The Allman Brothers Band – The Final Show (2014)

FrontCover1The only note of sentiment during the Allman Brothers Band’s October 28th concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre – their last at that venue and anywhere else, at least for the foreseeable future – came after more than four hours of music: three sets and an inevitable encore, “Whipping Post.” The seven members of the group – the surviving trio of founders, singer-organist Gregg Allman and drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe; the long-serving guitar team of Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks; and often overlooked veterans Oteil Burbridge on bass and percussionist Marc Quinones – lined up onstage and took a bow: a first at any Allmans-Beacon show I’d ever attended.
Then Gregg, pressed forward by the others, gave a short speech, another first, recalling the day 45 years ago that he first sang with the original Allmans lineup – led by his late brother, guitarist Duane Allman, and including guitarist Dickey Betts and the late bassist Berry Oakley – at a jam session in Jacksonville, Florida. Gregg cited the precise date, March, 26th, 1969, then said, in a low, worn voice, “Never did I have any idea it could come to this.” He gazed gratefully at the crowd, still on its feet, clapping and cheering, at nearly 1:30 a.m. “Now,” Gregg added, “We’re gonna do the first song we ever played.”
The Allmans got back in position and tore into “Trouble No More,” the Muddy Waters rumble from Side One of the group’s 1969 debut album, The Allman Brothers Band. It sounded nothing like goodbye: tight and gnarly, Derek and Haynes riding the triple-drum-kit surf with avenging poise. But it was.

ABB01.jpg

Until that late acknowledgement of the occasion, the show was most remarkable for what didnt’t happen. There were no special guests – a signature feature of the Alllmans’ Beacon shows over the last decade – and the group did not throw in any of the extended-family covers (the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Dr.John, Derek and the Dominos) that came, often in medleys without warning, during the Allmans’ annual spring runs at the Beacon. The closest they got to the latter: an elegaic swerve, at the end of the first set, through King Curtis’s “Soul Serenade” in “You Don’t Love Me,” quoting a segue I’ve got on an August, 1971 live-radio bootleg; and the chase-scene extension of “Black Hearted Woman” in the second set, when the rhythm section switched accents and Derek and Haynes hit the chattering riff of the Grateful Dead’s “The Other One.”

ABB03

Otherwise, the Allmans – who announced their retirement from touring after Derek and Haynes issued a statement earlier this year that they were leaving to concentrate on their own careers – made sure they performed as much of their classic catalog, from the five albums made between that ’69 bow and 1973’s Brothers and Sisters, as could be fit in one night. The end of the road actually began with a poetic rewind of Duane-time flashbacks: An introductory flourish of the guitarist’s last composition, the acoustic “Little Martha” played by Derek and Haynes in electric harmony, quickly broke into “Mountain Jam,” the guitarists citing Donovan’s source melody, “There Is a Mountain,” in languid, treble sighs. It was a literal replication of the closing sequence, on Sides Three and Four, of 1972’s Eat a Peach, the album the Allmans were making when Duane died the previous October. That coupling erupted into another: the one-two punch of the Spencer Davis Group’s “Don’t Want You No More” and Gregg’s eerily prophetic blues “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” at the beginning of The Allman Brothers Band.

ABB04

The Allmans’ recurring cycles of ascension, tragedy, crash, recovery and determined performing triumph, in every era, were directly addressed in a first-set reading of “The High Cost of Low Living,” from 2003’s Hittin’ the Note, the only Allmans studio album to feature Derek and Haynes. The third set was a loosely narrative charge through pilgrimage and celebration – “Revival,” “Southbound” and more “Mountain Jam.” The last gently dissolved into the Carter Family hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” sung by Gregg as ragged pleading with Haynes riding shotgun, in decisively sunny harmony. But the finish extended the circle, taking everyone back to psychedelic church with another flash of “Mountain Jam” at “The Other One” velocity.

ABB05.jpg

The talk in the balcony, before the show and during the breaks, was of Betts, who was fired in 2000: Was there a chance he would come out and play, completing one more circle on the last possible night? He didn’t but was present in the songs – “Blue Sky,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” – and in Derek and Haynes’ ties, through their harmonies and soloing, to the standards of fraternal lock and empathic dialogue set by Duane, with Betts, right out of the gate, in 1969. As he did on other nights in this October run, Derek played Duane’s own gold-top Les Paul – in the first set during Elmore James’ “One Way Out” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”
But there was a lot of blues-power Dickey cutting through the Duane in both Derek’s raga-panic breaks and Haynes’ modal skids during “Elizabeth Reed” and in that “Whipping Post.” The younger men both played with Betts at different times in the Allmans, then together in the band for nearly fifteen years, five times longer than Betts and Duane did. There was never a suggestion – when Derek joined in 1999 and Haynes came back after Betts’ dismissal – that either player had replaced the elders. The lightning, frenzy and swan dives in “Hot ‘Lanta,” “Statesboro Blues” And “Dreams,” tonight as at every other Beacon show I saw, were acts of acknowledgement and summation, charged with pursuit of the unfinished.

