Friday, August 30, 2013

Why the Billboard Hot 100?

How the Hot 100 Became the Hit Single Barometer

Read that article if you want to know why having a hit on Billboard still rules despite other indicators like the Itunes sales chart.  If you're a fan of the old Casey Kasem countdown days then you still have a soft spot for today's Billboard charts even though Ryan Seacrest has taken over CK's duties.

But this is a good read.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Space Travel

While visiting my son in Orlando, we made a trip to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. I was almost 5 when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, and vividly remember making my own Space Capsule out of aluminum foil and having my Mom buy me the GI Joe Astronaut.

Like many at the time Space Travel caught my imagination. That faded as NASA kept going to the Moon, and returned slightly as the Space Shuttle began.

There's a bittersweet quality about KSM today. The Space Shuttle is no more (Atlantis is on display there) and it appears it could be 5 to 10 years before they attempt to go back to the Moon or even try to go to Mars.  The place, and the Astronaut Hall of Fame will bring back a flood of memories, even though NASA is still going strong, mostly through mutual business dealings with private companies.

So, I came away in awe of what they achieved but skeptical as to whether they can capture the imagination of a public that thinks Space travel is a waste of money. But if you're in the area visit KSM, you'll love it even if you aren't a NASA fanatic.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Playlist for 8/27

JJ Cale - Naturally
Beau Brummels - Introducing
Sonics - Hear Are The Sonics
Rascals - Once Upon A Time
Pet Shop Boys - Electric
Civil Wars - s/t

Monday, August 26, 2013

World Around Me

How did we ever keep up with the a world before smartphones and iPads?  Right, we read newspapers and watched TV news and sports programs. But we don't need those anymore. I'm typing this in Orlando after having checked my a Facebook and Twitter feeds. How hard is it to tune out all that stuff? From what I saw in airports and airplanes, pretty tough.
Everyone is tuned in. Almost 24 hours a day. Okay, there's breaks for sleep and maybe work. But even at work we have our phones with us.

You know what I did on the plane? I read newspapers and magazines. Not from my iPad, but the old-fashion way.  But I felt like a dying breed. Two people next to me were reading books from their iPads.  And here I was feeling like an old dinosaur.

You know, you don't really realize how much the world is changing until you get  away from your comfortable surroundings.  Then you really see it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Orlando Trip

Tomorrow I'm off to Orlando to visit my son, who I haven't seen since last Summer.  Not a big fan of flying or airports.  In 2012, I split the two.  Drove to Orlando and flew back to California.  This year it's all flying.  I'm not afraid of flying, just not the biggest fan of it.

Anyway, curious to see what's going on at the other end of the Country.  I will be back on the 30th.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt's recent announcement that she is battling Parkinson's has elicited some speculation as to why she's not in the Rock Hall. There is the famous story of how ticked off she was at Rolling Stone for mentioning her weight in a story. So, maybe Jann Wenner has kept her off the ballot for political reasons.

But there's no doubt she should be there already. I'm not certain that sympathy will get her on the 2014 ballot.  She might need someone to push her on there, much like Elton pushed Leon Russell into the Hall. The laggard's on the NomCom are always a step behind on certain names.

Don Henley and Glenn Frey recently talked her up for the Hall while promoting their Doc. A push like there's could be enough.

Robin Thicke vs. Marvin Gaye's Estate

Robin Thicke Sues Marvin Gaye's Family

Have you heard about this?  Marvin Gaye's Estate believes that "Blurred Lines" sounds too similar to "Got To Give It Up".  Apparently they were going to claim copyright infringement unless a settlement was made.  So, Thicke and the other writers sued Gaye's Estate to protect them from said suit.
Yeah, it's crazy.  But let's be honest.  Thicke's song may sound like Gaye's but they are not the same song.  You have to listen closely to figure this out.

And besides, what type of precedent would this become if Gaye won this suit?  Would anyone who's song sounded the same as another be able to sue?  The roots of "He's So Fine" vs. "My Sweet Lord" are alive and well.

There are plenty of songs that sound alike but aren't really alike, if you catch my drift.  I was just thinking of the Hollies "Long Cool Woman" which could be any CCR song.  But not really.

So, I'm reluctantly siding with Thicke on this one, even though I feel the Gaye Estate's pain.
But this is the strangest musical lawsuit I've seen in ages.  At least since Saul Zaentz sued John Fogerty because he said "Old Man Down The Road" sounded like "Run Through The Jungle".  Fogerty had to take the stand to defend his own songs.  And he won.  Now in 2013 that case and the Harrison one are back in my thoughts.  Odd.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Article Praising the Eagles?

This link was too good to pass up:
The Eagles

14 album tracks by the Eagles meant to show that they were better than critic's think and thought they were.
Seems like every critic hates the Eagles nowadays (or Don Henley at least), yet they are so ubiquitous in our listening lives that you could never fully ignore them if you wanted to.  Even today.

