Errols Weekly Music Update.

February 4, 2011

Weekly Update – 02/04/2011

The Rockstar (Energy Drink) Mayhem Festival will stop at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sun. July 24, PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 27 and the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ on Sun. July 31. This year’s line-up is stellar- Godsmack, Disturbed & Megadeth are the headliners and there are a whole bunch more bands included. Ticket info to follow.

Taylor Swift at the Prudential Center on Tues. & Wed. July 19 and July 20. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $37.95, $85.55 and $95.80.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Last Night at Mohegan Sun on Sun. Apr. 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $43.35.

Ricky Martin at Mohegan Sun on Sun. Apr. 17. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $59.20 and $69.40.

PJ Harvey at Terminal 5 on Wed. Apr. 20. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40 ($45 day of show).

Fleet Foxes at the United Palace Theater on Wed. May 18. Tickets on sale today at noon. $39.50

Thin Lizzy at Best Buy Theater on Fri. Mar. 25. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $30. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets up until 10:00 a.m. this morning).

Alter Bridge with Black Stone Cherry at Best Buy Theater on Thurs. May 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets up until 10:00 a.m. this morning).

Lil Wayne at Nassau Coliseum on Sun. Mar. 27. Ticket on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $73.75 and $145.45.

Stone Sour with Theory of a Deadman, Skillet, Halestorm and Art of Dying at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Fri. Apr. 29. Pre-sale tickets on sale now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Password is: Keys. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $57.70 and $77.10

Other items:

Shock and Sadness of the Week: Last night my oldest son called me over to his computer and showed me a story on the web that stated that the White Stripes had officially split up. Take a look at their website http://www.whitestripes.com/This is a real bummer because Jack and Meg White belong together and even though Jack has other projects, his best work has always been done with the White Stripes. For those of you who don’t know-Jack White is a legend and the White Stripes made some of the best music that has come out over the last ten years. Luckily I had the privilege of seeing The White Stripes twice-the first time was in Coney Island at the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones and then just a few years later, they were headlining Madison Square Garden-both great shows. Folks, this hasn’t sunk in yet-this is as big to me as when Soundgarden broke up in 1997, maybe even more of a shock and disappointment. This is really sad and I don’t know what else to say or do….I hope they get back together for a reunion, let’s say next week. Say it ain’t so Jack and Meg…

Rumor of the week: Slash and Usher will join the Black Eyed Peas this Sunday at the half-time show for Superbowl XLV. Apparently Slash has joined them on tour and has performed “Sweet Child of Mine” and supposedly that is what will happen this Sunday.Also performing at the Superbowl will be “Glee’s” Lea Michele, who will sing “America The Beautiful” before the game starts. Speaking of Lea, she and Mark Salling do an amazing cover of “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum-you have to hear it. Of course, after the game there will be a new Glee episode with the cast performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in football uniforms.

Last night’s American Idol show was the worst I think that has ever been shown. A word of advice to the producers: you can’t do a one hour show and display the worst auditions that come through. The LA contingency was so horrible last night that if they ever broadcast another episode like that, I think I might be out. No need to show these horrible and stupid auditions that go on and on. And by the way, what’s up with all the judges cursing? I thought this was a family show? Even J Lo had to be bleeped off the air..and Randy too. Simon, with all his crudeness, never had to be bleeped.

Thanks to Sharif for pointing this one out:Ozzy canceled a show this past weekend in Reno for a “sudden illness.” Doctors recommended that Ozzy should not take the stage that night and the show has been rescheduled for April 23. No word on the illness.

Mick Jagger will perform on The Grammy’s for the first time ever on Feb. 13. He will pay tribute to the late Solomon Burke and be accompanied on the Grammy stage by soul singer Raphael Saadiq.

Elton John has called out his friend and long time touring partner, Billy Joel, to check himself into a “real rehab” in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. Elton said that when he went to get himself clean, he had to scrub the floors and work hard and every one that Billy has gone to is way too soft where they have TV’s and the such. When asked about what Elton said, Billy said that his friendship with Elton was too strong to let his words affect their relationship.

Alice Cooper has blasted Robert Plant for not wanting to do the reunion thing with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones for the Mighty Led Zeppelin. Alice doesn’t understand what is so hard. “Jimmy wants to do it, John is waiting to do it…why can’t he do it?” I’m right there with you Alice.

The Foo Fighters new yet untitled album will be released on April 12 and according to Dave it is “the heaviest work the Foo’s have ever done.” I say bring it on and I can’t wait for April 12.

