Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘music’

QOTD, rock edition

Posted by Richard on July 14, 2018

“Same three guys, same three chords.”
— Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top

Their 50th anniversary is next year. Hard to believe.

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“Ain’t No Rest for the Triggered”

Posted by Richard on July 5, 2018

I like Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” but I think I like Chris Ray Gun’s version even better. The vocal even sounds a lot like Matt Shultz, and the lyrics are brilliant.


[YouTube link]

Hit the above YouTube link to upvote this and to learn more about Chris Ray Gun, grab the lyrics (expand the description), or watch other Social Justice: The Musical videos.

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Leon Russell and Eric Clapton

Posted by Richard on April 30, 2018

So, the other day I posted a video of Leon Russell and New Grass Revival. Here’s a different side of Leon. Oh yeah, and this guy named Clapton plays some nice guitar, too. Expand the description (click Show More).

Supposedly, this was recorded in either Leon’s apartment or apartment basement in Tulsa, OK, in 1974. But someone in the comments claims it was in some church instead. I’m thinking the acoustics sound more like an apartment, or maybe a basement, than a church (unless it’s one of those strip mall churches with the acoustic tile ceiling).

Anyway, you need to turn up the volume; it’s on the low side, the price you pay for good dynamic range.


[YouTube link]

UPDATE: OK, here’s a bonus. As I was writing this post, I thought I’d listen to some more Leon Russell. I ran across this version of “A Song for You,” which I think is in the running for best love song written in the past century. I still prefer the spare, atmospheric album version I posted here, but this is the best live version I’ve heard.


[YouTube video]

UPDATE 2: One more. This video is from Leon’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2011. If Leon’s thanks to Elton John don’t bring a tear to your eye, you have a heart of stone. This version of “A Song for You,” with John Mayer on guitar, is pretty great, too.


[YouTube video]

UPDATE 3: Have to share this one too. It’s another performance with New Grass Revival, and it’s a better version of “Wild Horses” than the Stones’. Fantastic piano, banjo, and mandolin.


[YouTube video]

Yeah, I’m thinking of renaming this blog “Remembering Leon Russell.” Someone’s got to do it.

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Leon Russell and New Grass Revival 1980 live concert

Posted by Richard on April 29, 2018

A friend recently shared with a bunch of us a YouTube link to a fine album by the Dillards with Byron Berline, and that got me looking for some tasty bluegrass by New Grass Revival (with the incomparable Sam Bush) to share back. I happened upon this amazing hour-long concert video.

It starts with Leon solo doing Judy Garland as only Leon can. And then he and New Grass Revival proceed to romp through about every genre you can think of: Beatles, bluegrass, country, gospel, rock, pop… They do “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” like you’ve never heard it before. The set is fantastic, and the encores are even better. Enjoy!


[YouTube link]

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Richard on November 23, 2017

“[Thanksgiving] is a producers’ holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that
abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.” – Ayn Rand

This has been my month for internet issues. I had an outage a couple of weeks ago that took a few days to resolve. Then it recurred, and my ten-year-old DSL modem was the prime suspect, so I got a new one last Friday. No joy. Long story short, I was offline until yesterday afternoon. And, with hundreds of new emails to deal with, not to mention the cats, the shopping, etc., I haven’t prepared a Thanksgiving post. So I’ll simply direct you to last year’s post, where you’ll find some worthwhile links and a great Don Henley song for this holiday that you simply must listen to and share with your family and friends.

As for what I’m thankful for, well, there’s the CenturyLink technician who came by yesterday and eventually resolved my connectivity problem. And there’s Bibi, the sweet little cat that’s the newest member of my household (I really should tell her story one of these days).

There are my friends, who are an endless source of amusement, enlightenment, and wisdom. And my sister Margo and her husband Frank, whom I don’t talk with nearly enough, but are the only family I have (since my other sister, the liar and thief, is dead to me).

I’m thankful that my investments have grown in value even as I’ve been pulling money out to live on. And at my age, I’m thankful that I’m in pretty good health, and most things only hurt some of the time.

