Friday, December 27, 2013

Don't Look Under The Bed!

My story begins in November 2011.  On November. 19th, 1968, nearly 43 years ago to the day, I received my first electric guitar.  In some way this little known fact will make this story intriguing, as you'll soon discover.  Being 14 at the time, the discussion between my mother and me was what I'd want for Christmas.  I'm sure my mother thought this to be a loaded question but had to ask. To those who knew me really well, it appeared that my entire existence depended on nothing more than the guitar and the music it made.  So when the question was put before me, what would I like, my life was on the line. 
It was my mother who first mentioned Manny's Music, after hearing about it on a talk radio program.  Manny's was a not just a music store, but a "mega" music store.  Located in NYC on West 48th Street, better known as music row, it was a super market for musicians. Well informed on this new discovery, my mother, father and I set forth on our musical pilgrimage. To this day, my sister claims that she went along, a fact that we still dispute. Finally, entering that block, I became fully aware that my holy grail was soon to be found.
While breaking through the doors, I was overtaken by hundreds of autographed portraits of almost every entertainer I could think of. As I walked around the store, these pictures covered the walls from top to bottom.  I also spotted drums and amplifiers in lots of shapes and sizes, and many effects for the guitar too.  Seconds after regaining focus, I glanced over to the right, finding every guitar that I've dreamt of.  Suddenly, I am brought out of my spell by the words - can I help you.  A salesman, who's name is Billy, introduces himself to us.  Billy is dressed very smartly from head to toe and sporting a pair of dark Ray - Ban  sunglasses.  He and my dad  toss  names back and forth like Fender, Gretsch, Gibson, solid body and hollow body.  My ears perked right up, similar to a dog who hears a familiar sound.  Then, the moment of truth draws closer when the decision we make is a Gibson Melody Maker.  Billy pulls this red beauty from the wall, plugs it into an amplifier for him to play, then off he soars.  The notes fly like bullets of sound, repeating one right behind the next.  We are now totally sold on this guitar, especially me, after five minutes of witnessing Billy's brief demonstration and "lightening licks."  We then thank Billy for his expertise and begin finding our way to the cashier.  I am holding on to this surreal experience in disbelief, with a brand new electric guitar at my side.  When we leave Manny's, I can almost levitate outside from this feeling of being on top of the world.                             


Original Manny's Receipt 
 ( Nov.19th,1968 )



Unable to restrain myself, I sneak a peek at the guitar during this  anxiety - ridden ride home.  Racing to get inside the house, I begin to examine this new prospect closely, taking it from it's case, playing it  and getting this emotional charge.  Then, my mother pulls the plug on this moment and she says, "This guitar IS GOING to be your Christmas present." What she was really saying was,"Do not open 'til  Christmas!"  With Christmas being about a month away, those words took "the wind right out of my sail."  My father  suggested we keep the guitar in my parents' bedroom, under their bed. This way, I wouldn't become  distracted with it. Unfortunately, "out of sight, out of mind" meant nothing to this fourteen - year -old, music maniac.  I'd get home in the afternoon, pull the case from under their bed, take out the guitar and play it knowing they wouldn't return for hours.  After school meant watching t.v. to some kids, but to me it was guitar and more guitar.  When friends would come over, I'd show them the guitar and quickly put it back under the bed before my parents got home.  This  routine of mine continued right up until Christmas. 

Years have passed since that first guitar and since then, I've owned many fine, instruments. I've bought, sold and traded guitars. Some were given to me and at times I gave some away. There's that feeling you get when adding another guitar to your collection.  I'm not referring to factory-new but  acquiring a certain guitar whether old or new is like taking on a different persona.  After so many years, I've developed a minor passion for collecting guitars as well.

