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Monthly Archives: July 2007

Great Performances: The Stax Records Story

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ETA:  Oooh, boy, this is gonna be good….

  Stax PBS Special Preview

Thanks to AH for the head’s up on PBS’ upcoming documentary on Stax Records. It premieres on PBS this Wednesday, August 1st. Check your local listings, but in Alabama, it’s on at 8:00 p.m. CDT.

It appears that the segment will also be available through iTunes podcast, as well. This should be a great retrospective of the institution that brought us such great Soul artists, like Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Sam & Dave, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Rufus & Carla Thomas and many more…Here is the fantastic Songlist that will be featured.

The prospect of hearing the back story on Mr. Big Stuff is, in itself, worth watching.

Mr. Big Stuff, Jean Knight (introduced by former Stax Records owner, Al Bell)

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2007 in Influences, Music History, Soul

 

Rate-A-Record – Bubbly – Colbie Caillat – 3.5 Stars

Ok. I heard you. While most liked Colbie’s sound, nobody was overly impressed by the song or the video.

As for my opinion, I liked (not loved) the song, and it reminded me alot of Feist’s 1-2-3-4 — maybe that’s why I liked it better than most of you Feist-haters. Like Feist, Colbie’s sound has a certain Cat Power influence even if some of you Cat purists disagree.

As for Bubbly, it’s certainly listenable and enjoyable. Bob Lefsetz has a very high opinion of this song and hears Colbie as reminiscent of James Taylor, Carole King and a “California” Norah Jones. If you go a little deeper into Colbie, you’ll find a couple of other tunes that are very honest and clear. That, I do like about her. Maybe it’s the acoustical nature of it, but the stuff she does with Jason Reeves does harken those old JT/King collaborations.

Realize

Droplets with Jason Reeves

Magic with Jason Reeves

As for the video, I LOVE IT! Maybe it’s my anguished desire to live on a private stretch of beach in a cabin just like this one, but I totally identified with the scenery and vibe. I particularly liked the soft lighting. Separately, I would give the video a 4.5, just for the beach feel. However, videos do not make the music, so it’s a 3.5 on the song alone. I must throw in that I think Colbie’s music overall is a 4.0.

Lastly, if Colbie Caillat is being regarded as a new “hot” artist, maybe the tide is turning away from some of the drivel that is currently being played on today’s radio. Even if these “viral” listeners are MySpace youngsters, it shows that the next generation might be looking for better quality music that can actually be heard and appreciated.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 29, 2007 in Artists, chicks, Music Today, rate a record

 

Rate-A-Record – Bubbly

An exercise in viral promotion, Colbie Caillat’s Bubbly garnered millions of plays on her MySpace before recently being released on her Coco CD. The daughter of record producer Ken Caillat who produced Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Tusk albums, Colbie hails from Malibu, California.

Give me your opinion of the song and the video….

Bubbly – Colbie Caillat

 
11 Comments

Posted by on July 26, 2007 in Emerging Artists, rate a record

 

Divas Got the Blues (Another Colette Submission)

UPDATE: This just in….Etta James hospitalized.

To preface this great post by Colette, I want to bring attention to the Blues Diva documentary that was recently featured on PBS. Morgan Freeman is the host from his Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Catch it if you can. Superb.

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While Colette touches upon Irma Thomas in her post, this post would be remiss if the rest of these ladies weren’t mentioned. Among others, the documentary features Mavis Staples, Bettye LaVette, Odetta and one of my personal favorites, Deborah Coleman.

Deborah Coleman

Odetta

Bettye LaVette

The incomparable Mavis Staples with a personal favorite, Respect Yourself

So many great Blues Divas. Thanks, Colette, for your submission.

Posting an Etta James video on this site recently reminded me of the rich and ongoing legacy of women blues shouters. Yes shouters, Mr. Simon Cowell. As far as the blues goes, shoutin’ ain’t no bad thing, baby. There are many ways to sing the blues. But Etta “Peaches” James and her kind are the ones with the mile-wide voices that can thunder and growl, squeeze very drop of pathos from a lyric, and let you know that wild women do get the blues. The greatest of these belters all influence one another, and the tradition lives on. Sorry I couldn’t find good clips for some other favorites — Ma Rainey, Tracy Nelson, etc. And sorry, I’m just not a Joss Stone fan (maybe someday). But if there’s something else in this particular vein you’d like to share, I’d sure love to hear it.

