Errols Weekly Music Update.

December 30, 2010

Weekly Update – 12/30/2010


Aaron Neville at BB Kings on Wed. Mar. 30. Tickets on sale next Tues. Jan. 4 at noon. $38.50

Robin Trower at BB Kings on Thurs. June 16. Tickets on sale this Mon. Jan. 3 at 1:00 p.m. $45.

Ice Cube at BB Kings on Tues. Mar. 8. Tickets on sale now. $27 ($32 day of show).

Other items:

Hopefully you were all able to watch the fantastic-“The 33rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors”- show this past Tuesday on CBS-TV. If you did miss it, well… see if you can find clips on line because there were some spectacular moments and possibly one of the best performances that I have ever seen on television in a long time. And no I am not talking about the great Mr. Steven Tyler, nor the “he is everywhere” Mr. Dave Grohl or one of my personal favorites Mr. Kid Rock. No, I am talking about Miss Jennifer Hudson. She came out and performed for Oprah Winfrey and her version of “I’m Here” from the “Color Purple” play was probably the greatest performance I have seen vocally, probably since Whitney Houston sang our national anthem many years ago. Miss Hudson was electrifying and sang that song totally possessed with passion like you have never experienced before. I have read blogs that stated that she was screaming-it may have sounded that way but to me, it was just her passion in a very special moment in front of so many people including the President of the United States- I don’t understand the criticism. Believe me folks she was phenomenal and when the Tennessee chorus came in towards the end of the song to assist; it then became “an event.”

Now as you all know my focus here is the music (so no offense to Oprah, Jerry Herman and Bill T. Jones-the other honorees) and I couldn’t wait for the tribute to Merle Haggard and Paul McCartney. Mr. Haggard is a fascinating figure in my opinion, here is a guy who spent time behind bars and most of his songs were written about his life experiences and I don’t care if you say you don’t like Country music because once you saw those musicians from today get up on the stage and perform his songs-you know you had to admit that they were great songs. Vince Gill and Brad Paisley completely nailed-“Working Man Blues”- and I admittedly don’t know too much about these guys but they appear to be very talented, great job boys!!! The legendary Kris Kristofferson and Miranda Lambert serenaded the audience with “The Hag” and every time I see Kris I am amazed on what a talent he is-friggin’ phenomenal. The American Treasure-Mr. Willie Nelson came out with Sheryl Crow (what is she waiting for already-she needs to become a country star right now-she may be already and she just doesn’t know it) and did a beautiful rendition of “Today I Started Loving You Again.” Willie, he is just…the Man!!! His status grows every day and when I get to see him it is a real treat. Willie brought out his friends (and no it wasn’t Kris, Johnny or Merle) but his other friends including the dynamic Kid Rock and the new star you don’t know about yet (but you will soon enough) Mr. Jamey Johnson and they all sang –“Ramblin’ Fever”- and then everyone came back out to make this another “event” and I for one did not want it to end. Phenomenal!!!

Then it was on to Sir Paul McCartney, after a very fun introduction by Alec Baldwin (he’s the best actor on TV today) the rejuvenated No Doubt did a nice job with “Hello Goodbye” and “Penny Lane.” I really liked the way they did “Penny.” When Dave Grohl and Norah Jones came out together (my oldest wonders when those two are going to make an entire album together) I knew it was going to be special. Say what you want about Dave’s propensity to scream but this man can sing. Did you hear how he opened with “Maybe I’m Amazed?” and then when Norah came in I knew instantly that I wanted to buy the song on I-Tunes. Dave did beautifully on the guitar solo. Folks this was pure perfection. I didn’t want the song to end and was wondering how that was going to be topped. But then it happens- the legendary Steven Tyler comes out (Paul specifically asked for him) and jumps into “She Came in through the Bathroom Window” and I got the chills. He was so freaking amazing. Then it’s on to “Golden Slumbers” and when the spotlight on Tyler hit him, I was thinking this is another “event.” The entire audience was on its feet as he laced into “Carry That Weight” and did his “Scatting.” My youngest son was disappointed there wasn’t the massive guitar solo but Steven showed everyone who thinks his career is over to think again. He was Spectacular. Again I got chills down my spine.

The next “event” was “Let It Be” which was kicked off by another American Legend-Mr. James Taylor-he was then joined by Mavis Staples and she brought down the house. Talk about the best song ever for audience participation- the “Nah, Nah, Nah’s” was absolutely fantastic. (sorry forgot to mention that they switched to “Hey Jude” for that part). When everyone came out to sing the song, I again had chills going up the back of my spine. Here is Tyler, Taylor and Grohl on the same stage together as the audience had these “lights” that they were waving back and forth-it was too much for me to take. To see the President and his lovely bride along with Oprah and Paul singing and dancing together was enough to bring tears to your eyes. Folks this was the best “Kennedy Honors” show that I have ever seen. Simply Spectacular.

My favorite “old school” song of the week goes to “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap. I was watching an episode of “Glee” and the main guy (I think) mixed this song in with “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police and I loved it. I forgot how much I love that song and immediately downloaded it off of I-Tunes. Good stuff right here folks.

The buzz created by Kayne West on his latest album-“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”- is “off the charts” and even has caught the attention of my oldest son. Every where you look it has been written that this is a complete masterpiece, so I know I’m probably a bit late with this but apparently this may be the best album of 2010. I would have to listen to the “clean” version because I can’t take all the cursing.

There is a free single on I-Tunes this week from The Decemberists-“Down By the Water”- and it eerily sounds like “The One I Love” by R.E.M. Who knows maybe it is just me but the guitar in the background makes me want to sing “This one goes out to…”

My favorite “classic rock” song of the week is “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” by The Police. I don’t know why but recently I have heard this song every where I go. Yes it’s a pop song but remember it is on “Zenyatta Mondatta” and that was the last studio album I purchased by the Police, so in my mind, they didn’t sell out until “Synchronicity.”



Ok I know I am going to get a lot of flak for this “nugget” edition as many of you out there probably think that the entire album deserves recognition, especially my oldest son as he is probably banging his head on his PC and screaming “Nooooo!” But I have to tell it from my view and this is my opinion, I think the album “Dirt” is probably Alice-In-Chains best work (and most popular at the same time-usually not the case) but I can NOT listen to the album in its entirety. I skip over the majority of Layne Staley’s songs-sorry but I have to be honest. So I couldn’t come up with a perfect album side (as this was made in the era of CD’s) nor could I review the entire album. Now admittedly, there are way more songs that appear on this list than what I put down on all my other nugget lists, it’s essentially almost the whole album but again I can’t listen from top to bottom. Staley’s songs are way too strange for me, so without any further comments to irritate you, I will put down the nuggets from the album “Dirt” by Alice-In-Chains:

Would?– Arguably one of the best songs that AIC has ever written and performed. I would stack this song up to most any hard rock song there is and most likely this would come out the winner. The bass line is pulsating while Layne’s vocals are top notch- he squeals, claws and scratches throughout while Jerry Cantrell supplies a most excellent riff. ’m/ ’m/

Down in a Hole – Again another song that could arguably be one of their best efforts ever. The song is slow driven and melancholy but has some heavy guitar parts where Jerry lifts the song up while Layne’s vocals pick up the pitch and then it comes down nicely. “But my wings have been so denied…” The lyrics are hard hitting as most of their songs are- it’s weird I was never one to follow along to lyrics that much because as you all know by now that it has always been about the music for me but there’s no ignoring the “to the point” lyrics that this band has put forth. This is a slow hand wave above your head ( a la American Idol ) and maybe for some-an acquired taste.

Them Bones – This song always takes me back to the old Giants stadium when Jerry Cantrell opened for Metallica as a solo artist but blew the doors off the exits with this bad boy. I can picture about 40,000 people head-banging along to this song while of course “air-guitaring.”The “one-two” punch that kicks off Dirt could arguably be one of the best two songs to start off an album in the hard rock genre.

Dam That River – This is the “two” punch I was mentioning in “Them Bones.” Whew does this song rock or what? Love the drums, bass and guitar that creates this “kick ass” groove. Now I will warn those parents out there wondering what their kids are listening to (yes me included)-there are some really “bad” lyrics-for example- “I kicked you in the face…you stared at me so hollow…got to keep that killing pace…” Admittedly I have to be in the mood to hear these songs but when I am in the mood, I really just concentrate on the music. I can remember when this album first came out and I bought the CD, I played it for a co-worker at S&P and his face said it all. From that point onwards, I kept my music taste to myself…unless I knew you were into it.

Angry Chair – Yes OK this is a Layne Staley song I know and I do love it. I would never say he wasn’t an unbelievable singer-which he was-but many of his songs are way too psychedelic for me. (“Godsmack” for instance). Anyway Angry Chair has this really addictive groove that you can’t get out of your head and I love the way Layne sings this song. He sounds possessed but I love the way he accentuates certain words in the song.(“Hey…Awww”). The arrangement is a work of art as the stop and go motions of the song works beautifully and when Cantrell breaks out into his solo, well I just have to hit the volume. This psychedelic tune I can deal with. My younger son is always playing the riffs from this song on his guitar and as I walk to my bedroom I always start to sing-“Sitting on my angry chair…” This song works for me.

Rooster – Now I would be remiss if I didn’t put this song down but I have to be honest and say that I have heard it so many times and I really have to be in the mood to hear it. You know like “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Stairway?” This is a super solid song but is a little too long for me and just a little too down trodden as well.

Artists You Are Scared to Admit You Like

Image of Bread

I can remember when I first started working for MBIA back in 1999 and we were located in the “lip-stick” building in midtown Manhattan and since my commute has always been a minimum of 1.5 hours each way (now 2 hours and 10 minutes each way) I need my music to get me through many a night. (and yes you guessed it-a lot of what is written here is done while I am on the train). Anyway I usually go through “kicks” with certain artists or bands and this one particular instance I was in a full mode of listening to Bread and couldn’t stop for what seemed like a few months. My friends and co-workers at the time-Paul and Sal-wanted to know what I was listening to and admittedly I was hesitant to say “Bread”-I almost was going to say “Marilyn Manson”-(Oh wait I did that already a few weeks ago). But I went with “Bread” and they both looked at me like someone had squirted lemon juice in their eyes. I held steady and freely admitted that David Gates and Bread have always been one of my favorites. Why they are responsible for one of the greatest songs ever recorded and written-“If”- come on it is IMPOSSIBLE to not like this song. I can’t listen to this song just once, I have to hit the rewind button at least three times as I completely go into a trance and don’t want to leave. This was my Aunt Mary and Uncle Gary’s wedding song-c’mon people this is a super phenomenal song that I will never tire to listen to.

I also can’t mention Bread without bringing up probably the biggest fan that I know of and his name is John and every time we get together with the Carlson’s, he always plays Bread songs as I think he took up guitar lessons just because of Bread. Even my boys know of Bread because of John. So I am here to say that I can listen to Bread songs at any moment of the day and if you need to grab my attention just play “If” and I will stop dead in my tracks. So here are some of my favorite Bread songs:

If”- What else can I say about this national treasure of a song? If you don’t like this song, then you just don’t like music. Period end of story.

Everything I Own” – This is another one of those songs that just puts me into another stratosphere. It is a beautifully poignant song that David wrote for his father (thanks Chris I remembered) and if you listen to the words, you may just shed a tear like I am doing now. Don’t squint like you have lemon juice in your eyes, I am just being real. Hey even the rock band Tesla covered this-so how do you like me now?

The Guitar Man” – this is probably the “heaviest” song they ever recorded. Hey don’t kid yourself-listen to the guitar work in this song and tell me it is not great? David has this way of blending beautiful melodies with his pleasant voice. I am sorry but Bread is one of the best American bands we have ever witnessed and it is because of songs like these. It’s such a shame that Jimmy Griffin and Mike Botts are no longer with us to maybe have another reunion.

Lost Without Your Love” – “Wow”- that is the first word that comes to my mind when I hear songs like these. I want to cry but I can’t turn the song off, many of their songs are “sad-like” but yet so enchanting that it makes you say that these are some of the greatest songs this world has ever seen (heard).

It Don’t Matter to Me” – Their songs have a way of just stopping me in my tracks and listen in wonder and awe. This is one of their best songs about a man who is looking for a second chance. I’m sorry but this is pure perfection folks-it don’t get much better than this.

Make It With You” – This song takes me back to my childhood days growing up on 46th street in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn N.Y. Back to seemingly easier times (at least for me as I was a kid) and this song was always being played on either WABC-AM or WCBS-FM radio stations. Their songs have this way of making you feel good and if you listen to the lyrics they are still relevant today as they were back in the 1970’s. Fantastic song.

Mother Freedom” – Wow who says Bread can’t rock out? Take a listen to this bad boy and tell me this isn’t some good rock and roll? The song starts off with the “heavy” guitar lick and just gets keep getting better. The guitar solo is friggin’ awesome and has to be played LOUD-this is the rough side of Bread-you know like the first or last piece that is in your loaf of bread that nobody wants but that is usually my favorite piece-just like this rocking tune. I’ll say it again-“Wow.”

Aubrey” – OK it is back to the picturesque Bread and this is a perfect song to play for a small child while trying to get them to relax if it is the “witching” hour (you know what I am talking about if you are a parent). This is the potion that calms the soothing beast. (or is it “seething” beast) Either way, this is a most delightful song and makes me wish I knew someone named Aubrey.

Top Ten

Image of ZZ Top

The last few weeks I have really been on a “classic rock” binge (Thin Lizzy, AC/DC) and now I have to write about my favorite top ten songs from the band called ZZ Top. This band from Houston Texas is still going strong and the three guys-Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard-have been rocking us out since 1970 with no signs of slowing down. Now again I do not profess to know all there is about this band, I am coming at this from a fan perspective. I admit that I jumped on to their bandwagon with their popular- “Eliminator”- which was released in 1983- but so did millions of other people-shows you how good the album was. Of course it spawned classics such as “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” and “Legs” and they were right there when MTV hit it big but many know them as this blues hard rockin’ band that are legitimate rock and roll hall of famers (class of 2004). At the height of their career they were selling out places like Madison Square Garden but I still say seeing them in smaller venues (like Beacon) or even in clubs is the best way to feel their energetic rock and roll display which will make you stand up and pay attention to this very talented three-some.

