Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Van Morrison - It's Too Late To Stop Now Vols. I, II, III, IV & DVD; A Vault Release Done Right; A Treasure Trove of Live Morrison


Photos courtesy of Van Morrison

Sony Legacy has just released a brand new CD remastering of Van Morrison's 1974 double live album It's Too Late To Stop Now. They have also sweetened the pot in a major way by digging into their newly acquired Morrison vault to release three complete shows from the same 1973 tour that produced the double LP, 45 previously unreleased tracks over three CDs plus a live DVD. Last year Legacy acquired the rights to the entire Morrison catalog, which they announced thusly.
Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, has acquired the rights to the most complete discography of contemporary music legend Van Morrison ever assembled under one label imprint.

The Van Morrison musical acquisition spans more than 50 years of music, encompassing some 50 album, video and compilation titles from 1964 to the present. The new Legacy Van Morrison archive includes all of Morrison’s solo works from 1971 to the present as well as the recordings made with the groundbreaking rock band Them from 1964 through 1966.
It's Too Late To Stop Now, Volume I
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In the summer of 1973, Morrison did a live tour of eight shows, which were all recorded. The double live LP It's Too Late To Stop Now was assembled with tracks from these recordings. The album had been previously available on CD, but Legacy has just gone back to the original 2" sixteen track analog tapes to remaster the album for best possible sound.

These recordings capture Morrison at the peak of his powers, performing with his hand-picked eleven piece group The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, which included horns and strings. One of my favorite aspects of these recordings is that, unlike the majority of live albums, there was no overdubbing, fixes, or "sweetening"; this music is exactly as played. On CD, It’s Too Late to Stop Now, Vol. I provides the same 18-tracks as the original LP. In addition, it contains no performances from the concerts that are released as Volumes II, III, and IV. Moreover, six of the songs are unique to Vol. I.

Listen to: "Into The Mystic", "Here Comes the Night", and "Cyprus Avenue"
It's Too Late To Stop Now, Volume I
Disc 1
01. Ain't Nothin' You Can Do (3:48) Joe Scott
02. Warm Love (3:05) Van Morrison
03. Into the Mystic (4:31) Van Morrison
04. These Dreams of You (3:37) Van Morrison
05. I Believe to My Soul (4:08) Ray Charles
06. I've Been Working (3:56) Van Morrison
07. Help Me (3:25) Willie Dixon
08. Wild Children (5:04) Van Morrison
09. Domino (4:48) Van Morrison
10. I Just Want to Make Love to You (5:14) Willie Dixon
Disc 2
01. Bring It on Home to Me (4:42) Sam Cooke
02. Saint Dominic's Preview (6:18) Van Morrison
03. Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket (4:05) Sonny Boy Williamson
04. Listen to the Lion (8:44) Van Morrison
05. Here Comes the Night (3:14) Pierce Turner
06. Gloria (4:15) Van Morrison
07. Caravan (9:21) Van Morrison
08. Cyprus Avenue (10:20) Van Morrison

It's Too Late To Stop Now, Volumes II, III, IV, and DVD
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This is where the going gets sweet. Remastering a great live album like the one above, is a fairly common practice. But, when they expanded the project by offering Volumes II, III, IV, and a DVD in a quite reasonably priced package, this is truly manna for Van fans. Volumes II, III, & IV are Morrison shows from the same tour that produced the original It's Too Late To Stop Now album. Volume II was recorded at the legendary Troubadour in Los Angeles on May 23, 1973. Volume III was recorded at the Santa Monica Civic Center on June 29, 1973. Volume IV was recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London on July 23 and 24, 1973. The DVD was also drawn from the Rainbow shows, but its nine tracks include four songs that are not on the CD. Each of the three CDs have fifteen tracks and they tell us that these forty five performances are previously unreleased, so we may conclude that none of these tracks were used in the original album release.

Lest anyone think that there is redundancy in this expanded package, there is not. Volume I has always been one of the best live albums ever, including the then-current hits and a good sampling of deeper tracks. Volumes II, III, & IV show Morrison as the consummate artist painting a very different canvas with each live set. These concerts are very different from one another, and the song overlap is minimal. Some songs appear in two of the three shows but no song was performed at all three shows.

To prepare these recordings for release, they were mixed from the original master tapes. "Guy Massey's remix offers stellar sound. There is a lot more balance between horns and strings, more emphasis on piano and lead guitar, while bass and drums are set just behind Morrison's vocals" (allmusic.com). I have checked numerous sources including the Legacy Recordings website and I can find no reference to Volume I being remixed, only remastered. The quotation above comes from an All Music review of the Volumes II, III, & IV package. However, being that these recordings are being released here for the first time, the word "remixed" would appear to be a misnomer. I suspect that the tracks in Volume I were also remixed as above, to achieve not only best sound quality but sound consistency over all of the elements of this release.

At this point, I would single out some highlights but these three CDs are a complete delight from start to finish. Morrison, who is long known for his temperamental performances, is really into it on this tour.
“I am getting more into performing,” Morrison commented in 1973. “It’s incredible…. All of a sudden I felt like ‘you’re back into performing’ and it just happened like that…. A lot of times in the past I’ve done gigs and it was rough to get through them. But now the combination seems to be right and it’s been clicking a lot.” (theseconddisc.com)
All three shows offer a nice mix of Morrison originals as well as covers of older songs, which show Morrison's influences.

