Errols Weekly Music Update.

September 30, 2011

Weekly Update – 09/30/2011

Korn at Roseland Ballroom on Fri. Nov. 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $58.

Janes Addiction at Irving Plaza on Mon. & Tues. Rocktober 17 & 18. Pre-sale tickets for those of you who have a Citicard until 5:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $52.

Ryan Adams at Carnegie Hall on Tues. Dec. 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $30, $47.50 and $60.

Guns & Roses at the Izod Center on Thurs. Nov. 17. Pre-sale tickets for those of you who have a Citicard until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $37.05, $52.95 and $86.70.

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Sun. Nov. 13. Tickets on sale Sunday morning Rocktober 2 at 10:00 a.m. $52 and $84.25

Enrique Iglesias with Pitbull at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Nov. 4. Tickets on sale today at noon. $42.65 and $170.05

David Archuletta at at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY and Irving Plaza on Thurs. & Fri. Dec. 1 & 2. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. NYCB: $52 & 62.50; Irving: $41.50

Eric Johnson at BB Kings on Fri. Jan. 6. Tickets on sale today at noon. $34.50.

Unity for Veterans Concert featuring Brett Michaels at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. Nov. 11. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $41.50 and $74.

Other items:

So did you see the nominations for the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Guns & Roses, The Cure, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Heart, The Spinners, Small Faces & Faces, Eric B. and Rakim. The Chili Peppers are back on the ballot as are the Beastie Boys, Donna Summer, War, Freddie King, Donovan and Rufus with Chaka Khan. First off I have to rail against the Hall personnel that decide on who is worthy for a nomination each year. Leaving Deep Purple, Rush and Kiss off its list again is bordering on criminal. How Deep Purple is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is beyond my comprehension and it’s starting to take a physical toll on me. Same goes for Rush- do they realize that it is just three men making that incredible sound for more than 30 years now? And Kiss, chuckle if you will or roll your eyes but if you watch “That Metal Show” you will see that many of the “stars” of that scene hold Kiss in high regard and state that they were the reason they became rock stars (see Ian from Anthrax). I think at this point, the Hall is too embarrassed to admit that they are making a serious blunder so they try to “move on” but I will always be here to remind them of their cruel joke.

Ok, let’s start with Guns & Roses. Now in my lifetime I don’t think I ever experienced the “buzz” that they created when they emerged with “Appetite” (Nirvana may have been the closest but at first I wasn’t hooked into their sound). Has there been a bigger rock star in the past few decades than Axl Rose? (although he did go “AWOL” for a decade as well) Probably not, does he belong in he Hall of Fame with the rest of his bandmates? Of course but let’s be real here- they are getting in because of one album- “Appetite for Destruction”- arguably the greatest debut ever. They brought back the dirty, rebellious and “don’t give a crap” attitude that was sorely missed in the rock and roll trenches, I get it. But I thought the criterion was a “body” of work over a 25 year period? Yeah I know what you are going to say-“What about Use Your Illusion I and II?”- My response is that on a combined basis it was a good album, clearly not a double album like “The Wall” by Floyd, right? This is like Bill Mazeroski getting into the baseball hall of fame because of his infamous homerun against the Yankees in game seven of the World Series, no? If that’s the case, then why isn’t Boston or Meatloaf in the Hall? Their debut albums are legendary and they too never really came close to achieving the same status with their follow up albums.

What about all the baggage that was associated with Guns & Roses? There are baseball players that are not in the hall or were held out for a long time because they weren’t “nice” and pissed off many writers during their career. (see Jim Rice) How many shows did the fans wait for Axl to come out to the stage to perform after all of us paid our hard earned money to witness his talent and he strolled out hours later-if he felt like it-or sometimes not at all. Remember the Montreal, Canada show with Metallica where after James Hetfield was almost burned alive on stage from a pyro-technical mishap and Guns & Roses had a chance to “save the day?” But of course the sound system wasn’t up to his standards, so he slammed the microphone on the ground and walked off the stage setting off a full blown riot where the fans destroyed anything they could get their hands on. I experienced it myself twice and swore off any future shows with him at the helm. Again I am not saying they didn’t make a huge impact on the music scene but others get upset when different “genres” are allowed to enter the Hall, so why not get upset when there are “exceptions” to the “rules?” Why? Because it’s Axl, right? Ok I think you get my point, I’ll stop.

Here are my no brainers for this year’s candidates: Heart, Small Faces/Faces and The Spinners. Ann and Nancy Wilson could be the most important women in rock and roll history, shattering the mold and blazing a path for so many others to follow. In my opinion, they should have been in a long time ago, if they don’t get voted in, then I quit. The “Faces” entity changed figures a lot but overall created some of the best rock and roll riffs ever.- IN!! Same thing with the Spinners-I thought they were already in, what’s up with that?

I am on the fence about Joan Jett & The Blackhearts because first off I didn’t think they were together for 25 years, so I was scratching my head on that. Again if it is for one “mega” song- “I Love Rock & Roll”- then just say it. I am not completely sold on The Cure and not just because I didn’t like their music. I get it that they were big and made an impact but so were the Talking Heads and for that matter, The B-52’s. I don’t see how they get in, especially when Kiss, Rush and yes Deep Purple, are looking in wondering what the heck is going on. The Beastie Boys should get in on their second try and I believe the Red Hot Chili Peppers will also receive the nod.

Chickenfoot has released their second album- “Chickenfoot III”- yes they don’t know how to count, sort of taking the same approach the Traveling Wilbury’s did in naming their second album. What I noticed about the song selections on I-Tunes is that the great harmonizing vocals that we were all used to listening on those Van Halen albums are back, which points directly to Mr. Michael Anthony- he’s still got it. Some of the songs sound rockin’- how can they not be with Satriani at the helm on guitar. This superstar quartet is solid-check it out.

I know I take a lot of grief but I can’t help but watching “Glee” I think the way they redo the songs are great. This week’s version of “Somewhere” is real good. This should be under the heading of “Things you are scared to admit,” right?!

Geffen records has released a colossal 20th anniversary edition of the landmark recording-“Nevermind”- by Nirvana. Can you believe it has been 20 years already? What is going on? Anyway, if you are a fan there are 70 songs in this package, which will cost you a pretty penny.

First it was the Beatles, then Aerosmith just recently jumped in the pool and now it is Pink Floyd who has released most of their stuff, if not all, on I-Tunes. And they will have remastered versions of “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall” coming up in November and then next February.

Album Review: “Duets II” by Tony Bennett released on Sept. 20, 2011

Duets II

It is amazing to me the turnaround I have had with the artist named Tony Bennett– 20 years ago I was so angry that he won best new album, I believe it was “MTV-Unplugged” and I was so out of my mind that someone who in my opinion was not relevant in 1991 could win over artists who were either just starting out or who were in their prime. Now as I have mentioned many times, it was due to my age- I was young and bull-headed and it didn’t matter what anyone tried to tell me, I was adamant that I would never watch MTV again. Recently I have “seen the light” and have now joined the large percentage of people who cherish this national Icon. (He apologized for his remarks on 9/11 so I don’t even want to get into that, it’s too painful, and I will chalk it up to someone making a mistake…and we all make mistakes).I actually couldn’t wait for this album to come out and it is just what I expected- a perfect album for a house party, a dinner, sitting in front of the fireplace in the winter or sitting on the deck in the summer. The standouts in my opinion are his songs with Lady GaGa (who knew she could sing like that?), Amy Winehouse (makes me sad when I hear it though), John Mayer, Michael Buble, Sheryl Crow, Carrie Underwood (you all know how I feel about her-can you imagine just a few short years ago she was basically unknown and now she is singing with Tony??!!) and Mariah Carey.

The Lady is a Tramp– with Lady Gaga– Like I said- who knew she could sing like that? The only thing you need to know is that my oldest son even likes this song and he immediately hits the “forward” button whenever my I-Pod shuffle (or my youngest sons’) land on Lady Gaga. I think he is now finally impressed with the Lady, albeit only in this genre-but he gives credit where credit is due. Genius move by starting off the album with the two of them-it puts a smile on your face right away.

One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)- with John Mayer– Hey if my son can admit that Lady Gaga’s song is good, then I have to give “props” to his favorite, Mr. John Mayer. I have to say sometimes his voice gets to me but he does an excellent job on this tune and this genre fits him like a glove. The man is amazing, it seems like whatever he sets his mind on, he masters it in no time. Perfect duet- doesn’t get much better.