This talented three-some includes the incredible guitar playing of Billy Gibbons-who seems to have digested music from Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters and Duane Allman as one can easily hear the influence from those great guitarists’. When the relevant artists of today are asked who are some of the best guitarists’ in the business today and Billy’s name is always mentioned and that may be a surprise to you (as it is the “general” public) but for those of us “in the know”- we know…Billy is flippin’ phenomenal. Now this band wouldn’t be complete without the thumping bass guitar lines from Dusty Hill with matching beats from the drummer-Frank Beard and both of them are the coal in the furnace that keeps the ZZ train running at full speed. Folks if you have never seen these guys in concert-you are truly missing out.

There are two stories that stand out in my mind and it relates to seeing these guys in concert. The first one was I couldn’t wait for my younger brother to come of age where I could take him to his first concerts and I was so pumped up because I bought tickets to see ZZ Top at Madison Square Garden during the early 1990’s and this would be his first concert ever. How cool is that- ZZ Top being your first concert? Well I guess it must have been exciting for me because my younger brother did not enjoy it. I could tell that he wasn’t into it as I was trying too hard to get him to like it-I learned from that but lost even more of him as I married and moved out of the house and he ventured down a different path of music. He likes rock and roll but he still scratches his head on much of my musical taste. I blame myself, if I hadn’t moved out I would have been able to convince him further of the greatness of bands like ZZ Top. Maybe this piece will get him to go and explore the many songs and albums of ZZ Top. The other story was when I was working at MBIA and there was a mortgage conference and the guest band playing that night was none other than ZZ Top. The boys-Martin, Sal and Paul- decided to call me up at home (as I was not on this trip) and rub it in that they were sitting right in front of ZZ Top as their music was blaring into my phone and I was green with envy. Now I know what you are thinking- ZZ Top at a mortgage conference? That is like playing at “Six Flags” but I think not. Unfortunately there was a lot of money flowing and that is the reason they were hired. C’mon it was like having ZZ Top playing at a wedding-does it get any cooler than that?

Now my kids don’t these guys are cool but again maybe after reading this and taking the time to give their catalog a listen, hopefully they will see the light. Folks make no mistake about it-ZZ Top kicks some big booty and are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so you know they have done something right. Ok here I am on an island and have been informed I can only have ten songs by ZZ Top- “These are Them:”

10.     Francene– This song sounds like a Texas style version of Chuck Berry. I can picture Chuck playing this bad boy up on the stage with ZZ Top jamming away and making this three minute song into one of those Allman Brother type songs where the solos never end and it turns into a whole album side. This is raw ZZ Top with a nice guitar solo by Gibbons that will make you wish you played guitar. This song rocks!!-just listen to Frank Beard blast away on drums. Good stuff.

9.       My Head’s in Mississippi – Every time I went to take this song off of this list, it just kept coming back-there is something that hooks me in and I think it is Billy’s vocals-they are so raw it almost sounds like he has a cold or something. No I have it- can’t you picture Redd Foxx (or Fred Sanford) singing this song-especially when the song starts off. By no means is this an insult, it is just what it sounds like to me and I love it. “I keep thinking ‘bout the night in Memphis…Lord I thought I was in heaven…” This is such a good mix of rock and roll with the blues. “What was I doing out there?…” The guitar work is righteous.

8.       Tube Snake Boogie-This song reminds me of Carol Miller when she was the DJ on WNEW-FM when it was WNEW (She is now on Q104.3) because she used to play this song on her set all the time. This is pure rock and roll with a twist of blues boogie. I love the groove in this song-it is simple but it rocks. Hey I bought my son a cool pair of headphones for Christmas and I have been using them myself and how cool does this song sound in those headphones? Almost too much to take, you need to have this in your library. “…I got a girl she lives on the hill…she won’t do it but her sister will…blow your top…blow your top.” This is kick ass rock and roll.

7.       I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide-This song gets into my bloodstream from the opening note-it’s like I am getting a needle of great rock and roll as it pours into my veins and for the next five minutes I am transformed into a ZZ Top. Can it get any better? Billy Gibbons is out of sight on the guitar as well as the very cool vocals, they kind of echo-don’t you love that effect? Or how about that acoustic slide that slows it down as you bounce your head up and down and then Gibbons takes over with a crystal clear guitar solo that is just jaw dropping. Friggin’ awesome tune!!! “Well I was movin’ down the road in my V-8 Ford…I had a shine on my boots, I had my side burns lowered…”

6.       Have You Heard? – Do these guys know how to “blues out” or what? For some reason I can just picture Jimi Hendrix jammin’ with the Doobie Brothers on this track. This is raw baby and so good just like a white Christmas (well we were off by a day or two and probably have too much snow now, you think?). It conjures up so many other who have done the blues right and one has to throw ZZ Top’s name in there on doing the blues the right way. Hey don’t kid yourself I can picture BB or Buddy jamming away with Billy & the boys on this bad boy. This song rocks!!!

5.       Got Me Under Pressure – Say what you want but this song gets me all the time, I love the fast pace and I need to take a break to air-guitar-hold on….Ok I’m back…how can this song land here you say? Again this is my list and I have to have it here. This song for me will forever be known as the song with the rolling drums by Frank Beard-every time I hear that part I have to rewind it again just to hear it and wish I were the drummer. It reminds me of the drum part in “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen-don’t ask me why-it just does. Again love the guitar work by Billy and Dusty’s bass lines will thump your chest. Great stuff right here boys and girls.

4.      Arrested for Driving Blind – I’d put this song up to any rock and roll song that you want to go head to head. There is a good chance that you will say Ok I will put my song back because it can’t beat this track. There is the most righteous guitar solo you will ever hear and could be one of the best “guitar” songs ever recorded. The groove is so infectious and again the solo is almost too much to handle as you will definitely be “air-guitaring” it is almost impossible not to. It has a southern flavor to it- the best BBQ rock and roll that Texas has to offer. This is “knock the cover off the ball” style rock and roll. ‘Nuff said.

3.       Waitin’ for the Bus – The bass lines will blow your ears off while the thumping in your chest you make you feel like your heart is in your throat. And Billy’s guitar following alongside the bass line just makes the song that much better. “Have mercy” Billy states and yes have mercy because this song just flat out makes a mark in your body and soul. Billy’s guitar solo will take you to another stratosphere and as the infectious groove comes back after the solo, you will wish that you can see these guys perform this live. The only problem I have with the song is that it is way too short.

2.       Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers –Folks if you don’t know this song well then plain and simple-there is a void in your life so do yourself and plug that little hole by purchasing this song (as well as the album it comes from-‘Tres Hombres”) and put on those headphones and let ZZ Top take you away to a place where one can picture an old western saloon with brusiers and hell raisers walking through those swinging doors as the smoke is so thick as well as the tension because you know at any point something is going to happen. And it does-when Gibbons blasts through with his blazing solo you realize that everyone has just become friends and are “air-guitaring” away while buying another round and hoping this ZZ Top song can last into the wee hours of the night. Perfect song on your playlist for New Year’s Eve tonight!!!

1.       Jesus Just Left Chicago– I just can’t get enough of this song, I am addicted to this groove so much that I feel like I could pick up the guitar and play it because it would just ooze out of my fingers as easily it does Billy’s. Dusty’s bass line is so phenomenal that it keeps the train rolling along-just follow his bass line once when you listen to this track multiple times and see (or listen) to what I am talking about. And when Frank jams in with the “high-hat” as Billy takes off on another one of his amazin’ solos, well this is how rock and roll is supposed to be. Muddy Waters has to be smiling because of this track, this is right up his alley. Folks pure and simple-this is GREAT rock and roll.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week: (Nice job Michele and Tricia)

1.     Dionne Warwick

2.     Cher

3.     Marie Osmond

4.     Nancy Sinatra

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I almost became the lead singer for the Mighty Led Zeppelin before Robert Plant and I was also good friends with Keith Richards and was considered to come aboard the Stones gig after Mick Taylor left the band in 1975 but Mick Jagger blocked that idea. I played with Frampton before he came alive on his own. Who am I ?

2.     I was the lead singer for the Jeff Beck group and then Ronnie Wood and I left and replaced two members of Small Faces. I eventually went out on my own and became one of the most successful recording artists of all time. I now remake all these “old” classics and my original rock and roll brethren roll their eyes when they hear my great American songbook. Who am I?

3.     I replaced one of the wildest and greatest drummers of all-time in 1979 after he passed away. I kind of slipped in the back door without much fanfare but remained a steady force for about ten years until Roger Daltrey gave the ultimatum- “Either he goes or I go!” Who am I?

4.     I am in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have six Grammy awards in my career. I am a poet and also have hosted “Saturday Night Live” six times over the last few decades. I had a romance with Penny Marshall during the 1980’s but am probably best known for my partner in music as we have split and been back together so many times over the years. We had a huge reunion concert in Central Park a long time ago. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week: (nice job Tricia-I was going for the “lady” “man” thing)

1.     Ladies Night – Kool & the Gang

2.     Lady Madonna – The Beatles

3.     Man in the BoxAlice In Chains

4.     A Man I’ll Never Be – Boston

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

1.     “…Look at them go…look at them kick…makes you wonder how the other half live…”

2.     “…just give me another chance…for our romance…come on and tell me you will return…cause every day that you’ve been gone away…”

3.     “…gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive…trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive…In sixty-nine I was twenty-one…”

4.     “…nah I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit…enough that you won’t illegally search my s**t…we’ll see how smart you are when the K-9 come…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1998, Johnny Moore, (The Drifters) passed away from respiratory trouble in London.

Back on this day in 1972, Bruce Springsteen opened up for Brownsville Station and Sha Na Na at the Ohio Theater in Columbus Ohio.

Back on this day in 1980, Cheap Trick received a gold record for their fifth studio album-“All Shook Up”- (a great album in my opinion) which was produced by the legendary George Martin (who had worked with the Beatles).

Back on this day in 1992, ZZ Top filed a $115 million lawsuit against Mitsubishi Motor and Gray Advertising alleging that those companies used the song-“La Grange”- without their permission to advertise car sales. I think they settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Back on this day in 1999, Mark Knopfler, was given an award from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music-it was The Order of the British Empire.

Back on this day in 1999, George Harrison was stabbed by an intruder into his house in the UK, his wife-Olivia-hit the intruder over the head with a lamp and George’s son-Dhani- held the guy down until police arrived. George would sustain a collapsed lung but eventually recovered

Back on this day in 2002, Diana Ross was arrested for “extreme” DUI while driving in Arizona.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late Bo Diddley , the late Felix Pappalardi (Mountain) and the late Del Shannon, Patti Smith, Jeff Lynne (ELO), Davey Jones and Mike Nesmith (The Monkees)


December 23, 2010

Weekly Update – 12/23/2010


Utopia featuring Todd Rundgren at the Highline Ballroom on Sat. Jan. 29, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $40 ($45 day of show).

Plain White T’s with Parachute at Highline Ballroom on Tues. Feb. 22. Tickets on sale now. $20.

Furthur at Best Buy Theater on Tues. Mar. 15. Tickets on sale Fri. Jan. 14 at 10:00 a.m. $59

Skid Row at the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville NJ on Fri. Apr. 15, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $17.50.

John Waite at BB Kings on Wed. Mar. 2. Tickets on sale now $25. ($30 day of show).

En Vogue at BB Kings on May 18, 2011. Tickets on sale now $35 ($40 day of show).

The Outlaws at BB Kings on Wed. Aug. 24, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $35 ($40 day of show).

Sepultura at the Gramercy Theater on Mon. Apr. 25. Tickets on sale next Tues. Dec. 28 at noon. $35.50

Other items:

Say what?—It was just reported that after all these years (more than 40 years mind you) that we all have been pronouncing the Kinks brother’s last name incorrectly. Ray and Dave Davies have stated that they don’t know why there name has been prounced-“Dave- eez” when all along it should have been stated like this-“Davis.” What??? Are you kidding me? C’mon boys this is a little late in the game for a name change now, don’t cha think?

Buckcherry has recorded a Christmas song and it is called-“Christmas is Here”- and I have to tell you that I liked it so much that I bought it. It’s actually a song that I can listen by them that I don’t have to hear any cursing, no nudity and nothing vulgar-can you imagine? It’s weird I’m still mad that some one wrote to me that Buckcherry blew Kiss off the stage the last time I saw Kiss at the Garden. Again, are you kidding me? That is so laughable and I know that I shouldn’t take it out on the band but until they can sell out Madison Square Garden on their own, then I’ll pay attention.

This week’s issue of Rolling Stone magazine with John Lennon on the cover is probably the best issue they have had all year long. The “never before released” interview with Lennon three days before he was murdered has been reproduced and it really is a fascinating read. If you are a Lennon fan this is a must have. (Again maybe stocking stuffer).

R.E.M. has had a track leaked on to the web and the song is called-“It Happened Today”- off of their upcoming album (Mar. 8)-“Collapse Into Now”- and features guest vocals from Eddie Vedder. If you recall, Eddie inducted R.E.M. into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years back (and I think he is still giving his speech).

Velvet Revolver apparently has their new singer but won’t comment just yet. “We’re just dating now” says drummer Matt Sorum. It is a young dude, so we will see soon.

Rumors of a new live Green Day album may be true as some track listings have appeared on Amazon. It is suppose to be released this coming March.

Back on Dec. 4 a man stole five video systems from a children’s cancer treatment at a medical center in North Carolina. The guy was eventually caught because he didn’t realize there were cameras everywhere but anyway once Nikki Sixx had heard the story he sprung into action and using his syndicated radio show-“Sixx Sense”- he told the story and representatives from Sony, Disney, Activision and Nintendo reached out to him and supplied all the systems that were stolen. A nice holiday ending!!

Have you ever heard the Lemmy Kilmister version of “Run Ruldolph Run” Christmas song made popular by Chuck Berry? Well Lemmy gets help from Dave Grohl (who else?) and Billy Gibbons and the song totally rocks. Now mind you this is “metal” Christmas, so go in with your eyes (and ears) open.


Draw the Line

Ok I admit it. I bought “Draw the Line” by Aerosmith because of the art work on the cover of the album. This is not the only time I have done it but it may have been the first as I think I was only 14 years old or so. I had to have the album because I thought the drawing on the cover was so cool and I also like to draw, so you know I had done hundreds of sketches of this album cover (no I didn’t save any, I know I should have). Then when I put this album on, I think it was like when you see rays of sun light breaking through the clouds in the early morning. It was then I knew that I wanted rock and roll for the rest of my life and I always come back to this album as one of the cornerstones of how my life with rock and roll began, sort of like the cement that is poured for the foundation when building a new home. Now as I mentioned a few months ago when I picked my favorite top ten songs by Aerosmith, this album has been panned by critics and the band as well and I for one can never figure out why that is and I won’t have any of it. Why because they may have been in “other places” when recording it-there have been plenty of other bands that have recorded some of the greatest albums ever and may have been aided by “high”-er substances. Isn’t it ironic that I have never even smoked a cigarette in my entire life and I love this album the best out of all their albums and they were probably in the worst shape in their career due to substance abuses? Maybe music is my drug? Anyway, like I said “Draw The Line” for me is one of the greatest albums that I own and I love it from top to bottom. But I do acknowledge that this is an “acquired taste” and for that reason I will point out the golden nuggets on this album instead of doing an entire album review. Now this goes back a long time (yes I am old now), even before their historic comeback with Run-DMC, so to me this is the “vintage” Aerosmith and probably the Steven Tyler that his legion of fans want to remember him by instead of a judge on the American Idol series. I don’t have a problem with it, if Ozzy can do a futuristic version of “Ozzie and Harriet” on TV, then why can’t Steven do his thing? I get all the questions and frustrations about how he is “selling out” but ever since the NY Mets traded away Tom Seaver in 1977, I knew right then and there that life for me would never be the same, so I don’t let those things get to me. Anyway, here are the golden nuggets from “Draw The Line:”

Milk Cow Blues” – Love this tune, it is a mixture of rock and roll with a twist of blues that will knock your socks off. I can remember bringing this album to my aunt’s house and putting it on their record player because they had the biggest set of headphones out of any family member and I can remember just shutting out the whole world while jamming out of my mind, especially when Steven plays the harmonica. I can listen to this song all day long-love it when Tyler screaches with that high pitch voice of his and the playing by the rest of the band is freakin’ phenomenal. Love the hiccup at the end. This song totally rocks.

Critical Mass” – OK you all know how I feel about this song as this made my all time favorite song by Aerosmith and I think this is the coolest song Aerosmith has ever recorded. A few weeks after posting those top ten songs, my oldest son and I were at Borders and they have this rack of CD’s that sell for less than $9 and one of the CD titles were “Aerosmith Hidden Gems” (or something like that) and guess what song was on there- yes you guessed it- Critical Mass baby!!!! \m/ \m/ Vindication tastes so very good!

Draw The Line” – This is the “rawest” song that I think Aerosmith has ever recorded. It sounds like it was recorded in one take and the overall sound is lower than the rest of the songs on the album. This song has some “giddy-up” as the bass lines are prevalent throughout-this is like controlled chaos going on here. To this day when Steven starts screaming the lyrics after the song slows down and picks up again I still can’t understand one word he is saying. I defy anyone in the universe to write down what he is saying, it can’t be done and maybe since they were all messed up I don’t even think they know what the lyrics were. They probably made them up after the recording. Awesome tune though.

Sight for Sore Eyes” – The groove in this song is unmatched by any other song on the album. Joe Perry is out of his mind on the guitar and Joey Kramer flat out knocks the cover off the ball with his drumming. Again trying to figure out what Steven Tyler is singing is pretty hard and I can picture this song being a selection on the show “Guess the lyrics” where you have to fill in 6 – 13 words or so. I’d have a hard time doing the next three words but the groove is out of sight!!!

I Wanna Know Why” – Rock and Roll the way it was intended to be. Joe Perry is flawless on guitar and Steven sounds like he is singing in a cylo. I love the piano that shadows throughout the entire track, along with the horns. I think Meatloaf took a little from this song when he wrote-“All Revved Up with No Place to Go”- as I can here parts of that song in this track. There is a fast bluesy twist that will make you wonder why you weren’t familiar with this song, you need to know this song as well as all the others mentioned.

Kings and Queens” – This arguably could be the best song on “Draw the Line” and the one thing I remember about this song is that a childhood friend of mine-Vinny (aka as “Rockhead”- I know he hates that nickname, so sorry) loved this song. What’s not to love? The arrangement goes from fast to slow back to fast and with about 1:40 left it really turns into a production as the piano and bass take center stage while Mr. Perry is doing his thing on guitar in the background. Steven does an awesome job on vocals, folks this is good stuff right here!!!

Artists You Are Scared to Admit You Like

Image of Phil Collins

OK for some strange reason Phil Collins is now a “persona non grada” and I for one don’t really understand it. The recent article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine on how he is being treated like he is some sort of social disease is beyond me and how it has affected his life is very sad. He has stated that he will no longer make music because of the ridicule that seems to grow on a daily basis. Phil, I am here to say : don’t listen to all that nonsense. You are someone who has created some of the most popular songs in the history of music where so many people around the world know them. How many people among us can say that? Do you make pop music? Yes but so what? Folks, say what you will about Genesis but who brought them to a wider audience? Times were changing and the “progressive” genre faded away during the late 1970’s as disco and new wave music ruled the airwaves and here was Collins switching gears and doing songs like “Abacab” and “Land of Confusion” and now he is being treated as if he were Barry Manilow? (Sorry Barry, no offense-hey I wrote about how much I liked your songs last week). (Even Fleetwood Mac started out as a “prog” band and went the popular route). The metal band-Disturbed- did a cover of “Land of Confusion,” does that tell you anything? Yeah so what he does pop songs for Disney? (Hey, Steven Tyler is on American Idol). He recorded one of my favorite songs for the “Tarzan” soundtrack-“ You’ll Be in My Heart”-which I told my wife I wanted that to be our wedding song when we re-new our vows. It’s OK for Elton John to do the soundtrack for the “Lion King” but when Phil does one, there’s a problem? Phil Collins will always be OK in my book as he played percussion and sang background vocals on George Harrison’s masterpiece album-“All Things Must Pass.” How can this gentleman be disrespected so much? Can he help it if radio stations across the universe played “In the Air Tonight” so many times that people grew sick of it? But it’s OK for us to hear “Sweet Home Alabama” or ‘Stairway to Heaven” a zillion more times in the next few weeks? I will firmly tell everyone that I am not embarrassed now or had been at any other point in my life, to admit that I like Phil Collins as a solo artist and of course his work in Genesis. (yeah I know… Peter Gabriel was….blah blah blah.. I’ve heard it a zillion times before). So here are some of my favorite Phil Collins songs:

You’ll Be in My Heart”- I absolutely love this song, can’t get enough of it as it makes me feel good all over. If you love someone-as I do my lovely bride-then you can not help but feel the passion of the lyrics while the arrangement of the song is simply spectacular. If I’m “sappy” then so be it. Thank you Phil for this song for which I will always treasure.

Turn It On Again” – Love this song. What’s wrong with this tune? This brings me back to my teenage years and the good old days when WNEW FM radio was a real radio station and this song was a staple for so many years. “I…I…I…get so lonely when she’s not there…” Someone fill me in on what’s wrong with this track? Solid tune.

No Reply at All”- Is it “pop”-ish? Yeah but so what, some of my all time favorite songs are “pop” songs. What would the majority of this world do without pop radio? We all have our favorite bands that are obscure to many people but just because something is popular doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad. This song has an addictive chorus that you can’t stop singing all day long. “I get the feeling you’re trying to tell me…is there something that I should know?…” C’mon this is a great tune??!!!

Abacab” – I remember hearing this song for the first time, I was being driven home by a friend and co-worker at the time-“Mikey”-after a long hard day of work in a butcher wholesale market in downtown Brooklyn N.Y. I was only 17 and he was channel surfing and I told him to stop on this song. I was intrigued and said that I needed to know who sang this song, so we listened to the entire song-the version with the long ending with the drums and keyboard-so as I could know who performed the song. This is my favorite song by Phil and Genesis.

Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” – “You’re the only one who really knew me at all…so take a look at me now…” C’mon you know you have lip-synced this song in front of a mirror making believe you were holding a microphone and singing to a sold out audience-I know I have. Phil gives it his all in this song and I stand still when I hear this song and don’t move at all. This is a great song-period end of story.

Man on the Corner” – “Who’s the lonely man there on the corner…what he’s waiting for I don’t know…but he waits every day now…” We can all relate to this song, right? I know I have seen my share of “men on a corner” as the homeless plight is amongst us all. I can remember passing this one guy every day in lower Manhattan across from the American Stock Exchange and one winter it was especially cold, I couldn’t take it any more so I brought him to the local coffee shop and bought him a hot chocolate and then gave him my gloves. This song is beautiful and hits me in the gut every time.

Keep It Dark” – I forgot how much I love this song until I went back to look at my Abacab album and listened to this. I love the drumming in this song-hey he sings and plays the drums, not to easy. This song has a lot of “giddy-up” and the keyboards, guitars and drums all work nicely together to make this a top notch tune. Love the percussion in this song.

Top Ten


AC/DC….AC/DC….I’ll say it again….AC/DC….Has there been any other band in the history of music that has had the success they have had and with two very different singers? (I can’t think of any. No not Aerosmith-yes they had two careers, just like AC/DC but with the same singer. Van Halen you say? Well you know I love both the Diamond Dave and the Red Rocker eras but they fall short a bit when compared to Scott and Williams-just my opinion. Black Sabbath? Maybe…had Dio made as many albums with them as Ozzy did but that did not happen). Then came “Back in Black” with Mr. Brian Johnson after the beloved Mr. Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott had passed away and could there have been a better pick than Mr. Johnson? He has always shown the love and respect for Bon’s work and knew going in that at some point he was going to pay homage to Bon at every live show that AC/DC would ever do. He was nervous about filling such big shoes but he was also a fan of Bon’s work with AC/DC (and was hired immediately after auditioning the song “Whole Lotta Rosie”) and that in my opinion is the one of the most important reasons why he has flourished with the fans because again he treats those songs with such respect and care. But along the way, Brian has also recorded some of the best and most known songs in the history of hard rock and 31 years later lo and behold they are still going strong by releasing a solid album a few short years ago-“Black Ice”-while seemingly on tour since 2008 or so. I will say it again-if you have never been to an AC/DC show- it is the equivalent never seeing “The Wizard of Oz” or not believing in Santa Claus when you were four years old. There is a gap in your life that you probably don’t realize but everyone else who has seen “Oz” and still believes in Santa (me) knows what you are missing.

Anyway, since AC/DC has had “two lives” (three if you count the original lead singer-Mark Evans- who lasted only a year) the focus for today’s discussion will be on the first life of AC/DC with Bon Scott. Now for those die hard fans of Bon’s work, please know that I caught on to Bon’s work with his last recording-“Highway to Hell”- as I was only 14-years old when that came out in 1979. So again just as with Thin Lizzy, I do not to profess to know everything about the Bon Scott era but I did go back and do my homework by diving into the albums made before “Highway.” First off there are two people that immediately come to mind when I think of AC/DC. The first person is Jack McGlade, an old friend of my uncle Gary, when he lived with my grandparents in Otisville N.Y. during the 1970’s. I can remember how psyched Jack would get when the conversation of AC/DC came up, he was a freak of a fan for these guys and he definitely was the main reason why I jumped into this great band. So Jack if you are reading this somewhere-thanks!!! The other person is a guy that I didn’t know too well, all I know is that his name was Richie and he had the “rocker” look as his long blond hair rested on his shoulders but he had this look of being the toughest guy in the neighborhood. It was the mid 1980’s and every time I would walk up to my girlfriend’s house at that time, I had to walk by his house and he was always sitting on the stoop with his boom box and of course Bon’s voice would be booming out of those speakers. Brian Johnson was well on his way of making the second phase of AC/DC even more popular (in my opinion) because a larger audience had seemingly caught on to this legendary band but here was this guy who would not let Bon go away, I never heard the Brian Johnson AC/DC when I walked by his house. (who knows maybe he still to this day doesn’t recognize the “new” AC/DC and there may be a whole lot more people who feel this way, I don’t know). Anyway, somehow I ended up in his house as the girl I was dating knew his sister and here we are in his living room. I felt like Macaulay Culkin (or “Kevin McAllister”) when he sat next to his “scary” neighbor in church in the movie “Home Alone.” But I knew how to break the ice, I immediately said that I was a big fan of AC/DC-yes of course I said the Bon Scott AC/DC (I’m not stupid) but I also loved the Brian Williams AC/DC. (No I didn’t tell him that). From that point onward, I would always “air-guitar” my way past his house or bang my head up and down to the blasting music, all because of Bon Scott-who grew up in a world away in Australia-here we are in Sunset Park Brooklyn and you see the affect he had on our lives-just like so many others around the world. Richie would say hello and I didn’t fear walking by his house any longer. Do yourself a favor folks, there is an AC/DC DVD that has many early videos of Bon’s days with the band that you need to own. The energy that comes through (even on video) is hard to describe-I can’t even imagine being in the audience (remember back in those days it was “real” videos before the “staged” videos that made MTV) when they filmed these. This is pure raucous rock and roll that I know they did not invent but I defy anyone to find a band who did it better.

