Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mother And Children Of All Charts

Billboard has been celebrating its 50 years of the Hot 100, but those of us who used to live by this chart back in the day just yawn. When Soundscan came aboard these radio stations became more fragmented. Sure, a #1 on the Hot 100 means something, but with all of these different charts in the magazine, someone will land a #1 somewhere. Digital sales, airplay, video airplay, all are taken in to account to compile the latest Hot 100. But the framentation has left most people not being able to sing many of the songs that chart. Radio can still break a song, but not in any one format. The Hot 100 might be the mother of all charts, but its children are running rampant

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Who I'm Rooting For

If it wasn't for certain artists to root for, would you lose interest in the RRHOF? Well, as someone who's been a follower of the Hall since day one, I wouldn't, but having names to look forward to each year, sure makes it easier.
Outside of Stevie Ray Vaughan, I've been hoping for the Spinners, Randy Newman and Gram Parsons. To the Hall's stupidity, the Spinners have never been nominated. Randy Newman was once and Gram Parsons 3 times. The latter is a another blemish for the Hall. Parsons has influenced a whole generation of alt-country/rock acts. Newman's problem was his movie music, but his albums of the 70's are classics. As was his 2008 release.

By the way, I do this with Country Music Hall of Fame as well. For years, I kept hoping they would induct Tom T. Hall, and this year they did. Now I'm rooting for Charlie Rich and Ray Charles.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Driving The Beat

If all Earl Palmer, who died this week at age 84, did was drum on Little Richard's 50's hits it would be enough to grant him his place in the RRHOF. But Palmer went on to drum on other records for a long time. Still it was his work with Richard that won him his place in the Hall. Rock and Roll as wild abandon. And Palmer's drums driving the beat.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meaning of the RRHOF, Again

It seems like every year I post something about the comments I keep hearing on the artists that should or shouldn't be in the Hall. Whenever a new set of nominees or inductees is announced, bulletin boards get loaded with people who don't feel certain acts belong. While its great that music can still incite hearty discussions, there are too many posters who don't understand just what the original mission of the RRHOF was. The biggest mistake the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made was naming itself just that. Had it been named the Music Hall of Fame, we wouldn't have to see R&B, Rap, Pop, Country acts get disparaged like they do every year. There's a narrow-mindedness about just what "Rock" means. I say this every year, but to the Hall's original concept it meant all genres of music that shaped how the term was coined in the 1950's.
The mere thought of seeing Run DMC or Chic on the ballot has made some question what they have to do with Rock and Roll. Failing to see how those 2 bands' influence reached across their genres to affect non-Rap and Disco/R&B artists.
What's sad is that I saw a post on the Steve Hoffman site questioning Aretha Franklin's credentials? The RRHOF can't just be about inducting white Rock bands and singers. Black artists were there at the beginning of the Rock explosion.
As bad as I criticize the RRHOF for its poor nominee judgment, at least I agree with them on the meaning of "Rock and Roll."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Playlist for 9/25

George Jones - Hits..Til Now Box Set
Raphael Saadiq - Way I See It
Dion - Heroes
Golden Smog - Best of
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson -Rattlin' Bones

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stevie Ray Snubbed By Rock Hall

I posted last week that a headline I saw that said "Rock Hall Nominating Committee Met Today" was the scariest thing I've seen in a while. You see, I've posted and told friends for years that the minute Stevie Ray Vaughan was eligible that he would be a first year no-brainer Hall of Famer. So, I get to eat crow, because he wasn't on the list. Apparently, the Hall thought that nominating Jeff Beck was reason to keep Vaughan off the ballot. "Why do we need 2 guitar heroes on one ballat?" the geniuses on the committee thought. They were wrong. I should have saved my no-brainer line for them.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2009 Nominee Rant Pt. 1

These rants about the Hall could make for a daily blog, but I usually pull back after awhile.
This year's 2009 nominees are ripe for ranting. Yep, despite its Rolling Stone article, there's no Rush. And again no Kiss or Alice Cooper. And for my Soul cravings no Spinners. The latter grows more scandolous each year. Despite, critical raves, no Neil Diamond.

