Errols Weekly Music Update.

December 31, 2009

Weekly Update – 12/31/2009

Hot Tuna and Steve Earle at The Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park NJ on Sun. July 18. Tickets on sale this coming Tues. Jan. 5 at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Concierto Del Amor featuring Marco Solis, Anthony Santos and Miriam Hernandez at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Feb. 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. $64, $84, $114.50 and $139.50.

George Clinton at the Starland Ballroom on Thurs. Feb. 25. Tickets on sale this Mon. Jan. 4 at noon. $15.

Alkaline Trio at Nokia Theater on Fri. Mar. 12. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders begin on Wed. Jan. 6 at 10:00 a.m. until noon on Thurs. Jan. 7. General public tickets on sale at 1:00 p.m. Jan. 7. $21 Also appearing at Starland Ballroom in Sayrerville NJ. On Sat. Mar. 13. Tickets on sale next Fri. Jan. 8 at 10:00 a.m.$20.50.

Other items:

Happy New Year to all!!! I know for many of us 2009 was a tough year (and that’s my main reason for writing this page so that hopefully you can free your mind for a few moments each week) and I pray that 2010 will be a much better year for everyone.

Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of James Owen Sullivan, 28 and drummer for the band-Avenged Sevenfold– who was found dead in his home this past Monday in Huntington Beach, CA.

VH1 has been airing the 100 “Most Shocking Moments in Music” all this week at 9:00 p.m. You’ll get the top 40 tonight and tomorrow and can always catch up as they are repeating it this week and weekend.

James Taylor will sing the national anthem tomorrow at the NHL’s annual “outdoor” game, the 2010 game being played at Fenway Park in Boston. The Dropkick Murphys will also perform “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” – song featured in the movie “The Departed.”

Rumor has it that The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are planning a “stadium” tour in 2010. Sounds interesting but you know it will cost and “arm and a leg.”

It has been reported that Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica, has been dealing with “ringing in his ears” for some time now. “Tinnitus”-as it is known- has followed Lars since the beginning of his career when he wore no protection for years. Ooh Faa, anyone would have ringing in their ears if they were him. Hopefully there is a cure.

Lil Wayne is booking his last few shows before he heads off to a one year jail sentence that is supposed to begin on Feb. 9. Lil , whose real name is Duane Carter, pleaded guilty to weapons charge stemming from a traffic stop in NY which occurred in 2007. He performs tonight in San Diego and then 7 more cities before his sentence is to begin.

Did you catch “The Kennedy Center Honors” show on CBS Tuesday night (it actually took place on Dec. 6) where The Boss-Bruce Springsteen– was honored? (along with other actors/singers). Hats off to Ben Harper and Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland) for their amazing rendition of “I’m On Fire,” their harmonization was “off the charts.” Another highlight was Sting (who by the way, looked like a “mountain” man with that beard, cool look though I have to admit) performing with The Joyce Garrett Choir (along with the other performers that night) as they played a rousing rendition of “The Rising.” Of course, Melissa Etheridge was stellar as usual with her spin on “Born to Run.” John Mellencamp’s adaptation of“Born in the U.S.A.” was totally different and very cool. He still has “it.”And the ever popular Mr. Eddie Vedder performed an awesome dish of the Bruce classic- “My City of Ruins.” All in all very good performances for The Boss, he had to be pleased and honored with the personnel that was out there performing his songs, I would assume as an artist-that has to be one of the top compliments you could ever receive. (meaning other huge stars in their own right performing your songs).

My favorite “old school” song of the week belongs to Neil Sedaka with the classic “Laughter in The Rain.” “Strolling along country roads with my baby.. it starts to rain, it begins to pour..” Wow I walked in to my local pizzeria (and even though it’s in CT, the boys bring the water up from The Bronx everyday, so you know that “Bruno’s” pizza is the best pizza in all of South Western CT) and this song was on (they always have the “oldies” station on) and it’s been a while since I have heard this classic. Sedaka has some monster hits, there’s no denying that fact and this is one of them.

My favorite “classic rock” song of the week is “I’d Love to Change the World” by Ten Years After. Wow is this the best music or what? This is so classic and has to be included in your I-Tunes library. “They” don’t make music like this anymore.

Album Review: “Machine Head” by Deep Purple; released in March 1972.

Machine Head

OK for those of you “in the know” there is no explanation needed on why this remains one of the best hard-rock/metal albums of all-time. For those of you who do not know too much about the legendary Deep Purple, this is your chance to start with what many consider the start of heavy metal (I personally wouldn’t go that far when there was a band by the name of Black Sabbath that was also at the forefront- but let’s just say they were both at the starting line, OK?). Now for the newer generation of heavy/thrash metal, Okay so this is your father’s version of metal but look at it as “hard-rock” and you will then discover a whole new slew of bands within this genre, with these guys sitting at the top of the heap. Now for all you Kiss fans (including myself) or Red Hot Chili Pepper fans that are smarting because these bands did not get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month- you have nothing to complain about- if you know (or will listen to) this album, then you know how cheated Deep Purple & their fans feel for not even getting a nomination. Are you kidding me??!!! If Deep Purple had only made one album and this was it- this should be enough to write their ticket into the Hall of Fame. This truly is an insult that this band has not been allowed to enter the gates of the Hall but that’s alright because the fans know that these guys are rock royalty and have already entered the bloodstream of fans of hard rock music around the globe. Of course everyone knows the dynamic “Smoke on The Water”-name one new garage band that didn’t start off with these classic riffs when they formed a band?- but this album also spawned two other songs that, in my opinion, are the greatest songs in rock history-so much so that if there is a “bible” of hard rock/heavy metal- these songs are in the first chapter. “Highway Star” and “Space Truckin’” (along with “Smoke”) are the pinnacle of the hard rock genre and really these three songs deserve to get them into the Hall-never mind that 25 year rule. Now I am in no way saying that the other songs on this classic album are “fillers”-JUST THE OPPOSITE-they are also classic tunes but just like in baseball- you’re number 3, 4 and 5 batters get paid the most because they knock in the most runs- and these three songs are in elevated stature because they are extraordinary “works of art.” Folks, this album is a MUST HAVE and should be included in your collection of music-even if you don’t like hard rock-just put it in your collection so that when people come to visit your home they will see that you have class and taste. They will look upon you in a different light and there might just be a beam of light that will surround you and the light will stream towards the heavens above you. Everyone will gasp. (Get the picture?)

Ok this “once in a lifetime” album kicks off with the freaking unbelievable “Highway Star.” This could be the best song ever to start an album. There is but one way to listen to this song- LOUD!!!!!- Put on your new headphones that you received for Christmas a few days ago, squeeze them as tight as you can into your ears and push play on this song. Don’t let up… keep squeezing as the organ solo will make you dizzy, thirsting for more. “I love ‘em.. I need ‘em… eight cylinders…” Then it’s on to one of the most blazing guitar solos ever recorded. Wow I feel like crying, that’s how good it is. I put this song on one of my CD’s for Spin class at MBIA and will never forget how great it was to spin to this awesome song-if you want a workout-put this one on your list, whew… I’m sweating already. “Maybe I’m a Leo” has this unreal funky groove that will have you “air-guitaring” right from the beginning. Deep Purple is one of the few bands that incorporated the organ/keyboards into hard rock and made it work. (Lots of metal fans say they don’t like the keyboards in their songs). The keyboard work by Jon Lord fits in so perfectly with this album, like a glove and with Ritchie Blackmore on lead guitar-well the combination is priceless. They both work off each other in this blues laden ensemble and the result is pure sweetness. Track # 3- “Pictures of Home” starts of with Ian Paice on drums (how good is this guy?) and this song is a fast paced masterpiece. Roger Glover is a beast on bass throughout the album but especially on this track. Blackmore’s “we not worthy” guitar solo is jaw dropping (again!!) and in the middle of the song when Lord takes over with the keyboards you will be reminded of “The Wizard of Oz” especially the part where Dorothy’s house is swept up by the tornado(about 3:19 into the track-you’ll see what I mean). Then Glover enters with his awesome bass work. These guys are so freaking talented, it’s beyond words. This song gets them into the Hall, I’m sorry. Side One ends with the groovy “Never Before.” If there is one thing about Deep Purple, they are very melodic and know just how to mix in the melody with the heavy riffs. This friggin’ song is so “on the money.” I’m telling you right now people, I’m speechless-this is pure greatness. If you are a fan of rock, rock and roll or metal-this song has it all. I could listen to this all day long.

Side Two starts off with the legendary “Smoke on the Water” and by now you may have all heard the story on why it was written but if not, here goes: This album was recorded on the “Lake Geneva shore line” at the Grand Hotel Montreux in Switzerland in 1971. Several days before they started recording there was a “Frank Zappa and the Mothers”concert being performed at a nearby casino. During the synthesizer solo on “King Kong” there was “some stupid with a flare gun” who burned the place to the ground. The members of Deep Purple watched from their hotel (not the Grand, they eventually ended up at the Grand after the fire) windows as the casino burned away. Roger Glover was credited with the title when he suddenly awoke from a dream. Whatever the inspiration, this song has to be one of the most recognizable riffs in all of music history, no? I can remember when I first starting playing the alto saxophone in grammar school, this was one of the first songs that I played and some dudes screamed up to my window (I lived on an avenue in Brooklyn, not the “side” streets) to keep playing it and they stayed there and “head-banged” while I tried to play it, albeit with a saxophone. They gave me the \m/ \m/ signs as they left. How great is Blackmore with the solo? It’s unbelievable how fantastically talented this band is. “Lazy” starts off almost like you’re in church and you’re thinking it’s going to be a ballad but no.. just wait a few as Lord (how apropos, huh?) finishes his organ solo. The boys are waiting in the wings and they slowly start to jam with the guitar and bass. Then it’s on to a full scale blazing escapade of guitars, drums and keyboards. The music is telling a story even before Ian Gillian starts to sing. I would have loved to be just sitting there when they recorded this track, it’s just unreal how good these guys are. (Have I said that already?) Ian even works in an awesome harmonica solo-think Aerosmith didn’t copy these guys when they first started out? Ritchie Blackmore’s solo is “off the charts” and this guy can play with the best of them, no doubt. Love the blues ending-the icing on the cake and just like that 7:23 seconds go by in a flash. The last track on side two-“Space Truckin’” is flat out one of the best rock songs ever recorded in the history of rock. How great is Ian on vocals? I’m speechless. This should be a national anthem somewhere. Can you imagine a whole stadium of folks head banging and air-guitaring to this tune? I can, I wish I could put it into law. (of course “The Star Spangle Banner” will be the first song played and then this one to get everyone moving.. I can wish, can’t I?). The drumming is spectacular on this track.

“Machine Head” is a pure masterpiece people and again this album should catapult them right through the steely gates of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Shame on the voting members of the Hall, it’s really a travesty that this band is not in yet. This is 37 minutes and 47 seconds of pure genius. This should be in your music library, period end of story.

“TOP TEN”:

Queen II

As I was looking through my CD collection this past week trying to come up with an artist for my top ten songs, I came across “The Game” by Queen and thought-“now wouldn’t this be tough??!!!- Name your favorite 10 songs by Queen.” (with no offense to Paul Rodgers-who is a rock legend- but these songs deal with the one and only Freddie Mercury).  I know I say it all the time but this had to be the hardest of all the choices I have ever done on this page (and that includes the Beatles, so you know that is saying a lot). Their catalog is so extensive filled with so many great songs-and I’m not just talking about the “popular” anthems-which have been re-released in so many different forms-but their “lesser known” classics can not be denied. I consider myself lucky as I was able to see Queen in their heyday and will never forget the show at Madison Square Garden (with Billy Squier as opener) with my best bud-Ron- and our mutual friend-Brian (who moved to Arizona not too long after that show). Brian’s dad drove us to The Garden in his van and I can remember all three of us rockin’ out to Queen songs on our way there. To this day, I’m not sure if I have ever seen a more electrifying front man than Mr. Mercury, he had a way of hypnotizing an audience like none other. He poured himself into every live show just like the person who poured that milkshake to the very top of those cool glasses for you as you sat on those iron, red topped stools at the local “five and dime store” store, when you were a kid. (remember that?). Queen’s music is everywhere, just think about it for a second. Think of “We Are The Champions,” “Another One Bites The Dust” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” and think of all the people across the globe that know these songs, it’s really incredible. Mercury is/was an Icon and no one can ever replace him (and the rest of Queen as well as Rodgers recognized this and had Mercury on video tape for their tour). Queen equals rock and roll. Queen is one of the greatest band’s to ever walk this earth. (Please there is no discussion on this, just accept it as fact).

