Monday, February 23, 2015

Playlist for 2/23

Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?
Supertramp - Even In The Quietest Moments
Staple Singers - Staple Swingers
Bernhoft - Islander
Mali Music - Mali Is
Billy Childs - Reimagining Laura Nyro
Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love
Belle & Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
Hiss Golden Messenger - Lateness of Dancers

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Playlist for 2/18

Keb' Mo' - Bluesamericana
Dierks Bentley - Riser
Ryan Bingham - Fear & Saturday Night
Ronnie Milsap - Inside
Bettye Lavette - Worthy
Spinners - Dancin' and Lovin'
Spinners - From Here to Eternally
Panda Bear - Meets the Grim Reaper

Monday, February 16, 2015

Rock Hall Musical Excellence Award Candidates

Well let's get it out of the way.  Here's the way the Rock Hall describes the Award for Musical Excellence:

This award honors musicians, songwriters and producers who have spent their life creating important and creative music.  Their originality, impact and influence have  changed the course of music history.  These artists have achieved the highest level of  distinction that transcends time.  

And here's the last 5 recipients:
Leon Russell
Cosimo Matassa
Tom Dowd
Glyn Johns
E Street Band
Ringo Starr

The Hall's description casts a wide net.  Doesn't lean one way or the other.  So, what I see in the 6 names listed above are a combination of Producers, engineers, session players, songwriters and a backing band.  Wide net indeed.

But as with all things Hall, I like to focus on who really deserves induction.  Once Ringo Starr's name was listed as an Musical Excellence inductee it did indeed set off some off-hand comments. Did he deserve it?  And without help from his friends, would he have gotten in?   First, Ringo should thank Paul McCartney for pushing him in.  Much like Elton John did for Leon Russell.  Putting Ringo in meant the Hall ensured a McCartney/Ringo duet on their telecast.  And lots of publicity.  If I had a vote, Ringo wouldn't get in for his post-Beatle career.

Let's move on to more worthy picks.   I'm going to stick with the initial intent of the award, even though the Hall is known to make up rules as they go along.

Let me know some of the names I missed.  Suggestions are welcome.

Nile Rodgers-  He has already said he wouldn't except an award like this without Chic.  But if the Hall wanted to end the yearly circus they are subjecting Nile too they could do just that.  Besides the Chic classics he and Bernard Edwards wrote classics for Sister Sledge and Diana Ross.  As a Producer, Nile had hits with Madonna, David Bowie, Duran Duran, INXS, Stevie Ray & Jimmy Vaughan,  Daft Punk, B-52's, etc.

Jeff Lynne -  ELO, the Move, The Traveling Wilburys.  That should be enough.  But then add his production work with Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and others.  Stunning that in 2015, ELO have never even been nominated.

Todd Rundgren - Being a member of Nazz and Utopia notwithstanding, Rundgren's credentials were really boasted by his 70's solo records and his production work.  Among the artists he produced:  Grand Funk, New York Dolls, Meat Loaf, Badfinger, XTC, Hall & Oates, Patti Smith, etc.

Glen Campbell - When you add his session work with The Wrecking Crew, his TV show from 69-72 and his Countrypolitan classics (and he was in True Grit) then Campbell more than fulfills the criteria.

Meters/Neville Brothers - Looks like the Meters will be one of those acts that's going to have trouble getting into the Hall.  Nominated 3 times (last in 2014).  But they qualify for this award based not only on their records from the 70's, but because they were session musicians on many New Orleans artists records, and played on albums by Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer and others.  While the Hall is at it, they might as well induct the Neville Brothers.  Still amazes me that the Neville Brothers have never been nominated. And besides, if the E Street Band qualify as a Musical Excellence artist, so do the Meters.

Billy Preston - Should have been given the same time as Ringo's.  After all he was once referred to as the "fifth Beatle".  Before his 70's solo success, Preston was a top flight session musician.  Not just appearing on Beatles albums, but also on records by Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, etc.

Brian Eno - Once a member of Roxy Music, he's released many critically-acclaimed solo albums.  And as a Producer he's worked on classic albums by Talking Heads, Devo and U2.

Willie Nelson  - A Country artist who has transcended genres to become a cultural icon.  The Outlaw movement that he and Waylon Jennings popularized was influenced by the spirit of Rock and Roll.  But the independence that Willie and the rest exhibited in the early days of the movement?  It doesn't get any more Rock and Roll than that.

