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  •  Special Thursday: Odds & Ends (28+ / 0-)

    CHEERS to Bill and Michael in PWM, commonmass (along with Geoffrey the Cat) plus our Wyoming-based friend Irish Patti and ...... well, each of you at Cheers and Jeers. Have a fabulous weekend.

    ART NOTES - the exhibition Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Art is at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh through September 14th.

    GOOD LUCK to the South Carolina representative B.R. Skelton, who sponsored a bill updating that state's law (regarding sex education) to include instruction on the use of contraception .... and amazingly, he is a Republican.

    THURSDAY's CHILD is Pippa the Cat - a rescue kitteh whom an English couple are convinced can detect when their diabetic daughter Mia is about to suffer a hypoglycemic episode (which could lead to a coma).

    SPORTING NOTES - the 2014 championship match for all of the European professional soccer leagues will - for the second year in-a-row - match two teams from the same country. Even more: it will match cross-town rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid (although they will have to travel to Lisbon, Portugal for the match).

    It will take place a week from Saturday (over the Memorial Day weekend) and will be shown on free TV (the Fox broadcast channel, where you see NFL games) with kick-off at 2:45 PM Eastern (11:45 AM Pacific).

    IN THIS PHOTO is the Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue and a contestant on Italy's version of "The Voice" ... Sister Cristina Scuccia - yes, a nun who lives in a convent in Milan - who has awed audiences with versions of Alicia Keys' "No One", Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Hero" by Mariah Carey.

    HAIL and FAREWELL to the noted disk jockey Dave Diamond who has died at the age of 77.

    C&J PROGRAMMING NOTE - will be away this weekend, hence the early posting (alas, the BBC quiz won't be available until tonight). See everyone a week from tomorrow.

    FRIDAY's CHILD is Suika the Cat - who vanished three years ago during Japan’s 2011 tsunami ... yet was reunited with his family when spotted in a forest ... with his name and phone number on his collar.

    THIS COMING SUNDAY I will feature Odds & Ends - a wrap-up diary of my postings, circa noon Eastern (9 AM Pacific). I hope you'll vote in the "Who Lost the Week?!?" poll (a mirror image of the one Bill posts here). Due to my travel plans (as noted above) it will cut-off early ... yet there are already several misfits lined-up for your review (such as University of North Dakota drunk students, Alec Baldwin, the Miami Dolphins' Don Jones, Allen West and Ehud Olmert) .... and the week's not over yet.

    SEPARATED at BIRTH - which has been recommended by numerous people: 'Harry Potter' villain Draco Malfoy and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).


    ......and finally, for a song of the week ............... when one reviews the "Rock Stars Who Died Too Young" file: one of them would be the 25 year-old guitarist Tommy Bolin whose drug overdose ended a career that was had already achieved much. Not simply in rock music: he had roots in blues, jazz and funk, and had recorded albums with not only name bands, but also several noted solo releases. Thirty years on, as the All-Music Guide's Greg Prato wonders .... "What could he have been?"

    Born in Sioux City, Iowa in 1951, Bolin began playing as a 13 year-old, and in 1967 was expelled from school for .... refusing to cut his hair. He later moved to Boulder, Colorado and formed a band whose name was later changed to Zephyr - whose debut album as well as Going Back to Colorado (from 1969-1971) are truly worth checking yet.

    Featuring a Joplin-esque singer named Candy Givens - the band not only covered blues-rock in-and-out, but offered new interpretations on jazz classics such as St. James Infirmary and from modern jazz: Pharaoh Sanders' The Creator Has a Master Plan epic. Although they were (ultimately) not successful at becoming more than a regional group: Bolin's ability was garnering rave reviews (including that of Jimmy Page, as Zephyr was an opening act for Led Zeppelin at that time).

    Intrigued by the burgeoning jazz-rock-fusion (of Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Weather Report, etc.) of the early 70's: a twenty year-old Bolin founded such a band celled Energy in 1971. They never released an album at the time (although some surfaced years later).

    Yet this led to Tommy Bolin's breakthrough: as a sideman on the 1973 Spectrum album. The first solo album by the explosive Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer Billy Cobham is among the best jazz-rock albums of all time. Just listen to Tommy's playing on Quadrant Four and Red Baron - and you'll see why it was an inspiration for rock veterans like Jeff Beck, who explored that world with albums such as "Wired" and "Blow by Blow".

    In 1973 Bolin was the answer to the needs of the James Gang - who had not recovered from the loss of Joe Walsh, and whose replacement Dominic Troiano had left. While Bolin's work did not help return James Gang to its former glory in the charts, the two albums he participated on received excellent reviews.

    He left the band in late 1974 and relocated to Los Angeles, seeking a role as a session guitarist. No trouble finding work: he performed with Alphonse Mouzon, Carmine Appice and the Canadian band Moxy.

    He began recording his first solo album Teaser in 1974, which showed not only his wide-ranging taste in songs (rock to jazz to ballads) but also a flair for songwriting and even singing, which he had never delved into in the past.

    Before it was released, the phone rang again: as Deep Purple had seen the loss of founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in late 1974, singer David Coverdale recalled Bolin's work on Billy Cobham's Spectrum and Bolin eventually auditioned for (and won) a spot in the band. He began touring with them, and was on the 1975 Come Taste the Band recording. But by this time, Bolin's heroin habit was beginning to escalate, and the band broke-up after a farewell tour in 1976.

    Tommy Bolin resumed session work and released a successful second solo album Private Eyes that was issued on CBS. He toured throughout the remainder of 1976, and opened a show for Jeff Beck on December 3rd, 1976, posing for a photo with Jeff after the show (below right).

    The next day, Tommy Bolin was dead from a heroin overdose.

    Although his recordings alone are an important legacy, his brother Johnnie has done a great deal to preserve his memory. The drummer for Black Oak Arkansas since 1985: Johnnie has organized annual Tommy Bolin tribute concerts and manages the catalog of his brother's discography, including a compilation album that is quite comprehensive.

    In addition, the specialty Dean Guitars company has a Tommy Bolin signature model and in 2008 the biography Touched by Magic chronicled his life. Guitar enthusiasts will probably be influenced by Tommy Bolin for years to come.

    Of all of his work: I'm still drawn to his work (at age eighteen) on the eponymous first Zephyr album: Cross the River shows the band at its heaviest (and more introspective) and shows Candy Givens' vocal range: sometimes subtle, other times ... well, not very subtle. And below you can listen to it.

    From far, far, far...'cross the river
    A man's voice calls out to me
    I can't hear what he's saying,
    Why won't he let me be?
    I beg him to release me
    Oh, but he will not set me free

    I saw him right through the madness
    But he walked right into my life
    For he walked across the river, and
    His smile tells me that he's kind
    I don't love him, not right now
    But I think it's going to work out fine.

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Thu May 15, 2014 at 05:54:31 AM PDT

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