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January, 2010:

RIP Recent Deaths to start 2010 on a sad note… McGarrigle, Pendergrass, Charles

Too many deaths recently to start this year on a sad note for songwriters…

In Canada, today we heard of the death at 63 of Kate McGarrigle, who with her sister Anna, formed the folk duo the McGarrigle Sisters… She was the mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, who are songwriters themselves… Read more about dear Kate here…

Here she is singing Heart Like A Wheel with her sister:

And on the other side of the musical genre, Teddy Pendergrass passed away last week.  As part of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Pendergrass was a backup singer, and then he went on to a great solo career.

Not long after reaching solo success, however, Pendergrass suffered complications from a car accident in 1982 that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Though certainly hindered by the accident physically, especially initially, Pendergrass’ unfortunate disability did not keep him from continuing to make music.  Read more about Teddy Pendergrass here.

Here is a Soul Train version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” in the Blue Notes days:

And from older days still, a songwriter who teamed with Fats Domino on Walking to New Orleans and penned other songs such as See You Later, Alligator (made famous by Bill Haley & the Comets) and The Jealous Kind (covered by Joe Cocker and others), also passed away last week.  RIP Louisiana’s own Bobby Charles who passed away at 73.

You can read more about Charles here and hear a version of See You Later, Alligator as performed by him here:

May the Muse stay with these musical souls…

Springsteen to Guest on Spectacle

The Boss will be a guest on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle program this coming season on CTV in Canada (and on January 27 on Sundance in the U.S.).

From a New Jersey Star-Ledger article by Jay Lustig about the 2-hour season finale with Bruce and members of his E-Street Band:

Songs performed by the entire ensemble include urgent versions of Springsteen’s "The Rising" and "Seeds," as well as a soul-shouting duet on the Sam and Dave hit "I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down" and a well-conceived medley of Springsteen’s "Radio Nowhere" and Costello’s "Radio Radio."

Costello opens the first episode by singing Springsteen’s "She’s the One" and introducing him as the "past, present, future of rock ’n’ roll." The artists’ respect and admiration for each other is obvious as they discuss Springsteen’s development as a musician and a person, and their musical philosophies.

"The greatest rock ’n’ roll musicians are desperate men," Springsteen muses. "You’ve got to have something bothering you all the time."

"You can’t always be a nice guy in the song, is what it is," Costello responds.

The pair also zeros in on specific topics, such as Springsteen’s early years performing in Asbury Park (he calls it a "low-rent Fort Lauderdale" and says the town’s isolation from the recording industry meant "you were left in a bit of your own wilderness"), fatherhood, the influence of Bob Dylan and President Obama’s inauguration.

The most amusing segment comes when they talk about the way Springsteen’s songwriting changed between 1975’s "Born to Run" and 1978’s "Darkness on the Edge of Town," becoming … well, darker.

"One reason it was different is there was some young English songwriter at the time who said the songs on ‘Born To Run’ were too romantic," says Springsteen. "I can’t remember his name right now, but …"

Costello looks genuinely surprised. "Was it me?" he asks. "It wasn’t me."

"I’ve been waiting 30 years for this moment," says Springsteen, with delight. "What do you think? Of course it was."

I’m looking forward to catching this episode for sure… The Muse is with these two and here’s a clip from the episode:

Singer-songwriter contest kicks off, every Tuesday night in Guelph

The Guelph Mercury recently reported on a weekly singer-songwriter contest taking place in Guelph at Frank and Steins every Tuesday night.

Kudos to Malachi Greenidge, a Guelph singer-songwriter, for putting the contest together.  As related in the article:

The singer/songwriter competition will allow local musicians to not only expose their music to the crowd, but get judged on their song. Every night, five judges will judge the talent on lyrics, song composition, melody, vocals and originality. The winner will walk away with $1,500 and all participants will receive a T-shirt and a CD of their performance.

“It’s not a singer contest,” Greenidge said. “It’s not who can come out and belt out songs like Whitney Houston.”

The judges have been asked to only judge vocals in relation to the songs and songwriting, Greenidge said, adding he didn’t want to mimic a Canadian Idol contest.

May the Muse be with Guelph… check it out if you’re in Guelph on a Tuesday night…

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