For your first time nominees the biggest omission is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I guess they felt solo Jeff Beck was good enough. No, it wasn't. Also first timers the Smiths got passed over. Note to Hall: just because a band was huge in England doesn't mean their influence didn't reach our shores. And though I think they have a shot in the future, no Bon Jovi. This makes critics happy, but I have a feeling they'll get nominated one day.

Who will the phantom voters induct?
I'm guessing Run DMC, Metallica, Little Anthony, Jeff Beck and Stooges.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Norman Whitfield's Paranoia Soul

Norman Whitfield, who died last Wednesday, gave Motown the edge it needed as the 60's came to an end. You could say that the political slant of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were influenced by him, but Whitfield's best non-ballad moments verged on Paranoia Soul. "Smiling Faces", "War", and those psychedelic Temptation songs all paved the way for the rough turn Soul music would take in the early 70's. Once Motown dried up, he hooked up with Rose Royce for some Old School classics. He may be thought of as the second wheel in the non-performing sector of Motown's writers, but Whitfield was too tough a man to play second fiddle to anyone.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

R.I.P. UK Music Hall of Fame

Remember the UK Music Hall of Fame, which was supposed to be the Brit equivalent of our RRHOF. Well after going silent in 2007, its now shut its doors for goods because of lack of funding. Surprising that last bit, you would think they could get the public interested in a non-US Rock Hall of Fame. After all there are plenty of British acts that won't get in to our Hall. The Brit Hall inducted Eurythmics, John Peel and New Order/Joy Division, as well as Cliff Richard & The Shadows. But then again, they did induct a lot of American acts. Still, had it gone on it could have put in other Brit acts that are missing from our Hall like the Smiths.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gift Of Rock?

When Lindsey Buckingham in 2006 that his next album would be a rock one, fans rejoiced. That year's Under The Skin got under some people's skin alright. If you weren't in the mood for it, its introspection and whispery vocals got to be self-indulgent. So 2008's Gift of Screws meant that Buckingham was gonna Rock out those cobwebs. But it doesn't Oh sure it rocks harder than Under The Skin, but what doesn't. Buckingham believes his solo records should be different than the Mac ones, and that's his right, but beginning with Tusk he began to test his audiences love for how much they wanted him to venture. By no means is Gift of Screws a dud. Buckingham is too much the pop craftsmen, but it's no Rock album, and it appears Buckingham doesn't seem to be interested in that genre anymore.

Friday, September 19, 2008

End Of TRL

I posted about the initial news of the end of TRL earlier this year, and now its final, despite MTV saying it might come back. But it won't be the old TRL regardless of whether they retool it. The show's heyday was the late 90's/early 00's when teen dream's ruled the sales and airplay charts. But when they grew up so did the kid's and the show was left with nothing but hip-hop acts to carry the load. So, despite a resurgance in the last couple of years of Disney-era branded teen idols, the show never recovered. But don't cry for MTV, it made a ton of money off of its initial investment in the show. A lot of people, artists and record companies, profited from TRL. But like Soul Train, American Bandstand and the pre-video era Solid Gold things move on to whatever's next.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Playlist for 9/18

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Solos Sessions & Encores
Okkervil River - Stand Ins
Patty Loveless - Sleepless Nights
Little Feat & Friends - Join The Band
Richie Havens - Nobody Left To Crown
Chemical Brothers - Brotherhood

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Overlooked Artists

I'm big on underappreciated bands. Mott the Hoople is one that comes to mind. You can certainly add Little Feat to that list. Especially on the early records. Its mix of earthy Southern rock and various New Orleans sounds made for a refreshing take. When main leader Lowell George died in 1979, Feat didn't die but kept going. The records made after his death are sporadic, but that's no need to deny them a victory lap through their catalog. Which is what most of Join The Band (429 Records) is about. Remakes with names like Bob Seger, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, Jimmy Buffett, Brooks & Dunn, etc. of their big catalog numbers make for a reminder of the band's influence on jam bands and Country artists alike. The album really comes full circle when George's daughter does her version of "Trouble" a track written by her dad. That's what the album's all about. Coming full circle, and looking to past with a foot in the future.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Raphael Saadiq Sweetens Your Pain

