Sunday, June 30, 2013

"This is a freakin' AARP convention!" quips an insensitive younger woman...

Hey, lady, I resemble that remark!  We're at the Boston Opera House, enemy territory during baseball season, for the fourth and final night of Once Upon a Dream, the reunion tour of the Young Rascals/Rascals.  As you are probably aware, the reunion was the brainchild of longtime Rascals fanatic Steven Van Zant a/k/a Little Steven of the E Street Band and Silvio Dante of The Sopranos:
“To do jus­tice to the Ras­cals impor­tance, I’ve writ­ten a show for them that is just as unique as they are. It’s called “Once Upon a Dream”. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of a Rock Con­cert and a Broad­way show that will include their own live per­for­mance by the orig­i­nal four Ras­cals — Felix, Eddie, Dino, Gene, and be com­pli­mented by filmed seg­ments and news footage and will be a show that they can take all over the coun­try. The show will be an uplift­ing inspi­ra­tion for the fans that have been wait­ing all these years, pray­ing for a Ras­cals come­back, and those who are younger will get a real taste of the ’60’s they missed the first time around. More than just a come­back or reunion, the show will remind audi­ences how uniquely inspi­ra­tional, enter­tain­ing, and his­tor­i­cally impor­tant the Ras­cals’ music is. Their music was unique not only in its great­ness, but through their hit sin­gles they told the entire story of the six­ties.” - Steven Van Zandt
I'm not completely buying the weighty importance angle, but I loved the Young Rascals and I am really looking forward to hearing them perform.  Their three-week April Broadway run was hugely successful, critically and financially, apparently giving the contentious quartet reason to stand each other's guts for a bit longer to take this thing on the road.

A few weeks ago, I was mentioning to brother Joe that the Rascals were coming to Mohegan Sun at the end of August, but he was a no-can-do with golf league commitments (really?).  A quick schedule query finds the Boston gig, so we make plans and add Sister Mary Agnes (no, not the nun, the sista) and hubby Craig to the mix.  We convene, pre-concert, in Somerville on Saturday mid-afternoon.  Niece Elizabeth serves up tasty marguaritas (thanks on that, E) on Joe/Nancy's back deck; we order up Italian, delivered; Rascals on the iPod.  We've been lonely too long, so let's do this!

Nancy calls for a cab and we pack the geriatric six-pack into a SUV for the trip into town.  The driver inexplicably follows Joe's directions, but we make the needed corrections and land safely and join the mature-looking crowd in the lobby of the Opera House, which has been very nicely restored.  We can find no bars in the heavily-under-construction area, so we wait.  Doors finally open; we order up a round of wine/beer and search for our seating - orchestra, right side boxes. 

I guess the deal is that this is a 'bio/concert',  using video clip interviews to provide historical context to the live music.  Cool announcement that photos, videos, etc are allowed, even encouraged (please note, Mr. Zimmerman)!  The stage explodes with light; there they are - Eddie Brigati (vocals), Felix Cavaliere (keyboard, vocals), Gene Cornish (guitar) and Dino Danelli (drums).  A young bass player and some backup singers are to the right side of the stage.  The almost-sold out audience is pumped.  The show starts slowly.  I'm worried this is to be a disappointing evening.  However, when Felix launches into Lonely Too Long showing his vocals in fine shape, I'm, at first, relieved, then, I'm all in.  They start a run through the Young Rascals' songbook.  The interview clips tell us of the connection with Joey Dee & the Starliters (Brigati's brother David was an original Starlighter and Brigati, Cavaliere and Cornish had previously been members).  It's effective, on a limited scale.  Brigati plays no instruments, so he is reduced to Mr. Tambourine Man (hey!) on Felix's solos, looking a bit weird.  Cornish has a few guitar solos, Danelli, well, is the drummer (yeah, they are all influenced by Buddy Rich, Max Roach, etal) - sorry.  To me, it's all about Felix - and he's good!

