Errols Weekly Music Update.

April 9, 2010

Weekly Update – 04/09/2010

Filed under: CD Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ea0217 @ 4:42 am

Rihanna at Mohegan Sun on Wed. Aug. 11 and Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Aug. 12. Special guest is Ke$ha. Mohegan: Pre-sale tickets on sale now for Citi card holders. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $80-$110. The Garden: tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. $39.50 – $139.50.

Bon Jovi with Kid Rock at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Fri. July 9. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Also the pre-sale password is: “Slippery”- for non American Express cardholders. General public tickets on sale this Mon. Apr. 12 at 10:00 a.m. $36.50, $66 – $150.

Rush at the Mohegan Sun on Mon. July 19; at Jones Beach on Sat. July 24; at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. Sept. 3. This will be the “Time Machine Tour” and will feature the playing of “Moving Pictures” in its entirety. Tickets on sale Sat. April 17. Further ticket information to follow.

Heart at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Aug. 3. Pre-sale tickets on sale now for Citi card holders until next Wed. April 14 at 10:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale next Fri. Apr. 16 at 10:00 a.m. $47, $57, $61.50, $81.50 and $91.50.

The Scorpions farewell tour stops at both PNC Bank Arts Center and Jones Beach. Cinderella is the opener. At PNC on Fri. June 18 and Jones Beach on Tues. June 22. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: “popstar.” General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. PNC: $19.25; $29.25; $59.25- $79.25; Jones: $25, $39, $59 and $79.

Ratt at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Mon. May 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $28.50 (SRO-no seats)

Maxwell and Jill Scott at the Mohegan Sun on Mon. June 21. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $57 – $77.

Maxwell and Erykah Badu at Madison Square Garden on Sat. June 26. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $41.50 – $256.50

Willie Nelson at the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center on Thurs. May 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m.. $75.

Jack Johnson at The Comcast Theater on Fri. July 9. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $35 and $55. Also appearing at the PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. July 13. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $35 and $55. Also appearing at Madison Square Garden Wed. July 14. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $35, $49.50 and $70.

Jackson Browne at the MAC at Monmouth University (West Long Branch NJ) on Thurs. Sept. 2. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $175. ($175?? Are you kidding me? I’d stay home and listen to his albums).

Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum and Love & Theft at the Comcast Theater on Fri. July 16. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Lawn: $24; $72.

Neil Young at the Oakdale Theater (Wallingford CT) on Sun. May 23. Tickets on sale now. $50.50, $90.50 and $130.50.

Yes and Peter Frampton at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. June 25 and at Jones Beach on Sat. June 26. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.PNC: $16.26 – $79.25; Jones: $19 – $79.

The Black Crowes at the Theater in Westbury NY on Wed. June 2. More ticket info to follow.

Backstreet Boys at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thurs. June 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $52.50 – $72.50. Also appearing at MAC at Monmouth University (West Long Branch NJ) on Sun. June 13 and at the Mohegan Sun on Sun. June 15. Tickets on sale this morning. MAC: $46.50; Mohegan: $40.

The Hold Steady at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. Rocktober 7. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $28.50 – $33.50 (This Brooklyn based band will release its 5th studio album-“Heaven is Whenever” on May 4)

Hell Yeah at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tues. April 27. Tickets on sale today at noon. $18 ($20 day of show)

Michael Franti & Spearhead at the beach on Governor’s Island on Thurs. June 3. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35 (plus $5 for roundtrip ferry ticket).

Crowded House at the Bowery Ballroom from Mon. –Wed. July 19-21 and also at the Wellmont Theater on Fri. July 23. Tickets on sale today at noon. Bowery: $56; Wellmont: $30, $45 and $55.

Huey Lewis & The News at the Wellmont Theater on Tues. July 13. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45, $75 and $90.

Concrete Blond at Webster Hall on Thurs. June 10. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30 ($35 day of show).

Wolf Parade at Terminal 5 on Tues. July 13. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $25 ($28 day of show).

Dion at the Theater at Westbury on Sat. July 24. Tickets on sale this Sun. Apr. 11 at 12:30 p.m. $40 – $50.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Malcolm McLaren who passed away yesterday at the age of 64. He was best known for being the manager for the Sex Pistols.

