Allen Ginsberg – The Ballad Of The Skeletons (1996)

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Throughout his long career, Allen Ginsberg was keenly aware of the power of music—and an association with generationally key musicians, like Bob Dylan and The Clash—as the candy-coated bullet to see his poetry and ideas for social and political transformation reach the younger generation.

“The Ballad Of The Skeletons” with Philip Glass, Lenny Kaye, session guitarist David Mansfield, Marc Ribot and Paul McCartney (on organ, maracas and drums) was Ginsberg’s final 1996 release and in many ways, it’s probably the best of his recorded work. Even at nearly 8-minutes in length, the number never never gets dull—well with a backing band like that one…—as Ginsberg voices the lines of 66 skeletons representing American culture and hegemony. The poem was first published in the pages of The Nation in 1995.

Allen Ginsberg was an unlikely MTV star. In late 1996 the Beat poet was 70 years old and in declining health. He had less than a year to live. But Ginsberg managed to stay culturally and politically relevant, right up to the end. His last major project was a collaboration with Paul McCartney and Philip Glass, among others, on a musical adaptation of his poem, “The Ballad of the Skeletons.”

Sticker.jpgThe poem was first published in 1995. The American political climate from which it arose bears a striking resemblance to the one we’re living in today. “I started it,” Ginsberg told Harvey Kubernik of The Los Angeles Times in 1996, “because [of] all that inflated bull about the family values, the ‘contract with America,’ Newt Gingrich and all the loudmouth stuff on talk radio, and Rush Limbaugh and all those other guys. It seemed obnoxious and stupid and kind of sub-contradictory, so I figured I’d write a poem to knock it out of the ring.”

The skeletal imagery was inspired by the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead, and takes a playful poke at the vanity of human desires. “It’s an old trick,” Ginsberg told Steve Silberman in a 1996 interview for HotWired, “to dress up archetypal characters as skeletons: the bishop, the Pope, the President, the police chief. There’s a Mexican painter–Posada–who does exactly that.”

In October of 1995, Ginsberg visited Paul McCartney and his family at their home in England. He recited “The Ballad of the Skeletons while one of McCartney’s daughters filmed it. As Ginsberg recalled to Silberman, he mentioned that he had to give a reading with Anne Waldman and other poets at the Royal Albert Hall, and was looking for a guitarist to accompany him. “Why don’t you try me,” McCartney said. “I love the poem.” Ginsberg continued the story:

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He showed up at 5 p.m. for the sound check, and he bought a box for his family. Got all his kids together, four of them, and his wife, and he sat through the whole evening of poetry, and we didn’t say who my accompanist was going to be. We introduced him at the end of the evening, and then the roar went up on the floor of the Albert Hall, and we knocked out the song. He said if I ever got around to recording it, let him know. So he volunteered, and we made a basic track, and sent it to him, on 24 tracks, and he added maracas and drums, which it needed. It gave it a skeleton, gave it a shape. And also organ, he was trying to get that effect of Al Kooper on the early Dylan. And guitar, so he put a lot of work in on that. And then we got it back just in time for Philip Glass to fill in his arpeggios on piano.

The recording was produced by Lenny Kaye, guitarist for the Patti Smith Group, who had put together a group of musicians for a performance of the song at a Tibet House benefit in April of 1996. One member of the audience that night was Danny Goldberg, president of Mercury Records and a fan of Ginsberg. He invited the poet to record the song, and it all came together quickly. In a 1997 article in Tikkun, Goldberg remembered Ginsberg’s giddiness over the project: “He loved that Paul McCartney had overdubbed drums on ‘Skeletons.’ He said, ‘It’s the closest I’m going to ever come to being in the Beatles,’ and giggled like a teenager.”

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The recording features Ginsberg on vocals, Glass on keyboards, McCartney on guitar, drums, Hammond organ and maracas, Kaye on bass, Marc Ribot on guitar and David Mansfield on Guitar. Mercury released the song as a CD single in two versions, including one with the language sanitized for radio and television. The “B side” was a recording of Ginsberg’s “New Stanzas for Amazing Grace” that did not include McCartney or Glass. The next step was to create a video. As Goldberg recalled, Ginsberg knew an opportunity when he saw one:

When Tom Freston, the CEO of MTV, bought five of Allen’s photos, Ginsberg promptly called me, not too subtly implying that if Mercury would fund production of a video, we might be able to get on MTV. Allen had an unerring instinct of how to mobilize his mystique for those who were interested. He regaled Freston with stories of the beatniks one night at our house, which made it almost impossible for MTV to reject his video despite the fact that he was decades older than typical MTV artists and audience members.

