Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Time to "Wake Up" again!

As I write this I listen to what is possibly the one of the best releases of 2010 "Wake Up" by John Legend and the Roots.  The best description of the work is a fresh reading of conscience-raising soul music from the 60's and 70's.  The net is result is a very tight blend of funk-soul-r&b sensibility.  Possibly the most important take away is that the protest song has not died, but rather it went to sleep....John Legend and the Roots set out to wake it up! Many standout tracks make this extremely listen-able..My personal favorite has to be "compared to what" and "hard times"  The themes touch on class distinction, poverty, and the importance of education reform.  Even more powerful is the rendition of Bill Withers' "I can't write left-handed", which is an anti-war song questioning the Vietnam conflict.  Hauntingly it is easy to erase "Vietnam" and replace "Afghanistan".  The key message is that we need to wake up and be our own agents of change....that is where change starts.  Only then can we begin to grow as a society..... please check it out and pass it on!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review

A little late in coming all the same, but I finally had a chance to read 2007's autobiography by Eric Clapton, simply titled "Clapton".  This book is a brilliantly written testimonial about one man's struggle to maintain conviction and integrity to play the kind of music that he truly believes.  You can almost hear Clapton's voice telling the reader the story of his life and the struggle against the demons that haunted him....The book transitions in sections from "The early years" through each musical segment along the way.  In addition, as each segment progressed, I took it upon myself to listen to the music of that particular segment.  For example, when he spoke of Derek and the Dominos, I listened to "Layla and other Love Songs"  As a result there was an entirely new dimension to the story.  Clapton is a very humble storyteller in that he completely acknowledges all of his influences, and speaks in complete reverence of all who have helped him along the way.  Clapton speaks fondly of his relationship with George Harrison and how it evolved from acquaintance to collaborator, his admiration of Jimi Hendrix as a pure performer that lived and breathed his craft.  The early years saw the courage of non compromise keeping the spirit of the music vs "selling out" in the name of hit records.  That thread seems to follow through the entire book...Most importantly there is testimonial to beating the demons of addiction and helping others to realise their potential. An amazing read even without stopping to listen to the music, enjoy the ride!   

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Union

The Union is an amazing combination not only of the talents of Elton John and Leon Russell, but the producing magic of T-Bone Burnett, Bernie Taupin and a cast of many talented guest musicians.  Clearly a labor of love, Union is literally a beautiful tapestry of music that re-unites two old friends not just for a mutual admiration effort but a synergy of talent.  The sound is very Spartan and simple weaving two pianos into a sound that works...no frills.  Elton speaks in the liner notes of this being an effort that he has always wanted to accomplish....the only thing he had to do was to pick up the phone and call!  What an amazing assemblage of talent that includes Neil Young and Dennis Wilson doing back-up vocal duties.   T-Bone Burnett...need I say more? His contribution is clear with his reputation for getting artist's most heartfelt contributions combined with simplicity of production. The songs hawk back to the story-telling days of Elton John's "Tumbleweed Connection" or "Honky Chateau".  Truly one of the best releases of 2010.  Here's to hoping it brings the same amount of joy to you and yours!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Long Live Music

After an enlightening conversation Friday concerning music and its staying power across generations, I have determined that for every generation there comes an infinite number of contributions to the musical landscape, but only a select few transcend many generations.   What contributes to this? I think the answer is that there are certain "threads" that make up our culture....and composers that are successful are those that best adapt "threads" of the past with the "threads" of the present to create a fabric that sums up our culture.  Case in point:  New generations of music fans continue to "discover" the Beatles!  we are a society that shares stories in the form of music, art, and literature.  Those who are able to properly introduce music, art, and literature are able to keep it alive.  That's why efforts by long-standing musicians, artists and authors experience new life.  Parents, siblings, teachers, and others serve as "conduit" as well as contemporary artists simply by acknowledging the debt of influence to predecessors.  Even in this attention-deficit driven society that we live, others should share and discuss that which influences them.....seek to understand what motivates an artist, musician, or author.  It is this way we can better understand ourselves.  If I am interested in a particular genre of music or art,  I research what was going on at the time, what motivations were present, and how it all inter-relates with contemporaries of that time.  Then I can start to visualize and understand.  One genre is only part of the puzzle, so appreciation of all genres will complete the puzzle.  This is why culture adapts and survives across generations...think about it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thank You Solomon Burke

