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30 Best live albums countdown: 19 – Live at Carnegie Hall by Bill Withers

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Bill Withers is not underrated by people who know about him and who recognizes his music, but he is unknown and criminally overlooked by the general public. He is in fact one of the greatest singer/songwriters in music history. He is soulful, but his music is not constrained to the soul genre. He writes good songs and he is a marvelous performer.

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Bill Withers became a part of the L.A. music scene in the late 60s after a period in the Navy. While he was assembling airplane toilets for Boeing he was signed to the Sussex music label (in 1970) and had instant success with his first album, Just As I Am, and the acoustic ballad, Ain’t No Sunshine. Bill Withers had more in common with the singer/songwriters than with the rising disco/soul, even though there’s a strong groove in his songs, sometimes even a funky rhythm. His second release, 1972’s Still Bill, became a career high point, it contained songs like Use Me and Lean On Me, big hits both of them. The album cemented his position in music history.

In 1972 he also recorded the fantastic live album, Live at Carnegie Hall (released 1973). Nowhere is his narrative prowess and powerful vocal style more clear. This is number 19 on my list of the best live albums of all time.

The opener is a slow version of Use Me that Bill Withers turns into a seductive almost nine minute jam.

Use Me (Soul Train, 197?), not nearly as good as the Carnegie Hall version, but very good anyway:

The album also has the definitive version of Ain’t no Sunshine, a faster more jazzy interpretation than usual.

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There are many great songs on the album, but the real masterpiece is Grandma’s Hands and especially Bill Wither’s long intro, he is reminiscing about his grandmother playing tambourine in the church. We hear him describe the dancing and preaching at the church, his grandmother banging on the tambourine in joy, it’s an incredible story. He then launches into a heartfelt version of the song which, again, bests the original by miles. After hearing this version and his strong introduction, you will experience the song in new and deeper way.

Grandma’s Hands (audio with slide show):

“Grandma them had one a them churches where they sung “If you wanna help me Jesus, it’s alright. If you wanna help me Jesus, it’s alright”. And at the funeral they used to have to tie the caskets down! Yeah. Yeah.” – Bill Withers from the introduction

Allmusic (Steven McDonald):
A wonderful live album that capitalizes on Withers’ trademark melancholy soul sound while expanding the music to fit the room granted by a live show. Lovely versions of “Grandma’s Hands” and “Lean on Me” are balanced by heartfelt downbeat numbers like “Better Off Dead” and “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” the latter being an anti-war song with a chilling message. The set finishes off with the lengthy “Harlem/Cold Baloney,” with lots of audience-pleased call-and-response going on. One of the best live releases from the ’70s.
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Jeff Buckley – Everybody Here Wants You full length documentary and full concert

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“He quite clearly had his feet on the ground and his head and his imagination was flying way, way out there, beyond, beyond.”
– Jimmy Page

I remember when I first heard Jeff Buckley at a record store, I bought Grace that day. After that I’ve gotten everything that was released by him.

This 2002 documentary, revisits the short life and times of the young artist. The movie has stories and testimonies from Jimmy Page, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde and many more of the people who were close to Jeff Buckley. It tells the story of  his early work as a guitarist in Los Angeles and his emergence as a singer and songwriter in New York.  There are 4 or 5 Jeff Buckley docus out there, but this is my favorite.

Everybody Here Wants You (documentary):

I’ve included a full set from Frankfurt in 1992, great quality, intense concert (as expected):

Setlist Jeff Buckley live in Sudbahnhof the 24/02/1995

01 – 00:03 – Chocolate
02 – 05:20 – Mojo Pin
03 – 12:15 – Band introduction
04 – 12:56 – So real
05 – 19:10 – Last Goodbye
06 – 24:00 – Jeff speaking
07 – 24:37 – What will you say (first time ever sung)
08 – 32:30 – Jeff speaking
09 – 33:47 – Lilac Wine (incredible version)
10 – 40:35 – Jeff speaking
11 – 42:05 – Grace

Enjoy!

