Saturday, March 30, 2013

RIP Phil Ramone

Remember when you would see a Producer's name on an album and you instantly had an idea what it would sound like.  It's not that it would always be good, mind you, but every Producer has a sound to their name.
Sure today we have a Rick Rubin, Butch Vig, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and Steve Albini.

But a Producer's stamp came into being with Sam Phillips, Berry Gordy and Phil Spector and then took off with Tom Dowd, Jeff Lynne, Jimmy Iovine, Mutt Lange, Nile Rodgers and many more.  You put a record on produced by these people and you knew what you were getting, regardless of the artist.

Phil Ramone was certainly one of those.  The great Billy Joel albums Stranger & 52nd Street.  Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years.  There was a professionalism involved with Ramone's records.  Maybe that has worked against him when it comes to the Rock Hall.  I'm surprised an industry vet like Ramone hasn't been inducted yet, and I have no idea if his name has even come up for discussion. He deserves it not just for his Production work but for his work as an Engineer and co-founding A&R Recording Studios.

But read the Wikipedia bio below and you'll wonder too why he's not in.

Phil Ramone

Dixie Chicks Article

Peter Cooper, who is an excellent Country Music writer and also makes fine albums on the side writes about the Dixie Chicks' disappearance from the Country scene.  Brought on by their diss of George W. Bush in 2003.  The trio was never the same after the backlash brought on by that incident.  Even though a followup album was a success, their Country careers were over.

I went and checked the playlists of Sirius XM and found out that the Country channel that plays modern day oldies plays the Chicks a lot, but I have no data on whether non-Sat radio is still playing them.

Natalie Maines has a solo album out in May, and while I doubt their will be any Country hits off it, it will garner quite a bit of attention when released.

But it's too bad they didn't try one more time to get back on the Country charts.
It seems everyone has been scarred by the W. years.
Link below:

Dixie Chicks

Thursday, March 28, 2013

RIP Paul S. Williams

Crawdaddy was the first Rock magazine.  Beating out Rolling Stone by 2 years.  Paul S. Williams was its founder.  He left 2 years after launch, but coming back to it in 1993 in Newsletter form.  I subscribed to that newsletter until it folded in 2003.  Williams couldn't keep it going financially, and then he ran into health problems.

Read the Wikipedia page on him, linked below.   He also wrote a bunch of books that I read.  He was a pioneer, and even though Jann Wenner went on to garner all the accolades, Williams deserves recognition, too.

Paul S. Williams died on March 27th, 2013.

Paul S Williams

Playlist for 3/28

Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park
David Bowie - Next Day
Son Volt - Honky Tonk
Ben Harper - Charlie Musselwhite -Get Up
James Hunter - Minute by Minute
Lone Bellow - s/t

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dad at 80

I bought my Dad books for his Birthday.  Usually Military history or Sports ones.  It was fun to go to bookstores (remember them?) and find stuff for him to read.  

He would have turned 80 years old today.  His Birthday comes one month after his passing in February, so the 2 months are always sentimental to me.

But I loved the man more today than I did when he was alive.  I think that's always the case with loved ones who pass away.  

I'm comforted in knowing that he touched many more lives besides his own family. He was a humble hero, those are the ones I admire most.

He would have a good laugh at knowing that his 80th Birthday was here.  

I've seen people on Facebook wonder why we wish Happy Birthday to those that are departed. 
If it's a family member, we do it because we can still feel their presence.

So, Happy 80th Dad!   

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Best of 1965 Albums/Singles Poll

One of Rock's greatest years, 1965.  An almost impossible task picking just 10 singles.  The cut list was very long.  1965 was one of the best for singles in Rock history.  Album wise, it was a good year for Jazz, and of course Dylan, Beatles and Stones.  
Each Top 10 was to be given points from 5-30 (the Pazz & Jop method).

1.  You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling - Righteous Brothers  18
2.  Satisfaction - Rolling Stones   17
3.  Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan  17
4.  My Girl - Temptations  16
5.  In The Midnight Hour - Wilson Pickett  6
6.  Papa's Got A Brand New Bag - James Brown   6
7.  California Dreamin' - Mamas & The Papas   5
8.  Yesterday - Beatles   5
9.  King of the Road - Roger Miller    5
10. Shotgun - Jr. Walker & The Allstars  5

1.  Rubber Soul US - Beatles  19
2.  Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan  18
3. Love Supreme - John Coltrane  14
4.  Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan  12
5.  Out Of Our Heads - Rolling Stones  9
6.  Help - Beatles  8
7.  Otis Blue - Otis Redding   5
8.  Today - Beach Boys  5
9.  Live at the Regal - BB King  5
10. Maiden Voyage - Herbie Hancock  5

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bobby Rogers

Although Bobby Rogers died a couple of weeks ago, something about his death has always bothered me.  And then I realized it had to do with the bone-heads at the Rock Hall who made the Miracles wait 25 years to join Smokey Robinson in the Hall.  Smokey himself states that he had been lobbying for the Miracles to get in for years, and it wasn't until 2012 that the Hall finally did it.  But why did no one at the Hall listen to Smokey years ago?

Had they done so, Bobby Rogers would have been able to attend the ceremonies.  He couldn't in 2012 because of illness.   It's both kind of sad and yet very fulfilling that Rogers got the honor while he was alive.  But once again, the Hall's frustrating ways of bestowing honors can get even a major non-Hall watcher upset.

