Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, January 14-20

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 10:53 AM

The week brings many unique delights, in addition to the stalwarts who have helped us through these many months of quarantine. Amy LaVere and Will Sexton present a live-streamed show from St. Croix, where they've landed after a very conscientious flight. South Main Sounds offers up another installment in its occasional series, this time featuring Scott Southworth and Mark Lavey. And finally, the great Memphis native Charles Lloyd offers up a virtual concert from UCLA that promises to be stellar.
Charles Lloyd - D. DARR
  • D. Darr
  • Charles Lloyd

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, January 14
5:30 p.m.
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook


Friday, January 15
6:30 p.m.
Scott Southworth and Mark Lavey - at South Main Sounds
Facebook


Saturday, January 16
10 a.m.
Richard Wilson
Facebook

9:00 p.m.
Charles Lloyd - Kindred Spirits
Website


Sunday, January 17
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
YouTube

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook


Monday, January 18
8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
YouTube


Tuesday, January 19
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, January 20
6 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Julien Baker's Stunning Performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 4:05 PM

Julien Baker - ALYSSE GAFKJEN
  • Alysse Gafkjen
  • Julien Baker
With a new album, Little Oblivions, about to drop on Matador on February 26, Julien Baker is surfacing more and more these days. It's good to have her back. The Memphis native has gone from success to success simply by sticking to her unique blend of the cathartic confessional, from the intimate to the dramatic. Though her voice has always powerfully navigated both whispers and roaring melodies, it seems she's grown into her range even more as the years have gone by. That was especially in evidence last night, when she led her band through "Faith Healer," the album's first single, on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Her band was in fine form as they rocked the song from the stage of the Exit/In in Nashville, and one can almost imagine hearing it ring out across Tennessee to Memphis as it went down. Singing from behind a keyboard, she made use of her all her vocal strengths in the song, which builds to a soaring high point as she wails, "Faith healer, come put your hands all over me/Snake oil dealer, I'll believe you if you make me feel something."

Recently, Baker could also be spied doing guitar duties in the service of Hayley Williams' Tiny Desk Concert last month, not to mention ringing in the holidays with her Spotify-only cover of an old Perry Como song, "A Dreamer's Holiday." Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more Baker sightings in the near future, and full coverage of her new album in the Memphis Flyer next month. 

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, January 7-13

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 12:04 PM

As the new year marches on, the city's usual suspects continue to carry the torch of online entertainment. It's 100 percent CDC approved and guaranteed to keep you safe from the coronavirus. And just look at all the gas money you've been saving! The week also brings unique, one-off shows from innovators like longtime scene-maker Muck Sticky and, from Cleveland, Mississippi, Lemonhead Danero. Tune in, turn on, and drop dimes in their virtual tip jars or ticketing platforms!

Lemonhead Danero
  • Lemonhead Danero
REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, January 7
6:45 p.m.
Lemonhead Danero
Website


Friday, January 8
No scheduled live-streamed events


Saturday, January 9
10 a.m.
Richard Wilson
Facebook


Sunday, January 10
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
YouTube

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook


Monday, January 11
5:30 p.m.
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
YouTube


Tuesday, January 12
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m
Muck Sticky - 20th Anniversary Concert
YouTube    Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, January 13
6 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

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Thursday, December 31, 2020

In Memoriam: Nokie Taylor, Trumpeter for Isaac Hayes and Others

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 2:11 PM

A lifetime ago, I was a cook at a deli/market called the Squash Blossom. Isaac Hayes and Alex Chilton were regular customers. Behind the scenes, the whole place bustled with the energy of would-be artists working their day jobs. But there was one person on the payroll who was neither a would-be nor a has-been, someone who had stood shoulder-to-shoulder onstage with both Hayes and Chilton, someone who brought dignity and a mischievous grin to his role as a dishwasher: Nokie Taylor.
Nokie Taylor - COURTESY DITTO TAYLOR
  • courtesy Ditto Taylor
  • Nokie Taylor
Like most of us, he loved the soul-heavy oldies station that played as we worked, but few of us suspected how many of those hits Nokie had actually contributed to. Amused by my name, he'd walk in to work and say, "Hey! It's the other Al Greene!" Later, that was shortened to, "Hey! It's The Other!" Finally, that became, "Hey, T.O.!"

As 1989 drew to a close, I was slated to join Alex Chilton and a facsimile of The Box Tops, playing New Year's Eve in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And who should appear in the horn section but Nokie on trumpet. Even then, I hardly guessed what a master of the instrument he was. It turned out his contributions to Chilton's solo records were many and substantial, and he could often be seen in the local jazz scene. This guy was a player. Later I discovered that he had been a regular member of the Isaac Hayes Movement, playing on Black Moses, Shaft, Joy, Truck Turner, and Three Tough Guys, not to mention a slew of albums Hayes released with ABC after Stax was kaput.
Nokie Taylor - COURTESY DITTO TAYLOR
  • courtesy Ditto Taylor
  • Nokie Taylor
This Christmas grew a little darker when I heard that Nokie had passed away on December 19th. It was not entirely unexpected — he'd resided in an assisted living facility for six years, under hospice care for the past two of those, and the isolation of quarantine had been hard on him. Above and beyond that, his close friend and colleague Herman Green had died in November.