Biggest surprise for me this past Tuesday night on American Idol was a superb performance by Casey James who completely nailed John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” At points you could hear a pin drop-that is how quiet the audience was- and I felt it at a certain point and realized that I was in the “moment.” This was a night to perform songs written by Lennon & McCartney (always bums me out that Harrison & Starkey are left out of the equation- for once I want to see someone perform “Piggies” or “Don’t Pass Me By.”) and I didn’t know what to expect from the contestants because this year has been sort of a “sleeper” for this show. I told my oldest son that unless Aaron Kelly wins this thing in May, come this summer I won’t even remember that he was on the show. I mean no offense because he can sing, it’s just many of this year’s participants have not left the audience with memorable moments. However as the pile is shrinking some have “stepped up to the plate” to snap some of the audience out of its doldrums to make them pay attention. I for one was blown away by the performance by Crystal Bowersox with her rendition of “Come Together”- I thought it was flat out amazing- I love the “hippie style” she has going on. And despite Simon’s weird assessment that Michael Lynche’s take on “Eleanor Rigby” was a musical and “sounded old fashion” I believe most would say that his performance was right up there with Casey and Crystal. I loved the way he turned “Eleanor” into this sort of R&B vibe. I would purchase all three songs (Casey, Crystal and Michael’s) if they are released as a “full single”- heck I might even purchase the “2 minute” version that will be offered on I-Tunes-that’s how good I thought all three were.

Just below the performances of the aforementioned three some, I have to give credit where credit is due and Siobhan Magnus did a nice job on “Across the Universe.” It was a tender moment and you could tell the words to this song affected her deeply. And for first time in a while there was no screaming. I thought Katie Stevens did enough to stay out of the bottom three this week with her performance of “Let it Be.” And I also have to nod my head with the performance by Tim Urban with “All My Loving”- I still don’t think he’ll win but he will survive another week. Andrew Garcia is in trouble of being the odd man out this week.

Then came Wednesday night and I don’t even know what America was thinking when they voted off Michael Lynche. Are you kidding me? I’m not saying that he is going to win it all (though I think he has a shot) and he is far superior singer than Andrew Garcia, Tim Urban, Aaron Kelly and Lee DeWyze. If the judges didn’t save him, I was strongly considering not watching the remaining shows for this year. I don’t know who is voting and why they are not voting for Mr. Lynche but it’s a travesty considering he is one of the very few bright spots this season. This is a singing contest, not a contest to see who has the cutest hair.

Did you notice who was playing lead guitar for the Rihanna performance of her new single-“Rockstar 101”- on American Idol on Wednesday night?-none other than Mr. Nuno Bettencourt. For those of you who do not know this slick guitarist, he made much of his fame with Extreme. After being in hibernation for some time, he’s been very busy lately doing the reunion tour with Extreme (finally), has made a music video for the show “How I Met Your Mother” and is now part of Rihanna’s band. Very cool to see him back in action.

Shinedown has released eight acoustic versions of songs from their monster album-“The Sound of Madness”- exclusively through I-Tunes. If there are still some of you out there who haven’t yet made the plunge to their bandwagon, these crystal clear acoustic versions of their songs just may move you to ask some of us to make room for you as you join the bandwagon. What are you waiting for? These guys are incredible.

Jacob Dylan has put out a new album-“Women and Country”- and is picking up very favorable reviews across the board. Many have said that they were waiting for an album from him like this and also have stated that his Dad should be really proud of this work. (not that he isn’t proud of his son but you know what I mean). He eerily sounds like his dad and so far the most popular song seems to be “Everybody’s Hurting.”

Peter Wolf has put out his first piece of work in eight years called –“Midnight Souvenirs”- and also has received some very positive reviews. Not for nothing, listening to the 30 second previews on I-Tunes sounds like something that I could really get into. If you are a fan of his days with J. Geils, I have a funny feeling you will not be disappointed with this album. He gets some help from Merle Haggard, Neko Case and Shelby Lynne. Check it out.

