Errols Weekly Music Update.

December 31, 2008

Weekly Update – 12/31/2008

Other items:

I received a request to list, in my opinion, the best rock and roll “screamers” of all time and here are my top ten.

10.         James Brown– OK the list also includes R&B but how can this list not include James Brown? He has all the different grunts, screeches, screams in almost every song that he recorded. His passionate cries in “Please, Please, Please” has to count in this list. How about “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World?” Talk about passion, whew!!! How about “I Got the Feeling?”

9.           Brian Johnson– How can he be off of this list? Impossible, right? You can choose just about any song in their catalog. The first song that comes to mind is the title track to his first album with AC/DC- “Back in Black.” The immediate next song that comes to mind for me is “Honey What do you do for Money?” Like I said, the list could continue for days…

8.            Rob Halford– He arguably could have the best metal vocals of all-time. Take a listen to “Painkiller” and tell me he is not in the top ten screamers of all-time? ‘Nuff said.

7.           Janis Joplin-Hey this list is not limited to males and we all know Ms. Joplin knocks the cover off the ball on “Piece of My Heart” but what about “Try (Just a Little Harder)?” whew talk about passion again!!! Or how about “Cry Baby?” It is such a shame she left the music world so young and so sudden but her classic music lives on!!

6.            Ian Gillian-“Space Truckin’” baby!!! Oh man how psyched do I get when I hear this song? And I want to scream out like Mr. Gillian!!! “Yeah Yeah Yeah!!!” Or how about the powerhouse “Highway Star?” This is rock and roll at it’s best folks!! Ian rocks, rolls and screams his way right on this list.

5.            Chris Cornell-I know Nirvana gets all the accolades for bringing “grunge” to the forefront but for me, Mr. Cornell was also at the front of the class and his style is so distinctive that you know it as soon as you hear him. Take “Rusty Cage” for example, “I gonna breeeaaaaak!!!!” Or how about “Slaves and Bulldozers?” This could be his best screaming song!!! But I also love his screaming in “Superunknown” and “The Day I Tried to Live.” (you forgot about that one, right?)

4.            Axl RoseOk even though the man drives me nuts, I have to give credit where credit is due. From his opening screams in “Welcome to the Jungle” to the blazing screams in “You Could be Mine” Axl puts himself at the top of the heap as one of the best screamers in rock history. For me, his best high note comes on “Out Ta Get Me.”

3.             Little Richard-Don’t even try to think or say that he doesn’t belong here because hecamethisclose to being my number 1 screamer of all-time. Put on “Long Tall Sally” and tell me he didn’t invent the scream? This is so friggin’ good it makes me want to scream!!! Or how about “Ready Teddy?”- right now I’m screaming and dancing all around the room as I type this in. This is rock and roll at its best!!! How about “Lucille?” The list can go on and on, truly folks if you don’t own any of Little Richard in your music library, you are missing the boat.

2.           Steven Tyler-What can you say about Steven Tyler that hasn’t already been said? This man is one of the greatest rock and roll singers ever and his soul is filled with the passion that is needed to make you feel the way you do when you listen to any of his songs. “Dream On”- no matter how many times I here this song, it gives me goose bumps!! His screeching of “Dream On” gets me all the time. To this day I still don’t know what he screams on “Draw the Line.” I defy you to tell me what he says (without looking at the recorded words). “Baby Please Don’t Go” from “Honkin’ on Bobo” will get you out of your seat and dance everywhere while wishing you could wail like him. This man is filled with all the ingredients to arguably be the best rock and roll singer ever!!

1.            Roger Daltrey– “Love Reign O’er Me” is the best scream song ever recorded, period end of story!!! How friggin’ great is this song? And what can you say about Daltrey? He was just honored last night at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. (along with Pete). What a nice touch last night adding the NYC Police & Fire Departments to the stage, to sing along with Rob Thomas, as they saluted Roger with “Baba O’Riley.” “It’s only teenage wasteland!!!” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Long Live Rock,” and “The Real Me” are just some of the classics that set the standard for great rock and roll…. And some screaming to along with it!!!

Speaking of the Kennedy Center awards, do you see it last night? The salute to The Who was spectacular. Jack Black was the perfect person to do the honoring of one of the greatest rock bands ever. He sounded genuine in his love for the Who and the performances were outstanding. The highlight was Bettye LaVette performing “Love Reign O’er Me.” She did her take on it, which made it seem like a “classical” song or a song performed at a night club “back in the day.” My wife said her version was better than the Who’s. How cool was Joss Stone performing “My Generation?” Chris Cornell was rock solid as usual performing “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and of course Mr. Dave Grohl was there (isn’t he everywhere?) doing his take on “My Generation.” As mentioned above, Rob Thomas sang “Baba O’Reilly” and then was joined by the NYC Fire & Police department members to help him sing along. Again it was a nice touch as those members were returning their gratitude to The Who for performing at MSG after the 9/11 attacks.

The honoring of Barbara Streisand was also awesome. Queen Latifah was very gracious in her admiration and respect for Barbara. The musical performances were top notch with the highlight for me being Ne-Yo performing “Lover Come Back to Me.” What I liked the best was the fact that Ne-Yo did it in the first place, most of his fans were probably shocked but he pulled it off and he was spot-on!! Beyonce’s rendition of “The Way We Were” was excellent, she captured the moment. (but we all know no one does it like Ms. Streisand). “Somewhere” was performed by Kelli O’Hara and Nathan Gunn and they were backed by a tremendous orchestra as well as many young people singing the background vocals. All in all, this was a super solid tribute to Barbara, who according to my wife is the greatest female vocalist of all time. She was my wife’s “idol” growing up.