Now of course how can I write about AC/DC and not mention the Young brothers? Angus is electrifying, always has been, always will be. Find me someone who puts in a better effort while performing live? He is like a “Transformer”- before hitting the stage he is someone you would have a cup of tea with and maybe discuss the economy or something like that but when he hits the stage, he transforms into this rock and roll machine that never stops. Have you ever not seen him saturated with sweat at the end of his shows? I think not. If Angus is the “flare” gun of AC/DC then his brother-Malcolm- is the gas that keeps the rock and roll train moving at a breakneck speed, he is so consistent and all he wants to do is play rhythm guitar in this band called AC/DC-I see nothing wrong with that, do you? Phil Rudd has been with the band a long time after a stint where someone else sat in on drums. I’m still amazed on how he can smoke while playing the drums, amazing. And Cliff Williams has been on board since the “Powerage” album playing his pulsating bass for a very long time.

Speaking of “Powerage”-this album alone could have 9 out of the 10 top songs in the Bon Scott era as this album is arguably the best piece of work that they ever recorded (including “Back in Black”) and has to be considered in the top ten hard rock albums of all time. This was the last album that Angus and Malcolm’s older brother-George- produced for the band before “Mutt” Lange came on board as they exploded into the limelight with “Highway.” Now trying to come up with ten songs is as hard as it was when I tried to name my favorite ten songs by the Mighty Led Zeppelin. There are so many great songs to choose from but I followed the same formula: first-immediately name the songs that come to mind; second-look through their library; third- identify the songs I know are in my top ten and fourth-have a “battle” of the songs as I put each up against one another and decide which ones I like best. Again this is so hard but here goes, I am on an island and have been informed that I can have ten songs from the Bon Scott era of AC/DC-“These Are Them:”

10.     What’s Next to the Moon– The more you listen to “Powerage” you will realize that this is a masterpiece from top to bottom and every song is great. This song had to fight off a lot of competition from so many other songs, including from “Powerage” but at the end of the day this has to be in my top ten. I guess it is the addicting chorus-“It’s your love that I want…it’s your love that I need…what’s next to the moon”-that makes me choose it. I also love the beginning with Cliff’s chest thumping bass lines as Angus awaits in the background to slide in nicely and when it is his turn, the guitar solo is short but packs a wallop. Bon’s vocals are righteous-“…all right officer I confess…everything’s coming back…”- and his style has never been replicated.

9.       Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire) – Talk about your head-banging tunes-no not as fast as you might think but it is a steady stream of your head rocking up and down at a nice pace as Angus and Malcolm make you want to dance around the room with this knock out of a groove. Rock and Roll has to get into your blood stream and you have to feel this song enter your system as the bluesy twist can not be ignored as you begin to float away-at least that it is what it does to me. I love the part where Bon laments-“…I got holes in my shoes…I got holes in my teeth…I got holes in my socks…can’t get no sleep…I’m trying to make a million…”- as he sounds so natural it’s as if he was born to sing the rock and roll blues-which he was. The pace picks up for the last two minutes of the song and it makes it that much better. Incredible tune.

8.       Rocker-I love this friggin’ tune. It makes me feel as if I have stuck my hand in an electric socket and being shocked with AC/DC currents that makes me want to run around in crazy circles at breakneck speeds-it’s almost too much too take. This song is too short and I always have to hit the rewind button, I love the way Angus plays the guitar on this song and Phil Rudd is out of his mind on drums. I can remember putting this song on for my boys when they were younger and they watched me transform (you see Angus is not the only one) into an out of control parent running around the living room making believe I am playing guitar-it’s those moments that a child never forgets right? (seeing their parents out of control). Then another time I remember throwing this tune on to a disc that I created for Chris at one of his Spin classes at MBIA and I can picture him laughing at my reaction to this song-if this song doesn’t move you (and I know I have said this plenty of times before but this time I mean it) then you may want to check if you have a pulse right now!!!

7.       Touch Too Much-This is the more “polished” AC/DC (thanks to Mutt’s production) but there has always been something about this song that keeps me coming back for more. I know it is Angus guitar work as well as Bon’s great vocals. Was he the greatest “bar” rock and roll singer ever or what? The thing that Mutt did was highlight the bands great ability to sing background vocals and this song has them, the chorus is so addicting-“…seems like a touch…a touch too much…too much for my body… too much for my brain…this damn woman is gonna drive me insane…” For me, this is a great sing along song and again that guitar lick makes me wish I could play guitar.

6.       There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ – Do these guys know how to rock or what? I can listen to songs like these 24 hours a day and never tire. For some reason I can picture my mother moving her shoulders up and down while shaking her right wrist (that was always the sign of approval in my mind on what songs she liked). This is rock and roll at its best and you can’t help but move a part of your body-any part-even if it is just your fingers-to TURN UP THE VOLUME!!! I can’t tell you how much this song psyches me up, it is almost too much too take. I have rewound the song three times already; I may not be able to finish the rest of this list……

5.       Down Payment Blues – This is the raw AC/DC with the unbelievable riffs and grooves that produces some of the finest rock and roll that has ever been made. Folks I’m telling you it is hard to find a band that poured all its heart and soul into the words we call Rock and Roll better than these guys did. “…I’ve got holes in my shoes…and I’m way over due…down payment blues…” Think of some of the greats signature albums that made an impact on the world-“Dark Side of the Moon,” “Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Pet Sounds” and now think “Powerage”- this is their best work ever (yes including “Back in Black”) and it is due to songs like this. You know how people say you haven’t tasted a Mojito unless you are in Miami (yes people say that) then you haven’t tasted rock and roll if you don’t own “Powerage,” so make your down payment on this bad boy. I love the way the song ends in that slow blues style, -icing on the cake!!!

4.       Sin City – In my opinion, this song epitomizes what Bon Scott and AC/DC were all about. C’mon- “Sin City”- even if you have never heard the song (which is a sin) you know by the title that no one but Bon and AC/DC should record a song like Sin City. How many times has this song been covered? Too many times to count. Angus is out of his mind with that ridiculous solo midway through the song and the best part of the song is right after the solo as the tempo slows down and Bon takes over with his righteous vocals-“…ain’t got a hope in hell…that’s my belief…” (On Twisted Sister’s cover they change it to-that’s Bon Scott’s belief). This could be the best song that Bon has ever recorded just based on his vocals. This is so good it is hard to describe. You need to have it inject into your blood stream-that is the only way!!!

3.       The Jack – I know my oldest son is screaming right now at his computer because I know he thinks this song should not be on my list but I will stick to my guns till the very end and let everyone know that I friggin’ love this song. Do they repeat the same thing over and over-yes-“She’s got the Jack…She’s got the Jack…Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack…” C’mon who makes (made) songs like these? No one, this is blues mixed in with rock and roll that keeps my head bouncing up and down at a beautifully consistent pace that it causes me to have an outer body experience. I remember taking my friend Johnny to see AC/DC back in the 1980’s-he didn’t know any of their songs- and even he was singing to this song, how could he not? The words aren’t too hard to figure out. I was laughing my ass off. This is a staple at their live shows and something I look forward to every time I see them. I love the ending of the song where the crowd starts booing and hissing while Bon just continues to thank them for coming. Awesome.

2.       If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) –Ok folks go find your best set of headphones…make sure no one else is around because you can’t have any distractions…take your hands and squeeze the headphones tightly into your ears so that there is no air that is getting in… are you ready?…are you sure?…OK hit play…do you hear Angus’ intro on the guitar? Are you not psyched yet? Or how about Phil’s drumming? Are you jumping out of your seat yet? Then Bon blasts in with his perfect rock and roll voice as you wonder where this song has been all of your life…just sitting there waiting for you to experience one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever. This song has it all-an addictive chorus, a driving beat where you can bang your head feverishly, a bass line that shadows in the background like a scary monster in one of your dreams. Get ready for Angus’ solo as it will blow you away-if you weren’t having an outer body experience just yet-wait Angus will put you there…here goes…oh man am I air-guitaring now-pure ecstasy-this is unbelieveable. Can it get any better than this? “Blood in the sky…blood in the seats…if you want blood you got it…” as Bon voice echoes out into the distance. Could be the best produced song AC/DC has ever recorded. Phew… I have to listen again…\m/ \m/

1.       Let There Be Rock– Oh my…this bad boy starts off in 5th gear-there is no warm-up-as soon as you put the needle on the record, you are off and running. “In the beginning…back in 1955…man didn’t know ‘bout a rock and roll show…and all that jive…” I can’t even begin to describe the live experience when you see AC/DC perform this electrifying song. By this time, Angus is usually possessed and you can see, feel and smell the rock and roll just pouring out of every part of his body-most of all his heart. You don’t make this type of song by not loving every second of what you are playing. The surrounding bandmates are also at the top of their game giving every bit of effort as their fearless leader. Bon’s vocals are just out of this world and I can imagine him in the recording studio when they recorded this, he was probably head-banging harder than anyone else in the room. Watching Brian Johnson perform this song now is also incredible, it’s like they all know that they are involved in one of the greatest songs that has ever been recorded on this earth. (And who knows Bon may just be jamming up in heaven with a litany of all the lost rock legends-I can picture Bonham playing the drums on this one-can you imagine that combo? Oooh Faaa!!!). My youngest son will forever remember this song at the old Meadowlands stadium when we saw them as Angus was rolling on the floor in circles while his hand was bleeding. A jaw dropping moment in our rock and roll life together. I say we all do the “Wayne’s World We Are Not Worthy” bow right now. I know I do it every time I listen to this track. \m/ \m/

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Michael Buble

2.     Michael McDonald

3.     Michael Bolton (nice job Charlie!)

4.     Michael Anthony

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I am the aunt to one of the greatest female singers in the history of music who is trying to make a comeback after stumbling for more than a couple of years. I am also a legend who vowed to never fall in love again. Who am I?

2.     I made my start back in the 1960’s with a man who if it was not for him, maybe my career does not take off. We did a TV show together in the 1970’s. My solo career took off in the mid to late 1970’s. I started to make movies in the 1980’s and recently did a movie with a diva from today. Who am I?

3.     I come from a family where my brothers were huge as an act in the 1970’s. I couldn’t join the group because it was all boys but one of my brothers’ decided that I was good enough and he and I became one. We have doing shows for decades and recently set up shop in Las Vegas and actually for the holiday season, we are now in New York. Who am I?

4.     My father was a legend for at least four decades and his music is still selling like crazy even 10 years since he passed away. I began my career in the 1960’s with my Dad helping out a little bit. I am still touring and since it is winter you may see me in my boots and hopefully I don’t say something stupid. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Are You Experienced – Jimi Hendrix

2.     Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz

3.     At Last Etta James

4.     At Seventeen – Janis Ian

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

1.     “…romantic lady…single baby…sophisticated mama…come on you disco lady…”

2.     “…Friday night arrives without a suitcase…Sunday morning creeping like a nun…Monday’s child has learned to tie his boot lace…”

3.     “…won’t you come and save me…save me…feed my eyes… can you sew them shut…”

4.     “…if only I could find a way…I feel like I am the man you believe I am…its getting harder every day for me…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1959, Chuck Berry was arrested for taking a 14 year old girl across state lines and received a five year jail sentence but didn’t have to serve it after the judge made racist statements, Berry was freed.

Back on this day in 1964, Brian Wilson had a nervous breakdown on a flight to Houston for a concert. Wilson remained with the band but did not tour with them ever again.

Back on this day in 1977, Cat Stevens converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam.

Back on this day in 1978, The Cars second single from their debut-“My Best Friend’s Girl”-peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Back on this day in 1999, an unemployed musician, Cristin Keleher, made her self comfortable after breaking into the home of George Harrison in Hawaii. She ordered pizza, did laundry and called home to her mother in New Jersey. She was arrested and served four months in jail.

Back on this day in 2009, Metallica’s self titled album (otherwise known as the “Black Album”) became the biggest selling album of the Soundscan era since Nielsen Soundscan began tracking album sales for Billboard 200. It has sold over 15.5 million copies since its release in Aug. 1991.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Eddie Vedder, Dave Murray (Iron Maiden), Luther Grosvenor (Spooky Tooth, Mott the Hoople), Ron Bushy, (Iron Butterfly), Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane)

December 17, 2010

Weekly Update – 12/17/2010

Elton John at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Mar. 16 and Sun. Mar. 20. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $48.45, $96.55 and $177.40. He is performing his “hits.”

Hinder at Best Buy Theater on Tues. Feb. 8. Tickets on sale today at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale up until 10:00 a.m. this morning) $26

Amy Grant & Michael Smith (The Two Friends Tour) at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Feb. 26. Tickets on this morning at 9:00 a.m. $61.40 and $120.10

Amos Lee at Irving Plaza on Fri. & Sat. Apr. 1 & Apr. 2. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $43.

Yanni at Radio City Music Hall on Sat. Apr. 9, 2011. Tickets on sale today at noon. $57.15 – $200.95

Wanda Jackson at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Fri. Jan. 21. Her house band features Jack White on guitar. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30.

Bright Eyes at Radio City Music Hall on Tues. Mar. 8. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. $39.50

David Garrett at Best Buy Theater on Fri. Feb. 18. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35, $45 and $55. (This has to be a good show)

Fab Faux at Wellmont Theater on Sat. Mar. 12 performing “Abbey Road” in its entirety. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45, $65 and $125.

Other items:

Congratulations to the Alice Cooper Band, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Neil Diamond, John Waits, Jac Holzman, Leon Russell and Art Rupe as they are all new representatives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am especially happy for Darlene Love as she totally deserved it, being at the forefront of the women’s movement in rock and roll. The most surprising to me is Alice Cooper-I am totally not saying he doesn’t deserve to be there- but I think back to how he was perceived when he first hit the scene (sort of like today’s Marilyn Manson-Ok maybe not that outrageous but you get my point) and it’s so funny as the years pass he is a guy now who plays golf and is on the oldies radio stations across America. Neil deserves to be in-not sure if it is Rock and Roll- but we’ve been down this road before so I won’t go there. I am feeling good for Leon as Elton has resurrected him and he seems to be having his deserved moment in the spotlight.

