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A Sacred Song:

Rodney Crowell’s Vision of Great Adventures in Songwriting Camp Came True in Monterey

Featuring Joe Henry, Bernie Taupin, Allen Shamblin, Lisa Loeb, Brennen Leigh, Don Peake, and Daniel Levitin

Held at the beautiful and historic Asilomar Conference Grounds on the coast of Monterey, California, it was a great adventure for a multitude of reasons. All of which began with Rodney, and a vision realized as fully as those which led to his classic songs. 

When he first started writing songs, Rodney Crowell said he’d rarely get the whole thing. “Maybe I’d get 40 percent,” he said, “and think I was done. Later on, I learned you keep working till you get the whole song.” So when it came time to plan a song camp, knowing people would expect one with fullness of vision, he created Adventures in Song, a four-day songwriting camp on the Monterey peninsula of California.

Soon he made his vision public. It sounded like a dream, related by Crowell with his usual lyrical flair: “Expect our songwriting camp to be equal parts zip-lining through the trees and archaeological dig.” And if that wasn’t enough enticement, then came the list of invited luminaries, and it was pretty evident this song adventure was getting real: Bernie Taupin, Joe Henry, Allen Shamblin, Lisa Loeb, and Brennen Leigh. Add to that guitar legend Don Peake, and Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist, songwriter and author of This Is Your Brain On Music. 

THE INSTRUCTORS AT ADVENTURES IN SONG. (BACK ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) RODNEY CROWELL, BRENNEN LEIGH, DANIEL LEVITIN, DON PEAKE. (FRONT ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) JOE HENRY, BERNIE TAUPIN, ALLEN SHAMBLIN, JOE ROBINSON. PHOTOS BY HANNAH DIANE

“It was hard to resist,” said Vincent Vaughan, an attendee who came all the way from Dublin. Unsure if it was the right thing to do, Vaughan’s wife quashed any doubts. “If you don’t go, you’ll regret it your whole life,” she said. Ninety-five songwriters came from all corners of America, as well as the U.K., Ireland, Germany, New Zealand and Australia.

Crowell’s vision was to hold his camp in a setting as sacred, organic and beautiful as a perfect song. He thought of one location only: the historic pine-clad Asilomar center, an oasis of woodland and craftsmen lodges designed by San Simeon-architect Julia Morgan, a stone’s throw from the Pacific. 

This ancient cathedral of pines, where everyone from religious societies to groups of scientists have gathered, became a church of song over four days in July, as Rodney and his team affirmed the truth that songs mattered. Before songwriters can worry about writing a hit song, they explained, one must first learn to write a great song. Real reverence for great songs, and the dedication to the art and craft of songwriting, was the single thread that connected each of the teachers, and each lesson taught.

  

That Rodney has always aspired to the higher songwriting angels is well known, and the reason he’s truly a songwriter’s songwriter, what with so many legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and more) having recorded his songs. 

RODNEY CROWELL INTERVIEWS BERNIE TAUPIN.

That celebration of the timelessness of great songs was imparted powerfully in master-classes such as “Song As Prayer,” in which he emphasized the holiness of songs by sharing the lyrics of two songs projected on a big movie screen, “Heal Me” by Leonard Cohen and “Every Grain Of Sand” by Bob Dylan.  Tenderly tracing the simplicity and hymnal grace of both songs he delivered the main message: To aim not at the charts, but far beyond, and find the “singular song” inside you. 

To get there, he explained, takes years of dedication. “In this day and age,” Crowell said, “if you’re going to have any longevity, you’d better develop some artistry.  Hits are disposable.”

Allan Shamblin, co-writer of Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” and Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” said, “If you aim too closely for that target, you won’t hit it. You got to aim higher. A lot of hit songs today are like logs. They are meant to be thrown on the fire. And they will burn up bright. But then there’s nothing left. But what we want are songs which won’t burn.” 

To bring home that message Rodney invited Bernie Taupin, the lyricist of countless classic songs written with Elton John. Bernie stressed that it wasn’t until the two stopped trying to write imitations of conventional pop songs and embraced their own singularity that they had real success.

“What I wanted to do was write story songs,” he said. “I was living a lie by writing what was then currently in vogue. And all our first songs were quite naive, pie in the sky, and not very interesting. We were pushed by our publisher to write conventional songs. And it felt wrong. We knew this was not why we were put on this earth.”

That all changed when he discovered Music From Big Pink by The Band, which he said was “like being released from prison. That music was so timeless, and also had this mysterious quality. That music totally transformed my songwriting. I realized I could tell stories, and become an American storyteller. I could tell stories just like Lefty Frizzell. And the album we wrote after that reflects this, Tumbleweed Connection.”

And just as Bernie was influenced by The Band to help create a new musical hybrid with Elton, so was Rodney absolutely stunned, back home in Crosby, Texas, by the expansive, holy elegance of  Tumbleweed Connection. Crowell, in turn, inspired Allen Shamblin, a young songwriter growing up in the next town over. Crowell was proof to Shamblin that it could be done. 

“This was a songwriter who grew up close to me and had kicked a dent in the business and was making headway,” Shamblin said. “And we swam in the same lake. We went to the same beer joint. I knew if he did it, maybe there’s hope for me.” 

More than anything, the attendees said they wanted their songs to be heard. But Rodney treated everyone like pros, and offered no sugarcoated praise, focusing instead on aspects he felt could be strengthened. Still, he didn’t want to be brutal. 

“It’s a delicate thing,” Crowell said. “To focus in on 95 songs. And trust yourself to give some constructive feedback, which sometimes includes dismantling some things. For the most part, they took it pretty well. But that’s how I learned.”

It was his focus on the use of “hard” rhymes that was repeated often, but not as a rule as much as an aspiration that elevates the process. “The fact that you have to struggle for that hard rhyme can bring something unexpected that’s right to the song.”

Shamblin’s approach was to honor each songwriter as an equal. “I am not coming down from the mountaintop with commandments,” he said. “I’m coming up from the deepest part of the valley, all beat up, scarred up, and telling you what I saw.”

Joe Henry worried his ideas about songwriting wouldn’t translate. “I feared that what I had to offer might prove overly abstract and inconsequential, ultimately, to those whose relationship to the discipline is driven by a desire for self-expression over discovery, and less tempered by mystical engagement.”

ALLEN SHAMBLIN PERFORMS FOR THE CAMP.

“But I ultimately found it extremely rewarding,” Joe said. “I was genuinely humbled and inspired by how courageously the attendees made themselves vulnerable to me and to each other toward a shared goal of pushing their game forward, and how generously they listened and offered perspective to their fellow students. I was never the only teacher in the room.”

Though Crowell was often bluntly critical in his responses to songs, when he genuinely liked one, the impact was profound. Few songs earned this distinction, but one which did was by Mark Montijo’s beautiful “History.” When Montijo finished performing it there was a moment of stunned silence and then a great ovation. All eyes were on Crowell, awaiting his verdict. At first, he said  nothing at all, with no expression. But slowly a smile of admiration came to his eyes. He offered no critique. Instead, smiling, he reached out to shake Montijo’s hand, and said one word only: “Congratulations.” 

Mark Montijo,
“History”

Everyone applauded. It was the best critique anyone could get. 

For J.P. Goldman,  a 24-year old bassist and Berklee College of Music graduate who lives in Boston, one highlight stood out more than the others: jamming, and then performing live, with a legend. When Don Peake saw him carrying his bass, he invited Goldman to jam with him on “The Stumble,” by Freddie King. And he was happy he did. “Immediatelyby golly, I could tell he was good,” Peake said. “Great tone, groove.  So I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

On the final night of camp, after a powerful set by Crowell, Peake took over. “I’d like to bring up my friend J.P.,” he said, surprising one and all when our unassuming friend, bass slung around his neck, stepped up to play with a legend as if he did it every night.

Peake launched into “The Stumble,” as Goldman easily laid down a walking bass line, which was solidly soulful even without drums. With a gentle smile, he looked like he’d been playing in the major leagues his whole life.

