Saturday, September 30, 2006

Playlist for 10/1

Weird Al Yankovic - Straight Outta Lynwood
Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah
Jerry Lee Lewis - Last Man Standing
Tony Bennett - Duets
Little Feat - Best of (Rhino 2006)
Alan Jackson - Like Red On A Rose
Amos Lee - Supply & Demand
Alexander O'Neal - s/t, Hearsay, Greatest Hits (remastered)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Madonna And Prince Get Physical

So, I'm listening to the All Madonna Station that is temporarily on AOL Radio and they go deep with a forgotten Prince duet called, "Love Song" from 1989's Like A Prayer. I remember being excited when I first heard about that duet, thinking it would be something special. Ah, if only. The song is mediocre, but hearing it again made me think of other "event" songs (or albums) that worked and didn't.
Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand - You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson - Say Say Say
Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash - Girl From The North Country (from Nashville Skyline)

Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson - Get It (From 1987's Characters)
Grateful Dead/Bob Dylan - Dylan & The Dead (Album)
Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey - When You Believe

I'm sure there's millions more, but those have been on mind.

Monday, September 25, 2006

They Make Us Feel Like Dancing Like It's 1978

The Scissor Sisters' Ta-Dah, like their debut, is almost a great disco album. It's best when they channel their Bee Gees meet Leo Sayer by way of Sylvester falsetto, and not so great when they play it straight. Wasn't that the same problem with Village People albums? And this will be their dilemma by the time album #3 arrives. How do you keep from dancin' when you're known as a dance group, and your best songs all sound like prime 1978-disco cuts?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Playlist for 9/23

Elton John - Captain & The Kid
Oxford American Summer 2006 Music Issue
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan - s/t
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan - Rufusized
Tom Petty - Let Me Up
Bob Seger - Beautiful Loser
David Ruffin - 20th Century Masters
Eddie Kendricks - 20th Century Masters
Tom T. Hall - Definitive
Ernest Tubb - Definitive
John Denver - Defintive
Velvet Underground - s/t, Loaded, White Light/White Heat (remastered)
T. Rex - Electric Warrior (remastered)
Marvin Gaye - Midnight Love (remastered)

Does Every Artist With A Long Career Have These?

I call 'em the albums that only the die-hards remember. It was while listening to Tom Petty's latest album that I looked up his catalog in Joel Whitburn's Top Albums book and noticed that before Full Moon Fever came Let Me Up from 1987. My memory of the album is that it was pretty good and it did squeeze out a Top 20 single, "Jammin' Me". But even that song isn't on Petty's first Greatest Hits album. This got me thinking of one of my favorite Eric Clapton albums, Money and Cigarettes from 1983, the only studio album from the 80's forward of Clapton's that didn't go gold. And it too spawned a Top 20 single, "I've Got A Rock N' Roll Heart." That song has never appeared on one of his Hits' albums. Clapton's next album went platinum.

Here's some other albums that only fantatics remember, that were followed by bigger albums:
Paul Simon - Hearts and Bones (not gold) then Graceland
Stevie Wonder - Secret Life of Plants (not gold) then Hotter Than July
Bob Dylan - Good As I Been To You and World Gone Wrong (not gold) then Time Out Of Mind

There's more but being a fan means remembering things most people never knew existed.

There's more

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Elton's Latest Return To Form

Elton John's Captain & The Kid is being hailed as his best album since his mid-70's chart dominance. And you know what? It's good, it's really good. Recorded in 20 some odd days, like he did when he pumped out 2 albums a year during his heyday, it's got inspired melodies, good lyrics from Bernie Taupin and an Elton John that sounds like he's really into it.
But let's be honest. Die-hard fans like me have heard this story before. Elton's got a new CD and it's his best since (insert 70's album here). The first one I remember was 1983's Too Low For Zero. Then there was 1988's Reg Strikes Back. And how about 1995's Made In England ( I remember Robert Hilburn raving about that one). And 2001's Songs From The West Coast. Well, actually that one was pretty good. Too bad he followed it with 2004's inferior Peachtree Road.
So, at this late date, I'm glad to see 4 star reviews and return to form articles. And hope that those that jumped off the Elton bandwagon due to all those mediocre albums will take a peak at what he's up to in 2006.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Country Hall of Fame Still Has Work To Do

In 2005 the Country Music Hall Of Fame added a new performer category which is something like "career achieved national prominence from 1975 to present". This is in addition to the WWII to 1975 category. In 2006, Sonny James got the latter nod and George Strait got the former. But its the 75 to present that most intrigues me. The first 2 inductees were certainly sure-shots. But I begin to wonder about the date of 1975. Remember the Country Hall, unlike the Rock Hall is not a critic's institution. Alabama were not loved by Country critics. And Sonny James rarely ranks on a list of Country greats. Fellow artists also vote and they can make a difference. Anyway, back to the 75-present category. That would exclude women like Tanya Tucker and Barbara Mandrell who first charted in the early 70's. And it would leave out Ronnie Milsap and Don Williams who also hit in the early 70's. So, here's a few names that I would like to see the Country Hall induct that first charted from 1975 and forward:
Emmylou Harris 1975
John Anderson 1977
Rodney Crowell 1978
Rosanne Cash 1979
Ricky Skaggs 1980
Randy Travis 1979
Patty Loveless 1985
Reba McEntire 1976
Kenny Rogers 1975

As for pre-1975 artists, I'm still waiting for Charlie Rich, Tom T. Hall and even the Statler Brothers to get the nod.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What's Your #1 Rock Book?

Blender actually has a good list to talk about for October 2006. The Best Rock & Roll Books it's called and it's not half bad. You have to be suspicious about any list on music books that excludes Mystery Train, but it get's credit for listing Deep Blues. And the #1 is a surprise: Nick Tosches' Dino, which I've never read. Among the the 40 I've read 18, which I'd say is pretty good.

Why Aren't The Neville Brothers In The RRHOF?

This Aaron Neville is the first article I've read on Neville that mentions the Neville Brothers' absence from the RRHOF. Most people forget that as a group the brothers didn't release their first album until 1978, which made them eligible in 2003. Aaron has been eligible a lot longer. To me they're a slam dunk, and you would think Hurricane Katrina would've jarred the memories of the laggards at the nominating committee. But remember this: Santana, James Taylor and Issac Hayes were eligible a few years before they nominated. And all three got in on the first ballot. The RRHOF and especially the ones responsible for nominees continue to miss important acts.

Playlist for 9/16

Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds
Los Lobos - Town and The City
Black Keys - Magic Potion
ELO - New World Record (remastered)
Kasey Chambers - Carnival
Merle Haggard - Best of (2006 compilation)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Super Tuesday Pt. 1

Thanks to the wonderful world of streaming, getting a start on this year's annual Super Tuesday CD's made my listening life easier. Every year, in the Fall, there's one week where the amount of CD's you want to purchase exceeds your budget. With Christmas a few months away, record companies want product to push for the holiday's. Here's some thoughts on stuff I've streamed and will buy:

Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds
More of a Prince influence here than Michael Jackson. It's too long at 60 + minutes, but just like his last album, there's enough good songs to smother the filler

John Mayer - Continnum
Is he a rocker, a popper, a bluesman or a soul man. In the past he's been all. Here he's more of a soul man. On "Belief" he achieves his purpose of making statements without overreaching. Some say this is proudced with the sheen of Steely Dan's Aja, but I here Minute by Minute blue-eyed soul, also.

TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
They've gotten rid of the pretension that hung over Desperate Youth, tightened up their songs and vocals and if this don't break them, then they've always got Brooklyn

Bob Seger - Face The Promise
This sounds too generic to match with his best work. Like the recent John Fogerty albums that have that homemade sound, this is missing the punch of his peak years. Although the lead single, "Wait For Me", has grown on my brain. But I'm going to buy this because it could be his last. If he waits another 11 years to put out an album, he'll be 71. Maybe it'll be a blues CD.

The Lionel Richie I've already blogged about. I've streamed the latest Madeline Peyroux and it sounds just like her previous one. Some decent moments.
I've got more leftovers from Super Tuesday, that I'll mention in the playlist.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Playlist for 9/10

TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
Lionel Richie - Coming Home
John Mayer - Continuum
Deniece Williams - This Is Niecy (remastered)
Muddy Waters - Definitive Collection
Loverboy - We Are The 80's
Culture Club - Kissing To Be Clevour (remastered)
Ok Go - Oh No

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ok, But What About Your Music?

You gotta root for the guys in Ok Go. Reading a recent Billboard article OK Go struggle to turn Web buzz into salesabout how they're trying to make their video's pay for them in soundscan numbers, I began to fill sorry for them. They seem like nice guys who became You Tube stars. But as we've seen with Snakes On A Plane, internet hysteria doesn't always translate into foot traffic. So, it wasn't until their MTV Awards show appearance that they got onto the Itunes chart. But what about their album. Oh No is not their debut, it's their second CD. And it where's it's Power-Pop influences proudly. Name dropping Surfer Rosa and ripping off Cars riffs, all powered by anonymous lead vocals (always a problem with today's Indie Riff Rockers). As "Here It Goes Again" makes clear they deserve to be heard, not just seen.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lionel Richie Just Wants A Hit Record

"I Call It Love" is the first song and single on Lionel Richie's latest comeback CD, Coming Home. Since 1986's Dancing On The Ceiling, Richie has released just 4 rather anonymous albums. Good stuff can be found on these, but lack of promotion and disinterest on Richie's part led to weak sales. So what's a 50-something hit maker to do when he wants a hit? That lead song is turning into Lionel's biggest hit in 10 years. It's sly, laid back groove not only hits with the Adul R&B crowd but younger kids are responding. The rest of the CD follows a typical Richie pattern: there's the faux-reggae tune, the let's party one, the slow songs and the mid-tempo grooves. It's good stuff to my ears. Richie sounds energized by the young Producers that are helping him out. Maybe this one won't head for the cutout bins after all.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Beyonce To The Point

Coming in at a svelte 49 minutes, Beyonce's B'Day is remarkable in its cohesion. Save for a flabby middle with too many interechangeable dance songs, it moves quickly through any genre that's in her mind. That's what happens when you record an album in 2 weeks. What's even better is that there are no between song skits. Like her album, Beyonce means business on album #2. Let's just get to it. And she does.

Playlist for 9/4

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes - Wake Up Everybody (CD reissue)
Gladys Knight & The Pips - Gold
Randy Newman - Sail Away (reissue)
Aerosmith - Rocks and Toys In The Attic
Stevie Ray Vaughan - In Step and Texas Flood
Adam Ant - Essential
Luther Vandross - Essential
Stooges - Stooges and Fun House
Grover Washington Jr. - Mister Magic
Beyonce - B'day
Human League - Very Best of

Saturday, September 02, 2006

English Guilty Pleaures

I'm not a big fan of England's Q magazine, but the last 2 issues have been good. August had a look at the 80's and the September one has some guilty pleasure articles. You get their Top 25 albums and Top 50 songs. Needless to say some choices will make you scratch your head because they're not guilty pleasures-"Electric Avenue" or the Traveling Wilburys. I wonder if an American music magazine (other than Entertainment Weekly) would do something like this. Blender had their wussiest singers, and have run many dis issues. Search for this issue of Q.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Not The People's Voice Anymore

Is there any reason to read the Village Voice anymore Robert Christgau fired from the Village Voice, especially if you don't live in New York? The only reason I had it bookmarked was for Robert Christgau and Chuck Eddy and Nat Hetnoff. Now that all three are gone, what's the point? What I've seen lately is nothing that I couldn't get from my local paper. As far as Christgau is concerned, this presents some interesting questions. What happens to Pazz & Jop and his Consumer Guide. I think somebody will pick up the latter. The former, I don't know.
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