Posts Tagged ‘Herbie Mann’

About Muscles

December 2, 2015

I’ve been thinking about muscles for the last week or so. Sometime in the middle of last week, I woke up with a sore back. I think I somehow strained some muscles in my sleep, and they’re getting only marginally better day by day. (This is unrelated to the muscle I pulled near my hip while moving the copying machine the other week.)

Then we had about five inches of snow Monday evening and another inch or so last night, and I went ahead and shoveled the walk yesterday morning and this morning. I probably shouldn’t have done that either time.

All of that means that I’m finding it hard to concentrate on writing right now (although I am working on an idea for a post on Friday, if I can focus). But I thought I’d just drop a note here so folks know that I haven’t bugged out for the winter like my tunehead pals Odd and Pop evidently have.

So, just to prove I’m still here and to note obliquely why my mind isn’t as clear as it should be right now, here’s Herbie Mann’s “Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty” from 1970:

Disorder In The Center

August 5, 2011

Originally posted September 8, 2008

On the far wall, the big shelves wait for the LPs, all of which are still in boxes that form Mount Vinyl in the middle of the living room. On the near wall, the electronics are all hooked up: computer, USB turntable, television, telephone, CD player with futuristic speakers and wireless headphones.

But in the center of the room that we call my study: Oh disorder!

Somehow, two of the large fans we used in the apartment – it was on the southwest corner of the building with no shade, and the air conditioner, a wall unit, was horribly unsuited to cool anything but the living room – two of those fans have wandered into this room. We shouldn’t need them any longer except in a Saharan heat wave, as the house has central air and is shaded by about twenty large trees, most of them oak.

Along with the fans, as I scan the pile of miscellaneous stuff that has migrated here in the past six days, I can see a small plastic table, about ten feet of coaxial cable the cable guy didn’t need, a box of board games (Up Words, several versions of Monopoly, two versions of Risk, the Settlers of Catan – our favorite – and more), a book bag, two belts, a blue three-ring binder (with no paper in it), two trays with bottles of prescription medicine from the past six years, two folders of lyrics and verse dating back to 1970, another folder filled with special editions of Sports Illustrated dating back to 1979 and a partially inflated Hutch brand football called The Gripper with a facsimile signature from Roger Staubach.

And that’s just the stuff I can see in a glance before I get to the boxes of books. It looks like a random junkyard to me.

A Monday Walk Through the Junkyard (1950-1999), Vol. 6
“Come Together” by the Beatles from Abbey Road, 1969

“Friar’s Point” by Susan Tedeschi from Just Won’t Burn, 1998

“Two Faced Man” by Gary Wright from Footprint, 1971

“The Madman And The Angel” by Drnwyn from Gypsies In The Mist, 1978

“Blind Willy” by Herbie Mann from Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty, 1970

“I’m A Drifter” by Martin & Neil from Tear Down The Walls, 1964

“Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton, Columbia single 41339, 1959

“Golf Girl” by Caravan from In The Land of Grey and Pink, 1971

“The Road” by Chicago from Chicago, 1970

“Sit and Wonder” by Dave Mason and Cass Elliot from Dave Mason & Cass Elliot, 1971

“I’m Not Living Here” by Sagittarius from Present Tense, 1967

“Four Walls” by Eddie Holman from I Love You, 1970

“Seven Day Fool” by Etta James, Argo single 5402, 1961

A few notes:

Susan Tedeschi is an excellent blues guitarist and singer who has made a string of fine albums, starting with Just Won’t Burn. “Friar’s Point” is a tour through blues country: Friars Point itself is a small Mississippi town right on the Mississippi River in Delta Country. Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues” mentioned the small town: “I got womens in Vicksburg, clean on into Tennessee/But my Friars Point rider, now, hops all over me.” The town is also famous as the home of the park bench where a young Muddy Waters is said to have seen and heard Johnson play guitar. Intimidated, the tale goes, Waters quietly walked away. Tedeschi’s song name-checks Johnson, Irma Thomas, B.B. King, Magic Sam and Waters himself as it takes us from the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago. The town’s name is “Friars Point,” with no apostrophe; Tedeschi’s song is titled, according to All-Music Guide and other sources, “Friar’s Point.” Why? I have no idea. Nor do I have any information about the surprise ending of the mp3; I got the file from a friend and don’t have access to the original CD this morning.

There’s not a lot of information out there about Drnwyn, at least not that I’ve found. A note at the blog Jezus Rocks classifies the group as Christian Folk/Psychedelic/Rock, and I guess that fits as well as anything, although it sounds more like 1969 than 1978 to me. I found the album online in my early days of haunting music blogs, but I do not recall where. The same note at Jezus Rocks tells of a 2006 CD reissue, but copies of that seem scarce, based on a quick look.

The Herbie Mann track is from an LP I ripped and posted here almost a year and a half ago. Amazingly, the link for the album is still good. You can find the original post here.