Crystal Bowersox (remember her from American Idol?) has released her debut album-“Farmer’s Daughter”- and listening to the now 1:30 preview on I-Tunes (instead of 30 seconds) I’d have to say that it sounds pretty good. It leans towards the Country and Folk genre which seems to fit her like a glove but there are glimpses of some heavy guitar work and will remind you of Melissa Etheridge. Check out “Kiss Ya” and you’ll know what I am talking about. She does a cover of the Buffalo Springfield classic “For What It’s Worth.” Parents: There are some curse words on some of the songs, so watch out.

Can someone fill me in how the song-“Same Old Lang Syne”- by Dan Fogelberg has become a fixture on the New York’s 106.7 Lite FM radio station holiday set list? Nice holiday lyrics- “We bought a six-pack at the liquor store and we drank it in her car…” –so many things wrong with that line alone. C’mon first off it’s not a Christmas song and second this is way too sappy-even for me.

Did you catch the article in the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago (Dec. 3) and the title was “When to Leave the Stage?” It was about artists who are getting up there in age and the age old question-“When does one hang it up?” Well they zeroed in on Bob Dylan and interviewed many a fan who were caught leaving his shows (either during or at the end) and asked what they thought. Obviously the people who left early were on the side of the thought that it is time to retire and there were others who say he still can perform. It was hard hitting and stated that his vocals were so rough that many in the audience did not recognize some of his most popular tunes. No offense but it is not like he had the best vocals to begin with, so yes age plays a factor. I have to admit I went to see him years back and I left early as well-not totally because of his vocals-I just wasn’t feelin’ it and I also don’t know his library like my older brethren. But I can see leaving early, especially if that was going to be your last memory of him- you don’t want that-you want the “Blonde on Blonde” Dylan, so you rush back home and put on the vinyl. I once ran out on my hero-Diamond David Lee Roth-on his solo tour back in the late 1980’s. I took my bride to see him because I bragged so much about how he was the greatest live performer that I had ever seen and during the first few songs he was talking through the songs and doing his best impression of Andrew Dice Clay, so I quickly grabbed my wife’s hand and dragged her out of there and I went home. There was no way that show would cloud the visions of grandeur that I experienced all those magical nights in Madison Square Garden when he was with Van Halen. (He made up for it with the recent reunion tours with VH and is now back in my good graces).

The documentary-Lemmy- which follows Motorhead’s leader Lemmy Kilmister– will finally be released in the U.S. It will be shown in some movie theaters around the States, including New York on Fri. Jan. 28, 2011. The DVD of the movie will be released on Tues. Feb. 15, one week after the release of the new Motorhead album-“The World is Yours.” This guy intrigues me like no other, I will be buying this DVD.

Ozzy was in a fender bender this past Monday in LA. His Ferrari rear ended a Mercedes. ‘Nuff said. Actually no, it was the first time he was behind the wheel, he just received his license. Ozzy says he will never drive again.

Residents of the Australian suburb- Sunshine- located in Melbourne are trying to get a lane named after the late AC/DC frontman Bon Scott, who was a resident of the town. I say how come one hasn’t already been named. This is a no brainer-get it done. \m/ \m/

Believe it or not?… Rob Zombie has his own line of coffee… yes folks you too can enjoy a cup of his organic French roast hell-billy brew or how about Peru Organic whole bean coffee. Maybe Rob is getting advice from Gene Simmons? They both had the make-up so….


Product Details

The year is 1978, I am 13 years old and am well now on my way to becoming engulfed into the world of music, specifically rock music (remember I was one of those “disco” fighters when I was a teenager but now as an adult love that genre). I considered myself part of the KISS Army even though I wasn’t a paid member. My two other favorite bands Foreigner and The Cars were at their infancy and then there was a band called Queen. I can remember for the first time hearing “Bohemian Rhaposdy” and thinking that this one of the greatest songs I had ever heard. And back in those days it seemed like that song was not played as often as it is today on the classic rock radio format, so whenever it came on, it was a real treat. Then in 1977, the world was rocked by “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions” from their “News of the World” album. At that time I was in Pershing Junior high school in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn (now called “middle” school here in the suburbs) and there was a friend and classmate-Andrew- who was a huge fan of Queen and kept bragging about Queen’s new album-“Jazz.” (Andrew later that year moved to Florida and I never heard from him again, so if you read this Andrew-hope all is well). The first song he played for me was “Mustapha” and I have to be honest and thought that this wasn’t the greatest song I had come across but I found it so intriguing. Intriguing is the word that always comes to mind when I think of Queen. They always “pushed the envelope”-meaning they tried to change things up all the time. Was their sound identifiable? Yes but listen to “Mustapha” and then how it rolls into “Fat Bottom Girls”-C’mon, no one does that, did that or how ever you want to say it. Now I love the entire album and I listen to it from top to bottom but do admit that some of the songs one could skip over so I decided to put them into the bucket of “golden nuggets”- and boy it contains some of their biggest songs ever as well as my all time favorite Queen song- “Fat Bottom Girls”- I know it is not “PC” in today’s world (maybe not back then either, OK I get it) but I love that song so much. So here are the golden nuggets in no particular order:

Fat Bottom Girls– The beginning of the song with their harmonizing vocals has to be considered one of the best introductions for a song in the history of music. You instantaneously know who the band is and what the song is. Then when the bass, guitar and drums kick in with that slow consistent head-banging beat, well I just lose it and have to put the volume up to a point where the walls shake. Then when there is 1:22 seconds left in the song, the best part appears as the drums scale from top to “bottom.” How great is this song? And the only version to own is the one that appears on this album because the drums take it out-not the other version on those greatest hits productions that just kind of let it fade out. That is just not right.

Let Me Entertain You– This is what Queen and rock and roll is all about. How friggin’ phenomenal is this song? Again there is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!! The drumming is fantastic while Mr. May is blazing on the lead guitar and then throw in the harmonizing vocals and you have a straight up rock and roll song. “Just take a look at the menu…we give you Rock a la carte…”- I love that part of the song. Ok enough said-this has to be in your music library!!!

Don’t Stop Me Now– Now if I didn’t put this song here my oldest son would freak. Now I love this song as well but I clearly remember the folks in our boot camp class during our MBIA heyday did not like this song at all. I could never understand why, the song moves, so there should have not been any complaints that it slowed down the class but they all became very lackluster and made faces like they were tasting bad cough medicine, so we ended up skipping over this song. Again I love it and so does my son, so that makes it good.

Dead on Time– Brian May is out of his mind on the guitar on this song- a controlled frenzy is how I would classify it. Queen had the best background vocals out of any rock band. (Styx and Van Halen quickly come to mind in that category but Queen takes the cake). Listen to May’s guitar solo-I wish it was longer but I will take this mind blowing song any day of the week. This arguably could be the best song on the album. And what else can you say about Freddy Mercury, the guy was a genius vocalist-those two words don’t go together do they? But you know what I mean-he was great.

Bicycle Race– I don’t care how goofy you may think this song is-it is a CLASSIC!!. Who else but Queen would record a song about riding a bicycle? The arrangement of this song is a close second behind “Bohemian Rhapsody” in my opinion. C’mon how does anybody work in the words- “On you marks, get set, Go!!!”-this is the absolutely one of the greatest songs ever made. Mr. Mercury is fantastic throughout the entire song and I would argue that this is one of his best recordings. “…Jaws was never my scene and I don’t like Star Wars…” or “…I don’t want to be a candidate for Vietnam or Watergate…” Classic stuff right here folks.

Artists You Are Scared to Admit You Like

Ok for some time now I have been hesitant to do top ten lists for certain artists that are in my I-Pod (and I’m not just talking about one or two songs) but I finally decided to be strong and just do it. First off, I am probably the only person in the world to have Barry Manilow and Marilyn Manson in my I-Pod or in my musical library. I know-take a deep breath- the one and only time I wrote about Mr. Manilow (a long time ago) my brother-in-law threatened to never read my blog again if I wrote about him again. (This could be the last time he does but hear me out). And I don’t think I have written too much about “Marilyn.” (The only time that quickly comes to mind is a Halloween song that I recommended-makes sense right? One scary person at a scary time of year). Ok, so I acknowledge that I have Barry Manilow in my music library, c’mon you have to admit that there are at least a few songs that he has recorded that you like-I am here to make your admission acceptable. I actually think that it is more frightening to admit that one has Marilyn Manson in its library than Mr. Manilow. I can remember going to see Manson at the Hammerstein theater back in 2003 or so with my friend Paul (and at that time a colleague) and cringing when he mentioned to our boss that we had gone to see him in concert. I didn’t want anyone to know that I had gone to see him, especially my boss, because I was afraid of how people would look at me. “Really, you went to see that maniac?” I don’t buy into his hype (and all the other outrageous things he does and stands for) but I have to admit I like the music of many of his songs. My friend Sal stays clear of him and has turned down numerous invites to see him when he hits the Tri-State area. And with Mr. Manilow, I want to see him in Vegas and may just do it very soon. Anyway, I won’t list my favorite songs from top to bottom but wanted to point out songs that I think you would (should) like and maybe, just maybe, you may venture over to I-Tunes (or wherever you get your music) and see (hear) what I am talking about. Again in no particular order:

Image of Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

I Write The Songs– I am not sure if he writes his own songs but this was the song that I mentioned a few years back that was my “favorite song of the week” and my brother-in-law sent me an e-mail flabbergasted (maybe irate is the word) that I had written about Barry. But I can’t help it- I absolutely love this song and can remember as a kid sitting in my Dad’s “Vega” on our trip up to Otisville N.Y. back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and this song was bound to come on WCBS FM radio. “I’ve been alive forever…and I wrote the very first song…” C’mon folks this is great stuff.

Looks Like We Made It– Call me sappy but I love tunes like these and he has a good voice. “Looks like we made it…left each other…” I am lip syncing right now wishing I could sing the song like he does it. This was perfect in the 1970’s- c’mon you had bands like Bread and Tony Orlando & Dawn that were at the height of their popularity making pop songs, so why not Barry. This is the ultimate pop, bubble gum songs that were ever recorded but that don’t matter none to me, I like it.

Could It Be Magic– I never realized how long this song was until it was on my I-Pod, I remember hearing this on the radio while growing up (so maybe there is a condensed version…or maybe not) and liking this tune as well. Barry has the flair for the dramatic and I think this song epitomizes the essence of this as the arrangement of the song is awesome as you can feel the passion building as the song approached the four minute mark. By the end of the song there is a huge sounding orchestra behind his strong vocal and then it all comes to a close as the piano takes it back down and finishes it off.

Bandstand Boogie– I remember watching American Bandstand as a kid with Dick Clark and always wondered who sung the song that would always be played at the end of the show. This is a perfect background song when you are hosting a house party with family and friends. Short and sweet.

Daybreak– I don’t care what you say but I can’t stop singing to this song once I hear it. The chorus is addicting and it just makes you feel good. “Let it shine, shine, shine all around the world..” C’mon the choir background vocals add to the fun and if Mr. Manilow hasn’t been featured on Glee yet-this song should be the first one featured.

Can’t Smile Without You– Boy does this song take me back, for some reason I always think of my mother when I hear this song. He has this way of putting a smile on your face even though many of his songs seem sad. “And you see I can’t smile with out you..[clap] [clap]…” It has the hand claps, so how can you not like it?

Image of Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

Disposable Teens– Ok again I don’t go for his crazy antics and the titles of his songs and the lyrics are just as crazy but as soon as I hear the opening licks to this song I forget all that stuff and focus on this great groove. It’s almost like an injection into my blood stream, to me this is hard rock music at its best. I need to put the volume up and just stand there and bang my head up and down. This is purely adult type music as the cursing and strange lyrics are prevalent but I love it and want more!!! \m/ \m/

Get Your Gunn– The pulsating bass riffs that kick off the tune will make your chest move and when the lead guitars join in, well watch out. This song is intense and it may give you a headache but I reach for the volume. Lots of weird stuff going on in the background a la Rob Zombie but it is as heavy as many a metal song.

Beautiful People– If there is one song that you might like, it has to be this one-even my brother-in-law loves this song. This is perfect head-banging hard rock/metal and could be the best song that he has ever recorded. In my opinion, this is pure perfection from the opening note to the closing note. Yes there are too many curses but I guess angry music wouldn’t be the same without them, right?

The Fight Song– Oh man this is good stuff right here folks- talk about getting you out of your seat (no not to run out of the room) and run around the room like a mouse running on a tread mill. There is something so cool about this song-the sound of the guitar is so different from anything that I have heard. It is a short song but packs a powerful punch. I always have to listen to it two times in a row- do you?

This is the New S**t– Sorry to put songs in here with a curse word but I freaking love this song. I remember letting my kids listen to this (please don’t tell my wife) and the fear on their faces told me to turn it off right away. Sometimes I forget the general public’s reaction and have to realize that this really is an acquired taste. I can guarantee that 7 out of 10 people would have the same reaction as my boys, so if you want an aggressive song that you can freak out to, look no further than this bad boy.

Mobscene – Taking a page out of the Black Crowes or Kid Rock, I will never forget when I went to see Marilyn Manson that he had back-up singers high above him to the left of the stage dancing and singing along joyfully to this hard heavy hitting song. “Be obscene, Be obscene Baby and not heard…” I love this tune. \m/ \m/

Doll Dagga Buzz Buzz – I can remember the first time I put this song on a CD for our boot camp class back at MBIA (2002-2005) and I couldn’t wait for people’s reaction. I thought Taxter was going to run me out of the gym-again her face was filled with disdain as it looked like a skunk had come into the gym room. But this song moves and eventually I broke the whole class down and now Taxter loves this song (only when exercising I guess). I’m telling you folks you can use this song in your playlist when you are working out. Good stuff right here.

Coma White – This song puts me in a trance. This album-“Mechanical Animals”- was my first introduction to Manson and during 1998 this was all I listened to from top to bottom and this song is the best one on the album in my opinion- I know it has “Dope Show” and “Rock is Dead” but this tune takes the prize. I love the arrangement, you will find it hard to believe that it is Marilyn Manson…until he curses…then you’ll say Oh yeah this is him. All kidding aside, this is a killer tune.

