Saturday, July 28, 2007

Best Reunion of 2007

The worst one can say about the Raspberries Live on Sunset Strip is that its 2 years too late. Recorded at their reunion in 2005, it's just now getting out on Ryko. Ah, but what memories. Power Pop is one of those unsung genres. And the Raspberries were the best of the bunch. Eric Carmen went on to bigger but blander success solo, but with the Raspberries he's King. Even at 21 songs, I can bitch. No "Rose Coloured Glasses"? Criminal. As reunion shows go these were pretty good. Carmen's voice isn't what it was, but the rest of the band sound strong. The Police? Genesis? Nah, I'll take this as my reunion of the year.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Playlist for 7/27

Genesis - s/t (83)
Raul Malo - After Hours
Now 25
Patrice Rushen - Best of

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Buy 'Em Used

Can you believe that record stores are still pricing CD's at $18.98? That's the price I saw for Elizabeth Cook's Balls at Borders. When this CD was first released it was sell-priced at $14.98. That price was equally outrageous. This is 2007. So, why are retailers still gouging consumers. And everyone wonders why no one buys CD's in quantities anymore. You see, this is why people will continue to buy used CD's or burn a copy from a friend or even use LimeWire or whatever to "illegally" download. Who do we blame these high prices on? Is it a Borders or the Record Company that won't budget price a CD by a Country newcomer? Blame goes all around. I can tell you this, I picked up the CD, looked at the price and put it back. I'll buy mine used.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Prince vs. Record Companies

In England, Prince gave away copies of his latest album, Planet Earth, in a daily newspaper. Well, kind of gave away. He was paid by the paper to do it. And yeah, this ticked off his British Record Company who refused to release it, before another Company scooped it up. But this is the 21st Century and an artist like Prince can't get airplay for his new songs , except on niche stations (Urban R&B). Prince did the same thing on Musicology, infuriating American retailers. But Prince knows that he'll never sell like before, but he still likes making records. So, what should he do. Give it away! Kind of, but still bypass retailers and radio who won't stock or play his new stuff. But what about Planet Earth. It's good but not great. I liked 3121 better. It's starts off weak with two uptempo mediorcities. Like 3121 , the best songs are the slow jams, and no other R&B act is doing them better than Prince. Prince is giving away the album to some concert goer's who pony up huge ticket prices. One thing's for certain, Prince isn't going away. He's got tons of music stored up for your free or paid pleasure. He will be heard.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Playlist for 7/20

Aretha Franklin - Who's Zoomin' Who
Tubes - Best of
Lone Justice - s/t
Skeeter Davis - All American Country
Dave Brubeck - On Time

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rhino's Super Hits Sequel

I've always felt the Now series were this generations version of Rhino's 25 opus, Super Hits of the 70's. But I waited until Now 25 was released in the U.S. to make that observation. Both series have now been numbered. But Now will pass Rhino by Xmas '07. If there's a difference between the 2 series, it's that Rhino's set spotlighted mostly artists who had only a few hits (and no R&B acts-they got their own series from Rhino), while Now throws in anything that's popular. So, I'm more partial to Rhino for unearthing barely charting gems. Even in this day of Itunes downloads of one-hit wonders, Now sells very well. The power of licensing has enabled the compilers to grap something from anything-Hip Hop, R&B, Country, Rock and Pop. In England the series is up to 67 titles. We're late but I'm grateful.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Take This Flight Before It's Gone

I find most TV sitcoms to be unfunny, but Flight of the Conchords is laugh out loud. I haven't had such a good time watching a show since the first season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the 2nd season of Extras and the British and U.S. versions of the Office. The parody songs are right on, and the behind the scenes need to make it in a big city (New York, here) ring true. It's because I like the show so much that I fear it won't be around for a second season. The ratings are low, but it did build a cult following. HBO might give it another try, depending on whether they can parlay fan and critical reaction to a popular following. But they won't. This has cult written all over it. Which means 10 years from a few of us will look back in laughter.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jazz Hall Of Fame vs. Jazz Hall Of Fame

Did you know that there's a Jazz Hall of Fame. Located at Lincoln Center, the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame rarely gets much publicity and for good reasons. They inducted artists in 2004 and 2005 but none sense. Browsing the lists, I notice a lot of great artists missing (Ornette Coleman). So, what's the point of this Hall. Jazz has been around for a Century. Why can't the genre come up with a good Hall. But maybe there is one. Down Beat Magazine has been inducting artists yearly since 1952. And what's really good is that critic's put in one act and reader's get to vote on another. Unless the Lincoln Center gets its act together, Down Beat's Hall will remain the definitive vote.

Power Pop Is Alive

Wholly derivative and you won't find it on any year-end critic lists, Calling Our World, the 2nd album by Rooney is almost a perfect Power Pop album. In fact, it gets off to such a fast start that the lax 2nd half of the record puzzles. Power Pop has never gotten much critical respect. There is no one from that genre in the RRHOF and none have been nominated. At its best, this album captures that glorious moment in the early 70's when the Beach Boys met the Beatles and spawned Badfinger, Raspberries and Big Star. It deserves to sell as much as an All American Reject CD or a Strokes one. 12 quick songs that get lodged. Just like the old days.

Home For Country Purists

Country purists who miss the old days should tune in to RFD-TV's music programming. Old Ralph Emery shows, Wilburn Brothers, Porter Wagoner make up the bulk of the music shows. On the Emery shows from the mid 70's to early 80's you can chart Country's move to Pop, before the mid-80's New Traditionalists kicked out the keyboards and brought back steel guitars. I've never been a big Emery fan, find him too pompous, but his new call in show with guests like Tom T. Hall, Ronnie Milsap serve a purpose for Old Timers. The latter movement has once again been replaced by today's Country chart's which are pure Pop/Rock.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Catalog Obsession

In my quest to look for cheap CD's, I always become obsessed with the catalog's from Nina's Discount Oldies. Cheap budget CD's that you can easily fill your collection on. There aren't many mail order catalog's that I look over for weeks. There's California's Roots & Rhythm ( a little pricey) and Collectors' Choice Music (also a little pricey, but they run their own label). But for collector's like me, Nina's is easily the way to go. Remember, some of these are budget titles. No liner notes, but I've found the sound to be pretty good.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Classic What Classic?

Without doing much research, I'm going to guess that VH1's Classic Albums programs are not financed by that company. For the most part, this series has stayed true to form. You've got your big albums getting the once over. But then I ran across a show for Simply Red's 1991 Stars. Holy crap, where did that come from? So, I think the show is independent and probably done in England. Watching the show I didn't know that Stars is one of the Top 10 selling albums in English history. No American produced version would spotlight this album. That's no to knock it. It's a solid R&B meets Smooth Jazz confection, with Mick Hucknall's vocals never sounding better. But is it a classic? I think it falls short, but if you lived in England you'd disagree. Simply Red just weren't that big in the U.S. So, give VH1 credit for giving this forgotten album its props.

Playlist for 7/13

Spoon - Ga Ga
Mark Ronson - Version
Bodeans - Best of
Smashing Pumpkings - Greatest Hits
Simply Red - Stars

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Hits As You Don't Remember Them

Don't you hate it when artists don't perform the songs as you remember hearing them. Watching the Police at Live Earth brought to mind the worst tendencies of artists. They start the song right and then veer off in to some weird excursion. Back in the early 90's, I saw Prince in concert and he did the same thing. The Police lost the crowd. Bon Jovi didn't. They stuck to the script at their set. This must of been Sting's demands to regroup. Let me do a whole lot of jazz fusion. No wonder Stewart Copeland wants to smack him.

MIA From Live Earth

Even though it was sponsored by a Democrat and the environment is a mostly Left issue, I thought there would be more than 3 Country acts at Live Earth: Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks were it. I have no idea if any of them are to the left, but you'd think that even Conservative Country singers wouldn't pass up a chance to be seen by millions. But then again maybe none of them were asked to show up.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Playlist for 7/6

Hollies - Evolution
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas - King & Queen
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Kelly Clarkson - My December
Randy Travis - Old 8X10

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Beware-They Hold The Key

Future Rock Hall has posted the list of the 2007 Nominating Committee for the RRHOF. It doesn't seem to have changed from the last time I saw a list of names. You could even say it's rather boring. I don't see any younger generation Rock critics here-outside of Toure. Now all I want to know is who on there do I write to bitch about why the Spinners haven't been inducted.

Original Un-Original's

Whenever I would watch one of those PBS Pledge Music shows on R&B, I knew that most of the members of certain Doo-Wop and Soul groups weren't original members. But it was always tough to figure out if the person's in the group were even there during an act's hit run. The death of the last orginal member of the Drifters, Bill Pinkney, should make all us music fans wonder. So, the next time you're at a Fair or watching PBS, enjoy the music, but if all the members in the group look under 50, be suspicious.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Making Of The Making Of's

Kind of Blue (Da Capo) by Ashley Kahn has to be one of the first books I read on the making of an album. First released in 2001, and now updated, it wasn't the first book published on the subject, but it was the first I remember. The subject is Miles Davis' 1959 slow burn Jazz classic. And Kahn sets the template that all books on the making of's should follow. Quick intro bio, setup to album, album info, post-analysis. It's like a very quick bio. I wish the 331/3 series of books followed this, but most of those titles have been duds because they don't tell you why an album is worth writing about. Kahn gets it right.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Beautiful Trip

The Summer of Love was the beginning of the Rock revolution. If if it was doomed to fail, like all other musical movements. Today's artists are pretty feckless. But listen to the sounds of '67: Jefferson Airplane, Doors, Byrds, etc., and you hear bands that weren't afraid to push boundaries. Few acts do that today. Some of the best parts of the Monterey Pop film are looking at other artists watching in amazement from the crowd as Hendrix, Joplin or the Who make history. Political songs? Acts today don't touch them. Yes, the Summer of Love seems quaint today. But all musical era eventually do. But the hippy, dippy sounds still hold up. I wonder if we'll be saying the same about today's music some 40 years later.
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