I’ve always been thankful that my dad, the late Col. Samuel R. Combs, adopted me, the bastard son of the Austrian woman he married, so that I could become a citizen of this greatest country on Earth.

There’s more, but that’s quite enough for now. Enjoy your turkey, your family, your football games, and the fine fall weather (if you’re in most of the country). I’m going to enjoy this wonderful fall day (sunny and a high of 72°!) by walking up to and around Washington Park while the turkey breast is in the oven. Then I’ll turn on the TV and see which teams I don’t much care about are beating which other teams I don’t much care about. (The Denver Broncos and UT Vols have both been big disappointments this season, so no thankfulness there.)

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American Saturday Night

Posted by Richard on September 4, 2017

I was watching a lawn care crew across the street a little while ago. It consisted of an Asian and three Hispanics. While one guy finished blowing clippings of the walk, the other three got in the truck and started it up. They were listening to country music.

I grinned. That’s America. Suddenly it occurred to me that I haven’t heard this Brad Paisley song in quite a while:


[YouTube link]

From MetroLyrics:

Whoa whoa
She’s got Brazilian leather boots on the pedal of her German car
Listen to the Beatles singin’ ‘Back in the U-S-S-R’
Yeah she’s goin’ around the world tonight
But she ain’t leavin’ here
She’s just going to meet her boyfriend down at the street fair

It’s a French kiss, Italian ice
Spanish moss in the moonlight
Just another American Saturday night

There’s a big toga party tonight down at Delta Chi
They’ve got Canadian bacon on their pizza pie
They’ve got a cooler full of cold Coronas and Amstel Light
It’s like were all livin’ in a big ol’ cup
Just fire up the blender, mix it all up

It’s a French kiss, Italian ice
Margaritas in the moonlight (whoa)
Just another American Saturday night

You know everywhere there’s something they’re known for
Although usually it washes up on our shores
My great great great granddaddy stepped off of that ship
I bet he never ever dreamed we’d have all this

You know everywhere has somethin’ they’re known for
Although usually it washes up on our shores
Little Italy, and Chinatown, sittin’ there side by side
Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

It’s a French kiss, Italian ice
Spanish moss in the moonlight
Just another American, just another American,
It’s just another American Saturday night

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Richard on November 24, 2016

I hope you’re enjoying this wonderful holiday, and I commend to you An Objectivist Ode to Thanksgiving by Jennifer Anju Grossman, the CEO of The Atlas Society, in which she offers “a Thanksgiving prayer that can appeal to secularists and religionists alike.”

For many Americans, Thanksgiving dinner begins with a prayer.

It is a chance to hold hands, to take a pause, to give thanks. Ayn Rand, firm exponent of reason and the originator of a philosophy for living on earth, would not have approved of praying to a deity.  Yet insofar as prayer is defined by the dictionary as a “solemn request or expression of thanks to an object of worship,” she certainly would have approved of a prayerful thanks during this holiday — and she did.

In one letter to friends — a Spanish painter and his wife — she emphasizes that she and Frank (her husband) wanted the couple “to come in time for Thanksgiving, so that we will have occasion to give thanks.”

After you read the rest of that, do me—and yourself—a favor and go read The real Thanksgiving story. And in case dinner isn’t ready yet and the ball game is boring, here are some other Thanksgiving posts you might enjoy:

  • 2007: This Thanksgiving, celebrate the producers — Features Debi Ghates’ wonderful explanation of what you should be thankful for and who you should thank.
  • 2008: Happy Thanksgiving  — A funny/sad story about kindergarten kids celebrating Thanksgiving. It features cops and accusations of genocide.
  • 2009: Thanking the producers again  — This time with lots of help from Jim Woods. Also, remembering the anniversary of the Jihadist attacks on Mumbai.
  • 2010: Best wishes for Thanksgiving  — Features John Stossel’s and Fouad Ajami’s thoughts on the holiday. You might enjoy Ajami’s thoughts on our Thanksgiving cuisine.

