Rock's Backpages Writers' Blogs » Ellen Sander Rock reviews, rock articles & rock interviews from the Ultimate Rock'n'Roll Library Sun, 19 May 2013 03:11:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Boston Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:46:00 +0000 Ellen Sander Continue reading ]]> We’re with you, Beantown. All the way. You’ve been our bravest heart since the birth of this great nation and we all live in your soul.

I’m a Cubs fan this year.

Prayers for all the victims and their families, the medical and first responders, the marathoners and the spectators.  And for we who live with your tragedy and your pain, for we also live in your inspiration and history.

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Paul Williams Fri, 29 Mar 2013 14:06:00 +0000 Ellen Sander

Your godson  played me
Good Vibrations and  
Long May You Run
and that was enough to bring it all back.
“God only knows how I love you”
Listening with you, your eyes
shut fist pump, head shake
─ so you know!
It’s a galactic know
─ a knowing we could live in
and boy, did you ever.
So now,
fall into a sweet dream
merge into a sweet dream
become your own sweet dream
leaving us all more awake
and full of love
I could feel the gentle wind from
 the last breath
 of your being, and what a
blessing it has been
for us all,
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Warm up the house, free Fri, 15 Feb 2013 18:48:00 +0000 Ellen Sander Continue reading ]]> Energy Saving tip:  To warm up the house without turning the heat up:

1. Go outside and stay outside long enough to get a little chilled
2.  Come back in.  The house will feel much warmer

Brought to you by horse sense economics.

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Warm up the house, free

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Be My Valentine Thu, 14 Feb 2013 14:49:00 +0000 Ellen Sander Continue reading ]]> My love is like a rose you give to me

and all those things that roses be

I know I’ve been away from CC for a while.  I was
unexpectedly appointed Poet Laureate of my city and have
been crazy busy ever since.

More soon.

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Be My Valentine

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Happy Holidays and Bonne Année 2013 Sat, 22 Dec 2012 19:14:00 +0000 Ellen Sander Thank you for visiting Crackpot Chronicles! Find the light in even the darkest days. Propagate kindness.

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Happy Holidays and Bonne Année 2013

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The Rolling Stones! Incorrigible. Fri, 07 Dec 2012 13:25:00 +0000 Ellen Sander Continue reading ]]> An excerpt from “21st Century Stones” in The Rolling Stones: Incorrigible.
Ellen Sander’s Classic Rock Readers (Kindle Edition)

They started out in the early 1960s as a blues cover band in London clubs, doing what every other British band was doing. They are doing now what none of them could ever do: A 50th anniversary series of major concerts. A 50th anniversary. The Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones opened their “50 and Counting” celebration at London’s 02 Arena, playing their old home turf. They played to an overjoyed and tumultuous audience of three generations. It was a worldwide event. Before the show was even over, the set list went up on web sites, updated live. Within an hour there were openly shot YouTube videos that caught the spirit and sometimes even the high definition of the event.
The London shows were a full court press. The royalty of the “English Invasion” of the 1960s joined The Stones onstage, including former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor who had not been with the Stones for years. Guitar heroes Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton lit up the house.

Jeff Beck joined the show to do Going Down on the first night, 25 November, 2012. Four follow spots converged on the stage as Jagger stalked between and around Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck, to corral all 3 rockmeister guitarists into playing together. It was clearly not a rehearsed number, a Don Nix track that Beck had recorded in the 1970s, but when it finally came together, it was a flamethrower. Eric Clapton, was all up in his searing tremolos, guest setting on Muddy Waters’ Champagne and Reefer on the second London concert 4 days later. The Stones and their Brit contemporaries reawakened a passion for core American blues and brought it back to America and preserved its popularity. And we owe them for that.

It was, by all reports, a concert for the ages, not a spit polished and impeccably choreographed show, but a raucous brawl of hits, roots, and raw showmanship wrapped around this conflagration of sound and fury that is The Rolling Stones. Sound and fury. Signifying everything.

Then Bloggers weighed in. Among them, business titan and bon vivant Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group, who got off a phonephoto from the floor, his ticket in the foreground with “Fuckin Great!” scribbled on it.

I think my favorite blog line (besides Ira Robbins’ pronouncement that “time is not on their side, ” because he is so wrong) is London writers Mat Snow’s comment, “A funny thing happened at London’s O2 Arena last night: the Stones played and it was no longer about the bump in your trousers but the lump in your throat. ” That, because he doubted there would ever be another tour. Listen, it’s hard to count The Stones out, ever. You just never know.

They are not known as the world’s best rock band ever for nothing. The Beatles may have been the masters of studio recording, but they stopped touring and The Stones ate that road for breakfast going forward. And now, there is no other rock band that can ever touch them, the bar is that high, their era is that seminal, their arc so rivetingly authentic.

