Saturday, February 28, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

The Beatles - Michelle

Album Cover Art


Long unavailable, ASS was Badfinger's fourth and final album for the Apple label. Their self-titled debut for Warner Bros. would be released a mere three months after ASS. That, coupled with the fact that Apple did little to promote the album, resulted in an album that failed to chart. Despite the album's poor chart showing, it is not without it's highlights.

The album is bookended by two first-rate efforts from Pete Ham. The opening track is a kiss off to their former label. [Badfinger left Apple on acrimonious terms.] The closing track is the majestic "Timeless." [At nearly eight minutes it is the longest song in the Badfinger canon.]

Co-founder Tom Evans also turns in two equally fine songs. First, the uptempo "Blind Owl" and the lovely "When I Say." Mike Gibbins lone contribution is the country-flavored "Cowboy."

The remaining five tracks (along with the bonus track "Do You Mind") were penned by Joey Molland. The rockers like "Get Away," "Winner" and "Constitution" are serviceable, but the highlights are the love songs "Icicles" and "I Can Love You."

While not up to the high standards of their previous LP STRAIGHT UP, this is still a necessary purchase for Badfinger fans. RECOMMENDED (Amazon Review)

Music News & Notes

A Look at the Magic of Deerhunter

Deerhunter is an American band made up of Bradford Cox, Moses Archuleta, Josh Fauver, Lockett Pundt and Whitney Petty, which originates from Atlanta. The band describes themselves as ambient punk although their music spans across a wide range of genres such as noise rock, art rock, ambient, and post-punk. The line-up has varied over the years, due to among several things the death of one of the members.

The band was co-founded in 2001 by vocalist Bradford Cox and Moses Archuleta and the name was proposed by the first drummer, Dan Walton, who was asked to leave the band during the early days. It was Colin Mee, who Coxon met while living in Atlanta that brought the band together. At that time Mee was working at the label Die Slaughterhaus Records with members of Black Lips.

In 2004 the first bass player, Justin Bosworth, died from the head injuries he suffered in a skateboarding accident. He was to appear on only one Deerhunter release, the Deerhunter/Alphabets Split, which was released before their debut album. Bosworth was replaced by Joshua Fauver, who at the time played drums for the Atlanta punk band Electrosleep International. The death of Bosworth influenced the sound of the first album, which according to the members was the result of a lot of negativity. Recording the album was an incredible struggle in the aftermath of the death of Bosworth and as said by Cox this was a record he would never want to do again. The liner notes are dedicated to Bosworth

After the release of of "Turn It Up Faggot" Cox asked one of his best friends from high school, Lockett Pundt, to join the band. The band went on tour playing shows with such bands as of Lightning Bolt and Gang Gang Dance. The tour culminated with a recording session at Rare Book Room in New York, which was organized by the well-known folk musician Samara Lubleski. No material that could be used came out of the session due to the mental and physical state of Cox at the time, together with a disagreement with Lubleski. According to Cox a copy of the recoding is kept under his bed on a scratched CD-R that no one will ever hear. Nevertheless, later the recording was made available as a download through the website of the band, and on advice by the band Liars Deerhunter started the recording of their second album.

The second album was recorded over a couple of days in November 2005 and was entitled Cryptograms. It was released by Kranky in January 2007 and the album featured a more subdued and introverted sound for the band. This album also had liner notes dedicated to a friend of Cox. This time to Bradley Ira Harris, who died from an overdose of heroin in 2005.

In May 2007 Deerhunter released the Fluorescent Grey EP, which was recorded in July 2006 and during the same month the Whirlyball 7" single was also released. That single was only available through Criminal Records, an Atlanta based record shop. In August the same year the band was also reduced with one member after guitarist Colin Mee was forced out of the band due to not showing up at a few gigs. However, he later rejoined the band their European tour the same autumn.

The third album, Microcastle, was released on October 27 2008. The album was leaked on the Internet during May the same year and also following the release Collin Mee again left the band and was replaced by Whitney Petty, a high school friend of Cox.

Quite a few references have been mentioned by Cox as having influenced the sound. Some of these references are The Clean, The Fall, The Flying Lizards, Kompakt Records, The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds, and Liars. However, according to Cox if he would have to narrow down their influences they would be Echo & The Bunnymen, Brian Eno, David Bowie and My Bloody Valentine.

About the Author
Kevin Hawkins writes about music, the music industry and vinyl records. To find out more about the band and its releases check out Deerhunter on Nylvi.

Nylvi is a new social marketplace for buying and selling music.


LACUNA COIL: 'Shallow Life' Artwork Unveiled; 'Spellbound' Digital Single Due Next Month

Italian hard rock band LACUNA COIL, which offers the dual vocals of male singer Andrea Ferro and female vocalist Cristina Scabbia, will release its much-anticipated new album, "Shallow Life", via Century Media Records on the following dates:

Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Italy: April 17
North America, Spain, Portugal: April 21
Sweden, Finland, Hungary: April 22
U.K., France, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Rest of Europe: April 20

This Date In Music History-Febraury 28


Singer/songwriter Joe South turns 69. He wrote Lynn Anderson's #3 "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden," Deep Purple's "Hush," and scored a #12 hit himself in 1969 with "Games People Play."

Broadway star Bernadette Peters (1944)

Cindy Wilson- B-52's (1957)

Marty Sanders- Jay and the Americans (1941)

Ian Brown- The Stone Roses (1966)

They Are Missed:

Brian Jones- Rolling Stones guitarist (February 28, 1942 – July 3, 1969)

Willie Bobo - American jazz percussionist (February 28, 1934 – September 15, 1983)

Barbara Acklin (February 28, 1943 - November 27 1998)

Renowned folk guitarist John Fahey was born in 1939.

Mike Smith, lead singer with the Dave Clark Five died of pneumonia in 2008.

In 1968, Frankie Lymon was discovered dead of a heroin overdose in his grandmother's bathroom at age 25.

In 1974, singer/songwriter Bobby Bloom shot himself at his Hollywood apartment aged 28. Bloom had the 1970 US hit “Montego Bay.” His death was originally thought to be suicide, but is now considered accidental.

David Byron, singer with Uriah Heep died from a heart attack in 1985.


The Bobbettes recorded "Mr. Lee" in 1957.

Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" was named Best Pop Vocal Performance and Album Of The Year at the 18th annual Grammy Awards in 1976. In his acceptance speech, Simon tells the audience "I'd like to thank Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album this year."

In 1976, the theme from the ABC-TV program S.W.A.T. became the first television theme song to top the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1966, Liverpool's Cavern Club, made famous by the Beatles' residency there, closes and is later turned into a subway station.

Alaskan singer-songwriter Jewel released her debut 'Pieces of You' in 1995.

In an interview with the New Musical Express in 1970, Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green talked about his plans to give all his money away. The following year Green confronted his accountant with a gun after he sent him an unwanted royalty check. The guitarist went to jail briefly before being transferred to an asylum and was committed to a mental hospital in 1973. He re- launched his career in the 90's.

Simon and Garfunkel started a six week run at the top of the US singles chart in 1970 with “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” also #1 in the UK in March the same year.

Eddie Rabbitt started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1981 with “I Love A Rainy Night,” his only #1 hit.

Michael Jackson won a record seven Grammy awards in 1984 including: Album of the year for “Thriller,” Record of the year and Best rock vocal performance for “Beat It;” Best pop vocal performance, Best R&B performance and Best R&B song for “Billie Jean,” and Best Recording For Children for E.T The Extra Terrestrial.

Celine Dion started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1998 with “My Heart Will Go On.”

In 1970, after the family of the late Ferdinand von Zeppelin threatens a lawsuit, Led Zeppelin performed in Copenhagen, Denmark as "The Nobs".

Friday, February 27, 2009

Two More Virgin Megastores To Close

A Call To Action- Support Your Record Stores!

The six-unit Virgin Megastore chain announced that it will close two more stores, the Union Square location in New York City (end of May) and the Market St. store in San Francisco (end of April). As previously reported, the company had announced that the Times Square store will close in April.

In August 2007, the Virgin Entertainment Group North America was acquired by two real estate companies - the Related Cos. and Vornado. Since then, the chain has been reduced from 11 units - with the industry awaiting word of the fate of the three remaining stores in Denver, Los Angeles, and Orlando, Florida.

If you are lucky enough to have a record store in your area, get out and support them, buy vinyl- and whatever merchandise they have to offer, it's up to us to keep these stores solvent.

Classic Rock Videos

Beatles - Girl

Album Cover Art

Let's continue our feature about album cover art and take a look at a great cover released in 1975 by the Marshall Tucker Band.

