Friday, March 30, 2007

Playlist for 3/30

Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly Angry Mob
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion
Norman Greenbaum - Best of
Now 24
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Allen Toussaint - Collection
Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy, Stand In The Fire, Envoy (reissues)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Where's The 2007 Elliot Yamin?

Yes, I watch American Idol and have been from the first season. Make no mistake, without Simon Cowell the show would be as anonymous as any other reality TV fare. This year's version, talent wise isn't up to snuff. I hear only a token few that will get record deals or make any sort of impression on the record buying public. The harsh truth is that most of these singers won't sell many records even if they finish first or second. Just because 25 million people watch you every week doesn't mean that a percentage of that audience will buy your CD. Last year half of the idol's Top 10 got deals and made some sort of chart (Country, Pop, Rock). This year only Lakisha and Melinda have a chance, with Jordin and Blake outside shots. But what do I know. Last year my favorite idol was Elliot Yamin, and he got no deal when he left the show. Eventually, he go signed, and his debut album turns out to better than Taylor and Katherine's. Signing to a small label, away from Idol management helped him. This year, I've yet to find anyone that I'm rooting for. It's still early, but the Pop fan in me should have an idea of who to back by now. Like I said the 2007 edition of Idol just isn't strong. But Cowell is still worth my trouble.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Now For That Box Set

Hard to believe that Warren Zevon's live 1980 Stand In The Fire wasn't released on CD until this week. But for those who've never heard it, the wait was worth it. Zevon never again rocked as hard as he did here. All of his subsequent releases were toned down by comparison. Zevon's live shows up till then were legendary in there wildness. Here he pushes himself to the edge, that by the last song he's so hoarse and out of breath with never left to give you half expect him to collapse.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

#1 But Where?

It hasn't caught on as much as I thought, but artists with a truckload of hits, looking for ways to cash in on their catalog are now releasing CD's with the title Number #1's. It started with Elvis and the Beatles. Heck, Mariah Carey's first Greatest Hits album was titled #1's. And it's seeped over to the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Abba, Kenny Rogers and this week there are two from Elton John and James Brown. The Brown includes all of his R&B #1's, which is smart because he never topped the pop charts. It's never quite made clear in the liner notes to any of those CD's just where some of these songs went to #1. Since most of these never went to the top in the U.S. or England, maybe the compiler's are including Germany, Italy, Australia, etc. Maybe they mean the R&B or Adult Contemporary chart. And, yes, I'm being sarcastic. The new Elton comp is a good starting point. My Joel Whitburn tells me that he had 9 #1 hits. But actually 8 because I've included "That's What Friends Are For". But there are 17 songs on this CD. "Your Song" and "Daniel" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" didn't reach the top of either the US or England charts. They did include "Sacrifice" which went #1 in England. I guess the point of these CD's is that we've heard these songs so many times, that they must've went #1. In reality, record companies are just looking for ways to bleed their ageing catalog artists for quick sells. I have no doubt that similar comps from Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart and any other artist who's back catalog still sells.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Playlist for 3/23

Joss Stone - Introducing
Haggard/Nelson/Price - Last of the Breed
Elliott Yamin
Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Fratellis - Costello Music

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How Does Jackson Browne Do It?

Yes, Jackson Browne belongs in both the RRHOF and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. But he shouldn't have gotten in either before waiting his turn. Browne was a great writer. He no longer is. And his 70's albums are better than his recent ones. But the Songwriter's Hall of Fame has always inducted strange names. It's list of bypassed writers is pretty staggering: Neil Young, Pete Townshend, Merle Haggard. All those names were nominated with Browne this year. My guess is that Browne is seen as more of a singer-songwriter than Young or Townshend. But there's usually never any logic to the SHOF, so my thoughts could be wrong. As for the RRHOF, Browne vaulted ahead of singer-songwriters on the order of Randy Newman , Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen. All of whom recorded before him. Yet he got the nod. Whether it was his friendship with Jann Wenner or the glow of baby boomers who long for songs like "The Pretender", I don't know. But for someone who is never mentioned with the canon of songwriters, Browne has had a formidable presence at award shows.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Which 2007 Hall Bored You The Most?