Body and Soul– with Amy Winehouse-Talk about someone who fits into this genre like they have been doing it as long as Tony has? Amy is terrific and a pure natural for these types of songs, one can tell she loved to take part in this project. It is really sad that she isn’t here with us to receive all the accolades that she deserves on this track. I immediately feel like I am in a smoky barroom back in the good old days. Beautiful song.

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore– with Michael Buble– Now with the other artists that Tony asked to help on this album, most are not in his “genre” so with Mr. Buble I think we all expected more because this is what he does, just like Tony, Frank and Dean all did way back when (with Tony obviously still going). Michael’s performance deserves an “A+” and he displays why he has become the superstar he is and shows everyone how it is done. Tony has to be happy knowing that Michael will be there keeping this genre going for many more years to come.

Blue Velvet– with K.D. Lang-Once this song starts you will feel like it is the holiday season because it has the feeling of Christmas but once Tony starts singing you will feel like you are at a bar like the one that the Rat pack used to attend in their heyday. K.D. Lang is unstoppable in this track as this genre fits her like a glove as well, who knew? In my opinion, this could be her best vocal performance ever. This is a masterful cover of this infamous song.

How Do You Keep the Music Playing– with Aretha Franklin-Could be one of the most unbelievable pairings ever, right? The Queen of Soul with the incredible Mr. Bennett? I have to say that I really liked the first half of the song but then (and I know this is sac-religious) it became sort of “over the top” with Ms. Franklin and Tony both seemingly trying to top each other with the long accentuated notes that border on screaming instead of singing. Most will probably disagree with me but that is what I hear but again it still is good.

The Girl I Love– with Sheryl Crow– Ms. Crow has really stepped up in my eyes (or should I say ears) in the past year, I mean I always knew she could sing but this is an absolute stunner of a song. She will make you fall in love with her all over again, her vocals are shockingly beautiful. This could be the best song on the album. How diverse is she? First touring with the potty mouth Kid Rock and now singing next to the legend known as Tony Bennett, she more than holds her own.

On The Sunny Side of The Street– with Willie Nelson-When I first saw this pairing I have to admit that I didn’t think it was going to work but you know what? Shame on me!! How could I doubt the legend of Willie Nelson? He knocks it out of the park and maybe it is Tony that makes everyone “step up to the plate” because they know if they don’t give it their best, then it is their reputation that takes a hit. Willie is flawless and his guitar solo in the middle of the song will give you goose bumps-it’s that good.

Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)– with Queen Latifa-Ms. Latifa is another artist who has blown me away with her vocal prowess that I never knew she had. I know in the last few years she made –“Trav’lin’ Light”- which is now her sweet spot and she proves without a single iota of doubt that she now has two separate identities as a music artist. The Queen’s voice will lull you into a dreamy state and you will stay there even after the song ends as you will long for more. I want to see Tony and the Queen perform this song. This track is exquisite.

Speak Low– with Norah Jones-Dave Grohl knew what he was doing when he asked Norah to sing with him on the Foo Fighters double CD-“In Your Honor”- and then again at last December’s-“The Kennedy Honors”- when they honored Paul McCartney. I wonder if Tony was listening because this is a perfect union of angelic voices. I know I say this all the time but this could be the best song on the album. Both artists are just stunning.

This Is All I Ask– with Josh Groban-Tony starts off this amazing song strong and Josh’s majestic voice joins the fray and the result is stupendous. This song again reminds me of the holiday season, I can picture a large crowd ice skating under the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center as they pipe in these two amazing voices. I am not too familiar with Groban overall but the few songs that I have of his, he shines and this is no exception. This will put you in a trance.

Watch What Happens– with Natalie Cole –This is a very short song but it packs a nice punch, Natalie is a pro as is Tony and the combination proves worthy. I will say that this song doesn’t stand out, in my opinion, as some of the others but it fits the bill.

Stranger in Paradise– with Andrea Bocelli-Wow now this is a powerful duo- two Icons coming together to show everyone why they are the best in the business. They will make you drift off into another stratosphere. Remember the “Odd Couple” episode where Oscar is lip singing along with the professional opera singer (“You broke my Riggoletto!!) at the very end of the show? You will be doing the same thing, so learn the words so you can make believe that you can sing like these two powerhouses.

The Way You Look Tonight– with Faith Hill-How many times has this song been re-recorded? Yes I know you have heard this song too many times but you know what? Tony & Faith put a different spin on this classic and you will sing along and wonder to yourself- “I know this song, what is it again?” Faith’s voice is worthy of your attention as she turns in a masterful performance. And what about Tony?- You have to ask??!

Yesterday I Heard the Rain– with Alejandro Sanz-Again a combination of two powerhouses and the result is grandiose. When they sing together, it will bring you to your feet with great applause. Try to close your mouth, you might be dribbling.

It Had To Be You– with Carrie Underwood-Ok someone needs to smack me in the face to wake me up. Can this be true? Carrie singing with Tony? Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago when she was a contestant on American Idol and now she has “hit the big time.” You all know how I feel about her- she continues to amaze and her performance is jaw dropping. Again I think Tony brings out the best in every artist because they know what he brings to the table. Carrie is the best, that’s all there is to it.

When Do The Bells Ring For Me– with Mariah Carey-I was really curious to listen to this song when I saw that she was going to do a duet with Tony and I was pleasantly surprised. Mariah is stupendous and stays within herself (meaning there is no really high pitched long held note). This has a Christmas feel to it more than any song on the album, especially at the end when the bells ring for them. Beautiful song and a perfect way to end a near perfect album.

Nuggets

Get Behind Me Satan

My I-Pod shuffle this week landed on-“The Denial Twist”- by The White Stripes off of their “Get Behind Me Satan” album and it had me thinking how much I loved this band which then I quickly realized they are no longer together-in a word- bummer. Oh well, there is always waiting for their reunion tour-you know at some point it will happen. (Hey I waited 25 years for Van Halen with Diamond Dave to tour again a few years ago-and apparently we may be waiting again as their long awaited new album is where?) Now I love the “Satan” album from top to bottom but recognize that this is an acquired taste and I know that there are some songs on this album that the general public would quickly hit the “next” button. So to the “die-hard” fans please don’t hate on me as I put it into the golden “nuggets” section of the page. For those of you who are not familiar with this band, give it a chance-go in with an open mind and it just might click with you as it did with me and many others. So here are a list, in no particular order, of the golden nuggets from “Get Behind Me Satan.”

My Doorbell – I know what you are thinking-how can I recommend a song about a doorbell? And I remember when my boys were a lot younger and they couldn’t stand this song. My wife, you ask? She can’t stand Jack White, period-so we can’t go by her. This song has a funky beat and you won’t even realize that there is no guitar in this track-you’ll be too busy dancing around the room. Corny or simple lyrics- well yes Ok, you have me there. But give it a chance, it will grow on you, I promise.

The Denial Twist – Sticking with the theme where there are no guitars in the song, this one is even funkier than “Doorbell.” In my opinion, this song id proof positive that Jack White has music flowing through his veins-you can’t teach this-it is pure, simple and beautiful. I remember them playing this track at Coney Island at the Cyclones park way back in 2006 and everyone was dancing around like crazy. Love the part where Jack emphasizes the word- “tooth.” One has to listen to this song with the volume way up LOUD!!! Check this out.

Take, Take, Take – Jack has this way of making things appear simple but then switches on a dime and the tempo changes again and again. This is a perfect example of this fact- the song starts off slow and funky but then switches to a much faster pace and yes comes back down again. Great song to listen to with a good set of headphones, squeeze tight!!

As Ugly As I Seem – I still can’t figure out why my oldest son (who is a huge fan of the White Stripes) does not like this song. In my opinion, this is the best song on “Satan.” It has my attention from the beginning all the way to its end, I can’t help but listen to every word that Jack is expressing. Very simple setting, him and his guitar with Meg on bongos (I am assuming that part, Jack may have just been using his hands on the guitar to get the bongo effect) but again sometimes the simple things in life are the most special.

I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet) – I couldn’t leave this song off the list, I know some may frown upon this tune but it grips me and doesn’t let go. I love the beginning lyrics-“Well I miss my mother…I miss being her son…sometimes I miss her so much I want to hop on the next jet…” (I wish I could hop on a jet and see my mother-I’d do it right now). Many focus on Jack’s guitar skills (which are superb) but the man is also very talented on piano and creates some real nice music-“And I’m lonely…but I ain’t that lonely yet.”

