Jimi

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This is a picture of me with my son on the site of the original Woodstock stage where Jimi once famously played the Star Spangled Banner. We were swept up in the moment. What better place for a jumping air guitar salute? “None more better place” is the answer.

Starting a series on icons of rock- I am starting with Jimi Hendrix.

There were guitars that screamed and guitars that jangled. And then came Jimi and the guitar would speak clearly of pain and of joy…..huh?….what?

Jimi and the guitar were one-he slept with his guitar because he was his guitar. When he had nothing as a small boy-he had a broom that he pretended was his guitar and it was his only friend.

Like Tom Hanks in Castaway with Wilson-unnatural bond of person to object.

And I forgot to mention-the best rock guitarist ever to walk the face of the earth. Period. No discussion needed.

[Since this is a blog –allow me to go on a bit more]

Especially for you kids that are new to rock music.

Rock is blues based.

This is a basic timeline.jimi-3

For purists only-this can sound a little rough as we cannot go back to the 1930’s and imagine how it would feel.  We can’t walk on those dusty roads and hitch a ride to the next town with 12 cents in our pocket.

Robert Johnson arrived and let the world know that something was going on in the delta. The best blues music is always someone going on a rant with their guitar about how things are in their world. You could say that about the best rock music, the best country music or the best hip hop music.

The truth thrown out there in a compelling way.

T-bone Walker added some fire to the guitar- he started doing things that no one else could.

“They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday is just as bad.”

There are other songs that I should pick to show off the virtuoso in action—-but this is sooooo smooooooth.  It just dances and tickles the music palette before seeping gently into your soul.

Jimi ran all that energy and inspiration in one big liftoff that reached orbit. We got great guitar players now-we don’t have a name that I can place next .

Jack White is close if you make me force a choice. Close still does not fit. Like a giant stone used in the pyramids-it has to ease in there perfectly. I am still waiting.

And here is where we finish for now.

I am going for less fire and more heart in these tunes and want to end with one of the greats in that next group to follow. SVR spent his whole career chasing down Hendrix-he even carried one of the master’s wah wah pedals on this journey. I am not going to throw a link here-but I do write about a show where I was lucky to catch him with his boots on this pedal early in my blogging days.

Maybe lucky is not the right word- Let’s try blessed.

Gone Country

Country music that makes me feel better

My last post was very emotional and it took my blog to places that I never take it- The traffic was overwhelming. I went from my usual 10 or 20 visits a day to 2,700 in an afternoon. This is bittersweet because I wrote it for my own sanity. I awoke at 2am, unable to sleep, and it was a post an hour or so later.  I thank those high school kids for lifting me up and giving me the courage to speak my mind.

But I want to get back to the music- I enjoy writing about music.

You have to deal with things – and I am learning you live the best way you can no matter what situation you are in. You have to start up that beat-up pickup truck  of life and just keep driving-a smile on your face and a song on the radio don’t hurt either.

This sounds like country music.

This rock guy will go out of genre  in order to find solace. If you limit music  because of prejudice; you are only hurting yourself. Worse than that-you are closing your mind and that is never a good thing.

Rosanne Cash. Seven Year Ache

I love Rosanne Cash because she is authentic- Authentic to me is a feeling that goes from the heart out into the world with no alteration. Like when you see a coyote on the side of the road just looking back at you with no fear. He is in his time and his place and he could give a damn what you think. And I got to say-he sure looks cool.

Rosanne Cash is an authentic cool heroine in her own right- this women just reeks of suave country sophistication.

Montgomery Gentry.Roll With Me

Maybe this is what would be considered light pop country with more than a splash of holy water gospel, but it makes me feel better. I am not going to search for music that makes me look better-I am going to give you songs that make me feel better!

And this is one.

Hank Williams Jr.Family Tradition

“I have loved some ladies and I have loved Jim Beam and both of them tried to kill me in 1973”

Maybe my favorite line in country music, it never ceases to bring a smile to my face

There is something satisfying about someone admitting that they have lived life with zest the wrong way. Maybe that is because we all make mistakes, so we can all relate. And if someone like  Bocephus can trump you and have fun joking about his-then it makes you feel better about any you have made. This has been going on since the middle ages with court jesters.