Sunday 10/10/10 the world lost one of the founding fathers of soul music:  Solomon Burke passed away Sunday in the Netherlands at the age of 70.  Born in Philadelphia he chose the church and gospel as a career path....rubbing elbows on occasion with Dr. Martin Luther King.  The late sixties saw Burke signing with Atlantic Records to pursue a more secular path.  He composed and recorded many songs now considered "standards" one of which was made famous in "The Blues Brothers":  "Someone to Love ".  Burke remained active right up until his death recording and performing....one particular effort  released in 2006, was a collaboration with Buddy Miller and others including Dolly Parton, Emmylou  Harris  and Patty Griffin that represented a return to country roots, called "Nashville".  This was a very impressive array of songs and personnel that exposed Mr. Burke to a whole new audience.  He will be missed by all.  Enjoy "Cry to Me"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Birthday John

Search Amazon.com for john lennonToday would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday...It's hard to imagine that he has been gone so long!  The world has such an outpouring of love and admiration for a man who could quite possibly be one of the best songwriters and performers of the twentieth century.  Perhaps George Harrison said it best in the song "all those years ago" when he said "...you point the way to truth when you say all you need is love".  The most vocal member of the Beatles, he always said what was on his mind despite consequences personally or professionally.  It's easy to wax poetic about what the world would be like were it not for Marc David Chapman, but John would not want the world to get stuck on woulda coulda and shoulda...but rather will do and can do!  Let's spend this day and every day after working towards peace....."its easy if you try"

Friday, October 1, 2010

Go Gene Go by the Howling Diablos

check out this very cool sendup by the Diablos' paying homage to the great Gene Krupa! very slick!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A brighter artist for a brighter world

Heres what is perhaps the most amazing artist that has been heard by so few...Ben Harper has the vibe and the message that should be more widely broadcast, but again thanks to youtube we can bare witness!  Even though this particular song is from 2003, it is still very fresh and vital....I recommend also "Better Way" and "Diamonds on the Inside"  Ben will do the rest!  Remember two things:  Enjoy and Share!
Thanks

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nobody In Detroit by the Howling Diablos

Here's exactly what I'm talking about!  "Nobody in Detroit" is a clear example why these guys should have a larger audience.  Also I recommend "Junkyard Jesus" and "Carwash".  Support our local music scene! Thanks

Local Heroes

Heres to local heroes...the hard-working bands that are legends in their "neighbourhood" , yet seldom are shared with the rest of the world!  Luckily in our day of electronic media, more musicians can share through youtube and other social networking outlets.  Case in point is Detroit legends The Howling Diablos.  For decades frontman "Tino" Gross has built a name for himself in the greater Michigan/Detroit area with a strong following of loyal fans. The Diablos incorporate a bluesy funk sound that is the real deal.  I first became familiar with the Diablos when my wife's aunt called years ago and said that we should watch PBS' American Masters because her cousin (Tino) was going to be part of a documentary about Sun Records (Good Rockin' Tonight)....To our delight we saw a great performance of  Malcolm Yelvington's rockabilly standard "Drinkin' Wine Spo-dee- o-dee" featuring the Diablos with Kid Rock!  At the time I thought this was pretty cool...but I did little else at the time to seek out their story and their sound.  Recently my wife's aunt passed away and my wife spoke to Tino to offer condolences and I looked into what cousin Tino had been up to! It seems that the band has toured with national acts as diverse as George Clinton to Alice Cooper to Ben Harper! They have released several EPs and live offerings as well as full-length offerings.  Judge for yourself...there are some artists that deserve to be heard by more  and these guys are a prime example.  Look them up on youtube and visit their website www.howlingdiablos.com. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Whats in The Changer

