Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


A Bloggers Musical Look at 40!

Well, my dear, sweet, gentle blog readers, today is a milestone day for me.  Or, so I’m told.  Yep, it is my 40th birthday.  Feel free to comment on how old I am or must feel.  Candle jokes are always funny, and yes, I am actually typing this attired in black and with one foot in the grave.

I like to think that I have made my musical feelings abundantly clear over the last year or so in this blog.  Songs are snapshots along our continuum that allow us to recall special times, people, and places. Music shades us in many ways, some so beautifully moving that we are overcome by emotion, others etched in our fabric like a familiar scent that recalls the halcyon days of our youth, while others are just simply attached to a moment in time.

In my forty years, I have lived and experienced more life than I probably deserve.  I know I certainly lived more than my parents deserved.  Through it all, music is the one constant that I have turned to regardless of the situation.  Adolescent love, loss, birth of children, marriage, divorce, and death, and yes, much living in between, music has been my salvation. Music resonates within me at many different levels. The basic premise behind music is notes, keys, chords, rhythm, etc….   It is analogous to food in the fact that there is music for all occasions.

So today, is my musical look at 40!  Below are 40 songs that have colored me indelibly. I will offer no explanation as to why these songs resonate with me nor will I debate their worthiness of inclusion.  After all it is my birthday, my blog and my computer at which I type. 

Below is this Bloggers Musical look at 40:

Song

Artist
  • Blinded By the Light *note* Cause Mama that’s where the fun is!
Bruce Springsteen
  • Everybody Hurts
R.E.M.
  • Simple Man
Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Tiny Dancer
Elton John
  • With or Without You
U2
  • Louisiana Rain
Tom Petty
  • Dyer’s Eve
Metallica
  • Touch From Your Lust
Ben Harper
  • Fire Lake
Bob Segar
  • Masters of War
Bob Dylan
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
Arc Angels
  • There Is So Much More
Brett Dennen
  • Mystic Rhythms
Rush
  • Jimi Thing
The Dave Matthews Band
  • It’s In the Way That You Use It
Eric Clapton
  • Rearview Mirror
Pearl Jam
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
Guns N’ Roses
  • The Sea and the Rhythm
Iron & Wine
  • Waiting for the Sun
The Jayhawks
  • Little Wing
Jimi Hendrix
  • Highwayman
The Highwaymen
  • Gimme Shelter
The Rolling Stones
  • Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns
Mother Love Bone
  • When You Come Back Down
Nickel Creek
  • I’m Trying To Find It
Pat Green
  • Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd
  • Slip Sliding Away
Paul Simon
  • Sideways
Citizen Cope
  • Wheel In The Sky
Journey
  • Sign O’ The Times
Prince
  • What a Crying Shame
The Mavericks
  • Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond
  • Minutes To Memories
John Mellencamp
  • Band on the Run
Paul McCartney
  • Killing In the Name
Rage Against the Machine
  • Shades of Gray
Robert Earl Keen
  • Life Without You
Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Plush
Stone Temple Pilots
  • Badfish
Sublime
  • Into the Mystic
Van Morrison

When I hear any of these songs, I vividly remember the moments, feelings, situations, and the friends I shared the moments with.  I contend that these artists and their songs do or will stand the test of time and are just as relevant today as they were in the past or will be in the future.  At least for me!

So there you go, me sharing a little of my birthday with you.  Enjoy and come over later for some cake and ice cream.

Great music awaits!


50 Artists you should be listening to and own at least one album!

Ok, I thought yesterday’s blog was fun and elicited some reaction from you, the sweet , gentle reader  and a few David Cassidy fans( ITILY ladies and possibly gentlemen) and also caused a bit of a stir on facebook as well.  So, let’s go and reverse the whip.

I will attempt to continue to WOW you with my vast musical knowledge and then silently judge you if you are not impressed with my musical prowess.  Just kidding, I would never judge you or your poor musical taste. 

