Music

The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night

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Submitted by Bill King

Author of Bill King's "In Concert!" Essays, Images and Interviews

In the early sixties most Americans viewed England as Winston Churchill’s private estate; through the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and civil disobedience of Robin Hood and his merry band of scavengers. We never knew the location of Sherwood Forest - yet it seemed overly-crowded and in perpetual conflict with malicious horsemen compared to the untapped Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and occasional hillbilly bad boy.

Hair styles for men ranged the gamut between military and cartoonish. Either you adopted a flat-top; that being both sides head skinned and seared like a lamb chop courtesy a poorly conceived electric razor, then leveled on top; or a 180 degree head skinning leaving a patch of greased tumbleweeds sprouting above. I never gave it much thought until the day of the last great invasion.

Our nation was still mourning the death of John F. Kennedy, awaiting the verdict from the Warren Commission. Kennedy’s assassination stirred vigorous debate due largely to the Abraham Zapruder silent home movie of the assassination. Some clung to the lone gunman theory; others claim the Zapruder film shows a projectile coming from a grassy knoll within range of Kennedy motorcade.

Otis Redding: These Arms of Mine

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Submitted by Bill King
Author of Bill King’s“In Concert !” Essays, Images and Interviews

The long drive from Atlanta past fields of sprawling kudzu and fog-shrouded back-ways was the perfect way to decompress after a long night playing on the funk side of town. Radio was the best company a carload of musicians could ask for to free the mind of set lists and missed opportunities with local groupies. No time for a sleep-over or three dollar T- bone steak.

“These arms of mine, they are lonely, lonely and feeling blue. These arms of mine, they are yearning, yearning from wanting you - and if you would let them hold you, oh, how grateful I will be.” The radio spoke.

The crippled station wagon took on road dust and patches of red clay packed beneath a decaying chasse -the windshield; a graveyard for suicidal beetles, palmetto bugs, wasps and grasshoppers.  Sleeping branches of tall Georgia pines hovered above as mockingbirds eye-balled and serenaded all night-runners. The next town only 225 miles away would arrive just past noon. The day ahead was scheduled to accommodate a stopover at one of those WLAC kinds of stations – you never remembered the exact call letters. You just knew it was the only one clear signal enough to hear the kind of music you were playing and a DJ would be yelping like he was riding a amphetamine high - the other alternative; a tiresome basement minister with a transmitter and bad case of insomnia preaching to the open spaces and passing cars Jesus’ sacred rules; how to ward off imagined demons.

Elvis Presley Love Me Tender!

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Submitted by Bill King
Author of Bill King’s“In Concert !” Essays, Images and Interviews

You had to be around to witness the insanity. Television was relatively new compared to radio to most households with NBCs Dave Garroway (1952-1961) holding court mornings on the Today Show and Ed Sullivan Sunday nights. There was something simple about life in the ‘50s, although if you step away a lot more complex than remembered.

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn were the dream parents and often assumed the perfect marriage. A drive to a greasy burger stand would find you waving at the occasional passing vehicle. Everyone went to church – some devout, others on business. School was in walking distance and summers long and hot - time enough to grow an inch or two.

Elvis Presley began his career in 1954 under the guidance of famed Memphis record mogul Sam Phillips. Presley had the sweet-sounding church tenor you’d hear above all the heavy baritones that would rumble-turn like dying steam locomotives. You couldn’t make out the Christian words because men just didn’t know them – they stood and honked along as women clarified.

Elvis was a singing angel.

Black and white news was polar opposites. Hard news carried the daily sit-ins, civil rights marches, the murders, intruders –drowning; local news – knitting circles and farm reports – the occasional obituary.

Patti Page, Perry Como played endlessly. The Yankees ran a string of World Series triumphs – Mickey Mantle was God number two.

PNP Jazz artist Stephen Farrell releases “My One True Valentine”

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Just in time for the month of romance, Montreal-born singer, songwriter, and musician Stephen Farrell releases his debut single My One True Valentine. Available on iTunes on February 7, 2014, the song encompasses undeniable love and is the perfect song for Valentines Day.

Being happily married for over 20 years, My One True Valentine was written as a love song to his wife, Madeleine. It tells the story of two people who fall in love but cannot be together for years due to prior commitments. It is only until they are able to finally be with each other, that their freedom to explore love grows.

When we met I felt that we connected immediately and that I would love her for as long as I live, even though there was no way for us to be together at that time says Farrell.

My One True Valentine reflects an intimate time in his life and is also a personal favourite of his daughter, as it tells the story of how she came to be. The song also features Gary Schwartz on guitar, Perry Pansieri on drums, Dave Gelfand on upright bass, David Ryshpan on acoustic grand piano, and backup vocals by Farrells one true valentine, Madeleine.

Steve Winwood: A Night at the Fillmore East

In Concert Essays, Images and Interviews Bill King.jpg

“In Concert.” Essays, images and Interviews
Submitted by Bill King

During the late ‘60s, the Fillmore East, located at 105 Second Avenue at 6th Street, was my go-to spot for great music. Built in 1925-1926 as a Yiddish Theatre, it would become the “cathedral of rock & roll” under promoter Bill Graham, who always included two or three prime-time bands; sometimes a light show or unusual theatrics, too. I was living nearby at 533 E. 6th Street, just around the corner from Tompkins Square Park. My eyes were continually focused on the Fillmore marquee.

