Music

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image My intention this morning was to post a video of “Up, Up and Away” and leave it at that, but I can’t help myself. I love the song. When it entered the charts in 1967, I thought it stamped the arrival of a notable new songwriting voice. The songwriting voice was that of Jimmy Webb. When he celebrated his 75th birthday in 2021, I compiled the videos and comments below. »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image When Don Everly died in August 2020 I put together a set of videos with previous reflections on the music of the Everly Brothers. This is the season of their birthdays — Don was born on February 1, 1937, Phil on January 19, 1939. I thought I would use the occasion to revise it slightly and replay it one more time in the hope that it might capture the interest »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I had intended to post a second part of my tribute to Jeff Beck before death intervened again. This morning I want to note the death of David Crosby last week at the age of 81 and post a few videos that represent early highlights of his work and provide pleasure in themselves. As in the case of Jeff Beck, my selections here derive almost entirely from the early years »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I have been a fan of the incredible British guitarist Jeff Beck since his work with the Yardbirds. I noted his death at the age of 78 last week. I want to add to the record with a few more glimpses of his work over the years. He had such a long career that I’d like to divide this into at least two parts and return to him next week. »

Jeff Beck, RIP

Featured image Guitarist Jeff Beck died on Tuesday at the age of 78. I learned of his death via Jim Farber’s New York Times obituary, which does a good job of covering Beck’s long career in music. The documentary Still On the Run — The Jeff Beck Story (2018) is also out there for viewing and (as I recall) explores his interest in building cars as well as making music. He appeared »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Today is the anniversary of the birth of Elvis Presley in 1935. I wrote this post and compiled the videos below last year to note the occasion, but today is the day. I don’t want to let it go without another look back in this slightly revised form. The Beatles turned me on to the music. It took me a long time to hear the music of Elvis Presley with »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I had wanted to see vocalist extraordinaire Tracy Nelson sing since I was a college freshman, and I came close. Having bought tickets to see her perform with her group Mother Earth in Boston, I waited patiently in the theater for her to take the stage. Some time after the appointed hour, Tracy came out to announce that the band’s instruments hadn’t made it from San Francisco. I was incredibly »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image This is my slightly revised and expanded edition of secular pop songs that seize on Christmas in one way or another for their own artistic purposes. Here they are in chronological order of release along with notes that might help place them. Noel Paul Stookey (Paul of Peter, Paul & Mary) adapted and arranged “A’Soalin” with Elena Mezzetti and Tracy Batteast including Christmas references – using “God Rest Ye Merry, »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Jorma Kaukonen was the lead guitarist of the Jefferson Airplane. Together with bassist Jack Casady — they have been friends and musical partners since they were teenagers — he formed Hot Tuna as a side venture to pursue other interests, originally in acoustic blues with Will Scarlett on harmonica. Jorma has had a long, varied, and interesting career in music deep in the American grain. He tells his story in »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I saw three shows over the past week. Last weekend I saw the Belfast Cowboys, a 20-year-old Minneapolis group I had not heard of before. This week I saw the Todd Rundgren/Daryl Hall show at the State Theater. They played to a packed house. Both Rundgren and Hall appear to have tapped into the fountain of youth. I thought to myself, I’ll have what he’s having (what they’re having). The »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Singer/songwriter/composer Randy Newman celebrates his seventy-ninth birthday tomorrow. I can only say that he has written some of my favorite songs of love and loss. They have naturally attracted brilliant interpreters. I’ll take the songs of feeling and leave the political satire behind. I want to take the occasion to look back on a small slice of his work this morning. We first heard “I Don’t Want To Hear It »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Jesse Colin Young turns 81 this Tuesday. I wrote up this installment of my Sunday Morning series a year ago in honor of his 80th birthday. Listening to Albert O hosting Highway 61 Revisited on WUMB yesterday, I was alerted to his birthday this week. It vaguely reminded me that I had put something together for him and went looking for it on our search engine. I want to give »

The Gypsy Life

Featured image I started this brief series featuring modern folk artists with recollections of the late Red House Records president Bob Feldman. Bob alternated hosting KFAI’s old Sunday morning Urban Folk with Marian Moore. Bob’s theme song for his shows was John Gorka’s “The Gypsy Life.” Bob always played the whole thing. I think he heard in it the story of the artists he loved from their point of view. I must »

Wall of Death

Featured image Richard and Linda Thompson came out of the English folk movement. Richard made his name in Fairport Convention and then moved on to record a series of six classic albums with his wife, Linda Thompson. Richard’s Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice, 1967-1975, was published last year and is now out in paperback. He continues as a solo artist — he has a United States tour starting next »

Ring Them Bells

Featured image I’m winding down this brief series featuring modern folk music over the next few days. Bob Dylan is the tutelary spirt. For those following along I want to post the live version of Dylan’s “Ring Them Bells,” the title track from Baez’s 1995 double album. On this track Baez is joined by Ireland’s Mary Black. The harmony is beautiful on this cover of a Sunday morning song, Dylan style. In »

(Just like) Brian Wilson

Featured image We interrupt our brief series on modern folk music to bring you “Brian Wilson” by former Barenaked Ladies front man Steven Page. Page is touring in his trio with guitarist Craig Northey and celloist Kevin Fox. They made their first American stop before a packed house last night at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis. I snapped the photo of Page from Table 150, right in front of him, but too »

Dink’s Song

Featured image Before founding the Byrds with Gene Clark and David Crosby, Roger McGuinn was a folk nut. He returned to his first love in music with Roger McGuinn’s Folk Den, where he posts new recordings of old songs monthly. McGuinn celebrated the 27th anniversary of his Folk Den here this month. He did the honors with “Shady Grove.” No one told me arithmetic would be required, but I believe that means »