beatles 65 cover

My longtime friend Gregg Geller, former VP of A&R (Artists & Repertoire) at four record companies: (Warner Brothers, RCA, Columbia and Epic) recently asked his Facebook friends to name the first singles and LPs they ever bought. I can tell you the first LP easily enough: Beatles '65, the US release of the UK LP Beatles For Sale, with fewer tracks than the British version but some of the early Fab Four tunes I still revere today ("No Reply," "I'm A Loser," "Baby's In Black," "She's A Woman" "I Feel Fine" and "I'll Be Back," the first Lennon-McCartney original to grab me. The album also had Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins covers.

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 My look back at the 70th Anniversary of country music's first true Rap hit--also Capitol Records' first million-seller, a product not of Nashville, but California

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EMMANUEL

Tommy Emmanuel, who appears at the Byham Theatre Sunday at 7:30 is part of a long tradition of fingerstyle guitarists. The Australian-born musician is renowned for a level of virtuosity and versatility not unlike that of his first guitar hero, Chet Atkins (1924-2001). The guitarist-producer, known primarily as a country player, was known for his diverse repertoire, and later gave himself the tongue-in-cheek title "C. G. P." or "Certified Guitar Player." Emmanuel is one of the elite quintet of friends on whom Chet bestowed that title. The others are singer-guitarist Steve Wariner, John Knowles, the late country star Jerry Reed and Paul Yandell, Chet's guitar accompanist on his stage shows.

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My survey of the legacy of legendary country singer-songwriter-guitarist Merle Travis (1917-1983) in his century year.

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Travishere2eternity

 

Today, the 75th Anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor commemorates an event infamous and immortal in world history.  After World War II ended, it accounted for two immortal moments in the arts. One was literary: James Jones's 1951 sordid best-selling novel From Here To Eternity, inspired by the author's real life prewar Army experiences in Hawaii. The other was cinematic: the 1953 movie adaptation, cleaned up considerably for viewing audiences. It remains a landmark American film for both story and the virtuoso performances by stars Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Deborah Kerr and Ernest Borgnine.

It proved a pivotal moment for Sinatra. His performance as doomed private Angelo Maggio restored a career long in freefall, earning him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  Which brings us to the above photo, of Clift, Lancaster and another cast member: country music star, singer-songwriter and guitarist Merle Travis (1917-1983), now a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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There was no real music from this week's episode of Fargo.  But for fans of clear acoustic guitar picking, this 41 song lived CD of Doc Watson at New York's famous Bottom Line club in 2002 there's much here to savor.

 

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This is Chet Atkins and his fingerstyle guitar friend and protege Jerry Reed, performing a song Chet he first heard performed by his primary guitar role mentor and close friend, the late Merle Travis, also a hero of Reed's. The song is "Cannonball Rag." You hear Chet in the left speaker, Jerry in the right.

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