So: I was at the Hollywood Bowl last night...
…and saw James Taylor and Sheryl Crow.
I am fond of Taylor and Crow and saw Taylor in the early 1970s, when “Fire and Rain” broke big. He played Hoch and I was a couple rows from him. Great presence and knew he would become a legend. Saw him 10 or so years later in the Bay Area, when he was singing the anti nuke concerts. Even better, but losing his hair. Went to H Bowl concert and he was even better, despite looking every year of 70. More compassion and generosity and vocal and musical beauty than any other 5 performers I have seen. Everything good about my generation with none of the bad.
I better qualify everything good and none of the bad. Musically, I mean. Personally, the guy was reputedly a troubled teen with successful dad complex and James shortly became a heroin addict, and fought depression and substance abuse and nearly wrecked himself, like so many in a music business with a drug and spook darkened underbelly that makes sports look puritanical. But he got the monkey off by 20-22 and apparently learned all the right lessons about life, music, lyric themes, and life themes and spoke clearly, compassionately and truthfully to my generation so scarred early by nuclear specter, assassinations, rioting, drug dumping and body counts on nightly news. He never gave into hate and cynicism after he got free of his demons. He probably saved a lot of us without being preachy or too on the nose. He conducted the bulk of his life quite admirably, after getting out of his youth. I can’t say the same for most of the rest of my generation. He never fully got marriage down, but neither have the generations before or after, so I can’t fault him there either. And no junkie ever fails to have a relapse or two. Carly Simon got a belly full of relapses and moved on. I doubt the guy is easy to share a life with. He appears a bit touched from remote viewing, but he also appears to get humanity’s basic needs. Regardless, once he committed to bringing joy and healing with his music early on, he never let up in that department ever and has faced down many times when turning his music dark and cynical would have been the keen commercial move; and this seems what my generation most egregiously failed at doing and so passed onto their kids…
Anyway, today I talk with a 25 old woman at a store, a kind, bright hard working type. She asks how my day is. Good, I say. I tell her I went to the Bowl and she asks who I saw. I say James Taylor and Sheryl Crow. She says she has never heard of the first one, but she’s heard of Crow.
It’s staggering when one generation has never even heard of a great and beloved performer from another.
Something is breaking down in transmission of worthwhile popular culture from one generation to others (and about understanding of other generations) . It was like someone in my generation saying they had not heard of Sinatra, or Ray Charles. But EVERYONE in my generation HAD heard of Ray and Frank and came to love them later!
How can the current 20 something’s come to benefit from great musicians from prior generations, when they don’t even know they exist? . Hello, Deep State, are you there? What you’re doing is EVIL, but it’s working!
The music industry has changed. While there is great music being produced now, you need to find it. The age of radio is gone. There will not be any consensus in who the great musicians are, only the commercial ones. The naive believe that those two distinctions are one and the same.
Lol deep state.
@jaybate-1.0 I listened to James Taylor et al a lot in high school in the early 70’s. My grandfather (born 1900) came to live with us. He said all he heard was clanging on guitar strings and repeated shouting “GOTTA HANGNAIL! GOTTA HANGNAIL! GOTTA HANGNAIL!”
I think he might have had some issues by the time he was 70…
James Taylor is actually one of my favorite folk musicians. Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Hozier etc…
I’ve been to two of his concerts. Love Steam Roller and Walk Down that Lonesome road. Did you see DTae while you were out there? He’s getting second workouts with Lakers and Warriors.
The younger generation has no concept of what good music is because they are inundated with hip hop/rap type of music that most older people and most real musicians don’t even consider music and believe it is damaging to society like the great Wynton Marsalis indicated a couple of weeks ago.
This picture clearly show the difference on how people of different generation see music…
You need to find it now.
“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes, a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.” - J.R.R. Tolkien
I could keep going, there is plenty of rap with depth to it. It’s a bad idea to cast off an entire type of music because of some dumb examples when you can find those in any genre.
And that is pretty much Aesop Rock’s most simple song, I highly recommend him.
@BShark Ha. I did a paper on Stan in a psych class while at KU. More than a little going on in that song.
@dylans It’s definitely a song that merits some analysis.
A couple of my absolute favorite rappers rap 100% in French (I took French throughout school) but I didn’t post those because even if you can find the exact lyrics in French, it’s not going to translate properly and quickly.
@BShark could you please post the french rap or PM me? Id like to check it out.
@approxinfinity Sure. I don’t think either is particularly well known. I think you need a good grasp of French to appreciate the lyrics. There are some others but I used to listen to these two a lot in college.
I could listen to Keny all day.
@jaybate-1.0 I remember a time in the late 70s when our friend Steve mentioned Bob Dylan to the neighbor lad Calvin (about 11 or 12 at the time. Calvin replied, “Who is Bob Dylan?” We thought Steve would have an apoplectic fit.
I was calm.
And it was anecdotal, so I may have been talking to a non representative sample.:-)
But it was still conspicuous.
It it is also just a fact of getting older. It happens more often.
But even with all the excuses, I cannot imagine any of my friends at age 20-25 back in the mid 70s to early 80s saying, nope, never heard of Frank Sinatra, or nope, Ray Charles doesn’t ring a bell, or nope, Hank Williams, who was he?
Maybe I lived in an especially musically literate white bread and mayo neighborhood, but I don’t think that was it.
And we knew all the old Motowners and all the old Memphis guys, so the racial was not a barrier either.
We might have had trouble with what Al Jolson, or Satchmo sang, but we would have heard the names!
