Tag Archives: The Beatles

Damon Mitchell’s Elise Hypnotizes Listeners In The Sound of Rock & Grit

25 Jan

Upon first listening to Elise, listeners will hear Damon Mitchell‘s heartfelt grit when singing in his recent single. “Your dark demand that I do not share, you break the ice and put it on your bruise” showcases just some of the lyrics within the song that point towards this complicated character that Mitchell sings about. The tone of his angst and the background of Elise also showcase the dark qualities of this woman that we can speculate was an ex-girlfriend. Heavily inspired by mid 60s Beatles, listeners also hear a dash of 70s grunge and rock sounds within the song as well. If you think that you will be disappointed by this EP, this single track should turn that mindset around. In addition to this enticing song to set the groundwork, stand-out artists will make musical appearances on the EP. Featuring musicians such as Charlie McCoy (Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel) and Tris Imboden (Chicago, Kenny Loggins), etc, Damon Mitchell delivers this album with all of his heart & soul.

For more listening:

Paul Orwell tells all in video for single, “Tell Me Tell Me”

15 Sep

Psychedelic rock is a very enduring genre. Though it has changed over the years, the feeling it evokes remains intact. Today, we have artists such as Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but I still have a soft spot for sixties rock-pop, the first incarnation of psych rock. The Beatles are important to anyone’s musical self-discovery, and some current bands can capture that old school sound very well. I think Paul Orwell is one of them.

In his newest single, “Tell Me Tell Me,” Orwell and his band The Night Falls make a Britpop song straight from 1963. The echoing in the vocals and twangs in the guitar strums make this modern song feel as if it were written decades earlier. Not to mention that Orwell plays the part; he’s aloof, and I think if I met him in person he’d just shake his head and mumble some Britishisms. In the video for “Tell Me, Tell Me” he and his band go to a barber shop, seemingly to only annoy the hairdressers. Orwell is too cool for school, and refuses to stop moving around for the haircut, but he doesn’t care how it will turn out. He is similarly indifferent in his video for “Little Reason,” Orwell’s earlier single.

paul orwell

My favorite thing about this London native is his full head of hair. I watched “Tell Me Tell Me” expecting his hair to be a little shorter than it was at the beginning, but he ends up with the same mess of hair that he’s always had. And that’s when I realized, his hair is the joke. He has the same mop in “Little Reason” and even has illustrations that accentuate his overly full head of hair. I think that his wit and songwriting skills will propel him into contemporary popularity, even though he sounds like a contemporary of the Kinks.

For more information on Paul Orwell, visit his Facebook.

Many Matches in the Matchbox

4 Sep

It’s often shocking how often you find yourself unknowingly enjoying a modern incarnation of a song that has its roots embedded in the past. Covers are great, but they spawn histories that are often forgotten. The Blues Evolution is The Music Court’s attempt to combine two engaging topics, music and history, and share tales of popular blues songs that were first recorded before the first rock n’ roll song was ever created.

Today’s song of choice is “Matchbox,” a blues song born in the 1920s and covered 30 years later by Carl Perkins (and later the Beatles). It is also a great example of musical telephone, where Perkins was forced to guess on the lyric of the decade-old blues song, thus creating an entirely new song that simply held the original’s foundation. So, if you will oblige, let’s take a trip down the long stretch of road that is blues history.

Blind Lemon Jefferson

It all begins with Blind Lemon Jefferson. Well, kind of. Blind Lemon was just one of the many ultra-talented blind blues musicians who inspired the eventual creation of rock n’ roll, but he developed “Matchbox” because he was inspired by a lyric in a Ma Rainey song. Blind Lemon, who has been called the Father of Texas Blues, was inspired by Ma Rainey – “The Mother of the Blues.” The blues ancestry works much like mythology, it seems. Blind Lemon and Ma Rainey inspired Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and many, many others.

In Ma Rainey’s 1924 record “Lost Wandering Blues,” she sings, “Lord, I’m standing here wondering, Will a matchbox hold my clothes. I’ve got a sun to beat, I’ll be farther down the road.” In a pre-sampling example of sampling, Blind Lemon took that lyric and wrote, “I’m sittin’ here wonderin’ would a matchbox hold my clothes.
I ain’t got so many matches but I got so far to go.” Quite similar, indeed. Blind Lemon’s version of the lyric became more popular, but credit must be given to Ma Rainey as well.

There is Blind Lemon’s high croon and traditional Texas acoustic blues guitar. Gosh, pre-rock n’ roll blues is just awesome, isn’t it? This song was recorded several more times through the 30s and 40s but to no true popularity, though it was through one of these covers that the song was reintroduced to the public.

