Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Best of James Marshall Hendrix:

the G.O.A.T.

Before Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, there was Jimi Hendrix, being the best there ever was at something that used to be mostly a white man’s game(electric guitar rock).  His axe was merely an extension of his unique mind and no one had control over one just as well as he did.  So today, I gotta give it out to the greatest guitarist who ever lived with my short list of greatest Hendrix songs(in no particular order).

#1. Still Raining, Still Dreaming- Electic Ladyland

This gem from the tail end of the Electric Ladyland album deserves note just by its opening licks alone.   His guitar tone is second to none and he really lets it shine in this number.

#2. Stepping Stone- First Rays of a New Rising Sun

It may never been released until after his untimely death, but it got it’s beginnings with the Band of Gypsies and was immediately a great song.  His guitar attack is evened out by his great singing in the one.  Speaking of beginnings:

#3. Beginnings- First Rays….

Also known as Jam Back at the House, this instrumental exemplifies Jimi’s guitar ferocity in one swoop.  This song is credited to Mitch Mitchell who has a bit of a drum solo in the middle, but let’s face it, it’s Jimi’s burning axe that carries this tune.

#4. Spanish Castle Magic- Axis: Bold as Love

Back to the original Experience.  What’s not to like about this song?  Watch the master at work back in ’69.

#5. Third Stone From the Sun- Are You Experienced?

Had to represent something from AYE? and what better tune than this one?  This may be the most often teased song in live music at least that I’ve seen.  He clearly wasn’t fucking around when he stuck this jam on the first album, just to clarify what being experienced is all about it goes way beyond listening to the occasional Hey Joe and calling yourself a Jimi fan.  Finally:

#6. The Burning of the Midnight Lamp- Electric Ladyland

Lastly and possibly my favorite tune of all, Jimi laying down the blues like nobodies business.

Alright, there ya have it.  Feel free to disagree, but this is what does it for me more than most.  Clearly there were some obvious omissions, but you gotta work off and on the grid sometimes to get the best combination of both.  Have a good week and maybe you’ll be seeing a Great Woods Phish review from me in the near future.

The Original Gangsta of Reggae:

Ranking Dillinger

Jamaican deejay, Dillinger, was laying down the heat while Peter and Bob were too worried about politics too really get down.  Just give the man a beat and he could freestyle his way fantastically over it, almost a prelude to modern rap[especially in dealing with the subjects he sings about(drugs and women mostly)].

I first became aware of this almost unknown in America, but hugely popular in Jamaica and Europe, reggae artist by a Jamaica Ska-core Box Set my brother had bought in high school.  It was a three-disc set and each disc had a giant pot leaf on it and each disc featured 1 track from Dillinger(Cocaine in My Brain, Marijuana in My Brain and Crabs in My Pants).

Clearly this man was ahead of the curve, even if you couldn’t understand what he said half the time.  I was addicted though, and I needed more, but amazingly enough, at the time I couldn’t find a single record store in my area that sold any of his music.  I was miffed.  Then, on a school trip to Spain and Portugal, I happened to stumble into a record store in Lisbon and fancied my way to the reggae section.  There it was like a big f’n sign from above, a vast selection of Dillinger in a proper reggae section, so I grabbed a double-disc compilation album of older stuff and newer stuff and got on my way.

Songs like this clued me in to where it’s really at.  This guy is frickin’ insane, and a genius at that too.  Back before Snoop Dogg was singing about bitches and hoes, this guy was telling you to stay away from chicks w/ crabs.  Fucking Brilliant!

Hell, Cocaine in My Brain was a #1 hit in the Netherlands and if it’s good enough to be #1 in Amsterdam, it’s my kinda shit.  This guy takes a few years off every decade or so, but he’s still keeping it real down in sweet Jamaica.  He’s gotten shout outs from the Clash in songs, he made a cameo in cult Jamaican classic film, Rockers.  Dude just accomplished everything there is to do in Jamaica, and can chill on that for the rest of his life if he pleases.  So here’s to you, Dillinger, way to buck the system altogether and just speak your mind.  I hope he lives a long and healthy life, cuz if someone in Jamaica deserves it, that’s the guy.

Top 5 Bobby tunes:

'atta boy, Bobby.

It’s about time I did something Dead related, and what better way to jump in than to go w/ oft overlooked 2nd frontman Bobby “Cha” Weir.  His short shorts and crooning are a major part of what made the Dead the Dead, whether you like it or not, some of their best songs are Bobby tunes, so now, we’re gonna go through a slick handful of them.

