Errols Weekly Music Update.

January 22, 2010

Weekly Update – 01/22/2010

James Taylor and Carole King at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. June 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Daughtry at the Prudential Center (“The Rock”) on Sun. Mar. 21 and also at the Nassau Coliseum on Fri. Mar. 26. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (if you are part of fan club there is “pre-sale” access). “Rock” prices: $32.50 and $42.50; Nassau prices: $39.

New Kids on the Block at Radio City Music Hall on Fri. June 18. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. next Fri. Jan. 29 if you are an American Express cardholder. General public on sale is next Sat. Jan. 30 at 11:00 a.m.$59.50 – $99.50.

Bryan Adams at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College on Sun. Apr. 25. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (This is his “Barebones Tour”) $45, $55 and $75. Tickets available on line or at box office at (914) 251-6200. M-F 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Josh Ritter at Town Hall on Thurs. May 20. Tickets on sale today at noon. $26 and $30.

Coheed & Cambria at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn) on Wed. Mar. 31. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30

Ray Davies at Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. Feb. 27. Tickets on sale this Sunday Jan. 24 at 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event)

Korn, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Hatebreed and others will be the acts for this year’s “Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival” which will stop at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ on Fri. July 23. Also appearing at The Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sat. July 24 as well as the PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 28. Pre-sale begins on April 2 and general public sale starts on Fri. Apr. 16. More details to follow.

Dashboard Confessional at Nokia Theater on Fri. Mar. 26. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m.  $25

Johnny Winter at BB Kings on Wed. June 23. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $30.

Other items:

Tonight (at 8:00 p.m. on so many channels) will be the two hour concert for “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” which will star so many top musical acts. Scheduled performers include-but not limited to-Bono, The Edge, Cold Play, Alicia Keys, Springsteen, Sting, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Wyclef Jean, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, Jay-Z and Taylor Swift. Kid Rock will perform with Sheryl Crow and Keith Urban. Of course you can make donations when the show is on but then these performances will be loaded up on I-Tunes for purchase and all proceeds will benefit Haiti. It’s mind numbing what has happened over there and so sad, please help.

Soap Box Time:   Not sure if you all have been following this attempted merger between Ticket Master and Live Nation but right now it is sitting with the Department of Justice and a decision could be made as early as next week. Here is my take:

You know how in life there are things that you can not believe actually occur. There are so many examples, like the time a woman sued McDonald’s because they did not let her know that when she ordered a “hot” coffee-that it was actually hot-so of course she spills it on herself while driving and lo and behold, McDonald’s has to pay her for her incompetence. (Millions more than what she paid for that cup of coffee, mind you). Or how about cleaning products that have to disclose: please do not drink or swallow… don’t we all know that “Liquid Drano” is not on a menu list? I guess not. Or how about when all evidence points to a clear cut decision but a high priced lawyer can put that one doubt in a jury’s mind to make them acquit. We often ask ourselves, where is the Justice? Now think back to when you were a kid-really young-when you would sell lemonade for twenty-five cents a cup. Meanwhile the neighborhood bully stakes out a place right across the street from you and undercuts you at fifteen cents a cup but also throws in a cookie. How do you compete? Pretty soon you fold up your stand and get back to the business of being a kid. As the years pass though, the tough guy is now is the only “ticket” on the block-no wait- the entire neighborhood but now even on the coolest spring days sells that same cup of lemonade for $10 per cup. He claims to have more expenses- the lemons have been frozen out due to the cold winter in Florida (don’t actually know if they grow lemons in FL but you get the picture) and since the entire world is going “green”- paper costs have skyrocketed because we have to save our trees, so that cup is more expensive. And you have a “no fault of mine” added in at $4 per cup because if you the customer don’t like how the lemonade tastes, it still going to cost you $6 because they get to keep the $4. Remember he was there for you when you needed that cup of lemonade.

So now he takes his stand and opens them across the U.S.-he has no competition because of “exclusive” agreements with the sidewalks and street associations across America. And as the years go by, you wonder why you can’t try another lemonade stand. Why? Because, he has crushed all the competition. But wait, here comes another bully who actually muscles his way in and you’re thinking- OK I can buy a different cup of lemonade and maybe this time it will be cheaper. Wow this is going to be great. Then within days, these two bullies form an alliance and tell the sidewalk association management teams that they will of course provide the same great service at reasonable prices. (With a wink of an eye). And the best part- the sidewalk association grants them acceptance of their proposed merger. Sound familiar?