The first single from the new Stone Temple Pilots album (May 25) is “Between the Lines” and is out on the web (not hard to find) and streaming live somewhere near a site by you. I am very partial to this band (I wanted Scott back in STP when he did the Velvet stint) so you know that I already love it. Sounds very “polished” but still rocks out. I believe Scott recorded the vocals in a separate studio from the rest of the band, so that had to be a little tough but you obviously can not hear anything different in the final version of this track. I say “welcome back STP!!!”

On May 18 there will be a DVD of John Lennon that will include some rare and never seen before footage that traces his career through footage from rare videos and news reels, some which haven’t been seen in 40 years. It is the “Rare and Unseen” DVD collection, look for it.

Album Review: Slash by Slash released on April 6, 2010

Slash

How cool must it be to be just known as “Slash?” Think about that for a second. (I know there are also many others who are known by just one name-Elvis, Cher, Madonna, etc. but none like “Slash” right?). He’s known around the world as one of the premier guitarists of his generation but yet at the same time he seems to “remain in the background.” He doesn’t bring “negative” attention to himself and appears to be one of those guys who keep things to himself. (I always had that feeling that he was more comfortable on stage with his hair and hat over his eyes just playing guitar-I believe that was more than just “a look.’) In all the years of dealing with Axl, I still don’t think he has disparaged him in the press (I could be wrong) even though Slash (as well as the rest of the original members of G’N’R) was a huge part of the Guns success and ultimate climb to the top as one of the best hard rock bands of all time. That seems like a long time ago, huh? And even though he wasn’t part of that “monster” band he continued to do just what he loves to do-play guitar and make music. He was the main attraction in “Slash’s Snakepit”-I guess you have to be if the lead band name includes your own. Then with his years with Velvet Revolver he was involved with another lead singer who was traditionally a lot to handle and miraculously they made it through more than a few albums together as well as tours. But that eventually came to an end with Scott Weiland heading back to the Stone Temple Pilots.

So now here comes Slash with his first “solo” effort almost 25 years after being in the music business. He doesn’t have to deal with all the craziness that has surrounded him for much of his career, this is his album on his terms and music that he wanted to make and produce. He invited many of his friends to help out with the collaboration because I don’t think he wanted to go down the route of putting out just an entire album of instrumental songs (he has an amazing one with his buddy Duff McKagan on bass and Dave Grohl on drums). He does get help from almost every original member of Guns & Roses (can you guess who is the only one not on the album?) to help him make the songs. What I love about this album is the way Slash puts himself out there for different types of music, he doesn’t just do the “hard rock” genre that he will forever be known for. No, he asks Fergie to do a song with him and guess what? It totally works and I look forward to more collaboration between the two. Adam Levine joins the fray with his unbelievable vocals on a very slow style “pop” song and you will be blown away on how good that track is. Of course he has an “edge” to him so there are more raucous parties with the likes of Lemmy, Ozzy and Iggy. There are a few different versions of this album floating around the country as some I-Tunes versions “across the pond and down under” include a remake of “Paradise City” with Fergie taking the lead vocals. Which ever one you decide to go with, it is worth the money. One can tell that Slash put in an incredible amount of time and effort to this production (Think about how many different people he worked with to get this done?) and the result is a remarkable display of his talents on guitar as well as some really notable tunes. There is something for everyone on this album and as I soak this album up over the next few months, I have to say I am anxiously waiting for another record just like this with other “friends.” This is a definite purchase in my book. Here is my review, song by song:

1.     Ghost (featuring Ian Astbury-from The Cult)- The album kicks off with some good old fashion rock and roll that will take you back to the early days of the Cult. (The drum introduction actually sounds like the beginning of the song “Lights” by Styx with a few extra beats or so). Slash is prominently displayed with a continuous riff that sort of reminds me of an ambulance blazing down a local NYC street with its flashing lights and that “alarm” sound. Mr. Astbury is a phenomenal rock and roll front man and I can’t think of a better way to start this solid disc. It has that familiar Cult feel to it as there is a part where the music slows down and you have just Ian with that “Morrison” (Astbury also toured with the remaining members of The Doors a few years back) effect that he puts his seal on. Slash of course has a blazing guitar solo right in the middle and he is there to show you that this is his album with him at the control panel. Well done boys!!

