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A Chicago club crawl with a bus-driving bluesman

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A Chicago club crawl with a bus-driving bluesman

Story by Marnie Hunter, video by Channon Hodge and Robert Sevilla, CNNUpdated 20th July 2017
Chicago (CNN) — Toronzo Cannon has more energy before 5 a.m. than some people can muster all day.
“Hey now, you OK? You gonna be cool today?” he asks one co-worker at a Chicago bus garage. “How you doin’?” he asks another. “These guys right here owe me money, so take a picture of all of them,” he jokes.

Cannon, 49, has been a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver for 24 years. He’s also a blues musician whose career is on the upswing, and his near tirelessness is working in his favor.
Cannon drives 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday, then jets off on weekends to play the Chicago blues across the country and around the world. He spends his vacation time playing back-to-back international dates.
The contrast of strolling by the Eiffel Tower and steering a bus through the streets of Chicago isn’t lost on Cannon. Yet his day job keeps him grounded, provides his family with health insurance and yields vivid material for songs.
The Eiffel Tower was “right down the street for the most part, and now I’m on the West Side of Chicago getting cursed out by some lady that’s short a quarter,” he said.
“I’m a bus driver, so I travel through several tax brackets. You know, I see from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich.”
“The Chicago Way,” Cannon’s latest album and his first on renowned blues label Alligator Records, chronicles the human stories that unfold on both jobs.
A few hours after he gets off work, Cannon will go from bus driver to bluesman, swapping his CTA hat for a dapper chapeau as he takes us to some of the blues clubs he came up in.
Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

‘Everything is moving, everything is loud’

Raw and rhythmic, blues music was developed by African-Americans in the post-Civil War South, with an emphasis on vocals that tell the stories of everyday people, usually of men, women and the ups and downs between them.
Starting during World War I and spurred by oppression and economic hardship, millions of Southern blacks headed for cities in the North as part of the Great Migration. The music traveled with them, and Chicago eventually became the epicenter of urban blues.
The solo acoustic blues of the South gave way to band music featuring electric instruments and drums after World War II, creating a grittier, more aggressive sound.
Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Jimmy Reed put Chicago blues on the map in that era, and by the 1960s the music had gained a worldwide audience.
“When blues got to Chicago, it got dirty. It got dirty from the electricity of the city,” Cannon said. “As you get to the big city where everything is fast, everything is moving, everything is loud, that does something to you,” Cannon said.
“Chicago blues is not background music. You know, you need to be heard, you need to be looked at. You’ve got something to say.”

Buddy Guy’s Legends

At 88, “Bar Room Preacher” Jimmy Johnson has witnessed his share of Chicago’s electric city living.
As this night’s headliner at downtown South Loop club Buddy Guy’s Legends, Johnson puts his gospel-tinged voice to the blues’ central theme:
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do

Because strange things are happening. Something strange might happen to you
Johnson belts out these lyrics at the glossiest club on our two-night blues hop, a spot opened in 1989 by Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy.
Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy's Legends in downtown Chicago.

Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy’s Legends in downtown Chicago.
The spacious club’s walls are dotted with photos, instruments and other mementos of the famous and up-and-coming artists who’ve played its stage.
“Buddy Guy’s is the premier blues club in Chicago,” said Cannon. “You get a bunch of national acts to come through. He’s like the man now, when it comes to the blues.”
Guy, 80, is often spotted at the bar and sometimes steps in to play a few songs when he’s not on the road. He plays a series of formal dates at his club each January.

Rosa’s Lounge

About 10 minutes from downtown on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square has a cozier neighborhood feel. Most of the performers are from Chicago, although bands from all over the world come through.
Late blues greats David Honeyboy Edwards, Pinetop Perkins and Homesick James all played Rosa’s.
On a recent Friday evening, Chicago blues guitarist Melvin Taylor’s fiery playing had patrons moving to the music. One particularly energetic dancer launched himself across the floor in a series of riveting, whole-body spasms.
This is a friendly club where colored lights, Christmas ornaments, larger-than-life photos of blues giants and glittery anniversary decorations create the kind of deep, layered history that’s only enhanced by zany self-expression and fans whose ages span at least a half-century.
Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa's Lounge in Logan Square.

Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square.
And Rosa’s Lounge is a family affair. Musician and owner Tony Mangiullo arrived in Chicago from Milan in 1978 to play the blues, and he opened Rosa’s in 1984.
“The story goes Tony, the owner, loved the blues so much that he came to Chicago and didn’t leave, didn’t want to leave. He’s from Italy. And he built the club and he named it after his mother,” said Cannon.
Mama Rosa was definitely the impetus for the club.
“Mama said it was not enough for Mama to see me play drums. … She said, ‘You want to be here, you have to do a business,'” Mangiullo said.
Mama clearly knows what’s best for generations of blues fans, too.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted

A sliver of a club, B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted on the North Side of Chicago in Lincoln Park is long on atmosphere, thanks to its decidedly no-frills aesthetic and tight quarters that leave little distance between patrons and musicians.
It’s one of the first clubs Cannon played. “They put me on on a Thursday, I remember it. And I’ve been playing there for years. It’s a smaller club, more intimate,” he said.
Like many hometown musicians who’ve reached wider audiences, Cannon now plays most of his gigs on the road, but he still plays Chicago clubs about five times a year.
B.L.U.E.S., which opened in 1979, books primarily Chicago musicians, from elder statesmen like Eddie Shaw and Jimmy Johnson to younger artists who are still getting established on the club circuit.
Tonight, clubgoers are perched on the cracked vinyl barstools, soaking up bluesman Jimmy Burns’ soulful tunes.
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.
Burns also graciously ceded the stage to Cannon and Mike Wheeler, who popped over from a gig across the street at Kingston Mines to play a few songs with his friend.
The two clubs on Halsted Street have a friendly rivalry. Kingston Mines is larger, with two stages and meal service. B.L.U.E.S. keeps its offering to blues and booze.
Wheeler, 56, and Cannon, 49, are among the local artists building on traditions passed down from longtime bluesmen like Burns, 74.
And by and large, they’re doing it the Chicago way.
“I think the Chicago way means, you know, working hard and kind of using what you got to get what you want,” said Cannon.
“There’s certain things that you do in life to let people know that you’re here, and my way of letting people know that I’m here is my blues.”

If you go

Buddy Guy’s Legends: Cover charges are $10 or $20, depending on the night, and shows that start after 8 p.m. are 21 and over. Seats are first come, first served. The club serves Louisiana-style Cajun and soul food at lunch and in the evening.
700 S. Wabash, Chicago 60605, http://buddyguy.com/
Rosa’s Lounge: Cover charges range from $7 to $20. Reserved seating is available. The club doesn’t usually serve food, although catering is available for special events. Patrons can also bring food or order for delivery.
3420 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago 60647, http://rosaslounge.com/
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted: Covers range from $5 to $10. 21 and up. On Sunday nights the cover at B.L.U.E.S. gets guests into Kingston Mines and vice versa.
2519 N. Halsted St., Chicago 60618, http://www.chicagobluesbar.com/

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A Chicago club crawl with a bus-driving bluesman

Story by Marnie Hunter, video by Channon Hodge and Robert Sevilla, CNNUpdated 20th July 2017
Chicago (CNN) — Toronzo Cannon has more energy before 5 a.m. than some people can muster all day.
“Hey now, you OK? You gonna be cool today?” he asks one co-worker at a Chicago bus garage. “How you doin’?” he asks another. “These guys right here owe me money, so take a picture of all of them,” he jokes.

Cannon, 49, has been a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver for 24 years. He’s also a blues musician whose career is on the upswing, and his near tirelessness is working in his favor.
Cannon drives 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday, then jets off on weekends to play the Chicago blues across the country and around the world. He spends his vacation time playing back-to-back international dates.
The contrast of strolling by the Eiffel Tower and steering a bus through the streets of Chicago isn’t lost on Cannon. Yet his day job keeps him grounded, provides his family with health insurance and yields vivid material for songs.
The Eiffel Tower was “right down the street for the most part, and now I’m on the West Side of Chicago getting cursed out by some lady that’s short a quarter,” he said.
“I’m a bus driver, so I travel through several tax brackets. You know, I see from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich.”
“The Chicago Way,” Cannon’s latest album and his first on renowned blues label Alligator Records, chronicles the human stories that unfold on both jobs.
A few hours after he gets off work, Cannon will go from bus driver to bluesman, swapping his CTA hat for a dapper chapeau as he takes us to some of the blues clubs he came up in.
Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

‘Everything is moving, everything is loud’

Raw and rhythmic, blues music was developed by African-Americans in the post-Civil War South, with an emphasis on vocals that tell the stories of everyday people, usually of men, women and the ups and downs between them.
Starting during World War I and spurred by oppression and economic hardship, millions of Southern blacks headed for cities in the North as part of the Great Migration. The music traveled with them, and Chicago eventually became the epicenter of urban blues.
The solo acoustic blues of the South gave way to band music featuring electric instruments and drums after World War II, creating a grittier, more aggressive sound.
Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Jimmy Reed put Chicago blues on the map in that era, and by the 1960s the music had gained a worldwide audience.
“When blues got to Chicago, it got dirty. It got dirty from the electricity of the city,” Cannon said. “As you get to the big city where everything is fast, everything is moving, everything is loud, that does something to you,” Cannon said.
“Chicago blues is not background music. You know, you need to be heard, you need to be looked at. You’ve got something to say.”

Buddy Guy’s Legends

At 88, “Bar Room Preacher” Jimmy Johnson has witnessed his share of Chicago’s electric city living.
As this night’s headliner at downtown South Loop club Buddy Guy’s Legends, Johnson puts his gospel-tinged voice to the blues’ central theme:
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do

Because strange things are happening. Something strange might happen to you
Johnson belts out these lyrics at the glossiest club on our two-night blues hop, a spot opened in 1989 by Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy.
Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy's Legends in downtown Chicago.

Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy’s Legends in downtown Chicago.
The spacious club’s walls are dotted with photos, instruments and other mementos of the famous and up-and-coming artists who’ve played its stage.
“Buddy Guy’s is the premier blues club in Chicago,” said Cannon. “You get a bunch of national acts to come through. He’s like the man now, when it comes to the blues.”
Guy, 80, is often spotted at the bar and sometimes steps in to play a few songs when he’s not on the road. He plays a series of formal dates at his club each January.

Rosa’s Lounge

About 10 minutes from downtown on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square has a cozier neighborhood feel. Most of the performers are from Chicago, although bands from all over the world come through.
Late blues greats David Honeyboy Edwards, Pinetop Perkins and Homesick James all played Rosa’s.
On a recent Friday evening, Chicago blues guitarist Melvin Taylor’s fiery playing had patrons moving to the music. One particularly energetic dancer launched himself across the floor in a series of riveting, whole-body spasms.
This is a friendly club where colored lights, Christmas ornaments, larger-than-life photos of blues giants and glittery anniversary decorations create the kind of deep, layered history that’s only enhanced by zany self-expression and fans whose ages span at least a half-century.
Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa's Lounge in Logan Square.

Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square.
And Rosa’s Lounge is a family affair. Musician and owner Tony Mangiullo arrived in Chicago from Milan in 1978 to play the blues, and he opened Rosa’s in 1984.
“The story goes Tony, the owner, loved the blues so much that he came to Chicago and didn’t leave, didn’t want to leave. He’s from Italy. And he built the club and he named it after his mother,” said Cannon.
Mama Rosa was definitely the impetus for the club.
“Mama said it was not enough for Mama to see me play drums. … She said, ‘You want to be here, you have to do a business,'” Mangiullo said.
Mama clearly knows what’s best for generations of blues fans, too.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted

A sliver of a club, B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted on the North Side of Chicago in Lincoln Park is long on atmosphere, thanks to its decidedly no-frills aesthetic and tight quarters that leave little distance between patrons and musicians.
It’s one of the first clubs Cannon played. “They put me on on a Thursday, I remember it. And I’ve been playing there for years. It’s a smaller club, more intimate,” he said.
Like many hometown musicians who’ve reached wider audiences, Cannon now plays most of his gigs on the road, but he still plays Chicago clubs about five times a year.
B.L.U.E.S., which opened in 1979, books primarily Chicago musicians, from elder statesmen like Eddie Shaw and Jimmy Johnson to younger artists who are still getting established on the club circuit.
Tonight, clubgoers are perched on the cracked vinyl barstools, soaking up bluesman Jimmy Burns’ soulful tunes.
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.
Burns also graciously ceded the stage to Cannon and Mike Wheeler, who popped over from a gig across the street at Kingston Mines to play a few songs with his friend.
The two clubs on Halsted Street have a friendly rivalry. Kingston Mines is larger, with two stages and meal service. B.L.U.E.S. keeps its offering to blues and booze.
Wheeler, 56, and Cannon, 49, are among the local artists building on traditions passed down from longtime bluesmen like Burns, 74.
And by and large, they’re doing it the Chicago way.
“I think the Chicago way means, you know, working hard and kind of using what you got to get what you want,” said Cannon.
“There’s certain things that you do in life to let people know that you’re here, and my way of letting people know that I’m here is my blues.”

If you go

Buddy Guy’s Legends: Cover charges are $10 or $20, depending on the night, and shows that start after 8 p.m. are 21 and over. Seats are first come, first served. The club serves Louisiana-style Cajun and soul food at lunch and in the evening.
700 S. Wabash, Chicago 60605, http://buddyguy.com/
Rosa’s Lounge: Cover charges range from $7 to $20. Reserved seating is available. The club doesn’t usually serve food, although catering is available for special events. Patrons can also bring food or order for delivery.
3420 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago 60647, http://rosaslounge.com/
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted: Covers range from $5 to $10. 21 and up. On Sunday nights the cover at B.L.U.E.S. gets guests into Kingston Mines and vice versa.
2519 N. Halsted St., Chicago 60618, http://www.chicagobluesbar.com/
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The Beatles – All You Need Is Love 50th at Our Galleries – June 2 – 11.

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The Beatles – All You Need Is Love 50th at Our Galleries – June 2 – 11.

Come see this show in our Soho, NYC and Sunset Marquis, West Hollywood galleries June 2 – 11. Admission is Free. All prints available for sale.