First off rules, I’m keeping it to Weir/Barlow tunes to easy up the load.  Otherwise I couldn’t leave it to just 5, so no Playin’ in the Band and no The Other One, yeah I know, it sucks, but let’s get a little more difficult with the choices:

#5 Throwing Stones

What can I say?  I’m a bold man, and Throwing Stones did just enough to get my 5 spot.  Plus I’m on the younger side and this is the first Dead song I remember hearing as a child, so its got a special place in my heart.  There, there’s your silly reasoning.

#4 Black Throated Wind

A younger Bobby, still the same old crooner.  Gotta love this classic track, had to go with an older version for dexterity.   Sorry no good vid, just be happy to have the audio kickin’.

#3 Cassidy

Goes without saying.  Picked this version for the Brent factor.

#2 Saint of Circumstance

This is my jam right here.  Love me some St. of Circumstance, It’s getting the #2 cuz its practically the most perfectly written song for Robert.

#1 Weather Report Suite

You had to know I was going this direction when I threw out The Other One and Playing.  It’s only fair.  Dick’s Picks 7 version, England ’74 you know the one.

There you have it folks, that’s the best Bobby had to offer.  I know a few other songs I would’ve slipped into the 4 or 5 spot but the top 3 ain’t changing.

These are a few of my favorite tweets:

I figured I’d join the Twitter revolution since reading a bunch of people’s Facebook updates made me wanna choke myself and I could better choose who I get updates from on Twitter.  I still usually go to fb first, but if I have a good one-liner then Twitter is the perfect place to let it out, and if the people don’t like it or find it offensive, they can just unfollow you or block you(Thank you, Doug Benson).  So without further detail:

iamcolinquinn Colin Quinn:

Why doesn’t Polly Holiday from Alice had Hollywood star when she came up with the most popular expression in America ever. Kiss my Grits!

GarryShandling Garry Shandling: 

 @GShep323 Right on, no? Peace in

couldn’t pass up getting a shout out from one of my comedic heroes.

WhitneyCummings Whitney Cummings: 

congress needs to work on a bill that deports people who tell you about their dreams

StephenAtHome Stephen Colbert: 

My favorite days of the Easter Week? Good Friday and Taco Tuesday!

For the record, Mr. Colbert holds the record for most of my favorited tweets, just edging out Double Ess.

CKlosterman Chuck Klosterman:

This is the only important thing I’ve learned since 2005 RT@thisrecording: Presbyterians is an anagram for Britney Spears

reggie_bush Reggie Bush: 

Watching Money Train! One of my favorite movies. This when Wesley Snipes was hot! Put dark skin bruh’s on the map never looked back since

joerogan Joe Rogan:

Eating ice cream when you’re not high is a waste of good ice cream.

SarahKSilverman Sarah Silverman: 

I admit that I SOMETIMES pee in the shower, but more often than not I pee in the tub. #ipeeinthetub

Brilliant!

diducit osid riley: 

 for some odd reason doc holliday has always been a hero of mine…

me too, osid.  me too.

Welp, that’s it for now, that’s only a handful of the great lessons you can learn by being on Twitter as opposed to the horror stories of Facebook status updates.  We’ll see what this week brings…

Barbecue Swinging with Kermit Ruffins:

You could say last night was a good night.  After a week of gloomy days where it would look nice for a few hours, then torrential rain for the next couple, seeing the sun on Friday afternoon was a boon of good things to come.   For last night was The Spot Underground’s first outdoor block party headlined by none other than Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers.

The Spot is located on Elbow Street on the Eastside of Providence, Rhode Island.  Like its namesake, Elbow St. is shaped like an elbow between Chestnut St. and Richmond St. and is a perfect spot to block off both ends of the street and have a party.  Now, the Providence music scene has had somewhat of a bumpy ride in the past 20 years.  Providence doesn’t get too much consideration of a music mecca city, but from the 70’s to the early 2000’s, it was just that.  Home of amazing musical acts like the Talking Heads and Lightning Bolt, Providence was always ahead of the curve in the music world.

Unfortunately, for a few years after that, a lot of the great music venues either closed down, moved, or just stopped having as many national acts as they used to.  Small up and coming jambands were forced to play Jerky’s which was the second floor of a building, just above Club Hell(a bar for mostly metal bands and the occasional 80’s night) and just below a Tattoo parlor, right in the heart of Providence’s club district.  Since then though, new(old) places started to open back up and revitalize the once amazing Providence music scene.  Lupo’s continues to get the bigger national acts while medium-sized shows can now be seen at the new Met Cafe in Providence’s redheaded stepsister city Pawtucket and good bar sized shows can be seen at the Spot, which was a venue formerly known as the Call.

