How’d You Get That Name?

Years before the band existed, my girlfriend showed me a tiny little pen knife, maybe 2″ long. It was a salesman’s sample, with BARLOW SAMPLE X24 etched on the blade. I grabbed the blade and declared myself “Barlow Sample, agent X24”.

 A few times at our local bar, I pulled it out and, threatening no one in particular, lisped “My name is Barlow Thample, baby! I have a blade with my name on it. Mess with me and I’ll cut you”. People laughed. Before long, it became a bit of a thing and folks started calling me Barlow and demanded to be “threatened” with the puny weapon. 

 Like most silly jokes, it ran its course.

 Fast forward a couple of years. I’m in a new band. We’re struggling to come up with the perfect name. We try out ‘the Fontaine Brothers’ and other non-starters before unanimously agreeing that the name needs to be one word. Yes, one word! Absolutely. Definitely! But which word? My partner comes up with Pudenda, which stuck for maybe 11 hours. 

 One night, we’re sitting with a couple of our best buddies, perhaps under the influence of a certain herbal combustible, when I blurt out, “Barlow”. The four us laugh our asses off. And then, one by one, they giggle, “THAT’S THE NAME!” 

 And we solemnly agreed. The band shall be Barlow.

 We couldn’t wait for the next day’s rehearsal to tell our band mates what we were calling this new destined-for-glory outfit.

 When the glee settled down, I said,
“But in my heart, it will always be the Barlow Sample Band” (again, pronounced Thample)
My partner said, “Yeah, but we agreed that it would be one word – Barlow”
I responded, “Yes. Agreed. Totally. It’s Barlow. End of story. I’m just saying… IN MY HEART, it will be the Barlow Thample Band”.
Partner: Enough already, We agreed. It’s Barlow. One freakin’ word!
Me: Yes. It’s Barlow. No argument. I’m just saying that, in my heart….

This actually went back and forth for several more minutes.

 Finally, I gave up in frustration. I stood up and snarled, “Tomorrow, I’m showing up at rehearsal with a t-shirt that says, “the Barlow Sample Band, Baby!” and you’ll all be begging me for one” and I left. 

I went home and designed and printed one shirt.

 The next day, I walked into rehearsal with my new ‘the Barlow Sample Band, Baby! shirt’. On first sight, my band mates all said, “THAT is the name of the band”. I unconvincingly replied, “But we all agreed it would be a one word name”. 

 Over the years, I printed that logo dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Each print used different combos and swirls of silkscreen paint. No two shirts were alike, “and for the coup-de-gras” I handed one to Walter Becker at a street festival we played in Lower Manhattan (with Patti Smith).

That was “outrageous, oh honey, let me tell you” 🤣

 The knife? I still have it! Actually, I now have TWO. Found another one on eBay several years back. And, just today, I saw another one on eBay. Am I supposed to not buy it?

*This post contains lyrics from Steely Dan’s Showbiz Kids, written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

Now playing – To Bonnie From Delaney

Delaney and Bonnie were one of those acts…

They were loved and cherished by musicians, and certainly had a following, but never enjoyed huge commercial success. But if you look at the folks who played with them – superstars left their own projects just to be part of something bigger than themselves. I mean, jeez! What band had “sidemen” like George Harrison and Eric Clapton and Duane Allman? Sure, I’m a superstar, a legend, an icon, but all I want to do is go on the road with Delaney and Bonnie. Impressive.

 This album was a staple in our home when I was 13 or 14. All of the composing, singing, and playing are inspired. The arrangements are perfect and hey – if Tom Dowd was behind the desk, you know it’s going to sound amazing. And it still does, even 50 years further on up the road.

 Side note – Delaney Bramlett belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From the incredible number of sessions he played on, to the great songs he wrote and performed to the fact that he taught Eric Clapton how to sing and taught George Harrison how to play slide guitar. Legend!

Little Richard Penniman

The first time I became fully aware of Little Richard was when I heard him playing piano on Delaney and Bonnie’s version of his song Miss Ann (from To Bonnie From Delaney, produced by Tom Dowd). I mean, I knew who Richard was, but he wasn’t on 12 year old Joey’s play list.

D&B, on the other hand… man, I knew their 4th record by heart. I was even blessed to see them live in Central Park, King Curtis’s last show before his untimely death.

