Friday, October 31, 2008

Rolling Stone Record Guide's Rock Revisionism

Good discussion at rockcritics.com about the original Rolling Stone Record Guides. I remember both of these from the late 70's/early 80's, both co-edited by Dave Marsh. They were more brutal and honest in their reviews than the travesty that was the 2004 update (although the Rob Sheffield reviews were worth a laugh). These were some of the first record guides, so they were considered essential among record geeks. Later as the Rock canon got bigger and more coverage, Marsh's guides got left in the dust. And the difference between the first guide and the second also played out in its revisionism. As pointed out at rockcritics.com, AC/DC's catalog was given more stars on its second go-round than the first. And even today rock revisionism takes place. That's why guides are what they are. A snapshot of a time. But like most of history, things do change.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Playlist for 10/30

Lee Ann Womack - Call Me Crazy
AC/DC - Black Ice & For Those About To Rock
Hank Williams III - Damn Right Rebel Proud
Menahan Street Band - Make The Road By Walking

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Same Thing Not Different

If you've heard one AC/DC album you've heard them all, right? Well, the same can be said for other artists, including Country/Punk-Rocker Hank Williams III whose 4th album Damn Right Rebel Pround is just like all his others. He rails against the Nashville establishment, and rails against everyone else, with the usual love gone wrong stuff. Like a lot of acts that recycle themselves, he'd be best served with a compilation, and its reassuring that his twangy punk voice won't get played on Country radio. To be fair there are some Country ballads here that work so well that they overshadow his rockier stuff. So, maybe he'll come up with something different next time around. But I'm not counting on it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rockcritics.com

I always check out there page, but wish they'd update more often, still I've loved the concept of

rockcritics.com
since the day it first came online many years ago. There's a lot of good links and posts, but again, I wish they'd update more often. Still, if you're a geek for articles on music critics and music in general, it's worth peaking in on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Levi's Best Songs

I should have included these 5 fave 4 Top songs in my Levi tribute blog.

1. Reach Out
2. Baby I Need Your Loving
3. Bernadette
4. I Can't Help Myself
5. Standing In The Shadows Of Love

Honorable post Motown mentions:
When She Was My Girl, Ain't No Woman, Keeper Of The Castle

Sunday, October 26, 2008

6 Reasons Gram Parsons Belongs In The RRHOF

It's not as if the Nominating Committee has forgotten about Gram Parsons. He's been nominated 3 times. But not since 2004. How does someone who was the father of the Americana get bypassed? Here are 6 reasons he belongs in the Hall.

1. Sweetheart of the Rodeo (with the Byrds)
2. GP
3. Grievous Angel
4. Gilded Palace of Sin (with the Flying Burrito Brothers)
5. Just about Invented Country-Rock
6. His duets with Emmylou Harris

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pop Go The Country Women

When Country women stray from their roots they get lost. On her first album in 3 years, Lee Ann Womack is strong with the traditional stuff on Call Me Crazy. Womack has never been a chart monster. But her albums are usually worth a listen. But when she tries to Pop her records, it's painful. But Womack is but a handful of women who started their careers with traditional ideas, only to get sucked up by record company folks telling them to cross over, and in return put out the worst music of their career.
I'm thinking of Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Lorrie Morgan, Trisha Yearwood and the mother of them all Dolly Parton. The lure to keep up with the new and latest crossover Country cutie has just about derailed most of these women.
Country music execs want hits. That's the price you pay for being signed to a big label. If you want to experiment they say go Indie. Lee Ann Womack is still signed to MCA and her new album is produced by Tony Brown. But at least she has stuck to her guns and given us a decent Country outing. But I wouldn't bet she'll do it again on the followup.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Todd Or Toby? Who's Got The Bigger B....

