I don’t know when I first heard Bolero but my best guess would be in the late 1960s while in college. I just remember being smitten by it, totally consumed. In the late 70s I bought a high-end stereo system and a new vinyl of Bolero. I was between marriages and building a new house. Living alone I would put Bolero on the turntable, turn on the repeat button, and listen to this magnificent crescendo while working on the home. I remember stopping occasionally and pretending like I was conducting the LA Philharmonic using my hammer as a baton.
The only other musical piece that had such an effect on me was the musical score from Les Miserable. I’m soon to be seventy-five years old and my hearing is shot to hell. Some great degree of the loss is probably a result of traveling with Bolero and Les Mis’ blasting from my car’s stereo system. At least I can say I lost my ear hairs to a class act!
Jerome Graille is a French cigar box guitarist and if you have any doubts about the range of music that can come from a simple box, a stick, and four wires, check out this video. You can also find more of Graille’s work at his website. You might consider supporting him by becoming a patron.
I don’t have a clue about who Gnarls Barkley is other than a few years ago he had a hit song out called Crazy. Not the Patsy Cline Crazy but a totally different Crazy. After hearing it a few times I fell crazy in like with it.
Step forward to today and one of my favorite groups of entertainers, Playing for Change, has released a video of three of its members sitting on some public steps and performing their version of Barkley’s Crazy.
Been a while since I shared any PFC stuff so here it is….enjoy!
We celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary back in July but weren’t able to do anything special. Then our daughter called with news about a rock ‘n roll show in Dayton featuring Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Fabian. I asked Janet if she was interested and she was. So, I got decent tickets, made a motel reservation and on the 6th of August we headed north.
The concert was held at the Rose Music Center in Hubert Heights and it is a fantastic venue. It seats about 4200 people, all under a roof, plenty of parking, easy access, good amenities, etc. The only negative was sitting on the east side of the venue. This event began at 7 pm and half way through the setting sun dropped below the
Many of you are familiar with the music and talent of Micah Kesselring, the young Bloomingville, Ohio blues musician who has twice appeared at Greenfield events.
Micah has several CD collections on the market and has started an Indiegogo project to help fund another one. Indiegogo is a major crowd sourcing company and is often used by musicians to make themselves known and help fund their creations. I’ve participated in several and always gotten a sense of satisfaction, along with a copy of the CD, for my contribution. I’ll never be a Renaissance Medici type patron of the arts but for a couple of bucks I can feel a little warm and fuzzy.
To make a contribution to Micah’s project you can give as little as a buck and get back a thank you. For a little more you can get a thank you and the right to download his new CD when available. For a lot of money he’ll come to your home, prepare you a great vegetarian meal, and sing you a few ballads. Want to help out a starving artist? Click on the Indiegogo logo or the album cover below.
FACTOID: In 1942, the year of my birth, it cost $.27 cents to go to the movies. In the early 1950s a Saturday afternoon matinee at the Lyric Theater included a feature film, a serial, a cartoon, and a box of popcorn. Total cost, one thin quarter!
One of the most depressing things in today’s world is the absence of Jon Stewart’s voice to help get us through our day. He appeared on The Late Show yesterday and provided a reminder of what we once had four days a week.
A friend of mine, Stacey Austin, shared a video of street entertainers (buskers) with me and it reminded me of our recent visit to New Orleans. NOLA is a hot bed of buskers (and street people) and during the high season one might be found around any corner of the French Market.
Some people just see these people as being on the take or trying to scam the crowd. To me, they’re working people whose job is to further enrich our lives wherever we find them.
Buskers work solely for tips and I have a general rule that I always tip. Whenever I go to places like NYC or NOLA I make sure I have some coins and a pocket full of dollar bills. How much I tip depends on how entertained I am.
During this month’s visit to NOLA here’s where our money went. The street mimes who do little more than hold a pose generally don’t get top dollar. The kids tap dancing or beating out a rhythm on a plastic bucket got some change, unless they were really good and had their heart in it. Then they got paper money. There was a group of five young men who did a fantastic demonstration of break dancing and attracted a very large crowd. I don’t know how much they earned in an evening but they didn’t just have one bucket, they had four and the crowd didn’t hold back in sharing some of their vacation dollars. Musicians hold top spot on my earning list. If you’re singing a song or playing an instrument you’re assured of a tip. On this visit we sat inside the Cafe du Monde, sipping café au lait, eating beignets, and listening to a sax player doing jazzy renditions of Christmas music. We all tossed something into the bucket.
Now that you know what I do like here’s what I don’t. I don’t like those who are expecting a donation while doing nothing to earn it. Places like NOLA and the French Quarter are havens for those on the make. Street hustlers and beggars are common at traffic
Every wonder where today’s rock and roll guitar licks originated. Well, there are those who say nobody contributed to the genre more than Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She came on the scene in the early 1940s and left her mark all over rock. Just pay attention to the licks she plays in this old Gospel song.
When blues fans gather and the chatter turns to BB King the one thing most share is the opinion that King’s 1964 album, Live at the Regal, was his best. I own the CD and I really can’t disagree, the man was at the top of his game that evening.
Today I watched a video of BB’s 1983 appearance on PBS’s Austin City Limits and came away convinced his game hadn’t lessened over the intervening twenty years.
Playing for Change just never disappoints. Recently I MC’d a music event and I spoke briefly about the ability of musicians to communicate. It’s oft said that music is the international language and to me P for C is the proof positive that such is true. Just consider all the people in the following video and where they are located in the world and the various languages and cultures they represent. Yet, here they are coming together to offer something we can all relate and react to. Bless you P for C for helping to unite we the people.
Since I’m on a sort of music jag I’ll continue with this bit of fun. Ever wonder what the essence of popular musical styles consist of? Well, visit this link and check it out. Bet you’ll smile at least once!
Speaking of guitar slingers the all pretty much stand on the shoulders of Les Paul, the man credited with inventing the solid body electric guitar and multi-track recording. Take either away and rock ‘n roll as we know it disappears.
Les Paul was born on June 9, 1915 and this June marks the one-hundredth year of his birth. Across the nation a year-long celebration is taking shape and it began in New York City with a concert featuring many of today’s best guitarists.
Tommy Emmanuel is an Australian guitar slinger who’s almost unequaled in his versatility with the instrument. I came across this video of him playing a “twelve bar blues tune in the key of E.” To my ear it’s more of a boogie than a traditional twelve bar blues tune but it makes no difference, the man’s fingers are smokin’!