Win DVDs from Eric Clapton's annual guitar frenzy
Only one name in rock ‘n’ roll can pull this off: Eric Clapton.
Every year his Crossroads Guitar Festival brings together the absolute cream (no pun intended) of guitar players from all over the world for a mind-blowing festival, and 2010 was no exception. Only Clapton has the respect, admiration and pull to launch such an audacious festival – not to mention the fretboard talent to be able to play with these musicians. This year featured Albert Lee, BB King, Bert Jansch, Buddy Guy, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Earl Klugh, Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr., Hubert Sumlin, James Burton, Jeff Beck, Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, John Mayer, Johnny Winter, Jonny Lang, Keb' Mo', Pino Daniele, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph, Sheryl Crow, Susan Tedeschi, Sonny Landreth, Stefan Grossman, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, and ZZ Top.
Clapton has released DVDs of highlights of two prior festivals, and the 2010 edition is in stores right now. Brain-dead about what gift to give the music fan? You can’t miss with those.
But here’s a chance to get it for free. Simply leave a comment on this blog item starting now and you’re entered to win not only the new Crossroads release in both DVD and Blu-ray, but we’ll toss in the two prior DVDs as well. Leave a comment telling us why you deserve this gift and we’ll pick a winner. Deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22. Check back the following day and we’ll post the name of the winner and get the prize package to you. Tell all your friends to give it a shot as well - someone's going to win it, and if it's not you it might as well be a buddy.
Meanwhile, here's a little taste of what you'll be seeing.
Update: After a random drawing of all entrants, we have a winner. Our reader with the user name Vanessa has won the Eric Clapton Crossroads DVDs.
I couldn't afford to see the show, but I did take my 14 year-old son to the film release of this year's festival. He is a new guitar player who can seriously shred and I wanted him to see the best of the best at what he loves. It was a memorable and powerfully bonding time for the two of us. I would LOVE to give him this DVD set to continue to inspire him in his journey - both for the message of recovery AND the stellar performances and artists. Thank you for this opportunity.
Vanessa, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "Clapton winner" in the subject line and your contact details in the body. We'll verify it's really you and have the DVDs shipped right away. Congratulations! If we don't hear from Vanessa by Jan. 1 we'll go to the second winner on the list, so make yourself a reminder to check in here.
Updated again: Vanessa never claimed her prize, so we've drawn another name. ClaptonLover, you have until midnight on Monday, Jan. 10, 2011 to send an email to email@example.com to claim your prize. If it still goes unclaimed, we'll figure out something!
"Discoverer" harks back to Green-era sound
Allman comes up with a winning track
When the news first broke that T Bone Burnett was producing the new Gregg Allman album, I wasn’t sure what to think. Burnett’s work is spectacular, but he has stretched himself pretty thin since the “Raising Sand” album with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, producing discs for everyone from John Mellencamp to Elvis Costello to the “Crazy Heart” soundtrack. He also started to have a signature sound, with purposely distorted guitars and backing instruments.
So it’s a great relief to hear the first song from “Low Country Blues” and having it sound like an old Allman Brothers outtake. Written by Allman and the great underrated guitarist/songwriter Warren Haynes, “Just Another Rider” is an unmistakably great song. It's helped by guitar work from Haynes and another underrated player, Doyle Bramhall II. Click here to exclusively hear the entire song, because the album isn’t coming till January. It’s filled out with covers of songs by blues greats, and if they sound anything like this, fans are in for a treat. Watch for updates here and on Allman's website.
I guess the Lizard King really CAN do anything
In the words of Jim Morrison: This is the end. Nearly four decades after his death, Florida's clemency board pardoned the legendary Doors frontman of convictions for indecent exposure and profanity at a Miami concert that were apparently driven by official hostility to the counterculture of the time.
The outgoing governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, engineered the pardon because he said there were grave doubts as to whether Morrison, who died in his bath in Paris in 1971, was guilty.
But one of Morrison's lawyers says he probably was guilty, although he also thinks it ironic that the singer was cleared of the one offence he undoubtedly committed – being very drunk in public during the concert.
Morrison was arrested after a raucous performance at a Miami venue in 1969 in which he was accused of dropping his trousers and launching a drunken and profanity-laced anti-authority rant.
Morrison, who would have been 67 this week, was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $500 (£317) but never went to jail. He moved to France while the case was on appeal and was found dead, possibly of a drug overdose, the following year.
Crist, who was 13 when Morrison was convicted in 1970, says the evidence that the singer exposed himself during a concert was weak and the authorities were seeking to make an example of a leading counterculture figure with a reputation for sexual promiscuity and drug use. Crist said he had a "duty to right a wrong".
"It's not about the guilt or innocence of the man and it's not about retrying the case here today. That's not what this is about. We have had an opportunity for about 40 years for this son of Florida whose body of work has endured and has this blot on his record, if you will, for something that he may or may not have done when he was essentially a kid," Crist said.
