24 May 2010

Bob Dylan's birthday

Happy birthday to Bob Dylan :) He's turning 69 today. Well that's quite something :) I still listen to his first album from time to time. Bob released it in March 1961. Where would we be without his music today?

Probably one of the most important artists in my life. It's a good day to watch I'm Not There - beautiful movie.

23 May 2010

Remembering Lena Horne

Vocal jazz might not be my cup of tea, but regardless of that I have to note that beautiful jazz singer Lena Horne died earlier this May. You can read her short but clever biography on Guardian and see her sing "Stormy Weather" on YouTube. It's from the early 40s.

She will be remembered not only for great, great voice, but also for astonishing beauty and taking the stand agains racial prejudice. May she rest in peace.

22 May 2010

Deluxe Exile: comments

It's great, amazing and gorgeous - of course it is. But as always it's impossible to be 100% positive - the greatest album ever is rereleased with 10 additional bonus tracks (with ADTL single it makes it 11) and they rock, each one of them, but all in all, and compared with well-known 18 Exile songs, they somehow fade. Or maybe I'm not in the mood? That's like another new album and I know I'm going to listen to those ones often.

1. "Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren)" - at first I even didn't like it. Catchy, groovy - maybe. I just wasn't amazed, it wasn't loud enough. But then I read the lyrics (they're good!) and the refrain that goes something like "I'm glad to be alive and kicking, I'm glad to see my heart's still ticking, pass me the wine, boy, let's make some love". And I listened again and now I love everything about this song :) Lyrics, groove, Mick Taylor's fills, horns that rush to the front from time to time, harmonica, the fact that it's quite long for a song like that (almost 5 minutes). Maybe it's Keith that should get his thing louder? Harder? I don't know. Taylor should've jam more in the end and Jagger should let him improvise and stop singing :) Tenor saxophone fills in the end are great, too... In overall, it's a finished song. Well-produced. Prime stuff. Stones at their best, even if it's lacking some hooks. Could be the best song on the disk, but there are even more interesting and unexpected ones.

2. "Plundered My Soul" - discussed before. Weak lyrics and the overall sound is more recent than from 1971. But it's good!

3. "I'm Not Singifying" - I've known this tune before in a version with Keith on great rhythm guitar and loved it! Dirty and mean blues. This version is different, being led by Nicky Hopkins' piano. Oh man I miss Keith's work there! But it's improved, really. Harmonica and horns in the end make the song great for me. Vocals are so-so, Mick Taylor's fills are not that divine and a blues song without a strong solo isn't a good blues song. On the other hand, last minute... Otis would've been proud!

4. "Following the River" - heartbreaking ballad, the kind I don't like. But it's really deep :) Convincing Jagger's vocal, newly recorded of course, but... strings! Strings! Aww come on. Two songs with strings that work for me are this one and "Moonlight Mile", but it's ten times less inspired. "You always saw the best in me" line really blows me though :)

5. "Dancing in the Light" - not a rocker, but close. Up-tempo, positive, happy song. :) Kind of "nanananana na nana": you love to sing it but you never know the words. Most prominent guitarist is Mick Taylor here, Keith's work is somewhere there hidden behind him. One of the best here. Certainly above average Stones level :)

6. "So Divine (Alladin Sane)" - one of my favorites. Awesome lyrics, awesome riff, awesome melody and vocal, and even the lazy solo by Taylor is something I'd love to hear more often from him. The instrumental of this is something that you've got to smoke to, this is far less hypnotizing. "You think your love is so divine / you pour it out like it was heaven-scented wine / You think your love is all I crave / Well, I've got better things to do than be your slave" :)

7. "Loving Cup" - the well-known drunk version with vocals very similar, but overdubbed. Shame. Same great phrasing, though :) Keith's guitar is electric and way more prominent than in the released version. I like it more. Slow and sexy :) It would be the best song on the bonus Exile disk, but it's not - I've already heard that many times! The line "I'm the man who brings you roses when you ain't got none, nothin" always cheers me up :)

8. "Soul Survivor" - another alternate take. Keith sings, this time, and the lyrics are clearly not yet developed - he sings random phrases ("well I just can't fuck it! et cetera!"). Musically it's the same track as the one released before except a little bit of horns added here and there and closing piano parts. So it's a let down. Great we have a Keith track, he sings great, but it's not very interesting one.

9. "Good Time Women" - the only one that was probably untouched. Mick's vocals are from the real Exile Sessions. And we've all heard it before! It's good. Slightly worse than "Tumbling Dice" :)

10. "Title 5" - closing track. Great because it's different. 1:47 of a jam between Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards, going back to the roots of the Stones - it's hard rhythm & blues! You don't hear them play like this at all. :)

And Japanese bonus track to the bonus tracks (^^) and worldwide single not included on the regular album: alternate "All Down the Line". A rocker this disc lacks. :)

2 songs we already heard, 9 new ones but 5 of them with very minor changes. It makes it only 4 songs that are completely new out of 11. Damn it, it's the new Rolling Stones album :)

19 May 2010

The Rolling Stones' NPR interviews, 2010

A new release by the band means lots of promotional stuff and the best part are the interviews. The Stones have fun answering the same old questions and telling the same old stories for 40 years now and always look at the bright side of life, adding more jokes and depth to those words than anyone would imagine: the group of 60-year-old drunks loves making fun of themselves above everything :)

Interviews from NPR are great: we've got a narrator, bits of songs from Exile, and a story. Smart, interesting editing :) Keith discussed basic things, but also lyrics to "Happy", slide on "Ventilator Blues" and another take of "Soul Survivor" with him singing random phrases. It's too short, barely seven minutes, but you're gonna love it.

Another intreview, with Mick this time, was even more interesting. Mick clearly adores being interviewed by women, just talking to them makes him stretching out more, he's talking and talking ;-) Beautiful voices they have, really, the interviewees and interviewers. Mick called "Following the River" a "kiss off" song which made me laugh, quite a beautiful ballad!

Third, longest interview was with Don Was, producer. Who did a great job on this Exile but fucked up anyway - I don't like him. He's to blame for bad sound of their latest releases, but he also encouraged the Stones to release something like that. He's talking trash, but he also said it's possible that new releases will happen. Deluxe treatment of Some Girls? I'm all in!

You can freely download those shows: first with Keith, second with Mick, third with Don Was. NPR rocks! (As do BBC and Jimmy Fallon's Show - stay tuned).

18 May 2010

Duane Allman interview

I've been into Allman Brothers band very much lately, listening to their live jams all day. I'm not a big fan of their two first studio albums that lack much of the intensity of adventurous concerts. Many times live performances surpass studio recordings and this is the case with the Allman Brothers Band: most compositions have their best renditions on At Fillmore East or any other of early Allman's live LPs.

What the band does with the material is so unreal x) Every time I listen to "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed" or "Whipping Post" I can hear something new. Their jams go beyond imagination, way beyond the things played by the Grateful Dead or any other popular jam band of the time. It's blues and jazz at its best and the interplay between two guitars is priceless. The biggest star of the Allman Brothers Band, the one that made them shine above most of the other live acts of the day was of course Duane Allman.

From charming acoustic "Little Martha" to wild bluesy "You Don't Love Me" live in '71... This guy can't be beat and he's white. I mean, I get so lost in his imaginative and tricky guitar playing that I can spend more time analyzing it than Dylan's lyrics.

Click here to hear Duane's interview from 1970. 24MB and 22 minutes of Duane mumbling :)

17 May 2010

Blues Music Awards 2010

Blues Music Awards for 2010 have been announced. So... blues album of the year is Joe Louis Walker's "Between a Rock and the Blues", quite enjoyable piece of music. And the band of the year is Tommy Castro Band, these are two biggest honours.

Categories are countless and the Blues Foundation seems quite serious about this stuff, so it might be worth takin' a look. In traditional blues categories winners were Duke Robbilard and Debbie Davies for male and female artists of the year and Super Chikan with "Chikadelic" (WTF?) for the best traditional blues album. And Tommy Castro seems to be the biggest winner, taking four awards of four nominations. :)

See this Blues.org website (which sucks by the way because it can't be linked - hey people start building good websites or stay with brochures).