Panic at the Disco has a new single-“The Ballad of Mona Lisa”- off of their upcoming album-“Vices & Virtues” with the new two man line-up. I have to tell you I really like the sound of this new song. Check it out. The album is slated for release on Mar. 29.

Lots of buzz surrounding the new release by The Decemberists with their new album-“The King is Dead.” Seems everywhere I turn I am reading very positive reviews about this album-I may just have to take the plunge. “Down By The Water” sounds just like R.E.M.

Nuggets

Back Into Your System

It took me some time to adapt to the “heavy-metal rap” genre, while it seemed everyone was diving in head first, I kind of sat on the sidelines-waiting for the coach to put me in the game. I am a big fan of Howard Stern and I can remember him having Limp Bizkit on his radio shows all the time but I still couldn’t get there. Don’t get me wrong I loved the Beastie Boys and what they did with the loud guitars and rap on their debut album (turns out I don’t think they were so happy about that album but I guess to put themselves on the map, they went with it). I think I would have to say that Rage Against the Machine was the band that finally brought me into the game, although I was not a big fan of their political rhetoric, so I would listen to their albums but never went to see them live. Then when I was at MBIA, a friend and colleague, Eric, lent me the debut album from a “Nu-Metal/Rap” band that had exploded on to the scene-Linkin’ Park- and even then I still wasn’t totally hooked. It wasn’t until “Meteroa” by Linkin’ Park that the “Nu Metal/Rap” finally gripped me and I was in (figures now Linkin’ doesn’t do that any more? Makes sense now that I am finally on board). Now once a “genre” starts to take off, the market gets overloaded with bands and acts that try to capitalize on that good feeling and then everyone gets sick of it. Before you know it, that genre is no longer “cool” and people are on to something else. (Now it’s “Indie,” right?). Anyway, one of the bands that I became attracted to during this period was a band from Memphis, TN called “Saliva.” For some reason (reasons unknown to me) this band has not reached “Superstar” status with more of the general public. Who knows maybe it has something to do with the name of their band. Maybe it’s because of what I just mentioned-that the “Nu-Metal/Rap” period is behind us-but if a band or artist is talented I will never understand why there can’t be a place for them in the genre that they love. (Like I have always said- “Disco” is still “Alive and Kicking” in the greatest borough there is-Brooklyn N.Y.-even though the rest of the nation dropped disco on 12/31/1979).

So with that in mind, I know there is still a fan base for Saliva and I am still included. Now I am not sure if my friend Sal is still a fan because we went to see them in a small club in New York City (I believe it was the “Best Buy” Theater) back in 2002 or so and to this day he maintains that he lost a part of his hearing because of this band. I was pumped to see them that night and we arrived early, so early that we secured a nice spot along the guard rail for which we thought we were high enough and away from the stage but that was not the case. When Saliva took the stage, I don’t know if it rose or if we didn’t realize how close we were but once the opening guitar licks started along with the bass and drums, I actually felt like the sound had completely ripped open my chest, took my heart, along with my ears and stomped on it so hard-just picture a pack of wild dogs converging on a piece of liver. Sal and I both looked at each other and said-“Should we go to another spot?”-For some reason (most likely “machismo”) we stayed and both loved the show but we paid dearly. There are only two shows that I can remember where I could not hear right the next day (Soundgarden and Saliva) but with Saliva, it lasted a full three days. I think for Sal it was like a week or maybe more, so needless to say –I won’t be able to drag him along to see these guys ever again.

Now the album that made me a fan was “Back Into Your System” and I can listen to the entire CD without blinking an eye but I realize that these guys are definitely an acquired taste but I believe once you let them sink in, you will really like this band. It is not only “rap/metal” there are some really solid rock songs (see “Holding On”) that I believe should have escalated them to a “superstar” status. Believe it or not, this band is melodic and despite the loud guitars and extensive cursing, I believe this album should have catapulted them into another stratosphere. I have followed these guys since then and am always pumped when they release new material. It doesn’t matter to me what label others put on them-this is a rock solid band and here are some golden nuggets to prove it: (in no particular order)

