The Fabulous Emptywheel Music Blog: Setting The Scene
Okay, alright, enough of that live music stuff. This weekend, off another suggestion by Emptywheel Roving Reporter Rosalind, let’s do music documentaries! These are her remarks:
Music Documentaries (NOT films of live concerts). In 2019 there were several docs I watched that hit the music EW demographic sweet spot, including:
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
David Crosby: Remember My Name
Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Boy Howdy: The CREEM Magazine Story
Mr. Jimmy – story of a Japanese guitar player who takes his Jimmy Page hero-worship to a whole nother level
Echo In The Canyon – Laurel Canyon music scene, 1/2 OK interviews w/various musicians, 1/2 self-indulgent concert featuring Jakob Dylan performing boring versions of the originals.
The Gordon Lightfoot and Miles Davis docs are ones I would never have thought to seek out and sparked a whole new level of appreciation for the two. The footage of their early musical lives is really something.
The Linda Ronstadt one is truly fabulous. I’ll have to look for the Gordon Lightfoot one, but have always loved him. Heard Carefree Highway long ago, and that sits awfully special to people here that actually drive on the Carefree Highway (yes, it really exists).
I’d like to add one music documentary to Rosalind’s list: Super Duper Alice Cooper. It is truly fantastic. You may think “eh, I dunno, that’s crazy”, but it is really good and, I think, available streaming online. And, yes all crazy, but those were the times back then, it “was” crazy.
Also, because this will invariably morph into the greatest music documentaries ever, let me throw in a couple of Scorsese classics: The Last Waltz and Shine The Light.
So have at it, whether music, the NFL draft or whatever. This weekend’s scene setting music is…..You Set The Scene by the incomparable Arthur Lee and Love.
Don’t know if this counts, but I’ve just enjoyed Rich Hall’s “Countrier than You”, a brief foray from 2017 through the origins and development of Country Music. BBC, but I am sure everyone can find it. Really worth watching for its history. Plus some shots of Austin which is another place I’m not going this year!
Glen Campbell – I’ll Be Me (heartbreaking story of dementia and family)
The Jam – About the Young (loads of good Weller docs, but this one focuses more on The Jam)
Searching for Sugarman (Sixto Rodriguez – lost South African pop giant)
Michael Brecker – More to Live (short, and Mike is only one of three subjects, but, if you aren’t already on the bone marrow registry, this will give you the incentive).
Guns for Hire (depressing, but true, stories of R&R sidemen. Especially incriminating towards Billy Joel).
20 Ft. from Stardom (Merry Clayton…nuff said)
Oh yeah, 20 Feet From Stardom is spectacular. How in the world did I forget that?? Not just Merry Clayton, but Lisa Fischer too!
And spot on about I’ll Be Me on Glen Campbell. It is truly heartbreaking, and yet a fantastic doc. Also, and I think Rosalind would agree, The Wrecking Crew is a must watch.
Wrecking Crew: agreed! Carol Kaye on her badass bass.
Muscle Shoals: more sidemen!
Only The Strong Survive: Stax Records doc – Rufus & Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding…
Adding on to 20 Feet From Stardom….really, it is great, find it and watch it. Merry Clayton did the backing vocals on Gimme Shelter. She got a cold call to go do some vocals. At night and quite pregnant, she went, stood and delivered. It is an amazing story. Lisa Fischer did much more of the later touring and she is equally spectacular. Watch Lisa at work.
yes, 20 Feet Fm Stardom!! one of my favorite soundtracks to sing along to on road trips. and a sad coda: a few months after the film’s release Merry Clayton was in a horrible car accident and had both her legs amputated below the knee. i know she was hoping to return to the stage. anyone know if she succeeded?
Not yet. Jazz Foundation of America did a great fundraiser at the Apollo a few years back (with Keith Richards, Lisa Fischer, and Steve Jordan), and, unfortunately, she was unable to attend. She gets no residuals from the Stones record, but everyone copies her.
Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives
It’s a documentary about the lead singer of the Eels, Mark Everett. His dad is Hugh Everett, the Princeton physicist who invented the many worlds theory of quantum physics. Mark never knew anything about his dad’s work until long after he died. This documentary is about how the singer explores who his dad was and explains how his relationship with his dad affected his music.
It’s absolutely amazing.
The Linda Ronstadt documentary helped me rediscover her. I loved the Chicago documentary. When I was a kid in the 70’s I listened to Chicago’s greatest hits album over & over. As an Oregon Duck fan I hope Justin Herbert has a great career at LA. It’s been so long since an Oregon QB has actually turned out in the NFL.
Oof, was the last really successful one also a Charger? Fouts?
Not quite in the same league as the list above, but if you’re looking for a bit of laughter after that Glen Campbell documentary . . .
The Rutles: All You Need is Cash
While you’re on the Mockumentary vein: This is Spinal Tap
Like life….”These go to eleven”
In the shadow of Motown
Revelatory film about the legendary “funk brothers’ – back up band to so many of Motown’s greats.
Woman of heart and mind. Joni Mitchell documentary featuring extended interviews Joni.
I agree- echos in the canyon would have been better without the mediocre Jakob… uninformed narrator and pop flop.
It’s not exactly a music documentary, but A Great Day in Harlem is a lot of fun.
It’s about the taking of a photograph of a lot of jazz legends in 1958 —
Also not exactly a music doc, but a minidocumentary about music fans — Heavy Metal Parking Lot is worth tracking down:
So is Neil Diamond Parking Lot. Same venue like twenty years later
One of the great jazz photos of all time.
20,000 Days On Earth – Nick Cave
Beware of Mr. Baker – Ginger Baker
Music is the Weapon – Fela
Westway To The World – The Clash
The Ginger Baker one is seriously great. And also slightly disturbing at the same time. He was a different kind of guy.
Fela! Yes, yes, yes. Fela ‘70 (the best) and the great King Sunny Ade. 6 hour shows with no break. Sweat pouring from your eyes. If you want to know what music-revolution is, get yourself informed on Fela.
A few’bonus’ tracks –
The Wrecking Crew – about the mainly unknown team of ace session players who you’ve heard on more albums than you’d think.
Heartworn Highways – outlaw country before it was outlaw
Dig – conflict and chaos in the rise and fall of two LA favorites
The Decline Of Western Civilization – some would say the penultimate punk doc
A Band Called Death – forgotten punk legends, and first all-black punk group
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart – Wilco
Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams* – another little known artist who deserves some attention, caveat – I co-directed/produced this one.
The Wilco doc is very good.
I second your post A Band Called Death
You broke my Sitar, motherf***er!
PBS has some very good musician docu-interviews on Articulate hosted by Jim Cotter
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein
Celebrated pianist Simone Dinnerstein, in concert and conversation, with Jim Cotter.
She is stunning in her virtuosity, esp. w/ Bach, Mozart, Schubert.
Guitarist Jason Vieaux
World-renowned classical guitarist Jason Vieaux in concert, and in conversation with Jim Cotter in front of a live audience.
Wonderful. See his Prince interpretation on classical guitar.
Nicola Benedetti: A Great Scot. The internationally renowned Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti was cast into the spotlight at age 16, forced to grow up in the public eye, she often struggled. Now in her 30s, she looks back on those years with wry humor.
Caroline Shaw is one of the most original new voices in contemporary music, who’s cooking up some very fine music across a wide swathe of genres.
Ken Burns: Jazz, Country. Worthy series.
NB: One needs to have a PBS account to access some of these streaming shows.
so many new docs to seek out. thanks all for the suggestions! keep ’em coming…
Even if you don’t like the music, or perhaps, especially if you don’t like the music:
Rush: Time Stand Still
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
And, goes without saying: This is Spinal Tap
Along with The Matrix, Spinal Tap is just one of the finest documentaries ever made.
I don’t see ‘Tom Dowd and the Language of Music’ mentioned in anybody’s list so far, so I’ll put it out there.