Woody Allen said he isn't interesting in winning, but even less interested in losing :) I don't care about those awards too much anyway, but it's good that something's going on in the little blues world.

15 May 2010

The Stones' "Following the River" video

Sorry for not writing too much - I've been breathing the blues for some time lately and couldn't get myself together, and furthermore I received an DMCA takedown notice... ABKCO cocksuckers x)

I already have the new deluxe release of "Exile On Main Street" with ten bonus tracks and I will focus on it for the rest of the month :) It's so fucking amazing! Here you can see the "Following the River" video, what a great ballad with awesome lyrics and video, it's so stylish and all. I don't fancy strings that much but once in a time... Also, background vocals are outstanding. The best of all, though, is piano by Nicky Hopkins that drives the song and Mick's vocals. And isn't the light on the video wonderful?

Parts of the lyrics remind me of "Let It Loose"... "You always saw the best of me" line is the best part of the song :) A typical Mick's composition, not better than mentioned above "Let It Loose" or "Moonlight Mile", but luckily too good to be on the mainstream pop radio.

06 May 2010

The Ronnie Wood Show

Every Friday widely featured here guitarist called Ronnie Wood plays an hour long selection of his favorite tracks on Absolute Radio. A painter, lover and drinker: Ronnie played bass in Jeff Beck's band, guitar in the Faces and the Rolling Stones, two most partying bands ever. His playing was truly all about having fun so even though he's not the most talented or able guitarist I can think of, he's certainly in my top ten for his attitude.

That's why the Ronnie Wood Show is something special for me. His made-up stories and exaggerations (no, he wasn't in the last few that saw Jimi Hendrix ^^) make me smile but never let me down. He's so childish, naive and nice ;-) So now every Friday night he chats, plays guitar and tells stories apart from putting on some good old rock and roll! Look here for Strettonbull's posts of his shows and download them.

Ronnie's song selections are quite obvious and too mainstream, but that doesn't bother me. Quite the opposite. I like it very much! I've discovered some new bands thanks to him and wait for more. He's got very similar taste to mine!

05 May 2010

The Rolling Stones - All Down the Line

Some more news concerning the release of deluxe edition of Exile On Main Street, possibly the Stones' best album, arrived. The second single after "Plundered My Soul" has just been released. It's an alternate take of "All Down the Line" and it's great, but not astonishingly different from the version we've known for years. Lots of Mick Taylor's guitar work and the general mess make it work really, really good!

It's got that Chuck Berry-esque vibe and is quite long (over 4 minutes) for a rock and roll song. Vocals are clearly not-yet-developed so Jagger shouts random phrases while the band has lots of time and space to jam over easy chords. It's so relaxed you can tell it wasn't going to be released back then. And again, like on "Plundered My Soul", Nicky Hopkins on piano shines and rolls!

Since Amazon UK is giving the single away for free but the rest of the world have to pay and I don't think it's fair, I put up a download link for free. Unfortunately it's been removed by Blogspot -_- Sorry. You can find it easily for yourself though!

01 May 2010

The Black Keys - Rubber Factory

Now this is it! Enough bluesy and acceptable dirty. Or at least much more and less (^^) than previously reviewed Brothers album. Ladies & gentlemen... Rubber Factory, the Black Keys' masterpiece from 2004.

Indie sucks. I like DIY attitude but it doesn't have to mean lo-fi sound. However, in this case it suits the blues. It's raw and dirty but easily listenable and catchy, it has everything the new album lacks. "10AM Automatic" is oh so good! That's what I call a rocker. Slow "The Lengths" is a boring ballad but the next one's a hot song - you sure have heard "Grown So Ugly" by Captain Beefheart, huh? - this version is equal.

And they played "Stack Shot Billy" on Letterman. And "Aeroplane Blues" was mighty interesting... Just like the whole album really. Most of those 13 tunes don't have the definitive hook that gets stuck in your head but it's alright with me. It's a 4/5 album that I proudly keep in my collection :) And "Till I Get My Way" was a surprisingly good finale, just when I expected nothing new and was ready to switch the player off.

"What about the night / Makes you change / From sweet to deranged" - "10AM Automatic"...

PS. See their music video to the song "Next Girl" from the Brothers album. Funny. And I really like the girls.