Saturday, June 30, 2012

Softening My Rock Hall Picks

Man, maybe I'm getting older and softer, but lately I've been endorsing more artists that I used to scoff at for the Rock Hall.
Watching the Laura Nyro presentation at this year's Rock Hall, 2 songs by the 5th Dimension came on, and I stood up and finally realized that while I once swatted away their induction, I now think they made just as many great Pop records as Little Anthony & The Imperials, to name a crossover act.  And besides my Dad used to like 'em.

I used to be lukewarm on the J. Geils Band.   Better live act than recorded one.  But hearing their catalog played on XM's Deep Cuts, I've come around.

Can't believe Motor City native Dave Marsh has never been able to get Mitch Ryder on the ballot.  But if you don't think he was an influential shouter than you haven't heard early Bob Seger and early John Mellencamp.  I was doubtful for years until those guys got inducted.

Last year the Hall nominated the Cure.  I thought the Smiths should have gotten a nod first.  But almost a year later, I shouldn't have placed them so low on my ballot.   A month ago, I went back and listened to some of their early catalog titles and saw how good they were.  Plus, my wife always liked them.   I wonder if the Hall will skip them and go with the Smiths next go-round.  Oh, and I've always supported a Duran Duran nod.

While I'm still wavering back and forth on Classic Rock staples Boston, who turn up on the People's Hall of Fame ballot,  or I've got no problem with Journey.  Damn!  Could you see the comments from the Journey-hating critics if they ever got nominated!    Can't see that happening with the current NomCom, but if I was on it I'd fight for them over Bon Jovi.  Oh, the arguments I could have with Little Steven!  But, while Bon Jovi have been nominated, Journey had better songs and made better albums.  But they are tagged with the dreaded "Corporate Rock"  trademark.  Add Foreigner, also better than Bon Jovi,  to the above statement as well.  BTW- I do support a Bon Jovi induction, just think some from their genre were better.

Moving over to Metal, I'm now on board for Judas Priest, but not Iron Maiden.  And I've always been on board for Motorhead.

Not known as "Corporate Rock", the Doobie Brothers had a great chart run in the 70's, and could sneak on a ballot one year.  This current NomCom, as I stated with Journey, etc., just don't like bands like this.
The same could be said about the Guess Who.  Again, a great singles band.  The Hall could combine them with BTO.  As far as Grand Funk?  Still a no for me, but I like some of their hits.
And while I like a lot of Prog Rock, and still cry every year Yes are left off the ballot, Emerson, Lake & Palmer have always been a question mark.  But they turn up on so many of these snarky "Hated bands ever" lists that this current NomCom just wouldn't go for them.  But I don't think their would be as big a controversy if they got nominated, like their would be with Journey.

A Facebook friend asked me about Bad Company 2 years ago, and I scoffed at his suggestion.  But now I've come around.  Again, XM's Deep Cuts channel has turned me.  Make it easier for us and add Free to the bill and it's a no-brainer.  But Paul Rodgers could be a polarizing figure for some.  Big, brawny, muscular voice bellowing out Classic Rock anthems?  Not the stuff the NomCom goes for.

Say the name Tommy James & The Shondells and some would say "Bubblegum" music.  That's what's keeps him off the ballot I believe.  Once again I've got to say it:  great singles artist.  But I really didn't change my mind until I read his Bio last year.  But, no, I'm still not feeling it for Herman's Hermits.

Still not feeling much about Paul Anka or Pat Boone. Talk about polarizing names!  Can't see them ever getting nominated either.  But say the name Connie Francis and I come alive.  I've heard some chatter about Lesley Gore, but just typing her name makes me shrug my shoulders.  Put her down as someone whose catalog I need to dig deeper into.

In the good-time hits sweepstakes of 60's acts, Gary "US" Bonds is a thumbs up.  But Freddy Cannon and Chubby Checker are still a no.

Speaking of a great singles band, I agree with Philip at Rock Hall Monitors, nominating the Three Dog Night, would not be a bad decision.  They made as many enduring singles as the Hollies.  Again, it's that early 70's era for AM charting acts that this current NomCom can't embrace.

Jimmy Buffett has turned out to be more influential with Country acts than Pop ones.  No surprise there, because his songs have always sounded Country to me, even if he wasn't aiming them at that market.  But with his massive "Parrot Head" following and his continued longevity, I've always expected him to get a nod.

Let me interrupt and state something:  As NomCom members come and go (we hope) in the future, some of these artists could  have a better chance of getting on a ballot.

Okay, so some will use the Sports analogy here.  You either think someone is a Hall of Famer from the get-go or you don't.   But it is indeed possible to soften one's stance on any particular person.  But you have to keep an open mind to other people's suggestions and conversations on an artist.