Route .44

I got there at 5 pm, right before show time, and saw that Route .44 was tuning up onstage.  Now I’ve seen Route .44 about six years ago opening up for former Jammy Award winners, the Breakfast at the Middle East in Boston.  I remember them being pretty good then(for a band that opens at the Middle East), but they’ve come a long way in the past 6 years.  They’re a seven-piece band w/ a drummer, guitarist/lead singer, bassist , saxaphone player, amazingly beautiful viola player, percussionist and a keyboardist.  Their music is a mix of swing, rock and funk and even brought up comparisons to Morphine at certain points of their set.

This past year, they won “Best Local Act” and “Best Local Album” in the Providence Phoenix’s yearly awards issue.  sidenote:  the Phoenix is the best paper in New England as far as being informed about music and local restaurants and bars is concerned.  It prints weekly and has a seperate edition for the cities of Boston, Portland and Providence.  Their set was very upbeat and ranged from the swing-like opener “MARS” to the deep and mellow tones of a Tom Waits cover all the way to the polka genre for their set ending jamathon simply named “Polka.”

pics courtesy of http://bobk.com

After the set, I chatted with Ian and Teri, lead guitarist/singer and fiddle player respectively.  We chatted about our roots in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and why they named themselves after a second-rate state highway.  Apparently members of the band met while working at Butler Hospital in Providence which is a mental hospital on Rte. 44.  According to them as far as mental hospitals are concerned, they spoke highly of Butler, but I had my own fascinations with Route 44 so we continued on talking about the Haunted Hitchhiker, who has supposedly terrorized late night drivers on the Seekonk/Rehoboth line of Rte. 44 just over the state-line in Massachusetts.

Now, the main event:

I met Kermit briefly inside the bar before the show started and we took up shelter behind the stage for the opening set.  Now, I’m not a New Orleans native, and up here in New England, New Orleans is like a whole different world to us.  The closest I’ve even been to New Orleans was a weekend in Atlanta, and the only similar style band I’ve even seen was the Dirty Dozen Brass Band opening up for moe. on New Years Eve.  The only thing we had in common was being Saints fans and our partying habits, yet Kermit and the band were all down to earth kind people and helped show me what New Orleans was all about.

Kermit Ruffins

The crowd built up quickly as Kermit and crew took the stage.   They opened their set with a nice rendition of ‘I Can see Clearly Now’ which was perfect considering the lousy weather leading up to this evening.  After that, Kermit introduced New Orleans legend Henri Smith who came on-stage to introduce the band.  This wouldn’t be the last we saw of Mr. Smith.  The band followed up with a great take on the New Orleans classic ‘Aiko Aiko.’  It was at this point I noticed the deftness of keyboardist, K2, who was very talented.  note: I don’t know the proper spelling of his name, but his playing was on par with the second biggest mountain on the planet, so it works for me.

Soon afterwards, Kermit introduced the newest member of the band, Mikiya to join the stage for a couple of tunes including Norah Jones’ hit ‘Don’t Know Why.’  As far as I am concerned, she should have stayed on-stage all night because she had an amazing voice.  But alas, she left the stage to let the 4 piece(drums, keys, bass and Kermit) do their thing.

The Lovely Mikiya

The Barbecue Swingers continued to play a tight set combining New Orleans staples mixed in with the occasional original number or hip-hop tune.  The drummer at one point sang lead vocals on ‘Does That Make Me Crazy’ while Kermit wailed away on his trumpet with a little help from his Bud Lite bottle.  The set got harder and harder and people were grooving to a song introduced as a Jessie Hill(Trombone Shorty’s grandfather) number which got people’s booties shaking.

The closer of the set was a segue of one of Kermit’s attempts at rapping into a version of the Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Goodnight.’  Now I’m not a fan of the Black Eyed Peas at all, but the BBQ Swingers took it to a different level musically and almost sounded a bit like electronica at parts, definitely a stellar band.  Overall it was a great set, I guess since they were in Rhode Island, they probably played more standards and less originals than if they were in New Orleans, but a fun time was had by all, booties were shaking, drinks were spilling, and it was indeed a good night.

