Apr 252012

I would’ve categorized this as “News” but…really? “News”?! I received this email the other day from a local radio station and it was entitled:



Here’s a quote from the note:

“A whole new world…” That’s what the legendary Joe Walsh told me as he described life as a sober Rock star. He’s feeling great, and we couldn’t be happier for him. I thought you might want to see the chat I had with Joe…”

Lots of questions come to mind after receiving this email and watching the video.

  1. Who cares? Seriously. Good for Joe but is this “Breaking News” worthy? Even coming from a radio station it doesn’t feel like a big-whoop to me. “Joe Walsh Dies” would be breaking news. “Joe Walsh Has a Sex Change Operation” could also be breaking news… And if it is breaking newsworthy then it begs the question: whoa, how much effing booze has this dude downed?
  2. He says in the video interview that he got sober in 1994. Did I hear that right? So that would be 18 years ago. I’m not a Joe Walsh follower and am not an Eagles fan but if this is right then what about “Joe Walsh is Sober” is breaking in any way?
  3. 1994. Feels like that is about 14—15 years too late anyhoo. Just me?
  4. Joe looks to be wearing a Joy Division t-shirt based on the Unknown Pleasures cover. WTF? This is in fact the most newsworthy piece of information to me.
Jan 172012

In the recent Laura Nyro thread Townsman alexmagic made some hyperbolic statements regarding Mike Nesmith. (Seriously, Mike Nesmith “is the most indefensible omission from the Hall of Fame?” I think I could successfully defend his exclusion from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as easily as I could defend his exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame.) However, he touched on one point that I think the uni-mind that is Rock Town Hall should explore, to whit, the thought that Mike Nesmith is “often given credit for launching the ‘country rock’ genre.”

There seem to be a lot of candidates for that. There are The Byrds, whose Notorious Byrd Brothers showed a bit of country and was released in January 1968, or the more often cited Sweetheart of the Rodeo, released in August, 1968. The latter made it all the way to #77 on Billboard and featured a number by another candidate for country rock launcher, Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

And there’s Graham Parsons & the International Submarine Band, whose Safe At Home came out in 1968. Wikipedia says their b-side cover of Buck Owens’ “Truck Drivin’ Man,” released in April 1966, is “now largely considered the first country rock recording.” It starts at 2:11 of the following clip:

Continue reading »

Mar 042011

Let’s try another 1-2 Punch, shall we? Top 10 lists are too much; Top 5 lists invite too many opportunities for throwing in a hipster, obscuro choice to distinguish oneself from the raging masses. What I’d like to know is what TWO (2) songs you would choose from an artist’s catalog to say as much about that artist that you believe represents said artist’s core as possible? In other words, if you could only use TWO (2) songs from an artist’s catalog to explain all that said artist is about to a Venutian, what TWO (2) songs would you pick to represent said artist’s place in rock ‘n roll?

I’ll pose two artists and you—love ’em or leave ’em—give me each artist’s representative 1-2 Punch. Dig? Here goes! Continue reading »

Oct 192010

Hey man, you can take your country rock and leave the best parts of The Flying Burrito Brothers to me! I love the band’s first album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, for its heavy bass, fuzz guitars, and reedy vocals. No offense, but I could give a damn about the whole “country” thing. My favorite country music usually sounds like rock ‘n roll anyhow.

As much as I love the band’s debut, it’s all a little hokey and dated, the way many “psychedelic” albums are bound to be. Better yet is the band’s 1970 follow-up album—and the last one with St. Graham ParsonsBurrito Deluxe. It’s actually way more country rock, with future Eagles member Bernie Leadon joining the band on lead guitar and vocals. As much as I hate Eagles (not The Eagles, as we recently learned), Burrito Deluxe explains why anybody else may have cared to make such music. (Thank god some of the pub rockers, like Brinsley Schwarz, actually had the spirit and playfulness to nail this approach!) Maybe some fans like the more traditionally country songs, but for me the album centers around a few pinky-rock classics: “Lazy Days,” a breakneck cover of Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now,” and the song with this super-hokey video that I just found, “Older Days.” (The album also featurs a nice version of “Wild Horses,” but I’m afraid to tell you that for fear that your mind will run to a series of glorified Stones cliches.)

There are few musical styles that more readily hit my soul than chooglin’ pinky rock. When done by The Flying Burrito Brothers on Burrito Deluxe I get the perfect mix of the best parts of the intersection of The Grateful Dead’s occasional pinky-rock workouts and The Velvet Underground‘s Loaded. And that Bernie Leadon was something else! I remember seeing an old Eagles performance of one of the few songs by them that doesn’t make me throw up, and Leadon was on fire. How’d that guy get lost in the rock ‘n roll shuffle?

I’ve long sought videos of the band from this period with no luck. Tonight, after a pretty trying day that, unfortunately, looks to be headed for an equally trying tomorrow, I hit paydirt! Here’s an actual live clip of “Lazy Days,” from the time shortly after Parsons left the band.

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