Now another great thing about Queen is that you can pass it down to your kids (or your nephew or niece) and I have done that with my children. They both like Queen but my oldest son really has taken to their library and he has asked to join in on the fun, so here are my top ten songs by Queen (in blue) as well as my son’s top picks(in red): (If I could pick eleven, then number 11 would be “Son and Daughter”-love that friggin’ song from their first album or “It’s Late” from “News of the World” or “Stone Cold Crazy” from “Sheer Heart Attack” or “Dead on Time” from “Jazz”- you see how hard this is?). Again think of this as you are alone on an island and can only pick ten songs by the artist, what ten songs would you want to listen to-that’s how we approached this.

10.     Bicycle Race”– Go ahead and laugh at this song if you will but the arrangement of this track is spectacular. Come on you know you love this song-especially the part where all the bicycle “bells” ring in unison during the middle of the song. “Don’t believe in Peter Pan.. Frankenstein or Superman…all I want to do is…” Queen will be always remembered for the constant tempo changes in their songs and this could be the “poster child” for this notion. I remember one of the first CD’s I ever put together for Spin class at MBIA, what better song can one add, right? I can clearly see Meagan’s face as she laughed at me as I made believe I was ringing my bell on the bike during the aforementioned part-great song with sprints and hill climbs all in three minutes. This tune is off the very respectable “Jazz” album.

9.     Death on Two Legs (Dedicated To..)”– OK it’s an obscure classic from “A Night at The Opera” but “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not the only great song on that disc. Talk about your timing changes? This song is phenomenal. Another great thing about Queen songs are the background vocals-could be the best ever- and with this song, dare I say that these are the best background vocals on any song they recorded? Mercury is also very good on piano, take a listen for yourself and tell me Brian May’s guitar work doesn’t hook you in?

8.     Spread Your Wings”– “Wow”- That is the first word that comes to my mind when I think (or hear) this fantastic track from the very under-rated album –“News of the World.” This is rock at its best- the priceless piano work along with the passionate vocals from the most passionate singer of all time-Mr. Freddie Mercury and is the best song written by John Deacon, the bassist. (Not for nothing it is so hard even to pick the best song from “News of the World”-freaking awesome album). If you are looking for a classic song from the 1970’s- a la “Dream On” by Aerosmith-look no further than this unbelievable track.

7.     The Show Must Go On”– The last song on their last album made together-1991’s “Innuendo”- the organ in the beginning sends chills down my spine whenever I hear it. Written mostly by Brian May but definitely penned with help from his buddy-Freddie Mercury. This album was recorded when Mercury’s health was deteriorating but you couldn’t tell from his booming voice as he declares “Show Must Go On.” Elton John performed this at a Mercury tribute and has stated that this is one of his all time favorite songs. (I also have to give “props” to Paul Rodgers on his interpretation of the classic track when he was with Queen). This is a majestic song.

6.     Dragon Attack”– Check out John Deacon on bass guitar (from the album “The Game”) and tell me you don’t want to start taking lessons on how to play bass? And what about Roger Taylor on drums? And what about the awesome Brian May? And what else can be said about Freddie? Put them all together (like a perfect salad) and you get a GREAT song like this!!! When Taylor breaks away with the drums with his mini-solo, I just lose it… but wait here comes Deacon with his smooth playing on bass, can it get any better? The answer is a resounding yes as May blasts the doors down with his blazing guitar solo. Have I mentioned have freaking great all their parts are? Oh wait- the background vocals- “She’s low down…she don’t take no prisoners.. gonna make my way..” This is pure ecstasy,‘nuff said!!!

5.     “Rock It (Prime Jive)-This song is pure excellence. Now I have told you all that my favorite album from these guys is “The Game” and this “obscure” song always gets me out of my seat and works me into frenzy. Most of the song is sung by Roger Taylor as he is the one who wrote the song. Freddie sings just the beginning as it sounds like it’s going to be a ballad, then-blastoff-Taylor takes the reigns as the pace really picks up as he does an admiral job on vocals but an even better job on the drums. And of course the jaw dropping guitar solo sends me over the edge. If you do not know this song, please check it out.

4.     We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions”– Now we all know that these two songs have to be counted as one, right? (just like “Heartbreaker”/ “Living Lovin’ Maid” by Led Zeppelin or “Sgt. Pepper’s” / “Help from my Friends” by the Beatles) I can remember hearing “We Will Rock You” for the first time and just being totally blown away. I don’t think there is any other song that can match the sound to this tune, the “banging” on top of the piano is universal. When anyone hears the “boom, boom-pow” (sorry Black Eyed Peas- the original “Boom Boom Pow”) is there anything more recognizable? Then the beautiful “Champions”- this could be the best vocal that Mercury ever recorded. He did this song with so much… commitment, yes commitment. His dedication to making this one of the all time great songs shines through with his renowned passion. You know you have lipped synched this song a million times- I know I have. And of course every sports fan waits for the day that their team wins a championship so they can play this song. I was able to sing this song once in my life when the Mets won in 1986. Believe me, the day the NY Jets win it all (I know what you’re thinking-don’t say it) the tears will be streaming down my face as I will try to match Mercury’s fervor. (Check out the “re-mixed”bonus version of “We Will Rock You”- on “News of the World” I’m usually not a fan of remixes but this one will blow you away).

3.     Tie Your Mother Down”– Do you need a song to get you psyched up? Look no further than this classic from “A Day at the Races.” I can’t put into words on how much I love this song- it pumps me up like… I feel like I’m going to “blast off.” I feel like I can do anything when I hear this song and when Taylor slams the drums in succession towards the end of the track, well I feel like I’ve landed in “Oz.” This is head-banging classic music here folks, don’t kid yourself-they may appear “opera-etic” but don’t be fooled, especially when you have a guitarist such as Brian May there to “wipe the floors” with all the non-believers. The Foo Fighters also love this song as they have performed it with May and blew the cover off the ball. This is rock and roll at its best!!!

2.     “Bohemian Rhapsody”– How can this song not be on everybody’s list? This could be one of the greatest compositions ever arranged. (Move over Beethoven and Bach).C’mon you know you were all hooked from the beginning lyrics “Is this the real life..”I can remember seeing Ozzy in an interview one time and he said it was one of the best songs ever written.Love when Mercury rips the part “Faaaccceee the truth…” And what else can be said of the “opera” part of the song- yes get over it- it SO works that it is “scary good.” You also know that at one time in your life you have said “Galileo” and “Figaro” so don’t even try to deny it. “Easy come.. easy go… let him go..Mama Mia..” Then on to the best part- yes the “Waynes World” scene where they all sit in the back of that car and head-bang in unison. How friggin’ phenomenal is that part? It was actually written into a movie-how many other songs can say that? This is their masterpiece. Don’t even tell me you don’t like it- it’s impossible.

1.     “Fat Bottom Girls”– Ok so it’s not the most “PC” song but as you all know I am the man for the music. (And based on today’s standards, this probably warrants a “PG-13” warning). First off- You CAN NOT listen to (or own) any version but the one that is on the album-“Jazz”- because all the other versions cut out the “drum part” that ends the song-that is the real version-any other version is “sacreligious.” This song had me on the opening notes of “Aaahhh..” The beat is simple but yet so infectious (and of course it has the “hand claps” so how can it not be great?). And when Taylor “scales” down the drums, I immediately want to become a drummer just to be able to do that part-freaking AWESOME!!! This song gets into my blood stream and makes me feel like I’m 17 years old all over again, I can’t get enough of it, can’t just can’t…. “Get on your bikes and Ride!!!!” My favorite Queen song of all time by far!!! \m/ \m/

These are my oldest sons’ top ten songs from Queen:

10.     “Let Me Entertain You” – When I first listened to the great album “Jazz” this was one of those “stand -out” tracks. This song definitely has that Queen touch to it with a motor bike sound in the beginning and random people talking about “the show” at the end of the song. I love it when Freddie Mercury yells “Listen!” and then a loud guitar rift follows. This song is such a great song to rock out to.

9.     “A Kind of Magic” – My mother introduced me to this “disco like” song, and as I was a fan of their rock songs more than their later material, I was a little skeptical towards this song. But as time went by I realized what a fantastic song this is, I love Freddie’s vocals and Brian May’s guitar licks and solos. The guitar has a different sound in this song compared to other Queen songs and it really appealed to me. I also love when Freddie laughs “Hahaha its magic!”Whenever I hear this song I think of my mom and how she introduced me to this tune.

8.     “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” – What’s not to like about this song? This is a great danceable song that will have me singing it all day long. This song has such a great guitar solo, I’m always air guitaring along to it. My favorite part of the song is after the second drum roll, the bass plays a few notes and for some reason I have always loved that part!

7.     “Bicycle Race” – Is it possible to dislike this epic song?It’s so much fun to sing “You say black, I say white” and all of the other lines in this song. Only Queen would be able to get away with a “bell solo”, no other band could pull something like that off. I remember as a kid this was one of the only two Queen songs I ever wanted to listen to. (The other being “Another One Bites the Dust”) I still have memories of road trips with this song blasting in the car.

6.     “Play the Game” – This is the starting track of the amazing album “The Game” and is one of my favorites. I love the guitar in the song especially in the solo. The vocals combined with the background vocals in this song are perfect. Yes I know this the first Queen song with synthesizers but it doesn’t affect the greatness of the song.

5.     “Bohemian Rhapsody” – There is a reason this is their most popular song: because it’s one of their best songs ever recorded. There has never been a song quite like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and probably never will be. This shows off Freddie Mercury’s talent at composing and writing songs that will forever stand the test of time. This is a must have on any Queen fan’s Top 10 List. This song is just pure perfection.I love Freddie’s vocals on the opening part. “Mama just killed a man…”

4.     “Under Pressure” (feat. David Bowie) – With its signature bass line and the clap snap combo this song easily makes my top ten. I love the combination of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, they have a great chemistry. I love how throughout the song they sing those random “dadada’s” and other odd words. My favorite part is when Freddie sings “Why can’t we give love another chance? Why can’t we give love, give love?”

3.     “Somebody to Love” – The first time I ever heard this song I was astonished by Freddie Mercury’s vocal range. I found it amazing that he could hit those high notes so perfectly. This song is proof that he had one the greatest voices in rock and roll history. The drumming in this song stands out too; it also shows off how good Roger Taylor is. I think Freddie sounds great with his back up choir; it just makes the song worth listening to over and over and over again.

2.     “The Show Must Go On” – Although I don’t listen to this song as often as other Queen songs when it comes on I stop everything I do and listen. This song has such meaning in the lyrics it literally talks about Freddie Mercury and his battle with HIV Aids. It’s such an inspirational song; it talks about going on despite all that is against you and keeping a smile on your face. Even in a dying state Freddie’s vocals are spectacular. It’s unbelievable how great he was as a singer, performer, and a person. I get chills every time I hear this song.“The show must go on, go on, go on, go on, go on….”