For those who thought the 2007 RRHOF inductees were a snooze, check out This. All I can tell you is that Merle Haggard was one of the nominees.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

End Of The CD As We Know It? Hope Not

What's with all the depressing news about the end of the CD? It seems that every magazine or newspaper article of late seems to be about the eventual end of the CD. And that depresses me. As the owner of two Ipod's, I've downloaded some stray one-hit wonders from Itunes, but only once have I downloaded an entire album. And that was because it was out-of-print. It was a a live Television album from Rhino Homemade. A limited release that went for too much money used. So I bit and bought it off of Itunes. The sound was good, but no liner notes or cover photo? Jeez, I hope the CD doesn't disapppear. Kids today may love their Ipod's and easy download options from the net. But some of us still love to open CD booklets and read liner notes or lyrics and look at album cover photos.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

End Of 2007 RRHOF Thoughts

The great thing about the RRHOF ceremony is that it puts a cap on the previous year and gets you ready for the next. So, my final thoughts watching last night's show haven't changed my opinions on who should've been in. The Ronettes still don't belong. Sammy Hackar? It's still disgusting to thing that he's in and Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop aren't.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Does The Hall Deserve This Attention?

For reasons I can't figure out, the 2007 RRHOF has gotten more publicity than recent ones. Patti Smith has an op-ed piece in the NY Times about her induction. And the USATODAY has a decent article about the whole Hall process. Maybe it's the Van Halen drama or the fact that the Hall continues to exclude fan favorites, but it's good to seen the mainstream press still interested in the Hall, even if the Hall seems to be less interested in its own nominating process.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Brad Delp Canonized?

Seeing that Brad Delp died, made me think of when Classic Rock Radio begun. And certainly you could make a case for Boston and their debut album. Sure today's classic rock stations plays pre-Boston stuff, but that album's longevity certainly played a part in the beginning's of the format. So, you might not think Delp belongs in the canon, but next time you listen to your local station blasting something from their debut, you might give pause.

Viva Doc Pomus

As Rock 'n' Roll characters go, Doc Pomus ranks high. A big man with big stories and a big catalog of late 50's-mid-60's classics, he finally gets a book of his own with Lonely Avenue by Alex Halberstadt (Da Capo). I wish the book focused more on his music, and the lack of discography is inexcusable. But until someone does it better it will do. To those who scream sellout everytime someone gets paid by the Man, it was encouraging to read that Pomus wasn't afraid to pimp himself out to pay bills.

Playlist for 3/9

Otis Taylor - Definition Of A Circle
Gary Allan - Greatest Hits
Dr. Delong - We All Belong
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Kasabian - Empire

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wynton Meets Goldman

My biggest problem with Wynton Marsalis is mainly musical. His self-importance has bleeded all life out of his records. But the Marsalis that rants like he did to the U.K.'s Guardian doesn't bother me. Although listening to him is worse than reading him. His mere presence ruined any part of Ken Burn's Jazz series. But it's as a musician that Marsalis comes up short. Deep down he wants a canon like his heroes, but his recording output is a mere blip on Jazz history. And it goes back to his Carnegie-sized ego. So, Marsalis can rant on rap, rock or whatever and mean nothing doing it. He's Jazz's version of Albert Goldman.

Friday, March 02, 2007

What Takes Them So Long?

Is there a label that lags longer in reissuing and/or remastering their CD's than Sony/Epic? It's 2007 and we finally get upgrades of Silk Degrees and Out of The Blue. With the promise of Sly & The Family Stone reissues. But Sony, unlike and other major label you can think of, sits on their product for years. And some artists only get a fraction of their recorded output reissued. Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes come to mind.
Getting back to Silk Degrees, it's one of the great blue-eyed soul records. And as the liner notes exclaim, it never got the critical respect of say, the Van Morrison records of that era. Scaggs can be blamed for this as well, he never followed up with anything as memorable. ELO's 1977 opus was Jeff Lynne's last major statement. Although I have a fondness for 1979's discofied Discovery, Out Of The Blue is where Lynne laid his greatest vision.

Playlist for 3/2

Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees (remastered)
ELO - Out Of The Blue (remastered)
Paul Weller - Hit Parade
Geoff Emerick - Here, There & Everywhere (book)
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