Amoeblog

Howlin’ Wolf’s 100th birthday

Posted by Whitmore, June 10, 2010 02:07pm | Post a Comment
howlin wolf, chester burnett, blues, guitar, harmonica, killing floor, smokestsck lighten', spoonful, back door man, eric clapton, soul on fire,

He was named after Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, and as a kid Chester Arthur Burnett was nicknamed Big Foot Chester or Bull Cow as he grew to stand 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weigh in close to 300 pounds. That was a big man. But we know him as Howlin' Wolf, legendary and incredibly influential blues singer, guitarist, harmonica player and composer, whose songs are as standard today as anything written by Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Carmichael, Leiber and Stoller or McCartney and Lennon. Howlin' Wolf’s compositions include “Killing Floor,” “Sikilling floor, smokestsck lighten', spoonful, rock, rawk, back door man, eric clapton, soul on fire,tting on Top of the World,” “Who's Been Talking?,” “Moanin’ at Midnight,” and “Smokestack Lightnin'.”
 
Also, his versions of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” and “Back Door Man” are about as perfect a three minutes as you’ll ever hear in any genre, anytime, anyplace. Rough-edged, fearsome and fearless, Howlin' Wolf's booming voice sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before -- like something in between grinding a knife on a whetstone or a sharpening steel or shears tearing into bone or a monster truck pulling donuts on a gravel road. As the adage goes -- Howlin' Wolf has often been imitated but never duplicated.
 
Chester Burnett died in Hines, Illinois on January 10, 1976 and is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery, Hillside, Cook County in Illinois. His gravestone, etched with a guitar and harmonica, and allegedly purchased by Eric Clapton, can be found in Section 18 on the east side of the road.
 
Today would have been his 100th birthday.




Vinyl Confidential, 4.1 – The Odd Order of Oblong Boxes Returns

Posted by Whitmore, June 8, 2010 04:54pm | Post a Comment
“Because, you know how it is, in this business you can't sleep for trying to imagine all the great records you’re missing out on out there somewhere at a yard sale or a thrift store or at the other end of Amoeba ... And then, you're also the guy behind the turntable, watching the people dancing, getting laid, every night. And then one night, you get to thinking, how do I get laid out there? But to do it smart. That’s the question. You've got those wheels spinning right under your hands, but not necessarily the wheels gyrating in your head.
gin, vodka, brandy, martini, bars, booze, tequila, demon alcohol, all things good
You may know every groove of every record by heart, but try and figure out the mystery of seduction. And then suddenly last call, closing time. Looking out into the darkness and the whole setup is right there in the room for you. Look, I'm not trying to whitewash anything, paint a pretty picture of decorum or anything. I fought it, only I guess I didn't fight it hard enough. The stakes were too high, and yet not high enough. I’d never done dirt except now; now I’m knee high in mud and muck.”
experimental music, odd, outsider art, amoeba, 45's, rock rock rock, roll roll roll

old time religion, got jesus, got buddha, got allah, got records, 45's, gospel, god, godheadblondie, debbie harry, chris stein, 1980's, pop music, newwave, diva, skinny ties, 45's, reagan, punk, rock, queen

The B Side Live Waves Bye Bye

Posted by Whitmore, May 18, 2010 08:48pm | Post a Comment

Ok, so Alyssa Milano wasn’t tweeting back and our resident rock-star-who-we-can’t-name was too busy doing rock star things elsewhere to be in attendance, but there was a tall, thin gentleman looking a helluva lot like my former conspirator in the Amoeba Hollywood 45 room, son of Texas, Brently Heilbron, in the audience eating pretzels and keeping his distance from the enormous 77 pound chocolate cake which was parallel parked alongside the couch so that the large live studio audience -- triple the regular crowd size, which explains why security showed up -- could dance and binge on food and booze, all to celebrate the end of season one of Eguiders.com’s webcast The B Side Live.
 
The B Side Live is a webcast tailor-made for record geeks whodella Reese have a taste for blathering, dusty singles, top shelf whisky, terrible green-screen effects and who don’t mind waves of pandemonium and chaos. The theme for this week’s episode was cover-songs. Some of the 7 inch records slapped on the turntable included Della Reese’s absolutely perfect version of the Sinatra standard “It Was a Very Good Year” (1966), Big Maybelle’s “96 Tears” (1967), Brothers and Sisters featuring Merry Clayton doing Bob Dylan’s “The Mighty Quinn,” Joey Covington’s (the future drummer for the Jefferson Starship) garagey version of The Who’s “Boris the Spider” (1967) and the show stopper of the evening, from 1969, Wilson Pickett’s incredible, wickedly possessed, mind blowing single version summerof “Hey Joe” -- featuring Duane Allman’s nervously ecstatic guitar lines, plus of course tracks from the likes of Tina Turner, Sharon Jones, Jimmy Smith, Otis Clay, Nina Simone, the Mighty Tom Cats, the sly vocal gymnastics of the late, great, Peter Sellers and many more.
 
