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Born on this day ...
Justin Currie was born on this day in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1964. He is also known as ‘Ruby’, lol! His nickname allegedly has something to do with the cockney rhyming slang for curry which is ‘Ruby Murray’. It’s a Brit thing. Not entirely sure how a Scot, particularly a Glaswegian, ended up with a nickname of Sassenach origins, but unlikelier things, while exceedingly rare, have no doubt happened!!
 
Anyway – he was the founder and lead singer/songwriter of Del Amitri – an alt rock/power pop band. The band name has absolutely no meaning whatsoever, but it seems to me to be those names that were just pulled out of the ether that attract the most interest and attention, and encourage all sorts of wild and wonderful speculation – none of it correct. They are defunct, at this point, and Currie has since made four solo albums with his most recent, This Is My Kingdom Now, released in May this year.
 
From Del Amitri’s Change Everything



"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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Denny Dias was born on this day in 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

He is a guitarist and was a founding member of Steely Dan which, according to Wiki, came about thus –

Dias was working with his own band out of his basement in Hicksville, Long Island, when he placed an ad in The Village Voice in the summer of 1970 that read: "Looking for keyboardist and bassist. Must have jazz chops! Assholes need not apply". Donald Fagen and Walter Becker responded to the advertisement. They joined his band and immediately began playing their own material. Dias fired the rest of the band, and the three of them moved to California, adding drummer Jim Hodder, guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, and vocalist David Palmer before recording for ABC/Dunhill Records as Steely Dan.”
 
His final stint as a full-time member of the band was on the Katy Lied tour, but he continued to contribute to albums as a session musician up to Aja. He recorded with a few other musicians, did a tour with Toto and made one solo album which is elusive. Having taken up computer programming and abandoning the music biz as a permanent occupation, he still dabbles now and then – last appearing with Spanky and Our Gang in 2015.
 
The sitar solo is his … 



"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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Happy Birthday to Benny Andersson, pianist and songwriter extraordinaire - of ABBA fame of course. He was born on this day in 1946, in Vällingby, Sweden.

Benny had had a musical career prior to ABBA, with The Hep Stars, and he continued to have one afterwards too, composing music for film, scoring musicals such as Chess and Mamma Mia, along with Björn Ulvaeus (with whom he collaborated in both pre and post-ABBA days), and playing and recording with his Benny Andersson Orkester which is ongoing, I believe. He released a solo album this year simply titled Piano. Must listen to it sometime - CH reviewed it, if I'm not mistaken. 

ABBA split up in 1982 after one intense decade during which they made a massive and indelible impression upon the world of pop. They were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, and are unlikely to be forgotten any time soon. Benny and Björn wrote most of the band’s material and whatever the magical formula was that they had going, it worked like a dream. They have to be one of the most successful song-writing duos ever. I can’t believe it’s so easy to remember the lyrics to songs I haven’t heard in absolute aeons, this one, for example, which is one of my favourites, and incidentally, the longest track they recorded at 5 minutes and 51 seconds … 



"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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Keith Richards was born on this day in 1943, in the ‘Garden of England’, Kent. Riff-maker for the Rolling Stones, and seemingly physically indestructible despite many and varied shenanigans which might have finished off a less resilient individual. He hardly needs an introduction, having successfully acquired himself a solid reputation as something of a reprobate. There’s a funny meme going around which says “We need to start worrying about what kind of world we are leaving for Keith Richards”, lol!!
 
He has around 3,000 guitars which seems a little excessive, but then excess is (or was) his stock in trade – he also, surprisingly, owns a rather magnificent library and is a reader of note, stating that he has leanings towards being a librarian. Now there’s a turn up for the books!! Big Grin He likes his acoustic instruments, regarding the acoustic guitar as the basis for his playing, which has been referred to as direct and unpretentious. It also seems to have been his playing that often drove, or led the band, rather than anyone else taking that role (Bill Wyman, for example).
 
Producer and guest artist on many albums, for many other musicians, he’s released three solo efforts and I’ve listened to the most recent, or a large part of it. Not my cup of tea but quite interesting to hear nonetheless – some strangely endearing ballads. Funny enough – his voice puts me in mind of Mark Knopfler x Bob Dylan now and then (which is where any similarity stops, and with apologies for the blasphemy).  
 
