Sunday, March 01, 2015

Playlist for 3/1

Eric Johnson & Mike Stern - Eclectic
Steve Earle - Terraplane
Diana Krall - Wallflower
Decemberists - What A Terrible World
Run The Jewels 2
Company Freak - Le Disco Social
Jellyfish - Spilt Milk/Bellybutton

Friday, February 27, 2015

First Time Nominated & Inducted (Updated 2015)

Updated 2015

They waited forever, but when they got on the ballot, they went in first time.  For some acts, like Neil Diamond who waited 22 years, people wondered why he wasn't nominated earlier.

And there are others that the Hall passed over and got in right away:  The Hollies 20 years, Isaac Hayes 9 years,  Little Anthony & The Imperials 23 years, Dr. John 17 years,  Even James Taylor had to wait 6 years.  And Hall & Oates 16 years.  Remember these are all people who waited just to get a first nomination. 

Now I know a case can be made that the reason some of these didn't get nominated right away is because there were more important names eligible the same year as them.  But, still, the facts remain, that once they got on the ballot, voters went for them.  Case in point, Isaac Hayes.  The year he was eligible the names inducted included Van Morrison, Cream, CCR, Doors, Sly & The Family Stone, Etta James.  Names passed over that year:  Rod Stewart, Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, Animals and others.   

There's also the thinking that time can be good to an act's chances at being inducted.  This was certainly the case with Hall & Oates in 2014, whose stock only rose as the year's went by from their chart peaks. 

This had me thinking.  What artists out there now, will get a first nomination and be inducted on the first ballot.   Surprisingly, this list isn't as large as I thought it would be.    I have no scientific survey for the below names or even the names I just mentioned.  Just going on gut feeling.   Here's what I came up with. 

In no particular order:

Neville Brothers - As much a New Orleans institution as Dr. John.  

Electric Light Orchestra  -  They keep getting passed over,  but by the time they do get nominated, I think they'll get in right away.  Lynne's Production work with other Hall of Fame artists helps.

Neil Sedaka - His catalog of hits should carry him with older voters.  Too Pop?  Maybe.  But if older Hall voters and artists like Elton John vote for him, he'll go right in.

Joe Cocker - I can't believe he's never been nominated.  As much a musical icon as there is that's still not in the Hall.   

Steve Miller Band - Very, very long running Classic Rock icon.  That's what he has going for him.  But Bob Seger didn't get in immediately, so not sure about him.  Thinking his catalog will carry him. 

Warren Zevon - A favorite among  fellow Hall artists, and a critical favorite.  He's beloved.  

Harry Nilsson - Very similar to Warren Zevon.  

Cheap Trick - See my Hall & Oates theory above.

Carole King - In as a songwriter with Gerry Goffin, but her nomination as  a solo artist would shock many who thought she was already in.  

Los Lobos - Critically acclaimed bands that only were moderate sellers have a tough time being nominated, let alone inducted.  Sonic Youth fits this profile, and so do these guys, La Bamba notwithstanding.  But if there's one band that could do it, I'm betting it's them.

Todd Rundgren - After Something/Anything, his solo career became too esoteric.  Maybe that's hurt him.  But add his Production work to his solo hits and he'd be shoo-in.  

Monkees - Davy Jones' death in 2012 has now elevated them from an almost-first time lock, to a most certain one.  It's now just a matter of when the NomCom will slot them in on a ballot. 

Roxy Music - Maybe I'm being too optimistic.  They never had many hits in the U.S., but Bryan Ferry's band was a critical favorite, and time has only elevated them.   But the "are they too British?" line is still there.  

Willie Nelson - Just too big a giant of music for voters to pass up.  A Country Outlaw whose base reached beyond Country into Rock.  

Joan Baez -  Outside of Pete Seeger, and probably Peter, Paul & Mary, she's Folk music's most popular figure.  Which means she's influenced quite a few folk-rockers that came after her. 

Emmylou Harris - If Gram Parsons can't get in, then how can Emmylou?  Longevity for one, and the respect of a many Hall inductees.  She might be too Country for some (she's in the Country Hall), but her records have touched on Country-Rock as well.  

Lesley Gore - Female Pop singers of the 60's?  Not many are in.  Dionne Warwick isn't, Dusty Springfield is.  Gore is an interesting case.  Popular in the early to mid-60's, she then shifted her career and focused on songwriting.  But a song like "You Don't Own Me" was so ahead of its time that she deserves to be nominated.  And her death in 2015 should get people to realize how popular she once was.   

Whitney Houston - Women R&B singers don't fare well with the Hall or its voters.  Donna Summer was labeled a Disco act, Chaka Khan was passed over her one time, and others like Nina Simone, Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle  have never been nominated.  But Houston was more of an Icon than the rest.  This is no slam dunk.  The "she ain't Rock" crowd will be against her. 

