the interactive Ry Cooder Newsletter...for fans of RPC and good music of every kind.
Steve Strongman at Dr.Disc
Happy 20th birthday!
at Hugh's Room
the Four Seasons
by your's truly
The Cover of the Rolling Stone
not a lefty in the whole bunch
Lightfoot at Hamilton Place
photo by John Rennison (the Spectator)
Me & Billy
at the Studio Theatre (photo by Rich Humber)
Truman Capote on Mick Jagger:
One thing I'll say about Mick Jagger. He's fascinating in the sense that he's one of the most total actors that I've ever seen. He has this remarkable quality of being absolutely able to be totally extroverted...and then revert into another person almost instantly...he's really an extraordinary actor. And that's exactly what he is because: (a) he can't sing; (b) he can't dance; (c) he doesn't know a damn thing about music. But he does know about coming on and being a great showman. And putting on a fantastic act, of which the vital element is energy. Don't you think? Tell me what you think. You think he can sing? (quoted in Rolling Stone interviewed by Andy Warhol, 1973)
Me & the Devil Blues
Mr. Johnson...your ride's here
Festival of Friends '09
Memories of Jackie
Los Angeles Stories
by Ry Cooder
Richie and Dave
at Hugh's Room (photo by Rich Humber)
Big Night for Jackie
and McMaster too! (photo by Ron Scheffler)
at the Studio Theatre (photo by Dave Avery)
New Star Cinema
from Dominion City
this is a self portrait!
at Hamilton Place (photo by DEK)
Rigsby & Clark
pickin' 'n' grimacin' (photo by DEK)
Pattie snaps George...
at Hugh's Room (photo by Rich Humber)
a Flying Leap
The UFO Has Landed
the Ry Cooder Anthology
...I'm addicted too!
the two Mr. Daves...
together at Hugh's Room (photo by Rich Humber)
the new baby!
so long old pal! (photo by DEK)
the deluxe edition
and Dave's beer at the Slye Fox (photo by Rich Humber)
the new Rylander
Cooder on TV
from the BBC
Blondie signs the review...
Steve Strongman Band
at Pepper Jack (photo by Dave Avery)
nifty if simple
Ry & Joachim
Happy Father's Day!
...worth every penny!
One Long Tune
the life & music of Lenny Breau
Portage & Main
about 25 degrees C
We'll Never Turn Back
signed by Mavis
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Gordon Lightfoot. Two words that say a lot about music in Canada. The first time I saw him live was in 1967, during celebrations for our country's centennial. There was a big show down at Confederation Park. Rich Little, The Big Town Boys and Gordon Lightfoot. We all went. After all we were teenagers now. It was a great show. The Big Town Boys sorta rocked. Rich Little was funny. And Lightfoot was great. John Stockfish on bass and Red Shea on guitar. I went home and learned a bunch of Gord's gold! I think he had just one album out at the time, so it didn't take too long. But I started buying Lightfoot albums after that.
In April 2010 I saw him again. At Hamilton Place, with a bigger band including Terry Clements on lead guitar. Even with the added instrumentation he didn't sound that different. Lightfoot doesn't rock out. He is however, the master of his domain. He owned the stage, and everyone's attention that April night. If it hadn't been for the guy behind me singing along with every song, and the girl in front of me texting each title to someone off site, it would've been a perfect evening. As it was, it was still not bad. Not bad at all.
Lightfoot prepared a collection of live recordings from Massey Hall (for years he's taken a week of gigs there) and worked with Bob Doidge from Grant Avenue Studios to make it sound just so. He wanted to capture the sound of Massey Hall. The idea was to release this album after Gord passed away. A gift to his fans. But then Terry Clements died last year. So the recording came out early, in tribute to Clements, Gord's guitarist since Red Shea left. Forty years. That's time to develop some real sympatico.
ALL LIVE is the album of these recordings. It came out this week, and I've been listening for a couple of days. Fifteen of the nineteen tracks were played in the Hamilton Place concert, so you know you're getting a collection of his best known songs. Maybe even his best songs. That's for you to decide. The tunes come from his whole career, from nearly 30 albums over 45 years. The band is tight as can be, never missing a beat. Gord's voice and phrasing seem slightly over-exaggerated, in that crisply enunciated way he has, but it's a style thing. He sounds fine. And Doidge managed to capture the room too. Massey Hall is a wonderful place to hear music. I've heard Paul Simon, Levon Helm, David Gilmour and (most recently) Blackie & the Rodeo Kings and they all sounded great in the old hall. Doidge placed microphones out in the audience to capture the ambient sound. Lightfoot himself sent back a couple of mixes til he convinced Bob to go with the pure sound. It paid off. This is a good sounding record. Thankfully you cannot hear anybody else singing along with the songs. There's no video portion to distract you with flashing cellphones. Just the sound of a dynamite band playing some classic tunes by a legendary performer.
