Music

The gospel according to Aretha Franklin

This is a terrific compilation and commentary on Aretha’s roots in gospel and how she was able to bridge into blues and rock.

I’m glad VOX mentioned Jerry Wexler, a producer at Atlantic Records but I wish they’d mentioned Tom Dowd (pictured in a few of the stills) who was Atlantic’s engineer and helped produce much of Aretha’s work at Atlantic (and numerous other artists).

Here’s a great post at the Atlantic Records/Warner site: The Record Man: Ahmet Ertegun, Founder of Atlantic Records.

I highly recommend two documentaries if you can find them:

Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built
Tom Dowd and the Language of Music (out of print, expensive, hopefully streamed at some point).

[via Uncrate]

A Very Stable Genius

Randy Rainbow’s YouTube Channel is chock-a-block with great Trump parodies. That said, the one embedded above is an incredible takeoff on The Major-General’s Song from the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera, The Pirates of Penzance.

Here’s more information on The Major-General’s Song including the lyrics which are hard to understand in the video embedded below.

Here’s the same song from a production of The Pirates of Penzance recorded in Central Park, New York around 1980. Note Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt moving around the stage before the major-general does his number:

I love that Randy Rainbow decided to use this song in his Trump parodies. My post here is not to make light of the damage Donald Trump is doing to the United States and to the world, but to show off one of the better Trump parody makers around.

When Steve Bannon got fired as Trump’s advisor, Randy did an incredible parody: Yes, We Have No Steve Bannon (based on: Yes! We Have No Bananas).

Sigh…

PS: If you’re into Gilbert and Sullivan I highly recommend the movie: Topsy-Turvy about their relationship leading up to the premier of The Mikado, one of their masterpieces.

The sound that connects Stravinsky to Bruno Mars

This is an incredible short documentary by VOX on one of the first sampled sounds (the orchestra hit) which happened to be a concert of Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and how it’s been used ever since in rock, rap, and everything in between. This is an incredible story and history.

[via Uncrate]

Remembering Gary Burden

Gary Burden, who was part of the birth of American rock and roll in the 1960’s has passed. The New York Times has a remembrance:

Gary Burden, Designer of Famous Album Covers, Dies at 84

Here’s a fantastic video of Gary Burden being interviewed while driving up Laurel Canyon Boulevard as well as Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles.

[via Gary Sharp]

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger cover

This is a brilliant cover of a classic Daft Punk song.

“Neo Magazin Royale is a German satirical late night talk show hosted by Jan Böhmermann, and has one of the biggest bands in late night TV. The 15-piece orchestra is headed by rapper Dendemann, and features a rotating cast of musicians. This amazing cover of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” wasn’t even for the live TV show — it was a band warm up in front of the live audience.”

[via Uncrate]

The Art of Listening

This is a documentary about making music, from instrument making to playing to mixing, mastering, and listening. It was sponsored by Sony although there are only a few plugs in it for Sony gear, the rest is a variety of musicians and music producers talking about how they make and share music. It’s about an hour and 14 minutes long.

The comparison to photography is interesting:

Music: one needs a great song, well played on a decent instrument, well recorded and mastered and played on a decent audio player to channel what the musician laid down.

Photography: one needs a great image, well recorded with decent equipment, well processed and seen on a decent screen or a decent print to channel what the photographer saw and recorded.

In the photography world I like to think of Ansel Adams: he chose great subject matter (Yosemite), used a view camera (big negative, high definition), stopped down to small apertures (more detail), used filters (to get the dramatic look he wanted), and he took great care in developing his negatives and making his prints. If you’ve ever seen a large Ansel Adams print, in person, it’s a thing of wonder and you can feel that care in the print, very much like these musicians and producers talking about the care they take in making and sharing music.

[via Uncrate]

Prince playing George

Prince Rogers Nelson died today.

Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others perform “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison at the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions. Dhani Harrison (son) is standing next to Petty.

Prince was amazing and while his own music was out of this world, he was a world class musician who could play anything.

This group plus more got together (minus Prince) at the Concert for George organized by Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall. If you like this music and these musicians and haven’t seen that, its a must.

Update: This is a piece the New York Times just posted on this particular performance and its worth a read: The Day Prince’s Guitar Wept the Loudest.

[via Devour]