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Category Archives: the beatles

2010 Kennedy Center Honors

Aw, yeah!  Last week, CBS aired the Kennedy Center Honors that featured two of my all time favorite musical artists — Sir Paul McCartney and the fantabulous Merle Haggard.

Broadway composer Jerry Herman and dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones were also honored, in addition to Oprah Winfrey. 

Side rant:  Can I just say that I am SO sick of Oprah?  When will we be freed from her excessive exposure and self-promotion?  I find her so insincere and disengenuous.  She sucks people in like she’s the “every woman” and “just like you” when she’s a kabillionaire who certainly doesn’t have to worry about college tuition or paying the mortgage.  Besides, anyone who needs a TV show, radio network, magazine and now a TV network, has got to be filling some kind of hole in self-agrandizement.  And people just continue to fawn all over her….blech!

For the Kennedy Honors, you’d swear that it was the Oprah Honors and “the others” were just there to bask in her glory.  She cannot help but to usurp everyone else’s attention….but I digress.

I’ve chronicled my Beatles love many times on this blog (see Beatles tags), but don’t know if I’ve ever delved into my Merle-adoration.  Merle Haggard is one of the legends of music — not just Country music — and is one of the good guys who has made things better for those around him.  And, his music is just, well…good.

Vince Gill gives a great retrospective of Merle’s career at the Kennedy Honors ceremony:

and performances of Merle tunes by Kris Kristoffersen, Sherly Crow, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and pal, Willie Nelson.  Note:  it’s a little long, but well worth it.  Also, notice Oprah trying to sing along.  Really?!?  You think she’s got a bunch of Merle CDs at home?

It’s no coincidence that Merle Haggard is such a friend of new artists and is so loved by his fellow performers since he decided to pursue music after hearing Johnny Cash at San Quentin when Cash was trying to bring a little joy to those less fortunate.  Just goes to show that paying it forward has ever-implacating rewards.  Personally, I’m torn between these two as my favorite Merle tunes:

That’s The Way Love Goes

My Favorite Memory

….Merle.  A TRUEadour.

Finally, I can’t overlook Sir Paul.  Perhaps the greatest tribute to Paul is this medley featuring Apple Records recording artist, James Taylor, the irrepresible Mavis Staples and rock legend, Steven Tyler.

Note:  Check out Oprah (AGAIN) trying to hog the limelight.  GAH!

I couldn’t help but think that Paul was thinking about John Lennon with this program being so close to the 30th anniversary of John’s death.  Must have been surreal….and lonely.

 

Forty Five

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That “thing” again.

1964.

Never imagined being 45.  Knew I’d live past 90 as I have VERY good genes, but still never pictured me @ 45.  If I were 40 pounds lighter, it actually would pretty much rock.  But, I have to say that this America is nowhere CLOSE to the America of my youth and I MISS IT.

Went to dinner with some work friends the other night and had the best conversation about Television and TV shows from the late ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.  Lost in Space, Happy Days, Barney Miller, M*A*S*H, Leave It To Beaver, Wonderful World of Disney, and I could go on and on…Just what happened?  Days like this cause me to reflect on the past and just how much things have changed since that time long, long ago. 

On the other hand, I don’t feel a day over 23 in my mind.  My body throws off aches and pains.  Bad eyesight, tired ankles, and diminished stamina are pervasive, BUT I still look for fun wherever I can find it.  While I am glad to still be here, I’m a bit nostalgic for the “good, old days”.  So, the receipt of a most excellent gift today really had me borderline giddy.  The Beatles’ remastered #1 album in 1964 of Meet the Beatles.

Can I tell you how absolutely “fab” this is?  While the carrier of Lennon-McCartney staples like All My Loving and Hold Me Tight, this sophomore release showcased some of the best covers ever done by The Beatles.

The male version of Please, Mr. Postman is simply superb, while Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven is forever immortalized through this Beatles’ version.  Likewise on Smokey Robinson’s You Really Got a Hold On Me and Barry Gordy’s own Money (That’s What I Want)However, the cover song that I simply ADORE from this album is the staple from The Music Man  — Till There Was You.

Now, just to understand the brillance of The Beatles’ cover of this song, check out the original version by Shirley Jones…

Now, contrast that with Paul’s deftly poetic version:

So, these “rebels” who caused such upheaval and consternation, were actually conessieurs of fine theatre, poetry, art and traditional show tunes.  Who knew?….and it ALL started in 1964.  Ah, yes…a VERY good year.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in birthdays, the beatles

 

Colette’s Corner: The Beatles LIVE, via Sir Paul

Deja Vu

Deja Vu

Colette checks in from Summer with a terrific tribute to those fabulous lads from Liverpool, with a focus on the irrepresible Macca at the fore. 

Music Maven commentary at the conclusion.