I'm also not saying that if their were other strong names on a ballot that some of these names might not even make my upper tier in who I'd vote for.

Just saying that if any of the above appear on a ballot, I won't snicker or wave 'em away.  Yep, I think I'm getting soft in my old age.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Playlist for 6/28

Hives - Lex Hives
Carole King - Legendary Demos
Santigold - Master of My Make Believe
Regina Spektor - What We Saw From the Cheap Seats
Neil Young - Americana
J.D. McPherson - Signs and Singnifiers
Sonny Landreth - Elemental Journey
Rodney Crowell/Mary Karr - Kin

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blues Festival

Kept my streak alive, of attending the Monterey Blues Festival.  Didn't go to the Arena shows this year, mediocre lineup.  Stayed with the cheaper entertainment on the side stages, which usually is as good as the main stage, but this year not so much.  But the  crowds were down. And that had to do with ticket prices going up and stage talent going down.   I peaked into the arena and it was hardly filled.  Why were arena acts also playing on the free stages?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Good Timin'

All this Beach Boys nostalgia centered around their 50th Anniversary reunion and I'm starting to see more articles on what are their best songs and albums.

But I've yet to see anyone mention the name of one of my favorite unsung Beach Boys songs.  1979's "Good Timin'", which peaked on Billboard at good old #40 in 1979.  The album it came from, L.A. (Light Album), was forgettable, and this wasn't even the first single ( a disco remake of "Here Comes The Night" was), but this is one of their best singles of the 70's.  It was written years before, but the band found it when recording the album.  It's good. Give it a listen at the link below:

2 good recent articles I've read.  The first by Goldmine's Phill Marder looks album tracks that should have been hit singles:

The other by John Soeder is a straight 50 best songs:  (BTW- Soeder told me "Good Timin'" was #51 on his long list.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What I Read (Print Edition)

Yes, they still print Music magazines that you can subscribe too.  Sometimes, in this digital age, I think I'm the last one who does subscribe to print magazines, as opposed to reading them on a tablet.
Below are the magazines I subscribe too, or order (British magazines).  Notice there aren't any Country magazines listed.  Used to be 2 good ones back in the day:  No Depression and Country Music.  Long gone now.
Other good sources.  Entertainment Weekly's music reviews.  NY Times music section (online).
I do check out a lot of things online, mostly through links from Facebook and Twitter.  It's true though, there's too much music to keep up with.  But I keep trying.

Rolling Stone
Big Takeover
Down Beat
Jazz Times
Ugly Things
Guitar Player
American Songwriter
Blues Revue
Under the Radar

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Playlist for 6/18

Doc Watson - Vanguard Visionaries
Rhett Miller -  Dreamer
Justin Townes Earle -  Nothing's Going To Change
Sara Watkins - Sun Midnight Sun
Anders Osborne - Black Eye Galaxy
Tom Jones - Spirit In The Room

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Today I remember my Dad, Thomas "Rocky" Lane, on Father's Day.  My hero, friend and a larger than life figure not just in my life, but to those who knew him.  RIP Dad.

I've said this before, but thought I'd do it again.  My Dad played a major part in my love of all genres of music.  His 8-tracks and vinyl collection was small but diverse.  It tended toward Pop Vocalists and Country artists, but as I grew up listening to AM Top 40 and then FM Classic Rock, I always had those albums he played as part of life.

Now my own collection includes many of the same people he loved.  Another reason to thank him as much as I can.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Life Is A Highway"

It is for all the truckers on saw on I-40 heading to Florida.  And it was for me for 6 days.  Frankly, if I'm going to travel by ground, and I have to go long distances, I'd like to try doing it by train.  Otherwise, cross-country driving will be my last resort.  I'll stick to flying.

From the coast of Mississippi to parts of Florida, I got caught in the worst downpours I've ever driven in.  On the Monterey Peninsula you might get a handful of those moments a year.  But they soon pass.  Here it was sustainable.  Another reason I hate driving in parts of the Country, where I'm not familiar with the climate.

Yeah, it's good to be back home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Another Poll I voted in.
This time for ABBA.  20 songs ranked.  Was able to vote for solo stuff (and that song from Chess).

 Dancing Queen
Winner Takes it All
Does Your Mother Know
I Know There's Something Going On
Take A Chance On Me
Money Money Money
Name of the Game
I Do I Do I Do I Do
Thank You For The Music
Knowing Me Knowing You
Lay All Your Love On Me
One Night In Bangkok
Gimme Gimme Gimme
When All Is Said and Done
Summer Night City

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Road Goes On Forever"

Some people love to Road Trip.  I saw them while going Cross-Country.  RV loaded and away their off.  But while it was interesting seeing a wide swath of the U.S. (okay mostly Southwest and Southern states), long days behind the wheel just isn't my way of life.