They are not just any legacy rockers trotting out their oldies. The Stones occupy the world of the 21st century as well as and even more pervasively than they defined the 20th. @mickjaggger is on Twitter, teasing tour information, cool comments and new releases. They have an official website with loads of content. Got Stones? There’s an app for that. Overexposure? No way. We who love them can never get enough and for that we are handsomely rewarded.

The new rockumentary, Crossfire Hurricane is a snappily edited and impeccably well narrated documentary which features footage and outtakes from Cocksucker Blues, Charlie is my Darling, Gimmee Shelter and Shine a Light—and some new footage as well. Quite a bit of the narration is by Jagger and Richards and other members of the Stones. It is a tour de force and a daring reveal, leaving little to speculation.

Crossfire Hurricane eviscerates the Rolling Stone mystique, and reveals all the bruising speed bumps of their inexorable march through time. The interlude on the death of their original guitarist Brian Jones, evokes tremors of emotion and irony. He had been so wasted he hardly ever showed up to woodshed and when he did, he was incoherent. The last time he did show up able to work, he invented the winsome slide guitar line that coils through No Expectations and it remains a defining element of the song that goes, in part, “I have no expectations to pass through here again. ” A few months after Jones was fired he drowned in his swimming pool.

Jagger’s bitterness, in his own voice, about how heroin disintegrated the late Brian Jones, melts into a description of him weeping after the now famous Hyde Park Concert that memorialized “the beautiful Stone.” Jagger also savages recording engineers, later in the film, that thought Keith was so hip doing smack that they followed in kind, much to the detriment of their work.

We see mod suited boys in tussles with police as Mick Jagger recounts the incendiary effect of their early concerts. We see their fear at the ill fated Altamont concert as it sinks in what a dangerous fiasco they’d gotten into. We see the decadence of the concert tours during the 1980s. We see, from the cockpit window, their private jet landing. We see everything, including Jagger’s bare butt backstage as he changes into his jumpsuit for a performance.


What’s with the Doom and Gloom video? A bit bloody, wot? Stones’ songs and the music vids are frequently not above the English penchant for the gruesome, the twisted, the perverse. They sometimes shock and sometimes astound but never, never ever bore. They are not usually what they seem like at first listen, and you can’t always understand the lyrics in the mix, which is why I’ve always asked for and received lead sheets before I reviewed a Stones album. Brown Sugar sounds at first listen like a boorish celebration of interracial sex but is really about the sexual mistreatment of slaves.
I remember being in a record store on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro buying some Brazilian music in 1985 when a young sales clerk, who spoke not much English, bewildered that I was stocking up on Caitano, handed me an American rock cassette as a suggestion. I laughed, “It’s only rock and roll,” and the whole store, shouted out in unison “But I like it”. They know The Stones in Rio. They love The Stones in Rio. They are born with samba and jazz in their DNA, but they love The Stones.

Photo by and c.  Ellen Sander all rights reserved

The Rolling Stones are all of rock and roll in one ensemble. They inhabit and define rock. The have set the bar and no one can possibly ever reach it because the days when you can do that from the get go are gone. The Stones are not just iconic for upending more than the final third of the 20th century, they are busy bitch–slapping the 21st.


The essay is much longer in the book, which also has articles about their 1969 tour, Beggars Banquet, exclusive coverage of a Let It Bleed mixing session with never before published photos.  Reprints from Vogue, Saturday Review and Trips. And more.

Taken from this post:
The Rolling Sones! Incorrigible.

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“A Christmas Carol” Thu, 29 Nov 2012 16:42:00 +0000 Ellen Sander “A Christmas Carol”

–by Ellen Sander
Belfast, Maine

A poor child from the projects
writes a letter asking for a towel
so she doesn’t have to use her brothers’
already wet and cold.
Her mother cringes in shame
What she brings home is never enough.

I saw a shopkeeper beat a man senseless
for stealing a bunch of bananas.
What does he care that I’ll never go in there again?
He is angry. He can’t make it alone.
What he brings home is never enough.

The homeless, despairing in the streets
and the homesick, despairing in the condos
the sales in the malls depleting
credit card opulence and poverty of spirit
there is no way out until it’s over.
What they bring home is never enough.

The urban hunger aches
for that scrap of tinsel or some sparkle
to illuminate the dread
of getting up in the morning; they are
gorged and bloated on eggnog and hams
full of seasonal adulterants,
poison for profit, remedies for sale
antacids, tranquilizers, fat substitutes
substitutes for comfort, ease and good sense:
What they bring home is never enough.