Old West dreams meet Southern memories in the tracks of Searchin’ for a Rainbow, The Marshall Tucker Band’s fourth album. Released in 1975, this song collection found the group refining its multi-faceted sound into an appealing country-rock essence. Still present were the jazz and blues-based elements that had always made Marshall Tucker a distinctive unit. By dressing up their music in Western garb, the band found a way to reach a huge new audience—all it took was a little "Fire On The Mountain" to light the way. "We’d found a bit more direction on how to design songs for a record," says lead singer Doug Gray. "Our record company Capricorn had always said, ‘Try to give us something that would work on the radio.’ We tried to do that, and at the same time please each other. We were known as a jamming band. This was the first time we really tried to give them Marshall Tucker’s interpretation of what a hit song was." Helping to spur things on was "Fire On The Mountain," the lead track off Searchin’ for a Rainbow. Released as a single in the fall of ’75, the tune reached #38 on the pop charts. A vivid, Old West, lyric-storyline combined with bluegrass-tinged instrumental licks and an ear-grabbing chorus brought Marshall Tucker its first Top 40 hit.

Vinyl Review by Michael Fremer

I am very proud to continue our new feature (look for this every Friday), music reviews that are written by the senior contributing editor of Stereophile magazine- Michael Fremer. It has been a pleasure to speak with Michael and learn more about audio sound and equipment. In fact, his new DVD, "It's A Vinyl World, After All" has hit the shelves and is selling out very quickly. This is a must have for anybody who loves vinyl, it is a true masterpiece.

Additionally, make sure to stop by his site, and bookmark it for further exploration. I certainly want to thank Michael for the exclusive rights to reprint his fantastic material.

Long-Awaited The Doors Vinyl Box From Rhino Arrives
The Doors (new reissue)

Michael Fremer

The long awaited faux lizard skin clad, seven 180g LP The Doors box set has finally arrived, two years late, at a higher than originally announced cost, and for now (May, 2008), in very short supply.

Was it worth the wait? I anxiously broke open my edition (03631 or 12,500) to find out, armed with originals (including the rare mono first album), the Mo-Fi first album, the DCC reissues, now more than a decade old, and some Japanese Warner-Pioneer reissues from the 1980's.

First of all, for the most part, the box set's packaging is truly D-luxe and the labels and inserts accurate to the originals. Only Morrison Hotel misses the mark by not reproducing the original's textured, matte-finished cover material.

The insert containing notes by Elektra founder and president Jac Holzman and Doors engineer Bruce Botnick, provide welcome background and perspective on both LP history in general and production of the originals, as well as a discussion of how these reissues were produced.

By now, almost everyone knows that because of the delicate condition of the now, in some cases, more than forty year old (!) tapes, Holzman and Botnick chose to digitize the reels at 192k/24 bit resolution in order to preserve both their physical and sonic integrity and to allow them to manipulate and deal with sonic problems in preparation for the final cutting without compromise.

What constitutes an original of the first three albums is not as easy as a gold Elektra label. The first two were first mastered, as Botnick points out, by Sydney Feldman at Mastertone Sound in New York City (did he really spell it with a 'y,' which is usually used for the woman's version, or was that a typo?).

I have four gold label copies of Strange Days, but only one has an 'MMatrix' stamp and the date (10-3-67) inscribed on the lead out groove area and it is, by far, the most detailed and dynamic (and brightest) sounding of the four. I assume it's the original cut by Mr. Feldman. It's the one I first enjoyed back in the fabled summer of 1967.

The first two dark and mysterious albums were The Doors' creative peak for me, though in retrospect, Waiting For The Sun, the third album issued summer of 1968 (and originally mastered by Bernie Grundman at Contemporary), though flawed, holds up rather well. Songs like 'The Unknown Soldier,' 'Summer's Almost Gone,' and 'Five to One,' soundtrack selections for many boomers that summer, still pack a punch.

Soft Parade shows a rock band unsure of its direction and wallowing in the distractions of jazz rhythms, busy horn arrangements and stale riffs, then and more so now. The Doors sounding like Chicago? Who needs that, although the string-tinged three minute 'Wishful Sinful' makes some magic and the extended, oddly dichotomized Zappa-esque/Broadway title tune is entertaining in retrospect, but it clearly shows a band following, rather than leading trends.

When the band attempted to find the magic formulas of the first two albums, they found the formulas but not the magic. The mystery and magic of the first two albums, softened on the third, are gone completely on Soft Parade. Even the recording, though competent, lacks the high style and sonic depth of the first two and to a lesser degree the third. Leave it to the public to elevate the lame 'Touch Me' to near the top of the charts. At the end of the tune Morrison spits out the Ajax (the foaming cleanser) advertising slogan 'Stronger Than Dirt,' both because the song's end riff mirrors the slogan, and, it's often said, as Morrison's editorial comment on his band mates' attempts to commercialize 'Light My Fire' by allowing its use in a television car commercial. Morrison vetoed the idea.

1970's Morrison Hotel nudged the Doors toward their bluesy roots (despite the psychedelic trappings, the blues was at the band's core) and returned credibility to the band after The Soft Parade— though the band never had any with a certain segment of the rock audience and among certain critics who thought Morrison and the boys were hokey pretenders.

With so much to prove and so much hanging on its success, Morrison Hotel has a bit too much nervous energy for its own good. In retrospect, it's a good album but not a great one and it doesn't contain any truly 'classic' tracks.

The same can't be said for the final Doors album, issued just two months before Jim Morrison's death in Paris on July 3rd, 1971. How much changed in the world and in The Doors' music between the first and last album! L.A. Woman finds The Doors in richer, more credible blues territory and includes era-defining classics like 'Love Her Madly,' 'L.A. Woman,' and 'Riders on a Storm.'

Morrison had traded his psychedelic mystery voice for a hard-edged bitter blues, asking in 'Been Down So Long,' to be set free. 'Let the poor boy be,' he implores. Though the song is set in a prison, Morrison clearly is asking to be let out of his own prison, the one in which his self-created 'Lizard King' image had bound him. The Doors liked to exit an album with an extended epic and though they might not have known it at the time, going out with the brooding 7:14 long 'Riders on the Storm,' proved a fitting end cap to the group's studio recording history.

Drugs and sex, an Oedipal epic and Kurt Weill made the first album memorable and powerful, while the second album captured and fed back to aware fans the 'Strange Days' that were creeping upon America and the unsettled world just four years after the assassination of JFK, not that Morrison and crew were against an escapist 'Moonlight Drive.' The second album's combination of psychedelia, sex and woozy confusion, aided by the late photographer Joel Brodsky's iconic cover, make it the quintessential Doors album—the one that put the sound, the vibe and the performances together to truly define the group. Unfortunately, there was no recovering from the second album jolt and nothing the group did later can compare. However, with the luxury of time (a lot of it!) the group's rich output has only been enhanced, both artistically and with this box set, sonically as well.

As the albums originally came out, the sound quality seemed to deteriorate along with the artistic integrity. The first two albums were steeped in a dark, rich and definitely unsettling atmosphere. My college roommates (one of whom went on to become the superintendent of a school system!) won't mind, I assume, if I divulge that one of our great pleasures at the end of the school week was to unearth our 'stash' carefully hidden in the garage next to our basement apartment, roll up a number, smoke it as the Ithaca winter darkness settled in late afternoon and then listen to Strange Days on my hi-fi, then consisting of a Dynaco PS-3x, stereo 120, Dual 1009SK/Shure V-15 Type II and a pair of AR-2ax speakers.

Once suitably toasted, it was easy to sink into the bubbling psychedelia of 'Strange Days,' and remain suspended, each in our own little purply haze, until the end of 'Moonlight Drive.' 'Horse Latitudes' may have been silly but it was creepy and evocative and conjured up perfectly grotesque images upon which adventurous minds could feed for that short minute and a half before the liberation of 'Moonlight Drive.' When the side ended it took a genuine effort on all our parts to return to a state of consciousness that could fairly be described as 'aware of our surroundings.' We wouldn't have had it any other way. It was a state of mind no computer speaker/MP3 system could hope to induce, you can bet on that!

Another few hits and we were ready to go back from whence we came with 'People Are Strange' and the rest of the side, ending appropriately with 'When the Music's Over.' For us it wasn't, as we sat there in the dark for a few more hours of listening before the munchies got us.

Listening straight through this box set now, in 2008, it's fascinating to find that the music is still compelling, that after a thousand or so plays Strange Days is still the best and most unnerving Doors album, and that the records that followed were not nearly as good. However, time has treated them kindly, and even the worst of the lot, The Soft Parade holds interest, if only because the perspective of time adds an unexpected contextual richness.

The sonic picture slides in reverse, however: while the records seemed to slide downhill sonically over time, in fact, it turns out that it was the mastering and/or production that did them in. You have to remember that rock LPs in the mid 1960's had yet to become a mass consumption commodity. That happened quickly between 1967 and 1971 and as the numbers rose, the quality of the product declined as it had to accommodate mass consumption playback gear. Remember: the '60s took RCA from the heights 'Living Stereo' to 'Dynagroove' to the sonic and physical depths of 'Dynaflex'!