2.     Crucify the Dead (featuring Ozzy-no need for intro, right?!!)- It really is amazing to me how Ozzy transforms himself when he sings on songs or when he performs in concert because most of the time I have a hard time understanding him when he just talks to someone who is interviewing him. You see that is what rock and roll does to him, you “plug” him in he is ready to go. At first I wasn’t so enthralled by the sound but the more I listened to it, the more I started to get it. This definitely has Ozzy’s more recent recordings feel to it, the pace is a bit slow but it picks up at points throughout the track. I could easily see Slash playing for Ozzy in a band as his blistering solo fits Ozzy like a glove. \m/ \m/

3.     Beautiful Dangerous (featuring Fergie-no need for intro, right??!!)- I love the fact that Slash did a song with Fergie because you’re kidding yourself if you didn’t think she could pull it off, Slash knew exactly what he was doing when he asked to write a song with her. In the immortal words of American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, this is “hot!!!” For some reason when I hear this song I just picture “Catwoman” from the Batman series because the tune has some mischievous to it, like someone is up to no good-don’t ask me why I just do. Yes kiddies Fergie can rock out with the best of ‘em. If I were Slash I may would just want to steal her away from the Black Eyed Peas, she’s that good. Of course Slash is “most excellent” on the guitar, he is a special talent.

4.     Back from Cali (featuring Myles Kennedy-from Alter-Bridge)- The tune starts off with this bluesy twist and not for nothing after listening to the whole disc, I can actually picture Kid Rock taking the lead vocals on this tune but Mr. Kennedy does a nice job. I could see this song having some real time on the local “new” rock stations across the U.S. Supposedly Slash is taking Myles out on tour with him to promote this album. Mr. Kennedy (for those of you who are not familiar) took over on vocals after three quarters of the band Creed left their lead singer Scott Stapp, formed Alter-Bridge and enlisted Myles as their lead singer. (That is obviously over now that Creed is back together). This is another solid song, so far-four for four.

5.     Promise (featuring Chris Cornell-from Soundgarden and Audioslave)-If you are a fan of Cornell’s days with Audioslave then this is right up your alley because it really sounds like them of course with Slash’s signature style on guitar rather than Tom Morello. Chris still can hit the high notes as he displays that pretty often throughout the song, obviously not like when he first came up through Temple of the Dog. The beginning bass line sort of sounds like Creed but then it changes directions with the riffs supplied by Slash. Mr. Cornell can still be the front man for any band he wants to play for in my opinion. The man has some serious vocal skills and I could easily see Slash asking him to record some more songs in the future. It’s a slow paced head-banger but none the less a very good song.

6.     By the Sword (featuring Andrew Stockdale-from Wolfmother)-OK folks I didn’t want to do this but this is the best track on the album. I don’t want to take anything away from the other songs recorded but this one is a notch ahead of everything. (just my opinion). This song has a “larger than life” feeling to it-(think “Paradise City” by Slash’s former band G’N’R-I’m not saying it sounds like that song but just the incredible status of that song in their library-do you get what I’m trying to say?). Slash and Andrew do their best Page-Plant imitation as Slash plays the same melody behind Stockdale’s vocals and actually I could picture a younger Plant doing this song, so who knows that may have been their inspiration. And I know Page would have to be impressed with Slash’s work on guitar on this track because he really nails this song down in two different ways-staying in the background when needed but shining brightly when it’s his turn to take the wheel. This has to be on the radio right now, it’s that good. This is going to be a HUGE hit. Check out the performance on the Craig Ferguson Late Night show at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owTpE16d0dY  Awesome \m/ \m/

7.     Gotten (featuring Adam Levine-do I need to tell you Maroon 5?)- Again I love the fact that Slash displays his musical taste and that it doesn’t just have to be “hard rock” or “Metal.” Of course Slash has a real nice “heavy” guitar solo in the middle but it works in the context of the song because there is a natural transition back to the nice soft tone that this song possesses. In my opinion, this song is guaranteed to be one of the most popular songs from this disc to appear on the radio and I could see this being the song for the “summer of 2010.” Adams vocals are spot on and the song will make you drift away with your thoughts or make you grab the hand of that someone special to ask them for this next dance. Now I admit it may be a little weird slow dancing with your partner when Slash’s solo comes into play but both of you can squeeze closer and just do that thing that some couples do (you know you’ve seen it at weddings) where they dance at a much slower pace than the song dictates because they are in their own world. This song will do that to you. The five minutes will be over before you know it. Excellent song.