Listen to Volume II: Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me"; a fired up "Hey, Good Lookin’" written by Hank Williams; and an ultra cool, very jazzy version of "Moondance".
Listen to Volume III: The jazz/blues standard "Since I Fell For You", a very hot "Domino", and an intense version of Ray Charles' "I Believe To My Soul".
Listen to Volume IV: The blues classic "I Just Want To Make Love To You", Morrison, sounding like he's having fun on "Here Comes The Night", and a blazing "Caravan", "turn it up".

VOLUME II (Recorded live at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, May 23, 1973)
01. Come Running (Van Morrison)
02. These Dreams Of You (Van Morrison)
03. The Way Young Lovers Do (Van Morrison)
04. Snow In San Anselmo (Van Morrison)
05. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)
06. Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke)
07. Purple Heather (Van Morrison)
08. Hey, Good Lookin’ (Hank Williams)
09. Bein’ Green (Joseph G. Raposo)
10. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
11. Listen To The Lion (Van Morrison)
12. Hard Nose The Highway (Van Morrison)
13. Moondance (Van Morrison)
14. Cyprus Avenue (Van Morrison)
15. Caravan (Van Morrison)

VOLUME III (Recorded live at the Santa Monica Civic, California, June 29. 1973)
01. I’ve Been Working (Van Morrison)
02. There There Child (Van Morrison, John Platania)
03. No Way (Jeff Labes)
04. Since I Fell For You (Woodrow Buddy Johnson)
05. Wild Night (Van Morrison)
06. I Paid The Price (Van Morrison, John Platania)
07. Domino (Van Morrison)
08. Gloria (Van Morrison)
09. Buona Sera (Carl Sigman, Peter De Rose)
10. Moonshine Whiskey (Van Morrison)
11. Ain’t Nothing You Can Do (Don D. Robey, Joseph Wade Scott)
12. Take Your Hand Out Of My Pocket (Sonny Boy Williamson)
13. Sweet Thing (Van Morrison)
14. Into The Mystic (Van Morrison)
15. I Believe To My Soul (Ray Charles)

VOLUME IV (Recorded live at The Rainbow, London, July 23 & 24, 1973)
01. Listen To The Lion (Van Morrison)
02. I Paid The Price (Van Morrison, John Platania)
03. Bein’ Green (Joseph G. Raposo)
04. Since I Fell For You (Woodrow Buddy Johnson)
05. Into The Mystic (Van Morrison)
06. Everyone (Van Morrison)
07. I Believe To My Soul (Ray Charles)
08. Sweet Thing (Van Morrison)
09. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)
10. Wild Children (Van Morrison)
11. Here Comes The Night (Bert Berns)
12. Buona Sera (Carl Sigman, Peter De Rose)
13. Domino (Van Morrison)
14. Caravan (Van Morrison)
15. Cyprus Avenue (Van Morrison)

About the DVD: This is a priceless piece of video, which was filmed at the Rainbow Theatre in London during the same two dates as the CD. The nine track, fifty minute program originally aired on the BBC but it is otherwise previously unreleased. It was professionally shot and contains lots of closeups of Morrison. On DVD it is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio, which was the television standard at the time. There are no audio options on the DVD and it will play on your surround sound system as a 1.0 mono recording, all of the sound coming from the center speaker. I can find no documentation on this, either on the disc packaging or at the numerous sources I've checked, so I will conclude that it was the intention of the producer of this release to give the viewer a video experience that is consistent with how the special was seen at the time, in 1973, with the sound coming from your TV set. Regardless of audio format, Morrison fans will just love having this on DVD.

Watch: Brown Eyed Girl, Help Me, and "Caravan" below.

Watch "Caravan" from The Rainbow Theatre DVD.


DVD (Recorded live at The Rainbow, London, July 23 & 24, 1973)
01. Here Comes The Night (Bert Berns)
02. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)
03. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
04. Moonshine Whiskey (Van Morrison)
05. Moondance (Van Morrison)
06. Help Me(Ralph Bass, Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson)
07. Domino (Van Morrison)
08. Caravan (Van Morrison)
09. Cyprus Avenue (Van Morrison)

In a bit of irony, offering a kind of commentary on the fragmented state of the music industry, even extending to music journalism, the best description of this release I found was in The Wall Street Journal, of all places, in a article written by Jim Fusilli (WSJ rock and pop music critic). I am pleased to reprint it here.
...Revisiting the original album and spending a few hours with the fresh material serves as a reminder of what greatness is.

Supported by the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, a versatile 11-piece group that included a string section, the original “It’s Too Late to Stop Now” package presented Mr. Morrison singing, with focus and fire, a few of his hits, showcasing his two most recent albums—“Saint Dominic’s Preview” (1972) and “Hard Nose the Highway” (1973)—and covering songs made notable by Bobby Blue Bland, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson. The tracks on the new Volumes II, III and IV were culled from the same concerts as those included on the ’74 release, and rise to the same artistic caliber. The expanded “It’s Too Late to Stop Now” is a case where more is more.

