A busy week for birthdays, so let’s get started. We have so many that we will split things up into 2 posts. I will try and do a second post tomorrow, personal stuff takes precedence.
First up is Andre Gagnon, a pianist, composer and actor who turned 79 on August 1. Born the youngest of 19 children in Saint-Pacome, Quebec, he began composing music at the age of 6. He released his first album in 1974. Among his many accomplishments, he has received Juno Awards for Instrumental Artist Of The Year in 1974 and in 1995. He has released over 40 albums in his career, an incredible catalogue of work. Out of extensive library, I chose “Wow” to showcase and celebrate his birthday.
Second up is Tim Bachman, born August 1, 1951. Have a great day Tim. Tim is a vocalist and guitar player, best known as a member of Brave Belt and Bachman Turner Overdrive. He was a founding member of BTO, which featured, and how cool is this, his brothers Randy and Robbie and Fred Turner. The band went on to sell 30 million records worldwide. He left the band in 1974 and rejoined in 1984 for a reunion tour. To help celebrate, please enjoy my favourite BTO tune, “Blue Collar”.
Garth Hudson celebrated his birthday on August 2. He was born in 1937 and is best known as the keyboardist and sometimes sax player for the immortal group “The Band”. He and Robbie Robertson are the only surviving members of this influential and groundbreaking troupe. His awards are deserving. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Juno Hall Of Fame in Canada, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and is part of Canada’s Walk of Fame. Amazing musical pedigree. Again, a personal favourite, “The Weight”.
March 29th saw 2 birthdays. First a big happy birthday to Terry Jacks who turned 75. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Terry is most noted for his monster hit, “Concrete Sea”. He also had a major international hit as a member of the Poppy Family with the tune “Which Way You Goin’ Billy’.
Our second birthday wishes go out to Sue Foley, a fine blues guitarist and singer/songwriter. She was born in Ottawa, Ontario 53 years ago. A prolific artist, she has released 15 albums since her debut in 1992. The attached video is an excellent introduction to her work, if you are not acquainted.
Covering another person’s song is always an interesting endeavor. The balance between being somewhat recognizable and putting your own stamp on a classic is always a challenge. Making it a better song than the original is also very rewarding. To that end, finding a cover that might just be better is the point of this series of articles. I will post 2 songs, the original, and then the cover. Once you listen them both, pick your favorite in the poll, and voila, we have a winner. First up is Feeling Good, original Nina Simone, the cover by Muse. Lets see what Muse can do with a legitimate classic.
Nina Simone was an American singer, who basically could sing the phone book in all genres, a legend. This song is one of her signature tunes, a hard one to follow.
And now The Muse. An English group, they have a pretty strong body of work as well. So we have the legend versus the challenger, Muse. Your call from here.
Jazz and Blues saxophone player, Herman Green passed away at the age of 90 in Memphis on November 26, 2020. As I read up on him, I found his life to be amazing. I have attached his obituary below. It looks like he played with anybody that was anybody. A true musician’s musician. The YouTube link takes you to a track list, and I have also attached a video. It is over 10 minutes, and is quite interesting. Enjoy the work of this great player.