Friday, July 24, 2009

Classic Rcok Videos

The Ramones - Listen To My Heart (Live)

Bird & Animal Names In Rock And Roll History- part twenty-two

Written By Robert Benson

As we continue our series about “bird” and “animal” group names in rock and roll history, let’s explore a few obscure band and individuals that fit our criteria.

Before anyone ever heard of Ry Cooder, Leo Kotke, Richard Thompson and others who were mesmerizing fans with the keen ability to hop from genre to genre, an American folk musician Sandy Bull cleverly blazed the trail.

An accomplished player of many instruments including the middle-eastern oud, the acoustic guitar, banjo, bass, pedal-steel and electric guitar, Bull was one of the first to produce extended instrumental pieces for the guitar that blended elements of folk, jazz and Indian and Arabic influences into a tightly structured musical format.

His first album ”Fantasias For The Guitar & Banjo,” (Vanguard 1963) exemplified his penchant for the previous mentioned skills, adeptly blending non-western instrumentation and improvisational folk with extensive use of overdubbing and multi-track tape recording techniques. He utilized overdubbing as a way to accompany himself and be able to play all the instruments on many of his recordings. The LP was not a million-seller it had no hit singles, but contained enough rare and unconventional music that helped to put him on the musical map.

On his second album, the incomparable, “Inventions For The Guitar & Banjo,” Bull added more instrumentation and some electricity to his repertoire and included a twenty-four minute song, “Blend II,” on which he added an electric element to his signature song from his first LP. He also added two versions (electric and acoustic) of a Bach passage and closed the album with a heavy cover of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee.” Another album, “E Pluribus Unum” was released in 1968, however by that time Bull was suffering from drug addictions that affected his musical talents. In the 1970s, he dropped out of music altogether due to ongoing drug problems, although he began recording again in the late '80s. On April 11, 2001, Sandy Bull died of lung cancer at his home just outside of Nashville.

Moose was a British indie band that was formed in London in 1990. The band’s main claim to fame is that they have been credited by some as being the first group to be labeled “shoe-gazers.” Ironically, this wasn’t due to their style of music it was because during an early gig, vocalist/guitarist Russell Yates read the lyrics to some of the group’s songs that were taped to the floor. In fact, the band’s first three EPs are the only releases that feature the intense guitar effects that have often been associated with the music genre “shoe gazing.” When the band release their first full-length album in 1992 called “…XYZ,” the band was playing more of a jangly-country pop sound. The band recruited Mitch Easter for production and Dolores O'Riordon of the Cranberries for harmony vocals on one of the tracks.

However, this LP sold poorly and consequently the band was let go by their record label. They signed on with Play It Again Sam Records and released two more albums, 1994’s “Honey Bee” and “Live a Little Love a Lot.” Despite critical acclaim, the albums sold poorly and the band wound up taking an extended hiatus before returning in 2000 with the LP “High Ball Me.”

The alternative pop rock duo Cardinal was a side project of singer/songwriter Richard Davies and composer Eric Matthews. Releasing only one self-titled LP (1994), Cardinal weaves lush orchestral arrangements with layered horns and cascading piano work that makes one recall the multidimensional sounds of late 60's pop music (including the Left Banke, Love and even the “Smile” era Beach Boys sound). With Davies’ compelling songs and lyrics blended with Matthew’s penchant for creative arrangements, Cardinal shines in efforts such as “You’ve Lost Me There,”“If You Believe In Christmas Trees” and “Dream Figure,” to name a few.

While the album was met with critical acclaim and was filled with easily digestible pop-rock, creative tensions split up the duo and both went on to solo careers. (There is also another band associated with Cardinal, one led by Ryan Adams, which we will explore in a an upcoming article).

In 1968 a “one hit wonder” group called Iron Butterfly released the 1960's legendary song, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” But the song, which peaked at number thirty on the Billboard Top 40 may seem dated now, but it is one of the first “hard rock” anthems to receive extensive radio air play and paved the way for future psychedelic bands on AM radio.

