The American Music Masters tribute to Janis Joplin, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin, culminated Saturday night with a tribute concert at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theater. The concert ended with Bobby Wood’s terrific house band playing “Get It While You Can,” a Jerry Ragovoy song that Janis Joplin recorded on Pearl. I felt such gratitude to the performers as they came out for a curtain call—they had all brought their best to tell Janis Joplin’s story. Over the course of the night, they showed us Janis’s deep musical roots in blues and folk, her galvanizing rock music, and her love for the soul music of her day.
An early highlight of the show was Guy Clark’s “She Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” a song he recorded on his debut album, Old No. 1 in 1975. Although the song wasn’t written about Janis, it was a perfect song to capture her desire to leave Texas and make a space for herself out in the world. Guy and Janis played the same circuit in Houston and Austin, Texas in 1965, and he recalled meeting her back then. Janis also crossed paths with Roky Erickson ...
There are few things better that come out of our education programs than the real “behind the music” style stories shared by the artists and musicians who we celebrate. Such a story was told to me this past weekend by the co-founder and lead singer of Santana, Hall of Fame Inductee Gregg Rolie when he was in town to perform with fellow Inductee Michael Carabello for our 14th Annual American Music Masters series honoring Janis Joplin.
In most of the biographies you will read about Santana, they are rather ambiguous about the details of how the band was actually formed. You read about how Gregg Rolie and Carlos Santana were both in San Francisco in the 1960’s and then magically, there was Santana. When Gregg Rolie said to me, “you know how Santana really formed, don’t you?…it was in a tomato patch.” I knew I was about to be let in on a rock and roll secret.
This is how it really happened.
The origins of the Santana Blues Band, which later became just Santana, lie in a chance meeting between keyboardist and lead singer, Gregg Rolie and guitarist, Carlos Santana. The two knew of each other ...
Last Thursday, Big Brother and the Holding Company kicked off the 2009 American Music Masters celebration, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin. Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, and Peter Albin, three original members of the band, spent the day in Cleveland to help us tell the full story of Janis Joplin’s career. They filmed interviews for our Library and Archives, did an interview and performed in our new Foster Theater, and capped the night with a packed show at the Beachland Ballroom. Clevelanders Mary Bridget Davies and Ben Nieves joined them on vocals and guitar.
Big Brother played their first gig in January of 1966, six months before Janis Joplin joined them. When they decided that they wanted another vocalist in the band, Chet Helms suggested his friend from Austin, Texas, Janis Joplin. On paper, it seems like an odd match: Big Brother was known for their energy and power—in retrospect, they seem like a punk band—but Joplin had never sung with a rock band before. Yet they found common ground in their love of blues and folk music, and they quickly discovered that Joplin could “bring it,” as Dave Getz said last week in ...
“There is no, no, no place like New Orleans for music. The pioneers are here. We built the house. You can redecorate it, but we laid the foundation.”
We are very excited about this year’s American Music Masters Series! The program, entitled “Walking to New Orleans: The Music of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew” will be held here in Cleveland November 8-13th. Domino, a legendary piano player, wonderful singer, and galvanizing performer, and Bartholomew, an accomplished trumpet player, arranger and bandleader, make up one of the great partnerships of rock and roll. They wrote more than 50 songs together, including “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blue Monday,” “I’m in Love Again” and “I’m Walkin.’” In a 1999 interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Dave Bartholomew said “Fats and I, I think that the Lord put us together.” Domino responded, “I’m pretty sure...Who else would do it?” We are so grateful to our honorees and their families for all their help in making this event possible. We met with them back in June, which Terry Stewart described in a previous blog post.
Because Domino and Bartholomew both predate rock and roll and are first ...
It’s Stomp time! This week we’re headed down to New Orleans to attend the 9th Annual Ponderosa Stomp Festival. The musical lineup is fantastic, as ever. We’re also helping out with the Stomp Music History Conference, a series of live interviews and first-person discussions with the stars of the show, as well as DJs, record men, field recorders and others who shaped musical history. Dr. Ike, the mastermind of the Stomp, has been a key advisor to us here in putting together this year’s American Music Masters tribute to Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. He will interview Dave Bartholomew at the Stomp conference on Saturday, and we’ll stream it live here at rockhall.com. I asked Dr. Ike to reflect a little bit on Dave’s significance to rock and roll and on working with him at the Stomp, and he graciously agreed.
Dave Bartholomew and The Ponderosa Stomp
by Guest Writer Dr. Ike
When I originally conceived of the Ponderosa Stomp, one person who’s involvement I felt essential was Dave Bartholomew. Dave is the ultimate unsung hero. His arrangement and production on Fats Domino’s “The Fat Man” – with the emphasis on the ...
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Solomon Burke was called the “king of rock and soul” only a few years into his career, and decades later his title remains unquestionably valid. A true musical pioneer, his voice was one that brought what we now call rock and roll to the masses, bridging the gap between races, musical genres and even geography. It’s with deep sadness that we now mourn his loss, but his musical legacy will never be forgotten in shaping American history and influencing generations to come.
Related: Solomon Burke: biography, timeline, song clips and photos
The Crescent City is coming to Cleveland and we are welcoming her with open arms! In a few weeks a remarkable group of nearly 40 New Orleans musicians, tradition bearers bringing 70+ years of incredible music, will help us honor Fats Domino and his longtime collaborator Dave Bartholomew as American Music Masters.
I fell in love with New Orleans through the LP recordings of Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Huey Piano Smith, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas—and one very well worn truckstop cassette compilation tape that featured “Carnival Time,” “Mardi Gras Mambo,””Iko Iko,” “Walking to New Orleans” and a handful of other songs. This blossomed when as a twenty-something I traveled there with Robert Gordon—not the singer but the Memphis-born music scholar and filmmaker—the perfect tour guide to what was clearly his second city. The trip started in Philadelphia when we climbed into a massive 1969 Cadillac Sedan Deville—and headed south. Somewhere in Virginia we realized that if we shut the car off it would not restart, so we kept it running all the way to Atlanta, added a passenger and continued directly to New Orleans.
As if on cue we picked up WWOZ as we blew ...
One of my favorite New Orleans words is "lagniappe." Pronounced "lan-yap," it means something extra, a bonus. It can also be defined as an unexpected gift.
For me, this year’s American Music Masters series honoring Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew has been nothing but lagniappe. Having moved to Cleveland from New Orleans about a year and a half ago, I’m beyond excited to celebrate the music and spirit of my former hometown, and to pay homage to one of the greatest partnerships in rock and roll history. The line-up for the tribute concert on November 13th alone is phenomenal, not to mention the week’s worth of events that precede it. This is not to be missed – believe me.
The real gift to me, however, came last week when I was able to connect with a seventh-grade class at the Intercultural Charter School of New Orleans East, with an On the Road distance-learning program on Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, and New Orleans rock and roll. Working with teachers at the school and with KID smART, a local arts integration education initiative, we were able to present a special interactive video-conferencing class just to them, and just for them ...