Season 624 - My Hero/es

It‘s becoming apparent that either this isn’t the case for all of us, or that our interpretations of the word ‘hero’ differ somewhat. So, just for this week, maybe we can consider it to mean people that we respect and admire more than most others? Hope that helps! 🙂
Good call Del, and thanks for hosting this week! Threebird mentioned my hesitation to attach the word hero to a number of songwriters I admire, but whose behavior when they weren't writing songs disqualifies them from being heroes. Hope to join in this week
 
Miss Otis Regrets - Cole Porter

Thanks for a great Season topic Del. The word "Hero" accurately describes how I feel about Jackie.
My first guitar hero was Hamilton Ontario's Jackie Washington. I first heard him play in the early sixties and he changed the way I played the guitar completely. Jackie was not a prolific song-writer, but he had an amazing memory and a repertoire of well over a thousand songs.
Here's an old murder ballad, Miss Otis Regrets, written by Cole Porter, from Jackie's first LP, Blues And Sentimental.

Jackie b&w.jpg

 
Hi Del! Interesting theme, and a tricky one to decide on. I'm not sure I'd use the word "hero" but I could have picked one of many musical influences or just songwriters I enjoy: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Alan Hull, John Linnell and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit...

But instead, I've gone for the one people are least likely to have heard of, although I know I've brought a couple of his songs and that a couple of Seasonistas know of him. A friend of mine introduced me to Dan Bern's music when I was at university mumble years ago, and it immediately grabbed me. He covers all sorts of topics in his songs, and I often try to write like him (although inevitably end up just writing like me anyway). They can be funny, sad, a bit strange, and he's not afraid to be overtly political when he feels the need to be. Here's one that I reckon might have fit in well with Val's theme last week:



I have the impression that he could have been much better known, but just wasn't willing to play the game and remains happy just to do his own thing. Good for him!

Hopefully I'll have time for one more. I have a half baked idea for an original but if I do get on with it, I'll save writing it until Thursday when February Album Writing Month starts :).

(EDIT: I promise it is entirely accidental that this song has the word "heroes" in the first line! A happy accident though.)
 
Hi Del! Interesting theme, and a tricky one to decide on. I'm not sure I'd use the word "hero" but I could have picked one of many musical influences or just songwriters I enjoy: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Alan Hull, John Linnell and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit...

But instead, I've gone for the one people are least likely to have heard of, although I know I've brought a couple of his songs and that a couple of Seasonistas know of him. A friend of mine introduced me to Dan Bern's music when I was at university mumble years ago, and it immediately grabbed me. He covers all sorts of topics in his songs, and I often try to write like him (although inevitably end up just writing like me anyway). They can be funny, sad, a bit strange, and he's not afraid to be overtly political when he feels the need to be. Here's one that I reckon might have fit in well with Val's theme last week:



I have the impression that he could have been much better known, but just wasn't willing to play the game and remains happy just to do his own thing. Good for him!

Hopefully I'll have time for one more. I have a half baked idea for an original but if I do get on with it, I'll save writing it until Thursday when February Album Writing Month starts :).

(EDIT: I promise it is entirely accidental that this song has the word "heroes" in the first line! A happy accident though.)

DAN BERN YES!
My very first concert was Dan Bern opening for Ani DiFranco back in mumble mumble.... I saw him live again in a dinky little bar in Santa Cruz about 10 years later. Great stuff!
 
Thanks for hosting Del, I've decided to go with Keith Richards, the human riff.
That said, there's not a riff in sight on this cover.
Apparently he wrote most of this song (lyrics and music) with contributions from Brian Jones.
 
Jack O' Diamonds - P.D.

In 1960 I had learned this song from a library book of folk songs written by Burl Ives. The book showed the song accompanied by 2 chords, G and D7. In the early sixties I frequented a folk club called The Black Swan and one evening the featured performer was a local musician named Jackie Washington. He played Jack O' Diamonds (though he had a different title which I can't recall) and played 2 chords per measure. I bought a jazz guitar book the next day (Mickey Baker's Jazz Guitar) and started trying to be Jackie Washington.
I recall telling my mom that "there was this old guy at the club tonight who played fabulous guitar". Mom later told me that Jackie would have been in his early forties, but I guess he was older than most of the performers who played there.
I later met Jackie and have had a few chances to hang with him. I last saw him at his 88th birthday party.

Here's how Jackie looked when I first saw him, playing his Kay guitar.

Jackie with Kay.png

 
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With a busy schedule this week, I dont expect to find time for practicing or recording anything 😒.
But I would expect "hero" in this context to be interpreted a musical role model, someone who inspired one to start writing, or singing, or strumming songs back when that happened.

