‘The Devil Wind Blues’ from the ‘Dancing with the Moment’ album by Danny Faragher

September 25, 2016 in Events, Happenings, Thoughts

Listen to ‘The Devil Wind Blues’ here.

Blowin'HarpatRecordRelease

Santana Winds are howlin’ and the night is closing in.
Santana Winds are howlin’ and the night is closing in.
There is no escaping once these devil winds begin.

Hear those sirens wailing? A smell of smoke is in the air.
Hear those sirens wailing? A smell of smoke is in the air.
Some fool playing with matches while devil winds are on a tear.

These winds keep growing stronger. Black night is falling fast.
These winds keep growing stronger. The black night is falling fast.
While I grow weak and weary trying to get beyond the past.

Don’t it seem like everything keep changing? Seems like nothin’ sticks around.
Everything keep changing. Nothin’ sticks around.
But these old devil winds? They will always make it back to town.

The air so dry and stifling. I would take the damp and cold.
This air so dry and stifling. I would take the damp and cold.
I lie here in this room feeling lost and gettin’ old.

Danny Faragher

Every year without fail, the Santa Anas – the ‘Devil Winds’ –
arrive in Southern California, to blow their hot dry air
through the passes and down to the coast, toppling
trees,  stoking raging fires, and making a person’s skin crawl.santa-ana-winds

In his book ‘Red Wind’ Raymond Chandler, in the voice
of P.I. Phillip Marlowe, writes:

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was
one of those hot dry Santa Anas
that come down
through the mountain passes and curl your hair and
make your
nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights
like that every booze party ends in a fight.
Meek little
wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their
husbands’ necks.
Anything can happen . You can even
get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.’

I thought the theme of the Devil Winds as an ever occurring presence could make
a good blues. I imagined the singer lying in a room, a world-weary soul filled with
regret and disappointment, as outside the wind howls,  sirens wail, and a smell
of smoke fills the air. All of which  serves to create an atmosphere of claustrophobia
that cannot be escaped. The realization that these winds have probably been coming
for millennia and will always ‘make it back to town’ prompt the singer to confront his
own mortality with a sigh.devil-wind-fire

The players:
Danny Faragher – vocal, harmonica, organ, and trombone
Craig Copeland   – electric guitar, and lap steel guitar.
Simeon Pillich    – bass
Chris Blondal      – drums

Front Album Cover of Dancing with the Moment - Danny Faragher

Front Album Cover of Dancing with the Moment – Danny Faragher

 

 

‘Rainbow Pier’ – A Musical Soundscape of a Magical Memory

September 5, 2016 in Events, Happenings

Long Beach, CA at night from Rainbow Pier

Listen to ‘Rainbow Pier’ from the ‘Dancing with the Moment’ album.

Among the dream- like images that  swirl and mingle in my mind is an early childhood
memory of a moonlit drive with my family around Rainbow Pier in Long Beach, California,
the city of my birth.  I remember poking my head out the window of our ’43 Chevy to have a
look. The air against my face was cool and misty. The water below rippled with the colors of
the rainbow. Ah.. the sound of the surf whispered so soothingly in my ears, while the thought
of  a wild and mysterious sea beyond lit my imagination.early_years_1

I also recall sitting at my Grandmother’s piano  on a mellow afternoon
with the scent of magnolia blossoms in the air, wanting to capture with
music the sensation of that moonlit drive. With two fingers  I began
teasing out a  pentatonic melody on the black keys. Alas,I was only four
and had neither the ability nor the attention span to complete it.

Over a half century later I was to sit at the piano once again to attempt
to paint a musicalpicture of that magical memory. This time, with a bit
of inspiration and whole lot of craft.I was able to pull it off.