Pride – This was the song that I heard on my I-Pod shuffle that made me automatically say that this album needed to be highlighted in the “Nugget” section of the page this week. The opening guitar riff rips your face off and you don’t want to mess with the “pride of America.” Now this is just like when Metallica did “Don’t Tread on Me” from the Black album when the first Gulf War was being fought (1991) and then Saliva took a page out of this after the second Gulf War when they recorded this. For me, it is not about the lyrics, it is about the music and the arrangement on this track pumps me up and actually makes me want to start boxing-the kick boxing class that is. The “F” bomb is dropped throughout this song, so for the parents out there who still are concerned with what their kids are listening to-keep this away from them. I can’t help myself, I love this track. Head-banging at its best. \m/ \m/

Always – “Always…Always…I just can’t live without you…I breathe you…” C’mon folks this is a great song right here. For a band that can play as loud as these guys, they can turn on a dime and throughout some of their songs it’s like one can go fishing because the music is so quiet-but just like the statement-“the calm before the storm”-the momentum builds back up to a feverish pitch. This is what happens on this track and oh by the way you will not be able to stop singing the chorus all day long. This band has talent and songs like this are the proof.

Rest in Pieces – This is the “hit” of the album (and maybe their “most popular” song with the general public). The song was written with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and surprisingly is a “ballad” type of a song of which everyone in the family can enjoy-from grandma on down to the kiddies. I remember putting this on a CD I created for an afternoon Spin class at MBIA and my pal Rosie asked who was singing the song because she liked it. I believe she may have bought the song (probably not the album). The arrangement is stellar and again very melodic. This is one of my favorite songs on the album as Josey proves to the world that he has is a good singer. (Contrary to what Simon Cowell thought when both appeared on Howard Stern). I usually drift off to another world when I listen to this “classic”-Yes that’s right- a Classic!!!

Holding On This song will rock your socks off and the vocals are freaking phenomenal. If Lynyrd Skynyrd were a bit heavier, I could picture them covering this tune. This is “old school” stuff with a modern twist of heavy metal blues that should get your attention-it is arguably the best song on the album (and I would say one of the best songs they have ever recorded). The chorus vocals and the background vocals sound like they were all sung by Josey with the result being super solid. It is a slow head-banging groove with some awesome guitar riffs that will have you “air-guitaring” in no time. C’mon let’s all sing along- “Any one can see…what’s happening to me…I’m living in a dream…no one hears me scream…”-for some reason I feel like a cowboy when I hear this bad boy!!!

All Because of You – I think this song is one of the many reasons I love “guitar rock”-just listen to the beginning of this song and tell me this is not some good stuff right here? I put on my younger son’s headphones and squeezed with all my might so the sound would penetrate my ears and enter my system. Talk about melodic? These guys are good! I’m still scratching my head on why they haven’t garnered a bigger audience. If you like hard rock or metal, this is right up your alley. There is a nice guitar solo in the middle of the song and when that stops, Josey is waiting there to scream-“…All because of you…All because of you…”-this song rocks. “All I want is you and I don’t care!!!” Perfect arrangement.

Back Into Your System – The title track is stupendous and is a “sing-along” song for the entire family to engage in (yes there are no curses). I can picture a circle of family and friends, arms over each other shoulders-forming a huddle-slowly bopping back and forth waiting to scream-“I’M BACK IN YOUR SYSTEM!!!!… a way to get…BACK INTO YOUR SYSTEM…”- as the circle breaks up as each one of you makes believe you are screaming into a microphone in front of 10,000 or more rabid fans. How cool is this song? Is it loud? Yes. Is it heavy? Yes. But sometimes you need that, especially on a Friday. These guys can sing and play, please check them out.

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

Shake It Up

Side 1 of “Shake It Up” by The Cars

It is the fall of 1981 and I just started my junior year at Brooklyn Tech High School and by this time I am well on my way into the world of rock. Anyone who knew me back then knew my favorite bands were Foreigner and The Cars. (remember I did not get into the heavier stuff until the mid to late 1980’s). I was 16 years old at this time and had “the world at my feet.” I was playing football for “The Outlaws” on every Sunday beginning in early September and lasting until the following spring just in time to start of softball with the “All-Out” (combination of Outlaws and All-Stars). Every Sunday morning we would meet on the corner of 48th street and 8th avenue in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn and jump into the cars of the guys who were old enough to drive and had their own wheels. The three main cars used were Joe C., Cheesy and Johnny-Boy (“Eugene!!”) and while we waited for them we would throw the football all across 8th avenue as there was little car traffic at that time for a Sunday morning. (“Izzies” Candy and Food Store was closed-man we had great times with him & Sonya). As soon as I jumped in to Johnny’s car I would have cassettes for him to throw in and listen to and for half the month of November and whole month of December-I had to listen to my most favorite band out of Boston-The Cars-who had just released-“Shake It Up.”