See sometimes I feel that no matter how much the majority of us know that Ticket Master and Live Nation should NOT be allowed to merge, there’s always a way these crazy things get approved. We all know that Ticket Master needs more competition to drive down prices of concert and sporting events but yet we keep turning a blind eye. Pearl Jam-(heroes in my book forever)- decided to take a stand a long long time ago- and it was like everyone knew they were right but yet no one else jumped into help. So what happens? After a while Pearl Jam utilizes Ticket Master. Now finally after some many friggin’ years, Live Nation enters the fray and what happens? They decide to merge with Ticket Master? Are you kidding me?

Are we that numb to our surroundings? Have we all just thrown in the towel with a shrug of our shoulders and say “yes-this is OK… doesn’t affect me, so why should I care?” I keep going back to “Ma Bell” many years ago? Didn’t the government force this telephone monopoly into different companies? Why not Ticket Master? We all know that they charge an astonishing amount of “fees.” How many times have you ordered 4 tickets, lets say for $50 a piece and by the time Ticket Master finishes slapping on their fees, your bill is closer to $300 than what it should be-$200. I know I am stating the obvious but don’t think with this merger that ticket prices are actually going to head down. If you do, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

To the Justice Department: if you really are all about Justice, there is no way you could ever approve this merger. You should take down the barriers that Ticket Master has skillfully crafted over the years, which are now cemented, and chip away until there are more firms that would be allowed to compete for everyone’s hard earned money. Oh and by the way- aren’t we in the “Great Recession?” In this time of financial hardship, how can we keep everything –“status quo”- please Justice Department- don’t let this happen.

Another “Say it ain’t so, Joe” moment: Aerosmith, according to Joe Perry, is till auditioning for a new singer while they wait for Steven Tyler to come back. Joe feels that they have “let the fans down.” Note to Joe: You will let the fans down if you let anyone other than Steven Tyler sing for the band named Aerosmith.

My favorite song of the week belongs to Tom Petty’s “other” band- Mudcrutch– with “Orphan of the Storm.” Boy this is “down home cooking” and I can’t get enough of it. This is folk/rock music at it’s best.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “How Can I Be Sure” by The Rascals. How great is this song? One of the best “sing-along-songs” ever recorded. And if you have that someone special, you can sing it to them. Great tune.

“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 “Hi InFidelity” by REO Speedwagon released in November 1980.

Hi Infidelity

As I mentioned on last week’s page when I hit my middle teenage years, things really started taking off for me musically on my journey into the world of rock and roll, rock and hard rock. (remember I didn’t really delve into the world of metal until the early 1990’s-after I married-to the chagrin of my wife). I would say that the period from 1978-1984 formed the foundation-(sort of like pouring the cement into the ground when one builds a house)-of my “first true love(s)” of rock music. Now I know the 1980’s decade seems to always get slammed as some sort of a joke when compared to all the other decades, but I see it differently. Sure Joey Ramone called it the “corporate rock” era but again if it moves you… then who cares what label people give it. (by the way have you ever read the lyrics to “Rockaway Beach?”…. ‘nuff said). So anyway, I gravitated to bands like Foreigner, The Cars, Van Halen, Boston, Aerosmith, etc. and along comes REO Speedwagon with their ever popular “Hi Infidelity.” Now this was their ninth studio album so I am not going to sit here and tell you that I am a “die-hard” fan-no, maybe the opposite. There are some artists where I only have one piece of work from them-for example Billy Joel- I only own the “Glass Houses” album, I have songs from other albums (obviously from I-Tunes) and Molly Hatchet’s- “Flirting With Disaster” are the first two that come to mind. And this is the only REO Speedwagon album that I had/have. Now a few weeks back, my best man finally read one of my blogs (only because I told him that I mentioned him, he says the blog is always “too long”) and he was upset that I said that “he looked like he was being electrocuted” when he was dancing at my wedding to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns & Roses. Well he is not going to like what I am going to say now. You know how you have family/friends where if you give/lend them something, you are never getting it back? (C’mon you know you have some). Well guess who “borrowed” my vinyl version of “Hi Infedelity” and never gave it back. That’s right, my best man “Johnny Boy.” Now you all know how much I treasure music so you can appreciate my outrage.. you forgive.. but you never forget the next time something is asked to be “borrowed,” right??!! Anyway, Hi-Infidelity has sold over 9 million copies, so you know it’s popular. I absolutely loved the first side of this album and consider it a perfect album side. I also like some of the songs on side two but again side one is “classic.”

