Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Now that is one shapely guitar

Sexiest album covers?  We didn't think we'd ever go there. What's in it for us?

We've been perfectly happy ogling Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream and Other Delights through the years, even knowing it was shaving cream that covered model Dolores Erickson. That enticing classic from 1966 did make the Top 25 sexiest album covers on detroit.metromix.com.

But we feel a bit queasy even mentioning a list that includes images of Usher, Prince, Morrissey and Jim Morrison.  Even the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers cover made the grade.

The hook to this conversation is the new album out today from Katy Perry which features her floating naked on a cloud of cotton candy. We were going to show you that one until we spotted this image of Liz Phair from her 2003 self-titled release. Would you take a look at that guitar!!! Somewhere we read that the Fender Duo-Sonic is a nice fit for Phair's low-fi rock sound, and this image seems to confirm it.

Apparently the music on Phair's fourth album was forgettable, actually "stunningly mediocre" if you believe the type that accompanies the image. But that's not what this list is about. So if we were forced to vote, this cover might be the one. 
You can view the Top 25 and decide for yourself by clicking on this link:


Monday, August 30, 2010

Ready for some ch-ch-ch-changes

In 1957 Chevrolet gave us the most popular car ever built and the Milwaukee Braves gave us their only World Series championship.  Things were good in America's heartland.  Even pop music was getting a groove and a backbone, thanks largely to Elvis Presley and some of the other early rockers.

But the music wasn't quite there yet.  In the last seven months of '57 Pat Boone had as many No. 1 hits (two) as Elvis.  Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Sam Cooke had their first chart-toppers during this stretch, but so did Debbie Reynolds.

Here were the songs that made it to the summit during this short period:

June 3: Love Letters in the Sand, Pat Boone
July 8: (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, Elvis Presley
Aug. 26: Tammy, Debbie Reynolds
Sept. 9: Diana, Paul Anka
Sept. 23: That'll Be the Day, The Crickets
Sept. 30: Honeycomb, Jimmie Rodgers
Oct. 14: Wake Up Little Suzie, Everly Brothers
Oct. 21: Jailhouse Rock/Treat Me Nice, Elvis Presley
Dec. 2: You Send Me, Sam Cooke
Dec. 23: April Love, Pat Boone

Our point?  Music is always a work in progress.  You never know what's coming around the corner.  But we have to say right here and now that we're ready for something new. Or maybe it's already here and we just haven't found it...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Which One was No. 1?

Sorry, we just can't Let It Be.  It seems like just Yesterday we were having this conversation, but there's Something about audiophile Wayne Shelor's take on this stuff.  Read on, but not before clicking on this link in another tab:


Time's up: Name that No. 1 song!
By Wayne Shelor

The aptly titled Beatles' compilation album "1," released 10 years ago come November, was a collection containing all of the Fab Four’s Number 1 hits. And of that quite remarkable list of songs, which one would YOU select as the greatest Beatles Number One hit of all time?

"Something"? "Let it Be"? "Yesterday"? "Hey Jude?"

How about "Can't Buy Me Love"? Yep: "Can't But Me Love" is Number 1 of the Number 1s.

Here are three reasons why "Can't Buy Me Love" is the single greatest Number 1 hit -- not only of the Beatles, but by anyone -- ever. It’s the greatest Number 1 hit of all time.

On April 4, 1964, the Beatles had not only the Number 1 song in the nation, but they had the top FIVE Billboard singles on the chart: "Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me."

The way this happened was that at this time early in the Beatles' career several labels, such as Vee Jay and Swan Records, still had rights to some Beatles' songs. And with the overnight creation of Beatlemania, everyone released everything they had to a Beatles-crazy nation.

A week later, with "Can't Buy Me Love" sitting at Number 1 for the second of five weeks. the Beatles had 14 songs in the Billboard Top 100. I can't see that happening ever again, not even with acts such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Flo Rida poised to make confetti of the pop charts records.

And with "Can't Buy Me Love"'s ascension to the top of the chart in the first week of April 1964, it gave the Beatles their third consecutive Number 1 hit, a feat no one -- neither The King of Rock 'n' Roll, nor the King of Pop -- ever accomplished. "Can't Buy Me Love" followed "She Loves You" which followed "I Want To Hold Your Hand" as the No. 1 song in America.

With their very first foray into the pop charts of America, the English mop-tops monopolized the Number 1 spot for 14 consecutive weeks. I'd say that this little 2-minute, 11-second ditty's got shoulders broader than those of Chicago ... as much heart as New York City ... and the soul of a million lovers who know that you Can’t Buy Me Love at any price.

But you CAN rent it by the hour ... or embrace it in a lovely little pop song you still hear every week on the radio.

Like a gunslinger with an itchy trigger finger, Wayne Shelor just can't wait to put the needle to the vinyl. Look for his contributions on Sundays at the Sanctuary...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bottom's up to Clem Cattini

Clem Cattini gets to the bottom of a Guinness.
Happy birthday, Clem Cattini!

Clem ... who? Why, the legendary British session drummer who has appeared on 45 No.1 records in the UK, several of which were also hits in the U.S. (see list below).

It's interesting we mentioned "Hurdy Gurdy Man" earlier this week and the dispute over who played electric guitar on Donovan's chart-topping record.  Cattini, who played drums on the session, ends the argument with this comment posted on his website:

Funny I should be asked about "Hurdy Gurdy Man". I spoke to John Paul Jones who played bass on it and was the MD (musical director). The guitar player was Alan Parker. American Web sites say that John Bonham and Jimmy Page played on it. This is absolute Bullshit as JPJ said.

