03 August 2010

RIP Bobby Hebb

Hello folks!
It's been a long time, I know, and it will probably be longer still until I am up and running again more regularly as I am trying to finish writing my book while working a full-time job. But I felt the need to post today upon hearing of Bobby Hebb's passing.

I wrote about Hebb last summer because we share a birthday. Yesterday on 2 August 2010, Hebb died at 72, reportedly of lung cancer.

I just wanted to take a bit of time to pay a small tribute to a fellow July 26er. Farewell and Godspeed, Mr. Hebb and thank you for the sunshine you gave with your beautiful song.

Stevie Wonder's version of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny"

02 April 2010

I Hate April Fools' Day

I really do. I mean, I will freely admit that I am a goofball and a jokester and have definitely pulled some pranks on some folks but I cannot stand the fact there is a whole day devoted to just screwing someone over for one's own amusement.

And then, there's the Marvin Gaye factor.

I was in elementary school when Marvin was shot to death by his father on 1 April 1984, the day before Marvin's 45th birthday. I remember my parents were devastated and I was sad as well; by that point, I had been listening to Marvin's music for literally all of my life. Watching the story unfold on the evening news seemed like I was being subjected to the cruelest April Fools' joke ever. And yet, it was not a hoax.

Never mind the fact that Marvin was said to be struggling with cocaine addiction, money problems, depression, and the pain of two failed marriages. (The first was to Berry Gordy's sister Anna who was 17 years his senior and the second to Janis Hunter who happened to be 17 years his junior and whom he pursued and had two children with while she was still a teenager. And in another odd coincidence, according to Wikipedia, the birthdays of two women are 2 days apart.). And never mind the fact that, after years of reflection, a number of Marvin's friends now believe that he purposely provoked Marvin Sr. into shooting him as a way of committing suicide (I saw this on the PBS series American Masters). It is still probably the saddest end to a life I have ever seen or heard, especially for an individual who had contributed so much to people's lives through his artistry.

I absolutely hate April Fools' Day.

Marvin's last big hit. Soul Asylum did a cover of it in the 90s that I dug because their version confirmed for me that I was not nuts all those years I believed that Marvin was singing something about masturbation in the fade out.

"I Want You"
This song to me is like pure sex in stereo, baby!

"If I Should Die Tonight"
For me, there are no words to describe the beauty of this song.

This is from Here, My Dear, the album Marvin recorded as the settlement in his divorce from Anna Gordy. I have only listened to the album one time and it took me three sittings to listen to the whole thing because I found the bitterness and pain that permeates the album to be overwhelming.

This is one of my favorites of Marvin's and I think it's a shame that it is hardly ever played anywhere. Meanwhile, I think Chico DeBarge did a great job with this classic.

02 March 2010

I'm Back!

Well, what started out as a moratorium for the recently deceased Teddy Pendergrass and the victims of the earthquake in Haiti devolved into pure laziness but then transformed into spending my time doing other reading and writing. But now there's been an earthquake in Chile and I figured that was my signal to get back into the blog. After reading about the misappropriation of funds from some "charities" started by certain NY State Congressmen for Hurricane Katrina victims, I'm figuring that the Red Cross is the only reputable organization out there when it comes to disaster relief. If you want to help, please text the word "HAITI" or "CHILE" to 90999 and $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill. It's pretty easy to do and the Red Cross will text you updates of what they are doing with the money that you and others like you have donated.

04 January 2010

Goodbye Philo

I wrote about Philip Lynott when it was his birthday. Today is the 24th anniversary of his death and every year on this date, an Irish rock concert is put on in his memory called "Vibe For Philo."

Long live Philip Lynott!

PS Someone just posted this video of the song "Honesty Is No Excuse" from Thin Lizzy's first and eponymous album in 1971. It's an amazing song with lyrics that seem far beyond the mind of a young man, but Phil couldn't have been more than 22 years when he wrote it.

This is "Old Time" from one of Phil's solo records. The Corrs remade it a few years ago and had a hit with it.

Phil gets some help from Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler with his tribute to Elvis Presley in "King's Call." Incidentally, Elvis would have been 75 on 8 January 2010.

This video cuts off abruptly but it's special because it's his last interview from a few weeks before his death. He does not look good. (Hindsight is 20/20, I suppose. His beloved mother Philomena did not find out about his years-long addiction to heroin until he was dying in the hospital. I remember from Thin Lizzy's episode of Behind the Music on VH1, Philomena said that he'd hidden his drug use by injecting into his feet.)

This video also cuts off but it's a fun one. It was for an Irish show and Philomena is there. Phil is 30 here (he gives his age in the interview; he died at the age of 36). My favorite part is when his mother confirms that her son bought her a house and Phil tells the interviewer that he was trying to keep that quiet so the "relations" won't be after him.

And check out the songs that Phil wrote about some of his great loves: his hometown Dublin, his mom Philomena, and his daughters Sarah (the fella at the end is Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham) and Cathleen (you can hear a snippet of the song here if you scroll down a bit and here are the lyrics).

"Merciful Jesus, what have I done to ya?" Philomena recalled her son spoke these words to her as he lay dying in hospital (again, Behind the Music). This Thin Lizzy song from the album Black Rose says it all, I'm afraid.

We're still in love with you, Phil.