WBEZ | Joni Mitchell http://www.wbez.org/tags/joni-mitchell Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Road trippin' to faraway places http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/road-trippin-faraway-places-101571 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNOEcs" width="500"></iframe></p><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>Well it&rsquo;s August and here at WBEZ, a number of staff are out as it&rsquo;s the height of the summer vacation season. And if any of my colleagues are traveling by auto no doubt they have their mixtape with songs they LOVE to hear while on road trips.</p><p>Richard Steele and I are hopping in the car (rhetorically speaking) and&nbsp; bringing along tunes that evoke the road, songs about travel, stories of coming back from a trip and having to say goodbye to those whom we&rsquo;ve spent time.</p><p>One album I&rsquo;ve banned from our road trip is Steely Dan&rsquo;s <em>Aja</em>. Now I like Steely Dan; I saw them back in the early &#39;90s at the now gone outdoor venue Poplar Creek and it was fun. But like my friend Tom Laird who ate too many of my great aunt Juanita&rsquo;s tamales at my sister&rsquo;s wedding years ago and vowed to never again eat another, after one of our family vacations I vowed to never play a tune from <em>Aja</em>.</p><p>In the summer of 1978, the Sarabia clan piled into the green Chevy wagon for &quot;the trip&quot;: a drive out to the West Coast, down Highway 101, over to San Antonio then back up to Oak Park &mdash; all in a month.</p><p>That July, <em>Aja</em> had just garnered a Grammy for Best Engineered, Classical Recording and had peaked at #3 on the US Billboard Pop Chart. So my dad got it on 8-track and by the time we reached Winnemucca, Nevada, even my nine year old brother Eddie knew the chorus to the song &quot;Peg&quot;!</p><p>Seven songs played over and over and over again. But the strange thing is that at the time we all enjoyed the jazz fusion jumping out at us from the car&rsquo;s &quot;deluxe&quot; speaker system.</p><p>It wasn&rsquo;t until after we peeled ourselves out of the car once back home that we all voiced our newfound displeasure with that Steely Dan &quot;masterpiece,&quot; and whenever we&rsquo;re together we have a good laugh whenever someone requests &quot;Black Cow&quot; or &quot;Deacon Blues.&quot;</p><p>Maybe you have a song or album or artist that you now forbid when on the road. Like Richard and I , you most certainly have your favorite road trip musical moments.</p><p>It&rsquo;s funny but for me, no matter how great a trip, near the end I start to get the itch to get back home to familiar surroundings, my comfort zone. Those are the goodbye moments of road trips and the topic of my road trip picks. So here we go, buckle up.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3822925654_afcbe9fb94_z.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px; " title="(Flickr/Jeremy Chan)" />I am a <strong>Joni</strong>-phile. This Canadian born artist can do no wrong according to my ears; she&rsquo;s a true artist who&rsquo;s always followed her muse critics be damned. Mitchell&rsquo;s 1971 release <em>Blue&nbsp;</em>has been a road trip must for me for a couple of decades. Not only do more than a few songs evoke travel and longing to get back, her combination of voice and guitar is the perfect mix for tooling down a two laner out in the middle of nowhere. <em>Blue </em>was a groundbreaking album was it came out because it was such a personal set of songs; really drawn from Joni&rsquo;s life.</p><p>Take the song <strong>&quot;Carey&quot;</strong> for instance; a song inspired by her time with a cave-dwelling hippie community in the village of Matala, on the Greek island of Crete. Okay, who wouldn&rsquo;t have fun with that trip? Well the song&rsquo;s protagonist sounds like she&rsquo;s having a blast but she does recognize it&rsquo;s time to go, not home but other places. So much of Joni Mitchell&rsquo;s music suggests a world weary traveler and maybe that&rsquo;s why more than a few cite albums such as <em>Blue </em>and <em>Hejira</em>- written while Joni was on an East Coast to West Coast trip- as important a road trip accessory as the Road Atlas.