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Born on this day ...
Hans-Joachim Roedelius was born on this day in 1934, in Berlin, Germany. He is probably the great granddaddy of Krautrock, or one of very few of them, at any rate! Apparently he was, against his own will, made a member of the very youngest division of the Hitler youth – the Pimpfe. He might have spent the rest of his life rebelling against that imposition; at least two of the bands with which he is associated, Kluster (later Cluster) and Harmonia can in no way be said to be mainstream! And in fact, in the late sixties, he co-founded ‘Human Being’ a music commune, and was at the very hub of Berlin’s underground culture at that time, also co-forming the ‘Zodiak Free Arts Lab’. 
Throughout his exceedingly long career, he has dabbled extensively in a number of fields, electronica, experimental, avant-garde, industrial, ambient, etc. He is a pianist and guitarist and knows his way around a synth or two. He has collaborated with Dieter Moebius, Brian Eno and Tim Story among others, and alongside any number of joint releases, has 42 solo studio albums to his credit.
There’s a limit to my appetite for experimental/avant-garde music, but I quite like some of his more tuneful/melodic creations – not that I’ve touched on even the uppermost tip of this particular iceberg! These are some that stay with me …
Firstly, I just love this cover artwork; sunlight really does sparkle on water like that and is so incredibly joyful to see, and secondly, I think the track “Regenmacher” (Rainmaker, which should probably be playing continuously in our present drought stricken piece of the planet) is way ahead of its time (unlike our city planners ... but I digress) … Won't be to everyone's taste ... 

[Image: Durchdiewuste.jpg]
“Pink, Blue and Amber”, the title track from his album of the same name -
He plays piano on this track from Brian Eno’s Before and After Science
And I really like his collaboration with Tim Story, Inlandish – this is from that … 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Ali Ibrahim "Ali Farka" Touré was born on this day in 1939, in Timbuktu, Mali. He died in 2006, from bone cancer. In an inconceivably brutal hand dealt out to his parents, Touré was their tenth and only son surviving past infancy. His nickname, Farka, means donkey and was chosen, no doubt, to denote stubbornness and tenacity. He hung on, clearly!
An important figure in music on the African continent, he gained worldwide recognition for his guitar skills, particularly after his 1994 collaboration with Ry Cooder, who seems to have made it his mission in life to reveal sometimes obscure musicians to the planet at large, and what a good thing that is too! He was also a master of the njarka, a small fiddle which is native to Mali, made from a gourd with one gut string.
It would appear that Touré had the blues encoded in his DNA and it is said that he was the first African bluesman to achieve wide popularity on this continent, becoming known as the African John Lee Hooker; in fact, he appears in a 2003 documentary by Martin Scorsese, Feel Like Going Home, which traces the roots of the blues right back to West Africa. A year after that film was made, he went on to become the mayor of his impoverished childhood town, Niafunké, and admirably spent his own money on upgrading the roads and sewerage systems, as well as fuelling a generator to provide the town with electricity. Would that all the world’s politicians and office bearers were made of such philanthropic material!
During his lifetime he received two Grammy awards, was nominated for a third posthumously, and was ranked 76th on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time. There is more, I’m sure! His son, Vieux Farka Touré seems to be perpetuating his father’s legacy and the traditions of Malian folk music, and he too has been brought to the attention of a broader audience through collaboration – not with Ry Cooder this time, but with Idan Raichel – I love this song they made together -
But to get back to the gentleman in question - this is from Talking Timbuktu – Ali Farke Touré with Ry Cooder … 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Joseph ‘Joe’ Bouchard was born on this day in 1948, in Watertown, New York. He and his marginally older brother, Albert, were members of Blue Öyster Cult – Albert, a founder member, on drums and vocals, and Joe on bass (although originally a regular guitarist) and vocals; he also plays keys and the trumpet. Both were with the band during its most successful period, the 70’s and early 80’s, I’d say.
After leaving BÖC in 1986, he participated in a couple of projects, including with his brother, and with Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith of Alice Cooper notoriety.  Interestingly, later in life Bouchard completed a master’s degree in music and I’m not sure whether he’s retired now, (assumptions being nothing short of dangerous) but his degree allowed him to teach his subject at several preparatory schools, which he duly did. He also released a few solo albums, one in particular on which he played all the instruments and sang (sad to say, after taking a cursory listen, that’s all I’ll be doing!). A case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts IMHO – BÖC made a bit of an impact back in the day.
This was written by Joe Bouchard and he took his turn on lead vocal here too (as they all did at some point or another) … “Nosferatu” -
A quintessential BÖC song – “Burnin’ for You” -
“Astronomy” -
“Then Came the Last Days of May” -
And the 'more cowbell' model - 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Bonnie Dobson was born on this day in 1940, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She was a folk singer and guitarist who seems to stopped recording in 1972. I know of her because she wrote “Morning Dew” which later, controversially, had a co-writing credit appended to it by one Tim Rose who had allegedly heard Fred Neil singing a version of it and who then went on to arrange it with a much rockier feel. Personally, I think he was rather opportunistic – so if someone re-arranges your song, suddenly they co-wrote it??! Doesn’t seem right to me - maybe I'm missing something.
This is her original -
The Grateful Dead made it famous and it’s been covered by a number of artists. This is my favourite rendition, which admittedly is a loooot punchier than Ms Dobson’s, but it’s not a different song – Long John Baldry … 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
James V. Young was born on this day in 1949, in Chicago, Illinois. He is the lead guitarist and sometime vocalist for Styx and has appeared on all their albums as well as having released three solo affairs; he’s also at home on the keys and synths. He tends to have been responsible (or co-responsible) for some of the heavier songs in the Styx catalogue, “Snowblind” being one of them … live, from their 1996 Return to Paradise tour …
“Double Life” from Kilroy Was Here – he wrote and took lead vocal on this one …
And I love “Boat on the River”, which he didn’t write – Tommy Shaw did – that’s Young on the acoustic guitar … 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Bruce Randall Hornsby was born on this day in 1954, in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. He is, of course, a great piano/keyboard player and has produced several big hits, the best known of which is “The Way It Is” – his brother John co-wrote quite a lot with him in the early days and he gets some credit for those too. Hornsby has a relaxed playing style, has been associated with a number of different artists (a lot with the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia, in particular - made over 100 appearances with them) and doesn’t limit himself to playing in a specific genre which has led to some ground-breaking music making – for example, his collaboration with bluegrass luminary, Ricky Skaggs. No-one imagined the piano would work, but it does. In another unprecedented move, he doesn't play piano at all on his 2016 album with the Noisemakers, Rehab Reunion - he plays the dulcimer. 
The overall impression is that he's been a busy person, Mr Hornsby, not only playing with his own bands, but also working as a sideman and producer. He is a big sports fan as well, getting out on the basketball court both as player and spectator. He and his wife named their twin sons Keith and Russell after Keith Jarrett and Leon Russell respectively.
“The Valley Road” …
“The End of the Innocence” with Don Henley …
“Across the River” …
“Mandolin Rain” … – and the version with Ricky Skaggs, because I like it …
And the big one … “The Way It Is” … 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Scott Joplin was born on this day in 1868 or 1867, nobody seems quite sure – in Northeast Texas, USA. He earned the title ‘King of Ragtime’, in case anyone didn’t know. Had a tough time growing up and a not much easier one as an adult. He was a hardworking travelling/entertaining musician which may be what led to his early demise, at 48, from a nasty disease which is acquired in certain less than salubrious circles. He went crazy which is a bit sad. Before all that though, he composed many pieces which have held their own over time, and a couple of operas. He was never recorded playing himself but was said to be an astonishingly good pianist and has left a lasting legacy. 
I’m sure most people are acquainted with “The Entertainer” -, and of course, “The Maple Leaf Rag” – in this instance as arrange by Keith Emerson, from Works, Volume 2 …

