Category Archives: Music

Music Review: Bob Dylan in Ottawa

No longer do I need to have a Bob Dylan concert on a bucket list, if I had one.

After reading Robbie Robertson’s Testimony, my interest in Dylan was peaked, and during the show the musical ghosts of Robertson*, Helm, Manuel, Danko and Hudson* were on stage for me along with the crack band backing Dylan on this tour.

On tour in support of his newest 3 CD set, Triplicate, Dylan appeared to have fun with standards like Old Black Magic, Autumn Leaves and Stormy Weather. I was thank full to have Jim with me at this his 15th Dylan show telling me the titles of Dylan rollicking through classics like Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, Duquesne Whistle and Highway 61 Revisited.

In a stage setting that reminded me of a ballroom, not unlike what Dylan would have played in with the Band in the 60’s and 70’s, the lighting was simple and suited the show. The lighting different in that all the lighting was directed from the rear of stage or the side, there was never any light on the faces of the band or Dylan. What we got was the iconic image of Bob Dylan’s silhouette of his head and hair from his Greatest Hits albums.

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My impressions of the show are much more than musical, they are of Dylan having fun, behind the piano for much of the show. I missed seeing him playing the guitar, that is the image I had of him in my head. Now I see a man playing the piano like someone who just discovered boogie-woogie, his feet dancing below while his fingers danced over the keyboard.

Dylan is not one for words and in Ottawa he did not speak a word to the audience, but his singing surprised me. I did not know what to expect, I had read and heard of a Dylan whose vocal range was limited at best. In Ottawa, Dylan’s gravel voice was pure Dylan, nothing more and nothing less – just Dylan and that was good for me.

With about a third of the set list from recent cover recordings, that left a lot of ground for him to get to for the rest of the 100-minute performance. While I did not know them before, Desolation Row and the final song of the night Ballad of a Thin Man were highlights along with the previously mentioned Highway 61 Revisited and Duquesne Whistle. The only disappointment was Blowing in the Wind, even Jim didn’t recognize the song  until we got to the course.

No photos or video were allowed, and if you were tempted and took either you would be escorted out as one gentleman beside me was. So, I have two images from last night, the one I took at the end of the night when the roadies hit the stage once the house lights went up, posted here. The other is of Bob Dylan in his white dinner jacket, one hand on his waist like Superman and the other holding his mic stand as he stood there looking out over his adoring and dedicated fans as if saying, ‘here I am, I have conquered Ottawa until my next visit here’.

Now I that I have seen Dylan live, there are too many other songs to hear him perform to say this will be my last Bob Dylan concert.

*Yes, they are still alive

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

Summer Music

I like to buy and listen to a lot of new music, always looking for something that is going to make my head swing, get my feet going and find a song that I have to put on repeat. On my iPod I have a playlist I titled “New and Noteworthy”. The past few weeks I have added few new selections to the playlist, they make up part of my summer music.

Buckingham/McVie “Buckingham/McVie”

For Fleetwood Mac fans do not confuse Buckingham/McVie with the 1973 Lp Buckingham/Nicks, but let me just say, if you a fan of Fleetwood Mac, this is a MUST have for you. It can be called, though it wasn’t, a reunion album for the band. The only person missing form performing is Stevie Nicks, but you don’t miss her. The sound on this album took me back to 1975’s Fleetwood Mac Lp, you know – the one BEFORE Rumours.

It is clear that the same musical chemistry that propelled Fleetwood Mac in the ‘70’s has not faded 40 years later. These two sound good together, the song writing is great with each contributing their own songs and collaborating on others. Key tracks on this disc are ‘Sleeping Around the Corner’, ‘Red Sun’, ‘Game of Pretend’ and ‘Feel About You’. The challenge is to shuffle Fleetwood Mac with Buckingham/McVie and try to differentiate the two.

With Fleetwood Mac touring this summer (with Stevie Nicks) you can bet the new Buckingham/McVie material will fit right in.

