It was the Byrds album everyone hated in 1968. Now, ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ is a classic.

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In June, with so little fanfare they weren’t even listed on the bill, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman took the stage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium to play a song from “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”

They last did that on March 16, 1968, and it did not go well. They were the Byrds then, and the appearance at the Grand Ole Opry elicited boos, catcalls or indifference, depending on who’s telling the story. This time, backed by Marty Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, the crowd cheered as McGuinn and Hillman kicked into “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” the Bob Dylan song that opens “Sweetheart.”

“I cried,” says Tyler Mahan Coe, a country music historian who hosts the popular “Cocaine & Rhinestones” podcast. “I never even imagined that it would hit me as hard as it did.”

It’s fitting that Coe was born 16 years after “Sweetheart’s” original release. Back then, the album stiffed, sparking the end of one of pop’s great partnerships. But over time, that sixth Byrds record has climbed from cutout bins onto most-important-ever lists. And now, at 50, “Sweetheart” is recognized for inspiring musicians from the Eagles and Elvis Costello to next- generation alt-country players such as Ryan Adams and Wilco.

“Every generation has this new take on roots and back to basics,” declares Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers. “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” is one of those great milestones or benchmarks.”

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LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 24: Byrds founders Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn perform with Marty Stuart at the Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rozette Rago for The Washington Post)

 

This year, Byrds founder McGuinn, 76, who regularly turns down millions to reunite the Byrds, recruited Hillman, 73, to celebrate the album with a short tour. They started in California last month and will continue in September with gigs in, among other spots, New York, Boston and Virginia.

It’s not a Byrds reunion, particularly with the third living founding member, David Crosby, not involved. But the set list isn’t limited to “Sweetheart.” McGuinn and Hillman explain how they got to Nashville by digging deeply into the Byrds catalogue, with hits such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” melding with lesser-known tracks that show how country music influenced them.

“Sweetheart” wasn’t just country-tinged. It was driven by banjos, fiddles and pedal steel guitar. It also launched Gram Parsons, who would quit the Byrds after a single record to embark on his short, influential career.

From L.A. to Nashville

They were called the Jet Set when CBS signed them in November 1964, but quickly switched to the Byrds. By April 1965, they released what became their first No. 1 hit, an electrified take on Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

The Byrds were defined by McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbacker 360, with its thick, jangly melody lines, as well as the gorgeous harmonies of McGuinn, Gene Clark and David Crosby. Hillman, a Los Angeles native with a passion for bluegrass, had joined to play bass. In early 1967, the Byrds released his collaboration with McGuinn, “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” The Byrds would have three more Top-40 hits over the next year before tensions led to Clark and Crosby’s exits. “The Notorious Byrd Brothers,” an innovative, psychedelic pop record released in early 1968, was largely created by McGuinn, Hillman and session players.

Then, while standing in line at a bank in Beverly Hills, Hillman ran into a sandy-haired kid from Georgia who said he could play piano. Hillman brought him to McGuinn. Parsons was just 21.

“I asked Gram if he could play some McCoy Tyner type of piano,” McGuinn says. “Because I was into John Coltrane and the “Eight Miles High” kind of place. And he played some Floyd Cramer-style piano. Floyd played on Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel.” That was a song that got me interested in music. I thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s got talent.’ But I didn’t know he would turn into George Jones in a sequin suit.”

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The Atlantic ~ Photos of the week

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A girl lies in a hammock, with the Milky Way in the background, during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower in Kozjak, Macedonia, on August 13, 2018.

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The phrase Aretha Makes Me Feel Like a Natural Woman is seen on a stairwell leading to the Franklin Street subway station in New York City on August 16, 2018. Known as the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin passed away on August 16, 2018, in Detroit, at the age of 76.

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Demonstrators react during a protest against violence toward women in Lima, Peru, on August 11, 2018.

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An Indian woman looks down the barrel of an 84mm rocket launcher during an Indian-army exhibition at Panther Stadium in Amritsar, India, on August 11, 2018.

