Monday, November 28, 2011

Soul Train Awards

Watching the Soul Train Music Awards, I wondered why Don Cornelius is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Can anyone tell me why?  There's no excuse for him not to be there, if you know the history of Soul Train and how important it was in bringing R&B into the mainstream through the power of TV.
But then again Quincy Jones has been blacklisted, so maybe they have something against Cornelius too.

Playlist for 11/28

Wynton Marsalis/Eric Clapton - Play the Blues
Rush - Hemispheres
Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials
Van Dyke Parks - Song Cycle
Joe Ely - Musta Notta Gotta Lotta

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly's Songs From the South Vol. 1 & 2 has been re-released and for those who aren't familiar with the Australian Singer-Songwriter its indeed a revelation.  Covering 1985-2007, these 40 songs hit a wide range of topics with a wide range of musical styles.  Kelly never crossed over to the States, but that's what these types of compilations are for.
Artists like Kelly are all over the world.  And they are ripe for rediscovery.  With today's technology, it's easier than ever to do just that.   While I knew his name, I'd never heard much of his music, but this is a solid sampler. 
A good place to start for the curious.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Playlist for 11/20

The Time - Condensate
Miranda Lambert - Four The Record
Vince Gill - Guitar Slinger
Tom Waits - Bad As Me
Pink Floyd - Meddle

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sun, Sun, Sun

The power of Sun Studios still exists.  At least for traditionalists.  Having visited the studio years ago, I can tell you this much.  It's small.  How did so much great music get made in such a tiny space?  But maybe that's why those classic Sun sides have that intimate and airy sound to them.
Two records released last month were recorded there:  Country traditionalist Dale Watson's Sun Sessions and Rockabilly revivalist Chris Isaak's Beyond the Sun.  Watson's is all new music and Isaak's are covers.   They are both good, but Watson's sounds more like something that could have been recorded in the 50's, while Isaak's sounds, well, like a typical Isaak album.
And don't forget John Mellencamp's 2010 album, No Better Than This, which was partly done there.  It too sounds more like the 50's Sun than the Isaak record.
But all 3 are worth hearing, just because it's such a thrill to think that the studio is still there and artists are seeking  it out when they want a taste of how Rock and Roll got started.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Year End

The new releases are coming to an end, and I'm already thinking of what my Top Albums/Singles/Reissues of 2011 will be.
I can tell you that it's been a stellar year for albums, but not much for singles or reissues.

But I should have no problem going Top 20 albums.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Clear Channel

Read this:

It's about Clear Channel getting rid of Local DJ's throughout the Country.  Of course, if you scan the radio dial you would have noticed this already.  We used to know our DJ's.  We felt comforted that they were still there, every day or night, spinning the latest hits, or album cuts or just anything in particular.
But the fractured radio format that started in the mid-80's slowly brought in more technology along with it.  By the time the Internet hit, radio stations started sounding more like Internet streaming channels.

My local favorite, KPIG, which plays mostly Alt-Country with other things thrown in is still hanging in there with DJ's whose voices and names I know.  That's probably why it has such a loyal following.
These other stations?  They come and go, taking with them nothing but memories of the DJ who used to take up that channel location.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Playlist for 11/11

Now 40
Katy B - On A Mission
Dale Watson - Sun Sessions
Dale Watson - Best of Hightone Years
Chris Isaak - Beyond the Sun

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NOW 40

The NOW series has reached 40, here in the U.S.
I have all 40.  It is the modern day version of Rhino's legendary Super Hits of the 70's series, which tapped out at 25 volumes, but should have been longer.
And the closest thing we had to these in the 70's were those K-Tel compilations that I have fond memories of seeing advertised on TV.

If you still believe in the power of the Single, then these Now volumes are to be cherished.  Not every song they put on there is a winner, but there's just enough good ones that make me believe that Top 40 radio will always survive.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Classic Rock AOR Magazine #4

The new issue of Classic Rock Presents AOR is out and, as usual, recommended.  Although the cover story on Slippery When Wet is kind of blah, there are other things in here that you won't find in any other magazine.
The two former lead singers from Toto and Survivor, America and how about something on Franke & The Knockouts?
This is now a bi-monthly, so I hope they don't run out of stuff and drink the well dry.  But for now, I'm keeping up with them.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Weird Al

I know there's people who think Weird Al Yankovic should be in the Rock Hall, but I don't think it will ever happen.  If the Rock Hall was serious about Comedy acts, they would have put in Spike Jones as an Early Influence.

But even Weird Al doesn't think he has a chance.
Below he answered a question from a local newspaper, where Al is giving a concert, about the Rock Hall and the Hollywood Walk of Fame (where he also hasn't been honored)

(Laughs) Well, it's not up to me.  They're probably both long shots.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is probably a longer shot because there's only a small handful of people that get in every year.  And regardless, I think they would have such an uproar if I get in that they would preemptively have to think twice.  Obviously, I would be honored.  Being a realist, I don't ever think it's going to happen.


I like to stream albums before they come out.  Gives me a chance to decide whether to spend my hard earned money on the whole thing or just buy a track or two.  Pre-Internet you couldn't do this.  But now you can, and thanks to sites like and you can stream ahead of release dates.  Some acts even stream their albums on their websites or Facebook.
Every act should do this.  There should be no hiding from online listeners anymore.  Are artists still afraid that someone is going to leak their album before it comes out.  Forget it.  Someone already has.  That's no excuse to not let us hear it before it hits stores.
Last month, Tom Waits let people listen before his new album was released.  But you had to go to his website, sign up for his email list, and then wait for a code to be emailed to you before you could hear it.
Too complicated?  At first I thought so.  But then I went online looking to hear recent albums by Chris Issak and Shelby Lynne and found nothing.  No advance streams.  And I wondered, why?
Everything should be online ready.  Maybe artists don't do this because they want consumers to risk their cash on something up front.  But music consumers have gotten savvy.  If your an Isaak or Lynne, and you  sell little amount of product, shouldn't you let people know that you have an album out there?  These acts make their money off touring anyway.  Stream, stream, stream.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Playlist for 11/3

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
Eddie Floyd - Best of
Shelby Lynne - Revelation Road
James Morrison - Awakening
Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Wow, Coldplay sold 447,000 albums the first week without letting their album be heard through streaming services.  This is a victory?  As someone pointed out, Taylor Swift, Kanye and Lady Gaga sold more their first week with streaming.
Coldplay has a fan base, and may be one of the luckier acts to not need Spotify or Rhapsody to sell their music. Tom Waits' new one isn't on the streamers either.  But like Coldplay he has a solid fan base.  Most likely sells the same amount of copies with each album.  There are always exceptions.
But now I hear that the good old music biz wants to do to these services what the Movie studios are doing to Netflix and Redbox:  hold their hit albums for a month or two.
You know you've got to love these guys.  Dragged their butt on mp3's but now want to punish those of us who stream albums (before we consider buying them) just so they can line their pocket with more money.  The reasons consumers love to stream is they can hear before buying.  Consumers got tired of wasting money on albums with only a couple of good songs on them.
But it looks like the Record Biz wants to turn back the clocks again.  And you know who'll get screwed the most?
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