Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones

A big FU to the snobs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for not inducting or even nominating the Monkees as of this date.

My sister bought the .45 of "Daydream Believer" in 1967.  And it was part of her Record collection for ages.  Growing up, I played it, and others, many times.  But it got beaten up.  She didn't take care of her singles.  Scratchy, poppy, but I kept playing it, until I got older and bought a Monkees Greatest Hits album.
Davy Jones had other great songs with the Monkees, and obits are already picking out the deepest cuts.  But "Daydream Believer" was their biggest hit, his greatest moment, and my favorite Monkees record.

Time and their music has been good for the Monkees.  Since they dropped off the charts in the late '60's, they've finally been given credit by critics for what they were:  a great Pop group.  Sadly, the bozos at the Rock Hall don't see it that way.  To them the old sentiments about the Monkees still prevail:  too fabricated, a cartoonish TV group, didn't play their instruments, didn't write their hits and worse, just another teen idol that faded fast.

But the music endured.  The fans kept coming to see them.  Even as late as last year, with or without Mike Nesmith.

The death of Davy Jones doesn't mean the other members won't still play the hits in concert, billed as the Monkees, but without his effervescent stage presence, they will be missing a key heart to the group.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Curious Conspiracy?

I'm not a big conspiracy buff, but I noticed I got UnFriended on Facebook by Rock Hall Publicity person Todd Mesek and Robert Burke Warren at around the same time.   Warren is the one that  posted on Facebook that the  Crickets, Comets & Midnighters were to be inducted.  He was writing the bio's  for the induction book on those 3 acts.   In other words, the perfect source.

Maybe they both just didn't like me, or like my "How I Scooped the Rock Hall" article that I posted on this blog. Maybe Mr. Mesek got his feeling's hurt.  Although I was very nice to him (now I believe too nice) in that article.   But the timing of it is so peculiar.

Mr. Mesek is the smooth-talking Pub guy who told me that the 3 acts that Warren said are going in might not be inducted at all this year, so I should pull my post.  I knew he was full of it, and Warren backed up my follow-up posts about their eventual induction.

My blog post about the 3 acts getting inducted was up at my site for only a few hours.  But I did not pull the post because I thought I was going to get free goodies from the Hall, or that I bought Mesek's B.S. about how those acts might not even be inducted or because I thought I was wrong.  No I pulled it as a favor to the Rock Hall.  In other words, let them make their announcement first, and then I would explain my role second. But now I believe that was all a mistake.  I think being a nice guy backfired this time.  

I'm kind of sad that Warren has unFriended me.  Maybe he read my blog post, and also didn't like what he read.  My recent email's to him have gone unanswered as well.  Guess he's blacklisted me, or something.   That's unfortunate.  But he was the one who posted it.  So why blame me.  I wasn't the only one who read that post, because  it was up for most of the morning and early afternoon.

Mesek is another story, and here's why.                                                                                                          He said if I pulled my story, he would offer Induction Ceremony tickets. But after the Hall made their official announcement, all he had for me was mugs, t-shirts and tickets to the Hall, but no induction ones.  I turned it all down, but what he Hell, I might have gone for the Induction tickets.  But a mug or t-shirt, huh?  Yeah, um, whatever.  

So, I thought I was being very cordial to Mesek & Co.
But now I feel duped.
And I should have stuck to my original story that was backed up by Warren.

Mr. Mesek should know that if not me, than others, will continue to find ways to scoop the Hall, and continue to criticize its millions of shortcomings.
There are many more Tom Lane's out there.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Playlist for 2/26

Raydio - s/t & Rock On
David Guetta - Nothing but the Beat
Weeknd -House of Balloons
Roberta Flack -  Sings the Beatles
Van Halen - Different Kind of Truth

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Musicians & Poltiics

There was a report last week that Dave Mustaine of Megadeth was endorsing a Republican for President, and not just any Repub, but the Family Values one (notice I refuse to say the name of the guy, who I find repugnant).

This got a lot of people going about how they now hate Mustaine, who actually endorsed a Repub in 2004 and 2008, or couldn't figure out how a Metalhead could like a GOP candidate anyway.

Outside of the fact that I never gave a crap about Mustaine or Megadeth, and wonder why anyone would care about his political viewpoint, sometimes your favorite artists just don't share your political beliefs.  You might think you know where these people are coming from by their music.  Springsteen a Republican?  Okay, that ain't gonna happen.  It's just not part of his lyrics.

But everyone from Neil Young to James Brown has gone against their initial political leanings at some point or another.  Times change, politicians change.  Just don't get too beat up if you and your heroes don't align perfectly in the political universe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NOW Series

BTW- the latest edition of the NOW series came out a couple weeks ago.   That makes 41 volumes.  And I have all of 'em. Those who live in the U.K. might laugh at this, as the series started there, and they just hit #80 last December.  The difference is there NOW's ar 2CD sets and ours are only one.

But that's okay.  I think of these series as the equivalent to Rhino's glorious Super Hits of the 70's compilations.  They stopped at 25, but missed so many one/two/three hit wonders they could have gone to 30 or 40 volumes.

These NOW's are snapshots in time.  And #42 comes out in May?  I'm there.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Playlist for 2/19

Tim McGraw - Emotional Traffic
Wye Oak - Civilian
Dirt Drifters - This Is My Blood
Rumer - Seasons of My Soul
Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More Whitney

Since her death is only a week old, I've been reading some comments from critic's who were pretty dismissive of Whitney's music when she was at her peak.  What I'm seeing is a whole bunch of "she had a great voice, voice of her generation, even if the songs didn't match up" stuff.
But I've got to tell you.  Last Monday Sirius' Heart and Soul channel had an all-day Whitney music-a-thon, and even I was surprised how good her back catalog sounded.  There are duds.  Who doesn't have duds in their catalog?
But the songs have held up.
My wife, who is not a music critic, summed it up best when I told her about this all-day tribute:  "She had good songs".  That should be good enough for everybody.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's A Miracles, etc.

A big thanks to Future Rock Legends for finding the below link:

It's an article about how the Rock Hall has finally given the Miracles, Midnighters and the others mentioned last week their due with an induction nod.

But the quotes in there from members of the Miracles and Midnighters tell the real story.
Little Steven was right when he said that a Hall nod means more to the artists of the 50's/60's than it does to the later generation ones.  These artists didn't make the money that they made.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grammy's 2012

It was a long show.  3 1/2 hours.  Problem is that the Grammy Producers didn't know how to end it.  On and on it went.  It's huge rating (2nd highest ranked ever behind 1984's show aka Michael Jackson Thriller party), boosted by the death of Whitney and maybe  by those who wanted to hear if Adele can still sing.

The performances?    There were train wrecks:  Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, that dance thing at the end of the show, Paul McCartney the crooner, Foo Fighers, Dave Grohl's electronic music isn't Rock & Roll spiel and many more.
There might have been good moments:  Adele, Glen Campbell, Bonnie Raitt & Alicia Keys.    But they got upstaged by those annoying over-the-top performances.

Boy, did I long for a decent Jazz,  Latin, Classical or Opera moment.

Too many people got to sing new songs that had nothing to do with what they were nominated with.  And whoever green-lighted Chris Brown getting 2 slots should be fired.

But as has already been reported, the only way to watch these live Awards shows is through Social media.  I had a great time following the show through Twitter.  Facebook wasn't that great for it.  So, when you watch the Oscars do it through Twitter.  It makes the long, laborious task a lot easier if you can laugh along at all the stupid excess.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Behind Closed Hall Doors

John Soeder of the Cleveland Plains Dealer is right in his piece about the Hall's Nominating Process:

It does seem like the Hall is as he put it "magically" inducting people out of the blue.  Leon Russell, the Crickets, Comets, etc., Freddie King.
I wonder if this is going to be a new trend.  And if it is, it is indeed troubling.  King was on the ballot, but he apparently didn't get enough votes.  So, presto, let's call him an early influence and see if anyone cares or notices.
Well, people did notice.  Now I believe Russell would have gotten voted in, but still, if he can get in on something called Musical Excellence, than why can't the forever nominated Chic or how about a real pioneer like Gram Parsons?