The Doors keyboard player, Ray Manzarek, said that Morrison only pretended to expose himself during a concert in which he brought a lamb on stage and talked about having sex with it, before concluding that it was "too young", grabbed a police officer's hat and threw it into the audience, and told fans to "love your neighbour 'til it hurts".
"It never actually happened. It was mass hypnosis," he told the Associated Press. "He was just doing a mind trip – as they would say – a mind trip on the audience and they totally fell for it … There were 100 photos offered in evidence at the trial, photos of everything - Jim with the lamb, Jim with the hat, on the stage collapsing, riot in the audience. Not one photo of Jim's magnificent member."
But Robert Josefsberg, one of Morrison's defence lawyers at his trial, is more sceptical. He thinks that the singer probably did break the law but that the charges were politically motivated. "The charges brought against him were that it was 1969, it was a different world. There were all sorts of political and social pressures," he told the New York Times. "People were terribly offended by what he did. And I think it got blown out of proportion, as most things do. It gathered its own steam and fed off itself, and it became an atrocious thing. Not that I'm saying dropping your pants in public is acceptable. It's not. It's also not the worst thing in the world that ever happened. I'm not justifying his behaviour, I think there was an overreaction."
Even the fans who were there can't agree. Lee Winer, now a 56-year-old resident of San Francisco, says Morrison put it all out there. "He actually unzipped and pulled his pants down a little bit, enough where you can see everything. I do remember being shocked when that happened, and definitely it happened," he told the Associated Press.
But Helene Davis, back then an 18 year-old seated in the front row, says that there was nothing to see.
"We were watching and waiting because it was obvious that's where he was going with it," she said. "I just remembered thinking, 'Yes, it's going to happen! It's going happen! It's going to happen!' And it never did."
Manzarek says it makes little difference.
"Jim's legacy is one of Dionysian madness and frenzy and of a chaotic American poet," he said. "I don't think that the Miami episode has altered his image one iota."
James Taylor accosted by murderer 24 hours before the shooting.
Dark anniversary of John Lennon's murder
Smiths singer backs Smiths guitarist in hatred of UK Prime Minister
David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don't. I forbid you to like it.
4 December 2010
Message from Morrissey.
I would like to, if I may, offer support to Johnny Marr who has spoken out to the media this week against David Cameron. To those who have expressed concern over Johnny's words in view of the fact that David Cameron has pledged immense allegiance to the music of the Smiths, I would like to try to explain why I think Johnny is right not to be flattered.
It is true that music is a universal language – the ONLY universal language, and belongs to all, one way or another. However, with fitting grimness I must report that David Cameron hunts and shoots and kills stags – apparently for pleasure. It was not for such people that either "Meat is Murder" or "The Queen is Dead" were recorded; in fact, they were made as a reaction against such violence.
I recall some years ago a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party where David Cameron spoke directly to camera as an LP copy of "The Queen is Dead" proudly displayed itself on the wall behind his right shoulder. It is, of course, a fantastic thrill when the music you make is acknowledged by virtually anyone at all. But David Cameron is not just anyone. Some months ago, as the long-beaked amongst you might recall, I was due to appear on the Andrew Marr Show alongside David Cameron, and however much I worship the words of Andrew Marr, I could not go through with the invitation.
This was because I knew, then, that David wanted to repeal the Hunting Act, which would mean the brutal killing of foxes, hares, deer, badgers, otters – just about anything that moves.
Often the excuse of 'culling' is tagged on to the argument of legalized killing of beings, yet as we all know, motorized vehicles manage the business of 'culling' foxes and badgers quite well without messengers of death on horseback. Wildlife (that is, freelife) has its own methods of balancing nature – foxes and owls and birds of prey tending to help themselves to whatever crosses their path.
The countryside, quite remarkably, does not need the Hunting Act to be repealed. You would need to be mindless to believe that it does. People who hunt are under delusions of possession and property and divine right, and their debasement of human standards is always evident in their outrage at ever being questioned about their activities. Meanwhile, the Hunt Saboteurs (who are always termed 'extremists' by the Daily Bra – as if opposing brutal killing is an extreme emotion) are themselves symbols of freedom. Hunt Saboteurs do not kill. High Court judges on horseback, dressed in blood-red outfits, are the ones who kill.
As we all know, law in England is applied with partiality: the police are quick to nab the hunt saboteurs, but slow to catch up with the very visible Cheltenham Hunt. The hunt saboteurs are jailed for up to 12 years (for what? attempting to prevent mindless violence?), whereas the unmanly reflex of fox hunting receives a rap on the knuckles (Odious Ferry.)