The 45 previously unreleased performances on the albums present Mr. Morrison as an artist of significant achievement who was then still in search of new modes of expression and, perhaps more important from today’s perspective, willing and eager to illustrate where his kind of rock came from. Long before the current prosperous era in which singer-composers, be they in folk, hip-hop, R&B or rock, ignore convention by mixing forms and tapping into popular music’s past, Mr. Morrison was doing just that, tossing aside trends and rock’s already stodgy orthodoxy. The new albums reveal just how eclectic his influences were. He covers faithfully and with fitting humor “Buona Sera,” a 1956 hit for Louis Prima, and the oft-performed blues “Since I Fell for You.” There’s a reading of “Bein’ Green,” originally performed by the Muppets’ Kermit the Frog—Frank Sinatra covered it in ’71—which Mr. Morrison recorded for his “Hard Nose the Highway” collection.

These and other performances place Mr. Morrison and the orchestra in a jazz context, something the original “It’s Too Late to Stop Now” failed to do. Mr. Morrison’s “Moondance” swings loose and limber, propelled by Jeff Labes’s piano and David Hayes’s walking bass. (Mr. Morrison quotes “Fever,” introduced by Little Willie John in ’56, perhaps acknowledging its influence on his composition.) “The Way Young Lovers Do,” from Mr. Morrison’s 1968 masterpiece “Astral Weeks,” swings too, with the strings dancing around the melody and offering a thrilling, unexpected interlude that welcomes a piercing solo by trumpeter Bill Atwood, who excels on several numbers. A gorgeous reading of the ballad “Snow in San Anselmo” is punctuated by a mad bebop interval, and Hank Williams’s “Hey, Good Lookin’” emerges as a jump blues.

In those days, Mr. Morrison was a contradiction on stage. As the DVD confirms, he could appear diffident in performance, standing for the most part stationary at the microphone. And yet he churned with contained energy and a soul-deep connection to the emotional core of his music. On “I Paid the Price,” a song he co-composed in the early ’70s but didn’t release back then, Mr. Morrison seems about to implode as he repeats lines with increasing intensity. In “Sweet Thing,” also from “Astral Weeks,” the strings deliver Mr. Morrison to its aching two-word chorus. “Pick it!” the singer barks at guitarist John Platania, who responds with a terse solo before Mr. Morrison and the band leap into an improvised coda.

The three new volumes don’t skimp on Mr. Morrison’s late-’60s pop-and-rock hits; they include “Brown Eyed Girl” and different versions of “Here Comes the Night” and “Gloria”—the latter subdued here—than those that appeared on the original live album. Back then, Mr. Morrison gave the impression that he could compose a hit whenever he wanted to, but also that he had much more on his mind. Concerts like the ones that provide the material for the expanded “It’s Too Late to Stop Now” revealed he was, more so than any of his peers, at the crossroads of rock-and-pop’s past, the best of its then-present and the possibilities for its future. Thus, the new collection rises well above a mere historical artifact. “It’s Too Late to Stop Now” provides an essential listening experience. WSJ
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Friday, August 26, 2016

What the World (Still) Needs Is Love Sweet Love [Warning - Explicit]




Last week's Top Forty countdown on Sirius XM's 70s channel was from the year 1971. It was a year when good music ruled the chart, for the most part...

Billboard Top 20 for the Week of August 14, 1971
01. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - Bee Gees
02. Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight
03. Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
04. Draggin' The Line - Tommy James
05. You've Got A Friend - James Taylor
06. Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian) - The Raiders
07. Beginnings/Colour My World - Chicago
08. What The World Needs Now Is Love - Abraham, Martin and John - Tom Clay
09. Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Marvin Gaye
10. Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
11. It's Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move - Carole King
12. Bring The Boys Home - Freda Payne
13. Never Ending Song Of Love - Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
14. Liar - Three Dog Night
15. Sweet Hitch-Hiker - Creedence Clearwater Revival
16. Hot Pants (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants) (Pt. 1) - James Brown
17. Rings - Cymarron
18. Love The One You're With - The Isley Brothers
19. Spanish Harlem - Aretha Franklin
20. Riders On The Storm - The Doors



I was going to post this song the next morning, but didn't; I wrestled with the idea for a few days. I knew the record and knew it got lots of airplay back then, but Sunday night I was surprised and appalled to realize that the record had gone top ten on the Billboard chart; that it came in at #8 for the week of August 14th. I have long objected to maudlin and manipulative records like this.

But the reason that I felt like posting it was that, as I listened to it now in 2016, I could not escape the thought that you could easily substitute sound clips from the news of the past few years. Which leads me to think that the problems facing our country have not changed that much. In many ways they've gotten worse.

In the Tom Clay production, the issues are the war in Vietnam and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. If you were to reproduce that record today, you would be dealing with mass shootings by psychos, mass shootings by terrorists, and the racial divide that boils over every time a police officer kills a young African American male.

Add to that gun violence in America, the NRA, congressional gridlock, the religious right, the Tea Party, Wall Street, Main Street, the 1% of the 1%, economic inequality, gender inequality, income inequality, the failure of the ERA, the Zika virus, wildfires, heatwaves, tornadoes, climate change, climate change deniers, LGBT inequality, "voting rights" legislation that denies minorities voting rights, obscene pharmaceutical profits, EpiPens, brain eating amoeba, affordable healthcare, drug violence, drug overdoses, did I mention gun violence in America?, the murder rate, Chicago, Flint, MI water, pollution, fracking, clean renewable energy, electric cars, Pokémon GO, religious intolerance, the alt-right, the KKK, hate speech, fear mongering, the Confederate flag, human trafficking, Supreme Court stalemate, underfunded education, WikiLeaks, the Sony hack, espionage hacking, private email servers, on the job sexual harassment, sexual abuse of children, rape, "for profit" prisons, just to name a few.