Top Ten

Definitive Collection

There are certain bands in my mind that don’t get the total respect that they deserve-yes I recognize that there are always going to people in their corner, including famous bands that will state that if it wasn’t for that particular band/artist and their influence on their lives, they wouldn’t be where they are today. I get all that. (Hey look at what Elton John has just done to resurrect Leon Russell). I guess I will get it off my chest right away- Thin Lizzy. I love the fact that the boys from Metallica have always given “props” to Thin Lizzy and yes there are some more bands out there (Iron Maiden and Anthrax to name a couple) who fully get and recognize the contribution that “Tin Lizzy” has made in the world of rock and roll & metal. But it always seems that the general public is satisfied to just label them as a one hit wonder-“The Boys are Back in Town”- and it’s that kind of thinking that drives me insane. How can a band that recorded 13 studio albums with their leader-Mr. Phil Lynott- be considered a “one-hit” wonder band? Ok yes I understand that the band was like a revolving door as members came and went and yes I will admit that “The Boys” is their most popular or most recognized song but it can not take away from their body of work that has influenced many bands over the years. Do I profess to know all that there is to know about this band? No way, I recently started to buy more and more songs and I myself became a believer- remember there is always time to go back and discover for yourself the music of any band-whether it is from this generation or your father’s or your grandfather’s era. That is the best thing about music-if you love it- it is timeless and brings endless amount of joy. In the case of Thin Lizzy for me the most ironic part is that I was a teenager when they were in the prime of their career and I had a chance to jump on the bandwagon back in the 1980’s but missed the chance. It drives me nuts now to know that I had a chance to see Phil Lynott in concert and never went. Instead now more than 25 years later I began my journey into discovering their music and realizing now how good this band was-it turns into a severe regret but on the other hand-at least I have their studio (and live) albums to fall back on. So now it is my turn to try and turn you on to the great sounds of the rock band from Ireland that deserves your attention. Again, I don’t know everything about this band but if I was on an island and told that I could only have ten songs-“These Would Be Them:” “Listen to Thin Lizzy!!!”

10.     Fighting My Way Back– Mr. Lynott had this way of seemingly always being the “tough guy” especially with songs like this and on the album named “Fighting.” I love the opening licks of the guitar in this song and when the song takes off, it lifts me off the ground. These guys had this way of blasting though a groove like none other. Listen to the bass lines throughout this bad boy and tell me you don’t feel it? The dueling guitar sound is legendary and the guitar solo is super sweet even in a song called “Fighting.” This band can rock out, don’t kid yourself!!!

9.       Bad Reputation – I defy anyone to listen to this song and tell me that they don’t like it, it’s impossible. Listen to the musicianship of this song and tell me these boys couldn’t play? Ladies and Gents, this is pure rock and roll with no added filling or preservatives. There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD. The dueling guitars make the sound that much better and it also sounds like there is more than one drummer-even though there is not. Check it out!!

8.       The Rocker-“I take no lip no one’s tougher than me”- I friggin’ love it!!! How cool are those lyrics and freaking phenomenal is this song? This could be the greatest “guitar” song ever recorded. The solo is so long that you may get a headache (in a good way) from the blazing guitar work. “I’m a Rocker”- Yes you are Mr. Lynott- or how about the other cool lyrics-“I said hey baby meet me I’m a tough guy…got my cicle out side…you want to try?” The guitar solo starts in about 2:15 seconds into the song and talk about “off to the races?” If these doesn’t get you pumped up, what will? The solo is so freaking phenomenal that it is hard to put into words, you need to hear it for yourself. As you listed to the great guitar solo, also listen to the pulsating bass line that is following along- it is also amazing. And of course the drumming is out of this world, I would assume every drummer would love to play along to this track. Pure bliss.

7.       Romeo and the Lonely Girl-There is something that is so addicting to this song, it’s like having that large cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on a cold winter’s day and then you have another cup just because it is that good. How great is this “Jailbreak” album? Anyway this song flows so well and I love the chorus-“Oh Oh poor Romeo…sitting on his own-nee ooh…” who else could rhyme “Own-nee-Ohh” with “Romeo?” There is a nice guitar solo that gives the song that extra kick, this one is not so heavy but it moves along nicely. I try to sprinkle in lesser known Thin Lizzy tracks for my boys when we take a trip to anywhere and this one grew on my youngest son and after a while he was singing it just like I do.

6.       Massacre – Just listen to the guitar work on this song and tell me you don’t like it? Add Phil’s vocals, which are flawless, and that “echo” effect when he sings and I bet there are some of their hard core fans that would point to this song as the best one they ever recorded. Don’t you just love the bongo’s playing along as well. C’mon, bongo’s in a “metal” song? Yes it works. Follow the guitar work closely, especially in the background as Phil sings, it is just mesmerizing and then when it is the lead’s turn to take the spotlight-well watch out-it is a smoking guitar solo. The only disappointing thing about this song it is the fact that it ends so quickly, less than three minutes. Awesome tune. \m/ \m/

5.       Emerald – This sort of reminds me of something that Deep Purple would do (and you can’t go wrong there, right?). Phil had this way of telling some good stories with his lyrics and you can’t help but follow along with this tale as the drumming behind his singing will make you stand up and pay attention. The two guitar sound totally rocks the house on this one and I know it’s been done before with the Allman’s but they had a different sound-there weren’t too many bands doing this kind of thing back in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the talent that this band possessed. The “dueling” guitar solo’s will blow your mind. This is some good stuff right here going on in my headphones. You should give it a listen. “Listen to Thin Lizzy!!!”

4.       Whiskey in the Jar – There is something about this song which totally mesmerizes me and I go off into a trance. I know they didn’t write this song-it is an old Irish classic written many, many years ago-but for me, their version is the best. (Yes I know Metallica covered this but I like their version). Again the guitar work flows so beautifully, so flawlessly that it should be considered a national treasure and stored somewhere safely so that generations to come can have the pleasure that we have now. Folks you need to own this song, period end of story.

3.      Cowboy Song – I admit this song takes a while to get started but once it does, well watch out. Doesn’t Phil make you feel like you are on a desert on a nice summer night around the camp fire with his singing. “I AM JUST A COWBOY, LONESOME ON THE TRAIL!!!” as the song blazes onwards from that point. This is straight up rock and roll with a blues chaser, how can anyone not like this song? The guitar solo is pure righteousness. I love the part where they take it down and Mr. Lynott softly sings “roll me over and turn me around..” And then watch out again as the blazing guitar solo will knock your socks off, these guys can play!!! This is another song that has to be part of your library. “The Cowboy life is the life for me!”

2.      Borderline –This is one of the most beautiful songs that has ever been written, never mind written just by Thin Lizzy. How can a bad dude from Ireland sing like this? He sounds like he is from the western states of the U.S. Talk about drifting off? Put a good set of headphones on, squeeze tight and enjoy the ride. These guys could rock with the best of them but they could also take it down with the best of them as well. This is off the “Johnny the Fox” album-how cool is that album name?-right there you have to like it already even if you have never heard the song. You are truly missing out if you have never heard this song. Make it your priority to become familiar with it.

1.       Jailbreak– So you were expecting “The Boys”-well no- I went with arguably their second most popular song. This has to rank up there in the top fifty hard rock songs ever recorded in the history of music-don’t even try to disagree-it’s not allowed. This song psyches me up to the point where I just want to jump on stage in front of a rabid crowd, holding the long bass guitar (lefty) and morph myself into Mr. Phil Lynott. How great is this song? This has to be the song that “Rock Band” or “Guitar Hero” had in mind when they decided to make their games. I love the way towards the end of the song where Phil states that “Tonight there’s going to be a break ooout” as his voice trails off. Of course, this song takes me back to my MBIA gym days when this was a staple during our boot camp classes as I can picture everyone sort of shadow boxing (Ok maybe it was only me) at each of the stations. CIC, Taxter, Hoffman and Sorbis rocked that gym every Tuesday and Thursday morning for a couple of years and this song was at the forefront of many good classes. Or how about the part at the end where he sings-“Hey you…good lookin’ female…come here..” I love it!!! This song rocks the house. \m/ \m/

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Bing Crosby – White Christmas

2.     Burl Ives

3.     Raul Malo

4.     Trans Siberian Orchestra

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I am a “throw-back” to the “old school” days of Frank, Tony and Dean. I am not a movie or TV star like someone else who came before me and is part of that genre of music that we both want to keep alive? I have recorded with Mr. Bennett and if you haven’t met me yet, you will at some point. You already may have but don’t know who I am. Well who am I?

2.     I was probably most known for jamming with my buddies during the 1970’s as we had many members in our band and we use to take it to the streets. I left this band and have created a nice solo career and many of my solo albums focused on my love of R&B. Who am I?

3.     I wonder how many people know that I tried to start my career off in the heavy metal scene but it didn’t work out too well. I am famous know for making very calm beautiful music and am considered one of the best male vocalists, especially during the 1990’s. I still try to keep the metal look as my hair is long like a rock star? I also have an R&B feel to my vocals. Who am I?

4.     I was part of a hard rock band that was discovered by Gene Simmons. My career with this band lasted more than three decades but was recently replaced by the son of the lead guitarist. I was only one of the two guys that showed up to our Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony because the others couldn’t put aside their differences for this one historic night, who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     All Mixed Up – The Cars

2.     All My Life – Foo Fighters

3.     All My LifeLinda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville

4.     All Night Long – Billy Squier

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

1.     “…If you can just get your mind together…and then come on across to me…we’ll hold hands and we’ll watch the sunrise…”

2.     “…we must engage…and rearrange…and turn this planet back to one…so tell me why…we got to die…”

3.     “…my love has come along…my lonely days are over…and life is like a song…Oh yeah yeah…”

4.     “…and those of us with ravaged faces…lacking in the social graces…desperately remained at home…inventing lovers on the phone …”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1965, The Supremes opened the Houston Astrodome along with Judy Garland. Strange combination, no?

Back on this day in 1968, The Who performed their Christmas party in London’s Marquee club. Do you know who the opener was? None other than “Yes.” How cool is that?

Back on this day in 1968, Pink Floyd released a single called-“Point Me at the Sky”- only in the U.K. and members of the band have been quoted as saying that the song was one of their most embarrassing moments ever.

Back on this day in 1970, the Beach Boys played a show in London for Princess Margaret.

Back on this day in 1973, Aerosmith began recording their second studio album-“Get Your Wings”- which was released in March 1974. Wow, next month we will be seeing Steven Tyler on American Idol.

Back on this day in 1982, The Who began their first of many “farewell” tours at the Maple Leaf Garden in Toronto. HBO filmed this thinking it really was farewell. I don’t want to hear complaints about Kiss any more, OK?

Back on this day in 1987, Robert Plant for the first time after the Mighty Led Zeppelin disbanded played Zeppelin songs as a solo artist in a show in Folkstone, U.K.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, Queen) and Mike Mills (R.E.M.)

December 10, 2010

Weekly Update – 12/10/2010

Elton John at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Mar. 16, 2011. Pre-sale tickets available now for Amercian Express cardholders until Thurs. Dec. 16 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale this Fri. Dec. 17 at 10:00 a.m. $48.45, $96.55 and $177.40.

Rush at Madison Square Garden on Sun. Apr. 10, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $62.90, $83.40, $116.65 and $197.45.

Prince at Madison Square Garden on Tues. Jan. 18, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $31.40, $92.25, $114.75 and $200.70.

Jeff Beck & Imelda May at the Beacon Theater on Mon. Mar. 28. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $61.80 – $115.

Linkin Park at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Feb. 4, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $56.65 – $87.40.

Disturbed with Korn & Sevendust at the Hammerstein Ballroom (which they now call the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom) on Fri. Jan 21, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $73.75

Buckcherry with Hell Yeah and others at the Best Buy Theater in NY on Tues. Feb. 15 and at Mohegan Sun on Wed. Feb. 16. Tickets on sale today at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale up until 10:00 a.m. this morning). Best Buy: $37.50; Mohegan: $33.40.

Kenny Chesney with the Zac Brown Band at new Meadowlands Stadium on Sat. Aug. 13, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. Pre-sale tickets on sale now and the password is Access or Lines. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $53.20, $117.20, $156 and $269.35. Billy Currington and Uncle Cracker are the openers.

The Decemberists at the Beacon Theater on Mon. Jan. 24. Tickets on sale today at 11:00 a.m. $51.55.

New Kids on the Block with the Backstreet Boys at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. June 4, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $89.85 – $110.35.

Celtic Woman at The Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Wed. Mar. 16, 2011. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card members only on now through midnight Sunday. General public tickets on sale Mon. Dec. 13 at 10:00 a.m. $59.60 – $91.75.

Cake at Terminal 5 on Thurs. Apr. 21, 2011. Tickets on sale today at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale up until 11:00 a.m. this morning). $41.30

Flogging Molly at Terminal 5 on Wed. Mar. 2, 2011. Tickets on sale today at noon. $33.50 ($35 day of show).

Over Kill at Best Buy Theater on Sat. Apr. 16. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $30 ($34 day of show).

For Parents: Miranda Cosgrove at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Feb. 5. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. $51.55 – $115.50.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, as she recovers from her recent surgery. There has been no official word on her illness but whatever it is, there are many of us who will hope and pray that she is well.

Judas Priest has announced that they will have their last tour ever in 2011. Eight shows have been announced so far and they are all in Europe. I will keep you posted on the U.S. Tour. Now I’m hoping I don’t go to this show by myself. Who’s going to step up?

It’s still hard to believe that John Lennon was murdered but even harder to believe that it was 30 years ago. It is hard to think of someone who made a bigger impact on so many people’s lives. Again the age old question: What if?

