Friday, June 30, 2006

It's Chris Knight-Not Steve Earle

Back in 1998, when I first reviewed Chris Knight's debut album on MCA, I made references to Steve Earle. How could I not? The sound and voice were similar, but Knight's lyrics were darker in the depiction of his smalltown life in Kentucky. Now off of MCA, and on Indie Drifter's Chruch, Knight's 4th album, Enough Rope, continues in the same vein. Even though it was produced by Nashville vet, Gary Nicholson, it rocks harder than his 2nd & 3rd album. The lyrics haven't changed. Taking the "man" to task for screwing up his daddy's farm or giving his loved one comfort in "Cry Lonely", Knight's his own artist. So, the comparison's with early Earle will continue, but Knight is no political artist. And if you miss Earle's gritty early days, then Knight's hardworn smalltown tales will get you over.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Would The Rock Hall Honor The Delfonics?

I know Dave Marsh has criticized the Rhythm & Blues Foundation for not doing enough with its money to help out artists with medical and living expenses. And he may have a point. But my focal point is in who they honor. The 2006 inductees are the firt since 2003 because no one could come up with enough money for an award show. Yeah, that's hard to believe. But the R&BF do a good job of honoring people who don't get many lifetime awards. So, look at these names: Thom Bell, Chubby Checker, Berry Gordy, Otis Redding, Bettye Lavette, Barbara Mason, Delfonics and Frankie Beverly & Maze. Only Gordy and Redding are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Thom Bell should be, but the others will never be. But that's no knock on them. They gave us great R&B. And for that I applaud the foundation. While hoping they get the rest of their act together.

Be Your Own Pet's Punk

Be Your Own Pet make Punk music for a generation. 15 songs 30 minutes by a bunch of teenager's who haven't got out of high school. It's a great ride, for sure. And only comes to a screeching halt when they aren't thrashing around. Which means albums #2 or 3 will have to have better power ballads than the one that shows up here. So, enjoy them before they grow up.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Sound Of Goodbye Forever

You will no sadder album than American V, Johnny Cash's final recordings with Rick Rubin. Although there's more stuff in the can for future releases, these feel like Cash's final moments. Getting over the loss of June Carter, Cash dived right into a bunch of sadder than sad songs. It's not a fun listen. Think "Hurt" X2 and you'll get the feeling. The most talked about moment will be the barely alive "If You Could Read My Mind", with its hushed vocal. You'll either love Rick Rubin for the balls to put it out or curse him for what should be an outtake on a future box set. Cash's last original's are good: "Like The 309" adds to Country's railroad standards. Had this been released a few years from now, the lump in the throat of these songs wouldn't have been so vivid. But 3 years from his death, you still feel the pain of his voice.

"If I Can Dream" In A Strange Place

Flipping through my numerous movie channels, I came across the end credits to a movie I have no interest in watching: Skeleton Key. What caught my ear was Elvis' "If I Can Dream" at the end credits. The power of the King's great forgotten '68 Comeback Special closer made me listen to the whole song while the credits rolled. Wow, first an appearance on American Idol and now a slot ending a forgotten Hollywood film. But we "Dream" fans will take all we can get.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Are The Temptations the Blues?

I made my yearly trip to the Monterey Blues Festival. But I skipped the main stage stuff (afternoon full of Gospel, evening full of nothing too special). I know some of those evening acts may have been worth the extra cash, but this year I concentrated on the side stages. An odd place, these areas, because in order to hear the Blues then these were it. Monterey's Blues Fest booking agents have trouble getting what's left of the legendary Blues acts to come there: BB King and Buddy Guy. So, it order to bulk up main stage sales they book Old R&B'ers. This year was the Four Kings (Butler, Chandler, Price and Ben E. King and a Temptations Revue with Dennis Edwards). The former was a prime ticket, but I went on Sunday and got stuck with the latter. Which I missed, also. The side stages full of acts that have been there before. War veterans of a Blues Highway, most of them. But it's too bad that these acts couldn't fill up an arena by themselves. The festival is a good bargain for your money. But the lack of a blues legend in the grandstand had some scratching their head. I realize that the legendary acts are long gone, and old R&B is the only way to sell a ticket, but damn I wish the festival's organizer's would suck it up and go all blues all the time. At least for one year.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Playlist for 6/23

