Music Tonight: Young quartet Bua (say: "boo-ahh") brings their acclaimed traditional Irish music to the Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati for a 7 p.m. performance. Members of the group — which uses traditional instrumentation that includes wooden flute, fiddle, Uilleann Pipes, Tin Whistle, concertina and bouzouki — performed at the Center last year (each musician has other projects outside of the group) and were so fond of the venue and the audience they asked to return with the full band. Based in Chicago, Bua is a nationwide festival favorite, widely praised for their expert musicianship, passionate delivery and adherence to the foundational roots of Irish music. The group won "Top Traditional Group" at the 2009 Irish Music Awards and Bua's latest release, last year's self-released Down the Green Fields, was recently praised by Driftwood magazine, which wrote, "Damn, they killed it. Seriously. If you have any interest in the traditional music of Ireland, an emerald sound born of fiddles, pipes, whistles, and a clarity of voice that sounds like the musical equivalent of a crystal clear mountain stream and refreshes just as much, buy this album." And/or go see them in concert tonight if you're in the Greater Cincinnati area. Tickets are $15. (For the musically inclined, the group is hosting workshops at 5 p.m., in conjunction with the Riley School of Irish Music. Click here for details.)
Here's a live clip of Bua playing in Philly:
• Speaking of Philly, if your tastes lean more toward the Funk/Jazz/Fusion end of the musical spectrum, Philadelphia's Dirk Quinn Band will be playing a free show at around 10 p.m. at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Influenced by artists from The Meters and Grateful Dead to Medeski Martin & Wood and Soulive, guitarist Quinn — who already had a great reputation, drawing comparisons to Keller Williams and Michael Hedges for his dazzling solo acoustic playing — formed the band in 2007. The improv-happy crew has been steadily increasing its touring radius after become a solid regional draw. QuinnTet, came out in 2008 — instead relying on the live setting to share their goods and hone their skills (which have to be barbed-wire sharp at this point). Check out the group performing at hometown venue World Cafe Live below.
Momentous Happenings in Music History for February 9
On this day in 1983, Prince's breakthrough single from his fifth album — the double-vinyl 1999 (released in October of ’82) — hit stores and radio. "Little Red Corvette" was the album's second single, issued after the title-track (which initially peaked at No. 44, but was reissued and made it to No. 12 once the album fully took off) and before "Delirious" (which made it to No. 8).
"Corvette" became a very important single for Prince; it was his first Top 10 single and his first true crossover success, introducing the genius musician to Pop and Rock fans worldwide.
The song got a big assist from MTV, coming out at just the right time. In its early days, MTV was regularly criticized for not playing music by black artists in regular rotation, something that seems unfathomable today. It took the soon-to-be King of Pop to change things for the network. Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was the Jackie Robinson of music videos by an African-American, becoming the first clip to break the color barrier and be placed in heavy rotation. "Little Red Corvette" was the second. The concession ended up being a monumental move for Prince, Jackson and MTV, helping all three become cultural institutions not long after.
"Little Red Corvette" was listed as the 108th "Greatest Song of All Time" on Rolling Stone's list of the best 500 tunes ever. And Dez Dickerson's blazing solo (which no doubt was one of the reasons for the big crossover moment) was ranked the 64th greatest guitar solo ever in a poll conducted by Guitar World magazine.
Another fun fact: Stevie Nicks says she was inspired to write her hit "Stand Back" after hearing "Corvette" in her car (Prince must've been flattered because he played keyboards on Nicks' track).
Here's the original eight-minute-long 12-inch dance remix of the song:
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers born Feb. 9 include: Country music pioneer Ernest Tubb (1914); singer for flamboyant ’80s Pop/Dance band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Holly Johnson (1960); modern Country star Travis Tritt (1963); and legendary singer/songwriter Carole King (1942).
King went to college with Paul Simon, Neil Sedaka (she was the "Carol" in his first hit, "Oh! Carol") and Gerry Goffin, who she later married and, more importantly, forged a fruitful songwriting partnership. The pair's first hit was a doozy — the timeless "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," which became the first "girl group" No. 1. Other legendary nuggets written by the duo include "The Loco-Motion," "One Fine Day" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."
King had some modest success singing her own tunes on singles in the early ’60s, but she was clearly more successful writing songs. In 1970, she released her debut album, Writer, which tanked. But on Feb. 10, 1971, Ode Records released her Tapestry album, which would become one of the biggest selling albums of all time. The first single — "It's Too Late" backed with "I Feel the Earth Move" — was No. 1 for five weeks. (BTW: King will see four of her later albums reissued via Concord Records on Feb. 28.)
Tapestry was No. 1 for 15 weeks, setting the record for most weeks at the top by a female solo act. The record stood for 40 years but was broken recently by Adele's smash 21.
Adele, unsurprisingly, is a big King fan. As a hearty "Happy 70th!" to Ms. King, one of the greatest (and most successful) songwriters in Pop music history, here's Adele performing King's song — a big hit for Aretha Franklin originally — "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."