Calypso Is All But Dead in Trinidad

images (21)Sometime ago, I got my hands on this CD – ‘Calypso Awakening’ from the Emery Cook Collection. I strongly suggest everyone get a copy of this. If you would like to hear real, authentic Calypso, then this is a must have in your CD collection.

When you (my fellow Trini), hear the songs on this recording, you will hear for yourself what I am talking about.

The level of skill, wit, talent, banter on each of these songs delivered by The Mighty Sparrow, Lord Melody, Small Island Pride, Commander, Wrangler, King Fighter and the John Buddy Williams Band are beyond contest.

It’s absolutely brilliant.

The lyrical content has you thinking, the melody and harmony lines have you singing and the beat will have you chipping and bouncing in your seat. The song arrangements are timeless and precise.

It’s a great record.

What’s so special about this recording? Well, for one, many of the performances are ‘Live’. And the studio-recorded songs have a thick, fat feel to them. They sound alive and true. You can tell that every instrument is really being played. It’s not a ‘sample’.

Contrast that to

Acoustic Guitar Buying Tips For First-Timers

images (19)If you’re learning how to play an acoustic guitar, experts recommend that you to sign up for some formal lessons to gain mastery of this musical instrument. And to have an easier and faster time of being an expert in guitar playing, it would be advisable to have your own acoustic guitar.

Buying an acoustic guitar for the first time will require some time and effort from your part. After all, if you want to be owner of a good quality guitar that will allow you to practice and hone your skills, you can’t afford to buy just any acoustic guitar that you see in a music or online shop. If you are too hasty with the whole guitar shopping venture, you’ll just waste valuable money and time since you may end up having a poor-sounding and low quality musical instrument that will be broken in just a matter of months.

If it’s your first time to buy an acoustic guitar, below are some handy tips you should keep in mind:

Be on the lookout for any dents, cracks, nicks, and bridge separation.

Whether you are buying

The Basic Tricks When Learning the Piano

images (20)When you are learning the piano for the first time, it may seem a little hard to understand all the terminology. From scales to chords, it may seem almost overwhelming since most people just need to know some basic stuff and they’ll be playing piano in no time.

However, there are some tricks when learning the piano that can help you:

* Learn your music theory:

I’m sure you weren’t expecting this one. Learning theory when you just want to sit on the bench in front of the piano and start playing? Well, only by understanding some of the theory you will be able to evolve and become a better pianist. You don’t have to dig it all in, but knowing some of the theory will help you play any music you want.

* Listen to a lot of piano music:

When you are learning the piano, you have to train different things. You train your eyes to read, you train each one of your hands to play the piano, but you also need to train your ear. You need to be able to identify the notes that

Solo Artists Who Were Better With Their Bands Than On Their Own

download (36)Steely Dan is on tour this summer, which provides a pleasant nostalgic trip for Baby Boomers. Unlike tours Walter Becker and Donald Fagen have done in recent years, when they only performed cuts from one particular album per show, this concert will feature songs from all of their albums.

Fortunately, the show excluded most of the solo work the pair have recorded. While some of their individual records have quality tunes on them, none of them can match what Becker and Fagen were able to do with Steely Dan.

Fagen, whose voice is heard on most Steely Dan hits like “Deacon Blues”, “Do It Again,” and “Reelin’ in the Years,” did have some chart success with his first solo disc, The Nightfly. “New Frontier” became a hit single with a boost from a memorable video set in a bomb shelter. His follow up records went virtually unnoticed, culminating with his most recent Sunken Condos from 2012.

Fagen is not alone in his inability to make his solo work trump the stuff he did with his band. Here are five other well-known artists with at least three

Can Soca Be Called Music?

images (18)I know this may sound very harsh, especially as I am a trini, but can Soca really be called music?

It is indigenous to these shores, and it is a derivative of Calypso, and I know many people would disagree with me, but how can modern Soca – with its super fast paced (studio produced) beat and music (in fact, are there any live instrumentation in this ‘artform’?), repetitive, narrow-minded party lyrics and constant screaming (not singing) of a ‘melody line’ (if one can even call it a melody to begin with) be called music?

