Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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Bird & Animal Names In Rock & Roll History- part nine

I am happy to resume my article series about bird and animal people and bands names in rock and roll after a break (we relocated) and look for this feature every Tuesday.

As we continue our series of articles about “bird” and “animal” groups and artists in rock and roll history, let’s continue with our “bird” theme.

As all James Brown fans know, there was a man behind his music and we may have never heard of “The Godfather of Soul,” if not for a gentleman named Bobby Byrd. Bobby Byrd was playing baseball against the inmates of the Alto Reformatory prison team in 1952 and met the music-obsessed James Brown who was apparently showing off his singing prowess to other inmates. Byrd befriended him and arranged for Byrd's family to oversee Brown's parole. Byrd and his family-sponsored Brown’s release from prison (Brown was incarcerated for armed robbery) and Byrd also gave Brown a job in his vocal group, the Avons. The charismatic and enthusiastic Brown soon took over and the group became James Brown and the Famous Flames.

Like many close associates of Brown, in addition to playing with the Flames, Byrd got a chance to record his own music. Byrd had modest success with the Brown produced songs “We’re In Love” (1965) and “I Need Help (I Can’t Do It Alone”(1970), each making the Rhythm and Blues Top 20. But Byrd performed a valuable service at concerts to, not only Brown, but Soul music in general, as he often would warm up the crowds as a solo singer before retreating into the background on keyboards as a member of the Famous Flames. He and Brown split up in 1973. He was married for many years until his death to soul singer Vicki Anderson, who was another James Brown collaborator. Sadly on September 12, 2007, surrounded by his family, Byrd died of cancer at the age of 73 in Loganville, Georgia.

Alternative country band, the Jayhawks were formed in 1985 by vocalist and guitarist Mark Olson, whose desire to write and perform his own country-rock material led him to form the Minneapolis-based band. He enlisted the help of fellow guitarist Marc Perlman to take up the bass guitar and added drummer Norm Rogers to the group. They played in front of a sparse crowd one night and one of the audience members was a veteran of a couple of local bands named Gary Louris who was well known for his innovative pedal steel-like sound. They talked after the show and soon Louris joined the Jayhawks.

Inspired by the influences of Gram Parsons, Tim Hardin and Bob Dylan, the band quickly became a Twin cities favorite. In 1986, the Jayhawks released their debut album, a self-titled pressing (only a few thousand were released) filled with pure alt-country, gracious harmonies from Olson and Louris and highlighted by cuts like “Six Pack On The Dashboard,” “I’m Not In Prison” and the tongue-in-cheek “The Liquor Store Came First.”

The group continued honing their skills with well-received live shows around the Twin city area. In 1988, drummer Norm Rogers departed (to join up with the band The Cows) and he was replaced by Thad Spencer. That same year, Louris was almost killed in a serious auto accident and the band went on hiatus. But, in 1989 local independent record label Twin/Tone compiled an album from a series of demos the group had recorded and released the album called “Blue “Earth.” Filled with rich sounds, songs of bittersweet romance and intuitive song writing, the release brought the group considerable attention. In fact, when producer George Drakoulias heard the band playing in the background during a telephone to Twin/Tone’s office, the Jayhawks were then signed to a major label, (Def) American Records.

With yet another drummer coming into the fold (Spencer departed and was replaced by Tim O’Reagan), the group released their breakthrough record called “Hollywood Town Hall” in 1992. Grabbing rave reviews, the album was full of engaging harmonic wisdom, captivating and energetic guitars and was hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the essential albums of the decade. With alternative radio hits like “Waiting For The Sun,” “Take Me With You (When You Go)" and “Settled Down Like Rain,” this album exemplifies the maturity and musicianship of song writers Marc Olson and Gary Louris.

After a tour, the group added Minneapolis pianist Karen Grotberg to the mix and individual members of the band guested on albums by the Counting Crows, Joe Henry and Soul Asylum, among others. Before the release of the 1995 album “Tomorrow The Green Grass,” another drumming change took place and it would also be the last album for singer, song writer Marc Olson.

