Sunday, August 9, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Rolling Stones Play with Fire

Bird And Animal Names In Rock And Roll History- part twenty-four

Let’s continue our article series about “bird” and “animal” band names and individuals in rock and roll history:

Formed in the 1980s, the Boston-based band Buffalo Tom has received critical acclaim for their thundering guitar hooks and innovative folk-tinged songs. Produced by J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, some say that the band was just an extension of Mascis, who produced their first album in 1989.

However, Buffalo Tom was able to strip away these comparisons and was able to develop their own musical niche by blending their meat and potatoes rock and roll to go along with their insightful ballads.

In fact, on the band’s second album, 1990s “Birdbrain,” saw the trio guitarist Bill Janovitz, bassist Chris Colbourn, and drummer Tom Maginnis broaden their musical horizons with improved sonics and lyrical content and found themselves becoming popular on alternative radio play lists.

In 1992, Buffalo Tom’s breakthrough album “Let Me Come Over,” was filled with a gritty set of rock and roll adeptly mixed with melancholy ballads, including the splendid cut “Taillights Fade.” But, despite the increased airplay and critical praise, the album didn’t sell particularly well.

The follow-up album, 1993s “Big Red Letter Day” was a much more radio-ready, polished production, but the record received limited radio play and MTV requests. However, Buffalo Tom became one of the more popular alternative rock bands by the mid nineties in part because of the minor alternative hit single “Sodajerk,” which was featured on the soundtrack to the 1994 television series “My So-Called Life.”

After a year-long tour, the band regrouped and in the summer of 1995 released the LP “Sleep Eyed,” which musically brought the band back to their roots and the musical styling of the LP “Let me Come Over.” In 1998, the band released “Smitten” and two years later released a best of album called “Asides from Buffalo Tom.” After almost a decade of inactivity, Buffalo Tom returned in 2007 with an appearance at SXSW and a new full-length album on the New West label, “Three Easy Pieces.”

In 2009, Buffalo Tom have been writing and rehearsing about 15 new songs in one of the coldest, bleakest Boston winters in recent memory. Buffalo Tom also played their first show in quite some time at Boston's Paradise Rock Club, Friday June 26, 2009. Expect more to come from this seminal alternative rock and roll band.

Since 2002, the Aardvarks have been praised by bar owners, employees and fans alike for their ability to cater to any crowd by performing eclectic sets of musical genres and by adding their compelling repertoire of sound for a variety of events including weddings, local festivals and weekend shows.

In 2002, guitarist/vocalist Mike Rauscher and piano player Ron Walls decided to take a break from the grind of being musicians and playing with a number of other bands that included the Honeybuzzards, Seamrippers and the Armadillos. However, their break did not last long and within a few weeks they formed a duo called, A Pair of Armadillos and the pair performed throughout Lehigh Valley, in Eastern Pennsylvania. In 2003, the duo added Bassist Scott Erickson and drummer Jay Sanita. Just a year later, the band went through more personnel changes, this time adding bassist Jon Novak and vocalist Jay Morgan. Remaining true to their penchant for naming the band after an animal (fits right into our theme), the new bandmates decided to try a new breed of 'A" animal and the Aardvarks, as we know them today, were born.

Since 2004, The Aardvarks have assembled a song catalog of over 100 songs and are constantly expanding their repertoire both with covers of popular hits as well as originals. They are very popular with the locals of Lehigh Valley and perform regularly throughout the region.

Despite record setting attendances and an impressive music catalog, perhaps the most endearing quality of The Aardvarks is their youth and energy. No matter the age or size of the crowd, type of event or location, the band delivers quality performances consistently making them a local favorite and guaranteed good time for friends, family, employees, guests and fans alike. Although the band may not have any national hits, they make our list because of their fondness to name their groups after animals.

There are a couple of other bands named the Aardvarks. David Waggoner (aka David Wagner) of the 1960s psychedelic band Crow released several 45rpm singles prior to joining up with that band. Several of these singles are highly collectible and can fetch anywhere between $20 to $800, depending on the record label and the songs contained on the record. We will explore more bands with this moniker in future articles.

The soft-rock pop duo of Jim Seals and Dash Crofts were formed in 1969 after a stint with singer Dean Beard in 1958. Beard was later invited to join the group the Champs (of Latin-rock hit fame, the instrumental smash hit “Tequila”) along with Seals and Crofts and they stayed with that group until 1965. After both worked as session musicians and in unsuccessful bands, they decided to team up and after two largely ignored album releases, the duo hit the big time after signing with Warner Brothers Records in 1971.

