Rock & Roll RePast: Solomon Burke @ the Zoo

Posted: January 11th, 2024 | Filed under: Music, Rock & Roll Rewind, Ruminations | No Comments »

Let’s consider Solomon Burke.

Though never as famous, the charismatic soul singer sits rightfully in the conversation of his more noted contemporaries. Otis Redding. James Brown. Sam Cooke. Wilson Pickett.

Always a man of considerable girth, even before the morbid obesity of his later years, he was ever entrepreneurial. On those extended Parade of Stars tours in the 50s and 60s, when performers would often get to towns where they couldn’t find eateries that would serve them, Burke cooked. Burke supplied sandwiches. For which eats legend has it, he would up the prices as the tour ground on.

He was banned from appearing at the Apollo for insisting that he control concession stands on the nights he performed.

His career never really waned, though he was never a big time headliner.

But he was thrust back into the mainstream spotlight in 2002 upon the acclaimed Fat Possum release of his Joe Henry-produced “Don’t Give Up on Me.” He won a Grammy.

I probably saw him on one of those tours in the 60s. Though, frankly, I have no specific remembrance.

I did hear him thrice in the 90s. I can’t give exact dates. Or the order.

Two were marvelous. He was always on, workin’ to make it work. Read the rest of this entry »

Astral Weeks Live at Hollywood Bowl: A Moment

Posted: December 30th, 2023 | Filed under: Music, Rock & Roll Rewind, Ruminations | No Comments »

I’m a rock & roll lifer. I’ve got lots of stories. Here’s another.

Sometimes the stars and planets just align.

Like November 7, 2008.

The tale begins a few months earlier. Before a David Byrne show at the Palace.

Newly betrothed, the Film Babe and I ran into some old pals, who are as musically obsessed as we.

To learn that Van Morrison would be performing the entirety of “Astral Weeks” live, for the first time ever. At the Hollywood Bowl a few months later.

My recent bride and I looked at each other and had the same thoughts.

Favorite singer. Favorite album. Bucket List venue.

Plus, we hadn’t yet had a chance to do any sort of honeymooning thing.

The cherry on the sundae came when we went online immediately upon getting home, to discover tickets were still available. In the 3d row. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock & Roll Repast: Dance Crazes

Posted: December 7th, 2023 | Filed under: Music, Rock & Roll Rewind, Ruminations | No Comments »

I’m a rock & roll lifer. I got stories. Lots of stories. Here’s another.

When it comes to 50s and 60s dance crazes — a cultural phenomenon long ago far away — I have a singular personal if somewhat fuzzy memory.

At an Atherton High School sock hop — that’s what we used to call dance parties, kids — Jenni Lehman and I were doing the Twist.

Russell Garth, an old school principal if ever there was one, came up to us, wagging his finger, ordering us to cease and desist immediately. Actually, given my memory lapses, it might have been his right hand man, Mr. Tague, JMA’s Guidance Counselor, who neither guided nor counseled.

“We don’t dance like that at our school.”

So much for our act of “rebellion.” Read the rest of this entry »

King Crimson, Alexis Korner (+ Humble Pie): R & R Repast

Posted: October 16th, 2023 | Filed under: Music, Rock & Roll Rewind, Ruminations | No Comments »

I’m a rock & roll lifer. I got stories. Lots of stories. Here’s another. 

Starting in ’70, the year I finished law school, somehow passed the bar, and got a real adult job, ventured into psychedelics, I also attended my first rock festival.

Where I heard the whole panoply of music being made in rock’s most experimental era. Bands I didn’t know that intrigued me.

So, having the means, I started going to every concert in town whether I knew the music of the groups on the bill or not. Most of the time I heard something that resonated.

If not, there was always the scene.

King Crimson topped the bill at one of those at the Convention Center in the early 70s.*

At least that’s how I initially remembered the show and submitted this remembrance. Until my knowing and alert editor at the FPL — thank you, Mel Fisher — wondered if it wasn’t the show where the headliner was actually Humble Pie?  She sent me a photo of the concert poster. Read the rest of this entry »

Allman Brothers Band at Atlanta Pop ’70

Posted: September 13th, 2023 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Rock & Roll Rewind, Ruminations | 2 Comments »

Merrily, Don, the Mailman and I arrived in Byron, Ga. on the 2d of July in 1970.