An email from Jones lists the players as follows:
Donovan,  acoustic guitar
John Paul Jones,  arrangement/musical director and bass guitar
Alan Parker, lead (electric) guitar
Clem Cattini,  drums

Hey, that's good enough for us!  Now on to those No. 1 songs on which Cattini worked the kit:

1. Shaking All Over, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
2. Well I Ask You, Eden Kane
3. Come Outside, Mike Sarne
4. Telstar, The Tornados
5. Diane, The Bachelors
6. You Really Got Me, The Kinks
7. It's Not Unusual, Tom Jones
8. Make It Easy On Yourself, The Walker Brothers
9. Tears, Ken Dodd
10. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore, The Walker Brothers
11. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, Dusty Springfield
12. Out Of Time, Chris Farlowe
13. Green Green Grass Of Home, Tom Jones
14. Release Me, Engelbert Humperdinck
15. The Last Waltz, Engelbert Humperdinck
16. Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde, Georgie Fame
17. Everlasting Love, The Love Affair
18. Cinderella Rockefella, Esther & Abi Ofarim
19. I Pretend, Des O'Connor
20. Where Do You Go To My Lovely, Peter Sarstedt
21. Something In The Air, Thunderclap Newman
22. Two Little Boys, Rolf Harris
23. Love Grows, Edison Lighthouse
24. Yellow River, Christie
25. Hot Love, T. Rex
26. Grandad, Clive Dunn
27. Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, Middle Of The Road
28. Get It On, T. Rex
29. Ernie, Benny Hill
30. I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, New Seekers
31. Telegram Sam, T. Rex
32. Son Of My Father, Chicory Tip
33. Welcome Home, Peters & Lee
34. Jealous Mind, Alvin Stardust
35. Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas
36. When Will I See You Again, Three Degrees
37. Whispering Grass, Windsor Davies & Don Estelle
38. Give A Little Love, Bay City Rollers
39. Barbados, Typically Tropical
40. No Charge, J.J Barrie
41. So You Win Again, Hot Chocolate
42. Angelo, Brotherhood Of Man
43. Figaro, Brotherhood Of Man
44. Save Your Love, Renee & Renato
45. (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, Tony Christie

Friday, August 27, 2010

From stupid to stupider

Sorry, Neil: You're only 2-6!
"For the first time in twelve years, VH1 has conducted a poll of over 200 artists and music industry leaders to determine the top 100 artists of all times."

Bartender, get me a shot of Red Eye. And leave the bottle on the bar...

1. Beatles
2. Bob Dylan
3. Michael Jackson
4. Led Zeppelin
5. Rolling Stones
6. Jimi Hendrix
7. Prince
8. Elvis Presley
9. James Brown
10. Stevie Wonder
11. Bob Marley
12. David Bowie
13. Who
14. Nirvana
15. Beach Boys
16. Madonna
17. Queen
18. Pink Floyd
19. U2
20. Marvin Gaye
21. Bruce Springsteen
22. Clash
23. AC/DC
24. Velvet Underground
25. Chuck Berry
26. Neil Young
27. Aretha Franklin
28. Elton John
29. Radiohead
30. Aerosmith
31. John Lennon
32. Black Sabbath
33. Guns N' Roses
34. Tina Turner
35. Johnny Cash
36. Paul McCartney
37. Fleetwood Mac
38. Sly & The Family Stone
39. Kinks
40. Police
41. Van Halen
42. Metallica
43. Ray Charles
44. Joni Mitchell
45. Al Green
46. Ramones
47. Jay-Z
48. Rage Against The Machine
49. Parliament-Funkadelic
50. Sade
51. Billy Joel
52. Beyonce
53. Little Richard
54. Public Enemy
55. Peter Gabriel
56. KISS
57. Iggy & The Stooges
58. Cheap Trick
59. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
60. Whitney Houston
61. Cream
62. Genesis
63. Notorious B.I.G.
64. Talking Heads
65. Doors
66. Justin Timberlake
67. Coldplay
68. Otis Redding
69. Tupac Shakur
70. Def Leppard
71. R.E.M.
72. Janis Joplin
73. Van Morrison
74. Cure
75. Rush
76. Run-D.M.C.
77. Lynyrd Skynyrd
78. Judas Priest
79. Eminem
80. Mary J. Blige
81. ABBA
82. Steely Dan
83. Earth, Wind and Fire
84. Curtis Mayfield
85. Band
86. N.W.A.
87. George Michael
88. Bee Gees
89. Beastie Boys
90. Elvis Costello
91. Green Day
92. LL Cool J
93. Pearl Jam
94. Mariah Carey
95. OutKast
96. Journey
97. Pretenders
98. Depeche Mode
99. Hall & Oates
100. Alicia Keys

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Fab 100

Have you seen the latest nonsense from Rolling Stone?  They've ranked the Beatles' 100 greatest songs and packaged them in another of their Collectors Edition "books."   Already we hear fights breaking out. Maybe we'll start one ourselves.

We were going to snap up a copy until we learned which song had been annointed No. 1 by RS: "A Day in the Life." Talk about an argument waiting to happen! Immediately we took a left where we generally take a right and wound up in the parking lot of Ray's Liquors. We purchased a cheap bottle of scotch for roughly the money it would have cost for the keepsake, and now we're sitting here sipping a Clunys and trying to guess the other 99 songs.

But first:  Why 100 songs?  Nice round number, but the Beatles couldn't have recorded more than 250 songs.  Why not include them all?  Now that would be a Collectors Edition, no matter how you ranked them. This was the Beatles, it's not like there's a dropoff in quality between Nos. 100 and 101. In fact now we're more interested in learning which songs RS could possibly have left out.

We're betting we can list some fabulous Beatles songs that will not be among Rolling Stone's Top 10.  This exercise will prove nothing, except that we're dealing with such an incredibly strong catalog of songs there's no rhyme or reason to ranking them.  Unless, of course, you're trying to generate a revenue stream. 

Here are 10 of our favorite Beatles songs that probably won't crack the RS Top 10:

Get Back
Back in the USSR
Paperback Writer
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
I Saw Her Standing There
A Hard Day's Night
Eight Days a Week
Drive My Car
She Loves You
Here Comes the Sun

Where do these songs rank in the Collectors Edition?  Damned if we know. But this Clunys is definitely underrated.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The big squeeze

We were reading a book of columns by Mike Royko -- now there was a newpaper man! -- in which he referenced the decline of accordions.  Squeeze boxes were being overtaken by guitars as the instrument of choice among America's youth and Royko had the statistics to back it up.  The column was dated July 31, 1968.