ABB06.jpg

That work, it seems, will stay undone. During the intermissions, a curious message appeared on the large video screen behind the band: “The road indeed goes on forever. So stay calm, eat a peach and carry on . . .” The individual members of the Allmans will certainly continue to play in some form and combinations. There may even be reunions. As for the guitarists, Derek’s R&B juggernaut with his wife Susan Tedeschi, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, recently played a transcendant Beacon run in September, and Haynes’ group Gov’t Mule will make their traditional holiday stop at that stage on December 30th and 31st. I went to the former; I don’t want to miss the latter.
But it will take more than a peach to get me through next March. It was never spring, I always said, until I saw the Allmans peakin’ at the Beacon. Tonight was a generous, continually thrilling farewell. It will make the leaving that much harder to bear. (Rolling Stone on Facebook, 2014)

ABB07

The Allman Brothers Band could have wrapped up their farewell concert with any number of songs. They could have gone with an epic, jammed-out “Whipping Post,” which they did for the second last song at New York’s Beacon Theater on October 28th, 2014. They could have gone with a classic like “Mountain Jam,” “Midnight Rider” or “Melissa,” but they did those earlier in the night during the four hour blowout. Instead, they went with Muddy Waters’ “Trouble No More,” from their first side of their 1969 debut LP. An emotional Gregg Allman told the crowd that night it was the first song played at the group’s first rehearsal. “This was at about 3:30 in the afternoon, on March 26th, 1969,” he said. “Never did I have any idea it would come to this.”

It came to this after 45 amazing years that saw more tragedy and heartbreak than just about any group in rock history. They endured the deaths of guitarist Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley in separate motorcycle accidents just a few years after the group began, two breakups, a bitter split with founding guitarist Dickey Betts after years of acrimony and numerous health problems for Gregg Allman that threatened their existence time and time again. Throughout it all they kept gigging, helped in no small part by the addition of guitarists Warren Haynes in 1989 and guitarist Derek Trucks (nephew of drummer Butch Trucks) a decade later.

ABB08

When the time came to call it quits in 2014 there was no other place to end it than the Beacon Theater. They first played a residency at the Upper West Side theater in 1989 and three years later they turned it into an annual tradition. Fans from around the country descended on New York City every March for a chance to catch the shows, which featured a steady stream of surprise guest stars, amazing covers and unforgettable nights.

Demand for tickets was never higher than the October 28th, 2014 show. Days after it ended, Derek Trucks told Rolling Stone they ended at the right time. “If we’d gone on much longer, we wouldn’t have been able to summon that [last] show,” he said. “Almost any other time there’s a huge send-off, it’s a star-studded thing. This was just the band showing up and playing, the way they always did. There’s something honest and proud, dignified and beautiful about the way it ended.”

ABB09

From nearly the minute it ended rumors began spreading that the band was going to reform. “I would never rule anything out,” Haynes told Rolling Stone in 2015. “There’s no talk of that, but you know, I think the door’s always open.” That door began closing in January when Butch Trucks committed suicide, and it permanently closed on May 27th when Gregg Allman died after a long battle with liver cancer. Thankfully, the group had the opportunity to meticulously plan their final show and go out on an incredibly high note. (by Rolling Stone, May 30, 2017)

And the last song of this fanstastic show, was the first song, The Allman Brothers Band ever played  back in summer of 69 in Jacksonville, Forida.

BackCover1.jpg

Personnel:
Gregg Allman (keyboards, vocals, guitar)
Oteil Burbridge (bass, vocals)
Warren Haynes (guitar, slide guitar)
Jaimoe (drums, percussion)
Marc Quinones (percussion, vocals)
Butch Trucks (drums, percussion)
Derek Trucks (guitar, slide guitar)

Allman Brothers Band In Concert - New York, NY

Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Little Martha (D.Allman) 0.51
02. Mountain Jam (Leitch/D.Allman/Betts/Oakley/Johansen/Trucks/G.Allman) 4.01
03. Don’t Want You No More (Davis/Hardin) 2.35
04. It’s Not My Cross To Bear (G.Allman) 5.04
05. One Way Out (Sehorn/James) 6.25
06. Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl (Williamson) 10.54
07. Midnight Rider (G.Allman) 3.35
08. The High Cost Of Low Living (Allman/Haynes/Anders/Burgin) 8.39
09. Hot ‘Lanta (D.Allman/Betts/Oakley/Johansen/Trucks/G.Allman) 5.38
10. Blue Sky (Betts) 9.55
11. You Don’t Love Me (Cobbs) 13.30

CD 2:
01. Statesboro Blues (McTell) 4.52
02. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (G.Allman) 7.43
03. Black Hearted Woman (G.Allman) 13.08
04. The Sky Is Crying (James) 9.10
05. Dreams (G.Allman) 11.41
06. Don’t Keep Me Wondering (G.Allman) 4.16
07. Stage banter 1 0.18
08. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 15.28
09. JaMaBuBu (Trucks/Jaimoe) 10.27
10. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 2.34

CD 3:
01. Melissa (G.Allman) 5.39
02. Revival (Betts) 4.18
03. Stage banter 2 0.13
04. Southbound (Betts) 5.20
05. Mountain Jam (Leitch/D.Allman/Betts/Oakley/Johansen/Trucks/G.Allman) 8.06
06. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Gabriel/Habershon) 10.51
07. Mountain Jam (reprise) (Leitch/D.Allman/Betts/Oakley/Johansen/Trucks/G.Allman) 3.07
08. Crowd noise 1 4.10
09. Whipping Post (G.Allman) 14.30
10. Crowd noise 2 1.48
11. Farewell
12. Trouble No More (Morganfield/Estes) 4.29

ABB10.jpg

*
**

ABB02.jpg

 

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (1974)

FrontCover1.jpgSecond Helping is the second studio album by Lynyrd Skynyrd, released April 15, 1974. It featured the band’s biggest hit single, “Sweet Home Alabama,” an answer song to Neil Young’s “Alabama” and “Southern Man”.[2] The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August 1974. This L.P. was the last to feature Bob Burns on drums.

The album reached #12 on the Billboard album charts. It was certified Gold on September 20, 1974, Platinum and 2x Platinum on July 21, 1987 by the RIAA.

After the success of debut (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd), Lynyrd Skynyrd’s fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on the Who’s Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Second Helping features King, Collins and Rossington all collaborating with Ronnie Van Zant on the songwriting, and cemented the band’s breakthrough.

