Thursday, February 28, 2013

Playlist for 2/28

Kris Kristofferson - Feeling Mortal
John Lee Hooker/Canned Heat - Hooker n' Heat
Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Johnny Copeland - Showdown
Kelly Hogan - I Like To Keep Myself In Pain
Emmy Rossum -Sentimental Journey
Holly Williams - Highway
Tegan & Sara - Hearthrob
Harry Connick - Smokey Mary
My Bloody Valentine - MBV
Father John Misty -Fear Fun
Wayne Shorter -Without A Net

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Joe Tex

Ran across this superb bio of Joe Tex that someone linked to on Facebook.

Joe Tex

4 times nominated for the Rock Hall.  The most recent in 2011, and each time his name comes up people keep calling him a 2nd rate Soul singer who doesn't belong in the Hall.

I wrote this when I picked him 6th on my own Hall picks in 2011:

 Joe Tex - His 4th nomination, and still not so familiar with many non-R&B fans. Tex had many hits from the mid-60's to early 70's. Dave Marsh, a NomCom member, wrote his bio on page and calls him one of the most underrated Soul singers on his generation. Like Marsh said, he had one of the first Southern Soul crossover hits, and Rapped on many of his records. Still, as great as he was, it may not be enough to convince voters.

So, as long as Marsh is on the NomCom, Tex will have a shot at getting back on the ballot.

I had him ranked 6th on my ballot that year out of 15.  But I've been listening to his stuff recently, and I'm convinced that he belongs now more than ever.

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Oscars

The whining, oh the whining.  My twitter feed was filled with Seth McFarlane complaints.  From what I can gather, he wasn't Politically Correct enough.  But it goes deeper.  Many people don't like Seth, so they had in for him even before he started.

I loved just about everything about his performance,  because he knew from the start that critics were going to pan him, no matter what he did.
But let's face it, hosting the Oscars has become a no-win situation.  Most only want to do it once, and then get the hell out.  Billy Crystal survived, but by his first run he was tepid.  When he hosted again in 2012, he was awful.

The show is a big drag.  This year's clocked in just under 4 hours.  All those useless awards for Art Direction, Sound, Makeup, etc.  Those should all be given out before the show, like the Grammy's do.

And I can't believe they did a James Bond tribute (Shirley Bassey was fabulous, btw), without reuniting all the 007's.

I thought the musical numbers were good.  Bassey, Babs, Hudson, even Les Miz held their own.
It's the Oscars, you're going to get this stuff.

So, Seth may not be back, despite the extra high ratings.  And who cares.  The PC police will be back in 2014 complaining about another Comedian.  Good luck to him/her.

Friday, February 22, 2013


The 35th anniversary reissue of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours has given some haters of the band a chance to sound off on Facebook and Twitter.  I'm surprised that there are those who don't like that album.  It seemed to be critic proof and is much deserving of its classic status.
But then again I remembered that some people just hate the idea of mega-selling albums.  When you hear something on the radio for a whole year and see it topping the charts and see the artist on every magazine cover its bound to get on your nerves.

Yet, I haven't read a good explanation from those as to why they hate the album.  Just a bunch of "can't stand it" retreads on social networks.
Don't be fooled folks.  Rumours is still damn great, as is the 1975 self-titled album.  I've learned to believe in what I believe and damn the haters.

And besides, hating on Fleetwood Mac is so 1980's.

2013 Songwriter's Hall of Fame Inductees

2013 Songwriter's Hall of Fame

The biggest names inducted this year are Steven Tyler/Joe Perry, JD Souther & Lou Gramm/Mick Jones.


Take a look at my running list of names that are missing from this ever-growing dubious Hall and you will scratch your head even worse than when you look at who's missing from the Rock Hall.
All I can tell you is that if you thought Neil Young, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne or Pete Townshend (just too name a few), were already in the Song Hall, you'd lose a big bet.