Last week was great for Beatle fans.  Paul McCartney was on the Letterman show for the first time, and insisted on performing on the roof of the Broadway theater that used to be The Ed Sullivan Theatre — where (inside) the Beatles made their US debut, 40-plus years ago.  Then he played at the opening of CITI Field in New York, which replaced the old Shea Stadium where the Beatles performed, on the their final US tour.

The rooftop concert on Broadway was also nostalgic because it included Get Back, which the Beatles sung on the roof of a London building in 1969 while doing an amazing, impromptu set during the filming of Let It Be.  They didn’t know it would be their final performance together, ever.  On the “unplugged” album of Let It Be, you hear them chatting about how great it would be to do a tour again.

Alas, it was never to be. 

John and Yoko moved to NYC, and created such amazing tunes as Imagine and Woman, before he was gunned down so tragically in 1980.  George turned out some fine music too (My Sweet Lord, etc.) on disc, and branched out into producing movies (including Monty Python flicks).  Ringo kept drumming, and touring, but low-key as always.

Paul McCartney was the one who kept doing what the  Beatles spent their teens and twenties doing together —  being a working rocker — and staying remarkably youthful, positive and productive, despite losing his wife and his longtime musical partner, both too young.

After John’s death, McCartney gradually dusted off the amazing Lennon-McCartney songbook — which is simply unmatched by any other pop band.  And what a gift it’s been to hear these songs again, by one of the guys who made them, mostly in their grand original arrangements, with Paul keeping the flame going for a new generation of fans and admiring musicians — including Beatles-lovers like American Idol’s Kris Allen (who does Hey Jude on the Idol tour),  Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters) and  Eddie Vedder.

Here are some of Paul’s finest post- Beatle live performances of the Beatles catalogue, culled from the last 20 years — with an emphasis on splendid songs that haven’t been covered extensively by others.

I just want to add for people younger than this Baby Boomer:  you can’t imagine how much the Beatles mattered to us.  They emerged right after the death of JFK, which was deeply traumatic for the whole nation, but especially us children, and they brought with them freshness, cheekiness and a musical magic that helped us heal.

Paul at the Citi Stadium concert, with Billy Joel (a huge Beatles fan and NY hometown hero) chiming in, on a rousing early  hit — the “B” side of I Want to Hold Your Hand.

  —  I Saw Her Standing There

Sir Paul gave us Beatlemaniacs a treat with his “unplugged” concert in 1991, where he played acoustic instruments and revived  gorgeous Beatles harmonies with his new band mates, on fab songs like this  from Rubber Soul.  Note that he let the gray show in a mullet “do” — now he dyes it, but who cares?  The man is ageless:

 — I’ve Just Seen a Face (Unplugged)

On this exquisite ballad from Revolver, Paul’s beautiful falsetto gives me shivers …..and, he added accordion!

   — Here, There and Everywhere   (Unplugged) 

Thanks to this timeless ballad, The Beatles eventually started to get serious props from older musicians and “serious” critics, who assumed they were just a pop craze and would fizzle out.   I remember my own snobby, jazz musician brother saying, “Well, maybe they’re better than I thought….”   Here, Paul is singing it at a charity concert, just him and a guitar, in 1997:

 — Yesterday

I adore everything on Meet the Beatles, their first American LP.   This was their first big hit in England, and it still pleases.   I have no idea where this clip originated, but Paul is performing it in a big stadium somewhere with mobs of people groovin':

Please, Please Me

John’s death hit Paul very hard.   He’s paid homage in several ways, but I love this remarkable medley that begins with A Day in the Life from Sergeant Pepper and ends with Give Peace a Chance, best.   Filmed during a big concert in the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, in 2008:

 —  A Day in the Life

 Two from the early 1960s, not often covered, but played by McCartney in the last decade at concerts which always drew in several generations,  all getting high together on the music….

 — I’ll Get You

 — I’ll Follow the Sun

The  Beatles proved they could ROCK like nobody’s business!   They wrote all those pretty love songs, but they loved doing rave-ups too, like this classic, encored by Paul in that Liverpool concert.  Note the trademark McCartney Scream!  It’s still fearsome –

 — Can’t Buy Me Love

At this point, I need to bring The Beatles in on this set.  Paul does a tremendous job keeping their sound alive,  but it’s wonderful to hear the Real Thing too.  They didn’t have decent amplification or recording technology back then.   And as Garth Brooks once noted, it’s astonishing they stayed in tune and together despite the dinky speakers, crappy mikes and orgiastic screaming of fangirls!   They’d just played together so long in so many little divey clubs in England and Germany, that they were TIGHT:

  — Can’t Buy Me Love  (the Beatles version, live in 1964)

Here’s Paul dusting off a rock-out crowd pleaser from the 1960s, in the CITI Field concert — at which he played 30 SONGS! 