If you thought about any of the above, then you might be excused for thinking that the human race is flawed, and we are all f*cked.

All this stream of consciousness stemmed from hearing that Tom Clay record on the radio.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don't need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last 'till the end of time

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh, listen, lord, if you want to know

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some, oh, but just for ever, every, everyone

What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
P.S. For the record, "What the World Needs Now is Love/Abraham, Martin and John" was produced by disc jockey Tom Clay using the world's wimpiest, most MOR version of the song. Number 8 was its peak chart position on the way to selling over a million copies.

I can't wrap this up without offering a listen to the original hit version from 1965 of "What the World Needs Now is Love" by Jackie DeShannon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Norah Jones Kicks It Old School On Her New Album Day Breaks Due October 7th, Watch Video Of the First Single "Carry On", and More




Photo courtesy of Norah Jones

Norah Jones is set to deliver her sixth studio album, Day Breaks, on October 7th. The advance word from Jones is that on this record she returns to the piano and that jazz/blues/country vibe that characterized her first album. On August 5, she released the album's first single "Carry On". Watch the video, below. As soon as you hear it, you are reminded of what made Come Away With Me so appealing that it sold millions of copies and won Norah an armload of Grammys.

Day Breaks has a stellar cast of musicians surrounding Jones including Brian Blade on drums, Wayne Shorter on sax, and Dr. Lonnie Smith on organ. Also appearing on Day Breaks are two more members of the Brian Blade Fellowship Band, Chris Thomas on bass and Jon Cowherd on organ (Cowherd played the beautiful organ solo on "Carry On"). Some of New York's finest session musicians also appear, including John Patitucci (Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea) on bass, Tony Scherr on guitar, and Pete Remm on organ, among others. Of the twelve songs on Day Breaks, nine are Jones originals. The others are covers of songs by Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, and Neil Young; see tracklist below.

The Horace Silver cover is a song called "Peace", which dates back fifteen years to the sessions for Come Away With Me. The song was included on Jones' first Sessions EP, the deluxe version of Come Away With Me, and a multitude of holiday collections between then and now. When Day Breaks is released, it will be interesting to see if "Peace" gets a new recording.

Watch the official video of "Carry On"


Watch Norah Jones talk about "Carry On"



Norah Jones - Day Breaks

Tracklist: All songs by Norah Jones except as noted.
01. "Burn"
02. "Tragedy"
03. "Flipside"
04. "It's A Wonderful Time For Love"
05. "And Then There Was You"
06. "Don't Be Denied" [Neil Young]
07. "Day Breaks"
08. "Peace" [Horace Silver]
09. "Once I Had A Laugh"
10. "Sleeping Wild"
11. "Carry On"
12. "Fleurette Africaine (African Flower)" [Duke Ellington]

Bonus Video: The new single "Carry On" reminds me of the duet she did with Ray Charles, "Here We Go Again"


Watch Norah Jones talk about the recording of "Here We Go Again"


Listen to Norah Jones perform "Peace" on Marian McPartland's piano jazz radio program (2003)


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Monday, August 15, 2016

Eric Clapton Brings His Crossroads Guitar Festivals To CD Stuffed With A Plethora Of Amazing Players, Guitar Fans Rejoice



Eric Clapton's Crashocaster, Fender Custom Stratocaster Guitar (www.edroman.com)

Crossroads Revisited: Selections From The Crossroads Guitar Festivals was just released by Rhino Records on three jam packed CDs containing nearly four hours of live performances. It features Eric Clapton and special guests including Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, B.B. King, James Taylor, Vince Gill, J.J. Cale, Sonny Landreth, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Steve Winwood, ZZ Top, Earl Klugh, Gary Clark Jr., Keb’ Mo’, Warren Haynes, Jonny Lang, Ronnie Wood, Steve Cropper, Keith Urban, and (believe it or not) many more. The set has been compiled from the festivals that have been held in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. All four festivals have been previously released on DVD and blu-ray, but this is the first time that these recordings have been made available on CD.

The format for these concerts is that the guests come out and perform either alone or (mostly) in combination with the other guests and/or Clapton. This gives rise to some priceless combinations, like Steve Winwood and Clapton performing "Presence Of The Lord", reprising their association in Blind Faith, the quintessential super group. Clapton also joins Winwood on his signature Traffic tune "Dear Mr. Fantasy". Although Winwood is a talented multi-instrumentalist, it seems to me that he is better known for his keyboard prowess especially on the Hammond B3 organ. As you can see in the video below, Winwood is here as a guitar player and when he picks up his Stratocaster he more than holds his own with Clapton.

Each concert also has a solo set from Clapton. One shining example here is "Cocaine". I've included the video so you can see Clapton grace this JJ Cale composition with the same kind of blistering solo that caused legions of fans worldwide to deify him back in the 1960s when he was a member of Cream. And it's not just on this track; Clapton plays like that throughout. If you ever listened to Clapton and thought, "I'd really like to hear him let loose on electric guitar," your dreams have been answered.

