Tag Archives: The Beatles

Today: Bessie Smith passed away in 1937 – 75 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Born April 15, 1894
Chattanooga, Tennessee,United States
Died September 26, 1937 (aged 43)
Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Genres Blues, Jazz
Occupations Singer, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1912–1937
Labels Columbia
Associated acts Ma RaineyAlberta Hunter,Ethel Waters

Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer.

Nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.

She scored a big hit with her first release, a coupling of “Gulf Coast Blues” and “Downhearted Blues“, which its composer Alberta Hunter had already turned into a hit on the Paramount label. Smith became a headliner on the black T.O.B.A. circuit and rose to become its top attraction in the 1920s. Working a heavy theater schedule during the winter months and doing tent tours the rest of the year (eventually traveling in her own railroad car), Smith became the highest-paid black entertainer of her day. Columbia nicknamed her “Queen of the Blues,” but a PR-minded press soon upgraded her title to “Empress”.

Smith was gifted with a powerfully strong voice that recorded very well from her first record, made during the time when recordings were made acoustically. With the coming of electrical recording (circa 1925), the sheer power of her voice was even more evident.

She made 160 recordings for Columbia, often accompanied by the finest musicians of the day, most notably Louis ArmstrongColeman HawkinsFletcher HendersonJames P. JohnsonJoe Smith, and Charlie Green.

Selective awards and recognitions:

Grammy Hall of Fame
Recordings of Bessie Smith were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. This special Grammy Award was established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have “qualitative or historical significance.”

Bessie Smith: Grammy Hall of Fame Award
Year Recorded Title Genre Label Year Inducted
1923 Downhearted Blues Blues (Single) Columbia 2006
1925 St. Louis Blues Jazz (Single) Columbia 1993
1928 “Empty Bed Blues” Blues (Single) Columbia 1983

National Recording Registry

In 2002 Smith’s recording of the single, “Downhearted Blues“, was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. The board selects songs on an annual basis that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

“Downhearted Blues” was included in the list of Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts in 2001. It is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock ‘n’ roll.

Inductions

Year Inducted Category Notes
2008 Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC
1989 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “Early influences”
1981 Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame
1980 Blues Hall of Fame

St. Louis Blues (1929):

Baby Won’t You Please Come Home (1923):

Album of the day – The Essential Bessie Smith (1997):

Other September 25:

Continue reading Today: Bessie Smith passed away in 1937 – 75 years ago

Today: Gram Parsons passed away in 1973 – 39 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Ingram Cecil Connor III
Born November 5, 1946
Winter Haven, Florida
Origin Waycross, Georgia
Died September 19, 1973 (aged 26)
Joshua Tree, California
Genres Country, country rock, rock
Occupations Singer-songwriter, guitarist,pianist
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, organ
Years active 1963–1973
Labels Reprise, A&M
Associated acts International Submarine Band
The Byrds
The Flying Burrito Brothers
Emmylou Harris
Website gramparsons.com

Gram Parsons (November 5, 1946 – September 19, 1973) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called “Cosmic American Music”. Besides recording as a solo artist, he also worked in several notable bands, including the International Submarine BandThe Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers. His career, though short, is described by Allmusic as “enormously influential” for both country and rock, “blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other.”

Born in 1946, Parsons emerged from a wealthy but troubled childhood to attend Harvard University. He founded the International Submarine Band in 1966, and after several months of delay their debut, Safe at Home, was released in 1968, by which time the group had disbanded. Parsons joined The Byrds in early 1968, and played a pivotal role in the making of the seminal Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.

After leaving the group in late 1968, Parsons and fellow Byrd Chris Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1969, releasing their debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin, the same year. The album was well received but failed commercially; after a sloppy cross-country tour, they hastily recorded Burrito Deluxe. Parsons was fired from the band before its release in early 1970. He soon signed with A&M Records, but after several unproductive sessions he canceled his intended solo debut in early 1971. Parsons moved to France, where he lived for a short period at Villa Nellcôte with his friend Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.

Returning to America, Parsons befriended Emmylou Harris, who assisted him on vocals for his first solo record, GP, released in 1973. Although it received enthusiastic reviews, the release failed to chart; his next album, Grievous Angel (released posthumously in 1974) met with a similar reception, and peaked at number 195 on Billboard. Parsons died of a drug overdose on September 19, 1973 in hotel room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn at Joshua Tree, California, at the age of 26.

Since his death, Parsons has been recognized as an extremely influential artist, credited with helping to found both country rock and alt-country. His posthumous honors include the Americana Music Association “President’s Award” for 2003, and a ranking at No. 87 on Rolling Stones list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic describes Parsons as “enormously influential” for both country and rock, “blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other. … His influence could still be heard well into the next millennium.”

In his essay on Parsons for Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Artist” list, Keith Richards notes that Parsons’ recorded music output was “pretty minimal.” But nevertheless, Richards claims that Parsons “effect on country music is enormous[, t]his is why we’re talking about him now.”

The Flyin Burrito Brothers – Chritina’s Tune:

Gram & Emmylou – Streets of Baltimore (Bad quality, but GREAT stuff!!):

A Great documentary about Gram from BBC – “Fallen Angel”:

Album of the day – Grievous Angel (1974):

Other September 19:

Continue reading Today: Gram Parsons passed away in 1973 – 39 years ago

Today: Elvis Presley released “Suspicious Minds” in 1969 – 43 years ago

OLD post … You’re being redirected to a newer version……

This is my fav Elvis song (although not this version) together with “Mystery Train”.

