Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I'm listening to the eclectic Gonzo soundtrack, and btw did you know that Hunter S. Thompson like Jo Stafford, "You Sexy Thing" and "Doing It To Death?", well the music to the documentary isn't completely as scattered as Thompson's writing but it streams well for a movie collection. Anyway, a song I've had in my head since childhood comes on and reminds me that the song will never go away, and I'm glad. "One Toke Over The Line" which could only have been a hit in the early 70's (what did the censors think "Toke" meant?). Living in Germany at the time with few radio stations you often heard the same things over and over, and that song was one of them. It has stayed with me, so much that I bought Brewer & Shipley's greatest hits CD and the album that the song was taken from. Just when I've forgotten about it, KPIG or some radio station will play it, and the memories come back. Well, no, not "tokin'" ones like B&S mean but you get the drift. Brewer & Shipley never had another hit, but the rest of their stuff was just as hummable. But their one song is in my own personal Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of BMG

The announcement that BMG Music Club is no longer accepting new members should stir a well of memories for those who loaded up on BMG and the now defunct Columbia House's free 12 for 1 promotions. I signed up and cancelled many times just to add to my collection. Now BMG is near the end, and the free rides are over. But if you grew up in the 70's with these clubs they were probably your first albums you bought. In the 80's, the CD boom which had all of us re-buying our albums for CD made these clubs an even better fit. And, yes, I still am a member of the BMG club. Even today, I still find cheap steals.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Playlist for 12/29

Del McCoury - Moneyland

Sam Cooke -Gospel Soul of

Gonzo - Soundtrack

Heavy Mod - Various
Kings of Leon - Only By The Night

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Never Ending

The best way to appreciate Delaney Bramlett, who died at age 69, was on stage. Which is why my favorite album of the Delaney & Bramlett era was the On Tour With Eric Clapton one. Outside of a pretty definitive 1990 Rhino Best of this is the one to get to enjoy Delaney and Bonnie at their peak. Sadly, once the marriage disintegrated so did the music, but they were still putting out solo stuff this century. Delaney Bramlett will be best known for his 3 big airplay songs "Let It Rain", "Superstar" and "Never Ending Song of Love", but in the late 60's/early 70's he left many a live audience with so much more.

For The People Who Died

Right, you know the big names that got all the ink in the New York Times. Isaac Hayes, Jerry Reed, Levi Stubbs, Bo Diddley, Jerry Wexler. But the names of those who died throughout a year that always get my attention are the ones I know won't get much attention but whose music or productions meant a lot to me musically.
So, here are 4 names among the many fallen musical heroes that stood out for me:

Ken Nelson - Producer and one of the originators of the "Bakersfield Sound". Produced hits for Buck Owens and Merle Haggard and other Bakersfield Sound legends

John Stewart- Best know for his late 70's hit "Gold" and for being a member of the Kingston Trio, but his late 60's album California Bloodlines was one of the first albums to set the stage for what is now known as Americana

Al Wilson - "Show and Tell" and "The Snake" were his big hits, but he was a journeyman Soul singer his whole life. But I've always had an affinity for these kind of singers. He could have been bigger. His last Tip 40 hit "I've Got A Feeling" has been unavailable on CD forever. I stole it from Napster back in the day

Danny Federici - Okay he got more press than the above 3, but the keyboardist for Springsteen I'm using as an example of band members you forget about until they die

There music will live in your mind long after they're gone.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Consumer 1, RIAA 0

The RIAA says its lawsuits against people pirated music is over. They feel they've won. Just like when they were suing people for getting the 1 or 2 songs they really wanted from an album instead of paying $10 to $15 for a copy of a CD that doesn't hold up. Like the foolish artists who continue to keep their music off Itunes or or whatever because they want more money per song. Guess they haven't figured out that Limewire has all the Beatles or AC/DC you could ask for.
This was the RIAA's biggest problem during their lawsuit binge. They thought that by bullying the consumer they would keep you off the free sites. But it didn't work. Not only are people still finding free music, they'll always find free music.
The RIAA thinks they won?

Friday, December 26, 2008

All Caught Up?