A political satire of both generations, “Skeletons” received highly pubicized and much-coveted “buzz bin” rotation on MTV in the weeks before the last election–to the consternation of other record companies who were submitting artists with more conventional credentials. This made Allen the only seventy-year-old besides Tony Bennett to ever be played on MTV.

The video was directed by Gus Van Sant, who had ties to surviving members of the Beat generation. Van Sant had directed William S. Burroughs in the film Drugstore Cowboy, and had made short films–Thanksgiving Prayer and The Discipline of DE– based on writing by Burroughs. Ginsberg was happy with Van Sant’s work, despite a tight filming budget. “It’s a great collage,” Ginsberg told Silberman. “He went back to old Pathé, Satan skeletons, and mixed them up with Rush Limbaugh, and Dole, and the local politicians, Newt Gingrich, and the President. And mixed those up with the atom bomb, when I talk about the electric chair– ‘Hey, what’s cookin?’–you got Satan setting off an atom bomb, and I’m trembling with a USA hat on, the Uncle Sam hat on. So it’s quite a production, it’s fun.”

What a great statement !

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Personnel:
Allen Ginsberg (vocals)
Philip Glass (keyboards)
Lenny Kaye (bass)
David Mansfield (guitar)
Paul McCartney (guitar, organ, drums, maracas)
Marc Ribot (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. The Ballad Of The Skeletons (Ginsberg/Glass/McCartney) 7.48
02. The Ballad Of The Skeletons (Edit) (Ginsberg/Glass/McCartney)
03. Amazing Grace (Traditional) 2.51
04. The Ballad Of The Skeletons (Clean) (Ginsberg/Glass/McCartney) 7.49

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Said the presidential skeleton
i won’t sign the bill
said the speaker skeleton
yes you will
Said the representative skeleton
i object
said the supreme court skeleton
whaddya expect
Said the miltary skeleton
buy star bombs
said the upperclass skeleton
starve unmarried moms
Said the yahoo skeleton
stop dirty art
said the right wing skeleton
forget about yr heart
Said the gnostic skeleton
the human form’s divine
said the moral majority skeleton
no it’s not it’s mine
Said the buddha skeleton
compassion is wealth
said the corporate skeleton
it’s bad for your health
Said the old christ skeleton
care for the poor
said the son of god skeleton
aids needs cure
Said the homophobe skeleton
gay folk suck
said the heritage policy skeleton
blacks’re outa luck
Said the macho skeleton
women in their place
said the fundamentalist skeleton
increase human race
Said the right-to-life skeleton
foetus has a soul
said pro choice skeleton
shove it up your hole
Said the downsized skeleton
robots got my job
said the tough-on-crime skeleton
tear gas the mob
Said the governor skeleton
cut school lunch
said the mayor skeleton
eat the budget crunch
Said the neo conservative skeleton
homeless off the street!
said the free market skeleton
use ’em up for meat
Said the think tank skeleton
free market’s the way
said the saving & loan skeleton
make the state pay
Said the chrysler skeleton
pay for you & me
said the nuke power skeleton
& me & me & me
Said the ecologic skeleton
keep skies blue
said the multinational skeleton
what’s it worth to you?
Said the nafta skeleton
get rich, free trade,
said the maquiladora skeleton
sweat shops, low paid
Said the rich gatt skeleton
one world, high tech
said the underclass skeleton
get it in the neck
Said the world bank skeleton
cut down your trees
said the i.m.f. skeleton
buy american cheese
Said the underdeveloped skeleton
we want rice
said developed nations’ skeleton
sell your bones for dice
Said the ayatollah skeleton
die writer die
said joe stalin’s skeleton
that’s no lie
Said the middle kingdom skeleton
we swallowed tibet
said the dalai lama skeleton
indigestion’s whatcha get

said the world chorus skeleton
that’s their fate
said the u.s.a. skeleton
gotta save kuwait
Said the petrochemical skeleton
roar bombers roar!
said the psychedelic skeleton
smoke a dinosaur
Said nancy’s skeleton
just say no
said the rasta skeleton
blow nancy blow
Said demagogue skeleton
don’t smoke pot
said alcoholic skeleton
let your liver rot
Said the junkie skeleton
can’t we get a fix?
said the big brother skeleton
jail the dirty pricks
Said the mirror skeleton
hey good looking
said the electric chair skeleton
hey what’s cooking?
Said the talkshow skeleton
fuck you in the face
said the family values skeleton
my family values mace
Said the ny times skeleton
that’s not fit to print
said the cia skeleton
cantcha take a hint?
Said the network skeleton
believe my lies
said the advertising skeleton
don’t get wise!
Said the media skeleton
believe you me
said the couch-potato skeleton
what me worry?
Said the tv skeleton
eat sound bites
said the newscast skeleton
that’s all goodnight

Patti Smith – Divine Intervention (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgThrough most of the 1980s Smith was in semi-retirement from music, living with her family north of Detroit in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. In June 1988, she released the album Dream of Life, which included the song “People Have the Power”. Fred Smith died on November 4, 1994, of a heart attack. Shortly afterward, Patti faced the unexpected death of her brother Todd.