Once again I want to remind people out there who slam the Hall and say it means nothing to get inducted.  Ask a Bobby Rogers or a member of the Miracles how much it meant.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Playlist for 3/21

Van Cliburn - Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1
Jimmy Buffett - Havana Daydreaming
Ashley Monroe -Like a Rose
Caitlin Rose -Stand-In
Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell & Angels
Boz Scaggs - Memphis
Carrie Rodriguez - Give Me All You Got

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Magazines I Read (Updated 2013)

Seems like I haven't done this in awhile (actually I last did it in June 2012).  But here are a list of print (yes, print) magazine that I read.  I'm glad the Internet hasn't gobbled up every niche music mag out there.  The demise of Spin in 2012 (still has a good online presence) only shows that nothing is forever in the print world.  But I hope the ones I listed below hang on, because this list is getting shorter every time I update it:

Rolling Stone
Down Beat
Big Takeover
Ugly Things
Guitar Player
American Songwriter
Blues Revue
Under the Radar
Wax Poetics
Echoes of the Past
Oxford American  (annual Music Issue)

Monday, March 18, 2013

RIP Bobby Smith (Spinners)

Bobby Smith passed away on March 16th.

Smith was often overshadowed by Philippe Wynne.  But he sang lead on many of their greatest songs:  "I'll Be Around", "Games People Play", "Then Came You", "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love".  On some of these Wynne came in at the end and did his famous improv vocals (heard best on "Mighty Love").

Both Smith and Wynne are, in my opinion, 2 of the most criminally underrated Soul singers. The death of Smith has now robbed the Spinners of another one of their most identifiable voices.

But the music will continue, despite the fact that Henry Fambrough is the only living member of the Spinners. And I'm hoping someday Rock Hall voters (and NomCom members who passed on them in 2013) will get their heads out their you-know-what, and rightly place my favorite Soul Group of the 70's where they belong (they've been nominated once in 2012).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Music Sales Increase

So, music sales are up for the first time in 13 years.  Amounts to a 0.3% increase.  Small, but any upward tick is good for the industry.
But the industry could have seen this sooner had they not fought the very things that are driving these sales.

Thanks to digital and subscription sites they get their increase.  Both things record labels tried to fight for years.
I don't know what this means for physical copy buyers like myself.  I still buy CD's, but use Itunes for individual tracks. But a decrease of 5% still troubles me, even if digital is helping offset it.

We're in a new world of music buying, that's for sure.  Link below for more.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Playllist for 3/14

Mavericks - In Time
Bilal - Love Surreal
Donald Byrd - Black Byrd
Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell -Old Yellow Moon
JD Souther - John David Souther
Jamie Lidell - s/t
Emeli Sande - Our Version of Events
Kris & Rita - Breakaway

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Billboard & YouTube

Late last month Billboard add YouTube viewings to the way they come up with their Hot 100 singles.  This surprised me as I thought they were doing this already.
What this means is that viral video hits like "Gangham Style" and "Harlem Shake" will now place higher because of their massive amount of views on YouTube.

There really was no way for Billboard to hold out much longer.  We listen to music differently today than we did when the Internet first started.  Video channels, streaming services.  Everything is now at out fingertips.
It was time to clear the latest hurdle, and that was the monster that is YouTube. Link is below the page.


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Playlist for 3/7

Buck Owens - Sings Country Classics
Don Rich - Sings George Jones
Ohio Players - Skin Tight
Otis Taylor - My World Is Gone
Christopher Owens - Lysandre
Mick Hucknall -American Soul
Robert Glasper -Black Radio
Lindi Ortega -Cigarettes & Truckstops
Chris Stamey - Lovesick Blues
Dale Watson -El Rancho Azul

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

American Idol 2013

The 2013 American Idol added Keith Urban, Mariah Carey & Nicki Minaj to the recent trend among singing competitions for star power.  Carey is trying to do resurrect her career like JLo did in her two years.
I waited until the show ran live before commenting. It really only took me one show to come to these conclusions.
Keith Urban tries to walk the nice guy/partial critique verse.  But he's offering zip on both counts.
Randy Jackson, who was rumored out, but then brought back at the last minute, is cartoonish as he's always been. How many more years will he torture us?
Mariah Carey's hit days are almost over, so why not grab Idol's big bucks? But as a judge she makes you long for the goofy Steven Tyler. Okay, maybe not, Idol producers must be wandering why they wasted millions on her. And I would suggest, as with Jackson, to hit the mute button the moment she starts talking.
Nicki Minaj is grabbing all the headlines and at least she's critical and motherly in all the right ways.

Idol continues to she'd viewers, but its still the Mothership of all these shows. Do I hear any stars so far? A few have stood out, but lets remember that Idol's track record has been going downhill every year. And this year is no different.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Lefsetz On The Moody Blues

Bob Lefsetz is always taking shots at the Rock Hall.  In this piece, he talks about his love of the Moody Blues, a band I'm becoming more convinced as each year passes, are never even going to get nominated.

Lefsetz' columns get read a lot, but he has no influence on Hall NomCom members.  But he's right about how good the Moodies really were.

Anyway, read his love of the Moodies.  Start with the top link of "In Search of the Lost Chord".  There's a couple of Rock Hall put-downs inside his pieces.

Lefsetz On The Moody Blues

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Madonna Poll

Been awhile since I last voted in a Poll. This time it's Madonna. 20 singles & 5 albums. Side note for Rock Hall viewers. Outside of Abba, Madonna is the name most often named by jaded "Rock and Rollers" as to everything that is wrong with the Hall.  I laugh every time.

1. Holiday
2. Borderline
3. Into The Groove
4. Open Your Heart
5. Like A Prayer
6. Live To Tell
7. Vogue
8. Music
9. Lucky Star
10. Cherish
11. Dress You Up
12.  Papa Don't Preach
13. Ray of Light
14. Like A Virgin
15. Material Girl
16. La Isla Bonita
17. Crazy For You
18. Express Yourself
19. Take A Bow
20. Angel

1. Like A Prayer
2. Madonna
3. Like A Virgin
4. Ray of Light
5. True Blue
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