Rolling Stones.Memory Motel

This is straight ahead country. It has pickup trucks and drinking. It also has a cheap motel by the ocean and a lady with crooked teeth. What more do you need? I will give you one more…throw in Dave Matthews and make it a buddy song.

Concrete Blond.True

This is a country song trapped in a rock song’s  body.

Again with the pickup trucks-mixed with some cool west coast punk. Punk music and country music are closer than you think.

I feel better—I really do – this one has brought me home.

Thank you Johnette

Oh, what the hell- One more for the road

Bonnie Raitt – This is a “go to” classic. I am not writing-I am just enjoying at this point.

Cheers from the Cave.

And special thanks to http://peacelovegreatcountrymusic.com/2014/03/09/philosophy/  for helping to spur this post.

Spur* get it?

O.K, that was a cheap shot at the genre…:)

Alternative Rock- Winter games

Alternative Rock- Winter games

This is how I think of Alternative music: mainstream you >transplanted. You feel the same but something edgy and slightly frightening is going on. You can see a world others can’t.

You are in a different club.

Maybe you start to dress with more swag and maybe you let your mouth form words that seem alien and leave a weird aftertaste.

But I am getting ahead of myself because it might not take.

There is more to being cool than finding a different band  or two, but coming to the Cave for a visit is always a good place to start!

Bronze:

Squeeze.Pulling Muscles from a shell.

I just love this happy song. In fact, I love the whole record.

I am way behind picking my 10 favorite records of all time. {Spoiler Alert} ArgyBargy is one of them.

You could classify this as pop, but wait minute—–pop stations did not and will not play this.

Pop radio did love it when Paul Carrack joined:

This is another great song- just in the other universe.

The Silver:

The Pixies.Where is my mind

They invented grunge as far as I am concerned. I will throw grunge in with alternative because it came from there and returned there after a little brush with mainstream.

The Gold:

New Order. Blue Monday

This one holds up well.

If I did this next week –this list would be different….Hell, if I did this again IN 15 MINUTES –this list would be different.

In fact I am changing the bronze right now.

In the words of Paul Westerberg when I saw him play this as a warm up band for a Tom Petty tour-

“Here’s one more, if anybody cares”

The Replacements.I’ll be you

Would anybody argue if I made this the gold?

And some of us do care Paul.

Cave Olympics-Indie

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Indie Music – The miscellaneous cool file of Rock since…since… The Smiths?

And the only reason this genre goes back this far is they were added in after the fact.

There was no indie music in the early 80’s-all the cool music was thrown into that big “alternative music” pile and sorted out from there.

Listening to this song now-I can see why the indie crowd wants to claim it as their own.

“Hang the D.J- because he does not play anything good.” Is the basic premise of this uplifting little tune.

To get to indie music you have to go under the surface. Like those old movies when you swim underwater to emerge in a secret cave below the depths; another world that only the cool kids know about.

I think of indie music as the new growth of rock music after the big forest fires of excess wiped out all the old guard. The geezers still pretend to hang around with nostalgia tours featuring 2 original members if you are lucky, but it is a joke. Is just a quick stumble from this to the final walk of fame: selling reverse mortgages and walk-in bath tubs to the last few who still remember.

So as I try to finish out my medals category because the stray dogs of this Olympic site are looking at me with an angry growl-I just run out of bones.

Here we go.

The Bronze:

Arctic Monkeys.Do I wanna Know?

The riff is what makes this work. Psychedelic Led Zeppelin with this great high harmony  “Do I wanna know” in the chorus… this puppy works-this puppy will crawl up to you, sneak on the end of the bed and get comfortable in your rock n roll head.

Infectious and Indie.

The Silver:

Silversun Pickups.The Pit

Good Indie music always has this quiet scream to it. It does not yell at you but instead it keeps nudging and nudging until you find yourself getting swept away with it. Silversun getting the Silver [see what I did there?…Do you hipsters?…course you did-you guys are too smart for me]

The Gold:

Bon Iver.Skinny Love

Bon Iver  is French for “Good winter”- This song is so cool that it is below zero cold just like it is going to be again tonight here at the cave.  I don’t know what the French word is for endless brutal winter but I am hearing a ton of non-french words around here to describe it.