Well it's official... We have an infestation of Beatles here at the Garage..Libby has decided to learn the entire (it seems like) Beatles song list...So consequently I am revisiting the music of the fab four and their various Post-Beatle  projects.  I must say the music is every bit as fresh as it was back in the day! It's hard to pinpoint my favorites, so I end up ripping every disc she collects to my hard drive.  Lennon-McCartney has proven to be another enduring song writing team to be placed in the archives with the likes of Rogers and Hammerstien, Comden and Green, Leiber and Stoller, Holland- Dozier- Holland and many others.  Anybody who has not recently given a listen to any Beatles music should make plans to revisit these tasty audio jewels...I'm not going to tell you which because everyone has a favorite.  Listen to those deep cuts that aren't in rotation on the radio..you'll see what I'm talking about.  You-Tube has wide array of videos of favorites...spend some time surfing!  Watch "Hard Day's Night" , "Help", and "Yellow Submarine"....bask in the genius.  Generations are hearing this all for the first time!  Let's use this as an opportunity to share and cherish this body of work!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Great Voices

Kudos to NPR for their year-long series 50 great voices! Anyone who even moderately appreciates music should check this out and continue to listen weekly for the next "voice".  The exercise started with a request for nominees to create a series of 50 great voices of all time...As expected, thus far each voice has crossed generation and culture to the heart of the series... the voice.
The first of the series was Iggy Pop, which already told me that this was going to be a non biased exploration of music.  Successive artists have spanned many cultures and genre with a common thread:  appreciation for the beauty of the voice.  What an education it has been thus far...the episodes I have missed I catch on the web site npr.org in the music tab under the heading 50 great voices.  A most recent instalment has been about Nat King Cole and the soothing quality of his voice.  Explore the website and there is a tab about the nominees, and I must say there is most always agreement with the choices!  I look forward to next week with anticipation..... Visit the website and listen to all of the installments thus far..You'll thank me later

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Huckster or Visionary?

April 8th saw the passing of what many consider the PT Barnum of our century... Malcolm Mclaren.  Mclaren is long thought of as the "godfather of punk", managing the most of the influential acts of the time most notably the Sex Pistols.  Before the time of the Sex Pistols, he managed the New York Dolls, which is long thought of as the frontrunners of modern punk music, with their outrageous stage presence and costumes (encouraged by Mclaren).  It was during his management of the Dolls that he first saw the Neon Boys (which included Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell later of Television). In 1975 Mclaren returned to London and opened a clothing store called "SEX" specialising in clothing of a particularly shocking nature.  It was from this springboard he put together the Sex Pistols, and became their manager.  Never wanting to be behind the curve, Mclaren always moved to new and interesting ideas in music, fashion and art.  Adam and the Ants as well as Bow Wow Wow were part of his "stable".  Mclaren also dabbled as an artist in early Hip Hop with singles "Buffalo Girls" and "Double Dutch" (both widely sampled later by rap artists).  Mclaren is also said to have consulted early in the career of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who turned down his offer of management. Long hailed as an opportunist, Mclaren blazed many inroads to popular music and culture.....he was 68.  See also: "the great rock n roll swindle" and "the filth and the fury"(excellent documentaries about the Sex Pistols)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dying Breed

The other day I was working my way through YouTube's music area and it kind of made me sad...I remember as a teenager, especially when I first moved to the DFW area (about 1976), there was something called AOR (album oriented radio for the youngsters).  It was a beautiful thing because it appealed to a wide range of music and not just the popular singles, but deeper unheard cuts off a particular band's album.  So in other words music was not programmed in neat little "compartments" based on what demographic it fits.  It was through this format I expanded my appreciation of all music...for example on any given day, Jackson Browne may be followed by Eric Clapton, followed by Gino Vanelli, followed the Allman Brothers followed by Little Feat followed by Stanley Clarke, followed by Led Zepplin....I think you get the idea.  I know you are thinking  "why that's one of our classic rock stations!"  This is where there is a difference:  the classic rock stations of today typically rotate the same list of songs over and over with little or no attention to variety, while AOR would see to it that one would not hear the same song twice in one day!  Trust me  I would often times listen the whole day especially during summers and weekends.  Has the radio industry become so pressured by the music industry that the bottom line is about quantity rather than quality? Is it about burning something out to make room for another "next big thing"?  I think so...I rarely listen to much radio outside of our two NPR-based stations, or the independent Texas Music station KHYI.  The rest of the time, especially in the car, I will listen to CD's where I have the option of digitally "building" my own radio station.  Maybe this is something we can all do with our mp3 players, but in my day (yikes I've become my father) it was more of a community playlist, than one we don't share with others..

