November 2013 Archives

John Lennon was always credited as being the "avant-garde" Beatle, which rankled Paul McCartney to no end. McCartney was there first, but he did not publicize his affiliations, and had already moved on by the time Lennon got interested. When Lennon did discover the underground, he jumped in headfirst - and in a very public manner with Yoko Ono. In the new documentary Going Underground: Paul McCartney, The Beatles and the UK Counter-Culture, the full story of this fascinating era is told.The film begins with a discussion of the early days of the counter-culture in England, and the influence of
It is a weird week for new music. Thanksgiving is Thursday which not only carries with it all the turkeys and annoying family things, but shopping too.  Lots and lots of shopping.  There's Black Friday and Cyber Monday and now lots of places are opening up on Thursday too.  That's cool with me, I make no judgment.  If you want to stay up all night in some random parking lot freeezing your arse off in order to get a new television, who am I to say differently?  Times are tight all over and saving a few hundred bucks may very

DeepSoul: Jeffrey Osborne - "I Really Don't Need No Light"

While best known for his ballads, the R&B singer could belt out uptempo tracks like this deep cut.
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One of R&Bs most underrated vocalists, Jeffrey Osborne produced some of the late '70s and '80s most catchy and memorable tracks.  Sultry one moment and full-volume the next, Osborne's voice displays impressive range and surprising emotion.  He may be best known for hit ballads such as "On the Wings of Love" and "You Should be Mine (the Woo Woo Song)," but he showed his funky side on the classic "Stay with Me Tonight" and "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again," the latter with his previous band L.T.D.  But the song that kicked off his solo career, 1982's

Review: Eric Bibb - Jericho Road

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Eric Bibb is an enigma in the blues universe he is tangentially a part of. You won't hear staggering guitar solos or strict adherence to the rhythmic or thematic constructs of the blues idiom. He doesn't sing with overwrought melisma or exaggerated howls yet the power, passion, and emotion -- blues with a feeling, as Little Walter called it -- is felt in his every performance. He stays as close to or strays as far from the blues as the song warrants, often employing elements of African and World music rhythms and sounds in addition to jazz, folk, and gospel

DVD Review: George Thorogood & The Destroyers - Live At Montreux 2013

The legendary blues-rock band makes their first Montreux appearance.
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Throughout his over three-decade career, George Thorogood has made a name for himself taking the blues of Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley, along with the rock 'n' roll of Chuck Berry and updating it through his own, high-intensity filter. Known for his slide work and open guitar tunings, Thorogood, along with his killer band, The Destroyers, has had success both on radio, as well as on the concert stage, even performing at Live Aid. While he would seem a natural to have performed at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival, which has long celebrated the blues as well as jazz, he

CD Review: Status Quo - The Frantic Four Reunion 2013

Status Quo's classic lineup reforms for a strong live album.
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While Status Quo continues on successfully in the UK to this day, for decades, fans have been clamoring for -- while not holding their breath -- a reunion of the band's classic "Frantic Four" lineup. Their wishes were granted when Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan played a series of surprise UK gigs in March 2013. The band recorded their shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and those comprise the live CD, Status Quo -- The Frantic Four Reunion 2013. The show opens with the hard-charging blues of "Junior's Wailing." Lancaster gives a strong vocal while
As part of their 40th anniversary this year, Pablo Records are reissuing some classic titles under the Original Jazz Classics banner. The OJC series has been going for a while now, and for jazz fans, it is practically the gold standard. The tapes have been meticulously remastered, bonus tracks are almost always included, and new liner notes have been commissioned. All of this is done in the spirit of the original though, as the cover art and original liner notes have been retained as well. All of this is to say that I have never been disappointed by any of
Music is likely the most universal of all arts.  People play it in every city, village, berg, back-assed hole in the jungle hovel the world over.  Albums are cut everyday in nearly every country in the universe.  Usually those albums are simply released in their country of origin.  For example if you sign to an American label you'll likely only see your album released in the US.  Folks living elsewhere will have to have someone send it to them or just be out of luck.If you are a rather popular artist, or are signed to a bigger label your record

DeepSoul: The Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes for You"

While an excellent example of 1950s soul, this record proved crucial in the development of early rock and roll.
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Everyone knows that R&B lies at the roots of rock and roll, and the Flamingos' 1959 reimagining of "I Only Have Eyes for You" stands as an important record from this early period.  The Chicago-based group dazzled with their peerless harmonies, scoring a then-rare crossover success on the pop and R&B charts.  In the next decade, Motown would continue this movement, bringing soul to a larger audience.  Without the Flamingos and their quintessential song, however, Motown, Stax, and Philadelphia Sound may never have happened.   The Flamingos story begins in in 1950, when cousins Jake and Zeke Carey relocated from