I know I have featured this song before….but damn-it is good.

And one more for the road:

The Black Keys may be indie but I can’t call them that anymore because they are too big.1

You can only be indie for a small amount of time- A time when passion for the craft of music does not always equate to success. A time when you do what you love and let the chips fall as they may-a time when struggle is life and life is struggle but so what-Let’s rock anyway.

Cheers from the cave!

Kiss my Ass

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I do not like this band -if they never visit Cleveland to claim their place in Rock n’ Roll history; that is fine with me!

I was O.K. with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not allowing them in….

BUT…

I know the names:

Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss

We all know those names and those are the names that the Hall of Fame accepted for induction.

There are a legion of fans still enlisted in the Kiss Army. They made enough records that you could cover an entire ocean and not let the fishes get any light…They are a raging success and deserve to be in no matter what us “serious” rock music fans think.

I mean, was the Ramones hit with Rock and Roll High School really any deeper than Rock and Roll all Nite?… Oh yeah-they were cool but Kiss was all flash.

They were really good flash-with smoke and make up and all the other stuff that made the kids go crazy.

Even the grown up kids. Even now.

But Kiss can’t get it together for the original four to play a couple songs for fans that have made them gods- Fans that have paid the mortgages on mansions and the insurance on fancy sports cars for years and years.

It is one night and a couple tunes- that will allow you guys to take this little carnival of fantasy on the road and laugh all the way to the bank for the rest of your days. It will allow 4 or 5 generations of your heirs to live like kings if they have any sense at all and not waste this wealth that your followers have bestowed on you.

But no—-Wha, wha wha…Gene Simmons wants everybody that ever pretended to be Ace Frehley and Peter Criss to play and be inducted because they are just as much of the Kiss experience.

And it seems that 3 or 4 fake Aces are too many Aces in the deck for the original Ace.

Whatever.

Could you please just give the fans what they want one more time?

Don’t make us haters right.

Cave Olympics -Classic Rock

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Cave Olympics -Classic Rock

No messing around-nothing fancy- Straight ahead Rock n roll songs that still have plenty of rubber left on the tires.

I am not picking the usual worn out suspects for the cave medals.

Anybody and their un-house trained dog can pick  ‘Back in Black” or “Satisfation” as the top rock songs of all time.

I went with songs I love that still have plenty of juice.

Like a big pack of energizer batteries with an expiration date of “never”.

Here we go

The Bronze:

Lynyrd Skynyrd.Call me the Breeze

J J Cale wrote it and they put it on one of the best sophomore albums of all time and just kicked the dry excrement right out of it. What a song and what an original line up of whoop-ass.

The Silver:

Pretenders.Mystery Achievement

Another great effort by another short lived line up. This first Pretenders record always gets forgotten when we talk of the greats. You can call it punky new wave if you like. I call it straight ahead Rock music with feeling and with conviction.

The Gold:

Rolling Stones.Gimme Shelter

This song has relentless timeless power.

This is rock n roll.

Cave Olympics- Prog-Rock

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Progressive rock– the arty, pompous and always a tad snobby weird cousin of rock music. Those who like him will affectionately refer to him as a bit eccentric and an acquired taste. Those who don’t like him will call him an overblown pompous ass wallowing in mindless self reflection that is all too full of codswallop*.

*pick your favorite word here to describe senseless drivel – I always liked this one

But I digress and getting back to the music-

Both are correct descriptions.

Bands like Rush, early Genesis, and Yes- I do not like and will use the bad definition to explain why.

Bands like Pink Floyd, Supertramp and solo Peter Gabriel I like and will refer to the good definition.

Many fans will be the opposite or simply hate all of these groups for being way too much over the artsy ledge.

I am cool with that

But the winter games are still going on at the Cave and we need some medal winners

 The Bronze:

Arcade Fire.Afterlife

Before I get all my 8 or 9 readers to band together and tell me this not prog….Here is the test.

Is it artsy? Check

Is it self-important drivel and over the top in a way that angers some music fans? Check

Would you have thrown this band in with all the other progressive bands if it came out thirty years ago?

Again-Check.

And I love this song and it is my website-Just a regular guy in a regular virtual cave-so there and let’s go to silver.