VH1 is show casing the greatest “hard rock” songs of all time this week. (Top 100 of all time) Tonight is the third hour of the series and will highlight songs 60 – 41. If you need to catch up you can start watching at 7:00 p.m. for the first hour and then the second hour will be at 8:00 p.m. My guess is that come Friday night, you’ll probably be seeing something by AC/DC in the top 5, if not the number 1 slot. I’m thinking “For Those About to Rock” or “Back in Black.”

John Lennon has made a television commercial 28 years after his death. With approval from Yoko and through the use of digital technology, the former Beatle urges people across the United States to support a campaign by “One Laptop per Child” to deliver tough, solar-powered XO laptop computers to the world’s poorest children. You can go to you tube to view the commercial, it is very cool.

Bruce Springsteen is the next big name that will use Walmart only to sell his “greatest hits” which will be released Jan. 13.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of two people who passed away during this past week. Guitarist Delaney Bramlett and Eartha Kitt. Mr. Bramlett played with Clapton and George Harrison and many others. Ms. Kitt was the best Cat woman!!

Back on this day in 1972, the first Dick Clark “Rockin’ New Years Eve” aired on ABC and the musical guests were Three Dog Night, Al Green and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Sadly back on this day in 1985, Rick Nelson died in a plane crash near Dekalb, TX- he was only 45.

Back on this day in 1970, Paul McCartney filed suit to dissolve the Beatles partnership.

If you are celebrating a birthday today, you share the date with Donna Summer and the late John Denver.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

December 19, 2008

Weekly Update – 12/19/2008

Filed under: CD Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ea0217 @ 6:39 am

John Legend at the Apollo Theater on Mon. Feb. 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $52 – $72.

Adele at Roseland Ballroom on Tues. May 5, 2009. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $32.50

LL Cool J at Nokia Theater on Thurs. Feb. 19. Pre-sale tickets on now for American Express cardholders only. General public on sale Sat. Dec. 20 at noon.$39.50

Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Garden and Izod Center on Tues. & Wed. Apr. 14 and 15. Tickets on sale on Sat. Jan. 17, 2009. More information to come.

Cold War Kids at Terminal 5 on Fri. Apr. 3, 2009. Tickets on sale today at noon. $22.

Other items:

Here is my list of the top 10 albums of 2008:

10.         Warpaint– The Black Crowes– The Robinson Brothers have the music in them and let’s be grateful that they are still sharing it with all of us. This is their best effort in years and I believe their finest work since “Amorica.” When one mixes a concoction of R&B, folk, blues and southern rock all into one, you get the Black Crowes. How can you go wrong with that? Key Tracks: Wounded Bird, There’s Gold in Them Hills, Gods Got It, Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution

9.           Learn to LiveDarius Rucker– Yes that’s right, Mr. Rucker makes the list this year and probably the only way is due to the switch he made to country music. I am not a big Hootie fan but I am a big fan of his first solo effort in the country genre. This fits him like a glove. Key Tracks: Forever Road, All I Want, History in the Making, It Won’t Be Like This for Long

8.            Forever MoreTesla– OK go ahead and say I’m putting this here because I love this band. Well you’re right but they deserve it. This album also took me a few turns but then it clicked and boom!! This band is relevant today and their sound proves it. The hardest working band rocks the house with this solid effort. Key tracks: In A Hole Again, Pvt. Ledbetter, Just In Case, All of Me

7.            It’s Time for a Love RevolutionLenny Kravitz– Mr. Kravitz is all about peace & love and his music is the way for him to express those attributes. This man can flat out rock with the best of them but in the next breath he can pour his heart & soul into a song that will move you like no one other singer can. He keeps getting better. Key Tracks: I’ll Be Waiting, Will You Marry Me, Bring It On, Love Love Love.

6.            Lay It DownAl Green– Mr. Green is back (although for many he never left). This is a super solid effort with his old sound that resonates in your system and keeps you coming back for more. This legend pulls in some of today’s artists to help him along with his stellar performance. Key Tracks: No One Like You, Take Your Time, Too Much, You’ve Got The Love I Need

5.            Attack & Release– The Black Keys– It took me some time but the more I listened the more I realized the talent these two guys have. This garage band socks a solid punch with rock, blues and R&B all rolled into your “wrap” to digest. Key Tracks: I Got Mine, Oceans & Streams, Strange Times, Things Ain’t Like They Use to Be.

4.            Weezer (Red Album)Weezer– Like fine wine, this band continues to get better with each release. This album also had me from the opening lick, “Troublemaker” which rocks the whole house and sets the tone for a ride with different turns & twists. Rivers Cuomo lets others take a shot at the song writing as well as singing and it all works. Key Tracks: The Angel and the One, Troublemaker, Dreamin’, Everybody Get Dangerous

3.            Death MagneticMetallica– This album had me at the “heart beat” on the opening track “That Was Just Your Life.” I am not picking this third just because I love Metallica- they are here because they deserve it. This album is rock solid despite all the cries for reprints and the usual complaints from the never satisfied “haters.” The true Metallica fan knows this album is the real deal and just like Stella, they have their groove back. Key Tracks: That Was Just Your Life, The End of the Line, Judas Kiss, Broken Beat & Scarred

2.            Evil UrgesMy Morning Jacket– From the opening track I knew I was hooked. As previously mentioned, this was my first journey into the music from the boys from Kentucky (this is their 5th studio album).The track “Highly Suspicious” is the lightning rod track of the album and for our family a source of good fun as we rode up to Cape Cod for our annual summer trek, this was the song that was the most entertaining. I will always remember my kids singing the chorus in the backseat and bouncing up & down to the infectious beat. Key Tracks: Librarian, Highly Suspicious, I’m Amazed, Thank You Too.

1.            The Sound of MadnessShinedown– When this album first came out I knew it was good. Then I started to listen to it more & more. I can honestly say that I do not skip over one track on the entire CD and I haven’t stopped listening to it since it came out. Each song is passionately produced. Again it amazes me that I do not see this on anyone else’s list, but you know what? Everyone else is missing the boat, these guys are top notch. Each album they have made is excellent and they continue to grow. By long miles, this album is the BEST of 2008!!! Key tracks: ALL OF THEM!!!