Janet Jackson - Most of what I said about Whitney applies to Janet with one exception.  While Whitney was primarily a ballad singer, Janet's catalog is more diverse and daring.  Whitney may have moved more records, but Janet got more critical acclaim, had many hits and was just as influential.  Again, the R&B woman problem could keep her out when she does finally get nominated.   

Glen Campbell -  His recent health problems would make him a strong, sentimental favorite.  I can't believe no one hasn't thought of nominating him.  He had great Pop/Country hits.  He's in the Country Hall, but I think a Rock Hall nod would be a slam dunk. 

Billy Preston - Preston was a well-respected session musician who had many solo hits.  And he was also known as the "fifth Beatle" because he played on some of their last records.  

Chubby Checker - New Hall of Famers may think he's just a one hit wonder, but older members will have fond memories of his chart years.

Johnny Winter - His death this year has reminded people that he is a surprising omission.   Although he has been previously considered by the NomCom, it's possible that they wanted Albert and Freddie King in first before getting to him (or Stevie Ray Vaughan).  With his death, it's impossible to see how he won't sail right in.  Fellow Hall members will give him a big vote and just enough older voters will push him over the top.  

Bad Company - Classic Rock acts aren't always an easy one to figure (Deep Purple, KISS-nominated twice, Procol Harum), but Paul Rodgers tenure with Free, plus Bad Co. being on Led Zep's label should help.  Not to mention Bad Co.'s has quite a few songs that are Classic Rock staples. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Playlist for 2/23

Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?
Supertramp - Even In The Quietest Moments
Staple Singers - Staple Swingers
Bernhoft - Islander
Mali Music - Mali Is
Billy Childs - Reimagining Laura Nyro
Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love
Belle & Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
Hiss Golden Messenger - Lateness of Dancers

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Missing From the Songwriters Hall of Fame (Updated 2015)

The 2015 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductees were announced today:  Cyndi Lauper, Linda Perry, Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter, Bobby Braddock, Willie Dixon and Toby Keith.

All I'm going to say is I have no idea who votes for this Hall or what the demographics are.

But, this article by Roger Friedman fills in some of the questions I have about this Hall.  According to Friedman, the Song Hall once had an "unspoken" rule about no posthumous inductees.  Which would explain how George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone and others have failed to get in.  But with the 2015 induction of Jerry Garcia and Willie Dixon they've now changed that rule. That's one of the craziest things I've ever heard.
Take a look at the names below.  None of these are in the Songwriters Hall of Fame as of 2015.

It's an incredible list.  And you think the Rock Hall is missing some names.

Not inducted as of 2015:

Pete Townshend
Neil Young
Cat Stevens
George Harrison

Jimi Hendrix
Sly Stone
Rod Stewart
Dion DiMucci
Rod Temperton
Walter Becker/Donald Fagen
Warren Zevon
Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards
Bobby Womack
Elvis Costello
Tom Petty
Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks/Christine McVie
Jeff Lynne
Steve Miller
John Hiatt
John Mellencamp
David Gates
Led Zeppelin

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds

Luther Vandross
Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder/Pete Bellotte
Roger Waters/David Gilmour
George Michael
Robbie Robertson
Steve Perry/Neal Schon/Jonathan Cain 
Tom T. Hall
Waylon Jennings
John Prine

Billy Joe Shaver
Townes Van Zandt
Bert Berns
Harry Nilsson
Steve Winwood
Robert "Mutt" Lange
Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis
Chrissie Hynde
Joe South
Tony Joe White

Dan Fogelberg
B.B. King
J.J. Cale
Peter Gabriel
Harry Wayne Casey

BTW- In some cases I put the whole group down, which is what this Hall did when they inducted all the members of Queen.

Playlist for 2/18

Keb' Mo' - Bluesamericana
Dierks Bentley - Riser
Ryan Bingham - Fear & Saturday Night
Ronnie Milsap - Inside
Bettye Lavette - Worthy
Spinners - Dancin' and Lovin'
Spinners - From Here to Eternally
Panda Bear - Meets the Grim Reaper

Monday, February 16, 2015

Rock Hall Musical Excellence Award Candidates

Well let's get it out of the way.  Here's the way the Rock Hall describes the Award for Musical Excellence:

This award honors musicians, songwriters and producers who have spent their life creating important and creative music.  Their originality, impact and influence have  changed the course of music history.  These artists have achieved the highest level of  distinction that transcends time.  

And here's the last 5 recipients:
Leon Russell
Cosimo Matassa
Tom Dowd
Glyn Johns
E Street Band
Ringo Starr

The Hall's description casts a wide net.  Doesn't lean one way or the other.  So, what I see in the 6 names listed above are a combination of Producers, engineers, session players, songwriters and a backing band.  Wide net indeed.

But as with all things Hall, I like to focus on who really deserves induction.  Once Ringo Starr's name was listed as an Musical Excellence inductee it did indeed set off some off-hand comments. Did he deserve it?  And without help from his friends, would he have gotten in?   First, Ringo should thank Paul McCartney for pushing him in.  Much like Elton John did for Leon Russell.  Putting Ringo in means the Hall ensures a McCartney/Ringo duet on their telecast.  And lots of publicity.  If I had a vote, Ringo wouldn't get in for his post-Beatle career.

