Sep 272012

Crooner Andy Williams, best known for his rendition of “Moon River,” his yearly Christmas special, or his role in standing by former wife Claudine Longet as she faced charges for killing of her lover, some skier with the unforgettable name Spider Sabich, has died at 84. I’m sure you know that by now. For some reason, the first thing that came to mind for me when I heard of Williams’ death, even before his version of “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” which gained some credibility in my mind following the version I first loved by The English Beat, was his endless supply of great sweaters.

"A different crowd feels more at ease with a light sweater on."

I love sweaters. As we enter the fall season and I get to pull out my sweaters, let us take a moment to appreciate some of Mr. Williams’ finest sweaters…after the jump.

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Jan 312012

Don’t worry, Bryan’s all right.

This is not to make light of the Zeebrugge Disaster, involving the capsizing of a ferry in 1987, which killed 193 passengers and crew. I hope this effort raised money for the families. Cause aside, however, there are things you might find humorous in this (mostly minor) star-studded Ham-Off. What I’m curious to know, in the chronology of these “Aid” extravaganzas, is whether this is the last original Aid song of the genre? If the Aid Era started in 1984, with “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and the 1989 Band Aid II version doesn’t count because it’s not an original Aid song, what Aid event marked the end of this era? Live 8 wasn’t quite the same. It’s a “8” event, not “Aid.”

But all that aside, who won this particular song?

Dec 172010

This holiday classic deserves a yearly airing. Please be thankful this holiday season.

This post initially appeared 12/23/08.

“Is that Orson Welles in the second row?”

Back in January, we celebrated the historic 23rd anniversary of the debut of the greatest supergroup in history, USA For Africa, and their most famous single, We Are The World.

Throughout 2008, Rock Town Hall spent some time talking about influences in rock, from the thieving ways of Buddy Holly to bands with little to no outside influences. USA For Africa was influenced by some precursor groups, such as the Concert For Bangladesh Band and, of course Band Aid, the primarily British/Irish Supergroup which launched the popular single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in 1984, watching it reach #1 on the UK charts…but fail to reach #1 in America.
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Apr 172009

As a lead-in to a piece that Townsman KingEd is working up that touches on the influence of Jimi Hendrix on a well-known Friend of the Hall, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this discussion, initiated by Townsman Hrrundivbakshi almost 2 years ago. We’ve fawned over the magic and majesty of Hendrix before, and Ed’s upcoming piece probably won’t be the last time. While we await our next related Hendrix-centered thread, think about what HVB and others said way back when.

This post initially appeared 6/24/07.

Today’s burning question

Why do we love Jimi Hendrix so much?

That’s not a trick question, by the way, or a snarky way of letting the universe know that I think he sucks major ass. ‘Cause I don’t. I think Jimi Hendrix was an astonishing, timeless talent — one of the few “rock” musician types that truly deserves to be placed in that awkward “genius” category.

For me, Hendrix is simultaneously forward-looking and free; focused and intense; hippy-dippy and sweet; brutal and bludgeoning. He was avant-garde without being precious, snide, or academic about it. His virtuosity never — and I mean that literally — never ceases to amaze me. There’s always something new and unbelievable to hear in a Hendrix song, if you’re listening with those kind of ears. And if you don’t, or can’t, listen as a player, it don’t matter, ’cause his songs are strong.

He also had a dynamite Look — man, that (pardon me, and insert 1974 Rottun Teef Keef “tracksssss…” voice here) “super spade” thing, combined with a stage presence that turned him and his guitar into one giant, raging rock hard-on, was just fucking unbeatable. Think of Mick Jagger or Robert Plant or any other white front man contemporary of Hendrix’s — in their rock posturing prime, on their best night — and they all seem positively tea cozy and cardigan sweaters compared to this dude.

But look — I’m opening up this thread because I just want to know how and why you love Hendrix as much as you do. I’m also looking for those spine-tingling recorded moments that make you wait in eager anticipation — like the hair-singeing opening notes to “Foxy Lady” or the moment when “Ezy Rider” comes roaring back into the main riff after the bridge, or — well, you get the idea.

Why do you love Jimi Hendrix so much?

Dec 232008

If you don’t know the drill by now, you must be new to the Halls of Rock. Welcome! This is likely our final Dugout Chatter of 2008, in which I pose a handful of puzzling rock queries in search of your gut responses. Those who think too hard risk crashing their computer. Those who don’t think at all risk not receiving an invitation to 2009’s Rock ‘n Roll Foyer of Fame’s Annual Partial Lifetime Achievement Award and Chili Cookoff. A baker’s dozen of Dugout Chatter questions follow; feel free to revisit these through the final week of 2008 and answer in small chunks. You may proceed to the next page and let loose with your true feelings!
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Jun 182007

Ring a bell?

Greetings, fellow RTHers!

Seeing as how my last attempt to bring a little fun and games to the hallowed halls was such a dismal failure…I’m trying again!

This time, I’m looking for a little creativity from you. Assisted creativity, that is. Following is a list of words and/or phrases. Your job is to produce a brief writing sample using the stipulated number of words and/or phrases, in all required categories. Format is unimportant — free verse, drama/play, haiku, essay, satire, whatever — but you must use the required words as indicated below! As always, the “winner” — determined by our Moderator — receives a prize and a virtual raspberry from all assembled.

I look forward to your responses.

Category A — Look (choose two)
Weatherbeaten leather jacket
“Aviator”-style sunglasses
Chuck Taylors
David Lee Roth “full bug” cowboy boots
Steve Vai Hair
Bill Cosby sweater
Mr. Moderator’s coiffure
Tom Petty’s teeth
Keef’s false teef
Y-front underpants
One sparkly glove
Walter Becker’s beard
Bob Seger’s grandpa glasses

Category B — Music (choose up to two)
Power pop
Death metal
Classic rock
Field hollers

Category C — Key Personalities (choose one or two)
Bill Wyman
Lou Reed
Billy Barty
Seth Dick III
Sib Hashian
The Prince Of Wales
Alex Van Halen
Joe Tex
Jeff Lynne
Jim Dandy
Waddy Wachtel
Lee Sklar
Ray Cooper
Paul McCartney
Bob Seger

Category D — Catch Phrases (choose no more than three)
“That’s gotta hurt!”
“Look at the size of that thing!”
“Shut up and scrape the bowl.”
“Ever since Nicholson won his Oscar, it’s been like this.”
“Does that thing have peanuts in it?”
“Now that’s what I call an ass-whuppin’!”
“I… I am filled with shame.”
“Ride ’em, cowboy!”
“Never mind all that. Have you seen Soul Plane yet?”
“GOD, that stinks!”
“Matt Damon!”
“That’s what SHE said!”
“Like a rock!”

Category E — Lyric Snippets (choose at least one)
“Come about hard, and join the young and often spring you gave”
“Mama say, mama sah, mama-ku-sah”
“I started a joke, which started the whole world laughing”
“My best friend, he shoots water rats and feeds hem to his geese”
“78 revolutions a minute, now!”
“There was nothing in my life bigger than beer”
“Juicy fruit… juicy!”
“Let me tell you how it will be”
“Wang dang, what a sweet poontang… she got a thang like a rang-a-dang-a-dang!”
“You keep scraping away”
“Her mommy was Mex’can, and her daddy was the ace of spades”
“Just get an electric guitar, and take some time, and learn how to play”

Category F — Food (choose no more than two)
Dr. Brown’s Celery Soda
Burgers ‘n beer
One hot kielbasa
Jack Daniel’s
The bearded clam
One pinched loaf
Chicken legs
Dinty Moore Beef Stew
Vienna sausages


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