Negative John Legend and sorry Anthony Hamilton devotees, but the best Soul music revivalist of the last 20 years is Raphael Saadiq. Tony Toni Tone have been gone for years, but he's been absent too long, which is why The Way I See It comes as a relief in this age of male melisma. You might not think that what Saadiq does on this album is anything new. Updating 60's Soul for the 00's, but Saadiq manages to make the Motown meets Curtis Mayfield sound seem new thanks to a couple of political updates. Look, if you miss the sound of Sweet Soul music, I'm with you, but at least Saadiq sweetens your pain.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Great Gig Players In The Sky

Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, who died this week at age 65 was one of those guys that contributed to a band's legacy but rarely got the acclaim of the better known members. Think John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin or John McVie of Fleetwood Mac and many others. Wright's keyboards played a part in the Floyd legacy on their 70's albums. So, while others got the press he like many others toiled away without the big press write-ups. But he was for the hardcore fans. And those are the ones who will mourn most.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stevie Ray Vaughan As Session Star

Stevie Ray Vaughan's Solos, Sessions & Encores is the first Vaughan reissue to get some heated responses from his fans. On Amazon.com there are a lot of people who think that Epic/Legacy is trying to milk the vaults when there's little there. The concept here is Stevie as session musician or supporting artist. The best track is the first, 7 minutes of prime picking with Albert King and Paul Butterfield. Legacy has a right to keep people interested in Vaughan's catalog, and at least the concept here is better than another repackage of Vaughan's best known tracks.
This is the year that Vaughan is eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I would be stunned if he's not nominated or inducted. With the nominating committee you never know, with the voters you never know as well. But I expect a nomination and a first ballot induction. Vaughan was a better guitarist than singer, but he was also a true Blues man for the 20th century. He could play them because he lived them. Regardless of his skin color, Vaughan broke through, and for a brief time gave the genre a jolt.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Somebody Remembers Teena Marie

We're getting close to Hall of Fame awards time. Not just the RRHOF, but other ones like the Country Music Hall of Fame. And then there's the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, which after going silent in 2007 has come back with a mostly modern lineup of inductees for their Pioneer Awards. The Whispers, Bill Withers, Kool & The Gang, Chaka Khan, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Funk Brothers, Al Bell and Teena Marie. Naturally, it was the last name that caught my eye. Not because she didn't deserve it. Marie was more R&B than a lot of R&B singers in the late 70's/early 80's. But I began to wonder, without doing any research, if she was the first white artist to get a RBF Award. And I couldn't think of any other modern era singers that might get one (Hall & Oates?). So, kudos to the Foundation for a great pick amidst the obvious ones.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Playlist for 9/12

This was going to be a playlist for 9/11, but I figured if someone searched for "Playlist for 9/11" they might think I was doing a memorial tribute to 2001.

Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old Sun
Rodney Crowell - Sex & Gasoline
Funkadelic - Let's Take It To The Stage
BB King - One Kind Favor
Dandy Warhols - Earth To

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Scariest Headline I've Seen Recently

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Solving Kasey Chambers

I've always liked Kasey Chambers' albums but never loved one of them. A better songwriter than singer, each of her 4 solo albums are worth hearing, but I can't say I would recommend one over the other. So, it feels kind of odd for me to say that my favorite of her albums may be her recent duet album with husband Shane Nicholson, Rattlin' Bones (Sugar Hill). For once Kasey sounds in her element on a mostly acoustic affair. And let's face it duet albums in the Americana/Country field died years ago. So, maybe what keeps from her solo stuff was the production, because here, even though she uses her brother as producer like she's done before, she gives her most engaging vocals.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Not Missing MTV

Remember when awards shows on MTV were required viewing? The good old days. The 2008 VMA's were only redeemed by Russell Brand. To US audiences he's a newbie, but I saw him host a British Awards show and he was just as good. But he was up against the most boring audience ever. They must have thought they were at the Grammy's. Who were these people? The rest of the show provided little of interest, because MTV provides little of interest. It was supposed to be about the music. Now it's about the network.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Put Them In Coach

