Wednesday, December 8, 2010

R.I.P. Mr. Lennon

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. On this somber day, please take time to appreciate the man and his music. By the way, his killer, Mark David Chapman, was last denied parole on September 7, 2010; with a panel ruling his release would be "incompatible with the welfare of the community."  Let him out, justice will be swift and deserved....

Writing from Tokyo, Japan, on website, Yoko Ono has paid tribute to husband:

“This year would have been the 70th birthday year for John if only he was here,” she wrote. “But people are not questioning if he is here or not. They just love him and are keeping him alive with their love. I’ve received notes from all corners of the world to let me know that they were celebrating this year to thank John for having given us so much in his forty short years on earth.

“The most important gift we received from him was not words, but deeds. He believed in Truth, and had dared to speak up. We all knew that he upset certain powerful people with it. But that was John. He couldn’t have been in any other way. If he were here now, I think he would have shouted so we can all hear it. That truth was important. Because without knowing all the truth of what we did, we could not achieve world peace.

“On this day, the day he was assassinated for being a truth seeker and a communicator, what I remember is the night we both cracked up drinking tea.

“They say teenagers laugh with a drop of a hat. But nowadays I see many teenagers angry and sad at each other. John and I were hardly teenagers. But my memory of us is that we were a couple who laughed.”

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Loved learning about all the versions of “Whole Lot of Shaking Goin' On” that preceded Jerry Lee Lewis' hit.

Will you do some similar research on another rock classic, “Shake, Rattle and Roll”?

Versions by Joe Turner; Bill Haley and the Comets; and Elvis are renowned, and all are played regularly on oldies stations.

But, according to a music forum I read, earlier versions also exist, perhaps by whoever wrote the song.

Is this true?
—Doug Bisbee, Milwaukee

DEAR DOUG: Yes, there is one from about 35 years before Joe Turner's hit topped the R&B charts in the summer 1954.

However, the “Shake, Rattle and Roll” issued in 1919 is an entirely different song than the one written by Charles Calhoun (née Jesse Stone) and waxed by Joe Turner (1954); Bill Haley (1954); and Elvis Presley (1956).

Many others followed: Buddy Holly (1956); Sam Cooke (1963); Swinging Blue Jeans (1964); Arthur Conley (1967); Sha Na Na (1973); Chuck Berry (1975); Billy Swan (1976), and Huey Lewis (1994), to cite a few familiar names.

Calhoun, who could also sing, did record a few songs in the mid-'50s, but not “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”

The 1919 “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” by Al “The Boy from Dixie” Bernard (Okeh 1235), tells the story of Ol' Jim, a gamblin' man.

Make that a compulsive gamblin' man, particularly when there's a game of street craps calling his name. Jim loves to shake, rattle, and then roll the dotted cubes, describing the thrill thusly: “When I shake, rattle and roll, it sounds like a melody.”

Bernard, like Al Jolson, was a hugely popular minstrel and vaudeville star who performed many different styles of music with a flair, at times in blackface.

Among his best-known tunes are “The St. Louis Blues”; “I Want to Hold You in My Arms”; the Jolson-esque “I Want My Mammy”; and my favorite, “Frankie and Johnny.”

He is the first of over 250 American artists to record this standard. Al's “Frankie and Johnny” is first-rate entertainment, even by today's standards. One listen and it is clear why Al Bernard was so well-liked.

DEAR JERRY: One of the best albums in a long time, by a former Beatle, is the Pete Best Band's “Haymans Green.”

Unfortunately, it didn't get much publicity in the U.S.

Does Pete Best have plans yet for another CD?
—Mike Manaige, White Bear Township, Minn.

DEAR MIKE: I agree, with one slight modification: “Haymans Green” is among the best albums EVER by any of the ex-Beatles! “Haymans Green,” one of the 11 songs as well as the CD title, is the name of the Best family property where Pete grew up.

As explained best by Best, in an Orlando Weekly interview: “It was my mother's pipe dream, it was the encapsulation of our dreams. Haymans Green is so important; a great big house with four stories, cellars, massive gardens. Even though our mum [Mona] has moved on to greener pastures, we're keeping her legacy alive.”

