?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Vintage Music
a community for music lovers of the classic variety
Recent Entries 
5th-Apr-2010 01:55 am(no subject)
{Forgive me if this kind of post isn't allowed here!}

I have this photo of Simon & Garfunkel on my wall. I got it out of a program when I saw them a while ago. It's my favorite photo of them--but I was wondering if anyone knows if I can find it online?

Here it is:



Thank you! ♥
14th-Mar-2010 04:20 pm - The Doors Redux
I've addressed Paul Nelson's writings about the Doors before, back in June of 2008 ("Perceiving the Doors"). In that same entry, I mentioned that award-winning director Tom DiCillo was at work on a Doors documentary. Now that DiCillo's movie, When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors, is preparing for its U.S. premiere (in select theaters on April 9) and the Internet is abuzz with anticipation, it seems like a good time to post this ad from July 1967, which incorporated part of Paul's Hullabaloo review about the band's first album. Just click on the image to enlarge it.


And, while we're on the subject, here's the trailer to DiCillo's film, which is artfully composed entirely of period footage, much of it previously unreleased.


Should you miss DiCillo's film in the theater, fear not: it's also scheduled to appear on PBS's American Masters series on May 26.

Copyright 2010 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

1st-Feb-2010 10:01 am - "Mel Lyman's America"
Though I finished writing Everything Is an Afterthought over five months ago, hardly a week goes by when I don't receive an e-mail or a phone call that is in some way connected to Paul Nelson. (Thankfully, with publication imminent this fall, the Stewie Griffin-inspired "How you comin' on that book you're workin' on?" inquiries have pretty much subsided.) Recently, I heard from William MacAdams, author of Ben Hecht: The Man Behind the Legend. In addition to being a longtime friend of Paul's, in 1995 William coauthored a book with him: 701 Toughest Movie Trivia Questions of All Time.


Kevin,

You probably know that at one time (and perhaps to the end of his life?) one of Paul's favorite albums was Jim Kweskin's America. To Paul the creative force behind the music was Mel Lyman, thus he referred to the record as "Mel Lyman's America." He introduced me to it sometime in the early '70s, before I moved to Europe. I had a vinyl copy, which disappeared a long time ago. Just the other day, don't know why, I thought of Lyman and checked to see if someone on Facebook had a Mel Lyman page (there isn't one), which led me to search for a CD. There is a double Kweskin set including America. I bought it, wondering if it held up. Got it yesterday and couldn't stop playing it.

When Paul died I was saddened but didn't grieve (we had been out of contact for several years, as you know, Paul shutting me out, a deeply hurtful mystery that will never be explained). The music brought Paul back so vividly I broke down in tears, especially upon once again hearing "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight," "The Old Rugged Cross," and "Old Black Joe," Paul's favorites.

I thought you might be unaware of Paul's fondness for Lyman's music. If so, the whole saga of Lyman's remarkable life is worth reading about, the Rolling Stone hatchet job/exposé, et al.

William
 

I'd never heard of Jim Kweskin or Mel Lyman, let alone the album in question. Nor could I find where Paul had ever made mention of them in any of his writings. But, trusting William's judgment (he'd proved himself an invaluable resource regarding All Things Paul Nelson), I downloaded the album posthaste from iTunes. I wasn't disappointed. While I was familiar with many of the tunes by way of other artists' versions, there's something deeply felt and unique about Jim Kweskin's America. It reminds me of something Paul wrote about Jackson Browne's Running on Empty (and which was quoted in the program at Paul's memorial service):

It's simple enough to talk about lyrics, aims, structure, and all the critical etceteras, but it's very difficult to pinpoint what it is that's actually moved you. It has to do with essences, I think, and all those corny virtues like truth, courage, conviction, kindness, and the rest of them.
 
Jim Kweskin's America has all those corny virtues, I think, as did Paul.

Copyright 2010 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

30th-Sep-2009 12:48 pm - Stepping into People's Lives
I'm late in posting this, but Bruce Springsteen turned sixty one week ago today. Over at Mental Floss, Matt Soniak posted the very entertaining "60 Springsteen Facts for Bruce's 60th Birthday." 