I was blown away to discover this video today – arguably the greatest rock and roll band ever assembled. I mean, this is 1969. The Beatles still existed. Look at this lineup:

Bonnie Bramlett – vocals
Delaney Bramlett – guitar and vocals
Jim Gordon – drums
Carl Radle – bass
Bobby Whitlock – keyboards
Billy Preston – keyboards
Jim Price – trumpet
Bobby Keys – sax
Rita Coolidge – vocals


Oh yeah… and on guitars, Eric Clapton and George Harrison

Leon must have been busy that day 🙂

Not sure how many R&R Hall of Famers have served as sidemen on other people’s’ recordings of their own tunes, but this tells you about all you need to know about the Bramletts!

Now playing: Leon Russell

Somewhere, around 1970, this guy shows up, seemingly out of nowhere, and he hit like a cyclone. He was known as the Master of Space and Time and he was the classic “women want him, men want to be like him”. My Mom declared that she wanted to run away with him. One minute, he was playing with Delaney and Bonnie, then George Harrison, then Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton. He was everywhere and he was a force.

 His debut album arrived with mystery, just two simple unsmiling black and white portraits of the man, with liner notes dedicating the record to his favorite musicians. Rumors abounded that this list was actually the guys appearing on the record. As it turned out later, the rumors were true; this “unknown rookie” was backed up by George and Ringo, Mick and Keith and Bill and Charlie, Clapton, Klaus Voorman, D&B, Steve Winwood… 

 The songs were strong, Glyn Johns’ recording made you feel like you were in the room, and that voice, there was never anyone like him, before or since. Then there was the piano playing – raucous, rocking, gospel, bass heavy and rollicking. He was a pure original.

 Eventually, we learned that we’d known Leon all along. He had played on Strangers in the Night with Sinatra, he played on all of Phil Spector’s classics, played on Pet Sounds and Mr. Tambourine Man (Byrds version), played with the Monkees, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Glen Campbell… shit, he was on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis when he was 15! He was both a Shindog and a member of the Wrecking Crew. The dude was in the T.A.M.I. show!

 And Leon wrote hits. Lots and lots of hits, from Delta Lady (Joe Cocker) to Superstar (the Carpenters), This Masquerade (George Benson), Hummingbird (BB King) to his best known song, the lead track from this debut album, A Song For You, which was recorded by Amy Winehouse and literally 200 other artists.

 When you read his list of credits, there’s just one wow after another (Day After Day by Badfinger?!)

 Without knowing it, Leon had been around for my whole life, but this album was the first time I knew his name – Leon Russell, legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Now Playing – the Band

Now Playing – the Band

 Over the decades, I keep rediscovering this album. Every so many years, I pick it back up and rather than merely retaining its glory, it gets better and better. I truly feel it is one of the top 10 records ever recorded. Every single song is a treasure, perfectly crafted, filled with emotion and humor, tremendous musicianship, outstanding production and three of the greatest singers who ever lived. It’s a perfect album. 

 I find that just mentioning the group members by name, I can get emotional. It moves me that much.

Levon Helm
Rick Danko
Richard Manuel
Robbie Robertson
Garth Hudson

  Some years back, when I was riding the music industry gravy train, EMI offered me the opportunity to have a gold record for ANY record from their catalog (except for the Beatles). ANY record. 

I chose this one! 

Now Playing: Fathers and Sons

 Music is subjective. It’s not reasonable to say something or someone is “the best”.

 But you can sure call something your favorite. 

 This album entered my home when I was 12 years old. By that time, I was already well familiar with Muddy Waters and Otis Spann as well as the Butterfield Blues Band (my intro was not East-West, but rather Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw). And I may or may not have known Donald “Duck” Dunn by name, but I was certainly familiar with his work with Otis Redding and Booker T and the MGs. So you put all of these world class musicians together, have them record Muddy’s greatest songs in Chicago for three days and then the very next day you put them in front of a crowd you get this – Fathers and Sons – my favorite blues record. 

 Put it this way, if someone told me that they wanted to get into the blues but didn’t know where to start, this is the first record I would recommend. No question. If this doesn’t hook you, then blues just ain’t for you.

