Sunday, October 18, 2020

Musicians make note of Rolling Stone list

 By Joseph Morganti

            Rolling Stone Magazine in September released an updated 500 Greatest Albums of all Time List, a reputable list that ranks the best and most notable albums throughout music history. Musicians across the West Side have been analyzing the list to see where some of their idols lay.

            Many musicians in the West Side wouldn’t be where they are in their musical endeavors without being inspired by some of these musicians in the first place. Inspiration is key in any field, but many point to how vital it is in the music community.

            “The Beatles played a significant role in my childhood, being primarily the only band I listened to growing up, and without them, I wouldn’t be playing music today,” said West Side bassist John Vaughan.

            Vaughan has been involved in the Buffalo music scene since he was a teenager and has been residing in the West Side for the last year. Prior to the pandemic Vaughan toured extensively throughout the summer and winter months while working at Overwinter Coffee on Elmwood Avenue in between.

John Vaughan and Jay Zubricky

            “Growing up playing guitar, some of the first songs I learned were Beatles songs,” Vaughan said. “As I expanded my taste into punk music, that’s when I started playing bass, my main instrument now and the bass lines of Mike Dirnt made me push myself to become a better player.”

            Rolling Stone thinks highly of Dirnt too, as the list had two Green Day records, “American Idiot” and “Dookie” at number 248 and 375 respectively.

            “The various artists on this list through the decades show the impact that music has had in our world,” Vaughan said. “From punk to soul, and rap to experimental rock, the list shows the impact of the various voices to their specific fanbase or just occasional listeners.”

            Most musicians will cite how any album that makes a list like this has a special meaning to music history. One artist in particular, James Taylor, who had his 1970 album “Sweet Baby James” at number 182 on the Rolling Stone list, has a special relationship with the West Side.

Taylor is a singer and songwriter who has sold more than 100 million albums throughout his career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

In 2015, Taylor recorded at Buffalo’s GCR Audio, 564 Franklin St., where he spent time working on his 2015 album “Before This World.”

Local sound engineer and producer Jay Zubricky remembers working on the session with Taylor and members of his team, feeling the surreal moment attached to working with an icon like Taylor.

“The James Taylor session happened because he was coming through Buffalo on tour and he needed a place to record because he was working on an album,” Zubricky said. “His producer, Dave O’Donnell, contacted our studio about a week in advance and explained the situation

“I was able to work as an assistant engineer on the two songs from the album that we worked on while James was in. It went really well, James and his crew are true professionals and some of the kindest people around.

“An artist like James Taylor can influence younger generations not only through the hard work that he has invested into refining his talents but also as an example of how to properly treat the people you work with.”