Thank you, CNN, for supporting this amazing film we are so proud to be involved with -- "ELLA FITZGERALD: Just One Of Those Things"
THE ROLLING STONES previously unreleased 1989 concert film "Steel Wheels Live" out on multiple formats - OUT NOW
EAGLE VISION PROUDLY PRESENTS
THE ROLLING STONES – STEEL WHEELS LIVE
PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED CONCERT FILM OUT SEPTEMBER 25th 2020 ON MULTIPLE FORMATS
RESTORED, REMIXED AND REMASTERED SHOW LIVE FROM THE USA
FEATURING SPECIAL GUESTS AXL ROSE, IZZY STRADLIN, ERIC CLAPTON & JOHN LEE HOOKER
WATCH THE TRAILER
New York, NY (July 30, 2020)- Today, The Rolling Stones announced details of their previously unreleased 1989 concert film Steel Wheels Live – Atlantic City, New Jersey. This latest release from the band’s archives via Eagle Rock Entertainment has been restored, remixed and remastered and will be available on multiple formats from September 25. Pre-order
Additionally, a double A-sided 10” picture disc of “Rock and a Hard Place” (Live from Atlantic City) and “Almost Hear You Sigh” (Live from Tokyo Dome) will be released for Record Store Day’s second drop date of the year, on September 26. This format will be exclusive to independent record stores all over the world.
Their first tour hitting the US since 1981, Steel Wheels was famously one of their longest, and most ambitious, setlists. 2 ½ hours deep, The Rolling Stones not only played their hits, but dared to roll out several new songs from the then-newly released Steel Wheels album. Power-packed renditions of “Terrifying”, “Sad Sad Sad”, “Mixed Emotions”, “Rock and a Hard Place”, and “Can’t Be Seen” sizzle between “Jumping Jack Flash”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, and “Gimme Shelter”. This was a statement - The Rolling Stones revisiting their vast body of work while confidently showcasing where they were going and the broad spectrums of music they’ve explored over their career.
“I would hate to come out with something that’s not startling” Mick Jagger stated about the launch of the 1989/90 Steel Wheels Tour. The Rolling Stones delivered on that promise in this Atlantic City Convention Center tour stop in December ‘89.
A highlight of this particular tour stop was the band being joined by special guests: Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin accompany the Stones for the first-ever live performance of “Salt Of The Earth”, from their 1968 Beggars Banquet album. Eric Clapton brings his slow blues burn to “Little Red Rooster”, and joins the Stones in backing up one of their idols, blues legend John Lee Hooker, on “Boogie Chillen”.
All in all, Steel Wheels Live is a living testament to The Rolling Stones’ incomparable live shows.
Steel Wheels Live will be released as a limited 180gm 4LP coloured vinyl, DVD + 2CD, SD Blu-ray + 2CD and digital formats. Additionally, the set will be released as a special limited 6-disc version, which includes the Atlantic City performance on DVD, SD-Blu-ray, 2CD, a DVD of their Steel Wheels tour performance at the famed Tokyo Dome, as well as Steel Wheels Rare Reels, a CD featuring tracks which didn’t feature on the core tour setlist.
Official Rolling Stones website
About Eagle Vision
Eagle Vision is an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment, the world-leading producer and distributor of music-related audiovisual content. Founded in 1997, the multi-award-winning company completes over 50 productions a year including concerts, documentaries, scripted formats and specials representing over 2,000 hours of programming. The vast catalogue includes work by award-winning filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brett Morgan, Paul Dugdale, Stanley Nelson and Bob Smeaton. Eagle Rock has worked alongside a variety of artists including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Jay Z, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath and Imagine Dragons.
THE ROLLING STONES "Steel Wheels Live" trailer
In this new interview with CNN.com, Ian Paice discusses working with Bob Ezrin on DEEP PURPLE's new album Whoosh! - View the interview here!
Thank you, Goldmine Magazine for this COVER FEATURE INTERVIEW with Deep Purple! On stands now - September 2020 issue.
USA Today touts DEEP PURPLE'S "Whoosh!" as one of their 10 Albums To Listen To This Month!
August 7, 2020
10 albums you need to hear this month, including Katy Perry, Deep Purple and Glass Animals
Are you still crying to "Folklore?"
If you're anything like us, you've had Taylor Swift's alternative-pop masterpiece on repeat ever since she surprise released it two weeks ago, successfully destroying what little was left of us emotionally. The album made a historic bow on the charts this past week, debuting at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 (with heart-tugging lead single "Cardigan").
But if turtlenecks are more your style – or you simply want some fresh tunes – there's plenty of new music coming down the pike this month. From snarling rock anthems to dance-floor-ready bops, here are the 10 albums across genres that should be on your radar this month.
Deep Purple, 'Whoosh!' (released Friday)
For 21st studio album "Whoosh!", the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers teamed up once again with producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd), with the half-joking goal of "putting the Deep back in Purple," the band said in a statement. Written and recorded in Nashville, the album tackles timely subjects of an uncertain future ("Throw My Bones") and "demented" politicians ("No Need to Shout").
Associated Press says DEEP PURPLE "evokes best years on mighty ‘Whoosh!’" - Read the full review HERE!
August 6, 2020
Review: Deep Purple evokes best years on mighty ‘Whoosh!’
Deep Purple, “Whoosh!” (earMUSIC)
“Whoosh!” makes it three-for-three for the pairing of Deep Purple and producer Bob Ezrin, an album that at its numerous heights evokes the band’s most successful era of the early ’70s.
With a stable lineup for nearly 20 years, the hard rock pioneers’ new album is built on its best assets: Ian Gillan’s robust vocals, the sturdy foundation set by the rhythm section of Ian Paice and Roger Glover, Steve Morse’s inventive inventory of six-string tones and phrasings, and Don Airey’s Hammond A-100.
An album’s first song is not necessarily its first single, but “Throw My Bones,” which is both, is aural candy of the first order and a magnificent reintroduction after the three-year break since the previous studio effort, “Infinite.”
“Drop the Weapon,” a call for de-escalation and wise choices; “We’re All the Same In the Dark,” a tongue-in-cheek, slightly desperate pick-up line; the decibel-denouncing “No Need to Shout”; and the haunting “Step By Step” all keep the needles in or near the red.
Even among top-notch individual performances and the ensemble’s cohesion, Airey’s keyboard excellence stands out and his and Morse’s Bach-like runs on power ballad “Nothing at All” -- with plenty more potency than balladry -- are magnificent.
As for instrumental “And the Address,” is Deep Purple really saying goodbye or is its place in the running order, and the mere fact that it was re-recorded, only a tease in the way the Beatles fed the “Paul is dead” rumors with clues in songs supposedly confirming his premature demise? After all, the group’s 2017-2019 tour was called “The Long Goodbye” but concerts are planned, post-pandemic, behind this album, as well.
Written by the two members of Deep Purple’s towering “Mark II” lineup missing from the current roster, Ritchie Blackmore and the late Jon Lord, “And the Address” is the last song on the album, but for a bonus track. It was also the first tune on the band’s 1968 debut, “Shades of Deep Purple,” so is it just a coincidence or are they completing the circle and really drawing the shades on their career?
Any ensemble still willing and able to emulate its best years shouldn’t call it quits after an album as good as “Whoosh!” -- unless Deep Purple wants to go out on a peak.
VIEW the trailer for COUNT BASIE: THROUGH HIS OWN EYES here! - Documentary Film OUT NOW on Digital Formats
Thank you so much to Newsweek for spreading the word on RICKY BYRD's "Sobering Times" album!
August 30, 2020
We Love Rock 'n Roll: Ricky Byrd
On the Street Jukebox: On September 25, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist/singer/songwriter Ricky Byrd (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) will release his latest album, Sobering Times. You can, and should, pre-order—right here. Great stuff—and a hell of a supporting cast with musicians who have worked with Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Billy Idol and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Mr. Byrd, by the way, was my band coach at the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, which I wrote about for Fortune magazine many years ago. He's a pretty patient guy and was nice enough not to make fun of me...Back next week. Be safe.
Thank you, Rolling Stone, for premiering a video clip from "RONNIE WOOD: Somebody Up There Likes Me"
September 18, 2020
Watch Mick Jagger and Keith Richards Reflect on Ron Wood’s Sobriety in New Documentary Clip
Ron Wood documentary Somebody Up There Likes Me is out now
The new documentary Somebody Up There Likes Me traces the career of Ron Wood, from his days as the bassist in the Jeff Beck Band, through his brief and boozy tenure in the Faces with life-long friend Rod Stewart, to his long run in the Rolling Stones.
The film features new interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charle Watts and Rod Stewart, along with Wood himself. It’s available now as a Virtual Cinema release on the movie’s official website and will arrive on DVD/Blu-ray on October 9th.
In this exclusive clip, Wood explains why he finally quit drugs and alcohol after decades of abusing his body. “Nothing was working,” he says. “The coke wasn’t working. The drink wasn’t working. [I] tried one more to see if I could cut through it and I turned into this sour person. I thought, ‘This is not me.’ Took the brave move again, but this time for myself, to try and abstain and clean up my act.”
Jagger has seen several bandmates go through this journey. “It’s really hard to do,” he says. “But he knew that he wanted to do it, which is obviously part of the thing. If you don’t want to do it, it’s really impossible. But he wanted to do it and found it really difficult to do.”
The film, which was directed by Mike Figgis, takes its title from an offhand comment that Wood gave about undergoing cancer surgery after years of cigarette use. “When they operated on my cancer, they took away my emphysema,” he said. “They said my lungs were as if I’d never smoked. I thought: ‘How’s that for a Get Out of Jail Free card?’ Somebody up there likes me, and somebody down here likes me, too.”
Elsewhere in the movie, Wood demonstrates how he creates his paintings and plays a handful of tunes, including the 1973 Faces song “Oh La La” and “Breathe On Me” from his 1975 solo LP New Look.
Wood was supposed to spend the summer of 2020 on tour in North America with the Rolling Stones, but the pandemic forced them to cancel the shows.
“In Europe, we’ve had small-scale concerts,” Jagger recently told Rolling Stone. “We’ve had socially distanced concerts. You can see [concerts] starting in some parts of the world, New Zealand, Australia, so on. But as far as the U.S. is concerned, we don’t really know what the future holds. So many people [are] out of work, losing money. Is it ever going to be the same again? Will it be always different? We just don’t know.”
Forbes: "Ricky Byrd’s ‘Sobering Times’ Brings Rock To Recovery"
September 22, 2020
Ricky Byrd’s ‘Sobering Times’ Brings Rock To Recovery
New York, NY, 2020 - Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ricky Byrd (Photo by Frankie Byrd) FRANKIE BYRD
Veteran rocker Ricky Byrd’s latest album showcases the guitar skills and musicianship that landed him a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (a 2015 inductee with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts), but Byrd insists that Sobering Times (to be released on September 25) isn’t just about guitar playing. The album also showcases Byrd’s commitment to using his music to support those affected by addiction. Coming on the heels of his 2017 well-received, recovery-inspired album Clean Getaway and released in conjunction with the anniversary of his sobriety journey that began 33 years ago, Sobering Times is pure rock and roll wrapped around empowering messages.
Millions of adolescents and adults in the U.S. are affected by substance abuse disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 20.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
Get information on alcohol and substance abuse and mental health resources via the Centers for Disease Control.
Slated for release before the pandemic heightened addiction issues and introduced another layer of obstacles (like difficulties in accessing treatment, additional stressors, and stress-induced increases in alcohol and substance use) for affected individuals and families, Sobering Times offers up classic rock and a supportive message-driven playlist for those touched by addiction. Byrd believes the message is the primary goal, but within that, his focus was to create a “cool” rock and roll record.
“I’m not trying to have hit records. I'm trying to like save some kid's life and help somebody maybe hear something that they might need to hear. And if you just love rock and roll, it's a straight up rock and roll record. You know, there's some ballads on it, some cool different stuff, but it's my sound—the music is sort of like everything I grew up on."
Was it difficult for him to create more theme-driven content beyond Clean Getaway? “This is what I do now,” says Byrd who has also studied to be a recovery coach. “What's funny is after the Clean Getaway record, I'm having issues trying to write about anything else but recovery. I'm just like locked in. But that's a good thing because I've become this—Recovery Troubadour. And I love that.” During his tours of treatment facilities, Byrd has given away about 2,500 copies of Clean Getaway so that patients could “take the message home with them.”
As he discusses the evolution of the songs for the new album, it sounds like a process that began as a support group and morphed into a sounding board and inspiring source. “They [the songs] come from me traveling around the country to treatment facilities where I lead recovery music groups. So I write these songs and then I play them for the clients in treatment…When I wrote the new songs, I would bring that into treatment. I played those and I would get these people loving the songs or coming over to me afterwards and go, ‘Dude, you told my story, you know.’”
Group feedback helped Byrd realize he definitely had another record in him, eventually he would have to narrow down those new songs to the 12 that would land in the album. With tracks like “Quittin’ Time (Again)” and “Together” to “Just Like You,” Sobering Times captures a range of emotions and song styles.
Produced by Byrd and Bob Stander, Sobering Times musicians include Stander (bass guitar, percussion), Jeff Kazee of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (keyboards/ accordion/background vocals), Steve Holley (of Wings / Ian Hunter / Joe Cocker, contributed drums to most of the album), Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel, drums), Rich Pagano (The Fab Faux, session drummer), Thommy Price (Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Mink DeVille, drums) and Christine “The Beehive Queen” Ohlman (vocalist, Saturday Night Live band).
