Five For Friday: Nathan East (One Guy, Multiple Acts)

I was wondering who to cover today for Five For Friday, and one name kept coming to mind: bassist Nathan East. He’s probably worked with more acts than anyone, everyone from Barry White to Eric Clapton and more. He’s a permanent member of the smooth-jazz group Fourplay, and has even done some solo work. The following is merely a taste, a soupçon if you will, of the work he’s done.

  1. Love Unlimited Orchestra, "Love’s Theme": I was surprised to learn that East had worked with Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra as early as 1971, because he’s only a couple of months older than I, making him no older than 16. Anyway, "Love’s Theme" was released in 1973 and reached #1 on the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart in the US, #1 in Canada, an d #10 in the UK.
  2. Kenny Loggins, "Footloose": From Kenny’s 1985 appearance at Live Aid. You can see him on the right side of the stage here, having a great time.
  3. Eric Clapton, "Old Love": East was working with Eric Clapton at the time Slowhand did MTV Unplugged in 1986. Again, you can see him on the right side of the set playing the acoustic guitar bass. At another point in the concert, when they play Jesse Fuller’s "San Francisco Bay Blues," Nathan can also be heard on kazoo.
  4. Fourplay, "Between The Sheets": In addition to being a much-in-demand bassist, Nathan has some pretty serious vocal chops, as heard here. "Between The Sheets" was the title track from Fourplay’s second album from 1993. He’s joined on the lead vocal by the beautiful Chaka Khan, while Phillip Bailey and Phil Perry sing backup. The rest of Fourplay are Lee Ritenour on guitar, Bob James on keyboards, and Harvey Mason on drums.
  5. Lari Basilio, "Not Alone": Those of you who follow here probably know that Lari Basilio is one of my favorite contemporary guitarists. On her most recent album, 2019’s Far More, she’s backed by East, Greg Philinganes on keyboards, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums.

Nathan East, your Five For Friday, January 22, 2021.

Five For Friday: Jack Bruce (One Guy, Multiple Acts)

Bassist, harmonicist, and singer Jack Bruce is probably best known for his work with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker as a member of Cream, but he had a number of projects in his career besides. Let’s have a look.

  1. Graham Bond Organisation, "Harmonica": Bruce joined the Graham Bond organisation in 1964 and played with them until 1965. It was where he first met Ginger Baker. Bruce is seen here on the harmonica as well as bass and Baker is playing drums, with Bond on the organ and Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophone.
  2. John Mayall’s Bluesbreaker, "Stormy Monday Blues": Jack moved on to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where he met Eric Clapton. "Stormy Monday Blues" is a classic by T-Bone Walker that was done live in 1966.
  3. Cream, "Crossroads": Arguably the most successful musical endeavor he was involved with, Cream was together from 1966 to 1968 and recorded four studio albums. "Crossroads" is a Robert Johnson song and appeared on the band’s 1968 album Wheels of Fire*.
  4. West, Bruce & Laing, "Why Dontcha": Bruce started a solo career after Cream;’s demise, and soon fell in with Leslie West and Corky Laing of Mountain, forming the power trio West, Bruce & Laing, who recorded three albums from 1972 to 1974. "Why Dontcha" is the title track from their 1972 debut album.
  5. B. L. T., "Life On Earth": B. L. T. was a project between Bruce, Robin Trower (formerly of Procol Harum) and Bill Lordan (formerly of Sly & The Family Stone, The Robin Trower Band, and Gypsy). "Life on Earth" is a Bruce composition.

Jack Bruce, youe Five For Friday, January 15, 2021.

Five For Friday: Jimmy Page (One Guy, Multiple Acts)

So many things going on… anyway, we’re back. Today’s subject: guitar superhero Jimmy Page.

