This Monday marks the birthdate of a man whose musical influence is part of the very fabric of the "Revolution"..William James "Willie" Dixon was his name..Willie Dixon. This humble genius came from the deep South, Vickburg Mississippi and like so many others looking to get out of the poverty, he went North, to Chicago, and along with Muddy Waters, pretty much invented Chicago Blues. Willie worked with the biggest names, he played both upright bass and guitar. Howlin Wolf, Otis Rush Bo Diddley, Joe Louis Walker and countless others. But it was Rock and Roll that really got the benefit of the Willie Dixon touch. His songwriting was stellar, and the rockers picked his songs and made them into hits, classics really. Songs like The Stones "Little Red Rooster", "Spoonful by Cream", Back Door Man from the Doors first amazing album. "I Just Want To Make Love To You", sound familiar Foghat fans? The list is too long to go on, but suffice it to say that Dylan Cream, Hendrix, Zeppelin, the Yardbirds, Foghat, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Allman Brothers Band, and the Grateful Dead all have a thank you to lay on Willie Dixon's grave this Monday. He died of heart failure in Burbank California on January 29, 1992. He is buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery near Chicago. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in the 'early influence' category in 1994. Willie you were one of the originals. Thanks for the tunes.
Over 50 years ago, Russ Solomon started Tower Records and it's amazing concept traveled around the world. Tower Records was one of the first things I checked out when I came to Sacramento. It seemed that every 3rd person I met either worked at or used to work at a Tower Records Store. That's a testament to how important this retail giant was to the people of our town. I bet those of you who worked at Tower, or shopped there regularly, have stories to tell. About 3 years ago, Russ Solomon donated about 200 boxes of Tower related history. The Tower Records Project hopes to raise money to establish a permanent museum to display this very important part of our local history. Maybe someday, it can travel around the world so others can see this iconic part of American culture. This Thursday,June 21st, I will be joining Russ, along with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, at the Dimple records location on Broadway. It will be the kickoff fund raiser for the project, come out around 10:30 and join the launch. And if you have Tower memorabilia, keep it handy, you can be part of this museum as well. Souvenirs from the "Revolution" How fun!.
I remember what I was doing exactly 45 years ago this weekend, I was hitchhiking up Hwy 101 from my home in San Mateo to the Monterey Peninsula. It was a huge music event billed as the "Monterey Pop Festival". It was the first of it's kind, and would be the template for Woodstock, 2 years later. My friend and I were lucky enough to make it down to Monterey to see the most incredible roster of SF Bands, LA Bands, International acts and lots of good vibes. The scene was mellow and absolutely perfect. It was casual, naive, innocent and a freaking good time. It's the first real glimmer of what was to come. Janis did an amazing set, so good, they asked her to come back the next night so they could get it all on film. Otis Redding showered the crowd with his love and gritty soul, the Who exploded and Jimi Hendrix just stunned everyone. For one weekend in 1967, the promise of the Woodstock generation was conceived on the Monterey Peninsula. Happy Birthday Monterey Pop..45 years ago, hard to believe it all really happened.
So many rock artists have come out with a line of food products. Everything from Salsa and Chilli to cookbooks and recipes, these cats just like to cook. The latest entry is by Jon Bon Jovi. A nice Italian boy from Jersey. His new line of Pasta Sauces looks pretty tasty. The brand is called Bongiovi and you can get either the Marinara, Garden Style or Arrabbiata (a little bite to this one). The secret of these sauces have been handed down from Jon's ancestors, all the way back to the 1800s in Sicily. I know from personal experience from tasting my Italian Grandma's sauce, that putting that flavor in a jar is a real challenge..guess I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to pasta sauce, after all, my Grandmother and Mother were world class Italian cooks. Hopefully Bongiovi will taste just right. Pass the meatballs please.
I have always loved Paul Simon's songs. He is one of my favorite songwriters, starting in 1966 with the Sounds of Silence...still one of the most profound songs of my generation. In the mid 80s Paul was listening to a lot of World Beat Music and this journey led him to South Africa for his next album..Graceland. It turned out amazing, won a grammy for best record. Paul used So. African musicians and had Lady Smith Mambazo singing the background vocals. It was unique and it captured us in ways I still marvel at. The whole feel of the record is a celebration, and it brought a type of music to our ears that we probabley would not have heard otherwise. The tour for Graceland went on for 5 years. Well it's been 25 years since Graceland's release and now it's re-issue is better than the original. Besides the original songs, there are interesting outtakes, and a narrative that explains a lot about the songs and the circumstances that went into the record. There is a DVD documentary included about the making of the record, plus some great footage of the songs being performed by the original musicians. A great package, and a huge leap forward from the Simon and Garfunkel days..We have been giving this package away to our online eagle club members..play it loud and free yourself.