al

Jun 242016
 

As I browse through the listings on dimeadozen, I often chuckle at the names of heavy metal bands. “This can’t be real?!?!”

Here is a simple quiz. There are 12 band names. Some are real, that is, they are taken from dimeadozen listings, which are in the Heavy Metal category; others are names I made up. Your challenge is to identify which are real and which are the result of me having too much time on my hands. No cheating, no researching; all you can do is look at the list.

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Jun 132016
 

As I mentioned in the When Band Members Go Solo thread, I saw Ian Hunter Saturday night. It was a fantastic show. No surprise there as every one of the half dozen or so times I’ve seen him was great but this may have been the best. He gets better with age. And he rocks hard! I’m not quite sure how he can do it; he turned 77 last week.

As I watched his inevitable encore – “All The Young Dudes” – I was reminded of a thread opportunity that I’ve thought of periodically over the years but never acted on. Better late than never.

Hunter is a great, great songwriter, responsible for a slew of fantastic songs in his solo career and all the Mott songs you know and love. All that is, except for the most famous Mott song, the David Bowie-penned “All The Young Dudes.”

I’ve always thought it “unfair” or “sad” or some other not-quite-exactly-right adjective that a band/artist who primarily write their own songs should have their most well-known song be the product of another songwriter.

And at the times in the past when I have thought about this thread, I thought of 2 other acts which fit this category. Of course, as I write this I can’t remember one of them.

Can you identify the one I do remember? Or the one I can’t? Or another?-

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Jun 052016
 

Axis came out in early 1968, and I probably got it within a few months of that. I’m not sure how familiar I was with Hendrix at the time but I remember the album being pretty cheap at Korvette’s and so picked it up. It was on Track Records and so was an import of some kind; why it was at Korvette’s or cheap I don’t know. I loved it immediately and still do. No other Hendrix album has replaced it for me. There’s that period bit “EXP” opener, the jazzy “Up From The Skies,” the heavy psych of “Spanish Castle Magic,” the funky pop of “Wait Until Tomorrow” (with the great opening line “Well, I’m standing here freezing, inside your golden garden”), the classic rock of “Little Wing,” the ’60s philosophy of “If 6 Was 9,” and on and on. I even love Noel Redding’s contribution, “She’s So Fine.”

It’s an album that’s a perfect hyphenate: pop-rock-jazz-funk-blues. Deep & frothy. Heavy & light.

And so it’s always been my favorite Hendrix album but I can’t help thinking: “How much of that is because it was the first?” I don’t feel like I hear this opinion too often. Are You Experienced? or more often Electric Ladyland are what you hear about, but I’ll take Axis over either of those.

What do you think? Am I right or wrong? And do you have analogous “first” albums by other artists where you feel the blush of first love may be coloring your rock-crit bona fides?

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May 302016
 

fin
Apropos of Mr. Mod’s recent declaration, let’s have a relevant Last Man Standing. Here are some rules:

  1. The word “end” itself must be in the title. So, for example, Love Me T-END-er doesn’t count.
  2. Once a title is taken, another song with the same title is out. So, “The End” by the Doors is gone after I start things off.
  3. Other rules, as I think of them.

And I’ll start things off with the Beatles:

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Al’s Spring Break

 Posted by
May 172016
 
Savoy Truffle

Savoy Truffle

I spent the last 10 days of April in Louisiana: 5 days in New Orleans, 3 days in Cajun country, and 2 more in NoLa.

Thirty years ago, I learned about Festival Tours International, a small operation that does music-based tours. And 29 years ago I convinced my fiancée that a 23-day music tour of England and Scotland was perfect for a honeymoon. And it was!

Festival Tours is run by Nancy Covey. She has lots of connections in the music world, especially from having booked the music at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Los Angeles during the 1970s and early 1980s. Her tours are very un-tour like—not rigid, skipping lots of the touristy spots, and heavy on local experiences only possible because of Nancy’s research and connections.

This England & Scotland tour used to be an annual event, tied to Fairport Convention’s annual musical festival in Cropredy. I’m not sure how often Nancy does that tour now but I know it’s no longer annual. One is planned for 2017 to tie in with Fairport’s 50th anniversary.

Many of her tours are one-offs; she’s done one to Russia, one to Sardinia, one to Zimbabwe that I can recall offhand. We’ve been interested in all of them but kids and work and life have always gotten in the way.

RTHers with better memories than I have might recall that my wife and I went to Cuba in February 2014, on Nancy’s initial tour of that island; she has since done two others there. This was before the recent thawing and the trip was spectacular. Cuba is filled with music; it is literally everywhere you turn in Cuba (and I am using the word “literally” in the true sense of the word, not the way it is often used nowadays). With Nancy, it was special. For example, we got to visit the studio where the Buena Vista Social Club album was recorded and to speak with two of the players from those sessions (not the big names—I believe they have all passed away—but with studio musicians). This was made possible because Nancy knows Jackson Browne from back in the day and he was able to facilitate this.

Well, another tour that Nancy does every year is to New Orleans, coinciding with the Jazz & Heritage Festival. It’s something we’ve wanted to do since that England tour in 1987, and finally, with an empty nest here at home, we’ve checked that off the bucket list.

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Apr 072016
 

PHONE2

Another post from the crotchety old man.

I know I’m out of touch with current slang and modern jargon. I know what OMG and LOL mean, but there are too many Internet terms I need to look up. Same for rap/hip-hop slang. I’m glad there’s such a thing as the Urban Dictionary. This all makes listening to current songs problematic.

Then, I heard this song recently:

Yes, South Philly’s, Upper Darby’s, and Villanova’s very one Jim Croce! (And how about those Wildcats last night?!?!)

Listening to it, I realized there are references that might baffle kids these days (or, to quote another Philly legend, Jerry Blavat, the Geator with the Heater, “the yon’ teens in the Delaware Valley”).

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So, This Is Easter

 Posted by
Mar 152016
 

A few months back we tried to determine—once and for all—what the best rock & roll Christmas song is. Maybe next year…

Now, it’s a new season, a new holiday but…are there any rock & roll Easter songs??? I can’t really think of any. Yes, there are songs from Jesus Christ Superstar. I guess they qualify. And Dylan went Gospel and was Saved (“by the blood of the lamb”), that’s somewhat Easterish, as are many gospel songs.

But where is, say, the “Jingle Bell Rock” of Easter? Or even the “Sock It To Me Santa” of Lent? The “Dreidl Dreidl Dreidl” of Passover? I can’t think of them; can you?

And if not, let’s be creative. Can we call this an Easter song?

(And, if nothing else, this lip-sync’ed video presents the most sedate rock & roll audience ever; they are much more suited to a crucifixion.)

Your turn, be creative, what can we pretend is a rock & roll Easter song?

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