Thursday, May 15, 2008

Considerable Sounds: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue


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By DC Music Editor Benjamin New


What is new in the world? Nothing. What is old in the world? Nothing. Everything has always been and will always be. -Sai Baba

The Universe is expanding, eventually it will be a cold dark place. In time, there will be too much space between the elements of subatomic particles to exist as matter, all matter will become energy, the universe will cease to exist. Time is just a line between 2 notions. Our first subject is a notion of something old. In music and art, time is relative too. Something that originated in a prior time can be quite new and exciting if you never encountered it before. I am imagining contemporary renditions of some "baby boomer" classics-

  • Bob Dylan: Like A Kidney Stone...
  • Herman's Hermits: Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker...
  • Ringo Starr: I Get By With a Little Help From Depends...
  • Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face...
  • Abba: Denture Queen...
  • Paul Simon: Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver...
  • Willie Nelson: On the Commode Again...
  • Johnny Nash: I Can't See Clearly Now ....
  • Papa's Got A Brand New Colostomy Bag...
  • I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore...
  • Or A Whiter Shade Of Gray...


Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. This old advice offered to brides is well known, but where did the tradition come from? Well ,the often forgotten next line reveals the origin.

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

A sixpence is a coin that was minted in Britain from 1551 to 1967. It was made of silver and worth six pennies. So this wedding tradition is definitely English, as is Procol Harum.
SOMETHING OLD-

Did Someone say Procol Harum?

The British rock band, formed in the 1960s, who arguably laid the foundation for all progressive rock, symphonic rock, and art rock. They are best remembered for "A Whiter Shade of Pale" released in 1967, which is a staple item on classic rock polls. Procol Harum, largely known for their symphonic style, were equally adept at the blues, and pure pop. What makes this music so special? The velvet vocals of Gary Brooker, the Bach influenced keyboard lines provided by Hammond organist Matthew Fisher, Robin Trower's guitar musings, and the incomparable lyrics of Kieth Reid which tie the repertoire together.

Those familiar with the band's voluminous catalog hopefully will have some memories stirred, and those who are unfamiliar hopefully have some fertile grounds to explore.


2 of my favorite lyrics (though they all are quite interesting), are from the "Shine On Brightly" album:

Glimpses Of Nirvana
Words by Keith Reid

In the darkness of the night, only occasionally relieved by glimpses of Nirvana as seen through other people's windows, wallowing in a morass of self-despair made only more painful by the knowledge that all I am is of my own making ...

When everything around me, even the kitchen ceiling, has collapsed and crumbled without warning. And I am left, standing alive and well, looking up and wondering why and wherefore.

At a time like this, which exists maybe only for me, but is nonetheless real, if I can communicate, and in the telling and the bearing of my soul anything is gained, even though the words which I use are pretentious and make you cringe with embarrassment, let me remind you of the pilgrim who asked for an audience with the Dalai Lama.

He was told he must first spend five years in contemplation. After the five years, he was ushered into the Dalai Lama's presence, who said, 'Well, my son, what do you wish to know?' So the pilgrim said, 'I wish to know the meaning of life, father.'
And the Dalai Lama smiled and said, 'Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?'

Held close by that which some despise
which some call fake, and others lies
And somewhat small
for one so tall
a doubting Thomas who would be?
It's written plain for all to see
for one who I am with no more
it's hard at times, it's awful raw
They say that Jesus healed the sick and helped the poor
and those unsure
believed his eyes
- a strange disguise
Still write it down, it might be read
nothing's better left unsaid
only sometimes, still no doubt
it's hard to see, it all works out


Shine On Brightly
Words by Keith Reid

My Prussian-blue electric clock's
alarm bell rings, it will not stop
and I can see no end in sight
and search in vain by candlelight
for some long road that goes nowhere
for some signpost that is not there
And even my befuddled brain
is shining brightly, quite insane.

The chandelier is in full swing
as gifts for me the three kings bring
of myrrh and frankincense, I'm told,
and fat old Buddhas carved in gold
And though it seems they smile with glee
I know in truth they envy me
and watch as my befuddled brain
shines on brightly quite insane.

