Errols Weekly Music Update.

July 25, 2008

Weekly Update – 07/25/2008

Randy Newman at Carnegie Hall on Fri. Sept. 19. Tickets on sale this coming Monday July 28th at 11:00 a.m.

Rascal Flatts at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ on Friday Sept. 12. Tickets on sale next Sat. Aug. 2 at 10:00 a.m. $35.75 – $75.75

Derek Trucks Band at the Highline Ballroom and Blender Theater on Thurs. Nov. 6 and Fri. Nov. 7. Tickets on sale for Highline at noon and 10:00 a.m. for Blender.

Goldfrapp at Radio City Music Hall on Friday Sept. 12. T ickets on sale today at noon. $39.50 – $75.

The Whispers at the BB Kings on Sat. Rocktober 25. (7:30 and 10:00 shows) Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$40. Remember “And the Beat Goes On?”

Shemekia Copeland at BB Kings on Mon. Sept. 25. Tickets on sale Sat. at 10:00 a.m. $25.

Other items:

Buddy Guy’s new album “Skin Deep” was released this past Tuesday and the 30 second samples on I-Tunes sound great. This is his first recorded album with all original tunes. He gets help from Susan Tedeschi on “Too Many Tears.” Also contributing to the album are Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph and Derek Trucks. If you have never seen Guy in concert, you are so missing out.

One Day as a Lion, the new band with Zach De La Rocha and Jon Theodore (drummer from Mars Volta) put out an EP of 4 songs. If you were a fan of Rage, you will definitely enjoy it. “Wild International” sounds great.

Rush has released a never heard before version of “Working Man” due to popular demand as a result of the song being released on the “Rock Band” video game a few weeks back. Check out this video on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAKhEzdSYPI

The Rolling Stones are suing rapper Lil Wayne for his song “Playing with Fire.” The Stones reps say it’s a clear derivative of their song with the same title and he used it without their permission.

Have you ever been put on the spot to name your top 25 music acts of all-time? Well my oldest son put me on notice that he wanted my favorites, with an accompanying song and a reason why I liked them? I was resistant because I felt that I would leave an artist off of my list. However, he keenly pointed out that if they did not quickly come to mind, how could they be in my top 25? (Putting them in order does take some thinking and time but again the first 25 that come to mind) So here goes: (you too can play along at home):

25. Tom Petty

Favorite Song: You Wreck Me

Why?: Like fine wine, he gets better with age. An American classic.

24. Motley Crue

Favorite Song: Kickstart My Heart

Why?:Love their energy! The other side of me wanted to be them.

23. Black Crowes

Favorite Song: There’s Gold in Them Hills

Why?: Always wanted to transform into Chris Robinson for just one tour.

22. Stone Temple Pilots

Favorite Song: Crackerman

Why?: Love their version of grunge.

21Shinedown

Favorite Song: I Dare You

Why?: Their music is in my blood stream.

20. Black Sabbath

Favorite Song: Fairies Wear Boots

Why?: Masters of Metal, period, end of story.

19. Patsy Cline

Favorite Song: Why Can’t He Be You

Why?: Her voice is mesmerizing & takes me far away; also my mother’s influence.

18. Sam Cooke

Favorite Song: Nothing Can Change This Love

Why?: Favorite male singer ever.

17. Karen Carpenter

Favorite Song: (They Long to Be) Close to You

Why?: Favorite female singer. This song reminds me of my mother.

16. Cheap Trick

Favorite Song: Lookout (Live)

Why?: A band that never dies, pure fun in concert.

15. Aerosmith

Favorite Song: I Wanna Know Why

Why?: Hard rocking boys from Boston that are just great!

14. Boston

Favorite Song: Smokin’

Why?: How can you not get psyched listening to Smokin’?

13. AC/DC

Favorite Song: Thunderstruck

Why?: Never sold out. Head banging to the end!!

12. Bee Gees

Favorite Song: I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You

Why?: Great Harmonizing vocals.

11. Soundgarden

Favorite Song: Mailman

Why?: Grunge music at its best! Under-rated.

