Category Archives: Music and Recording

Divertimento

The world is on fire today. At the moment I have nothing to add, other than to express my sorrow at the death of the great Johnny Winter. I did, however, just have a splendid evening, and I’d rather talk briefly about that. A couple of years ago my lovely wife Nina made the acquaintance, […]

Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue

It’s hard to believe that all the Ramones are now dead, but there it is: Tommy Ramone, the last man standing, died yesterday of cancer.

Comic Relief

I’m working late tonight, as I often do on Tuesdays. To ease my toil, I generally listen to classical music on Pandora; one of today’s highlights was the pyrotechnic allegro ma non troppo from the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, by Camille Saint-Saëns, as played by the incomparable, and […]

Stop The World

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Ooh La La

OK everybody, here’s a treat for you: the Faces, live in 1972. Rod Stewart at the peak of his powers, with one of the greatest old-school rock bands of all time — Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, and Kenny Jones. Nicely recorded, too. Here.

And Now For Something Completely Different

One of my oldest and closest friends is a fellow by the name of Carl Sturken. We’ve been pals since the fifth grade. Carl is a fantastically (and eclectically) talented musician. We were bandmates in high school, and he went on (to no-one’s surprise) to a very successful career as a songwriter and record producer. […]

A Moment Of Silence, Please

I note with real sorrow the passing of Ray Dolby, who gave my generation of recording engineers a priceless gift: quiet recordings on analog tape. That may not sound like much, but let me tell you, friends — it was.

Pre-Cover

Here’s an unfamiliar version of an all-too-familiar tune.

Danny Gatton

I’ll wager that most of you don’t know the name. He was a guitar player from Washington, D.C. Like some other great players I can think of — Roy Buchanan and John Bushnell come to mind — Danny Gatton was revered by his peers (“revered” is almost an understatement) — but never achieved the renown […]

La Chitarra Piangente

Still swamped today, but had to pass this along. For all of you youngsters.

Christina Amphlett-Drayton, 1959-2013

Another sad loss: Christina Amphlett, the former lead singer and songwriter for the Australian band Divinyls, has died after a long struggle with cancer and MS. She had lived in New York for many years, and will be mourned by many, many of her friends here. Nina and I first got to know Chrissy way […]

Phil Ramone, 1934 – 2013

Phil Ramone, arguably the greatest record producer of all time, died on Saturday. He was a towering presence in the recording industry, and his death is an enormous loss to us all. His work, and his influence, touched every aspect of recording. (He’s even the man responsible for putting that long-familiar pair of Shure SM-57s […]

Flow, My Tears

Here is a very beautiful performance of Lachrimae Pavane, written by the English Renaissance composer and lutenist John Dowland. The player is the Swedish guitarist Per-Olov Kindgren. It’s hard to describe the emotional effect of Dowland’s music; it’s terribly sad, but just to call it “melancholy” is too one-sided. There is also something deeply comforting […]

There Must Be A Better World Somewhere

Here’s Dr. John.

Then Play On

Some very nice bass-playing here (reminds me of Paul Jackson, from Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters band). Fun to watch, too.

The Ol’ Slush Pump, Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

I’m whipped tonight. So here’s… A camera mounted on the slide of a trombone. Oddly entertaining.

Proto-Synth

The composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett died this past Christmas Eve, and tonight WQXR played a selection of his works. One of them was from his score for the 1967 film Billion Dollar Brain, and it featured an eerie, flute-like instrument. At first I thought it was a Theremin, but then I realized it must […]

West Meets East

I just realized I had neglected to note the passing of the great Ravi Shankar, who died last week at the ripe old age of 92. He was for me, of course, as for everyone else who was young in those days, the one who opened the door to the treasure-house of Indian music. I […]

As Good As it Gets

I’m working a long day today, so for tonight here’s another musical item: a clip of the one and only Steve Gadd taking some extended solos. These aren’t your typical drum solos. What I love about Gadd’s soloing is the depth of the groove that’s always playing in his head, and that he expresses just […]

Power

As I was poking around on YouTube this morning I ran across a link to this little number by the great Chaka Khan, only available on a compilation album released in 1998. Recorded and mixed by yours truly, at the now-defunct O’Henry Studios in Burbank, CA. (What a great studio that was.) Note the guitar solos in […]

Made For Each Other

Speaking of world-class narcissists, no list would be complete without including  the exquisitely unlovable Madonna. (Sadly, I learned this first-hand; you will find my name on your copy of Like a Virgin, if you have one.) Ms. Ciccone has now enlivened the campaign season in her own special way. The Huffington Post reports: Madonna brought […]

As Good As It Gets

If I were to ask you, readers of a certain age, to think of rock music’s all-time greatest guitarists, I have a feeling that the thirty-three-year-old Derek Trucks might not be among the pantheon that swims into view. He should be, though. To get an idea why, have a look here.

Beck’s Big Idea

And a pretty brilliant one too, I think: his new album will not be recorded at all, but will be published only as sheet music. It’s up to the fans to render it as they see fit.

When We Were Very Young

Okay, readers of a certain age: have a look at this.

That Was Pretty Good — Let’s Keep It And Do Another

Here’s one sent our way by our reader “The Big Henry”: the history of rock music in 100 guitar riffs. One man, one Strat, one take.