P.S.: the thing is, I bet she could have told me about the one-eye imagery in Katy Perry’s latest video. I don’t see why these occult music dudes are so insecure about their druidic music appeal that they dare not educate kids today about ALL the great singers and musicians of the past. Tony Bennett has been laboriously showing the way by unleashing the singer in all the singers by doing duets with them. Its been good to see and hear. Not a substitute for the new. But certainly sewing good seeds for the future of new. There was more going on in the 70s and 80s than Black Sabbath and Aerosmith, and Pink Floyd and Mikey. There’s more to rock and roll than dark circles, pierced tongues, gender doubt, and allusions to ritual sacrifice and Monarch divas. There is this really freaky, extremely marginal and kinky thing called heterosexuality at the ultimate fringe. And the most exotic ancient and twisted of all: monogamy!!! Oh, how weird are those monomogs? I mean anyone can forsake sex, or “connect” on line with GPS. How about the extreme freakiness of waking up with the same face 10,000 days in a row? I mean imagine tying hot sex to sky gods with rock and roll. No, too far out. Too flipping much, man!!! So: Logging out!!! Look up logging out if you haven’t heard it. I split my gut laughing about it.
I know, I know. TMI.
@JayHawkFanToo not all of the younger generation. My boys listen to some rap.
@jaybate-1.0 I’m relatively young and I am familiar with the artists you mentioned in your last post. I got into music through my mom though so I am very familiar with the classics, as well as everything motown. Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops etc… I was raised on it during car rides essentially.
That said, I’ve also done a lot of my own research now. Like @approxinfinity said radio is kind of dead. So to find good, relevant new music you have to dig yourself. Most people don’t want to do that, they want to be presented with music (so either radio or youtube).
So it was difficult to pick ONE Hozier song even though he only has one full album.
Really I recommend listening to his entire debut album.
Try to see one of Taylor’s concerts before he goes. Ex Junkies rarely go as long as he has and he’s looking pretty old, though skinny and fit enough to go on quite awhile. Looks like a toothy hillbilly in a remake of Deliverance, but he has built a remarkable band/quasi orchestra, and has developed great range both musically and vocally. The light show projected onto the clam shell 2.0 of Hollywood Bowl was almost certainly way more kicked back than for contemporary bands, but it was really quite dazzling in gracefully and with a mix of southern ease and northeast seasons integrating mash up style and high definition with remarkable range between animation and realistic imagery. It was actually gentle and comforting instead of painful on the eyes but there were a few surreal effects for old times sake for those few in the 17,000 person audience on nostalgic mescaline trips, I reckon. Lots of old fogies like me but a decent smattering of middle aged and even a few 20-30 somethings looking for a little paleo-vibe.He tried to offer something for a full range of his fans, but he just is very languid and reflective. His guitar playing was impeccable, as distinct as ever. No one else, not even slow hand, has been able to make virtuosity on a guitar seem so casual and effortless. And he is so old now that he does not feel the artistic insecurity driving him to do every song a “unique” new way to keep from getting bored. He finally seems to have a sense of his legacy and that he is on the home stretch and that its okay to arrange and get the songs out the best way possible. I liked every arrangement and was not annoyed by the light show as I so often have been since my own teen age years–something which has only gotten worse for me. I connect to the music, not the visuals. Movies are where I like to get a cinematic experience on my corneas, not a concert. For this reason alone, I have the last ten years shied away from rock concerts and stuck to symphonies, which seems to be the last venue where someone will let the music reach its full power without visual interference. It was great to hear him again not fighting against getting older, but welcoming it. This is NOT a concert where every boomer sits around and recalls being 18, or 20. This is a long musical journey through his life that winds closer and closer to the present. The old fogies know where he has been and know that life does not stop even at 40 or 50. It keeps taking its toll and delivering its ecstasies amidst accruing tedium to the bitter end. The crowd of old fogies knew themselves and where they were at in old age AFTER this conference, not before. It was another one of his gifts to his fans that he has always bestowed to those that would listen to him amidst the coarse torrents of popular music that have engulfed him so many times since the 1970s. He’s like a tide pool that keeps forming slightly differently each time you see him a few years or decades apart, but he keeps being full of life’s upwellings drifted in attached to the rocks he washes over. It won’t affect someone the same from a more recent generation, as it did me who was from his time and shared his long train of memories up to the present. But…when you finish the concert, instead of thinking you just heard a lot of dead schmaltz, you will hear an audience connected to a singer and the band he has struggled a life time to assemble. He’s basically a cross between and North Carolinian and a Massachusetts schooled man. He is about as steeped and tradition and simultaneously unfettered by it as one gets in an American. I quit going to concerts by old performers in big to medium sized venues about ten years ago, because I kept feeling cheated, like I was listening to one of those promos for a 3 CD set of golden oldies. I want music to be alive now, when I go. I would rather hear some of this dismal occult/druidic MKULTRA engineered stuff from today, if its still got some live gism to it than listen to old farts that have not only gotten old, but lost their creativity too. All I can say is that if you know his music and appreciate it, you will find that he is still alive and creative even if the voice is a little thinner and the grin a little toothier. His arranger is a man of great taste and Taylor seems to have found his own equivalent of Nelson Riddle for Franki Sinatra. They are two sides of a gold coin. He has a conga drummer to die for. His horn man plays sax and muted trumpet the way they were meant to be played starting in the late 1940s and stopped being played about 10-15 years ago. This horn man is the real deal. Drummer is good primarily because he and Taylor go way back and so know each other like a 4th year point guard and a 4th year shooting guard know each other’s moves. The vocal backups are probably better than a lot of stars today IMHO and one or two might make their own way in coming years. This was the only old guy concert I ever really liked. Paul Simon hung on to his gism to about 50-60, but even he slowed down in his 70s. In Taylor we are not getting to see a musical equivalent of Picasso, because he is no longer pioneering popular music as Pablo did painting, but he is taking his piece of popular music into a better and better finished form, if you will excuse