Now I will be perfectly honest with you and state that this would be the last studio album that I purchased by them because in my opinion they were getting “way too popular” and being 16-I couldn’t deal with that. (By the time “Heartbeat City” came out in 1984 with “Drive” and all those “pop” songs, I was gone…now of course being 45 today I love those songs but I had an image to uphold-hey I know the local neighborhood guys thought I listened to pop as they were knee deep into Sabbath and Nugent). Also remember I dropped the Police after “Ghost in the Machine”-so essentially looking back after 1981, I dropped both The Cars and The Police from my radar after experiencing four great albums from each from 1978-1981. Anyway back to “Shake It Up.” Now you all should know by now that I absolutely loved their third studio album-“Panorama”- as I thought they didn’t keep the same formula from the first two albums, they ventured out and I for one, loved it. But for some reason it did not sit well with the critics and the general public as most thought it was “weird” music, so with “Shake It Up” they went back to some of the basics but also added the twist of “pop” which in my opinion was a slippery slope and wouldn’t you know it-they became one of MTV’s golden bands with “You Might Think” and “Magic” as those videos were played at nausea to the point where they were like Madonna. (again nothing wrong with that-I am speaking like I am still 16). Anyway again back to “Shake”- I absolutely loved this album again but for the first time I could honestly say that there were some songs that I skipped over-only on the second side though-(obviously)- and to me that was a big deal because I NEVER skipped over any songs on the first three albums. The crack in the seal had begun and the water seeped in. But the first side is super stellar in my opinion and that’s why I am including this as a perfect album side.

Side one starts off with “Since You’re Gone” and I love the beginning with “chop-stick” sound effect as Ric Ocasek gets set to start it off with “Since You’re Gone…the nights are getting strange.” What I remember most about this song is Brooklyn College because between classes there was this “hangout” place where this tall dude would take “perfect album” side requests from the students and you know I was there all the time-especially to see the other student’s reaction. This dude absolutely loved this song and he would dance around in a circle like no one was around, meanwhile half the kids were listening to the album while watching him dance around and the other half were talking but still were watching him. Sometimes I gage the quality of a song to how it affects others (I already knew I loved it) and this sealed the deal for me with this song. The second song is the title track and I know what you are thinking-isn’t this pop? Why yes I did mention that this album was the beginning of the “pop” (and the end in my mind) but I still love this song. Elliot Easton’s guitar solo is electrifying and that totally makes the song a classic. Is it simple? Yes, but that seemed to be The Cars niche-simple but yet addictive. “Dance all night…dance all night…go all night…shake it up.” If you listen to this song really loud you will really like it. (That’s what my oldest son says when I listen to songs loud in my car they always sound better than in the house when we have to keep it down for my lovely bride). Track # 3-“I’m Not the One”- could arguably be the best song on the album, I love the slow groove and Ocasek’s vocals are so clear and clean. For some reason by this album Ocasek seemed to have total control in song-writing and singing as well-not that there was anything wrong with it. And this could be one of his best vocals as one can hear the heart-break in his vocals as it is another tale of a girl breaking a boy’s heart (sorry girls…I know it goes both ways). I love the way Greg Hawkes follows along with his phenomenal keyboard/synthesizer playing which highlights the track. Before you know it, four plus minutes have passed and I usually hit the rewind button. “Victim of Love” is my most favorite song on the album as well as the first side-now for some reason I can picture the early Joe Jackson doing a song like this. The obligatory hand claps are present throughout and I love the way Ocasek sings this tune. “…She’ll tell you things that you should not know…because you’re the victim…victim of love…framed by the night…touched by the glove…” Again the arrangement is “simple” but not Easton’s guitar solo-they always seem to be slick, short and tough to play but he makes it sound so easy. The last song on side one is “Cruiser” and this is probably the most “head-banging” song on the vinyl. In a weird way it sounds almost muted as I think they could have turned Elliot loose with some really loud guitar riffs. Benjamin Orr sings this bad boy and he was such a great rock and roll singer and it’s such a shame that he passed away at such an early age. As the song plays on, I can picture these guys playing this song in a tuxedo and I always waited for them to rip it off-in a way-Ben does it with his vocals but the arrangement is so tight with the keyboards, that it always felt like “controlled head-banging”-if that makes any sense?

