Mash-up masterpieces

21 07 2013

My friend put together a pretty slick mash-up, So Whatcha Want (Beastie Boys) and Always On the Run (Lenny Kravitz.)  That got me interested — again — in mash-ups.  Here are some cool ones.  Some are almost great songs in their own right.  Some make you giggle.  But they’re all cool in their own way.

I can’t forget Dread Zeppelin.  They were probably the pioneer mash-up band

 

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Watching The Song Remains The Same…

6 04 2013

causes serious sympathy pains! Robert Plant’s jeans were 3 sizes too small. Ouch!

https://www.google.com/search?q=robert+plant+song+remains+the+same&hl=en&client=safari&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=sY9gUfS-CpTvqAGO9YDABg&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=320&bih=378#biv=i%7C1%3Bd%7CHyPO_6lQXR8kkM%3A





The messenger god

6 09 2011

The Roman god, Mercury, was believed to be the patron of travelers, merchant (god of commerce), rogues and thieves, as well as the wind deity.  He was the messenger god, moving swiftly from place to place.  To be “mercurial” is to be volatile, unstable, fickle, flighty and erratic.

Today is the 65th birthday of one of rock and roll’s most beloved performers, the former Farrokh Bulsara, who took the stage name Freddie Mercury.  He helped form the mold of the rock and roll frontman of the 70’s and 80’s, and wrote some of rock and roll’s classic hits of Queen’s era.

In thinking about his life and impact, I wondered if there was a connection between his stage name and his personality, at least as he saw it.  Maybe it was as simple as picking a cool name.  There is certainly evidence that his personal life had its fair share of volatility and instability.  To those fans that loved his music most, he was certainly a rock god.

I don’t consider myself much of a Queen fan.  I have an album or two.  I like a lot of their songs; hardly listen them, though.

But, as real guitar-driven rock and roll seems to continue its steady decline toward extinction, the appeal of bands like Queen (along with AC/DC and the mammoth Led Zeppelin) becomes more and more apparent.  If you’re a rock fan, you can’t help but notice the absence of guys like Freddie Mercury.  It’s hard to beat songs like this.

 





The Purple Gang: rock’s best rhythm sections

13 04 2011

To call a list a “best of” is usually a misnomer.  There is no “best of” anything, really.  It all comes down to opinion and personal taste.  But people know what is meant when that is said, so I’ll just stick with it.

I have my favorite bassist-drummer combos.  I know that other rock fans would probably not have some of these combos on their list and would add others that I hadn’t considered.  I do not necessarily rank them my favorites by technical proficiency.  I don’t know enough about jazz to talk about those guys.  And I’m not even necessarily a big fan of the bands from which these combos hail.  I know when I hear these combos though, for any number of reasons, I am moved by them. In rough order, they are:

  1. Entwistle/Moon, The Who — I don’t think there were better rock musicians at either spot than John Entwistle on bass or Keith Moon on drums.  Together, they were, I would argue, the most powerful force rock has seen.  In my book, they’re the best by miles.
  2. Jones/Bonham, Led Zeppelin — In terms of power, these guys were certainly miles ahead of just about anyone.  Their play was simply amazing.  You could tune out Page and Plant on many of the songs and just groove on the rhythm track.
  3. McCartney/Starr, The Beatles — This is where personal taste kicks in over something more objective and certainly over proficiency.  On bass, McCartney stands up to anyone, at least in his Beatles days.  He really was an innovator, though not because he was so fast or improvisational.  McCartney’s melodic approach was really the glue that held a lot of the Beatles’ best songs together.  Was Ringo one of the best drummers of all time?  I don’t think many fans or critics would say so.  He wasn’t even the best of his generation.  But he could hold his own.  Sometimes he was brilliant.  A great example of their power together is “Rain.”  Give it a listen.
  4. Lee/Peart, Rush — I’m not a big Rush fan, but recognize their skills.  Geddy’s a great bass player and Peart’s drumming — some people refuse to call him a drummer, instead favoring “percussionist” — is out of this world.  Peart might be the most technically proficient drummer in rock history, but I don’t find his work to have been as interesting and flavorful as Keith Moon’s.
  5. Sumner/Copeland, The Police — Was Sting a great bass player?  Many bass aficianados are dismissive of his playing; some think he was quite good in his heyday.  By himself, I do not regard Sting terribly highly, though he had flashes of brilliance.  But as a partner with Stewart Copeland, he made some great music.  I like Copeland’s drumming as well as anyone’s.  I recognize that Keith Moon did more with the instrument, but I get about the same amount of enjoyment listening to Copleland’s work with the Police as I do listening to the Who’s best drum stuff.   In the way that McCartney carried Ringo, I think Copeland carried Sting.
  6. The Funk Brothers — I wasn’t sure how to approach this loose group of combos, but I knew I couldn’t ignore them.  James Jamerson and Bob Babbit were sick good.  Jamerson, many bass players feel, was the best electric bassist ever.  They might be right.  Babbit is one of my favorites.  Check out his silky smooth playing on “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler).”   I couldn’t tell you much about any of the individual drummers that rotated through the Funk Brothers.  I just know, as a corps, they did spectacular work.

