Happy Birthday Carlos Vega

Happy Birthday Carlos Vega

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite drummers, Carlos Vega.  So I thought I would repost this piece in his honor.

I wanted to write about Carlos Vega.

Carlos Vega is a session drummer I would put right up there with Steve Gadd and Jim Keltner.

My first encounter with the name Carlos Vega was when I was reviewing the credits on James Taylor’s album “Hourglass”.

“Hour Glass” was suggested to me by my friend.  He wanted me to listen to the inner workings of the bass and drums.  We thought it was Lee Sklar and Russ Kunkel.  So I was surprised when I checked the credits online (You can’t sit and read the cover and liner notes like in the old days.) and saw the names Carlos Vega on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass.

At the time I wasn’t real familiar with either of them.  But over the past few years I have learned more and more about them and their work both separate and together.

The album “Hourglass” is a great album and the playing of Carlos Vega and Jimmy Johnson is great.

So after listening to this album over and over I started to see Carlos Vega’s name popping up on credits all over the place.  I started to seek out albums that he appeared on such as Michael Landau’s Tales from the Bulge and more James Taylor albums.  I found his name on the hit single “From A Distance” by Bette Midler.

The more I listened to him play the more I wanted to try to find out about him as a person. Continue reading

Carlos Vega

Carlos Vega

I wanted to write about Carlos Vega.

Carlos Vega is a session drummer I would put right up there with Steve Gadd and Jim Keltner.

My first encounter with the name Carlos Vega was when I was reviewing the credits on James Taylor’s album “Hourglass”.

“Hour Glass” was suggested to me by my friend Barney Lee.  He wanted me to listen to the inner workings of the bass and drums.  We thought it was Lee Sklar and Russ Kunkel.  So I was surprised when I checked the credits online (You can’t sit and read the cover and liner notes like in the old days.) and saw the names Carlos Vega on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass.

At the time I wasn’t real familiar with either of them.  But over the past few years I have learned more and more about them and their work both separate and together.

The album “Hourglass” is a great album and the playing of Carlos Vega and Jimmy Johnson is great.

So after listening to this album over and over I started to see Carlos Vega’s name popping up on credits all over the place.  I started to seek out albums that he appeared on such as Michael Landau’s Tales from the Bulge and more James Taylor albums.  I found his name on the hit single “From A Distance” by Bette Midler.

The more I listened to him play the more I wanted to try to find out about him as a person. Continue reading

Write As You Speak

Earlier I had written about brevity, storytelling and imagery.

I’ve been studying and really trying to listen to the lyrics of song writers that I like and admire.

What I find common in all these writers is that they tell their stories with simple and clear thoughts.  They write in a way that people speak.

I look at lyrics from aspiring song writers and see what they most likely perceive as clever as just being cryptic nonsense.

I am not saying that writing cannot be cryptic.  The phrases should read as if from a book, as if a narrative of the story.  They should read as if I was sitting with my friends and family telling them a story. Continue reading

Give Me The One

Give Me The One

Here’s another bit of life affirmation that has come my way.

I was down in my basement office (hopefully soon to be studio) and watching a program about James Brown and funk music.

They were doing an interview with Bootsy Collins who was James Brown’s bass player before he was with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

Bootsy was talking about how James Brown would say to him “You got to give me the one. I don’t care what you do with the other notes in between but you got to give me the one.”

It made me stop.  I never heard it said like that. Continue reading

My Top Ten Drummers – Not On Top Ten Lists

My Top Ten Drummers – Not On Top Ten Lists

I recently spent some time Googling “Top Drummers”.

That’s all that I typed in the search line.  I didn’t want to narrow it down to any particular genre or niche, just top drummers.

As I started to review the various lists I was stunned at the list of drummers that were absent from some of these lists.

I surmised most of these lists had to be compiled by and/or voted on by teenage to twenty something hormonal raging males.  They must have been looking at flash, speed, hype and in some cases the number of tattoos.

Of course these kinds of list are totally subjective and basically serve only one purpose, to entertain.   So I thought I would make a list of my top ten drummers that should be on these lists of top drummers.

These are in no particular order. Continue reading

Imagery and Storytelling II

Earlier I had written about imagery and storytelling in poetry and lyrics.  Today I want to write about what I think is a fine example of both imagery and storytelling in song writing.

James Taylor is a song writer who does an exceptional job with imagery and storytelling in his songwriting.  I could probably pick out dozens of examples but the one I chose today is from the song “Copperline” on his album “New Moon Shine”.

There are three lines in that song the just fill my head with a very detailed picture and piece of the story. Continue reading

Imagery and Storytelling

Imagery and Storytelling

One of the things I like best about trying to write lyrics and what I try to accomplish is evoking the imagery and telling a story.  It can be challenging and fun.

There are three artists that I really enjoy listening to for their music, their song writing and their lyrics.  They tell a story with imagery.

The imagery doesn’t have to be detailed.  It just has to invoke an image in my head, your head or whoever is listening.   Your image and my image may not be the same but what’s important is the words make you see an image.  They make you see a story in your head.

The three artists I have really been enjoying  are, Bob Dylan, Sting and James Taylor. Continue reading