Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Christmas

I have had to make some tough choices here considering I am no where near set for Christmas. The Blog will have to wait until after the holiday.

Merry Christmas to all (if there is anyone out there) and lets hope for a great 2008. It will be a big year - Iran, Iraq, the economy, the election, and many changes for my family personally. I leave you with this - 'nite all

Orson Welles reads A Christmas Carol

Monday, December 17, 2007

Food Network notes from Sunday's NY Times

You can find chef Emeril Lagasse’s name and face all over a dozen cookbooks, 10 restaurants, lines of pots and pans, knives, Wedgwood dishes, spices, salad dressings and pasta sauces, and even a deep fryer.

But as of last week, it will no longer be found on new episodes of his signature “Emeril Live” show on the Food Network. The program taped its last installments and laid off a half-dozen staff members, bringing an end to an impressive 11-year, every-weeknight run.

Viewers will not see a difference for at least a year as the new episodes that have already been taped are shown. But industry executives are scratching their heads over why the network canceled “Emeril Live” — which they speculate became too expensive for its softening ratings — without having a new deal in place, given the role that his program played in the network’s success.

Food Network executives assert that Mr. Lagasse, who declined to comment, remains a valued member of the family. “All good things come to an end, and it was time to do something new,” said Brooke Johnson, the network’s president. “Right now, we’re figuring out what that something new is,” she said, noting that Mr. Lagasse’s “Essence of Emeril” on the network remains in production.

The cancellation of “Emeril Live” comes at a time when the Food Network is undergoing a transformation. Having taken food and chefs from what was once the domain of low-key public television to new celebrity heights, the network finds itself trying to retain the considerable revenue generated by what has become big business, even as it faces competition from all sides.

Executives at the Food Network and its parent, E. W. Scripps, paint a rosy picture of the network’s prime-time ratings. They say its average 2007 prime-time audience of 778,000 viewers is its highest ever and it has had success attracting the younger audiences that advertisers find especially attractive.

But the network’s total day ratings have dipped to an average of 544,000 people from 580,000 a year ago. More significant, its signature weekend block of instructional programs, known collectively as “In the Kitchen,” has lost 15 percent of its audience in the last year, to 830,000 viewers on average. This has left the network owing refunds, known as “make goods,” to advertisers, Ms. Johnson confirmed.
Bob Tuschman, Food Network’s senior vice president for programming and production, said the weekend ratings drop was “nothing we haven’t anticipated.” He said the network’s ratings in that time period grew by double digits in each of the last four years, growth that could not be sustained.

But the slowdown comes at an awkward time for Scripps: in October, the company announced that it would split in two, with the Food Network and HGTV anchoring the planned Scripps Networks Interactive. Scripps’s shares closed at $43.66 on Friday, down more than 18 percent from their 52-week high in January.

Slumping ratings are not the only obstacle facing the network. While the Food Network has been good at creating stars like Mr. Lagasse, Rachael Ray and Paula Deen and giving national exposure to chefs like Bobby Flay and Mario Batali, until recently it has not shared in their success beyond the network. A spokeswoman for the network said it had no stake in Mr. Lagasse’s considerable outside merchandising, for example.

About a year ago, the Food Network began aggressively trying to change that with new deals that were “way more onerous” from the stars’ point of view, said a person who has been affected by the changing strategy, by insisting on a stake in book deals and licensing ventures, and control over outside activities.

Ms. Johnson, the Food Network president, declined to discuss contracts, but noted that as the network has changed in its own mind from a television network to a brand, it has decided that “we like to be in partnership with our talent in a variety of venues.” She added, “To my knowledge, the talent is happy with the deals we have with them.”

Indeed, in the spring, Food Network plans to introduce its first celebrity chef branded product line, from Bobby Flay at the retailer Kohl’s, which in September introduced a line of several hundred Food Network branded products.
And last week, one of its biggest stars, Ms. Ray, renewed her Food Network contract, which was to expire at the end of the year. Ms. Ray got her start on the network in 2001, with “30 Minute Meals.” Last year, she went on to a daytime syndicated talk show, which Scripps partly owns.