The Beatles sang “All You Need Is Love” across the world and these beautiful never-before-seen images by David Magnus show their global satellite broadcast in 1967.
Here’s are a few more details of that day 50 years ago…
On June 25, 1967, performers representing 19 countries from around the world appeared on Our World, the first international television production broadcast by satellite. An estimated 400 million viewers watched the two-and-a-half hour program, which featured talent including Pablo Picasso and Maria Callas and was closed out by a performance of “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles. The photographer David Magnus, a friend of and regular collaborator with the band, was on hand to take pictures of the historic gig.
Watch some of this amazing time on YouTube

  • The Beatles, 1967
  • George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Brian Epstein, 1967
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • The Beatles and Cello Player, London, 1967
  • The Beatles with George Martin, 1967
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • George Harrison, Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • Mick Jagger and John Lennon, Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • Paul McCartney and John Lennon  Contact Sheet, London, 1967
  • Paul McCartney, Triptych,  Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • The Beatles, Live Broadcast Contact Sheet, London, 1967
  • The Beatles, Triptych, Abbey Road Studios, 1967
  • The Beatles Tea Break, London, 1967
  • The Beatles Tea Time, London, 1967
  • George Harrison and John Lennon,  Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • John Lennon, London, 1967
  • Brian Epstein, George Martin, and Geoff Emmrick, 1967
  • Brian Epstein, Pattie Boyd and George Harrison, Abbey Road Studios, 1967
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road Studios, London, 1967

      

COOL PEOPLE -Stevie Nicks on Secret to Fleetwood Mac’s Longevity, Touring Like Prince

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Stevie Nicks on Secret to Fleetwood Mac’s Longevity, Touring Like Prince

Ahead of 24 Karat Gold solo tour, singer-songwriter talks set lists, “sex, rock & roll and drugs” songs, and more


Steve Nicks discusses how her solo career helps keep Fleetwood Mac stable, and why she can no longer write “sex, rock & roll and drugs” songs. Kristin BurnsSTEVIE NICKS IN CONCERT 1982https://youtu.be/w9fuzSWRqP0Stevie Nicks – Timespace – The Best Of Stevie Nicks (Full Album)https://youtu.be/7e2Z8fXjD1M

Stevie Nicks has been having trouble sleeping. The Fleetwood Macvocalist wrapped up a year-and-a-half long tour with her band last November, but even as she’s begun rehearsing for a solo tour in support of 2014’s 24 Karat Gold that will launch in October, Nicks has yet to find herself on a better schedule

“I’ve gotten into the habit of not going to sleep until somewhere between five and seven, and when I’m not working I can sleep until four [in the afternoon],” she reveals, blaming the tour routing schedule that had the band jumping between cities and time zones every other day. “I wish I had worked harder on it because now it’s gonna be harder for me to, but I’ll figure it out because I always do.”

Even though she doesn’t necessarily need to, the legendary vocalist and songwriter felt determined to get back on the road even after touring for so long with the Mac, who reunited with Christine McVie after a 16-year break. Just before McVie’s return, Nicks had finished recording 24 Karat Gold, based on a collection of demos from throughout her career that she had personally cut from the various Fleetwood Mac and solo albums they were originally intended to be on. She spent two and half months in Nashville with friend and producer Dave Stewart recording the songs, and the same day she turned the album into Warner Bros., she entered a rehearsal room with one of rock’s most iconic, formerly tempestuous line-ups.

“I didn’t walk through the doors at the Fleetwood Mac rehearsal with Christine McVie sitting there after not having her in the band for 16 years and say, ‘Oh, would everybody like to stay up and listen to my new record?'” she recalls with a laugh. “So never a word was ever spoken about it for the entire year and a half that we were on the road, so I never even got to listen to this record until we got back.”

In the past few weeks, following a well-deserved break after Fleetwood Mac’s trek around the world, Nicks realized that the window was closing for the appropriate time to promote the album. “These are the glory songs,” she asserts. “These are the sex, rock & roll and drugs songs that I’m actually not really writing right now, and these are the songs I could never write again.”

As Nicks explains it, her solo career acts as a crucial counterweight to her band activities. “I feel really blessed to be able to be the Gemini that I am and be able to hop back and forth between my solo career and Fleetwood Mac. My solo career is truly the reason why Fleetwood Mac is still together because I get bored easily,” she says. “That’s why every time I go to work on my solo career, I try to make it as different from Fleetwood Mac as I possibly can so that it really is two worlds. When I feel ready to go back to Fleetwood Mac when we do our next tour in a year and half, I’ll be ready to go back to Fleetwood Mac, and it’ll be good.”

The “Wild Heart” singer’s love of contrast is something she embraces in her daily life, too. “I always think an environment change will fix anything, so if I get depressed, I’m gonna leave my apartment and go to my house for a couple of days,” she explains. Sometimes she’ll do the same in hotels, too, needing to leave a beautiful suite for a room just down the hall. “All it takes is a new living room and bedroom for Stevie and she’s a new person.”

As she excitedly runs through plans for her upcoming tour, Nicks speaks with the infectious energy of a teenager preparing for their first gig. She first mocked up a list of 31 songs for the show, and when she presented it to musical director and guitarist Waddy Wachtel, he asked for her to cut it down. She’s now at 30. “I’m like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m not cutting these songs out,'” she says, noting that everyone will learn all 30 for rehearsals. “You never know which songs are gonna really work, so I can’t make that decision, and I’m standing by my statement that I cannot choose the songs until we go into rehearsal.”