1.     “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Yes I know how can this be my favorite Queen song? But I can’t help it; this song just puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. This is such a fun song to sing along to that I can’t help but pretend I’m Freddie Mercury and am singing this song on front of a crowd of people. This song has such a great beat to it I just want to jump around and sing “I’m burning through the sky yeah, 200 degrees that’s why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit. “Honestly I think it’s impossible not to like this fantastic song.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     The Mavericks

2.     True (did you expect anything less from Kayne?)

3.     True (Ben Harper has won 2 Grammy’s)

4.     Graham Nash

This week’s trivia (Queen)-

1.     What is Freddie Mercury’s real name?

2.     True or False? John Deacon participated in the Queen with Paul Rodgers.

3.     What song did Vanilla Ice sample on his hit “Ice, Ice, Baby” (although he denied it)?

4.     What was Queen’s first number one hit in the U.S.?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week: (Way to go Tricia!!)

1.     “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”- Dusty Springfield

2.     “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”-Jim Croce

3.     “You Don’t Know How it Feels”-Tom Petty

4.     “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”- Barbara Streisand/Neil Diamond

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “And the world will be a better place.. and the world will be a better place.. for you… and me.. you just wait.. and see…”

2.     “But I can’t leave her….while I need her more than she needs you….that’s what I’m living for…”

3.     “You get too much of it you get high… not enough and you’re gonna die… love gets you high…”

4.     “Love me true…. All my dreams fulfilled.. For my darlin’ I love you…. And I always will….”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1973, Journey made their live debut in San Francisco at Winter Ballroom.

Back on this day in 1982, Steven Van Zandt married actress Maureen Santora and the best man was Bruce Springsteen. Little Richard presided the ceremony and Percy Sledge sang at the reception. Wow now that is a dream line-up, no?

Back on this day in 1984, Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard, lost his left arm in a car accident on his way to a New Year’s Eve party at his parent’s house in Sheffield, UK.

Back on this day in 2000, Chris Robinson married actress Kate Hudson. They divorced in October 2007.

Back on this day in 2003, Alex Lifeson (guitarist for Rush, do I need to tell you?) and his son were arrested in Naples, FL for allegedly assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and drunken violent behavior. Charges were dropped in 2005.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith bassist) Burton Cummings (singer for The Guess Who) Peter Quaife (bassist for the Kinks) and Andy Summers. (Police guitarist).

December 24, 2009

Weekly Update – 12/24/2009

Filed under: CD Reviews — ea0217 @ 7:36 am

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ERROL’S WEEKLY.

I will be back next week. I needed a week off this year and decided that this would be the time.

December 18, 2009

Weekly Update – 12/18/2009

Alicia Keys at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Mar. 18 and at the Prudential Center (The “Rock”) on Fri. Mar. 19. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders until 9:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning. $49.50, $69.50, $89.50 and $125.

Carrie Underwood at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport CT on Tues. Mar. 16, 2010. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35, $45 and $55.

George Clinton & The Parliament-Funkadelic All-Stars at BB King Blues Club on Sun. Feb. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $37.50.

Umphrey’s McGee at the Nokia Theater on Thurs. Feb. 25. Pre-sale for American Express cardholders on now until noon today. General public tickets on sale at noon today. $28.50

Timbaland presents the Shock Value II Tour at The New York Fillmore on Wed. Jan. 20. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card members on sale now. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $37.50.

Killswitch Engage at New York Fillmore on Thurs. & Fri. Mar. 18 & 19. Pre-sale tickets on sale now if you own a Citi credit card. General public on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $29.50 ($33 day of show).

Chevelle at New York Fillmore on Tues. Feb. 9. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event).

New Found Glory at New York Fillmore on Thurs. Feb. 18. Tickets on sale today at 1:00 p.m. (Live Nation Event).

Julian Casablancas at Terminal 5 on Fri. Jan. 15. Tickets on sale today at noon. $31 ($35 day of show).

For Parents: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez at the Nassau Coliseum on Sat. Feb. 20 starting at 2:00 p.m. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $35 – $85.

Other items:

Rumor of the week: John Frusciante has quit the Red Hot Chili Peppers band and that the band is already auditioning to find a replacement. His replacement is also rumored to be Josh Klinghoffer. John wants to do his own thing and is tired of the whole “rock band” thing. Huh?

My favorite “classic” rock song of the week belongs to The Police and their song-“Message in a Bottle”- from their second album-“Regatta De Blanc.” I heard it the other day and forget how phenomenal that song is. Ahh that’s when the Police were the Police before Sting went and screwed everything up.

Earlier this week in Albuquerque New Mexico, my good friend Dianne and her husband, Trevor, decided to make it a night out (They have two young children and as all parents know, that is a “big” night out) and went to see Brian Setzer in concert. Well it turns out the altitude didn’t bode well for Mr. Setzer as he collapsed during the show (and couldn’t finish) from dehydration. And poof just like that, Dianne and her husband were on their way back home. Sorry guys. Brian is doing just fine now and is headed to Arizona for the next stop on his tour.

Congratulations to the five new entrants into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the inductees were announced this past Tuesday: ABBA, Genesis, The Stooges, The Hollies and Jimmy Cliff. Now I know to the “rock and roll purists,” a band like ABBA getting in is insulting and someone I know went a step further a said that Genesis with their pop songs created by Phil Collins when he was at the helm was more “offensive” than ABBA. (I laughed when I read that). Now as we all know from the past five years or so, the Hall has “expanded” the meaning of “Rock and Roll” and the executives should really think about renaming it to maybe something like the “Music Hall of Fame,” right? Nah, it doesn’t sound right-it has to be the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But anyways, I know many out there are upset with the fact that the Chili Peppers and Kiss did not make it home, while ABBA slides in safely but… take a deep breath for what I’m about to say… I think ABBA should get in. Hear me out. Did their music have a major impact on people’s lives? I would think the answer to that is “yes.” Were they a huge act at some point in their career? Another “yes” answer. Think about songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Waterloo”- these songs were played around the globe back in the 1970’s and still today those songs are played on every “oldie” station across America. (I know what you are thinking- “Who listens to oldie stations?”- You will see soon enough my friend, I use to think just like you and all of a sudden I am now referred to as “Mister.”)

Everyone knows that I am a huge Kiss fan and I also like the Chili Peppers but as I mentioned back in September, I don’t think these bands should get in just yet when there are bands like Rush, Yes and Deep Purple that are sitting on the outside looking in, wondering what they need to do just to get a nomination? So then how can I say that ABBA deserves to get in? Well as I mentioned, the Hall is “expanding” (see “Run-DMC”) so ABBA is not rock and roll as we all know. It’s “pop” or “soft rock” and believe me there are many others out there before ABBA that are in the same genre as them who also deserve to get in now that ABBA is in-but at least the Hall “opened the door” for a band like ABBA. I don’t understand why bands like Yes or Deep Purple get shut out. (And you all have a favorite artist that is being left out) The Hall needs to maybe expand the nominations and make this like a bi-annual or quarterly event so that they many other deserving acts get in as well. I completely understand that nominating 5 bands at one ceremony makes for a long night (especially if Eddie Vedder is presenting) but there are so many bands that need to get in, that they should really explore having more ceremonies in a year.

I am surprised that Donna Summer did not get voted in as I think she was right at the forefront of the disco genre and if they are expanding the Hall, why not Donna? She is still relevant today and just because her genre basically ended during the early 1980’s (don’t tell that to Brooklyn though) doesn’t mean she hasn’t made a huge impact on the music scene. I am not surprised that LL Cool J did not make it on his first cut, as I mentioned back in September he was definitely there during the beginning of the rap years but did he distinguish himself the way Run-DMC did? I think not. And what about Darlene Love? I go back and forth with this pick as I can see why folks don’t think she is deserving but then again she was a major contributor and was also at the forefront of the “girl band” revolution during the 1960’s. If I had a vote, I would say yes.

Album Review: “Marshmallow World & Other Holiday Favorites” by Raul Malo; released on Rocktober 22, 2007.

Ok for the past two holiday seasons I have been letting you know that the best new Christmas album that has been released in the last decade or so belongs to this man- Raul Malo. This album, in my opinion, is worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as dare I say the holiday albums made by Elvis, Phil Spector, Dean Martin and Burl Ives. Yes folks I believe it is this good. Now I’m not saying it is better than the classics we have all grown up with but I will say it is this is the “new classic.” And it was an instant classic the day it was released, as you can see I can’t say enough about it. So here are the tracks on this album:

Marshmallow World– This has become a staple for our family during our annual “day after Thanksgiving Day” where we put up our Christmas tree (yes, it’s artificial-I like the holiday season and have been trying to convince my family to put it up before Thanksgiving but they want to stick to our tradition. I’m OK with that and want this tradition to last forever-so boys when you have your family you still have to do it). The boys and I line up around the table in the living room to take ornaments from my wife as she unpacks them while our job is to hang them on the tree then head back to the line and this song is perfect for swaying, skating or just plain dancing as I usually cut the line to grab the ornaments from my boy’s. Perfect beginning to an album.

Not So Merry Christmas– A non-traditional song but none the less a beautiful composition which will definitely grab your attention as his voice will remind you of the “old school” crooners like Dean, Roy or Elvis. His band mates really remind me of The Jordanaires- the band that backed Elvis as their musicianship is top notch. Sometimes you need new classics and this track is one of them.

Jingle Bells– Talk about a cool rendition of Jingle Bells, wow I think this is the best version of this song ever. The grove is so much fun and you can not help but dance around right in the spot that you currently occupy. When Raul says “Ahh let’s swing it now..” well the song kicks it up a notch and I can’t get enough of it. I want more and don’t want the song to end. Folks I’m telling you this is the best!!!

Silent Night– There is a nice acoustic guitar beginning with the sound of bells and when Raul starts singing you won’t believe your ears. How good is this guy? The vocals are spectacular and this version of the song is mesmerizing. I think this is one of the best Christmas songs ever written and he does the song with such class and grace. This is some powerful stuff.

White Christmas-This is the “Dean Martin” version as the finger snapping starts right away and his voice will remind you of Christmas’ past. He has the perfect voice for a capella singing. It’s on Raul, his finger snapping and a flute-very raw sounding-perfect.

Santa Claus is Back in Town-Trying to replicate an Elvis Christmas song is very daring and you open yourself to a lot of criticism. But you know what? He pulls it off with his blues laden spin on this “not so traditional” (back in the day-my grandfather was appalled when it first came out but my Dad loved it) Christmas song. The piano playing is one of the highlights of this track and you can definitely hoist a libation to this song. Very cool song.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas– Raul takes it down a bit with this unbelievable rendition of this holiday classic. I don’t even move when I hear this track, please don’t make any noise when this song is on (Ok it’s acceptable if there is a holiday party going on) because you don’t want to miss the beauty of this tune. Spectacular.

Blue Christmas-It’s back to the rocking blues music as Raul kicks it up and the finger snapping is back in full force. You will be swaying back and forth as soon as you hear the opening notes. This is another favorite of mine while we get in line to take the ornaments from my wife. When the background singers sing in unison, it makes the song that much better. Almost as good as Elvis’s version…. I said almost.

Silver Bells– Raul adds a twist to the song as I can picture a belly dancer using her castanets to dance along to this tune. The song changes pace beautifully as the drums turn it into sort of a 1950’s dance song accompanied by a perfect saxophone solo-this is definitely “old school” rock and roll. Then it’s back to the castanets. This version is so different from any I have ever heard.

Feliz Navidad– Talk about a different version of a Christmas classic. If this song doesn’t get you moving- you need to check yourself at the door. If you are looking for some holiday songs to add to your next Spin class list, this is the one as you will peddle away and bounce in the seat (but don’t let your instructor see you do that). And just when you think the song is over, it comes back. Excellent version.

Raul then signals the end of the album by whistling the tune “Winter Wonderland” for about a minute. There is also a live version of “Blue Christmas” that is an “add on” bonus. I want Raul to put out another Christmas album but he has set the bar so high for himself that I wonder if he’ll let this one build up the accolades (as well as number of units sold) for a few more holiday seasons before attempting another one. I know I would, some artists only put out one whole album for the holiday season anyway, so this may be his swan song…. But hopefully not!!!

