Archive for Cyndi Lauper

100 Years Out: Robert Johnson

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2011 by 30daysout

In the dim early part of the last century, a bluesman named Robert Johnson claimed he sold his soul to the devil, as if to explain his otherworldly skills in writing, singing and playing the blues. If that really happened, right now Robert Johnson is burning in hell while we’re still talking and writing about him, and listening to his music. It means that Robert Johnson beat the devil.

Sunday will mark the 100th birthday of this mysterious figure. In this age of instant tweets and non-stop media, it’s almost impossible to know as little about an entertainer as we do about Robert Johnson. We do know that between 1932 until his death in 1938, Johnson was constantly on the move, playing juke joints and roadhouses across the South. He occasionally played gigs in places like Chicago and St. Louis, and the 42 songs we know him by today were cut during two epic sessions in San Antonio and Dallas.

The two things that have survived over the years are of course the legend of Robert Johnson and the devil, and the music. Robert Johnson’s music is terrifying in its stark realism, and the dark heart of his greatest songs form the foundation of rock and roll. No need to run down the list of artists influenced by Robert Johnson – you can hear it below.

MP3: “Me and the Devil Blues” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Come On In My Kitchen” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Last Fair Gone Down” by Eric Clapton

MP3: “Ramblin’ On My Mind” (live) by Lucinda Williams

MP3: “They’re Red Hot” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

MP3: “Hellhound On My Trail” by Fleetwood Mac

MP3: “Traveling Riverside Blues” by Led Zeppelin

MP3: “Crossroads” by Cyndi Lauper w/Johnny Lang

MP3: “(I Believe I’ll) Dust My Broom” by Todd Rundgren

MP3: “Love In Vain” by the Rolling Stones

MP3: “Sweet Home Chicago” by the Steve Miller Band

MP3: “Stop Breaking Down” by the White Stripes

MP3: “Crossroads” by Cream

On The Trail of the Hellhound – 30 Days Out post from 2008

Review: Everybody’s got the blues … even Ozzy!

Posted in Review with tags , , , on June 21, 2010 by 30daysout

A whole truckload of new releases are out just in time for summer, and it seems like everybody’s got the blues.  Last week we took a listen to the newsy bluesy Mojo by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, this week a number of veteran artists seem to be following his lead into the blues.

It’s taken Steve Miller about 17 years to release a new album, and here we have Bingo!, a collection of blues and R&B covers.  It seems kind of weird that Miller would stage a comeback with an album of covers, but maybe he’s burned out as a songwriter.  Bingo! is a party record, full of hot guitar playing and feel-good blues rock.  Joe Satriani shows up for a guitar duel on the B.B. King warhorse “Rock Me Baby” and a handful of songs are highlighted by the harmonica work of the late Norton Buffalo, who died shortly after this album was recorded.  Another highlight is “Hey Yeah,” one of three songs penned by Austin’s Jimmie Vaughan.  Singer Sonny Charles, apparently now a permanent part of the Steve Miller Band, lends some raw soul that Miller’s own white-boy singing can’t provide.  Bingo! reminds me of that sanitized blues stuff Eric Clapton produced in the 1990s (From The Cradle, etc.) – not bad, not great but nowhere near the original stuff.  So I guess Bingo! works for most everyone except the old-timers.

MP3: “Hey Yeah” by the Steve Miller Band

True to its title, Memphis Blues provides the setting for former pop princess Cyndi Lauper‘s excursion into the blues.  Happily, Cyndi’s remarkable voice provides enough grit and character and variety to make Memphis Blues a worthwhile listen.  Guest performers like B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Ann Peebles and Charlie Musselwhite lend some muscle to the proceedings, and for the most part Lauper chooses more obscure songs which can help give a fresher feel to a project like this.  Lauper’s voice cracks and gets a little shrill in places, but overall she manages to convey a genuine feeling for the music.  The highlights include her duet with Ann Peebles on Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” and “Early In The Mornin’,” with Allen Toussaint giving it a Crescent City swagger.  I approached Cyndi’s cover of the Robert Johnson classic “Crossroads” (with guitarist Jonny Lang) with a little apprehension, but they manage to do something interesting instead of turning it into a joke.  Not bad, Cyndi.

MP3: “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ” by Cyndi Lauper w/Ann Peebles

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30 Days Out (From Christmas): Holiday Clearance!

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2008 by 30daysout


Day 25 – Only four shopping days left till Christmas, and we’re huffing into the homestretch of our holiday music marathon.  Today we’ll pick up some of the leftovers that have been left on the cutting room floor.  You got a little of everything: some WTF? (Tiny Tim), something new (Hives, Sheryl Crow) some rock and roll (Gary Glitter), Zappa, Belafonte and a full Christmas episode of Jack Webb’s “Dragnet” radio show from the 1950s.  My advice to you is to make like the couple in the photo above – pop a few bottlecaps (of Schlitz? … That woman looks a little drunk) and cue up the tunes.   Thanks and a big “Merry Xmas” to L.A. correspondent and radio personality Randy Fuller, who shared some of his library for this ill-advised project.

MP3: “Peace” by Norah Jones

MP3: “Another Rock and Roll Christmas” by Gary Glitter


Captain Kangaroo

MP3: “Merry Christmas Baby” by Sheryl Crow

MP3: “The Littlest Snowman” by Captain Kangaroo

MP3: “Santa Claus Has Got The AIDS” by Tiny Tim

MP3: “Sleigh Ride” from A Star Wars Christmas

MP3: “A Christmas Duel” by the Hives with Cyndi Lauper

MP3: Gene Simmons Holiday Message   

MP3: “Trim Your Tree” by Jimmy Butler 

MP3: “Santa Claus Is Freaking Me Out” by Lord Weatherby

MP3: “Feliz Navidad” by the Zydeco Playboys

MP3: “Poor Mr. Santa” by Andre Williams

MP3: “Jingle Polka” by Thurl Ravenscroft with Marie Vernon & the Mellomen

MP3: “Overture To A Holiday” by Frank Zappadragnet-xmas-story-a

MP3: “The Christmas Story”  radio episode of “Dragnet” Part 1

MP3: “The Christmas Story” radio episode of “Dragnet” Part 2

MP3: “Mary’s Boy Child” by Harry Belafonte

MP3: Brian Wilson Holiday Announcement

MP3: “Silent Night” by Brian Wilson

Review: k.d. lang, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 23, 2008 by 30daysout

k.d. lang takes you on a journey through her career on her new disc, Watershed. She mixes in a little country, a little pop, a little easy listening, but, unfortunately, very little life. It’s the kind of collection that you might have on in the background when you’re alone doing stuff around your house or reading a book. It keeps you company, but it doesn’t want to make you use the broom as a guitar. Lang has an incredible voice, her harmonies are great, and her melodies are interesting in spots, but the 11 songs are painfully slow, and after about four of them you are hoping there isn’t a rope anywhere near you. If you are a k.d. lang fan, then you’ll probably enjoy this disc. If you’re not, and want to hear some of her better work, try 1992’s, Ingenue


MP3: I Dream of Spring

k.d. lang Official Website


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