Whatever the reasons, whether a purposeful effort to degrade or the belief that progress was being made, the sound of the Doors albums seemed to slide down hill over time. Comparing the originals of the first two albums to the reissues demonstrates both how good the originals sounded and how close Holzman, Botnick and Grundman have come in re-creating the original magic, digital or no digital. In fact, it could be argued that these new reissues of the first two albums sound bigger, more dynamic, detailed and tape like compared to the commercial originals. They surely are somewhat brighter but not harder (though demagnetization really smooths them out), and they are more dynamic, bigger and more detailed by far.

My only quibble about the second record is that the elasticity of the toms and the other drums has been hardened somewhat, there is a slight loss of immediacy and transparency compared to the cut from the fresh tape and the bass is somewhat less supple and extended, but only by a small degree and overall the reissue smokes all of the gold label copies I have save for the one with the date etched into the lead-out groove area. The mono first album comparison was as close to a dead heat as it gets. And these new reissues are far superior overall than the Japanese, Mo-Fi or DCC reissues. The DCCs may sound more pleasant but they are also more distant, and far less detailed, particularly in terms of sustain and decay. The new reissues sound more like analog tape by a considerable margin.

Interestingly as you listen through the records in chronological order, whatever your opinion of the artistry, you will be surprised to find (especially if you have originals) that the sound actually improves compared to the originals or the previous reissues. This box restores the recordings to whatever original greatness they originally had. A greatness that was lost in the mastering, plating and pressings of the originals, including Bernie Grundman's original cut of Waiting For the Sun. You've improved with age, Bernie!

Overall then, I'd say the wait for The Doors box set has been well worth it. I got my money's worth in one long sitdown with the entire set and I know I'll be listening happily for a long time to come. So thanks to everyone involved in this long, arduous process. The packaging is swell and the pressing quality is uniformly excellent though a few sides exhibited greater eccentricity than I like to see.

The Doors Vinyl Box is sure to become a collector's item, though you can be sure the 192k/24 bit masters will eventually be sold as internet downloads. Somehow, I'm sure the vinyl will still sound better. There's some kind of magic in the grooves and I don't care if it's additive. It's certainly addictive!

SOURCE: Reprinted By Permission

Pick up Michael's DVD's Here:

Music News & Notes

Beatles/Stones Pics

A collection of over fifty previously unseen photos of the Beatles and Rolling Stones from the years 1964 -1966 will be the opening exhibition at the new Not Fade Away Gallery in New York. The photos were chosen from over 3,500 taken by photographer Bob Bonis during the groups' first tours of the U.S. The pictures have been in storage for over forty years with Bonis' family.


Rick Springfield sings for children and their mothers.

Springfield wrote about his upcoming album, "My Precious Little One," (which is due March 10), on his website:

"I wrote these original lullabies for my two sons during the heady days of brand new fatherhood. As a songwriter, I wanted to do something to commemorate the birth of our children. Since neither of them were good sleepers, it seemed like a good idea to write some lullabies. I rediscovered them last year, stuck in the back of a drawer in my music room. They brought back so many good memories of our kids when they were babies, that I decided to rerecord and share them."


Rhino Records to Release Jane's Addiction Box Set

Rhino Records is the label for giant old bands with rarities to burn, so Jane's Addiction have linked with the label to release a three-CD, one DVD box set, A Cabinet of Curiosities, that collects a boatload of unreleased material, the band's music videos, and live cuts.

The set includes all of the band's unreleased demos, a bunch of covers of the likes of Grateful Dead, The Stooges, Led Zeppelin, and Sly and the Family Stone's "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" which features Ice-T, and a mash-up called "Bobhouse" that features the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" over the music from Bauhaus' "Burning From the Inside."

On Arpil 18, aka Record Store Day, Rhino will also release 180-gram vinyl reissues of Ritual De Lo Habitual and Nothing's Shocking.


U2 in rooftop performance rumour

Reports circulating this morning of a "secret" rooftop performance somewhere in London (it's on the roof of the BBC radio studios) by U2 early this evening.

It is rumoured that the band who release their eagerly awaited new album 'No Line On The Horizon' on Monday, will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles whose legendary rooftop session was interrupted by the Police. Fingers crossed Bono and the boys don't fall foul of the law this evening.


Official Cover Art of Britney Spears' 'If U Seek Amy'

Britney Spears has revealed an official cover art of her controversial single 'If U Seek Amy' from her sixth studio album 'Circus'.

Having a tag read "BritneySpears If U Seek Amy" being attached on it, the artwork features a close-up picture of the singer staring at something in the distance.

"If U Seek Amy" was announced as the third single off Britney's sixth major studio album "Circus" on January 7 after receiving 26% of total votes during a poll on her official website. It recently got a warning from the Parents Television Council (PTC) over its lyrics "If U Seek Amy", which sounds like "F*** Me" when sung quickly. Despite its controversy, the track peaked at number 61 on Billboard Pop 100 and sold more than 107,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Classic Rockers Pool Their Resources

To help fans, Tickets For Shows Are Reasonibly Priced

Styx, REO Speedwagon and .38 Special will hit the road together starting May 13 in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the "Can't Stop Rockin" tour. What makes the tour unique is that the musicians feel their fan's pain and have made the tickets affordable.

“Both bands have always tried to keep our ticket prices low so that none of our fans get left out. It’s our own personal rock ‘n’ roll stimulus package," explained Styx member Tommy Shaw. It’s been nine years since the Arch Allies tour and it just seemed like the right time to team up with our friends in REO and hit the road again.”

REO's Kevin Cronin added, “The world is going through a weird phase and everybody needs music now more than ever. We all need to join our friends, pool our resources, combine our energies, because there is power in people coming together. That spirit has brought REO and Styx together to write, record and tour together and celebrate it all with the greatest fans in America.”

To celebrate the tour, Styx and REO have teamed up to record a new single with the same name as the tour, written by Cronin and Shaw. It will be available to radio and for download next month.

The tour is being presented by VH1 Classics and Rock Band.

Also going the package tour route this summer are Def Leppard, Poison and Cheap Trick, who will hit forty cities starting June 23 in Camden, New Jersey.

Def Leppard's Joe Elliott said, "We're gonna be touring with some new friends and some old friends and can guarantee it will be the Rock Tour of the summer."

“We’re going out with three bands, which limits’ the amount of time we can play to about 90 minutes," Elliot told Billboard. "When you do your greatest hits and some new material or extra stuff you might throw in, you have got to push and shove and clamp down. No big long speeches from moi. You have to do the AC/DC thing and just bang through everything.”

Poison's Bret Michaels concurred, stating, "There is nothing better than an epic summer concert and this tour is a dream come true for rock 'n' roll fans. It will be a night of a thousand hits with three hard-charging rock bands on the road together."

Some of the Styx / REO Speedwagon / .38 Special Shows:

05/13/09 - Albuquerque, NM - Sandia Casino Amphitheater
05/15/09 - Phoenix, AZ - Dodge Theatre
05/16/09 - Las Vegas, NV - Thomas & Mack Center
05/17/09 - Fresno, CA - Save Mart Center
05/21/09 - Ontario, CA - Citizens Business Bank Arena
05/22/09 - Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE
05/23/09 - Kelseyville, CA - Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa - Amphitheatre
05/24/09 - Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheatre
05/27/09 - Kent, WA - ShoWare Center
05/30/09 - Sandy, UT - Rio Tinto Stadium
05/31/09 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Some of the Def Leppard / Poison / Cheap Trick Shows:

06/23/09 - Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center
06/25/09 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center
06/26/09 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
06/28/09 - Scranton, PA - Toyota Pavilion At Montage Mountain
06/30/09 - Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center
07/01/09 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
07/03/09 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center
07/04/09 - Toronto, ON - The Molson Amphitheatre
07/07/09 - Hartford, CT - New England Dodge Music Center
07/08/09 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon At Jones Beach Theater


Bison b.c. to Release Limited Edition "Quiet Earth" Vinyl

Metal Blade Records will be releasing a limited edition gatefold vinyl version of Bison b.c.'s "Quiet Earth" on April 14, 2009.