Ok folks here is a perfect stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday-“Coal Miner’s DaughterA Tribute to Loretta Lynn”-this is an absolute stunner. The performances are all fantastic and I don’t care if you are not a Country fan-the way the songs are arranged is brilliant and there is no way you will not like this. Gretchen Wilson kicks it off with “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind”) which is a perfect “do-see-do” song with a whole bunch of people dancing around a big room with hay on the floor. Lee Ann Womack smacks the cover off the ball with her amazing rendition of “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” The White Stripes are just the White Stripes pulling off a dazzling cover of “Rated X.’ Totally cool. Carrie Underwood is flawless and again every time I hear her sing my jaw just drops in amazement, her take on “You’re Looking at Country” has to put a smile on Loretta’s face. Paramore-yes Paramore- takes an acoustic guitar and blazes through-“You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”-this Hayley can sing, take notice folks. Faith Hill will mesmerize you on “Love is the Foundation” while Mr. Kid Rock will rock your socks off with his rocking version of “I Know How.” And if course you have the national treasure herself, Ms. Loretta Lynn joined by Sheryl Crow and Miranda Lambert performing her most popular song-“Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Folks, this could be the best stocking stuffer this year. Get your boots on!!

I don’t know about you but I am starting to become addicted to “Glee” as the show is really good and whenever you throw Christmas into the mix, it is just that much better. You know you were almost crying when Arty was able to get out of his wheel chair and walk with those “transformer” type crutches. The singing is quite spectacular and I find myself downloading the songs from I-Tunes.

Back on Nov. 30, I went to see Straight No Chaser at the Beacon Theater and didn’t know what to expect but by the end of the show I was totally blown away on how great these guys are and I will be taking all my family and friends next year for their next holiday tour. I would even see them at any point of the year but the way they sing the holiday classics is incredible-they mix up the classics like no other band or group out there today. These ten gentlemen were loose, calm and just having a blast up on stage that I knew that my Dad would love the show because a cappella is what he is all about. The best thing about this group is how they take today’s best known songs and make it a “throw-back” but at the same time make it sound so contemporary. The highlight of the show for me was when they started to sing the “Theme from New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra and then mixed in “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. They also did a cool montage of “cartoon” songs (like the ones we’d wake up early Saturday morning “back in the day” as they keenly pointed out). Folks, I’m telling you know-this is a show that everyone from Grandma down to the grandkids would enjoy- and you need to make it your business to see these guys when they come to your town. Simply put-Phenomenal.

Back on Nov. 19, I went to see Shinedown again, this time on their acoustic tour and since the only Tri-State area appearance was at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair N.J. –yes I trekked from Connecticut to New Jersey (by way of Staten Island N.Y. with my brother) to see the best band out there today. Folks-what are you waiting for? How come I didn’t see you at the show? Brent Smith is the best rock and roll singer out there today and their brilliant cover of “Simple Man” makes me agree with my boys that their version is better than Lynyrd Skynyrd’s. (Sorry boys, your version is fantastic too but there is something about Brent that makes you speechless). When I’m out shows I always look around to see how people are affected by a band and when you go to a Shinedown show, you are guaranteed to see someone standing up (even if no one else is) singing word for word with such passion that they think they are the only ones in the theater. When they played “Call Me” I spotted this woman singing so passionately that it immediately put a smile on my face because I felt the same way. Brent emotes such enthusiasm internally and he is so infectious that he makes you feel like you can do most anything. He talks a lot but he has such poignant things to say that you don’t mind that it takes time away from doing what he does best-and that is sing. One of the totally cool parts of the show was when they performed a cover of the Foo Fighters “Times Like These” as the audience found out that they are friends with Dave Grohl. (Grohl has now become the new Kevin Bacon). They pummeled the crowd with chest thumping version of “Sound of Madness” which brought the faithful out of their seats. One of the highlights of the show was their take on the Lennon/McCartney classic-“With a Little Help from My Friends”-but they did the Joe Cocker version with help from Will Hoge & his band. The musicianship was flawless and put a huge smile on the faces of the older members of the audience. And of course the other highlight was watching the entire audience on its feet singing word for word on the last song of the night-“Second Chance.” You had to feel the fervor from everyone in that audience, it makes me speechless. This band seems to be flying under the radar and I for one will never understand-everyone needs to stand up and take notice-this is the best band out there!

Back on Nov. 5, I went to see the Black Crowes at the Best Buy Theater right smack in the middle of Times Square in NYC on a Friday night-you want to talk about a crowded place? It was like it was New Year’s Eve but Andy and I found each other and took in the show with the many faithful who know that this may be the last time to catch the boys before they take their self imposed exile for who knows how long. How cool is Chris Robinson?-you know I have always said that I would love to be him for one tour. He seemed to be out there but completely nailed every note, grunt and his pipes are clean as a whistle as he belted out more popular songs on this tour which sounded exactly like the original recording-and his harmonica playing was awesome-who knew he could play so good? Talk about musicianship? You’d be hard pressed to find a more talented band. Like I said they pulled out the better known classics and the show totally rocked the house. This is one of the most unheralded bands in my opinion but their talent has made them last this long and hopefully they will be back soon enough for you to see what I am talking about.

Have you bought “Dio At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987” yet? What are you waiting for? Ok, you can ask for it as a stocking stuffer. I will use the line that one of the guys on “That Metal Show” said: “If you don’t like “Children of the Sea,” “Rainbow in the Dark,” “Holy Diver,” “Stargazer,” “Man on the Silver Mountain”- then you don’t like metal.” Folks, even my oldest son-who is not the biggest metal fan- was impressed with these songs. He wanted to know who the singer was, you see that’s how good Ronnie James Dio was. “Man on the Silver Mountain” is my favorite song of the month, never mind week. You NEED to own this! \m/ \m/

“Fall to Pieces”- the book written by Mary Foresburg Weiland (ex-wife of Scott Weiland)- will be released this coming Tuesday Dec. 14 in papaerback form. It details her life with Scott and his drug issues as well as her own troubles with addiction.

“Born Free” by Kid Rock released on November 16, 2010

Born Free

(As I posted this review, I read somewhere that many professional musicians were brought in by producer Rick Rubin to help record this album-so keep that in mind when you read this-I assumed it was the Twisted Brown Trucker Band, which is his band).

If you have been following along, you would have to think that this is the album that I have been waiting for from Kid Rock. For the past few years, we the public, have been getting glimpses of the Kid doing things that I would say leads him down the roadway to adulthood. Sometimes it may take longer for some to get there but eventually most of us get there…but you always have to have a little “Kid” in you. There was a recent article on Kid Rock and it highlighted the humanitarian side of him that may have been in him all along but for me up until this point, I was unaware of- I knew he would jump at the chance to go play for the U.S. troops and give those men and women a chance to forget about life for a while and just enjoy some music. But I did not know that he went into business in his local town of Detroit and bought into a brewery that put some back into the workforce who had lost their jobs when the U.S. auto industry hit the skids. Then there were stories of him helping people that he didn’t even know who have come into hardships. And then coincidentally, he releases “Born Free” and when I listened to the entire album the first time through, I was thinking- “Wow, is this Kid Rock?” After this mature release, he may just have to remove the “Kid” and add the “Mr.” If he is like me, there is no way he wants to be known as “Mister” but in a weird way I think he knows he has arrived at the crossroad in his career (and maybe life) and it appears he has chosen the road that will feature his own style of Detroit home cookin’. It takes some people a while to get to their “calling”-there are various paths that may take us in different directions-but in the end, once you get there it is such a natural fit that others will be amazed at your fortitude and intelligence. Mr. Rock has always shown such great respect for the artists and bands that he revered while he was growing up and in another strange twist where we always say we are not going to be like our elders, we often end up becoming that same type of personality that embodies professionalism and leadership. Now when I look at Kid Rock, I think to myself- “hey this guy is a throw-back to those great 1970’s sounds-rock, country, R&B and blues” but the one big difference is that he is the only one (that I know of) that can do all four genres as one artist and yes even throw in some rap-which wasn’t that what he was known for? Now many of you out there may wonder what happened to Kid Rock after listening to this album because there are no really loud guitars, not much cursing, no “Bawitdaba” or “Sugar” going on here but I say this is what I have been waiting for. Is it mellow? Yes-I can’t believe I am saying that but yes this album is perfect for hanging out on the back porch with family and friends while-forgive me-“chillin’.” The song writing is heartfelt; his singing is a pure & natural as ever while the musicianship of his band is such that they now have to be considered one of the most talented bands in the music world today. Who knows what the future Kid Rock albums will be like but if this is any indication of where that road leads, count me in as a passenger on his “band wagon.”

The album starts off with the title track and it is a throw-back to the 1970’s rock anthems that everyone can sing along to and I can picture a “Springsteen”-like response to this song on his upcoming tour as everyone from your uncle to your niece will be hugging and singing along to this American tune. It is a catchy hook and conjures up a feeling of pride and joy of being “Born Free.” Everyone will join in at the end and scream-“Oh…Oh woo woo woo woo.” Track # 2-“Slow My Roll” is another great sing along song, and I can picture riding down Route 66 with the windows rolled down, volume cranked up high while bopping my head back and forth while making believe I am playing the piano. It is a “chillin’” song that moves a bit and the guitar playing is super sweet. Think Bob Seger (he helps out a little later) jamming with The Eagles. “Care”- (featuring Martina McBride and T.I.)- will be the monster hit on this album the way that “All Night Long” was for “Rock and Roll Jesus.” This is an easy going country song with rap spliced in perfectly. T.I. is perfect with his rapping while Martina adds those sweet high vocals which are a wonderful blend with Mr. Rock’s singing. Everyone from Grandma to the youngest in your family will love this song and the words have to hit you right in your heart. (By the way when the song begins you won’t believe that is Kid Rock is singing-totally ‘70’s R&B like). “Purple Sky” is one of my favorite tracks on the album; he makes me want to pick up an acoustic guitar and start taking lessons. Scream out this song when the request comes out over the speakers for what song you want to hear next from the entertainer up on stage at your local pub. “I just want to drink ‘till I’m not thirsty…I just want to sleep ‘till I’m not tired…” (Amen to that). Track #5-“When It Rains”-is an easy going song that conjures up memories of a gentler and easier times but like we all know-“when it rains…it pours.” One can tell that this economy has affected almost everyone and you can feel the pain in Rock’s words as my assumption is he is writing about his hometown of Detroit. (I know-“Times like These”- is the signature “Detroit” song but this my belief that it is also in other songs). “God Bless Saturday” is the “heaviest” song on the album and you have to turn up the volume on this bad boy. This is the new “vintage” Kid Rock with a slamming groove that will have you foot stomping in no time. I can just picture Rock with headphones over his long hair in recording studio singing up into the hanging microphone above his head with the passion that bleeds through your speakers. There is a nice guitar solo in the middle. This is knee slapping, dancing country rock song that has to get you out of your seat.

Track #7-“Collide” (featuring Sheryl Crow & Bob Seger) will surely be a hit on the radio in the near future. These two are made for each other and at some point I wouldn’t be surprised if T. Bone Burnett gives Crow and Rock a call to do a total duet album a la Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. This is a perfect “love” style song which will melt the hearts of couples everywhere. Kid Rock’s vocals are spectacular and you won’t believe this is Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow gives it that sweet touch and they definitely have a whole album in them in the future. “Flyin’ High” (featuring Zac Brown) is also another one of my favorite songs on the album. This is pure country with a perfect twang that it makes me want to chew on a blade of grass with my ten gallon hat-there is a righteous guitar solo that will lift you off your feet. And what else can be said about Mr. Brown-this guy is the real deal. If you are not familiar with his stuff-listen to this song and then go find his solo stuff. This is a fantastic collaboration with such a natural fit. I love the way they shoot the breeze while the song is still playing behind them. I believe they will see each other down the road at some point. “Times like These” is probably the most important song that Kid Rock has ever written and if you are honest with your feelings, you will get a lump in your throat when he says “I won’t leave because this is my hometown.” I read somewhere that Kid wasn’t sure if such a “local” song would work but the producer, Rick Rubin, told him to go with it because he knew that it would be a song that everyone could relate to. I envy him because he has never left Detroit the way that I left Brooklyn. My heart will always be in Brooklyn but I left, his heart has always been in Detroit and he is still there and trying to make it better. This song lets you know that there are tough times now and ahead in the near future but at some point there has to be hope that it will turn around. People like him will be able to tell their grandkids that things can sometimes get tough but with love and determination it will get better. I can’t wait for that day. “Rock On” is another slow track but what keeps you standing at attention are Kid Rock’s vocals, simply put-amazing. It’s hard to believe where he is now with his singing and song writing ability compared to just five to ten years ago. Track #12-“Rock Bottom Blues” is the best song on this album and accordingly my favorite. This could be the best song Kid Rock has ever recorded-yes he takes the similar groove as in “New Orleans” on the “Rock & Roll Jesus” album- but the blues laden jam is almost too much for me to take. I can’t help but raise the volume to the loudest my car radio, computer and my I-Pod player can take. This is a hand clapping, knee slammin’ rock and roll blues song that has to get you out of your seat and dance around the room in circles-if this doesn’t make you move, then you don’t like music. It sort of has that Aerosmith “Honkin’ on Bobo” feel to it and at points the Kid sounds like Steven Tyler, (I know Kid made some disparaging comments towards Tyler about Steven’s new gig with “American Idol”), especially with scowls and squeals. The last song on the album-“For the First Time (In a Long Time)”- starts off with an unidentified voice but as the song rolls on you begin to realize that it actually the Kid singing-I can’t even describe the pitch of his voice-you have to listen for yourself. Like I said this man has come a long way in the vocal department-a far cry from his early rapping days-and who knows maybe he could always sing but I still believe he has become a better singer as he “matures.” By the time I arrived at this song in the car, my two boys told me to turn it off because they seem to think that it was too mellow and predictable-now tell me folks-did you ever think you would hear thoughts like that about Kid Rock? In a way, they speak the truth a little but for me at this stage in my life I come to appreciate the more mellow things in life and have more patience now than I ever did in my younger days. I knew what they were saying but as I listen to the song by myself I have to say I am very impressed by the composition of the song along with the musicianship and the almost 6 minute song for me breezes by. (By the way, there is a “demo” version of “Care” at the end of the CD and even this is good).