Blue Orchid – What a way to start off an album-the loud guitar, the high pitched vocals and when Meg blasts in on drums-it brings it all together. This is “head-banging” alternative music at its best. If you listen carefully you will hear all these different noises that Jack makes on the guitar. Yes-Ok I know that the drumming is not like Neil Peart but it works for this song and you have to notice it. “Hoo…Hoo”- I am air-guitaring away. \m/ \m/

Top Ten

Creedence Clearwater Revival - 36 All Time Greatest Hits!

This school year our family decided to be a host for a foreign exchange student and he arrived from China about two weeks ago. Can you imagine by the time he goes back to his family what kind of influence I am going to be on his musical choices? Right now he is hooked on “electronica” and I have personally taken it upon myself to change that over the next ten months. I want it to happen fast but acknowledge that it would be hard for me to accept change at his age, this will not stop me however-I am committed to bring great American rock and roll to his soul. And what better way than with arguably the greatest American band ever- Creedence Clearwater Revival. We were riding in the car and “Bad Moon Rising” came on and I turned to him and said-“Listen to the greatest American band ever”- (yes I know that he doesn’t know that I say that about every band, right?). Now I know everyone has heard this song a zillion times (yes I know I forgot to add this song to the list of songs to be banned from classic rock radio) but again there is a reason you hear it so much- it’s friggin’ great!!! Later on in the week, I heard (yes on that same classic rock radio station) that John Fogerty may now be open to a reunion with his former bandmates. For those of you who don’t know the history, they haven’t spoken to each other in decades and this entity ended up in a worse position than the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s.

Creedence Clearwater Revival, otherwise known as “CCR”, is as synonymous to great American rock and roll just as Betsy Ross is to knitting the American flag- both sewn into our American fabric and no matter how much things change, the foundation can never be broken or tainted. It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone reading this, not liking at least one song by this Hall of Fame band. I can remember as a teenager walking along the Coney Island boardwalk towards Brighton Beach and coming across a really old couple sitting on a bench with a “boom box” (Ok, a radio) with a tape blasting out CCR songs. Intrigued I walked over and asked them if they were really fans-I know stupid question-but I was amazed that someone that was from my grandparents era would be listening to them. I sat and talked with them while the hits just kept coming, reviling in the moment. Now of course I was just a toddler when they ruled the world and don’t profess to know all there is to know about this band. But that doesn’t stop me from screaming from the roof tops that this is the greatest American band in rock and roll history. So with that I will try to name my favorite top ten songs from this legendary band and pray that a reunion tour is in the works. I am stuck on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by CCR, “These Are Them:” (Sorry Chris- “Heard It Through The Grapevine” doesn’t make my top ten- I figured I would put it out there now)

10.     Bad Moon Rising-Like I said this song should have been on the list of songs that should be banned from classic rock radio for the next ten years but I’m glad my advice was not taken because I wouldn’t have that first moment with the exchange student in the car where everything sounded fresh and it was like we were hearing it for the first time. (Ok maybe not the first time but we were all waiting for his reaction). His reaction wasn’t the greatest…but like I said, I am now on a mission. This song is a hand clapping, knee slapping-take your partner and dos-e-doe. Has to be one of the most recognized songs ever recorded.

9.       Sweet Hitch Hiker –For some reason I can picture the Foo Fighters covering this song, it is right up their alley because it is a straight forward head banging rock and roll song with great drumming. Is this rock and roll or what? This is pure, a la Chuck Berry like where there is no denying its greatness, love the guitar work in this tune. This is head-banging rock and roll at its best. Short but packs a wallop of a punch.

8.      Up Around The Bend –I know this song has also been played a zillion times but pound for pound it is one of their best songs. Fogerty’s vocals are top notch and the melody is so addictive and once those slow but consistent hand claps come in to accentuate the track, can it get any better? Perfect song to sit around the campfire and sing and clap along to. Only problem is the song is over before you know it. (just like many of their classics).

7.       Susie Q – My kids make fun of this song all the time and I say-“What do they know?” I love the groove and it is near impossible not to sing along to. While sitting on the bench in Coney Island with the old couple, I can remember how much the woman was into this tune, she was rocking out and singing it word-for-word. Fogerty’s voice again is stupendous and don’t you just love the way he accentuates his words? For example-“walk and talk”- with “I like the way you woke…I like the way you tolk?” –Love it, can’t get enough of it. And then when he sounds like he is singing into a bull-horn, well I am on cloud 9. What about the guitar riff-“Bom Bapp?” Well you get the picture, love the way the background vocals sneak in towards the end. Infectious tune, love the “high hat” being smacked around towards end of song as well.

6.       Lodi – During my exodus from the page, I really wanted to do a top ten list for songs that had American cities or states listed in their title because during the summer many people trek across the states in their Winnebago’s for vacation (I know maybe not with the way gas prices have been) but now that summer has ended I felt I missed the opportunity. But this song would have made it to that top ten list just as it does for the best CCR songs. How can anyone not like this song? It’s impossible in my opinion. Now you know how I feel about covering great songs, if done at all, it needs to be done with the respect it deserves and Tesla does a nice version of this track on their “Five Man Acoustical Jam” album. I have seen them do it live, now if I could only see the original masters of this song do it-now that would be so cool. How fast do you think they would sell out the Beacon? Or Madison Square Garden? I’d say that they would set records on selling out tickets at a record pace-just my opinion.

5.      Travelin’ Band – As soon as I hear this song I think of two things immediately: 1) this is one of Karen’s favorite songs and 2) Boot camp class at MBIA from 2002-2005. Karen appreciates great rock and roll (so does Richie) and how can anyone go wrong with this song for classic rock and roll? One has to move every part of their body when they hear this song, no? It pumps me up so much and that is one of the reason’s that this song appeared on my first CD that I created for the MBIA gym rats when we did boot camp class with Dave. Man those were the days, I always look back with pleasure on those boot camp days and this song was a staple that was played over and over again. “Dave hit the rewind button!!!”

4.       Have You Ever Seen The Rain? – As I get to the final four, it is really hard to pick what is my favorite because at certain points in depends on the mood I am in but there is no doubt that this rain song belongs in the top four. This is like Mom’s apple pie or comfort food (the holidays are fast approaching, so watch out). This again has to be considered one of the best songs ever recorded, no? “Someone told me long ago…there’s a calm before the storm…I know…its been coming for some time.”- could be one of the best opening lines of songs, right? (Hey maybe that is a new category-songs with great opening lines?!) This song is majestic and has to make you feel good-I know it does for me. I consider it a blessing that this band could give us their gift of amazing songs-doesn’t get much better than this folks.

3.      Who’ll Stop The RainI don’t know what it is with their songs with “rain” but they are arguably the best songs they ever created. Again I am right at home with family & friends sitting around the table breaking bread with this song playing in the background during the holiday season. There is a special feeling that comes over me when I hear it. Do you ever get the chills when you hear an immense song that gives you a tingling sensation down your back? Don’t cha just love the beginning of the song? Gets me every time, so good it brings a tear to the eye. The song is so apropos here in the Northeast where it seems like it has been raining for the entire 2011 year, we are stuck in an unbelievable pattern and I am asking- “Who’ll Stop The Rain?”

2.      Down On The Corner – How great is this song? I feel like the band could have given everyone in the world some sort of percussion instrument to jam along in the recording studio as all would be dancing in that long line around the earth shaking their noise maker. Whenever I hear this song I am taken back to the late 1990’s when I first met the gang at MBIA (not the gym rats) when we used to play softball against them and this one particular time we all went to this local watering hall in Armonk N.Y. and there was a jukebox. So guess who made a beeline for it? Anyway I was trying to impress my future colleagues (and of course forever friends, as we still get together every year-although I may be out next year because I had a brain freeze this year and made plans on the one day that the “reunion” was planned) with my music prowess. Of course when I saw this song, I had to pick it and I remember Dianne saying that I picked out good music and it was during this song she said it. You see, there are some things you will forever associate a song with and that’s my story. Excellent tune by the way. (Love the quick whistle)

1.       Long As I Can See The Light– This song stops me right in my tracks and I am completely still with awe and wished I could have been in the recording studio when this was completed, I think I would have hit the ceiling. Whenever I hear the saxophone solo it makes me so angry that I stopped playing, so I hope my kids are reading this and never stop playing so they won’t have to say the-“I could have, should have” crap. Anyway, whenever I hear this song it immediately puts me back in the gym at MBIA during Spin class with Chris and he was nice enough to play one of my endless CD’s (sorry Chris I know that probably drove you nuts as an instructor- he always had a strong list of songs that he made all the time) and when this song came on Jim almost jumped out of his seat (Chris was there to make sure he would not slack off) as the smile came over his face as he drifted off into his own world and sung each word with the fervor that Mr. Fogerty does. In my opinion, it was one of the best moments in our Spin class history (besides when Taxter was voted off the island) and is something I will never forget. This ranks up high on my list of all-time favorite songs, not just the “CCR” list. “Put a candle in the window” Amen….