Ok here it is, my list of the best songs of 2008:

15.          Inside the FireDisturbed. I become disturbed when I hear this. I’m pumped.

14.          Saints of Los AngelesMotley Crue– C’mon this is their new anthem song!!

13.          DisturbiaRihanna– I know it was released in 2007 but it really took off in 2008. “Bum Bum Be’um, Bum Bum, Be’um ‘um..”

12.          Second ChanceShinedown– “My eyes are open wide” and so are mine-there had to be at least two songs in the top 15 from the best album of 2008.

11.          LibrarianMy Morning Jacket– No matter what my kids say, this song belongs on this list. It might put you to sleep but you can’t ignore the beauty to this song.

10.          There’s Gold in Them Hills– The Black Crowes– Ditto for this song, it may put some to sleep but this is my favorite Black Crowes song ever!!! I float away and that’s when you know something is good, when it takes you away.

9.          AddictedAce Young– This song has a great hook and it hooked me in. I can listen to this song over and over.

8.          If You Only KnewShinedown– Even though it hasn’t been released on the radio, this is my favorite song from their impeccable “Sound of Madness.” “It’s 4:03 and I can’t sleep without you next to me I toss and turn like the sea…”

7.          Rock N Roll TrainAC/DC– Play this loud and tell me you don’t like it? I defy you!! Rock on my friends… \m/ \m/

6.          4 Minutes Madonna with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland- Yes I love this song!! I love the beat, the hook and the chorus. Not enough time to save the world but long enough to dance all around the room!!

5.          TroublemakerWeezer– Pork & Beans seems to be on everyone else’s list but not here. This song is a blast and the video is even better!! Pure fun!!“How’s this for arts and crafts?”… “air-guitar away”

4.          Pocketful of SunshineNatasha Betingfield– This song is infectious and reminds me of the summertime. I went on a school trip with my oldest son’s class and they sang this song repeatedly on the bus ride all the way up to Boston. I love it!!!

3.          All Summer LongKid Rock– Even though this came out in 2007 (I know I’m breaking my rules) this song really took off in 2008 (like I told you it would). Kid was every where with this song and even “parents” like it (except for the “smoking funny things” and “whiskey” parts).

2.          I’m YoursJason Mraz– My wife usually doesn’t like the new stuff out there but this is probably her favorite song right now and I have to agree. This is a wonderful song that takes you “away.”

1.          If You’re Out ThereJohn Legend– There are songs that come along, once in a while, that hit you over the head and makes you realize that you are listening to something really special. The first time I heard this song I knew it was going to be one of my favorite songs of all time. This is by far the best song of 2008. Listen to words and hear his passion, this is what captured my undivided attention. “Tomorrow’s starting now.”

I know this looks out of place but my oldest son gave me a new idea for the updates going forward. He suggested naming my favorite ten songs from an artist and/or band. So this week I decided to pick Rod Stewart, don’t ask me why but for some reason he was the first to pop into my head. (I think because he has so many great songs). Well here they are, my favorite ten songs from Rod Stewart: (please note his stunt with “Faces” also counts) (by the way this was done before someone asked me to name my top 10 Christmas albums):

10. Stay with Me-friggin’ rock & roll at its best

9. (I Know) I’m Losing You-One of the first of his great “covers.”

8. Miss Judy’s Farm– The Black Crowes had to be listening to this one and decided to be rock stars.

7. Cut Across Shorty– To me his signature sound from the great “Gasoline Alley” album.

6. You Keep Me Hanging On– Ranks up there as one of the best ever musical arrangements in a song. I like this cover better than the original.

5. Hot Legs– Kick ass rock and roll song (sorry kids no other way to say it) no matter how many times you hear it; reminds me of my mother.

4. You Wear It Well– you know how they say there is “comfort” food? Well this is a “comfort” song for me.

3. Every Picture Tells A Story-Could arguably be the best song he ever recorded.

2. Born Loose-This song gets me so psyched every time I hear it. This should be on “Rock Band.”

1. I Was Only Joking– This tune cracks my top ten songs of all time. I immediately stop whatever I’m doing when I hear this song and have to sing along.

Keeping with the theme of lists going, someone asked to name the top ten Christmas albums of all-time (no compilations included) and in my opinion they are:

10.          Christmas with the Chipmunks-The Chipmunks-that’s right the Chipmunks, you know you grew up with it and now your children love it. This album is a timeless classic that brings great holiday cheer. Key tracks: The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Chipmunk song, Up on the House-Top, Deck the Halls

9.          A Charlie Brown ChristmasVince Guaraldi: This is the perfect album for a holiday gathering with family and friends. It elicits a sense of happiness. Key tracks: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Skating, Linus & Lucy, O Tannenbaum

8.          Marshmallow World & Other Holiday FavoritesRaul Malo– As I have been harping on this site for some time now, this is the best Christmas release in the last ten years. Mr. Malo is a “throw-back” to the good old days of past Christmas’ vocal styles. Key tracks: I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Marshmallow World, Silver Bells, Feliz Navidad

7.          Ella Wishes You a Swinging ChristmasElla Fitzgerald– How can this list not include one of the best female vocalists ever? Her voice sends you “away.” Key Tracks: Let It Snow, Sleigh Ride, Frosty the Snowman, Winter Wonderland

6.          White Christmas Bing Crosby-Only the best selling single of all time in music history but the rest of this album is stellar as well. I am so glad that once a year, the younger generation is reminded or introduced to a true legend. His work is also timeless. Key Tracks: White Christmas, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Adeste Fideles

5.          Christmas with DinoDean Martin-This is “comfort” music. His effortlessness in singing just shows you how much talent he had. His voice is so distinctive and his version of Let It Snow is fantastic. Key Tracks: Let It Snow, A Marshmallow World, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Silver Bells

4.          The Christmas SongNat King Cole– This man is a national treasure. His version of the Christmas Song is probably the most recognizable song in the history of Christmas music. He has the perfect voice and it is a beautiful album. Key Tracks: The Christmas Song, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, The First Noel, O Holy Night

3.          Have a Holly Jolly ChristmasBurl Ives– There are a few songs that I need to hear that will automatically get in the mood with the holiday spirit and “A Holly Jolly Christmas” is one of those songs. Each holiday season, I sit in front of our Christmas tree and listen to this entire album. Key Tracks: ALL OF THEM!!!