Let’s start with Etta. People in the know say she can be mean as a rattlesnake, and twice as much trouble when in a nasty mood. But one cuts some slack to a force of nature — and that, Peaches has been since the great bluesman and scout Johnny Otis “discovered” her back in the 1950s. She cut her signature tune “At Last” in 1961, on the Chess label, and since then has endured some extremely rough personal passages, including a long (and thankfully, a successful) battle with heroin addiction.

Now close to 70, she’s enjoying a career renaissance since having weight reduction surgery reduced her life-threatening bulk, and since great Peaches tunes like “The Blues is My Business” have been featured in movies and popular TV series like “The Sopranos.”

This whole set could be devoted to Etta, but here’s just a couple of my favorite Peaches numbers on video:

Jimmy Reed’s “You Got Me Running”Etta James and The Bluesbreakers

“I’d Rather Go Blind”Etta James with Dr. John

Music Maven NOTE: I’d Rather Go Blind was originally recorded in Muscle Shoals, AL at FAME Studios.

Shemekia Copeland is a young blueswoman really worth a big listen. A wunderkind who began her career in her teens, she just gets better in her 20′s. The daughter of Johnny Clyde Copeland, the late Texas blues guitar great, Shemekia has a little trouble getting her powerhouse voice heard in an era when her kinda music isn’t anywhere near the Top 40. So please, please check her out on tour and take a listen to her CD’s — she is hot as a pistol. Here she is with her peerless mentor B.B. King on Letterman, and doing live a number from one of her recent albums:

“Everyday I Have the Blues” Shemekia Copeland and B.B. King

“Who Stole My Radio?”Shemekia Copeland

Music Maven NOTE #2: Shemekia Copeland performed on stage with one Taylor Hicks at Buddy Guy’s in Chicago, earlier this Spring.

There are “foremothers” galore from the 1950s in the blues shouter field, but probably none as potent as Big Mama Thornton, a killer harmonica player as well as a singer who can make your spine tingle and hair stand on end. It was Big Mama who originally recorded “Hound Dog” (pre-Elvis) and “Ball and Chain” (pre-Janis). Thanks to the popularity of the latter tune when Janis Joplin recorded it, her career resurged in the 1970s (she died in 1984) and she was thrilled to be embraced by young blues “mavens.”

“Rock Me”Big Mama Thornton

“Hound Dog” by Big Mama Thornton with the wonderful Buddy Guy

A little smoother around the edges, the late Ruth Brown (who died recently) was a shouter par excellence. This is was a huge hit for (and a great sisterhood anthem), and later in life she too had a resurgence — in the hit musical “Black and Blue” on Broadway, in clubs, even on film. What a sizzler:

“Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean”Ruth Brown, live at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre

How can you play Big Mama in this set, but ignore Janis? No way. I was lucky to hear both artists live, and they both sang this soul-rattling woman’s blues (which Big Mama wrote). What can you say about Janis that hasn’t already been said? We’ll not see the likes of her again. Here is a performance in Germany that’s one of her best on video, followed by a cut of her singing one of Etta’s big smashes, “Tell Mama.”

  “Ball and Chain”Janis Joplin

“Tell Mama”Janis Joplin

We’ve been spending a lot of time with Texas gals, so let’s move on to New Orleans, and two great, still active blues shouters there: Irma Thomas, in a short clip singing “Time is On My Side” with none other than New Orleans pianist-composer extraordinaire Allan Toussaint on piano:

And Marva Wright, who didn’t start singing professionally until her 40′s but is making up for lost time herself:

“Heartbreakin’ Woman” — Marva Wright

Finally, we have to pay homage to whom it is always and forever due: Bessie Smith. Along with Ma Rainey and a few others, she invented a kind of gutsy, full-throttle blues singing that has been a touchstone for everyone to follow. This is the only film I know of Bessie singing, from the film “St. Louis Blues.” It’s long, but stick with it. She’s mesmerizing:

St. Louis BluesBessie Smith

 
20 Comments

Posted by on July 25, 2007 in Artists, blues, Etta James, Influences

 

Taylor does Marksville…

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Taylor Hicks – “Heart & Soul”

Well, I am back from my handicapped trek to Louisiana for our “Girls’ Weekend”. While it wasn’t easy, it sure was fun. We thoroughly enjoyed the getaway including: food, a little gambling, great company, some bodacious and very affordable pina coladas, and of course, the Taylor Hicks concert Saturday night.

