Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Excerpt from November issue of American Songwriter Magazine

Which features two of my photos of Whiskeytown from  New Year's Eve, 1999. Yes, I do need to write an essay about Whiskeytown, which will hopefully come soon. In the meantime, check out the link here-

Happy Halloween. Look behind you! Boo.
October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alejandro Escovedo photos, Charlotte, NC, Oct. 23, 2012

Alejandro Escovedo
Visulite Theater
Charlotte, NC, Oct. 23, 2012
all photos copyright 2012 Daniel Coston

Travels With My Camera - Nappy Brown

In May of 2004, I went to the Double Door to see Pinetop Perkins, who had spent years playing piano for Muddy Waters. The place was packed, and the band was fantastic. Fellow Muddy Waters band alums Bob Margolin, and Willie Smith put on an excellent show. But the big surprise lay in the middle of the show.

About forty minutes into the show, Margolin announced, “We’d like to have Nappy Brown come up and do a song.” I had heard about Nappy Brown, but had yet to see him. Nappy was one of the first North Carolina musicians to break through when rock and roll, and rhythm & blues began to merge. Songs like “Don’t Be Angry” (which Brown also wrote) made the national charts, and another song that Brown adapted, “Night Time (Is The Right Time),” would soon become a worldwide smash for Ray Charles. After spending years devoted to gospel music, Margolin convinced Brown to return to the blues music scene.

Watching Nappy Brown onstage was like watching a ball of fire flash by you. Brown was all of six foot five, rail thin, and strutting as he came on stage. Brown, as he often did, took over the show. Soon, he was rolling on the floor, both on stage, and in the audience. Sitting on ladies’ laps and undoing his shirt, all while singing and shouting, and urging the band on. It was unbelievable. I took so many photos that night of Brown, documenting as his one song turned into a 25 minute set. (I’ve heard that this often happened with Brown.)

Brown came from his musical family. He formed a gospel group with his cousin, Clyde Wright in the late 1940s, and the group sang on WBT, and other stations in the Southeast. Wright would go on to join the legendary Golden Gate Quartet in 1954, and is with that group to this day. In the meantime, Brown jumped into R&B, recording often for the Savoy Records label.

After Margolin coaxed Brown back into performing his R&B songs on stage, a whole new audience began to discover him. I got to see Brown a few times, including at a Savoy Records reunion in 2006. In the last years of his life, Brown finally got the due that he deserved. Appearances on Prairie Home Companion, a new album, and the respect of his peers. I only wish that I had seen him Brown more. 

Shortly after Brown passed away in 2009, I ran into Brown's old friend and bass player, Mookie Brill. I had recently interviewed Mookie for my Double Door Inn book. Brill was upset that Brown did not have a headstone, and that some members of his family were not being helpful. I suggested that a benefit concert be held to raise the necessary funds, and suggested a few names that might be willing to be involved.

A week later, Brill excitedly called me to tell me about the concert that they'd lined up. When Brill and I had talked, it was very late in the evening (early morning, actually), and between that and my work-related exhaustion that evening, I totally forgot that we'd had that conversation. But, I was proud to have had a hand in the benefit, even though all of the credit should go to Brill. The event itself was a fabulous success, and my photos in the Observer the following week helped to raise more money. There is now a lovely tombstone at Nappy Brown's grave, which will hopefully always mark the resting place for one of the amazing singers, and performers I ever saw.
-Daniel Coston
Oct. 25, 2012  


This is how
you will see
A foggy haze
upon the weathered ground,
a misty fog
is colored in the darkness
of the setting sun,
my figure
facing you, 
or turned away, 
shifting with
point of view.
I may look
towards you,
and then look
what is ahead of us.
You may hear
the wind,
or a song
that you love,
or we loved.
As the moments pass,
I will fade from view,
or simply walk away.

Do not run
from this moment, 
but embrace it
with heavy, uncertain 
struggling with what
has changed, 
and in time,
the fears may subside
and my words
may come back
in level terms. 
The oncoming future
cannot change
the past,
only our perceptions 
of it. 
There is 
no need to
or say goodbye.
The present and future
cannot change
the past,
only our perceptions 
of it.
Let go 
of the pain, 
but hold on
to what we meant 
to each other.  
Hold on to
who we were,
what we were,
and who I was, 
for I
will do the same,
for wherever 
I am 
about to go.  

-Daniel Coston
October 25, 2012
Dedicated to all my friends on that journey.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New photos from the past several weeks

Top To Bottom:
Nick Lowe, Oct. 9, 2012
Pat Mother Blues Cohen, Sept. 21, 2012
Mercury Dime, Sept. 27, 2012
Andy Irvine, Sept. 28, 2012
Bobby Rush, Sept. 18, 2012
Russell Simmons, Oct. 20, 2012
all photos copyright 2012 Daniel Coston 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Excerpt from new Vince Melouney (Bee Gees) interview

Daniel Coston: How did you meet up with the Bee Gees? Had you all played together, 
and hung out together in Australia?