With a guest list like this, cool collaborations abound. Just read the track list below; the priceless performances get even more so when they feature iconic guitar players who are no longer with us. Clapton has worshipped the music of JJ Cale for over forty-five years. Cale's composition "After Midnight" gave Clapton his first top ten single. In addition to "Cocaine", Cale also wrote "Tulsa Time". To commemorate Cale, a few years ago Clapton recorded a beautiful tribute album that included many similar minded musicians, like Mark Knopfler, who share Clapton's affinity for Cale. Watch the video below and see Clapton and Cale perform "After Midnight" from the 2004 festival. B.B. King is also no longer with us but he is well represented on Crossroads Revisited with three performances, appearing with Robert Cray and others.

The Crossroads Guitar Festivals were charitable events with money going to support the Crossroads Centre, a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Antigua, which was started by Clapton. Here's what Clapton has to say about the Crossroads Centre.
A letter from our founder, Mr. Eric Clapton
Photo by Norman Watson

For many years I have visited Antigua, the beautiful Caribbean island located in the heart of the West Indies. Antigua has always been a special refuge – a safe place, a serene place where one can begin the process of healing from even the most devastating events and life situations.

As a recovering addict and alcoholic, many people over the years spoke with me about the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse on the island. Subsequently, around 1993, I began to speak with more and more people about the possibility of founding a Centre on the island for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. There was certainly a need, and so the dream and the vision were born.

My vision was to create a Centre of the highest caliber to treat people of the Caribbean and throughout the world. The Centre would be staffed with experienced and internationally recognized professionals. The cost of treatment would be held to the lowest possible level, ensuring affordability and accessibility. And most importantly, this non-profit Centre would provide treatment scholarships for people of the Caribbean region and around the world.

Well, this vision became a reality and Crossroads opened its doors to the world in 1998. Since then it has quickly developed into an internationally recognized Treatment Centre of Excellence, providing services to individuals and their families suffering from the devastating effects of addiction.

Crossroads is like no other Treatment Centre. It is the perfect place to begin the road of recovery and utilizes a combination of effective therapies to address addiction and recovery, while capturing the spiritual serenity that many have found unique to Antigua. Within the serene, healing atmosphere individuals participate in a structured residential 12 step based program that allows clients to experience a whole person wellness approach to recovery.

We believe that the majority of individuals suffering from addiction have the capacity for recovery if given the proper foundation to begin their journey. At Crossroads we help provide that foundation.

Sincerely,
Eric Clapton

Buy at Amazon
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From Disc 1: Watch Eric Clapton with JJ Cale - "After Midnight" 2004


Disc One
Sweet Home Chicago – Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, & Jimmie Vaughan (2004)
Rock Me Baby – Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, & Jimmie Vaughan (2004)
Steam Roller – James Taylor with Joe Walsh (2004)
What The Cowgirls Do – Vince Gill with Jerry Douglas (2004)
After Midnight – J.J. Cale with Eric Clapton (2004)
Green Light Girl – Doyle Bramhall II (2004)
Hell At Home – Sonny Landreth with Eric Clapton (2007)
City Love – John Mayer (2004)
Funk 49 – Joe Walsh (2004)
Drums Of Passion (Jingo) – Carlos Santana with Eric Clapton (2004)
Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers – Jeff Beck (2007)
Have You Ever Loved A Woman (Blues In C) – Eric Clapton (2004)
Layla – Eric Clapton (2004)

From Disc 2: Watch Eric Clapton - "Cocaine" 2004


Disc Two
Little By Little – Susan Tedeschi with The Derek Trucks Band (2007)
Poor Johnny – The Robert Cray Band (2007)
Paying The Cost To Be The Boss – B.B. King with The Robert Cray Band, Jimmie Vaughan, & Hubert Sumlin (2007)
Tulsa Time – Sheryl Crow with Eric Clapton, Vince Gill, & Albert Lee (2007)
On The Road Again – Willie Nelson with Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, & Albert Lee (2007)
Isn’t It A Pity – Eric Clapton (2007)
Belief – John Mayer (2007)
Mas Y Mas – Los Lobos (2007)
Big Block – Jeff Beck (2007)
Presence Of The Lord – Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton (2007)
Cocaine – Eric Clapton (2004)
Waiting For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago – ZZ Top (2010)
Don’t Owe You A Thang – Gary Clark Jr. (2010)
Bright Lights – Gary Clark Jr. (2010)

From Disc 3: Watch Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton - "Dear Mr. Fantasy" 2010


Disc Three
Our Love Is Fading – Sheryl Crow with Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall II, & Gary Clark Jr. (2010)
Lay Down Sally – Vince Gill with Sheryl Crow, Keb’ Mo’, Albert Lee, James Burton, & Earl Klugh (2010)
Space Captain – Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band with Warren Haynes, David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, & Chris Stainton (2010)
Hammerhead – Jeff Beck (2010)
Five Long Years – Buddy Guy with Jonny Lang & Ronnie Wood (2010)
Hear My Train A Comin’ – Doyle Bramhall II (2010)
Dear Mr. Fantasy – Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton (2010)
Born Under A Bad Sign – Booker T. with Steve Cropper, Keb’ Mo’, Blake Mills, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, & Albert Lee (2013)
Everyday I Get The Blues – The Robert Cray Band with B.B. King, Eric Clapton, & Jimmie Vaughan (2013)
Please Come Home – Gary Clark Jr. (2013)
Tumbling Dice – Vince Gill with Keith Urban & Albert Lee (2013)
I Shot The Sheriff – Eric Clapton (2010)