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How the Artist Pictured the Artists

Recently the music world has lost yet another true pioneer of images...I'm talking about Jim Marshall.  So well known are his images of Jazz and Rock royalty, they are part of the way we view these artists.  Each of his photos seemed to capture the "soul" of a particular artist, particularly in a time before the mass media of MTV and the Internet when an artist's image was what represented him or her. Marshall was born in Chicago in 1936, but grew up in San Francisco's Fillmore District.  He caught the photo bug at a young age and knew than that was his calling.  Jim bought his first camera in 1959 and soon began taking pictures of Jazz heroes that  appeared in the Bay Area (including the likes of John Coltrane and Miles Davis).  Soon Jim ended up moving moving to New York to be in the center of the Jazz scene.  By the mid 60's he was back in the Bay Area taking pictures of the groundswell of activity taking place there.  Known for his candidness, artists respected his eye and frequently would hire him as their official photographer.  He worked much in this same role till his death, leaving behind a popular legacy that has stood the test of time.
I think that Jim has done the best in describing his drive:  " Too much bullshit is written about photographs and music. Let the music move you, whether to a frenzy or to a peaceful place.  Let it be what you want to hear-not what others say is popular.  Let the photograph be one you remember-not for its technique but for its soul.  Let it become part of your life-a part of your past to help shape your future.  But most of all, let the music and the photograph be something you love and will always enjoy." I have uploaded two important photos, but the best way to see more is to visit www.marshallphoto.com , you will be amazed.  Who better to chronicle popular music...these memories will live forever!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Desert Island 2

Well here it is finally! another instalment in the series of "Desert Island Music" that i have recently undertaken....this instalment is about Jazz and the way it influences the way I listen to music.
  1. Vince Guaraldi's Grammy-winning song "Cast your fate to the wind"(1963) is the song that started it all for the composer better known for his work with most of the "Peanuts" television and movie soundtracks.  This song has a lilting quality that shows how underrated and under-appreciated that Vince Gauraldi was in terms of his contribution to the musical mix. I encourage all who are not familiar with the song to give it a listen.
  2. What desert island list would not be complete without mention of Django Reinhardt? especially my favourite "Minor Swing"  This song showcases Django's brilliant mastery of the guitar...this is a man who had to re-learn how to play the guitar when he suffered a nearly disfiguring injury rescuing family members from a fire! Yet he is able to make it sound like a beautiful rhythm with little or no effort.  Many contemporary artists mention him as a major influence. 
  3. Louis Armstrong is another favourite on the list...it was hard to decide on a particular song, but I think " St. James Infirmary" is on that encompasses the the feel of his roots within the New Orleans Jazz scene. It has the feel of a New Orleans street funeral march, but it gives Mr. Armstrong ample room to "stretch out" smooth and slow.  BTW a recent cover of this song by the White Stripes is very noteworthy.
  4. Big Band Swing Jazz is so important to my music appreciation and Chick Webb is one of the greats...known in the day as the victor of many "cutting contests" and a fixture of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem....his signature song is "stompin' at the Savoy" authorship is attributed to Edgar Simpson (Webb's saxophonist) , but it is Benny Goodman that had the most commercial success with the song.  Goodman was known to frequent the Savoy after hours to take in the scene, and frequently competed with Webb's band.
  5. Another Big Band Swing contributor is Count Basie, and my favourite of his songs is "one o' clock jump"  Basie shows his skills as both a band leader and as a smokin' keyboard player (the video on youtube has Basie in a six piece that really moves the music like a big band)  Another noteworthy version of this song would be by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
  6. Charlie Parker is known as one of the founders of "Bop" Jazz, beyond his years in the interpretations of "tapestries" of notes...the best example of this is probably "Ko-Ko" (1947), which was originally recorded with Dizzy Gillispie (see "Salt Peanuts" also 1947), another founding father of "Bop" Jazz.  Ko-Ko is a free-flow of notes that are strung together like beads that move all around the room.  Truly a joy to listen to these master craftsmen blending with each other. Unfortunately the demons of several addictions claimed Charlie Parker's life just as his sound was coming into its own.
  7. John Coltrane was another of the most influential tenor sax players of his generation and several following his...where Charlie Parker is energetic and almost manic sounding, Coltrane manages to establish a fluidity, and the best example of this is probably "Blue Trane" (1957).  Runners-up are most likely "Love Supreme" and his opulent cover of the Rogers and Hamerstein "Favourite Things" (1961).
  8. Duke Ellington rounds out the list with his own brand of Big Band Swing, and a good example of this would be "Take The A Train", especially when Ella Fitzgerald is on vocals.  Ellington's arrangements have influenced artists such as Dave Brubeck and Wynton Marsailis.  Runners up would be "Caravan" or possibly "Mood Indigo"  Just go to YouTube and watch "Sir Duke" go to work!  You will be amazed.
Okay...now that you have some of my favourites...let me know what yours are and why....for example does a particular song stand in mind because a friend or relative listened to it and thereby created a favourite for you? Happy Listening