The Atlanta Pop Festival would start the next day.

Little did I know it would change my life.

Arriving ahead of time allowed us to avoid the heavy traffic which backed up the interstate for miles. We set up camp on the grounds by a grove of trees, just a short walk to the festival stage area.

That Thursday night I meandered over to a small stage back in the woods across the road. I listened to a couple of bands, the name of only one of which I recall.

Chakra. How very 70s.

The other remembrance of that evening — the weekend was generally a blur for reasons that needn’t be explained — was a guy at the mic kept saying, “Stick around, Sky Dog is gonna come and jam.”

I had no idea Sky Dog was Duane Allman. I’d never heard him play — that I was aware of at the time — or even of him.

Then, oh my, did I. Read the rest of this entry »

“Coming Home: A Stranger In The Smokies”: Review

Posted: June 6th, 2023 | Filed under: Book Review, Ruminations | 2 Comments »

Before advising why you should consider reading John Wade Christensen’s “Coming Home: A Stranger In The Smokies,” allow me please to answer the question being asked by the elephant now staring over my shoulder.

Were it not so worthy of your time, would I be reviewing this book for public consumption?

Transparent answer: Yes.

John Christensen — the Wade he included to distinguish himself from another author — is my good friend.

During the halcyon daze of the 70s, when he wrote features, music reviews and sports for the Louisville Times, he was my next door neighbor.

He was my runnin’ podner.

There are tales. Some of which could be shared if there was time. Many of which shall remain sealed in a lock box hidden beneath the floor boards.

(I am referenced twice in the book, once in the acknowledgments, once in the text.)

For decades, he desired to write a book about his spiritual quest and evolution.

So he has. Read the rest of this entry »

R&R Repast: WLAC & James Brown

Posted: May 19th, 2023 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Rock & Roll Rewind, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

This is a remembrance of my first college concert.

James Brown Revue.

Fall ’63. In Doremus Gymnasium at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

For the full story we need to go back to where the story starts. The winter prior, my senior year in high school. When my pals and I discovered WLAC 1510 AM Nashville. (We were far from the only ones. Such as the Brothers Allman — Greg and Duane — have spoken of the station’s influence. So too, Robbie Robertson up north of the borderline.)

It is a 50,000 watt clear channel station, which means its signal carries long and far after dark. Which is when the station’s otherwise pro forma programming shifted into soul and blues. That which had not so many years prior been dubbed “race music.”

I fell in love, we fell in love, regaling each other in the mornings with tales of the evening before’s programming.

The DJ that we most loved was a fellow who on the air went as Big Hugh Baby. Hugh Jarrett had once been a member of the Jordanaires, backing Elvis often.

For us, he was the raucous guy whose patter was full of sexual double entendres, aimed it seemed directly at us and frat boys across the land. Though his primary sponsors were Royal Crown Pomade, baby chicks and Randy’s Record Shop in nearby Gallatin.

Guys would call in, advising Big Hugh on the air, they were in the midst of reverie, and needed some help. (As I did once during spring break in Florida.) Read the rest of this entry »

Le Brer (in A. Miner)

Posted: March 4th, 2022 | Filed under: Culture, Music, New Orleans, Personalities, Ruminations, Today's Lesson Learned | 5 Comments »

The header is not a misspell. Read on.

I live in a part of my hometown where everybody seems to be interconnected, where there are not a lot of degrees of separation. Where your cousin is likely to work with your neighbor’s uncle. The mother of your daughter’s current BF went to the junior prom 25 years ago with your boss’s brother. A former fellow bandmate of your Louisville contractor teaches guitar to your former fraternity brother. In New Orleans.

That kind of stuff.

An educated area, yet when asked what school one attended, the intention is to learn what high school, not college.

I’ve often joked that on my deathbed, two people will walk in together and provide the final tie in to everyone I’ve known.

I am used to connectivity.

So, I look for links in my life.