my resorting to a cabinetry finish metaphor. I was happy and wanted to hear more, when he finally quit after about 2 and a half hours. I never winced once about the music and the arrangements. It was a little shock to see the old guy face, but I’m a little younger than him and I couldn’t have done it, so it impressed me. Even Sheryl Crow’s getting a few years on her from when I used to see her in small joints in LA, and she’s apparently fled LA for Nashville,where a woman can still have a few wrinkles, if she wears her hair a little big and not have to apologize for being a little hot. Clearly Crow idolized Taylor, who was filling in for Bonnie Raitt who got injured, or something and could not play. Crow is probably my favorite female rock singer, because I got to see her before she got big. I missed Joan Jett and Pat Benatar coming up. Saw Carole King only after she Tapestried over the moon. I’m eccentric. I like to see people early and late in their careers. I caught Springsteen at Memorial Hall before he was a mega star–enjoyed him much more there than in LA at his peak on Born To Run tour. From my time, there is Eric Clapton and James Taylor that can still pick up an ax and make me care–make me hear sounds that connect deep in me; that can make me overlook how much water is under the bridge. Slow Hand and Sweet Baby James. I loved Bob Dylan most, but it was time for him to hang it up sometime around the Traveling Wilbury’s. Slow Hand and Taylor will probably have to hang it up pretty soon too. See them while you can, where you can. When I was in my twenties in San Francisco, and working a suit job in the days, I wired myself into what was left of North Beach joints (not much) and sought out all the old performers, or guys who had crashed after a few hits I could find. Al Kooper. Check. Remnants of Star Ship. Check. Dead. Check. Van Morrison. Check. Steve Winwood. Check. Huey Lewis (before discovery). Check. Then I found John Lee Hooker and saw him probably 10-12 times before he quit playing much in The City. He was the single most awesome thing I ever listened to live up close. His fingers were likely black jack hammers squeezing guitar strings glinting gold in the tiny spot light in a tiny room of 40 people. It was just incredible to hear what he could do with one hand on the neck of a guitar. Young and middle aged persons should seek out these great old or just past their prime performers before they go, because it enriches your life so much to see the real deals–the legacy of now. Some of them are too wrecked with drugs and alcohol to give anything more than a few great bars here, and a few great bars there. I saw Tim Hardin (If I Were A Carpenter) when he could barely string words together and would fall off his stool in a drunken stupor he never escaped. It was in a tiny bar, where there was no one else but drunks either. It was chillingly tragic to watch, but every third or fourth line you would hear something great surface out of his control to sustain that made me realize why he had once been influential. I could go on and on. I was lucky with old musicians. They knew I loved them and understood what they had been and they loved me back with songs I requested. I saw guys like Steve Winwood try to make comebacks and fail. And I would run into guys that were up and coming up like Tom Waits and Riki Lee Jones that had come to pay their respects to the old guys. It was still like that in those days. I’m not speaking nostalgically, but to make clear that that was once how the old musicians went out. They kept playing for any that would listen and kept giving to younger musicians. Not all, of course. But the ones I saw were real. I always hit myself for not having flown to St. Louis to try to find and hear Chuck Berry. I saw him in concert, but that was when he was doing Ding A-Ling and really disliked everyone and everything. I wanted to catch him once playing because he wanted to. Berry was the greatest that ever lived in my book. Greater than the Beatles. Greater than Presley. Greater than Mikey and Stevie. Greater than anyone but Frank Sinatra. I attended rock concerts up through Sting, and George Michael and REM. I saw some rappers in Detroit early in that phase and was around the hip hop stuff in LA way back in the 80s, when the Miami drug cartels moved their action to south central and people started dying in gun fights in great numbers that prompted Jim Cameron to copy the helicopter chases of bad asses with guns down Miracle Mile alleys to meet a head shot from an LA cop, or another gang member for a low budgie called Terminator with an oversexed body builder from Austria by way of Venice Beach. REM and Stipe were really the last band that really spoke to me for any length of time. I used to go watch Katy Segal sing in LA clubs before she got the part of the mom in Married with Children. She could sing and had some presence that you wouldn’t believe from her character on the TV show. Since then I have just heard snippets of bands that I have liked but none enough to really go and connect with. I’m sorry that I stopped, but that’s how it was. My want to went. I did here this hit of one band called Lake Street Dive probably 5-8 years back that had a woman lead singer. She almost single handedly brought me back to the music. But then i listened to the rest of the cuts and the idiots in the band were to jealous of her to really let he take over and run this band to the top top topper most of the pop pop popper most as John Lennon and Paul McCartney supposedly used to say to each other to keep their spirits up and remind each other of how big they wanted to be. Few remember that Lennon and McCartney wanted to be as big as Elvis. Lennon was tickled pink when Sinatra cut one of his songs as elevator music. Great musicians care about the legacies they spring from, no matter how original they are. Fans can’t really appreciate these great persons without biting into the same apple, so to speak. Got to find where the fruit fell from. You can’t grasp Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys until you hear Good Vibrations in Huntington Beach, of this I am certain. You can’t grasp Bob Dylan fully till you go through Hibbing, MN and stay in the Village a few nights. Never went to Big Pink, but I wish I had. Can’t get anyone from the Motown sound until you have spent a winter and a summer in Detroit. I am convinced I never fully appreciated the Velvet Underground, because I’ve never lived New York, just visited it. Springsteen? GO. TO. JERSEY. Back to the Bay Area. No one gets John Fogarty till they kick around El Cerrito and figure what made a kid in a blue collar town imagine the Bayous, and go to some of the central California rice paddies, so you get how his imagination conjured up this strange mixture of Louisiana and California escapist music filtered through the jungles of Vietnam. Artists are conjurers, but their imaginations start from somewhere. In the Bay Area, there were so many that retired, or just gave up, up to hole in the wall rentals up in Mill Valley, or Oakland, or other places farther north of the high rent life in Tiburon and Sausalito. It was amazing, really. I wish I could recall more of the names now, but its been a long time. Grace Slick was my number one want to see and at that time she was remaking herself as more mainstream (bullshit like We built this city on rock and roll, etc.). I caught her once at some place in Cow Hollow, or the Marina, sitting in with someone else, but she couldn’t hold it together and really didn’t show much. She soon drank herself into oblivion; then dried out as this fat husk of herself. I have no idea what has become of her. What pipes though once!!! Not very many women have I characterized as having pipes, but she had pipes. I missed the Band’s final concert in San Francisco that Scorcese filmed. Still breaks my heart to think about. Seek out the old greats. That’s all I can say. They will make you appreciate the music of your generation even more by putting a frame on it and an origin you can’t get from any documentary. Hearing is still believing. And thank you, James Taylor, for healing my heart one more time.