Could you imagine if Democrat turned Independent but really a Republican Toby Keith had the balls to write something as politically astute as Todd Snider's "Mission Accomplished". The song is on Sniders E.P. Peace Queer and it and the rest highlight Snider's best gifts. That's been Snider's genius on his recent albums. He never comes out and says that so and so has been a terrible President or Politician, because he lands his blows at a glance and laced with humor.
Peace Queer also has a startling revamped remake of "Fortunate Son", with Patty Griffin's backing vocals taking the song somewhere that even Fogerty never imagined. Could anyone picture the former Southern Democrat Outlaw wannabe putting something like this on one of his albums?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Playlist for 10/23

Katy Perry - One Of The Boys
Billy Currington - s/t
Nickelback - All The Right Reasons
Steve Winwood - Arc Of A Diver
Secret Machines - s/t
Lucinda Williams - Little Honey
Todd Snider - Peace Queer

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Neil, He Said

David Wild's He Is ... I Say does as good a job as you'd want at making the case for Neil Diamond's RRHOF induction. Wild never tells us why the Hall has excluded Diamond, because the book is a little bit bio of him and bio of the author, as told through his love of the singer. A Rolling Stone critic, Wild's book is actually even-handed. He tells you what Diamond songs suck, but also praises the stuff critic's would never touch.

I've long believed that the Hall has kept Diamond out (not even giving him a nomination) because they feel his post Bang-era records are too Easy Listening. Sort of like his label mate Barbra Streisand. But the fact remains that Diamond's Bang-era stuff does Rock as much as Bobby Darin's Atlantic stuff. His 70's-00's output certainly didn't help his cause with the stuffy nominating committee. He was Adult Contemporary all the way. But his 2 recent Rick Rubin produced albums show that when his heart is in it he can still deliver. What's funny is that I believe that if the Hall did nominate Diamond, he'd get in on his first try. Get Wild's book for a better argument for Neil Diamond's belated RRHOF induction.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stealing Back From AC/DC

I'm glad it's been reported that AC/DC's Wal-Mart only album has already been downloaded an estimated 400,000 and rising since it leaked on the file sharing sites. They won't sell their stuff on Itunes or Rhapsody because they don't want to break up their albums by selling singles only. Okay, good for you. But what about your ringtone sells? I guess a 30 second sell is better than a full track one.
Like Kid Rock, who's summer single I got from Limewire, AC/DC are just asking for it when it comes to their fans stealing this album.
By the way, Black Ice, is their best album since Back In Black, because they finally realize that the only thing they are good at is giving us hooky metal. But it's also too long at 15 songs. By the end even I was exhausted.
I don't wish them bad luck like I do Lars and the boys. But let's face it. Even though there's never been a Greatest Hits album by either group, all you got to do is fire up Limewire or some other likewise site and make your own. I encourage it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Long-Delayed Shout to Futurerockhall.com

I should have blogged about this a long time ago, but the best site for news and info and gossip and good musical opinions about the RRHOF is:

Future Rock Hall

Now, I should come clean here and say that they've been kind to me and given my blog a plug here and there, but still, I've been checking out their site since its inception.
Whatever, it's the best site for all things RRHOF.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

5 Reasons Why The Spinners Should Be In The RRHOF

How did the Dells get in the Hall and the Spinners have never been nominated? As someone who champions R&B acts, the failure of the Spinners to get any recognition remains a puzzle.
So, in the 2nd of my Ten Reasons Why series, I offer these for why the Spinners belong.

1. The Spinners s/t 1972
2. Pick of the Litter 1975
3. Love Don't Love Nobody
4. Then Came You (duet with Dionne Warwick)
5. Phillipe Wynne -the era's most underrated Soul Singer

I didn't get to list Sadie, Mighty Love and their remake of Working My Way Back To You

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reasons Why cont..

I was so pleased with the Hall & Oates 10 Reasons why post that I might continue to do that with other acts that I think should be in the Hall but aren't. But instead of 10 reasons I may keep it at 5 if I can make the case simpler. That usually gets the point across.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Motown's Shadows Of Love

Motown surrounded Levi Stubbs' voice with its most gloomiest sound of all its acts. And Stubbs played the part well on the Four Tops' best songs. The back to back singles of "Bernadette" and "7 Rooms of Gloom" best sum this up. Stubbs always sounded like someone or something was after him. The edge of "Reach Out", "Ask The Lonely", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love" and even "Bernadette", were indeed a contrast to the groups lighter flare. But the best Tops are the Tops at the dark end of the street. A place, it seems, Levi Stubbs visited quite often.

