Friday, June 15, 2012

Eva Cassidy. Wow, just WOW

Eva Cassidy had a voice any angel would envy and a love of music that embraced many genres.  What she didn’t have was a long life.  Our loss.

 Eva had a career in music but she never achieved widespread fame, partly because she couldn’t be pigeon-holed and she was too shy to engage in flagrant self-promotion.  She just made her music, her way.  Which is to say she OWNED whatever song she sang.

She died in 1996 at the age of 33.  But her career wasn’t over.  She was discovered by the Brits a few years later when her rendition of “Over the Rainbow” was played on the BBC.  The phones lines lit up and requests poured in.   Soon her albums, which had to that point had only modest sales, were climbing the charts all over Europe and now she’s being rediscovered here in her homeland.

I have a recording of “Golden Slumbers” featuring Eva with Jackson Browne.  It’s been on my “FAV” playlist for long time. 

Give her rendition of "Over the Rainbow" a listen (link above).  What a talent!  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hail to the Chiefs

Back in the 60s there were any number of politicians who would have been delighted to hang something on Bob Dylan–and they tried, oh, HOW they tried!  Back then it would have been hard to imagine that when a president finally got a chance to hang something on Dylan it would be the Medal of Freedom. The times they have-a changed.  At least in some ways.

At the ceremony last night, President Obama said, "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music," and that the "unique gravel-y power" of Dylan’s voice helped define "not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel."

When it was announced that Dylan would be one of the year’s recipients the White House issued a statement saying that the rock 'n' roll icon had "considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has had significant impact on American culture over the past five decades."

To which I say: You bet your boots!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Right Out Loud!

My vinyl-themed short story, JANGLE is now available on Audio/MP3 at!

I love the whole lore and history of vinyl records so much I've written several short stories featuring a vinyl record shop owner named Session Seabolt.  The first story ran in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine a while back and now it's been reissued on audio at  The story is called "Jangle" and it's published under my pseudonym Brynn Bonner.  

The record that's featured in this mystery is "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" which has been one of the most coveted (and costly) collectible records of the rock world since vinyl records became collectors' items. The short story tells why!

SnipLits is free to join and if you love short fiction as much as I do this is a good site for purchasing short stories.  Great for listening in the car or while you're folding the laundry or mowing the yard.  Well worth the buck and change. Check it out! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


If you happen to have a near-mint copy of Satchmo Serenades somewhere in your pile of old albums it could be worth $60-100.  The catch, as always, is that near-mint caveat.  Satchmo Serenades,  DECCA (DL5401) 10-inch album, 1953

Louis Daniel Armstrong, jazz trumpeter great, died thirty years ago on this day.  He’s been a long time gone, but his influence lingers. 

Armstrong was a talented and relentless raconteur and for his biographers the task of separating truth from fiction has been a challenge.   But what is clearly known is that Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo, had a stage presence and a talent that won over vast audiences at a time when that was an almost insurmountable challenge for an African-American man.  Few could resist that all-over smile and the delight he seemed to take from performing.

Armstrong’s influence extended well beyond the jazz world.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his contribution as an early influence that filtered down through jazz to pop and ultimately to rock and roll.  As Armstrong himself put it: “ If it hadn’t been for jazz, there wouldn’t be no rock and roll.”

Like a country road, Armstrong’s gravelly voice can take you to some amazing places if you don’t mind a bit of a bumpy ride. And the recordings he left behind can still make you believe it is, indeed, a wonderful world.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Clarence "Big Man" Clemons-RIP

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live 1975-1985, 1986, Columbia
Set of 5 records, could bring $25-75 dollars in near mint condition.

I don’t know about you, but for me, a well-played saxophone can evoke emotions that come from some subterranean place in my psyche.   Mournful and filled with regret, or joyful to the point of jubilation, the saxophone is an emotion machine.

And nobody played the sax like the “Big Man” Clarence Clemons, who passed away this week.   It wasn’t just his stature (6’4”) that made Clemons a big man.   He played big, and he lived big.
He’s best known for his long-time collaboration with Bruce Springsteen in the E-Street Band, but he played with lots of artists over the years and recorded solo as well.

RIP, Big Man.

This song, featuring Clemons, is especially poignant now that he’s gone:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Sweet It Is...

Everything's Archie (Box)
KES-103 (DJ) Box with LP, photos buttons and a press kit (later Calendar/ KES became Kirshner)
In near mint condition this 1969 release may be worth $100-150

It’s the week after Easter and I’m suffering from a decided lack of willpower when faced with all the leftover candy the bunny left at my house. I know it’s bad for me, but I can’t stop thinking about how much I like Jelly Bellies. Just like I know some music is bad for me, which brings us to today’s subject: The Archies.

How can a band made up of cartoon characters be a good thing? I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve had their song “Sugar, Sugar,” stuck in my head all morning as I’ve tried to resist the empty calories that are tempting me at every turn. It irritates me so much I just want to bite the ears off a chocolate bunny.

This song was among the biggest hits in the sub-genre dubbed “bubblegum pop” of the late 60s and early 70s. The infectious song went to number one in the Billboard charts in 1969 and marks the only time a fictional band has made it to the top. Listen at your peril–it will bore into your brain and get stuck there until ALL the Peeps and Cadbury eggs are gone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Message Received

Single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid, Columbia, 1984. B-Side "Feed the World" Near mint--pristine--you might get up to $10 bucks for it.

There are times when I really WANT to love a song, but just can’t manage it. Intentions may be good, the message may be worthy and the musicianship may be top notch, still certain songs just fall flat.

The number one single on this day in the UK in 1984 was “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” a song written by Bob Geldorf and Midge Ure and performed by the many artists who contributed their time and talents to Band Aid, the proceeds going to bring relief to the famine-ravaged people of Ethiopia. Everything good--except the song. It’s not a very good song.

I’m bothered by that lyric “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” I’ve never found that kind of schadenfreude or hubris--or whatever it is that makes us think it’s okay to wish this on someone else to spare ourselves—to be an attitude to be encouraged.

This single isn't highly collectible since it sold 3.5 million in the UK alone. It remained the top-selling single there until Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diane “Candle in the Wind” displaced it in 1997.

When I hear the song now, I just try not to cringe and remember the purity of the intention to help those in need. I hope it made a BIG difference.

Maybe soon a new generation of musicians will band together to raise money for a worthy cause and a new Christmas song will be written—I have hope!