Music

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Today we solemnly observe the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. We vow not to forget. Continuing my notes on lesser known songs and performers with personal meaning to me this week, I want to highlight songs with a spiritual component. I’m guessing you probably haven’t heard of the Cox Family, but I think everyone who has heard them loves them. Alison Krauss has knocked herself out trying to introduce them to »

My opening farewell to Bonnie Raitt reconsidered

Featured image In August 2002 I went to see Bonnie Raitt perform at the Minnesota State Fair. I’d previously seen Raitt perform in St. Paul at the Ordway Center 1986 or so, I think, but she was obviously drunk on that occasion. ZZ Top was performing at the St. Paul Civic Center around the corner from the Ordway and Raitt kept saying: “Man, ZZ Top. They’re playing next door; I can’t believe »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I think this will be the next to the last post featuring a few of my favorite lesser known folk related songs with my personal notes on them. I don’t make any claims for the songs other than their meaning to me and my attachment to them. I only hope you may find something here that brightens your day or inspires you to extend your own musical pursuits. Tom Rush »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image When Don McLean came to Dartmouth in the spring of 1972 or so, he might have been the last man on the circuit I wanted to see. I was done with folk music, so I thought. I had moved on to the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane and Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. So when a classmate gave me his ticket to see McLean in Spaulding Auditorium on a »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image This is another installment in my series of personal notes on lesser known songs that have meant a lot to me over the years. My intention is take a break from politics and offer a few songs interested readers might enjoy. I hope they may even provide a spur to your own explorations. Richie Havens grew up in Brooklyn singing with a choir in church and with doo wop groups »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Last week I took a look at the modern folk supergroup Cry Cry Cry. I hoped to inspire interest in the songs or the performers. Over the next few weeks I thought I would post videos of some of the same kind of lesser known songs that have hit me with the force of revelation at various points in my life. To me they feel like stones in the road. »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image At least in terms of quality, Cry Cry Cry was a modern folk supergroup. The members of the group were Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell. They took the name of the group from a Johnny Cash song. They got together for one (self-titled) recording (1998) and one tour (1999). We caught them when they came through town in 1999 to play at the big auditorium of St. Catherine »

All My Exes Live in . . . Where?

Featured image Remy Munasifi is now rolling out new videos on the first Tuesday or every month, which happens to be today, lucky us. The first in his new series is “All My Exes (Saudi Version).” You can subscribe to Remy’s videos and other news on his website, GoRemy.com, or browse the archive for past hits such as “Teardrops on my Kabob.” We can use some comic relief just now, I think. »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Tony Bennett and Bill Evans recorded two albums together in the 1970’s, during a lull in Bennett’s career. “You Must Believe In Spring” is from Together Again (1976), the second of the two albums. The song has music by Michel Legrand and English lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. (The original French lyrics are by Jacques Demy.) John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey recently raved about the Bennett/Evans version of the »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia began his career as a crazed devotee of folk and bluegrass music. He learned how to play Scruggs-style (three-finger picking) banjo even though his brother had chopped his middle finger off in a childhood accident. He overcame. With the group in a deep financial hole after their first two albums on Warner Brothers, Garcia et al. drew on their love of traditional American music to »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I think Al Hirt and Ann-Margaret pioneered the beauty-and-the-beast pairing in popular music. They called their 1964 album Beauty and the Beard. Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet have produced several discs together in a similar sort of pairing. Alison Krauss and Robert Plant followed in their footsteps to great success. Now come Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle. I don’t think the pairing is to Shawn’s advantage, but I hope it »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Fathers and Sons is one of the all-time great albums with one of the all-time great album covers. The Fathers and Sons of the title are metaphorical: Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) and Otis Spann were progenitors of the Chicago blues scene. On the album they were joined by Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Sam Lay, following in their footsteps in one way or another. The recording was »

The gospel according to Suzy

Featured image I flipped over singer Suzy Bogguss when I saw her perform with her band at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis in 2011. I wrote about the show here. Suzy played many of her hits and previewed her then unreleased recording of traditional American music. She returns to the Dakota this coming Wednesday and Thursday for 7:00 p.m. shows. I urge you to check out her show »

Not dark yet, cont’d

Featured image Bob Dylan is first and foremost an astounding songwriter. He somehow absorbed the folk, rock, country and blues traditions as a precocious young man and then recapitulated them in his own voice many times over while adding a twist of modernist poetry to the mix. On his seventy fifth-birthday, I want to take the liberty of posting some notable cover versions of great songs you may not have heard before, »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns the ripe old age of 75. He is a remarkable artist, self-invented, deep in the American grain. A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house is a small two-story residence with a one-car attached garage on the side. The house is exactly two blocks from Hibbing High School, »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Stevie Wonder celebrated his sixty-sixth birthday this past Friday. Let’s belatedly seize on the occasion to take a short look back. When Ronnie White (of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) brought Steveland Morris over to the Motown offices in Detroit in 1961, Berry Gordy was at first unimpressed. After Morris sang the Miracles’ “Lonely Guy” and performed on piano, harmonica and bongo, Gordy signed the 11-year-old boy to his label. »

When Elvis met Nixon

Featured image With his superb two-volume biography of Elvis — Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love — Peter Guralnick has made himself the essential chronicler of Elvis’s story. Guralnick of course tells the true story of the day in December 1970 when Elvis met Nixon in the White House. The story of the visit provides insight into Elvis’s patriotism as well as comic relief in the denouement of Elvis’s life. The »