Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rod Temperton and Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's death is a good time to bring up the name Rod Temperton. He was a member of Heatwave and wrote all their classic hits. When he teamed up with Quincy Jones and wrote some songs for Off The Wall he found a second career as a hit songwriter. For Jackson he wrote "Rock With You", "Off The Wall", "Lady In My Life" and "Thriller". Check out his ASCAP page for other songs you'll remember by other artists.
Needless to say, Temperton's songs made him rich. The last I heard from him was in the late 80's, although there's a recent article about him asking for his thoughts on Michael's death. Temperton belongs in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael's Catalog

The best Michael Jackson collection of his Motown solo days can be found on Gold, which I just purchased a few months ago. The mega-fan could go for the 4CD box set Ultimate Collection which goes from the Jackson 5 days to his Epic solo stuff.
But his maturity and greatest solo work didn't begin until Off The Wall in 1979 which some believe is a better album than the followup Thriller. I still prefer Thriller's fun of classic singles and the maturity that it shows, but make no mistake, Off The Wall is his best pure R&B album.
After those 2 classics there's a letdown with Bad, but it manages to be a decent followup. Dangerous and his last album Invincible get lost in the shuffle, but dig deep and you'll hear some songs that stand up to his canon.
The best collections of his solo stuff are Essential and Number Ones. But now that he's gone you'll likely see more, and frankly I'd like to see one on his non-hits, both from Motown and Epic.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

RIAA Wins?

I wonder how much I would have owed the RIAA if they had seen my old hard drive that had Napster songs on it. The songs I got from it were obscure ones, but is it my fault that most weren't available to buy legally anywhere? Obscure singles, stray album cuts. Why can't everything be made available in this day and age. Alas, things are still missing, and that ain't right.
But I know how the lady at the link below feels. Did she steal or was she just using the technology that was there for the taking?

Court Orders Jammie Thomas To Pay The Music Industry Lot Of Money « Idolator:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Odd Michael

Post Thriller Michael had its share of strange Michael releases. At times you got the feeling that Michael Jackson was trying to get a message across to his fans that he was indeed suffering from Elvis-like stardom symptons. Two songs stick out. Actually the video for "Earth Song" is very strange. And then his one-off duet with Janet Jackson on "Scream".
There was also the weird remix album Blood On the Dancefloor. No one bought it, but it has his most dangerous music of the last part of his life.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Playlist for 6/26

Todd Snider - Excitement Plan
Ian Hunter- You're Never Alone With A ...
Black Eyed Peas - The End
George Harrison - Best of

Thursday, June 25, 2009

MTV and Michael

MTV has been playing Michael Jackson videos and it's only right. Once "Billie Jean" got video play the color barricades on that channel were broke, and it set the stage for all the hip hop videos that followed. Some will curse this, those that hate what MTV did to the radio star. But I welcomed it at the time. And a video visionary Michael was.


Right, you have mixed feelings about him personally. But can you deny his music. Below are some of my favorite Michael Jackson solo songs in no order. I should have dug deeper, but the classics are just too good to pass up.

Billie Jean
Beat It
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Got To Be There
Lady In My Life
Way You Make Me Feel
Off The Wall
Black Or White
Man In The Mirror
She's Out Of My Life
Rockin' Robin
Human Nature
Smooth Criminal


One comment about music press vs. internet. I've often wondered if the old school music pressers resent the rise of internet reviewers. But they shouldn't. The first generation of music critic's may have seen more shows and lived through the first rock era, but the rest of us at least have heard as much music as them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Music Press vs. Internet

A discussion at the link below about the state of music criticism (i.e. the old print reviewers vs. the new internet reviewers). The paid vs. the unpaid, and how the internet changed the music press.

before i lose my style - One of the unfortunate side effects of the lack of...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CMT's MTV Show

Watching the CMT awards last week with my son I realize that my usual cries of "that ain't Country" just don't cut it anymore. I'm usually saying that every time a Country awards show comes on. The audience that CMT is gunning for today are the Taylor Swift fans. The ones who've grown up on a steady mix of their local Country station playing the Poppish stuff. Hardcore Country is for the old folks. CMT itself has changed. Shuffling their videos to early morning or early afternoon, their evening fare looks like something from MTV. GAC is still holding fort on its all Country format, but it's not in as many homes as CMT. No, the CMT awards show reminds of the ones that MTV still does: a nod to the past when these channels were the only place to get your music television fix. But in reality both channels have moved on.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Disney Sirius Update

