Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #62 T. Rex

Starting out as Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967 London, Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took played an odd psychedelic folk. It wasn’t very successful. In 1970, Took left the band and the name was shortened to T. Rex. Bolan recruited percussionist Mickey Finn, bassist Steve Currie, and drummer Bill Legend and developed a new sound called Glam Rock. Many date the very beginning of glam rock to Marc Bolan’s March 1971 appearance on Top of the Pops playing Hot Love. The new sound took off and created T. Rextasy across Britain. They considered it the new Beatlemania. In September of ’71, Electric Warrior, one of the great 70s albums, was released and cemented the band’s place in the rock pantheon. Tragically, Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash in 1977 two weeks from his 30th birthday.

His first big hit with the new sound.

The T. Rex performance of this song on Top of the Pops in 1971 is considered by many to be the birth of Glam Rock.

One of my favorites. Girl, I'm just a Jeepster for your love.

Here's his one big hit in the US that everyone knows. Hey look, there's Elton John at the piano.

Is it strange to dance so soon?

Oh yes you are.

Life's a gas, I hope it's gonna last.

You won't fool the children of the revolution.

Metal Guru, is it you? yeah yeah yeah!

Telegram Sam! He's my main man!

and we conclude our look at T. Rex with 20th Century Boy. Great guitar riff here! 

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #63 Sly & the Family Stone

What would funk have been without Sly Stone? Sly and the Family Stone came together in San Francisco in 1966 and meshed together rock, soul, and psychedelia to create a very original new funk music. Their songs extolling the virtues of peace and love, celebrating everyday people, taking us higher where everybody is a star, telling us to stand and sing a simple song, coming from this integrated band of male and female, white and black musicians making beautiful harmony together was an inspiration for their era. The members of the actual Stone family were Sly Stone on organ, Freddie Stone on guitar, and Rose Stone on keys. The other members were drummer Gregg Errico, sax-man Jerry Martini, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, and the phenomenal bass player Larry Graham. They had a great string of hits through the late sixties and got even funkier as they traveled through the seventies. Unfortunately, Sly’s drug problems caught up with him and led to the dissolution of the band by 1975. Their influence remains and can still be heard in popular music today.

Whoever put this video together did a great job.

Great guitar and horn work on this one.

Are y'all having hot fun in the summertime yet?

Don't you know that you are free
Well at least in your mind if you want to be

Sly & the Family Stone's legendary performance of I Want to Take You Higher at Woodstock. If I had access to a time machine and I was told that I could visit any time in all of world history, you better believe the first thing I would do would be going to Woodstock.

People talk about Sly and Larry Graham a lot, but this video really shows how awesome Cynthia Robinson and Rose Stone were. Those two make this song. Cynthia can blow the hell out of that trumpet.

Here's the big hit that everyone knows. They even made a little video for it back in those pre-MTV days. I can't figure out why Sly keeps punching that big dude in the stomach though.

All Together Now!

Sly performs his best song Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) on Soul Train! Check out Larry slapping that bass. This band was tight and this song is some of the best funk ever recorded. Oh yeah!

Very pretty song and sentiment.

I love you for who you are, not the one you feel you need to be.

and we conclude our look at Sly & the Family Stone with the pure funk pleasure of Family Affair.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #64 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys

In the days before rock and roll was born, the biggest musical genre in America was swing. The big bands had people dancing all over the country in the 30s and 40s. In the early 30s, Bob Wills and Milton Brown created something a little different with a band called the Light Crust Doughboys. The fusion of jazz with country music became what was called Western Swing. In 1933, Bob left the Doughboys and formed the Texas Playboys in Waco. They became the dominant practitioners of the genre and had multiple hits over the next three decades. Bob Wills played the fiddle and led the band calling out the players by name and interjecting those wonderful falsetto proclamations. Ah-ha! Tommy Duncan was a fantastic singer. Leon McAuliffe was one of the finest steel guitar players of all time. Al Stricklin played hot piano. Bob made sure to keep his band filled with the best players of the day. There is very little that makes me happier than listening to the great sounds that these fellas produced. Like Waylon Jennings said, “Bob Wills is still the king.” Ah-ha Yess!!!

The Steel Guitar Rag from way back in 1936. Leon McAuliffe played the hell out of that steel guitar.

Chicken in the bread pan, peckin' out dough.
Granny, will your dog bite? No, child, no.

