“I always try and make the words for my songs sound poetic and have a lot of meaning, but I never think of them as being poems. I think of them more as my statements,”: that’s what the great Keith Reid, who died of cancer on March 23rd at the age of 76, told this scribe when asked about whether he viewed himself as a poet or a lyricist. Keith wanted to be seen as the latter yet, of course, he belonged in pantheon of the former and should have been praised if only for the immortal imagery of “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” – the first fruit of Reid’s long-term partnership with singing pianist Gary Brooker that announced the advent of PROCOL HARUM to the world which fell in love with the surrealistic ballad.
With a single exception, nobody has played in CRAZY HORSE as long as Nils Lofgren, bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina – that’s without counting Neil Young, as he and the band used to exist not only together but also separately. Of course, all of the veterans had to work on their own during the pandemic, which is the reason why the platter the Molina, Talbot and Lofgren decided to compile afterwards, each contributing three pieces, doesn’t bear the ensemble’s name yet is rather credited to its creators. And it’s not limited to nine songs.
It’s a testament to his determination to the case of art that even serious health issues can’t stop Davey Dodds, a former singer with RED JASPER – he last appeared with them over a quarter-century ago, on "Anagramary" – and a writer of “The Magpie” that became a folk-rock staple by now, from playing live and recording. Such veteran’s albums as "Toadstool Soup" aren’t short of breathtaking, and he’s got a new one out now.
If not for his first stint behind the JOURNEY drum kit, Steve Smith could not have signed a recording contract for a solo album as early as in 1983 and wouldn’t have the chance to reunite with two of his high school friends in a band they called VITAL INFORMATION. Operating on a jazz-rock field, the trio – who went through a few line-up changes over the following decades, recorded quite a few albums before going on hiatus after “Heart Of The City” saw the light of day back in 2017. But they’re back now – to celebrate the ensemble’s 40th anniversary.
It’s not so often that a fresh piece co-penned by a veteran artist has the participants of a United Nations event among its first listeners, yet that’s what happened this week when those attending the UN Water Conference heard “The Water Song” which is the result of collaboration between STRAWBS’ Dave Cousins, a trustee of The Commonwealth Medical Trust who submitted the composition to the international gathering, and Kendra, a 15-year-old South African schoolgirl.