When her son Jackson turned 14, Smith decided to move back to New York. After the impact of these deaths, her friends Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Allen Ginsberg (whom she had known since her early years in New York) urged her to go back out on the road. She toured briefly with Bob Dylan in December 1995 (chronicled in a book of photographs by Stipe).[19]
1996–2003: Re-emergence
In 1996, Smith worked with her long-time colleagues to record Gone Again, featuring “About a Boy”, a tribute to Kurt Cobain. That same year she collaborated with Stipe on “E-Bow the Letter”, a song on R.E.M.’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi, which she has also performed live with the band. After the release of Gone Again, Patti Smith went on tour …

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… And this was the first Patti Smith concert in Europe since the seventies. This concert was in the summer of 1996 at the annual Roskilde Festival in Denmark and followed the release of the album, ‘Gone Again’.

This is an audience recording of Patti Smith … Great show and excellent sound quality, except for some distortion in the bass.

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Personnel:
Jay Dee Daugherty (drums)
Lenny Kaye (guitar, background vocals)
Oliver Ray (guitar)
Tony Shanahan (bass, background vocals)
Patti Smith (vocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. About A Boy (P.Smith) 7.40
02. Because The Night (Smith/Springsteen) 4.14
03. Beneath The Southern Cross (P.Smith/Kaye) 5.15
04. Dancing Barefoot (P.Smith/Kral) 6.30
05. Free Money (P.Smith/Kaye) 5.55
06. Gone Again (P.Smith/F.Smith) 5.55
07. Land/Rock N Roll Nigger (Kenner/Dominoe/P.Smith/Kaye) 8.37
08. People Have The Power (P.Smith/F.Smith) 2.10
09. Redondo Beach (P.Smith/Sohl/Kaye) 4.09
10. Summer Cannibals (P.Smith/F.Smith) 4.30
11. Walkin Blind (Ray) 6.35
12. Wicked Messenger (Dylan) 4.49
13. Wild Leaves (P.Smith/F.Smith) 4.04

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More Patti Smith:

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Gillian Welch and David Rawlings – Nobody Sings Dylan Like Gill ‘n’ Dave (2019)

FrontCover1.jpgIf you saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings on the Oscars this year, you know they’re amazing. You may not know they are also amazing interpreters of a certain Nobel Prize-winning singer-songwriter. They were featured often on my 40-volume Dylan cover collection “Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan,” but when I heard that the Dave Rawlings Machine had covered “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” at a San Francisco concert last year – opening the show with the first half of the song, and closing it with the second half – I decided it was time to give them their own NSD collection. A year later, here it is.

As always, thanks to the tapers – they are the true heroes of the ROIO world – and to Gill and Dave for daring to test their mettle on these incomparable songs. As you might remember, in the summer of 2015 Gill ‘n’ Dave did a 50th anniversary tribute at the Newport Folk Festival to the historic show at which Dylan first plugged in. Surprisingly, it has never turned up on any of the download sites I frequent, though there is a barely listenable/watchable version on YouTube. If you have a better version to offer, please do; if you don’t want to bother with the nuts and bolts of uploading, let me know and I’ll do it for you.

A few of these songs are featured on other NSD sets, but these are different versions. Finally, please allow me to dedicate this collection to my friend and fellow Dylan fan Erik, who first introduced me to Gill ‘n’ Dave’s music in 1996 by giving me a copy of “Revival” and telling me I’d love it. I did, and I still do. (jeffs98119 at dime)

Various dates and venues. Mix of audience and soundboard recordings
between 1996 and 2018

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Dave Rawlings & Gillian Welch (Oscar 2019)

