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  • cantgiveitawaycoverCAN'T GIVE IT AWAY ON SEVENTH AVENUE: The Rolling Stones and New York City
    Author: Christopher McKittrick
    Publisher: Post Hill Press
    Release Date: June 25, 2019

    Reviewed by: James Robert Patterson

    Christopher McKittrick has authored a must have, and a must-read book for anyone who over the years have grown up with "The World's Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band". Certainly, as fans we remember when an album was released, or a new song came over the radio, or maybe one of those stories about what the Rolling Stones were doing; well Christopher has given you the details behind those events…and more. If you are of that generation, that time, the era of the Rolling Stones, then you remember those events as they may have coincided with events in your own life. Martin Scorsese's quote found in the book could not have said it any better for those of us who have followed the Stones all our lives. "At different times in my life, the Rolling Stones' music dealt with different aspects of my life that I was trying to make sense of. Their music has stayed with me and been a very important part of my life over the years."

    Christopher interweaves the life of the Stones with New York City. He covers multiple venues in New York where the Stones " played, in addition to other venues around the world. He takes you into details with so many well-known personalities that the Stones interacted with, to name a few, The Beatles, Hendrix, Dylan, Prince, Hammond, Jackson and Warhol. He takes you through the highlights of tours with intricate details, of albums released in conjunction with a tour, the concerts set list, attendance numbers, famous people there, reviews both pro and con, who opened, and who played with the band.

    It’s very evident Christopher did his homework, pulling facts from many sources, such as newspaper reviews, magazines, including Rolling Stone, and awe-inspiring quotes from the individual books of Richards, Wood, and Wyman. As you read you might also wonder if Christopher had access to Jagger and Richards diaries.

    To tease your knowledge of Stone events, how about these interesting details from the book: Photographer Michael Cooper, who did the album cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, also did Her Satanic Majesties' Request. I'm not revealing too much of the book because there are 256 pages of inspiring and cool facts. A few more facts: a favorite interviewee of Boomerocity.com, Bernard Fowler, backup singer for the Stones, in 1992 was on the solo albums of Watts, Wood and Richards. A young Jagger's quote, "I'd rather be dead than singing Satisfaction at the age of 45". The mild-mannered Charlie Watts had a bout with drugs and throat cancer. And Jagger's reflection on how the Steel Wheels Tour changed the industry and how it turned the Stones from a rock band to a world-class entertainment venture.

    Fans are well aware of the Mick and Keith's significant disputes. Mick is quoted, "no fights, just disagreements." And there's Richards Rolling Stone quote about an apology to Mick, to keep the band together, "I'd say anything to get the band together, you know? I'd lie to my mother."

    For the most avid Stone fan reading Can't Give It Away On Seventh Avenue, you'll think, "I remember that, Wow I didn't know it happened like that!". And for the reader who wants to find out more details of the Rolling Stones, more intimate specific details, then this is your book. Christopher McKittrick has done a meticulous and comprehensive coverage of "The World's Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band".

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Posted September, 2015

    JohnMayallbyMaureenClark001Cropped2If all I wrote was, “John Mayall is a blues institution,” I would’ve said plenty and it would start a conversation that would last hours. The legendary blues man is, of course, the founder of the UK’s John Mayall and the Blues Breakers. That band, founded in 1960’s, had a stellar group of musicians who went on to become blues and rock greats in their own right.  Names like Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, John McVie, Walter Trout, Harvey Mandel, Coco Montoya and many others. 

    Even more astonishing is that the eighty-one year old icon is still recording and touring around the world. In fact, he has just released his sixty-second album entitled, “Find A Way To Care”. 

    To discuss that album, I contacted Mr. Mayall at his California home. Cordial and still quite British, I started out by asking him if this disc was, in fact, his sixty-second album, to which he said:

    “Yes, it does sound about right. The thing is, those are all the original albums and, then, there are countless others which are compilations and repackagings and things like that. Those ones I can never keep track of but the important thing is to stick with the originals.”

