Random Observations and Alternative Facts

A new series. An occasional post wherein I ponder things that (musically) matter…..

Nigel Tufnel: I’m really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it’s sort of in between those, really. It’s like a Mach piece, really.
Marty DiBergi: What do you call this?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, this piece is called “Lick My Love Pump.”

☛I watched the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony the other night on HBO. Pretty entertaining. My favorite moments were seeing Yes inducted, because I’m a long-time fan; and Joan Baez because she’s just so cool and has really put it on the line for so many years. She did a nice version of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” with Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls.

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson inducted Yes. Geddy talked about listening to them as a teenager.  So a cool thing for him is he got to play bass for them on the show. But it was bittersweet because they should have been inducted long ago and Chris Squire, who died a couple years ago, should have had his chance.

☛My least favorite moment was when some guy from some band who was inducting Journey said they were the “greatest band from San Francisco ever.” Hardly.

☛I should here acknowledge the recent passing of prog-rock guitar great Allan Holdsworth. I confess I didn’t listen to his stuff as often as I might like but he was a tremendous player and a musician’s musician.

☛You know, I give up pretending to know or even care who’s popular on the charts these days. Out of all the bands at Coachella, I recognized the names of maybe ten, could actually name a song of maybe three. Forget Top 40.

☛I was impressed that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was playing Coachella. Is that their crowd I wonder?

☛Oddly enough, I’ve never been to a rock festival and at this point, I’m not likely to attend one. Not a big fan of crowds anyway. And any festival that has bands I’d wanna see I probably couldn’t afford.  Or let’s say, would rather put that same amount of money elsewhere. Hamilton tickets?

☛That said, the Boston Calling festival has shaped up nicely over the past couple of years.  It’s just a shame, I think, that they moved it from the heart of Boston to a stadium five miles away with pretty much nothing of interest around it.

☛I note with some interest that Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie are dropping an album and touring. Sure, they’ve been bandmates in Fleetwood Mac off and on for years. But I never saw them as a musical duo. I listened to the one new song that was available. A bit on the poppy side but also somewhat of an earworm. I’m intrigued.

☛Excellent cover article on Chuck Berry in the April 20 Rolling Stone. Provides some excellent history and details the Chuck we loved (great rock ‘n roller) and the guy who too often gave in to his worst impulses, especially sexually.

☛Dylan finally picked up his Nobel when he was in Sweden. A guy on TV news said, “How does it feel, Bob?” For some reason that made me laugh.

☛Speaking of Fleetwood Mac, my friend Bill points that out that much of what seems to be missing in popular music is singers harmonizing. I don’t know how he knows that because I think the last album he bought was the Stones’ Tattoo You. But I see his point.

☛If you haven’t seen This is Spinal Tap lately – or have never seen it – I’m sorry but what the hell are you waiting for? With songs like “Lick My Love Pump,” “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight,” and “Sex Farm,” I think one can say they are easily the loudest rock band of all time.

And their lyrics! They write great stuff like “Stonehenge” and Dylan gets the Nobel? Please:

Stonehenge! Where the demons dwell
Where the banshees live and they do live well
Stonehenge! Where a man’s a man
And the children dance to the Pipes of Pan

Stonehenge! ‘Tis a magic place
Where the moon doth rise with a dragon’s face
Stonehenge! Where the virgins lie
And the prayers of devils fill the midnight sky

☛Lastly, speaking of lyrics, are Willie McTell’s “Stole Rider Blues” not one of the best set of blues lyrics ever?

I’m going to grab me a train, ride the lonesome rail
I’m going to grab me a train, ride the lonesome rail
Liquor stole my baby, she’s in the lonesome jail

He took my mama, got her to the town of Rome
He took my mama, got her to the town of Rome
Now she’s screaming and crying, papa let your mama come back home

I stole my good gal, from my bosom friend
I stole my good gal, from my bosom friend
That fool got lucky, he stoled her back again

That little woman I love got a mouth chock full of good gold
That little woman I love got a mouth chock full of good gold
Every time you hug and kiss me, it make my blood run cold

When you see two women, running hand in hand
When you see two women, running hand in hand
Bet you my last dollar, one done stole the other one’s man

I’m leaving town, please don’t spread the news
I’m leaving town, please don’t spread the news
That why, I’ve got these old stole rider blues

32 thoughts on “Random Observations and Alternative Facts

    1. I think Stevie gave up giving a crap about Lindsay on a relationship level. As to Tap, I will definitely give your review a read. Frankly, I don’t know why there are any other rock bands at all. Why bother? How many other bands would think to put ’11’ on their amps? Answer – none. What does that tell you?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Seen Holdsworth with UK with our buddy Bruford and Wetton. Great show. Love The Bands version of ‘Blind Willie McTell’. My own random musings. I’ve been meaning to ask you about Tony Rice. If you know him and his music? I have been listening to his stuff a lot lately. I know your a picker so just wondering and musing. I really dig him and he sounds like he plays a pretty good lick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That must have been a hell of a show. I’m not familiar with the Band’s song. I never got as far as their later albums. As to Tony Rice, he’s the bluegrass guy, yes? I confess I don’t know much about him. I like bluegrass but my buddy Steve’s the bluegrass guy. I’ll listen to it but it’s still mostly too country for my tastes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it was. (Except I took a couple buddies who just wanted to get loaded. I ditched them). I really like the first UK album. Check it out the opening of the first song ‘In The Dead Of Night’. Bruford sets the tone. Think you’ll like it. I do. I have the hillbilly gene so bluegrass is in my blood. Thing is he does the acoustic thing and it’s not all what you think. A lot of Kottke similarities. He has Zillion recordings. I was listening to ‘Unit Of Measure’ and thought you might like it. It’s not as country. Just great playing. Funny thing the inter play reminded me of John McLaughlin and Jerry Goodman. No push just a maybe.