8.     Doctor Alibi (featuring Lemmy-‘nuff said)-Ok you go from Adam Levine’s nice soft touch to Lemmy (this is like listening to my I-pod when it’s on a shuffle- you can get Tony Bennett on one song then the next track could be from Megadeth) and yes it is like taking a “full” shot of Jack Daniels which will make your face squint in anguish from the hard taste but you love it (and so does Lemmy). This is “head-banging” at its best. This ain’t no “filler” song, you can tell Lemmy (and Slash) put their all into it because the result is a raw and energetic. Lemmy voice is so raspy right around the 2:20 mark and he just makes the song that much better. I love this, I have to listen again!!! \m/ \m/

9.     Watch This (featuring Duff McKagan and Dave Grohl-no intro’s needed, right?)-This tune conjures up visions of Rush a little bit because typically on most of their albums there was always on instrumental song that would knock your socks off because it showcased their skills. Well folks, this song highlights the awesome talents of all three musicians and solidifies their position as true artists who are at the top of the game. The almost four minute track will fly by and actually I would put this song right up there with another instrumental- “Frankenstein”- yes that’s how good I think it is. Slash is righteous throughout with his partner Duff playing those heavy bass lines while Mr. Grohl is perfectly happy behind the drum set.

10.     Hold On (featuring Kid Rock– no intro needed!)- Ok admittedly when I heard that these two decided to do a song together I was thinking something along the lines of “Rock and Roll Jesus” figuring a raucous rock and roll song that you would hear at your local pub with some guys/gals that just want to have some fun playing on a Friday night after a long work week. And when I first heard the groove and realized this was not what I thought it was going to be, I was almost tempted to dismiss it but I couldn’t turn it off because it had that something special. I can’t put my finger on it but maybe this is what I am looking for from the Kid- a sign of maturity-songs that have a deeper meaning than “So Hott.” If you don’t know by now, Mr. Kid Rock can sing and when he does songs like this, in my eyes it makes him one of the best rock and roll vocalists out there today. I feel his passion and I am squeezing my fists and look up to the sky when he belts out “.. I refuse to let the hands of fate unfold… I hold on…” Awesome track.

11.     Nothing to Say (featuring M Shadows-Matthew is the lead singer for Avenged Sevenfold)- Ok kiddies put on your seat belt and hold on for dear life because both Slash and Matt will be taking you on a wild ride with fast paced bouncing metal beats which will not be for those who get squeamish on these types of expeditions. Think Megadeth all the way as far as the music, no offense Dave but Matt has the more melodic vocals. This is a perfect song for all you head bangers out there when the five o’clock whistle has blown on Friday afternoon and you get into your car with the idea of just rocking out with just yourself as you have the windows closed so as to not let the energy escape through the windows. This is not for the faint of heart. \m/\m/

12.     Starlight (featuring Myles Kennedy again)-After coming off the whiplash ride supplied by Mr. Shadows, you can relax and soak in the slower paced rock song that seems a bit “commercial” but there’s nothing wrong with that. Even though it is a “rock” song I kind of feel a bit of a R&B twinge in Myles voice and his vocals are nice when he sings at a lower pitch, sometimes when he hits that high note you might go to hold your ear like those passengers you see on the NYC subway when they hold their ears when a train is fast approaching your station. But all in all another solid effort, I like it.

13.     Saint is a Sinner Too (featuring Rocco DeLuca-from the “Indie” group The Burden)-At first-no offense intended Mr. DeLuca- but I though it was a woman’s voice that was starting the song because of the high pitch of the vocals. This is along the lines of Mr. Levine’s tune in the sense that is a ballad like tune but it definitely has that “indie” feel to it and that is what totally amazes me about Slash. Who would have “thunk” that he’s be doing Indie? But you know what?- He shines brightly as usual because he just knows how to handle the guitar. Folks this is the “sleeper” hit of the album. Most won’t think much of it but if you listen carefully, you won’t pass over it.