Both had played pivotal roles in FreeWorld, those stalwart funksters of Beale Street for over three decades. When Nokie died, FreeWorld co-founder Richard Cushing wrote:

Where Herman became my musical father, Nokie became more like my cool musical uncle – no less influential, but in a more casual & roundabout fashion. Just a few years after that, Nokie & I were sharing an apartment together & he graciously agreed to be the horn section leader for our new, all original band “Mosaic”, and I can remember many late nights in a variety of CK Diners after our gigs, with Nokie intently listening to us dissect the show while he dispensed his own unique brand of wisdom & perceptions about both the music we were writing & performing and our personal & professional goals.

You see, we knew that Nokie had already been to the musical mountaintop, having played on MANY Top 10 R&B Hits that came out of Stax Records in the 60s & 70s (like Sam & Dave & Eddie Floyd, etc.) and had also toured with Isaac Hayes for many years – not to mention playing on Cybill Sheppard’s “Vanilla”, Big Star’s “Third”, and several Alex Chilton & Tav Falco - Panther Burns LPs – so his vast musical knowledge & experience were invaluable to a young, aspiring musician like myself. But Nokie was always quiet about his professional accomplishments, and was never one to boast or appear grandiose about whom all he’d played with, where all he’d been, & what all he’d done – even though his discography was broad & impressive.

He often played with FreeWorld throughout the years and was always a
showstopper with his circle breathing prowess on the cornet, his smooth vocal
style, and his frequently overt sexual innuendos insinuated into both his lyrics and his playing. (Too many stories to go into here, but trust me… Nokie was ONE BAAAD DUDE!!)
Nokie Taylor receiving a Beale Street Note in 2012 - SHAWN M. CARTER
  • Shawn M. Carter
  • Nokie Taylor receiving a Beale Street Note in 2012
Trying to further grasp the passing of this life that touched so many, I reached out to his son, Dwayne "Ditto" Taylor, now living in Arkansas.

Memphis Flyer: Was Nokie a native Memphian?

Ditto Taylor: He was born March 6, 1941, in Orange Mound. His dad, William Taylor Jr., was a professional singer.  (My dad was William Isaac Taylor III). His father was affectionately known as "Billy" or "The Voice" ... a baritone and a perfectionist. My mom said that he sounded like Billy Eckstine.
William Taylor, Jr., father of Nokie Taylor - COURTESY DITTO TAYLOR
  • courtesy Ditto Taylor
  • William Taylor, Jr., father of Nokie Taylor

Nokie told me his dad would leave the house before him. And my dad had to find his own way to the gig, and find his way back. I don't know if he was trying to get him away from the music business, you know, making him fend for himself.

Now Mickey Gregory was friends with my dad. And a week before Nokie's father passed away, he told Mickey to look after his son. Because he was going away. Mickey said, "Where are you going?" And he just said, "Look after my son." And a week later my grandfather passed away. 
Mickey was the stage manager for Isaac Hayes, so Mickey got Nokie hooked up with Isaac.

How old was Nokie at the time?

My dad had to have been around 25. He met my mom in college in Arkansas, at what is now called the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

He studied trumpet there?

Well, my dad was so good that he didn't want to play in the band. He started his own band. He was too cool for the marching band. And that's where he met my mom.

And then they settled in Memphis?

Yes, sir. They got divorced when I was five, and my mom and I moved to Arkansas. So I would go visit during the holidays or in summertime. He was traveling with Isaac all the time, doing his music. He sent me postcards from all over the world. Africa, Rome, and he even sent a picture from when they went to, at the time, Cassius Clay's [Muhammad Ali's] training camp.

I wasn't an Isaac Hayes fan. I couldn't understand his music. 'Cause he was talking about love. I wanted to dance! My cousins in Memphis had to tell me, "Man, Isaac Hayes was the shit in the '70s." And then I found out that Maurice White wanted Nokie to join Earth, Wind & Fire, but Isaac was too hot back then.

Did he ever mention what his proudest moment as a player was?

Well, he mentioned that he and Miles Davis were good friends. I guess because of the trumpet. You know, Miles wasn't an easy person to get along with. But my dad, being himself, they fell in love with each other. Maybe it was a trumpet-to-trumpet thing.

I could see how your dad could lighten Miles up a little. Nokie was so fun.

Right. Exactly. He loved to make people laugh and smile. He wanted everybody around him to have a good time. To enjoy themselves, enjoy life. It's like, when he walked into a room, even though he spoke real cool, like a pimp, he could captivate an audience. Especially the women!

When I reflect on all the people that he touched, if he had stayed with my mom, he might have moved to Arkansas and never would have been who he became, affecting all the lives he impacted. It shocked me when Kirk Whalum called me and said, "Your dad really inspired me." Nokie had to do his musical career. I was fortunate enough to be raised by four women who did an excellent job with me. But the times that my dad and I did share were … Ooooo weee!

How recently was he still actively playing?

The last time I saw him perform was maybe 2006, 2007. Down there on Beale Street. And he did that circular breathing, that little trick where he'd blow his trumpet for, like, three minutes straight. Which is normally not humanly possible. But after 45 seconds, I started clapping. I had never seen him do that before. I'm like, "Wow!" And everyone else was, too. He played that note for a long time, so they were calling him "One Note Nokie."

One interesting thing: I was home on leave from the military and I drove up to Memphis, and he didn't know I was coming. But I knew he was playing down on Beale Street. So me and my cousin and one of my good friends snuck in, and the singer saw me and she knew exactly who I was. She said, "We've got a very special guest tonight. Dwayne, would you please stand?" And Nokie wasn't paying attention. He was over there playing with his trumpet keys, licking his lips, getting ready to start the set. But when I stood up and they threw the spotlight on me, the singer said, "Nokie, play for your baby." Nokie turned around and it was the first time I ever saw tears come to his eyes.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nokie Taylor's family will not host a memorial service for him at this time.