Bonus Videos:
Watch "Lay Down Sally" from 2010 featuring Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Keb' Mo', Albert Lee, James Burton, and Earl Klugh


Watch Eric Clapton tribute his friend George Harrison by doing George's "Isn't It A Pity" in 2007




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Monday, August 08, 2016

The Mar-Y-Sol Festival Album Headlined By The Allman Brothers Band, B.B. King, ELP, The J. Geils Band, And Dr. John; Long Out Of Print But Now You Can Download It Free And Much More Including Billy Joel



Why I Love the Internet: The other day, I was listening to some new two disc remasters by Emerson Lake & Palmer, their first three albums in what will be a major overhaul from their catalogue this year (I will write, in detail, about these soon). The reissue of Pictures At An Expedition has some extraordinary bonus material, including a nearly 15 minute recording of a live Pictures medley from the Mar Y Sol Festival, a rock festival held in Puerto Rico in 1972.

In the wake of Woodstock, a number of festivals were held attempting to recreate the magic. They were usually followed by an album; The Atlanta Pop Festival comes to mind. I remember the Mar Y Sol album from playing it on the radio; it was a two record set with a wealth of great and interesting artists represented. As I listened to that ELP Pictures album, I was thinking about the eventual blog article and I started to wonder if this live Pictures medley had been included in that Mar Y Sol album back in '72. It only took a couple of minutes with Google to determine that the original vinyl album was long out of print and it had never been issued on CD. Inside of another minute, I was on a Mar Y Sol Festival history site and I was looking at this download page.

In the next minute or so that original album was downloading to my computer and I was listening to it. That's not all, this same page offers a bootleg of Billy Joel's complete set and a three volume audience recording made at the festival, more about those two boots in a bit.

It was such a joy to just be looking for the tracklist and have the entire record essentially fall into my lap. This was not the only time I've had that sort of experience, just the latest, and it makes me say that's why I love the internet.



Official album track list:
Click song titles to listen
01. J. Geils Band – Looking for a Love
02. The Mahavishnu Orchestra w/ John McLaughlin – The Noonward Race
03. Dr. John – Wang Dang Doodle
04. B.B. King – Why I Sing the Blues
05. Osibisa – Y Sharp*
06. Cactus – Bedroom Mazurka
07. Allman Brothers Band – Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
08. Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Take a Pebble/Lucky Man
09. Nitzinger – Texas Blues/Jelly Roll
10. Jonathan Edwards – Sometimes in the Morning
11. Jonathan Edwards – Train of Glory
12. John Baldry – Bring My Baby Back
13. Herbie Mann – Respect Yourself
ERROR: Osibisa’s song “Y Sharp” is credited as “Do You Know” on the album.



About The Boots: The Mar Y Sol download page for the Billy Joel boot links to a detailed discussion of Joel's set sequence and composition. The download consists of seven tracks, and although it has some sound problems, on a typical boot rating scale I would rate the sound quality very good. It probably has to do with speed and EQ; it sounds somewhat thin, lacking in bass. For Billy Joel fans, this recording has real historical value. This is one of his very earliest live performances and he sounds very young. The killer tracks for Joel fans are the two encore cover songs. His first encore is "The Letter" and he does a fine impression of Joe Cocker's cover of the Box Tops classic. He sounds amazingly like Cocker. The crowd holds him for a second encore and he comes back with a rockin' version of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" which owes as much to Johnny Winter as it does to the Stones. Joel fans will love this.

Tracklist: Click last two song titles to listen
01. Travelin’ Prayer
02. Josephine
03. The Ballad of Billy the Kid
04. Captain Jack
05. Tomorrow Is Today
06. The Letter [Joe Cocker cover]
07. Jumpin’ Jack Flash [Rolling Stones cover]

The other offering on the downloads page is a three volume set of audience recordings made during the festival, The Collazo-Mandry Tapes, named for the two guys who made the recordings. There are thirty-eight tracks in all, and they vary in sound quality from very good plus to excellent. These recordings are remarkable; many tracks make you feel like you are front row center at the concert. During B.B. King's "How Blue Can You Get" for example, you can feel every pluck of his guitar strings and his vocal has such presence that you feel like you are looking back at him. Collazo and Mandry recorded a number of artists who weren't represented on the official album, including Dave Brubeck, The Faces, and Brownsville Station. One look at the track list below and you will see that this is truly a treasure trove of music from the Festival.