</p><p>Anyone who&rsquo;s been in a long distance relationship can relate to this classic from Leonard Cohen interpreted by <strong>Roberta Flack</strong>. <strong>&quot;Hey, That&rsquo;s No Way to Say Goodbye,&quot;</strong>&nbsp;is a song that marks the end of a visit between two lovers.</p><p>So there you are driving in your car, you&rsquo;re filled with excitement as you near your destination. But as the old saying goes: all good things come to an end -- even if temporarily.</p><p>You&#39;re on the verge of tears while packing the&nbsp; suitcase, but then your&nbsp; partner lessens the growing pang in your heart with these words of reassurance:</p><p><em>&quot;I&#39;m not looking for another as I wander in my time/Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme/You know my love goes with you as your love stays with me/It&#39;s just the way it changes like the shoreline and the sea/But let&#39;s not talk of love or chains and things we can&#39;t untie.&quot;</em></p><p>Now those are some beautiful lyrics; made all the more lovely by Roberta&rsquo;s singing and her piano solo. This version is off of Flack&rsquo;s debut release appropriately titled, <em>First Take</em>. She would not make another album as strong as this.</p><p>Someday I&rsquo;d like to take six months off , hop in a car and roam the country. But I&rsquo;d probably share the same feelings articulated in <strong>&quot;Don&rsquo;t It Make You Wanna Go Home.&quot;</strong> We all wanna go home at some point right? The things that make home the place to be; the canopied trees, the sound of the El chugging along rickety tracks, the smell of onions on top of a red hot pull us in that direction. Of course you may be more like the protagonist in Joni Mitchell&#39;s song &quot;Carey&quot; and leave one place not for home but another foreign vista. Country music star <strong>Bobby Bare</strong>&rsquo;s plaintive voice is one of many in the genre I always like to have on my road trip mix-tape. Take me home country road.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p><strong>Teri Thornton</strong> was a jazz vocalist from Detroit who, despite her enormous talent, had only moderate commercial success. Her professional life in music started in the mid 1950&rsquo;s while she was a 19 year old divorced mother with two children. She spent time in Chicago in the late 1950&rsquo;s honing her jazz vocal skills before moving to New York in 1960. She had her first album release a year later. A song titled <strong>&quot;Somewhere In The Night&quot;</strong> from her second album turned out to be the theme for the hit T.V. series <em>Naked City</em> and was high on the music charts. She signed with a major label the same year and released her third album which contained a vocal version of the theme from the T.V. series <em>Route 66</em>.</p><p>Thornton had several years of success which came to an abrupt halt due to substance abuse and other personal problems. She retreated from the music business for a number of years before making a triumphant return by winning the Thelonius Monk Vocal Jazz Competition in 1998 after recovering from a bout with cancer. She had a recurrence of the disease in 2000 that proved fatal. This vocal version of Nelson Riddle&rsquo;s theme music for&nbsp;<em>Route 66</em> is a testament to her vocal abilities.`</p><p><strong>The Red Hot Chili Peppers</strong> are still hot. This L.A. band came together in 1983. Its music is often described as alternative rock, but it&rsquo;s really a mixture of many styles. Last weekend, they closed out the second day of Lollapalooza here in Chicago. They performed after a rain delay of several hours and the wet, mud-covered fans loved it. They even continued to play during a scheduled lakefront fireworks display.</p><p>This song called<strong> &quot;Road Trippin&quot;</strong> is from an album recorded in 2000 called <em>Californication.</em> It would seem that &quot;Road Trippin&quot; is about a fun journey along the Pacific Coast Highway. There&rsquo;s a lyric line that talks about &ldquo;lingering at Big Sur.&quot; It&rsquo;s an entirely acoustic recording that was released as single in Europe, but not here in the U.S. The song makes you feel like you&rsquo;re along for the ride.