Jamaica in the News

The Rolling Stones’ deluxe reissue of Goats Head Soup has been out for a few weeks.  The album was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica in late-1972, though an article in the magazine Rolling Stone notes, “Jagger jokes that the Stones may be the only band to make an album in Jamaica with ‘not the slightest influence of reggae on any of the tracks.'”

The most notable songs from the reggaeless original album were “Angie” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, and an instrumental version of the latter is included on the deluxe reissue.  Listen to the familiar original, with its timely first verse, and then the instrumental version.  And count the “Doo Doo”s.  The song title has five, but to my ear they clearly come in sixes. 

While the Stones are re-issuing, legendary Kingston band Toots and the Maytals released a brand new album, Got to Be Tough. The band is credited with introducing the term reggae to the world with their 1968 song “Do the Reggay”.

Rolling Stone has an article on Toots Hibbert in this month’s issue, based on a December 2019 interview. Sad to say that just the other day, though, Hibbert was hospitalized – an apparent COVID-19 victim. Listen to the title track from the new album, to the song that gave reggae it’s name, and pray for Toots.

Anacostia Delta: The Legacy of DC’s TeleMasters

The documentary Anacostia Delta: The Legacy of DC’s TeleMasters will be released this coming Friday.   If you love the electric guitar, get this movie.  If you want to see electric guitar played as good as it can be played, get this movie.

Anacostia Delta will clue you in to the careers of the late Danny Gatton, one of his major influences, the late Roy Buchanan, and DC’s rich guitar scene that extends to this very day.

Read my 2013 post on Gatton to see some of his virtuosity.   The best there ever was.  And enjoy this solo jam pulled from the 1971 documentary Introducing Roy Buchanan, a movie that helped take his career to the next level.

In addition to historical clips, Anacostia Delta is anchored in footage from a 2015 concert at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia (I was there).   Here’s a bootleg of a full line up of DC guitar legends playing the jazz standard, “How High the Moon.

If you want to kick back for awhile and hear more incredible guitar playing, check out this 1993 show featuring Gatton, Albert Lee and Vince Gill.   Lee and Gill are two more of the best guitarists ever to walk the planet.

Elvis Costello – Hey Clockface

Elvis Costello will release a new album, Hey Clockface, on October 30th. It’s been over 40 years since the release of his first, 1977’s My Aim Is True, and two years since his most recent, 2018’s Look Now.  Hey Clockface was mostly recorded in the before times at studios in Helsinki, Paris and New York, though some tracks were assembled in pieces post-quarantine.   The different recording locations brought different musicians into the project, promising a wide spectrum of sound for the album’s fourteen tracks.

Costello has already released the three tracks recorded in Helsinki, where he worked on his own, playing all the instruments.   All dish up social and political commentary against edgy instrumentals.  Here are “No Flag” and “We Are All Cowards Now”.

If you want to hear the final track from the Helsinki trilogy, check out “Hetty O’Hara Confidential.”

Thinking back to My Aim Is True, every track was a classic in my book.  Here’s a 2011 performance of the romp, “Mystery Dance”, by Elvis and The Imposters.

In an online article in Variety, Costello mentions that while it didn’t work out for Hey Clockface, he’d like to get back together with Nick Lowe at some point.  Sounds like more albums to come.  “Don’t bury me ’cause I’m not dead yet.”

Lachy Doley and Others Down Under

A couple of weeks ago a friend turned me on to the keyboard wizardry of Lachlan “Lachy” Doley.  Thanks, Rainer!  Doley is an Australian whose 2019 album Make or Break debuted at the top of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Jazz and Blues Chart.   A solo artist and group leader since 2011, Doley has also been a session player since the 1990’s.

Here’s the 2016 live performance of “Stop Listening to the Blues” that got me going on this post.  Doley is known for playing Hammond organs, which are among the most incredible sounding and beautifully complicated electromechanical devices ever created.  It’s wonderful to hear artists like Doley keeping that sound alive.

The keyboard parked on top of the Hammond is a Hohner Clavinet (another amazing instrument with strings and pickups under the keyboard) equipped with a monster whammy bar.  Here’s Doley doing his best Hendrix imitation.

Digging into Doley’s past took me on a detour to the Australian band, Powderfinger.   Doley played on the band’s fifth studio album, Vulture Street, which won the 2003 ARIA award for Best Rock Album.  Doley then toured with the band from 2007 to 2010.  Here’s “(Baby I’ve Got You) On My Mind” from Vulture Street.  The song doesn’t feature Doley, but there’s a point.

While I haven’t seen Powderfinger compared to the legendary Australian band INXS, seems to me their lead singer Bernard Fanning is trying to channel a bit of Michael Hutchence in this video. And though Fanning is pretty good, Australia may never see another Micheal Hutchence.

 

The Beatles – 50 Years Ago

Today’s post takes inspiration from one of my go-to sources, Parade magazine.  That ubiquitous Sunday newspaper supplement ran a quite interesting article today on the songs of 1970, written by veteran music critic Jim Farber.

The Beatles’ last album, Let It Be, was released 50 years ago, a month after the band officially announced its breakup, and before any of the Fab Four had turned 30.  The title track along with “The Long and Winding Road” would become #1 singles in a year extraordinarily rich in #1 singles.  Here’s a version of the song about Paul’s mother, Mary, from the 2003 album Let It Be… Naked, a fantastic reworking the original album by Paul McCartney.  If you like the sound of this version, check out the remix of “The Long and Winding Road”.

Only a few weeks after the release of Let it Be, McCartney released his eponymous solo album.  The album’s best known track is “Maybe I’m Amazed”, written about another woman in Sir Paul’s life, his wife Linda.  Here’s Paul and his band Wings performing it live in 1976, with guitarist James McCullough playing the guitar solo that McCartney played himself on the original recording.

A few months before the release of Let It Be, Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band released the single “Instant Karma”.  Here’s a live version performed within days of the song’s release.  Yoko’s contributions are suitably mysterious.

Among his bandmates, George Harrison scored the biggest hit in 1970 with “My Sweet Lord” from his triple-album All Things Must Pass.  It closed out the year as the #1 single in the U.S.