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Monthly Archives: December 2007

2007: Music Maven in Review

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..the year of 2007.

I’m sure in the years to come, I’ll look at 2007 as a year of decision and change.

After a year or so of blogging on other folks’ blogs, I decided to write my own. While it’s not Pioneer Woman, it’s been such a wonderful creative outlet for me. And, then there’s the regulars like Shrew, Jenfera, brc, huckleberry friend, little deb, dingeaux, morewines and the wonderfully talented Colette. Thank you all for continuing to come by and comment and basically indulge my musings.

Even though “Year in Review” stuff is one of my pet peeves, I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least recap Music Maven’s first year.

March 22ndA Star is Born – The start of Music Maven, chosen for a hopeful prediction.

March 31stA Whiter Shade of Gray – The final curtain of GrayCharles.com, the Taylor Hicks fansite that started my online blogging experience and was the inspiration for Music Maven. Gray Charles set the standard that I aspire this blog to be. His blog was one of the best times and encouraged me to write more, put myself out there and have more confidence. For that, I am eternally grateful.

April 19thFeist-y – The introduction of Feist…before the iTunes commercial.

April 29thHey Jude – One of the most visited posts at Music Maven, still. Possibly the greatest Rock song ever.

May 30thCome into my Web – An analysis of music promotion and marketing via the internet, this post also continues to see significant traffic.

June 14thThe Legendary B.B. King - Review from the front row.

June 22ndThe Flexing of Muscle Shoals – Reviewed our trip to FAME studios and the life altering breaking of my leg.

July 24thTaylor Does Marksville – Summertime trip to see Taylor Hicks at Paragon Casino in Marksville, LA.

August 16thMy Favorite Elvis – 30 years gone.

August 29thDA-DA-DAAAA-DA – College football and the LSU TIGERS!!!

September 4thMusic + Passion = Paul Pena – A dossier on Paul Pena.

October 9thThe Zydecajun: Wayne Toups – A little cajun flare for a hugely talented, albeit somewhat troubled, musician.

November 1stLSU Football: The Jilted Lover – The woeful tale of LSU fans, Nick Saban and As the World Turns.

December 13thIke Turner 1931-2007 – 76-year-old Ike Turner joins the Night Shift.

As for me, personally, alot has gone down this past year. Mini DD has only two years of high school left, and has a new driver’s license. Broke the leg and have had a major change in what I can and can’t do. For an ex-athlete, it has truly been an adjustment. I quit my responsible job to do what I really want to do. Scary, yet exhilarating.

I look toward 2008 with much enthusiasm and anticipation that it’s going to truly be a great year. I hope that all of the things that you dream for you and yours comes true in the next year and that you continue to come by. If you already comment, thanks…keep it coming. If you haven’t commented, I invite you to do so and join the party.

So, we ring out 2007 with My Wish by Rascall Flatts. Good tune and good lyrics.

I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,

But more than anything, more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake,
And you always give more than you take.

But more than anything, yeah, and more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small, You
never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

This is my wish
i hope you know somebody who loves you
may all you dreams stay big

Bon Annee’, Mon Amis.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2007 in music maven

 

Beautiful Girls

Mini-DD brought a song to me a few weeks ago saying that he knew that I would like it and the underlying bass line that is the same as Ben E. King’s Stand By Me. He was right. I not only like Beautiful Girls, but it is continually on my mind and on my tongue. I’ve been singing it for weeks.

I really like the video and the throwback style.

The original Ben E. King hit, Stand By Me, was released in 1961, reaching the Top Ten on the Billboard Charts. It once again hit the Top Ten in 1986 when it was included on the Soundtrack of Stephen King’s movie of the same name.

Stand By Me was ranked #121 of Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it’s one of the most performed songs ever. The songs seems to have nine lives and re-appears every so often. The good ones often do.

Here’s a mash-up someone put up on YouTube that syncs up Stand by Me with Beautiful Girls. It’s a really fun blend of old and new, soul and reggae.