We checked our reference book and, sure enough, there were no accordions leading the hit parade at the time.  Here was the Billboard Top 5:

1. Hello, I Love You, Doors
2. Classical Gas, Mason Williams
3. Stoned Soul Picnic, Fifth Dimension
4. Grazing in the Grass, Hugh Masekela
5. Hurdy Gurdy Man, Donovan

Now you could argue that the Doors' music was driven by the electric keyboards of Ray Manzarek.  "Classical Gas" was classical guitar -- not exactly what Royko was writing about.  The Fifth Dimension were a vocal group.  "Grazing in the Grass" was an instrumental on which Hugh Masekela played his chosen instrument, the trumpet. And while "Hurdy Gurdy Man" showcased some cool psychedelic-sounding guitar licks, there remains some disagreement over who laid down the track.  It wasn't Donovan.  Jimmy Page?  Alan Parker?

No matter.  Royko had it right. The accordion was being squeezed out and guitars were indeed taking over, leaving us with, as the columnist put it, "millions of little John Lennons making our music."

Which wasn't a bad thing.  It could have been millions of little Lawrence Welks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can we survive the I-bomb?

We neglected to mention in yesterday's discussion that John Mellencamp has called the Internet the worst thing since the atomic bomb.  Just google "mellencamp a-bomb" and it's everywhere: Reuters, USA Today, Huffington Post, yahoo.com, techdirt.com, you name it.

It's wonderful to have search engines that provide instant information (the Sanctuary would be even more plodding and ponderous without it) but we think Mellencamp has it right. Now he was talking about the destruction of the music industry, but why stop there?  The problem with the Internet is that it has great value but absolutely no value system.

Here's a sampling of entertainment headlines pulled one afternoon from just one "news" Website.  Far worse than the actual story topics are the inane and often nasty and destructive user comments that follow. Here you go:

Michael Cera Wears Pen On His Face For London Premiere (PHOTO)

Courtney Love FREAKS, Has Twitter Meltdown Over Daughter

WATCH: Jennifer Aniston Says 'Retard' On Morning TV

PHOTOS: Pop Singer Smiles Throughout HIV Spreading Trial

WATCH: Jerry O'Connell Talks About His 3D Full Frontal Nude Scene

PHOTO: Montana Fishburne Nearly Nude On Magazine Cover

Brittany Murphy's Mom, Husband Shared Bed

Alexander Skarsgard: No Sock For Nude 'True Blood' Scenes

This apparently is what it takes to generate  web traffic. Scary, isn't it?   We're happy to count the footprints you leave as you pass through our little sandbox here, but we can't say we aren't worried about the bigger picture.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pssst: Few better than this

Maybe you never cared for John Mellencamp, or maybe you got off the train after hearing "Jack and Diane" for the 1,000th time. The man definitely has his detractors, as we learned again last night while listening to a scathing review of his new album by some mouthy radio know-it-all.

It isn't our job to be Mellencamp apologists, but the reviewer was dead wrong. The album is great, already one of our favorites of the year and possibly the finest of Mellencamp's career.  We shall see. The title, No Better Than This, is certain to rankle Mellencamp foes, and the concept -- recording on an old Ampex tape recorder with a single microphone at three historic locations  -- will be criticized as a gimmick.

So a lot of people, like that radio reviewer, aren't going to give the record a chance.  And isn't that a case of the shits. Because if they took the time to listen, and let bias be bias, they'd have a hard time dismissing No Better Than This.  The locations included the room in Memphis where Sam Phillips first recorded Howlin' Wolf and Elvis Presley, a Baptist church in Savannah that used to house slaves along the Underground Railroad, and a hotel room in San Antonio where Robert Johnson laid down some legendary tracks. So you have that going for you.

All Mellencamp needed to do to make the concept work was assemble a tight band of musicians, including guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist David Roe, write some terrific songs -- which he most certainly did -- and secure the technical wizardry of producer T. Bone Burnett, who also played guitar on some tracks.  Burnett gives vivid detail to the recording venues in the liner notes, closing with: All those ghosts. All those spirits. This is a haunted record.

We can't say that it isn't. We can only say we love the boom-chuck-a sound of a standup bass, clean rockabilly guitar licks and songs that bore down into the human spirit and make us listen to the words. Or maybe we just think it's cool in 2010 to read the words: Recorded in Mono.  No Better Than This is up on the big board as PSSST (Personal Six String Sanctuary Tout) No. 20.

Now check out a video of the title track by clicking on this link:


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Come on people, now

Love is but a song we sing on Sundays at the Sanctuary, where we can make mountains ring -- and angels cry. So join the good Captain Wayne Shelor as we board the SSS Summer of Love for a trip back to a groovier time. But first open this link in another tab...


By Wayne Shelor

History calls the middle months of 1967 "The Summer of Love." The name -- which fits the turmoil of the time a little uncomfortably, like a new pair of yet-to-be-broken-in bellbottoms -- is, however, a fair reflection of the music made that year.

Peace and love were the mantra of the day. The Monterey Pop Festival on June 16-18 of ‘67 - is probably the place to start when defining the Summer of Love. Featuring acts ranging from Lou Rawls, Ravi Shankar and Hugh Masekela to Moby Grape, the Electric Flag, the Who and Buffalo Springfield, California's Monterey Pop Festival was the coming-out party for a generation of hippies, flower children and destiny-seekers.

In 1967, tribes of idealistic and altruistic youth turned to music to escape the harrowing realities of Vietnam, political and campus unrest, the Cold War and other societal ills.

Songs such as "Reach Out of the Darkness," "Love Is All Around," "Lazy Day" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" found great popularity among the burgeoning generation of "gentle people, wearing flowers in their hair."

And no song better captures the spirit and intent of the time than "Get Together," made popular by The Youngbloods. First recorded in 1965 by the We Five, and the next year by the Jefferson Airplane, "Get Together" was released to a wider audience in 1967 by The Youngbloods, but didn't chart very well. Two years later the Youngbloods' recording was used in a radio and television advertising campaign by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the song shot back up the charts to the Top 5.

Funny thing about “Get Together” … its author is almost never remembered for this song. “Get Together” was written by Dino Valenti, a member of the San Francisco jam band Quicksilver Messenger Service. Valenti – after a drug bust -- sold the rights to the song to pay for a lawyer. How ‘60s is that?

"Get Together" may have been the first secular pop song extensively embraced by America's religious community; I can't think of a single youth service at a church or synagogue I visited as a teenager where "Get Together" wasn't played by earnest young musicians. It’s still played in churches around America.

