Category Archives: Music
George Glenn Jones (September 12, 1931 – April 26, 2013) George Jones, singer, songwriter, performer, drunk and raconteur was considered by many to be the greatest living country singer – that is, up until this morning.
Throughout his long career, Jones made headlines often as much for tales of his drinking, stormy relationships with women, and violent rages as for his prolific career of making records and touring. His wild lifestyle led to Jones missing many performances, earning him the nickname “No Show Jones.” Jones had more than 150 hits during his career, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists.
Jones recalled a story where his 2nd wife Shirley hid his car keys so he couldn’t drive to the nearest liquor store 8 miles away. She didn’t however hide the lawn mower key – Says George, “There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine, a key glistening in the ignition. I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.” In her 1979 autobiography, 3rd wife Tammy Wynette ( and recording partner) recalled waking at 1 AM to find her husband gone: “I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away. When I pulled into the parking lot there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. He’d driven that mower right down a main highway. He looked up and saw me and said, `Well, fellas, here she is now. My little wife, I told you she’d come after me.’
George and Tammy
Big Sandy (nee Rusty Williams) and his Fly-Rite Boys. Formed in the late 80’s as part of the Southern CA Rockabilly Revival their sound has grown to encompasses folk, bluegrass, Western swing, Cajun, and mariachi influences. Sandy and the boys have recorded about a dozen albums of great roots sound. Start with the LP Jumpin’ from 6 to 6 and go from there. Each one’s a bit different but all have one foot stuck firmly in Rockabilly, country and western swing.
Wladziu (or Vładziu) Valentino Liberace – (May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987) I remember thinking the first time I saw the Austin Powers movie, that the funniest line was when Mike Myers character wakes up after 40 years, and while reading a history book to catch up he says; “Wow, Liberace gay? I never saw that coming.” Nor did my mom or all the other women (and men) who loved ‘Lee’ Liberace in the 50s, 60’s and into the 80’s.
Liberace was not just the flashy boob he would become in later life, he was a classically trained and well respected classical pianist, forging a pretty good career for a number of years. It’s told that at one point in his young career he wore a white tuxedo on stage, something classical pianists would never do – ever. Along with changing his concerts to a touch of classical music w/ lighter fare, Chopin right next to Home on the Range, his career sky rocketed and he never stopped mixing things up. This guy was huge, HUGE. One of the first performers to actually turn a concert into a SHOW. (* Elton John was not the first gay piano player to dress up). As is often the case, he went to far and became a parody of himself. He would eventually be sued for palimony by his gay chauffeur, Scott Thorsen, and eventually died of AIDS in 1987. As an aside Steven Soderburg just released his Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas as Lee and Matt Damon as Scott Thorsen called Behind the Candelabra.
David Bowie turned 66 on January 8th and released his first LP in 10 years on March 13th – a cause for celebration. One of the things that make it so special is the cover – a simple rework of his 1977 LP, Heroes – or so it would seem. This type of artwork might suggest a greatest hits or a remastered version of the earlier album. Not the case at all. This is a totally new work and is fantastic. No need for a review, it’s the cover were talking about. This is so simple and so potentially misguided, it’s amazing that it works, and it does.
Artist Jonathon Barnbrook explains – “The Heroes cover obscured by the white square is about the spirit of great pop or rock music which is ‘of the moment’, forgetting or obliterating the past.”
“However, we all know that this is never quite the case, no matter how much we try, we cannot break free from the past. When you are creative, it manifests itself in every way – it seeps out in every new mark you make (particularly in the case of an artist like Bowie).”
“We worked on hundreds of designs using the concept of obscuring this cover but the strongest ones were the simplest – it had to be something that was in direct contrast to the image underneath but that wasn’t too contrived (we know all design is contrived, that is the essence of the word ‘design’).”
“It would have been clearer to many people if we had scribbled all over the cover but that didn’t have the detachment of intent necessary to express the melancholy of the songs on the album. Yes, having said all this, we know it is only an album cover with a white square on it but… often the most simple ideas can be the most radical.”
Now that anyone can basically steal any bit of music they want, how does the record industry make up for falling sales. Among other things, the answer is to make outlandish, super deluxe versions. You could probably find all this music online but you wouldn’t get the extras, like books, t-shirts, a working amp or turntable. Some of these are beautifully designed, some are just plain crazy and all are expensive.
And the biggest money waster is….
U2 – Achtung Baby. 6 CDs of outtakes and original LP, 4 DVDs, badges, vinyl version of LP, Bono’s sunglasses, a couple of singles, prints and posters. Remember this is for 1 LP that really isn’t that great. $500
And the most expensive