Tag Archives: The Beatles

McCartney Rocks Austin for the first time…

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I have had the privilege to see Paul McCartney 3 times. So when my friend Jim, who lives in Austin, called to invite me to see Paul in Austin, I almost declined the offer. Boy am I glad I didn’t. I witnessed history. Witnessing history is guaranteed when you go to a McCartney show. First of all, IT’S PAUL MCCARTNEY ON STAGE! Last time I checked he is a living legend. Second, he seems to always dust off a song or two that were never played live by the Beatles. Third: As many times as Paul McCartney has played in Texas, it was hard to believe when he announced from the stage at the Frank Erwin Center, that he had never played in Austin before. Paul was rewarded with a very enthusiastic crowd that was ready to rock, and Sir Paul and his powerful band delivered!

The ticket said it was an 8:00 pm start time and there was no opening band. We arrived around 7:40. A DJ started playing club mixes of Beatles songs at 8:00. At 8:30 the DJ left the stage and a pre-recorded soundtrack played while video screens displayed photos covering the entire life of Paul up to this moment. Paul and his band mates walked on stage proptly at 9:00 and launched into “8 Days a Week”.

The show alternated between Beatles songs and Wings songs. A real highlight of the first half of the show was a powerful version of the Wings song “Let Me Roll It“, followed up by a rocked up version of the Beatles song “Paperback Writer“.

An amazing thing happened during the opening of “Maybe I’m Amazed“: Paul forgot the opening cord sequence of the Piano intro. He handled it in fine form with his typical laid back demeanor on stage. He simply quipped “Well, at least you know we’re live…” The crowd ate it up. He simply restarted the song and went on.

In the middle of the show the band left McCartney on stage alone. He walked to a smaller stage that then elevated him way above the floor of the arena. He performed “Black Bird” which he described as song of social protest that was designed to give hope to Black Americans that were being discriminated against during the 60’s. He then performed a song he wrote for John Lennon called “Here Today“. He described the song as a conversation between he and John that never happened but should have. It was a very emotional moment.

In the next section Paul made history when he played two songs that had never been played live in Texas. He performed “Lovely Rita Meter Maid” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” from “Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” It was awesome. The video screens showed old psychedelic videos from the 60’s that the Beatles had made for “Yellow Submarine” and “Magical Mystery Tour“. Very cool…

After “Mr. Kite“, Paul paid tribute to George Harrison. He started playing “Something” on a Ukulele. Slowly the band joined in one by one, leading up to the big guitar solo in the bridge of the song. It was a very emotional and very fitting tribute to George.

This led to the closing sequence of songs that included “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude“. I was trying to take a close up photo of Paul singing the line “The movement you need is on your shoulder…” during “Hey Jude“. I was zoomed in on McCartney’s face. He forgot the lyrics leading up to that line… I saw him “blah, blah,” the words and then recover. Putting this with the “Maybe I’m Amazed” piano gaffe, I wonder if age is finally catching up to Paul McCartney?

Paul came back twice for encores and closed the show with an awesome sequence of songs: “Yesterday”, “Helter Skelter” and the final songs of “Abbey Road” (Golden Slumbers, Carry that Weight, The End.)  2 and 1/2 hours of great music. The show ended at 11:30 and Paul had to come back and play the next night as well!

It is interesting that this tour is hitting smaller cities and not the usual big venues. Erwin Center only seats 12,000 for a show. So it may take some effort on your part to catch him this time around. But consider this: This might be the last time. Don’t miss this chance to see him live. He and his band mates will ROCK YOU! Paul will not disappoint. And when you are standing with everyone else singing “Hey Jude” at the top of your lungs, you will know that there is so much more that unites us all than divides us. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…”

Set list:

Eight Days a Week

Junior’s Farm

All My Loving

Listen to What the Man Said

Let Me Roll It

Paperback Writer

My Valentine

Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five

The Long and Winding Road

Maybe I’m Amazed

I’ve Just Seen a Face

We Can Work It Out

Another Day

And I Love Her

Blackbird

Here Today

Your Mother Should Know

Lady Madonna

All Together Now

Lovely Rita

Mrs. Vandebilt

Eleanor Rigby

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Something

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Band on the Run

Back in the U.S.S.R.

Let It Be

Live and Let Die

Hey Jude

First Encore:

Day Tripper

Hi, Hi, Hi

Get Back

Second Encore:

Yesterday

Helter Skelter

Golden Slumbers

Carry That Weight

The End

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Posted in Life Events, Live Performance Reviews, Rock Music | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Rare Earth should not be so rare…

Finally, I am back to writing about vinyl. This album came to me by way of my new friend Dave.  Dave said I could keep all his vinyl if I transferred them to CD’s for him.  I have been working on that project steadily over the past few months.  I have other albums he brought to me that I intend to blog about too, but I have more ideas than I have time to blog.  Anyway, thanks Dave for this very cool record!