Byrd has been hearing a lot from those struggling with addiction and the recovery process, especially during the pandemic. He emphasizes the importance of reaching out for help, finding community support group meetings, including virtual support groups, and helping others. Adds the rocker, “Helping other people is an enormous plus for the spirit of somebody that's in recovery...I have to feel that that's why we're here in the first place anyway.”
RICKY BYRD interviewed for AmericanSongwriter.com
September 24, 2020
Ricky Byrd Talks His Life in Recovery and How He is Using Rock and Roll to Help Others
Before Ricky Byrd joined Joan Jett and The Blackhearts for a wild ride and career, he was just a kid from New York, listening to AM radio hits by The Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra. As a teen, he idolized the stars that graced the pages of Kerrang and Creem magazines in the 70s. And at the same time, he began to idolize their rock and roll lifestyles of glitz and drugs, just as much as the music.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s before the takeover and intersection of black tar, china white, Nirvana and Soundgarden, cocaine had its grip over the rock world, and not too much longer after that, it had its hold over Byrd too, for almost ten years. Today Byrd is celebrating 33 years sober and partying the only way he does nowadays, with music and a new record, titled Sobering Times.
Sobering Times follows his 2017 release Clean Getaway and is the second record from Byrd’s catalog that follows the concept theme of recovery, taking the listener through his journey as an addict, while offering up solutions in each song that can put the listener on the road to recovery. And Byrd inserted his advice into each song without being overbearing and “preachy” as he describes some recovery to be.
“I used for 18 years, on a daily basis,” Byrd told American Songwriter. “Once cocaine came in the ‘80s, all bets were off and it ripped my brains out- that and Jack Daniels.”
The Sobering Times tracklist itself lays out a narrative with titles like, the opener; “Quittin Time (Again) to the mid-point, punk rock anthem, “Recover Me,” featuring Willie Nile to “Life is Good” and “Just Like You” that close the album and conclude Byrd’s story on a hopeful note.
Due to the intimate content of the album, Byrd wanted to write as much of the album’s content as independently as he could, which was less the case on Clean Getaway, where he did more co-writes. But that’s not to say there weren’t any this time around. “Ain’t Gonna Live Like That,” is a co-write with Emily Duff and “I Come Back Stronger” was a collaboration between Byrd and his friend Richie Supa.
“I always write the music and I co-write the lyrics,” Byrd said. “Unless I’m sitting in a room with somebody it’s hard, where we can both play and say ‘hey try this’ or ‘do this chord.’ With Emily I sent her the track and we never got together in person. Same thing with Ritchie I sent him the music and he sent me few lines and we went back and forth. With Willie, I actually went to his apartment in the Village and we scrapped it out there in person, which is my favorite.”
When Byrd got sober in 1987, he learned quite quickly what he needed to do to continue being a force in music and further collaborate after his departure from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in ‘91. Since then his songwriting has only gotten better, which can often be the adverse reaction for artists who get clean, who often find inspiration hard to come by.
“I just got better,” Byrd said about his songwriting abilities after maintaining his sobriety. “I had less self-doubt and worked more on instincts. I became better at everything I did when I got clean. But it took a while, it didn’t happen overnight.”
“I played with Joan ‘81-‘91 and I got sober in ‘87, so I was on the road, in the same circus and I kind of had to maneuver around that,” Byrd added. “I learned quickly to not hang out in people’s rooms after the show or at the bar. I spent a lot of time going straight to my room. And I remember being on the Aerosmith tour and they had just changed their mode of living as well so I could always hang out with those guys backstage. And when we were on the bus, I would try to keep to myself in my bunk.”
Sobriety not only affected his songwriting and perspective, but also his desire to help others in his situation. Along with being a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with two solo albums, he is also training to become a drug and alcohol counselor and spoke at workshops all over New York and the country frequently, prior to the pandemic. He shared his recovery songs during these workshops as well as his story about getting clean at 30 and weighing 128 pounds, an effect of doing cocaine every day for nearly ten years, and how he found his first meeting after being introduced to recovery by a friend he had asked for drugs from at a wedding. What Byrd came to realize was these people he was speaking to also had something to say.
During music recovery groups, he often heard “your song made me cry man,” from what he called the toughest looking guys out there. Many others would often write Byrd telling him “this is my story too” and even share their own recovery songs. From then on, Byrd knew he found his niche and was doing something right and worthwhile in his music.
And as much as Byrd would like to share more of his message and play his new songs for these same people, Covid-19 put a pause on any groups he was facilitating. But Byrd says he is taking advantage of Zoom and makes an effort every day to stay connected to someone else in recovery.
“I talk to people in recovery every day,” Byrd said. “It’s not always about recovery, sometimes it’s just shooting the shit, but it’s about being connected and helping others.”
With the release of Sobering Times, on September 25, Byrd is expecting things to die down further once press inquiries are settled and says he is turning his attention to learning some new things, like Garage Band, which he downloaded in attempt to ready for what the new post-pandemic music industry may look like with less access to studios. And as much as he loves walking to his local post office, with autographed CD’s in hand, wrapped in small, bubble mailers, he says he may be shifting to releasing singles.
“I think I’m getting to the point- because of how music biz is- I might be doing singles,” he said. “I’d love to do an acoustic or blues record maybe. But I’ve got a long way to go with the next one.”
Check out Sobering Times and be sure to order a signed copy here. And if you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, reach out to MusiCares for free support groups and resources.
ZZ TOP "Live From Texas" 2LP out NOW
THIS FALL, EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT TO REISSUE
LIVE FROM TEXAS 2LP
~SEPTEMBER 25, 2020~
View “Heard It On The X” from “Live From Texas”
New York, NY--On September 25, Eagle Rock Entertainment is proud to release ZZ Top: Live From Texas -- a reissue of the 2 LP set, originally released in 2010. Now, a decade later, this classic concert will be available as a special limited run of 1,000 copies, pressed on white vinyl.
ZZ Top: Live From Texas features audio from the certified double-platinum 2008 Live From Texas DVD / Blu-ray / CD release. Additionally, “Heard It On The X” is included as a vinyl-exclusive track, an extra bonus to the original CD release.
Live From Texas captures ZZ Top performing a stacked setlist of their celebrated songs, including tracks from their 10x platinum 1983 masterpiece Eliminator. “Tush,” “La Grange,” “Legs,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’”, “Sharp Dressed Man”...these songs go beyond the title of “hits” -- they are classic anthems, woven into the fabric of both Rock and Roll and American culture. Recorded in Texas in 2007, this 2 LP sonically showcases Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard delivering their songs with the sound, spirit, and swagger, establishing them as international superstars.
Five decades following their inception, the “Little Ol’ Band From Texas” continues to inspire and thrill fans worldwide. One of the most instantly recognizable music outfits in history, their rhythm-driven, big brand of blues-rock and distinct image made them inimitable entertainers and cemented their legacy in the Rock and Roll zeitgeist. ZZ Top: Live From Texas proves that prowess in spades.
ABOUT EAGLE ROCK
Eagle Records is an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment, the world-leading producer and distributor of music-related audiovisual content. Founded in 1997, the multi-award-winning company completes over 50 productions a year including concerts, documentaries, scripted formats and specials representing over 2,000 hours of programming. The vast catalogue includes work by award-winning filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brett Morgen, Paul Dugdale, Stanley Nelson and Bob Smeaton. Eagle Rock has worked alongside a variety of artists including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Jay Z, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath and Imagine Dragons. For more information visit www.eagle-rock.com.
A1: Got Me Under Pressure
A2: Waitin’ For The Bus
A3: Jesus Just Left Chicago
A4: I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
A5: Cheap Sunglasses
B1: Pearl Necklace
B2: Heard It On The X
B3: Just Got Paid
B4: Rough Boy
C1: Blues Intro
C2: Blue Jean Blues
C3: Gimme All Your Lovin’
C4: Sharp Dressed Man
D2: Tube Snake Boogie
D3: La Grange
Thank you to New York Times for highlighting "ELLA FITZGERALD: Just One Of Those Things"!
October 1, 2020
The Special Place Where Ella Fitzgerald Comes Alive
The singer’s concert recordings have always had a power that her studio outings could only imply. “Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes,” a newly unearthed 1962 performance, magnifies her legacy.
In 1962, Ella Fitzgerald performed in Berlin. Norman Granz, her manager and Verve Records’s founder, stashed the recordings away; they were uncovered earlier this year.Credit...Rolf Ambor
Ella Fitzgerald hardly ever crooned the blues, and her vocals rarely overflowed with pathos or fury. Listening to her nail a ballad, you may not feel invited to leap into her own world and feel her pain, like you would with Billie Holiday or Little Jimmy Scott.
You could say that Fitzgerald was to singing what Yo-Yo Ma is to the cello: utter perfection, personified. Fitzgerald thinks of the note, she hits the note. She learns the song, she becomes the song. Still, there’s a sacred exchange going on. Rather than beckoning you in, Fitzgerald is bringing the music to you. And the effect is undeniable — you’re disarmed.
It makes sense, then, that Fitzgerald’s live recordings have always had a special power that her studio outings could only imply. As her biographer Stuart Nicholson put it, the best ones “reveal the real Ella, bringing pleasure to others by bringing pleasure to herself.”
Of those live albums, few made a longer-lasting impression than “Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin,” from 1960, widely considered one of her greatest captures. And this week, the pleasure grows: On Friday the Verve Label Group will release “Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes,” documenting a concert that she gave there two years after her famed first appearance. Taken together with
“Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things,” an informative documentary released on digital platforms earlier this month, it’s a worthy invitation to engage anew with a singer whose constant improvisations — equal parts precision and profusion — are all too easy to take for granted.
On the album, Fitzgerald is in her mid-40s, and well established as popular music royalty. Hear the breadth and depth of her vibrato, the way she uses strong breath to give rhythmic passages a punch, how she reinvents the melody to Ray Charles’s “Hallelujah! I Love Her So” as if her voice were a saxophone with words.
The Grammy-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, 31, said that as a student she saw Fitzgerald’s famed studio albums devoted to the Great American Songbook as an exemplar of flawless jazz singing. “Initially she was this model of perfection, and sort of the blueprint when learning a standard,” Ms. Salvant said in a phone interview.
“My appreciation for her is shifting now, in that I see how fun she is, how much of a risk-taker she is, how much humor she brings to her performances,” added Ms. Salvant, who created the animations for a music video that accompanies “Taking a Chance on Love” from the new album. “For me, a live setting is the best way to hear her.”
On the original “Ella in Berlin,” from 1960, Fitzgerald is heard hurtling confidently into “Mack the Knife,” a Weimar-era tune from “The Threepenny Opera” that had recently become a smash for Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin. By the middle of the second chorus, she’s realized how little of the song she remembers.
But it’s her first performance in Berlin, and the 12,000-person audience at the enormous Deutschlandhalle is feasting from her hand. She carries along undaunted, ad-libbing in rhythm, flipping a flub into a bravura turn.
“Oh, Bobby Darin and Louis Armstrong/They made a record — oh but they did,” she improvises, loosely holding onto the song’s buoyant melody as her quartet swings unperturbed. “And now Ella, Ella and her fellas/We’re making a rec — what a wreck — of ‘Mack the Knife’!”
What kind of “perfection” was this — a document of a mixed-up performance, with the song falling down all around her? Well, something worked: Norman Granz, Fitzgerald’s manager and Verve’s founder, recorded the concert and released it as an album, and sensing the magic of that lemonade moment, he made “Mack” the title track. The LP became a sensation, and earned two trophies at the third annual Grammys that year.
The drummer and record producer Gregg Field, who was in Fitzgerald’s band during the later years of her career, said in an interview that for his boss no piece of material or song form took precedence over the energy she received from a crowd.
“She sang them differently every night,” Mr. Field said of her songs, explaining that when she performed with a combo she was liable to switch up the set list depending on the energy in the room. “By the third or fourth song she could read the audience really well,” he added.
Granz, a powerful impresario who sought to bring jazz into the realm of American high society, wisely captured as many of Fitzgerald’s concerts as possible — aware that lightning struck often when she was onstage. He had started Verve in the mid-1950s primarily as a vessel for recording her, and by the time of the concert in Berlin it was one of the jazz industry’s premier institutions.
Early this year, Mr. Field and Ken Druker, a vice president at Verve — which survives today under the auspices of Universal Music Group — were digging through a rediscovered trove of live recordings that Granz had stashed away decades ago. They came across an apparently untouched reel-to-reel, with yellowed Scotch tape still holding the box shut, featuring a concert Fitzgerald had given in Berlin two years after that first famous outing.
Upon inspection, they found that recordings had been made in both mono and stereo — a rare stroke of luck. They listened, and the quality was excellent. Using a new engineering software that allowed him to more precisely isolate the instruments and Fitzgerald’s voice, Mr. Field filled out the low end and brought her singing to the front.
The 1962 recording completes a trifecta of stellar Berlin performances, given over the course of three years and each released roughly 30 years apart. In 1990, Verve put out an archival LP of Fitzgerald playing Berlin in ’61, under the name “Ella Returns to Berlin.” That was a fine album, but the newest recording has a number of advantages.
