Thursday, March 29, 2012

RIP Earl Scruggs

Pioneering bluegrass banjo player Earl Scruggs has died at 88. His innovative picking techniques took the banjo from the rhythm section to a lead instrument. "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," one of his signature songs with Lester Flatt and the Foggy Mountain Boys, is part of Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit.

The Associated Press obituary noted, "At an 80th birthday party for Scruggs in January 2004, country great Porter Wagoner said: 'I always felt like Earl was to the five-string banjo what Babe Ruth was to baseball. He is the best there ever was, and the best there ever will be.'"

Among the highlights of our collection of materials by Scruggs:
  • Best of the Flatt & Scruggs TV Show. Vol. 1: Classic Bluegrass from 1956 to 1962 (DVD 3010
  • Earl Scruggs and Friends (CD 19906)
  • Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo (MT560 .S44 1968) His book on the history and technique of the instrument
  • The Essential Flatt & Scruggs: 'tis Sweet to be Remembered-- (CD 23668-23669) Includes "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"
NPR has a tribute with both audio and video:

Bluegrass Legend Earl Scruggs Has Died

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Aretha Franklin!

Aretha Franklin celebrated her 70th birthday on Sunday, March 25th -- and we're a chain of fools for not mentioning it earlier! Show her some R-E-S-P-E-C-T by checking out one of the many albums we have by the Queen of Soul:

Aretha Live at Fillmore West (CD 10730)
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You (CD 7007)
The Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings (CD 733-736)
Aretha: Lady Soul (CD 479).

There's even more where that came from, so come on down to the media center today and give them a listen. And don't forget that you can check CDs out for 3 days and take them with you unless they are on reserve.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Only Librarian That Matters?

Being part of some of the greatest bands in rock history would seem to be the coolest job in the world, but even those in such lofty positions aim even higher: librarian. Keith Richards acknowledged his librarian aspirations two years ago. But Mick Jones, formerly of the Clash, has actually taken up the task, opening the Rock & Roll Public Library. For now, it is only a temporary exhibit in a London's Subway Gallery, but Jones envisions something more long-lasting. "Now Mick is looking for a permanent home to open a library where people can borrow from his enormous collection of 'anything cool,'" reports Ben Bloom in the Hampstead and Highgate Express. Sabotage Times has lots of photos:

Inside Mick Jones’ Rock & Roll Public Library

Friday, March 9, 2012

Van Halen and Old News About M&M's

The reunited Van Halen will be in Boston this week. In conjunction with the band's relaunch, they have posted a video in which colorful frontman David Lee Roth explains the legend of their tour rider requirement for no brown M&M's backstage. The short version: it was never a diva-like demand to prove their importance but their own method of the canary in a coal mine, a warning sign that the tour promoters had ignored the more important safety requirements in their rider. Roth explains it in his own inimitable style in this video, but this is old news. He related the story in his 1997 autobiography Crazy from the Heat (ML420.R683 A3 1997) in the chapter entitled "M&M's" (p. 97).

Brown M&Ms from Van Halen on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Remembering Session Guitarist Billy Strange

NPR Music has an appreciation of guitarist Billy Strange, a session man famous for his work with the Wrecking Crew, who died February 22.

Remembering Billy Strange, Ace Session Guitarist

Our catalog makes it easy to find recordings that Strange played on. Not only does our catalog list the named performers on CDs, i.e. Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant on Swingin' on the Strings. Volume 2 (CD 18256), it also includes songwriters, producers, backing musicians and other named contributors when the information is available. So if you're researching recordings that include a particular producer or sideman, you can find it in our catalog even if the CD wasn't under their own name.