Tuesday, December 31, 2013

For The People Who Died (2013)

RIP 2013

Click on the link for a good overview of Music related people who died in 2013.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tom's Top Reissues of 2013

1.  Harry Nilsson - RCA Albums Collection
2.  Art Brut - Top of the Pops
3.  Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis - Various
4.  Donny Hathaway - Never My Love:The Anthology
5.  Swamp Dogg - Total Destruction To Your Mind  (reissue)
6.  Townes Van Zandt - Late, Great/ High, Low and In Between (reissue)
7.  Kirsty MacColl - Very Best of
8.  Steve Forbert - Alive on Arrival/Jackrabbit Slim  (reissue)
9.  John Hartford - Aereo-Plain  (reissue)
10.  Elvis Presley - Elvis at Stax
11. Sylvester - Greatest Dance Hits
12. Jeff Lynne- Armchair Theatre  (reissue)
13. Freddy Fender - Before The Next Teardrop Falls/Are You Ready For Freddy  (reissue)
14. Overdose of the Holy Ghost  - Various
15. Sorrow Come Pass Me Around - Various  (reissue)
16. Dwight Yoakam - 21st Century Hits
17. Shaver - Shaver's Jewels
18. William Onyeabor - Who Is William Onyeabor?
19. Laraaji - Celestial Music
20. Oxford American Tennessee Southern Music Issue CD - Various

Sunday, December 29, 2013


A very good show that deserved more attention. Kudos to HBO for giving it a 37 episode run, even though the ratings were poor.  The biggest complaints were that there were too many stories jammed into each hour.  This never bothered me, nor did the storyline which began  right after Hurricane Katrina.
But the show had great performances and even better musical montages. I think my catalog of New Orleans music expanded mightily during the shows run.  And having finally made in to New Orleans in the Summer of 2012, I got a greater understanding of the cities cultural landmarks.

Like David Simon's other HBO classic, The Wire, which also got no Emmy love, I expect Treme will be fondly remembered.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tom's Top 20 Tracks of 2013

1.  Daft Punk - Get Lucky
2.  Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines
3.  Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop/Wrecking Ball
4.  Kacey Musgraves - Follow Your Arrow/Blowin' Smoke
5.  Lorde - Royals
6.  Justin Timberlake - Mirrors
7.  Jake Bugg - Lightning Bolt
8.  Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know
9.  Guy Clark - My Favorite Picture Of You
10.  Avicii - Wake Me Up
11.  Tegan & Sara -Closer
12.  Darius Rucker - Wagon Wheel
13.  Lady Gaga - Applause
14.  Brandy Clark - Take A Little Pill
15.  Frank Turner - Recovery
16.  Dan Croll - From Nowhere
17.  Muse - Madness
18.  Katy Perry - Roar
19.  Ashley Monroe - Two Weeks Late
20.  Pistol Annies - Hush Hush

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tom's Top 20 Albums of 2013

1.  Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park
2.  Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
3.  Ashley Monroe - Like A Rose
4.  Brandy Clark - 12 Stories
5.  Arctic Monkeys - AM
6.  Mavericks - In Time
7.  Janelle Monae - Electric Lady
8.  Rhye - Woman
9.  William Tyler - Impossible Truth
10. North Mississippi All Stars - World Boogie Is Coming
11. Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze
12. Lorde - Pure Heroine
13. Neko Case - Worse Things Get
14. Steve Earle - Low Highway
15. Haim - Days Are Gone
16. Tegan & Sara - Heartthrob
17. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City
18. Pistol Annies - Annie Up
19. Charles Bradley - Victim of Love
20. Okkervil River - Silver Gymnasium
21. Sturgill Simpson - High Top Mountain
22. Jason Isbell -Southeastern

Monday, December 23, 2013

Year End Lists

As I get ready to publish my year end albums/singles/reissues list I should put out this disclaimer, like I usually do.
There's no way that any year end list is accurate.  There's just too much product.  There's always been too much.  What you are reading when you see these things are just personal opinions.

What lists can do is give someone reasons to seek out albums and songs.  That's what I do when I read them, and that's what you should do.

So, consider that the upcoming lists are just my own faves.  But if I can turn you on to something you missed, than I've done my job.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Playlist for 12/21

Paul Carrack - Rain or Shine
One Direction - Midnight Memories
Britney Spears - Britney Jean
Herbie Hancock - The Piano
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Nightingales and Bombers

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Hall Voter's Definition or Rock and Roll

Michael McGill, who is a founding member of the Dells, sent me a remarkable reply when I asked him if he votes (and if so, who he voted) for the Rock Hall.

He told me he does and sent me this reply, which he has given me permission to reprint here:

Linda Ronstadt
Hall & Oates
The Hall has a lot of 'Snubs' and you just don't walk into The
Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame.  Personally I have mixed emotions
about The Hall's nomination/induction process, but very proud
that The Dells, Moonglows, Flamingos & Little Anthony are in.
We must be careful less we forget Alan Freed's original idea of
Rock n Roll, which we all know is basically 'Rhythm & Blues' .
Most of your younger fans are into Rock Bands,
and know nothing about the early 50's artist that created this music.
We have to be careful that it doesn't totally, become
The Rock Hall of Fame, leaving out pioneers i.e. The Chantels, Clovers,
5 Royales, Connie Francis ..... I'm not bias, just truthful.  I love
The Rolling Stones & Beach Boys,  but I'm worried about, The Stylistics,
Manhattans, Chi-lites, Whispers, LaBelle, Teddy, Delphonics etc.
Michael McGill
The Dells

Michael once sent me an email about why I slotted the Dells so low when they were nominated.  I've felt bad about it since, and having listened to a bunch of their music over the years, realize I should have placed them higher.

Michael's response should be required reading to all those who don't know the definition of "Rock and Roll" and why the Hall continues to nominate as they do. I'm glad that he sends me the occasional email about the Dells, and always answers an questions I send to him.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2014 Rock Hall Inductee Reaction

Might as well get this out of the way.  The Hall won't release the final vote totals, so we don't know how they are coming up with their inductees.  There really is no set rule on how people are inducted, regardless of what you may have read.  I've often believed that they are playing with the final numbers.  Especially in close elections.

It's not that I don't like Cat Stevens, but I'm very skeptical of his totals.  But then again, isn't it nice to get another singer-songwriter out of the way? And lesson learned for me and others. Never underestimate singer-songwriters and the Rock Hall.

I pretty much say the same thing every year.  But for Hall newbies, it's a good lesson.  Most people will read the headlines and think the 2014 inductees all got more votes than the others.  But skepticism must reign when it comes to all things Hall.

Now on to the 2014 inductees.  I was wrong about both Deep Purple and KISS.  I thought DP were close last year, but putting KISS on the ballot may have hurt them.  It's weird.  I couldn't find any Hall voter that voted for KISS.  But they must have done well with current Hall members.  Or maybe being picked #1 on the Fan Ballot is enough  to get you inducted, no matter what your vote total.  As people are pointing out, the Hall may have a PR issue by not inducting the top vote getter. But let's see how this plays out with the Fan ballot for 2015. Rush in 2013, KISS in 2014. Are there any more big fan bases left that could top this poll in the future? Regardless, it's good to get them out of the way, isn't it?

No surprises with Nirvana and Linda Ronstadt or even Peter Gabriel getting.  Gabriel is a crit-fave.

And yes, I'm very happy that Hall & Oates go in, and on their first time.

But let's never let the NomCom off the hook.  I believe that, once again, they look like fools.  Snubbing Hall & Oates & Linda Ronstadt after all these years.  And both get in right away.  Doing their best to keep KISS of the ballot, and then finding out that the fans want them inducted.  We are seeing this more and more.  Acts that have waited forever getting in first time nominated.  The NomCom fell asleep with these names in the past and now are watching their lapses being exposed.

The complaints are many.  No African-American artists inducted.
Anti-disco voters get their way again by ignoring Chic.
Only one Hard Rock act getting in.  Which means Deep Purple and Yes have to wait another year.  I thought at least 2 of these 3 would go in.

The non-performer category remains up in the air every year.mBrian Epstein is a good choice, but long overdue. Andrew Loog Oldham? Never thought of it much. But I see where the NomCom is getting cute here.
And they found a way to get the E Street Band in there, when they should have just inducted them with Springsteen.

All in all, not really many surprises on the ballot this year, outside of Cat. No left-field choices like a Paul Butterfield or Zombies or even the Meters or NWA.
Nope, no African-Americans in any category.

The backlog of worthy artists continue. With many who would go in first time nominated.

Gives us all another year to complain.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Playlist for 12/14

Jake Bugg - Shangri La
Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
Pink Floyd - Final Cut
Head & The Heart -Let's Be Still
Robbie Williams - Swings Both Ways
Billie Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones - Foreverly
Everly Brothers - s/t

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Imperial Phase"

"Imperial Phase"

Go to part 3 of this link in which 2 music journalists, Chris Molanphy and Alfred Soto talk about a phrase that the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant uttered while they were at their peak, "Imperial Phase".

