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!