  1. The Yardbirds, "Ten Little Indians": Jimmy was already a seasoned session guitarist when he joined the Yardbirds in 1966. "Ten Little Indians" was released in 1967 and Jimmy hated it. It only reached #96.
  2. Led Zeppelin, "Going To California": The Yardbirds split up in 1968, but still had some dates to play in Scandinavia, so Page was authorized to form The New Yardbirds with Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones. They continued to use the name until they received a cease-and-desist letter. Page had once envisioned starting a band with Jeff Beck and John Entwhistle and Keith Moon of The Who, but was told that would go over "like a lead balloon"; with a few minor changes, Led Zeppelin was born. "Going To California" is from their fourth album (which was never formally named), released in late 1971.
  3. The Honeydrippers, "Sea Of Love": After the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, Robert Plant had the idea of forming a band that would have a heavy rhythm & blues influence, which became The Honeydrippers. Both Page and Jeff Beck were members when they recorded their 1984 EP, The Honeydrippers: Volume One, and Page played on the only single they released, a cover of Phil Phillips’s song "Sea Of Love." The song reached #3 on the Hot 100.
  4. The Firm, "Radioactive": Page formed The Firm with Paul Rodgers (formerly of Free and Bad Company), drummer Chris Slade and bassist Tony Franklin. "Radioactive" was released in 1985, and it reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart that year.
  5. Page & Plant, "Most High": Page and Robert Plant got together in the mid-1990’s, recorded a couple of albums and did a couple of tours. "Most High" is from their second album, 1998’s Walking Into Clarksale. It reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and Page & Plant received a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1999.

Jimmy Page, your Five For Friday, January 8, 2021.

Xmas Music Xtravaganza!

We’ll go back to the Five For Friday format next week. Today I’d like to share some more traditional Christmas music for the holiday. Merry Christmas!

Comments where appropriate…

  1. O Come, All Ye Faithful From Midnight Mass at Westminster Abbey. Sometimes the High Church Anglicans can out-Catholic the Catholics…
  2. Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella The Mormon Tabernacle Choir with a traditional French carol.
  3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing From St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The boy sopranos seem to be having a very fun time.
  4. Gloria! Martin Buchholz, who posted the video, wrote new lyrics for the hymn "Angels We Have Heard On High" and members of Berliner Stadtmission staged a flash mob at a Berlin department store in 2014. The girl at 4:30 looks as though she’s mortified that her parents are clapping their hands…
  5. Joy To The World Celtic Woman, Live at the Helix, Dublin, 2013.
  6. Little Drummer Boy (African Tribal Edition) Alex Boyé featuring the Genesis Choir, bringing some happiness to a family down on their luck. Alex has an interesting challenge at the end of the video.
  7. Carol of the Bells (For 12 Cellos) The Piano Guys share their arrangement for "Carol of the Bells."
  8. Mary, Did You Know? Pentatonix is one of my favorite vocal groups, particularly for Christmas music. Their version of this song is my favorite.
  9. What Child Is This? Solo violinist Lindsey Sterling plays this wonderful carol as the flurries fly around her.
  10. The Wexford Carol Alison Krauss provides the vocal, Yo-Yo Ma accompanies her on the cello.
  11. Patapan Also spelled "Pat-A-Pan," a French Burgundian carol. This is an instrumental version; the lyrics are here in Burgundian, French, and English, if you’d like to sing along…
  12. The Boar’s Head Carol The Randolph Singers were a five-voice madrigal group. The lyrics are included in the video; it’s a macaronic (lyrics in Latin and English) song from 15th century England, sung after a boar had been sacrificed and its head cooked.
  13. Adeste, Fideles, The Spirit of Christmas Past, Oíche Chiúin Irish chanteuse Enya, in a performance from 2016. Also a brief interview.
  14. O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus By The Petersens, a family bluegrass group from Branson, Mo.
  15. Riu Chiu A Spanish villancico, a popular song form in Spain and Portugal in the 15th through 18th centuries. The Monkees weren’t thought of as serious musicians at first. Performances like this showed that they were…
  16. Ding Dong Merrily On High and Some Children See Him The lovely Julie Andrews, performing live in Washington, DC in 1992.
  17. Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring and Joy To The World A 2013 flash mob staged at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC in 2013, featuring The US Air Force Band and the Air Force "Singing Sergeants." These are some very senior NCO’s: the lowest rank I saw was Technical Sergeant (E-6).
  18. Coventry Carol Pentatonix again with a traditional English carol.
  19. The First Noël Beautifully done by Lady Antebellum.
  20. O Holy Night The Choir of King’s College, part of the University of Cambridge, done as part of the 2017 "Carols From King’s."
  21. Stille Nacht and French carol I’m still a big fan of the 1965-71 sitcom Hogan’s Heroes and thought this was interesting: Werner Klemperer and John Banner, who played Kommandant Klink and Sergeant Schultz, singing Franz Gruber’s "Silent Night" in the original language, and Robert Clary, who played Cpl. Louis LeBeau, singing a French carol. What I found interesting was that the three of them were Jewish: Klemperer and Banner escaped Germany and Austria (respectively) before World War II and Clary was imprisoned at Buchenwald during the war…

Merry Christmas!