"The Summer of Love" was as much a state of mind as it was an definable time in space. But the over-riding sentiment in the summer of '67 was pretty simple: "Come on people, now, smile on your brother ... try to love one another. Right now."

That's why we recall those days as ... The Summer of Love.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

They did the Pony (like Phoney Moroney)

Ever do the Mashed Potato?

The Jerk?

The Watusi?

The Fish?

Neither did we, but Cannibal and the Headhunters rolled all those dances -- and a dozen more -- into a memorable song that still resonates every time we hear it. And it's been 45 years!

Somehow "Land of 1000 Dances" never rose above No. 30 on the Billboard pop chart in 1965 despite almost constant radio play.  (Wilson Pickett would take it to No. 1 on the R&B chart.)  Surely you've heard the "na na-na-na-na" hook that became part of the Headhunters' version because Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia forgot the lyrics.

(To start an argument and possibly win a bet, here are the 16 dances mentioned in the song: Pony, Chicken, Mashed Potato, Alligator, Watusi, Twist, Fly, Jerk, Tango, Yo-Yo, Sweet Pea, Hand Jive, Slop, Bop, Fish, and Popeye.)

Garcia died in 1996, the same year the East L.A. group was inducted in the Chicano Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now this week we lost Richard 'Scar' Lopez, another founding member who died of cancer at 65.  These guys opened for the Beatles and Rolling Stones and we never got a chance to ask them what that was like. Amazing...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Done his daddy proud

Justin Tubb with the King.
So please Mr DJ I'm proud to be country
Whether concert or honky tonk joints
So give this a listen and if you won't play it
My friend you're just provin' the point

He wasn't named Ernest Tubb Jr., so it could have been worse.  Still, don't assume it was a snap trying to fill the boots of his daddy.

Justin Tubb did fine as a singer and especially as a songwriter, though we can't say we paid much attention while he was still on this good earth.  We remember he wrote "Lonesome 7-702" for Hawkshaw Hawkins -- a truly great one -- and "Be Glad" for Del Reeves. He scored a Top 5 country hit  in 1954 with "Looking Back to See," a duet with Goldie Hill, and a year later he became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry where he could bring the house down with "What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing It Now."

That would have been plenty for most folks, and it might have been more than enough for Justin Tubb. We can't honestly say.  He was born on this day in 1935 and died in 1998, and we don't know a lot about the dash in between. If the lyrics above mean anything, he was country through and through.

Today's Birthday Band lineup will blow you away:

Jim Reeves (1923-1964): Country singer
Four Walls, He'll Have to Go, Welcome To My World

Justin Tubb (1935-1998): Singer, songwriter
Looking Back to See, Sure Fire Kisses, Lonesome 7-7203

Isaac Hayes (1942-2008): Singer, songwriter
Theme from Shaft,  Soul Man

Jim Pankow (1947): Trombone, Chicago
Make Me Smile, Colour My World

Robert Plant (1948): Singer, Led Zeppelin
Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Immigrant Song

Phil Lynott (1949-1986): Bass, Thin Lizzy
Whiskey in the Jar, The Boys are Back in Town, Killer on the Loose

Doug Fieger (1952): Guitar, The Knack
My Sharona, Good Girls Don’t, Baby Talks Dirty

Rudy Gatlin (1952): Singer, Gatlin Brothers
Night Time Magic, I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today, All the Gold in California

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And in other drummer news...

With a nod to Wayne "Eagle-Eye" Shelor, this just in:  The birthplace of Ringo Starr is about to be demolished.  Go here to read about it.   There was no comment from the drummer in this account, and we were thinking if he really gave a flip he could spring into action and stop this from happening. 

Ringo apparently did have a response to an idea that was floated a while back to take down the house on Madryn Street brick by brick and rebuild it at the site of a new museum.

"It made no sense to me," he was quoted back in 2007. "If you want to see where I come from, it's no good putting me in the Wirral. It only works, as far as I can see, if it's there [Madryn Street]."

So no plans to pass the collection plate here at the Sanctuary.

Let there be drums

We've not read Ginger Baker's 2009 autobiography but we really need to jump on it soon. It's not easy to resist a title like Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer.

Rolling Stone actually has Baker No. 3 on its greatest drummers list (behind Neil Peart of Rush and Led Zeppelin's John Bonham), but that's a small quibble.  We'll take Baker when we're assembling our next supergroup.

Which is more than Jack Bruce is willing to do.  What worked magically for Baker, Bruce and Eric Clapton in Cream -- if but for a flashing moment -- is not an easy chemistry to duplicate or repeat.  Especially if you have no interest in getting it back in the bottle. We quote Bruce from a 2009 RS article:  "It's a knife-edge thing between me and Ginger. Nowadays, we're happily co-existing in different continents (Bruce lives in Britain, Baker in South Africa) ... although I was thinking of asking him to move. He's still a bit too close."

It doesn't sound like Bruce will be dialing Baker today on the drummer's 71st birthday.  And that's a shame. Maybe we'll just skip over Wheels of Fire and play some Blind Faith instead.  As Lou Reed used to sing, it takes a busload of faith to get by ...

Ladies and gentlemen, get a load of today's Birthday Band:

Ginger Baker (1939): Drums, Cream/Blind Faith
Toad, Sunshine of Your Love, White Room

Johnny Nash (1940): Singer
I Can See Clearly Now, Stir It Up, Hold Me Tight

Billy J. Kramer (1943): Singer, the Dakotas
Little Children, Bad to Me

Ian Gillan (1945): Singer, Deep Purple
Black Night, LPs: Deep Purple in Rock, Fireball, Machine Head

John Deacon (1951): Bass, Queen
Another One Bites the Dust, Bohemian Rhapsody

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When different worlds collide

Today's riddle: What do you get when you cross Justin Bieber with Kanye West?

We have no idea but it sounds kinda scary.  We try to stay hip here at the Sanctuary, but since "hip" hasn't been part of the vernacular in 40 years we are helplessly behind. Which is why we cruise Al Gore's marvelous portal to discovery: a chance to uncover news and events that are "now trending" in our vast musical universe. 