Tracklist for The Collazo/Mandry Tapes Volume One:
01. Mister Robert (Brownsville Station)
02. The Train (Pot Liquor)
03. It’s All Over Now (Faces)
04. Miss Judy’s Farm (Faces)
05. Louisiana Cock Fight (Nitzinger)
06. Done Somebody Wrong (Allman Brothers Band)
07. Homework (J. Geils Band)
08. Crusin’ For A Love (J. Geils Band)
09. The Pope Smokes Dope (David Peel)
10. Up Against The Wall (David Peel)
11. How Blue Can You Get (BB King)
12. Guess Who (BB King)
13. Memphis Underground (Herbie Mann)
14. Take Five (Dave Brubeck w/ Gerry Mulligan)
15. Ya Se Van (Fran Ferrer y Puerto Rico 2010)

Volume Two:
01. I’m A Steamroller, Mama (Nitzinger)
02. Ticklelick (Nitzinger)
03. untitled jam (Nitzinger)
04. Maggie May (Faces)
05. Sno-Cone (J. Geils Band)
06. Wait (J. Geils Band)
07. Whammer Jammer (J. Geils Band)
08. Wanted Dead or Alive (Brownsville Station)
09.Blue Suede Shoes [Carl Perkins cover] (Brownsville Station)
10. Johnny B. Goode [Chuck Berry cover] (Brownsville Station)
11. Hemos Dicho Basta (Fran Ferrer Y Puerto Rico 2010)

Volume Three:
01. One Way Out (Allman Brothers Band)
02. Stormy Monday (Allman Brothers Band)
03. Statesboro Blues [incomplete] (Allman Brothers Band)
04. Everyday I Have The Blues (BB King)
05. Hummingbird [incomplete] (BB King)
06. Never Can Say Goodbye (Herbie Mann)
07. Athens County (Jonathan Edwards)
08. Dues Day Bar (Jonathan Edwards)
09. Give Us a Song (Jonathan Edwards)
10. Shanty (Jonathan Edwards)
11. New York City Hippie (David Peel)
12. Mother Where Is My Father (David Peel)



Notes:
About that ELP live medley of Pictures that I was originally looking for, although it was not part of the official Mar Y Sol album, it did eventually see release sometime later. It seems that in 2004, someone in the ELP camp discovered the original 16-track master tape of their Mar Y Sol performance in its entirety. It was lovingly remastered and released in 2011. It's now out of print.

The Mar Y Sol Pop Festival took place on April 1-3, 1972 at a site on the north shore of Puerto Rico. The location was in Manati, which according to Wikipedia, is about 30 mile west of San Juan. Estimates of festival attendance range between 30-35,000.

I want to single out Reniet Ramirez Rivera and say a major thank you for both the website and the downloads.
Even though I was born 5 years after MAR Y SOL took place, I’ve always had a passion for this subject. Always been a fan of rock music and always loved history. Add the fact that I have a special love for rock events/concerts that took place in Puerto Rico (I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, 1977 – 2003). The last day of the festival (April 3, 1972) was also the day my oldest brother was born.

I felt that since there was no web site, book or anything to learn about this event I might as well be the first one.

I’ve been very curious about this subject since 1993 when I accidentally saw the LP ‘ot ‘n’ Sweaty’ by Cactus (which contains 3 songs from this festival). But there was no source whatsoever to find out more about this legendary festival. In 2004 I officially started collecting everything I could related to Mar y Sol (eBay) and that same year I made a trip to Puerto Rico to visit family and friends and took the opportunity to go to 2 archives of old newspapers (1) El Nuevo Dia newspaper and (2) El Sagrado Corazón University where they have the archives for the “El Mundo” newspaper. That was the first time I really got a hold of a lot of detailed information and pictures I had never seen before. In early 2005 I decided to make the web site to be able to share all this information with the rest of the world. This would be my “book” about Mar y Sol.

It’s been a lot of hard work which for me is a very pleasant hobby. - RRR


Photos courtesy of marysolfestival.com

Mar Y Sol Website
Mar Y Sol Facebook

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Kree Harrison - This Old Thing: Exciting New Voice In Country Music & A Beautiful Debut Album




Kree Harrison just released her debut album, This Old Thing, on Plaid Flag Records. The first thing you notice about Kree is her immensely appealing voice. This Old Thing has everything going for it: arresting lyrics, intriguing melodies, excellent musicianship, arrangements, production, and that voice. Even though this is her debut album, the Woodville, Texas native is no overnight success. She started early, real early. According to her bio, by the age of three she asked her pastor if she could sing at church.
...The request was accepted and after she sang, her pastor commented, "I was expecting Jesus Loves Me, but she belted out El Shaddai by Amy Grant. I knew then this child had a special gift."

Over the next several years, Harrison sang for churches, rodeos, weddings and competitions. At eight, she was the opening act for R&B performer Percy Sledge. At nine, she won "Artist of the Year" from Kirbyville Playhouse, and at ten, she sang on The Rosie O'Donnell Show and was invited back on three other occasions. Harrison scored a development deal with Lyric Street Records at ten, which resulted in her family moving from Woodville to Nashville.

After two years with Lyric Street she parted ways with no music being released due to creative differences. Harrison began writing her own songs at the age of fourteen and often found herself in writing sessions with Nashville’s hit writers. At sixteen, Harrison landed her first publishing deal with Crysalis Records. She performed across local venues in Nashville such as the legendary Bluebird Cafe, as well as BMI showcases in Florida, such as the Key West Songwriters Festival and the Sandestin Music Festival. She also sang backup vocals on Kacey Musgraves' album, “Same Trailer Different Park”, and Eli Young Band's album, ”Life At Best.”
Harrison gained some national notoriety in 2014 when she appeared on Season 12 of American Idol, staying in the competition until it was down to two (she finished second). Her voice immediately caught my ear when I was checking out new releases a couple of weeks ago.



