Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Song:I Can See Clearly Now
Album:The Best Of Johnny Nash
Singer songwriter Johnny Nash is considered to be one of key figures to bring Jamaican music to the masses with his 1972 hit I Can See Clearly Now. But though Nash had recorded in Jamaica with Jamaican musicians, he was born Aug. 19, 1940 in Houston. He grew up singing in church and at age 16, he became a regular on The Arthur Godfrey Show. Nash signed with ABC-Paramount Records and his 1958 single The Ten Commandments with Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV was a top 30 hit. But ABC-Paramount's attempt to turn Nash into a Johnny Mathis clone didn't work out. Burt Lancaster saw Nash on the Godfrey show and cast him in the 1959 film Take A Giant Step. Nash also starred with Jeffrey Hunter and Dennis Hopper in the 1960 film Key Witness. By the mid-60s, Nash returned to music and started recording in Jamaica with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. Hold Me Tight reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. This was on Nash's own label JAD Records. After the label closed, Nash signed with Epic Records and returned to Jamaica where he met Bob Marley. Marley gave Nash Stir It Up and it reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. I Can See Clearly Now was the next single and it topped the charts worldwide. Nash wrote the song and recorded it in London with the British reggae group The Fabulous Five. He was living in England at the time. It was his biggest hit and you can get it on this budget comp. Jimmy Cliff scored a top 20 hit when he recorded I Can See Clearly Now for the 1993 film Cool Runnings. Johnny Nash has never had another hit and he last recorded in 1986. In recent years, he has been working on transferring his analog recordings to digital. Here is Johnny Nash performing I Can See Clearly Now on The Midnight Special 1973.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Song:Can't We Be Friends
DVD:You're Invited To Spend the Afternoon at The Frank Sinatra Show
Though I don't believe that Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald ever recorded together, they did perform together on TV several times including this very charming performance of the old chestnut Can't We Be Friends complete with special lyrics. It is from a 1959 episode of The Frank Sinatra Show. And the great thing is you can get this episode in its entirety on DVD. Can't We Be Friends was written by the husband and wife team of Paul James and Kay Swift for the 1929 musical revue The Little Show. James was banker James Paul Warburg but Kay Swift was the first woman to score a musical with Fine And Dandy in 1930. Among those who recorded the song back then were Bing Crosby, Red Nichols and Ray Noble. Sinatra recorded it on his 1955 album In The Wee Small Hours arranged by Nelson Riddle. Ella recorded it with Louis Armstrong on the 1956 album Ella and Louis accompanied by The Oscar Peterson Quartet. Nelson Riddle was the orchestra leader on Sinatra's ABC variety show. So obviously they thought it would be a cute song for the two to perform. The show was recorded on Dec. 10, 1959 on a rainy day in Palm Springs. Other guests on this episode were Peter Lawford, The Hi-Los, Hermoine Gingold, Red Norvo and Sinatra's girlfriend at the time Juliet Prowse. They had just finished filming Can-Can. This episode is available on DVD complete with Timex commercials. On Amazon, search for The Frank Sinatra Show with Ella Fitzgerald. This clip is also available on a couple of other DVDs. But I like watching it within the context of the whole show. Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald performed together occasionally on TV in the 60s. But the first time is always the best. Here's Frank Sinatra & Ella Fitzgerald performing Can't We Be Friends on The Frank Sinatra Show Dec. 10, 1959.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Here's the video of Sara Mcmann vs Sheila Gaff from last night's UFC show in Newark, New Jersey, eyepoke capital of the world. Sara was the favourite as she should be. Sheila's chance to win was to avoid Sara's wrestling. Sara tends not to be aggressive so that can be done. I told someone that Sheila will either KO Sara or get in trouble trying to KO Sara. The latter is what happened. Sometimes a fighter has to adjust her style to the opponent. I don't know what made Sheila think she could rush out and get a quick KO. That's the opposite to what she should have done. What she should have done was get Sara comfortable standing with her and then get more aggressive. So Sheila got taken down. And though she defended well and Sara didn't do anything, it gave Sara the confidence that she could take Sheila down and control her. The ref stood them up. Though Sheila landed a couple of knees in the clinch, she needed to separate and avoid the inevitable takedown. This time Sara got side control and started pounding and it was just a question of if Sheila could survive the round. Sara McMann wins by TKO at 4:44 of round one. She won the fight easily but she still wasn't aggressive enough. She used Sheila's aggression against her. That approach isn't going to work all the time especially against a smart fighter who understands her approach. Sheila Gaff is not a smart fighter. Enjoy the video!