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
James Melvin ‘Jim’ Messina was born on this day in 1947, in Maywood, California. He was a founding member of Poco and prior to that had done a brief stint with Buffalo Springfield, but he actually recorded an LP at the tender age of 16 with ‘His Jesters’ – surf rock.
He left Poco suffering from exhaustion due to the touring and recording schedule and decided to move into producing instead of performing himself, however, that was not to be; he got so heavily involved in producing Kenny Loggins that he ended up being credited on the album cover (I strongly suspect he might be a production pedant, to put it politely – or to put it impolitely, a bit of a control freak which is probably not a bad thing), and that was pretty much that – Loggins and Messina were an item, so to speak. They became a premier mid-1970’s soft rock duo. Seven successful releases later, they split up and went their separate solo ways. (Try saying that fast, lol!)
He’s since made eight records himself and has been involved in reunion tours for both Poco and Loggins and Messina. I have acquired several of their joint, and one of his solo albums which are languishing in my pile of freebie vinyls. Have not listened to them yet … so much to hear, so little time!! Messina is a fairly mean guitarist IMHO, and in addition to singing, he also plays mandolin, dobro and bass. Latterly he has gone on to pursue his interest in Latin sounds – Flamenco, etc.
This is from Buffalo Springfield’s Last Time Around, written and sung by Messina …
I expect most people will recognise this song, from that fateful first release – Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In … “Danny’s Song” …
And then there’s this, which I’ve chosen because it’s from one of those aforementioned LPs - Full Sail…  

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
the only one of their albums I own
I like it

^^Good to know. I will give it a full listen soon.

Peter Lawrence Buck was born on this day in Berkeley, California, in 1956. He is the co-founder and lead guitarist of R.E.M. He too is a producer and has a couple of solo albums to his credit as well as appearing as a guest on the albums of a long list of other musicians. Aside from his guitar playing, he is known to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of music and to be the owner of a huge collection of records – around 25,000. He must have one helluva vinyl shed, lol!!
There is Michael Stipe’s distinctive presence, of course, but Peter Buck’s guitar work is largely responsible for a decided R.E.M. sound which is distinguishable even when he’s playing away from them; here, for example, with The Decemberists …
I’m finding it quite shocking that Automatic for the People turns 25 this year!! Where did the time go??? Great album –

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson

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