Category Archives: Woodstock Music and Art Fair

Bob Weir

Bob Weir

Happy birthday to you…

October 16, 1947

Jimmy come lately
I quickly admit that I was not much of a Dead fan until my brother-in-law George directed me to the Internet Archives site [Internet Archive Grateful Dead] with its hundreds, no, thousands of Dead recordings. I learned the letters SBD (soundboard), AUD (audience), Matrix (someone's incredible mixing of both a SBD and and AUD), and BB (a Betty Board as in Betty Cantor-Jackson, onetime soundboard tech for the Dead).

I also learned that, and this was the tipping point for this penurious person, I could download any file I wanted for free. That generosity did not last. Today, only the audience recordings are still available for free download. Many of those are simply outstanding recordings. The soundboards are available to listen to, but not to download.

Get to the point

I didn't get the Dead because I was familiar only with the Dead's studio work, which didn't do much for me. Yes their two 1970 masterpieces, Workingman Dead and American Beauty, both made my 8-track collection, but by 1971 I was married, by 1973 a father, and working two or three jobs. Concerts were rarely part of the budget.

Bob Weir

When the Dead began to play in 1965, Bob Weir was just 17. Even by the counterculture's egalitarian standards, Weir was still a kid. 

The kid had not been a good student. His behavior defined the then American education's definition of the poorly performing student: a lazy misfit. Fortunately, while in the system he met John Perry Barlow. Fortunately, Weir knew enough to get kicked out of the system and back to his hometown of San Francisco. 

And fortunately, he met Jerry Garcia, too. Hand in instrument, they morphed from Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions into the electric Warlocks, and quickly tripped from there into the Grateful Dead.

Faced with the daunting task of playing beside the genius guitar playing of Garcia, he became one of rock's best rhythm guitarists. He became the co-lead-vocalist with Garcia, and with old school friend Barlow wrote many of the Dead's best songs such as...
  • Black-Throated Wind
  • Cassidy
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Lost Sailor
  • Mexicali blues
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Saint of Circumstance
Keeps on truckin’
Following the demise of the original Dead after Garcia's death in 1995, Weir continued to play music: sometimes with other Dead band mates, sometimes with others. 

In 2016, Weir released Blue Mountain. The Pitchfork site had this to say about it: As Weir’s sixth studio full-length outside the Grateful Dead, Blue Mountain functionally serves as a reboot for the guitarist, whose solo sensibility long ago veered far from Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s cosmic Americana and into the AOR waters of 1978’s Heaven Help the Fool (made with Fleetwood Mac producer Keith Olsen), the pastel fusion of Bobby and the Midnites in the ’80s, and the dense jam-jazz of Ratdog in the ’90s. With an ambient C&W production that often subsumes lead guitar into the reverb swirl (and occasionally swallows Weir), Blue Mountain will likewise probably prove inseparable from the historical period in which it was recorded. But, unlike Weir’s previous albums, Blue Mountain also finally seems like the right album at the right time for Weir. Quietly adventurous, wise, and a welcome late-career turn, Blue Mountain builds an ethereal home for a rhythm guitarist who was tempered in the chaos-friendly environs of Dead.

Don't just read about it, though. I'm listening to it as I write this and it is sounds are smooth and soothing. 

 

 

 

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Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

released its first album

October 1965

paul butterfield blues bandIn October, 1965 future Woodstock Music and Art Fair performers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band released their first album: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Paul Butterfield was 23; Mike Bloomfield was 22; Elvin Bishop was 23; Mark Naftalin was 21; Jerome Arnold was 28; and Sam Lay was 30.

ining two walls in a hallway of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts are pictures and brief bios of each band and its members who performed at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. When I watch or listen to guests visiting the Museum, the usual artists they hover over or speak about are Jimi Hendrix, the Band, Janis Joplin, the Who, or other so-called "big names." 

I cannot remember any guest hovering at the Paul Butterfield  Blues Band. They should be.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Rock and rolls roots are obviously from rhythm and blues whose roots are simply the blues. Jimi, Robbie, Janis, and Pete would all acknowledge and tip their hats to a Paul Butterfield for so brilliantly playing those blues.

The band's first album (even though few of those original members played at Woodstock) is an excellent example of the style and strength the various band line-ups presented over its time.

All Music's Mike DeGagne says this about the first album: ...a wonderfully messy and boisterous display of American-styled blues, with intensity and pure passion derived from every bent note. In front of all these instruments is Butterfield's harmonica, beautifully dictating a mood and a genuine feel that is no longer existent, even in today's blues music. Each song captures the essence of Chicago blues in a different way, from the back-alley feel of "Born in Chicago" to the melting ease of Willie Dixon's "Mellow Down Easy" to the authentic devotion that emanates from Bishop and Butterfield's "Our Love Is Drifting." "Shake Your Money Maker," "Blues With a Feeling," and "I Got My Mojo Working" (with Lay on vocals) are all equally moving pieces performed with a raw adoration for blues music. Best of all, the music that pours from this album is unfiltered...blared, clamored, and let loose, like blues music is supposed to be released."

You should give it a listen, again I hope, but if not for the first of what will likely be many times.

 

 

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John Entwistle

John Entwistle

October 9, 1944 – June 27, 2002

Music is magic

As a non-musician, to me the person who is one performs magic.  And when a band's members combined their talents, that magic amplifies into the mystic.

There are many great musicians, but the frequency of musicians finding their compliment and to create even greater magic happens far less often. 

Such seems the case with the Who. 

John Entwistle becomes Who

The young John Entwistle played trumpet, fluegelhorn, and piano as well as bass. In 1959 he played trumpet in a traditional jazz band that also included Pete Townshend on banjo.

In 1961, Roger Daltrey invited Entwistle to join Daltrey's group, The Detours. Six months later, Entwistle persuaded Daltrey to let Townshend join. In the spring of 1964 Keith Moon joined they became The Who. 

The Who's magic did not just come from each member's talent, which was outstanding, but from their interaction. Entwistle's bass was more like a lead guitar playing counterpoint to Pete Townshend's more rhythmic guitar playing. Moon's drumming became famous for it's high energy non-stop support of the band's whole sound with Roger Daltrey's vocals entwining all into  Who’s distinctive sound by cultivating a lead style of bass, underpinning Pete’s more rhythmic style of guitar playing with inventive runs in a higher register than most bass players, while at the same time keeping the group’s timing rigid during Keith’s volatile thrashings.

Macabre Entwistle

While Pete Townshend composed most of the band's material, Entwistle contributed some of their songs, odd as they were. "Whisky Man," "Boris The Spider,"Doctor, Doctor," "Someone’s Coming," as well as "Cousin Kevin" and "Fiddle About" from the band's most famous album, Tommy. Entwistle's French horn skills were also featured on that album.

John Entwistle

In 1971 John Entwistle became the first member to release a solo album, Smash Your Head Against The Wall, Other solo studio albums were: Whistle Rymes (1972), Rigor Mortis Sets In (1973), Mad Dog (1975), Too Late The Hero (1981) and The Rock (1996).  

In 1975 he toured with his own band, Ox [taken from his nickname in the Who]. He also fronted the John Entwistle Band on US club tours during the 1990s and appeared with former Beatle Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band, in 1995. 

Entwistle died from a heart attack on June 27, 2002, in Las Vegas. The Who were about to begin an American tour which they did do with replacement bassist  Pino Palladino.

Later Entwistle's body was repatriated and buried in the village church in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, where he lived with his partner, Lisa Pritchard-Johnson.

 

 

 

 

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