After a summer hiatus, The B Side Live will return, optimistically rested and tanned and with a whole new stack of great seven inch classics. Hopefully we will have found a secret thriftstore Shangri-La, laden with vinyl dubloons or hit big in Vegas, “seven come eleven, baby needs new northern soul,” or we will have won epic battles on eBay against all deep pocketed comers, and even if my taste for such a good life leads me down the road from champagne to whiskey, from whiskey to wine, and from wine to sterno and denatured alcohol. It is simply the price you pay to play good records, so be it...

Lena Horne 1917 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, May 10, 2010 12:05pm | Post a Comment
Lena Horne
 
Lena Horne, the legendary jazz singer, icon of American popular music and award winning actress -- and as far as I’m concerned, one of the most captivating women ever to walk this planet -- died yesterday, Sunday, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She was 92. Called "one of the incomparable performers of our time," she was best known for her plaintive signature song "Stormy Weather" from the film of the same name and her starring roles in such pictures as Cabin in the Sky, Panama Hattie, and The Wiz.
 
Horne had an easy, sultry singing voice, insanely beautiful, and her compelling sex appeal may have at first overshadowed her talents, but she wasn’t just another pretty face. When she signed with MGM Pictures, she was among the handful of black actors to have a contract with a major Hollywood studio, though it was never easy. Her life long battle against bigotry took its psychic toll; Horne was perpetually frustrated with the public humiliation of racism. A pivotal moment took place in 1945 as she entertained at an Army base in Europe and saw that German prisoners of war were seated up front while black American lena Hornesoldiers were relegated to the back. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws. Her involvement in various social and political organizations and her friendship with Paul Robeson, who was just as well known as a singer as for his communist leanings, had Horne’s name placed on the era’s blacklists during the red scare witch hunts of the early 1950’s and the age of Joseph McCarthy.
 
Born Lena Mary Calhoun Horne in Brooklyn on June 30, 1917, she dropped out of school at 16 to help support her family. She joined the chorus line at the Cotton Club, the mythical Harlem night spot where the entertainers were black and the clientele white. By the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade. She left the club in 1935 to tour with Noble Sissle's orchestra, then billed as Helena Horne. Horne was also one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band when she joined Charlie Barnet's orchestra in 1940. She was the first black performer to play the Copacabana nightclub in New York City.
 
In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical Stormy Weather. Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and put her name center stage for the next several decades.
 Lena Horne
Horne became one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement of the late 50’s and 1960’s. She made headlines for once throwing a lamp, an ashtray and several glasses at a customer who made a racial slur in a Beverly Hills restaurant, bloodying the man's forehead. In 1963 Horne joined with some 250,000 others in the March on Washington, D.C. when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. That same year Horne spoke at a NAACP rally with another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, just the weekend before his assassination.
 
In the early 1970’s Horne went into seclusion. In a period of just over a year, her father, son and husband all died. She became too grief-stricken to perform or even see anyone but her closest friends. Oddly enough, comedian Alan King was the one who convinced her to return to the stage and public life.
 
Horne had her first big Broadway success as the star of  Jamaica in 1957, but in 1981, for her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, she won a special Tony Award and the 333 performances still hold the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history. In it, she sang two versions -- one straight and the other gut-wrenching -- of "Stormy Weather" to give audiences a glimpse of the spiritual odyssey she had taken in of her five-plus decade long career. In 1984 she was Kennedy Center Honors recipient for extraordinary talent, creativity, and perseverance. And of her four Grammy Awards, the one she received in 1989 was the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.



eGuiders.com Live -- Great Records, Real Good Whiskey, Even Jambalaya ...

Posted by Whitmore, May 4, 2010 11:05pm | Post a Comment
eguiders live
Not to sound like a complete SoCal elitist snob, but I do most of my writing down by the pool, lounging about – in the shade, of course -- often sipping some kind of beverage, sometimes a cappuccino, sometimes a whiskey and soda, Sinatra style. Anyway, this is where I met Marc Ostrick, good neighbor, family man, music aficionado, Scotch connoisseur, raconteur and co-founder of the website eGuiders.com. The site, launched in February of 2009, is in essence your TV Guide to online videos. And starting this past April 1st, Marc began adding original programming to the mix. Shows include eG Live, The Untitled Series, Two Live Jews (featuring Marc and comedian Ed Krasnick) and my favorite show, The B Side Live.
 
The B Side Live combines all the elements dearest to my geeky, fool's paradise kind of life -- great eguiders liverecords (and always 45’s), good single malt whiskeys and ridiculous tomfoolery, always augmented with a live audience, dancers and green screens, and on special nights when the moon is high and some immense, slippery funk track greases up the studio, your hosts Marc, Brian Rothe and myself serve up some real good jambalaya.
 
This Thursday, May 6th at 9 pm (Pacific Coast Time), we will be dishing out one last episode before our summer hiatus. Below is last week's extravaganza, here is episode 3 and episode 4 and yeah, on occasion it’s a bit jejune, puerile, brutish, corporeal, feral, and yes even a little ferine, but it’s a helluva good, goddamned time. Tune in.

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