From Wikipedia:

B-side You’ll Think Of Me
Released August 26, 1969
Format 45 rpm record
Recorded January 23, 1969
Genre Soul, pop
Length 4:22 (3:28)
Label RCA
Writer(s) Mark James
Producer Chips Moman and Felton Jarvis

Suspicious Minds” is a song written by American songwriter Mark James. After James’ recording failed commercially, the song was handed to Elvis Presley by producer Chips Moman, becoming a number one song in 1969, and one of the most notable hits of Presley’s career. “Suspicious Minds” was widely regarded as the single that returned Presley’s career success, following ’68 Comeback Special. It was his seventeenth and last number-one single in the United States. Rolling Stone later ranked it #91 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Background

Elvis Presley’s recordings in American Sound Studio were a direct consequence to ’68 Comeback Special, that interested Chips Moman in produce recordings to the new style of Presley, making his comeback to the Memphis musical scene, by recording rock,gospel, country, rhythm & blues and soul. George Klein, local Memphis dj & close friend of Elvis’ suggested he record at the studio.

American Sound Studio session

“Suspicious Minds” was a product of January 23, 1969 session, that took place between 4 am and 7 am. It took eight takes to produce the final song that was later overdubbed by Presley the same night. Also in the same were recorded “I’ll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)”, “Without Love (There Is Nothing)”, and “I’ll Be There”. on August 7, was again overdubbed to stereo and mono in Las Vegas, where the final master was produced. The song is noted for its change of Rhythm, in the Bridge section, from 4/4 to a slower 6/8 and back again to the faster 4/4 rhythm. The first verse repeats over and over again, until it completely fades out, it features a bass guitar, organ, strings, trumpets, trombones, and drums. Session producer Felton Jarvis made the unusual decision to add a premature fade-out to the song starting at 3:36, mirroring the way Presley used to perform it in his live Las Vegas stage act. The fadeout lasts for about 15 seconds before fading back in, conveying a message of relationship in the song. Future Grateful Dead vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux sang backing vocals on the track.

Best version:

Released version:

Elvis Presley Suspicious Minds Live That’s The Way It Is 1970

Live 1973 – Aloha Hawaii:

Album of the day – Suspicious Minds: The Memphis 1969 Anthology (1999):

Other August 26:

Continue reading Today: Elvis Presley released “Suspicious Minds” in 1969 – 43 years ago

Today: The late Sara Carter was born in 1898 – 114 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Sara Carter (July 21, 1898 – January 8, 1979) was an American Country music musician. Known for her deep and distinctive singing voice, she was the lead singer on most of the recordings of the historic Carter Family act in the 1920s and 1930s.

The Carter Family:

The Carter Family was a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, Southern Gospel, pop and rock musicians as well as on the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars. Their recordings of such songs as “Wabash Cannonball“, “Can the Circle Be Unbroken“, “Wildwood Flower” and “Keep On the Sunny Side” made them country standards.

The original group consisted of Alvin Pleasant “A.P.” Delaney Carter (1891–1960), his wife Sara Dougherty Carter (1898–1979), and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter (1909–1978). Maybelle was married to A.P.’s brother Ezra (Eck) Carter and was also Sara’s first cousin. All three were born and raised in southwestern Virginia, where they were immersed in the tight harmonies of mountain gospel music and shape note singing.

Throughout the group’s career, Sara Carter sang lead vocals; Maybelle sang harmony and accompanied the group instrumentally; on some songs A.P. did not perform at all but at times sang harmony and background vocals and once in a while, lead vocal. Maybelle’s distinctive guitar playing style became a hallmark of the group.

Legacy:

  • The Carter Family was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970 and were given the nickname “The First Family of Country Music”.
  •  In 1988, the Carter Family was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and received its Award for the song “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”.
  • In 1993, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp honoring A.P., Sara, and Maybelle.
  • In 2001, the group was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.
  • In 2005, the group received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mother Maybelle & Sara Carter – While The Band Plays Dixie:

Album of the day:

 

Other July-21:

Continue reading Today: The late Sara Carter was born in 1898 – 114 years ago

Today: Bob Dylan’s album: “Saved” was released in 1980 – 32 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Saved is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan‘s 20th studio album, released by Columbia Records in June 1980.

Saved was the second album of Dylan’s “Christian trilogy,” following his conversion to born-again Christianity. It expanded on themes explored on its predecessor, Slow Train Coming, with gospel arrangements and lyrics extolling the importance of a strong personal faith. Many critics dismissed Saved as dogmatic or bombastic. The album hit #3 on the UK charts, but managed to reach only to #24 on the US charts and did not go gold.

The replaced cover for ‘Saved’:

Released June 23, 1980
Recorded February 11–15, 1980
Genre Rock, gospel
Length 42:39
Label Columbia
Producer Jerry WexlerBarry Beckett

5 best songs from the album:

  1. In The Garden
  2. Solid Rock
  3. Are You Ready?
  4. Saved
  5. Pressing On

Clip from the Toronto concert in 1980 – Saved:

Album of the day:

Other June-23:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan’s album: “Saved” was released in 1980 – 32 years ago