Smokey's Mickey's Monkey?  The Marvelettes' Too Many Fish in the Sea?  WTF?  If you want to do covers, do Mustang Sally and/or Midnight Hour.  Whatever. ONE, TWO, THREE - Good Lovin'!  That's what I'm talking about!  Crowd up, cheering, dancing.  The hits keep coming.  Groovin', It's a Beautiful Morning, A Girl Like You.  Brigati is a bit shaky, but ultimately touching on How Can I Be Sure.  The video tells us (with no details) of a post-60's heart-wrenching breakup due to jealousy, drugs, sex, bad financial advice.  OH MY GOD, that has NEVER happened before to rock 'n roll bands- EVER!  Okay, this isn't a history class, it's rock 'n roll, so no biggie.  Really good show.  Back to Somerville for nightcaps and reviews.  I was about to compliment our driver on his Sam Cooke music selection, but nixed that thought when it switched to Kenny Rogers.

Only beef:  NO Mustang Sally.

Comment emailed in from West Haven (the Jersey Shore of CT) by the legendary Westie Punk Gussy P:
"Danelli had a big drum solo called "Boom," I think I mentioned that to you once before. It's on side 3 of a double album (Freedom Suite, I think). I don't suppose they played that. I realize Max Roach may have influenced him, but don't discount the Hal Roach influence. Can't ignore the Little Rascals, can we? I believe the fact that they demanded that a black group be allowed to perform wherever they played affects how they are perceived by historians. At least that's how I remember it"

View from orchestra section looking up to balcony
Final bows

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Entertainment Weekly‘s 100 Greatest Albums Ever

And if ANYONE should know, it is Entertainment Weekly!

(JK's know-it-all trash talkin' the list) Okay, these lists come out periodically and they almost never change at the top (the top is at the bottom in this case, but you smart-asses know what I mean).  Lots of Beatles and Stones.  However, Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF to you hipster-defuses) sneaked into the Top 10!  What up with that, Jerry? Adele 21 at 17?  Really?  Cool album, but pretty safe stuff, don't you think?  Give me Dusty in Memphis (97) or Back to Black (74).  Best album of all time with dorkiest album cover goes to Pet Sounds (9).  Back to bed on that one, Brian Genius Wilson!  And why are anthologies in the list?  Why is Revolver (1) 45 slots higher than Rubber Soul (46)?  Funny, Dylan's 'comeback' album (6) is considered his best!  What, no Exile in Guyville?  The Banana Album is under appreciated at 38.
100. Ramones, Ramones
99. Erykah Badu, Mama’s Gun
98. Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf
97. Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis (JK owns)
96. Dixie Chicks, Home
95. Various Artists, Saturday Night Fever
94. Beyonce, B’Day
93. N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton
92. Elliott Smith, Either/Or
91. Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Goin’ On
90. The White Stripes, White Blood Cells (JK owns)
89. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
88. New Order, Power, Corruption and Lies
87. Dolly Parton, Coat of Many Colors
86. PJ Harvey, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
85. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
84. Patti Smith, Horses (JK owns)
83. James Brown, In the Jungle Groove [anthology]
82. Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted
81. Pixies, Doolittle
80. Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (JK owns)
79. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV
78. Bjork, Post
77. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
76. Talking Heads, Remain in Light
75. Elvis Costello, My Aim is True (JK owns)
74. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (JK owns)
73. Various Artists,The Harder They Come
72. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
71. The Kinks, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
70. Iggy and the Stooges, Raw Power
69. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
68. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
67. Neil Young, After the Gold Rush (JK owns)
66. Hole, Live Through This
65. Love, Forever Changes
64. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
63. Television, Marquee Moon
62. The Replacements, Let It Be
61. De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising
60. Beck, Odelay
59. Metallica, Master of Puppets
58. Dr. Dre, The Chronic
57. Alicia Keys, Songs in A Minor
56. Arcade Fire, Funeral
55. Nas, Illmatic
54. R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
53. The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin
52. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
51. Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight [anthology]
50. The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
49. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
48. Outkast, Stankonia
47. The Cure, Disintegration
46. The Beatles, Rubber Soul (JK owns)
45. Radiohead, OK Computer
44. Michael Jackson, Off the Wall
43. Madonna, Madonna
42. AC/DC, Back in Black (JK owns)
41. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP
40. John Lennon, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (JK owns)
39. The Who, Who’s Next (JK owns)
38. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico (JK owns)
37. Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (JK owns)
36. Jay-Z, The Blueprint
35. The Rolling Stones, Some Girls
34. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
33. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
32. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
31. The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
30. Otis Redding, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
29. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
28. Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
27. Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited (JK owns)
26. Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced
25. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Catch a Fire (JK owns)
24. Daft Punk, Discovery
23. U2, Achtung Baby
22. The Beatles, Abbey Road (JK owns)
21. Stevie Wonder, Innervisions (JK owns)
20. The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet (JK owns)
19. Al Green, Call Me
18. Paul Simon, Graceland (JK owns)
17. Adele, 21 (JK owns)
16. Elvis Presley, Sunrise [anthology]
15. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run (JK owns)
14. Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison
13. Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On (JK owns)
12. The Beatles, The White Album (JK owns)
11. Joni Mitchell, Blue (JK owns)
10. Nirvana, Nevermind
9. The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (JK owns)
8. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
7. Aretha Franklin, Lady Soul (JK owns)
6. Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks (JK owns)
5. The Clash, London Calling (JK owns)
4. Michael Jackson, Thriller
3. The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street (JK owns)
2. Prince, Purple Rain
1. The Beatles, Revolver (JK owns)