The album kicks off with the “sleeper” of the album in my opinion (even though it starts off the album) the fantastic-“Don’t Let Him Go”-which was not as popular as the other two monster hits on this side but don’t get fooled-this song stands on its own merits and can rock with the best of them. This fast paced song is led by the fantastic organ, synthesizer playing by Mr. Neal Doughty and followed up by the nice guitar playing of Gary Richrath. All along the ride, Mr. Alan Gratzer keeps the train moving with his pounding of the skins. “He makes you so angry, he makes you so sore.. baby I don’t know..” Love it. This song could definitely be utilized in your next “Spin” class as I can definitely see some hill climbing but also some breakout blasts of speed. This is my favorite track on the album, sometimes the first one is-doesn’t mean the rest are not good. Oh contraire, yes the sappy “Keep on Loving You” follows next and like I have always maintained-sometimes you need sappy in your life. And anyway it’s not sappy if you love it. I guess I have to admit that this was the song that pulled me into this album and made me make the plunge towards its purchase. I love the predictable guitar solo in the middle-(like all love ballads, huh?)-I make no apologies for “loving” this song and REO Speedwagon also doesn’t need to apologize as well. This song put them on the map in my opinion (please “die-hards” don’t hate me for saying that). This was their first number one hit in the U.S. Track # 3-“Follow My Heart”- gets back to the rocking side of Speedwagon and for some reason this song reminds me of something that Whitesnake would do-I can picture Coverdale (obviously way past his Deep Purple days) singing this track. The guitar work is rock solid and Kevin Cronin’s vocals are spot on. This song has a slick feel to it with an addicting chorus which will make you sing “should I follow my head or follow my heart..” all day long. Mr. Richrath has a blazing guitar solo which really makes you stand up and pay attention as well as not to easily dismiss this band as just a “pop” band-listen to this track and tell me the guitar work isn’t great. Now the fourth track-“In Your Letter”- doesn’t seem to fit the genre of the album but it doesn’t mean it’s not a good song. I can’t put my finger on it but I feel like I have heard this song before because it sounds like something right out of the early 1960’s- a la-“The Ronettes” or “The Shirelles.” The piano work really makes this a fun song. Now admittedly this really is a pop song but there is nothing wrong with that. (I’m making that point here because back in 1981, I was ridiculed for listening to this when my friends were thick into Ted Nugent and Black Sabbath-I eventually got there but I took a different path). The last song on side one-“Take It on The Run”- is definitely a pop ballad song and I love it. The entire arrangement production of this song is spectacular in my opinion. Cronin’s vocals make you hang on to every word that he is portraying in the story about how his girlfriend is cheating on him. Now we all can identify in some way shape or form to the lyrics of this song, right. I know this song hit home for me in the mid to late 1980’s. Let’s talk about the amazing guitar solo again by Gary Richrath, I’d venture to say that this is one of the best solos for all the pop ballad songs that are out there. I would say that the “air-guitar” contestants take a listen-just the solo, slow down- and get up there and try to match the blazing finger work. Talk about an addicting chorus? Boy I can sing this song over and over again. Classic.

Again REO Speedwagon is not a band that I followed before or after “Hi Infideltiy” was released. I make no apologies for this, I am drawn in by good music and in my opinion this was their best work (or to the die-hards-their most popular). Side one produced two of the biggest songs that are still in heavy rotation on the “classic rock” radio format around the U.S. “Keep on Loving You” and “Take it on the Run” have stood the test of time and forget all the nonsense that it is “corporate rock” or whatever the nay-sayers want to call it, this is good rock or I’ll even label it something-“comfort” rock. Eat it up.