Personnel:
Dave Rawlings Machine (on 01., 03., 05., 07., 11. + 13.)
The Esquires (on 02. + 09.)
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings (on 04., 06., 08., 10. + 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts (1) (Mar 1, 2018, Fillmore, San Francisco, CA) 7.36
02. Gotta Serve Somebody (Sep 27, 1999, Radio Cafe, Nashville, TN) 7.31
03. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Oct 4, 2007, Tangier Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA) 5.00
04. I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine (Aug 21, 1996, Acoustic Coffee House, Nederland, CO) 3.42
05. As I Went Out One Morning (Sep 24, 2014, Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA) 5.32
06. Billy (Nov 18, 1998, Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO) 6.13
07. Oh, Sister (Mar 8, 2018, McDonald Theater, Eugene, OR) 5.10
08. Goin’ to Acapulco (Oct 13, 2004, McDonald Theatre, Eugene, OR) 5.53
09. Quinn The Eskimo (Sep 27, 1999, Radio Cafe, Nashville, TN) 3.29
10. Odds And Ends (Aug 2004, WXPN Studios/World Café session, Philadelphia, PA) 2.58
11. Queen Jane Approximately (Jun 20, 2014, Town Park, Telluride, CO) 10.28
12. Mr Tambourine Man (Oct 3, 2015, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA) 6.07
13. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts 2 (Mar 1, 2018, Fillmore, San Francisco, CA) 5.05

All songs written by Bob Dylan

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Blues Traveler – Live From The Fall (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgBlues Traveler is an American rock band that formed in Princeton, New Jersey in 1987. The band’s music spans a variety of genres, including blues rock, psychedelic rock, folk rock, soul, and Southern rock. They are known for extensive use of segues in live performances, and were considered a key part of the re-emerging jam band scene of the 1990s, spearheading the H.O.R.D.E. touring music festival.

Currently, the group comprises singer and harmonica player John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, drummer Brendan Hill, bassist Tad Kinchla, and keyboardist Ben Wilson. Tad Kinchla and Ben Wilson joined the band following the death of original bassist Bobby Sheehan in 1999.

While Blues Traveler is best known among fans for their improvisational live shows, the general public is most familiar with the group from their Top 40 singles “Run-Around”, “Hook”, and “But Anyway”. They gained mainstream popularity after their fourth studio album, four, released in 1994 and became a sleeper hit almost a year later. Sheehan’s death and Popper’s struggle with obesity put a damper on the group’s success, and A&M dropped the band in 2002. In the years following, the band has bounced around through a succession of independent labels and record producers, and gotten increasingly experimental with their recorded output.

Blues Traveler’s latest album, Hurry Up and Hang Around, was released in the fall of 2018.

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Live From the Fall is American jam band Blues Traveler’s first full-length live album, released on July 2, 1996. It presents highlights of the band’s autumn 1995 tour on two discs.

“Closing Down the Park” is a song about the Tompkins Square Park Riot. No studio recording of it has ever been released outside of a demo.

A studio version of “Regarding Steven” is included on the CD single for “Run-Around.”

The performance of “Alone” contains a previously-unreleased bridge section which later became part of the song “Traveler Suite” from Decisions of the Sky.

The “Go / Low / Go / Run” medley includes snippets from the following non-Blues Traveler songs: “Linus and Lucy,” “Tequila,” “Loser,” “Inchworm,” and “La Bamba.”

“Sweet Talking Hippie” and “Imagine” are included on the same track, but both are standalone performances without a segue from one to the other.

“Sweet Talking Hippie” includes a snippet from the “Infernal Galop,” composed by Jacques Offenbach for the operetta Orpheus in the Underworld. (by wikipedia)

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Like any jam-oriented band, Blues Traveler has a reputation for being better in concert than they are in the studio. Therefore, it would make sense that the double-disc Live from the Fall would be the ideal Blues Traveler album, since it allows the band to stretch out and demonstrate its true talents. In a sense, that is true. The two discs — which were recorded in the fall of 1995, as the band was supporting the surprise success of Four — do give the band room to improvise, and they exploit the extra space for all of its worth. Initially, Blues Traveler wanted to release without track indexes, so the listener could hear how each song flowed into the next.

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And the album does sound like that — like a never-ending medley, where melodic themes pop in and out of the long solos. Occasionally, they detour into covers (War’s “Low Rider,” John Lennon’s “Imagine”), but they mainly weave a tapestry of their own material, including rarities like the B-side “Regarding Steven” and the unreleased “Closing Down the Park.” For fans of pop hits like “Run-Around” and “Hook,” this can be a little irritating, but for those who have been with the band since the beginning, Live from the Fall is a priceless document — more than any other album, this showcases what Blues Traveler is about. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Brendan Hill (drums, percussion)
Chan Kinchla (guitar)
John Popper (harmonica, vocals, guitar)
Bobby Sheehan (bass)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Love And Greed (Kinchla/Popper) 5.15
02. Mulling It Over (Kinchla/Popper) 8.05
03. Closing Down The Park (Kinchla/Popper) 12.55
04. Regarding Steven (Popper) 4.42
05. New York Prophesie (Kinchla/Popper) 5.14
06. 100 Years (Popper) 4.59
07. Crash Burn (Kinchla/Popper) 3.24
08. Gina (Popper/Kinchla) 6.45
09. But Anyway (Kinchla/Popper) 5.56
10. Mountain Cry (Hill) 15.18

