Sunday, February 28, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (February 28 - March 6)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Feb 28
1939 ● John Fahey → Folk guitarist (Rolling Stone #35), Takoma Records owner
1940 ● Joe South (Souter) → Singer/songwriter, "Games People Play" (1968)
1940 ● Marty Sanders → Jay & The Americans
1942 ● Brian JonesRolling Stones
1943 ● Barbara Acklin → Pop-soul vocalist, "Love Makes A Woman" (1968)
1952 ● Eddie "Kingfish" Manion → Asbury Jukes, Seeger Sessions Band
1957 ● Cindy WilsonB-52's
1957 ● Ian Stanley → Tears For Fears
1957 ● Phil Gould → Level 42
1967 ● Marcus Lillington → Breathe, "Hands To Heaven" (1988)
1969 ● Pat Monahan → Train, solo

Feb 29
1904 ● Jimmy Dorsey → Swing era Big Band leader
1940 ● Gretchen Christopher → The Fleetwoods, "Come Softly To Me" (1959)
1976 ● Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins) → Rapper, "Put It On Me" (2000)

Mar 01
1927 ● Harry Belafonte (Belafonete) → "Banana Boat Song" (1956)
1934 ● Jim Edward Brown → The Browns
1939 ● Warren Davis → The Monotones, "(Who Wrote) The Book Of Love" (1958)
1942 ● Jerry Fisher Blood, Sweat & Tears
1944 ● Mike D'Abo → Manfred Mann, solo
1944 ● Roger DaltreyThe Who, solo
1946 ● Tony Ashton → Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
1947 ● Burning Spear (Winston Rodney) → Reggae artist, Rastafarian preacher
1958 ● Nik Kershaw → "Wouldn't It Be Good" (1983)

Mar 02
1938 ● Lawrence PaytonThe Four Tops
1942 ● Lou Reed (Lewis Allen Rabinowitz) → Velvet Underground, solo
1943 ● George Benson → Jazz/R&B guitarist, "Breezin'" (1976)
1948 ● Rory Gallagher → Blues-rock guitarist
1950 ● Karen Carpenter → The Carpenters
1955 ● Dale Bozzio (Consalvi) → Missing Persons
1955 ● Jay Osmond → The Osmonds
1956 ● John Cowsill → The Cowsills
1956 ● Mark EvansAC/DC
1962 ● Jon Bon Jovi (John Fancis Bongiovi) → Bon Jovi, solo
1977 ● Chris Martin → Coldplay

Mar 03
1923 ● Arthel L. "Doc" Watson → Folk/country/bluegrass guitarist
1928 ● Dave Dudley (Pedruska) → "Six Days On The Road" (1963)
1938 ● Willie Chambers → Chambers Brothers, "Time Has Come Today" (1968)
1942 ● Mike Pender (Prendergast) → The Searchers
1944 ● Jance Garfat → Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
1947 ● Derek "Blue" Weaver → The Strawbs, Mott the Hoople, Bee Gees, sessions
1947 ● Jennifer Warnes → "Right Time Of The Night" (1977)
1950 ● Re Styles → The Tubes
1953 ● Ricky Helton WilsonB-52's
1953 ● Robyn Hitchcock → The Soft Boys, solo
1966 ● Tone-Loc (Anthony T. Smith) → Rapper, "Wild Thing" (1989)
1969 ● John Bigham → Fishbone
1977 ● Ronan Keating → Boyzone

Mar 04
1932 ● Miriam Makeba → South African folk-pop singer
1944 ● Bobby Womack → "It's All Over Now" (1974)
1946 ● Red Stripe (David Gittens) → Flying Pickets, "Only You" (1983)
1948 ● Chris SquireYes
1948 ● Shakin' Stevens (Michael Barrett) → "This Ole House" (1981)
1951 ● Chris Rea → "Fool (If You Think It's Over)" (1978)
1953 ● Emilio Estefan, Jr. → Miami Sound Machine
1955 ● Boon Gould → Level 42
1963 ● Jason Newsted → Metallica
1966 ● Patrick Hannan → The Sundays
1967 ● Evan Dando → Lemonheads
1971 ● Fergal Lawlor → The Cranberries

Mar 05
1933 ● Tommy Tucker (Robert Higginbotham) → "High-Heeled Sneakers" (1964)
1947 ● Eddie Hodges → "I'm Gonna Knock On Your Door" (1961)
1948 ● Eddy Grant → "Electric Avenue" (1983)
1952 ● Alan ClarkDire Straits
1956 ● Teena Marie (Mary Christine Brockert) → "Lovergirl" (1984)
1958 ● Andy Gibb → Bee Gees
1962 ● Craig & Charlie Reid → The Proclaimers
1970 ● John Frusciante → Red Hot Chili Peppers