Kiitella Awards: 2018 Colorado Classic Pro-Cycling Awards – VAIL – Stage 1 & 2

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At the 2018 Colorado Classic Stages 1 & 2, hosted by Vail, winners are awarded very cool medals and trophies, both custom-designed and fabricated by Colorado metal artist Lisa Issenberg, of Kiitellä (Finnish v. meaning to thank, applaud or praise).
The Medals:
“Gold, silver and bronze” medals — actual metals are solid brass, stainless steel and bronze patina’d brass — in the curvaceous form of a bicycle chain link, ready to open a bottle of Colorado brewed beer, or hold a key… And the neck ribbon?.. a slice of used bike tube. A slick and fully functional award for the podium finishers. 
The Trophies:
Vail’s iconic Gore Range is captured in steel, and capped with used bicycle chain, welded to the ridge. Thick, satin-polished “gold, silver and bronze” rings frame a metal printed Colorado Classic logo. 

Aretha Franklin, The ‘Queen Of Soul,’ Dies At 76 ~ Big Loss

Aretha Franklin, pictured in 1968, died Thursday. Known as the "Queen of Soul," she recorded 17 Top 10 singles.

Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” died Thursday in her home city of Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer. Her death was confirmed by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 76.

Franklin sold more than 75 million records during her life, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. She took soul to a new level and inspired generations of singers who came after her.

No one’s life can be condensed to one word — but Aretha Franklin came close when she sang one word: “respect.”

“Respect” was written by the great Otis Redding. In his version, a man is pleading, offering his woman anything she wants in exchange for her respect. He sang: “Hey little girl, you’re sweeter than honey / And I’m about to give you all of my money / But all I want you to do / Is just give it, give it / Respect when I come home …”

Aretha changed those lyrics to demand parity. “Oooh, your kisses,” she sang, “Sweeter than honey / And guess what? / So is my money …” In her hands, “Respect” became an empowering song — for black women and for all women. It was a No. 1 hit in 1967, and it became her signature song.

Franklin was 25 years old when “Respect” was released. But she had been singing since she was a small child in her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church.

“Someone found a footstool in the office and put it here on the stage, and they put it there for me to be seen because I was so small,” Franklin told NPR’s Morning Editionin 2004.

Aretha Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tenn. — but she was raised mostly in Detroit. Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a famous preacher, and her childhood was steeped in both music and the burgeoning civil rights movement. Her family was close friends with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who often stayed at their home. Some of the most important gospel artists of the day came to visit regularly as well, including Clara Ward and the Famous Ward Singers, Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke.

It was Franklin’s father who introduced her to the recording industry. Nicknamed “the man with the million-dollar voice,” C.L. Franklin was among the first Christian ministers to record his sermons (making dozens for the JVB and Chess labels) and to do radio broadcasts of his Sunday addresses; his 1953 sermon “The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest” is part of the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

Franklin told PBS’s American Masters in 1988 that when she was a child, her father would coach her. “He would give me different records to listen to, to see if I could emulate them on the piano, different vocalists to listen to.” These were gospel artists like Ward and Jackson. But the young Aretha listened to popular music, too. And as she toured with her father she met R&B artists like Fats Domino and Bobby Bland.

There was also her Detroit neighborhood: It was filled with future Motown stars like Diana Ross, the Four Tops and Smokey Robinson, who grew up right around the corner from her.

Franklin made her first album for JVB when she was just 14 years old. It was a collection of gospel songs that included “Precious Lord (Take My Hand).”

Four years later, she confided to her father that she longed to cross over from gospel to secular music. So C.L. Franklin helped her make a demo that led to a contract with Columbia Records, initially working with the legendary producer John Hammond. Decades later, Hammond told NPR that when he first heard her, his response was, “‘This is the best thing I’ve heard since Billie Holiday. Who is she?”

In 1961, the bluesy “Won’t Be Long,” from her first Columbia album, Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo, became Franklin’s first song to reach the Billboard Hot 100.

After making seven records for Columbia over a six-year span, she signed with Atlantic Records — and that’s where she became the “Queen of Soul.”

At first, Atlantic wanted her to record at the Stax studios in Memphis, but Stax did not want to pay for the sessions. Instead, Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler took Franklin to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama.

