The BlueBell Sisters – Old School Music Done Right!

Sisters can do weird things …

Sometimes, good things may happen. Such is the case with The BlueBell Sisters.

A trio of ladies (with a brother tossed into the mix) singing songs that people love. The entire act is a romp into the past with ties to Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis.

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Add some infectious energy during live shows and voila !

Priceless entertainment.

Please listen as a Lisa Marie ( named after Elvis Presley’s daughter) discusses everything related to The BlueBell Sisters.

Lisa Marie?

 

Visit The BlueBell Sisters Here!


 

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John Fogerty Review – Montreal 2014

What’s with these old guys anyways?

th (2)First, their ‘throwback’ songs set the bar too high for every young musician to reach, then – as if matters were not worse for the next ‘Mick Jagger’ –  the old guys’ concerts are as high as the tunes.

John Fogerty, he of  Woodstock fame – played at The Bell Center last night. The year was 2014 not the year of our Lord ’69. Good thing music is timeless. Good thing Fogerty is also …

Following a very well put together biography on Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival on the big screen, the audience was well prepared. The young folks – schooled in  the importance of Fogerty. The older folks? Reminded. For those at Woodtsock? Perhaps  seeing and hearing Fogerty for the first time last night.

Yes – Woodtsock was that awesome!

Born on the Bayou, one of CCR’s signature tunes, introduced the th (3)crowd to a unique sound. Fogerty, as head of CCR or on his own – distinct with his vocals and his riffs. One of very few Rockers on the planet who is instantly recognizable. Instantly dirty …

The type of songs and where Fogerty comes from – a big part in the raw, almost ‘out of tune’ sound emitted from this Rock n Roll legend. It’s a swampy thing for sure …

Good Golly Miss Molly ensued. A song rich in early Rock n Roll. A song rich in a combination of a Chuck Berry / Little Richard duet. Feet were tappin’ and relief by the ‘over forty’ age group in the crowd – swept through the Bell Center like a broom on a dusty floor. This was going to be a Rock n Roll showit was, that obvious. In your face as  ‘Up Around the Bend‘ and ‘Down on the Corner‘ testified. Court was now in session. Fogerty – no Jester …

The singer ripped through the songs  with conviction, his vocals, somehow preserved in 1969. Eyes closed – it was ’69. A time void of metal detectors at concerts ( see Montreal, Fogerty, 2014). A time of peace and love.

Fogerty himself, last night,  telling a tale of Woodstock as CCR hit the stage after ‘The Grateful Dead ‘put everyone to sleep.’

GRATEFUL DEAD“It was 2:30 in the morning”. Explained the former frontman of Creedence …” I looked out in the crowd and everyone was the same as me. Except they were naked. Naked and asleep. “

He continued.

“I tried my best to get things Rockin‘. Nothing. The first rows were fast asleep. Then, in the distance, I saw a lighter being held in the air. A voice followed and I heard that voice. It said; We are with you John!’

With that story, that simple tale, John Fogerty circa 2014 set the mood for the Bell Center. The crowd was his. Just like that one guy in 1969.

‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ was written for that guy and it is the song which – once more, either shocked or pleased a Montreal crowd ripe for nostalgia. Some bands arrive in town from the 1960’s and they play songs like it is the new millennium. John Fogerty plays his songs like it is the 60’s and – everything is so right with that.

Just ask Suzie Q …

If Fogerty was ‘born in the Bayou’, Suzie Q gave birth to him.

That riff, that nasty, sweet and messy opening riff.

Injected into a vein th (4)opened by Fogerty’s love of music  which started at the age of eight. Playing piano to Jerry Lee Lewis, an early lesson in life which drove him to the point where he had to ‘put out’ or ‘shut up’. Suzie Q would not allow him to shut up.

Night Time (is the Right Time) ‘- that old Rosevelt Sykes tune made famous by Ray Charles came next. Fogerty and his band, paying homage to the music of the past. Many bands these days include a Sykes’ song in their shows and Night Time is the right time to do so. The only thing missing  in Fogerty’s version? The horns and women back – up singers.  Fogerty and his guitar – more than compensating. 

CCR’s Sweet Hitchhiker, from 1971’s Mardi Gras album was a low point. Not because it was performed poorly. Not because it is a non hit. A low point because it sank into generic rock territory. Fogerty’s vocals need attention. Amid the standard rock fare provided by his band – Sweet Hitchhiker was lost amid the noise .

Next – back on track. 