First, let me say that the Paragon Casino in Marksville, LA is certainly “off the beaten path”. Fortunately, one of my D-i-Ls is from around those parts and got us there promptly and safely, mid-day on Saturday. We lounged around the pool and spent about an hour pouring money down a rat hole….uh, I mean gambling. After a very nice dinner where we saw Loren Gold and Brian Gallagher having their supper, my party wheeled me through the crowded casino and to the Mari Showroom, where the concert was being held.

Our seats were very good. We were about 15 rows back on the left of the stage with a big aisle in front. As it happens, even though the tickets were purchased way before my accident, we happened to be sitting on the handicapped aisle….fate, no? They were a little late getting started, but at about 9:10 p.m., Soul Finger, started and the band (all dressed in black shirts) took the stage. The stage was completed with “Little Ray” at the bottom of the drum platform, right next to the harp case and mic.

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Then, Loren Gold announces….Ladies and Gentlemen, Taaaayyyyyllllorrrr Hhhhhiiiiiccckkks.

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Taylor came out in a black button down, jeans and tennis shoes. He looked great and seemed very relaxed. He talked quite a bit to the crowd and was happy about being back in the South, even though it was hot. He talked about loving Louisiana, which immediately endeared him to the crowd.

I was very pleased to see that Taylor played quite a few songs from my suggested Set List. He started out with Soul Thing, followed by Heart and Soul. I captured some pretty good pictures with my zoom lens but the back lighting wasn’t as good as the House of Blues, so I did a little editing. Here’s one I captured during Heart and Soul.

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He followed up with Just to Feel That Way and then pleased me greatly by introducing My Friend, with a sweet little soprano sax solo by Mr. Brian Gallagher. Awesome.

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It was great. I hadn’t heard that one live yet, so I was thrilled. He was definitely having fun and looked very fit and comfortable. While he was really good at the Mobile and New Orleans concerts I attended this Spring, this was strikingly different. There was a certain air about the performance. Like a cloud was lifted and his spirit was a bit “free”-er. Whether it’s because of his AI “reign” being officially over; increased confidence from playing a successful, full tour in the Spring; his new girlfriend; or the fact that he had a week off from performing and was back in the South from a prolonged stretch up North; he looked like he was really happy to be there and was having a great time. His vocals were spot on and his trademark “passion” in the performance was certainly there, with a vengeance.

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The set list included the following, with many “tags” embedded:

Wherever I Lay My Hat
Don’t Let Me Down
The Deal
Hold On To Your Love
Heaven Knows
The Maze (with a long tag of Do You Believe in Magic?)
Gonna Move (with a special nod to Louisiana of Gov. JimmieDavis’ You Are My Sunshine as well as Smoke of a Distant Fire)
The Right Place
The Runaround

The harp was ultra-hot on the last number and the crowd LOVED it. Me too, as I love me some harp.

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Then…..the Encore. The stool came out, then Taylor. Then a guitar was brought out to him and then his harp brace and finally, the harp. What followed was simply remarkable. Taylor, by himself, playing guitar, playing harp AND singing Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927. If you’ve never experienced this gem, here is Taylor’s version from the Open Door Sessions back in 2004.

For expediency’s sake, here is a YouTube of Taylor’s Louisiana 1927 as the backdrop to a Hurricane Katrina video.

Here are a few pictures I took during that performance, as well.

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Someone captured video that can be viewed at the TMO Server – Taylor Hicks Marksville LA1927

He ended with one of my favorites, Take Me to the Pilot. A really great performance. My girls all agreed that the stage is where Taylor shines. To really appreciate Taylor, his talent and energy, you have to see him “live”.

I was very glad that I went, even though the going wasn’t the easiest. For those of you who have asked about my recovery….it’s going ok. I still have pain in the leg that I’m hoping starts to subside. Two or so more weeks on crutches and then a walking boot for a few weeks. This was certainly a great “pick me up”.

To conclude, I leave you with a couple of favorite pictures that I captured of, as one of my girls says, “The Silver Fox”.

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Shhhhhh……

 

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Share that smile….

 

 
22 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2007 in Concerts, Reviews, Taylor

 

Love and Happiness…Seeing is Believing.

So, here is Marc Broussard’s new video of Love & Happiness  from Yahoo Videos!

Love me some Marc.

It’s an interesting video and certainly different than some of Marc’s previous efforts.

p.s.  Stay tuned for a very special Taylor Time….

 
15 Comments

Posted by on July 22, 2007 in Marc Broussard, Videos

 

Meet you at the “Crossroads”…

The ever-observant NOLAGirl sent me a red hot alert on the fact that John Mayer did the GMA Concert in the Park yesterday morning and concluded his performance with none other than Eric Clapton on a duet of Crossroads.

