Carl Perkins and Friends, Rockabilly School

Posted in Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Youtube Favs on June 22nd, 2011 by Willie

It’s a star studded part 97 on my youtube countdown, and the stakes are getting higher, and the stars are getting hotter as we close in on 100!  This time I have the undeniably fantastic performance of Carl Perkins and his super friends from the 1985 concert Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session.  Get this.  It’s iconic 50s guitar master Carl Perkins leading Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr, psychedelic Cream guitarist Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne, Dave Edmunds, and a SLEW of other slick stars of rock and rockabilly through a medley of joyous numbers.  Carl calls it his rock school, and boy, he is the greatest headmaster ever.  The greatest thing about this jam is that everybody, especially George Harrison, is just beaming with enthusiasm and excitement as they rock and bash their way through “It’s Alright Mama,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Night Train to Memphis,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin Going On.”  It’s just about the greatest fun in rockabilly ever caught on film, and you’ll want to replay it over and over.  So don’t let me stop you now.  Go cat go!

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Cream, Tales of Brave Ulysses

Posted in Cream, Eric Clapton, Youtube Favs on May 16th, 2011 by Willie

Part 64 of my youtube countdown introduces Cream, or “the late great Cream” as John Lennon once said in 1968.  That’s right, Cream was a streaking comet of psychedelic blues perfection, blasting through the pop music charts from 1966 to 1968 selling 35 million albums in just two years!  Cream was considered the world’s first rock super-group with its members (Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker) having been in groups like The Yardbirds, Manfred Mann, Blues Incorporated, and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.  “The Tales of Brave Ulysses,” presented below in gorgeous stereophonic crisp color, was from their 1967 masterpiece album Disraeli Gears.  It’s a psychedelic blues fest written by Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp, (an artist who designed the cover to the album above), and it features Ginger’s manic drumming, Jack’s awesome vocal, and of course, Eric’s pounding guitar.  The song is a timeless masterpiece of rock and roll.  I remember when I first heard it when I was 17, driving home from school, and just blasting it on my radio.  I was floored, so I dug out my dad’s old Cream records, got comfy, and ended up having a beautiful afternoon.  So, check em out, the true cream of the crop, CREAM!

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Bob Dylan & Eric Clapton, Crossroads

Posted in Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Youtube Favs on April 16th, 2011 by Willie

Part 36 of my youtube countdown rolls on with a performance of Robert Johnson’s ‘Crossroads Blues’ by Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.  I’ve been in a real bluesy mood this week, and a clip like this really hits the sweet spot.  The song, a gem in Robert Johnson’s absurdly mythological repertoire, is heavily electrified by Bob and Eric.  I’m guessing its the old Cream arrangement, though I could be wrong about that.  While Bob and Eric are having a great time playing this tune, it shouldn’t escape you that these are two of the most devoted Robert Johnson worshipers that ever lived.  Before Bob recorded ‘The Freewheelin,” his first album of original songs, CBS executives gave Bob a copy of Johnson’s recordings before they were ever widely distributed or known by anybody.  Johnson’s music had a profound effect on him, just as deep as Woody Guthrie’s.  In Johnson, Bob heard a ghost lost to time, the most authentic blues folk expressionist he could imagine.  Eric had similar epiphanies, but his most striking reaction upon hearing Johnson for the first time was fear.  Eric was downright spooked by Johnson’s creaky high pitched voice, and his complex and perfect, not to mention revolutionary, guitar technique.  Over time, Eric would describe Johnson as “the most important blues musician who ever lived,” and subsequently did his best to spread his myth and music to the masses.  While on the surface, Eric and Bob just seem to be enjoying themselves, with Eric giving a beautiful melodic blues solo, and rarity of rarities, Bob playing an electric solo too, (granted he’s just alternating two notes, but still!).  But there is something much deeper going on.  I don’t know, but I get over-awed thinking about these two gods of popular music playing the song of a god who somehow sits over them on a higher level.  It’s really something to sit back and think of the power surging from these guy’s lips and fingertips; where it all comes from, how it changed the world, and what it all means.  It’s a moment a lot of people might ignore, but hopefully realize one day, its utter preciousness in the pantheon of things that matter.  Enjoy.


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The Dirty Mac, Yer Blues

Posted in Eric Clapton, John Lennon, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Youtube Favs on April 1st, 2011 by Willie

Part 27 of my youtube countdown rolls on with another act from the infamous Rock and Roll Circus.  This time, we have Dirty Mac.  Who is Dirty Mac?  Well, its John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards (on bass, awesome), and Mitch Mitchell (on drums direct from the Jimi Hendrix Experience.)  A super group if there ever was one, and my God, do these guys utterly rock the universe.  They are playing Yer Blues, a jam John cut that year (1968) on the White Album with the Beatles.  The Beatles, outside a few exceptions, could never really be seen playing music from this era, so this clip gives you a delicious taste of what a mind blowing experience it would have been if the Beatles toured the White Album.  Because youtube is horrible, they’ve broken up Mick and John’s hilarious intro video for the Dirty Mac, but don’t worry, I’ve included both the intro, and the searing performance.  I don’t know how else to describe the incredible majesty of these clips, so please, just sit back, hold onto your seats, and watch…over and over!

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