Reviewing for Rolling Stone in 1974, Gordon Fletcher said Lynyrd Skynyrd performs a consistent style of Southern music-influenced blues rock similar to the Allman Brothers Band but lacks that group’s “sophistication and professionalism. If a song doesn’t feel right to the Brothers, they work on it until it does; if it isn’t right to Lynyrd Skynyrd, they are more likely to crank up their amps and blast their way through the bottleneck.” Fletcher concluded that Second Helping is distinct from (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) “only by a certain mellowing out that indicates they may eventually acquire a level of savoirfaire to realize their many capabilities”. Robert Christgau was also lukewarm in Creem, saying Lynyrd Skynyrd is “still a substantial, tasteful band, but I have a hunch they blew their best stuff on the first platter.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd01

Christgau warmed to the album later, however, reappraising it in Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981); he observed “infectious putdowns of rock businessmen, rock journalists, and heroin”, and “great formula” in general: “When it rocks, three guitarists and a keyboard player pile elementary riffs and feedback noises into dense combinations broken by preplanned solos, while at quieter moments the spare vocabulary of the best Southern folk music is evoked or just plain duplicated. Houston Press named it in #2 on its list “Five Essential Boogie-Rock Albums.” (by wikipedia)

Singles

Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the book on Southern rock with their first album, so it only made sense that they followed it for their second album, aptly titled Second Helping. Sticking with producer Al Kooper (who, after all, discovered them), the group turned out a record that replicated all the strengths of the original, but was a little tighter and a little more professional. It also revealed that the band, under the direction of songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, was developing a truly original voice. Of course, the band had already developed their own musical voice, but it was enhanced considerably by Van Zant’s writing, which was at turns plainly poetic, surprisingly clever, and always revealing. Though Second Helping isn’t as hard a rock record as Pronounced, it’s the songs that make the record. “Sweet Home Alabama” became ubiquitous, yet it’s rivaled by such terrific songs as the snide, punkish “Workin’ for MCA,” the Southern groove of “Don’t Ask Me No Questions,” the affecting “The Ballad of Curtis Loew,” and “The Needle and the Spoon,” a drug tale as affecting as their rival Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done,” but much harder rocking. This is the part of Skynyrd that most people forget — they were a great band, but they were indelible because that was married to great writing. And nowhere was that more evident than on Second Helping. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

BackCover1

Personnel:
Bob Burns (drums)
Allen Collins (guitar)
Ed King (guitar, background vocals, bass on 02. + 03.)
Billy Powell (keyboards)
Gary Rossington (guitar)
Leon Wilkeson (bass, background vocals)
Ronnie Van Zant (vocals)
+
Al Kooper (piano,  background vocals on 03. + 05.)
Mike Porter (drums on 02.)
+
horns on 03. + 08.:
Bobby Keys – Trevor Lawrence – Steve Madaio
+
background vocals on 01.:
Merry Clayton – Clydie King – Sherlie Matthews

Lynyrd Skynyrd02

Tracklist:
01. Sweet Home Alabama (King/Rossington /Van Zant) 4.44
02. I Need You (King/Rossington /Van Zant) 6.55
03. Don’t Ask Me No Questions (Rossington/Van Zant) 3.27
04. Workin’ for MCA (King/Van Zant) 4.50
05. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew (Collins/Van Zant) 4.51
06. Swamp Music (King/Van Zant) 3.31
07. The Needle And The Spoon (Collins/Van Zant) 3.53
08. Call Me The Breeze (Cale) 5.07

LabelB1.jpg

*
**

Ronnie Van Zant
Ronnie Van Zant (January 15, 1948 – October 20, 1977)

Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
And I think its a sin, yes

Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the governor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you
Here I come Alabama

Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
And they’ve been known to pick a song or two
Lord they get me off so much
They pick me up when I’m feeling blue
Now how about you?

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you

Sweet home Alabama
Oh sweet home baby
Where the skies are so blue
And the governor’s true
Sweet Home Alabama
Lordy
Lord, I’m coming home to you
Yea, yea Montgomery’s got the answer

Toy Caldwell – Can´t You See (live 1992) (1998)

FrontCover1.jpgToy Talmadge Caldwell Jr. (November 13, 1947 – February 25, 1993) was the lead guitarist, main songwriter and a founding member of the 1970s Southern Rock group The Marshall Tucker Band. He was a member of the band from its formation up until 1983. In addition to his guitarist role, he occasionally performed lead vocals for Marshall Tucker Band, including on one of the band’s best-known hits, “Can’t You See.”

Caldwell was born November 13, 1947, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Mr. and Mrs. Toy Talmadge Caldwell Sr. He began playing guitar before his teen years with his younger brother Tommy Caldwell. He developed a unique style of playing, playing the electric guitar using his thumb rather than a pick. Toy played basketball and football in high school with friends George McCorkle, Jerry Eubanks, and Doug Gray. While very involved in sports, the boys eventually became interested in music including jazz and blues. By the age of sixteen, Caldwell was passionate about music, sports, and his other obsession, motorcycles. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing.

ToyCaldwell03Caldwell decided to serve his country and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. In 1966, he reported for recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After being wounded in Vietnam in September 1968, he was evacuated for two weeks, then returned for duty. Caldwell was discharged in 1969 and once again began playing music with his high school buddies. The Spartanburg chapter of the Marine Corps League is named the Hutchings-Caldwells Detachment in honor of Toy, his brother Tommy and another Marine.

He later formed the Toy Caldwell Band and released an eponymous CD in 1992; the record was later renamed Son of the South by Southern country rocker and Caldwell’s personal friend, Charlie Daniels. The album was digitally re-released in 2009 through Hopesong Digital / GMV Nashville.

