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