‘Rainbow Pier’ is a very Impressionistic instrumental piece.
Inspired by the likes of Duke Ellington, Claude Debussey, and
Stevie Wonder,it is more a composition than a song. Not jazz,
not classical , not pop; it falls somewhere in-between. The intro features duel trombones that
sound like French Horns playing a luring call, first in a lower and then an upper octave, over
a droning fifth interval  on piano and chromatic harmonica . It then moves into the first theme,
which is played on the piano. With its dreamy jazz feel, it reflects the peaceful water below the pier.
This A section is repeated with flute, trombone, clarinet, and harmonica joining in. It then moves
into a B theme played on the chromatic harmonica in which the sea begins to stir, as the music
modulates upward until it crescendos into  theme C in which the harmonica is joined by Sirene
voices descending in parallel harmony. This is followed by a ritardando and a  final seductive call
before picking up  with the duel horns to repeat the cycle. This time the call after section C is followed
by everything seemingly falling  in whole tones down a watery hole and emerging into the A section
once more.The piece then settles into a sparse hypnotic groove which features wind chimes and
piano playing wistful pentatonic lines and represents the imagination of the little boy at the piano.

Front Album Cover of Dancing with the Moment - Danny Faragher

Front Album Cover of Dancing with the Moment – Danny Faragherthe little boy at the piano.

With the exception of the midi piano and bass, and the use of a click track, ‘Rainbow Pier’ was
recorded using the following acoustic instruments: flute, chromatic harmonica, trombone,
clarinet, drums, and wind chimes.The voicing of the wind ensemble in the A section is unusual.
From top down I place  the flute, trombone ,clarinet, and chromatic harmonica. This gives the
sound a free and airy sound on the top and a dark, reedy timbre below. It all worked surprisingly
well. My inspiration was Ellington’s singular voicing on ‘Mood Indigo’ in which he had the clarinet
pitched below the trombone.

I had initially sung the Sirene parts myself (not bad, either) but, desiring a true female sound, I
brought in three singers who got what I was going for and nailed the parts. The use of the wind
chimes was a lucky lark. I happened to be playing the piano when I heard the chimes tinkling
outside in the breeze. They were tuned to produce a Bb major pentatonic scale. It struck  me that
in the key Eb, the chimes would give me a major 7th with a 9th chord. It worked like a charm.

‘Rainbow Pier’ was engineered and mastered by Bryan Faragher. Using a time map to achieve
the ritard was tricky but Bryan pulled it off.  The singers were Karen Whipple Schnurr, soprano,
Donna Deussen, alto, and Jody Mortara, low alto. Chris Blondal provided the fine brush work on
the drums. All other instruments were played by yours truly.

About Rainbow Pier

The horseshoe shaped Rainbow Pier was built in 1932 to protect the newly constructed Long BeachRainbow Pier1)
Municipal Auditorium. Its practical function was to serve as a breakwater. At night, though, with
its multi-colored lights reflecting in the water, the Pier offered an aesthetically pleasing diversion.

The Municipal Auditorium stood where  American Boulevard (now renamed Long Beach Blvd.) hit
the beach. The Americana- themed mural on its face could be seen blocks away.I remember as a child
being awe struck every time I saw it. With 8000 seats, it was the city’s main  concert venue. Elvis Presley appeared there in 1956. In 1959. as a member of the grade school all city youth orchestra I was thrilled to
be asked to play there. In 1972 my rock band, Bones, performed a sold out concert at the auditorium, sharing the bill with the San Francisco band, Cold Blood. I was ecstatic to be playing once again at the
dear old Municipal. To shake a tail feather on the same stage that Elvis had was a childhood dream come
true. Long since torn down, both Rainbow Pier and the Municipal Auditorium exist only in memory.

I hope the Rainbow Pier experience comes alive through the music.

Love and Harmony,
Danny Faragher

MunicipalAud_1

view-from-rainbow-pier-long-beach-california-0d0ce4349da2ec8507eb92f8ab2ad954

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the Peppermint Trolley Company – ‘It’s a Lazy Summer Day’ in the Summer of Love

August 31, 2016 in Events

During the winter of 1967 my brother Jimmy and I continued to drive into Holly wood

Three weeks later...

Casey Cunningham, Jimmy Faragher, And Danny Farsagher

on the week-ends to record with Producer Dan Dalton. In addition to cutting three sides
as the Peppermint Trolley Company, we sang and played background for other artists.
A 45 single of ‘She’s the Kind of Girl’/’Little Miss Sunshine’ was released on Dalton’s
Kelly label before being picked up by Acta Records.

