Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My 2005 Pazz and Jop Ballot

I've just added my 2005 Village Voice Pazz and Jop ballot to the links section. Tom Lane's Village Voice 2005 Pazz and Jop Ballot

Monday, January 30, 2006

Lewis Taylor Will Move You

There's no doubt that Lewis Taylor's Stoned is a fine piece of blue eyed soul. My research on Allmusicguide.com shows that since 1996, Taylor has released 3 albums-both hard to find. This updated version of a 2003 album shows Taylor to be a fan of Gaye, D'Arby, Prince and the Philly sound. It's funny but last Summer an album by Jamie Lidell appeared on the upper reaches of Movie Reviews, Video Reviews, Dvd Reviews, Game Reviews, Music Reviews music chart. The reviews I read were similar to Taylor's: a Brit who has Soul. But Lidell's album left me unmoved. Taylor's didn't. His is pure Soul like they don't make anymore. No matter what color his skin.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Unlike most people who write about music, I've got no problem saying what music I really buy and listen to. One thing I've noticed in the many blogs and articles that I look at regularly: music critics never list their guilty faves. But not here. That's why my playlist includes Journey, REO Speedwagon and will include upcoming catalog titles (when I order them) by George McCrae, Blue Magic and the Trammps. As for the REO's of the world. I noticed that my initial purchases of those Hits' CD's were made when the format was just getting started in the late 80's. They sound pretty muddled today. So a remastered purchase comes in handy. Oh, did I mention that I'm looking forward to a catalog title by Stacy Lattisaw?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Playlist for 1/30

.38 Special - Very Best of
REO Speedwagon - Essential
Journey - Essential
James Blunt - No Bravery
James Talley - Got No Bread... (25th anniversary reissue)
John Anderson - Wild & Blue (reissue of 1982 album)
Warren Zevon - Reconsider Me:The Love Songs

Thursday, January 26, 2006

James Talley Done Right

Years ago I made an effort to purchase James Talley's classic Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money, But We Sure Got A Lot Of Love on CD only to find that the one company that released it, Bear Family, deleted it in the 90's (they did the same thing with Tom T. Hall's In Search of A Song). I was able to track down Talley's own web site, where he offers custom made versions of his old LP's. The made-for CDR sounded good enough, if it was vinyl I couldn't tell, but it was missing lyrics and personnel stuff. So, what a thrill to see that Talley's own label is doing this classic right. Released on Feb. 21, Got No Bread, now comes with lyrics, liner notes and thoughts by Talley, a second disc featuring an interview Talley gave in 1975 to promote. All of this makes the album a lot more legendary than you'll remember it. Basically, simple songs sung by a simple man. It's Country at its purest. John Morthland says that the album could only have come out in the wide open Country of the 70's. But I've always felt that Talley's work would've found a home (not on Capitol) but on a small Indie label in any decade. So, scoop this up kids, while the getting is good. May it never disappear from the CD (or digital) racks again.

Indie Divas Battle

Jenny Lewis or Cat Power? I'm guessing that the latter will get the better reviews. An Indie darling who specializes in slow burn albums, her latest, The Greatest, is being hailed as a White-Soul breakthrough. Jenny Lewis is an Indie Rock darling who on leave from Rilo Kiley has fashioned a Country/Rock/Pop/Gospel/Soul hybrid. Since I've never been a fan of Cat Power I was intrigued by her use of 70's Memphis Soul musicians too broaden her sound. But she's still too slow burn for her band. Outside of the title track, I find it hard to warm up to her. Lewis' is the better of the two by a mile. With good backing vocals by the Watson Twins, she's put out an album that's even better than Rilo Kiley's More Adventurous. As I mentioned above, her hybrid works on almost everything here. You can have your slow burn, I'll take mine with a little Indie Pop.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Not Bound for the Country Top 40

No wonder Rosanne Cash is worried. Considering the subject matter of Black Cadillac, she's worried that people will think the album is a depressing listen. But I'm happy to report that it's not. If you like Interiors or her last studio album, Rules of Travel, this sounds just like those. Country fans who only know her from her hit days in the 80's still won't find much here for their Ipod. But the songs are strong, she's in good voice and the rest of us are just glad she's still making records.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thoughts About My CD Collection

Okay, I've just finished listening to Sara Evans' last 2 CD's. I have all her other's, but I was gonna hold out until her inevitable Greatest Hits release (I'm guessing Fall 2006), but some people told me these were good. They are. But they're not essential. Anyway, I bought 'em cheap, so no loss. But while filing her CD's in my Country section, I noticed some odd things: I have too many mediocre to average CD's by these people: Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt. Don't get me wrong. I like these artists. But why did I buy so much of their early catalog stuff when it first came out? Like most of today's and yesterday's Country music, I still think the genre was made for Hits Compilations. Very few acts sound different than others. It's the same musicians, songwriters, studios, producers. I won't get rid of any of the above act's CD's. But except for Loveless, who still puts a lot of thought into her records, I haven't bought a record by any of them in years.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Is Soul Music Dying?

You have to wonder if the Soul Music you grew up with is dying a slow death? In the past few years, artists that have nothing to do with today's R&B have all died: Rick James, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Barry White, Lou Rawls, Eugene Record(not much mention of his passing in 2005) and now Wilson Pickett. I'm sure I've missed some. But, jeez, these have been hard times for people like me who love Soul Music.

Oh So Wicked

01/19: AOL News: Wilson Pickett Dies of Heart Attack at 64
Unlike Lou Rawls, there's never been a doubt about Wilson Pickett's place in the Soul Pantheon. And Oldies.com : Wilson Pickett has reissued Pickett's 60's catalog which reveals him to be more than a singles act (much like Otis Redding's same period albums). As for compilations, Rhino's 1992 2CD A Man and A Half is still in print, and their single Best of are the best of many. Pickett's last studio, 1999's It's Harder Now, is also worth checking out, as it shows that he still had the grit, even if the voice was going.

Playlist for 1/20/06

Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac
Jenny Lewis - Rabbit Fur Coat
Cat Power - Greatest
Def Leppard - Rock Of Ages:Definitive Collection
Terence Trent D'Arby - Very Best Of
Savage Garden - Greatest Hits

Margo Jefferson - On Michael Jackson
Jeff Chang - Can't Stop Won't Stop

Sunday, January 15, 2006

If He'd Only Stayed

For years I wondered if anyone would get around to a Terence Trent D'Arby compilation. The Very Best of is the first US version, but I have a more complete 2002 release. D'Arby's career bascially goes like this: smashing debut, critically acclaimed-but confusingly titled followup, back to basics 3rd album and 4th album with his hair dyed blonde. Since that last 1995 album, D'Arby has released but one album. And it was good. But for years it was import only. The Sony compilation concentrates on his output there, and it serves it revelatory purposes. It makes you go back and listen to his previous stuff. I say the debut is now classic, the followup sounds better with his ego in the rear view mirror, the 3rd is the 3rd and the fourth not up to the first two. Will D'Arby ever make a comeback? I wouldn't count him out. Like his hero Prince, he's got the voice, talent, songwriting skills to get back on the Soul Train. So, give this Best of a spin and hope for second chances.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fiona, I Apologize

Well, yes, Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine is a good album. "O Sailor" has been in my head for days. Wouldn't have made my year end Top 10, but as a new 2006 catch-up buy, it's good. And I've never cared for Apple. Also, good is the Devan Benhart disc. Too long, but at best a catchier Iron & Wine.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

KC Lives!

I'm glad that Collectors' Choice Music is adding KC & The Sunshine Band to its catalog label, but I wish they'd rescued 1979's Do Ya Wanna Go Party from the never been on CD tag. As for Old School R&B reissues, Oldies.com : Direct Source for Collectables Records & Alpha Video [Oldies, Doo has some minor Soul acts in their upcoming catalog: Trammps, Stacy Lattisaw and Blue Magic titles that will probably end up on my year end reissue list.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Where Will Young Rules

The only time I know this show exists List of nominees for the Brit Awards is when it shows up on BBC America or is it MTV or VH1, I can't remember. Anyway, if you think some of our Music award nominees are bad, check out some of these.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Things That Look Good On Paper...

Among some of the February releases that look interesting to me: Ray Davies (liked what I heard on his Fall E.P., Rhett Miller (liked his first solo) and Hank Williams III (liked his first 2, but still wish he'd release the Punk album he has in the can). And let's hope somebody picks up the Nelly McKay CD that Columbia shelved this month.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Playlist 1/9/06

Roky Erickson - Anthology
Lou Rawls - All Things In Time
Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow
Animal Collective - Feels
Dangerdoom - Mouse and the Mask
Broken Social Scene
My Morning Jacket - Z
Sara Evans - Restless and Real Fine Place
Harry Belafonte - Essential
Teddy Pendergrass - s/t and Teddy
Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Cooke and Rawls Now Appearing Live!

Mention the name Lou Rawls to Soul aficianados and you'll likely get the pat response that he doesn't rank with the top tier: Cooke, Redding, Gaye. I've heard critics use the term "Supper Club Soul" to describe Rawl's smooth delivery. To my ears his 60's stuff doesn't hold up as well as his Philly Soul years do. But Rawls' best moments on record were backing up Sam Cooke on "Having A Party" and especially "Bring It On Home To Me". The latter earns Rawls' place in the Soul canon, even if his own solo work brings him up a little short to the Soul giants that were his peers.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Lists Galore

By the way, just finished the Clap Your Hands CD, and David Byrne would be proud. Anyway, this link should sum up the year in 2005 lists Metacritic: Best Albums of 2005

Monday, January 02, 2006

Stupid Record Company Tricks, Part Infinity

Harry Belafonte's Essential on RCA is a good 2CD overview of an overlooked artist. But why is the Banana Boat Song a live recording instead of the original hit version. Stupid record company compiler tricks. No wonder people illegally download.
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