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/road%20song.jpg" style="float: left; height: 300px; width: 300px; " title="" /><strong>Wes Montgomery</strong> was a phenomenal self-taught jazz guitarist from nearby Indianapolis, Indiana. He was nicknamed &ldquo;the thumb&rdquo; because he never used a guitar pick. He had a beautiful sound and was a prolific improviser. Jazz critics gave universal praise for his talent when he was playing and recording what was called &ldquo;straight ahead&rdquo; jazz, but they expressed resounding disapproval when he recorded the &ldquo;pop jazz&rdquo; that appealed to a much broader audience. This recording was one that fit perfectly into that category. It&rsquo;s his own composition called <strong>&quot;Road Song&quot;</strong> and it reached number one on the Billboard Jazz Album chart in 1968. This was his last album release before a fatal heart attack at the age of 45.</p><p><strong>Orbert Davis</strong> is a brilliant jazz trumpet player, composer and founder of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Kurt Elling is a Grammy-winning vocalist from Chicago and Bobbi Wilsyn is an exciting vocalist and jazz educator who lives in Chicago. If you&rsquo;ve ever wondered what the ultimate Brazilian jazz-flavored romantic song would sound like, this is it. Imagine yourself on a dream vacation as Orbert Davis was when he wrote this song. He told me it came to him while he and his wife were strolling down a beach in Bahia one evening. I think when you listen to <strong>&quot;Midnight in Bahia&quot;</strong> you&rsquo;ll definitely get the message.</p></p> Thu, 09 Aug 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/road-trippin-faraway-places-101571 Music Thursdays with Tony Sarabia: Summer Songs http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-summer-songs-100257 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/beach headphones flickr valentina calosci.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNR5l8" width="500"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: left; "><em>The playlist above has been updated to include listener-submitted suggestions, so take a listen!</em></p><p>Well, summer is here. Time for care free days, al fresco dining, Frisbee, outdoor music festivals, road trips and a soundtrack for the season.</p><p>Summer is our focus for this week&rsquo;s Music Thursday. My usual partner Richard Steele is dodging the heat in New Orleans so in his stead we have Mia Park.</p><p>You may be most familiar with Park as creator and host of the kids TV dance music show <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chicagogo"><em>Chic-A-Go-Go</em></a>; there&rsquo;s a famous episode that features a &quot;band&quot; with members Jerome McDonnell, Ira Glass, Peter Sagal and Gretchen Helfrich. Mia is a real musician. She plays percussion/drums in rock bands. Park also produces benefit music shows and theater productions.</p><p>Our task was to come up with a few of our favorite songs either about summer or tunes that remind us of the short season. For Mia, summer music is music that not only rallys activity, but also boosts her mood in an upbeat, positive way.</p><p>Here are Mia&rsquo;s picks:</p><p><em>In general, I think of anthemic songs when I think of summer. Music that not only rallies activity, but also boosts my mood in an upbeat, positive way.</em></p><p><em><strong>&quot;Funky Town&quot; by Lipps Inc.</strong>&nbsp;is the ultimate summer dance song. Grooving to this song, you can easily do the robot, disco, roller skate, pop &amp; lock and play the meanest air violin and air cowbell, ever. Also, this song has great electronic sounds and voices in it that remind me of kraftwerk and their ground breaking electronic music movement of the late &#39;70s.</em></p><p><em>I very much love American music from the &#39;50s and early &#39;60s and spent over a decade immersed in the rockabilly scenes of Philadelphia and Chicago. There are so many faster paced rockabilly songs that are driven by teen angst longing for summertime fun, but <strong>&quot;Sleep Walk&quot; by Santo and Johnny</strong> has that swaggering sway that reminds me of slow walks on hot sticky summer nights under midnight shady trees with someone you can&#39;t wait to kiss.</em></p><p><em>Ohmygawdiloveduranduran! <strong>Duran Duran</strong> was my ultimate high school band. I spent a lot of energy loving this band. <strong>&quot;Is There Something I Should Know?