Fiest “Pleasure”

This CD was sadly, anything but a pleasure to listen to. I found it missing the melodies and musicality of her previous outings. I never expect to hear another ‘1-2-3-4’, but almost every track on this record is so far from it that it would be hard to recognize it as a Fiest record at all. “Pleasure “ is stripped down, and stripped down works for some artists, Johnny Cash is an example, but it doesn’t work for Fiest. It does not work for me because of Fiest vocals; they don’t match the raw guitars, the raw production and yes, the raw songs written for the records.

I heard Fiest interviewed by Tom Brown on CBC’s q; there she says that women will better understand this record. Maybe that’s it; I gave this record a few extra spins hoping the music would grow on me. I am disappointed that it didn’t – I really wanted to like this record, but I am not ready to give up on it either.

Ruth B “Safe Haven”

It took me forever to learn that it was Ruth B behind the song ‘Lost Boy’, only after seeing her perform the song at the Juno Awards did it click just how good the song was.. On that performance I went and purchased the EP “the Intro”, then “Safe Haven came out. Ruth B has an amazing voice and just might be the soul/r&b singer that Canada has been waiting for. In fact the comparisons to Alicia Keys are very much warranted.

Through Safe Haven, Ruth B surprises and presents a sound that may have been in the works for years. It is a maturity that could be equal to, yes – Alicia Keys. With key tracks like ‘Dandelions’, ‘World war 3’, ‘First Love’ and ‘Superficial Love’ make Safe Haven a Summer Album for me. I hope that you will also make it one of your summer listens for the summer of ’17.

Lorde “Melodrama”

With no new music planned from Taylor Swift (but that doesn’t mean something won’t drop before Christmas) Lorde’s follow up to the 2012 Heroine had the largest expectations of all of this years new music releases. Melodrama opens up with the lead single ‘Green Light’, one of the best songs I have heard all year. My worry was if it would be the best song on the album. With a percussion driven set of songs, Melodrama that will remind you of her debut, but in Melodrama I found myself on a few occasions thinking of Phil Collins and the trademark sound he had on his solo work. As different as each song is, each track also melts into the next, almost seamlessly. Lorde’s vocals are unique, her phrasing is unlike what we still don’t hear a lot of today, and yet it is still not tiring to listen to. Melodrama was a good surprise, bit of Heroine but also lots of growth over four years. It may not have a ‘Royals’, but it doesn’t need one.

Serena Ryder “Utopia”

I saw Serena Ryder last summer in Thunder Bay play off Lake Superior on an all-Canadian bill that also featured Gowan and Tom Cochrane. I have been listening to Serena Ryder since she released “If Your Memory Serves You Well” in 2006, and I learned about her from Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap on the CBC,  I’ve been listening since the early days of ‘Little bit of Red’, ‘Good Morning Starshine’ and ‘You were on My Mind’. 2012’s ‘Stompa’ was huge leap for Ryder and ‘Got Your Number’ was an early indication to me that she continuing the leap.

With Utopia, the evolution continues, Ryder’s song writing continues to grow and here the songs are personal, more than before, as she trusts herself more to lay out her life before us. Along with ‘number’, ‘Hands’, ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Sanctuary’ demonstrate what I think are some of Ryder’s’ best songs in years. Utopia as a destination is a high reach; musically for Serena Ryder, Utopia is a place we can hear a performer continue to grow.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

When I’m 81. #SgtPepper75

 

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In 1988 I purchased a Phillips Compact Disc player and three Compact Discs; Yes: Fragile, Roxy Music: Avalon and The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Sgt. Pepper was 21 years old when I bought the CD. I had already had the vinyl at home.

There was not much of a celebration for the 20th Anniversary. The 25th Anniversary only had interviews released about the making of the album.

The 50th, my goodness, the 50th has a Deluxe Box, Anniversary editions of the CD and Vinyl that each had a 2nd disc with out takes, demo and alternative versions.

The 50th Anniversary even had a hashtag: #SgtPepper50

George Martin oversaw the 1992 mixes. In 2017 for #SgtPepper50 discs, Martin’s son Giles was in charge of the mixes, which produced a new stereo mix from the original mono masters. I have yet to take the shrink-wrap off the double vinyl package, though I have heard that as good as the new mixes sound on CD, the vinyl is even better. It may only be a matter of time before the wrap comes off and I get see all the extras that first appeared in June 1967.

