Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Check me out

Okay, kids. Its time for some serious chill on my part. I've had a desperately intense last many days of work. I'm not sure the crisis is completely put to bed or that I won't have to do a little more firefighting but for now, I'm catching up on some missed time off and won't be back in my office till next Monday. Gotta love that.

Kicking off the chill
I have a "spa day" scheduled ---about four hours of skin care and massage, prettification of hands and feet. With all that has happened at work and home lately, I've been walking around feeling like I've been kicked, often and with force, in my lower back. And my brain is pudding. I couldn't even think enough to complete my time report for the week today thereby necessitating a drive into the office before the end of the week once I get my ability to think returned to me.

Success with Socks
Thanks to my skilled instructor, I have figured out why I have had so much trouble knitting socks! I'm on the road to knitting nirvana. Stand by, you never know what could happen next.

JJ Cale/Eric Clapton: The Road to Escondido
Am I totally hard to please or what? This album is not what I hoped for. I find it overproduced and without focus. I had believed it was going to Gritty (note the capitol G, kids). It only approximates grittiness on a handful of tracks---those I like a good bit. The guest artist lineup is really frightening---so much talent.

This is the thing---when you've got JJ Cale and Eric Clapton in the studio, you don't need a bunch of other talent---it can only distract from the essence of their guitar skills and the simplicity of their common musical passion---the basic guitar blues with some rhythm. To me, throwing in Palladino, Steve Jordan, Taj Mahal, John Mayer and others, man, what's going on? Too slick. It makes me wonder how record companies make these decisions. I'm pretty sure when Cale and Clapton decided to do this album they didn't think they needed Mayer to help them out on guitar, ya know what I'm sayin?

Having said those things, there are some things to be excited about with this discovery. First, what I've been able to hear of JJ Cale with his own band leaves me intrigued. I want to hear more. I've bought two additional cd's to check it out. It also reminds me in places of a collaboration Mark Knopfler did with Chet Atkins- (Neck and Neck, ca. 1989)--another great guitar pairing--just grittier ( I can give it that much...). Finally, the musical stylings give me another context in which to listen to Mark Knopfler, long one of my favorite artists. In fact, in the clips I've listened to on the web, its been very clear to me how much influence Cale has had on Knopfler's playing. And as if I have to say it, somehow, if you guys aren't screwing with me, I got some star readership. I checked the lineup and unfortunately Rocky Frisco isn't included on this album but he does hand in perfomances on the two cd's I'm expecting later this week.

Ask me if I was embarassed.....


Rocky Frisco said...

I don't think there was a record company involved, except to sell the album. I'm pretty sure all the decisions were just Eric and John. Karstein and Walt, David Teegarden and Gary Gilmore represented the Tulsa bunch and did a great job as usual. Obviously I would have liked to be part of the sessions, even if it was only as coffee steward, but with Billy and Walt and Cale playing keyboards, there really wasn't any need for me there. The only time I ever met and played with Eric was in Dallas in 2004, so he doesn't know much about me or my playing. It's pretty unusual for a musician to still be learning and improving in his late sixties, so most of my peers don't realize how well I'm playing these days. As the fingers stiffen up, I have to play more simply, but in my case, this seems to be a good thing. There are at least nine piano/keyboard players in Tulsa who have better technique and more speed than I do, but the consensus of the public seems to be that I'm the best. I don't agree, but I'm thankful for their opinions. I would have my fingers crossed that I will get to do at least some of the gigs next year if John goes out on tour with Eric, but it's hard to play the piano with your fingers crossed. ;)
I really like the album. There are a few songs I expect to be listening to a lot and there's not a single one I don't like. Thanks for the kind words.
If you send me your mailing address (to rock@rockyfrisco.com) I'll send you my songwriter's demo CD (some of my originals).


Kathy said...

Rocky--I've been accusing all kinds of people of pulling my leg on this one. I don't know what to say.

You're on for the demo and I'll offer you a sweeter deal: I have an immensely talented young, funky cousin making his way in the music industry in LA. Let's swap cd's---I'll send you one of his for one of yours. How's that?

If you get a chance in the blogosphere check out my cousin at lmbass.com or lmbass.blogspot.com. He's a funky guy, lots of talent, plenty of charm. Kinda like me ;-)