Synesthesia

Ever since seeing Fantasia as a boy, I’ve been fascinated by animated renderings of music. Poking around online today I found two very different animations of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #6. Both are complete mappings of the musical score onto a scrolling visual display, and so both express the same information. I can’t decide, though, […]

Levon Helm, 1940-2012

Anyone of a “certain age” will be saddened by the death of Levon Helm, who has succumbed to cancer at age 71. His rustic voice was a big part of the soundtrack of our youth, and it hurts to see it silenced.

Beware Of Mr. Baker

Here’s a movie I want to see.

Quality Time

When my daughter Chloë was very little — just a baby — I used to rock her in my arms to send her off to sleep. Soothing music always seemed to help her on her way. One evening I put on an album by the seminal jazz ensemble Weather Report, and I could tell the […]

John Bushnell

The music biz isn’t always fair. A lot of mediocre talent makes it big, and there have always been world-class players who never get the wider recognition they deserve, and spend their working lives playing for a devoted local following far from the big-city spotlight. One such is my old friend John Bushnell, whom I’ve […]

Tom Ardolino, 1955-2011

Here’s some really terrible news that I just heard about tonight; Tom Ardolino, NRBQ’s longtime drummer and one of my favorite drummers of all time, has died. I don’t know what the cause was, but he’d been sick for a while. Tom Ardolino just whacked the hell out of the drums, and played the biggest, […]

Yeah!

Time for some NRBQ, I think. Here’s Wild Weekend. And here’s Get Rhythm. Man, what a band.

The Haunting of Don Carlo

An article in the current New Yorker begins: On the night of October 16, 1590, a palace apartment near Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, in Naples, was the scene of a double murder so extravagantly vicious that people are still sifting through the evidence, more than four centuries later. The most reliable account of the crime […]

Paul Motian, 1931-2011

Here’s one that I missed on Tuesday (and thanks to our friend Peter for mentioning it) — Paul Motian, a jazz drummer of sublime artistry and one of the most versatile and influential players of all time, died last week at the age of 80. (The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, the same affliction that took […]

Jon Gomm

I don’t usually go in much for “tappers”, but this is pretty cool. HT: Devin Townsend.

Bismillah!

OK, folks, I have what you’ve all been waiting for: the new Bohemian Rhapsody video from William Shatner — featuring John Wetton, no less. Enjoy.

No Mortal Place At All

Here’s a real treat: the great Gary Brooker at the peak of his powers, in this live performance of A Salty Dog from 1977.

Bert Jansch, 1943 – 2011

We note, belatedly, the death of the great Scottish fingerstyle guitarist Bert Jansch, who exerted a formative influence on a great many better-known musicians. One in particular was Jimmy Page; I think you’ll hear the connection in this video clip. Another was Paul Simon; readers of a certain age may recognize this Jansch song from […]

That’s A Fine Motorbike

Just ran across this clip, and enjoyed it too much not to post it here: Richard Thompson playing his classic 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. What a voice. What a song. Enjoy.

Addicted

I just watched this clip again: Gavin Harrison playing Porcupine Tree’s Futile. As one of YouTube’s commenters said: “this is like porn for drummers”.

Use It Or Lose It

Here’s an encouraging item from Science Daily: Older Musicians Experience Less Age-Related Decline in Hearing Abilities Than Non-Musicians ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2011) — A study led by Canadian researchers has found the first evidence that lifelong musicians experience less age-related hearing problems than non-musicians. While hearing studies have already shown that trained musicians have highly […]

Perfect! Let’s Do One More

Here’s the great voice-over artist Bob Kaliban in some recently discovered studio footage. Have a glimpse behind the scenes in the ad biz of old.

Summertime

Ah, the Casuals at the Beachcomber. What could be better? Here’s a live feed, if you read this in the next little while. They’ve been playing this joint for 31 years.

Big Bottom

Here.

Iko Iko

As advertised in this space a few weeks ago, Dr. John played at the Prospect Park Bandshell this past Saturday night (with go-go legend Chuck Brown and another very funky band called Red Baraat as openers). It was a fabulous show. Sorry you missed it. Dr. John is a walking encyclopedia of the American musical […]

Just For The Record

A week or so ago we posted a little poll, asking readers what they thought was the best album ever. Given the number of people who pass by here every day, I thought we’d see a lot more responses — it’s something that everyone has an opinion about, and unlike most topics, you won’t get […]

Be Vewy Quiet

If you’ve ever wondered what the Recording Industry looks like from the inside, you’re in luck. Have a peek here.

Poll

OK, everybody, setting aside our usual topics, here’s a question for you all: What’s the greatest album of all time? (I originally wrote “rock album”, but let’s just make it “album”.) You only get to pick one. All readers, even the most casual visitors, and all of you who usually stay on the sidelines, are […]

Funk Break

If you’re going to be in Gotham on Saturday, July 30th, you should get yourself over to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell (conveniently located just 250 yards from waka waka waka‘s New York command center) for what bids fair to be an outstanding evening’s entertainment. The headliner, Malcolm Rebennack Jr. (A.K.A “Dr. John“), is a national […]

Clarence Clemons, 1942-2011

We note with sorrow the death of Clarence Clemons, soul of the E Street Band for forty years, who died Saturday after suffering a devastating stroke. His death will leave an awfully big hole in a great many hearts. I got to know Clarence more than thirty years ago, when the E Street Band moved […]