Quick note: I’m informed by WordPress stats that I recently did my 100th post. So, woo-hoo! Really digging this and enjoy engaging with those who take time to comment. It’s fun to share this music, sometimes turn others on to something new and have them return the favor.
Special thanks to those who have decided to follow my blog. I hope it’s worth it. Because on starting this, who knew? Could just as well have been me and my wife reading it for the next twelve years. And an even bigger shout-out to the Brits whom I know are reading this site. If it wasn’t for your musicians, my album collection would be significantly poorer… And now back to Tres Songs, a mini-set of three songs I like.
I did a post on the great funk/rock band Sly and the Family Stone a while ago. They were a popular group who I mentioned had even influenced Miles Davis. It turns out that in 1968 they recorded a couple of shows at the Fillmore East for an album (Live at the Fillmore East October 4th and 5th, 1968) that, for some reason, was shelved until last year. I have no idea why because it’s terrific.
As proven by their performance at Woodstock they are a great live band. I’ve been listening to the CD in my car and it’s this song in particular I can’t get out of my head. Sung, I believe, by Sly’s sister Rose, it’ll move ya and groove ya:
In 2011, Gregg Allman released an album called Low Country Blues. Produced by the ubiquitous T-Bone Burnett, it is an excellent disc of swampy-sounding low-down blues. It’s mostly covers and here he does a song by the (relatively obscure) blues singer Amos Milburne.
Milburne performed it in 1951 (with his Aladdin Chickenshackers!) but it was actually written by someone even more obscure, a woman named Jessie Mae (Booker) Robinson. Robinson was an interesting character, a black female songwriter who had some success in the R&B/blues arena and even wrote a song (“I Went to Your Wedding”) that Patti Page had a hit with and has been widely covered.)
Milburn was no slouch as a songwriter. He wrote the great tune “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer,” whose most popular renditions are by John Lee Hooker and George Thorogood. (future posts).
The song is called “Tears, Tears, Tears.” Nice feel, great horn arrangement. And I ask you, how many sing the blooze as well as Brother Gregg?
Everybody remembers Procol Harum as the band that did “Whiter Shade of Pale.” You could, I suppose, write them off as a one-hit wonder. But in fact, they went on to make a couple of pretty good albums after that. (And their guitar player, Robin Trower, has had a nice run as a bluesy guitarist in the Hendrix vein).
In 1972 they released an album called Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. It’s been ages since I heard the whole thing. But I still frequently listen to the song “Conquistador.” This song totally rocks and it has that “when will the band and orchestra hurtle off the cliff?” urgency. This is textbook for the way a rock band and orchestra should play together. And I like what this guy did with the YouTube video:
Conquistador there is no time, I must pay my respect
And though I came to jeer at you
I leave now with regret
And though you came with sword held high
You did not conquer, only die