The Wexler/Franklin pairing proved magical. Franklin brought her own material to the label, and Wexler encouraged her to play piano in her recording sessions. And from 1967 to the mid-’70s, Franklin released a string of classics. The first was “I Never Loved A Man” — with her sisters as backup singers — followed by “Do Right Woman — Do Right Man,” “Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” “Rock Steady” and “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).”

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Aretha Franklin: The ‘Fresh Air’ Interview

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Aretha Franklin, music’s ‘Queen of Soul,’ dies at 76

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 1.22.18 PM.pngOne of the most celebrated and influential singers in the history of American vernacular song, Aretha Franklin reserved her place on music’s Mount Rushmore in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her career spanned decades and was defined by such records as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools.”

Aretha Franklin, whose exceptionally expressive singing about joy and pain and faith and liberation earned the Detroit diva a permanent and undisputed title — the “Queen of Soul” — died Aug. 16 at her home in Detroit. She was 76.

Her representative Gwendolyn Quinn announced the death and said the cause was pancreatic cancer.

One of the most celebrated and influential singers in the history of American vernacular song, Ms. Franklin reserved her place on music’s Mount Rushmore in the late 1960s and early 1970s by exploring the secular sweet spot between sultry rhythm-and-blues and the explosive gospel music she’d grown up singing in her father’s Baptist church.

The result was potent and wildly popular, with defining soul anthems that turned Ms. Franklin into a symbol of black pride and women’s liberation.

Her calling card: “Respect,” the Otis Redding hit that became a crossover smash in 1967 after Ms. Franklin tweaked it just so (a “sock it to me” here, some sisterly vocal support there), transforming the tune into a fervent feminist anthem.

“Whenever women heard the record, it was like a tidal wave of sororal unity,” the song’s producer, Jerry Wexler, said two decades after Ms. Franklin first declared, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”

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Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Dead at 76

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It was a small moment that would reverberate for decades. On January 24th, 1967, Aretha Franklinwas struggling to record “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” her first project for Atlantic after several years recording more conventional material for Columbia. As Franklin would recall, something with the studio musicians wasn’t clicking until someone said, “Aretha, why don’t you sit down and play?” Taking a seat at the piano, Franklin quickly cut the smoldering track that would become her first No. 1 R&B hit. “It just happened,” she said. “We arrived, and we arrived very quickly.”

And it never stopped. For more than five decades, Franklin was a singular presence in pop music, a symbol of strength, women’s liberation and the civil rights movement. Franklin, one of the greatest singers of all time, died Thursday of pancreatic cancer, according to her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn.

“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” Quinn said in a statement. “Franklin … passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.

“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world,” Quinn added. “Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

“Aretha Franklin was one of the most iconic voices in music history and a brilliant artist,” Franklin’s record label Sony Music said in a statement. “Over the course of her decades-long career, which included many years with the Sony Music family, she inspired countless musicians and fans, and created a legacy that paved the way for a long line of strong female artists.”

Dubbed the Queen of Soul in 1967, Franklin loomed over culture in several monumental ways. The daughter of a preacher man, she was born with one of pop’s most commanding and singular voices, one that could move from a sly, seductive purr to a commanding gospel roar. From early hits like “I Never Loved a Man” and “Think” up through later touchstones like “Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves” with Eurythmics, there was no mistaking Franklin’s colossal pipes. As one of her leading producers, Jerry Wexler, said of her simmering gospel-pop classic, “Spirit in the Dark,” “It was one of those perfect R&B blends of the sacred and the secular … It’s Aretha conducting church right in the middle of a smoky nightclub. It’s everything to everyone.”

Her journey — from singing in her father’s church and tackling tasteful pop at the dawn of her career before becoming the voice of the civil rights movement — also embodied the African American experience of the 1960s. Her brawny, funked-up makeover of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” based on what Wexler called her own “stop-and-stutter syncopation” idea, was more than just a Number One pop hit in 1967. “She had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans and women and anyone else who felt marginalized because of what they looked like, who they loved,” Barack Obama said in 2014. “They wanted some respect.” At 16, she went on tour with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and later sang at his funeral.

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50 years ago, Elvis had fallen from grace. But one comeback TV special changed everything.