My trip to Disney and I was surprisingly disappointed in the Sirius classic Soul channel. Heard 2 Smokey songs in 45 minutes. Jeez I hate that. So many artists to choose from. Why can't they give everyone a chance for airplay. Also, stuck with the 70's, Classic Vinyl and Today's Top 40 channel. The latter was getting repetitive as well, but the Countdown show is worth it to get caught up on today's chart hits.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Love You Dad

Every Father's Day, Birthday and Christmas I would buy my Dad a book or two. This was something I started to do a few years after he retired. He never knew what I was going to buy, but I usually stuck to the 2 things he loved: sports and modern military.
And I was always surprised when he said how much he liked what I picked. This process began months before, usually staking out Borders and then going online to find good deals.
Little things. These are the things you'll miss when a loved one dies. And a year and a half since my Dad died, buying him books is one of many things I miss.
I have good memories of my Dad. Not a day goes by I don't think of him. And always with a smile on my face.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

All Artist Channels

I did a blog about this years ago, Eagles, Weezer, Aguilera To Launch 24-Hour Online Radio Shows, after listening to an online Beatles channel. Also, when AOL had there own radio stations they had all artist channels.
I think it's a great idea, and keep wondering why every artist doesn't have their music (or a combination of them and their faves) streaming 24 hours a day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Playlist for 6/19

Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Rhett Miller s/t
James Gang - Greatest Hits
Leonard Cohen - Live in London
Hank Locklin - Country Legends
Nicolette Larson - Very Best of
Rancid - Life Won't Wait
Dave Matthews - Big Whiskey

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Muscle Shoals Has Got The Swampers

The death of Muscle Shoals keyboardist Barry Beckett last week makes me wonder why they haven't gotten a look as Rock Hall inductees in the session musician category. They did play a pivotal background role on a lot of hits in the mid-60's to early 70's.
Anyway Beckett was one of those guys whose name I knew from the Muscle Shoals days, and nice to see he went on to a decent career as a Producer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ipod updates

I hope this comes to an end soon, my Ipod is now at capacity, which means having to ax some songs to make rooms for ones I missed:

Lady GaGa - Just Dance
Judy Collins - Send In The Clowns
Taylor Swift - Teardrops On My Guitar
Brian Hyland - Gypsy Woman
Aaron Tippin - There Ain't Nothing Wrong With The Radio
Barbara Lynn - You'll Lose A Good Thing
Barbra Streisand- People

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Polka Grammy

The end of the Polka category by the Grammy's is not really a surprise, but I would like to think it's just another part of the downsizing of the music industry. Last year there were fewer than 20 album considered for nomination. That's not much, and frankly, no award category can continue with that little to go by. Polka is more for a live crowd than a recording anyway. I own a Polka compilation, but admit that it works better live.
Still, anytime a small genre like Polka gets eliminated from its one source of major recognition, the Grammy's, you have to feel bad for its major players.

Monday, June 15, 2009

More and More Ipod Additions

More of the "what was I thinking?" part of my Ipod. Pivotal songs by these artists were added last week:
Bob Wills 3 songs
Coasters 3 songs

And then classics that somehow I missed, hopefully you don't need the artists names, and they are all from the 70's.
Paranoid, Chevy Van, Signs, Hair, Ballad of the Green Berets (from the 60's and for my Dad)
and one from the 80's. Son of A Gun by the Vaselines.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Music magazine that have folded since 2008, and that I subscribed to, in order of how much I looked forward to reading them:

No Depression
Performing Songwriter

Saturday, June 13, 2009

12 Hour Sirius

From Sunday to Wednesday I'm doing the Disneyland thing with the family, which means that as a 12 hour drive (6 each way) my Sirius will get a lot of action. That also means that I'll be getting caught up with the latest Top 40 hits, and I might go to the Country and R&B hits stations as well.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Playlist for 6/12

Kenny Chesney - Greatest Hits Vol. 2
Runaways - Best of
Rainbow - Very Best of
Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime
Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry
Anthrax - Very Best of

Thursday, June 11, 2009

And Another One Bites....

