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Parallels in Vinyl

This week (3/5/11) keyboards and guitar – then and (sort of) now. Thijs van Leer and Jan Akkerman hail from the progressive rock group FOCUS from the 1970’s and for better or worse, they are remembered for Hocus Pocus, something that guitarist Akkerman is not exactly fond of (he has expanded his role over the decades as a specialist in early music as well). Some of their most interesting jams took place on the disc Focus III. The original is out of print but you’ll be set right by way of my snap, crinkle & pop (a.k.a. vinyl) on this week’s show. Its a shame in an age where archival length is not a problem – the short-sightedness of record companies continues to be.

In a different capacity of 88 and 6, we remember Gary Moore and T. Lavitz, both passing way too young in their 50’s. While Moore is often associated in pop culture with Thin Lizzy and a bit more esoterically with blues, not even Wikipedia mentions the project that I choose to remember him by. Its called Variations, based on a Paganini caprice and written by Andrew L Webber for his cellist brother Julian, because the former lost a football bet. This all star unnamed line up included greats such as Rod Argent and more. I initially saw it telecast on an August Sunday morning returning to the States after jaunting around the U.K. Moore, who did not read music, was shown his guitar parts on keyboards and memorized them. An anecdotal kudo attesting to his chops as an ensemble player.

T. Lavitz was tapped out of the University of Miami in his senior year by the founder of the Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse (who also attended) to join the Morse band after the departure of keyboard virtuoso Mark Parrish. Lavitz didn’t disappoint. From the Dregs of the Earth disc, I’ll be playing I’m Freaking Out, a decidedly outside-the-box tune even for the Dregs. Also Hereafter from the same album, a poignant irony considering Lavitz is on that tune as well. Back in the early 1980s I bought two copies of each disc re: the Dregs. Who knew then we’d have CDs and flash drives someday? So, I present to you a mint condition platter for your enjoyment. In fact, all the groove that’s fit to hear is from my vinyl collection this week.

The Electric Croude airs late Saturday at midnight EST on WCVE Public Radio and streams at