Monday, January 30, 2006

C'mon baby, let's do the (Pepsi) twist....

Doo-Wop Band Wins Settlement From Pepsi By KIM CURTIS, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - A judge has ordered PepsiCo Inc. and its advertising company to pay $250,000 to the 1950s doo-wop band The Flamingos for using their recording, "I Only Have Eyes For You" in a commercial without permission. A federal judge in Chicago on Friday upheld an arbitrator's decision in favor of the two surviving members of The Flamingos, Terry Johnson and Tommy Hunt, and the estates of the deceased members.

A collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists requires an advertiser to get permission and pay fees to the music publishers, the record labels and the artists themselves. "In our case, they didn't even ask," San Francisco entertainment lawyer Steven Ames Brown said Monday.

It's not the first time Pepsi has neglected to pay a recording artist for their song, Brown said. He claims Pepsi has failed to pay black performers for their songs in advertising campaigns featuring supermodel Cindy Crawford. "Pepsi routinely pays the Caucasian performers who appear on camera, but refuses to pay the African-American singers whose voices are used in the soundtrack unless they sue," Brown said.

A spokesman for Pepsi said the failure to pay The Flamingos directly was an oversight and that Pepsi didn't realize the song was subject to the collective bargaining agreement. "That's completely inaccurate," said Dave DeCecco of Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi. "We have a long history and strong track record of supporting diversity in our advertising."

Pepsi used the band's best known 1959 hit in a television commercial that ran nationwide for about six months in 1997, Brown said. Brown said he successfully sued Pepsi on behalf of Doris Troy, whose 1963 hit, "Just One Look" was used in another popular Crawford commercial, which also featured two young boys. Troy died in 2003.

Brown sued on behalf of The Flamingos in 2003. Hunt sang the lead vocal in "I Only Have Eyes For You," which reached No. 11 on Billboard's Top 40 in 1959 and remained on the charts for 11 weeks, according to the suit.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lizzie, don't forget to bring your axe...

Late Saturday afternoons can be a little lazy, football season over, replaced with a thousand hoops games of varying importance. So grab that unfinished memoir, put on some good background music and chill.

Or, if you feel adventuresome, trot down to Cafe Nine in New Haven. Each Saturday afternoon, The Nine holds a jazz jam hosted by a revolving group of area musicians, whereby a core house band is provided and anyone is invited to bring his/her axe along and sit in. Saturday's jam was to be hosted by Guitar George Baker. So, with a UConn Huskies (bastards, not bitches) victory over the Providence College Friars at the Dunkin' Donuts Center (a misnomer since Dunkin' Donuts do not have centers) secured, I scooted down to The Nine to check out the situation. My main reason was to introduce myself to Mr. Baker, who will be performing with his band at this year's Southington Rotary Mardi Gras Night at Anthony Jack's (see below). I caught a set of his at the Chowder Pot in Branford and spoke with him on the phone regarding the Mardi Gras gig, but I had not met him personally.

I arrived in the middle of the first set, finding George up on the small stage with a drummer, bassist and saxophonist playing some very tasty jazz standards. The bar was pretty full with an interesting mix of old and young, listening attentively, heads abobbin'. I had tried to entice the Reet to accompany me, but no go, and my co-chair Johnny Gumbo declined because he was "right in the middle of something." My partner at the bar was a very intoxicated young man who had a few crumpled dollar bills and would occasionally coax a small glass of beer out of the barkeep. He was also trying to charm the two ladies on the other side of him, with little success.

The session reached its first break, so I approached the stage to introduce myself. George, exiting the stage with the assistance of a cane, recognized my name immediately (go figure!) and seemed quite enthusiastic about doing the Mardi Gras Night, inquiring about the food and tickets for additional members of his entourage. He said that his regular band, The George Baker Experience, which will play the event, included today's sax player. And he proudly showed me the Downbeat Magazine three-star review of his newly issued CD, Mojo Lady. We talked about the problems facing New Orleans' rebuilding, George noting that the black population gave the city its flavor and that tourism provided 80% of its revenues and created the jobs.