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Organist, keyboardist and accordionist Bob Malone commenced with an accordion solo. Who does accordion solos anyways? Only guys secure in their musical roots (like Fogerty), hire guys like Malone to merge sounds of the South. Sounds of the swamp. Malone’s intro long enough to heed notice, short enough to appreciate.

‘Looking Out My Backdoor’ – another CCR classic, took center stage. Once more shoving everyone in attendance back to ’69. Guitar chords so raw, a medium rare order at a steakhouse, embarrassing ..

Midnight Special ( Leadbelly), New Orleans ( Gary U.S Bonds) and I Heard It Through the Grapevine ( Smokey Robinson) aside – the rest of the evening was all about CCR. Almost …

unnamed (12)Fogerty’s attempt to mist the eyes of the crowd failed miserably with ‘Joy of my Life‘, a song he wrote for his wife. THE INTENT was there, the soft acoustic guitar was there – the soul was not. A legacy of Rock songs will do that to a guy. Kudos for trying John – don’t give up your day job!

Of the four remaining non – CCR Songs (aka John Fogerty solo), two stood out and the test of time. Centerfield and The Old Man Down the Road, two songs which gave Fogerty a comeback in the 80’s, could well be CCR tunes. The devilish riffs – present and accounted for along with the nasally – tinged vocals which made Fogerty a legend. The other pair of solo songs performed last night; ‘Mystic Highway’ and ‘ Hot Rod Heart’ – sadly clumped into the generic rock group. No hooks, bridges or nuances to make them stand out. Great jam but not for the faint of ‘hits’ …

The stretch run contained CCR at its filthiness …

‘Bad Moon Rising‘, Fortunate Son’, Have You Ever Seen the Rain‘ and ‘Proud Mary’. A Four song home run trot’ ripe in history, ripe in riffs and just plain ripe …

Few bands can pull a foursome of songs which carry their weight almost fifty years later. The longevity reason? Partly due to the songs, partly due to the use of these songs in movie soundtracks – mostly because they posses a haunted, underlying theme. A sound of danger. A sound of changing times.

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A sound fit for every decade and the political themes which cause rebelliousness. A sound known as Rock n Roll …

Watch Fogerty Here !

Tune in Wednesdays at 6:15pm to k103.7fm

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Wanda Jackson – From Elvis to Jack White

Wanda Jackson dated Elvis Presley. Not bad eh?

Following forays into Rockabilly, Rock n Roll, Country and Gospel music – Mrs. Jackson is still going strong into her sixth decade. Her latest endeavor? Working with Jack White and Justin Townes Earle.

Please listen as Wanda explains her experiences.

All part of music history …

 

 

 

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Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind iTunes cover copy

 

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The Slacks; Montreal’s Oldest / Newest Rock Band

Once upon a time …

Men like Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley were dominating the musical landscape. They were the ‘kings’ of Rock n Roll.

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Teenagers were screaming, crying and tossing various items of clothes toward stages filled with energy. Parents were appalled. Priests tossed their hands into the air to combat the ‘devil music’ which possessed so many teenagers.

Fast forward a couple of decades …

 

The Stone Doctors raised $9,000 last night at Chez Maurice in Ste Lazare for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Unit.

Way to go Boys!

 

Leeward Fate - No Ordinary Kind press pic HQ

 

House of Jazz - Opening in Laval Sept. 6th
House of Jazz – Opening in Laval Sept. 6th

 

Lawrence Gowan; ‘ I Would Have Been an Astronaut …’

Lawrence Gowan aka Gowan – is a ‘Scot‘ at heart ….

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Born in Scotland and transplanted to Ontario ( Scarborough) as a child, the writer of one of the best Canadian ballads of all time ( Criminal Mind), is a man well-traveled.

Whether mixing his first album in England at the very same place Lennon recorded Imagine or jamming’ with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and The Band for Ronnie Hawkins‘ birthday bash – this classically trained pianist is at a happy place right now. Being part of one of the top grossing touring acts in the past ten years – does that to a man …

Since ‘officially’ joining Styx in 1999 – Gowan is enjoying a combination of high-octane rock n roll via the band’s catalog along with his signature songs. A perfect fit for a man whose stage presence fills a void . A hole placed in Styx when Dennis DeYoung departed. A band-aid which became a permanent ‘scar’ ….

Gowan explains his experience, Styx’s ‘double fantasy’ and the group’s upcoming show in

Montreal on November 17 at L’Olympia Theater.

