Category Archives: Music

Townes Van Zandt 3.7.13 Thought of the Day

“I don’t think you can ever do your best. Doing your best is a process of trying to do your best.” — Townes Van Zandt

Van Zandt in the film Heartworn Highways
Van Zandt in the film Heartworn Highways (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Townes Van Zandt was born on this day in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1944. Today is the 69th anniversary of his birth.

He was born into East Texas Oil royalty. His great-great-great grandfather was a prominent leader of the Republic of Texas and his great-great grandfather was a founder of Forth Worth. His father, a corporate lawyer traveled extensively for his job, and the family moved frequently when Townes, his brother Bill and sister Donna were growing up.

When he was 12 he got a guitar for Christmas and he taught himself to play. He wanted to be like Elvis, who he saw on Ed Sullivan, because Presley had “all the money in the world, all the Cadillacs and all the girls, and all he did was play the guitar and sing.” [Townes Van Zandt] He did well in school and scored very high on standardized test.  He went to the University of Colorado at Boulder for a while, but his parents pulled him out because of his depression and binge drinking. They had him hospitalized  for manic depression. The treatment he received left him with out much of his long-term memory. He tried going back to school for pre-law and tried to join the Air Force, but neither panned out.

So he turned to music. By 1965 Van Zandt was playing regularly in local Huston venues. He was influenced largely by folk (Dylan) and Blues. At first he performed mostly covers, but then he started to write his own songs.

Singer-Songwriter Townes Van Zandt in Concert ...

Singer-Songwriter Townes Van Zandt in Concert at “Kult” Niederstetten, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He never hit the big time (though other artist had #1 hits with his songs). He was on the constant grind of touring, writing and recording. There was a lot of drinking a substance abuse interspersed amongst the touring, writing and recording. Still he put out some pretty awesome music in the 30 years he performed, and he was a big influence on performers to come… and his voice — one part gravel, one part yodel, one part whiskey — breaks your heart.

Here’s Pancho and Lefty

and here’s  Colorado Girl

By 1996 years of hard living had caught up with him. He fell down a flight of concrete steps and hurt his neck and hip on December 19 or 20th, but he refused medical treatment until December 31st. X-rays revealed a fractured hip. Faced with detoxing and a series of operations Van Zandt left the hospital with his ex-wife. He died the next day, on  January 1, 1997. He was 52 years old.

Here’s a list of his albums. (For my money The Late Great Townes Van Zandt  and No Deeper Blue are the best.)

The Late Great Townes Van Zandt

The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the Sake of the Song – 1968
Our Mother the Mountain – 1969
Townes Van Zandt – 1969
Delta Momma Blues – 1971
High, Low and in Between – 1972
The Late Great Townes Van Zandt – 1972
Flyin’ Shoes – 1978
At My Window – 1987
The Nashville Sessions – 1993 (recordings from the aborted Seven Come Eleven album, recorded 1972)
No Deeper Blue – 1994

Cover of "No Deeper Blue"

Cover of No Deeper Blue

The art of Townes Van Zandt reveals itself a little at a time. Every hearing brings forth something you can’t believe you missed all the other times, or something that rings even truer today than back. [Townes Van Zandt Central]

In 2004 director Margaret Brown made a documentary about the singer called  Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, for Real to Real films.




And believe it or not… there’s a Townes Lego! (What no lego cigarette or guitar?)

Minifig Famous People #20: Townes Van Zandt

Minifig Famous People #20: Townes Van Zandt (Photo credit: minifig)

Kiri te Kanawa 3.6.13 Thought of the Day

“When I perform Strauss, it is as if the music fits me like a glove. My voice seems to lie in a happy area in this music, which is lyrical and passionate at the same time.”–Kiri te Kanawa

Kiri Te Kanawa [Image adapted from]

Kiri Te Kanawa [Image adapted from]

Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron was born on this day in Gisborne, on the North Island of  New Zealand in 1944. She is 69 years old.