In this, you can really hear the wonderful shared bass line and how the well-known classic provides such a great foundation for young Sean’s reggae rap. The song screamed up the charts in the summer and since, has been covered by a few other artists…

Here’s a “reply” version by JoJo (who I had previously never heard of but is evidently popular):

And a very nice acoustical version by The Plain White T’s:

Be careful when listening to this, however, as it’s addictive. Seriously. Perhaps that’s why the wonderful Stand By Me bass line has topped the charts so many times.

BONUS — John Lennon’s cover of Stand By Me:

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2007 in Movie Soundtracks, Music History, reggae

 

How do you spell Legend?

The awesome talent that is Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald, long after their prime and both without sight.

Truly inspirational.

Route 66, at the Moulin Rouge in Paris

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2007 in music legends, ray charles

 

The Soundtracks of Scorsese

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As previously reported, Martin Scorsese received one of the Kennedy Honors earlier in December. While Scorsese captures and conveys stark and raw glimpses of real life in his films and delves into lesser examined areas of society, he is also an accomplished music aficionado.  He not only paints a vivid picture through film, but has incorporated meaningful music in his soundtracks that help to finish the portrait.

In addition to great movie soundtracks, Scorsese directed the infamous concert documentary, The Last Waltz, in1976 that captured The Band’s last concert on Thanksgiving night at the Winterland Ballroom in San Fransisco. The concert included a who’s who of special guests including: Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Ringo Starr, Ron Wood and others. If you have not had the opportunity to view The Last Waltz, put it on your New Year’s movie list.

The all-star finale, I Shall Be Released:

Of note: The Band‘s guitarist, Robbie Robertson worked on several Scorsese soundtracks over the years.

Then, there was the 7-part The Blues documentary that Scorsese directed and produced in 2003 that serves as the paramount anthology on the blues genre and highlighted performances like this:

John Lee Hooker

Scorsese is well known and respected as a Director, but his use of music as the message should also be acknowledged. He is partial to the doo-wop of his youth and Italian opera. He mixes in the rock of his prime years with the blues that he adores. Hats off to Marty. Personally, I love a guy who loves DeNiro, Keitel and DiCaprio AND has a definite appreciation for music and the way music can tell the story…you know, throw you back into a certain time, a certain memory. The soundtracks to his movies are an extension of the storytelling and some of his choices are brilliant.

The following includes some of my favorites from Scorsese movies. Click on the links to take you to YouTube.

Mean Streets

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Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

I Love You So – The Chantells

Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes

Rubber Biscuit – The Chips

Steppin’ Out – John Mayhall’s Bluesbusters

I Looked Away – Eric Clapton (Derek & The Dominos)

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

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All the Way from Memphis, Ian Hunter

Roll Away the Stone, Leon Russell

Daniel, Elton John

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Hank Williams

Raging Bull

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Prisoner of Love, Russ Columbo

Mona Lisa, Nat King Cole

Bye Bye Baby, Marilyn Monroe

Till Then, The Mills Brothers

King of Comedy

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Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders

Ain’t Nobody’s Business, B. B. King

Swamp, Talking Heads

Come Rain or Come Shine, Ray Charles

Wonderful Remark, Van Morrison

Color of Money

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Werewolves of London (movie)

It’s in the Way That You Use It – Eric Clapton

Goodfellas

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Rags to Riches, Tony Bennett

Sincerely, The Moonglows

Hearts of Stone, Otis Williams & The Charms

Stardust, Billy Ward and His Dominos

It’s Not For Me to Say, Johnny Mathis

Playboy, The Marvelettes

I Will Follow Him, Peggy March

Roses are Red, Bobby Vinton

Ain’t Love a Kick in the Head, Dean Martin (from the “Oceans Eleven” Soundtrack)

Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand), The Shangri Las

Leader of the Pack, The Shangri Las

Monkey Man, The Rolling Stones

Baby I Love You, Aretha Franklin

Beyond the Sea, Bobby Darin

Gimme Shelter, The Rolling Stones

Jump Into the Fire, Harry Nilsson (scene)

