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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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)

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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

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Blind Boys Of Alabama & Taj Mahal – Talkin’ Christmas! (2014)

FrontCover1.jpgAlthough this wonderful Christmas set is billed as a joint project between Taj Mahal and the Blind Boys of Alabama, and Taj does play guitar, banjo, ukulele, and harmonica here and sings on a couple of tracks (“What Can I Do?” and “There’s a Reason We Call It Christmas”), it’s really a Blind Boys holiday album, which is hardly a bad thing. It isn’t a blend of blues and gospel, either, as some of the promotional material suggests. It’s a seasonally bright and sincere mix of gospel and lightly swinging R&B, which is exactly what the Blind Boys have been doing so well for so many years. Four of the tracks are originals, and they fit nicely with covers of traditional Christmas songs and hymns like the opener “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” speeded up and done with a graceful dash of funk, and the lovely, delicate and halting acoustic version of “Silent Night.” The original “Who Will Remember?,” a gentle gospel waltz, is another highlight. All of it is delivered in signature Blind Boys style, making this one of the season’s nicest releases. (Steve Leggett)

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Personnel:

vocals:
Ben Moore – Jimmy Carter – Paul Beasley – Joey Williams – Ben Moore – Ricke McKinnie
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Michael Jerome (drums, percussion)
Jonny Lam (lap steel-guitar)
Taj Mahal (guitar, banjo, vocals, harmonica, ukulele)
Mark Nishita (keyboards)

Ben Odom (bass, vocals)
Joey Williams (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Do You Hear What I Hear? (Shayne/Regney) 2.50
02. Christ Was Born On Christmas Morn (Traditional) 3.28
03. What Can I Do? (Goldsmith/Moore/Carter/Beasley/Williams/Moore/McKinnie/Bell) 3.09
04. Talkin’ Christmas (Goldsmith/Moore/Carter/Beasley/Williams/Moore/McKinnie) 3.38
05. Merry Christmas To You (Davis/Bass) 3.55
06. Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) 2.44
07. There’s A Reason We Call It Christmas (Goldsmith/Moore/Carter/Beasley/ Williams/Moore/McKinnie/Bell) 3.18
08. The Sun Is Rising (Goldsmith/Moore/Carter/Beasley/Williams/Moore/McKinnie) 3.53
09. No Room In The Inn (Jeter) 3.17
10. Jesus Was Born (Goldsmith/Moore/Carter/Beasley/Williams/Moore/McKinnie) 3.01
11. Who Will Remember? (McBride/Bell) 4.57
12. Merry Christmas! (Goldsmith/Moore/Carter/Beasley/Williams/Moore/McKinnie) 2.22

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Martin Barre – Order Of Play (2014)

FrontCover1.jpg2014 release from the Jethro Tull guitarist. On ORDER OF PLAY, the band set up just as they were performing a live gig. Every song on the album is a first take. Martin’s guitar playing has earned him a high level of respect and recognition; he was voted 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK for his playing on Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’. His playing on the album Crest of a Knave earned him a Grammy award in 1988. As well as numerous Jethro Tull albums, Martin has worked with many other artists including Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa and Chris Thompson and has shared a stage with such legends as Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. As Jethro Tull are taking a long break from touring, Martin has put together a band to play the classic music from the Tull catalog. His band is a total commitment to give the Tull fans and a broader audience the chance to hear tracks not performed for many years. (Amazon Editorial Review)

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..but he certainly is a hero of the guitar. Never one to seek the spotlight, Martin lets his guitar do the talking, and he can say more with one note, put more emotion into it than any other guitarist I’ve heard. Separated from Jethro Tull after more than 40 years, he is now back to playing the music he loves: that blues-drenched rock that defined the early Tull sound before synths and squeezy things squeezed him to the back of the stage. So here on this live in the studio recording Martin is back with a vengeance, playing a “dirty, nasty, low-down blues” take of A New Day Yesterday, a rocking Song for Jeffrey, and even Fatman from Stand Up, and To Cry You a Song and Teacher from Benefit. We’re also treated to a nice slice of Thick as a Brick, and an excellent version of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads on the mandolin.
I can’t help missing the flute here and there, but Richard Beesley’s sax fills in nicely, without ever dominating. Dan Crisp too sounds out of place at first, as Ian’s voice is inseparable from these songs, but after a few plays you come to realize his Crisp’s voice too is well suited to the music.