Later, Goldman said it was a great moment for him. “That was a moment I will always have. That he trusted I could do that meant so much to me. Rodney put together a group of prolific artists with different perspectives on the craft. It really reinforced the ideal for me that there’s more than one way to write a song and you should find your own way of doing it. Also, Lisa Loeb’s method of using free writing has been great; already I’ve unearthed so many new feelings and memories.”

Australian TV-movie costumer Mark Lucas singled out Joe Henry, as did many, for his enlightened understanding of various aspects of contemporary music, as well as the eloquence with which he delivered this wisdom. “[Joe] really elevated the whole thing with his great intellect and humor, as well as real respect.” 

When working with a small group, Henry would honor all assembled with the gentle grace of his kind, poetic heart. Rather than dictate his suggested revisions, he gently suggested a consideration of some “architectural shoring up.” Crystallizing the necessity of writing from a place of personal truth, he explained, “That is where the authority is.” 

After playing an elegiac song to Woody Guthrie, one songwriter asked Henry if he had any production ideas. One of the best producers around, he’s beloved for always honoring the song itself, before building the perfect frame. It’s the reason why he’s invited to produce so many legends, including Crowell.  He knows not only what’s best, but also how to communicate that vision clearly. 

Joe Henry, “Orson Welles.”

“You sing it so intimately,” he said, “that it has power.  Keep that. So no drums. Mandolin can set the rhythm. Keep it conversational. Certain elements, used sparsely, can make the sonic picture more conversational. You want space. Space is your friend. ”

On the final day, Rodney explained that being a songwriter is never easy, and that he hoped his critiques didn’t disappoint anyone. “As a songwriter, everything that happens helps you. If you learn from it. For every success you ever get, there are way more failures. If you learn from those failures and rise up unbroken, you’ll make it. So I hope you all learn to fail better.”

Shamblin echoed this sentiment, and reminded everyone that regardless of all the failures, as long as you enjoy the process, you’ll be a winner.

“I don’t believe you can hit that tiny bullseye by aiming at it,” he said. “It’s like shooting arrows at a penny a hundred yards away. But if you shoot a hundred arrows at a penny a hundred miles away and you just aim in the general direction, you might hit it eventually.”

Reason to Rejoice: A New Album of Unreleased Songs from Terre & Maggie Roche

Terre & Maggie Roche, “Kin Ya See That Sun”

Terre Roche – acoustic guitar, singing
Maggie Roche – acoustic guitar, singing
Produced by Lisa Brigantino & Terre Roche
Audio Restoration & Mastering: Thomas Millioto
Live Recording Engineer: Pat Tessitore
Music by Margaret A. Roche; Words by Terre Roche.
Published by Nabithius Music (ASCAP)
©℗ 2022 Earth Rock Wreckerds. All rights reserved.

By PAUL ZOLLO

Terre Roche, who is legendary for being one-third of the beloved, brilliant, whimsical and wise trio of sisters known as The Roches, has already delivered a great bounty of singularly inspirational musical reasons to rejoice.

Now she’s unveiling a new and seriously great one: the upcoming release of the album Kin Ya See That Sun, which will be released digitally on October 21. An historic and luminously lovely collection of unreleased early recordings by Terre and Maggie, who were a duo in the mid-70s prior to their little sister Suzzy’s inclusion in the group, it’s a great and long-unexpected delight. It’s also a sound and shimmering reason to lift up our hearts. Again. It will be digitally released on Friday, October 21.

Jersey girls from Park Ridge, The Roches first fell in love with folk music before setting off to perform their own songs at college campuses around the country. The two sisters toured America by themselves, for more than two years, with 17-year-old Terre completing her senior year of high school by doing homework and exams while on the road.

Suzzy, Terre & Maggie Roche, from bottom to top.

Paul Simon met them when they attended his songwriting class at the New School in New York.  He would come to produce part of their album Seductive Reasoning and enlist them to sing background harmonies on his third solo album, 1973’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, on the sunny classic “Was A Sunny Day,” accompanied by a sweetly joyous photo of the two sisters smiling.

There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Paul Simon’s second solo album, and the only one with Maggie & Terre Roche, on “Was A Sunny Day.”

With his support, they made their official debut as a duo with 1975’s now-classic Seductive Reasoning, featuring production from Simon on one song, and that of Paul Samwell-Smith (Cat Stevens, Carly Simon, Jethro Tull), and backing by the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.

With the addition of Suzzy, the duo became The Roches, and made their great self-titled debut in 1979. The forementioned duo album – now a mostly secret and beloved classic – was the first and final time we heard the Maggie & Terre duo.

Until now, that is!

“I was 12 years old, ” wrote Terre about the origins of this album and song, “and Maggie was 13. We were just learning to play guitar. We’d learned off a PBS special called Folk Guitar With Laura Weber – I’ve always regretted that I never wrote Laura Weber a fan letter, and sadly she has passed away – but she taught us a bunch of guitar chords, strums and very cool folk songs we had never heard before.

“Maggie gave me this set of lyrics, and I wrote the music for it. Though we had never traveled beyond our New Jersey home, we had a longing to go out West.”

Maggie died in 2017. Two years later, Terre received live recordings from two different people who had recorded her and Maggie performing in 1975 and 2000. Here were many of the songs from Seductive Reasoning as they were originally arranged, just two voices and two guitars. Highlights include powerful performances of fan favorites like “Telephone Bill” and “Damned Old Dog” (recorded during a 1975 promotional tour) and the classic “If You Emptied Out All Your Pockets You Could Not Make the Change,” the latter recorded during Terre and Maggie’s acclaimed run of concerts in 2000. All live recordings featured on Kin Ya See That Sun were restored and mastered by Thomas Millioto. 

TRACKLIST:
01 “Apostrophe To The Wind”
02 “Damned Old Dog”
03 “Down The Dream”
04 “If You Emptied Out All Your Pockets You Could Not Make The Change”
05 “Kin Ya See That Sun”
06 “Malachy’s”
07 “Moonruns”
08 “Pretty And High”
09 “Telephone Bill”
10 “The Burden Of Proof”
11 “The Colleges”
12 “The Mountain People”
13 “West Virginia”
14 “Wigglin Man”
15 “Blabber Mouth”

Kin Ya See That Sun will rise on October 21, and then soar. This is one not to drop.

It’s pure Terre and Maggie Roche , doing arrangements of songs they did when they were teenagers traveling around the country to play on the college coffee house circuit.

The digital audio release will also be part of a book with lyrics, photographs, drawings, and recollections from various people who remember Terre and Maggie from way back then.

The book and audio album will be released together on October 21st; you can now pre-order the book here. Anyone who purchases the book will get it shipped to you for free, as well as a free digital download of the audio album.

Pre-order it here:

Kin Ya See That Sun will also be released as a limited-edition book featuring illustrations by Terre, song lyrics, rare photographs, exclusive new interview excerpts, and additional background about the project (all book purchases receive a digital download of the album). The book is available for pre-order now.

Maggie & Terre Roche. This is the original cover of Seductive Reasoning, their debut album as a duo, before becoming The Roches, which expanded into a trio when their sister Suzzy joined.

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Kin Ya See That Sun further collects never-before-heard songs such as “The Colleges” and “Apostrophe to the Wind” alongside exclusive outtakes from Seductive Reasoning including “Pretty and High” (later re-recorded for The Roches’ eponymous debut) and the previously unreleased gem, “Moonruns,” both produced in London by Samwell-Smith.

“Working on this project has brought me back in touch with the deep spiritual connection Maggie and I shared,” Terre said. “You can hear that connection in these songs. Hearing the music we made together amazes me after all these years. And I feel her gratitude toward me, wherever she is now, for shepherding the songs in their pure form through some tough terrain and on out into the light for everyone to hear.” 

Terre Roche Sparkling in the Sun

Terre will celebrate the release of Kin Ya See That Sun with a special performance at New York City’s City Winery on Laura Nyro’s birthday, October 18, at 7:30pm. Tickets are on sale now.