Magic Bus, The Who

What is Life, George Harrison

Mannish Boy, Muddy Waters

My Way, Sid Vicious

Casino

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Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters

Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues

Ain’t Got No Home – Clarence “Frogman” Henry

Without You – Harry Nilsson

I’m Sorry – Brenda Lee

Walk on the Wild Side – Jimmy Smith

Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) - Otis Redding

The Glory of Love – The Velvetones

Satisfaction – Devo

What a Difference a Day Makes – Dinah Washington

Working in a Coalmine – Lee Dorsey

House of the Rising Sun – Eric Burdon

Who Can I Turn To – Tony Bennett (performed here by Anthony Newly)

Marty Scorsese gets people and he gets music. He understands that music kun-NECKs people to events and certain times and uses music to make you truly feel the visual. He appreciates all music and all genres and exposes his electic musical tastes to help tell his stories. He truly is deserving of his Kennedy honor. He uses multiple facets of the performing arts to grab the viewer/listener and gives us all a glimpse of life that we might never have known of, but for his adept storytelling.

Besides, I really dig his American Express commercials…..

directed by MS

Booyah, Mr. Scorsese.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on December 27, 2007 in Movie Soundtracks, soundtracks

 

Yet Another December Departure

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Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)

Christened the “Maharaja of the Keyboard” by Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson was one of the greats of Jazz. He was admired and respected by Ray Charles, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and other Jazz royalty as the top “piano player” in the business. Oscar passed away on December 23rd at the age of 82 after suffering a stroke nearly fifteen years ago. He eventually fought the paralysis of his left side to play again up until a severe decline in his health this year.

A Montreal native, Peterson created the Oscar Peterson Trio in the early ’50, consisting of himself, Ray Brown (eventual husband of Ella Fitzgerald), and Charlie Smith. The players in the trio changed over the years with several being white. The desegregated trios caused quite a stir in the racially charged times, but Oscar proved that music can cross any barriers.

Peterson is a member of the International Jazz Hall of Fame and in 1997, was presented with a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — jazz pianist ever.

News Report of his death:

Performances:

Live at Newport

Sweet Lorraine, with Coleman Hawkins & Nat “King” Cole

An Intimate Evening with Oscar

Duel with Herbie Hancock

It Don’t Mean a Thing with Ella Fitzgerald

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2007 in jazz, memorials

 

Kennedy Center Honors Tonight

The 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS tonight, at 9:00 p.m., EST.

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Started in conjunction with the new National Cultural Center (now known as The Kennedy Center), these honors recognize recipients for their lifetime contributions to the American culture through the performing arts. The 2007 Kennedy Honorees are:

Steve Martin

Leon Fleisher

Diana Ross

Martin Scorcese

Brian Wilson

While I generally agree with most of the recipients of the award, I think that it is a “who you know” award. I’ve always felt that Diana Ross was a manufactured star because of her relationship with Barry Gordy and that she abandoned “her girls” in the Supremes, even though Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were equally, if not more, talented than “Ms. Ross”. It’s likely the success of Dreamgirls stoked her nomination, but it was great to see that story receive national recognition so that people know more of the real story.

Interestingly, none of the original Beach Boys attended the ceremony. While I think that Brian Wilson is/was a great songwriter and the epicenter of a group that invented it’s own genre of muisc, he certainly would not have attained the success he did without his brothers, Dennis and Carl, Mike Love, and Al Jardine. Also, Brian’s descent into drug abuse and mental illness put a definite strain on the band and their success.

There have been many battles between the members of the Beach Boys over the years, and the deaths of Dennis and Carl have severed any connection Brian Wilson had to the old Beach Boys, other than Mike Love is his cousin. It’s simply sad not to see them all together to celebrate a lifetime achievement award for Brian, especially considering the emotional rollercoaster that has been his life. As such, you’ll have to settle for Hootie & The Blowfish’s rendition of I Get Around and California Girls.