James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
Irma Thomas - After The Rain
Replacements - Best of
Boston - s/t remastered
Old 97's - Best of
Yayhoos - Put The Hammer Down
Neil Young - Heart of Gold DVD
John Fogerty - Long Road Home DVD
Lyle E Style - Ain't Got No Cigarettes (Roger Miller somewhat of a bio book)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Boston's Debut

Blender's July 06 has a review of Boston's remastered debut album. You would think time would give the Rock crit elite a better grade and understanding of what I consider a classic. But all it gets is 3 and 1/2. This doesn't surprise me. Outside of Chuck Eddy and Dave Marsh, few big name critics cared for Boston's brand of 1976 boogie rock. It was the beginning of corporate rock and the debut kicked in the door for every other faceless band to walk through. But that's no need to get snotty about the music. That album is great. 9 songs. If Tom Scholtz had left after that, it still would be regarded. So, I'm glad it still sells. Give the guy a hand for turning his basement into a thousand classic rock station sing-alongs.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Music Lists Are Getting Stale

Mojo's July 06 issue has the 101 greatest Beatle Songs. Ho hum. You know who the usual suspects are that crowd the top of the list. I wish these magazines would get more creative. How about the greatest Beatle Songs that you don't hear anymore. Everytime one of these lists come out, whether it's the best songs of Dylan, Elvis, the Stones, I barely glance at them. But a list of forgotten songs by these people would make me read the damn thing. So, let's have a round of applause for these cellar dwellar titles on the Mojo Beatle 101: "Run For Your Life, "I'll Be Back", "Flying", "It's Only Love", "Long Long Long" and "All I've Got To Do". All #80 and below. But don't they jump out at you.

Music DVD's: More Stuff You Don't Have Enough Time For

I wish I had more time to watch all the music DVD's that have swarmed the market. On Father's Day, I did watch Neil Young's Heart of Gold, John Fogerty's Long Road Home and Stevie Ray Vaughan Live In Austin. The ones I don't catch on video, end up on VH1 or one of the many movie channels. But like the movie DVD boom, there's now a music one too. But like CD's, too much to watch and not enough hours in the day.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Everybody Is A 3 Star

Who can you trust for music reviews? Add the new look Spin to the list of magazines that review a lot of CD's, but seem to be sucking up to the artists it needs to sell its magazine. In the July 2006 issue, I counted 61 reviews, with 41 getting 3 stars and only 5 less than 3. It's like Rolling Stone, with its 3 star minimum. I liked the old Spin better. Less reviews, but less kissing record label butt.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Playlist for 6/17

Hot Chip - Warning
Doobie Brothers - Minute By Minute
Cars - Candy O
ELO - Essential
Al Green - Call Me
Southern Soul Radio

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Chitlin' Soul Radio

Recently, I bemoaned the lack of an Urban AC Countdown show. Well, this Southern Soul Radio isn't one, but just launched, it's serves up good 'ol Chitlin' Soul music. Yahoo, AOL Radio, XM and Sirius don't have a channel for this type of Soul. Malaco Records is behind this, so you'll hear a lot of their artists, but I also sampled many Old School artists as well.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Yes, Catalog Titles Still Sell

Take a look at this chart, RIAA Certification - Record Industry Certification, you notice anything interesting about the latest Gold and Platinum CD's. What caught my eye, and what always catches it when I look at this on a monthly basis, are the catalog titles and artists that continue to sell. Lots of guilty pleasures- REO Speedwagon's 2001 live quickie which I once heard and didn't like, but it sells real cheap at my Circuit City, $6 bucks tops. And how about those Motown comps from 1994. More cheap stuff. But the reason Rhino and Columbia keep pumping out those Greatest Hits albums is because they sell. So, while I've heard rumors that the physical catalog title will be extinct as the digital age takes over, it's reassuring to see that a million other people bought that Dean Martin comp that I also have.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Playlist for 6/10

Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint - River In Reverse
Bottle Rockets - Zoysia
Little Steven's Underground Garage Radio Show
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - All The Roadrunning
Cameo - Word Up
Kool & The Gang - Gold
Stephanie Mills - Gold
Brenda Lee - Definitive Collection

Friday, June 09, 2006

Not Your Parent's Garage Rock

Little Steven's Underground Garage Radio Show and Sirius' Garage Rock station are redefining your idea of Garage Rock. According to these stations, not all of the genre are bands like the Kingsmen playing 2 minute rock sounds with muddy sound. Is Neil Young's Living With War garage rock? How about the girl group sound of the 60's? J.Geils Band? Both of these shows add the power pop of the Raspberries and Cheap Trick to their playlists. But what garage rock is to them is anything that is catchy and rock and roll pure. That's all good for me. But in reality what I like best about these shows and stations are that they're just plain fun to listen to. And that's in the spirit of old time rock 'n' roll. No matter how you define it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

RHCP Test My Patience

When the usually reliable David Fricke says that Stadium Arcadium is the Red Hot Chili Peppers' greatest album you take notice. But I wonder how many times he listened to it. 28, that's right, 28 songs is more than anyone can stomach in today's bloated CD era. And this double disc is a great example. Half this at 14 and you have a better listen. But 28 songs reveals all their weaknesses. Most of these start to sound alike. The better songs are at the beginning. By disc 2 you'll be hitting the forward button hoping for something original. What you heard is true: the lead single is great, the guitar playing is great. But any reviewer who claims that this is better than Blood Sugar, is playing games with you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Billy Preston: Always There

Billy Preston was always there. There when the Beatles needed a groove. There when the Stones, Dylan and others needed him. He was there in the early 70's with solo hits that made AM radio the sing-a-long fest it was during that decade. In the last part of his life he was still there whenever a name act needed him for a session or a concert gig. He was the go-to Soul session man. "Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?" The sky just got a little bit more funky.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Country Music Hall Of Fame Salutes Someone They Haven't Inducted

This type of stuff always bugs me. Hall of Fame's that have exhibits for acts they haven't inducted. The CMHOF has an interactive Ray Charles exhibit. I found this out by watching the 1 one hour Charles salute by the Grand Ole Opry on GAC. Charles isn't a member of that Hall, but a lot of Country acts think he should be there. I certainly do, and I bet the Country Hall does, too. They did the same think years ago with Elvis, when they had an exhibit and he hadn't yet been inducted. Eventually, he got in. Let's hope Charles does too. Then I'll delete this post.

Digging For Old School Chart Streams

One Billboard chart that I always look at first is the Urban AC one. It's full of Old Schooler's and Neo-Soulster's. So, I was surprised when I went on Google looking for a Countdown show to stream and could only find the one by Walt Love. But while his show can be streamed on individual stations, it can't be streamed from his own website. I had the same problem when I wanted to test American Top 40's Ryan Seacrest show. This must have something to do with royalties, but you would think in this internet age of easy music streams that somebody would come up with an Adult Soul chart that can be enjoyed any time you want on your computer.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Chuck Eddy Back On The Web

I've been Googling Chuck Eddy's name since he got canned at Village Voice. So, I was happy to come across this Coolfer, a blog which told me that Eddy is now blogging at Urge, MTV's new download site. He's the heavy metal blog, but as anyone who's read Eddy's Stairway To Hell knows, the term Metal stretches far him.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Playlist for 6/2

Huey Lewis - Greatest Hits
Little Big Town - Road To Here
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
(All below are remastered)
Joe Jackson - Look Sharp
Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
Huey Lewis - Sports
Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul
Blue Oyster Cult - Agents of Fortune
Eric Clapton - 461 Ocean Boulevard

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Allen Toussaint Funks Up Elvis Costello

More reasons to praise Allen Toussaint: He makes Elvis Costello sound downright funky on their collaboration, River In Reverse. 7 of the 13 are Toussaint chestnuts, 6 are new with one solely by Elvis. That would be the title track, which is the political moment on the album. But this is really what it is: a celebration of New Orleans, and Toussaint's catalog is a great guide. Costello hasn't been this soulful since Get Happy.

Huey Lewis Is Not A Punch Line

Since when did the mention of Huey Lewis become a laugh on all these Rock history shows. Never a critic favorite, I've seen Lewis' name dissed in Rock magazines and on VH1 specials. Maybe it was those cheesy 80's videos that did him in. It couldn't be the Top 40 hits. Those were pretty great. Further proof is the latest Lewis comp, Greatest Hits which is better than any other comp, minus one track, "Walking On A Thin Line" (ex-Vietnam vet tries to hang on). That song is on the definitive Sports, still one of those 80's albums that got better with each single (the others, She's So Unusual, Can't Slow Down). The followup, Fore, was only half as good, but not bad. After that Lewis lost his way, tried to get serious with Jazz stuff, and then burned out. Now he makes albums that don't have hit potential, and has become a summer touring staple. But those hits, those videos.
Add to Technorati Favorites