Vince Melouney: I knew The Bee Gees in Australia, we had met at TV shows and gigs and I became friendly with them. I did some recording with them just before I left for The UK. They said they were going to The UK not long after me and maybe we would meet up again there. The rest is history.

Coston: Was the band already rehearsing and recording, when you joined?

Melouney:  No, they hadn’t started recording, they auditioned for Robert Stigwood, who had already knew they were coming, as The Bee Gees Father, Hughie, had been in contact with Stigwood, sent him recordings etc from Australia. Colin Petersen had joined not long before me. I heard they were in The UK through my friends in The EasyBeats, a group from Australia who had a hit in Britain with a song called “Friday on my Mind”.

Coston: What are your memories of recording that first album?

Melouney: It was exciting. To be in a studio in London, actually, just to be in London was exciting. It was IBC Studios, in the centre of London; all of us were together for the first time (that is the five of us, I hadn’t met Colin before, although he was a friend of The Bee Gees in Australia). I can’t remember the first song we put down, but that first night, we recorded ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941’. The album that followed was a really wonderful experience. Song after song was inspirational. We all got along, we all worked together, it was fun, though we were deadly serious about what we were doing. 

Coston: Did you know early on that string sections and horns would be 
featured on their songs? How did you feel about that?

Melouney: Yes I did. Bill Shepherd was our arranger and if you listen to the first album, you will notice the string arrangements are quite sparse in most of the songs where they are playing, so it didn’t interfere with my guitar at all, I really enjoyed Bill’s arrangements. The next two albums featured a lot more guitar.

Coston: What were some of the Bee Gee's early live gigs like?

Melouney: Can’t really remember most of them, but we did some small venues around England, supported some acts, I think one was The Rod Stewart Group, we played the Saville Theatre in London, supporting Fats Domino, it was not a good move. All the Rockers had come to see Fats, not listen to young kids with high voices, sing about love, no no no.

Coston: How fast did stardom seem to hit?

Melouney: It came upon us too fast, before we knew it, we were flying first class, doing the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in New York, staying in VERY expensive, flash hotels. Coming from Australia only a few months earlier, which at that time, was at the end of the earth, we were like kids in a lolly shop.

Coston: At one point, it looked you and Colin were going to have to go back 
to Australia, and a couple of fans chained themselves to Buckingham 
Palace in protest. What was that like, and whatever became of those 

Melouney:  I just recently heard from one of those girls, she sent me some pics of her chained to Buckingham Palace, don’t know where they are now, must find them. It was a difficult time, just when we had made the grade, they, the home office wanted to kick us out. But with perseverance by Robert Stigwood and our fans, they reluctantly gave us a stay of execution and let us stay in the country.

Coston: How did you and the band work up songs?

Melouney: Like most groups I think, Barry, Robin and Maurice would sing the song and we would try different ideas till we were all happy with it. We did do quite a few versions of some of the songs, which can be found on the 6 CD collection, which came out about 5 years ago.

Coston: Talk about coming up with your guitar parts. I know that on “World,” 
and other songs, you came up with your guitar parts.

Melouney:  I came up with most of my parts, but did listen to what everyone had to say and made changes where I felt necessary and that made sense.

Coston: What are your recollections of recording Horizontal? It sounds 
like a remarkably assured band, despite everyone's age, and busy 

Melouney:  I think we had settled in by then, felt confident of what we were doing, had a few hits under our belt and yes fitting in recording when we were so busy, flying here there and everywhere, to do gigs, TV shows, personnel appearances, interviews. I get tired now just thinking about it.

Coston: What did the band sound like in a live setting? Was it a challenge 
to some of the songs that had been so strings-oriented on the 

Melouney:  Except for right at the beginning, we never performed without an orchestra.

Coston: Has any live recordings of you and the Bee Gees turned up? I keep 
hoping for a great lost live set.

Melouney:  Not that I know of, there are some recordings to be found on youtube, I think from a tour of Germany.

Coston: What are your recollections now of recording Idea?

Melouney: Again, it was such a long time ago, I just cannot remember. We were always in the studio, recording something. Sorry can’t help you there.

Coston: You wrote “Such A Shame”, a great song. Talk about the song. I know 
that you've expressed regret that you didn't let Barry sing the part 
that you took.

Melouney: Yes, Barry really liked the song and wanted to sing it, and I do wish I had of said yes. Obviously the band was starting to implode on itself at that time, as the lyrics to that song imply. Robert Stigwood was starting to get more involved in the musical side of the band, of which he really knew nothing about except that he had a great ear for picking a hit.