TODAY’s TRIVIA: Who replaced Brian Wilson after his anxiety-riddled withdrawal from The Beach Boys touring in late 1964? An upcoming young guitarist named Glen Campbell.

ETA:   I would be remiss if I didn’t include a little background on the fantastically talented and determined Leon Fleisher.  Fleisher is an accomplished concert pianist known for his interpretations and performances of Brahms and Beethoven.  In 1964, Fleisher loss the use of his right hand due to a muscular disease known as focal dystonia, that tightens the muscles and twists and contorts the hand.  He continued to play his with his left hand and was a prolific teacher and conductor.

In 2004, over 40 years after losing the use of his right hand, treatments of botox and massage-therapy provided the use of both hands again.  The documentary of his triumph, “Two Hands” won an Academy Award this past year for Best Short Documentary.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on December 26, 2007 in music legends

 

O Holy Night

I have to say that I’ve really tried to get back to the real meaning of Christmas, this year and to not expect too much in terms of having the house be perfect or extravagant gifts for everyone. Much of the stress of Christmas is caused by wanting everything to run like clockwork and all to be perfection….and, as we know, it never is. Therefore, we’re forever set-up for disappointment.

Tonight, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and ask a simple favor. Simply enjoy those you are with. Have the old folks tell you some stories about when they grew up, ask your significant other to share a Christmas memory that they haven’t told you before and have a child tell you their favorite part of Christmas and, most importantly, share some of yourself with them. After all, Christmas is the season of giving.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Simply put, this celebration is about love and sharing love. That’s it. As plain and basic as that. God gave His only Son so that we could be redeemed, because he loved us. In that same vein, the greatest gift that we can give others is our love. I know that many people are not self-proclaimed “religious”, but we all love our family and friends. Regardless of your religious affiliation, you don’t have to go to church to observe the real meaning of Christmas.

I identified with a very poignant article in this Sunday’s Mobile Press-Register about the first Christmas and the imperfectness of that “perfect” birth. It got me thinking about Christmas and the season and today it has me reflecting on Mary and what her experience must have been like. Considering that she would have been about 15, I can’t imagine the immense burden and pressure she must have felt all those years ago.

In 1994, I was fortunate to take the trip of a lifetime with all of Mr. D’s brothers and sisters and his parents to Israel. We visited Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. We went down to the grotto where Christ is believed to have been born. It was a profoundly spiritual event and with a three year old at the time, I had extreme empathy for Mary and her situation. Although her situation was anything but perfect, she perservered and went on to do her duty for her son and to her God. In her honor, here are some Christmas songs to pay homage to the Virgin Mary:

Mary’s Boy Child, Tom Jones

Mary, Did You Know, Mark Lowry

O Holy Night, Martina McBride

Silent Night (in the Irish), Enya

Ave Maria, Bobby McFerrin

Away in a Manger, Celtic Woman

Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Jewel

Merry Christmas. For those of you visiting with family, I hope that you thoroughly enjoy each others’ company and make beautiful new memories. For those of you who are, like me, separated from your extended family this Christmas, I’ll keep you in my prayers.

Epilogue: You know, God really has a sense of irony and humor. Before I could finish up this post and get it out there, I had a major kitchen crisis. At 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, my kitchen sink backed up. Of course, I had been cooking a ham and potato salad for tonight and the kitchen sink was full of dishes. It took every fiber of my being to remain calm and remember that this Christmas wouldn’t be perfect, but I didn’t need to let this little speed bump ruin the evening and our Christmas.

We called Roto-Rooter and they sent a very nice young man out who fixed our problem, rendering us functional again. Because of our sudden emergency, we modified our plans a bit. Earlier in the day, I came across the old videos of our kids when they, and we, were ALOT younger. So, for this Christmas Eve, we’re settling in, in front of a nice warm fire to watch our memories. Maybe God knows what he’s doing, after all.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2007 in christmas, that's life

 
 
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