Errols Weekly Music Update.

April 9, 2010

Weekly Update – 04/09/2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other items:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“TOP TEN”:

Gold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

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

2.     “Beechwood 4-5789”

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

4.     True

This week’s trivia (Random)-

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

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

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

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

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Jesus Take the Wheel”- Carrie Underwood

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

3.     “Peace Train”-Cat Stevens

4.     “My Sweet Lord” –George Harrison

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

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

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

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

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

Back on this Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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April 2, 2010

Weekly Update – 04/02/2010

Heart at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Aug. 3. Tickets on sale Fri. Apr. 16 at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Phish at Jones Beach on Tues. & Wed. Aug. 17 & 18. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $50. Also appearing at the Comcast Theater on Fri. & Sat. June 17 & 18. Tickets on sale today at 1:00 p.m. $45.50

Jack Johnson at Madison Square Garden on Wed. July 14. Tickets on sale next Sat. Apr. 10 at 10:00 a.m. $35 – $70.

John Mayer at Jones Beach on Wed. July 21 and at PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. Aug. 3. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card holders begins on Wed. Apr. 14 at 10:00 a.m. General public on sale Sat. Apr. 17 at 10:00 a.m. More information to follow.

Green Day with AFI at the Comcast Theater on Thurs. Aug. 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Lawn: $20-$35; Rear Pavilion: $49.50 – $59.50; Mid Pavilion: $59.50; Lower Pavilion: $69.50; Pit Area-SRO: $85

The Black Keys at the Central Park Summer Stage on Wed. July 28. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35

Tears for Fears at The Wellmont Theater on Sat. Aug. 21. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45, $75 and $95.

Earth Wind & Fire at Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City NJ on Fri. & Sat. June 11 & 12. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.(Live Nation Event).

Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sat. May 22. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30.

Delta Spirit at the Bowery Ballroom on Wed. June 30 and at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thurs. July 1. Tickets on sale today at noon. $16 ($18 day of show)

They Might Be Giants at the Town Hall on Sun. Sept. 26. Tickets on sale today at noon. $27 ($100 for family 4 packs)

Metric at Terminal 5 on Sun. May 16. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale now until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $25.

Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders at the Gramercy Theater (formerly “The Blender”) on Thurs. May 6. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Buzzcocks at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Thurs. May 13. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $29.50

Nas and Damien Marley at the Brooklyn Waterfront in Williamsburg Brooklyn on Sat. July 31. Tickets on sale today at noon.$39.50

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Wed. Aug. 11. More info to follow.

Other items:

Janet Jackson’s new single-“Nothing”- from the movie “Why did I get Married Too” (which is out today) was released this past Tuesday and I like it. Her vocals are eerily similar to those of her late brother Michael and I immediately thought of him when I heard this track, very soothing song.

Christina Aguilera’s new single “Not Myself Tonight” is a definite “club” song and sort of reminds me of something Lady GaGa would do. (Ouch I know that hurts Christina but it sounds like that to me) Just picture walking into a NYC club with the dark room but with lights circling the room while the people are just dancing all over the place, this is that song. In the immortal words of Randy Jackson-“This is the bomb.” Check it out, I like it. Not for the kiddies though, especially with the moans and groans towards the end.

Have I mentioned how good the new Scorpions album-“Sting in the Tail” is? According to Billboard, it’s their biggest selling album ever as far as first week sales.

If you are an ‘80’s rock fan, you may want to head out to Oklahoma City for the weekend of July 23- 25 at the “Zoo Amphitheater” where The Scorpions, Ratt and Twisted Sister will headline the 3 day event. It is called the RockNAmerica.com and other bands featured are Warrant, Faster Pussycat, L.A. Guns (yes with Tracii), Dokken, Bullet Boys and others. Tickets go on sale next Sat. April 10 at Tickets.com

My favorite “new song” of the week belongs to Peter Frampton and the song is-“I Want It Back”- from his upcoming album-“Thank You Mr. Churchhill”-which will be released on April 27. Recently I have been on a Frampton kick, especially with his early days with Humble Pie, this man has the skills on guitar and this new song will rock your socks off. Buy it now!!!

Phish will appear on TV for the first time in 6 years on Thurs. May 13 when they will perform on the “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” covering one of the Rolling Stones songs from Exile on Main Street. This will be part of a week long tribute to the Stones, whose “Exile” will be re-released on May 18 and will include 10 songs previously unreleased. Phish has not stated what song they will cover for the Fallon show.

My other favorite “new song” of the week belongs to Amy Grant with her beautiful “Better Than a Hallelujah” from her new album-“Somewhere Down The Road.” What a perfect song to be released this special week as we head into Easter weekend. I can picture looking out a window on a rainy day as the rain drops slowly make their way down the glass.

My favorite “old school R&B” song of the week is the “blist-a-fying” “funk-a-fied” “25 Miles” by the late Edwin Starr. How great is this song? Man I can’t get enough of music like this, “they” don’t make music like this anymore. It sort of has this James Brown feel to it but Edwin clearly makes it his own. “I‘ve got fifteen miles to go now and I can hear my baby calling my name…” Awesome tune.

Duff McKagan (former bassist for G&R and Velvet Revolver) has officially joined Jane’s Addiction. They are now writing new material for an album to be released next year. I don’t know but that seems like a weird match to me, I always had the feeling that Perry Farrell wanted nothing to do with the “big rock star type” and with McKagan coming from Guns-arguably one of the biggest bands ever- I would think that goes against his grain. But maybe he’s changed and I’m wrong. And from Duff’s vantage point I would think that he likes the “heavier” stuff than what Jane’s Addiction has to offer, but again what do I know?

I-Tunes actually has another pretty cool free single of the week and it belongs to Paper Tongues and their song “Trinity.” It feels like a mixture of U2, Oasis and The Killers with a splash of dance music.

The first solo album by Slash is out next Tuesday and unbelievably you can listen to the entire CD already on AOL in the “new releases” section. Even though it goes against every bone in my body I quickly listened to samples of the album and I have to tell you I am real impressed with the range of music that Slash exhibits. He can totally “metal” it out with the likes of Lemmy but then take it down to the “pop ballad” with Adam Levine. You have to check out his unbelievable riffs on “Nothing to Say” featuring M. Shadows. Or “Watch This” the instrumental with the seemingly everywhere Mr. Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan. And the forever young Iggy Pop is all over the “We’re All Gonna Die” track with his usual badself. Looks like a definite buy on this one. Nice job Slash!!!