In fact, may ‘Soca Artistes rip-off songs from other popular groups/singers from around the world. And many a song for the Annual Carnival season all share the same beat and musical key. Almost as if it was a ‘Buy one, get 4 songs added on, all for the low price of… ‘

But I guess just like how there are a few Jamaicans who would say ‘Dancehall’ is an abomination to ‘Reggae’, I would like to state that Soca music is an abomination, an insult to what it came from –

Artists With Weird Names For Their Songwriting Publishing Companies

download (35)Reading about Led Zeppelin the past few weeks has spurred a lot of memories I have of listening the band back in the seventies. Each album they released back then was a huge event, especially the double album Physical Graffiti. That particular release spent nearly half a year in the number one spot in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top Ten list, a remarkable accomplishment considering the many other classics that were released that year.

I did, however, discover a fact I had never known, in spite of having listened to Zeppelin for almost fifty years. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page from the beginning of their partnership called their songwriting company Superhype Publishing, Inc. The unique name kind of fits the band’s early days as an energetic rock act.

Here are ten other artists who have unusual but somehow fitting names for their songwriting publishing companies.

Eel Pie Music – Pete Townshend

Probably the least appetizing name, it is not out of character for a guy who with the Who once titled an album Eaty, Meaty, Big, and Bouncy.

Big Ears Music – John Prine

The influential folk songwriter makes more

3 Mistakes You Must Avoid When You Learn To Play Scales On Guitar

download (34)You probably already know that scales are important for your guitar playing, but very few guitar players know how to practice scales correctly. This makes it hard to improvise guitar solos and limits how good of a guitarist you become.

Here are 3 big mistakes you must avoid when you practice scales on guitar:

Mistake #1. Learning Without Application

Learning more scales doesn’t make you a better guitar player – applying the scales you know on a deeper level does.

When you learn any new scale, learn how to improvise with it and become familiar with its sound. Listen to guitar players who use this scale, create your own guitar licks with it and learn how this scale is applied in songs you love. When you feel confident enough with a scale to use it in improvising, you have mastered it on a deep enough level to learn another scale if you wish.

Note: this does NOT mean you must only practice one scale for years… just don’t overwhelm yourself with dozens of scales you never learn how to use.

Mistake #2: Learning Scales In 1-2 Positions On Guitar


Ten Songs You Do Not Want To Hear On the Day Of Your Wedding

download (33)I was on my way to the wedding, not mine, thank goodness. Nevertheless, the person was very special to me, someone I have known for his entire life.

In spite of all the statistics that half of all marriages end in divorce, I believe this one can beat the odds. Both are college graduates, and both have careers with salaries and benefits.

Nevertheless, I was a little worried by a song I heard on the oldies station during the drive to the wedding venue. I tired not to see it as an omen when Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” began playing with John Deacon’s discomforting bass intro.

For the rest of the trip I kept listening for more ominous songs, even though I would be powerless to stop the proceeding regardless. Fortunately, none of the other tunes seemed to portend a bad ending for this upcoming union.

Here are ten songs that a couple would not want to hear on the day of their wedding.

Let’s Call It Off by Peter, Bjorn, and John

This tune from the Swedish power pop trio is just one of the gems

Learn to Play Piano in 10 Minutes

download (32)There are many people who always wanted to learn to play piano since they were kids. In fact, 8 out of 10 people wanted to have learned to play the piano when they were young. While some kids even had piano classes, others didn’t. So, if you’re one of this people, what’s holding you back?

It will only take you 10 minutes to learn to play the piano. Here’s all you need to do:

* Step 1: Getting Ready:

– Sit at the piano and rest your fingers on the keyboard. You need to watch out for your elbows. They should be slightly bent, so make sure you adjust your bench properly.

– Sit right in the center of the bench with the keyboard in front of you.

– Move a bit to the front edge of the bench and put your weight forward and your back straight.

– Rest your feet on the floor.

– While maintaining a good posture, make sure you are comfortable.

– Move your hands above the keyboard and allow your finger to touch the center of the white keys. You shouldn’t rest your palms anywhere.

Dancing With Songs From Ten Stars

download (31)For once, the problem was not my math deficiency. There really are just eleven years between 2005 and 2016.

The situation occurred when my daughter mentioned that I might want to watch Dancing With The Stars for the first time in my life this year. One of my favorite celebrities, who I am sure she thought had been a figment of my imagination, was scheduled to participate.

She said that Tommy Chong was one of the participants slated for the upcoming season, which did surprise me. I could not envision one half of the comedy duo I worshipped in my youth taking the stage on a show with such a format.

What surprised me even more, though, was when my daughter mentioned that Chong would be on season 23 of the show. I could not believe Dancing With The Stars had been on the air since before the turn of the century.

