Errols Weekly Music Update.

June 27, 2008

Weekly Update – 06/27/08

Bob Dylan at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park NJ on Wed. Aug. 13. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $50 – $75.

Squeeze with James at Radio City Music Hall on Friday Sept. 19. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 – $99.50.

O.A.R. with Ozomatli at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City on Thurs. July 31. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Michael Buble at the Mohegan Sun on Tues. Dec. 2. Tickets on sale Monday June 30 at 10:00 a.m. $45 – $60.

Stars at Terminal 5 on Sat. Sept. 20. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30.

Ice Cube at Fillmore NY on Sun. Sept. 21. No ticket information as of yet.

From The Jam at the Blender Theater on Fri. Sept. 26. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $29.50.

Tantric at the Blender Theater on Sat. Aug. 2. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $16.

Other items:

Matt Sorum is fueling the fire of a possible Guns & Roses reunion by stating that talks are “already underway.” Supposedly the tensions between Axl and Slash have eased recently. Sorum may not even be part of the reunion as Steven Adler, original drummer, is slated to be, assuming he can keep clean.

Unfortunately I was not at the two Pearl Jam shows this week at the Garden. Without even being there I know the shows were great. And as an added bummer for me, Ace Frehley, joined the boys on stage for a version of “Black Diamond.” Now that must have been totally cool.

Check out a new song by Alejandro Escovedo “Always A Friend.” I like it, very cool. Sort of a cross between Springsteen and Costello. It appears on his new release “Real Animal.”

Supposedly the report that had Amy Winehouse already having emphysema at the young age of 24 is false, according to her publicist. (Oh yeah her publicist). The original report stated that if she doesn’t stop smoking cigarettes (and other un-mentionables) she will be confined to a wheelchair and have a permanent oxygen mask by the end of July.

Candlebox has released another single “A Kiss Before Dying” from the upcoming album “Into The Sun” to be released on July 22. Sounds good but are you kidding me with the bleeding of the customers? This is the third “single” released and when the album comes out, you have to buy the whole thing and you won’t get credit towards the album and you’ll have three repeat songs. Give me a break.

Really like the new song released by Buddy Guy “Skin Deep” with Derek Trucks as special guest on guitar. Excellent tune. Download it now!!

Foo Fighters have released a EP- Let it Die on I-Tunes. Four songs- two old/two new. Seems reasonable at $3.96.

Staind has released a new single “Believe.” Now I understand that each artist has a similar sound in their songs but this band takes the cake. In my opinion, this song sounds exactly like “Its Been A While” which sounds exactly like “So Far Away”.. which sounds like “Outside.” If he released all these songs together he had have a record for the longest song in history. C’mon do something different.

CD Review: “The Sound of Madness” – Shinedown released June 24, 2008. (3rd studio)

OK I jumped on this group’s bandwagon after the release of their second album “Us and Them.” Actually I made the mistake a few summers ago by blowing them off as the opener for Rob Zombie & Godsmack at Jones Beach. Paul and I caught the tail end of their set and I have to tell you I was blown away by their sound. I was so mad at myself for missing their set and have waited patiently for their next release as well as the opportunity to see them live. And now with three albums under their belt, they should be a headliner from now on. For many of their fans,“Leave a Whisper” –their debut album- is still their favorite disc. I have to say that this is one very consistent band and all three CD’s are super solid. But I’m here to review their new one.

Like I said, I have been waiting for what seems an eternity for this new CD to come out. Part of the reason for this is the band was going through some tough times and parted ways with their original guitarist, Jasin Todd and original bassist-Brad Stewart. Nick Perri and Eric Bass have replaced them on lead and bass, respectively. The CD starts off with the single released a few weeks back “Devour”- it begins with a sound like a marching high school band is coming at you, then the guitar and piano kick in and then WHAM!!! A pure head-banging sound screaming out of your speakers with a rage. Wow it’s freakin’ loud, fast and furious. Brent Smith, in my opinion, now holds the current title of best vocals for a rock band on the planet. “Yeah I get it you’re an outcast” starts off the second song which is the title track. I love the bass and drums in this song. Crank it up baby!! My walls are shaking. Smith’s voice sounds different on this song than any other song that Shinedown has done. Then it slows down with “Second Chance” which will most likely end up on the radio soon. (WCCC of course out of Hartford CT).Take a listen to Smith’s vocals and tell me you are not hooked? “Cry for Help” is another blastoff which will have you either turning up the volume or running out of the room, depending on your mood. Right now I’m turning up the volume. So far for me this is the heaviest sound they have produced and if you are into it- you will love it. Whoa, as you catch your breath, track # 5 is there to slow things down a bit, although “The Crow & Butterfly” is still very heavy, especially with the chorus. Sort of reminds me of what Soundgarden would do these days, if they were still together.