“TOP TEN”:

Image of Sam Cooke

Last week on PBS there was a one hour special on the legendary Sam Cooke (the channel may be repeating it this month so look for it) and it made me think that I should try and pick my favorite ten songs from this man with the magical voice. Folks, I can even begin to tell you how important this man was to the world of music, no matter what I write down- he has done better and there are superior accolades already written or filmed than I could do justice by putting my feelings down on a blog. For the past ten years or so I have been really getting into his music and he now stands as my favorite all time male singer. Of course I grew up in a “doo-wop” household and my dad always had Sam Cooke playing all the time. (Not that I would consider Sam “doo-wop” but he was at the forefront of R&B music scene). His influence over so many artists-which include The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Southside Johnny (famously known for the remake of Cooke’s “We’re Having a Party”), Aretha and so many more R&B artists, is a testament to his raw talent. Now I am not going to sit here and profess that I know Sam Cooke’s entire body of work, I do not. (My top ten does not include his Gospel work before he made the “crossover.”) But what I have in my music library is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life and I have already passed his music on down to my sons. Folks if you do not know who Sam Cooke is (again it’s like never seeing the “Godfather” movies-I & II) you really need to do your homework to make it your business to listen to one of the greatest singers of all time. Think about what this man accomplished in his 33 years on earth- it’s just mind boggling on the impact he made on some many lives. From what I have seen written, his “crossover” to the “mainstream pop” world from the land of Gospel was vehemently opposed by many of his Gospel brethren. I am obviously too young to have witnessed it at the time but I would dare say that it parallels Bob Dylan when he made the “crossover” from acoustic to electric. (remember that film clip where all his folk fans were “booing” when he “plugged” in?). And I believe Dylan pushed Cooke because after hearing “Blowin’ in the Wind” it drove Cooke to write the world renowned “A Change is Gonna Come.” So again I am on an island and I am told that I have ten songs to choose from by Mr. Sam Cooke- “These would be them:” (Now my dad will be upset that I don’t have “You Send Me” in my top ten as this is his favorite Sam song so I will mention it here).

10.     “Another Saturday Night”-I can remember growing up and always having Sam mixed in with a whole bunch of other R&B, doo-wop stars on every weekend and the one thing that always stood out was his voice. Now there have been others that have sung this song but no one like Mr. Cooke, this is a finger snapping classic and yes we have all been there a one point in our lives, right? (meaning you were alone on a Saturday night). Love the part “It’s hard on a fella when he don’t know his way around.. if I don’t find me a honey to help spend my money…”

9.     “Little Red Rooster”-Sam’s version of this Willie Dixon blues classic is my favorite (yes better than the Stones, Howlin’ Wolf and The Doors). Billy Preston plays the organ while Ray Charles works his magic on piano but it is Sam who steals the show with his “so cool” vocal style. Take a listen to the many different versions and then come back to Sam’s and tell me this isn’t the best one? Love it when Sam says “play it Billy” then “Answer him Ray.. Lord have mercy..” Yes Lord have mercy because that part of the song (as well as the whole)contains three of the greatest entertainers this world has ever seen making arguably the best blues song ever recorded. But Sam is not done, he kicks it up a notch as he passionately sings “Now if you seen my red rooster, send him home..” And he takes it home by saying “I ain’t had no peace in the barnyard since my red rooster been gone..” Awesome.

8.     “You Gotta Move”-Similar genre to “Little Red Rooster” and this fits Sam like a glove. He sings the blues (as well as any other style) better than most, if not all. I’m squinting my eyes as I try to match his fervor by singing “I love you baby.. to my heart.. you keep on mis-treating me…oh we got to part… You got to move. ” His vocals are spectacular and if this doesn’t “move” you, there is something wrong because I can’t stop snapping my fingers, sliding my feet across the floor and performing my best “lip-sync.” Who sings like this? No one.

7.     “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons”– Man when I hear this song I just float away. This man had so many great “love” songs and this one has to rank way up there as I love to sing this song to my wife. Now matter how many times he says “I Love You” I actually want him to sing it more. Next time you attend a wedding make sure you take this song with you and make the DJ play this, then take the hand of that someone special, lead to the dance floor and float away. I guarantee everyone at the party will ask the DJ to play that song again-it’s that good.

6.     “Cupid”-Talk about a love song? I always take my two hands and put them over my heart as I try to make believe that I am Sam Cooke. Of course my eyes are closed (again- this seems to be a pattern with all his songs) because I drift off and while I listen I am in complete awe. You really have to ask yourself- Was there ever a singer before him or after him that was as magnificent-it’s almost like he was from another planet or at least another stratosphere because this is pure genius.

5.     “Love You Most of All”-Do you have some favorite songs that just make you singer louder or sing with more passion? This song is one those songs that does it for me. (I turn the volume up louder of course). It sounds like they had a great time recording this song, so upbeat and fun. “You can rock, you can roll.. you’re so kind..” This is a perfect sing along song when you having a house party- hand out the words to all your guests and have as much fun as it sounds like Sam is having- and belt it out.