CD 2:
01. Alone (Popper) 15.43
02. Freedom (Popper) 4.16
03. The Mountains Win Again (Sheehan) 5.43
04. What’s For Breakfast (Popper/Sheehan) 4.02
05. Go Outside And Drive (Popper) 9.07
06. Low Rider (Dickerson/Miller/Allen/Brown/Scott/Oskar/Jordan/Goldstein) / Go Outside And Drive (Popper) 10.48
07. Run-Around (Popper) 4.35
08. Sweet Talking Hippie (Hill/Kinchla/Popper/Sheehan) / Imagine (Lennon) 19.46

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I got this great album from Mr. Sleeve … thanks a lot for this gift !!!

Various Artists – To Cry You A Song – A Collection Of Tull Tales (1996)

FrontCover1Can a “tribute” performance be a masterpiece?

I doubt it. It actually could be, but there must be well-defined criteria to consider a certain tribute album as a masterpiece. Reason being, actually I want to rate this tribute compilation as masterpiece. But, never mind with a four-star rating as long as you get my true message that this is a great compilation of Jethro Tull’s music performed by great musicians. If you are a fan of Jethro Tull, it’s a must collection. Well, actually this is not truly a tribute compilation as there are two songs: “Tull Tale” written by T. Gardner of Magellan and “Cat’s Squirrel” written by M. Abrahams.

The compilation album is opened beautifully with “Tull Tale” (2:35), an instrumental track written specifically for this tribute, featuring Stan Johnson on flute. Containing pieces of “Bouree” and other Tull classics, it serves as an introduction to Magellan’s excellent cover of “Aqualung”. It starts off with a great piano intro, then it goes into an industrial music combined with metal guitar sound on the verses. The guitar solo is played on a slightly different chord progression, but it sounds really well. “Up The Pool” is performed wonderfully with great acoustic guitar work and unique vocal by Roy Harper. Really good. The great song “Nothing Is Easy” (4:17) is performed remarkably well by John Wetton on vocals. It’s so rewarding when I listen this song – it’s like King Crimson meets Jethro Tull.

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“Mother Goose” (4:23) is performed by Lief Sorbye (of Tempest) in a great arrangement. Well, overall I don’t see any track that is performed worse than the original version – all of them are great arrangements. But if you force me to mention the best of the best performance is the one performed by Glenn Hughes on track 9: “To Cry You a Song”. As you may have known that the vocal timbre between Ian Anderson and Glenn Hughes is totally different and you might have imagined that Glenn Hughes voice only suitable for Deep Purple or Trapeze. But what hhappen here is truly a fabulous combination of energetic music with organ solo (reminds us to Jon Lord?) and rocking and funky voice of Hughes. The result is Deep Purple meets Jethro Tull kind of music. I especially like when Hughes sings his high register notes under chorus lyrical part: “It’s been a long time .!!”. Wow! It’s a wonderful voice man!

In summary, if you are a die hard fan of Jethro Tull, this tribute is a compilation that will definitely satisfy you. Production and sound quality are to notch. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin’ . (Gatot)

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Personnel:
Mick Abrahams (guitar on 04., 08., 09., 10. – 12.)
Rob Armstrong (drums, percussion)
Robert Berry (keyboards on 04., 05., 08., 09., 10. + 13. guitar, bass, drums on 05., all instruments + vocals on 06.)
Clive Bunker (drums on 04., 08., 09. 10. – 12.)
Duncan Chisholm (fiddle on 11.)
Glenn Cornick (bass on 04., 09., 10. – 12.)
Ivan Drever (guitar on 11.)
Stuart Eaglesham (vocals on 11.)
Keith Emerson (keyboards on 12.)
Trent Gardner (keyboards on 01. 02, vocals on 02.)
Wayne Gardner (guitar, bass) on 02.)
Roy Harper (guitar, vocals on 03.)
Glenn Hughes (vocals on 09.)
Stan Johnson (flute on 01.)
Brett Kull (guitar, whistling, background vocals on 07.)
Adolfo Lazo (drums)
Phil Manzanera (guitar on 04. + 10.)
Ian McDonald (flute on 04. + 10.)
Michael Mullen (violin on 13.)
Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica on 08.)
Jay Nania (bass on 13.)
Colm O’Sullivan (keyboards, effects on 03.)
Roger Patterson (percussion on 01., drums on 02.)
Dave Pegg (guitar, vocals, mandolin)
Matt Pegg (bass on 14.)
Paul Ramsey (drums on 07.)
Derek Sherinian (keyboards on 09. + 11.)
Lief Sorbye (vocals, mandolin, flute,mandola on 05., bodhrán on 06., vocals, flute on 13.)
Robby Steinhardt (violin 0n 10.)
Mike Summerland (bass on 08.)
Derek Trucks (slide guitar on 08.)
Mike Varney (guitar on 05.)
Ray Weston (bass, vocals, piano on 07.)
John Wetton (vocals on 04.)
Rob Wullen (guitar on 13.)