(And, yes, we have NOTHING for you today.)

Except this: Look what has the world a-twitter (from msn.com, via any number of sources):

Rapper Kanye West has sparked rumors of a collaboration with teen sensation Justin Bieber after the pair struck up a friendship on Twitter.com.

The pair began sending messages to each other on the microblogging site on Sunday, with the "Stronger" hitmaker starting the exchange by writing, "Listening to Justin Bieber Runaway Love. I love Sunday mornings in the crib."

Bieber admits he was stunned to learn West was listening to his material, and replied, "It's not a so what moment for me. I'm 16 and a fan. I'm kinda hyped u are listening to my stuff. Thank u. Nice sunday morning."

The "Baby" singer then praised the rapper's music, before West reached out to the 16-year-old and suggested a collaboration with him and pal Raekwon.

If this won't get you signed up on Twitter we don't know what it's going to take. Our dream: One day Kanye will twit: "I love Sunday mornings at the Sanctuary!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another Elvis newspaper sighting

Where were you when jazz pianist Errol Gardner died? How about actor Peter Finch?  Comedian Freddie Prinze?  Rocket scientist Wernher von Braun?

A lot of famous people were busy dying in 1977 but none more famous than Elvis -- who turns out never even needed a last name.  If you were old enough to remember there's a real good chance you recall the news coverage of Elvis Aron Presley's death on this day 33 years ago.  Other than the assassination of President Kennedy more than a decade earlier there had been nothing like it in the press.

Elvis was 42 and going the wrong direction fast, but his surprise death at Graceland of cardiac arrhythmia related to prescription drug use shocked the world in ways that still reverberate.  No telling what it would have been like had he lived long enough to die today.  Come to think of it, we got a pretty good taste of that last summer with the King of Pop.

We're sure the media made a huge deal of beloved crooner Bing Crosby's death by heart attack (he was 74) less than two months after Elvis' demise, but for the life of us we can't remember.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Must be smoking weed

Welcome to Sundays at the Sanctuary, where you don't need a jolt of Jamaican java to strap on a groove. (But if you have one in front of you sip away!)   When we first heard the song "Israelites" back in 1969 we didn't know what we had -- other than something new and wonderful.  Sanctuary contributor Wayne Shelor, whom many have mistaken for a Rastaman, explains.

But first open up this link in a new window: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8Rl1u4YdHw

By Wayne Shelor

When I dig down into the roots of rock 'n' roll ... or clamber out on the branches of modern music, I sometimes go out on a limb. It's, a vantage point that often helps me better understand the history
of popular music.

I'm willing to bet this Sunday morning that the first "real" Jamaican reggae song to make the American charts was the song "Israelites" by Desmond Dekker and the Aces in 1969.

When I went searching for reggae-influenced songs that got wide-spread AM radio play prior to '69, the best I can come up with is Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop" (with a English lad named Rod Stewart playing harmonica) ... and the Rock Steady-styled  "Hold Me Tight" by Johnny Nash. But in "Israelites" you have the germination of a musical seed ready to spread across the American landscape like ... well like a weed, so to speak.

Reggae music in Jamaica, particularly in the 1960s, was evolving - taking root - after the flowering of Rock Steady, which took bloom after the ska style.  And as far as the name of the song -- "Israelites"? Rastafarian is a religious sect of liberal Biblical construction created by followers of the teaching of Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican living in Harlem. Garvey "prophesized" the crowning of a black king, and when Haile Selassie was crowned king in Ethiopia, it was seen as a fulfilled prophesy.

Followers then taught that the Africans transported to the Western Hemisphere prior to the Industrial Revolution must have been Ethiopians; they couldn’t have been Senegalese, they weren't Ivory Coasters, they must have been Ethiopians, because only Ethiopians are considered by the Rasta sect to be one of the 12 Lost Tribes of Israel. Thus, the "Israelites." Now you know ...

The song, sung in the loping sing-song patois of Jamaica, decries the workin'-hard-for-slave-wages station of so many Jamaicans, a good -- if abjectly hard-scrabble poor people -- who had little hope of escaping their lot in life. And they dared not resort to the deeds of outlaws such as the American bandit duo of Bonnie and Clyde, mentioned in the song.

Dekker was no one-hit wonder. Before "Israelites" climbed the American charts he had quite a few hits back home in Jamaica. And although Dekker and the Aces never charted again, I still think of him as the First Father of Reggae, the artist who parted the waters between the islands and the North American continent, and who sent up smoke signals so that groups such as Bob Marley and the Wailers and Burning Spear could follow him the promised land.

Dekker died in 2006, but I still picture him wanderin' the Caribbean, singin' for his supper ... and plantin' the seeds, so to speak, of hope, virtue and justice.

Related Minutia: Dekker worked with Bob Marley in a welding shop; The Beatles’ "Obla Di, Obla Da" was a tribute to reggae, Paul McCartney acknowledged the influence (listen to his loping bass-line), and that Dekker even got a name check in the song ("Desmond has a barrow in the marketplace...").

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fire 'em up if you got 'em

Anybody have the lyrics to Andrew Gold's song "Firefly" from his 1977 album What's Wrong With This Picture?  There's a good chance you've never heard the song, or the album which lurks in a box somewhere deep in the Sanctuary's vinyl files.  Heck, you may not even be familiar with Andrew Gold. 

Your best chance for a memory connection may be "Lonely Boy" -- a No. 7 single off that very album -- or "Thank You For Being My Friend,'' which later became the theme song for the TV sitcom Golden Girls.

We saw Gold on stage one long afternoon in the haze of a Tangerine Bowl concert in Orlando and thought he was, to borrow the favorite term of an artist buddy, "pretty OK."  His music, which included both of the before-mentioned songs, provided a mellow step-up to the bigger acts we had come to see.  We thought enough of Gold to buy What's Wrong With This Picture (Asylum 7E-1086).

"Firefly" is a syrupy but harmless number -- it could work as a children's lullaby -- that helped Gold's second album receive a scathing review in Rolling Stone which called the music "slack and often tedious, its lyrics fatuous."

