Monday, 28 February 2011

Mental Processes.

Hey Buddy....hey You!

We are all different, the same make but different models. We all see life differently and we all react to situations differently and think differently and we are all.....different. To produce art must feel different for everyone, with different mental processes working as ideas mix and one lights up in your mind. To me a painting takes on a life of it’s own and although my brush strokes are painting it, I seem to have little say in the finished product. I start with an idea but this idea can change drastically. I can guide it back but off it goes again.

There is nothing high-brow or la-dee-da about this statement, it is the truth I say. Art is a living thing. The strangely artistic part of the human brain is let loose when the freedom of art is released. Contortions and twisted mental processes formulate as art is formed....

Illusion, confusion....which way do I turn?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Love and Passion.

At the Rum Bar in Vegas....the passion of true friendship.

Life is so desperately short, blink and its over! You must notice all things and taste all things. Feel all emotions, feel the warmth and cold, see the sun and feel the rain. Never be bland and non committal! Get involved in life and know that you’re getting involved and blame no one else for your own actions. Fill your life with fire and deep, deep love! Cos when it’s’s gone!
I love taste and love food with a blinding passion. Homemade pizza, pasta, curry, chilli or just beans on toast. Passion in love, passion in music, passion in clothes and passion in all of life.

I’m hungry.....something Mexican maybe.....mmmmm mmmmmm......sure...

Our version of the high quality Mexican breakfast  Huevos Rancheros.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Hallucinations and Lunacy

As the day drifts into evening time on a Friday, I do so like to partake of the Absinthe elixir, in the correct way of course. Pour freezing  water into a glass and balance a special, silver absinthe spoon across the glass and place a lump of sugar on it, you pour the absinthe over the sugar then light it, the flames burn the alcohol and melts the sugar into the glass, and voila....pure and nourishing Absinthe.....
Absinthe in fact originated in Switzerland but the artists and writers of bohemian culture in Paris took to this liquor and it is said to have lead to hallucinations which eventually ended in lunacy because of the way it was produced then.  This spirit is derived from the flowers and leaves of herbs to which green anise and fennel is added.  For this reason Absinthe is also known as ‘la fée verte’ which translates to the Green Fairy’. Artists and writers who drank Absinthe included Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Toulouse Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh, Aleister  Crowley  and Alfred Jarry.

Absinthe was thought of as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and it was banned in most of Europe and in the America’s. But Absinthe is now produced differently and it’s now a clean and a healthy alcohol, in fact I would say it is now good for you!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Birth of Soul Music

The birth of any music is a slow business with signs of the birth of said music appearing gradually and in stages. No new form of music just appears, as if by magic. The road that Soul music took in its delivery to a fully formed style of music was long and winding. The great James Brown didn’t invent Soul music in the early 1960s any more than Elvis Presley invented Rock ‘n’ Roll in the mid-fifties.
Soul as a music is a combination of Rhythm ‘n’ Blues and Gospel Music performed by African-Americans at some point in the 1950’s. Hand clapping and voodoo like dancing enhanced the catchy rhythms of Soul.

We begin this story right back in the 1930s….there stands a gal in front of a big band, the big band of Lucky Millinder. It is the Swing era and this band really Swings! And that gal was Sister Rosetta Tharpe whose delivery of words and phrasing is Gospel music certainly but you can hear far more. Why….you can plainly hear from the heart Soul inflections! Like most music the music of the Sister is many things, Swing, Gospel and the black birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll. But this girl was truly ‘The original Soul Sister’ too!

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
By the 1950s Soul music was truly recognisable as....Soul music. Artists who performed the first Soul music included the stupendous Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter, Ray Charles and the superb Jackie Wilson. Some of these artists where Rhythm ‘n’ Blues like Ray Charles but Soul phrasing and vocal tone was also present. In the 50s Jackie Wilson sang in a totally R&b style but Soul was also in his voice, big time!

Jackie Wilson.....

Ooooooh Ma Soul!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Art or Art?

No good art and no bad art exists...only art. For a person to put emotion and thought into producing a thing to gaze at and to interest others is art. I love all art everything from simply sketching to adding water based paint. Abstract art, Expressionism, Impressionism, Modern art, Pop art, Postimpressionism, Realism and Surrealism.

The art of Salvador Dali knocks me out along with the great Pablo Picasso. The Art Deco style paintings of Tamara de Lempicka drive me crazy and the Russian artist Kandinsky sends me so high up into the sky and out into space and beyond. But I sincerely love the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo both her art and her as a living, breathing person.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Art, Design, Music and Stuff....

Maybe you see art as just a beautiful and intricate painting, that is your business and nothing to do with me, or anyone else. But art is many things all around us! A barber is an artist and a seamstress, a surgeon, a mechanic and photographer. To paint a door plain white but put thought and emotion into it is art! Love is art is art.

