Friday, February 29, 2008

Blame It On Dave Clark

Mike Smith, the lead singer of the Dave Clark Five, deserved better. His death robs him of a chance at a renaissance. The DC5 have been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a long time, and while Smith knew of their 2008 induction, he won't be there when the group is eventually inducted. So, while you know Smith's voice, most people don't know much about him. Part of that can be blamed on Dave Clark himself. There are no DC5 compilations in print. And the one compilation that did come out on CD a decade ago is out of print. Clark is holding out for a big payday for his masters, but apparently he doesn't realize that records aren't selling anymore. You can still here Smith on your oldies radio. But his death means that one of the forgotten voices of a 60's Brit Invasion band won't get all the recognition it deserved.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Playlist for 2/28

British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music
Maceo Parker - Roots & Rhythms
Michael Brecker - Pilgrimage
ELP - Works Vol. 2
Nick Lowe - Jesus Of Cool (reissue)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Last Voyage Home

Herbie Hancock's Grammy win had me scrambling to find a review copy of Michael Brecker's Pilgrimage, which also won a Jazz Grammy. Hancock plays on this CD, Brecker's last before he died, as does Pat Metheny, and it's a better listen than Hancock's. I wish I knew more about Jazz that I could tell you where it ranks in Brecker's catalog. But oustide of a Brecker Brother compilation, I only know about him from his session work. The album holds up and would've made a better choice for Grammy album of the year than the one they gave it too.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I wish I could say that there are a lot of magazines that I look forward to getting in the mail. No Depression was one of them, though. A bi-monthly Alt-Country from Seattle, it took a high-minded, but by no means too high-minded, approach to it's subjects and records. The record review section was excellent. But now the magazine is a victim of the struggling music biz. Labels just aren't advertising in these types of niche magazines anymore. Too bad, another good read gone.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Playlist for 2/21

George Benson - Give Me The Night
Teena Marie - It Must Be Magic
One Way - Best of
GQ - Best of
Stan Kenton - Best Of
Dwight Twilley - Sincerely/Twilley Don't Mind (reissue)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Records I've Never Heard

Even after all these years there are still critically acclaimed records that I've never heard. Most of these are out of print or I can't find cheaply used. I've done a pretty good job in my life finding and listening to most of these types of records. But some have alluded me.
I'm happy to report that I can now cross Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool a/k/a Pure Pop For Now People off my list. This 1978 album has just been reissued by Yep Roc and padded out with bonus tracks it'll probably be one of my top reissues of the year. I've been looking for this album and it's 1979 followup, Labour of Lust, but could never find a used copy. Most of these two albums appeared on Lowe's only US compilation, Basher.
So, a good find and I expect the folks at Yep Roc will do the same with Labour of Lust. Because I've grown tired of looking for it.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Peppering the Itunes charts now are songs from Guitar Hero and Rock Band. My son and wife play the latter, and I've tried it once. But the best thing these titles can do is get the kids to download songs or albums. And as far as I can tell, not for free, either.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Healing Times

How powerful can music play a part in your life? When my Dad, died I took comfort in any music I could get a hold of, whether from radio, computer or the TV. But I particularly found myself feeling nostaligic. I'd hear songs from my youth that reminded of things that my Dad and I did or talked about. He was a music fan, too. Loved his Elvis, but also liked Country music, Old School Pop singers, Gritty Soul music and heartland Rockers. He was a Republican but not a die hard one. And he could easily be swayed to like the more liberal music I championed. Music can and always will play a part in my life. My Dad led the way. And I still thank him.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Playlist for 2/15

Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
Otis Taylor - Recapturing the Banjo
Michael Jackson - Thriller (reissue)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2008 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees

2008 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees I've long advocated the Induction of Tom T. Hall and knew the Statlers were due. As far as Emmylou Harris she's more of an alt-Country artist now, but in the mid-70's she charted on the Country singles charts. There are still some of favorites missing: Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles are all deserving of the Country Hall.