2.          Elvis Christmas AlbumElvis Presley-I thank my father for “raising me” up with Elvis and this album is a keeper until the end of time. His version of “Silent Night” gives me the chills. Hard to believe this is not my top Christmas album but… Key Tracks: ALL OF THEM!!!

1.          A Christmas Gift for YouPhil Spector– Mr. Spector produced this album and in my opinion this is the greatest Christmas album of all-time. Darlene Love, The Ronettes, The Crystals and Bob B Soxx & the Blue Jeans offer up their best and the results are spectacular. Key Tracks: ALL OF THEM!!!.

Oh well, might as well continue with my top 10 Christmas songs of All Time and they are:

10.          Christmas IsRun DMC– I friggin’ love this song!!! It is blasting right now as I am writing.. “Give up the doe, give up the doe.” I wish I knew how to dance.

9.          I’ll Be Home for Christmas– The Beach Boys– Most go for “Little Saint Nick” but for me, this is their best Christmas tune.

8.          White Christmas-The Drifters– How cool is this version and I am immediately drawn to Macaulay Culkin lip syncing this great song in “Home Alone.” This was also a family sing-a-long song on every Christmas Eve, where my mother and aunt stole the spotlight!!

7.          Silver BellsBurl Ives– What a voice this man had and his version of Silver Bells knocks me right off my chair

6.          If Every Day was Like ChristmasElvis Presley– Talk about pure perfection, this song has it all. No one else can do this like the King himself. This is one of the most beautiful songs ever.

5.          Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!Dean Martin– Wow every time I hear this song, I just wish it would snow. If it ever snows before Christmas, or on Christmas, you know I take this song out and smile away.

4.          Happy ChristmasJohn Lennon & Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir– This is the one song I need to hear each Christmas season to get me into the holiday spirit. There have been many takes on this song but no one does this like John can. This is a “spine-tingling” classic.

3.          Blue ChristmasAnn and Nancy Wilson– Ann’s voice gives me the chills on her spectacular take on this timeless classic.I can’t get enough of this song.

2.          Sleigh RideThe Ronettes– “Ring-a-ling-ling-ding-dong-ding” ‘Nuff Said!!!

1.           Pretty PaperRoy Orbison-You can ask my wife and children how many times they have heard this song over the past 14 years (longer for my wife). Each Christmas season I have to listen to this song at least two times in a row, if not more. This song puts me in a trance and I can’t move until it’s over. To me this is the most beautiful song ever sung.

Back on this day in 1978, ABC aired the following Christmas special: “The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait.”

Back on this day in 1996, Lubbock, Texas named a street after their homegrown son, Mr. Buddy Holly.

Sadly back on this day in 2000, Pops Staple of the Staple Singers (remember my old school favorite song of the week last week- “Respect Yourself”) passed away after suffering a concussion.

If you were born today, you share a birth date with Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire.

Reminder: Rock Band 2 is out today for the Wii system. Good Luck trying to get one!!

December 16, 2008

Concert Review: Neil Young at Madison Square Garden on 12/15/2008

Concert Review: Neil Young at Madison Square Garden on Monday December 15, 2008.

Have you ever encountered a moment in your life where you become conscious that you are standing in someone else’s shoes? At that single moment, you grasp the feelings of that person which you never thought would happen. Well folks I have to be completely honest here and after last night’s Neil Young performance at Madison Square Garden, I have to say now that I understand the NY Times review of the AC/DC show. If you have been following along, I found it so strange that someone who went to the AC/DC show could find it not as great as I did. Now I am not going to sit here and write that Mr. Young’s performance was not good. To the contrary, the man has so much talent and music within him that I will state that the show was very enjoyable. The man is a legend and his band was tighter than a high wire. All I’m telling you is that I had a different perspective- which is- I am someone who respects and acknowledges Neil Young but admittedly am not the total freak of a fan that I am say for AC/DC or Tesla or Van Halen. Do you get the picture?

First off I have to thank my good friend Andy for inviting me to the show. Admittedly again, I would not have purchased tickets to the show myself but was intrigued on seeing a legend. Andy and his friends were actually more pumped to see Wilco. This is a band that I was not too familiar with as well, so I was definitely out of my element but more than willing to take it all in. Taking our seats for Wilco (sorry we missed Everest), the stage had a warm feel to it as the carpet on the stage floor made it seem like they were playing inside a cabin, so even though they were playing at the grandeur stage of Madison Square Garden, they made the setting very intimate. I did not know what to expect from Wilco but after their set I have to say I was pretty impressed. When they played their first song “Via Chicago” I was thinking that this is a cool mellow type of song and then about two minutes into it, two out of the six member band kept playing the same mellow chords and the other four members were playing something totally different. Just picture someone walking down a road and unknowingly behind them is a swirling tornado. It was something that I had never heard before and was pretty blown away and even though they sounded like they were worlds apart, it worked. The highlights for me were “You are My Face”, “Walken” and “I’m the Man Who Loves You.” Musically, this band was also very tight. You really can’t put a finger on what type of music they play- if I had to pick something I would say “alternative country”- if there is such a genre. They can rock out, go mellow, play folksy tunes and also jam with the best of them. All in all, a good set.

