Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Winds Blow Lonesome At The Crossroads

A moment of silence, if you please. And in this moment, feel molasses warm sun on dark skin. Humidity thick as cotton and music sweet as a brown eyed young woman with long tan legs and a bottle of hooch.
"Honeyboy" back in the day.

Feel in this moment a lifetime of callous thick fingers on shiny steel strings and the certain joy of a bottle top glass slick sliding oh so sensual up the neck of an eight dollar guitar.
Hear stories from the lips and life of David "Honey Boy" Edwards.  His hard time ghost stirs from the crossroads and walks the delta road with feet that click like a piece of cold rolled metal on frets.

"Honey Boy", his aunt called him, when nine decade plus a few years ago she watched him toddle across the floor of a house in Shaw Mississippi. Honey Boy, who watched his father playing a guitar.  That wood and stretched-tight-string contraption siren that calls many of us overwhelmed him and the world lay at his feet.
The Grammy and the Delta Bluesman

He is gone now. Gone where the real guitar players go and is playing with Robert, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf  and the rest. He sits in peace on the back-porch of paradise where there are no signs over the water fountain that read "Whites Only" or the gates of gold for one color and the gates of coal for another.

He, the last of the direct links to Delta blues; with a good book, "The World Don't Owe Me Nothing: The Life And Times of Honey Boy Edwards"  and a string of sinuous songs; "Long Tall Woman Blues", "Gamblin' Man" and "Just Like Jesse James".
He eased into Chicago in the 1940's and played all the clubs and bars and street corners on Maxwell Street. He played and played, the notes spilling from the neck and the warm, slick slide.  And it was in that town he passed yesterday at 96. He played right up to a few months ago.  He was a Grammy Award winner and recorded for Earwig Music Company.
The Crossroads
Robert Johnson

I sat with John Lee Hooker in Montreal so many years ago. It was like no other conversation in the world. He would play a lick, then take a taste from the paper bag, then play a lick and talk some more.

I wish I had time to listen to "Honey Boy". 
What I heard, I never could duplicate.

So go down to the cross-roads no more, "Honey Boy". That man with the black suit and the hollow eyes and the hound dog is waiting. He will wait until someone else shows up.
But it will never be the same.

(C) 2011 George Locke 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sams' Song - A Sad, Never Ending Melody

Although a song title, this blog does not refer to that endearing ditty written by Lew Quadling and Jack Elliot and sung by Bing and his son Gary back in 1950.

Johnny Meets The Ghosts
The melody is the familiar, haunting and eerie tune, "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by composer Stan Jones, and recalls a "cowboy" legend of an endless roundup, similiar in style to the northern European epic, "Wild Hunt" in which the doomed hunt a stag forever across an endless eternal forest.

It has been recorded by many, including a wonderful rendition by Johnny Cash.

This song, however, begins with the words: 
"I have been a Provo now for fifteen years or more. With armalites and motorbombs I thought I knew the score."

And ends with the chilling:
"I can't forget the massacre that Friday at Loughgall. I salute my fallen comrades as I watch the choppers fall."

This is a tune gloryfing surface-to-air-missiles and about murder, death and ruin and memories that run so deep they cut to the bone.

Republican w/SAM
Ireland has been called by some the  land of happy wars and tragic love affairs.

I don't know about human love, (nor will I ever) but I do know that there are no happy wars. And there is still today no happiness many places in Northern Ireland, nor will there be as long a song can be raised with a glass of stout, celebrating martyrs and mayhem, slaughter and vengeance.
For 800 years the might of the English have fought a small band of  "patriots" and stubborn folks who believe in an eye for an eye, a death with another death. There are those today who say "f**k the Brits" and "Go Home British Soldiers, Go Home."

The Treaty of Lisbon means nothing to them.

Tommy and his Longneck
Years ago I spent 3 hours alone; one on one, with Tommy Makem, a poet, musician and storyteller from County Armagh in Northern Ireland. Three hours does not an expert make, but if I learned one thing in that time, it is that Ireland will never know freedom until the English leave. So said Makem, and so I believe.

