Monday, April 30, 2007

Short Takes for Monday, April 30, 2007

The Phil Spector trial was put on hold for two days when Spector attorney Bruce Cutler had to see a doctor. Jurors were told the trial would reconvene on Wednesday.

This fall will see a new book published by Sting with the lyrics to almost every song from his 25-plus year career. Lyrics by Sting will cover not only his solo work, but his songs for the Police.

Sting commented in a press release, "Over time, the meaning of a song can continue to reveal itself. In putting this book together, I have relished the opportunity to revisit my songs, the times in which they were written and pay tribute to those with whom I've shared my creative life."

The book will be published by Dial Press.

Founding KISS member Peter Criss will release his new album, One for All, on July 24 via Silvercat Records.

The album has been in the works for over two-years and is said to be autobiographical in nature. Criss produced the album and wrote the original material. There are also a number of covers. Playing with him are Paul Shaffer, Will Lee and Mike McLaughlin.

The finalists for the Sixth Annual Shortlist Music Prize have been announced. The prize aims to help notable "left-of-center" artists to cross over into the mainstream.

This years nominees are Band of Horses, Beirut, Bonnie Prince Billy, Cat Power, Girl Talk, Hot Chip, Joanna Newsome, Regina Spektor, Spank Rock and, ah, Tom Waits.

Tom Waits? Isn't he just a permanent fixture on the "left-of-center" artists list?

Five albums by Kenny Rogers made their digital debuts last week via Capitol Nashville. Now available are Love Lifted Me, Daytime Friends, The Gambler, Love Will Turn you Around and Love Is What We Make It.

Zola Taylor of the Platters (1938- 2007)

Zola Taylor, a member of the Platters from 1954 to 1962, passed away on Monday at the age of 69. She had been recovering from surgery at her home.

Taylor started her music career with Shirley Gunter and the Queens in early-1954, recording the number eight R&B hit Oop Shoop.

In late-1954, Buck Ram, who was working with the not yet successful Platters, added Taylor to the group, put Tony Williams out front and got them a recording contract with Mercury Records. Three of the groups first four releases topped the R&B charts (Only You, The Great Pretender and My Prayer) and was followed by numerous other hits on both the R&B and pop charts. In all, Taylor sang on seventeen of those charting records before leaving the group in 1962.

Later in the decade, Taylor was one of the women who tried to claim that they were Frankie Lymon's wife after his death. She contended that they had been a couple since she was thirteen and had been secretly married in Mexico in 1965, but was unable to supply any proof. The whole sordid affair was documented in the movie Why Do Fool's Fall in Love where Taylor was played by Halle Barry.

During the 70's, Taylor toured with one of the many Platters groups and eventually headed Zola Taylor's Platters. She was one of only four people who could legally use the Platters name (although that hasn't stopped hundreds of others).

Taylor was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Platters in 1990.

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

I'm not sure Boy George will just get sentenced to cleaning up garbage for this one.

The ex-Culture Club leader was arrested in East London after he and another man invited a Norwegian male escort back to George's apartment to take pictures. Once there, the pair allegedly chained the man to the wall. Reports say the man was able to rip the hook where the chain was attached from the wall and fled.

Charges against the two men include assault and false imprisonment. Scotland Yard is investigating. George was taken to an East London police station and released on bail pending a July hearing.

McCartney Releases Details for Memory Almost Full

Paul McCartney has released the track list for his new album, Memory Almost Full, which will be released on June 5 via Hear Music. Not only will it be his first for the new label, but also his first work to be available digitally.

McCartney has said that the album is very retrospective. "In places it's a very personal record and a lot of it is retrospective, drawing from memory, like memories from being a kid, from Liverpool and from summers gone. The album is evocative, emotional, rocking, but I can't really sum it up in one sentence."

Included in the thirteen tracks is a five-song medley that McCartney says is particularly retrospective.

McCartney played almost every instrument on the album, except for the strings, with his regular bandmates making a small contribution on six of the songs. The album was produced by David Kahne (Bruce Springsteen, Strokes, Sublime).

The first single from the album will be Dance Tonight with a supporting video directed by Michael Gondry and starring Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook.

The complete tracklist:
  • Dance Tonight
  • Ever Present Past
  • See Your Sunshine
  • Only Mama Knows
  • You Tell Me
  • Mister Bellamy
  • Gratitude
  • Vintage Clothes
  • That Was Me
  • Feet In The Clouds
  • House Of Wax
  • End of the End
  • Nod Your Head

Vintage Clip - Richard and Mimi Farina - House Un-American Blues Activity Dream

On this date in 1945, Mimi Farina, sister of Joan Baez, was born in California.

On this date in 1966, Mimi's husband and singing partner Richard Farina was killed in a motorcycle accident on the way home from the launch party for his new book, Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up to Me.