OK for those of you out there who will not listen to me and purchase this whole CD because of the fear of listening to heavy music, then take my advice and download the best song on this album “If You Only Knew.” If you don’t like this song, then I give up. This would be the song that I would pick to represent what this band is all about. Not too heavy but very melodic and the vocals are top notch.Then its back too real heavy beats with track # 7 “Sin With a Grin.” Whoa man this stuff kicks butt!!! The “yo-yo” effect continues as it slows down again with “What a Shame.” Then back up again- off your feet- with “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide”- OK admittedly a weird song title but it will rock your socks off. This is the shortest track on the disc at 3:11 but with a lot of pop. This album is unreal for all you Shinedown fans out there, this is something totally different. This album sort of reminds me when Skid Row surprised everyone back in 1991, with its’ sophomore effort “Slave to the Grind” which was harder and heavier than anyone expected. (Personally my favorite album from the Skidsters). Track # 10 “Breaking Inside” is my second favorite track on the disc and this will be on WCCC in a few weeks. “Call Me” is a striking track, which is destined for stardom, and since it has a lot of piano, more appealing to the general public. This ends the CD but if you purchase from I-Tunes you get three more tracks from this incredible band.

Now I hope that all of my praise for this band doesn’t fall on deaf ears (or eyes in this case). Please do not dismiss this band on me, like all of you have done to me with Tesla. Take heed, this is the best new band out there today!! The proof is in this album and their other two as well!!

Metallica’s new album has been named and it is “Death Magnet.” Are you kidding me? Come on now boys, you’re all over 40 and this is what you come up with? Of course you know I’m buying it when it comes out in September.

Back on this day in 1971 The New York Fillmore East concert hall closed down with performances by J. Geils, Allman Brothers, Beach Boys and Mountain.

Back on this day in 1964 the # 1 song “A World Without Love” was sung by Peter & Gordon but written by Paul & John- It is the first time a McCartney-Lennon song tops the pop chart for a group other than the Beatles.


June 20, 2008

Weekly Update – 06/20/08

Coldplay at the Izod Center on Sun. Rocktober 26. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $97.50

The Black Crowesand Patti Smith at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City on Sat. Rocktober 11. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Bob Dylan at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City on Sat. Aug. 16. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Other items:

Warrant fans will have to wait to see the original band members for the foreseeable future as the lead singer for Cinderella, Tom Keifer, hemorrhaged his left vocal chord and had to pull out of this summer’s tour with Warrant. Warrant is now scrambling looking for an opening act.

According to British newspaper The Observer, the Stones were considering transferring all rights to their back-catalog and future touring rights to the Live Nation. But the group insists talk of a Live Nation deal is false. In a statement, they say: “We are not in talks with Live Nation in connection with any record deal.”

Foreigner has released a new single “Too Late” this past Tuesday with a new singer Kelly Hansen. The album “No End in Sight” will be out later this summer. Mick Jones is still on lead. Jason Bonham on drums. I can’t go back, my allegiance is to Lou Gramm. They may have the same name but it will never be Foreigner.

Led Zeppelin has confirmed that there will be a DVD release of their performance last December in London. I guess if they don’t tour the U.S.- this is the next best thing, right?

CD review: “Evil Urges” by My Morning Jacket. OK as I mentioned last week I had a feeling that I was going to be drawn to this album. This is my first album from MMJ (their fifth) so I know from reading the I-Tune reviews that there a lot of unhappy MMJ fans who do not like the fact that they have “changed directions.” From my point of view, if they didn’t I’d still be watching from the sidelines. This will now entice me to look back to their first four CD’s, so if they are a “sellout” or I’m a “wannabe” MMJ fan, so be it. This is a super solid CD and dare I say the best new release in 2008. The CD starts off with the title track and it’s a song that will be hard to get out of your head. The chorus of “evil urges baby they be- part of the human way” will resonate in your brain and you will be singing it all day. Many of the songs on the album sound like something that Prince would record and this is one of them. “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Part 1” is a cool song that kind of reminds me something that Squeeze would record now if they were just starting out. “Highly Suspicious” is the lightning rod song of this CD that has people quickly taking sides- you either hate it or you love it. I’ve seen things written that have made me fall over with laughter on why this song should have never been recorded. I like it and this has Prince’s influence all over it. (Although Jim James vocals when he wanes “highly” can be a tad annoying but its part of the reason why the song works).