MY TOP TEN SONGS OF 2009:

10.     A Diamond and a TetherDeath Cab for Cutie– OK so here goes my “obscure” song and my kids said this song is worse than last year’s pick when I included “The Librarian” by My Morning Jacket. They said this song puts you to sleep but there is something about this track that keeps me coming back for more. I admit this is a slow song and not to lively but there is a certain beauty to it, the vocals are crystal clear and the chorus will creep up on you and before long you will enjoy this song just as much as I do.

9.     SomedayRob Thomas– This guy continues to impress and is someone that can be looked up to and idolized by the younger generation. He slides from Matchbox 20 to his solo career with such ease and there really seems to be no tension with the guys from Matchbox which may enable Rob to become that much stronger musically and lyrically. This song is very uplifting and I would say that the video for this song is in the top 10 as well. Each year Mr. Thomas continues to grow and grow, he will eventually get to that icon status as his name will forever go down in music history and one of the best artists in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

8.     I Dreamed a DreamSusan Boyle– Call me crazy but if we look back on 2009 how can Susan Boyle be left off of any list for the category of top music stories? This is a real life Cinderella story and it is still going on. Remember the first time you saw this on You Tube? C’mon you know you were blown away. I get chills down my backside when I listen to this song, so she deservedly rests in my top ten for 2009.

7.     Know Your EnemyGreen Day– Wow how many times was this song played during the summer?, so much so that I had to turn it off when I heard it but as I looked through the songs in 2009, I again have to give credit where credit is due and put this song on the list. Green Day, in my opinion, is really hitting their stride and I think they still have it in them to produce an album better than “American Idiot” or “21st Century Breakdown.” This song rocks and I love the drumming throughout.

6.     Staring DownCollective Soul– Even my oldest son-who is not a fan of this band (yes it does drive me crazy but I’m working on it)- says that this is one of the best songs of 2009 so it’s not just me putting them down on this list because I love this band. The boys from Georgia are finally free of all the misery that held them back for so many years as they struggled (and succeeded) to get what they deserve-their freedom to do things on their own terms and songs like this is proof positive that knew what they were doing. This is already a classic song and deserves a spot on their future “greatest hits” part two. Beautiful song, period end of story!!!

5.     She’s A GeniusJet-This is by far the most rocking song of 2009. This is rock and roll 2009 style. Love the way he says “That girl is a Genie-Us.” I honestly think that I have listened to this song the most in 2009 out of all the songs I have in my music library. For some reason I don’t get sick of it, I love the guitar riff and especially the solo-man I wish I could play guitar because I think I would start out with this song.

4.     Empire State of MindJay Z (featuring Alicia Keys)- I only recently was turned on to this song but I knew the first time I heard it that it had to be one of the best songs of 2009. Now you all know by now I don’t like all the silly cursing in many of the songs today-so buy the clean version of this song. The melody is perfect for snapping your fingers, moving your head back and forth over your head while you dance around in circles while your eyes are closed. This is the best “chorus” of 2009 and no one does it like Alicia- her voice is so perfect for this song. Both of them are so smooth and this song will be a classic for years to come.

3.     Note to GodCharice Pempengco-I don’t move when I hear this song. This song grips me in a way that no other song has ever done. She sings with so much passion, so much grace, with such spirit it over takes me and when the background chorus joins in, I really feel like I’m being “lifted” in so many ways. Folks, this is one of those songs that is a “once in a lifetime” achievement in music history. Way to go Charice, my hat is off to you. This is a spectacularly amazing song!!!

2.     I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy TonightU2-Ok for those of you who know me, you know that I was a “modest” fan of U2. I was on board with this band back in the 1980’s and then kind of fell off the wagon during the 1990’s up until this year. I could never understand the fuss that was made about them but what happens? They go and make one of my all time favorite albums-“No Line on the Horizon”- and this song has to be included as one of the best songs of 2009. It kills me, now I finally jump back on board and it seems as if everyone else jumped off as the “popularity” of this album is not that good. I can’t understand it. This song is so friggin’ good that I blast it that much louder because I know many others scoff at it. “It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain as you start out the climb…” Love this song, perfect arrangement.

1.     I Gotta FeelingBlack Eyed Peas– If someone a few years from now asks me what was the best song of 2009, I honestly have to admit this is the first song that would come to mind. It’s like remembering who won the World Series or the Superbowl, do people remember the opponent? (Sometimes, especially if it is your team that was on the losing end). But most remember the “best” and this song, in my opinion, is the “best” of 2009.Is it “played out?” Yes but again there is a reason that a song is “played out”…because it is usually a very good song (of course there are exceptions). I don’t want to dismiss the other members of the band but in my opinion, Fergie puts this group over the top. She is also sky rocketing to the top and every time I see her, she gets better. Music is suppose to take you out of your everyday troubles, it is suppose to make you feel better and this song definitely does this and more. I know it puts a smile on my face and it really is a song for the whole family to enjoy. This band is also hitting its stride.

These are my youngest sons’ top ten songs for 2009 He added some color to his picks:

10.     “Satellite Skin”- Modest Mouse-I’ve been obsessed with Modest Mouse for some time now. I bought theie new album “No One’s First and Your Next” and I thought it was great. I specifically play this song over and over again because I thought it was the best song on the album and then I thought it could be on my top 10 songs of this year.

9.     “Down”- Jay Sean (featuring Lil Wayne)- This new artist has been on the charts for a long time and still is. My best friend told me that this was her favorite song and when I heard it I was hooked. Jay Sean Gets my vote for best new artist.

8.     “Gives You Hell”- The All-American Rejects-I remembered the first day I heard these guys play Move Along (on a Bionicle commercial) and I had a feeling that these guys were going to make a big song one day and I was right. After looking at the albums and songs after listening to this song, it seemed to me that these guys were really talented and could have big hits in the future.

7.     “Right Round”- Flo Rida-I have to say this, first there was LL Cool J. then there was Snoop Dog and now there’s FLO RIDA!!!!!!!!! He is probably the coolest guy of this year. If I was in control of the Grammy Awards, he would win artist of the year in my book.

6.     “Good Girls Go Bad”-Cobra Starship With there new album “Hot Mess” Cobra Starship made top 10 in the charts for about 3 months. CONGRATS YOU GUYS!!! This song is one of my favorites for this year and even my dad likes it!

5.     “You Belong to Me” – Taylor Swift– This song is very, VERY good. I heard some people singing and I asked “who sings this song?” When I was told it was Taylor Swift, I said to myself “typical”, but when I listened to the song some more it started to grow on me.

4.     “Party in the U.S.A.”- Miley Cyrus– I was never a Miley fan, but when I heard this at one of my school dances it was just a song that you could listen to over and over and not get sick of it. It’s just so lively and fun. It makes you want to be with your friend, forget all your troubles, and just dance to the beat of the song.

3.     “Empire State of Mind”- Jay Z (featuring Alicia Keys)- Just the beginning of this song gets you pumped up. I love this song because the rap and the piano together sounds just like a calm New York City night (if there is ever a calm night). I like how he says this is Sinatra at the Opera

2.     “I Gotta Feeling”- Black Eyed Peas– First I have to say to the Black Eyed Peas: you totally out did it this year and you guys pounded the charts with this song. You guys are the BOMB!!!!! This song was the number song on Billboard, on iTunes, everywhere you looked it was “I Gotta Feeling.” They “do it all again” with there massive hits and their new albums, oh and by the way: the energy will never die.

1.     “Use Somebody”- Kings of Leon– I remember the day this song came out and my brother said “This song stinks!!” I’ll tell you what… he was dang wrong. This song is just the perfect song to listen at any time. When you’re sad it will cheer you up. When you’re happy it will make you joyful and will show you to never give up your dreams. To not miss any opportunity you have and that there will be help from everyone who loves and cares about you. It was so funny one day my whole class just randomly sang this song at the same time and that’s how I knew that all my classmates cared for each other and that if one of us falls others will help them up. We will stand strong and together. We are all equal and we love each other so much. I was devastated to hear that one of my best friends had to leave next year, but I know that there is a new person coming for us to share our happiness with him or her. That’s what this song means to me and that’s what it’s about.

These are my oldest sons’ top ten songs for 2009:

10.     “Constellations”- Jack Johnson (featuring Eddie Vedder)

9.       “I Gotta Feeling”- Black Eyed Peas

8.       “Know Your Enemy”- Green Day

7.       “She’s A Genius”- Jet

6.        “D.O.A.”- Jay Z

5.       “Under Control”- Parachute

4.       “Staring Down”- Collective Soul

3.       “Half of My Heart”- John Mayer (featuring Taylor Swift)

2.       “Someday”- Rob Thomas

1.        “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”- U2

TOP FIVE ALBUMS OF 2009:

OK my intention was to present you my favorite top ten albums of the year. However, as I look through my music library there are barely ten complete albums that I bought by artists that released material in 2009. So I have decided to narrow it down to the top five albums of the last year for the first decade of the 2000’s. Now I will acknowledge –“The Blue Print”- by Jay Z as one of the top albums of 2009 but I can’t review it because I do not own it. From what I can tell all the write-ups that I have seen on it, it deserves a place as one of the best albums this year.

Maybe it is me (for the reason I only had 10 new albums this year) as sometimes I can be very picky in what I purchase and then in a blink of an eye I love stuff that no one else seems to listen to. So of course you know there are a couple of “obscure” artists even in my top five, so without further adieu here are the five albums that are deserving of your hard earned income-if you don’t already own them.

5.      White Lies for Dark TimesBen Harper & The Relentless7– As I mentioned back earlier in the year, this was my first experience with Mr. Harper. Of course I had heard of him and actually may have seen him a few times live-he is good friends with Pearl Jam and I know at least one of the times I saw PJ, he was the opener. Now for his “die-hard” fans please go easy on me because as I said I have “discovered” him in 2009 and most times I either keep an eye out for future albums or head back to the catalog of the artist. In this case, it could be both. This album has no “fillers” at all-when you put this on you will see how easy you glide from one track to the next. “Number with No Name” is a perfect way to start off this album and the one thing that will jump out to you is the musicianship of all the players in this band. They are tight, cohesive and I get the sense that they love to jam with each other as much as they can. “Shimmer & Shine” is straight up rock and roll that I can picture being played in a small pub as people try to get closer to the action. (and there may be some “mash pits” that could break out-I said maybe-though I don’t think that is what Ben and his bandmates intended). There are so many different music genres on this album- you can hear classic R&B, Rap, Blues, Rock, Rock N Roll and even a bit of Country & Folk-think of the of “The Band.” Folks you will not go wrong by picking this stellar piece of work up.

Key Tracks: “Lay There & Hate Me”“Why Must You Always Dress in Black” “Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart)”“Faithfully Remain”

4.     Baby Darling Doll Face HoneyBand of Skulls-This band from “across the pond” has my vote as the best new band of 2009. This threesome have some serious skills and this album is filled with so many good songs but my guess is probably not so popular-but again being “popular” doesn’t always mean that it is good. Yes there will be comparisons to the White Stripes but what’s wrong with that? Take a listen to “Death by Diamonds & Pearls” and tell me this isn’t a good tune? I love the way it picks up towards the end and has a blistering guitar solo to boot. Or listen to “Honest” and tell me this band has no talent? Wow what beautiful vocals to accentuate the enjoyable melody, very melodic. They can “kick it up” a notch with the electrifying “Patterns”-c’mon folks this is good stuff. Or what about the song “Bomb?” “I hear it… bomb.. I hear it..” I will stick with my assessment that this band is going to make some noise in the near future, an album that is this good just can’t fall to the way side.