4.     “Sad Mood”-Even though the mood is melancholy, his voice will put a smile on your face because this is pure sweetness (the piano work reminds me of something that Patsy Cline would sing). This song is flawless and I’m not sure what else to say except that this song will stop you in your tracks and make you pay close attention.

3.     “A Change is Gonna Come”-I freeze every time I hear this, I can’t seem to move-in fact I don’t want to move. I want to listen to every note, every word and every meaning as he poured his entire being into this majestic body of work. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like in the recording studio while he was creating this masterpiece. Every one there had to have their jaws hitting the floor and also had to know that they were witnessing a piece of history that could never be replicated. This is so good that it brings tears to my eyes, the arrangement and production of this song just might be the best we will ever hear in our lifetime.

2.     “Bring It On Home To Me”– A few years back I went to see Al Green in concert and he paid homage to Sam by doing this song. I have to say it was one of my best concert moments in my entire life. The entire audience was swaying back and forth while belting out the words to this song. I never wanted it to end. To see the endless smiles on the people there was a sight to behold and I looked up in the sky and was wondering if Sam was looking down on us with a smile. The moment was surreal and now every time I listen to this song it brings me back to that special moment. Thanks Sam. You have affected my life with your music and I was born in 1965 and I have passed it on down to my sons who were born in the 1990’s. I will make sure that if my children have children to pass it on down to them. This song is so phenomenal it is hard to put into words; you just have to feel it.

1.     “Nothing Can Change This Love”This really could be my ultimate song for my entire life, I truly believe if someone asked me what my favorite song of all time is-I would have to pick this one. Really every time I listen to it, I get chills that run up and down my spine. Sometimes when things are so good, I start to tear up-don’t ask me why but it does and every time I hear this song I can feel myself getting misty-eyed. When my wife and I renew our vows, this will be our song that we will dance to. I try to dance with her every time I hear this song. As I sit here, the tears are flowing and I have to stop writing. This is the most beautiful song ever recorded in the history of music.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week: (Congrats to Cathy for answering the questions):

1.     “I Need A Lover”

2.     Beyonce/John Legend; Vanessa Williams/George Benson

3.     Stephen Stills-(Cathy- Melvin Dunlap played bass)

4.     “You Better Run”

This week’s trivia (Cooke, Speedwagon)-

1.     What legendary Gospel group did Sam take over on lead vocals at the age of nineteen?

2.     Name at least two fellow artists that Sam Cooke help make the transition from Gospel to mainstream music industry?

3.     True or False- REO Speedwagon performed at the Live Aid Concert back in 1985?

4.     How did REO Speedwagon get its name?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “November Rain”- Guns & Roses

2.     “September”-Earth Wind & Fire

3.      “December”-Collective Soul

4.     “New Year’s Day”- U2

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

1.     “Flew in from Miami Beach B.O.A.C.. didn’t get to bed last night.. on the way the paper bag was on my knee.. man I had a dreadful flight…”

2.     “New York, Los Angeles.. oh how I yearn for you….Detroit, Chicago.. Chattanuga.. Baton Rouge…let alone just to be at my home in old St. Looo… ”

3.     “I got the hurts cause I never die..I got.. nine lives.. cats eyes.. using every one and never wondering why.. because…”

4.     “Oooohh… All day long I hear my telephone ring.. friends calling giving their advice..from the boy I love.. I should break away….”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1959, Buddy Holly made what would be his final recording in his apartment in New York City.

Back on this day in 1965, the Animals were all set to film a live concert at the Apollo Theater but it never happened as the Immigration department ordered the show to be cancelled.

Back on this day in 1990, two visibly drunken members of Guns & Roses, Slash & Duff McKagan, forever changed the way the American Music Award show would be broadcast because after their appearance, the “7 second” delay was introduced, giving ability to the producers to edit what they saw fit before hitting the national audience ears.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the legendary one and only Sam Cooke, (I did not know that it was his birthday when I wrote my top ten songs by him, must have been a sign, right?) and Steve Perry (former Journey frontman) and Steven Adler (former drummer for Guns & Roses).

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1 Comment »

  1. Couldn’t agree more. The Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger must be blocked. Please have your readers visit ticketdisaster.org, and they can sign a petition that goes right to the Dept of Justice. More than 25,000 people have voiced their opposition so far – but the DOJ needs to hear from everyone.

    Comment by Audrey Schaefer — January 22, 2010 @ 8:30 am


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