Mar 06
1893 ● Walter "Furry" Lewis → Blues guitarist/singer
1937 ● Doug Dillard → The Dillards
1944 ● Mary Wilson The Supremes, solo
1945 ● Hugh GrundyZombies
1946 ● David GilmourPink Floyd
1947 ● Kiki Dee (Pauline Matthews) → "I've Got The Music In Me" (1974)
1977 ● Bubba Sparxxx (Warren Mathis) → Rapper, "Ugly" (2001)

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

 

Vintage Video: Shocking Blue (1969)

Dutch pop-rock band Shocking Blue scored a major hit with “Venus” in 1969 from their second album, At Home (for the video, click here). While most of us remember Shocking Blue as a one hit wonder, they actually had nearly a dozen albums mixing country-flavored rock, mild psychedelia and almost bubblegum-pop sounds, none of which made much of a mark outside of their native Netherlands. “Venus” was covered very successfully by Bananarama in 1986 and the original, chart topping, gold-selling version has appeared in numerous TV shows, movie soundtracks and scores of compilation albums from the period. In this 1970 promo video, lead mime Mariska Veres plays the part of the disenchanted siren while her bandmates play air guitar for the caged monkeys behind them.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

 

Album of the Day: The Beatles (2/26/70) 40 Years!

An unusual collection of singles and B-sides never included on any of the Beatles mainline albums (except certain U.S. versions), Hey Jude was released by Capitol Records in the U.S. on February 26, 1970. Its original working title was The Beatles Again, but that was changed shortly before the album’s release to leverage the inclusion of the August 1968 single, “Hey Jude,” which still commanded significant attention on the radio and in stores 18 months after it hit the streets.

Hey Jude features ten former 45 rpm-only songs that span the Beatles’ career, including “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Should Have Known Better” from 1964 (both of which appeared on United Artists’ soundtrack to the movie A Hard Day’s Night but not on a previous Capitol LP), sides A and B of the 1966 disc “Paperback Writer”/“Rain,” and three tracks from the acrimonious recording sessions in the winter and spring of 1969 that led to the LPs Abbey Road and Let It Be, “Don’t Let Me Down” (the B-side to “Get Back”) and both front and back of the disc “The Ballad Of John And Yoko”/“Old Brown Shoe.

Hey Jude was followed closely by the Beatles’ final album Let It Be (May 1970) and the long-rumored announcement that the band would dissolve. As the only one-stop source of all of the songs included on the album, it’s almost required for any serious Beatle collector, but it was never issued on CD and the LP versions on Amazon are quite pricey. Apple iTunes, of course, doesn’t carry any Beatles, but Dr. Rock has 50 of the best Beatles songs in the Playlist Vault for you to use as a guide for downloading mp3 files on Amazon or other sites.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Neil Young (2/25/72) 38 Years!

Neil Young released his fourth solo album, Harvest, on February 25, 1972, a long 18 month gap following After The Gold Rush (for Dr. Rock’s Neil Young playlist, click here). The delay didn’t seem to matter to his fans, and likely stoked their collective interest. Harvest met with an enthusiastic reception; the LP quickly went to the top of the Billboard album charts and eventually became the highest selling album of 1972.

Along with the #1 hit “Heart of Gold” and the #31 single “Old Man,” Young delivered a masterful collection of second-tier slow, plodding and mid-tempo country-rock and folk tunes. Background vocals were provided by Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and Young’s former bandmates, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills. Two tracks (“A Man Needs A Maid” and “There’s A World”) feature the London Symphony Orchestra, a potentially disastrous mix that could have resulted in schmaltzy elevator music, but Neil pulled it off with his plaintive vocals topping just the right level of soaring orchestral background.

Harvest brought Young into the glare of rock stardom as a solo artist. While his later work includes many great albums, he never matched the widespread popularity of Harvest, his biggest seller. It’s available on CD, LP or mp3 at Amazon (click here). Downloads for iPods are on iTunes (click here).

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Fleetwood Mac (2/24/68) 42 Years!

Fleetwood Mac (for Dr. Rock’s playlist, click here) is more than the 70s superstar group that brought “Rhiannon,” “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain” to the top of the pops. Surely those are undeniably great and lasting tunes, but long before Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and John and Christine McVie cut those classic pop-rock tracks, FM was a hardcore 60s British blues band organized around and named for the rhythm section of bassist McVie and drummer Fleetwood. But the two led the band in name only. Founder, blues guitarist and songwriter Peter Green and his partner Jeremy Spencer controlled things, at least until Green succumbed to lengthy drug fests and left Mick and John to move forward on their own in 1970. Seven years and seven LPs later, the latter two had the last laugh en route to the bank.