Friday, June 28, 2013

“Exile in Guyville” at Twenty (New Yorker)...

Interesting take on Liz Phair's iconic album (her "answer record" to the Stones' Exile on Main Street), prompting JK to revisit.

by Bill Wyman

Twenty years after its release, two things are apparent about Liz Phair’s début album, “Exile in Guyville.” The first is that the record is still worth listening to. If you haven’t heard it recently, “Guyville” is many things. It’s an eighteen-song record of what used to be called indie rock, arguably the quintessential example of the form. It was conceived and written by Phair when she was a twenty-five-year-old Oberlin graduate, and then reconceived as an impressionistic, atmospheric song cycle in a Chicago recording studio by a young producer named Brad Wood.

The second point that seems obvious about “Exile” is that Phair, in some fundamental way, did not live up to the album’s promise. More than a few great songs followed—I’m thinking of the unforgettable “Bloodkeeper,” from the EP “Juvenilia”; the high melodicism of “May Queen”; the chirruping production of the title song on “Whip-Smart”; the lulling, troubling acoustic triumph “Perfect World,” on “Whitechocolatespaceegg”; and a few more.  So it’s not precisely that Phair’s artistry collapsed. My theory, in the end, is that she was not to be possessed of whatever that stuff is that one needs to be actual star.(Read more)

Track Listing (full album on YouTube):
1. 6'1''
2. Help Me Mary
3. Glory
4. Dance of the Seven Veils
5. Never Said
6. Soap Star Joe
7. Explain It to Me
8. Canary
9. Mesmerizing
10. Fuck and Run
11. Girls! Girls! Girls
12. Divorce Song
13. Shatter
14. Flower
15. Johnny Sunshine
16. Gunshy
17. Stratford-On-Guy
18. Strange Loop

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wilco’s All-Request-Show, Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, MA...


“The Boys Are Back in Town” (Thin Lizzy)
“Cut Your Hair” (Pavement)
“In the Street” (Big Star)
“New Madrid” (Uncle Tupelo/Tweedy)
“Dead Flowers” (The Rolling Stones)
“Simple Twist of Fate” (Bob Dylan)
“Ripple” (Grateful Dead, Garcia/Hunter)
“Who Loves the Sun” (The Velvet Underground)
“And Your Bird Can Sing” (The Beatles)
“Psychotic Reaction” (Count Five)
“Tom Courtenay” (w/Yo La Tengo and by Yo La Tengo)
“James Alley Blues” (Richard Brown)
“Waterloo Sunset” (The Kinks)
“Waterloo” (ABBA)
“(What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?” (Nick Lowe)
“Marquee Moon” (Television)
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” (Blue Öyster Cult)
“Cinnamon Girl” (Neil Young)
“Get Lucky” (Daft Punk w/ Pharrell Williams, and Nile Rodgers)
“Surrender” (Cheap Trick)
“Color Me Impressed” (w/Tommy Stinson) (The Replacements)
“Kingpin” (Wilco)
“Thank You Friends” (Big Star)
“The Weight” (The Band)
“Roadrunner” (The Modern Lovers)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday morning post-Finals trail mix...