@jaybate-1.0 I saw Paul McCartney in wichita last summer w/my son. No words!
Thanks a lot for this link. I’ll give it a listen tomorrow.
Glad you shared your knowledge of music with this old coot.
Nice to meet someone young that has learned what has come before and used it as a springboard into “finding” the music these days.
Music is probably more important now than ever to connect the generations in a knowable river, even though today’s marketing of music often makes the easy stuff to find seem primarily an instrument of divisiveness, identity divisions, and resentment expressed with a mind numbing baseline, or else a whiney woman’s voice migrating like a wandering bird hopelessly in search of a melody lost in a whirlwind of navel contemplation.
As the culture enters what some suspect could be a sign market of hypermodernity that may wear away history, itself, increasingly humans will have to do exactly what you describe has been your experience. Your parents have to hope their kids are listening to the oldies and what they are saying about the joy they bring, and then simultaneously encouraging their kids to dig for the new music in the cloud. I’m not a person who is pessimistic about where things are headed so much as wary of the inevitable traumas that will crop up as we head down the path, or network of paths that have newly emerged. I would have felt the same way in the early 1400s in the dawn of the Age of Discovery. Going to be great to find a water route out of the Black Plague years and to Cathay, but I’m feeling a little wary about the plagues we might encounter as we enter these new worlds. Be careful y’all! as we sailed with some really good portuguese port and sausages down the coast of Africa trying to find a way across the dead air before you reach the west African Coast, only to encounter some African Tribes wanting to sell us members of their tribes as slaves they have had anal sex with and tired of. And we suddenly go from wanting to find Cathay to being tempted by making some easy money turning around and selling slaves instead. Temptation, then a little Dengue fever. Some of us make it and some of us don’t, and its all too big and sweeping and new for us to make sense of during our life times, except that we know something very, VERY big has changed from the old days of our earlier ancestors building those big, heavy gothic cathedrals. This African coast is refreshingly green, impossibly humid, and full of unexplored rivers and value systems we’ve never known before. And so on. We survived the Age of Discovery…barely. And we will survive the Age of Hypermodernity…barely. Music helped those African tribes groove through the risks of life in the green belt of Central africa after uncertainties and Middle Eastern slavers had likely first infected their tribes with slaving many centuries before the Portuguese came to Africa and got infected with it, too. Then some of those folks survived Dengue Fever and malaria and those survivors built an admirable culture in a lush biosphere, except for the bad habit slavery acquired from the folks in Northeast Africa that had slaved them and the Europeans along the coast. Slavery is the contagion that keeps on giving. Once it starts, it twists cultures and they soon have problems that they should never have to deal with. Problems that "bind us together, " as James Taylor sings in one of his songs about Martin Luther King. The British caught the slaver bug, too. The French caught it. The Habsburg Castillian Spaniards caught it. They spread it to the new world. The Chinese had caught it somewhere long before everyone but maybe the Indians of India, and the Indians probably caught it from their own bizarre caste system. Music has helped everyone endure slavery and the other evils of their times. It has carried the spiritual and emotional truths of humanity from generation to generation and from culture to culture. Music is an imperfect vessel. But its one we love. Everyone in power coopts it for a time, but for every oligarch trying to buy it with a spendy conservatory, some Bob Marley is out there composing the sounds he grew up with at the bottom of the culture. And contrary to popular thinking, many of the oligarchs are trying to save the culture just as much as the Bob Marleys. Some of those conservatories are godsends to the music, same as some of the old monasteries of western Ireland were godsends at preserving the scrolls of the ancient wisdom of ancient Rome and of early Christendom that would have been lost like the library of Carthage had they been burned, or abandoned, or salted. All the different kinds of music are all necessary to save the human legacy and connect it to the coming generations, especially during times when cultures are being fragged by competing orders vying for expanded power and when technology evolves in unforeseen consequential ways that bring the entire human order, or biosphere of cultures, into times of instability and perilous conflict. “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby, and by many others, in 1942, and heard by soldiers by radio and recordings played over camp loudspeakers supposedly was part of what kept my dad from losing his sanity in December of 1943 one night on a island in the south Pacific. He said he just kept concentrating on it. You never know how this music stuff works. Tokyo Rose played American hits and tried to torment American GIs and Marines with memories of home, but instead the music galvanized their spirits and made them fight on, according to my dad. Music works in mysterious ways. If as reputed, intel and drug cartels have coopted pop music and have compromised some young men and women with the most vicious, vile inexcusable depravity of Monarch Mind Control Programming, it will most likely come back to bite these filthy bastards exploiting music some how or another. Music is a living river of human traditions, same as literature. When the occult masters, or the secular masters, or the religious masters, compromise their principles and misuse the music and literature for mind control and propaganda, through out history we have seen the wise words of Martin Luther King play out again and again. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but no lie can live forever.” And when the lie is finally exposed for a time, change comes and most often with nonlinear virulence. Justice comes swiftly and yet the complexity that results never delivers us to equity that the disingenuous cannot disrupt over time. But the change comes and as Sheryl Crow sang;
“The change, change, It will do you good.”