Design is art and design is everywhere! Design moulded your cooker, radio, clothes, sweet wrappers, sun glasses, wine bottle, hats, shirt collars, picture frames, shoes, wallpaper, chairs and so much more! Art and Design are as important as important can be!
Music is art and music is passion and this passion puts music way up high in importance! For passion is emotion and character and very very human. Music can make you laugh like an idiot or cry like a fool! It has great power and a particular song can take you right back to a certain time and place! I love Mambo, old Jazz, Swing, Hillbilly and everything Rock ‘n’ Roll! Music tears at my heart and spits it right out again! If a certain music doesn’t do these things, I do not bother with it for life is passion!
Clothes are passion too! How you look is s-o important and if you look good, you feel good! Character, design, passion and stuff.....

Gotta and I’m gone!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Skeets McDonald

Just after the 2nd World War white folks invented their first form of Rock ‘n’ Roll known as Country Boogie, or a more degrading name would be Hillbilly Boogie. Hillbilly Boogie music was almost always based upon a Boogie Woogie feel, with a repeating of musical phrase overlaid say by a Shuffle Rhythm and yet more rhythm supplied by a double bass, guitar and maybe a Lap Steel, yet more instruments could enhance this fine music; a fiddle, mandolin, banjo, Dobro and harmonica. Add a lazy and laid back Cowboy time and motion to this music and see here….we got…..Hillbilly Boogie!

Skeets McDonald.

W-e-l-l……a Heart Breakin’ Mama…..

One name stands out so proudly in the progression from Hillbilly Boogie music to out and out Rock ‘n’ Roll music…. that name is Skeets McDonald. It’s well documented that back in the 1930s and 40’s Western Swing music gave way to Country Boogie which gave way to Rockabilly, in the mid-fifties.

But see here; there is little mention in books on the subject of the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll of artist’s such as Skeets McDonald He’s an artist who’s recordings are alive with passion and true Rock ‘n’ Roll phrase delivery and attitude!

Enos William McDonald was born in Arkansas State come 1915. The monika of ‘Skeets’ stuck when Enos was just a boy, and came from the fact that he used to call mosquitoes skeets!
When still a kid Skeet’s mum and dad bought him a guitar and he took to it…… just fine!
By 1935 Skeets had joined a country boogie band called ‘The Lonesome Cowboys’ and later he formed his own outfit which performed on radio stations in Pontiac and around Flint.

By April of 1943 the world was at war,Skeets McDonald joined up with the U.S Army and saw service in the Far East and North Africa. He was proudly awarded a Bronze Battle Star on his return to civilian life in 1946.

Straight out, Skeets joined up with ‘Johnny White and his Rhythm Riders, as lead vocalist and recorded with them in 1950. In 1951 Skeets headed out west to L.A. were he knocked on the door of Hillbilly entrepreneur Cliffie Stone.

Skeets performed at shows organised by Cliffie Stone and he also got Skeets signed to Capitol Records,but Skeets did not choose to record the standard straight Country Music that all others did….. hell no. Instead his very first recording was called ‘Scoot Git and Begone’ which didnt sell well, because a weird and remarkable thing had happened to his music… had started to Rock and Roll! At this time the record buying public was not ready for this music! Nothing happened with Skeets second release either and Capitol records were at a loss.

As 1952 began Skeets appeared in a movie called ‘Smokeless Powder’ after which he went back into the studio and laid down a song called ‘Don’t Let The Stars Get in Your Eyes’. It was a straight Country-music release, at last thought Capitol, and it ended up at number 2 in the Country-music charts! But Skeets had passion and drive and was bound by the Rhythms of a music with no name yet but which would eventually become rock’n’roll

In 1956 Skeets McDonald recorded in a totally Rockabilly way, shockingly so! Basically, Skeets had been recording in this style for years but finally this style had a name….Rock ‘n’ Roll! His recordings of ‘You Oughta See Grandma Rock’ and ‘Heart Breakin’ Mama’ are pure Rockabilly which is an essential part of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Recorded with the echo of reverb and crazy vocals combined with an unsophisticated and down-to-earth feeling….Rockabilly! A fusion of Country music with a shot of Rhythm ‘n’ Blues….Rockabilly! Skeets was no greasy teenager and wild exponent of ‘Rockin’ rhythms, like the new kid on the block Elvis Presley. Elvis had pompadoured splendour and Skeets was 40 something years of age which was nothing but an old man to kids. More recordings for Capitol records followed but Skeets time had been and gone.

Skeets went into Country Music obscurity and passed on in 1968 but Skeets McDonald was one of the first white guys to walk down the beat up but precious road along which Rock ‘n’ Roll music runs….

