2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life

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Steve Cropper – guitar legend

As a young guitarist I was in awe of Steve Cropper, guitarist with Booker T and the MGs (Memphis Group). Listening to him play guitar licks such as those on Green Onions or  Soul Man which were simple but his technique made them sound special.

P1000442We’d seen the Stax revue when it came to Manchester in the mid-60s and three years ago I had the chance to see Steve Cropper play at the Ramsbottom Music Festival supported by The Animals.

The Animals were good but I went to see Steve. It was a rain-sodden day but worth waiting for.

P1000454Steve played, and sang, a number of the songs he’d written for Stax artists. He wasn’t playing the Fender Telecaster that I remembered but what might have been a Schecter tele-style guitar – but it sounded good.












He also told stories about how some songs came to be written, for example “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”.

Otis Redding couldn’t really play guitar that well so he had his guitar tuned to an open E major chord.

All he had to do to change different chords was to slide his fingers up the neck. So there are no minor chords in that song.

Steve said he also wondered about which ships Otis was referring to until he went down to ‘Frisco Bay and saw the roll-on-roll-off container ships.P1000468

It was a great evening. I was cold and wet but it was worth it!



Do musicians stay sharp longer?


DSCF1131 You have probably heard that singer-songwriter Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a couple of years ago .

The 77 year-old has had world-wide hits with “By the time I get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Linesman’ among many others both pop and country.

He announced that he’d made his last album “Ghost on the Canvas”, planned to make a farewell tour, then retire from music. He says he was diagnosed early in 2011 but had suffered memory loss for some time.

You might think that Campbell has done well to be able to follow his dream for so long in what is an inherently un-healthy occupation. So what has helped him to keep going for so long?  Researcher and neuropsychologist Brenda Hanna-Pladdy at Emery University School of Medicine gave tests to people aged over 60 to measure their cognitive ability and memory.

She found that those who had…

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