The title of this post is not that cryptic, when Sgt. Pepper turns 75, I will be 81 years old. In 2042, there are a few things we can assume – that there no Beatle will be alive. The respective Beatle estates will be run by the younger Beatles generation of Sean Lennon, James McCartney, Dhani Harrison and Zak Starkey. Giles Martin will again handle the producing duties for #SgtPepper75 as he will be a youthful 72 in June of 2042.

On the celebration of #SgtPepper75, what will be said that had not been written 25 years earlier? Will there be rare tapes discovered of a Sgt. Pepper follow up no one ever talked about?

Will the latest anniversary version include all songs recorded by the sons of the Fab Four?

Will the sons of the Beatles sound so much like John, Paul, George and Ringo listeners will not be able to tell the difference from the original recordings from 75 years earlier. Will this ‘one off’ recording spur the Beatles reunion no one thought could ever happen? We can only suppose what the reviews say; will it read “the Beatles would be proud of what their boys produced”, “the sons have done the fathers a dis-service” or “the re-imaging of Pepper from the Baby Fab Four is beyond what their fathers could have envisioned”.

In 2042 will CD’s be making a comeback? What will the packaging look like? Will it all be streamed with only the packaging (without the music) being sold? What about a hologram version of Sgt. Pepper, now that would be cool!

What will they say about the music? I imagine the Beatles would have thought about this when they recorded in ’67 and embedded sounds and messages that only would be heard in 2042.

I wonder if #SgtPepper75 will bring back a nostalgia for the 60’s, will music critics pine for simple days of when creating music really was ‘creating’ rather the ‘programming’ of the current generation (at that time). I hope that when 2032 comes along I will still be writing and contributing online in whatever format online in 25 years will look like and able to share more thoughts about how great Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is.

For now, “it’s getting better all the time”, every time I listen to Pepper.

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Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

What’s Shufflin’ on my iPod

 

Blue Rodeo – 1000 Arms

Here’s the problem with Blue Rodeo, it’s their catalogue of great music from the previous 15 studio albums, a Greatest Hits package and “Live” recordings over 30 years. 1000 Arms is the first collection of new music since 2013’s In Our Nature; in between there was the Christmas release A Merrie Christmas to You and their 3rd Live Lp recorded at Massey Hall.  Oh yeah, there a single released during the 2015 federal election which caused me to (temporarily) hold a personal protest of Blue Rodeo music.

1000 Arms stands so well on its own, however with the catalogue of material that the band is competing with, many of these songs will go unheard live. I’d like to see Blue Rodeo tour and unapologetically not play anything from before 2000. The set list would be just as vibrant and eclectic.

1000 Arms should be a great addition to cottage porches, patios and car rides this summer.

Standout tracks:  Superstar, Long Hard Life, 1000 Arms and So Hard to See.

Michelle Branch – Hopeless Romantic

From the opening refrain of ‘Best You Ever’ Hopeless Romantic signals the return of Michelle Branch. Her song writing remains the same, but has matured. The stronger songs are a result of years of collaborations while trying to come up with material her record company would stand behind. It should be no surprise that she has stepped up her game by sitting in and composing with some of the best in LA, Nashville and London.

With less acoustic guitar work, her sound has filled out and her vocals reflect the sensitivity of the material filled with the fragile emotion of a break up, ‘Fault Line’ is a great example of this. However when she breaks out the acoustic it is solid, ‘Knock Yourself Out’ is not out of place on this 14 track set.

It is so good to have a first rate female singer-songwriter of Branch’s caliber with new material. Hopeless Romantic has been in rotation on my iPod since April 7th and likely will be there for the summer.

Standout tracks: Fault Line, Knock Yourself Out, Hopeless Romantic and Heartbreak Now

Ryan Adams – Prisoner

This one is for the long haul; it’s been playing since February of this year. New Lp’s from other artists have tried to squeeze it out, but none have succeeded.

