The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
The Death Whisperer Series available at

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Buddy Whittington & E-1

Get ready to rock because tonight I’m featuring a monster guitarist, none other than Buddy Whittington. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he began playing the guitar at the age of eight. His early influences were other Texas bluesmen like Billy Gibbons, Johnny Winter, and Freddie King. But the blues really hit him between the eyes when he heard an album featuring a fiery Les-Paul-wielding Eric Clapton playing with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.

While playing local gigs around Texas, he was spotted by none other than Mayall himself who got his contact information, but didn’t follow up until two years later when Coco Montoya left the Bluesbreakers. He was invited to join the band in 1983 and continued with Mayall until 2008, making him the Bluesbreaker’s longest serving guitarist.

As you’ll see and hear in the videos, the man can cook. From the slow blues, one of the most difficult styles to play, to rockin funk, he’s a guitarist’s guitarist. So, this Hump Day special should keep you rollin until the weekend. Enjoy!

Just got back from Baby’s:
Baby how blue can you get:
I love you more and more every day:

In my last post, I reviewed F-1 from Dave Phinney and the Orin Swift Winery. Tonight, I suggest E-1 (for Espania or Spain) from his “Locations” series. E-1, is a blend of Garnacha from Priorat, Tempranillo and Garnacha from Rioja and Carignan from Ribero del Duero. The wine is deep purple-black with fragrant aromas of blackberry and boysenberry that follow on the palate. It combines the characteristics I like best about Spanish wines into one excellent bottle and again, at $17.00 a bottle, I went back for two more. This one was a bit more difficult to find in stores, but it’s worth the search. And of course, E-1 is an excellent accompaniment to the powerful guitar of Buddy Whittington.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Jaco Pastorius & F-1

If you know and love jazz then I don’t have to say much about Jaco Pastorius. There isn’t a modern day bassist who hasn’t been influenced by his work. Once you’ve heard him, you’ll recognize that bassists of all stripes cop his licks. From rock and roll to hip hop to jazz you hear the echoes of his unmistakable sound everywhere. In spite of his imitators, there was, is, and will only be one Jaco.

His staccato sixteenth notes were his signature, but the characteristic of his playing that always stuck out for me was his sense of groove. To this day, I’ve never heard anyone who could turn a song into something special just by his groove. Check out The Chicken, Groovin, and Black Market for examples. Try playing Teen Town’s super fast sixteenth notes at full speed to appreciate his dexterity. He was also a master of using harmonics as you can hear on Birdland.

Unfortunately, like many exceptionally creative artists, he was a deeply troubled man and died after a beating by a bar bouncer in Miami.

There’s a lot of music here. The Montreal Jazz Festival link is over an hour of Jaco and his band. He remains one of the best to ever pick up the instrument.

Third Stone from the Sun:

If you’re a wine lover, you may be familiar with the Orin Swift Winery known for wines like The Prisoner or Veladora, both of which are beyond my $25.00 limit for this blog. But Dave Phinney, the winery’s mastermind, has started a new venture.   While waiting for a cab at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, he noticed the country code stickers on the backs of cars. It gave him the idea to make wines combining the best grape varieties from the countries of Europe and use the country sticker as the label. Thus was born his “Locations” wine series.

Tonight’s wine, F-1 (for France), is the second release in the series. It’s a blend of Grenache from the Roussillon, Syrah from the Rhône, and assorted Bordeaux varietals. The wine is a deep ruby-garnet with aromas of dark berries and spice. The palate is rich with flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, and more spice with soft tannins. For $16.00 this is an outstanding example of a French wine. I liked it so much, I went back and bought two more bottles. A great wine with a great bassist. How can you go wrong?


Friday, February 22, 2013

Albert Collins & Gilles Gellin Beaujolais 2010

Albert Collins was known by various names including "The Master of the Telecaster," "The Iceman," and "The Razor Blade." He wrung sounds out of a customized Telecaster that most guitarists can only dream about. In fact, it’s said that his sound could strip the paint off a car. A blues man at heart, his repertoire also included funk, rock, and jazz. His songs are stories, some of them hilarious.

He played in obscurity until the white blues band, Canned Heat, persuaded him to the West Coast. It proved to be a good move because in 1968 he recorded his first album for Imperial Records. The label didn’t last and he slipped out of sight until 1978 when he signed with the premier blues label, alligator Records.

If you watch him play, you may find his chording strange. That’s because he didn’t use standard tuning on his guitars. For example, when he played in the key of D minor, his guitar was tuned (low to high) D-A-D-F-A-D and he often used a capo instead of shifting fingerings. And of course, no sweep picking for Albert. He was strictly a finger picker.

Tragically, the world was robbed of his best years as a blues performer by liver cancer that ended with his premature death on November 24, 1993. He was just 61 years old.