Terre Roche, Vol. 11:

On the ongoing phenomenon of Terre , and also The Roches, Hot fudge sundaes, Songs, Songwriting, and Writing the remarkable song “Christlike”

The Roches, “Christlike” by Terre Roche

BY PAUL ZOLLO She’s best known as the middle sister in the group, the one in the middle between big sister Maggie and little sister Suzzy. At first they were a duo, Terre and Maggie. When Suzzy was old enough and wanted to join the became The Roches. They formed a beloved, uniquely poignant folk trio, shining always with luminous harmony vocals, and original songs of charming, eccentric beauty.

THE ROCHES: SUZZY, TERRE IN THE MIDDLE, & MAGGIE

Raised in Park Ridge, New Jersey, Maggie was the songwriter first, and a brilliant one from the start. Terre, two years younger, looked up to Maggie always with much reverence, not unlike George Harrison with Lennon. Maggie’s  songs were so brilliantly written, with healthy doses of both brain and heart, that Terre didn’t consider writing her own at first. She loved singing Maggie’s songs, because she knew Maggie to be a genius.

Gradually, that genius rubbed off on her. Both were naturally gifted and creative harmony singers, as was Suzzy, who is three years younger than Terre. When they became a trio, they created a singularly exultant sound, with a distinctive blend of soul, sweetness and sophistication. Together those three voices harmonized to create a sound only siblings make – three individual voices connected by their foundational familial roots. The McGarrigle Sisters had that sound, as did The Everly Brothers. With The Roches it was like three separate parts of the same personality; nearly identical but with just enough difference to effect a rich, vivid presence.

TERRE ROCHE

Maggie and Terre took a class on songwriting Paul Simon taught at the New School in New York. It was 1970, and they were 19 and 17 respectively; Suzzy at 13 was still a kid. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was the biggest hit in the world then, and on radio always. Simon recognized the sisters’ talent and ambition, and offered to help them.

It was when he was giving them a ride to the George Washington Bridge – so they could take the bus to their Jersey home – that he also helped them understand that they were good, but could be great. And to be great – as  singers, musicians, songwriters, and recording artists – took talent, yes, which they had. But it also took a lot of work.

“Paul was driving,” Terre said, “and Maggie was in the front seat. He said, ‘You’re good. But do you think you’re as good as Paul McCartney?’ And I was sitting in the backseat watching her, wondering what she was going to say.

And she said, ‘Yes, I do.’”


Perhaps appreciating her lack of apology or self-loathing, he brought them into his fold. He signed them to a production deal which ultimately led to a record deal to make their first album – and only one as a duo – Seductive Reasoning, released in 1975.

TERRE ROCHE

But that record was still a few years off. First he gave them what used to be known as artist development. Which began with the understanding that talent takes one only so far, so every songwriter and artist must actively expand their knowledge and skills. All great songwriters and musicians learn they always have more to learn, and become students forever.

To allow this, each was advanced funds to live on, and also to finance music lessons. Maggie studied  piano , and Terre started then her lifelong study of the guitar.

“It was the first time either of studied music,” Terre said. “[Simon] was a big influence on us that way. He was always a studier himself, and I’ve continued to study ever since.”

It was the right influence at the perfect moment. That door opened to becoming a world-class musician, and both sisters walked through it swiftly. Terre immediately expanded as a guitarist, an expansion that has never stopped. It led to her understanding that, despite Maggie’s headstart in becoming a brilliant songwriter, that there was a place for Terre, too, to write songs.

Also, like Beatle George again, who suddenly was writing  “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” – songs which forever expanded the already expansive Beatles – Terre started writing songs which also introduced a new dimension to the Roches. It was one of endearing candor – songs of great intimacy, both poetic and clear. She had a knack for including the odd detail – such as the steam table in “Mr. Sellack” – that brought a sweet authenticity to her songs, like the funny, secret, romantic and funny diary entries of a young woman learning about life in the world.

Simon also invited them to sing harmony vocals on his song “Was A Sunny Day,” on his second solo album, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. Their photo was included in the interior artwork smiling brightly.



After Suzzy joined up, they were a trio, and made their self-titled landmark debut in 1971. It was produced by the legendary guitarist-genius of King Crimson, Robert Fripp. His participation, and use of “Frippertronics,” an electric guitar method he devised using loops, before guitar synths were here, producing a uniquely warm and  haunting beauty that was unexpected and powerful.

They made many albums – though none ever as popular as that first one – and performed around the world, and on big TV shows such as “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. Also, thanks to Paul Simon, he were invited to perform on “Saturday Night Live.” Though they would do other musical projects separately, The Roches continued making albums and performing.

In 1995, they made the album Can We Go Home Now, their last album until 2007, when they made Moonswept. They continued performing occasionally, until 2017, when Maggie died at 65.

Terre was forever taking interesting musical journeys, some alone and some with others, always unified her by her joyful, open-armed embrace of song. In New York, she organized outdoor singing parties, inviting all who hungered to sing real-time harmony on cherished songs to meet at a designated time and destination.

She also showed up sometimes in unexpected places, such as Fripp’s 1979 masterpiece, Exposure. She sings- wails, actually, intensely – on the title-track – screaming out the word “Exposure”  like a girl trapped in a burning building. But she also brought beautiful, lyrical singing to other tracks. It was confirmation of a hunch I had, and others shared. It was a recognition that Terre Roche had something else going on. We knew there was way more to her than we’d yet heard. And we were right.

After Exposure she did several beautiful solo albums, including The Sound of a Tree Falling in 1998, and the beautiful Imprint, 2015. each etched with her distinctive, poignant pictures of life.

But it was before that, on the forementioned Can We Go Home album made with her sisters, there’s a song which signals the solo work to come. It arrived like one of those miracle songs we didn’t expect, like when “The Sound of Silence” suddenly was in the world after so many years when it was not. And we all recognized, okay, there’s that now. This baseball diamond we’re playing on just got expanded.

THE ROCHES (L-R), MAGGIE, SUZZY & TERRE

Her song “Christlike” emerged with that same sense of moment, of an ascension to a different realm of songwriting, like the set of a play in the theater that suddenly opens up into a space four times as large. Who knew all that was there? “Christlike” is gently expansive, bringing together so many disparate parts that add up to the equation of being human. It’s earthbound, spiritual, religious, sexual, yearning for holiness, for impossible perfection while chained always to this  clockwork collective of our modern lives.

To discover how she found her way to “Christlike,” I asked her if she’d do an interview when she was in L.A. in 1997 to perform with her sisters at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip.

This took some serious negotiation to accomplish. This music journalism can sometimes be way more complex than one might assume. She agreed but only if we did it over hot fudge sundaes somewhere in Santa Monica, where they were staying. It was a tough mission, but I took it on, fortunately getting a tip that the Broadway deli had a great one. Which was true.

We walked there from her hotel, and she was quite delighted by the sundae. Which opened the “Christlike” door. Where did that come from?

“It was like automatic writing,” she said. “It poured through me. I had to stop and look up one of the words, because I didn’t know what it meant. I think it was channeled in a way. Because when I looked it up, the word meant exactly what I meant to say. It was the word ‘rend.’ I remember I had this image of this guy tearing meat apart and slobbering. And I put the word ‘rend’ in and figured I’d change it when I got the right word. And when I looked it up in the dictionary, it meant exactly that. It meant ‘to tear apart.’ Maybe on some unconscious level I knew that. I think writing works like that a lot. If you can get out of your way to let your subconscious come through, you can write your best stuff. “

Asked if she knew the secret of how to do that, she said she wished she did. “If I knew, I could write a lot more songs than I do. All I know is when it does come through me like that, it feels like a good song. Unrestricted.  I’m not forcing it to go a certain way.”  

Behind the Song: “I’d Have You Anytime” by George Harrison & Bob Dylan

Written by Harrison & Dylan in Woodstock, 1968, it’s the first song on George’s first solo album, All Things Must Pass,
featuring Eric Clapton

By PAUL ZOLLO
zollo@bluerailroad.com


From a Gmaj7 to a Bbmaj7 (the same chord figure four frets apart) comes its opening promise of romantic melodicism as played by the youngest Beatles, aka “the quiet one,” George Harrison.