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Adam Ant

2.     Erykah Badu

3.     David Bowie

4.     Mama Cass

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     What band did David Crosby leave (or asked to leave) prior to creating the legendary bands- CSN and/or CSN&Y?

2.     True or False: Tony Iommi, the legendary guitarist from Black Sabbath, was in Jethro Tull?

3.     Who claims to be “the architect of rock and roll?”

4.     True or False: Lionel Richie asked Keith Urban to sing background vocals on his first solo album?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC

2.     Heartbreak Station – Cinderella

3.     Everyday People- Sly & Family Stone

4.     Let’s Hang On – Frankie Valli & Four Seasons

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

1.     “…but happiness is just an illusion…filled with sadness and confusion…”

2.     “…grow apple trees..and honey bees..and snow white turtle doves…”

3.     “…maybe I hang around you, a little more than I should…we both know I’ve got somewhere else to go…”

4.     “…in a coffee house Sebastian sat…and after every number they passed a hat…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1971, Yes performed their first concert with Rick Wakeman as their keyboardist in Leicester, U.K.

Back on this day in 1977, Ringo Starr released his sixth solo album-“Ringo The 4th”- which peaked at 162 on the Billboard 200 chart. He was dropped from Atlantic records shortly after its release.

Back on this day in 1988, Van Haggar kicked off their second leg of the tour in support of “OU812” at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. (I saw that tour, loved it).

Back on this day in 1989, Neil Young was the musical guest as Saturday Night Live kicked off its 15th season and performed-“Rockin’ In the Free World,” “The Needle and the Damage Done,” and “No More.”

Back in the day in 1993, George Harrison and David Crosby were guests on the season premier of “The Simspons.”

Back on this day in 1998, a whole bunch of rockers made a guest appearance on the “Drew Carey Show” including- Dusty Hill, Slash, Rick Nielson, Joey Ramone, Joe Walsh & Dave Mustaine.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Dewey Martin, (Buffalo Springfield) and the late Marc Bolan (T-Rex).

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September 23, 2011

Weekly Update – 09/23/2011

My Morning Jacket with Band of Horses at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Dec. 14. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $69.25. There is a 4 ticket limit per purchase.

Radiohead at Roseland Ballroom next Wed. Sept. 28. Tickets on sale this Mon. Sept. 26 at 10:00 a.m. $79.75. Limit two tickets per person and pick up at Will Call window only.

Guns & Roses at the Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sat. Nov. 19. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $68 and $89.70

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Dec. 1. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $93.35 and $143.20

Goo Goo Dolls at the Wellmont Theater on Fri. Nov. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40 ($45 day of show).

David Garrett at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Feb. 4, 2012. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $53.15, $63.40 and $73.60

From Good Homes at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. Dec. 17. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30 ($35 day of show).

Simple Plan at Best Buy Theater on Tues. Nov. 29. Pre-sale tickets for AMEX holders until 10:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $25.

Foreigner at Town Hall on Tues. Feb. 14, 2012. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $71.55 and $140.70.

Olivia Newton John at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Thurs. Dec. 8. Tickets on sale now. $41.50 and $62.50

Other items:

I write about music but my cousin Devin Arne makes music and he just put out his first solo EP -“Kaleidoscope”- (he is also a producer) that is available at I-Tunes and also at www.canalrecords.com. The EP features a wealth of talent from Miami’s diverse music scene including rapper LaGuardia, rock vocalist Fernando Castro, saxophonist Matthew Taylor, guitarist/producer Will Mills and singer Paracusiatic. Hailing from New York are Rappers Dylan Owen, a long time collaborator of Devin, as well as A-Game and Kia Rogers.

The albums music is influenced by a diverse array of genres including Hip Hop, Broken Beat, Indie-Rock, Bhangra and Dub. Devin cites The Roots, Outkast Radiohead, Flying Lotus and Björk as major influences. The basic instrumentals of the tracks were composed by Devin Arne from the winter of 2010 through Summer of 2011, with the idea of creating an album that would feature a wide array of vocalists each adding their unique sound and style. The EP’s funky electronic beats and processed guitar sounds stand in stark contrast to Devin’s 2009 collaborative acoustic jazz release Songs Of The North & There and Back by The Devin Arne Quintet. How cool is this? I can say I remember when Devin was at my wedding as a five year old and now he is on I-Tunes and planning a tour. Wow, way to go Devin!! Check it out, I have it and not just because he is family, this is good stuff right here.

There was pretty shocking news a few days ago when it was announced on their website that R.E.M. was breaking up after 31 years as a band. Weird thing is that they just released their fifteenth studio album earlier this year, so one would have thought they were going to gear up for a tour in support of it but not the case. I have to give it to them though they remained relevant throughout their 31 year history, kind of reminds me of U2 in the sense that no matter what new genre was the flavor of the month, they managed to get airplay from any type of rock radio format, whether it was classic or modern. Somehow, someway you always heard an R.E.M. song on the radio. They had 64 singles released on the airwaves, pretty impressive, no? They are already in the Hall of Fame (I think Eddie Vedder’s induction speech is still going on) and made a major impact of the music world. Warner Brothers will be releasing a greatest hits retrospective in November. Thank you R.E.M. for giving your gift of music to all of us.

I went to see the “Tedeschi-Trucks” band on Saturday Sept. 10 at the Beacon Theater with my oldest son as he is now the connoisseur of all things –“guitar player”- and he is part of the community that is “in the know” about the guitar prodigy named Derek Trucks. Folks, I am telling you right now, you’d be hard pressed to find another living guitarist who possesses the skills that this young man has. Some of the words that quickly come to mind whenever I have seen him is: amazing, blazing, awe inspiring, breath taking, mesmerizing…I could go on for days and my plea today is for you to somehow get to see this man shred the guitar so you can hear (and see) it with your own ears (and eyes). This is his “new” band with his wife-Susan Tedeschi- and nine other close friends (yes I said nine) and he is also in the Allman Brothers, so he is in New York almost every year without fail; hence there will be multiple chances to witness a Hall of Fame guitarist. (Forget the 25 year body of work- he’s in already in my opinion). And what about his wife- Susan- you ask? This woman possesses such a sweet presence on stage but commands such respect because of her soulful vocal style (nobody can rip it like she can) and her impressive skills on guitar. There was a moment that my son keenly pointed out during the show when Derek and Susan were “battling” (or trading guitar licks) each other and he said “how many people can say that they were jamming on the stage with their wife?” And you know what, she more than held her own (I am not trying to make this a competition but I figured you would have wanted to know how she did-I know- I apologize, I will stop talking). These two young artists have music in their system which can not be taught, in my opinion it is a “calling” and they were put here on this earth to spread their cheer for the rest of us lucky ones. It is mind boggling the amount of raw talent that they possess (along with the rest of the band) for such a young age and I’m sorry for focusing so much on age but usually bands become this good after years of being in the music business or in the same band for decades.

My son would be better for the breakout of the songs performed because he knows every song inside out from their debut album-“Revelator”- but I know some of the highlights for me was “Learn How to Love,” “Bound for Glory” and my son’s favorite-“Midnight in Harlem.” The band has two drummers (who were both phenomenal), a keyboardist, bass (go Oteil!!!) a horn section complete with a saxophonist, a trumpeter and trombone player along with two back-up male singers. (But don’t kid yourself, these two guys have the skills the front their own band and I believe they both do). There was a fusion of all these instruments and vocals that produced such unbelievable grooves, riffs, jams that again was “all natural.” The music is in every one of them. There was a moment during one of the encores where the trombone player had his moment to shine with a solo and the audience could see Derek basically taking his hands off the guitar and staring intently at him, almost like it was an audition but more likely to let the crowd know that something very cool was about to occur. The trombonist played his tail off but then steps up to the plate and starts to sing- who knew he had these skills? The rest of the band is jamming and smiling and like the entire night they made it feel like there was one big happy family up on stage just expressing their love through music and the result was spectacular- the audience was out of their seats most of the night-singing, dancing and watching with much admiration while knowing they were part of a very special night.

