Monday, May 09

Music Monday: RIP Gato Barbieri

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! In the never ending attempt to make 2016's death band the greatest in history, another huge talent has passed. It's possible you've never heard of Gato Barbieri, but it's very likely you've heard him, or at least felt his influence in some other song. Today we're gonna jazz it up and pay tribute. Enjoy.

Gato Barbieri & Santana - Europa


Barbieri was from Argentina, and by the time he was doing stuff like this, was very well established. He'd played with jazz bands, he'd played with partners, and he'd been a solo artist on some artistic avant-garde labels. He was even the inspiration for the Muppet Zoot (the sax player with the Electric Mayhem) if that tells you how important Barbieri was to the counter-culture scene. But I accept that not everyone gives a damn about ESP and the Flying Dutchman labels, so I'm starting with this Santana duet. Because, ultimately, it's just as good as the rest of Barbieri's catalog and it helps you understand how a guy you might not have heard of could still be hanging out right next to a famous rock star.

Scott only learned that tidbit about Zoot while preparing this tribute. Who knew? Four more to come...

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Monday, May 02

Music Monday: RIP Dennis Davis

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Dennis Davis passed away just about a month ago, but we've had a little backlog of death, so Scott's only getting to him now. Nothing personal, Dennis. It's just been a crazy year.

Roy Ayers - Rhythms Of Your Mind


When I paid a bit too much for a first edition of this record a few years ago, I was very surprised to read the liner notes and discover Dennis Davis was the drummer on the record and the arranger of this song. But it really shouldn't have surprised me at all. As talented as he was, he should have been everywhere.

More RIP's to come.

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Monday, April 25

Music Monday: RIP Prince

by Scott Lydon

Today's Music Monday is going to be a little different than usual for two reasons. The first: It's Prince. Seriously. Almost 100% of modern music derives from the ideas he was originating and playing with. He touched rock, he touched soul, he touched dance, he touched everything. And he could even do it all himself, playing all the instruments one at a time. There's really never been a performer like him.

But the second reason this will be a strange Music Monday is that Prince didn't want his stuff to be online. For years his legal team would swoop in and remove his stuff from YouTube and other sites. That means I've got nothing of his to link to here today. SO instead, I'm going to go the other direction. I'm going to link some of his copycats, side projects, and such. Because good God, if anyone deserves a tribute, it's Prince.

94 East - Just Another Sucker


So Prince was born into a family that was absolutely soaked in music, which possibly helped him get started early on. This 94 East track was written by Prince, in 1977, and it's one of his earlier compositions. 94 East was formed by Prince's cousin's ex-husband. The band didn't really do much else, but you can hear the start of Prince's funky sound right here.

More to come.

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Monday, April 18

Music Monday: Lord Kitchener

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Some of you may have never heard of Lord Kitchener, and that's sort of understandable. First, he was recording right after World War II, which was a way back. Second, he was mostly in England, which is pretty far away for a pop song to travel. And third, he was singing about the experience of emigrating from the West Indies to London, which is not something of which many Americans would not expect to care. But Scott's never met a person who couldn't get into the joyful sound of calypso, so if you've never heard of Kitch, go ahead and give him a shot. You might just be pleased with what you find. We'll get back to the RIPs next week, but for now, let's have some fun!

Lord Kitchener - London Is The Place For Me


The hard part about Lord Kitchener is that he sort of seems to come out of a vacuum. It's not true, of course, he had some success in Trinidad and Jamaica before heading to England to be a big star, but YouTube doesn't seem to think so. You'll have to just trust me: by the time Lord Kitchener improvised this song about the joy of finding a new home, he was practiced and ready to play. And his calypso style was going to shake the British music scene greatly.

More smooth stuff to come after the jump.

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Monday, April 11

Music Monday: RIP Merle Haggard

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! I was literally just finishing a tribute to the late Gato Barbieri when Merle Haggard passed away. So get ready for Gato's tribute down the road. This week's death recap goes to Merle.

Merle Haggard - (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers


Merle Haggard was born in a boxcar. Merle Haggard lost his father when he was still in single digits. Merle Haggard taught himself to play guitar by listening to records. Merle Haggard was in prison, where he saw Johnny Cash perform, and Merle Haggard decided he wanted to do that to. Merle Haggard was basically the character you'd expect a Hollywood writer to create as a caricature of a country star, except Merle Haggard earned every damn bit of it with his own two hands. Merle Haggard was a bad-ass. Today's all about him. This song here was his first top ten hit which is why we're starting with it. He didn't write it himself, but he made it famous.