I didn't watch as much of the RNC as I did the DNC, but for musical purposes the DNC trumped it with its Old School Soul. But outside of "Barracuda" (its use now ticking of the Wilson sisters) the only other strange song I heard was "Centerfield". That one has been used by Democratic candidates, but its use at the the Repubs convention should really tick off John Fogerty. But he and other non-Repubs like Heart may not have a say in it. The venues pay ASCAP or BMI to use the songs under some strange ruling, which means that artists don't get a say in the matter. But from Jackson Browne, Mellencamp on down candidates do stop using the songs.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Guitar Pickin' US Male

If you're an Elvis Presley fan, the name Jerry Reed looms large in the Elvis' late 60's comeback. It was Reed's 2 songs, "US Male" and "Guitar Man" that Elvis recorded on in early 1968. "US Male" was the only song to chart Top 40, but both hinted at the comeback that was to occur in late '68. Reed died this week at age 71. His musical talents were undermined by his good ole boy roles in Burt Reynolds movies, but he was a great picker and when he steered clear of sentimentality, recorded some of the best Country humor songs of the 70's. Although my favorite came out in the early 80's, "She Got The Goldmine (I Got The Shaft)".

Friday, September 05, 2008

Essential 3.0

Sony/Legacy has upgraded some of their Essential series with Essential 3.0. The third disc in these series are a 7 track upgrade. I haven't gotten all of them, but its interesting that they've priced 3.0 the same as the first Essential. Anyway, thanks to the extra 7 songs all of the original ones are better. My favorite of all of these series was the one from Earth, Wind & Fire. But it was missing their last R&B #1 from 1987, "System of Survival". And its been added here. Of the ones I do have all get added songs that were missing. Which brings me to the Billy Joel. I know how compilers figure these things out. No need to put every hit on a comp, otherwise people won't buy catalog titles. But it made no sense to leave out "Big Shot" from the original Essential. Its been added here. I've got to caution though. If you have the original's I wouldn't spend an extra $15 bucks to get 7 more songs. But if you've held out, then 3.0's are the way to go. Sony says their limited editions, so budget wisely.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Playlist for 9/4

Isaac Hayes - Black Moses
Isaac Hayes - Ultimate Collection
Elvis Presley - Complete 68 Comeback Special
Tony Rice - Night Flyer

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Michael and Prince's Non Singles

In honor of Michael Jackson's 50th birthday and Prince's 50th birthday, here are my 5 favorite non-singles by each in no order

Jackson:
Lady In My Life, Leave Me Alone, Earth Song, Girlfriend, Working Day and Night

Prince:
The Cross, Baby I'm A Star, Housequake, Do Me Baby, How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Vinyl's Comeback?

What do I miss about vinyl albums? Maybe the artwork. Yeah, that was pretty good. What don't I miss? The crackles, the pops, the space they took up, turning the damn things over. Audiophiles will tell you that vinyl's sound is more pure than the coldness of digital. Maybe so, but I don't miss my vinyl records, most of which I unloaded years ago. I've still kept a couple of never been on CD classics from the Beatles and Elvis, but the rest are gone, and the space in my room is happier.
The NY Times ran an article on 8/31 about vinyl's resurgence and its supposed to be true. But I say it smells of niche. Vinyl will never recapture its old market, mainly because of space issues. Most people don't have their turntables anymore. I've got nothing against those that crave the sound of vinyl, and if the stuff can get those turned off by CD's to a record store that will sell it, I'm all for it. But for me, I'll take the little shiny things over the big plastic ones.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Michael Jackson In The Mirror

Prince turned 50 in June but it didn't get much attention. For one thing, he's still active, still doing it good on stage (rather than on his records) and doesn't show no signs of slowing down.

Michael Jackson turned 50 on August 29, and you feel old. Jackson looks a lot worse than Prince. Doesn't perform anymore, and rarely records. But that's not why you feel as old as him. The nostalgia you feel is real or sad. Sad for him? Or sad for ourselves who wish it was still 1983 and the sounds of Thriller are everywhere.
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