14.     We’re All Gonna Die (featuring Iggy Pop-no intro needed!!) Technically this is the last song on the album-if you buy the CD- (I have one more to go because I bought from I-Tunes) and what a perfect way to end the CD. This is pure punk from the King of punk. (another genre that Slash easily slides into). At points in the song you will think that Billy Idol slithers in there for some vocals but it’s all Iggy. Of course you have some “I don’t give a ___” type lyrics such as “we’re all gonna die so lets get high..” or “pee on the ground and jump around..” The chorus is very addictive and you will be singing this all day long and watch out for Slash’s blistering solo which you should at that point turn up the volume. This is some good stuff right here folks. Raucous punk rock, 2010 style.

15.     Mother Maria (featuring Beth Hart-American singer who has been compared to Janis Joplin). Now I didn’t know who Beth Hart is before she started to sing but I tell you what, after hearing her belt out this tune I will definitely look to explore more into her music. Folks I though this was just an “extra” song, sort of like those “B” sides that is offered on many artists CD’s as an after thought. Please don’t kid yourself into thinking that- this song is right up there as one of the best collaborations that Slash has ever done with someone not named Axl. This is a total homerun and I for one am totally blown away on how good this song is. No kidding folks, Slash knows talent when he hears it. This should be on the radio right now!!!

Folks I’m telling you now, you will not be disappointed in this solid effort by Slash. He put a lot of effort into this and it deserves your attention. Nice job Slash.

“TOP TEN”:

Gold

Now that March Madness has come to an end-No not College Basketball- I meant the annual March Madness shows performed by the legendary Allman Brothers Band, this year up at the United Palace Theater instead of the usual hangout- The Beacon Theater. (Actually the shows scheduled during the week of March 22-27 were cancelled due to an unforeseen family matter but they still did 8 shows from Mar. 11- Mar. 20) And after reading some posts on their website it appears that the United Palace was a “one and out” sort of thing as Gregg mentioned more than a few times that there will be a change come next year. (I had a funny feeling it wouldn’t work up there). Anyways back to this legendary band, now as I remember being a teenager growing up all the older guys in my neighborhood were huge Allman fans and many of you might remember the “battle” between picking the Allmans or Skynyrd? But you have to understand it was the Allman’s first… with no offense to the boys in Skynyrd, if it weren’t for the huge success of Duane, Gregg, Dickey, Berry, Butch and Jai before them, the road would have been a lot more bumpy for southern rock if not for the paved black top that the Allman’s slapped on to the American highways. I’m not here to resurrect the battle lines between the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s because they both are great bands but the focus today lies with Gregg and his band-mates. Now all the Allman fans always wonder –“What if?”- Yes what if Duane was never taken from the band and was still around? Most of his fans would agree that like fine wine, he would have only been better with age. He would have to be mentioned in the same breath as Clapton is these days, right? He was only 24 when he was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971 and he ranked as the #2 guitarist of all-time, second to only Jimi Hendrix, in the Rolling Stone magazine list of the 100 greatest guitarists. Think about that for a second…. Jimi then Duane and he was only 24… has it sunk in yet?…. he was part of rock history with Eric Clapton of the “Derek & The Dominoes” fame and was actually offered a permanent position by Clapton but Duane never left the band he formed with his brother.

Now we all know that this band has been through an awful amount of life events throughout their storied career but the one thing that remains untouchable is their true love and spirit of the music that is inside all of the members of this band, former and present. And it is a treasured gift that they share with us all throughout the years with Duane, Dickey and now with two of the greatest guitarists today-Mr. Warren Hayes (ironic how it was Dickey who recommended Warren to the band and now it is he who is out) and Mr. Derek Trucks (nephew of original founding member Butch Trucks). Folks you are truly missing out if you have never seen the Allman’s at least once in your life, especially now with the talents of Hayes and Trucks on guitar. It is getting harder to see the Allman’s now due to the other commitments that the band members have to their own “side projects.” (But not really side projects, they are dedicated to their bands such as Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band, etc.). Admittedly I am not a “die-hard” Allman fan and do not consider myself an expert on their music and history but have seen this band live at the Beacon many times and consider myself lucky to have witnessed one of the greatest American bands ever in the history of music. I will also admit that they can be an acquired taste but if you like the “jam” bands of today like Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Robert Randolph, etc. then you have to see this band at least one time because they are part of the foundation of the “jam band” genre. Ok I am on an island and told that I can have 10 songs by The Allman Brothers, “These Are Them:” (If I could pick eleven-number 11 would be “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”)

