Thursday, September 27, 2018

Playlist for 9/27

St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Young Sick Camellia
Paul Simon - In The Blue Light
Paul McCartney - Egypt Station
Ana Calvi - Hunter
John McLaughlin - My Goal's Beyond
Tony Williams - Turn It Over
Randy Weston - African Cookbook
Randy Weston - Blue Moses
King of the Road: Tribute to Roger Miller - various

Friday, September 21, 2018

Playlist for 9/21

Prince - Anthology: 1995-2010 (Digital Only)
Candi Staton - Unstoppable
Mitski - Be The Cowboy
Blood Orange - Negro Swan
Beyond the Calico Wall - Various
Aaron Lee Tasjan - Karma For Cheap
Americanafest 2018 Mixtape - Various
Crack the Sky - s/t

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top R&B Vocal Groups of All Time

A subject near and dear to my heart.  Greatest R&B groups of All-Time.  This post was prompted by Sirius' Soul Town channel, which came up with their own Top 20 this year.  Their list covered what they call the "Classic Soul Era", of the 60's/70's. But I'm including groups from before the 60's.

My list of the 40 Greatest R&B groups:

1.  Temptations
2.  Earth, Wind & Fire
3.  Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
4.  Drifters
5.  Supremes
6.  Spinners
7.  O'Jays
8.  Isley Brothers
9.  Jackson 5
10.  Gladys Knight & The Pips
11.  Impressions
12.  Sly & The Family Stone
13.  Commodores
14.  Kool & The Gang
15.  Parliament/Funkadelic
16.  Four Tops
17.  Stylistics
18.  Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
19.  Chic
20.  Dells
21.  Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
22.  Shirelles
23.  Staple Singers
24.  Ohio Players
25.  Coasters
26.  War
27.  Clovers
28.  Gap Band
29.  Manhattans
30.  Meters
31.  Marvelettes
32.  Mills Brothers
33.  Platters
34.  Chi-Lites
35.  Whispers
36.  Average White Band
37.  Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
38.  Delfonics
39.  Ink Spots
40.  Tavares

  
The Soul Town Top 20 list:

1.  Temptations
2.  Gladys Knight & The Pips
3.  Isley Brothers
4.  O'Jays
5.  Kool & The Gang
6.  Four Tops
7.  Earth, Wind & Fire
8.  Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
9.  Supremes
10.  Impressions
11.  Jackson 5
12.  Whispers
13.  Spinners
14.  Drifters
15.  Manhattans
16.  Dells
17.  Parliaments
18.  Moments
19.  Dramatics
20.  Chi-Lites

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Playlist for 9/15

Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow  (Documentary)
Dionne Warwick: Then Came You (PBS Documentary)
Steven Hyden - Twilight of the Gods: Journey to the End of Classic Rock (Book)
Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
Mojo magazine: Trojan Reggae Nuggets
Gregory Isaacs - Extra Classic
John Holt - 1000 Volts of Holt
English Beat - Here We Go Love
Peabo Bryson - Stand for Love

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Music Years of My Life: September 11, 2001

First posted in September 2016

We all seek comfort in music when tragedy strikes.  One of the things I remember most about that day was going to Borders to buy the new Bob Dylan album, "Love and Theft" in the late afternoon.  9/11 was a Tuesday, which back then was New Release day, so I did what was normal for me and go to Borders (or Circuit City) and check out the latest CD's.  It was odd that inside this big store people were going about their daily business of browsing books, magazines, CD's, etc., while over the store's speaker system was a newscast of 9/11 events.

The comfort of entertainment in times like that can't be denied.  For some it's as much needed as family, faith.  On September 21 the first benefit concert was broadcast, America: A Tribute to Heroes.  An unplugged/acoustic show, which featured many notable performances.  On October 20, a bigger even was staged, Concert For New York City, which had many powerful moments.

There were also patriotic songs post 9/11, mostly from the Country field:  Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning" and Aaron Tippin's "Where The Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" were the most played in the latter part of 2001.

Many people have noted Clear Channel's now infamous banned or not banned  songs, which came out a week after 9/11.  In the end, it's memo didn't say stations couldn't play, say "In The Air Tonight" or "Free Fallin'", but suggested use their own judgement.  Banned or not?

