Monday, September 24, 2012

Grateful Dead Dick's Picks 1 & 2 On Vinyl!!!

I am lucky enough to be listening to Dick's Picks 2 on vinyl this afternoon.  On vinyl you say?  Why yes, yes I am.  The good folks at Brookvale Records will be releasing both of these albums on Tuesday, November 20th at Looney Tunes CD's here on Long Island and also at independent record stores around the country.  Both of these releases will be limited to 2000 copies, so you are going to want to look into this like yesterday because brother...they sound fantastic. 

Dick's Picks 2
Columbus, OH

1. Dark Star/Jam
2. Sugar Magnolia
3. St. Stephen
4. Not Fade Away
5. Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad
6. Not Fade Away

This is the shortest of the Dick's Picks and it features a chunk of the second set from this show and it starts off with a stellar Dark Star > Jam.  Jerry just goes nuts on this one and leads the band into all kinds of tasty places.  I don't always dig where Dark Star goes but this one is a favorite.  This seems  a little short at one cd (57:39) but on vinyl it spreads out over two lps. You can't quibble with the set choices this night from a kickin' Sugar Mag right on though GDTRFB and Not Fade Away.  It jams, it rocks and it is all kinds of sweet.

So how is the sound on vinyl?  They sound really good actually.  These were originally two track recordings so there are limits to how much can be done during remastering.  The spacing of the instruments is fine, but I find the vocals to be a bit too "out front" which can't be helped based on the "warts and all" tapes.  Will it stop me from playing this one again...uh no it won't.

Dick's Picks 1
Tampa, FL

1.  Here Comes Sunshine
2.  Big River
3.  Mississippi Half Step
4.  Weather Report Suite
5.  Big Railroad Blues
6.  Playing In The Band
7.  He's Gone
8.  Truckin'
9.  Nobody's Fault But Mine
10.  Jam
11.  The Other One
12.  Jam
13.  Stella Blue
14.  Around and Around

DP #1 was never one of my's not bad rather it is a kind of weird place to have started the series.  I'll start off by saying the sound is very good, perhaps a bit better than DP #2 which was pretty good to begin with.  This was recorded towards the end of 1973 kind of in the middle of the endless track to support Wake of the Flood.  This is a different Dead than you had only a year or so earlier.  PigPen is gone and the band is less bluesy and psychedelic and more jazzy sounding.  The 60' are now clearly over and the 70's are in full swing with the Dead morphing along with the times.

This set has some great moments in Here Comes Sunshine, a great jam during Playing in the Band and a wonderful He's Gone.   What was great about the Dead is that they played a lot of these songs over their entire career and they had a different vibe in different eras.  Many of these songs would take on a whole new feel in a couple of years and its great to have such a wide selection to compare, contrast and enjoy.

I'm glad to see the Dick's Picks series getting a vinyl I want DP #8!!!

Go down to Looney Tunes or visit them online and grab yourself both of these fine additions to your Dead collection.

Here's a link to pre-order the lp's if you are so inclined.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Larry Carlton - Boulton Center Sept. 20th

Larry Carlton and his quartet set up shop last night at the Boulton Center in  Bayshore, NY for a little clinic on how to play progressive jazz guitar.  Last Night was the first real jazz album that I bought and I have been a fan ever since.  While I have never loved his studio albums (too smooth)   We even had Johnny Farina who wrote Sleepwalk play with Larry for the encore.  The playing was fantastic from all involved making for a great night.  Catch the master if you get the chance.

Larry commented a couple of times about how great  venue the Boulton Center is.  I hope he returns and spreads the word because this place is at the top of my list of places to see a show.  Very intimate with excellent sound.  Check out their schedule of upcoming shows.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How Far Can The Once Mighty Fall?

Growing up on Long Island back in the 70's it was all about the southern rock.  Hard to believe, but for a few short years at least, Long Island existed  below the musical Mason-Dixon line.  A pre-right wing Charlie Daniels, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Allman Brothers, The Outlaws and especially Lynyrd Skynyrd.  I did and still do love each and every one of the records that came out of this time period.  Some acts, the Allman Brothers come to mind, have made some pretty good records since the hey day years of 1975-1980.  Some have shut it down and some have become a parody of what they once were (I love ya Charlie but could care less about your politics and your guns).

The one that hurts the most is Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Over the past twenty years I have listened to one of my all time favorite groups, one whose music was often misunderstood, turn into some cheap version of itself.  I thought it couldn't get worse than their last album God & Guns (Ronnie must be rollin' in his grave over that one - those old songs like Saturday Night Special were anti-gun!).  It's a Synyrrrrd Naaaation!  Uh, nope.
That brings us to the new album "Last of a Dying Breed".  With sole surviving original member Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd has completed their transformation from genre defining innovators to standard issue modern day "country" act that is long on checklist songs and short on originality.  And I say "country" because much of what is coming out of Nashville these days has more in common with Nickelback than Hank my friends.

You want to keep making music?  Fine with me, just change the name.  This album has nothing to do with what was once America's greatest Rock & Roll band.  No southern fried hippies here...just Tea Party anthems and songs about chicks and sweet tea.

Maybe I'm too critical.  I might be missing the point.  I don't think so but maybe.  Decide for your self. 
New Skynyrd
 Old Skynyrd

For me the the choice is easy.  I'll go back to Second Helping or One More From The Road for my Southern Rock fix.  Nothing to hear here...move along.