And as Bob Dylan sang, there also come times when:
The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast The slow one now will later be fast As the present now will later be past The order is rapidly fadin’ And the first one now will later be last For the times they are a-changin’"
And then we find ourselves licking our wounds and trying to heal somehow with music from someone like James Taylor who has lived and lost and lets nothing stand between the feelings and the truth.
“Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone. Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you. I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song, I just can’t remember who to send it to. I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you again.”
You have dug up a thousand, maybe ten thousand songs I have never heard. But you will play them for your children, same as I played the ones the radio delivered to me and that I played for my children.
Music in all its forms. Sports in all its forms. Literature in all its forms. Movies in all their forms.
These are the four rivers that keep flowing from the past through the present to the future.
Politics, war and economics are just the records of our dog fighting over money and power.
The four rivers of music, sports, literature, and movies are the records of who we are and what was felt deeply.
The one worlders and the mind controllers are trying to dam them up and divert and valve them to the service of their orders.
Those orders that respect and nurture those rivers grow into great cities beside and along their banks.
Those orders that disrespect them and try to pollute them with lies and deceptions are eventually swept away by them.
It has happened time and again in history.
Sometimes the people just walk out of the cities and move into the country side, as happened apparently in Yucatan with the Maya.
Sometimes the leaders are so corroded by corruption that the order breaks down internally and other orders from outside sweep in and fill the power vacuums (Hamlet anyone?).
Sometimes the leaders get a death wish from hubris and attack other orders and cultures that are simply too powerful for them to ever overcome and they are crushed.
But no matter what happens, the four rivers resume flowing through the cultures that succeed them.
Time waits for no one and for no order that is not busily building for its own people’s futures. As Bob Dylan sang:
“He not busy being born is being dying.”
But music (and so culture) for me really comes down to what Chuck Berry sang:
“I have no kick against modern jazz Unless they try to play it too darn fast And change the beauty of the melody Until it sounds just like a symphony That’s why I go for that rock’n’roll music Any old way you choose it It’s got a backbeat, you can’t lose it Any old time you use it It’s gotta be rock - roll music If you wanna dance with me If you wanna dance with me”
He knew the sound of an assembly line.
His music often captured that sound and of cars rolling down the roads.
We’ve got to find where that river Chuck tapped into has flowed again.
Not the same spot in the river Chuck stepped into, but where the river has flowed to.
I suspect you and @approxinfinity have done your digging and found the underground river I am talking about. I suspect you are sharing some of it.
Its a wild, big, two-hearted river, to recall Hemingway, trying to heal from WWI in the back woods of Michigan by using it as a metaphor for the brutal recovery he endured in a brutal world.
The four rivers entwine and have many tributaries.
The river that washed up Rock and Roll Music by Chuck Berry was the river of everyone’s music, same as White Christmas fell like snow flakes on the river of everyone’s music that had ever felt the beauty and loneliness of a winter night and turned to whatever god and loved ones they had so as not to flee from the feeling of smallness in the face of a big beautiful, but indifferent world turning in directions potentially dangerous and not easily foreseeable.Its the same river that washed up “It’s the End of the World as We Know it”. It washed up “Oh, Sussanah,” and “Cross Roads.” It washed up “Fire and Rain.”
It washed up El Paso and Ring of Fire.
It washed up Lady Gaga singing “The Lady Is a Tramp” with Tony Bennett.
It washed up all the great songs you know and deeply connect with that I have never heard and maybe will never hear.
But truly, as James Taylor sang:
"We are riding, on a rail road
Singing someone else’s song…"
It washed up “Ohio” and “For What Its Worth”.
“Moon River” and “Where the Boys Are.”
Over the “Rainbow” by Judy Garland, also by Iz.
It washed up “Moon River” and “Don’t Think Twice, Its Alright.”
It washed up “Purple Haze,” and “Little Red Corvette.”
It washed up “Fight the Power” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
“Careless Whisper” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
And since I am baring my soul about the music I love that has washed up from this river, let me pause and just say it here.
“Sergeant Peppers” and “Burning Down the House.”
It washed up “Help Me I Think I’m Falling” and “You Oughta Know.”
It washed up “The City of New Orleans” and “The Great Compromise.”
“Light My Fire” and “Ring of Fire.”
I’m leaving the last 20-30 years of what washed up to you and @approxinfinity. I couldn’t do it justice.
The only band I know of and like these days is a band called Lake Street Dive. I don’t know why. I just do. I’ve tried to go see them twice, but once they were sold out and once i had scheduling conflicts. I don’t like a lot of their stuff, but the songs I like I REALLY like. I have always been a sucker for women with pipes. I liked Natalie Merchant a lot. This woman on Lake Street Dive moves me the way Merchant used to, but only on a couple songs. The band gets too concerned with references, especially to the worst stages of Paul McCartney’s song writing. But when that lead singer really lets go in a song with some funk, it gets me like I were 18 again. Go figure.
And yes, I’ve already picked what I want played at my funeral: “Last Date” by Floyd Cramer and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Iz. Then after the coffin is in the ground and everyone is departing? “Burning Down the House.” These could change, if you guys give me a divining rod that reconnects me to the underground river.
Hope Paul was worth it. The guy was/is off the charts great at many phases of his career.
When you recall seeing him play, remember that he and John Lennon and the Beatles once played 7 days a week from early evening to 3 in the morning, or something like it, for about six months, if I recall correctly. They played in a crappy bar in Hamburg, Germany, according to the way the members of the Beatles told it. They played until they were fused into a band the same way a basketball team gets fused together over the course of playing basketball everyday from October to April. Just like a basketball team is born over the course of a season, a band was born during that six months. They were real musicians that did nothing but play music and discover what chords and harmonies drove the audience to dance and then to start screaming with hysterical joy at them. They were exploring electric guitars at a time when electric guitars and electrified music was still not very respected and not very well understood as to what worked and what did not. Lennon said they played so much that they finally got to the point that they knew exactly how to drive an audience wild.
They wanted to be as big as Elvis, and they wanted to sing harmonies like the Everly Brothers. They figured out how to do Phil and Don, but in the process discovered how to drive girls to the edge of their senses with music. They wanted to be as big as Elvis, but it took Brian Epstein to put them in the four suits and to have them wear their hair in a style that combined with the music to literally drive young women to hysterical riots of adulation. Frank Sinatra had a similar effect early on with bobby soxers, but the Beatles took it to a new level, before they tired of that trick and then decided they wanted to extinguish those teen girl riot inciting Beatles and see if they could incite adults into artistically inspired cultural changes, while getting even richer. Its hard to grasp now, but at the time fans and media were pretty naive and innocent about music’s capacity to fuse this heightened emotional hysteria with social consciousness music (i.e., folk music). Their change from the Beatles in the four suits to the social consciousness raising, post modernist mind tripping band of acid dropping music gurus seemed to happen almost in the blink of an eye. They were leading a magical mystery tour in a way no one had ever done previously in rock and roll music. It was exhilarating and fun but also disorienting and unnerving to parents and leaders of society. The kids had responded to individual models of rebellious precocity of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, previously, but those were all music embodiments of Marlon Brando in the “Wild One” being asked, “what are you rebelling from?” and responding “Whattaya got?” The Beatles posed an entirely different proposition. They said we are not rebelling from anything, we have simply already left the program with acid, and we are inviting not only your children along for the trip, but everyone else that wants to come a long too." This was not a rebellion by anti-heroes. This was a revolution lead by myth wielding musician heroes. They didn’t wait for approval, or a permit to go on the Magical Mystery Tour. They just started the bus and turned the world into riders lit up with ACID and a vision of a new world where everyone and everything was okay, where all you need is love. It really wasn’t accurate to say it was a time of questioning authority. Rather it was a time of deciding authority was not worth questioning; that the answer was known and the only question was were they going to “block up the hall,” as Bob Dylan sang. So: what you had was four guys that had learned how to drive audiences wild with music, suddenly rich enough to do pretty much whatever they wanted, and finance the bus ride themselves, just leaving the bus station. This left traditional leadership in the lurch. They knew these guys had no military power and no institutional power. They had no global strategic savvy. But they were increasingly able to move millions then tens of millions of persons to change the way they dressed, acted, and saw the world. The Beatles did not appear to want to be political leaders, but they were becoming something rather more startling and daunting to government, business, media, and religious leaders. They were four tightly related and performance hardened young men with visions of spiritual change through the secular medium of popular music. And when they spoke, their audiences were much bigger and more receptive to follow their message that all you need is love and the higher vision of LSD, than were the crowds that came to hear Presidents and Prime Ministers and CEOs and so on. The irony is that we did not really take them seriously, except in the sense that they were waking us up to a potentially very much more fun approach to life than prepping for nuclear war, for getting drafted for Vietnam War and scrimping and saving to make ends meet. If you stop and compare the message the Beatles were spreading at the time with the cold war fears the US and British Governments were spreading, and the corporations stark, Madison Avenue materialism message, you can see that the Beatles, four young pals from the working class of Liverpool, were spreading a much more marketable and popular message. Hey, the life style the Beatles were selling seemed a little more fun than social conformity, military service, saloon music, and a social life of proper Cotillion dances and proper Pops Concerts in tuxes and