 





Memo to Zeppelin fans

12 04 2011

Most of you probably know this, but plenty of you don’t.  If claim to be a Led Zeppelin fan, you should know this.

“D’yer Mak’er” is not pronounced die-er maker.  It’s pronounced like juhrmaker.   Have you ever heard a Brit put an “r” sound at the end of a word ending in “a”?  (For example, vodka sounds like vodker, Donna sounds like Donner.)  Linguists have fancy terms for that, but I’m not going to go into it.  It’s quite boring.  Long story short, that’s what’s going on with the song’s title.  D’yer Make’er is Jamaica.

I know this seems snarky and a bit know-it-all-ish.  I think what caused this mini rant was hearing a rock and roll radio personality/DJ, from a major market radio show, call the song die-er maker, not unlike the Zep fans I knew in junior high and high school.

Carry on.





15 Songs

27 07 2009

There’s a fun little game going around on Facebook called “15 Songs.”  At least among my friends there it starting to make the rounds.  It’s very simple.  You just set your MP3 player to shuffle and see which songs take the first 15 slots of your playlist.  Here’s what my work PC came up with this morning.

1. Frosty the Snowman — Beach Boys. Oh Lord. How did that get on here?

2. Jeremiah Surrender — The Black Crowes. This one must be a b-side or demo.

3. The Song Remains the Same — Led Zeppelin

4. I’m Waiting For the Day — Brian Wilson, from Pet Sounds Live

5. Moonshine — Dennis Wilson, from Pacific Ocean Blue

6. I Can’t Get Next to You — Mongo Santamaria, from the What It Is funk/groove collection

7. I’m So Tired — Beatles studio rehearsal bit sung by Paul McCartney, not John Lennon. Rare bootleg.

8. Imagine — John Lennon

9. Video — Ben Folds Five

10. You Could Have it So Much Better — Franz Ferdinand, from Franz Ferdinand

11. Soul Stew — Moby Grape, from Moby Grape ’69

12. I Paid My Money — Fear of Pop (Ben Folds’ late 90’s solo side project)

13. Spanish Castle Magic — Jimi Hendrix, from Axis Bold as Love

14. Mull of Kintyre — Paul McCartney

15. Secret Friend — Paul McCartney, from McCartney II





Video Flashback: “In the Mood,” Robert Plant

25 05 2009

I was a little too young to know much about Led Zeppelin.  Sure, I had heard of them as a kid, but my parents weren’t fans and we didn’t have rock n’ roll radio on too much.  My mom played a lot of Linda Ronstadt, some Eric Clapton and Olivia Newton-John, together with a mish-mash of oldies and country.

Because of that, I didn’t have much of an idea of who Robert Plant was when this song came around.  I heard the song a bunch on top 40 radio and loved it.  In fact, it was one of the songs I recorded from the radio and listened to over and over.  It wasn’t until I went to my mom’s best friend’s house and we turned on MTV that I learned of the then former career of Mr. Plant.  My mom’s friend’s younger brother, about 6 years older than me, made my “cousin” and I sit still while he watched this video.  He told us who Robert was and that “Zeppelin rules!”

This is another song that I haven’t heard in years.  It has simply dropped out of the radio station.  I’m not sure why it doesn’t get played much anymore.  It beats the crap out of most of Steve Winwood’s solo work and that still finds its way onto radio.

http://www.guba.com/watch/3000093302