And how much blood will it take, Tommy? Do you know? You are no longer with us, but are playing your long-neck Celtic banjo with your lads, The Clancy Brothers and drawing a perfect pint in Heavens Pub.
"Sams' Song" is sung today in pubs across the world. Youtube will slap you senseless with dozens of other ant-Brit songs filled with hate and avenging violence.

Warren Zevon came close to defining this type of terror the world over with his "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and Dominic Behan (younger brother of Brendan) nearly nailed it with his eulogy to slain IRA member Fergal OHanlan and "The Patriot Game".
But even this song begot political fall out when the Clancy Brothers were singled out and chastised by Behan for not singing the line with says ".....and still de Velara is largely to blame. For shirking his part in the patriot game."

And so it goes. On and on. 

In this world where mankind is such a precious commodity even now we spill our blood and our childrens blood in places and for ideas which are, in the end, only pride.

Pride goes before the fall. Are we too blind to see?

I am sick of heart and will speak no more of this now.
(C) 2011 George Locke

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bob Dylan - The Face of Change

     I would be remiss if I ignored Robert Zimmermans' birthday. As a man approaching seventy, I could use the great pass key of age to enter the room of ignorance and no one would notice.
This is truly as I remember him.
     But I would.
     Somewhere in the past, a younger me would have felt a twitch in his smooth, beardless face while grappling with a red and black Stella guitar that weighed as much as the boiler from Engine 143 that killed poor George Allen, the blonde hero of a Carter family song, who's very last words were "nearer my God to thee."
     But I digress.
     It was 1957 when I first heard the song about a fellow one hundred years before who hailed from Tennessee. Tom Dula. He met and murdered a girl with whom he was involved with his knife (poor boy!) and later was hung for his crime. Tom Dula's name was changed over the years to become "Tom Dooley" and three frat house boys from Southern California with sharply creased tan slacks and striped shirts made this long forgotten Appalachian song famous; and in the process brought American folk music to the world.
     I was enthralled not only with  the style of music, which used un-amplified stringed instruments and close harmony, but the subject matter; murder most foul. I had discovered (along with several million other young people who were being fed Kerouac, Ginsberg, Thoreau, and Woody Gutherie) something that spoke deeply to me. And I was hooked.
     I bought every album the trio made and waited with my friends on tender hooks for the next recordings. My friends and I purchased guitars and banjos, I had no skill with either and bought a set of bongos. And a black beret, (I kid you not.) I studied Lenny Bruce and delved into Zen Buddhism. Briefly, for I was shallow and could not comprehend a word of what I read.
I envied Suzy Rotolo
     And then I bought an album called Bob Dylan, with this "kid" for corn sakes on the cover. He DID, as the reviews at the time indicated, look like a choir boy. But he sounded like a 106 year old black woman. And he played guitar with an abandoned style that blew me away. "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", "Song For Woody", "Keep Your Hands On the Plow." My God. I couldn't get enough of this guy. And he wrote his own stuff!
     I bought and learned every song from Dylan and every folk artist I could find. Joan Baez who's pure voice gave me an erection. Tom Rush, Dave Van Ronk, Phil Ochs. Mike Seeger and all the people who appear on my home page of "The Banjo Hangout".
     And after my stint with Uncle Sam, I got the Stella six string. The guitar from hell, which had, seemingly, a one inch gap between the strings and the neck and showed my fingers no mercy and when I played sounded like many drunk angry men smashing cases of beer.
     Oh wait. I think it was several drunk angry men smashing cases of beer.
     Well, later "The Times They Are A Changin'", and "Freewheeling'" and by the time of my first marriage, we had gone through the trauma of Newport and the apocryphal story of Theodore Bikel tackling Pete Seeger before he took and axe to Dylan's electric guitar. And then "Bringing It All Back Home".
     Mixed within all the roiling broth of our lifes-blood stew, four young men from England floated to the surface, and the "Beatles" bubbled merrily to the top.
     I bought their first Capitol album, "Meet the Beatles" and was promptly castigated by my peers. But I stuck with it and soon, electric/acoustic/folk/eclectic/contemporary music exploded with a flash and a bang and we have been playing it ever since.
It weighed a ton.
     But much of the credit must be given to Bob Dylan. As Arthur Miller says in "Death of a Salesman", "Attention must be paid!" He is a writer/performer who made his own roads and slashed his own trails through the jungles we hack through everyday of our lives. He made sense at times, and other times, he made crap. But he always made it interesting.
     I remember sitting in a hallway in a re-vamped Victorian brownstone on Beacon St. in Boston in 1964, lacing into "A Hard Rains Gonna Fall". A man two floors above, working diligently on his masters degree in English composition, leaned over the rail a few floors above and said...."As much as I appreciate the message of that song...could you shut the fuck up for a few moments?"  I did.
     I have no idea what that has to do with this post, other then the fact that Dylan pops up in our culture. He did from the very beginning and he will when the last cockroach eats the last Twinkie.
     Happy Birthday, Bob.
(C) 2011 George Locke