Mr. Young took the stage after 10:00 p.m. and opened with “Love and Only Love” – a tune that I was unfamiliar with. The stage looked actually looked like Neil and his band were playing on a New York City street as there was a light hovering over them, it reminded me of the street lamps on every city block. There were amplifiers, wires, folding chairs, music stands and a huge fan that was moving in slow motion which gave the setting a feel of a NY summer “block party.” Neil was wearing his jeans, sneakers, a tee shirt covered with a sport coat. The bass guitarist reminded me of Ace Frehley or Mick Mars for some reason and Neil’s long time guitarist, Ben Keith, had a lot of grey but it was only his hair color as he shredded all night long. The drummer appeared to be the youngest and I wonder if he was even born yet when Mr. Young began his musical journey. The second tune- “Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)”- was exactly like the live version you hear on classic rock radio. I love it when Neil just awkwardly bounces up & down, side to side as if an electric current was streaming through his veins. He did a nice job on the guitar solo. Neil’s game plan seemed to sprinkle in the old trusty classics after a few newer songs. When I heard “Powderfinger” it took me back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as the New York classic rock station at the time, WNEW-FM, would play this song endlessly. When the opening chords to “Cinnamon Girl” hit the crowd it seemed to energize them. To be quite honest, I was looking for that energy from the crowd the whole night and it did appear but only in spurts and seemed to coincide with his classics. After that song, he slowed things down with an acoustic set. And for the first time in my life I saw someone play the organ and harmonica at the same time. Normally I’m use to seeing the guitar and harmonica at the same time. The song-“Mother Earth”- was performed just by Neil himself and was one of the highlights of the show. The middle of the show featured many songs that I did not know and it wasn’t until “Heart of Gold” that the crowd picked up its enthusiasm (as far as I could tell). Again if you are a true fan of his, you love the show and I will not criticize. But for someone like me, the show at times had its real slow and quiet points. My favorite Neil Young song, “Old Man”, was performed to perfection and the crowd sung the song loud and clear for Neil to hear. As the clock almost struck midnight, I had to get my car out of the parking lot and had to scoot out of there before hearing one of my other favorites “Keep On Rocking in the Free World.” All in all, this was a solid performance from Neil and his band. I know I’m usually filled with more passion but don’t take this as something I did not like. For me, this was a much slower and less frantic pace than I am normally accustomed to. It was a good experience for me and I look forward to attending more shows that will open the doors to a whole new musical experience. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

December 12, 2008

Weekly Update – 12/12/2008

3 Doors Down with Hinder at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Feb. 24. Pre-sale tickets on sale now through 3DD fan club. General public on sale next Fri. Dec. 19 at 10:00 a.m.$47.50

Fall Out Boy at Nokia Theater next Tues. Dec. 16. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $10. (Yes that’s what it says : TEN bucks)

Toby Keith at The Mohegan Sun on Fri. Jan. 23. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $75 – $95.

Black Label Society with The Infinite Staircase (Sebastian Bach’s son’s band) at The Hammerstein Ballroom on Fri. April 10. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.. $42.50 – $69.50.

The Pretenders at Roseland Ballroom on Fri. Jan. 30. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $49.50

Tony Bennett at the Chevrolet Theater on Sat. Feb. 21, 2009. Tickets on sale Monday Dec. 15 at 10:00 a.m. $50.50 – $70.50 .

Big Head Todd & The Monsters at The New York Fillmore on Thurs. Feb. 5. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$28.

Kenney Chesney with Lady Antebellum and Sugarland at Gillette Stadium on Sat. Aug. 15. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $44.50 – $99.50.

Cheap Trick at Harrah’s at Atlantic City on Sat. Feb. 7. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $30 – $50. The boys from Rockford may put out a new album next year.

Slipknot with Coheed & Cambria and Trivium at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Feb. 5. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.$39.50 – $49.50.

Concierto De Amor featuring Marc Anthony at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Feb. 14. Tickets on sale today at noon. $79.50 – $154.50.

David Byrne at Radio City Music Hall on Fri. Feb. 27, 2009. Pre-sale tickets on now for American Express cardholders. General public on sale this Mon. Dec. 15 at noon. $39.50 – $129.50.

Anita Baker at Radio City Music Hall on Sat. Feb. 14. Tickets on sale today at noon. $44.50 – $129.50

Other items:

Mr. Joe Satriani is suing Cold Play over the song “Viva La Vida.” The guitar great is claiming that Cold Play stole the riffs directly from his song “If I Could Fly” from his 2004 album “Is There Love in Space.” I have to tell you folks, if George Harrison lost his battle with the Chiffons over his song “My Sweet Lord” – which the Chiffons say he stole from their hit “He’s So Fine” – then Cold Play doesn’t stand a chance. When you listen to the beginning of his song, it sounds exactly like “Viva La Vida.” Now the boys from Cold Play have made fun of Mr. Satriani’s name and now it’s on!!! No one disrespects Satch. Take a listen for yourself. By the way, the guitar work in “If I Could Fly” is flat out phenomenal. The man is a legend and is a true “Guitar Hero.” You need to own something by Satch!!

Believe it or not: Puddle of Mudd will appear on the soap opera “One Live to Live” on December 30 at 2:00 p.m. They’re slated to perform their current single, “We Don’t Have to Look Back Now,” at Ultra Violet, the club owned by the character Rex Balsom. In addition, lead singer Wes Scantlin will show off his acting chops during the show.

Another believe it or not: Nikki Sixx turned 50 years young yesterday. He was just 23 when he formed Motley Crue with Tommy Lee back in 1981. Wow how time flies!!

My favorite new song of the week is “Unseen” by Katie Armiger. It is a stunning beautiful song!