A quick check of Google proved me right, for the series actually started in 2005. However, my daughter was also right, in that the upcoming version of Dancing With The Stars was certainly being referred

Inspirational Female Singers That I Love

download (30)As a touring inspirational singer, I meet a lot of amazing musicians and singers. I really do love female singers probably because I have a lot in common with them. That’s not to say that male singers are not incredible, I will just focus on the female singer for today’s article. These are all singers that I have met at one time in my life.

One of my favorite inspirational singers is Jennifer Russell. Jennifer combines the high mysticism of Mother Mary and numerous other ascended masters and angels with the soft sounds of piano. She plays piano in a very beautiful way. Of course her CDs are layered with bass, guitars, string instruments, drums and angelic voices. The result is songs that make your soul sing. She has an abundance of releases- ‘Lie down in that grass’ (one of my favorites), ‘One with the One’ (another favorite), ‘There is Only Light’, and so many more. A lot of her songs will draw the listener right into a meditational bliss. I often listen to her music while driving long distances. Her vision has to

The 4 Essential Pieces of Gear

download (29)The amazing thing about all the advances in technology in recent times means that anyone with access to a computer (Mac or PC), and a pair of headphones or decent studio monitors can make outstanding electronic music with minimal financial outlay or a requirement for significant physical studio space. Read on for the 4 essential pieces of gear and learn how to start producing music in no time.

As far as preferences go, some music producers prefer to fork out and invest big into outboard gear or hardware (including synths and effects processors),or on the other end of the spectrum, you see people making amazing music with software only (soft synths etc.). There’s even a hybrid approach where you see a combination of hardware and software living and interacting side by side.

After years of making electronic music, and reading, testing and reviewing various pieces of gear both in the home studio and in a live environment, I can say that the following 4 items are the ‘essentials’ when considering an entry point into the world of producing digital music:

1. Laptop: preferably with the latest

How To Find The Best Songs

images (17)If you clicked on this article that means you are curious about where to find the best music or you just did it by accident. Oh well, you are here now so you might as well stay right? Great, because you’re about to find out how to find the best songs. What I mean by best songs is personal to me and it will be different for you as well. You have had a different life than I, and we may also hear things a bit differently. A bad song to one person could be someone else’s favorite song. The best songs for me may not be the best songs for you, but that is what makes music so great! Now that you see the surface I am going to give you a few steps you can take that could help you find the best songs out there.

The first step you can try is changing your radio station or playlist that you listen too. If you listen to the same set of songs from the same genre all the time you are definitely

The Eight Best Episodes of Live At Daryl’s House

download (28)One of the must see television shows for music fans of all generations is Live At Darryl’s House, which airs every Thursday night on VH-1 Classic and Palladia. It is hosted by pop rock veteran Darryl Hall, who wrote and sang most of the famous hits by the group Hall and Oates.

Some of his finest singles include “She’s Gone”, “Rich Girl”, “Sara Smile”, “Kiss On My List” and “I Can’t Go For That.” Hall performs some of the above on his current series, but the focus of each episode is on the music of his guest of the week.

He chooses artists from every genre of rock to invite to his home, where they collaborate on a half dozen songs. Hall also treats his guests to a home-cooked meal, which they all partake with conversation around his dining room table.

The series has been airing for almost a decade, during which time some great musicians and bands have stopped by to jam with him. Here are the eight best guests who have appeared on Live At Darryl’s House.

8. Joe Walsh

Not only is he a member

How Directional Picking Makes Playing Guitar Fast Much Easier

download (27)Using efficient picking technique is the key to making fast guitar playing feel easy. Directional picking removes a lot of the struggle to play guitar fast. How? The picking motions used with this technique are smaller and quicker – giving you more speed with less effort.

Main Question: “Tom Hess, doesn’t directional picking only work if I am using 3-note-per-string scales? What about scales that only use 2 notes on a string… 4 notes, etc.?”

Answer: Directional picking technique will work in all cases. The main principle of directional picking is to use the shortest route from one note to the next. Occasionally this means using alternate picking. Sometimes, this means to only use sweep picking and NOT use alternate picking. By combining both mechanics together, you will achieve the fastest speed possible with the least amount of effort.

The core principle of strict alternate picking is to alternate pick regardless of the context… even if it means picking in a very inefficient manner. This causes you to put out MORE effort to achieve less speed.