evening gowns. Hey, let’s wear some crazy tie dye, flourescent robes, grow our hair out, make love not war, drop some acid, forget about nuclear armageddon, and see where the ride on the magic bus takes us. Force in all societies resides in the barrel of a gun. But power in all societies resided in who has the most compelling message that causes persons to willingly comply with what authority wants. The Beatles were the authority on tuning in, turning on, and dropping out of the conventional way of life. They were the masters of ceremonies of how to have a fun life. Each album, they sang about the latest ways they had discovered to have more fun. Peace. Love. Acid. Three clear, persuasive principles of a fun and morally kind life, or so we believed for a time. Remember, this was in the wake of assassinations and as the seemingly unnecessary Viet Nam War ramped up. Once the Beatles had been thoroughly marketed, it was kind of hard to unmarket them. About the only thing to do was to create competitors for them. The Rolling Stones pushed another way to have fun. Dress like London street toughs and later Edwardian dandy’s, take opiates, and generally be naughty rebels playing blues progressions, sort of Howlin’ Wolf with scones. But rather than divide the Beatles market, the Stones seemed to snowball the just have fun phenomenon. Then when the Dave Clark Five branded themselves as clean fun loving guys without drugs out to have a good time, and The Kinks branded themselves as slightly weird guys out to have a good time, and Peter and Gordon branded themselves as sensies out to have a good time, well, the British invasion of American pop music had established full spectrum dominance across American youth personality types with a combined message utterly contrary to the traditional American puritan work ethic that said work and be responsible and thrifty and never have free love, and a very destabilizing effect swept American youth and then through American society. And almost immediately American bands like The Byrds and the Buffalo Springfield and The Monkees and many others joined in the message of play now/work later. And acid had this weird capacity to make persons feel they were seeing life through a new lens and seeing a higher spiritual level of life than the conformity and hard work of the protestant work ethic offered. But as if in a giant vortex at the center of the changing weather remained the Beatles lead by Lennon and McCartney. Each album they moved up market to try the next sophistication in form of music and the next level of spiritual enlightenment, while still having a terrifically fun time doing it. Eventually Lennon and McCartney converged Indian spiritualism with western materialism and popularized the sitar in mainstream music. It was like no matter what they explored next, it became the next fun, cool thing to do next. And increasingly the quest for a fun, heightened consciousness by a generation following the Beatles on their magical mystery tour came into sharper and sharper conflict with the ugly seriousness and tragedy of war and race prejudice and division. How could one have a truly fun, spiritually heightened and enlightened life, if every time you came down from your trip the world was slaughtering thousands a week in Vietnam War and American cities were erupting in race riots and burnings? And the universities which had initially provided the tolerant communities where students with a puritanical work ethic could trade it in for a more fun loving way of life seemed simultaneously the potential model for a heavily subsidized, very fun life, and at the same time a sticky bureaucracy too rigid to take the next step to embracing the new fun way of spiritually enlightened living. Something had to snap and it did. Bob Kennedy and Martin Luther King got assassinated about the time persons had started to recover some from JFK’s assassination. And the war went on steroids with over 500k soldiers in country. And the napalming of villages and the massacres began to surface. And the Beatles began to quarrel among themselves and develop substance abuse problems from the new fun, enlightened way of living. Their marriages splintered. Yoko entered the scene and John, who had been an art student before becoming a rock star, felt more in common with Yoko, the artist, than with the Beatles, the musicians. In parallel, the government intel and MK Ultra programs were dumping massive quantities of LSD on college campuses across the country and specifically creating a bizarre counter culture movement completely counter not only to mainstream america, but also often overlooked completely contrary to the responsible anti-Nuke and Peace movements on the one hand and to the responsible Civil Rights Movements on the other. In essence, the government was reputedly subsidizing a counter culture movement in Haight Ashbury, in Laurel Canyon, at Harvard, at Wisconsin, at Michigan, at KU and so on, that became called the Hippie movement, which wanted to completely drop out of contemporary society, except to freeload, and get back to nature in utopian communes in the midst of the most intense phase of industrialization and digitalization the world had ever seen. The Beatles produced the double White Album that captured the tumultuous cultural conflict emerging as the band was simultaneously fragmenting itself. It was timely good fortune for those that wanted to see the discrediting and ending of the Peace and Civil Rights Movements that the Hippie Counter Culture Movement included the Manson Family sub movement that lead to a grisly cluster of murders, the most famous of which involved the Tate LaBianca murders in Hollywood, or somewhere near. The psychotic Charles Manson just happened to have jammed a little on guitar with members of the Beach Boys, and with some very WEIRD and suspiciously military-intel connected rockers in Laurel Canyon Canyon, and somehow decided to use the song Helter Skelter from the Double White Album of the Beatles as his theme song for multiple murder by his drug addled members of his family of mind controlled runways called the Manson Family by insane Charlie. Some how McCartney stayed above it all. Lennon effectively came undone for a time, feeling inferior to McCartney for a time, and feeling frustrated by Yoko. John went to LA and drank himself silly and got into the soul withering life of a clubber in the monster LA party scene. The Beatles broke apart and John and Yoko almost did. “Christ you know it ain’t easy.” Harry Nilsson wasn’t the best influence. But at least John survived LA. He wasn’t so lucky later in NY, when things seemed finally to start breaking right for him and Yoko and they recorded the Double Fantasy album that probably eclipsed any post Beatles record of Paul’s.