Back on stage again, the band hosted a number of interesting musician characters:
-a 70+ cowboy vocalist (in full cowboy attire) doing credible versions of Stormy Monday and On Broadway
-a soccer-dad looking sax player who blew some pretty good stuff
-a thin, long-haired forty-something hippy who I had pegged as a guitar player, but who instead pulled out a TROMBONE!!!!!

It's getting late, so I wave goodby to George and head down State Street to my car, en route passing my bar buddy sharing a joint with the boys on somebody's front steps.

Cafe Nine holds a blues jam each Sunday afternoon.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sarah leaves johnnyk out in the cold.....

Since I was working in Chicopee today, I said to myself, "Self, why not take in the Sarah Borges/Sonny Landreth gig at the Iron Horse tonight." Brilliant! So I cruised on up to Northampton late Friday afternoon, found the Iron Horse on Center Street after driving around for a half-hour (I finally cheated - I asked directions), snagged a GREAT parking spot nearby and, to use up the time before the show, went off to a record store I spotted. Cool. Hmmm, Kay's prospective furniture store location should be around here somewhere. Wow, I never realized what a busy place this is!

Turn It Up! is a below-street level store just off Main on Pleasant and is, as it turns out, the 'flagship of our magnificent fleet' of stores (others in Keene, Brattleboro, Easthampton). Once you negotiate the steep set of steps, you enter a cozy, friendly den of high quality used CDs. High Fidelity quality but without the attitude, which makes for a stress-free browsing experience. An hour of browsing produced (for $30!!!!!):

How long Has This Been Going On? - Van Morrison with Georgie Fame
Super Ball - The Iguanas
Daydreaming at Midnight - Sir Douglas Quintet
The Golden Hits of the Everly Brothers - Who the hell do you think!

No, thank you!

A short walk back to my GREAT parking place, a change into sneakers/sweatshirt and I get into line to see Sarah 'n Sonny. Nice day! It's cold during the half-hour wait, but not unbearable. Mostly couples with a smattering of old hippie looking guys. And me. The line moves slowly, but steadily along the couple of storefronts that constitute The Horse until we're in the warmth of the ticket area.

An unsettling feeling seeps into my feelingquitegood being as I offer my $20 to the ticket guy. Uh oh, I grossly underestimated the appeal of Sonny Landreth (Johnny Gumbo saw him at 2004 JazzFest and said he was great). Sold out! Can't ya jus sneak in one more, especially since I drove ALL the way from southern CT? Nope. I can wait an hour to see if any standing room will be sold, but, crestfallen, I trudge back to my GREAT parking space....and cruise back to CT.

(Sarah Borges Band, Danielia Cotton Band - Co-bill is a new booking at the Iron Horse for Thursday, March 30.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wednesday morning at 5 o'clock as the day begins....

Watched another Love Monkey (see previous post)and am still frustrated by the shallow stereotype characters. Don't the writers have any confidence in their audience? And the bro-in-law (Jason Priestly) story lines (i.e. being paranoid about hiring a nanny who is TOO hot) MUST go! However, I am not giving up yet. - Eric Danton take

While riding to the office this morning, my free XM Satellite Radio subscription expired. I enjoyed the three-month taste of it, but should I renew? So much music around (over which I have control) that I've put off listening to because it's habitforming to just let the radio choose. Not a slam dunk, but I'm back to my own CDs. Now, where IS my Jake Brennan & the Confidence Men!!!!

Listening to Neil Young's Southern Man from his After the Gold Rush Christmas present from my sons. Which reminds me, why is the background music for the Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials Sweet Home Alabama?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Come back to Connecticut, Lucinda

According to her website, Lucinda Williams will be doing some tour dates with her guitarist Doug Pettibone commencing mid-February. However, for the dates listed through early March, Pittsburgh is the farthest east she goes.

Maybe she holds a grudge for the incident at Toad's in 2003 where, while she was doing her encore, a huge cheer went up as the Red Sox clinched their series with Oakland - she was pissed! Oh, Cindy, get over it.

