Wednesday, February 22, 2017

California Dreamin'

California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see... Woody Guthrie - Do Re Mi 

California has always been a mythical place.  Back in the 60's The Beach Boys' songs took us there:  the surfing, the cars and those California Girls.  The Rivieras sang about going out west to the warm California Sun.  The Mamas & The Papas wished they were in L.A. while they were California Dreamin' back on the east coast.  In the 70's, even the English wanted to go there. Led Zeppelin was looking for a girl with flowers in her hair as they were Going To California.

The band America captivated us with their laid-back California sound and an invitation to us to go west young man with their imagery in Ventura Highway. 

America, the duo of Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell are still touring.  I enjoyed an evening with them a few weeks back. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

An Appreciation For ELO

A celebration, mister blue sky's up there waitin' and today is the day we've waited for... Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky 

The Electric Light Orchestra was one of those bands that you took for granted.  They made great singles in the 1970's, but never really got their due.  That is until now as they are being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I saw ELO back in 1978 during their peak on their Out of the Blue Tour.  The show began with a closed UFO, which opened and the band appeared from inside.  They proceeded to play their songs with their classic sound for the next few hours.

I remember reading that Jeff Lynne (ELO's leader and one of it's founders) described them as a rock and roll band with strings attached (a funny line).  I think I read that he visited The Beatles while they were recording The White Album and he wanted to put a band together that would start where the Beatle's I Am the Walrus left off.

Listening to ELO today, I appreciate the harmonies and hooks of their music.  Their songs take turns that you don't expect. 

Of course, Jeff Lynne went on to work on various projects including the individual Beatles; Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & George Harrison; he also worked with George, as well and with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan & Tom Petty in The Traveling Wilburys.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Something Beautiful

Hear the roar of the crowd, the lights from above... Alejandro Escovedo - Heartbeat Smile 

Alejandro Escovedo has a great new album out now entitled Burn Something Beautiful. The album was produced and written with Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck of the Minus 5.  I saw them perform on Austin City Limits over the weekend.  A solid performance - check out the song Heartbeat Smile below.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Rain, The Park & The Cowsills

I love the flower girl;  Was she real or just a dream to me... The Cowsills - The Rain the Park & Other Things

I have always loved The Cowsill's song The Rain, The Park & Other Things.  I heard the song as a child and also remember it being in the Dumb and Dumber movie.  I heard it recently and for whatever reason it hit me with it's hooks and it was like hearing the song anew.  I guess I never really listened as close before, but I paid attention to the lyrics, the harmonies and the instrumentation (which was all classic 60's style).

I guess I knew the Cowsills were a family band and were the inspiration for The Partridge Family.  I remember listening to the Continental Drifters in the 90's.  They were an Americana super band that featured former members of The dB's, The Bangles & The Dream Syndicate, as well as Susan Cowsill (of the Cowsills).  

The Cowsills