RIP, Bobby Keys

The Rolling Stones, Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Dr. John, Graham Nash, Humple Pie, Harry Nilsson, The Faces, B.B. King, Barbra Streisand, John Lennon, Carly Simon, Gary Wright, Ringo Starr, John Martyn, Donovan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martha Reeves, Etta James, Warren Zevon, Leo Sayer, Eric Carmen, Billy Preston, Jim Carroll, Joe Ely, Sheryl Crow & Trisha Yearwood.

That list represents just some of the artists Bobby Keys played his sax with over the course of his career. If there had been no stand-out tracks in that body of work it would still have been impressive. You don’t get the call to play on so many records and perform with so many very talented people without being worthy of that call. But there are not just stand-out tracks, but moments where the hook, the thing that stands out in the song and nudges it from good to great is that amazing saxophone playing Bobby did.

Without the sax, Honky Tonk Woman isn’t the same song:

And John Lennon’s Whatever Gets You Through The Night absolutely hangs off Keys’ sax the way a circus tent hangs off the pole in the middle:

Had Me A Real Good Time, by the Faces, once the sax kicks in, sounds like its name:

If I had to pick one song… if someone said, what was Bobby’s finest moment, I’d give it to the middle break in this song by the Stones:

Rest in peace, Bobby. You will be missed.

Weekly Workout Playlist for 11/17/14

It’s that time again. Enjoy and have a fantastic workout week.

Value vs. Price

We seem, as a culture, stuck in this horrible space where all we care about is the price of things and not the value we gather from them. As far as I can tell a significant number of folks aren’t even aware there is a difference.

I would, for example, never be able to put a price on my health, or that of any of my family or close friends. Priceless doesn’t even begin to describe what health, wellness and well-being means to me. “Value beyond measure” is how I would describe it. Other things are easy to calculate the price I’m willing to pay.
Continue Reading →

Weekly Workout Playlist – 10-28-14

Sometimes it pays to carefully pick your tunes. Sometimes it’s best to just pile on the cliche’s. This week, I chose the latter. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Old guy griping about stuff that used to be cool and isn’t anymore…

  1. Led Zeppelin issues alternate mix of Rock and Roll – Consequence of Sound

Jimmy Page has been remastering the Zep catalog again, and we’re about to get a new version of Led Zeppelin IV. I’m on the fence about the whole remastering the same stuff for the umpteenth time. One the one hand, I like having crisper, cleaner versions of my favorite tunes to listen to in my car on my iPod. On the other, I worry that this is a bit like George Lucas fiddling with the effects and adding deleted scenes back into the original Star Wars trilogy – something that is flat out yucky at its worst and pointless at best. Continue Reading →



What does it mean to be a virtuoso?…

I’ve spent decades writing about music. I backed away from that as a constant pursuit several years ago because the things people were willing to pay me to write about, in terms of bands/artists/records were mostly things that I had a hard time finding anything positive to say about. It can be fun to savage something truly awful, but at some point that just gets tiresome. As amusing as it might seem to be a professional curmudgeon, in actual practice it’s heartbreaking.

I got involved in playing music, in writing about music because I loved it. And if you love something it hurts your heart to see it go south. Continue Reading →

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow…

Tommy Ramone has left the building. There are no more original Ramones. Continue Reading →

Music to Rock It to…

Finding motivation to exercise over the holidays can be tough. One thing that can help – energetic music to get you in the mood to move. Here’s an hour-ish of music to get your feet movin’.

Merry Christmas, all.

Thoughts about Ray…

Ray Manzarek: Xs Exene Cervenka, John Doe remember a friend –

I unabashedly love the Doors. Always have. I never connected to most of the music that came out of the Summer of Love. But the first time I heard the Doors I heard something I connected with. I think, even at a young age, I knew that the grit and mystery in their music represented the world a lot more accurately than the music of their peers did.

My Doors fandom is, honestly, what led me to engage with punk and metal later on. The first of the UK punk bands I got into was The Stranglers, who were unabashedly and obviously picking up where the Doors had left off. There was a much, much more direct relationship though between X and the Doors, since Ray Manzarek was directly involved in the creative process that brought us the first four X albums, Los Angeles, Wild Gift, Under The Big Black Sun and More Fun In The New World, sitting in the producer’s chair for all four records.

Sitting here in 2013, in a world where punk rock is much more mainstream and accepted than it was in the late 1970s, it probably seems strange to a lot of people that Ray Manzarek, musical leader of a pre-eminent 60s group, would be involved with (pause for dramatic effect) a “punk” band. But what I don’t think people realize is the gap between the world of late 60s rock and punk rock are musical cultures separated by about three or four actual years.

To put this into perspective, these days major artists, like U2 or Green Day, make a new record about once every four years. Until the late 1980s it was much more common for an artist to make a new record every year, so even though the Doors had been dormant since 1973 (Krieger, Densmore and Manzarek kept working together as the Doors for a couple of years after Jim Morrison’s death – and even considered replacing him, with the most well-known candidate for the job being Iggy Pop), Ray Manzarek was still active in the LA music scene at the point when he connected with X. Musically, X certainly had much more in common with the Doors than they did with the biggest hit bands of the mid-70s (ELP, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac).

Personally, I’m so glad the silos that music has been cordoned off into in the past 25 years or so didn’t exist in the mid-70s. If you read the linked article it’s obvious that Ray’s experience was crucial to X getting it right with their first four LPs. He fit in with them well, and his presence in the room made their music better.