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The Music Generation Gap Featured

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The other day a headline “Why do Old People Hate New Music?” for a story in Psychology Today caught my eye. With a headline like that, the story had to be read.

The premise of the story was that older people often turn up their noses at new music because they think it is nothing but noise or it all sounds the same. The article went on to present evidence that our brains lose the ability to accept new music because as we age the part of the brain than enables us to make the subtle distinctions between different chords, rhythms and melodies starts to fail. This gives us the impression that all new music sounds alike.

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Back in the 50’s the Philadelphia based group Danny and The Juniors had a hit record with their song called “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay”. At the time, Rock and Roll was considered a fad and only music for teens. It was their soundtrack for their years to rebel against the establishment as well as their parents.

The establishment fought back. Preachers called for the burning of the devil’s music records. Mayors of many cities banned having Rock and Roll concerts. Predictably, instead killing of the music, it only added fuel to the passion of the young music lovers.

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Seeing Eric Andersen for the first time at the famed Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA, was a very special night. The acoustic set was a quietly moving performance from the poetic singer and songwriter. The lyrics seemed very personal and yet very universal.

Meeting him after his performance in the basement of the Main Point (that also served as a dressing room) was the first if many conversations we would have over the years. Our talks were always very interesting and surprisingly candid.

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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.

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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.

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August 1, 2 & 3, 1969

There is no doubt that the most remembered musical event of the year 1969 was Woodstock.  It not only made national, but international headlines.

However, there was a concert event that took place just a couple of weeks prior to Woodstock that was actually a much better live music experience. The Atlantic City Pop Festival was also the very first large scale festival on the east coast. It still gets no credit for not only pioneering such a concert events but for doing it right.

While there were some minor issues with off and on rain (I don’t remember it ruining any performance), the theft of some merchandise and a few did try to climb the fences, but for the most part this was a very well organized event. Perhaps you have to be totally disorganized to get real attention.  Woodstock was certainly a mess compared to the AC Pop Festival.

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Performer Category - honoring bands and solo artists who, in their careers, have created music whose originality, impact and influence has changed the course of rock 'n' roll:

• Jay-Z
• Carole King
• Todd Rundgren
• Tina Turner
• Foo Fighters -- Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear
• The Go-Go’s -- Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin

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Trout Mask cover

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.

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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.

Turn The Page

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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