Friday, March 19, 2010

Farewell to three icons

This week has witnessed the passing of three icons of baby-boomer pop culture, all of which influenced the entertainment industry. 
March 14 saw the passing of Peter Graves, Television and Movie star of the 50's 60's and 70's, best known for his role as "Jim Phelps" on the cult classic TV show "Mission Impossible" and earlier for his role on "Fury".  As a kid I grew up in admiration of the impossible mission team and their amazing adventures...on a show that helped the careers of several other actors as well...Leonard Nimoy, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain,and many others.  His contribution will live on in the imaginations of many of my generation. He was 83
March 17 saw the passing of Alex Chilton, one of the founding members of the Box Tops, mostly known for the song "the Letter" (67'), but also known for "cry like a baby"(68').  He started his career in Memphis with the legendary Chips Moman (who also worked with Elvis, Bobby Womack, Carla Thomas..to name a few). After the Box Tops disbanded, Chilton formed Big Star in 1971, which became immensely influential to later groups (such as the Replacements and REM) as a the "power pop" sound. One of their songs "in the street" is the opening theme to "That 70's Show". Since that time Chilton had been recording solo efforts and even a reunion of Big Star in 2009....Chilton was even scheduled to perform at this years' South by Southwest conference in Austin. There will be instead a tribute at Antoine's  with a long list of stars, including Mike Mills (REM) and John Doe (X). He was 59
March 18 saw the passing of Fess Parker, commonly known as Davy Crockett in several Disney features and as Daniel Boone from 1964-70 on television.  Parker is widely known as one of the first widely merchandised faces on memorabilia..primarily the "coon skin cap", which due to the incredible popularity of "Davy Crockett", almost every child in America could be seen wearing one! Not to mention lunch boxes and numerous other items.  In later life Parker became involved in wine making and development, running a bed and breakfast at his winery.  Parker breathed life into historical figures Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, by bringing their stories to many people in America and abroad he will be missed.  He was 85.
All three of these people contributed to the formation of my outlook and opinion of popular culture....We at the Garage will miss them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lost Treasure

A recent trip to Half Price Books has once again netted a find for me: This disc came out in 2006 and it is by Sam Moore (known mostly from the Stax singing duo Sam & Dave) the name of the album is "Overnight Sensational".  The album is a group of duets with various friends of Sam's from the business.  Sam's voice still has remarkable range and power that has not aged since the Stax days...Stand out tracks are "Better to have and not need"; a duet with Bruce Springsteenthat rocks endlessly and really showcases the boss' blues chops. "None of us are free": a duet with Sting that has an anthem-like feel. Perhaps one of my favourites is "If I had no Loot" which has a positively infectious groove that makes you hit the repeat button.  Very touching tracks are "it's only make believe", a faithful cover of a Conway Twitty song that only Sam can interpret; and "you are so beautiful" a duet with the late great Billy Preston (who incidently passed during the recording of this effort and only appears on 2 tracks).  The liner notes are written primarliy by Joyce Moore, Sam's longtime wife...each track is introduced and how and why each guest musician ended up on that track.  All in all a very tasty effort and first solo album in 30 years for Sam...if you love old soul or R&B like I do, then find this and buy it or download it! you won't be sorry!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Desert Island 1