Once I stopped subscribing to Billboard, I found RadioandRecords.com, which published a lot of the same charts as Billboard. Well, guess what, they've folded too.
Trade publication Radio & Records shuttered Entertainment Industry Reute

Which means I'll have to find another outlet besides Billboard's annoying website (pay to see the week's Top Smooth Jazz Songs?). USA Today has a weekly (very condensed chart list).
But once again the last year or so has not been good for my musical bookmarks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

R.I.P. Performing Songwriter

Performing Songwriter Ceases Publication : MusicRow
This was a good magazine. Good interviews, reviews solid and lots of things about, well, songwriters. I was late subscribing to this. Only caught wind of it the last 3 years or so. It was a bi-monthly. As the economy got worse, and other magazines I subscribed to struggled, I wondered it this would make it. Well, it didn't. And that's just damn sad.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Happy Anniversary Napster

June 1999, Napster launches. Yes, this is the 10th anniversary of the greatest peer-to-peer software. Unlike most people I never used Napster to dowload albums and very rarely to download new songs. I used it to download hard to find singles, mostly things that at that time never showed up on CD. I still have a bunch of those Napster-made CD's.
Then the suits got all upset. Lars, the RIAA and they thought when they killed Napster they killed the beast. But now other sites continue to pop up. They killed nothing.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Best Reissues Halfway Mark

Hank Williams Sr., Mojo magazine Mod Sampler, Jacksons, Dolly Parton, Sweet, Randy Travis, Vaselines, August Darnell, Let Freedom Sing, Etta James

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Best Singles Halfway Mark

Halfway through the year and the artists below have all released strong singles worthy of making my year end lists:
Lady Gaga, Flo Rida, Lily Allen, Animal Collective, Kelly Clarkson, Glasvega, Chris Isaak, Sugarland, Knaan, Jimmy Wayne, Flatlanders, Ida Marie, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Asher Roth, Black Joe Lewis

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Best Albums Halfway Mark

Halfway through the year and I can honestly say that the artists below are all strong contenders to end up on my year end list of best albums of 2009:

Rhett Miller, Findlay Brown, Lily Allen, Animal Collective, Franz Ferdinand, Neko Case, Buddy & Julie Miller, Amadou & Mariam, Glasvegas, Chris Isaak, Ida Marie, Susan Tedeschi, Justin Townes Earle, Steve Earle, Doves, Lonely Island, Dailey & Vincent, K'naan, Heartless Bastards, Antony & The Johnsons, Flatlanders, Derek Trucks Band, Otis Gibbs

Friday, June 05, 2009

Country History Update

This year 2 Country artists that aren't household names died: Vern Gosdin and Hank Locklin. I've been meaning to pick up a Locklin comp for years and his death made me do just that. I also consulted John Morthland's seminal 1984 Country Music book to see if my Country section needs some beefing up. Surprisingly the answer was no. I'm still missing a few Country names, but that's because there stuff is out of print (which means that the only stuff out there are re-recordings long a fixture in Country).

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Playlist for 6/4

Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime
Ratt - 81/91
Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies
Vision Quest Soundtrack
Ryan Bingham -Roadhouse Sun
Headless Heroes -Silence of Love
Naomi Shelton - What Have You Done My Brother

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sly Stone Alive

In making Summer CD's for a friend, I always came back to "Hot Fun In The Summertime" with its perfect references to being out of school and of course Carney's in the Country sun. Now that's a memory. So, check this very, very rare new interview with Sly Stone at KCRW. The last I read about him was in Vanity Fair last year, so this shows he's still alive and not completely out of his mind. Anymore.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Updating Myself

Sometimes, I feel like I'm neglecting my music listening habits. Especially lately now that I'm researching buying a new laptop. I spent days (months?) doing the same buying 2 HDTV's that replaced my non-HD ones. So, most of my online time has been spent researching a new laptop. But I've been streaming albums, which has helped me avoid buying ones that might be lacking.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Uh Oh It's Summer

Spent the whole day making 2 CDR's of Summer songs for a friend to play at work. Got it up to 48 songs and went back and forth all day wondering if the Cars' "Magic" is really a Summer song or not, despite the fact that it came out in the Summer of 1984 and the first words are about Summer.
Final verdict: I put it on the CD. But I'm still wondering.
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