Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Black Keys

OK, I have absolutely and completely fallen for the Black Keys. (Thanks Dylan and Caroline)

I'm SOOOOO way late to the game. These guys have been around for 10 years. But man, oh man, can they play Blues/Rock.

I am a sucker for the Blues.

Comparisons with the White Strips are inevitable, but miss the point, I think. I love the Stripes, and what Jack White does on a guitar. My hus Bill has a shot of Jack White from It Might Get Loud, as White plays one guitar string, with a coke bottle, and the string is simply attached to nails on a board. And I love him for that. He rings so much feeling from just that one string. I can enjoy technical proficiency, but I adore a musician who plays from the heart.

Yet there IS room for more than Jack White...he can't be in every band. (although he's trying)

So Dan Auerbach plays some wonderfully tasty blues licks. In the way that Jack White does, Auerbach gets that heavy, buzzy bass sound from an electric guitar. But as much as I like Auerbach's guitar playing it's the SONGS and the vocals that make this band stand out. The Black Keys play songs that you are sure must be blues standards that you just haven't heard before...

That's so catchy! Who wrote that song?

But for the most part these tunes are their own. The Keys do covers, She said, she said by the Beatles comes to mind, but it's their own songs that carry the band.

Now I know shiite about good drumming. Well that's not exactly correct, I can usually tell a good drummer from a bad one, but I can't always tell you why or how or what. But Patrick Carney brings a big and distinctive sound and you can really hear what he brings to the Keys by listening to Auerbach without Carney on his Keep It Hid solo.

Keep It Hid is what made me realize what a great singer Auerbach is. When he plays with Carney the drums really take over a lot of the music (in a good way), but on the solo gig, you get to hear Auerbach's guitar playing and blue vocal stylings with less distractions, and that's when I fell in love with the Keys, because Auerbach is a great singer as well as good strong guitar player.

Anyway, hears[sic] the Black Key's from SNL last night. (I like the additional bass and keyboard players.) I love this tune. One of those that you go, "Who originally wrote this?" Then you realize it's theirs.

and I love Auerbach's vocals on this:

***Update***I hear a lot of influence from these guys on both Carney and Auerbach

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Musical Notes

I've always loved music. As I look back I realize it's been a big part of my life.

When I was growing up both my older brothers played in bands. Some of my earliest memories are of them rehearsing out in the garage. As a kid I remember hearing the Beatles music everywhere. Of course I preferred the Monkees. Don't hold it against me; I was only 5 or 6.

Through my early teens my brother Richard would bring home music when he came back from SIU. I remember listening to Happy Jack by the Who on an old record player out in the garage. I was dancing around and singing along. It was the Who’s second album, probably 1968 or 1969. Keith Moon was still alive and their music was fresh and very cool.

I remember buying Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John when I was in 8th grade. I walked downtown from Our Savior’s school over lunch. I was pretty crazy about him then. He was a Superstar. LOL

In the mid 70's Richard bought me Bob Dylan's new album Blood on the Tracks and I think I wore it out. Richard helped me put together a stereo and he built me some nice speakers to go along with it. My teenage girl bedroom had my stereo on the dresser and I listened to a lot of music there. One night my Dad came into my room. He told me that he and Barb (my step-mom) were going to get a divorce. It's funny how distinctly I can picture it in my head and hear the music that was playing. Dad walked out and my life changed; Dylan has always been part of that moment for me.

I listened to all the music of my era: Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young. (BTW, I'm going to miss obvious stuff that I won't even think about till after I post) I complained that Disco Sucked, but listened to the BeeGee's and Donna Summers, and my first R rated movie was Saturday Night Fever, the movie that MADE disco (and John Travolta). I was 16. It was 1977.

The 70's were a wild time. The music (and everything else) got more and more excessive. With arena rock the music was often eclipsed by light shows and spandex and glitter.

Suddenly it was the 80's and there was this huge backlash against what was seen as too commercial, sold-out rock n roll. Punk hit the mid-west at least a year after it hit everywhere else, so by the time I heard about the Sex Pistols they were no longer together as a band. But the Clash, Elvis Costello, the Boomtown Rats and Talking Heads stepped in and carried on the new sound.

The era of Rockers vs Punks had begun.