  — I’m Down

And The Beatles version at Shea Stadium more than four decades ago…

    — I’m Down,  Beatles at Shea, 1965   

 I adore this clip because it shows both their musicianship and great their love and delight in making music together.  John is cutting up, George is breaking up, Paul is trying to keep it together, and Ringo is bashing away happily behind them.    Pure joy. 

Finally, here’s Paul doing Get Back on the Sullivan theatre’s roof   — and kidding around with the crowd while they were waiting to start.  This is a fan’s video, and expresses the excitement on the street where a lucky 4,000 people were allowed to congregate and watch.   (Sir Paul sang several songs they didn’t show on TV, but they’re all posted on YouTube now).  So here it is:

 — Get Back,  July 19, 2009

 And here are The Beatles singing it in 1969, on a London rooftop — where the cops broke up their final concert!  Well, at least we have this wonderful clip — the good sound makes you pine for what might have been if they’d gotten back on the road.  

 —  Get Back,  1969

 

BEATLES FOREVER!

 

 

Another great contribution from Colette!

I just wanted to interject one small point about the most under-appreciated Beatle of all, Ringo.  While he was never the at the forefront of The Beatles and is sometimes forgotten due to his unassuming, laid back style, Ringo is quite a force himself.

After The Beatles breakup, Ringo rivaled Sir Paul in hits in the early 70s.  First came It Don’t Come Easy in ’71:

He followed up with one of my personal favorites, Back Off Bugaloo in ’72, Photograph in ’73 and You’re Sixteen  in ’74.  While lesser recognized, these hits were certainly on par with McCartney’s Band on the Run and Jet and Hell on Wheels, yet Ringo gets the least love of all The Beatles.  I recognize that many only associate Ringo with the dreadful 1981 film, The Caveman, but Ringo is a solid one-quarter of The Beatles and is as accomplished as John, Paul, and George. 

Lastly, Ringo paid special tribute to John in singing the Lennon-esque I Call Your Name on the 1oth anniversary of John’s death with special help from Joe Walsh and Jim Keltner along with Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty of  Traveling Wilbury fame.

While Sir Paul is definitely the Beatles’ standard bearer, even he recognizes the force that is Ringo.  I’ll close with Sir Paul getting by with a little help from his friend:

 

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40 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper…

Well, wrong album…right group.

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That’s right.  Just over 40 years ago, The Beatles recorded Get Back with a B side of Don’t Let Me Down as part of the new album that would become Let it Be.  To commerorate their collaboration with Billy Preston, they headed for the roof of the Apple Building at 3 Savile Row in London to perform a few numbers off the anticipated album.  Of course, cameras were rolling in anticipation of a clash with police, however the appropriately civil bobbies would not provide that satisfaction.  “Just shut down the noise, please”, after 42 minutes of Beatlemania.

The Beatles hadn’t performed live together since 1965, so I can imagine the startled passersby and rooftop audiences’ glee in the impromptu and one of a kind “concert”.  It also marked the beginning of the end for the most prolific band ever.  Less than a year after this dramatic rafter jam session, the fab four were individually persuing music down four separate paths.  

But for one dreary, London afternoon The Beatles made the world right and exciting.  Where is this kind of musicianship and desire to share new music from artist to fan, today?  I would love to see/hear John Mayer do a rooftop concert somewhere in Brooklyn…with Eric Clapton…in that Captain’s suit.  Ok, I digress…

The Beatles were originals and perhaps it’s just impossible to re-capture their spirit and connection to fans.  Only Paul and Ringo are left to tell the tales of the rooftop, now, as John and George are gone, as well as the great Billy Preston, who famously played the organ on Get Back. (He is left of, and behind, Paul.)

40 years.  I remember my parents talking in those increments and never being able to comprehend that time span.  Now…I see.

In May of ’69, both of these songs would be on the charts, with Get Back at #1.

  Get Back

  Don’t Let Me Down

To view the Rooftop Concert in its entirity, click here.

 

Boat Songs

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A few weeks ago, I shared that we have begun our journey down the road to river living.  There’ll be more enthralling stories to come, but for now we’re enjoying our new toy.  Last weekend was our first real foray into the waters.  Now, I find myself anxious and excited to get to the end of the week for more than the aspect of “getting my drink on”.

In my ‘weekend’ post, I mentioned taking advantage of the boat’s awesome on-board CD player and my Boat playlist.  Little Deb requested to see/hear it and who am I to deny Little Deb.  So, without further adieu….the Music Maven Weekend Out on the Water Thank the Lord for the Weekend Boat Playlist.

