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Posts Tagged ‘The Animals’

Ring of Fire- Gina Pfleegor 2019

We’re moving into a new decade in a few days and I though I would play some music this Sunday morning that reflected that fact. My personal opinion is that this could be a momentous year with ramifications that could echo down through whatever history we have left here. You can interpret that however you wish, be it with cheery optimism or dark pessimism. It could go either way at this point.

You might get a hint of my own view from the song selection: the Johnny Cash classic, Ring of Fire, written by June Carter. However, this is a different take on the song. Where the original is uptempo with a mariachi guitar band feel, this version from former Animals lead singer Eric Burdon in 1974 has a driving military march feel.

I first came across this version many, many years ago when I found the Eric Burdon album it was from, Sun Secrets, in a bargain bin of 8-track tapes at the old J.J. Newberry five and dime store in Elmira, which, if I am not mistaken, has been closed for decades now. I think I paid a quarter for the tape, which appealed to me had versions of many of Burdon’s earlier Animals’ hits such as It’s My Life and When I Was Young.

Hey, it was a quarter and our car at the time still rocked a player for the massive 8-track cartridges. I was always afraid that if I slammed on the brakes too hard that one of them might fly up and crush my skull.

It turned that some of that album was meh but some of the songs, especially the reworked versions of older songs, really worked. I especially liked this version of Ring of Fire even though the Cash version is perfect as it is. I just like to hear new interpretations, I guess. Give a listen and see for yourself.

The painting above is titled, of course, Ring of Fire. It’s from artist Gina Pfleegor, who also exhibits her work at the West End Gallery. I am proud to have this piece hanging in my studio.

Gina has been a tremendously talented painter of realism for a number of years but has really blossomed in recent years, moving to new levels with a series of metaphorical paintings with female figures as their central focus, many using her daughter as the model. These pieces have a unique quality that make them really sparkle on the wall and engage the imagination of viewers, myself included.

I always look forward to seeing what’s next with her work. You can check out her work on her site, Gina Pfleegor Fine Art. You can best see her newer work by clicking here which takes you to a Google images page with her work.

Just plain good stuff. So, take a look her Ring of Fire, give a listen to Eric Burdon’s version of Ring of Fire then brace yourself for whatever 2020 might bring.

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Every generation has positive and negatives aspects during the growing up process that are unique to that time. As you age, we tend to glorify what we believe to be these better aspects to, for some unknown reason, show a generational superiority.

Oddly enough, we do the same with the bad aspects of our time growing, as though it gives us both an excuse for our shortcomings and a way to say that we are battle-hardened and tougher than the current generation as a result of having gone through that time. You now the routine: I had to fight off a grizzly bear every morning in order to walk two miles uphill through waist-deep snow just get on the school bus– all without breakfast. Or shoes.

But thinking about the our plague of school shootings makes me think I how fortunate I was to have gone to school every day without worrying that someone was going to walk in and start shooting. There was already enough stress in going to school without that threat of mortal danger hanging over your head.

I can’t even imagine how I would have felt if that had been happening when I went to school.

Fortunately, we didn’t have those kind of events at that time but we did have terrible things happen. And even though they didn’t reach the level of these tragedies, they still left a mark.

I went to a small rural grade school. I can’t remember if I was in fourth or fifth grade but one weekday afternoon a girl one grade below me came up missing. A search began and they found her body in a dump site on a creek not far from the school. Soon after they charged a disturbed high school boy with her murder.

I remember that weekend when that happened so clearly. The world changed drastically for me and, I am sure, for many other kids in my school. It that short time school and the rest of world suddenly seemed like a much more dangerous and dark place. There was now a gray sadness I had never known.

We lived in an isolated old farmhouse and at that time I was sleeping upstairs by myself. At night, I would often turn on my little portable radio to drown out some of the creaks and groans that the old place made, noises that would make the younger me think that Dracula or the Wolf Man were just outside the door–Frankenstein or the Mummy never bothered me because I figured I could outrun those guys.

But on Sunday nights the only broadcasts I could get at that time of night were religious programs. They always had a feeling of hellfire and damnation which always bummed me out a bit even at the end of a good weekend. I remember how awful I felt that particular Sunday night in my bed in the dark when Billy Graham’s Hour of Decision came on.