I do think that there are some artists that transcend genres and have universal appeal.  Others have a loyal following and then have that one album that regales the masses and they are beloved for generations.  Some of us grew up on music and we think it is greatness based solely on the nostalgia for the time and place in which we first heard it.  And then there are music purist who likes a band /artist because they respect the lineage and the impact that they had on music.

I tend to be a bit of all of the above.  There are some artists that I like because there is some form of connectivity that I really can’t explain, while others are truly a moment in time that has endeared me to an artist, and then there is the whole musical heritage piece.  I am intrigued by the evolution of music and the artists that find themselves compelled to play.  As mentioned previously in a blog, I have no musical talent.  I do not play and instrument, I do not sing close to well, and I’ve never had aspirations to do either.  I simply love to listen to music. 

As much as I have a propensity to scorn/judge, in my humble opinion, awful music, I really respect the fact that those dreadful musicians had the nerve to attempt to play, at some point get signed, and were able to release an album or at the very least a single.  When it comes down to it, I don’t judge the horrific musicians as mercilessly as I judge the faction who listens and procures the music.

So, below is a listing of artists/bands that you should be listening to and would be in any reputable music collection.  

  • Ryan Adams
  • The Band
  • The Beastie Boys
  • The Beatles
  • Beck
  • The Black Crowes
  • Jimmy Buffet (with love to Gwendolyn)
  • Johnny Cash
  • Eric Clapton
  • Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Bob Dylan
  • The Eagles
  • Steve Earle
  • Foo Fighters
  • Pat Green
  • Merle Haggard
  • Ben Harper
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • John Mellencamp
  • Metallica
  • Willie Nelson
  • Nirvana
  • Pearl Jam
  • Tom Petty
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Pixies
  • Joe Purdy
  • Radiohead
  • R.E.M
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Rush
  • Paul Simon
  • Sonic Youth
  • Sound Garden
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • James Taylor
  • Traveling Wilburys
  • U2
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Wilco
  • Whiskeytown
  • The Who
  • Neil Young
  • ZZ Top

I just listed the artist and not the album or albums that you should be listening to and really own by said artist.  Also, I stopped at 50 and that took a considerable amount of restraint.

This is fundamentally meant to light the candle of thought and get you to think about your 50 artists.  If you only had 50 artists that you could listen to, who would they be?  Think of yourself as Tom Hanks in Cast Away and instead of Wilson the volleyball, you have an iPod with 50 artists and their entire catalog. 

So take some time, peruse the list and let me know who you would have added or deleted from the list or send me you complete list.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Ben Harper!

Whether Ben Harper is playing with the “Innocent Criminals”, “The Blind Boys of Alabama”, or “The Relentless Seven”, he is making some pretty amazing music.  His style is as varied as his influences: Funk, Soul, Blues, Gospel,Reggae, Rock, and R&B, it all comes out in his music.  He is renowned for his ability on the slide guitar.

 Ben had a cult following in the decade of the 90’s and started to gain some commercial success in 2000 with the single “Steal My Kisses” from his album “Burn to Shine”.  His expressive voice and varied musical styles offer his fans a kaleidoscope of ear candy.  Another example of this is his stunning 2004 collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama “There Will Be Light”.   With each album it seems that he further embraces his influences such as Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and of course, Jimi Hendrix, while continuing to explore and expand his own.

 To really appreciate Ben Harper, you must see him live.  I have had this privilege on three separate occasions and in three different phases of his career.  The first time I saw him was four or five years ago at Austin City Limits Music Festival.  He was energetic and engaging and had the entire crowd of thousands completely enthralled.  The next occasion was on his “Lifeline” tour with his backing band ‘The Innocent Criminals” at the Majestic Theater in Dallas.  The tour was billed as acoustic and intimate and it was indeed both of those things.  The fans were seated for the entire show and captivated by the music.  The most recent concert was the 2008 Austin City Music Festival.  He was touring with his new band “The Relentless Seven”.  His hour long set was tight and focused on his new material from “White Lies for Dark Times”.  He was in fine form and his new band sounded great.

