Meaning of American Pie by Don McLean

From the Facebook Page of WRDW in Atlanta, GA:

“Although Don McLean only released the song in 1971, for those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s this is a great piece with some very poignant moments in the history of those times.  And for those of you who did not, it’s a taste of what you missed!  I had been told that “American Pie” was the name of the plane in which Buddy HollyRichie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed when it crashed in 1958 – and I knew the chorus about music dying on that day.  I have listened to American Pie for many years and I thought I understood what was being sung but now realize that I didn’t know it all!

However, when the words are put together with pictures and film clips the song takes on a new meaning.  It took a lot of thought to produce this and it brings back lots of memories and also makes the lyrics really come alive!”

Music to be Boomer By: The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year #1—The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Days of Abandon

days of abandonBy Henry Lipput

The first best thing I’ve heard this year is the third album by the Brooklyn-based band The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Back in 2010 I saw a concert listing for the band in the New York Times and thought “This looks like it’s the melancholy pop that I really like.”

And although the CD wasn’t all that melancholy, I loved it at first listen and it went right onto my mp3 player and into my Top Five list for that year. This first self-titled album was full of musical references I recognized and liked including My Bloody Valentine, The Smiths, and, more recently, Stars. The sound was a bit grungy but very poppy.

Two years later, the band released Belong. With a bigger, and in some ways a cleaner, sound they kept the pop and the music press seemed ready to anoint them to arena status. It was a big leap forward without losing any of the things that made me like them in the first place.

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Music to be Boomers By: Best of Both Worlds

new mendicantsBy Henry Lipput

Over the last 20 years or so two of my favorite groups have been Teenage Fanclub from Glasgow, Scotland, and Pernice Brothers from Boston. Last year, Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub and Joe Pernice of the Brothers (as well as a number of side projects) became residents of Toronto and joined forces with drummer Mike Belitsky to record as The New Mendicants

In what seemed to be a toe-in-the-water exercise, the Mendicants released an Australian tour EP last year (the Pernices did much the same in 2002 with semi-acoustic versions of songs from the pop fest that was their The World Won’t End album.)

Two songs from the EP, “Sarasota” and ‘High On The Skyline,” show up on the new album Into The Lime; the new versions are fully realized and show the growth of this new band. “Cruel Annette” starts out with lovely acoustic vocals and then morphs into a terrific pop song that would fit comfortably into the Rutles’ songbook (and I mean that with the highest possible praise). Joe and Norman trade vocals on that song and harmonize on the lovely title song.

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Music to Be Boomers By: Brotherly Love

everlyBy Henry Lipput

As 2014 began, on January 3rd to be exact, we lost Phil Everly, one half of one of the most celebrated vocal duos of our time.

The Everly Brothers were a hit-making team throughout the ‘50’s and the early ‘60’s. They were a huge influence on folks like Simon and Garfunkel as well as The Beatles. According to Lean In, the first volume of Mark Lewisohn’s landmark Beatles biography, one of the many new singles that the Fabs looked forward to finding were those by the Everlys. There can be little doubt that the sound of Don and Phil’s close harmonies led directly to those of John and Paul.

Not long before Phil’s death, in November of last year, a tribute to the Everlys was released. The new album, Foreverly, is a track-by-track recreation of the brothers’1958 Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. Surprising then, and certainly surprising now, the songs on that album were far from the sound of Everly hits like “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “Bye Bye Love.” Songs Our Daddy Taught Us is full of songs with a darker tone, songs about gamblers, cheatin’ hearts, and murdered lovers.

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A Last Hurrah

campbellBy Henry Lipput

One of the best — and yet, the saddest — musical treats of 2013 was Glen Campbell’s album See You There.

Why sad? In case you hadn‘t heard, See You There will be Campbell’s final album. In 2011 he announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease and would go on a Farewell Tour in support of the album Ghost On The Canvas. By all accounts the concerts were a tearful celebration of the man and his recording career — a recording career that included work with Phil Spector and the Beach Boys as well as singing great songs by Jimmy Webb and John Hartford. And oh, yeah, he had a very, very successful television show that ran from 1969 to 1972.

I had read that See You There was made up of leftovers from Campbell’s recording sessions for Ghost On The Canvas. I didn’t hear that album but something made me seek out the new disc.

Well, I have to tell you See You There sounds nothing like a collection of leftovers. Not only does Campbell sound really good — a little shaky sometimes but given his age (he’s 77) and medical condition that might be expected — and the CD is chock-full of his hits. That was something I did not expect.