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He Was One Of A Kind

The Quintet
That's what his press agent said when it was disclosed that George Shearing had passed away yesterday at the overly-ripe age of ninety-one.  I concur.

George and John
And I bought just about everything he ever made. He was a class act, with deep warmth, humor and a sense of purpose that rang clearly in all his music.

With his quintet (guitar, vibraphone, bass and drums) he recorded clean gems of proper jazz. Dig his reading of "September in the Rain" that was released in the late 1940"s. The melody becomes a laughing stream of poured piano keys rippling in the mid-day autumn sun. Low on the horizon and  flecked with red and orange leaves. I love that song.

Today, Jonathan Schwartz, a superb recontour and music historian who I listen to on Siriusly Sinatra (Sirius Radio) featured the music of this gentleman; playing a song from every album he ever made with another performer.

Thank you, Jonathan.

He began with a wondereful rendition of a Shearing standard, "Lullaby In Birdland" caught on tape live with Mel Torme (my man). George actually sings the beginning and then Mel slips up to the microphone to bracket the words with scat and charm.

George accompanied so many fine performers, among them the aforementioned Mel and also other folks such as Nancy Wilson, Nat Cole, Joe Williams and recently, John Pizzarelli.

His ease at the keyboard was something to be marveled at and his arrangements of standards were beyond belief. Listen to Pizzarelli singing "Indian Summer" and then as Shearing layers the melody with "Song of India". written by the classical composer Rimsky-Korsakov. How perfect.

George and Nat
And his humor? Though born in England and blind, he never leaned upon his blindness for pity but found laughter in many things. There is a great live recording in which George muses out loud to the audience how different might love songs be if we inserted the word "lunch" rather then "love".  We would get, "Lunch is Just Around the Corner", or "Lunch for Sale", "I Lunch Being a Girl". Well, the list is funny and endless

We have his many Capitol recordings and others as permanent time capsules and  audio scrap books of a charming man.

You will be missed, George.

(C) 2011 George Locke

Monday, February 7, 2011

O'er The Ramparts We Watched

It is a difficult song to sing already. In the key of Q fonk (minor); most folks have a tough time keeping their larynx from jumping out of their throats. But then you add words....well, let's just say not everyone can finish it without straining their birds.

Francis Scott Key, as we know, penned the poem, "In Defence of Fort McHenry" in 1814 after witnesing the flag of our fledgling country still proudly waving in a stiff breeze off Chesapeake Bay one chilly September morning after the aforementioned fort was bombarded by British ships in the harbor.

A Capt. Armistead had instructed a woman named Mary Young Pickersgill , along with her daughter and two neices to sew an enormous American flag (30 x 42 ft) to be displayed over the fort for identification by other ships and fleets, both friendly and hostile.

The tune? Well, Key had written a song celebrating our young navies victory over Barbary pirates in Tripoli and used the melody to a song called "The Anacreontic Song", a mouthful in itself and a drinking ditty penned not by him, but, by some young fop for a club composed of wealthy amatuer musicians in London.  He fingured..."Hey. I've already got a tune and it fits." And so, a song to inspire and a tune to shriek was born.