Breathless Clash

The Clash were a great band. For about a year or two the best. They couldn't keep it up and disintegrated right at the height of their fame. I've soaked up as much about them as you could from a band that wasn't together very long. So here comes another archival release, Live At Shea Stadium, recorded in 1982 at the peak of their fame, and unreleased until now. It's another great live find. There's an edge here. Maybe it's because it was done in New York. Or because of the rain. Who knows. By now the punk edges are gone and they are just a damn good Rock and Roll band. "London Calling" leads off and for an hour they don't let you catch a breath.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Playlist for 10/16

Otis Redding - Live In London and Paris
Tim McGraw - Greatest Hits Vol. 3
Taj Mahal - Maestro
Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul
Bob Dylan - Bottleg Series Vol. 8

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sweaty Soul From The Archives

One of the things the Soul men of yesteryear had in common were their live shows. Mention the names Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and Otis Redding and those that were there can give you great stories of how these and other soul men ruled the stage. It was the golden era for Soul.
Stax has done a great service by issuing Otis Redding's Live In London and Paris, stuff that was mostly released but never like this. Two show back to back. The London is shorter by 3 songs, but both were tight and hard and funky and well, Soulful. "Day Tripper" and "Satisfaction" are still revelatory. Redding was a workhorse on stage. His legendary Monterey Pop performance was a few months away when these were done in 1967, but Redding already had his stuff ready. You can OD on these type of archival releases. But I'd take those pills any day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oasis Get Back

Maybe the world has gone crazy. On Oasis' new album, Dig Out Your Soul, Liam's songs are better than Noel's. Liam mines his Lennon fixation, while Noel tries to get back to the bands heyday, which was their first 2 albums. This album is their best since those because the Noel has cut out the bloat that's affected their recent music. And they've figured out that they are at their best when they mine Beatlesque melodies with the Britpop 90's.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Digging Even Deeper With Dylan

Bob Dylan's Bootleg series is now up to 8 volumes. The latest covering Oh Mercy to recent day. And why not? Dylan is one of those artists who deserves a close look at his unreleased stuff and alternate takes. But the series has so far spotlighted all of Dylan's good years. I want to see stuff from his not so celebrated years. Like 1970-74, the pre-Blood On The Tracks years. Decent stuff then but nothing great. Or how about a bootleg series on his late 70's born again period? And why not one on his 80's stuff, which was over-produced and could use a look at alternate takes, before the gloop was added. Don't get me wrong. You'll like this latest Bootleg volume. But I want to dig deeper. Dylan is one of those artists.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jenny Lewis' 70's Singer-Songwriter Fix

If you say a new male artist sounds like a singer-songwriter you remember from that era's heyday in the 70's, what does it conjure. Guys with guitars, singing with sentimental vocals. If you say the same for a woman, what does it conjure. Not the same. Because the 70's male singer-songwriter's image was different than the woman's. That's what I thought when listening to Jenny Lewis' second solo album, Acid Tongue. It reminded me of album's by Laura Nyro, Phoebe Snow, Carole King and countless other female singer-songwriters that have been forgotten, but fondly remembered. Lewis plumbs all the usual territory, lyrically and musically. But she brings it up to date in the 00's. If you don't like that era, than stay away from her album. I did and didn't, and am glad Lewis made a good album to boot.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rock Hall's Turnover Problem