See You There includes “Wichita Lineman,” “Gentle On My Mind,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Galveston,“ and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” On the first four of those songs Campbell sings as a man who has led a full life and fills the songs with his knowledge of that life, and “Rhinestone Cowboy” is less of a celebration than the original but is instead a melancholy look back. Other songs that are new to me such as “Postcards From Paris” and “What I Wouldn’t Give” are beautifully sung and played.

Glen Campbell has given us a lot of great music and See You There is a wonderful close to that career.

Henry Lipput is a writer living in the Pittsburgh, PA, area. He has written for a telefundraising company, defense contractors, and engineering companies. He has also written freelance articles on specialty advertising, health care, small businesses, and general interest topics for both national and local publications, including CD reviews for the late, lamented Pittsburgh Boomers.

Music To Be Boomers By: Yesterday and Today

NEW on airBy Henry Lipput

Last fall, nearly 50 years after the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show (an event that will be celebrated next month), both the Beatles and Paul McCartney have released new albums.

On Air — Live at the BBC Volume 2 is the second collection of BBC performances by the group and NEW is McCartney’s first album of all new material since 2007’s Memory Almost Full.

In the early 1960’s there were only three radio networks in England, all run by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). And, because of an agreement with that country’s Musician’s Union, there was to be a minimum of “needle time,” meaning that there were to be more live performances and less record playing.

One of the groups that took advantage of playing live in the studio was The Beatles. From their first appearance on Teenagers Turn in March of 1962 to their last in June 1965, they were on 52 different programs — including their own show Pop Go The Beatles — and performed 88 different songs many more than once.
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Music to Be Boomers By: What’s in a Name?

staceBy Henry Lipput

For 25 years the singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding has released albums overflowing with words about politics and love.  For his new album Self-Titled he’s gone back to his given name of Wesley Stace.  The name may have changed but the words continue to flow.

I didn’t really connect with JWH’s work until I heard the song “I’m Wrong About Everything” on the High Fidelity soundtrack. There was something about the song, and his 2000 album (The Confessions Of St. Ace [Stace — get it?!]) that I liked as soon as I heard it. The album also contained two other songs, “Same Piece Of Air” and “Old Girlfriends,” that seemed to also be songs he may have written for the movie and, together with “I’m Wrong About Everything,” made up a musical trilogy of sorts.

Speaking of “Old Girlfriends,” many of the songs on Stace’s new album are about old girlfriends — and the music that drew him to them and them to him.
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Music to be Boomers By: The Songbirds Say “Tweet”

Woodstock tweet4By Henry Lipput

“Support indie artists. If you like the music you hear, buy a track and help to support and keep these bands going.”

That’s a tweet sent by Dale Goodridge, from Melbourne, Australia, one of the musicians I’ve been following on Twitter.

With the meltdown and consolidation of the major record companies, musicians are finding new ways to get their music out to listeners.  One of these new streams is social media — Twitter, Facebook, websites, and Youtube videos.  Although they don’t have the numbers that songs on iTunes can generate, talented musicians can have thousands of people listening to a song they’ve written, performed, and recorded in a home studio that sounds as good as anything on the radio.

I’ve been following a number of musicians on Twitter since I started doing the tweet thing about a year ago — and I hope this will be the first in a series of columns on musicians that I think you’ll like and want to follow as well.
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Big Ernie


about_picWe recently came across Ernest (Big Ernie) who has an unbelievable musical background.

Check his site out at

Austin Texas is Coming to Lake Oconee on September 4th

Concert Details:

Lawn Concert
Wednesday, September 4th at 7:30 PM
The Backyard Garden at Historic Slade Hall
206 North Madison Avenue
Historic Downtown Eatonton
BYOB, BYOF, & BYOLC (“bring your own lawn chairs)

$10.00 per person at the door
Please call or email Rick Gould at 650-224-1878 or to guarantee admission, as there is limited capacity


Here are four samples of Warren’s music.  Warren wrote “This River,” Pear Blossom Highway,” and “Savannah.”  Warren’s Dad, the late, great Champ Hood, wrote “Last One to Know.”

“This River”

“Pear Blossom Highway”

“Last One to Know”


Warren with The Waybacks on Music City Roots at The Loveless Cafe barn in Nashville, TN in April of this year.

Screen Shot 2013-08-24 at 6.33.09 AM

Music to be Boomers By: Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story

Big Star - OV-61_Big_Star_Nothing_Can_Hurt_Me copyBy Henry Lipput

It’s been said that even though the Velvet Underground didn’t sell many records during the band’s lifespan, everyone who bought one of their records went out and started a band.

The same thing can be, and has been, said about Big Star, a Memphis-based band from the early 70’s.  Led by the creative team of Chris Bell and Alex Chilton (both on vocals and guitars) and backed up by Andy Hummel on bass and Jody Stephens on drums, Big Star recorded three albums before melting down.