His voice and words gave no comfort at all.

In fact, it made me feel even more fearful, alone and sad. I still can hear the train whistle that came across the fields from the tracks that ran along the river which was about a half mile away. It added a cold and mournful tone to that moment that still lingers with me.

As I said, I can’t imagine how I would feel if I were a kid today. But based on that moment almost fifty years ago, it would not be good. Kids should not have to worry about such things.

Here’s my choice for this week’s Sunday morning music. It is fittingly titled When I Was Young from one of my favorite bands from the 60’s, Eric Burdon and The Animals. Try to have a good Sunday.

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mose-allison_1Artistic influences,  seeing how a certain artist will take the work of others and transform it into their own, is a fascinating thing.  Sometimes it’s very obvious especially when the influence is of equal renown or when one artist directly copies the work of another.  But sometimes there are great influences that you may not even recognize.

Mose Allison (born in 1927) is such a person, a name you probably don’t know.  But for many musicians in the who found their voice in the 60’s, he was a huge influence.  Jimi Hendrix,  The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, Tom Waits, Van Morrison and many, many others have all cited him as a strong influence on their work.  But Mose Allison, while achieving considerable fame, never became the household name like so many of his admirers.

He was pretty hard to pigeonhole as a musician- at times very bluesy, himself strongly influenced by the delta blues of his home in Mississippi, other times very jazzy or even pop tinged.  But always a unique and individual sound that allowed him to take a song, his own or those written by others, and  give it a new perspective.  I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Mose Allison until just recently but have been thrilled to find his work and can easily see it in the work of so many others.  I encourage you to seek out his work and give it a listen.

To that end, here’s a small sample for this Sunday morning.  It’s his version of the Willie Dixon blues classic The Seventh Son, a song that became a pop hit for Johnny Rivers.  But here, it definitely feels all Mose Allison.  Enjoy and have a great Sunday.

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Eric Burdon- 'Til Your River Runs DryGrowing up,  I was always kind of fascinated by Eric Burdon, then lead singer for the Animals, the British rock band who always seemed just in the shadow of the Beatles and the Stones.  But they were different than the other bands of that early British Invasion.  They seemed rougher, more closely connected to American blues.  Their songs were not mere love ditties.  They were angrier, more defiant and fatalistic.

And it was all captured in the face of Eric Burdon.  He was not a pretty boy, not the smiling cute one that even moms found charming.  He was sleepy eyed with  pock marked skin and an almost surly demeanor that never broke into a toothy smile.  I might be mistaken, but I think he even had a broken tooth.   But he sang those songs that still resonate today–House of the Rising Sun, Boom Boom, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, Don’t Bring Me Down, Sky Pilot,  We Gotta Get Out of this Place.  

It’s my life and I’ll do what I want…

He has had a long career, starting the band War, best known for Spill the Wine, Cisco Kid and Low Rider.  Today. he lives in the desert of Southern California and, at age 71, has a new CD, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry,  out on the market.  I am including a song from it today, Water, that deals with the ever growing problem with maintaining the availability of  safe and potable water now and in the future.   Water is that thing that we all need– more than oil, more than gas, more than any precious metals.  Water is the cause of the current battle over hydro-fracking and might be the thing that nations battle over  in the future.  Give a listen…

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House of the Rising Sun

It’s Saturday and I find myself running late with several things to do.  But I do have a song running through my head this morning, the version of  the venerable The House of the Rising Sun from The Animals.  If we all had soundtracks to our lives, this would be a song that would be part of mine.  I played the single hundreds of times on our old console.  The Animals had a different feel, despite the awful photo from this album cover,  than many of the groups from the 1960’s.  Eric Burdon was not the glamour boy that you would see on many of the other bands and his voice, while distinct, was hardly the best.   Many of their songs had a darker edge that seemed light years away from much of the other music that filled the radiowaves at that time.  There was always the sense of rebellion around their music.  They were the type of group that made parents a little uncomfortable and that  made them all the more attractive.

This is a pretty interesting version with pretty high quality filming with a widescreen cinematic feel, something you didn’t see in a lot of rock videos of the time.

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