Whipping Post

Whipping Post – Chris Stapleton

I’ve been run down
I’ve been lied to

I know this guy Kenny Greenberg. He’s married to Ashley Cleveland. We met when he was flown to L.A. for a session twenty years ago. He’s gone on to further success with the likes of Luke Bryan. And a month ago he told me about this new series he’s involved with called “Skyville Live.” No one’s ever heard of it. Because it’s paid for by Hearst and distributed on Verizon’s go90 and something called Rated Red and it might as well have been made on Mars. But Kenny just e-mailed me some links and my mind is BLOWN!

Who’s the hottest guy in country music?


He’s fronting this band. All the rockers have now gone country, and Chris has got more credibility than any act on Active Rock and is much more listenable to boot, because instead of keeping the roots at arm’s length, he’s EMBRACING THEM!

Now, covers have become de rigueur. Something we see on YouTube, almost a cheap shot, somewhere you go when you’ve got nothing left to give.

But this version of “Whipping Post”…

The modern Allmans laid down in the groove and stayed there, they chugged along, whereas this is closer to the Atlanta Rhythm Section, in that the band is powering down the track like a freight train, building energy all the while, carrying you along whether you like it or not.

That’s the power of talent, that’s the power of MUSIC!

Sometimes I feel
Sometimes I feel

Like I can’t be reached, like I’ve seen it all, and then I hear this guy picking out the bass intro to “Whipping Post” and it’s like he’s channeling Berry Oakley, he may be sitting in a chair, but he’s got the music in him.

And then that guitar starts boomeranging and another one comes in and the horns start to blow and then…

Chris starts to sing like he means it. This is not the “Voice,” he’s not overblowing, trying to impress a phantom audience, rather he’s digging down deep and revealing his pain…and we can RELATE!

And the magic of the original Allmans was the twin guitars, and that’s what’ll get you going here, the way they lock in together and then separately solo and wail. When Kenny is working out all you can do is HOLD ON!

My friends tell me
That I’ve been such a fool
And I have to stand down and take it babe
All for lovin’ you

For loving classic rock. A format built on playing. You paid your dues, Duane Allman wouldn’t have known how to social network if Facebook existed, all he knew was when he strapped on his axe, you were closed.

The original version of “Whipping Post” is a marvel, on a Capricorn LP that was almost a complete stiff. But it’s still my favorite. With “Trouble No More” and “Dreams” too.

But I didn’t start there.

I became a fan listening to “Idlewild South” in Dave McCormick’s room on floor two of Hepburn Hall at Middlebury College during the far below freezing days of January. Who wasn’t infected by “Midnight Rider”?

The band was under control on that album, but they let loose on “Fillmore East.”

Overnight the Allman Brothers became the biggest in the land, that’s the power of playing.

And it was all about the side-long “Whipping Post.” They took the original and extended it, added the passion of a live performance, they blew everybody away with the music!

And at this point in time the band is no more. Duane and Berry have been gone for nearly half a century. You’d think you missed it.

But not when you see this “Skyville Live” amalgamation wail.

This is better than any Grammy performance, better than almost all of the Kennedy Center Honors. You get the feeling you’re at a rehearsal of people who did not get the memo, who did not hear that all the money is in banking and tech, who think pushing limits based on their talents is everything in life.

Screw those Grammy moments, faux greatness that leaves us with the blahs. Rather on “Skyville Live” it’s all about focusing on playing as opposed to image, after all music is something you HEAR first and foremost. It’s about a great tune, with great musicians locking on to it, all in service to the song.

If you’re not jumping up and thrusting your arm in the air when this track climaxes, you’ve never been to the rock show, you’ve never known how to let go, you’ve never known the power of music.

But you do now.

P.S. Meanwhile, if you let the Vimeo video play, and why does Vimeo even exist, everything should be on YouTube, especially these cuts, you’ll be exposed to a better take of “Copperhead Road” than the Steve Earle original. He’s now skinny, his hair is thinning, his beard is long, but his voice has deepened and if this makes you go back and listen to “Guitar Town” you’ll be exposed to one of the best country rock albums of all time!

Copperhead Road – Steve Earle

P.P.S. And Robert Hazard may be six feet under, but his anthem “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” lives on. Somehow the assembled multitude makes this overplayed classic live and breathe. And Cyndi Lauper gets help from the younger generation in this clip, but instead of doing it for the exposure, everybody seems to be having so much FUN!
And fun is the one thing that money can’t buy, remember that. It’s something you have to manufacture yourself, and we used to do it by picking up our instruments and strumming and singing and this is a direct link to what once was, but it doesn’t feel dated at ALL!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

P.P.P.S. Distribution is king, never forget that. Content is what flows through the pipes, and if the pipes are clogged what you’ve made is never gonna reach its destination. The original era of the internet is toast, instant virality is history, everything needs a campaign, everything needs to be worked. And you cannot break immutable laws, you’ve got to go where the people are, you can’t be exclusive to Tidal and you can’t only be on Vimeo. You’ve got to play with the winners, you’ve got to go where the people are!

P.P.P.P.S. And everybody says you’ve got to go to England to see stuff like this. That everybody in America is in it for the cash, and what ultimately is revealed is too slick, too corporate, made for machines, not humans. But then you watch these “Skyville” clips and you think if this just got a push, if people were exposed not only would they be wowed, they’d want to join in and play too!

P.P.P.P.P.S. Listen to Orianthi wail on ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” Music is a big tent, short ones, small ones, big ones, tall ones, girls, boys, we all can play, all you’ve got to do is practice, get off the internet and pay your dues. As for the rest of us, we’re looking for your music to complete us, to turn this life of drudgery into one of excitement, as the assembled multitude does in these clips.

Billy Gibbons – La Grange

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