10.     Trouble No More– Normally I don’t like to put down “covers” in my top ten list but their take on Muddy Water’s song is so phenomenal and dare I say that I like the original recording that appears on their debut album rather than the live version. The guitar work by Duane is out of this world and that double or triple sound guitar blending is what made the Allman’s so popular. Not for nothing but everyone needs to own their debut album-friggin’ phenomenal and it stands the test of time as it enters it 42nd year of gathering new listeners. (listen to the staggering guitar work on “Every Hungry Woman”).This cover has to help to convert more people into fans of this band. This is some classic stuff right here folks.

9.     Old Before My Time– This mesmerizing song from their 2003 “Hitting the Note” album is a joy to listen to. It seems to depict a portrait of Gregg’s life-“when I was younger, I thought I ruled the world.. it was an oyster at my feet, dancing to my own drum…”- as he looks back on his time spent as we all do as we become older and more mature. The song ends on the following lyrics-“There is a long hard road, it lies so far behind me…”- how true is that? Everyone can relate to this road we call life. Classic tune, ‘nuff said!!!

8.     Dreams-The title of this song is so perfect because once I put it on, I drift off to a dream and can feel myself being lifted to another place. (again I don’t do drugs, never have, never will…) There are some songs that are so good that you have a hard time explaining why you love it so much and this tune does it for me. Duane’s guitar work is so virtuoso that I really feel like I am floating in the clouds high above me and how great is the vocals of Gregg? This has to be one of his best recordings of his voice ever.“Pull myself together.. put on a new face…climb down off the hilltop baby…” This is the stuff that “Dreams” are made of right here.

7.     Blue Sky-This was the first time that Dickey Betts sang lead and he wrote the song for his native American girlfriend-“Sandy Blue Sky”-whom he married in 1973 but divorced two years later. All the Allman fans know the story behind the exit of Betts from the band so I won’t go there and sometimes it is hard to separate that kind of stuff but I have to admit that despite all that, this song has to land in my top ten list. The guitar work between Dickey and Duane is legendary as they both take turns performing the lead as well the rhythm parts. Again, another American classic.

6.     Black Hearted Woman– This is what rock and roll mixed with the blues is all about. Put on one of those huge set of headphones on your ears and squeeze as tight as you can trying to make your two hands touch while listening to the brilliant guitar work of Duane and Dickey. This song is freaking phenomenal!! (Have I mentioned you need to own their debut album??!!!). When the “drum solo” with the “bongos” come in to the song towards the end well I just lose it… can it get any better than this? I would have loved to see them perform this live back in the day when Duane was around, it must have been spiritual. It doesn’t seem like they wanted to stop recording this song because the guitars still seem to play as the music is slowed down to a whisper.

5.     One Way Out– Ok how can this song be left off my list-no matter how many times I have heard this over the years-and it has to be the live version for me. (And yes it is another cover but it can not be denied). How psyched does this song get you? I know it gets me crazed just like when you open a can of soda after dropping it. You can feel Gregg’s words come to life as I feel like I am trapped in that same house and the boogie groove created by Betts while Duane takes it over the top with that bottleneck slide guitar it something that can never be replicated. Ok all of us at the same time do the “Wayne’s World We Are Not Worthy Bow”… are you ready?.. Three… Two…One… bow and close your eyes and thank them for one of the greatest American songs that has ever reached your ears

4.     Melissa– How friggin’ great is this song? Take one listen to this song and tell me this guy doesn’t have something in him that most do not possess. This song is an absolute stunner and for some reason I love to hear this song in the summer time. It takes me back to my days of my childhood when visiting my grandparents and uncle in their home in Otisville NY. I can just lay in the field with a blade of grass in my teeth and look at the blue sky and just relax. Duane implored his brother to play “that song about the girl.” It ended up on “Eat a Peach” for which the album is dedicated to Duane’s memory. Awesome stuff.