As a duo, they recorded two albums for Vanguard that mixed electric guitar and folk-rock sensibilities with traditional instruments such as dulcimers and autoharps.

This rare clip is from the show Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger. The show was Seeger's answer to his blacklisting from programs such as Hootenany by wary networks and sponsors. It started on New York's UHF Channel 47 and put together a network of seven stations before Seeger ran out of funds after the thirty-eighth episode. House Un-American Blues Activity Dream is the type of song that would never have been heard on any of those mainstream shows.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Short Takes for Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mick Jaggar has given up on writing his autobiography.

“I was offered a large sum of money [for the book], which I found tempting and I started writing.”

“I was sitting around talking endlessly about the past, living in it. And I found it rather dull.”

“I’d love to find another form to do it in. A book form, but not in the accepted showbiz memoir.”

Notable Links:

Why Richard Barry deserves our thanks from Mississippi's Sun-Herald.

David Cassidy from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Crystal Zevon, ex-wife of the late Warren Zevon, talks about writing the new book about his life from the Burlington Free Press.

The Manhattan Transfer from the Montreal Gazette.

LP Inventor to be Inducted in National Inventor's Hall of Fame

Every year, the National Inventor's Hall of Fame inducts a new group of men and women whose inventions have made a significant impact on modern life. The 2007 class includes the inventors of DNA sequencing, MRI's, Ethernet, soft contact lenses....and the Long Playing record.

Peter Goldmark, who passed away in 1977, invented the method of recording music that allowed for lengthier pieces to be presented without interruption. Of course, a secondary use was the multi-track record album.

Goldmark was born in Hungary and immigrated to the U.S. in 1933. Jobs as a consultant for various electronics companies eventually led him to CBS labs where, in 1948, he designed a method that allowed the recording time on a side of a record to go from around five minutes to over thirty. The design included slowing the speed from 78 revolutions per minute (RPM) to 33-1/3 RPM, increasing the length of the groove and making it thinner. He then changed the material from shellac to vinyl and made a number of improvements to the pick-up cartridge and tone arm. The LP would be a mainstay of the music industry for almost forty years until 1985 when sales of Compact Discs would pass vinyl sales.

Goldmark was also instrumental in producing the first live color television images in 1940. During his life he earned 77 patents and was given the National Medal of Science in 1977.

Vintage Clip - Tommy James and the Shondells - Crimson in Clover

Happy Birthday to Tommy James who is 60 today. Here's a trippy little video from 1969 of Crimson in Clover.

Retro Chart - 1961, 1971 and 1981

26 Years Ago (1981)
  1. Kiss on My List - Daryl Hall & John Oates
  2. Morning Train (Nine to Five) - Sheena Easton
  3. Being With You - Smokey Robinson
  4. Just the Two Of Us - Grover Washington, Jr.
  5. Angel of the Morning - Juice Newton
  6. Rapture - Blondie
  7. While You See a Chance - Steve Winwood
  8. Woman - John Lennon
  9. The Best of Times - Styx
  10. Don't Stand So Close to Me - Police
36 Years Ago (1971)
  1. Joy To the World - Three Dog Night
  2. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
  3. Put Your Hand in the Hand - Ocean
  4. Never Can Say Goodbye - Jackson 5
  5. Another Day/Oh Woman Oh Why - Paul McCartney
  6. I Am...I Said - Neil Diamond
  7. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) - Temptations
  8. If - Bread
  9. She's a Lady - Tom Jones
  10. Stay Ahwile - Bells
46 Years Ago (1961)
  1. Runaway - Del Shannon
  2. Blue Moon - Marcels
  3. Mother-in-Law - Ernie K-Doe
  4. But I Do - Clarence Henry
  5. On the Rebound - Floyd Cramer
  6. A Hundred Pounds of Clay - Gene McDaniels
  7. I've Told Every Little Star - Linda Scott
  8. You Can Depend on Me - Brenda Lee
  9. Take Good Care of Her - Adam Wade
  10. One Mint Julep - Ray Charles

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Short Takes for Saturday, April 28, 2007

Paul McCartney says he lifted his spirits during his recent problems by buying and learning to play a mandolin. He told Uncut magazine "...the feeling of picking my way through and finding chords was magic. It was like I was 17 again.

"I remembered - this is what it is all about. It was like me and John learning piano. You play and then you hit a wrong note and you go 'ooohh!' And you write a whole song on that chord.

"The excitement of getting the mandolin, finding new chords - that's really lifted me, that has. That's the opening track to my new album.”

Barry McGuire (Eve of Destruction) has released two songs on Frogtown Records.

I Pledge Allegiance, written by Royce and McGuire, addresses a recent poll that said 86% of the people in the U.S. wanted to keep God in the Pledge of Allegiance, yet the country is catering to the other 14%.

Mr. Hakk N'Koff is a satire about the damage that big tobacco companies continue to do to American children. A cartoon has also been made around the song.