Please visit Gowan’s site here !

Visit Styx here!

L’Olympia

Wanda Jackson – A Legend; Pure and Simple. Part One

Elvis

Gladys and Vernon Presley‘s son had many monikers.  Movie star,  Elvis ‘the Pelvis’ and ‘The King of Rock n Roll’ – to name but three very important ones. ‘Wanda Jackson‘s boyfriend’ was also a name Elvis toted for a while. Few know it – everyone is impressed when it is discovered…

For Wanda Lavonne Jackson of Maud, Oklahoma –  it was a special time for both her personally and for the start of her musical career.

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Wanda and Elvis

“I worked with Elvis from the summer of ’55 to ’57.” Says Wanda. ” I did not do every tour with him but I did do some very long tours with him. Don’t forget – I was very excited at that time to start my own career. We dated and liked each other and all, we had a sweet friendship and cared for each other deeply. At that time there was Jerry Lee Lewis, myself, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbinson – a bunch of guys, we all toured together. All of us became very close friends and cheered each other on as our records began to sell.”

Jackson continues …

“As the years went on, Elvis and I did not keep in touch but I followed his career like everyone else. He got so big – he was in a different world. Like everyone else, I was saddened by what happened to him at the end but I don’t think anyone could have saved him. It is funny – back in the beginning when Elvis starting getting popular and the girls were grabbing him and everything, my Father ( who was Wanda’s manager at the time) said he would have a miserable life. He said that Elvis won’t be able to go out and lead a normal life. My Dad was exactly right …”

Wanda and the rest of the people in question, the ‘men’ in her life, did not realize at the time they were starting something special. Little did they know, they were setting the groundwork for future generations of rockers. They were the pioneers of Rock n Roll …

“All of us were young and just doing our thing, just having fun.” Explains Jackson form her home in Oklahoma City.” At that time, nobody understood young people and they were trying to make it bad what we were doing. They made it devilish – which, of course, it was not. We had no idea what we were starting and I guess we were the pioneers. Myself, I have the distinction of being the first woman in Rockabilly. It is something that makes me proud.”

wanda5Wanda Jackson may be known as the first lady of Rockabilly yet funny enough – it was country music where she enjoyed most of her success starting in the early sixties. A genre of music which explains the roots of Wanda’s career.

“I pretty much gave up on Rock n Roll.” Explains the seventy-five year old Grandmother. ” I could not get any airplay. I did not get my first hit ( in Rock)  until 1960 ( Let’s Have a Party) and I started recording in 1956. I just thought -well, they are not going to play my records and if the fans cannot hear them – they won’t buy them. I switched to country to make some money. I would often make side A on my record a Country song and side B a Rockabilly song. That way I got the best of both worlds and Country music kept me afloat.”

Jackson’s decision paid immediate dividends …

Her early sixties country songs such as “Right or Wrong” and “In The Middle of a Heartache”, both earned her spots in the top ten on the Country charts as well as stays in the Top Forty Pop charts.  Her new -found popularity, forcing Capitol Records to re-release her past Rockabilly / Rocks songs and allow Wanda the freedom to record one last disc for the company. ‘Two Sides of Wanda’ showcased Jackson’s genius as a duel Country and Rock performer. It was a mixture of both genres and has left a permanent mark in the history of music. In 1965, Jackson made the move to country music with an exclamation point. She had a string of Top 40 hits during the next ten years including “Tears Will Be the Chaser For Your Wine” and “The Box it Came In”. Just two examples of what would be many Top Forty hits.

wanda4Jackson was not finished there however.

Her soul somewhat incomplete until she commenced the next chapter in her life. A integration of Gospel music into her repertoire. A genre which is part of the foundation of popular music. ..

‘I became a Christian and was very enthused about that.” Explains Wanda. “The music industry continued to change and was in turmoil really since 1956 on through.  I never intended to divorce Country music – I just wanted to add Gospel.  Capitol did not want it and  they allowed me to  record only one album in Gospel so by my choice – I decided to walk away. I wanted to pursue a more Gospel – oriented career because that’s where my heart was at the time and still is …”

Jackson’s Mother was a devout Christian yet her Father did not ape his partner’s denomination. Her Dad was very encouraging and believed Christianity was the right thing to do although he did not practice it. Wanda also wanted to raise her children in that environment and believes that accepting the Lord in her life in 1971 – is the reason that good things have come her way every since. Things like working with one of Rock’s biggest names – Jack White.

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Please stay tuned for Part Two …

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