All That Matters Now (Ben Harper/Charlie Musselwhite) Get Up!
Warren Helman's Banjo (Steve Earle) Low Highway
California Saga (The Beach Boys) Carl & the Passions
Swing Guitars (Django Reinhardt) Nuages
Passin' It Around (Coleman Hawkins) Body And Soul
Dear Old Stockholm (Miles Davis) 'Round Midnight
Your One And Only Man (Otis Redding) The Very Best...
Suspicion (Terry Stafford) Jim Kane's Oldies
Ain't Waitin' (Justin Townes Earle) Harlem River Blues
12 Messages From Kenya (Horace Silver Trio) Horace Silver Trio
Fair Weather Friend (The Subdudes) Unplugged at Pleasant
Sweet Old World (Lucinda Williams) Sweet Old World
Ballad of Mr. Jones (Jake Bugg) Jake Bugg
Nothing But Flowers (Talking Heads) Best of...
Shaky (The Duke & the King) The Duke & the King
Doledrum (The La's) The La's
You Don't Owe Me Nothing (Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes) Baby Caught the Bus
Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones) Out In California
Loan a Helping Hand (Doug Sahm) The Last of the Real Texas Blues Bands
I Guess We Shouldn't Talk About That Now (Bettye LaVette)  The Scene of the Crime


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lyrics for a lazy Tuesday...

  1. Tuesday afternoon, I'm just beginning to see, now I'm on my way.
  2. While the sun is bright; or in the darkest night; no one knows, she comes and goes.
  3. Didn't anybody see? Sunday's on the phone to Monday, Tuesday's on the phone to me.
  4. Whoa, where do you go? When you don't want no one to know? Who told tomorrow Tuesday's dead?
  5. Lunchtime, I start to dial your number; then I remember so I reach for something to smoke, and anyways I'd rather listen to Coltrane, than go through all that shit again.
  6. Introduce me to that big blonde; she's got a touch of Tuesday Weld; she's wearing Ambush and a French twist. She's got us wild and she can tell.
  7. It wasn't on a Tuesday afternoon (all I could do was cry).
  8. And here it is Tuesday, ain't had no news; I got them gone but not forgotten blues.
  9. Tuesday heartbreak seem to be unfair, cause you say that you found another man.
  10. Too many sad days, too many Tuesday mornings. I thought of you today, I wished it was yesterday morning.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Cannot trust that day...

Sorry, Phil, it's your destiny.  Or as George McFly would have said, "It's your density."

Played golf with the trivia god (and former lead singer/lyricist/bassist of the legendary Westie Punks) Gussy P, and the topic arose as to what was the very first album you ever bought:
I'm writing to apologize for my incorrectly identifying 'Jimi Hendrix' as my first album purchase. While showering this am, I remembered buying 'Flowers' by the Rolling Stones in the spring of my sophomore year. I believe 'Flowers' is now considered a compilation album, since it contained many previously released songs. The Hendrix purchase was my next album, but it may not be third as I bought Bill Cosby's 'I Started Out as a Child' in my freshman year. So that was actually my first albim purchase. Gus (I can't putt or make fouls shots)

Personally, I'm not sure exactly, but something like the Beach Boys' All Summer Long (1964)?  Brother Joe (BroJo?) says "I believe it was Neil Diamond's second album entitled "Just For You" which I still possess. Before that I believe we bought singles aka 45s."  I'm not so sure. Are you speaking of the family 'we'? Because I know we had plenty of pre-Beatles albums. Neil's wasn't that early, was it?  Wikipedia says 1967.

Who was your first (we promise not to tell)?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!...

Thank you.

Never made it to Sonny & the Sunsets in Hamden on Thursday night or Aaron Neville on the New Haven Green last night.  

