Mazzy Star – Then & Now

Mazzy Star She Hands Brightly - 1990

Mazzy Star – She Hands Brightly – 1990

Mazzy Star - Seasons of Your Day - 2013

Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day – 2013

 

I thought this would be a great start on a concept that I have been thinking about for awhile. I’m going to call it “Then & Now”, feature a bands debut album and their most current released album together.  I’m going to start with the Alternative L.A. Rock Band Mazzy Star.

Opal was formed in Santa Monica, California, in 1989, a collaboration of guitarist David Roback and bassist Kendra Smith. Roback’s friend Hope Sandoval became the group’s vocalist when Smith left the band thus started Mazzy Star. Mazzy Star is best known for the song “Fade into You” which brought the band some success in the mid-1990s and was the group’s biggest mainstream hit, earning extensive exposure on MTV, VH1, and radio airplay. I have included the video of “fade into you” just because it is a graet video and a beautiful song. Roback and Sandoval are the creative center of the band, with Sandoval as lyricist and Roback as composer of the majority of the band’s material.

She Hangs Brightly is the debut studio album by American band Mazzy Star. It was released in 1990 on Rough Trade Records, following the demise of David Roback‘s previous band Opal. The album was rereleased by Capitol later that same year.

The first track “Halah” was released as a single and reached #19 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.[1] It announces the band’s trademark effect with haunting guitar work and lyrics, and Hope Sandoval’s disengaged vocals. David Roback’s Robby Krieger-inspired psychedelic blues slide guitar style can be heard on the song, “Free”. “Ghost Highway” is another psychedelic rock track, with a fast rhythm. This song dates from the band’s days as Opal and was initially slated to be the title track of Opal’s second album. While not a commercial success, this album did establish Mazzy Star as a unique band with a unique sound.

Seasons of Your Day is the fourth studio album by American band Mazzy Star. It was released on September 24, 2013 by the band’s own independent record label, Rhymes of An Hour. Their first record since the release of their third album Among My Swan in 1996.

The album was recorded in several locations including California, London and Norway, and features contributions from most of the band’s original members, including their late violinist Will Glenn, who died from cancer in 2001. The album also features Sandoval’s Warm Inventions partner Colm Ó Cíosóig, while the late Bert Jansch performs guitar on the song “Spoon.”

Fade Into You – Video

Enjoy the Music,
David

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We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions

SEEGER-SESSIONS

 

In This Week’s Runner, the Boss plays and we remember Pete Seeger who passed away last night in New York.

Pete Seeger, a 20th-century troubadour who inspired and led a renaissance of folk music in the United States with his trademark five-string banjo and songs of love, peace, brotherhood, work and protest, died Monday night after being hospitalized in New York for six days. He was 94.  – The Washington Post

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Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth-Wind-&-Fire

 

In the 1970’s Earth, Wind & Fire put out one great album after the next. Between 71 and 81, the multi platinum Chicago based band released 12 albums of which 7 were top 10, had 7 top 10 singles, earned 6 Grammys and 4 American Music Awards. The groups blend of up beat funk, gospel, jazz and rock defined American Soul music and paved the way for acts like The Commodores, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Rick James. I never followed them back then, because my tastes were in a different place at that time, but recently I’ve had the chance to visit this band’s breath of work (you could say I’ve been binging on EWF) and have been really getting off on the love and good vibrations that are central and run through their entire catalog.

Today’s Runner is their 1971 self titled debut, and although it is short, under 30 minutes total time, there is a lot of positive energy, love and hope here. Songs like Help Somebody and Love is Life aren’t as well know as  later EWF hits like Shining Star or September, but they have the same good Karma, positive message and great brass. Hope rings true when Maurice White sings “The flame of love is about to die, somebody fan the fire”, and the album wraps just as quickly as it started with a funky instrumental that’s so good, it’s a “Bad Tune”.

Earth, Wind & Fire – Enjoy!

1. Help Somebody
2. Moment Of Truth
3. Love is Life
4. Fan The Fire
5. Cmon Children
6. This World Today
7. Bad Tune

 

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Texas Flood

Texas+Flood

 

On August 26, 1990 Stevie Ray Vaughan played a show in Wisconsin’s Alpine Valley Music Theater which is an hour and a half northwest of Chicago. Double Trouble opened the bill which included Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, his brother Jimmy Vaughan, and Eric Clapton.

I remember thinking, “Man, I’ve got to top the bill after this.” His playing was so fluid. It didn’t seem like he was playing to emulate anybody, it just came straight from him, seemingly without any effort. It was very inventive, and his singing was great too. He really did have it all. – Eric Clapton

Following that show, four helicopters scheduled to carry the musicians back to Chicago took off in a thick fog that had set down on the region. The one flown by 42-year-old veteran pilot Jeff Brown, carrying Stevie Ray and three of Clapton’s crew turned the wrong way in the fog and flew straight into an artificial ski slope. There were no survivors.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s debut album Texas Flood. At the time of it’s release, in 1983, blues were no longer hip like they were in the 1960’s when Clapton’s name (pertaining to the guitar and the blues) was equated with God. Texas Flood climbed the top 40 and spent over 6 months in the charts giving the musical genre a much needed boost. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble would spend the rest of the 1980’s creating great blues albums and packing houses and stadiums with exciting live performances until his untimely death.

Enjoy the Legacy Edition of Texas Flood which includes the 1983 live show at Ripley’s Music Hall in Philadelphia.

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Mr. Fantasy

Traffic-MrFantasy

 

In 1967 Steve Windwood, Chris Wood, Jim Capaldi, and Dave Mason got together and formed a band. Like many artists at the time (Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, The Zombies) they were inspired by the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper release earlier in the year. Traffic’s debut, Mr. Fantasy draws on the eclectic, psychedelic blueprint of that album. The influence here is heavy and obvious with the carnival sounds of Berkshire Poppies and House for Everyone, and it even has a song (Utterly Simple) which features a sitar.

The opening cut Heaven in your Mind would serve as the title to the repackaged US re-release of the album that same year after Dave Mason’s (first of many) departures from the band. In the eyes of Windwood and Capaldi, Traffic was a collaborative venture which found Mason on the outside looking in.

The original mono recording of Mr. Fantasy is a short jaunt, just 33 minutes, ending with the four minute jazz jam – Giving To You.

“You know, it’s like, it’s jazz is where it’s at – you know where I’m at…”

You can add 40 minutes here with Traffic’s second, self titled album – Traffic – for a one-two punch to kick off the new year.

Enjoy getting caught in Traffic!

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