Fitzgerald is reunited here with the pianist Paul Smith, one of her favorite accompanists, who hadn’t been on the 1961 tour. And on the obligatory version of “Mack,” there’s another moment of imperfect perfection that’s almost too good to be true. On the song’s coda, bantering with the crowd, she forgets the name of the city she’s in — sincerely, it seems. Erupting in supportive applause, the crowd hardly has time to be offended.
Her ease with audiences contrasted with her relatively solitary life offstage. It’s part of the reason she preferred to live her life on the road; from the start of her career in 1930s Harlem until she retired in the early 1990s, she typically performed hundreds of shows a year, and rarely stayed at home for more than a week at a time.
Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Va., in 1917, and moved as a small child to Yonkers, just north of New York City. After losing both parents before she was a teenager, she bounced around Harlem, sometimes working for numbers-runners and serving as a lookout at a brothel. She was sent away for a stint at a reformatory, where she suffered abuse that she would later decline to speak of publicly.
At 17, basically homeless, she auditioned for Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. She had planned to try out as a dancer, but grew intimidated when a far better-appointed dance duo stepped forward before she did. Instead, she sang two songs, emulating the style of the popular jazz troupe the Boswell Sisters. Her preternatural talent and gregariousness neutralized the judgments of the crowd, which had been skeptical of the shabbily dressed youngster who couldn’t seem to figure out what art form was hers. She won the contest, and soon she was the toast of Harlem as the lead singer with the Chick Webb Orchestra.
With that group, she sang hard-driving ditties and romantic numbers for dancers and radio listeners, in the era when jazz was pop music. By the end of her 79 years she had helped to enshrine the Great American Songbook as a pillar of American culture, playing to heavily white and seated audiences but bringing them to their feet around the globe. Throughout, she remained always in service to the song. And yet the song was only the space between the singer and her crowd.
VIEW trailer for JOHN LEE HOOKER "Live At Montreux 1984 & 1990" here!
BOB MARLEY "Uprising Live" 3LP, Limited Edition Colored 3LP out November 13!
EAGLE RECORDS & TUFF GONG PROUDLY PRESENT
RELEASED ON 3LP & 3LP LIMITED EDITION COLORED VINYL ON NOVEMBER 13TH 2020
New York, NY (October 6, 2020) – Eagle Records and the Bob Marley Estate celebrate Bob Marley’s 75th birthday anniversary with the release of
Uprising Live!, available for the first time on vinyl, with black vinyl 3LP and highly collectable, limited edition colored vinyl 3LP.
The Uprising Tour ran in Europe from May to July 1980 with five further dates in the USA in September. It was Bob Marley’s final tour before his tragic death from cancer in May 1981 at the age of just 36. A few days after the release of the Uprising album, Marley played this now legendary live concert from Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle on June 13th - showcasing Marley in superb form and delivering a set of hit singles and classic album tracks, including “Could You Be Loved”, “Redemption Song”, and “No Woman No Cry”, to fans’ roars of appreciation.
His musical messages of encouragement, hope and comfort remain as relevant now as the day they were written. This special 3LP edition is released to celebrate what would have been Bob Marley’s 75th year.
1) Precious World
2) Slave Queen
3) Steppin' Out Of Babylon
4) That's The Way Jah Planned It
1) Marley Chant
2) Natural Mystic
3) Positive Vibration
5) I Shot The Sheriff
1) War / No More Trouble
4) No Woman, No Cry
1) Zion Train
3) Redemption Song
4) Could You Be Loved
2) Natty Dread
3) Is This Love
4) Get Up, Stand Up
1) Coming In From The Cold
2) Lively Up Yourself
ABOUT BOB MARLEY:
Bob Marley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is notable not only as the man who put reggae on the global map but, as a statesman in his native Jamaica, he famously brought together the country's warring factions. Today, Bob Marley remains one of the 20th century's most important and influential entertainment icons. Marley's lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations as his legacy lives on through his music. In the digital era, he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page drawing more than 70 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. Marley's music catalog has sold millions of albums worldwide. His iconic collection, LEGEND, holds the distinction of being the longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine's Catalog Albums chart and remains the world's best-selling reggae album. Marley's accolades include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994) and ASCAP Songwriters Hall of Fame (2010), a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), multiple entries in the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001). For more information visit: bobmarley.com and facebook.com/bobmarley.
FORBES takes a deep dive into THE ROLLING STONES "Steel Wheels Live" and RONNIE WOOD "Somebody Up There Likes Me" -- Read Here!
October 9, 2020
No Rolling Stones Tour This Year? No Problem, Thanks To 3 Latest Releases To Give Fans Satisfaction
NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 13: ROTTERDAM Photo of ROLLING STONES, L-R: Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman performing live onstage (Photo by Graham Wiltshire/Redferns)
Had it been somewhat normal times, the Rolling Stones would've performed dates this year as part of their No Filter tour of North America. But even the unstoppable ‘World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band’ became sidelined due to the pandemic, resulting in the tour being postponed (Fortunately it didn't stop them from putting out a new song, the very appropriately titled “Living in a Ghost Town”). At least fans, however, can find solace in a couple of recent Stones-related releases to keep them satisfied for now.
Just last month, the Rolling Stones reissued their 1973 album Goats Head Soup—which at the time of its original release was met with a mixed reaction; critics have often said that this record ended the band's brilliant album run that began with 1968's Beggars Banquet and followed by Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. While it may not the strongest of efforts compared to its aforementioned predecessors, there are still plenty to relish from Goats Head Soup, including the lean and mean “Dancing With Mr. D”; the soulful ballad “Coming Down”; the blues-laden “Hide Your Love”; and the lush and melancholic “Winter.” Forgotten amid the talk of it being a disappointment, Goats Head Soup yielded two of the Stones best-known songs: the gritty, horn-powered rocker “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker),” and the tender ballad “Angie,” which became the Stones' seventh number one Billboard hit. Goats Head Soup concludes with the rollicking “Star Star,” highlighted by its raunchy lyrics and references to John Wayne and Steve McQueen. This new reissue is augmented by a second disc of outtakes and demos from the sessions as well as three previously unreleased tracks.
Of those three, the most notable one is the slinky and passionate number “Scarlet,” featuring Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page on guitar, while the other two—the rocking “All the Rage” and the funky swinging and raucous “Criss Cross”—beg the question of why were they buried in the vaults in the first place. In addition to featuring the original album and bonus tracks, the four-disc deluxe version includes a rare 1973 concert recording, Brussels Affair. Not that this newly deluxe treatment of Goats Head Soup needed the bells and whistles to show what a good, if not perfect, album it is—but it certainly doesn't hurt either.
Left to right: Ron Wood, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones wave to the crowd at the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall (now Boardwalk Hall) in Atlantic City, N.J., during the Steel Wheels Tour, December 1989. The group played three nights at the venue from 17th - 20th December 1989. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Flash forward 16 years after the release of Goats Heat Soup, and the Stones were still a commanding force by the time they embarked on the Steel Wheels tour. That period represented a sort of a comeback for the group: it was their first tour since 1982 and followed the personal reconciliation between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It has now been documented on Steels Wheels Live, the latest archival concert installment from the band. Originally recorded in December 1989 in Atlantic City New Jersey, the show may be familiar to fans as it was later televised on FOX several months later and utilized some 3-D effects. By this time, the Stones were a revitalized touring machine and it shows on this particular live spectacle of a performance—whose setlist drew from the then-new Steel Wheels album (“Mixed Emotions,” “Sad Sad Sad,” “Rock and a Hard Place,” “Can't Be Seen”) with the usual favorites (“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Sympathy for the Devil, “Gimme Shelter,” “Tumbling Dice” and many others). The nearly three-hour performance also included some special guests such as Guns N’ Roses members Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin on the deep cut “Salt of the Earth” from Beggars Banquet; Eric Clapton on “Little Red Rooster”; and the late blues legend John Lee Hooker on “Boogie Chillen.” The Steel Wheels tour was also notable in that it marked the last one with original bassist Bill Wyman before he left the band in 1993. As documented on this exciting 2-CD/1-DVD set, the Stones remained a viable live outfit that continues to this day.
With a history like theirs, the Rolling Stones have been well represented in films such as Gimme Shelter and Shine a Light. Now their longtime and versatile guitarist Ronnie Wood takes his own turn in the cinematic spotlight with a new documentary, Somebody Up There Likes Me, directed by Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas), Previously screened at film festivals the documentary has been released Friday on DVD and Blu-ray disc.
Long regarded as a latter-day member of the Stones (although he's been with them officially for over 40 years now), Wood has been a part of British rock and roll history going back to his time with the Jeff Beck Group and later the Faces in the late 1960s.
Ronnie Wood, who is the subject of a new documentary 'Somebody Up There Likes Me,' directed by Mike Figgis.
CREDIT: EAGLE ROCK FILMS
Unlike most conventional music documentaries, Somebody Up There Likes Me feels more like an intimate sit-down conversation between Wood and Figgis without the intrusive jump cuts, narration or talking heads (interviews are limited to Wood's Rolling Stone band mates Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts; former Faces cohort Rod Stewart; singer Imelda May; artist Damien Hirst; and Wood's wife Sally). Luck has certainly been on his Wood's side throughout his life and career, especially his arrival to the Stones after the abrupt departure of the band’s previous guitarist Mick Taylor in 1974 (the chemistry between Wood and Richards has long gone down into legend). Featuring archival performance footage of Wood’s bands mixed with his own recent solo performances, the documentary features not only the guitarist candidly talking about his music and career but also his substance addictions and health issues. And it isn't only rock and roll for Wood in his life: he's also an accomplished visual artist (his portrait of Eric Clapton adorns the cover of the latter's 1988 acclaimed boxed set Crossroads). Like his brother-in-arms Richards, Wood is a true survivor who acknowledges how fortunate he's been after nearly 60 years in music and personal ups-and-downs (hence the documentary title). He aptly quotes baseball great Yogi Berra in summing up his philosophy: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Somebody Up There Likes Me offers an intimate and nuanced portrait of a rock and roll renaissance man.
BOBBY WHITLOCK interviewed in Sweden's Rock 'N Roll Magazine (translation included)
After his participation in the supergroups Cream and Blind Faith, Clapton wanted to take down his career on earth again. It was a dramatic transformation, full of unrequited love, evil, sudden death and drug abuse. Here's the story of Eric Clapton's 70's.
When Cream had split, the last thing Eric Clapton wanted was to form a new supergroup with famous names. A short time later he was in Blind Faith with Steve Winwood, Ric Grech and the former Cream drummer Ginger Baker. Instead of sounding, the group grew calmly and organically, did their first gig in Hyde Park in front of hundreds of thousands of people. When since the group toured with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Clapton was jealous of their family feeling.- “Eric liked that, and kept up with us, for we had a community as Blind Faith” says American Bobby Whitlock, who was then a keyboard player with Delaney & Bonnie. When Blind Faith imploded, he came over to us and it became a tour and a live record with Eric on guitar.
Clapton's first solo album, "Eric Clapton", which was released in September 1970, was also made with the same band. Whitlock was the last to leave Delaney & Bonnie. “I asked my friend Steve Cropper for advice. He said ‘go to Clapton in England!’ I called Eric and he said ‘come over’. I got to choose my favorite room and stayed for a year!”
Soon bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon joined the party and they started playing together.
In 21-year-old Whitlock, Clapton found a songwriting partner.
“ ‘I Looked Away’ was the first we wrote together. He had the chord sequence and
said ‘what do you think of this?’ I took it up to the room and wrote a melody and the next day we wrote the lyrics together. The collaboration was very organic. Many of the songs were about his then-unrequited love for George Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd. Especially ‘Layla’.
The song was a dramatic, passionate declaration of love for the wife of the very good friend Harrison. That she was out of reach only made Clapton even more obsessed with getting her.
“One day we were sitting in his TV room when he sighed ‘Why does love have to be so sad?’ I immediately realized that it was a song title, albeit a long one!”
The guys played together as the base band on Harrison's “All Things Must Pass". After this, the quartet played together and recorded the double album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" (1971). They were named Derek and the Dominos because Clapton wanted to keep a low profile.
The fact that guest guitarist Duane Allman's participation on the album has received a great deal of attention irritates Whitlock.
“It has lost all proportions. Duane was a good guitarist, but he participated in two sessions and his orders were untuned. Eric also plays slide on the record. He tuned his guitar before!”
The guitar is his voice
Whitlock talks warmly about Clapton's guitar playing.
“The guitar is his voice. The playing could be fleeting, but he meant every note. He could be shy as a person, but exposed everything in his playing. In recent decades, he has developed more as a singer than as a guitarist, but I would not call him a soul singer. You are born for that. He's too British!”
When the undersigned met Clapton in Milan many years later, he said that sometimes there have been long periods when he did not play guitar.
“Then it feels almost scary to pick it up again,” Clapton admitted. “I feel like a beginner. On the other hand, there is a naivety and an innocence in it. You are forced to find new solutions.”
Today, the "Layla" album is considered a masterpiece, but it flopped when it was released. Partly because many did not understand that Derek was a pseudonym for Eric.
Clapton now had many reasons to be depressed: unrequited love, the death of his friend Jimi Hendrix, the sawing of his solo debut and a flop with the new band. In November 1971, the new best friend Duane Allman died.
Where were drugs and alcohol the culprit?
“No,” says Whitlock. “Jim Gordon was the problem. On the one hand, he and Eric could not stand each other, and on the other hand, he was mentally unstable. He heard voices. We all have an inner voice: your superego, your conscience. However, he heard his mother's voice. I urged him to seek help. He did not, then it went as it went.”
