by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of the great John Hiatt as well as one of the all-time greatest pedal steel pickers, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, and the legendary Sky Saxon!
John Hiatt (August 20, 1952) is a thoroughly American singer-songwriter. One of my favorites for years, he’s won numerous Grammys and played with the best of the best. He’s done 21 albums, and had his songs covered by the biggest stars in the world, from BB King and Eric Clapton to Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt. He’s generally considered one of the best in the world at what he does, so if you haven’t had the privilege of listening to his amazing music, get ready to enjoy a treat!
From 1987 in Germany, here’s John Hiatt, Sonny Landreth, and the Goners playing “Radio Girl”
From the same gig, “Memphis in the Meantime”
An amazing live performance by John and Sonny doing John’s tune “Riding With the King”
Now some treats from "Little Village," featuring John, Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe and John Keltner! First, a live performance of "She Runs Hot," and from the same concert, "Don't Bug Me When I'm Working." Here Little Village rocks out in 1992 Dusseldorf on "Thing Called Love." From The Late Show in 1990, Little Village doing "Don't Think About Her," and from the Late Show in 1992, the number they lead off their show with, "Fool Who Knows."
Live in 1993, 18+ minutes of “John Hiatt Live in Holland pt. 1”
Here’s part 2 coming in at 23+ minutes! “John Hiatt Live in Holland” pt. 2
From 1995, also in Holland, here’s John live performing “The River Knows Your Name”
From a live show sometime somewhere, here’s a great audio-only performance of “My Old Friend”
From Rockpalast in 1997, a great electric version of “Cry Love”
From Farm Aid 2000, Bonnie Raitt and John performing “Thing Called Love”
Live in 2010, John performing “Wrote it Down and Burned It”
Here’s a recent 1 hour 15 minute show by John! John Hiatt Live at the 2014 Milwaukee Summerfest
Here are a few of his tunes made into hits by other bands. Live in 1974, here are Three Dog Night doing John’s tune “Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here”
Live via satellite for the 1986 Farm Aid concert, the great Bob Dylan performing John’s “Across the Borderline”
From 1990, a live audio only performance by Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Brown of “Across the Borderline”
Here’s the music video that won a Grammy in 2000! Featuring the great BB King and Eric Clapton, here’s the very grooved out performance of John’s iconic tune “Riding With the King”
We’ll close this brief birthday tribute with John performing one of my favorites! “Shredding the Document”
Our first encore comes live on Letterman in 2010 with John giving us another of his classic swamp rock tunes, “The Open Road”
For our second encore, also live on Letterman with Sonny Landreth on slide, here’s John cranking out the rocking “Slow Turning”
May you have many more years of rocking out, Mister John Hiatt! You’re cranking out some of the best music ever made!!
Here we also send up a big happy birthday to one of the best steel guitar players ever to pick a note! Peter E. "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow (August 20, 1934 – January 6, 2007) was a pedal steel guitar master, as well as a songwriter and motion picture special effects artist. While I don’t have the time to do a complete tribute this year, he is known for his work with the biggest of the big. For now, a few!
First, live on television in 1971, the Burritos cranking out one of the all time trucking tunes! “Been taking’ little white pills and my eyes are open wide..." For your enjoyment, the Flying Burrito Brothers giving us “Six Days on the Road”
Also on television in the early days with Gram Parsons, here are the Burritos live performing “Christine’s Tune (Devil in Disguise)”
Here’s 2 minutes of live video of the Burritos playing “Lazy Day”
From 1969, a full concert of 1 hour 11 minutes live at the Avalon Ballroom featuring the steel magic of Sneaky Pete, The Flying Burrito Brothers Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969
Also from 1969, here’s a full 1 hour 16 minutes of The Flying Burrito Brothers at the 1969 Seattle Pop Festival
Here’s a full 45 minute audio-only concert from November 1970! The Flying Burrito Brothers at the Fillmore East 1970
From June 1971, live for over an hour in a radio studio, The Flying Burrito Brothers Live in Philadelphia
Thanks for the memories, Pete. In rock and roll heaven they truly have one helluva band!
And now, a brief tribute to an obscure legend in LA 60s psychedelic garage rock who gave us two memorable tunes when he fronted for the Seeds, Sky “Sunlight” Saxon (August 20, 1937 – June 25, 2009). From Wikipedia, “The music on the Seeds 1966 albums “The Seeds” and “A Web of Sound” have been described as ‘weird psychotic blues highlighting Sky's demented, vocal sermonizing.’”
First, a great early video on Shebang, Casey Kasem’s television show! Here the Seeds lip-synch to their biggest hit, voted in Rolling Stone as “one of the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll,” the seminal “Pushin’ Too Hard”
Also from Shebang at another time, the Seeds performing Mr. Farmer
Next, a very strange video where Sky and the Seeds perform their biggest hit, “Pushin’ Too Hard” (60s television could be ridiculous at times....)
From American Bandstand, a live performance of their hit “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine”
For a glimpse of the LA psychedelic scene in 1966, here’s the Seeds’ first album. The Seeds
From 1967, here’s an album by the Sky Saxon Blues Band! “A Full Spoon of Seedy Blues”
For our closer, here’s a 1968 album of a 41 minute concert by Sky Saxon and the Seeds! The Seeds - Raw & Alive in concert at Merlin's music Box
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson