Thursday, November 30, 2006

Saluting Bo Diddley on His 78th Birthday

A number of newsgroups have had the following posting. We thought those who were fans of Bo Diddley might be interested in contributing:

One of the founding fathers of rock & roll, BO DIDDLEY celebrates his 78th birthday on Saturday December 30th 2006 and we encourage all his many fans around the world to sign the BO DIDDLEY-The Originator website Guestbook with their birthday greetings and messages.

As we always do at this time of year, we are making special arrangements for BO DIDDLEY to view each and every one of your greetings. This is an opportunity for you to convey your appreciation and best wishes to one of the undisputed legends of rock & roll and a true original on the occasion of his 78th birthday.

Please sign the Guestbook, located at and show your support for The Originator - BO DIDDLEY.

Thank you very much.

David Blakey, Webmaster,
BO DIDDLEY-The Originator

Eddie Money will be releasing his first album since 1999 on February 13th. Wanna Go Back contains covers of 1960's songs like Jenny Take a Ride, Good Lovin', Build Me Up Buttercup, Mockingbird and Expressway (to Your Heart). The first single will be You Don't Know Me.

Hit the high seas this January with the Kingston Trio. The current group will be joined by special guests Bob Shane and John Stewart for a 15-day concert cruise from San Diego to Hawaii. Not only will there be concerts, but also Q&A sessions, workshops and more. Full information is on the Kingston Trio's website.

2007 is going to be a busy year for Don McLean. Plans are in the works for the publication of his autobiography, a new album is being recorded and a tour dates are already in place for both the US and the United Kingdom.

Billy Joel has been chosen to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLI on February 4th in Miami.

Kenny Loggins has hit the road with his Celebrate Me Home for Christmas tour. Per his website, the first half of the shows will concentrate on songs of the season while the second half will contain material from throughout his career. There are thirteen dates scheduled between now and Christmas in the Northeast and Midwest with the final concert of the tour in Cerritos, California.

Rod Stewart's divorce from Rachel Hunter is now official. Ten points to anyone who even knew they were still officially married.

Links of Interest:

Odetta (Peta Peta) is interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ronnie Spector is out on the road again with her holiday show. The Star Online has an interview with her on the tour and her life.

Modern Guitar Magazine has posted an archived interview from 1989 with Jeff Beck.

For those who missed it, the transcript of the chat with Wanda Jackson is now on-line at her webite.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

CD Review - Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra Records 1963-1973

Elektra Records was known for years for their discerning taste in picking eclectic and talented artists. Unfortunately, the Elektra label was merged with Atlantic in 2004 and there are no plans to use the name on releases for individual artists in the future.

The label is saluted in the 5 CD set Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra Records 1963-1973. The set only covers the first 11 years of the label's history prior to their merging with Asylum. It is during that short period that they were able to make artists from Judy Collins to the Doors into household names.

The first disc of the set covers the early days when the label concentrated on folk and folk-rock with artists such as Judy Collins, Hamilton Camp and Fred Neil. While the compilers could have concentrated on the known artists, they have instead chosen to dig deep in the archives and give exposure to some of the less popular artists such as Judy Henske, the Even Dozen Jazz Band and Kathy Larisch & Carol McComb. Highlights include the beautiful Last Thing on My Mind by Tom Paxton and Black Mountain Rag by the Dillards.

Disc two is when Elektra started to branch out into the other areas of popular music. The disc starts with My Little Red Book by Love and moves between the raucous and sublime. The Doors years are represented by Light My Fire and, on later discs, Five to One and Riders on the Storm. Other rockers include The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Holy Model Rounders and more Love. These are offset by beautiful tracks from Tim Buckley, Phil Ochs and, once again, Collins and Paxton.

Disc three continues where the second left off, starting and ending with tracks from Love along with Delaney & Bonnie, Rhinoceros and Earth Opera, plus some pop fluff (Crabby Appleton's Go Back). The real highlight, though, is early tracks by two of the most long-term influential of the Elektra roster, the MC5's Kick Out the Jams and the Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog. Also check out the beautiful Swift as the Wind by the Incredible String Band.

The final of the regular discs brings Elektra fully into the 70's with some of the labels most recognizable tracks of the time (That’s The Way I Always Heard It Should Be and You're So Vain by Carly Simon, Taxi by Harry Chapin, Keep Yourself Alive by Queen) along with lesser knowns like Courtland Pickett, Farquahr and Dennis Linde. The real highlight for me is the beautiful ballad Louise by Paul Siebel, a song later recorded by the likes of Leo Kottke and Linda Ronstadt.