Captain Jim’s Drunken Dream, James Taylor

Life is Beautiful, Keb ‘Mo

The Heart of Life, John Mayer

Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles

Luckenbach, Texas, Waylon Jennings

Old Blue Chair, Kenny Chesney

I’ll Follow the Sun, The Beatles

My Father’s Eyes, Eric Clapton

Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney

Free, Donovan Frankenreiter

Sweet Wanomi, Bill Withers

Sea of Heartbreak, George Straight with Jimmy Buffett

The World Ain’t Slowin’ Down, Ellis Paul

You Really Got a Hold on Me, The Beatles (w/ Billy Preston)

She’s Got a Hold on Me, Hacienda

Too Much Stuff, Delbert McClinton

Walkin’ to New Orleans, Fats Domino

Sending Me Angels, Delbert McClinton

Melissa, Allman Brothers

Pirate Looks at 40, Jimmy Buffett

Really, no rhyme nor reason…just various tunes I dig, especially on the water.  Livin’ for Saturday.

Hope you have a great weekend.  I KNOW I will…

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One If by Land, Two If by Sea…

The Lads arrive in New York, 1964

Forty five years ago today, the American music scene was forever changed.  The first on-slaught of the British Invasion arrived in the form of the Fab Four, those crazy, lovable long hairs from Liverpool.

I Want to Hold Your Hand was #1 in the U.S. when The Beatles landed at the newly-named JFK airport for their first foray on American soil.  Within a few short months, The Beatles would hold the top 5 spots on the Billboard charts — a feat that had not been achieved before and likely never will be again. 

While the The Beatles were accustomed to the foolishness of European teenagers, they anticipated a much more sedate audience from the prim and proper American youth.   Likely the biggest misunderestimation of their careers.

  The Beatles arrive @ JFK

  Press Conference & Crowds

The Beatles took America by storm.  After the infamous press conference, they were on to experiencing New York City and to the Ed Sullivan Show.

   The Beatles debut on American Television via The Ed Sullivan Show — February 9, 1964  (The end shows the group taking in some music & dancing at a NYC club)

Can you see/hear the Buddy Holly influence?  Master showman, Sullivan, ingenuously had The Beatles both open and close the show to keep viewers the entire hour.  It worked.  The Ed Sullivan Show garned the largest T.V. audience to date.

After NYC, the lads moved on to D.C., where they played the Washington Coliseum on February 11th:

   I Saw Her Standing There

   Long Tall Sally

The next night, they were back in NYC to play the legendary Carnegie Hall.  The Beatles then traveled down to Miami Beach where Ed Sullivan had deftly booked them for their farewell performance before departing for Britain.  Out of the Deauville Hotel, The Beatles….

  The Beatles, breaking the previous record for T.V. viewing that they had set the week before

Just three short months removed from the horror of the JFK assassination, The Beatles brought a welcomed, exciting diversion that helped Americans briefly forget about their sorrow and troubles.  They brought fun, pleasure, and hope.  Hope for a new generation. 

 

 

NOTE:  Some of the videos are long, but if you have time please listen to the end…there are some gems there.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2009 in classic rock, on this day, the beatles

 

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The Bacon Explosion…Mmmm, Bacon.

The Fruit of Life
The Fruit of Life

God Bless the caveman who figured out how to cut wild boar fat into small strips and cook it over the campfire.  Without it, we would not have the carniverous goodness that is quickly making a comeback.

One of the compatibility criteria that both Mr. D and I considered when looking for a mate was the common adoration of bacon.  I was quite concerned to find that Mr. D was a fitness freak.  However, he has one, pathetic food vice.  That, which is BACON.

Thank goodness, as I have a definite aff-FECK-shun for pork bellies.  But, even this Bacon Conessieur was taken aback on my first vacation with “the family” when we showed up for the breakfast buffet.  The equivalent of a 4-H prize hog was scarfed up in the matter of ten minutes. 

“My kind of people”, I remember thinking.

For Cajuns, bacon is revered right up there with such culinary shangra la as crawfish, onions, garlic and beer.  Through the years, we’ve enjoyed bacon-wrapped Oysters, Shrimp, Scallops, Redfish, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, and String Beans, among others.

Many of the specialty meat providers in South Louisiana have made “bacon-wrapped”, a staple of their offering.  Recently, bacon-wrapped boneless chicken breasts have made the “gotta get it” list.  

No doubt, some forward-thinking Cajun tried this:

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But nothing prepared me for the bacon rapture of the Bacon Explosion, as extolled by the NY Times.  If this is not pork per-FECK-shun, I don’t know what is.

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YouTube has plenty of examples, but I think this one  is my favorite. 

Weeee, doggy. 

Can’t wait to break out this recipe.  But, perhaps in the true Cajun tradition, I will put a little twist to it by substituting BOUDIN for the italian sausage. 

For now, I’m off to make some BLTs for supper.

  Piggies, The Beatles

 

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