Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yearly Christmas List

A few years ago I sat down and banged out a favorite Christmas song list. I don 't claim that this list is defintive, and most of the songs are of classic vintage. I rarely listen to new Xmas songs unless I run across them on the radio or somewhere.
Anyway of all my lists this one Greatest Christmas Songs has gotten the most responses.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Feeling Sorry For Elton

It wasn't until I glanced at the Top 200 Billboard album chart that I noticed a reentry of Elton John's Captain and the Kid. An appearance on QVC helped pump up sales. What was striking that it reentered after spending only five weeks on the chart. Five weeks!
Elton has been complaining that his record company didn't promote the CD. Although I've seen lots of print ads using blurbs from great reviews, I don't fully fault his label. If Elton wants to seen quantites he'll have to pull a Rod Stewart and go all covers-or duets. But Elton has said he has no interest in doing those types of albums. He did a duets album in the 90's and it bombed. But a hit machine like Elton John often has a hard time realizing that he no longer will have Hot 100 hits. Oh sure he might sneak onto the chart here and there, but the rapid Top 40 success is over. And anyway, Elton is now an AC chart guy. "The Bridge" from this album has charted there, but it won't drive sales.
So what should Elton do if he wants to avoid being taken over by Clive Davis and make substantial albums like his recent output? My suggestion is go Indie. Why not tell the majors, that you hate anyway, to take a hike and hitch a ride with Sub Pop or Anti- or Lost Highway and give your reputation a boost with the small labels.
A former hit machine who still wants to sell millions probably wouldn't pull the lever, but if Elton John wants the hype with some better sales he needs to rethink his position on the Major highway.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Playlist for 11/25

Robbie Williams - Rudebox
Oasis - Stop The Clocks
Beatles - Love
Joanna Newsom - Vs

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Annual Who Needs A Comp Update

Each year that passes, and I can scratch more artists off my list of acts with no greatest hits CD's in their collection. In 2006, you can mark off Dave Matthews, Oasis, Mary J. Blige, Old 97's, Chris Isaak and on a single disc for the first time, Little Feat. I do believe that every musical act in history will one day have a compilation to their credit. Record companies love 'em and newbie fans scoop them up.
So who are the holdouts? No doubt the biggest are AC/DC. Their stuff isn't on Itunes, so the only way to make your own comp is from your own collection or download their stuff for free on a file sharing site. I advocate the latter. Artists that don't want to make their catalog available for buying should have it cribbed for free. Among other acts that don't have a hits collection yet: Metallica and Jay Z are missing.
And their are a host of people who need to update their previous comps: Madonna, Pretenders, and Steve Winwood are just some in need of repairs.
But there's always 2007.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Beatles Cash In On Your Memories

The Beatles Love mashup, is well fab. But it's a gimmick, isn't it? It takes your musical memories of the Beatles and makes you long for Abbey Road like genius. George Martin and his son add just enough different sounds to old faves that it'll keep your attention for a full hour. Does anyone remember Danger Mouse's Internet only Grey album from 2004 (mashing Jay Z with the White Album). Or RCA's remix of "Little Less Conversation"? I kept thinking about those listening to Love. Back to my first point. A gimmick's a gimmick, and Beatle fans will scoop this up. For our collections sure, but this won't be the one you'll pull out to convince the kids about their greatness. But it stokes our precious memories.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Big Everywhere-But Here

Robbie Williams is the biggest Pop star in the World-other than the United States. I have all his CD's, including a Greatest Hits and a Live album. I've always like him, but even some British critics don't. But Williams can't get arrested here, and his albums don't get released in the States anymore. His latest is Rudebox and it's a vast improvement over 2005's Intensive Care, the first Williams album not to include any Ipod worthy tunes. What you hear about Rudebox is how slapdash the whole thing was put together. It certainly is unlike any other Williams CD- there's 2 good songs by the Pet Shop Boys, a Human League Cover, 2 songs with title "The 80's" and "The 90's", and a bonus track in which Williams rails against all those who hate him. But why should America give a damn about this huge star? If you like your Pop hooks than Williams can deliver. This is his best album since his debut. And outside of the aforementioned Greatest Hits, a good enough reason to buy an import and see what the rest of the world likes about him.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Playlist for 11/17

Yusuf Islam - An Other Cup
Dave Matthews - Best of
Keith Urban - Love Pain, etc
Now 23
Temptations - Gold
Lou Rawls - Very best of
Eric Clapton/JJ Cale - Road To Escondido

One Tough "Mama"

Ruth Brown, R&B Singer and Actress, Dies at 78
I saw Ruth Brown on stage at the Monterey Blues Festival in the summer of 2005 and she was struggling physically but mentally she was still the tough lady from her heyday. Vocally she still had it. It's too bad that record wise Brown never got out of the 1950's. She had the pipes to do what Etta James did and make great records up 'til her health gave out. But those 50's records provided enough great moments.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another Top Album List (Insert Yawn Here)

Time Magazine's The All-TIME 100 Albums is a typically boring list. Very, very few surprises. You can find lists like these in Rolling Stone magazine. I have nothing against remembering the great musical landmarks that the Itunes nation can take for granted. The art of listening to albums is no longer the same. The Ipod world has little time to hear albums the way I used to. So, these types of lists might get a few more people to consider purchasing a CD or downloading a, gulp, whole album. But for me, I want to see a list of the the Top 100 albums that you never see on a list of the Top 100 albums. If I had more time I'd compile it myself. But couldn't one of these music magazines or websites do it for us?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

He Wants To Sing Out, Again

If you don't like songs that allude to butterflies, golden sands, gardens and titles like "One Day At A Time" or "The Beloved" than Cat "Yusuf" Stevens' first album in 27 years will make you cringe. But then this is Cat Stevens we're talking about. If this were purely a Yusuf Islam record than the Pop elements would be taken out. But Islam plays the role of Stevens on this album and melodically it recaptures his early 70's output, before he became so self-concious that his albums became a big bore. Lyrically, it's another story. Surprisingly, he doesn't have much to say that he didn't already say in the 70's. It's all a bit too airy, no matter how pretty it sounds. At times I got the feeling he was holding back. Afraid to morph into the Pop star and wanting to satisfy his religious principles. But I give him credit. There are only 11 songs, and they breeze by quickly. In fact the worse I can about this album is its title: An Other Cup.

Playlist for 11/11

Million Dollar Quartet - (remastered)
John Sebastian (Collector's Choice reissue)
Doug Sahm - Doug Sahm & Band (Collector's Choice Reissue)
Eddie Hazel - Game Dames and Guitar Thangs (Collector's Choice reissue)
Willie Nelson - Songbird
Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
Hot Tuna - Very Best of
Joe Cocker - s/t
Styx - Grand Illusion
Who - Endless Wire

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Willie Nelson Does Make Sense

Lest anyone think some of my choices in the post below aren't Hall worthy, way back in 2000 a Semi-finalslist got leaked onto the internet. I've never seen a list like that since. Among the names that are on my list that were among the 31 mentioned: Chicago, Donna Summer and Willie Nelson. But in 6 years since, none of these people have ever been nominated. Now you see why we need changes at the Nominating Committee.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Playlist for 11/4

This is a special RRHOF playlist. All the names below are some of my favorites that have never been nominated. The fact that some of the most important names in music history can't even get on the ballot is a scandal in itself. So, to all the critic's who say the Hall inducts too many, I say have a look at 20 solid candidates. Listed in no particular order.

Kiss ,Donna Summer
Yes ,Moody Blues
Hall & Oates ,The Cars
Spinners ,Neville Brothers
Monkees ,Joe Cocker
Neil Diamond ,Clovers
Roxy Music ,Willie Nelson
Alice Cooper ,Dionne Warwick
Electric Light Orchestra , Chicago
War ,Linda Ronstadt

Friday, November 03, 2006

Kissing Nellie McKay

Okay, I'm not gonna lie sometimes I wish Nellie McKay would write that great Pop single that her 2 albums suggest she could do. But that's no hate on her. Pretty Little Head, her delayed album that Columbia kicked to the curb, is as tuneful and quirky and all the things you'll either love or hate about McKay. She really is that smart-alecky girl that's so cute you can't help but love her. Name a topic and McKay will write about it. Politics, gays, guys or whatever. But an original she is, which is why you'll want to support her. And give the finger to the major label that wouldn't take her out on a date.
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