Friday, September 30, 2011

Buddy Holly

Earlier this month, on the 7th, would have been Buddy Holly's 75th Birthday.  Having died over 50 years ago could make you think he was older, but Holly was only 22 when he died.  Always the great unknown with singers who die young.  What type of music would he have made?  A mystery.  But what a catalog he left behind.  Two new tribute albums came out recently.  None a substitute for Holly's own recordings, but still worth a spin, for remembrance.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ballot

These are my choices, not my predictions.  The Top 11 are ones I want inducted.
Ranked 1 to 15

1.  Spinners - My favorite R&B vocal group of the 70's

2.  Donna Summer - Disco schmisco, she had groundbreaking records, and a glorious run of hits.  And she wasn't just a Disco singer.

3.  Rufus featuring Chaka Khan - Chaka Khan was a powerhouse and a true diva.  Influential on tons of female R&B singers

4.  Small Faces/Faces -  Here's the thing.  If it was just the Small Faces I'd rank them lower but the Rod Stewart era Faces?  You better believe it!

5. War - Mixing it all up:  Rock/Soul/Latin, into a heady groove of great 70's singles

6. Heart -  Big voiced Women singers cite Ann's big voice as an inspiration.  And their best hits still sound good on AOR and even AC stations

7. Guns n' Roses - They should have been better, but they got too big, and flamed. Still lots of great stuff left behind

8.  Donovan -   He crafted some of the best songs during the height of the Summer of Love.  And those songs have held up darn good

9. Beastie Boys - Their 2nd album was the real classic.

10.  Joan Jett & The Blackhearts  - Something tells me I should rank her higher.  But for now this seems right.  Had the market on the tough Rock girl to herself for awhile (only Chrissie Hynde could match her, but Joan rocked harder)

11,. Laura Nyro - There's an influence there, I know,  but she always just misses with me.  Still she did write "Wedding Bell Blues" which is a plus for me

12.  Cure - College Rock pioneers I do realize.  But I prefer the Smiths.

13.  Red Hot Chili Peppers - Great rhythm section hampered by humdrum lead singer.  Like their singles more than their albums

14.  Eric B. & Rakim - They should have stuck with LL Cool J.   Not to be dismissive though.  These guys did make some great Hip Hop records, but this is their first time eligible and they are already nominated.  Too soon.

15.  Freddie King - I wonder why Albert King can't get nominated.  I liked him better than Freddie.  No check that.  I like Stevie Ray Vaughan better than both.   Clapton and Stevie Ray cite him as an influence, so let's give him credit,   but Albert and Stevie Ray were better.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2012 Rock Hall Nominee Reaction

There are things we now know:
Before Stevie Ray gets nominated, the NomCom's want to make sure they haven't overlooked any other Blues names.  First Freddie King, next could be Albert King.  But that doesn't mean that Stevie Ray won't get a nomination in the near future, just that the NomCom is holding off on him.  Probably because they know he'll go in right away.

They really want Donovan in.  I bet he came close last year.
So far the anti-Disco voters have done a good job of keeping out anyone in that genre.  This year the great Chic couldn't get nominated, which is good, because 2 disco names were cancelling each other out.  They are high on Donna Summer.

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan is a nod to funk?  I'm thinking so.
Someone brought up the Spinners at the NomCom table and everyone said the same thing, "They aren't in yet?".  If they don't make it, I hope they don't turn out to be a one-ballot wonder. There is support out there amongst voters for them.

Dipping their toes into College Rock, the come up with the Cure first.  Which means the Smiths or Depeche Mode will be next to be nominated.  I'd lump critic fave Sonic Youth in with those 3 as well, but they are deeper than the College Rock genre.

LL Cool J takes a seat this year in favor of Eric B. & Rakim.  But are there enough critics and fellow inductees who even know their music?

Heart and Joan Jett  mean that the Hall paid attention to their own Women in Rock exhibit this year.  Heart seems like another name that is hard to believe hasn't been nominated before.

The Small Faces/Faces is of course the most interesting.  Two bands that share members, but not the same sound.  Here's my personal take.  The Small Faces would be a No for me, but the Rod Stewart era Faces are a big Yes.  Very influential.  Buy their box set if you don't think they were one of the early 70's top bands.