Formed in San Diego, California in 1966 by vocalist/organist and bandleader, Doug Ingle, the group moved to Los Angles and performed in the club circuit and secured a recording contract. The group also toured with the Doors and Jefferson Airplane and their first album release “Heavy” established the band’s signature sound, loud rocking guitar riffs, thumping drums and psychedelic organ.

As the story has been told, the original title for the song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was “In The Garden Of Eden,” but the band was so stoned at the recording session the mumbled words of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” have become the epitome of acid-rock and a classic album in any vinyl record collector’s cache. A shortened version of the title track, which contained extended instrumental passages with loud guitars and classical/Eastern-influenced organ, plus a two-and-a-half-minute drum solo, reached number 30 on the singles charts.

The album was also the first album to receive platinum certification when the RIAA originally instituted the award. The group’s next album, “Ball” secured the band a second straight top five album and while not as acid-rock laced as “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” it was nonetheless a great rocker although the band did not duplicate the success and now legendary sound of their first and only Top 40 hit.

After another album, “Metamorphosis,” which saw the group stray from their original sound with more musical experimentation the group disbanded although they tried unsuccessfully to recapture their magic formula.

Sandy Bull Tidbits:

Bull is well known for his arrangement of Carl Orff's composition “Carmina Burana” for 5-string banjo on his first album, which was included on an album of R.E.M.'s favorite songs.

Bull primary played a finger-picking style of guitar and banjo and his style has been compared to that of John Fahey and Robbie Basho of the early Takoma label in the 1960s.

Moose Tidbits:

"High Ball Me!" "Live a Little Love a Lot" and "Honey Bee" are available on iTunes and several of the band's videos are up on youtube.

Moose was formed in early 1990 by the songwriting team of Kevin (K.J.) McKillop and Russell Yates (Yates had appeared in an early incarnation of Stereolab), plus drummer Damien Warburton and bassist Jeremy Tishler.

One of the group's songs, "This River Will Never Run Dry" is included in The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, and Brit Pop Gems of the Last Millennium (4-CD box set compiling 78 UK bands).

Iron Butterfly Tidbits:

The members when In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was recorded were Doug Ingle (keyboards and vocals), Lee Dorman (bass guitar), Ron Bushy (drums), and 17-year-old Erik Brann.

The infamous line-up of Iron Butterfly got together for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert and celebration, appearing on stage along with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin, and with Aretha Franklin among many other acts of the company's roster on May 14, 1988.

On October 3, 2002, original guitarist/vocalist Darryl DeLoach died of liver cancer at the age of 56.

On July 25, 2003, Erik Braunn died of cardiac failure at the age of 52. He was working on a new solo album at the time of his death, however the album remains unreleased, although friends and family of are working on releasing the album.

It’s reported that the band had been booked to play at Woodstock, but got stuck at an airport. When their manager called the promoters of the concert, they explained the incredible situation they had been dealt and asked for patience. However, the manager demanded that the Butterfly be flown in by helicopter, whereupon they would "immediately" take the stage. After their set they would be paid and flown back to the airport. The manager was told that this would be taken into consideration, and he would be called back. In truth, his outrageous demands were never given a second thought. Dorman later expressed regret at this turn of events, feeling the band's career may have gone further had they played the festival.

Michael Fremer Review

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.

Frank Sinatra (reissue)
Sings For Only the Lonely

Capitol/Mobile Fidelity MFSL 1-326 180g mono LP

Produced by: Voyle Gilmore
Engineered by: N/A
Mixed by: N/A
Mastered by: Rob LoVerde

Review by: Michael Fremer

One of the first “concept” albums, Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely invited listeners back in 1958 to pull up a chair and share the singer’s misery exquisitely expressed in a carefully collected set of tunes given sensitive, sumptuous backdrops by the late, great Nelson Riddle.