Incidently, this tune ("The Anacreontic Song") was first published in America in Portsmouth NH way back in 1804. I knew we could find a connection somewhere.

Who could forget Roseanne Barr at the San Diego Padres game in 1990; scratching her crotch and spitting after she mutilated the song?

Far more meaning full was Jimmy and the "rockets" and "bombs" dropped from his Strat. Or Marvin Gaye with a soulful rendition at an NBA all star game.

And you should hear Brother Ray's version of "Oh Beautiful For Spacious Skies (America the Beautiful)". Now that is some singing.

I've always felt that song should be our national anthem.

But even yours truly, mike gripped tightly in hand, gave a try at the beginning of a "Fisher Cats" AA baseball game in Manchester NH a few years ago. Until you have several thousand people staring at you as you stand all alone on home plate, you have not felt fear.

So Christine goofed. Let it go. She missed a line or two, but she gracefully looped around it and finished. The only problem I have is the ululations and note warbles that so many diva's dwell upon; as if to remind us that they can sing. My advice. We all know you can sing. You wouldn't have been invited, otherwise.

And, unless you're Marvin Gaye or Jimmy Hendrix, leave the thing alone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This Man Will Attend My Funeral

Jackie O'Shea
Do you have a list of things you would like to have at your funeral?  It's not as ghoulish as it may seem. And it doesn't hurt to prepare..

John Barry
One of the characters in "Waking Ned Devine", Jackie O'shea , played with warmth and believability by Ian Bannon, speaks at a 'mock funeral' for Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly), who, by the way, is part of one of the funniest scenes in any movie. Just imagine an almost naked old man ( he is wearing a helmet, after all) on a motor bike.

At the church, where all are gathered, he mentions how wonderful it might be if you could attend your own funeral and listen to what folks said about you and perhaps get up and say a word or two yourself.

To be able to listen to the music sung or played, to play the guitar or banjo and sing a verse or two from "The Parting Glass". Ah. It would be grand, would it not?

My funeral request list would include a large slice of music.

 Live musicians and some recorded stuff.

The recorded items would include Vaughn William's "Variantions on a Theme by Thomas Tallas", and the sound track from "Dances With Wolves" (1990) by John Barry.
Barry passed away yesterday. He was 77 and one of the most prolific composers for movies who ever stepped gracefully from the British isles.
His themes are so glorious that at times they bring tears to my eyes. That is one of the prerequisetes for any music. I must be moved. Ralph Vaughn Williams does this. Beethoven, Tchycovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Bernstein, Richard Rogers and Copeland all fill me with joy and passion.

And John Barry, perhaps most of all. One only has to listen to a few bars of  John Dunbars Theme and a whole panalopy of images are opened. The sweep of prarie-land flows like a river of greens and yellows.  It is vast, and sprawls before you as a lone wagon crawls to the horizon, leaving behind crushed grass wakes.

In Zulu (1964) we see Michael Caine for the first time in a starring role as he saunters on horseback into camp, his heavy lidded eyes displaying class conflict. Barrys music, deep with horns and cymbals, leads him into Rourkes Drift, where, on January 22nd, 1879, he, along with 150 regular soldiers and colonials from the 24th Regiment of Foot succesfully defend an attack by approximently 4000 Zulu warriors.

"Rather then 'talkie-talkie' things, I've always like movies with excitement and adventure" he was qouted in an article for the "London Guardian". And adventure aplenty.

 Barry was born in John Barry Pendergast in Northern England where his father owned a chain of movie theaters and became immersed in the Hollywood genre from a very early age. He studied to be a classical pianist, but also picked up the trumpet and founded a jazz group, The John Barry Seven in 1957.

Shaken Not Stirred
 Seven seemed the number to follow him through out his life, as he also scored many of the James Bond films, starting with "Dr. No". Did he compose the famous guitar riff we hear at the begining of this decades old franchise? Well, there was a law-suit brought by another musician, Monty Norman,(by the way the song the famous signature riff came from is called "Good Sign, Bad Sign". Try that piece of trivia on a Bond buff sometime) and Barry paid him several thousand dollars to settle it. But in my book......well, I can't think of Bond without putting Barry in the mix.