As I embarked on the task of coming up with my " desert island playlist", I didn't realise that there is so much out there that has done so much for the way I appreciate music.  So...I am going to break it up into segments set down in no particular order, but equally inspiring to me and the way I go about appreciating music. Early blues has been particularly influential to me, and if I had to pick eight songs that are the most influential, my list would be as follows:
  1. Sweet Home Chicago-  Robert Johnson probably does it best...hauntingly simplistic in its elegance, most frequently covered in more up-tempo versions.
  2. Crossroad Blues-  Also Robert Johnson. tells the familiar tale of a deal with the devil at the crossroads. Most recently this song was made popular by Eric Clapton when he was with the band Cream.
  3. One Way Out-  Sonny Boy Williamson tells the story of the "back door man" that is forced to leave under emergency circumstances.  This song was perhaps made famous when the Allman Brothers covered it most famously on "Live At The Filmore".
  4. Bring it On Home-  Written by Willie Dixon but made famous by Sonny Boy Williamson, oozes raw power from Sonny's harmonica....perhaps an inspiration for Little Walter in later years...Later still inspired the likes of Led Zeppelin and Jeff Beck.
  5. Matchbox Blues-  Blind Lemon Jefferson creates the beautiful illusion that there is more than one guitar, yet it is just him playing alone!  Amazing! Many other contemporary artists have tried to cover this song, but the original is still the best.
  6. Death Letter Blues- Son House is brilliant in relating the gut-wrenching news that his wife or significant other has died..again masterful guitar work and haunting lyrics....check out the most recent cover of this song by the White Stripes...particularly the live version available on You Tube,,,new life and new direction, yet still the hint of a haunting melody.
  7. Come On In My Kitchen-  Another Robert Johnson jewel, stripped down to the bare bones.  He is telling his absentee woman she better come back where she belongs because its " going to be raining outdoors".  This is another song covered faithfully by the Allman Brothers and also Eric Clapton.
  8. I Can't Be Satisfied- Muddy Waters rolling melody long recognised as one of the first ventures into electrified Chicago- Style Blues....flawless slide guitar upright bass and Muddy's raw vocals...priceless.  Hard to reproduce, it stands as the one and only!
Here it is... just the blues list more to come Happy Listening

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Desert Island Playlist

I've always wanted to put together a list of "must have" songs and why they are important to the way they have impacted popular music, or more specifically my way of listening to music.  The original idea stems from a popular BBC radio show that first aired in 1942 that would feature popular personalities of the time...stars or even political figures and they would be asked to come up with a list of 8 pieces of music that they would take with them if they were to be stranded on a desert island.  They could also take a book (in addition to the bible or other book of religious significance) and a luxury.  The "castaway" would be asked about his or her choices and clips of each would be played.  The program still is broadcast today.  My idea is to create an ultimate "desert island playlist" in honor of our more digital times that include smart phones or mp3 players.  I hope to actually assemble list, as it will encompass what I feel is essential to music.  As always, I welcome coments about my choices and suggestions (I am not going to remember everything) for additions.
I think I will blog this at least once a week (perhaps 5 at a time) until we have reached the end, which in this case may never happen!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Fever

More people have have watched the Vancouver edition of the winter Olympics than in recent Winter Olympic history....The reasons?  One is the unbelievably good coverage available to the average American viewer... along with constant updates that are a product of the information age: apps for smart phones keep everyone in the loop...even the president was quoted to say that he was getting regular updates on his blackberry!  Another prime reason is the sheer sportsmanship on the part of the athletes regardless of what country they call home.  
I find myself glued to the TV when it is time for the coverage to resume...and I'm not a huge sports fan!  The Olympic culture has introduced a whole new lexicon of terminology that some have never been exposed..."half pipes, Mc twists, and straight air"  Now is the time snowboarding (what I thought was glorified skateboarding) brings us household names like Shaun White and Torah Bright!  Some of the performances witnessed over the last week has transcended typical Olympics of the past.
Does it take a nation getting behind our Olympic effort? If so, lets continue in this vein, because judging by the medal count, we are seeing benefits of this effort. I am in favor of the government helping these athletes so they can focus on being the best in their events...it pays off for the economy and it works to encourage more individuals that may not have been able to participate. Let's show our young people that representing the United States is a dream worth chasing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Exploring the Vault