Album:The Winding Shell
Pianist Jesse Elder is currently a fixture on the New York jazz scene. He plays various clubs five nights a week and he is also a bandleader and sideman. Elder studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin Conservatory and New School University. He has won the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers competition four times and performed at the 2011 ASCAP award ceremony at Lincoln Center. He has toured with Fishbone lead singer Angelo Moore and played on records by Billy Hart, Marcus Belgrave and Lonnie Plaxico. But mostly he plays New York clubs like Jazz Standard and Barge Music with his various bands. The Winding Shell was released in 2009 on the Belgian label Off Records. There are four, count 'em, four sax players on this CD. They are Logan Richardson, Gary Thomas, Chris Cheek and Jeremy Viner. Thomas has been around since the 80s and has played with Miles Davis and Jack DeJohnette. Cheek plays on a lot of sessions. Richardson and Viner are young guys. Chris Tordini plays bass and Tyshawn Sorey is on drums. He is a member of Dave Douglas & Nomad. Elder also plays a suite of twin piano compositions with Japanese composer Aya Nishina. To date this is the only CD Elder has released under his own name. But he also leads the bands 1in2 with violinist Blanca Cecilia and Foldersnacks. Both bands have released CDs. He has also played on CDs by Scott Tixier, Sara Elizabeth Charles and Jason Consolacion and is working on upcoming CDs by Matt Parker, Tony Middleton and Melody Sweets and the Candy Shop Boys. Jesse Elder will be of interest to progressive jazz fans. Here's Jesse Elder performing Solar Plexus at Barge Music Apr. 9, 2009.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Song:Chapel Of Love
Album:The Complete Red Bird Recordings
Chapel Of Love was a number one hit in 1964 for the girl group The Dixie Cups. They had a few other hits especially Iko Iko but Chapel Of Love was their most memorable song. The Dixie Cups were from New Orleans with sisters Barbara Ann and Rosa Lee Hawkins and cousin Joan Marie Johnson. At first they were called The Meltones. They were discovered by Joe Jones who had a hit in 1960 with You Talk Too Much. He changed the group name to Little Miss and the Muffets and took them to New York to get them a record deal. Chapel Of Love was written for The Ronettes by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. Spector had The Ronettes, The Crystals and Darlene Love record the song. He didn't like any of the recordings and didn't release them. Meanwhile, Ellie liked this new girl group from New Orleans and changed their name to The Dixie Cups. She had them rehearse Chapel Of Love and then audition for Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller for their new label Red Bird Records. Supposedly Lieber hated Chapel Of Love but Ellie Greenwich was very persistent that it would be a hit. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. The Dixie Cups also had a top 20 hit in 1965 with Iko Iko. You can get all their Red Bird hits on this Varese CD. The Dixie Cups left Red Bird for ABC-Paramount in 1966 but were unsuccessful. They moved back to New Orleans in 1969. The Hawkins sisters both became makeup artists but they continued The Dixie Cups. Joan Johnson found religion and was replaced by Dale Mickle. The Hawkins sisters moved to Florida after Hurricane Katrina. The Dixie Cups still tour the oldies circuit. Athelgra Neville is currently the third member. They were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Here are The Dixie Cups performing Chapel Of Love on Hollywood-A-Go-Go Dec. 1965.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Organist Shirley Scott was one of the few female jazz musicians recording as a leader in the 50s and 60s. She was known as Queen of the Organ. Her recordings on Prestige Records are particularly good. She was born Mar. 14, 1934 in Philadelphia. She played piano and trumpet but turned to the Hammond organ because she was a big Jimmy Smith fan. Shirley first was noticed playing in tenor sax legend Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis' band starting in 1957. Davis recorded for Prestige and label owner Bob Weinstock thought she would make a great solo artist. The organ was a very popular jazz instrument at the time and a woman leader was very unusual. Her first album Great Scott was released in 1958 and was recorded with George Duvivier on bass and Arthur Edgehill on drums. By 1960, Shirley left the Davis band to go solo. This version of the Sonny Rollins song Blue Seven was recorded in 1961 and released in 1965. That kind of delayed release was normal at jazz labels. They would stockpile recordings and space out the release. Musicians are Oliver Nelson on tenor sax, Joe Newman on trumpet, George Tucker on bass and Roy Brooks on drums. This album was released on CD in 2000 as part of the Original Jazz Classics series with a bonus track. It is available as a budget CD. Shirley married tenor sax legend Stanley Turrentine in 1960. They toured together and occasionally played on each other's albums. Shirley left Prestige in 1963 and recorded for Impulse!, Atlantic and Cadet. By the mid-70s, her recording career ended and Shirley turned to teaching. She was always a big part of the Philadelphia jazz scene. Shirley returned in the late 80s and recorded for Muse and a couple of piano albums for Candid. Shirley Scott won an $8M settlement after it was learned the diet drug phen-fen caused cardiac problems. She died on Mar. 10, 2002 at age 67. Here's a video for Blue Seven by Shirley Scott.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Today's edition of Big Bad Blog Video Theater is the the complete Shine 8 iPPV that was broadcast Mar. 23 in Ybor City, FL. Maybe you haven't seen Shine and this might encourage you to buy one of their shows. Shine is somewhat similar to Shimmer but it has a bit of a lighter tone partially because Daffney is your host. Shimmer is serious wrestling. This isn't as serious though the matches are pretty good. The quality of the matches is always going to be hit and miss. The main event was an eight girl tag match with Rain, Ivelisse Velez, Allysin Kay and Taylor Made of the heel group Valkyrie vs Amazing Kong, Angelina Love, Mia Yim and Christina Von Eerie. I'm not crazy about that many wrestlers in a match. It's too hard to follow the action and the cameras couldn't follow it either. It was also the only tag match on the whole show. Valkyrie won but the payoff was afterwards when the faces hit their finishers on Ivelisse. So the heels got their punishment. Jessica Havok vs Reby Sky came with an interesting story where monster heel Jessica doesn't think Reby belongs in the wrestling business. So if Reby loses she has to leave Shine. If Jessica loses, she has to say she respects Reby. I always believe that these kind of stips have to be equal. These stips were a tipoff that Reby would win. And so she did. But it was a good match and Reby sure knows how to take a beating. The match preceding this was very similar with cutie Kimberly beating big bruiser Leva Bates in a Fans Bring Weapons and I Quit match. It was OK if you like that sort of thing. They did the start of this match at the broadcast location. But they didn't have lights set up there so you can't see anything. The ref stopped the match when Leva was KOd so she didn't actually quit. We all know what that sets up. For me, the best match on the show was Mercedes Martinez vs Nikki Roxx. Mercedes is one of my favourites because she hits hard. And unlike a lot of these girls, she knows how to throw a punch. Nothing fancy about this match, just good solid action from veteran pros. The other matches on the show featured wrestlers who aren't that experienced and it showed. Santana Garrett beat veteran Sojo Bolt. Santana is very pretty but she is not a wrestler yet. I have seen her before. Same thing with Jayme Jameson who beat veteran Brandi Wine with Malia Hosaka in her corner. Jayme has the fitness model look but she needs to work on her ring skills. Brandi looks better now than she looked several years ago. And Malia interfered from the outside. Su Yung beat Brittney Savage. Brittney is trying to be a heel but doesn't look much like a heel. Unlike Jayme Jameson, Su Yung doesn't even look like she works out. Again, I have seen her before and like Santana, she's not much of a wrestler. And in the opener, Nikki St. John beat veteran Luscious Latasha. Nikki wears glasses in the ring which is at least different. She is a bit better at being a heel than Brittney Savage. So check it out. I have the whole show for you.
