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PASSINGS: JOE CUBA

David Gonzalez, NY Times – For the first time anyone could remember – or even comprehend – the sight of Joe Cuba brought people to tears. For more than half a century, this conga-playing son of El Barrio fronted bands whose music was relentless, hip and happy. Real happy.

But there was no joy on 116th Street Wednesday, at least not at first sight of Joe, laid out in his coffin, though sharp as ever in his black tux, white gloves and a gray homburg. Here was the Father of the Latin Boogaloo, a fusion of Latin and soul music that made him a crossover king in the late 1960s. . .

Outside, under the narrow awning, people huddled to escape the rain.

“I’m going to see him,” Juan Nieves said. “A friend of mine died, too, and I’m going to see her inside. But I have to see him. His music was the best from the ’60s. His sextet was the ultimate. They had all the songs. Oye, ese pito!”

Hey, that whistle! That was the first line to “El Pito” – which was always followed by five quick toots.

For a while in the 1960s, those five notes were the clarion call of an emerging musical . . . The song’s signature chorus is taken from Dizzy Gillespie’s introduction to “Manteca.” The classic whistled opening gives way to hand claps, a Latin-tinged piano line, frenetic vibe playing and maniacal laughter.

In some neighborhoods, the song was a revelation. Where I lived in the Bronx, on Mapes Avenue off 181st Street, teenagers drove people crazy whistling the opening notes while chanting what can only be described (here, at least) as a gleefully obscene twist on Georgia.

Its bilingual lyrics and urban attitude presaged the coming boogaloo craze. The distinctly New York musical form Joe Cuba helped birth reflected the interplay (with the emphasis on play) between Puerto Ricans and African-Americans in this city. Coming at the dawn of a political and cultural awakening among New York-raised Puerto Ricans, it was a heady mix.

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PASSINGS: LOUIE BELLSON

Washington Post – Louie Bellson, 84, widely considered one of the world’s greatest drummers, who played with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie, died in California of complications from a hip fracture he suffered in November.

A six-time Grammy nominee who performed on more than 200 albums and wrote more than 1,000 compositions and arrangements and a dozen books on percussion, Mr. Bellson was the last of the triumvirate of great percussionists who came out of the big-band era. He was a member of Ellington’s band from 1951 to 1953 and was often the only white musician who performed with it before segregated audiences in the South.

In 1938, while still in high school, he came up with the idea of using two bass drums in his drum set, an addition that became his signature. Two years later, he beat 40,000 others to win a nationwide drumming contest. He joined Benny Goodman’s band before he was 20 years old.

He married singer Pearl Bailey and left Ellington’s band to be her musical director. Over the years, Mr. Bellson performed with such greats as Harry James, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Mel Torme and Joe Williams. Just a year ago, he issued what would be his final CD, “Louie & Clark Expedition 2,” and he was still touring last fall.

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REACTION WITHOUT ACTION

Sam Smith

Watching the crowd reaction to Bruce Springsteen at the Super Bowl brought to mind how much better Americans have become at collective enthusiasm than at collective action.

The arm punches, screaming, and the mixture of joy, tears and intense facial expressions that in any other context might be taken for anger seemed somewhat mechanical, but thanks to television, movies and prior attendance, we all know how to act in such circumstances even if it means yelling so loudly that you can hardly hear the individual you so admire. Besides – unlike, say, a 1930s big band dance concert – the promoters have made sure there isn’t much room to do anything else.

It is easy to forget how recent this phenomenon is. Many credit Frank Sinatra as being the founder of modern fan hysteria. As Pop History Dig describes it:

“By 1942, as his music was broadcast on the live radio show Your Hit Parade, sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes, Sinatra began attracting the attention of teenage girls. The ‘Bobbysoxers,’ as they were called for their rolled-to-the-ankle white socks, were swooning in the aisles for the young singer. Sinatra’s vast appeal to this group revealed a whole new demographic for popular music and for marketing. Sponsors had yet to recognize the vast economic buying power of teenagers and young adults, and had traditionally aimed their programming and sponsorship at the 30-to-50-year-olds. But that soon changed.