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Tracklist:
01. Magellan feat. Stan Johnson: A Tull Tale (Gardner) 2.33
02. Magellan; Aqualung (Anderson) 8.09
03. Roy Harper: Up The ‘Pool (Anderson) 3.01
04. John Wetton: Nothing Is Easy (Anderson) 4.18
05. Lief Sorbye: Mother Goose (Anderson) 4.23
06. Robert Berry: Minstrel In The Gallery (Anderson) 5.22
07. Echolyn: One Brown Mouse (Anderson) 3.15
08. Charlie Musselwhite: Cat’s Squirrel (Traditional) 5.52
09. Glenn Hughes & Mick Abrahams: To Cry You A Song (Anderson) 5.10
10. Robby Steinhardt & Phil Manzanera: New Day Yesterday (Anderson) 4.00
11. Wolfstone: Teacher (Anderson) 3.59
12. Keith Emerson: Living In The Past (Anderson) 3.21
13. Tempest with Robert Berry: Locomotive Breath (Anderson) 4.32
14. Dave Pegg & Matt Pegg: Life’s A Long Song (Anderson) 2.45

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Jethro Tull

Spice Girls – Spice (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgSpice Girls were the first major British pop music phenomenon of the mid-’90s to not have a debt to independent pop/rock. Instead, the all-female quintet derived from the dance-pop tradition that made Take That the most popular British group of the early ’90s, but there was one crucial difference. Spice Girls used dance-pop as a musical base, but they infused the music with a fiercely independent, feminist stance that was equal parts Madonna, post-riot grrrl alternative rock feminism, and a co-opting of the good-times-all-the-time stance of England’s new lad culture. Their proud, all-girl image and catchy dance-pop appealed to younger listeners, while their colorful, sexy personalities and sense of humor appealed to older music fans, making Spice Girls a cross-generational success. The group also became chart-toppers throughout Europe in 1996, before concentrating in America in early 1997.

Every member of Spice Girls was given a specific identity by the British press from the outset, and each label was as much an extension of their own personality as it was a marketing tool, since each name derived from their debut single and video, “Wannabe.” Geri Estelle Halliwell was the “sexy Spice”; Melanie Janine Brown was the “scary Spice”; Victoria Adams was “the posh Spice”; Melanie Jayne Chisholm was “the sporty Spice”; Emma Lee Bunton was “the baby Spice.” Each persona was exploited in the group’s press articles and videos, which helped send “Wannabe” to the top of the charts upon its summer release in 1996. If all of the invented personalities made Spice Girls seem manufactured, that’s because they were to a certain extent.

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Every member of the group was active in England’s theatrical, film, and modeling circuit before the group’s formation, and they all responded to an advertisement requesting five “lively girls” for a musical group in the summer of 1993. The manager who placed the ad chose all five members of Spice Girls, yet the women rejected his plans for their career and set out on their own two months after forming. For the next two years, the Girls fought to get a record contract, since most record labels insisted that the band pick one member as a clear leader, which is something the group refused.

Eventually, Spice Girls signed a contract to Virgin Records. They were without a manager, though, which made recording a debut album nearly impossible. All five members moved into a house and went on the dole as they searched for a manager. By the end of 1995, the group had signed with Annie Lennox’s manager Simon Fuller, and began writing songs with Elliot Kennedy. “Wannabe,” Spice Girls’ first single, was released in the summer of 1996 and became the first debut single by an all-female band to enter the British charts at number one. It remained there for seven weeks, and by the end of the year, “Wannabe” had hit number one in 21 other countries. Immediately following the success of “Wannabe,”

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Spice Girls became media icons in Britain as stories of their encounters with other celebrities became fodder for numerous tabloids, as did nude photos of Halliwell that she posed for earlier in her career. All of this added to the group’s momentum, and their second single, “Say You’ll Be There,” entered the charts at number one in the fall, selling 200,000 copies a week. Spice, their debut album, was released at the end of the year, accompanied by their first ballad, “2 Become 1.” Both the album and single went directly to number one, staying there for several weeks; both records were at number one over the Christmas week, making Spice Girls one of three artists to achieve that feat.

