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A huge chapter in the history of the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll closed on Saturday night May 9. 2020. Little Richard was such a groundbreaker in so many ways. In so many other ways he was also a mystery.

Even the date of his birth is not known for sure. What is known is that he went from being a dishwasher in his hometown of Macon, Georgia to one of the most influential stars in all of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Upon Hearing about the death of Little Richard Bob Dylan was quoted as saying “He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was a little boy. His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I do”.

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When Bob Dylan announced that he was releasing his first new original song in a several years, I was more than anxious to hear it. I make no pretense about being a huge Dylan fan. When I found out he was letting everyone hear it for free, I was not that surprised. He had his reason. What was a little more surprising was the length of the song called “A Murder Most Foul”. A seventeen plus minute song being released as a single? You could almost fit four of his lengthy big hit “Like a Rolling Stone” into it. Now I really must hear this.

Listening to Bob Dylan songs made a huge impact on me while I was in my teens. So much so, that like many others I spent countless hours pouring over the lyrics of his songs. That was especially true when his lyrics became more complicated. It got to the point where colleges were offering courses on Bob Dylan.

Gene Shay — A Folk Legend Featured

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You are indeed a fortunate person if you have someone like Gene Shay as a friend or co-worker. He was the kind of individual who can change your life. Often, he did it by simply being himself. We all lost a real genuinely special person when Gene lost his battle with COVID 19.

When I first came to Philadelphia Gene was working at WHAT-FM. Before I had the chance to hear him, he was doing a Jazz show. His life and the of many performers changed when he started a new folk show on Sunday nights in 1962.

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Shorty after his return from a tour of Europe, it was announced that John Prine has contracted the Corvid 19 virus and was taken to the hospital. Our hopes that he would pull through were dashed on April 7, 2020 when it was announced that he did not survive.

The world has lost not only a great songwriter, but a man who never forgot who he was while he wrote his songs. The days of delivering mail and driving a truck gave him a unique insight into life. His flat voice fit nicely with his songs that ranged from the sad to the funny.

The Cabin Fever Music Guide Featured

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Does the bug that is sweeping the world have you sheltered in your home? With all the concerts being canceled, you may have the cabin fever blues.
Ok, you can’t get out to see your favorite acts in concert but seeing them at home are the next best thing. There are literally hundreds of in concert DVDs or streaming movies you can watch.

The only problem is picking them. There are a lot of inferior quality films out there. Some of it due to the filming itself and others border on just being a rip off. Unfortunately, some film makers (to make a quick buck) have dug up old footage that has never been released. Much of it wasn’t released for some very good reasons.

Then you have those that look appealing on the surface with big names. You view them only to find out that it concerts film of the groups in the near present with only one or two original members. One highlighted a band that was one of those “pretend to be them” bands. It is a buyer beware.

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Part Five in a series. For Part One click here. For Part Two click here. For Part Three click here. For Part Four, click here.

 

King Crimson

For those who were not around when IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING was released, it will be very hard for you to imagine what a huge impact this album had when it was released in 1969. It was nothing like anything that had ever been done before. Certainly nothing like anything done in the Rock world. The sound of the record was far more advanced than anything ever heard prior to its release.

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When The Who was formed in 1964, not even the members of the band could predict that they would be around in 2020. This had nothing to do with 20/20 vision, but the reality that most Rock bands just fade away after a couple of hits.

From the time they called themselves The Detours, they have always displayed a flare for dynamic music and explosive stage shows. They were the first band to destroy both guitars and drums on stage. In one of their most memorable TV appearances ever, they even scared their hosts, The Smothers Brothers, by blowing up Keith Moon’s drum kit. Their album LIVE AT LEEDS remains one of the best live albums ever. Despite all the improvements in recording, the sound quality of the record is fantastic.

As time went on Pete Townshend proved to be a very skilled song writer and storyteller when he created the first ever Rock Opera in TOMMY. It was followed by one great album after another until 1978. The release of WHO ARE YOU marked the end of the original band. Keith Moon who had well known problems got to the point where he was unable to play some of the drum parts on the record. He died soon after.

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From the very beginning of the Rock era there has been a great deal of flair, outrageous behavior and gimmicks that have been a major factor in the presentation of the music. Some of it was by nature, but most of it by design. Some of it was original; much of it was copied.

At the outset it was the Elvis Presley wiggle that caused to him to be censored on TV. His act was mild compared to what followed. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins belted out his classic “I Put a Spell on You” while coming out of a coffin. Little Richard wore makeup while pounding the keys.

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Part Four in a series. For Part One click here. For Part Two click here. For Part Three click here. For Part Five click here.

Roy Wood Mustard

Roy Wood, often known as the Wizard, is an iconic music figure in England. Unfortunately, for some completely mystifying reason, his talents were never appreciated by the Rock fans in the United States.

During the late 60’s when so many British bands were enjoying huge success in the US, his band called The Move never caught on. This was true despite Roy’s leadership that guided The Move in scoring several songs on the UK charts.

The closest thing to hit that The Move had in the US was called “Do Ya”. The complete story of the song and the band was already posted on this website (story). While the song never got past the lower levels of the charts, it was enough to cause a split in the band. Roy, using most of the same Move members, started an off shoot that he called The Electric Light Orchestra.

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The actual store address is 550 N Reading Rd. (272 highway) just outside the Lancaster county town of Ephrata, PA. At this unlikely address you will find a real gem. I hadn’t visited the store myself in several years and was absolutely amazed at how much the store has grown and improved since my last venture into the shop.

I had a long conversation with the store’s owner Andy Kamm, and he explained why. When I first talked with Andy, I expressed my surprise on how much larger the store was. He was able to explain why since he has been the sole store owner for over thirty years.

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We continue our search for record stores with Vinyl Revival Records. The name of this store tells only part of the story.

In a day and age when all the major record stores have closed due to lack of sales, why does someone decide to invest in opening a small local record store. Each store owner has a different story.

So why did Andrea DiFabio take on the task of trying to make a go of selling records at 35-37 N Lansdowne Avenue in Lansdowne, PA? Here’s what she had to say about the genesis of the idea.

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In his autobiography BORN TO RUN, Bruce Springsteen gives a highly personal account of his life that saw him rocket from his very humble beginnings in Freehold, New Jersey to one of the most popular of all time in music. This is truly an honest look at not only his music but his failings as a person.

This extremely well written account of Springsteen’s life compares favorably to his idol Bob Dylan’s autobiography. Unlike the disappointing and almost unreadable attempt by Steven Tyler in his autobiography that gets mired in his sexual and drug misadventures, this is a much more reveling look into what makes Bruce tick.

The Springsteen family was like so many others in Middle America. They suffered through many hardships and always seemed to be on the verge of losing everything, but that was pretty much par for the neighborhood. Somehow the family was able to find the money to the children to catholic schools. There the nuns gave Bruce the usual hard times that any aimless boys got from them.

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It’s no secret that Ten Years After exploded on the music scene international after their explosive performance at Woodstock 50 years ago. This year there has been a flurry of concerts with some of the artists who played performing on the same program marking the anniversary of the legendary concert. Ten Years After has done a few of them, but on August 21, 2019 they were the only attraction at the Sellersville Theater.

Their performance that night showed the crowd that gave them a standing ovation that they are not just another old band trying to cash in on the Woodstock anniversary. While there are those who will claim that Ten Years After will never be the same since the departure of the late Alvin Lee, they should at least listen to the new lineup before passing judgment.

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