Sunday, October 30, 2005

Where Hall & Oates Can Be Immortalized

I like the idea of this page Deserving of the Songwriters Hall of Fame - Reviews on RateItAll . You can rate the songwriters, but the idea is better than the actual rankings. The poster, Garrett Jennings, is obviously obsessed about this stuff as I am. He also has a Rank the Rock Hall Page. The Songwriters Hall of Fame has been a good consolation prize recently for acts that I think should be in the RRHOF (e.g. Hall & Oates, Randy Newman and Gamble & Huff). Looking at the list on that page, its hard to believe that a Merle Haggard, Bob Marley, Pete Townshend or Led Zeppelin (Queen are in)haven't gotten inducted. It may be because the Songwriters initial voters were older and looked down on anything that didn't have to do with the Popular Song (e.g. Broadway Musicals, Tin Pan Alley, etc. ) The voters may be getting younger, which explains Hall & Oates and Queen getting in. It may not get the press the Rock Hall does, but for the above acts its good recognition.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Buffalo News Weighs In On the RRHOF

Found this link from the Buffalo News of all places, Buffalo News - Out of TUNE Don't agree with much of what this guy has to say, but a few acts he mentioned deserve induction.

Mix Tape for 10/30/05

What I've been listening to (and enjoying) for week ending 10/30/05:

Amadou & Mariam - Dimanche A Bamako
Darkness - "One Way Ticket"
James McMurtry - "We Can't Make It Here Anymore"
Michael Buble - "Home"
Merle Haggard - Chicago Wind
Destiny's Child - #1's
Nsync - Greatest Hits
Shirley Brown - Woman To Woman
Hootie & The Blowfish - "One Love"

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Music City Blues

Chris Willman's revealing book Rednecks & Bluenecks reads much like the way Republican's ran the 2004 Presidential election: scare the American people into thinking that the Terrorists will come out at any moment-if you vote for a Democrat. I use this analogy because the best moments of his book about Conservative Nashville and the Democrats who are afraid to come out, paint a Country Music society that will flog anyone that won't follow the rulebook. According to the book, there are a lot of liberals in Nashville. Country radio, who after the Iraq War started in 2003, blacklisted anyone who dare spoke out against Bush wouldn't play an anti-War song today. Yet, as written in the book, not all Nashville executives don't buy Bush's Good 'Ole Boy routine. A Connecticut born, Yale attending Redneck? They believe he's as fake as his Texas drawl. Notice in all the comments above I mention Executives, not artists. Outside of the Dixie Chicks (and in small cases Willie Nelson), no major County act dared speak out against the Good 'Ole Boy President. And when other artists saw what happened to the Chicks, they all cowered. Sure, Alt-Country acts like Steve Earle spoke out. But they don't get played on Country radio anyway. The list of Country Music Democrats that kept their mouth shut was led by Tim McGraw. McGraw has never gone Political on CD, knowing full well it would be commercial suicide. My feeling is that it won't be until Bush is out of office that you'll see prominent Nashville Democrats speak out. Until then there's always the old guard like Merle Haggard whose latest CD, Chicago Wind, includes a line about getting out of Iraq and taking care of business at home. But Haggard, unlike Willie Nelson, is no Democrat. Not a Republican, either. More an Indenpendent. Had this line come from newbie Outlaw Toby Keith it would be startling. Coming from Haggard, it's just another thing to make you ponder when the young Country Music Democrats will stop towing the line.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Here Come The Hits

If Christmas is coming, then you know labels are gearing up for the Hits season. This week I added Nsync and Destiny's Child's Greatest Hits CD's to my collection. Both acts made decent, but not essential regular CD's, so a compilation is the way to go with both. That previous statement also applies to the forthcoming Mary J Blige Hits set and Country act Montgomery Gentry. Some acts are better served by compilations. Especially ones with a mixed back catalog. Eventually everyone releases a Greatest Hits CD. For a while in the early 90's there were holdouts: Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, John Mellencamp to name a few. But they all gave in. There aren't many acts left that haven't put out a compilation. Of artists with big catalogs, I can only think of AC/DC, Chris Isaak, Metallica who've not gone the Hits route. But it's only a matter of time. Labels love compilations. It's easy cash for them and for artists it's an easy payday to repackage your old songs. And we fans buy 'em.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cleaning Out The Bookshelf