In 1983, Gordon killed his mother with a hammer. He was later diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Boyd's heart eventually won
Whitlock waited two years for Clapton to play again, then gave up.
They have remained friends, but have only played together once since then, in Jools Holland's TV show “Later” in London in 2000.
“It happened during a dark time for me. Seeing Eric sober and peaceful inspired me to take charge of my own life. Six months after our appearance, I had stopped everything and had been sober for 20 years.”
It took Clapton time to reach the peace Whitlock describes. Artist colleagues tried in vain to get Clapton on the right track in 1972 and 1973. At the 1973 comeback concert at Rainbow, immortalized at "Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert" (1973), however, he was still addicted to drugs.
In 1974, Clapton finally moved in with Boyd. He had then stopped using heroin, but drank copious amounts of alcohol. In his autobiography, Clapton admits that his interest in Boyd cooled when he won her over.
“The only thing I really regret in mine life is that I spent the 60s and 70s stuffing myself with drugs and alcohol,” Clapton said when he was asked in Milan how he looked back on his life.
From 1974, however, he got out his albums again with great regularity. "461 Ocean Boulevard" (1974) contained the hit "I Shot the Sheriff". “There’s One In Every Crowd” (1975) continued in the slightly rejected style.
“Eric did not feel good about having the tough party prizes from Tulsa in his band. It was only when he got rid of them and became sober and drug-free that he could think clearly and his music came to life again,” says Whitlock, “who himself took a long break from his solo career in 1976.”
“E.C. Was Here” had several highlights, including a nice cover of Blind Faith's song “Can’t Find My Way Home ”.
Clapton made a scandal in 1976 by speaking out in favor of the anti-immigration politician Enoch Powell, for which he later that year apologized (although he maintained that Powell had a point).
The fine "No Reason to Cry" (1976), mainly a collaboration with The Band and Bob Dylan, was a boost in terms of quality. That same year, Clapton appeared on "The Last Waltz", The Band's farewell concert, which two years later resulted in a triple album and a film directed by Martin Scorsese.
In 1977, Clapton got a higher profile. "Slowhand" held a cover of J.J. Cale's "Cocaine" which has become a classic, as well as the self-written hits "Lay Down Sally" and "Wonderful Tonight". Here he had refined his treatment of the Fender Stratocaster, which was now his choice of instrument.
"Backless" (1978) was a laid-back copy of its predecessor. Many old fans were disappointed with how a blues puritan who in the 60's had played red-hot solos on his Les Paul, turned into a lazy and directionless radio rocker. Clapton was still in decline and, according to his own statement, treated Boyd badly. In early 1982, he made a first attempt to be admitted to a treatment home, but it would take years before he was completely free from the grip of alcohol.
However, that is a different story.
Enormous unplugged success
The "Layla" album has come to be re-evaluated over the years. Its title track also had an unexpected renaissance in 1992, in the more lukewarm shuffle version Clapton did on the huge hit "Unplugged", (which with 26 million copies sold is one of the best-selling live albums of all time). A reinterpretation that lacked the desperation of the original.
In Milan, Clapton said that he was not at all happy with "Unplugged" when it was released.
“Luckily I did not have to do promotion for it, it sold itself, but if I had to, I would have said "I think it's a crap plate and would rather not have released it!".
Fantastic review of RICKY BYRD'S "Sobering Times" on Patch.com!
October 14, 2020
Ricky Byrd's "Sobering Times" An Emotional Rock-and-Roll Triumph
Singer-guitarist's new album chronicling addiction and recovery brings joy and tears
Guitarist Ricky Byrd is best known as a member of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer that performed on the all-time classic, "I Love Rock & Roll." Yet it's Byrd's solo work that is his most meaningful.
On his inspiring and invigorating new album, "Sobering Times," Byrd, clean and sober for 33 years, channels his personal experiences with addiction and recovery through a moving, emotional rock-and-roll journey. Byrd's unique insight into the harrowing struggles with and joyous victories over addiction and his knack for writing great rock songs make "Sobering Times" a compelling listen.
The disc, released in September, starts, fittingly, with "Quittin' Time (Again)." The New Yorker's jangly guitar and tasteful soloing lay bare the feelings of a hopeful, relapsed addict prepared to says goodbye to the party once again, and swearing this will be the last farewell. "Tired," with some fine slide guitar work, takes on the persistent temptation that leads to relapse.
On other tracks Byrd celebrates the gratitude and joy that comes with sobriety. "I Come Back Stronger" portrays confidence in fighting off demons while the beautiful "Starlit Night" and the expressive "Hear My Song" are all about being thankful and grateful.
Byrd's vocals adapt to his characters. He's a powerful singer who conveys heartache and exultation with honesty and fearlessness. And let's be clear: "Sobering Times," while at times delicate, also rocks hard.
Raucous tracks like "Recover Me" (a duet with fellow NYC rocker Willie Nile), the boogie-rock of country legend Merle Haggard's "The Bottle Let Me Down" and the blues infused "Ain't Gonna Live Like That" showcase Byrd's rootsy, down and dirty guitar playing. It's with good reason that his playing has been linked to the Rolling Stones.
"Sobering Times" is the follow-up to Byrd's 2017 effort, "Clean Getaway." The singer-songwriter is also dedicated to helping others in a very personal way. In addition to his albums, Byrd leads recovery music groups throughout the country, including right here in Northern New Jersey in Paterson. Byrd punctuates his messages during the group meetings with his songs. He will receive the Courage and Compassion award later this month from the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies.
One listen to "Sobering Times" and you'll be pulling for Byrd and his protagonists. It's a wonderful album by an extraordinary musician who has led an even more extraordinary life. We're grateful for Byrd's recovery, and that he's chosen music to convey his message.
"Sobering Times" is available through Byrd's website, www.rickybyrd.com and will be available across all platforms and in stores in the coming months.
Listen here to RICKY BYRD'S interview with American Songwriter's "Bringin' It Backwards" Podcast
Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with Ricky Byrd
We had the pleasure of interviewing Ricky Byrd over Zoom video!
On September 25, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (2015 inductee with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts) and guitarist/singer-songwriter Ricky Byrd presents Sobering Times (Kayos Records).
Sobering Times is an honest and intimate reflection of recovery delivered through his signature brand of Rock ‘N’ Roll. As Goldmine Magazine states “…The Faces and The Rolling Stones with a dash of Otis…It rocks like a b*tch. His vocals are the best of his career…early indications make it seem likely that this will be his career statement.”
Following the path he carved with his 2017 album Clean Getaway, Sobering Times (produced by Ricky Byrd and Bob Stander) continues his mission to deliver the message of hope to those recovering from addiction. He expresses the roller coaster of emotions and every day trials of recovery, from hitting rock bottom, to the gratitude of surviving and thriving in a sober life.
On Sobering Times, Byrd is joined by an all-star cast of musicians: Bob Stander (bass guitar, percussion), Jeff Kazee of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (keyboards/ accordion/background vocals), Steve Holley (of Wings / Ian Hunter / Joe Cocker, contributed drums to most of the album), Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel, drums), Rich Pagano (The Fab Faux, session drummer), Thommy Price (Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Mink DeVille, drums) and Christine “The Beehive Queen” Ohlman (vocalist, Saturday Night Live band).
Additionally, he collaborated with Richie Supa (“I Come Back Stronger”) and Willie Nile, who duets with Byrd on “Recover Me”, in addition to Emily Duff, who co-wrote “Ain’t Gonna Live Like That.” Fittingly, he also recorded a cover of Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down”.
Byrd chose the Sobering Times release date of September 25 as it’s also the 33rd anniversary of the day he started his sober journey. Having lived through the disease of addiction himself, Byrd has made it his mission to help others as a recovery coach and drug/alcohol counselor, who visits schools, rehab facilities, and detention and detox centers to perform, talk, and lead recovery music groups. In fact, he gave away almost 2500 copies of Clean Getaway at these facilities, so clients could take the message of recovery home with them.
He dedicates Sobering Times to all of those who struggle with addiction, as well as the recovery warriors who help those who are struggling, those that support a clean and sober lifestyle, and of course, those that still love loud and proud Rock ‘N’ Roll.
“As far as third acts go, I couldn’t be more grateful for mine,” says Byrd. “I get to use the undeniable power of R’n’R to spread the recovery message to those that are struggling….pretty… pretty… pretty good.”
“I Wanna Sing About How Lucky I Am
You’re Looking At One Grateful Man
I Should Be Long Gone
Yet Here I Stand
Hear My Song”
Quittin’ Time (Again)
Hear My Song
I Come Back Stronger
Recover Me (feat. Willie Nile)
Ain’t Gonna Live Like That
The Bottle Let Me Down
Life Is Good
Just Like You
Although best known for his time with The Blackhearts, Byrd has also recorded and played with Roger Daltrey, and toured with Ian Hunter and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, respectively. He is also proud to have shared stages with such music royalty as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Smokey Robinson, and Mavis Staples, among others.
PHOTO CREDITS: Frankie Byrd
View "Heard It On The X" from ZZ TOP'S "Live From Texas" here
RONNIE WOOD: Somebody Up There Likes Me -- Variety states: "The rocker, while never downplaying the danger of the fire he’s played with throughout his life, has to chuckle as he admits he’s led a largely charmed life. We end up charmed, too..."
September 17, 2020
‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ Review: Through the Years With Ronnie Wood, a Rolling Stone Who Never Stopped Being Lovable, Even in Excess
Ronnie Wood has always seemed like he’d be nothing if not an enjoyable hang. That proves to be very much the case with “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” a documentary about the Rolling Stones guitarist from British director Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas”), who has clearly been hitting it off for quite a while with the musician … although Wood is so hail-fellow-well-met, you suspect he might have a good rapport with anybody. A surfeit of conviviality and a storied 60-year career do not always add up to a great story, though, and so “Somebody” will be liked by hardcore Stones fans down here more than raved about by anyone hoping Figgis has sussed out a narrative worthy of one of his fictional projects.
When Wood is glimpsed in the doc’s opening, there are pianos tinkling instead of guitars blaring, as we see him at work on his other passion, visual art. That he’s working on sketches may serve as premonition of the sketch-like quality of the entire short (72-minute) feature, which dips in and out of bands, eras and tales of druggy excess and family redemption without ever making too much of an impact in any one area. It lacks the harrowing qualities of a lot of rock biopics, although that isn’t necessarily for Figgis’ lack of trying: There are numerous moments in which the filmmaker tries to cajole Wood into exploring the limits of excess or personal devastations. No danger of this turning into “Leaving Las Vegas 2”: The rocker, while never downplaying the danger of the fire he’s played with throughout his life, has to chuckle as he admits he’s led a largely charmed life. We end up charmed, too, if never really riveted.
Wood fills in a few early details that might have left psychological scars: an alcoholic father who might have ended up spending the night in any random neighbor’s garden; a first love who perished in a car crash. From there, things look up for Scott, even if it does take him more than a decade after he first spots the nascent Stones playing blues covers in a nightclub in 1963 and make good on his vow to someday join them. In the interim, he spends the ’60s and early ’70s making career moves that would be peaks for most musicians, even if it was all prelude for him: stints with a garage band called the Birds (not to be confused with the Byrds), then fruitful hookups with Rod Stewart in the Jeff Beck Group and Faces, before Mick Taylor’s abrupt exit from the Stones creates a dream opening.
What’s almost funny — but which also precludes “Behind the Music”-level highs or lows — is how utterly functional an alcoholic and addict Wood was. “He has a great immune system. He’s very like me, with a great pain threshold,” figures Keith Richards, laughing; Charlie Watts allows that he “did do a lot of things to excess” but “never lost it.” Wood’s third wife, Sally, his junior by several decades (two prior spouses and their children go unmentioned), points out that he’s “always a happy person” whether sober or not, but she prefers the extra realness now that, having rounded 70, her husband is completely substance-free. Wood is operated on for lung cancer but comes out being told it’s as if he hadn’t smoked any cigs, let alone 30 a day for 50 years — what he calls “a get out of jail free card.” At some point we can agree with the title: God must enjoy doing the hang with Wood as much as Figgis.
For all that’s left out of a movie this short, Figgis makes some curious inclusions, like old video footage of himself talking with the famously scary rock manager Peter Grant, or Mick Jagger discussing about what kind of jazz art-school students favored in the early ’60s — interesting subjects for other, longer films. It certainly could have used one more film clip of the Stones with Wood in the band than the one we get, of them playing “When the Whip Comes Down.” There’s some interesting talk by Richards of how different a flavor Wood brought to the band, entwining with his own efforts instead of going off on melodic solos like his predecessor, Taylor; Jagger talks about how they suddenly became a more “good-timey” band upon Wood’s mid-’70s arrival.
Not surprisingly, “Somebody Up There Likes Me” becomes a good-timey movie, too … as much of one as any movie that introduces the subject of freebasing cocaine and other usually more ominous topics can be. By the way, for anyone whose knowledge of Wood comes mainly from remembering Mike Myers’ impression on “Saturday Night Live”: The movie does not have, or require, subtitles; rest assured that the rocker’s oft-parodied dialect is really as clear as his present-day head.
"RONNIE WOOD: Somebody Up There Likes Me" Film Story on All Access
September 16, 2020
Ronnie Wood Documentary Set For Virtual Cinema Release, Sept. 18th
A RONNIE WOOD documentary, "Somebody Up There Likes Me," is being released by EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT as a virtual cinema event on SEPTEMBER 18th at www.ronniewoodmovie.com. An official selection at both the TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2020 and the BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2019, the biographical feature by acclaimed director MIKE FIGGIS will run through OCTOBER, followed by a DVD, Blu-ray and deluxe hardback book release on OCTOBER 9th.