She was adopted by Thomas and Nell Te Kanawa as an infant. She went to school at Saint Mary’s College in Auckland where she was trained to sing. In her teens and 20’s she was a popular singer in New Zealand.  “She enrolled in the London Opera Center in 1966, and had her Covent Garden debut 1 December 1971.” [IMDb — Kiri Te Kanawa] Her first performance on  stage was as the Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

She “was granted a three-year contract as a junior principal at Covent Garden.” [Bach] and soon came to…

international attention singing the role of Xenia in Boris Godunov and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro….after her successes at Covent Garden, Kiri Te Kanawa performed her Metropolitan Opera debut as Desdemona in Otello (replacing an ill Theresa Stratas). Her other performances include Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Arabella in Arabella, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Violetta in La Traviata, Tosca in Tosca, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and, most notably, her numerous performances as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.[Ibid]

Te Kanawa sang “Let the Bright Seraphim” at Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding. Her “O Mio Babbino Caro,” and “Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta,” by  Puccini, were featured in 1986’s “A Room With A View.”

She was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990, awarded the Order of New Zealand in the 1995, made an  Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1973, and made “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1982 for her services to music.” [IMDb — Kiri Te Kanawa]

But why am I TALKING about her when I could be letting you HEAR her sing ?

Here’s O Mio Babbino Caro by Puchinni

And how about a little Mozart on a snowy afternoon? Here’s Porgi amor from Le nozze di Figaro

Lastly here’s Schubert’s Ave Maria…

Antionio Vivaldi 3.4.13 Thought of the Day

Français : VIVALDI: Portrait d’un violoniste v...

Français : VIVALDI: Portrait d’un violoniste vénitien du XVIIIe siècle, par François Morellon de La Cave (1723), portrait généralement considéré comme étant celui de Vivaldi Museo internazionale e biblioteca della musica (Bologna) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antonio Vivaldi was born on this day in Venice, Italy in 1678. Today is the 335th anniversary of his birth.


Vivaldi was born into a working class family. He was the eldest of 9 children. His father, who started out as  a tailor, then a barber, learned how to play the violin and eventually landed a gig as church violinist for St. Marks in Vienna. Antonio’s father taught him to play violin as well.


“In 1703, he became ordained as a priest and was widely known as the “Red Priest” due to his red hair.” [] But he  really had no calling to religious life. His religious training was a way for him to get an education (a common practice amongst the poor). Once ordained he…”no longer wished to celebrate mass because of physical complaints.” [Baroque] It is uncertain whether the illness was angina, asthma or a nervous disorder.


He began to teach violin at Ospedale della Pieta, a girls “orphanage” (it was really a home for the illegitimate daughters of wealthy noble men.) He also composed for the girls.


Vivaldi is best known for his Concertos (especially those for violin), his choral works and his operas (he wrote over 40.)


Here’s Autumn from his Four Seasons:



and  here’s Gloria in a in Excelsis Deo.



Antonio Vivaldi by François Morellon la Cave; 1725

Antonio Vivaldi by François Morellon la Cave; 1725 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Orchestral music


  • over 230 vn concs., incl. “Four Seasons,” op.8 nos. 1-4 (circa 1725)
  • circa 120 other solo concs. (bn, vc, ob, fl, rec etc)
  • circa 40 double concs. ensemble concs. ripieno concs. and sinfonias
  • 4 concs. for double orch

Chamber music


  • circa 40 vn sonatas
  • 9 vc sonatas
  • circa 10 fl sonatas
  • 27 trio sonatas
  • 22 chamber concs.

Sacred vocal music


  • Gloria, D
  • Magnificat, g
  • psalms, hymns, motets etc
  • Juditha triumphans (oratorio, 1716)

Secular vocal music


  • circa 50 operas, circa 20 surviving, incl. Teuzzone (1719), Tito Manlio (1720), Giustino (1724), Orlando (1727), La fida ninfa (1732), Griselda (1735)
  • 3 serenatas
  • circa 40 solo cantatas

[List from Great Performances]


Robyn Hitchcock 3.3.13 Thought of the Day

“If you do things out of time you’re weird.” — Robyn Hitchcock

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

Robyn Rowan Hitchcock was born on this day in London, England in 1953. He is 60 years old.

[I couldn’t find anything about Hitchcock’s upbringing or family. Nada. Zip. Really… I looked. If you can find something send a reply.]

He started his music career as a singer songwriter in the 1970’s. He listened to the Beatles, Dylan, the Velvet Underground and absorbed it all. He says he developed a kind of song writing muscle that takes hold every summer and starts producing with out his taking any notice of it.  He genre hopped from Folk to Punk with his band, the proto-punk group The Soft Boys.