Let's move on to more worthy picks.   I'm going to stick with the initial intent of the award, even though the Hall is known to make up rules as they go along.

Let me know some of the names I missed.  Suggestions are welcome.

Nile Rodgers-  He has already said he wouldn't except an award like this without Chic.  But if the Hall wanted to end the yearly circus they are subjecting Nile too they could do just that.  Besides the Chic classics he and Bernard Edwards wrote classics for Sister Sledge and Diana Ross.  As a Producer, Nile had hits with Madonna, David Bowie, Duran Duran, INXS, Stevie Ray & Jimmy Vaughan,  Daft Punk, B-52's, etc.

Jeff Lynne -  ELO, the Move, The Traveling Wilburys.  That should be enough.  But then add his production work with Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and others.  Stunning that in 2015, ELO have never even been nominated.

Todd Rundgren - Being a member of Nazz and Utopia notwithstanding, Rundgren's credentials were really boasted by his 70's solo records and his production work.  Among the artists he produced:  Grand Funk, New York Dolls, Meat Loaf, Badfinger, XTC, Hall & Oates, Patti Smith, etc.

Glen Campbell - When you add his session work with The Wrecking Crew, his TV show from 69-72 and his Countrypolitan classics (and he was in True Grit) then Campbell more than fulfills the criteria.

Meters/Neville Brothers - Looks like the Meters will be one of those acts that's going to have trouble getting into the Hall.  Nominated 3 times (last in 2014).  But they qualify for this award based not only on their records from the 70's, but because they were session musicians on many New Orleans artists records, and played on albums by Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer and others.  While the Hall is at it, they might as well induct the Neville Brothers.  Still amazes me that the Neville Brothers have never been nominated. And besides, if the E Street Band qualify as a Musical Excellence artist, so do the Meters.

Billy Preston - Should have been given the same time as Ringo's.  After all he was once referred to as the "fifth Beatle".  Before his 70's solo success, Preston was a top flight session musician.  Not just appearing on Beatles albums, but also on records by Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, etc.

Brian Eno - Once a member of Roxy Music, he's released many critically-acclaimed solo albums.  And as a Producer he's worked on classic albums by Talking Heads, Devo and U2.

Willie Nelson  - A Country artist who has transcended genres to become a cultural icon.  The Outlaw movement that he and Waylon Jennings popularized was influenced by the spirit of Rock and Roll.  But the independence that Willie and the rest exhibited in the early days of the movement?  It doesn't get any more Rock and Roll than that.

Kris Kristofferson -  To be given out the same year as Nelson's, because he was another member of the Outlaw movement that appealed to Rock fans.  The songs Kristofferson influenced future Nashville and Rock songwriters.  He also has had a long career as an actor.

Al Kooper - He discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd, was a founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, a member of the Blues Project, played the organ on "Like A Rolling Stone".  Also played with Stephen Stills and Michael Bloomfield on the Super Session album.  Many session dates and production work also.

Chips Moman - Founded American Sound Studio where the likes of Wilson Pickett, the Box Tops and others recorded hits.  Produced Elvis Presley's comeback album, From Elvis In Memphis.  Has written and played on numerous Soul and Country classics.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Playlist for 2/12

Manhattans - After Midnight
Manhattans - There's No Good In Goodbye
John Prine - Bruised Orange
John Prine - Pink Cadillac
John Prine - Aimless Love
John Prine - German Afternoons

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grammy Awards

Let's face it, the only reason people are talking about the 2015 Grammy's is Kanye West.  Was it a stunt or did the Producer's plan the whole thing?  Okay, it was another of his stupid stunts, but Grammy folks must have loved it.

I don't care who wins these awards.  Most are forgotten the next day.  But I admit that in the smaller categories that don't get televised a Grammy is a big thing.  But even there the Grammy voters showed how boring they are.  I saw the usual names winning:  Chick Corea, Ziggy Marley, John Williams.  And  Eminem winning 2 awards, probably the low point of the evening.  And how does Tenacious D win the Best Metal Performance?

For me, it's all about the performances, and there were some good ones and some that should have been but just missed.  ELO were great because we haven't seen enough of Jeff Lynne singing those great songs.  Tom Jones should have been, but he was hampered by Jessie J.  Why Kanye got to sing on 2 songs is besides me.  AC/DC should have ditched the new song and stuck with a hits medley.  Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam represented Country better than the Miranda and Eric Church numbers.  And I like how Annie Lennox took over the stage just like she used to in her Eurythmics days.

And so it goes.  People are talking about how the ratings are down.  But Sunday is a competitive TV night.  And with social media we can get an instant idea of how things are going.
So why are the Grammy's tape-delayed on the West Coast?  The Oscar's, Emmy's are live for both coasts.  I've never heard a definitive answer.  But I have heard that they aren't going to change that for 2016.

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