Mr Dowd was an extremely interesting man… the producer for Layla and the Allman Bros Live at the Fillmore, amongst many, many other albums for Atlantic…
At one point in the documentary, he goes into a recording studio, cues, up the original multi-track tape of the song Layla, and starts playing the individual tracks so you can hear the guitar parts on their own… worth the price of admission alone.
Added bonus… Dowd was a teenage physics whiz and was recruited by the US military to work on the Manhattan Project… the documentary has some of the best atomic bomb explosion footage you’ll ever seen in it… frightening stuff…
Also, ‘Bob Dylan, Don’t Look Back’…
And then there’s the various American Blues Festival films, from the mid-60’s… not exactly documentaries, just really first rate footage of people like Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters performing in Europe…
Didn’t Duane Allman play on Clapton’s Layla?
Yes, indeed he did on the original studio album and did a little early touring with Derek and the Dominoes.
Some of the playing back and forth on the studio album is some of my favorite guitar work of all time…
Just listening to Allman and Clapton talking to each other thru their guitars… I suppose other musicians can be that good, but I can’t imagine anything better…
Agreed on the Tom Dowd film; the scene where he recreates Layla from the ground up is beyond the beyond – an entire education in modern music in 5 minutes.
Yup… just wonderful…
Tom Dowd was truly all over the place, sorta like Kilroy. He was chief engineer at Atlantic records in the very early days; brought in the first-ever 8-track recorder (borrowed from Les Paul, I believe) to do a Ray Charles session (this is ‘documented’ in the biopic “Ray” and is true AFAIK). The doc on him is full of those “good lord, he did THAT???” moments that I love so much.
Yes, Les Paul did have the first 8-track recorder!
And he got it from the US Army, who picked it up in Germany as WW 2 was ending…
I was lucky enough to see Les Paul live twice… the first time was the 1974 concert at Carnegie Hall that also had George Benson with a very young Earl Klugh on stage w/ him…
All the guitarists (5 in all) came on stage at the end for one final jam and Les blew ’em all away…
The 2nd time I saw Paul was in 1976 in SF, at a small, now defunct club (the Old Waldorf) doing a solo gig… I sat thru both shows and just managed to catch the last bus back to the East Bay around 1:30 in the morning…
He had this little box attached to his guitar he called the Les Paul-verizer that allowed him to multi-track himself in real time… he used it to lay down one track after another as he played along w/ the multiple tracks until it sounded like there were 4 people on stage, playing together…
Boy, was I ever a fan…
If you have never seen it, the Les Paul and Bill Gibbons bull session is pretty great.
Bill Gibbons? Is that ZZ Top?
That sounds wonderful…
I saw ZZ Top in college… before the beards…
I always thought the beards were one of the great marketing gimmicks of all time…
They never age on stage, and off stage the beards come off and they can all go out in public and no one ever recognizes them…
Yes, ZZ Top.
Just saw an excellent ZZ TOP Doc. on Utube.
1080p. Outstanding! Love the reminiscence
of touring with the Stones, in the early years.
Regrettably, missed Billy Gibbons playing in Encinitas recently. Hopefully, in the aftermath, there will be more such shows.
Billy Gibbons is, by far, such a good guitarist and musician that I recommend seeing him and/or ZZ any time you can.
Les was salt of the earth; I was lucky to do some events with him in the early aughts. He lived in New Jersey, just a super humble guy with zero pretense.
Summer ’82: When Zappa Came to Sicily (2013)
Zappa’s children travel to Sicily to connect with long-lost relatives. Also documents the disastrous
1982 concert in Palermo where a full-fledged riot broke out when disgruntled fans stormed the far-away stage in a cavernous soccer stadium and the police and army were called in to deal with it.
I miss Zappa terribly. My late step-father actually poured concrete at his house (he worked for a company in Hollywood, did a lot of star’s homes, including Barbra Streisand’s). He said Zappa was really down to earth and offered him a beer.
Rob Reiner directed an excellent one about a band that was very popular in Japan.
Ha! I love that movie…
‘Shark Sandwich’… “more like shit sandwich’… “he can’t say that, can he?”
And the all-time classic… “it goes to 11, man… it goes to 11…”
Almost forgot: Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest was a 60’s TeeVee series where he brought on musicians to perform, interview and jam.
