Saturday, April 25, 2009

Interview:-->Arlo Guthrie

" I was rappin' to the fuzz, right. Can you dig it?
Man...there's supposed to be a million

and a half people here by tonight.  Can you dig that?
New York State thruway is closed, man!"

-- Arlo Guthrie @ Woodstock --

If ever someone wanted an example of an expression of need only check out baby-faced Arlo Guthrie cutting across Yasgur's Farm...guitar in tow...beating feet to reach the Woodstock stage area.

Arlo was 22.

Nearly 40 years have passed since those..."3 days of peace & music"...and Arlo is still sporting a baby face. Still carrying a well-traveled torch of protest in verse...and still has that almost guilty look of joy plastered on his face.

Arlo Guthrie made a long overdue appearance in Wichita, KS last week...performing at the legendary Orpheum before a much appreciative audience. Many dressed in groovy 60's garb to mark the occasion.

Before the show, I was allowed to share some downtime with Arlo for a little Q & A.

The following is an excerpt:-->(Apr 15, 2009)

Casey: I recently purchased the seasons of "Renegade" on DVD and was surprised to learn you guest starred in an episode. ("Top Ten With A Bullet" - Season 5/1997.)
Arlo Guthrie: Yeah! I just got a call. They wanted me to be on it. I thought it would be great and I liked the show. It was fun.

One thing about that particular episode...there was a scene of us having a conversation around a campfire and it was the longest continuous shot that they had done on the series. Where they didn't cut. And I thought it was great I got to be a part of that.

Casey: Yeah. On the bonus features of the DVD...they mention that having you in an episode was a highlight for the series.

Arlo Guthrie: It was a good one. Did they really say that? Oh, that's great.

Casey: I know you've been asked about Woodstock a million times. You played the first day of the show. Is there anything you can share about Woodstock that many fans may not be aware of simply by watching the documentary?

Arlo Guthrie: I think it's probably all there. There's probably more commentary on that one event than...a lot of presidential elections and stuff. So...I don't think I can add anything to it. There was just a lot going on.

Casey: Did you have any idea of the cultural impact it was going to have at the time?

Arlo Guthrie: Not before we did it. But once we got there and we got wind of how many people were trying to get became pretty evident that it was going to become a historic moment.

Casey: Did you get the chance to watch some of the other acts at Woodstock?

Arlo Guthrie: Sure. I was... I left on the 2nd day at some point. I don't remember. But I remember Melanie being there. And Joan Baez.
I caught Country Joe. Tim Hardin. And I remember catching John Sebastian.It was 40 years ago. So it's hard to remember which I actually saw live and which I just remember from the movie.

Casey: Your 3rd album, “Running Down the Road” (1969), shows you kicking it on a bike...

Arlo Guthrie: Oh yeah. Right. I was on a 650 Bonneville. It belonged to Mike Nesmith at the time.
Yeah. We were out on the West Coast and I lived on the East Coast.

We thought it'd be a good idea to do that kind of shot for that uh...for that record. And I needed a cycle. So...I don't know how we got a hold of Mike. But uh...he loaned us his bike for that.

I'm not sure that I ever met him. I met his bike, though.

Casey: I love your interpretation of...“The City of New Orleans.” There's a sadness as well as a carrot of hope in your voice that causes listeners to pause. You simply made the song your own. Magic.

Arlo Guthrie: Yeah. Thank you. Steve Goodman first sang that song to me. The guy that wrote it. Around 1970 up in Chicago. Just in a little club.

Casey: Your father was known as the..."Dust Bowl Troubadour" who wrote a spectrum of songs. From political to ballads and everything in between. What are a few songs that you've come to dig?

Arlo Guthrie: I don't really have a favorite one. He's written a few of them that I do like performing from time to time.

One's called, “Dead Or Alive". “Pretty Boy Floyd” is another one. Those kinds of songs I really enjoy.

Casey: I'm looking forward to hearing some of your newer stuff tonight. There must be some favorites...

Arlo Guthrie: The favorites in terms of new material would probably be off a record called “Mystic Journey”. (1996) It never got much attention but I thought it was a really good record.
And...“In Times Like These” (2007)...was recorded live and it turned out to be one of those unplanned magical records.
Casey: Pete Seeger is the last of the original protest folk singers. And he used to perform on stage with your father. And now, for many and Pete have often shared the stage. It's easy to see the love you have for each other...

Arlo Guthrie: We've made about 3 or 4 records over the years. And I've played with him for about 30 years continuously. We never toured together...but we'd do about a dozen shows a year. We did that for about 30 some years.
Arlo & Pete Seeger

Casey: Next month, you're going to be playing at Madison Square Garden for Pete Seeger's 90th birthday.

Arlo Guthrie: Yeah! That's gonna be fun, man. There's gonna be 50 other people on that bill. I don't know how the hell they're gonna pull it off. But I'm looking forward to it.

* * * * * * * *

Arlo Guthrie's music remains ageless and his stage presence infectious.
I've been rappin' with Arlo, man. Can you dig that?!