The new Food Network deal, to be announced Monday, calls for her to make 13 episodes of a new prime-time travel show, called “Rachael’s Vacation.” But she will cut back on “30 Minute Meals,” to 60 new episodes a year from 80.

Jon Rosen, senior vice president at the William Morris Agency, who represents Ms. Ray, said the cutback will “make her happier and well-rested and enable her to take a breath and concentrate on her total brand a little more.” He said that because Ms. Ray got her start at the Food Network, “we very much wanted to continue that relationship.”

Food Network’s new interest in taking a broader stake in stars’ outside activities, Mr. Rosen said, “is somewhat understandable,” and it can be beneficial to some stars, but “in other cases, it might not work.”

The Rachael Ray deal is vital to the Food Network, which faces increasing competition from many directions. “There’s all sorts of instructional cooking video on the Web,” noted Erica Gruen, a cable consultant, who, when she was chief executive at the Food Network, created “Emeril Live.”

Elsewhere on television, Fox Broadcasting has the reality shows “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares” with the foul-mouthed British chef Gordon Ramsay. Chef Daniel Boulud appears on the Mojo network. Anthony Bourdain, who started his TV career at the Food Network, is a star on the Travel Channel.

“It’s not surprising that people move on,” said Derek Baine, senior analyst at the media research firm SNL Kagan, “They pay almost nothing for the people as they are building their careers,” he said. “That’s been their strategy all along.”
Food Network does not even have the bragging rights these days to the top-rated food-related show on cable. That would be Bravo, whose “Top Chef” competition drew an average 2.6 million viewers an episode in its recent third outing, compared with the 2.4 million who tuned in to the third round of a similar cook-off show, “The Next Food Network Star.” (Those ratings are for original broadcasts and digital video recorder playbacks within seven days. Food Network executives said their show, which is the network’s highest-rated program ever, wins when only original broadcasts are included.)

Ms. Johnson called “Top Chef” a copy of “The Next Food Network Star,” but “without the care about the food content, which we bring to everything we do.”
Frances Berwick, Bravo’s executive vice president of programming and production, said the point of “Top Chef” was to help contestants open restaurants, as two have done, "not to become television personalities."

The network’s programming strategy, meanwhile, has also undergone changes, often broadening from its emphasis on the food itself. Mr. Batali‘s Italian cooking show “Molto Mario” was once a constant presence in the daytime lineup, but new episodes ended in 2004. His new series — a food tour of Spain with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman, a food columnist for The New York Times, and the Spanish actress Claudia Bassols — will instead appear in the fall in prime time on public television.

Mr. Tuschman of the Food Network said it had passed on that series. “It was not the right fit for us.”

Mr. Batali, who still participates in the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” competition, said the show had not been offered to the Food Network.
He said the network recently proposed a couple of new projects for him, including one where he would be host of a reality show, and that he would discuss them with the executives in January. “I’m not averse to working with them,” he said.
Still, Mr. Batali said, “They don’t need me. They have decided they are mass market and they are going after the Wal-Mart crowd,” which he said was “a smart business decision. So they don’t need someone who uses polysyllabic words from other languages.”

Ms. Johnson disputed that assertion, but Food Network executives said the network has successfully broadened its programming in recent years, with shows like the extreme cake-building reality series “Ace of Cakes” and “Dinner: Impossible,” featuring a chef, Robert Irvine, in extreme cooking challenges.

In February, the network will introduce “Ultimate Recipe Showdown,” a competition for home cooks, Mr. Tuschman said. The network’s sagging weekend lineup will get three new programs early next year, featuring the British chefs Jamie Oliver and Danny Boome, and the Memphis barbecue restaurateurs Gina and Pat Neely.
Mr. Baine, the cable analyst, said he expects the Food Network, like other cable networks, “to have a really good year” if the Writers Guild of America strike continues and broadcast networks have no original scripted programming. He said any ups and downs in ratings were unlikely to affect Scripps’s plan to split its company into two separately traded stocks.

