Archive for Bonnie Raitt

Gettin’ Ready for the Summer

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by 30daysout

We've used this photo before - hope you don't mind if we use it again.

This week, in our hometown of Houston, Texas, we have had a great stretch of lovely, sunny weather. The TV nerds are telling us about temperatures in coming days that will flirt with the 90s, and there’s not a cloud in sight.

So let me be the first to welcome you to pre-summer, that short window of time before the heat is here and the time is right … to suspend all critical judgment and good taste when it comes to entertainment. This week the newly reunited Beach Boys start their 50th anniversary tour and next week the first of the big blockbuster movies (The Avengers) will be unleashed. But you don’t have to sell out just yet – there are some new music releases of actual quality out now, to help you get in the mood for the long, hot summer.

Best of Kokua Festival by Jack Johnson & Friends – Recorded live over six years of Kokua Festivals in Hawaii, this sunny sampler is anchored by Jack Johnson, who is the current generation’s Jimmy Buffett and Beach Boys rolled into one. There’s a healthy sampling of Jack Johnson tunes (“Mudfootball,” “Better Together”) but the best stuff comes from the guest stars, who include Ziggy and Damian Marley, Jackson Browne, Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, Taj Mahal, Eddie Vedder and good ol’ Willie Nelson. A mellow time is had by all. Highlights: “A Pirate Looks At Forty” (Jimmy Buffett cover) by Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews; “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain,” by Willie Nelson w/Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. Best reason to buy it: 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity.

The Grifter’s Hymnal by Ray Wylie Hubbard – The associate dean of Texas songwriters (second only to Guy Clark), Ray Wylie Hubbard has released what many are calling his best album. I kinda thought his last one, A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C), was his best, but no – The Grifter’s Hymnal is packed with gritty, hard-earned truth set to some sizzling electric guitar work. If you buy only this album all year, you will still be light years ahead of the pack. Highlights: “Mother Blues,” “South of the River,” “Coochy Coochy” (featuring Ringo Starr!) Best reason to buy it: It’s a great soundtrack for an outdoor barbecue.

What Kind of World by Brendan Benson – Probably best known for performing as part of the Raconteurs with Jack White, Brendan Benson is a solid songwriter and excellent guitarist who effortlessly combines power pop and melodic guitar rock with a roots music sensibility. Perhaps influenced by his move to Nashville, Benson deftly deploys a country side that balances this listenable album nearly perfectly. Highlights: “Light of Day,” “What Kind of World” and “On The Fence (a duet with Ashley Monroe of the Pistol Annies). Best reason to buy it: Paired with Jack White’s new Blunderbuss, it makes a good one-two party shot.

Sacred Fire (EP) by Jimmy Cliff – While I was excited to get new music from the associate dean of reggae music (second only to Bob Marley), I was bummed by this five-song EP’s short run time. But what’s here is great: Jimmy covers the Clash, Bob Dylan and punk rockers Rancid (the latter’s lead singer Tim Armstrong is producer), and offers a couple originals that set up well alongside his classics. Cliff promises an upcoming full-length album, which will apparently include the tunes from this EP. Highlights: “The Guns of Brixton,” “Ship Is Sailing.” Best reason to buy it: Get the vinyl LP, which has an extra track, “World Upside Down.”

Download “Ship Is Sailing” for free at Jimmy Cliff’s website

A Postcard from California by Al Jardine – This solo album from a founding member of the Beach Boys actually came out a couple of years ago as a download-only offering; now you can get a brick-and-mortar copy with some extra tunes. Of course, the guy who sang “Help Me Rhonda” will put out a record that sounds exactly like the Beach Boys, even to the point of revisiting some of the Boys’ familiar tunes. This time around he loads up on the guest stars: Glen Campbell, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Steve Miller, America, Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Alec Baldwin (yes, the actor) and best of all, the surviving (and one deceased) members of the Beach Boys. Highlights: “Don’t Fight The Sea” with the Beach Boys. Best reason to buy it: The CD back cover has a map of California, in case you get lost while drivin’ up the coast.

Some others out now that are worth mentioning: Marley, a two-CD soundtrack to the documentary on Bob Marley; Slipstream by Bonnie Raitt; Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook by Elvis Costello; Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones and Blunderbuss by Jack White. Wait for: We Salute You (covers) by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, May 1; After Hours by Glenn Frey, May 8; Heroes by Willie Nelson, May 15; Ram (reissue) by Paul & Linda McCartney, May 22; Big Station by Alejandro Escovedo, June 5: and of course That’s Why God Made The Radio by the Beach Boys, also on June 5.

Video Du Jour: Bonnie Raitt

Posted in News with tags , on April 10, 2012 by 30daysout

“Right Down The Line,” originally written and performed by Gerry Rafferty, is the first single from Bonnie Raitt’s new Slipstream, out today. The album is Raitt’s first since 2005 and the video for “Right Down The Line” is her first video in 14 years.