Also, more Bison b.c. tour dates have been confirmed for North America. Dates are as follows:

Apr. 09 Saskatoon, SK - Amigo’s Cantina
Apr. 10 Regina, SK - The Distrikt w/ Fucked Up
Apr. 11 Winnipeg, MB - Royal Albert Arms
Apr. 12 Winnipeg, MB - The Park Theatre
Apr. 14 Dekalb, IL - Ottos
Apr. 15 Buffalo, NY - Mohawk
Apr. 17 Worcester, MA - The Palladium (New England Metal & Hardcore Festival)
Apr. 18 Brooklyn, NY - TBC
Apr. 20 Montreal, PQ - Il Motore w/Barnburner
Apr. 21 Ottawa, ON - Babylon w/NoMeansNo
Apr. 22 Toronto, ON - Annex Wreck Room


Doghouse to Re-release Chamberlain LP

Doghouse Records is re-releasing 1996's Fate's Got a Driver by Chamberlain on limited colored vinyl. Five unreleased and rare tracks are also included on the LP.


Blur, Oasis Steal The Show At NME Awards

Oasis was crowned best British band, but the decision was met with loud jeering and booing from the ticket-holding section of the audience. The band didn't even attend the ceremony with Noel Gallagher accepting the award from British comedian Russell Brand in a pre-recorded video.

Earlier in the evening, Blur's Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon performed onstage together for the first time in nine years.

U.S. winners included the "Killers," for best international band and "Kings of Leon," who took home the best album award for "Only by the Night." Brooklyn duo MGMT scored a double with best track for "Time to Pretend" and for best new band.

2009 Shockwaves NME Award winners:

Best British Band

Best Album
Kings of Leon - "Only by the Night" (Hand Me Down/RCA)

Best International Band
The Killers

Outstanding Contribution to British Music

Godlike Genius Award
The Cure

Best New Band

Best Live Band

Best Solo Artist
Pete Doherty


4th Annual Pitchfork/Windish Austin Bash Announced

Pitchfork is teaming with the Windish Agency to bring you a party in Austin, Texas! On March 20 at Emo's (603 Red River St.), 12 bands will take over both the main outdoor stage and the Emo's Jr. indoor stage from noon to 6 p.m. You should go if you're in the area...we hear several other bands are playing in Austin around the same time!

The Windish Agency exclusively represents all artists listed on their web site for live music bookings in the USA and Canada and are devoted fans of all of the musicians appearing on their site. Carefully selecting artists of the highest musical quality, The Windish Agency prides itself on long term relationships with its clients. They strive to develop and maintain lasting and rewarding live performance careers for everybody they represent.

The party features performances from indie disco queen Little Boots! Brooklyn fuzz-poppers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart! A-Trak and Diplo DJing at the same time!

The full schedule:

12:00 - Girls (Emo's Jr.)
12:30 - The Mae Shi (Emo's)
1:00 - Little Boots (Emo's Jr.)
1:30 - Max Tundra (Emo's)
2:00 - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Emo's Jr.)
2:30 - Woods (Emo's)
3:00 - School of Seven Bells (Emo's Jr.)
3:30 - Wavves (Emo's)
4:00 - Dirty Projectors (Emo's Jr.)
4:30 - King Khan & the Shrines (Emo's)
5:00 - A-Trak/Major Lazer [ft. Diplo] (Emo's Jr.)
5:30 - Department of Eagles (Emo's)

Vinyl kills the digital star: Records make a return in a downloading world - News

Vinyl kills the digital star: Records make a return in a downloading world - News

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

This Boy - The Beatles

Album Cover Art

Continuing our feature about album cover art, we have finished up with Molly Hatchet and move on to a classic release and cover by Dr. John.


Start with the Meters, whose hard funk is so efficient there's not a wasted note or out-of-sync beat. Add producer Allen Toussaint's wonderful vocal and horn arrangements. Top them off with seven Rebennack originals plus four well-chosen covers, and you have an album that seemed to arrive out of nowhere at the time of its original 1973 release. It still sounds garden-fresh today, not just the monster hits, "Right Place, Wrong Time" and "Such a Night," but also the chain-gang funk of "Same Old Same Old," the verbal insults of "Qualified," even the second-line soul of "Shoo Fly Marches On." The closest thing to a weak link is "Peace Brother Peace," in which Rebennack anoints himself the Dr. Feelgood of love and happiness. But the Meters sound as if they believe every word he's singing, so who are we to argue? --Keith Moerer (Amazon review)

Music News & Notes

Mike Farris releases live album in April

Soulful gospel voice Mike Farris will release a live album, dubbed Mike Farris SHOUT! LIVE, on April 14 via INO/Columbia records.

The set, which collects highlights from his regular Sunday Night Shout stops at Nashville's cozy Station Inn with his band the Roseland Rhythm Revue and powerful vocalists the McCrary Sisters, will be made available on both vinyl and CD.

Farris and Co.'s live prowess has been highly praised since the release of the former Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies singer's Salvation in Lights solo album, and they'll return to some favorite stages in the coming months -- the Sunday Night Shouts will resume in March, and in June the band will be back at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, where they received a rousing reception last year.


LimeWire Store Announces New Content Partners

TuneCore, Delicious Vinyl, Kemado, CBS and Fader Label Among New Partners

(Marketwire) -- 02/25/09 -- Lime Wire LLC announces deals with new partners to sell their combined digital music catalogues, adding thousands of titles to the LimeWire Store. The new partners include TuneCore, Kufala Recordings, Delicious Vinyl, CBS Records, Kemado Records, and Fader Label.

These deals provide access to titles from artists such as Crowded House, Soul Coughing [Kufala Recordings]; Brand New Heavies, Tone Loc, Young MC, The Pharcyde [Delicious Vinyl]; PJ Olsen, Will Daily [CBS Records]; The Sword, Dungen, Langhorne Slim [Kemado Records]; Saul Williams, Matt & Kim [Fader Label], as well as many other notable names.

"This latest crop of signings is very exciting -- Delicious Vinyl is an undisputed pioneer in the hip-hop world and Kemado and Fader are tastemaker labels at the forefront of smart indie rock. Our TuneCore affiliation will give independent artists an easy, cost-effective way to sell their titles in the LimeWire Store. We're proud to add these folks to our growing list of partners and offer their amazing catalogs to our customers," said Tom Monday, Director, Partner Relations for Lime Wire.

Music review: ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead - "The Century of Self"

by Jay Spanbauer, of the Advance Titan

Texas-natives, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, move toward freedom on its first release since splitting with Interscope Records. Its latest effort, “The Century of Self,” hits on all levels that are expected from the inspirational band.

With the release from Interscope, …Trail of Dead, were able to more freely express themselves. This is apparent when listening to this album side-by-side with its previous releases on Interscope. The band is at its creative pinnacle on “The Century of Self,” expanding their unique brand of alternative-based art rock.

“The Century of Self” is a big album, both in its sound and in its concepts. The expansive instrumentation and the powerful vocalizing blend to perfection, and topics like war and religion are highlighted throughout the album.

…Trail of Dead’s music is hard to categorize, and this album is no different. The sound shifts throughout the album, not just from song to song, but within each song, as well. The band is able to perfect progressive rock without laying down a track longer than seven minutes. Tracks build and fall in brilliant fashion, highlighting the band’s song-writing ability.

Expanding on the band’s creativity, the album’s cover art was done by the band’s lead singer, Conrad Keely, with only blue ballpoint pen. The artwork is as brilliantly intricate as the music contained beneath it on the album.

Although the album is complex, it has a certain ease to it. The tracks flow nicely and build and fade without much filler. With the large amount of instrumentation from track-to-track, there is always something new that can be heard with repeated listenings.

The album begins with a grandiose introduction track, “Giants Causeway,” that starts the album on an epic note. The song fades into the next track, “Far Pavilions,” a track that is brash, but not abrasive. “Far Pavilions” is loud and infectious, yet carries a lot of subtleties throughout. The song’s bridge, featuring a choir and an epic snare drum driven build, is quickly squashed by the song’s original feel, ending with feedback and the re-entrance of the choir.

“Far Pavilions” fades into “Isis Unveiled,” the album’s highlight. The track’s opening sounds like The Arcade Fire on steroids. The lyrics of the song tell the story of the Bible from an agnostic Christian point of view, which bring more weight to the already heavy feel of the song. Compiled of many parts, the song is a great representation of this album, as well as the band.

Though most of the album is voluminous, there are songs, as well as particular pieces within songs, that are both soft and subtle. The piano playing throughout adds great warmth to the tracks, whether it is pounding on tracks like “Far Pavilions,” or delicately leading on “Bells of Creation.”

The band also explores world music throughout the album, most notably on “Isis Unveiled,” “An August Theme” and “Insatiable (Two).” This addition adds great depth to the tracks and keeps the album fresh and interesting.

The album has a great feel throughout. Many of the tracks lead into the next, and create an album that has a unity from start to finish. Without any standout duds, and with the intended flow and feel, the album is a great “start to finish” piece with no track skipping necessary.

Overall, this album is a return to form for …Trail of Dead. The album shines through on all fronts, which can’t be said about its last two releases. The band embraces its creativity and new found freedom from label pressures, and puts out an album that will, no doubt, be considered one of its best.