Debut album Fleetwood Mac (2/24/1968) is top-notch material from the British blues-rock bloom of the mid- and late 60s. A mix of Green/Spencer originals and covers of mid-level Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James, it’s one of the era’s best and a terrific counterpoint to what the world thinks is the real Fleetwood Mac.

Fleetwood Mac made it to #4 on the album charts in the UK but barely registered in the US. It’s available on CD, LP or mp3 at Amazon. Downloads for iPods are on iTunes.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

 

In Memoriam: Dale Hawkins, 1936 - 2010

In case you missed the news, Louisiana rockabilly star Dale Hawkins died a week ago Saturday at 73. Often (and unjustifiably) labelled a "one hit wonder," Hawkins surely had one massively memorable hit: “Susie Q” from 1957, mostly because the Stones and Creedence covered it with great effect in the 70s (click here for Dale’s TV performance from 1958). But Hawkins’ repertoire of “swamp rock” tunes (a mix of rock ‘n’ roll, country twang and deep Louisiana blues) were a huge influence on early rockers, and he’s always been counted with Elvis, Buddy, Bill Haley and others among the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll music.

Dale continued to record through the 60s, despite being cheated out of royalties for “Suzie Q.” He hosted a TV program and toured regularly in the 70s. And his work as a record producer is forever pressed in several classic 70s AM pop-rock gems he shepherded, including “Western Union” by the Five Americans, “Judy In Disguise” by John Fred & The Playboy Band, and “Do It Again – A Little Bit Slower” by Jon & Robin. After a lengthy 80s bout with prescription drugs and seclusion in Little Rock, AR where he founded and ran a rehab facility, Hawkins returned to recording in the late 90s with an album of new material - Wildcat Tamer – that received great reviews and sold modestly. Another comeback album was recorded after he contracted colon cancer in 2006.

(Incidentally, Dale’s cousin is Ronnie Hawkins, a stellar rockabilly artist in his own right and frontman for the 60s rock ‘n’ roll group The Hawks. The backing musicians in a mid-60s lineup of the band became known to the world as The Band in 1968.)

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (February 21 - 27)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Feb 21
1933 ● Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon) → "I Put A Spell On You" (1965)
1943 ● David Geffen → Geffen Records
1946 ● Paul Newton → Uriah Heep
1949 ● Jerry HarrisonTalking Heads
1951 ● Vince Welnick → The Tubes, Grateful Dead
1956 ● Lester Hunt → Climax Blues Band
1958 ● Mary-Chapin Carpenter → Folk/country-rock, "I Feel Lucky" (1992)
1961 ● Rankin' Roger (Charlery) → English Beat, General Public
1970 ● Eric Wilson → Sublime
1986 ● Charlotte Church (Reed) → Classical crossover singer

Feb 22
1936 ● Ernie K-Doe (Ernest Kador, Jr.) → New Orleans R&B, "Mother-In-Law" (1961)
1938 ● Bobby Hendricks → Five Crowns, Swallows, Drifters
1944 ● Mick Green → Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
1945 ● Oliver (William Oliver Swofford) → "Good Morning Starshine" (1969)

Feb 23
1944 ● Johnny Winter → Blues-rock guitarist (Rolling Stone #74)
1944 ● Mike Maxfield → Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas
1946 ● Rusty Young → Buffalo Springfield, Poco
1949 ● Terry "Tex" Comer → Ace
1950 ● Steve Priest → Sweet
1952 ● Brad WhitfordAerosmith
1955 ● Howard Jones → "What Is Love" (1984)
1955 ● Zeke Manyika → Orange Juice
1958 ● David Sylvian (David Alan Batt) → Japan
1962 ● Michael Wilton → Queensryche
1971 ● Jett Beres → Sister Hazel
1973 ● Lars Olaf "Lasse" Johansson → Cardigans

Feb 24
1941 ● Joanie Sommers (Drost) → Pop vocalist, "Johnny Get Angry" (1962)
1942 ● Paul Jones (Paul Pond) → Manfred Mann
1905 ● George HarrisonBeatles, solo
1944 ● Nicky Hopkins → Quicksilver Messenger Service, session pianist
1947 ● Lonnie TurnerSteve Miller Band
1947 ● Rupert Holmes → "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" (1979)
1948 ● Dennis Waterman → UK actor/singer, "I Could Be So Good For You" (1980)
1962 ● Michelle Shocked (Karen Michelle Johnston) → "If Love Was A Train" (1988)

Feb 25
1932 ● Faron Young → "Four In The Morning" (1971)
1942 ● Roy Michaels → Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys
1946 ● Elkie Brooks (Elaine Bookbinder) → "Pearl's A Singer" (1977)
1947 ● David Stensen → The Grass Roots
1957 ● Dennis Diken → The Smithereens
1957 ● Stuart "Woody" Wood → Bay City Rollers
1905 ● Mike Peters → The Alarm
1973 ● Justin Jeffre → 98 Degrees
1976 ● Daniel Powter → "Bad Day" (2005