Prisoner follows the release of a complete remake song by song of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Creatively, Prisoner is Adams’ most complete work of music on one disc since his work with The Cardinals. Like Michelle Branch’s Hopeless Romantic, the music here reflects his divorce, health and disillusion of the music business.

Through a renewed interest in music, via his own label PAX-AM, Prisoner has the hooks of what Bryan Adams would have recorded at his career zenith (you need to hear his version of ‘Summer of 69’ to get this connection), the thoughtfulness of Dylan and good American rock of Tom Petty. His swings from rock, to country folk and back are so easy to listen to – his voice lends to being able to commit to any style wants.  His musicianship shines throughout this disc, he loves his guitars and different sounds he gets from the many he owns. It brings diversity not on many discs.

It will be a sad day when I pull this entire disc off the iPod, trying to find individual tracks to act as a highlight of Prisoner will be difficult.

Standout racks: Do you still love me, Prisoner, Doomsday, Outbound Train

Linda Carone – Black Moonlight

What may seem like the odd duck in these four discs is really not, Black Moonlight is just really good music performed by very good vocalist. Linda Carone is a Toronto Jazz pianist-vocalist. She is self-described as a vintage jazz and blues singer. While Black Moonlight is her debut disc, but by no means has she just popped up. Linda can be found often on the jazz circuit in Toronto.

The choice of songs is just as important as her voice. In the tradition of Diana Krall and Harry Connick Jr., Carone has chosen well and clearly played these songs live enough to be able to ‘own’ them. So, when listening to Black Moonlight, close your eyes and just try to image you are not in a club – it will be impossible.

With a sultry and velvety voice Black Moonlight going to be perfect on our balcony this summer with the candles, balcony lights and a glass of wine after the sun has sent.

Standout Tracks: Black Moonlight, Guilty, Under the Spell of the Blues, Livin my Way of Life


 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

Where are you now: The return of Michelle Branch

Hopeless Romantic

There are not many artists that I keep watching for, for the release of new music. From the 60’s I always have an interest in what Paul McCartney is putting out or if there is something new coming from the vaults of Abbey Road and EMI Studios with the Beatles, the face of the 70’s will always be Elton John and I’ll always have an eye and ear out for anything new he produces.

At the turn of the century there was a burst of new female singer-songwriters. Of the new breed hitting the charts, names like Vanessa Carleton, Avril Lavinge, Ashley Simpson all had opportunity to have long rewarding careers. In that mix is the new singers was Michelle Branch who release The Spirit Room spawned hits like “Everywhere”, “All You Wanted” and “Goodbye to You” The Spirit Room also had very strong inventory of album cuts. The Spirit Room was followed two years later in 2003 with Paper Hotel with hits like “Breathe” and “Are You Happy Now”. Like The Spirit Room, Hotel Paper was also stacked with great album tracks like “Where are you now” and “Find Your Way Back”.

And then that was pretty well it.

There was a collaboration that became The Wreckers’ Stand Still and Look Pretty in 2005 and an EP Everything Comes and Goes (2010) that got my hopes up for something new. New music almost came with the single “Loud Music” that was released before a full set called West Coast Music was due to be released but was ultimately shelved. I recall listening the webcast of a Q & A with Michelle that preceded the audio premiere playing of “Loud Music”. If not for online music services, that song would be buried along with the other 10-12 tracks that might have been part of that album.

The escapade that she went through with her record label has been recalled many times leading up to the new tapes coming out.

My excitement has peaked since a new collection of songs; Hopeless Romantic is set to come out April 7th.  Three songs have been pre-released; “The Best You Ever”, “Fault Line” and the title track. There is no chance now that we’ll have what happened to West Coast Music will take place with Hopeless Romantic and I could not be happier. This weekend I shuffled the three new tracks with her previous music. Not only did they stand up to The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper, they stood miles apart.

I do not think any musician would recommend waiting 14 years to release a full set of new music. In the case of Michelle Branch, working on new music for those years, a divorce and raising a daughter has given a whole new world for her capture in song. I don’t want to wait another 14 years for more from her, I might look silly as a 70 year old standing in line at the record shop to purchase it.