Blu-ray Review: Saga - Spin It Again! Live In Munich

Prog rock veterans return with an excellent concert Blu-ray.
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Canadian prog-rock veterans, Saga, have always had a strong relationship with their German fans. It's no surprise then that the band completed their sold-out tour for 20/20 -- their first album since reuniting with original lead vocalist, Michael Sadler -- in Munich. The crowds were enthusiastic and, fortunately for Saga fans, the shows were filmed, comprising the Blu-ray Saga -- Spin It Again! Live In Munich. A lush keyboard intro with pre-recorded background vocals sets the mood as the band takes the stage to perform "Anywhere You Wanna Go," from their 20/20 album. Sadler, singing in unison with drummer Mike

Blu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones - Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live

44 years later, the Stones return to Hyde Park triumphant.
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Forty-four years ago, The Rolling Stones played one of the most famous gigs -- not just in Stones' history, but also in rock history -- when they performed a free concert at Hyde Park in London, England. Former guitarist, Brian Jones, had died just two days before and new guitarist, Mick Taylor, was set to make his live debut in front of upwards of 500,000 fans. The show has become a defining moment in Stones lore, so it is only fitting that the band, now celebrating their 50th anniversary, should close out their tour with two shows at the historic

Music Review: Duane Allman - Skydog: The Retrospective Box Set

The best by one of the greats...
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Duane Allman's recording career lasted just six years, but not a moment of it was wasted. This is made abundantly clear on the seven-disc Skydog retrospective, which has just been reissued by Rounder Records. The first edition of the package was released last March, came in a box meant to resemble a guitar case, and even included a guitar pick - along with the discs and book. It was a limited run, and while the reissue may not be quite as fancy, it is still pretty damned cool. The seven CDs contain a total of 129 songs, and the book
I cannot remember when I first heard the Beatles nor fell in love with them.  They were just always there.  My mother was a big fan and so no doubt their music filled the are before I was even born, while I was a baby, and everyday since.  As a teenager I flirted with not liking them - thinking they were too old and unhip for someone as cool as me.  I'd often go back and forth between which period I liked the best.  I'd scoff at their later drug infused, psychedelic faze as being too dated and and would

DeepSoul: Clark Sisters - "Everything's Gonna Be Alright"

This deep track demonstrates how gospel forms the basis of modern R&B.
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As any student of soul knows, gospel lies at the foundation of R&B.  Countless artists got their start in church choirs, and the gospel style of singing dominates modern soul.  While they never crossed over into secular music, the Clark Sisters managed to incorporate reggae, dance, and funk into their spiritual songs.  In tracks such as "Everything's Gonna Be Alright," the Clark Sisters demonstrate that they can assimilate different sounds to create a modern gospel now emulated by artists such as Sounds of Blackness, Mary Mary, and Kirk Franklin.Originally hailing from Detroit, the original Clark Sisters group featured Jacky, Twinkie,

Music Review: Marvin Wilson - Synchronism

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In the digital age, is there room for such a thing as analog electronic music? Marvin Wilson certainly thinks so, and shows us how it is done with his latest release, Synchronism. The nine tracks on the album were proudly created "with hardware and tape," as he puts it, and the results are some of the warmest, and most "human" electronic music I have heard in ages. Synchronism has been released by the Scottish Alex Tronic Records label, and they are something of a brand name for me. I have been impressed by everything I have heard from them, but

Luscious Jackson Returns And Magic Abounds On 'Magic Hour'

Luscious Jackson is back and 'Magic Hour' reminds us how much we missed them!
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2013 is the year the '90s got their groove back in the form of Magic Hour, the first album from Luscious Jackson in 14 years! Jill Cunniff, Kate Schellenbach, and Gabby Glaser are in fantastic form, recreating their classic sound without sounding dated... I'm often accused, due to my disdain for the deluge of dreck on the radio, of being a music snob and I'm guilty as charged but those who think I don't appreciate pop or like fun in my music are so wrong. Dance music doesn't have to be dumb, it just usually is but Magic Hour is

Blu-ray Review: Dream Theater -- Live At Luna Park

The prog-metal giants deliver a powerful new Blu-ray.
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Prog-metal legends, Dream Theater, have built a career on spectacular musicianship while remaining melodic. When the group hit the road on their "A Dramatic Tour Of Events" tour -- their first with former Extreme drummer, Mike Mangini -- they finished before a series of enthusiastic crowds in South America. The band filmed two nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and those make up the new Blu-ray, Dream Theater -- Live At Luna Park. The band took the stage, amidst images of a man on a unicycle, to the ominous drones of "Bridges In The Sky." Singer James LaBrie offers a sinister vocal
Big Star were the quintessential "best band you never heard" of the 1970's, yet their influence on subsequent generations of musicians has been enormous. While they were together though, the lack of public acceptance took its toll. There was enough drama surrounding this band to rival a Greek tragedy. It is a fascinating tale, and in the newly revised and updated edition of Big Star: The Story of Rock's Forgotten Band, Rob Jovanovic captures it all. Big Star formed in 1971 in Memphis, and featured Alex Chilton (vocals, guitar, piano), Chris Bell (vocals, guitar), Andy Hummel (bass, vocals), and Jody

