Singer Robert Plant turns 70 (August 20)

Record of the Year award at the 2009 Grammy Awards

Robert PlantIn February 2018, I came across an article about Robert Plant and his current group, the Sensational Space Shifters, who’ve been together since 2012! My, I’m behind in tracking his post-Led Zeppelin career trajectory.

I’ve written at some length about my love/hate affair with Led Zeppelin, who were innovative thieves. I have more than half of their albums in one format or another, as well as the boxed set. FWIW, ten folks answered this Quora question: Why did Plant and Jimmy Page treat John Paul Jones like dirt after Led Zeppelin disbanded?

I own at least four of the first six solo albums of Robert Plant. I have the Honeydrippers one-off from 1984, with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, on cassette, if I can find it. I also bought a Page/Plant CD.

My wife is a big fan of bluegrass star Alison Krauss, who we saw play live in 2003. So I got her the Raising Sand CD with Plant and Krauss for Christmas in 2007. She thought it was too loud – I disagree – so I stole it back.

My fascination with his group Band of Joy from 2010/2011 is that there’s a cover of a song my father used to sing.

Plant said in that newspaper interview that he keeps in shape by falling “in love about every 18 months. I do my best to be in love with life. I like to see the sparkle that exists and the kindness and the charm of the world, as well as the mess.”

Listen to songs by Robert Plant:

Big Log (#20 in 1983)

In the Mood (#39 in 1984)

Little by Little (#35 in 1984)

Sea of Love – the Honeydrippers (#3 in 1985)

(Good) Rockin’ At Midnight – the Honeydrippers (#25 in 1985)

Tall Cool One (#25 in 1988)

Ship of Fools (#84 in 1988)

Hurting, Kind (#46 in 1990)

29 Palms (#111 in 1993)

Darkness Darkness (2002)

Rich Woman – with Alison Krauss (#118 in 2009)

Please Read The Letter – with Alison Krauss (#120 in 2009, Record of the Year award at the 2009 Grammy Awards)

Cindy I’ll Marry You One Day – Band of Joy (2010)

Carry Fire – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Bluebirds Over the Mountains – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Heaven Sent – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Music, March 1971: Humble Pie

He saw himself as a budding black militant, but he thought of me as a hippy-dippy, flower-power type.

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

It was Woodstock, the March 1970 movie, that was the greater watershed than the August 1969 concert, the author posits, and I tend to agree. If a third of a million people actually went to Max Yasgar’s farm in Bethel, NY, after seeing the Academy Award-winning documentary, millions would say they were there.

I recall going to the film with a bunch of my anti-war, socially activist friends – Holiday Unlimited: “a splendid time is guaranteed for all”- shortly after the film was released. We sat through it TWICE, back in the days when you could actually do that sort of thing, and it was LONG, about three hours.

My most specific recollection was looking back at the light stream that was projected image that was showing during Sly and the Family Stone’s performance and noticing how purple it was. And, seriously, I had never taken any drugs at the time.

The Woodstock soundtrack propelled my listening for at least the next half-decade, really introducing me, and much of the country, to Joe Cocker and Santana, and solidified my listening to Arlo Guthrie, CSN(&Y) and The Who, among others.

Unlike earlier live albums, such as The Who’s Live at Leeds, which captured the performance and nothing more, producers in 1971 realized the “sound of the crowd was a key element” in transferring the excitement to the listener who had not been present. I always had mixed feelings about live albums for that reason.

Bill Graham closed both Fillmore East in New York City and Fillmore West in San Francisco in 1971. Agents such as Frank Basalona realized that some bands, such as Led Zeppelin, would sell out the venues based on their names, and weren’t willing for the flat rate someone such as Graham would offer.

Basalona signed groups such as Humble Pie from London and J. Geils from Boston. I listened quite a bit to cuts from the live Humble Pie album Rocking the Fillmore on the radio, featuring Peter Frampton, who would go on to have even greater live album success.

The groups’ common manager was Dee Anthony, who, in addition to worrying about the money, instilled in the band a sense of showmanship. Producer Tom Dowd got the Allman Brothers to dump their out-of-tune horn section and made them a much better band.

The other live music album I recall from this period was the one by Grand Funk Railroad, which came out in November 1970. I received it for my birthday in March 1971 from my sister’s boyfriend George. He saw himself as a budding black militant, but he thought of me as a hippy-dippy, flower-power type, and thought, incorrectly, that this would have been “my” type of music. But I did listen to it a few times, and it’s probably still in the attic.

Listen to:
Black Dog – Led Zeppelin. It was first played live at Belfast’s Ulster Hall on 5 March 1971.
I Don’t Need No Doctor – Humble Pie
Aqualung – Jethro Tull
Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo – Johnny Winter
Mean Mistreater – Grand Funk Railroad

Music, January 1971: All Things Must Pass

Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun recognized that the future of music was likely to be both album shaped and white in color.