I do have to question a couple of the choices on this disc such as the inclusion of Bread's The Guitar Man. During this period of Elektra's history, Bread was possibly the biggest seller on the roster, but this song is one of the schmaltziest of all their hits . The compilers would have been better off including one of the earlier ballads such as Make it With You along with one of their more rock-oriented hits like Mother Freedom. I also question the inclusion for six Judy Collins tracks (at least one on every disc). She was a major artist on the label, but not greater than the Doors (3 tracks), Carly Simon (2) or even Bread (2).

The final disc departs from the first four with even more obscure tracks presented in rough chronological order. Included are the Beafeaters who would later sign with Columbia as The Byrds, the Lovin' Spoonful before their Buddah days and Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse. Also included are rare tracks by the likes of Tom Rush, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and, yes, Judy Collins.

As Ronco would say "...but that's not all!" A sixth disc is included with the entire text (4oo pages) of Jac Holzman's book Follow the Music, a complete discography for the label and color photos of every Elektra album cover from the era. Also included are a set of art prints of famous covers, postcards and facsimile memorabilia.

Be warned, this is not a cheap box set, but it is very much worth the money as an exhaustive look at one of the most influential labels of the 60's and early-70's.

Genesis Sells Half-a-Million Tickets in Ninety Mintues

Genesis sold all 100,000 of their tickets for concerts in the United Kingdom in just 90 minutes. In Germany and Holland, a total of 400,000 tickets were snapped up in 40 minutes. Their first tour in fifteen years will kick-off on June 11th in Finland.

Amazingly, it was five years ago this past Wednesday that the world lost George Harrison. He was never the flashy member of the Beatles. While he had fans, he never drew the screams that Lennon or McCartney received and it was almost as if he was begrudgingly given a lead vocal every once in awhile.

Harrison, though, was the fastest out of the gate as a soloist. He had the first major hit of the four with My Sweet Lord and the first big LP with All Things Must Pass. His Concert for Bangladesh set the standard for all future big fund raising concerts like No Nukes and Live Aid. Even as the unlikely ground breaker, he staid the quiet, unassuming one. His presence and influence on the world of music is missed.

Fans and musicians alike paid their final respects to Ruth Brown on Monday and Tuesday at Willett hall in Portsmouth, Virginia. Bonnie Raitt gave a tearful eulogy calling Brown "butterfly in my spirit singing with me every night." Raitt credits Brown as being her mentor in music. "We're all representing the generations that have been walking across the bridge that Ruth Brown and the other pioneers of rhythm and blues provided for us."

Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton was expected to make an appearance on Wednesday night with the group at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Hamilton has been sitting out this tour because of treatments for throat cancer, but the appearance near his home in Boston made it likely that he would perform at least a couple of songs with the band. David Hull has been sitting in at bass in his absence.

Rodney Appleby, bassist for Ian Gillan's (Deep Purple) band was shot in the jaw last Saturday in Buffao, NY. The gunshot wound was due to an altercation with a neighbor who has charged with attempted murder among other charges.

We note the passing of BBC radio personality Alan "Fluff" Freeman who recently died at the age of 79. Freeman hosted the program Pick of the Pops for many years and was responsible for breaking many hits over his forty years in the industry. Black Sabbath wrote the song Fluff in his honor for the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album to thank him for his part in making Paranoid a hit.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Moving Towards Another Win Against Imposter Groups

Charlie Thomas of the Drifters and Jon "Bowzer" Bowman of Sha Na Na appeared before New Jersey lawmakers on Monday to support pending legislation that would make it illegal to perform live as an "impostor group" with no ties to the original act.

The proposed law would make it a Consumer Fraud Act to advertise or perform under a band's name without at least one original member in the current line-up with fines of from $10 to 20,000. The bill has passed committee and is heading to the Assembly on December 7th.

Similar legislation has already passed in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Connecticut along, to a lesser extent, with North Carolina and South Dakota. It is particularly important to get this law passed in New Jersey because of the expansive casino and night club scene.

To read more about this type of legislation, go to the Vocal Music Hall of Fame site. This great organization has been instrumental in the passing of the law in a number of states and is dedicated to protecting the great vocal groups by making this a nationwide movement.

Robert "H-Bomb" Ferguson passed away in Cincinnati last Sunday at the age of 77. Ferguson was known for over fifty-years for his wild show that was reminiscent of Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Little Richard and was considered one of the last of the great jump blues shouters.