Most of the songs on This Old Thing are co-writes, with Kree on nine of them. The writing credits look like a who's who of Nashville songwriters (see below) including Lucie Silvas (also a background vocalist), Lori McKenna (who just released her own album last Friday), Sarah Buxton, Maren Morris, Trent Dabbs, and Natalie Hemby. A number of equally talented but maybe less well known writers worked on the album, including producer Benjy Davis who also contributed background vocals.

The album leads off with the title track, which was released several month's ago as a single (see video below). "Something Else" took me immediately with its sweetly dripping pedal steel combined with piano and Harrison irresistible vocal.
You're all out of quarters but we're both out of sense
Lights are coming on and we're still making plans
If you wanna cross that line, guess I'd let it slide
So, give in and try, yeah, and I'll give you a try
You can just about feel the heartbreak on "Drinking for Two". "Outta My Mind" has a special quality that it at once feels brand new and old school at the same time, which I think is a major part of this album's success. I love how the simple arrangement of "The Time I've Wasted" combines with Kree's soulful bluesy vocal to sound like a country classic.

"Every Time I Fall in Love" is not only memorable, but the production uses most of the musicians to best advantage; the combination of piano and organ sounds great as does the pedal steel, with some real nice seasoning by the horns. This Old Thing has all original songs except one cover, Harlan Howard's "He Called Me Baby". The stable of old time country singers who recorded this in its male version ("She Called Me Baby") is a testament to the composition's country pedigree. "He Called Me Baby" was recorded by Patsy Cline in 1964 and again in 1971 by Candi Staton who took it to #9 on the R&B chart. Harrison acquits herself quite nicely on this iconic tune.

On "Wanted It That Way" Harrison pours out her heart regarding the loss of her mom, “I’ve always wanted to record it,” Harrison says. “It’s special to me and I think that it’s good to put stuff out there, even if it’s uncomfortable at times, because people can relate, and it feels good to be selfless with artistry.” (Taste of Country, June 9, 2016)

This Old Thing has a great many memorable melodies and the album ends with one, "How to Dance". This is an incredibly accomplished debut, one that suggests that Kree has a bright future ahead.

Kree has been involved in the Nashville music scene for some time now. Regarding the time it took to bring forth her debut, she says, “I’ve been so stubborn for my whole life, that’s why I never put anything out,” she jokes. “I’ve made music. I’ve done demos and done sessions, but I didn’t want to put anything out that was just ‘good’ rather than great, because I’m gonna have to play it every night.” (Taste of Country, July 8, 2016)

Watch the official video for "This Old Thing".



Buy at Amazon
Buy at iTunes
Stream on Spotify

Tracklist: Click track name to listen.
1. This Old Thing (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Amanda Wilkinson, Tyler Wilkinson)
2. Something Else (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Sonia Leigh)
3. Dead Man's House (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Mike Walker)
4. Drinking for Two (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Mike Walker)
5. Outta My Mind (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Chris Gelbuda)
6. Something in the Middle (Kree Harrison, Brett Tyler, Lucie Silvas)
7. The Time I've Wasted (Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Jesse Walker)
8. Every Time I Fall in Love (Sarah Buxton, Al Anderson, Ken Johnson)
9. I've Got Time (Kree Harrison, Brett Tyler, Chase McGill, Eric Snyder)
10. Your Whiskey (Kree Harrison, Brett Tyler, Eric Snyder, Maren Morris)
11. He Called Me Baby (Harlan Howard)
12. Wanted It That Way (Kree Harrison, Natalie Hemby, Trent Dabbs)
13. How to Dance (Maren Morris, Lucie Silvas, Ashley Ray, Jenn Decilveo)


Photos courtesy of Kree Harrison

Credits:
Kree Harrison: Lead Vocals
Misa Arriaga: Acoustic Guitar, Background Vocals
Jeremy Fetzer: Electric Guitar
Spencer Cullum: Pedal Steel
Dave Cohen: Piano, Keys, Organ, Accordion
Ian Fitchuk: Drums
Eli Beaird: Bass

Zach Casebolt: First Violin
Katelyn Westerdam: Second Violin
Lindsey Smith Trostle: Cello
Barry Green: Trombone
Chris West: Tenor Saxophone
Lief Shires: Trumpet
Kate York: Background Vocals
Kacey Musgraves: Background Vocals
Lucie Silvas: Background Vocals

Jordan Lehning: Production, Arrangements
Benjy Davis: Production, Background Vocals
Mark Pettacia: Engineer, Mixing
DAMNIT-Jim: Assistant Engineer, Vibe
John Baldwin: Mastering
Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios, Asheville, North Carolina

Bonus Videos
Watch Kree talk about making the album.


Watch Kree make her Grand Ole Opry debut with "All Cried Out", a beautiful song. Introduction by Keith Urban.


"All Cried Out" is Kree's first single, released in 2013. It is not included on the album.


Buy at Amazon
Buy at iTunes

Stream on Spotify

Kree Harrison's Website
Kree Harrison's Facebook
Kree Harrison's Twitter
Kree Harrison's Instagram