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While it can be rightly said that Ian Anderson is the creative force behind Jethro Tull, and his quirkiness, humor and eccentricity have kept the music adventuresome and unpredictable, Martin was the engine that powered the band, a guitarist extraordinaire, a true virtuoso who can shred with the best but favors tone and control over speed. It is wonderful to hear him playing the music he loves, and if, like me, you love it too, you will thoroughly enjoy this set.
There are a lot of high profile guitar heroes out there, but Martin Barre is a name few recognize. Give this album a listen and you will wonder why. (by Matthew Bush)

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Personnel:
Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin)
Richard Beesley (saxophone, clarinet)
Alan Bray (bass)
Dan Crisp (vocals, guitar)
George Lindsay (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. A New Day Yesterday (Anderson) 5.15
02. Fatman (Anderson) 3.20
03. Watch Your Step (Parker) 4.16
04. Crossroads (Johnson) 3.46
05. Minstrel In The Gallery (Anderson) 4.36
06. To Cry You A Song (Anderson) 4.49
07. Steal Your Heart Away (Parker) 4.20
08. Thick As A Brick ( Excerpt) (Anderson) 8.50
09. Sweet Dream (Anderson) 3.40
10. Song For Jeffrey (Anderson) 3.29
11. Rock Me Baby (Traditional) 4.43
12. Teacher (Anderson) 4.42
13 Still Loving You Tonight (Anderson) 4.59
14. Locomotive Breath (Anderson) 5.19

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More from Martin Barre:

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Billy Hart Quartet – One Is The Other (2014)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Billy Hart Quartet’s One Is the Other follows All Our Reasons, its noted debut for ECM, by less than two years. In one sense, this set shows the group’s growth (they’ve been together since 2005), and picks up where AOR left off, but more importantly, it reveals the more disciplined and inquisitive dimension of its collective persona, even as it revisits some tunes from its members’ pasts. Opener “Lennie’s Groove,” by saxophonist Mark Turner, was recorded much earlier in Turner’s career. Due to its complex harmonic and rhythmic components, it has subsequently become a workout classic for other jazz musicians. Pianist Ethan Iverson attacks the knotty lyric as if simultaneously playing all the dubbed parts of an unreleased tune from Lennie Tristano’s Descent Into the Maelstrom. As Turner enters, he twins these lines before moving toward Iverson contrapuntally. Ben Street’s bassline reveals the bridge between the bop and post-bop in the exercise while Hart shifts gears in tandem, accenting the ever-shifting meter. On Iverson’s “Maraschino,” the blues are the entryway into collective improvisation that remains commonly focused. Hart’s brushes not only accent and color the front line’s flourishes, but offer a map back to the center. The drummer’s “Amethyst” was the title piece of one of his earlier albums but is revisioned somewhat here. Its original melody — which retains its lyric beauty — is made more blocky here, Turner first, then Iverson, find its dark undercurrent. Hart rolls and breaks around their dialogue.

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Street engages as an interlocutor and interpreter, while Hart allows the three to dictate his fluid, articulate movements as the tune opens. Turner’s “Sonnet for Stevie” may be written for Stevie Wonder, but it’s fueled more by restraint, color, and texture than funk or R&B. Street’s opening bassline and the clipped rolls by Hart introduce a bluesy head, with Iverson extrapolating on them. He finds a lithe lyric inside and begins to slowly bring it out. Group statements remain brief on each chorus until Iverson’s solo finds the seam, and his upper register chord voicings become bell-like. Turner sticks close to the blues, while Hart breaks on them in a painterly fashion. One Is the Other is the sound of an experienced and deeply intuitive quartet speaking in a colorful and precise language comprised of numerous dialects and approaches to musical speech. (Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Billy Hart (drums)
Ethan Iverson (piano)
Ben Street (bass)
Mark Turner (saxophone)

Booklet.jpgTracklist:
01. Lennie Groove (Turner) 6.51
02. Maraschino (Iverson) 5.52
03. Teule’s Redemption (Hart) 7.21
04. Amethyst (Hart) 8.06
05. Yard (Hart) 5.08
06. Sonnet For Stevie (Turner) 8.43
07. Some Enchanted Evening (Rogers/Hammerstein) 5.20
08. Big Trees (Iverson) 4.15

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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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Arve Henriksen – The Nature Of Connections (2014)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Nature Of Connections (released 22 August 2014 in Oslo, Norway) is an album by Arve Henriksen.

On this album, Henriksen is working in harness with some of the most distinguished and dynamic musicians of Norway. They come from different traditions like folk, improvisation and jazz. They bring their specialist competition, where the results are assembled and polished to sparkle. The Nature of Connections almost entirely features pieces composed by the personnel comprising the band on the album, recorded at the legendary Rainbow Studio in Oslo by Jan Erik Kongshaug. The album has closer connections to Nordic folk and contemporary, minimalist chamber music than any of his previous releases (by wikipedia)

Rune Grammofon paired Arve Henriksen’s Chron album with Cosmic Creation early in 2014, revealing two aspects of the composer/improviser’s meticulous, singular perception of sound as abstraction and perception, both inner and outer. While it is equally intimate, The Nature of Connections couldn’t be more different from its immediate predecessors. This is a completely acoustic recording whose approach combines neo-classical music with folk-inflected chamber jazz. Henriksen leaves most of the composing to his collaborators: Nils Økland (violin, hardanger fiddle, viola), Svante Henryson (cello), Gjermund Larsen (violin, hardanger fiddle), and Mats Eilertsen (double bass). Only ace drummer Audun Kleive stays out of the compositional mix.

