Thursday, January 31, 2008
Y'all knew I was going to have to feature the 'little bastard' sometime, right?
Long-time journeyman pop hitmaker, gifted photographer...And as Canadian as a maple syrup-and-poutine tourtière served by a toque-wearing beaver.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I would like to take a moment today to reflect on James Jamerson, and offer a minor homage to him on his birthday.
Years ago, I worked with a former Motown artist who brought me to a deeper appreciation of the Hook's role within the Sound of Young America than I had formerly possessed as a crazy young rock-a-roller...Revelations abounded in sound, not least of which was that I owed a great deal of my approach to yet another originator.
As with Jaco, there is electric bass before James, and electric bass after.
But unlike Jaco (who forged his eventually unique style upon the influences of earlier masters of the electric instrument such as Bernard Odum and Jerry Jemmott), James blazed a bright trail alone, wedding a fearless improvisational sensibility rooted in the purest Jazz to seamless dance grooves that never stepped on the vocals, but enhanced them beyond measure.
James never truly got his due in his lifetime, like so many of his fellow Funk Brothers...A tragic and all-too-common situation for the innovators of music.
When he died in L.A. in 1983, few inside the music community and even fewer outside it knew that a giant had passed from us.
Fortunately, through the tireless efforts of Allen Slutsky and many others, we can now see past the obvious celebrity into the all-star team that was the Motown session musician roster, and thus many more people every day can learn of this great legacy in music.
Here is an exquisite example of how his basslines worked with the vocals of the Temptations.
Here is a splendidly executed version of one of his most exemplary lines, Darling Dear by the Jackson 5.
And there you are...Happy birthday, James. Couldn't have done it without you.
Crossposted @ SteveAudio
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Dedicated readers of this weekly thumbnail history will recall earlier mentions of guitarist Brian 'Too Loud' McLeod as a member of the esteemed band Chilliwack during their flirtation with American pop success.
But at heart, Brian was a black leather-clad rock n' roller with chops and attitude, and his first stop after leaving his former employers was his own band...the Headpins.
Fronted by Darby Mills on vocals and stalwart bassist Ab Bryant, they were poised to go big stateside with songs such as Don't It Make You Feel Like Dancin'...But record company troubles, the bane of many a band, laid those plans low.
Sadly, Brian succumbed to cancer in 1992 before getting his due.
In a different form, the band continues on today.
Anecdote: Brian loved to jam, and sat in with a combo of mine a few times in the mid-'80's...on drums, one of his loves (along with his boat).
The drummer wasn't terribly keen on this as 'Too Loud' was a bit of a stage basher, notorious for not possessing a real light touch...and indeed, that night (as I recall) the tab was three pairs of broken sticks, two cracked cymbals and a limply hanging kick drum pedal.
The look on the drummer's face upon surveying the carnage in front of a crowd ecstatically screaming for encore...Priceless.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Some of you might recognize this hoser from a little song called Painted Ladies (top 40 in the U.S. in '74), or remember that his brother is another well-known hoser.
...But you probably didn't know that he wrote this song and not Santana, eh?
Now take off!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Discovered by Randy Bachman at the peak of BTO's success, and still going strong after almost four decades on the Canadian music scene with such hits as Here For A Good Time, Raise A Little Hell, Baby Woncha Please Come Home and Boys In The Bright White Sports Car, Ra McGuire, Brian Smith and company soldier on, rekindling the memories of eternally seventeen-year-olds coast to coast.
In the service of trivial disclosure...Ra doesn't sing the above number - original keyboardist Frank Ludwig did the honors.
'Hit it, boys'
Friday, January 04, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Thinking person's metal from the snow-swept wastes of Quebec, forming in 1982 and continuing until the present day, in spite of guitarist Denis D'Amour's untimely passing in 2005.
Certainly not as fortunate in the realms of popular success as some of their compatriots in hard music, yet they remain highly regarded and influential.
A notable addition to personnel in recent years has been Jason Newsted, formerly of some minor band of drunken no-hopers from the Bay Area, forever doomed to obscurity.