In the meantime the world around us seemed to accelerate. Along with our drummer
friend, Casey Cunningham, and new found buddy, Patrick McClure, we became active
in the Peace Movement and, dare I say it, slightly psychedelicized.  We were listening to
a wide range of artists, including the Doors, the Jefferson Airplane, the Paul Butterfield
Blues Band, Phil Ochs, and Laura Nyro.  We understood that Acta had signed us with the
expectation that we would deliver light pop fare (a genre that is now refered to as sunshine pop).
Although we were confident we could provide that kind of sound, we were filled with creative
energy and chaffing at the leash. Our dream was to form a real band with Casey on the drums
and to come up with an original sound.

In May Jimmy wrote a song that seemed to encapsulate the moment. It was called ‘It’s a Lazy
Summer Day’.  Melodic, dreamy and innocent, it was like a flower-child anthem. The three
of us played it for  Dan and his wife, Lois Fletcher, and they both loved it. Within the week
we were in Moonglow Studio to lay it down before summer. It was the first PTC record on
which we cut our own basic track, which was recorded live with Jimmy on bass, Casey on
drums, and me on the Hammond B3. Danish singer/songwriter James Fleming Rasmussen
played the acoustic guitar. The vocal arrangement was done on the spot as we stood in frontLazy summer Day(2)
of the mic.

As we listened to the rough mix, the excitement in the room was palpable. By God, we had
our own sound! The harmonies and counter points were sophisticated and psychedelic, while
the organ intro and outro gave it a baroque flavor.Yes, it was light and breezy but it was also
organic and honest. Amidst  the song’s carefree innocence a darker reality was implied – ‘No
one wants to start a fight/ So let’s take a walk tonight.’   It was like a blossom in
the barrel of an M16. We’d managed to stay in the ballpark while pouring a little magic
mushroom powder into the soda.

Acta president, Kenny Meyers, was crazy about it and decided to do a rush release. By July,
‘It’s a Lazy Summer Day’  was pressed and ready to be shipped (Listen here.) One
morning, three weeks later I received a phone call  on my folk’s phone. On the line was Bob
McCormack, the program director for radio station KMEN 129 in San Bernardino. He had
just read the rave reviews of our record  in Billboard, Cashbox , and Record World. Man, was
he pumped.  ‘Danny, we’re going to bring this one home for you guys!’ he told me. That
day we heard ‘A Lazy Summer Day’  on the radio. The Summer of Love was in full swing.

PTC with T. Michael Jordan

Peppermint Trolley Company with KMEN DJ, T. Michael Jordan

 

‘A Blue Little Corner’ is Back on the Shelves

March 23, 2016 in Events, Happenings

Good news!
Danny Faragher’s  first solo release, A Blue Little Corner,  which had sold out of hard copies, has been restocked and is now back on the shelves. The album, originally released in 2001, is a collection of originals, old chestnuts, and  a few jumpin’ rockers. A Blue Little Corner spotlights the artist’s expressive vocals and inventive harmonica playing, weaving stylistically through blues, ballads, and rhythm songs. The instrumental backing is spare but superb, and features Bill Knopf on guitar and banjo, Tim Horrigan on keyboards , electric and acoustic guitar, bass, and drums, and Simean Pillich on acoustic bass.
blue corner fnt
CDs and downloads can be purchased through CD Baby. Tracks downloaded through iTunes, Amazon,  Google (where you can also listen to samples),  and all other major retail sites. The album is also available on streaming sites like Spotify and Rhapsody.

 

Danny Faragher on the making of A Blue Little Corner.

I had written  the song ‘A Blue Little Corner’ some years ago. This jazzy blues was originally conceived as a vehicle for a female singer, but having changed a few words here and there,  I decided to take crack at recording it myself.  I was pleased with the result. Musically it conjures up a cool, noire-esque,  1950s atmosphere where a Don Draper would fit right in. The voice and chromatic harmonica trade off, painting a picture of a disillusioned soul getting lost in some smoky dive.

