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Sign up. Referring to his departure from blues and folk music, Basho would later recall that, Compact disc. We'd all listen to the records and memorize them and try to be black. That happened until I heard my first Ravi Shankar concert, and then it was all over.
I'd just sit in a dark room for hours listening to Shankar's ragas, and then I got into my own raga style. I said, "Gee, that's a heck of a lot higher as far as I'm concerned.
Robbie dated his encounter with Ravi Shankar from between and ,23 which would suggest that it came at the latter end of his time at the University of Maryland, later claiming that "I dropped blues when I came to the raga thing.
But I found a lot of joy in these other things and I tried to bring the dignity and the aesthetic goodies of these other cultures back into what I wanted to say. Dooley and Waterson, By the early 70s, Basho would consider his work towards establishing an American 'raga system' for the steel-string guitar to be one of his main objectives.
Unfortunately, and because it comes to the forefront of his thinking in the next decade, it cannot be dealt with properly here. Basho's 'tripping out' appears to have been more mental than literal, however. In a conversation with Alan Bangs on British Forces radio in Germany, he would reveal his chiefly parochial sensibilities:.
That was an accident that I visited Japan proper Ah, well I had visited, I guess you could say, soul-ly or mentally, probably more powerful in my meditation or what I was reading and studying really I wasn't worried about going over there I wouldn't want to live there, quite frankly, because I like a little space, and there's just too many people there hustling for everything. Basho was to some degree aware of this ironic disparity; "I play it like I lived it ho ho ho.
Of a similar age to Kottke, Batson recalls viewing Basho as a veteran of the folk club scene:. He was a guy who knew his instrument and would deliver a song, whereas I and my peers were just learning, squeaking out a song when and where Bangs, California: Rhino Records , He commanded the stage, we were just glad to get on it. I learned folk music by screwing up in every way possible until I had made all the mistakes and couldn't make any more. Robbie just seemed to have been through all that.
According to Batson, Basho would have played at the Unicorn, a coffee house on 17th street, as well as other open mic venues such as the Through The Gate coffee house, under a church on Capital Hill, and the Crow's Toe on K Street.
Both Kottke and Jon Batson have recalled hearing Basho singing Hank Williams' Jambalaya at around this time, but Batson also remembers him singing mostly his own material, much of which would later be recorded in for Basho's third Takoma release, Basho Sings. Suffice to say, I felt bad for the guy. He was talented and yet his appearance held him back from good gigs.
He needed to trim the beard and put up a good front. That was the Robbie I knew. Jon Batson, e-mail to the author, February 22, See accompanying CD. One night, I came across Robbie and he asked me where I was going. I said "Home. He said, "Here. I brought him home and told my folks "This is Robbie, he followed me home. Can I keep him? I thought the world must be a very wrong place to have someone of his talent sleeping on a park bench.
Basho would come to view his tenure in Washington D. Denson, however, again provides a valuable account, describing Basho's departure from D.
Here he played the Green Spider for. Batson email, Feb. Gordon, Robison's thrashy, off-the-wall string accompaniment also bears a significant similarity to Basho's own string song style. The existence of a Robbie Robison performing on a circuit close to or coinciding with Bashos own provides a more plausible creation myth for his own name, principally why it changed from Robinson to Basho.
His own explanation for the shift was rather less prosaic than one of simple differentiation, featuring peyote, a mountaintop, and the overnight realisation that he was the spiritual reincarnation of the medieval Japanese poet Matsuo Basho.
Indeed, humans having the capacity to accommodate multiple truths, we can take both of these hypothesis and hyperbole alike to be equally valid. Via Portland, Basho apparently then moved on to Seattle, performing at the Queequeg coffee house. It was at KRAB, a small FM station in Seattle and among the first non-commercial "community radio" stations in the country, that Robbie would make his recording debut. The station itself was a converted doughnut shop on Roosevelt Hill.
We had a wood fence around the property and the antenna was on a telephone pole at the reverse side of the property, just a few feet from the building. I deeply recall it was a sunny day in Seattle I think I was standing outside just messing around trying to understand how this particular FM antenna worked We used to sign off the air in the middle of the day at that time. Somehow we engaged in conversation and I think he wanted somebody to record him, so I did.
We had a really quiet sound studio and a good Neumann microphone, so we had some of the equipment that was necessary to record in fairly good quality.