“I think it’s a great move; there are very few stand-alone cable network stocks rights now,” he said. “It’s pretty solid, despite some ups and downs in the ratings.”

Truckin Trees for Christmas

Working hard and getting ready for Christmas. We have a real tree for the first time in a while. Here is one you've probably never heard:


"Truckin' Trees For Christmas" mp3
by Red Simpson, 1973.
available on Trucker's Christmas

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Return of Led Zep

From The Daily Sun -

Led Zeppelin returned to the stage last night with their first full set in 19 years — and younger members of the crowd had heard nothing like it.
Manufactured pop is ruling the charts and young music fans are an impatient sort.
Maybe that’s why the bars at the O2 Arena in Greenwich filled during some of the band’s winding rock epics.

But their classics proved music doesn’t rock like it used to. Tracks like Whole Lotta Love and Stairway to Heaven had every one of the fans — who included Liam Gallagher and Sir Paul McCartney — on their feet and shaking their fists.
Original members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones were joined by dead drummer John Bonham’s son, Jason, 41.

The trio — with a combined age of 183 — burst on stage and opened with Good Times Bad Times, the first track of their debut album.
Robert Plant — wearing jeans not quite as tight as they were in his heyday — still had the energy to strut his 59-year-old body across the stage.
Page, 63, and Jones, 61, kept less energetic pace with him.

As the band settled into a series of songs old and new, grown men in the mostly middle-aged and male audience began playing air guitar. Some of the old Zeppelin remained — during a monumentally long instrumental, Plant had time to go off stage as Page continued to play.

One thing not so new was when in the middle of Dazed And Confused, Page got out his violin bow and started to play his guitar with it, in his trademark style.
After more than an hour the bulk of the fans got what they seemed to want most — a rendition of Stairway To Heaven.

When the lights went out a massive demand for an encore brought them back to play Whole Lotta Love. The adulation of 20,000 almost-equally tired fans ringing in their ears, they trooped away into the darkness.

Fans of all ages had travelled from around the world to see the group and they weren’t disappointed – giving huge ovations and raving after the show.
American Lisa Anderson, 57, said: “Everyone around me agreed it was an absolute triumph.

“I saw them a few times when I was younger, but for me this was the best show they’ve ever done.

"It was worth every penny."

Support act Paolo Nutini, 20, told The Sun: “I wasn’t alive the first time around but I’ve seen the footage on DVD.
“Now watching them live, I’ve been taught a true musical lesson.
“They were just so intense and so tight, even after all these years.
“I was just blown away.”

Two songs have hit -

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Van Halen 2007

I love my wife, I really do. Today she bought tickets for us to see Van Halen. This would have been great had today been in the year 1984.

Instead I get to see some lounge act. great. maybe dave will do a split.

But we will hear some great new ...nevermind


Growing up we spent hours playing in the woods behind our house. If you went far enough you came out to a house with a big barn. This was Brad Delp's house.

I don't have a single friend that doesn't have some fond teenage/early twenties memories associated with this legendary album, which Brad Delp is ultimately responsible for. If it's not the greatest debut album in the history of rock music, I don't know what is.

These are the demo's that grew into this historic album.

I found it in the trash

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Monday, December 8, 1980

“This, we have to say it, is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses,” Cosell said. “An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all the Beatles, shot five times in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead ... on ... arrival.”

This was how millions of people, including my father, heard the news, late at night, during the Monday Night Football Game.

I woke up the next day for school and walked into my parents room to tell them I didn't feel well. My father told me what happened. I spent the entire day listening to the radio and watching the news reports and tributes.

For the first time in my life Walter Cronkite reported on something that I could relate to, the death of a man I never knew, but that meant something to me. I recorded Cronkite's words on a Sears tape recorder, holding the microphone to the TV. I knew that for the first time I was part of something that effected people like me - all over the world.

If the same thing were to happen today, how much more of a media frenzy would we see, and would that frenzy make the central event – the death of a famous and relatively young father, husband and musician – seem larger or smaller?