I don't think this is the last of the special committees that the Hall is creating.  As people begin to speak up more and more about missing acts, the Hall will get nervous about who is missing.
Speaking ups a good thing, but the Hall needs to come clean about voting totals, voters and nominating committee members.  And stop this foolishness about how revealing those names will mean those people will get hounded from Rush and KISS fans.
We all know who's on the Football Hall of Fame's voting committee, why does this Hall continue to shroud its selection process in a thick coat of mystery?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney's Wide-Ranging RIP's

Interesting to see the wide range of RIP's for Whitney Houston.  I saw tweets and Facebook messages from Rockers, Alt-Rockers, Pop acts, Country acts, Jazz acts, actors, sports figures, politicians.

Re: the non-Pop/R&B acts that responded to he death.  You'd be surprised how diverse one's record collection can be.  Just because a Rock act doesn't play R&B doesn't mean that at some point in their life they haven't been impressed by someone's voice talent not in their genre.

When a Whitney or Etta or Amy Winehouse die you will see a ton of RIP's crossing all genres.  I guess artists aren't as diverse in their tastes as the rest of us.

Playlist for 2/12

Craig Finn - Clear Heart Full Eyes
Seal -  Soul 2
Sonny Rollins - Road Shows Vol. 1 &2
Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas
Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming
Chimes of Freedom - Dylan Tribute
Ringo Starr - 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney & Her Critics

She was never a critic favorite.  While they respected her instrument, they didn't like her songs. The arguments were that a s a Black woman she should have sung more R&B less Pop.  Clive Davis has hamstrung her with sappy ballads and limp dance numbers.  And she's another singer with a Golden voice singing crappy songs.   It wasn't until the early '00's , just as her career & personal life was starting to hit bumps, that I noticed she was getting better reviews for her music.

I'm looking at the 4th edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide (the last one they put out) and the Houston discography is reviewed by J.D. Considine pretty harshly.  Except, for her last 2 albums up until the early 00's  (this guide was published in 2004, Houston's last album was in 2009).  Harsh, because I believe that Houston's first 2 albums stand up, her 3rd doesn't, the My Love Is Your Love from '98 is very good indeed,  and I like her Bodyguard songs better than the stuff on her '00 albums.

She could also do with a better Greatest Hits album than the one released in 2000, which was padded out with too many new songs and remixes, and misses some hits and album cuts.

Oh, and we know that the Rock Hall has previously considered her, and frankly I'm not even going to guess how long it will be before she gets another look by the NomCom.  They aren't big on 80's female R&B singers (ask Janet Jackson).   But Whitney was more influential than Janet, even if Janet made better albums.  So, it's anybody's guess if she'll ever get in.

Whitney Houston

As much a tragic death as Amy Winehouse.  But at least Houston got a chance at making a comeback.  Yet the last 10 years of her music career was a strange mix of bad concerts and one decent comeback record in 2009.   She had a movie in the works, so who knows what would have come of her latest comeback.

But, oh, what a run she had from the mid-80's to the late 90's.  A powerful voice, who turned about to be one of the most influential singers of her generation..

When I think of Whitney Houston, I think of my favorite song of hers, "How Will I Know".  It's off of her first album, and in the video she looks so young and vibrant, and just letting loose with that powerful, golden instrument of a voice.  That's how I will remember her.  And I believe like other tragic deaths like Winehouse, Elvis, Michael Jackson, that ultimately that will be how we all will remember her.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rock Hall "Scoopgate" Update

"Scoopgate" lives, but it's coming to an end.  After reading my blog post, Todd Mesek did email me.  And I thank him for keeping his word, although posting on his Facebook page was probably what did it.  Regardless.   But it was interesting what he wrote to me.  Todd said my initial "scoop" post was incomplete and that releasing partial info was the same as putting out incorrect info.

