Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Is In The Air...*sniff* Oh Wait...

Today is a special day for some of you. I won't delve into specifics for fear of some type of unjust persecution, but if you get it cool. If not, that's cool too.

I've selected some tunes for today's occasion that should make everyone happy because they're good no matter how you feel. If you're down, they'll bring you up, if you're up they will continue the trend upwards, or "higher" if you will.

First of course is Bob Marley. Those who cite his music as simply stoner-fare are doing a disservice to both the man and to themselves. His wisdom and ideals were pure and he strove everyday to make this world a better place.

The most famous example of this came when he was attacked and wounded in his home by unknown gunmen in 1976. He suffered minor injuries, but his wife and manager were seriously wounded. Two days later, he played as scheduled to a festival crowd of 80,000 people. When asked why, he famously responded, "the people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?

Perhaps his most genius line, and one of the greatest put on paper has to be this:

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds…"

I've chosen the optimism of "Three Little Birds" because in this troubling time, we can all use a little bit of positive thinking.

The other song is The Grateful Dead, taken from a live performance in 1988 in Hampton, VA.

Sugar Magnolia is without a doubt my favorite Dead song. I just don't think it's possible to listen to it and not feel incredibly happy. I remember the first time I heard this song and thinking, "Oh okay, I can see why people painted vans and rode around following these guys around everywhere they went."

This particular performance takes a bit to get going. The intro is the first few bars of a Miles Davis song called, "So What", a pretty classic song in it's own right. Apparently, Jerry Garcia actually did a number of acoustic jazz sessions that were later released following his death.

Anyway, this is a cool performance despite the crappy video quality. Hearing it is the important thing anyway.

Also, if you want to read some crazy stuff, check out Grateful Dead on wikipedia here. You should read all of it, but in particular check out the stuff towards the bottom about their sound system known as the "Wall Of Sound". They didn't use it for very long due to it's impracticality (it weighed 75 tons!) but holy Hell did it generate a lot of power. 26,400 watts. The sound quality was acceptable up to a quarter of a mile. There were separate channels for every instrument and even each of Phil Lesh's bass strings had it's own channel.

So enjoy the music, enjoy the day. Be safe and smart and may these tunes bring a little joy to your life.

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