The Soft Boys

The Soft Boys (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The group, “a punk-era band specializing in melodic, chiming jangle pop and clever lyrics” [All Music] mixed the psychedelic with the weird, but they kept away from  the “aggressive, simplistic approach of most punk bands.” [] Their “masterpiece” [Ibid] album Underwater Moonlight, released in 1980. Soon after Underwater Moonlight was released the group broke up and Hitchcock made his solo debut with Black Snake Diamond Role.

Black Snake Diamond Role represented a subtle but clear shift away from the more aggressive tone of The Soft Boys toward a more pop-oriented sound. “The Man Who Invented Himself” is user-friendly… and the production, while mostly straightforward, is …polished and professional. …the surrealism of the lyrics and the trippy undertow of the melodies are in the same league as Hitchcock’s earlier work…. Black Snake Diamond Role staked out a distinct sonic territory for Hitchcock’s solo career [All Music — Black Snake Diamond Role review]

Here’s I’m the Man with the Lightbulb Head:

The 80’s progressed with Groovy Decay  and the all-acoustic I Often Dream of Trains. Then he formed Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians and produced the album that usually tops the Best of Robyn Hitchcock list, Fegmania!

Featuring layered, intertwining guitars and keyboards that created lush and thick sonic textures. … Fegmania! was Hitchcock’s most consistent work to date, featuring such highlights as the Eastern-tinged “Egyptian Cream,” and the creepy “My Wife & My Dead Wife,” and the relatively straightforward “The Man with the Lightbulb Head.” [All Music review of Fegmania!]

In 1988 he signed with A&M Records, thus widening his reach to an American audience. He put out  Globe of Frogs  in ’88 and (my favorite Hitchcock record) Queen Elvis ’89.

Here’s a live version of Lost Madonna of the Wasp:

and  a very MTV version of the brilliant One Long Pair of Eyes:

Perspex Island and Respect followed in 2 year intervals for A&M. Then he switch to Warner for Moss Elixir for which he…

returned to the spare singer/songwriter format for his best set of songs in more than ten years. Everything is here: the quirky on “Man with a Woman’s Shadow,” and the elegant on “Beautiful Queen,” and the straight-ahead Beatlessque music in which Hitchcock excels in the perfect pop of “Alright, Yeah.” [All Music review of Moss Elixir]

He did a few more “solo” LPS — Jewels for Sophia, 1999, Luxor, 2003, and  Spooked, 2004 — before teaming up various rockers to form the Venus 3 project in 2006. With Venus 3 he put out Olé! Tarantula, 2006, Goodnight Oslo, 2009 and Propellor Time, 2010. In 2011 he released Tromsø, Kaptein, on Hype City Records, a Norwegian label.

He has a new album, “Love from London,” coming out on Tuesday. He’ll be touring the UK and the US  shortly to celebrate the album.

“Forty years ago, when I first got hold of an electric guitar, if someone had told me that at 60 I’d be playing amplified beat music, I would have just said, ‘Get out of here! … It’s like Mr. Rogers is playing guitar; that’s gross!’ But you know, rock ‘n’ roll is an old man’s game now.” [NPR: Weekend Edition]

English: Musician Robyn Hitchcock on stage at ...

English: Musician Robyn Hitchcock on stage at Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts, 13 March 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This blog goes out to my buddy Sam who reminded me that today is Robin Hitchcock’s birthday. Sam, who is a freshman in college, learned about Hitchcock through his dad, Chip. He says “I think what I like most about Robyn’s style is his dreamy weirdness, but also the ability his songs have to be interpreted many different ways.” Some of Sam’s favorite Hitchcock songs are

Queen Elvis,
So You Think You’re In Love,
Victorian Squid,
Balloon Man,
The Man Who Invented Himself, and
The Man With The Lightbulb Head.

Good list Sam. And thanks for the nudge!

George Harrison PART TWO

[George Harrison PART TWO

English: George Harrison in the Oval Office du...

English: George Harrison in the Oval Office during the Ford administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

]In 1968 Harrison’s interest in Indian music …

extended into a yearning to learn more about eastern spiritual practices. In 1968, he led the Beatles on a journey to northern India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. []

That year the group’s White Album came out. Harrison penned “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Piggies,” “Long, Long, Long” and “Savoy Truffle.” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” is ranked as #7 Greatest Guitar Song of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine.

