D.J. Fontana etched his place in rock and roll history playing drums for Elvis Presley. He was more than just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Jay Geils (2005)
Jay Geils made his mark playing blues and his fortune playing rock and roll. But his first love was jazz. Jay—who died on April 11, 2017 at age 71—made that clear when I interviewed him at his split-level home in Groton ten days before a date at Tempo, a Waltham restaurant, to celebrate the […]
Ted Hawkins (1994)
“….I’m wringing wet with sweat, my throat’s on fire and my hand is aching. But I had to keep going…” “Cold and Bitter Tears – The Songs of Ted Hawkins” is a tribute album boasting no celebrity names. James McMurtry, Kasey Chambers and Mary Gauthier are probably the most recognizable of the Americana and country […]
Allen Toussaint (1996)
“If I was to say my joy, piano is first.” I loved Allen Toussaint before I knew who Allen Toussaint was.
Al Kooper (1995)
“I was pretty much robbed all my life….” The big bucks versions of “The Cutting Edge 1965-1966,” the latest entry in the Bob Dylan bootleg series (note: not actual bootlegs), includes a 20-track disc of a single song, “Like A Rolling Stone.” It brings to life one of the most famous recording sessions in history […]
Curtis Mayfield (1996)
“It isn’t every day a 54-year-old quadriplegic records a record….” There are comeback stories. And then there’s Curtis Mayfield’s comeback story. In mid-August, 1990, he was about to perform at an outdoor concert at an athletic field in Brooklyn. The opening act, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, had finished their set. Mayfield, guitar […]
Mose Allison (1994)
“One of my first public appearances was at a talent contest. I sang and played Fats Waller’s ‘fododo-de-yacka-saki want some seafood mama.’ I could just see the teacher saying, “This boy is going straight to hell.” Wondering what Mose Allison was up to lately, I checked his […]
Nina Simone (1992)
“I don’t think I’m difficult. Not at all.” The prospect of interviewing Nina Simone was thrilling. And slightly terrifying.
Mighty Sam McClain (1998)
In memoriam: Mighty Sam McClain (1943-2015) “I came from eating out of garbage cans. So if I died tomorrow, I did good.” Mighty Sam McClain wrote a song summing up his old friends’ feelings about hanging out with him after he gave up his bad habits: “Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey).” Now I […]
B.B. King (1980)
“A guy comes out of the gumbo, he likes to walk on concrete awhile.” October 14, 1980 Lippman House, Harvard University, Cambridge When B.B. King came to Harvard University, it was a special day. Not only for the fortunate few who got to witness an intimate performance in a small wooden house […]