Alongside 24 Karat Gold tracks, many of which she’s debuting, she’s thrilled to try “Wild Heart” live for the first time, as well as the title tracks off Bella Donna and Trouble in Shangri-La. “Gold Dust Woman,” “Edge of Seventeen,” “Dreams” and “Stand Back” are secured on the list, as well. She even has plans to connect 2001’s “Sorcerer” to the newer “Belle Fleur,” two songs that come from the same poem. “I don’t really get tired of my songs,” she says. “I’m lucky.”

Even as she works on getting herself in bed by 10 p.m. – “which is totally ridiculous for me,” she scoffs at her own suggestion – Nicks is looking forward to taking on another schedule that will keep her up late at night. “We’re gonna go on for like two hours then we’re gonna go and do what Prince would, which is then go find a club and play the other 14 songs,” she says with a laugh, alluding to the inevitable cuts she’s making to her set list. “It’s all a lot of fun.”

Bringing up Prince, who played on the original recording of Nicks’ 1983 solo hit “Stand Back,” puts the singer in a reflective mood. “I feel really sad that Prince’s journey didn’t continue until he was 95,” she says. “Just so devastated, but I think that for most of us, we’re all gonna live to be in our nineties. So a lot of this creativity and all the things I want to do when this part of my life starts to go away a little bit, then I’ll be sitting down at an old typewriter that I’ll dig out of my storage unit in Phoenix and I’ll start writing stories. I’ll start working on movies. There’s so many things I want to do that this is just a part of it all. That’s all I can tell you.”

Stevie Nicks has announced a 24 Karat Gold Tour with the Pretenders starting in October. 

#stevie_nicks#beatnikhiway.com#music#fleetwood_mac#ana_christy

COOL PEOPLE-PROCOL HARUM

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Artist Biography by Bruce Eder

procol1PROCOLAPROCOLB

Procol Harum is arguably the most successful “accidental” group creation — that is, a band originally assembled to take advantage of the success of a record created in the studio — in the history of progressive rock. With “A Whiter Shade of Pale” a monster hit right out of the box, the band evolved from a studio ensemble into a successful live act, their music built around an eclectic mix of blues-based rock riffs and grand classical themes. With singer/pianist Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reidproviding the band’s entire repertory, their music evolved in decidedly linear fashion, the only major surprises coming from the periodic lineup changes that added a new instrumental voice to the proceedings. At their most accessible, as on “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and “Conquistador,” they were one of the most popular of progressive rock bands, their singles outselling all rivals, and their most ambitious album tracks still have a strong following.

Procol Harum‘s roots and origins are as convoluted as its success — especially between 1967 and 1973 — was pronounced. Pianist Gary Brooker (b. May 29, 1945, Southend, Essex, England) had formed a group at school called the Paramounts at age 14, with guitarist Robin Trower (b. Mar. 9, 1945, Southend, Essex) and bassist Chris Copping (b. Aug. 29, 1945 Southend, Essex), with singerBob Scott and drummer Mick Brownlee. After achieving a certain degree of success at local youth clubs and dances, covering established rock & roll hits, Brooker took over the vocalist spot from the departed Scott, and the group continued working after its members graduated — by 1962, they were doing formidable (by British standards) covers of American R&B, and got a residency at the Shades Club in Southend.

Brownlee exited the band in early 1963 and was replaced by Barry J. (B.J.) Wilson (b. Mar. 18, 1947, Southend, Essex), who auditioned after answering an ad in Melody Maker. Nine months later, in September of 1963, bassist Chris Copping opted out of the professional musicians’ corps to attend Leicester University, and he was replaced by Diz Derrick. The following month, the Paramounts demo record, consisting of covers of the Coasters‘ “Poison Ivy” and Bobby Bland‘s “Farther on up the Road,” got them an audition at EMI. This resulted in their being signed to the Parlophone label, with their producer, Ron Richards, the recording manager best-known for his many years of work with the Hollies.

The Paramounts’ first single, “Poison Ivy,” released in January of 1964, reached number 35 on the British charts. The group also got an important endorsement from the Rolling Stones, with whom they’d worked on the television show Thank Your Lucky Stars, who called the Paramounts their favorite British R&B band. Unfortunately, none of the group’s subsequent Parlophone singles over the next 18 months found any chart success, and by mid-’66, the Paramounts had been reduced to serving as a backing band for popsters Sandy Shaw and Chris Andrews. In September of 1966, the Paramountswent their separate ways; Derrick out of the business, Trower and Wilson to gigs with other bands, and, most fortuitously, Gary Brooker decided to develop his career as a songwriter.