 

And now the long awaited top ten (who was waiting? I don’t know but here it is anyway)

 

10. Kiss

Favorite Song: King of the Night Time World (Live)

Why?: I wanted to be every member of Kiss ten times over!!!

9. Foo Fighters

Favorite Song: What If I Do?

Why?: Who’s cooler than Dave Grohl?

8. Collective Soul

Favorite Song: Crown

Why?: Passionate band and I’m all about passion.

7. Led Zeppelin

Favorite Song: Boogie With Stu

Why?: Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones. ‘Nuff said.

6. Metallica

Favorite Song: Master of Puppets

Why?: See them live and tell me you don’t like them?

5. Tesla

Favorite Song: Lady Luck

Why?: So under-rated it pisses me off and makes me love them that much more.

4. The Cars

Favorite Song: It’s All I Can Do

Why?: One of my first loves of rock music.

3. Foreigner

Favorite Song: Seventeen

Why?: I WANTED TO BE LOU GRAMM.

2. The Beatles

Favorite Song: I’m Only Sleeping

Why?: So many great tunes in such a short amount of time. Timeless band.

1. Van Halen

Favorite Song: Feel Your Love Tonight

Why?: Greatest live band ever!

Now I am not going to say who was omitted from this list because the rule is that you can’t take too much time. It has to be the first 25 that come to mind. I know I left off some whoppers but this is my list. I want to thank my son for making this a fun process.

Back on this day in 1965, Bob Dylan performed his first non-acoustic set at the Newport Folk Festival to a very hostile crowd.

Back on this day in 1969, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had their first live performance, it was at the Fillmore East in New York.

July 23, 2008

Concert Review: Shinedown at the Highline Ballroom in NYC – 07/22/08

Concert Review: Shinedown at the Highline Ballroom in NYC on Tuesday July 22, 2008.

After attending many shows at the legendary Madison Square Garden for the past year or so, I knew on my drive down to NYC, that the Highline Ballroom was obviously going to be smaller. Now I love the Garden don’t get me wrong, love the energy but I was so pumped for a smaller venue and knowing that I was going to see my new favorite band, (I know.. I have a new one every week), Shinedown, just put me over the top. I had never been to the Highline and while walking down 16th street after crossing 9th Avenue; I was getting nervous that I had the wrong address. I saw a “Western Beef” supermarket- I worked there many years ago with my uncle- and just assumed I was on the wrong block. But wait, right next to or on top of Western Beef, was the Highline Ballroom. Talk about old school- the guy at the door actually ripped part of my ticket off and gave me the remaining part. I can’t remember the last time that has happened. And then there it was as I walked up the stairs; I had flashbacks to Le Balloon in Brooklyn when we use to go see live bands (or the Lion’s Den). As I reached the top step and saw the entrance, I could already see the members of Black Stone Cherry seemingly right there in front of my face, creating havoc for the crowd. Then I made my way through the standing only crowd to get my position on the floor.

Now as you all know, I love many types of music but you can probably tell I’m partial to the heavier stuff. The Highline Ballroom seems to fit about 750 people tops and I loved every moment. Heavy bass lines pounding in your chest like your heart is going to burst right through, the crashing sound of cymbals (when is the last time you actually heard cymbals crashing at a show?) and the lead guitar ripping your ears off. I felt like I was in someone’s basement watching these bands. And talk about hot? Just picture yourself on a NYC subway platform waiting for the # 3 train to pull into 14th street on a day like yesterday.I was in my element. I needed this night; I needed loud guitars and driving heavy music because it has been a while since I have had that.

Knowing that I made the mistake of showing up late when Shinedown played with Zombie and Godsmack a few summers ago, I was not going to blow off the two other bands: Black Stone Cherry (BSC) and Theory of a Deadman. (TOAD) So I showed up right at 7:00 as BSC was playing their first song. These guys are from Kentucky and I have to say these guys are pretty good. Their set was full of energy and the one thing I will say is towards the end of their set I think they were trying too hard to be rock stars but overall a good way to start the night off. Highlights were “Rain Wizard” “Lonely Train and “Hell and High Water.” At one point they brought out a high school choir from Orange NJ to help on the background vocals and the ironic part is all the members of BSC were singing for this one song (and they had not done that in the prior songs), so you could hardly hear the choir. I figured the rest of the band would not sing background and let the kids do it but….