Ida Red, Ida Red
I'm a plumb fool 'bout Ida Red.

A lot of folks have recorded this song over the years, but nobody did it better.

Fantastic live performance of one of Bob's biggest hits.

Moon in all your splendor, know only my heart.
Call back my Rose, Rose of San Antone.
Lips so sweet and tender like petals falling apart.
Speak once again of my love, my own.

Bob, Tommy, and the boys were featured in a great many Westerns back in the 30s and 40s. Love this song.

Take Me Back to Tulsa. Is it just me or does that singer look like Corey from Pawn Stars?

This is a good one.

Here's those boys again. Ah-Haa!

This song strikes me as being quite relevant to the youth of today.

My favorite Bob Wills song.

Stay all night, Stay a little longer.
Dance all night, Dance a little longer
Pull off your coat, throw it in the corner
I don't see why you don't stay a little longer.

and we conclude our look at Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys with the beautiful love song Faded Love. 

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #65 Buddy Holly & the Crickets

Buddy Holly, in less than two years time, wrote and recorded some of rock’s most influential songs, set the standard for what a rock and roll band would become, and left a legacy that would influence important rock artists from Dylan to the Beatles to the Stones to Springsteen. He did all this before his tragic death in a plane crash when he was only 22 years old. Buddy and the Crickets; guitarist Niki Sullivan, bassist Joe B. Mauldin, and drummer Jerry Allison released their first single in 1957 and quickly took the world by storm. One wonders what directions rock would have gone had he lived to continue to influence it. His loss is arguably the greatest in all of musical history.

Buddy's first big hit.

Words of Love. The Beatles did a great cover of this one.

The classic. Peggy Sue. Easily one of the top five songs of the whole 1950s.

Here he is playing Oh Boy on the Ed Sullivan show. Get a load of that growly way he's singing. Awesome.

Maybe Baby, I'll have you
Maybe Baby, you'll be true
Maybe Baby, I'll have you for me.

Rave on, it's a crazy feeling
I know you've got me reelin'
When you say I love you-oo
Rave on

A classic example of the Bo Diddley beat. This song was famously covered by The Stones and the Dead among many others. I prefer Buddy's original. I'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be. bop bop bop bop.

This is absolutely one of the prettiest things that has ever been recorded. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside

Well All Right was covered by Blind Faith, but again, I prefer the original.

and we conclude our look at Buddy Holly & the Crickets with this lovely cover of Mickey & Sylvia's classic "Love is Strange".

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #66 ZZ Top

Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard are that little ol’ band from Texas called ZZ Top. Coming together in Houston back in 1969, these three guys have been playing together for over 40 years and are still touring and recording today. They are instantly recognizable whether you are talking about their look or their sound. The bearded power trio’s devotion to that Southern blues-boogie sound has led them to eight Top 40 hits and a 2004 induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I know only two of the three wear beards, but the third one is named Beard so I’ll call them a bearded trio. They have sold more than 50 million albums across the globe over the years and they ain’t done yet.

Their first big hit. Love this song.

Fantastic live performance. Just lookin for some tush.

What really knocked me out were her cheap sunglasses.

Boogie Woogie all night long

Now we get to the famous videos from Eliminator. I was 12 years old when this album came out and I loved these videos, I loved that car, and I was quite fond of those girls as well. :-)

This was my favorite song on the album. I don't think they made a video for it though.

I'm so glad I grew up in the 80s. Our music was so much better than the crap today's kids listen to.

This may have been their biggest hit. An iconic video of the 80s. Makes me all nostalgic.

I must admit that I didn't care for the heavily synthesized sound that ZZ Top cultivated in the mid to late 80s. So, I was thrilled when 1990 brought this song that hearkened back to their early 70s sound. We'll conclude our look at the little ol band from Texas with it.

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #67 Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

There have been many great guitarists through the history of rock. The pre-eminence of Jimi Hendrix as the greatest of them all has been the prevalent position since his explosive rise. In the ensuing 40+ years, many others have risen to greatness, but only one man has reached the same stratosphere of excellence. The tragedy is that, like Hendrix, his light was extinguished far too early. That man was Stevie Ray Vaughan, the second greatest guitarist who ever lived. With his band Double Trouble; bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton, he recorded four albums from 1983 to 1989 that redefined what blues was for an entirely new generation. The magic that flowed through his fingers and his obvious passion for those sounds was incredibly inspirational. Losing him when we did, just when his star was rising, remains one of the most devastating tragedies to befall the world of music.

