Sunday, October 29, 2017

Personal Picks: 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The good news: 19 nominees again.  The bad: still can only vote for 5.
Below are my Personal picks, listed in alphabetical order.  The names I didn't vote for are all acts I like, well some more than others.  Still, it's criminal to just choose 5/19.

Because the Hall usually inducts 6,  I've listed a bonus vote, after my Top 5.

Again, these are my Personal choices, not a prediction.

Top 5
Cars -  The most Classic Rock of the New Wave bands.  Their debut album is still perfect.  And they knocked out hooky singles and album tracks until the mid-80's.

Eurythmics -  Annie Lennox & Dave Stewart crafted some of the most soulful New Wave hits of the 80's.  Lennox was not only a great vocalist, but a trailblazer in her videos and concerts too.  Who doesn't love Annie Lennox?

Meters - Too often thought of as just legendary session musicians.  But their back catalog is full of good albums and the funkiest of deep cuts.

Moody Blues - They've recorded a bunch of fine albums, but I always thought of them as one of Prog-Rock's best singles bands.

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan -  No other way to say this: but Chaka Khan has one of the most powerful voices you'll ever hear.  And with and without Rufus she put out a bunch of classic hits.

Bonus vote
Link Wray - If you only know that one hit, then you need to do keep listening.  And besides, Wray's post-50's material, especially the early 70's albums,  continue to get rediscovered.
                                                           
The Rest
Bon Jovi - Am I the only one who thinks they peaked with Slippery When Wet?  I count a handful of good songs after 1987. The most critically-derided artist on this list.
                                                                                                                                                     
Depeche Mode - Since their first nomination last year, I've spent a lot of time exploring their back catalog.  I still prefer other bands from that era, but I'm finally seeing why they were so huge for about 10 years.

Dire Straits - I remember buying their debut just on the basis of "Sultans of Swing".  Great band with an original sound.  And Mark Knopfler can play.

J. Geils Band - This NomCom favorite (5X) were a sturdy, workmanlike recording/concert machine before they broke big with Freeze Frame.  Peter Wolf was one of the best Rock and Soul singers of his day.

Judas Priest - On the advise of a Metal friend, and anticipating their eventual nomination, another act who I went back into their catalog and are more impressed than I was before.

Kate Bush -  I admit to being late to this singer's often superb music and concerts.  Not as well known in the States as she is in England.  But now is a great time for everyone else to catch up to her.

LL Cool J - His acting career has diluted his recording career.  I've been saying this from his first nomination in 2010.  That's too bad because from the mid-80's to mid-90's he was Rap's greatest male star.  And left behind some classic sides.

MC5 - Their music sounds more relevant than it has since the 60's/early 70's.

Nina Simone - If you're like me, then her excellent 2015 documentary opened your eyes and ears. Another name whose catalog I encourage you to explore.

Radiohead - I love "Creep" and "High and Dry".  But all their stuff from OK Computer to now hasn't done much for me.

Rage Against The Machine - Never really warmed to their revolution.  Kind of like Tom Morello's post RATM years better.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Her first record came out in 1938, so how she ended up on the main ballot and not as an Early Influence is one of those yearly NomCom mysteries.  Regardless, of course she belongs, but I'm betting, like everybody else, that the Hall will slot her in as an Early Influence (her first record released in 1938).

Zombies -   One of the last British Invasion bands that has a chance at induction.  Whenever their stuff comes up on Sirius' Underground Garage channel, it sounds more fresh and alive each time.


Also:
For those who may have missed it, my post on whether the Rock Hall needs a Veterans Committee.  And how they should set it up:

Rock Hall Veterans Committee

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Top Halloween Songs

Some of my favorite Halloween songs:

