HEART OF THE STONES: In Praise of Charlie Watts, June 2, 1941-August 24, 2021
“Charlie’s good tonight in’nit he?” — Mick Jagger, Madison Square Garden, 1969. Charlie Watts’s drum kit was a pitch-perfect reflection of the man who sat behind it for The Rolling Stones for nearly 60 years: modest yet essential. Charlie famously eschewed rock drum solos as frivolous, show-offy expressions of ego. A lifelong jazz devotee and […]
Smashing Mirrors & Smashed Guitars: Pete Townshend, Purveyor Of Power Chords, Turns Seventy Five
The sentiment of my original story still holds. Happy 75th Birthday, Mr. Townshend, and many more. So glad you didn’t die before you got old. You had so much more to say and do. And in turn, over the years you’ve certainly inspired me (and many others) to listen to, live through, and reflect upon, […]
Leaving Traces and Circles Around The Sun: Farewell Neal Casal (1968-2019)
Neal Casal was a multi-tasking, multi-genre musical threat: a fine singer, composer, and detail-oriented storyteller; a fluid and lyrical lead player as well as bedrock-solid rhythm guitarist; and an unassuming personality who proved a versatile sideman and good-natured complement to the legends and stars in the spotlight.
A LATE BLOOMER IN FULL FLOWER: Becoming Asa Brebner (1953-2019)
“I don’t believe in God, but I believe in music and sharing that with other people. That’s kind of my religion. If I have a religion, that’s what it is.”
— Asa Brebner
STONED BRUSSELS ON THE BISCUIT: Revisiting The Legendary ’73 Radio Broadcast
As a small tribute to today’s birthday boy, guitarist extraordinaire Mick Taylor, (who turns an improbable Seven-O), here’s my take on one of the most famously obsessed-over, and mythologized slabs of live rock & roll of the past 50 years that Mr. Taylor was intrinsic to bringing to life — and which, until fairly recently, wasn’t even officially released (and even then, as a mostly digital-only treat). Hence this review, written by my alter-ego “Leedslungs71,” of another enterprising foray into the nether realm of unofficial, fan recordings that have kept this blistering concert and indelible moment alive and humming across generations of listeners for more than forty years. (This piece first appeared at the terrific Collectors Music Reviews blog and website, which is populated by those of us who care about such things).
KING HENRY THE BRAVE: Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s Life and Numbers Beyond 755
Henry Aaron is 84 years old now. And as hard as it may be to believe, the number of distant springs that have passed since he made his storied and successful homerun record-breaking bid now amounts to more than half his age. It was 44 years ago this week — a fitting number, indeed — […]
A ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD: Tom Petty, 1950-2017
He became a stadium superstar in later years, but Tom Petty’s early, brilliant records of underdog striving were what got us (and many other kids tuned in to their radios during the ’70s) hooked. Our appreciation of the man on what would have been his 67th birthday Friday.
WALTER BECKER (1950-2017), STEELY DAN’S CO-ARCHITECT OF IMPOSSIBLE COOL
What sometimes seemed like so much shiny “Pop” on the outside — and yes, much of it certainly was intelligent, immaculately crafted pop music (“Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”; “Hey Nineteen,” “FM” etc.) — Steely Dan’s music held a far more slippery substance, both instrumentally and lyrically, that simmered and squirmed inside that lacquered shell of crisp studio perfection.
MANNISH BOYS AT THE MOCAMBO: What, No April Wine?
The 300 lucky radio station contest winners who crowded into a dozen buses bound for Toronto’s El Mocambo Tavern one early March evening in 1977 began booing when they thought they wouldn’t be seeing the club’s headliners, April Wine, after all. Also on the bill that night was some opening act called The Cockroaches. They […]