Music has always played a part in my life.  Never more so then when my parents died.  In times of stress and personal pain, music can soothe you.  We always go back to the songs we love.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Playlist for 9/9

Aretha Franklin - Sparkle
Aretha Franklin - Hey Now Hey
Aretha Franklin - So Damn Right
Aretha Franklin - Let Me In Your Life
Aretha Franklin - Love All The Hurt Away
Aretha Franklin - One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
Aretha Franklin - Live in Philly 1972

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Rock Hall Veterans Category (Updated 2018 Edition)

For 2018 we finally got an Early Influence Inductee, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  Long overdue, but not without the usual NomCom head-scratching.  Why did they include her on the main performer ballot when they knew she was going to be an Early Influence Inductee right from the start? (No, I don't have inside knowledge that was always the plan.  But we long time Hall watchers are always looking for a good conspiracy).

Anyway, since 2000 there have been four, yes only four, Early Influence Rock Hall inductees. And three of those, Wanda Jackson, Freddie King and Sister Rosetta Tharpe were initially on the main performer ballot. The other EI act were the "5" Royales in 2015 (who were twice on the performer ballot way back in 2002/2004).  For the 2019 class, the Nominating Committee put 15 names on the ballot.  Only 1, the Zombies, released a record before 1964.  Artists nominated in other years who recorded before 1964 ? In 2018: 4.  2017: 3. 2016: 1.  2015: 2.  2014: 3.  In those three years only 5 acts (Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Baez, Nina Simone, Moody Blues & Sister Rosetta Tharpe were inducted.



We know that the NomCom wants to embrace Populist acts to please music fans, HBO and the Museum itself.

But moving away from inducting the original innovators of Rock and Roll is downright criminal and frustrating to long time Hall followers.

Before 2000, the Hall was averaging two EI acts a year.  True, they had to play catch up with history, and had many legendary names to pick from.

But not everybody got included in the pre-2000 bounty.  And as the 25 year timeline continues to move forward, I fear most of the names listed below will be forgotten.

Because of this, I believe that all artists whose first record came out before 1964 should be included in a new category.  Scrap the Early Influence name and put those artists before a Veterans Committee. Similar to what Sports Hall of Fame's do with acts that were overlooked by their main voting bloc. Call it what you want, but I think good old Veterans Committee sounds about right.

My gut feeling is voters don't know much about many of the artists from the early Rock era.  When I see names like Chuck Willis, Chantels and Joe Tex on a ballot with KISS, Alice Cooper and Journey, I have an idea already who the votes will go to.  As good old Jann Wenner said in a Billboard interview in 2015 in regards to the ballot: "I loved a certain period of music, but I'm not deeply committed to knowing everything that's going on."  In other words, what Wenner is saying is, "who's got time to research Joe Tex"?

Luckily, there are still a few of us around who do care about whether Link Wray or the Clovers ever get inducted.

So, how do we set up a Veterans Committee for the Rock Hall?  I took a look at how Sports Halls honor athletes that were either passed up by the larger voting pool or slipped through the cracks by a nominators.  One of the first things I had to figure out is what might be considered the first record that started the Rock and Roll boom? I decided that "Rock Around The Clock" from 1955 was a good starting point, and dividing line among the genres.  So, I'm going with 3 eras:   1) pre-1954  2) 55-59 and 3) 60-64.  I used the Beatles American invasion from 1964 as a good year for a cutoff date, but '65 and other dates could be added in later years.

My first stab at this only includes artists.  Many Non-performers/Sideman from those eras are also waiting for enshrinement (see below).

Who gets to be on a Veterans Committee?  Again, using various Sports Hall's as an example, I came up with this rough draft:  The list of up to 15 names from 3 different eras is the responsibility of at least 10 people.  It is then up to a voting group, around 20, who pick the new inductees.  An artist has to get 75% of the vote for induction (that % is up for debate, too).   As far as who these new electors and nominating people are,  I'm looking for people who aren't already on the NomCom.  People that know their musical history across various genres.  At first, this will be a yearly vote on all three genres.  Eventually the three eras could be rotated along with a Non-Performer ballot.

In the end, the only goal I'm trying to achieve with a Veterans Committee is to induct the many great artists being left behind by the Rock Hall.

Note:  I'm open to any suggestions on changing eras, number of nominees, induction %, voters, etc.