I've been thinking about blogging about this for awhile, so thanks Julien Peter Benney for the email that reminded me about the big problem with the RRHOF. It's the turnover at the Nominating Committee. Or I should say, lack of turnover. How to get a new set of eyes and ears so acts that are languishing on the NC's table get a nomination? Add new people with fresh ideas every year, and rotate names in and out of the yearly nominating committee meeting. The Hall would balk at this. They would say that we need Dave Marsh every year at our meeting because of his extensive musical knowledge. But I say that their are many (no tons) of musical experts out there who have a vast knowledge of all genres of music who could do as good a job as Dave Marsh or Steven Van Zandt.
Adding new voters is not enough. We all know that unless you get past the nominating committee adding new voters won't help a Rush or Alice Cooper get inducted.
I say a yearly turnover of fresh eyes and ears. Not every 2 or 5 years, but yearly. I bet the final ballot will be better than we could imagine.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Playlist for 10/10

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Jennifer Hudson
Robin Thicke - Something Else
James Morrison - Songs For You
James Taylor - Covers

6 Reasons Hall & Oates Belong In The RRHOF

They can induct bands with a lot of classic hits like the Lovin' Spoonful and the Rascals (Ahmet got them in) and the Dave Clark 5, but won't let Hall & Oates through the door. I dare say that their hits could line up with those bands any day.
And here's 6 reasons why:
Sara Smile
She's Gone
Rich Girl
Maneater
Out Of Touch
I Can't Go For That

Admit it, you know every one of these songs. Perfect Pop/Soul. Now match these with the above 3 bands I named. H&O belong.

P.S. And I didn't mention my personal faves like It's A Laugh or Family Man or You Make My Dreams. Or their pretty darn good albums Private Eyes, H20, Big Bam Boom, Voices, Along The Red Ledge and Abandoned Luncheonette

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Daryl Hall's Hall Rant

Daryl Hall's rant about Hall & Oates getting overlooked for the Hall is actually spot on, except for the Ramones diss. But his thesis that until the Hall gets rid of some of the ancient closed minds on the Nominating Committee, than H&O have no shot of getting in. Those of you who wonder why certain favorite bands get passed up have to agree with him.
And, yes, Hall & Oates belong in the Hall. No question about it.

Modern Day Blue Eyed Soul

Daryl Hall hates the phrase "Blue Eyed Soul". To him you either got soul or you don't, regardless of skin color. He may have a point. A lot of white men can sing Soul music. And sing it good. But when one does it sticks out. Always has, even back when Hall ruled the charts, and always will.
Two modern day white soul singers, Robin Thicke and England's James Morrison, released followups to their biggest albums last week. Both show wear their influences proud, Thicke more than Morrison. Robin Thicke loves his Marvin Gaye, and his falsetto takes you back to Here My Dear. Morrison is harder to pin down, but Van Morrison and even Joe Cocker come to mind. Neither of these albums is as good as their breakthroughs. Morrison gets stuck with too many AC numbers, and Thicke's Marvin worship grows weary over an entire album.
But taken in tokens, these albums hold up as good examples of Modern day, yes I'll say it, blue eyed soul. Sorry Daryl.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Frickin' AOL

Frickin' AOL is doing away with its free Web hosting page. So, come Nov. 1 or sooner, I'll be moving my pages over to yahoo. The web url will be different for my Hall of Fame pages, but not by much. Nothing changes on my blog.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

RRHOF 2009 Prediction

It's been 2 weeks since the Hall announced its nominees, so I've had time to think about the 5 they will induct. No real surprises, but I hope I come close. Remember, these are my predictions, not the ones I would vote for. My ballot was posted already. I feel pretty strong about these 5. Might sub the Stooges for War. But I think the voters will vote like this:

Metallica
Stooges
Run DMC
Little Anthony
Jeff Beck

Monday, October 06, 2008

Return of The 70's Singer-Songwriters

If you grew up in the 70's you could get your yearly fix of singer-songwriter glory with a new album by Jackson Browne or James Taylor. To be young and prolific. Now punching 60, neither one have felt compelled to release new material. In fact 2002 was the last time they put out new albums. In that time Taylor and Browne revisited their catalog with mostly acoustic records. Browne's first album in 6 years, Time The Conqueror, is dominated by the political stuff. Katrina, presidents, wars. It's all well-intentioned, but Browne rarely sounds inspired, which is strange coming from a man who has a lot on his mind.