It was their second album on Warner Brothers Records (Summer Breeze-1972) that propelled Seals and Crofts to mainstream pop-rock success. With timeless, breezy and accessible songs such as “Hummingbird,” “Diamond Girl,” the perfect mellow summer song “Summer Breeze” and the Top 40 Billboard hit “We May Never Pass This Way Again,” the duo attained worldwide acceptance. But their fame was fleeting, and ignoring the advice of Warner Brothers Records executives, they released the album “Unborn Child,” that contained the blatantly anti-abortion song called “Momma, Don’t” (which was written by Crofts’ sister) and the album was a critical and commercial flop.

Over a year later the duo released the LP “I’ll Play For You” and the following year cut the album called “Get Closer,” with the title song topping out on the charts at number six. This was Seals and Crofts’ last Top 40 album release. They sang music for a Robby Benson’s movie “One on One” which produced the single called “My Fair Share” (number 28 on the Top 40 Billboard charts in 1977).

The following year the album “Takin’ It Easy” resulted in the duo’s last Top 40 single called “You’re In Love” and their final studio effort “The Longest Road” did not even enter the charts (despite musicians Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke making guest appearances). The pair were subsequently dropped by Warner Brothers Records and have played together sparingly for many years except for a short reunion tour in 1991-1992, and appearances together at religious gatherings promoting their faith (Baha I).

Come back next week for more of this interesting article series about bird and animal band names in rock and roll history!

Buffalo Tom Tidbits:

The band's name is derived from the band Buffalo Springfield and the first name of the drummer, who is the shyest of the three. Combining the two is something of a joke among the members.

Buffalo Tom also wrote the theme song to the extremely short-lived 1999 sitcom The Mike O'Malley Show.

In 1999 the song "Taillights Fade" was used in the Breckin Meyer/Elizabeth Berkley independent film Taillights Fade.

They also recorded The Jam's "Going Underground" for the 2000 tribute album Fire and Skill: The Songs of the Jam.

They were the final musical guest on Jon Stewart's The Jon Stewart Show wherein he showered the band with moderate enthusiasm for their sound and their musical integrity.

Seals and Crofts Tidbits:

Seals' younger brother, Dan Seals was also well known as one half of the successful soft rock band in the same time period, England Dan and John Ford Coley, as well as a very successful country artist in the mid-1980s. Dan Seals died on March 25, 2009.

Jim Seals and Dash Crofts are both members of the Baha'i Faith. A number of their songs are inspired by Baha'i writings, and several contain references to tenets of the faith and actual passages of Baha'i scriptures. When they appeared in concert they often remained on stage after the performance to talk about the faith while local Baha'is passed out literature to anyone who was interested.

Crofts has lived in Mexico, Australia and Nashville, playing country music and making an occasional hit single. Seals moved to Costa Rica and has lived on a coffee farm off & on since 1980, and Crofts now lives on a ranch in the Hill Country of central Texas.

In 2003, Seals and Crofts reunited and recorded a new album called “Traces” for the first time since 1998.

Help Preserve Polka Music

I have been in communication with the president John Ziobrowski of Polka America Corporation, based out of Ringle, Wisconsin. The organization seeks to help educate the public about the genre and to help preserve this format of music. Honestly, this is not a genre of music that I listen to, but I do recognize that there are millions who love Polka Music and I feel that it is very important to help to preserve the vinyl from years past. So I thought I would let you know about the organization. Stop by the website for more information.

Polka America Corporation Press Release


June 10, 2009



Manhattan, NY - A new program for the digitization and archiving of polka music which has been instituted by Polka America Corporation, in conjunction with Columbia University and the Archive of Contemporary Music, is accepting donations of polka music collections. This program provides the only national large-scale public archive collection point for all styles of polka music, and will afford polka music its place in history as a viable and documented form of music.

Collections can be donated at any time and in any amount. Donations submitted will be digitized and archived for record keeping and historical purposes. Any original form is acceptable to include 78s, 33s, cassettes, etc. Digital recordings created by Columbia are exact replicas of the recording submitted. No enhancements are a part of the process. A copy of the digitized recording is returned to the owner once it has been processed by Columbia University. The University maintains ownership of the copy donated to them for the polka category. Substantial polka music libraries can be named in honor of the donor.

Donation maximums of $4500 per year can be written off on your taxes. Donations/record collections exceeding that amount will require a professional appraisal in order to receive larger tax write-offs. Columbia University does not determine the value of a collection.

The archive of polka music will be available on the Internet through Columbia’s websites. This will provide an instant access point of musical history in the polka genre for all to reference.

Further info, along with mailing information can be obtained by contacting Polka America Corporation at or by calling PAC at 715-446-3098.

Polka America Corporation, PO Box 413 Ringle, WI 54471

Music News & Notes

Them Crooked Vultures Play Live

The new "supergroup" Them Crooked Vultures (John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age) will be playing their first live show tomorrow (Sunday) at Chicago's Metro rock club.


Daryl Hall and John Oates Set Delayed Again

The Daryl Hall and John Oates box set has been pushed back yet again to October 6. As of now, there still isn't a track list available, although we now know that it will be 4-CDs with 74 tracks, 16 of which are unreleased. There will also be a 60-page book.

