Now I know this doesn’t have much to do with open and distance learning, but I didn’t want to start another blog, so …

Haven’t recent web developments provided us with marvellous access to all sorts of musical magic?! I’ve been amazed at just what’s turned up just on YouTube, especially with respect to rare performances that I didn’t even know were available on video. Try it yourself – think of some little-known artist or performance from the past and do a search. I’ve even tried it on friends – one thought he had me when he said he wanted Colosseum playing the Valentyne Suite. There it was, at!

But for me the real gems are the unknown performances by favourite artists, especially when two or more join forces to do something special. My current pick is Alison Krauss singing with The Chieftains:

As an avid and lifelong James Taylor fan, I was particularly pleased to recently come across his duet with Alison Krauss, ‘How’s the World Treating You?’ (ignore their duet doing ‘The Boxer’ – it doesn’t work). I know, it’s corny, but VERY nice:

And as a bonus, here’s James Taylor in concert (this is part 2; if you like it, you’ll easily find parts 1 and 3) with the Dixie Chicks:

In recent years I’ve become particularly attached to the music of JJ Cale. His brand of music might be labelled cross-genre, in that he includes elements of rock, blues and country. But, above all, he is SMOOTH, in every best sense of the word. Watch him with the inimitable Leon Russell, a legendary musician and member of the much-esteemed Wrecking Crew.

One of JJ Cale’s other fans is Eric Clapton, who perceived him as his hero and a major inspiration. Clapton plays a few of Cale’s songs, and considered it the highest honour when JJ played one of his. Here they are together.

But if your taste leans more towards classic rock, have you seen Eric Clapton doing Behind the Mask? There’s a few versions, with my favourite from a Prince’s Trust Concert,  backed by a motley crew (no, not THE Motley Crew) including a couple of guys from Cheap Trick and other recognisable faces:

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