Album Review: “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3” by The Traveling Wilburys released on Rocktober 29, 1990

The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “You Took My Breath Away” by the Traveling Wilburys so I had to go back and listen to the whole Volume 3 (as well as Volume 1 but I’ll stick with 3, although you can’t go wrong with either). Now I feel terrible that my focus is on Volume 3 as Volume 1 contained the incomparable Roy Orbison (also known as “Lefty” Wilbury). Now before I head into Volume 3, you need to familiarize yourself with their first collaboration with specific focus on “Not Alone Any More,” “End of the Line,” “Handle With Care,” “Last Night” and “Rattled” as these songs all contain parts/solos by the legendary voice of Mr. Orbison. (The other songs of course contain Orbison’s background vocals). Now their first album was released in October 1988 but unfortunately “Lefty” passed away that December. I believe there was some talk to replace Lefty but how do you replace a Roy Orbison? With that, they decided to make one more album without a new Wilbury and recorded Volume 3 (even though it was the second volume, “Spike”-George- decided to mess with people’s minds by naming it “3” with four of the original five members-Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty.

Now take yourself back to late 1990… MTV was at its all time popularity still playing all the “hairband” video’s… (this was right before Nirvana came along the following year and wiped them out)… bands like Poison, Warrant, Winger, Billy Idol and the Damn Yankees ruled the airwaves.. on the “pop” side of things Madonna was at the top of the world, with Mariah not too far behind… Paula was known for her singing and dancing instead of her “Idol” fame…The New Kids on the Block were taking young girls breath away… Rap was not at its “gangsta” stage just yet, except for Public Enemy but a lot of it was MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice and what I would call “fun” rap…Salt N Pepa and En Vogue were blazing a trail for women’s vocal bands.. even Celion Dion and Yanni (remember him?) were popular at that time.. and then along comes this rock, country rock and folk band which contained four of the arguably greatest influences on music (five when you include “Lefty”) but yet at that time, they all seem to be “in the background.” Yes we all know about Harrison and Dylan-these two alone could be considered part of the premier acts of all time, with Dylan being the greatest writer ever. Mr. Petty had already put his dent into the rock music world and Mr. Lynne has flown circles around most with his experience in ELO but for some reason they were.. dare I say… almost ignored? There was not much fan fare that I remember and it wasn’t popular at the time but in a weird way I guess I was still OK with that because I was still kind of young at 25 with part of me not wanting the music that I listened to be considered “part of the masses.” But on the other hand, it drove me nuts that they weren’t put out there for all to see, so that we all could do the Wayne’s World “We Are Not Worthy” bow to four of the world’s best artists. Now don’t get me wrong, I realize that their albums sold over 4 million copies combined-which is nothing to sneeze at-but I feel that number should be at least doubled. So what I am saying is- you need to own both volumes of one of the greatest collaborations of Icons ever assembled.

Side one starts off with the blistering “She’s My Baby”- how great is this song? It is a fast paced mesh of rock and blues which will have you “air-strumming” the acoustic guitars and just for good measure there is an electrifying guitar solo by a special guest-Gary Moore. All four Wilbury’s take turns singing their parts-which is what made every great Wilbury song special-to hear each talented voice on most all of their songs is what makes this so pleasing to the ear. We used this song in our boot camp class at MBIA from 2003-2005, if this song doesn’t move you, well then I don’t know what to say. This is the heaviest I have ever heard Dylan, it’s almost like he’s out of his element but it suits him very well. (Many of you know that I am not the hugest Dylan fan but I love all his contributions to the Wilburys). Track # 2- “Inside Out”-just may be my favorite song on the album. Starts off with the melancholy voice of Dylan but when Petty comes in with the chorus, well it just puts me over the top. “Look down your dream pipe.. what color do you see?.. It’s got to be yellow.. don’t try and fool me…” Then when Harrison takes the bridge, you have to ask yourself-“Why didn’t these guys make more volumes?” This is pure perfection folks. “Ain’t no shadow of a doubt… and your downsides up, yeah your upsides right… when you’re inside out..” “If You Belonged to Me” definitely has Dylan’s footprint all over this one, especially with the harmonica (but then again Petty utilizes the harmonica). This is Boo’s (Dylan) baby with a little help from Jeff on vocals. This is a nice sing along song which also could be shouted out as a suggestion to your next visit to the local pub for that person taking requests while playing the acoustic guitar with the harmonica attached. “The Devil’s Been Busy” is a fast paced acoustic classic which espouses visions of sitting around the campfire on a nice summer night, with each one of your friends taking the separate parts by Clayton, Spike Boo and Muddy. My favorite part is when Clayton (Jeff) breaks in with “… they’re coming down Picadilly… dripping at the dash…wasting stick Willy..” These are the best sing along songs ever. “7 Deadly Sins” is not one of my favorites on this album but it’s not that bad because it champions the long lost art of “doo-wop” and I can picture these four guys on a corner in the Bronx singing a cappella to this track. This definitely has that Dion & The Belmonts feel to it. The last track on side 1 is “Poor House” and I forgot that this is my favorite song on this album. This is knee slapping, “rock-abilly” at its best. Next time you’re on a farm just grab some jugs and anything else that you can find to tap away and put this song on somehow and dance around like you never have before. If you listen closely towards the end of the song you can hear like this “scratchin’ effect” that makes it that much easier to move and slide your neck up and down as you try to have your chin touch your chest. This is AWESOME!! I can remember that my mother loved this song and she would always say “Turn it Up!!!” Great advise Mom, I just did!!! “They’re gonna put me in the poorhouse and throw away the key..”