Kris Kristofferson -  To be given out the same year as Nelson's, because he was another member of the Outlaw movement that appealed to Rock fans.  The songs Kristofferson influenced future Nashville and Rock songwriters.  He also has had a long career as an actor.

Al Kooper - He discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd, was a founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, a member of the Blues Project, played the organ on "Like A Rolling Stone".  Also played with Stephen Stills and Michael Bloomfield on the Super Session album.  Many session dates and production work also.

Chips Moman - Founded American Sound Studio where the likes of Wilson Pickett, the Box Tops and others recorded hits.  Produced Elvis Presley's comeback album, From Elvis In Memphis.  Has written and played on numerous Soul and Country classics.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Playlist for 2/12

Manhattans - After Midnight
Manhattans - There's No Good In Goodbye
John Prine - Bruised Orange
John Prine - Pink Cadillac
John Prine - Aimless Love
John Prine - German Afternoons

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grammy Awards

Let's face it, the only reason people are talking about the 2015 Grammy's is Kanye West.  Was it a stunt or did the Producer's plan the whole thing?  Okay, it was another of his stupid stunts, but Grammy folks must have loved it.

I don't care who wins these awards.  Most are forgotten the next day.  But I admit that in the smaller categories that don't get televised a Grammy is a big thing.  But even there the Grammy voters showed how boring they are.  I saw the usual names winning:  Chick Corea, Ziggy Marley, John Williams.  And  Eminem winning 2 awards, probably the low point of the evening.  And how does Tenacious D win the Best Metal Performance?

For me, it's all about the performances, and there were some good ones and some that should have been but just missed.  ELO were great because we haven't seen enough of Jeff Lynne singing those great songs.  Tom Jones should have been, but he was hampered by Jessie J.  Why Kanye got to sing on 2 songs is besides me.  AC/DC should have ditched the new song and stuck with a hits medley.  Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam represented Country better than the Miranda and Eric Church numbers.  And I like how Annie Lennox took over the stage just like she used to in her Eurythmics days.

And so it goes.  People are talking about how the ratings are down.  But Sunday is a competitive TV night.  And with social media we can get an instant idea of how things are going.
So why are the Grammy's tape-delayed on the West Coast?  The Oscar's, Emmy's are live for both coasts.  I've never heard a definitive answer.  But I have heard that they aren't going to change that for 2016.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Books I've Read

Time for a book update.  All of these are recommended.

Let's Go Crazy - Alan Light
Dangerous: 33 1/3 - Susan Fast
Top 40 Democracy - Eric Weisbard
Channeling Elvis - Allen Wiener
History of Rock 'n' Roll In Ten Songs - Greil Marcus
History of Pop Music - Bob Stanley
Buck 'Em - Buck Owens & Randy Poe
Oxford American 2014 Music Issue:  Texas

Sunday, February 08, 2015


The amazing thing is that it survived this long.  With more and more consumers searching online for their electronic cords and gizmos, the fact that RadioShack made it through 2014 was a surprise.  But just like Circuit City and Borders, the end was coming soon.  We used to have 3 stores in our area and they were the place to go when you needed anything stereo/computer related.

So, another sad day for those of us who remember what life was like pre-Internet/Smart Phone.  And still I wonder does anybody go out and shop anymore?

Friday, February 06, 2015

Playlist for 2/6

Mark Ronson - Uptown Special
Luke Bryan - Crash My Party
John Prine - Diamonds In The Rough
John Prine - Sweet Revenge
John Prine - Common Sense
Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billie Joe

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Dad, 7 Years Later

My Dad had a collection of 8-track tapes.  All were from late 60's/early 70's.  One of those was The Sea by the San Sebastian Strings, written and narrated by Rod McKuen.  You can find the whole thing on You Tube.  It was as advertised.  McKuen reading his poetry over an orchestra of ocean sounds and instruments.  What's interesting about this title that my Dad brought was how different it was to the other titles.  Mostly Country & Pop records.  And, no, my Dad was not into the mellow New Age vibes of that era.

Seven years ago today my Dad passed away.  I think about him everyday, and when McKuen died last week his eclectic  LP collection that inspired my listening tastes brought back good memories.

Those are the little things that about him that brighten my day.  I think he'd get a kick out me remembering that odd McKuen record.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Playlist for 2/1

Music Machine - Turn On The Music Machine
Ian & Sylvia - Four Strong Winds
William Tyler - Lost Colony
Todd Rundgren - Wizard, A True Star
Stevie Wonder - Where I'm Coming From
Caribou - Our Love
Atlanta Rhythm Section - Champagne Jam
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