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January 2012 Archives

Etta James was Blessed

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One of the most overlooked albums of 2011--at least by year end reviews--was Lucinda Williams' "Blessed."
A road trip through the soul, "Blessed" features the evocative ballad "Kiss Like Your Kiss" which I hear in blues-jazz singer Etta James who died early Friday Jan. 20. (My full appreciation appears in the Chicago Sun-Times).
The snow is flying in Chicago today. They are cold tears.

And Williams sings:
There'll never be a winter quite so true
When the sky was painted with gifts
There'll never be a moon so full & blue
There'll never be a kiss like your kiss.
....................

There's a lotta Etta in Lucinda, especially in the ballad as true as James' "At Last.".....

Norfolk's tribute to Clarence Clemons

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NORFOLK, Va.--A long time ago Bruce Springsteen said rock is "the music of survival." Over the weekend core members of the Asbury Park, N.J. rock scene gathered in Norfolk to pay tribute to E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

Clemons died in June of complications from a stroke. He was 69. Clemons was born and raised in Norfolk County, now known as the City of Chesapeake. The connection between Norfolk and New Jersey is correct and on Saturday night a full moon hit all the right notes on the Chesapeake Bay.

The joyful noise that rose out of Frank Guida's studio during the early 1960s in Norfolk was the root of the earliest versions of the E Street Band as well as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

You know the songs even if you don't know they came out of Norfolk..........:

You need to know Bill Morrissey

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The last time I talked to singer-songwriter Bill Morrissey was in the spring of 1994.
Chicago skies were full of temporary promise.

Morrissey was coming to the Old Town School of Folk Music to support his album "Night Train" and to conduct a two-hour songwriting workshop. I ranked Morrissey with John Prine, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan as America's best contemporary male singer-songwriters. Studs Terkel said of Morrissey, "his songs haunt me."

But Morrissey was under the radar.

He was so under the radar his sudden death on July 23, 2011 did not make national news. "The worst thing Bill did in his life was die on the same day Amy Winehouse died," his friend and former Chicago singer-songwriter Fred Koller quipped earlier this week. "It blew him off the charts.".............

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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