This new post is about the first all white band to sign with Motown Records; Rare Earth.   Motown decided in 1969 that they wanted to start a new label that would be dedicated to only white performers.  They wanted to create a label that would be equally branded as the Motown label was for black performers.  Rare Earth was the first band signed under this new marketing effort.  They were a local Detroit band and had already been recorded by Verve Records, but that album had not sold well.    The title of this record is “Ecology”This was Rare Earth’s third LP and and their second one released on the Motown owned “Rare Earth” label.   It was released in 1970.  The record label is pretty cool and 70’s looking.  The members of Rare Earth actually named the label for Motown executives.  The Motown A&R guys asked the band members what they thought the label should be called and they jokingly suggested their own band name.  Later they were stunned to find out that Motown took  them up on their idea!  That’s how they came to record on a label named after their own band.  I think this may have been an all time first in Rock-n-Roll history.  Here are some pictures of the album and label:

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This album came about in an unusual way. The second Rare Earth album “Get Ready” was very successful and the title cut was a cover of the great song by the temptations.  The Temptations.  But The Temptations version only made it to #29 on The Billboard top 100.  Rare Earth’s version peaked at #4.  Because of the success of this record Hollywood came calling.  They wanted the band to contribute songs to a movie called “Generation”.  The movie starred David Jannsen and Kim Darby.  Once the movie was a hit then Motown was going to release a movie soundtrack.  Unfortunately, the movie flopped.  There would be no soundtrack.  So several of the songs on “Ecology” were from the failed movie.  The album has 7 cuts because two of the songs are fairly long.  There is a 11 minute cover of The Temptations song (I know) I’m Losing You and a 6 1/2 minute version of The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby”.  (I think it would be cool to do a blog on the best and worst Beatles covers of all time.  Maybe I will do that on in the future?)

Here we go with SIDE 1:

Born To Wander

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This song was a minor hit for the band and it appears on “Greatest Hits’ and/or “Best of” compilations of the band’s music.  It’s a great opener and it is very typical of their R&B style.  I really like the flute in this song.

Long Time Leavin’

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This is a very bluesy number. One interesting thing about this group is that the lead singer was the drummer. Pete Riveria had a great, soulful voice.  He was a huge part of why I loved this band.  Great organ solo by Kenny James. This song also has a very jazz influenced Coda.

(I Know) I’m Losing You

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I love this version of this song. There is also a great cover of this song by Rod Stewart on his great album “Every Picture Tells A Story”. But I really like the echo on the voice, the fade in beginning and the fuzz ladden guitar. It’s just a great extended version of a classic Motown song.

Side 2

Satisfaction Guaranteed

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Side 2 begins with a band and Satisfaction is Guaranteed! This song has the attitude of Detroit Motown soul! I can hear this song being done by any number of Motown artist successfully. “You gotta trust me baby… you gotta believe me…”

Nice Place To Visit

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This song has a real “Funk” feel to it. Great guitar solo by Rod Richards.

No. 1 Man

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This song has kind of a far eastern intro and then emerges with a cool bluesy guitar sound.  The chorus is kind of catchy isn’t it?  I kind of want to sing along “I wana be  your No. 1 Man…”  Then the great guitar work of Rod Richards returns.  A Rockin’ good time!

Eleanor Rigby

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So the previous song fades out and the next sound we hear is this A Capella chorus performing a fairly complex round that is eventually joined by a string orchestra.  It’ s a very interesting attempt to give a blues/almost gospel treatment to this classic Beatles song.  You’ve got to admit that they make it their own.  I think it’s kind of a cool version.  Ray Charles tried the same thing with better results.  A great closing track.  Notice the fade out fade back in at the very end of the song. Very Beatles like…

So what happened to Rare Earth?  Well, technically, they are still around.  They have a website www.rareearth.com.   The only original member is Gil Bridges.  He plays flute, Tambourine, and sings.  Rod Richards left the band over business differences.  Kenny James left next because he was tired of touring.  They replaced the band members and had a couple of more hits (I Just Want To Celebrate, Hey Big Brother) but they never had another hit after 1971.  When Motown decided to relocate from Detroit to Los Angeles, John Persh decided not to move with the rest of the band.  He died in 1981 of a staph infection.    In 1974 Pete Riveria left the band after having major business differences with their manager.  The other band members sided with Management, so Pete walked out and started another band.  was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends On Line Hall of Fame.  In 2011 their song

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Is it Rock? Country? Blues? Folk? Maybe all of the above…

Album Cover for "The Cream of Country" by Jerry Lee Lewis

Album cover of "The Cream of Country"

Sun Record Label

One of the most famous record labels in History "Sun Records"