Track # 4 “I’m Amazed” is one of my favorites and the lyrics hit home. “I’m amazed by a divided nation… and I’m amazed what we accept in its place.” The guitar work and the overall production of this track is top notch. “Think You Too” slows down the pace but it is a nice song. It sounds similar to something the Eagles would perform and the lyrics are perfect if you want to dedicate it to someone who is close to you. It’s a perfect dance song with your significant other. This could be my favorite song on the CD, don’t know yet. Track #6 “Sec Walking” definitely sounds like Mac Davis to me. (Listen to “Baby, baby don’t get hooked on me” and tell me that’s not Mac Davis singing Sec Walking). I like this song as well, the background vocals are cool. “Two Halves” speeds things up a bit and sorry to keep comparing but it sounds like something U2 could do. It’s a very catchy tune and again the background vocals are solid.

Track # 8 “Librarian” reminds me of something that Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermit) could record now. Another beautiful song- listen with your head phones on and you will be off somewhere in a haze. “Look at You” is a slower song that is good. Tracks #10- “Aluminum Park”and #11- “Remnants” pick it up in tempo and are guitar driven songs with great backing vocals.Things slow down from there with the last two tracks- “Smokin from Shootin” and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2.” I really like “Smokin” and the lyrics really make you think. Part 2 of “Touch” is alright, I have to let it grow on me. It starts off real psychedelic and then kind of goes “disco” a bit.

Again MMJ has grabbed a new fan because of this CD and I highly recommend it. There are so many different influences on it that there has to be something that will catch your ear. I say buy the whole CD but if you want to pick and choose, go to I-Tunes and down load away. Total thumbs up and as of right now it sits up on top as one of the best recordings this year. Have fun at the show tonight at Radio City!!!

This weeks I-Tunes shuffle landed on “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour and I had to go back and listen to their debut album- Vivid. This album hit in 1988. I remember the first time I heard “Cult” I was blown away, I love Vernon Reid’s solo in the middle of the song and this song needs to be on Guitar Hero (if it is not already).“I Want to Know” is a phenomenal song and just kicks butt. Will Calhoun’s drumming is so upbeat in this song and throughout the whole album. “How you feelin’?” What about the groove in “Middle Man?” And the vocals of Corey Glover are spot on for this song. “Desperate People” starts off with a frenzy head-banging effect and then kicks in with that slow groove with Glover screeching out. Then it’s on to one of their most popular songs “Open Letter (To a Landlord). “ This song received heavy airplay throughout the summer of 1988 and listening to the lyrics, it’s obvious that Living Colour was making a specific social point of view.

“Funny Vibe” is a song that has the walls shaking in my house and I just jump and dance all around in a circular motion. Again this is another song that gets right to the point lyrically. And how cool is it to have Chuck D. and Flavor Flav from Public Enemy contribute to the song? Then its on to my personal favorite of the album “Memories Can’t Wait.” Mr. Reid’s work on the song is just flat out fantastic while Calhoun keeps the train rolling on the skins. “Other people can go home.. I can never stop, I can never quit.” This song was actually written by David Byrne and Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads. “Broken Hearts” is a mix of a funky beats and then cools down. Great song. Track # 9 –“Glamour Boys” which I believe Mick Jagger helped write is a pure fun song and great for parties or backyard BBQ’s. (Jagger actually had a hand in landing these guys a deal with Epic Records- he actually hired Reid and Calhoun to play on his solo album- Primitive Cool). Then its on the familiar screech of Glover “Eeee yaaa.. what’s your favorite colour?” This short song packs a powerful punch and then lashes into the final song of the album “Which Way to America.” This song should also be on Guitar Hero. This is head-banging at its best. “Go West Young Man… Go West.”