Regarding Number 17 on his list—

Springsteen lore has it that Bruce was once spotted in a movie theater watching Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories (which comments on artist/fan relations). The fan who saw him challenged Bruce to prove he didn’t regard his own fans with the contempt as the Allen stand-in in the movie by coming to meet his mom and have dinner. Bruce did so and supposedly still visits the fan’s mother every time he’s in St Louis.
 
—I was reminded of a passage from the "Two Jewish Mothers Pose as Rock Critics" chapter of Paul Nelson and Lester Bangs's Rod Stewart book wherein, during a give-and-take between the two critics about the nature of fame and what it can do to an artist, this same story about Springsteen came up. Paul said: 

I've been backstage at Springsteen shows where Bruce'll open the doors and let thirty kids hanging around outside come in and talk to him. Hope Antman [of CBS Records] told me a story that when Bruce was in Minneapolis and had a night off he went to a movie by himself, and this kid recognized him as he was buying a ticket and said, "Hey, you wanna sit with me?" And he sat with him, and the kid said, "Hey, you wanna come home and talk and my mother’ll fix us some things?" And Bruce went home with the kid and spent the whole night with the kid. And that ain't ever going to happen with Rod Stewart.”

I asked Bruce if any of this were true when I interviewed him in 2007.

"Oh yeah," he said, "oh yeah. I think it was St. Louis, though, or St. Paul. I forget where. I was by myself. I sort of enjoyed the license that that strange part of my job, where people recognize you, allowed me to kind of step into people’s lives, and it was just a night where I wasn’t doing anything and it just sounded like a good idea. The kid ran into his room and came out with an album cover and held it up next to me [laughs] after we came in the door.”

Springsteen volunteered that he does still see the kid's mother occasionally when he's in town (whichever town it may be), though it sounded as if such meetings were in the nature of a before- or after-concert encounters, not a visit on his own part.


29th-Jan-2009 06:17 pm - Paul Nelson's White House Connection
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, David Browne reports that in 1979 Paul Nelson was recruited as an advisor to a commission headed by legendary producer John Hammond to update the official White House Record Library. As a result of the commission's efforts, President Obama can enjoy vinyl versions of Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Springsteen's Born to Run, Randy Newman's Good Old Boys, Led Zeppelin IV, the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed, the Ramones' Rocket to Russia, the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, the Flying Burrito Brothers' The Gilded Palace of Sin, as well as records by Santana, Neil Young, Talking Heads, Isaac Hayes, Elton John, the Cars and Barry Manilow.

It's not difficult to surmise which selections were high on Paul's list of suggestions.

The entire article, "Obama's Secret Record Collection," can be found here.
13th-Jan-2009 07:15 pm - Paul Nelson Mentioned
Last week, William Zantzinger, the murderer made famous not by his heinous act but by Bob Dylan having written a song about him, passed away. Michael Yockel's excellent article, "Willian Zantzinger's Lonesome Death," examines not only the man who inspired Dylan's classic "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," but also the truth behind the song. In doing so, he wraps up his article by quoting Paul Nelson.

The trouble is, as fitting as the quote may be in the context of Yockel's article, the words—critical of Dylan's having played fast and loose with the truth—do not belong to Paul. To the contrary, Paul had called the tune "Dylan's best protest song." 

The quote actually belongs to another fine writer, Clinton Heylin, from his 2001 book Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited. Circa 1999, he interviewed Paul and, in the book, writes about Paul's Dylan connection.

27th-Oct-2008 11:15 am - No More, No Less
In 1972, Paul Nelson was promoted from publicity to East Coast head of A&R at Mercury Records. His first real signing was Blue Ash, a band from Youngstown, Ohio. The group's 1973 debut album, No More, No Less, earned a place on several critics' best-of-the-year lists but, as these things often go, didn't make a connection in the marketplace. Blue Ash's MySpace page remembers it this way:

In July of 1972, the group signed a contract with Peppermint Productions of Youngstown and began recording and sending out demos. In October, legendary A&R man and rock writer Paul Nelson from Mercury Records flew to Youngstown to see Blue Ash "live" and immediately began signing procedures. They started recording their first album No More, No Less in February 1973 with Peppermint's John Grazier producing and with Gary Rhamy engineering. Executive producer Paul Nelson introduced them to a never-before-published, never-before-recorded Bob Dylan song called "Dusty Old Fairgrounds" and suggested they record their version of the Beatles' "Anytime At All" both of which appear on the lp...

