The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eric Clapton & Petite Petite

Eric Clapton is probably my all time favorite guitarist, especially when he plays the blues. He is a consummate guitarist whether he’s playing electric or acoustic, but acoustic really shows off his skills as a bluesman. I’ve followed him since he was with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Cream is still my favorite group. The selections below are all acoustic and there are some interesting ones. Lots of Robert Johnson tunes. Check out the solo acoustic versions of Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love and Outside Woman Blues. And his bluesy version of Somewhere over the Rainbow is wonderfull…one of my favorite songs that I used to play in coffee houses, but I did more of a Livingston Taylor arrangement. Hope you gain a new appreciation for his artistry.

W/ Mark Knofler: Layla:

Driftin Blues:

Sunshine of your Love:

Malted Milk:

Key to the Highway:

Ramblin on My Mind:

Outside Woman Blues:

Love in Vain:

Stones in my Passway:

Got you on my Mind:

Change the World:

Broken Hearted with John Mayer:

Crossroads with Robert Randolph, John Mayer, & Sheryl Crow:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow:

And since Eric is quite a bold guitarist, he needs a bold wine. Michael David makes one of my favorite zinfandels, namely Seven Deadly Zins. This is another great wine from him. Petite Petite ($15.00) is a blend of 15% Petit Verdot and 85% Petite Sirah. Dark in color, it hits your nose with a burst of dark berries and a hint of caramel and plum. It explodes in your mouth with black raspberry, blueberries and dark cherries. Petite Sirah can be very heavy, but the Verdot seems to lighten it just enough. It’s long lingering palate of cherries and spice. It’s almost sweet for a dry wine. Very nice. Enjoy!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Smither, Raitt, & Sauvignon Blancs

Well, I’m back after two weeks on the road traveling on business. It’s difficult to blog from a hotel room as I usually use a Sprint connection which isn’t the best thing for embedding videos. So, tonight I’ve got two of my favorites. One is strictly out of the mainstream, although you’ve probably heard his songs done by the second artist who went from obscurity to pop stardom.

Chris Smither is a fabulous folk artist and a great finger picker. I heard him back in 1990 and was fascinated by his music. He’s also one of Bonnie Raitt’s favorite songwriters. She does his song, “Love Me Like A Man” better than anyone. Also, in my humble opinion, Bonnie Raitt is one of the best slide guitarists around. I first heard her in Chicago back in 1974 at a Soundstage concert, just her and her guitar. Wow, she was amazing. The last song in her set, SRV shuffle features Jimmy Vaughn, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Robert Cray, all blues greats. Anyway, here’s some blues for ya.

Chris Smither
Train Home:

Crocodile Man:

Origin of Species:

Statesborough Blues:

2000 Lotus Blossom Festival:

Drive you home again:

Lay the old man down:

Bonnie Raitt:

Love me like a man:

With John Lee Hooker; I’m in the Mood:

Pride & Joy:

Thing called Love:

SRV Shuffle:

Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite summer wines. They are crisp, light, and refreshing, great for sipping on a warm summer night while I sit on my deck and watch the stars. The Wine Spectator featured American Sauvignon Blancs in its latest issue and I’m glad to see them getting more press, however, for my money, and yours for that matter, I don’t think you can beat New Zealand for Sauvignon Blanc.

California versions of this wine are usually characterized by a lemony citrus and apple bouquet and palate. While some are very good, they can also be a bit harsh or biting compared to their neighbors down under. New Zealand versions seem to be softer, yet just as crisp with overtones generally dominated by a grapefruit bouquet and palate.

Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($16.00) is a classic New Zealand style wine. It has that citrus grapefruit bouquet and light crisp palate, rich in grapefruit and pinapple. It’s got a bit of a peppery finish with a very pleasant zing. I rank it up there with my favorites (Whitehaven-$20.00 and Kim Crawford-$16.00).

In contrast, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2007 also comes from Marlborough—the region that produces the best Sauvignon Blancs in New Zealand. The intensity in the nose is not as strong or distinct as other Sauvignon Blancs from the region. It has more of a California Sauvignon Blanc nose and flavor with hints of lemon, green apple, pear, and mineral flavors. The finish is crisp and long.