Pre-orders are available now. Those who purchase a ticket ($11) will also be treated to a Q&A with WOOD and FIGGIS.
As an artist, musician, producer, author and ROLLING STONES guitarist, RONNIE WOOD has made countless contributions to the cultural zeitgeist. This intimate portrait traces his many lives and careers, capturing what it means to be a rock ‘n’ roll icon.
"Somebody Up There Likes Me" traces WOOD’s 50-year musical history, from THE BIRDS, the JEFF BECK GROUP, THE FACES (with ROD STEWART), and the NEW BARBARIANS, to becoming a permanent member of the STONES. The film takes its title from a conversation FIGGIS had with WOOD about surviving his chronic smoking habit: “When they operated on my cancer, they took away my emphysema. They said my lungs were as if I’d never smoked. I thought: ‘How’s that for a Get Out Of Jail Free card?’ Somebody up there likes me, and somebody down here likes me too.”
The documentary features interviews with MICK JAGGER, KEITH RICHARDS and CHARLIE WATT, as well as ROD STEWART, his wife SALLY WOOD, singer IMELDA MAY and artist DAMIAN HIRST, alongside both present-day performances and archive footage from WOOD's half-century career.
These interviews and performance segments as well as footage of WOOD playing guitar and enjoying quiet, personal moments while he paints in his studio. It climaxes with RONNIE giving a beautiful, intimate performance of “Breathe On Me” from his 1975 solo album "New Look."
WOOD describes the film as summing up “the essence of survival” in a life he continues to live to the fullest, without regrets, “I wouldn’t change anything except I’d do it with my eyes open a bit more,” he says, “I was in the hands of destiny all my life … and being in the right place at the right time."
RICKY BYRD's In-depth conversation about "Sobering Times" and career with NPR The Lakeshore's "Midwest Beat"
September 29, 2020
Ricky Byrd Still Rocks Through These "Sobering Times"
This edition of "MIDWEST BEAT with Tom Lounges" originally aired on FRIDAY, SEPT. 25th @ on 89.1FM-The Lakeshore
This edition's MUSICAL GUEST is classic rock guitar great, Ricky Byrd, a former member of Joan Jett's Blackhearts and a popular and in-demand side and session player with a cavalcade of other top stars.
On this program, Byrd will talk about his long career -- from his first recordings with the band Susan (RCA), to his years with Jett as a Blackheart, to working with other rock icons including, Roger Daltry. In addition to the music, Byrd discusses his work as a rehab counselor and public speaker and his mission to help others in battles with addiction. This show was done live on Byrd's own 33rd anniversary of sobriety.
Songs from Byrd's latest solo album, "Sobering Times" are heavily featured, although a few others from various parts of his career are also heard. This program marked the world debut of new songs from Byrd's "Sobering Times," released worldwide the morning this show was first broadcast. More at: www.rickybyrd.com.
If you missed this full 2 hour Lakeshore Public Radio program with the amazing rock guitarist RICKY BYRD on "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges" when it first aired, click and listen.
Ricky is not only a great guitarist (just listen to the tunes featured on this show!), but also a great person who is helping others through addiction issues.
While some might assume Byrd's music might have softened because of age and sobriety, think again! Just listen to the tunes featured on this program from his brand new solo album, "SOBERING TIMES."
Byrd is certainly NOT at all preachy as one discovers during the course of this awesome interview and music spotlight, but Byrd is certainly at the ready to throw a life line to folks who have decided they are ready to follow his path to a cleaner lifestyle.
Being sober has not watered down Mr. Byrd's ability to kick ass! This guy still rocks with the best of them. While Byrd has left a lot of great music in his wake, his more recent solo albums feature some of his best work ever.
Blinded By Sound says: "With Sobering Times, RICKY BYRD has constructed a strong set of tunes that sound as if they could have come from rock's glory days. With strong playing and singing, well-crafted songs and a strong message for those in need, Sobering Times is a winner."
October 27, 2020
CD Review: Ricky Byrd - Sobering Times
Ricky Byrd offers hope to those struggling with addiction, and a killer set of songs, on Sobering Times.
Three years ago, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Ricky Byrd released his acclaimed album, Clean Getaway, a record aimed at helping people struggling with addiction as he once did. The former Joan Jett and the Blackhearts guitarist has been sober for over 30 years and dedicates much of his time working as a recovery coach for other addicts. The response was so positive to Clean Getaway that Byrd decided to have a go at it again with his new release, Sobering Times, an album rich in classic rock hooks but, more importantly, rich with a message of hope for those struggling as he once did.
Produced by Byrd and Bob Stander -- who played bass, percussion, and guitar on "The Bottle Let Me Down" -- Sobering Times is a master class in gritty, Stones-influenced rock and roll. Byrd collaborated with the likes of Richie Supa and Emily Duff, and the top-notch band includes Steve Holley, formerly of Wings, and Jeff Kazee of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes fame, among others.
Jangly guitars and a memorable melody punctuate album opener "Quittin' Time (Again)." Byrd delivers a gritty vocal that has a heavy Stones/Springsteen vibe without ever sounding derivative. A bit of b-bender gives the song just a hint of country in this strong lead off track. A Gary Glitter drumbeat propels the rocking "Together," a driving track with a melodic, stadium-ready chorus and a dose of psychedelia in parts of the vocals.
Byrd slows down the pace on "Hear My Song," a bluesy track showcasing some tasty mandolin and country-tinged guitar leads. Once can sense the joy Byrd has in his voice while conveying his message of hope to those in need. Byrd's group sounds like the world's greatest bar band on a sizzling "Tired," a song that is anything but tired musically. Byrd delivers a strong vocal and the song features some tasteful slide playing.
On the up-tempo "Recover Me," Byrd duets with Willie Nile, who co-wrote the track. The song is a driving rocker with a strong, melodic chorus and some sizzling lad guitar work from Byrd. Byrd does a rock and roll take on Merle Haggard's "The Bottle Let Me Down," with Stanton getting a chance to show off his considerable lead guitar chops. This is country through a Keith Richards filter with killer results.
The album closes with "Just Like You," a ballad dedicated to those who think they are alone in their struggle. Byrd gives a strong vocal and the song's stripped down approach gives emphasis to the message in the lyrics.
With Sobering Times, Byrd has constructed a strong set of tunes that sound as if they could have come from rock's glory days. With strong playing and singing, well-crafted songs and a strong message for those in need, Sobering Times is a winner.
Read GoldmineMag.com's interview with IAN GILLAN and IAN Paice here
October 28, 2020
Deep Purple perform onstage during first day of Hell And Heaven 2020 on March 14, 2020, in Toluca, Mexico. Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images
It’s a bloody fight, but I’m constantly finding myself in it, defending the idea that Deep Purple are — and have been for 25 years now — making some of the best records of their long, distinguished career, right here in the Steve Morse era. But it’s also the Bob Ezrin era, with the band’s 21st album, Whoosh!, being the third in a row produced by Ezrin, famed for Destroyer, The Wall, plus records for Lou Reed and lots for Alice Cooper.
If you liked 2013’s Now What?! and 2017’s Infinite, chances are you will devour the sounds and the musings burbling to the surface all over Whoosh!, for it’s a work of a band feverishly creative into their official senior citizen years, and recorded with a certain poshness that is hard to describe, never particularly heavy but always sizzling and electric, rich of taste, regal and purple like heavy plush drapery at an English castle.
Goldmine cornered the band’s two Ians — Paice, drums and Gillan, vocals (the band are rounded out by Steve Morse on guitars, Roger Glover on bass and Don Airey on keyboards) — to give us the goods on where the band are situated as septuagenarians. The answers are both surprising and inspiring.
Let’s start with Bob Ezrin. How does he contribute to the band dynamic? How does he help facilitate these records?
IAN PAICE: Every collection of people needs a leader. Doesn’t matter if you’re hiking across the hills or in an army, or you’re in the studio. (laughs) Musicians left to their own devices tend to get sidetracked and a bit myopic about their bit. “My bit is more important than everybody else’s.” You get hung up on getting your bit heard and noticed, and sometimes your bit isn’t the most important bit; it’s somebody else’s. And Bob has a very, very shrewd ear. He just picks out what is important, and you might not initially agree with that, if you think your bit is the important bit. But at the end of the day, when the mix is done, he’s 99% correct. So he’s looking at the whole picture. And he makes sure we don’t waste time trying to get to the solution he would get to immediately — he has a great musical brain. If we’re going around with something that isn’t working, he’ll come out of the control room, and he’ll pinpoint what’s wrong. And he’ll do it in a musical way. He’ll say, “That chord isn’t working” or “That change is wrong” or, “We need a drum fill there.” He’ll make a musical critique of it. Which, again, 99 times out of 100 it’s something that improves the actual track. When we’re onstage, that’s our world. Here in the studio, that’s his world. We are there for a few weeks every three or four years. He’s in the studio 48 weeks a year. If you’re gonna work with somebody that talented, then you have to understand that he’s going to have input, and you better listen to it.
And what has Steve Morse done new this time out?
IAN GILLAN: Steve had some problems recently, physically, with his wrist, in his tendons, and it made it difficult for him to do the style of lightning-fast histrionics that he was so well known for. And so he’s relaxed a little bit. And my God, some of the stuff that is coming out... there’s a solo on a song called “Dancing in My Sleep” where he plays a baritone guitar, an old Danelectro, and it’s one of the greatest guitar solos I’ve ever heard in my life. He also plays a brilliant solo on a song called “We’re All the Same in the Dark.” But in general, I guess you wouldn’t have recognized it as Steve’s style 10 years or 20 years ago. It’s more, I don’t know, laid back. Steve’s a kind of frenetic guy. He’s pretty intense with his personality, but he has a lovely, lovely nature. But this sort of slightly more laid-back style seems to suit him. This blues element that is coming out, I’ve never heard in Steve’s playing before, and he’s been encouraged to do that. And I think that’s part of life’s evolution. It happens to us all. When we’re 20 years old, the world is a different place. But when you reach middle age, you start becoming a little more philosophical about things. Your experiences are different. You can do things you couldn’t do when you were 20. In my first band, in my first interview with the local newspaper, he wanted an anecdote and I didn’t have any. I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t been anywhere. I could do the pole vault and I could do sports and play football, but I do other things now — and it’s just as satisfying.
IP: Steve Morse is one of those few magical musicians who have the technical ability to go anywhere he wants to. You throw a piece of music at him, of any style, and he will throw something back at you, which is wonderful. Like any of us who have some technique, it’s very, very easy to fall back on that. I mean, sometimes I fall back on drum fills that are more complex than they need to be for the piece of music that you’re playing. And again, when we’re in the studio, if any one of us is going the technical route rather than the feel route or the emotional route that a piece of music needs, Bob Ezrin is there to get us back on the straight and narrow again. Steve has this wonderful ability to do lyrical, beautiful runs of music, and sometimes you just have to persuade him that that’s just as good as the super-technical stuff. It’s a side of his music which is incredible. And we have to sometimes push him in that direction: “Look, Steve, you don’t have to do that fast run on that; show us some of those beautiful notes.” Same as anybody who has a surfeit of technique — it’s always there to fall out of you, and sometimes you just have to stop thinking and just do.
Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan
Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Tell me a bit about the lead single, “Throw My Bones.”
IG: Well, it’s very simple. Everyone I know is trying to make a forecast, whether it’s the weather or finances or politics or looking into the future. People with Brexit say, “Well, we haven’t got enough information.” But then it’s, “Wait, what more can we give you? We can’t tell you what’s going to happen.” Throwing bones was an original primitive practice. It was to do with witchcraft and trying to see into the future. And they started painting them with dots and they became dice. So that’s where ‘throw my bones’ became throwing dice, and a game of chance, and all that kind of thing. So it was just a question of sitting there thinking I’ll take my chances. This is what I’ve got. I don’t need that much, so I’m kind of cool with it. (laughs)
And what about this album cover? If you were a volunteer interpreter in the local museum and were telling visitors about this artwork, what would you say?
IG: Well, the album cover is a reflection of the word. It’s fairly abstract. But the concept of Whoosh! was “Whoosh!” is the last word in the song “Man Alive.” It’s a story about an apocalyptic situation. I’ve written stuff about telepathy and empathy, and here a mother clutches her breast at the very moment that her son falls dead on a distant battlefield. There was a powerful image inside my head. “Sun sets in the West, boy has gone to rest, mama clutch her breast.” And then you get the image of “All creatures great and small, graze on blood-red soil and grass that grows on city streets.” It’s all that post-humanity type of thing. And then all of a sudden something’s washed up on a beach. It’s a man. It’s just one man. And that’s the end of it, really, because one man alone is no good to anybody. (laughs) And then “whoosh” is a kind of onomatopoeic word, and it kind of illustrates the transient nature of humanity on the planet. It’s a little subplot. It also describes Deep Purple’s career quite nicely. (laughs) Like over in a second. I mean, 1970 seems like yesterday. And then they took it to the design company in Hamburg and they threw a few ideas around, and we gradually whittled it down, and everyone is happy with where they went. It’s difficult to pin down an abstract concept, but I think they’ve done a good job. It looks nice to me. That sort of dissolving spaceman idea.
“When we’re 20 years old, the world is a different place. But when you reach middle age, you start becoming a little more philosophical about things. Your experiences are different. You can do things you couldn’t do when you were 20.” — Ian Gillan
GM: What is a musical track on here that titillates you greatly? What’s a song you were quite impressed with musically on here?
IG: Well, obviously, “Nothing at All” just had me jumping up and down. When they first jammed it, in Germany — we had a five-day writing session and we came up with a load of stuff — I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I kept pressing for us to include it. And, well, quite apart from the technical aspects of the trade-off between Steve and Don (Airey), and the construction, it had an atmosphere to it that was… what was it? Capricious, I think, is the word. It had a sense of mischief to it. And so I literally wrote a song about a leprechaun. And I wrote tons, more and more verses than were ever needed. But it was too literal and it matched the music too much, and still I didn’t want to lose the capricious nature.
So one day last spring we were talking about environmental issues and Extinction Rebellion, and the idea came into my head, about Mother Nature, the one true God, being an old lady. And quite benign, generally speaking, but ready in tooth and claw, as they say. And when we’re doing all this stuff, I’m not really caring, because the kids are saying, “Hey, come on, you know; we gotta do something. It’s getting bad. It’s getting bad.” And everyone is going, “Oh yeah, close my eyes, it’ll go to way. Never mind, there’s nothing at all, don’t worry.” And then, Mother Nature, the little old lady, smiles, and then she blew all the leaves off my tree. Which is the key phrase that changed it all around. So I started writing about that.
But it still had that whimsical, capricious feeling to the music, which is in congress, really, with the seriousness of the message. But that makes it all the more ironic, I think, and so it worked pretty well for me. I was thrilled with that, and I’m still stimulated by that. When I turn it on, it just makes me smile, the sheer… what Steve and Don do on those riffing sections is magnificent. And the way it comes in and then resolves into the modulation and into Don… I mean, what would you call it? That wonderful Bach fugue in the middle. I hope I’m not overselling, but I love it.
Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice
Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
To take you back 50 years with a historical question, over the years I’ve asked everybody this except for you: why is In Rock such a heavy record? It’s essentially music that previously hadn’t existed.
IP: By the time we had done the third record, with (vocalist) Rod Evans and (bassist) Nick Simper, there was an unconscious realization from definitely Ritchie and I, and somewhat Jon (Lord), that our music was actually getting harder. And because we were playing live so often, and we were getting better at it, the ideas were becoming slightly more aggressive. And we needed a different sound at the top. Rod Evans’ voice was lovely, but he wasn’t what I would call a rock and roll voice; it really wasn’t. So when that change came and we got Ian and Roger (Glover) in, not only did we get that voice, we got a couple of songwriters in. And so the shift was sort of inevitable. The amalgamation of those five musical influences, and the way that the musical dynamic was shifting, we had to make a statement and say let’s make sure everybody realizes this is a big shift from the first Deep Purple. I wouldn’t say it was a conscious thought, but there was a deliberate effort. In Rock was very, very hard. And then we heard Mountain’s first record, and we went back and said, “We’ve got to do some work.” (laughs)
“Steve Morse is one of those few magical musicians who have the technical ability to go anywhere he wants to. ” — Ian Paice
What would Roger’s preoccupations be in terms of lyrical subjects versus you? I mean, if an outsider was to try to pick apart what a Roger lyric is verses an Ian lyric, what does Roger concern himself with more than you?
IG: Well, Roger and I have worked together since ’65. And it’s like the odd couple, I suppose (laughs), in that sense. Roger did virtually all the lyrics on the last album. And here, the gates just flung open. I just started scribbling one night and I didn’t stop and there it was, all finished. The first one I wrote was “Drop the Weapon,” which is because I was very moved about kids dying on the street, shooting each other, stabbing each other in London. It’s getting worse and worse. And it was a kind of metaphorical arm around the shoulder: “Hey kid, you know, your pride can take a hit. Let’s drop the weapon. There’s other things we can do.” That came out, and it was just stream of consciousness, and before I knew it, it was all finished.
But to answer your question, I think Roger’s style is more romantic. He’s a much nicer person than I am. In fact I complain about it all the time: “I hate you Roger, ‘cos you’re just too nice.” And, well, he’s the nearest thing I ever had to a brother. He’s more poetic. And he’s very good at narratives. I’m probably more aggressive than Roger, and probably more cryptic. Roger is much more straightforward when he’s telling a story. I tend to bury meanings in two or three layers. Of the songs we’ve written, over the years… I mean, I’ve written 500 or more songs now, and probably half of them are with Roger. Of the songs we’ve written, you know, he’s probably written 30% and I’ve written 30% on my own and the rest we’ve written together. We don’t actually count. If somebody has a good idea, we go with that.
And so in closing, can we look at these three records with Bob as a bit of a unified suite?
IG: Sure. This one particularly is the climax of a trilogy that was the beginning of an amazing journey, at this late stage in our career. I couldn’t imagine so much creative input and energy from a bunch of guys at our age. Not only that, but it’s the best sound we’ve ever had. I’ve made comparisons — there’s nothing like it in our career. So that’s a boost as well. But this little set of records for me is either a nice way to finish up, or it leaves the door open for another one. I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about that. It may be happening in two or three years’ time, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a very satisfying little group of records.
"Mixed Emotions" from THE ROLLING STONES "Steel Wheels Live" - view here!
"Midnight Rambler" from THE ROLLING STONES' "Steel Wheels Live" - out NOW!
BOBBY WHITLOCK discusses Derek and The Dominos "Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs" 50th Anniversary with Lust For Life Magazine (The Netherlands - translation included)
Heroin, Heartache and a Hammer Murder
"Leave George or I'll be on heroin." That was the ultimatum that Pattie Boyd was presented by a deeply in love Eric Clapton. The burning, unfulfilled longings for model Boyd - the wife of George Harrison at the time - not only plunged the star guitarist into an emotionally tough period, but also inspired him for the artistic highlight of his career: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. , the only studio album by the band Derek And The Dominos. Fifty years after its release, singer / keyboardist Bobby Whitlock looks back: "I now see it as my role to tell the true story."
“How I handled the situation between Eric and Pattie? I stayed outside,” laughs the now 72-year-old Whitlock at the memory. “At that time I was in a relationship with Pattie's sister Paula and I spent a lot of time at George's house, so of course I got everything with me. Everyone knew what was going on, but no one said anything about it. After all, it wasn't anyone's business outside of Eric, Pattie and George. And when George finally got to hear it, he was very indifferent. So that took some pressure off the kettle. "
The two men who are in this soapy situation are in love with the same woman, and have been friends for some time in 1970 and also work together from time to time. Clapton plays the guitar solo in Harrison's Beatles classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and the "quiet Beatle" in turn co-writes on Cream's hit “Badge”. At the end of 1969, both gentlemen also join the traveling musician circus Delaney & Bonnie And Friends, which also includes Bobby Whitlock. The American singer / keyboardist beams: “At one point we had drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle, keyboardist Billy Preston, guitarist Dave Mason, George and Eric in the band. It was an amazing ten-man formation! Eric and I got to know each other without having plans to write songs together or start our own band. One day I bought him lunch at a roadside cafe, but it turned out I didn't even have enough money to pay the bill. So I said to Eric, "It looks like I have to go back to America because I'm running out of money." But he replied, "I thought we were going to form a band!" So we started writing together, with the song ‘I Looked Away’ as the first result. It all went very naturally. Not long after that, we were having tea at Eric's house and the phone rang. It was George Harrison.”
Harrison asks Clapton and Whitlock to collaborate on his first post-Beatles solo work, All Things Must Pass. "On that George album you actually hear The Dominos being formed", Whitlock recalls. Old acquaintances Carl Radle and Jim Gordon are brought in and former Traffic guitarist Dave Mason is also briefly part of Derek And The Dominos, the band that emerges from the All Things Must Pass sessions. However, he soon drops out. “Dave can also be heard on George’s album and appeared on shows a few times, but he had his own career,” said Whitlock. Mason himself, however, gives a slightly different reason for his departure during an interview with Lust For Life in 2017. "It was partly due to the fact that Eric Clapton was not in good physical shape due to his addiction and there was not much of making music at the time," the musician admitted somewhat bitterly. "I got frustrated, so I quit."
Dueling with Duane
Mason stays just long enough to work on a first single, produced by Phil Spector, which, incidentally, is quickly withdrawn. And while the band may never have needed a second guitarist besides Eric Clapton, yet another famous musician joins Derek And The Dominos. “I also met Duane Allman during my time with Delaney & Bonnie and it was pure coincidence that The Allman Brothers Band performed in Miami when we recorded the Layla album there,” says Whitlock, then adds a surprising statement. : “We already had enough song material and it would have been a great record anyway if Duane had never played it. His contribution was not really necessary. Eric might as well have played the slide guitar, because he can do that like the best - even if you never hear anyone about it. Nevertheless, the addition of Duane to the band worked out well. He and Eric were great together. ”
Whitlock says there was no specific plan for the first and only Derek And The Dominos album. Just record songs and see where the ship ends up, that was the motto. "It started with the first song Eric and I wrote together, I Looked Away," said Whitlock. "The songs on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs are exactly in the order we recorded them." In some of those "assorted love songs," Clapton incorporates his feelings for Pattie Boyd, although Whitlock says he also hangs out with other ladies at the time. “All women loved Eric Clapton. Including wives, haha. ”
"Everyone knew what was going on between Eric and Pattie "
Despite the abundance of female attention, Clapton is going through a rough time around the making of Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. Not only does he covet the spouse of his good friend George Harrison and his drug addiction is becoming increasingly worrying, the proclaimed 'God' guitarist is also shaking up his superstar status - which he achieved in the 1960s with bands like Cream and Blind Faith - preferably get rid of it. He even insists that his name is not mentioned on the concert posters of his new project. With Derek And The Dominos, Clapton does not necessarily take the position of frontman, despite the fact that he is of course the "Derek" in the band name. “It was Eric's band and me, we brought the group together”, Whitlock agrees. “The songwriting, the vocals ... I played just as big a part as Eric. Jim Gordon and Carl Radle both had other projects, and Duane Allman was just a ‘hired gun’. We paid him ten thousand dollars for his contributions. So Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs was essentially an album by Eric and me.
”The album title makes no mistake: the undisputed highlight is the song Layla. Built around a masterful guitar melody and Clapton's most powerful, most passionate singing performance to date, with an instrumental piano piece by drummer Jim Gordon in the second part (although he is said to have stolen the melody from his ex Rita Coolidge).
That part also made cinematic history in 1990 thanks to its use in a crucial scene in Martin Scorsese's crime epic Goodfellas. However, Bobby Whitlock never agreed with the addition of Gordon's epilogue to Layla: “Originally that part was not included at all. I didn't like it at all. Layla was a really strong song in its own right, written by Eric on his own, and it didn't take a piano piece to make it better. ”
Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs also includes one of the ultimate Jimi Hendrix covers, recorded while the guitarist was alive. Eric wanted to pay tribute to Jimi because he admired him immensely. I had never heard of the song Little Wing myself. Duane was the one who came up with that genius intro to our version. While Eric and Duane worked out the guitar parts, I wrote the lyrics on paper while trying to memorize the words of a song I had never heard. I put the text sheet on my organ, counted down and we recorded the song live. It was unbelievable! Eric and Duane's guitar parts came out of the speakers like warm, rich colors. ” Jimi Hendrix unfortunately never gets to hear the tribute. He dies a few months before Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs is released.
Sweating at Johnny Cash
Fortunately, not every recording has such a tragic aftermath. The country cover It’s Too Late, for example, gives Whitlock one of his fondest memories. “That song eventually ended up on the album, but we initially only recorded it as a demo so that we could perform on The Johnny Cash Show. Only country artists were roped in for that. The show took place in Memphis and my grandmother sat in the front row with my mom, sister and uncle. That was very special to me. Meanwhile, Eric was under a lot of pressure, because he had Johnny Cash on one side and Carl Perkins on the other. ” Whitlock laughs so hard that his voice skips through it: "You should have seen him sweat, haha!"
In an affectionate foreword to Whitlock's extraordinarily honest autobiography, Eric Clapton claims that working with his Dominos sidekick really taught him how to write songs. That compliment deserves some nuance, says the singer / keyboard player. “He had already written some good songs with Cream and Blind Faith. I am sure that I influenced him as a writer and singer, just as he influenced me in every possible way. ” Whitlock points to Tell The Truth as the best song he composed with Clapton. “I remember exactly how that song came about: I was sitting in the living room, Eric had already gone to bed. Suddenly there were those rules about "a new dawn breaking". And at that moment, a new day had really just arrived, because it was around 5:30 in the morning and the British countryside came to life right before my eyes.”
