Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Greatest Pop Beat Ever

As far as I know, it doesn't have a name, but you know it -- three bass (kick) drum beats followed by a snare. Probably best known from the Ronettes' "Be My Baby", on which it was performed by the great Hal Blaine, and immortalized in pop songs over the decades since.

Monday, June 23, 2014

(Wrap Your Arms Around and) Cover Me

On his recent tour, Bruce Springsteen has been gifting audiences with some mind-blowing surprise cover songs, and though he has laughed delightedly at people's reactions to his choices, his versions are performed impeccably and with great respect. In celebration of this nifty twist to his shows, herewith is a selection of some of Bruce's best cover songs over the years. (Hat tip to old pal Jim Crisci for help and suggestions.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tex-Mex Serenade

Looming large in my musical and personal history is a long-gone bar and restaurant called the Tex-Mex Grille, once situated near the Potomac in Rosslyn, VA, just across the river from DC (and not far from, as I boast tirelessly to visitors, the site where they filmed President Bartlet's assassination attempt on THE WEST WING). Tex-Mex was torn down years ago, along with the building in which it was housed, but if you squint at the Chipotle that has since taken its place, you can  just about make out where the outdoor patio upon which I and my musician buddies performed once stood. Fridays and Saturdays were hosted by the one and only "TV" John Langworthy, who booked us musicians two performers a night, sometimes for four hours each. (!) At one point we hit on the notion that it made more sense to spare the nerves of artists and the boredom threshold of the audience if we mixed our sets -- I'd do two songs with David McKittrick,  (producer of this here upcoming Abandoned and Heartbroke album), then Dave and Eric Eckl would do a few of Eric's originals, then I'd go back up onstage. Then we'd jam on a few songs. It worked out well for us, but of course Dave never got a break at all.

One night in 1999, Eric recorded one of these gigs and presented Dave and me with CD copies. My copy didn't work -- in the 90s, it was not unusual for certain PCs and CD players to reject certain types of blank CDs -- so originally I never got to hear that gig. But recently McKittrick unearthed his copy and burned one for me, so tonight I got to hear these performances for the first time in nearly 15 years. They're not bad, although I opted to write off one track on account of having already shared better versions (it's Bruce's "Promised Land" in case anyone cares).


Wicked Game (Seriously! What was I thinking?)

Romeo and Juliet

Into the Night