Monday, November 30, 2009

Playlist for 11/30

Adam Lambert - For Your Entertainment
Susan Boyle - I Dreamed A Dream
Shakira - She Wolf
Bob Dylan - Christmas In The Heart


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Adam Lambert's Staying Power?

Adam Lambert will sell performances, but not records. The AMA's proved that. I thought that he was brilliantly over-the-top. He won't get much airplay, either. Unless, he puts out a power ballad, which is possible. That's not a bad thing. Performance is where the money is, and for a former American Idol, very key. He's too polarizing a figure to get mainstream play, but I see him selling out concerts. Let's hope he doesn't get neutered. Be outrageous, Mr. Lambert. It suits you better.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dylan's Ho Ho Ho

You never know with Bob Dylan. There's not much humor in his Christmas album. It's all played pretty safe. But there is something going on. It's Dylan, it's a Christmas album. Come on, he's winking at us with a sly smile. Christmas In The Heart may not replace your old Nat King Cole or Elvis albums, but it's better than expected. Tossed off in his usual recorded manner, Dylan sounds better here than he did on his last studio album. It's all for charity, but as someone who doesn't buy many Christmas albums anymore, it's a welcome addition.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ugly Things

Over 200 pages and only published twice a year, but well worth the wait. Ugly Things is more like a bookzine than magazine. I can't recommend it enough. Mostly articles on Garage rock bands of the 60's, but the review section veers off that path. Regardless, you'll find yourself interested in the fate of these groups that few outside of this magazine have heard of.
Ugly Things Web Site

Thursday, November 26, 2009


One of the sites I check daily has changed editors and things aren't the same. Idolator was full of good humor and good comments. But now it seems like nothing more than amateur hour. Maybe it will get better. New editors need time to get their footing. But if it doesn't, count me among the many who have already bolted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Janet and Madonna

Janet Jackson's Number Ones arrives at just the right time. A double CD that is pretty exhaustive, it shows that Janet, despite not being blessed with much of a voice, knew how to craft crossover hits, at least until the last part of the disc. It's here that Janet loses her pop smarts, but by sifting out the dull parts of her recent records and sticking to the best ones, at least she's listenable. Like Madonna's 2 Disc Celebration, and another singer who used to have pop smarts to back up a so-so voice, Jackson's Number Ones, is strongest when going for Top 40 gold. Janet turned out to be more than Michael's kid sister. She turned out, like Madonna, to have influenced a whole set of women R&B/Pop singers. Both compilations should indeed be celebrated.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey CD's

I used to buy more CD's and vinyl, but I'm smarter now. Back then, if someone was near the top of the charts, I'd buy their record. Good or bad reviews. I don't do that anymore. So, I'd love to list the worst albums I've bought this year, but even the ones that don't cut it were just average. It might be the Dennis DeYoung solo one from Rounder, that tried to replicate the sound of Styx, but missed by a mile. But that was a promo, so I don't feel too bad about having wasted an hour hearing it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Playlist for 11/23

Janet Jackson - Number Ones
John Mayer - Battle Studies
Norah Jones - The Fall

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sesame Street

A happy 40th birthday to Sesame Street. What were the first musical sounds you've ever heard? If you were born in 1969 or later it's probably stuff from Sesame Street. I was born earlier, but I remember watching the show when it first appeared. And my son also watched it when he was born in the early 90's.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Best Soul Albums Of 70's

I love finding lists that you would never see in a Rolling Stone or any other major Internet music website. There was that worst Country singles of 2009 one. And now this one
The Greatest Soul Albums of All Time! SoulTracks - Soul Music Biographies, N

I've never heard of the website, and I love 70's Soul. It's a debatable list, but all lists are that way. Anyway, it's worth looking at.

Friday, November 20, 2009

TV Update

I stole this idea from, gulp, Robert Hilburn. But rest assured it's not a musical one. No, on his website he lists his favorite TV shows. I don't think I've every attempted to do this. There aren't as many as I thought. I do watch TV, but not all day, and while I'll sample something, if it doesn't resonate, I move on. Anyway, below are TV shows I do watch weekly, sometimes even daily. These are shows that were on in 2009.

True Blood, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Big Love, Bored To Death, Flight of the Conchords, Amazing Race, Jon Stewart Show, Glee, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, 30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Mentalist, Californication, Dexter, Inside the NFL, Heroes, Fringe, Hell's Kitchen.