Fifty years after its release, critics still consider Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs to be Clapton's absolute masterpiece. All the more remarkable, then, that the sales figures of the double LP at the time of its release in November 1970 are rather disappointing. Even the acclaimed title number Layla did not reach hit status in England and America until two years later. “Duane was already dead by then, Eric was in bad shape from the heroin and isolated himself, I was back in America ... Everyone had moved on with their lives by now. People appreciate the Layla album more now that they know what's behind it. When Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs was finished, Eric wondered: what am I going to do now? He saw the album as the pinnacle of his career, even though he was only in his mid-twenties. How can I match this, he wondered. Well, he couldn't. The past fifty years, his further work has been in the shadow of Layla - and it is no different for me. I'm not saying that Eric never did anything good after that album, because he sure did. But you cannot make a second Layla. ”
There will never be a successor. After the breakup of Derek And The Dominos, the band's rhythm section awaits a tragic future. Carl Radle still regularly collaborates with Clapton (and other well-known artists), but his alcohol and drug addiction contributed to his early death in 1980. He is only 37 years old. Jim Gordon is still alive, but don't ask how. Whitlock already writes in his book that he finds the company of the drummer in the aftermath of Derek And The Dominos scary. “Before he came to us, he was already in trouble,” Whitlock adds, pulling a sad face behind his webcam. “He was heavily on drugs and drank more and more. The inevitable happened: something snapped. I saw that something was clearly not quite right with him and unfortunately that turned out to be true. ” In June 1983 Gordon attacks his mother with a hammer and then kills her with a knife. A voice in his head would have told him to. “When I heard about the murder, I especially felt sorry for his family. I was reminded of the many times that Jim showed me a picture of a little girl in a blue dress and said it was his daughter…”
Whitlock sighs. "But let's not end this great interview on such a bleak note."
"Duane Allman was only a hired gun "
Luckily Clapton and Whitlock await a better fate than the other Dominos and are both still active while a 50th Anniversary Edition of Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs is released. “I now see it as my role to tell the true story, because I remember everything”, smiles a cheerful Whitlock, who has almost put the finishing touches to a new solo album. He is also still good friends with Clapton. “He has also given me a credit for the song Bell Bottom Blues. That means more to me than money or whatever. For a long time I was not happy that only he was mentioned as a writer, but now he has put that right. I haven't seen the new re-release of the Layla album yet, but I assume it now also says 'written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock'.
And Pattie Boyd? In 1977 she divorced George Harrison. Clapton still gets his dream wife and marries her not much later, but unfortunately: in 1989 that marriage also ends. In retrospect, it seems especially surprising that the whole situation with Boyd never drove the two musician friends apart. Bobby Whitlock knows an explanation for this: “That's because George and Eric were friends before. This was just an incident, a small threshold in the long time they knew each other. Nothing stands in the way of true friendship. ”
Thank you, CNN, for the coverage of JOHN LEE HOOKER AND THE COAST TO COAST BLUES BAND "Live At Montreux 1983 & 1990" - out NOW!
The John Lee Hooker segment starts at :47 mark. View HERE.
WATCH "I'm In A Mood" from JOHN LEE HOOKER AND THE COAST TO COAST BLUES BAND "Live At Montreux 1983 & 1990" - out now!
2020 Critics Choice Documentary Award Winner "THE GO-GOS" To Be Released on Digital Formats / Rental - February 5, 2021
2020 CRITICS CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARD WINNER ‘THE GO-GO’S’ TO BE RELEASED ON DVD, BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL FORMATS
“Club Zero” Official Video Premieres With A Jane Wiedlin & Kathy Valentine Live Chat On YouTube
“Anyone who still thinks The Go-Go’s are just a footnote in ‘80s music history lessons will come away properly schooled.” –
“A treasure trove of archival footage that thoroughly excavates the group’s early punk bona fides.” –
NEW YORK TIMES
“A laudably forthright, well-researched and perceptive testament to the power of pop music.” –
“They created their own space in a male-dominated corner of the music world – in their case, the rough-and-ready LA punk scene, where they formed in 1978 – and transcended it with a mix of sisterhood, spirit and irrepressible pop songs.” –
New York, NY (November 20, 2020) – Multi-platinum Los Angeles rock band The Go-Go’s will see the release of their universally acclaimed, 2020 Critics Choice Award winning documentary
THE GO-GO’S on DVD and Blu-ray formats (Polygram/UMe) and through digital & rental services (Eagle Rock Entertainment) on February 5, 2021. Pre order the DVD and Blu-ray here.
The Alison Ellwood-directed
THE GO-GO’S documentary, which first premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, aired over the summer on Showtime to rave reviews, achieved a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won a 2020 Critics Choice Award for “Best Music Documentary” in addition to receiving the honor of “Most Compelling Living Subjects in a Documentary.”
The candid and archive-rich documentary assesses the group’s place in music history and offers full access to The Go-Go’s, including past members as well as longtime members of their inner circle. With their roots in the L.A. punk scene, they were bad girls and genuine punk rockers, and this serious appraisal of their story is the first to set the record straight about their historical ascent to global stardom. A major highlight of the film focuses on their collaborative efforts in writing a new song, the female empowerment anthem “Club Zero,” which became the first Go-Go’s single in nearly 20 years and hit the Top 10 on the Rock Digital Song Sales chart.
Today, Nov. 20th at 3:00PM PT, Jane Wiedlin & Kathy Valentine chat live with fans & premiere the song’s official video at 3:15PM PT (which includes footage from the documentary of their performance at L.A.’s legendary Whisky a Go-Go interspersed with other live clips) on
The Go-Go’s Official YouTube Channel here.
In June, The Go-Go’s will perform a series of summer 2021 North American tour dates in conjunction with the documentary release. Starting at San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium, they’ll perform at intimate venues across North America, giving fans a chance to see them up close and personal.
Summer 2021 North American tour dates:
Jun 18 The Masonic San Francisco, CA +
Jun 23 Humphreys San Diego, CA +
Jun 24 Humphreys San Diego, CA +
Jun 27 Pechanga Resort Casino Temecula, CA +
Jun 29 Orpheum Theater Los Angeles, CA +
Jun 30 Orpheum Theater Los Angeles, CA +
Jul 7 Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY
Jul 8 Parx Casino Bensalem, PA
Jul 10 Foxwoods Resort Casino Mashantucket, CT
Jul 11 Stone Pony Asbury Park, NJ +
+ Date changes
The Go-Go’s skyrocketed to superstardom after they released one of the most successful debut albums of all time, 1981’s
Beauty And The Beat, a collection of hook-laden, infectious songs that stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard charts for six consecutive weeks, spawning the hits “Our Lips Are Sealed” (named one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Pop Singles) and “We Got The Beat” and also earned them a Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist.” Their 1982 follow-up,
Vacation, hit Top Ten on the Billboard 200 and featured the Top Ten title track “Vacation.” They have sold over 7 million records worldwide and have the notable distinction of being the only all-female band to write their own songs and play their own instruments on a No. 1 album. In January The Go-Go’s will be honored at the
2021 She Rocks Awards, which pays tribute to women in the industry, as they continue to blaze new trails, kicking down the doors for women in particular.
# # #
Inquiries regarding Digital & Rentals contact:
Carol Kaye, Kayos Productions Inc. – email@example.com
Inquiries regarding The Go-Go’s/DVD & Blu-ray contact:
Todd Nakamine, FunHouse Entertainment – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sujata Murthy, UMe – email@example.com
RICKY BYRD discusses becoming a Recovery Troubadour with The Aquarian - read here!
November 13, 2020
Ricky Byrd: Becoming a Recovery Troubadour
Even in the most uncertain of times, Ricky Byrd continues to prove that rock and roll, sobriety, and recovering can, in fact, go hand-in-hand
On September 25 – the day he released his fourth solo album, Sobering Times – venerated guitarist/vocalist Ricky Byrd marked his 33rd year of sobriety – “Which is freaking cool!” he says. But Byrd has also looked beyond his own situation: through his music, he is helping others stay on the right path, as well. The songs on this new album, he says, are “All with the same theme of recovery, mixed in with some loud and proud rock and roll.”
Byrd rose to fame as a longtime member of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, playing on hits including “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” After that, he worked with Ian Hunter and Roger Daltrey, then released his first solo album, Tough Room, in 1999. By his 2015 album Clean Getaway, he was still playing his signature blues-influenced rock, but he had begun singing lyrics that examine and encourage sobriety. “My rule of thumb was, this still had to be like Exile on Main Street – with a message of addiction recovery, hope, [and] change for better,” Byrd says during a call from his home in Queens, New York.
This transformation into being a “Recovery Troubadour,” as Byrd calls himself, started about ten years ago when he was invited to perform at a recovery benefit show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He accepted, and recalls that he played “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and some blues cover songs. Afterward, “I had people coming over to me and saying, ‘Wow, man, I grew up on your music. It’s so cool you’re in recovery. I’m in recovery!’ Or, ‘Unfortunately, I lost somebody to addiction.’ The proverbial lightbulb went off in my head,” he says.
When Byrd returned to his home in New York City, he recorded a demo song, “Broken Is a Place,” which contained lyrics about recovery. He made it available online. Soon, he says, “I started getting messages from people around the world saying, ‘I so identified with that!’ And not only people [who are] struggling, but people that are in long-term recovery and also people that just love rock and roll.” Encouraged, he wrote a few more songs with the same theme.
After that, Byrd began taking his acoustic guitar to treatment facilities in New Jersey, leading music recovery groups. He found that the songs worked the same magic with these clients as they had with his online audience: “They laughed, they cried. They asked questions. They’d come over to me and say, ‘I can’t believe you’re telling my story.’ Then they’d ask, ‘Where can I get this music?’”
Realizing he had an eager audience for this type of material, Byrd released Clean Getaway, which proved so successful that he continued the recovery theme with Sobering Times. With both albums, he says that his ongoing work with recovery groups has played a key role in his songwriting process. “Some of the subject matter is from conversations I have with the clients about gratitude or triggers or ‘how do I stop?’” he says. “If I feel like I’m getting a great response and they’re identifying, then it becomes one of the ones that I record. That’s my tryout period.”
Although writing this type of material has been a learning experience for Byrd, he first started mastering music when he was still a child growing up in The Bronx. “My parents were divorced, so we lived with my grandparents at one point in this big apartment building overlooking Yankee Stadium,” he says. “There was always music playing. I can close my eyes and see my grandmother dusting the draperies [while] there was music from the ‘30s and ‘40s on the radio.
“And then I listened to New York Top 40 radio, which played everything from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones and Otis Redding,” Byrd continues. “And then of course every Sunday night we’d watch The Ed Sullivan Show, which is where I saw the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, which is what made me want to play guitar in the first place.”
By the time Byrd was fourteen years old, his family had moved to Queens, where he began actively seeking out other musicians and forming bands. “We would actually play in people’s garages and church dances, [because] we were too young to play clubs, really,” he says.
By the time Byrd was sixteen years old, though, he’d figured out how to slip into rock clubs in Manhattan, and he became a regular at legendary venues like Max’s Kansas City. “That’s where you would see everybody from the New York Dolls to Iggy Pop,” he says. “We would go from one club to another and listen to different kinds of rock and roll bands. It did have a big influence on the kind of music I loved. Then you’d get on the 7 train back to Queens at four in the morning and hope that nobody beats you up!” With a laugh, he adds: “But of course, I had my Bronx swagger so that didn’t happen!”
Being at Max’s Kansas City further fueled Byrd’s rock and roll dreams: “There was a famous round table in the back where they put the rock stars,” he says, recalling one time when “Mott the Hoople were sitting at this table. I loved “All the Young Dudes” when that came out. I was staring at them, dreaming: someday. And then 20, 25 years later, I was [frontman] Ian Hunter’s guitar player for a tour of Scandinavia and England and I got to play all those songs that I listened to with those giant headphones you had when you were a kid.”
At the same time, Byrd was learning about the blues by reading magazine articles about his idols. “I would read stories – Jimmy Page or Robert Plant would talk about John Lee Hooker or Robert Johnson. I’m like, ‘Well, who’s that?’ And I would go find those albums and listen to that music.”
Byrd took this mixture of rock and blues and turn it into his signature swaggering style, leading to his invitation to join the Blackhearts and all of his ensuing success. He believes that having an extensive musical foundation has been crucial to his career: “Every generation is supposed to have their own music, but you should know the history of where everything came from,” he says.
Now, Byrd himself has firmly established himself as part of an important part of musical history. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, as a member of Joan Jett and Blackhearts. Now, with Sobering Times, he is seeking to make his legacy even more meaningful through helping others as much as he can.
While he’s staying focused on helping others, Byrd says he’s also being careful to mind his own sobriety, especially during these pandemic-riddled times. “I’m part of the recovery community, so I’m a strong believer in community support groups, like spiritual 12-step stuff,” he says. “We all keep each other sane in a freaking nutty world. Let me tell you. I’ve used that community support group, Zoom technology, almost every day since this [pandemic] started in March.”
Before he hangs up to go sign copies of Sobering Times that will be mailed to fans around the world, Byrd has a parting message: “Anybody out there that’s struggling, just keep doing the deal, one day at a time. Recovery rocks!”
LISTEN HERE to part 1 of RICKY BYRD'S 2-Part Interview with The Summit "Rock & Recovery" - Part 2 out December 2020
BOB MARLEY "Uprising Live!" 3LP Highlighted via WENN
November 12, 2020
BOB MARLEY LIVE BOX SET FEATURES THE REGGAE GREAT AT HIS BEST
It's rare we recommend a vinyl release but this was too good to pass up - three albums featuring live recordings from one of BOB MARLEY's greatest concerts.
Purists believe the reggae legend's show at Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle in Germany on 13 June, 1980 was perhaps his best - featuring hits like Could You Be Loved, Redemption Song, Exodus, I Shot the Sheriff, and No Woman No Cry, and now, to mark Marley's 75th birthday, Eagle Rock have crafted the perfect collector's treat - a three-album release that conjures up that great gig.