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The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, December 31-January 6

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 12:42 PM

This week is front-loaded with several dynamite live-streamed shows, in honor of 2020’s demise. Ring in a new year and a new you with your favorite local boppers, including Dale Watson, Tyler Keith, Spank!, the MD’s, and the Risky Whiskey Boys. For those shut-ins who typically stay at home for New Year’s Eve anyway, this pandemic could be a real boon to your entertainment options tonight!
rwb_duo_promo_iiia.jpg
REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, December 31
6 p.m.
Juke Joint AllStars - at Wild Bill’s
Facebook

8 p.m.
Spank! and the MD's - at B-Side
YouTube

8 p.m.
The Risky Whiskey Boys - at the Haystack
Facebook

9:30 p.m.
Dale Watson - at Hernando’s Hide-a-way
Facebook

11 p.m.
Tyler Keith
YouTube


Friday, January 1
No scheduled live-streamed events


Saturday, January 2
10 a.m.
Richard Wilson
Facebook


Sunday, January 3
4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook


Monday, January 4
5:30 p.m.
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
YouTube


Tuesday, January 5
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar - at South Main Sounds
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, January 6
6 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Dale Watson - Hernando’s Hide-a-way
YouTube

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, December 24-30

Posted By on Thu, Dec 24, 2020 at 12:13 PM

If you don't have a fireplace, or forgot to order your 12-hour fireplace Blu-ray disc, never fear! The Memphis music scene has plenty in store to help these wintry nights pass merrily. Break out the nog and settle into listening mode, safely at home. In between Zoom reunions and toasting those in your safety pod, there's plenty to keep you entertained!

The KLiTZ: Gail Elise Clifton, Marcia Clifton Faulhaber, Lesa Aldridge (Elizabeth Hoehn),  Amy Gassner Starks - EBET ROBERTS
  • Ebet Roberts
  • The KLiTZ: Gail Elise Clifton, Marcia Clifton Faulhaber, Lesa Aldridge (Elizabeth Hoehn), Amy Gassner Starks
REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT

Thursday, December 24
3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Christmas Eve Service - Bellevue Baptist Church
Facebook

7 p.m.
Christmas Eve Concert - Union Grove M.B. Church
Facebook


Friday, December 25
No scheduled live-streamed events


Saturday, December 26
10 a.m.
Richard Wilson
Facebook

5 p.m.
Turnt & The KLiTZ Sisters - at B-Side
Facebook

7 p.m.
Led Zep'n - at Lafayette's Music Room
Facebook


Sunday, December 27
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
YouTube

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook


Monday, December 28
5:30 p.m.
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
YouTube


Tuesday, December 29
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, December 30
6 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Dale Watson - Hernando's Hide-a-way
YouTube

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Friday, December 18, 2020

Have a Punky Xmas with the Goner TV Holiday Special

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2020 at 11:25 AM

This happens on the Goner TV Holiday Special.
  • This happens on the Goner TV Holiday Special.
It's that time of year when you ask yourself, "How many more versions of A Christmas Carol do I have to watch?" Well friends, liberation is available if you want it. It's called the "Goner TV Holiday Special," and it's happening tonight.

Memphis' pioneering garage/punk label and beloved record store Goner's pivot from live shows to streaming has been one of the rare success stories of the pandemic. Their weekly webcasts have become wacko variety shows combining live music, comedy, art, talk, and whatever else they can put in front of their cameras.

Now, the variety show format reaches its final form with the Holiday Special. Goner honchoes Eric Friedl and Zac Ives will be joined by Friedl's Oblivians bandmate Greg Cartwright, Christmas music from Robby Grant (joined by Memphis Flyer Music Editor Alex Greene), Shannon Shaw & Cody Blanchard, and Detroit's Human Eye madman Timmy Vulgar. You'll also get to see the world premiere of The Sheik's new "Christmas in Space" video, which is absolutely bonkers. There's also new art by ex-Nots keyboardist Alexandra Eastburn, a cooking segment, and a bunch of other cool stuff that you're just going to have to tune in to believe.

The Goner TV Holiday Special streams tonight at 8 p.m. CST on Twitch or GonerTV.com.  

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, December 17-23

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2020 at 10:42 AM

Will Sexton & Amy LaVere
  • Will Sexton & Amy LaVere
Bring on the holiday cheer! This week sees a considerable uptick in church programs, not to mention a fundraiser for the good folks at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. 'Tis the season of giving, so be sure to drop some virtual coin into the virtual collection plate or tip jar of your choice. And the most generous thing of all is...staying at home. Tennessee has the worst new-case rate in the world! Live-streamed concerts are part of the solution. The life you save may be your own!