I don’t know the answers with any certainty, but I fear that the central fact – the story of the death – would become smaller than the story of the story. That’s something to chew on some other time, though.

When I look back, the events of December 8, 1980, just become sad. I, like all other Beatles fans, lost something that night. And I think it took some time – more than days, more than weeks, maybe more than months – for that to sink in.

Paul McCartney, confronted in the early morning with the news of Lennon’s death as he emerged, tired, from a recording session, could muster no more than, “It’s a drag, innit?” His seeming callousness brought bitter criticism. But think of this: How would any one of us react when told, at the end of a long workday and in the view of a phalanx of cameras, of the death of our childhood friend and long-time business partner? Would we have the words? Most likely not. It takes some time for the import of any life-changing event to sink in.

And when it sank in, over months, Paul did for his friend the best he could. I saw McCartney in concert in Tampa in 2005, and maybe midway through the show, he said he was going to perform a song he wrote “for my dear friend, John.” There was applause, and McCartney said, “Yeah, let’s hear it for John!” and the crowd erupted with one of the loudest and longest ovations I have ever heard.

And then McCartney took up his guitar and performed the song he wrote for his dear friend, John: “Here Today,” today’s download.

Paul McCartney – Here Today (1982)
3.46 MB mp3 at 192 kbps

BBQ Primer #2 - Rendezvous Restaurant, Memphis

Interview with Nick Vergo Conducted by Brian Fisher
16 October 2002

The people that have taken barbecue, the art of cooking barbecue or the skills of cooking barbecue in a sense commercial probably are restaurateurs, or people whose family had been in the restaurant business and may have had someone that helped in the family restaurant business that they liked to barbecue.

The Rendezvous is a perfect example. The Rendezvous never opened up to be a barbecue restaurant. My father had a vegetable meat and three place on Union Avenuecalled Wimpy's. He was partners with his brother in law and they were selling meat loaf and mashed potatoes and they had a hamburger. On the hamburger you could get mustard, pickle, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, Durkees. You know, a thousand different things.

Right across the street from him was a Crystal. He was selling like ten hamburgers a day and, then, the Crystalthey were carrying ten out at a time and there were a thousand people. They were selling ten thousand hamburgers a day and he was selling ten and he was giving people all these options.

He and his brother in law didn't get along. Well, they got along they just had a difference of views. My father said "I'm going to open up: I'm going to bake hams and sell beer." Make a ham sandwich and sell beer. He went in the basement of the building where Wimpy's was and opened up the Rendezvous.

There was an elevator shaft in the building that was not used anymore so he built a smoker. He was buying his hams, cured hams, from Louis Feinberg, Feinberg Packing Company. So he started a fire, put the hams up and smoked his hams to give them a little more flavor. And, you could buy a small beer or a tall beer, a 10 oz. or 12 oz. beer. He said if "I open up my ham sandwich place, I'm not going to give people any options." You're going to get it on rye bread only and, your only options, there would be two options. You could either get it with cheese or without cheese or you could get it with mustard or without mustard and that was it. He served it with kosher pickles on the side and a couple peperonccinis. Or, he'd make you a plate. He'd slice the cheese up; make it into little sticks; put some ham on it, pickles and peppers; put it on the table and that was it.

Back then, downtown was the only shopping area of town. People were one car families. On Saturday's, during the week the people that worked downtown, the men that worked downtown, the window dressers, the sales clerks. They'd all come down to the Rendezvous, have a sandwich and a beer waiting for their wives to come pick them up in the only car in the family.

Eventually, it got to be a little bit nicer place. The wives would come down; they'd have a sandwich with them and that's all you could get, ham sandwich. He had ham, cheese, and salami. The same salami now is the same salami that we started with, made in St. Louis by the John Volpe Company. I'm not a big salami eater but I don't want to eat anybody else's salami cause this one is so good.