Those chords were an immediate answer to a question posed by his new – and soon to be close – friend Bob Dylan. Astounded by the adventurous chords used by George and his fellow Beatles, Bob asked George how he got all those chords.

After showing Bob major-seventh chords, which added a jazzy dissonance to regular folk triads, he asked Dylan how he got all those words.

The answers – both verbal and musical – are below, and in this song they wrote together.

GEORGE HARRISON, “I’D HAVE YOU ANYTIME”
FROM ALL THIINGS MUST PASS
WRITTEN BY HARRISON & DYLAN

All of The Beatles were fans of Dylan,  even before they met in  1964. But of all of them,  it was George who became a close, lifelong friend. Any interview with George in his last decade almost always includes quotations from songs by “the man,” as George referred to him. He’d then recite a line or two of these sacred verses, like a believer reciting a Gospel passage. 

After Dylan’s motorcycle accident in 1968, Bob moved with his family to Woodstock. It’s there he wrote a lot of new songs and recorded demos of them – which became The Basement Tapes – with the Band in their house Big Pink. It was one of the most peaceful and productive periods of his life, off the road, reflective, recovering his full artistic powers and writing a whole new kind of song.

This is when Dylan and George wrote “I’d Have You Anytime.” It was November 20, 1968,  four years beyond their initial meeting. 

In an interview with Crawdaddy magazine in 1977, George spoke in detail about this time with Bob,  the origins of the song, and its meaning in his life. Of all the songs on All Things Must Pass, it represented something singular to George, as it wasn’t written within the frustrating and often hurtful fold of The Beatles. as were many of the others, but from a collaboration with Bob Dylan. 

An early take of “I’d Have You Anytime” by George & Bob

That distinction comes across in the following answer, offered in response to a question about the “explosion of songs” on All Things Must Pass:, and if “My Sweet Lord” was his favorite.

GEORGE HARRISON: No, not particularly. I liked different songs for different reasons. I liked the first song that was on the album, “I’d Have You Anytime,’ and particularly the recording of it, because Derek and the Dominoes played on most of the tracks and it was a really nice experience making that album– because I was really a bit paranoid, musically. 

Having this whole thing with The Beatles had left me really paranoid. I remember having those people in the studio and thinking, ‘God, these songs are so fruity! I can’t think of which song to do.’ Slowly I realized, ‘We can do this one,’ and I’d play it to them and they’d say, ‘Wow, yeah! Great song!’ And I’d say, ‘Really? Do you really like it?’ I realized that it was okay… that they were sick of playing all that other stuff. It’s great to have a tune, and I liked that song, ‘I’d Have You Anytime’ because of Bob Dylan.I was with Bob and he’d gone through his broken neck period and was being very quiet, and he didn’t have much confidence anyhow– that’s the feeling I got with him in Woodstock. He hardly said a word for a couple of days. 

Anyway, we finally got the guitars out and it loosened things up a bit. It was really a nice time with all his kids around, and we were just playing. It was near Thanksgiving. He sang me that song and he was, like, very nervous and shy and he said, ‘What do you think about this song?’ And I’d felt very strongly about Bob when I’d been in India years before– the only record I took with me along with all my Indian records was Blonde On Blonde. I felt somehow very close to him or something, you know, because he was so great, so heavy and so observant about everything. And yet, to find him later very nervous and with no confidence. 

But the thing that he said on Blonde On Blonde about what price you have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice– Oh mama, can this really be the end?” 

GEORGE & BOB IN WOODSTOCK, 1968.

So I was thinking  that there is a way out of it all, really, in the end.

He sang for me, “Love is all you need/ Makes the world go ’round/ Love and only love can’t be denied/ No matter what you think about it/ You’re not going to be able to live without it/ Take a tip from one who’s tried.’ [The bridge  from “I Threw It All Away.”]

And I thought, isn’t it great, because I know people are going to think, ‘Shit, what’s Dylan doing?’ But as far as I was concerned, it was great for him to realize his own peace, and it meant something. You know, he’d always been so hard… I thought a lot  of people are not going to like this, but I think it’s fantastic because Bob has obviously had the experience. 

I was saying to him, “You write incredible lyrics.” And he was saying, “How do you write those tunes?”

So I was just showing him chords like crazy. Chords, because he tended just to play a lot of basic chords and move a capo up and down. And I was saying, “Come on, write me some words,” and he was scribbling words down. 

And it just killed me because he’d been doing all these sensational lyrics. And he wrote:

All I have is yours
All you see is mine
And I’m glad to hold you in my arms
I’d have you anytime

The idea of Dylan writing something, like, so very simple!

DYLAN & HARRISON AT THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH
Photo by HENRY DILTZ

In a 2001 interview, George identified the chords, which are the ones used on the record. It famously starts with a Gmaj7, which he moved up the neck four frets to Bbmaj7. Before then Dylan had little knowledge of major-seventh chords, which seemed more unusual then. Now all these years since The Beatles and others used them extensively, they do not seem uncommon at all.  

BOB DYLAN & GEORGE HARRISON IN WOODSTOCK

GEORGE HARRISON: Bob was saying, “Hey, what about those? Show me some of them chords, those weird chords!”

And that’s how that came about. It’s like a strange chord, really, it’s called G major 7th, and the song has got all these major-7th chords [laughs], so we just kind of turned it into a song. It’s really nice.”

If Not For You: The Friendship Of George Harrison And Bob Dylan - Posts |  Facebook
GEORGE HARRISON & BOB DYLAN

In 2011, George’s wife Olivia wrote a beautiful book of memories and more about their life together, Living in the Material World. This song, she wrote, starts with George speaking in song directly to Dylan. 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/k7oAIK6dY_U?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Famericansongwriter.comGEORGE HARRISON & BOB DYLAN, “I’D HAVE YOU ANYTIME,” 
DEMO RECORDING OF WRITING SESSION WITH BOTH GEORGE AND BOB SINGING


OLIVIA HARRISON: You know, they say in this life, you have to perfect one human relationship in order to really love God. You practice loving God by loving another human, and by giving unconditional love. George’s most important relationships were really conducted through their music and their lyrics.

I mean, George… “I’d Have You Anytime,” the song that George and Bob wrote together. “Let me in here, I know I’ve been here, let me into your heart.” He was talking directly to Bob because he’d seen Bob, and then he’d seen Bob another time and he didn’t seem as open. And so, that was his way of saying, “Let me in here. Let me into your heart.” 

And he was very unabashed, and romantic about it, in a sense. You know, I found that he had these love relationships with his friends. He loved them.”

BOB DYLAN WITH GEORGE & OLIVIA HARRISON


George chose “I’d Have You Anytime” as the opening song on his first solo album, All Things Must Pass, the magnificently expansive triple album of miracle songs, almost all of which were written when he was in The Beatles. Produced with full Wall of Sound splendor by Phil Spector, it was a wall into which George’s beautiful guitar work was woven, which distinguishes it.

George bolstered its power by inviting his favorite guitarist and friend, Eric Clapton, to play, as he also did on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on Abbey Road.  In 2001 he was asked by Billboard  if it was a tough decision to make this song the opener for the album. 

GEORGE HARRISON: It probably was, because it goes, ‘Let me in here…’ [Laughs]. It just seemed like a good thing to do; it was a nice track, I liked that. And maybe subconsciously I needed a bit of support. I had Eric [Clapton] playing the solo, and Bob had helped write it, so it could have been something to do with that.”

The production of the song is sparse and simple. George played the acoustic guitar, and sang the lead vocals and all the harmony vocals.  Clapton is on electric, Klaus Voormann is on bass, and Alan White is on drums. Classical pianist John Barham orchestrated and conducted the orchestra. There is vibraphone on the track, though some say it is harmonium. It remains uncertain who  played it. 