Both records were produced by Tony Davilio who scored John Lennon's album Double Fantasy.

Barbra Streisand may be touring overseas for the first time in many years. Word is she is planning a series of three shows at the Millennium Dome in London sometime in July. Tickets are expected to be 200 pounds (almost $400) and are expected to be a quick sell-out.

Notable Link:

A look back at an early 1963 appearance by the Rolling Stones from the West Sussex County Times.

Cilla Black on fashion from the U.K.'s The Independent.

Vintage Clip - Charlie Rich - Behind Closed Doors

Charlie Rich may be best known as the smooth country singer of the mid-70's, but his true musical style refused classification. Throughout his career, Rich would fuse rock, country, jazz, soul and rockabilly in so many different ways that the listening public couldn't get their hands around (or keep up) with his shifting styles.

Bill Justis was the man who gave Rich his break, asking him to do arranging and play in his band. Sam Phillips saw him in the band and brought him to Sun as a session player and, eventually, a recording artist.

Rich recorded for Sun until 1964 and had a handful of hits such as Lonely Weekends. He later moved through a series of labels from Groove, where he recorded Big Boss Man, to Smash (Mohair Sam) to Hi, and finally landed at Epic in 1967. It was at Epic where Billy Sherrill fashioned him into a ballad singer and the hits started coming.

Here is the breakthrough for Rich, a record that landed at number one on the country charts and number 15 on the Hot 100.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Short Takes for Friday, April 27, 2007

There are rumors that Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band may play a few concerts in the Fall. The Montreal Gazette recently reported that there are negotiations between the group and the Montreal Bell Centre for an October appearance.

If the appearances happen, it may be in preparation of going back in the studio with the E-Street Band for a new album. They toured before recording The Rising to get the groove of the group back.

A new block of 10,000 tickets for the July 1 Princess Diana Memorial Concert sold out in just a couple of minutes on Friday. It seems that, with the internet, you need to have a fast finger and a faster line to score tickets to any of the big shows.

The Beastie Boys are naming their new album The Mix Up. Word is that this album will be more rock with the boys playing instruments and a noted lack of sampling.

Van Morrison is assembling The Best of Van Morrison, Volume 3 which will be a 2-CD set covering the later part of his career. The set is also expected to include unreleased collaborations with Tom Jones, Bobby Bland, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins, Lonnie Donegan, Georgie Fame and others.

Notable Links:

Olivia Newton-John on making her new album from Yahoo/Reuters.

Robbie Robertson and the Band from JamBase.

An interview with Mark Farner of Grand Funk from Modern Guitars Magazine.

New Albums from Soul Legends Chaka Khan and the O'Jays

Music World Entertainment is releasing new albums by two legendary soul acts as part of their Master Series on May 15.

Company President and CEO Matthew Knowles said "Classic Soul has always been one of my favorite genres of music. It was very important to me to contribute to preserving the legacy and staying power of legendary artists such as Chaka Khan and The O'Jays. Re-introducing these great artists and their talents, experience, work ethics, and commitment is a vital message to the young artists in the music industry today. They have had the ability to stay in the game for over 30 years with numerous hits. This is why we at Music World felt it important to release the Master Series of timeless music."

Classikhan is a new album by Chaka Khan saluting some of the great pop and jazz artists and songs of the past. Backed by the London Symphony Orchestra, Khan takes songs by the like of Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne and makes them her own.

  • Hey Big Spender
  • Hazels Hips
  • The Best is Yet to Come
  • Crazy
  • I'm in the Mood for Love
  • Is That All There Is?
  • Stormy Weather
  • Round Midnight
  • Teach Me Tonight
  • To Sir With Love
  • Diamonds Are Forever
  • Goldfinger
  • I Believe
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are just two of the producers for the O'Jays new album Imagination. Along with new songs that range from smooth and sensual love to dance grooves, the album boasts a new remix of the group's classic For the Love of Money. Why You Wanna Smile will be the first track sent to radio stations.

U2 Releasing PopMart Show on DVD

U2 is putting the finishing touches on a DVD of a 1997 show from their PopMart tour. The show, from a December appearance in Mexico City, was originally released on VHS. This will be the first time it is on DVD and the transfer has been cleaned up, 5.1 surround added along with a number of special features.

The DVD will come in single and double disc versions. The set list for the concert:
  • Pop Muzik
  • Mofo
  • I Will Follow
  • Gone
  • Even Better Than The Real Thing
  • Last Night On Earth
  • Until The End Of The World
  • New Year's Day
  • Pride (In The Name Of Love)
  • I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  • All I Want Is You
  • Staring At The Sun
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Bullet The Blue Sky
  • Please
  • Where The Streets Have No Name
  • Lemon
  • Discotheque
  • If You Wear That Velvet Dress
  • With Or Without You
  • Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
  • Mysterious Ways
  • One
  • Wake Up Dead Man
The extra disc in the special edition will include:
  • Unreleased live audio
  • Documentaries
  • Live tracks from a Rotterdam show:
    • Please
    • Where the Streets Have No Name
    • Discotheque
    • If You Where That Velvet Dress
  • Live tracks from a Edmonton show:
    • Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
    • Mysterious Ways
    • One
  • Videos:
    • Staring at the Sun
    • Last Night on Earth
No release date has been announced.

