Archive for March, 2008

Play Ball!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 31, 2008 by 30daysout



Baseball season opens in earnest today and with it comes the promise of another great, long season … pennant races … incredible individual efforts … petulant whining by millionaires … steroids … subpoenas … grand juries. 

OK, OK.  We won’t wax rhapsodic on the virtues of baseball, or make any comparisons to real life.  We will just offer instead some of our favorite baseball sound bites.  Hope your team this season fulfills all your hopes and dreams.

MP3: Take Me Out To The Ball Game – Bob Dylan

MP3: Who’s On First? – Abbott & Costello

MP3: The Ball Game – Sister Wynonna Carr

MP3: Narragansett Beer – Curt Gowdy

MP3: Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run – Milo Hamilton

MP3: Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? – Count Basie

MP3: Get The F**king Job Done – Lee Elia

MP3: Baseball, Baseball – Jane Morgan

MP3: Take Me Out To The Ball Game – Bruce Springstone


Friday is Boss’s Day: Austin, 1974

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , on March 28, 2008 by 30daysout

Springsteen poster           

Blogkeepers’ Note: ‘Round here, every Friday is Boss’s Day.  Each week we’ll bow at the altar of Bruce Springsteen, and tell you about some of our favorite moments with the Boss.

March 16, 1974: Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas

In 1974, my college buddy Cindy came back from a spring weekend raving about this singer-songwriter she caught in concert at Liberty Hall in Houston.  “The guy’s incredible,” she said, “he moves all the time … he must be on speed.”  I’d heard of this guy before, so I gamely agreed to go with Cindy to catch a show the next weekend in Austin.

Back then, Austin’s top music venue was the Armadillo World Headquarters, an old National Guard armory converted into a music shed.  There weren’t many chairs; the floor had seating for 2,000 or so hippies and of course you could lean against the wall.  So anyway, we head over for a show by this speed guy: Bruce Springsteen.

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Review: Rolling Stones, “Shine A Light” soundtrack

Posted in Review with tags on March 28, 2008 by 30daysout

Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have more live albums than they do groupies.  The soundtrack for the new Martin Scorsese film Shine A Light is just another Stones live gig.  The CD is available in a double-disc set with four “bonus” tracks not used in the movie, and as a truncated single disc. 

The double disc set opens with four songs that really rock: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Shattered,” “She Was Hot” and “All Down The Line.”  After that, things go astray only to be redeemed by the charming semi-acoustic “As Tears Go By” and Keith Richards’ spotlight, “You Got The Silver.”  Disc 2 is better, with Mick Jagger and Christina Aguilera duetting on “Live With Me.”  

The album has an imaginative song selection, digging deep into the Stones’ catalog, but the live versions mostly lack the energy of the originals.  Of the so-called “bonus” tracks, one is “Shine A Light.”  Wait, why don’t you have the title song in the movie?  And do we really need to hear a live version of “Little T&A?”  Whatever … Roll on, boys!

Shine A Light official movie website

Review: Joe Jackson, “Rain”

Posted in Review on March 27, 2008 by 30daysout


Lets cut right to the chase – Joe Jackson’s latest offering, Rain, is outstanding. From the first sound of the piano on the excellent opening number “Invisible Man,” Jackson takes you on a melodic trip through the many sounds of his nearly 30-year career. You get a little jazz on tunes like “The Uptown Train,” a little punk on “King Pleasure Time” and the rambunctious “Good Bad Boy,” a little rock on “Citizen Sane,” and tunes like “Too Tough” and the beautiful “Wasted Time” that are pure Joe Jackson. The three man band featuring Jackson on piano, Graham Maby on bass and Dave Houghton on drums, prove you don’t need 15 people in the band to make a big sound and one smoking disc.

The Temptations once sang “I Wish it Would Rain.” In Joe Jackson’s world it has…and it feels good.