Living Colour is an excellent band and they had some good songs & albums after Vivid but for me this is the one. Top to bottom there is not a bad song on the whole disc. If you don’t own it, run out and buy it now!!! Assaulting riffs throughout.

Lots of Birthday’s today. Cyndi Lauper turns 55, Lionel Richie turns 59, Anne Murray turns 62 and Brian Wilson is 66 today.

June 19, 2008

Concert Review- Tom Petty & Heartbreakers with Steve Winwood at MSG- 06/17/08

Concert review- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers along with opening act Steve Winwood at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday June 17, 2008

My brother and I purchased these tickets more than a few months ago and I had June 17 circled on my calendar with an exclamation point. Couldn’t wait to go. My thinking going in was, how could you top this show? You have two legendary icons sharing the greatest stage in the entire world. (I know I keep saying that the Garden is the best stage to see a show but now I have proof- jumping ahead a bit, when Petty took the stage, the crowd kept letting them know how appreciative they were for the performance that he & the Heartbreakers were putting on, Mr. Petty looked up into the crowd and said “This may be the best room for rock and roll on the planet.”) Everyone knows how I feel about Mr. Winwood, I can’t say enough about how great this man is. But you know what? He just didn’t have it as the opener. And when Petty and the Heartbreakers took the stage the entire mood of the show shifted into cruise control, they brought down the house.

Now for those of you who have been following along my reviews, they are usually positive. Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should not go to see Steve Winwood whenever you have the opportunity. No, it was just that he didn’t have it that night. Heck, if you get three hits out of every ten at-bats, you’re considered royalty in baseball; you get my point? Far be it for me to say how it should have gone but if I were Mr. Winwood’s manager, I would have suggested playing as many of his hits as possible with the short time period that he was given. I totally understand he was out there to promote his new album “Nine Lives.” But in my opinion to get people to listen to your new songs, they have to be familiar with your classic tunes; especially in a big arena. The “die-hards” will go to the smaller venues and appreciate your new stuff. Here’s your opportunity to add more people to your smaller venues and again in my opinion, he did not do that. Believe it or not there were many people there who were unfamiliar with his work. Now he did an excellent version of “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Had to Cry Today.” However even in those songs, it appeared that he was going through the motions. He seemed so laid back that I had the feeling that he needed Mr. Clapton out there to pick up his game. (If you remember back to my review of their show in February, I stated that Clapton was so great that night because he knew he couldn’t phone it in with Steve on the stage with him). Then when he did “Higher Love”- he changed the sound so much that I felt like I was in the Caribbean, (and this is not a bad thing but we were at the Garden). And it just dragged on too long. So all in all, not one of Mr. Winwood’s better nights, but hey we all get a mulligan, right?

Now when Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers took the stage, you could feel the energy level rise and very quickly if I may say. The stage was loaded with amplifiers and cables- so much that there looked to be very little room for the band. For most of the night, it looked like if Petty took one more step, he would have fell off the stage. A classic look, kind of reminded me of the cover of the Who’s “Who are You” album. But high above them was technology at it’s best. For those of you who have kids, it looked like a transformer was hovering over them. The “face” of this transformer had a semi circle with three or four screens that highlighted the different band members. Then there were three “cube like” screens, hanging from the ceiling. (reminded me of the cubes that are in the children’s game – “Don’t Break the Ice”). So you had the old- the stage- and the new- the aerial screen show. Now Petty did not have a new album to promote but that did not mean he did not mix up the set list with some obscure songs because he did. However his library is so extensive that it is almost impossible to not know at least 80% of what he will perform. Talk about a sing along night? Has to be right up there with the Springsteen shows. Now if you have never seen Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers live, you really need to review your priorities.

The show started off with “You Wreck Me” from his solo Wildflowers album-an upbeat rocking song. It then slips right into one of my personal favorites- “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Love the riff in the song. “.. I don’t know but I’ve been told you never slow down, you never grow old. Tired of screwing up…” The whole audience is singing word for word. The crowd is jubilant and is screaming “Petty, Petty, Petty” in between songs. He was blown away by the response and most appreciative of the feedback. The opening chords from “I Won’t Back Down” is heard and you could feel the roar of the crowd and everyone is ready to belt out “Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out.. I won’t back down.”