Amy Grant Moves to EMI After Thirty Years With Warner

After thirty-years with Word Records (owned by Warner Brothers), Amy Grant has jumped to Sparrow, owned by EMI's Christian Music Group. She is taking along her entire catalog that dates back to when she signed with Word in 1996 at the age of 15.

According to EMI Christian Music Group President and CEO Bill Hearn, "We really have a passion and mission for Amy's catalog. We're going to repackage and remaster all 16 of her catalog titles and release them all together on August 14 both physically and digitally as well as a suite of mobile products for the cell phone. There's never been a Baby, Baby ringtone. Imagine how popular that could be.

"We are certainly honored by Amy's confidence in us to carry on her musical legacy," Hearn added. "It certainly is a historical moment for EMI."

In October, Sparrow will be releasing a new greatest hits package that will include at least one song from each of Grant's studio albums along with a special edition DVD with her video's and other content.

Although Grant has been out of the general public's eye for a few year, it has not hurt her catalog sales. While at Warners, she sold over thirty million albums, won six Grammy Awards and 21 Dove Awards. Amazingly, even at 15 she had the forethought (or excellent council) to make sure that she owned all of her masters.

Grant will be touring this summer with husband Vince Gill and will be releasing a book of poems and stories in the fall called Mosaic.

Strummer Soundtrack Covers Many Eras

The soundtrack album for the the Joe Strummer biopic, Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, will be released on May 7 in the U.K. and May 15 in the U.S. The tracks cover Strummer's work with the Clash, the 101ers and the Mescaleros along with music from a number of different eras that the singer had used on his late-90's radio show on the BBC.

The movie, which previewed at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is scheduled for a May 18 release in the U.K.

The track listing:
  • Punk Rock Warlord - Joe Strummer
  • White Riot - The Clash
  • Rock The Casbah - Rachid Taha
  • BBC World Service
  • Crawfish - Elvis Presley
  • Black Sheep Boy - Tim Hardin
  • Kick Out The Jams - MC5
  • Keys To Your Heart - 101ers
  • Mick and Paul Were Different - Joe Strummer
  • I'm So Bored With The USA - The Clash
  • Natty Rebel (2006 Mix) - U Roy
  • Armagideon Time - The Clash
  • Nervous Breakdown - Eddie Cochrane
  • (In The) Pouring Rain - The Clash
  • Omotepe - Joe Strummer
  • Martha Cecilia - Andres Landeros
  • Minuet - Ernest Ranglin
  • Trash City - Joe Strummer & Latino Rockabilly War
  • I Called Him Woody - Topper Headon
  • Rangers Command - Woody Guthrie
  • Corrina, Corrina - Bob Dylan
  • Johnny Appleseed - Joe Strummer
  • To Love Somebody - Nina Simone
  • Without People Your Nothing - Strummer & The Mescaleros
  • Willesden to Cricklewood - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros

Chart Watch for April 27, 2007

Our weekly recap of classic artists on the current music charts.

Top 100 Albums

  1. Live at Texas Stadium - Alan Jackson, George Strait & Jimmy Buffett - Down from 23 (3 weeks)
  2. Rocket Man: Number Ones - Elton John - Down from 40 (4 weeks)
  3. Live at Massey Hall 1971 - Neil Young - Down from 47 (6 weeks)
  4. Crystal Visions - The Very Best of - Stevie Nicks - Down from 49 (4 weeks)
  5. Stadium Arcadium - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Down from 89 (50 weeks)
  6. Love - Beatles - Down from 84 (22 weeks)

Top 50 Singles
  • None

Top 50 R&B Albums
  1. In My Songs - Gerald Levert - Up from 18 (10 weeks)

Top 25 Country Albums
  1. Live at Texas Stadium - Alan Jackson, George Strait & Jimmy Buffett - Down from 6 (3 weeks)

Top 25 Pop Catalog Albums

  1. Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd - Up from 2 (1,551 weeks)
  2. Back in Black - AC/DC - No change (775 weeks)
  3. Greatest Hits - Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band - Up from 13 (648 weeks)
  4. Legend - Bob Marley & the Wailers - Up from 19 (891 weeks)
  5. Greatest Hits - Queen - Down from 14 (679 weeks)
  6. Grease- Soundtrack - Up from 23 (336 weeks)
  7. Best of the Doors - Doors - Down from 16 (339 weeks)
  8. Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Down from 20 (535 weeks)
  9. Metallica - Metallica - Down from 17 (791 weeks)
  10. Greatest Hits - Journey - Down from 18 (703 weeks)