Here are some of the names I've come up with for the first ballot.  Year listed is the date of their first record (dates listed close as I could find):

Pre-1954:
Big Jay McNeely - 1948
Big Mama Thornton - 1951
Billy Ward & The Dominoes - 1951
Blind Willie Johnson - 1927
Carter Family - 1927
Charley Patton - 1929
Chuck Willis  - 1951
Clovers - 1951
Ella Fitzgerald - 1935
Esther Phillips - 1950
Frank Sinatra - 1942
George Jones - 1954
Ivory Joe Hunter - 1945
John Coltrane - 1957
Johnny Ace - 1952
Junior Parker - 1952
Kitty Wells - 1949
Lowell Fulson - 1948
Merle Travis - 1946
Mississippi John Hurt - 1928
Percy Mayfield - 1950
Roy Brown - 1948
Wynonie Harris - 1944
Screamin' Jay Hawkins - 1953
Sonny Boy Williamson II - 1951

1955-59:
Brook Benton - 1955
Carole King - 1958
Chantels - 1957
Chubby Checker - 1959
Connie Francis - 1955
Dick Dale - 1959
Dolly Parton - 1959
Jerry Butler - 1959
Joe Tex - 1955
Johnny Burnette and the Rock 'n Roll Trio - 1956
Lee Dorsey - 1959
Link Wray - 1958
Neil Sedaka - 1957
Patsy Cline - 1955
Slim Harpo -1957
Willie Nelson - 1957

1960-64
Aaron Neville - 1960
Ben E. King -  1960
Crystals -  1961
Dionne Warwick - 1962
Gary U.S. Bonds  - 1960
Glen Campbell - 1961
Hubert Sumlin - 1964
Lesley Gore - 1963
Lou Rawls - 1962
Marvelettes  - 1961
Mary Wells - 1960
Merle Haggard - 1963
Shangri-Las  - 1963
Spinners - 1961
Tom Jones - 1964
Zombies - 1964

Notes:  What to do about artists like Glen Campbell, Carole King and the Spinners who released early 60's records, but didn't become famous until the late 60's (Campbell) and 70's (Spinners)?  Things to think about.


Non-Performers/Sidemen (Songwriters, Producers, etc.) from the pre-1964 eras have also been overlooked.  Like I said above, this ballot could be rotated with one of the above Artist eras.

Here's a few candidates:
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Carol Kaye - (Member of "Wrecking Crew", played on tons of sessions)
Casey Kasem
Florence Steinberg
George Goldner (Record label founder, Producer, Promoter)
Gloria Stavers (16 Magazine Editor-in-Chief.  One of first women Rock journalists)
Herb Hardesty (Sax player on many Fats Domino and other New Orleans classics)
Hubert Sumlin (Guitar player on many Howlin' Wolf tracks)
James C. Bracken, Vivian Carter & Calvin Carter (Vee-Jay Records crew)
Joe Meek (British Producer, Engineer)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - (Reggae Producer, Dub Pioneer)
Lew Chudd  (Imperial Records founder)
Owen Bradley  (Country Music Producer, "Nashville Sound" architect)
Ralph Peer (American roots pioneer)
Rick Hall (Founded FAME studio, which helped define the Muscle Shoals Sound)
Rudy Toombs (R&B songwriter)
Wolfman Jack


So here's a start at righting many wrongs.  It's time the Rock Hall did what it's main goal has always been.  Honoring and preserving the innovators of Rock and Roll.

RIP Village Voice

The first time I became aware of the Village Voice was when I came upon Robert Christgau's Rock Albums of the 70's book at a library in the mid-80's.  Christgau's Consumer Guide was published monthly in the Voice, but finding a copy of the Voice in my area of California was never easy.
Every week, I would spend half a day driving to bookstores and libraries looking for the latest copy.  The Voice was a weekly, so imagine the time I put in from the 80's to the late 90's hunting down an issue.  BTW- the subscription price was too high, which is why I never went that route.
While my initial intentions were to read the music section, I quickly became a fan of the rest of the paper.  Especially the film and political parts.

Once the Internet came along, I no longer needed to hunt for every issue.  Just about everything was right there at my fingertips.  It was around this time that I emailed the music editor and asked how I could become a voter in its year-end music critics Pazz & Jop poll.  And from the early 2000's-2017, I voted in its poll.  With the Voice gone, so goes Pazz & Jop with it.  Unless somebody else picks it up.  Last year the Voice gave up its printed edition, like so many other papers, and went digital only. Sadly, it didn't last.  Now it is gone for good.  A staple of the New York scene.  And at its peak, an essential buy for many fans of alt-journalism throughout the U.S.

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Saturday, September 01, 2018

Playlist for 9/1

Jeff Lynne's ELO - Wembley or Bust (Concert Film)
Turning the Tables:21st Century Edition (NPR list of 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women)
Wire Magazine August 2018 Playlist: Black Minimalism (88 Tracks)
Collins Kids - Rockaway Rock 55-62
Rayland Baxter - Wide Awake
Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis - Wild! Wild! Wild!
Shooter Jennings - Shooter
Jake Shears - s/t
Nicki Minaj - Queen
Ariana Grande - Sweetener
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