September 10: Randy Newman Released Good Old Boys in 1974

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“To me, someone who writes really good songs is Randy Newman. There’s a lot of people who write good songs. As songs. Now Randy might not go out on stage and knock you out, or knock your socks off. And he’s not going to get people thrilled in the front row. He ain’t gonna do that. But he’s gonna write a better song than most people who can do it.

You know, he’s got that down to an art. Now Randy knows music. He knows music But it doesn’t get any better than “Louisiana” or “Cross Charleston Bay” [“Sail Away”]. It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s like a classically heroic anthem theme. He did it. There’s quite a few people who did it. Not that many people in Randy’s class.”
– Bob Dylan (1991)

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August 16: Happy 80th birthday to Billy Joe Shaver

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‘Cause movin’s in my soul, i guess a gypsy boy got a hold
Of somebody in my family long ago
If some night while half asleep you hear the back door softly squeak
You’ll touch my empty pillow, then you’ll know
That restless wind, is calling me again
– Billy Joe Shaver (from “Restless Wind” (one of his best songs))

“He may be the best songwriter alive today”
– Willie Nelson

«He’s a real writer like Hemingway. He’s timeless»
– Kris Kristofferson

«Billy Joe is unique. One of a kind. They threw away the mold. The best.»
– Robert Duvall

I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver And i’m reading James Joyce
-Bob Dylan (I Feel a Change Comin’ On)

Restless Wind:

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July 22: Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True (1977)

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On My Aim Is True, Elvis’ raw energy comes through in a way that’s never completely recaptured on later records. While the songs range from mellow country twang to full-on, spitting assault, there’s a strange cohesiveness to the album simply by virtue of its rough, rushed feel. Although it’s a studio album, there’s a latent energy to Nick Lowe’s production that grants My Aim Is True all the immediacy of a live show.
~Matt LeMay (pitchfork.com)

Elvis Costello’s debut album brought home to me just how timid Little Criminals really is. Costello’s best songs are anything but timid, but they’re as intelligent as some of Newman’s finest, as endearingly elusive in their meanings, and funny in the same bitter, self-deprecating manner. They are also, like Newman’s signature songs, very weird.
~Greil Marcus (rollingstone.com)

.. it’s that his sensibility is borrowed from the pile-driving rock & roll and folksy introspection of pub rockers like Brinsley Schwarz, adding touches of cult singer/songwriters like Randy Newman and David Ackles. Then, there’s the infusion of pure nastiness and cynical humor, which is pure Costello. That blend of classicist sensibilities and cleverness make this collection of shiny roots rock a punk record — it informs his nervy performances and his prickly songs. Of all classic punk debuts, this remains perhaps the most idiosyncratic because it’s not cathartic in sound, only in spirit.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (alldylan.com)

Welcome to the working week
Oh, I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you
Welcome to the working week
You gotta do it till you’re through, so you better get to it
~Elvis Costello (Welcome to the working week)

Welcome to the working week

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July 15: Happy 73rd Birthday Linda Ronstadt

I have always believed that one learns more from failure than from success.
~Linda Ronstadt, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir

The essential elements of singing are voice, musicianship, and story. It is the rare artist that has all three in abundance.
~Linda Ronstadt

Ronstadt is Blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation … rarest of rarities – a chameleon who can blend into any background yet remain boldly distinctive … It’s an exceptional gift; one shared by few others.
~Christopher Loudon (Jazz Times, 2004)

Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014.

Part 1

Part 2

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July 13: Happy 77th Birthday Roger McGuinn

Roger McGuinn’s sparkling, chordal 12-string Rickenbacker riffs on the Byrds’ early hits were the sonic bridge between folk and rock – and an irreplaceable color in rock’s palette: Every indie band who’s more interested in beatific strumming than screaming solos owes him a debt (the striking break in “Bells of Rhymney” could be on a Smiths record). McGuinn could do a lot more than chime, however, as demonstrated by his still-astonishing psychedelic-raga-Coltrane licks on “Eight Miles High.
rollingstone.com

James Roger McGuinn (born James Joseph McGuinn III on July 13, 1942) known professionally as Roger McGuinn and previously as Jim McGuinn, is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds‘ records. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with The Byrds.

The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (aka Jim McGuinn) remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973.

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July 10: The Beatles released A Hard Day’s Night in 1964

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We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn’t when we were teenagers. The early stuff – the Hard Day’s Night period, I call it – was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship. And the Sgt Pepper-Abbey Road period was the mature part of the relationship.”
– John Lennon (1980)

A Hard Day’s Night is the third album by The Beatles; it was released on July 10, 1964. The album is a soundtrack to the A Hard Day’s Night film, starring the Beatles. The American version of the album was released two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records, with a different track listing. This is the first Beatles album to be recorded entirely on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes.

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In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day’s Night at number 5 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The soundtrack songs were recorded in late February, and the non-soundtrack songs were recorded in June. The title song itself was recorded on April 16.

…but A Hard Day’s Night is perhaps the band’s most straightforward album: You notice the catchiness first, and you can wonder how they got it later.

The best example of this is the title track– the clang of that opening chord to put everyone on notice, two burning minutes thick with percussion (including a hammering cowbell!) thanks to the new four-track machines George Martin was using, and then the song spiraling out with a guitar figure as abstractedly lovely as anything the group had recorded.”
– Tom Ewing, Pitchfork

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