by.wwe2day.com.Shine.8.wrestling-pt-1 by dm_50323cab1a60a
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|Liz Carmouche, Miesha Tate|
Song:Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Album:16 Biggest Hits
Willie Nelson had been successful in Nashville in the 60s as a songwriter. He didn't have much success as a singer until he got involved in the Outlaw Country movement of the 70s. The man behind that movement was Waylon Jennings. Though Jennings' 1972 album Ladies Love Outlaws was a success, Jennings was tired of RCA Records executives telling him what to do. He told them that if they didn't let him record the way he wanted to record, he would leave. Atlantic Records had been sniffing around. So RCA gave Jennings a new deal and creative control. Jennings also had a new manager who was also Willie Nelson's manager. They had toured together so now they wanted to record together. The 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws featured Jennings, his wife Jessie Colter, Nelson and Tompall Glaser. Jennings and Nelson recorded two songs together including Good Hearted Woman which was Nelson's first number one country hit. Then they recorded another successful duet on the 1977 album Ol' Waylon. That was Luckenbach, Texas. So they decided to record a whole album together. Waylon & Willie topped the Country Album chart for ten weeks and reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was certified 2XPlatinum. Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys topped the Country Singles chart for four weeks and it's become a signature song for both guys. The song was written and originally recorded by Ed Bruce in 1976. And it won the 1979 Grammy for Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal. Nelson's duets with Jennings launched him into the mainstream and he became the duet king in the 80s. The two recorded two more albums together in the 80s and a fourth in 1991. This budget comp is a good selection of their duets. Of course Nelson is still around and I think he owes a lot to Jennings and the Outlaw Country movement. Here is Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson performing Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys at Farmaid July 4, 1986.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Eldar Djangirov is a jazz pianist from the former Soviet Union. He moved to the US as a child and had a record deal with Sony as a teen. His technique is very impressive. He was born Jan. 28, 1987 in Bishkek in what is now known as Kyrgyzstan. His mother is a piano teacher and started teaching him at age five. At age nine, Eldar played at a jazz festival in Novosibirsk, Russia. Visiting American jazz fan Charles McWhorter was so impressed with Eldar that he offered to move his family to the US. They settled in Kansas City and later they moved to San Diego. Eldar studied at USC in Los Angeles. After recording two independent CDs, Eldar signed with Sony Classical. His 2005 debut CD Eldar included guest appearances by John Patitucci and Michael Brecker. On his 2009 CD Virtue, Eldar is now working with his regular trio of former Arturo Sandoval bassist Armando Gola and former Spyro Gyra drummer Ludwig Alfonso. Sax player Felipe Lamoglia plays on four tracks and sax player Joshua Redman and trumpeter Nicholas Payton appear on one track each. The guy can definitely play. He is now recording under his full name Eldar Djangirov. He released the solo piano CD Three Stories in 2011. And now he has left Sony for the jazz label Motema Music and Breakthrough was released a couple of weeks ago. Jazz fans need to check him out. Here's Eldar Djangirov and his trio performing Insensitive Vienna, Austria July 2009.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
William Royce "Boz" Scaggs has been around since the 60s. But he had his biggest success with the 1976 album Silk Degrees and the smash hit Lowdown. Today he's more of a jazz artist. He was born June 8, 1944 in Canton, OH. His father was a traveling salesman so the family moved a lot. But they settled in Plano, TX near Dallas. Boz is a childhood nickname that stuck. Scaggs met Steve Miller in school and they played together in bands while attending the University Of Wisconsin in Madison. Scaggs moved to Europe for a couple of years and recorded an album in Sweden in 1965. He moved to San Francisco to join The Steve Miller Band in 1967. Scaggs appeared on the albums Children of the Future and Sailor. Then he left to go solo and signed with Atlantic Records. Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine produced his 1969 debut album. It was recorded at Muscle Shoals with guys like Barry Beckett and Duane Allman. It was critically acclaimed but it didn't sell. So Scaggs left Atlantic for Columbia. His first few albums for Columbia didn't sell either. But then Silk Degrees became a huge hit. He recorded Silk Degrees with Los Angeles session musicians David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro and David Hungate who would become Toto. Lowdown became a hit when a Cleveland DJ started playing it off the album. Columbia released it as a single and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Silk Degrees was certified 5XPlatinum. Scaggs had some other hits like Lido Shuffle, Look What You've Done To Me and Miss Sun. But by 1980, Scaggs was burnt out and quit recording. Columbia first released Hits! in 1980. In 2006, they rereleased it with a new cover and five extra tracks. It's available as a budget CD. Scaggs opened the San Francisco club Slim's in 1988. After the 1988 album Other Roads, Scaggs left Columbia and toured with Donald Fagen's Rock and Soul Revue. He recorded for Virgin in the 90s and more recently for Decca. He's more of a jazz artist now. His latest CD Memphis was released last month on 429 Records. It is a tribute to legendary producer Willie Mitchell. He was on last year's Dukes Of September tour with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald and he is currently touring to support his new CD. Here's Boz Scaggs performing Lowdown on Saturday Night Live 1976.
Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (Live on SNL - 1976) by uselesslandline
Monday, April 22, 2013
Song:Sometimes Wanna Die
Album:Women & Songs 6
The Canadian band Joydrop had an opportunity to be big mostly due to the beauty and strong vocals of Tara Slone. But it just didn't work out and they split up in 2001 after two CDs. Tara was studying music at Concordia University in Montreal and decided to move to Toronto to get into acting and music. She formed Joydrop in 1996 with guitarist Thomas Payne, bassist Tom McKay and drummer Tony Rabalao. Joydrop signed with Tommy Boy Records and released the CD Metasexual in 1998. It was moderately successful in Canada. Sometimes Wanna Die is from the 2001 CD Viberete. The video got some attention because it featured Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. The band also performed on the UPN TV series Special Unit 2. Sometimes Wanna Die was banned from some radio stations after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Then more bad luck. Tommy Boy had been co-owned by Warner Music since 1990. Warners was butting heads with Tommy Boy owner Tom Silverman over CD sales. Silverman bought Tommy Boy back from Warners and some artists were moved to other Warners labels. Some like Joydrop were dropped. The Joydrop CDs are out of print. But you can get Sometimes Wanna Die from this various artists comp from Warner Canada. Slone, McKay and Rabalao continued to work together. Rabalao released a CD as Leh-Lo in 2006. McKay and Slone appeared on it. Tara Slone was a contestant on the 2005 talent show Rock Star: INXS. She released the CD Just Look Pretty and Sing in 2007. Rabalao and McKay appeared on it. Tara Slone is currently the co-host of Breakfast Television at City TV Calgary. She has done some acting as well. Joydrop had potential but it wasn't meant to be. Here's the video for Sometimes Wanna Die by Joydrop.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Album:The Best Of Edwin McCain
Edwin McCain got a record deal through his close association with Hootie & The Blowfish. He had his biggest success with the 1998 top five hit I'll Be. He continues to tour today. He was born Jan. 20, 1970 in Greenville, SC. McCain played local clubs and released two independent CDs in the early 90s. He went on tour with close friends Hootie & The Blowfish and when they became popular, McCain was able to get a record deal from the same label, Atlantic Records. He was assigned to Lava Records. I'll Be is from McCain's second CD Misguided Roses produced by Atlantic house producer Matt Serletic. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1998. It has been his only big commercial success. I'll Be is a very popular wedding song though McCain says he wrote it as a prayer. McCain recorded two more albums for Lava and left in 2001. This Time Life comp is a good intro to his music. Since he left Lava, McCain has recorded for ATC, DRT, Vanguard and Saguaro Road. His latest CD Mercy Bound was released Aug. 2011 on 429 Records. Edwin McCain and his band still tour regularly. They are making a living from one big hit. Here's the video for I'll Be by Edwin McCain.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Album:Lo Demas Es Plastico V2.0
When most music fans think of Puerto Rican music, they think of salsa or jazz. So when the Puerto Rican rock group Black:Guayaba surfaced a few years ago, they were a big sensation there. They won a Grammy in 2007. Black:Guayaba was formed in 2000 by lead singer Gustavo Gonzalez, guitarist Javier Morales, bassist Carlos "Toro" Ortiz, keyboard player Carlos Colon and drummer Gabriel Calero. After playing local clubs for a few years, they signed with the Mexican label Ole Records. Their 2005 debut CD Lo Demas Es Plastico was produced by Bob St. John. He is a veteran recording engineer and producer who has worked with Ricky Martin, Duran Duran and Collective Soul among others. Lejos was one of several hit singles that came from the album. For their 2007 CD No Hay Espacio, Black:Guayaba signed with Universal's Machete label. That album won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. And when they signed with Machete, Black:Guayaba released an expanded version of Lo Demas Es Plastico with three extra tracks. That version is available on CD. After releasing a live CD in 2008, they took a break and released La Conexion Apr. 2012. An expanded version will be released next month. Black:Guayaba continues to have success in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. They are staples on Billboard's Latin music charts. Here's the video for Lejos by Black:Guayaba.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Song:The Way I Am
Album:Girls and Boys
These days if an artist can get their songs on TV, said artist can become popular even without a major label. And that's how Ingrid Michaelson's The Way I Am became a hit single. She was born Dec. 8, 1979 in Staten Island, NY. Her father is classical composer Carl Michaelson and her mother is sculptor Elizabeth Egbert. Ingrid got into music while earning a degree in theater at Binghampton University. She started playing New York clubs and starting in 2002 she released songs on MySpace. She sold her CD Slow The Rain at shows. Ingrid has always owned her own label Cabin 24 Records. Her big break came when she streamed her 2006 album Girls and Boys on MySpace. A music producer from the TV series Grey's Anatomy found Ingrid on MySpace and contacted her to place her music on the show. When the buzz started, record companies came calling but Ingrid remains independent and only signed a distribution deal. Girls and Boys reached #63 on the Billboard Hot 200. That's very good for an independent CD. The Way I Am became a hit when it was used in a 2007 Old Navy commercial. It reached #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and charted internationally. It's her biggest hit single to date but her albums have done very well. Her latest CD Human Again was released Jan. 2012 and reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 200. Ingrid Michaelson is very talented and I'm sure we will hear more from her in the future. Here's the video for The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson. The guy in the video is singer songwriter Greg Laswell. Ingrid and Greg married in 2011.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Song:I Can Dream About You
Album:Streets Of Fire: Original Soundtrack
For the most part, Dan Hartman was a behind the scenes figure as a songwriter and producer. But he stepped out front a couple of times and had his biggest hit in 1984 with I Can Dream About You. He was born Dec. 8, 1950 in Harrisburg, PA. He played bass for Johnny Winter and joined Edgar Winter's group. Hartman wrote the smash hit Free Ride. He left the Winter band to go solo in 1976. His debut album Images didn't sell. But Hartman topped the dance charts with Instant Replay in 1978. It reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. He wasn't able to follow that up and moved to MCA Records. I Can Dream About You reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song appeared in the 1984 Walter Hill film Streets Of Fire. Ry Cooder composed the score for the film but Jimmy Iovine produced the soundtrack album and he was also producing Hartman. The song is performed in the film by Winston Ford and lipsynced by the vocal group led by Stoney Jackson. That scene from the film is the video most folks are familiar with. But Hartman's recording is on the Streets Of Fire soundtrack album. The Winston Ford recording is only in the film. Sony released a Hartman comp CD in 1994 that contained Instant Replay and I Can Dream About You that is now out of print. But the Streets Of Fire soundtrack is available as a budget CD. Hartman wrote I Can Dream About You for Hall & Oates but they turned it down. Hartman's follow up single We Are The Young reached the top 30. After his 1986 album White Boy was not released, Hartman returned to writing and producing for others. Among other things, he co-wrote and produced the 1985 James Brown hit Living In America. Dan Hartman died of an AIDS related brain tumor Mar. 22, 1994 at age 43. Here's the video for I Can Dream About You by Dan Hartman. Most folks are familiar with the video featuring the group from Streets Of Fire. This second video features Hartman and I don't think most folks have seen it.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Song:How Could I Live