CREDITS
George Harrison
: vocals, acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Eric Clapton: electric guitar
Klaus Voormann: bass
Alan White: drums
John Barham
: orchestral arrangement
Uncredited: harmonium/vibraphone

“I’d Have You Anytime”
By George Harrison & Bob Dylan

Let me in here, I know I’ve been here
Let me into your heart
Let me know you, let me show you
Let me roll it to you

All I have is yours
All you see is mine
And I’m glad to hold you in my arms
I’d have you anytime


Let me say it, let me play it
Let me lay it on you
Let me know you, let me show you
Let me grow upon you

All I have is yours
All you see is mine
And I’m glad to hold you in my arms
I’d have you anytime


Let me in here, I know I’ve been here
Let me into your heart

Lamont Dozier, June 16, 1941 – August 8, 2022

In Memory of A Beautiful Soul
& True Genius of Songwriting

Lamont Dozier at the 2007 ASCAP POP AWARDS, Beverly Hills, California.

Words & Photographs by PAUL ZOLLO

Two days ago, on August 8th, the legendary and beloved Lamont Dozier left our world to start his next great adventure.

Unlike multitudes through the ages who depart after bringing havoc to the world and often worse, he  left this world a better place than when he arrived. Because, on his own and with the enduring musical brilliance of Brian and Eddie Holland, his Motown songwriting-production partners, he injected our lives with joy. The real-time, inspirational, romantic, danceable, soulful and glorious joy instilled in all of their songs is alive and more powerful than ever in their songs, all of which are modern standards. 


He was born on June 16, 1941 [a birthday he shares with Tupac Shakur, Stan Laurel and Geronimo]  in Motown itself – Detroit, Michigan. He died on August 8, 2022, though the news didn’t emerge until yesterday, August 9. 

Lamont wrote an astounding bounty of great songs, including fourteen songs which became Billboard Number 1 hits. Fourteen! Ten of them were all with one group.  Led by Diana Ross, who became a star and then an icon, soaring on the wings of his great songs, they were The Supremes.

Lamont’s Fourteen Number One Hit Songs:

  • “Where Did Our Love Go?” The Supremes, beginning Aug. 22, 1964 (two weeks at No. 1)
  • “Baby Love,” The Supremes, Oct. 31, 1964 (four)
  • “Come See About Me,” The Supremes, Dec. 19, 1964 (two)
  • “Stop! In the Name of Love,” The Supremes, March 27, 1965 (two)
  • “Back in My Arms Again,” The Supremes , June 12, 1965 (one)
  • “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” Four Tops, June 19, 1965 (two)
  • “I Hear a Symphony,” The Supremes, Nov. 20, 1965 (two)
  • “You Can’t Hurry Love,” The Supremes, Sept. 10, 1966 (two)
  • “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” Four Tops, Oct. 15, 1966 (two)
  • “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” The Supremes, Nov. 19, 1966 (two)
  • “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone,” The Supremes, March 11, 1967 (one)
  • “The Happening,” The Supremes, May 13, 1967 (one)
  • “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” Kim Wilde, June 6, 1987 (one)
  • “Two Hearts,” Phil Collins, Jan. 21, 1989 (two)
The Supremes, “Where Did Our Love Go,” 1964, bt Holland0-Dozier-Holland.

He was also a great singer and artist, and he recorded two top 40 hit songs as both the artist and songwriter. both in 1974: “Trying to Hold on to My Woman” and “Fish Ain’t Bitin’ ” 


I was among the many very lucky songwriters and music people who got to know and even work with Lamont. How sweet it is, and always will be, to have connected with his gentle, joyful soul in all of these songs. It’s a body of work unified by the word which recurs most in his titles and life: love. Because Lamont loved life. He also loved songwriting – and his great fortune at becoming one of the world’s most successful songwriters without diluting ever, even slightly, the beautiful purity of his immense heart and sweet soul. 

The Supremes, “Stop In The Name of Love,” 1967.

He was always an authentic and generous man. That generosity is something I got to know first-hand. I was editor of SongTalk, the journal of the National Academy of Songwriters, for more than ten years. NAS was a non-profit organization created to provide songwriters with information, protection and inspiration. During my first years, Lamont became the Chairman of the Board of the academy. It was a position which came with much effort and little glory. Yet he took it on with the purity that he brought to everything in his life – work, friends, family and faith.

I asked him if he would consider writing a column for each issue of SongTalk to share his wisdom on the business and art of being a songwriter. He was an honest guy, and didn’t want to make any promises he didn’t feel he could keep. He told me he would like to do that, but knew he didn’t have either the time or the knowhow to do it well.

Of course, I understood. And, of course, came up with a solution. How about if I were to interview him every week or so about certain songwriting issues, and then I would remove the questions, and form his column out of his answers. He immediately agreed. This was thrilling for me – I was still new to this job, and I had landed Lamont Dozier as a regular columnist! 

Lamont in 2010 at the opening of the 2 Songwriter’s Hall of Fame wing of the Grammy Museum 
in downtown L.A. Taken on Tom Petty birthday, October 20, 2010.

We started a series of phone interviews in 1987 that worked even better than I had hoped, providing the perfect mix of Lamont’s humble wisdom about the business and the art, as well as golden tidbits about the iconic songs and records. All of which served to provide ample and genuinely insightful, practical wisdom and advice for songwriters, as well as very engaging stories of his songs and success.

Also he was a man that people could trust. His Motown success was immense, after all. That alone, separate from the timeless beauty and enduring greatness of the songs and records, was more than enough to garner great respect for him in the industry itself. Commercial success does always create more revenue than artistry. But those who could do both – write great songs and also create astoundingly dimensional and powerful records that were instantly loved upon release yet never shed their greatness, evolving into standards – those songwriters have reached the “toppermost of the poppermost” as the Beatles used to call it.

Their songs did everything that songs can do, and have never stopped. Like the greatest songs through our modern times, his songs expand in time. It’s not that they still sound good. They sound greater than ever. And we carry them not only in our physical world and experience them again in real-time every time we hear them, we carry them in our hearts. They are parts of us. With good reason. 

Tribute to Lamont Dozier

When Lamont stepped down as chairman, replaced first by John Bettis and then Jeff Barry, the column by him was done. I reconnected them all, and put the questions back, so that I could include it in the first volume of my book Songwriters On Songwriting. 

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, “Two Hearts.” By Lamont Dozier & Phil Collins.

Lamont delivered a lot of wisdom in his columns, and in the world. Not only about life – and about the vagaries and victories of love – but about songwriting itself. He recognized the unbound potential of the song itself to speak to our hearts and our minds at the same time. He also realized he was given a whole lot of musical talent, and for this he remained always grateful. He knew that to whom much is given, much is asked. It was a fair deal to him. Yes, he and the Hollands and everyone at Motown had to literally compete with each other to get their songs recorded and released there. It wasn’t easy at all, and required real diligence and dedication both. Many times some of the greatest songs didn’t get chosen as the next record for a great Motown act, though they all knew that had it been selected as the next single for The Supremes (who recorded many of their songs), or Marvin Gaye,  or other Motown icons, it would have been a hit like the others on their long hit list. 

The Supremes, “You Keep Me Hangin’On” Written by Brian Holland,Lamont Dozier,and Edward Holland Jr.(Holland-Dozier-Holland or H-D-H). Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, 1966.

Of course, it could be heartbreaking and maddening, after investing so much into the writing and arrangement of a song, to see it cast away.  (Many castaways did eventually get recorded, and joined the others in Lamont’s songbook of soul standards.) But that experience of being jettisoned from the perpetual Motown roller-coaster of triumph and tribulations derailed great songwriters for decades. But Lamont was never derailed. Never did he give up hope, or abandon ship.

To the end of his 81 years, he beamed with that calm  joy  which distinguishes his music. Rather than ever feel entitled in any way by his talent and success, he felt grateful. And any sorrow inflicted by a song’s reception was more than compensated by the real pride and joy of being a songwriter – and a successful beloved one – in these modern times. He never took it lightly. Writing a song – any song – he knew was a triumph. Writing ones which become beloved by millions over many decades was beyond triumph. It was a serious blessing, and one for which he never took for granted. 