Top 50 European Albums
  1. Twelve - Patti Smith - Premier (1 week)
  2. 12 - Herbert Grönemeyer - Down from 10 (7 weeks)
  3. Stay - Simply Red - Down from 12 (6 weeks)
  4. Very Best of - Doors - Down from 20 (4 weeks)
  5. Rocket Man: Number Ones - Elton John - Down from 16 (4 weeks)
  6. Hymn For My Soul - Joe Cocker - Down from 22 (3 weeks)
  7. Very Best of - Dolly Parton - Down from 31 (7 weeks)
  8. Dylanesque - Bryan Ferry - Down from 47 (7 weeks)

Top 50 European Singles
  • None

Top Concerts

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia - $4.018 million
  2. Aerosmith - Estadio do Morumbi - Sao Paulo, Brazil - $3.258 million
  3. Roger Waters - Estadio do Morumbi - Sao Paulo, Brazil - $3.067 million
  4. Aerosmith -Foro Sol - Mexico City, Mexico - $2.292 million
  5. Aerosmith - Estadio Tecnologico - Monterrey, Mexico - $1.928 million
  6. Roger Waters - Praca de Apoteose - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  7. Billy Joel - Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, OH - $1.457 million

Vintage Clip - Badfinger - No Matter What

Peter Ham of Badfinger was born on this day in 1947. He wrote most of the band's hits along with songs like Nilsson's Without You. The band was a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic, but financial problems and lawsuits with their record company caused them to get dropped in late 1974. On April 23, 1975, a distraught Ham committed suicide in his home.

From a 1971 edition of Tops of Pops, here's No Matter What.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Short Takes for Thursday, April 26, 2007

We just received word that Gene LaMarr passed away on April 8 at the age of 65.

LaMarr was a rockabilly artist who found regional success in 1959 with the record Crazy Little House on the Hill (Gene LaMarr & the Blue Flames) on Spry Records. That record featured a young Johnny "Guitar" Watson and was written by Gaynel Hodge (Earth Angel). He continued to record for Spry and later for his own label, Flame Records. Gene also played guitar on many of the records of Kathy Young and the Innocents, including their hit A Thousand Stars.

After getting married, LaMarr settled into the regular 9 to 5 world while occasionally playing some club gigs in southern California. He kept his record label active and was working in his home studio on a new CD at the time of his death.

To hear some of LaMarrs music, head over to his MySpace page.

In today's proceedings in the Phil Spector trial, the defense said that they would prove Spector's innocence with forensic science that would prove that Lana Clarkson committed suicide.

Former girlfriend Dorothy Melvin testified that Spector once, in 1993, threatened her with a revolver and shotgun, hit her twice in the head and ordered her to strip at gunpoint. During the defense cross, Melvin admitted that she never pressed charges and stayed in contact with Spector for over ten years.

Court is adjourned until Monday.

Rod Stewart and Status Quo have been added to the lineup for the Princess Diana Memorial Concert being staged on July 1 in London. Classic artists already on the bill are Elton John, Duran Duran, and Brian Ferry. Between this and the Live Earth concerts six days later, it's going to be a huge week for live music.

Rupert Holmes (Escape (The Pina Colada Song)) was nominated for two Drama Desk awards today for the musical Curtains. The nominations were for Best Lyrics (with John Kander & Fred Ebb) and Book for a Musical (with Peter Stone). The awards will be presented May 20.

Notable Link:

A Patti Smith timeline from Exclaim!

Al Stewart Catalog Being Reissued By Collector's Choice

Al Stewart's career has always been overshadowed by his two hit singles Year of the Cat and Time Passages, but there is much more to this multi-talented singer/songwriter.

Collector's Choice Music will be digging deep into his career on June 22 when they release new versions of 13 of his 16 albums with bonus tracks and curated by Stewart expert Thane Tierney.