&quot;</strong> is such a great representative of &#39;80s pop new wave that makes me feel summery year round. Thinking of cute British boy musicians always makes me feel giggly summer time girly. I can&#39;t listen to them late at night or I can&#39;t sleep. I get too excited.</em></p><p><em>Kathleen Hanna fronted this great female punk band from Washington state and <strong>Bikini Kill</strong> was my favorite of the riot grrrl groups. Her songs are terribly catchy with smart feminist lyrics. Her &quot;statement&quot; reminds me of the energy of restless youth that the rockabilly&rsquo;s captured so well. Her voice is as bright as the summer sun and <strong>&quot;Statement of Vindication&quot;</strong> is a great summer road trip song for me, especially if the road trip is only an hour and fifteen minutes.</em></p><p>So Mia ends with a reference to road tripping, but unlike Mia, I love a long meandering road trip; pack up and head out without an agenda. One song in particular always reminds me of a summer road trip.</p><p><strong>Joni Mitchell</strong>&rsquo;s &quot;<strong>Coyote&quot;</strong> comes from the album <em>Hejira </em>which loosely means &quot;journey.&quot; All the songs on the album were written while Joni was traveling cross country and &quot;Coyote&quot; hits it on the mark as a chance encounter while on the road. But it&rsquo;s not only Joni Mitchell&rsquo;s usual poetic lyrics (&quot;a prisoner of the fine white lines of the freeway&quot;), but the breezy and spacious&nbsp; feel of the music; the opening tuning of her guitar and the fretless bass playing of Jaco Pastorius; like an open road &ldquo;in the middle of nowhere.&quot;</p><p>Supposedly the song is not about just any chance encounter but a brief affair Mitchell had with playwright Sam Shepard &mdash; oh the intrigue.</p><p>You can&rsquo;t do a show about summer songs and not include<strong><em> </em></strong><em>the </em>Summertime: Gershwin&rsquo;s<strong> &quot;Summertime.&quot;</strong></p><p>The challenge is choosing just one of the many superb versions. I was leaning towards the Billy Stewart&rsquo;s rendition with his rolling of the tongue and scatting. Instead I picked <strong>The Zombies</strong> take on the classic.</p><p>The British Invasion popsters&rsquo; &quot;Summertime&quot; comes from the group&rsquo;s 1965 debut and it sticks to the dirge like quality of the original with some the somber vocals by Colin Blunstone and keyboard work by Rod Argent. Very nice.</p><p>The year was 1975; the month was June when one of the hottest summer singles hit the airwaves. Low Rider was one of two singles released from the seventh studio album by <strong>WAR</strong>. The other single was the title track &quot;Why Can&rsquo;t We Be Friends?&quot;&nbsp;Low Rider went to number seven on the Billboard Pop chart, number one on the R&amp;B chart. One of the lesser known songs is <strong>&quot;Heartbeat.&quot;&nbsp;</strong>It most likely didn&rsquo;t get played on the AM stations because it clocks in at seven-plus minutes.</p><p>The song is a funky workout for the whole band as vocalist and drummer Harold Brown calls out each member to give the listeners a taste of their playing.&nbsp;This is the type of summer song you want to slowly groove to in order not to work up a sweat; pace yourself during those seven minutes.</p><p>Like most of WAR&rsquo;s music, Heartbeat always conjures summer. Heartbeat was a big hit in Brazil when it was released. The song has been sampled numerous times.</p><p>I love the idea of dancing on a beach during the summer months even though I&rsquo;ve never done that myself and Latin boogaloo would be my choice for such an occasion.&nbsp; More specifically the song to start the Latin beach party would be &quot;<strong>Spanish Grease&quot;</strong> by the great percussionist <strong>Willie Bobo</strong>. Like WAR&rsquo;s &quot;Heartbeat,&quot; Spanish Grease is a slow cooker; a &ldquo;sway back and forth maybe a few cha cha steps&rdquo; tune.</p><p>&quot;Spanish Grease&quot; is from Willie&rsquo;s 1965 release <em>Uno, Dos, Tres 1.2.3.</em></p><p>Okay so there you go; some songs of summer that hopefully will allow you to have one of those lazy hazy crazy days&nbsp;between now and September 22nd.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 21 Jun 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-summer-songs-100257