Side two starts off with the ever cool “Where Were You Last Night?” The groove is super stupendous and I could picture this being played at Woodstock with all the “tie-dieds” dancing around in one big circle arms entwined with each person kicking their right foot, then their left foot, then the right and so on. Spike (George) has the coolest vocals, I’m sorry. The guitar work is flawless. The coolness continues with “Cool Dry Place” as this seems to be Muddy’s (Petty) baby because he does the majority of the vocals on this song. Folks you have to listen to this song just to hear the amazing guitar solo (I’m not sure who is playing-could be George) but it is lights out. For some reason, I feel like playing the accordion when I hear this track. “New Blue Moon” is Clayton’s baby as the sound takes you back to the 1960’s again with that doo-wop or a cappella style of yester-year. Nothing spectacular about this song but still a nice track. The aforementioned “You Took My Breath Away” is nothing short of spectacular. This could be one of the best “ballads” ever recorded. When I listen I can’t think of any other song where Petty sings the way he does, it is different from anything he’s ever done but my favorite part is when Lynne breaks in with “One day when the sun is shy—ahh—ing… there will be a silver lieeee-ning..” This is their masterpiece in my opinion. This fantastic album ends with the very energetic “Wilbury Twist.” How much fun is this song? Boy do I remember playing this song for my boys when they were much younger and dancing around the living room like a maniac-trying to emulate the words that were sung by Boo, Spike, Muddy and Clayton-especially George’s part where he says-“Lift your other foot up.. fall on your ass…” which I promptly did and they would laugh at their Dad. This was another song we used endlessly at MBIA with our early morning boot camp class for like three years. It is really hard not to move something when you hear this one. Again it’s weird to hear Boo singing something so brisk and fast but it works for him.

If not for any other reason than “Volume 3” was dedicated to the memory of Roy Orbison, you need to own this Traveling Wilbury classic as you know the four remaining members did their best to honor their family member. For some reason after 1990, these guys did not create more of their superb sound and after 2001 when Harrison passed away you knew this would be it, so folks this has to be in your music library. If not, run out and get it!!!

“TOP TEN”:

Since this week’s American Idol theme was “R&B” I decided to focus on two of the women bands (no offense to “The Pips”) who I feel blazed a trail for many women R&B artists to follow (as well as men). So this week’s top ten will be a combined Top 5 from Gladys Knight & The Pips and The Marvelettes. What else can be said about Gladys Knight [and The Pips- her brother Merald Knight and their cousins-Edward Patten (who passed away in 2005) and William Guest] that hasn’t been said already? She has been an American Icon for so long it is hard to believe that she has been performed in seven decades since the late 1950’s. Her legendary voice has made some of the best songs ever recorded in the history of music. She and The Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Vocal Hall of Fame in 2001. For those of you who do not know The Marvelettes, they were really the first successful female vocal band that paved the way for later acts such as The Supremes and Martha and The Vandellas. Their origin began in Michigan in the early 1960’s and they were initially called The Marvels-five women which included Gladys Horton, Georgia Dobbins, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart and Katherine Anderson. Berry Gordy renamed them the “Marvelettes” and their first hit was “Please Mr. Postman” and the rest they say is history. From 1961 to 1969, they placed 25 singles on the pop charts. Gladys Horton left the group in 1967 and was replaced by Anne Bogan. Unfortunately today since Motown sold rights to their name none of the original members can use the name The Marvelettes-which is a travesty. But with the help of Mary Wilson (The Supremes) who fought hard to pass legislation that artists can not use the name of a band if not one of the original members are not part of the act. So now Gladys Horton, the only member still performing, may finally be able to use “The Marvelettes.” So I am on an island and am informed that I can have 5 songs from Gladys Knights & The Pips and The Marvelettes- “these are them:”

The Marvelettes

The Best of the Marvelettes: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

5.     Too Many Fish In the Sea– This has Smokey Robinson all over this track as the beat is reminiscent of something that he would record. I grew up in a household that was filled with Doo Wop, Rock and Roll and of course Rhythm and Blues- this song serves as a perfect example of R&B. This upbeat song can be used at your next Spin class or at your next party to get folks out on to the dance floor. The story behind this song indicates that the Marvelettes may have gone with the wrong song choice because they were approached by the legendary writing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland to sing the song-“Where Did Our Love Go”- which eventually landed in the hands of The Supremes and went on to be a #1 song on both the R&B and Pop charts, while “Too Many” was a minor hit. And as the rest of the story goes, the Supremes remained supreme after that…

4.     Don’t Mess With Bill– I can remember that WCBS FM, the NY “oldies” radio station would play this song all the time and that’s another thing that occurred during my upbringing which was the fact that you could lose a finger or two if you tried to change the radio station. It was forever fixated on CBS and I actually find myself going back to this station to hear songs just like this. Folks this is classic stuff right here.

3.     Playboy-This 1962 classic starts out very similar to their biggest hit “Please Mr. Postman” but takes a different turn and it resulted in this track being one of their finest successes of their career. It has the obligatory hand claps, which is better than the cowbell in my book (next to whistling). I can picture my Mom and my Aunt sitting at the table singing along to these R&B classics, pure perfection

2.     Please Mr. Postman-OK how can anyone not like this song? In this “virtual” world we live in now it is virtually impossible to not like this tune. This song reached number one on both the “R&B” and “Pop” charts back in 1961 and when I listen to it today, the recording is so clean and clear that it stands the test of time. This has to be considered one of the best songs ever recorded during the 1960’s.

1.     Forever– Even though this did not do so well in the charts (you know that makes no difference to me by now, right?) it is a very moving song sung in that “doo wop” style that gets me all the time. (Yes Dad I really like Doo Wop even though you don’t think so). This is a song of unconditional love for that someone special no matter how hard they take you for granted. “I play the part of a fool… just to be with you forever..” Folks this is where it all started, they blazed the trail for the Supremes and so many girl groups that followed and deserve your respect.

Gladys Knight & The Pips

Image of Gladys Knight

5.     Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)– Gladys has this way of putting you into a trance when she sings those slow beautiful classics and this one is no different. She always commands my complete and utter attention when she sings songs like this. This song spent four weeks as the number one song on the Soul charts back in 1973 and was a “cross-over” hit on the Billboard Pop charts as it reached # 2. They won a Grammy for this song as well, ‘nuff said!!!

4.     Nitty Gritty– Now I would assume that if you ask most people they would assume that Gladys would say that she is a “ballad” singer but on this track (along with lots of others) she proves the point that she could rock and groove out with the best of them. Or should I say “funk”- James Brown had to have a smile on his face when he heard this song, are you kidding me? This is unreal-if this song doesn’t move you- you’ve no “soul” or “funk” for that matter. This is like your favorite pancake syrup spreading across your hot stack of cakes and I do mean this is HOT!!!