He was open just for dinner. It was a snack bar. Rendezvous Snack Bar was the original name of the restaurant. On Saturdays, it was shopping day. The husbands would drive the wives downtown. The wives would go shopping. The guys would go down to the Rendezvous and have a ham sandwich and a beer. Television wasn't hardly in. This was in the late forties and the early part of the fifties; wasn't television. Guys just sitting around, eating ham sandwiches and drinking beer waiting for their wives to get through shopping and go back home.

Mr. Feinberg said "you need to expand your menu a little bit." Dad said, "I know that but I don't really know what to do." So he got some chickens and baked chickens, cooked them on the grill. (He) did the same thing (as they do with ribs)- 18 inches off the fire. Cooked chickens on there. He couldn't give them away. Nobody wanted barbecue chicken, grilled chicken. He got oysters on the 1/2 shell. He said, "I think oysters are great." Our flower beds at our house, my parents house, the beds were made with those shells from the oysters. Lasted about a year. The oysters were just a pain. (He) Wasn't selling very many of them.

Mr. Feinberg said, "Well, I've got these ribs." He (Mr. Charlie Vergo) said, "I don't know very much about ribs." He had a guy that worked for him whose name was Little John. Little John, I don't know that he was barbecue man, or not, but he know how to cook ribs.

We cook our ribs over a very hot fire. We cook 18 inches off the fire and the fire is as hot as we can get it. We cool it down to keep it from catching fire. But we want it, generally, to be as hot as we can. We want to actually sear the ribs and keep the juiciness of them. We don't cook slow. We want to cook our ribs in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Other people talk about we cook them hours and hours and hours. Well, they're cooking at such low temperatures, if we left our ribs in there for that long, they'd just be charcoal when they got through.

My father's father was a restaurant man, made chili during the depression- chili dog with our cole slaw, the cole slaw that we have on the table, a mustard based slaw for a nickel. That was the same idea that my father had with the ham sandwich. He was going to sell you a hell of a ham sandwich and not really make very much on the ham sandwich. But, if you came in and had three or four beers with it, he'd kill you on the beer. He was going to make his money selling beer.

My grandfather was going to make his money selling Coca-Colas and pies. He was a baker by trade and just baked a hell of a pie. You'd come in a get a hot dog for a nickel, a foot long hot dog for a nickel, with chili and slaw. Cokes were a dime. Coke was more than the hot dog was. He made a penny a hot dog, but he made 3 or 4 cents on the coke. He was just selling hundreds and hundreds and thousands and thousands of hot dogs and lots of Cokes and the pie. .35 cents for a piece of pie, well the pie didn't' cost him but about a nickel to make. A slice of pie was only about a nickel. That was the same idea that my father had. Get them to come in for the sandwiches and sell them a beer or a Coca-Cola. He made money off the coke.
Burger King is a perfect example. They've got 11 items for .99 cents. You can go and get all 11 items and you're out 11 bucks, $10.89. You think, well god, I got 2 sacks of food for $11. For $11, if you got two of their combos which is let's say the double cheeseburger, a large coke, and a large fry, you get two of those, that's $10 dollars right there.

They're making their money off of the Cokes and the french fries is what it boils down to. Cokes and the french fries are where the money is. Coke cost them a dime or fifteen cents and they sell it for a dollar forty nine.

It was the same thought of my father. He said, I'm going to get them in here, get them to buy a sandwich and get them to buy a coke.

Mr. Feinberg came along, said "you need to try these ribs out. They're really good. They're loin ribs. They come off the pork chop." There're spare ribs that come off the belly and they're called back ribs because they come off the back. My father says "Well, I don't know very much about cooking ribs. But we're just going to put them on the grill and cook them just like we did the chicken. Get them done. Take them off and serve them."

Little John was a vinegar man. He said, "You need to have vinegar on your ribs because it makes them tender and it helps keep the fire down a little bit." He just knew. He'd been around. Probably been over to somebody else's house and said I like the way that barbecue tasted and I like it because of the vinegar. Our slaw is vinegar, mustard, and sugar.