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Video Gold:-->Bill Withers

"Grandma's hands
used to hand me pieces of candy.
Grandma's hands
picked me up each time I fell."
-->Bill Withers<--

Today...I'm remembering my Great-Grandma.
Gladys was her name..
"Call me Glad-ass or Happy-butt" she was prone to say.
She left us last year.
She was 98.
She was sharp as a Gillette.
As cool as a glass of sweet tea.
Today is Easter...and I miss her.

Here's Bill Withers...and I'm right there with him on this one.

Bill Withers performing "Grandma's Hands".

Grandma's hands
clapped in church on Sunday morning.
Grandma's hands
played a tambourine so well.
Grandma's hands
used to issue out a warning.
She'd say, "Billy don't you run so fast.
Might fall on a piece of glass.
"Might be snakes there in that grass."
Grandma's hands.

Grandma's hands
soothed a local unwed mother.
Grandma's hands
used to ache sometimes and swell.
Grandma's hands
used to lift her face and tell her, she'd say,
"Baby, Grandma understands
that you really love that man.
Put yourself in Jesus hands."
Grandma's hands.

Grandma's hands
used to hand me pieces of candy.
Grandma's hands
picked me up each time I fell.
Grandma's hands
boy, they really came in handy.
She'd say, "Matty don' you whip that boy.
What you want to spank him for?
He didn' drop no apple core."
But I don't have Grandma anymore.
If I get to Heaven I'll look for
Grandma's hands.

Pick up some Bill Withers.
Good Stuff.

I miss you Gladys.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

200 Lost Gems & Forgotten Diamonds:-->Pt 20

"A mistake is always forgivable,
rarely excusable
and always unacceptable."

Robert Fripp

This personal list of "lost gems & forgotten diamonds" continues.
(A reminder...songs will be from the 70s decade...but not exclusively.)

I strongly encourage everyone to purchase the albums for an even better understanding.

Part 20 - Let's Begin...

10:-->King Crimson ----------------"Red" (6:16) -------------------Red (1974)

Cool metallic poundage from this power-trio of guitarist Robert Fripp, bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford. This was 1974...and way ahead of its time. Anthemic.

09:-->Hawkwind-------"Motorhead" (3:04) ---Warrior On The Edge Of Time (1975)
"Fourth day, five day marathon.
We're moving like a parallelogram."

Re-issued as a bonus track..."Motorhead"... charges down the highway in speed-diving splendor. Not the usual Hawkwind offering...for sure...but these prog boys wail on this classic banger.

08:-->BOC ------------------"The Vigil" (6:25) --------------------Mirrors (1979)
"In a purple vision
many thousand years ago...
I saw the silent stranger
walk the earth alone."

Buck Dharma throws down some of his best guitar work on this awesome master stroke. Perfect vocals over exciting and unforced tempo changes ups the ante...creating powerful classic riffs harking back to early Oyster.

07:-->REO Speedwagon ------- "Like You Do" (5:57) --------REO Two (1972)
"Well I've seen women who cross their legs
before they sit down to the table."

A fun ballsy rocker with underrated guitarist...Gary Richrath...providing plenty of awesome highway fuel for a hot summer road trip. And young vocalist Cronin doesn't disappoint adding solid chops. And yes...dig the tasty cowbell action.

06:-->Detective ----------- "Recognition" (4:32) -----------Detective (1977)
"Everybody wants to be recognized.Doesn't matter what you've done."

Lead vocalist Michael Des Barres and a tasty backing rock crew blend tasty qualities of Bad Company and Faces...creating some mysteriously fresh ear candy tripness that demands level eleven crankage.

05:-->Kate Bush ---- "Them Heavy People" (4:03) -----The Kick Inside (1978)
"You don't need no crystal ball...
Don't fall for a magic wand."

Filled with a weird cool and catchy song structure. Kate's tinkerbell vocals float over oddly mature and timeless songs that belied her age.

04:-->Graham Parker - "You Can't Be Too Strong" (3:18) - Squeezing Out Sparks (1979)
"It's just a mistake, I won't have to face.
Don't give it a name, don't give it a place.
Don't give it a chance, it's lucky in a way."

Sharp as a Randall knife ...Parker's examination of abortion from various conflicting perspectives is stunning. No arg! Just ob.

03:-->Les Dudek -------- "Old Judge Jones" (4:27) --------Say No More (1977)
"Old Judge Jones never gave a man a break.
On his hangin' tree the leaves don't shake."

Solid vocals are delivered over twisting coral snake guitar licks. Dudek's RnR resume has taken him from the Allman Brothers to Steve Miller. Class dismissed!

02:-->Stackridge -------------"Slark" (14:07) -------------Stackridge (1971)
"The sky turned black and a dark cloud moved.
The monster slark came into view."

Unforgettable electric folk prog gem. Addictive and simply one of the coolest songs I've heard. Stackridge demands rediscovery. Geocache this one.

01:-->Mountain -------- "Never In My Life" (3:52) ---------Climbing! (1970)
"You make me feel so good
bringing me the cider whiskey."

Drummer Corky Laing jump starts this heavy metal rocker...with Leslie West throwing down some classic riffs soon after. Snarl-genie vocals from West are simply choice.

School's out my babies....Now go discover some seeds of your own!

Casey Chambers