I beg you to notice the unbearable dimension of sorrow that David Cameron is attempting to inflict upon British wildlife/freelife (an animal is not 'wild' simply because it is uncaged.) If you can find the time, would you please write to the MP of your choice - if you can think of one that you half-trust - at The House of Commons, St Margaret's Street, London SW1P, urging them to vote against the repeal. It is not the hunt saboteurs who menace social order, but the Hunters themselves, and the moral climate of 2010 seeping into 2011 surely tells all intelligent people that the key to the extent of any person's humanity is in their relationship to – and protection of – animals. Politicians only care about the public as electorate, and once the victory vote has been seized there is no place for debate between The Prime Minister and the people who elected him. (I cannot use the him/her term in relation to a Prime Minister because, as we all know, Margaret Thatcher has ensured that a female Prime Minister would never again be risked.) However, please do not feel powerless against the views of politicians or, for that matter, so-called royalty, because it is they who are powerless against the collective spirit of the British people. I mention so-called royalty because Prince William – who has never made the faintest imprint on the English soul, is also a hunter of deer, as is his fiasco (fiancée) Kate Middleton. Although William and Kate are so dull as people that it is actually impossible to discuss them, it is worth recalling Prince Harry's thumbs-up as he sat beside a giant water buffalo, cowardly shot from a safe distance by the ignoble Prince some years back. Intellectually, it is true that the so-called Royal Family are not worth very much when it comes to moral standards. The Queen annually signs-off on the terrorizing slaughter of adult Canadian brown bears in order that her Guards are supplied with fancy hats. The babies of the adult bears who witness their own mothers' slaughter, are left to die slowly, and alone. The sober and bitter truth is that the Queen of England is indifferent to this barbarism, for she has never once expressed concern by it (although, let us speak quite plainly, there is not one person in the whole of England who can remember or repeat a single word ever spoken by the Queen, such is her command of communication.)
I apologize very deeply for my support over the years for the group Roxy Music. I had no idea until very recently that their singer Bryan Ferret is also an avid hunter, and is now managed by his Lord of the Hunt son, Odious Ferry.
Some are brutally indifferent to the feelings of animals. Many are not. Politically, I long for the day when it is finally acknowledged in the House of Lords that the indigestible business of the meat industry corrupts and destroys the planet more than any other profit organization. We continually hear of disappearing rainforests but the cause is never explained, for this would then force concerned world leaders to 'cull' meat production, and rather the world sizzle than it be admitted that the meat industry is the root of climate change. It was Sir Paul McCartney who said: "Save the planet – stop eating animals." It is the genius of Stella McCartney who has produced footwear made entirely of non-animal materials. As a glowing owner of such shoes, I can confirm to anyone interested that they appear - even on detailed examination - to be no different to shoes made from animals.
Refusing to eat animals remains a political gesture. The world apparently loves the simple, whether it be professional killers such as Jamie Horrible, or the dim-witted and good-natured David Peckham, both as certain of knighthoods as their mediocrity is bona-fide. David Peckham is so dull that he is yet to master his first words.
However, people like me exist, also, and by close of this piece I return to the opening issue of David Cameron and I remind him that the world loves a man who loves to listen. But we can't believe what you say when we know what you do.
Roger Waters brings epic production to the stage
It was 1980, and Pink Floyd was doing the spectacular production of “The Wall” in its entirety.
And, idiot that I was, I decided to skip it, because it was only “The Wall.” I wanted to hear hits like “Money” and “Wish You Were Here.” I figured I’d catch Pink Floyd on the next tour. Which, of course, never came. At least in my mind, Pink Floyd ceased to exist after Roger Waters left, despite what the courts ruled later.
So when Waters decided to revamp, update and upgrade “The Wall” 30 years after the fact, those of us who missed it the first time out got a shot at redemption.
This tour, which runs into the middle of 2011, is nothing short of jaw-dropping with its visual effects, its timeless elements and, of course, its classic music and anthems. The cliché “pulling out all the stops” barely describes how spectacular the show is, with its quad sound, extreme anti-war themes, its classic tale of isolation and breaking free.
It wasn’t a show for the politically squeamish, as Waters has long made known his pacifist/liberal views. Waters flashed text on the screen of all sorts of war deaths, from that of his father in World War II to civilian casualties in Iraq.
Like on the original tour, the actual wall was constructed brick-by-brick, until by intermission the band was playing in an area completely sealed off from the audience.
Rumors that he’d been working with a vocal coach in recent years, and it certainly paid off if true – his voice sounded strong and sure, a contrast to his criticized vocals on the Pink Floyd reunion at Live 8 several years ago. During “Mother” he performed the song harmonizing with footage of him performing it back in 1980.
Stunning animation and the climax of the wall tumbling down after the audience deliriously chanted “Tear down the wall!” over and over again.
Click below to watch some of the highlights and special effects from the tour – Waters' songs, words and visuals show what the concert is all about far more than words can describe.
And don’t miss it this time around.
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