        1. Holdsworth fell completely off my radar. As to bluegrass, Steve plays a little bit of banjo. He is always giving me CD’s that I sometimes listen to. Some good Alison Kraus stuff. He and his wife go to bluegrass festivals. That’s way too much involvement for me. Every once in a while I have to remind him about fusion and the blues. Anyway, I’ll give a listen to the stuff you’re recommending. Thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. So I listened to both of these. Amazing playing by the UK guys. Funny but I don’t recall them being that big of a deal here in the States. I find, though, all these years later I’m not as much into prog-rock or even fusion as I used to be. Tastes just change over time I guess. In jazz, I’d rather listen to 40’s/50’s Miles, say, than ‘Bitches Brew.’

          As to Tony Rice, great stuff. Between him and UK, I’d probably spend more time with his stuff. I do like acoustic playing for sure. Thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. UK was not around long. I’ve been busting this stuff out lately. Guys like you have rekindled a fire. Your takes on guys like Coryell, Yes… have me hearing this again. I’m surprised how good it sounds.
          That’s what I mean about music. I’m on this Rice and similar type of playing jag. Bottom line these guys can play. When they jam it just sounds soooo good to my ears. Jerry Douglas is another guy who burns it up on dobro.


        4. CB. I fat-fingered something and your comment about Blind Willie McTell, Dylan and the Band disappeared. Can’t find it in comments or trash so I wanted to acknowledge I saw it. Sorry about that. Also what I was trying to comment on was that what led me to the McTell song was the line “two women hand in hand.” I first heard that on Clapton’s version of “Motherless Child.” The blues guys were great for re-using lyrics.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. The Dylan/Band thing fit in with your take on his award and your McTell take. No sweat man. Like we talked about, when we go back to the roots of this music thing we find out where it all started. Lyrics, riffs…..I like that Eric cut.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I think the UK will be a no brainer. The Bruford/Wetton combo always works. The Rice stuff probably won’t turn you but you never know (I love the shit). A musician I really like said “Bill Monroe was the father of Speed Metal”. Cool quote.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The Dickey thing doesn’t surprise me. I had buddy when I was a kid who was a huge Allmans guy, he lent me a Flatts/Scruggs album. It’s like the jazz thing, I started out with, Herbie, Chick etc… it sent me back to the early guys, same as the blues. What were Clapton, Green and those guys listening too? Made sense to me. Plus it all sounded good!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you on Tony Rice, CB. He’s not so much straight bluegrass Jim, I would say, as far as labelling, he’s more Americana. I first heard him in the mid-90s when he covered Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going.” Then later a very fine album with fellow finger-picker Peter Rowan.

    Journey the best band to come out of San Francisco?? Certainly. And Gerry and the Pacemakers were the best band from Liverpool.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rice/Rice/Hillman/Pedersen. Rowan (Thanks for the reminder), Grisman… Rice also did a great album of Lightfoot songs. Well said on the “Americana” Pete. Doc doesn’t pull any punches on certain things. I guess that San Fran bands induction didn’t agree with him. How about one of CB’s faves, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks?


    1. Yeah. Usually, I cringe when TV news people use a band or artist’s song titles or lyrics when referring to them. This guy just said it off-handedly and it amused me. For the record, I think Dylan was gobsmacked by the whole thing. He’s received other awards with aplomb. When he was at the Desert concerts last year he even asked Jagger and Richards if he should go. Basically, they said, “Fuck, yeah.” And then he didn’t attend the ceremony only picking it up later when there was no spotlight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure he was aware of the controversy surrounding his selection. Personally, I feel he deserved it. His songs may not be technically ‘literature’ but I’d say they’ve inspired quite a few writers to produce literature of their own. He’s certainly a great contemporary poet.


        1. I confess I was ambivalent at first. Not because I don’t love Dylan’s stuff. I am a huge fan. I guess it was more of trying to wrap my mind around it. But yeah, he’s too damn good. He is a great poet and lyricist. And you being one yourself would appreciate what goes into it more than I. God, the stuff he wrote in the Sixties alone is astonishing.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. D Minor.. is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don’t know why.

    Also, forgetting all over issues of R&RHOF ceremony…. am I the only one who found something weird about the mic and its height adjustment or lack thereof at times?


    1. If you listen to Tap’s album all the way through, you will doubtless be weeping uncontrollably. It has such a strong effect on people that often they never want to listen to it again as long as they live.

      Speaking of HOF, I read an article about it from an attendee that got me thinking. I’m going to do a post, probably later this month on the Hall. Just some thoughts.

      Why aren’t Spinal Tap in the Hall, BTW? Their exclusion negates its very legitimacy.

      Liked by 1 person

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