This led Brooker into a partnership with lyricist Keith Reid (b. Oct. 19, 1945), whom he met through a mutual acquaintance, R&B impresario Guy Stevens. By the spring of 1967, they had a considerable body of songs prepared and began looking for a band to play them. An advertisement in Melody Maker led to the formation of a band initially called the Pinewoods, with Brooker as pianist/singer, Matthew Fisher (b. Mar. 7, 1946, Croydon, Surrey) on organ, Ray Royer (b. Oct. 8, 1945) on guitar, Dave Knights (b. June 28, 1945, London) on bass, and Bobby Harrison (b. June 28, 1943, London) on drums. Their first recording, produced by Denny Cordell, was of a piece of surreal Reid poetry called “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” which Brooker set to music loosely derived from Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Air on a G String from the Suite No. 3 in D Major.

By the time this recording was ready for release, the Pinewoods had been rechristened Procol Harum, a name derived, as alternate stories tell it, either from Stevens‘ cat’s birth certificate, Procol Harun, or the Latin “procul” for “far from these things” (hey, it was the mid-’60s, and either is possible). In early May of 1967, the group performed “A Whiter Shade of Pale” at the Speakeasy Club in London, whileCordell arranged for a release of the single on English Decca (London Records in America), on the companies’ Deram label. Ironically, Cordell‘s one-time clients the Moody Blues were about to break out of a long commercial tail-spin on the very same label with a similar, classically-tinged pair of recordings, “Nights in White Satin” and “Days of Future Passed,” and between the two groups and their breakthrough hits, Deram Records would be permanently characterized as a progressive rock imprint.

Cordell had also sent a copy of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” to Radio London, one of England’s legendary off-shore pirate radio stations (they competed with the staid BBC, which had the official broadcast monopoly, and were infinitely more beloved by the teenagers and most bands), which played the record. Not only was Radio London deluged with listener requests for more plays, but Deram suddenly found itself with orders for a record not scheduled for release for another month — before May was half over, it was pushed up on the schedule and rushed into shops.

Meanwhile, the prototypal Procol Harum made its concert debut in London opening for Jimi Hendrixat the Saville Theater on June 4, 1967. Four days later, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” reached the top of the British charts for the first of a six-week run in the top spot, making Procol Harum only the sixth recording act in the history of British popular music to reach the number one spot on its first release (not even the Beatles did that). The following month, the record reached number five on the American charts, with sales in the United States rising to over a million copies (and six million copies worldwide).

All of this seemed to bode well for the band, except for the fact that it had only a single song in its repertory and no real stage act — literal one-hit wonders. The same month that the record peaked in the United States, Royer and Harrison were sacked and replaced by Brooker‘s former Paramountsbandmates Robin Trower and B.J. Wilson on guitar and drums, respectively.

Procol Harum

The “real” Procol Harum band was now in place and a second single, “Homburg,” was duly recorded. Reminiscent of “Whiter Shade of Pale” in its tone of dark grandeur, this single, released in October of 1967 on EMI’s Regal Zonophone label, got to number six on the British charts. The group’s debut album, entitled Procol Harum, managed to reach number 47 in America during October of 1967, based on “A Whiter Shade of Pale” being among its tracks (which included the first version of “Conquistador”) — but a British version of the LP, issued over there without the hit, failed to attract any significant sales. The single “Homburg,” however, got no higher than number 34 in America a month later.

Shine on Brightly

On March 26, 1968, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” won the International Song of the Year award at the 13th Annual Ivor Novello Awards (sort of the British equivalent of the Grammys). The group’s newest single, “Quite Rightly So,” however, only reached the number 50 spot in England in April of that year. A new contract for the group was secured with A&M Records in America (they remained on Regal Zonophone in England), and by November, a second album,Shine on Brightly, highlighted by an 18-minute epic entitled “In Held ‘Twas I,” was finished and in the stores, and rose to number 24 in America but failed to chart in England. The next month, they were playing the Miami Pop Festival in front of 100,000 people, on a bill that includedChuck Berry, Canned Heat, the blues version of Fleetwood Mac, and the Turtles, among others.

A Salty Dog

In March of 1969, David Knights and Matthew Fisher exited the lineup shortly after finishing work on the group’s new album, A Salty Dog, preferring management and production to the performing side of the music business. Knights‘ departure opened the way for bassist Chris Copping to joinProcol Harum (thus re-creating the lineup of the Paramounts), playing bass and organ. Another American tour followed the next month, and in June of 1969 A Salty Dog was issued. This record, considered by many to be the original group’s best work, combined high-energy blues and classical influences on a grand scale, and returned the band to the U.S. charts at number 32, while the title song ascended the British charts to number 44. The album subsequently reached number 27 in England, the group’s first long-player to chart in their own country.Despite the group’s moderate sales in England and America, they remained among the more popular progressive rock bands, capable of reaching more middle-brow listeners who didn’t have the patience for Emerson, Lake & Palmer or King Crimson. Robin Trower‘s flashy guitar quickly made him the star of the group, as much as singer/pianist Brooker, and he was considered in the same league with Alvin Lee and any number of late-’60s/early-’70s British blues axemen. Matthew Fisher‘s stately, cathedral-like organ had been a seminal part of the band’s sound, juxtaposed with Trower‘s blues-based riffing and Reid‘s unusual, darkly witty lyrics as voiced by Brooker. Following Fisher‘s departure, the group took on a more straightforward rock sound, but Trower‘s playing remained a major attraction to the majority of fans.

