Now, I happened to be reading Chet’s Hank bio at the time, and in the millisecond after I said it, my first thought was “Driftin’ Cowboys, Brooklyn Cowboys”! Not that I was trying to copy Hank’s band name. I did say it came out with no thought involved, but afterwards, this thought affirmed the name! But I digress. Back to Mister Flippo.
Chet’s first article for Rolling Stone was about the vastly underrated Doug Sahm, the Austin based Country Blues RnB rocker who clearly should be in every hall of fame there is! Chet was a fierce advocate for Country music and the Country and Rock overlap, early on, when Gram Parson and Chris Hillman, The Grateful Dead and The New Riders, and The Band, amongst others, were trying it on for rock audiences and finding it flew!
Chet was, as they say in England, a lovely man. He was liked by musicians (and everyone), and was just one of those guys who you loved immediately, and who you knew had a good heart! Chet lost his wife, Martha, last December, and may have died of sadness and a broken heart, but the doctors said pneumonia. I’m sure it was the rockin’ kind. Chet Flippo RIP!
Of course, everybody knows by now that James Gandolfini also died last week, of a heart attack at the age of 51! While Gandolfini is not really part of the music world, he was such a cultural icon that he crossed all barriers! He was best known for “The Sopranos”, of course, and music was featured very prominently in that show. Not to mention that Gandolfini’s underboss was Little Steven Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen’s guitar player! The day after his death, Springsteen and The E Street Band gave a full album performance of “Born to Run” and dedicated it to Gandalfini! Thanks fer the memories Jimmy! RIP!
Not as many people know that we also lost Joey Covington, former drummer for The Jefferson Airplane, who wrote and sang their last hit, 1971’s “Pretty as You Feel”! Covington hit a retaining wall and was not wearing a seat belt! Wear your seat belts kids! Covington was 67.
Now, I must confess, I heard about Joey Covington, but when it came time to write this column, I couldn’t remember who died. I just knew that someone noteworthy in the music world had died, but I had forgotten who! So, not wanting to not pay my respects, I researched it, and remembered it was Covington, but a funny thing happened on the way to Joey Covington. I found out that Slim Whitman had also died, at the age of 90 from a heart attack! Now if you don’t know who Slim Whitman was, I ain’t gonna tell ya, but trust me, he was iconic, mainly because of his late night campy TV commercials where he sold his music catalog. 90 years old! Slim’s generation knew how to live…long!
I also found out while researching Covington, that Nigerian musician, Fatai Rolling Dollar, had died at 86. Never heard of him, but you gotta love that name!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the verified world’s oldest living man is no longer with us, either! Jiroemon Kimuro passed away of natural causes at the age of 116 on June 12!!!
And finally, just as we were going to press, I got the news that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, had passed away at the age of 83! Turn on your lovelight Bobby! RIP.
Sorry to have to be the bearer of all this death news, but, hey, people die, and a lot of notables have done so recently. I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em! But now for some good news! The Rolling Stones entire catalog has just been made available on Itunes! Did I say “entire”? Yes, I did. Everything! “Stoned” to “Doom and Gloom”, it’s all there! And digitally remastered exclusively for Itunes, so technically, it’s new!
In local news that reaches beyond to the world at large, Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it official! The entire length of Route 375, between Route 28 and Route 212, the road into Woodstock, is now Levon Helm Memorial Boulevard! Cool! And in other Levon related news, Amy Helm has started a new music series at The Barn that looks really promising to me. It’s called Amy Helm Presents: Friday Nights at Levon’s Barn, and I think they’ve finally come up with the way forward. Ticket prices are set at an affordable $35, and I think all the elements are there to make this a success, so support it!
So, is that enough news for ya? Well, there’ll be more in the live music picks, so here we go.
Wednesday, June 26 – Wow, do we have a lot going on this week! Summertime is music time, USA! Tonight, Brazilian legends OS MUTANTES make their reunited debut at The Bearsville Theater. You can read their extensive bio on the theater’s website, so I’ll just say that these guys are a very important band. I haven’t really heard much of their music, but I know I wanna check ‘em out! Last week’s Pick of the Week, ROBERT CRAY at Infinity Music Hall, is downgraded to simply highly recommended, which doesn’t make it any less enjoyable than it was last week. There’s just too much going on to keep it as this week’s pick. In the city, MOE at Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club, COURTNEY LOVE at Warsaw in Brooklyn, and at BB King’s, the great BUDDY GUY will hold court tonight and Thursday! I’m sure Buddy’ll have something to say about Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland passing over.
Thursday, June 27 – In the city, lots of choices tonight. In Woodstock, not so much. The only show in town is THE GABE BUTTERFIELD BAND with special guest, KAL DAVID! David is a fantastic guitar player, and this band’s regular guitarist, Jimmy Eppard, is no slouch! Plus, they’ve got Rob Papparozzi, probably the best inheritor of Paul Butterfield’s musical legacy, on harp! Downstate, Americana heroes OLD 97’s begin a 3 night run at Brooklyn Bowl, jazz legend ROY HAYNES starts a 3 night engagement at The Blue Note, and PETER FRAMPTON, who, contrary to his teeny bopper image, is a pretty damn good guitar player, brings his GUITAR CIRCUS into The Beacon Theater with special guests ROBERT CRAY, DON FELDER (The Eagles), and ROGER MCGUINN. Sounds pretty good to me!
Friday, June 28 – Guitarist’s guitarist, RICHARD THOMPSON, returns to The Bearsville Theater and AMY HELM kicks off her FRIDAY NIGHT AT LEVON’S BARN series, while down in the city, immortal songwriter JIMMY WEBB (check out his catalog on Wikipedia. It’s freakin’ unbelievable!) stops by The Cutting Room, and jazz giant, WAYNE SHORTER, celebrates his 80th birthday at Town Hall! Are you serious? Wayne Shorter’s 80?!! I know he cut his teeth with Miles and Art Blakey, and helped invent fusion with Weather Report in the 1970’s, but 80?!! Already?! Didn’t know he was that much of a senior citizen. Well, happy birthday Wayne. You’re in rarified company.
Saturday, June 29 – TONY BENNETT. UPAC. Nuff said, okay? Levon’s Barn is hosting CONNOR KENNEDY for his record release party. I’m sure there will be many surprise guests at this event, and you can get in for only $20. Pretty sure it will be money well spent. In the Big Apple, OS MUTANTES are at The Prospect Park Bandshell, a great place to see anyone, master acoustic guitarist TOMMY EMMANUEL is at BB King’s, rocker GARLAND JEFFRIES at Highline Ballroom, and the Hudson Valley’s own LARA HOPE AND THE ARKTONES ARE AT The Rodeo Bar, so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and support Lara. No cover.
Sunday, June 30 – THE NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE bring Country-Rock to the former jazz club Iridium, but the really big shoe tonight (as Ed Sullivan used to say) is BIG STAR THIRD, performed by an all star house band with a 20 piece orchestra and special guests, in Central Park! Big Star was one of the most influential bands of their time. Peter Buck of REM says, “Big Star served as a Rosetta Stone for a whole generation of musicians”! Core band for this event is Mike Mills (REM), Richard Lloyd (Television), famed producer Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey (DB’s), Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Big Star), and original Big Star drummer Jody Stevens. Special guests include Marshall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, Jane Scarpantoni, and The Uptown Horns! Best of all, it’s free! The show coincides with the release of BIG STAR- NOTHING CAN HURT ME, a documentary on the band, July 3, on Itunes and On Demand! Pick of the Week!