Album:Studio One Lovers
Dwight Pinkney is a veteran of the Jamaican music business best known for his work with the 70s group Zap Pow. But before that he was a member of the Studio One backup group The Sharks. This was their only single but How Could I Live would become a Jamaican music standard. Pinkney was born 1945 in Manchester Parish, Jamaica. He formed The Sharks with Trevor Lopez, Danny McFarlane and Alfred Crossley. Like a lot of Jamaican bands of that era, The Sharks played Caribbean hotels. The Sharks also were a backup band at Coxsone Dodd's Studio One. They backed up The Wailers, Ken Boothe and The Gaylads among others. Pinkney says he wrote How Could I Live while The Sharks were performing at the Lucayan Beach Hotel in Freeport, Grand Bahamas in 1967. When they came home to Jamaica for a holiday, The Sharks recorded How Could I Live at Studio One. Pinkney shared lead vocals with Lloyd Robinson. The record was not a hit and it was The Sharks' only single. You can get it on this various artists comp from the British label Soul Jazz. But How Could I Live was a hit for reggae legend Dennis Brown as How Could I Leave. The only problem was they didn't give Pinkney a songwriting credit and he took legal action. The song has been covered by many artists. Pinkney went on to form the band Zap Pow in 1969 and they had success in the early 70s. Pinkney was also a member of the 80s band Roots Radics and was a session guitarist. Dwight Pinkney still performs today and released his first solo CD in 1999. His latest CD was released last year. Here's a video for How Could I Live by The Sharks. Thanks to a Jamaican Gleaner interview with Dwight Pinkney for the info about The Sharks.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
With the 2011 CD Helplessness Blues, folk group Fleet Foxes have become a worldwide sensation without a hit single. This has happened mostly through word of mouth. The lead singer and songwriter of Fleet Foxes is Robin Pecknold. He was born Mar. 30, 1986 in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, WA. Influenced by Bob Dylan, Pecknold and school chum Skyler Skjelset decided to form a band. At first they were called Pineapple but changed it to Fleet Foxes to avoid conflict with another band. After a self released 2006 EP, Fleet Foxes signed with Sub Pop Records. By the release of their 2008 debut CD Fleet Foxes, the other members were Casey Westcott, Christian Wargo and Joshua Tillman. The interest in Fleet Foxes was generated mostly through MySpace and illegal file sharing. And the CD was critically acclaimed. It did particularly well in England where it reached #3 on the album chart. Pecknold said he wanted to release a second CD in 2009. But heavy touring delayed that and Helplessness Blues was released in 2011. Bassist Morgan Henderson was added to the band in 2010. This album did even better than the first one. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 200. So they have done very well for a band that is not making commercial music. Joshua Tillman left Fleet Foxes last year to concentrate on his own recordings as Father John Misty. They haven't replaced him and there has been no news about the future of Fleet Foxes. Casey Westcott and Christian Wargo formed Poor Moon and released a CD Aug. 2012 on Sub Pop. Maybe Fleet Foxes is splitting up. Here's Fleet foxes performing Helplessness blues on Austin City Limits Oct. 2011.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Song:Naked As We Came
Album:Our Endless Numbered Days
Iron & Wine is the stage name for folksinger Samuel Beam. He started out recording at home and now records with big name musicians for Warner Bros. Even if you don't know who he is, you've probably heard his music on TV shows. That's how music is sold these days. Beam was born July 26, 1974 in Chapin, SC. He earned a bachelor's degree in art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and then taught film at the University of Miami. He started writing songs and recorded some demos. This led to a deal with Sub Pop Records. Beam called himself Iron & Wine after a dietary supplement. We see a lot of singer songwriters using pseudonyms to retain anonymity. Beam recorded his 2002 debut CD The Creek Drank The Cradle at home. Iron & Wine was favourably compared to guys like Nick Drake, Elliot Smith and John Fahey. For his 2004 CD Our Endless Numbered Days, Sub pop sent Beam to Chicago to work with producer Brian Deck to get a more polished sound. Three Iron & Wine songs including Naked As We Came were used in the 2004 film In Good Company. Naked As We Came also appeared in the TV series L Word, Grey's Anatomy, Numb3rs and Ugly Betty. The end result was that Beam's 2007 CD The Shepherd's Dog reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 200. Then Beam signed with Warner Bros. and his 2011 CD Kiss Each Other Clean reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 200. Iron & Wine's new CD Ghost On Ghost will be released tomorrow and it should have similar success. Beam will begin a US tour in May. Iron & Wine shows that exposing music through TV is a very successful marketing strategy. Here's the video for Naked As We Came by Iron & Wine.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Here's the match video from last night's The Ultimate Fighter finale in Las Vegas with Miesha Tate vs Cat Zingano. This is a big fight. The winner will be a coach on the next The Ultimate Fighter and gets a shot at Ronda Rousey's UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship. There are other questions to be answered. Does Miesha Tate still want to be a fighter? She didn't behave much like a fighter when she escaped with a win over Julie Kedzie last August. Maybe she would have quit if the UFC hadn't come calling. But she's Cat Zingano's best opponent to date. And this was Cat's first fight for a national promotion. That became an issue early in the fight. Afterwards, Cat admitted suffering from what I call the UFC debut jitters. And she didn't snap out of it until the end of round two. So I thought Miesha won the first two rounds. But she seemed to run out of gas in the last minute of round two. And no doubt Cat's husband and trainer Mauricio Zingano told her between rounds that she needed a finish. So in round three, Cat demonstrated the kind of urgency that a lot of fighters don't show even when they're down two rounds. She hammered Miesha in round three and a couple of knees set up ref Kim Winslow's stoppage. Too bad it was a bad stoppage. Recently I was discussing this fight with Bellator fighter Michelle Ould. She thought Cat would win. But I pointed out that Miesha has taken a beating before and pulled out a submission win out of nowhere. She agreed. So Winslow stopped the fight because she thought Miesha was falling down when she was actually going for a takedown. It's part of the ref's job to know fighter behaviour. And Miesha has the ability to get clobbered and then win by submission. I can't say what would have happened if the fight wasn't stopped. But if it had gone the distance, Miesha would have won the fight. BTW, there was no illegal knee at the end of the fight. People should shut up. Congratulations to Cat Zingano. This is a big opportunity. And also congratulations to both fighters for winning the Fight Of The Night bonus. And Kim Winslow needs a real job. Enjoy the video!
