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Posts Tagged ‘1973’

Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman

“I’ve got to run to keep from hidin’
And I’m bound to keep on ridin'”

The 1973 reference is when the Allman Brothers were the biggest band in the country.  Duane had died two years before, but the band carried on, ate a peach, and emerged with the “Brothers and Sisters” album that was so prevalent we were all ramblin’ men and women.

Remember 1973…  scratch that, you probably weren’t even alive back then. The preoccupation of young males was the stereo shop on Saturday afternoon followed by some tuning of your ride.  Back in the day music used to be a commitment.  You actually had to step out of the house and go to your local store to buy the vinyl album.  After paying with hard earned cash you returned home to the Marantz amplifier and Advent speakers, dropped the Dual turntable needle and digested it.

America has a bit of an outlaw culture.   Boomers understand this as the great American pastime was to get in a vehicle or put some wind in the face and set off across this great country of ours, where no one knew where you were going, or where you were, which is exactly how you liked it, because we don’t really want to be boxed in, we want to be free.

So, today I’m driving north on the spot where all commuters know traffic grinds to a halt, pushing the buttons on the satellite radio and I hear “Midnight Rider.”   It’s the track that got all the airplay from the “Laid Back” album.  And I’m instantly transported back to that high-school swagger in art class with this playing in the background.  Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ve become a member of the over-the-hill gang.

Probably, but I’m past the point of caring.

Do we really have any choice but to keep on keepin’ on?  We keep on ridin’ because the road really does go on forever.  Around every bend are not only unforeseen potholes, but a lot of pleasures.  And just like the hopeful grooves in those old vinyl favorites they are as powerful today as it was back in 1973.

Older?  Yes.  Over the hill?  Hardly.

We’re still ridin’ and groovin’.  We’ve got the wind in our face, the power of music in us and no one is going to catch us midnight riders!

Original version of “Midnight Rider
Alternative version of “MidnightRider” with Vince Gill, Gregg Allman and Zac Brown

Photo courtesy of Facebook.

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Let’s be clear.  Lady Gaga (a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Anglina Germanotta) grates on me.

Her lifetime achievement of ten songs are not only a derivative, but uninspired.  More on music later.

She’s been everywhere: award shows, gay-rights rallies, magazine covers, stadiums, YouTube, Letterman, SNL, Grammy’s, etc.  She consistently makes headlines for wearing outrageous outfits – a meat dress here, a spiky scepter there – and for spouting sound bites such as, “I can mentally give myself an orgasm” or “I smoke a lot of pot when I write songs” … it’s gag-a, gag-a all the time.

She is clearly a celebrity overexposed and should just go away.  But, her “little monsters” are goo goo over gaga and won’t let that happen so, what to do?

Call Mark-Hans Richer to suggest he create and capitalize on a “Sputnik Moment” as President Obama evangelized.  So here it is… drum roll please…the headline would read: Harley-Davidson signs Lady Gaga to an endorsement deal!  I can’t think of anyone else other than Lady Gaga who cuts across multiple gender identities, social boundaries, is an erotic taboo breaker, a mainstream manufactured product who claims to be singing for freaks, the rebellious and the dispossessed.  If there ever was a Harley-Davidson brand ambassador she would be it!

So, I put the question out to the Northwest Harley Blog think tank (a.k.a. my pet cat Smurf!) and the name H-D: Lady Gaga Edition rose to the top.  A close second was Lady Gaga: Dare To Be Different clothing line.  Honestly I think Lady Gaga’s fashion style is weird and qualifies her for worst dressed, but what do I know?  My fashion wardrobe is mostly black t-shirts.  However, the youth crowd demographic — which H-D desperately seeks – see’s her as agent provocateur.

Now I could wax on about some ideas of a limited edition, “Bites of Enlightenment” Sportster model with Beef Jerky strips as the paint theme or “The Fame Monster” FatBoy model complete with a “Glam” accessory kit like a hair bow, hat, sunglasses, gloves and even a couture neck brace!   But you’d likely think I’m just grousing and I wanted to get back to music.

Speaking of, there’s no cheating music.  Let’s be clear, you can imitate, you can rip off what’s been done before, but there is no short cut.  There’s a schism between “performers” and true artistry.  The artist stories are all the same.  They bought records and practiced in their basements until they were good enough to get a gig.  Then they gigged long enough until someone noticed.  Then they got a chance and some broke through.

The Eagles - 1973 on BBC

Speaking of breaks.  A reader emailed me a video.  My jaw dropped.  It was an Eagles performance on the BBC.  It was like being transported back to 1973 instantly.

So for all you Gaga haters out there the clip begins with “Train Leaves Here This Morning.”  What’s stunning is the band is sitting on stools singing all the music.  ALL the music.  Incredible harmonies.  There’s no one in the background, nothing electronic-fied or on tape.  The 4-part harmonies are almost perfect.  And when something is almost perfect you get “chicken skin.”  Hell, Bernie Leadon is wearing a UCLA t-shirt which was likely the first thing in his suitcase.  It was about the music not the look.  Randy Meisner smiles when singing “A Certain Kind of Fool” and when Don Henley sings “Witchy Woman” it takes you back to the first time you ever heard it, when you had no idea who he was.  This is a band.  Remember bands?

This is not Glee.  It’s not a look-a-like tribute to Madonna.  It’s like stumbling onto the Dead Sea Scrolls.  You can be broke and still sing “Take It Easy” with the wind in your face on the open road and you’re right where you want to be.  It’s reminiscent of a time where radio was about music, not commercials.  This is the way it use to be.  Something that exists in the mind of the artist/players not some stylist standing in front of the mirror perfecting your ‘do.

Photo courtesy of Lady Gaga, The Eagles, BBC and various publishers.

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Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey

Not the town famous for building the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but I’m talking about Danny Gokey.   He made the top 3 on American Idol even after unleashing a cat scratch yelp that would have made Howard Dean (famous ‘Dean Scream’) proud!  The song he chose was one which Steven Tyler performed so well over the years… “Dream On.”

The iconic song was released as Aerosmith’s first single in 1973.  It achieved minor hit status on the initial release and climbed to #59 on the charts back in the day when radio meant something.  It made it to #6 when it was re-released in 1976.  Remember this was in the heady days of Thin Lizzy, 10cc, Ramones/Talking Heads and Steve Miller.

But I wanted to come clean as I did something I’ve never done before.  Anyone who grew up on Little Feat instead of Lil Wayne has probably done it. Maybe you were in a crowd of motorcyclists a little younger, and in a vain attempt to appear relevant you made the mistake of turning to a vernacular with which you were not comfortable.  Maybe you were even trying to be ironic, but still hip, when you blurted out, “’Sup, dawg?”

Sure it’s been made famous by Randy Jackson and is a non-descript term of endearment, but this so-called urban slang and phraseology only confirms that I just did a “drive-by” on African-American ethnic backgrounds.  It’s just another meaningless and hideous massacre of the English language they call ebonics.  Here’s the thing.  I don’t know about why I used it, but ebonic language is more often used by thugs or gangsta rap (like phat, hood, bounce, hoe etc.) artists as a way to express where they’ve come from or by youth at the suburban mall wearing the baseball cap sideways.  Neither of which I qualify.

I guess I was really feeling it last night.  Back to my peeples.. 

Photo courtesy Fox/Idol.

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