I’ll finish with a reprise of the song I posted last year. It seems even more appropriate after all that’s happened this year. If the election results have led to tension among your Thanksgiving guests, have them listen carefully to Don Henley’s “My Thanksgiving” (from the 2000 album Inside Job). It’s the perfect song for today, and one that hopefully will help them put any concerns and disagreements into perspective.


[YouTube link]

A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of ’em ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine
Sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you’re doing now
And what you’re going through
The last time I saw you
We were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my ThanksgivingNow the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion-well, it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I’m tired of waiting for reason to arrive
It’s too long we’ve been living
These unexamined lives
I’ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving
Have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are
Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridgeAnd I don’t mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I’m welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

I hope that’s as meaningful to you as it is to me.

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Leon Russell, R.I.P.

Posted by Richard on November 13, 2016

I was terribly saddened this morning to learn that Leon Russell died last night. He was a tremendous singer, songwriter, and musician, and one of my all-time favorite artists. He was 74, and his death comes much too soon.

Leon Russell was also Sir Elton John’s idol and biggest musical influence. In 2010, the two of them reconnected and recorded a highly-acclaimed album, The Union. See my post about that to learn more and listen to just a few of my favorite Leon Russell performances. It includes Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Young Blood from the Concert for Bangladesh, one of the finest live performances ever recorded, a ten-minute tour de force.

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Steve Goodman would be so happy!

Posted by Richard on November 3, 2016

Cubs win! Cubs win!

If only Steve Goodman had lived to see it.

In my not-so-humble opinion, Steve Goodman was one of the finest singer-songwriters ever to walk the earth. He was a Chicago boy and a huge Cubs fan. Tragically, he died of leukemia at the age of 36 in 1984, just four days before the Cubs won the National League Eastern Division title, sending them to the playoffs for the first time since 1945.

It’s nice to imagine that there’s a heaven with Steve Goodman in it, and that he’s got a huge grin on his face as he declares, “Damn, I’m gonna have to write some new lyrics for that song!”

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“I Think My Dog’s a Democrat”

Posted by Richard on March 28, 2016

Acting like he’s entitled is what gave him away.


[YouTube link]

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Webb Wilder in Knoxville

Posted by Richard on February 17, 2016

If you’re in East Tennessee and you like both rock AND roll, get yourself down to Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria in Knoxville’s Historic Old City on Sunday, February 21. WUTK (90.3 The Rock)  is sponsoring a CD release show by Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks. It’ll be the best $5 ticket you ever bought. And I’m envious, because they never make it out this way anymore.

If you can’t make it to that show, Webb reports (via email) two other Knoxville appearances you might be interested in:

The very next day (Mon. 2/22) I will be performing live and solo/acoustic on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special program at noon. The Blue Plate Special is broadcast from the Knoxville Visitor’s Center in downtown Knoxville in front of a live audience.

THEN, I will head over to Knoxville’s WFIV for a 2pm appearance.

Don’t know Webb Wilder? Here’s a taste.


[YouTube link]

And there’s lots more here.

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Glenn Frey, R.I.P.

Posted by Richard on January 18, 2016

One of the sad aspects of growing old is that the people whose music was an important part of my youth keep dying. In the past year or so, we’ve lost too many. B.B. King and Alan Toussaint. Yes founder Chris Squire (Rick, I’m sorry I never posted that tribute you wanted). Billy Joe Royal. The Easybeats’ Stevie Wright. Three Dog Night’s Cory Wells and Jimmy Greenspoon. Just recently, David Bowie.

And today, the Eagles’ Glenn Frey. Don Henley released a wonderful tribute to his friend and bandmate:

“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved is wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year ‘History of the Eagles Tour’ to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some.”

A lot of people have forgotten (or are too young to know) that the Eagles began as the backup band for Linda Ronstadt.