More Merle ahead. Be ready.

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Monday, April 04

Music Monday: RIP Phife Dawg

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Even though there are some other tributes in the way, today's March 23rd, and we've just learned about the passing of A Tribe Called Quest rapped Phife Dawg. So today's a slightly-belated tribute to him. Enjoy.

A Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick It?


Q-Tip was always the most visible member of the Tribe, but Phife Dawg was right there beside him from the start. He's the second rapper on this particular track and his raps are just as playful and infectious as his partner's. Like many young men, I listened to a lot of hip hop in the '80s and '90s, and I was always happy when a Tribe Called Quest song came on the radio. Phife Dawg was a part of why.

More good music coming up after the jump.

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Monday, March 28

Music Monday: RIP Maurice White

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! On February 4th, the great and wonderful Maurice White passed away, and somehow Scott just didn't hear about it until right now. He's a big Earth Wind & Fire fan so he's going to make up for his mistakes right now! Let's pay tribute to a musical juggernaut together.

Earth, Wind & Fire - After The Love Has Gone


This is the first Earth, Wind & Fire song I ever heard. It was on the stereo in our downstairs room, it was summer, the back door was open and there was a light breeze. I had nothing to do and most of the day to not do it in. I was still a kid, and I didn't know the band's name, but I felt like it was the most perfect song for that moment and I still do. I didn't know anything about the history of the band or what they were trying to do or really anything at all, I just knew that it was an amazing song that felt like a nice summer's day. And that was really enough for me.

More coming up, as you'd expect.

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Monday, March 21

Music Monday: RIP Keith Emerson

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! At this point it's pretty clear that it's NOT a good year to be a '70s rock star from the UK. The legendary keyboard warrior Keith Emerson passed away about two weeks ago, and only got time-shifted because the George Martin tribute was already done. But Keith was all about cool effects, right? He'd probably be fine with a little time-shifting. And prog rock wouldn't be prog rock without ol' Keith.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Karn Evil 9


If we're being honest with ourselves, there's a real chance the Insane Clown Posse starts the first time two Detroit kids hear this song. But no matter if that's true or not, this bizarre mix of classic rock and future synth slips in and out of tomorrow funk and pre-rock classical. And don't forget the Giger album cover! If you're a prog head, you've had a beat up copy of this in your collection at one time or another. And it's not even the coolest thing Keith Emerson was involved with.

Unless you're a die-hard fan, you're gonna be surprised what Scott found. And if you are a die-hard fan, you're just gonna want to pay tribute. Come join us as we RIP a prog god.

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Monday, March 14

Music Monday: RIP George Martin

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! 2016 has killed again. But don't worry, this time it was a ninety-year old man who had a full and magical life. We'll miss George Martin, but he certainly wasn't taken from us too early.

Peter Sellers - The Trumpet Volunteer


Some of George Martin's first work was in comedy, in fact. For the Parliphone label he took a hip and current comic and recorded some of his bits onto a 10" EP. Today it might seem a bit tame, but once upon a time, this was serious comedy. And the sales helped make George Martin into someone the company could take seriously.

More to come as we delve into the great George Martin's life and music. No Game Of Thrones jokes please. IT'S BEEN DONE. Editor's Note: after writing this I learned about Keith Emerson, so watch for him next week. It's gonna be a long year.

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Monday, March 07

Music Monday: Transformative Covers

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Today Scott's taking a look at songs that exist in two ways: the first version that some people know, and the second version that other people know. Probably you can come up with a few off the top of your head, all those songs that were transformed completely by the cover. Maybe you didn't even know the cover WAS a cover! Here's our first example now:

Lynn Anderson/Kon Kan - I Never Promised You A Rose Garden


Lynn Anderson's country crossover hit was pretty popular with, well, a good chunk of America. Kon Kan's dance remix wasn't anywhere nearly as big. But you can tell by listening to them both that they take two very different paths to the end result. I'll leave it to you which one you like best.

Get the idea? Good! Four more on the way...

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