 Besides the Bond Batch, he composed music for "Born Free" (1966) for which he received 2 of his many Academy Awards, "The Lion in Winter" (1968), and "Out of Africa"(1985) were nominated along with the soundtrack to "Midnight Cowboy" (I didn't know that!)  "Body Heat", "Somewhere In Time", "Peggy Sue Got Married" "The Cotton Club" and, yes, other then Jar Jar Binks, George Lucas' greatest bomb of all time, "Howard the Duck".

He had a knack for pulling emotion out of a movie that enhances the image beyond the natural visual experience. John Barry used an orchestra and his uncanny skill to bring you through the film and into the story.

In my mind he stands on solid ground beside Korngold, Newman, Ifukube, Bernard Herrmann, Mancini, John Williams and Max Stiener; to name just a very few of the men I consider giants in a field that holds few who could claim such a title.

Here is a link to a wonderful Youtube film quilt of great composers. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIo9b48UUy0

He leaves a wife, four children, and five grandchildren and an insulating blanket of music behind.

I wonder what his "funeral list" might have included? Several hours of wonderful music would not suffice. Lets make it an all week affair. Heck, Bond will take several days.

(C) 2011 George Locke

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Archie and the gang.
It was a normal Monday morning for me. About 40 years ago.

I entered the station whistling a “Four Freshman” song. “Route 66” probably. I liked that song. Still do.

And I was late. As usual.

 I checked my mail.

Back in the day, we had real mail boxes. They held real honest to goodness paper mail. Or, notes from the PD (program director), in this case, who was threatening to fire me again if I didn’t stick to the “play clock” and to stop airing that “Four Freshman” crap. His words.

The Monkees

The "play clock" was a cardboard cutout clock face divided into segments and color coded. Each hour, between endless commercials, we would play one song from the "red" sgment. That was current Billboard Top 10. One from the "green" segment. That was an oldie. One from an LP, which was yellow. And one of "your choice". I always picked something in a R&B or jazz album.

The program director was always threatening to fire me. One day he surprised me and did.

Then a week later he hired me back. At a lower salary.

I had a family. What was I to do?

I think it was gray metal or some such thing. The mail box. My air name, “Rusty”, was scrawled over a stick-on tab that was backed up with a half-dozen or so other tabs containing the pseudo names of other announcers who had come and gone.

Guys like; Don Best. Pete Hammer. “Gentleman Jim” Donovan. (I gave him that nickname. He wasn’t, by the way.

A gentleman.

Remember the words to “WKRP in Cincinnati”? “ Town to town up and down the dial?” Well, that was my life story up to that point.

Anyway, I sauntered into the md (music directors) office. Which he shared with the copywriters, (something I also did on the side for ten bucks a commercial. Fifteen if I produced them.

“Rusty, for Ch***t sakes will you stop playing that ‘jazz’ s**t and play the clock.”! He was nothing if not to the point. “Gary’s getting on my a** again.” Paul looked perturbed.

“Sure.” I said. Not meaning it.

“Good” he replied. Also not meaning it.

But this story isn’t about dj’s and their unbelievable self-absorption. It was about a guy who passed away a few days ago. January 17, 2011.

His name was Don Kirshner  And the first time I really looked at what he had done was that Monday morning so long ago.

I made it a point to check the new “record promotion” box to see if there was anything no body else wanted that I could take home, and to discover what new song we would be playing that week. An orange RCA label caught my eye.

I almost choked.

“Paul. What the hell is this?” I gingerly picked up the record like it had been dunked in dog poo.

Don Kirshner with Carol King and Jerry Goffin
“’The Archies’”? I was incredulous. “’The Archies’ are a cartoon, for cripes sake. A freakin’ cartoon.” Thus was introduction to “Bubblegum Rock” a phenomena which lasted from the late 60’s to the mid 70’s or so. And on the label, under "produced by" was Kirshners name.

Later in my radio career I realized this was a defining moment that led to my decision to find some other occupation..