Thirty years later, Carl Perkins’ father suggested he cover the song in a December, 1956 recording session. Perkins’ father, Buck, was a student of old country music, and several country musicians covered the Blind Lemon song in the 1930s and 40s. He only remembered a few lines of the song. Carl decided to try his luck, and the session pianist, Jerry Lee Lewis (not a bad session pianist!), played a boogie rhythm on the piano. Perkins transformed the song into fast-paced rockabilly…with completely different lyrics.

The line that Blind Lemon adopted from Ma Rainey is still there. It is the only similarity that remains. The song, which Blind Lemon made about a mean woman, became a about a poor boy a long way from home. Here is Carl Perkins performing the song with Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton because we can!

The Beatles, who were inspired by Perkins, had received a request to record a Perkins song, and in 1964 they recorded the song with Perkins himself standing by. Yes, he was invited to the session, and did jam with the band (just not on the track). Ringo was tasked with the vocal responsibilities, and he sang the song while playing his drum set.

From the mother to the father to Mr. Blue Suede Shoes to the greatest band of the 20th century. And to think, I’m sittin’ here wondering if a matchbox will hold my clothes.

Old School Pop

31 Oct

The pop music played on the radio years ago wasn’t as bad as today.  Turn on your average, everyday pop station and you’ll hear Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Bruno Mars multiple times per hour.  Like K$sha?  Me neither.  But she’s still played 42 times a day like she has some sort of deal with the devil and I’m not talking about the good kind, like a Robert Johnson or Led Zeppelin type deal, but one that someone talentless would make, say Vanilla Ice, to stay relevant.  Well, maybe I just have an over romanticized vision of the whole thing but at one point real musicians ruled the airwaves.  Sure, not all pop acts were great (cough Barry Manilow, cough), but enough to make me reminisce of days long before I was alive  where driving in a car didn’t require satellites or an iPod cable to get cool tunes.

The Beatles were the ultimate pop band and while their later albums added to this sound, they never really lost their pop sensibilities upon breaking up.  Paul McCartney went on to form Paul McCartney and Wings famous for such songs as “Maybe I’m Amazed” and my personal favorite, “Band on the Run”.  George Harrison development as a songwriter continued with the sound he developed in the later Beatles albums (compare “Here Comes the Sun” and “My Sweet Lord”).  You can’t forget John Lennon who came out with almost a prayer for peace with his seminal work, “Imagine”.  I really feel bad about being like everyone else and leaving out Ringo but then again, I can’t really pick any of his music out by name.

I didn’t realize how long this article would become so stay tuned for some non-Bealtes pop music from back in the day in a future post.

The Greatest Post Ever for the Greatest Band Ever

25 Oct

For the most part, I’m out of bands so I’m going to give my ode to the greatest band of all time: The Beatles.  The thing about The Beatles is that they are in an almost exclusive club of bands that weren’t reactionaries to the times in which they lived in. They defined the times.  I used to think (incorrectly) that The Beatles were overrated.  I mean, songs like “Love Me Do” and “Help” and “Please Mr.  Postman” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” are just simple pop songs, yet they formed the mold for future rock groups to follow.  In addition to setting the paradigm of 2 guitars, bass and drums, The Beatles also added elements of  music of black musicians like Little Richard and Chuck Berry with white musicians like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley that would influence rock n roll music for decades.

So let’s put The Beatles impact on music on the backburner for now and just look at the music itself.  The Beatles first phase was the “Love Me” phase characterized by simple song structures, simple I love you, love me lyrics (like the song above).  It’s what first captivated America on the Ed Sullivan show performance and really sparked Beatlemania.  Fast forward to the time they played Shea Stadium and decided to stop touring. So born the social commentary Beatles, who started growing beards and doing drugs.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is their seminal work from this period, almost a rock opera that is considered one of the greatest (according to Rolling Stone the greatest album of all time) that introduced innovative techniques for recording that included adding musicians in addition to just the fab four and experimenting with innovative recording techniques.  Just check out the sound below that builds upon the original Beatles sound.

Last but not least of the Beatles phases results in their last album while together and my absolute favorite: Abbey Road.  It shows a mature group who’s ability to combine their music together in the face of falling apart absolutely amazes me.  Listen to the White Album and you will hear a band at war with itself.  Each individual song sounds like it was done by an individual member and in fact that’s the case.  In fact, all members except for Ringo refused to record when another member was in the studio.  There were George songs, John songs and Paul songs.  Abbey Road sees the Beatles come together for one last hurrah and tolerate each other.  Their individual tastes and song writing abilities combine to create a concept album like Sgt Peppers of epic proportions.  Just listen to the whole album.  It’s a piece of absolute genius.

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