Both wines are good. The Wine Spectator rated the Nobilo a 92 while it gave the Kim Crawford a 90, although it included the Kim Crawford in its list of 100 best wines for 2008. My wife likes the Nobilo whereas I like the Nautilus, Kim Crawford and Whitehaven best. Just goes to show you that while the ratings of the various wine guides may give you a general idea of what’s good, in the end it comes down to a matter of taste.

You can’t go wrong with any of these. Try one this week and enjoy!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Goals, guitars, and Champagne

So, tonight is a celebration for me. Last January 23rd, I said I was going on a diet with a goal or losing 61 lbs and going from 247 to 185. Quite the task and I wasn’t sure I could do it. But this morning, I weighed 184. Success!! That calls for a celebration so I’m breaking the usual $25.00 price cap on my reviews and presenting Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne. It’s one of France’s best and ranges in price between $37.00 (my price) and $50.00. Wine magazines rated it as follows:
Wine News Rating: 92
Wine Spectator rating: 91
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 92

One of the marks of high quality champagne is the size of the bubbles: the smaller, the better. The Perrier Jouet is fresh and lively with tiny, spiraling bubbles, delicate citrus and honey bouquet, and subtle complex flavors of dry fruit, vanilla, and nuts with a hint of shortbread and butter. Very clean taste with no bitterness or aftertaste. A truly grand champagne…and I deserve it!

And to complete the celebration: some of my favorite electric guitarists. Jimi Hendrix version of Watchtower is, in my opinion, one of the greatest songs ever performed, although I still ling the studio version best. Stevie Ray’s Crossfire is one of his best songs and Scuttle Buttin is some seriously amazing picking. I’ve included a non-video memorial to him with Life By The Drop, which symbolizes his life and recovery from drugs and alcohol. Jeff Beck is one of the most creative guitarists I’ve ever heard. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers is a classic. Also found a couple of duets of his with Eric Clapton, another of my fav’s. And last but not least, one of my blues favorites, Robin Ford. I love his song, “Start it up.” By the way, all you bassists, Robin’s bassist is Roscoe Beck, also one of my favorites. Hope you enjoy them.


P.S. if the links don't work, click on the link to my myspace site at the bottom of the page. tose seem to be fine.

Jimi Hendrix:
All Along The Watchtower:
Purple Haze:
Red House:
Machine Gun:
Who Knows:

Stevie Ray Vaughn:
Scuttle Buttin:
Texas Flood:
Little Wing:
In Memory of Stevie: Life by the Drop:
Willie the Wimp:
Mary Had A Little Lamb:

Jeff Beck:
Cause we’ve ended as lovers:
A Day In The Life:
Freeway Jam:
With Eric Clapton
Further up the road:
You Need Love:

Robin Ford:
Rumba Blues:
Start it up:
You Cut Me to the Bone:
Talk to your daughter:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Artesa Pinot Noir & a Bass Guitar Extravaganza

Tonight, I’ve got a really nice 2007 Pinot Noir from Artesa (Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir). It’s normally about $25.00 a bottle, but it was on sale for $19.00. Beautiful garnet color with a bouquet of strawberries and cherries. On the palate, the nose is repeated augmented by hints of chocolate and light tannins. Very smooth drinker. An excellent Pinot Noir.

And to go with the wine, I’ve got something different. When I started reviewing guitarists, I mentioned that since I used to be a bass player (note the past tense) I liked a bit of “da funk” in my guitar music. Thus you hear a lot of slappers and tappers here. Well, tonight I decided to give y’all a taste of da funk. Below, you’ll find some of my favorite bassists. The list is by no means complete. Victor Wooten was reviewed individually so I didn’t repeat him here. But these are some of the best in a diversity of genres. Hope you enjoy them!

