26 Jul 2012
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Billie Holiday & Lester Young - 'Fine And Mellow”

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This incredible recording comes from 1957 TV special, The Sound of Jazz, which brought together 32 of the finest jazz musicians, including Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins and Thelonious Monk (among others). This performance stands out because of two absolute legends though — Billie Holiday and Lester Young.

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Billie and Lester had been close friends, going back a long way, but had become estranged. Apparently, during rehearsals they even kept to different sides of the room, but then look at the connection between them around the 2 minute mark in the video where Lester’s solo begins — the looks that’s passing between him and Billie says so much about the connection they had. Look at Billie’s face as Lester plays one of the most beautiful solos you’ll ever hear. Jazz Critic Nat Hentoof was there, and recalled:

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"Lester got up, and he played the purest blues I have ever heard, and [he and Holiday] were looking at each other, their eyes were sort of interlocked, and she was sort of nodding and half-smiling. It was as if they were both remembering what had been, whatever that was. And in the control room we were all crying. When the show was over, they went their separate ways"

- Jazz: A History of America’s Music

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…they both died less than 2 years later

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Interestingly, the version of the song you hear being performed in this video is not the one available on The Sound Of Jazz companion album. The tracks on that album are taken from a rehearsal that preceeded the show—as such, it doesn’t feature several musicians (as they refused the be on the record) and also includes a few others who weren’t on TV. Most importantly though, it doesn’t include the version of 'Fine And Mellow' here, which, I think, is probably as it should be—if you were just to listen to it, sure it’d be beautiful, but when you watch it you realise there is so much more there than the music. What you’re actually doing is witnessing a private conversation between two people, remembering a shared past. Magic.

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KS



24 Jul 2012

The Byrds - 'Mr Tambourine Man' (live 1965)

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On this day in 1965, The Byrds were at No. 1 in the British charts with their cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’.

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The video we’ve found is them with Frankie Avalon, recorded on the 11th May 1965, and is claimed to be only The Byrds second ever television performance. The first coming 3 days before on the short lived American music show, Shivaree.

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The recording featured the original line-up of Jim McGuinn (lead guitar, vocals), Gene Clark (tambourine, vocals), David Crosby (rhythm guitar, vocals), Chris Hillman (bass guitar, vocals), and Michael Clarke (drums). This line-up was also short lived, and in 1966 Clark had left due to anxiety and his increasing isolation within the group.

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It’s a funny old world. To this day Bob Dylan has never had a No. 1 single in the US or the UK, while The Byrds hit top spot on both sides of the Atlantic with their cover.

NC



23 Jul 2012

Rage Against The Machine - 'Renegades of Funk'

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It’s always the same, you go to a rock club and a Rage Against The Machine song comes on. Every time, without fail, it’s 'Killing In The Name'. Poor old 'Renegades of Funk'. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

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Recorded by RATM in 2000, the band had already broken up by the time the record was released so the video was made up of lots of stock footage mainly of funk and hip hop events, and of Civil Rights events. They played it live, for the first time, at the Coachella festival after they reformed in 2007.

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The song was, in fact, originally record by Africa Bambaataa in 1983, and here, for your viewing pleasure is the video:

I think my favourite part is the sheer amount of WTF that’s going on in that outfit. I’d like to think if Rage had actually shot a video for it they would’ve worn something of that ilk too. Or maybe not.

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KS



09 Jul 2012
1 note

Bob Dylan ft. Joan Baez - 'Blowin In The Wind'  ( live Rolling Thunder Revue, 1976)

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On this day, 9th July 1962, Bob Dylan recorded 'Blowin' In the Wind' at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City during an afternoon session.

This version was filmed on Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour in ‘76 and features his old friend and former partner, folk singer and political activist, Joan Baez, as the pair perform the song as a duet.

When they first met, at Gerde’s Folk City in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1961, Baez was a successful folk signer/songwriter and her star on the rise, while Dylan was new on the scene, freshly arrived in New York after dropping out of university in Minnesota.

By the time Dylan was touring the Rolling Thunder Revue, with Baez as a guest performer, he was a hugely successful singer/songwriter with a back catalogue laden with hit albums and singles. Nice of him to remember his old friends!

NC



06 Jul 2012

Groove Armada - 'Superstylin'  ( live at the Brixton Academy, 2002 )

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Time to bring the sunshine!

I can’t be the only person fed up with this continual rain so I thought today we could all do with Groove Armada bringing some sunshine music into our lives.

Since forming in the mid 90s the ‘Armada have been a staple of the UK and International festival scene, bouncing crowds around from London to Sydney, and nearly everywhere in between, with their crowd pleasing, horn laden, party sets. And 'Superstylin’ is their party closer extraordinaire

The guys from Groove Armada love festivals so much that they started their own, Lovebox, in 2002. The festival was originally a 1 day-er held on Clapham Common, before moving to Victoria Park in East London in 2005, expanding to 2 days in the process. The line-ups have always been sensational, mixing legends with the cream of up and coming talent from across the musical spectrum.

Good work, gentlemen!

NC



05 Jul 2012

The Three Degrees - 'Jump The Gun'  (live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1979 )

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Today’s Press Rewind is taken from a television special, The Three Degrees at The Royal Albert Hall, recorded in October 1979, which saw them backed by a well-known local band, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

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The trio must have developed a bit of a soft spot for the UK, after being asked to play Prince Charles’s 30th birthday at Buckingham Palace they were then invited to attend the pre-wedding party for his marriage to Lady Diana in 1981.

NC



04 Jul 2012

Simon And Garfunkel - 'America'  (live at Central Park, 1981 )

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Happy 4th of July to all of you out there! In celebration we have found a live version of 'America' by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, performed at free benefit concert the duo put on in 1981 in New York’s Central Park in front of 500, 000 people. The concert was staged to raise funds to redevelop and maintain a disused space in the Big Apple’s Manhattan.

America first featured on their 1968 album, Bookends. The song was then released as a B-side in 1971, and then again as a single to in 1972 to coincide with the release of Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, creeping on the US Billboard Hot 100 at #97.

The song describes a trip east though America by two young lovers as they traverse from Michigan to Pittsburgh, and then onto the New Jersey Turnpike leading them to New York City.


Wikipedia mentions that the song is notable as one of few rock (Simon and Garfunkel are rock?) records with completely unrhymed lyrics.

NC


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