Blues Hall of Fame Announces 2009 Inductees

The Blues Hall of Fame has named its 2009 inductees which are led by the great Irma Thomas and Taj Mahal. The induction ceremony will be held at The Blues Foundation's Charter Member Dinner on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at the Memphis Marriott Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before the 30th Blues Music Awards.

The blues artists inducted this year (biographies courtesy of The Blues Foundation):

Irma Thomas has reigned as “The Soul Queen of New Orleans” since the 1960s and remains not only a hometown favorite but also an international legend in the annals of rhythm & blues. Born Irma Lee in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, on February 18, 1941, she always loved to sing – at home, in church, in school, in talent shows, and finally in the nightclubs and recording studios of New Orleans. She even lost jobs by singing in clubs when she was being paid to waitress, but that led to one of her first professional breaks, when the bandleader at the Pimlico Club, Tommy Ridgley, hired her and took her on the road. She was a teenaged mother of four when her first record, Don’t Mess With My Man, hit the charts in 1960. Her biggest hit was the soul-baring, self-penned Imperial single Wish Someone Would Care in 1964, but the best-known song she recorded was the flip side of another 1964 Imperial 45, Time Is On My Side, which became a rock ‘n’ roll classic for the Rolling Stones. A series of less successful records followed, along with a period of semi-retirement from music when she moved to California after Hurricane Camille devastated the Gulf Coast in 1969. Irma has been a fixture on the New Orleans scene since returning home in the 1970s, and began to win wider acclaim again after recording the first in a long series of albums for Rounder in 1985. She and her husband ran a club, the Lions Den on Gravier Street, until another hurricane – Katrina – flooded the premises and sent her away from the Crescent City again, but this time only as far as Gonzales, Louisiana. Thomas has been a perennial nominee and frequent winner in the Blues Music Awards, and is in the running again this year for Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year and Soul Blues Album of the Year.

Taj Mahal may have explored more farflung corners of African-rooted musical traditions than any other performer, but he has always returned to the sound at the core of his journeys, the blues. Born Henry St. Clair Fredericks on May 17, 1942, in New York, and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Taj chose his exotic stage name well in advance of his world travels when he was at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After relocating to California, he rose to national prominence with the release of his Columbia album, Taj Mahal , which was highlighted by his modern-day reworkings of vintage tunes by the traditional blues masters, many of whom Taj had gotten to know during the folk-blues revival era. Taj's brand of blues was embraced rock audiences and over the years inspired a number of younger African-American performers as well. His recordings have featured him on guitar, harmonica, piano, bass, banjo, mandolin, fife, and other of the 20 instruments he plays. When he delved into reggae and other Afro-Caribbean sounds, he was no stranger to the culture, since his father was a West Indian from the island of St. Kitts and his stepfather was Jamaican. Taj also recorded zydeco, New Orleans creole music, childrens’ songs, folk tunes, gospel, soundtracks, and rhythm & blues, and did sessions with musicians from Africa, India, and Hawaii. But it all revolved around and interacted with his blues, and audiences continue to be treated to inspiring performances by one of the genre’s most eclectic and charismatic performers.

Son Seals' fiery, hard-driven electric blues renewed the gritty Southern roots of Chicago blues during the 1970s and ‘80s, an era during which many of his contemporaries were molding their blues around the rhythms of funk and soul music or the excesses of rock ‘n’ roll. Frank “Son” Seals, born August 13, 1942, in Osceola, Arkansas, grew up with the blues at his father’s juke joint, the Dipsy Doodle. He learned from his father, Jim Seals, and from musicians who played at the club, especially Albert King, who drove a truck in Osceola, and Earl Hooker. As a guitarist he led his own band, the Upsetters, in Arkansas, and as a drummer he toured with both King and Hooker. King remained his foremost influence, and sometimes Seals would do entire sets of Albert’s material, but he could deliver them with raw fury and a harsh tonality that gave him a sound all his own. Seals’ approach exemplified the term high-energy blues in its purest form and proved to be a great match for the promotions and productions of the label he spent most of his career with, Alligator Records. Health problems slowed him down in later years, but even after he was shot in the jaw and had a foot amputated, he did his utmost to generate sparks whenever he took the stage. Seals died of complications from diabetes on December 20, 2004, in Richton Park, Illinois.

Reverend Gary Davis was one of the foremost guitarists in acoustic blues, gospel and folk music, a spirited performer who not only dazzled audiences with his virtuosity but who also served as a mentor and personal instructor to generations of guitar pickers. A self-taught musician, the blind Davis often played the streets for tips in the Carolinas and New York before he became a sought-after festival performer and private teacher during the 1950s and ‘60s. Born in Laurens, South Carolina, on April 30, 1896, Davis made his first recordings in 1935 under the name Blind Gary, performing both blues and gospel songs. As Rev. Gary Davis he later devoted his public performances to gospel singing, although there was still plenty of blues, jazz, and ragtime influence in his instrumental work, and students or producers might coax a few blues out of him at home or in the studio. Renowned as the master of fingerpicking styles, Davis was such a wizard that he only needed to use his thumb and forefinger while chording complex figures with his left hand. His students ranged from Blind Boy Fuller to Dave Van Ronk, David Bromberg, Ry Cooder, Jorma Kaukonen, Taj Mahal, Philadelphia Jerry Ricks, and Ernie Hawkins. Davis died in Hammonton, New Jersey, on May 5, 1972.

Inducted in the non-performers category are:

Clifford Antone transformed Austin, Texas, into a major blues center in the 1970s and ‘80s after he founded a nightclub called Antone’s to book the legendary bluesmen he loved. Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Albert King, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, and many more discovered a friend and patron in Antone, who even housed musicians such as Hubert Sumlin and Pinetop Perkins for months at a time. Young Austin musicians such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds were on hand not only to perform, but to soak up the music of the masters--the club was sometimes as much a training school as it was an internationally renowned performing venue. Antone also launched a record label to further promote artists such as Sumlin, Perkins, Cotton, Lazy Lester, Angela Strehli, Sue Foley and Jimmy Rogers, and opened a record store as well. Antone was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on October 27, 1949. He attended the University of Texas and later returned to teach blues courses there. He died in Austin on May 23, 2006.

Mike Leadbitter (right with Jackie Wilson) was hailed as the world’s foremost authority on postwar blues during his years as editor of the pioneering magazine Blues Unlimited in England. Leadbitter, was born in India on March 12, 1942, but grew up in England. In 1962 he and fellow blues enthusiast Simon Napier formed the Blues Appreciation Society, and in 1963 they founded the first English-language blues periodical, Blues Unlimited. Leadbitter, Napier, and longtime Blues Unlimited contributor John Broven had all attended Bexhill Grammar School, and Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, became known to blues fans worldwide as the address of the magazine. Leadbitter led the way in documenting the careers and recordings of artists from across the spectrum of the electric blues era, but especially those from Memphis, Mississippi, Houston, Louisiana, and Chicago. He and Neil Slaven co-authored the groundbreaking discography Blues Records 1943-1970, and Leadbitter also edited a collection of Blues Unlimited articles published in book form as Nothing But the Blues in 1971. In addition, Leadbitter compiled albums for various record labels and coordinated research efforts among a wide network of international blues aficionados. He was at work on a book on postwar Delta blues when he died of meningitis at a London hospital on November 16, 1974. His manuscript is being updated for publication by a team of colleagues.

The authoritative voice of Bob Porter is familiar to radio listeners across the country from his syndicated broadcasts of Portraits in Blue, the in-depth series he launched at WBGO in Newark, New Jersey, in 1981. Porter, one of America’s leading experts on the blues, and especially on the junctures of blues with jazz, has also produced, preserved, and documented the music in the recording studio, in print, and in presentations at festivals and seminars. Born in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1940, Porter has produced jazz and blues sessions for Prestige, Muse, and other labels since the 1960s in addition to compiling and annotating extensive reissue sets for companies such as Atlantic, Savoy and Rhino. Porter has also donated his energy and knowledge to organizations such as the Blues Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He has worked with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Big Joe Turner, Helen Humes, Roomful of Blues, Hank Crawford, Gene Ammons, Charles Earland, and others in the studio, and is authoring Soul Jazz: A History of Jazz in the Black Community 1945-1975 for Oxford University Press.

This years Classic of Blues Literature is I Hear You Knockin' by Jeff Hannusch.

The following tracks are being inducted as Classics of Blues Recording (Singles & Album Tracks):

Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker (Vee Jay, 1961)

Caledonia - Louis Jordan (Decca, 1945)

Sitting On Top of the World - Mississippi Sheiks (Okeh, 1930)

The following are being inducted as Classics of Blues Recording (Albums):

Amtrak Blues - Alberta Hunter (Columbia, 1978)

T-Bone Blues - T-Bone Walker (Atlantic, 1959)

Blues With a Feeling (Newport Folk Festival Classics) - Various Artists (Vanguard, 1993)

Buy Blues Music Today:

This Date In Music History-February 26


Paul Cotton – Poco (1943)

Fats Domino turns 81.