Feb 26
1928 ● Antoine "Fats" Domino → "Blueberry Hill" (1956)
1930 ● Carl Cicchetti → The Playmates, "Beep Beep" (1958)
1932 ● Johnny Cash
1943 ● Paul CottonPoco
1945 ● Bob "The Bear" Hite → Canned Heat
1905 ● Mitch Ryder (William Levise, Jr.) → The Detroit Wheels, solo
1947 ● Sandie Shaw (Sandra Goodrich) → "Puppet on a String" (1967)
1950 ● Jonathan CainJourney, Babys, Bad English
1953 ● Michael Bolton (Bolotin) → Blackjack, solo
1961 ● John Jon (Jonathan Hellyer) → Bronski Beat
1971 ● Erykah Badu → "On & On" (1997)

Feb 27
1927 ● Guy Mitchell (Albert Cernick) → "Heartaches By The Number" (1959)
1950 ● Robert Balderrama → ? and the Mysterians
1951 ● Steve Harley (Stephen Nice) → Cockney Rebel, solo, "Ballerina (Prima Donna)" (1983)
1954 ● Neil SchonSantana, Journey
1955 ● Garry Christian → The Christians
1957 ● Adrian Smith → Iron Maiden
1957 ● Johnny Van ZantLynyrd Skynyrd
1960 ● Paul Humphreys → Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
1964 ● Ewen Vernal → Deacon Blue
1971 ● Chilli (Rozonda Ocelean Thomas) → TLC
1972 ● Jeremy Dean → Nine Days
1981 ● Josh Groban → Pop singer, "The Prayer" (2001)

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Heart (2/14/76) 34 Years!


Heart. A debut album from a sister act. Two hotties in longing poses on the cover. Dreamboat Annie, the title. Released on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1976. How perfectly arranged! (Find Heart’s playlist here).

It didn’t take long to discern that this was no fluff-stuff. Nancy and Ann Wilson shot Cupid’s arrow dead on - pure, straight-ahead rock from a female perspective. Yes, Pat Benatar and Joan Jett snarled and rocked harder, but Heart covered all the bases. Hard rock with harmonies (“Magic Man” and “Crazy On You”, both now classics), dreamy-folksy love songs (the title track), and sweet female vocalist MOR pop-rockers (“I’ll Be Your Song”), even though they never made the soft-rock AM radio charts (but should have).

The debut topped out at #7 on the album charts in the US and launched what became one of the most important female rock acts (and attractive sisters, no less) in the 70s and 80s. Dreamboat Annie is available on CD, LP or mp3 at Amazon. Downloads for iPods are on iTunes.

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This Week's Birthdays (February 14 - 20)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Feb 14
1931 ● Phyllis McGuire → McGuire Sisters
1937 ● Samuel Gene "Magic Sam" Maghett → Chicago blues, "Feelin' Good (We're Gonna Boogie)" (1963)
1943 ● Eric Andersen → Greenwich Village folk, "Thirsty Boots" (1966)
1945 ● Vic Briggs → The Animals
1946 ● Doug Simril → Boz Scaggs Band
1947 ● Tim Buckley → Folk-rock singer/songwriter
1950 ● Roger FisherHeart, Alias
1951 ● Kenny Hyslop → The Skids, Simple Minds
1972 ● Rob Thomas → Matchbox Twenty, solo

Feb 15
1941 ● Brian HollandMotown songwriter (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
1944 ● Denny Zager → Zager & Evans, "In The Year 2525" (1969)
1944 ● Michael Charles "Mick" AvoryKinks
1945 ● John HelliwellSupertramp
1947 ● David BrownAllman Brothers Band, Santana
1951 ● Melissa Manchester → "Midnight Blue" (1975)
1959 ● Alistair "Ali" Campbell → UB40
1960 ● Mikey Craig → Culture Club
1976 ● Brandon Boyd → Incubus

Feb 16
1916 ● Bill Doggett → "Honky Tonk" (1956)
1927 ● Bobby Lewis → "Tossin' And Turnin'" (1961)
1935 ● Sonny Bono (Salvatore Phillip Bono) → Sonny & Cher, "I Got You Babe" (1965)
1949 ● Lyn Paul → New Seekers, "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" (1971)
1956 ● James Ingram → "I Don't Have The Heart" (1990)
1958 ● Ice-T (Tracy Morrow) → "I'm Your Pusher" (1988)
1961 ● Andy Taylor → Duran Duran
1962 ● Tony Kylie → Blow Monkeys