Muddy Waters 
Otis Spann
Paul Butterfield 
Mike Bloomfield
Duck Dunne
Sam Lay

Now Playing: Are You Experienced

 I’m not a good enough writer to describe how important this album was/is to me. In short, this was my intro to the artist who 50 years on continues to be #1 on my list. Simply put, Jimi Hendrix completely reinvented what was possible with a guitar.

 He also wrote some pretty amazing melodies and his lyrics… his lyrics are… the dude was simply from another planet!  

Fun fact: per Chas Chandler, the Wind Cries Mary was recorded at the tail end of the session for Fire. “We had about twenty minutes or so left. I suggested we cut a demo of The Wind Cries Mary. Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding hadn’t heard it, so they were going about it without a rehearsal. They played it once through.” Jimi “put on four or five more overdubs, but the whole things was done in twenty minutes.”

Now playing: Bayou Country – CCR

Bayou Country was the 1st record I bought with my own money. 
Remember when records were 33 minutes long and, in CCR’s case, groups put out three records in the same year?
This is also the first record I can remember playing along with. Well, a little bit anyway, because I sucked at guitar when I was 12, a trait that continues to this day 🙂 But I was SO excited when I figured out that a first position C7 slid up to the 5th fret with both E strings left open to ring was an E7 and I played that opening riff to Born on the Bayou for hours on end. Then there was Fogerty’s voice, all swampy and southern sounding. And the record was so sparsely recorded. Lots of open space, nearly no overdubs, no background vocals, just a tight little four piece band rocking out. 

And they choogled.

Do the math. Please

 Been seeing a lot of people debating (arguing) over COVID-45 math. It’s always people downplaying the threat, puffing out their chests, demanding their spa day or beer fest (their “freedom”), and they throw around some minuscule percentages to support their positions. Problem is, they simply don’t know basic math. And they’re so damn proud of their ignorance. 

 Let me start by pointing out that 0.01 is not 1/10 of 1%. It’s just not! I’ll offer proof later.

 A couple of important notes when discussing COVID rates:
– Our data is incomplete. In the grand scheme of things, we know diddly squat! We have no clue how many cases there were before we starting recognizing them. How many people went to the doctor with symptoms in January and February that were not even considered as possible COVID infections?
– Less than 2% of Americans have been tested.

What we do “know” (numbers taken from Johns Hopkins this evening)
– There have been 6,231,182 tests to date.
– 17.16% of tests were positive (we could get into a whole other discussion over possible interpretations of that little nugget), resulting in:
– 1,069,424 confirmed cases in the US.
– These cases fit into one of two categories, active or resolved.
– A case can be resolved in only one of two ways, the patient has either recovered or they have died.
– 852,481 cases are active and 216,943 have been resolved.

 Active cases shouldn’t be considered in death count percentages because we have no idea how these cases will ultimately resolve. They’re ongoing, TBD, not concluded, still unresolved… 

Of the resolved cases:
153,947 survivors have recovered (71%)
62,996 souls have perished (29%)


Basic math lesson:
1) Can we agree that there are 100 pennies in a dollar?
2) Can we agree then that one penny is 1% of a dollar?
3) Can we agree that a whole dollar is written as $1.00?
4) Can we agree that a penny is written as 0.01?

Conclusion #1: 1% is written as 0.01. 5% is 0.05, etc.
Conclusion #2: If you disagree, you should go back to 5th grade (or refrain from publishing your ignorance, ffs).

Now Playing: the Rolling Stones – Out of Our Heads

When I was eight years old, my folks were ordering their 10 free records from Columbia Record Club and let my brother Jonathan and I pick one. We got Kicks by Paul Revere and the Raiders, which we quickly traded to a neighbor kid for Out of Our Heads.
The album is best known for the smash hits Satisfaction and the Last Time, and brilliant tunes like Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man, Play With Fire and Spider and the Fly, but it also marks the first time I heard a Marvin Gaye song (Hitchhike, decades later, a staple of IC3’s live set) or a Sam Cooke tune (Good Times), but here’s the kicker…
The album leads off with a cover of a relatively obscure American soul tune (barely cracked the top 40 in 1964), Mercy Mercy by Don Covay. Many, many years later, I learned that the guitar player on Covay’s version was an unknown kid named Jimi Hendrix.