Oh, and what the heck.  We also know that they really, really, really want the Beasties, Chili Peppers and Laura Nyro inducted.  But the voters have balked so far. I kind of wish one of these would get in this year, to free up space for others.

The overlooked list remains high.  Yep, the usual outcry over lack of Prog/Metal.  Sometimes I think the NomCom's love to give the finger to all the Rush fans out there.  You can just hear some of them saying, "we'll nominate them when we damn well please, so until then, f___off!".
And there is still a backlog of highly important names beyond the field of Prog/Metal.

And no, it's never to early to look ahead to next year.  The most probable nominees that stick out are Public Enemy, NWA and Jane's Addiction.  There are others, but I don't see them getting on the ballot as fast as these names.

I've already noted that no 50's R&B/Pop/Act is nominated this year.  I thought the "5" Royales would get a nod.  Maybe they are moving the goal posts on what an Early Influence is?

Playlist for 9/28

Glen Campbell - Ghost on the Canvas
Roxy Music - s/t/ For Your Pleasure
Jay Z/Kanye West - Watch The Throne
Jeff Bridges - s/t
Pistol Annies - Hell on Heels
Sunny Sweeney - Concrete
Robert Ellis - Photograph

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The VMA's are a trudge to get through.  It's taken me this long to write about them.  They bore me, but the public tunes in.  It gets huge ratings.  I flipped past all the performers I'm tired of seeing:  Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kanye/Jay Z, Foo Fighters, Chris Brown and the show went by much faster. The only ones that stuck out were Adele and Bruno Mars.  Did Adele win anything?  No worries.  She'll win everything at the Grammy's.
Adam Levine is right about one thing.  MTV is not a video channel.  Hasn't been for years.  But he's wrong about whether they have the right to broadcast a music awards show.  They do, just as much as CBS and broadcast networks do with the Grammy's and others.
Let's face it, no one cares about who wins these things.  The Grammy's are the only ones that carry weight.  This show exists for artist exposure only.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sly Stone

He lives out of a car.  A neighbor gives him a meal and a shower.  This is how it ends for a groundbreaking genius?  It can when you squander all your talents.  Drugs chewed up his royalties.  Fast living chewed 'em up too.
But Sly says he's got 100's of songs stored away.  But won't let anyone hear them because the biz is corrupt.  He's an addict who says he'll quit but never does.  Are these songs any good?  Who knows.
You want to feel sorry for the guy, but you can't.  He threw it all away.  And when people were there to help, he threw them away too.
But the old songs, we'll always have the old songs.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Americana and the Rock Hall

Another genre the Rock Hall will one day have to address is Americana.  Reaching its peak in the last decade, it really took off in the early 90's when Lucinda Williams, Uncle Tupelo, Jayhawks and Steve Earle, to name some, brought the format out of the woods and into Radio formats and Modern Country music covers.
The biggest names of the bunch are Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle.  I'm surprised that the NomCom hasn't given Earle a deeper look.  He's been pretty great since his Guitar Town debut in 1986, he's a critic fave and an artist fave.  Outside of Lucinda, he's the most famous of the genre.

We now know that Lucinda got a look by the NomCom's, and I'd have no problem with her.  Much the same as Earle she's a favorite of many.
But I really wonder why Emmylou Harris hasn't gotten a closer look.  She was Americana before Lucinda.  Oh well, at least she's in the Country Hall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Own Rock Hall Wish List: Thoughts

I was thinking that maybe that list of my own Rock Hall wannabes was way too long.   But then I thought, not really, because the Rock Hall really is missing some important names.
Some voters, and even a Rock Hall NomCom member (Robert Hilburn), think that the Hall has too many inductees.  And that once you've inducted the legends, you're left with, well, leftovers.  But my feeling is that what the Rock Hall has included as "Rock" has so many branches:  Gospel, R&B, Hip-Hop, Country, Jazz, Pop, etc., that there are bound to be a bunch of names left in the dust that should be considered.  If all the Hall did was just plain Rock acts and none of the other genres that I mentioned, then yeah, we could complain that too many sub-standard names are being considered.  So, I feel comfortable including lots of intriguing names.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Playlist for 9/19