His many clangers have been widely quoted, which is what happens when you’re an irreverent, high profile rock star, but he has been known to remark that when, and if it turns out he is not actually immortal, he’d "…. like to croak magnificently, onstage." 

One of those aforementioned songs from his Crosseyed Heart ... 



"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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John McEuen was born on this day in 1945, in Oakland, California. Founder of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and multi-instrumentalist/master of stringed things. His solo album, Acoustic Traveller, is just marvelous and I’m exceeding frustrated not to be able to find any YouTube clips from it that are available in my country, aargh! McEuen plays banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, guitar, etc., – all fantastically well. IMHO, his music is well worth seeking out. 

This is the first track from Acoustic Traveller, “Gipsy Knights” – from Deezer … http://www.deezer.com/en/track/10113250, and another which is lovely is “Old Country” but can't seem to link directly. The whole album here … http://www.deezer.com/en/album/925068.
 
Managed to find a live clip of the title track (or a portion of it) with his String Wizards, but the album version is better, I think ...  



"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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Peter John 'Pete' Sinfield was born on this day in 1943, in Fulham, London. Poet (he writes haiku), songwriter and lyricist most famously associated with Emerson, Lake & Palmer and prior to that, with King Crimson; he did quite a lot for KC in actual fact, including coming up with their name, running their light shows and advising them where to source their hippie clothing, lol! He collaborated very closely with Greg Lake and between them they wrote some pretty amazing stuff for both bands – he produced one solo album, Still, on ELP’s own label, Manticore, on which Greg Lake featured heavily, as did a number of other esteemed muso’s – Mel Collins, for one. 

After ELP, Sinfield had some pop moments, writing or co-writing songs that became hits for Bucks Fizz, Celine Dion (“Think Twice”), Leo Sayer, Five Star, Cliff Richard and Cher.

Apparently he is still actively songwriting as well as having become a devoted herbalist and alternative medicine enthusiast following some health issues; he is also a keen cook and gardener. 
 
Would have posted "I Talk to the Wind", in addition, but can't find a satisfactory clip - love this one though …



"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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Ray Thomas was born on this day in 1941, in Stourport-on-Severn, England. He may well be the original rock n roll flautist! A founding member of the Moody Blues and singer/songwriter with the band as well as playing that heavy metal instrument and a couple more besides - piccolo, oboe, harmonica and saxophone. 

He seems to have co-written most successfully with Justin Hayward and was responsible for originating some lovely psychedelic sounding songs in the earlier days. He also released two solo albums, but they definitely worked better together as a group than individually, methinks; personal preference of course - I'm not sold on those solos. 



"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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Happy Birthday to the elusive and enigmatic Mark Hollis who was born on this day in 1955, in Tottenham, London, England. The lead singer and driving creative force behind Talk Talk and one of contemporary music’s more mysterious characters. After the band’s fifth album which was released in 1991, and his eponymous solo album released in 1998, he retired from the music industry, resurfacing on rare occasions but never really long enough to pin down. There are the odd interviews on YT which help to shed some light, but essentially, he is an unusual person who has his very own decided mind and opinions and who appears not to be swayed or influenced by the trappings and/or particularly, the adulation afforded by fame, fortune and the like; how very refreshing!
 
There was a whole lot more going on in Talk Talk than your regular 80’s synthpop outfit, but they were of that time and I expect fared less well commercially than they might have, having only brought out an album every two years – very careful and fastidious about what was recorded – nothing wrong with that! A mere five, almost perfect albums later – they were gone – and ultimately, I suspect it served them well. Hollis viewed his voice as an instrument that should, in effect, have been written (notated) into the score of whatever they were working on – his aim was for the voice to sit in the mix equal to any other sound, and for the most part, I think he managed to achieve his objective. On the other hand, he had a thing about improvisation and from what I can tell, I also think he is/was a perfectionist and probably not that easy to work with – incredibly intense. Anyway - all of that is moot, and ...
 
there's this – from The Colour of Spring



"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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Happy birthday to country singers Patty Loveless and Deana Carter today!

God bless you and them always!!!

Holly
Listen to my most favorite singer here sometime, James Otto that is!
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I pray that country singer Trace Adkins is having himself a safe and awesome 56th birthday today!

God bless you and him always!!!

Holly (a day one fan of Trace)
Listen to my most favorite singer here sometime, James Otto that is!
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