The highlight for the show for me is when the band broke out into two phenomenal songs by Sly & The Family Stone-“Sing a Simple Song” and “I Want to Take You Higher.” The best part is when Mike Mattison (the singer of the Trucks band before they integrated with Susan) sang the high parts of the songs and if you know his voice you know that it is very deep and he would have been the last person that I would have thought to handle those parts but he completely knocked it out of the park. When they started to play “Higher” I don’t think I could have been any higher- it was one of those feelings where I felt like I was having an outer body experience (like I do when I am at a Van Halen show with Diamond Dave or a Metallica show). The band was jamming like no other and it was complete euphoria.

I want to thank my oldest son for suggesting that we go to see this phenomenal band and of course I want to thank the members of the Tedeschi-Trucks band because the evening turned out to be one of the best shows I have ever seen (I know I say that about every show, right?) but I am telling you from the bottom of my heart-it couldn’t have been any better- a fantastically (is this a word?) talented band and being there with my son-could it have been any better? I think not. Folks you need to familiarize yourself with this band.

Later on that week, I went to see the “Big Four” at Yankee Stadium for a nice quiet summer afternoon/evening with my younger brother and “tens of thousands” metal militia members who were clamoring for an event like this that would unite them for a “Kumbaya” moment remininscent of the flower power movement of the 1960’s albeit with black tar dripping from the thorned roses. Even though the label that is cultivated by metal was on display everywhere on this summer mid-week work and school day, I believe everyone was genuinely happy that this day finally arrived. (Yes I know there are others still steamed that Exodus or Testament weren’t included but let’s move on). Of course, there will be the haters and complainers out there that will moan about who played first, second and third but there were no doubts about who was going to bat “clean-up.” With no disrespect to the other bands, without Metallica, the event would have been held at Irving Plaza, so there was no denying who was batting fourth.

Now I consider myself part of that metal militia but just like in many other areas of life I don’t think I am in as deep as some of my brethren. As you know I love Metallica and I have seen Megadeth before, so for half the show I knew I was going to recognize much of the set that they were going to perform. When Anthrax came on first I knew that they were from the New York area and they basically came out in Yankee jersey’s and Ian yelled out to the audience that there was no way they would play at a loser stadium-Citifield- and purposely singled out Eddie Trunk (host of “That Metal Show”) in his proclamation, who must be a Mets fan. Anthrax was a recent guest on TMS in the new season. (Are you watching this show yet?!) Anyway, I thought Anthrax put on a fantastic performance with pure energy and seemed to be having lots of fun being “home” in front of their loyal fans. I can honestly say that I would go see them in concert again and may start to “discover” their music by diving into their catalog. I loved to see the many fans singing along to every word of every song (which included a couple who brought their young son) while of course head-banging at breakneck speed. (Hey we were all there at some point to bang our heads off letting off steam, right??!!). The boys from Anthrax had to pound it out in the hot sun and steamy afternoon and pound it they did. My brother was so impressed that he downloaded over 30 songs from I-Tunes- you see it is never too late and I myself will have to do the same \m/ \m/.

Megadeth came out and it was good to see Mr. Ellefson back with the band and recently the line-up has remained pretty stable. (This band would give Thin Lizzy a run for its money for the amount of band members that have been enlisted to keep it running). Dave Mustaine is very “business like” despite most of his songs which are written against “the system” and they put forth a different kind of metal than Anthrax. I would say that Megadeth reminds me of Rush if they decided to become a metal band- very intelligent lyrics and extremely precise arrangements. Mustaine informed the audience that he had surgery on his neck the day before and shouldn’t have been performing but stated he did it for the fans and we the fans appreciated Dave. I will say he didn’t seem to have either his heart or head into the performance, there was sort of this “distance” that he appeared to have and it must have been due to the surgery-but they were “tight” and played with that heavy exactitude. I also was a bit surprised that Megadeth was second in this line-up and apparently Mustaine was good with the order because in the future when this tour is done again, he expects the arrangement to be different.

Now it was just about to get dark as the summer slowly (and sadly) is coming to an end but I had no idea just how dark it was going to get before Slayer was getting ready to enter the fray. As previously mentioned, there are different levels of metal and I consider myself someone who can handle the pulverizing break-neck riffs of the bass and lead guitars but Slayer takes it to another level that I am not used to. Folks they were a brutal force of destruction-just picture those frightening storm clouds that quickly form on a humid summer day and those lightning strikes that you feel are going to hit you no matter what the impossible odds of getting struck by lightning are. There were no stage “props” and the only times that I knew that they were switching tunes is when they took a few seconds in between songs and Yankee stadium became eerily pitch black-almost like when you drive by the stadium at night in December, sort of like being in a dungeon and I had the feeling that the band (and their fans) love it that way. The pace was furious and the decibel level was fierce and at points I felt like my chest was going to explode, almost like I was in a hole and rocks and dirt were being shoveled onto my head. Like I said, not my cup of tea but their fan base loved it and even James Hetfield stated that he loved to watch them because they are so brutal. Suffice to say, I probably won’t be headed back to delve into their extensive library.

So now with our ears hurting and hearts pumping a whole lot faster as the humidity of the evening seemingly turned up a notch, the stadium appears a whole lot more crowded as my brother and I try to figure out how to drain our system before Metallica hits the stage. What did I just say? Metallica was coming on and you knew they were going to be pulling out all the classics from their earlier albums, so there was no time to come down. Metallica’s stage was humungous (as opposed to the cell block experience we just had) and more wide open with the Yankee logo shining brightly behind the center-field set-up. Knowing they had to start off with something dark and damaging, they kick it into fifth gear right off the bat with –“Creeping Death”- just by the title you knew it was not “Good Day Sunshine” and the metal experience now five hours long, was going to be that much longer. For the next two hours, they pulled out all the stops-including a “Re-Load” song-“Fuel”-(which I told you in my top ten Metallica songs was heavy enough to be included in the “old” Metallica). In a tribute to Cliff Burton (their original bassist), they played “Orion” which fit perfectly into the metal marathon. Metallica pulverized the crowd with a rousing rendition of “Blackened.”And of course being at the home of the greatest relief pitcher in baseball history, they had to play-“Enter Sandman”- for those Yankee fans in attendance, how could they leave the night without playing that song? The encore had all the men from each band come out and they played “Overkill” by Motorhead; then ended the metal fest with “Battery” and “Seek and Destroy.”

It had been a while since I had done a “festival” show where I start in the sun and end in the dark and since it was a metal celebration there were dark moments of course but overall I loved it and felt the energy in the air. The crowd was in control (although the workers that usually do Yankee baseball games may have another opinion) and it was a day to celebrate metal with four distinctive bands (I know what you are thinking if you are not a metal fan- what???!!) But take my word for it, there are different degrees of metal and I am glad that the bands were able to put aside the fans opinions and do the concert in spite of them. And just like a movie that maybe you did not want to see; by the end you are pleasantly surprised with the result and leave with a different opinion that you came in with. Each band played their ass off and the results were great. I look forward to the next Big Four. \m/ \m/

My favorite new song of the week is-“Lemon Drop”- by the Pistol Annies which is “supergroup” of Country & Western female performers consisting of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, & Angaleena Presley. Their new album-“Hell on Heels”- has been getting rave reviews from many different sources/sites. This was the free song offered on I-Tunes and I jumped on it and it is now my new favorite song of the week.

My favorite “old school R&B” song of the week is-“Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things)”- by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. Wow, what else can I say but “they don’t write or sing songs like this” anymore. What a voice, folks I am telling you right now you need to own this track, unbelievable-it will put you in a trance.

Album Review: “Kick” by INXS released on Rocktober 19, 1987

Kick

A few weeks back on a Sunday morning I was channel surfing and for those of you who know me you know the channels I have to check out deal with sports, old TV sitcoms and of course music. Now the only music channel I religiously check out is “VH1 classic” which kind of reminds me of when VH1 (or MTV) used to be good viewing. So I happen to come across a “Behind the Music” (it has recently been revived-like Beavis & Butthead) episode on Michael Hutchence, the late front man of the Australian band, INXS. The “documentary” captivated me to the point where I actually put the clicker down-even during commercials because I was afraid I was going to miss something (so you know it had to be good). Listening to how those who make it in the business where thousands (or millions) or people sing the song (or songs) that they have written (or perform) whenever they hear it on the radio or wherever they hear it, is something that I will always be interested in. (I guess because I have the same passion for music but obviously am not a performer or singer).

