Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

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Obituaries, Books

Dennis Brown - Reggae crooner extraordinaire

Reggae artists seem to have a knack for taking well-known pop songs, transforming them with reggae’s distinctive, loping rhythm—what Bob Marley called “the one drop”—and creating new, sure-fire hits for themselves. Think of Toots and the Maytals’ reggae-fied remake of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Peter Tosh’s Rasta variation on Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” or UB40’s version of Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” Reggae crooner Dennis Brown is no exception. Brown’s two current albums, Victory is Mine (on RAS Records) and Over Proof (Shanachie), each takes a North American hit and puts an unmistakable Jamaican spin on it. The former features a bubbly versi...
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  40 Hits

Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

He has been called the godfather of rap, but Gil Scott-Heron steadfastly refuses to bask in any hip-hop glory. It isn’t that the writer of such classics as “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” doesn’t see any relationship between his jazz-poetry and today’s rap music. Nor is it that the 44-year-old artist isn’t flattered by all the attention from the hip-hop generation. It’s just that Scott-Heron—who performs at the Phoenix Concert Theatre with local rappers Nu Black Nation opening—wants people to make other connections. With his music, for one thing. “I was a pianist before I was a poet,” says Scott-Heron, “and music is as much a part of what I do as poetry. “Rappers seem to be more rhyth...
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  37 Hits

Sheila Chandra - Drone Sweet Drone

One of the most beguiling albums of the summer of 1994 is Sheila Chandra's The Zen Kiss (Real World/Virgin). Like Chandra’s previous Weaving My Ancestors' Voices, it's a recording of solo voice with simple drone-note accompaniment. But the songs are so rich and the vocal techniques so entrancing that the album comes across as a deep, full-bodied work. The Zen Kiss draws on influences as diverse as Islamic, Andalusian, Bulgarian and Celtic musics. And, of course, being of East Indian heritage, Chandra also employs ragas and classical Indian musical ornamentations—always anchored by the incessant drone. As she writes in the liner notes: "The concept of drone has been important in bringing thes...
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  31 Hits