Sunday, July 30, 2006

Playlist for 7/30

Long Winters - Putting The Days To Bed
New York Dolls - One Day It Will Please Us
Rick Springfield - Working Class Dog (25th Anniversary Remaster)
Johnny Bush - 14 Greatest Hits
Best of Blue Eyed Soul (Time Life)
Linda Ronstadt/Ann Savoy - Goodbye False Heart
Futureheads - "Let's Dance" (Q Magazine 8/06 Compilation CD)
Raul Malo - "Run To Me"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What Happens When Country Meets Soul?

Chris Gaffney and Dave Gonzalez were journeymen until they formed a band and hooked up with Dan Penn for their self-titled 2005 album. Now, on their followup, What's Wrong With Right (Proper), they stick with what made their debut appealing: Country-Western Soul. The R&B covers are ace and their own songs belong. But listening to it I began to wonder how many other Country acts have tried to mix with R&B. Some of these just have soulful voices: Conway Twitty, George Jones, the forgotten Narvel Felts and Ronnie Dunn. But jeez if I couldn't come up with more, although if I researched it more I could've found them. As for bands, the Hacienda's weren't the first. I'd go with Doug Sahm's various groups at #1. But let's be glad someone else is thinking about it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Stryper As History Lesson

I've never like Christian Rock, but then I have little recollection of ever seeking it out. Sure, it's on XM and Sirius and the AOL Radio channels. And I remember putting it on my car radio, but only as an accident. My earliest exposure to it was Stryper, 80's Amy Grant, the Dove Awards and Michael W. Smith's awful, "Place In This World." I do admit to liking P.O.D.'s "Youth of the Nation" and Jar of Clay's "Flood". But as music, the whole culture has left me disinterested. It's not because I'm not a religious person. I love a lot of Gospel Music. No, it's the dull music and trite lyrics that bore me. But I did read Andrew Beaujon's Body Piercing Saved My Life (Da Capo) with an open mind, mainly because it's a look at and not an appraisal of the genre. The best chapter in the book is one on the Dove Awards. My only complaint is that I don't think Beaujon (another non-religious type) is a fan of Christian Rock, even though he tries to convince you in his Afterward. But for a look at what is called an underground, non-mainstream music, the book is worth it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I Can't Wait...

... to see Blender's review of the reissue of Rick Springfield's 1982 Power-Pop gem, Working Class Dog. Now pumped up with bonus tracks, although only one, "Easy To Cry", is worthy of being resurrected. But come on. Liner notes, photos, bonus tracks. You thought they only did this with classic rock albums that all critics loved? Yeah, I think Blender or whoever will follow that last line of thinking. But pay no never mind. A pretty boy who made good music. Let Springfield enjoy another moment.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Rooting for Keyshia Cole

Wow, something worth watching on BET. Keyshia Cole's The Way It Is, same name as her CD, is a good 6 part 1/2 hour each look at a R&B newbie. I liked her debut, wish it were a little stronger, but for a first it was good. The show looks at how she got here, but it wasn't easy. A tough upbringing in the Bay Area. Watching it, I couldn't help but think of the similarities with Mary J. Blige. Same rough voice, same tough edge and background. I hope Cole can have a career like Blige. Times are not good for female R&B singers. Most are gone in a hurry. We'll find out this time next year when she drops her 2nd album.

Playlist for 7/22

Staple Singers - Stax Profiles
Redneck Country (Time Life)
Rodney Crowell - Essential
Soft Machine - Third
Steve Miller Band- Fly Like An Eagle (30th Annivesary)
Atomic Bitch - Body Shop
Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental
Fourplay w/Michael McDonald - "My Love's Leavin'"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Top 20 Music Nicknames

ESPN Classic did a 2006 special on the Top 20 sports nicknames. Which got me thinking of the best Music nicknames. So VH1 or CMT here's an idea for your next music list special.
My choices in order, and I won't put the name of the singer/band. Every music fan will know 'em.
1. The King
2. The Fab Four
3. Man In Black
4. Godfather Of Soul
5. The Killer
6. Bocepheus
7. 'Ol Blue Eyes
8. The Boss
9. Queen Of Soul
10. Satchmo
11. The Silver Fox
12. Sweet Baby James
13. Wicked Pickett
14. Slowhand
15. Piano Man
16. The Ice Man
17. Captain Fantastic
18. The Genius
19. King of Pop
20. Lady Day

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Greil Marcus' Real Life Reborn In Interview

Back on March 26, I wrote that it looked like Greil Marcus' Real Life Rock Top 10 had been reborn in Interview. Four months later and the column, now titled Elephant Dancing, is still in the magazine. Marcus' original Real Life has bounced from the Village Voice to Artfourm, and Minneapolis' City Pages. And now in Interview. If you're a fan of his writing, then check it out before it disappears again.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kim Wilde Is Not Blue Eyed Soul

Years ago for a road trip, I made a cassette of blue eyed soul music. And for years I wondered why no label came out with a compilation of the genre. So, this 2006 release from Time Life Best of Blue Eyed Soul caught my eye. And it's not bad, but it also proves my point that Rhino makes better compilations than Time Life. Rhino wouldn't have put Kim Wilde, Michael Bolton, Rick Astley (who I like by the way), Robbie Dupree or Jonny Lang. They would have put Paul Carrack, the Rascals, Simply Red, Charlie Rich (if they were thinking) and maybe Culture Club and Dusty Springfield. But the Time Life comp serves its purpose to recognize an untapped genre.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Playlist for 7/17

Now 22
Leo Sayer - Endless Flight
Golden Smog - Another Fine Day
Oneida - Happy New Year
Johnny Dowd - Cruel Words
Sufjan Stevens - Avalanche
Rodney Atkins - "If You're Going Through Hell"
Fray - "Over My Head"
John Mayer - "Waiting For The World To Change"
Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put Your Records On"

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Best Jayhawks CD Since They Brokeup

It figures that since the Jayhawks are now history, Gary Louris and Marc Perlman would make the best o Golden Smog CD (Another Fine Day) of their 4 in catalog. Heck, it's sounds like the best Jayhawks one since Tomorrow The Green Grass. Although, Jeff Tweedy is there, he's more of a cameo. At 15 songs it's too long. But the first half is like an A side of an LP, perfect Pop music. Now about that Jayhawks compilation.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yes Meets Zappa Meets Johnny Dowd

Talk about stuff you weren't expecting to hear. Johnny Dowd's Cruel Words is typically strange singer-talker-songwriter stuff. Dowd talks more than sings, and he doesn't wallow in love songs. Dowd didn't start making records until age 50, and this is his sixth, but the first I heard. My research revealed that his other records follow the same line. There's a bit of a prog-rocker in him. I hear Yes keyboards meeting Frank Zappa guitar lines. Some of the throwaway stuff is just that, but Dowd is just different enough to stand out.

Not Wussy After All

It should come as no surprise that James Taylor got named the #1 wussiest in Rock. Rock critics have been at JT since Sweet Baby James. But he's always gotten the last laugh. Records sell, the RRHOF inducted him in his first year on the ballot and he would probably be chuckling it up at the Blender award. Blaming Taylor for all the sensitive singer-songwriter stuff that followed him in the 70's would be like blaming Garth Brooks (who lands at #20)for all the hat acts that Country labels signed in the wake of his diamond selling CD's. What matter's is how good the source is. And both of 'em are pretty darn good. Taylor would benefit with a comp of his non-cover hits. And it should include his funny stuff. Yeah, the critics in Blender who rag on him, failed to mention that he has a better sense of humor than most of his brethren: "Frozen Man", "Gorilla" and "Line 'Em Up" are some of his best.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Chuck Eddy Update, Again

Chuck Eddy has a new column in Harp magazine. Called "The Last Roundup", it's kinda like Christgau's Consumer Guide. In that it covers a wide range of music. If you didn't think Eddy wrote enough at the Village Voice, this and his blog at Urge should keep you (and me) satisfied.

Another Record-A-Holic In Our Mists?

Give Sufjan Stevens credit for truth in advertising. The cover of his Illinois reject CD states Outtakes and Extras, and that's what it is. We don't need 3 versions of "Chicago" taking up 16 minutes of a 75 minute disc. As it is with these type of releases, there are some good moments and stuff that should have been left in the can. I'm glad Stevens didn't double disc Illinois, and wish he'd cut this by half, but it's not bad. I was also surprised to find that Stevens has only dropped 6 albums since 2000. Judging by The Avalanche, you'd think he'd be a record-a-holic like Ryan Adams or Jack White. Maybe he's got a bunch of stuff stockpiled. I bet he does.

Monday, July 10, 2006

People Who Died

Music deaths like this Original Commodore Milan B. Williams Dies, may not mean much to the average music fan. But for die-hards like me they mean that even the smallest of names are bound to pass. Among those that have passed in the last few months: Bonnie Owens, Grant McLennan, Desmond Dekker and Kooll & The Gang guitarist Claydes Smith. There are more that pop up in Mojo and Rolling Stone and Goldmine. Some names bigger than some, but all made a contribution to your record collection. And mine.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Playlist for 7/8

Chris Knight - Enough Rope
Bob Seger - Stranger In Town
Garland Jeffreys - s/t (Collector's Choice reissue)
Sir Douglas Band - Texas Tornado (Collector's Choice reissue)
Alanis Morissette - Collection
Mary Mary - ""Yesterday"
Kirk Franklin - "Looking For You"
Marvin Sapp - "Do You Know Him"
Lionel Richie - "I Call It Love"
Nelly Furtado - Loose
Handsome Family - Last Days Of Wonder

Friday, July 07, 2006

I Give A Crit-Fave A Listen

The Handsome Family are big with Greil Marcus. He's always praising their stuff. But I'm always skeptical about critic faves. Radiohead, Sleater Kinney, Magnetic Fields, where have I been and why don't I like their stuff. The Handsome Family are a crit fave that I've liked but haven't loved and their latest is called Last Days of Wonder (Carrot Top). The best parts of the album are the lyrics by Rennie Sparks, while Brett Sparks' vocals will still make you wonder if he's spoofing the alt-country genre, but I think he loves the stuff. This is their 7th album and maybe I should've had someone burn me a compilation of their previous material before diving in to their latest. But this achieves its purpose that good music should. Giving you an original sound from an original duo.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Nelly Furtado Meets Olivia Newton-John

Nelly Furtado has pulled off an Olivia Newton-John post Grease moment with Loose. Sexing up an wholesome image. That's what Olivia did in Grease and in her followup singles. Thanks to Timbaland, Furtado does the same. But do you believe it? Most of the time she seems like the guest artist, especially on the dance stuff. Her initial fans will cry sell out. But the girl just wants some fun.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I'm Taking Sebastian Bach Seriously In This Post

Does Sebastian Bach deserve an Emmy for his performance in VH1's Superstar? Ranting, hyper and crying. It was a bravura performance. And the only reason to watch the damn thing. Do you want to watch an hour of Scott Ian, Evan Seinfeld, Jason Bonham? Uncle Ted Nugent is fun, but now that he's older he seems less so. So, we leave it to Bach to wake up the house.

CMT Keeps Southern Rock Alive

You've got to hand it to CMT. Amidst, all the cheesy Country videos, they've managed to put on some good shows. Crossroads, Controversy and specials like the Southern Rock Documentary from 2005 make it a better choice than GAC, which plays the same videos, but is less funded for original progamming. The Southern Doc wasn't eye-opening, but it served its purpose. More a look at the careers of the Allmans, Skynyrd and a quick look at the Marshall Tucker Band and some others, it does its job nicely of defending a misunderstood genre. Yeah, misunderstood. If you thought Skynyrd's music was just redneck boasting, than you don't know Ronnie Van Zandt's album cuts very well.
CMT's latest Southern Rock show was 20 Greatest Southern Rock Songs, and while it offered no list surprises (well Wet Willie were at #8), I found the commentary on most of these bands interesting. While it's hard to take the Outlaws seriously, Kid Rock does have a point about the Marshall Tucker Band. They were underrated.
As is the whole Southern Rock genre. At least CMT is doing a better job of keeping it alive than music print magazines. Can you believe it took Skynyrd 7 tries to get into the RRHOF?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Miranda Lambert vs. Country Radio

3 uptempos and a ballad later, Miranda Lambert has yet to go Top 10 on the Country singles chart, which is basically an airplay one. Only one of those, "Bring Me Down", was a relationship song, and the rest all have a story to tell. You have to wonder about Country radio. Good female talent comes along, and they have to fight for airplay space. Unless, they have a bubbly single. Julie Roberts lead track from her latest, Men & Mascara, also tanked on the charts. Both of these women are fighting for airplay. Lambert's Kerosene is a great debut. Writing 11 of its 12 songs, she shows an impressive range of emotions for a new writer. She's gone Top 40 on all her singles, so let's hope that she and Roberts aren't dissuaded by their lack of big hits. Lambert's first and Roberts' second show what they do best. Demand that they be heard.

Playlist for 7/1

Johnny Cash - American V
Now 22
Diana Ross - Diana (1980 double CD remaster)
Aretha Franklin - First 12 Sides
Fatboy Slim - Greatest Hits
Julie Roberts - Men & Mascara
Leo Sayer - Endless Flight (remaster)
Miranda Lambert - "New Strings"
Brad Paisley - "World"
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