Archive for February, 2010

This Week’s Birthdays (February 28 – March 6)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Feb 28
1939 ● John Fahey → Folk guitarist (Rolling Stone #35), Takoma Records owner
1940 ● Joe South (Souter) → Singer/songwriter, “Games People Play” (1968)
1940 ● Marty Sanders → Jay & The Americans
1942 ● Brian JonesRolling Stones
1943 ● Barbara Acklin → Pop-soul vocalist, “Love Makes A Woman” (1968)
1952 ● Eddie “Kingfish” Manion → Asbury Jukes, Seeger Sessions Band
1957 ● Cindy WilsonB-52’s
1957 ● Ian Stanley → Tears For Fears
1957 ● Phil Gould → Level 42
1967 ● Marcus Lillington → Breathe, “Hands To Heaven” (1988)
1969 ● Pat Monahan → Train, solo

Feb 29
1904 ● Jimmy Dorsey → Swing era Big Band leader
1940 ● Gretchen Christopher → The Fleetwoods, “Come Softly To Me” (1959)
1976 ● Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins) → Rapper, “Put It On Me” (2000)

Mar 01
1927 ● Harry Belafonte (Belafonete) → “Banana Boat Song” (1956)
1934 ● Jim Edward Brown → The Browns
1939 ● Warren Davis → The Monotones, “(Who Wrote) The Book Of Love” (1958)
1942 ● Jerry Fisher Blood, Sweat & Tears
1944 ● Mike D’Abo → Manfred Mann, solo
1944 ● Roger DaltreyThe Who, solo
1946 ● Tony Ashton → Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
1947 ● Burning Spear (Winston Rodney) → Reggae artist, Rastafarian preacher
1958 ● Nik Kershaw → “Wouldn’t It Be Good” (1983)

Mar 02
1938 ● Lawrence PaytonThe Four Tops
1942 ● Lou Reed (Lewis Allen Rabinowitz) → Velvet Underground, solo
1943 ● George Benson → Jazz/R&B guitarist, “Breezin'” (1976)
1948 ● Rory Gallagher → Blues-rock guitarist
1950 ● Karen Carpenter → The Carpenters
1955 ● Dale Bozzio (Consalvi) → Missing Persons
1955 ● Jay Osmond → The Osmonds
1956 ● John Cowsill → The Cowsills
1956 ● Mark EvansAC/DC
1962 ● Jon Bon Jovi (John Fancis Bongiovi) → Bon Jovi, solo
1977 ● Chris Martin → Coldplay

Mar 03
1923 ● Arthel L. “Doc” Watson → Folk/country/bluegrass guitarist
1928 ● Dave Dudley (Pedruska) → “Six Days On The Road” (1963)
1938 ● Willie Chambers → Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today” (1968)
1942 ● Mike Pender (Prendergast) → The Searchers
1944 ● Jance Garfat → Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
1947 ● Derek “Blue” Weaver → The Strawbs, Mott the Hoople, Bee Gees, sessions
1947 ● Jennifer Warnes → “Right Time Of The Night” (1977)
1950 ● Re Styles → The Tubes
1953 ● Ricky Helton WilsonB-52’s
1953 ● Robyn Hitchcock → The Soft Boys, solo
1966 ● Tone-Loc (Anthony T. Smith) → Rapper, “Wild Thing” (1989)
1969 ● John Bigham → Fishbone
1977 ● Ronan Keating → Boyzone

Mar 04
1932 ● Miriam Makeba → South African folk-pop singer
1944 ● Bobby Womack → “It’s All Over Now” (1974)
1946 ● Red Stripe (David Gittens) → Flying Pickets, “Only You” (1983)
1948 ● Chris SquireYes
1948 ● Shakin’ Stevens (Michael Barrett) → “This Ole House” (1981)
1951 ● Chris Rea → “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)” (1978)
1953 ● Emilio Estefan, Jr. → Miami Sound Machine
1955 ● Boon Gould → Level 42
1963 ● Jason Newsted → Metallica
1966 ● Patrick Hannan → The Sundays
1967 ● Evan Dando → Lemonheads
1971 ● Fergal Lawlor → The Cranberries