Feb 17
1902 ● Orvill "Hoppy" Jones → The Ink Spots
1922 ● Tommy Edwards → "It's All In The Game" (1958)
1939 ● John Leyton → UK teen idol, "Johnny Remember Me" (1961)
1941 ● Gene Pitney → "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" (1962)
1947 ● Dodie Stevens (Geraldine Ann Pasquale) → "Pink Shoe Laces" (1959)
1950 ● Rickey Medlocke → Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd
1966 ● Melissa Brooke-Bellard → Voice Of The Beehive
1972 ● Billie Joe Armstrong → Green Day

Feb 18
1933 ● Yoko Ono (Lennon)
1941 ● Herman Santiago → Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
1941 ● Irma Thomas → "Ruler Of My Heart" (1963)
1947 ● Dennis De YoungStyx, solo
1948 ● Keith KnudsenDoobie Brothers
1952 ● Judy Kay "Juice" Newton → "Angel Of The Morning" (1981)
1953 ● Derek Pellicci → Little River Band
1953 ● Robbie Bachman → Bachman-Turner Overdrive
1954 ● John Travolta → Saturday Night Fever, Grease
1965 ● Dr. Dre (Andre Romell Young) → "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" (1993)

Feb 19
1936 ● Bob Engemann → The Lettermen
1940 ● William "Smokey" RobinsonThe Miracles, solo, songwriter, producer
1942 ● Lenny Citrin → Vito & The Salutations
1943 ● Lou Christie (Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco) → "Lightnin' Strikes" (1965)
1948 ● Tony IommiBlack Sabbath
1949 ● Eddie Hardin → Spencer Davis Group
1956 ● Dave Wakeling → General Public, English Beat, solo
1957 ● Falco (Johann Hölzel) → "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986)
1960 ● Prince Markie Dee (Mark Morales) → Fat Boys
1960 ● William "Holly" Johnson → Frankie Goes To Hollywood
1963 ● Seal (Seal Henry Samuel) → "Kiss From A Rose" (1996)

Feb 20
1898 ● Jimmy Yancey → Boogie-woogie pianist (Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, 1986)
1925 ● Robert Altman → Film producer/director, co-wrote "Theme From M.A.S.H."
1937 ● David Ackles → "Candy Man" (1970)
1937 ● Nancy Wilson → "How Glad I Am" (1964)
1940 ● Barbara Ellis → Fleetwoods
1941 ● Buffy Sainte-Marie → "Universal Soldier" (1964)
1944 ● Lew SoloffBlood, Sweat & Tears, sessions
1945 ● Alan Hull → Lindisfarne
1946 ● John "Jerome" Geils, Jr. → J. Geils Band
1950 ● Walter BeckerSteely Dan
1954 ● Jon BrantCheap Trick
1963 ● Ian Brown → Stone Roses
1975 ● Brian Littrell → Backstreet Boys
1985 ● Julia Volkova → t.A.T.u.
1988 ● Rihanna (Robyn Rihanna Fenty) → "Pon De Replay" (2005)

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Black Sabbath (2/13/70) 40 Years!


“Play me loud!” should have been painted across the cover of Black Sabbath, the eponymous first album by the band that achieved near-universal credit for introducing “heavy metal” music to the world. It was released in the U.K. on February 13, 1970 - a Friday, no less! - and three months later in the U.S. (Check out the Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne playlist in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault).

The monotonous rhythm of Ozzy and his bandmates’ macabre sound was best heard on a Victrola when played louder than anything our parents would approve of – louder than even the poppy, hand-holding Beatles’ songs from just a short six years earlier. Murky, dripping with occult imagery and morbid lyrics, Black Sabbath came with three individual tracks and two lengthy multi-song pieces oozing dark satanic themes and droning rhythms. “Kids, where are you?” was the question. “We’re in there, Mommy” the response.

Dankly dungeonous, Black Sabbath had an auspicious debut for over a year on the US charts, peaking at #23 and selling a deadly million copies. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album #241 on its list of the Top 500 albums of all-time.

Black Sabbath is available on CD, LP or mp3 at Amazon. Unfortunately for metal-Podders, it's not on iTunes. (Incidentally, Black Sabbath is one of only a handful of rock and pop albums where the band name, the album name and the title track are all the same. Can you name any others?)

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Friday, February 12, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Allman Brothers (2/12/72) 38 Years!


The band’s tribute to departed brother Duane, the Allman Brothers released Eat A Peach on February 12, 1972. Duane had died in a collision between his motorcycle and a flatbed lumber truck (not a peach truck as commonly thought) on October 29, 1971, and the double album included a mixture of studio tracks recorded before his death, live cuts from the Fillmore concerts in early 1971 that were not included on the terrific Live At The Fillmore collection from July 1971, and a handful of new songs completed in the studio by the band in the weeks following the accident. (For a 25 song playlist of the best of the Allman Brothers, visit Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault here).