But, “Tomorrow The Green Grass” is the group’s crowning achievement and is a splendid mix of several musical styles. A single, the mournful “Blue,” with its tender string section, received significant air play. Other cuts included the alt-rocker “Real Light,” the exuberant “Miss Williams’ Guitar” (a tribute to Olson’s new wife, Victoria Williams) and the soaring pop and infectiously keen tune called “I’d Run Away.” Following a tour, Olson announced he was quitting the band to spend more time with his wife who suffered from multiple sclerosis. The couple relocated to Joshua Tree, California and subsequently formed the rootsy-folk band “Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers.”

Louris stepped up as front man for the band (they also added another guitarist, Kraig Johnson) and the group released an album called “Sound Of Lies” in 1997. An eclectic release, it is a departure from the Jayhawks’ distinctive alt-country and includes more melodic rock oriented music and proves that the Jayhawks can adapt as they remain a viable alt-country act.

In 2000, the pop oriented sound of the album “Smile” alienated some long time fans, longing for more of the music they had grown accustomed to from the Jayhawks. The album, “Rainy Day Music,” was released in 2003, and sees the band step back to their alt-country roots. This is the last album to date by this inventive and invigorating band, although Olson and Louris have toured together in the winter of 2005 and spring of 2006. They were billed as “From the Jayhawks, an evening with Mark Olson & Gary Louris, Together Again.” Both new and old Jayhawk band members have moved on and the band, as a whole, is considered to be broken up, however band members all stay in touch.

Jay and the Techniques were an interracial R&B rock group from Allentown, Pennsylvania featuring lead singer, Jay Proctor. The group scored three Billboard Top 40 singles, including their biggest hit, 1967's Billboard Top Ten, bubble-gummish song called “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie.”

Later that year, the group scored another Top 40 hit with the catchy single called “Keep The Ball Rollin’.” They followed that hit with their last Billboard Top 40 hit named “Strawberry Shortcake,” in the winter of 1968. The group made one last attempt to achieve pop music success with the R&B hit entitled “Number Onderful,” but the band quietly faded away into obscurity. Mercury Records released a compilation album in 1996 called “The Best Of Jay & The Techniques.”
Look for part ten in this continuing article series next week!

Bobby Byrd Tidbits:

In 1993 Byrd released a solo album On the Move on the German record Label, Soulciety Records.

In October 2004 Bobby Byrd's songs "I Know You Got Soul" and "Hot Pants" were featured on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack, playing on fictional radio station Master Sounds 98.3. In September 2005 his song "Try It Again" appeared on the soundtrack of Indigo Prophecy.

Byrd also recorded many solo funk tracks which have been sampled by musicians including Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, Ice Cube, LL Cool J and A Tribe Called Quest.

Jayhawks Tidbits:

In April, 2009, Billboard reported that the Jayhawks have reunited. The band's mid-90s lineup will play two shows this summer: One at Barcelona's Primavera Sound Festival on May 30 and one at Minneapolis's Basilica Block Party on July 10. Band co-leader Gary Louris told Billboard that the reunion will be a part-time thing: "I think the plan is that we're going to play festivals. Next year, we're hoping to play Bonnaroo and things like that. We'll see if it grows from there."

In September, 2008, the 1995 lineup of Louris, Olson, O'Reagan, Grotberg and Perlman reunited for the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

In December the 1st, 2008, Louris and Olson reunited for an acoustic concert in Cádiz, Spain.

Jay & The Techniques Tidbits:

The track "Keep The Ball Rollin'" was used in instrumental form, as recorded by Al Hirt, on the television program, Bowling for Dollars.

Jay & the Techniques made their final effort with its R&B hit, "Number Onderful", but after that, the group disbanded.

In 1996, Mercury Records released a compilation album of the band's hits entitled The Best of Jay & the Techniques.

"Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" was covered by The Fourmost in 1968.