MIA from Songwriters Hall

P.S.  Unlike the Rock Hall, I have no special insight into who nominates these artists or even who votes for them.  The Song Hall has inducted artists that aren't in the Rock Hall (e.g. Bon Jovi, Hall & Oates and now members of Foreigner), so good for these people for getting recognized.  But legendary names are missing, and I'm surprised that nobody else seems concerned.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Playlist for 2/20

Richard Thompson - Electric
Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison - Cheater's Game
John Hartford - Aereo Plain/Morning Bugle
Ray Wylie Hubbard - Grifter's Hymnal
Dolly Parton - My Tennessee Mountain Home
Doug Sahm - Return of Wayne Douglas
LeRoi Brothers - Check This Action
Conway Twitty -  MGM Years

Monday, February 18, 2013

Yoko at 80

Yoko Ono's 80th birthday has given a bunch of music critics on Twitter and Facebook a chance to express their love for all that is Yoko.
I'm not going to do it.  I respect her peace activism  but musically speaking, she was slightly better than Linda McCartney.

Revisionism is rampant when it comes to musical artists.  Some older critics will tell you that they championed her records back then, and younger ones will tell you she had some sort of influence on New Wave and experimental artists.  Anyway, the link below is a sturdy list of 10 listenable Ono songs.

But if you've never heard her before, even if you skipped over all her Double Fantasy songs, then let me warn you, she's not for everybody.

Yoko Ono Top 10 Songs

Mindy McCready

She lived her life like one of those tragic Country songs you used to hear back in the 60's/70's.  But I'm not here to judge.
Mindy McCready never became the next big Country Superstar.  Even though she came along right when Shania Twain's brand of perky Country/Pop was taking off, she didn't have the hits or a "Mutt" Lange to put her in Twain's league.

She should have been bigger, but personal travails derailed it all.  Her last attempted chart comeback in 2010 fizzled.
Still, this is a time for everyone who follows their favorite musician to take notice.  They are as human as we are, no matter what roles they play on TV or in a music video.

The Billboard obit linked below tells it all:

Mindy McCready

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Eagles Documentary

The 2 part Eagles Documentary that airs on Showtime is worth your trouble even if you're only mildly interested in them.  Part 1 is the best of the 2, with great early clips, and it also plays as a history of Country-Rock.  Part 2 picks up after the group disbanded in the early 80's.  But it's just a victory lap. And unless you want to hear about Glenn Frey's solo career, you can skip the last hour.

The Eagles are one of the most despised bands among Rock critics.  Yet music listeners defied them and continue to buy their albums and see them in concert.  The only major Rock critic I could think of that loves them was Robert Hilburn.  Dave Marsh had nice things to say about Henley's solo career.  But in his Rock singles book he picks Randy Meisner's "Take It To The Limit" out of all their hits.  His write-up is not much on praise, but gives you all the usual East Coast Rock Critic cliches of why they were hated.

I've always loved them.  And while Henley's ego is still active, it's never gotten in the way of enjoying their records.  But the whole livin' easy in California vibe was a major turnoff for East Coast critics.

Henley remains a fascinating figure, especially among music critics.  They hate him more than they hate his records, but his solo stuff always got good to great reviews.  Watching him in this doc won't change your mind about him if you are in the hate camp. Just the way he refers to  Don Felder as Mr. Felder will make you cringe.

It's a doc worth watching just to see how bands start with so much promise and when they've reached the pinnacle, can flame out just as fast.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Now Series Update

The latest U.S. Now compilation was released last week.  #45 in a series that still befuddles people.  Why are people buying these comps when they can just download them from Itunes.  Actually it's cheaper to buy the CD at $10 then pay a $1 for each song from Itunes.

I've got all 45 volumes.  In England they are up to #83 in the series, but they got a head start on us.  And there comps are double sets.

Wonder if the U.S. Now will get that high?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Playlist for 2/15

Gary Allan - Set You Free
Pentangle - Basket of Light
Andy Stott -Luxury Problems
Dawn Richard -Goldenheart
Jose James -No Beginning No End

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Grammy's

Thanks to social media, people who hate awards shows can now watch them and put their thoughts on Facebook & Twitter for all the world to see.

Well. I've never been a Grammy hater.  The awards?  Okay, not so much.  I'm all about the performances.  And last night there were quite a few good ones: Black Keys, the Reggae segment, Jack White, Kelly Clarkson, Levon Helm Tribute, short Dave Brubeck tribute, Frank Ocean, Rap finale, even Rihanna who toned it down for a change.

That's why I watch these things.  Certainly the Mumford & Sons album isn't the best of the year.  It's not even their best.  So, forget about the awards.  Most of them.  Some categories not given out on TV are worth exploring:  Americana, Folk.  Skip the Jazz where the usual names are awarded every year.