Then the second band to take the stage was Theory of a Deadman. They are from Canada and were signed to 604 records by Chad Kroeger- lead singer for Nickelback. These guys kicked butt. Their lead singer, Tyler Connolly, had an Elvis Presley hairdo that never moved throughout their set. Now I think the reason I liked them so much, (and I mean no disrespect to their fans) but they remind me of Puddle of Mudd (the “Come Clean” Puddle). I loved their first album and it was weird how similar the songs are as well. For instance, “Bad Girlfriend” or “I Hate My Life” struck a chord with me with the Mudd song “She Hates Me.” And tell me “So Happy” doesn’t take you back to “Bring Me Down” by POM? These guys are talented and their set was tight!! The highlights were “Santa Monica” and “So Happy.” Keep an eye out for these guys. Great sound.

By the time TOAD was finished, I was saturated (and for the people who know me, you could picture the puddles of sweat). I was warmed up and the anticipation for Shinedown to take the stage was killing me. I couldn’t wait. The crowd was mixed- some kids and some older dudes like me- same with the women- yes there were women there. I could tell the crowd was there for Shinedown and when I heard the snare drums piped in over the speakers as the beginning of “Devour” started, I was jumping out of my skin. The speakers for their set was almost as tall as the room and then there was a blast as the lights came on and there here is the man, Brent Smith, seemingly larger than life up at the front of stage and singing the opening lyrics “Take it and take it…” I felt an adrenaline rush and thought my ears and chest were going to explode off of my body it was so loud. And about a little more than 2 minutes into the song when you hear the bass by itself, I was so out of my mind that I wanted to take the stage and sing along with Brent as he wailed “diving down, round and round…” As the song ended I knew I was in for a nice ride. As the blaring guitars introduced “Cry for Help” the crowd was in a controlled chaos. No mash pit, which made me happy. I will admit at times, Smith’s vocals were hard to hear but their enthusiasm more than made up for it. And I was impressed that the fans knew all the words to the new songs and we all helped Brent wail the chorus “You better pray there’s another way out, you better pray someone’s listening now..” The frantic pace kept up with another new song- “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide.” And it was great because all the words I knew were the chorus and again in unison the crowd chanted, “White… Lights… Train…. Wreck” The guitar work in this song and the breaks in the song were flat out phenomenal. Then it was on to my new favorite song of the week: “Sound of Madness”… “Hola here we go…” Talk about a head banging start out of the gate? I was “air-guitaring” and “air-drumming” all over the place; I couldn’t believe how good the show was at this point. (And it was maintained to the end).

The first song not from the new album was “Heroes” off of Us and Them (a friggin’ great CD) and this time the whole audience participated in singing the vocals for Brent. Hey they might have been playing for a “block party” type atmosphere but everyone was having a blast. Brent addressed the crowd and was pointing out that he never thought he would write a love song but his recent marriage changed this. And I knew what song it was before he even said it- “If You Only Knew”- the one song I told all of you to download a couple of weeks ago. It’s impossible to not like this song and to hear it live already was the icing on the cake for me. This will be their “staple” at every one of their shows going forward. I predict this song will top “I Dare You” as a fan favorite. He then explained to the crowd that they were going to play many songs from the new album; hey no complaints from me- I was prepared.

The setting was intimate and for “The Crow & the Butterfly” Mr. Smith explained that this was the toughest song he ever had to write. He said finding the right words took him a while-it is worth the wait. This is another fantastic song and “epic-like” where you get lost in the sweet melody. His voice is perfect for the song. Then at one point in the show, it became real serious as Brent was describing the song they were about to perform, “Second Chance.” He told everyone to “just be yourself”, be a good friend and live your life the way you want to. He described his seemingly hard upbringing by his parents. Seemed like they weren’t too happy that he wanted to be a singer and he insinuated that he was also hit while living under their roof. The song is directed towards them and the chorus states “Tell my mother, tell my father I’ve done the best I can to make them realize this is my life…” Powerful song & lyrics.