Mitch Ryder ("Devil With A Blue Dress") is 64.

Sandie Shaw (1947)

Erykah Badu (1971)

Michael Bolton (1953)

They Are Missed:

Bob “The Bear” Hite, vocalist and harmonica player with Canned Heat, was born in 1945. He died on April 5, 1981.

Bluesman Booker T. Washington "Bukka" White, who composed "Fixing to Die," died in 1977 (age 70).

53 year-old Cornell Gunter, former lead singer of The Coasters died in a hail of gunfire in 1990 when an unknown assailant sprayed his '78 Camaro at a Las Vegas intersection.

Legendary drummer Buddy Miles died from congestive heart failure in 2008. He was 60.

The late Johnny Cash was born in 1932.


Lonestar started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 2000 with “Amazed.”

In 1955, sales of 45 rpm records outsold 78 rpm discs in the US for the first time. The number 45 came from taking 78 and subtracting Columbia's 33 rpm. RCA introduced the first 45 on March 31, 1949, when they released 104 single vinyl records. The first 45 to hit the Billboard charts was "You're Adorable" by Perry Como, on May 7, 1949.

Also in 1955, R&B singer LaVern Baker appealed to the US Congress in a letter to Michigan Representative Charles Digges Jr., to revise the Copyright Act of 1909. She said that recording artists should be protected against "note-for-note copying" of already recorded R&B tunes and arrangements by white artists and arrangers. Her request was denied.

In 1966, the Beatles' LP "Rubber Soul" rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart, becoming the group's seventh US album chart topper.

Joe Tex's funk record "I Gotcha" entered the Billboard Pop chart in 1972 and climbed to #2. Much the success of the song was rumored to be Tex's slurred delivery of the line "Told you not to play with my affection," which causes many listeners to mistake the last word for one that rhymes with it.

Michael Jackson's album "Thriller" rose to #1 on the US album chart in 1983, where it would stay for 37 weeks. It’s gone on to become the most successful album of all time, with sales over 100 million.

In 1987, "The Beatles", more commonly called "The White Album", became the first Beatles' LP to be issued on CD. According to the RIAA, the disc is group's best-selling album, going 19-times Platinum and is the tenth-best-selling album of all time in the United States.

Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" (his first million-seller) debuts on the Billboard charts in 1956.

The Rolling Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown" was released in 1966.

The Eagles' "Hotel California" was released in 1977.

Nancy Sinatra went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1966 with “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” also a UK #1.

In 1964, the Beatles worked on the final mixes for “Can't Buy Me Love” and “You Can't Do That” tracks. The single, which was released the following month, topped the charts all over the world

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mr. Music

I am continuing our new feature: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 23rd year of syndication (1986-2008), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on. Be sure to stop by Jerry's site ( for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


DEAR JERRY: A friend with a pretty good knowledge of music trivia says there is no No. 1 hit title any shorter than “Ben,” by Michael Jackson. This came up after we read last week's column about “The Ladies' Bras” being the shortest hit ever, in terms of length.

I'm stuck for a response, so unless you can come up with one having only one or two letters I will have to humble myself and agree with him.

—Sue Grizwald, Harrisburg, Pa.

DEAR SUE: Mighty safe wording on the part of your friend. By saying none are shorter than “Ben” (1972), he allows for there to be more than just that one three-letter title.

You can tell him there are several others in that category: George Olsen's “Who” (1936); Tommy Dorsey's “You” (1936); Eddy Howard's “Sin” (1951); Johnnie Ray's “Cry” (1951); Frankie Avalon's “Why” (1960); Edwin Starr's “War” (1970); and the Jackson 5 (featuring Michael of course) with “ABC” (1970).

While his information is clearly deficient, he may not wrong. It depends on whether he limited the statement to either the Rock Era, or in another way which eliminates a No. 1 hit in 1951.

If not, then you'll be thrilled to know “If,” by Perry Como, reached No. 1 that year.

For the entire 20th century there are none with just one letter, and no others with two letters.

DEAR JERRY: Since so many of your readers have cast their votes for the 2008 Hit Parade Hall of Fame inductees, they will be interested to know the names of our 33 newest members.

Alphabetically, we welcome: Bee Gees; Chuck Berry; Bread, Freddy Cannon, Carpenters, Chicago, Lou Christie, John Denver, Dion, Doris Day; Eagles; Everly Brothers; Roy Hamilton; Tommy James and the Shondells; Elton John; Tom Jones; Kingston Trio; Jerry Lee Lewis; Frankie Laine; Dean Martin; Guy Mitchell; Monkees; Olivia Newton-John; Johnnie Ray; Johnny Rivers; Kenny Rogers; Linda Ronstadt; Sonny & Cher; Kay Starr; B.J. Thomas; Johnny Tillotson; Jackie Wilson; and Stevie Wonder.

For nomination, an artist must have at least two Top 10 hits, of any genre, during a 30-year period beginning in 1950.

It is the vote of fans, as well as other factors (career longevity, record sales, concert achievement, etc.) that are then voted on by our nominating committee at the end of each year.

Inductees and nominees for the new year are announced shortly thereafter. The nominees for 2009 have yet to be finalized, though they should be known soon. Then the voting begins.

An artist has three years to gain induction before their candidacy is discontinued as a current nominee.
—John Rook, Hit Parade Hall of Fame

IZ ZAT SO? “Ben” may be among the shortest song titles, but not so in cinema history.

Surprisingly, all but three of the 26 possible letters are already movie titles. Many letters even have more than one film of that title.

Here is an example of each single-letter film, along with the release year for my selection (often the first one made):

“A” (1965); “B” (1998); “D” (2005); “E” (1981); “F” (2000); “G” (1983); “H” (1990); “I” (2004); “J” (2000); “K” (1997); “L” (1961); “M” (1951); “N” (2005); “O” (2001); “P” (1964); “Q” (1974); “S” (1998); “U” (2003); “V” (1984); “W” (1983); “X” (1963); “Y” (1992); and “Z” (1969).

Only “C”, “R”, and “T” remain, though it is no doubt just a matter of time before they too become titles.

Classic Rock Videos

Beatles - Rain

Album Cover Art

Molly Hatchet - Beatin' The Odds 1980

Molly Hatchet's third album featured new singer Jimmy Farrar, who is a competent southern rock singer, but his voice changed the Hatchet sound quite a bit. Farrar's voice just didn't have the depth and the conviction that Danny Joe Brown's voice had. "Beatin' the Odds" was still a heavy southern rock and roll experience and contains such classics as the title track, "Penthouse Pauper" and "Double Talker" a low down and dirty heavy rocker. Once again the cover was painted by Frank Frazetta.

Music News & Notes

Barenaked Singer To Go Solo

Singer-guitarist Steven Page has left the quirky Canadian band the Barenaked Ladies.

This news comes several months after drug charges against Page were dropped in the U.S. His arrest came after the band, known for its clean-cut image and whimsical lyrics, released an album of children's songs titled, "Snacktime."

The band's Web site said Wednesday that Page will pursue solo projects, including theatrical opportunities.

Page, his girlfriend and her roommate were charged with drug possession in July after police found cocaine at an apartment in New York state. In late October, all three secured a deal to have charges dropped if they stayed out of trouble for six months.

Page wished the band the best.

"These guys are my brothers," he said in the online statement. "We've grown up together over the past 20 years. I love them and wish them all the best in the future."

The band was formed in Toronto and released 12 albums, producing hits such as "If I Had $1,000,000," "Brian Wilson" and "Too Little, Too Late."

The band will continue on without Page, entering the studio in April 2009 to record a new album.


Faith No More Reunites, European Dates Planned

Faith No More has announced its first live performances since the band split up in 1998. The band is scheduled to play a series of European festival dates this summer, according to a statement from frontman Mike Patton's publicist.

No North American Faith No More dates are scheduled at this time. Patton and frequent collaborator Rahzel will perform at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in April, despite speculation about a Faith No More appearance.

Faith No More's biggest single, "Epic," reached #9 on the Hot 100 in 1990. "Midlife Crisis" earned the band the top spot on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1992.


Pumpkins, Hanson, Cheap Trick, Fountains Of Wayne Supergroup Talks Release

Newly-formed power pop supergroup "Tinted Windows" have set an April 21 release date for their debut self-titled album (onS-Curve). The band members are: singer Taylor Hanson of Hanson, guitarist James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins, bassist Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne and drummer Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick.

"Even though it seems really sudden to everybody else, we've been working on making this happen for a while," Schlesinger told "Taylor and I have been friends forever and started talking about it seriously about it three years ago. Two years ago, James was in on it."