Gold, who was doing session work for Linda Ronstadt, used the same band and studio to record What's Wrong With This Picture. The album charted for 16 weeks, peaking at No. 95, and clearly rubbing RS reviewer Ken Tucker the wrong way:

Gold Seems to have fallen into the same trap that has recently ensnared Ronstadt: the notion that to be taken seriously as a performer one must sing "serious" (i.e., slow) songs. Thus he concocts romantic twitterings like "Firefly," "Lonely Boy" and "One of Them Is Me" which smack of insincerity and make evident a dearth of inspiration.

Brutal.  It wasn't that bad, but come to think of it we haven't thought about the album for going on 30 years. Why now?  Fireflies.  They're everywhere.  We remember growing up as kids, during a good summer we might have two or three nights of fireflies and that would be it.  But here in Wauwatosa, along the Menomonee River Valley, they've been regular visitors nearly all summer.  Not surprising then that the town's name is derived from a Potawatomi word meaning "firefly."

(We like Wauwatosa well enough, or Tosa now that we've blended into the scenery, but wouldn't Firefly, Wisconsin be just grand?)

Now where are those lyrics? Guess we'll have to turn to Neil Young, who'll be hosting Farm Aid 25 nearby in October.  Maybe he'll play this country goody from Old Ways, which featured another Farm Aid mainstay Willie Nelson and buddy Waylon Jennings.  "Bound for Glory" wastes no time getting around to today's featured subject:

Out on the trans-Canada highway

There was a girl hitchhiking with her dog
Fireflies buzzin' round her head
Like candles in the fog

Now THAT's what we're talking about.  It's going in the player right now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A train wreck waiting to happen

Johnny Cash generally took over the cover songs he recorded.  The first time we heard "The Wreck of the Old 97" off his 1969 album At San Quentin it was as good as his.  We had no idea at the time, and couldn't have cared less, that it had been recorded 45 years earlier by Vernon Dalhart.

Significance?  Dalhart, by some accounts, turned it into the first million-selling country music release (with help from the flip side.)  A bigger item of curiosity is why the artist ever went by the name Vernon Dalhart.  His given name was Marion Try Slaughter, and you might think by simply dropping the "Marion" he would be set for his career.

But no, Marion instead decided to name himself after two neighboring towns in Texas. And though folks from back in the day might remember Vernon Dalhart, the name didn't exactly stick.  He did finally make it into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1981 -- 33 years after his death.

This matters because we sit today on the anniversary of "The Wreck of the Old 97"/"The Prisoner's Song" becoming a million seller in 1925.  (It would go on to sell several million more copies.)  Impressive, but it's not like we're gonna name our next dog Vernon, or Dalhart for that matter. We will tip our cap to ol' V.D. though, every time we hear Johnny Cash singing that old train wreck song.

P.S. It's also Patrick Cudahy Bacon Lover's Day at the Wisconsin State Fair, giving fair goers a rare opportunity at the fabled 3-4-5 trifecta: Music by 3 Dog Night, 4 strips of bacon and 5 Miller Lites. Maybe that's why "Momma Told Me Not To Come" ...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We're not ones to start rumors...

The latest list of performers was added to Farm Aid 25 yesterday and we couldn't help but feel a rumble in the tummy.  Jeff Tweedy is coming to town, which is a big deal of course.  Nothing has been mentioned about his band Wilco, though, leaving us to hatch this intriguing conspiracy theory at the Sanctuary:

What if the next round of announced performers includes Jay Farrar?  We checked his website and didn't find a conflicting tour event for Oct. 2.  Now it's not the job of SSS to reunite old bandmates who don't seem to like each other any more, and we know Farm Aid organizers have a much grander mission.

But can you really think of a better band for this year's concert at Miller Park than the boys from the heartland of Belleville, Illinois --- not far from where Farm Aid was launched 25 years ago -- who helped define Americana music as Uncle Tupelo?  It's not like Farrar doesn't belong on that stage and, well, if he would get invited it seems the two might forget their differences long enough to launch into "Atomic Power" and "Moonshiner."

Something to think about this morning as we toast today's Birthday Band. Cheers! 

Buck Owens (1929-2006): Country legend
I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail, Act Naturally, Waiting in Your Welfare Line

Mark Knopfler (1949): Songwriter/Guitarist
Money for Nothing, Sultans of Swing, Telegraph Road

Pat Metheny (1954): Jazz guitarist
As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls, Still Life

Suzanne Vega (1959): Folk singer
Luka, Tom's Diner, Marlene on the Wall

Roy Hay (1961): Guitar, Culture Club
Karma Chameleon

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We're with Smokin' Joe

A "social smoker," Joe Jackson has not taken kindly to all the efforts under way to snuff smoking out of our society.  He went as far as to write a four-part essay titled "Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State" in which he speaks out against smoking bans and the antismoking hysteria. According to Jackson's website his position "is based on neither personal prejudice nor profit, but on several years of research."

Go, Joe.  Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Few musicians and entertainers take strong stands while our personal liberties are continuing to vanish. And since the Sanctuary recently took up this very topic we thought you might enjoy reading Jackson's essay. We know all our smoking friends in Wisconsin, now forced to light up outside bars and restaurants since the smoking ban took effect on July 5, will want to check out this link:


If you don't have time to download the pdf file at least read this excerpt from Jackson's introduction:

I was a very moderate smoker and almost gave up. But something about the sheer hysteria of the antismoking movement, and the various holes and contradictions in their arguments, made me suspicious.  Some time in the late 1990s I arrived in Los Angeles and, as my taxi pulled out of the airport, I was confronted by a huge red billboard: SECONDHAND SMOKE KILLS.  I thought: even heavy smokers take several decades to develop lung cancer.  Surely a nonsmoker, even regularly exposed to smoke in the air, would have to live to be about 300 to catch up? And how exactly would you know it was smoke that killed them, as opposed to, say, the appalling LA smog?

Since then I've researched the smoking issue in depth.  I've unravelled reams of statistics, met with doctors and academics, and networked with scores of other researchers and activists who are trying to get at the truth.  I'm now convinced that the dangers of smoking -- and particularly 'passive' smoking -- are greatly exaggerated, for reasons which have more to do with politics, power and profit than objective science.  I believe that the antismoking movement ... has far too much money and influence, and that their dishonesty and bullying tactics should be worrying even to those who hate tobacco.