Shinedown continued to please the crowd as they performed some songs from “Leave a Whisper” with the highlight being “45.” As the show ended, Brent informed the crowd that it was the last song and even I assumed they were coming out for an encore but they didn’t. I heard a lot of complaints as the crowd was itchin’ for “Simple Man.” And the crowd did hear Simple Man- the original version over the speakers as they exited the Highline Ballroom. So what you didn’t hear “Simple Man”- I was more upset about not hearing more of their own songs. But not to the point that it made me not like the show- no way- the show was a blast and I can’t wait to go see them again. Next time I’m taking you with me!!!

July 18, 2008

Weekly Update – 07/18/08

The Who at the Mohegan Sun on Tues. Rocktober 28th and the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City on Fri. Rocktober 31st. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$75- $175. They will also be at the Izod Center on Wed. Rocktober 29- No ticket info on this venue yet.

Willie Nelson with Jakob Dylan at Radio City Music Hall on Thurs. Sept. 25th. Also at the House of Blues in Atlantic City on Sat. Sept. 27. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.  $44.50 – $80.50.

Coheed & Cambria at Terminal 5 from Wed. Rocktober 22 thru Sat. Rocktober 25. Tickets on sale today at 11:00 a.m. $120 for 4 day pass. (I’m assuming $30 for each night on a single basis).

Todd Rundgren at the Music Box at the Borgota in Atlantic City on Sat. Aug. 2. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Jordin Sparks with Jesse McCartney at Nokia Theater on Tues. Aug. 19. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $39.50

Other items:

Did you remember to watch the VH1 Honors show for The Who last night? Could there have been a better group to open the show than the Foo Fighters? I think not. How friggin’ good were they? Their energy is electric and their version of “Young Man Blues” was incredible. I jumped out of my seat while watching and called friends just to make sure they were watching (you can catch a repeat of this show over the weekend). Then Gaz Coombes from Supergrass joined the Foo’s to cover “Bargain” and I was blown away. The Foo’s look like they have so much fun out there and I can’t say enough about these guys. The highlights for the show were the following: Pearl Jam. It’s amazing how grandiose this band has become as they now are no longer the new guys on the block. Dare I say that their version of “Love Reign O’er Me” is better than the original? If not, it’s pretty close. And they did an awesome job recreating one of my favorite Who songs- “Real Me.”

Wayne Coyne in that inflatable space ball was real cool and his band, The Flaming Lips, did a nice job on the medley from Tommy. I’ll throw in Incubus as well (I thought they were done) with their cover of “I Can See for Miles” and “I Can’t Explain.” And of course The Who (obviously not the same without Entwistle and Moon). I thought their set was top notch as well and my favorite performance from them was “My Generation.” The coolest clips they showed last night was one where John Entwistle was shown playing the bass so fluently and effortlessly. He could really play- check out his work on all the Who songs and one in particular- “Boris The Spider.”

John Mellencamp released his “Life, Death, Love & Freedom” album this past Tuesday. Very different from what you’d expect. If you are a Mellencamp fan just remember that Mr. T. Bone Burnett produced this project and it has his “sound” all over it. Definitely no songs like “R-O-C-K in The USA” here. Average rating on I-Tunes is 3.5 stars.The comments range from “brilliant” to “I thought he was dead.”“My Sweet Love” sounds like something that was left off of the Plant & Krauss album “Raising Sand.” Mellencamp has stated that he needed to do this album and doesn’t care if he sells five copies.

Bruce Springsteen has released a four song EP along with the accompanying video through I-Tunes and it is his “Magic Tour Highlights.” I have to admit this is very cool and I like it. Alejandro Escovedo joins Bruce & the E-Street Band for his new single “Always A Friend” (which is my new favorite song of the week). Tom Morello joins them for a rendition of “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” The legendary Roger McGuinn joins them for a version of “Turn, Turn, Turn.” (Tell me he doesn’t sound like Tom Petty or should it be Petty sounds like McGuinn?) And the video for “4th of July, Asbury Park” has the last performance of one of the original E-Street members, Danny Fedrici, who passed away this past April from melanoma. Everyone involved is waiving their royalties and all the money from the sale of this CD/DVD will go to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. A nice touch!!