30 Years Out: Billy Joel, “The Stranger”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2008 by 30daysout


Billy Joel was a stranger no more after he released The Stranger in September, 1977. Hits like “Just the Way You Are,” “Movin’ Out,” and the controversial “Only the Good Die Young” made Joel a superstar. On July 8, Legacy Recordings is marking the 30th Anniversary of this classic album with a 3-CD, 1-DVD set (a 2-CD set will also be available).

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Review: Van Morrison, “Keep It Simple”

Posted in Review with tags on March 27, 2008 by 30daysout

Van Morrison  

At first you think: now this is more like it.  In the past 24 months Van Morrison has issued a faux-country album (lame), a volume-3 best of (why?), a 2-CD greatest hits package (terrific) and a collection of his songs used on movie soundtracks (wha?).  But now he’s issued Keep It Simple, his 33rd studio album, and his first one in a long time with original songs.  The tunes put one in mind of Morrison’s 1970 Moondance, even if they ultimately fail to live up to that classic. 

On the new album Van makes like a mellow Irish blues man, playing pretty good lead guitar, saxophone and ukelele on 11 songs that dig deeper into his roots than just about any other album of his 41-year career. 

On the opener, “How Can A Poor Boy,” he riffs, Dylan-like, on a traditional blues lyric which he winds up turning into a lament on how people don’t take the time to get to know the true Van the man.   “That’s Entrainment” is a nimble toe-tapper that manages to live up to its title, and “Song Of Home” dips a toe into Tupelo Honey-style Celtic country.  And the closing epic “Behind the Ritual” closes down the bars with a sad tale of “drinking wine in the alley.” 

As entertaining as it is, Keep It Simple elicits a few complaints.  It seems Morrison loses interest pretty much midway through every song.  You rarely get a new idea, a fresh lyric past the middle, just some repetition and vocal scatting.  Not that I mind that so much, but on “Behind the Ritual” he even resorts to muttering “blah blah blah blah” like he’s checking his BlackBerry while wrapping up the session.   

Nice album Van, but next time how about you stick around long enough to finish it?  Just sayin’.    

Van Morrison official website

In The Wild: Brian Wilson

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 27, 2008 by 30daysout

Brian Wilson

Blogkeeper’s note: This was written by our L.A. correspondent Randy Fuller.  Thanks, Randy!  The photo above is a blurry record of Randy’s moment with the Bard of the Beach.  

I live in Los Angeles, which we call “Southern California” and the rest of the world calls “Hollywood”. There are plenty of celebrities living here, and plenty of opportunities to see them. Sometimes the opportunities are planned, like the handshake photo ops that spring up under klieg lights in front of restaurant openings, museum openings and the Friar’s Club occasionally. Much better than that phony stuff, though, is the chance encounter – actually witnessing celebrities in the wild.  

Celebrities are people, too. They do many things we all do. They go to the dentist, the allergist, the therapist, the accupuncturist. And even beyond the limits of Beverly Hills, you can find them actually shopping for groceries and doing other mundane things. Not once, however, have I seen a celebrity involved in spur-of-the-moment ballroom dancing. 

I’ve cut in line in front of then-Governor Gray Davis at El Pollo Loco; had a mini-conversation with Jay Leno as he tooled in the opposite direction in a traffic jam in Hermosa Beach; chatted with James Coburn as he stood in the middle of a movie industry party with (amazingly) no one else trying to talk to him; overheard Buck Henry’s conversation in an Italian restaurant; and was almost run over by Ed Begley Jr. as he sped past me in Studio City on his bicycle. But not to brag. 

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Review: Counting Crows, “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings”

Posted in Review with tags , on March 26, 2008 by 30daysout

Counting Crows

When you go out on Saturday night you want to hear a thousand guitars and pounding drums (Thanks, Bruce). On Sunday morning, you want peace and quiet. You know a cup of coffee, a jelly doughnut, and maybe the newspaper. Counting Crows followed this pattern on their latest offering, appropriately titled Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings. They also went back to the LP format here with two completely different “albums” on one disc. The first six songs are heavy on guitars, drums and loud vocals and the next eight are flavored with a lot of acoustic guitars, harmonica, piano and much quieter vocals.  