Key Tracks: “Cold Fame”“Fires”“Honest”“Bomb” “Death By Diamonds & Pearls”

3.     21st Century BreakdownGreen Day– Ok I’ll be the first to admit that I may have overloaded myself with this album as I listened to incessantly when it was first released. I listened to it for a week before I did a review on it and then dove into it a lot more as I was preparing to see them at The Garden in July. Then you know how sometimes you throw something to the side and tell yourself that it’s going to be a while before I go back? (No?…well I do). I just recently went back to listening to the album again and I still am of the opinion that this is a very good album. (now after almost a half a year since it was released, I think that “American Idiot” remains their best effort to date, with this obviously a close second). “21 Guns” has really taken off and is a monster hit. I do think the album could have been a little shorter but other than that, this is worth buying.

Key Tracks: “Last of the American Girls” “Restless Heart Syndrome” “Before The Lobotomy” “East Jesus Nowhere”

2.     Monsters of FolkMonsters of Folk– After I did my review of this band and their debut album I kept seeing things written in many places that these guys are the new “Traveling Wilbury’s”- I paused and said “Nah I don’t think they have reached the status of a Dylan, Orbison, Harrison, Petty or Lynne just yet. That said, this could be one of the best compilations from individuals who were part of other bands that formed to create a new one since the Wilbury’s. The title of the band-as well as the album- is just what it says it is. This is “folk” music and if you are not a fan of “folk” music you’re probably dismissing this very easily. But I am here to let you know that you need to give things a try once in a while- and most peopleneed to “chill out” every once in a while, right? (Even I don’t listen to Metallica “24/7”). This is very cool album with songs that are pleasant, finger and feet taping as well as some that put you in a trance. The sound is raw, melodic and filled with passionate themes-some deal with religion- as they try to get you to dig deeper to look into your inner self to and to ask yourself- do you like what you see? (“The Right Place”). I have to say that this album is very tranquil and soothes the soul. Pick it up now.

Key Tracks: “Right Place”“The Sandman, the Brakeman and Me” “Say Please” “Goodway”

1.     No Line on the HorizonU2– OK folks this is “by far” the best album of 2009. There is no debate here-even Rolling Stone Magazine has declared it the number one compilation of the year. Years from now when history is re-written (meaning all the people that are panning this album will say years from now that they said it was great) you can always refer to my page and see that I have been screaming all year long that I think this is their best work ever!!! No disrespect to any other albums that they have made over the years but I can honestly say that I do not skip over any songs on “No Line on the Horizon”. I can not make that same claim on their others-yes even the heralded “Joshua Tree”- I know -a sacrilegious thing to say. (Sorry U2). This album is pure magic. I just read in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine that Lars Ulrich stated that his favorite song of the year is “Moment of Surrender.” Yes that Lars-from METALLICA!! This album is deep and isn’t that what a band like U2 is suppose to make at this point in their career? They’ve done every thing, won so many awards, played at the world’s biggest venues-made some of the greatest rock songs ever-so why don’t they get the accolades for this album? I can’t understand it, refuse to understand it and it burns me up that more people don’t give this masterpiece its due-especially the U2 fans themselves. Anyway now that’s off my chest- please I beg of you- you need to own this album-don’t listen to the hype-listen to me. Way to go guys, you have redefined yourself in 2009.

Key Tracks: ALL OF THEM!!!! Especially “Moment of Surrender” and “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.”

Personal highlights for me related to music in 2009:

·      This was the first year that I took both of my son’s to concerts. I took my oldest to see Bryan Adams and my youngest to see AC/DC. I took both of them to see Green Day. As you can tell by me writing all this stuff every week about music, this truly was one of my dreams coming to fruition-taking my children to a concert. Can it get any better?

·      The song “I Have A Dream” by ABBA. This song will now forever hold a special place in my memory bank as well as my heart as it was my oldest son’s graduation song performed by him as well as his classmates as they said goodbye to their Grammar school.

·     The song “Memories” by Elvis Presley. At my youngest brother’s wedding back in February, he would have danced with our mother had she still been with us, instead our Aunt danced with him and it was such an emotional moment, one that I will never forget.

·     The song “Amazed” by Lonestar. This song was my younger brother’s “first dance” with his wife at their wedding in February. My brother is the first person that I ever witnessed growing up before my eyes, his wedding day is something that I will never forget and I’m so glad we have his wife and her family in our lives.

·     Getting my review of the Metallica concert on their website (it’s still there by the way).

·      The November 14 Metallica show at Madison Square Garden-best show of the year.

Most Unbelievable and Tragic Story of 2009

·June 25, 2009 will forever go down in music history like Dec. 8, 1980. Michael Jackson’s death was the most shocking, the most unbelievable and tragic story of the music world since Lennon’s death in 1980. His funeral service is also something that I will never forget. “Gone Too Soon” Michael, there are so many people who have been affected by this tragic loss. Rest in peace.

Most Unbelievable Moment in 2009

·Kayne West taking the microphone from Taylor Swift while she was in the middle of making a thank you speech after winning the “best video” award.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Matt Sorum

2.     Arnold Schwarzenegger

3.      Shannon Hoon

4.     “Live & Let Die”-Paul McCartney

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     What is the name of the band that Raul Malo used to be a part of?

2.     True or False: During 2009, Kayne West stated that the greatest pain in his life would be that he will never be able to see himself perform live?

3.     True or False: Ben Harper has won a Grammy Award?

4.     The Hollies were just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who left this band to form one of the most powerful threesomes (and sometimes “foursomes”) in rock history?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Black and White”- Three Dog Night

2.     “Black Coffee in Bed”-Squeeze

3.     “Black Country Woman”-The Mighty Led Zeppelin

4.     “Black Hole Sun”- Soundgarden

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “When I said I needed you… you said you would always stay..It wasn’t me who changed but you.. And now you’ve gone away…”

2.     “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.. you don’t spit into the wind.. you don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger…”

3.     “So let’s get to the point.. let’s roll another joint..let’s head on down the road..there’s somewhere I gotta go…”

4.     “I remember when you couldn’t wait to love me.. Used to hate to leave me..Now after loving me late at night..”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1964, fans rushed the limo of James Brown when he attended the funeral of Sam Cooke, forcing him to leave.

Back on this day in 1969, Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky on NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

Back on this day in 1975, Rod Stewart announced his departure from “Faces” due to Ron Wood joining the Rolling Stones. Stewart thought that he would be better off with a solo career. Good foresight, ya think?

Back on this day in 1978, the Mighty Led Zeppelin completed the recording of their final studio album “In Through the Out Door.”

Back on this day in 1992 a Toronto radio station removed the Beatles song-“Run for Your Life”- 27 years after its release stating that the song promoted violence against women. (The lyrics are a bit strange and harsh).

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Chas Chandler (The Animals) Keith Richards and Elliot Easton. (I’m not telling you- you should know).

December 11, 2009

Weekly Update – 12/11/2009

Alicia Keys at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Mar. 17, 2010. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale this Mon. Dec. 14 at 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Fri. Dec. 18. General public tickets on sale Sat. Dec. 19 at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $125.50.

Kid Rock at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. Feb. 13, 2010. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $66 – $86. Also appearing at the Borgota Event Center on Sun. Feb. 14. Tickets for this show go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Black Eyed Peas at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Feb. 24; at Mohegan Sun on Sat. Feb. 27; at Nassau Coliseum on Mon. Mar. 1. MSG: Pre-sale tickets for American Express on now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. $49.50 – $94. Mohegan: tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $85 – $105. Nassau: Tickets on sale tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. $49, $69.50 and $89.50.

Weezer and Paramore will be the headliners for the HoodWinked & Bamboozle 2010 Tour which will be at the new Meadowlands stadium (parking lot I think) on Fri. Apr. 30 and Sat. & Sun. May 1 and 2, 2010. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30 for Hoodwinked $60 per day for Bamboozle.

Bryan Adams at the Tilles Center Concert Hall in Brookville NY on Sat. Mar. 20. Tickets on sale today at 1:00 p.m. $53.50.

Yes at the Town Hall (acoustic only) in NY on Sat. & Sun. Feb. 13 & 14. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40, $65 and $85. Also appearing at the Wellmont Theater in NJ on Wed. Feb. 10. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45, $65 and $85.

Rufus Wainwright at the Music Box at the Borgota on Sun. Dec. 14, 2010. (yes 2010- silly isn’t it?) Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

David Gray at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Tues. April 6, 2010. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.(Live Nation Event). Also appearing at the Wellmont Theater on Thurs. April 1, 2010. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35, $50 and $65.

Muse at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Mar. 5, 2010. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $42.50, $50 and $65.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Webster Hall in NYC on Thurs. Apr. 8, 2010. Tickets on sale today at noon. $26 ($30 day of show).

Mos Def at Highline Ballroom on Sun. Dec. 20 at 11:30 p.m. Tickets on sale now. $45 ($50 day of show).

Kreator at Nokia Theater on Sat. Mar. 6. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders begins next Wed. Dec. 16 at noon and goes until noon on Thurs. Dec. 17. General public on sale next Thurs. Dec. 17 at noon.$28.50

Overkill at Nokia Theater on Sat. May 1. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders begins next Thurs. Dec. 17 at noon and goes until noon on Sat. Dec. 19. General public on sale next Sat. Dec. 19 at noon.$30.00

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to Ronnie James Dio-lead singer for Heaven & Hell- as it was announced recently that he is battling stomach cancer. I hope that he beats this thing which affects so many people.

I am sad to report that the New York City Annex to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will close its doors on January 3, only after a year. I took my family this past February and loved it. It is such a shame that the economy tanked as I think that place really could have taken off. At least I had a taste of what the main place is- yes I know I need to go to Cleveland.

My favorite new song of the week (well Ok it’s not so new) is “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and featuring Alicia Keys. Of course I have the clean version as I really don’t understand all the cursing in songs these days. The melody is outstanding and I have to give credit where credit is due- Jay-Z is a great rapper but it is Keys who makes the song for me.

My favorite Christmas song this week belongs to Los Lonely Boys with their funky groovy version of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” Not your traditional type of song but every once in a while you need a song that gets you moving during the holiday season instead of the normal sweet and tender songs.

According to the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, the latest trouble with Aerosmith dealing with the breakup seems to fall squarely on the shoulders of lead singer Steven Tyler. It appears that Tyler has fallen off the wagon and all the signs point to this being the problem as the other members of the band have been trying to get him to focus on the band but to no avail. Even Tyler’s daughter says she hasn’t seen him in a long while. Rumor has it he was spotted coming out of a liquor store with more than a few bottles of wine. He’s weird statement to the crowd at Joe Perry’s NY solo show a few weeks back –“Joe Perry is a man of many colors but I am the mother ***** rainbow!!???” Here’s hoping Steven gets back on track and get back to what he does best, singing for Joe Perry and the rest of the Aerosmith band mates.

My other favorite new song of the week belongs to Jet with the rockin’ “Black Hearts (On Fire)”- this band has the potential to be one of the best rock and roll bands out there today but I don’t know what it is that is holding them back. They make some really great tunes but also seem to be make some “fillers” and maybe that’s it. If they concentrate on making songs like this one and “She’s a Genius” they’ll be alright.

Weezer’s frontman- Rivers Cuomo– remains in the hospital after the tour bus he was on this past weekend was involved in a crash as a result of the snow that the NY area was hit with last weekend. He has three broken ribs, a small cut on his spleen and a small puncture on one of his lungs. He is getting better though day by day and is expected to be released in a few days. Mr. Cuomo: rest up and take your time getting better, we wish you but a speedy recovery so your fans can see you back on the road soon.

Christina Aguilera will host a New Year’s Eve party at the Tao nightclub located in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The party will feature an open bar and hors d’oeurves from 9:00 – 11:00 p.m. The $200 entry fee will also include a champagne toast at midnight.

Album Review: “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns & Roses; released on July 21, 1987.

