Archive for John Lennon

WHEN HEROES GO

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

Its not the first time a musician I admired, respected, and was awe struck by, has passed away. There were the untimely deaths of Pete Ham, Ronnie Van Zandt, Lowell George, John Lennon, Randy (California) Wolfe, George Harrison, Freddy Mercury, and I am sure, many more. So, what is it that has me so disturbed and disheartened by the recent deaths of so many musicians?

In the past 18 months or so, we have lost, among others, Jesse Winchester, Jack Bruce (Cream), Chris Squire (Yes), Lemmy, David Bowie, Dale Griffin (Mott The Hoople), Glen Frey (The Eagles), Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane),  Merle Haggard, and Prince. What the hell is going on? I was fortunate to have met some, was a fan of them all, and considered myself a contemporary of many. I grew up with the music of most of them, and carried it with me throughout my adult life. There are songs by these artists that will forever be etched in my memories, as one of those, ‘this is what I was listening to when…’, or ‘this is what I was doing the first time I heard….’ moments.

 

Perhaps it is my own mortality that is being thrown in my face, as I am just about the same age as most of them. Maybe it is the realization that the talent pool on this planet is being depleted faster than it can be replaced. Or maybe it is simply the understanding that my heroes were, in fact, only human.

I am deeply saddened by it all. I have been spending a great deal of time listening to the music these giants have created, maybe reliving my youth, but also to ingest the insanely wonderful legacy they have left for me. The memories, the emotions, the thoughts that each song creates in me will never wane. I am saddened. I am hurt. It is so very hard to say goodbye to a hero.

 

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THE EVERYWHERES-Habitualism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

Habitualism‘, the 8 track album by Halifax, Nova Scotia’s The Everywheres, was released in May, 2014. Somewhat unfortunate that I did not discover it until October!

the everywheres3The opening track, “Through Flowers“, offers some great 1960’s vocal effects. The melody & the bridge are way cool, and the guitar solo wades waist deep into surf-pop. Great first track. “End Of Time” has a great 60’s vibe, created by guitar & vocals, with dynamite reverb, cool vocal tracking, and a sweet melody. The riff and solo are wonderful. The way cool blues solo in “Courtyard Blues” highlights the great riff, amazing changes, and dynamite melody. Way cool! “Organ” has a great psych-pop feel, with cool drums, great vocals, and dynamite keys. The title track, “Habitualism“, has a somewhat faster tempo, and delivers sweet drumming, wonderful changes, and a great solo and riff. I dig everywheres2the vocal track. The melody of “California Reeling” brings the great solo, changes, and cool bridge together. There are 2 tracks that are standouts.  “Egyptian Drag” offers some of the coolest vocals I have heard, above a wonderful melody. The bass line can only be described as great, and the solo, very cool. There are great changes, and I swear I hear a flute. The song has a dynamite 1960’s psychedelic energy. The way cool psych-pop riffs and reverb of “Sacred Cow” make this dreamy 60s track come alive. There are great changes, and more great keys, with an almost John Lennon thing going on in the melody & vocals. Very cool!!

the everywheres1Pop. Psych-pop. 60s pop. Psychedelic. Dream pop. They all work. The Everywheres have delivered an album that captures the essence of the psychedelic 60s. At times I hear shades of The Mamas & The Papas doing dream pop. The vocals are wonderfully elegant, and the effects dead on. The songs are exceptionally written, filled with exciting and esoteric arrangements, creating a wonderful feeling, and a wonderful time. I could listen to this over and over again. Check ‘Habitualism’ out, and then treat yourself and download a few copies at a “name your price” offer, or purchase hard copies on cassette. Way cool!!

 

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THE HOT SPROCKETS-Brother Nature

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

hs6I have been following The Hot Sprockets since their 2011 release of ‘Honey Skippin. I was fortunate enough to catch this Dublin, Ireland band at Canada Indie Week, part of a North American Tour to promote the June, 2014 release of their latest album, ‘Brother Nature‘.