Revisiting Doug Sahm en route to Chicopee

Late for a noon appointment in Chicopee, I cruised up I91 from Hartford listening the entire distance to a wonderful live set from Doug Sahm on XM Satellite Radio's X Country station #12. It was so good that I hesitated to arrive too quickly! There was no break in the broadcast for commentary so I don't know what recording it was from. Perhaps XM has those things online; if so, I will let you know because it was packed with energy and great tex-mex music.

Sahm, who died in 1999, was nominated for but not elected to the rock 'n roll HOF this last time. Most remember him from the Sir Douglas Quintet's Mendicino, but he was a contemporary of Willie Nelson back in the day and put out some truly great music. Two recommendations from johnnyk are 1973's Doug Sahm and Band (which features Bob Dylan, Dr. John and David "Fathead" Newman) and 1994's Last Real Texas Blues Band Featuring Doug Sahm.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Random...thoughts, not violence......

Johnny Gumbo notes via email:

"We're down to double figures .... 99 days to the start of Fest 2006 !!!! .... and 105 days until the boys from CT hit town...... rooms are booked and travel is confirmed .... word on the street (from a source at a NYC restaurant) is that everybody wants to be there to play so this will be a Fest to be at ... and a very emotional one at that."

Let It Bleed is SO much better than its more heralded sister album, Exile on Main Street, which I find very good but the vocals feel buried inside the mix. Not that you give a damn what I think, but I was just listening to it.

Wilson Pickett just died of a heart attack at 64 (I guess we won't still be sending a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine). The Wicked One had two monster singles in 1965, Mustang Sally and In The Midnight Hour, but little beyond those. They got him into the HOF. Go figure.

Yikes, leafing through the latest Rolling Stone (an easy leaf, given that it's all of 72 pages), I see that The Nelsons-Accoustic Duo are (is? in the power struggle that is their name, I'm going with the front half) appearing at Mohegan Sun Cabaret Theatre. This venue means that, as opposed to the free Wolf Den, one must PAY to see them! Yuck!

Speaking of stalking, Sarah Borges and the boys are now Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles. Yes, I know, but we'll try. SB & the Bingles play at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA with Sonny Landreth on Friday, January 27. Paste Magazine's Jeff Leven had a nice review of Silver City:
Make a note of this name and get in on the sawdust-covered ground floor

Who knew that the woman with some of the most convincing honky-tonk chops in recent memory would hail from Boston? Belting with conviction over a virtually Nudie-tailored wash of silvered pedal steel and squawky country guitars (which are even doubled for a classic Western-swing solo on “Miss Mary”), Borges consistently sounds more world-worn and wise than her age could possibly allow. Like Ryan Adams’ better country moments, the effect is not pastiche when the raw talent bridges that gap and an unbridled musical ambition drives it home. Her voice isn’t always perfect (think Sheryl Crow without the complicated quiet parts), but it’s out there and the songs carry it well, which, to my ears, beats the self-serving over-vocalizing of the Joss Stones of the world any day. While some buzz has already started to develop on Borges, this stuff screams for a wider audience on par with at least Lucinda, if not Gretchen Wilson. As country radio grows more solicitous of the whiskey-soaked end of the spectrum, you never know. Follow this one—she could lead you to some exciting places. Paste

thursday has no songs......

But, oh, I disagree!

THURSDAY by Morphine

We used to meet every Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple a beers
And a game of pool

We used to go to a motel
A motel
A motel across the street
And the name of the motel
Was the "Wagon Wheel"


One day she said
C'mon C'mon
She said why dont you come back to my house
She said my husbands out of town
You know he's gone till the end of the month

Well I was just so nervous, so nervous
You know I couldn't really quite relax
'Cause I was really never quite sure
When her husband was coming back

It turned out it was one of the neighbors
One of the neighbors, one of the neigbors that saw my car
And they told her, yeah they told her
They think they know who you are

Well her husband is a violent man
A very violent and jealous man
Now I have to leave this town
I gotta leave while I still can

We should have kept it every Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple of beers
And a game of pool

She was pretty cool too!