(As I wrote this it was reported yesterday that Axl Rose was in a fight with photographers on his way to Asia, this man has an appetite for destruction, no? how apropos huh?)

Another song I came across on my I-Pod shuffle this week was the pulverizing “Paradise City” by Guns & Roses and it made me go back and listen for the first time in a very long while to their ground breaking debut album-“Appetite for Destruction.” Even though Axl basically drove me away from this band with all his temper tantrums and not showing up for gigs, I have to give credit where credit is due- “Appetite for Destruction” may just very well be the greatest debut album of all time. Since I like this to be a “family” page- I will warn those faint of heart and leery of “sausy” language to steer clear but if you like rock and roll the way many think it is intended to be, then this is the album for you. This is the ultimate grimy, dirty, gritty and pure raucous album you will ever come across. It’s offensive, the subject matters deal with sex and drugs while G’N’R provide the rock and roll. Ok well it’s hard rock-think Aerosmith during their early days with a lot more edge or the Rolling Stones on steroids. These guys pissed off just about everyone-probably more than Skynyrd- on their way to the top of the world and still don’t give a hoot. (I was thinking of another word but again this is a family page).

Folks I have to tell you, in the 44 years on this planet for me- I don’t think I have ever experienced a “buzz” like I did when these guys were emerging. Think of the classic movie-“The Blob”- where little by little that jello made monster starting appearing everywhere and seeped into every nook and cranny that even the older generation of rockers had to stop and take notice. I remember waiting on line for tickets (yes boys and girls that’s the way it use to be done) for a Motley Crue show in Brooklyn on 4th Avenue somewhere between 65th and 70th streets and everyone on the line talking about this new band called Guns & Roses. They were so pumped and told me that their debut album was going to blow the world up. After buying tickets I immediately went to the Little Record Store on 86th street and purchased this classic. I think when I picked up the album-rays of light shot up to the sky and instead of seeing angels-I think I saw all these little devils with the red tails wagging. Little did I know what was in store for my ears it was shocking but yet pleasant. Now of course I am strongly against some of the lyrics in many of these tracks but I love the sound. It kind of puts me in a quandary- do I listen to the angel on one shoulder telling me to turn away from it while the other shoulder with the devil on it is using its pitchfork to make me rock out. So with apologies to those who are offended by the lyrics, I mainly listen to this album by my lonesome, either in my car or when no one is home. As I said, this has to rank up there as the best-if not the best- debut album for any band and for any era of time. The hunger and energy put forth on this album is electrifying even to this day.

The album starts off with a song which has now become a national anthem for football teams across the U.S. as the opening licks to “Welcome to the Jungle” is so well recognized that I would have to say it is the most often played track by NFL teams around the league. And I would take it a step further and would say that this song has become the most recognized hard rock song ever around the globe. This is the theme song for the New England Patriots as their home stadium plays it at least 100 times per game. What about the video? How many times did MTV play this video during the years from 1987 – 1990? I can still picture a young Axl getting off the bus with that head of hair which looked like he stuck his finger in an electrical socket. This ranks up there as one of the greatest hard rock songs ever. “You know where you are? You’re in the jungle baby…” I know if you hear this song too many times –like any other song- you can kind of dismiss it but if you haven’t heard it in a while-it really does get the juices flowing. I can clearly remember my two “brothers”-Ron & Porgie- making faces into the camera held by their brother Richie as he filmed them reacting to this song being played by the DJ at my wedding. Joining them in the fray was my best man-Johnny- as all three of them air-guitared and air-drummed their way through the song. Johnny looked like he stuck his finger in an electric socket as I never saw his body do the moves he did that night. (All the “older” guests were probably disgusted at this song but hey it was my wedding and damn it there was going to be rock songs played!!!).

“It’s So Easy” is so freaking wrong as far as the lyrics but this track just may be my favorite on the album. This is rock and roll at its dirtiest; love the “Ugghhh” that Axl belts out from his belly. I can remember sitting at the dinner table when I still lived home with my parents and my younger brother Graig (who was only 8 yrs. old at the time) was singing this song and I was humming along saying “I know that song.” Then it hit me-Oh My God!!! He got a hold of my tape and has been listening to the album. Thank goodness my parents didn’t know what I was listening to. (A note for you parents today: look at your kids’ I-Pod playlist). “Nighttrain” really is a freight train as this song comes at you with such full force it has to knock you right off of your seat and make you jump around the room. How friggin’ great is this song? I’m telling you-if you haven’t listened to this album in a while-it really makes you stand up and pay attention as this song rips the cover right off the ball. As the pitcher gets a new ball, it then again is hit with such force that the cover flies off again. This is down and dirty rock and roll at its best. Axl’s vocals are top notch and it’s amazing what he did and at the same point makes you.. oh well I’ll stick with the positives- this clearly is spectacular rock and roll, period end of story. Track # 4-“Out Ta Get Me” stays in the gutter as well but again the furiousness is something to behold. All throughout this album is the fantastic drumming of Steven Adler-which is something that he can always hang his hat on- as he still struggles with his demons these days, hopefully he can achieve some peace in his journey. But the way he bangs the skins on this song is pure controlled chaos. “Some people got a chip on their shoulder… they’re out ta get me..” G&R fans should have sensed something was coming from the lyrics of this song, right? “Mr. Brownstone” really reminds me of something that a sleazier Aerosmith could do-and the topic is perfect as all those guys battled with drug usage. (rumor has it that Mr. Tyler may have fallen off the wagon recently). Again check out Adler on drums as well as the incredible Slash on guitar, this is the best “garage band” song that there ever was. If you’re forming a band and are looking for songs to cover, look no further than this blistering track. Then it’s on to the incomparable “Paradise City”- the more I think about it-the more I am convinced that this is their best song ever written, performed and arranged. Even the “whistle” is the best- it signals that it is off to the races. This is their blockbuster, so I change my mind-this is my favorite song on the album. Slash rips his way through this song like none other. I can remember like it was yesterday when Chris threw this song on one of his CD’s while he taught a Spin class at MBIA and I was out of my mind. Try listening to this while you’re spinning and put it as loud as you can and then when the fast part of the song comes on, spin your legs as fast as you can and as you are sprinting while gasping for air-you can’t stop because the song won’t let you (nor Chris for that matter). Try to take it to the end of the song-it’s almost impossible as Slash is out of his mind scary on the guitar and the frenzied pace of the song just doesn’t quit-I’m exhausted just writing about it as it finally ends. Whew that was friggin’ awesome.

Side two starts off with the raw sounding “My Michele”- no nothing like the Beatles classic. This is the rated X version. Not so crazy about the lyrics but have to throw out Duff McKagan’s name here as the bass work on this track really stands out. This is “thrash punk” if that is a genre, lots of twists and turns and even a bit of the gratuitous cowbell. “Think About You” is another fast paced song that will make you keep the seat belt on as this ride is not going to slow down-so don’t ask to get off just yet. I guess maybe because they were so hungry to make it to the top that the rawness/freshness was never really captured after this album. (Nothing on “Illusion” matches up to even this song). Slash is wicked good on this song and I can just picture him with that hat and hair with cigarette in the mouth while he calmly and coolly just plays it with the flick of his wrists. Scary good. “Sweet Child of Mine” could be their best known song of all time and ranks up there as one of their best songs-again if not the best. The guitar riffs in the beginning are so recognizable-just as “Jungle”- and I believe this is the song that attracted the older brethren of rock fans to this band. This is pure excellence that will never be denied. I can remember when this song first started to catch on and one day while I was playing centerfield for the “All-Out” I couldn’t stop singing this song the whole game. G&R could have paid me to be their publicist as I told everyone about this band, I heard all the buzz and this song cemented their place in rock history. Even if the band itself does not get into the Hall of Fame- this song has to entered on its merits. This is a “once in a lifetime” song that was written and I have no worries about this being past on down to future generations, it will no matter what happens-but just for good measure this song should be added to the song list in the maternity wards in each hospital across the country. The next song-“You’re Crazy”- gets back to the raucousness as the fast paced bullet piercing rock puts a jolt into your body. (I actually like the acoustic version a little better; which appears on “Lies”). Again Slash is out of this world good while Adler is keeping pace trying to knock everyone out; this one-two punch is light’s out. “Anything Goes” keeps the frenetic pace going as Axl takes over with his fantastic vocals. “My way, your way, anything goes tonight..” There is a funky blues type twist of guitar sprinkled with some awesome bass lines. Slash’s guitar solo sounds like it’s an octave higher and is different from any other solo on this album. The stop and go, twist and turn pace is classic and Adler is there every step of the way to lead you down another path of great drum and guitar riffs. The last song to end this majestic album is “Rocket Queen” and I’m pretty sure the band knew what they were doing when they had “Paradise” end side one and this song to end side two. The arrangement of this song really reminds me of a Metallica song as the song never really stays in the same rhythm for too long. Axl sounds like he is singing into a sand storm as the way they make his voice sound is totally different from any song on the album. The rhythm and bass guitars are in the drivers’ seat as they prepare you for the left and then sudden right turns. (Not really sure what’s going on with all the groaning in the middle of the song but whatever). Slash then takes over and jumps in the front seat as his guitar playing is just spectacular and of course Axl takes it home as the song comes to a crashing end.

“Appetite for Destruction” is just what the title stands for. G’N’R had a huge appetite to destruct anything in its way as they blasted down the doors that allowed them into the room with the rest of the rock bands that were around in the late 1980’s. Yes Nirvana came and shredded the hair bands in 1991 but this album survived and when the smoke cleared the members of Guns & Roses could stand proud that they did not get swept up by the broom called Nirvana. In my opinion, these guys are similar to Meatloaf in the sense that they never really achieved the success after their debut but as I said I will stay positive and call this the best debut ever for any band. I’m sure this time around I have many people who will agree with this proclamation.

“TOP TEN” :

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Life in the Fast Lane” by The Eagles and this song immediately reminds me of my uncle John. I know this is his favorite Eagles song and it just may be his favorite song of all time. I started to look through my list of songs from these guys and decided to make them the band this week for my top ten songs. Now last week I took a lot of abuse when I did the songs by Boston. Both of my boys said they didn’t know half the songs on the list and they thought they only had a few albums. My brother said he didn’t recognize one song- a little exaggerated but I get the point. And my friend, Ed, took it one step further when he said I should rename it-“The top 10 most obscure song list”- because I leave all the “hits” off of my list. He cited my Van Halen list but I disagreed, oh well. Now with the Eagles, I am probably going to anger my uncle as “Life in the Fast Lane” doesn’t make my top ten-it would make my top 20 but again if you try and name your top ten songs-it is not as easy as you think. And I always put the songs down that I enjoy and if it is not a “hit,” then so be it. But I at least it gets the juices flowing a little, right? Now the Eagles are a legendary band and the world wouldn’t be the same without their music. Even with all the lineup changes, they still manage to be one of the most revered musical acts of all time. Now if I left off one of your favorites I apologize but here are the top ten songs, in my opinion, by the Eagles:

10.     Love Will Keep Us Alive– Yes I know already people are scratching their heads and saying “What song is that?” It is a “later” song in their career which has the most unbelievable vocals, including the lead and especially the background vocals. “Baby, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do…when we’re hungry love will keep us alive..” You know how you hear a certain song and it takes you to that certain place, well for me this was at the end of a Spin class when we would stretch with Melissa and this song was so relaxing as well as beautiful.

9.     The Best of My Love– “Every night I’m lying in bed holding you close to my dreams..” They had me at those notes and lyrics. As my brother Rich knows I usually close my eyes and make some weird facial expressions and that’s a sign that I love the song. As I’m typing I’m closing my eyes picturing myself up on stage singing this song with them. Ok it’s a dream but that’s how much this song moves me.

8.     Already Gone– Love the lyrics in this song as I believe many people can relate to them. This is one of their more upbeat songs and it really gets me moving. I put this track on a boot camp class at MBIA and never looked back as this song rocks!!! How about the line-“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key?”- now I know some people personally who finally recognized this point and turned the tables around.