“On December 30,1942, when Sinatra played his first solo concert at New York city’s Paramount Theater near Times Square, the Bobbysoxers came out in droves. After being introduced by Jack Benny, Sinatra walked on stage to loud and continuous shrieks and screams. ‘The sound that greeted me,’ he later recalled, ‘was absolutely deafening. It was a tremendous roar. Five thousand kids, stamping, yelling, screaming, applauding. I was scared stiff. I couldn’t move a muscle. Benny Goodman froze, too. He was so scared he turned around, looked at the audience and said, ‘What the hell is that?’ I burst out laughing.’ The kids screamed in delight; some even fainted. They also crowded the back stage door after the show shrieking for his autograph, and spilled over into Times Square, snarling traffic. . . . Between 1940 and early 1943 he had 23 top ten singles on the new Billboard music chart. And all through those years, back at Paramount and other venues, the kids continued screaming and swooning for Sinatra.

sinatrapasadena1943-763459

FRANK SINATRA ARRIVES IN 1943 FOR HOLLYWOOD BOWL PERFORMANCE

“Fans had not swooned or screamed over other singers, such as Bing Crosby. So what was it with Sinatra? Something else was going on, the critics surmised. Although his singing was certainly a factor, some charged it was also Sinatra’s look; his seeming innocence, frailty, and vulnerability that evoked the passions of female fans. Newsweek magazine then viewed the Bobbysoxer phenomenon as a kind of madness; a mass sexual delirium. Some even called the girls immoral or juvenile delinquents. But most simply saw them as young girls letting their emotions fly. . .

“By 1946 Frank Sinatra’s recording company, Columbia, estimated that he was selling 10 million records per year.”

Elvis and the Beatles, of course, contributed mightily to the phenomenon. The latter’s first appearance at a U.S. concert was at Shea Stadium and 56,000 fans showed up to set a world record in attendance and gross revenue. The Beatles cleared $160,000.

Now, some six decades into increasingly orchestrated fan hysteria, it shouldn’t surprise us if both the Springsteen performance and the reaction seemed somewhat artificial. But what did surprise – nay, stun – this cynical journalist was that a suspicion I had voluntarily suppressed not only had merit but was worse than I had imagined: the crowd knew precisely what to do.

In fact, they had been rehearsed, told where to stand and how to react – witness this video.

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Such discoveries of rock promoters have spilled over into other aspects of our lives including politics. In fact, the Obama campaign might be fairly described as the first modeled on the principles of a rock concert tour including audiences that are better at cheering than listening, more moved by charisma than content and not too curious about what it all adds up to.

Of course, rock concerts have had a lot of help. Television and the internet, the atomization of American culture and the dominance of corporate and political propaganda in our daily lives have also contributed. So has, I’m convinced, albeit without solid evidence, the widespread use of anti-depressants and tranquilizers. It’s hard to start a revolution if you’ve drugged away your anger and disgust.

In any case, what is clear is that America has largely accepted the dismantling of its constitution, an ordinate improper transfer of wealth from the many to the few, illegal wars and the destruction of its economy with striking passivity. With a few exceptions such as punk rock, there hasn’t been a movement of any strength and continuity challenging the wrongs in America since a few years after that Beatles concert. It’s almost as though, with the arrival of disco in the 1970s, we all agreed to just shut up and do what we were told.

Disco, with its mechanizing of music, was a suitable introduction to the Reagan – Bush – Clinton – Bush era – or RBee CBee – with its similar effect on politics. The instrument of our power – whether musical or political – had been taken away and put in a machine to be managed by a DJ.

Its thus not so surprising that America has been so slow in its response to the current economic disaster. We have been trained to react but not to act on our reaction. We’ve been taught to dance to the DJ and to stand in our crowded corner of the stadium and cheer just like everyone else. And if some slight residue of independence and rebellion remains, the Prozac should take of it. If not, we’ll up the dose.

What this means is not that the collective anger and riots won’t come as they already are elsewhere in the world. They likely will and the reaction of the government will likely be cruel and senseless. But it means that our opportunity to avoid such a moment is passing us by as the very leaders who created this disaster create inadequate or even disastrous solutions and the only thing we know how to do well is to stand close to one another, yell and punch our arms towards the sky.

And it will be like until we rediscover the basic truth that the answer is not up on the stage but with those before, behind and on either side of us. In the end, we are the only band that really counts.

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THE DEAD play Inaugural Ball!!

Here are some youtube  teasers, and the set list…

Dancin’ In The Streets>
Uncle John’s Band>
Sugar Magnolia
Eyes of the World

<<VP Joe Biden Speech & Dance>>

The Wheel>
Touch of Grey
Box of Rain

<<President Obama Speech 1st
couple dance to ‘At Last’>>

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WHY AREN’T MUSICIANS BIGGER SOUND FREAKS?

Steve Guttenberg, CNET – It seems like most musicians I meet are more into making music than listening to it. They don’t care about how music sounds at home; many are satisfied with the sound they get from boom boxes or chintzy computer speakers. Some tell me they’re more focused on the way the players play than the sound.

Sure, I’ve met a few musicians with ears for sound. That happened just recently when I struck up a conversation with jazz drummer and audiophile Billy Drummond.

