Santana

July 17th, 2008

One of the most influential albums from my teen years was the original Woodstock album. A three record set it was something that me and my friends played over and over and over again. I can’t begin to count the number of levels it impacted me on: musical, lyrical, political, sociological, just everything. I was thirteen years old when Woodstock was held, fourteen when the album was originally released: in many ways an open vessel just waiting to be filled with new music, new ideas and new influences. I was … [more]

John Hiatt Live From Austin TX

July 15th, 2008

When I moved to Austin in September 1976 Austin City Limits was just getting started. They had filmed a pilot with Willie Nelson in November 1974 hoping to sell the show to PBS. The show aired on about three dozen stations in the spring of 1975, during the semi-annual membership and fund-raising pledge drive. A deal was struck and in late summer taping began for a thirteen episode first year to be broadcast in 1976. Season one was a very “progressive Texas music” affair with regional artists like Rusty Wier, … [more]

Jesse Winchester

July 14th, 2008

I’ve bought an album by a new artist (or just new to me) for lots of different reasons: I was familiar with and admired the producer of the album; I had heard a song the artist did covered by another artist; musicians I was familiar with played on the album; I heard a song on the radio or saw a performance on TV or live; someone I knew and trusted wrote the liner notes; a friend told me about it; etc. But I think this may be the only album … [more]

Twelve

July 13th, 2008

I had a lot of misgivings about this album. I didn’t buy it for almost a year after it was released. And the only reason I finally picked it up then was because Circuit City was having a storewide sale on CDs and it was one of the only things I could find that I was even remotely interested in (and I had to buy something!). My misgivings were for two reasons: on the one hand, though I consider myself a big, big Patti Smith fan (see my post about … [more]

The Wrights

July 12th, 2008

For me it started with Elvis Costello and his single “Alison” b/w “Welcome To The Working Week.” It was actually Costello’s second single (“Less Than Zero” b/w “Radio Sweetheart” being the first), but it was the one I stumbled on initially. From there I quickly discovered the first Nick Lowe single (“So It Goes” b/w “Heart Of The City”) since he had produced both of Elvis’ singles. And that led to Dave Edmunds. Edmunds and Lowe formed a band called Rockpile (with Billy Bremner and Terry Williams) in 1976. However, … [more]

O Lucky Man!

July 11th, 2008

I went to high school in Quartz Hill, California, a small town in the Mojave desert, about an hour north of Los Angeles. I actually lived in Lancaster the next town over. But, as Lancaster grew the school system couldn’t handle all the students so some of us who lived on the west side of town were shipped over to Quartz Hill. I hated growing up in the desert, a place I considered desolate, forlorn and altogether lacking in everything I was interested in. My friends and I would escape … [more]

Silk Degrees

July 9th, 2008

I can trace my love of music directly back to a transistor radio I had when I was 10 years old. I actually had two radios: a small, portable transistor radio and a bedside clock radio. I had lots of paper routes when I was growing up (I once had three different ones at the same time) and I would almost always take my radio along with me as I was cycling through the neighborhood delivering papers. If it was summer I might sometimes be listening to a baseball game, … [more]

The Flying Burrito Bros

July 8th, 2008

You won’t find many bigger Gram Parsons’ fans than me. Well, I’m sure there are some true “fanatics” out there who are even more pathologically obsessive (and excessive) than I am. But, I’m up there pretty close to the top myself. Both his solo albums are in my Top 10 All-Time Albums. I have a cherished, framed, original poster from his run of shows at Liberty Hall in Houston with Emmylou and the Fallen Angel band in 1973. I’ve got a fair amount of bootlegs, vinyl, CD and CDR. I … [more]

Common Sense

July 7th, 2008

I’m not your typical record buyer. I never have been. I’ve long maintained that most people do not buy records based on things like liner notes, album credits or record reviews in newspapers and magazines. But I certainly do. When I see an album by an artist that I’m not familiar with I always look to see who’s playing on it. If there are people I know I’m more likely to check it out. I’ve bought tons of albums based on a review I read somewhere. I have my favorite … [more]

Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Review

July 6th, 2008

The 1966 tour through Australia, Europe and especially the UK is more historically significant and more musically consequential. There’s no denying the power and the majesty of those performances. The acoustic performances are positively ethereal. Dylan sounds truly stoned out of his mind yet perfectly in the moment. His harmonica playing on those tracks is unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. He wanders off into unbelievable solos and riffs that wind over, under and around themselves like twisted angelic musical prayers. And, of course, the electric sets are truly groundbreaking. … [more]