My father said, all right, now we need to season it. Well, my grandfather made chili. Chili's got salt, pepper, bay leaf, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. It's kind of a Greek chili. He said, "I'll mix that seasoning up, the same thing that we put in the chili, cause the chili tasted good. It tastes good because of the seasoning. The seasoning would good on the ribs." They put the seasoning on the ribs; tasted delicious. Served them to the table.

"Charlie, these ribs are delicious but you're calling them barbecue ribs and they're not red. They need to have that red." So he went and got a container of paprika and added it to it. Stirred it up. It was red and that's what we have today.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Dark Knight - Why so Serious?

R.E.M. "Chronic Town" (1982)

• As a bar band, R.E.M. played indistinct covers of the Everly Brothers, Patti Smith, and pre-Loaded Velvet Underground songs. They were fueled by atypical Athens boredom; weekly lunch meet-ups, and a similar love for folk and post-punk music. In ryen, the four-piece crafted the near-perfect (so long as 20-minute records are concerned) Chronic Town, an EP which contained at least three classics.

• It's a mystery how R.E.M. had found their style already on their first EP. Mills and Buck were already skilled with jangles, and Stipe's voice was in tune. Two years later that mixture gained them honor for the Album of the Year. Though there was nothing wrong with Stipe's voice, it was hard to understand single sentence he sang. There was something very intimate in his voice, the most beautiful post-punk you'd ever hear.

• Ironically, R.E.M. had made a back-to-basics album without any establishment as a real band. The raw DIY ethic and low-fi production gives the music a charming appeal that made Sonic Youth's early releases somewhat of historical pieces. Chronic Town has its share of odd influences derivative of late '70s post-punk. "Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)" is, in fact, a tribute to the Cure's "Jumping Someone Else's Train." The catchiest tune is "Wolves, Lower". If you won't sing along to the simple call-and-response chrous, maybe you're dead!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Who, Cincinnatti, 1979

No music here.

I have a friend, Lauren, who's recent blog ( really bothered me. The story of The Who in Cincinnatti circa 1979 just expands on her recent experience. I remember as a child thinking it was cool to see The Who on the newscast when I woke up that morning. It was almost as if something I ( as an almost teenager) thought was cool, was being recognized by them.

Then I listened as the news reporter said that many people had died at the concert. People died trying to listen to music. I couldn't understand. I still can't.

No music or bullshit today, just an account of what happened that day in Cincinnatti. Thanks Lauren.

"Dan Reed, Music Director at XPN, recalls his experience at the Who concert tragedy at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum:

I was a ticket holder and witness. We got our tickets about a month before, and I drove two hours from college (I was a freshman) to meet my friends. It was a cold Monday evening. We arrived about an hour before the doors were to open. The tickets were not reserved but “festival seating”… the sooner you got in, the better location you could get to see the show. Despite the cold, we were psyched… it was our first time seeing the legendary Who. I was personally enamored at the time with Quadrophenia. Who Are You was their most recent release, but I had been listening non-stop to Quadrophenia at that time. I was 18, and that album spoke to me in many ways. I’ll admit that I was dissappointed that I would be seeing the Who sans Keith Moon, but I was still very excited.

When we arrived, there were maybe 1000 people already there. We stood in line in front of four glass doors, but the pushing and shoving got really annoying, so we dropped back and stood on some light pole fixtures to wait for the doors to open. Up there, we had a view of what was going on in the front of the line, and none of it was good. We observed people clearly panicing, falling and crying out. A man emerged from the fray, sweating, wide-eyed, missing shoes and most of his clothing. He found a uniformed Cincinnati police officer, and told him “Man… you GOTTA get up there and put a stop to this… people are really getting hurt!” The cops’ response was “What in the hell do you want ME to do about it?” It was a pretty scary show of indifference, and - in light of what was about to transpire - not very suprising.

The best we could tell, there were 4 doors open… 4 doors for a crowd of well over - I’d say - 2,000 people by now. We saw fists flying, and a sort of vapor rise up over the crowd in the cold December night. Just about then, we noticed that another bank of doors north of us had opened. We jumped down and went in without much pushing at all. As I looked over to my right - where all the pushing was taking place - I saw people still pressed up against the doors, and a pile of shoes at the entrance. It was a crazy scene.

