music friday: steve miller

[Edited to add: it's Chuck Berry's birthday!]
 
Steve Miller has a new box set out, Welcome to the Vault. It includes plenty of rarities, and is a fine package for fans.
 
This isn't the first such effort from Miller. In 1994, he released a box set so inclusive it had a conversation between a 5-year-old Miller and Les Paul.
 
But despite the kitchen sink approach to these two anthologies, one track has yet to make the cut: "Your Old Lady" from the soundtrack to Revolution. Since some of us believe that song features Miller's all-time greatest geetar blast, its absence is odd.
 
When I complained about this on Twitter, my brother noted that one live track, "Super Shuffle", included many of the hottest licks from Miller's "Your Old Lady" solos. "Super Shuffle is taken from Monterey Pop. You can see an excerpt here (not sure it will play if you aren't a subscriber to the Criterion site):
 
 
Looking around, I found a couple of promo videos from 1968, apparently connected to the band's first single. The A-side is "Roll with It" from Children of the Future:

The B-side was "Sittin' in Circles", written by Barry Goldberg, perhaps most famous for playing in Bob Dylan's backup band for the infamous "Dylan Goes Electric" performance at the Newport Folk Festival. Goldberg and Miller first met up in Chicago in the mid-60s. Goldberg was also a member of The Electric Flag. Goldberg recorded this song himself at least once, and it was on the first Electric Flag album. This video is introduced by an old friend:

Finally, the version of "It Hurts Me Too" on Welcome to the Vault is from Chuck Berry Live at Fillmore Auditorium. I've had that album for a long time ... it was re-released with a few extra tracks awhile back. They're all on Spotify. While I can't specify the date ... that album was recorded during a long stand by Berry with Miller's band as backup, and I can't remember which of the shows we saw, nor am I sure which ones ended up on that album.

Bonus: for the billionth time, I'll add "Your Old Lady" to this blog:


music friday: the avengers, 1978

I've told this story several times. On January 14, 1978, a friend and I went to see the Sex Pistols at what turned out to be their last concert (at the time). One of the opening acts was The Avengers. The next day, my daughter Sara was born. Fast forward a few decades, and my daughter and Avengers' singer Penelope Houston crossed paths a few times ... I forget how, and by then, Penelope had been playing more acoustic. Sara told me she had met someone I might know, a singer who might have been a punk rocker at some point. Her name was "Penelope". I made the connection, and told my daughter I'd seen her new friend the night before Sara was born.

At this concert, Penelope Houston had just turned 19. I was 24. Sara, obviously, was still zero.


throwback thursday: the who the dead 1976

43 years ago today, we saw The Who and The Grateful Dead at a Day on the Green in Oakland. Here is part of my post about that show, slightly edited, from 2011:

who dead

This was 43 years ago. It’s an odd pairing, if you ask me. It was one of Bill Graham’s Day on the Green concerts. It was the only time I saw either band live, which matters more to me because Keith Moon was still around than for any other reason. My memory is, he was just fine that afternoon. Here is what they sounded like (bootleg-quality, but hey, it was 43 years ago):

http://youtu.be/mHVjzBfK1aQ

And here is the entire set by the Dead, via Spotify:


music friday: noel gallagher (happy birthday, robin!)

I am aware of Oasis, and I don't hate them. I barely have an opinion about them, but I know they were a big deal and I should probably come up with an angle. For me, they were a few great singles at a time when I was getting older (I turned 40 in 1993) and my ability to "keep up" with new music was lessening. I was confused about why Oasis was compared to The Beatles. I was probably in the same place as Robert Christgau, who wrote later:

One of the many things I never got about this band was where the Beatles were. Where was the ebullience, the wit, the harmonies, God just the singing, and, uh, the songwriting? Cotton Mather made me understand that when Oasis say they love the Beatles they really mean they love the post-Help!, pre-Sgt. Pepper Beatles. Since that span encompasses Rubber Soul and Revolver, many would say tally ho, but (a) not me 'cause I love the Beatles start to finish and (b) only if you're writing songs as good as, uh, "We Can Work It Out."

This is coming out too negative. Mostly I'm trying to explain why I am more clueless about Oasis than I should be.

Their biggest hit was "Live Forever":

Maybe I just want to fly
I want to live I don't want to die
Maybe I just want to breathe
Maybe I just don't believe
Maybe you're the same as me
We see things they'll never see
You and I are gonna live forever

In the following video, Noel Gallagher talks about writing songs, pre-and-post fame. "When I was writing in the early days of Oasis, I was in the same circumstances as the audience. You're writing for the people that are coming to your gigs. And then there will come a period where the big checks arrive."

He wrote "Live Forever" pre-fame, when he could say, "Maybe you're the same as me."

This video is from the YouTube series Hot Ones, a current obsession of mine. The never-wrong Wikipedia tells us that "Its basic premise involves celebrities being interviewed by host Sean Evans over a platter of increasingly spicy chicken wings." The trick is two-fold: the hot sauces make the celebrities increasingly vulnerable, which opens them up to an arguably more honest conversation, and Sean Evans is an excellent interviewer, always well-prepared with great questions. This week's guest in Noel Gallagher, and to be honest, it's a so-so episode ... I wondered if I should post it here since newbies might decide the show isn't any good. But it's Music Friday, so here you go:

Here is one of the best episodes, where Halle Berry shames every other participant with her Hot Ones greatness:

Finally, since this is Music Friday, here is fellow Manchester native A Guy Called Gerald, mentioned by Noel in his episode:


music friday: concert history

This one's making the rounds, so I'll jump in. What's your concert history?