  Clayer – Crossroads

I love to see talented legends like Clapton playing and mentoring with younger impresarios and proteges.  As B.B. King was to Eric Clapton, so he is to John Mayer and others.  While Clapton is notoriously aloof and complex, he is often found performing with new artists as well as other established artists.  That’s what happens when you’re “all about the music”.

For John Mayer’s complete GMA performances, click here.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 21, 2007 in Eric Clapton, John Mayer

 

Return of Taylor Time…

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Taylor “Black, White & Gray all over” Hicks

Well, this is the weekend. I’m actually going to make the trek to Louisiana to see Taylor Hicks, once again, at The Paragon Casino in Marksville, LA. I’m a little apprehensive to go as I’m still on crutches and in this boot. But, my daughters-in-law assure me that they will haul me around and basically “make it happen”. One is driving four hours here to pick me up (‘cuz I still can’t drive).

So, I thought that I’d put together my suggested Set List. Thankfully, the Soul Patrol has provided ample videos of virtually every song Taylor has sung or “tagged”. The only one that I didn’t find that I would consider giving my eye teeth to hear live is Grandma’s Hands.

I’m sure we’re in store for a great show, but if he really wants to knock ‘em dead I think he should perform MY setlist…I’ll have a full report upon my return.

Call Me The Breeze

Rockin’ Pneumonia/Hey Pocky Way/Big Chief

Run Baby Run

Wherever I Lay My Hat

My Friend

The Fall and Take Me to the Pilot

Heart and Soul

Somehow

In Your Time

Grits Ain’t Groceries/Can’t Trust Your Neighbor

Hold Onto Your Love

The Right Place (after a short interview)

Here is a LINK to a very nice High Def. version of this performance.  I do so love the harp in this version of The Right Place.

Don’t Let Me Down

A Day in the Life

Feelin’ Alright

Happier with Him

 
11 Comments

Posted by on July 19, 2007 in Taylor

 

The Companion

I love this guy.

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He drives me crazy in a lot of different ways. Most of it, in a good way. I am an admitted control freak so I pride myself on knowing what makes my man tick. However, he takes great glee in changing that every so often, so I’m never in control. Makes me absolutely batty…but in a good way, I guess.

One of these things that leaves me slack-jawed is when my better half falls in love with movies and music that I would have bet our house that he would NEVER like, much less listen to or watch.  If you would like to know how many golf tournaments that Jack Nicklaus won over Tom Watson or what’s Phil Mickelson’s Sunday scoring average, he’s your man….but music, not so much.

A few years ago, he absolutely floored me with the announcement that he was utterly in love with Moulin Rouge. Having discovered the movie during one of his late night insomnia cable surfings, he became virtually obsessed with the movie and the music. He absolutely fell in love with Your Song, even though he had no idea that it was an Elton John song.

Your Song, Ewan MacGregor

Now, Mr. D does not share my attention to musical detail, so any time he shows interest I pay attention. For Christmas, he received the DVD. And, I must admit, once I watched the movie with him (his 4th or 5th viewing), I shared his love of Come What May.

Come What May, Ewan MacGregor & Nicole Kidman

His latest shocker is that he absolutely loves the movie and music of Prairie Home Companion. Another late night find, he has actually had me download parts of the soundtrack from iTunes. Now, for perspective, Mr. D does not buy music….ever….so this was a big request. I gladly obliged. So, here are his favorites from Prairie Home Companion:

Whoopi Ti Yi Yo, Woody Harrelson & John C. Reilly

Perhaps this brings back memories of his Lone Ranger days.

Gold Watch & Chain, Meryl Streep & Garrison Keillor

Goodbye to Mama, Meryl Streep & Lily Tomlin

Over the years, he has sprung a few of these unlikely favorites on me. I think he likes to keep me guessing and certainly likes to thwart my control tendencies. Don’t tell him, but I kinda like it that way…

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2007 in Movie Soundtracks, that's life

 

Marc your calendar…

Thanks to an astute reader, I am happy to inform you that Shouter’s favorite Marc Broussard song, Love and Happiness, is being released on Yahoo! Videos on Friday, July 20th.  Cannot wait.

In the meantime, enjoy this link to the Where You Are video, from the Carencro CD.

Yeah for Marc!  Geaux head on!

(Oh, and thanks, astute reader….)

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2007 in Marc Broussard, Videos

 
 
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