3.     Every Beat of My Heart– This was her (their) first hit back in 1961 (a cover tune) and sometimes the effort that goes into your first song or album has so much “hunger” that it usually turns out to be some of the best stuff that an artist will ever record. It sort of has that Etta James feel to it (not a bad thing to be compared to Ms. James, right?). This also has that classic “doo wop” sound and her vocals are absolutely stunning, I am completely mesmerized by this song. Folks, you need to own this song as it is absolutely and positively a flawless masterpiece.

2.     Midnight Train to Georgia– I just recently saw a piece on the mother of the young woman-Gabourey Sidibe-who portrayed “Precious” in the movie where Mo’Nique won an Academy Award last month. The mother-Alice Tan Ridley- is a soul singer and actually sings on the platforms of subway stations around New York City. Well, she was profiled on Good Morning America back in February and was asked what was the biggest “tip” that she ever received and Alice stated that a woman gave her $1,000 to keep singing the song-“Midnight Train to Georgia.” How cool is that? Anyway this has to be considered one of the greatest recordings ever in the history of music. This is another absolute stunner. Just jaw dropping on how friggin’ phenomenal this song is. “They” don’t make songs like these anymore.

1.     I Heard It Through The Grapevine– With no disrespect to the late great Marvin Gaye or Creedence Clearwater Revival, there is no better version of this song than done by Ms. Knight and her family. My oldest son just told me this week that he is tired already of this song as he says he hears it almost every time I turn on my computer and go to my I-Tunes collection. No other song gets me flaying my arms over my head while snapping my fingers, this has the greatest groove of any R&B song ever recorded-again just my opinion. I can listen to this song over and over-to me this is the best song that Gladys & her Pips ever recorded-of course with all due respect to the aforementioned songs (and other songs that I did not list here)-again in my opinion. Unbelievable what a timeless classic this song is and will always be.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Randy Hogan

2.     George Martin

3.     False- Lauper was born in Queens N.Y.

4.     True- she was part of both “We are the World” recordings

This week’s trivia (Gladys Knight; Marvelettes and Traveling Wilburys)-

1.     True or False: Gladys Knight was the first person to suggest to Motown Mogul Berrry Gordy to sign a certain rising 5 boy band from Gary Indiana.

2.     Which Marvelette song was the most popular phone number up until Tommy Tuton’s 1982 pop song “867-5309?”

3.     True or False: In the original five member Traveling Wilburys band, there were three from England and two from the U.S.

4.     True or False: Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 landed in the top 100 albums of all time according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “ Turn It On Again”- Genesis

2.     “Turn The Page”-Bob Seger

3.     “Turn to Stone”-ELO

4.     “Turn The Beat Around” –Vicki Sue Robinson

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

1.     “… And the car came to a stop..she cried when she saw that baby in the backseat sleeping like a rock…and for the first time in a long time she bowed her head to pray…”

2.     “…I’d pour my heart out on each page…I’d ask for war to end… for peace to mend this world…I’d say…I’d say…I’d say… give us the strength to make it through …”

3.     “…Now I have been smiling lately… dreaming about the world as one…And I believe it could be…some day its going to come …”

4.     “…I really want to see you… I really want to be with you… really want to show you…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 2003, Edwin Starr-[“War” (War!! What is it good for?) and “25 Miles”-great songs] passed away at the young age of 61 from a heart attack.

Back on this day in 1964, The Beach Boys finished recording “I Get Around” and Brian Wilson gets so fed up with his father’s criticism of the band that he fires him as their manager.

Back on this day in 1967, Steve Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group to form Traffic.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Leon Russell and the late great Marvin Gaye.

March 19, 2010

Weekly Update – 03/19/2010

Filed under: CD Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ea0217 @ 4:48 am

The legendary Diana Ross at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. May 19. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale on Sun. Mar. 21 at 10:00 a.m until next Sun. Mar. 28 at 10:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 29 at 10:00 a.m. $54.50 – $114.50

Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden on Tues. July 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$54, $79.50, 89.50 – $179.50.

The Eagles with the Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Thurs. June 10. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders begins this Mon. Mar. 22 at 10:00 a.m until Sun. Mar. 28 at midnight. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 29 at 10:00 a.m. $50 – $225.

Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. & Fri. May 20 & 21. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. $79. Also appearing the XL Center (Hartford, CT) on Sat. May 15. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$66.

Iron Maiden and Dream Theater at Madison Square Garden on Mon. July 12. Pre-sale tickets begins this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: HEMAIDEN. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $64.50, $74.50 and $84.50. The “Final Frontier Tour.”

REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar at the Mohegan Sun on Thurs. June 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35 (that has to be a misprint).

Sting with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mohegan Sun on Tues. July 6. Tickets on sale this Mon. Mar. 22 at 10:00 a.m. $86-$116

Kings of Leon at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Sun. June 6. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card holders on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $35.50 – $55.50. Also appearing in Atlantic City on Sat. June 5. They are doing a summer tour mostly in outdoor amphitheaters. Tickets on sale tomorrow for all shows across the States.

Jethro Tull at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sun. June 13. Tickets on sale now. $25.25 (lawn) $65.25 and $85.25

Bamboozle Festival at the Meadowlands Sports Complex on Sat. and Sun. May 1 & 2. Two day pass tickets on sale now. $110. 

Sugarland with Jake Owen and Danny Gokey at the Comcast Theater(Hartford, CT) on Sun. May 23. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $30.75, $41.50 and $55.50.

Jack Johnson at PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. July 13 and at Madison Square Garden on Wed. July 14. Tickets on sale Sat. Apr. 10 at 10:00 a.m. More info to follow.

Chris Botti at Carnegie Hall on Sat. June 19. Tickets on sale on Mon. Mar. 22 at 11:00 a.m. $40, $60, $75 and $90.

Jordin Sparks at the Theater in Westbury NY on Tues. May 4. Tickets on sale Sun. Mar. 28 at 12:30 p.m. $39.50 and $49.50. (Note: Her performance will be played in the Half Round, the stage WILL NOT revolve. Played to sections B through G with sections B & G are partial side view).

Weezer at the Borgota Event Center on Sat. May 1. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Psychedelic Furs with She Wants Revenge at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Fri. June 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35.

Passion Pit at Colonels’ Row on Governors Island on Wed. June 30. Tickets on sale today at noon. $32.50 ($35 day of show) Note: The ferry ride is $5 roundtrip.

Snoop Dogg at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Tues. Apr. 20. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 4:20 p.m. $51.50.Also appearing at the Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue-11211) on Mon. April 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $50.