Maroon 5 has put out a new album “Call and Response.” Well Ok it’s not new per say, it is their songs mixed by many different “Re-mixers.” My oldest son bought the CD and he loves it and that is the reason I am putting it on the update this week. I need to listen to the whole thing but my initial response was that I like their songs the way they are. But I have to heed my own advice and keep an open mind, plus like I have always said- I love collaborations amongst different artists from various genres.

Kiss are reportedly working on their first album of new material since 1998’s Psycho Circus. Paul Stanley will produce the record. This marks a drastic change of opinion for Stanley and Gene Simmons, who have said in the past they weren’t interested in making a new record due to the state of the record business. Stanley says they are going back to their 70’s sound. They do that and I’ll buy it. I’ve been listening to a heavy dose of the album “Hotter Than Hell” and have to tell you that album rocks!! “Parasite” is cranking right now!!\m/ \m/

The Smashing Pumpkins are planning to continue to make music, but not albums. Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, Billy Corgan confirmed that the poorly-received Zeitgeist would be their last album, saying “our primary function now is to be a singles band.” He also says the band’s future shows will be small affairs where they won’t play classics from their catalog. Instead, they’ll concentrate on new material.

Christina Aguilera has released a new single “Dynamite” and I have to say it doesn’t sound so hot. Sort of sounds like something Ms. Spears would do. It’s OK.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “Respect Yourself” by The Staple Singers. This is R&B at its best. This song was released in 1971, man there was so much great music made in the late 1960’s to the mid 1970’s- there must have been something in the water back in those days.

Music Soulchild has released his fifth studio album “On My Radio” and from all the reviews on I-Tunes it could turn out to be his best work yet. He does a cool duet with Mary J. Blige (who is everywhere- by the way the commercial with Mary in the elevator with her biggest fan is the second best commercial on TV- behind Ozzy’s commercial) with a tune called “If U Leave” which will be a smash hit. For many he has brought the old school style back to R&B/Soul.

Sticking with the R&B/Soul theme my other favorite school song of the week is “Don’t Mess with Bill” by the Marveltettes. The song was actually written by Smokey but who better to do it than the Marvelettes? Check out their greatest hits collection, you can’t go wrong. Of course they are most known for the infamous “Please Mr. Postman.” (another great song).

Bon Jovi had the top honors for making the most money in 2008 with their “Lost Highway” concert tour. They raked in almost $211M. The Boss & the E Street band came in second with the “Magic” Tour and that produced nearly $205M. Rounding out the top ten: 3) Madonna -$162M; 4) The Police-$150M; 5) Celine Dion-$91M; 6) Kenny Chesney-$86M; 7) Neil Diamond-$81M; 8 ) Spice Girls-$70M; 9) Eagles-$57M; 10) Rascall Flatts-$56M

The Raconteurs have put out a new country single “Old Enough” with help from Ricky Scaggs and Ashley Moore. Sounds great. Jack White has done Country before, he produced Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose” back in 2004 and that album is great!!

“And 5, now this is most important, Rat…comes down to making out… whenever possible.. put on side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV

Freedom at Point Zero – Side 2- Jefferson Starship

Freedom was released in November 1979 and even at the young age of 14, I knew that side 2 was a classic album side. Now most will remember their most popular song from this album- “Jane” – which is the first song on the album. Don’t get me wrong, I love this song, so much so that I decided to listen to this song first (while writing the review) and then switch it over to side two. This album was really a “new” release from the band known as Jefferson Starship (JS). Now our older brethren, who you know that I have the utmost respect for, will scoff at the notion that this is JS. I know and recognize the importance of Jefferson Airplane/Starship and am not comparing the two. Marty Balin and Grace Slick were major stars in their own right with Airplane and Starship but they had enough and decided to leave the band. Mr. Paul Kantner, along with Craig Chaquico, David Frieberg and Pete Sears wanted to continue. (so did their drummer John Barbata but he was sidelined for this album due to a serious car crash, he was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar).This is just a comment on how great side 2 is with their revamped lineup (obviously at that time). At that time, bands like Foreigner and Journey ruled the air-waves, so JS decided to recruit Mickey Thomas. (remember the song “Fooled around and fell in love?” that was Mickey with the Elvin Bishop Band- now on a side note- don’t kid yourself into thinking Mr. Thomas was the lead singer for Elvin Bishop, it was a one stop drop and out. Mr. Bishop’s music is totally different from “Fooled around.”) Thomas’ vocals compared to the likes of Journey.Listen to “Jane” and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

OK back to side 2- The first track “Girl with the Hungry Eyes” starts off with the keyboards and drums (drumming is excellent throughout this whole album). The vocal arrangements work well because you have the high and low effect between Thomas and Kanter. The bridge to the guitar solo is freaking phenomenal as the drums take you right to the air guitar part. “I want the girl with hungry eyes.” Phew I’m psyched already. Then it is on to the grandiose “Just The Same.” This song is the best track on the entire album. Mr. Thomas’s voice is perfect and again the bridge to the slow part of the song (where it sounds like a bees nest) hooks you right in. They even throw in a saxophone solo at the end, which is the desert after the meat and potatoes. You can feel Mickey’s passion as his voice echoes long into the ending. Track # 3 “Rock Music” is a song which you should be familiar with, this was played on WNEW FM all summer long in 1980. It is a driving rock song that features heavy guitar licks and the complimentary whirl around the drums. The chorus is infectious “Rock and Roll is good time music” and the guitar solo should be profiled either on rock band or guitar hero. (By the way, Monica, your name is mentioned in the song). “Fading Lady Light” is probably where the original Airplane fans want to throw up as this is the ideal rock ballad song (where the audiences at the time were using their lighters around the arena, not cell phones). This ranks up there as one of my favorite rock ballads of all time. My arms are swaying back and forth over my head as I sing the chorus loud “Fading lady light, always here with me, singing your song in the wind at night.” Sorry, I’m back now. Side two ends with the fabulous title track. After all these years, I still can’t nail down the drum part that starts off this song but its cranking baby!!! This is a driving rock song at its best and the vocals, guitars, drumming –well… everything works!!! This is a perfect karaoke song for me because I know every single word and would love to sing it with all of you. Is this on Rock Band? I’ll take the vocals, no wait I’ll take the drums..no..,no…no I’ll take the guitar part. Sorry I had to listen to the whole song before I continued writing; as a matter of fact I have to listen to it again. “Don’t look back- hold steady keep your eyes open we’re almost ready.. It’s gonna be All-right.” Whew, had to listen another time (its taking me a while to finish this because I can’t get enough).