This record came to me through one of my friends who asked me to record it for him.  The story of how he came to own this record is worth telling because those times are long, long, gone…

So his story is this:  My friend grew up in Wichita, Kansas in the 1950’s.  Not much went on in Wichita in the ’50s and ’60’s.  Not much goes on there today, come to think about it.  But when my friend was a junior in College, Jerry Lee Lewis was going to come through town and play a concert.  My friend didn’t even really know who Jerry Lee Lewis was.  One afternoon, a flat bed truck came through the campus grounds with a bull horn announcing a rock and roll show and where to get tickets.  As  a crowd began to gather, the promoters just started throwing copies of Jerry Lee Lewis albums out into the crowd.  My friend is a tall gentleman now, and he was tall back then too.  He easily caught one of the records.  So here it is “The Golden Cream of Country” by Jerry Lee Lewis. This record was released in 1969.

This record is on Sun Records.  The famous studio of the producer, Sam Phillips.  Sun records is hallowed ground.  It is one of the birthplaces of Rock and Roll.  Take a look at this photo:

 

The Million Dollar Quartet

Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley at Sun Records

At sun records in the 1950’s Rock, Country, Blues, and Folk music collided all at the same time. The results changed music forever.  Sam Phillips was the baby Doctor that assisted in it birth.  This record is a great example of what was going on at the time.  The tittle states it’s a “Country” record, but I would guess that when you listen to some of the songs you may think differently.

 

 

Side 1

Invitation To Your Party

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 A country song but with a honky tonk Rockabilly piano sound going on too.  Hmmm….

Jambalaya

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 This is such a famous song and it has been recorded by “everyone and their dog!”  I bet there are a lot of people that would be stunned to know that it was written by Hank Williams.  Here we have a Louisiana man singing about the bayou.  This is a great version and “The Killer” nails it!

Ramblin’ Rose

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When I saw this song title I thought it was going to be the “Ramblin’ Rose” of Nat King Cole.  This is a different song.  By the way, this song doesn’t sound anything like country and western music to me.  This is very Rhythm and Blues with it’s boogie beat and the style of singing it is really a very cool song.  This could have just as easily been Ray Charles.

Cold, Cold, Heart

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Another song by Hank Williams. When you call an album “The Golden Cream of Country” , you have to include some Hank Williams, Right?  There is a great new CD out that is a collection of unfinished songs of Hank Williams.  The CD was put together by Bob Dylan and a who’s who of great singer/song writers.  I haven’t heard it yet, but initial reviews have been very positive.  Jerry Lee definitely gives this song the country effect.  I especially like the gospel roll he uses in this arrangement.  The piano solo in the break is classic Jerry Lee Lewis.

As Long As I Live

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This song is much more Rock n Roll than country. The lead guitar sound is definitely more Rock sounding than country.  Once again The Killer tears up the piano with a great solo.

Seasons Of My Heart

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I don’t know who the woman singer is. She is not credited on the album anywhere. It’s interesting how they purposefully sing slightly out of sync with each other. It gives an edge of emotion to this song it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Side 2
One Minute Past Eternity

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This song is the most country song on the LP. This is in the style of old country like Patsey Cline.

I Can’t Trust You In My Arms Anymore

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This sounds more like Fats Domino than Willy Nelson.

Frankie and Johnny

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This is the only song on the LP that Jerry Lee Lewis wrote. This is straight ahead rock and roll. Not any country going on here. This is a great little rock and roll ditty.

Home

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A twangy guitar and a singing style like Roger Miller. A very country sounding song, with a slight blues edge to it.

How’s My Ex Treating You?

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Once again the walking blues bass appears. I like the fuzzy sound of the bass in this song. It’s a great tittle for a country song. It just sounds like rock and roll more than country. The Hammond Organ is not a typical C & W instrument ether.

And with that, “The Golden Cream of Country” comes to an end.  It’s Not the greatest album I ever heard.  It is interesting that a record like this was released with a tittle like this in 1969.  Consider what other albums were released in 1969.  The Beatles released Abbey Road, the Rolling Stones released Let it Bleed,  Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin I and II, The Who released “Tommy”.  There were also classic albums released that year by bands like The Velvet Underground, King Crimson, Captain Beefheart, and Nick Drake.  That is a very diverse group of musicians.  Music was going in a million directions in 1969.  Maybe the competition for Jerry Lee was so intense he felt he had to call it a country album to sell any copies.

So the point to me is that it is dumb to label music.  Country?  Rock?  Jazz?  Classical?  Then you get really silly with labels like:  Fusion, Alternative, Dubb step, Heavy Metal, Punk, Indie, etc…  On and on it goes, till nobody know what it really means anymore.  I don’t know.  I could be wrong.  What do you think?

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Posted in Blues Music, Country Music, Rock Music, Vinyl | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment