…so there are life-changing albums…disks so powerful and meaningful that the entire course of one’s hurtlingforwardpath gets knocked onto a sidetrack that starts as a slight diversion, but then becomes The Main Line.
Witness “Live/Dead”. forget Jerry Garcia…this is Phil Lesh’s record…he of the ‘liquid center bass’/’the 1 is more often played as a rest vs. an accented beat’/noodlenoodlenoodle. When Tom Kris (the original bass player for The James Gang) couldn’t make his Rock City rent one month, I got his Gibson Thunderbird bass in lieu of same, and learned the instrument (and more importantly – Lesh’s approach to the place of bass in a band) by playing along with this album.
1) learn all scales and modes in all keys
2) learn chord structure and chord notes
3) play with your fingers, switching to a pick only when a tone change is needed/required.
4) armed with this musical knowledge, FORGET IT ALL and go to a mental place where you reflect and reinterpret the music that’s swirling all around you in real time vs. sticking to a repetitive part a la the soul/funk bass tradition.
…which makes you an improviser and all but guarantees that you will butt heads with every drummer you will ever play with…since they will not ‘get’ this ramblingloosefloaty playing style unless they ‘got’ this record, too.
The Grateful Dead in ’69 were where rock, folk & open-ended liveinstant composition all came together. It ain’t jazz, but the aesthetic is the same…listen, react, lead/follow and see where it goes. It is simultaneously total freedom & total responsibility. It is totally exhilarating and liberating and…
…it was all over when The Dead decided to write songs and try to sing in harmony and betrayed this aesthetic and became old-farts. the aesthetic lay dormant until Television (and to a great degree - Tin Huey) reinvented it in the ‘70’s. note that phaux jam bands like Phish are NOT cited here...they are wrongwrongwrong.
the rock music world is split between the singer-songwriters who just want you to play a part and get out of the way of their compositions, and the player/improvisers/thrill-seeking daredevils who get off by making it up as it goes along.
And I think this album was the fork in the road.
to wit...dig pal Lane Steinberg solo recording of Dark Star.
Q. E. D.
NP: Side 2
PEEVE DE JOUR: lost my wallet. for weeks i have been tempting fate by keeping my wallet in a pocket with a hole in it. well-meaning friends pointed out the obvious - that the damn thing was gonna fall out one of these days...so i switched to a pocket with no hole. but somehow, it still fell out somewhere between Neumann Leather and Legal Beans on Newark St. in Hoboken. moral - duh...
JOIE DE JOUR: my closest Rosatti's frozen custard stand opens for the season on April 15th. watch this blog for the Special Flavor Of The Day!
PSK writes -
'Allo folks...Usually I try to write something semi-witty here, but brother Shlomo was so eloquent I'll give him the , ehh...floor?
The Original Gray Sky Boys
Old-Time Country Heart Songs & Gospel
from the 1930s and up...
Saturday, March 31st, 10-12 pm at:
Two Boots Brooklyn
514 2nd Street
(between 7th & 8th Avenues)
Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission: No Cover / No Minimum
Great food + great tunes = A BIG OL' TIME!
Come on down!
For more info: Two Boots Brooklyn
PETER STUART KOHMAN
(vocals, mandolin, guitar)
(vocals, guitar, banjo-guitar)
SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMER
(vocals, fiddle, 5-string banjo, mandolin, guitar)
In the 1930s, a new sound was sweeping early country music, the Brother Duets. These were male duos-- typically actual brothers-- that were noted for close harmony singing to their own instrumental accompaniment, usually on mandolin and guitar. Examples included The Monroe Brothers (Charlie & Bill Monroe), The Blue Sky Boys (Bill & Earl Bolick), and The Delmore Brothers (Alton & Rabon Delmore. Rabon played a 4-string tenor guitar to his brother Alton's regular guitar instead of the more typical mandolin.) Following in this great tradition, Peter Stuart Kohman and Will Dial formed The Original Gray Sky Boys in the 1990s to recapture this unique sound from the 1930s. This special reunion concert will mark the first performance of The Original Gray Sky Boys in ten years. Joining for them for this performance will be fiddler/multi-instrumentalist Shlomo Pestcoe, Peter's bandmate in Sufferin' Succotash, which will be back at Two Boots Brooklyn on Saturday, April 21st.
Hope to see y'all there!
cb...where are you?