Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  April 14, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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Christie's in London will auction off a rare piece of Beatles and Donovan memorabilia April 30. The item is a Philips c-60 compact cassette tape described in the catalog as "partly recorded in India at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's academy in Rishikesh, India, between February and April, 1968. The A-Side label lists Donovan singing The Beatles' "Across The Universe," "Maharishi/Happiness Runs" and "Wedding Of Shiva." The side also includes vedic Chants and a Maharishi speech. The B-side, according to the catalog description, is "inscribed in black felt pen (faded) in an unknown hand Chant/Oobla Dee/Rocky Racoon -- (the Beatles songs taped from a record)." According to the catalog, John Lennon, the Maharishi and others can be heard in the background as Donovan sings "Across the Universe."

"The Maharishi laughs at the song's chorus 'Nothing's gonna change my world,'" notes the catalog, "at which point Lennon can be heard saying 'That's why I want to do it again -- change that line'... at the end of the song Lennon comments... 'We've all been humming that in our meditation.'" Christie's estimates the lot is worth roughly $450-$750.


The second annual Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee, featuring headliner Neil Young, has been sold out for some time, but organizers are scheduling a Long Island version of the event for August, reports Newsday. Newsday's Glen Gamboa cites "insiders" who suggest The Dead and the Dave Matthews Band will be announced as the big attractions for the Northeast version of the event, which will take place August 8-10 at Enterprise Park at Calverton in Riverhead. Organizers expect 80,000 fans each day. Tickets will go on sale before the end of the month.


White Stripes, the Detroit-based primitivist rock duo of Jack and Meg White, will fill the unprecedented role of being the guest artist on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" for four consecutive days April 22-25. NBC notes it's the first time a popular music group has been booked for such a long run on a late night talk show. The Stripes will play a new song from its new album "Elephant" at each show.


Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart hosted a tribute to his friend and colleague Babatunde Olatunji, who passed away last week Sunday at Lagoon Park on the Marin County Fairgrounds. The free event titled "Celebrate Life in Rhythm" featured performances by Hart, Sikiru Adepoju, Bobby Vega, Hamza El Din, Bobi Cespedes, Arthur Hull with Village Music Circles and Remo Belli. Fans brought their own drums and percussion instruments and formed drum circles to honor the African drum master.


A long-unavailable classic album from folk-rock pioneers The Holy Modal Rounders, "Good Taste Is Timeless," has been reissued. Rounders co-founders Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber are captured at the peak of their powers on this 1971 classic, cut in Nashville with guest artists Tracy Nelson (Mother Earth), D.J. Fontana, and pedal steel legend Pete Drake. The album features the definitive version of the Rounders gonzo anti-jock anthem "Boobs A Lot." The reissue includes new liner notes by Stampfel.

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