DeepSoul: Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers - "Bustin' Loose"

A funky track from the disco era kickstarted a new kind of soul: Go-Go.
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When I first heard Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers' "Bustin' Loose," I assumed it dated from the early 1970s.  It sounded very much in the vein of a James Brown track, and its grittiness seemed to predate the slicker production which dominated the late '70s and beyond.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that "Bustin' Loose" hails from the disco era, specifically 1978.  Not only did this funky track bring people to the dance floor, it kicked off a brief musical movement: Go-Go. First, some background on Brown: hailing from Washington, D.C., he struggled to find his own sound

Blu-ray Review: Springsteen & I

This new documentary celebrates the fans of The Boss.
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Most musicians hope to have a fan base as rabid and devoted as that of Bruce Springsteen's. While there have been many features on Springsteen over the years, Mr. Wolf and Ridley Scott Associates have decided to pay tribute to his fans. Made with support from Springsteen, Springsteen & I combines homemade testimonials from fans, along with rare footage of The Boss in concert in a fitting tribute for fans and an attempt to convert the nonbelievers. The documentary opens with bootleg footage of a Springsteen concert where he proclaims, "We're here for one reason -- because you're here. Where

Blu-ray Review: Move Me Brightly

Bob Weir delivers an all-star 70th birthday present to the late Jerry Garcia.
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Jerry Garcia would have been 70 years old last August. In honor of that milestone event, fellow Grateful Dead band mate, Bob Weir, threw a star-studded birthday bash at his TRI Studios in San Rafael, CA. The concert was filmed, and makes up the Blu-ray, Move Me Brightly. Directed by Justin Kreutzmann (son of Grateful Dead drummer, Bill), the film mixes live performances with memories from friends, family and band mates about what Garcia meant to them. Luke Wilson, a fan himself, serves as interviewer for the proceedings. On his way to Weir's studio, he is greeted by Sammy Hagar,
I consider myself a Bob Dylan fan, but am by no means a true Dylanphile.  I know some of those people, and my fandom doesn't even come close.  Yet Dylan's music has been a very large part of my life and is exceedingly important to me.  There is a long list of songs and performances of his that create the soundtrack to my life and have connected to me in different ways and moments throughout my 37 years.That being said I don't actually own the vast majority of his studio albums or his officially released live recordings.  True he has
John Fahey (1939 - 2001) loved to take older, familiar forms of music and present them in new contexts. The title of his first Christmas album certainly speaks to this, The New Possibility (1968). He clearly enjoyed giving Christmas songs the "Fahey touch," and the new Christmas Guitar Soli  draws from the four holiday albums he recorded. Besides The New Possibility, they are Christmas with John Fahey Volume II (1975), Christmas Guitar Volume I (1982), and Popular Songs of Christmas & New Years (1983). Christmas Guitar Soli is a 14 song compilation, with new artwork by Tom Weller. Weller designed
At the very least the new collaboration between System 7 and Rovo titled Phoenix Rising proves that music is the universal language. This is a true East meets West affair, and one of the finest electronic albums of the year. It should be, considering the pedigrees of the artists involved. Rovo are a six-piece band from Japan who have redefined EDM (Electronic Dance Music) as MDT (Man Driven Trance). With two drummers, they have no need for drum machines, and also utilize electric violin, guitar, bass, and synthesizer. They have been together since 1996. System 7 are Steve Hillage and Miquette Giradi.

Blu-ray Review: Lady Antebellum - Live: On This Winter's Night

Lady Antebellum offers a holiday treat for their fans.
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On the heels of their holiday album of the same name comes Lady Antebellum's Blu-ray special, Live: On This Winter's Night. This concert by the country superstars was filmed at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center and showcases the band delivering several holiday classics, as well as their own original material, all while accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra. The Blu-ray opens with vintage family photos and Christmas videos from the band and has its members reminiscing about past holiday seasons in between songs. The musical portion opens with "A Holly Jolly Christmas" that has a jazzy, big band arrangement while featuring strong,

Blu-ray Review: CeeLo Green is Loberace -- Live in Vegas

CeeLo Green is Loberace, an homage to Vegas performers of years past.
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From the mind of CeeLo Green comes Loberace -- Live in Vegas. Part 70s soul singer, part Elton John, part Liberace, Loberace is a unique stage persona that is all Las Vegas. If it sounds tripped out, it is, but Green makes it work in this entertaining show that features dancing girls, numerous costume changes and many hits, both from Green's career and from artists he admires. The show opens with a wild James Bond opening sequence parody set to "Ladykiller," before settling in to the smooth soul of "Bright Lights Bigger City." Flanked by dancing girls, Green hits the