We always think we know what it means (or feels) to be a rock star or a pop star and when I see a story like the one on Michael, it kind of makes me realize that maybe in all of our careers that we each choose, there are great moments along with some tough times. I know I assume that I would love to be at the “top of the world” where I could command an audience of more than 40,000 people with just the movement of my right arm; I could have them quiet down or roar with appreciation by just moving my arm without saying a word. (Kind of cool, no?) And yes boys and girls, Mr. Hutchence had this kind of power when INXS was at the “top of the world” back in the late 1980’s. Like many bands before them (and of course for the bands trying to make it), it took INXS some time before they made it to the promised land and one of the most interesting facts I discovered on the show was that the “club scene” in Australia is apparently much “rougher” (for lack of a better word) than it is here in the United States or in England. (Hard to imagine something more “raw” than the days of when “CBGB’s” was rockin’, punkin’ and rolling all those years). Also a surprising tidbid was to hear Michael’s family and close friends state that he was uncomfortable with being “on top” and did not like the pressure that went along with it. He was said to become more reclusive when the band’s popularity grew. Sadly, we all know how the story ends and I had a tear stream down my face when his father broke down as he recalled the moment when the police showed up at his door with the news that his son was gone. “I got down on my knees and begged God to take me and to leave Michael here.” Now I am not going to sit here and say that I know Michael after a one hour show but it did give the viewer a slight insight to his life, albeit it with the “sex, drugs and rock & roll” expected aspect of the story and it goes without saying that he died way too young (just like so many others we all know-rock stars or personal friends) because who knows where his talent would have taken him.

Now I had the good fortune to see INXS during their “heyday” and I personally witnessed the presence he commanded on stage along with an unbelievable energy that made it a stand out memory for me when I think back on the most memorable shows that I have ever seen during this never ending quest to see live music while I am here on earth. And I can not say that I was a huge fan of INXS because I only have one album by them- “Kick”-without a doubt their most popular album-and what an album it is. (Yes I know this goes against the grain with me, especially in the late 1980’s when I usually dropped bands once they became popular- hey what can I say? I am “complicated.”). After I watched “Behind the Music,” what do you think I did? Yes- dove right back into “Kick” and it brought me back and again made me realize how good this band is-with him at the helm- and just how much fun it is to listen to their songs because what is life without fun? Now there may be some of you out there who may not have taken this band seriously or may say that this album spawned “golden nuggets” and is not a classic album. My response is “hogwash”- this album was made to listen to from top to bottom, so here goes.

The album starts off with “Guns in the Sky” and the beginning starts off with some “James Brown-like” grunts backed by some “rap-like” drum beats and right off the bat you are either dancing around the room or if you are not the dancing type, you are snapping your fingers and/or bopping your head up and down to the infectious beat. Is it a simple beat? Yes, but it has to get some part of your body moving.“da, da, da…love your house…da, da, da…can you spare a dime?” I like the way the lead guitar comes in the last 30 seconds or so and gives it that extra kick in the pants. Then it transitions beautifully into “New Sensation” and in my opinion it is one of the best “one-two” punches to start off an album. And what about “New Sensation?” This is one song that I never tire from and can listen to at any point of the day or night-there is something so fresh about this song. This is Maroon 5 before Maroon 5 is born, right? “Live baby live, now that the day is over”- words to live by for many, right? The hook is again down right infectious. I can remember Madison Square Garden rocking out to the max when they played this track, an unbelievable sight as 18,000 people were dancing in the aisles-just having a total blast. Like a snake slivering through the grass, “Devil Inside” starts off slickly as the groove slows down a bit but that doesn’t stop this song from arguably being the most popular song on the album. “Look at him go…look at him kick…makes you wonder how the other half lives…devil inside…devil inside…every single one of us.” C’mon you know there is a little devil inside every one of us, some of us just hide it better than others, right? (One can take that meaning so many different ways you decide how you want to take it). This composition flows beautifully and if you listen carefully you will know exactly what I am talking about-especially the cool background vocals that sort of sound like an instrument. Others may argue that track # 4-“Need You Tonight”- is the most popular track from “Kick” and would point to the countless times that MTV played this video, right??!! If you were around in the late 1980’s you had to know this song, either through the radio or MTV-or if you were like me-from both. It may be one of those songs where one can no longer listen to (because of its obsessive play) but I have not heard it in a pretty long time so I can deal with it (and can also control it because it is not on the radio-or MTV- as much now- funny how things change, right?). Now for those of you who did not know that the song actually ends and morphs into “Mediate” and if you were like me when watching the video you just assumed that when Michael was flashing all the cards with one word catch phrases that were part of the lyrics, it was still “Need You.” But alas, it is not. And I don’t want to hear the argument that this is not a good song because you know you hang on all the lyrics as you try to take in every phrase that is being spoken because it was cool. Side one (did I forget to mention that?) ends with the gritty “The Loved One” which has a funky groove highlighted by some very cool keyboard/piano work integrated with the lead guitar (Ok so I recognize there is not a big “guitar” presence in their songs but they do know how to accentuate- have I mentioned the similarity between them and Maroon 5?). The great thing about this album is that everyone can sing along to the great chorus “punch-lines” which are huge in almost every song. So now everyone sing along- “Oh baby I love you so…I need you now…I want you back…I can’t go on.” I love this song and can’t decide if this is my most favorite track on the album-there are so many great songs to pick from- and I would point to Michael’s vocal performance on this tune as proof positive that he was the “real deal” and deserving of being recognized as a superstar.

Turn over to side two to the “Wild Life” and start dancing again (or snapping your fingers) and I must say that the volume must be turned up to the point where your neighbor might ask you to turn down. Do you hear that cool noise throughout the tune? What is that? At some points this has some head-banging qualities as I have caught myself moving my neck up and down at a good pace-so can it be “head-banging pop?” Yes I will go with that-I just made up a new category. Seriously folks, every song so far is a hit. Then it is on to my most favorite INXS of all-time (so I guess it has to be my favorite on the album, right?). “Never Tear Us Apart” is one of the greatest songs ever recorded in the 1980’s and I will not take any arguments to the contrary.It contains a quality of passion that may have not been replicated since its recording. Yes that is how much I love this track. The composition of this song is second to none despite its “simple” setting and it’s hard to put into words how much this song moves me. Just like in the statement –“you had me at hello”- they had me at-“Don’t ask me…what you know is true…don’t have to tell you…I love your precious heart.”- I love the bass part with the grand style entrance that has to make you put your hands on your heart and feel the passion that rips through your chest. This could be Michael’s vocal masterpiece despite the song being less than three minutes long, how can you not feel this? “We could live…for a thousand years…but if I hurt you…I make wine from your tears…” The saxophone solo is righteous; despite how short it is-sometimes the best things come in small packages, right? This song moves me like no other. The flow of this album is what grabs my attention, especially the transition from “Never Tear” to “Mystify.” How great is this song as well? It is so addictive and three quarters of the album is gone and you start to realize what a classic this really is. This is their pinnacle and I for one don’t understand why this album doesn’t rank up way high when people search for the best albums of the decade of 1980. I know there is a legion of their fans out there who would point to this song as the best track on the disc and it is hard to argue against that statement. I love the “yeah” in the background at certain points of the song. Flat out one of their best songs ever. Track # 4 on side two is the title song and it definitely contains that certain “kick” in the pants which gets you moving. The saxophone is all over this tune as well as the background trumpets and trombones which gives it that “R&B” flavor. You know when a song is good because it is over before you know it-the song starts off with a “Prince-like”- “dearly beloved we are gathered here today” as the boisterous infectious beat kicks into gear to get you out of your seat and party “like it is 1999.” The “dance-fest” continues with the high energy-“Calling All Nations”- a lesser known track but contains the same quality as all the songs before it. I can just picture a huge crowd having a great time at a wedding and the DJ throws this song on as the crowd goes wild with a huge circle that forms as individuals try to make their mark within the epicenter while the music is blasting and the older folks just watch with amusement while stating that their generation did it better. How much fun is this song? I can’t get enough of it. The last track on the album is-“Tiny Daggers”- which is another fast pace song that conjures up thoughts of Squeeze. The guitar work is very nice and the arrangement is something that grabs your attention. It is a party and INXS has done its best to get you to join in the fun, so what are you waiting for?-You need to own this album.