It's when an artist can do no wrong.  Usually it lasts a couple of years.  Everything they release is a hit, and influences other artists around them.   Think of an artist with a lot of hits and you can always find a segment of their career when they were so huge (Elton John 73-75 is a great example) that even their weakest hits went to #1 ("Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds").

This is a subject that's always fascinated me, and I wish I could have been part of their discussion.

Anyway, this is a good conversation.  Begins with Pt.  3.

And, BTW, the site which put together this conversation is run by Scott Woods.  I should have mentioned that in my initial post.  Sorry, Scott.

Here's a link to his website:


Saturday, December 07, 2013

Playlist for 12/7

Lady Gaga - Artpop
Beatles - Live at the BBC Vol. 2
Lou Reed - Street Hassle/Magic & Loss
Hank Williams III - Brothers of the 4X4
MIA - Matangi

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Greatest Disco Songs Poll

Another Poll, this one listing 50 favorite Disco songs.  Had to make lots of cuts on this one.  And if you don't see your favorite then it probably ended up below #50. There was a rule that you could only vote for songs that were nominated.  And I also tried to keep this tied to Disco's popular years or its origins.  So, you have a mostly 72-79 list.

1.  Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
2.  Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
3.  Donna Summer - Last Dance
4.  Chic - Good Times
5.  Village People - YMCA
6.   Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
7.  Sister Sledge - Lost In Music
8.  McFadden & Whitehead - Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now
9.  Vicki Sue Robinson - Turn The Beat Around
10. Bee Gees - Night Fever
11. Donna Summer - Hot Stuff
12. Trammps - Disco Inferno
13. Andrea True Connection - More More More
14. Cerrone - Love In C Minor
15. Cheryl Lynn - Got To Be Real
16. Chic - Le Freak
17. KC & The Sunshine Band - That's The Way I Like It
18. Thelma Houston - Don't Leave Me This Way
19. Peaches & Herb - Shake Your Groove Thing
20. Taste of Honey - Boogie Oogie Oogie 
21. Diana Ross - Love Hangover
22. Rod Stewart - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy
23. Dan Hartman - Instant Replay
24. Anita Ward - Ring My Bell
25. Gloria Gaynor - Never Can Say Goodbye
26. Barry White - Can't Get Enough Of Your Love
27. Eddie Kendricks - Keep on Truckin'
28. Sister Sledge - We Are Family
29. Hues Corporation - Rock The Boat
30. Gino Soccio - Dancer
31. EWF/Emotions - Boogie Wonderland
32. Van McCoy - Hustle
33. Jacksons - Dancing Machine
34. Candi Staton - Young Hearts Run Free
35. Indeep - Last Night A DJ Saved My Life
36. Foxy - Get Off
37. Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band - Cherchez La Femme
38. Tavares - More Than A Woman
39. Alicia Bridges - I Love The Nightlife
40. Blondie - Heart of Glass
41. Yvonne Elliman - If I Can't Have You
42. Rolling Stones - Miss You
43. Sylvers - Boogie Fever
44. Abba - Dancing Queen
45. Donna Summer - I Feel Love
46. O'Jays - I Love Music
47. KC & The Sunshine Band - Get Down Tonight
48. Silver Convention - Fly Robin Fly
49. Heatwave - Boogie Nights
50. Barry Manilow - Copacabana

3 songs that would have made my Top 50, but weren't nominated:  The Bee Gees' "You Should Be Dancing", Peter Brown's "Dance With Me" and Bell & James' "Livin' It Up".  

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Low Album Sales

Maybe you heard that in the last week of October, Album sales fell to their lowest total since the Soundscan era started in 1991.

This is really no surprise.  Streaming services have begun to take over.  Consumers are still buying songs instead of full albums.  Even though single track downloads are down, too.

There were headlines about the recent Elton John and Paul McCartney albums tanking.  Again, who's surprised by this.  Elton stopped selling records the minute he stopped having hit singles.  McCartney promoted his new one to death and while it's better than Elton's there no single on it to get radio interested.

Big sales are still targeted for release week, but after that it seems record companies have no plan.  Just try to keep pumping out singles and hoping the audience decides to splurge on the album rather than the single.

The album is dying talk continues to build momentum.  But what other options are there?  Musicians still like to release musical statements.  But most never learned the lesson of the CD era.  Very few have over an hour of good music in them to fill up a CD.

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