So here it is Kid Rock has made an album in the vain of Bob Seger and the Eagles with a Country feel throughout the entire work and this is what I have been waiting for. My belief is that this is will be the first of many great albums to follow from this man as I think he has a lot left in the tank, now that he has made the turn down that long highway road with no curves seemingly in front of him. Now I know many of his earlier fans are left wondering what happened to their rap hero and my response is that he is still in there and can always perform those great songs in concert. In addition, with the Kid you never know he could sprinkle those types of songs in future albums but like I said I think he has found his “path” and this rock, country, blues genre which fits him like a glove. His band is getting better with each album while the composition and arrangement of his songs continue to flourish as well as the lyrics which now make you listen with your heart-who would’ve “thunk?” Folks-I don’t care what anyone else says or writes (I saw it written somewhere that stated that Kid Rock is now the poor man’s John Mellencamp-please spare me)-“Born Free”- is an incredible piece of work from Kid Rock. It may take you more than a few turns to get to this opinion but the more you listen, the more you will recognize that the Kid has more talent than we all realized.

My Top Ten Songs of 2010

10.     ImpossibleShontelle– Nothing short of a mesmerizing song, her vocals make you stand up and take notice. This is a finger snapping song that you just sit back and listen to her vocals as you drift off into another stratosphere. I don’t much about her but I love this song. “Shout it from the roof top”-this is one of the best songs in 2010

9.       DynamiteTaio Cruz– Normally I don’t go for the pop/dance genre (as many of you know) but you also know that I often give any genre a chance especially moves me (“move” can have many different meanings). I guess I have to give credit to my youngest son as he has a handle on the latest “hits” out there on the radio and he introduced me to this song. We listened to it on our trip to Cape Cod this past summer. It has an addictive groove and you can’t but help to sing and dance along to it.

8.       Love-Hate-Sex-PainGodsmack– Mr. Sully Erna makes my list twice this year-once with his regular band, Godsmack and one for his solo effort. Their latest album-“Oracle”- is nothing short of spectacular and has, in my opinion, spawned one of their best songs and this is it. Is it heavy?-Yes but so what? Every once in a while you need loud guitars with a crushing groove so look no further than this song. My oldest son-who is not into “metal” as much even has this song on his I-Tunes library, so you know it is a good song.

7.       Front Porch Swing AfternoonJamey Johnson– Is it laid back and slow? Yes but what does that mean? When he starts singing you just become still and don’t even move. He is a throw back to the classic country that I grew up listening to in my house-remember my mother was the country part of my life. My dad had the doo-wops and Elvis (which my mother also liked) but it was my mom’s influence with Country music that I have really come to appreciate as I move on in years. This is a perfect song to listen to with the fire place going while the snow falls outside-even though it is a warm weather title song. Pure beauty-you need to own this song. (He will be touring with Kid Rock in 2011).

6.       My Best TheoryJimmy Eat World– Doing their best Linkin’ Park imitation or is it that Linkin’ Park has copied Jimmy? Either way, this song will grow on you as it did on me and became one of the most listened songs in 2010 for me. It has a catchy hook and the chorus is infectious, it has some heavy moments but mostly sounds like “What I’ve Done” by LP. Again it doesn’t matter who it sounds like, this is a really good song so check it out.

5.       AirplanesB.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams– At first when I heard this, I easily dismissed it because it sounded like everything else but the more I heard the song, the more I started to like it. I guess what made me like it so much is due to the fact that I can picture my youngest son and our “adopted” daughter-Angelina-sitting in the back seat of our car singing this song word for word. There was so much enjoyment on their faces and I was laughing as they were moving their hands over their face while lip syncing B.o.B. rap parts-hysterical. Very cool song with a nice beat!!

4.       Kiss GoodbyeLittle Big Town– You all know that this is by far my most favorite “Country” band out there today and I still stand by my statement that this is the best harmonizing set of men and women since the Mama’s & Papa’s. This is a sad song but you feel good because their vocals meshed together is like being on a cloud with your arms around the back of your head as you drift off to outer space. The words cut to the bone and if you have recently broke up with your partner you may not want to listen to this because you will be crying in no time. The video for this song just came out and it is fantastic. This band never ceases to amaze me, this song is off their most recent release-“The Reason Why.”

3.      7 YearsSully Erna– Now I know I am going to catch a lot of grief here but that’s because most of you out there don’t know who Sully Erna is and probably are unfamiliar with his first solo release-“Avalon”-and if you do know who he is-you are probably going to complain that the song is way too long-8:41 to be exact. But you know what? I’m will have none of it and am sticking to my guns on this one. This album is nothing short of spectacular and this could be the best track on the album. It is an epic journey of sorts as the arrangement shifts and changes throughout. Again the more you listen, the more you will be drawn in. It makes me feel like I am on a massive boat cruising the ocean waters (and for those who know me well, you know I want nothing to do with boats and water) on a journey for the meaning of life. Sully’s vocals are astonishing as well as the female artist he has helping him.

2.       Rocking My Life AwayJerry Lee Lewis featuring Kid Rock and Slash– Again I know I am going to catch a lot of flak for putting this one here but I can’t help myself because when I hear great rock and roll like this song, I just lose it. Jerry is the “real deal” (as Mr. Rock exclaims at the end of the song) as his piano playing is slamming and it has to get you out of your seat and just start twisting everywhere. Slash’s guitar solo is smoking and I can just picture Kid Rock jamming out while Slash is whaling away. And what else can I say about Kid Rock?-the man is so talented and this fits him like a glove. This song is freaking phenomenal!!! Buy it now!!!

1.       Back to CaliSlash featuring Myles Kennedy– Wow is all I have to say-when I hear the opening licks to the best song in 2010 (by far). I can’t explain how psyched I get, it’s almost like an outer body experience (not that I have experienced one but I would assume it would feel like this). Talk about “air-guitaring?” I’m out of mind right now as I need to make believe I’m Slash right now and play that guitar solo-excuse me while I stop typing….I’m back-how great is that high pitch vocal singing in the shadow of Myles vocals? (who knows it may be him). This is pure rock and roll and who knew Myles Kennedy was the perfect rock and roll singer for this one? I guess Slash knew and if I were him I would try to steal him away from Alter Bridge-if they could make an entire album with songs like this-it would go down as one of the most classic albums ever. This song is stunningly breathtaking-how’s that for the best song of 2010?

Top Five Albums of 2010

Just like it was last year, I did not buy enough new albums to pick ten albums, so I will stay with my top five. Now I know there are other genres and artists that I may miss and I do not profess to know everything that is out there-that is impossible, so take it from the world that I live in and these are my top five favorite albums from 2010:

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5.     Court Yard HoundsCourt Yard Hounds– Who knew that the other two thirds of the Dixie Chicks could sing like this? Sisters Martie McGuire and Emily Robison decided to make some new songs and since Natalie Maines was not ready to “get back into the ring” at that point, they became the Court Yard Hounds. Take a listen to “It Didn’t Make a Sound” and tell me this is not good stuff? It is folk and Country with a breath of fresh air and the musicianship is top notch. There are also some very poignant tunes that will grab you by the throat and won’t let go as you have to listen to the beauty of their vocals (“Fear of Wasted Time” for example). At some point the Dixie Chicks will record again but for me I hope this is not a “one and done” sort of project-this album is too good to not move on with some more material at a later time in the future. I look forward to it.

Key Tracks: The Coast;  Ain’t No Son;  Then Again;  Fairytale

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4.     Midnight SouvenirsPeter Wolf– Folks you need to have this album in your library. This is the perfect “hang-out” album when you are hosting a party with friends. I will make another bet that before the end of that party your friends will want to know who that is-they will recognize the voice but not the new kind of melodies that exist on this super solid CD. The party kicks off with the rocking blues song-“Tragedy”-with help from Shelby Lynn-it is a finger snapping event throughout the album.Then it shifts to the rocking “I Don’t Want to Know” and from that point onwards just sit back and enjoy the ride. He also gets some help from Neko Case and the living legend Merle Haggard. This is totally different from his days spent with J. Geils, so do yourself a favor-either you buy it as a stocking stuffer (and then ask to borrow it) or let your family and friends know that you want this album as a stocking stuffer.

Key Tracks: It’s Too Late for Me;  The Green Fields of Summer;  Watch Her Move;  Always Asking for You

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3.     Born FreeKid Rock– Well how much more can I write about this album? (The review is up above). Don’t think that just because this was just released and is fresh in my mind that this would not have been on my list if it were released in the spring or summer-it would. This isn’t like when they nominate movies that come out around the holidays and earlier film releases seem to be ignored. (check out the rest of my top 5-all earlier this year). Anyways-yes I am partial to Kid Rock I admit it-but I am telling you folks this is another perfect album to play when you are hanging out with your friends hosting a house party. Yes “Born Free” can be played in its entirety and your family and friends will be amazed on how far Mr. Rock has come.

Key Tracks: Rock Bottom Blues;  Purple Sky;  Times Like These;  God Bless Saturday

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2.     SlashSlash– In my opinion, it was a total injustice that this massive solo album seemed to be ignored by many in the music review industry and this took longer to release than Axl’s “Chinese Democracy”- remember this is his first solo album-so where was all the hoopla surrounding this release? I usually don’t like to compare but this solo effort is ten times better than “Chinese”-I’m sorry it has to be said. Does anyone think that this man is not talented and that it took a massive effort to work with all the various artists on this album?-probably harder than working with the same set of people in a band-I would think so-but then again, what do I know? What I love best is that he did not try to change the artists’ strength’s, no Slash conformed and morphed into their style. One minute he is rocking and the next he is “metal-ing” and then he is “popping” out with Adam Levine, c’mon folks this is good stuff right here. I say from top to bottom one can listen to every track and not skip over any of them. Slash you will not be ignored here-Thank you for this massive effort-you get a solid “A.”

Key Tracks: By the Sword;  Back to Cali;  Saint is a Sinner Too;  Nothing to Say

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1.     AvalonSully Erna– For those of you that are scratching your head out there, do me one favor and listen to “Broken Road” from this fantastic solo effort by the front man of Godsmack and tell me this is not good music right here??!!! This is the ultimate “hang-out” album when you just want to relax and let the music take you to another place-you will not believe how much you will like this album. The thing is though-you need to buy it and give it a chance. Even my wife likes this album (she has no clue that he is the lead singer of a heavy metal band-she doesn’t need to know that-neither do you) and did not tell me to turn one song off on a recent drive to relative’s house, so you know that is a good sign. She especially likes the song-“Sinner’s Prayer.” No she wouldn’t know the name of the song if asked but if I played it for her, she would say “yeah that is the song.” My boys liked some of the songs, especially-“My Light.” Folks if you only want to follow the solo career of Sully that is OK as well because after this release, there has to be more coming down the road. I know I am looking forward to more in the future. This album is by far the best in 2010. Mellow yes but also incredible.

Key Tracks: 7 Years;  Broken Road; Eyes of a Child; My Light

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Susan Tedeschi

2.     Living Colour

3.     Edie Brickell

4.     Joe Walsh

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Now that it is the holiday season, my rendition of a classic written by Mr. Berlin has sold the most copies of any single released in the history of music. Who am I and what is the name of the song?

2.     I was an accomplished singer, movie actor and stage actor and starred in one of the greatest movie’s ever made-“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”- but am probably best known as the narrator of the most watched children’s Christmas show every year. By the way, I sang the entire soundtrack which contains one of the most recognizable holiday songs’ ever. Who am I?

3.     My singing voice has been compared to the likes of Dean Martin and Roy Orbison. I made my mark as a Maverick but am now doing my own thing. The author of this page has stated that the Christmas album that I made a few years back is the best one to be released in the past 25 years. Who am I?

4.     Our band has made its mark as a mostly holiday band and we tour every year towards the end of the year. Each tour our popularity has grown, almost to a cult status. Funny thing is, we don’t sing. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Got to Be There – The Jackson 5

2.     Taking It To The Streets-Doobie Brothers

3.     A Change is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke

4.     Higher Ground– Stevie Wonder

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

1.     “…she shadows me in the mirror…she never leaves on the light…some things that I say to her…they just don’t seem to bite…”

2.     “…Hey don’t let it go to waste…I love it but I hate that taste…weight keeping me down…Hey don’t let it go to waste…”

3.     “…and I really never knew how to love…I just hope somehow I’d see…ask for a little help from above…send that angel down to me …”

4.     “…run for your life…you’re moving on and on the art of survival…isn’t turning me on…and I’ve been chasing it…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1967, Otis Redding and three members of the Bar-Kays died in a plane crash near Madison Wisconsin. The question is always: What if?

Sadly back on this day in 1999, Rick Danko-the bassist for The Band- passed away in his sleep at the very young age of 56.

Back on this day in 1955, Johnny Cash made his first appearance on the “Louisiana Hayride” show and met his future wife-June Carter.

Back on this day in 1966, The Beach Boys hit the top of the Billboard charts with their smash hit-“Good Vibrations.” (Thanks Chris!)

Back on this day in 1967, The Steve Miller Blues Band signed with Capitol Records for $750,000. The “Blues” portion of the name was dropped shortly after signing.

Back on this day in 1971, Frank Zappa was pushed off a stage while performing in London by a jealous boyfriend and suffered 9 months worth of injuries.

Back on this day in 1976, Generation X made its live debut in London with Billy Idol as the lead vocalist.

Back on this day in 1983, Paul McCartney had his last number one hit with “Say, Say, Say”-a duet with Michael Jackson.

Back on this day in 2007, the Mighty Led Zeppelin reunited with Jason Bonham on drums to play a benefit show for Ahmet Ertegun. Robert Plant said it one of the most stressful nights for him and I recently saw Jason Bonham on “That Metal Show” and he was asked what reunion would happen first-Zep or Guns & Roses- he said Guns-wow??!!!

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