There might be others, but that's solid for now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hall & Oates Box set

I'm late on this, but my favorite compilation this year was a box set. I don't buy that many anymore, but the Hall & Oates one was too good to pass up. The best thing are the song-by-song liner notes. Disc 1 is an eye-opener, all the hits are here, and frankly how the most successful duo in pop history can not even be considered for the Rock Hall is disgusting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Johnny Mercer

TCM's special on Johnny Mercer, The Dream's On Me, is a welcome reminder of not only a great lyricist but a pretty damn good singer as well. In fact my Capitol Collector's compilation on Johnny Mercer has him singing other people's songs and sounding very smooth. Mercer would have been 100 today. He died in 1976 at the age of 67. But time has finally elevated his name with the Cole Porter's and Hoagy Carmichael's. This is a must see special.

Johnny Mercer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Billboard's Album Chart

Billboard is now adding Catalog titles to its Top 200 albums. Before if an album older than 18 months dropped off the top 100 it got sent to the the catalog chart and never returned to the big one. But with Michael Jackson's death, and the repeated viewings by the public that he had the best selling album in the country, they changed their mind. It got confusing for people to hear that Jackson's Number Ones was indeed #1 but only on a minor chart. Now that will be rectified. And its a smart call. With newer albums not selling as much, catalog titles should compete with them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Playlist for 11/16

Flight of the Conchords - I Told You I Was Freaky
Swell Season -Strict Joy
Chrisette Michele - Ephiphany
Nirvana - Live at Reading
Weird Al Yankovic - Essential
Kris Kristofferson -Closer to the Bone
They Might Be Giants -Here Come the 123's
Avett Brothers -I and Love and You

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Long Lost English Music Magazines

Pictures of Music magazines of yesteryear - Photos - NME.COM

In England they've lost more music magazines then we have. This is a sobering picture gallery of long lost music mags, all but one English. I remember seeing most of these at Tower and later on Borders.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How the Rock Hall Works

I wish there was a link to this article on Rolling Stone's website, but I can't find it. Anyway, in the November 26 issue, the one devoted to the 25th anniversary concerts of the Rock Hall, Nominating Committee member Anthony DeCurtis wrote a piece called, How Do You Get Into The Hall of Fame? Sounds juicy, but the piece itself rehashes stuff we already know. How does the NomCom meet, and what does Steven Van Zandt think about all this? We know he's the one pushing the 50's and 60's artists, and wants more early artists inducted. It's not until the final 1/3 of it that we get some juicy information.

Why only 5 inductees? Because Jann Wenner says so. Add more inductees? "I've had to be the curmudgeon and say no," and he says "there are plenty of years coming up. We're trying to do this for the history books. It can't be a popularity contest."

Most of the quotes are from Jon Landau, head of the nominating committee.
Among them: criteria for induction? : "a mix of quality and influence", and "we have artists with mass appeal, and artists with a very narrow audience."

What about these committee members? Landau says, "It's not a group that can be easily swayed or intimidated." Landau also says he has tried to bring more women, minorities and younger people onto the committee. (as the article says most of the nomcom consists of white men between 40 and 60 years of age).

The closing quote from Landau is also of interest. About the Hall's signifigance today he says, "The Hall of Fame has its critics, there are people who disdain it for a variety of reasons, and I've heard them all. But I've also heard artists walk into that induction ceremony and just say, Wow. The Hall of Fame is a big place, physically and emotionally. Some artists feel underappreciated by it and knock it. At the same time, it's obvious how much they'd like to be in there."

The CMA's

George Jones recently said that what's on Country radio now should be re-named, because it sure ain't Country. He might be right. Today's Country singers have grown up with MTV, and so have today's Music City executives. Looks and packaging. Back in the mid-70's Nashville traditionalists got ticked off at the CMA's for giving awards to John Denver and Olivia Newton-John. So, the fight against "outsiders" invading the purity of the Nashville Golden era will go on until the last of that first generation has passed.
No, Taylor Swift isn't any more Country than Shania Twain. Darius Rucker's album sounds like a Hootie one with steel guitars. But I don't agree completely with Jones. There is the Golden era sound in some of Brad Paisley's stuff, or Miranda Lambert's. But like I said it's all been processed to sell beyond Nashville to a younger audience. Maybe George Jones fans like Taylor Swift more than he thinks they do. But the days of Hard Country getting any chart action, save for a fluke hit single, will never come back. To hear this stuff you have to go outside of the major labels and find Indie artists.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Have A Nice Decade

The past week I've been immersed in making CD-R's for a friend who just bought an Ipod. He wanted cheesy 70's stuff, so that's where my head's been. All the while I got up to 7 CD's, nearing 150 songs. But after giving them away I kept thinking about all the lost revenue from these artists and their songs. Well, mostly I was thinking about how some of these one hit wonders aren't on any Itunes or Amazon site, but can be easily had on free sites.
I thought about this, until I realized that I paid my own hard-earned money for these songs. So, now I don't feel bad after all.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Worst Country Singles

