The eagle flies on Friday

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Woke up this morning to some very sad news. The King of the Blues has left the stage.

I can’t remember the first time I saw B.B. King, and I can’t tell you how many times I saw him play. But if there was one moment I’ll never forget, it was in the summer of 2007 at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival, in a soccer stadium outside Chicago.

Linda got me tickets as a present. I think she loves me.

But I digress. This is about B.B. King. Continue reading

Happy birthday, Grace

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Grace Slick, a spectacularly beautiful woman with a voice to match, had a milestone birthday a couple of days ago, and it brought back some vivid memories of the only time I saw her in concert.

This was in the early Seventies, sometime late in my college years or shortly thereafter – or as I like to think of it, just a few days before yesterday. Continue reading

It’s been good to know you

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I’d like to live in a world where Toys ‘R’ Us has a Pete Seeger action figure.

Because our kids need better role models.

This was an American who served in the Armed Forces and stared down McCarthyism.

This was an American who was blacklisted for his politics and then, in the middle of the Vietnam War, when finally allowed back on television, proceeded to sing “We’re waist-deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool says to push on.”

This was an American who saw what had become of the mighty Hudson River and proceeded to  head an organization that built a magnificent sloop, the Clearwater, which still travels up and down the river in a campaign to keep it clean.

This was an American who, in 1955, when summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee, said:

“I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature…. I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”

This was an American who was denied a chance to appear on a TV show called “Hootenanny,” because he refused to sign a loyalty oath.

This was the American who wrote “How to Play the Five-String Banjo,” still the premier primer on the subject, and a book I plan to study closely when I take up the instrument. When I retire. If I live to be 94, as Pete did, I should have time to master it.

This was an American who sang and played with Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Turn, Turn, Turn, Goodnight Irene, If I Had a Hammer, So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You . . .

We Shall Overcome.

To everything, there is a season.

R.I.P., Pete. We need more like you.

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— 30 —

SEVENTY!!!

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This just defies belief. The greatest rocker of them all entered his eighth decade on earth today.

He’s been at it for more than half a century, and he still has the moves of a 20-year-old.

I’m gonna put Let It Bleed on the turntable and play it all night.

Happy birthday, Mick! Start me up!

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Never stop

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I’m posting this picture because you had to ask? Do you think they ever imagined this when they said time was on their side?

My friend Craig Starr wrote:

Rock on, boys. Next town’s just “Down The Road Apiece” (Rolling Stones Now, never will forget that, you guys taught us American white boys about Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and more. Thanks and God Bless the Rolling Stones! 

And all I can say is . . . Wish I’d said that.

Greatest. Rock. Band. Ever.

Put the 33 on the turntable and let it bleed.

R.I.P. Bobby (Blue) Bland

Bobby (Blue) Bland, Soul and Blues Balladeer, Dies at 83 (New York Times)

Bobby (Blue) Bland, the debonair balladeer whose sophisticated, emotionally fraught performances helped modernize the blues, died on Sunday in Memphis. He was 83….

Exhibiting a delicacy of phrasing and command of dynamics akin to those of the most urbane pop and jazz crooners, his intimate pleading left its mark on everyone from the soul singers Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to rock groups like the Allman Brothers and the Band. The rapper Jay-Z sampled Mr. Bland’s 1974 single “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” on his 2001 album, “The Blueprint.”

Heaven done called another blues singer back home.

The old bluesmen were such a treasure, and one by one they are vanishing.

The New York Times posted this photo of Bobby Blue with B.B. King, taken in 1992.

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B.B. is 87 now, and we can only hope he lasts forever.

R.I.P., Bobby Blue.