Archive for January, 2010

This Week’s Birthdays (January 31 – February 6)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 31
1906 ● Roosevelt Sykes → Boogie-blues piano player
1921 ● Mario Lanza (Alfredo Arnold Cocozza) → Opera tenor, actor, singer “Be My Love” (1950)
1928 ● Harold “Chuck” Willis → “C.C. Rider” (1957)
1940 ● Sandy Yaguda → Jay & The Americans
1946 ● Terry KathChicago
1951 ● Harry Wayne “K.C.” Casey → KC & The Sunshine Band
1951 ● Phil Manzannera (Targett-Adams) → Roxy Music
1956 ● Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) → Sex Pistols
1961 ● Lloyd Cole → Commotions
1966 ● Al Doughty (Alan Jaworski) → Jesus Jones
1967 ● Jason CooperThe Cure
1981 ● Justin Timberlake → *NSYNC

Feb 01
1937 ● Don EverlyEverly Brothers
1937 ● Ray Sawyer → Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
1938 ● Jimmy Carl Black (James Inkanish)Mothers of Invention
1948 ● Rick James (James Ambrose Johnson) → “Super Freak” (1981)
1950 ● Mike CampbellTom Petty & The Heartbreakers
1951 ● Fran Christina → Fabulous Thunderbirds
1951 ● Rich WilliamsKansas
1964 ● Jani Lane (John Kennedy Oswald) → Warrant
1968 ● Lisa Marie Presley → Only child of Elvis
1969 ● Patrick Wilson → Weezer
1975 ● Big Boi (Antwan Andre Patton) → Outkast

Feb 02
1927 ● Stan Getz → Jazz saxaphonist
1934 ● Clyde “Skip” BattinByrds, Flying Burrito Bros., New Riders Of The Purple Sage
1940 ● Alan Caddy → Tornados
1942 ● Graham NashHollies, Crosby Stills Nash & Young
1948 ● Alan McKay → Earth Wind & Fire
1949 ● Ross ValorySteve Miller Band, Journey
1963 ● Eva Cassidy → “Over The Rainbow” (1992)
1966 ● Robert DeLeo → Stone Temple Pilots
1971 ● Ben Mize → Counting Crows
1975 ● Billy Mohler → The Calling
1977 ● Shakira Isabell Mebarak Ripoll → “Hips Don’t Lie” (2006)

Feb 03
1928 ● Frankie Vaughan (Frank Abelson) → “Green Door” (1956)
1935 ● Johnny “Guitar” Watson → “Space Guitar” (1954)
1940 ● Angelo d’AleoDion & The Belmonts
1943 ● Dennis EdwardsTemptations
1943 ● Eric HaydockHollies
1943 ● Shawn Phillips → “Lost Horizon” (1973)
1947 ● Dave DaviesThe Kinks
1947 ● Melanie (Melanie Safka) → “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)” (1970)
1949 ● Arthur Kane → New York Dolls
1956 ● Lee Renaldo → Sonic Youth
1959 ● Laurence “Lol” TolhurstThe Cure
1990 ● Sean Kingston (Kisean Jamal Anderson) → “Beautiful Girls” (2007)

Feb 04
1941 ● John Steel → Animals
1944 ● Florence LaRue → The 5th Dimension
1948 ● Alice Cooper (Vincent Damon Furnier)
1951 ● Phil EhartKansas
1952 ● Jerry Shirley → Humble Pie
1962 ● Clint Black → “Killin’ Time” (1989)
1975 ● Natalie Imbruglia → “Torn” (1997)
1975 ● Rick Burch → Jimmy Eat World
1976 ● Cam’ron (Cameron Giles) → “Oh Boy” (2002)

Feb 05
1919 ● Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt) → Actor, singer
1923 ● Claude King → “Wolverton Mountain” (1962)
1935 ● Alex Harvey → Sensational Alex Harvey Band
1941 ● Barrett Strong → “Money (That’s What I Want)” (1962), Motown writer/producer
1942 ● Corey Wells → Three Dog Night
1943 ● Charles “Chuck” Winfield Blood, Sweat & Tears
1943 ● Sven Johannson → Tangerine Dream
1944 ● Al Kooper → Blues Project, Blood Sweat & Tears, sessions, producer
1944 ● J.R. Cobb → Atlanta Rhythm Section
1964 ● Michael “Duff” McKagan → Guns N’ Roses
1968 ● Chris Barron → Spin Doctors
1969 ● Bobby Brown → “My Perogative” (1988)

Feb 06
1941 ● Dave Berry (David Holgate Grundy) → “The Crying Game” (1964)
1943 ● Fabian (Fabiano Forte Bonaparte) → “Tiger” (1964)
1945 ● Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley → Reggae giant
1950 ● Mike Batt → “Summertime City” (1975)
1950 ● Stephanie Natalie Maria Cole → “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” (1975)
1962 ● Axl Rose (William Bruce Rose Bailey) → Guns N’ Roses
1966 ● Rick Astley → “Never Gonna Give You Up” (1987)

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Album of the Day: Moby Grape (1/30/69) 41 Years!