“Even the Losers” took me back to 1979 when “Damn the Torpedos” was released. I love going back in time, ahh the memories. Then it was on to arguably his most popular song- “Free Falling.” If you happened to be walking outside the Garden when this song came on, you had to hear the audience singing it. I actually pulled out my cell phone (I know-everything that I’m against) and called my best friend John and let him listen to his favorite Petty song. The shows next two songs were lesser known but still rocked the house. “Cabin Down Below” and “Sweet William” were excellent and from Sweet William onwards this is where Mike Campbell took over the show. This unsung axeman lies in the shadows of many other more popular guitarists but let me tell you- this man can shred. Staying on the subject of the band members- the drummer Steve Ferrone- kept the train a rollin’ with his excellent skills on the skins. And Benmont Tench on organ, piano and synthesizer was also awesome. The band went into Tom’s favorite Traveling Wilbury song- “End of the Line.” How can anyone not like the Traveling Wilbury’s? It’s impossible.

Afterwards, Mr. Petty called out Mr. Winwood to join the band and they blasted their way to two of Winwood’s classic tunes- “Can’t Find My Way Home” and “Gimme Some Lovin”. Ahh retribution- I looked over to my brother and said “Now that’s the Winwood I know.” To watch Campbell and Winwood share guitar solos back and forth was awesome. Then when Steve took to the piano/organ on “Gimme Some Lovin’” the entire Garden was really rocking. It was an awesome moment and feeling. At this moment the entire band had “caught the wave” and rode that wave for the rest of the show. It was a pure hit fest as the crowd sang along to such favorites as “Learning to Fly” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Refugee.” My favorite song of the night was “You Don’t Know How it Feels”- makes me want to play harmonica and the drums- how cool is the groove in this song? The band came back out for the frenzied crowd and did three encores: “Running Down a Dream” “Mystic Eyes”- which I believe was a cover from Stack Waddy back in 1971 and then “American Girl.”

So Petty and his mates blew the cover off the ball. This was a great show and I’m begging you to see him before he decides to retire. Hopefully this doesn’t happen because you can tell that this is what he and his band mates love to do. They love music. It’s in them. It’s in me. Is it in you? Go out and enjoy!!!

June 13, 2008

Weekly Update – 06/13/08

My Morning Jacket at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Dec. 31. Tickets on sale Fri. June 27 at 10:00 a.m. $49.50

Van Morrison at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City on Sat. July 12. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Kayne West at Madison Square Garden on Tues. Aug. 5. Tickets on sale today at noon. $49.50 – $154.50.

The Stooges at Terminal 5 on Fri. Aug. 8. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45.

Billy Idol at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Aug. 26. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $42.50.

Beach Boys at the Mohegan Sun on Fri. Aug. 22. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $25

Paramore at the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Thurs. Aug. 28. Tickets on sale next Friday June 20 at 10:00 a.m. $35.

Other items:

I have a big problem now. Just read that AC/DC has an exclusive with Walmart to distribute their next album. Help me. Now, I know they never put out a greatest hits CD and they like to think that is not “selling out.” But what can they be thinking now? I know it’s all about the “Benjamins” but c’mon now?

Who has it better than Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters? This band is so scorching hot and everything he does seems to turn to gold. What I love about him is that he is a fan of all music. He has no problem with sharing the stage with anyone and guess what happened last week while they performed in London at Wembley Stadium? Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones joined the Foo’s on stage and performed “Rock and Roll” and “Ramble On.” Why couldn’t I be there?

Paul Stanley has denied the rumors that the band is launching an American Idol type of show to replace him and Gene. (even after their manager-Doc McGhee- confirmed those rumors). Stanley stated that any members will be “added” on and would not replace any members of Kiss.

Disturbed’s album “Indestructible” is number 1 on the billboard charts after one week (did I tell you?) and Weezer’s Red CD is number 4.

My Morning Jacket released their 5th studio album- “Evil Urges” -this past Tuesday and its drawing rave reviews. As I listen to the 30 second samples on I-Tunes, I have to tell you it sounds real good. I will most likely take the plunge. Rollingstone gave it 4 stars!!

Motley Crue will be the guests on Larry King Live next Thursday June 19 at 9:00 p.m. The “Saints of Los Angeles” has been pushed back for release one week later than originally planned and will be out on June 24th. A second song which is titled with a bad word which I will not use, is on their myspace page and sounds pretty good. But again you know how I feel about the cross language used in songs, no place for it.