    When I asked how “Find A Way To Care” was different to record from the other sixty-one albums, with his very proper EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEditedBritish accent he replied quite philosophically. 

    “It’s all the passage of time and experience, you know? If you’re talking about stuff from the sixties, obviously, there was a lot of immaturity in some respect and there was also an innocence about it and strength to it, in that respect. I think the{mprestriction ids="*"} passage of time, the more you play and the more years that add up, I guess you just keep on going.”

    With recording technology and techniques changing drastically since he first recorded, I asked him if he recorded straight to digital or did he do like some other rockers like Joe Walsh or Rick Derringer are doing and record in analog first before transferring the recording into digital.

    JohnMayallbyJeffFasano002Photo by Jeff Fasano“I have no idea. I’m a firm believer in keeping up to date with all the latest technology. That’s the way I’ve always been.”

    Albums can often be a long and laborious process. Sometimes, it can take months to get an album in the can. When I asked Mayall how long his latest offering took to record, his answer was a head-spinner.

    “Well, the band came in for three days. Two of them live in Chicago and one of them lives in Fort Worth. So, they came in for three days and I did some overdubs on the forth day. The following week, we did the mixing.” 

    When I expressed my amazement over how fast the album was completed, the blues icon said: 

    “Yeah, I mean, we’ve been together for five years and everything’s first take. We know what we’re doing. I’ve always believed that the first or second take of anything is where you get the freshness and the spirit captured.

    “We all know each other. We can mind read and all that. It’s really spectacular. Ha! Ha!”

    I love Mayall’s treatment of Muddy Waters’ “Long Distance Call” and told him as much.  Knowing that musicians don’t like to pick a favorite song because it’s like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid, I asked John if there is a track off of this album that he would point to as a calling card to people to entice them to buy it.

    “It’s almost an impossibility – it all depends on what you’re mood is. ‘Drifting’ (referring to ‘Drifting Blues’) is straight-forward blues. But, then, on the other hand, ‘Ain’t No Guarantees’ is a good stomping one so I just depends what your mood is.”

    The title cut is one of four tunes that Mayall wrote on this CD. It comes across as both reflective and instructive. When askedJohnMayallbyMaureenClark001Photo by Maureen Clark about the story behind the song, he confessed:

    “I really don’t know how to explain the song. When I’m writing a song, I want to make it as interesting as possible. Also, it should reflect the mood and the story that you’re telling. It came together very quickly once you know what the story is. I’m a great believer in positivity.”

    I have twice interviewed one of John’s former band mates, Walter Trout, who recently has had an amazing recovery from a liver transplant. Mayall had this to say about Walter Trout:

    “Walter’s a pretty amazing character. First of all, he’s survived death. That’s a bit of a remarkable thing, you know. His operation was successful. He’s back strong and he’s back in business, again. I saw him fairly recently. I sat in with him. It was just like old times. As a composer and musician, he’s always coming up with new stuff. I haven’t heard his new album, yet. It’s yet to be released. It’s somewhat biographical and about all that he’s been through. He’s a very creative person with whatever he does.”

    As for what’s next for the blues legend, he says:

    “That’s pretty much it. It’s quite a big chunk of the year that we’ve got coming up on the road. The album is just out. The dates are already filling up for next year, which is great. There’s also going to be a volume two of the live stuff from 1967 with Peter Green, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. So, volume two of that will be coming out in the new year. Apart from that, that’s all I’ve got going at the moment. I think it’s quite enough. More than most people.”

    As our chat was wrapping up, I asked John Mayall, “When you go to that great blues gig in the sky, how do you want to be remembered and what do you hope your legacy will be?” He answered without hesitation or timidity:

    “Well, I hope that people appreciate all the music that I’ve done because I’m quite confident that I don’t sound like anyone else. There’s a wealth of stuff in the music of mine for people to dig into. I think there’s quite enough going on there, already. If I die tomorrow, there’s quite a lot for people to deal with.”