My favorite episode features Rev. Gary Davis, plus Donovan and his sitar player. Its fun to watch Donovan’s stunned expression watching the Reverend’s unique fingerpicking riffs. Other episodes feature Brownie and Sonny, Johnny and June Cash, etc.
One of my favorites: Runnin’ Down a Dream. Documentary of Tom Petty in which he came across as just a great guy who might have been your neighbor.
Another good one: Muscle Shoals
Muscle Shoals… isn’t that where Duane Allman did a lot of his studio work before the ABB took off so big?
Isn’t that where Wilson Pickett recorded his monumental version of “Hey Jude” w/ Duane playing the hell out of the guitar part?
Tons of history at Muscle Shoals. Highly recommend the documentary.
Haven’t seen it and from what I do know about Muscle Shoals as a musical epicenter in this country, I can imagine it’s well worth the effort…
I remember someone, maybe Steve Cropper (?), talking about recording at Stax in Memphis, back in the early 60’s… they were working in an old movie theater (is what I remember) and the theater had speakers outside, in what had once been the entrance to the theater where you bought a ticket…
When they had recorded a song, they’d play it back thru the speakers out front, and if little old ladies walking down the street would stop to listen, then start dancing, they knew they had a hit…
I miss the old days…
Fortuitiously enough, the Muscle Shoals documentary is up on YT at this moment, in its entirety, in stunning 1080p. Beautifully shot, atmospheric as hell. I think there may have been ONE ad to mar the continuity. Well worth your time!!
Watched the Muscle Shoals documentary several times and each time its a wonder! amazing.the music, the people.
Heh, the first time I saw Tom Petty was pretty early. He was warm up for either the Tubes or Be Bop Deluxe (outside chance early Van Halen) at a medium sized local joint called the Celebrity Theater. Delivered an okay warm up set, but not great. And Petty could barely play guitar (I honestly thought I could do better, and I sucked on guitar). Didn’t think he had much of a future. Boy did I get that all wrong!
I wasn’t a fan until the doc. He made a fan of me because he was so straightforward and unpretentious – and a songwriter.
Now I’m jealous: BeBop Deluxe. Never got to see Bill Nelson, but he is one of the greats.
Saw Petty at the Coluseum In Vancouver, must have been the very early 90s. Great show. hadn/t been a fan until then.
I am going to go with The Police: around the world. This footage of the bands rise from nothing to huge superstar status in a very short time was all shot by the drummer’s brother, and band manager Miles Copeland. I first saw it in the spring of 1983, in a questionable bar in Amsterdam. Although already a fan of the music, the documentary added fuel to the fire of the band. Their high energy act was free of glamour or artifice. At least it was in those years. That time was also a transition away from disco, glam rock, prog rock, and the burial of the 60’s.
Anyway, it was a bar in Amsterdam, so my memory might be a little hazy.
Murray Lerner’s ‘Festival’: A Prototype for the Music Documentary
Putting in a plug for my friends from my hometown: Psychotic Pineapple Where’s The Party
This Aint No Mouse Music
Dont Look Back
Hail Hail Rock n Roll
Bring On The Night
Rolling Thunder Revue
Take Me To The River
Tales From A Cracked Jukebox
Hail Hail Rock and Roll!
Chuck berry’s birthday party, if I’m not mistaken?
I love the scene where he starts arguing w/ Keith Richards…
“Don’t touch my amp!”
Also, the old PBS series, “The History of Rock and Roll” is well worth the effort to watch… excellent footage of a lot of early rockers I had listened to for years and years but never seen before that series came out.
Heavily recommended: Breadcrumb Trail (2014) is about Slint, particularly their last album Spiderland. Lance Bangs (Being John Malkovich) is the filmmaker.
Thanks bmaz. Backstories are always insightful and informative.
Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music
The eight-part series explores the art of music recording, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds.
American Experience: Woodstock
In August 1969, nearly half a million people gathered at a farm in upstate New York to hear music. What happened over the next three days, however, was far more than a concert.