Above was the world that the man you saw named Paul McCartney had ascended through modest poverty to both great fame as a rock and roll star and a member of one of the era’s most famous bands, the Beatles, and then negotiated his own way through the flying apart of that band, while becoming fabulously wealthy in his own right and then marrying Linda Eastman, an heir of the Eastman Kodak fortune and a musician/photog. Paul McCartney had a likely even more lucrative career after he left the Beatles, if less musically memorable in some persons estimations. But the point of my lengthy summary of his and the Beatle’s experience and times was to say that this guy you had the good fortune to see had through both song writing genius and intensely driven hard work achieved his goal of becoming bigger than Elvis Presley, and in the process had also become a masterful musical performer. He has written a Liverpool Oratorio for performance by symphonies. He has written several film scores. He has won an Oscar for a song written for film. He has participated with the surviving Beatles in putting out one single that the surviving Beatles recorded and that became a major hit several decades after the band broke up. He has been knighted. He was arguably the more prolific musical force of he and John Lennon, and in any case jointly participated with John Lennon in radically transforming popular music multiple times in a ten year period in which he stretched the popular rock and roll song in length, subject matter, and musical styles probably to far greater degree than any other single human, or member of a song writing team, has done before or since. So: when you got to see him, you were literally seeing one of the most extraordinary musicians in the history of popular music–a musician capable of recording a solid first solo studio album full of music with considerable complexity in which he played every instrument played and recorded on the record album (i.e., collection of songs) called Ram. I am so envious of you getting to see him in person, because I never have and he is one of only a few persons I would without encouragement come out of my home body life to see. You saw the pop music equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain, or maybe Bill Russell. There are greater singers. Greater dancers. Greater lyricists. But when you combine musicality with innovation in which he was either unparalleled, or not exceeded with all of the other things he has done, this guy is a musical demigod, even though he never could live up to most persons expectations after his phenomenal song writing and performing career with John Lennon, and the Beatles. Congratulations. You massively enriched your life experience simply by going and seeing and listening to him.
@jaybate-1.0 I saw Paul McCartney in wichita last summer w/my son. No words!
I went to see James Taylor not that long ago with my mom. One of her favorites actually.
@jaybate-1.0 Your wall of text was daunting but it turned out to be a wonderful wall of sound. Really enjoyed all your recollections. Thank you for sharing.This discussion comes at an opportune time, as my younger son had found my old mp3 players and is hungry for music, and I have forgotten the whole canon. Undoubtedly a symptom of hypermodernity; when I recall a band I want to hear, I put it in Google play, but there is not much though past the seeding of what I am listening, especially if I let the thing find similar music for me. That, I think, has its dangers. How can an artist tell their full story if their audience only ever hears one chapter? I try to stick to playing albums when I can but the UX encourages allowing their shuffle.
Anyway, I’ll run through yours and @BSharks stuff as I work in my little cubicle with my noise cancelling headphones on, curious if early Grace Slick and some of the more fringe things you mentioned will be in mainstream channels. Will report back.
As for a quick hit of stuff in the last 30 years … Try Cake (Fashion Nugget maybe first), Soul Coughing (Irresistible Bliss and Ruby Vroom) and Nada Surf (Let Go maybe first). These are still 20 years old and they did all make it to mainstream in some capacity but only Cake had enduring success.
It took me longer to read your posts Jaybate than the length of the concerts you wrote about!
@BShark a great son!
@jaybate-1.0 we stood the whole time. Paul is 75! He went forever. My son showed me a great time! There were so many different age groups there. Timeless music. The first album my good friend purchased was, abbey rd. We scratched that up! Over and over! I’m watching cnn’s 1968. Powerful year. Good music too.
Just a few bands that I feel are good examples of good music being created today.
- Greta Van Fleet: They sound like a 70’s or 80’s rock band. Upbeat and fun to listen to.
- Arctic Monkeys: Just a purely unique sound. The new album they just released is awful. But, I do like a lot of their older music. Florescent Adolescent is one of my all-time favorite songs.
- Cold War Kids: Again, a more 70s or 80s sound. Love their songs. Going to see them in KC on Friday!
- Misterwives: A rock band and a 90s girl pop sound blended together into something uniquely great. Their newest album is amazing imo.
- Dirty Heads: A raggae/rock/rap hybrid that consistently puts out good music and has evolved quite a bit with each album. Takes a couple of listens, but they are clever and fun.
- Houndmouth: A folky sound, mostly slower music.
- Jukebox the Ghost: Lead singer sounds scary close to Freddy Mercury from Queen. Listen to the song “Jumpstarted” and you will think that Freddy came out of the grave and Queen put out a new song.
These are just some of my favorites right now. I could name dozens more putting out music that simply doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. I also love the New Post Malone album though so I kind of listen to it all.
This is fun seeing these bands put forward by you young’uns, literally none of which have names I have ever heard of! I knew I was out of touch but it is nice to get confirmation periodically!
@Kcmatt7 I didn’t realize Post Malone had a new album. I still find myself humming a couple tracks from Stoney. White Iverson was genius. I appreciated that he got into trouble with his fans when he said “if you’re looking to think about life, don’t listen to hip-hop”.
Yes, these young dynamos that avoided the opiates, gravitated to healthy diets, stuck with pot, eliminated alcohol, and backed off acid have seemed like energizer bunnies well into old age. FWIW, many persons don’t know that Paul and Linda bought a ranch near Tucson, Arizona and lived there much of the year, when they became horsemen in a big way. I read that after Linda died, he sold the place and picked up anew with music and another romance. Not sure where he hangs his hat now.
@approxinfinity Oh yea. Go check it out. I don’t know that there is a song on the entire album that I don’t like.
@jaybate-1.0 his new wife was there. Linda was the love of his life, maybe I’m Amazed!😍