Monday, February 11, 2008

No Suprise

Anyone who's surprised that an album by a perinneial Grammy favorite could beat a Grammy newcomer just doesn't know their history of this award show. Baited by names like Tina Turner, Norah Jones and Joni Mitchell herself, Hancock's tribute had all the makings of a dark horse contender. So, the older voters, the ones who gave album awards to Ray Charles and Tony Bennett had something familiar to vote for.
As for the show itself, there were few memorable performances, with a whole lot of duets that fell flat. The Gospel, classical and Beatles tributes were duds. Only Kanye, Amy Winehouse, the Time reunion and the last half of the Beyonce/Tina Turner performance stood out.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

It Was 25 Years Ago A Few Months Ago

I can remember when music trade mags were making a big deal out of the fact that Off The Wall had 4 Top 10 singles from one album. The industry wasn't into milking singles before that album. It happened but most album had 2 or 3 singles and then it was on to the next album. But the concept grew bigger after it. And with Thriller everything blew up. 6 Top 10's from one album. By the way although Epic has just released a 25th anniversary of this album, it was first released in Decemember '82. The industry saw bigger sales for an album, and an artist didn't have to rush out a followup if they could keep sending singles up the charts. Thriller was the Star Wars of the music industry. The dawn of the blockbuster. It's 25th anniversary should be celebrated because first and foremost it was a great album. Some people were put off by its grand designs to cross over. They prefer the disco-era Off The Wall. But Thriller glows with picture perfect pop/soul sheen. Compare its sound to the remixes that Fergie, Kanye and others haved added. This year is as good as any to go back and get soaked up in its pop culture moment.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Playlist for 2/8

Otis Taylor - Recapturing the Banjo
Lenny Kravitz - It's Time For A Love Revolution
Sheryl Crow - Detours

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

R.I.P. Rocky

My Dad passed away today. Besides passing along his love of sports, he also passed along his love of music. Especially Elvis, Country music and pop singers like Tom Jones. I absorbed all of it. In the early 70's my Dad bought a handful of albums by those singers and Country ones and for years they were the only albums I heard. My interest in music was piqued. By 1974 at the age of 10, I had become hooked on AM Pop music. But even though he never knew it, my Dad helped propel my lifelong love affair with music. As my record collection grew my Dad often looked in awe at the burgeoning shelves of CD's or vinyl. I never got the chance to tell him, but I am now. So, thanks Dad for all you gave me. Go Rest High on That Mountain.


Monday, February 04, 2008

A Face In The Crowd

Tom Petty still tours off of his old hits, but like John Mellencamp he doesn't have the heart to write those hooky anthems that still pay the bills. At The Super Bowl he was average, but like the Stones at their Super Bowl Halftime he never caught fire. Because like Mellencamp his heart has left those hits years ago. But being the true pro Petty has always been, he held on just long enough that he didn't collapse.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Precocious Pop Circa 2008

There will be no other controversialy hyped band in 2008 than Vampire Weekend, four Manhattan Ivy Leaguers whose self-titled debut album will either have you jumping up or slamming your CD on the floor. What we have here are a bunch of guys who grew up with Paul Simon's Graceland, but don't know much about the South African guitars that they are sampling. Somebody even mentioned Haircut 100. Which I think was a put-down. None of this is bad because the songs are good. And short. The album clocks in just above 30 minutes and its breezy sound wafts right over you, even though the lyrics try for something more. Eventually, they'll grow out of this sound, and do a proper Indie Rock album. But for now this is the sound of precocious Pop circa 2008.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Shelby Lynne's Smooth Country Jazz

Shelby Lynne's Just A Little Lovin', in which she covers 9 Dusty Springfield songs had gotten such a lukewarm blog reception over its slow pace that I was reluctant to hear it. Lynne takes these songs and turns them into smooth jazz, which is impressive for a Country singer. But Lynne has been anything but a Country act since she dabbled in Pop records in the late 90's.
Here she wraps her considerable voice in a catalog that deserves a second listen. Oddly, she doesn't cover "Son Of A Preacher Man". Too slow could be right, at times I want Lynne to get all Pop confection, the way Springfield's best songs did. But if you stick with it, this will grow on you. Just make sure you're not dead tired when you put it on.
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