– Hallgeir

Today: it is 16 years since Jeff Buckely died

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“He really wasn’t built for the strand of rock music borne of rebellion or release; he was a songbird…”
– Dominique Leone (Pitchfork)

Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of Jeff Buckley’s tragic drowning in the Wolf River. Jeff Buckley was a man who shunned celebrity, he had spent two years touring in support ofGrace, before recording what he intended be his next album, My Sweetheart the Drunk.

He never got to see its release. In 1997, while re-recording a few songs, Jeff Buckley drowned after going for a swim. It was was ruled an accidental drowning.

It was posthumously released under the name Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk after Buckley’s mother asked for a title change because of the unfinished state of  the songs.

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“Jeff Buckley was a pure drop in an ocean of noise.”
– Bono

Jeffrey Scott “Jeff” Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997), raised as Scotty Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was the son of Tim Buckley, also a musician. After a decade as a guitarist-for-hire in Los Angeles, Buckley amassed a following in the early 1990s by playing cover songs at venues in Manhattan’s East Village, such as Sin-é, gradually focusing more on his own material. After rebuffing much interest from record labelsand his father’s manager Herb Cohen, he signed with Columbia, recruited a band, and recorded what would be his only studio album, Grace. (wikipedia)

Documentary from Columbia Records on the making of Grace:

Awards and nominations

  • MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best New Artist in a Video for “Last Goodbye”, 1995.
  • Rolling Stone magazine nomination for Best New Artist, 1995.
  • In 2006, Mojo named Grace the #1 Modern Rock Classic of all Time. It was also rated as Australia’s second favorite album on My Favourite Album, a television special aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on December 3, 2006.
  • Grammy Award nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Everybody Here Wants You”, 1998.
  • Grace was ranked #303 of the 500 Greatest Albums by Rolling Stone in 2003.
  • Buckley’s cover of “Hallelujah” was ranked #259 of the 500 Greatest Songs by Rolling Stone in 2004.
  • Rolling Stone ranked Buckley #39 in its 2008 list: The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) – Jeff Buckley:

The Album of the day is of course Grace:

Other May-29:

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Video of the day: Charles Bradley performs Love Bug Blues

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Charles Bradley performs “Love Bug Blues” in Studio Q.

It is our great pleasure to present you with the last of Charles Bradley’s performances in Studio Q. Here is the Screaming Eagle of Soul singing “Love Bug Blues” from his record “Victim of Love”. (Qtv on Youtube)

A fine performance!

Love Bug Blues:

– Hallgeir

Today: John Fogerty is 68 – Happy Birthday

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I’ve always felt that with true talent, and a commitment to hard work, it is possible to achieve an enduring respect and appreciation. In other words, I don’t take my fans for granted.
– John Fogerty

John Cameron Fogerty was born May 28, 1945. He is a songwriter, and guitarist, best known for his time with the swamp rock/roots rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) and as a #1 solo recording artist.

Mystic Highway (Letterman, May 2013) – John Fogerty:

 Fogerty has a rare distinction of being named on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists at #40 and the list of 100 Greatest Singers at #72. The songs “Proud Mary” and “Born on the Bayou” also rank amongst the Greatest Pop songs (“Proud Mary,” #41) and Guitar songs (“Born on the Bayou,” #53).

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Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music is still a staple of American and worldwide radio airplay and often figures in various media. The band has sold 26 million albums in the United States alone. Creedence Clearwater Revival was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. They were ranked at 82 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest artists of all time.

Someday Never Comes (Letterman, May 2013) – John Fogerty and The Dawes:

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Album of the day @ JV is his marvelous comeback album from 1985, Centerfield:

Allmusic:

Since Fogerty always romanticized a past he never lived, these sepia tones suit him but it also helps that he’s written a clutch of terrific songs: that giddy ode to his beloved game, the equally sunny rocker “Rock and Roll Girls,” the snappy Sun tribute “Big Train from Memphis,” the gently swaying “I Saw It on TV,” the rip-roaring “I Can’t Help Myself” (only slightly undone by its hyper-active drum programming) and, of course, “The Old Man Down the Road,” a callback to CCR’s spooky swamp rock so successful that Saul Zaentz, the then-president of Fogerty’s former label Fantasy, sued John for plagiarizing himself.

A great artist, a great rock guitarist and singer,
Happy birthday John Fogerty!

 

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