Leon Russell, Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop & Friends

And So We Get Started...

This blog is about music...many genres of music, as it happens, though I'm not predisposed to country nor rap. I'm a bit old-school, but you'll find my tastes are all over the place—from John Coltrane to Hoyt Axton, Roy Orbison to Vivaldi, Diana Krall to Blue Oyster Cult.

That's not to say that I don't appreciate an occasional offering from an Alan Jackson or a M.C. Hammer (like I said, I'm a bit old school), but don't expect to learn anything about the latest alt rock by reading any of this. Once in a while I may let my fondness for some group like Porcupine Tree, the Doves, or Durutti Column be known, but unless I get tipped off by (the best thing to happen to Internet radio), or by my daughter, Brooke, I don't spend much time chasing that down. Sorry. There are only so many hours in the day in which to listen.

Rather, I'm writing this blog to hopefully broaden your own audio spectrum: to perhaps turn you on to some obscure piece of music that's really going to do it for you. Like anything recorded by Yulara. But I'm getting way ahead of myself.

Along the way, I intend to provide you with some historical background—as much as I care to, that is. For example, that the record companies originally told George Benson to, as the title of an unrelated Frank Zappa recording attests, Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar. They believed that no one would ever want to hear poor George sing and, thankfully, they were very wrong.

(Though you've probably heard George's rendition of The Drifters' On Broadway by now, check out his version of Leon Russell's This Masquerade. And now that I've mentioned Leon, were you aware that it was he who penned This Diamond Ring, a big Top 40 hit for Gary Lewis & the Playboys? And yes, Gary is the son of Jerry Lewis, the goonier half [?!] of the Martin & Lewis comedy team. It turns out that, way before Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs & Englishmen, ol' Leon was a L.A. studio musician playing with the likes of some guy by the name of Glen Campbell.)

See? That's the kind of historical stuff I'm going to be weaving through this blog. Along with ideas for some really cool segues (track mixing) you probably wouldn't have ever considered. We'll talk about gear, from semi-audiophile stuff all the way down to the smallest flash-based MP3 players—though it is not my intention to compete with the likes of Sound and Vision magazine or Engadget.

And I'll relate some personal stories, such as going on a school-sanctioned field trip to see/hear Cream the first time they played Detroit in 1967. Or having Iggy Pop (aka Iggy Stooge) lick my Kodak camera lens. Or catching an early Grand Funk Railroad (subsequently forced to shorten their name to Grand Funk) at an outdoor summer festival at Mt. Holly (near Flint, MI).

But wait! Did someone mention the blues? And jazz? Zydeco? Ambient/trance/acid jazz, et al.? And a whole lot of other stuff? Writing this on a PC holding well over 27,000 processed tracks stashed on 1TB RAID5 disk array (and easily twice that many that have yet to be "processed"), I think I've got the subject covered, though I know of a couple of guys whose collections dwarf mine.

Happy listening!