The Silver:

Frank Zappa.Watermelon in Easter Hay.

Frank was a talented and thoughtful musician known for a too grotesque sense of humor. He would be a mega star today. It was nothing more outrageous than Eminem.

And the dude could play guitar.

If you got a chance to see him live then you got a chance to see something like the massive migrations of buffalo across the Great Plains before they were all gone. You got to witness something special that was normal for the time but fading fast. You got to be part of history.

I now feel like I am history! (that is good, right?)

The Gold:

Pink Floyd.Shine On You Crazy Diamond

I could write a book on what this song means to me. (maybe someday)

My favorite Pink Floyd song from my favorite Floyd record-Wish You Were Here.

This is the ultimate bromance ditty-One guy writing a song about a friend that has lost his mind but will never be considered lost. It is song of hope and a song about love and respect. Friendship is a deep and mysterious thing that this song is not afraid to expose to the light. Madness is another dark depth that few pieces of music will dare to set sail for. Just for those two reasons this song is beautiful and this version is unforgettable.

Next I will go for the “Classics” and Cheers from the Cave!

The Cave Olympics – Metal

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The Cave Olympics – Metal

Metal is not my thing, I like some of it but I am not in the club. I am not submerged in this murky subculture – I needed some help from metal heads I know in real life and in the blogging world.

To me- metal is a light and humorous distraction from my other music. I think of it as Van Halen and The Scorpions. (Cartoony with a flair for the over dramatic)

No!! To metal people this is not right.

Just like real drinkers like their liquor aged and neat. Real metal heads like their music black and evil with no touch of water …if you please and thank you.

There is the famous story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil in order to play guitar like no one before him (the genesis of rock n roll). It may be myth but it fuels this whole thing. https://caveoffame.com/2013/02/20/the-devils-music/

On the other side we have stories of Black Sabbath painting rooms black and doing witchcraft…all while figuring out the small tonal shift on guitar that would forge a new evil sound.

They did not make just make a deal with the devil-they are invited over to the Lucifer Mansion for the Thursday night poker games!

Again-is this myth or reality-is this just for show or are we true believers-it really does not matter- it just matters that this “vibe of hell” is what the passionate of this genre like to blindly follow.

It is the zip in this trip.

So I give you my medal winners of this very scary genre of which I have a new found fear.

The Bronze- Opeth.Blackwater Park

Death Metal is to Sweden like those little funky knives with everything are to Switzerland. It is a factory for this music. And before a “speed metal” or “black metal” freak flames some angry comment about Opeth being really a “progressive metal band with a death metal start that kind of draw influences from everywhere.” Let me say that they are a “progressive metal band with a death metal start that kind of draw influences from everywhere.” And let me also say that the only thing scarier than metal music is any comment thread on a metal website-join in at your own risk!

The Silver-Metallica.Master of Puppets

The vocals are clean and the guitar is fast. You could call this a nice drinkable American blend. Thanks to http://1001albumsin10years.wordpress.com/ for this suggestion!

The Gold-Black Sabbath.Paranoid

There is no argument from metal lovers of all kinds that these guys are the original. I know the song Black Sabbath is considered the first example of the genre but I did want something a little lighter for the gold medal….you know something that is a hit and that the kids can dance to!

Thanks to :

http://mikeladano.com/

http://heavymetaloverload.com/

another couple of metal aficionadas that helped lead me to this gold.

And as always, Cheers from the cave!

Do you ever yearn?

Do you ever yearn?

Yearn: to have a strong desire for somebody or something, especially when the desire is tinged with sadness.

That is really what all these unrequited love songs are about.

Maybe it is all this rain gently washing away the January snow that has me in this yearning funk.

I don’t know… but the best way to deal with it-is to find some great songs and let them rain in on my soul.

There is something always pure about something that is unattainable-if you can’t get it then it follows that you can never diminish it. It stands there in all its glory and remains just out of reach.

Mix it with talent and music and magic happens.

These songs are all great and I am just scratching the surface.

Howard Jones. No one is to blame

Bonnie Raitt I can’t make you love me

Cake. The Distance

James Blunt.You’re Beautiful

And for George and his constant craving: