Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hell Freezes

Could it be? Robert Christgau's review of Eminem's latest takes him up on his misogny, but not his homophobia. Oh, well. It appears that he doesn't like the album, but we'll have to see what kind of grade he gives it. Still, its heartening to see Eminem's #1 critic fan dissenting somewhat. Now if only we could do the same for Dave Marsh who called Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream a "masterpiece."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jay Bennett

Reading this obituary on Jay Bennett, ex-member of Wilco, you feel sad that a 45 year old man died so young, but it is also a revealing look at what happens when bands splinter and one of its main members leave. Think CCR for an example of this. Bennett's post-Wilco life was productive, but with him the band was just as creative. But they didn't part in the best of terms. Hopefully, they all made peace before he Bennett passed away.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Playlist for 5/29

David Lasley - Missin' Twenty Grand/Expectations Of Love
Skid Row - s/t
Steve Earle - Townes
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Black & Blue

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ipod Additions Again

Spent Memorial Day staring at my Ipod and made some more additions:

O'Kayshions - Girl Watcher
Doris Troy - Just One Look
Russ Ballard - Voices
Escape Club - Wild Wild West
Todd Rundgren - Bang The Drum All Day
Erasure - Chains Of Love

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ipod Additions

2 Dr. Hook Songs
and Kiki Dee, Paper Lace and Bo Donaldson, "Cherry Bomb" by the Runaways.

Can't believe I didn't have a Dr. Hook or "Amie" on my Ipod.
If you have to ask about the last 2, then all I can say is that you had to be there in 1974.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Last weekend I finally stepped into the 21st Century and bought an HDTV and upgraded my Dish to a DVR. A lot went into why, mostly it had to do with the DVR. Our VCR was our only means of taping stuff, and we got tired of doing that years ago. So, basically all the late night shows and awards shows had to be watched in real time or we just didn't watch them at all.
Now I can DVR all these things.
It's costing me some extra money, but in the long run it's worth it. And I had to say goodbye to my old reliable 36 inch Sony. RIP buddy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Metal Head

I thought I'd give the Metal genre one more go round before moving on, so I checked out the Chuck Eddy and Martin Popoff Metal albums books. Didn't find nothing there that I hadn't already flagged, although Eddy has me seeking out a copy of Vision Quest, but it looks like it's time to move on, after spending a few weeks stuck in the genre.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Late American Idol Recap

I'm late on this American Idol recap: yes, I did watch the entire season. And unlike many I wasn't surprised that Kris Allen won. But big props to Adam for saving this year's show. Anyway, this quote from Stephen Holden of the NY Times was really interesting. It seems the Pat Boone hatred is still with us some 50+ years later.
"Mr. (Kris) Allen, for all his abilities, has no flash. Listening to him strain to put some clout into the Beatles’ “Come Together” in the show’s rock evening conjured memories of Mr. Boone’s anemic versions of Little Richard hits half a century ago, though to be fair, Mr. Allen is far more talented and musically sophisticated than his forerunner. He has spun Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” and Kanye West’s “Heartless” into plaintively appealing soft-rock ballads."
Meanwhile, Adam Lambert gets the usual comparisons to Freddie Mercury, but let's face it, without him, this years AI would have been a stone cold dud. He added some sparkle to a crew of candidates who were lacking personality. Danny Gokey reminded me more every week of Michael Bolton, the rocker girl was average, and to be honest with you I still don't know among the final 2 who will go on to have the bigger career.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Defending A Devil

The author in this piece who tries to defend Albert Goldman misses the point about why his books on Elvis and John Lennon are horrendous. In addition to making things up and various mistakes (as pointed out somewhat in the article), Goldman's hatred for his subjects bleeds all over his books. It's okay to point out that Elvis and Lennon weren't saints, but the mean-spirited writing was unforgiving.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Playlist for 5/22

Steve Earle - Townes
Yusuf - Roadsinger
Judas Priest - British Steel
Doves - Kingdom of Rust
Bat For Lashes -Two Suns
Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority
Lady GaGa -The Fame
Lady Antebellum
Slick Rick - Adventures of

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I got the below quote from the Lefsetz Letter, it wasn't written by Bob Lefsetz, though, but it neatly summarizes any forgotten band you can think of that is missing in the RRHOF. In this case,Poco, who some believe invented Country-Rock. Oh well. I've always liked Poco, and they are doing some reunion shows this year. But Hall material? No. The dissing of Madonna in the email is stupid, of course, but the sentiment if alright.

"Yet for all they have accomplished, this band still cannot seem to gain the attention and respect they deserve from either the public or some in the industry. Jan Wenner wants Madonna in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but not Poco? That’s why I stopped paying attention to the RRHOF a few years ago. But it still rankles that there is such an institution and Poco is not part of it and probably never will be."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Genius Of Eminem

Oh, I wish he would have retired. But you know rappers, always quitting and coming back. So, I've got a confession to make: I can't stand Eminem, who I believe is one of the most overrated artists in music history. He's made a career picking on celebrities, gays and women. Now that's a creative mind. The only 2 songs of his I can listen to are "Stan" and "Lose Yourself." But I've grown less fond of the latter after Greil Marcus raved about it once like it was a long lost Sun single from Elvis. Still, with all his minimal talent, I was surprised that critics I like jumped on his bandwagon, like Christgau, but that's just his opinion. Christgau thinks Eminem's misogyny is okay, but derides a band like the Eagles for writing songs in which the women cheat on them.
Eminem's new album, Relapse, has already gotten a rave in Rolling Stone. Okay, that's no shock. But sad to see Rob Sheffield drink the Eminem Kool-Aid.
I also fear the Christgau review, which I think will be as confused as this from Ann Powers of the LA Times:
"Relapse" is the first album Eminem has made after returning from his own brink, and it's an impressively focused and clever work. But this music is not transcendent. It's still stuck in Marshall Mathers' muck, his fundamental mistrust of pleasure and love. Maybe he just needs a new therapist. Or a new mask."

With all that's gone on in the World in the last 5 years since he, um, retired, you would think Eminem could give us his worldly thoughts. But, alas, its the same old same old. Picking on celebrities no one but Star magazine care about, throwing in some anti-gay and women lines. Wow, what a genius.

At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there were moments of genuine humor in Eminem's introductory speech of Run DMC, but onstage with his "look how tough I am" demeanor, it came across as nothing but annoying.
And that's been the whole point of Eminem's career. Hiding behind the fake name, Marshall Mathers has been able to craft a whole other persona. It's not me saying all these bad things, its my alter ego.
But some of us never bought it. Sadly, some think he's a tortured genius. Picking on Mariah Carey and Lindsey Lohan? This is an artistic statement for 2009?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Crappy RRHOF Article

Found this from SH Forums - Music Corner 2. Another rehash of stuff that's already been talked about a million times over. And he didn't do his research. Find the mistake about Metallica. And he disses the Bee Gees. Enough said.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fessing Up

Music staff or critics from EW talk about embarrassing albums/songs that they own or are on their Ipod.
Myself, I have to admit I've always had a fondness for Michael Bolton's "Soul Provider" which is the only time I thought he was a real Blue-Eyed Soul contender. Yep, it's on my Ipod. Unfortunately, this song came early in his career and he got worse as the years went on. Ah, but for a brief moment...

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Oh no, looks like another magazine I subscribe to is barely hanging on. Now, Paste is asking their readers for donations, citing low advertising revenue. Have a feeling I'll be blogging an obit for this magazine by year's end.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Playlist for 5/16

Bob Dylan - Together Through Life
Congos - Heart of the Congos
George Benson - Weekend In LA
Israel K. - Facing Future
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Shaka Zulu
Pete Seeger - At 89
Tom Rush - What I Know
Jesse Winchester - Love Filling Station

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cat's Tale

Yusuf aka Cat Stevens sounds like he did when he recorded as Cat Stevens. In other words, his voice hasn't changed much since the 70's. His 2nd album, Roadsinger, has pleasant memories. Its melodies are pure Stevens, but the lyrics are also pure Stevens, which means these songs don't offer anything new.
Do people care when an artists voice no longer sounds like it did when they were popular. I give you name like James Taylor who pretty much hasn't changed. But then there's Aretha Franklin, who doesn't sound the same anymore (and take it from an Elvis fan, when you're overweight your voice shows it). Or will nostalgia save the day.
We can't expect our heroes to sing the same notes like they used to, even though their greatest moments are a part of our musical brain.
Art Garfunkel can hit most of the notes at the end of "Bridge Over Troubled Water", but he'll never sing it like he did in 1970.
Elton John's voice has gotten huskier as his age and weight have gone up. He gave up trying to sing those high notes of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" years ago.
Still, do we care? It's one of those subjects that always gets my attention when a singer like Cat Stevens puts out a new record.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Going GaGa

I'm no snob to what's charting on the Billboard Hot 100, and thanks to Sirius's Hits channel, I can get caught up easily. So it was with Lady Gaga, who's performance on American Idol was a rare highlight for a show, other than Adam Lambert.
Her 2 singles off the album are 2 of the best of 2009. So, I splurged for the album and while it held up, I also ran into the same problems with it that I have with most of today's Pop albums. Too long and not very original.
It also got me thinking that we get these types of albums every couple of years. Remember albums by the Pussycat Dolls or the 90's C&C Music Factory? Hit singles carried them, but the albums were pretty good. Same with Lady Gaga. I doubt she'll still be around in 10 years. She'll need more moments like the AI performance to get over the stigma of being a dance singles queen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blog Update

Well, not long after AOL closed their free web hosting, Yahoo is doing the same. Of course, they say, you can upgrade to their new web hosting site. But why pay? And I'm not. So, a lot of my list pages will be gone from my site. It's not the end of the world. And as long as Blogger stays in business, I'll be alright.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

People Who Died

I always felt bad about not having a decent compilation by Vern Gosdin who passed away last week. But that's not my fault, because there isn't one, but his recent death might remedy that. Anyway, Gosdin was nicknamed "The Voice" in County circles, and his voice, if not his material, could rival his oft-compared George Jones. Definitely one for rediscovery.
Stephen Bruton was something of an Americana legend. KPIG often played his stuff, but he's best known as a producer, songwriter, session player for a whole bunch of people. He's another artists who's solo recordings are worth checking out. Bruton also passed away last week.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Power Pop Returns

Tinted Windows, which has a Hanson, a Cheap Trick, a Smashing Pumpkin and a Fountain of Wayne should be better. The self-titled debut album caught my attention because reviews kept saying it was a return to sound of Power Pop, a mostly underrated sound that peaked in the 70's. As someone who loves the Raspberries, the first Knack album, early Cheap Trick and many more one-shots of the genre, I had high hopes for this album.
It's passable Power Pop, but doesn't come near the heroes it wants to copy. The songs are a little too stilted, and while most have hooks, many are quickly forgotten.
Not a dud, but if you want a Power Pop fix go with the names from above.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Supersizing Singles Acts

So what happens when singles oriented acts get a bigger compilation than they need. This is something I pondered while staring at the double disco Anthology on Sweet (Shout). This was definitely a singles band, and my previous single comp on them was more than enough. But I found myself still interested in them even as disc 2 came to an end. But there's a catch. The glam they are know for disappears early on disc 2, and Sweet become just another rock band of the late 70's. But because they've always known how to write hooky songs, somehow they got out of it in good standing.
No, if you like Sweet or, say the Romantics who are another singles act, a 1 disc comp is more than enough. This is for the hardcore fan and the curious critic. Like me.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Playlist for 5/9

Bob Dylan - Together Trough Life
Stylistics - Round 2
Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On
Dolly Parton - 9 to 5 reissue
Linda Ronstadt - What's New
John Martyn - Solid Air
Black Joe Lewis - Tell 'Em What Your Name Is

Friday, May 08, 2009

Book Update

This Is Uncool 261 Greatest Albums - Garry Mulholland
Billboad Book of #1 Hits - Fred Bronson
Rough Guide Book of Playlists - various
The Jazz Singers - Scott Yanow
Growing Up Dead - Peter Conners
Brother Ray - Ray Charles
Comfortably Numb - Mark Blake
City Kid - Nelson George

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Good discussion at the SH Forums about BritPop, the mid-90's genre that never took hold in the U.S. But it definitely ripe for rediscovery. My favorite were Oasis, who are still making records but not as good as their first 2. But Blur, Supergrass were faves as well. After 15 or so years since it first charted in the U.K., I'm still waiting for a definitive 1or 2 set that could wrap up the era.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

80's Hair Metal Nostalgia

VH1 Classic's That Metal Show and Metal Mania have me thinking that maybe I've underrated the Hair Metal era. Actually, I've never underrated it, but have never taken it as seriously as I should. There were some good songs back then, right? Most bands were singles artists, some made a good album, and one will get into the RRHOF (Guns 'N' Roses, although Def Leppard can make an argument).
Still, my own collection isn't lacking in Hair band comps or albums. I've got collections or albums by Cinderella, Warrant, Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Guns, etc.
Looking over Chuck Eddy's essay on this genre in the 1992 Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (1992! talk about in need of an update), only 2 acts he mentioned in there caught my eye: Ratt and one he's big on Kix. I couldn't name you one song by Kix, but he has me interested in Ratt, who I know.
So, go ahead and call it 80's nostalgia, but come on, the era left behind some good stuff.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

City Kid

I was really looking forward to reading Nelson George's memoir City Kid (Viking) and it didn't disappoint. George was one of the preeminent music critics of the 80's/90's, and while he still does music stuff, he's not as prolific writing or reviewing music stuff (at least as far as I can tell). The best part of the novel, actually, is not about the music, but details of George's upbringing. Oh yeah, have I said that George is an African-American. He was one of the first Black music critic's to break through. But in reality, Black or not, he's just a good writer.

Monday, May 04, 2009

More Pruning of the Ipod

Here are some more (mostly) one-hit wonders that I added to my Ipod. Ones that I thought were on there but weren't:
Electric Prunes, a Porter Wagoner Country classic, "Mendocino", the Hombres, Amboy Dukes, a Miles Davis song, a Mills Brothers song called "Glow Worm".

The more I look at the Ipod, the more I see odd stuff missing. This gets frustrating but at least I'm getting things in order.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dylan's New Canon

Bob Dylan's 33rd album, Together Through Life, sounds just like his last two albums. So if you like rock/blues/waltzes that sound like they were knocked off in a night, then you'll like this. Thanks to Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, Dylan tosses in some Tex-Mex flourishes that stand out. But I don't think the album gets memorable until the last 3 songs, and with the help of Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter some songs are missing Dylan's voice. Dylan has settled on a Chess/Sun era sound that saves most of these throwaways. But where does this rank in the Dylan canon? Is it a Planet Waves? Largely forgotten, or a Slow Train Coming? An album that's ripe for new discussion? Dylan mystics will debate until he tosses off his next one.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Playlist for 5/2

Pet Shop Boys - Yes
War Heroes - various
Bow Wow Wow - We Are the 80's
Dolly Parton - 9 to 5 (reissue)
Simon & Garfunkel - Live 1969
Greencards - Fascination
Eilen Jewell - Sea Of Tears

Friday, May 01, 2009

Black Velvet

Good show, terrible fact checkers. That's VH1's 80's One-Hit Wonders. How else to explain the placement of "Black Velvet" which didn't debut on Billboard's Top 100 until Jan. 1990. Maybe they think some of us don't have a Joel Whitburn book.
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