Caldwell died on February 25, 1993, at his home in Moore, South Carolina. The cause of death was reported as cardio-respiratory failure due to cocaine ingestion by Spartanburg County Coroner Jim Burnett.

Caldwell married his wife Abbie on September 12, 1969. The song “AB’s Song” from The Marshall Tucker Band’s debut album was written for her. He was also the father of two girls Cassady and Geneal Caldwell.

He was the older brother of co-founder and bass guitarist Tommy Caldwell, who was killed at age 30 in an automobile accident on April 28, 1980, and to Tim Caldwell, who on March 28, 1980, one month prior to Tommy’s death, was killed at age 25 in a collision with a Spartanburg County garbage truck on S.C. Highway 215. (by wikipedia)

ToyCaldwell04.jpg
Toy Caldwell was best known as the lead guitarist and main songwriter in the Marshall Tucker Band. A unique personality as well as a formidable musician, he was a peer of both Dickey Betts and Charlie Daniels, and his best work crossed effortlessly between country, blues, and rock & roll. A few years after the breakup of the Marshall Tucker Band in the late ’80s, he re-emerged as leader of the Toy Caldwell Band, which played small-scale shows of the kind that the Marshall Tucker Band couldn’t do. He also recorded one solo album before his death in early 1993. Although most of his fame inevitably rests with the Marshall Tucker Band, Caldwell left behind a small but glorious body of solo material. (by Bruce Eder)

ToyCaldwell05.jpg

First let me say I respect Abbie Caldwell and her belief that Toy would not have wanted this released. That said, me being a true blue TC fan I want anything and everything I can get a hold of from Toy. This album and his 1984 unreleased album with the song Cry Cry Cry are “must haves” to the real fan. This album may be some of the last we get from Toy and that’s a shame.
Yea the picture on the cover and sound quality aren’t the best but it’s Toy and his guitar, I could care less about the cover pic. I want to hear him play and man does he play!
It was Toy’s songwriting and the bands performances that first took a hold of me and many others back in early 70s and still today we thirst for anything from Toy. Adding this to your MTB, Toy Caldwell collection can’t be a bad thing. Buy it, sit back, crank it up and listen to some good ol boy chicken pickin. You wont be disappointed.
Toy was a US Marine / V Nam veteran and a gifted songwriter, awesome guitarist who is deeply missed.
Ride in Peace Tommy, Toy & George….. we miss you brothers. (by ‘J’ Willys)

Booklet03+04

The Marshall Tucker Band was one of the more successful acts under the Allman Brother’s umbrella on Capricorn Records. I confess until the MTB band album “Where We All Belong” I didn’t know just how much the main reason I liked MTB was Toy Caldwell. That album was a eye-opener to the prowess of Toy’s “red-hot pickin'”! And boy could the man tear up the fretboard.

MTB, like the Allman Brothers had some hard-knocks and here we find Toy after MTB’s breakup doing what he does best without any cares. It’s a crack band (by all indications) supporting him, but here we really have the total “Toy Caldwell Show” and it is raw and rocking with infectious power! The focus is on the great songcraft melded to some of the absolutely tastiest guitar rips and the rawness only drives it home better.

ToyCaldwell01.jpg

This is a highly recommended album if you, like me, found Toy’s guitar playing and song-writing to be the cornerstone of what made MTB memorable. Recently I saw MTB live of which Doug Gray is the only remaining original member. Maybe I saw them on an “off-night”, but it fell flat to these ears…This, on the other hand, brings excitement and joy as it underscores just what a fantastic picker Toy was. He was an amazing guitarist and quite a fine song-writer which this CD easily reveals in an electric way. For those who appreciate the man it is a must buy. One other thing I always knew is that the rhythm section of MTB was tight and in-sync totally with Toy (like Toy, brother Tommy’s bass-playing was also underated and Paul Riddle is a fantastic drummer), the rhythm section here is up to the task. Enough said! (John Werner)

Recorded live at Shooters, Spartanburg, SC, May 8 & 9, 1992

BackCover1.jpg

Personnel:
Mark Burrell (drums)
Toy Caldwell (guitar, vocals)
Tony “Ray” Heatherly (bass, background vocals)
J. “Pic” Pickens (guitar, slide-guitar)
Kenny Smith (keyboards)

on 12.:
Tommy Cathey (bass)
Paul Hornsby (strings, tipani)
Robert Johnson (guitar)
Greg Morrow (drums)
Pete Pedersen (harmonica on 12.)

on 13.:

Tommy Cathey (bass)
Charlie Daniels (fiddle)
Paul Hornsby (keyboards)
Robert Johnson (guitar)
Greg Morrow (drums)

Booklet01+02.jpg

Tracklist:
01. I Hear The South Calling Me (Bettis/Bannon) 4.21
02. Searchin’ For A Rainbow (Caldwell) 4.20
03. Heard It In A Love Song (Caldwell) 4.46
04. Long Hard Ride (Caldwell) 4.23
05. Mexico (Caldwell) 5.04
06. 24 Hours At A Time (Caldwell) 14.00
07. Milk Cow Blues (Kokomo) 9.39
08. Fly Eagle Fly (Caldwell) 5.40
09. Can’t You See (Caldwell) 6.23
10. Night Life (Bettis/Buskirk/Nelson) 3.58
11. Ab’s Song (Caldwell) 1.24
12. High Noon (Bonus Studio Track) (Tiomkin/Washington) 3.50
13. Trouble In Dixie (Bonus Studio Track) (Caldwell) 4.01

CD1

*
**

ToyCaldwell02
Toy Talmadge Caldwell Jr. (November 13, 1947 – February 25, 1993)

The Magpie Salute – High Water I (2018)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Magpie Salute is an American rock band formed in 2016 by former Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson. The band also includes former Black Crowes members Marc Ford and Sven Pipien as well as Rich Robinson band members Matt Slocum and Joe Magistro.