Not sure who I would pick. The easy choice is whoever wrote the most songs I like to play on ukulele. The medium choice, the artist whose songs I was singing in the shower when I was younger. The difficult choice, my father, whose songwriting at home when I was little probably made me less afraid to attempt writing songs... Though I rarely feel that I have ideas for something worth singing 😂.

A good thing that I dont have time for playing, no need to decide.
 
Brian ukefoote has already given us one David Bowie song, and I'm going all in and nominating him as my musical hero.
When David Bowie died, a school friend of mine, and a fellow fan, said how lucky we were, given the size and age of the universe, and the vast number of planets which could contain life, that we were teenagers on this planet at the exact moment that Bowie released Ziggy Stardust.

 
It‘s becoming apparent that either this isn’t the case for all of us, or that our interpretations of the word ‘hero’ differ somewhat. So, just for this week, maybe we can consider it to mean people that we respect and admire more than most others? Hope that helps! 🙂
50 years ago(!), Rod Stewart was one of my musical heroes - and of course, as well as being a very talented songwriter in his own right, he is also one of the best interpreters of other people's songs ever; dating from his days with Steampacket and the Jeff Beck Group, all the way through to his Great American Songbook collections.
With that in mind, if you're looking for inspiration, as well as Rod the Mod, you could do worse than take a look at Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, or Willie Nelson, & from earlier eras, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra - you certainly wouldn't be spoilt for choice!
 
Hello, Del and thanks for hosting! After a lot of deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that I tend to be drawn to the songs, rather than the artists who sing them, so, although I might have quite a few people who I admire, I haven't really got a "hero." I have decided to go with "The Four Seasons" for this week ... I DO love their songs and they are very varied, which I thought would help in finding something to attempt. Actually, having chosen this one, I am absolutely appalled by the lyrics ... I mean, this man is two-timing some poor girl and then expecting her to feel SORRY for him for having to take himself back to his wife! HONESTLY ... how egocentric can a person BE????

 
I hope more people listen to Michael Hurley.

I don't have a quiet space to record songs, that's why i often have to just do 1 or 2 takes, when it is less noisy here. I wish i can share much better covers of songs by a musician i really love, but i hope this post will convince you to give him a listen.

Hurley is 82 and still playing. I watched this video of him playing live last year and i was very moved by the first song he played- The Rue of Ruby Whores.
Calexico did a version too, in the album Snockument, where various artists pay tribute to him by playing his songs. My heart is beating fast now because i only just stumbled across this album seconds ago!

Here is an exerpt from a write up about Snockument (Hurley is known as Snock), i am sharing it 'cause it will give you a good idea of what sort of musician Hurley is.

For those not aware of him, Hurley is one of the surviving links to, as Greil Marcus has it, that Old Weird Americana. From his first recordings in 1965 for Folkways, up until the present, Hurley has inhabited a domain where country, blues and folk collide and he has peopled it with an amazing array of characters, some grim and doomed such as his famed werewolf, others, cartoonish, bawdy and, at times, lascivious – check out Boone and Jocko. Above all, Hurley allows us to view his world via some stunningly beautiful songs. Some are raw, gnawed from his hinterland, while there are several which have a rich groove and then others which are just quite achingly tender. It’s no surprise really that such a unique artist has rarely troubled the mainstream but, equally unsurprising, he has gathered a cult following which has included a good number of musicians over the years.
Excerpt taken from this link
https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2021/07/27/various-artists-snockument-songs-by-michael-hurley-blue-navigator-records/
ok! Here is my cover of The Rue of Ruby Whores.

I tuned my bari one full step down.
I have included the lyrics in the youtube description thing.
 
I've been scratching my head for this one. My first thoughts were David Bowie and George Harrison - but I've played a fair few of their songs on seasons recently, and fancied a change. So I went back to the 1920s to 1940s jazz standards, another great love, and realised that there's someone in common with an awful lot of jazz from that era that I like - Fats Waller. A pioneering jazz pianist, and great performer whose humour really shines through. His work broke through the race barrier - he toured internationally and composed the Broadway musical Early to Bed.

He wrote or cowrote an awful lot of songs - certainly more than he is credited for as he tended to sell rights to his songs for small sums of money when in financial difficulties. He still copyrighted over 400 songs, many with lyricist Andy Razaf.

One story he told is that he was kidnapped by Al Capone's minions and forced to perform as a surprise guest at Al Capone's birthday party.

Anyway, here's probably Fats Waller's best-known song. I hope to bring some more this week.

 
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