Go out and purchase the Randy Travis song “Faith in You” from his latest album “Around the Bend.” Great song period!!

Remember a few months ago I told you about the song “Addicted” from Ace Young, well his new CD is finally out and I will now change my stance and say that his other single “You Redeem Me” will be the song of the summer. This is pop music at its best.

My favorite old school song of the week is “Teacher” from Jethro Tull. I know, I’m still pissed that they beat out Metaliica for the first heavy metal Grammy but these boys had some good tunes and I recognize that.

Another old school favorite this week is The Who’s “The Punk and the Godfather” from Quadrophenia. This is the Who’s week by far.

I have to tell you that I am thisclose to buying the seemingly great collaboration between Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis “Two Men with the Blues.” This is a recording of their performance in January 2007 at Lincoln Center in NY City. This sounds terrific. I am going out on the ledge (just from the 30 second samples) and say that this is a must buy.

Received an e-mail this week from my friend Chris and it was a clip from You Tube featuring an 11 year old, Sungha Jung, playing acoustic guitar. You have to take a look and a listen: Go to :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uG_y8_FiKM&feature=related and you will also see many other tracks he has performed. Awesome.

Miracle happening this coming Tuesday, from the pages of Mr. Axl Rose, Zach De La Rocha is appearing from the ashes and will put out a new CD with his band- One Day As A Lion. He’s not in Axl’s category but he is number two when promising to put out new material and taking more than 7 years to do it.

This weeks I-Tune shuffle landed on “Carry On” by Crosby, Stills Nash & Young from their 2nd album but first with Neil Young. Of course I had to go back and listen to the classic album “Déjà vu.” I love the guitar work on Carry On and their vocals together rank up as one of the all-time greatest harmonizing team ever. This album lands on #147 on Rollingstone’s magazines list of the top 500 albums. “One morning I woke up and knew you were really gone.” I love the bridge in this song as they break to “where are you going now my love, where will you be tomorrow… questions of…” This song was penned by Stephen Stills and cracks my top 50 songs ever. Track # 2 is the great “Teach Your Children” written by Graham Nash. Did you know he was part of The Hollies? Everyone knows this song and you can’t say it’s not good. Track # 3 belongs to David Crosby with “Almost Cut My Hair.” Now this song puts me back at Woodstock (if I was old enough). Then its on to Mr. Young with “Helpless”- now no offense to Young’s fans but this doesn’t fit the album. I understand each one of them were taking turns writing tracks but it kills the flow. And I love this song.

Track # 5 is my favorite of this album, a song written by Joni Mitchell but this version is by far the best: “Woodstock.” Now I know you are all going to tell me you have heard this song a million times but how can you not love the intro to this song? Once you hear it- you’re hooked- you have to listen to the whole song again. The walls are bleeding right now. This is the perfect summer song!! Blast it at your next BBQ. “By the time we got to Woodstock…” I can listen over and over and over. How cool is the title track? Oh man just pure greatness with their harmonizing vocals at the beginning? “If I had I ever been here before I would probably know just what to do… Don’t you?” It then morphs into a psychedelic tune where you find yourself playing air bass guitar and wondering what kind of stuff Crosby was on when he wrote it. Track #7 is another Nash popular tune- “Our House.” Years ago I was embarrassed to admit that I love this song but can no longer deny it. (even the “La, La, La” part). (On another note it was the ending song on last night’s show on CBS- Swingtown).

I guess if I was old enough back in the early 70’s I would have been a big fan of Stephen Stills because I seem to gravitate to the songs that he wrote and this is especially true with track # 8: “4 + 20.” It’s a beautiful song but with some powerful ending lyrics. Track #9 belongs to Mr. Young and this is probably one of the best songs he has ever written: “Whisky Boot Hill/ Down, Down, Down/ Country Girl (I think you’re pretty).” I especially like when all four are singing “If I could stand to see her crying.. I would tell her not to care…” The last track was actually written by Young and Stills (I guess when they weren’t all fighting). “Everybody I Love You” is the song that has the most “kick” on this album. I can’t say enough about the harmonizing vocals, excellent here again.