Okay, okay - I'm trying to think of a music connection to this story

UPDATE: Ex-Cheerleader Pleads Guilty
TAMPA, Fla.(AP) - A former Carolina Panthers cheerleader got six months probation for her role in a bathroom brawl sparked by accusations that she was having sex with another cheerleader. Angela Keathley, 26, pleaded guilty Wednesday to disorderly conduct and obstructing a police officer during the Nov. 6 fight, which broke out when women in line to use the bathroom made the allegations about Keathley and fellow cheerleader Victoria Renee Thomas.

Thomas, 20, denied the sex allegation. She has pleaded not guilty to giving a false name to a police officer, battery and unlawful display of a license. The Panthers fired the pair for violating a signed code that bans conduct embarrassing to the Panthers.

Note: Actually, the Panthers fired two pair. And that makes the Panthers' postseason run even more remarkable - down two cheerleaders! Amazing resiliency.

TV report

Panthers' cheerleaders arrested after pawing in bathroom stall - National Post news services

Action in the NFL's Season of Behaving Badly moved south from Minnesota and landed in Tampa on the weekend when two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were arrested early Sunday morning at a club there. The Top Cats, identified by police as Angela Keathley, 26, and Renee Thomas, 20, were at a club called Banana Joe's in downtown Tampa when they got into an altercation in the women's bathroom. Other patrons of the club were angered that Thomas and Keathley were taking too long in one of the stalls; in fact, they believed the women were having sex with each other there.

When the cheerleaders emerged, Thomas, who is described on the Panthers' Web site as a rookie team member and a student at UNC-Charlotte who wants to earn a doctorate in dental surgery, is accused of trying to do some rudimentary dental work on another patron with her fist. "The blonde hit me in the face," said Melissa Holden, who restrained Thomas until police arrived.

Keathley, who would be "the brunette" in the scenario, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A police report obtained by the Tampa Tribune said she was drunk, as well as "rude and belligerent," and refused to be handcuffed. Thomas's charges include battery and a felony charge of giving a false name at the time of her arrest.
- complete article

The list:

  • Girls just wanna have fun (Cyndi Lauper)
  • I wish they all could be Carolina girls (Beach Boys)
  • She came in through the bathroom window (Joe Cocker)
  • You can't hurry love (Supremes)
  • Just walk away, Renee ((Left Banke)
  • Good vibrations (Beach Boys)

    Your choices?????
  • Love stinks (J. Geils)
  • Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places (Bob Morrison)

    A public outraged - - here
    But really, cheerleaders are people, too -
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.....

    UPDATE: The whole family watched Love Monkey and, given the expectations, came away disheartened. We did feel, however, (with the exception of JFK who thought it completely sucked) the show had enough promise to give it time to mature - but it had better pick up the pace quickly! The dialogue tries WAY too hard to be 'throwaway' witty, hip (or inept, when required) and comes off forced (one exchange between the married buddy/bro-in-law and the three single conquistadors regarding the merits of marriage was torture). And did they have to insert EVERY imaginable stereotype into one series (ONE close black friend and, Jesus, ANOTHER gay ex-jock!)? Axe those buddies, just shoot them and start over with new friends. Or maybe everyone can just relax a tad now that we've all been introduced. The setting in the NYC music industry, the cameo appearances (who is Teddy Geiger?) and the frequent throwaway artist/album references buy the Monkey a second look.

    I don't watch television series anymore, just too much commitment, but I am curious about Love Monkey, a new show on CBS that debuts Tuesday. "The series is about four male friends at different stages of life and love as told through the eyes of a single, thirtysomething record executive." The story line, adapted from the Kyle Smith book, is set in NYC, stars Tom Cavanaugh (the 'Ed' guy) and features cameos from musicians. Yeah, I know, a guy version of Sex and the City, but if we can only get them to have Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits or .....hmmmmmm, let me think....Sarah Borges (who plays at the Rodeo Bar in NYC next Saturday)...on the show, we'd really have a story!

    While the pre-game buzz from the media has been generally favorable, television critic Kevin McDonough at feels that 'nice guy' Cavanaugh is seriously miscast as the lead. "It's as if 'Ed' were on his way to an audition for a Dockers commercial but found himself marooned in the East Village and asked to give a lecture on the history of punk rock."

