Al Green

This funny alteration of a Walgreen’s sign is a good starting point to talk about Al Green. I prefer the earlier uptempo Al Green to the ballads that were the core of his success. “I’m So Tired of Being Alone” was the fifth single off Gets Next to You, his second Hi album (and my favorite of the ones I have heard). It became the blueprint for his later popular records. I’d rather listen to this album.

Summerteeth – Wilco

Wilco’s 1999 album Summerteeth will be reissued soon in a deluxe edition. I think this is a great album but it took me a while to get there. I had to get past my preconceptions about what kind of music Wilco should be making since they grew out of alt-country band Uncle Tupelo. This album has no connections at all with country music. None. It’s a very weary downbeat album. It reminds me of “I’m So Tired” by the Beatles. At least we now know what the album cover picture is about.

from the reissue

Trump keeps using music artists don’t want him to

Linkin Park is the latest artist to object to Trump using their music

Bob Dylan’s When I Paint My Masterpiece

In this interview with Bob Dylan published June 12, 2020, there is a discussion of his 1971 song “When I Paint My Masterpiece”.

Out of all your compositions, “When I Paint My Masterpiece” has grown on me over the years. What made you bring it back to the forefront of recent concerts?

It’s grown on me as well. I think this song has something to do with the classical world, something that’s out of reach. Someplace you’d like to be beyond your experience. Something that is so supreme and first rate that you could never come back down from the mountain. That you’ve achieved the unthinkable. That’s what the song tries to say, and you’d have to put it in that context. In saying that though, even if you do paint your masterpiece, what will you do then? Well, obviously you have to paint another masterpiece. So it could become some kind of never ending cycle, a trap of some kind. The song doesn’t say that though.”

I have always thought it was a great song and maybe his best song from the 1970s. The first version to be released was The Band’s on Cahoots (released 9/15/71). Dylan’s version was on Greatest Hits, Vol. II (released 11/17/71).

Here are the lyrics.

Dylan has changed them right from the beginning. The Band version has “a date with a pretty little girl from Greece”. Dylan’s version has “a date with Botticelli’s niece”. The live version by Dylan and the Band from December 1971 which is on the expanded Rock of Ages has the line as “pretty little girl from Greece”. This was after he had recorded it with “Botticelli’s niece”. The official lyrics have “Botticelli’s niece”. I saw him perform most recently in November 2019 and there were other changes. I don’t recall what they were but I didn’t think they were improvements.

There are covers, too.

This version at the 1992 Dylan tribute has “Greece”.
Her father, Levon Helm, sang the original version.

Neil Young again objects to Trump use of his music

Several musicians have wanted Trump to stop using their music but he doesn’t listen or care.

So does Steve Perry, formerly of Journey:

Rolling Stones threaten legal action against Trump

The Rolling Stones are so old that only Ron Wood is younger than Trump.

They are hardly the only musicians who have asked Trump to stop using their music. He just ignores them like the bills he gets from cities after his rallies.

Big Star

Big Star was one of the best bands of the 1970s. Unfortunately, many of us (including me) didn’t know about them because of record label distribution problems. I first became aware of them from an import CD in the 1980s.

Keep An Eye On The Sky is a four CD set from Rhino.

A Man Called Destruction is a fine book about Alex Chilton, the most prominent member of Big Star.

From Stax Records:

Jody Stephens, legendary drummer and CEO of Ardent Studios, spends 30 minutes with host, Tom DeSavia. Jody shares what he’s up to right now and reflects on early days with Memphis’ legendary rock band Big Star. From upcoming new music, to his appreciation of the recent Craft Big Star reissues, Jody’s grace and gratitude solidify his standing as the undisputed nicest guy in rock ‘n’ roll.

The show is here

TV’s influence on elections

Television has had a huge influence on elections starting with the Kennedy-Nixon debates. Kennedy obviously came across better on TV. Charisma and excellent public speaking helped Clinton and Obama win. We have elected a movie star (Reagan) and reality TV star (Trump).

This applies to music too. Most successful musicians are attractive. The exceptions are those who are obviously or deliberately unattractive like Meat Loaf or Alice Cooper. Because of video, you don’t see average looking folks become successful musicians.

I am discussing this because of Tom Nichols’s tweets.