The album lineup:
  • Bedsitter Images - This 1967 release has never been available on CD before. Bonus tracks include Go Your Way from Stewart's first recording session in 1965 and a send-up of the Who's My Generation.
  • Love Chronicles - Named Folk Album of the Year by Melody Maker in the U.K., this release included most of the members of Fairport Convention. Bonus cuts are Jackdaw which had previously been on a fan club release, She Follows Her Own Rules and the demo Fantasy.
  • Zero She Flies - First release on CD. Includes unreleased track recorded with Peter White and Lyke-Wake Dirge with Mimi Farina.
  • Orange - Recorded with help from Rick Wakeman and Brinsley Schwartz. Bonus tracks are the previously import-only Elvaston Place and Paul Anka's You Don't Even Know Me.
  • Modern Times - Produced by Alan Parsons. Bonus tracks include Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, A Sense of Dj vu and Willie The King (from fan club records) and the import track Swallow Wind.
  • 24 Carrots - Bonus tracks include two collaborations with Peter White, The Ringing of Bells and Tonton Macoute, and the fan-club only Candy Came Back. Toto's Jeff Porcaro appears on the album.
  • Live Indian Summer - The first CD release of the entire album which was three-sides of live material and a side of new studio tracks.
  • Russians and Americans - Bonus tracks include a never released demo written for the movie The World According to Garp and two fan-club tracks, In Red Square and How Does It Happen.
  • Last Day of the Century - Tori Amos appears along with co-writing the two bonus tracks, Ten Cents and Dreaming.
  • Rhymes in Rooms - A second live album. Bonus tracks include Timeless Skies and a cover of the Elvis Costello song London's Brilliant Parade.
  • Famous Last Words - Bonus tracks include three fan-club releases, The Coldest Winter in Memory, Blow Your Mansion Down and In the Dark.
  • Between the Wars - With guests Lawrence Juber of Wings, drummer Jim Keltner and the late Bruce Gary of The Knack. Contains two fan-club tracks, The Bear Farmers of Birnam and Merry Monks.
  • Down in the Cellar - A 2001 album that was never released due to the label going bankrupt. In essence, they're all bonus tracks, but Dark Side and Belsize Blues were not on the original album line-up.

Bobby "Boris" Pickett (1940 - 2007)

Bobby "Boris" Pickett, the one-hit wonder who will always be associated with Halloween, passed away on Wednesday night of Leukemia at the age of 69.

Pickett first went to Los Angeles in 1961 with the hopes of becoming an actor but, instead, joined a vocal group called the Cordials. While working with the group, he perfected his imitation of Boris Karloff. Group member Leonard Capizzi convinced Pickett to put the voice to work and, together, they wrote Monster Mash in about a half hour.

They soon after recorded the song with a group of backup musicians, that included a young Leon Russell on piano, and shopped it around. Four labels rejected the song before Gary Paxton of the Hollywood Argyles released the song on his Garpax label.

The first release (Garpax 44167) went to number one in 1962, spending two weeks at the top. A re-release in 1970 (Parrot 348) peaked at number 91 and a reentry in 1973 reached an amazing number ten. Chart action or not, the song has become a radio staple every October.

Pickett never duplicated his success, peaking at number thirty later in 1962 with Monster's Holiday and number 88 in June of the next year with Graduation Day.

Dr. Demento reflected back on Pickett and his hit.

"It's certainly the biggest Halloween song of all time. As he loved to say at oldies shows, `And now I'm going to do a medley of my hit.'"

Pickett is survived by a daughter, sister and two grandchildren.

Vintage Clip - Bobby Rydell - I Dig Girls

Bobby Rydell is 65 today. Between 1959 and 1965, he placed 28 records on the national charts with the biggest being Wild One. Here's a performance from American Bandstand of I Dig Girls, a number 46 hit which was the flip side of We Got Love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Short Takes for Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pete Townshend has officially unveiled his Method songwriting software (see our March 15 article). Starting May 1, users can access the site for free. After the end of July, the site will become subscription based.

The Police will be playing a pre-tour private show on May 27 at GM Place in Vancouver. Only Police fanclub members will be able to get tickets.

The Idol Gives Back special on Wednesday Night did boast a couple of performances from classic artists. Earth Wind and Fire opened the show with a medley of Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star and September. Annie Lennox provided a stirring version of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Bono mentored the six remaining finalists who performed his new composition American Prayer. Jeff Beck played guitar for Kelly Clarkson on Up to the Mountain.

In the oddest moment of the night, Celine Dion sang If I Can Dream with a CGI provided Elvis Presley from the 1968 comeback special. While I was dreading this performance, I was fascinated with how seamlessly Elvis was put onto the stage, even to the point where the Idol contestants walked behind him. Even more interesting were the points in the song where Elvis stopped singing to allow Dion to solo. I'm not a fan of all the "Astaire dances with a vacuum cleaner" mining of the dearly departed, but this was quite well done (well, except for the Celine Dion part).

The Tremeloes (Here Comes My Baby, Silence is Golden) are still around and will be playing an Irish gig at Cork Opera House on May 10. Last year, the group reformed to play in Dublin, their first show together in twenty-five years.

Amazingly, the entire original line-up is intact except for Alan Blakely who passed away in 1996. It's something that few vocal groups from the 50's and 60's can say.

Mick Jones, formerly of the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite has formed a new two-man group with guitarist (and former bassist for Generation-X) Tony James. Carbon/Silicon will be releasing an EP in May followed by an album during the summer.

James Davis, who founded the group The Dixie Hummingbirds in 1928, passed away recently at the age of 90. Davis stayed with the group until 1984 when he retired. The Dixie Hummingbirds reached number two on the charts backing up Paul Simon on Loves Me Like a Rock.