So there you have it, that was my last review for The Cars as I had already written about their debut album, “Candy-O,” “Panorama” and now side one of “Shake It Up” as those are the only four albums that I bought from this band who will always have a soft spot. Supposedly there are in the studio (with Ocasek back) working on a brand new album, so who knows there just may be one more review about the Cars. Side one of “Shake It Up” is a perfect album side.

 

Top Ten

Lowdown Unauthorized

Sometimes there are bands in your life (pretty dramatic, huh?) that “come and go” but just like some real life relationships, there is a reunion of sorts and in some cases the relationship solidifies after splitting up, other times there may be more time needed to get back to that original feeling-which brings me to the Black Crowes. Now this band created a rush of good feelings for me when they put out their debut album-“Shake Your Money Maker”- and I was immediately struck with their sound- a modern day Rolling Stones if you will with a touch of the Allman Brothers in them as far as that “bluesy” sound. At the time they emerged, the MTV world was knee deep in “hair band” metal and this band was like a breath of fresh air for those fans clamoring for “pure” rock and roll. All of a sudden during the early 1990’s here was a band that didn’t quite fit in with any type of music that was out at that time-ironic isn’t it to say that “rock and roll” wasn’t really in the picture (or at least in the forefront as glam metal and Pop ruled the airwaves) but their sound brought them a whole new fan base, including myself. (I have always thought that my older rock and roll brethren fan base would and should love this band, as they have always been a “throwback” band to me). My feelings only became stronger when they put out their sophomoric effort-“The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion”- because at that time I thought “Remedy” was the greatest song that I had ever heard. That song for me was like being “plugged in” to an electrical outlet as I could feel the vibe of the song enter my body, my bloodstream and moved me in so many ways that I didn’t know was possible, sort of like the way Chris Robinson moves up on stage. So here it is, two albums and in my opinion they are “batting 1.000.”

Now when “Amorica” hit the scene, I was kind of shocked and surprised by the “nasty” album cover but I figured “it was the rock and roll thing to do”-(although I still don’t think it is an “appropriate” cover). Anyway getting over the artwork of the album, when I slipped in the disc I was thinking to myself-“wow what happened here?”-this was like a 360 degree turn from the first two albums and if I am being honest, at first I did not get it or like it. (It wasn’t until a few more years later that it became my most favorite Crowe disc). During this same time period I had married my beautiful bride and you know me- I always try to “encourage” the people around me to engage in the bands that I love (hey I have been doing it to all of you reading this each week for more than two years now, right?) and the Black Crowes were right there in the thick of our relationship, so I had to take her with me as I ventured to see them for the first time live at the Beacon Theater. (On a side note, this was the old and quickly deteriorating Beacon-not the beautiful remade model it is now).

When the Black Crowes hit the stage that night, they “exploded” with such energy and extreme “tightness” as the band could do no wrong with the first three songs being exactly as it sounded when it was recorded in the studio. And then it happened, every song from that point forward sort of became a “jam” and the “energy” seemingly disappeared right then and there. Thinking about it now, it really was the last time that they were the “Rolling Stones” with an edge and became the “Allman Brothers” in the sense that many of their songs lasted “well into the night.” Now there is nothing wrong with that-I have probably seen the Allman Brothers in concert more than any other band and am now taking my oldest son to see them this coming March 11. But when you are expecting the “Stones” approach and you get the “jam band” special, it turned into one long night as my lovely bride was drained, I could see it. She loved the beginning just as I did but the long drawn out songs were just too much for her to take and honestly for me, and from that point forward I had to “re-adjust” my relationship with the Black Crowes.

As the early 1990’s became the mid–to-late‘90’s, I started to drift away from The Crowes as the allure of grunge had finally wrapped its grip around me and I was into it full throttle. (And they were knee deep in touring and making music with the legendary Jimmy Page). Now I never stopped liking the Crowes, I knew that they had put out new albums (“Lions,” “Three Snakes and One Charm,” etc.) but at that time I never purchased them. And then it happened-the band broke up. Of course I was so upset as I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to get a chance to see them live again-I know what you are thinking-I had “given up on them” and didn’t follow them during the mid to late 1990’s, so why would I be upset? My response would be-“You don’t know what you have until you lose it.” Those words rung so true.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s, while working at MBIA, I heard the great news that they were getting back together and I believe it was a return to Hammerstein Ballroom for a three or four night stint that was announced. I knew I was going and checked around to see if there was any interest and there was none, now you know that never has stopped me so I bought one ticket and trekked into New York City to witness their “triumphed” return. Of course this time I knew what to expect and went into the show the same way I do when I go see The Allman’s-with an open mind because I knew many of the songs to be performed were going to be at least 8-10 minutes long with a lot of jamming guitar solos, piano solos and long endings to the songs. As the show began I could feel the energy and intensity from the crowd and was pumped up. One and a half hours into the show I didn’t recognize one song-I didn’t realize how much I really missed with this band when I went away. But I was loving the show and was writing down song titles so once the show was over I could find out what albums they were from and purchase them. Slowly they started playing songs that I knew and I was blown away-this time I focused on how talented this band really is-the guitarists, the pianist, the drummer and especially the singer. Folks I know by now you are probably sick of me saying it but I wish I could morph into Chris Robinson for one tour (or at least a couple of nights when they play). He is, in my opinion, one of the all-time best “front-men” of any male bands. The music is in him-one can tell just by looking at him upon the stage-it’s like he turns into another being when he is up there. (I quickly think of Angus Young of AC/DC that transforms himself into another stratosphere just like Chris).