On Yellow Submarine he  penned “Only A Northern Song” and “It’s All Too Much” both of which — like the rest of the album — were self indulgent and over produced.

He bounced back with Abbey Road which has two of Harrison’s best songs, “Something” and  “Here Comes The Sun”

Let It Be had “I Me Mine Mine” and “For You Blue.” While recording Let It Be Harrison grew frustrated with the poor working conditions of the film studio as well as with the Lennon-McCartney lock on creative input on songs. He walked way from the recording sessions on January 10th, 1969. The other Beatles convinced him to return 12 days later but the writing was on the wall. The end was near for the super group.

When Beatles broke up in April of 1970 Harrison had a back log of music written and ready to produce. His first post-Beatles album was a triple disk, All Things Must Pass. The album yielded two hits “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life”

In 1971  he organized a charity concert at Madison Square Garden to raise money and awareness for the refugees in Bangladesh. The Concert for Bangladesh (and the concert film) was a fore runner to other multi-band high-profile charity concerts to come a decade later like Live Aid.

His next Album, Living in the Material World went Gold  with in a week of its release. The single from the album, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” became an international  best seller.

But then things began to flatten out musically–sales wise at least. Harrison continued to write and experiment musically.

He “started his own film production company, Handmade Films. The outfit underwrote Monty Python’s Life of Brian and would go on to put out 26 other movies before Harrison sold his interest in the company in 1994.” []

In 1987 released Cloud Nine and began to work with a collection of rockers who formed the group the Traveling Wilburys.

The Traveling Wilburys, 1988. L–R: Roy Orbison...

The Traveling Wilburys, 1988. L–R: Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Tom Petty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“In 1998, Harrison, a longtime smoker, reportedly was successfully treated for throat cancer.” [Ibid] Two years later the cancer returned, this time it had spread to his brain. He died in Los Angeles in November of 2001.



Oy! Yesterday was full of frustration WordPress wise. I could NOT get a YouTube song/vid to successfully link.(And believe me I had TONS of great George clips to share.) So I’m trying again to day… with fresh optimism. … Here Comes the Sun…

Kurt Cobain 2.20.13 Thought of the Day

“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than for who I am not.” — Kurt Cobain

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

Kurt Donald Cobain was born on this day in Aberdeen, Washington, USA in 1967. Today is the 46th anniversary of his birth.

Cobain came from musical and artistic roots. He had uncles and aunts who played and sang in bands and his grandmother was a professional artist. By four his bedroom looked like an art studio and he could crank out a drawing of his favorite cartoon characters on demand. He could also play piano by ear, sing and play his toy drum kit. But his seemingly idyllic childhood was crumbling at home where his parent’s stormy marriage was coming to a messy end. “I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me.” [Cobain] After his parents divorce Cobain withdrew and became a moody pre-teen. Both his parents remarried and he felt he didn’t fit with either of the blended families. He began to experiment with drugs in his teens. He got into trouble with the law, and by 1984 he was on his own bouncing from one friend’s couch to the next, sometimes sleeping in apartment hallways and hospital waiting rooms when a friendly sofa wasn’t available.

His love of music and art were always positive outlets in his troubled life. He got a second-hand guitar as a birthday present from an uncle and threw himself into learning how to play. Cobain followed the Pacific Northwest Punk scene, especially the band The Melvins. He met bassist Krist Novoselic through Novoselic’s brother, Robert, a fellow The Melvin’s fan. Both men wanted to start a band. When Aaron Burkhard joined them on drums Nirvana was born.

[Image courtesy: The Quiet one]

[Image courtesy: The Quiet]

Their first album, Bleach came out in 1989. “Their signature sound, which included elements of punk and heavy metal, was … apparent on the album.” []

Here’s the unplugged version of “About the Girl” from Bleach. [Yeah, I know this a blog about Kurt Cobain, but just take a minute to listen to Novoselic’s awesome acoustic bass guitar line — nice! ]

Dave Grohl had taken over on drums by the time they release their next album.  Their “Grunge” sound continued to evolve with  Nevermind. The single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” launched Nirvana and Nevermind into the Billboard Top 100.

Here’s Smells Like Teen Spirit… [Warning I couldn’t find an unplugged version, so this rocks out.]