Dig…dig….dig….Skeets McDonald and his f-i-n-e birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll releases on CD Skeets McDonald. Heart Breakin’ Mama

Welcome to Earl Diablo's Blog!

First up is an article I wrote for Milkcow Magazine about the fabulous Merrill E Moore.

Rock ‘n’ Roll is not just one style of music but it is diverse with many sounds and many different angles, the Country music angle which is Rockabilly, the black angle which is Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, the vocal angle which is Doo-Wop and the piano angle which is Boogie Woogie.....hold on....Boogie Woogie....say more!

Boogie Ma Blues....

Boogie Woogie was a repetitive piano style with roots that date right back in history to the very early years of the 20th century in the turpentine camps and oil boomtowns of Texas and Louisiana, where the Boogie Woogie baseline and pattern was created. By night the workers in such camps drunk themselves into oblivion, they cheated at cards, brawled and murdered each other but each camp had a Barrelhouse and in these houses the Boogie Woogie style was forming. This is why you often hear Boogie Woogie called Barrelhouse Piano.
Possibly the first Boogie Woogie to be recorded was in 1924 and called Chicago Stomps by Jimmy Blyth, by the 1930s and 40s this piano based form of the Blues had it’s hold on America, big time. Boogie Woogie music was so popular and its creators suddenly became famous names; Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson, Jimmy Yancey, Albert Ammons and Pinetop Smith.

As music progressed and times changed, things moved on but some folks were still possessed by the spirit and drive of Boogie Woogie.

One name brings a smile to every Rock ‘n’ Roll fans face as they remember the name of Merrill E Moore.....yeah daddy...Merrill E Moore.....

Down The Road a Piece....
The story of Merrill E Moore...

Merrill E Moore was a truly holy man for he performed Boogie Woogie on his piano but his music was a blend of Western Swing and R&B which produced something so special.....Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Merrill E Moore was born on a farm near Algona in Iowa in September of 1923 and by the age of just 7 he had taken to the piano. By 12 he was performing on a radio station in the nearby town of Des Moines and in the evenings when school was through he played his piano in a band on the Midwestern ballroom circuit. By December of 1941 America had entered the 2nd WorldWar so Merrill joined the U.S Navy. After he left the service Merrill tied the knot with his high-school sweetheart and relocated to San Diego.

In the late 1940’s the Hillbilly lead Boogie Woogie sounds of Moon Mullican totally amazed Merrill and some day he wanted to play in the same hypnotic Boogie Woogie style.
By 1950 Merrill began to perform regularly at the Buckaroo Club and with it’s manager Jimmy Kennedy they formed the Saddle, Rock & Rhythm Boys. In 1952 with this band to back him and with Jimmy Kennedy’s help Merrill signed to Capitol Records and in that same year released Big Bug Boogie. Come 1952 Corrine Corrina was released and in 1953 Red Light, Bartender Blues, Bellbottom Boogie and House of Blue Lights. House Of Blue Lights became a national hit but Jimmy had say and he didn’t want the band to tour to promote the record. A 7 year deal had been signed between Merrill and Jimmy, a deal in which Merrill E Moore and the Saddle, Rock & Rhythm Boys appeared at his club 6 nights a week and Jimmy had also helped get Merrill signed to Capitol so Jimmy Kennedy thought he had some kinda say.

Roll on to 1955 and Merrill became a regular musician on Hillbilly entrepreneur Cliffie Stones television and radio show called Hometown Jamboree. Merrill had walked out on his contract with Jimmy Kennedy but he still recorded Boogie Woogie for Capitol Records, Buttermilk Baby and Down The Road A Piece are prime examples of his 1955 recordings. Merrill also became a session musician for Capitol too and played piano for Skeets McDonald, Wanda Jackson, Sonny James, Faron Young and Tommy Sands.

In 1958 Merrill recorded an album of instrumentals but it was not released, at the time. He did not record again for some time and by 1962 Merrill was performing on cruise ships and in hotels.
A European rediscovery of his music began in 1969 and he played in England which lead to the Tree Top Tall album being released, however this didn’t lead to anything big for Merrill he still played clubs in his local area and at times ventured out to Arizona or Nevada. A car crash in 1986 laid Merrill up for a few years but in 1998 he was called back to England to appear at the Hemsby Rock ‘n’ Roll weekender in Great Yarmouth where he was hailed a hero and adored.
Life is strange and cancer set in and in June of 2000 Merrill E Moore died....R.I.P oh hallowed one....

The exceptional recordings that Merrill laid down are truly something so powerful and extraordinary. Lead by his almost frenzied Boogie Woogie piano with his vocals lazy and easy going that are recognisably Rock and Roll.....bless ma soul....