Posts Tagged ‘RIP’

Fred Hellerman was best known as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter with the folk group the Weavers from the late 1940s to the mid-60s. During and after the group’s existence, however, he also maintained a varied career behind the scenes in the music industry that included working as an arranger, session musician, and producer. In addition to writing songs for other performers, he also contributed music to motion pictures and the theater.

During the Red Scare, when the Weavers were barred from television, Hellerman was forced to record under the pseudonym Bob Hill.

The usual assumption is that the Weavers started their recording career with Gordon Jenkins at Decca Records, adapting their folk sound into an early-50s popular style but this song, from disc one of Goodnight Irene:The Weavers, 1949-1953, dispels this notion, going back to the quartet’s true recording debut, for Charter Records in 1949.

Rudy Van Gelder RIP

Posted: 28 August 2016 in Uncategorized
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Most of what I know of and appreciate in modern-classic jazz was made possible by recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder [ht: sw].

In Van Gelder’s hands, even the most furious music maintains a refined clarity, a center of calm assurance amid the turbulence. . .

And so it was, in both studio sessions (such as Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch) and live recordings (like John Coltrane’s Live At The Village Vanguard). 

“O Death” was one of the most haunting pieces of music ever sung by the late Ralph Stanley.

It’s also the appropriate theme after yesterday’s Brexit vote—the political stunt by David Cameron that will now have the anti-immigrant “take control” forces in Europe braying for more.


And, according to some, it helps explains Donald Trump’s popularity in the United States.

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For those of us of a certain age, especially those of us raised in Catholic households, Father Daniel Berrigan—through his activism and poetry, against war and militarism, racism, poverty and inequality—was one of the true consciences of a church and a nation.

Merle Haggard RIP

Posted: 6 April 2016 in Uncategorized
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Merle Haggard was, for me, the undisputed king of the Bakersfield sound.

Merle Haggard, one of the most successful singers in the history of country music, a contrarian populist whose songs about his scuffling early life and his time in prison made him the closest thing that the genre had to a real-life outlaw hero, died at his home in California, on Wednesday, his 79th birthday. . .

Mr. Haggard had an immense influence on other performers — not just other country singers but also ’60s rock bands like the Byrds and the Grateful Dead, as well as acts like Elvis Costello and the Mekons, all of whom recorded Mr. Haggard’s songs. Some 400 artists have released versions of his 1968 hit “Today I Started Loving You Again.”

He was always the outsider. His band was aptly named the Strangers.

Gato Barbieri RIP

Posted: 2 April 2016 in Uncategorized
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Born in Argentina (in the same city to which part of my family emigrated), Gato Barbieri was one of the best jazz musicians to emerge from South America. He managed to combine, with virtuosity on the alto and tenor saxophones, the heights of the free-jazz revolution with traditional latin rhythms, harmonies, and melodic themes.


I spent a lot of time over the years browsing and purchasing items from the inventory of music, especially jazz and blues, at Chicago’s Jazz Record Mart. I also enjoyed taking friends from out of town there.

Now, due to rising rent, the shop that billed itself as “The World’s Largest Jazz and Blues Record Store” has closed its doors.