Music packaging a vanishing artform

Greg Quill

Michael Wrycraft looks at the future of music packaging and suspects the business that has supported him for the past 25 years – earning him numerous awards, including a Juno and a reputation as one of the world's leading music-related graphic designers – is on its last legs.

"Everything is going digital: a whole generation, raised on MP3s, is connected to computer screens and handheld devices that convey, in ever-increasing quantities and formats, all their audiovisual needs," says the artist who works in Toronto under the name A Man Called Wrycraft.

"I believe CD manufacturing will wind down in three to five years. And when music is universally delivered on flash drive sticks and via the Internet, and stored on hard drives and iPods, you have to wonder how packaging will play a part.

read the rest of the article here

Vinyl Collective News

Visit www.vinylcollective.com for great collectible vinyl, tell Virgil I sent you over!

Vinyl Collective Top 10 Sales of the past Week

1. BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY! “Scrambles” LP VC exclusive color
2. BEN WEASEL The Brain That Wouldn’t Die LP clear red vinyl
3. JAWBREAKER - Dear You 2xLP
4. Jawbreaker - Etc. double LP
4. BEN WEASEL The Brain That Wouldn’t Die LP clear yellow vinyl
6. Spring Cleaning JOEY CAPE/PLAYING FAVORITES Vinyl Sale
7. RUSSIAN CIRCLES / THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES split tour LP clear vinyl
8. Spring Cleaning Pint Glass Sale
9. THRICE “The Alchemy Index: Volumes 1-4″ 4×10″ clear, blue, red and brown
9. TIM BARRY Vinyl Sale (Laurel St, Manchester, Rivanna, Munford)
11. ANCHOR ARMS/ WHY I HATE split LP VC exclusive green vinyl

Music News & Notes

Dylan Radio Show News

According to the latest rumor, Bob Dylan may have done his last Theme Time Radio Hour broadcast on Sirius/XM. Last Wednesday's show was called Goodbye and ended with Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know Yuh" followed by the needle running out in the record groove. A mention on the broadcasters site mentioning the Fall Season of the show has also disapeared.

Dylan has done a total of 100 shows to date.


Bonnaroo Festival

David Byrne is scheduled to pick all the acts for one of the stages at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee this June. Included, along with a performance of his own current show, will be Santigold, the Dirty Projectors, Ani DiFranco, St. Vincent and Katzenjammer.

“This was an easy one," stated Byrne. "I basically reeled off a list of what I was listening too recently or who I had seen live recently and Ashley and Co did the rest. It’s not like these folks need me to introduce them to a wider audience, at least I don’t think they do…I’m just thrilled they’ll be added to the festival lineup.”


Grateful Dead Photo Book

For several years now, music artists have made recordings of each concert of a tour available to the public in a limited edition, but the Grateful Dead are taking that concept to a new level. They are releasing a photo book for each of the 17 stops on their current tour. The books are $22.95 for softcover, $32.95 for hardback and $34.95 for hardback with ImageWrap which has one of the photos printed directly on the cover


Pixies' Reissues

All of the Pixies‘ studio records are being reissued in Limited Edition and Deluxe Edition box sets titled Minotaur that will be released on June 15, 2009. Rolling Stone Magazine has learned that the sets — which include the Come on Pilgrim EP (1987), Surfer Rosa (1988), Doolittle (1989), Bossanova (1990) and Trompe Le Monde (1991) — are being repackaged with the assistance of the two men responsible for art directing and shooting the photographs for the original albums, from Surfer Rosa’s iconic flamenco dancer to Trompe’s popping eyeballs: Vaughan Oliver and Simon Larbalestier.

Jeff Anderson, the founder of A+R (Artist in Residence), who is overseeing the project, says he didn’t want to touch the original master recordings of the Pixies’ albums, so the reissues will feature the music as it was originally released.