    NY Times piece on Monkey
    Episode Guide review by Matt Rouch
    Love Monkey novel by Kyle Smith, reviewed by Edward Champion

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    And I thought it was Utah.....

    Panel: Jazz Vital to New Orleans Rebirth By Cain Burdeau, AP writer
    NEW ORLEANS - While the city builds better levees and new homes, a mayoral arts commission is recommending that the city not forget to reclaim its legacy as the birthplace of jazz. The commission recommends building a National Jazz Center, which would be a museum, performance hall, recording studio and archive rolled into one.

    The recommendations — which were to be presented to Mayor Ray Nagin on Tuesday — also call for creating new artistic districts, increasing the teaching of arts in schools and setting aside 2 percent of eligible capital bonds for public sculptures, murals and other artwork. The ideas are part of a broad rebuilding plan being rolled out by the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, a panel appointed by Nagin after Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29. The panel is coming up with a variety of ideas on how to rebuild the city — from abandoning some residential sections of the city to overhauling schools and city government.

    On the cultural side, the commission's recommendations tackle a long-standing complaint: that New Orleans has done a miserable job in promoting itself as the birthplace of jazz, the quintessential American form of art. Many important buildings in jazz history have fallen into disrepair or tumbled down. Even the home of Louis Armstrong was allowed to be demolished. The report also endorses a plan to preserve several old buildings on Rampart Street associated with Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, Sidney Bechet and other jazz greats and turn them into a jazz park.

    The old brick buildings, some of the only buildings left in New Orleans with ties to Armstrong, are largely in a state of neglect and a lack of signs on them leaves tourists passing by without realizing their importance. "In Vienna every place Beethoven looked at, it's marked by something," said jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the co-chairman of the commission's cultural committee. The report says the most immediate concern is recovering from Katrina. The storm's flooding and winds hit musicians, community theaters, dance studios, artists, night clubs, second-line bands and Mardi Gras Indian tribes particularly hard. - complete article

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Friday the 13th.......

    Alas, no Nevilles (for us) today at Mohegan Sun.....while on that topic, Aaron Neville has been tapped to sing the national anthem at this year's Super Bowl with Dr. John accompanying on piano. Pretty cool. - article

    Mozart's musical diary goes online LONDON (Reuters) - A musical diary by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart goes online on Thursday, allowing Internet users to browse handwritten pages from the composer's catalog and listen to the opening bars of rarely performed works. The British Library in London has produced a digital version of 30 pages and 75 musical introductions from "Catalog of all my Works," which can be accessed on its Web site The catalog includes many of Mozart's best-known works, including "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Magic Flute," but also contains a "Little March in D," which the library said had been recorded for the first time for the site. complete article

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    monday, monday, can't trust that day.....

  • It appears from the responses I've received that all had a great time at the SB concert Friday night at Cafe Nine. Got a phone call from Johnny Gumbo. Gumbo was talking after the concert with Binky, the bass player, urging him to have the group really consider playing the Southington Apple Harvest Festival, when Binky informs Gumbo that he grew up in Southington! GET OUT, no WAY (insert Elaine Benes shoving move)! Yes, WAY. Seems that the Binkster went to North Center School through the 3rd grade, at which time the family moved out of town.
  • Our musical road trip continues this Friday night with the Nevelle Brothers at Mohegan Sun Wolf Den with the Andersons.
  • Rumors floating (from unnamed informed, fedora-wearing sources) that U2 would love to play this year's JazzFest, but committee in a quandry as to where to stage them. Could be a logistical nightmare. It would be pretty cool though; and maybe catch them jamming at a downtown club with Lucinda!
  • Picked up the new Strokes' First Impressions of Earth and like it, but don't LOVE it yet. Got to give these things a little time to sink in.
  • Saturday, January 07, 2006

    Guitars and ales, but no chili

    Five hours of Elm City Ales will wear one down, perhaps even have a lingering effect the next morning. Confirmed. Well, someone had to secure the tables at Cafe Nine for the Sarah Borges show, so we showed up at 7, catching the end of an accoustic blues set by a trio fronted by Travis. A young lady with an American flag decal displayed prominently on her sweatshirt says, almost apologetically, that Travis usually plays rock 'n roll. The bill had the Moody Blossom Band as the happy hour fare, so I'm not sure if Travis and Blossom are one and the same. We may NEVER know!