Having topped the charts in virtually every other country in the Western world, Spice Girls concentrated on America in early 1997, releasing “Wannabe” in January and Spice in February.

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They became massive stars in the U.S. as well, also scoring the hits “Say You’ll Be There” and “2 Become 1”; Spiceworld, their second LP, appeared later in the year in conjunction with their feature film of the same name. In May 1998, Geri Halliwell departed from the band, not citing major reasons for leaving the group. She did release a solo album, Schizophonic, a year later, but nothing chart-topping to match the success of her former band. Still not deterred by the absence of Ginger Spice, Spice Girls trudged on — Melanie B. married Spice Girls dancer Jimmy Gulzar and released the solo single, a duet with Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot called “I Want You Back.” By Christmas, Spice Girls scored a number one hit with Goodbye and with a career floating high, their personal lives were moving as well. Melanie B. gave birth to a daughter named Phoenix Chi in February 1999, and Adams followed a month later with a son, Brooklyn Joseph. And now only known as Victoria Beckham, Posh Spice married Manchester United soccer star David Beckham later that summer. Becoming now more noticeable for their social status than their singing, Spice Girls took a well-deserved break while Melanie C. took over the English charts with her successful solo effort Northern Star, which was released in the U.S. in fall 1999. The following year, the girls headed back into the studio with high-profile producers Rodney Jerkins, Terry Lewis, and Jimmy Jam (Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige) to record a follow-up to their pop-friendly Spiceworld.

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In the middle of recording, Melanie B. divorced Gulzar and endured a bitter custody battle throughout the remainder of 2000. Spice Girls’ creative power overruled media scrutiny so that they could fully focus on the new R&B sound they were trying for and a the new collaboration united the foursome once again to release the third album Forever, which hit American shores in fall 2000.

The group began to splinter not long after the release of Forever, which made little impact outside of the UK where it only had one hit single — the chart-topping double-sided single “Holler”/”Let Love Lead the Way” — before the Spice Girls stopped promoting the album. Just three months after the album’s November 2000 release, the band announced that they were separating in February of 2001.

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Over the next few years, the Spice Girls may not have existed as a group, but they were never out of various taboild headlines in the UK and America. As the wife of football superstar David Beckham, Victoria got the most attention, but Mel B wasn’t far behind thanks to her ill-fated romance with actor Eddie Murphy, which resulted in an out-of-wedlock child. Mel Chisholm had a steady career as a pop singer while Emma Bunton had some chart success of her own with her 2001 album A Girl Like Me and its 2004 successor, Free Me. Meanwhile, Geri Halliwell split her time between recording and TV projects.

After years of persistent rumors of a reunion — peaking heavily yet never materializing for Bob Geldolf’s 2005 charity event Live 8 — the Spice Girls announced in June 2007 that they would be reuniting for an eleven-concert tour beginning that December, which would be accompanied by a new greatest hits album and documentary.

In 2010, it was announced that the Spice Girls had joined forces with Simon Fuller to develop a musical based on their songs. Viva Forever: The Musical – penned by British comedienne Jennifer Saunders – was announced at a press conference in June 2012. After much speculation in the British press, the Spice Girls reformed once more for the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

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Spice doesn’t need to be original to be entertaining, nor do the Spice Girls need to be good singers. It just has to be executed well, and the innocuous dance-pop of Spice is infectious. None of the Girls have great voices, but they do exude personality and charisma, which is what drives bouncy dance-pop like “Wannabe,” with its ridiculous “zig-a-zig-ahhh” hook, into pure pop guilty pleasure. What is surprising is how the sultry soul of “Say You’ll Be There” is more than just a guilty pleasure, and how ballads like “2 Become 1” are perfect adult contemporary confections. The rest of the album isn’t quite as catchy as those first three singles, but it is still irresistible, immaculately crafted pop that gets by on the skills of the producer and the charisma of the five Spices. Sure, the last half of the album is forgettable, but it sounds good while it’s on, which is the key to a good dance-pop record. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

The Spice was really not my kind of music … but their first hit single “Wannabe” was one ofthe finest pop records in the Ninties !