The Joshua Light Show usually featured a backlit screen projecting blotches of swimming color, just enough to jack up the get-high crowd. Occasionally, an identifiable image would float past, bringing a woozy roar of approval. At times I’d drift by Graham’s competitor, the Anderson Theatre, at 66 Second Avenue. On “dollar Wednesdays,” I caught Simon and Garfunkel and the first edition of Blood Sweat and Tears – when still a quartet; but the Anderson bookings were few and far between.

Thriving Toronto Acts

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Submitted by Murry Robe

New Company:  A Three Piece Adolescent Skate Punk Band

Their sound can be related to Nofx, early Green Day and Choking Victim all infused with a sense
of  humour and delinquency. They’ve been playing together for about two years now and their playing has gotten better not just from practicing their skill but also from their sheer talent and fun loving attitudes. I found their Facebook Page a while back when they didn’t have any music out but I decided to follow them anyway. Now (2014) they have 3 demo albums out on Bandcamp and front man Noah Knight informed me they are planning out putting out a new album soon this year then taking a break from playing gigs to focus on writing some more tunes. Once you’ve listened to at least two of New Company’s songs you’ll wanna skank and go egg a house.

www.newcompany.bandcamp.com

 

Zen: That Funky Dapper Rapper Man That Produces His Own Beats

Eva Cassidy Fields of Gold

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Submitted by Bill King

Great music is deathless. Sometimes, however, death cruelly stalks a young artist, taking her away from us before she’s barely begun to bloom. Such was the case for Eva Cassidy.

I’ve often thought about the worldwide impact Eva has had since her passing in November of 1996. Our boisterous world is full of voices that momentarily impress---then fade into background after a few listens. There are only a few voices, like Eva’s, that float on unseen currents and circulate eternally.

I came to Cassidy glancingly, her name mentioned in confidence, as though people were sharing a private concern, protecting her as if she were imagined. In print, I discovered her story and it grabbed my attention: an article in the New York Times about a young woman, dead from an aggressive melanoma at age 33, who was outselling many of the current pop entities of the day.

At the time, I was publishing the Jazz Report Magazine and accumulating a vast number of CDs, four or five review copies adding to the heap each day. Something clicked; I remembered seeing Cassidy’s name on one of the CD-laden shelves. I recalled her album cover and its unattractive artwork---always one of my pet peeves with submitted recordings. Far too many arrive with artwork that fails to enhance or speak to the quality of the music within. My earlier, cursory glance at the CD had made me fear that Cassidy fell into that amateur league.  So it went unheard. Until now.

The Magical Christmas Time Machine

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute 

We’ve all taken a ride on the Musical Time Machine. Y’know, there you are minding your business, secure in your world when of a sudden, a song comes on the radio or blasts out of a passing car and at once you’re a thousand miles from nowhere, in another time and place.

Especially at this most sentimental of seasons, the MTM factor is in full effect and not even the most Scrooge-like of souls can count on total immunity.

Wagah is the only legit land crossing between India and Pakistan. As you’d expect it’s a 24/7 brainfreeze of light, sound and colour. Kinda like a bomb going off in a confetti factory next door to a fireworks store, making the Big Apple seem moderately agitated in comparison. To pile on the panic, Christmas coincides with a couple of Hindi festivals in the area and the cross-border movements of the two contries' Christian populations.

I had been in-country about a month and a half at this point and had just come from looking for a couple of ‘lost’ temples in an area with zero English spoken. As a chatter of numerous languages washed over me, I had the overwhelming desire to hear English, any English. I joined the most cheerful bus line-up I’d ever seen, with folks telling jokes and singing in every language but English. I figured it was a lost cause, especially since the only foreigners within yelling range had yelled back in something that may have been Dutch. Or possibly Russian.

Christmas Memories and Music

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Submitted by Don Graham

When you are a child, Christmas is one of those magical times. It’s a double miracle event. The miracle of the birth of baby Jesus and the miracle of Santa Claus. The miracle of the birth of Christ is obvious but we need to remember that in a child’s eyes Santa IS a miracle as well! Once we stop believing in ‘the man in the red suit’ things change and we start getting a different perspective on the meaning and values of Christmas. The older we get the more we realize the importance of friends, loved ones and family and the memories that are created during the season.

Music plays a huge part in our remembrances and Christmas is one of the most fertile grounds for those memories.

My first musical memory was as a very small child getting a booklet containing  a picture story “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, complete with beautifully drawn pictures and a square, tear off recording, 78 RPMs, of the song of the same name. I would listen to it endlessly while following the lyrics printed in the book.  I wore it out after the second year.

Christmas – Enjoy Living It

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Submitted by Mark Smith

This past week got me thinking; Saturday I watched a family, Grandma included, jump out of their car to run back down the street to get some food boxes being handed out to the needy. They obviously did not require it, this was game for them with the father yelling, “go go go” while he parked the car in a bike lane.A few moments later I was following a young woman who made a point of dramatically “running” back to give some change to every “needy” person she passed on the street, insuring people saw her doing it. Then passing a bell ringer I interrupted a man who was about to put $20 in the bucket.

There were better places to donate if you want to.What?  The Media Relations Director for the SA stated that homosexuals “deserve to die”, they are a Christian organization, as a former alter boy and a gay man I find that offensive.

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