The Vinyl Revolution is Here!!

It took some time but people are finally becoming dis-enchanted with the world of digital sound. The demand for records is growing daily and bands are releasing limited vinyl for their fans. Classic Jazz, Rock and Roll and Soul albums are also being re-released on vinyl pressings to satisfy the demand. Turntables are COOL again! The feel, look and warm sound of a vinyl record, which has permeated the psyche of American music for more than half a century has risen again!
If you don’t think so, just listen to the difference. Hang some record jackets on your wall next to your C.D.s and test the reaction from friends.


 

Waylon Jennings First RCA LP 1966

Folk Country is chapter number one in the Waylon Jennings/Chet Atkins partnership that ended up as a series of pitched battles. Folk Country is Waylon’s true debut album for the RCA label, and while it is very much embryonic in terms of its revelation of the mature Jennings sound, its roots are clearly audible and the material, while safe, is more than satisfying. The single “Stop the World (And Let Me Off)” is indicative of the kind of countrypolitan fare Atkins was developing at the label. And while this is only 1963, the listener can hear Jennings stretching the song to its limits — at least the limits imposed by a mainstream country single. Also included is a true folk/country song, the traditional “Man of Constant Sorrow,” on which the song’s hillbilly roots are given a distinctly modern folk sound treatment. Also, “Cindy of New Orleans,” one of Jennings’ first attempts at writing story-songs, is a curio that works very well as a narrative with a fine and memorable melody, dressed in trappings of silk around a tale of grit. Jennings was still leaning heavily on the songs of Harlan Howard, who has no less than four tunes present here, including the classics “Another Bridge to Burn” and “What’s Left of Me,” which open and close the set.

Honi Gordon-Bop Jazz Vocal

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Honi Gordon was among the one-album wonders of jazz; the obscure, bop-oriented singer recorded only one LP as a solo artist (1962’s little-known Honi Gordon Sings). But her lack of exposure was not due to a lack of talent. Gordon, the daughter of vocalist/composer George Gordon, had an appealing style that was influenced by Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday, as well as Annie Ross. There were also hints of Chris Connor in some of her performances. Gordon first sang professionally in the early ’50s, when she became a member of a jazz vocal group called the Gordons. That outfit was a family affair, consisting of Honi Gordon as well as her father and two brothers. Though the group didn’t sell a lot of records, it attracted the attention of Charles Mingus and did some recording with the famous bassist/pianist/bandleader. Pianist Mary Lou Williams was also an admirer of the group, as was bandleader/vibist Lionel Hampton. Nonetheless, the Gordons were unable to sustain a long career, and they broke up. By the early ’60s, Honi Gordon was pursuing a solo career. She recorded her first solo album, Honi Gordon Sings, for Prestige in 1962, employing such noteworthy jazzmen as acoustic bassist George Duvivier, drummer Ed Shaughnessy, and the eclectic pianist Jaki Byard. The album was quite promising; Gordon showed herself to be a strong interpreter of lyrics on material that ranged from Mingus’ “Strollin’” and the standard “Ill Wind” to her father’s “My Kokomo.” But, unfortunately, Gordon’s first solo album was also her last — after Honi Gordon Sings, she never recorded again as a solo artist.
(courtesy ALLMUSIC GUIDE)

Bo Diddley-In Memorium

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“History belongs to the victors and in the annals of rock & roll, three men have emerged as winners: Chuck Berry, Little Richard and BO DIDDLEY, a holy trinity who were there at the start”. (Rolling Stone magazine, issue #981, August 2005)

In early on-line chats in 1997, Tom Petty happily answered questions from fans. One of the questions was: ‘You’ve played with a lot of legendary rockers. Any others you would like to play with?” Tom Petty immediately answered, “BO DIDDLEY”. At the 1997 Fillmore shows, the band often played the BO DIDDLEY song “Diddy Wah Diddy”. When introducing the song, Tom Petty said: “There is no one we admire in the whole world more than Mr. BO DIDDLEY. If BO DIDDLEY was English, I think he should be knighted. Actually, this country should build a monument in every State to BO DIDDLEY. Elvis is King, But Diddley is Daddy”. Tom Petty received his wish when BO DIDDLEY opened for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and joined them on-stage for a few songs at the first two of their Irving Plaza, New York shows on April 11th and 12th in 1999.