Fast forward to the late 2000’s and they release a new album-“Warpaint”- and this album quickly turns into my second favorite album (again I do not profess to know every song or thing about this band). I desperately wanted to see the concert where they performed this album in its entirety but had a conflict in my schedule and could not go. I heard the concert was phenomenal and the show was released as the live version of “War Paint.” They recently put out a double album which they recorded at Levon Helm’s place which was really low key. The rumors-which were confirmed-started again that they were going to take another “hiatus” so their tour at the end of 2010 was supposedly the last one for a while. Now I knew my buddy-Andy- was a huge fan of the Black Crowes and this time I knew I had someone to go with. We watched them tear the night up at the Blender Theater and we were both blown away on how tight they were. Their musicianship is really second to none and Chris did not miss any note, grunt, screech or any other sound-including his spectacular harmonica playing. I walked away that night thinking I had come full circle with this band-here I started in the early ‘90’s loving this band, then kind of “fell off” the bandwagon in the mid to late 1990’s, they split….they have a reunion in the mid 2000’s and I jumped back on the wagon and as the decade ends I see them at their very best. Maybe it’s because I knew it was their last show for a while or maybe they knew it to and put their “all” into it. (Think of a professional athlete in the last year of their contract-that it typically one of their best years’ statistically).

Now I am not going to sit here and tell you I am the biggest fan of the Black Crowes-I can’t because sometimes I jump on and off of their bandwagon but this band has had the skills and talent to keep my attention all these years. I believe in a couple of years they will be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in my opinion; they will be a “first ballot” entrant without any doubt. Thank you Black Crowes for making so much great music throughout the years and being a constant in my life. Again I do not know their entire library, (it is so extensive) so I will go with what I know and give you my top ten songs if I were on an island and was told that this was the limit for Black Crowe’s songs-“These are Them:” (Not for anything folks but I had at least 18 songs that I needed to dwindle down to ten)

10.     God’s Got It– Now if you are a big Crowes fan you are probably scratching your head on why I would put a cover on my list of top ten songs with all the songs that these guys have written and composed but every time I tried to knock this tune out of the top ten, it kept winning out in my own personal “battle of the tunes.” The groove in this song is so infectious and you will immediately feel like you are in a gospel church somewhere in the south as the blues will over take you as the beat will have you clapping your hands together and screaming “Alleluia” in no time. This song will forever remind me of my youngest son because he actually put this song on his I-pod (he may have since taken it off) and the way he moved to this song is actually what the Black Crowes intended for people to do when they hear it. The music was in him and I wish I had made a You-Tube video of it because my son was feeling it. He felt it more than I did and believe you me, I am in a different planet when I hear this track. Friggin’ phenomenal.

9.     Cursed Diamond – Sometimes in life you feel like the vibe in this song-a serious tone filled with conviction, passion, pain but a righteousness that makes you feel good all over like you are singing in the pouring rain but you don’t care because you are in a place that you don’t visit to often. I think that this could be the best vocal performance that Chris Robinson has ever done on any recording-listen to this track and tell me he doesn’t put his all into this song? The guitar solo by his brother Rich is so freaking phenomenal and the drumming behind Chris’s vocals are almost too much too take. Right now I am looking up to the skies as the pouring rain has drenched me to the bone but I will continue to hold my heart and sing this powerful song. Awesome!!!