Random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

The Beatles had broken up but there was a Fab on the top of the charts. All Things Must Pass spent the first seven weeks of 1971 at #1 in the US, though, as a double album, or triple, if you insist on counting the jam, it was twice the price of a standard LP. The title song was the theme of my high school senior prom. I loved the All Things Must Pass album, but was sad that the box the albums came in was too flimsy, and fairly quickly.

Whereas John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album was more difficult for me to grasp at first, with the primal screaming, though I did make it a part of my limited playlist at college that fall.

I was disheartened by the sometimes public sniping among the former Beatles, such as John’s towards George’s album, which was doing much better commercially than his. But because of a partnership agreement just before Brian Epstein’s death, they were joined at the hip. Harrison’s success was good for Lennon’s pocket too. So Paul could not leave the label as he wanted to do.

The leader of a Jersey cover band called Steel Mill made a trip to California and heard Van Morrison’s His Band and Street Choir. That album was one of my favorites, with Blue Money and Domino. That singer/guitarist, BTW, was Bruce Springsteen.

“Yes, we’re one of a number of long-haired groups who had been picked up in a sweep conducted by Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun when he recognized that the future was likely to be both album shaped and white in color. Ertegun had used his roots music calling card to sign Crosby, Stills & Nash; Iron Butterfly; Cream; and many other groups he really didn’t pretend to understand.” I did note that a lot of my favorite music of the period, from Sam & Dave and Roberta Flack and the (Young) Rascals to Led Zeppelin, was on the label.

The Yes Album did well, especially in head shops of the UK the first quarter of the year. It became another listening staple in my freshman year of college. So was Led Zeppelin III, which actually was #1 for 4 weeks in the last quarter of 1970.

Listen to:

Lord If I Ever Needed Someone – Van Morrison
Every Little Thing – Yes
What Is Life – George Harrison
Give Me Some Truth – John Lennon
I Hear You Knocking – Dave Edmunds
Gallows Pole – Led Zeppelin

June rambling #1: procrastination, and tessellation

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

waltz in
When You Kill Ten Million Africans and You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’ – King Leopold II of Belgium, who “owned” the Congo.

The Dannemora Dilemma. “‘Little Siberia’ turned out to be the prison’s nickname.”

The Weekly Sift addresses the Duggars’ brand of fundamentalist Christianity and other stuff. Plus What’s So Scary About Caitlyn Jenner?

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet and The Crystal Ball‘s 2016 Electoral College ratings. I have NO idea who the Republican candidate for President will be.

If it’s not Jeb Bush, and I have my serious doubts that it will be, then one of those people from the “he/she can’t win” category could possibly emerge.

ADD on blaming the victims of today’s disastrous economy for trying to survive it.

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain.

Disunion, The Final Q&A: The New York Times’s series on the Civil War.

Franklin Graham Calls for Christian Boycott — Here Are Some Ideas for Targets.

Rachel Dolezal and minstrelsy.

David Kalish: The Fine Art of Procrastination.

THE MARVEL-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX and a follow-up.

Drawing the Undrawable: An Explanation from Neil and Amanda Gaiman, re: The New Statesman and Art Spiegelman.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 will be available on July 29. This SHOULD mean you can update from Windows 7, and I can get rid of the dreadful Windows 8.

How to create strong passwords.

Why Pluto Is a Planet, and Eris Is, Too.

Now I Know: The Lights That Almost Led to World War III and America’s Most Wanted Coincidence and Why are there so few $2 bills?

Gouverneur is a small town of about 6,000 located in St. Lawrence County, NY. But how do you PRONOUNCE it? In English and in French.

Berowne: George Gordon. Better known as Lord Byron.

Never-before-seen film of the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart — from her last photo shoot ever, shortly before she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

The origin of that Orange Church of God sign I see on Facebook all the time. Speaking of which: 6 Facebook Statuses That Need To Stop Right Now.

Mark Evanier’s childhood Christmas chicanery.

The app that identifies plants from a picture. Seriously, I could use this.

What is a tessellation? Math, and design.

A marbles tsunami.

True: Why are the Tony Awards so afraid of the Tony Awards?

Sex Pistols credit card.

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

James Taylor’s creativity flows anew.

The Mary Lou Williams Suite, the jazz pianist and arranger. Includes the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 60-51. He also brought to mind that the birthday of Todd Rundgren is coming up, which reminded me of a 1985 album I own on vinyl that I haven’t heard in a good while. LISTEN to A Cappella, or at least the last song, a cover of the Spinners’ Mighty Love.

Bert Jansch’s Blackwaterside, first recorded in 1966. Which sounds an awful lot like Jimmy Page’s instrumental Black Mountain Side, from Led Zeppelin’s 1969 debut.