3.     Midnight Rider– C’mon folks think about the quality of these songs from this band from Macon Georgia. This is another song that I love to listen to in the summer time- a hot summer day in August with a hint of a cool breeze as you picnic with your loved ones with this song playing in the background. Can it get any better? This is a time less classic and I’m assuming everyone who picks up an acoustic guitar aspires to perform the chords to this famous melody. Gregg’s vocals are amazing.

2.     Revival– Talk about an inspiring song? This has all the makings of having everyone around the world to grab hands and form the biggest human chain as the people of this universe unite to live as one. This is the immediate image I get when I hear the opening notes, it takes a little bit to get going but the words are bright and clear-“People can you feel it.. Love is everywhere..” And talk about a song everyone can sing and dance to? This is it. I use to play this song all the time for my boys when they were much younger when we went on some long road trips to Cape Cod and/or New Hampshire and when they hear it, they always say-“didn’t you play this song endlessly for us?” Perfect song for your next Spin class.

1.     Southbound– This song has everything- great guitars, sweet piano and just an all around brilliant groove that should shake most right out their bed. It brings me back to “The Forge” in Ringwood N.J.-the old watering hole for the members of the Orange Crush softball team-not that we went there too often but when we did I always made sure that I put this song on for my big brother Jay as he definitely was “old school” and was someone who appreciated the Allman’s music, better than I did. I could see it in the way he just grooved slightly that this track that he was in his element. Boy do I miss those days a lot. The guys on the Orange Crush were more than teammates to me, they are family and I will never forget family. Thanks for letting me play centerfield boys and Joe can you throw a strike already??!!! Then just recently I just went to see my “brother” Slats and his band “The Groove” back in Brooklyn and they tore down the roof at “Johnny Pumps” with a blistering rendition of this track while his cousin was having a blast dancing around the dance floor like nobody’s business. Dickey Betts is unbelievable on guitar while Chuck Leavell has one of the best solos on piano I have ever heard. This is a Betts classic, again can’t take that away from him. (Just wish the other stuff didn’t get in the way).

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     True, Gladys recommended to Gordy to sign The Jackson 5.

2.     “Beechwood 4-5789”

3.     False- Three from U.S., two from England (Harrison and Lynne)

4.     True

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Who plays the piano on the Hollies classic “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother?”

2.     Who wrote the classic tune “All the Young Dudes” for Mott The Hoople?

3.     Who gave up his seat to the “Big Bopper” on the ill fated plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper?

4.     What song did Gregg Allman write for after his brother’s tragic death by motorcycle crash which appears on “Eat a Peach?”

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Jesus Take the Wheel”- Carrie Underwood

2.     “Note to God”- Charice Pempengco (written by Dianne Warren)

3.     “Peace Train”-Cat Stevens

4.     “My Sweet Lord” –George Harrison

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

1.     “…Feed the babies… who don’t have enough to eat… shoe the children… with no shoes on their feet… house the people… living in the street…”

2.     “…Fill my heart with song…Let me sing forever more…You are all I long for…All I worship and adore…In other words, please be true…”

3.     “…Trying hard now… it’s so hard now…trying hard now…Getting strong now…won’t be long now…getting strong now…”

4.     “…Start a new chapter…I find what I’m after…It’s changing everyday…The change of a season…Is enough of a reason…to want to get away…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1988, Dave Prater-[of Sam and Dave (“Hold On I’m Coming”)] died in a car crash near Sycamore, Georgia. He was only 50 years old.

Back on this day in 1962, Henry Mancini wins an Academy Award for best song for “Moon River” in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Back on this day in 1965, Bruce Johnston permanently replaces Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys.

Back on this day in 1970, Paul McCartney quits The Beatles and the next day it is announced in the press that the band is breaking up.

Back on this day in 1997, the stunning announcement that Soundgarden had split up was made. (I remember that day like it was yesterday, I was so stunned and disappointed).

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with the late great Carl Perkins and Gene Parsons (The Byrds)

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