“Whaling Stories” was an example of quintessential Procol Harum, a mix of 19th century oratorio that sounds like it came out of a Victorian-era cathedral, with fiery blues riffs blazing at its center. And being soaked in Reid‘s dark, eerie, regret-filled lyrics didn’t stop “A Salty Dog” from becoming one of the group’s most popular songs.

Broken Barricades

It was a year before their next album, Home, was released, in June of 1970, ascending to the American number 34 and the British 49 spot. This marked the end of the group’s contract with Regal Zonophone/EMI, and on the release of their next LP in July of 1971, they were now on Chrysalis in England.Broken Barricades reached number 32 in America and 41 in England, but it also marked the departure of Robin Trower. The founding guitarist left that month and subsequently organized his own group, with a sound modeled along lines similar to Jimi Hendrix, which had great success in America throughout the 1970s.Trower‘s replacement, Dave Ball (b. Mar. 30, 1950), joined the same month, and the lineup expanded by one with the addition of Alan Cartwright on bass, which freed Chris Copping to concentrate full-time on the organ. The group returned to something of the sound it had before Fisher‘s departure, although Trower was a tough act to follow. It was this version of the band that performed on November 18, 1971 in a concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the DaCamera Singers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada — the concert was a bold and expansive, richly orchestrated re-consideration of earlier material (though not “A Whiter Shade of Pale”) from the group’s repertory, and, released as an official live album in 1972, proved to be the group’s most successful LP release, peaking at number five and drawing in thousands of new fans.

Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

In England, Procol Harum Live: In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra only rose to number 48 in May of 1972, but it was competing with a reissue of the group’s debut album (retitled A Whiter Shade of Pale, with the single added) paired with A Salty Dog, which outperformed it considerably, reaching number 26. A single lifted from the live record, “Conquistador,” redone in a rich and dramatic version, shot to number 16 in America and 22 in England that summer. Soon after, the U.S. distributor of the debut album, London Records, got further play from that record by re-releasing it with a sticker announcing the presence of “the original version of “Conquistador.”

Grand Hotel

Amid all of this success, the group’s lineup again was thrown into turmoil in September when Dave Ball left Procol Harumto join Long John Baldry‘s band. He was replaced by Mick Grabham, formerly of the bands Plastic Penny and Cochise. The band’s next album, Grand Hotel, was a delightfully melodic and decadent collection (anticipating Bryan Ferryand Roxy Music in some respects) that featured guest backing vocals by Christianne Legrand of the a cappella singing group the Swingle Singers. That record, their first released on Chrysalis in America as well as England, peaked at number 21. Six months later, A&M released the first compilation of the band’s material, Best of Procol Harum, which only made it to number 131 on the charts.

Exotic Birds and Fruit

The group’s next two albums, Exotic Birds and Fruit (May 1974) and Procol’s Ninth (September 1975), the latter produced by rock & roll songsmiths Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, performed moderately well, and “Pandora’s Box” fromProcol’s Ninth became one of their bigger hits in England, rising to number 16. July of 1976 saw a departure and a lateral shift in the group’s lineup, as Alan Cartwright left the band and Chris Copping took over on bass, while Pete Solley joined as keyboard player.

Something Magic

By this time, the band’s string had run out, as everyone seemed to know. A new album,Something Magic, barely scraped the U.S. charts in April of 1977, and the band split up following a final tour and a farewell concert at New York’s Academy of Music on May 15, 1977. Only five months later, the band was back together for a one-off performance of “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” which had taken on a life of its own separate from the group — the song was named joint winner (along with “Bohemian Rhapsody”) of the Best British Pop Single 1952-1977, at the Britannia Awards to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, and the band performed it live at the awards ceremony.

No More Fear of Flying

Apart from Trower, Gary Brooker was the most successful and visible of all ex-Procol Harum members, releasing three solo albums between 1979 and 1985. No More Fear of Flying (1979) on Chrysalis, produced by George Martin, attracted the most attention, but Lead Me to the Water (1982) on Mercury had some notable guest artists, including Eric Clapton and Phil Collins, while Echoes in the Night (1985) was co-produced by Brooker‘s former bandmate Matthew Fisher. During the late ’80s, however, Brooker had turned to writing orchestral music, principally ballet material, but this didn’t stop him from turning up as a guest at one of the annualFairport Convention reunions (Procol Harum and Fairport had played some important early gigs together) at Cropredy, Oxfordshire, in August of 1990 to sing “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”Still, Procol Harum had faded from the consciousness of the music world by the end of the 1980s. The death of B.J. Wilson in 1990 went largely unreported, to the chagrin of many fans, and it seemed as though the group was a closed book.