The broken toys of mornings after
chase us through the season
through decades, they ridicule the
feast and famine of heart.
The broken hearth
of season’s greetings mock us;
we comply numbly, feigning gayety
waiting on the food lines of the missions
What we bring home is never enough.

Taken from this post:
“A Christmas Carol”

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The obesity challenged lady gets ready to sing – Romney paid 0 Taxes for years: D.Kos, Bloomberg Sun, 04 Nov 2012 23:29:00 +0000 Ellen Sander Continue reading ]]> So a November surprise. Daily Kos has sourced Bloomberg in a report revealing Romney paid no taxes from1996 until just recently. No wonder he didn’t want to make his returns public!

So a November surprise. Daily Kos has sourced Bloomberg in a report revealing Romney paid no taxes from1996 until just recently. No wonder he didn’t want to make his returns public!

“Using a tax shelter

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The obesity challenged lady gets ready to sing – Romney paid 0 Taxes for years: D.Kos, Bloomberg

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Awaiting storm w Neil Young – Hurricane! Mon, 29 Oct 2012 19:06:00 +0000 Ellen Sander (neil younger)


I feel a deep intrigue and fascination, an energy that electrifies the core of my sensibilities.  Fear is the little death.  Rock is the resurrection: Neil Young.

All thought comes to a standstill in the face of  this fiery and tattered execution, I become lost–or is it found–in this track.

Here I sit on the edge of a hurricane, the entire region on alert for

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Awaiting storm w Neil Young – Hurricane!

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Autumn in New York: CSN concert and Fine Art Fri, 26 Oct 2012 00:40:00 +0000 Ellen Sander It was wonderful seeing CSN at The Beacon Theater in New York last weekend.  It was, all things considered, amazing.

The lush and emotional performance, an almost 3 hour set with an intermission,  in a packed house, was full of  wonder and graceful endurance. They were supported by a great band.  They didn’t mince their politics. Crosby remarked that the founders of our nation probably did not intend for elections to go to the largest television ad budget. They sang Nash’s “Almost Gone,” a sympathetic song about Bradley Manning which is a cause he’s taken up.

( I have to say I really don’t get it about supporting Bradley Manning.  I personally think they should throw the book at him. Military law is not the same as civilian law and what he did was egregious. Don’t get me started.  I heard the song got booed the night before, but that night’s audience didn’t respond to it in any unusual way.)

But I admire activism and CSN is sincerely and consistently attuned to the pulse of politics and justice.  On their last New York venue, Crosby and Nash sang at Occupy Wall Street.

They close the show with Stills’ “For What It’s Worth” and also sang “Bluebird” as a homage to Buffalo Springfield.  I recall what a wake-up call “For What It’s Worth” was in the sixties.

I love this music that has punctuated the narrative of its times. I am on record with my love for this music.  I feel lucky to be able to be with it live, today.

Stills didn’t say much, as usual, and his electric guitar work was incandescent, as usual. He stumbled a little with the acoustic guitar.

It was clear that Nash is master of the trio’s cohesion. When parts went astray, and they did, very occasionally, he literally, with outstretched arms,  pulled it all back into time and tune. Their set pulled the last 43 years into a lanyard of history, music, wars, protests, triumphs, endurance, stamina and harmony. The Beacon is a beautiful venue for them.

Afterward in the backstage area, which was actually underneath the stage, I got a quick hi out of Stephen Stills, who was huddled with Elvis Costello.  They’d done one of Costello’s songs, but I’d never heard it before and don’t know it’s name.   It was about war fought in the name of religion.

Nash greeted me with a big smile, hug and kiss, complimented my appearance and asked me how old I was now. Not a question you ordinarily hear, is it? I told him (68) and I asked his age: 71.  Gee, it’s worth being a geezer to have seen and heard all I’ve seen and heard in my time.

Now, here in Maine, when you turn 70, you get a free lift ticket at any ski area in the state.  At 71, and in good shape under a thick sheaf of white hair, Nash was eager to meet and greet and take pictures with anyone backstage who asked. “I figure my job isn’t over till my head hits the pillow,” he said.  He was incredibly gracious to everyone.  He also had a show of his photos in a gallery in Chelsea.  Quite the Renaissance man.  It was curiously wonderful and distancing to see them all.
I’m not nostalgic for the past. I’m nostalgic for the future.

Earlier that day, I went to one of my favorite art events, the annual International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show at the armory, which was gorgeous.  I saw bound maps and maritime charts from the 14th and 15th century and other extraordinarily beautiful items.The Exquisite art deco jewelry shown by Primavera Gallery included a brooch designed by Dali.
All in all a weekend full of gems. Gems from time immemorial that still glitter and sparkle through time and changes.

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Autumn in New York: CSN concert and Fine Art

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