Hard core fans of psychedelic rock know Moby Grape was one of the premier bands of the era, despite the fact that they really weren’t a psych-rock outfit in a strict sense. Regardless of their genre label, the Grape had a terrific series of albums between 1967 and 1972, including their fourth, Moby Grape ’69, which came out on January 30, 1969. While their 1967 self-titled debut album is widely acclaimed as one of the best 60s albums of the psych-rock era, Moby Grape ’69 was no slouch.

Never prone to the drawn out, self-indulgent, often pretentious instrumental improvisations of some of their San Francisco brethren, Moby Grape featured a five-man, three-guitar lineup with roots in Canada, the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. With all five musicians sharing the songwriting, the Grape produced a wide variety of sounds, blending elements of blues, rock ‘n roll, country and folk into a rootsy mix with just enough spacey, acid-rock to put them in the realm of psychedelia. Moby Grape ’69 found the band honing their sound with deeper country and folk influences, presaging the mellow country-rock of the 70s. Fans of Poco (click here) and the Eagles (here) in particular will enjoy Moby Grape ’69 and its predecessors, Truly Fine Citizen (July 1969) and 20 Granite Creek (1971).

Moby Grape ‘69 is available as downloads for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Album of the Day: Simon & Garfunkel (1/26/70) 40 Years!

Simon & Garfunkel’s hugely successful folk-pop partnership was unraveling during the recording sessions for their fifth album. Bridge Over Troubled Water was released on January 26, 1970 and proved to be a fitting and reflective bookend to a turbulent decade and the stellar run for Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, the most popular folk duo of the Sixties – and inarguably all time.

S&G (see my playlist here) found a broad audience in all age groups and across the spectrum of pop and rock music with Bridge Over Troubled Water. With its gospel-tinged title track, the tambourine chops and light African rhythms of “Cecilia,” the haunting mandolin of “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” and the flowing introspection of “The Boxer,” the album won the hearts of the public, garnered multiple Grammy awards, spent more than ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart, and sat for an astounding 33 weeks atop the British charts. But despite their lifelong friendship, the strains of a decade-long artistic association, Garfunkel’s move toward an acting career and Simon’s desire for freedom as a solo artist were causing a rift even before they began to record Bridge in October 1969. By the time the album came out, the ampersand was gone and the two were headed down separate paths.

One of the top selling albums of the 70s and a 25 million plus seller over 40 years, Bridge Over Troubled Water is available as downloads for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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This Week’s Birthdays (January 24 – 30)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 24
1936 ● Doug Kershaw → Country fiddler, “Louisiana Man” (1961)
1939 ● Ray Stevens (Harold Ray Ragsdale) → “Everything Is Beautiful” (1970)
1941 ● Aaron Neville → Neville Brothers
1941 ● Neil Diamond → “The Jewish Elvis”
1947 ● Warren Zevon → “Werewolves Of London” (1978)
1949 ● John Belushi → Blues Brothers
1953 ● Matthew Wilder (Weiner) → “Break My Stride” (1983)
1958 ● Julian Miles “Jools” Holland → Squeeze

Jan 25
1938 ● Etta James (Jamesetta Hawkins) → “Tell Mama” (1967)
1950 ● Michael Cotton → The Tubes
1954 ● Richard Finch → KC & The Sunshine Band
1956 ● Andy Cox → English Beat, Fine Young Cannibals
1958 ● Gary Tibbs → Roxy Music, Vibrators
1962 ● Peter Coyle → Lotus Eaters
1963 ● Carl Fysh → Brother Beyond
1971 ● China Kantner → Daughter of Grace Slick and Paul Kantner
1981 ● Alicia Keys (Alicia Auguello Cook) → “Fallin'” (2001)