“Kick” is an album that will never lose its appeal because one can tell that the band poured its blood and guts into making it one of the best-if not the best- albums’ of the 1980’s. Go ahead and scoff at this notion but you can not deny that this album spawned some of the biggest hits of the 1980’s and the songs sound as fresh today as the day they were recorded. The sad thing, in my opinion, is that Michael is no longer with us to show the subsequent generations how great he really was. Can you imagine if he were still with us today?, I truly believe that he would have become an “Icon”-Ok maybe not as big as Bono, but maybe just a notch below Icon. Folks this album needs to be in your musical library and there is still time to take this album out and discover what the INXS fan already knows- it is hard to top this body of work–flawless from top to bottom.

Workout Songs

Exercizer Maximizer Vol. 1 & 2: Workout Music Engineered To Get You Results

I was talking with my good friend “99” and was telling her I was looking for categories to write about and since she is an avid runner, she mentioned that I should come up with songs that are good to run along to. So in my opinion, it sort of falls into the category of “Boot Camp” songs whereby a consistent beat is needed but maybe not as extreme as an all out boot camp class would require. Here are some good running songs in my opinion, in no particular order:

I Love Music – The O’Jays – What better way to start off your run with a great R&B song to get the juices flowing? Get the extended version which clocks in at almost seven minutes long. The consistent groove should match your feet pounding on the pavement as your eyes focus on each foot hitting the ground to the nice beat. This song also works at a house party- yes with the folks that remember the classics.

Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now) – Bob Sinclair – Talk about a song that gets you moving, you may stop running and start dancing right in the road. The bombastic beats are almost too much to take and at certain parts of the song, your feet will be hitting the pavement as hard as the beats are flowing. The Jamaican flavor makes you move easier. Rock the house!!!

Save Me, San Francisco – Train – What a fun song this is, this band is really starting to grow on me. This could be used as you get your run started or when you are coming to the end of your journey. You will not be able to control the urge to sing along-“I’ve been high…I’ve been low…I’ve been yes and I’ve been Oh Hell No!!!” The beat is so addictive as the drums are so infectious, if this song doesn’t move you-the like the Beastie Boys say-“Check your head.” I can’t get enough of this song and never mind my favorite song of the week, this has been my favorite song for more than a month now. Pure fun, you need to own this song.

Bridge Burning – Foo Fighters– If you can take Dave Grohl screaming in your ears at a very high decibel then this is the song for you. The hard driving song has to pump you up as you push yourself to do better, go faster and go just a little farther than you set out to do. This song may have to be used in the middle or towards the end of your run because it is high energy and you’ll need to be a well oiled machine by the time you get to this song. Great new song from their impressive “Wasting Light” album.

Ring My Bell – Anita Ward – Ok, an oldie but a goodie, consistent beat that is easy to run along to. My boys can’t stand this song any more because somehow it always makes my playlist whenever we have a party. (I put it on for my wife because I know she loves it). I know it is short but if you can find the extended disco version, you are in.

Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti – How can the theme from “Rocky” not be included in this list of running songs? Is there a better song to get you pumped up to complete your run? Try and have this as your last song as you are coming to the finish line and even if you are dog tired, once you hear the “bell” – you will answer it. Great song, period.

Perfect Insanity – Disturbed – This is the heavy metal portion of running class and one can really not go wrong with Disturbed to get the juices flowing. The middle of the song slows down a bit but it would work if you are running up a hill. It is not an all out sprint but it moves pretty quickly in the beginning and then moves into more hill like run. Again for any type of workout, Disturbed’s music will typically work. Hard driving band.

Let It Roll – Little Feat – Want some good home town cooking to get you moving? Look no further than this fast moving track which just might have you dancing and clapping your hands instead of running. This band is so much fun and if you have never seen them before, you really should make an effort. (They come to BB Kings at least once a year). Kick off your shoes and dance around the room…Ooops I mean, tie your laces and move those legs and arms. It’s tough not to perform some kind of dance motion while you are running to this song, pure fun!!!.

Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid – Motley Crue – As you probably can tell, I like the heavy pounding beats to get me moving and this Crue classic always gets the juices flowing. I know it may be a little too heavy for most but if you want to keep moving at a nice pace, check this tune out from their “Shout At The Devil” album.

Tripping on a Hole in A Paper Heart – Stone Temple Pilots – Keeping with the fast pace, sort of heavy theme, the Stone Temple Pilots are such a solid band and the good thing about this band is that they want you to sing along with them. Having said that, this song has been out for decades and I still don’t know what the lyrics are but that is the best part because when you are running and you’re tired, you basically are dribbling the words anyway, so who is gonna know that you are singing it incorrectly? Just have fun!!!!

A.D. 1928/Rockin’ The Paradise – Styx – You have to play both songs in a row just like their album-“Paradise Theater”-started off because even though the first minute seems to be a slow song it then kicks into gear and how can you not sing along to this song. “I ain’t looking to fight but I know with determination we can challenge the schemers who cheat all the rules.” Great song that gets the juices flowing.

Electric Eye – Judas PriestIf you want to get pumped beyond belief, then you need a Judas Priest track, no? These guys are so friggin’ good, it is scary and songs like this one proves that point. I tested this one out for myself folks on a morning run this week and I watched the tips of my sneakers hit the ground in front of me as it matched the drum beats in perfection. You may have to stop to air guitar though, I can’t blame you if you because this song rocks!!! \m/ \m/

Rip It Out – Ace Frehley – If you are running to outer space then you need to take your “Ace” spaceman with you from his first solo album, this fast pace rocker will blast you off in no time. Run Ace Run!!! Air-guitaring is required. \m/ \m/

I Understand Now – Patterson Hood – Good warm up song or cool down as the pace is not so fast but not so slow, very consistent. If you like Mellencamp (not the new “Hank Williams” Mellencamp but the one from about 5-10 years ago) you will like this tune.

Here is a list from my good friend “99” that I mentioned above, she is an avid runner and these are the tunes that she likes to run to:

“Don’t Stop Believing”- Journey; “Meet me Halfway”- Black Eyed Peas; “Never Know”- Jack Johnson; “Raise Your Glass”- Pink; “A Thousand Miles”- Vanessa Carlton; “About An Hour Ago”- O.A.R.; ‘Body Language”- Jesse McCartney; “Halo”- Beyonce; “Bulletproof” – La Roux; “Heartbreak Warfare”- John Mayer; “Viva La Vida”- Coldplay; ‘First day of My Life”- Bright Eyes; “Shattered”- O.A.R.; “Wonderful Day”- O.A.R.; “Forever”- Chris Brown; “I’ll Do Anything”- Jason Mraz; “Beautiful Day”- Michael Buble.

Top Ten

The Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago and it immediately hit me that I had not done a top ten list from this outfit that is still going strong some 40 years after starting out as the Chicago Transit System. Now am I the biggest fan?; I can’t say that I am because they have so many albums, maybe as many as my years here on earth. (46) I have a few of their albums but “cheated” by getting their double CD greatest hits, which covers so much ground. If I had to take a guess on what band I heard on the radio the most (besides the Beatles and Elvis) while growing up, I would have to say Chicago would be on top. From the early 1970’s to the early 1980’s, they had so many of their songs playing on the radio and not just the “oldies” station. They were played on contemporary radio (WABC radio-yes AM my friends) as well as the classic rock format. They were “progressive,” “rocking,” and “pop” all mixed into one that drew so many different fans into their lure and is a testament to their longevity, as fans still find time out of their busy summer to see them each and every year. Did they eventually go and stay on the pop highway? Yes, most probably know their “power ballads” as opposed to their early “prog” style but I didn’t have a problem with it-they made some of the best pop songs ever.