For $175, the Deluxe Edition gives fans the five albums on a 24k layered CD and a Blu-ray for a total of five discs, plus a DVD of the band’s 1991 Brixton Academy gig (a year before their split) that also includes all their videos. The Deluxe Edition features additional artwork by Oliver and a 54-page book. The Limited Edition costs $450 and includes the entire Deluxe Edition plus all five albums on 180 gram vinyl, a Giclée print of Oliver’s artwork and a 72-page hardcover book.


Lollapalooza News

Jane’s Addiction, Beastie Boys, the Killers, Depeche Mode, Tool and Kings of Leon will headline 2009’s Lollapalooza Festival, which is scheduled at Chicago’s Grant Park on August 7-9th. Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg, TV on the Radio, Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend and many more will also perform at the Windy City fest.

Here is a list of the artist scheduled to appear:

Depeche Mode
The Killers
Jane’s Addiction
Beastie Boys
Kings of Leon
Lou Reed
Ben Harper and Relentless7
Thievery Corporation
Snoop Dogg
Rise Against
Andrew Bird
TV on the Radio
Vampire Weekend
The Decemberists
Neko Case
STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9)
Animal Collective
Band of Horses
Of Montreal
Arctic Monkeys
Coheed and Cambria
Ben Folds
Fleet Foxes
Silversun Pickups
Kaiser Chiefs
Crystal Castles
Bon Iver
Dan Auberbach
Cold War Kids
Lykke Li
Robert Earl Keen
Peter Bjorn and John
Heartless Bastards
Federico Aubele
Dan Deacon
The Raveonettes
The Gaslight Anthem
The Airborne Toxic Event
White Lies
Ra Ra Riot
No Age
Asher Roth
Los Campesinos!
Bat For Lashes
Gang Gang Dance
The Virgins
Amazing Baby
Portugal. The Man
The Knux
Ida Maria
Delta Spirit
Friendly Fires
Manchester Orchestra
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons
Miike Snow
Alberta Cross
Hey Champ
Sam Roberts Band
The Henry Clay People
Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam
Cage the Elephant
Living Things
The Low Anthem
Blind Pilot
Langhorne Slim
Other Lives
The Builders and The Butchers
Eric Church
Joe Pug
Kevin Devine
The Green Cards
Passion Pit
Simian Mobile Disco
Boys Noise
Kid Cudi
Hercules and Love Affair (DJ Set)
The Bloody Beetroots (DJ Set)
LA Riots
The Glitch Mob
Hollywood Holt
Rye Rye
He Say, She Say
Car Stereo (Wars)
Dark Wave Disco
Yello Fever
Animal Collective (DJ Set)


Ole Blue Eyes

Capitol and Reprise have been digging deep into the legacy of Frank Sinatra with a number of greatest hits collections. 2000's "Classic Sinatra: His Greatest Performances 1953-1960," included some of his greatest Capitol recordings and sold over 2 million copies. In 2008 "Nothing But the Best," which included hits from Reprise, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart and stayed in the Top 100 for much of the year. Earlier this year, additional Reprise material was released on Seduction: "Sinatra Sings of Love" which has remained the highest charting album on the Jazz charts by a veteran artist.

Capitol digs into the vaults on June 2 with "Classic Sinatra II," 21 more signature tracks, including 15 from his legendary concept albums. These recordings were made between 1954 and 1960 with the arrangements and orchestras of Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins and Billy May and are regularly hailed as the pinnacle of his artistry.

Included are hits such as "Love and Marriage," "(Love is) The Tender Trap," "High Hopes," "Learnin' the Blues" and "Angel Eyes" along with a previously unreleased track, "This Can't Be Love."

Here is the full track list:

Something's Gotta Give
Too Marvelous for Words
Love and Marriage
From This Moment On
(Love is) The Tender Trap
I Get Along Without You Very Well
All of Me
I Thought About You
Moonlight in Vermont
High Hopes
Learnin' the Blues
Here's That Rainy Day
Pennies From Heaven
I've Got a Crush on You
I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
Memories of You
Love is Here to Stay
When the World Was Young
Just One of Those Things
Angel Eyes
This Can't Be Love