All I know is that April 7th, will be a great day! I will be sure to post a review Hopeless Romantic for #RedHeartBlueSign once I pry myself away from listening to the disc on repeat.

I am Happy Now

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

Review: Robbie Robertson’s Testimony

In the late 80’s I interviewed The Band, the Robbie Robertson-less version of the band. I was working for CJCS1240 in Stratford Ontario at the time. Back then I know about the music of The Band as a “oldies” radio station the CANCON music policy allowed us to play only the best of Canada back then – and The Band qualified as a mainstay of our playlists. I was selected to interview Stratford’s Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm who had started touring again in1983 after then five person band stopped playing live following 1976’s Last Waltz.

I interviewed The Band with Brian O’Neill, our Sales Manager at the time, and a real music buff. We would interview the guys before they went on stage; take the tape and put together a 1-hour special featuring the interview and music. We had one hour to interview the band, and what a great interview it was, great answers to the questions, and lots of laughter with the stories they told. When we were done, and had talked for more than an the hour allotted, we took the tape back to the studio only to find that the batteries on the cassette recorder had died 30-40 minutes into the interview, a good chunk of what we recorded didn’t.

In Testimony, Robbie Robertson was told, by his mother, that when he was older he too would be a storyteller, just like the Elders of the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford where he spent the early years of his life. Even without publishing Testimony Robertson told stories, just read about the music of a career he writes about from hitting the stage with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks to leaving the stage after playing for hours in The Band’s farewell concert in the “the Last Waltz”

From Ronnie Hawkins, to Bob Dylan to Helm, Danko, Hudson and Manuel Testimony is about his musical relationship – make that musical partnerships and how they made the music that executives in 1968 didn’t know what to label. It was the music that shifted the musical world much like Dylan did by going electric, which Robertson had a stage view of.   The tours with Dylan were illuminating as Robertson describes the lifestyle of rock stars, the drugs and alcohol that eventual drove The Band from the stage. He writes of the struggles, especially with Richard Manuel who struggled with alcohol only to turn to marijuana and then cocaine to help with a heroin habit. Rick Danko and Levon Helm also had major issues and Robertson writes of not only their issues but also his use, but when it comes to this part of his life and the story telling, he leaves out his struggles with his use of drugs and drinking. He makes it seem like he is the big brother who did no wrong, but was always there when his little brothers fell down.

I tweeted out when I started reading Testimony that it was like being counted into a song by Levon Helm; 1-2-3-4 Bam, you are into a song. What kept me turning pages was the music. What the band did in 1967 and 68 leading up to two of the greatest albums of the sixties is amazing reading, it gets into your mind and your imagination. Following Dylan’s motorcycle accident The Band retreat to Woodstock NY and the Big Pink, chapters 18 and 19 are required reading on the creation of Bob Dylan’s “Basement Tapes” and The Bands’ “Music from the Big Pink”. There is a passage about the vocal arrangements for “The Weight” that will forever by in my head, and when I listen to the song I will hear Robertson say…

“I began singing the chorus to “The Weight” over and over to the guys, trying to convey the staggered vocal idea I had. “Levon, you go, ‘aaand’, then Rick , ‘aaand’, then Richard on top, ‘aaand’. Levon, ‘you put the load’, Rick, Richard, Levon, ‘you put the load right on me’.”

Now, just try listening to “The Weight” without having this text in front of you or in your head hearing Robbie give those instructions.

Robertson only takes us through to the end of the Last Waltz, which is timely as I figure he has another book in him with his Post Waltz music. In the book he takes the reader through the thought, action and performance of what many call, the greatest rock concert film ever made. I could write more about the last few chapters leading up to the concert, but I think you would get more reading about creating the line up of artists, the new budding professional relationship with Martin Scorsese and how it was all managed to be held together AND the fabulous dinner served to 5000 people before the concert began.

