Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Guy Clark/Chips Moman/Prince Be/Keith Emerson

Guy Clark -  Clark was a giant among the Troubadours that stormed Texas and Nashville in the 70's:  Billy Joe Shaver, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm to name a few of the popular names.  He released his debut album in 1975 at age 34.  But what an album it was.  Old No. 1 belongs on everyone's shelf.  Two of his most covered songs are on it:  "LA Freeway" and "Desperadoes Waiting For A Train".  While he never matched its brilliance he continued to write classic songs, most of which got covered by others:  "Heartbroke", "She's Crazy For Leavin'" "Boats To Build", "Homegrown Tomoatoes", "Randall Knife".  His last album in 2013 included the devastating title track, "My Favorite Picture Of You".   Like most of his fellow Troubadours Clark has been snubbed by the Country Music Hall of Fame.  His death should have everyone going back and exploring his sterling catalog.

Chips Moman -  We Elvis Presley fans have to bow to Chips Moman.  In 1969 he got Elvis to record his last great start to finish album, From Elvis In Memphis.  Here's the story.  Elvis was flying high after the December success of his '68 TV Special (the Comeback Special as its referred to now).  Thanks to a couple members of his entourage, Moman's American Sound Studio in Memphis was suggested instead of Elvis' usual Hollywood/Nashville studios.  American Sound Studios already had a reputation for making hit records.  Under Moman's guidance, Elvis sounded as connected with the material as he did with the TV Special.  Besides the album, future singles from it included "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain", and "Don't Cry Daddy."  Unfortunately, Colonel Parker and Elvis' publishing kept Moman from recording him again.  Besides the Elvis connection, Moman is loved for co-writing "Dark End of the Street", "Luckenbach, Texas", "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" and producing Country hits in the 80's for Willie Nelson (also the Highwaymen).  He started his career as a Producer/Engineer at Stax before founding American Sound Studio.  If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cared at all about the Non-Performer category they would have inducted Moman years ago.

Prince Be -  PM Dawn only released four albums, all in the 90's.  As the decade ended so were they.  Then they faded into history.  There were no comebacks for Prince Be (aka Attrell Cordes).  Health issues took their toll.  I don't know if there's anything stored away for future use.  I hope there is, because looking back on their 90's run, I marvel at all he achieved.  There first 2 albums are essential, the final 2 also pretty good.  PM Dawn's music came right at us just as Gangsta Rap was taking off.  Prince Be sang and rapped his songs which were always on the positive tip.  There best moments were a trip to hear.

Keith Emerson -  I had to go back and listen the Nice before writing about Emerson.  And, what a keyboard whiz he was.  But, no, ELP's Prog never won over the critic's in the 70's.  Emerson's death was met with more praise for his skills than their records.  But I listened again to all of ELP's prime 70's stuff and decades removed from their success found them rewarding.  Emerson had the goods.  But their call from the  Rock Hall still seems miles away.

Add to Technorati Favorites