Lou Ann Barton - Old Enough
Al Stewart - Time Passages
John Denver - Windsong
Stray Cats -Built For Speed
Chic - s/t
Beach Boys - Friends/20/20

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I see where Aersomith's Columbia output from the 70's to mid 80's is now available on Itunes.  What??  They weren't there before?  I love these people who won't put there stuff on Itunes because of some stupid rule about wanting people to buy there whole albums.  Blake Shelton tweeted about not finding Garth Brooks and Kid Rock on Itunes and asking them if they knew it was 2011.
AC/DC, the Bee Gees and others are still MIA from the internet age.  But Bob Seger is finally putting his stuff on Itunes.  Welcome to 2011, sir.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2012 Rock Hall Predictions

Now that the NomCom has met to pick their 2012 Rock Hall  nominees, its prediction time.  I'm usually better at predicting who will get inducted than who will get nominated.
But I'll give it a try.  I'm picking 15 names, and in no order.  Only one first time eligible is a shoo-in this year, Guns 'N Roses.   Reminder this isn't who I want to get nominated, but who the NomCom will nominate. I'm also picking a ton of repeats from last year.

Guns 'N Roses
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Donna Summer
Deep Purple
LL Cool J
Bon Jovi
Joe Tex
Gram Parsons
"5" Royales
Joe Cocker
Joan Baez
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Among the names I debated the most that aren't here:   Donovan, Beastie Boys, Johnny Burnette,  KISS, Randy Newman, J. Geils Band, Willie Nelson, Sonic Youth, Roxy Music, Laura Nyro, Chuck Willis, Neville Brothers, Eurythmics, Cat Stevens, Sting, War.   Would not be surprised to see some of these on the NomCom's ballot.

Just not enough slots to get them all in.  Every year I have a weird feeling the NomCom's are going to throw in an odd name I've forgotten about (last year was Donovan and Dr. John).

Funny how all the NomCom members are so tight-lipped about the whole nominating process.  Even when the nominees are announced, the Rock Hall must have made them sign some sort of secrecy clause, because you can't get these people to open up about what went down in the annual meeting.  Only former members will speak up.  But tracking them down is a pain.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hall Nomination Process

The Rock Hall Nominating Committee met yesterday to discuss their nominees for 2012.  This is sort of a secret society.  Most of the members don't want to discuss what goes on in this meeting.  The only ones who are willing to talk are former members.
It's like the Hall told these guys to sign a confidentiality pact.  I've tried to get Roy Trakin and Claudia Perry to fess up, but get blank replies.
Why is this?  Why is the Hall so secretive about the whole nomination process.  Even the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which has a similar process, let's their members speak up.
My feeling is that if word gets out that some members are biased against, oh, Prog Rock or Metal, that it will be bad publicity for the Hall's nomination process.
Still, I find it amusing that they won't let these people speak up.
Also, let's think about how some of this is done.  We know that West Coast members like Robert Hilburn don't attend the meeting.  Hilburn said he submits his choices and that's that.  Roy Trakin, as well.
So, is the actual arguing over who gets nominated done by only a select few?
Those of us who have watched over the Hall always want answers.
It would be nice to get more than blank stares.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I dropped by a Borders on 9/11, ten years ago to pick up the new Dylan album Love and Theft.  Can't remember if I went home and listened to it though.   Over the speaker system they were playing the news reports.  Even in these moments, music unites us, soothes us, brings us together.    Never thought for a second that things would change that day.  We'd go after the killers and that would be it.  But 2 War zones?  And a stripping of American values, that let it be known that anyone who spoke out against a corrupt administration would be blacklisted?
Still, I think about the music,  Because there were tribute concerts and a TV special.  Everyone rose to the moment.  Early on everyone was as one.  One America.  Now 10 years later.  You decide.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Playlist for 9/8

Gary Clark Jr.  - Bright Lights
Frank Sinatra - Waterfalls
Kenny Wayne Shepherd - How I Go
Harry Nilsson - Ariel Ballet
Cat Stevens - Catch Bull At Four
Dan Fogelbert - Home Free

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Playlist for 9/1

Pat Metheny - What's It All About
John Hiatt - Dirty Jeans
Now 39
Amy Winehouse - B-Sides
Neil Young - Old Ways
Eric Church - Chief
They Might Be Giants - Join Us
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