The three were already writing material as they pondered who to add as a drummer.

"We kept trying to brainstorm who could play like Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick," Schlesinger continues. "But then it just seemed obvious we should at least try Bun E. Carlos."

They sent the veteran drummer some demo tracks and, to their surprise, "he was into it. Fountains of Wayne had opened for Cheap Trick a couple of times, but this was the first time any of us had really worked with him."

The biggest struggle for the band was trying to make time where everybody could be together in the same room to record. Hanson lives in Tulsa, Schlesinger and Iha in New York and Carlos outside of Chicago. Between touring, recording and writing with all their other groups, Tinted Windows were able to secure out a month total of recording time early last year at Stratosphere Sound Studios in New York, which Iha and Schlesinger co-own with Ivy's Andy Chase.

The result is an album combination of mostly '70s rock and power-pop, with Hanson's vocals leading the way on cuts like "Kind of a Girl" and "Messing with My Head." Schlesinger wrote the bulk of the 11-track "Tinted Windows," while he and Iha produced the majority of it.


CODE: 'Resplendent Grotesque' Cover Artwork Unveiled

The cover artwork for "Resplendent Grotesque", the second album from CODE — the British/Norwegian black metal project featuring bassist/backing vocalist Viper (a.k.a. Vicotnik from DHG), guitarist/songwriter Aort, drummer Adrian Erlandsson (AT THE GATES, CRADLE OF FILTH) and vocalist Kvohst (DØDHEIMSGARD) — can be viewed below.

Commented the band: "[The artwork was] created, painted and lovingly slaved over by the enigmatic, brilliant and cult artist Stephen Kasner. We are eternally grateful and blessed for his vivid and inspired portrayal of our music. As the man himself remarked, 'I feel very successful in channeling the emotions and ideas, in my own way, as they were described to me. And of course, your music was more than enough to evoke the demons. They have made themselves clearly known in these works, I am certain.'

"We hope you admire it as much as we do."

"Resplendent Grotesque" will be released in Norway on April 6 via Tabu Recordings. The rest of Europe will receive the CD on May 4. A U.S. release date has not yet been announced.

According to the band, the follow-up to 2005's "Nouveau Gloaming" will contain "songs of necrospiritual dust and desertion, crafted by bony hands in blackbird gloves." Aort previously stated about the CD, "Adrian completely devastated the drums for this recording and Vicotnik has manageed to really outdo himself with his most inspired bass work yet. I think we have all raised the bar with this recording and we are itching to get these morbid hymns out to you."

Brick-and-Mortar Record Stores Are Trying to Get Their Groove Back

by Timothy Finn
McClatchy Newspapers

Tuesday used to be sacramental in the world of music. It was new-release day, the day faithful music fans stopped by their favorite record store to buy something they’d been waiting for weeks to hear or to discover something they hadn’t heard.

Back then, record stores were the best places to hear new music and mingle with other music fans.

“Record stores used to be neighborhood hangouts,” said Corky Carrel, who co-owns an online record store based near Kansas City. “They were like bars without liquor. You’d go in and browse and talk about music.”

Tuesdays aren’t the only days that aren’t what they used to be—for record stores or their customers.

Like so many industries caught between two seismic sea changes—- the Internet revolution and the great recession—- stores that sell new music are in a fight for their lives. The chains are dying, independent stores are closing, and the record labels that feed them merchandise are running out of ways to make money.

The stores that are surviving are performing balancing acts. Most rely heavily on the pre-owned—“used”—business: Buy it cheap, sell it cheap. Some have turned to niche marketing, selling new CDs to one or two refined segments of the music world. Others rely on a combination of the two: Sell CDs and vinyl, new and used, to a defined demographic. And others have been helped by the recent revival of what was once considered a relic, the vinyl record.

Steve Wilson remembers the good days, back when record stores offered surprises and mysteries and employed people who had strong opinions about most of them.

“When I started buying albums in earnest, I went to Kief’s on the Mall (in Lawrence, Kansas),” he said. “I remember talking to the guys who worked there. They were there to educate you—as long as you were there to listen, not talk.”

He and Carrel became career guys in the record-store industry. Wilson has been with Kief’s since December 1973. That was about the time Carrel started working at a local electronics store that sold recorded music. From there he went to Caper’s Corner, a fabled record store in Kansas City. In 1987 he opened his own store, Corky’s Records.

Both men are still in the business. Carrel and his partner, Bill Lavery, run Wilson works at Kief’s Downtown, one of two record stores in Lawrence and the satellite outlet to Kief’s, the electronics/music retailer south of downtown.

Some store owners are optimistic about what lies ahead, but none is willing to say for certain where they or their store will be in five or 10 years.

“The game has changed,” Wilson said. “Now it’s all about survival.”

The music business is in a free fall. Sales of new albums have dropped more than 45 percent the last eight years. In 2000 consumers in the United States bought 785 million albums. In 2008 they bought 428 million.

In 2000 the 10 best-selling albums sold 60 million units. In 2008 that figure was 18.8 million.

The decline in sales coincided with the explosion of home computers, the Internet and the sharing of music files via Web sites such as Napster.

But long before online retailers, digital music and file-sharing entities started eroding sales at brick-and-mortar stores, the small retailers were fighting other forces.

Carrel said the decline began in earnest when a store like Caper’s had to compete with large chains like Peaches in the late 1970s.

“Slowly the acts indigenous to our store—like early Rod Stewart and Elton John—our sales on them plummeted because their albums were everywhere,” he said.

An even bigger hit came when chains like Best Buy started selling CDs as “loss leaders”—items priced under cost to get customers into the store and shopping for other, more expensive items. Those chains also were getting marketing funds from record labels, which helped them reduce the sticker price of their CDs.

Lavery remembers his employees at Village Records coming in and “bragging about the deals they got at Best Buy, which were better than at our store, even with an employee discount.”

Through the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, or CIMS, of which Kief’s is now the only local member, smaller retailers eventually convinced labels that they, too, were important to their artists’ livelihood, and stores like Kief’s eventually enjoyed some of the same marketing benefits that the chain stores were getting.

On a recent Monday, Kief’s received a delivery of the new Bruce Springsteen album, Working on a Dream. The package included an incentive, or what Wilson called a “value-added perk”: a glossy four-color book of lyrics to each song on the album.

“It means the hard-core fan will probably buy the record in three different places so he can get all three (perks),” Wilson said.

Despite the labels’ concessions to the independent stores, the chains hurt many small retailers. Carrel said the consequences were profound: “It really took a chunk out of the independent stores,” he said. “It forced a lot of people into the used business.”

For years stores have survived on the sale of used CDs. Many still do. At Needmore Discs in Shawnee, Kansas, co-owner Eric Voeks said “about 80 percent of what we sell is used. Used DVDs do well, too.”

At Streetside Records in Kansas City, which is part of the FYE chain, manager Jennine Goodman said used CDs have kept them going.

“One of the reasons the company we’re with is still doing well is, it caught on early that it was smart to buy and sell used,” she said. “We still buy a lot of used, and we sell a lot of used.”

But even the market for used CDs has softened, said Kelly Corcoran, who owns Love Garden record store in Lawrence.

“For a long time we made OK money on new CDs, great money on used,” he said. “They were the cash cow of Love Garden, until about five years ago. That’s when so many corporate chain shops started opening used-CD shops, like Hastings and Half-Price Books.

“A lot of those chains would buy everything that came through the door. A ton of used CDs got fed into the system, and it got out of control,” he said. “Places bought stuff without thinking it through. And we suddenly had a tougher time getting good stuff into our store.”

Concurrently more people owned computers with CD burners on them, Corcoran said, which meant “maybe you wouldn’t have to buy a used CD.”

“You could get a copy from a friend. Or if a CD didn’t mean that much to you, you could rip the songs you want onto your computer and loan the CD to friends so they wouldn’t have to buy one.”

And then the file-sharing monster arrived on the scene, and recorded music, to some people, became nothing more than abstract digital files to be shared for free.

The accumulation of all those factors has slowly affected the bottom lines at many record stores.

Voeks, who once worked for the CD Warehouse chain, opened his store in 2003.

“We started off real strong,” he said, “but over the last few years, there has been a slow decline. I’m not sure it’s entirely an economic issue. It’s also a generational thing.”

Corcoran said that because Love Garden is careful and savvy about what it buys, new CDs still do well at his store. But he has noticed a trend that other stores are noticing: New vinyl is doing well again.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of vinyl records nearly doubled nationwide in 2008, from just less than 1 million in 2007 to almost 1.9 million. More vinyl records were sold last year than in any year since SoundScan started tracking music sales in 1991.

That 1.9 million represents less than half of 1 percent of all the albums sold in 2008, but these days any upward trend in sales is going to be noticed and explored by both labels and record stores.