The album opens with “Quarter Roam“, with its powerful vocals, great changes, and choral harmonies. The combination of acoustic and electric guitars is wonderfully melodic, and I think I heard some slide guitar in this track. The melody rocks, the effects are cool, and I dig the drumming. The early rock and roll influences on “Boogie Woogie“, are almost Rockabilly. This song delivers a high energy tempo, with dynamite and unexpected changes, some dynamite harmonica, and a great vocal track. “Shake Me Off” brings great harmonies, cool changes, and wonderful hs3instrumentation. The country-blues sound of “Comin’ On‘ offers some sweet guitar picking, a dynamite bass line, and a great melody. A wonderfully lively track. “Lay Me Down“, a beautifully sweet song, with acoustic guitar, nice harmonies, wonderful vocals, and, as an added bonus, some way cool banjo. The western style of “El Torro“, an instrumental, comes across like a cowboy tune, a great song to listen to on a cattle drive! It brings wonderful guitar, and great harmonica. The powerfully “Show Me The Weight” gives up dynamite guitar and great harmonies.  “Women & Chile”  delivers some R & B vibes, incorporating great guitar effects, wonderful drumming, a cool melody, and perfectly placed harmonica. One great track! The melody of “Someday” joins the acoustic guitar picking to create a simply serene track. “Soul Brother” just plain rocks. A wonderful tempo brings this blues-rock track to life. There are great guitar riffs and a way cool solo, wonderful harmonies, dynamite changes and insanely good vocal effects. The bluesy, acid hs2rock sentiment of “Heavy On My Mind“,  reminds me of Steppenwolf. With a cool guitar riff that drives the great melody, and incredible drumming, what else could I ask for? Well, The Hot Sprockets thought that flute would be a good idea. They were right. Amazing! The incredibly wonderful “Homeslice” offers a great melody, coupled with sweet harmonies, over what sounds like strings and a mandolin. My favorite track on the album, “The Worried Kind“, brings a great melody delivered by a wicked vocal track. The changes and harmonies are wonderful, and I hear strings! The song has a John Lennon thing going on, both in melody and vocals, and I like it. A beautifully written and performed song!

 

hs5

Well, there you have it. Brother Nature. 13 tracks, and not a bad one to be found. I have listened to this album for the 4th time, and it just keeps getting better. The songs are insanely good. The production, wonderful. These guys can write. These guys can play. The album has a ‘live off the floor’ feel to it. I haven’t heard this much energy in an album in a long time. The Hot Sprockets refer to their music as ‘country dirt”. I prefer to call it Irish Soul! Brother Nature is one of the most powerful albums I have heard in 2014, filled with the unusual, and the unexpected.  A definite must have for your collection, and a definite contender for I Can’t Believe My Earz’  Album Of The Year. Don’t just take my word for it, listen here: http://thehotsprockets.bandcamp.com/album/brother-nature

 

 

 

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ALEX PULEC-Out Of The Nursery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

ap2I have always been fascinated by, and appreciative of weird. After listening to The Nursery‘s Carnival Nature, I knew that the driving force behind the band, Alex Pulec was weird. It was in his music, like hot sauce in gumbo.I had to meet this guy. I got in touch with Alex, and we arranged to meet to talk about music.

We met at the coolest coffee spot in all of Toronto, Jet Fuel. The connection was immediate. His knowledge of music is impressive. He likes John Lennon and Robert Smith. He likes Sparks-the somewhat eccentric and eclectic Mael brothers-and he knows who Echo And The Bunnymen are. We talked about The Beatles. He told me how he met Pete Best at a gig at The Drake Hotel. Pretty cool.

ap4Alex has been writing and playing since his teens.  He was already performing original song at gigs in his first band, The Ruby Spirit, by the time he was 18, This band had the opportunity to open for  Jesus & Mary Chain 2 years ago. His face lit up when he told me this story. His passion is in creating music, writing songs that he wants to write. He views his music as art, and has no interest in creating what already exists or walking anything but the road less traveled. He is aware that he cannot create within a vacuum and has been able to surround himself with people who he believes understand his vision, which can at times be difficult to understand. He spoke about his producer, Tony Malone with the utmost respect and admiration. Tony gets him. And his music.

Alex’s vision is, simply, to create exceptional music. He writes what he feels and sees. It is in him. His songs unfold, taking shape on their own. He has no formula. He has no preconceived notion of where he wants it to go. It just goes.  Recording, for Alex, is the captured moment in time, the legacy of his work. Performing is the high.

ap1He is not just the leader of The Nursery. Alex performs as an acoustic solo artist as well and enjoys the opportunity to perform his songs in a different format. Alex unplugged. Plugged in or not, this guy has his head on straight.  He aspires to create great music, not to achieve greatness. He is modest and shy, and at times uncomfortable speaking about himself. He is genuine and appreciative. He is insanely talented and a bit quirky. Marches not just to a different drummer, but to a completely different band.  But, this is Alex. Very cool.

The Nursery will be performing at The Rivoli in Toronto, on November 9th, 2013.