One of the best concerts I ever saw was the Eagles playing in a great big field on a farm in East Tennessee somewhere, with a “quadrophonic” sound setup: four giant speaker towers at the four corners of the audience area. IIRC, that was in the summer of 1974, because the playlist was mostly from Desperado and On the Border (my two favorite Eagles albums). The opening act was Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, which sounds inappropriate genre-wise, but it actually worked quite well.

Goodbye, Glenn. You’ll be missed. But you’ve left us with a marvelous legacy.

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A Thanksgiving song for you

Posted by Richard on November 26, 2015

Don Henley is probably the typical skull-full-of-mush Hollywood liberal, but he’s a pretty good songwriter and a damn fine lyricist. For proof, look no further than “My Thanksgiving” (from the 2000 album Inside Job), which is also the perfect song for today. Enjoy!


[YouTube link]

A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of ’em ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine

Sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you’re doing now
And what you’re going through

The last time I saw you
We were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my Thanksgiving

Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion-well, it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I’m tired of waiting for reason to arrive
It’s too long we’ve been living
These unexamined lives
I’ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

Have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge

And I don’t mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I’m welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

 

I hope that’s as meaningful to you as it is to me.

Now, do me—and yourself—a favor and go read The real Thanksgiving story.

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Acoustic Yes

Posted by Richard on September 24, 2014

My old friend John shared this with me. In 2004, Yes performed an all-too-brief (38 min.) acoustic concert that was shown live via satellite in theaters across the US after the premier of the documentary Yesspeak. This is the 1972-73 lineup (arguably the best): John Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Rick Wakeman (piano), Chris Squire (bass), and Alan White (drums). Enjoy!

Let’s start with a wonderful version of “Roundabout” that gives Steve Howe a chance to show off a bit.


[YouTube link]

“Southside of the Sky” ends with a fine Rick Wakeman solo.


[YouTube link]

Everyone’s sounding fine on “Long Distance Runaround,” but pay particular attention to Chris Squire’s fine bass work.


[YouTube link]

 I’ll finish as the concert did, with this simply amazing version of “I’ve Seen All Good People.”


[YouTube link]

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Story songs

Posted by Richard on June 22, 2013

Miss me? I’m not even going to try to explain my long absence; it would sound like whiny, self-absorbed psychobabble. I’m just going to ease back into things with some weekend music.

Some time back, I heard Blake Shelton say what sets country music apart from other genres is that country songs tell stories. Of course, that’s an over-generalization. There are country songs whose “story” is something like “let’s go drinkin’, honey.” And there are plenty of rock songs that tell stories. Dylan, Seger, and Springsteen come immediately to mind. But it’s true that country music is more often story-based than other genres. Here are some examples I really like.

Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy” is, IMHO, the quintessential story song, complete with a wonderful twist at the end. The first time I heard it, I laughed out loud.


[YouTube link]

 Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” is way more serious, but another great story song.


[YouTube link]

Bob Dylan half-wrote “Wagon Wheel” (mostly just the chorus) back in the early 70s, but never finished it. Thirty years later, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote some verses, and it became the folk/bluegrass/string band’s signature song. Last year, they invited Darius Rucker to perform it with them at the Grand Ole Opry, and he’s recorded a more country version (with Lady Antebellum) that’s become a huge hit. Here’s the music video — if you’re a Duck Dynasty fan, you’ll especially get a kick out of it.


[YouTube link]

(BTW, I saw Darius Rucker at Red Rocks a couple of weeks ago on a perfect June night. Imagine 9000 people singing the chorus of “Wagon Wheel.” Yeah, it was awesome. For more Darius Rucker, who I think is the finest singer and songwriter of any genre working today, see my earlier posts here and here.)

A popular theme for story songs is reminiscing about the old days, and at my age I can get into that. The Boss reportedly really likes this one by Eric Church.

Funny how a melody sounds like a memory
Like a soundtrack to a July Saturday night
Springsteen


[YouTube link]

Toby Keith’s “Beers Ago” is a reminiscing song with a bit more of an edge to it — and an interesting way of keeping track of time.


[YouTube link]

That’s it for now. Hope you liked those.

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