ZZ Top member Billy F. Gibbons will make an appearance on the May 16 edition of Fox's Bones. No word on how big (or small) a roll it is.

Tomi Rae Brown, the woman who may or may not be James Brown's fourth wife, has won a court ruling to allow her to name a special legal guardian for the child she claims is Brown's. The appointment was needed before a paternity test could move forward.

Notable Links:

Thirty years of Hotel California from the U.K.'s Telegraph.

Elvis Costello and MerleFest from North Carolina's Relish.

Andy Williams on money and his love for the music of Sting from the U.K.'s This Is Money.

Crowded House Officially Announces New Album

Crowded House will release their first new album since 1993 on July 2 in the U.K. via Parlaphone. Time on Earth does not have a label for distribution yet in the U.S.

The album first took form as a new solo album for Neil Finn in association with group bassist Nick Seymour. Former member Mark Hart soon joined which left the three to find a new drummer to replace the late Paul Hester. Former Beck drummer Matt Sherrod was given the nod.

The album, which is dedicated to Hester, includes two songs from former Smith (and current Modest Mouse) member Johnny Marr who participates on the first single and co-wrote Even a Child with Finn. The song Silent House was co-written by Finn and the Dixie Chicks, who also recorded it for their Grammy Award winning Taking the Long Way album.

Production was handled by Steve Lillywhite and Ethan Jones and was recorded in New Zealand and England.

Look for the first single, Don't Stop Now, to be released on July 25.

The full track list:
  • Nobody Wants To
  • Don't Stop Now
  • She Called Up
  • Say That Again
  • Pour Le Monde
  • Even A Child
  • Heaven That I'm Making
  • Silent House
  • English Trees
  • Walked Her Way Down
  • Transit Lounge
  • You Are The One to Make Me Cry
  • A Sigh
  • People Are Like Suns

Spector Trial Opens

It's been four years since Phil Spector allegedly killed actress Lana Clarkson. Today, his trial officially started.

In his opening statements, prosecutor Alan Jackson portrayed Spector as an occasionally "sinister and deadly" person. He went on to say Spector is someone "who, when he's confronted with the right circumstances, when he's confronted with the right situations, turns sinister and deadly."

"The evidence is going to paint a picture of a man who on February 3, 2003, put a loaded pistol in Lana Clarkson's mouth...inside her mouth...and shot her to death."

Spector's attorney, Bruce Cutler opened with the allegation that Clarkson shot herself and that the investigators were too fast in concluding that it was a murder.

"The evidence will show that back on Feb. 3 of '03, before they even had a cause of death, let alone a manner of death, they had murder on their mind. Murder on their mind...the police,"

If convicted, Spector could receive 15 years in prison.

Vintage Clip - Roy Head - Treat Her Right

This weekend is the Sixth Ponderossa Stomp, where one of this year's performers is Roy Head. Here's Roy with some great dance moves on Treat Her Right.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Short Takes for Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Willie Nelson and his manager have avoided jail time after pleading guilty to misdemeanor possession of marijuana. They, along with others on the Nelson tour bus, were issued citations last September 18 during a traffic stop in Louisiana.

Each man was fined $1,024 and received six months probation.

In other drug related charges, George Michael must appear in court for the beginning of his trial on May 8. He has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

The District Judge has stated that Michael may be allowed to skip hearings on May 30 and 31, but must be in court on June 8, the day before he plays London's Wembley Stadium.

The auditions for the musical based on Aretha Franklin's life will be held from May 1 to 3 outside of Detroit. Franklin will be present and active in the selection of the cast. It is expected that the show will premier in Detroit next March.

Every concert on Jimmy Buffett's upcoming tour will be heard on his Radio Margaritaville via Sirius Satellite Radio. Broadcasts will include a pre-show party hosted by Buffett's daughter, Jane.

Bono has been added to the cast of tomorrow night's Idol Give Back broadcast (Fox, 8 to 10 PM EDT). He will be there to talk about his One campaign to fight extreme poverty.

Notable Link:

A short article on Phil Spector's musical past from the Associated Press.

Daltrey Authorized Biography Back in the Works

Once upon a time, there was an authorized biography being written about Who lead singer Roger Daltrey by writer Jalanne Barnes. The book was started in 1976 and was in the works for many years until it was scrapped in 1987.

Now that book, titled Behind Daltrey's Eyes, is back on again. Barnes has put up a new blog at with details behind the books past and commenting on all the publicity that is being printed now.

Many of the published articles have pointed the finger at Pete Townshend as the reason that the development of the book was stopped. Barnes has said "Years ago, when Pete Townshend discovered I was writing a biography about Roger Daltrey, he told me a book about the Who's lead singer could only be written in one of two ways: a fluff piece from a groupie or a hard-nosed expose that would make Townshend look like a tyrant. He could see no other outcome to such an endeavor."