Macca does three-hour set at Bonnaroo. (article/videos)  Funny, in one vid, when McCartney launches into For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, some guy yells out, "Mystery Tour, yeah!"  Sorry, buddy, Sgt. Pepper.  Finished up with Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End from Abbey Road.  Perfect.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The situation at Merion GC for U.S. Open...

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky, stormy weather....keeps raining all the time:

Billie Holiday
Etta James
Django Reinhardt
Ethel Waters
Frank Sinatra
Lena Horne
Joni Mitchell

(Per Wikipedia, so it MUST be true)- "Stormy Weather" is a 1933 song written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. Ethel Waters first sang it at The Cotton Club night club in Harlem in 1933 and recorded it that year, and in the same year it was sung in London by Elisabeth Welch and recorded by Frances Langford. It has since been performed by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Clodagh Rodgers, and Reigning Sound and most famously by Lena Horne and Billie Holiday. Leo Reisman's orchestra version had the biggest hit on records (with Arlen himself as vocalist), although Ethel Waters's recorded version also sold well. "Stormy Weather" was featured in the 1943 movie of the same name.

The song tells of disappointment, as the lyrics, "Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky", show someone pining for her man to return. The weather is a metaphor for the feelings of the singer: "stormy weather since my man and I ain't together, keeps raining all the time."  The original handwritten lyrics, along with a painting by Ted Koehler, were featured on the (US) Antiques Roadshow on 24 January 2011, where they were appraised for between $50,000 and $100,000. The lyrics show a number of crossings out and corrections.  Ethel Waters's recording of the song in 1933 was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Library of Congress honored the song by adding it to the National Recording Registry in 2004.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Iconic bluesman issues latest...

Sexy @ Sixty song list:
Back Side Blues
That's What She Said
Unabashed Journey Love
Shanks 'n Skanks (duo with rapper RantOn)
I Feel Pretty (Tired)
Sharie, NOT Sherry, Baby
Gentle On My Mind (Glen Campbell tribute)
Limping Around, Grouchy As Hell
Sorry About Bashing That Pepsi Can in Your Face
I Just Want To Be Your Friend (Never)
(Sixty) Candles In the Wind
F**k You, You Moron! (Chance Meeting w/ Keith)
Vinnie, Johnny & The Bod

It has been awhile since we heard from Keith A (not that we really noticed), but he's back with a vengeance as he deals with aging and other issues on his just-released Sexy @ Sixty, backed by his long-time band, The Throwers. Is it worth the wait?  Probably not, but there are a few gems sprinkled in with A's mediocre accordion solos and guitar riffs.  A highlight is his raunchy duet with the recently imprisoned rapper RantOn (assault with hurtful lyrics and bad tee shots).  KA and the band are currently on tour; check out their website for a listing.  (one and a half stars out of five)

Friday, June 07, 2013

Wet, not wild, but totally cool Black-eyed & Blues Festival...

Because of the impending bad weather, the Festival has been moved to the Great Hall at Union Station (behind Hot Tomato's)

Food & Beer provided by Black-eyed Sally's   5-11 pm  Free Admission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Read more         Click here for all Events

Rain forced the annual Bushnell Park event inside

The Rich Badowski Blues Band opening set at Union Station

Barrence Whitfield & the Savages - 2nd set of the evening
You must stand on the radiators or sit on the bench.  Got it?  And WAKE UP!

These people were just admonished for standing on the bench

Random handsome couple

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Former DBT Jason Isbell is back...

About a decade ago, thanks to a Christmas gift CD (Decoration Day, I think) from my niece Kay, I discovered the Drive By Truckers.  Love them.  I play their music often, keep tabs on their comings and goings, but haven't caught them live.  On my list, though.  Missed them recently at Toads (it was a week night, Winter and, hell, I was too tired to go alone).  Anyway, I read a recent NY Times article about Jason Isbell, a former DBT'er, who joined the band very young, became a prodigious songwriter, then a prodigious drunk, got kicked out of the band, finally got sober, and is making some cool music again.  He is playing at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford on August 4 along with his wife, the extraordinary singer/fiddler Amanda Shires.