Recently saw the much lauded film 20 Feet From Stardom on Netflix. There were so many interesting parts to the film like great live footage and interesting interviews.
A few things really stood out for me. One, Bruce Springsteen. Over the past decade or so I've begrudgingly developed a huge respect for the guy. I was kind of a douchey little teenager and tried to be "anti anything popular" and probably missed out on a lot of great stuff. Luckily, I had to learn "Born to Run" for a cover gig at some point and realized how great a tune it was, especially the super cool glockenspiel bridge. What a wild thing to throw into a pop song. I've never seen his band live, but his shows are still legendarily grand: two or three hours at the minimum, extremely entertaining. You really have to respect him as a musician.
Seeing Springsteen in 20 Feet From Stardom was probably the first time I saw him just sit and talk. His knowledge of background singers was truly impressive and listening to him talk about the different attitudes it takes to go from background to lead singer was really interesting.
Besides Bruce, the standout to me really was Merry Clayton. I'm sure everyone has their favorite, but what sealed the deal for me was a short clip they showed of Clayton trying to strike out on her own with an absolutely powerhouse band playing Neil Young's "Southern Man". I went and checked out her solo albums and was equally impressed. This is really good, up tempo, powerful soul funk. Think Donny Hathaway on the more up tempo stuff.
I posted her "Gimme Shelter" as there's so many cool things here to enjoy. Just one year after singing on the original tune, she comes out with her own. I love the reworking of the original guitar intro, and check out how just loud and energetic things get when the horns come in. Bob West on bass is great (although maaaaaaybe a little too "I walk jazz bass wherever I want" in the outchoruses, but who am I to really judge). Check out her third album titled "Merry Clayton" with the great Wilton Felder on bass as well. Really powerhouse, fun stuff. Enjoy!