BERNIE WORRELL R.I.P. 1944-2016
Bernie Worrell, the keyboardist, songwriter and synthesizer pioneer who served as co-founder of Parliament-Funkadelic and a key Talking Heads collaborator, died on June 24, 2016 after a battle with cancer, according to his Facebook page. He was 72. Diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in January, Worrell was the guest of honor at a massive benefit concert last April, with the likes of George Clinton, Questlove, David Byrne and Meryl Streep performing and paying tribute. In mid-June, however, his wife Judie Worrell announced his health had taken a turn, writing, “Bernie is now heading ‘Home.’”
As a member of Parliament-Funkadelic, Worrell’s synth playing provided the funk innovators with some of their most distinctive and immediately recognizable elements, which subsequently became signature sounds of the more futuristic strains of R&B, and the bedrock of hip-hop’s West Coast “g-funk” wave, with Dr Dre in particular sampling Worrell’s music almost religiously.
Shortly after his departure from the P-Funk universe in 1981, Worrell was recruited by Jerry Harrison, guitarist for the art-rock/New Wave group Talking Heads, whom Worrell had never heard. Though he found their earlier music “stiff,” Worrell joined the group as a session musician, contributing synthesizers to 1983 album “Speaking in Tongues,” which would go on to become the Heads’ highest-charting release. He toured with the group for years, and his importance to their live sound is made abundantly clear in the Jonathan Demme-directed 1984 concert film, “Stop Making Sense.” During the ‘80s, Worrell also recorded with Keith Richards, Fela Kuti, and Jack Bruce, and after the breakup of Talking Heads, he released a spate of solo albums in the early-‘90s. (1991’s “Funk of Ages” is the clear standout.) - Variety
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Saratoga Springs 1983 [no label, 2CD]
Live at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY, August 5, 1983. Very good soundboard. (This show has also been listed as August 3, 1983.)
If you are one of those who liked Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense and wondered why didn’t they release a complete concert instead of a truncated show, this one’s for you.
Creatively, Talking Heads peaked during Remain In Light (1980) and Speaking In Tongues (1983) though some would probably say it was their debut album, Talking Heads: 77, that laid the groundwork. Musically it’s hard to beat the pulsating beats and polyrhythms of Light and Tongues. With the Renaissance Man of New Wave/Rock on stage, this is one party that is visually arresting and dares anyone to sit still. And Jonathan Demme has captured it all on film.
Various versions of this show have circulated among fans, some versions whose audio quality seems worse than others (static and drop outs). Thanks then to gilde who shared this lossless version on the Dime site. glide noted: “The tapes been sitting in my vault for 24 years and I did not think to investigate until an old buddy of mine happened to mention that it was superior to all other circulating copies. That led me to do a new transfer.” Thanks also to angela for the artwork.
To cop a line from Rob Tannenbaum’s review of Little Creatures in Rolling Stone, “It brings to mind a comment Pete Townshend made to RS three years ago: ‘I like New York, but I don’t see a hell of a lot happening. David Byrne has got the weight of the whole thing on his shoulders’.” Guess that’s why Byrne got the white suit with the big shoulders.
Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.
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Disc 1 (Set 1):
Track 101. Psycho Killer (7.2MB)
Track 102. Heaven (5.7MB)
Track 103. Thank You For Sending Me An Angel (3.2MB)
Track 104. Building On Fire (4.3MB)
Track 105. Book I Read (6.7MB)
Track 106. Slippery People (7.7MB)
Track 107. Cities (6.9MB)
Track 108. Big Blue Plymouth (Eyes Wide Open) (6.7MB)
Track 109. Burning Down The House (5.7MB)
Track 110. Life During Wartime (7.8MB)
Disc 2 (Set 2):
Track 201. Making Flippy Floppy (8.4MB)
Track 202. Swamp (7.0MB)
Track 203. What A Day That Was (8.9MB)
Track 204. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (7.3MB)
Track 205. Once In A Lifetime (7.5MB)
Track 206. Big Business (7.5MB)
Track 207. I Zimbra (4.1MB)
Track 208. Houses In Motion (9.4MB)
Track 209. Genius Of Love (Tom Tom Club) (10.6MB)
Track 210. Girlfriend Is Better (8.6MB)
Track 211. Take Me To The River (11.5MB)
Track 212. Crosseyed And Painless (9.9MB)
David Byrne – guitar
Chris Frantz – drums
Tina Weymouth – bass
Jerry Harrison – guitar
Bernie Worrell – keyboards
Steve Scales – percussion
Ednah Holt – backing vocals
Lynn Mabry – backing vocals
Alex Weir – guitar
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