So I’m a big lover of great jams, but I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of the jams of the Grateful Dead. I think American Beauty is one of the great albums ever- and particularly love some of Jerry Garcia’s solo work with David Grisman’s- but I’ve found their extended workouts to be meandering and dull.
So what could change that? Why add members of the Allman Brothers and Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac and put them in the Fillmore East, of course!
Take a listen to Turn On Your Lovelight and enjoy one of the great guitar jams in history: Jerry Garcia, Duane Allman, and Peter Green are three of the great guitarists in American history and playing with each other pushes these men to dazzling new heights. (And leads me to wonder what might happen if Garcia had someone at that level in his own band pushing him in the way that Danny Kirwan pushed Green and Dickey Betts pushed Allman.) These guitarists play and compete and collaborate without ever stepping on each other’s toes, and effectively mix the laid back earthy style of Garcia with the fiery blues of Allman and the (by this point) otherworldly heavy rock of Green. (One of the forgotten greats who suffered a Syd Barrett-style fall from grace and should get his own Song of the Day sometime soon.)
The rest of the concert has some major highlights (Including another Allman cameo on the Dead standard, Dark Star), but that finale with everyone on stage is the real highlight.
Wow! So apparently when you take a metal band that recruits few bandmates from the local college orchestra, you get this concoction, a band that’s got all the changing time signatures of a Dream Theater, the horns of your local ska band, and a slight operatic touch for good measure. Naturally they are from Sweden.
This is the sort of experiment that could easily make for a real life Spinal Tap. Luckily, this 8 piece lineup is far too skilled to let this become cheesy schlock; they’re also just having too much fun, and you are as a result. A true blast for fans of symphonic metal.
Oh man we’re going back for this one. No, Flogging Molly is not that old, but they are one of the bands that, for me, fit a very specific time and mood in my own life. I remember finding this album at the most boring of places: a Borders in suburban Connecticut after spending months wondering what they were when I would see their shirts in Hot Topic. Yep I was one of those kids, though without the dog collars. You were cool in my high school if you knew who these guys were. Sure, most of these guys were from L.A. and some of their most famous songs were lifted from the Pogues. Still, Dublin-born veteran singer Dave King has one of the great world weary voices in rock, and his sincerity and passion never lets the band become a cheap schtick.
Happy Sunday everone!
The heavy metal world has relatively few women, and even fewer black women, which makes lead singer Skin a welcome outlier in the genre, and a welcome one at that.
Skin’s band, Skunk Anansie has been around for quite some time, and has been for a long time putting together a sound that is equal parts Iron Maiden and Sleater-Kinney. It’s distinctly British and often political. After a 9 year break, Skunk Anansie reunited in 2009, and released their latest album, Black Traffic, this past September.
Happy Friday everyone! Mr. Universe, yours truly, will be staying in tonight after a long week to enjoy Back to the Future and a good book. I’ve already talked up Norman, Oklahoma’s own John Fullbright a little bit, and urge you all to check him out. Tom Waits, Randy Newman, and Steve Earle all fused their DNA together to create this dude, and I have nothing but high hopes for where his career is going. Here’s hoping he comes back to the east coast soon, wins the Grammy for Best Americana Album for his studio debut From the Ground Up, and has a good, long run.
So in the new year I’m going to try to commit myself to a “Song of the Day” feature here at extracreditlifepoints.
Today’s song relates to what I’ve been teaching in my history class: Pete Seeger’s “John Brown’s Body.”
John Brown came to fame (and perhaps infamy) for his belief in racial equality, his willingness to use violence to back abolitionist efforts in Kansas, and most of all, his effort to provoke a slave uprising in the south, starting at the armory at Harper’s Ferry, VA. Brown was hated in the south and considered a traitor by many northerners, though he gradually became a hero to many, particularly slaves and black soldiers, who saw themselves as sharing something in common with a man willing to fight and die for the cause of ending slavery.
The song’s melody has its roots in the camp meetings of the 2nd Great Awakening, the Christian religious revival that spawned the abolitionist movement during the 1830 and helped create the modern definition of equality that we see today. This song’s first appearance is believed to have been in 1861, courtesy of the “Tiger” Battalion of Union soldiers in Massachusetts. Many believed the song to be crude on many levels (and perhaps felt more than a little uncomfortable when African Americans started singing it) and in 1862, Julia Ward Howe adapted the song into the Battle Hymn of the Republic that we know today.
And Hey! For kicks let’s pull a couple tracks here. From the great New Orleans singer, here’s John Boutte jazzy version of the Battle Hymn. http://www.last.fm/music/John+Boutt%C3%A9/_/Battle+Hymn+of+the+Republic
And in tribute to some of the great union battles of the past year, here’s Ralph Chaplin’s 1915 twist on the tune as performed by Utah Phillips.