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Personnel:
Mel B – Emma Bunton – Melanie C – Geri Halliwell (vocals)
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Absolute (instruments on 02., 04., 05. +  07.– 09.)
Matt Rowe (keyboards, programming on 01., 03., 06. + 10.)
Richard Stannard (keyboards, programming 01., 03., 06. + 10.); background vocals on 10.)
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Pete Davis (additional programming on 03.)
Jackie Drew (violin on 06.)
Eric Gooden (background vocals on 05.)
Judd Lander (harmonica on 02.)
Greg Lester (guitar on 03. + 06.)
Mary Pearce (background vocals on 07.)
Statik (additional programming on 03. + 05.)
Paul Waller (additional programming on 03. + 04.)
Tony Ward (cello on 06.)
Dave Way (additional programming on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Wannabe (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 2.53
02. Say You’ll Be There (Spice Girls/Kennedy) 3.56
03. 2 Become 1 (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 4.01
04. Love Thing (Spice Girls/Kennedy/Bayliss) 3.38
05. Last Time Lover (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.11
06. Mama (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 5.05
07. Who Do You Think You Are (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.00
08. Something Kinda Funny (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.05
09. Naked (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.25
10. If U Can’t Dance (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 3.48

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Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ah.

If you want my future forget my past,
If you wanna get with me better make it fast,
Now don’t go wasting, my precious time,
Get your act together we can be just fine.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazang ah.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,(gottagetwithmyfriends!)
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

So what you think about that? Now you know how I feel.
Say you can handle my love are you for real,(are you for real)
I won’t be hasty, I’ll give you a try
If you really bug me then I’ll say goodbye.

Yo I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ah.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

So here’s a story from A to Z, you wanna get with me
You gotta listen carefully,
We got Em in the place who likes it in your face,
We got G like mc who likes it on an
Easy V doesn’t come for free, shes a real lady
And as for me.. Ha you’ll see.
Slam your body down and wind it all around
Slam your body down and wind it all around.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta, you gotta, you
Gotta,
You gotta, you gotta!!!!! Make it last forever (stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!)
Slam your body down and wind it all around?
Slam your body down and wind it all around.(ha ha ha ha)
Slam your body down and wind it all around.
Slam your body down zigazig ah

Gov’t Mule – Live At Roseland Ballroom (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgLive at Roseland Ballroom is the first live album by the jam band Gov’t Mule. It was taken from their performance on New Year’s Eve, 1995, opening for Blues Traveler. It was recorded at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan.

The album was out of print for over a decade, and used CD copies sold for over 30 dollars (US) on amazon.com at one point. The album was reissued in 2007 on Evil Teen Records, the record label of Warren Haynes and his wife/manager Stephanie Scarmado. The reissue featured a cover of Voodoo Chile recorded after the death of bassist Allen Woody. In the reissue liner notes, Haynes relates that he chose to include this track, rather than a track featuring the original lineup with Woody, due to the audio quality of the recordings available to him at the time. (by wikipedia)

Muro do Classic Rock

The consummate power trio of the ’90s, Gov’t Mule drew on influences from Mountain and Cream to the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This, the band’s second album, was recorded live in concert with no overdubs, and it rocks hard. Warren Haynes and Allen Woody pull their experiences from several years with the Allman Brothers Band into the mix and turn out one impressive record. Highlights include the rock radio track “Mule” and “Kind of Bird,” co-written by Dickey Betts of the Allmans, a song that was still in the Allmans’ set list at the end of the ’90s. (by Michael B. Smith)

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Gov’t Mule’s first live album, has been out of print for nearly a decade and is highly sought after by fans and collectors. Evil Teen Records is proud to re-release this definitive recording Tuesday, May 1st, 2007. Originally released October 22, 1996, the concert was recorded on December 31, 1995, and is an early hint of what has become Gov’t Mule’s perennial New Year’s Eve run at New York’s famed Beacon Theatre. The recording rocks with original classics Trane and Mule; and a majestic cover of Steppenwolf’s Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam. A bonus track, Voodoo Chile, will be included from Gov’t Mule’s October 18, 2001 Roseland Ballroom concert. Live at Roseland Ballroom demonstrates Gov’t Mule’s prowess, ambition and importance, as well as why Warren Haynes has been heralded by his contemporaries and Rolling Stone as one of rock’s greatest guitarists ever.

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Personnel:
Matt Abts (drums)
Warren Haynes (vocals, guitar)
Allen Woody (bass)
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on Voodoo Chile (recorded 18 October 2001):
Jack Casady (bass)
Chuck Leavell (organ)

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Tracklist:

01. Trane (Haynes/Woody/Abts) 16.35
02. Temporary Saint (Haynes) 5.51
03. Painted Silver Light (Haynes) 7.11
04. Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam (Kay) 8.07
05. Kind Of Bird (Haynes/Betts) 9.45
06. Mule (Haynes/Woody/Abts) 8.57
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07. Voodoo Chile (Hendrix) 15.33

Muro do Classic Rock

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