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The set’s hinge piece, “Hymn,” was written by Henriksen’s Supersilent collaborator Ståle Storløkken, but these eight pieces are all gentle, beautifully textured and, for the most part, lyrical. “Blå Veg,” Henriksen’s only original, was arranged by the entire group. It opens with piccolo trumpet, hardanger, cello, and viola, following an elliptical yet defined melodic line of exposition. It is unequivocally “pretty.” The interplay of strings is supported by an underlying (quiet) drone. The smaller trumpet gives way to a muted, standard one, and the effect is so reverential, it is almost spiritual. Larsen’s “Hambopolskavalsen” is almost a folk song, with the strings employed as a chorus of harmonic voices. A tenderly articulated bassline and hardanger add dimension with percussion interceding only as a marker to reset the cyclical melody. Henryson’s “Seclusive Song” is a neo- classical chamber piece that employs something approaching jazz in its cadenzas. “Hymn,” with its thematic cellos, bowed double bass, violin, and viola with brushed snare, is almost cinematic, expanding the color palette of recording. Henriksen’s trumpet is used sparingly, with the melodic weight taken up by his piano. Eilertsen delivers a gorgeous bass solo to underscore that effect.

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Though Henryson’s “Keen” commences on a note of mild dissonance, its pulsing cellos, tight snare, and the interplay between piccolo and standard trumpet, almost make it a jazz-pop tune. Its groove is defined — though its middle section evidences an Eastern-tinged, more active dialogue between cello bass and trap kit. “Arko Akropolis” is a group piece that feels like an expanded intro, with rumbling middle-register piano, pulsing strings, and a hardanger solo interlude that frames the closer, Eilertsen’s “Salm.” The latter is a brief folk melody adorned by his bassline, offering a (slightly) wider dimension to its restrained lyric before Henriksen’s trumpet enters to expand its premise ever so slightly; it sounds and feels like a lullaby. The Nature of Connections may not have been primarily composed by Henriksen, but his refined dynamic and texturally subtle approach are trademarks that illustrate his spirit of inquiry into the mystery of sound — no matter how economic the musical structure. These works, taken as a whole, affirm by their very articulation the indefinable depths of beauty itself. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Mats Eilertsen (bass)
Arve Henriksen (trumpet, piano)
Svante Henryson (cello)
Audun Kleive (drums)
Gjermund Larsen (violin, hardanger fiddle)
Nils Økland (violin, hardanger fiddle, viola d’amore)

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Tracklist:
01. Blå Veg (Henriksen) 3.57
02. Hambopolskavalsen (Larsen) 5.22
03. Budbringeren (Økland) 6.16
04. Seclusive Song (Henryson) 3.52
05. Hymn (Storløkken) 7.40
06. Aceh (Eilertsen) 4.39
07. Keen (Henryson) 5.13
08. Arco Akropolis (Henriksen/Kleive/Larsen/Eilertsen/Økland/Henryson) 3.41
09. Salm (Eilertsen) 2.06

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Paul Raymond – Rewind 50 (2015)

FrontCover1.jpgUFO guitarist/keyboard player Paul Raymond has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 73 years old.

The news of Raymond’s passing was broken by his “life partner,” Sandra, who wrote on Facebook: “With a desperate and broken heart, fully in tears and pains that feel like they will kill me, I have to tell you that my most beautiful and beloved darling Paul Raymond has passed away today. The doctors we’re trying to reanimate him and with success at first but then his system shot down again and there was nothing more they could do for him, he died of a heart attack.

“He absolutely enjoyed the last couple of weeks touring with UFO in the UK & Ireland and he was looking forward to the rest of this year’s tour.

“This photo was taken last Wednesday when we checked out of our last hotel before coming back to Germany!

“I will always love him and I hope he will rest in piece until I’ll see him again on the other side!!!

“I love you so much Paul”

Paul’s professional career began in January 1964. He started out as a jazz musician but went on to become best known as a member of legendary British rock band UFO’s classic lineup alongside Phil Mogg, Michael Schenker, Andy Parker and Pete Way. Raymond is also featured on classic records by CHICKEN SHACK and SAVOY BROWN as well as solo albums, plus those credited to PAUL RAYMOND PROJECT.

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Raymond was recruited by UFO in 1976 to replace the band’s first keyboardist, Danny Peyronel. When Michael Schenker left UFO, Raymond joined Schenker’s MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and later hooked up with Pete Way in WAYSTED.

Raymond appeared on more than a dozen of UFO’s albums, including “Lights Out” and the live classic “Strangers In The Night”.