The show was outstanding. The band lived up to their reputation as one of the world’s most incredible live performers. Kenny Jones - the late Keith Moon’s replacement on drums - was more than servicable. After the show, as we walked out of the coliseum, we observed all of these news trucks - NBC News, CBS, etc — and all kinds of other assorted media ALL OVER the pavilion outside. We knew then that SOMETHING had went down. Did somebody O.D.? We turned the radio to WEBN (Cincy’s long-standing rock station) when we got to the car, and heard the terrible news. We were all sick to our stomachs… we had actually seen some of this going down. Even though we did not understand at the time the enormity of the tragedy we were witnessing, we still all felt a sense of - I don’t know - maybe guilt over not doing something. I still have that feeling to this day every time I think back on this event.

We all got to a bank of pay telephones as soon as we could and called our parents. My dad had heard Howard Cosell interrupt Monday Night Football to report the tragedy.
This was an accident waiting to happen. I had seen Led Zeppelin at the Coliseum two years before (again with the dreaded “festival seating”) and had commented to a buddy that night that “somewbody was gonna get killed here some day.” The shows at the Coliseum were always crazy… it was anything goes at the doors. "

Monday, December 3, 2007

Shrimp Quesadillas with Pineapple and Red Peppers

Can you tell I'm ready to get home? This is what I'm cooking on Wednesday night for dinner -

1 pound tiger prawns (21/25 count), peeled and de-veined (500grams)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil (15ml)

1 teaspoon lemon pepper (5ml)
½ cup prepared mustard (125ml)
2 tablespoons honey (30ml)
2 tablespoons orange juice (30ml)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (15ml)
2 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (15ml) + 1 tablespoon (15ml)
8 pineapple slices ¼" thick

Cheese Mix:
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
3 green onions, finely diced
4 cilantro sprigs, leaves only
4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated (1000ml)
Pepper to taste

8 large flour tortilla (8inch/51cm)

¼ cup vegetable oil for brushing and grilling (60ml)

Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a medium size bowl whisk together lemon pepper, mustard, honey, orange juice and Worcestershire sauce.

Slice red peppers into 6 pieces and remove seeds. Oil each piece with vegetable oil.
Peel, core and slice fresh pineapple into ¼ inch (6mm) thick slices and brush with vegetable oil.

Preheat barbecue to 425°F/210°C or high heat.

Prepare cheese mixture by placing jalapeno, green onion, cilantro, cheese and onion in a bowl. Mix together. Place in the refrigerator until needed.
Oil barbeque grate and place shrimp on the grill, cook for 1 minute per side (or until bright pink in color). Baste constantly. Remove from grill and let cool.

Remove shrimp tail and slice in half, lengthwise and set aside.

Reduce barbecue temperature to350°F/175°C or medium heat.

Oil barbeque grate and place pineapple and peppers on direct heat. Grill pineapple for 1 minute per side or until nice golden char marks are achieved. Baste constantly with the honey glaze.

Grill the peppers for 1.5 minutes per side. Baste constantly with honey glaze.
Remove from the grill and slice red peppers into small bite size pieces. Slice pineapple into quarters.

Lightly brush Quesadilla skins with vegetable oil. Divide cheese mixture over 4 shells and top with shrimp, pineapple and red peppers. Cover with another oiled quesadilla skin.

Reduce barbeque temperature to 250°F/120°C or medium low heat.

Oil grill grate and place quesadillas down on grill and cook for 4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip quesadilla over and grill for another 4 minutes.

Remove from grill and slice into wedges.

Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chicago Blues

I was reading about Elvis and it occurred to me that his greatest accomplishment in the history of music was pushing all the Black recording artists out of the Memphis market and up to Chicago. Now, this might sound crazy but let me go on. Before Elvis had his first hit at Sun Records with Mr. Sam Phillips, Sun was in the business of recording Black artists -see, Mr. Phillips had a penchant for recording real R&B even though he wasn't making much money doing it. There was no money because those records weren't played on Rock radio, unless of course they were covered by the acceptable White artists. So, before Elvis recorded at Sun, it was known as the place where Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton and Elmore James, amongst others, had been recording. The financial success that Sun Records experienced due to Elvis recording a few hits there caused Mr. Phillips to reconsider his passion for real R&B - needless to say he dropped all his Black artists and focused solely on White artists. The result was two-fold -1st- Sun attracted the likes of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash (not so bad) -2nd- the barren market for Black artists sent all the local bluesmen up North to Chicago where they hooked up with the Chicago bar blues scene led by Muddy Waters ... blues as we know it today wouldn't be without this migration. So, we get to Elmore James, one of those very migrants who landed in Chicago - the haven for Black artists trying to make a living in the blues. If you aren't familiar with what Chicago bar blues sounds like let me say this: The style is regarded for being loud and heavily amplified stomping blues that induces hollering. Mr. James can be heard hollering his heart out on "So Unkind", "Anna Lee", "Standing at the Crossroads" and these are just some of the stand out tracks. If Elmore James gets you shaking, considering looking into Chess Records - it's where all the hip-cats were signed. Oh, and remember to thank Elvis.

I do have the Chess Records 15 CD Box Set that I will raid at another time.

Elmore James - Dust My Broom

Sunday Beatles

Well, Sunday finds me on the road again. Too much time away from Alli and the boys so I turn to The Beatles. I' m sure the boys are having pancakes at Mika's by now...

Anyway, here is some great music first from the Let It Be sessions. This is the original (not Naked) version that was supposed to be released.

Second, is the evolution of Strawberry Fields, great for your I-pod.

Enjoy, and I can't wait to get home -

1-14: George Martin mix of Let It Be material (in fact Glyn Johns mix)

15-20: "bonus trakcs" live from the Apple Studios roof-top - 30 Jan 1969

01 - One After 90902 - Rocker03 - Save The Last Dance For me04 - Don't Let Me Down05 - I've got A Feeling06 - Get Back07 - For you Blue08 - Teddy Boy09 - Two Of Us10 - Dig it11 - Maggie Mae12 - Dig It13 - Let it Be14 - The Long and Winding Road15 - Get Back16 - Dont Let me Down17 - Ive Got A Feeling18 - One After 90919 - Dig A Pony20 - Get Back

Strawberry Field Forever - Santa Isabel Demos

01 - George Martin On Strawbery Fields Forever

02 - Warm Up

03 - Take 1

04 - Take 2

05 - Take 3

06 - Take 4

07 - Take 5

08 - Take 6

09 - Rehearsal

Strawberry Field Forever - Kenwood Demos

10 - Electric Guitar Overdub Rehearsal

11 - Electric Guitar Overdub

12 - Playback And Chat

13 - Double-Tracking Vocal

14 - Playback

Strawberry Field Forever - Kenwood Demos 2

15 - Take 1

16 - Take 2

17 - Take 3

18 - Take 4

19 - Take 5

20 - Take 6

21 - Take 7

22 - Take 8

23 - Mellotronvocal Overdub Rehearsal

24 - Mellotronvocal Overdub Onto Tak 7

25 - Tape Loop And Backward Speak

Strawberry Field Forever - Sessions 1

26 - Take 1 With George Martin

27 - Take 1Strawberry Field Forever - Sessions 2

28 - George Martin On Remakes 1 & 2

29 - Take 2

30 - Take 3

31 - Take 4

32 - Take 5

33 - Take 6

34 - Take 7

35 - Take 7 With George Martin

Strawberry Field Forever - Sessions 3

36 - George Martin On Remakes 3

37 - Take 25

38 - Take 26 With George Martin

39 - Take 26Penny Lane Sessions

40 - Penny Lane Overdub Sessions

41 - Strawberry Fields Forever - Secret Track

LINK George Martin

LINK Strawberry

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