Above all else confusion reigns
And though I ask no-one explains
My eunuch friend has been and gone
He said that I must soldier on
And though the Ferris wheel spins round my tongue it seems has run aground and croaks as my befuddled brain shines on brightly, quite insane

At various points, the Musicians who performed with Procol Harum include :
•Gary Brooker
• Geoff Dunn
• Matt Pegg
• Josh Phillips
• Geoff Whitehorn
• Keith Reid
•Dave Ball
• Graham Broad
• Dave Bronze
• Mark Brzezicki
• Alan Cartwright
• Chris Copping
• Matthew Fisher
• Mick Grabham
• Bobby Harrison
• David Knights
• Dee Murray
• Tim Renwick
• Ray Royer
• Don Snow
• Pete Solley
• Henry Spinetti
• Jerry Stevenson
• Robin Trower
• Ian Wallace
• B.J. Wilson
• Guy Stevens
• Bill Eyden
• Tim Renwick

Their studio albums include: Procol Harum • Shine On Brightly • A Salty Dog • Home • Broken Barricades • Grand Hotel • Exotic Birds and Fruit • Procol's Ninth • Something Magic • The Prodigal Stranger • and The Well's on Fire . (Also Secrets of the Hive, a "best of" double CD released in 2007) They also have the live recordings:

Procol Harum Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and One More Time - Live in Utrecht 1992.


Douglas Adams's second book in the Hitchhiker Trilogy, "The Restaurant At the End of the Universe," was inspired by the song "Grand Hotel", from Procol Harum's album of the same name; according to his account in "The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time" - a posthumous collection of previously unpublished material which was published in 2001. Why should this be in your MP3 player? The melancholy vocal delivery of Brooker, combined with the brilliant poetry of Keith Reid, the dark humor, excellent orchestrations, dramatic drumming, imperial Hammond organs, and virtuous guitar explorations should merit your attention.

SOMETHING NEW-

The Mayfire

Bolero Punk
Often new musical trails are blazed by combining existing genres that have not previously been deemed compatible.

This band is led by guitarist Cattarina “Cat” Tasso - who refers to herself as a “Chilean girl playing a Canadian guitar”—The May Fire is a staunchly independent act with an ironclad D.I.Y. ethic. Their style mixes musical and cultural influences from three different countries (co-guitarist Nachito and drummer El Pipe are Columbian, and bassist Rob Gwin hails from Connecticut,USA). The band shifts through grunge, indie, latin, and punk gears in a calculated and quirky manner.


Cat Tasso
Cat Tasso

“Moving to San Francisco from Los Angeles did something to me,” said Tasso in a recent interview with Deirdre H. Jones for Guitar Player Magazine. “I was so mad that the weather was cold and gloomy all the time that my style began to morph to reflect my dark surroundings. My guitar playing became sullen and loud and more to the point. The volume became a wall that I could feel as much as hear. Now I love my sound, so I think the weather grew on me!”

"In Chile, I would stay up late with my parents, and listen to opera, as well as boleros and tangos from Argentina. My mom taught me a little Spanish riff on the guitar when I was 12, but I mostly studied classical piano. I quit piano because I didn’t like to practice, and I picked up the guitar again after somebody mysteriously left some old guitar lesson books in my mailbox."
"My style is messy and raw. It’s decent by accident. It developed through time as I tried to figure out why my power chords weren’t cool. There’s nothing too complicated about power chords, but I discovered that you need to have a special mojo when you play them. When I heard David Gilmour on Pink Floyd’s Animals, my mind understood life in a completely different way. I think maybe he brainwashed me. In the May Fire, I typically play the body of the song and the riffs, and Nachito dresses things up with his solos and tones. He can play with a lot of precision, but he can also be strange and moody."

The Spanish Bolero is a noticeable influence on the songwriting though it is heavily filtered through a punk lens. The steady pulse is prominent, this is dance music. But it is not limited to dance music. It's unusual combination of flavors, akin to an aguardiente flavored toffee candy dusted in a fine habanero powder, makes this something new. Their music is available here.


SOMETHING BORROWED-

Bryan Ferry's Dylanesque

I am a longtime fan of Ferry's approach to music, I've always believed he possessed one of the most unique voices in modern music. The fact that he did not get the gig with King Crimson allowed Roxy Music to flourish. I had the pleasure of seeing him do an entire evening of Cole Porter tunes a few years ago with a full orchestra. Truly stunning. Bryan is no stranger to "borrowed" songs but this CD is remarkable and a "must have". Here is a clip of "Just Like Tom Thumb Blues" from the David Letterman Show.