Jan 26
1934 ● Huey “Piano” Smith → “Rockin’ Pneumonia” (1957)
1945 ● Ashley “Tyger” Hutchings → Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span
1946 ● Deon Jackson → “Love Makes The World Go ‘Round” (1966)
1948 ● Laurence Gordon “Corky” LaingMountain, West Bruce & Laing
1949 ● Derek Holt → Climax Blues Band
1951 ● Andy Hummell → Big Star
1951 ● David Briggs → Little River Band
1953 ● Lucinda Williams → “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” (1998)
1957 ● Edward Van Halen Van Halen
1958 ● Anita Baker → “Sweet Love” (1986)
1958 ● Norman Hassan → UB40
1963 ● Andrew Ridgeley → Wham!
1963 ● Jazzie B. (Trevor Beresford Romeo) → Soul II Soul
1966 ● Pim Jones → Hipsway
1970 ● Kirk Franklin → Contemporary gospel
1972 ● Ya Kid K (Manuela Barbara Kamosi Moaso Djogi) → Technotronic

Jan 27
1918 ● Elmore James → Blues slide guitarist/songwriter
1919 ● David Seville (Rosdom Sipan “Ross” Bagdasarian) → Creator of Alvin & The Chipmunks
1930 ● Bobby “Blue” Bland (Robert Calvin Bland) → “Stormy Monday Blues” (1962)
1931 ● Rudy Mauger → The Crew Cuts
1944 ● Kevin Coyne → “Marlene” (1973)
1945 ● Nick MasonPink Floyd
1946 ● Kim Gardner → Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
1947 ● Nedra Talley → Ronettes
1951 ● Brian Downey → Thin Lizzy
1951 ● Seth Justman → J. Geils Band
1955 ● Richard Young → Kentucky Headhunters
1961 ● Gillian Gilbert → New Order
1961 ● Margo Timmins → Cowboy Junkies
1961 ● Martin Degville → Sigue Sigue Sputnik
1964 ● Miguel John “Migi” Drummond → Curiosity Killed The Cat
1968 ● Mike Patton → Faith No More
1970 ● Mark Trojanowski → Sister Hazel

Jan 28
1929 ● Bernard Stanley “Acker” Bilk → “Stranger On The Shore” (1962)
1936 ● Jack Scott (Giovanni Dominico Scafone, Jr.) → “Burning Bridges” (1960)
1943 ● Dick TaylorRolling Stones, The Pretty Things
1944 ● Brian “Chambers” KeenanChambers Brothers, Manfred Mann
1946 ● Rick Allen → Box Tops
1959 ● Dave Sharp → The Alarm
1962 ● Leslie “Sam” Phillips → “Holding On To The Earth” (1989)
1963 ● Dan Spitz → Anthrax
1968 ● DJ Muggs (Lawrence Muggerud) → Cypress Hill
1968 ● Rakim (William Michael Griffin, Jr.) → Rapper
1968 ● Sarah McLachlan → “Adia” (1998)
1977 ● Joey Fatone → *NSYNC
1977 ● Raphael “Tweety” Brown → Next
1980 ● Nick Carter → Backstreet Boys

Jan 29
1933 ● Alexandre “Sacha” Distel → “The Good Life” (1965)
1943 ● Kenneth “Tony” Blackburn → “So Much Love” (1969)
1947 ● David Byron (David Garrick) → Uriah Heep, solo
1952 ● Tommy Ramone (Tom Erdelyl)The Ramones
1953 ● Louie Perez → Los Lobos, Latin Playboys
1959 ● Johnny Spampinato → NRBQ
1961 ● Eddie Jackson → Queensryche
1962 ● Marcus Vere → Living In A Box
1964 ● Roddy Frame → Aztec Camera
1981 ● Jonny Lang (Jon Gordon Langseth, Jr.) → Blues guitarist

Jan 30
1928 ● Ruth Brown (Ruth Alston Weston) → “Teardrops In My Eyes” (1950)
1941 ● Joe Terranova → Danny & The Juniors, “At The Hop” (1958)
1942 ● Marty Balin (Martyn Jere Buchwald)Jefferson Airplane/Starship, solo
1947 ● Steve Marriott → Small Faces, Humble Pie, solo
1951 ● Marv Ross → Quarterflash
1951 ● Phil CollinsGenesis, solo
1952 ● Steve BartekStrawberry Alarm Clock, Oingo Boingo
1959 ● Jody Watley → Shalamar, solo (“The Queen of Cool”)

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Album of the Day: Spirit (1/22/68) 42 Years!

Spirit was one of the more adventurous groups to emerge from the Los Angeles psychedelic rock scene in the late 60s. Over 20 years and more than a dozen albums they presented a quirky, amorphous blend of psychedelia, jazz, blues, hard-, folk- and art-rock that benefited first from the emerging, album-oriented FM radio of the late 60s and later from a devoted fan base during the early 70s progressive rock era.