Déjà Vu was released in March 1970 and it still stands the test of time. This is a “must have” in your music library. I always told my parents that I was born too late because I wish I could have been in my late teenage years when all this great music was at its height. I’m always drilling my father on why he was stuck in the 1950’s with the “doo wop” music. He was 26 in 1969 and could have gone to Woodstock and rode the wave of all the great music in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. Oh well I digress… Now I have read that this album is “overrated” by the non-baby boomer generation and my response is that is “crazy talk” (sorry Monica I had to use your term). This is a very special album; you all need to run out and purchase it- if you don’t have it. If you do, listen to it again and feel the greatness.

Today is Dion’s birthday. He turns 69. His biggest hit “Runaround Sue” was number 1 for two weeks in 1961.

Birthday wishes today also for Martha Reeves. She was born in Alabama in 1941. Her band had six top ten songs.

Back on this day in 1977 Barry Manilow had the number 1 hit with “Looks Like We Made It.” And on this day in 1988, Richard Marx had the number one hit with “Hold On to The Night.”

July 3, 2008

Weekly Update – 07/03/08

Eddie Vedder at the United Palace Theater on Mon. & Tues. Aug. 4th and 5th. Tickets on sale next Fri. July 11 at 10:00 a.m.$79.

The Goo Goo Dolls at the House of Blues in Atlantic City on Dec. 31. Pre-sale tickets begins tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and goes to July 31 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale is Fri. Aug. 1 at 10:00 a.m. $52 – $67.

Indigo Girls at the House of Blues in Atlantic City on Thurs. Sept. 25. Tickets on sale this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. $32 – $41.50.

Apocalyptica will be at Nokia Theater on Fri. Sept. 26. Tickets on sale now. $20.

Lindsey Buckingham at the Nokia on Sun. Rocktober 19. Tickets on sale next Sat. July 12 at noon.

Dion at the Mohegan Sun Cabaret on Thurs. thru Sun.Aug. 28 – Aug. 31. Tickets on sale this Mon. July 7 at 10:00 a.m. $40.

Wingstock 2008 at the First Energy Park in Lakewood NJ on Sat. Sept. 13, featuring Peter Wolf, Kansas and a “Huge Act” to be named later. Tickets on sale Mon. July 14 at noon. $35. Eight ticket limit.

Other items:

John Mayer has released “Where the Light Is- Live in Los Angeles.” This guy is growing on me. Great guitar player and nice vocals. He does a real cool version of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” Check it out. Supposedly Target is the place to buy it. You get both CD and DVD for $17.99.

My new favorite song of the week is from a Country Band called The Lost Trailers and the song is “Holler Back.” These guys have been around for a long time, they sound good- check them out.

My two favorite “old school” songs this week are “Mr. BoJangles” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “On and On” by Stephen Bishop. The Nitty Gritty Band re-recorded this hit with Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley but I like the original better. Jerry Jeff Walker actually wrote the song but I like this version the best- it’s been covered by many artists, including John Denver and Bob Dylan.

LL Cool J has released a new single called “Baby” featuring The Game. Very disappointed in LL, this song is juvenile and a big step backwards at this point in his career. I don’t know if he’s trying to get “street cred” but the cursing and the lyrics are laughable.

Fans of Little Feat, myself included, will be glad to know that 14 of their greatest hits have been re-recorded by various artists which include Dave Matthews, Chris Robinson, Jimmy Buffet, Vince Gil, Brooks & Dunn and Bob Seger.

Caught some needling on why no review of Motley Crue’s new release “Saints of Los Angeles.” I’m almost there. I don’t want to piece-meal it from I-Tunes and then realize I want the whole CD. The first five songs sound awesome. I’m a huge Crue fan so I most likely will take the plunge. And I totally agree that the video for “Saints of Los Angeles” is real cool, this is the way a rock band is suppose to look and sound like. Excellent song and video.

I have now solidified my favorite track on “Evil Urges” by My Morning Jacket and the honor goes to the “Librarian.” This song is phenomenal. Again, I can’t say enough about this album but if there is one song to get- this is the one. On another note about this album- you had to see the faces of my boys when I played “Highly Suspicious” for them. Talk about priceless. They hated it.