By mixing live jams and studio tracks, Eat A Peach creates the quintessential Allman Brothers Band collection. From boogie-rock (“One Way Out”) to jazz-rock instrumental interplay (“Les Brers In A Minor”) to inspirational piano-guitar rock (“Blue Sky”) to plaintive folk-rock (“Melissa”) to acoustic simplicity (“Little Martha”), the album highlights the exceptional range and capabilities of the ABB as a tight-playing group and as individual artists. Duane’s slide guitar virtuosity is showcased on “Mountain Jam,” a 2-side, 33-plus minute rendition of the ABB’s take on Donovan’s “First There Is A Mountain.” Although it’s quite long for casual fans of the band, it’s a great track that’s even better when compared to the less polished version the band released in 1991 on the Live At Ludlow Garage 1970 retrospective CD.

Eat A Peach is one of my favorites and is available for purchase as a CD or download as mp3 files on Amazon (click here) or as iPod downloads at iTunes (click here).

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

 

Album of the Day: The Others


A few notable album releases for February 10 (in addition to Carole King’s Tapestry):

John CaleChurch Of Anthrax (1971)

Judas PriestStained Class (1978)

John LennonLive In New York City (1986)

Van HalenVan Halen (1978)

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Album of The Day: Carole King (2/10/71) 39 Years!

Carole King (click here for Dr. Rock’s playlist) had already established her credentials as a top-notch pop music songwriter by the time her second solo album, Tapestry was released on this date in 1971. As a member of the acclaimed Brill Building team of song crafters, King’s work (most often in collaboration with future husband Gerry Goffin) had been covered by numerous top acts throughout the 60s and early 70s, including the Beatles (“Chains”), the Monkees (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”), Little Eva (“The Locomotion”), the Shirelles (“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”), the Chiffons (“One Fine Day”) and Aretha Franklin (“[You Make Me Feel] Like A Natural Woman”).

Tapestry came at the beginning of the singer/songwriter boom in the early 70s and ultimately proved to be one of the seminal releases of the genre. Well-crafted, minimally-produced, warm, resonant and introspective, it ruled the US Pop charts for 15 weeks and included the #1 singles “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel The Earth Move.” In its day it was the longest charting album by a female performer and (rightly so) is one of the highest selling pop albums of all time.

Tapestry is available for purchase as a CD or download as mp3 files on Amazon (click here) or as iPod downloads at iTunes (click here).

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

 

Vintage Video: The Beatles on Ed Sullivan (2/9/64)

Sunday night, February 9, 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show, television introduced the Beatles to 73 million Americans, or nearly 40% of the total population of the country at the time (by comparison, this past Sunday’s broadcast of the Super Bowl, the highest rated showing of that annual extravaganza, was viewed by an estimated 106 million Americans, or about 30% of the population).

The February 9 airing of Ed Sullivan’s weekly variety program (his “really big shoo”) was the first of three consecutive Sunday evenings on which the Fab Four appeared on the show. That night they performed five songs in two sets, opening with “All My Loving”, followed by “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You.” In the show’s second hour they came back with “I Saw Her Standing There” and ended with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

Click here for an interesting side-by-side video of two versions of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” – one taped earlier in the day for inclusion on the February 23 show, and the other filmed live on February 9. For my Beatles playlists, click here.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (February 7 - 13))

Happy Birthday this week to:

Feb 07
1934 ● King Curtis (Curtis Ousley) → "Memphis Soul Stew" (1967)
1943 ● Harvey Hersh (Hershkowitz) → Quotations
1946 ● Sammy Johns → "Chevy Van" (1975)
1948 ● Jimmy Greenspoon → Three Dog Night
1949 ● Alan Lancaster → Status Quo
1959 ● Brian Travers → UB40
1960 ● Steve Bronski → Bronski Beat
1962 ● David Bryan → Bon Jovi
1962 ● Garth Brooks → "Friends In Low Places" (1990)

Feb 08
1899 ● Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson → Blues guitarist
1931 ● James (Byron) Dean → Actor
1941 ● Tom Rush → Folk singer/songwriter
1943 ● Creed Bratton (William Charles Schneider) → The Grass Roots
1946 ● Adolpho "Fito" de la Parra → Canned Heat
1946 ● Paul Wheatbread → Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
1948 ● Danny Wayland "Dan" Seals → England Dan & John Ford Coley, solo
1961 ● Sam Llanas → BoDeans
1961 ● Vince Neil (Wharton) → Motley Crue
1971 ● Will Turpin → Collective Soul
1977 ● David Michael "Phoenix" Farrell → Linkin Park