In one of those cellars at 8 Haymans Green, West Derby Village, Liverpool, is where Mona Best began the Casbah Coffee Club, the same Casbah Club, where the Beatles — John, Paul, George, Pete, and temporary guitarist, Charles “Chas” Newby — first encountered Beatlemania.

That historic event took place 50 years ago this month, and almost two years before the Beatles would have their name on a record, or a record on the UK charts.

“Haymans Green” is Pete's sixth album since 1965, but his first ever studio album of original compositions. All the new tunes are co-written by Pete, along with members of the band.

One member is Pete's younger brother, Vincent “Roag” Best, who plays drums alongside his dad. It is unusual to see a small combo with two separate drummers.

No new album is being mentioned yet, but after “Haymans Green,” how could they not rock on?

For those who have no idea what makes this critically-acclaimed CD so special, especially you fans of the Beatles mid-'60s sound, give a listen to “Gone.” It's on YouTube as well as all the usual music sites.

IZ ZAT SO? Pete Best comes full circle this month, with a December 17th Casbah Club 50th anniversary concert at his beloved Haymans Green.

One of Pete's humorous memories of that night involves this wording used on the original concert posters: “The Beatles Direct From Hamburg Germany.”

Yes, the lads just returned from Hamburg, but the crowd was expecting a German band.

Some in attendance even wanted a refund, claiming misrepresentation, which it was not.

But once they began to sing, the teenage crowd went wild.

Now they wanted an encore, not a refund.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368 E-mail:  Visit his Web site:

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Rock & Roll Trivia

In 1959, Philadelpia's Overbrook Highschool boys basketball team won their league championship. Members of the team included future NBA stars, Walt Hazzard and Wally Jones, along with Len Borisoff, who would later change his name to Len Barry and become a member of The Dovells, who had a hit with "The Bristol Stomp" as well as having a solo hit with "1-2-3".

Chip Taylor is the stage name of American songwriter James Wesley Voight, brother of actor Jon Voight and uncle of actress Angelina Jolie. Besides writing The Troggs' hit "Wild Thing", he also penned "Angel of the Morning", by both Merrilee Rush and Juice Newton as well as "I Can Make It With You" by The Pozo Seco Singers and many other hit records.

When a poem called "Too Many Teardrops" was put to music, it was re-titled "69 Tears". Knowing that a song with such a name would never get any radio air play, it was re-named "96 Tears" and by October, 1966 became a number one hit for Question Mark and The Mysterians.

Vee Jay Records was the most successful Black owned and operated record company before Motown. The firm was founded in 1953 by Vivian Carter (the "Vee") and her husband, James Bracken (the "Jay").

Brian Jones, the original lead guitarist of The Rolling Stones, is said to have fathered six illegitimate children before his untimely death on July 3rd, 1969.

Although Ernie K-Doe had a US number one smash with "Mother-in-law" in 1961, he failed to match that song's success with any other release. His career came to a halt in the 70s and 80s and he often wandered the streets singing for spare change. In the mid-90s he turned his fortunes around and opened a successful night club.

The husband and wife song-writing team of Felice and Boudleaux Byant have said that they wrote the Everly Brothers' 1958 number one hit "All I Have To Do Is Dream" in about 15 minutes.

According to legend, to add the authentic sound of a motorcycle engine to The Shangri-Las' "Leader Of The Pack", one was driven through the lobby of the hotel and up to the floor of the recording studio.  However, in an interview four decades later, Shangri-Las lead singer Mary Weiss scoffed at this story and said that the motorcycle sound was simply taken from an effects record.

Bruce Springsteen was once the opening act for Canadian singer, Anne Murray, of "Snowbird" fame.

The Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian played harmonica on The Doors' recording of "Road House Blues". He is credited on the album as G. Puglese.

Although AM radio broadcasts were tested in 1906 and used for voice and music broadcasts up until WW1, it wasn't until 1916, when 8XK in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania began regularly scheduled broadcasts.

The first 'live' television satellite program to air worldwide was a two-hour show called Our World, in which The Beatles performed "All You Need is Love" on June 25, 1967.

The Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream" was included in John Lennon's personal jukebox along with "Do You Believe In Magic?" Paul McCartney later said that "Daydream" was a major influence on his composition "Good Day Sunshine."