Really like the single “Magic” from Robin Thicke which was released this past Tuesday.

Tickets for the final Police show at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Aug. 7 will be be doled out as thank-you gifts for donation pledges made to New York public television stations Channel 13/WNET and WLIW21, making the show the largest single fundraising event in the history of public television, according to a press release. The tickets will be given away beginning tomorrow to people who pledge at various levels ($750, $500, $350, $150) to either of the two stations.

This weeks I-POD shuffle landed on “Georgia on My Mind” from the legendary Mr. Ray Charles and yes I went back and listened to a whole bunch of Ray. I’m at a loss of words to characterize this man’s contribution to the music world. But one word stands out for me and that is how important he was to the music world. Can you imagine the world without the music of Ray Charles? There would be a huge void. Think of the countless people or groups he has influenced? He is another person that you cannot label as one type of music. He did country, blues, gospel, rhythm & blues, soul, rock & roll and it just continues. Think about this man for a second. You know there is a song that he has done that is one of your personal favorites. It is really hard to pick because the man has done so many great songs. So go out and purchase a greatest hits package- as there are endless to choose from.

“Georgia on My Mind” is right up there at the top of my list and it’s hard for me to say that this is not my favorite. But I have some other lesser-known songs (as far as popularity) but equally as great. Take “I Had A Dream” for example; I can listen to this song all day. It’s a bluesy finger snapping song that will have you trying to emulate Mr. Charles great vocals.“No One” is right at the top for me as well. “..No One ever shared all those dreams that I dreamed would come true…” And I have to say the women who sang background vocals on many of his songs are phenomenal, they add the spice. The arrangement in this song is so spectacular; that is the way he wanted it and produced it. “Nobody but you- yeah.”

“Busted” – whew- it’s endless the accolades you can throw at this man. I remember growing up and hearing this song way back when and of course I couldn’t admit this was great- c’mon I had The Cars and Foreigner as the bands that were cool back then. But you know what? I knew then and especially now know how special his songs are. His songs are timeless and should be shared with every generation.“I Can’t Stop Loving You”- Wow this is another song that I can listen to for days on end. Again the arrangement on this song is spectacular. It’s amazing how these recordings sound so pure and also like they were recorded yesterday. “Am I Blue” – You want to talk about a phenomenal song? Take a listen to the string instruments, his voice and quickly you are off somewhere in a trance. How about “Careless Love?” Or “Hallelujah I Love Her So?” I love the saxophone solo in the middle. “Ain’t that Love?” I could go on and on about his songs.

Now I will say that I also love his more popular songs such as “What’d I Say Parts I & II,” “Hit The Road Jack,” “I’ve Got a Woman,” and “America The Beautiful.” And how about the timeless classic “Night Time is the Right Time” –actually written by Nappy Brown- but made famous by Mr. Charles in late 1958. I’m at a loss for words for the way he performed this song. And do you remember back in 1985, when the members of the “Cosby” show lip-synched to this song? Theo starts it off on the steps; Rudy does the female’s part and then Mr. Cosby takes over with his facial expressions to the song. I can watch this over and over. You can to, go to:

This song and the way they portrayed it on the Cosby show puts an endless smile on my face and I have it cranked so loud in the house (no one is home) that the walls are shaking.

Bottom line is that if you don’t have Ray Charles in your music library, you need to rush out right now and get something. Keep his music alive!! Pass it down to your kids, grand kids, great grand kids- get the picture? The man was a genius. (On a side note, I saw him at an airport more than a few years ago as he sat right across from Howard and I. True story. I wanted to flip out the way two other women did when they realized it was him, but didn’t want to invade his space).

Back on this day in 1975, John Lennon made his last TV appearance and sang “Imagine.” He retires soon afterwards to become a household dad and raise his son, Sean.

Back on this day in 1986 Benny Goodman passed away at the age of 77.

June 11, 2008

Concert Review – Plant & Krauss at WAMU Theater – 06/10/08

Concert review: Alison Krauss & Robert Plant at the WAMU Theater within Madison Square Garden on Tuesday June 10, 2008.

Upon entering the WAMU theater my wife and I had no idea that soon we would feel that we were somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, like in the movie “Cold Mountain.” Now this may sound strange but then I realized- this made perfect sense because the producer of the soundtrack to that movie was Mr. T. Bone Burnett. And there was T. Bone, up on the stage-playing guitar, enjoying the fruits of his labor- he was responsible for bringing Plant & Krauss together and produced their album “Raising Sand.”

