Audio Challenge:

A fun sonic quiz for any Rolling Stones’ fans. Hear the intro to 100 Stones’ tunes and try to type in the answers as quickly as you can recognize each track, simply using lower-case letters, no punctuation and only needing the first two words of the title to help you speed through the list that much faster.

There’s also a bunch more of the audio quizzes on the site, including 100 Classic Rock Songs, 100 80′s Rock And Pop Songs, 100 Rap & Hip-Hop Songs and more. Good for a quick break from coding, SEO and design work, or just to have a blast testing your musical knowledge while the clock is ticking… 100 Rolling Stones Songs Audio Quiz

Ladies and Gentlemen, Septuagenarian Keith Richards

Oh yes he did. The Human Riff turned 70 today.

And what a ride it’s been. For his body, for music, and for all of us. Happy Birthday Keith.

His use of silence/space, the 5-string open G Tele, playing milliseconds behind or ahead of the beat, the multitude and breadth of styles he could inhabit, the infectious grooves he could create, the heart and ‘tude he’s brought to the table all these years.

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Midnight Picnic Once Upon A Time; Suzanne Standing

Through the morning as I’m listening

To the bells of the cathedral
I am thinking of your voice…

And of the midnight picnic
Once upon a time
Before the rain began…

And I finish up my coffee
And it’s time to catch the train.

-Suzanne Vega, “Tom’s Diner”

Talk-sing-whispers. Suzanne Vega burst onto the scene in 1985 with her eponymous debut on A & M Records. My friend Giles turned me onto it over the holiday break that year while we were both in town visiting family and friends in Pittsburgh. It was a refreshing change-up at the time for acoustic music fans, and indeed the public at large, to hear something like “Marlene On The Wall” on the radio. Amidst a musical landscape dominated by synth pop, hair ‘metal’, modern R and B, a burgeoning alternative rock and post-punk scene, rap and more, came a record of quiet observations and introspective verse delivered in a half whispery singing style atop a finger-picked acoustic guitar. Qu’elle difference! A sparse but sharp set of backing musicians fleshed out the arrangements with a modern feel, mixing in atmospheric electric guitar and keyboards.

Her smash followup, 1987’s “Solitude Standing”, featured “Luka”, “Tom’s Diner” and a bevy of great songs including “Wooden Horse (Kasper Hauser song)”, “Ironbound/Poultry Parts” and the Homeric references of “Calypso”, presented live below from a July 2011 performance in France:

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The Continuing Adventures of Mick Taylor

Now he’s even singing along with his guitar, ala George Benson. In the middle of a Dylan medley, no less. If this kid keeps coming up with new ideas and playing slide guitar like that, he’s definitely gonna make a name for himself.

Here’s Mick Taylor, March 7, 2013, in Madrid scattin’ and sliding through “Blind Willie McTell”, leaning into “All Along the Watchtower” and then taking it home. Wonderfully provided by jorjunkel:

 

Listening Notes: Pink Martini, Retro Reverence…

Musings on the strange state of elevator music

by Bryan Davis

 

Earlier this year I went to a Pink Martini show. A serendipitous moment whereby I had no real plans to go but was downtown in Durham, N.C., enjoying dinner out with my wife, and we decided to go for a walk toward the arts center. I was supposed to have been in DC that weekend for the Swervedriver concert but droves of public transportation-hoarding cherry blossom watchers had decided to buy up every last seat heading to Washington. I remembered that Pink Martini was playing here in town that night since a friend had told me that he would be going.

Mick Taylor Returns to the Stones’ Stage

The Vibrato. The Quiet One. The Kid. The non-flashy one. And now, thirty-eight years after leaving the Rolling Stones and thirty-one since they last played live with him (2003’s guest appearance was scuttled while he waited backstage with his guitar), the unassuming guitarist who took them to musical heights not seen since stepped out on the darkened blue stage and completed the journey. He had so much pep in his step, it looked like it was impossible for him to relax into a slow blues or even assume his traditional standing-still stage demeanor of yore.

He spun around, he lurched, he prowled the front of the stage (has he ever done this even once in his entire career?), he gravitated between hanging out with the guitarists in front of Charlie Watts’ drums and heading out to play off of the other Mick who was busy blowing harp and exhorting the audience. It was a little messy, and surely a little disorienting to be playing on a giant stage again after years decades away from the limelight. Was he sending a message to Jagger and the others? Something along the lines of “I can still play this shit and I can even walk around and entertain if you need an extra guitarist for the 2013 tour”. The Vibrato has become the Big Gazelle. Was it the shoes?

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Peter Gabriel Wraps Up the Back to Front Tour

peter gabriel livePeter Gabriel has been challenging and rewarding listeners for forty-five years now. In his earliest days, as Genesis’ co-founder and front-person (1967-1975), he combined elements of theater, performance art, story-telling and the bizarre into his live shows. He has been just as wide-ranging, cutting-edge and surprising since then in his over three decades-long solo career. Through studio releases, world music projects, film soundtracks, music videos, causes and benefit concerts, he has been one of the most respected and influential artists of our time.

In the dizzying and ever-churning realm of disposable pop culture though, much of what the public-at-large knows of Peter Gabriel begins and ends with his 1986 cd “So”, which produced the songs In Your Eyes, Don’t Give Up and, of course, the “Sledgehammer” single and music video. But 1986 was also the year that he began his long-standing public association with Amnesty International.

To those that would dig deeper, Gabriel offers a wealth of varied music projects and public works to explore. He has contributed to the existence of W.O.M.A.D., the Witness project, the ‘gated’ drum sound and the early fusion of electronic synthesis with tribal rhythms on his benchmark third solo album, the revolutionizing of the music video, several notable soundtracks (“Birdy” and “The Last Temptation of Christ”), the fashionable ‘reverse mohawk’ of the 1973 tour and more; while also being the recipient of several international humanitarian awards over the years. And to think that the man behind all that started his music career as a frustrated drummer, handling the vocal chores for an unknown British art rock quintet while wearing a fox head mask and a dress.

After spending much of 2010-2012 touring with an orchestra-and-voices ensemble, which saw him re-inventing his classics in an acoustic format alongside several cover songs from the New Blood cd, he still found time to regroup and launch an entirely different tour before the year’s end.

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