Archive for September, 2009

Bonus Song Of The Week: “Freeway View” by James McMurtry

Posted in News with tags , , on September 23, 2009 by 30daysout

Since we started our “Song Of The Week” feature on a Wednesday, we thought we’d offer a bonus – this is “Freeway View” from James McMurtry’s new live CD/DVD, Live In Europe, coming out October 9.

A document of his first tour through Europe earlier this year, both the vinyl LP and CD include a DVD with live footage.  McMurtry’s band features Texas guitarist Jon Dee Graham and former Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan … “Mac” burns a hole through the middle of the song on this clip!

Pre-order Live In Europe and get it autographed!

Song of the Week: “Relator” by Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2009 by 30daysout


From the album Break Up – MySpace page

Sampler Daze: WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 9

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by 30daysout

RecordsLikeThis works

If you’ve been with us this long, you already know the Warner Bros./Reprise Loss Leaders series wasn’t about hit records – although the 1970s entries managed to have one or two hit singles on each sampler.  But with the coming of 1975’s I Didn’t Know They Still Made Records Like This, the label rolled out its big guns.  Of the 26 songs included on this two-LP set, six were bonafide Top 20 hits and a few others were FM radio staples.

And another thing about this one – it was aimed squarely at MOR audiences.  Singer/songwriters abound: James Taylor does his No. 5 “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” which was actually an old Motown song; Arlo Guthrie does the No. 18 hit “City Of New Orleans,” which was actually written by Steve Goodman; Gordon Lightfoot offers the No. 26 “Rainy Day People,” which was actually written by Gordon Lightfoot.  Add to that Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” (No. 11), Seals & Croft’s “I’ll Play For You” (No. 18) and the No. 1 smash “Then Came You,” by Dionne Warwick and the Spinners.  “I Can See Clearly Now,” a hit for reggae artist Johnny Nash, pops up here in a version by country singer Rex Allen Jr., the first appearance, I believe, on the Loss Leaders by an artist out of the Nashville stable.

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Rock Moment: “The Mike Douglas Show”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by 30daysout

mike-douglas-show

Mike Douglas started out as big band singer before heading to the small screen in the 1950s. The Mike Douglas Show debuted in Cleveland as a local show in 1961, but by 1967 after the show moved to Philadelphia, it was in 171 markets and watched by more than six million people each afternoon.

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Springsteen appears on “Spectacle” with Costello

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by 30daysout

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UPDATED: Read about the magical night at the Apollo at Backstreets Magazine.

Let me start off by saying “Spectacle” featuring Elvis Costello on the Sundance Channel is the best music program on TV…hands down. Costello asks insightful questions, artists like Lou Reed, Herbie Hancock, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Rosanne Cash and The Police, looked comfortable talking about themselves, and then there is the music. Costello usually plays with the artist, and whether they are his songs or their songs, the performances are outstanding.

This year’s guest list will feature, among others, Bruce Springsteen. The Boss is set to tape his segement at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Sept. 25. It will be interesting to see if he spills the beans on the future of the E Street Band and to see what they play together. Costello recorded an excellent version of “Brilliant Disguise” and Bruce played “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” on the Vote for Change Tour a few years ago, so we can probably count on at least those two. All I know is that whatever they play, it will rock. There is no air date at this time, but stick with us and we’ll let you know when it will come to a TV set near you.

Elvis Costello Official website

Bruce Springsteen Official website

Official “Spectacle” website

The Sundance Channel Official website

“London Calling” – Springsteen/Costello/VanZandt/Grohl

Sampler Daze: The WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 8

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by 30daysout

theforce allmeat

There was no denying that, by 1975, popular music was undergoing another change.  The advances of the late 1960s had sunk in, and rock had already gotten over the Beatles by introducing bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Foghat.  The second wave of hard rockers were honing their chops in 1975, and names like Aerosmith, Boston and Van Halen were waiting in the wings.

But the pop charts were showing a different shade: black.  Black artists had always been a part of pop music, of course: names like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross regularly appeared on the Top 40, as did Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and the Staple Singers.  By 1975, soul music and R&B had been influenced by psychedelic guitar music, and the new music born from that was called funk.

Curtis Mayfield

One of the big artists of the early Seventies was Curtis Mayfield, who soldiered through the 1960s as the mastermind behind the Impressions and their groundbreaking hits like “People Get Ready,” “Keep On Pushing” and “We’re A Winner.”  Mayfield left the group in 1970 and as a solo artist he helped put black music on the top 40 with his classic soundtrack to the blaxploitation movie Superfly.   In 1975 Mayfield took his own label, Curtom, to Warner Bros., and he anchored the first sampler from that year, All Meat.  In 1990 Mayfield would be seriously injured by falling stage lighting, and he was paralyzed from the neck down.  After nearly a decade in this condition, Mayfield died in 1999.

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Sampler Daze: Let’s Hear It For The Women!

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by 30daysout
Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt

It occurred to me, while compiling this exhaustive survey of the Warner Bros./Reprise Loss Leaders series, that we might be giving short shrift to the label’s female artists.  Probably not, but this is a good excuse to listen to some more tracks from this great promotional series.