More creativity behind the scenes:
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – Classic Albums
Dunno if “Straight Out of Compton” counts here and while I don’t really like that genre – and rappin’
about shooting cops is not my thing though I kind of understand why from their PoV though again I do not condone it – but do I have respect for Ice Cube and Dr. Dre as they present themselves today.
I have donned me flak jacket.
Heh. Flack from groundfire was part of the Compton legend and it made this student pilot’s flying lessons all the more realistic. Your first takeoff and landing into Compton’s urban setting is extremely memorable… with or without the archie.
another slice of Compton life is the documentary “Fire on the Hill” about the decades-long but now vanishing Black Cowboy culture: https://www.fireonthehill.la/trailer/test-trailer
Thanks! A lot of great recommendations here. I’ll add two more: Talking Heads Stop Making Sense and Laurie Anderson Home of the Brave. Love, love, love these two!
To bring it full circle: as many people here have expressed their love for R&R Animal, Laurie was Lou Reed’s wife for the last 20+ years of his life. She really tempered Lou’s gruffness; always polite and kind (and she loves dogs!).
The Beatles’ Revelatory White Album Demos: A Complete Guide
We delve deep into the 1968 home recordings that planted the seeds for the band’s classic self-titled double LP
This is a 2018 article, and, sadly, the Youtube links to the song demos have been deactivated, The essays are good.
Fascinating examination of the songwriting process on a number of Beatles’ songs:
When the Beatles first blew onto the scene, I was still in high school and not a fan. Freshman year at Pratt dropped me into the “Soul Scene” (saw Richie Havens and Bill Withers at some dives somewhere in NYC), and my next door neighbor (who was dating someone from Harlem and snorting heroin for fun) was touting this group called The Doors. One of my friends on the floor had been to the Beatles’ Candlestick concert and I was ready to strangle her if she gushed about them one more time. To get away from all the NYC craziness, I transferred in the Fall to SU, where one of my classmates (and friends) was really into rock music. His brother had a bootleg copy (I never asked how or why) of the White Album, so we jumped on a plane to Boston to listen to it for two days straight. Finally, I thought, they’ve written some decent stuff! ; ^ )
I haven’t seen a mention of ‘Festival Express” here…
Concert film of a noteworthy collection of bands – Grateful Dead, The Band, the Burrito Bros (right after Parsons had left) touring Canada by train in 1970, locked up in litigation for 30 years or so… a little uneven at times, and the best performances are worth the effort…
-1 to myself for failure to mention The Last Waltz.
Bela Fleck “Throw Down Your Heart”. Traveling Africa playing banjos with local musicians exploring its origins. Will put a smile on your face.
(Not sure why this was a reply…)
Searching For Sugarman on Netflix may be the best music doc of all time. Weill I am not sure it’s a documentary, it’s a story. (I do suspect he was a severe alcoholic but that shouldn’t detract from the stories of redemption ingrained in this story)
Rosetta Tharp made into the RR Hall of Fame in 2018 and I’ll be honest I had never known of her. Another in the endless tales about the roots of rock and roll.
I first came across footage of the Sister in one of the American Folk Blues Festival dvds I mentioned above…
I had heard the name but never really looked into her…
She did a song called ‘Didn’t It Rain?’… and she was playing an SG…
At one point she started playing lead guitar and it was like, “Holy crap… she can really play!”
Looking for Sugarman, the music is great watch the doc. every time it comes on pbs. keep the CD in the vehicle. just an amazing talent.
I have a hard time with docs about bands – I’m more about the music.
I have the Christ Whitley one and the Mark Sandman one and the Joe Strummer one and the Nick Cave one, and just can’t get enthused to watch ’em (especially the former) as I love those artists and fear losing some … respect …
Bonus add-on’s to CD’s (typically about the making of the record), turn out to be my favorites, such as:
The add-on to The Clash’s *London Calling*
The add-on to *Exile on Main Street*
The add-on Son Volt’s *Okemah and the Melody of Riot*
The add-on to The Cure *The Cure*
Sonic Highways is an 8 part series Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters did. They traveled across the country to record a different song in 8 different important recording studios in 8 different cities and explored the music history of each city and each studio along the way. Reveals another sense of the music community that docs like The Wrecking Crew, 20 Feet from Stardom, and others also explore.