7.     Hotel California– Ok folks there it is- a “hit” on my list. Can you believe it? (well most of these songs are hits but this is one of their “ultimate” hits, right?). This is a great song for Spin for all you Spin instructors out there looking for some new tracks to do in your class. Love the “thump, thump… On a dark desert highway…” This could be their best song ever composed, arranged and written. How great are the lyrics? Makes you read between the lines, huh? This is the perfect sing along song and you should suggest it the next time some acoustic guitarist is taking requests at your local pub or your next house party. Everyone can sing along but you’ll have to ask the guitarist to find an electric outlet as you’ll need to hear the lasting guitar solo live and loud. How phenomenal is the guitar solo that takes the song to its end? Could be one of the best endings to a song in the history of music. Classic, period end of story.

6.     Lyin’ Eyes– This song always reminds me of my Dad as it was one of the few songs that he would allow the family to listen to when it came on the radio, even if it was from the 1970’s. (Remember he never left the “doo-wop” era and still is parked in that genre). So you know the song has to be good for him to listen to it and allow us to listen as we rode up to Otisville N.Y. back in the 1970’s. Ahh those were the days- long summer days with no care in the world, played baseball and softball all day long and loving songs like this one. I know every word-as my Dad does-another miracle and try to sing it with the passion that the Eagles do. Perfect blend of acoustic guitars, harmonies and a sad story to go with it.

5.     Take it to the Limit– This song reminds me of one of my best friends-Johnny Boy- as this is one of his all time favorite songs. I can picture him totally getting into to this song as he drives.. well everywhere. I can float away when I hear this song. There is a special feeling that one gets when a song hits you-this song filters into my blood stream and pumps the blood into my heart as it grows with the fervor that they sing this song. How great are the harmonizing vocals? Pure perfection.

4.     Peaceful Easy Feeling– This song reminds me of my mother-she absolutely loved this song and I think the reason is because this could almost be classified as “country” and country music was her safe haven. This song really gives you a peaceful easy feeling. I can listen to this song all day long and it is perfect for those winter nights sitting in front of the fireplace. Very soothing tune.

3.     New Kid in Town– This song brings me back to the mid 1970’s when my family moved from 46th street in Brooklyn N.Y. to Otisville N.Y. and I was the “new kid in town.” And Otisville was really a town- city folk don’t get it when people say “town”-never did, never will. If you’re from Brooklyn it’s “Brooklyn” and that’s it. And when I started the 4th grade at Minisink Valley School in Slate Hill NY, I really was the new kid. As soon as I startedgetting use to my new gigs, we moved back to Brooklyn. Oh well. This song is fantastic with such an enjoyable chorus that it gets you singing it all day long. Love the way how Henley flows with the drums towards the end of the song.

2.     Desperado– Ask my kids how many times I have played this song? And for me it’s just like the song “Pretty Paper” by Orbison or “If” by Bread I can not listen to it just one time- I have to keep hitting the rewind button and play it at least two times in a row-sometimes up to six times. And just like in the “Seinfeld” episode, I can’t have any noise or anyone talking while I’m listening to this majestic piece of work. (I understand why Henley put the screws to Mr.Walsh during his crazy drinking days-this song is not to be messed with). Sometimes I really feel like I’m having an “out of body” experience when I listen to this song, that’s how engulfed I become while it is playing. Do you remember that time when some dude broke into the WNEW –FM studio back in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s and held a DJ hostage and made him play this song over and over for hours upon hours? Yes it’s a true story. Everything turned out OK for the DJ, except for the stress caused obviously but if there is a song to pick to play over and over- this one is it.

1.     Victim of Love– OK this was such a tough choice between “Desperado” and this masterpiece but at this time I had to go with “Victim of Love.” The opening note on this song psyches me up like none other. As a kid I remember going to my aunt Gayle and uncle John’s house and I would immediately head for their stereo system-they had the best set of headphones ever- and The Eagles “Hotel California” would be put on the turn table and I would plug those headphones in as not to disturb anyone else because you know I was putting it louder than I should have. When I first heard this song I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had found the greatest rock and roll song ever. I would constantly lift up the needle and play this song over and over. Those were the days’ man I’m telling you. Discovering music at that young age made me the freak of a fan for music today. And I still love discovering new/old music. Music is the connection to anyone’s life. This song rocks. \m/ \m/

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Eric Clapton

2.     Dave Mustaine (formed Megadeth after being booted form Metallica)

3.     Pete Best

4.     Joan Jett   Extra Bonus: Lita Ford

This week’s trivia (Guns & Roses)-

1.     What is the name of the drummer who left “The Cult” to become Guns new skins man?

2.     This Republican, who is married to a Democrat, appeared as the theme character in the G’N’R video- “You Could Be Mine.” Who is it?

3.     He sang background vocals and appeared in the video-“Don’t Cry”- then went on to be the lead singer for the band-Blind Melon. Who is he?

4.     G’N’R covered one of the solo Beatles songs? Name the song and who the Beatle was.

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”- Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell

2.     “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”-McFadden & Whitehead

3.      “Ain’t No Sunshine”-Bill Withers (he says it 26 times, so that’s why I wrote it 26 times)

4.     “Ain’t Talking About Love”- Van Halen

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “The ink is black..the page is white.. together we learn to read and write…a child is black.. a child is white…”

2.     “There’s a stain on my notebook where your coffee cup was…and there’s ash on the pages and I’ve got myself lost …”

3.     “Hey Hey Mama.. what’s the matter here?…hey hey mama… what’s a matter here?… you didn’t have to tell me…” Hint: One of my favorite all time Led Zeppelin songs (and my mother’s too!!)

4.     “Boiling heat.. summer stench.. neath the black the sky looks dead.. call my name through the cream and I’ll hear you scream again…” Hint: Seattle grunge band- No not Nirvana

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1964, the legendary Sam Cooke was shot and killed by a Los Angeles motel manager.

Back on this day in 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married his 13 yr. old cousin-Myra Brown in Hernando MS. Once this fact was discovered his music was blacklisted from radio airplay throughout the U.S.

Back on this day in 1966, Brian Epstein-manager of The Beatles- offered to become the manager for Little Richard after promoting two of his concerts in London. Richard turned down the offer.

Back on this day in 1976 during a Kiss concert in Lakeland FL, Ace Frehley accidentally touched a short circuited light bulb & was electrocuted. He continued the show and later did “Shock me.”

Back on this day in 2002, David Lee Roth sued the then members of Van Halen & Warner Brothers for unpaid royalties, claiming he was not included in the 1996 renegotiated contract with Warner.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with David Gates (Bread-do I really need to tell you?) Brenda Lee and Nikki Sixx.

December 4, 2009

Weekly Update – 12/04/2009

Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. & Fri. Feb. 18 & 19. Pre-sale tickets on sale this Mon. Dec. 7 at noon for American Express credit cardholders until 10:00 p.m. Fri. Dec. 11. General public on sale next Sat. Dec. 12 at 10:00 a.m. $64.50 – $254.50.

Black Eyed Peas at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Feb. 24 and Nassau Coliseum on Mon. Mar. 1. MSG Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale this Mon. Dec. 7 at 11:00 a.m. thru Fri. Dec. 11 at 10:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale Sat. Dec. 12 at 11:00 a.m.  $49.50 – $94.  

Michael Buble at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Mar. 20, 2010. Pre-sale is on now until 5:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: HELOVE. General public tickets on sale this Mon. Dec. 7 at 10:00 a.m. $74- $129.50.

Bon Jovi at Mohegan Sun on Fri. March 26, 2010. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $125 – $195. (These guys are really starting to burn me up the last month-first they force you to buy their album through Ticketmaster and now the starting price to see them is $125? $125 dollars??!! Are you kidding me?)

Norah Jones at the WAMU Theater inside Madison Square Garden on Sat. Mar. 27, 2010. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 – $64.50.

Furthur at Radio City Music Hall on Thurs. Feb. 23. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $69.50.

Alice In Chains at Terminal 5 on Mon. Mar. 8, 2010 and at the Borgota in Atlantic City on Sat. Mar. 12, 2010. Pre-sale tickets for Terminal 5 on now with an American Express credit card only until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale at noon today. $45.

Moe at Roseland Ballroom on Fri. & Sat. Jan. 22 & 23. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Kid Cudi at New York Fillmore on Fri. Jan. 22. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Leon Russell at Theater in Westbury NY (I guess Capital One lost the naming rights) on Fri. Mar. 5, 2010. Tickets on sale this Sun. Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event).

Dickey Betts and Dave Mason at the Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. Mar. 12, 2010. Pre-sale tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. if you own a Citi credit card. General public tickets on sale Sun. Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event).

America at the Theater in Westbury NY on Sun. Mar. 21, 2010. Pre-sale tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. if you own a Citi credit card. General public tickets on sale Sun. Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event).

Galatic and Tea Leaf Green at Terminal 5 on Fri. Feb. 5. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

Aaron Lewis at Wellmont Theater on Thurs. Feb. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30, $35 and $55.

Tower of Power at BB Kings on Thurs. Mar. 25, 2010. Tickets on sale next Thurs. Dec. 10 at 10:00 a.m. $30 ($35 day of show). 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. shows.

The Stylistics at at the Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. Mar. 6, 2010. Live Nation Pre-sale tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. General public tickets on sale Sun. Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event).

Weezer and Paramore seem to be the headliners for the Bamboozle 2010 Tour which will be at the new Meadowlands stadium (parking lot I think) on Sat. & Sun. May 1 and 2, 2010. Live Nation pre-sale begins today at 3:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale next Fri. Dec. 11 at noon. (Live Nation Event)

For Parents: Nick Jonas & The Administration at the Beacon Theater on Thur. Jan. 7 and Fri. Jan. 8. Pre-sale tickets on sale now for Citi credit card holders until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Also password is: record. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.$39.50 – $49.50.

Other items:

Congratulations to Susan Boyle as her debut album sold 701,000 copies in her first week making it the largest selling album in 2009 for the first week of sales. She displaced Eminem, whose-“Relapse”- sold 608,000 copies in its first week out. And to boot, she has sold the most “CD’s” out of anyone this year as opposed to “downloads.” All signs point towards an “older” person as they like to have the whole CD package in their hands as opposed to buying it electronically.

Have you seen the cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” by The Muppets yet? I love it. There have been over 8 million hits since it’s release on You Tube. Very well done. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgbNymZ7vqY

The Black Keys have joined forces with some of today’s biggest rap stars and they have released a new album called “Blacroc.” It sounds kind of strange to hear their slow trudging style mixed in with rap lyrics but it is starting to grow on me. Some of the artists include Mos Def, Raekwon and NOE. Check it out for yourself.

Hats off to LL Cool J on Wednesday night’s “2010 Grammy Nomination” show as he pulled a “Billy Crystal” by performing the “hit songs of 2009” in a very cool melody. (Remember how Crystal use to do the openings for the Oscar’s?- same thing here with LL). He then handed it off to probably one of the hottest, if not the hottest bands, on the planet- “The Black Eyed Peas”- with their ever popular-“I Gotta Feelin’.” Their performance was top notch. The other highlight included Maxwell performing a tribute to Michael Jackson by covering-“The Lady in My Life”- with an amazing rendition which sounded eerily similar to MJ himself.

Again have to hand it to Rob Thomas as he was the highlight on the Rockefeller Tree lighting ceremony that was broadcast on Wednesday night as well. Both of the songs he performed-“Someday” and “NY Christmas” were top notch. This guy has it going on as he slides from Matchbox 20 to his solo career very effortlessly and both gigs are really something- he is very talented and you need to catch up already!!