The name The Magpie Salute comes from a superstition based in the UK… There are many variations, but the version I’m drawn to is the belief that if you see a Magpie, you would do well to salute it ‘to ward off negativity, or to have a good day.’ The way you salute the Magpie, based on some traditions is to say ‘Good Mornin’ Captain.’ The reason we salute is to show we’re unarmed, or what I like to say is ‘we come in peace.’ The Magpie falls within the Crowe umbrella of species, figuratively and literally. Magpies can be black and white which represents the light and the dark. I figured all of these things touch on many aspects of my life and this experience.

Rich Robinson announced the formation of the Magpie Salute in October 2016. In addition to Robinson, the group features former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien, as well as keyboardists Matt Slocum, drummer Joe Magistro, and vocalists Adrien Reju and Katrine Ottosen from Robinson’s solo band.

The Magpie Salute01.jpg

This announcement came on the heels of a series of shows Robinson performed earlier in 2016 in Woodstock, New York where he was joined by Ford, Pipien and former Black Crowes keyboard player Eddie Harsch. Harsch was slated to tour as a member of the band until his sudden death in November 2016, and his appearance on their self-titled debut marks his last recording.

They performed their first concerts in January 2017 at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. They were originally only scheduled to perform three concerts, but added a fourth show due to demand. They performed songs from the Black Crowes as well as Robinson and Ford’s solo careers. The band then played a series of gigs in Europe in June and July 2017 before kicking off a 60 date US tour that included stops in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Morrison, Colorado (Red Rocks Amphitheater) and two nights at the Irving Plaza in New York. All attendees of the November 15 or 16 Irving Plaza shows received a limited edition live album featuring performances from throughout 2017.

The Magpie Salute02.jpg

The Magpie Salute released their debut studio album High Water 1 on August 10, 2018. The album debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, and #33 on the Top Album Sales chart. The band kicked off their 2018 tour, on July 1, at The Village at Copper Mountain in Colorado. The album was recorded at Dark Horse Recording Studio just outside of Nashville in Franklin, TN.

On June 15, 2019, it was officially announced via social media that the band’s second studio album High Water II would be released October 11, 2019.

High Water I is the debut studio album by American rock band The Magpie Salute, released August 10, 2018 on Eagle Records. Produced by leader and guitarist Rich Robinson, it served as the follow up to their self-titled live album released one year prior. It debuted at #33 on the Billboard 200. (by wikipedia)

The Magpie Salute03.jpg

After the acrimonious split with his brother and Black Crowes band-mates, Rich Robinson has made a point of keeping the spirit of Black Crowes alive. Starting with a series of gigs that included ex-Crowes Marc Ford and Sven Pipien, Robinson has solidified that project into a band called The Magpie Salute, has toured extensively, and has now released the band’s debut album ‘High Water I’. Completing the line-up are John Hogg, Matt Slocum and Joe Magistro.

The comparisons will be inevitable, so let me start by stating the obvious: Black Crowes fans will love much of this album. Robinson has often claimed that his role as co-composer in the Black Crowes was under-played, and it would seem, on a cursory listen to ‘High Water I’ that he may have a point. This notwithstanding, the album variously offers some allied but different gratifications as well.

Booklet01A.jpg

Opener “Mary the Gypsy” is an immediate statement that Robinson has no intention of abandoning his significant pop-rock legacy. Riff-based and driving, the song has a nice, loose feel and accesses Robinson’s past in the best possible way. Title track “High Water” is (together with closing track “Open Up”), the best moment on the album. The verse is a stellar exposition of Zeppelin-like melody progression that is hypnotic and entrancing. It develops from a psychedelic acoustic ramble with a droning vocal hum, to a rousing vocal interplay accentuated by just the right amount of emotion.

FrontCoverWithStickerA.jpg“Send Me an Omen” is good old Blues Rock done the right way – heavy, laden with excellent harmonies and an abrasive lead vocal, it even has a couple of progressive time signatures. Think Joe Bonamassa meets Jellyfish. Acoustic pulchritude begins “For the Wind”, but by the first chorus, it has become strident electric blues that would impress even Rich’s estranged brother. Variation and swaggering dynamics fulfill the promise of this song. “Sister Moon” is a piano-based melding of blues and melodic pop delivered with a smoother vocal and delightful harmonies. The song has a great hook and leaves the listener wishing it had not ended so soon.

“Color Blind” is lyrically rich with a strong anti-racist message (if delivered somewhat literally), but offers little that is remarkable in its musical composition. The same may be said of “Walk on Water” which is a Tom Petty/Dylan-esque variation in sound for the band. Similarly, “Hand In Hand” brings the band to country-blues territory without too much fanfare. “You Found Me” unashamedly exposes the band’s country proclivities and is, if nothing else, a well-written country ballad with an excellent lead vocal. “Take It All”, on the other hand, delivers an angular and jarring guitar progression that is reminiscent of Jimmy Page in an aggressive mood. It features a very strong lead vocal performance over a nice, dirty mix. Excellent.