And if you think you’ve never heard a song by Big Star or any of the band members, you are mistaken.  Alex Chilton was the teen-age lead vocalist for the Box Top’s smash hit “The Letter,” the theme song for That 70’s Show was a Big Star song (even though it was recorded by Cheap Trick), and the Bangles covered “September Gurls.”

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The Beatle Who Wanted To Tour

rockshowBy Henry Lipput

Despite his repeated efforts in the last years of the Beatles to get the group to perform live again (the initial idea behind the Let It Be project), the last time Paul McCartney performed in a live setting with a group in the 1960s was on the roof of the Beatles’ Apple office building on January 1969.  It would be another two years before he performed in a group again and another five after that before he would undertake a world tour.

After two solo albums (McCartney and Ram) McCartney put together a new group, Wings, and released the much-maligned Wild Life in 1971(always a contrarian, the second side contains four of my favorite McCartney songs).  In 1972, Wings filled two vans with the band, family members, and roadies for a University Tour.  According to an Uncut Magazine article from June 2007, “… Wings pull into a uni[versity] campus.  Their roadies ask the student’s union if they’d like a band to play. ‘No thanks.’ ‘It’s Paul McCartney.’ ‘Whaat?’”  It was a small start, but it was a start.

wingsWings then released three more albums (including their high-water mark Band On The Run) and, it seemed, it was time for a larger concert outing.  So Paul McCartney and Wings toured America in 1976, trading student union halls for places such as Seattle’s Kingdome, where a record 67,000 saw and heard a Beatle for the first time since the last Fab concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in August of 1966.
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Music to be Boomers By: Putting It All Together

ghost on ghostBy Henry Lipput

Gently strummed guitars, quiet acoustic accompaniment, and hushed vocals were the hallmark of Iron & Wine’s sound for their first few albums.  Led by Sam Beam, the band has moved on from the muted, Nick-Drake-English-folk of earlier releases like Our Endless Numbered Days in 2004 and the terrific Woman King EP from 2005 (in which the band began to introduce new instruments to Beam’s songs).

Beginning with In The Reins in 2005 and continuing with 2007’s The Shepherd’s Dog and 2011’s Kiss Each Other Clean, Beam added, among other instruments, horns and keyboards, giving his songs more of a full-band sound.  And even though Kiss Each Other Clean was one of my favorite albums of 2011, I still felt Beam had not yet made this musical chemistry kit work as well as it could.

With Ghost On Ghost, the new Iron & Wine album, Beam has finally put it all together.  Not only has he been able to merge the lovely sound of his early work with his new direction, it’s unlikely you will hear more gorgeous tunes this summer — tunes that will no doubt remind you of the wonderful heyday of singer-songwriters in the early ‘70s.

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Music to Be Boomers By: Mister Melody

ron sexsmith - forever endeavourBy Henry Lipput

At the risk of repeating myself, I wrote the following in a blog post in early 2012 about Ron Sexsmith’s Long Player Late Bloomer album (the disc was my favorite album released in 2011)

“I continually ask myself “How does he do it? How does Ron Sexsmith keep coming up with such great melodies album after album?” Who does he think he is — Paul McCartney? Whatever the answer, he’s done it again and released what may be his best album since 2002’s Cobblestone Runway (his self-released debut came out in 1991 and I certainly don’t mean to downplay the bumbercrop of tunes that were included in the albums that came out along the way to the new disc). In a documentary filmed during the making of the new album, Elvis Costello, an early champion of Sexsmith’s work, remarked that Ron was a man out of time.  EC believes that Sexsmith is a throwback to the tunesmiths of the late 60’s and early 70s — not because of anything nostalgic or old school about Ron’s work — but because how good those singer-songwriters were (yes, Virginia, back in those days many, many singers wrote their own songs and played their own instruments) and Ron fits into that group.”

Well Ron has done it again.  His new album, Forever Endeavour, is again filled with tunes that stick in your head like gum on your shoe (but in a good way).  The new album has a softer sound from Long Player Late Bloomer and harks back to the sound of Sexsmith’s first three major-label albums.  Like those albums, the new album was produced by Mitch Froom.  Froom has also produced, along with other singers and groups, Crowded House and had a tendency to add keyboards to a group’s mix even if none of the band members played keyboards.  The best (?) example is “Manic Monday” by The Bangles — the recording is filled with keyboards but not by a single Bangle.

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For All Billy Joel Fans

Billy Joel sing “New York State Of Mind” with Vanderbilt University student Michael Pollack, filmed during “An Evening of Questions and Answers and a Little Bit of Music” at the university in January 2013.