Category Archives: Music et al

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Birthday Wishes

March 1, 1940

Icarus by Towner

Guitarist Ralph Towner


Guitarist Ralph Towner

There were over 160 performers who played on the stage in 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Many were , became, and have remained everyday names. Instantly recognizable. Icons.


Those are the names that visitors to the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts ask about on a docent tour with a Woodstock alum. “Where you there for…?”


Tim Hardin is not one of the names asked after and those who played with him during his set even less so.


Guitarist Ralph Towner


Ralph Towner played at Woodstock. Ralph Towner played with Tim Hardin at Woodstock. Ralph Towner never stopped playing.

An interesting thing (to me at least) about his site‘s bio page is that the word Woodstock doesn’t even appear. Well, he really doesn’t need another credit to his very long list.


Guitarist Ralph Towner

Chehalis, Washington

Towner was born in Chehalis, Washington. His mother was a piano teacher, his father a trumpet player, so it was no surprise that he enrolled as an art major at the University of Oregon in 1958. He changed to composition.


He became interested in jazz and in 1968 Towner moved to New York City to deepen his love within its jazz scene.  Paul Winter invited Towner to be part of the Paul Winter Consort.


It was with the Paul Winter Consort that he met Glen Moore, Paul McCandless, and Collin Walcott. They would all form the band Oregon in 1971. Though Towner has played with dozens of other people, Oregon was and continues to be his home port.

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Acoustic jazz


There aren’t many acoustic jazz guitarists, but Towner is one of if not the best. I am far from an expert about jazz and those who fill that field with wonderful music, but I do recognize a few of the names he’s played with and have found their music great and wish it were more widely promoted.


Watch this video and be amazed.


Guitarist Ralph Towner

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Harvey Snake Mandel

Harvey Snake Mandel

Blues guitarist
Woodstock alum
Happy birthday to you.
March 11, 1945

Harvey Snake Mandel


Harvey Mandel’s participation at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was accidental.  Playing at the Fillmore West, Canned Heat’s guitarist Henry Vestine suddenly left the group. Canned Heat asked Mandel  to sit in for one half and Mike Bloomfield the other half (not bad replacements!).


Afterwards, the Heat offered Mandel the guitar spot. He accepted and before he knew it he was on his was on his way to Bethel, NY.


Can’t see him a whole lot, but here’s a piece of the Snake from Woodstock.

 


Harvey Mandel was born in Detroit, raised in Chicago, and in 1966 played on his first album, Charlie Musselwhite’s  Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s Southside Band.


He moved to San Francisco and began sitting in at the Matrix. His abilities were immediately noticed and in 1968 he released his first album, Christo Redentor, which contained his classic “k” (written by James W. Alexander & Sam Cooke).


Harvey Snake Mandel


Later Mandel joined John Mayall’s band and in 1972 he helped formed the band Pure Food and Drug Act, which released one album, Choice Cuts.


He continued to release solo albums and in 2009 he  reunited with Canned Heat’s Larry Taylor and  Fito de la Parra to perform certain shows on the Canned Heat tour.


As the bio at his site concludes, “Harvey Mandel, “The King Of Sustain”, has been cited as a major influence by many of today’s music superstars. The critics call him “an unsung hero,” “a hugely influential but almost forgotten giant of instrumental rock” and “the best known unknown in pop guitar.” As roots music has gained prominence through the 90’s, purists such as Mandel have had the opportunity to forge a path of musical integrity and expose new audiences to the original Harvey Mandel sound!”


Here’s the full version of “Wade in the Water” that you heard at the top of this entry.  It is from Lucille’s Restaurant’ on April 17, 2013.


In March 2017, Mandel was a guest on the NPR show World Cafe with David Dye.  Give the show a listen.


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Aretha Franklin Never Loved

Aretha Franklin Never Loved

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

Aretha Franklin Never Loved


On March 10, 1967, Aretha Franklin released her 11th album, but her first on Atlantic. She had had limited success while under cotract with Columbia Records.


In January 1967 she had signed to Atlantic Records and under the aegis of Jerry Wexler she traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record at  Rick Hall’s FAME Studios to record the song, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” Tom Dowd was the engineer and the musicians of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section played.


Quite a backing!


  • King Curtis – tenor saxophone
  • Carolyn Franklin – background vocals
  • Erma Franklin – background vocals
  • Cissy Houston – background vocals
  • Willie Bridges – baritone saxophone
  • Charles Chalmers – tenor saxophone
  • Gene Chrisman, Roger Hawkins – drums
  • Tommy Cogbill – bass
  • Jimmy Johnson – guitar
  • Melvin Lastie – trumpet, cornet
  • Chips Moman – guitar
  • Dewey Oldham – keyboards

Aretha Franklin Never Loved

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You


Atlantic had released the single of I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You on February 10 and it would reach #1 on the R & B chart on March 25 and stayed there until May 12.


Atlantic released her next single, Respect, on April 29. It reached #1 on the R & B  chart a week after I Never Loved a May the Way I Love You left. Respect stayed there until July 14. 


The album itself eventually was certified a gold album.


Side one
  1. “Respect” (Otis Redding) – 2:29
  2. “Drown in My Own Tears” (Henry Glover) – 4:07
  3. “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” (Ronnie Shannon) – 2:51
  4. “Soul Serenade” (Curtis Ousley, Luther Dixon) – 2:39
  5. “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream” (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) – 2:23
  6. “Baby, Baby, Baby” (Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin) – 2:54
Side two
  1. “Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)” (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) – 3:23
  2. “Good Times” (Sam Cooke) – 2:10
  3. “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (Dan Penn, Chips Moman) – 3:16
  4. “Save Me” (Curtis Ousley, Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin) – 2:21
  5. “A Change Is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke) – 4:20

Aretha Franklin Never Loved

More honors

A year later In February 1968, Franklin earned a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.


In June 1968, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine.


Aretha Franklin Never Loved


And in 2014 she sang at the White House. And 47 years later Aretha Franklin could still sing the socks off the song.



Aretha Franklin Never Loved

Reference: Paste magazine article: “50 Years the Queen: Aretha Franklin’s Seminal Album I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You Hits the Half-Century Mark”


Aretha Franklin Never Loved
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