In a way, an elegy for those communities and the recording studios themselves which have often evolved or devolved into a laptop and some audio programs. Hell, I know someone who will be releasing a record on a major label that was recorded off an iPhone.
Sound City is another Grohl project in a similar vein. As much as I love a good documentary about musicians, my real jam is learning about the studio engineering. Neumann, Neve, Ampex, Altec – tools for capturing magic.
I’d note to everyone in the US that many of the movies suggested here are available for streaming at no cost via your local library, which may have associations with Hoopladigital, Kanopy, or similar services. I owe my local library a debt of gratitude for getting our family through this time with their online services.
A few of my favorites:
* We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen – Heartwarming story of this DIY, self-taught, influential jazz-punk band
* MC5: A True Testimonial – This one is hard to locate
* Amy (Amy Winehouse)
* What Happened, Miss Simone? (Nina Simone)
* Talking Heads Live in Rome, 1980 – Talking Heads at their peak with Bernie Worell and Andrian Belew on stage
* Urgh! A Music War – Amazing live compilation of 1980’s punk and new wave bands.
This is a WONNNNNDERFUL thread!!! Thanks Bmaz and everybody!!
The documentaries on the making of Peter Gabriel albums are great. +1 for the Wrecking Crew.
If you like electronic music, I Dream of Wires is great.
History of The Eagles Part One and Two is excellent.
This is not in keeping with the theme but I hope you will indulge. It is musical and an update on an old classic that made me smile. If only it could chart at No 1.
I’ve seen the Ronstad doc and its good. Lightfoot is a Canadian treasure. His body of work is amazing. When he was young his voice was so amazing. still play his cds while driving up the highway of life. He really is an interesting man.
Saw a documentary about Dolly Parton also recently. omg she is an amazing talent.
most that i would mention have already been mentioned. So here’s 3 to add that i thought were pretty great:
1. Cocksucker Blues – Rolling Stones at their peak musically and chemically. I saw them on this tour.
2. This Is Pop – XTC, a fantastic and underrated band imho. Only saw them once.
3. Big Star – Alex Chilton and a tragic story.
And one more that is fictitious but based on some reality:
1. Frank – Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gillenhall. based on Captain Beefheart and Chris Sievey. I loved this movie/documentary.
Thank you for bringing this movie up. Will check out.
Last week, I made a mistake in listing my first concert. It was Captain Beefheart at the Paradise on Comm Ave, Boston. 1971.
As he moved up closer to the mic, trumpet at the ready, someone from the crowd yelled out, “Play something good, man!”
Beefheart deadpanned, “I’ll tryyy” put the mic directly into the horn, and he just leaned back and BLEW a hailstorm of dissonance.
I’m still laughing today.
Offenbach was a pivotal band in Québec’s musical industry. This is when they went to France in the mid seventies. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM1xgHPvVQA
Quebecois!! How are you and things? I very much hope well.
I’m good, social distancing like a champion, my surgeon told me to (not fuck it up) be extra careful.
Bought a new hybrid bike, I fall too often off my road bike, going fast, with all the dangerous drivers around. I don’t want to crawl into an emergency room after a crash. Carbon frame, 105 group, this thing is wicked fast and comfortable. Equipped it with 15 l seatpacker bikepacking bag, I have an extra tire, extra tubes, all the tools to be independent if anything happens far from home. It was nice today to sit on the bike, in jeans and a jacket, no cycling accoutrement and just pedal away.
Had to go to the hospital for some imagery, they cancelled twice. Two weeks ago I was getting ready, and was thinking about canceling the visit myself. I did. Four days ago, La Presse headline was that this hospital was the covid center for this part of the island and that it was getting bad in there. Intuitions and thoughts, listen to them.
All in all, my life is damn good.
Happy to have good health and a new bike!