Now that I've taken a chance to explore Wolfgang's Vault, I really can't say enough about just how extensive the collection of live music and rock memorabilia at one's fingertips....everything is available for streaming at no cost, and actually downloading some items is priced quite reasonably. The website is very user-friendly and for someone that grew up in the time of AOR radio, its like a time machine!  For example right at this moment I'm streaming an Elton John concert from 1970 at Fillmore West, and for any Elton John fan, this is before he was a household word, yet his sound is so raw and hungry, with a fresh feel yet before un encountered...Wow!  I urge the reader to visit and see personally that it is an awesome place to relive some memories both of concerts that you've attended and some live versions of stuff you have on vinyl or cd.  Hit this link and check it out! www.wolfgangsvault.com

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day

I think that what I love most about Valentine's Day is that my wife makes me feel special.  I know sometimes it doesn't look like I appreciate what she does, but She goes the extra mile to see that I have great birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.  I resolve from this point forward that I work harder to show my appreciation for what she does for me...So without further ado, Honey as you read this, let me say Happy Valentines Day, I Love you and appreciate all your hard work for the family and our lives! XXOO 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Garage Music 2.0

Reading Readers Digest the other day I happened upon a suggestion for a website that streams rare vintage concerts with such classic rockers as the Allman Brothers or the Beatles, along with country and jazz artists as well! Most are available for download, or better yet you can stream it for free... there is some really choice classic concerts as well as vintage merchandise including posters, T-Shirts,backstage passes, and tickets.  It is really a treasure island for folks like me who are always looking for that bit of rare music or perhaps a record of an artist that is no longer alive. Excuse me for geeking, but WOW! please do check it out it is www.wolfgangsvault.com you'll be happy you did!. there is also a link in my blog list...happy listening.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day Too

Another day of snow! the last 24 hours have recorded the most snowfall in the history of record keeping for DFW...12+ inches in 24 hours! As you can guess the neighbourhood was busy making "snowmen armies" and still had plenty of snow for some decent snowball fights.  Looks like its time for a batch of crock pot chili and some homemade cornbread...that should chase off the chill!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day

As I look out the window, snow is beginning to accumulate in the backyard...snow has been falling steady since 3am this morning.  Let me add, however that I live in north Texas and this is a rarity for our area...consequently things grind to a halt around here because as a rule there is nothing in place to deal with this sort of anomaly.  Grocery stores will run out of bottled water and non-perishables will be snapped up the fastest.  Schools will close ( today they will close at 12:30p for which I'm sure all of the kids are exctited!  Meanwhile the dogs love to play in the backyard as if it is something new that was not there before! Then they take extended naps until the next time.... 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Garage Music

What do we listen to at the garage?  Well, the list is shorter of what we don't listen to!  Generally I can be found combing the clearance area at my neighbourhood Half-Price Books where recently I have unearthed many tasty sound bites.... recently I found a tribute to Curtis Mayfield from 1998.  It features several artists ranging from Jerry Butler to Delbert McClinton to Huey Lewis and the News, all doing cover versions of Curtis Mayfield songs. there are several standouts in the group...surprisingly one of them being an  a Capella version of "It's Alright" by Huey Lewis and The News...if you can find it, I highly recommend this disc.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kitchen Nightmares

One of my favourite shows this winter returned two weeks ago- Kitchen Nightmares with chef  Gordon Ramsay.  If you've yet to see this please tune in ...it runs on Friday nights on Fox,  This week was a great episode with chef helping out a small restaurateur in New Jersey.  This guy swore more than Gordon!  Chef helped him come to grips with the fact that he was his own worst emeny...the viewer was left thinking that it was going to do little good, since the owner managed to run off his sous chef and his pastry chef (who Gordon felt was the saving grace for the restaurant) before the end of the show....reality TV at its best1 I can't wait till next week!
Check out one of my favourite blogs...tellyspotting the best in British Comedy news!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Super Bowl or Super Hype?

As we draw closer to the next Super Bowl contest, I can't help but think that we are missing the point of the whole thing....It seems as if every television or print news crew has made a week-long extravaganza of the whole process, where it takes away from the spirit of what was intended when the game was created long, long ago.  To me it should be the culmination of a long season where two of the best of the best will meet to determine who has bragging rights next year...on the contrary it is more and more like a circus and less and less like a football game.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grand Opening

Welcome to Green's Garage! We may not necessarily be about cars, trucks or how they work, but like the garage we will place many things for consideration. Food, Arts and Entertainment, and sometimes Useless Trivia. So come back and keep coming back for regular posts as we start moving in to our garage!