Coston: Listening to these records, I'm also amazed at young everyone was. 
Was youth also a factor in the band splitting up?

Melouney:  Probably, coming from Australia, which at that time could have been on another planet, it was a very young, naive place to be coming from. London was where it was all happening and we were like the straight couple in ‘The Rocky Horror Show’. 

Coston: What finally caused you to leave?

Melouney:  There was conflict within the band, due to outside influences. Robert Stigwood wanted more and more strings, I really no longer had much to do. We had a winning combination and could have gone on to make many great albums. But no, the end was nigh, so time to go.

Coston: I've read that you played on some of the tracks for Odessa. Is 
that true, and what tracks were those?

Melouney: Yes, I was on three tracks, “Marley Purt Drive”, “Whisper Whisper” and one more that I can’t remember.

Coston: What are you working on these days? I've read that you also put 
out a solo album in the last several years.

Melouney: I am very close to finishing an album of Bee Gee songs that I do in my show. They all have my own arrangement, I have done them all in my own way. I play my show all over the country and am heading off to LA in March to catch up with an old friend who is a record producer together with his wife, Carlo Olsen and do some recording there. Then I am off to The UK to play my show there. I am contacting agents there at the moment. I want to play Europe again. How long I will be there, I do not know.

Coston: Anything that you'd like to say to our readers, or anything that I 

Melouney: Thanks for reading my ramblings and if you see me advertised playing in your area, please come along. Also, keep an eye out for my new album, soon to be released on iTunes.

The complete interview coming soon in an upcoming issue of the Big Takeover Magazine.
You can also read my post about my love for the first three Bee Gees albums on this blog.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NC Music Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Oct. 11, 2012

Top to Bottom-

Lou Donaldson and Maceo Parker
Fred T. Foster and Eddie Ray (director of NCMHOF)
K-Ci and JoJo of Jodeci
Nantucket, with Ken Knox and Chairmen of the Board
Maceo, getting ready to blow
Concord, NC
October 11, 2012
all photos 2012 Daniel Coston

Thursday, October 11, 2012

RIP Patrick Atkinson

2005, I spent two weeks in Iceland with Patrick Atkinson, as he and the band Mar recorded their debut album in Reykjavik. Patrick was a good soul, and he really lived for the music and art he created. We had a lot of fun over that time, and I have a lot of photos of Patrick that I now cherish.

I had not seen Patrick over the last seven years, but when I did, it was always a great moment. I always wanted to talk to Patrick more, stay in touch more, see how he was doing. Time, time, time. Where did the time go......

We spend some so much of our lives in constant motion, running from one fire to the next. And in the moment, we are reminded of how quickly the candles can go out. Patrick, I never talked to you enough, or spend enough time with you. I could've known you for decades, and I would feel the same way. Wherever you go from here, remember that you were, and will still be loved back here on this physical plain. Safe travels, my friend. From your friend behind the camera,
October 11, 2012

Patrick with Mar in Iceland 
photo 2005 Daniel Coston

Monday, October 8, 2012

To my old classmates at St. Patrick's School

29 years ago this week, my family and I moved to North Carolina from Seneca Falls, NY. And while North Carolina has been good to me over the years, I left behind a great bunch of classmates at St. Patrick's School, in Seneca Falls. We all had the shared experience of growing up together in that small town, all dreaming of bigger things to come.

The baseball that the class signed for me all those years ago sits next to my desk. I saw many of you again in 1991, when I visited your high school graduation, which I still consider one of the most fun experiences I have ever had. Some of those classmates are here on Facebook, and some aren't. But wherever they are, I couldn't let another anniversary pass without saying hello, and wishing you well. I may have moved away from Seneca Falls, but you have never left me. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Andrew Bird photos, Neighborhood Theatre, CLT, Oct. 2, 2012

Andrew Bird
Neighborhood Theatre
Charlotte, NC, Oct. 2, 2012
I photographed Andrew in this same venue in January of 1999, for what became the photos for his second album, Oh The Grandeur. The show was Andrew's first time back at the venue, and the city of Charlotte since that 1999 show. It's amazing to see how far it all has come.
All photos copyright 2012 Daniel Coston

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NC Musicians Book Title

Hello All-

McFarland has asked me to come up with another title for the NC Musicians book. Tarheel Tunesmiths just won't cut it, and to be honest, I've never been completely tied to that moniker. Photographing North Carolina Musicians is what we have, so far. I've made lists that start with the joke titles, as I often do, but so far, all I have is joke titles. (War And Peace Three Times Over, and This Blanking Book, as it has sometimes been referred to around my house, are my current faves.)

Any suggestions? It's a book about the musicians of North Carolina, tied together with my photos. Leave me a comment, or email me. Many thanks,
October 2nd, 2012