That these twelve heavily orchestrated tracks were recorded live in the studio two days in May of 1958 and two days in June is a feat that probably would not be possible to achieve today.

When first issued in mono, the album contained 12 tracks but at the dawn of the stereo LP, Capitol erred on the side of caution and omitted “Spring Is Here” and “It’s a Lonesome Old Town.” When Mobile Fidelity released its Frank Sinatra box set in the 1980s, it added the missing tracks to its stereo version.

This time around Mo-Fi has chosen to release the original mono mix and while the stereo version has its own enticing qualities, the choice was correct. The stereo version puts Sinatra far forward center stage bathed in reverb and offers extreme stereo orchestral separation. It may have been exciting to hear in 1958 but today it sounds extreme, though it really does make you feel as if you’re in the big Capitol soundstage.

The mono edition, by comparison, still keeps Sinatra up front in a moderately hollow-sounding, darkened room with the orchestra skillfully stacked in three dimensions well behind him. It’s a less literate, more organic, more atmospheric whole that better accommodates the morose, regretful emotions that Sinatra delivers powerfully while skillfully avoiding even a grain of bathos. Riddle's sumptuous arrangements for strings, achingly regretful brass and woodwinds cushion the emotional blows even as they amplify them.

Sinatra’s “What’s New” puts Linda’s later remake to shame, but she’d probably agree. Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote the title tune specifically for the album and it sets the appropriate downer mood. There’s no relief among the twelve tunes, ending with the Arlen/Mercer talk-to-the-bartender great “One For My Baby (And One More For the Road).”

If you’ve ever had your heart broken, be prepared to relive the experience track after track (and if you’ve never had the experience you’ve really never lived fully), enjoying every weepy minute.

Mo-Fi’s reissue is warmer and fuller than the original pressing I have. It’s not quite as immediate as the original or as transparent, but it wins in the atmospherics department and since there’s no compression whatsoever and clearly some was applied to the original, it breathes naturally allowing Sinatra’s full dynamic flow to be expressed even if he also seems ever so slightly muffled (though that will be system-dependent). Mastering engineer Rob LoVerde says he put up the tape and it sounded so good he cut it flat, so what you hear is what’s on the tape. If you’re skeptical about mono, give this one a try. It may not be wide, but it’s deep.

Music News & Notes

They Might Be Teachers

They Might Be Giants won a Best Children's Album Grammy for a record called "Here Comes the 123s" and now they're gunning for more gramophone gold with another kiddie release, "Here Comes Science;" which comes packaged with its own DVD. The double-disc set is out on Amazon and iTunes September 1 and everywhere else September 22 via Idlewild/Disney.


Jay-Z + MGMT

According to this Reuters report, synth-hippie duo MGMT will appear on Jay-Z's forthcoming, highly anticipated opus "The Blueprint 3." (Via Stereogum) which is due out on September 11 from Roc Nation/Atlantic. According to that same Reuters report, other guests will include Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Drake, and Mr. Hudson, and the album will feature production from Timbaland, Kanye West, and No I.D., who helmed "D.O.A."


ANVIL: 'This Is Thirteen' Re-Release To Include 'Thumb Hang' Bonus Track

Certainly one of the most feel-good rock n' roll comeback stories of recent times is that of Canadian heavy metal band ANVIL. The band, considered a major influence for a generation of hard rockers including METALLICA, SLAYER, ANTHRAX, and GUNS N' ROSES, was the subject of a critically acclaimed, must-see rock-doc, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil", directed by Sacha Gervasi. And in the process, the film has made the group (led by singer/guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner — both founding members) a household name. But the group's story will certainly not end with the film.

First up for ANVIL are U.S. shows opening for Aussie rock legends AC/DC — in football stadiums. "We're really excited about these shows; we've only heard awesome things about playing in football stadiums," states Lips. "I was with the GREEN DAY guys last night, and they were telling me, 'Man, it's probably going to be the gig of your life'!"