8.     Come On– Seeing them perform this song live is a real treat-especially if they stay close to the original recording-(if you don’t know they put a spin on all their songs in some way-it usually is never like the original recording). If you don’t know the Black Crowes too well you probably think they are always mellow but they always know how to rock with the best of them and this song proves it. There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!! The funky fresh groove will have you dancing in circles in no time, dancing like it was the 1960’s-I don’t know why but I picture the old “Laugh In” show where all the people would be dancing with all those psychedelic colors. (You see what their songs do to you?). They sort of have a “rap” thing going on as they have a telephone ringing in the background as the percussion is making your body twist and turn like never before. “Come and get some…yeah come on and git some…” I say this all the time around the house and told my boys that this is the song that I took it from. When they heard it, they were laughing.

7.     Gone –If you remember when I did the review for “Amorica” a while back I stated that this song could have the best beginning of any song ever recorded-I still say that. Before Chris starts to sing-“Save Me…Save Me…”-I have to rewind the song and listen to it over and over again. This is like the best groove ever and I am moving my arms like I am coming out of a bottle-lie “Jeannie.” I really feel like the song is injected into my system and I let the music flow through my veins and I let it take me where it wants. I am still wailing my arms like I am holding snakes (I’m petrified of snakes…) or better yet-it is like I am an octopus who is dancing-yes that’s how I would describe this song-put a pair of headphones on an octopus and I guarantee every arm would move in different directions. This song is freaking phenomenal.

6.     Good Friday – For some reason I always think of the S&P men’s softball team because every “Good Friday” we used to hold our first practice of the season. Anyway you remember when I said that “Cursed Diamond” was the best vocal performance by Chris? Well this could be his second all-time best song while behind the microphone. I love the way he “accentuates” certain words throughout the song-for instance-“I know this will be awkward…cause soon you’ll have…”-with emphasis on “know” and “soon”-if you know this song then you know exactly what I am talking about. When they played this at the Best Buy Theater when Andy and I went to see them-I was in my glory because I wanted to hear it live because there have been so many times I sing this song aloud in my car and I wanted the opportunity to sing along with Chris and the rest of the audience. “I will not forget you…nor will I accept the blame…I will see you on Good Friday…on Good Friday..” Spectacular song.

5.     By Your Side – If someone were to ask me to name one song that would define the Black Crowes, this song just may have to be my answer. There is rock and roll, R&B and blues which are intertwined to create one of their best songs-in my opinion. The best and I mean the best part of this song for me is the background vocalists who do the lovely “Ooohhh’s” throughout the tune. The Black Crowes are infamous for having the R&B female singers on many of their songs and if you just focus on their part, well watch out. Now of course the boys do a great job as Chris is just plain out of sight with his vocal prowess and the heavy guitar riff towards the end of the song actually lifts me off the ground. “I’m gonna be right there for you baby!!” The song ends with the obligatory hand-claps so you know how I feel about them. Freaking awesome tune.

4.     Twice As Hard –“They had me on the opening guitar riff.” (“Jerry Maguire”). Whew how awesome is this song??!!! This song makes my lips scrunch towards my nose (my brother, who is one year younger than me, would always say that was the face I made when I really liked a song) and I immediately am psyched to a level “10.” Chris’s vocals are nothing short of spectacular and when they are elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, this is the song that should be played in the background as the members get out of their seat to head up stage to make their acceptance speech. In my opinion, this was their best song off of their debut and has stood the test of time. I’d put this song up to any rock and roll song as I think it can go “toe-to-toe” with the best of them. How can anyone not sing along to this song? “Twi…eye…eye…ice as hard as it was the first time I said goodbye…” I friggin’ love this song!!! \m/ \m/

3.      Wiser Time – I told you a while back that “Amorica” is my most favorite album by the Black Crowes and this is the “masterpiece” of that recording. I can’t put into words how phenomenal this song is. “And on a good day…I know it every day…and on a bad day…I know it ain’t every day…” Folks this was recorded in 1994 when the world was knee deep into “grunge” and if you do not know this song…well shame on you. This is a throw back to when “they used to write songs” like this. The organ solo is so righteous and when the guitar solo comes in, you will feel like you are flying and as it continues you can pick your own destination as you will fly high and far. Chris Robinson’s vocals are out of sight. They played this song at the Best Buy Theater a few months ago and I was in my glory. Songs like this are the reason I live for music, this is “first-rate” material.