The stage set up was very basic with everything being mostly black and the backdrop had long gold curtains. The band members were wearing old classic three-piece suits. The guitarist Buddy Miller wore a hat that made him look like Paulie from the “Rocky” series. There was a fiddle player and Krauss played the violin on many songs. The only thing missing was a campfire.

The show started with the bass lines to “Rich Woman” and the band continued a soft jam for a few minutes and then both Alison and Robert came from the back of the stage, down the sides of the stage; then faced each other and walked towards as if they were going to have a gun battle. Once they were in front of their respective microphones, they turned toward the audience and started to sing as the audience pelted them with a loud ovation. There he was, the living legend Mr. Robert Plant, still looking like a front man for a rock band. He still has the long hair with the goatee and is still in good shape. Next to him is the striking beauty- Alison Krauss. She in her own right has secured her place in folk and country music history. Together they looked like brother & sister as their full head of hair hovered over their microphones ringing out pleasing harmonies.

The second song did have some kick as Plant paid homage to Ray Charles and did an upbeat version of “Leave My Woman Alone.” Then for the third song, if you listened carefully you would recognize the lyrics and say to yourself “I know this song” but…Then it hits you it’s the Zeppelin classic “Black Dog” but its done with a folk and gospel feel to it. The audience filled in the “Aah Aah’s” every chance they could almost trying to egg the band on to play it like the original.After the song ends, there is a rousing ovation and Plant introduces his “buddy” Alison and she takes the audience through a mesmerizing set of three songs. “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” “Through the Morning, Through the Night” and “Goodbye and So Long to You.” My wife said her voice reminded her of a cross between Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. At this point I really felt like I was back in time again, round a campfire, singing American classics and that is what the show was about. If you are expecting Led Zeppelin, you will be severely disappointed and if you don’t want your image of Plant shattered as the such- stay home.

Plant came back out and took the lead on vocals for the next three songs. “Fortune Teller” from Raising Sand and then did a song from his solo career- “In the Mood.” Again it was not like the original but it worked for me. Then one of my “dream” songs from Led Zeppelin was performed- “Black Country Woman.” As I mentioned a few weeks back in my review of the classic album -Physical Graffiti- this song, along with “Boogie with Stu” are my two all time favorite Zep songs. I had to pinch myself because I never thought I would ever hear this performed live, I seriously doubt that if a Zeppelin reunion does come to fruition, that this song will be on the set list. I loved the version of the song as Alison helped out on vocals. I stood up and applauded after the song ended.

After this song is where I think the band lost some of the audience as it really slowed down from this point onward. T. Bone did a few songs and then Krauss came back out and did some beautiful songs such as “Trampled Rose” and “Green Pastures.” The lights went low and there was nothing but Alison’s voice as she sang a cappella -“Down to the River to Pray.” From the audience you could see Robert running from the back of the stage to join Miller and Duncan off to the right of Alison. The three men were singing background vocals into a microphone that was hanging down from the ceiling, very old school style. At that moment, I felt like I was in church that was portrayed in the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” This was one of the highlights of the show that probably had most talking after its end.

Plant took over on vocals and as he sang his second song after returning, “Nothing”- I look over at my wife and she is out cold. Sleeping. I said, “What happened?”- She said that it was too soft and boring. She wasn’t even that enthralled with “The Battle of Evermore” as Krauss made Sandy Denny proud with her female vocal input to this Zeppelin classic. “Please Read the Letter” did seem to drag on and at this point my wife was done. I heard the opening chords to “Gone, Gone, Gone” and told her that this song was fast so she could wake up. She looks at Plant and says he look like a robot, trying to contain himself to this type of music. She is convinced he just wants to break out and let loose with the classic howls of Zeppelin. Go figure, I thought this show would be good for her and she is actually asking for loud guitars and screeching vocals.

The show ends with three encores- “You Don’t Knock,” “One Woman Man” and “Your Long Journey.” My opinion is that this was a very solid show and that is because I knew what to expect. I went in with the mindset that this was a very different Robert Plant. My wife did not know what to expect and after a while the show became boring for her. I will say that their harmonizing vocals are perfect together and T. Bone knew what he was doing when he introduced the both of them.

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