|The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers jam at the Fillmore East|
Monday, May 22, 2017
When I first started this acoustic project about 2 years ago, I scribbled down about 20 songs I might want to include. The Allman Brothers' "Mountain Jam" was on there towards the bottom, but I don't think I ever seriously thought I'd put together an acoustic version. But while noodling on Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From the Sun", which is prominently featured within the winding movements of "Mountain Jam", I figured why not take a stab at it the whole thing.
As the band's line ups changed and their song catalog grew, "Mountain Jam" would pop up in sets less and less. By the time the Allmans reunited briefly in 1979, "Mountain Jam" was played even less (a truncated version closes an epic 1979 Passaic NJ encore), which isn't surprising since long extended jams weren't exactly en vogue. But even when the band reunited again in 1989, "Mountain Jam" was mostly sidelined save for a tease in the middle of "Jessica". It wasn't until the Summer 2000 tour, the first without without guitarist Dickey Betts, that the band dusted it off so they could give Gregg Allman's voice a rest since Dickey's departure made him the sole singer. It remained in the rotation until the band called it quits in 2014, and was typically an epic set piece that could open and close the same show.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
There have been many rock & roll songs about Rock 'n Roll, but Lou Reed's autobiographical tune is probably the best, definitely the most personal love letter to the music:
I can't remember when exactly I heard the song, probably much later in life than I should have, but Lou Reed's deceptively minimal arrangement immediately jumped out at me from a pretty amazing album. After several jammy songs, I wanted to take a crack at it. Even though the song is mostly acoustic, I had to figure how to strip the song down acoustically without removing the attitude. Also, I just don't have a lot of punk in my voice. I tried to sing/speak it like Lou, but it sounded like a bad imitation. So I tried to put a bit of a melody to it, which I didn't love, so I tried masking it with harmony and back up vocals, similar to the "All Right" answer back up vocals on the chorus. I didn't love it, so I shelved it. I came back to it a few months later, with fresh ears, and thought it didn't sound so bad once I ditched the harmony singing, and wasn't going to get any better."Rock and Roll' is about me. If I hadn't heard rock and roll on the radio, I would have had no idea there was life on this planet. Which would have been devastating - to think that everything, everywhere was like it was where I come from. That would have been profoundly discouraging. Movies didn't do it for me. TV didn't do it for me. It was the radio that did it." - Lou Reed