Linda

So i never did get around to making a plug for Linda Ronstadt for my severely lapsed Best Cover Artists Ever series.  And now she quite sadly has Parkinson’s and can’t sing a note anymore. So a bit of a tribute is in order i think – she wasn’t a songwriter but a world class singer and cover artist who did very proud the bulk of artists she covered. Imagine, to sing like that with no autotune. You can hear maybe a bit too much 70’s California production in some of the songs, but that was also her era and the artists that she covered as well. They’re none the worse for it either, really. Peace and best wishes to you, Linda. And thank you.

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Nile Rodgers & Jean Pierre Muller: An Indigo Night in F

Edinburgh has played host to many artistic collaborations over the years, with none more intriguing than the 7×7 project between artist Jean Pierre Muller and seven musicians: Nile Rodgers, Robert Wyatt, Mulatu Astatke, Archie Shepp, Sean O’Hagan, Kassin and Terry Riley. The project commenced last year at the Summerhall venue with the creation by Jean Pierre of a street of individual houses to explore with the soundscape provided by his seven collaborators.

Last weekend saw a further development with Muller and Rodgers presenting their Indigo night in F – a broadening of the artwork, live performance and some engaging storytelling, drawing on Rodgers’ life story and career which had been joyously detailed in his recent autobiography.

The two tiered stage is bare and the soundtrack is 30’s jazz, a nod to their Harlem Nights sub-theme. Gradually the stage is filled with a series of pop-art style cut-outs and then Muller arrives at the easel to paint an introduction in art and words using a stencil to link the various ‘F’s: freedom, family, fate, frustration and so on. Nile Rodgers then appears between the cut-outs to introduce the first of the pre-recorded movements – a very contemporary sound with the sort of insistent groove and vocoder work one could readily associate with his most recent collaborators.

Rodgers’ storytelling is vivid and what a tale he has to tell, having been raised by hippy heroin addicts, he joined the Black Panthers and played in the house band at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre. A life-size cut-out of the late Bernard Edwards is placed beside him as he introduces us to the collaborator with whom he became musically inseparable. What Rodgers brought to the table with melodies was matched by Edwards’ gift for arrangement, and we get a fantastic insight into their talent for creating music that appears on the surface to be simple and sing along, but is awash with innovation, jazz chords and a love of chromatics.

A series of terrific stories about Grace Jones, Club 54 and Diana Ross is interspersed with solo runs through Good Times/Rappers Delight, Upside Down and the fabulous Thinking About You and some entertaining banter with Muller, still at the easel on the upper tier. Towards the end of the performance Rodgers (thankfully) narrowly avoids decapitation as a mobile of Cab Calloway’s head – which was suspended from the ceiling – slips its mooring and crashes down onto the microphone.

The two artists are presenting this project as a work in progress, and have been in negotiations about taking the project further. The mix of pop-art, hit music and the pair’s engaging personalities are certainly a winning combination and it is a measure of the man that Rodgers has made the time to see this project through at a time when his currency is so high. Mamma Mia is certainly ain’t and, whatever happens, if you get the opportunity to see it just go!

A little vinyl to clear the air.

 
vinyl

Some time back I spent a day digitizing a lot of vinyl, most of which I hadn’t played in years, it was basically much of what we on the west coast were listening to through the late sixties and into the seventies. Finny, another westcoaster,  just posted the Youngbloods on Earworms and and that was enough to send my off to my iTunes file to find some of those vinyl cuts, always loved the Youngbloods.  So here’s a short playlist, I suspect that many of them will be familiar, but you, like me might not have heard them for a while.

I think it’s what those square DJ’s call ‘A trip down memory lane’ or ‘A blast from the past’.

A good way to start a week?

Spill Challenge # ≥ [ x → ∞ ]

Dinosaur Shepherd

Our founder Saint Owsley & Little Ergot

The Asafareans (Ancient Mystical order of the Revered Dinosaur – Lahontan Branch) are once again holding their Memorial Day fundraiser concert at the Fillmore. An over zealous member has booked 11 bands with only 10 spots available. Won’t you, our parishioners, would be parishioners or even barely interested pagans please help us by picking one band to headline & one to go on next years list of hopefuls. Be gentle they’re all great folks &  just want to help others get their freak in order. Remember – Dinos are fond of a large aural space to frolic in so if you have speakers with a large set of woofers it’ll make them smile.  Play thingy on this side to listen to in a blissfully unaware state or play thingy with playlist for those impatient for knowledge on the other side.  Click gently so you don’t disturb the dinos.

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Which Cut Is The Bestest?

true love Waits

It may be a song much used & abused by karaoke maniacs, bedroom youtubers, & egotistical pop stars but let us not forget what a phenomenal tune it really is. Cat may have sold it to PP for £30 back in the day – but which version of the three do you prefer? Or do you know of a better one (I have looked for a noisy indie rock version, and failed, but would love it if there was one in existence)?

‘Spill points are available, and there are bonus ‘Spill points if you can explain why Tom Waits is holding a bunny. caption the Tom Waits & bunny photo.