August 31: Happy 72nd 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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1971: 30 Songs Released in 1971 You Must Hear





My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

Heaps of wonderful music was released in 1971, here are my 30 chosen songs.

    • Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones

      A song by The Rolling Stones from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Rolling Stone ranked it at No. 334 in its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list in 2004.

      Childhood living is easy to do
      The things you wanted I bought them for you
      Graceless lady you know who I am
      You know I can’t let you slide through my hands




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August 29: Jazz Legend 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:

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August 28: Marvin Gaye released “Let’s Get It On” in 1973

Post-Al Green What’s Going On, which means it’s about fucking rather than the human condition, thank the wholly holey. Gaye is still basically a singles artist, and the title track, as much a masterpiece as “Inner City Blues,” dominates in a way “I’m Still in Love with You,” say, doesn’t. Then again, it’s an even better song, and this album prolongs its seductive groove to an appropriate thirty minutes plus
~Robert Christgau (Consumer Guide Reviews)

On this album, Gaye meditated on the gap between sex and love and how to reconcile them – an adult version of the Motown tunes he had built his career on. It’s some of the most gorgeous music he ever made, resplendent with sweet strings and his clear-throated crooning.
~rollingstone.com

Let’s Get It On:

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1970: 20 Songs Released in 1970 You Must Hear





My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A lot of GREAT music was released in 1970, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

    “Into the Mystic” is one of Morrison’s warmest ballads, an Otis Redding-style reverie with acoustic guitar and horns. The lyrics are truly mysterious: “People say, ‘What does this mean?’ ” said Morrison. “A lot of times I have no idea what I mean. That’s what I like about rock & roll — the concept. Like Little Richard — what does he mean? You can’t take him apart; that’s rock & roll to me.”
    rollingstone.com

    Written by Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison’s 1974 live album, It’s Too Late To Stop Now. It was recorded during the Moondance sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in September to November 1969. Elliott Scheiner was the engineer.

    We were born before the wind
    Also younger than the sun
    Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
    Hark, now hear the sailors cry
    Smell the sea and feel the sky
    Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic




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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!

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