 * * * * *

I am a huge music fan.

Rock & Roll.

I’m full with it, my history with it. I can tell you exactly where I was when I first heard “Walk Don’t Run.” What acts were on the bill at the first concert I attended. “Biggest Show of Stars.” On July 29, 1961.

I’ve often mused whether I’d have made it as I have to double sevens without tuneage to provide a necessary soundtrack along the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweet Abbey, Long May You Run

Posted: August 29th, 2021 | Filed under: Ruminations | 4 Comments »

Sad-Eyed Lady of the Highlands/ Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes/ My lonely eyes, my second-line drums/ Should I leave them at your gate/ My sweet sad-eyed lady as I wait? — After Bob Dylan

Abbey had me at first lick.


A couple of years earlier, Joanie and I had lost Lila the Love Dog, whom my bride brought into our relationship. Never having had a dog my whole life, my relationship with that loyal black lab taught me the reasons why people do.

They look in your eyes.

They steal your heart.

There was one of these please-take-us-home rescue dog events at Hogan’s Fountain.

Joanie was ready. I wasn’t sure.

While I was sitting on the ground as Joanie looked around, Abbey ran up to me and started licking my face.

I was a goner. Read the rest of this entry »

Atlanta Pop ’70, Fifty Years On

Posted: June 30th, 2020 | Filed under: Music, Ruminations | Tags: | No Comments »

This Independence Day marks the half century anniversary of the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival. 

The following memories of mine were written and published a decade ago on the occasion of the event’s 40th anniversary. They have been edited, and updated, though my memory of that time long ago far away is absolutely no better on its own than ten years ago.

Which is why I reached out to a few friends who were at the festival, and, I’ve included the memories of those who responded and have any somewhat cogent recollection at all. They are added in italics. c d k 

Captain Canada and The Mailman.

It’s fifty years gone this Fourth of July weekend since those nicknames were bestowed upon my pal Stephen and me at the Atlanta Pop Festival.

Many if not most of the memories of that magical interlude have long been lost in the daze of time. But this I can say for sure. We came upon those identities honestly.

As for the rest of that weekend outside Byron, Georgia, the tales told here are probably true, but perhaps not. Only the synapses of my and pals’ hippocampi know for sure. And they’ve long since lost most if not all connectitude to that time and place. Read the rest of this entry »

Diversion Tip: NYT Short Film of the Day

Posted: May 7th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Ruminations | No Comments »

Who among us, in these oh so strange and perilous times, isn’t looking for some little way to escape?

If only for a moment or two.

I mean really, how much hard news can a person take?

If you’re looking for live sports, there’s Korean baseball, played in front of empty stands, but the fascination grows old quickly.

Netflix. Prime. Hulu. Criterion.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But there come times during the day when you just want a quick shot, a respite from real life concerns, a mask free interlude, and move on.

So here’s one I discovered that fills that bill, the New York Times Short Film of the Day.

 * * * * *

Some examples.

Today’s (Thursday 5/07) is a clever Oscar nominated confection that’s less than two minutes long.

Yesterday’s was a smile-inducing bit of shtick from mid 20th C.

A couple more for your viewing pleasure: Read the rest of this entry »

My Favorite JazzFest Musical Memories, Part Deux

Posted: April 26th, 2020 | Filed under: JazzFest, Music, New Orleans, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

Oh my, the power of suggestion.

As I write this Saturday afternoon, I’m listening to old JazzFest classic sets at, which the station will be streaming again Sunday the 26th, and next Thursday through Sunday, noon to 8:00 EDT.

Today’s sumptuous slate opened with Bonerama, which as I write I am confirming to myself might be my favorite of the current New Orleans fusion maestros. (I’d like to more definitive, but, my ears are easily turned, faves change on a whim.)

You know Bonerama’s like funk and rock and some second line Longhairish rumba, all fronted by — Ready for it? — a trio of trombones. Which they play straight up or synthesized.

I mean, ya know, it’s New Orleans. Where else?

And, listening to them open today with “Big Chief,” reminded me of a favorite JF musical moment I’d forgotten. Read the rest of this entry »