Elvis Presley performs on the NBC soundstage during the 1968 comeback special. (Fathom Events)

It was 1968, and the King was all but dead.

The Summer of Love came and went, leaving the man once seated on the throne of rock-and-roll nothing but a drug-addled relic of a time past. Instead of dancing and necking and maybe even performing for the hippies in Haight-Ashbury, Elvis Presley had spent an endless seven years in Southern California, forsaking his music career for one on the silver screen. Hollywood, though, had not been kind to Presley.

During this stretch, Elvis pumped out movie after movie at an astonishing rate of three to four per year. But fans didn’t want a leading man. They wanted that smooth baritone, those gyrating hips, the coifed hair.

Unlike LL Cool J, Elvis needed a musical comeback. He got that in 1968 in the form of a 60-minute television special that revived his career and changed concert films forever.

That special, now 50 years old, will return to some 500 U.S. movie theaters for a special engagement Thursday and Monday, a celebration of one of rock’s monumental moments — one that almost didn’t happen.

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Elvis Presley fields questions at a news conference before heading off to Germany with the Army.

The rocker’s fortunes had begun changing in 1957 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. The period would prove to be a dark one, during which the life of his mother ended and his drug addiction began.

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Live in San Francisco (Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos album)

I don’t like most “live” albums but Cooder and Corridos Famosos make this an exception..

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Live in San Francisco is a collaborative live album by Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos released in September 2013 by Nonesuch Records and Perro Verde.[1][2] The album was recorded in 2011 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, California.[2] Cooder produced Live in San Francisco and recorded with members of Corridos Famosos, which included vocalists Juliette Commagere, Terry Evans, and Arnold McCuller, Joachim Cooder on drums, Robert Francis on bass, Flaco Jiménez on accordion, and the ten-piece Mexican brass band La Banda Juvenil.[2]
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It was Cooder’s first live album since Show Time (1977), which Cooder also recorded at the Great American Music Hall with Jiménez and Evans.
This is Ry doing what he does best. Mixing in music that you wouldn’t normally put on the same album. To me, he is the Patron Saint of Un-Lettered Ethnomusicologists. Look at the genres of music and the variety of musicians he has played with over the past 40 years. A small sample: Buena Vista to V.M. Bhatt, Ronstadt to Rolling Stones, Farka Toure to Taj Mahal and on and on. So, here is a live album with back catalog classics, new songs, r and b, blues, Nortena, folk trad, and Banda. Be honest boys and girls…have you heard or know what Banda music is? I am lucky to call Ry my friend. A few years ago, he invited me to East L.A. to hear Banda music. I thought the motels in that part of town were damn reasonable at signboard prices of $15-$25. Till I realized that they were “per hour” rates. Yes, in that part of town. The club we went to had La Banda Juvenil in the marquee. They consisted of 3 trumpets, 2 bones, 2 saxes, a marching bass drum, a marching snare, a tuba and two singers. And, they were miked in a club that held maybe 150 people. Blown away was an understatement. At the break, the leader introduced and thanked Ry for coming out. I could feel the wheels spinning. And here they are tonite along with Flaco Jimenez (2013 NEA award winner). Along with the fab soulful vocals of Terry Evans and Arnold McCuller. And what about Juliette Commagere? She kills it on Volver Volver. (Trivia: Joachim Cooder’s bandmate from their high school days) Joachim is no gimmick either. The treble clef didn’t fall far off the music stand did it? And trusty Robert Francis smokin bass line keeps everyone’s heads bobbing. This is a live album. You get Ry yakking story after story between the cuts. Pulls it all together. Now go play this friggin’ loud on your best system, arm around your baby, cold beer or smoke nearby. And suddenly, all is well in the world.

Otagaki Rengetsu | Sake Bottle

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Among her various creations, Rengetsu is perhaps best known for the exquisite vessels that she crafted for both the sencha and the chanoyu traditions of tea drinking. However, she also created a great number of bottles, flasks and cups for another beverage – sake. As with her other ceramics, Rengetsu’s sake wares are adorned with her poems inscribed in her exquisite calligraphy, resonating playfully with the mood of sake drinking.

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