The Neil of Martin & Neil was the late Fred Neil, reclusive singer and writer of, among others, “Everybody’s Talkin’” and “The Dolphins.” Martin was Vince Martin, and the two men’s talents – augmented by some work on bass by Felix Pappalardi and on harmonica by John Sebastian – made for a good album.

“The Road” is the second track from the album now known as Chicago II, the one with the silver cover that was called simply Chicago when it was released in 1970 and then again years later when it was released on CD.

Herbie Mann Gets Gritty

April 18, 2011

Originally posted April 20, 2007

One of the fun things about the mp3 player I use – RealPlayer – is the ways it allows me to sort my collection. Some of the results tell a lot about me and what music I truly cherish.

For instance, I can sort by the songs by artist. When I do that, this is what I get:

Bob Dylan, 457
Bruce Springsteen, 288
Beatles, 223
Nanci Griffith 189
Eric Clapton 185
Fleetwood Mac 182
The Band, 177
Gordon Lightfoot 141
Moody Blues, 137
Howlin’ Wolf, 135
Richie Havens, 131
Everly Brothers 122
Muddy Waters, 107
Rolling Stones, 95
George Harrison, 93
Donovan, 87
Darden Smith, 86
Allman Brothers Band, 85
Elvis Presley, 85
John Barry, 82
Paul McCartney 82
John Hammond, 80
Taj Mahal, 75
Bonnie Raitt, 73
Sebastian 73

Well, that’s the top 25, and it’s a pretty good indicator of my favorite artists, and of my favorite years, too, if you think about it. It’s not that I don’t listen to new stuff. I’m always interested in new artists and new music. Just like the DJ over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, I try to “stave off terminal geezerhood.” (And thanks to the DJ for the tip on Amy Winehouse; her album is a fine one!) But I guess I am inherently conservative. I wait for some time, letting new sounds settle into me slowly, before fully adopting them.

And anyway, looking at the top of the list of performers will never tell you which new performers I’m interested in. To use a baseball analogy, that’s like looking at the list of career leaders in home runs and trying to determine who is the best current home run threat. The careers – both for new ballplayers and new musicians – haven’t been long enough yet to build those kinds of numbers.

What might be more telling is looking at the numbers of songs by decades.

1950s – 950
1960s – 4,524
1970s – 5,422
1980s – 1,406
1990s – 2,619
2000s – 2,245

While a large chunk of my music comes, not unexpectedly, from the decades of my youth – the 1960s and 1970s – those numbers indicate that I’m far more interested in music being produced today than I was in music produced during the 1980s. I’m not a fan of rap or hip-hop, but I do recognize the social importance and impact of both genres, and both are represented in my collection. And there are other types of music in which performers are releasing new works, sometimes reinvigorating genres (see Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse; Joseph Arthur, Jack Johnson and Ray LaMontagne), sometimes building on traditions long in place, as in the cases of Dylan, Springsteen, Nanci Griffith and others from the list above, as well as other musicians. A quick run through my collection shows current releases from artists as diverse as Anna Nalick, Big Bill Morganfield (Muddy Waters’ son), Chris Thomas King, the Corrs, Delta Moon, Eric Bibb, Five For Fighting, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (check ’em out!), Jimmy LaFave, KT Tunstall, Ollabelle, Mindy Smith, the Wailin’ Jennys (whom the Texas Gal and I will see in concert tonight) and many more.

So I don’t think I’m declining into geezerhood yet, although I suppose I’d be the last to know. I do know that the two college girls who live in the apartment above us think that the Texas Gal and I are a “cute older couple.” But I do try to stay current.

That’s never going to be reflected, however, in the music I share here. There is too much music worth listening to that is either out of print, never released on CD or otherwise forgotten, and that’s the niche I’ve chosen for this blog.

As for today’s album, like many that I share here, it was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama, and in fact, took its title from the studios. Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty by Herbie Mann is one of the flutist’s explorations in pop jazz. Funky and soulful, the record was recorded in 1970, when Mann was exploring the limits of jazz and the places where jazz met other genres.

For the sessions, Mann brought along his bandmates: Roy Ayers on vibes, Miroslav Vitous on bass and Bruno Carr on drums. Joining them was the Muscle Shoals rhythm section: Roger Hawkins on drums, David Hood on bass and Barry Beckett on piano. Also lending a hand were Eddie Hinton and Jimmy Johnson on guitar (listen for Hinton’s bottleneck work on “Panama Red’s Panama Hat”). In addition, the Memphis Horns – Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love, Ed Logan and James Mitchell – pitched in on four of the six cuts on the album.

Highlights of the record, for me, are the funky title cut; “Blind Willy,” with Hawkins coming out from behind the drum set and picking up a jew’s harp; and the slithering, smoldering version of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”

Track listing:
Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty
Claudia Pie
Can You Dig It
Blind Willy
Come Together
Panama Red’s Panama Hat

Herbie Mann – Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty  [1970]