I have more CDs than I need a 1000 dollar loan but less than I want.

Sep 272016

I was streaming some Fleetwood Mac this weekend, and taking a look at ther back catalog on Tidal — and came across this weird 1995 record Time—with Dave Mason! His song “Blow By Blow” is above.

Post-superstardom, I knew they did kind of a bad record without Lindsey Buckingham and one I actually like without Christine McVie, but replacing Stevie Nicks with Bekka Bramlett? Can you imagine in late 1995 or early 1996 going to see Fleetwood Mac and there’s no Stevie Nicks or Lindsey Buckingham?

I guess Mick Fleetwood thought he could assemble another “new” Fleetwood Mac for the mid-’90s like he did in the mid-’70s, but after listening to this, I will never complain about Mirage again!

What weirdo records have you come across lately? 


Jun 272016

I do—I especially like it when it’s a surprise. A single Courtney Barnett released earlier this year has nice little snippet at about 1:28 in this funny little song about ramen noodles.

Now this is not an epic solo, like Dylan or Neil or even The Hollies pull off —  just a nice little interlude. It reminds of the Replacements throwing in a little harmonica at about 2:12 on “Achin’ To Be.” Just enough, not too much.

So, my burning question: What song contains your favorite harmonica solo?

May 172016

I am tired of death, politics, and the disastrous start for my Minnesota Twins. So let’s get happy and get ready for the best of summer of our lives with The Monkees’ new single, written by one Andy Partridge!

Whaddaya think? That Micky Dolenz has friends in high places!

Mar 142016

Extended travel of late means I’ve just finished a couple more rock books of note on Sam Phillips and the Replacements!

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, by Peter Guralnick

I had just a cursory knowledge of Sun Records and Sam Phillips.  If you’re in the same boat, this is a good history lesson on the Memphis scene in the 50s.  Guralnick was a friend of Sam’s and relied on him big time for his two Elvis books, so this story line takes most of what Sam says and thinks about the period at face value.  Of course there are great stories about Jerry Lee, Cash, Ike Turner, and Elvis, but beyond that are the people, family members and mistresses that surrounded Phillips throughout that golden age and later. It also does a good job explaining how independent labels functioned and the shoe leather (and tire rubber) it took to break artists…and then how the majors would come in and sign the rising star for big money. There’s also vintage gear talk!

Jan 122016

I sometimes get people mad at me when I tell them that the majority of people these days don’t like rock. I guess I’m not the only one that thinks this. In a recent No Depression Q&A with a movie director named Gorman Bechard, he agrees with a comment made by Lydia Loveless in a new documentary he is making about her and her band.

Q.  In the [movie] trailer, [Loveless] says, “I don’t think people really like rock and roll although they claim they do.” Where do you think that comes from?
Gorman Bechard:  Oh I think she’s one hundred percent right. I think people are scared by rock and roll. I think people want to think they like rock and roll but wake up people, Vampire Weekend is not rock and roll.

What do you think? Have we passed the point of no return…or like me do you think/hope this is a cyclical down cycle for r-o-c-k?

Nov 182015

Thanks to a heavy travel schedule, I’ve been doing some rock reading on flights over the last month and here are some capsule reviews of recent rock books. If you’ve read these or other newish rock books, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.

Chrissie HyndeReckless

Chrissie takes you on a tour of ’70s Ohio rock clubs and the early punk scene in London — and in case you don’t believe her stories, she’s sprinkled in some personal photos of Sex Pistols and the Clash to prove her point. She was at the Kent State protests, where four students were killed, she chronicles the rise and fall of the classic Pretenders lineup, and generally seems like a truthful narrator. She stops the story in the ’80s, which is fine with me, but some have criticized. Do you really care about reading about “Loose Screw” — I don’t. One small quibble could be that she can seem a bit above the fray relating what went down, but she’s entitled to retain a bit of mystery. I was a bit worried about this one because of some lukewarm press reviews, but this is a quick read and worth your time.

Elvis Costello Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink

This is one of those memoirs that doesn’t follow a straight-line narrative. Elvis jumps around from childhood, to various spots in his early and late career. There is a lot about his father, Ross McManus, and his Dad’s jobs as a singer in big bands and a small solo career. One of the big takeaways is Elvis’ deep interest of nearly all musical styles, especially country. Reading this book, you’ll want to have access to a good streaming service, because he name drops a lot of records throughout, and you can’t help but want to check out what he’s writing about. He also explains some of his lyrics and what he was trying to get across to in the songs. Elvis gets a little personal with his thoughts on wives, girlfriends, and other rockers but not too deep. This book’s tone is warm, forgiving, and about as far away from his initial, prickly persona, as you can get. Elvis himself seems amazed at that early “pinup” version of himself.

Warren Zanes Petty — The Biography

This is an authorized biography that had tremendous cooperation from a bunch of people around Petty and the Heartbreakers. Zanes is Dan Zanes’ little bro and you get a little bit of the pain he felt being a teenager in Del Fuegos, which opened for Petty in the ’80s and then blew apart. This is a pretty deep look into the band dynamics of the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch, and some of the other people Petty has played with over the years. There’s also a lot of detail on how they made the first two records with Denny Cordell and then left to go with MCA and Jimmy Iovine, who is interviewed extensively. Stevie Nicks weighs in on everything from music, to Tom’s first marriage, to his well-hidden heroin addiction in the years leading up to the release of “Echo.” The star of the book, to me, is drummer Stan Lynch, who doesn’t mince words when talking about the conflicts within the Heartbreakers, which led to him getting fired. The book peters out somewhat at the end, and doesn’t give much background on more recent releases (such as personal fave “Highway Companion” in 2006). There’s also not much on the Wilburys and Zanes is forced to quote from Dylan’s Chronicles to get Bob’s thoughts on the grand tours they did together in the ’80s.

P.S.  Warren Zanes put out a great album in 2003 called “Memory Girls” — well worth checking out if you have not heard it.


Stone Country

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Sep 212015

Mick Jagger helps his old pal Don Henley sing a Tift Merritt song “Bramble Roaw” on his new Cass County album out this week. My first Stones record was Some Girls, and before I knew any of the backstory of the Stones and their dalliance with Gram Parsons, I was surprised by the stone country sound of “Far Away Eyes.” Now I always got the joke, but damn, I always enjoyed the song, and I’m sure it was one of the reasons I became more open to listening to my mom’s Johnny Cash records, and later fell into the rathole of alt-country for about 10 years. (Aside — a guy who worked at country station in Belle Fouche, SD, told me he almost got fired for playing “Eyes” in the early ’80s — he spun it once and only once.)

My question is — what songs would you put on a Stones, Jagger, Keef country compilation? Are there any country-tinged songs on solo records that are not well known for this compilation? In addition, I’ll offer up Mick’s “Evening Gown” above. Thanks for your ideas!


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