To master directional picking, you need to integrate sweep picking and

Black Sabbath

images (16)Where Led Zeppelin barely escaped the label, Black Sabbath were the very emblem of heavy metal. Their riffs were heavy, their drums were heavy, their lyrics were heavy and their album work was heavy. A blurred image of pink sword welding soldiers had never graced the covers of Herman’s Hermits, nor would bassist Geezer Butler nor frontman Ozzy Osbourne have associated themselves with faded buoyant pop. Black Sabbath meant business, attacking the Vietnamese War, insensate parts of British society and the ill-fated seductiveness of heroin addiction on only their second record; it, however, defined their career, Osbourne led or otherwise.

Guitarist Tony Iommi, primary composer for the band, varied his playing from hard-hitting power chords (‘Hand of Doom’ sounds ominous musically alone) to playful jazz stylings on ‘Planet Caravan’. The best musician in the band, Iommi oversaw the band’s musical contributions, while Geezer Butler, with Osbourne’s complete blessing, wrote the lion’s share of the lyrics. Together, they wrote the album’s title track and most fondly remembered in song in a short period, an afterthought to complete the album (Butler wrote the lyrics while Iommi

How The Brick & Mortar Record Store Saved My Life

images (15)Like many of you out there I grew up in the 80’s, a child of the Reagan years, trickle down economics preppie movie villains, and pop culture ephemera. We weren’t poor by any stretch of the imagination, but we definitely weren’t what you would consider well off. I came of age in a predominantly black working class neighborhood where it wasn’t uncommon to hear gunshots ringing out in the evening alongside the sounds of children playing. The 1980’s, for those of you to young to remember, were a time of great change and advances in technology. We didn’t quite have cellphones down yet and the video game industry was just ramping up. Home recording of movies had just become a thing and much like the music industry reacted to the advent of the cassette tape recorder, the movie industry freaked out a bit. I remember my father buying our first VCR and I can still vividly recall the day he brought home The Empire Strikes Back on VHS. But the one thing that always brought us together as a family was our collective

Importance Of Music Education In School

download (26)Music has been an essential part of almost every culture. In fact when we talk of any culture, music is one of the things that distinguishes each community and society from each other. So, undoubtedly, music is what makes every culture even richer. And what would be a better way to teach your children about different cultures? It is not only about learning cultures, it is about developing an attitude, cognition, and maintaining the emotional and psychological balance through music. There are many studies that have proven how beneficial music could be in the overall development of kids. Many parents and schools believe that learning music is fruitless, but some studies have shown the direct connection between learning music and better academic performance. According to experts, students who were exposed to music lessons in childhood are more likely to score higher in math, languages, and science. It is because music contains all of the aforementioned factors. To know how music impacts the emotional and psychological development of your child, read further.

Personal and Emotional Development through music:

You might have spent more than half of

Traveling Through the Radio For a Horse With a Name

images (14)A local radio station that plays oldies served up a three spin by the group America, a logical choice given that it was Independence Day. Little did I know that I was very soon to hear one of those three songs just a few hours later, only it was to be on the television instead of the radio.

I had just settled into enjoying a rerun of The Simpsons, an episode called “The Haw-Hawed Couple.” At the point in the show when Marge and her husband are having an argument, Homer turns the radio on so that the kids will not hear them.

The song that comes on is “A Horse with No Name,” one of the trio of tunes by America I had heard on the radio earlier that day. I halfway expected Homer to make a reference to the song, perhaps make a crack about its not having a name. No comment was forthcoming from the father of Bart, Lisa and Maggie, but the incident did leave me guessing at what the horse’s name probably was in real life.

Seven other popular songs about

Musical Impact on Culture

download (25)I love music. There is so much beauty and culture to be found in varying genres of music. Of course, we all have different tastes. I personally am quite partial to what is commonly known as “Indie” music. Artists like Lighthouse and the Whaler, Young the Giant, and Chet Faker dominate a large portion of my car time. I have friends who are more partial to country music, favoring relatable lyrics and catchy melodies. My own brother enjoys the incredibly rhythmic properties of rap and hip-hop. Even within these categories, there are thousands of sub-categories with tens of thousands of artists all with varying degrees of fandom. These fans swear by their taste in music and often belittle those who like anything else. Why is that?

I had a friend in high school who grew up in a very musical family. His mother and sister are both very talented singers and his father composed and recorded music for years. He played in concert band for much of his schooling and is an insanely good drummer. He has a rich background in music, but would