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, December 17
8 p.m.
Devil Train - at B-Side
Facebook    YouTube    Twitch TV


Friday, December 18
7 p.m.
Promise Academy Spring Hill Students
Facebook

7 p.m.
Chad Pope, T Jarrod Bonta & Danny Banks - at Hernando's Hide-a-way
YouTube


Saturday, December 19
10 a.m.
Richard Wilson
Facebook

5 p.m.
Butterfly House Congregation
Facebook

7 p.m.
Jenna Grissom - Home for the Holidays
Facebook


Sunday, December 20
10:30 a.m.
Ridgeway Assembly of God Church Students
Facebook

3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo at Hernando's Hide-a-way
YouTube

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook

7 p.m.
Reagan Strange - Fundraiser for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
Facebook    Website


Monday, December 21
5:30 p.m.
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
YouTube


Tuesday, December 22
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, December 23
6 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Dale Watson - at Hernando's Hide-a-way
YouTube

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Monday, December 14, 2020

Goodbye to Artist, Magnetic Fields Collaborator & Friend, L.D. Beghtol

Or "The Way You Say Goodnight"

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2020 at 8:00 AM

L.D. Beghtol  in Memphis, 2001 - MIKE DAVIS
  • Mike Davis
  • L.D. Beghtol in Memphis, 2001
“You’ve got a devastating point of view and everything you say is true.”
 — Stephin Merritt,“The Way You Say Good-Night.”
      From 69 Love Songs, performed by L.D. Beghtol

“Sweep everything under the rug for long enough, and you have to move right out of the house.” ― Rachel Ingalls, Mrs. Caliban

This is a bad story. There are worse stories, and sadder ones, usually involving orphans, serial killers, and/or extinction events. But the astonishing L.D. Beghtol is dead and no story beginning with news like that can be any kind of good. More than this, if you knew him, knew of him, or only recognize the sweetly whispering voice of “All My Little Words,” and other superb tracks from The Magnetic Fields magnum opus 69 Love Songs, no amount of accolades or fond accounting can make the bitter batter better. So be forewarned. If happy endings are your kink — if you like stories that make you feel better, affirm life, balm grief, and order the unruly world, if only for an estimated engagement time of 4 minutes — this isn’t the story you’re looking for. L.D. arrived in Memphis in 1983. If that wasn’t tragic enough, he went by Larry, something people don’t forget half as quickly as you’d hope. Nevertheless, Larry persisted, rapidly distinguishing himself as a notable artist, designer, curator, pot stirrer and mischief maker. During a dozen-year run in the Bluff City he worked with Towery Publishing, organized art happenings, and fastidiously studied the lives and habits of famous murderers, while penning witty, literate art and music columns for periodicals like No: and The Memphis Flyer.
Vintage No: - LD BEGHTOL
  • LD Beghtol
  • Vintage No:
This industry came to no good end, of course, unless you reasonably stretch definitions of good to include a close proximity to biscuits from Bryant’s, everything from Cozy Corner, and a hidden rooftop pool atop that 19th-Century townhouse on Jefferson where Tallulah Bankhead’s parents were married; the pool that could only be accessed through a secret bookcase panel in an upstairs study and allowed for occasional naked swimming.

LD BEGHTOL
  • LD Beghtol
Sometimes things at least felt right, and good, and true, even if hindsight shows nothing could be further from the truth. To reign in this sprawling disaster, here’s a rundown of relevant facts. Before moving to New York with a sum total of $400 in his pocket, dreams of being a famous art director, a beard that amounted to little more than chin stubble, a good friend with a Christopher St. apartment, and no intention whatsoever of ever meeting indie rock guru Stephin Merritt, or recording some of the late 20th Century’s most critically acclaimed songs, L.D. was one of the busiest all purpose designers and art directors in Memphis. Between books, corporate ID and colorful posters for plays, concerts, and cultural events, his lovely and provocative work defined graphic Memphis and was ubiquitous to the Midsouth’s visual landscape.

Not content to work in two dimensions only, L.D. co-founded Nice Boys From Good Families, a multimedia arts collective. Nice Boys kick-started rave culture in Memphis while staging posh art openings and a beloved underground production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom at Marshall Arts Gallery.
Blues on the Bluff - LD BEGHTOL
  • LD Beghtol
  • Blues on the Bluff
I’m leaving a lot out. L.D. was my friend and a vector of fascination. Without him I wouldn't have met my wife or started a family, or a band, or learned anything about good skin and beard care, or how to cook chicken livers like a champ. I have so many personal stories illustrating L.D.’s wit, unmatched erudition, and complete inability to separate living and making. But all those stories would make you feel things, and, as I heard him scold so many times, “Feelings are wrong, Chris!” They lie to us, and confuse us, and make us think something matters, when it’s simply not true. So none of what I’m telling you so far is L.D.’s true and terrible story. It barely qualifies as an incomplete list of things accomplished by a professional polymath making transgressive, out-and-loud art in the conservative South while fostering fellow artists whenever and however he could.
At the risk of sounding like I’m writing an obituary — which would make L.D. cross — it’s necessary to continue in this vein a moment longer. The media company kind enough to publish our horrible tale deserves a few clicks, and doing so ups the odds of someone finding this article by searching for “Magnetic Fields” and “Singers who aren’t Stephin Merritt.” Speaking of...

