Today is: Thursday February 21, 2019 | Status: Under Re-development | Version 2.99.03

The Yardbirds - Highline Ballroom, NYC, 7.8.17

by Michael Sherer

The Yardbirds started in London, England way back in 1963. With a bunch of hits such as “For Your Love”, “Heart Full of Soul”, “Shapes of Things” and “Over Under Sideways Down” and as one of the inventors of the “rave up” and British psychedelic sounds, they are one of the most influential and copied groups of modern times. They were also one of the earliest British groups to earnestly cover American blues artists, including the Chicago blues of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James. Songs such as “Smokestack Lightning”, “Good Morning Little School Girl”, “Boom Boom”, “I Wish You Would”, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” and “I’m a Man” all came of this reverence and made their young audience aware of these relatively obscure black, American blues artists.

Additionally, the group launched the careers of guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, as each of them, in that order, started out in the group. It was Beck that initially brought fuzz tone, sustain, reverb, feedback, distortion and hammer-on soloing that fit well and helped propel the increasingly raw style of British beat music which spawned heavier groups such as Birmingham’s Black Sabbath.

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CoCo Carmel, Bobby Whitlock & Ricky Byrd in background

Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel, BB King’s, NYC, 6.13.17

by Michael Sherer

To paint an overall picture of Bobby Whitlock, it’s clear that he’s a versatile and talented pianist, guitarist, singer and songwriter that’s written or co written some very well known and classic songs, especially in the blues-rock vein. His best known are from Derek & The Dominoes’ only record, 1970’s Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Whitlock wrote or co-wrote seven of the album’s fourteen tracks, including “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Tell the Truth”, “Anyday” and “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”

Whitlock also played on George Harrison’s classic “All Things Must Pass,” (1971) and two records with Delaney & Bonnie in ‘69. It was through touring with them that Whitlock met Eric Clapton, who was also in their touring band. Clapton is, of course, the “Derek” of Derek & The Dominoes.

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Jimmy Webb & Graham Nash

The Cake And The Rain - A Tribute Concert To Jimmy Webb, Carnegie Hall, NYC, 5.3.17

by Michael Sherer

Legendary composer and lyricist Jimmy Webb had a well deserved tribute concert dubbed “The Cake And The Rain” at the highly prestigious and pristine sounding Carnegie Hall this past Wednesday evening. Proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association and I’ll Be Foundation, in behalf of Webb’s long time close friend and fellow songwriter Glen Campbell, who has unfortunately been stricken with the disease. Webb’s wife Laura Savini was the main organizer of this special event.

An eclectic gathering of artists were in tow to honor Webb’s long, successful musical journey. The concert coincides with the recent release of Webb’s autobiography, also entitled “The Cake And The Rain.” Webb, 70, played piano along with many of the performers. They included, in random order, Judy Collins, Art Garfunkel, Johnny Rivers, Graham Nash, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, B.J. Thomas, Dwight Yoakam, Hanson, Toby Keith, Amy Grant, Michael Feinstein and Catherine Zita-Jones. They each sang two or three songs. Actor Michael Douglas (husband of Catherine Zita-Jones)  was the MC. Douglas and Webb were once roommates, hence their connection and long standing friendship.

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Jackie Mason

Jackie Mason - BB King’s, NYC, 5.6.17

by Michael Sherer

Jackie Mason has been on the comedy scene for sixty years, and is considered a living legend by many. He’s also had his share of controversy for his choice of material with such topics as politics, prostitution and race relations, as well as a major run in with Ed Sullivan when on his show in 1964. Sullivan had erroneously thought that Mason had given him the middle finger on air while performing, although Mason had in fact not. That’s a whole other story, though I’ll say that while the fallout was a disaster and derailed Mason’s career for two decades, it does provide a good antidote for Mason to tell during his show, as well as doing his famous impersonation of the wooden like Sullivan.

At 85, Mason (born Yacov Moshe Maza) has slowed down but he still has the goods and natural timing that a real comedian must have. And to his credit Mason has almost always written all of his own material. That also includes American politics and culture in general, observational commentary, international relations, antisemitism and Jewish culture. Mason is as Jewish centric as they come, (he refers to himself as “The Ultimate Jew”) and with his strong Yiddish based accent and highly distinct, staccato manner of speaking, he sounds like no one else. A critic for Time once wrote that he spoke to audiences “with the Yiddish locutions of an immigrant who just completed a course in English. By mail.”

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Michael Douglas, Stephen Galloway & Sherry Lansing

Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway in conversation with Michael Douglas, 92Y, NYC, 4.28.17

by Michael Sherer

There’s no doubt that Sherry Lansing has had a stellar and storied career in the film industry. She was the first female president of 20th Century Fox and later went on to become chairman of Paramount Pictures. She’s also been a very successful independent producer. Ms. Lansing recently met up with old friend and colleague Michael Douglas and author Stephen Galloway at the 92nd Street Y to discuss her biography, written by Mr. Galloway, titled “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing And The Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.” Mr. Douglas took the role of moderator and was clearly comfortable asking questions surrounding the book and reminiscing about his long standing professional relationship with Ms. Lansing.

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