Wow! I am so disappointed! I went to four different independent record stores on Saturday, my "pocket's were heavy with loot". I couldn't find any of the things I set out to find. Last time I bought Volume 1 of the Pete Townshend demos for Quadrophenia and was looking for Volume 2 this time. It was nowhere to be found! Nobody had Richard Thompson's 45rpm. Or Jerry Lee Lewis Live at Third Man Records. (Fortunately I can order that one from Third Man!)
I did manage to score Paul McCartney's Another Day single, and a 45 by The Mynah Birds (with Neil Young and Rick James). And I picked up the Black Keys' El Camino album again for my son (this time re-formatted on a couple of 45rpm records, with a poster, and a 7" of live stuff). And I got a pair of really cool Marshall ear-phones at 20% off [not really a RSD deal].
Oh, then I grabbed an early release copy of Jack White's Blunderbuss CD from a store I will not name [mainly because I like getting releases a couple of days early!]
I know it's a bit of a lottery on RSD but I certainly expected to be able to find the Townshend, since I was still seeing Volume 1 in stores a month ago! Oh well, there's always eBay I suppose! But, wasn't the point of Record Store Day to...support the local independents? Hmmm.
It was a sad night. The death of Levon Helm was hard to take.
I had been waiting for Jesse Winchester to return for several months, ever since Barbara Milne gave an advance notice on the Pearl Co. blog. I ordered my tickets immediately. Decided to get down there early, to find a good parking place, both for the car and for my seat! Gary was handing out parking passes at the Drug Store lot, so I decided to drive around the block and park there. Had to break up a street hockey game, where the kids yell, "Car!" and scatter leaving the goalie to shuffle the net out of the way. I guess these fellas had been interupted more than once, they barely moved enough for the car to pass, giving me a stink eye as I slowly drove by. I had to smile.
Parked, talked to Gary, and went to the front of the old warehouse that is Hamilton's warmest, most intimate music venue. There was a group of people on the street, "Doors open in 5 minutes!"
Up the stairs, pay my money, grab two seats, dead centre, first riser. Ah nice, no big hairdos or chatty couples will block my view. Leave my coat and bag on the seats, and go grab a coffee. Then...the waiting. I talked to Jim from Freewheelin' Folk, introducing myself and chatting about Ian Thomas, Jackie Washington and, of course, Levon. A David Rea story. David and Levon played on Jesse's first album. The foldout cover with the same photo reproduced four times.
The crowd grew, Rich and Kim arrived, Bryan (the other guy from Freewheelin' Folk), and then Frank arrived. It's great to see the Pearl full. I've been there when there was only a handful of us, but Barbara & Gary deserve success. They've built this place up with their bare hands...and passion. Passion for the arts, for music, theatre, creative people.
Then it's 8:00. The appointed hour. Gary pitches The Pearl Review magazine (which I forgot to buy...again!) and introduces "Jesse Winchester"! There's almost a standing ovation as Jesse walks to the stool, and plugs in his guitar.
It's a nylon string guitar. Hardly anybody plays those things anymore. But Jesse Winchester does. And he plays it in a way unlike anyone else. Kind of a percussive fingerpicking style. It sounds great, and with his clear tenor voice floating above it, it's simply beautiful. He sings one song, and then talks about Levon. They didn't hang out, but they knew each other. Of course they did. "Heaven's band just improved," he quips, "and it was already pretty good."
He sings, and plays, lullabyes, love songs, and his quirky story songs. Like "It's a Shame About Him" and "Gentleman of Distinction". He sells the punch lines with this fabulous face, eyes like saucers, mouth like rubber. The laughs are welcome. It's been a sad day.
But this is the healing power of music. I've seen friends restored from fights with the wife, trouble at work, money problems, health issues and even family suicide attempts, by a few songs. Levon would understand. This was the whole point of what he spent his life doing! And that's what Jesse Winchester does best.
At the end of the first set, Rich leaned over and said, "He's already played the only 2 songs I know. What's he gonna do next?" I said, "He's gonna play some songs that you're gonna know!" And that's just what he did. Songs from his long career. "Yankee Lady", "Biloxi", from that first album, "Mississippi You're On My Mind", then "Eulalie", "Foolish Heart", and "Talk Memphis" right through to "Bless Your Foolish Heart" and "Lonely For A While" from Love's Filling Station. He even did the song that made Neko Case cry on Spectacle, his paean to doowop, "Sham-a-ling-dong-ding". And it nearly made me cry.