Slipstream is getting good reviews –NPR is streaming the album in full.

Bonnie Raitt official website

Sampler Daze: A Last Look at the Loss Leaders

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by 30daysout

wbll7795

When The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook appeared in early 1969, the liner notes said, by way of explanation, the sampler’s goal was “hopefully to win new friends for some very creative people.”  People like Jethro Tull, the Pentangle, Frank Zappa, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, even Tiny Tim.  Warner Bros. Records, founded in 1958, was just beginning to hoist its freak flag, and in just a few years the label’s roster would be the cream of the crop.

And so the ride began: with L.A. street freak Wild Man Fischer’s “Songs For Sale” introducing “My Sunday Feeling” by Jethro Tull.  Eleven years later, the Warner Bros./Reprise Loss Leaders series ended on the sampler Troublemakers with Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols snarling, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Well, no.  The 34 Loss Leaders samplers that appeared between 1969 and 1980 formed my musical tastes and exposed me to artists I would never have dreamed of seeking out, to people who may have been just a little too adventurous even for early-Seventies radio.  I remember calling up my local AM pop station and smugly asking the DJ to play some Zappa and the Mothers, or that flip side by the Beach Boys, only to get the response, “What?”  The Loss Leaders made me cooler than the disc jockey!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Sampler Daze: The WB/Reprise Loss Leaders All-Star Team

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2009 by 30daysout
arlo-guthrie-peacep01-ga

Arlo Guthrie

We take a short break from our exhaustive, year-by-year look at the Warner/Reprise Loss Leaders to cite a few of the artists who appeared throughout this series with great music.  We could call it our Loss Leaders All-Star Team.  Between 1969 and 1980, the label issued 35 samplers that were available to the public, and these artists were perennials.

Arlo Guthrie – Woody’s son made 13 appearances in the Loss Leaders series, appearing on the very first sampler in 1969 with “The Pause Of Mr. Claus,” a performance that features one of his trademark comedic rap/song combinations.  The best known of these is of course “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” the nearly-19-minute-long song that made Guthrie famous in 1967 and is played on hip radio stations every Thanksgiving.  Arlo hit the top 40 in 1972 with his version of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” and he cut 14 albums for Warner Bros. before the label dropped him in 1983.

Randy Newman

Randy Newman

Randy Newman – Like Guthrie, Newman was one of those hard-to-market artists but he nevertheless earned a critical following when he first appeared in 1968.  Known for writing satiric songs (often from the point of view of a reprehensible character) with beautiful melodies, Newman actually penned hit songs for other artists (“Mama Told Me Not To Come” was a hit for Three Dog Night) and had a few hits of his own, including “Short People” (1977) and “I Love L.A.” (1983).  Newman is a runner-up to Arlo, with 12 appearances in the Loss Leaders series.

Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention – Zappa and/or his band made 11 total appearances in the Loss Leaders, they even gave him his own one-disc sampler in 1970 (Zapped) to showcase all the artists on his Bizarre/Straight labels.

Continue reading

Rock Moment: The Urban Cowboy Craze

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2009 by 30daysout
cover_ucb1

Mickey Gilley, center, partyin' down at Gilley's

Once upon a time, our little corner of Southeast Texas was literally swimming in oil and as a result, many people were also swimming in money.  The bright lights and towers of the petrochemical plants ringed the city of Houston and the night sky often had the eerie red glow of a flame-topped flare burning off petro waste products.

Pasadena, Texas, is a compact little town that would be in the shadow of Houston’s skyscrapers if the oil refineries weren’t in the way.  Many people who lived in Pasadena in the 1970s worked at the plant, and when they wanted to party, they went to one place – Gilley’s.

gilley_sGilley’s nightclub was a sprawling honky-tonk located along the Spencer Highway drag in Pasadena.  It was billed as the world’s largest honky-tonk, and who could argue?  It certainly looked like it was three or four football fields long (or wide, I never could figure out which) and could easily accommodate upwards of 6,000 people at one time.  (Note to Yankees: I’m just kidding about the football fields.  Don’t send me any e-mails, please.)  Gilley’s hardwood dance floor was surrounded by long wooden tables and thousands of chairs, allowing a great view of the bandstand from wherever you might be in this massive complex.

Continue reading

Review: “Yes We Can,” Maria Muldaur

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2008 by 30daysout

“Give Peace a Chance,” “Bring ‘Em Home,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” and the list goes on and on.  None of them brought an end to war or violence, but they did make the artists a pretty penny.  What is the point of these records?  Do the artists really think they are going to make a difference?  Some probably do … just ask Maria Muldaur.

Continue reading