-singer he has since proven to become.

2. Highway 61 Revisited - most Bob Dylan albums have rock-infused songs where he grabs the rock and roll's baton. This one-of-a-kind compilation includes timeless folk-rock classics such as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Desolation Row" both considered as one of his best songs. If you are looking for an album with some of the most distinguished rock and blues licks ever placed on vinyl, you won't be disappointed with this one.

3. Blonde on Blonde - this album was created in a studio in Nasville with musicians that are very accustomed to country music. Yes, Highway 61 has made Dylan a path forger and trendsetter in the modern folk-rock sound, however, Blonde on blonde was a more decisive compilation when it comes to Dylan's newfound relationship with the new sound. His imagery-laden loquacious poetry has become more harmonious, and his synergy with the Band has reached new heights.

These are the songs of Dylan no music collection should be without - all from one of the greatest dynamic artists in modern American music.

Jim Byrne is a musician and recording artist who has been writing songs for over 30 years. As well as writing songs for his own Folk and Country Blues albums he has written songs with other people including the pop star Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet and Jazz singer Carol Kidd MBE.

Visit Jim's website for more tips and to download two of Jim's latest songs for free:

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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Yardbirds: Anatomy Of A Year With Jeff Beck In 5 Songs

Jeff BeckCover of Jeff BeckBy Lando Frock

Jeff The Engineer

In 1965 Eric Clapton was devoted to what he considered unadulterated blues. He was not interested in being part of the Yardbirds' forays into pop music and left the band. Clapton suggested Jimmy Page as his replacement who, happy doing session work, in turn recommended his friend Jeff Beck.

Beck only recorded one album with the Yardbirds. Aptly released as 'Yardbirds in the UK. It was later released as 'Over Under Sideways Down' in the US, and thanks to a doodle of the recording engineer by rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, it also came to be known as 'Roger The Engineer'.

Though Beck was the only new member, the record could have been a different band entirely given how much their style had evolved from the blues tribute days with Clapton. Gone were the thrusting rave ups of Bo Diddley and other standards; all of 'Roger's' songs were original. The new sound did retain plenty of blues influence, but also introduced a snappy, curt guitar sound, soaring vocals and quirky interludes bordering on the psychedelic. Beck also added spice with a new device: the fuzz box.

While 'Roger The Engineer' was a wholly different animal from the Clapton years, a number of songs really capture Jeff Beck's contribution, and in some ways presage the directions he would go with his solo career.

Over Under Sideways Down

The Beck sound was on full display on the record's second song. Opening with the unforgettably hooky fuzz riff it's instantly clear why this song was a hit. Nice doses of backbeat rock, with Jeff's reverse bent chords under the middle "Hey!" sections, a touch of psychedellia, and back into the hook. A great song that perfectly encapsulates the sound of Jeff Beck era Yardbirds.

The Nazz Are Blue

Though cribbing a well-known blues riff for intro and standard 5 and 7 rock for the verse, the song showcases distinctively Beckish sounds during the break down. Most notably hauntingly sustained bends and his special way of glissing and shaking solo notes and intervals. If that weren't enough, Jeff sings this one.

Jeff's Boogie

On the surface this tune sounds like a straight up blues configured instrumental jam. But the collection of breaks could serve as an encyclopedia of Beck's early repertoire of signature licks and tricks. You get the fast, stair-stepping runs, the funky bent chords, the pretty Les Paul harmonized riffs, harmonics, the kitchen and the sink.

He's Always There

Blending quirky arrangement, pop leanings and almost psychedelic backup vocals, 'He's Always There' has a sound all its own. Beck's lonely fuzz counter melody is very cool and lends the song an ominous feel. The outro solo almost suggests Steppenwolf.

What Do You Want

This is one of the most endearing tracks on the record. The rhythm guitar and drums are clearly connected to the band's earlier sound, but the arrangement is all pop. The fuzzy bass sounds fresh today. Beck's rapid riffs are perfect punctuation, and his feedback and sustain riffs take the song out leaving us wanting more. The recipe is perfect on this one.

And Jeff Boogies..

Jeff Beck wasn't a member of the Yardbirds long before he sauntered off on his wiggy solo career. But his contribution to The Yardbirds in that short time was huge. His creative aesthetic dovetailed well with the rest of the group and produced some intriguing and influential music - not to mention a number of hit singles! The most lasting effect of Beck's Yardbirds could arguably be said to be a sound that sent them careening into the arms of Jimmy Page.

There are some great bands these days who invoke the sonic fire of old school rock and roll - but do it in their own way. I'm very excited about a cookin' 3 piece called The Lovely Savages.

Get their blistering EP 'YES' for FREE at:

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Great Bob Dylan Turns 70

Cover of "Times They Are A-Changin"Cover of Times They Are A-ChanginBy Jon B White

Bob Dylan has now reached the milestone of his 70th birthday. Born on May 24th, 1941, in the scruffy city of Duluth, Minnesota, Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman) has gone on to spark new genres of music (folk-rock and country-rock) and revolutionise songwriting.

He first came to prominence in 1963 with his second album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan which offered such epochal songs as Blowin' In The Wind, Masters Of War and A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall. Inspired by the likes of Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams, his lyrics in Freewheelin' were highly political and led to Dylan being dubbed as a protest singer by many.

A surge of similarly styled songs soon hit the British charts and come October 1965 there was a scattering of protest songs in the national charts; songs such as Too Many People by The Hollies which addressed the problem of over-population and It's Good News Week by Hedgehoppers Anonymous which confronted issues on nuclear war and birth control. However, his influence on protest songs was relatively short-lived compared to the impact of his lyrical styles.

In early 1964, Dylan released The Times They Are A-Changin' which showcased the work of a matured songwriter greatly inspired by poets such as Keats and Rimbaud. It was more literate and evocative than his previous offerings and had a profound effect on popular music.

In 1965 came Highway 61 Revisited and the single release of Like A Rolling Stone which is widely championed as one of the best singles in the history of popular music; breaking the barrier of the traditional three minute pop single and, of course, we can't forget the innovative Blonde on Blonde in 1966 which cemented Dylan's reputation as a genius of the times.

From the mid 60′s onwards there was a sizeable shift from frivolous and superficial lyrics to more contemplative, introspective and poetic offerings and this was largely down to the splendour of Dylan's lyrics. His talent influenced copious numbers of artists including musical giants The Beatles who, in 1965, released the more insightful Rubber Soul which was lyrically more complex than their previous releases. John Lennon had even started mimicking Dylan's casual delivery in songs such as You've Got to Hide Your Love Away and Yes It Is.

'Vocally and poetically, Dylan was a huge influence' Paul McCartney

As the years progressed, Dylan's lyrics became slightly more surreal and enigmatic but they never lost their potent essence and such was his refusal to be pigeon holed, Dylan consistently re-invented himself.

Having already given fresh breath to the protest movement, revived folk music, re-invented the singer songwriter genre and sparked folk-rock, in the 1970′s he helped give rise to country-folk and in the 80′s and 90′s (though he occasionally floundered), he still inspired and surprised his fans. In 1989 he was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame and in 1990 Dylan was named a Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Art et des Lettres, France's highest cultural honor.

His records still sell by the truck-load, he still inspires and moves people and his concert tickets still sell like hot cakes. Happy Birthday to a legend.

Jon White is the founder of - a ticket exchange aimed at music fans who wish to buy or sell concert tickets.

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