I just found out about this new compilation this week. It’s a collection of Randy Newman compositions from his songwriter-for-hire days in the ’60s. Artists featured include Dusty Springfield, Eric Burdon and the Animals, and Fats Domino. It appears that album came out in April of this year on Ace Records, a British label. Hey, BigSteve and Dr. John: You guys hear about this album? Looks pretty cool. Details here. Continue reading »
In celebration of California Day here at RTH — and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong — I submit that “Those Shoes” by The Eagles is The Most Coked-Out Song Ever.
First, take the arrangement. It’s not enough to have onetalk box guitar. No, here, all the guitars have bendy mouth things on them, the better to convey the sound of snorting noses. Then, there’s the mix of drum machine and Henley beats. (Guess which of the two has more swing.) The relentless, unchanging bass line convinces me that even mellow nice-guy Timothy B. Schmit is feelin’ kinda nervous right now, man. Continue reading »
Wiley Publishing recently contacted The Back Office with a request that review their upcoming release of by Don Felder and celebrity biographer Wendy Holden. Our request for an interview with Mr. Felder (we even told them we had a correspondent in Australia) was politely responded with an offer for a free review copy of the book. We don’t even have to return it!
RTH lurker, avid rock bio reader and spouse of The Back Office, took on the task of summing up this Topanga-tinged tome.
There is suffering even if you are a ’70s rock star …well, in a rock band in the ’70s…Don Felder was never really allowed to be the star of The Eagles because Don Henley and Glen Frey sucked all of the oxygen out of that jar.
is Felder’s co-written autobiography of his rise from dinky Florida house without air conditioning to Malibu Beach House and then back again to one-bedroom, post-divorce apartment. I’ve read almost every rock autobiography and biography that I come across, and many share the same cycle:
Rags to riches.
Then rags again for awhile.
Then, not so many rags.
Lose all the riches, usually due to blow or legal fees.
Then Reunion tour.
Don Felder got fired in 2001, though, after Hell Froze Over. His manager, who also managed all the other Eagles, let him know over the phone that his services wouldn’t be required anymore. Ewww…almost like he was temping at Manpower.
Life in the Eagles sounds like hell. They shoulda all been banking their massive paychecks and counting the days until retirement arrived. Various forms of anesthesia helped everyone through the moments they were required to spend together.
Felder says that a good home life with a wife and kids helped him gain something to return to when he wasn’t touring or recording, but I couldn’t help but imagine how independent a wife would have to be to raise four kids without him around. When he was at home it must have been like having a guest in the house. His wife got a life, so he called her and fired her over the phone. Ewww…almost like she was temping at Kelly Girl. Continue reading »
Yeah, yeah, the Beach Boys, The Doors, the Eagles, Spirit, Love, blah, blah, blah. How many times do we have to entertain the conceit that the spirit of California is best embodied by white dudes in guarachi sandals, driving woodies, and smoking dope in Topanga Canyon with the Lizard King? For my money, the greatest personification of the spirit of rock and roll who ever came out of California was Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
Yeah, the spirit of rock and roll. Fuck the spirit of California. I’m enough of an East Coaster to feel comfortable saying that. Rock and roll is about hustle and flow, and — Lord — that was what Mr. Watson was all about. His whole musical life was a hustle, changing musical skins and styles as often as he needed — from revolutionary blues guitar slinger to hard-rockin’ style-o-phile to ’70s jazz-funk pimp, and eventually, to gold-toothed elder statesman. Before he died in 1996, Johnny got his well-deserved, long-overdue ass-kiss from most of the 21st century’s great Californian composers — Dr. Dre, Snoop, and a bunch of other R&B types I’m not hip enough to be able to remember now. But all those snakey, sinuous grooves you liked on Snoop Dogg’s breakout album? Those were JGW riffs, from start to finish. Check out that awesome concert footage above if you don’t believe me.
And while you’re at it, take special note of what Johnny’s singing about here. This is the soundtrack to the real California existence: being broke, getting dumped on by The Man, and shopping for dinner in the baloney section. Ain’t that cold? Continue reading »
For those of you of a certain age, think of all the great songs from an earlier era in rock ‘n roll that you first heard through the hit cover versions by Linda Rondstadt. Take Betty Everett‘s “You’re No Good”. I know you, loyal Townsperson, are about as cool and knowledgeable as rock ‘n roll fans get, but if you’re of that certain age range, I doubt you’d ever heard of Betty Everett and her version of “You’re No Good” until years after you’d dug then completely denied the wonders of Linda Rondstadt’s string of ’70s hits. Excluding those of you younger than 38 years old, raise your hand if you honestly heard Everett’s excellent original before this major hit song. In fact, I’d bet that most of us didn’t know if was a cover until a good 5 years after the song’s release.
Linda’s version isn’t as cool as the original, but you’ve got to give her credit for looking good in a Plain Jane way.
Let’s pause for a second to reflect on just how cool the original version of “You’re No Good” is…and let’s give thanks to Linda for turning most of us onto this definitive version!
The Eagles are putting the finishing touches on an album’s worth of all-new material. They promise to tour extensively in 2008 in support of this album. Their smug mugs and highlighted, remaining wisps of hair will never fade away. Joe Walsh claims that the new material will “go in some really, really new, different directions. It’s hard to compare to anything that I hear out there now.”