Outstanding, and very good to hear. I am jonesing for some F1 this year, but not overly optimistic. People are worried about an NFL stadium….can you imagine a full on F1 weekend? Ugh.
Off-topic (sort of), but while in quarantine, check out the films of Denys Arcand. Great snapshots of modern life in Quebec in the 1980’s. Taught me a lot about human relations.
I had forgotten about the Tom Dowd documentary but it is excellent. IIRC, it opens with him working with Joe Bonnamasa.
The “Muscle Shoals” documentary is excellent as is “The Wrecking Crew”
I’ve seen bits of “Festival Express”; it looks like a fun scene with a lot of jamming on the train.
“The Kids Are Alright” is a pretty good history of The Whoo
And finally, Leon Russell’s “A Poem Is a Naked Person” is a good window into his world of the early ’70s
The History of The Eagles Parts 1 & 2 is excellent, and also has a portion about Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne.
Well, I should be kicked around the block TWICE for omitting this: “The Greatest Ears In Town,” a documentary about the third Turk at Atlantic Records (besides the Ertegun brothers): Arif Mardin, who (says Wikipedia) was one of “the three legends (Dowd, Mardin, and Wexler) [who] were responsible for establishing the ‘Atlantic Sound'”. He produced, arranged, wrote for, and hand-held in the studio: The Rascals, Carly Simon, Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Queen, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Lulu, Anita Baker, Judy Collins, Phil Collins, Scritti Politti, Culture Club, Roberta Flack, Average White Band, Hall & Oates, …you get the idea. Incredibly gifted, exceedingly modest, a guy who made all the artists he worked with, better. A great documentary!
Somewhere around this rat’s nest of an apartment I’ve got an old student-recital LP put out by Berklee School of Music–with compositions by a very young Arif Mardin (and piano played by a very young Toshiko Akyoshi). A real gem!
Always amazed at the knowledge of folks here. Toshiko is an amazing pianist and composer, and along with her second husband, Lew Tabackin, lead one of the greatest big bands in history. She was first married to Charlie Mariano (RIP), soon after she came to Berkeley from Japan. She was still performing at Zinc Bar in NYC up until the lockdown.
Maybe a little off target but it IS Iggy Pop doing a reading of the Cooleridge:
What fitter Mariner than the Passenger? What better beast than the world’s only sea lizard? Iggy, from the Iguanas (the name of his first band), leaving the shores of James Newell Osterberg, his other self, behind. Cold blooded and hungry, with a lust for life, driven into the sun, onto and under the waters to survive. Pop but not always popular. Decades on stage facing down indifference from the wrong crowds. ‘What evil looks had I from young and old.’ Indeed. Now he alone survives to tell the tale, and returns to remind us what he’s seen.
PS: the guardian had a blip on Pop too sharing his love and admiration for Gibbons big book for those who love history and old English prose..so beautiful to me too, so dense and convoluted I had many times to re-read a long passage to pick up again the subject I had misplace before getting to the stop, the period.
I only discovered him when I heard Lust for Life on Trainspotting, another flick I love. Bought the album.
The thing that trips me out the most in Gibbon’s big book: Chapter L.
I think Dali illustrates it and I am surprised that I have not seen any protest.
Big fan of Iggy, (do see him live if ever you get the chance – and there are many good DVD’s) so I just wanna throw out this random thought:
He is the next generation’s Leonard Cohen.
After my surgery in very late january, I had decided that i should attend the Montréal event. Covid happened, no purchase.
There is no way to hold a GP in Montréal, it would take two days to empty the island respecting social distancing, those subways can only hold a certain number of drunk and drooling Verstappen fans.
I would understand events banning spectators, there are talks of multiple races for a weekend. Id like to see friday qual., normal race on saturday, and a reverse order start race on sunday, based on the results of saturdays race.
Screw the championship, just give the titles to leclerc and McClaren and be done with that.
Great thread, I’ve added a whole bunch to my watchlist. I’ll mention “Long Strange Trip”. Even if you hate the Dead, I think there’s enough meat to it (especially in the second half) to make it interesting.
Such Hawks Such Hounds.