Testimony is two-way mirror into making music, great music and a looking into how success put strains into relationships and what the five did to survive. Levon, Rick and Richard used the drink and drugs, Garth fiddled with electronics and Robertson made music and films with others and discovered the west coast. But as he writes his eulogy to The Band in the final pages, the love of the brotherhood is greater than all the troubles and sins that happened between 1960 with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks to Thanksgiving 1976 and “The Last Waltz” , the love clearly outlasts any pain and misunderstandings that took place.

In the end, Testimony is the BEST rock and roll book I have ever read, its honesty and admiration of the players Robbie Robertson shared a stage with is something I have never taken from pages before.

Testimony is required reading for anyone that plays or loves music that changes how we listen to music.

While I knew the music of The Band, Testimony would have been a great primer for my interview with The Band, in the late 80’s. After reading Testimony, I now understand the music and brotherhood of The Band, and man what questions I would have asked if only I knew as I do today.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

 

I read and hear a trend here

 

I just finished reading Philip Norman`s biography of Paul McCartney “A Life”, and as I always do during and after reading a musical biography I am drawn to listen to more of that artists’ music. In the case of McCartney my interest is towards his later music more importantly “Flaming Pie”, “Driving Rain” and “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”. The earlier music is very much part of my growing up and early adult years. I hadn’t paid enough attention to those three CD’s and now I have the opportunity to do so. Luckily I have had the almost complete McCartney discography – so no new purchases required.

The most difficult part of the read was working through the Heather Mills era and how different Paul seemed when compared to the years with not only Linda but earlier with Jane Asher. Do some relationships just bring out a totally different person in people? By the time I reached the last page, I got what I expected and enjoyed every page.

35 years ago I read Phillip Norman’s account about The Beatles entitled “Shout! The Beatles in their Generation”. I have few recollections about that book, and thankfully the author in his notes says he did not rely on his research in that book to write McCartney’s life book. The obvious next read is the same author’s Lennon account “John Lennon: The Life” if only to ensure the facts are same between the two books. But that will not take place for a few books as I have Robbie Robertson’s and Bruce Springsteen’s books up next on the read list.

My adventure in a musician’s life ends with the same result, more music to be bought and listened to as an enhanced experience to the words my brain has taken in. In the case of some biographies it can be more expensive than others. I have taken to the pages of Neil Young and Led Zeppelin books, but a case to demonstrate this is Joni Mitchell. After reading “The Creative Odyssey of…” purchasing the early catalogue was a necessity. I had only been listening to the later work of hers, 1988’s “Chalk mark in a Rainstorm” to 1995’s Grammy Award winning “Turbulent Indigo”, I had no personal listening experience to her early work (other than when I worked in Radio from 1982-1990). Listening to “Ladies of the Canyon”, “Blue” and “Court and Spark” helped to appreciate what I already knew of her music.

The two books that brought the largest surprise to me were Keith Richards “Life” and Elvis Costello’s “Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink”. In both these books I was astounded to hear about the musicianship that each had. I had previous been a staunch Beatles over the Rolling Stones person but with his book, Keith Richards won me over (but not totally) to the Rolling Stones side. In fact his 2015 Lp “Crosseyed Heart” remains a favourite of mine.

Unlike my Keith Richards/Rolling Stones experience, I have been listening to Costello for a very long time, likely due to my prime music year being late 70’s onward. I knew that Elvis Costello was a good musician, but how good I had no idea. The book explores a musical background that he shares with his father and mother and provides an insight to the British Punk and New Wave music in the 70’s and 80’s. His song writing prowess is incredible and the range in which he can produce blows me away. Even the manner in which he interviews other musicians is extremely impressive. His run as host of “Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…” showed an intellect and interest in hearing about other musicians. The show was produced by Costello with Elton John and David Furnish and sadly only ran for 2 seasons. The show remains available to purchase and features some wonderful musical performances with his guests.

Beyond Robertson and Springsteen the next pick up might have to be Norman’s “Sir Elton: The Definitive Biography” of Elton John. As a lifelong fan and owner of most of his discography, I might not learn more about his music but I’m willing to see if I will and search out a disc I just have to have. After all I should not rely of the Lp “Captain Fantastic and Brown Dirt Cowboy” as my only biographical reference to Elton John.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.