When he was 16, James Burton was inventing the American guitar. He'd been born in Dubberly, La., in 1939, and was apparently self-taught on his instrument. At 15, he cut a single backing local singer Carol Williams, and then one day he came up with a guitar riff that he liked. He took it to a singer from Shreveport he was touring with, and they worked out a song to use in his act. One thing led to another, and it wound up on a record called "Suzie Q," credited to Dale Hawkins, the singer.
San Francisco has long been a refuge for people on society's fringes, from sailors and hookers to beatniks, hippies and non-conformists of every stripe. Chuck Prophet revels in their oddness as much as he revels in the retro coolness of shoo-be-doo-wop pop and the chime of a pedal-pushed guitar chord. On his latest album, Temple Beautiful, he injects healthy doses of both into sonic portraits of his city's most outrageous inhabitants.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:46 pm
For one long weekend at the end of May, nearly every hotel, hostel, B&B and flophouse in Baltimore is booked up. Traffic gets brutal, the sidewalks fill and locals are more than a little miffed by all the clueless tourists. Many of them are in town for Maryland's high school lacrosse state championships, but for plenty of others, a stay in Charm City promises the polar opposite of all the good clean fun going down at the stadium. These visitors are ready to sweat too, but they've come for something quite different: feedback, blood and distortion.
Seven years in the making, What Is the Meaning of What marks the end of a difficult road for Turing Machine, the often-snarling instrumental trio. The group's prolific drummer, Jerry Fuchs, died suddenly in 2009, about a year into the recording of What Is the Meaning of What and left behind his last work within the still-fleshless new record.
None of the Ramones were actually related, but they all changed their last names to Ramone. They wore matching skinny jeans and leather jackets, and their songs were short and to the point, with hooks that are still impossibly catchy. The band's first album stunned listeners and critics. Joey Ramone described its influence in a 1991 interview in Finland that's posted on YouTube.
In the months ahead, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep will check in from time to time as singer-songwriter Neko Case creates the follow-up to her 2009 album Middle Cyclone. In the first installment, we listen in to a song that's not quite finished, not quite recorded, not even quite written. First, Case has to learn what the song is.
Almost every record you know that was a 1960s radio hit had a secret weapon — a crew of L.A. backing musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew." This group, which included the likes of Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye, helped artists ranging from the Partridge Family to the Beach Boys make great-sounding albums.
Joachim Cooder is no stranger to collaborations, nor is he new to scoring soundtracks, yet Cooder's newest project combines his past experiences in an unexpected way. Son of legendary guitarist Ry Cooder, he took to the drums early on, and eventually played in the famous documentary Buena Vista Social Club. He's also worked behind the scenes, writing for the soundtracks of films such as Lars and the Real Girl.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 8:25 am
Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly makes his fifth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.V. Kelly has been recording for more than 25 years, earning awards back home for his film and TV compositions and a cult-like following in the U.S. and abroad. Though Rolling Stone has called him "Australia's rock icon," Kelly has diversified through the years, recording albums that borrow from country, rock, folk and bluegrass.