Uprising Live! also features Marley fan classics like Steppin' Out of Babylon, Slave Queen, Zimbabwe, and Lively Up Yourself - the collection's final track.
With so many new releases linked to Marley's milestone birthday, it's easy to spend a small fortune trying to keep up, but this is the definitive collection that captures the reggae king at his very best - onstage and jamming!
Treat yourself to an early Christmas gift. Uprising Live! drops on Friday. (KL/WN/LOT)
American Songwriter says "BOB MARLEY’s Rousing ‘Uprising Live!’ Concert From His Final Tour Earns Its Exclamation Point With A Long Awaited Vinyl Release"
November 16, 2020
Bob Marley | Uprising Live!-vinyl | (Eagle)
4 out of 5 stars
Recorded on Bob Marley’s final titular tour before his May 1981 passing, this sizzling performance has already been released on double CD/DVD in 2014. It gets a vinyl debut with this triple platter package, including a limited colored edition.
The hour and three quarter show, recorded at a single gig in Dortmund Germany’s Westfalenhalle on June 13, 1980, kicks off with a peppy four song set from the I-Threes, evenly distributing lead vocals on a trio of tunes, then joining for Rita Marley’s “That’s the Way Jah Planned It.”
Then it’s off to the races with Marley’s show, although things ramp up from a slow start with a snoozy “Natural Mystic” and a rote reading of “Positive Vibration” until “Revolution” finally catches fire. The audio is also wonky as what sounds like a mono mix doesn’t quite capture all the instruments, while Marley’s vocals are up front. But after that slightly shaky beginning, the concert heats up with a feisty “I Shot the Sheriff” and a searing “War/No More Trouble.”
There’s no looking back from there. Oddly “Zion Train,” the first track taken from the Uprising album, doesn’t appear until the ninth spot of the 18 song set. Four more selections are rolled out from that disc including the funky “Could You Be Loved” and a sweet, mostly unplugged “Redemption Song” that starts with Marley solo (as on the studio version) with the Wailers gradually entering. The evening ends with a passionate “Get Up Stand Up.” Since the song had been included at virtually every Marley show since at least 1973, you might think he would phone it in. That’s absolutely not the case. It still sounds rousing, especially when the audience joins for some animated call and response singing. The band returns for an encore, closing with a stirring “Lively Up Yourself.”
You can easily overlook the somewhat compressed and brittle audio to enjoy, what is for Marley, a typically inspired presentation. It’s not the legend’s finest recorded stage work, and surely not the place to start an appreciation of the reggae icon. But Uprising Live! remains a moving and exciting example of just how committed he, and his longtime band, was even at this late stage of his career.
VIEW trailer for RONNIE WOOD: Somebody Up There Likes Me HERE
ELLA FITZGERALD: Just One Of Those Things trailer
VIEW "Run Riot" from DEF LEPPARD'S "Hysteria At The O2"
DEF LEPPARD LIVE! View "Now" From Hits Vegas
Culture Sonar examiners BOBBY WHITLOCK and Derek and the Dominos' "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" at 50
November 21, 2020
“Layla” At 50
The number of legendary albums released in 1970 reads like the daily playlist of every classic rock radio station. These aural landmarks include the Beatles’ Let it Be, Eric Clapton’s Eric Clapton, and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Three musicians (bassist Carl Radle, organist Bobby Whitlock and drummer Jim Gordon) who played on Clapton’s album and Harrison’s triple album treat, became vital parts of Derek and the Dominos’ now fifty-year-old opus, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Critics rate this masterpiece as Clapton’s best work; with Rolling Stone rating it #117 on its “Top 500 Albums of all Time” list. But in its initial release, some critics weren’t impressed, with England’s Melody Maker stating: “If you do judge Derek and the Dominos by Cream standards, you’ll be disappointed.” Most of the record-buying public agreed; as the two-album set peaked at #16 while an edited version of the single “Layla” reached #51—in 1971.
But in 1969, making great music and not making great Cream-like money was foremost in Clapton’s mind. Eric rediscovered the joy of being a sideman again when he became one of the “Friends” in the short-lived Delaney and Bonnie and Friends band which also featured Whitlock, Radle, and Gordon. As Whitlock recalled:
“Eric wanted to be in a situation where we were all equal players, because our band was a unit. Neither of his previous bands were. When the Dominos were starting, I was very serious about being a band member. At first, Eric and I were the only ones.”
Whitlock (who wrote and/or co-wrote seven of the fourteen songs on Layla) and Clapton wanted Jim Keltner to join them and Radle in their new venture. Unfortunately, the super-session drummer wasn’t available as he working for jazz guitarist Gábor Szabó. The scheduling conflict allowed Gordon to enter into the fold and later, into the void.
Harrison and his producer, Phil Spector, used the four-man band to great effect on All Things Must Pass. During its recording, Clapton mentioned to George: “Well, as long as we’re here, we’d like to do a couple of our own songs by ourselves.” A Phil Spector, pop production of “Tell the Truth” was issued as a single with Dave Mason and Harrison adding their guitars. Its B-side was “Roll It Over;” which featured salacious lyrics that could make Jenna Jameson blush…or at least half-raise an eyebrow. Clapton had second thoughts about its quality and pulled the single after a few weeks out in public.
The group then journeyed to Criteria Studio in Miami to record with ex-Cream and Allman Brothers’ producer Tom Dowd. Dowd, who, at the age of 18 worked on the Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb, could also hear explosiveness in Duane Allman’s guitar work. Clapton felt the same; awestruck by Allman’s playing on Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude.” Slowhand gushed in 2019:
“To this day, I’ve never heard better rock guitar playing on an R&B record.”
Allman was added to the recording mix, an addition that not all Dominos appreciated.
“Duane couldn’t hang with Eric when it came to stretching out solos. Duane thought ‘in the box.’ Our whole playing was completely outside of it. So, being that Duane was never that type of player, he could never hang with us. Had Duane not been there, it would still have been just a great record. As a matter of fact, without him, all of the slide playing would have been in tune, because Eric’s slide work is always in tune.”
But Allman’s and Clapton’s interplaying made the song “Layla” a timeless classic; in part due to the song’s piano coda which was co-written by Gordon.
Or was it?
Rita Coolidge, Gordon’s ex-girlfriend, stated in her memoir that she heard “Layla” on the radio and, “Suddenly, it dawned on me: the song was my song—except that I’d never recorded it. I cried, ‘That’s my music!’ It was ‘Time,’ the song Jim and I had written and played for Eric.”
But it was Gordon’s daughter, Amy, who now receives its residuals. The coda was used to fantastic effect in Goodfellas. In the flick, Ray Liotta voiceovers over the piano that “they were finding bodies everywhere,” which also could’ve been sadly said in the Dominos’ case.
Allman died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24, eleven months after the release of Layla.
Radle died of complications from too much drink and drugs at the age of 37. His girlfriend, Kay Poorboy, who found his body four days after his death, later shot herself and is buried next to him.
Like their producer Phil Spector, Gordon killed an innocent woman—his own mother. He has been locked up in a California psychiatric prison since 1984. At his latest parole hearing in 2018, his daughter requested that he stay behind bars.
After Layla, too much hard drugs and harsh words left the band in a very sorry state. And in 2006, Whitlock said he was sorry for what his band did to the world of music.
“You know I’m indirectly responsible for disco. (Clapton’s manager) Robert Stigwood took the Dominos’ money, used it to create RSO Records, and record the Bee Gees. My deepest apologies to the entire music world.”
Photo: Bobby Whitlock and Eric Clapton (Getty Images)
Ultimate Classic Rock unveils the story behind BOBBY WHITLOCK, George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass", and Derek and the Dominos' "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
As often happens in musical history, what actually happened seems to change through the years, depending on whom is talking. In my extensive career, I have gone through this, not only with my own work, but witnessed it firsthand from bands I have managed and represented, such as KISS, Geoff Emerick, and now, BOBBY WHITLOCK.
I was so happy to see the truth of BOBBY's role in George Harrison's iconic "All Things Must Pass" and Derek and the Dominos' "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" revealed in this article. Not only is Bobby a musical force to be reckoned with, but we are doing outstanding work together now with his art career.
Give this a read. I think you'll enjoy it.
November 27, 2020
All Things Must Pass did more than launch George Harrison's post-Beatles solo career. The triple-album set, issued on Nov. 27, 1970, provided a platform for the launch of Derek and the Dominos.
Harrison had hit it off with drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle and keyboardist Bobby Whitlock while sitting in with Delaney & Bonnie during a 1969 tour. He was already friends with Eric Clapton, who collaborated with Harrison on the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and Cream's "Badge."
All four of them were on hand as sessions for All Things Must Pass got underway in May 1970. They appeared together and apart throughout the studio portion of the project – that's Whitlock, for instance, at the pump organ on "My Sweet Lord" – and served as the house band for the album-closing jam sessions.
"I mean, we used to do that ourselves, you know, the Fabs, back in the early days," Harrison told Billboard in 2000. "So you'd have a break, somebody'd go to the toilet, they have a cigarette, and next minute you'd break into a jam session and the engineer taped it on a two-track. When we were mixing the album and getting toward the end of it, I listened to that stuff, and I thought, 'It's got some fire in it,' particularly Eric. He plays some hot stuff on there!"
The first two Derek and the Dominos studio cuts were taped during these initial dates, though both were re-recorded for official release later.
"We made a deal whereby [Harrison] would get [co-producer Phil] Spector to produce a couple of tracks for us in return for having the use of our band for his album," Clapton later remembered in his memoir, Clapton: The Autobiography. "We recorded two songs with him, 'Roll It Over' and 'Tell the Truth,' at Abbey Road Studios, before turning ourselves over to George as his session musicians."
Listen to Derek and the Dominos Jam With George Harrison
All Things Must Pass wasn't the first time these studio vets had worked together – but those were in more controlled environments. The open-ended fission on Harrison's album sessions carried directly over into a stand-alone group that became Derek and the Dominos.
"I'd arrived in the U.K. in 1969 with Delaney & Bonnie's band, which included Carl Radle and Jim Gordon," Whitlock told Richard Havers in 2015. "In the year following our arrival, we recorded nonstop. In early December, there was the Delaney & Bonnie & Friends [On Tour With Eric Clapton] album recorded in London. Eric Clapton and George Harrison played on our tour of the U.K. and Europe, which is how we got to know one another so well. We all played on Eric Clapton's first solo album, then there was All Things Must Pass."
Harrison initiated their involvement, cold calling Clapton during a period when he and Whitlock were holed up at the guitarist's Hurtwood Edge estate writing songs that would eventually form the bedrock of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
"Eric picked it up, and he was going, 'Mm-hmm. Yeah. Okay. Let me ask Bobby and see what he thinks,'" Whitlock told Guitar Player in 2020. "He hung up and he says to me, 'That was George.' And I said, 'Harrison?' He says, 'Yeah. He wants us to put together a group and be the core band for his new record."
Still stung from the twin dissolutions of Cream and Blind Faith, Clapton seemed to have stumbled into a new career direction.
"It was the beginning of one of the most extraordinary periods of my life, the memory of which is dominated by one thing — incredible music," Clapton said in his autobiography. "It began with me just talking to these guys about music and getting to know them, and then we just played and played and played. I was in absolute awe of these people, and yet they made me feel that I was on their level. We were kindred spirits, made in the same mold."
All Things Must Pass became a six-times platinum chart-topping smash, spinning off two Top 10 singles – including the No. 1 hit "My Sweet Lord." By then, however, Derek and the Dominos were already on their way.
Listen to Derek and the Dominos' 'Roll It Over' With George Harrison
They rushed into the studio to complete Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, recorded with a late assist from Duane Allman in August and September 1970. Things came together so quickly that Derek and the Dominos' album actually arrived before All Things Must Pass.
"It was a band. It was an equal effort and opportunity band. We all shared equally in everything," Whitlock told Songfacts in 2004. "Eric was a band member. ... He wasn't ready at the time to step out in the forefront without having some fire behind him, something he was real comfortable with. Jim Gordon and Carl Radle and myself made a pretty formidable rhythm section."
All of that began to audibly coalesce during a Harrison-led jam curiously titled "Thanks for the Pepperoni." "Art of Dying" from All Things Must Pass is basically a Derek and the Dominos song. "I Remember Jeep," another free-form musical idea, was named after Clapton's dog.
Harrison also sat in on those early takes of "Tell the Truth" and "Roll It Over," which were released as the group's debut single then retracted. They later appeared on Clapton's career-encompassing 1988 box set Crossroads and 1990's 20th-anniversary reissue of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
Unfortunately, Derek and the Dominos didn't immediately have the same chart success as All Things Must Pass; some say because Clapton's name wasn't featured more prominently. Things were different for the group outside of the friendly confines of a Harrison session. They split during a shambolic try at a follow-up.
Layla, however, remained – and, in time, critical assessment caught up with Derek and the Dominos. Their lone studio LP reentered the U.S. chart in 1972, 1974 and 1977, emerging as an acknowledged classic along the way.
"It became a success on its own, not because of promotion and not because of Eric Clapton," Whitlock told Guitar Player. "I remember when we were doing our tour of the United States. We were riding in a station wagon somewhere up in Minnesota, heading to a gig, and 'My Sweet Lord' comes on the radio. At the time, it was the No. 1 record in the country. And there we were, four guys in a car, heading to some little gig somewhere. I mean, we were the guys on a No. 1 record, and nobody even knew who the hell we were!"