    Sarah and the band have already arrived from Boston and drift in and out, hauling equipment and just hanging out at the bar. We (Reet/Johnnyk, Garrett/Jonathan, Judi/John) stake our claim at a couple of the small bar tables with a good view of the stage and order up food (by the Checkered Duvells) and drink. The happy hour set ends and that band's groupies depart leaving The Nine relatively sparse. We've decided that this venue is smaller than Sam the Clam's! Beret-topped Trish and hubby George mosy in, followed by Keith/Sharie and, finally, by a mysterious, sharp-dressed man known only as Johnny Gumbo. All now accounted for. What, no chili???? Damn Duvells, no fries either.

    Next up are....jeez, I forget......oh yes, The Forgotten Ones! Lots of cowboy hats 'n pedal steel 'n Johnny Cash. Lead singer vamping it up with a big 'ol hat pulled down real low meeting his Buddy Holly glasses, head tilted at an angle away from the audience, strummin' 'n singin'. A good, quirky look. Good music, too. The GROUP is split into two factions now, the leg-weary opting for a more comfortable, but poorly positioned table against the outside wall. Lots of witty reparte along with toetapping to .....I forget....oh, yes, the Forgotten Ones. In the meantime, Trish introduces herself to Sarah and, in turn, introduces Sarah to the whole gang. Since no one brought a camera and I don't know how to use the cell-cam, we have no pictures. My bad, poor planning.

    The crowd has filled in nicely and it's almost 11pm when the chipped-toothed SB and the boys hit the stage, launching into a set of music that takes us well past midnight. I've read a few reviews that liken Sarah Borges to Lucinda Williams; I don't see that at all outside of both being considered alt-country. While Lucinda's outstanding music is blues-based country (it has been sarcastically described as "background music to commit suicide by"), Sarah's is much more upbeat and rock-based country. WHAT the hell is he talking about! Ms. Borges and her bandmates - Binky (bass/backing vocals), Mike Castellana (guitar/pedal steel), Rob Delaney (drums) - are in great form as they run through much of Silver City and throw in some other tasty stuff too (I would give you more detail, but it was late and I was tired - so shoot me!). Catellana does some mighty fine picking on his solos, although I feel that the band as a whole should jam a little more, extend and explore their songs. But I'm not complaining, perhaps I'm a little greedy. Great show, guys! Hope you continue to venture down here once in awhile. And cudos once again to Cafe Nine for having superb taste in their music offerings.

    I yell over to Gumbo that he should try to land her for the PRESTIGIOUS Southington Apple Harvest Festival. How could she possibly pass up an opportunity like that! He ponders (and after the show gives her his card - did I see it torn up on the floor as I left?). Out.

    (NOT concert photo
    since we blew the camera thing)

    Silver City was chosen one of the "10 Superb Choices" by Chris Morris in LA City Beat magazine.

    Sarah Borges MySpace

    From Puremusic interview by Frank Goodman:
    Interview - Vidclip#1 - Vidclip#2 - Vidclip#3

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    some stuff...

    and speaking of the Drifters....I just saw that The Temptations (down to just one original member, Otis Williams) have recorded 15 old Motown songs for their new album Reflections. Jeez, Otis, just what we need. And, of course, they will be touring to support the album with a stop scheduled for the Stardust in Las Vegas, which, it was recently announced, will be torn down to make way for a new mega-complex called The Echelon. Let's hope, for Otis's sake, that the demolition is scheduled for after his run there. - Reuters story by Jonathan Cohen

    At dinner last evening at Emilio's (good food, ghastly service), Sister Mary Agnes informed that she, hubby, daughter and beau are looking forward to seeing Billy Joel in Boston in March. Let us hope that the ex-Mr. Brinkley doesn't decide to drive to Beantown.

    on a sad note....The body of Barry Cowsill, singer-bassist for the '60s pop act the Cowsills, has been discovered in New Orleans, more than four months after he went missing when Hurricane Katrina hit the city. He was 51. complete article. His sister, Susan Cowsill, is a highly respected alt-country singer based in New Orleans.

    Over the years, I've had a casual interest in country music, tending toward Texas country rather than Nashville, so the news that Jesse Colter, 70's Outlaw singer and wife of Waylon Jennings, released a new album, Out of the Ashes, that was influenced by Ben Harper's music, piqued my curiosity. Reuters article by Chris Morris (Interesting tie-in: Sarah Borges recently opened for Jesse's son Shooter Jennings at the Paradise in Boston.)

    The Strokes' First Impressions of Earth keeps getting glowing reviews. Eric Danton of the Hartford Courant is the latest - here. You can grab a listen to the entire album on AOL Music (for how long, I do not know). I'm still evaluating, not yet sure how much I like it.

    Year-end music lists (or Who is Sufjan Stevens?)- "What's longer than the holiday shopping season, and even more relentless? The end of the year. It's an interminable period - beginning sometime after Thanksgiving and ending sometime after Martin Luther King Day - when music magazines and Web sites, not to mention newspapers, go list crazy." - NY Times article by KELEFA SANNEH

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Sarah's at the Nine on Friday night!

    From Cafe Nine...."The last time Sarah Borges was at the Nine, she was in the process of becoming totally buzzworthy. Well, she's achieved that status now. Her cool alt-country stylings have made her one of Boston's top local stars. Check her out on Jan. 6."

    Okay, all you guys who are going, we are planning to get there around 7:30 to get a decent spot. There is a happy hour from 5:00pm-7:30pm with a band and then The Forgotten Ones open for Sarah. Cafe Nine is not a big place and the stage is tucked away in the front left of the room, so early placement gives a big advantage. Let me know if you think you're going so we can try to save some tables.

    Directions - Eats - Sarah Borges myspace

    Sarah Borges, the BUZZ gets louder...

    Thanks to Andy McGowan for the heads up on Sarah Borges gracing the cover of the Improper Bostonian and heading the "It List" -

    Andy writes.... "The 'Improper Bostonian', a free weekly magazine, has an article about the 20 "IT" things in Boston ---the 20 hottest things in Boston right now. Bars, restaurants, singers, etc...Sarah Borges is one of the 20. She is also the cover of the magazine. (at first glance looks a lot like Sandra Bullock, I thought...and probably the reason I picked up the magazine in the first place, not even realizing it was the singer Borges.) In a nutshell the short write-up on Ms. Sarah said, "...see her now so when she is on Saturday Night Live you can say you saw her when..."

    Don't say you were not warned!!!!!! She appears at New Haven's Cafe Nine on Friday, January 6.
    Sarah at The Narrows in Fall River November, 2005 - here
    A review of her album Silver City

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    The Strokes: A Palate Seasoned by Fame and Its Bitter Aftertaste

    NY Times review by JON PARELES

    The Strokes lose their cool on "First Impressions of Earth" (RCA), and three albums into their career, that's exactly what they needed to do. When their debut album, "Is This It," came out in 2001, the Strokes were hailed as the band that would clear away the sludge and clutter of 1990's rock and, as a bonus, return New York rock to the spotlight.

    From the band's beginning, Julian Casablancas wrote music that polished a New York paradigm: terse, tautly intertwined two-guitar riffs that connect back via Television to the Velvet Underground. He sang lyrics that projected a quintessential New York attitude, with layers of jaded irony around a vulnerable heart. Sympathy for the city after 9/11 only made the Strokes seem more significant. But onstage, the Strokes could come across as too jaded: just standing there and running through the songs' impeccable mechanisms while Mr. Casablancas slouched nonchalantly over the microphone stand.

    By 2003 the hype had moved on to other bands, and it didn't help that the Strokes' second album, "Room on Fire," felt like a rerun. Their crafty reticence was less intriguing a second time around. So the Strokes have something to prove again with this album, and they outdo themselves. "First Impressions of Earth" is their most openly impassioned album. As they lower their emotional guard, they redouble their musical ingenuity, then crank up their attack.