I kindly disagree Sir.  My information may not have been complete, BUT it was accurate.  All I posted was that I had info on 3 names.  In the end, I knew I would be right.  The source was too strong.  I was right, the source was right and the 3 names were inducted.  As I knew they would be.  

And besides, had the Hall not inducted those 3 names, I would have went higher (Plains Dealer perhaps) with my story, and it would have been about how these groups got screwed.  I'm glad that never happened.   

But it was not incorrect information that I posted.  And Todd & Co. knew that.  

I know some of you who write for magazines or newspapers or website blogs might think Todd has a point.  But in my defense, I did check and double check with my source.                                                    

Hell, if I wasn't right, then why would they contact me?

I should say that some things the Hall tries to keep secret are comical.  And Joel Peresman needs to know this as well.  Keeping the NomCom members names from the public is foolish, when we already know 99% of these names.  In the last 2 years, I've found 2 of these names.  By accident of course  (ha, ha).   And when some of these people have already come forward and defied whatever rule of silence is shown them (despite Joel telling Eddie Trunk there is no such thing), and talk about their NomCom experience, then my favorite word has to be used again: silly.

Did you know that the names of all the voters for the Baseball and Football Hall of Fame can be easily found.  

I'm also worried about hiding the final vote totals from the public.  Like any Hall of Fame, these should be revealed, if you want to avoid any whispers of conspiracy, which crop up every year.

And I also think you need to have an outsider's perspective at these yearly NomCom meetings.  While all of the NomCom people may be "fans" of music,  having someone sit in and then report on what they hear would open up the Hall's inner workings and shed a better light on what goes on at these meetings.  No wonder the Eddie Trunk's of the world get so worked up.  They don't know what's going on at these meetings.  Joel can disagree, but the vow of silence is a joke.  And, what the hell, I do indeed nominate me for this job.  

Thursday, February 09, 2012

How I Scooped The Rock Hall (Without Even Trying)

The Rock Hall doesn't like being scooped.  Remember, last December the NY Daily News posted the 2012 Inductees, and then the link was promptly taken down  (although remnants of it remained online).  No, they just don't like it.   Hell, they don't even want us to know who's on the Nominating Committee, even though we already know.

But here's the Good News:
The Comets, Crickets, Miracles, Blue Caps, Famous Flames and Midnighters are in the Rock Hall.  Finally, after waiting forever.

Yet,  I knew this was happening for 3 of these groups long before the Hall announced it.  On January 22, a Facebook friend posted this info on his page.  He should know, he's writing the bio's for the Crickets, Midnighters and Comets for the induction ceremony book.

I posted the info on this Blog & my Twitter page on January 25th.  Before I did, I sent an email to the Rock Hall's publicity address telling them I had this info and would post it.  They said they couldn't confirm my exclusive.
But I felt my source was too good.

After I sent the Hall the email, and had already leaked the info, they asked for  for my phone #.  Rock Hall Director of Communications Todd Mesek called and asked if I would pull my post until they finalize the whole thing themselves.  I said I would, but I wasn't happy about it. Even my Facebook friend said it was no big thing.
Oh, and guess who had to take down their initial post about all this?  Yeah, my source, who went into his page and deleted his post.  Silly?  Pretty much.
And speaking of Facebook, had I not spoken to someone at the Hall, I was going to post it there.  Where it would have made a bigger splash.

I actually kind of feel like I wimped out.  For those of us who follow the Hall, the 3 groups I knew were  getting inducted, even at this late date, was a big deal.  And I knew a lot of my fellow Hall watchers would want to know about this.  That's what I told Todd.  But he said something about how they weren't even sure these groups would get in this year.  But I was skeptical about that, and I knew they were getting in,  but played the good soldier role.

Still, I wonder if I wussed out over the whole thing.  Guess I'm no Woodward & Bernstein.

Now I've got to admit something.  Todd did say that if I pulled my initial post he would offer me something in return.   