If we had a crushproof pack of Marlboros we'd fire one up right now as a show of solidarity. Maybe you'd join us, maybe not. Either way, many happy returns to  Joe Jackson and other members of today's Birthday Band.  We hope you live long and enjoy every one of those smokes. 

Mike Hugg (1942): Drums, Manfred Mann
Do Wah Diddy Diddy, The Mighty Quinn, Pretty Flamingo

Jim Kale (1943): Bass, The Guess Who
No Time, American Woman, Hand Me Down World

Eric Carmen (1949): Singer
All By Myself, Never Gonna Fall in Love, Hungry Eyes

Erik Braunn (1950) Guitar/vocals, Iron Butterfly

Joe Jackson (1954): Singer
Steppin’ Out, Is She Really Going Out With Him?, On the Radio

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Plastic No-No Band

All we can say about our debut performance at Guitar Hero is ... we'll do better next time!

We can't help but do better. We were ... awful.  Just couldn't find the rhythm. There was something about the meeting of fingertips and plastic that left us a little bit cold.  It's safe to say all the years we spent practicing guitar on instruments with real wood fretboards and steel strings never prepared us for this.  No sir.

The Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man," our choice because we can actually play the song on an authentic guitar, turned into a fiasco.  Could Dickie Betts do those licks on Guitar Hero?  We might as well have been trying to play Beethoven's 5th.  We felt like we had DRANK a 5th. Come to think of it ...

Maybe if we had switched off the plastic Stratocaster and grabbed the plastic Les Paul we could kicked some plastic booty. Like we said, next time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bobble to the music of the Dead

Here it is: The cool new limited edition Jerry Garcia Bobblehead that will be given out at tonight's Giants-Cubs game in San Francisco.  

Through the wonders of eBay you no longer have to buy a baseball ticket, travel to the stadium and pay for parking. We've seen these priced online for $40-70.  Some eBay vendors are even throwing in a ticket stub from the game -- but only if you request one. Fans who make it to the stadium have the bonus of hearing Grateful Dead tribute bands perform. 

The Giants are celebrating the life and times of the San Francisco native and legendary jam guitarist on the anniversary of his death (he would have turned 68 on August 1).  We have to admit the Jerry Garcia Bobble is more "lifelike" than many of the dolls we've seen.  The hair, beard and mustache are much nicer than the cheesy mustache they put on Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount's doll recently.

By comparison the Italian Sausage Bobblehead that was given out Sunday at Miller Park is selling today on eBay for only $10-20. Now what's that all about?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Traffic jam to get stuck in

By Wayne Shelor

In 1971 Traffic -- an on-again, off-again, on-again project of the multi-talented Steve Winwood -- released The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.  This was their fifth album.

The nearly 12-minute title track http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVlbgqmxXNY caused a bit of pious -- if somewhat ignorant -- consternation in mid-America; some record executives and religious leaders assumed that the referenced "high-heeled boys" had to do with sexuality/ homosexuality.

It did not.

Low Spark was about the stress, the corporate greed and the incessant demands associated with the success of rock stardom:

The percentage you're paying is too high-priced
While you're living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams

Low Spark is similar in origin and tenor to "Have a Cigar" from Pink Floyd's remarkable 1975 album Wish You Were Here:

We're just knocked out
We heard about the sell-out
You gotta get an album out
You owe it to the people
We're so happy we can hardly count

An archetypal '70s-style extended jam -- always morphing, stretching and evolving when played in concert -- Low Spark was carved out of blues, stained brightly with jazz and highlighted by more percussion than you'd find in a typical high school marching band.

Like The Brothers Floyd, several of whom were schooled in architecture, the classic Traffic line-up knew how to create space, fill it with wandering, sometimes woebegone lyrics, and then polish it off with sonic hooks and rambling instrumental episodes that defy indifference.

With songs such as "Rainmaker" and "Many a Mile to Freedom," Low Spark is one of rock's great Hidden Treasures. (Shoot, some day it might just end up on someone's Pssst! List.)

Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, Ric Grech, Jim Capaldi, Jim Gordon and Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah: they were Traffic. They knew the high life of fame, record charts and personal income. And they knew the low spark of living with baying dogs forever nipping at their heels.

The music clearly transforms Wayne Shelor and we are happy to channel his musings on Sundays at the Sanctuary.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Whole notes and half marathons

Shhh, quiet! The baby is in the guest room sleeping.  We'll be waking her up soon but right now she's tucked away safely in her crib.

We stumbled into a favorite old guitar shop yesterday and it happened. Again.  We didn't really even have a chance. How they must smile when they see us walking through that door. Luckily this time we brought in a few others and a clean swap was made with no cash exchanged.

We think you'd enjoy hearing what our newest member of the family has to say so we'll be working to rig up some sound this weekend.  No promises, though.  Everything is a work in progress...

First we have to get ready for today's main event. Let's see:

Cooler?  Check! Ice? Check! Beer? Check!  Vodka? Check! Bloody Mary Mix? Check!  Pickles, olives and pickled okra? Check, check, check!

Our family has tailgates for just about everything short of funerals, so join us (if only in spirit) at today's Minnesota Half Marathon, where we'll be rooting for bib No. 2509. Go Jess!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A country boy can survive!

Late last year we learned that Tim McGraw's "Something Like That" was the most popular song of the decade, so it wasn't all that surprising to hear this week that McGraw has also been declared the Artist of the Decade.

According to Nielsen, which tracks these things, McGraw's music received an astounding 7,965,000 radio spins between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009, most of any artist from any genre.  Nearly a half-million of those were for "Something Like That," one of four chart-toppers off his 1999 album A Place in the Sun.  Snoop Dogg and Usher, pay attention.  Country rules!

When we saw McGraw's noteworthy performance in "Blind Side," which won an Oscar for Sandra Bullock, we figured the country boy had given up music for the silver screen.  No chance of that.  He are some  U.S. tour dates before he heads to Australia:

Aug. 21: Louisville, Kentucky State Fair, Freedom Hall
Aug. 28: St. Paul, Minnesota State Fair
Sept. 3: Syracuse, New York State Fair
Sept. 4: Bangor, Maine Bangor Waterfront
Sept. 10: Dallas, Cowboys Stadium

We're thinking that keeping wife Faith Hill happy while he's doing all this other stuff, well, he has our vote for Multitasker of the Decade as well.  We can't wait to see how McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow do in Country Strong, now scheduled to hit theaters in December.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Favre tells Sanctuary he'll return

Tweet that.