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CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
This is a 1960 Jazz LP “West Side Story”, on the original Contemporary Label.

About the Artist: Ben Shahn (1898 – 1969)
Born in Kovno, Lithuania, Ben Shahn’s early education was informal, consisting mainly of studying passages from the Bible. Copying biblical texts as a child inspired a lifelong interest in lettering and calligraphy, and many of his compositions use words, names, and quotations as formal elements. Shahn’s family immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, when he was eight. As a teenager, Shahn was apprenticed to a lithographer, becoming attuned to considering typesetting as composition, letters as shapes in space, and nuances of line. The spiky sensitive draftsmanship that characterizes his art reflects these experiences. Between 1919 and 1922 he studied at New York University; the City College of New York, a free college; and the National Academy of Design. Sharing a studio in 1929 with the photographer Walker Evans stimulated Shahn’s own interest in photography; he began photographing people and street scenes, first in New York and later around the country. These photographs served as the basis for many of his prints and paintings. In 1932-1933, Shahn assisted the Mexican artist Diego Rivera on an important series of murals depicting labor and industry for New York’s Rockefeller Center. Shahn was employed by the Works Progress Administration in the mid-1930s to design a mural for a federal prison; although that project was never realized, he received many other private and public mural commissions in subsequent years. Shahn’s late works concentrate on universal religious themes–creation and the relationship between the individual and God. A print such as Alphabet of Creation reflects his personal interest in subjects from the Old Testament and Hebrew liturgy, as well as his continued interest in letters as visual elements.
One of the leading social realists of the twentieth century, Ben Shahn’s art is one of protest against injustice and prejudice. His paintings and prints address social and political issues, focusing on the poor and disenfranchised whom he portrays with sympathy. The subjects of his earliest work are victims of political injustice such as Sacco and Vanzetti. From the 1930s on, Shahn’s art has been widely shown in group and solo exhibitions in the major art museums in New York, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome, and Vienna.

For a period of forty years Ben Shahn was the preeminent painter-as-critic in American art. Such was his strength in this role that he retained his prominence throughout the era that saw the rise and flowering of American Abstraction. In 1954 he shared the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale with Willem de Kooning. In a sense, Shahn is the summation of the entire tradition of Social Realism in our art, which reached its fullest development under federal sponsorship in the years of the Depression and World War II. In the matter of his sources as an artist one needs only to know of his beginnings as an immigrant, of his initial training as a journeyman lithographer, of his first artistic apprenticeship with Diego Rivera on the controversial Rockefeller Center mural project in New York, and of his incessant study of the artistic past–in particular the Italian muralists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. From his first conspicuous entry on the art scene with his 1932 paintings of the Sacco and Vanzetti trial of the 1920s to the end of his career he was dedicated to an understanding of the social events taking place around him. What is perhaps most important in this dedication is his extraordinary skill in the translation of these events into images of symbolic power. The subject matter of social struggle, war, poverty, and politics has seldom received comparable embodiment in our art.

Billie Holiday-David Stone Martin Illustration

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Biography by Jason Ankeny
Illustrator David Stone Martin was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the postwar era, creating over 400 album covers. Much of his work spotlighted jazz, with his signature hand-drawn, calligraphic line perfectly capturing the energy and spontaneity of the idiom. Born David Livingstone Martin in Chicago in 1913, he later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and began his career as an assistant to the social realist painter Ben Shahn, designing murals during the 1933 World’s Fair. Martin spent the remainder of the decade as art director of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and served during World War II as an artist/correspondent for Life magazine. After returning to the U.S. he mounted a career as a freelance artist, landing advertising gigs for clients including the Disc Company of America, CBS Television, and Lincoln Center; in 1948, he also began teaching at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, followed in 1950 by a year at New York City’s Workshop School of Advertising and Editorial Art. Martin entered music illustration through his longtime friendship with producer Norman Granz, designing label art for Granz’s Verve, Norgran, Clef, and Down Home imprints as well as hundreds of now-classic cover paintings for acts including Count Basie, Art Tatum, Gene Krupa, and Lionel Hampton. Martin also created a series of designs for the pianist Mary Lou Williams, with whom he enjoyed a torrid affair. Martin’s work has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and others. He died of pneumonia in New London, CT, on March 6, 1992.