Booklet02A.jpg

The band returns to more familiar electric blues-rock on “Can You See”. Heavy and slow, with a melodic progression that harkens back to the Crowes, this is almost-perfect power-blues. An unusual sonic effect in the middle-eight reminds us that this band is far from a clone and that more innovation awaits. The closing track “Open Up” is – as mentioned earlier- a personal favorite of mine. Based on a sinister, slow guitar riff, with surprise pauses and ascendant vocal harmonies, the song is magnificent. The vocals and instrumentation interact to provide a gratification that only the very best in blues-rock can deliver. This song augurs very well for the future of this band. If they do more like it, the future is bright indeed. (by Nick Matzukis)

Booklet04A.jpg

Personnel:
Marc Ford (guitar, vocals)
John Hogg (vocals)
Joe Magistro (drums, percussion)
Sven Pipien (bass, vocals)
Rich Robinson (guitars, vocals)
Matt Slocum (keyboards, vocals)
+
Byron House (bass)
Dan Wistrom (pedal steel guitar)

Tray1.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Mary The Gypsy (Robinson) 3.08
02. High Water (Hogg/Robinson) 5.45
03. Send Me An Omen (Hogg/Robinson) 3.54
04. For The Wind (Hogg/Robinson) 5.03
05. Sister Moon (Hogg/Ford) 3.47
06. Color Blind (Hogg/Robinson) 3.45
07. Take It All (Hogg/Ford) 3.25
08. Walk On Water (Hogg/Ford) 4.08
09. Hand In Hand (Hogg/Robinson) 3.23
10. You Found Me (Robinson) 4.49
11. Can’t You See (Robinson) 3.11
12. Open Up (Hogg/Robinson) 3.57

CD1.jpg

*
**

And here are some live pics I shot during their Europe-Tour 2017:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blackberry Smoke – The Whippoorwill (2012)

FrontCover1The Whippoorwill is the third studio album by American southern/country rock band Blackberry Smoke. It was released on August 14, 2012 through Southern Ground Records in the North America and on February 17, 2014 through Earache Records in Europe. The latter contained three additional live tracks; “Country Side of Life”, “Pretty Little Lie” and “Six Ways to Sunday”. (by wikipedia)

Atlanta, Georgia’s Blackberry Smoke does upward of 250 shows a year, relentlessly crossing and re-crossing the various club, bar, and festival circuits, and the group’s classic Southern rock sound, which recalls bands like the Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd, has been honed to a sharp edge by the constant playing. This is a solid band with a good rhythm section in bassist Richard Turner and drummer Brit Turner, a stand-out keyboardist in Brandon Still, and plenty of electric guitar work from Paul Jackson and lead singer Charlie Starr. Starr’s voice is really what makes Blackberry Smoke more than a Southern rock nostalgia act, though. He’s a country singer with a rock attitude and heart, and when the song’s good, and the band’s on board, this is a top-tier group who merge country and rock so seamlessly that it’s both at once.

BlackberrySmoke.jpg

There are several very good songs on The Whippoorwill, the band’s debut for Zac Brown’s Southern Ground label, including the chugging “Six Ways to Sunday,” which opens the set, the tell-it-straight-like-it-is small town anti-anthem “One Horse Town” (which sounds like Steve Earle in his heyday), and the cranky, defiant, and determined “Leave a Scar,” any of which deserve to be in regular rotation on contemporary country stations, but probably won’t be because they sound more like Muscle Shoals productions than they do Nashville. Think Steve Earle fronting Lynyrd Skynyrd. Great stuff, ragged and real, and yes, there are a lot of cliché stances and phrases woven into these songs, but Starr’s voice and this band’s loose yet crisp playing style pulls it all off more often than not. (by Steve Leggett)

Booklet06A

The second coming of Lynyrd Skynyrd… with some Black Crows, Allman Brothers and ZZ Top tossed in for good measure. An amazing album with no filler songs. I can listen to this from start to finish again and again. (Tim Pickering)

Illustration.jpg

Personnel:
Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals)
Charlie Starr (vocals, guitar, pedal steel-guitar banjo)
Brandon Still (keyboards)
Brit Turner (drums, percussion)
Richard Turner (bass, vocals)
+
Clay Cook (percussion, harmonium on 04)
Matt Mangano (guitar on 04)
+
background vocals:
Maureen Murphy – Lo Carter – Kyla Jade (on 03.,09.,12.,13.)
Sarah Dugas (on 09.)
Arnold McCuller (on 06.,10.,13.)

Booklet03A

Tracklist:
01. Six Ways To Sunday (Starr) 3.27
02. Pretty Little Lie (Meadows/Starr) 3.35
03. Everybody Knows She’s Mine (Starr) 3.50
04. One Horse Town (Meadows/Spillman/Starr) 4.16
05. Ain’t Much Left Of Me (Murphy/Jackson/Starr/Still/B.Turner/R.Turner) 4.59
06. The Whippoorwill (Starr) 5.32
07. Lucky Seven (Meadows/Jackson/Starr/Still/B.Turner/R.Turner) 4.17
08. Crimson Moon (Brown/Mangano/Starr) 4.01
10. Ain’t Got The Blues (Starr) 4.04
11. Sleeping Dogs (Kennedy/ackson/Starr/Still/B.Turner/R.Turner) 3.22
12. Shakin’ Hands With The Holy Ghost (Starr) 3.46
13. Up The Road (Starr) 5.53

CD1.jpg

*
**

 

Thanks a lot to the greygoose, a woman with a real great taste for good music !

Drive-By Truckers – The Dirty South (2004)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Dirty South is the fifth album by Alabamian alternative country/Southern rock group Drive-By Truckers, released in 2004. The Dirty South is Drive-By Truckers’ second concept album. Like its predecessor, Southern Rock Opera, the album examines the state of the South, and unveils the hypocrisy, irony, and tragedy that continues to exist.

“Where The Devil Don’t Stay” was inspired by a poem by Mike Cooley’s uncle Ed Cooley, and was recorded in one take.