Nor did he take the artistry of songwriting and record-making lightly ever. To him songwriting called on our better angels, as it is a creation which can bring hope, healing and harmony to lives forever darkened by racism, poverty, dissonance, intolerance, hatred and everyday brutality. Like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and others, Lamont felt the airwaves were a sacred trust – a direct pipeline to the people at all times – and that songwriters had a responsibility to bring songs to the world which lifted our hearts and eased our minds with positivity. And to avoid the opposite.

“I no longer think in terms of good days or bad days,” said Lamont. “There are good days and learning days. If you woke up today, that’s a good day. And when things don’t work out your way, there’s always something to learn.”

Lamont Dozier, “Fish Ain’t Bitin’, ” 1973.

And he knew well, as do all songwriters, that those songs which lift the spirits of others first lift the spirit of the songwriter himself Much in the way ancient scriptures tell us that when man writes songs, and creates a “joyful noise,” that it makes God happy. The songwriter, like the creator of all songs and author of all books, feels forever blessed when one of his own kids – a song – becomes world famous. 

Lamont’s  lifetime as a songwriter – first as a dreamer, then aspirant and ultimately one of the great geniuses of modern song – was a true journey of joy for Lamont, and he shared that joy freely with the world. Always the man was always generous. With kindness, compassion, time and love. Which made him happy. It’s why his autobiography is named after the single song he wrote which sums it all up: “How Sweet It Is.”

That book, which he composed and realized as beautifully as one of his miracle songs, reflects his richly reverential, generous spirit. Not only does he share with us all the telling, poignant, sad and triumphant details of his life, he also shared with all songwriters a great gift: a lexicon of the ample wisdom about songwriting he’d accumulated throughout his lifetime. He called it his “Guiding Principles of Songwriting.”

He generously allowed me to reprint this section in a series of articles I wrote then about him and the new book in 2020. Those principles will be reprinted here in Part II of our Lamont celebration.

Lamont knew well that it takes a whole lot more than talent to both write good songs as well as propel them into our world, full-blown. It’s the writing, but also the diligence in never giving up until the song is right, and also educating one’s self always on the elements which combine to create not only a great song, but one which will resound powerfully through the culture at that moment and beyond. Always the songs were both timely and timeless, about that which was then, and that which is forever. 

With love and thanks to God and the universe for bringing Lamont’s soul into our lives within his beautiful songs, we will bring you his principles of songwriting in Part II of this tribute.

Many Holland-Dozier-Holland gems.

Ringo Celebrates 82nd Birthday with Love & Peace

RINGO’S 82ND BIRTHDAY
7.7.22 BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA
USA
Photos by Paul Zollo

& with a Little Help from His Friends
& Family

Ringo Starr on his 82nd Birthday, July 7, 2022.

Words & Photos by PAUL ZOLLO

LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2022. In what has become one of L.A.’s most beloved and joyful traditions, Ringo celebrated his birthday on this past July 7th as he has since 2005: gathered with a big gang of friends, family and some lucky members of the press, he celebrates another year on this planet by inviting friends nearby, as well as all around this world, to join together in a celebration of peace and love at 12 noon Pacific time.

Though this event was inaugurated in Chicago, fortunately for us Angelenos, it’s mostly been held here, and usually outside the iconic Capitol Records tower on Vine Street in Hollywood. ***

Ever since the pandemic & lockdown, however, with ongoing Covid caution, they have maintained the tradition but held it away from Capitol at a different location unannounced to the public. This year it was at the Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills, which is already famously distinguished by its monumental Ringo connection: it’s there that stands an immense and shining eight-foot tall,  800-pound steel sculpture of his own design of his own hand giving the peace sign.

He donated the sculpture to Beverly Hills, which (after initally rejecting it, before coming to their senses) installed it here across the street from their City Hall. 

“Peace & Love,” by Ringo Starr.
Ringo’s luminous vision of peace is now a beloved and historic artistic addition to Los Angeles. It’s an 8-feet tall, 800-pound polished steel monument of his hand making a peace sign. He first created it years ago in bronze. Like everything that emanates from this man’s loving spirit, it shines always.
Ringo with Steve Lukather & Greg Bissonette


Friends and luminaries in attendance included many of the great members, past and present, of his All-Starr band, including  Steve Lukather, Greg Bissonette and  Edgar Winter. The legendary drummer, Jim Keltner was also there (who is the only drummer, except for Ringo and Pete Best, to have played with all of the Beatles), and Ringo coaxed him up onstage to join the others.
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The great photographer and beloved friend Henry Diltz was there, and received a shout-out from Ringo, onstage. “There’s Henry Diltz,” he said, “still standing!”

Henry Diltz. Who is, according to Ringo, “still standing.”
(In fact, he’s doing more than standing. He is dancing through life. Kind of like Astaire, but better..)
Two of the best better angels together: Henry Diltz & Elizabeth Freund


Also present were Diane Warren, Linda Perry, Richard Marx, Colin Hay, Warren Ham, Matt Sorum, Ed Begley Jr, Roy Jr. & Alex Orbison, Randy Lewis, the photographer Jill Jarrett, and others.

This year Ringo’s global message of love was sent even farther than  usual:.

The Artemis Music Space Network, through the International Space Station (ISS), brought Ringo’s message out to the galaxy.  At noon he signaled their Mission Control Center in Houston to beam his message & music (his 2021 single release “Let’s Change The World” and his “Star Song”)  to the International Space Station.

From there it was sent into orbit around the Earth, passing over many countries and much of the Earth’s population and beaming back down messages of peace and love while also traveling out to distant stars.

Before this commenced, two great performers –  Langhorne Slim and Sawyer Fredericks – performed many of Ringo’s great songs with infectious joy.

Henry Diltz & Langhorne Slim

As Ringo greeted the press before noon, I had the chance to ask one quick question. Captured on video (see below), it is preserved. It starts with another press guy asking about Boris Johnson, who resigned days earlier. Ringo’s shakes off that question. Then you hear Elizabeth sweetly exclaim, “Paul!!”

Henry Diltz & Elizabeth Freund II

Then I mentioned that last year I asked him how he looked so great at 81. His answer was “It’s because I don’t wear a hat,” pointing at mine.

This year I mentioned that answer, which caused him to laugh. (My first time ever causing a Beatle to laugh.) I then asked if there were any other reasons that in his 80s he looks so young and healthy. The video cut out here, but he said, “Well, you know I try to keep myself fit. You are what you put into the world.”

Edgar Winter. At the 2019 Ringo Celebration at Capitol Records

I asked if having a great marriage was part of it. “Yes, it is,” he said warmly. “She is my best friend. She is always with me. Yes, Barbara is a big reason I’m still here.”

Barbara & Richie Together
I took this photo last year, 2021. But as he wore the same jacket,
and since they both still look great and in love, it works.

Ringo’s Answer to Zollo’s Question







Video by Allison Johnelle Boron
Cohost, BC the Beatles podcast @BCtheBeatles

Henry Diltz, a man happier on the other side of the camera


*** Capitol, as you probably know, was the Beatles’ label in America, as part of the EMI label. And though the lads recorded famously at Abbey Road in London mostly, Capitol has been an American touchstone for them for decades. It’s there they famously charmed all the secretaries and everyone else when first visiting back in 1964. And it’s there, on the sidewalk in the front, where The Beatles’ star on the Walk of Fame is located, as well as their individual stars.

Henry Diltz & Greg Bissonette

In Memory of Human Sunshine:

Barbara Morrison

September 10, 1949
– March 16, 2022 


There was nobody else quite like her. Whether on the stage of a giant concert hall or a small club; whether performing solo with her band or backing up the countless giants with whom she harmonized, she always cooked up a mighty gumbo of jazz, blues and classic song, ladled out with loving generosity for all in attendance. Whether to a sold-out concert hall, or to more empty chairs than people, she sang with as much momentous spirit, love and delight as if she was at Carnegie Hall.