I've scoured a lot of year end lists and for the first time I can remember there's not much that's placing that I'm that interested in. Most of the albums making some noise that I haven't heard yet like Bon Iver or She & Him aren't getting enough universal praise for me to give up any money to buy them. Still to come are the Village Voice and Nashville Scene year end polls, but I already have an idea how those are going to pan out, and the ones that will chart high I've already heard. This is actually good, because it gives me a chance to get caught up on back catalog titles, like the ones in Tom Moon's 1000 Recordings.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

These Really Didn't Make It

Neither good nor bad, maybe worth a couple of good cuts, but certainly not up to their previous work, or overhyped as a new act, the below artists all put out albums this year that didn't move me.

Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Dan Tyminski, Rodney Crowell, Santogold, James Morrison, Donna Summer, Maria Muldaur, Richie Havens, Buddy Guy, Fleet Foxes, Black Mountain, Martha Wainwright, Lil Wayne, John Hiatt, Beck, James Hunter, Hank Williams III, Oasis, Brian Wilson, Robin Thicke, Sonny Landredth, Patty Loveless, Jonas Brothers, Carrie Rodriguez, Deerhunter, Lindsey Buckingham, Secret Machines, Okkervil River

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Below are promo copies that I received this year. Some of these are good albums that I just haven't found a place for in my collection. None of these made any of my Top 10's for the year, though. To save myself the trouble of typing forever, I'll just list the artist's names without the album title.

Dan Tyminski, Kathy Mattea, Boxmasters, Bodeans, Peter Cooper, Songs of America (various artists), Dedringers, Waifs, Infamous Stringdusters, Derailers, Tim Fite, Band Of Heathens. Richie Havens, Bobby Rush, Reckless Kelly, Girls Guns & Glory, Dre Emmitt, Esperanza, Yellowjackets, Grascals, Love Psychedelico, Postmarks, Mando Saenz, Dixie Bee-Liners, Eli Reed, Jeb Loy Nichols, Waybacks, Little Feat, Darrell Scott, Crrie Rodriguez, Blue Highway, Rhonda Vincent, Amanda Shaw, Steeldrivers, Belleville Outfit

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Playlist for 12/23

Simply Red - Picture Book
Willis Alan Ramsey - s/t
PropellerHeads - DecksandDrums
Gonzo - Soundtrack
Peggy Lee - Black Coffee
Wayne Shorter - Juju

Monday, December 22, 2008

Greatest Xmas Songs

These were compiled by me a few years ago, although I've updated it since.

Greatest Xmas Songs

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tom's Top Albums/Singles/Reissues of 2008


1. Randy Newman - Harps and Angels
2. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
3. Duffy - Rockferry
4. Vampire Weekend - s/t
5. Hayes Carll - Trouble In Mind
6. Conor Oberst - s/t
7. Flight of the Conchords - s/t
8. Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
9. Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal
10. Raphaal Saadiq - Way I See It


1. Kid Rock - All Summer Long
2. Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
3. Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
4. Hayes Carll - She Left Me For Jesus
5. Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart
6. Duffy - Mercy
7. Miranda Lambert - Gunpowder & Lead
8. Darius Rucker - Don't Think I Don't Think About It
9. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
10. Little Big Town - Fine Line


1. Nick Lowe - Jesus Of Cool
2. Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia box set
3. Steinski -What Does It All Mean
4. Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue
5. Clash - Live at Shea Stadium
6. John Anderson - I Just Came Home To Count The Memories
7. Willie Nelson - One Hell of A Ride
8. Liz Phair - Exile In Guyville
9. Salt 'N' Pepa - Best of
10. Luther Vandross - Love Luther box set

Saturday, December 20, 2008

These Didn't Make It Pt. 4

Now on to my reissues list. These artists came up short of making my Top 10 reissues. I should also note that I had been able to get a hand on the Hank Williams Sr. Time Life Box set earlier if might have made Top 10. As it is I'm still digesting that collection. But maybe it'll end up the 2009 list.

George Jones, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Buddy Miller, Dave Alvin, Chemical Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roy Orbison, Mott the Hoople, Manhattans and 3 catalog titles by John Anderson

Friday, December 19, 2008

These Didn't Make It Pt. 3

Now on to my singles list. These artists came up short of making my Top 10. Although some of the Country ones ended up on my Nashville Scene Ballot, they missed my combined Top 10.

I should also note that from the time I sent in my Nashville Scene ballot to the time I did my Village Voice one, I've grown to love the Darius Rucker #1. Which means if I could update the former Rucker would land Top 10 and Ashton Shepherd would slide down. But at least I slotted him on the Voice ballot.

Madonna, Vampire Weekend, Flo Rida, T.I., Amanda Shaw, Kate Nash, Carrie Underwood, Ting Tings, Robyn, Old 97's, Ashton Shepherd, Marvin Sapp, Adele, Gary Allan, Lady Antebellum, Jamey Johnson, Rihanna

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Drivin' Over Kanan

I like Chuck Eddy's Essentials columns in Spin. But the January 2009 one on Yacht Rock really spoke to me. Eight records, 7 album titles and 1 compilation. An era I'm familiar with because the late 70's was when I began my decades long affair with music. It's good Eddy didn't take the easy way out and include just Greatest Hits albums in his piece. The 7 names listed all bring back memories of bearded men playing pianos or strumming guitars: Christopher Cross, Rupert Holmes, Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Gerry Rafferty, Doobie Brothers and John Stewart. Of the 7 the one I'd replace would be Holmes, whose album doesn't hold up with the other 6. It does seem that Eddy missed one Yacht Rock legend: Kenny Loggins. This guy was inventing the genre with Messina, and he cowrote "What A Fool Believes" with Michael McDonald (who in return co-wrote "This Is It" with Loggins). Picking one non-Hits album by him I'd say go with Keep The Fire which has "This Is It" and the title track with its strange vocoder intro or Nightwatch which has the Stevie Nicks duet. Space limitations might have kept Eddy from going over 8 titles, which is why other legends of the genre are missing like Toto or even a band I always thought represented the genre, Little River Band. Still, call it what you want: Soft Rock, Yacht Rock, Guilty Pleasures its always fun to see an entry like this in an Alternative based magazine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Playlist for 12/17

Willie Nelson/Ray Price - Run That By Me One More Time
Belmonts - Cigars, Accapella, Candy
Peter Brown - Fantasy Love Affair
Michael Franks - Art of Tea
Glen Campbell - Meet Glen Campbell
Merle Haggard - Hag's Christmas
Elvis Presley - Christmas Duets
Luther Vandross - This Is Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

These Didn't Make It Pt. 2

More of the artists whose albums just missed my Top 10 of the year.

Ashton Sheppard, Elvis Costello, Robyn, Emmylou Harris, Jenny Lewis, Los Campesinos (07), Bob Dylan, Kasey Chambers/Shane Nicholson, Reckless Kelly, Todd Snider, , Black Mountain

Monday, December 15, 2008

1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die

Damn, looks like Christgau beat me to it on this book, Rock & Roll &: Robert Christgau. Anyway, 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon, is definitely one for the reference shelves. And my reference section could use some new stuff. The last great book of lists I read was probably Heartaches by the Numbers by David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren. That came out in 2003. Moon's book, though has it on that one and the Rolling Stone Record Guides or the just released Pitchfork 500, in that it's a solo venture. And you want genres! Moon isn't content with just covering the Rock era (or Jazz), nope, he goes off and hits you with Opera and Classical as well. The last two aren't my specialty, although I have Classical stuff in my collection. And I have a feeling that Rock fans who come across the book will likely skip that stuff more so than the Jazz entries.
Christgau is right that Moon is weak on Black vocal groups and Disco and newer artists. And he's certainly right that books like these will put a dent in your pocket. I've just finished Dave Thompson's I Hate New Music, and even that book has some catalog entries that intrigued me. These books prove my point. No matter how much you think you've heard in your lifetime, you haven't heard nothin' (as Stevie Wonder almost said). Of all the entries the one that had me kicking myself for continuing to skip it for many years was the one and only release by Willis Alan Ramsey, who is an Americana legend but makes most of his money from writing "Muskrat Love". Moon convinced me to pick up a copy which I bought online used for under $8.
So, all of us will argue over who should be here. I was hoping for an entry for Keith Whitley, Randy Travis, Spinners or Donna Summer who only gets an entry for "I Feel Love" or the Supremes who also only get an entry for a single. But I give Moon props for remembering Donny Hathaway and Minnie Riperton.
I have to admit while reading the book that for a few seconds I had ideas to do my own 1000. Tom Hull's list is here. But to be honest, it takes me a whole month to narrow my Nashville Scene and Village Voice Paz & Jop ballots to 10 entries. A 1000? Come back here in a few years.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

These Didn't Make It Pt.1

I'm just about ready to unveil my Top 10 year end lists, this is a combo list of my Nashville Scene ballot and Village Voice one, but to get to 10 I had to a lot of pruning. I did hear more than 10 good records this year, so getting it down to that number was a chore. Here are the names of some artists that released records in 2008 (even 2007) that are outside my Top 10.

John Mellencamp, Coldplay, Drive By Truckers, Hold Steady, Adele, Shelby Lynne, Otis Taylor, Daft Punk (07), Burial (07), Paul Thorn, Old 97's, Larry McMurtry, Gnarls Barkley, B52's, Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis, Rhymefest, Dr. Dog, Todd Snider, Portishead, Neil Diamond, Lucinda Williams, Paul McCartney (the Fireman), Chris Knight, Sugarland, Randy Travis, Lee Ann Womack, Kathy Mattea, Delaney & Vincent, TV On The Radio, BB King, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson and Jamey Johnson. I'm sure there are more.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

3 Reasons Why Alice Cooper Belongs In The RRHOF

Here are 3 reasons why Alice Cooper belongs in the RRHOF

1. Revolutionary stage show
2. All his music up until 1974
3. Influenced many bands and singers with his makeup, shows

Friday, December 12, 2008

3 Reasons Alice Cooper Is Not In The RRHOF

Why isn't Alice Cooper in the Hall of Fame? Here are 3 reasons why.

1. Makeup means not taken seriously enough by nominating committee
2. Post 1974 work
3. Stage show overwhelmed critic's views of his music

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Nashville Scene 2008 Ballot

The first critic poll I've voted in this year was the Nashville Scene one. This is my second year with this poll.

1. Hayes Carll - Trouble In Mind
2. Jamey Johnson - That Lonesome Song
3. Todd Snider - Peace Queer
4. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - Rattlin Bones
5.Dailey & Vincent - s/t
6. Sugarland -Love On The Inside
7. Lucinda Williams - Sweet Honey
8. Paul Thorn - Long Way From Tupelo
9. Drive By Truckers -Brighter Than Creation's Dark
10. Chris Knight - Heart of Stone

1. Hayes Carll - She Left Me For Jesus
2. Miranda Lambert - Gunpowder & Lead
3.Jamey Johnson - In Color
4. Carrie Underwood - Last Name
5. Little Big Town - Fine Line
6.Kid Rock - All Summer Long
7.Gary Allan - Watching Airplanes
8.Lady Antebellum -Love Don't Live Here
9.Amanda Shaw - Pretty Runs Out
10.Ashton Shepherd - Takin' Off This Pain

1. Willie Nelson- One Hell Of A Ride
2. George Jones - The Hits Then Til Now
3.Buddy Miller - Best of The Hightone Years
4.John Anderson - I Just Came Home To Count The Memories
5.Dave Alvin -Best of the Hightone Years