You can hear The Nursery here: http://thenursery.bandcamp.com/album/carnival-nature

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THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

I had spent the better part of a day with a friend, who is certain that Led Zeppelin sits at the right hand of God, discussing music. As his attempts to throw me off my Beatle wagon fell on deaf ears, he resorted to idiocy and asshat-ery. His premise became threaded with examples of Beatle thievery; stealing songs from others and claiming them as their own.  I decided to do some checking into the prevalence of plagiarism in popular music. The findings may surprise you.

george1john1Yes indeed,  George Harrison was found guilty of plagarism.  “My Sweet Lord” was ruled a case of subconscious theft of The ChiffonsHe’s So Fine“.  It cost him a little of $500,000,00 and 75% of the song;s North American sales.  John Lennon‘s “Come Together” was ruled to have plagarized Chuck Berry‘s “You Can’t Catch Me“. Lennon agreed to record 3 more of the writer’s songs as a settlement. Well, John only recorded 2 and the writer sued him. Lennon was ordered to pay $7000.00.

The Doors have been accused of lifting “Hello, I Love You” from The KinksAll Day And All Of The Night“. Staunchly denied by Doors guitarist, Robby Krieger who said that The Doors did lift the drum beat of the song from Cream‘s   Sunshine Of Your Love“.  Johnny Cash‘s “Folsom Prison Blues” is an almost carbon copy of Gordon Jenkins‘ “Crescent City Blues“, which was penned 2 years before Cash wrote his bbsong.  Johnny Cash paid Jenkins about $75,000.00. The Beach Boys‘ “Surfin’ USA” can actually be sung to the Chuck Berry tune “Sweet Little Sixteen“. Brian Wilson admitted to ripping off the melody and Chuck Berry was given co-authorship of the song and a portion of the royalties.

The Rubinoos

The Rubinoos

Other notable mentions include Ray Parker Jr;, writing “Ghostbusters” after stealing the melody from Huey Lewis‘  “I Want A New Drug“; The Oasis song “Whatever” was lifted from Neil Innes‘ “How Sweet To Be An Idiot“; The Rubinoos song   “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” was reworked into Avril Lavigne‘s hit “Girlfriend“. And The Rolling Stones‘ “Anybody Seen My Baby?”, lifted from k.d. lang & Ben Mink‘s “Constant Craving” was resolved by giving lang & Mink writing credit. Interesting, but not what I was looking for.

zep

Spirit

Spirit

I had already known that Led Zepplin had ripped off Spirit‘s 1968 song “Taurus” and used it in “Stairway To Heaven” and that Spirit had toured with Led Zepplin in  1969. But there had to be more. And then I found it. An extensive list of Zep-pilfering. “Black Mountain Side“, appearing on the 1st Led Zeppelin album is a traditional English folk song that appears on Bert Jansch‘s 1966 album, Jack Orion as “Blackwaterside“, yet it is credited on the Zeppelin album as a Jimmy Page composition. Pretty slick!!  The same Zepnique was used again on “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You“, written in the 1950s by Anne Bredon (covered by Joan Baez in the 1960s) and credited by Zeppelin as “trad.,arr. Page”. In the 1990s it was changed to give Bredon credit for writing the song. The Led Zeppelin III song, ” Since I’ve Been Loving You” features lyrics taken from the  Moby Grape song “Never“. Is it coincidental that Moby Grape was one of Plant’s favorite bands? HA!

Bobby Parker

Bobby Parker

The guitar riff in “Moby Dick” is a nearly note for note rip-off of Bobby Parker‘s 1961 single, “Watch Your Step“. Jimmy Page was a Parker fan and at one time tried to sign him to Swan Song Records. “In My Time Of Dying“, a traditional blues song that has been recorded by many musicians since the early 1960s, was credited as being written by “Page, Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham”.  Great Zepnique. Again. Off of Zeppelin II, “The Lemon Song” borrows heavily from the Howlin’ Wolf song, “Killing Floor“. Credits again attribute the song to Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham. Another Zeppelin II song, “Bring It On Home” was written by Willie Dixon. However Willie Dixon was not given writing credit and Led Zeppelin was sued for copyright infringement. The case was settled out of court.

Jake Holmes

Jake Holmes

Whole Lotta Love“, again from Zeppelin II and the band’s 1st hit single, is not an original composition as the album credits originally claimed. The lyrics were taken from Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love” and this was settled out of court. Released on Zeppelin’s 1st album, “Dazed And Confused” was originally credited as being written by Jimmy Page. However, this is not the case. It was originally written by folk singer Jake Holmes who opened for The Yardbirds while Page was a member. Page arranged a version of it for The Yardbirds but he didn’t record a studio version until 1969 with Led Zeppelin. HA!

So there it is. There are many other cases of plagiarism in music, far too many to mention. This is not intended to slam Led Zeppelin but rather to ask my pal, Mr. K. is Led Zeppelin really a farce as implied on Howard Stern  or just the greatest cover band in music history? In any event, there you have it, my friend. Thievery, pilfering, song snatching, whatever you wish to call it, seems to run rampant on the Zeppelin. Should we start to question if the Zeppelin is actually theirs?

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