    Disillusionment - with romance, with daily life - was always the Strokes' mindset, and that hasn't changed. In "Razorblade," Mr. Casablancas sings an alienated lover's inner monologue: "Oh no," he semicroons, "my feelings are more important than yours." Consciously or not, the tune echoes Barry Manilow's hit "Mandy," which only makes the putdown more biting.

    But now the Strokes have something else to be disillusioned about: their recent past as a Next Big Thing. "I'm such a success," Mr. Casablancas intones in one song with bleary sarcasm. He writes with self-conscious candor about the experience of quasi fame - leading a band of internationally praised local heroes who still don't have a gold album in the United States - and the psychological whiplash of being extolled and then ignored (for being far too popular) by the hipster elite.

    All the reactions to the weirdness of celebrity are on this album: arrogance, envy, paranoia, eagerness to please, writer's block, heavy drinking, loneliness. Mr. Casablancas doesn't spare himself, his inconstant fans or an indiscriminately ravenous music business. He's fully aware of his role as a fungible media commodity, just an entertainer. The video clip for "Juicebox," the first single from the album, shows the Strokes playing on a radio show with a disc jockey so glib and stupid he mangles the names of the band and the song.

    Yet Mr. Casablancas also has more on his mind than his career. "Ize of the World" starts out sounding like a star's misgivings - "Watch what you say, 'cause they'll be trying to knock you down" - before his perspective suddenly widens: "Young adults to modernize/ Citizens to terrorize/ Generations to desensitize." With guitar tremolos pushing the tension higher and higher, the song ends abruptly after a final pair of "ize" rhymes: "Weapons to synchronize/ Cities to vaporize."

    In "15 Minutes," Mr. Casablancas sings, "Today they'll talk about us and tomorrow they won't care." He's not griping, particularly; he's just coping with facts like a hardheaded New Yorker. In the meantime, the music builds pressure behind him, then explodes: switching from a deliberately paced waltz (despite some twitchy high-hat cymbal taps) to a galloping rocker that has Mr. Casablancas howling before it's over.

    That's something new for the Strokes. "First Impressions of Earth" isn't exactly a screamo album, but it decisively uncaps the dynamics of the band's music. A bitter intensity used to break out now and then from Mr. Casablancas's usual Lou Reed deadpan, but the band used to contain it in music that refused to budge from its steady-state riffing. Not any more: on the new album, the band not only matches his outbursts but also eggs him on.

    With the producer David Kahne taking over from the Strokes' previous producer, Gordon Raphael, the arrangements still replicate a five-man band crisply recorded in the studio. But everything sounds bigger, nervier and more spontaneous. Fab Moretti's drumming continues to keep time alongside Nikolai Fraiture's bass, but he also bats around unexpected accents; Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi neatly mesh their guitar parts, but there's also a spark of contention in the counterpoint.

    The song structures are as meticulous as ever. Every section of a song, from intro to coda, gets a tensile new riff, often with the guitars and Mr. Casablancas's voice tugging in different directions; hook links up with hook. Yet the Strokes are clearly determined not to fall into self-imitation this time around. They push their vocabulary further afield, harking back to the B-52's and surf guitar in "Juicebox," latching on to Blue Oyster Cult's minor-key arpeggios and early Cure drumming in "Electricityscape," merging a glam-rock stomp and dizzying stereo guitar triplets in "Red Light."

    In "Vision of Division," the beat for the intro comes from Motown and the scrabbling guitars come from postpunk; the verses hint at the dub reggae underpinnings of Public Image Ltd. and the rhythm-guitar touches of the Police, while an instrumental bridge makes the lead guitar sound like an oud. Yet every bit of their musical resourcefulness is swept up and subsumed in a song that could be about breaking away from a band, a label, a friend, a lover or all at once; "Why do I accept the things you say?" Mr. Casablancas rages, as much at himself as at his antagonist. "You know what to change, but not in what way." As the guitars and drums buffet him, there's no posing, no detachment, and absolutely no way to keep his cool. He, and the Strokes, are much better off without it.