The Beach Boys at the Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. July 23. Tickets on sale this Sunday at 12:30. $66.50

Boyz to Men at BB Kings on Sat. June 26. Tickets on sale today at noon. $39.50.

For Parents: Justin Bieber at the XL Center (Hartford CT) on Wed. June 23; at the Prudential Center (NJ) on Sat. Aug. 28 and Madison Square Garden on Tues. Aug. 31. Tickets on sale next Sat. Mar. 27 at 10:00 a.m. XL-$29.50-$49.50; “The Rock”-$32.50-$52.50 and MSG-$29.50-$69.50.

Other items:

Green Day will tour this summer and the opener will be AFI. The first show will be at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ on Tues. Aug. 3. More information to follow.

Have to hand it to David Cook with his blistering performance of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” on Wednesday night on American Idol, I was actually very impressed with they way he and his band sounded. That Stones song is a hard one to cover but I have to admit that he nailed it. Not that I am the biggest Lacey Brown fan but America should not have voted her off this week, I am still baffled how Tim Urban was “safe” after that horrible rendition of “Under My Thumb.” Another “scratch my head on why this contestant is still around” goes to Andrew Garcia, he was so out of tune on “Gimme Shelter.” And I’m still not getting what the big fuss is all about with Siobhan Magnus, she is heading down the Adam Lambert path where screaming takes precedent over singing and everyone seems to buy into it, the theatrics are way over the top-just as with Adam. “Big Mike” was good but he too needs to step back on the theatrics, move around when it’s needed.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “In My Room” by The Beach Boys. Now my father says these guys “ruined rock and roll” when they first hit the scene but I do like many of their songs and if I had to pick I’d probably say that this is my favorite song they ever recorded. Top notch recording.

My favorite new song of the week is “More” by Usher. Using Randy Jackson’s terminology- this song is “hot.” It has a great dance beat supplemented by some awesome vocals. This will be a hit in no time and my assumption is it must be playing at the clubs already. Check it out.

My other favorite song of the week is “According to You” by Orianthi. Yes it’s total pop with some pretty good guitar work. Did you see her on American Idol? She opened some eyes with that guitar solo. This song moves, it is very fast paced and is perfect for your next workout.

The Scorpions last studio album-“Sting in the Tail” – is out next Tuesday and not for nothing just listening to the 30 second previews on I-Tunes, the songs are smokin’ with a lot of heavy guitar riffs all over the place (think AC/DC). I think they are going out with a bang and ending their studio career on a high note. Don’t “pre-order” it from I-Tunes (I ALWAYS run into trouble with that)-just wait until Tuesday to get it. Can you believe if I actually want the CD (without ordering from Amazon) I can only get it a bookstore like Borders? Imagine that? Picking up The Scorpions next to Shakespeare, what is this world coming to?

I actually downloaded the free song on I-Tunes this week (been like a year or so) and the song is “Animal” by a band called Neon Trees. If you like The Killers then this song is right up your alley. Finally, a decent free song; I-Tunes doesn’t offer too many “buy backs” if you get my drift.

Vince Neil’s solo album-“Tattoos and Tequila” will be out on May 25. The title track has been out for a few weeks now and seems to be picking up steam. I’m not sure who is playing in his solo band but for this track it sure would appear that Mick Mars is playing lead because it has that classic Mars sound with the “microphone in the mouth” while playing lead guitar. There is a blistering solo in the middle of the track-this song rocks. \m/ \m/ Neil’s new album will feature a cover of CCR’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain.”

The Stone Temple Pilots first single off of their upcoming album (which is self-titled) will be released on Monday. The song-“Between the Lines” can be heard the band’s official twitter page at 11:00 a.m.

Thanks to the biggest Ratt fan I know-Monica- who sent me a link to Road Runner Record, you can now view the tracks from their new upcoming album-“Infestation”-which is due out April 20. Check out the list of songs here: http://store.roadrunnerrecords.com/RATT-Infestation

Album Review: “Pump” by Aerosmith released on Sept. 8, 1989

Pump

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on the super cool song-“Don’t Get Mad, Get Even”- by one of the greatest American band’s in the history of music- Aerosmith– and I had to go back and listen to the whole entire album for which this song comes from- the unbelievable “Pump” which is aptly named because if this album doesn’t pump you up then I don’t know what will. (I will focus on the positive and try to forget all about the nonsense of trying to replace Steven Tyler as the singer). And as for Mr. Tyler I’m not sure if there is a better album that he has ever done- he is so raw, so completely unbelievable on this body of work that its hard to put into words- Ok here is a word- he’s “possessed”- he’s everywhere on this album and puts all his sweat, blood, tears, guts and so much passion along with that never ending energy he seems to “possess” which resulted in the best album of 1989 to take out the 1980’s on a high note. Now I know there are many folks who will agree with me on that statement and I personally know of a bigger Aerosmith fan than myself, her name is Lori and we both worked in the same department in Standard & Poor’s back then, we would compare notes on how freaking great this album is. She loves Aerosmith, especially Tyler, and it was always fun to have other people appreciate the albums that are special to you. Now in my opinion, this was the album that catapulted them toward their “second” career. Now with no disrespect towards “Permanent Vacation” (which was the beginning)”Pump” is an explosion of music that was bottled up in them (think of the reaction when you shake a bottle of soda and then open it right away) for many years (as they battled their demons) and put them back on the map (yeah I know Run DMC gets some credit too but this is an entire album) and they have never looked back (except for this recent “blip”). There is an “energy” on this album that is unmatched and the results came through as more than 7 million purchases have been made since its release. In my opinion, this is their best work for their “second” career (“Rocks” during their “first” career) as Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler put that something special into this effort that puts this album into another stratosphere as there is not one “filler” on this incredible masterpiece.