Ben Harper Discography

  • Welcome to the Cruel World
  • Fight for Your Mind
  • The Will To Live
  • Burn To Shine
  • Diamonds on the Inside
  • Live From Mars
  • There Will Be Light
  • Both Sides of the Gun
  • Lifeline
  • Live at the Twist & Shout
  • White Lies for Dark Times

 Top 5 Ben Harper Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Amen Omen (Diamonds on the Inside)
  2. Having Wings (Lifeline)
  3. I’ll Rise (Welcome to the Cruel World)
  4. Excuse Me Mr. (Fight for Your Mind)
  5. Better Way (Both Sides of the Gun)

 If you have never listened to Ben Harper, then I highly recommend “Live From Mars” as your introductory sampling. It is a great selection of his music and some covers songs from artists such as Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, and The Verve.

 Give Ben Harper some love and let me know what you think.

 Ben Harper’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.benharper.com.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


Under the Covers: Cover songs you should be listening to

Some songs are so great that everyone wants to sing them and add their own unique style.  Some do it to pay homage to an artist, others feel a certain connection to the song and/or artist, and yet others are just looking to be the next American Idol.

The cover tune is the metaphorical equivalent of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Anyone can do it but not everyone does it right.   To make it right, PB&J requires lightly toasted bread, an abundance of peanut butter on both slices of the bread, and a generous slathering of jelly.  I’m a grape or raspberry fan myself. 

So, let’s get under the covers:

  • “Masters of War”                       Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “War Pigs”                                  Faith No More
    • Original Artist                   Black Sabbath
  • “Hurt”                                          Johnny Cash
    • Original Artist                   Nine Inch Nails
  • “Hard to Handle”                        The Black Crowes
    • Original Artist                   Ottis Redding
  • “Chimes of Freedom”                 Bruce Springsteen
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “Cortez the Killer”                      The Dave Matthews Band
    • Original Artist                   Neil Young
  • “Billie Jean”                                 Chris Cornell
    • Original Artist                   Michael Jackson
  • “Paradise”                                   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   John Prine
  • “Hard Sun”                                 Eddie Vedder
    • Original Artist                   Indio
  • “Play it All Night Long”             Drive-By Truckers
    • Original Artist                   Warren Zevon
  • “Climbing up the Walls”            Erin Ivey
    • Original Artist                   Radiohead
  • “Rocket Man”                             My Morning Jacket
    • Original Artist                   Elton John
  • “Such Great Heights”                 Iron & Wine
    • Original Artist                   The Postal Service
  • “Hallelujah”                                 Jeff Buckley
    • Original Artist                   Leonard Cohe
  • “Little Wing”                               Stevie Ray Vaughan
    • Original Artist                   Jimi Hendrix
  • “Lungs”                                       Lyle Lovett
    • Original Artist                   Townes Van Zandt
  • “Breadfan”                                  Metallica
    • Original Artist                   Budgie
  • “Badfish”                                     Jack Johnson
    • Original Artist                   Sublime
  • “Hey Ya”                                     Obadiah Parker
    • Original Artist                   Outkast
  • Love Reign O’er Me                   Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   The Who
  • “The Ghost of Tom Joad”          Rage Against the Machine
    • Original Artist                   Bruce Springsteen
  • “Levelland”                                 Robert Earl Keen
    • Original Artist                   James McMurtry
  • I’ve Got to Know                         Son Volt
    • Original Artist                   Woody Guthrie
  • “Signs”                                         Tesla
    • Original Artist                   “Five Man Electrical Band
  • “Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters”   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   Walt Wilkins

So, now that I have lit the candle of thought of great cover songs; let me know some of your favorites.

Great music awaits!