Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crazy about YouTube

New Sanctuary contributor Al Tays discovered the genius of David Lindley the same way we did -- watching a live performance by the amazing maxi-instrumentalist. Who cares that it took him 20 years longer than us? Tays has been a little  quicker at the switch with YouTube, the marvelous contraption that allows us to discover and share amazing music videos, including this smoking clip of Lindley doing "Mercury Blues."  Please welcome an old buddy to the fold.

By Al Tays

When the iPod came out, I said it was, along with TiVo, one of the greatest achievements of modern man. The idea of no longer having to have a physical collection of music (no more toting those incredibly heavy crates full of albums around), and being able to carry your entire music library in your pocket was mind-blowing. Not to mention the convenience of buying only the songs you liked.
(The down side, of course, was that you often didn’t get to find out you liked certain songs until you heard them on an album, because they never got any radio play.)

So I’ve been a devoted fan of digital music for quite a while (even though, being an old fart, I came to it fairly late in the game).

But over the past few years, I’ve come to appreciate another source of music even more: YouTube.

I started surfing it a couple of years ago, when circumstances forced me to abandon TV and cable, and I had to find other creative ways to waste time. I found that, unlike back in the dark ages when the only time you could SEE bands was to go to a concert or catch them on Midnight Special or Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert, I now could find video clips of virtually any musical performance.

I learned about the great British program, The Old Grey Whistle Test. I re-watched old episodes of Shindig and Hullabaloo and American Bandstand, many of which I probably never watched in the first place. I re-connected with old favorite artists and learned about many great new ones (“new” only to me, as most had been around for years, escaping my notice).

One of my favorite things about YouTube, though, is the comments. Not the flame wars that occasionally flare up, but the genuinely informative and heartfelt comments that more commonly dominate the site.

I recently went to see David Lindley at a small venue in LA. I knew him mostly as a name on the credits of Jackson Browne album covers, and I knew he was a hell of a violinist and slide guitar player. Seeing him live, I learned about the incredible variety of stringed instruments he plays. He finished the concert playing a John Lee Hooker riff on an oud, for crying out loud.

Afterward, I searched out his videos on YouTube and uncovered a wealth of material stretching from the mid-'70s with Browne to today (when he still occasionally sits in with JB). But one clip mesmerized me. It was from the '80s, at a concert in Germany, and he was fronting his own band. They were playing Mercury Blues, and he was just SMOKING on the slide guitar.

I was intoxicated, and I wanted to find out if others were, too. They were. Check out some of the comments:

I wonder how many of us would sell our souls to be able to play like

How loud can a person type AWESOME about this guy's playing?! Hell - I might just buy myself a Mercury now...

this song makes me wanna borrow a car and drive it really fast into a block wall!

Fast Cars and Rock 'n Roll ... it doesn't get any better than this !!

They were feelin’ it, just like I was. Hopefully, you’ll feel it too. But if this type of music doesn’t move you, that’s cool, too. Go and find something that does. And type AWESOME as loud as you can.


  1. A saw him with Ry Cooder at the Jazzfest in NO one year. They came on right after a thunderstorm and spent about half the time tuning their instruments, but the proof was in the pudding.

    His band used to be called El Rayo X, never saw them but hopefully one day I can.

    p.s. I agree YouTube is wonderful, but real records are still the best way to appreciate Lindley's amazing tone.

  2. We've been Tays-ered! Thanks, man.

  3. Many a long night on the desk has been made easier by YouTube. A recent iPod purchase has limited my involvement, but it's still a Godsend when you're broke and want to listen to something new — or to those few favorite jams that always seem to slip your mind when you go to the iTunes store.