Now let's move on to the 20 or so Country awards shows that are about to get started for 2013.

Poll Monitors

What's the latest trend among Pazz & Jop voters?  Taking shots at other P&J voters' ballots.  I first noticed this on Twitter where someone I follow sarcastically posted about those who voted for "Thrift Shop" in the Singles category.
I then noticed it again on Facebook where someone did the same thing after a voter slotted a single by Train (the new worst band according to some people, something I don't understand).

The modern Internet age has opened up everyone's ballot.  I first started voting in this era, and my ballot has always been there for anyone to look at.  I even post it on this blog.

Now we have what I call P&J Poll monitors.  People who the minute the Poll is published, rush to their computers, look over what (to them) odd songs got votes and then post about it.

But as the trend towards lampooning other voters choices will grow, you'll see people being careful not to squeeze in too many choices that aren't pre-approved by nationwide tastemakers.

I've always felt that my own ballots are too mainstream.  Not "out there" enough.  But in the end I send what I feel are my 10 best albums/singles.

Yet, the people who are trying to take down other people's choices are setting themselves up for ridicule.  I looked at their ballots and came away with my own head-scratchers.  But in no way did I think of posting about how stupid they were for picking them.

Welcome to the age of Internet snark.  Or do I mean swarm.  Where anyone can shoot you down with just a few clicks.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Playlist for 2/8

Aaron Neville - My True Story
Jeffrey Osborne - Time For Love
Wild Nothing - Nocturne
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
Swans - Seer
Kellie Pickler - 100 Proof

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

2013 Country Hall of Fame Nominees Leaked

Just like last year I'm getting this information from this website:
Fayfare's Opry Blog

That link leads to the complete post.

The most interesting category for some remains the Modern Era Ballot, described here as (Acts are eligible for induction in this category 20 years after they first achieved national prominence)

This year's nominees are:
Kenny Rogers
The Oak Ridge Boys
Ronnie Milsap
Ricky Skaggs
Alan Jackson

The first 3 names should be in by now, but just like the Rock Hall, the Country Hall is missing some important names.  And only 1 act from 3 categories get in:  Modern Era, Non-Performer and Veteran's, so it is indeed tough, which is why there's a backlog and controversy every year.  

Among the Modern Era names any of the Top 3 should be in.  Ricky Skaggs is a good choice for later years, and Alan Jackson has had a ton of hits, but why is he nominated before a Randy Travis or Dwight Yoakam or John Anderson.  All of those have been more influential.

Rock Hall followers take note:  The Country Hall nominating process is as confusing as any Hall.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Dad, 5 Years Later

It's been 5 years to the day that my Dad died. While I miss him dearly, and think about him a lot, I always feel like he's near me. And I'm not even a spiritual person.

I've posted before that my Dad's small vinyl/8-track collection played a major role in my love of all genres of music. He had mostly Country & Pop vocalists on the turntable, but in his later years he had a fondness for Blue-Collar names like Springsteen & Mellencamp.

Then there was Elvis, his musical hero and mine.  My only regret is I never got to take him to Graceland. If he were here we would have made the trip by now.

If you've ever lost a Parent that you loved, you know that you never get over it.  But you move on and live the life they would want.

Like I always say when I post about my Dad.
Thanks Rocky for being a wonderful Dad.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Beyonce At athe Super Bowl

Did you expect anything less from Beyonce? Why were people wondering if she was going to be nothing short of dynamite for the Super Bowl? If you've seen any of her previous TV appearances you know she means business on stage.

The dumbest complaint I heard was that she was better than her songs. But she mostly stuck with the hits, and sold the others with her charisma.

Nope, I knew all along she was going to bring it.  And the other Diva's were good too.  Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys. But this was Beyonce's night.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Next Big Problem

As this article in last week's New York Times points out, the next big Industry problem will be streaming rates.  Artists are starting to complain because they are getting peanuts while the streamers are making more money and picking up more subscribers.

I have the free Spotify, but pay for Rhapsody.  And I still buy music from Itunes and Amazon.  But I appear to be in the minority.

Read the article.  It's not something that's new.  We've been hearing about this since last year.  But as the Spotify's of the world get bigger, artists are going to want a bigger royalty rate.
It's the next big problem facing an Industry that never solved their old problems.

Here's the author's footnotes from his column.  Also a good read.
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