With ‘A Blue Little Corner’ as the cornerstone, I set out to put an album of material together. I recorded another original, ‘Danny Boy’s Jumpin”, an up tempo harmonica number that’s an antidote to those blue feelings expressed in the title cut. Bursting out of the gate with energy and exuberance, it’s guaranteed to get you up and moving. In addition, I had three tracks that I’d laid down a few years earlier. The first, ‘Get Rhythm’, is the Johnny Cash song, with a hopped up vocal and slashing amplified blues harp. The second, ‘Blues in the Night’, by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer,  features a full throat-ed bluesy vocal, and amped chromatic harmonica over a shuffling track. The third was a rendition of the iconic Elvis cut, ‘That’s Alright, Mama’ written by Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Craddup, which I extended by adding a country blues harp solo on the end.

Five tracks were now in the in the can. In the late nineties, I’d begun looking back on the twentieth century’s musical legacy, listening to older styles, including ragtime, early jazz, swing, and bebop, and to the tunes that have come to be labeled ‘The Great American Songbook’.  As a musician, I was bowled over by the emotional directness and intensity of artists like Louis Armstrong, Sydney Bechet, and Benny Goodman, and  found myself incorporating the feel into my harmonica playing. As a singer, the time spent listening to traditional pop vocalists like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Rosemary Clooney had taught me a lot about how to deliver  a song.

I picked four classic tunes that I loved dearly. I decided to have a very bare bones approach. Chromatic harmonica intros and solos (usually cupped with a mic and amplified) alternating with smooth vocals – both being backed by acoustic guitar or banjo, acoustic bass, a smattering of drums. and a bit of vibes. ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’, the swing anthem written by Edgar Sampson, I recorded as an instrumental. ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’, by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, always one of my favorite songs, spotlights a straight-ahead vocal  filled with heartfelt longing, and an Armstrong/Bix Beiderbecke inspired solo on the harp. My plunger trombone adds a taste of the Ellington Band to the mix. ‘Memories of You’, the Eubie Blake, and Andy Razaf ballad takes a different tack, featuring the harmonica at the beginning and end of the song, and the voice sandwiched in the middle. The fourth number is ‘Lady Be Good’, the George and Ira Gershwin classic. Pure fun from beginning to end, it highlights the amazing five string banjo work of Bill Knopf , including a bluegrass flavored solo that passes the baton to a jumpin’ jivin’ harp solo. I chose to toss off the vocal nonchalantly with a dose of boyish charm and it seemed to work.

In 2000, I was able to give a copy of the album to my mother in the final weeks before she passed. I was told that she would request to hear ‘Sunny Side of the Street’ over and over again, and join in singing, saying it made her feel happy.  For me, the knowledge that the music brought my mom joy in her last days is the greatest compensation I could ever receive.

blue corner back-001

Photography and artwork by Bryan Faragher

Love and Harmony,

Danny

 

 

 

 

Faragher Brothers Perform ‘Stay the Night’ and ‘Open Your Eyes’

February 11, 2016 in Events, Happenings

In the Spring of 1979 the Faragher Brothers – Danny, Jimmy,
Tommy, and Davey. along with younger Albums-31 copysiblings, Pammy, and Marty filmed a video for the release of their first Polydor album – Open Your Eyes. It was the band’s third LP.  Spirits were high. Not only had they gotten a second record contract,they’d reunited with producer Vini Poncia, as well.  The vibe in the studio had been positive and full of creativity and fun.

Watch as they perform Stay the Night and Open Your Eyes. Apologies for the poor quality of the tape. We’re just glad it came to light.

Love and Harmony,
The Faragher Brothers

Albums-25

Author John Mack Faragher discusses new book, ‘Eternity Street’, on Larry Mantle’s ‘Air Talk’

February 10, 2016 in Events, Happenings

Our brother, author and Yale professor of history, John  Mack Faragher (Johnny to us),  has just released
his latest book – Eternity Street – Violence and Eternity StreetJustice in Frontier Los Angeles.
The book is creating a lot of excitement, catching the attention of respected radio host, Larry Mantle, who invited John to be interviewed on KPCC’s ‘Air  Talk. It was a great interview.

