I grew up in the "classic rock" era, but I love music of every genre. I love sharing my old favorites while still discovering new artists.
Many musicians from the Classic Rock era (those who were popular with the baby boomer generation when they were young) are still making great music today. Here, in no particular order, we will take a look at a few who have recently made albums.
Classic Rockers Who Didn't Quit
- Paul McCartney
- Tony Joe White
- Jeff Beck
- Savoy Brown
- John Mayall
- Mick Fleetwood
- Van Morrison
- Billy F. Gibbons
- Rita Coolidge
1. Paul McCartney: Egypt Station
Paul McCartney is like a Pop/Rock energizer bunny. When will this guy ever run out of steam? Egypt Station is his 17th post-Beatle studio album. It was released in September of 2018.
The title Egypt Station is the same as the name of a painting done by McCartney. That painting is the cover art.
At 76, McCartney will probably never make another Sgt. Pepper's, or Band on the Run, but he's still not ready to throw in the towel.
Egypt Station, is almost a concept album. It is like a musical journey. It makes stops along the way that revisit McCartney's past and new places too. Sir Paul's voice is not what it once was, but songwriting skills have stood the test of time.
2. Tony Joe White: Bad Mouthin'
Sadly, we lost Tony Joe White on October 24, 2018. He was best known for his 1969 hit "Polk Salad Annie." He also wrote, "Rainy Night in Georgia," but he was never satisfied with the way he sang that song. I could never understand that, because I've heard him play and sing it, and I thought he was great. In any case, it was a huge hit for Brook Benton in 1970.
White also wrote "Steamy Windows" and "Undercover Agent for the Blues." They were hits for Tina Turner in 1989.
He was known as a swamp legend, but he had a lifelong admiration for blues musicians and songwriters.
Hist last album, Bad Mouthin,' was released in September 2018. It features six of White's original songs and five blues standards written by such notables as Charley Patton and John Lee Hooker. He also included a cover Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel.” White plays guitar, both acoustic and electric, and the album was produced by his son Jody White.
Only a month after the album's release, Tony died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 75.
3. Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Jeff Beck is one of the three notable guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two are Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Despite his incredible talent, and an impressive list of band mates, Beck has not maintained the commercial success of many of his contemporaries.
He has focused on instrumental music and innovative sound. He did have two hit solo albums, Blow by Blow in March of 1975 and Wired in 1976.
Beck has played on many albums by other artists including Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Donovan, Diana Ross, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper, ZZ Top, and Toots and the Maytals. He has also continued to produce solo albums, though to limited commercial success.
Rolling Stone's put him at number five on their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and described him as "one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock.”
So, why has Jeff Beck not seen the fame and fortune of his contemporaries and former band-mates? It's certainly not lack of talent. One thing is, he doesn't sing. His guitar is his voice. Maybe he doesn't have the personality for it, then again, maybe he just wasn't lucky in that way.
He has a new CD/DVD out, Live at the Hollywood Bowl. It is a recording of a concert in 2016 celebrating Beck's 50th year in the music business.
4. Savoy Brown: Witchy Feelin'
Savoy Brown was originally known as the Savoy Brown Blues Band. They had the most success in the US, where they promoted their albums with heavy touring. I loved their 1970 album Lookin' In. Only singer/guitarist and founding member Kim Simmonds remains from the original line-up.
They were one of the first racially integrated groups in the UK, notable for their Chicago-style blues. The band released over 30 albums.
If you've loved Savoy Brown and Kim Simmonds then you won't be disappointed with this new album, Witchy Feelin.' Simmonds has still got what it takes. It’s an enjoyable set of brand new songs all written by him.
The song, “Thunder, Lightning & Rain” has my vote for favorite track.
5. John Mayall: Talk About That
John Mayall, is a blues singer, guitarist, organist harmonica player, and songwriter whose musical career spans over sixty years. In the 1960s, he founded John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. A lot of people remember him best for his harmonica playing on “Room to Move,” but of course there is way more to him than that.
The band has had some of the most famous blues and blues rock musicians among its members. They include Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Walter Trout, and Coco Montoya.
On his new album, Talk About That, Mayall is joined by Joe Walsh whose expert guitar work is featured on two tracks, “The Devil Must Be Laughing” and “Cards On The Table,” both written by Mayall.
6. Mick Fleetwood Blues Band: Live at the Belly Up
Mick Fleetwood, co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, celebrates his blues heritage with The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, featuring Rick Vito.
The band pays tribute to the original Fleetwood Mac, the blues band that started it all in 1967, before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks came along.
Those ladies were great, but they did change the band into something different. I love Fleetwood Mac in all of its incarnations.
7. Van Morrison: The Prophet Speaks
This is Van Morrison’s 40th studio album. He has been a consistent and prolific musician. The record follows a run of well-received albums including Roll With The Punches (all blues), Versatile, and You’re Driving Me Crazy.
On this album Van covers classics by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke, to name a few. He puts his own spin on the classics, and adds six all-new Van Morrison originals.
8. Billy F. Gibbons: The Big Bad Blues
Billy F. Gibbons is best known as the guitarist and lead singer of American rock band ZZ Top. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and they released the aptly titled record, ZZ Top's First Album, in 1971.
Gibbons has played with many other musicians, and has acted on the television show, Bones. Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time of 2011 ranked him at number 32.
His latest album, The Big Bad Blues, is focused on his love of the blues and rock & roll. It showcases the blues-influenced vocals and guitar licks that have been the foundation for his many hits over the past fifty years.
The album features 11 tracks including some classic covers like “Rollin' And Tumblin,” and “Standing Around Crying” along with Billy's new blues originals.
9. Rita Coolidge: Safe in the Arms of Time
After a ten year break, Rita Coolidge has returned. She's released, her 18th album, Safe In The Arms Of Time. Rita Coolidge played a remarkable part in the history of the ‘70s L.A. music scene. She sang backup on Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With” and Eric Clapton’s “After Midnight.” She composed the piano coda (credited to her ex-boyfriend, Jim Gordon) to Derek & the Dominoes’ “Layla.”
On this album, she took an active role in co-writing some of the songs. She also utilized the writing talents of artists including Keb’ Mo’, Stan Lynch, Jill Colucci, Chris Stapleton, and Graham Nash. She sings a duet with Keb' Mo.' Coolidge says, “This is the best record I’ve ever done. I’m extremely proud of it.”
As a generation, baby boomers have changed the culture of the US and the world at every stage of life. Now that we are growing older, we are still leaving our mark on the world.
We came of age in a time of musical exploration, and many of the musicians who made the music we love are still exploring.
© 2019 Sherry Hewins