She also says that her thoughts and Townshend's have changed over the years. "(Back then) Townshend truly believed that a book about Daltrey written by someone who knew him well could destroy everything Pete had worked so hard to achieve professionally... It is now thirty-one years later and I no longer care what anyone thinks or says about a woman being the author of a book about Roger Daltrey. His story deserves to be told. I think Pete Townshend now understands that."

Barnes also wants it to be known that Townshend was not the main reason for her stopping back in 1987. On Tuesday, she wrote in her blog ""Once I had committed myself to Roger's idea of a Farewell Tour, the 400 plus pages I'd assembled for the book were very difficult for me come to terms with. I'd tried to write the book as an observer and failed miserably. It wasn't going to work. Neither was writing the book in the first person.

"Roger's perspective couldn't be used because then I would have to explain where these conversations came from to show their validity. And I couldn't do that. Daltrey believed our conversations belonged in the book, and looking back, I realize he was right. But at the time, the rock world around him had the idea that if I was interacting personally with Daltrey, then I had to be a groupie.

"The entire reason I was writing a book was to show the world Roger Daltrey's perspective of the Who and himself."

The blog alone is an interesting insight into Daltrey the man, the politics of the Who and the writing process. Although no date has been set for publication, it seems certain that the book will be equally fascinating.

James Brown's Soul Generals to Tour

The Soul Generals, James Brown's backup band for the last twenty years of his career, are going to be hitting the road for a number of appearances this year.

Son Daryl Brown has said, "We're the only ones who can keep his legacy alive. It'll be a tribute to him for the rest of the year."

Brown is the band leader and lead guitarist in the seventeen-piece group with three backup singers. He has said that everyone will get their chance at center stage to perform a song that is special to them from over the years. Sharing the spotlight was the groups way of showing how Brown could never be replaced by just one person.

Brown also said that the tour will help the band get over their loss. "We all needed time to regroup. We'll get to do what he told us: to stay together. He said he wouldn't be around forever and we could go a long way, and we decided to do it."

Vintage Clip - Ricky Nelson - A Teenager's Romance

Fifty-years ago today, Ricky Nelson released his first single. The A side, A Teenager's Romance, reached number two, while the flip side, a remake of I'm Walkin', peaked at number four.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Short Takes for Monday, April 23, 2007

Doris Richards, the 91-year-old mother of Keith Richards, recently passed away. No details were given. Keith was her only child.

Isaac Hayes was forced to close his Memphis restaurant after seven years, blaming declining revenues. The 18,000 square foot facility also included a night club.

John Mellencamp filled in for Roger Ebert on the syndicated Ebert and Roeper. The singer evidently thought all four films he reviewed (Vacancy, Lonely Hearts, In the Land of Women, Fracture) were "fantastic" while Roeper only gave a thumbs up to In the Land of Women.

The Average White Band averted disaster over the weekend when the roof structure at the Riviera Beach, Florida theater where they were scheduled to play. Band member Alan Gorrie stated “It was almost disastrous. The roof collapsed just four minutes after we’d left the soundcheck and smashed the drums to smithereens – our drummer would have been killed if he’d still been at the kit. It was a right mess. There was metalwork everywhere.

“Needless to say, we couldn’t play. We reckon we’re all lucky to be alive and come out of it unscathed. Friday the 13th indeed!”

Elton John and Madonna have been nominated for the Ivor Novello awards, honoring British songwriters, composers and music publishers. John is nominated for writing I Don't Feel Like Dancing, a hit for the Scissor Sisters and Madonna for writing her song Sorry.

Elton John is also recording a version of Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill for an Domino tribute album. Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson are also rumored to be recording tracks for the album which will be released later this year.

Ratt have confirmed that they will be touring and recording a new album in the near future. The lineup will include Stephen Pearcy (vocals), Warren DeMartinin (guitar) and Bobby Blotzer (drums). The three have not performed together since 1999. They will be joined by Robbie Crane (bass) and John Corabi (guitar).

Their touring will kick off with Poison for summer gigs and will extend into the fall when they go out on the road alone.

This weekend's 20th MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC will be broadcast on-line via Marthas Vinyard's The festival, a salute to the artistry and spirit of Merle Watson, brings together some of the best folk, country, bluegrass and rock musicians for a four-day festival of music and talks. This year's lineup includes Doc Watson, Elvis Costello, Bele Fleck, John Hammond, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Earl Scruggs with Family and Friends, plus many more.

Producer Lee Magid, who produced Della Reese, Joe Turner, Johnny Otis, Al Hibbler and many more, passed away back on March 31 at the age of 80.

Magid started as a song-plugger and worked his way up to A&R at National Records. Later, he moved to Savoy where he discovered Hibbler and became instrumental in his career. Others that he worked closely with included Della Reese, with which he had a 60-year working relationship, Lou Rawls, Earl Grant and Sam Fletcher.

Notable Link:

Mavis Staples from the New York Daily News.