After putting his guitar down for an accapella rendition of "You Can't Stand Up Alone" he walked off. He returned, of course, for one more number. Can't ignore those ovations...especially the standing kind. Of course there's the increasingly rare prone ovation but the kind of geezer that drives a Mercury Grand Marquis doesn't see too many of those anymore!
I had the opportunity for a brief chat with Jesse after the show. He remains a southern gentleman, and one of the great singer-songwriters of this, or any other, generation!
the collection (but where's "Discover America"?) and...yep...Wild Bill is signed!
contents of RYLANDER Quarterly
1.1:Paris, Texas tab; brief RPC comments; publisher's introduction 1.2: Joseph Spence issue; some tab; review of Out on the Rolling Sea CD; RPC movie music 1.3: Archival reviews from music magazines; memorabilia; do-it-yourself bottleneck slide (don't cut yourself!) 1.4: RPC soundtrack interview; Great Dream From Heaven tab 2.1: The Rising Sons (by Dr. Demento); Afro-Cuban All Stars; review of slide guitar CD & Joseph Spence tab book 2.2: Buena Vista Social Club live; reviews of Unknown Legends and Fairport Convention books; RPC sessions LPs 2.3: David Lindley interview; RPC biography (in Italian); reviews of Doug Legacy, Knut Reiersrud, Rick Danko, Levon Helm 2.4: Ry Cooder's odyssey; Bert Williams; sheet music for "Nobody"; reviews of Bill Frisell, Fusion, Lunar Notes and Jeff Beck biography 3.1: Zoot Horn Rollo interview (pt.1); RPC interview ('83); reviews of Ochoa, Ferrer, Segundo, Reirsrud, Beefheart, Lightfoot, Danko 3.2: Beefheart memories from RPC & Zoot Horn Rollo (pt.2); reviews of Terry Evans, Chris Whitley, Johnny Society, Omara Portuondo 3.3: Zoot Horn Rollo (pt.3); Terry Melcher; honorary doctorate for RPC; reviews of Dennis Wilson bio, John Hunter Phillips CD 3.4: MerRY ChRYstmas! Sing Out! interview; Ry Cooder songbook; reviews of Pat Boone, Dave Rea, Beefheart & Bert Jansch books 4.1: John Tobler interviews RPC (pt.1); reviews of Jimmy Agren, Borderline, Don Everly, Scott McKenzie, Byrd-parts 4.2: John Tobler interviews RPC (pt.2); reviews of Garth Hudson, the Crowmatix, the Parlor Dogs, Sir Mack Rice 4.3: RPC buyer's guide; RPC & World Music; reviews of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Colin Linden, a couple books 4.4: RPC interview; memorabilia; reviews of Spencer Bohren, the Yearlings, Harry Manx, a Richie Unterberger book 5.1:Mambo Sinuendo reviews from the world press; Bert Williams re-issues 5.2: RPC interview from NPR; more Mambo Sinuendo coverage; review of Los Zafiros film 5.3: The Rolling Stones influence; listening with Ry (from Guitar Player); reviews of Fusion, Mark Levine, Steve Young, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings 5.4: Rock'n'Roll Outlaw; RPC goes record shopping; RPC remembers Compay Segundo; review of Jim Dickinson CD 6.1: Chicken Skin Slide; RPC interview; Meeting with Masters (pt.1) 6.2: Meeting with Masters (pt.2); RPC's movie music; reviews of box-sets (Fairport, Swarbrick, the Transports) 6.3:Chavez Ravine; Taj Mahal interview; Leadership in Mental Health Award; L.A.County Award 6.4: The World Press reviews Chavez Ravine; drawing on the front page! 2006: RPC's Grammy Awards; more Chavez Ravine; review of Garth Hudson live Sept. '07: an e-mail from Van Dyke Parks; RPC interview; some Buddy reviews and more (10 pages!)
RYLANDER first edition
available as photocopies only
RYLANDER second edition
still some copies available ($3 each)
RYLANDER 3rd edition
Quite a few copies left ($3 each)
RYLANDER 4th edition
all available ($3 each)
RYLANDER 5th edition
for contents of back issues read the contents list above
RYLANDER 6th edition
get 'em while they're hot ($3 each)
Hamilton Spectator CD Review
Big Georgia Dave & Maria Muldaur (photo by Dave Avery)