1.  Thriller - Michael Jackson
2.  Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
3.  I Put A Spell On You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
4.  Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
5.  (Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
6.  Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
7.  Haunted House - Jumpin' Gene Simmons
8.  Time Warp - Rocky Horror Cast
9.  Theme From "Halloween" - John Carpenter
10.  Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield
11.   Nightmare On My Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
12.  Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell
13.  Season of the Witch - Donovan
14.  Pet Sematary - Ramones
15.  Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
16.  Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus
17.  Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
18.  Theme from "Twilight Zone" - Jerry Goldsmith
19   Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson
20.  Hell's Bells - AC/DC
21.  I Was A Teenage Werewolf - Cramps
22.  What's He Building In There? - Tom Waits
23.  Lucifer - Alan Parsons Project
24.  Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo 
25.  Theme From "Psycho" - Bernard Herrmann
26.  Toccata and Fugue in D Minor -   Bach
27.  Theme From "Addams Family" - Vic Mizzy
28.  In The Hall of the Mountain King - Edvard Grieg
29,  I Walked With A Zombie - Roky Erickson
30.  Theme From "Munsters: - Jack Marshall
31.  Nature Trail To Hell - Weird Al Yankovic
32.  Dream Within A Dream/Raven - Alan Parsons Project
33.  Witch Queen of New Orleans - Redbone
34.  (Ghost) Riders In The Sky - Johnny Cash
35.  Spooky - Classics IV
36.  Welcome To My Nightmare - Alice Cooper
37.  Supernature - Cerrone
38.  Fire On High - ELO
39.  Surfin' Dead - Cramps
40.  Halloween - Misfits
41.  In The Hall Of The Mountain King - ELO
42.  Lucifer - Alan Parsons Project
43.  Down By The Water - PJ Harvey
44.  Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
45.  Goo Goo Muck - Ronnie Cook
46.  Knoxville Girl - Louvin Brothers
47.  Witchy Woman - Eagles
48.  Dinner With Drac - John Zacherle "Cool Ghoul"

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

RIP Fats Domino

He was part of the 1986 inaugural Rock Hall Class.  And for good reason.  He brought the sounds of New Orleans to all of us and that is the reason he was one of the Founding Fathers of Rock and Roll.  I could argue that Fats' place in Rock history has been underrated.  We tend to forget that from 1955-59 he was the biggest selling black artist in the U.S. (source: Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles Book). And sold more records than any other Rocker from the 50's except for Elvis Presley.

But Fats' influence is profound.  Let's be honest, every Rock and Roll piano player from Elton John to Billy Joel to Paul McCartney owes him a huge amount of gratitude.  Along with his Producer and songwriter Dave Bartholomew, he gave us records that were wholly unique.  Just perfect for Rock's early era.

My favorite Fats hit was 1958's #6 "Whole Lotta Loving", a record that sums up everything I Loved about him. And the record is less than 2 minutes!

A second favorite was not another uptempo song but the perfectly slow mood of 1960's #6 "Walking To New Orleans", a record whose mood I've always adored.

Below are just some of Fats Domino's records I love:

Fat Man
Goin' Home
Ain't That A Shame
I'm In Love Again
Blue Monday
My Blue Heaven
Blueberry Hill
Honey Chile
Poor Me
I'm Walkin'
It's You I Love
Valley of Tears
Whole Lotta Loving
I'm Ready
I Want To Walk You Home
Yes My Darling
I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday
Be My Guest
What A Party
Let The Four Winds Blow
Big Beat
Please Don't Leave Me
Fell In Love On Monday
Walking To New Orleans
You Win Again
Lady Madonna

Most of Fats' original albums from the 50's/60's consisted of songs taken from various sessions.  Just about all are out-of-print on CD.  Even streaming sites are missing most of these.  YouTube is your best bet.

So, the best way to get to know him are through his many compilations.  Below are 4 that I always recommend:

My Blue Heaven: Best of  (1990)
They Call Me The Fat Man (1991 4CD Box set)
20 Greatest Hits The Way You Originally Heard Them  (2002)
Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans (2007)

How underrated is Fats Domino's legacy?  As of 2017, there's only been one book written about him. 2006's Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n' Roll by Rick Coleman was the first and amazingly the only biography available.  It's a good read, even if I wish it dug even deeper.  Fats deserves one of those definitive bios like the ones Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, etc., have gotten.