And then on September 15, "This is Thirteen" will finally see proper national distribution on CD and vinyl via VH1 Classic Records. The CD will feature the newly recorded, never-before released bonus track "Thumb Hang". The collectible double vinyl LP boasts newly re-recorded versions of ANVIL classics "Metal on Metal" and "666". The album, originally recorded in 2007 and produced by Chris Tsangarides (JUDAS PRIEST, THIN LIZZY), was primarily available directly from the band via their web site and at their concerts.

"'This is Thirteen' is more like our first three albums," says Lips, "which represent our real identity. For many of our albums, we went on an 'integrity hunt' instead of on a 'commercial/radio hunt,' so we became extremely inaccessible to radio. This time, we stepped back and said, 'What were we originally?' And we rediscovered ourselves, I suppose." Reiner adds, "There are three tracks that in my opinion, are definitely, 100% AOR/hard rock/commercial radio tracks — 'American Refuge', 'Flying Blind', and 'Feed the Greed'. Catchy melodies, incredible drum feels — they just all rock."


Feelies Reisuues

Back in 1980, New Jersey postpunk originators the Feelies dropped "Crazy Rhythms," their classic debut. "Crazy Rhythms" was a short, sharp shock of spiky guitars and sidelong grooves, the sort of album destined to become an influential but underappreciated relic, which is exactly what happened. You can hear bits and pieces of "Crazy Rhythms" all over American indie rock from the 1980s, especially in the first few R.E.M. albums, but the band's history was plagued by commercial failure and frequent breakups. The LP has been out of print forever.

That's about to change. The Feelies are back together now, playing shows when they feel like it. And on September 8, "Crazy Rhythms" and the band's 1986 sophomore effort "The Good Earth" will finally be reissued. The reissues will be out on Bar None in the U.S. and Canada and Domino everywhere else. Both remastered albums will be available on CD and 180 gram vinyl, and both will come with bonus tracks.


Queen Latifah Releases Details On New Album

It was revealed this week that rapper/actress Queen Latifah will be releasing her ninth studio album later this year.

The star-studded album, " Persona," will feature appearances by Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige, Jadakiss, and Boyz II Men.

“It doesn't have a specific theme -- each [song] was so different from the next, me being the common denominator,” Queen Latifah told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month (July). “And I realized my different characters were coming through on these [songs]. My acting, singing and rapping identities all came together under one roof as well as my taste in different kinds of music. I'd say it's half rap and half singing. If I had to categorize it, it would be more like hip hop urban alternative.”

The album, which was executive produced by duo Cool & Dre, is expected to be released on August 25.

CSN looks back on 'Demos' as it forges forward with new music

By Alan Sculley | Special to The Morning Call

Graham Nash puts it quite simply. Crosby Stills & Nash doesn't have to tour anymore. The trio doesn't need to record and release albums. The group is secure enough financially to retire.

But here it is summer 2009, and again, as it has been for most years during the past decade, Crosby Stills & Nash is back on the road, covering most of the United States and Europe.

"We're musicians and songwriters, and we want to communicate," Nash says. "The first thing you do when you write a new song, once it makes it past your filters, is to play it for your wife and friends and family. Then you want to play it for people on a tour."

Actually, Crosby Stills & Nash doesn't have many new songs to play. Nash's anti-war ballad, "Not In My Name," is the most recent arrival, having debuted on "Reflections," his three-CD box set covering his entire musical career and released in February.

But a new Crosby Stills & Nash CD is out. Called "Demos," it's both new and about as old as it gets for CSN.

The disc release features the demo versions of 12 songs David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash recorded for the trio's 1969 self-titled debut; for the 1970 Crosby Stills Nash & Young debut, "Déjà vu," and for various solo and duo releases of the early '70s.

For CSN fans, it's a chance to literally hear Crosby Stills & Nash finding their harmony-filled, folk-influenced sound.