As an artist I'm often searching for something new, whether a different sound, or a creative shift in direction, and it's during this time that I find myself in the market for another guitar. Now there's nothing outside of the ordinary in wanting another guitar, except for the occurrences that follow.  I'll always do a little research before buying a guitar, one way of doing this is to look through old, back issues of magazines.  While ruffling through the pages of a particular magazine, I stumbled upon the actual receipt for my first guitar, that very same guitar that my father bought when my parents took me to Manny's Music. Discovering this receipt after so many years felt a bit strange but then noticing the date on the receipt said November 19th, 1968 and then realizing the present date was November 14th, my father's birth date added to this little bizarre happenstance.  After dismissing this little "Twilight Zone" episode I call a local music store to inquire about a specific guitar.  The guitar that I'm  looking to buy is known as a resonator by a company called National. It's not your typical guitar that's readily available here in the north east.  The owner of the store, who is a friend of mine said he can probably get this instrument within 5 days but he'll have to check.  Again, oddly enough, in 5 days it will be November 19th, the very same date as on the receipt found earlier that day.  My story takes yet another twist. While waiting to hear back from my friend at the music store, I received a phone call from my brother - in - law explaining that his uncle who had played guitar recently past away.  He went on to say, that being how his aunt knew that I played, she decided to give those guitars to me. By the way, just as a side note, my brother -in -law called me from New Orleans, which was the birthplace of my father. 
5 days have gone by and my friend from the music store is unable to get the first guitar that I was originally looking to buy (The National) so eventually I ordered it from somewhere else.  In the meantime, on my brother -in- laws advice, I contacted his aunt to learn more about her late husbands guitar, the one that she wanted me to have.  Now when someone is offering me a guitar, you can bet it's an offer that I won't refuse. In getting her name and number to schedule a day to look at the guitars, my phone call to her provided another oddity when I found her name to be Gloria, my mothers name as well.  We both set a day to meet at which time Gloria gave me her address.  After sharing this story with a good friend, I am surprised yet again when he says the location of Gloria's house is down the street from where he lived as a child.Later upon entering Gloria's home she told me about her husband, his guitars and how much he loved  playing them. 

 Now there are many things that thrill my imagination and when things appear to be coincidental, I'll question whether there is any such thing at all. How uncanny is it for it to be November when
I'm looking to buy a guitar and by chance it happens to be my fathers birthday, then locating an original receipt for my first guitar, which he bought and noticing it's also dated for November?  And what are the probabilities that a woman who shares the same name as my mother, gives me a guitar made by the company that made my very first guitar?   

Finally out of curiosity I asked Gloria where her husband kept his guitar.  Where do you think she said they were? Just don't look under the bed!

Gibson F-50

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guitarist Adam Falcon flies in to play live! (Video Performance)

Published on January 12th, 2012 by in artists, Bob Andelman, Florida, interviews, live performances, Mr. Media, music, musician, musicians, rock band, rock n roll, singer, songwriter

Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience of Marvel Comics characters from Steve Rogers and Sam “Snap” Wilson to those colorful guys in KISS… in the NEW new media capital of the world, St. Petersburg, Florida!

By Bob Andelman

Mr. Media® Radio NetworkEmailTwitterFacebookLinkedInYouTubeFree Mr. Media Android AppStitcher

In my head, the introduction to today’s show with blues/rock/jazz guitarist Adam Falcon goes something like this:

Blah, blah, blah including live performances by Adam blah, blah, blah!

You can LISTEN to this interview with guitarist ADAM FALCON by clicking the audio player above!

And then out loud I would say:

The first time Adam Falcon was on the show was a lot of fun. I love his music, his guitar style and his general approach to life. He recently got in touch to say he’d be coming to Florida – Miami, to be exact, and he offered to play a few songs live for us to help promote his shows on January 13 and 14 as part of Art Deco Weekend 2012.

How could I say no to that?

Adam Falcon WebsiteTwitterFacebookMySpaceYouTubeOrder Bohemian 959

ADAM FALCON audio excerpt: “Just continue to practice and enjoy what you’re doing.”

Bohemian 959, Adam Falcon

Order Adam Falcon's CD 'Bohemian 959' by clicking the photo above!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On Mr. Cornell Dupree

"Take your time, take your time..."

Those instructions were directed towards me and the other musicians at Electric Lady studios, seconds before the tape was about to roll. More like words of wisdom preached from the late great guitarist and studio musician extraordinaire CORNELL DUPREE.

When thinking about
Cornell Dupree, what comes to mind is his trademark Fender Telecaster guitar and pipe; which makes me wonder how ironic if the latter contributed to his passing due to emphysema. Also a Fender Telecaster player at the time, thanks to Mr. Dupree, I asked why he switched and favored a Yamaha guitar over Fender. Cornell, somewhat of comedic person, said he was currently endorsing Yamaha guitars. Continuing he added, the company had guitar spies making sure he played their instrument exclusively or he could never go back to Japan, ever. I just cracked up listening to him explain this with a straight face.