Brett Favre told us by not telling us, if you know what we mean. And people in these parts know exactly what we mean.

What a fun time! Cut and paste this link into a new browser to get the perfect musical accompaniment for today's discussion.

Old friend Doc Holliday is squirming right now over Favre's latest waffle job.  As much as we enjoy this happening to a Minnesota-bred Vikings fan, we like Doc too much to keep him on the hook any longer. Besides, he has venison in the freezer and wine grapes ripening on the vine.

Loosen up, Doc. The Sanctuary absolutely guarantees Favre's return to the playing field.  Our margin for error is 0.00 percent. It's going to happen.  What we can't predict is exactly when our once-favorite football player will self-destruct.  But that will happen as well, we promise.

Packer fans know Brett better than Brett himself, and way better than Vikings followers who are still learning the ropes. Some numbers:  In a Minneapolis Star-Tribune poll 68.6 percent of more than 21,000 respondents said they don't believe Favre is done, while here in Milwaukee at jsonline.com an overwhelming 82 percent among 13,500 respondents say he'll be back for another season. 

You're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You're the one they can't beat and you know it
Come on, let's see what you've got
Just take your best shot and don't blow it

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And when the smoke cleared...

Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette
Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death
Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate
That you hates to make him wait
But you just gotta have another cigarette

If they were writing songs like this back in 1947 why has it been such a struggle to create a smoke-free society?  Wisconsin didn't impose its smoking ban until this summer. Wisconsin, which adopted its state motto "Forward" back in 1851, took until 2010 to become the 27th state to outlaw smoking in its workplaces.  Is is possible that 23 states still allow smoking in restaurants and bars?

Merle Travis helped revive Tex Williams' career by writing "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette)," which ruled the Billboard country chart on this day in 1947.  It took a while, but here is what the New York Times wrote about Williams in its Oct. 13, 1985 edition:
Country-western songwriter and entertainer Sollie "Tex" Williams, a heavy smoker best known for his tune, "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette," died after a year-long battle with cancer, his daughter said. . . . Her father, who was diagnosed a year ago as having cancer, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, dropping to about a pack a day before he died. "He tried to quit, but he couldn't," she said.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Watch out for that dance

Do you suppose it's just a coincidence that Los Del Rio made it to No. 1 on the Billboard charts with "Macarena" on the exact same day as Delores Del Rio's birthday?

It's eerie, the things that are uncovered by the crack research crew here at the Sanctuary. Delores, of course, never had the opportunity to dance that dance.  Lucky her!  The dazzling Mexican film star whose credits include Flying Down to Rio lived too early (Aug. 3, 1905 – April 11, 1983) to join the fun.

But she probably could have saved the day and the dance, which became all the rage in 1996.  As one source described Del Rio: "She has better legs than Dietrich and better cheekbones than Garbo."  And she did love to dance.

Green Bay Packers fans were some of the biggest "Macarena" culprits, unleashing pent up energy during their team's Super Bowl run that season. In fact there's a website for the "Packarena," which you can imagine was a huge regional hit in these parts.  Click here if you dare.  With all the Super Bowl chatter already going on here we predict a revival of the wacky song this fall (with updated lyrics that substitute key names like Brett and Reggie who are no more). 

This is no endorsement, but we thought you should know.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Farm Aid's coming to Milwaukee

“Just as rock 'n' roll is loud and proud, so is Farm Aid. Farm Aid's greatest accomplishment, I believe, is in the spirit. It's the fact that we represent the spirit of the good fight, to keep something good happening. It just keeps getting stronger and stronger....”

Thank you Neil Young, for channeling that spirit, and thank you Farm Aid for scheduling your 25th anniversary at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Somehow the event had made it this long without landing in America's Dairyland. It began in 1985 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois and has crisscrossed the country playing mostly outdoor stadiums and ampitheaters.

Click here for today's live press conference (11 a.m. CDT) announcing details and performers. We've heard that Young will be appearing along with fellow organizers and mainstays Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews,  so we're good to go already. But who else will be coming to Milwaukee on Oct. 2?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

They call it Stormy Monday

By Wayne Shelor

Click on the link below -- open in a new tab -- and let it play as you visit the Six String Sanctuary:


Ahh-h-h-h, yes: it's Sunday, a day that's just right for hymns, gospel music and their cousin, the blues. The blues, you realize, grew from our musical roots, the kind of roots with 12 bars, three chords, three lines of verse and a feeling we call … The Truth.

Such are the blues.

You probably recognize this song -- “Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday’s Just as Bad)” -- from the interpretative organ-and-guitar treatment given it by the Allman Brothers Band:


But this by T-Bone Walker, a Texas-born guitarist who was one of the first to electronically amplify his fat, sumptuous guitar leads.

An immortal, essential and widely influential song, "Stormy Monday" was the result of a long, smokey record label session with pianist Lloyd Glenn and Teddy Buckner on the trumpet. Never heard of them? Sometimes the best fruit grows on the shady side of a tree.

In "Stormy Monday" you’ll find everything you could say about the blues, wrapped up in this one tidy composition. "Stormy Monday" may not be the Rosetta Stone of rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s certainly a perfectly pristine skull and jawbone found on the shifting sands in the desert of time.

And it’s no stretch to say T-Bone Walker created the modern electrified blues; there's little argument that the man influenced the sound of all post-World War II guitar players. Let me put it this way: Had there been no
T-Bone Walker, you may never have heard of a guy by the name of Riley B. King: B.B. King.

"Stormy Monday" is considered by many to be the ultimate example of the blues. The Allman Brothers knew it for what it was, and they introduced "Stormy Monday" to a whole new generation of music fans.

You know this tune, you've heard this song, and now you're listening to the original.

Relax, it's Sunday. Monday may bring stormy skies, and Tuesday? Well, you know ...

Wayne Shelor, a Florida boy who walks the blues in both his shoes, is a regular contributor to Six String Sanctuary.