If you don’t know this album, (especially side two) I promise the rock fans out there that you will not be disappointed if you purchase it. (Hey you may even find it for like $4.99 or less at J&R or some other outlet). But when you check out at the counter- you can smile knowing that you have way more value for your money!!!

Ozzy finished tapping the first episode of a new variety show that will also include members of his family. The show which will air on FOX will be shown in early 2009. By the way, the new commercial featuring Ozzy for Samsung Propel is the best on TV right now. How funny is it when the cab driver says “English!!”

Back on this day in 1957, a disc jockey in Portland, Oregon was fired for playing “White Christmas” by Elvis. Can you imagine that?

Back on this day in 2003, Mick Jagger received his “knightship” from Prince Charles at the Buckingham Palace.

Just a year ago today, Ike Turner passed away. Can you believe how fast time goes by?

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Dionne Warwick and Connie Francis. You also share it with Frank Sinatra, who would have been 93 today.

December 5, 2008

Weekly Update – 12/05/2008

Il Divo at the Izod Center and Nassau Coliseum on Fri. & Sat. May 9 and 15, 2009. Pre-sale tickets for Citicard holders on until 5:00 p.m. today. General public on sale this Mon. Dec. 8 at 9:00 a.m.$56.70 – $151.70

Fleetwood Mac at Nassau Coliseum, Madison Square Garden and Izod Center on Fri., Thurs. & Sat. March 13, 19 and 21, 2009. Pre-sale tickets for American Express Cardholders will begin Mon. Dec. 8 at 10:00 a.m until Sun. Dec. 14 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale Mon. Dec. 15 at 10:00 a.m. Nassau: $46 – $146; MSG: $49.50 -$149.50;  Izod: $46.50 – $146.50.

Other items:

Big surprise of the past week: Dr. Pepper’s web site conveniently crashed the day they were supposed to give away a free can of soda. I actually made it through early in the morning that day but they wanted all this personal information and I said “later.” Now Axl is upset and is demanding Dr. Pepper make restitution.

Did you happen to catch the 2008 Grammy nominations show on CBS on Wed. night? If you missed it, you missed a good show. This was the first of its kind and the highlights of the show for me were The Foo Fighters (again, of course) and Christina Aguilera. The show was hosted by LL Cool J and Taylor Swift (who was born in 1990, by the way). They did a decent job of hosting. The show lasted an hour which was just enough time to wet one’s appetite in preparation for the Grammy show on Feb. 8, 2009. The Foos and Christina were the highlights but every other performance was also very good, with the exception of Taylor Swift. Miss Swift sang the classic “I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee but her pitch was way off. The song selection (I sound like the judges from American Idol, right?) was poor and it did not portray her in a good light. Mariah Carey did a nice job on the classic “Christmas (Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love (as well as many others but Ms. Love’s version is my personal favorite). She seemed a little stiff but overall sounded good. Celine Dion did a “spot on” version of the classic “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian. John Mayer and BB King rocked the house with “Let The Good Times Roll.” I don’t care what anyone says- BB King is flat out enjoyable. I wish that he could’ve played for another hour on that show. My wish would be that everyone in America would be forced to watch because if I were in charge it would be on every channel imaginable (so you couldn’t change channels) and you also wouldn’t be able to turn your TV off until he was done performing.

What else can you say about Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters? You know everyone was stunned by them performing “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon but you know what? They pulled it off and I thought it was great!! Ok I’m partial to them but you can not deny their “moxy.” C’mon how many other “rock” bands would have performed that song? But that shows you that Mr. Grohl loves all kinds of music. That’s what gets me pumped about him and his band!! And as I have been saying for a long time, try and find a better singer today than Christina Aguilera. You can’t!! I’m not having any of others negative comments, she did a beautiful job on “I Love You, Porgy.” She commands everyone’s attention when she sings, pure perfection every time out!!

As far as the nominations, I’m still scratching my head on the “Raising Sand” entries by Plant and Krauss. Don’t get me wrong, I stated it was one of the best but it was for 2007. But maybe it picked up its popularity in 2008. I laughed when I saw the nominations for the best album of 2008 because the “hand’s down” winner is Shinedown with “The Sound of Madness” was not even nominated. Shinedown should be given the Grammy right now!!! So there you now know (oh come on now, I’ve been saying it for months) what my number one album for 2008 is before I put out my list of the top ten albums (and songs) for 2008 in the next few weeks.

Executives at Geffen records are steamed at Axl Rose (get in line ladies & gents) for not doing any publicity runs for Chinese Democracy, which lost out on the number of sales to The Killers and Kayne West. I believe the quote was “it took him 15 years to make the album, you think that he would have put 2 weeks into showing his face and promoting his own album.” My review is already posted on this site.

My favorite old school song of the week is “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. (The song was actually written by Ashford & Simpson). This is definitely one of the best songs ever recorded in music history, without a doubt. If you don’t have this song, shame on you. It gives me chills every time I hear it.

On Tuesday, in conjunction with the movie release “Cadillac Records” (featuring Beyonce portraying Etta James), Geffen records issued the best of “Chess Records” which was the original record label that housed some of the best recording artists ever. Please check this out, the album features Chuck Berry, Etta James, Howling Wolf, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Riley Hampton. If you don’t have any of these artists in your library (first off: are you kidding me?) now is your chance to do it. I-Tunes selling the 16 track list for $9.99- no excuses.