Too many stayovers in Hotels.  Too many pit stops at fast food joints.  Too many stops at never-ending gas  stops.  The goal of my trip from California to Florida was to reach my destination in one week, with pit-stops in New Orleans, the Grand Canyon and Memphis.  Those were the tourist stops.  Everything else was just hotel stops.  We got to Florida a day earlier.  Had to endure a near Hurricane along the Gulf Coast to get there, which I've never driven through, but we made it.

Still, getting on a plane back from Florida to California and being home that same day makes me appreciate air travel even more.  I'll never say never when it comes to road trips. I posted  before that a train ride across some parts of the U.S. interests me.  But another "Six Days on the Road"?   Not high on my bucket list.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Playlist for 6/11

Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick II
Rolling Stones - Get Yer Ya Ya's Out
Doobie Brothers - Captain and Me
John Mayer - Born and Raised
Peter Karp & Sue Foley - Beyond the Crossroads
Best Coast - Only Place
Beach House - Bloom

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Walking In New Orleans

The only way to get around the French Quarter is walk.  And we did.  Bourbon Street in the day is for the family.  At night?  Keep your kids off that street.
The best music I heard was a Bourbon St. corner band.  Young African-Americans throwing down on Old School Soul classics.  I hope these young men continue doing what they are doing.  The future of New Orleans' reputation for excellent musicians is intact.
Went into a music store selling a combo of CD's and vinyl (both old and new).  Reminded of the stores I used to frequent when those types existed.  Too bad the prices were too high.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Bob Welch

His Fleetwood Mac years were overlooked.  And not even the quick success of his French Kiss solo album in 1977 could change that.  After that album he had one minor Top 40 song and that was it.  When Fleetwood Mac got put into the Rock Hall in 1998, Bob Welch was not inducted with them.

His death has snapped the memory of many Mac fans.  He had great songs on their albums, plus his big solo record.  The Rock Hall won't go back and insert him into their Hall, but Welch (much like Gerry Rafferty) was part of a great era for AM Top 40 radio.  And for fans of deep Mac album cuts.

"Roll On Down The Highway"

I took I-40 from Arizona to Memphis.  It was a long ride.  Lots of, well, nothing on long stretches.  But at least I got to go 70-75 on it.  That's how I got to Memphis so fast.  
Kept hearing a lot of the same artists on Sirius channels.  Among the many:  Paul Simon, Cure, Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Eagles.  Thought I heard something from these every 1/2 hour.

Before Sirius I used to channel surf the whole trip on long drives.  So, the commercial free aspect of it is damn worth every penny.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

"We All Will Be Received In Graceland"

This was my 4th trip to Graceland.  But my first since the late 90's.  Not much has changed, just a couple of more exhibits.  But the place, to this Elvis nut, is still quite magical.  The moment you walk into the visitor center and his music and videos start hitting you?  Perfect.
Whether you like Elvis or not.  Whether you think he invented "Rock & Roll" as we know it, or not.  Even the most deeply skeptical of the greatness of Elvis Presley will walk away with a grudging respect.
Myself?  If I get a chance, I'd go back again.  It's my own personal Disneyland.  Who wants to do a road trip?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Travelin' Man

Do you like traveling.  I don't.  Day one into a week long car trip across the Country-coast to coast, and I already feel out of sync.  That's the thing with traveling.  It puts you out of sorts.  When you spend a week off at home, you get to do things on your own schedule.
On the road?  It's always having to be somewhere.  Your body wakes you up at the same time as if you were home.  You don't eat at the same times you do when home.

And you're tired more on vacation than if you were home.  Early wake up calls.  Catch a plane, be somewhere at a certain time.

In other words, it's the time of your life.  Is that why people always say, "have a good time", when you tell them you are going to be off for 2 weeks?  A touch of sarcasm, perhaps?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Playlist for 6/3

Willie Nelson - Heroes
Lisa Marie Presley - Storm & Grace
Adam Lambert - Trespassing
Lindsey Buckingham - Go Insane
Little Richard - Here's
BTO - s/t/II
Michael Martin Murphy - Geronimo's Cadillac
Hank Williams III - Long Gone Daddy
Bob Seger - Back In '72
Ryan Shaw - Real Love

Saturday, June 02, 2012


Planning a big trip next week.  Cross country.  California to Florida, to take my son to an apprentice job at Disney World.  No, we're not flying.  We are driving.

Will definitely update as the trip goes forward.  It's gonna be a trek.  But I've got my Sirius, so I plan on listening to a ton of music.  And if I pass your way  (check my Facebook page for destination updates), give me a shout out.
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