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Hate New Music

Well, I don't, but that's the title, I Hate New Music, of music critic Dave Thompson's latest book. The point of the book is simple: the Rock music you are hearing today isn't as good as the Rock music of Classic Rock's heyday from the late 60's to the late 70's. And none of the stuff today would make it on to any Classic Rock playlist some 20 years from now. Thompson is right about the peak years of Classic Rock. Starting in the 80's, the big names of the format went away from their guitar sound and got caught up in the synths and drum machines of the 80's. And the Indie Rock bands that did Rock, like REM or the Replacements, were fronted by vocalists who mumbled their words so bad that Classic Rock fans turned the station.
My local Classic Rock station does play acts that got started in the 80's. You'll hear some Def Leppard, U2, Bon Jovi, Black Crowes, Night Ranger and Guns 'N' Roses But not REM, Replacements or 90's ones like Pearl Jam, Nirvana or Soundgarden. Oasis are too English. Which had me thinking while reading the book, which artists of today have a chance to connect with Classic Rock fans in 10 years or so. I thought of Nickelback and Green Day, and well, that's about it.
I Hate New Music is sure to infuriate music critic's that do love a lot of the Indie Rock that comes out today. But Thompson doesn't think that what we call Rock now is the same as what we did in Classic Rock's peak years. These type of books are mean to stir conversation, and Thompson does right by his essay. Whether you think it's the work of a cranky music critic or
someone telling the truth, probably depends on your reaction to my lead off sentence in this post.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

3 Reasons Why Yes Are Not In The RRHOF

1. Prog-Rock never loved by critics
2. Jon Anderson's space-age lyrics
3. Their 70's stage shows

Monday, December 08, 2008

How I Do It

I don't know about other critics, but when it comes to figuring out my year end lists, I go the old-fashioned route. No, I don't have every CD or single listed on my computer in some sort of program. When I buy or get a promo CD, or when I hear a good single (or album track), I write it down on a good old white piece of paper. As the year goes on, I whittle the list down to only the ones that really stood out. I've heard a lot of good stuff this year, but only a few great ones.
Until I started voting in critic polls, I used to wonder how some voters kept track of all their records. And even more important, how they remembered them at the end of the year. For me, it's simple subtraction, and better, a simple piece of paper, with a lot of blue ink on it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Playlist for 12/7

Things are winding down in 2008, which means less stuff to listen to. I've scanned a bunch of year end lists and haven't found much worth seeking out.

Hall & Oates - Live at the Troubadour
Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
Fireman - Electric Arguments
Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
Tom Jones - 24 Hours

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Xmas Pt. 2

I'll put this out there a couple of times, but here's the link to my favorite Xmas songs of all time:


I did that list probably 10 years ago. I've added some songs since, and moved the rankings around for others. But I have to admit that the upper tier hasn't really changed.

Friday, December 05, 2008

3 Reasons Why Gram Parsons Is Not In The RRHOF

1. Didn't make enough solo albums
2. Didn't stay with the Byrds or Flying Burrito Brothers enough
3. "Cosmic Country" label confused Rock oriented voters

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tom Jones Open 24 Hours

With retro-Soul all the rave in England, who better than one of its first blue-eyed soulsters to launch his first album released in the States in 15 years, 24 Hours. But it was this rejuvenated genre that gets Jones' long overdue treatment. The 68 year old wastes no time on the lead track which is a cover of an old Tommy James song, "I'm Alive". From there he hangs for 6 minutes with a Bruce Springsteen song, gets a new one from Bono/Edge and writes his own retro-Soul stuff. If you don't like the Tom Jones with the Welsh bluster, than pass on this. Yes, there are some ballads, but Jones is best when he shakes his hips and unleashes his big voice. It's never seemed uncool to like Tom Jones. Yes, he was a Vegas showman, but there was always something more in his catalog and knowledge of Soul music that set him apart from the rest of the Supper club singers. Put 24 Hours on and let him take you back to the 60's. Tom Jones is as good a guide as you're gonna get.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Musing On Year End Polls

Already starting to think about my year end polls. Unlike previous years, my albums/singles/reissues won't be as long, not because I didn't listen and like a ton of albums this year, but I'm limiting my lists to only those releases that knocked me out. So, I'm already thinking of what my Top 10 will be for my Village Voice Pazz & Jop, (if they do one) and Nashville Scene.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

3 Reasons Why Neil Diamond Is Not In The RRHOF

1. All his post 1970 recordings until 12 Songs in 2005
2. Not "Rock" enough
3. His sequined jackets

Monday, December 01, 2008

3 Reasons Why Hall & Oates Are Not In The RRHOF

Having done a few Reasons Why, I figured I'd flip the switch and do some Reasons Why Not. First up, Hall & Oates.

1. Not "Rock" enough
2. Too many Pop hits = lack of critical acclaim
3. John Oates' mustache
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