The duo will be appearing on QVC to promote the set on September 21 at 6 PM EST.


This Will Make Your Head Spin (A Sunday Morning Wake Up Call) has premiered the video from black metal band Sothis. The video for the title track to the band's current album, De Oppresso Liber, was filmed in the band's hometown of Los Angeles and features computer animation and performance footage of the six-piece band. Just having completed their first national US tour alongside labelmates Absu, the band continues to promote their full-length debut released last fall via Candlelight Records.

This Date In Music History- August 9


Barbara Mason ("Yes, I'm Ready") is 62

Vic Prince - Pretty Things (1944)

John Parry, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (1946)

Marinus Gerritsen - Golden Earring (1946)

Bruce Thomas - Elvis Costello and The Attractions (1954)

Rapper Kurtis Blow (1959)

Aimee Mann (1960)

John Farriss – INXS (1961)

Whitney Houston (1963)

Baroque singer/songwriter J.C. Hopkins, whose work has been likened to Brian Wilson and Charles Ives, was born in 1967.

Arion Salazar - Third Eye Blind (1972)

They Are Missed:

Born today in 1939, Billy Henderson, singer with the Detroit Spinners (died from complications from diabetes on Feb 2, 2007 (age 67).

Bill Chase and three members of his band were killed in a plane crash in 1974. Chase had the 1971 US Top 30 hit “Get It On.”

Born on this day in 1955, Benjamin Orr of the Cars (Orr died of cancer on October 3, 2000).

Jerry Garcia guitarist and singer from The Grateful Dead died from a drugs-related heart attack at the Serenity Knolls rehabilitation clinic in San Francisco in 1995 (age 53). Garcia co-founded the New Riders of the Purple Sage and also released several solo albums. He was well known for his distinctive guitar playing and was ranked 13th in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarist's of All Time."


In 1952, Kitty Wells became the first woman to top the country charts with "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels."

Mantovani and his Orchestra were at #1 on the UK singles chart in 1953 with “Song From The Moulin Rouge,” the first ever instrumental #1 on the UK chart.

Britain’s answer to Elvis, 17 year old Cliff Richard, signed a record deal with EMI records in 1958. Also on this day Cliff Richard started a four-week residency at Butlins Holiday Camp in Clacton-On-Sea, Essex as Cliff Richard and the Drifters.

The Coasters hit #1 in 1958 with the Atlantic single "Yakety Yak."
Johnny Horton cuts "North To Alaska" at his last recording session in 1960.

The first ever edition of 'Ready Steady Go! was shown on UK TV in 1963. Introduced by Keith Fordyce and 19 year-old Cathy McGowan. The first show featured The Searchers, Jet Harris, Pat Boone, Billy Fury and Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. The final show was in Dec 1966 after 175 episodes. Originally 30 minutes long, it expanded to 50 minutes the following year, and soon attracted the most popular artists, including The Beatles, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Rolling Stones, The Four Tops, The Kinks and many others.

The Rolling Stones appeared at the New Elizabeth Ballroom in Belle Vue, Manchester in 1964. Two policemen fainted and another was taken to hospital with broken ribs after trying to control over 3,000 screaming teenagers.

The Silkie recorded a cover of the Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" in 1965. But they had a little help. Paul McCartney played guitar, George Harrison played tambourine and John Lennon produced the whole ensemble.

While performing at the Sunberry Jazz and Blues Festival in England in 1967, Jerry Lee Lewis got the crowd going in such a frenzy that festival officials halted his show and asked him to leave the stage.

In 1968, after the other Beatles had gone home for the evening (2.00 am), Paul McCartney stayed behind and recorded “Mother Nature's Son,” taping 25 takes at Abbey Road studios. The song was included on the White Album.

Actress Sharon Tate and four others were killed by followers of Charles Manson in the first of two nights of bizarre slayings in the Los Angeles area in 1969. Manson, who was later convicted of murder, claimed that the Beatles spoke to him through secret messages in the lyrics of five songs on their "White Album." Nutjob, thankfully he’s still in prison….

"Hot Fun in The Summertime," by Sly and the Family Stone, and "Easy to Be Hard" (from the Broadway production "Hair") were released in 1969.

The Bee Gees started a two week run at #1 on the singles chart in 1975 with “Jive Talkin,” the group's second #1 (#5 in the UK).

Bachman-Turner Overdrive disbanded in 1977. The group, who had gold singles "Takin' Care of Business" & "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," called it quits just as their popularity is beginning to decrease. Nice coincidence.

Blues legend Muddy Waters performed at a White House picnic for President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," which was the theme song for the hit movie "Rocky III," went gold in 1982.

Queen gave what would be their last ever live performance when they appeared at Knebworth Park in England in 1986. The last two songs the band played were “We Are The Champions” and “God Save The Queen.”