Though I imagine the purists may believe Dylanesque is sacrilege or perhaps view this CD as simply blasphemous, but the Roxy Music singer vastly refines Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues and All Along the Watchtower with an edgy agitation and his personal classicist touch. His treatment reveals both flaw and beauty in the songs of Bob Dylan gone previously unseen. A breathtaking and exquisite listening experience. Cue it up!

SOMETHING BLUE-

The extraordinary Chicago Blues Festival has grown leaps and bounds since it's inception twenty-five years ago and now spotlights over ninety performances on six stages from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Chicago Blues Festival is undeniably one of the biggest and best Blues events on the planet, attracting hundreds of thousands of people from all around the globe to Grant
Park, year after year.

This Year the Festival is June 5-8, 2008.

Admission into the Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park is Free!

All the concerts are free admission.

Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 12 for $8.00.

The Main Stage at the Petrillo Music Shell events are as follows:

Thursday, June 5, 2008
"Catfish Blues"

6:00-7:00 - Big Time Sarah and the BTS Express
7:10-8:20 - Duke Robillard's Tribute to Louis Jordan featuring Plas Johnson and Red Holloway
8:30-9:30 - Johnny Winter w/James Cotton

Friday, June 6, 2008
"Sweet Home Chicago"

6:00-7:15 - "Blasts From the Past" featuring Ruby Andrews, Cicero Blake, and Sugar Pie DeSanto with Willie Henderson
7:25-8:25 - Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater's West Side Strut with special guests Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Johnson, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Otis Clay and Billy Branch
8:35-9:30 - Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine

Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Let the Good Times Roll"

5:00-6:00 - Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials
6:10-7:05 - Barbara Lynn with Lil' Buck and the Buckaroos
7:15-8:25 - Theodis Ealey
8:35-9:30 - Buckwheat Zydeco

Sunday, June 8, 2008
"Everyday I Have the Blues"

5:00-6:10 - Karen Carroll w/ Charlie Love and special guest Lurrie Bell
6:30-7:25 - Magic Slim and the Teardrops
7:35-8:05 - Little Willie Littlefield
8:15-9:30 - B.B. King

Other stages include:

The Front Porch Stage-

Thursday, June 5, 2008
"Catfish Blues"

11:00-12:15 - Blues in the Schools w/ Katherine Davis, Erwin Helfer, Eric Noden and the Stone Academy Blues All Stars
12:45-2:00 - Professor Fernando Jones Columbia College Blues Ensemble
2:30-3:45 - David Honey Boy Edwards and Friends (Billy Branch, Louisiana Red, Paul Kaye, Aron Burton, and Johnny Yard Dog Jones)
4:15-5:30 - Pinetop Perkins with more friends (Willie Smith, Bob Margolin, Bob Stroger, Kenny Smith)
6:00-7:00 - Inetta Visor

Friday, June 6, 2008
"Sweet Home Chicago"

11:00-12:00 - Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band
12:30-1:30 - Little Willie Littlefield
2:00-3:15 - Jo Jo Murray and Joy Hills
3:45-5:00 - Peaches and the Groove Shakers
5:30-7:00 - Tear Drop Sessions

Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Let the Good Times Roll"

11:00-12:00 - Shorty Mack and the Magnificent R&B Blues Band
12:30-1:30 - Liz Mandville and the Blue Points
2:00-3:00 - Charles Hayes and the Hayes Family Band
3:30-5:00 - Recapturing the Banjo Project featuring Otis Taylor, Don Vappie, and Guy Davis
5:30-6:30 - John Hammond
7:00-8:00 - Milwaukee Blues All Stars ftg Stokes and Milwaukee Slim

Sunday, June 8, 2008
"Everyday I Have the Blues"

11:00-12:30 - Victory Travelers
1:00-2:00 - Marie Knight
2:30-3:30 - Tony Joe White
4:00-5:30 - Davell Crawford
6:00-7:30 - LaVelle White

At the Louisiana Bayou Station and Social Club stage-

Thursday, June 5, 2008
"Catfish Blues"

11:30-12:30 - Louisiana Red
1:00-2:00 - Nuwki Nu
2:30-4:00 - Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band
4:30-5:30 - Little Willie Littlefield

Friday, June 6, 2008
"Sweet Home Chicago"

11:30-12:30 - Little Arthur’s Backscratchers ftg. Reginald Cooper
1:00-2:00 - Les Getrex and Creole Cookin'
2:30-3:30 - Omar Shariff
4:00-5:30 - Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band

Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Let the Good Times Roll"