Patterson Hood’s “Tornadoes” was originally written in 1988 in reaction to the closing concert for the Adam’s House Cat Nightmare Tour. The Nightmare Tour set list was composed almost exclusively of songs containing metaphors or imagery of trains, but the lack of the tour’s success forced Hood and his band to abandon the concept and start afresh. Hood read an eyewitness account of the tornado in the local paper the next day and wrote “Tornadoes” after reading her statement that “it sounded like a train.”

Isbell’s “The Day John Henry Died,” retells the story of John Henry.

Booklet3+4

“Puttin’ People on the Moon”, written by Hood, tells the story of a town downriver of Huntsville and their “rocket envy” or economic depression due to the negative environmental and economic effects of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Mike Cooley’s “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac” recounts the celebrated Sun Records, Sam Phillips, and the music industry in general.

“The Sands of Iwo Jima” recounts Hood’s experiences with his great uncle while growing up in North Alabama. Questioning the veracity of the movie, his uncle answers he never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima.

DBT02

Isbell’s second track on the album, “Danko/Manuel,” is a departure from the usual southern gothic lyrical style written by Cooley and Hood. Originally Isbell tried to tell the story of Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and The Band’s demise, but found the scope of the concept too difficult to actually do justice to their story, and instead shifted the concept to a telling of life of a musician through the eyes and actions of Danko and Manuel. Isbell stated that the horn parts for the song came to him in a dream.

“The Dirty South” contains a three song suite (“The Boys From Alabama,” “Cottonseed” and “The Buford Stick”) about Sheriff Buford Pusser. “The Boys From Alabama” was inspired by the misconceptions and “really bad movies” of the Redneck Mafia and recounts the movie “Walking Tall”‘ from a “different point of view.” Hood felt that telling the story from “the bad guy’s” point of view would be more interesting. Cooley’s “Cottonseed” tells a story of corruption, crime, killing, greed, fixed elections, guns, drugs, prostitution and alcohol and uses subtle imagery to provide a very negative interpretation of Pusser. Hood’s “The Buford Stick” completes the suite by providing examples of the negative effects of Pusser’s actions while offering a less glorified view of the mythology surrounding Pusser.

Booklet20A

Cooley’s last song on the album is a story about a father who instills a love of racing in his son. “Daddy’s Cup” is the only song on “The Dirty South” that does not revolve around a negative experience, instead offering a lighter touch to the overall dirty feel of the album.

Isbell has explained that “Never Gonna Change” is simply about a stubborn North Alabama man who “refuses to live in fear,” which Isbell goes on to explain are rather rare.

Booklet9+10

“Lookout Mountain” was written around 1990 by Hood, and can be heard in its original incarnation on Adam’s House Cat’s LP Town Burned Down. It was a last minute addition to the album, beating out another Hood song entitled “Goode’s Field Road.” “Goode’s Field Road” was eventually rerecorded for 2008’s Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, however the cut that was dropped from The Dirty South managed to see the light of day on The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities. The version as it appears on The Dirty South was recorded in one take.

The Dirty South ends with Isbell’s “Goddamn Lonely Love.” Though described by Isbell as a love song, “Goddamn Lonely Love” heavily and painfully delves into the loneliness associated with love. Isbell wrote the song for Shonna Tucker. (by wikipedia)

BookletFrontCover1

When you’ve named your band the Drive-By Truckers and your first three albums are called Pizza Deliverance, Gangstabilly, and Alabama Ass Whuppin’, you might have a hard time at first convincing folks that you aren’t joking. But the Drive-By Truckers proved that they were most definitely not kidding with 2001’s brilliant double-disc Southern Rock Opera, and 2003’s Decoration Day actually upped the ante on what might have been a fluke masterpiece with its dark and thoroughly absorbing chronicle of hard times in the American South. With The Dirty South, the DBTs have crafted an equally effective companion piece to Decoration Day that plays on the gangsta rap reference of its title with a set of vividly rendered portraits of life along the margins of respectability below the Mason-Dixon line, from laid-off factory rats dealing drugs to feed their kids to Alabama gangsters determined to shut down the cops who made their daughters cry. From the first low, metallic stomps from Brad Morgan’s kick drum on “Where the Devil Don’t Stay,” it’s clear that The Dirty South isn’t going to be a good-time party most of the way, and while there are some brilliant anthemic rockers on this album (most notably “The Day John Henry Died,” “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac,” and “Never Gonna Change”), and Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell have grown into a force to be reckoned with as both guitarists and songwriters, there’s more than a little blood, fear, doubt, shame, and simple human tragedy at the heart of these stories.

DBT01

While much of America might be laughing at “You might be a redneck…” jokes, the Drive-By Truckers aren’t about to let anyone forget the harsh truth behind growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in this country, and the tough, muscular force of their music only sharpens the bite of their stories. They can also turn down the amps and still hit you in the heart, especially on “Danko/Manuel” and “Daddy’s Cup,” and David Barbe’s production gives this band the full-bodied clarity they’ve always deserved. Believe it — the Drive-By Truckers are the best, smartest, and most soulful hard rock band to emerge in a very long time, and while The Dirty South isn’t always good for laughs, it has too many great stories and too much fierce, passionate rock & roll for anyone who cares about such things to dare pass it up. (by Mark Deming)

BackCover.jpg

Personnel:
Mike Cooley (vocals, guitar, banjo on 06. + 08., harmonica on 06.)
Patterson Hood (vocals, guitar, piano on 02 – 14.)
Jason Isbell (vocals, (guitar, piano on 02., 07. + 08. organ on 14., mellotron on 07.)
Brad Morgan (drums, percussion)
Shonna Tucker (bass, background  vocals)
+
David Barbe (piano on 04., 06., organ on 08, background vocals on 13.)
Clay Leverett (background vocals on 02.)
+
The Minor Hill Singers (background  vocals on 01.):
Jason Isbell – Kimberly Morgan – Shonna Tucker
+
The State Line Chain Gang (percussion 08.)