In 1997, while living in an apartment above the Stonewall Inn (not the one occupied by Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson), and working as the art director for the Long Island Voice, L.D. became acquainted with Merritt, already an established force with musical projects like Future Bible Heroes, and the Gothic Archies. They shared tastes in literature and drink and a mutual fascination with bizarre old musical instruments. It wasn’t long before L.D., Merritt, Claudia Gonson, Daniel Handler, and various other Magnetic Fields regulars and irregulars were hard at play making 69 Love Songs.
Cover design, 69 Love Songs - LD BEGHTOL
  • LD Beghtol
  • Cover design, 69 Love Songs
L.D., Merritt, and Dudley Klute (Kid Montanna, Magnetic Fields) also joined forces as The Three Terrors, staging an infamous series of cabaret performances. These are the creative associations and efforts for which L.D. is best known. He’s also known for making gingerbread. And for knowing all the best people, and where to obtain good Vietnamese food wherever you happen to be stranded. Were it not so clearly against the artist’s famous, if sometimes misunderstood anti-sentimentalism, it might be appropriate to spend some time reconsidering all the bands L.D. helmed, and a body of recorded work that rivals his better known collaborations in terms of pop literacy and most other kinds of literacy, really. To honor his contrariness, however, and his special love for the Carter Family song “Give Me Roses While I Live,” I’ll spend no time ruminating on The Flare Acoustic Arts League or L.D.’s ability to craft meticulous lyrics about grim subject matter, and spin it all into an audio adventure as funny it is bleak. We’ll skip right over the superb Moth Wranglers project and Tragic Realism, an eschatological romp by LD & the New Criticism where high honky tonk and vaudeville collide in a gorgeously imagined effort sometimes worthy of The Fugs at their scatalogical best. By this point, astute readers are probably asking themselves, “If none of this was really LD’s story, what is?” Critical readers additionally wonder, “And do we care?” Answers, in order, are, “I’m coming around to all that,” and “Not if you’re fortunate.” A number of friends commenting online have, to my mind, mistaken LD’s anti-sentimentalism for being unsentimental. It’s given them pause, and weird feelings about sharing their own memories in a sentimental way. I too know how he felt about cheap sentimentality, which he sang about beautifully, but preferred to observe from afar. But we’re also talking about a grown man who decorated his personal space like it might belong to a little boy who died a hundred years ago. For this reason alone, we should probably expand our views of sentimental life, and briefly consider a childhood that, to hear LD tell it, was often unhappy and sometimes spectacularly cruel.
"Godot," a Clarksville High School-era illustration by LD Beghtol. - COURTESY OF GALEN FOTT
  • Courtesy of Galen Fott
  • "Godot," a Clarksville High School-era illustration by LD Beghtol.
Old Clarksville’s a city on the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee, carved into steep hills near the Kentucky border. L.D. might want readers to know there’s now a bronze statue of Clarksville’s most famous actor, Frank Sutton, located on Franklin Street, across from The Roxy Theatre, a place where Sutton — best known for playing Jim Nabors' arch-nemesis, Sgt. Carter on the hit TV show Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. — never actually performed. For context, he might also want you to know that bronze statues of Confederate soldiers remain, and that the city borders the Ft. Campbell U.S. military base where L.D., being part of a military family, was born fabulous.

There’s much to consider about L.D.’s time in Clarksville, where he discovered the art of Aubrey Beardsley, the mystery of perfect cornbread, punk rock, musical theater, and the joys of madrigal singing. This is also the place where our story takes its first turn for the worse. How else could it turn? One time, when L.D.’s family was out for a drive, the front half of a deer with enormous antlers came crashing through the passenger side window of the car. The terrified animal started thrashing around while the car skidded and swerved, and the deer bucked and kicked to disentangle itself. “My sister lived,” he’d say, dryly. I mention this event only to further suggest that, as troubling memories go, this was one. And to assuage any ideas that L.D.’s Gothic leanings were anything but earned.
Created for Theatre Memphis' production of A Lie of the Mind. Painted print with deer blood. - LD BEGHTOL
  • LD Beghtol
  • Created for Theatre Memphis' production of A Lie of the Mind. Painted print with deer blood.
There was no greater admirer or collector of antique photographs than L.D. Friends who followed him on social media are probably familiar with all his “dead boyfriends” — a faded black and white gallery of sturdy 19th-Century fellows with fine facial hair and swell duds. In addition to collecting, L.D. gave his boyfriends stories, and wrote parts for himself.

The photo collection extends beyond dead boyfriends, of course. He collected dead imaginary family and friends too. Now, I’m sorry to say, it's time to get real. Phil Campbell is a former staff writer for The Memphis Flyer, currently living in Queens. Phil met L.D. in 2010 when he joined me and fellow Flyer alumni Jim Hanas for coffee and drinks in Brooklyn. Following this Memphis publishing reunion, Phil and L.D., formerly two friends of friends, became regular friends and frequent museum buddies. After visiting an exhibit together, Phil, a compulsive memoirist, asked L.D. how he would pose for a photograph, were it the late 1900s and he “only had one real chance in his life to be photographed.”

Without hesitation, off the top of his head, LD answered, “It’d be English summer, 1896 or so: I’d wear a striped Henley blazer; deepish-brimmed straw boater with grosgrain band; round-collard soft-front shirt; four-in-hand silk tie, wide-ish, shortish; white flannels or line trousers, quite narrow, slightly pegged, but no cuffs; perhaps a light vest, possibly knit; lace up high top Oxfords, canvas and leather. Absurd socks — with clocks on them? I’d be photographed with an equally dapper friend (or two) with our bicycles, near a lake or having a little picnic under a plane tree.”

According to Phil’s essay, L.D. would, “pose with a dog, which he does not actually have in the 21st-Century. Its name would be Montmorency.” At last, we've gotten to it: This piece of instant art direction is the true and tragic story of my friend L.D. distilled. It's everything you need to know in order to know everything you need you know about things you should know and all the things that matter.
The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs  lineup - ROBIN HOLLAND
  • Robin Holland
  • The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs lineup
It’s true, our subject would likely reject even the idea of heartbreak, swearing there was nothing but a great dark hole in the center of his chest. What's understood about the cardiac event that ended his life suggests L.D. was fibbing on this score. So if you've been been hesitant to indulge in feelings, it’s probably okay to lose all cool in your remorse. For all the good it will do you. The heart that failed L.D. was enormous and often full. If this doesn’t fully allay concerns, one might also frame tributes in the form of small plays, or present them in the style of a beloved author. A little distance goes a long way. “He offered to try to tune my Marxolin once, and I never forgot it,” one admirer posted to Twitter, shortly after the bad news broke. “I guess it’s the small things.”

