August 31: Happy Birthday Van Morrison

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“Van Morrison is interested, obsessed with how much musical or verbal information he can compress into a small space, and, almost, conversely, how far he can spread one note, word, sound, or picture. To capture one moment, be it a caress or a twitch. He repeats certain phrases to extremes that from anybody else would seem ridiculous, because he’s waiting for a vision to unfold, trying as unobtrusively as possible to nudge it along…It’s the great search, fuelled by the belief that through these musical and mental processes illumination is attainable. Or may at least be glimpsed.”
~Lester Bangs 

Van Morrison, OBE (born George Ivan Morrison; 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are described as transcendental, while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance and the live album It’s Too Late to Stop Now, are critically acclaimed and appear at the top of many greatest album lists.

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Continue reading August 31: Happy Birthday Van Morrison

August 29: The late Charlie Parker was born in 1920

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You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
~Charlie Parker

I realized by using the high notes of the chords as a melodic line, and by the right harmonic progression, I could play what I heard inside me. That’s when I was born.
~Charlie Parker

All the things you are:

Continue reading August 29: The late Charlie Parker was born in 1920

August 27: Stevie Ray Vaughan passed away in 1990

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But between sets I’d sneak over to the black places to hear blues musicians. It got to the point where I was making my living at white clubs and having my fun at the other places.
~Stevie Ray Vaughan

He was the greatest blues guitarist of his generation.
~ Mick Jagger

Stevie was always playing. After he’d get offstage, he’d get on his bus. And he had all these Stratocasters hanging there. He’d grab one and start goin’.
~Gregg Allman

Texas Flood – Live At Montreux – 85:

Continue reading August 27: Stevie Ray Vaughan passed away in 1990

August 26: Elvis Presley released “Suspicious Minds” in 1969

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We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Recorded between four and seven in the morning, during the landmark Memphis session that helped return the King to his throne, “Suspicious Minds” — the final Number One single of his lifetime — is Presley’s masterpiece: He sings so intensely through the fade-out that his band returns for another minute of the tear-stained chorus.
~rollingstone.com

Together with “Mystery Train” this is my fav Elvis song (although not this version).

Suspicious Minds:

From Wikipedia:

B-side You’ll Think Of Me
Released August 26, 1969
Format 45 rpm record
Recorded January 23, 1969
Genre Soul, pop
Length 4:22 (3:28)
Label RCA
Writer(s) Mark James
Producer Chips Moman and Felton Jarvis

Continue reading August 26: Elvis Presley released “Suspicious Minds” in 1969

August 26: Warren Zevon released his last album The Wind in 2003

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“Timor mortis conturbat me.
It’s from a medieval Scottish poem by William Dunbar,
It means, ‘The fear of death just fucks me up’”
– Warren Zevon (told to The Guardian, and roaring with laughter)

Warren Zevon died in 2003 aged 56, he was noted for his black humour and dry wit; he never had the big commercial success he deserved. He was highly regarded by critics and music lovers (and musicians), you could say he enjoyed a cult following. He should have been big.

“This was a nice deal: life.”
– Warren Zevon

Two weeks before he died of lung cancer, he released one of his best albums, The Wind.

“It’s hard to say if he’s being sincere or darkly witty with his cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” though he manages to make it work both ways.”
– Mark Deming (allmusic)

When diagnosed with lung cancer, he said: “I feel the opposite of regret. I was the hardest-living rocker on my block for a while. I was a malfunctioning rummy for a while and running away for a while. Then for 18 years I was a sober dad of some amazing kids. Hey, I feel like I’ve lived a couple of lives.”

The diagnose did in his own words, lead him into one of the most intense and creative periods of his life. Many of his more famous friend came to lend a hand on the record, including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Billy Bob Thornthon, Jim Keltner, David Lindley, T-Bone Burnett, Joe Walsh and Dwight Yoakam. None of them taking the show from Warren Zevon, he is so clearly in control of his last creation. It is not a big bombastic farewell, it is a guy who enjoys making a record with a bunch of his friends. It feels better, more right!

Here is a touching documentary about the making of The Wind and Warren Zevon’s last months alive:

Continue reading August 26: Warren Zevon released his last album The Wind in 2003

August 25: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy was born in 1967 – Happy Birthday

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August 25: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy was born in 1967  Happy Birthday

Jeffrey Scot “Jeff” Tweedy (born August 25, 1967) is an American songwriter, musician and leader of the band Wilco. Tweedy joined rockabilly band The Plebes with high school friend Jay Farrar in the early 1980s, but Tweedy’s musical interests caused one of Farrar’s brothers to quit. The Plebes changed their name to The Primitives in 1984, and subsequently to Uncle Tupelo. Uncle Tupelo garnered enough support to earn a record deal and to tour nationally. After releasing four albums, the band broke up in 1994 because of conflicts between Tweedy and Farrar.

Continue reading August 25: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy was born in 1967 – Happy Birthday

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