Saturday, 2 July 2011

Nazareth This Flight tonight

Joni Mitchell - This Flight Tonight

It wasn't the one that you gave to me that night down south between the trailers. Not the early one that you wish upon not the northern one that guided the sailors

Fun Fact of the Week

In 1970 Joni Mitchell wrote “This Flight Tonight”, but most people know, and have heard only the 1973 Nazareth version. In 1971 it appeared on her notable album “Blue”, which many argue is one of her very best.  In 2000 the New York Times called it one of the 25 albums that represented "turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music".

Friday, 1 July 2011

Dusty Springfield - Son of a preacher man

Bein' good isn't always easy no matter how hard I try. When he started sweet-talkin' to me he'd come'n tell me "everything is all right"

Hip to be Square

“Son of a Preacher Man”, Dusty Springfield (1968) 

From the very cool album “Dusty in Memphis”, this classic song Dusty definitely made her own. 

Originally offered to Aretha Franklin, who turned it down, Dusty made “Son of a Preacher Man” a huge hit - and then Aretha decided to record it on her 1970 “The Girl’s In Love With You”. With incredible control, tone and finesse with difficult material, Dusty was arguably one of the best female singers of the sixties. Obviously with considerable innate talent, Dust was also a student of music with an analytical approach to listening to other performer’s song – dissecting songs like butterflies. She adored Motown and the gospel sound, and was one of the few white singers to be able to properly pull-off some of the complex Motown material.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Steve Miller - The Joker

People keep talkin' about me baby Say I'm doin' you wrong Well don't you worry, don't worry, no don't worry mama Cause' I'm right here at home

Songs Everyone Should Know

“The Joker”, The Steve Miller Band (1973)
If you were born under a rock as they say, you may not have heard this song, otherwise, I’m pretty sure you have. Released in late 1973 it went to number one in January 1974.

This song has some interesting lyrics. First of all, he makes reference to ‘Space Cowboy’ and ‘Gangster of Love’, both of which were previous Steve Miller songs.  Some people think it draws heavily from Allen Toussaint’s song ‘Soul Sister’. The cadence sounds similar to me, and similar to other Toussaint songs like ‘Working in a Coalmine’.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Stages of a Music Listener: Where are you at?

Not listening to music 
You are dead

You are stone deaf

You are hearing impaired but still hear a bit

You never pay attention whether music is playing or not

You may observe that music is playing somewhere

Never turn music on 

Passive Listening

Doing something else that consumes your attention while music is playing

Hearing music but not really hearing what or who it is 

Sometimes paying attention to songs you hear

Hearing songs and deciding if you like them

Turning on your radio or going on the Internet to hear streaming music

Observing that you have heard a song before

Active Listening

Listening for who did a song on the radio

You start to like a certain radio station

Recognizing some songs

Recognize the various instruments playing in a song

Deciding that you like a particular artist

Can sign along to a song - know the lyrics

Discovering that you dislike an artist

Listening for understanding
You buy a portable music device

See the beauty in an artists lyrics

Frequent stores or websites that specially sell music

Dissatisfied with a song you constantly change stations

Attend a concert or performance by an artist

Downloading a song

You recognize a 'muzak' song in an elevator or shopping mall

Buy a portable devise to listen to music, and actually load it, and use it.
Seeking Out

Start to collect music 

Recognizing an artist's work

Listening to the lyrics at face value

You listen to music in your car: many ways radio, satellite, mobile device

Determine that you like a certain type or style of music

Recognizing a song by an artist you like

Buying a set of recordings - an anthology or multi-disc set

Talk to others about music

Recognition and deeper 
Read the 'liner notes' on a CD or recording


Look for information on the artist 

Asking others if they like certain artists

You look at flyers for deals on music or technology

People start to give you music as a gift

You hear remakes or covers of songs and know the original artist

You buy a car ensuring that the music system meets your needs

Dispose of or delete a song from you music library

Your ears get sore from your ear buds or headphones
Conversant on Music
Your enthusiasm for an artist is contagious

Read an article or review of an artist

You play music for others to hear

Seeking out an artists work - all of it.

Categorize and devise storage systems for your music

Argue/debate  with someone about a song or artist

You start to give people music as a gift

Understanding the style or category of music an artist is performing
Active expansion of 
Knowing they type of music an artist is known for

understanding & appreciation Subscribe to a periodical or sign up to follow a blog

Actively look for concerts in your area, and go to them

You really have developed a music 'library'

Talk to others about the meaning of a song 

Know where the best music stores are in town

Putting on a recording you are in the mood to hear

Deciding what styles or types of music you like

Have a favourite song, or at least an infatuation with a song

You read and comment on blogs

Listening to the lyrics for true understanding

You seek out hard to get music via Internet of travel

Able to determining artists that have similar sounds or styles

Read a book about a particular artist or music era or style
Understand artists and styles
Pay extra money to get great seats at a concert

Recommend or share a song or artist with someone else

People ask you to bring music to things

Love a particular artist and seek out their music 

Start to understand the technical aspects of music

Understand the instruments common in certain styles of music

Acquire most or all of the artists material

Seeking to fully understand the lyrics and the meaning

Label, classify, photograph and/or otherwise catalog your music

Others seek you out for musical advise

Listening to the lyrics for meaning

Music researcher

Knowing some of the music an artist has done

Attend a concert and purchase a shirt or CD of the artists

Others comment that you seem to know an artist 

People ask if you can DJ for them

Know music related to an artist, or another band they were in. 

You search for music  when you travel

You disagree with someones understanding of the meaning of a song

You read everything you see about music if you have time

Hearing a song, you know the artist, title and year

Discuss music with experts

Listen to music as an interest or hobby

Becoming expert

Start running out of space for music storage

Fly or drive long distances to see live performance of artists you like

You decorate your home of office with music as art

You fit concerts into your travel plans

Research music styles or types 

People expect you to know everything about music

Seek out the historical development of music styles

Share your research on music and accept feedback

Listen to music 24/7

Become a maniacal musical recluse that only comes out for concerts

You write a music blog

You write a serious book about music

Monday, 27 June 2011

Will You, Willyum - Janis Martin 1956

Wanda Jackson - I Gotta Know

They can call you Bill or even Billy But you’re my sweet William and you drive me silly

Quick Hits

“Will You Willyum”, Janis Martin, (1956)
“I Gotta Know”, Wanda Jackson (1956)

Like any definition of what the ‘first’ of anything was in history, it is fuzzy. Things aren’t that clear- cut. I have said this before, and I will say it again: music is a continuum, an evolution. Is anything ever entirely original? Some more than others, and it is a judgement call at the end of the day.  

The first female rockers were arguably ‘rockabilly’ artists who were steeped in country music and tainted by the wildness of their male contemporaries. One of these was Janis Martin.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

April Wine - Roller

She likes to play for double or nothin' She's tellin' all the boys she's hot And everybody knows she's ready To give it everything that she got

Pick of the Week

“Roller”, April Wine (1979)

In my mind this is one of the greatest Canadian bands of all time. This is a case where Cancon certainly helped a Canadian band. What has always left me  really puzzled is why they did not do better in the U.S., at least not like their contemporaries, like Rush? I question what their management and the record companies were doing. They were always a consistent, enduring, solid band that produced many, many fine rock songs and great ballads. Goodwyn's voice was better than Geddy Lee's, any day of the week - a great rock voice for sure.