Side one (yes boys and girls this was an album) starts off with the electrifying “Young Lust”- now of course the “engine”-Whitford and Hamilton-keep the train running with their undeniable skills as Mr. Perry nicely waits “in the wings” for his chance to shine (he is always on his game by the way) while in my opinion Mr. Kramer and Mr. Tyler steal the show on this track, especially in the beginning, as Joey is all over the place smashing and thrashing his drums while Steven is already screeching at a high pitch and it’s only the first song. What a way to start off an album-so much energy you can’t help but wail around in a complete frenzy trying to match the pace of this unreal rock song and when Joe comes in with his guitar solo-already I’m thinking this is the best album and I haven’t even reached the second song. This is perfect workout music-if you don’t move to this then just go to the couch and reach for the clicker. As this song ends there’s like this crazy stuff going on- hiccups and all- as “F.I.N.E.” begins. Wow that is the best flow into another song that there is in the history of music-period end of story. (You can e-mail me all the other songs which you think can match this but I will delete every last one of them). Wait -\m/ \m/- I can’t stop dancing all around the room. Excuse me while I get up from writing about this… I’m back.. my kids are telling me to turn it down as they are trying to do their homework (yes my wife is not home, how did you guess?) I love when Steven says “Ahh Joe Perry says I’m…” Now of course I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the content of the songs (but you can guess by the song titles) and some of the language is not meant for younger ears but the music is phenomenal. We used this song all the time for our boot camp workout class at MBIA for many years; this has to get you out of your seat. Track #3 is the ever popular “Love in an Elevator.” Love the intro, right as well as the video, right? Even though it’s “mainstream” there is no denying how good this song is especially Joe’s work on guitar. How great was it for them to be back in popularity and to ride the wave of MTV? (when MTV was MTV). This video was played endlessly and as a guitar player for the world’s most popular band at the time, it had to be cool to be Joe (or Brad) as he was prominently featured in the video. And what about the horn section? A horn section for Aerosmith and the way the song ends in harmonizing vocals just completely nails it as one of their best songs. “Monkey on My Back” is one of my favorites on this album (as well as “Don’t Get Mad”) and it confronts the problems that had been plaguing the band for so long. Love it when Steven says “The fortune teller looked into my eye balls.. the wrinkles on her face ‘bout to crack.. she said you best believe that you ain’t going no where.. unless you get that monkey off your back!!!”This is rock and roll at its best folks and the message is powerful for those who are trying to stop doing drugs (again back to that “Celebrity Rehab” thing) whether they are illegal or prescription. These guys lived the life but were able to come back and hopefully this latest escapade with Tyler is quickly over, they have to like this life better, no? This is four minutes of pure energy and all four songs so far have rocked your socks off. Side one ends with the socially disturbing issue of incest as “Janie’s Got a Gun” portraits a young woman’s struggle which results in murder. Talk about a song that remained on the radio (as well as MTV) for a long time? This song actually won a Grammy in 1990. The arrangement of this song is nothing short of spectacular as all the members of this band shine brightly with all of their respective parts. There is some heavy messages between “Monkey” and “Janie” which I don’t think a “younger” Aerosmith probably would have dealt with and to me this showed their growth as a band as well as cemented their legacy as one of the greatest bands in American music.

Side two starts off with the fast moving “The Other Side” which is preceded by the super cool “tribe” like sound of “Dulicmer Stomp.” There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD. When I’m in my car (Ok so its not a cool car) but when I roll down the windows to my Civic and blast this song as the neighbor kids give me this funny look like “what is that old man doing? What is he listening to?” I just shake my head and say “What do you know??” This is the stuff boys and girls that legends are made of and how much fun is this track? These guys sound like they had a ball recording this one, I love how the piano just plays along side the blasting guitars and drums but adds the flavor. “My Girl” is a foot-stomping, finger snapping, hand clapping song that makes me dance all around the room while I play air-guitar. Perfect exercise song, can beat it. This is the modern day Chuck Berry style and Perry’s guitar solo is on the money while Kramer is an animal on drums (on this song as well as the entire album-remember I met him on the streets of New York City by the Waldorfin 2008). Then its on to the aforementioned “Don’t Get Mad” this is my co-favorite. Love the blues laden funky groove as Tyler hums over the harmonica and as Joey breaks in with the drums it just makes the song that much better. Everyone joins the fray and creates this wall of sound as the harmonica seems to stick out amongst all the blaring sound. I love when it sounds like Steven is smacking someone as you can hear a “slap” as he says “just wait and see what I got in store for you.” The slow head banging sound is too much for me as I have to start the song all over again because I can’t get enough of this beautiful sound. My neck is hurt from moving my head up & down in a controlled motion to the beat of the drums… woo got a little dizzy.. this strolls right into “Voodoo/ Voodoo Medicine Man” and you feel like there are Cowboys and Indians running past you-this is especially cool when you have the headphones on-as Steven & Joey crash this party with the huge pounding of the drums as Tyler is lights out with his vocals on this stellar song. (This is my second favorite). Mr. Perry is all over this track as the “over-dubbed” sound makes this song “larger than life.” Man this is head banging music at its best. The album ends with the “power ballad”-“What It Takes” and yes this kind of song would never be on “Rocks” but…. But… who cares? Like I have always maintained-some things are good even it comes in a bubble gum wrapper. Think of how many “bazooka” bubble gums (the “square” ones, like when you were a kid) you have eaten in your life-some of the best tasting gum, right? So take a piece out and sing along to this song and recognize that Steven’s vocals are up to the task and he proves that it might be his best vocal ever. Now if you listen to the entire song Aerosmith comes back on and plays an instrumental, something like you’d hear at a carnival.

“Pump” is the perfect title to this album because that’s what it does to me every time I listen to it. Folks, even the most die-hard Aerosmith fan will admit that “Pump” is a great album (unlike the die-hard Metallica fan that doesn’t recognize anything beyond “Kill ‘Em All”). Is it mainstream- Ok yes-does it have a power ballad-Ok yes-but it does not in any way diminish the extraordinary efforts of putting this album together. This classic was a statement to the world that Aerosmith was back, that they were a force to be reckoned with and they set out to prove it in their live shows. Now I will find it hard to believe if you –as a “rock” fan- have not ever seen Aerosmith in concert because you my friend are totally missing out on a special event. Now you will have a chance to redeem yourself as it was announced recently that Tyler is in the band again and they will be touring soon at a city near you. Chances are real good that you will hear more than a few songs from this magnificent album. Oh by the way, you also need to have this in your music library.

