Pink Floyd, Cymbaline

Posted in Pink Floyd, Youtube Favs on November 20th, 2011 by Willie

So, despite their love for the man, Syd was barred from entering Abbey Road studios when Pink Floyd was recording.  Syd went on to do a few slapped together solo records, with Roger and Dave actually helping with the production, and then Syd entered oblivion, thus propelling his cult like status to mythic proportions.  In 1969, Pink Floyd was Britain’s top rising psychedelic band, but they were no where near the megastars they became by 1973.  Still, they carried enough swagger to be offered the chance to provide a soundtrack for “More,” an avantgarde film about heroin.  The song below, “Cymbaline,” is a gorgeous psychedelic folk ballad that feels more like Simon and Garfunkel than it does “Interstellar Overdrive.”  I think at their heart, Pink Floyd were more folk rockers than anything else.  Their best songs, no matter how steeped they are in special effects, crushing guitar solos, and wailing experimentation, are folk ballads.  “Cymbaline,” a twisted song about a nightmare, was a progressive step forward the band, and would point to the future dramatic heights they would aim for.  By the way, this video performance, is a fantastic moody and cinematic slice of footage of the band in its most natural setting, a church.  Enjoy.

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Chet Atkins, Mr. Sandman, Mrs. Robinson

Posted in Chet Atkins, Youtube Favs on November 13th, 2011 by Willie

So one day, on a crummy radio in the 1940s, Chet Atkins was listening to Merle Travis play guitar.  He thought for sure that what Merle was doing was picking with his thumb and two fingers, because if he was just using his thumb and index finger, it would have been impossible.  It turned out Merle was just using his thumb and index finger, so what Chet accidentally did was invent his own style of guitar playing known as the “Atkins Style.”  Chet was a massively influential and beautiful guitar player who did everything from jazz, folk, country, rock, blues, and even classical.   I have two gorgeous clips of Chet.  One is from 1954, in color no less, of a TV performance he did of “Mr. Sandman,” the song that defines 50s dreaminess.  The other is probably 25 years later or so of him doing Simon and Garfunkel’s immortal “Mrs. Robinson,” all as a stunning guitar solo.  To appreciate Chet, is to appreciate the artistry of the true guitar virtuoso.  His timing, feel, and fluidity are second to none, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the work of a master.

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Paul Simon, Kodachrome, Coneheads Highlights!

Posted in Paul Simon, SNL, Youtube Favs on October 1st, 2011 by Willie

I was sitting around in Portland, Maine yesterday with nothing better to do, when on came the “Coneheads” movie.  I haven’t seen in quite sometime, but its one of those movies where you just have to sit through the whole thing.  I was amazed at the parade of 90s comedy superstars appearing in one scene after another.  Not only did you have original SNL stars Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin in their iconic roles, you had Seinfeld stars Jason Alexander and Michael Richards, mega comedy stars Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, and Drew Carey, and even film indie stars like Parker Posey and Joey Lauren Adams.  When the film was released, it was a commercial dud, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a cult classic. It contains Chris Farley’s best supporting role ever caught on film, where he plays the unlikely love interest Ronnie, and its riffs on the US immigration experience and laws are spot on and brilliant.  Anyway, I couldn’t get enough of the film, especially the scene where Beldar Conehead gets a 35 mm Kodak camera filled with glorious Kodachrome color film, and shoots his life on Earth with his family in the late seventies and eighties.  It’s a brilliant sequence set to Paul Simon’s classic hit song, “Kodachrome,” from his 1973 There Goes Rhymin’ Simon record.  Bit of trivia, the song was banned by the BBC in England for its use of a trademarked commercial item in the lyrics…kinda unfair considering how much commercialism is imprinted on our lives…just ask Andy Warhol.  So below, check out a sweet homemade “Kodachrome” video someone made, as well as the trailer for the legendary “Coneheads” film….See you next zearl!

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Simon and Garfunkel, The Sounds of Silence

Posted in Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, Youtube Favs on June 21st, 2011 by Willie

It’s part 96 of my youtube countdown, and we are getting so close to the end!  This time I have Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence,” from the album of the same name.  When I was crafting the title of this entry, I noticed that the original version of the song was not titled, “The Sound of Silence,” as I had thought, but was pluralized.  Both the plural and singular version of the song are correct however as later releases were known as the “The Sound of Silence.”  Paul Simon originally wrote this haunting folk ballad write after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but the song was not an immediate hit.  When the song started to become a hit in the mid 60s, Simon and Garfunkel were no longer working together, but the success of the tune, reworked by producers to give it a more pop sound, reunited the boys and launched them into the mainstream of cultural significance.  The live performance I found here reflects the original version of the song with its minimalist beatnik production.  In it, the guys are so young and dorky, Garfunkel gives a real proto-hippie moralizing speech, and of course they flawlessly play the song, achieving that perfection they always shot for.  Check it out!

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