Such Hawks Such Hounds explores the music and musicians of the American hard rock underground circa 1970-2007, focusing on the psychedelic and ’70s proto-metal-derived styles that have in recent years formed a rich body of unclassifiable sounds.
Ok, I would argue that “The Last Waltz” qualifies as a documentary, even though it is a concert film. That said, I did not see Ken Burns “Country Music” mentioned. I am not really a country fan (raised as I was on Jefferson Airplane, The Stones, Grateful Dead and New Riders of the Purple Sage) but I found it to be a fascinating look at music and it’s affect on our history and culture. Burns really is an national treasure.
watched the Lightfoot doc last evening on our doc. channel. I look at him back in the day and wonder were we ever that young. some from that time went into acting, movies, etc.and we were all that young. omg. it is interesting to see how some things are woven to make it work. Lightfoot truly is a great talent and he could actually write his music, like the notes, etc. that always did amaze me. To see him now old, as we all are, he hasn’t really changed much. wonder if he’d still give you his shirt in the back of a cab?
Not a documentary, but an interview clip featuring Ringo (and Ray Cooper, among others) about the 2002 “Concert for George.” There are a whole series of different interviews with performers in the show. This one happens to be my favorite.
Does anyone else like It Might Get Loud?
yes! particularly liked the Edge’s sections back at the school where it all started.
New York Doll – 2005 documentary about Arthur Killer Kane.
What an awesome compilation, LOTS to check out!
I haven’t watched this one yet, but it’s on my radar to see Mike Judge’s documentary tv show ‘Tales From the Tour Bus’, (two seasons) which looks entertaining – though it’s animated.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life, was very good
Animated, but with real voices. It is very good. I think the one on Bootsy Collins is very good.
welp, i don’t have to worry about attending any big concerts ever again: the Saudi sovereign wealth fund just injected $500 million into Live Nation.
the kicker: “The investment in Live Nation is the second by the Saudi government this month in an industry hit hard by the pandemic. The Saudi Public Investment Fund also took a $775 million stake in Carnival Cruises.”
so THAT’s why Carnival Cruises got to jump to the head of the bailout line.
In fairness, Live Nation always totally sucked.
Man, I still miss Bill Graham. So many great shows, and when he shouts “Get your god damned feet off the back of my god damned seats” while looking right at you….. it’s like it was yesteryear.
Bill Graham was a huge loss. In so many ways. There are a lot of folks here that join you in missing him.
Once upon a time there was an insane clown who started a posse of criminal Trumpalo posers who brought death and economic destruction to many lands.
Prior to this calamity, normal people who got together under the watchful eye of the fbi to celebrate life and to share heartwarming experiences of human expression and comraderie, educed empyreal ecstasy as natural born Juggalos.
Here is their story…
That numbnuts dysfunctional spell checker sucks…camaraderie need not apply to trolls…
Ooof, okay, I stumbled back in to this one. Not sure which of the live music posts I mentioned it on, but the first time I ever saw the Stones live was in Tucson. With Linda, who was in town visiting her family. This is it. Pardon the crappy sound, but it was a long time ago, and I was not the one who recorded it.
A bit late here but, “the Genius of Lenny Breau”comes to mind. He lived near Randy Bachman in Winnipeg and story goes Randy skipped school to get lessons and hang out. Im dating myself but…I saw Lenny in Banff Fine Arts, 1974 (also Sonny Terry and Brownie Magee). True Genius.
Also, there are YouTubes that are quite good.
Have a look.
Never too late.
Bad Reputation — about who else but Joan Jett.
Also what of memoirs? That might be an interesting list/convo.
And apropos of all the recent posts in this category, it might be timely (if a buzz kill) to mention that one apparently needs a playlist to go with the funeral (wake) services these days. Has anyone made their final arrangements? Might be good timing with everyone’s favs busted out for these posts (and may we all live long enough to lose the lists, much less actually use them …thinking face). I know I used songs by most of these artists when I had to put something together on the fly (while it was life-celebratory in its way to pick songs, it was also yet another task and some pressure to get it right, as picky as we all are about music, especially doing it for a loved one).