DJ Otzi – Burger Dance, “based on the premise that the single aspect of American culture most readily recognizable in the rest of the world is fast food.”

This list is rubbish, but hey, it has links to Beatles songs. The most skippable Beatles cuts, from “All You Need Is Love” to “Yellow Submarine”.

Muppets: Puppetman and Kermit the Frog and Grover on The Ed Sullivan Show and Grover is Special and the 1962 pilot Tales of the Tinkerdee and some other stuff.

Legendary Special-Effects Artist Rick Baker on How CGI Killed His Industry.

Actor Christopher Lee, Dracula and Nazi hunter, dies at 93. From The Guardian and BFI and the Hollywood Reporter and Bruce Hallenbeck in Diabolique and Mr. Frog and Gordon at Blog This, Pal.

Ornette Coleman, Jazz Innovator, Dies at 85.

Dustbury notes the passing of Monica Lewis, a voice, at least, you’ve heard, if you are of a certain age.

GOOGLE ALERTS (not me)

Roger and Carmen Green of Baraboo, Wisconsin celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

UK: An illustrated guided walk tracing the route of the Nickey Line is being led by railway enthusiast Roger Green on Saturday, June 27.

April Rambling: Buy the niece’s new album, and end Daylight Saving Time

“Your attention to detail often makes you isolated and aloof, but your heart is also deeply passionate and romantic.”

rjcoldfact
New album from Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact the debut release from San Diego-based eclectic soul/funk band. RJ is my niece, my sister Leslie’s daughter.
From NBC San Diego: “Not everything on April Fool’s Day was a joke. Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact released their self-titled debut and it’s no laughing matter. Channeling everyone from Candi Staton and Betty Davis to Morcheeba and Brightback Morning Light, these 12 tracks of soul and funk are stunners. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.”
Another review.
In this picture, she’s the one in the blue dress.

After watching this video, I’m even more convinced than I was before: Daylight Saving Time is a waste of time. Having tried to schedule a phone call from the UK at a point when the US is in DST and the UK has NOT yet moved to British Summer Time, I know of which the speaker is talking about.

Everything wrong with the US prison system in under 4 minutes.

That dreadful US Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC has made buying politicians so much easier. If the case confuses you check out this video. Definitely watch the cartoon United States of John Roberts.

There are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than atoms on Earth!

Former Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville was caught Shoveling Snow While Black, at his own residence.

We are all just stories in the end. Yes, I’m the Roger mentioned therein.

Leave me alone, but not now. I’m convinced that MOST of us are like this; certainly, I am.

Dustbury pointed me to this: I didn’t willfully start out forgetting you. It was something that just happened, an occurrence that took place over time, little by little…

Melanie: People who heal. Also, Knowledge comes from what you add, wisdom from what you remove.

Two moments, one sister.

Evanier on Advocating for your family at the hospital, plus a follow-up. Plus his Tales of My Grandmother.

Animation: Johnny Cash on gospel music.

Tosy’s ranking U2 songs: 100-91.

The J.D. Salinger of Sick Songs, Tom Lehrer. More Lehrer.

Jack Nicholson’s descent into homicidal madness re-cut into uplifting family film trailer.

Microsoft released a video on the story behind their “Bliss” default desktop photo for its Windows XP operating system, for which it is no longer providing technical support.

Less interested in the comic book review that the reference to the New York World’s Fair, which I attended, though not until 1965.

cat-science
In one of those Facebook memes: “I’m Picard: Few are smarter and more reliable, but that doesn’t mean you’re bad in a fight. You surround yourself with great people, but maintain a strong devotion to the chain of command. You’re fiercely loyal to your friends and family, but never had time to start one yourself. In the minus column…you can be a touch boring.” And speaking of which: Picard’s tea. Also, Trek-lit reading order.

I’m also Led Zeppelin: “You’re an overachiever and a perfectionist. You work hard at what you do, and it shows. Your attention to detail often makes you isolated and aloof, but your heart is also deeply passionate and romantic. If you continue to refine your skills, you’ll eventually become one of the greatest ever in your chosen field.” Third sentence is almost certainly correct.

The Gandy Dancers.

An Aesop fable comes true.

Great newspaper headline, with proper grammar.

14 Arcane words every freelancer should use.

50 Shades of Smartass: Chapter 21 and Chapter 22 and Chapter 23. TG this ends soon…

Because Muppet Outtakes Are the Best Outtakes. Also, I remember this Jim Henson AmEx commercial.

Kids react to technology: rotary phones and Walkmans.

Judgmental city maps.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)
For Kibler [Arkansas] Police Chief Roger Green, “providing law enforcement to the Crawford County town is not much different than policing larger cities.”