Category Archives: Music et al

David Sanborn

David Sanborn

Happy birthday
July 30, 1945

Not Woodstock

He always seems to be around. When I hear the name David Sanborn, my first thought is when he sat in with Paul Shaffer on the Letterman Show. Then I remember taping his show on NBC, " Night Music" (1988 to 1990) and watching musicians like Sanborn, talented but rarely seen on TV: Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Sample, Pharoah Sanders, and many others.

Really? Woodstock?

When I first started to volunteer at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts one of the projects I worked on was creating a list of all the performers at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Who should appear with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band? David Sanborn, of course. Not sure why his appearance there surprised me, but it did. Here's a video of the band that Monday morning (before Sha Na Na). Paul Butterfield is the main feature, but the movie's producers snuck in Mr Sanborn about a minute into the video.

Much more

The list all of the music David Sanborn has made or helped make is a very long one. Luckily, All Music had taken care of that. Impressive as it is long.

You'll need a Snickers.

And…

Who were some of these people Sanborn played with?  Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, Bobby Charles, Roger Waters, Esther Phillips, James Brown, Ween, and over a hundred more.

As it says at his site, "In his three-and-a-half decade career, Dave has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album."

David Sanborn

David Sanborn was born in Tampa, Florida, but raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Contracting polio at the age of three, he struggled with the disease for eight years. In its aftermath, he began to play saxophone on the advice of a doctor, who thought it would aid him in strengthening his chest muscles.

Not bad David. I guess your practice paid off. Nice job!
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John Lennon Opines

John Lennon Opines

July 29, 1966

August 1966 interview about his March opinion 

Looking for trouble

By 1966, the whole world seemingly knew who Beatles were and that most of the world liked their music and them, too. That is only a somewhat accurate statement. Of course there were many who did not like the Beatles's music nor the Beatles themselves. Critics made wise cracks about them needing a haircut, looking like girls, or their looks in general.

Rock and Roll was just a teenager and there were plenty of people who were suspicious of the music and anyone associated with it. The Red Scare and McCarthyism of the 1950s still echoed in the early 60s, the Soviet Union was still our arch nemesis, and the re-invigorated civil rights movement threatened the status quo, however unjust that status quo was. 

Parents warned their teenagers, "If you go looking for trouble, you'll find it." Teenagers knew, "If you want to find a reason to dislike my music, you'll find a reason."

John Lennon Opines

Journalists knew that a Beatle interview was money in the bank.  Maureen Cleave, of the London Evening Standard, ran a series of interviews called "How does a Beatle Live?" 

On  March 4, 1966, Maureen Cleave interviewed John Lennon for the series.

During the interview, Lennon, who had been reading about various religions said, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

John Lennon opines

The article appeared and that was that.   No outrage by the British.

US reaction

Tony Barrow was the Beatles press officer. He offered the rights to all four interviews to US teen magazine, Datebook, the rights to all four interviews.

John Lennon Opines

On July 29, 1966 the article appeared with a headline featuring the Lennon Christianity quote, which was only a small part of the entire interview.

John Lennon opines

It became national news on August 4. A NY Times article lead sentence read: "Dozens of radio stations throughout the United States are banning music by the Beatles because of a statement by one of the rock 'n' roll singers that his group is more popular than Jesus." The article's last sentence read: "Several radio stations scheduled bonfires for the burning of Beatle records and pictures."

Some support

The US negative reaction was not universal. A Kentucky radio station declared that it would give the Beatles' music airplay to show its "contempt for hypocrisy personified", and the Jesuit magazine America wrote: "Lennon was simply stating what many a Christian educator would readily admit." 

Aftermath

The Beatles toured that summer, but it was their last. While the Christianity comment alone did not cause that cessation, it was a part of it. 

And in 2008, the Vatican issued the following statement: "The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation, mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a 'boast' by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll. The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians."

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Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

July 28, 1973

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

Another Woodstock?

Rock festivals had become a normal part of the warm months and 1973 had the biggest ever, at least in terms of attendance.  Shelly Finkel and Jim Koplin produced the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, a one-day event with only three bands.

The three bands weren’t just any bands. They were arguably the three biggest rock bands of the time: the Allman Brothers, The Band, and the Grateful Dead. Some attendees bought tickets, 150,000 at least. If that number is accurate, then 450,000 people saw the event for free, because the estimated number of people at the event is 600,000, far outnumbering Woodstock in 1969.

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

July 27, 1973

The plans called for the bands to do their soundchecks the day before. Like Woodstock, there were already thousands of fans waiting the next day’s concert, but The Band decided to do their soundcheck anyway. The Allman Brothers followed with a couple more songs.

Like no other band before, since, and perhaps ever, the Dead ended up doing 90 minutes with two full sets. Deadheads rate this “show” as one of the best ever!

Set 1

  1. The Promised Land
  2. Sugaree
  3. Mexicali Blues
  4. Bird Song
  5. Big River
  6. Tennessee Jed

Set 2

  1. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  2. Me And My Uncle
  3. Jam ->
  4. Wharf Rat
  5. Around And Around

And like most Dead shows, there are several recordings available: soundboard, audience, and a wonderful matrix.

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

Watkins Glen acoustics

With 600,000 attendees the area resembled the already 4-year-old Woodstock Music and Art Fair: clogged highways, impromptu parties, dazed wanderers, and seat searchers.

A crowd of that size required some clever acoustic technology. Every two-hundred feet from the stage, the crew erected additional sets of sound towers.  Seven sets altogether. That alone would have created  acoustic Doppler mayhem with the original sound lagging  behind the forward groups of towers, each delayed and piling upon each other.

The key was setting a 0.175 second delay for the first set speakers and additional delays for each set outward. Such a system created a “single” sound to the brains of guests. (insert joke here)

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

Jam

The word “jam” in the event’s title lived up to its name. The Dead opened the day with a three-hour plus show. The Band followed with a rain-interrupted two hour set.

The Allman Brothers followed with its own three-hour set after which all three bands joined for a 45 minute set of Not Fade Away, Mountain Jam, and Johnny B. Goode.

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973

Not Woodstock

Despite its location (New York) and its size, Watkins Glen is not nearly as famous as its iconic neighbor in Bethel, 145 miles away. And it is not famous for some of the same reasons that the three dozen plus other festivals of 1969 remain mainly in obscurity: no soundtrack and no movie.

In fact, one can argue that the fate of Woodstock would be similar to that of Watkins Glen if not for it having a movie and album.

Summer Jam Watkins Glen 1973
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