And here’s Come As You Are… [Unplugged]

Cobain was suddenly put into the spotlight not just as a musician, but as the poster child for the Grunge movement. He rebelled against the scrubbed alternative version the media seemed to demand of him, and he resented the fans who heard one song (Teen Spirit) and called themselves Nirvana fans.

In an effort to get regain a more natural, raw sound the group put out their third studio album, In Utero. The album is …

Full of highly personal lyrics by Cobain about his many life struggles, the recording featured a fair amount of hostility toward people and situations that Cobain reviled. He took on the recording industry with “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter.” It also had some more tender moments with “Heart-Shaped Box,” which is supposed to be about his marriage to Love. Guitar Player magazine described the album as having “a startling level of anger, energy, and jaded intelligence.”[]

Here’s “Heart Shaped Box”

His relationship and marriage to punk rocker Courtney Love garnered even more attention from the paparazzi. He was actively taking drugs (as was she — something that landed the both in trouble with social services when she gave an interview admitting she used heroin while pregnant with their daughter, Francis Bean). The cocktail of media pressure, unhappiness, touring, and drugs proved too much for him. He attempted suicide in March of 1994 while in Rome with Love. He returned to the US and at her urging,  eventually sought treatment for his drug addiction at the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles,, but he only lasted 2 days at the facility before scaling a 6 foot wall to escape. He returned to the Seattle area and took his life in the guest house on his estate. He shot himself with a shot gun.  His body was found three days later along with a lengthy suicide note.

The group released Unplugged in New York shortly after Cobain’s death and it went to the top of the charts. Two years later, a collection of their songs entitled From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah was released, and again the group scored a huge hit, reaching the number three spot on the album charts. []


I like Nirvana’s music. I have for a long time. (Although as I mature I’ll admit I like those softer MTV Unplugged versions a bit better than the full-out concert rock versions.)  However…In writing and researching this bioBLOG I got a little icky feeling. In every thing I read Cobain comes off as the great artist who feels too sorry for himself. But why? Because his parents argued in front of him and got a divorce? That’s about half of America isn’t it? It is such a shame that this very talented (very handsome) young man was so determined to be unhappy. Doubly shameful is that he had such easy access to drugs.

Still he, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl made some of the best music of their generation. And for that I salute him. … I think I’ll listen to “All Apologies” to play us out.

Franz Schubert 1.31.13 Thought of the Day

“When I wished to sing of love, it turned to sorrow. And when I wished to sing of sorrow, it was transformed for me into love.”–Franz Schubert

English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert Deutsc...

English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert Deutsch: Gemälde von Franz Schubert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Franz Peter Schubert was born on this day in  Himmelpfortgrund, Austria in 1797. It is the 216th anniversary of his birth.

Schubert demonstrated his love of music early. He could sing, play piano, violin and organ at a young age. His father and older brother were his first musical instructors. “Eventually, Schubert enrolled at the Stadtkonvikt” [] The school was a training ground for young singers who aspired to the chapel choir of the Imperial Court. In…

1808 he earned a scholarship that awarded him a spot in the court’s chapel choir. His educators at the Stadtkonvikt included Wenzel Ruzicka, the imperial court organist, and, later, the esteemed composer Antonio Salieri, who lauded Schubert as a musical genius.[Ibid]

He was the leader of the violin section of the student’s orchestra. He also conducted.

English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert, after...

English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert, after an 1825 watercolor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When his voice broke in 1812 he left the college, though he still took lessons from Salieri. In 1814 he enrolled at a teacher’s college and began composing.

By 1814, the young composer had written a number of piano pieces, and had produced string quartets, a symphony, and a three-act opera. Over the next year, his output included two additional symphonies and two of his first Lieds, “Gretchen am Spinnrade” and “Erlkönig.” Schubert is, in fact, largely credited with creating the German Lied.

He left the teaching college to pursue a music career full-time in 1818.

That summer he completed a string of material, including piano duets “Variations on a French Song in E minor” and the “Sonata in B Flat Major,” as well as several dances and songs. [Ibid]

At about that time wrote his first operetta “Die Zwillingsbrüder” (The Twin Brothers) followed by the score for “Die Zauberharfe” (The Magic Harp).

His composition “Quartettsatz [Quartz-Movement] in C minor,” helped spark a wave of string quartets that would dominate the music scene later in the decade.[Ibid]

He continued to produce symphonies, string quartets, fantasies, piano sonatas and songs. He wrote over 500 songs, and is perhaps best known today for his setting of Ave Maria.