Saturday, October 21, 2017

Playlist for 10/21

JD McPherson - Undivided Heart & Soul
Robert Plant - Carry Fire
Margo Price - All American Made
Jessica Lea Mayfield -  Sorry Is Gone
Carly Pearce - Every Little Thing
Whitney Rose - Rule 62
Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference
Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Playlist for 10/15

Hard Working Americans- We're All In This Together
Vietnam War: Soundtrack - Various
Hiss Golden Messenger - Hallelujah Anyhow
Leon Russell - On A Distant Shore
Shania Twain - Now
Miley Cyrus - Younger Now
Umphrey's McGee - Zonkey
Benjamin Clementine - I Tell A Fly

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Playlist for 10/10

Jimmy Page - Lucifer Rising
Yusuf/Cat Stevens - Laughing Apple
Chris Hillman - Bidin' My Time
Lone Bellow- Walk Into A Storm
Josh Ritter - Gathering
Pentagram - First Daze Here
Bonniwell Music Machine - s/t
UFO -  Flying
Mojo Presents Teen Spirit - Various

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Top 20 Favorite Record Labels

Here's an interesting Poll that I didn't get to vote in, but will add my own two cents anyway.
Favorite Record Label.   Not the design of the label, but its roster and releases.

Original article link.  20 Favorite Labels

So, listed below are 20 labels who put out great music.

1.  Columbia
2.  Atlantic
3.  Motown
4.  Sun
5.  Blue Note
6.  Chess
7.  Warner Brothers
8.  Stax
9.  Elektra
10. Capitol
11. A&M
12. Philadelphia International Records
13. RCA
14. Rhino
15. Island
16. Decca
17. Verve
18. Sire
19. Paramount
20.  Def Jam

Other labels I like:
Arista
Casablanca
Geffen
Impulse
IRS
Stiff
Sub Pop



Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Playlist for 10/4

Gaga: Five Foot Two (Lady Gaga Documentary)
Kip Moore - Slowheart
Midland - On The Rocks
Thomas Rhett - Life Changes
Billy Cobham - Spectrum
Rolling Blackouts C.F. -  Talk Tight
Rhinestone Hillbilly: Tribute to Little Jimmy Dickens

Monday, October 02, 2017

RIP Tom Petty

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were one of the great American Rock and Roll bands of the last 40 years.  Petty & band were able to mix their love of Beatles/Byrds jangle with modern American Rock and make it a wholly original sound.  I've often felt that Petty was underrated in the canon of Rock and Roll stars.  His catalog is ripe with deep cuts that are ready to be rediscovered.  At their peak Petty & the Heartbreakers were a breath of fresh air to hear on Top 40 radio.  I saw Petty (with Joe Cocker opening) in concert in 2006 and still marvel at how many great songs he had and played that night.

Below are just some of my favorite Petty tracks covering his entire career:

American Girl
Breakdown
Change of Heart
Christmas All Over Again
Crystal River (w/Mudcrutch)
Don't Come Around Here No More
Don't Do Me Like That
End of the Line (w/Traveling Wilburys)
Even The Losers
Face In The Crowd
Free Fallin'
Free Girl Now
Handle With Care (w/Traveling Wilburys)
Have Love Will Travel
Here Comes My Girl
I Need To Know
I Won't Back Down
Insider
Into The Great Wide Open
It's Good To Be King
Jammin' Me
Kings Road
Last Night (w/Traveling Wilburys)
Learning To Fly
Listen To Her Heart
Make It Better
Mary Jane's Last Dance
Rebels
Refugee
Room at the Top
Runaway Trains
Runnin' Down A Dream
Saving Grace
Southern Accents
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around  (w/Stevie Nicks)
Swingin'
Think About Me
Time To Move On
Trailer (w/Mudcrutch)
Tweeter and the Monkey Man (w/Traveling Wilburys)
Waiting
Walls (Circus)
Ways To Be Wicked
Wildflowers
Woman In Love
Yer So Bad
You Don't Know How It Feels
You Got Lucky
You Wreck Me

People keep calling Petty a great singles artist, which he was, but don't always mention his albums.  The ones below are my favorites:

Albums
Damn The Torpedoes
Hard Promises
Full Moon Fever
Into The Great Wide Open
Live Anthology
Southern Accents
Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
Wildflowers

Also check out the 2007 Documentary, Runnin' Down A Dream.  At nearly 4 hours it's a definitive look at his career, up to that point.

Covered 
3 of my favorite Tom Petty covers:
Ways To Be Wicked - Lone Justice   (1985)
Never Be You - Rosanne Cash (1985)
Rebels - Drive-By Truckers  (2004)


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