Spirit’s 1968 eponymous debut was released on January 22, 1968 with songwriter/guitarist Randy California and his stepfather, drummer Ed Cassidy leading bandmates Mark Andes (bass), Jay Ferguson (percussion and vocals) and John Locke (keyboards). The album includes the heavy, thumping “Mechanical World,” which was pressed as a single but never caught on. Two better choices for chart action might have been “Uncle Jack” (pop-rock harmony vocals) or “Fresh Garbage” (a rocker in the vein of several contemporary Doors tunes). Two modest hits would come over the next few years with “I Got A Line On You” and “Nature’s Way,” both of which are now staples on the few classic rock radio stations that dig deeper into the period.

The revolving door of personnel changes doomed Spirit to remain a might-have-been band and a venue for California and Cassidy’s eclectic genre experimentalism. In 1971 and 1972, Ferguson left for Jo Jo Gunne and a solo career (remember 1977’s “Thunder Island”?), Andes went to Jo Jo Gunne and then Firefall, and Locke left for Nazereth. The two originals kept at it through the 80s and 90s with several decent art-rock LPs, but with California’s untimely death in 1997, Cassidy called it quits and Spirit’s long-run ended.

Spirit spent more than six months on the Billboard album chart through the summer of 1968, peaking at #31. It is available as downloads for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Album of the Day: Jerry Garcia (1/20/72) 38 Years!

Jerry Garcia released his first solo album, Garcia on January 20, 1972, a few months before his Grateful Dead (see my playlist here) bandmates, Bob Weir (Ace) and Mickey Hart (Rolling Thunder) did the same. The three solo LPs provided some needed relief for Dead fans, who endured a three year gap in studio material by the Dead between American Beauty (1970) and Wake Of The Flood (1973).

Garcia is a delightful mix of bluesy rock ‘n roll (“Sugaree”), upbeat country-rock (“Deal”), off-tempo country-rock (“Loser”), full-textured folk (“Bird Song” and “To Lay Me Down”) and late-period psychedelia cum peddle steel twang (“The Wheel”). These six tracks, all co-written by long-time Garcia collaborator and Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, would quickly become staples in the Dead’s legendary on-stage set lists. Garcia is also a testimony to the breadth and depth of his musical prowess and a nearly pure solo effort. He sang vocals and played all of the stringed instruments and keyboards. Dead-partner Billy Kreutzman, who’s credited with co-producing the album and co-writing four of the 10 tracks thereon, handled the percussion. Otherwise, Garcia is all Jerry.

As I said in a previous post, I am not a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Deadhead, but am more than a just a casual Dead fan. For me, Garcia is a standout among the dozens of albums in Garcia’s long list of solo works, his various collaborative efforts, and releases as leader of the Jerry Garcia Band and de facto leader of the Grateful Dead. Incidentally, Jerry is ranked #13 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. And Garcia can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Album of the Day: Pretenders (1/19/80) 30 Years!

Punk was cresting and the New Wave was just beginning to swell when the Pretenders (see my playlist here) floated their eponymous debut on January 19, 1980. Pretenders was one of those bridge-the-gap albums that clearly spanned the divide between the loud, raw energy of 70s British punk and the subtler, synthesized post-punk sounds of the 80s.

Ohio native Chrissie Hynde assembled her band in 1978 in London, where she’d been a music critic and aspiring songwriter. The band released several singles in 1979 and generated enough enthusiasm to produce a full album. The nucleus of Pretenders is several of those early tracks, including the cover of the Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing,” the glorious pop-rocker “Brass In Pocket” (#14 single in 1980) and a re-recorded version of staccato “The Wait” (a Dr. Rock favorite). Seven new songs round out the affair, notably a rolling “Tattooed Love Boys,” a jangly love song in “Kid” and a pop-based but still edgy “Mystery Achievement.” On all tracks, frontwoman Hynde’s beautifully confident, rich voice reaches above but still complements the riffs and solo spurts supplied by guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and the driving rhythm from bassist Peter Farndon and drummer Martin Chambers. (Sadly, Honeyman-Scott and Farndon would die from drug overdoses less than a year apart in 1982 and 1983).

Pretenders reached #1 on the U.K. album charts (#9 in the U.S.). I’ve included it as #10 on Dr. Rock’s Best Debut Albums (click here for the list) and #2 on my Top 25 Albums for 1980 (click here). Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #155 on their Top 500 Albums of All-Time. That should tell you enough about its place is your collection. Pretenders is available for download on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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