50 Worst Country singles of the 00's

This is just a blogger's opinion, but he kind of gets the Country decade about right. There were just as many awful Country songs charting as Pop ones. I'm just surprised that he didn't put any Big & Rich or Cowboy Troy songs on it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

End of the 00's List

I've got 26 solid contenders for a best of 00's albums list. My singles list is twice that, but that's usually the case with me. I'll narrow the singles one down, and the album one might get trimmed. But I'm pretty happy with my picks. Don't think I've missed too much, but there will be more decade's over lists to come, so things might change.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Playlist for 11/9

Foo Fighters - Greatest Hits
Carrie Underwood - Play On
Now 32
Michael Jackson - This Is It

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Quick Book Update

Wish I could tell you I spend all my time reading books, but I don't. All of these were generous promos, mostly from the good folks at Da Capo who continue to put out great music books.

Phish the biography - Parke Puterbaugh
Best Music Writing 2009 - Greil Marcus, Daphne Carr
He Is ...I Say - David Wild
Corn Flakes with John Lennon - Robert Hilburn

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Defining Rock

Speaking of defining "Rock", which is what most Rock Hall haters have, even long time critics can't figure it out. Paul Grein in this column Chart Watch Extra: Soundtracks That Rock - Chart Watch has as much trouble as the haters. After reading it I wonder why not just include everyone under the same umbrella?

Friday, November 06, 2009

This Is It

After watching This Is It, I was reminded of the 1977 CBS TV Special broadcast a couple of months after Elvis died. Fat and uninterested and going through the motions, Elvis had given up.
You don't get that feeling with Michael Jackson. Whether he would have made it through a 50 show run is up for speculation, but the show promised to be exactly what he said it would: the end. How would he have been able to top what was to be a gigantic spectacle?
Michael, being a pro that he was, didn't just leave things up to Kenny Ortega, but he was more involved than we thought. He looks thin, and the voice needed to be saved, but there is no question that this wasn't a man who had given up on life or music.
The best thing This Is It does is bring the music back to Michael Jackson's legacy. For that it's a fitting farewell.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Playlist for 11/5

Rod Stewart - Soulbook
Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg
Joss Stone - Colour Me Free
Mojo Nixon - Frenzy, Root Hog or Die, Bo-Day-Shus

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


After listening to the Beatles Stereo Box, I can tell you that McCartney and Lennon were equal parts genius. But that hasn't stopped the revisionists from claiming that it was Lennon who was the genius and McCartney, well the sometimes gifted pop melody maker, but ultimately sometimes too cloying for his own good, partner.
Twice in October I read stuff like this. One from Revisionist Rock Classics SONIC BOOMERS and the other from Tom Hull who runs Robert Christgau web site. Lennon's death has a lot to do with this. But so do the songs. McCartney had the love songs and Lennon had the deep thoughts. But if people would listen they would hear it differently. But revisionism is a wicked sword.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I'll Go Crazy

Arghh! If I see one more article about how the "Rock" in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been hijacked by Jann Wenner I'll go crazy. Here's an example of what I've been seeing The Daily Swarm - Why The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Is Bullshit... An awful post with the usual "why is Disco and Rap nominated, when they aren't Rock and Roll"?
I'm not going to get in to what the Hall's original board meant when they named the building. But it's one of the few things I agree with them on. The "Rock" in Rock and Roll is a large umbrella.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Big Over There

One other thing I should add about this web site Pop FreakyTrigger that is counting down every #1 hit in England (they are in 1985 now) is how many names were big over there that did much of nothing here. If these names ring a bell to you than you get extra credit: Shakin' Stevens, Jennifer Rush, Midge Ure. Even a name like Cliff Richard is less known in the States. As the countdown continues there will be more odd names. But I'm sure some of our names would be foreign to them.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mojo Nixon

Last week you could download the whole Mojo Nixon for free at Amazon's MP3 page. A great idea, but a strange one for an artist like Nixon who was a cult artist and could use every penny that a regular download can conjure. Nixon is now a DJ on Sirius, and all his albums went out of print years ago. But if you went to his website you could buy them. Still, I downloaded 3 albums and felt kind of guilty about it. But then I thought about how hard I looked for these for years, gave up, and how they've now reappeared. And I don't feel guilty considering the hard work I put in. Sorry Mojo, but thanks for the freebie's.
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