A good fool is hard to find:
Further on down the road:

French Burgundies are some of the finest and most expensive wines in the world, which is the reason Beaujolais isn’t appreciated as much as it should be. After all Beaujolais are burgundies. I’ve had a 2009 version of the wine I’m featuring tonight and I loved it. The 2010 is even better. Gilles Gelin Beaujolais Villages is full of juicy red raspberries and cherries with a touch of pepper on the nose. The red fruit is echoed on the palate with a structure like a fine Côte de Beaune Pinot Noir, but at $14.00 a bottle, you can enjoy it without choking on the price. I must admit, I love Beaujolais, so perhaps I’m prejudiced. But dang, this is good wine.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Ed Sheeran &Te Mania Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Ed Sheeran caught my eye while watching the 2013 Grammy Awards and after a bit of investigation, I think he is one fine singer/songwriter/guitarist.
Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire on February 17, 1991, born, his family moved to Framligham, Suffolk early in his childhood. Sheeran made his first recording The Orange Room EP in 2005. Sheeran also released 2 albums, a self-titled one in 2006 and Want Some? in 2007. He moved to London in 2008 to get gigging experience, starting off in very small venues, playing every day to as little as five people. He was a gigging maniac playing 312 gigs in 2009.

In April 2010, Sheeran decided to try Los Angeles as a venue. He played open mic nights all over the city before his talent was spotted at The Foxxhole by Jamie Foxx, who was so impressed that he offered Sheeran the use of his recording studio and the run of his Hollywood home for the rest of his stay. Sheeran built his initial following through YouTube videos and his fans included none other than Elton John. On 8 January 2011, Sheeran released his final independent recording, No. 5 Collaborations Project, that got him mainstream attention after it rose to the No. 2 most downloaded recording on iTunes. Later in 2011, he released his debut studio album, +, featuring the song, A Team, a haunting story of a girl trying to survive on the streets.

Taylor Swift contacted Sheeran after hearing his music while touring Australia in March 2012. He later co-wrote and provided vocals for Everything Has Changed, a song featured on Swift's fourth album Red.

The A Team received a nomination for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Elton John, who runs Sheeran's management company, canvassed the award organizers to get Sheeran a performance slot at the ceremony, but was told that Sheeran alone was not high-profile enough. John decided to appear with Sheeran to circumvent the problem. He didn’t win, but dang, it was a good performance.

From March to September 2013, Sheeran is scheduled to play 64 dates at arenas and stadiums across North America as the opening act for Swift's “Red” tour. I’d be tempted buy a ticket just to hear him.

You need me, I don’t need you:

Got a blast of spring here on Sunday with temperatures hitting 62. Fixed salmon poached in white wine, lemon, and dill and served it with a yogurt/Dijon mustard/dill sauce and a 2012 Te Mania Estate Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. This was a new wine for me. Although Cloudy Bay is always touted as the best of NZ Sauvignon Blancs, my personal favorite has always been Kim Crawford. The Te Mania equals my fav. It has aromas of green apples and grapefruit that follow on the palate. It’s a mouthwatering wine, almost like a cross between French Sancerre and the Kim Crawford. At $17.00, it’s as reasonable as the Crawford, too. Went great with the salmon and the music of this young newcomer, Ed Sheeran. Try a bottle and catch Ed here and on iTunes.


Monday, February 11, 2013

David Lindley &Domaine du Carrou Sancerre Rosé.

David Lindley is a multi-instrumentalist whose expertise includes the acoustic and electric guitar, upright and electric bass, banjo, lap steel guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, Weissborn guitar, zither, oud, cümbüs (a Turkish banjo), charango (a Bolivian ten stringed instrument the size of a ukulele whose back is traditionally made from the shell of an armadillo), a hardingfelle (a Norwegian violin) and a host of other instruments that I’ve never heard of. Although he’s notable for his work with Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, and other rock stars, he’s known for his work as a session musician with an enormous list of credits.

In these days where a good acoustic guitar can run upwards of $3,000, Lindley is known for his use of cheap instruments purchased from such illustrious sources as Sears and intended for amateurs. Personally, I love his slide work. In fact, Ben Harper credits Lindley’s distinctive slide guitar style as a major influence on his playing and in 2006, Lindley sat in on Harper’s “Both Sides of the Gun” CD.

Between his solo recordings and his session work, David has a discography as long as my arm. He’s unique, and I hope you like him.

Boy who wouldn’t hoe corn:
Brothers under the bridge:

For a unique musician like Lindley, I suggest an equally unique wine, namely a 2011 Domaine du Carrou Sancerre Rosé. I love Sancerre, which is a French version of Sauvignon Blanc, but this is the first Sancerre Rosé I’ve ever tasted. The color is brilliant salmon pink which was appropriate since I drank it with grilled salmon. The nose is amazing and reminded me of my Thanksgiving favorite, cranberry-orange sauce, and a breakfast fave, pink grapefruit. The palate follows with the addition of strawberries and nice minerality. A very crisp, refreshing wine and one that I hope to drink often. It complimented the salmon and the music of David Lindley perfectly. Enjoy!