“TOP TEN”:

Image of Elvis Presley

In honor of today being my father’s birthday I decided to make the top ten this week to be the one and only- The King- Mr. Elvis Presley. Now I would be remiss if I did not get my Dad’s favorite top ten songs because if there is anybody on this planet who knows more about Elvis, they are probably living at Graceland. As a child and teenager growing up in his household, I probably listened to approximately 98% of his entire catalog of songs. It was a ritual every Sunday morning in our home for my Dad to play his Elvis records for at least 20 years in a row. Now he thinks that I don’t like Elvis (or much of his genre of music-The 1950’s and early 1960’s) but it’s the total opposite, I love Elvis’ music (as well of lots of the “Doo Wop” era) but you know how it is, you want to listen to your music as well. If my boys think that I force feed them the music I listen to, then they have no clue to what was fed to me during my upbringing. And it’s no complaint, if anything I am completely amazed on how true my Dad has stayed with his love of Elvis music (as well as many artists in that era) and if it were not for him (and my mom) who have a undying affection for music, I would not be writing a page about music every week. My dad made me appreciate music to not only like it but to know the artist and their influence on every day life. Elvis will always have a special place in my heart because of my Dad and my Mom. My mother loved the music of Elvis just as much as my Dad and I can picture her singing many of his songs while closing her eyes and singing with the passion that his music invoked within many people. Now my wife and oldest son are also big fans of Elvis, so I have asked them for their top ten songs and each one said that the task was very difficult as he has so many songs to choose from. I informed them that they were on an island and have been notified that they can only have ten songs by Elvis, so they narrowed down their choices. So here goes a long list of ten Elvis songs selected by my Dad, (and notes I took from him) my wife, my oldest son (and his comments) and myself with my observations:

10.

Dad-     Love Me

Wife–     Love Me Tender

Son–     A Mess of Blues – When I had first discovered Elvis’ music a few years ago I would spear up and down that this would always be my favorite Elvis song. Unfortunately as you can see it did not make number one, still I have such a love for this song. I love the vocals in this song so much I used to sing this song all day long pretending I was Elvis. The piano is infatuating; it’s just a great song.

Me–     Good Luck Charm– Of course this song was played zillions of times on those Sunday mornings and this one has always been a favorite of mine. When most people try to emulate Elvis they use that “deep” voice (think “Thank You Very Much”) and this song perfectly depicts that saying because throughout the song you hear-“Uh-huh, huh”- in a deep voice but then again in an even lower octave. Love the part- “Don’t want a silver dollar.. rabbits foot on a string..’ (C’mon now this man had some voice) The “rock-abilly” groove makes this song go and it’s almost impossible not to move your hips.

9.

Dad-     I Need You So– (The “B” side of “Loving You”)

Wife–     Jailhouse Rock

Son–     Love Me – This is such a great ballad, I love the combination of Elvis’ voice and the background vocals. My favorite part of the song is when he sings “I want your heart beating close to mine…” What a voice he had.

Me–     Too Much– Wow does this song have a rocking groove or what? The guitar riff stands out on this song but its Elvis’ vocals that put it over the top. This is the way rock and roll was meant to be-a fun song that gets you rocking out in not time. Actually you can “air-guitar” on this track as well during the middle when one the Jordanaires has a solo in the middle. No one sings these types of songs like the way Elvis did. There’s a swagger to it that is unmatched.

8.

Dad-     I Was The One

Wife–     Can’t Help Falling in Love

Son–     Always On My Mind – Although many people will argue that Willie Nelson’s version of this song is better (my dad says this constantly) I will swear that Elvis’ version is better. I just feel the passion in his voice when this song is being played. Especially the part “let me keep you satisfied”, I love that line. Again no offense toward Mr. Nelson as I like his version of the song as well, but as for the best version I’ll stand by Elvis all the way.

Me–     Little Sister– I can remember my mother singing this song when it came on and she would move her arm above her head (an indication that she loved a song) while her and my Dad would sing together-“Well I dated your big sister and I took her to the show…little sister don’t you..” The drumming in this song is simple but yet so addicting and the guitar playing in the background makes it easy to sway your feet across the floor. This song sounds so fresh today like it was recorded a few weeks ago, it’s hard to explain but he was meant to sing rock and roll, he is so natural-listen to this track and you’ll know why. Awesome tune.

7.

Dad-     Playing for Keeps

Wife–     Suspicious Minds

Son–     In The Ghetto – This could easily be one of the saddest songs ever made. This was my first Elvis song and it holds a very special place in my heart. I would sing this song over and over and I’ll probably never forget the words to it as long as I live.

Me–     Memories– Yes there are many versions of this song, but in my opinion, no one sings it the way Elvis does. This is my wife’s favorite song by Elvis and is one of the two shared songs that we have on our lists. As I have previously mentioned on this page, this song took on a whole new meaning at my younger brother’s wedding in February 2009 when he danced with our Aunt during the part of weddings where the bride dances with dad, while the groom dances with Mom. I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face- a memory that will remain with me forever.

6.

Dad-     Old Schep (My dad said my mom use to cry when she heard this song)

Wife–     Amazing Grace

Son–     Don’t Cry Daddy – Sometimes this is a difficult song to listen to, it’s a very sad yet touching song. It’s so powerful to listen to sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have a life like the children in the song. Then I thank God that I’m lucky enough to have a mom unlike the family in the song. This is definitely one of the most touching songs ever.

Me–     Don’t Cry Daddy– I always loved this song while growing up because I knew why it was written but it took on a much bigger meaning when my mom passed away in 2004. Even though it is now one of the toughest songs for me to listen to because I too was telling my Dad not to cry, it brings me to a place where I am back in the kitchen eating Sunday breakfast while listening to the King. Thanks Mom and Dad for all that you have done for me. Very touching song.

5.

Dad-     Take My Hand Precious Lord (The “gospel” side of Elvis)

Wife–     A Little Less Conversation

Son–     If I Can Dream – Talk about inspiration! The lyrics combined with Elvis’ flawless voice make this song fantastic. “Why can’t my dream come true?” If only everyone listened to the great message in this one of a kind song.

Me–     (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame– Every time I said to myself-“How could this song be in my top ten?” but the more I thought about it I knew I had made the right choice. This song is so addicting, especially the acoustic guitar and it is such a great song to sing along to. “Though I smiled, the tears inside were a burning…” as the pace picks up, then come back to that acoustic guitar riff. Only bad part about this song is that it is too short.

4.

Dad-     Peace in the Valley (Gospel)

Wife–     In the Ghetto

Son–     Memories – This song means a lot to probably every member of my family and it has a special meaning to me as well. This song reminds me of my mother, my grandmother, and of course takes me back to my uncles wedding when he played this song. That was a really powerful moment for everyone at the wedding when this song was on. I’ll never forget that feeling.