At Streetside, Goodman and Chris Labeau, who buys the store’s new vinyl, started noticing a rise in demand about a year ago. Since then the store has slowly increased its new vinyl inventory.

“It’s kind of shocking how fast it picked up,” Labeau said. “Once they started offering vinyl with the free MP3 download, we really started selling more.”

He’s talking about the have-your-cake-and-eat-it premium that many bands are offering with a copy of a new vinyl record: a coupon or code that gives the customer on line access to a digital copy of the album. That lets them have the vinyl and upload the music to their MP3 players.

Goodman said demand for vinyl was strong over the holidays.

“About half the customers who came in with a Christmas list had vinyl on it,” she said.

Consequently, over the past few months vinyl sales have jumped from less than 1 percent of total sales at her store to 7 percent.

“Vinyl has surpassed several other entire genres in the store,” she said.

And customers are willing to wait weeks for an LP, if that’s what it takes. Labeau said his store didn’t get its initial shipment of the Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion because demand nationwide exceeded supply. That album was released in January, first in vinyl with the free MP3 bonus. A week later, it was released on CD.

“We had about 15 customers put a vinyl record on hold and wait for it, even though we had it on CD, too,” Labeau said. “They weren’t interested in the CD.”

Not everyone is sold on the idea that vinyl is the B-12 shot that will revive record stores and labels. Wilson said Kief’s is being cautious about buying new. Used, however, is another story.

“We do fine with the new vinyl, but honestly, it’s a risk,” he said. “With used (vinyl), we buy smart. We can make good money on it. With new, if you buy it, you have to sell it because most manufacturers won’t take it back like they do CDs.

“So to some degree, we’ve conceded new vinyl to Love Garden. We’re still not sure how big the market is, and we’re not willing to be that speculative.”

Corcoran said new vinyl has been a featured attraction at Love Garden for years.

“People know that if it’s available, we’ll have it,” he said.

New vinyl started doing so well at his store that it was one factor that prompted Corcoran to change the way his store orders music.

“We used to stay away from the major-label, corporate world of alternative music,” he said. “We wouldn’t carry the new Kings of Leon, for example. Or Radiohead. ... But hesitantly we got into the major-label business.”

He and his staff noticed that customers who came in looking for new music from big-label acts also shopped for other music, and some became loyal customers. So the store made a concession, especially when it came to new vinyl.

“There’s a chunk of our customers who only come in here to buy the new cool, major-label records on vinyl, like Kanye West,” he said. “They just want it, and they’ll pay $25 for it, no questions asked.

“So though we may not carry the new Bruce Springsteen on CD, we will carry it on vinyl. And people will come in asking for it. And we’ll sell it.”

Who is buying all this vinyl? Goodman said it’s a combination of high school and college students and older customers who have either “pulled out their turntables or never put them away.”

Some are like Nick Dormer, 24, a faithful vinyl buyer at Love Garden.

“Most of the time vinyl is priced within a buck or two of a (new) CD, and you get larger artwork, a better shelf life and, commonly, a digital download,” he said. “I buy vinyl records when I want to listen to an album in its entirety.”

Labeau said a few of his customers are collectors who want the vinyl record as an artifact, like a concert T-shirt or a poster.

“They make (picture) frames for album covers,” he said, “so you can hang them on the wall.”

Dormer said he doesn’t “collect” per se, but he does respect the limited-edition LPs he buys.

“About six or seven months ago I purchased a limited-edition Murder City Devils record on yellow vinyl for $40,” he said. “I listened through about four times before framing it to hang on my wall.”

Despite his store’s success with new vinyl, Corcoran is skeptical about its current status and dubious about its long-term future. However, he is not worried that the big chains, like Best Buy, have started selling new vinyl.

“The transition to vinyl is not a real transition,” he said. “It’s also an act of desperation by the labels, not an altruistic interest in the format.

“I love the format. We do records, new and used. New records are there because customers want them, but we don’t make a lot of money on them. Used CDs and used vinyl pay the bills. If you’re going to sell new vinyl, you have to be smart. You have to have a sophisticated system set up. You really have to know what you’re doing and know your customers. I know the chains are carrying LPs, but they don’t know what they’re doing.”

What’s next?

The future for some record stores may be in someone’s basement.

In 1994 Lavery and Carrel combined their stores into one at Village Records in Shawnee. After a few years they noticed a clientele emerging that appreciated the same music they did, what is widely known as “roots music” or “Americana”. They also noticed that they were doing a decent word-of-mouth mail-order business with out-of-town customers, people willing to look a little harder and spend a little extra to get music from songwriters like Tom Russell, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams or Dave Alvin. It was music those customers could no longer get at their local record stores.

“That was before the Internet or e-mail were big,” Lavery said. “We were taking orders over the phone, sometimes writing them down on loose scraps of paper, and hand-labeling everything. At first the mail-order part was supplementing the store. But that flipped after two or three years.”

Carrel had been working exclusively with Russell since his days at Corky’s Records. He got permission to use Russell’s mailing list and sent a Village Records mailer to each name on that list. The response was quick and encouraging.

“We never looked back after that,” Carrel said.

In 1999 he and Lavery closed the brick-and-mortar store, moved their operations into their homes, and watched their business grow via the Internet. They estimate their customer base is 400 customers, many of them regulars who spend decent money each month. For them, all is good, even now.

“Since the economy tanked, our sales have actually gone up,” Carrel said. “Ninety percent of what we sell costs less than $15. And what are you going to do—not get the new Dylan CD or buy it and not spend that money on a meal or at Starbucks?”

What of the brick-and-mortar stores? Corcoran thinks the future will come down to survival of the savviest.

“You have to be smart,” he said. “Ten years ago anyone could make money running a record store. And they did. Now stores who don’t have sophisticated systems set up are either closing or selling toys and bongs to make ends meet.”

He also thinks the labels will continue to produce hard products but will have to make some concessions to save themselves.

“I don’t think they’ll stop putting out records or CDs,” he said. “But I think they’ll lower prices of CDs, and we’ve already seen movement that way. If they sold them to me for $6.50 or $7, I could sell CDs like candy for $10. If it’s a double-CD, OK, then $15 or $16 is reasonable. But unless the artwork mows your lawn, a single CD needs to be $10.”

Anne Winter saw some of this coming three years ago.

For 18 years she sold vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, posters, magazines, T-shirts and other music merchandise at Recycled Sounds on Main Street, just east of Westport. In April 2006 the store closed.

“The last few years we saw that the hard-core collectors were still very much into the vinyl,” she said. “What was going away were the younger customers who no longer came out to record stores to interact with our staff and other customers to learn about music.”

Voeks notices the same thing. He has been in the retail music business for more than 25 years. While living in Australia in the 1980s, he spent his weekends off from his 40-hour-a-week bureaucratic job working at a hardware store that had a music section. He got paid in albums. Voeks moved to St. Louis in 1989 and went to work at its Streetside stores. In 1997 he moved to Kansas City and worked for the CD Warehouse chain.

He remembers the days when stores were like salons or live chat rooms, and customers came in “to hang crap on each other’s tastes and talk about music.”

“But you had to do it real-time, instantly. You couldn’t stop and look something up on Google. You had to know then.”

At Kief’s, Wilson said he shares his vast knowledge of music with customers less these days. He spends it on other duties instead.

“When you’re buying used vinyl, you need to know what to buy and what you can charge,” he said. “So you get paid for knowing something. But your expertise can be pretty worthless on some days, unless someone comes in and wants to talk about music. And those people are not coming in like they used to.”

Wilson laments what is happening on a broader level to the pop culture: the death of mystique, the end of the underground. These days, he said, everything is everywhere for its 15 minutes of limelight, whether it’s a song, an album, a band or a video on YouTube.

“Then people move on to the next thing,” he said. “It’s hard for things to grow deep roots.

“If I tell kids how in the ‘70s I got the two-disc CBGBs compilation by getting Hilly Kristal’s phone number and calling him, they’d look at me like, ‘What? Did Wells Fargo bring it to you?’”

The Web has played an enormous role in taking some of the mystique out of music. Songs and albums are sometimes leaked or streamed long before they are released in stores. Nine days before the album’s official release, was streaming nonstop the entire Working on a Dream album.

“People know two weeks before it comes out whether they like a record or not,” Corcoran said, “because they’ve heard it several times.”

The Tuesday that Springsteen’s album went on sale, business was light during lunch hour at Streetside Records. One customer—a male in his 40s—came in and bought two copies of Working on a Dream on CD. A woman in her 20s flipped deliberately through the store’s new-vinyl collection without selecting anything. The employees chatted casually behind the counter. And for the most part, this Tuesday felt like any other day in the retail-music world.

SOURCE: Pop Matters