11:30-12:30 - Little Willie Littlefield
1:00-2:00 - Guy Davis and the High Flying Rockets
2:30-3:30 - Bumble Bee Bob
4:00-5:00 - Omar Shariff

Sunday, June 8, 2008
"Everyday I Have the Blues"

11:30-12:30 - Geraldine and Donald Gay
1:00-2:00 - Davell Crawford
2:30-3:30 - Paul Geremia
4:00-5:00 - John Boutte

At the Gibson Guitar Crossroads stage-

Thursday, June 5, 2008
"Catfish Blues"

12:00-1:30 - Patricia Scott w/J.W. Williams
2:00-3:30 - Big Ray and Chicago's Most Wanted
4:00-5:30 - Sharon Lewis and Texas Fire

Friday, June 6, 2008
"Sweet Home Chicago"

12:00-1:30 - West Side Tribute to Jumpin' Willie Cobbs featuring Joe B Band
2:00-3:30 - Larry Taylor's West Side Blues and Soul Band
4:00-5:30 - The Taylor's Family Band

Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Let the Good Times Roll"

12:00-1:15 - Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band
1:45-3:15 - Chick Rogers
3:30-5:00 - PG Man

Sunday, June 8, 2008
"Everyday I Have the Blues"

12:00-1:15 - Rodney Brown's salute to Louis Jordan
1:30-2:45 - Big James Montgomery and the Playboys
3:15-4:30 - Charles Wilson

On the Mississippi Juke Joint stage-

Thursday, June 5, 2008
"Catfish Blues"

12:00-2:30 - A Day with Jimmy Burns featuring the Chicago Blues Round Robin
3:00-4:00 - L.C. Ulmer
4:30-5:30 - Jimmy Burns Blues Band
6:00-8:00 - Jam hosted by Jimmy Burns

Friday, June 6, 2008
"Sweet Home Chicago"

12:00-12:30 - Rising Star Fife and Drum featuring the Thomas Family
1:00-2:30 - Afrissisppi
3:00-4:00 - Sam Lay
4:30-5:30 - L.C. Ulmer
6:00-8:00 - Jam hosted by Kenny Smith

Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Let the Good Times Roll"

12:00-12:30 - Rising Star Fife and Drum: featuring the Thomas Family
1:00-2:00 - Theodis Ealey (Brothers Reunion)
2:30-4:00 - Juke Joint Duo: Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm
4:30-5:30 - T-Model Ford
6:00-8:00 - Jam hosted by Rosa's All Star Jam Band Featuring James Wheeler

Sunday, June 8, 2008
"Everyday I Have the Blues"

12:30-1:00 - Rising Star Fife and Drum: featuring the Thomas Family
1:30-3:00 - Juke Joint Duo: Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm
3:00-4:30 - T Model Ford
5:00-7:00 - Jam hosted by Kenny Smith

There are also more stages with performances throughout the festival.

The festival’s final night will be a majestic event with headliners that include Little Willie Littlefield, Bobby Parker and Karen Carroll with Charlie Love and special guest Lurrie Bell, and of course, B.B. King.

B.B. King, oft referred to as the King of the Blues, has honored stages
worldwide, and now, at age 82, continues to tour as often as he did in his
salad days. King has not played the Chicago Blues Festival since 1988, so this
year will be a welcome return! Born Riley B. King, B.B. (Blues Boy) King has
recorded more than fifty albums, many of them classics. With his agile
left-hand vibrato and haunting vocal-like string bending, he is easily one of
the most identifiable guitarists in the time space continuum, and of course nothing less than royalty in the blues world.

King has been an influence on an incalculable number of musicians,
including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and George Harrison; he has won numerous awards
including a NARAS Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, honorary
doctorates, and in 1984, was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of
Fame.

Duly Consider joining Little Willie Littlefield, Karen Carroll, Bobby Parker,
Buckwheat Zydeco, Lil’ Ed and the Imperials, Koko Taylor, Eddy “the Chief”
Clearwater, James Cotton and Johnny Winter this June.
More information about this free festival can be obtained at www.chicagobluesfestival.us!

“Blues music is easy to play, but hard to feel”-Jimi Hendrix

Duly Consider and Considerable Sounds are TM of this publication and are subject to liabilities thereof


1 comment:

spadecaller said...

Duly Consider and Considerable Sounds ..."Considerable Sounds: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue" is an impressive analysis of the musical spectrum and quite an enjoyable adventure to read. Thanks you for publishing this.

--Spadecaller

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