Way posted on Facebook: “I’ve just heard the sad news of Paul Raymond’s passing. I won’t pretend that we were always the best of friends but I am completely shattered to hear this.

“My sincere condolences go out to his family, particularly Sandra.

“I’m gonna miss you mate! Sleep tight.”

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Schenker wrote: “It is unbelievable. Paul Raymond was a great musician and loved rock and roll. My condolences to his loved ones. Rest in peace, my friend.”

British heavy metal legends SAXON tweeted: “We are shocked & saddened to hear the news of our friend and touring mate Paul Raymond of UFO’s sudden passing today. RIP Paul.” (by blabbermouth.net)

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And here´s a very special solo album by Paul Raymond … I guess this a real legacy of his musical career:

Paul Raymond in his own words:

My latest offering – the clue is in the title! It’s a retrospective of my recording and songwriting as a professional musician which began way back in 1964 with Tony Jackson and the Vibrations. We got into the UK Top 20 with a cover of the Mary Wells song “Bye Bye Baby” (not to be confused with the Bay City Rollers song of the same name!) That was my first taste of success and it has continued with varying degrees of success to this day. The album goes through a wide range of genres, following the path of my musical career, from psychedelic pop with my band Plastic Penny through blues with Chicken Shack and Savoy Brown to hard rock or what is now referred to as “Classic Rock” with UFO, MSG, Waysted and my own solo work with PRP.

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A fascinating and personal retrospective from long-time UFO man Paul Raymond celebrating his remarkable 50 years in the rock music business. Featuring re-workings of some of the best songs he’s written over the decades with the likes of Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Michael Schenker Group, his own solo career and of course UFO. On top of that there is some previously unreleased stuff from a project with terry Reid which didn’t get off the ground.

You may have trouble getting your hands on it. Paul financed the project via a Pledge Music crowdfunding campaign which is where I obtained my copy from. I understand there are plans for a conventional release in the future perhaps.

Paul is an unheralded songwriter. Never the frontman over the last 50 years, if you are familiar with his UFO work you’ll know he’s the guy stage right usually bigging up the sound with essential keys and a chugging rhythm guitar. An essential part of the mix. He can and does write top notch stuff too as ably demonstrated here with this collection.

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You’ll love it if you’re a fan. If you’re not it’ll turn you in to one and show you the long-lived talents of a geezer who has been there, done it then come back to do it all again with some of the biggest names in rock.

A couple of his UFO tunes start us off. Revamped versions of The Fear (titled here as Unfinished Business) and then Sympathy from You Are Here. Nice and bluesy, rocking along too quite deftly.

Scream Blue Murder from his solo Paul Raymond Project Man on a Mission is next to get a revamp before we have a previously unpublished song which Paul wrote for the same album but not using it. It rocks too. Not a million miles from classic UFO/MSG and one hopes if Paul has more stashed away somewhere they might see the light as another PRP album. How about it Mr Raymond?

Next we go back in time to his brief period with Waysted (All Belongs to You) then another great surprise with The Sky and You – a quit magical collaboration with the great Terry Reid showing more virtuosity and class to the Raymond song writing craft.

My favourite MSG album is their self-titled second one. My favourite song on that album is Never Trust a Stranger. Bit of an epic. Well, Paul wrote that too and here it is given the treatment. A more bluesy soulful arrangement then anyone who owns Obsession with instantly recognise Looking’ Out for Number 1.

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Twice Nightly is another previously unpublished. A little bit pub rock and a lot of fun. I’d say it’s Cherry-esque sort of. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll see…..single material even.

The closing three to get the works take us all the way back to the 1960s and it’s all top, top stuff given a fresh sound.

A remarkable retrospective from a remarkable (and often unheralded) musician/songwriter. Such a long and varied career which, since the early 1970s has always seen Paul get drawn back to UFO time again.

Top marks Mr. Raymond, top marks indeed.

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Personnel:
Dave Burn (guitar)
Mark Coles (bass)
Andy Dodds (vocals)
Paul Raymond (vocals, keyboards, guitar)
Tony Steel (drums)
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Tracklist:
01. Unfinished Business (Raymond) 3.4302. Sympathy (Raymond) 4.37
03. Scream Blue Murder (Raymond) 5.14
04. Welcome To The Real World (Raymond) 4.46
05. All Belongs To You (Raymond) 4.03
06. The Sky And You (Reid) 4.14
07. Never Trust A Stranger (Raymond) 4.27
08. Lookin’ Out For No. 1 (Raymond/Mogg) 3.51
09. Twice Nightly (Raymond) 3.48
10. Reconsider Baby (Fulson) 3.30
11. Waiting (Raymond/Murray) 3.41
12. Bye Bye Baby (Wells) 4.29

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Paul Martin Raymond (16 November 1945 – 13 April 2019)