Sam and Dave were a Soul singing duo who scored a half dozen hits on the US pop and R&B charts in the mid 1960s, including "Hold On, I'm Comin'". The two didn't get along very well and seldom spoke to each other off stage. Sam Moore said he lost all respect for his partner Dave Prater after Prater shot his own wife during a 1968 domsestic dispute, an incident for which he was never prosecuted.

There have been over 30 different members of The Drifters and two entirely seperate sets of singers known by that name. The first group of Drifters had a couple of hits on the R&B chart in the mid-fifties, but after Clyde McPhatter left in 1956, the remaining members had a falling out with their manager and were all fired. A new version of the Drifters featured Ben E. King on "There Goes My Baby", "This Magic Moment" and "Save The Last Dance For Me" before he quit. Rudy Lewis replaced King as lead vocalist for "Some Kind Of Wonderful", "Up On The Roof" and "On Broadway", but he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1964. Johnny Moore, from the original set of Drifters then re-joined to sing "Under The Boardwalk", as well as a series of moderate British hits.

Even though the members of the three piece band called America are all from the US, they actually met and formed the group while they were living in the UK.

Diana Ross has recorded 18 US number one songs, but has never won a Grammy Award.

Music News & Notes

NEURAXIS: 'Asylon' Cover Artwork Unveiled
Montreal-based death metallers NEURAXIS are set to release their sixth album, 'Asylon' on February 15, 2011. The cover art was created by artist Dennis Sibeijn of Damnengine Artwork, who worked with the band on its previous CD, "The Thin Line Between", as well with JOB FOR A COWBOY, CHIMAIRA and more.

"Asylon" was recorded at Wildsound Studio with producer Chris Donaldson (CRYPTOPSY, THE LAST FELONY, THE AGONIST). Songtitles set to appear on the effort include "Savior And Destroyer", "Left To Devour", "V" and the title track.


Pearl Jam Releasing Covers Album

Pearl Jam will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary with a new live album 'Live on Ten Legs.' Along with a selection of the band's live favorites, the album will feature covers of both Public Image Limited and Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros. The set actually opens with Strummer's "Arms Aloft" which comes from 2003's Streetcore.

The set is taken from the band's Backspacer tour and the band performed many covers on the run including the Who's "Baba O'Riley," The Ramones "I Believe In Miracles" and "Blitzkrieg Bop," MC5's "Kick Out the Jams," Sleater-Kinney's "Modern Girl," The Stooges' "Search and Destroy," The Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer," and even Devo's "Whip It."


Soundgarden Working on Material For New Releases

Soundgarden is ready to roll out new material in a variety of ways, according to guitarist Kim Thayil. He said in a recent interview that the band is working over recordings to release a live album in the first half of next year, as well as raiding the vault for more back catalog songs in the form of rare Soundgarden b-sides and previously unreleased music.

"The band were in talks about attending to our catalogue and merchandise, which had been neglected over the past decade. We wanted an e-commerce profile and we'd never maintained the website we had, and wanted to start a new one. We wanted to take advantage of the way the market had changed — iTunes, Facebook and so on, and put out the records we always promised we'd put out," Thayil told Toronto radio station


Anthrax Almost Finished With New Album

Thrash legends Anthrax are nearly finished recording their new album, tentatively titled 'Worship Music.' It will be the first Anthrax album with frontman Joey Belladonna since 1990. It’s the group’s ninth studio album overall.

“We’re almost ready to go,” guitarist Scott Ian told Artisan News Service. “Eight things are recorded and we’ve only got to go back and re-record two or three things. And Joey’s singing on all of it.”


DEVILDRIVER: 'Beast' Artwork Unveiled

The cover artwork for 'Beast,' the fifth album from Santa Barbara, California metal veterans DEVILDRIVER has been released. Due on February 22, 2011 (Roadrunner Records), the effort was recorded at Sonic Ranch studios in Tornillo,

Texas with producer Mark Lewis (TRIVIUM, CHIMAIRA, ALL THAT REMAINS) and is currently being mixed by acclaimed British producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, MACHINE HEAD, NEVERMORE, ARCH ENEMY) at his Backstage studio in Derbyshire, England. The band recorded 14 songs during the "Beast" sessions, with 11 or 12 tracks expected to make the final cut.