It’s hard for me to believe that there is not a song in their library that you can say you don’t like-it’s “Un-American.” There has to be one song that you like in their extensive playlist that gets you going- even if it is in the car by yourself if you are afraid to admit you like it in public. Has there ever been a better band to mix the horns with the guitars, piano and drums. Ok, so there are others but they are near the top in my opinion. Now this list will be similar to that of Heart in the sense that I don’t have any “obscure” songs that you have never heard of- every song on this list should be familiar to you-the argument will come when I get questions like-“How could you leave out-“You’re The Inspiration?”-which is my oldest sons’ favorite Chicago song. My response is (and always has been) that it is in the eye (I mean-“ear”) of the beholder. So with that, I acknowledge that they have so many hits that it is hard to narrow it down to ten songs but I am stuck on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by Chicago-“These are Them:”

10.     Wishing You Were Here– This song beat out a lot of competition for the tenth spot but in my own personal “battle of the tunes” it kept winning out over some of the other selections I had, some very good ones I might add-which tells you how impressive this song is. The part of the song that does it for me is when there is about 2:05 seconds remaining in the tune when they come to the bridge and sing “And I’d like to change my life and you know I would…just to be with you tonight, baby if I could…”-that could be my most favorite “break” in a song ever-to me there is nothing better. (I know I am weird but just as they say-“it’s the little things in life that mean so much.”). This takes me back to my childhood days-especially my summer days and nights spent with my grandmother and uncle- Ahh those were the days.

9.       If You Leave Me Now –Did I mention how great their “power ballads” are? How can anyone not like this song (Ok yes maybe because it has been played incessantly since its release-I can see that). Many of their songs put me in a trance and this is certainly one of them. The arrangement is superb right down to the “triangle” sound and the vocals are beyond spectacular. The world would never be the same if songs like this did not exist. The guitar solo in the middle is righteous and takes the song to another level. I could listen to this song all day long.

8.       Saturday in the Park –Despite the fact that this song should be banned from classic rock radio for the next ten years (forgot to add this one when I did that list), I couldn’t eliminate it from my list- it is too good The piano part in the beginning gets me every time-hook, line & sinker and once the trumpet chimes in, well I am waiting to sing along-“a man selling ice cream…singing Italian songs…”-(don’t ask me the line after that because I still don’t know what they say and that is after 35 years of hearing this song). This tune crosses generations like none other- I know that my great, great grandkids will love this track just as my own kids, my dad and my grandfather (yes he likes it he just doesn’t know it).

7.       25 or 6 to 4 – This is another song that should be banned from classic rock radio for the next ten years but again it is too good to not take along with you on that island because I couldn’t imagine waiting ten years to hear one of the best-if not the best- guitar songs in all of rock and roll history. Terry Katz does an amazing job on guitar and every time I listen to the track I am still impressed on his ability to make the guitar sing. I think I read somewhere that Jimi Hendrix was an admirer of Katz on guitar-pretty sweet, huh? And how many songs with great guitar solos can boast that they have trombones and trumpets mixed in with the flow so smoothly that it doesn’t seem like there are trombones and trumpets in it? If you follow Katz throughout the entire song you will realize that he just doesn’t stop, it’s like an all out sprint in Spin class or blasting your way through a 40 yard dash (obviously he does it longer than a 40-yard dash but you get the picture). Can’t say enough about this song, has to be considered in the top 100 classic rock songs of all-time.

6.       Colour My World – Talk about your mesmerizing songs? This could be the most hypnotic song ever recorded and sometimes simplicity takes things to a whole new level, right? Katz does an equally amazing job on this song as he did in “25” and I always have to hit the rewind button right up until the part where he starts singing so that I can hear that awesome piano part. I have implored my youngest son to play this song on piano and also have chided my oldest to take on the flute part as he also plays flute. This song is flawless and is one of their most beautiful moments ever recorded.

5.       Make Me Smile – Love the fusion of the horn section with the guitar and drums, how great is the drumming on this song? There is something about this tune that gets me every time I hear it. Love the vocals and especially the background vocals, does it get any better? Why yes it does-once the trumpet solo takes over it carries the song to another level and then once the guitar chimes in, well it reaches superstar status in my mind. I remember the first Spin CD that I ever created for Megan when she started teaching at MBIA included two Chicago songs- this one and another track further up on this list. Believe it or not, this song works for Spin-“I’m so happy…that you love me…Life is lovely…when you’re near me…”- you will have a lot of fun with this track and isn’t that what life is about? Having fun. If you are not familiar with this song, please make sure you experience the magnitude that those of us who do know this song. Flat out one of their best songs ever recorded.

4.      Alive Again – Don’t ask me why this song is here at number 4, just accept it. I know it is going to be hard for many of you out there but I always had a bond with this song from the day it was released. At the time back in the 1970’s, they had become so big that whenever they released a new album there was more pressure for them to come up with songs to keep them relevant. In my opinion, this song kept the train running as they stacked up on the coal to keep the engine purring. Now the kicker for me was that my father’s station at the time-“CBS-FM”- the oldies station- started to put it on their playlist. Yes I know what you’re thinking but it was sort of like a double-edged sword- kiss of death that it appeared on an oldies station right off the bat but on the other hand-so good that it was already recognized as a classic. I convinced myself it was better to be considered a classic right away and it showed my Dad that I listened to music that was good and now he was hearing it on his almighty station.

3.       Questions 67 and 68Majestic…that is the first word that comes to mind when I think about this song or how about grandiose? This spectacular arrangement has to go down in the lures of music as one of the best-almost to the point where people say-“Did that really happen?” This had to come from a higher power, no? Ok maybe a little out there but you get my drift. The changes within the song are again flawless to the point where I have to start doing the Wayne’s World-“We Are Not Worthy” bow for all to see. Love the way he belts out-“Questions 67 and 68” as the song comes to its end. Don’t know what else to say folks, this is an unbelievable song that is so good it brings a tear to the eye.

2.       Old Days – I wish I could have written this song because this is me, my wife is always telling me that I live my life in the “Old Days” and I say- why not? In the “Old Days” I had my mother right there with me doing every thing in her power to make my life better. I also had my grandmother who I always think about when I hear this song. This song was recorded in the 1970’s and there were many a summer spent with my grandma as she took my brother and I everywhere she went, including those great “Penny Socials.” What I would give to have her hold my hand again as we walked under the moon light to the hall where everyone knew each other-back in the old days. “Days I’ll always treasure”- couldn’t have said it any better. Fantastic song.

1.       Feelin’ Stronger Every Day– This was the other song that I put on my first ever Spin CD for Megan and again this works beautifully for any spin class because you start out climbing and then at the end, it is an all out sprint. Love the intro with those classic guitar riffs and the keyboards really stick out on this song, right? This song was part of my fabric as I was growing up and again takes me back to those great summer days spent in Otisville, NY. It is an inspirational tune and with about two minutes left in it, the pace dramatically picks up to really get the juices flowing and actually makes you feel stronger. And the best part?– it has all the “yeah, yeah, yeah” parts- can’t beat that, right? It is impossible to not sing along with this song so don’t even say you don’t like this tune, I will hear none of it. “After what you meant to me…ooohh baby now I can make it easily… feeling stronger everyday…” I hope you are feeling stronger everyday, listen to this song and it just might help you get there.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Sly Stone

2.     Brownsville Station- “Smoking in the Boys Room”

3.     Straight No Chaser

4.     Jackyl- “Down on Me”

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Who is Stuart Leslie Goddard?

2.     Who is Erica Wright?

3.     Who is David Robert Hayward Stenton Jones?

4.     Who is Ellen NaomiCohen?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Get Down Tonight – KC & The Sunshine Band

2.     Rasberry Beret – Prince

3.     Lonely Teardrops – Jackie Wilson

4.     Music – Madonna

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

1.     “…I’m like evil…I get under your skin…like a bomb that’s ready to blow…”

2.     “…waiting at the station…tears filling up my eyes…sometimes the pain you hide…burns like a fire inside…”

3.     “…sometimes I’m right…and I can be wrong…my own beliefs are in my song…a butcher, a baker…”

4.     “…There ain’t no good in our goodbyes…true love takes a lot of trying…oh I’m crying…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1974, Robbie McIntosh of the Average White Band died at the young age of 24 after inhaling pure heroin thinking that it was cocaine

Back on this day in 1980, Bob Marley played his last concert at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburg. He collapsed twice during the show and two days before he had collapsed while in Central Park in New York City.

Back on this day in 1970, David Bowie took over the lead role in “Elephant Man” on Broadway and he did it three months.

Back on this day in 1991, Izzy Stradlin left Guns & Roses and was replaced by Gilbey Clarke. Many consider that the end of G&R.

Back on this day in 2010, Nancy Wilson filed for divorce from Cameron Crow, they had been married for 22 years.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Bruce Springsteen and the late Ray Charles.

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