I've often wondered why James Taylor never released a compilation of his covers. He's dropped enough of them on his albums to fill up a CD. So, one shouldn't be surprised that he would go the cover route, like many other artists, with his new album cleverly called Covers. Unlike Browne, Taylor has retained a goofy sense of humor as he's gotten older. There's a slyness to his covers of that will either endear you or if you're a purist revolt you. Taylor has always done that to people. But I've never been turned off by his purism. That said I don't need to hear another version of "Wichita Lineman" or "Hound Dog", but Taylor does right by throwing 2 oddball choices: John Anderson's "Seminole Wind" and the Spinners "Sadie". More choices like that would've made for a better album. Which might be why the recent Glen Campbell cover album is better than Taylor's.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Music Lifestyle Magazines

The news that Britain's Q Magazine would be focusing less on music and more on "lifestyle" shouldn't surprise anyone who reads US magazines. Rolling Stone has been doing this for years, and Q was as big as Rolling Stone up until a few years ago. Q started losing its audience when it focused less on music and more on lifestyle. They were already doing it. Blender is having that problem already. Spin is still trying to cater to the alt-rock crowd but outside of its reviews is pretty useless.
Still, no one should be surprised when music magazines are trying to reach out beyond music. The number of readers that want an all-music only magazine have been declining for years.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Behind Your Hits

By the way the names on Behind Your Hits haven't been changed very much. Because the Hall hasn't inducted many of the ones that I have on there. I was able to get rid of Gamble/Huff last year, but I have many more that have been sitting there for close to a decade now.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Q-Balled

On this page Behind Your Hits that I put together many years ago are producers, songwriters, session musicians that the Hall has forgotten about. Quincy Jones is one of the names on it. Jones told Foxnews that he thinks he's been blacklisted because he started Vibe magazine and it ticked off Jann Wenner. So, Wenner is keeping him out. I don't know if it's true, but Jones should have been inducted years ago. His production work is enough and his recording career seals it. Just another stain on the Hall's lack of insight. But what else is knew.

Playlist for 10/3

Jerry Lee Lewis -Half Century of Hits Merle Haggard - Original Outlaw
Deerhunter -Microcastle
TV On The Radio - Dear Science

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thank You Darius Rucker

I want to thank Darius Rucker. His #1 Country single, the first for a black man since 1985, and the first solo since 1983, is actually a good song. The reason I want to thank him is that he didn't do it by going the novelty route. "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" could have been done by any Country artist, so let's be grateful that it turned out to be a good single. Actually what Rucker does here, and on his rather uneven album, isn't that different than some of Hootie's songs. Being from South Carolina, there was always an underlining of Country roots in Hootie's heartland Rock.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Time Life Saves The Box Set?

Remember box sets? I once blogged about this dying breed that sprung up in the late 80's CD reissue boom but has pretty much died in the digital age. Rhino used to be the king of 'em, but now they just put out 2 CD reissues and very rarely go beyond that. True, most of everything that needed to be boxed was reissued during the box set heyday. There's not much else left.

Time Life has done a good job of keeping the flame alive. I got hold of 3 of their recent boxes on Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard and George Jones called Legends of American Music. All are 3 discs. All could've been 4, but they are as up-to-date as you could want, covering all the labels these guys have worked with. Lewis never had a career box (covering his career) above 2 discs before. Haggard, though, did have one on Capitol in the 90's that was cross-licensed, so his box picks up from there with some recent stuff. The surprise of these is that Jones has never had a box set before, so he was due. Time Life do the best they can to cram 50 years worth of music into 3 discs. Like I said before, it would be nice if he could get another one with more album cuts.
Of the 3 I'd rank Jones, Lewis and Haggard in that order. The Haggard one suffers from a lack of album cuts. Haggard was always better on album tracks than Jones.

The reason Country artists rarely get boxed is that they don't sell as much as Rock ones. But that doesn't mean that labels shouldn't give them the same respect they do a box set on Eric Clapton or Elton John. Scattered throughout my CD collection are boxes on Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. Give Time Life props for staying in the game, and hope they work on a decent box of Dolly Parton.
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