First concert: Judy Collins, 1967

Last concert: Pink, April

Next concert: Sleater-Kinney, November

Best concert: Any of the Springsteen concerts I saw in 1978

Worst concert: probably the Winter Brothers in San Diego. Forget what year, in a big arena, sound awful, left early.

Seen the most: Bruce

Haven't seen but want to: Elvis, 1968


bruce springsteen is 70 years old today

Nothing new here ... check out the posts tagged "Bruce Springsteen" for the stuff I've written over the years. Two videos I've posted many times:

First, "Dream Baby Dream". My instructions are always the same: look at the faces of the fans.

And second, the song I've always associated with Bruce talking to his fans. "I'm comin' to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man." From the Darkness tour, 1978:

And a bonus. This came up on Friday ... I'll post a different link today. Play this at my wake:

I got a picture of you in my locket
I keep it close to my heart
It's a light shining in my breast
Leading me through the dark
Seven days, seven candles
In my window lighting your way
Your favorite record's on the turntable
I drop the needle and pray (turn it up)
Band's countin' out midnight (turn it up)
Floor's rumblin' loud (turn it up)
Singer's callin' up daylight (turn it up)
And waitin' for that shout from the crowd (turn it up)
Waitin' for that shout from the crowd (turn it up)
Waitin' for that shout from the crowd (turn it up)
Waitin' for that shout from the crowd (turn it up)
Waitin' for that shout from the crowd (turn it up)
Waitin' for that shout from the crowd
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up, turn it up


music friday: santana, 1977

I only saw Santana in concert once, at a Day on the Green in 1977 that was headlined by Peter Frampton, with Lynyrd Skynrd and The Outlaws also appearing. There were two shows, the second on the 4th of July. I honestly can't remember which one I was at, but here is a bit of Santana's set from July 2, including their Woodstock hit, "Soul Sacrifice":


music friday: lou reed, 1980

We saw Lou Reed at the Old Waldorf (capacity 600) 39 years ago this week. In those days, you could buy "dinner seats" which put you right up against the stage, so there we were ... Robin said Lou's hands looked like her farmer grandfather. He was touring behind Growing Up in Public, not his best album, but coming up was The Blue Mask and the rest of his great work in the early-mid/80s. Here are two songs performed by Lou in 1980, one from Berlin (on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert!) and one the immortal "Street Hassle":


remembering valerie harper: rock rock rock! (will price, 1956)

That'll teach me. I thought I'd watch a movie with Valerie Harper, in memorial so to speak. I don't think I'd ever seen one, so the choice was open. I should have just watched a rerun on Rhoda.

I thought I knew what I was in for. I've seen more than one of these 50s rock and roll movies, most of which feature Alan Freed in some way. Just in 1956, Freed was in Rock Rock Rock!, Don't Knock the Rock, and Rock Around the Clock. They're never any good, but they do offer a chance to see some of the early rockers lip syncing their hits. This was just one of the areas where Rock Rock Rock! failed me.

Which rock and rollers turned up in Rock Rock Rock!? Chuck Berry ... can't go wrong there. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. The Moonglows. The Flamingos. The Johnny Burnette Trio. LaVern Baker. Berry did "You Can't Catch Me", a nice choice, although his guitar isn't plugged in. How about the rest? The Moonglows are best known for "Sincerely". They did two songs in this movie ... neither was "Sincerely". The Flamingos are remembered for their immortal cover of "I Only Have Eyes for You". I can't really blame the movie for missing that one, since it wouldn't be released for another couple of years. Instead, they did an obscure non-hit. The Johnny Burnette Trio had a single in 1956 of "The Train Kept a-Rollin'" backed with "Honey Hush". Neither turned up in this movie. LaVern Baker is perhaps best known for "Jim Dandy". Here, she sang that record's B-Side. Lymon and the Teenagers' biggest hit was "Why Do Fools Fall in Love". They got two numbers in Rock Rock Rock! ... neither was that hit, although in fairness, they did do "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent". Those are the biggest stars in the movie, and only two of them gave us one of their hits. Not to mention the other acts who show up in Rock Rock Rock! "Alan Freed's band" did two songs ... Teddy Randazzo got four (he played the male lead ... Randazzo went on to write several classics, like "Goin' Out of My Head", but we got none of his famous songs in this movie, probably because he hadn't written them yet). Finally, there was Jimmy Cavallo and the House Rockers with two songs, an annoying little squirt named Ivy Schulman backed by The Bowties on one song, and "Cirino" with the same Bowties for another song.

But wait, there's more! The female lead was Tuesday Weld, who got two songs herself ... her songs were dubbed by Connie Francis.

What a mess.

As for Weld, I am a big fan. But this was not her finest hour. She was 13 when the film was released ... depending on how long it took to make it, she might have been 12 during filming. She got to share a kiss with Randazzo, who was 21. She later appeared in some fine movies. David Thomson once wondered if Weld would be more highly regarded if she just used her real first name, Susan. I bring this up so you won't think I'm trashing her. But she is pretty bad in Rock Rock Rock!

And Valerie Harper, the reason I watched this? It was her first movie. She's basically an extra, playing a teenager at a dance, on screen for maybe 3 seconds.