“Sugar Sugar” by The Archies was one in a long stream of hits by one of the most prolific record producer and music publisher the world has ever seen. When he passed away earlier this week, he left a legacy of incredible music and musical performers in his wake.

Think Bobby Darin and “Splish Splash”. Little Eva and “Do the Locomotion” or “Cherry Cherry” with Neil Diamond (I just noticed a plethora of single words doubled in some of these titles!) He pulled together some of the best pop music composers ever assembled.

Most came from “The Brill Building” crowd that poured out #1 hits like candy from a Pez ® dispenser. Carol King, Cynthia Weil, Neil Sedaka and many others  whowere solid writers and performers in their own right.

He gave us “The Monkeys” who took the last train to Clarksville for over half a dozen years on records and tv.

He produced one hit wonders like”Tracy” by the Cuff Links, a group with the same lead singer who’s voice was in “The Archie’s”, Ron Dante. By the way, even when Betty or Veronica took the lead, it was Dante. Singing in falsetto. And doing all the layered harmonic overdubs.

And who could forget Kirshners deadpanned introductions of rock performers in “Don Kirshners Rock Concerts” back in the late seventies and early eighties until MTV ® came along? Even when his kids took over the master of ceremonys position, it was done in that same flat-voiced mono-tone.

So here's to you Don. You gave us a lot of good stuff. Even the "Archies", in retrospect , gave us something to tap our feet about.

(C) 2011 by George Locke

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do You Like Rock and Roll?

I can't imagine very few of my friends who don't. We used it as hand and footholds to crawl up the cliff face of life. It became solace when we were feeling the loss of our first love and the halo of hope which we hung around someone new. Now, it's "oldies"; a term I cannot abide. I love this music and I was around at its birth.

Remember your song?

So those of our generations, and I use the plural form because I have never thought of my self as old, and with the number of kids I have produced, I have been able to cut through the built up layers of music covering several generations and listen when my kids speak of the spark of something new they have claimed as their music..

 Not rap. Not hip-hop. Not reggea. Not country. But rock and roll. (Although these genres have hundreds of threads that pierce this music.)

Boot stompin', butt kickin'. mind  losing rock and roll.

 So it was with a great deal of joy when I opened a present from my brother and sister in law this Christmas and found myself holding the 3 DVD set of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert. I cocked my head and looked at the box it came in.; the silouette of a Les Paul on fire against a red backdrop signed with dozens of the names of rock icons.

This looked interesting.

Today it is snowing volumns in New Hampshire and I have a few moments to write my thoughts on this collection.
It is put together by Time-Live and HBO and was recorded in Madison Square Gardens in New York on October 29 and 30 in 2009. The sound was clean and crisp. The videography steady and adequate and the editing, although at times somewhat confusing, was good.

 I say confusing, because the discs do not follow a linear progression of performances as they were filmed.
Somethings that were performed the first night with CS&N would show up on disc 3. Ok. No big deal.

The first act on the disc was "The Killer." Jerry Lee Lewis.

I ran home from high-school back in 1958 just to be able to see him perform on Dick Clarks American Bandstand on ABC. He came on, this tall, slim, wavy-haired handsome man and proceeded to reset my fuses. I mean, I was blown away. He snarled. He kicked the piano stool halfway accross the stage and prowled around the keyboard like a young lion in heat. He stomped, he screamed, he sang till Clark brought in the Philadelphia riot squad. Well, not really. But Dicks eyes were sure a wee bit larger that afternoon after Jerry Lee finished.

And the kids from south Philly high were limp.

Kick Ass American Bandstand
I was transformed by this performance as much as I was by listening to "Hound Dog" by Elvis a few years before. This was foundation shaking and I loved it.

But when he shuffled on stage during the beginning, I felt his age like he was wearing it and watched a shell of a man that once could cause women to become aroused with only look. It was gone. The smoke rose in gentle puffs where once there had been unquenchable flame. It was sad. He still rattled the 88's on "Great Balls of Fire". But it just wasn't the same.
When he finished, waxen faced and limping, he knocked over the bench. Barely. Then he leaned over to the popping of cartilidge and younger dreams and threw it down again. Not even a 2.5. Just barely a 1.5.