Me–     Are You Lonesome Tonight-This will always remind me of my mother (as well as my Dad), I can just picture her sitting at the kitchen table and feeling the emotion coming out of her as she would intently hang on to every word sung by Elvis. My Dad always took the part where Elvis would start talking-“I wonder if… you’re lonesome tonight.. you know someone said the world is a stage…” and my Mom especially loved the part- “Honey you lied when you said you loved me and I had no cause to doubt you…” (On a separate note-I never liked when Elvis “toyed” around with this song on a live album when he references a foot and kind of laughs). Anyway this is such an exquisite song and the original recording as well as the arrangement is spectacular. The connection that my Mom and Dad shared with Elvis was very unique and in my opinion, very rare- not too many times-that I have seen- where a couple shares a deep passion for the same artist. Elvis “moved” generations of people across this world and I personally know how much he affected both of my parents.

3.

Dad-     American Trilogy

Wife–     If I Can Dream

Son–     Are You Lonesome Tonight – This is a pure classic.It’s physically impossible to dislike this beautiful song. I can’t even count how many times I used to sing this; I even know the whole speech in the middle of the song. Every time I hear this song I can’t help but show off and say each line before Elvis sings it. This could be the ultimate heartbreak/love song.

Me–     Can’t Help Falling in Love-This is an absolutely stunning song that will last for generations to come. It is a perfect song to dance with that someone special in your life. A friend of mine just asked me this week for a list of wedding songs to have the first dance with his bride and I put this right at the top of the heap; it’s hard to think of a better tune for this occasion. In my opinion, this could be the best song he has ever recorded; his voice is majestic as ever.

2.

Dad-     I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

Wife–     American Trilogy

Son–     Pocketful of Rainbows – Most people will not know this song (true Elvis fans know it).Usually I don’t like any ‘movie songs’ by Elvis but this is the one exception.I feel like I’m floating on a cloud when I listen to this song!I absolutely love the part when Elvis sing “on a lonely night”, he sings it so perfectly.I lose myself in this song whenever I hear it.

Me–     If Every Day Was Like Christmas-Yes it’s a holiday song but honestly any time it comes up on my I-Pod shuffle during the calendar year, I will listen to it because it stops me right in my tracks and I can’t get enough of the beauty of this tune. Obviously during the holiday’s, it is more special and this song helps me to move into the spirit of the season at a much quicker pace. His vocal performance is majestic and I won’t even listen to another version of it-add this one to the list of songs that should never be re-recorded by anyone. Not only can Elvis sing rock and roll with the best of ‘em (he is at the top of the heap in my opinion) but he has this unbelievable knack for taking it down to a level where you will “Ssshh” anyone who makes noise around you as you listen to songs like this. Remember when I told you that sometimes when things are so good that it brings tears to my eyes, well this song falls into this category. I am absolutely mesmerized when I hear this magnificent song.

1.

Dad-     Don’t (this song is leaps and bounds ahead of all the others)

Wife–     Memories

Son–     Crying in the Chapel – This song gets me every time I hear it.I don’t think I know another song as powerful as this one.The lyrics are so inspiring and as always Elvis sings this with passion.I don’t know why I love this song so much but it just as such a powerful effect on me I can’t explain.I hope one day I “surely find that way.”

Me–     Stuck on You– When I told my wife and my oldest son that this was my favorite Elvis song of all time, they both made faces like they had just drank some spoiled milk. I guess that’s why I love doing the top ten lists because it evokes a reaction and in my case I bet there have been plenty of times where all of you have said-“What?? Are you kidding me? How could you pick that one as your best song?”- Am I right? That is why I loved doing this week’s top ten because everyone has their own favorites and reasons why the songs fall where they do. I love the beat of this track and could listen to this song all day. The chorus is infectious and it’s just an all around great song to sing along to. I recommend putting this song as the first “cool down” tune for your next Spin class and I guarantee you will get smiles from the Spinners as they come back to earth. There’s no one like Elvis-thanks Dad-Happy Birthday!!!

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     The Drew Carey Show and King of Queens.

2.     True (he doesn’t play guitar)

3.     Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

4.     Wolfman Jack (Brooklyn’s own Robert Weston Smith)

This week’s trivia (Elvis, Aerosmith)-

1.     How many Grammy’s did Elvis win?

2.     What was Elvis’ first number one hit?

3.     What is Aerosmith’s only #1 single, which was written by someone else?

4.     What is Aerosmith’s best selling album to date?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “On the Road Again”- Willie Nelson

2.     “The Old Man Down the Road”-John Fogerty

3.      “Roadhouse Blues”-The Doors

4.     “The Long and Winding Road”- The Beatles

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

1.     “..what makes you think love will end.. when you know that my whole life depends on you.. on you…”

2.      “..every time I think I’ve had enough.. I start heading for the door.. there’s a very strange vibration.. piercing me right to the core…”

3.      “..don’t ask me.. what you know is true.. don’t have to tell you.. I love your precious heart.. I.. I was standing.. you were there.. two worlds collided…”

4.     “..yeah my Durango number 95..take me to the home kick boots..and ultra live.. see heaven flash a horror show.. knock it nice and smooth…”

 

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day, Free guitarist-Paul Kossoff-passed away during a flight from CA to NY. He was only 25.

Sadly back on this day in 1982, Randy Rhodes, guitarist for Ozzy’s band, died in a plane crash. Three people including Randy died when the plane crashed into Ozzy’s tour bus.

Back on this day in 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland in Memphis for $100,000. It is now a national historic landmark.

Back on this day in 1970, David Bowie married his first wife-Angela Barnett in the U.K.

Back on this day in 1971, Jethro Tull released “Aqualung” which became their best selling album in the U.S.

Back on this day in 1974, Jefferson Airplane officially changed their name to Jefferson Starship.

Back on this day in 1975, Kiss recorded a concert in Detroit’s Cobo Hall which was included on the album “Kiss Alive!” (Rush was the opener that night)

Back on this day in 2001, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Aerosmith, Queen and Steely Dan were some of the acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kid Rock did the speech for Aerosmith while Dave Grohl did the honors for Queen.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with “Diamond” David Lee Roth, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big as well as DLR-it’s funny how all three of these guys played in the same band and all celebrate their birthday on the same date) and the late Ricky Wilson (The B-52’s).

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