Update:  Todd did reach out to me and ask what I was interested in.  

BTW- I must say thanks to Todd's co-worker in the Hall's publicity dept., Margaret Thresher for being kind enough to answer my email questions.

About this Inductee group:
Good for the Hall for getting the Crickets, Blue Caps, Famous Flames, Comets, Midnighters and the Miracles  inducted.  Nearly 25 years later, but they've corrected a big wrong.

Now how about the Belmonts,  E Street Band and Marley's Wailers.  Let's hope they keep doing this until they right all their wrongs.

Final thoughts:
The Hall has known about their initial screw up for a long time.  Dave Marsh alluded to it an email to me.

 Marsh wrote me that this whole backing group episode was a big "fuck-up",  and that this wasn't the first time this subject was brought up.

This type of stuff keeps me interested in the deep workings of the whole Rock Hall process.
And to think that we are just 7 months away from the next set of nominees being announced.

Yet, I still feel like I was duped by the Hall somehow.  As if they won something over somebody.  Maybe next time I do things differently?


Rock Hall To Induct 6 More Artisis

Finally!  It's Official

Below is a press release from the Rock Hall:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces Additional 2012 Inductees

Blue Caps, Comets, Crickets, Famous Flames, Midnighters and Miracles to be Inducted April 14

Cleveland (Embargoed until 12:01 a.m. February 9, 2012) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced today that the Blue Caps, the Comets, the Crickets, the Famous Flames, the Midnighters and the Miracles will be inducted at the 27TH Annual Inductions Ceremony on April 14 in Cleveland. These artists will be included along with the previously announced inductees Beastie Boys, Donovan, Guns N’ Roses, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Small Faces/The Faces, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns.

The induction of these six groups is the result of a special Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee review conducted to identify situations in which groups should be recognized along with the original lead singer inductee.

“These Inductees are pioneers in the development of the music we call rock and roll,” said Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “As part of our mission to recognize the most impactful, innovative and influential artists in rock, the committee brought forth these six groups that belong in the Hall of Fame.”

The six groups, the frontmen which have already been enshrined, will be inducted in Cleveland on April 14, 2012: the Blue Caps (Gene Vincent was inducted in 1998), the Comets (Bill Haley was inducted in 1987), the Crickets (Buddy Holly was inducted in 1986), Famous Flames (James Brown was inducted in 1986), the Midnighters (Hank Ballard was inducted in 1990) and the Miracles (Smokey Robinson was inducted in 1987).

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Playlist for 2/7

Update on Playlist selections:
These aren't albums I particularly recommend, just stuff that I've listened to recently.

Wild Flag - s/t
Martina McBride - Hits and More
Common - Dreamer Believer
Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentleman
Destroyer - Kaputt

Monday, February 06, 2012

Playlist for 2/26

Heartless Bastards - Arrow
Kirk Franklin - Essential
Dan Seals - Very Best of
WOW Gospel 2012
Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom
Now 41

Streaming Under Siege

I'm not a musician, but I've been reading a lot of articles lately about how artists are getting tired of getting nothing from streaming services like Rhapsody, Spotify, etc.  The pennies from they get when those of us who use these sites click on their titles is pretty minuscule.  Some big name acts like Coldplay are keeping their stuff of the sites.
But for us consumers these sites are a godsend.  I've streamed many albums that I was curious about.  By streaming, I've been able to decide whether to buy or not.

So, what's going to happen.  Are labels going to start pulling their product unless they get a bigger slice.  Are more artists?

I've got a weird feeling none of the above is the answer.  But I'm always weary of how the Record Industry is always looking for a way to screw the consumer.

My guess is that streaming rates will rise.  But how much more before they scare off consumers?  Good question.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Madonna at the Super Bowl

Nice to see all the Madonna haters and Twitter and Facebook taking their shots at Madge.  Go ahead, fire away.  You're in the minority.  I thought she was pretty great.  What did you want her to do?  An Unplugged set?  This is the Super Bowl, and we want a spectacle.  And that's what Madonna brought.