He readily conceded my point: “Getting a good hi-fi isn’t high on their list of priorities. Like everybody else, musicians listen to music while they’re on the computer or sending e-mails. That’s what music is now, a backdrop, so fidelity isn’t important anymore.”

Sad, but true, so what is music for? Drummond had a ready answer. “It’s for people to enjoy,” he said. “It can take you somewhere, you can dance to it, music conjures emotions. For musicians it’s an expression, a way to challenge ourselves, and it can be inspiring.”. . .

Drummond’s saying all the right things, so I was a little embarrassed to ask about sound quality, does that matter? Drummond was getting excited. “Absolutely,” he said, “especially when I’m listening to music in all its splendor over my system, it’s second only to being in the concert hall. I’d rather do that than watch a movie.”. . .

You can hear “the sound” on a car radio or a cheap boom box, so what does an expensive hi-fi bring to the party? Drummond doesn’t miss a beat, “OK, if you bring a musician to your house and sit him down in front of your high-end system and play Miles, he will acknowledge the difference. Now, they can really hear his sound. That’s what happens when I bring musicians over and let them hear that kind of thing. They get it, and say something like, ‘Man, I need to get new speakers.'”

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Barack Obama Selects the Dead for Inaugural Ball: “It Was Quite an Honor”


rolling stone- 1/15/09, 5:03 pm EST

Photo: Barnard/Getty

Just a week after confirming their first tour in five years, the reunited Dead are booked to rock the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. on January 20th. “A DJ will open up — it’s a long, strange trip!,” Mickey Hart jokes to Rolling Stone (the DJ in question is celeb spinner DJ Cassidy). “[Barack Obama] picked us specifically,” he adds, “so it was quite an honor. There was a short list and we made the cut.” (For a peek into the President-Elect’s iPod, click here.)

As for the most important question — can the band jam at the ball? — Hart is dubious: “It’s pretty tight, about an hour set. When you play these kinds of things you say, ‘How can I be of service?’ The entertainment committee makes it so that it fits into their huge schedule.”

Another pitfall of political rocking: a background check. “It gave me pause when I had to get a security clearance to play a gig!” Hart says. So did they get past the security scan? “Oh, yeah, we don’t look so bad on paper. It’s not as bad as you might think.”

The Dead partially reunited for a Deadheads for Obama gig in spring 2007, and drummer Bill Kreutzmann rejoined the group for a “Change Rocks” Obama fundraiser at Penn State in October. The tour that kicks off April 12th in Greensboro, North Carolina, features founding members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir as well as Hart and Kreutzmann, joined by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and Allman Brothers Band/Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes.

Related Stories:

Still Truckin’: The Dead Reunite in Pennsylvania
The Dead Reunite for Obama at Scorching Penn State Benefit
The Dead Announce First Tour in Five Years

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No Woman No Cry ‘songwriter’ dies

Bob Marley performs on Top of The Pops in the 1970s

No Woman No Cry was based on the ghetto where both men lived

Vincent Ford, the songwriter credited with composing the Bob Marley reggae classic No Woman, No Cry has died in Jamaica. He was 68.

Ford lost both his legs to diabetes and died in hospital from complications caused by the disease, said a spokesman for the Bob Marley Foundation.

His smash hit appeared on Marley’s 1974 Natty Dread album.

It was inspired by the Trench Town ghetto in Kingston where both men lived in the 1960s.

Some claim Marley wrote it himself but gave Ford the credit to help his friend support himself with the royalties.

Ford is also credited with three songs on Marley’s 1976 album Rastaman Vibration.

Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread Jamaican music to the worldwide audience.

He died of cancer in Miami in 1981, aged 36.

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Electric Emperor Music

electricemperor.com

 

 

This Side of Sanity

video 2

empilation

vocal tracks

instrumental tracks

song vocalist / band
Scott’s Theme/Torch Trilogy El Capitan Edwardo War on Us Elvy Musikka
Christmas Song La Cuerva hemp hemp hooray Total Devastation-michaelm
Rude Awakening Pensando en ti hemp hemp hooray michaelm -hemptones
For the Last Time Enola Gay Jack Rap nobody’s cat
Time Heals Per Bast Dance Feather The Circle Band
Find Your Way Home Toner 1 Sensi Jam
The Family Tree
Shit Happens Happy Free Advice Fullon
Dream Girl Gwydion Piggy Swine Backwards
Remind Me Never Katinka Woody Speaks Creakin’ Porch Quartet
Don’t Try to Make It Alone Pig of Destiny

U-n-Me

Crazy

Shotgun Ragtime Band

Boys From Melbourne Crystal Ball Let it Shine Shotgun Ragtime Band
electricemperor order CD-ROM Medical Marijuana