The best Christmas song so far this season belongs to Darius Rucker with the song-“Candy Cane Christmas”- this track has skyrocketed to the top of my all-time holiday seasonal song list. I can’t stop listening to this work of art. If you don’t own it and you are not yet in the holiday spirit-then run out of pick this beauty up and it will make you stop and appreciate this time of year. And to boot it is now the “free” song of the week on I-Tunes, so now there really is no excuse not to download it-I paid for it!!

Allison Iraheta released her debut album this past Tuesday-“Just Like You”- and when I listen to the 30 second samples on I-Tunes I’d have to say it sort of reminds me of a cross between Pink and Kelly Clarkson. My initial reaction is that I thought she was going for her own style but I guess the record producers went down the same path. I’m not saying it’s bad but I was expecting something different. I like the track- “Don’t Waste the Pretty”- sounds like an instant pop smash hit.

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

Side 1 of “All Skook Up” by Cheap Trick– released on Rocktober 24, 1980.

Remember when you were growing up, there was that favorite album that you obsessively listened to, so much that the inner sleeve was worn out and you probably had so many scratches on the LP that it would appear that you were a DJ doing the “scratchin’” thing. I had many of these albums and one of them is the often forgotten album by Cheap Trick-“All Shook Up”- and to this day I still can’t understand the lack of respect it gets. Maybe it was too “experimental”-as the legendary Beatle producer, George Martin, was at the helm and maybe he went a bit too far but the one thing that there is no denying is that Side 1 is a classic album side, yes says me. Roll your eyes; make a face or say “huh? What album side is he trying to sell us on?” Well folks I’m here to go through each song on this side and defend my decision. This may be an obscure album side but that’s what so great about music- we all have one-c’mon you know you love something that the general public would probably make fun of but I’m here to say “Stand tall” because if I can put this album side down as perfect, well then you must have one as well.

Side one starts off with Cheap Trick paying homage to the Beatles- well of course if Mr. Martin is in charge what did you think?- as the opening and the ending of this song sounds eerily similar to “A Day in the Life.” As the church like song begins with Robin Zander singing “Well I can’t stop the music I could stop it before…” Then Mr. Bun E. Carlos crashes in with his excellent drumming skills and the song takes off. “Stop This Game” is a perfect way to start off an album because it rocks, it rolls and has a great chorus that rolls right off your tongue. The best part of the production is when Robin sings the background vocals while commanding the main part of the song. You’ll think it’s the other guys helping out but it’s all Zander. Bun E. kicks off the next track –“Just Got Back” with some pounding beats as Rick Nielsen’s guitar riff makes it easy to move your feet. My wife and kids just walked into the house without me knowing and this is bleeding out of the speakers. They are screaming for me to turn it down. I remember using this song once for an MBIA spin class and Rosie was a big fan. This track has to get you moving; I can also remember lying down in front of my stereo system when I was 15 with a pillow next to the speakers and blasting this as LOUD as I could take it. This has the Beatles written all over it, especially the background vocals.

Track # 3- “Baby Loves to Rock”- is rock and roll, pure rock and roll my friends-don’t care what anyone says. Rick Nielsen shines with his guitar riffs and Mr. Zander has one of the best set of pipes in rock and roll history. Cheap Trick performed this song (and the next one) on Saturday Night Live on January 17, 1981-maybe it’s on You Tube or somewhere at there, check it out. “Can’t Stop it But I’m Gonna Try” is my favorite track on the whole album. “It’s been a long time baby, it’s been a long time coming..”The driving head banging sound is brought to you by the ever energetic Mr. Bun E. Carlos on drums. Robin’s vocals are the best right here folks, it’s hard to find a better song by these guys than this one. “Can’t Stop… loving you baby..” The bridge- “here comes that feelin’”- to the chorus is supplemented by some fancy piano in the background-you have to listen carefully. It ends on a “Who” note as Zander takes it home. The last track on side 1-“World’s Greatest Lover”-remains a fan favorite of their live shows to this day. This has George Martin’s touch all over it as Mr. Zander emulates John Lennon as he sounds like he is trying to sing like John. Though somehow I can picture Paul McCartney singing this one. My youngest son just came downstairs as it was blasting and asked me if it was the Beatles that I had on. You see?

Now I have to throw in the fact that I absolutely love “High Priest Rhythmic Noise” which is the first track on side two. It is totally psychedelic and most again would shake their head like I’m crazy for liking it but I can’t help it. And for good measure I also love “Love Comes a Tumblin’ Down” where Nielsen has a blazing guitar solo. Anyway back to the perfect album side on “All Shook Up” the impeccable side 1. All the songs on side 1 deserve to be on Rock Band, Guitar Hero or whatever game that depicts great rock and roll. So dust off your old record player and make sure the needle still works and put on side one of this very underrated album-“All Shook Up” by the boys from Rockford, IL. You won’t be disappointed.

TOP TEN :

I have been on a Boston kick lately and decided to name my favorite top ten songs from them. Now I know what you’re thinking-they didn’t put out that many albums to make a top ten list, won’t all the songs on the first album make up most of the list? But if you slow down and take a deep breath, they did have enough material to put out a “Greatest Hits”album in 1997. This band has sold over 31 million albums in the U.S. (17 million just from their debut in 1976). Now this might come as a surprise but one of the songs on this list does not have Brad Delp on vocals, now I know this is “sac-religious” for all the Boston fans-even I can’t believe that all my top ten songs does not have Mr. Delp on them. It does not take away from the fact that Brad Delp was the voice of Boston (even though Mr. Sholz was the founder of the band)-always was, always will be and again it is such a shame that he is not with us today. He had one of the greatest voices in rock history, there’s no denying that fact. So here they are, my favorite ten Boston songs:

10.     Livin’ For You– The only song without Brad Delp on lead vocals, this track has Fran Cosmo on lead as he was the singer for Boston from 1993-2006. This track is from the only Boston album that did not feature Delp as the singer-“Walk On” was released in 1994. It is a beautiful, most unbelievable track that I could picture Delp singing but Cosmo does an awesome job.

9.     Used to Bad News– Ironically most of my songs on this list comes from the often unheralded sophomore effort-“Don’t Look Back.” Due to the perfectionist ways of Mr. Sholz this album took a long time to come out and may have taken out the air beneath the wings that the first album catapulted them into stardom but with tracks like this one, I can’t help but belief that the long wait was worth it. (obviously back in the 1970’s I did not say that but now looking back…) I know it says “Don’t Look Back” but I will. “Used to Bad News” is a solid track and deserves to be on this list.

8.     Party– I can remember being in the eighth grade when this song was released (also on “Don’t Look Back”) and I use to think that this was the coolest song that was ever recorded. I don’t know why but there is something about this song that keeps me coming back for more. I love the part where Delp says “Now man doesn’t live on bread alone… ohh.. get down, get down and party!!”

7.     Coolin’ the Engines-I betcha most Boston fans are doing a double take and scratchin their heads as I dare to put this song on the list. Yes I know this album-“Third Stage”- took even longer to be released than their second- an actual eight years-which in many cases made the fan base disappear as the waiting was excruciating. Now I am not going to say that it was worth the wait again because it was way too long but this track grabbed me by the throat and would not let go. Believe me, I did not want to like it as I was so pissed that this band took forever to release material but this song grew and grew on me until it landed on my list of all time favorite Boston songs.

6.     Amanda– Loved this song much that either of my two sons were born a girl, she would have been named after this tune. “Babe tomorrow’s so far away…” They had me on the first notes. If you know an Amanda ask her for her hand and dance to this song, it doesn’t get any better.

5.     Feelin’ Satisfied-Love the opening guitar riff. “Well come on… all you people… the time has come to get together..” This is a song that belongs on Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Of course the songs with the hand claps are always the most fun, right? There is no better song than this one to squeeze your headphones as tight as you can against your ears and listen to those guitars. This song is like when your ice cream cone is melting and you’re doing your best so none of it hits the floor- it’s hot so you better be careful.

4.     Let Me Take You Home Tonight-When is the last time you have heard this track? The arrangement of this song is second to none. If I were starting a new rock band this is one of the songs I would strive to cover. You can feel Delp’s passion in this song as he hits the cover off of the ball, the drumming is stellar and when the pace of the song kicks in towards the end, you have to ask yourself-does it get any better? This is a homerun in the bottom of the ninth when the game was tied.

3.     Hitch a Ride-“Day is night in New York City…smoke like water runs inside..” The infamous beginning lyrics to a song that is so pleasant to hear again and again. Think about how many times you have heard this song since its release in 1976 and I bet you do not turn the dial to another station, I bet you that you turn the volume a notch higher. The vocals, lead and background, really stand out on this song as well as the righteous guitar solo that takes the song to its end. Tell me you haven’t “air-guitared” to this song? It’s impossible not to.

2.     Smokin’– This song came out in 1976 but it has its best meaning to me during the years from 2002-2005 during my years at the MBIA gym boot camp class. Is there a better song to get you pumped up? When this track came on during the class during those years-no matter how many times we played it- the whole class would head bang? Am I right, Tricia? Even the long keyboard solo did not slow the class down and when the guitars break back in with the driving drum beats, well I would just lose it. This has to rank up there as one of the best rock and roll songs ever.

1.     A Man I’ll Never Be– This song is their Masterpiece. (I know you are all screaming for “ForePlay Long Time” as their Masterpiece-that is very close but this one takes the cake). This is Brad Delp’s best song that he has ever sung- there is so much passion in his voice as well as the guitars that sing along with him. The production and the arrangement of this song leaves me speechless, so I guess in some cases with Scholz the wait is definitely worth it. “If only I could find a way.. it gets harder every day..” Boy do I wish Brad was around to realize just how many lives he affected with his voice and talent. This song makes me stop in my tracks and just listen in awe. Pure perfection.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Marvin Gaye

2.     Jimi Hendrix

3.     Diana Ross

4.     John Waite

This week’s trivia (“Left or kicked out” of band)-Folks these are easy ones-I keep hearing my trivia is too hard. This should be an easy four out of four, with an extra bonus that’s also pretty easy.

1.     This legendary guitarist left and started so many different bands during the 1960’s and 1970’s that one can become dizzy from all the moves. Who is he?

2.     He was kicked out of this “Iconic” Metal band before they hit it big in the 1980’s and he formed his own metal outfit-which has had about a thousand line-up changes since then. Who is he?

3.     He was booted from arguably the best band ever in the history of music and would have loved to lay low as the “fourth wheel” and ride the “Yellow Submarine.” Who is he?

4.     She ran away from “The Runaways” and formed her own “Blackhearts.” Who is she? Extra bonus– Who else played in “the Runaways” and performed a duet with Ozzy later on in her career?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “5:15”- The Who

2.     “4 Minutes”-Madonna

3.     “25 or 6 to 4”-Chicago

4.     “1999”- Prince

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “Oh no darling, no wind, no rain.. no winters cold can stop me baby….no, no baby cause you are my love…”

2.     “I want you to listen, listen (That’s right)…to every word I say.. every word I say about it …”

3.     “And I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know…”

4.     “I’ve been to the edge.. and there I stood and looked down.. you know I lost a lot of friends there baby.. I got no time to mess around….”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1993, Frank Zappa died from prostate cancer in CA with his family surrounding him. He was only 52.

Sadly back on this day in 1976, Tommy Bolin (Zephyr, James Gang and Deep Purple) passed away at the young age of 25. He opened for Peter Frampton and also Jeff Beck-after taking a photo with Beck after a show, he suffocated and died the next morning.

Sadly back on this day in 1980, the Mighty Led Zeppelin officially disbanded after the death of greatest drummer in rock history-John Bonham- that September.

Also sadly back on this day in 1988, Roy Orbison performed his last concert (before his death a few days later) in Akron Ohio.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys) and Freddy Cannon (“Palisades Park”-very cool song), Southside Johnny, Chris Hillman (The Byrds), and Gary Rossington (Skynyrd).

I usually don’t do this but have to throw in the fact that the legendary Little Richard will be 77 tomorrow!!!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.