Archive for John Denver

Review: Jerry Jeff Walker, Vampire Weekend, etc.

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on January 13, 2010 by 30daysout

You ever watch football games on TV with the sound off?  I’ve done that for decades, a habit picked up when I was a sportswriter long ago – the announcers really add very little to the game.  And this is a great opportunity for multi-tasking: instead of listening to Al Michaels drone on, I listen to new albums.  So here you go, some new ones for 2010 and a handful left over from late last year.  And they’re all pretty good:

Vampire Weekend is just about the whitest band around, but they sure don’t sound that way.  On Contra, this New York quartet picks up the sprightly rhythms of African music (and on a song like “Diplomat’s Son,” reggae … is this an homage to the Clash?) and swirls them into an intoxicating blend of wordplay and jumpy dance hooks.  If you liked their first record, the boys (led by singer/guitarist/songwriter Ezra Koenig) haven’t strayed far from their roots, and that’s a good thing.

MP3: “White Sky” by Vampire Weekend

Jerry Jeff Walker is one of the legendary songwriters from Texas (although like Vampire Weekend, he’s a New York native) and Moon Child is his latest release.  It’s available only online, at Jerry Jeff’s website and from iTunes and  Jerry Jeff wrote about six of the 11 tunes here, the rest are by Jimmie Dale Gilmore and others including a version of John Denver’s “Back Home Again.”  Jerry Jeff’s trademark is the bowed-but-not-broken survivor, looking forward with a peppy outlook: “The Poet Is Not In Today” fills that prescription.  Moon Child is a decent dose of sunshine from a Texas treasure.

MP3: “The Poet Is Not In Today” by Jerry Jeff Walker

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Lost Classics! Peter, Paul & Mary

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by 30daysout
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Peter, Mary and Paul

REPOST: Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary died Wednesday at the age of 72.  You can read an obituary here.  We thought we’d just retrieve this earlier post, with links intact.

If you can even imagine it, there was a time between Elvis Presley and the Beatles – and American music was confused indeed.  In 1959, Elvis went into the Army,  Buddy Holly died in an Iowa snowstorm and by that time Jerry Lee Lewis had virtually scandalized himself out of the music business.  Rock and roll’s moment seemed to have passed.

But folk music was still very big.  Groups like the Kingston Trio and the Weavers (with Pete Seeger) still managed to have hit records, and when Peter, Paul and Mary came out of the Greenwich Village scene in 1961 they had their sights set on the top of the pop charts.  Peter Yarrow, Noel “Paul” Stookey and Mary Travers cut their first album in 1962 and it featured mostly traditional folk standards and a Pete Seeger tune, “If I Had A Hammer,” which was a hit.   The next year they would hit again with “Blowin’ In The Wind,” written by the up-and-coming Bob Dylan.

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Review: “The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again,” John Fogerty

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on September 1, 2009 by 30daysout

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Being a fan of John Fogerty and his music in general, every fiber of my being wants to like his newest, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.  It is, after all, a sequel of sorts to his 1973 album as the Blue Ridge Rangers, where Fogerty played all the instruments and covered country classics.  This time, though, Fogerty invites some friends to sit in as he surveys stuff like Pat Boone’s “Moody River,” Ray Price’s “I’ll Be There” and Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party.”

You can certainly tell that Fogerty’s having fun in the studio, and so is slumming guest Bruce Springsteen, on the cover of the Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved?” that closes this album.  And his bluegrass touch is light and refreshing, giving songs like “Never Ending Song of Love” (Delaney & Bonnie) and “Back Home Again” (John Denver) a new, refreshing life.  Fogerty even chips in one of his own songs, “Change In The Weather,” which was probably better the first time around.  It’s kind of nice to hear a major artist like Fogerty get relaxed and playful, so that’s a plus for this album.

But Fogerty, like Springsteen, is one of the great writers of American rock music.  What are guys like that doing messin’ around with making albums full of old songs?  Why aren’t they coming up with fresh new great rock classics?  Maybe this is what they did on their summer vacations.  Hope so, because that means their next albums are gonna be … great?

MP3: “Back Home Again”

John Fogerty official website

Repost: Time To Do The Right Thing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by 30daysout

UPDATE: The Time is coming … time to pick a president.  We’re not going to tell you how to vote.  We are going to remind you it’s really important, though.  This appeared around the Fourth of July and we think it ought to go up again.  Listen to the tunes, do some research and make your choice. 

Sometimes it’s tough to figure out the world.  Why does everything cost so much, while human life seems so cheap?  Can we resolve our differences with other cultures without having to pick up a gun, or is it too late?  What is going to happen to us, to our children, and to their children?

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