And not for nothing I am real close to getting “Real Animal” by Alejandro Escovedo that was just released this past Tuesday. Last week I mentioned his new single “Always a Friend” and as I listen to the 30-second previews on I-Tunes- it sounds like a smash hit!!

This week’s I-Tunes shuffle landed on “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel, so of course I had to go back and listen to my one and only album by Mr. Joel- “Glass Houses.” This was his seventh studio effort, which was released back in 1980. I know this album alienated fans from his first six albums but you know what? – it dragged me in. Now for myself back in 1980, it was not cool to own a Billy Joel album, so the people who knew me back then- probably never knew that I bought this. (I had a metal image to uphold). Now I recognize Mr. Joel’s space in American music history and he can’t be denied, but I was never a real “big” fan. I like a lot of his stuff but again this is the only album that I have ever purchased from his extensive library. And yes I have seen him live and have to admit I liked the show. He has earned his place in music history.

Now for me, the opening breaking glass sound on “You May Be Right” symbolized that he was shattering his image of just being a piano man and was ready to rock and roll. Say what you will about this song but when it’s cranked up loud (as I have it now) this is a fun rock and roll song. “Sometimes A Fantasy” is a cool song and I love the hook. With a good set of headphones, the background vocals come through great. I love the drum parts to “only you can give me satisfaction.” Again play this loud. “Don’t Ask Me Why”- well don’t ask me why but I love this song- I know its soft but there is a soft side to me. “Don’t wait for answers, just take your chances.” Sort of reminds me of something Paul McCartney would sing. OK now I know you have heard “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me” over a thousand times, especially in the summer of 1980 but you know what? It’s a great song.

Tell me you don’t like “All for Leyna?” Oh man I wore this album out and this is my second favorite track. I love the piano work and the bridge of the song that takes it into “I’m failing in school, losing my friends…” is something that I can listen to over and over. If you have the album- side 2: track # 1: “I Don’t Want To Be Alone” is not only my favorite song on this album, this could very well rank up there in my top 20 songs of all time. Can you say “desert island” song? I have always wanted to perform this song a la karaoke style. How cool is this song? “She said she meet me in a bar at the Plaza Hotel, wear a jacket and a tie-eee-eye..” It has a funky stop and go beat that flows real well and Billy’s vocals are spot on. Perfect bar song. Then for all sports fans, “Sleeping With the Television On” starts with the National Anthem and then back in the old days the TV would turn off and you’d hear just a steady noise. “Your Eyes are Saying Talk to Me… This isn’t for me to say Dianne… All Night Long..” I believe this is one of his all time classic songs, I know a lot of folks out there probably think I’m sleeping with the television on right now. And how cool and rocking is “Close to the Borderline” – I love it- crank it up. How many songs by Billy Joel can you say “Crank it Up?” I love the guitar throughout. “A buck three eighty won’t buy you much these days… I don’t change channels, so they must change me..” How many Billy Joel songs can you “air guitar” to? Come on, this is probably the only one. The album closes with “Through The Long Night,” a great slow song and Joel’s vocals are top notch. It’s a sing along song for the whole family- take it on your next trip together.

Glass Houses spawned two number 1 hits for Mr. Joel: “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” and “Don’t Ask Me Why.” “You May Be Right” peaked at # 7. Now there is not one bad tune on this album and it classifies as a “desert island” disc. It’s short and compact- like many albums were back in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. At the time I bought it, I knew it was a classic but again wasn’t too vocal about it. But now I will tell all of you- run out and get this album now!!! And he also won a Grammy for this album “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance”- would I steer you wrong?

Remember the VH1 Honors show this year is on Thurs. July 17 at 9:00 p.m. and the only band being honored is The Who. Should be a great show.

Back on this day in 1971, Jim Morrison died of a heart attack in France at the young age of 27.

Today would have been Laura Branigan’s 51st birthday, she passed away in Aug. 2004. She was born in Brewster NY.

Back on this day in 1988, Cheap Trick had its only #1 song with “The Flame.”

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