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Tommy Emmanuel has been performing professionally since he was 6 years old. It's starting to show.

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 10/13/2012 - 12:12


Ever wonder what's the big deal about Tommy Emmanuel?

Ever even heard of Tommy Emmanuel?

Don't worry about it, few have.

If you feel like it, check out his story here, it's a good one, and his site here.

Here is Tommy Emmanuel unaccompanied playing the Merle Travis classic Nine Pound Hammer along just with about anything else he feels.



"The Man Who Fooled Houdini."

Submitted by Roanman on Fri, 10/05/2012 - 19:59


Dai Vernon also known as "The Professor" is widely regarded as the most skillful sleight of hand artist to ever perform magic and among the most influential card magicians of the 20th Century. He is credited with inventing or improving many of the close-up tricks using cards, coins, and other small items that are employed by professional magicians to this day. 

In 1922, Harry Houdini was the best known magician in the world. Forty eight years old and at the height of his powers, Houdini was so confident of his skills and understanding of magic that he challenged magicians everywhere to show him any trick they might be able to perform three times, and guaranteed that he could tell them how it was done. At the Great Northern Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, young Dai Vernon took the great Houdini up on his offer, performing his "The Ambitious Card" trick for Houdini not three, but seven times in a row with Houdini failing to explain it.

The first video below is a Dai Vernon performance of his version of the Cup and Balls Trick, which version is every bit the standard among magicians as Celebrate and Joy To The World are among wedding bands.

"The Professor" Dai Vernon.



This second vid is an updated version of Vernon's "The Ambitious Card" trick, otherwise known as "The Trick That Fooled Houdini".



See ya Tuesday.


What's So Funny Bout Peace Love and Understanding

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 09/29/2012 - 07:47


Since we're on the subject.

I have never closed the section of any tape I've ever made offering Life During Wartime and The Walls Came Down with anything other than the Nick Lowe penned and produced, international classic What's So Funny Bout Peace Love and Understanding.

I see no reason to not continue with that practice here. 

This is Elvis Costello on guitar and vocals. Steve Nieve on keyboards, Davey Faragher on bass, the great Pete Thomas pounding the drums and singing along just a little.

Evis Costello and the Attractions, Pickups or Imposters ... take your pick.

What's So Funny Bout Peace Love and Understanding.



Usually Rockpile with Teacher Teacher comes next, but we're probably moving on this time.


The Walls Came Down

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 09/22/2012 - 02:50


With the exception of one Christmas party, I've never done a mix tape that didn't include The Call's The Walls Came Down immediately next to ... usually leading ... Life During Wartime by Talking Heads.

Having posted Life During Wartime last week, I see no good reason to break with tradition.

Because I think it's far more likely that you have seen the promotional video for any given popular song somewhere else already, I mostly go for live performances when posting music around here.  And while there are some real interesting vids of the Call performing The Walls Came Down live, I'm making an exception to that rule here only because none of them include my all time favorite little keyboard break within what is one of my very favorite arrangements in general as Garth Hudson of The Band worked with The Call in the studio, but to my knowledge, never toured with them.

To my way of thinking one of the more underrated bands of all time, this is Michael Been on vocals and guitar, Tom Ferrier on guitar, Greg Freeman on the bass, Scott Musick playing drums, and Garth Hudson on keyboards.  I think that's Jim Goodwin standing off to the side playing what appears to be an old Vox, reverse key organ.

The Call.

The Walls Came Down.



To quote Michael Been.


Talking Heads ... Life During Wartime

Submitted by Roanman on Thu, 09/20/2012 - 17:13


From their 1984 movie Stop Making Sense, one of our very favorite concert movies.

This is the always interesting David Byrne on vocals, Tina Weymouth on bass guitar, Jerry Harrison on keyboards and Chris Frantz on drums.

Tallking Heads.  

They are joined in this performance by Lynn Mabry and Edna Holt on backup vocals, keyboardist Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic, percussionist Steve Scales, and guitarist Alex Weir of The Brothers Johnson.

Life During Wartime

It seemed an appropriate choice.


Miraculous how Tina Weymouth swaps basses right there in the middle of the song and you don't see nothing.


Handmade in America, once again

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 09/19/2012 - 21:34


Because we posted on Steinway and Sons pianos earlier this week, Terry D. who's probably a better picker than I am a pounder wants equal time for guitar builders of which there is a raft of em.

I can't say anything about Candelas Guitars having never even held one, but I do like Tomas Delgado's story and his attitude well enough to post the promo for his company and I might even look into trying a Candelas guitar one day should a Roanboy start thinking about classical guitar (unlikely) or flamenco guitar (slightly more likely).

This is Tomas Delgado talking about his passion for guitar building and his company which was originally founded by his grandfather and great uncle.



Having absolutely no talent with tools, naturally I was fascinated by this Robert O'Brian video on carving guitar necks.



Handmade in America

Submitted by Roanman on Tue, 09/18/2012 - 06:44


We haven't done a commercial in a long time.

What the heck.

Here's an interesting ... at least to me ... little vid Steinway did about their antique plant in Long Island City, New York and the people who work there building Steinway pianos by hand.

Having been fortunate enough to have played a decent number of the famed brands of pianos in this world, Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, and Schimmel among the German names, Young Chang and Yamaha among the Pacific Rim builders, Italy's Fazioli, given the choice I'll always sit down with the Steinway first.

I think that to be the case for most every pianist (I'm not a pianist) or pounder (that's me) going back a hundred years.

They just sound better.

It's the overtones, I'm told.

Steinway pianos, handmade in America.

As an aside, some of the older Baldwins can be extraordinary as well.


Mahlathini & Mahotella Queens ..... again

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 09/16/2012 - 21:12



We have never, up until this instant, posted twice on the same band.

I'm doing it today because the tune I was looking for when I wrote the original post for Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens was nowhere to be found.

I finally found it.

One of my favorite bands of all time, Mahlathini & Mahotella Queens helped invent the Mbaqanga sound of the Soweto townships in the late 60's through the late 80's and were it's greatest practitioners.

They were really three distinct outfits in one, as producer Rupert Bopape assembled the Makgona Tsohle Band (the band that can do anything) who at the time were South Africa’s premier studio outfit, with the Mahotella Queens and "The Lion of Soweto, Simon “Mahlathini” Nkabinde greatest of South Africa’s “groaning style” singers.

This is Marks Mankwane, one of popular music’s all time innovative guitarists playing lead guitar, Vivian Ngubane (I think) playing rhythm guitar, Joseph Makwela on bass, Lucky Monama on drums.  I don’t have the keyboards figured out.  

The Mahotella Queens are Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu and Mildred Mangxola.

And of course that’s the late, great Mahlathini groaning away.

Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens.

Lilizela Milizeli.

Which, loosley translated, means get down Mama it's time to rock.



Gotan Project

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 08:07


Our post of Bajofondo performing Pa'Bailar inspired a number emails the subject of which can be summed up as follows.

Why not Gotan Project?

We're wwaaaayyyy ahead of all of you as we had mostly completed a post for each back to back and then had flipped for who went first.

Gotan Project are/is Eduardo Makaroff on guitar, Phillippe Cohen Solal on keyboards and bass, Christophe H. Muller programming beats along with bass and keyboards.  They are accompanied in this performance by Mini Flores on bandoneon, Cristina Vilallonga vocals, Gustavo Beytelmann on the piano, Line Kruse (along with two others I can't identify ... apologies) on violins, Fabrizio Genoglietto on the upright bass and Edi Tomassi on percussion.

From their 2006 performance on Later with Jools Holland.

Gotan Project.

Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)



Son House

Submitted by Roanman on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:57


   Son House came back into my music again via the oldest Roanboy via Jack White who the oldest Roanboy likes in the much the same way I liked Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix when I was a veteran teenager.

I had given Robert Johnson and subsequently Son House a listen early on in my pursuit of the song, mostly because I thought I should.  Then, satisfied that I knew what they were all about, I quickly moved on to the guys they had influenced as I was hooked on the bop that comes out of the rhythm section and thus the Chicago thing over the far more simple and fundamental Delta sound.

So ... because I'm interested in whatever the the Roanboys are interested in, I sat and watched the clip of Jack White listening to Son House's Grinning In Your Face in the It Might Get Loud movie and found it to be remarkable that forty years after his death Son House remains an unfiltered influence on popular music.

If you can't hear Son House in Jack White's music, you're deaf.

So ... I started going through the video of Son House performances taken late in his life and found them to be somehow both sweet and powerful at the same time.

And to my way of thinking, simultaneous sweet and powerful is a tough one to pull off.

If indeed Robert Johnson is the "Father of Rock and Roll", meet "Grandad".

This is the great Eddie James House Jr. better known as Son House.

Death Letter.




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