Roy Orbison’s last concert in Ohio on Dec. 4, 1988 has been released on CD this past Tuesday. Here is your chance to get something by him, if you don’t have anything. Sadly he died two days later. Tomorrow marks the 21st year since he passed away. The man was a pure legend!! My all-time favorite holiday song is his rendition of “Pretty Paper.”

Akon has released his third studio album “Freedom” and there are some really mixed reviews from I-Tune listeners, although the overall ranking is four stars. I like the single “Beautiful” and as I sampled the other songs (again only getting 30 seconds) many of the songs sounded the same. But if you’re a fan of his, you’ll probably like the album.

Fall Out Boy (FOB) has released another single, American Suitehearts, from their upcoming album-Folie a Deux-which will be issued worldwide on Dec. 15 and 16. I really like the sound to this song. I’m not a huge fan but these guys are pretty good.

Mariah Carey has released a new single “Right to Dream” from the upcoming movie “Tennessee” and her vocal style is kind of different but I like it a lot. Check it out.

The Peas featuring Rachel Leslie have released a different spin on the traditional holiday tunes with “Christmas Chill.” I have to admit I was intrigued and enjoy it. “Joy to the World” and “Jingle Bells” are totally cool. Beautiful version of “Silent Night.”

Do you want to see something really cool? Check out the new video featuring Martina McBride performing with the “1968 Comeback Special” Elvis Presley. Somehow they have super imposed Martina right up on the same stage that Elvis and his band were playing “Blue Christmas.” By the way, that whole 1968 comeback special is one of the best things you’ll ever see in your lifetime. How great was Elvis?

This week’s I-POD shuffle landed on “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones and yes you guessed it? Went back and listened to the whole “Let It Bleed” Album. Now I’m going to go out on the limb and say that this is their best album ever. Now I know this is a tough decision because “Beggars Banquet” “Sticky Fingers” and “Exile on Main Street” all are phenomenal albums in their own right. Actually their biggest selling album is “Some Girls.” (I love that album also). “Exile” actually finished #7 in Rolling Stones top 500 albums of all-time. “Let It Bleed” was #32, “Sticky” finished at number 63 and “Beggar’s came in at number #57.

Now the album kicks off with “Gimme Shelter” and it’s a tough call but this may be my favorite Stones song, I don’t know positively but it’s almost certain. This song was written by Keith Richards as he was waiting in his car for his girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg, who supposedly was having an affair with Mr. Jagger. This is all after she dated Brian Jones before Mick and Keith. (Whew you keeping up?… Actually Keith had three children with her but sadly one of the boys died 10 weeks after birth). With a good set of headphones, you are off and I mean you are “way gone.” I seem to forget about everything else and I equate it to be being given a needle (from a doctor) in the arm. It’s just injected into every oracle of your body and I can listen to the squeals of Ms. Merry Clayton doing the background vocals over and over again. It is four and a half minutes of perfection. Period end of story. Staying in your trance, you now enter the bluesy world of Robert Johnson, with the ever popular “Love In Vain.” How friggin’ great is this song? The boys do Mr. Johnson justice with their take on this classic.Track # 3 is the country take on their classic “Honky Tonk Woman” called “Country Honk.” This marks the entrance of Mick Taylor who replaced Brain Jones. Jones actually appears on two songs –“You Got the Silver” and “Midnight Rambler” and was essentially fired from the Stones. (Sadly he died on the same day that the last tracks of this album were recorded). As Bill Wyman bass gets you ready for the infectious “Live With Me” he is quickly joined by Leon Russell who is responsible for the piano and horn arrangements on this groovy tune. Bobby Keys handles the great baritone saxophone solo. This is pure rock and roll folks, there is no way you can not like this. The title track is another phenomenal song. The piano, guitar and drum work blends together perfectly and Mick’s vocals are top notch. I’m still in a daze and can’t wait for side 2.

Even though “Midnight Rambler” is a scary topic- the Boston strangler, Albert Disalvo- the music works. It’s a haunting groove but again it gets into your system and with Mick’s talented work on the harmonica, you’ll find yourself having trouble getting this song out of your head. When it slows down to a crawl, the song becomes that much better. It is cranking right now and when the song speeds up again, I just turn it up louder. “You Got the Silver” represents the first song sung by Keith Richards on a Stones album and if I may say one of his best efforts, if not the top one he’s ever done. His vocals are crystal clear (before he became as clear as Ozzy). The opening of “ Monkey Man” has a R&B flavor to it and again folks this pure maple syrup on top of your pancakes. Before you know it, one of their best known songs ever “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” hits your ears and you say to yourself “How many phenomenal songs are on this album?” “I saw her today at the reception, a glass of wine in her hand…” Everyone knows these opening lyrics and when you see them live it’s that powerful. In a blink of the eye, seven plus minutes have finished and you’re hungry for more. I say move onto Sticky Fingers, Beggars and Exile.You can’t go wrong. It is a hard choice to pick your best Stones album but I still hang my hat on this one. This is a rock and roll staple. Run out and purchase it now, if you don’t have it!

After months of regional and local competitions, the Guitar Center has narrowed down its choice of the best undiscovered drummers down to six finalists. They will square off on Jan. 10 at the Fonda Theater in LA, with the winner walking home with $45,000. Also on the same night: Carmine Appice, the late Mitch Mitchell and Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) will be inducted into the Guitar Centers “Drum Legends” Hall of Fame.

Back on this day in 1968, Graham Nash quit the Hollies and later formed CSN&Y.

Happy Birthday to the living legend Little Richard who turns 76 years young today!! Rock on!! Little Richard also shares the same birth date with Jim Messina, who turns 61 today. Messina was in Buffalo Springfield, Poco and of course was the second half of Loggins & Messina

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