Ferguson first jumped into the music scene at age 19, touring with Joe Liggins & the Honeydrippers. During the early 50's, he went out on his own recording for a series of labels (Derby, Atlas, Prestige) leading up to a year-long stint with Savoy. Throughout the decade, he jumped between other labels until he settled in with Federal in 1960. Throughout the years, many singles were released, but it wasn't until he came out of retirement in the early 90's that he recorded his first full album, Wiggin' Out, recorded for Earwig label of Chicago.

Rev-Ola Bandstand released a compilation of Ferguson's earlier recordings, called Big City Blues, less than two months ago.

Also passing away recently was Tony Silvester of the group Main Ingredient. Silvester was a founding member of the group The Poets, along with Donald McPherson and Luther Simmons, Jr., who recorded for the Red Bird label. In the mid-60's, they signed with RCA and changed their name to the Insiders and finally to The Main Ingredient in 1966. Minor hits followed until tragedy struck in 1971 with the death of lead-singer McPherson. His replacement, Cuba Gooding, was the one who finally took the group to the top of the charts with Everybody Plays the Fool and Just Don't Want to Be Lonely.

A group of investors has announced that they will be opening an ABBA museum in Stockholm, Sweden sometime in 2008. All four members of the group have given their blessing and will be donating items for display. Their are plans for the museum to also include a recording studio where people can record their own versions of ABBA songs and a theater experience meant to recreate the experience of seeing the group in Wembley Stadium.

That $20,000 Eric Clapton replica guitar being sold by the Guitar Center chain? All of them have been sold.

There's an apparent change to the Heaven And Hell (i.e., non-Ozzy Black Sabbath) tour for next year. It is expected there will soon be an announcement that Bill Ward will be replaced by Vinny Appice. The regular Black Sabbath line-up, including Ward and Osbourne, is expected to record a new album and tour late next year.

The last time the Grateful Dead played a New Year's Eve show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco was December 31, 1976. Rhino will be releasing a 3 CD set of the complete show on January 23rd.

Copyright on a record in the United States lasts 95 years. Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom and much of Europe, the protection only lasts 50 years and the government is not inclined to give any extensions.

Based on this, many of the early rock hits of artists like Cliff Richard will be losing their copyright protection in less than two years. The concern is that less-than-honorable companies will be able to put out these records with no guarantee that a cent will ever find its way back to the original artist or labels. The British Government has studied this situation and have concluded that there are more than enough music acts that are popular throughout the world that the Music Business does not need the protection on the old recordings.

While this could be a real boon to the music connoisseur (if quality remains high), it is a true loss to the pioneers of the music.

Links of Note:

Down deep in your basement there may be money from your teen years that you didn't know existed. That's the case, at least, if you have a box with posters from those years. Here's an article from today's London Sun about sales prices on some rare posters.

Keith Moon of the Who once missed a flight just to go back to the hotel and throw the TV in the pool. That story and more on Moon is in a short article on the DailyIndia website.

Robby Vee was named after his father, Bobby Vee and family friend Bryan Hyland. Now he is an active musician himself recording six albums with his group and backing up his father on tour. This past summer, he released an album that mixed hip-hop and rockabilly (at the suggestion of Ronnie Wood) in a style called "hippobilly." Read all about it at the Marshall (MN) Independent website.

Chart Watch

Our chart watch was delayed a couple of days due to a late Album chart. The highest debuting album by a vintage vinyl artist was Yusuf's (aka Cat Stevens) An Other Cup which opened at number 52. Three spots lower at number 55 was the debut of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Live at the Fillmore East: March 6 & 7, 1970. In other chart action:
The latest from Elton John, Lionel Ritchie, Sting, Vince Gill, and Johnny Cash fall out of the Top 100.

On the singles chart, Weird Al Yankovic is still around with White and Nerdy dropping from 26 to 36 in week 8.

In Europe, U2 and Green Day's The Saints are Coming drops from 1 to 4 in week 3. Madonna's Jump falls from 19 to 23 in its second week. Meat Loaf and Marion Raven's It's All Coming Back to Me Now drops just 2 from 26 to 28 in week 5. Finally, George Michael featuring Mutya's This is Not Real Love moves from 35 to 42 in week 2.

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Releases for Tuesday, November 28

With all of the big releases for Christmas already in the stores, it gets a little slow for new releases. Most of the items on this week's list are imports.