Booklet11+12

Tracklist:
01. Where The Devil Don’t Stay (Cooley) 5.18
02. Tornadoes (Hood) 4.13
03. The Day John Henry Died (Isbell) 3.46
04. “Puttin’ People on the Moon” Patterson Hood 4:55
05. Carl Perkins’ Cadillac (Cooley) 5.24
06. The Sands Of Iwo Jima (Hood) 4.10
07. Danko/Manuel (Isbell) 5.43
08. The Boys From Alabama (Hood) 4.24
09. Cottonseed (Cooley) 6.20
10. The Buford Stick (Hood) 4.40
11. Daddy’s Cup (Cooley) 5.53
12. Never Gonna Change (Isbell) 5.23
13. Lookout Mountain (Hood) 5.00
14. Goddamn Lonely Love (Isbell) 4.55

CD1.jpg

*
**

Inlet01A.jpg

 

Drive By Truckers – Gangstabilly (1998)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia, though two of five current members (Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley) are originally from The Shoals region of northern Alabama, and the band strongly identifies with Alabama. The group also has roots in Richmond, Virginia. The Secret To A Happy Ending [DVD]. ATO Records. The band currently consists of Mike Cooley (lead vocals, guitar, banjo), Patterson Hood (lead vocals, guitar), Brad Morgan (drums), Jay Gonzalez (keys, guitar, accordion, backing vocals), and Matt Patton (bass guitar, backing vocals). Like many alternative country acts, the Drive-By Truckers record in analog (using 2 inch, 16-track open-reel tape recorders). The band’s constant touring has developed its dedicated following.

The band’s original lineup was fluid, but it most often included Hood, Cooley, and Howell, along with drummer Matt Lane, pedal steel player John Neff, and mandolin player Barry Sell. They released their first album Gangstabilly in 1998. With Hood and Cooley sometimes playing mandolin and banjo instead of guitar, and Howell playing double bass, the band’s original sound had a strong alternative country aspect, albeit with some rock mixed in, as well. (by wikipedia)

DriveByTruckers01

The Drive-By Truckers don’t need an agenda to be a good band. Sure, Southern Rock Opera more or less anointed the Truckers as a smarter, more attentive Lynyrd Skynyrd, and critics, in turn, made them famous for all the wrong reasons. And while critics tossed around adjectives like “brash” and “raunchy” and dug out their riffs on Southern rock revival and the renovation of country, Gangstabilly, DBT’s debut, went largely overlooked. No mock-rock operas or anxious, insistent Southernism here — Gangstabilly keeps its charm by keeping it simple. Whereas post-Pizza Deliverance DBT tended to veer into weathered tailgate-party twang, Gangstabilly is a swamp of mushy drums, scraggly acoustics, and pedal-steel whimper — a catalog of trashy but telling details and broader yet personal pangs. NASCAR, monster-truck rallies, and countless episodes of COPS and America Undercover have melted the South down into a handful of stereotypes. But if frontman Patterson Hood has shown anything, all you have to do to cut through the velvet Elvis/TV rodeo/Haffenreffer muck of white-trash clichés is simply treat them seriously. While DBT retain a campy sensibility to distance themselves from their songs, the Truckers’ South doesn’t come without its share of loss and hardship.

DriveByTruckers02

Take “Wifebeater,” the album’s opener. The title explains it all, but the subject matter is accepted as part of life, rendered like a conventional love song — “Don’t go back to him, he’s a wife beater.” The drums lurch, the pedal steel rises like steam, the harmonies go bullfrog-croak low, and Hood puts you inside a would-be dismissed act of domestic violence. Then, there’s “Panties in Your Purse” — a title which tells a whole newly painful story of a night of drinkin’ and cheatin’ in and of itself. But perhaps more than any song in their back catalog, “The Living Bubba” perfects the Truckers’ combination of tough but hurt. Dedicated to the late Atlanta guitarist Gregory Dean Smalley, “The Living Bubba” comes through with an introverted, slowly ascending verse and a chorus you can flick a Bic to. Bottom line: do yourself a favor and don’t ignore this album. The sad songs are sad the way you want them to be, the ballsier songs tempered with a little mellow manly pain. After Gangstabilly, the Drive-By Truckers would provide good albums, sure, but they’d be of the Napster-good sort, the buy-it-used sort. But for a brief moment, the Drive-By Truckers created something whose praise wouldn’t come by default, that wouldn’t play immediately into critics’ expectations. Gangstabilly was a thankless job, but a good one. (by Bill Peters)

BookletBackCover.jpg

Personnel:
Mike Cooley (guitar, vocals, mandolin)
Adam Howell (bass, vocals)
Matt Lane (drums)
Patterson Hood (guitar, vocals, banjo)
John Neff (steel-guitar, vocals)
+
Redneck Greece (background vocals on 08.)
Barry Sell (mandolin, background vocals on 05.)
Jim Stacy (harmonica on 09. + 10.)

Booklet01.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Wife Beater 3.32
02. Demonic Possession 4.52
03. The Tough Sell 3.41
04. The Living Bubba 5.56
05. Late For Church 5.27
06. Panties In Your Purse 4.41
07. Why Henry Drinks 4.13
08. 18 Wheels Of Love 4.10
09. Steve McQueen 5.13
10.  Buttholeville 5.25
11. Sandwiches For The Road 6.40

Music: Mike Cooley – Adam Howell – Matt Lane – Patterson Hood – John Neff
Lyrics:
Mike Cooley (on 06.)
Adam Howell (on 05.)
Patterson Hood (01. – 04., 07.  11.)

CD1

*
**