The name Ethel Gabriel probably means very little to the average Rock fan. She was a true pioneer in the record business and should be remembered.
Ethel was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. As a young, accomplished musician she started her own band at age 13. Her instrument was the Trombone and the music her band played was that of the great big band bands of her youth like Glenn Miller. That led to playing in the Philadelphia Women’s Symphony Orchestra at a very early age.
The name Roy Harper doesn’t mean very much to the average Rock fan in the US. This is despite the fact that the English Folk Rock singer songwriter has released 32 albums to date. Such stars like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Pete Townshend , Kate Bush, the members of Pink Floyd and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull are among his biggest fans. Even more recent acts like Kate Bush and Fleet Foxes cite his song writing as a big influence.
So how is it that so many people have no idea who Roy Harper is? Perhaps one reason is his songs are often very complex in both musical and lyrical structure. He has always stayed true to his own way of doing things which often meant writing songs that the average person didn’t understand or could hum along to as they walked down the street.
Despite many very impressive reviews, TROUT MASK RELPICA by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, sold very poorly when it was released. Over time it has become widely acclaimed as a work of genius and one of the most influential albums of the entire Rock era. The songs were all written by Beefheart, arranged by drummer John “Drumbo” French and produced by Frank Zappa.
If you were to do a poll of Rock stars asking them to pick the best Sax player in the history of the genre, at or near the top would be Bobby keys. Since he was rarely in the spotlight, many fans of his playing don’t even know his name.
Robert Henry Keys was born on the Lubbock U S Army Airfield in Texas. His father served in the U S Army Air Corps.
After his father moved on, Bobby stayed in Lubbock. At a very early age he discovered the legendary Sax player King Curtis. Unlike other Sax players, Curtis wasn’t just a Jazz man. King Curtis played the same way that guitar players did and fit right into Rock and Roll.
Every year we turn the page on the calendar to a new year. When the calendar was first conceived, someone must have put some thought as to where a year should end and begin. Perhaps some thought was given to the time of the year. A good part of the world that uses the calendar that we know here in the United States is knee deep in winter. The weather is often cold and harsh. A good time for a holiday break and a look forward to a new start.
Trying to create anything that has never been done before usually ends up in failure. No one remembers the names of the people who tried to invent the first radio or record player and failed. Even if they were successful and didn’t get the credit because someone simply beat them to the patent office, they didn’t get any reward for their work.
Creating something from a mere idea takes painstaking hard work. You have to be prepared to fail over and over. Read the life story of some famous inventors and you will get a better understanding. They are driven by an inner passion that most people just don’t understand. Most of the time their drive doesn’t come from a desire to make money. It is just as well, since most often the pioneers in any field rarely get rich from their ideas.
Does the bug that is sweeping the world have you sheltered in your home? With all the concerts being canceled, you may have the cabin fever blues.
Ok, you can’t get out to see your favorite acts in concert but seeing them at home are the next best thing. There are literally hundreds of in concert DVDs or streaming movies you can watch.
The only problem is picking them. There are a lot of inferior quality films out there. Some of it due to the filming itself and others border on just being a rip off. Unfortunately, some film makers (to make a quick buck) have dug up old footage that has never been released. Much of it wasn’t released for some very good reasons.
Then you have those that look appealing on the surface with big names. You view them only to find out that it concerts film of the groups in the near present with only one or two original members. One highlighted a band that was one of those “pretend to be them” bands. It is a buyer beware.
Recently, while listening to Halloween favorites like “Dinner with Drac” by Zacherle and “Monster Mash,” I suddenly realized that there haven’t been any good novelty records released lately. For decades, but especially during the heyday of top forty radio, there were hundreds of very popular records that made you laugh or least brought a smile to your face.
Maybe because of political correctness or the current state of the world, we have loss our ability to make light of everyday things. It seems we can’t even laugh at ourselves. Perhaps we should.
Billy Joel had a hit song called “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” that was part the story of an infamous outlaw and about himself. At a glance, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any parallels.
One recurring part of the many of the interviews of stars I have done over the years has been the childhood of these future stars. Most seem to have been born and raised in less than luxurious fashion. I often hear stories of having no bathrooms, heat or other things that are considered standard essentials today. In many cases, it served as a driving force in becoming Rock stars.
Two things happened recently that made my mind wander back to when I first met Linda Ronstadt. The first came from my own website. I was looking at the daily rock calendar and noticed that Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Poneys were listed as being at the Main Point on a certain day in 1968.
In a flash I was back there seeing her on stage. Between shows we chatted for a bit. She was so bubbly-almost hyper. I don’t know why, perhaps because Linda was so friendly, I asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner. Much to my surprise, yes said she’d loved the idea.
August 16th marks the anniversary of a very special event. On that date in 1967 a new form of radio was born in Philadelphia.
In 1967 there was an explosion of new music. It was the Summer of Love. Much of it centered in San Francisco where flower power was born along with a whole host of new music acts the likes of that no one had ever seen before. In the clubs of the city by the bay you could see and hear The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Big Brother &The Holding Company and a host of other exciting new groups.
History is filled with mistakes and accidents. Sometimes these mishaps lead to major changes like wars, but often they lead to something good that was totally unexpected.
This is true about music as well. People, being only human, will sometimes do the wrong thing.
Record companies have made a lot of mistakes over the years. It isn’t easy picking hit songs. Unless you have tried it with your job on the line, don’t say “how could they be so wrong” when you read just some the mistakes they have made over the years.
The most famous mistake centers around The Beatles. It is common knowledge that they flunked their first record company audition. But there’s much more to their story.
During the course of my many years of playing music on the radio & TV, writing about it in Newspapers, magazines and books as well as just listening or watching music for fun, I have collected many related items. Those of you who have looked at this website at some of the memorabilia that is posted are looking at the tip of the iceberg.
For example, when people ask me how many vinyl records do I have in my collection, I can’t give them an honest answer. Generally, my answer is over 20,000. The truth is that I don’t know since they have never actually been counted. It would take far too long.