2.   Remedy –As I mentioned above the first time I heard this song I was immediately hooked and forever thought that this would always be my most favorite Black Crowes songs of all time (until the next song was released a few years ago). The groove in this song has to rank up there in the history of rock and roll as one of the best ones ever created-it is impossible to not dance around to, not sing along to and to not like. Please don’t even try and say this song isn’t great-you will just get-“talk to the hand!!!” I feel like I am possessed when I hear this song as I imagine myself as Chris in the studio with the headphones over my ears as I sing upwards into the microphone and try to match his passion-“who killed that bird upon your window siiillll?…if I come on like a dream…oooh will you let it glide?” As the female background singers break in I completely am out of my mind dancing around in a circle with my lips scrunched up against my nose again. The guitar solo is virtuous and by this time I am on another planet and then when it turns towards the percussion sounds as Chris awaits to wail and screech I wonder why I couldn’t write a song like this. Only Chris can do the –“I need a remedy…re…remed…re…re…”- I can’t even write it, never mind trying to sing it-I don’t think anyone in the world can do that besides him. You can’t teach that-it’s the music in him that just pours out. I am completely awestruck. ‘Nuff said. 

1.     There’s Gold in Them Hills– Ok, so you’re asking how can this be my favorite Black Crowes song? I know my boys and my wife always ask the same question. This song always stops me in my tracks, I completely freeze and listen with such intent it really is polarizing for me. This is the most beautiful song I think I have ever heard, it is so tranquil and I picture snow falling lightly on a hill with someone walking a horse across the plain looking for gold in them hills. My younger brother once said-“who writes songs about gold in them hills in the 21st Century?”-and my answer will always be-“The Black Crowes.” I think I have listened to this song more now than any other Black Crowes song and this was released in 2009. (Think about how many times you have heard-“Hard to Handle” since 1990….well I have listened to this song more times than that). In my opinion, this is their ultimate masterpiece and nothing will ever change that. I can literally listen to this song all day long… all week long…all month long…all year long.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Dee Snider

2.     Jackson Browne

3.     Sheryl Crow

4.     Tommy Shaw

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I passed away way too young but while I was around I made some really cool songs that some thought were irresistible. I was real popular before MTV and also when MTV was at the height of its popularity. My video with those tall women playing guitar is still talked about today. Who am I?

2.     I am in a band but I also have a very successful solo career. My band had a few albums out in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s but when I hooked up with Carlos Santana for a song it made me more popular, along with my band. Who am I?

3.     We had one of the most popular “one hit” wonders of all time and we made it in the 1960’s and were part of the “hippie” scene. Our song was made with sounds from our voices (like they did in the 1950’s) with “Uuuhhs” and “CChhh’s” You would most likely hear this song in the warm months of the year. Who are we?

4.     I replaced a legendary bass player in one of the most successful metal bands of all time after he was killed in a bus crash. I played with this band for years, begrudgingly through the “pop” years and for some reason I couldn’t do side projects while two of my bandmates couldn’t get along as we were headed for certain breakup. I left the band and later took part in a reality music show as we looked for a singer for our star studded band. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week: (Nice Job Charlie)

1.     Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

2.     London Calling – The Clash

3.     Jet City WomanQueensryche

4.     Rainy Days and Mondays – The Carpenters

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

1.     “…and maybe you can cry all night…but that’ll never change the way that I feel…the snow is really piling up outside…”

2.     “…say your prayers little one…don’t forget my son to include everyone…I tucked you in…”

3.     “…down in Jamaica they got…lots of pretty women…steal your money then they break your heart…”

4.     “…now you can tear a building down…but you can’t erase a memory…these houses may look all run down…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1983, Karen Carpenter, died of a heart attack at the very young age of 32. As you should all by now she is my most favorite female singer, very sad day.

Back on this day in 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were recording “Across the Universe” and decided they needed falsetto harmonies so they supposedly invited two women into the studio to sing with them.

Back on this day in 1977, Fleetwood Mac released the landmark album-“Rumors”- which went on to sell 19 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Back on this day in 1977, American Bandstand celebrated its 25th anniversary and Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman and Bo Didley were some of the guests on that show.

Back on this day in 1989, Guns & Roses became the first band in more than 15 years to have two albums in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 with “Appetite” and “Lies.”

Back on this day in 2004, Art Garfunkel plead guilty for possession of marijuana in Hurley, NY after being pulled over for speeding the month before and was found in his jacket.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Alice Cooper, Phil Ehart (Kansas), Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie), and John Steel (The Animals).

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Weekly Update – 02/04/2011 « Errols Weekly Music Update. […]

    Pingback by The White Stripes split up | The Music Fizz — February 4, 2011 @ 11:26 am


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