In fact, she did perform at Carnegie Hall many times over the years, solo and with others. But whether she was there, the Sydney Opera House, or the hip but decidely non-royal Pip’s on LaBrea, she never dialed down. That’s who she was. It didn’t matter who was in the audience, or if there was an audience at all. What mattered was the song. The music. And the bond between musicians.

Barbara Morrison, 2022.

Barbara Morrison. A champion of song, if ever there was. A vocalist of genuine soul and grace, unbound power, purity and passion. Born in 1949, she died two weeks ago on March 16, here in Los Angeles.

It’s also here in L.A. that she performed her final show. It was at Vibrato, the beautiful jazz club owned by Herb Alpert, which up at the top of Beverly Glen at Mulholland.

Although we hadn’t planned on it, my son Joshua and I were at that final show.

We had dinner at Fabrocini’s, the great Italian restaurant also up there in Beverly Glen Circle, just blocks from my beloved new home in Beverly Glen. During dinner I told Josh about how much I loved being so close to Vibrato, where I’ve come several times. Most recently to the great show givien by Paul Simon’s longtime African bassist of multitudes, the great Bakhiti Kumalo. So Josh suggested going in for a drink after dinner. We didn’t know she would be there.

I had never experienced the greatness of one of her live shows, nor did I know much about her. I knew the name, and knew she was an esteemed jazz singer and deliverer of standards from that Great American Songbook.

Yet it seems that Providence (or God, if you will) wanted my son and myself to experience this greatness first-hand, and guided us, gently, quietly, without our knowledge, to what was her final performance ever. It was February 13, 2022. Two weeks later she went into the hospital and her earthly life came to an end.

Yet we happened to be there for the last show, without even knowing of our great good fortune.

Was this an accident?

No.

A mere coincidence?

Nope.

Was it confirmation that our lives are never random, and as long as we keep our hearts open with loving trust, we will be guided to the exact right place and time?

Yes!

And that’s exactly what happened. Joshua, who is 22 now, a very recent college graduate and now a full-time producer-plus for Tom Segura’s great Your Mom’s House podcast, was back home after his recent move to Austin to work on YMH at their new Texas home. After dinner we walked over to Vibrato.

When we entered, there was a small crowd there, but it was mostly quiet. We got some good cocktails, and sat at the lovely bar feeling happy, as it’s hard not to feel happy there. Nobody was performing, and I figured there would be no live music on this night.

I was wrong. There’s music there seven nights a week. Suddenly a small ensemble took stage and readied their instruments: piano, bass, electric guitar and drums.

Then we heard the words which surprised and thrilled us:

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome – Barbara Morrison!”

“Barbara Morrison?!” I didn’t know this was her night, though I had noticed her name on their calendar regularly.

Suddenly she was rolled onto the stage in a wheel-chair. The joy she projected was monumental, though her physical presence had been diminished; alhough she beamed with tender joy and gratitude, her physical body was small and bird-like, and seemed incapable of containing such capacious, unbound talent. Her voice was still strong – and joyfully and poignantly expressive. Though illness had stolen much of her physical self, it didn’t steal the music in her, and her ability to share it with us.

She sang like someone in love with her fellow musicians, with songs, and with the songwriters who brought them to us. She felt every line, and we felt it, too. She sang in a voice was resonant and clear, and she delivered every melody note, and every lyric, with such absolute heart and soul, and with such engaged lyricism, that it was stunning.

Every song was a delight. But none was so powerful, beautiful and sad as when she sang what is perhaps Cole Porter’s greatest and most poignant song, “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Its poignancy was both sweetened and deepened immeasurably by a force we didn’t recognize then, but do now. Time. Her’ time here was coming to an end. It was her final show ever. Days after that performance she went into the hospital, and from there left this realm to start her next adventure.

But when she sang that song – and every song – it was genuinely beautiful. Only a smattering of audience members were still there, but that didn’t matter – she sang as if she was singing before a packed audience at Carnegie Hall. She so expressed the fullness of the lyric – the shared humanity of each phrase -, and always with a smile bigger than the whole room, as if to say: Listen now and hear me : this is what matters. Love. And it lasts forever. Yet while still in this realm, divided from each other in so many ways, it is easy to dismiss the fullness of our blessings, and the power of love which has enlivened us forever.

But she she sang those words, and with that singular soul of purity, and honored the songwriter, the song and all who could hear and feel its message of joy and sorrow forever entwined:

“Ev’ry time we say goodbye
I die a little
Ev’ry time we say goodbye
I wonder why a little…”


And then the great final verse, with its musical symbology in perfect rhyme and meter:

There’s no love song finer
But how strange the change
From major to minor
Ev’ry time we say goodbye

Barbara Morrison concert, streamed live on November 14, 2020

We knew that night how lucky we were to have walked in for a drink, not knowing she would be performing. But since then we’ve recognized it was more than luck they led us there on that night, the last show of her life; it was a blessing, and our gratitude has deepened.

I learned of her death from my old pal Sal Guitarez, a songwriter-musician-teacher and great dad (to musician-producer Jason Gutierrez) if he’d heard of her, in advance of relating my lucky tale of wandering in there with my lad just in time for her full set.

He said, “Yeah, sure. Barbara Morrison.” Then he added, “I heard she’s gone.”

“No, she’s not,” I said. “I just saw her last week–“

“No,” he said. “She is gone. She just died yesterday.”

Yesterday ? I was hoping he was wrong. He wasn’t.

I called Vibrato to ask if that was her final show that we saw. It was. I thanked them for that night, and every night of great, real-time music.

Herb Alpert’s Vibrato * 2930 Beverly Glen Circle
Los Angeles, CA 90077 * (310) 474-9400

Barbara Morrison, “I Love Being Here With You,” 2010

Her life reads like a good song lyric: Born in Ypsilanti , she was raised in Romulus. Which is Michigan, where she first emerged on September 10, 1949.


Her father was a professional singer, and she followed in his footsteps soon as she could walk. By ten she was already recording and performing, after making her musical debut on a Detroit radio station. She started singing and recording in the service of others singers. That long list of artists begins in 1977 with Johnny Otis, who featured her on many albums, as well as Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Count Basie Orchestra, Ray Charles, Etta James, Doc Severinsen, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Keb-Mo, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton, Nancy Wilson and Joe Williams.

When she was 22, she moved to L.A., and joined the band of Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s Band. Once she started, she never stopped. Till now.

She always let us knows that songs mattered. Lyrics when sung by others could seem hackneyed, and disconnected from real life. But from her deep soul, songs became real conversations with a friend. And no ordinary friend, but a spirited, inspirational friend, one radiating joy.

So direct onstage was her delivery that often she’d be answered, as when she lifted up a room already soaring on the combined energy of Santana and Buddy Guy by igniting Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler’s “Stormy Weather,” with her own brand of authentic soul. Written for Ethel Waters in 1933, she easily tapped into its timeless realm.

Barbara Morrison with Buddy Guy & Carlos Santana, “Stormy Monday.”

Her band was made up of four great musicians. Happy ones, even. Maybe not always, but on this night they were jamming like at a party. She encouraged this. Her patter between songs was less about performance and more about our great good fortune to hear songs at this level played by great musicians. Every song soared, and the band rejoiced in their recognition of her sheer candle-power. Her joy was infectious, and lit up every song she sang.

Her voice was always warm and friendly. Smiling, she’d bring the song with loving sweetness and generous clarity, like a great teacher sharing the most beautiful poetry of man to her students. She didn’t take liberties with songs, careful to deliver the beautiful lyrical wisdom and melodic beauty undiluted, while preserving the sanctity. In her singing there was always the undeniable bridge to the eternal.It was about now, but also always about forever.

Barbara Morrison, “What A Difference A Day Made,” 1986.
Written by Stanley Adams and Mariah Grever

Here in Los Angeles she devoted her life to enriching and expanding the musical community, and giving new talent a chance to develop and emerge. In 2009, she opened the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park. Two years later, she founded the California Jazz & Blues Museum in the same hood.

Barbara Morrison in concert at the California Jazz & Blues Museum, which she founded.
This is a full show which she gave on New Year’s Eve, 2021 to usher in 2022.

