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Willie Dixon Tag

Cary Baker is an excellent publicist who I have the pleasure of working with from time to time. His company is called Conqueroo, and his client list is pretty impressive. Among the artists he represents are Otis Taylor, Mitch Ryder, Willie Nile, Martin Sexton, and Todd Rundgren.

What makes Cary a cut above the rest in his field is that he knows, and loves great music. For that reason I follow his Facebook posts with great interest. He often posts videos of lesser known music from back in the day. Last week there was one featuring a great soul singer from the ’60s who I’d never heard of, or forgotten somewhere along the way.

In pop culture, lists are everything. They lend a sense of order to an otherwise orderless world. From film and literature to music, critics and readers alike love to put things in tidy rows. It is with this in mind that Popdose presents Listmania, a weekly series counting down the staff’s favorite things.

While lead singers and guitarists always seem to capture the spotlight, the heart and soul of any great band can often be traced to the backbeat; the rhythm. It is with that in mind that we pay tribute to the our Top 50 favorite rhythm sections.

The staff was challenged to name their all-time favorite drum and bass combos, regardless of genre. Once the participants had a chance to ponder the list, the final tally was established with the nominees with the most mentions moving quickly to the top of the list. We’ll unveil them through the month of September.

If you missed the previous week’s installment, you can catch up here:

Popdose Listmania: Top 50 Rhythm Sections (50-36)

Without further ado, here are numbers 35 through 21 of our favorite rhythm sections:

Jeff Beck's sister was responsible for a nice chunk of rock and roll history when she fortuitously introduced him to another young guitarist named Jimmy Page. When Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds in 1965, the band called on Page to replace him. Page, in turn,

Cratedigger

Paul Butterfield Blues BandForget about the incredibly cool music within. It was the cover that got me. More than almost any other image or song, the cover of the debut album by Chicago’s Paul Butterfield Blues Band made me want to be a musician. There are actually two photos on the front cover of the album. In the top photo, five really hip looking guys, guitarist Mike Bloomfield, harmonica player/lead vocalist Paul Butterfield, drummer Sam Lay, rhythm guitar player Elvin Bishop, and bassist Jerome Arnold are standing in front of a storefront which advertises, “Incense, Herbs, Oils.” Before joining Butterfield, Lay and Arnold were Howlin’ Wolf’s rhythm section. The only person missing from the photo shoot is organist Mark Naftalin. The band’s original debut album was scrapped, and re-recorded after Naftalin joined the band, which probably accounts for him being missing in the photo.

The other photo is a purposefully blurred photo of the band in action. We see Arnold, Bishop, Lay and Butterfield, this time dressed in what appear to be slick matching suits. Naftalin did manage to make it into the small, black and white shot on the back cover, along with Bloomfield and Butterfield. The whole package was cool when Elektra Records released it in 1965, and it’s still cool.

Bob Dylan - Together Through LifeThis has been a year in which two of rock’s greatest icons have released new studio albums far ahead of their usual schedule. Bruce Springsteen released Working on a Dream in January, a mere 15 months after Magic was released in October, 2007. To show you why this is so unusual, it took Springsteen more than five years to follow 2002’s The Rising with Magic, and going back over his career, that is much closer to the norm.

Now we have a brand new studio album from Bob Dylan, Together Through Life, and it makes an appearance a mere 32 months after Dylan’s last studio album, 2006’s Modern Times. The gap between Modern Times and its predecessor, Love and Theft, was very nearly five years, and again, going back over Dylan’s career, at least in recent years, that is much closer to the average.

Not to be ungrateful, because I’m very happy when either of these artists releases a new album, but what exactly is going on here? What’s driving these men to speed up their recorded output so dramatically? The answer, it seems to me, is pretty simple — time. Bruce Springsteen turns 60 this year, and although it appears that he is in good health, in the last couple of years he has had to endure the deaths of a longtime collaborator, E Street Band keyboard player Danny Federici, and Terry McGovern, who was Bruce’s friend and assistant for years.

Bob Dylan will be 68 years-old on May 24 (Happy Birthday, Bob!), and he also must be facing his mortality after witnessing the demise of many old friends and colleagues, and having his own health scare in 1997 when he was hospitalized with histoplasmosis, a potentially life-threatening fungal infection. It’s apparent that both of these artists feel that they have more to say, and they both realize that none of us is given to know how much time we have left. A bit morbid perhaps, but perfectly understandable.