"In December of '68, Crosby Stills & Nash were in New York, and we went into the studio at the Record Plant with Paul Rothschild, who had produced the Doors and Janis Joplin," Nash says. "We went in there, and that was the first time Crosby Stills & Nash had ever recorded. On the previous box set, the large square one that we put out in, what was it, '91 or something, we used one of them [the demos], I think 'Helplessly Hoping.' And we had another one."

Nash says in this interview that that song was "You Don't Have To Cry." That demo is included on the new album, except it's Stills' original solo version of the song. The actual performance he remembered was of "Marrakesh Express," and that tune leads off the "Demos" CD.

And indeed, this is the sound of Crosby, Stills & Nash, accompanied only by acoustic guitar, capturing the vocal arrangement and the three-part harmonies that became such a signature for the group four months before the song appeared on the "Crosby Stills & Nash" CD in a far more elaborate instrumental arrangement.

In any event, the "Demos" CD accomplishes the very goal Nash set for himself in putting together the album.

"My original idea that maybe people would be very interested in seeing, if not the very first time a song was put down on tape, but very early in the version and see how it flowers into the record people know and love," he says. "I thought that would be a very interesting thing."

It seems highly likely that fans will be drawn to the album for at least a few of the rarities it contains. There's Crosby's solo demo of "Almost Cut My Hair," as well as his version of the song "Déjà vu," which finishes with Crosby scatting the vocal melody as he plays the remainder of the song. "Long Time Gone," a staple of CSN and CSNY shows since it arrived on the "Crosby Stills & Nash" album is performed on "Demos" by just Crosby and Stills. Meanwhile there are several familiar solo songs, including Nash's piano version of "Chicago" and Stills' demo of his hit single, "Love The One You're With." "Music Is Love," a song that ended up on Crosby's 1971 solo debut album, "If I Could Only Remember My Name," marks an early appearance by Neil Young, who joins Crosby and Nash in singing the demo version.

Nash said he uncovered 53 early demos in his archive of recordings by the various band members. He is already working on a second album of demos culled from the remaining tracks.

"Demos" is far from the only musical project Nash has spearheaded lately. Of course, there was the box set, "Reflections," which follows a Crosby box set released in 2006. Nash has also begun work assembling a Stills box set that could include unreleased tracks from sessions he recorded with Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

The "Reflections" set traces Nash's career from its beginnings with the British pop group the Hollies, into Crosby Stills & Nash and through material he recorded for his five solo albums and four studio records with Crosby.

Nash thinks he chose a group of songs that accomplished the goals he had for the set, which he sees as document that will give present and future music fans insight into what he has been about musically.

"First of all, I hope the people enjoy it," Nash sahs. "I didn't want it to be so esoteric or out of left field that people couldn't relate to it. I'm a very simple man, as you know. To me I'm a very normal person. I do something very well, and several things rather well, but to me I'm a very normal person. And I want people to understand that I tried my best to communicate. I tried my best to make myself happy about my music. I tried my best to make my friends happy about it and my audience happy about it. I think I accomplished that."

Crosby Stills & Nash, meanwhile, have been busy selecting songs for their next CSN CD, a collection of outside material performed very much in what Nash says will be CSN's harmonized style. Recording of the CD with producer Rick Rubin is scheduled to start in the fall.

An initial list of 50 songs has been trimmed to 18, and Nash says the group will try out a few of the candidates each night on tour this summer.

"Right now we know about eight or 10 of them enough to play them live for people," he says. "So we'll be dropping [in] and changing songs] every night, putting new songs in there. So it will be very interesting."

The group's concert set, though, will mostly stick to familiar material. And the trio will perform in several settings.

"We're going to actually start acoustic," Nash says. "The first song will be with the band, but very gentle. Then me and David and Stephen will sing for six or seven great acoustic things, some new songs that we've learned, other peoples' that we're going to be doing for this Rick Rubin record we're going to record after the tour, and then a couple of other ones with the band, but gentle. Then we'll finish up the acoustic set with something like 'Southern Cross.' And we'll take a break and come back and play electric for an hour or so."