She also served as an associate professor of jazz studies at UCLA. The university recently launched the Barbara Morrison Scholarship for Jazz.

When sung by her, a song came alive in all its fullness and glory. All its aspects were celebrated in the heartfelt joy she’d bring to every melody note, and lyrical phrase. She sang the famous lyrics of standards with a an exultant authority, as if this was the premiere of this miraculous song. In every line, she sang with a depth of gratitude and adoration for the songwriter’s genius and deep artistry that allowed tsomething so brilliant and tender at once; an expression of love so sad and real, reflecting in its aching sweetness the eternal human conundrum, the soul’s journey of love eternal and unbound, though forever bound to a humble, human life, a “brief candle,” as Shakespeare wrote:


“…to the last syllable of recorded time,
and all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow…
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
and then is heard no more.”

But some voices are heard long after the singer is gone from our realm, just as some songs are sung and last forever, far beyond the life-spans of its songwriters and singers. Songs, when she injected them with her full soul power and love, were like lit candles that could burn brightly forever, illuminating our human hearts with everlasting incandesence.



There’s no love song finer
But how strange the change From major to minor
Ev’ry time we say goodbye

She is survived by her brother, Richard Morrison; two sisters, Pamela Morrison-Kersey and Armetta Morrison; and 10 nieces and nephews.

Flowers and donations will be received at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, located at 4305 Degnan Blvd. #101, Los Angeles, CA 90008.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Rescinds Bob Dylan’s Induction Due to Alleged Use of “Creativity-Enhancing Drugs”

APRIL 1, 2022 Edmund Martifice, spokesman for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, announced today that the 1988 induction of Bob Dylan into the Rock Hall has been rescinded permanently due to “alleged use of creativity-enhancing Drugs.”

All Dylan memorabilia, paraphenalia and assorted writings now in the museum’s collection, he reported, will be auctioned off, destroyed and/or “left out in front of the museum.” Mr. Dylan will be banned from the museum, as will any of his bandmates, collaborators, former wives, present and ex-girlfriends, children, grandchildren or lawyers. All his songs will be deleted from any museum-generated playlists.

The statement read: “Mr. Dylan has been involved in an illicit system of acquiring illegal and/or formally illegal substances, which he used regularly when writing his songs. Our investigation has revealed that many of his most famous songs were written when under the influence of a drug or a combination of drugs, alcohol, caffiene and cough syrup.”

Dylan was also accused of providing drugs for other bandmates and/or friends.

We emailed Mr. Martifice at the Rock Hall for further details. He declined our request for a spoken interview, but did answer in email. Asked if other famous inductees were suspected of also using drugs to fuel their music, and in danger of being deducted from the Cleveland institution, he said he had to first confer with his advisors before responding. Six hours later we received his response.

“As far as we know,” responded Martifice, “no other Rock Hall inductees are suspected of drug usage. Fortunately, this sad and insidious scheme belonged only to Bob Dylan. All in a tragic attempt, evidently, to defraud the public into belieiving he was some kind of creative genius. Now, sadly, we know the truth.”

We contacted the Recording Academy to ask if Dylan’s ten Grammys would be revoked.

Their response was concise: “What? Is this some kind of joke?”

If only.

We also contacted the Nobel Foundation to inquire about the status of Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature. They have not returned the call.


Bob Dylan

the eternal wheat field

By John Kruth

a poem for vincent van gogh
on his 169th birthday

Vincent Van Gogh, Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, 1887
Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Cypresses, 1889.

everything was alive

in your absinthe-green eyes

when only deep shades of blues

could still sooth your black moods

and red vineyards cloaked you

from the darkness

of the ever-encroaching winter

some say it was glaucoma or lead

poisoning that caused you to see

halos around everything

but maybe you were

just closer to heaven

than that drab bunch of potato

eaters who lived next door

everything you witnessed

breathed electricity

the shape of the wind

and clouds spinning in turbulent skies

as gray clouds like dark birds rose

from your pipe and sunflowers danced

with delight in the vase on your table

all the colors we knew

turned a different hue

when you painted them

and the wheat waved back in gratitude

so drop that pistol vincent,

the paintbrush will always love you better

nobody saw the world through your eyes

for another hundred years or so

and by that time, you were long gone

never knowing your paintings

— John Kruth, 2022

La Berceuse (Woman Rocking a Cradle);
A Portrait of Augustine-Alix Pellicot Roulin, 1851–1930) 1889

Vincent Van Gogh, Nursery on Schenkweg
April–May 1882

GREAT NEW SONG ALERT: The Black Keys, “Wild Child”

From the new album Dropout Boogie, out later this month.

By PAUL ZOLLO

A brand-new classic by the Black Keys – Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney – arrived on March 10, of this year (2022) – “Wild Child,” from their new album, Dropout Boogie, which will emerge on May 13.

The Black Keys are Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, two old tuneful pals from from Akron who teamed up in 2001. Similar to the way the duo of Becker & Fagen were Steely Dan, around which other satellites spun and which signified songwriting and record-making greatness always, Dan & Pat have united in a musical mission that has deeply enriched these times. Their songs and records shine always with the warm purity of two seriously singular songwriters in harmonic and spiritual sync with each other, and in love with the unbound power and potential of song.

And like Steely Dan – not stylistically, mind you, but in terms of their aim – their work is always reflects the ambition and diligence to make real-time, timeless, rocking records out of these songs. Classic, soulful, rock and roll, analog and digital both, dimensional, and expansive. Built to last,

They will embark on a new 12-show tour this year (see below). Like their legions of fans, I am thankful for each successive brand-new classis they’ve created over these past years. Somehow they remain plugged into the source, and connect with the real-time rock, roll, soul, whimsy, wisdom, irony, passion and fire. Few other bands, for this writer, consistently create new music that I genuinely want to keep listening to over and over. That’s what it’s all about. Their music makes me feel good. It feeds a hunger that very few new records ever feed. And they keep doing it.

And it is needed – and appreciated – now more than ever, as the foundational ideas which guide this kind of work have been dismissed, abandoned, forgotten and/or lost by so many.

And, like Tom Petty and others who kept doing it, they make it look easy. Also fun.

They also make compelling, unexpected and great videos like this one below, the official music video, starring Dan & Pat, of “Wild Child.”

The Black Keys, Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach,
“Wild Child”

Black Keys forever, bitch.”

So ends this video with these words. We agree.

Forever. That’s what it’s all about.

On behalf of rock & roll and those who live in its forever realm, allow us to say to Dan & Pat: Thank you! This world would suck even more without you.

The new album, Dropout Boogie, Out May 13

“Wild Child”
By Daniel Auerbach & Patrick Carney

I’m just a stranger
With a twisted smile and I’m wondering, ah
Your heart is in danger
Come close now, let me tell you a lie

Wild child
You got me running through the turnstile
Baby, come with and I’ll make it worthwhile
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

You are a sweet dream
With a tender heart and beautiful smile
But things aren’t what they seem
So I’ll let you go and dream for a while

Wild child
You got me coming outta exile
Baby girl, you know I’m liking your style
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

I just wanna hold you at the end of every day
Girl, I wanna please you, oh, I’m needing you to stay
The sun is gonna shine if you would just come out and play
Baby, won’t you show me your wild child ways

Wild child
You got me running through the turnstile
Baby, come with and I’ll make it worthwhile
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

Wild child
You got me coming outta exile
Baby girl, you know I’m liking your style
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

Wild Child lyrics © 2022 Wixen Music Publishing

The Black Keys have officially announced their 32-date Dropout Boogie North American Tour. Dropout Boogie Tour begins July 9 in Las Vegas with special guests Band Of Horses. Ceramic Animal, Early James, & The Velveteers for select dates.

Fans can join the FREE Lonely Boys & Girls Club for more.



Presale codes can be found once signed up and logged into your Lonely Boys & Girls club profile starting Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10 am ET.

A limited number of VIP packages will also be available starting Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10 AM local time. VIP packages include premium seats, sound check visit, an autographed lithograph and more!