The Scottish band Nazareth had their biggest hit with their cover of the oldie Love Hurts. They were a very popular arena rock band in the 70s. Nazareth is from Dunfermline, Scotland. They were called The Shadettes in the early 60s. Dan McCafferty was lead singer along with Manny Charlton on guitar, Pete Agnew on bass and Darrell Sweet on drums. The name Nazareth refers to Nazareth, PA from The Band's song The Weight. Nazareth moved to London in 1970 and released their debut album in 1971. They toured with Deep Purple and Roger Glover produced one of their albums. They were doing OK but they weren't setting the world on fire. Love Hurts was the first single from the 1975 album Hair Of The Dog. It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a worldwide hit. Nazareth never had another big hit. Love Hurts was written by legendary songwriter Bordleaux Bryant and recorded by The Everly Brothers in 1960. It was not released as a single. Roy Orbison released Love Hurts as the B-side to Running Scared in 1961. What probably helped Nazareth was when Jim Capaldi of Traffic had a top five hit in England with his 1975 cover of Love Hurts. It was not a hit in the US. But that's the version Nazareth would have heard. Plenty of artists have recorded Love Hurts but Nazareth's version was the biggest hit. Nazareth still continues today. This comp is a good intro to their music. Darrell Sweet died in 1999 and was replaced by Pete Agnew's son Lee Agnew. Manny Charlton left in 1990. Otherwise Nazareth remains intact and their latest CD was released in 2011. Here's Nazareth performing Love Hurts on a German TV show 1976.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The Firm was a mid-80s supergroup led by former Free and Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers and legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. After much hoopla when the band was formed, they fizzled and only recorded two albums. Radioactive was their only significant hit. Led Zeppelin split up in 1980 and Page composed the score for the 1982 film Death Wish II. Bad Company split up in 1982 and Rodgers released the 1983 solo album Cut Loose. The two worked together on the US ARMS (Action Research into Multiple Sclerosis) Tour honouring Faces bassist Ronnie Lane who suffered from MS. After the tour, Page started hanging around at Rodgers' house and they decided to form a band. Originally they wanted Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Pino Palladino. But neither were available. Bruford was still with King Crimson and Palladino was touring with singer Paul Young. So instead they hired Uriah Heep drummer Chris Slade and bassist Tony Franklin from Roy Harper's band. The idea behind The Firm was not to play any Bad Company or Led Zeppelin songs. The 1985 album The Firm sold well and Radioactive reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. They toured the US and England in 1985 and then released the second album Mean Business in 1986. And then the band ended. Music fans were underwhelmed. The Firm is available as a budget CD. Page has said in interviews that The Firm was never supposed to be a long term project. I'm not sure if Rodgers felt the same way. Page went back to his solo career working on various projects. Rodgers didn't do much until the 90s when he formed The Law with drummer Kenney Jones. Chris Slade joined AC/DC in 1989 and was later a member of Asia. Tony Franklin formed Blue Murder with former Whitesnake singer John Sykes. Franklin plays a lot of sessions. That's the way things go in the music business. Sometimes a big fanfare is accompanied by a dull thud. Here's the video for Radioactive by The Firm.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Album:Something Good: From The Goffin & King Songbook
Soul singer songwriter Freddie Scott had his biggest chart success with the 1963 top ten hit Hey Girl. He also wrote songs for others as a songwriter in the legendary Brill Building in New York City. He was born Apr. 24, 1933 in Providence, RI. As a teen he sang with his grandmother's gospel group Sally Jones & The Gospel Keyes. Scott went to medical school at Paine College in Augusta, GA. He joined the gospel group Swanee Quintet Juniors and decided to quit school and move to New York City and begin a career in music. He worked for Zell Sanders' J & S label and wrote the Johnnie & Joe hit I'll Be Spinning. But then Scott was drafted into the US Army and served in Korea. After he returned, Scott went to work for Don Kirshner's Aldon Music in the Brill Building. He wrote songs and produced Aretha Franklin's sister Erma Franklin for Columbia. Hey Girl was written by the the legendary songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. They asked Scott to record a demo of the song. They were giving it to Chuck Jackson. When Jackson failed to show up at the recording session, Goffin decided to finish Scott's recording. Colpix released it and it reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. You can get it on this Ace Records comp of Goffin/King songs. Scott also had success recording for Bert Berns at Bang Records. Are You Lonely For Me topped the R & B Singles chart in 1966. Unfortunately Berns died in 1967 and Bang closed. Freddie Scott also recorded for ABC Probe, Vanguard, Pickwick International and Mainstream. But for the most part, he made his living writing jingles with partner Helen Miller. Freddie Scott continued to tour the oldies circuit until his death on June 4, 2007 at age 78. Here's Freddie Scott performing Hey Girl on a PBS oldies show.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
|Lorena Klijn, Miyo Yoshida|
Song:If Ever You're In My Arms Again
Album:The Very Best Of Peabo Bryson