Feb 09
1939 ● Barry Mann (Iberman) → Songwriter
1940 ● Bruce Bennett → The Shadows
1942 ● Carole King (Klein) → "I Feel The Earth Move" (1971)
1942 ● Mark Mathis→ The Newbeats
1943 ● Barbara Lewis → "Baby I'm Yours" (1965)
1947 ● Earle R. "Joe" Ely → Flatlanders, solo
1951 ● Dennis "Dee Tee" Thomas → Kool & The Gang
1955 ● Jimmy Pursey → Sham 69
1960 ● William "Holly" Johnson → Frankie Goes to Hollywood
1963 ● Travis Tritt → "Foolish Pride" (1994)

Feb 10
1933 ● Don Wilson → The Ventures
1939 ● Roberta Flack → "Killing Me Softly With His Song" (1973)
1940 ● Jimmy Merchant → Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
1943 ● Ralph Stuart "Ral" Donner → "You Don't Know What You've Got" (1961)
1949 ● Nigel Olsson→ Plastic Penny, Elton John Band, solo
1962 ● Robbie Neville→ Neville Brothers (next generation)

Feb 11
1914 ● Josh White → Folk-blues guitarist
1935 ● Gene Vincent (Vincent Eugene Craddock) → "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (1956)
1939 ● Gerry Goffin → Songwriter, lyricist, solo artist
1940 ● Bobby "Boris" Pickett → "Monster Mash" (1962)
1941 ● Earl Lewis → The Flamingos, The Channels
1941 ● Sergio Mendes → Brasil '66
1947 ● Derek Shulman → Gentle Giant, record executive
1953 ● Alan Rubin → SNL Band, Blues Brothers Band
1962 ● Sheryl Crow→ "All I Wanna Do" (1994)
1974 ● D'Angelo (Michael Archer) → "Untitled (How Does it Feel)" (2000)
1977 ● Mike Shinoda → Linkin Park
1979 ● Brandy (Norwood) → "Sittin' Up In My Room" (1995)
1981 ● Kelendria Trene "Kelly" Rowland → Destiny's Child

Feb 12
1867 ● Len Spencer → Early American recording star ("A Hot Time In The Old Town" - 1897)
1935 ● Gene McDaniels → "A Tower of Strength" (1961)
1939 ● Ray ManzerakThe Doors
1946 ● Joe Schermie → Three Dog Night
1949 ● Stanley "Goober" Knight → Black Oak Arkansas
1950 ● Steve HackettGenesis, solo
1951 ● Gil MooreTriumph
1952 ● Michael McDonald Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, solo
1959 ● Omar Hakim → Weather Report
1959 ● Per Gessle → Roxette
1968 ● Chynna Phillips → Wilson Phillips
1970 ● Jim Creeggan → Barenaked Ladies

Feb 13
1919 ● Ernest Jennings "Tennessee Ernie" Ford → "Sixteen Tons" (1955)
1925 ● Gene Ames → Ames Brothers
1930 ● Dorothy McGuire → McGuire Sisters
1942 ● Peter Tork (Thorkelston)The Monkees
1944 ● Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku BaahTraffic, sessions
1945 ● King Floyd → "Groove Me" (1970)
1945 ● Roy Dyke → Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
1950 ● Peter GabrielGenesis, solo
1952 ● Edward John GagliardiForeigner, The Spys
1956 ● Peter Hook → New Order, Joy Division
1957 ● Tony Butler → Big Country, sessions
1961 ● Henry Rollins (Henry Lawrence Garfield) → Black Flag, MTV host, producer
1961 ● Les Warner → The Cult
1966 ● Frederick Brandon "Freedom" Williams → C+C Music Factory
1971 ● Sonia (Evans) → "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" (1989)
1974 ● Robbie Williams → Take That, solo

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Album of the Day: Rush (2/7/81) 29 Years!

Probably the definitive Rush album, Moving Pictures came out on February 7, 1981, a year after their biggest hit single (“Spirit Of Radio”), from the Permanent Waves album, and spawned two radio-friendly tracks, “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight,” which I won’t bore you by talking about (yay!). But you can check out these and other top Rush tracks in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault by clicking here.

Like its predecessor, Moving Pictures had a punning cover (check it out: not only are they [physically] moving pictures, but they are making [films] moving pictures, and the whole thing has people crying, making them [emotionally] moving pictures) and some great songs, and their last stab at a Proggy-concept track “The Camera Eye” with its intriguing intro (a typewriter tapping – do you kids even know what a typewriter is??) and very spacious sound and alternate major/minor backing to the guitar solo, was a graceful salute and farewell to the excesses of the Prog Rock era.