Of course LD knew how to tune a Marxolin. And of course he offered to tune somebody’s Marxolin for them. And yes, it’s exactly the small things. And the old and fragile things. The forgotten, esoteric things of great power and no consequence; broken, beautiful, and probably without objective meaning. These are the things that mattered. If ever there was a sweet curmudgeon, born to be posthumous, it is L.D. Beghtol. And wouldn’t you just know it, author Mark Dery already claimed “Born to be Posthumous” as the title for his 2018 Edward Gorey biography. I know because L.D., as generous with books as he was with offers to tune Marxolins (and everything else, really), gave my family the hardback edition as soon as it was available. With this anticlimactic joke, about as funny as an urn to the head, our woeful yarn reaches its doleful conclusion. A great spirit has been lost; attention must be paid. Goodnight, dear L.D. And, foiled again!

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, December 10-16

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2020 at 10:01 AM

Tyler Keith - MIKE STANTON
  • Mike Stanton
  • Tyler Keith
Now the nog really begins to flow, as Christmas music pops up more and more in the online concert universe. But for those who get enough festive tunes at the grocery store, there are plenty of non-holiday events as well, not least of which is the star-studded celebration of Arhoolie Records, the (non-local) roots music imprint that is much beloved by fans of the blues, country, Cajun, Latino, and other related genres. Mississippi bluesman Charlie Musselwhite is among the featured artists.

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, December 10
7 p.m.
60 Years of Arhoolie: An Anniversary Celebration
Taj Mahal
Ry Cooder
Billy Gibbons
Bonnie Raitt
Del McCoury
Members of Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Ruthie Foster
Charlie Musselwhite
La Marisoul & Max Baca
BeauSoleil Trio
The Savoy Family Band
The Campbell Brothers
Barbara Dane
Csókolom
Cedric Watson
La Familia Morales
Los Tigres del Norte

Arhoolie Records

8 p.m.
Devil Train - at B-Side
Facebook    YouTube    Twitch TV


Friday, December 11
8 p.m.
Tyler Keith and Toy Trucks - at B-Side
YouTube    Twitch TV


Saturday, December 12
10 a.m.
Richard Wilson
Facebook

8 p.m.
Kota - at Growlers
Twitch TV    YouTube


Sunday, December 13
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
YouTube

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook

6 p.m.
The Grace Band - Christmas Concert
Grace Evangelical Church    Facebook


Monday, December 14
5:30 p.m.
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
YouTube


Tuesday, December 15
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, December 16
6 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Dale Watson - Hernando's Hide-a-Way
YouTube

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Friday, December 4, 2020

Tony Holiday Releases "The Hustle" Music Video

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 12:44 PM

Tony Holiday - JAMIE HARMON
  • Jamie Harmon
  • Tony Holiday

Memphis bluesman Tony Holiday will release the video to his single, “The Hustle,”  on December 4th — the same day he will celebrate his 35th birthday.

The song, which is from his Soul Service album, is “about getting off tour, coming home,” Holiday says. “A guy who gets off the road and he notices all the things in his house that were broken are now fixed when he got home. He’s noticing changes around the home and his relationship. And all that needs to be fixed.”

Jamie Harmon shot the video, which begins with footage of Holiday’s Stacy Adams two-tone shoes tapping to the beat, and then blends into Holiday sitting in the bed of Harmon’s red 1971 Volkswagen crew cab truck. “He drove the truck. The bed on the truck is wide open. I’m not one for rollercoasters or anything like that. We’re logging 45 miles an hour sometimes going around the corner and I’m trying to stay relaxed. He mounted a camera in the bed of his truck and hit record and he said, ‘Well, I hope it works.’ He drove around Memphis and that was it. A one-take shot.

Tony Holiday from "The Hustle" - JAMIE HARMON
  • Jamie Harmon
  • Tony Holiday from "The Hustle"

"I was able to sing a few times through. It was a 45 minute drive.”

While this was his first video, it won’t be his last, Holiday says. “I find something that works and I really dive in deep. And that’s why I can’t stop playing banjos and harmonicas and everything else. Now that I’ve learned from this video, I’m definitely going to put out some more.”

Holiday’s second video, which was shot in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is for his single, “Good Advice.” The song, also from his Soul Service album, is “about all the great things your grandma told you. All the sayings.”

Like his first video, Holiday will keep “things simple” on “Good Advice.” “I’m not an actor or anything like that. I’m sitting on a porch in Clarksdale. There’s a few more angles, a few more cameras. It’s a little bit more complex than the last one.”

Holiday is currently working on his Porch Sessions Vol. 2 album, which he plans to release next year. The album includes Willie Buck, Bobby Rush, John Nemeth, Watermelon Slim, and “lots more,” he says.

Tony Holiday - JAMIE HARMON
  • Jamie Harmon
  • Tony Holiday

During the pandemic, Holiday has been “pretty much bunkered” at home. “I went out and did the video. I sneaked over to Nashville to this recording studio, Wild Feather Recording, and spent time doing two-day writing sessions. I was invited by these people to come down and share my ideas. And it’s cool because I’ll just get an idea and they’ll get on the phone and call in session musicians or another musician, and all of a sudden you have this song that comes to life.”

