September 10: Randy Newman released Good Old Boys in 1974
“To me, someone who writes really good songs is Randy Newman. There’s a lot of people who write good songs. As songs. Now Randy might not go out on stage and knock you out, or knock your socks off. And he’s not going to get people thrilled in the front row. He ain’t gonna do that. But he’s gonna write a better song than most people who can do it.
You know, he’s got that down to an art. Now Randy knows music. He knows music But it doesn’t get any better than “Louisiana” or “Cross Charleston Bay” [“Sail Away”]. It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s like a classically heroic anthem theme. He did it. There’s quite a few people who did it. Not that many people in Randy’s class.”
– Bob Dylan (1991)
Good Old Boys is the fifth album by Randy Newman, released 10 September 1974 on Reprise Records. It peaked at #36 on the Billboard 200, Newman’s first album to obtain major commercial success. The premiere live performance of the album took place on October 5, 1974, at the Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia, with guest Ry Cooder and Newman conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
This is one of the best records about “The South” that has ever been made. Randy Newman is cruel but, oh, so witty.
Mark Demming (Allmusic.com): “ The album’s scabrous opening cut, “Rednecks,” is guaranteed to offend practically anyone with its tale of a slow-witted, willfully (and proudly) ignorant Southerner obsessed with “keeping the n—–s down.” “A Wedding in Cherokee County” is more polite but hardly less mean-spirited, in which an impotent hick marries a circus freak; if the song’s melody and arrangement weren’t so skillful, it would be hard to imagine anyone bothering with this musical geek show. … Good Old Boys is one of Newman’s finest albums; it’s also one of his most provocative and infuriating, and that’s probably just the way he wanted it. “
Live 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert is a two-disc live album by Bob Dylan, released in 1998. It was recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall during Dylan’s world tour in 1966. Extensively bootlegged for decades, it is an important document in the development of popular music during the 1960s.
Dont Look Back is a 1967 film by D.A. Pennebaker that covers Bob Dylan’s 1965 concert tour in the United Kingdom.In 1998, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Wanting to make more than just a concert film, Pennebaker decided to seek out both the public and private Bob Dylan. With unobtrusive equipment and rare access to the elusive performer, he achieved a fly-on-the-wall glimpse of one of the most influential musicians of all time and redefined filmmaking along the way. …and it is funny!
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks (born May 17, 1942),who uses the stage nameTaj Mahal,is an American Grammy Award winning blues musician. He incorporates elements of world music into his music. A self-taught singer-songwriter and film composer who plays the guitar, banjo and harmonica (among many other instruments),Mahal has done much to reshape the definition and scope of blues music over the course of his almost 50 year career by fusing it with nontraditional forms, including sounds from the Caribbean, Africa and the South Pacific.
Johnny “Guitar” Watson (February 3, 1935 – May 17, 1996)was an American blues and funk guitarist and singer.A flamboyant showman and guitar picker in the style of T-Bone Walker, Watson recorded throughout the 1950s and 1960s with some success. His raunchy reinvention in the 1970s with disco and funk overtones, saw Watson have hits with “Ain’t That a Bitch”, “I Need It” and “Superman Lover”. His successful recording career spanned forty years, with his biggest hit being the 1977 “A Real Mother For Ya”.
James Ridout “Jesse” Winchester (May 17, 1944 – April 11, 2014)was an American musician and songwriter who was born and raised in the southern United States. To avoid the Vietnam War draft he moved to Canada in 1967, where he began his career as a solo artist. His highest charting recordings were of his own tunes, “Yankee Lady” in 1970 and “Say What” in 1981. He became a Canadian citizen in 1973, gained amnesty in the U.S. in 1977 and resettled there in 2002.
Wave is an album by the Patti Smith Group, released May 17, 1979The title track was a tribute to Pope John Paul I, whose brief papacy coincided with the recording sessions. The first single off the album was “Frederick”, a love song for her husband-to-be Fred “Sonic” Smith with a melody and structure bearing resemblance to “Because the Night”, the group’s biggest hit. The second single, “Dancing Barefoot”, has been covered by many art
Ram is a studio album by recording artists Paul and Linda McCartney, released 17 May 1971 on Apple Records.The album was recorded amid Paul McCartney’s legal action in Britain’s High Court to dissolvethe Beatles‘ partnership, following their break-up the year before. The only album credited to the couple, Ram was the second of two albums that McCartney released between quitting the Beatles and forming his own band, Wings. He and Linda recorded it in New York with guitarists David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken, and future Wings drummer Denny Seiwell. Its release coincided with a period of bitter acrimony between McCartney and his former bandmate John Lennon, who perceived verbal slights in the lyrics to songs such as “Too Many People“.
Sam John Hopkins (March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982), better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins, was an American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist, fromHouston, Texas. Rolling Stone magazine included Hopkins at number 71 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick opined that Hopkins “is the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act”
I came to Lightnin’ Hopkins through Townes Van Zandt and Justin Townes Earle (I guess he discovered him through Townes as well…). I was expecting something ancient, something old, but Hopkins sounds modern and his guitar playing is just out of this world!
Sometimes music hit you so hard you simply do not know what happened, Justin Townes Earle did just that when he covered the relatively unknown song, hell, he ripped through a rousing version of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ My starter won’t start (I been burnin bad gasoline). And suddenly I understood what/why Hopkins was held in as high a regard as he does! It was pure magic! (see own post)
“I remember early on listening — I mean, when I was 10, 11, 12 years old — listening to guitar-based records or records that were instrumentally showing off, and thinking, ‘Man, why aren’t the songs any better? Why are these guys all singing really bad lyrics? I appreciate the guitar playing, but God! I don’t want to have to put up with that. It’d be nice if I could write some really good songs and still play guitar like that.’ “
– Jason Isbell (interview with Nashville Scene)
Jason Isbell – Full Performance (Live on KEXP, Sep. 2013):
“That man I shot, I didn’t know him I was just doing my job, maybe so was he”
Brighter Than Creation’s Dark is the seventh studio album released by Drive-By Truckers. It was released on January 22, 2008 in the United States. Recorded during and after the acoustic Dirt Underneath Tour, the album features a more stripped down, and country based sound not seen since their sophomore releasePizza Deliverance.
A Ghost to Most (official video):
The album’s title is taken from a line in a Mike Cooley song entitled “Checkout Time in Vegas”. Wes Freed once again provided the album artwork. According to guitarist Patterson Hood, the band’s decision on the name of the album was greatly influenced by the Freed’s artwork. Hood also said that the album was recorded with much ease and did not require compromises.