I remember I gave this fellow, Robbie, the master tapes and he took off with them and that was that. Jeremy Lansmann, telephone interview with the author, January 29, Lansmann, telephone interview, Jan. It is not known exactly what Basho recorded that day, but two of the five cuts on his debut record, The Seal of the Blue Lotus originate from this session: Mountain Man's Farewell and Dravidian Sunday.
According to Denson's essay, Basho then continued on to Canada though if he did return to Berkeley in between times it may not necessarily have been mentioned. Nevertheless, it was in Toronto, Canada, that Robbie was recorded live at the Bohemian Embassy by Wally Parsons, with one composition, Bardo Blues, appearing on his debut. Ribback had been sole owner of the Gate of Horn folk club from to ,51 at which point he became deeply involved in documenting in audio the Civil Rights movement, then at its height.
Unlike some of Basho's previous acquaintances, Ribback was over ten years his senior, and sufficiently well off to be able to support Robbie for several weeks, and eventually to fund his return to the West Coast. Robbie's stay in New York is notable for another chance encounter, hinted at in the notes accompanying one track from his second album, The Grail and the Lotus from Both playing and singing she is one of the deepest women I have heard, this is her love song taken and gently placed in an Oriental setting.
We got to talking. I was 29 or 30 at the time and he was just a very young man, traveling around solo, and had no place to stay. I had a nice clean two bedroom apartment," and so offered Robbie a bed for the night.
For some reason, this young man thought I was the cat's meow, and we really liked each other for a few brief hours in our lifetime.
This brief human encounter is interesting in itself, but also seems to have had a deeper impact on a small part of Bashos musical thinking at the time. Whilst Basho's first recorded performance at the Jabberwock is that of July 14th, , Lansmann and Koth both indicate that the time frame was slightly earlier, most likely sometime during the summer of Denson's detailed booklet notes was Basho's own Esoteric Doctrine of Color and Mood, consisting of two charts detailing the colour, mood, and "concomitant properties" of basic chords and modal tunings respectively.
Equally, Basho's use of the popular 'D modal' tuning DADGAD for this piece is another indication of the seemingly disproportionate influence the encounter with Mary Koth appears to have had upon him. Encouraged by his success at KRAB, Basho's first destination upon his arrival back on the West Coast appears to have been Berkeley's own noncommercial FM station, KPFA, a station for which Jeremy Lansmann had already spent time working as an engineer in the late 50s, whilst still in high school.
To Bashos fortune, Denson had, in the couple of years since his arrival in Berkeley, found himself co-presenting a weekly programme on KPFA, with Basho's apparent synaesthesia is a story in itself, claiming in the Seal of the Blue Lotus notes that "every chord has a colour, every section of that chord a shade, every note a drop.
On another note, Bashos desire to establish systems and nomenaclature would persist into his Native American-related music in the early s, and is one of the guiding, distinctive prinicipals of his art. This is, in fact, a Cm7 tuning.
McClosky was over eight years Basho's junior, being just 16 by the time they started work together. This relationship would continue for two years, with Basho later lamenting that McCloskys departure from the station had left "a great void": "We did a lot of beautiful things in this studio It was good days here. Edwin Hamilton, had arrived in the United States via England several decades earlier, having left a husband and a life in upper class Indian society.
Michael Sunday, e-mail to the author, February 24, Amirkhanian, My first day in Berkley I walked in here and there was a Hindu dancing woman and she said 'hello will you be my accompanist' and I said 'why not! I went through an incredible thing with her.
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World of Slide Guitar. The existence of a Robbie Robison performing on a circuit close to or coinciding with Bashos own provides a more plausible creation myth for his own name, principally why it changed from Robinson to Basho. Burbank Steamboat Gwine 'Round de Bend. Hymns to the Living God 2. I learned a lot [laughs]. Of a similar age to Kottke, Batson recalls viewing Basho as a veteran of the folk club scene:. Encouraged by his success at KRAB, Basho's first destination upon his arrival back on the West Coast appears to have been Berkeley's own noncommercial FM station, KPFA, a station for which Jeremy Lansmann Song Of God - Robbie Basho - Afternoon & Evening (File) already spent time working as an engineer in the late 50s, whilst still in high school. We had a really quiet sound studio and a good Neumann microphone, so we had some of the equipment that was necessary to record in fairly good quality.
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