I was drained of hope and sat back in my seat. What had happened to my dream? Is the rest of this DVD going to be the same? It wasn't what I wanted to see. Not a whimper.

What did I expect? They would suddenly emerge from some magical sound-proof/age proof booth and careen into our lives again? I guess I did, and that was a silly thought to have.
The first disc proved to be anti-climatic.Crosby, Still and Nash, old and bloated, still could play. They still could sing.  But it was an echo of grandure and when Stevie Wonder came on and forgot words....stumbled in silence with faulty equipment well..... I was ready to call this thing a wash out.

Paul Simon lifted the crowd a little with  "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"  but then the stomach ache started again with Dion Dimucci and Little Anthony and the Imperials. Enthusiasm was lacking. Age was showing.

The ending set featured Aretha Franklin who, it seemed wanted to be anyother place but there and simply would not sing her hits. What she chose, somehow didn't seem right and I heard later that she went her own way during rehersals . The "Queen of the Blues" wore an unsteady crown.

I was prepared to box the whole thing up and tuck it away with a lot of my momentos. Scraps of hope from the past that were dangled as bait and snared me in disapointment.

My brother has called me an old woman for my dismal reaction to what I had seen so far.

But then I stuck on the second disc. And I was riveted to the screen.

First, the boys were back in town, with Metallica, U2, Bono and Mick Jagger. Those who know me understand my disinterest in heavy metal and hard edged rock but these guys did what they did, with Ozzie taking off his sunglasses during IronMan/Paranoia and scaring me to death.

Then things got interesting when Bruce Springsteen ambled on stage and joined Patti Smith and Roy Bittan (The E Street Band fabulous keyboardest) with "Because the Night" from the pen of The Boss.

The place began to slowly melt down when Fergie joined bad old boy Mick Jagger and will.i.am for a searing "Gimme Shelter". It looked as though Mick was about to be ravaged. And he was backing off!

 Jeff Beck showed up next and I sat for the rest of this disc, shouting, singing, jumping up occasionally (which is a trick for me) and singing at the top of my lungs.

Beck and Tal and a Day in the Life
High lights include Billy Gibbons from Z.Z. Top dueling with Beck in "Foxey Lady", Buddy Guy and Sting in "Let Me Love You Baby" and "People Get Ready" in that order.

 Then, out of nowhere, Jeff Beck begins soft as a feather in church Lennon and McCarneys opus. "A Day in the Life". The six string becomes the London Philharmonic and bassist Tal Walkenfeld braces all the riffs with sure-handed precision. It left me stunned. If for no other reason then this, you should get this DVD.

But it doesn't end there, folks, because the Boss is not over yet.

In one of the most rip-roaring introductions to any act I have ever heard, he brings on Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave) and he and Stevie and the rest of the band launch into the most joyful rendition of "Hold On, I'm Coming " and "Soul Man" this old boy has ever heard. Moore just about had the crowd ready to follow him and Bruce into the bowels of hell.

Tom Morello from Rage at the Machine suddenly appears and does one of the most inspiring guitar solo's you will ever hear in  Springsteens "Ghost of Tom Joad". The both of them make that song live.

My boy John Fogerty was next and he did "Fortunate Son" with gusto and after, he and Bruce did Roy the Boy's "Pretty Woman".  I think Roy is up there somewhere smiling.

 I realize this is a long piece of criticism on a long dvd, and I still haven't talked about the third disc. I don't think I will, other then to say it doesn't live up to the 2nd disc. But it's pretty durn good, and features more of the personell I have already mentioned.

Cold Coffee, Old Man. New thoughts.
 I didn't see the Beach Boys or the king of rock-guitar Chuck Barry represented. I was a little disapointed by that, nor did I see my man "Little Richard". But, hey, you can't have everything.

 Email me if you want to know more about this great dvd. I say dvd, singular, because you can throw away the first and last disc. Just save number two. That's the one that will make you move your body like a conga snake and that's something I would like to see.

(c) 2011 George Locke