He also got heavily into the banjo. “I was looking for one and Kit Anderson  — he’s a famed blues guitar player  — said, ‘Man, I’ve got one laying around. I’ll just send it to you.’

“I’m just kind of getting back to my country roots. And that involves hill country. I’m transposing these hill country guitar lines over to the banjo.”

Holiday pretty much has his daily routine down. “I play guitar and harmonica every day. I get up early before my baby wakes up and I get that time in. I go to the park with her. I walk the Mississippi River a lot with her. And I spend time with my wife. I do the whole family thing. My days are just spent writing music and spending time with the family.”

He and his wife, Camille, are expecting another baby around June. Holiday already has two daughters: 18-year-old Elizabeth Rose and four-year-old Bonnie Rae.

“This year has had a chemistry that’s like no other. And it’s been a self-reflecting year. A lot of creativity came with this year. I just started playing a lot more of my stuff that I used to play. I think a lot of people have had to look at themselves this year. At least people in my circles. It’s been an opportunity, if you’re willing to take it, to look at yourself.

“I think people want to feel good now. It was hard to have the joys you were used to. People had to find it within themselves to feel good again.”

Watch "The Hustle" here

Tony Holiday - JAMIE HARMON
  • Jamie Harmon
  • Tony Holiday

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Christmas is a Dish Best Served Blue: Elvis’ Song of Holiday Longing Lives

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 11:18 AM

SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Sony Music Entertainment
The holidays are back, and with them come the inevitable festive songs. Yet not everyone is feeling so chipper. While a "Blue Christmas" might be construed by some as an expression of great relief over the outcome of last month's election, who can deny that one of Elvis Presley's most cherished hits expresses no such jubilation, only an absence?

As an article on webmd.com notes, "this time of year may trigger a bout of the blues or perhaps ignite a depression that has been smoldering under the surface for months."

And so it is that the irony and poignancy of "Blue Christmas" has touched a collective nerve for 63 years now. Indeed, the song has been one of the King's biggest hits, and the collection from which it's drawn, Elvis' Christmas Album, has joined the rarefied ranks of records that the Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) has certified not as gold, not as platinum, but as diamond — reserved for records that have sold 10 million units or more.

In honor of such longevity, Sony Legacy has released the first official music video for the song. Created by MoSoMoS, a New York animation studio led by Mathew Amonson, the video follows the stories of three characters who can't be with loved ones during this time of togetherness. Like the song, the video mixes the isolation and despondency of the lyrics with the inherent beauty of the music and Elvis' voice. It's a lovely diversion for those of us who may find that all the tidings of joy merely mark an empty chair or bed or home, with only memories of past joy, and a hope for better tomorrows, to sustain us.

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Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, December 3-9

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2020 at 10:12 AM

Bailey Bigger - BETHANY REID VISUALS
  • Bethany Reid Visuals
  • Bailey Bigger
As we delve into the darkest days of the year, things are lighting up online, with the first holiday live-streamed events. Sitting by the cozy glow of live music on your screen with a beverage and sheltered-in-place loved one … what could be better? Tune in to the many choices below, and don't forget to give a little something to the players who fill your days and nights with song.

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, December 3
7 p.m.
Bailey Bigger - at We Are Memphis
Facebook    YouTube


Friday, December 4
No live-streamed events scheduled


Saturday, December 5
10 a.m.
Richard Wilson
Facebook

6:30 p.m.
Shelley Brown, Lee Booth and Lee Holiday - at South Main Sounds
Facebook


Sunday, December 6
1 p.m.
Alexis Taylor - at South Main Sounds
Facebook

3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
YouTube

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook

6 p.m.
Festival of Carols - at Second Presbyterian Church
Facebook

7:30 p.m.
Black Violin - at the Orpheum Theatre
Facebook


Monday, December 7
8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
YouTube


Tuesday, December 8
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, December 9
6 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

7:30 p.m.
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

8 p.m.
Dale Watson - Hernando's Hide-a-Way
YouTube

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Julien Baker Resurfaces: Two New Singles Include a Holiday Deep Cut

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2020 at 12:46 PM

Julien Baker - ALYSSE GAFKJEN
  • Alysse Gafkjen
  • Julien Baker
Julien Baker won the hearts of music lovers right out of the gate with the startling intimacy and meticulous craftsmanship of her 2015 debut, Sprained Ankle. Her sophomore album from the following year, Turn Out the Lights, built on that with a somewhat more elaborate sound palette, recorded at Ardent Studios. Since then, her only release has been the 2018 EP by boygenius, a collaborative effort with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, and fans have been scanning the skies for any new solo work with great anticipation.

Now the wait is nearly over, with two new videos heralding the release of her third album, Little Oblivions, due out on February 26 via Matador Records. Watch for more coverage of that in these pages soon, but in the meantime, have a look at the video and soak in the sound of her sweet new single.

"Faith Healer" was released in October, and portends a more ambitious approach to production than Turn Out the Lights. While that album filled in her sound more than her debut, it was still rather minimalist, for the most part. Now Baker brings us the sound of a rock band, albeit one still laced with all the introspection of her previous work. Engineered by Calvin Lauber and mixed by Craig Silvey (The National, Florence & the Machine, Arcade Fire), both of whom worked on Turn Out the Lights, the album was recorded here in Memphis between December 2019 and January 2020. Baker’s guitar and piano playing are enhanced with bass, drums, synthesizers, banjo and mandolin. Nearly all of the instruments were played by Baker herself.