I remember seeing a PBS broadcast of the Montreux jazz festival with
King Curtis and Champion Jack Dupree performing. There's also a GREAT live recording available (Blues At Montreux). I own a copy on vinyl somewhere at home. Watching the guitarist, I remember thinking to myself; how cool is this guy? At 18 I knew music was pivotal in my life but still focused on how to turn it into a living. Fame and fortune are great but as far as I was concerned fame and fortune could have been two people who lived next door. I guess being an earth sign kept my head out of the clouds (sometimes). Also, I had to do something after college...but what? "Ladies and gentleman Cornell Dupree." With my eyes clued to the TV, his performance summed up everything.

In my estimation
Cornell Dupree had it all. Here was this man looking ultra cool on stage, television and most important, yes playing the guitar. I'd like that job any day. Researching, I needed to learn if this new discovery would be my latest "guitar hero."

At one point this man played on just about every hit record on the radio and on records that became staples in music history. It's harder to name artist's he didn't record with than those he did. In naming a few you'll have
Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Mariah Carey, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway, Miles Davis and Lena Horn you get the point. Cornell Dupree was the star behind the stars. I inquire who he'd like to play for, his face now beaming he replies Ray Charles. I know on the record Aretha Franklin Live at Fillmore west Cornell is part of the backing band when Ray Charles makes a cameo appearance. Other than this I'm not sure he ever recorded with Ray Charles but I know he wanted to. Steve Jordan, drummer and producer, introduced me to Cornell around the late '70's. By this time I was well versed on who the "gun for hire" from Fort Worth Texas was; as Cornell referred to himself. Steve and I had been friends for sometime. Early in our careers we played together on a few small gigs. Steve has an innate gift of hearing a song once then playing it back with all the right breaks. I've witnessed this on many occasion. In addition he's got this "killer groove" that makes the music feel good. These gifts found Steve to be one of New York's premier session drummers early on .

The corner building on 97th street and Columbus avenue in New York city housed a jazz club called
Mikell's. It operated from 1969 to 1991. Every serious musician during this time knew of Mikell's. Whether you played or hung out there it was one of the main if not the main place to be. Steve and I went to hear a band named Stuff. They were a six piece super group comprised of top notch studio musicians, New York's finest. When they played Mikell's, which they did often you could hardly get in. Movie stars, models, famous athletes all in attendance witnessing Stuff's blend of musical magic. In it's midst perched on a bar stool located on a tiny stage was; you guessed it Cornell Dupree. His appearance was far more than fitting for this elite ensemble.

During the break Steve suggested we go downstairs to say hello. By now he'd known these guys fairly well. When
Stuff became the backing band for Joe Cocker Steve sometimes covered for their regular drummer Steve Gadd or Chris Parker. Downstairs at Mikells had multi-purposes; office, storage, dressing room and a place where musicians and friends would conjugate. Mostly conjugating where you'd tune up downstairs before you tuned up on stage. Steve shared with me his first experience on the tour bus with Stuff and Joe Cocker. Concerned about a few things Steve had questions on what to expect. Steve being younger was reassured everything was fine. "Don't worry" they told him, "relax." "It's gonna be great." He asked if he'd get the chance to rehearse before the show. "Sure" they tell him. "We're heading there now." During this exchange he smells something burning... looking up he realizes they're already at the show. Jokingly they tell Steve the bus ride was the rehearsal and they're all tuned up. Steve, I'm sure played well that night.

Cornell Dupree was like meeting a musical folklore legend. Memories of those amazing stories about Chuck Rainy, King Curtis and their extraordinary sessions shall remain. Never really close yet feeling regret for losing contact; I was totally unaware of his impact on my life until his passing. In remembering Cornell Dupree I've learned about blues great Albert Collins and the influence Collins' music had on Dupree. I was informed that he called his guitar fills "little diddle-daddles." I'd study Cornell's right hand guitar technique where he'd tickle the strings with his middle finger. Adapting his use of the pinkie to turn the volume knob, obtaining his signature crying sound also came in handy.

For me the highlight of it all was one single phone call. A record producer had called me for a three week recording session. "By the way" he said "you'll be playing this date along side
Cornell Dupree." That session was more than 30 years ago. However, as a result of that session I'm sure evidence will prove Mr. Cornell Dupree is part of my musical DNA.