On May 15, Mercury released the first Blue Ash 45 "Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her?)" b/w "Dusty Old Fairgrounds" On May 25, No More, No Less was released. Rave reviews and feature articles followed in Rolling Stone, Creem, Crawdaddy, Zoo World, Circus, Phonograph Record, New Times, Record World, Billboard, Rock Scene, Fusion and many others. That summer they began touring and opening for acts like Bob Seger, Iggy and the Stooges, Ted Nugent, Nazareth, Aerosmith and more. Blue Ash along with Raspberries, Big Star and Badfinger became "critical darlings" of a new sound later to be called power pop. Despite the good press Blue Ash was not getting much national radio airplay or sales... 
 
Thirty-four years later, No More, No Less has finally been released on CD. As Blue Ash's bassist and vocalist, Frank Secich (now of the Deadbeat Poets), recalls in the Cd's liner notes, "In June of 1974, Blue Ash was dropped by Mercury Records (under heated protest from Paul Nelson) for lack of sales. Paul was subsequently sacked from the label, too, in large part for signing Blue Ash and the New York Dolls."

While that has indeed been the legend of Paul's departure from Mercury, it's not quite that simple. Reasons for leaving seldom are.

Blue Ash and friend in 1973 (left to right): Frank Secich, Jim Kendzor,
Bill Bartolin, Paul Nelson, and David Evans. Photo by Geoff Jones.

 
Copyright 2008 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved. 
19th-Oct-2008 07:37 pm - David Forman



August of 1974 was a memorable month for singer/songwriter David Forman. A few days after being involved in the most benign and fanciful takeover ever of the World Trade Center—high-wire artist Phillippe Petit's 45-minute walk back and forth on a steel cable strung between the Twin Towers—Forman penned his amazing song "Dream of a Child" and somehow, in some way now lost to memory and time, came to the attention of Paul Nelson at Mercury Records.

While Paul was unsuccessful convincing his higher-ups to offer a recording contract to the artist (Forman says, "They looked at him like he was out of his mind"), Forman ultimately was signed by Clive Davis to Arista, where he recorded one classic, self-titled, and now very collectible album (there's a used CD on Amazon right now going for $109.99).

Forman, who went on to forge a musical career and an alter-ego with Little Isidore and the Inquisitors, can currently be seen on the big screen in James Marsh's brilliant documentary about Phillipe Petit, Man on Wire, where he even performs "Dream of a Child."

Copyright 2008 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved. 

19th-Oct-2008 01:00 pm - Max's Kansas City
In January of 1973, a few weeks after Elliott Murphy first played his demos for Paul Nelson, then an A&R guy at Mercury Records, Paul presented him the recently released debut album of another songsmith: Bruce Springsteen's Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Later that same month, Paul invited Murphy to join him at Max's Kansas City, where Springsteen was playing with a very early incarnation of the E Street Band.

This week over at Wolfgang's Vault—which features free streaming of vintage live concert performances—the featured concert is, with relative certainty, the show in question. Recorded January 31, 1973, after the show Paul introduced Elliott to Bruce, thereby launching a friendship that continues to this day.

Copyright 2008 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.
8th-Sep-2008 05:30 pm - anyone going?
kills
is anyone else going to the 98.7 KissFM Liberty R&B Jazz Fest in NYC at liberty state park? Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu and the O'Jays are playing. I'm looking for new people to meet up with.

here's who is playing (or click here: http://www.987kissfm.com/rbjazzfest08/):

Saturday, September 13th 12 - 10 pm
Performances by Aretha Franklin• Erykah Badu • Leela James • Kem • Euge Groove • Bobby Caldwell • The Jeff Foxx Band • Jean Baylor

Sunday, September 14th 12 - 8 pm
Performances by The O'Jays • Kool and the Gang • Roy Ayers • Brian Culbertson • Gil Parris • Soul Generation • Elisabeth Withers

tickets: http://www.987kissfm.com/rbjazzfest08/tickets.htm
This page was loaded Nov 23rd 2017, 8:56 am GMT.