Top 25 most often played songs on my itunes/ipod:

This is just a random fact, it holds no deep significance except my own personal recordkeeping:

25. Visionz- Wu Tang Clan

24. Re-united- Wu Tang Clan

23.  Possum(5/17/92)- Phish

22.  Punch You in the Eye- Phish

21.  La Femme d’argent- Air

20.  Kelly Watch the Stars- Air

Holy shit, first time seeing the video, this alone was worth reading the blog today.

19.  Cash Still Rules/ Scary Hours- Wu Tang Clan

18.  Ce Matin La- Air

17.  Stepping Stone- Jimi Hendrix

I couldn’t pass up the chance to post some live Hendrix.

16.  Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)- The Delphonics

15. Slow Down Boy- Ween

14.  Down With Disease(12/11/97)- Phish

13.  Ghost(11/17/97)- Phish

12.  Us v Them- LCD Soundsystem

This is currently my favorite 8 minute song, the build up w/ every verse is phenomenal.

11.  I Got to Put the Hammer Down- Ween

10.  Sneakin’ Sally through the Ally(12/30/97)- Phish

9.  Voodoo Lady- Ween

8.  Gimme Three Steps- The Disco Biscuits

7.  Light Me Up- Ween

6.  Confrontation- the Disco Biscuits

There used to be a great fan made video for this on youtube, but alas I can’t find it anymore.

4 & 5.  Bathtub Gin > Uncle Pen(8/17/97)- Phish

Thanks silverchair97 for the trifecta.

3.  Could This Be Magic?- Van Halen

2.  The Moma Dance(2/26/03)- Phish

1. :drum-roll please:  Wolfman’s Brother(12/1/03)- Phish

This is amusing since I don’t even like Wolfman’s all that much, it’s just another song to me like Sample In a Jar or Limb by Limb.

About a year ago this list was similar if you subtract all the Phish songs and add more Ween, Air and Wu Tang.  Somehow I’ve listened to a lot of Phish in the past 2 years to psyche myself up for tour, which is funny cuz I took a break from listening to Phish (outside of being at a show) from 2001 to about 2007, but I was fiending a Reba and had to break my spell.  Glad the deep studio tracks of the Disco Biscuits on there, a funny personal favorite of mine[the studio King of the World(not F.L.A.B.S.L.A.B.)] was on there too at some point as well.

Top 5 Wu Tang Clan songs:

The Magnificent 9

from 1992 to 1997, so everything from Bobby Digital on is being neglected from this bad boy.  Solo albums count too, so we’re talking 36 Chambers, Tical, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords, Ironman, Return to the 36 Chambers, and Wu Tang Forever.  Anything from the W onward lacks the griminess that made the Wu Tang Clan the unstoppable force it was from ’92 to ’97.  So without any further explanation

#5.  Protect Ya Neck- Enter the Wu Tang(36 Chambers)

Before C.R.E.A.M., before M.E.T.H.O.D., there was 1 song that put the Wu on the rap map, and that is Protect Ya Neck.  It’s historical necessity to bringing the Wu Tang to the heights it reached in its prime is all due to this one song, so pay your respects for the original.

#4. Winter Warz- Ironman

Hard to pick just one song from the Ironman album since its so diverse(compare Wildflower to All That I Got Is You), but this song is getting the upper hand since it was on the ‘Don’t Be a Menace..’ soundtrack plus it features Ghostface along with U-God, Raekwon and the then up and comer Cappadonna.

#3.  Incarcerated Scarfaces- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx

Cuban Linx is arguably the best album start to finish in the annals of Wu Tang-ology, and this song best represents why it is so good.  Four minutes of Rae throwin’ down verbal on his own is as good as any song featuring the whole crew.

#2. Duck Seazon- Forever

No video for this deep track off the second disc of the Wu Tang Forever album, but it’s not needed.  Raekwon, the Method Man, and the RZA let you know what the deal is with this dirty dirty track with an amazing beat.  So many great songs on Forever, but this one takes the cake.

#1. Liquid Swords- Liquid Swords

Were you expecting any less, the GZA is the brains behind the operation and a 4 minute track of him spitting in his genius ways takes the cake. Luckily for you the video relieves you of having to wait through the minute long intro from “Shogun Assassin.”

There you have it folks, the best of the best from the best time period in rap music, and since no Ol’ Dirty Bastard Tracks made the cut, I’ll give you a bonus tune.

Bonus:  Dog Shit- Forever

Could’ve gone with any number of songs from Return to the 36 Chambers, but let’s be real.  This is the money shot.