As with most Counting Crows CDs after their 1994 debut August and Everything After there are highlights and lowlights. The rockers “1492,” “Hanging Tree,” “Cowboys,” the Rolling Stones-influenced “Los Angeles,” where singer Adam Duritz channels Mick Jagger when he says “we’re going to get drunk, find some skinny girls and go street walking, baby,” “Come Around,” the beautiful “Washington Square,” and the first single “You Can Count on Me” are vintage Crows with memorable hooks and strong vocal and instrumental performances.  

On the flipside there is “On A Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago” where Duritz’s vocals hit you like a dentist drill as he utters the line “come back to me” over and over again, the boring “Le Ballet D’Or” (songs with French titles sung by American rock bands are always bad. Remember “C’etait Toi” by Billy Joel? He even admits it’s horrible) and the appropriately titled “Insignificant.”  

Duritz says the band named the album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings because Saturday is when you sin and Sunday is when you regret. Counting Crows only sinned a couple of times on this disc, so I don’t think you’ll have any regrets if you decide to go out and buy it.


MP3: 1492

Counting Crows official website


30 Years Out: The Sex Pistols live at Randy’s Rodeo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 26, 2008 by 30daysout

Sex Pistols at Randy’s Rodeo

Photo above from Sex Pistols at Randy’s Rodeo website 

Few things in rock and roll are as fun as being able to “discover” a new band and follow them as they progress into stardom, or obscurity.  Early in 1978 we were hearing rumbles from across the Atlantic about something new, something different, something very, very odd. 

It was, of course, the Sex Pistols … and they toured (more like invaded) the United States in 1978, crossing the southern half of the country playing redneck bars and enduring the insults of (supposedly) hostile audiences.  Manager Malcolm McLaren later admitted this was done on purpose, to get publicity. 

Anyway, I covered the infamous San Antonio gig at a bar called Randy’s Rodeo.  Of course, my newspaper refused to print the review; so did the Associated Press, for which I worked as a stringer.  So to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Randy’s Rodeo gig, here is the complete story, seen publicly for the first time: 

SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 9, 1978) – On the jukebox at Randy’s Rodeo, a bowling alley-turned honky tonk on the outskirts of town, George Jones and Merle Haggard offer to sing their lonely, sad songs to anyone who will listen. 

But nobody wanted them Sunday night, as the British punk rock band the Sex Pistols invaded Randy’s with their trademark brand of switchblade rock and offensive stage antics.

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Review: R.E.M. “Accelerate”

Posted in Review with tags , , on March 25, 2008 by 30daysout

Accelerate cover

Last year at this time, we were sitting around complaining about the lack of quality new music.  Now all of a sudden, R.E.M.’s 14th studio album, Accelerate, arrives and it promises to kick these alt-rock veterans into a new phase of their popularity.  With snarling guitars and hooks at every turn, Accelerate takes the listener on a fast (35 minutes) ride through 11 high-octane songs that Michael Stipe and Co. have obviously built for speed.   “Supernatural Superstitious” reminds one of everyone we ever liked about R.E.M.  It’s almost a textbook tune from this band – no wonder it’s the first single (do we still do that in this day and age?) from the album.  “Hollow Man” takes us deep into Pearl Jam territory, but it’s still terrific as it turns its mournful angst into a speedy ride atop Peter Buck’s jangly guitars.  “Houston” revisits the Hurricane Katrina tragedy as displaced to the west and “Man-Sized Wreath” is another fine rocker.  “I’m Gonna DJ” closes the album with the promise, “I’m gonna DJ at the end of the world!”  As we know it, I am sure.   Like Springsteen’s Magic, the new R.E.M. album is a return to form as well as a catalog of the band’s best moments.  But hey, it rocks, and it’s a great album to take into the summer.

MP3: Supernatural Superstitious

R.E.M. Official web site