The book is fascinating, a great read. Forget Tombstone and Dodge City, the real wild west started right here.

JohnnyBooksigning

‘Dancing with the Moment’ gets Glowing Review in SomethingElse Magazine

January 20, 2016 in Events, Happenings

Rock critic, Beverly Paterson has written a rave review of ‘Dancing with the Moment’Danny New Year Shot 206
for SomethingElse Magazine. She writes:

Buckled tight with enterprising ideas and arrangements, Dancing With The Moment
witnesses to be a pitch-perfect potpourri of rhythm, tone and sound. Danny Faragher,

assisted by an assortment of family and friends, has created an album that bravely blends
poetic beauty with spontaneous rawness and experimental thrills. Enchanting and
electrifying,  ‘Dancing With The Moment’ is one of the greatest albums of the year,
or any year for that matter.

Beverly Paterson is a well respected  critic, and a marvelous wordsmith. We feel
thrilled and honored that she chose to review our work.

 

Back Tray Card for Dancing with the Moment - Danny Faragher

Back Tray Card for Dancing with the Moment – Danny Faragher

‘Dancing with the Moment’ gets Rave Review in Blitz Magazine

January 20, 2016 in Events, Happenings

‘Dancing with the Moment’ has received a glowing review from Michael McDowell Danny New Year Shot 239
in  Blitz – ‘the rock and roll magazine for thinking people’. He writes:

In Dancing With The Moment, Faragher has proven himself to be a
detail oriented disciple of his inspirations, and in turn has celebrated
genre diversity in a manner that relatively fe

others have done credibly.
Apparently (in the words of one of this album’s standout tracks),
‘A Dry Spell Ends’ and the return to form of a remarkably gifted pioneer has begun.

Blitz Magazine, which has been been in publication since 1975, has a deep catalog of
intelligently written rock reviews.  We are thrilled to have been included.
Thank-you, Michael, for helping to get the word out.

 

Front Album Cover of Dancing with the Moment - Danny Faragher

Front Album Cover of Dancing with the Moment – Danny Faragher

 

‘Too Much Pressure’ airing on Zmix97

September 4, 2015 in Events, Happenings

banner_too_much_pressure

 

Beginning 09/07/15
‘TOO MUCH PRESSURE’
Will be airing at 6.00
AM, 1.00 PM, 9.00 PM, & 1.00 AM – MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY
FOR THE NEXT  NINE DAYS
On ZMIX97

 

 

 

 

 

Radio DJ Thomas Ramirez of  Zmix97  has added  our record, ‘Too Much Pressure – the Rebel Sole Underground Remix’ to  the station’s playlist. It’s a thrill to know our song is airing alongside all those great classic R&B, Funk,  Hip Hop, and Oldies records. Honored to be among such great company!

Check it out and listen here –  http://tunein.com/radio/ZMIX97-s131148/

Concert a Sellout!

July 24, 2015 in Events, Happenings

The July 18th concert at the West Valley Music Center was a blast!  A great vibe in the room, and a sellout crowd in spite of the freaky rainstorm (In July?!). 7-18-Danny blowin harp at W. ValleyFYI – The two previous days of rain this year were on May 15th, my birthday, and on March 1st, the day of my Record Release Party (Perhaps I should schedule more events?)

With the backing of some great musicians – Tim Horrigan on bass, my son, Bryan, on percussion and melodica, Chris Blondal, drums, and Craig Copeland,  guitar,  the show included numbers from the ‘Dancing with the Moment ‘ and  ‘A Blue Little Corner’ albums, plus some new material, and even a tune from the Peppermint Trolley Company LP. We had fun, fun, fun!

I shared the bill with singer/songwriter, Raspin Stuart. He was a gas to work with!

Many thanks to Jeff Gold and the West Valley Music Center.

Looking forward to the next live engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

I shared bill with Raspin Stuwart. It was a good match.

I shared bill with Raspin Stuwart. It was a good match.

7-18-15 Devil Wind Blues

Wailing ‘The Devil Wind Blues’