R & B crooner Peabo Bryson is probably best known for duets with Roberta Flack, Celine Dion and Regina Belle. If Ever You're In My Arms Again was a top ten pop hit and his most successful solo single in 1984. He was born Robert Peapo Bryson Apr. 15, 1951 in Greenville, SC. Bryson began singing professionally as a teen with Al Freeman and the Upsetters. Freeman couldn't pronounce Peapo so Bryson changed his name to Peabo. From 1968 to 1973, Bryson was in Moses Dillard and the Textile Display. The band was recording for Bang Records in Atlanta. Bang general manager Eddie Biscoe didn't like the band but he liked Bryson and hired him as a house producer. Bryson recorded the 1976 album Peabo for Bang and then signed with Capitol Records. His first single on Capitol Reaching For The Sky reached #6 on the R & B Singles chart in 1978. The single I'm So Into You reached #2. So Bryson is firmly established in the R & B market. He started recording duets with Natalie Cole and Melissa Manchester. But Bryson had his biggest success recording with Roberta Flack. The 1983 album Born To Love was certified Gold and Tonight I Celebrate My Love reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1984, Bryson moved to Elektra Records and If Ever You're In My Arms again was the first single from the album Straight From The Heart. It reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by veteran songwriters Cynthia Weil, Michael Masser and Tom Snow. Masser produced and arranged Straight From The Heart and Snow played on the album. Weil is best known for her long time songwriting partnership with husband Barry Mann. Bryson continued to have success on the R & B chart through the 80s. He went to Columbia Records in 1991. He sang the theme for the film Beauty and the Beast with Celine Dion. That was a top ten hit. But his 1992 duet with Regina Belle A Whole New World topped the charts. That was the theme for the film Aladdin. Bryson faded and Columbia dropped him in 1994. He hasn't recorded much in recent years but he still tours. You can get all his hits on this Time Life budget comp. Bryson last recorded in 2007. In 2003, the IRS seized property and auctioned it to pay for $1.2M in back taxes. Peabo Bryson has also written songs for others including Feel The Fire for Stephanie Mills. Here's Peabo Bryson performing If Ever You're In My Arms Again on the 2001 Festival de Vina Del Mar in Spain.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Song:Barefoot Blue Jean Night
Album:Barefoot Blue Jean Night
Jake Owen was already doing well on the country music charts when Barefoot Blue Jean Night blew up and became his first number one hit in 2011. And the funny part is the song was added to his album as an afterthought. He was born Joshua Ryan Owen Aug. 28, 1981 in Vero Beach, FL. Owen and his twin brother Jarrod both attended Florida State University for sports. Jarrod played tennis and Joshua played golf and planned a professional golf career. But he blew out his knee in a wakeboarding accident. His golf career was over but he learned to play guitar during his recovery. After performing locally, Owen moved to Nashvile to get into music. His big break came when he met producer Jimmy Ritchey who produced Mark Chesnutt. That led to a contract with RCA Nashville. They suggested he change his name to Jake Owen so no one would confuse him with Josh Turner. His 2006 debut single Yee Haw reached #16 on the Country Singles chart. His second single Startin' With Me reached #6. Owen toured with Kenny Chesney. The first single from his 2009 CD Easy Does It was Don't Think I Can't Love You and it reached #2 and Owen won the Best New Male Vocal ACM award. So he was doing well. For his 2011 CD Barefoot Blue Jean Night, Owen switched to veteran producer Tony Brown. The album was finished when Owen was given Barefoot Blue Jean Night. He liked the song so much that he thought it would be a great summer party anthem. It became his first number one country hit. The song was written by Eric Paslay, Dylan Altman and Terry Sawchuk. Paslay records for EMI Nashville but hasn't released an album yet. Altman has written songs for Tim McGraw. Sawchuk is a Canadian recording engineer who moved to Nashville a couple of years ago. There were the usual complaints that the record isn't country enough. There are certainly rock elements in the record and it reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Owen is doing what he feels will make him successful. He wants to cross over to pop. Owen is married to model Lacey Buchanan. He proposed to her on stage in his home town of Vero Beach. Their daughter was born in Nov. 2012. Jake Owen is currently touring in Canada. His EP Endless Summer was released Sept. 2012 and was successful with no promotion. That's a very good sign of success. Here's the video for Barefoot Blue Jean Night by Jake Owen.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
|RENA, To Pui-ling|
Album:Jazz Samba Encore!
Though not as well known as Antonio Carlos Jobim or Joao Gilberto, Luiz Bonfa was just as important to the development of Bossa Nova. And he was a big part of the 60s influx of Brazilian musicians to American jazz. He was born Jan. 17, 1922 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bonfa studied with Uruguayan guitar master Isaias Savio and worked clubs in Rio as a singer for the Quitandinha Serenaders. And then he appeared on Brazilian radio. By the late 50s, he was touring the US with Mary Martin. But Bonfa's defining moment was when he was asked to contribute songs to the 1959 film Black Orpheus. The Bonfa composition Manha de Carnaval became a standard. In the 60s, sax player Stan Getz wanted to expose Brazilian music to US audiences. So he recorded a series of albums featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Luiz Bonfa. Jazz Samba Encore! was the third of those five albums and was released in 1963. It features Bonfa and Jobim along with singer Maria Toledo who wrote Menina Flor with Bonfa. Jazz Samba Encore! is available as a budget CD. In the 60s, Bonfa worked with Quincy Jones, George Benson and Frank Sinatra among others. And one of his songs Almost In Love was performed by Elvis Presley in the 1968 film Live A Little, Love A Little. In the 70s, Bonfa returned to Brazil and continued to record and perform until his death on Jan. 12, 2001 at age 78. It's easy to overlook Luiz Bonfa but he was an important figure in Brazilian music. Here's Luiz Bonfa performing Menina Flor, Batucada and A Day In The Life Of A Fool on The Mike Douglas Show 1966 with Douglas singing at the end of the clip.
Monday, April 08, 2013
|Ham Seo Hee|
Album:Rock 'n Roll
The New York Dolls only recorded two albums when they were together in the 70s and they never had a hit single. But they cast a long shadow. They invented punk music and their glam look was an influence on many bands. They normally led all their shows with Personality Crisis. Sylvain Sylvain and Billy Murcia went to school together and were in The Pox in 1967. In 1970 they formed a band with Johnny Thunders but it split up when Sylvain went to England for a few months. But the band reformed when Arthur Kane and Rick Rivets started a band with Thunders. He recommended Murcia and David Johansen joined as lead singer. Sylvain replaced Rivets when he returned from England. The name New York Dolls comes from the New York Doll Hospital which was across the street from a clothing store where Sylvain worked. The New York Dolls were influenced by early Rolling Stones and the 60s band MC5 and obviously Marc Bolan influenced the glam look. But they sounded fresh and caused a buzz in New York. After Billy Murcia died as the result of a drug fueled drowning and was replaced by Jerry Nolan, The New York Dolls signed with Mercury Records. They recorded two albums for Mercury which you can get on this comp. Todd Rundgren produced the first album and George "Shadow" Morton produced the second. Then Mercury dropped them and they split up. The likely problem was an inability to harness the band's live show energy in the studio. And maybe radio stations weren't ready for punk music. Thunders and Johansen both had successful solo careers in the 80s. Sylvain recorded solo but wasn't successful. The 2004 reunion of The New York Dolls was spurred by long time fan Morrissey of The Smiths. Surviving members Johansen, Sylvain and Kane were all involved. Thunders died in 1991. Kane died in 2004 but Johansen and Kane toured in 2011 as the New York Dolls with David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick and session bassist Kenny Aaronson. I guess the interest in them is nostalgiac today. But back in the 70s, the New York Dolls made a lot of waves that changed music. Here are the New York Dolls performing Personality Crisis on The Midnight Special 1974.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Album:The Best of Earl Grant: Singin' and Swingin'
Earl Grant had his biggest chart success with the 1958 top ten hit The End. If you think he sounds like Nat King Cole, that was not an accident. He would go on to record instrumental albums on the Hammond organ in the 60s before his tragic death in a 1970 car accident. He was born Jan. 20, 1931 in Idabel, OK. He studied piano at USC and DePaul. He was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War and played clubs when he was stationed in Fort Bliss, TX. Grant signed with Decca Records in 1957. They were looking for their version of Nat King Cole. Grant sounds so much like Cole singing The End that folks thought he was Cole's brother. Grant looked at the recording as a tribute to Cole. It reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. The End was written by Sid Jacobson and Jimmy Krondes. Jacobson worked as a writer at Harvey Comics but he hung around New York's song factory The Brill Building and wrote a few songs with Krondes. The End was their biggest hit. Jacobson has had a long career in the comics industry. Grant appeared in the 1959 film Juke Box Rhythm and the 1962 film Tender Is The Night. And he performed the theme for the 1959 film Imitation Of Life. In the 60s, Grant recorded mostly as an instrumental artist on the Hammond organ. His 1961 album Ebb Tide was a big seller. The music was easy listening as opposed to jazz. That kind of music didn't usually chart but the albums sold well to an older audience. Grant recorded 30 albums of this kind of music for Decca through the 60s. This comp is a good intro to his music. Earl Grant was driving to a show in Juarez, Mexico when his car ran off a curve on Interstate 10 in New Mexico. Grant and his 17 year old cousin were killed instantly. Grant died on June 10, 1970 at age 39. Here's a video for The End by Earl Grant.
Saturday, April 06, 2013
Album:Swinging Hollywood Hillbilly Cowboys
Marion "Zeke" Clements is mainly known as a long time member of the Grand Ole Opry and a radio personality. But he also had some success in Western Swing in the 40s including Oklahoma Blues. He was born Sept. 6, 1911 in Empire, AL. He started out in 1928 with Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys. Then he worked for National Barn Dance on WLS radio in Chicago. He first performed on the Grand Ole Opry radio show in 1930. He would become an Opry regular as a member and later leader of the Bronco Busters. Clements was known for his yodeling and was nicknamed The Dixie Yodeler. This got the attention of Hollywood. He appeared as a singing cowboy in several Charles Starrett B-Westerns. And he was the voice of Bashful the yodeling dwarf in the 1937 landmark Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. in 1939, he returned to Nashville and formed the Western Swing Gang. He had several hits in the mid-40s including Oklahoma Blues in 1944. You can get it on this 4CD various artists box set from the British label Proper Records. Western Swing fans should check it out. Clements moved back to Los Angeles in 1945 and founded Liberty Records. He was also part of the beginnings of the Louisiana Hayride radio show. He continued to be a radio personality until his death on June 4, 1994 at age 82. Zeke Clements is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. A lot of his songs were hits for other artists. But he is primarily known as a country music radio personality. Here's a video for Oklahoma Blues by Zeke Clements & His Western Swing Gang.
Friday, April 05, 2013
Song:Rusty Old American Dream
Album:The Very Best Of David Wilcox
Not to be confused with veteran Canadian rocker David Wilcox, this David Wilcox is a folksinger originally from Ohio and he now lives in Asheville, NC. He has been recording since the late 80s and this CD is a comp of his early albums. Wilcox was born in the Cleveland suburb of Mentor, OH. He got interested in music and started taking guitar lessons while attending Warren Wilson College near Asheville, NC in 1981. After his 1985 graduation, he played local clubs and released an album independently in 1987. He signed with A & M Records in 1989. Rusty Old American Dream is from his 1989 A & M debut CD How Did You Find Me Here. The album sold 100,000 copies with no promotion. Though Wilcox is favourably compared to guys like James Taylor, John Martyn and Nick Drake, A & M had no idea about how to sell him. After four albums on A & M, Wilcox was dropped in 1994. This CD is a comp of his A & M recordings. After a couple of CDs on his own label, Wilcox recorded two CDs for Vanguard. He currently records for the Boulder, CO based indie label What Are Records. His latest CD Reverie was released in 2010. David Wilcox is currently on tour and participates regularly in songwriting and guitar instruction workshops. He has posted guitar instruction videos on Youtube. If you are a folk music fan, you don't want to overlook David Wilcox. Here is David Wilcox performing Rusty Old American Dream at the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Big Fork, MT.