Stevie Ray's first video was so badass.

Fantastic live performance of one of my favorite Stevie Ray tracks. She's my sweet little thing, she's my pride and joy. She's my sweet little baby, I'm her little lover boy.

Well, it's flooding down in Texas. One of the finest blues songs of the last fifty years. I am in awe of Stevie Ray's skills.

Loved this video for Couldn't Stand the Weather. I can't understand why these songs weren't really big 80s hits.

Cold Shot. This is such a great video. Poor Stevie Ray just gets the hell knocked out of him in this one.

get away from the blind side of life
honey I want you to be by my side
me and my back door moves ain't no more
no more

Here is Stevie Ray's popular cover of Stevie Wonder's Superstition.

One of his best guitar tracks. I can watch his fingers fly across that fretboard all day. Stevie Ray was the man.

Walkin' the tightrope. Another virtuosic performance.

Stevie Ray was the only guy who could cover Hendrix and do him justice.

and we conclude our look at Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble with a beautiful song called Life by the Drop.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #68 The Grateful Dead

From a humble beginning playing a pizza parlor in Menlo Park they went on to become one of the most successful touring bands of all time. These guys ultimately set the model for what a jam band is. The band was made up of drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, bassist Phil Lesh, and singer/guitarists Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia. There were several keyboardists over the years including Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Keith Godchaux, and Brent Mydland. The songs were classic, but they were never played quite the same due to the improvisational nature of the band. Going to a Dead show you were never quite sure what you might hear and neither were the members of the band. It was a fresh experience every time and it inspired some of the most devoted fans that any band has ever had.

Great track from their first album.

Here they are playing St. Stephen on Hugh Hefner's old Playboy After Dark show.

Nice live version of Uncle John's Band.

Don't murder me.

Always loved this one. Drivin' that train.

Time to let Phil sing!

Look out of any window.

One of the all-time great story songs. Lyrical perfection.

Got two reasons why I cry
away each lonely night
First one's named sweet Anne Marie
and she's my heart's delight
Second one is prison, baby
the sheriff's on my trail
If he catches up with me
I'll spend my life in jail

I set out running but I take my time
A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine
If I get home before daylight
I just might get some sleep tonight

She's got everything delightful
She's got everything I need
Takes the wheel when I'm seeing double
Pays my ticket when I speed

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Great live performance of Playing in the Band.

and we conclude our look at the Grateful Dead with their big 80s hit Touch of Grey. 

The 100 Greatest Bands of all time - #69 Roky Erickson & the Aliens

Founder of the seminal Austin-based psychedelic band The 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson had a nice hit and gained some fame with “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, but in 1969 he was arrested for the possession of a single joint and was threatened with a ten year prison sentence. Erickson plead insanity, and he actually was a diagnosed schizophrenic. He spent the next three years in Texas state hospitals enduring electro-shock therapy. In 1974, two years after being released, he formed Bleib Alien, the band that would become Roky Erickson & the Aliens. He then began to write and record some of the most haunting and beautiful music I’ve ever heard. Tales of zombies and ghosts, alligators and two headed dogs; he had tapped into some strange place and it was brilliant.

The Red Temple Prayer. I'd been workin' in the Kremlin with a two headed dog.

I walked with a zombie last night.

Someone made a great video for Roky's Night of the Vampire.

It's a cold night for alligators.
A perfect monster has no end.

Roky performs the classic Mine Mine Mind with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons guesting on guitar.

If you have ghosts, then you have everything.

The beautiful and deep love song You Don't Love Me Yet.

This just rocks! Don't Slander Me, Don't Slander Me, My My!

This song is gorgeous and a real heartbreaker.

I call your name in the midnight
but you don't hear me at all
I love you so dearly and nearly
but you don't love me at all

There's nothing in this big round world that worse hurts
than paying out and receiving nothing in return.

Are you going to Bermuda?

Another one of Roky's best, here is Starry Eyes.

and we conclude our look at Roky and the Aliens with my favorite of his tracks. As a devout believer in reincarnation, this song is quite religious in nature to me. I Have Always Been Here Before, indeed.