Dad 4 Years Later

My hero, my friend, my Dad passed away 4 years ago today.  Although I miss him dearly, I have nothing but happy memories of him.  I miss his sense of humor, his 6PM "what are you doing calls?" and  knowing that he was just around the corner if I needed his help or advice.  I think about him every day, and because of that, you could say he's always with me.

RIP Rocky, I love you,


Thursday, February 02, 2012

KISS Consumer Guide

The above article, which is very Christgauesque was done by Michael Tatum, who I'm friends with on Facebook, and knew his monthly Album guides from Tom Hull - On the Web site.

This is a look at the KISS Discography, well the makeup years,  with grades at the end of each reviews. Much like what Robert Christgau has been doing for years with his Consumer Guide columns.  The problem with this is that this whole column reminds me of Christgau's take on KISS.

Also, Tatum says that he liked KISS as a youngster, but these reviews would make you think he never liked them at all.
I mean, come on!  There's only one  KISS record he would recommend (Dressed To Kill)?  And even that one, gets a snarky sentence at the end of the review.

I'm not KISS fanatic, but like Tatum I have fond memories of enjoying Dressed to Kill, Destroyer, Alive, Rock & Roll Over and Ace Frehley's solo album. Are these albums seminal works?  No, not really, although Alive is a seminal Rock History moment.  But they deserve better grades than they get here.

In other words, I'm not buying this.  I think Tatum does like some of these albums better than the grades he's giving them,  but just doesn't want to go against the critical grain that has plagued KISS with Rock critics for decades.

At  Christgau's (now defunct) Expert Witness site Tatum says his next subject will be an 80's act (see update below).  Some are suggesting Duran Duran, another act Christgau was lukewarm about.  Who knows maybe he'll do Journey, which Christgau hated more than KISS & Duran Duran combined.  I hope not.  It would be nice if Tatum could find an act that he generally likes, but doesn't completely love. At least find someone who's catalog have some titles you can recommend.   Like he says in his opening piece, it's easy to grade albums by the Beatles or Aretha or someone who's made great albums.

But it's also easy to grade albums by people like a KISS or Journey or Chicago or some other act with a big catalog that Christgau didn't like. Hey how about doing one on James Taylor?  Christgau used to blast him in the 70's too.

I was thinking.  I'm no fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and don't care at all for Eminem.  But I would never think of doing a Discography Review of their catalog.  It would be too easy to slam their albums, most of which I never liked to begin with.

I'd much rather do one on a Sonic Youth or PJ Harvey, two Crit-faves  whose records I've sometimes loved and sometimes found overrated.  Maybe hearing their works again might help me find things I've mistakenly missed.

Just a thought for Tatum to think about.

P.S. Michael Tatum eventually did a Smiths Consumer Guide, which was a lot better than the KISS one.

X Factor/Idol Problems

Good for the X Factor to kick off all that dead weight.  Now if only American Idol would dump Randy Jackson, JLo & Ryan Seacrest.  Sure, it's still near the top of the ratings, but after shaking things up last year, it got stale in a hurry this year.  Let's hope that we've seen the last of all the judges (and I'm no fan of Steven Tyler's judging either which gets worse when the show goes live), but this will only happen if people continue to tune out.
I get the feeling that no matter how strong the talent, the show will continue to bleed.  There has to be a major shakeup in store for 2013.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Peace, Love, Soul & Don Cornelius

Soul Train came on right after American Bandstand. And while Don Cornelius did feature R&B acts singing songs that crossed over to the Pop charts, the best part of the show was hearing and seeing acts that didn't make it to Casey Kasem.
This was Cornelius' great contribution to cultural history. Not just music history. He created and produced a show all races could agree on. And he was the perfect host for the times. Always cool, always in control. whereas you felt you could dance like the kids on Bandstand, you knew you couldn't keep up with the Soul Train dancers.
Like I said in my Facebook post, a big FU to the Rock Hall for not inducting him yet.
Add to Technorati Favorites