I know we’ve mentioned Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur – but we should start with them anyway because they’re the two ladies that the Loss Leaders went to the most often.  Part of our Loss Leaders All-Star team, Muldaur appeared nine times in the series and Raitt eight.  Another Reprise artist (with six appearances in the series) is Joni Mitchell, the Canadian darling of the hippie set and writer of the song “Woodstock,” most famously covered by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Emmylou Harris, with five appearances in the Loss Leaders series, is another perennial.  Harris was actually discovered by then-Flying Burrito Brother (and ex-Byrd) Chris Hillman, who was so taken with her voice that he considered asking Harris to join the Burritos.  But he recommended her instead to fellow Burrito Gram Parsons, who was seeking a backing vocalist for his first solo album.  Working with Parsons, Emmylou learned a lot about country music and its deep tradition and history.  When Parsons suddenly died in 1973, Emmylou was left without a mentor (and possibly a lover – nobody knows for sure).  She began recording for Reprise in 1975 and went on to become a top country-rock performer.  Here she is represented by “Ooh Las Vegas,” written by Gram Parsons.

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Lost Classics! Peter, Paul & Mary

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by 30daysout
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Peter, Mary and Paul

REPOST: Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary died Wednesday at the age of 72.  You can read an obituary here.  We thought we’d just retrieve this earlier post, with links intact.

If you can even imagine it, there was a time between Elvis Presley and the Beatles – and American music was confused indeed.  In 1959, Elvis went into the Army,  Buddy Holly died in an Iowa snowstorm and by that time Jerry Lee Lewis had virtually scandalized himself out of the music business.  Rock and roll’s moment seemed to have passed.

But folk music was still very big.  Groups like the Kingston Trio and the Weavers (with Pete Seeger) still managed to have hit records, and when Peter, Paul and Mary came out of the Greenwich Village scene in 1961 they had their sights set on the top of the pop charts.  Peter Yarrow, Noel “Paul” Stookey and Mary Travers cut their first album in 1962 and it featured mostly traditional folk standards and a Pete Seeger tune, “If I Had A Hammer,” which was a hit.   The next year they would hit again with “Blowin’ In The Wind,” written by the up-and-coming Bob Dylan.

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Sampler Daze: WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 7

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by 30daysout

hardgoods deepear

By 1974, radio’s hard rock trend was going strong – Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Humble Pie dominated the FM rock airwaves.  Appropriately titled for the time, Hard Goods arrived in mailboxes with freshly minted rockers like Montrose, covering Roy Brown’s “Good Rocking Tonight” and Foghat, offering its cover of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day.”  Ted Nugent and his Amboy Dukes show up, and the perfect marriage between glam and hard rock emerges in the then-new KISS (Casablanca Records were distributed by Warner Bros. until about 1976).

The Doobie Brothers were still rockin’ behind guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston and they were fresh off their 1973 triumph The Captain and Me.  The Doobies’ new “Pursuit On 53rd Street” had a guitar crunch similar to the monster single “China Grove” but behind the scenes, Johnston’s health was becoming precarious.  He was able to stick with the Doobies through late 1974 even as new personnel were added, most notably ex-Steely Dan guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.  Finally in early 1975 Johnston had to quit the band, and a replacement was found in another Steely Dan alumnus, Michael McDonald.  The Doobies quickly became McDonald’s franchise, and everyone’s heard the rest of the story – with more than 30 million albums sold, the Doobies are still an active touring band with a rejuvenated Tom Johnston at the helm.

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Reviews: The ‘Old’ Guys

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on September 16, 2009 by 30daysout

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As I’ve said before, there’s nothing better than some “classic rock” to accompany a lazy weekend afternoon on the patio (along with some beer, of course).   I use the quotation marks because what I usually dig up is current music put out by so-called classic artists – you know, old guys.

I have to admit:  it’s heartening to see our elders still carrying the rock and roll banner, even if the stuff they put out is only a pale imitation of their best work from their prime.  Even mediocre albums from rock heroes like Bruce Springsteen and U2 this year still sound better than most of the new stuff out there.  (Exception: John Fogerty’s Blue Ridge Rangers covers album – 20 lashes with a wet noodle for that snooze-fest, J.C.!)

So.  That said, let’s dive right into Seven Moons Live,  by former Cream bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce and former Procol Harum guitarist (and Hendrix accolyte) Robin Trower.  A collection of juicy blues-rock from a European tour, this live album pretty much reprises the entirety of Seven Moons, mixing in one Trower fave (“Carmen”) and three selections from the Cream catalog.   In fact, if you are a Cream fan this is for you: songs like “Lives Of Clay” and “Seven Moons” successfully evoke rock’s greatest power trio while giving a new dimension – Trower’s guitar work – to the music.

And those Cream fans will really love “Sunshine Of Your Love,” “White Room” and “Politician,” songs that have somewhat become more associated with Eric Clapton over the years.  But the originals were sung (and co-written) by Bruce, and his voice has weathered age and illness to still sound strong.   Trower’s guitar work gives these workhorses a new texture, and it’s great.  This album is big fun from two rock veterans.

MP3: “Sunshine Of Your Love” (live) by Jack Bruce & Robin Trower

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