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Big Hard Head
When I find these kinds of things I get a little giddy but also a bit jolted that I hadn't seen it sooner. Frank Robinson is 73 years old now and I had never heard of him before a couple of days ago. What's the matter with me?

Frank "Sugar Chile" Robinson was a child prodigy, winning talent shows at the age of three, playing for President Truman at seven, and appearing with Count Basie at age eleven among other impressive accomplishments.

Mr. Robinson eventually gave up his musical career to earn degrees in history and psychology. While I applaud furthering one's education in any case, I am always dismayed when a true talent strays from music. It seems such a shame.

Fortunately, Robinson didn't stray far for long. He helped set up small labels in Detroit and also opened a recording studio during the 1960s. He has been making a comeback as a musician during the last decade, appearing at a few special concerts.

The song is "Caldonia" by Louis Jordan, one of my all-time favorite jump blues songs and also one of the first compositions to be labeled "rock and roll". Click the image to play or watch it and all the other cool videos I have accumulated on my Music Video page.
 
A Pair of Freeks
Freek Johnson Freek Johnson recently appeared on our local PBS station. The boys are in fine shape, delivering a couple of tunes with enough action they could easily be five or six.

Freek Johnson I don't have much to say, the Freek speaks for itself. Enjoy the show!

Click to enlarge, or watch them on the big player on my Music Video page with more Freek Johnson and gobs of other cool stuff.
 
Playing for Change Again
Playing For Change I first wrote about the Playing for Change project over two years ago. The project and the mission are alive and well, uniting a diverse group of musicians from all over the world for a worthy cause.
Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.
There is nothing that is not absolutely cool about the Playing for Change project. I encourage you to visit their website to watch lots more cool videos, learn about the project, buy a CD or t-shirt, and get involved.

You can watch the original video Stand By Me along with today's post in the big player on my Music Video page.

Click the image to pop, and visit the Playing For Change site here.
 
I Think I Like This
When I first saw Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside on David Letterman I thought, "Here's something for my page." Then I sat on it for weeks.

I couldn't quite put my finger on why I liked it. There are no blazing guitar solos, no overwhelming performances. But I kept coming back to the video and watching it over and over again.

There is a lot here that appeals to me. I like the retro-y look and sound of the group. I really like the way they combine a minimalistic approach with some smart arrangement to make the most of what's there. Sallie does a great job belting out the vocals. The overall effect is a solid and fresh performance of a really good tune.

The pop music world could certainly use a lot more music like this - real musicians playing real instruments making some interesting and fun music.

I hope we get to hear lots more from Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside. Check out their website here. Click the image to pop up a player or watch them in the big player on my Music Video page.
 
It's Been a Long Time
Robert Plant with Strange Sensation I had an eclectic musical childhood. Mom and Dad always had the radio tuned to the country music station. My older brother was into progressive, blues rock, and AOR. In my music lessons I studied Russian Classical composers, polka, film music and traditional folk. I grew up with Waylon and Willie, Geddy Lee, Jameses Paige and Hendrix, Tchaikovsky, John Williams, Lawrence Welk and Mr. Pink Floyd - just to name a few.

Led Zeppelin is one of my first and longest lasting loves. Thanks to big bro and Stairway to Heaven, I was pretty much hooked before I started elementary school. There was a time when I was positively obsessed with them. I owned every album, read every book, saw The Song Remains the Same about a million times, and spent years tracking down the elusive 45 of Hey, Hey What Can I Do.

I never did get to see Led Zeppelin - I was only ten when John Bonham died - but I did get to see Robert Plant. After several years of practically shunning everything Led Zeppelin and acting like he never heard of the group, Robert Plant dramatically embraced his Zep roots on his 1988 album Now and Zen. One track even sampled the old songs! I couldn't get tickets fast enough. Third row center! ROCK!

Over the years, Robert Plant has stepped away but always returned to his roots. His most recent foray into Zeppelin nostalgia is the Strange Sensation, a bunch of hip young guys backing up Robert on his originals as well as some smart and fresh revisits of some great old Led Zeppelin tunes.

The whole show is pretty great, but Black Dog is probably my favorite. Click the image to pop, or watch the video in the big player on my Music Video page along with lots more cool stuff.
 
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