No, the critic's were wrong.  What they hated about the Eagles, if  I remember from many critical takedowns,  were there smugness, their livin' easy in L.A. attitude, their women are always wrong lyrics and well, their massive egos.  And Don Henley remains the poster boy of all this.
Doesn't help that Henley was one of the first to blast illegal file-sharers and now in his 60's is turning into an old crank.  Crankier than when he was in the biggest American group.

Still, I love the Eagles and, getting back to this article, this is one of the first reappraisals I've seen on the band.  Almost as good as the Documentary which came out this year.

Only wish he had remembered 1975's "After the Thrill Is Gone".

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Playlist for 8/17

Otis Redding - Pain In My Heart
Temptations - Cloud Nine
Wilson Pickett - Hey Jude
Booker T. & The MG's - Green Onions
Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
Steve Miller - Joker
Crystals - He's A Rebel
Ronettes - Presenting

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Elvis' Film Career

One day away from Elvis Presley's death day and I thought I'd link this article about Elvis' film career.  It does a good job, but doesn't even mention his pre-Army pictures from the 50's.

Otherwise Elvis himself hated most of the films he made from the mid-60's onward.  But he was a good Southern boy who believed in honoring his contracts.

Read here:

Elvis' Film Career.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Magazine Update (2013 Pt. 2)

Not too many magazines to read as I thought, some I subscribe, others I go to the library to glance through.  Sad state of U.S. Music magazines continues, but at least the online sites are worth checking out.  

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  

Record Collector
Texas Music
Vanity Fair
New Yorker
New York  Magazine

Thursday, August 08, 2013

TV Update (2013)

Can't believe I haven't done an update of TV shows I watch since last August.  Newer shows are added below Mad Men.  I took out Breaking Bad and Dexter because they gone after 2013.  Although this list makes it look like I have no time for anything with TV and Movies and Music, most of these shows are scattered in their season showings.  There really are some days when nothing is on, despite hundreds of channels to choose from.  List is in no particular order.

Boardwalk Empire
Walking Dead
True Blood
The Glades
Game of Thrones
Parks and Recreation
Saturday Night Live
Falling Skies
New Girl
Raising Hope
American Idol
X Factor
The Voice
So You Think You Can Dance
Amazing Race
American Pickers
Little Couple
Storage Wars
Raising Hope
Strike Back
Eastbound and Down
Hell on Wheels
Life & Times of Tim
Real Time with Bill Maher
Mad Men
Moone Boy
The Fall
Orange Is The New Black
Ray Donovan
Dan Rather Reports
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell
Magic City
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Late Show with David Letterman
60 Minutes Sports on Showtime
Family Tree

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Making Music Writers Cringe

Last month on Twitter a music journalist took a couple of shots at Journey.  Yes, that's right.  In 2013, there are still some who are ribbing acts that critics hated in the 80's beyond like Journey.  But it's easy picking when you have followers who feel the same way.

You see, while the consensus was that Journey and other so-called corporate Rock acts were the drivel of the decade, the fans stayed with them.  And then kept buying their records, and then a new era of fans heard their songs and bought their records, much to the disbelief of many of the critics who thought they had buried these acts for good in the 80's (or 70's).

You won't get any of that kind of snark from me.  My own personal list of favorite albums includes ones from Journey, REO Speedwagon, Huey Lewis and many other names that even today makes writers cringe when their names get mentioned.  I grew up listening to AM Top 40 radio.  So, I have a soft spot in my heart for the much-maligned.

I used to respond to every put down of these acts on Twitter and Facebook, but don't anymore. Yet, I'm pretty assured in saying this when it comes to the legacy of the Journey's of the world:  You lost, we won.

Streaming Questions

Now that artists are collecting money on more sites, I wonder if listeners are being more selective as to what albums or songs they stream. Even though the money appears to be minor compared to what they get for touring revenue or even for physical sales, I'm starting to feel like giving more and more unknowns a listen.

With You Tube now paying up as well as the usual suspects, now is a good time to think about who you give a stream too.  The whole point of sampling albums before you buy is to figure out whether you should pluck down $10 or more or less for the whole thing.

Let's figure a Jay-Z doesn't need streaming revenue to make money from his latest album.  But what about New Orleans legend Kermit Ruffins whose album I streamed on Rhapsody?  He would love to have the plays that Jay-Z will get for moving units.

As we delve deeper into the digital and streaming era, questions as to who and how one gets paid are going to grow.  But subscribers like me will have to decide how we want to use these services.  I'm still learning.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Playlist for 8/1

Palma Violets - 180
Jay Z - Magna Carta
Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - This Is It
Donna The Buffalo - Tonight Tomorrow & Yestedary
Delbert McClinton/Glen Clark - Blind Crippled & Crazy
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