Most times I can pretty much tell if I am really going to like an album, after the first few seconds of the first track. This method of assessing a record did not work with David Crosby‘s latest release Croz. The first time I listened to the album, I was not impressed by the opening track, so I really didn’t continue to listen. If today August 14th was not the 73rd anniversary of David’s Los Angeles birth, I may not have listened to the album again, and have missed out on a pretty damn good album!! I have followed David’s career since it began with the Byrds in the early 60s. But like most of my music listening, I became a real fan in the late 60s and early 70s after he left the Byrds and teamed with Graham Nash and Steven Still to form Crosby, Stills, Nash. I can still remember when I purchased the album Deja Vu in the Moorestown Mall, being told by the clerk that I was the first one to purchase the album!! Crosby was born and raised in Los Angeles, California the son of Aliph Van Cortland Whitehead and Bing Crosby, Bob? no, Floyd Crosby, who appears to have no close relationship to the other Crosby’s. Although, Floyd did make a name for himself in Hollywood, as an academy award-winning cinematographer. Both his parents have genealogical roots going back to early New York. His mom is a descendent of the Van Cortland family and Floyd was a descendent of the Van Rensselear family. After an undistinguished academic career, Crosby moved to New York to make his way in the music business. Arriving in Greenwich Village in and around 1963 David joined Les Baxter’s Balladeers a group in which Bob Dylan was also a member. Fred Neil who was already a friend and mentor to Dylan also took Crosby under his wing. Now since I don’t know or remember as much about The Byrds as I do his later bands, here is a little info from Wikipedia….
So back in 1971 I found the music of John Prine. The liner notes on his début album were written by Kris Kristofferson whose music I knew and whose opinion I respected, I had also read great things about the album, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the album. That album started a 42 year and still continuing love affair with John’s music. A year later, I read the following on the back on another début album:
I been listening to the radio since I was three years old. I figured by now I could see songs better than most people listen to them. The first time I heard Steve Goodman on the radio, I knew I was listening to a tall skinny cat with a little beard singing the best damn train song I ever heard.
Two months later in the backroom at The Earl of Oldtown, I met a short stout fellow with no beard who wrote and sang the best train song I ever heard. His name was Steve Goodman. The Lord works in Mysterious Ways – John Prine, 1971
Over the last few weeks, I’ve made reference to listening to David Wilcox’s new album blaze, today I listened to it again and I think it’s time i write something about the album! For me David Wilcox has the whole package, he is an intelligent and thought songwriter, a great singer and a terrific guitar player. What more could one ask for? I’ve been listening to David since the late 80s when I heard him on the radio singing and discussing the titled track of his first album “The Nightshift Watchman” Which is a song about those people, who sit in underground bunkers watching the skies for a missile attack knowing full well that if they do their job, their job and the world as we know it may be over!! You can read the lyrics here. Many of David’s eighteen releases can be found in my music library and I feel that blaze is one of his best albums.
I first encountered Native American singer/songwriter/flutist/activist, and painter, Bill Miller’s music sometime in the late 90s, when I found his 1995 release Raven in the Snow at Tunes in Mt Laurel NJ. From the first time I heard the title track from that album, I knew Bill was an artist that I would really like, well written and powerful songs are his forte and in the ensuing years, many of his albums have made their way into my music library. Bill is of Mohican-German heritage and was born on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation, near Shawano in northern Wisconsin. His Mohican name is Fush-Ya Heay Aka (meaning “bird song”)fitting, eh? Throughout his career, Bill has been a voice for those whose voices are seldom heard. Miller says, “I appreciate people who have something to stand up for. I stand up for the truth. If you stand up for what you believe in you have no idea how many people you’ll affect.” From his Facebook page….
Over the last week or so I’ve been listening to blaze David Wilcox’s new album and promise at some point I will write about the whole album! So far I have used a song from the album “Single Candle” in a post about the assassination of Martin Luther King and tonight I’ll write about David Wilcox’s Musical Medicine. If you visit David’s website you will find a page titled Musical Medicine. On the page you’ll find a listing of 121 of David’s 600 plus songs divided up into categories like: heartbreak, Forgiveness, and working through conflict songs, and one topic that caught my attention; To appreciate your beautiful quirky self.One of the three songs that are included in that category is “Leave it Like it Is” From David’s album “How Did You Find Me Here”…..
So tonight I’m in the mood for a little poetry and that means Phil Ochs’ version of “The Highwayman”!! Here’s a short post from about a year ago!
Here are two Phil Ochs’ songs. The first is “The Highwayman” based on the poem by Alfred Noyes, from the program “Come, Read to Me a Poem” which appeared on April 12, 1967. This sad and beautiful poem has always been a favorite, Phil did a great job putting the music to the poem and creating a captivating and sad song!
The second is Phil’s own composition “Changes” and it showcases his poetic talents, so much more than just a protest singer!
So for today’s morning music I was going to use the Jefferson Airplane’s cover of Fred Neil’s “The Other Side of this Life” but after my half sun salutations and a nice quiet yoga set on the 21 Day Yoga Challenge I thought it didn’t feel quite right! If you want, you can watch it here
Here’s a post I did a while back about the role of Batdorf and Rodney in my musical journey…..
So sometime in 1971 or 72, I was walking through the Graham Area lobby at the University of Florida and two guys were playing guitars and singing. I sat down and listened and was blown away by the songs. When they finished, I asked if the songs were theirs and they said, no they were covering Batdorf and Rodney. Within a matter of days, you know I was at the local record store looking for their album!! What I found was Off the Shelf and that album has been “off the shelf” and on my record player, in my CD player and now on my mp3 player for the last forty years.
“If I were to make a list of the 20 most important singer/songwriters of our time, Konrad Wert / Possessed by Paul James, would undoubtedly be among those at the very top.”
or this one from The Onion ??? back in 2007…..
“One-man band Konrad Wert grew up in a Mennonite family, raised by preacher father and a piano player mother, which accounts for both the baptized-in-fire-soul and musical versatility heard in his gritty Old World music. Wert’s mix of blues and vintage folk howls with a sense of explosive freedom and latent rage-not unlike an Amish kid emerging from the wilderness to discover America that instills his simple guitar/fiddle/stomp-box arrangements with unusual passion.” – The Onion 2007