Schubert suffered from syphilis for years leading up to his death. The official diagnosis was typhoid fever, but it is likely that he also suffered from mercury poisoning as well. He died on November 19, 1828 at the age of 31.

Deutsch: Ehemaliges Grab von Franz Schubert

Deutsch: Ehemaliges Grab von Franz Schubert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Richard Thompson 1.16.13 Though of the Day

“To stand up on a stage alone with an acoustic guitar requires bravery bordering on heroism. Bordering on insanity.”–Richard Thompson

[Image courtesy Helpless Dancer]

[Image courtesy Helpless Dancer]

Richard John Thompson was born on this day in Notting Hill, London, England in 1949. He is 64 years old.
Thompson was born into a musical family. His father was an amateur guitarist and other family members played music professionally. His first band, which he started in school, was called Emil and the Detectives. Thompson embraced rock and roll, jazz and traditional Scottish music influences as he kerned his skills.
At 18 he joined Fairport Convention, a folk, electric folk, folk rock band.
In his four years with the group, they released a half a dozen albums that married electric rock with acoustic folk, changing the musical landscape in Britain… []
His strong guitar playing helped the band gain traction both in the UK and in the States. Thompson also wrote most of Convention’s songs like “Meet on the Ledge” .
Thompson left Fairport Convention in 1971 and struck out on his own. His first solo album, Henry the Human Fly failed to impress critics and the record buying public, but it did yield an important professional and personal connection — Thompson worked with Linda Peters on the project. Peters and Thompson fell in love and married in October of 1972.
Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson (Photo credit: artolog)

Richard and Linda Thompson put out a half-dozen albums including I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, Hokey Pokey and Pour Down Like Silver.
The duo hit their professional stride with the well received album Shoot Out the Lights. Unfortunately their personal life together had begun to unravel. After touring to support the album the couple divorced in 1982.
Here’s Wall of Death from Shoot Out the Lights
From 1983 on Thompson was a solo act — kind of — he found a myriad of other performers who mixed well with his vocal, guitar and folk/rock style.
No artist to emerge in the second half of the ’60s has gone on to have a more productive and vital career than Richard Thompson. The England-born, L.A.-based artist has amassed an astounding body of work comprising more than 40 albums, containing artfully shaped material that seamlessly and expressively integrates traditional and contemporary modes. And Thompson is among the most distinctive of guitar virtuosos, capable of breathtaking drama and sublime delicacy, prompting Rolling Stone to hail him as “a perennial dark-horse contender for the title of greatest living rock guitarist.” [ — Richard Thompson Biography]
Richard Thompson at Cambridge Folk Festival

Richard Thompson at Cambridge Folk Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s 1952 Vincent Black Lightning a beautiful exhibition of his storytelling and musical skills.
The Thompson’s son Teddy began singing professionally with his father in the 1990’s. The two performed a duet, Persausion, for Action Packed, Richard Thompson’s 1999 best-of record.
That same year Thompson was asked for a list of the most popular music of the previous millennium for Playboy Magazine.  Thompson knew they were only looking for a pop look at the past 20 years or so, but he took the task to heart and researched songs stretching back 1068.  He started with Sumer is Icumen In and ended with his own take on Oops! I Did It Again. Thompson decided to record the songs (he did 23 in all).
To get a comprehensive taste of Thompson music you can listen to this NPR concert:


Rod Stewart 1.10.13 Thought of the Day

“I’m a rock star because I couldn’t be a soccer star.”
Rod Stewart

Camouflage (Rod Stewart album)

Camouflage (Rod Stewart album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roderick David “Rod” Stewart was born on this day in Highgate, North London, England in 1945. He is 68 years old.

With apologies to Stewart fans, the appeal of “Rod the Mod” has always eluded me. I’m more of a David Bowie fan. Heck, I’m more of a Jon Stewart fan. But it IS Rod’s birthday, and I do like a few songs so here goes…

Maggie May

Mandolin Wind (played, oddly enough,  on a banjo)..

Drift Away

For those of you living in the Chicago area …Tonight’s THE Night! You can wish Rod a big Happy Birthday by attending his concert at the United Center tonight (Tickets range from $39.50 to $650.00 —  but if you go for the extra cash, you get limited edition tour lithograph, so it’s totally worth it.)

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