Then, in August of 1991, Brooker re-formed Procol Harum with Trower, Fisher, Reid, and drummerMark Brzezicki. An album, Prodigal Stranger, was recorded and released, and an 11-city tour of North America took place in September of 1991. Although this lineup didn’t last — Trower and company, after all, were pushing 50 at the time — Brooker has kept a new version of Procol Harum together, in the guise of himself, guitarist Geoffrey Whitehorn, keyboardman Don Snow, and Brzezicki on drums, which toured the United States in 1992.

#procol_harum#musicians#whiter_shade_of_pale#progressive_rock_band#beatnikhiway.com#ana_christy

Bradford Loomis Cover Of Leonard Cohen

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Bradford Loomis Cover Of Leonard Cohen

Bradford Loomis feels a powerful kinship to the songs and stories of a bygone era. This can be seen in his rendition of this famously popular song. His style is gritty and melodic, reflecting the roots of American folklore. When he sings “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, it’s easy to hear his passion and hope.

Brad’s father was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. This caused him to go down a different path with his family. Lately he has been thinking a lot about what it means “to be couohenrageous, to be open to being led and to being humble”. While he feels like he does not have enough of these traits, he is doing something about it with his music. His new album, Bravery and the Bell, shows this tension in his life.

Brad’s version of “Hallelujah” is hauntingly beautiful. The atmosphere he creates by recording in such a dark place is mirrored in his singing. He puts his heart and soul into his performance, leaving the audience with a lasting emotional impression.

#bradford loomis#ana_christy#hallelujah#leonard_cohen#beatnikhiway.com

Blondie’s Complicated Relationship to Gender: An Excerpt From 33 1/3’s ‘Parallel Lines’ — Flavorwire

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Blondie is one of the most well-known and beloved bands to come out of the legendary downtown rock scene that emerged from the bowels of Manhattan clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB in the 1970s. Capitalizing on punk’s mainstream crossover success, they cleared the way for other punks with pop sensibilities (like Joan Jett), and…

via Blondie’s Complicated Relationship to Gender: An Excerpt From 33 1/3’s ‘Parallel Lines’ — Flavorwire

#blondie#relationship#gender#bands#cbgb#max’s_kansas#1970’s

Bowie’s China Girl, Geeling Ng, remembers ‘warm and engaging’ star

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Bowie’s China Girl, Geeling Ng, remembers ‘warm and engaging’ star
Last updated 09:39, January 12 2016
DAVID

CHINA GIRL

https://youtu.be/E_8IXx4tsus

DAVID1  DAVID2

China Girl music video
David Bowie’s China Girl, model and actress Geeling Ng, has expressed her sadness over the singers death.

“I’m really shocked,” Ng said in an interview with the NZ Herald.

“When you work with someone like David, it’s really sad.

Geeling Ching (nee Ng) in David Bowie’s China Girl.
YouTube
Geeling Ching (nee Ng) in David Bowie’s China Girl.

“He was the most incredibly talented person … so warm and engaging.”

READ MORE:

  • David Bowie’s New Zealand connections
  • The day Bowie came to town
  • ‘China Girl’ hardens up
  • David Bowie has died at 69

Geeling Ching (nee Ng) remembers her experience working with David Bowie
Amanda Midgley/Fairfax
Geeling Ching (nee Ng) remembers her experience working with David Bowie
It was the opportunity of a lifetime when Auckland girl Ng landed the starring role in David Bowie’s China Girl music video.

Plucked from a room full of “china-doll looking girls”, Ng describes the experience as a “dream.”

Kiwi actress and model Geeling Ng starred in David Bowie’s ‘China Girl’ music video.
YOUTUBE
Kiwi actress and model Geeling Ng starred in David Bowie’s ‘China Girl’ music video.

“It was such an odd dream. It was like someone else’s dream,” says Ng, who now goes by her married name Geeling Ching.

 

“I’m immensely proud, utterly proud to be China Girl, I’ll go to my grave with that.

“I’m blessed to have been part of that incredible talent, with someone who has changed the world of music … not just music, but the face of fashion, makeup, everything.”

At its release, Bowie’s hit China Girl soared up the 1983 music charts.

The video was directed by film-maker David Mallet and shot predominantly in the Chinatown district of Sydney, Australia.

As with his earlier video Let’s Dance, Bowie described the video as a “very simple, very direct” statement against racism, through a parody of “Asian female stereotypes”.

The original video release includes references to the film From Here to Eternity.

Bowie’s China Girl gained critical recognition, winning the MTV video Award for Best Male Video during the year of its release.

  • Stuff

#david_bowie#china_girl#video#ana_christy#beatnikhiway.com

TOM WAITS READS 2 BUKOWSKI POEMS

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tom1

https://youtu.be/bHOHi5ueo0A

 

The laughing heart (Tom Waits reads a Charles Bukowski poem)

buk1

https://youtu.be/W-vdPkESLZs

Tom Waits reads Nirvana by Charles Bukowski

#tom_waits#ana_christy#charles_bukowski#poetry#beatnikhiway.com#counterculture