Jeff Berlin
Tears in Heaven:
Bebop Solo:
Jaco & Jeff:
With Frank Gambale:

Mark King (with Level 42)
Mr. Pink Bass solo:
Love Games:
The Chinese Way:

Billy Shehan:
Misc. song:

Alain Caron:
Slap solo:
Ink Illusion:

Jaco Pastorius
Portrait of Tracy:
Teen town: One of the greatest bass songs ever written or played.
Birdland: Great song. One of my favorites by Weathereport

Dominique Di Piazza
With John McLaughlin & Trilok Gurtu:
Little Rose:

Kai Eckhardt
Solo #1:
Solo # 2:

Rocco Prestia
Funk Bass Lesson:
Only So Much Oil On The Ground:


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Michael Chapdelaine & a nice Sauvignon Blanc

Michael Chapdelaine is unique. He plays both fingerpicking steel string and classical guitar. In fact, he’s the only person to win both the Winfield National Finger Style championship and the Guitar foundation of America’s International Classical Guitar Competition. I’ve included one of his videos of a Bach prelude as well as his contemporary fingerstyle arrangements. I absolutely love his version of California Dreamin. And when I first started playing the guitar and bass back in the late ‘60’s, I had every Ventures album ever recorded. Walk Don’t Run was always a favorite. But the crowning contemporary song, for me at least, is More Than Words. Beautiful! (Links aren't working tonight so copy & paste them into your browser or check out my myspace site

California Dreamin:

Come Together:

Rain dance:

Heard it through the grapevine:

Walk Don’t run:

More than Words:

Bach Prelude:

I find Michael’s music soothing to listen to, so how about a Starborough Sauvignon Blanc to accompany it. Summertime is gonna hit hard this week here in Nebraska. We’re expecting temperature-humidity indices over 100 degrees. When the weather gets hot, I like a Sauvignon Blanc to refresh my parched mouth. Starborough is from New Zealand, so it’s got that citris grapefruit bouquet with a light, crisp taste of lime, grapefruit, and a hint of pear. A very tropical wine and great for beating the heat, especially since it’s about $13.00 a bottle. Try some when the heat hits.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mark Knopfler and Rosenblum Zinfandel

Tonight, I’m featuring an electric fingerpicker: Mark Knopfler, better know as the lead guitarists for one of my favorite bands, Dire Straits. Back about 1980-81, a haunting song came on the radio entitled Sultans of Swing. The guitar rift was distinctive and hooked me. To this day, it’s one of my favorite songs. I spent six years in Kuwait working with the World Health Organization from 1984 to 1990 and spent a lot of time listening to Dire Straits. My other favorite of Knopfler’s is Money for Nothing. I have a memory of sitting behind the wheel of a friend’s Porsche 959 ripping through a set of twisting turns as the intro played, and just as Mark hit that opening riff, coming out of the last turn and accelerating to 165 mph down a long, straight highway out into the desert. What a rush! That memory always pops up when I hear it. Check out Mark’s style. It’s unique among rock guitarists.

Sultans of Swing (original):

Sultans of Swing Guitar later version:

Money for Nothing:

Brothers in Arms:

Ride Across the River:

Where Do You Think You’re Going:

Down to the Waterline:

In the Gallery:

Six Blade Knife:

When the economy is in “Dire Straits” zinfandel sales seem to rise. People have less discretionary income to spend on wine and zinfandels top out around $40.00 a bottle with the exception of a few exclusive brands. I’m always on the lookout for good buys as in getting a premium priced wine for under my $25.00 price limit here. Perusing my local grocery store’s stock, I found that they had an overstock sale on 2006 Rosenblum Lake County Zinfandel from Snows Lake Vineyard. The wine normally sells for about $35.00 but I got it for $20.00. Rosenblum Cellars is know for their zins. They’re big fruity wines and this was no exception.

One suggestion: let the bottle breath for a half hour and it’ll really open up. Dark purple color. Explosive dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee on the nose. The taste is powerful, full of deep, dense, blackberry, black raspberry and dark chocolate flavors augmented by soft tannins. It’s a juicy, almost sweet wine with a long, jammy finish. Really nice. I liked it so much I snuck back and bought four more bottles. And if no one discovers it by Saturday, I’ll buy a few more. Enjoy!