Upon the release of "Faith Healer," the artist released this statement:

Put most simply, I think that ‘Faith Healer’ is a song about vices, both the obvious and the more insidious ways that they show up in the human experience. I started writing this song 2 years ago and it began as a very literal examination of addiction. For awhile, I only had the first verse, which is just a really candid confrontation of the cognitive dissonance a person who struggles with substance abuse can feel— the overwhelming evidence that this substance is harming you, and the counterintuitive but very real craving for the relief it provides. When I revisited the song I started thinking about the parallels between the escapism of substance abuse and the other various means of escapism that had occupied a similar, if less easily identifiable, space in my psyche.

There are so many channels and behaviors that we use to placate discomfort unhealthily which exist outside the formal definition of addiction. I (and so many other people) are willing to believe whomever — a political pundit, a preacher, a drug dealer, an energy healer — when they promise healing, and how that willingness, however genuine, might actually impede healing.

Meanwhile, another release from Baker surfaced right before Thanksgiving. Instead of more material from the upcoming album, this is an unexpected curve ball from an artist known for very personal originals: a seasonal song originally popularized by Perry Como. "A Dreamer's Holiday," released as an exclusive "Spotify Single," reveals the artist returning to the reliable guitar-and-keyboard minimalism of Turn Out the Lights, and she makes the old chestnut very much her own. Anyone who wants to enjoy the yuletide vibe without the ear fatigue of overplayed shoppers' fare can relish the old-fashioned sweetness and Tin Pan Alley poetry of this gem.

In an amusing aside, the artist tweeted about the experience of learning this song from another era: "Straight up had to get on Ultimate Guitar dot com for the first time in like a decade to figure out how to play this song," she wrote, adding "when I was in the fourth grade my piano teacher taught me how to make a major 7th [chord] and since then I’ve been coasting off of that to make people believe I play piano better than I actually can."

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Dr. Herman Green: Remembering a Giant of Memphis Jazz & Blues

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 at 12:23 PM

Herman Green - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Herman Green
Thanksgiving Day had a bittersweet quality this year, and not only because of the vagaries of 2020 and the coronavirus: It was the day that Dr. Herman Green, the stellar saxophonist and flutist, passed away. According to his friend and protege Richard Cushing, with whom he co-founded the band FreeWorld, Green passed away "at home, surrounded by family, listening to Coltrane."
Dave Gonsalves , Herman Green, John Coltrane, and Arthur Hoyle
  • Dave Gonsalves , Herman Green, John Coltrane, and Arthur Hoyle
This was especially fitting, given that Green rubbed shoulders with John Coltrane and many other jazz greats in his long, eclectic career. Born in 1930, he first played Beale Street as a teenager and toured regionally with a then-obscure B.B. King, before hitting the highway that would lead him to the New York and San Francisco jazz scenes, and a long stint with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. Returning to Memphis in the 60s, he then became a local mainstay, bringing his bold tone and authentic voice to many jazz, soul and funk projects.

The Newborn Family Band, - ca. late 1940s: (l-r) Phineas Newborn, Jr., Calvin Newborn, Phineas Newborn, Sr., Wanda Jones, Unknown bassist, - Herman Green - PHOTO COURTESY OF JADENE KING
  • Photo Courtesy of Jadene King
  • The Newborn Family Band, ca. late 1940s: (l-r) Phineas Newborn, Jr., Calvin Newborn, Phineas Newborn, Sr., Wanda Jones, Unknown bassist, Herman Green
In 2017, the Memphis Flyer ran a cover story on his storied life in music. And that story came to a happy finale with Green's long tenure in FreeWorld, with whom he played nearly every Sunday night at the Blues City Cafe on Beale, right back where he got his start. Though he'd been in poor health recently, he played with the band nearly up to his 90th year.

As Cushing wrote on social media yesterday:

Herman passed peacefully in his home this afternoon, surrounded by his family, and will join his dear wife Rose Jackson-Green in the hereafter. There will be a visitation at Memorial Park Funeral Home sometime in the next week or so, followed by the ceremonial walking of his ashes down Beale Street with a funeral parade sometime soon. In addition, a Memorial Jam will be planned for sometime in the Spring.

As a truly amazing musician, caring patriarch to his family, mentor and teacher to many, and friend to everyone he met, Herman lived an astounding 90 years on this Earth (1930-2020), and was a true treasure to all he touched with his deep musical knowledge & skill, his infectious laugh, and his zest for life and love. The City of Memphis will never be the same without his energy in the mix, and his music & mentorship will be missed forever by all the musicians on Beale Street - Memphis and beyond. I had the honor of knowing and working closely with Herman since 1986, and he taught me practically everything I know about making music...
JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
Green touched the lives of many players and music aficionados over the years, and the grieving has been widespread. Keyboardist Ross Rice wrote:

My sensei is gone. Dr. Herman Green has moved on to the next adventure. Wow, was I lucky to be in his world for awhile. He shared so much and he didn't hold back. There is nobody more generous. He taught us all on every gig, and made me believe I was a pretty good musician, and that I was good enough to play with him, which meant good enough to play with anyone. I loved him and I know he loved me back, because he made sure to tell me every time we hung. This man is a giant, a Memphis and Terran treasure, and a generation of musicians owe him a great debt. Til we meet again...

In memory of Dr. Green, here is a track he recorded with FreeWorld, from the album Inspirations: Family & Friends.
 

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