“Red Barchetta” was a brief return to the sci-fi/fantasy song themes of yore, and also a tip to Neil Peart’s individualist social/political thinking, which had drawn Rush so much criticism during the 2112 era. “Witch Hunt” has clear, pro-tolerance, anti-mob lyrics, and the absence of a guitar solo only reinforces the power of the words: “Quick to judge/Quick to anger/Slow to understand”. Nice. “YYZ” with its deliberately odd-rhythm/flattened-fifth intro (you did know “YYZ” was the code for Toronto airport, right? Sorry – just checking) now appears on Guitar Hero, for those of you who find Whack-a-Mole an acceptable substitute for musical ability.

Big “uh-oh” reserved for the final track “Vital Signs”, which was a taster for some of the clunkier tracks with just-plain-stupid lyrics that Rush did in the later 80’s, when they started to sound like a heavy-rock version of the Police (Sting’s old band), or Yes-plays-Bob-Marley or some such.

Moonglum rating: 4.5 gilt picture frames (out of a possible 5)

Review by Moonglum.

Moving Pictures is available for purchase as a CD or download as mp3 files on Amazon (click here) or as iPod downloads at iTunes (click here).

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Friday, February 5, 2010

 

Album of the Day: The Cure (2/5/80) 30 Years!

The album title was a bit of shock for this Brit. What’s Boys Don’t Cry (BDC)? ‘Cos in the UK, it was Three Imaginary Boys. Whatever it’s called, it was the first record by The Cure, and introduced the world to Robert Smith and…ummm… the revolving cast of characters that his support band turned out to be. (For Dr. Rock’s playlist of The Cure, click here).

For those of used to the full-on guitar/tongue-in-cheek onslaught of the Sex Pistols and the quirky humor of the Stranglers and their keyboard-dominated-punk driven sound, The Cure were a definite WTF? moment. From the introspective, moody, Albert-Camus-inspired lyrics (and, yes, THAT’s where the lyrics for “Killing an Arab” came from) to the sparse, crisp, distortion-free and (dammit) intriguing guitar style of Mr. Smith, the Cure left its audience a bit baffled as to genre. They weren’t punk, ‘cos no one was spitting at them. They weren’t pop because Robert Smith didn’t look like he’d ever smiled inanely in his life; and Goth hadn’t been invented yet - although kudos to Howard Devoto’s Magazine, who were making serious strides in that direction before the Sisters of Mercy got going.

Overall a great album, and a neat glimpse into Mr. Smith’s highly-inventive guitar chops, which dominate here, before keyboards started pushing his sound a little off center stage in the next album, Seventeen Seconds.

Moonglum rating: 4 tubes of mascara (out of a possible 5).

Review by Moonglum.

Boys Don’t Cry is available for purchase as a CD or download as mp3 files on Amazon (click here) or as iPod downloads at iTunes (click here).

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Fleetwood Mac (2/4/77) 33 Years!

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was released today in 1977 (click here for my FM playlist). Coming 18 months after 1975’s eponymous Fleetwood Mac, the album completed the transformation of the band from a late-60s, moderately successful British blues-rock outfit to a juggernaut, pop-rock phenomenon. Within months of its release, the LP shot to the top of the charts and spawned four U.S. Top 10 singles (“Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way” and “You Make Loving Fun”). It’s full of classic 70s vocals and jingle-jangle guitar licks, not to mention thinly-disguised references to the romantic inner turmoil that was beginning to pull the band apart. Original (and the lone remaining) founder Mick Fleetwood was enduring a messy divorce, caused in part by his affair with new singer Stevie Nicks, whose relationship with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was unraveling, and bandmembers John and Christine McVie were separating and headed for divorce as well.

The rock star version of Peyton Place didn’t stop Rumours from quickly becoming the one of the best-selling albums of all-time. To be a part of the amorous sub-plot, you’ll find Rumours available as a CD or individual mp3 downloads on Amazon (click here) and as $.99 download tracks for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here).

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

 

The Day The Music Died (2/3/59)

Buddy Holly (age 22), Ritchie Valens (just 17) and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson (28) were killed 51(!) years ago tonight when their chartered plane crashed into a corn field during a snowstorm outside Clear Lake, Iowa. They were headed from one show to the next in a multi-act, “barnstorming” tour of the Midwest - a typical schedule for pop artists in those days.

Don McLean’s 1971 folk-pop opus, “American Pie,” (click here for download or purchase) forever immortalized the event, which erased two early rock ‘n’ roll stars (Holly and Richardson) and a promising young talent (Valens had just released “Donna” and “La Bamba” and was the first Hispanic rock star of any note).

Click here for my playlist of 15 top Buddy Holly tracks for download from iTunes. On Amazon, a reasonably priced, basic collection of his Greatest Hits is also available, as are single, DRM-free mp3 downloads further down on that page (click here).

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