A good week for getting caught up on books that I've had sitting around:
Recommended in order of likeness:
4th of July, Asbury Park - Daniel Wolff
IPod, Therefore I Am - Dylan Jones
Boogaloo - Arthur Hampton

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Copycat In My Mist?

Here's a site100 Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame Candidates that tries to rank recent RRHOF nominees. It also has some other Hall pages to ponder over. Oddly enough, I've been ranking future Hall nominees for years. So, nice to see someone copying me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ebony & Ivory Revisited

Paul McCartney pops up on Stevie Wonder's A Time To Love, his first CD in 10 years. And the reunion got me thinking about their new CD's. McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard came out in September to his best reviews since Tug of War. Both CD's share something in common. They're hard to dislike, but hard to love. McCartney's was the more troubling listen. Produced by Nigel Goodrich, who helped launch Radiohead, its obviously been more painstakingly thought over than any recent CD of new McCartney material. The songs are light, airy, with only 2 songs picking up the pace. It's no wonder critics like it. There are silly love songs, for sure, but Goodrich's production doesn't overdo the cloying aspects that have haulted McCartney's love songs recently. The more serious songs, like those on Wonder's new CD, address the need for love to cure your heart. It took Wonder 10 years to come up with 15 new songs he felt comfortable with. I think the CD is better than 1995's Conversation Peace. But I had my doubts about the album when the first 2 songs that were previewed left me cold. Happily, there are better songs on the album than "So What Te Fuss" and "From The Bottom of My Heart." There are throwbacks to peak 70's Stevie and of course lots of Wonder's own love and be loved songs. Like the McCartney CD, I hear no sure shot singles, nothing classic. A few could fill out a future compilation or box set. These CD's aren't bad. If you're a die-hard, you'll find much to enjoy. But for me they were so frustrating, I doubt I'll give 'em another spin.

He Still Thinks He's Sexy

Everything I like about Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook series is the same think that almost everyone hates about it: the prospect of an aging Rocker tackling the Standards that should be left to the real singers is treason to guardians of the Songbooks. But Stewart's 4 titles work because Rod knows he can't outsing Ella or Sinatra when it comes to this stuff. So he adapts his trademark wink-and-a-smile vocals and attitude and it comes through winningly. In order to love this version of Rod you have to love "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" the brilliantly misunderstood Disco single that Rod now disowns (but probably secretly loves). If that song makes you cringe than the Songbook CD's will as well. Vol. 4 released today is just like the others with more guests: Chaka, George Benson, Elton John, Diana Ross and some Smooth Jazz instrumentalists. Vol. 4 was supposed to be a Soul Covers collection, but the brains behind the series, Clive Davis, convinced Rod to go to the well again. Like the other 3, it has duff stuff, but also moments of pure fun. Now I'm telling you to replace your copies of Ella's Songbook CD's, but I guarantee that if you can put aside your prejudice about who controls the Classics, than Rod's take will make you smile.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Search For This

One of my favorite reissues this year has been Hip-O Select Direct's Tom T. Hall's 1971 In Search Of A Song. Hip-O is an interent only CD site. You won't find their stuff in stores. The Hall reissue is a little pricey, what with no liner notes or bonus cuts-it'll set you back at $20 bucks plus shipping. But it's worth it. Bear Family had this on CD in the 90's, but then it disappeared. Hall is one of Country Music's underrated singer-songwriters. Unlike Bill Anderson (whose sing-talk voice, also mirrors Hall, and he can write) who's in the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hall has been bypassed year after year. There are many Hall compilations to pick from, but In Search Of A Song is the place to start. Hip-O, is a good site for this sort of stuff. With music stores cutting back inventory, those of us looking for forgotten music on CD have had to hit the internet for our fix. I'd also try Collectors' Choice Music, and Wounded Bird Records as labels doing good work keeping the vaults alive. Also Itunes has some interent-only's that are worth looking for.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Out Of Touch RRHOF Nominating Committee?

Here's a postscript link to the RRHOF blog below. This one about the Nominating Committee, which is slowly becoming a joke. Music Geek: So How Do You Get Into The Rock Hall Of Fame?

Friday, October 14, 2005

J. Geils Band-RRHOFamer's???

Dave Marsh contributes to this blog -Holler If Ya Hear Me-which on 10/14 had a post (not by Marsh, but he provides postscript), on why the J. Geils Band belongs in the Hall. I figure J. Geils has been nominated the last 2 years because of Marsh. Or is it Wenner. Regardless, both of them are to blame for this nomination. The J. Geils Band aren't HOFamers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hear It First

Hear it before you buy it. The best way to save your hard-earned money on lousy records is to listen before you buy it. On Monday's, AOL posts a bunch of albums that you can stream. Also, try out, and I've saved a bunch of money in 2005 on records by Faith Hill, Ricky Martin, etc. None of these were great and not worth adding to my collection. So, listen first, decide second and think about your money next.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Old School Podcast

Here's an excellent Podcast that I found through Itunes: The Soul Cellar. Brits who love Old School Soul from the 70's and early 80's.
The Soul Cellar
On that web page click playlist, select DJ name of Paul Collins and it takes you to his own page where you can look at his playlist.

Know Much About Rock History

Just finished Peter Guralnick's Dream Boogie:The Triumph of Sam Cooke. Since I never read Daniel Wolff's 1995 Cooke bio, I can't compare. At 651 pages + notes and discography this is a long read. I'd say about a 100 or so pages too long. And it's not as good as Guralnick's Elvis bios (especially the first) or Sweet Soul Music. But it's worth your time because Cooke was an original whose move from Gospel to Soul makes for a good bio.
This has been a catch-up year for me as far as Music bios are concerned. So far this year I've guzzled down a Clash bio, a book about Disco, Marvin Gaye bio, Greil Marcus' Dylan book, Dylan's bio, a couple of books on Punk-Rock + Lester Bangs' books, other Rock critic memoirs, plus a whole bunch of other music or political books.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

RRHOF 2005

Look at my links for my thoughts and choices for the RRHOF. While most rock critics pay no attention to the Hall's choices, I'm still intrigued. Frustrated by the nominess and some important names that have never evenbeen nominated: Spinners, War, Alice Cooper, Hall & Oates, Roxy Music, etc. Look at the links for more. This year the Hall has 16 nominees. 7 I feel good about voting for:
1. Lynyrd Skynyrd Hard to believe they're not in
2. John Mellencamp Catalog as strong as Jackson Browne's
3. Sex Pistols Also hard to believe they're not in
4. Chic A great band-not just a great Disco act
5. Miles Davis Yea, Jazz, but his Jazz-Rock fusion LP's influenced many
6. Patti Smith See #1,3 above
7. Stooges Great character, that Iggy
the other 9
8. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five Maybe Run DMC should be the first rap act, but these guys were pretty good, also
9. Dave Clark Five Great drum sound wrapped around pop hooks
10. Sir Douglas Quintet Tex Mex! and I loved Doug Sahm
11. Blondie New wave breaks Top 40
12. Cat Stevens loved the early stuff
13. Paul Butterfield Blues Band white guys play the blues
14. Joe Tex oft-overlooked soul great
15. J. Geils Band friends of Jann Wenner
16. Black Sabbath Ozzy says don't induct me, I agree
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