Mar 05
1933 ● Tommy Tucker (Robert Higginbotham) → “High-Heeled Sneakers” (1964)
1947 ● Eddie Hodges → “I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door” (1961)
1948 ● Eddy Grant → “Electric Avenue” (1983)
1952 ● Alan ClarkDire Straits
1956 ● Teena Marie (Mary Christine Brockert) → “Lovergirl” (1984)
1958 ● Andy Gibb → Bee Gees
1962 ● Craig & Charlie Reid → The Proclaimers
1970 ● John Frusciante → Red Hot Chili Peppers

Mar 06
1893 ● Walter “Furry” Lewis → Blues guitarist/singer
1937 ● Doug Dillard → The Dillards
1944 ● Mary Wilson The Supremes, solo
1945 ● Hugh GrundyZombies
1946 ● David GilmourPink Floyd
1947 ● Kiki Dee (Pauline Matthews) → “I’ve Got The Music In Me” (1974)
1977 ● Bubba Sparxxx (Warren Mathis) → Rapper, “Ugly” (2001)

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Vintage Video: Shocking Blue (1969)

Dutch pop-rock band Shocking Blue scored a major hit with “Venus” in 1969 from their second album, At Home (for the video, click here). While most of us remember Shocking Blue as a one hit wonder, they actually had nearly a dozen albums mixing country-flavored rock, mild psychedelia and almost bubblegum-pop sounds, none of which made much of a mark outside of their native Netherlands. “Venus” was covered very successfully by Bananarama in 1986 and the original, chart topping, gold-selling version has appeared in numerous TV shows, movie soundtracks and scores of compilation albums from the period. In this 1970 promo video, lead mime Mariska Veres plays the part of the disenchanted siren while her bandmates play air guitar for the caged monkeys behind them.

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Album of the Day: The Beatles (2/26/70) 40 Years!

An unusual collection of singles and B-sides never included on any of the Beatles mainline albums (except certain U.S. versions), Hey Jude was released by Capitol Records in the U.S. on February 26, 1970. Its original working title was The Beatles Again, but that was changed shortly before the album’s release to leverage the inclusion of the August 1968 single, “Hey Jude,” which still commanded significant attention on the radio and in stores 18 months after it hit the streets.

Hey Jude features ten former 45 rpm-only songs that span the Beatles’ career, including “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Should Have Known Better” from 1964 (both of which appeared on United Artists’ soundtrack to the movie A Hard Day’s Night but not on a previous Capitol LP), sides A and B of the 1966 disc “Paperback Writer”/“Rain,” and three tracks from the acrimonious recording sessions in the winter and spring of 1969 that led to the LPs Abbey Road and Let It Be, “Don’t Let Me Down” (the B-side to “Get Back”) and both front and back of the disc “The Ballad Of John And Yoko”/“Old Brown Shoe.

Hey Jude was followed closely by the Beatles’ final album Let It Be (May 1970) and the long-rumored announcement that the band would dissolve. As the only one-stop source of all of the songs included on the album, it’s almost required for any serious Beatle collector, but it was never issued on CD and the LP versions on Amazon are quite pricey. Apple iTunes, of course, doesn’t carry any Beatles, but Dr. Rock has 50 of the best Beatles songs in the Playlist Vault for you to use as a guide for downloading mp3 files on Amazon or other sites.

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Album of the Day: Neil Young (2/25/72) 38 Years!

Neil Young released his fourth solo album, Harvest, on February 25, 1972, a long 18 month gap following After The Gold Rush (for Dr. Rock’s Neil Young playlist, click here). The delay didn’t seem to matter to his fans, and likely stoked their collective interest. Harvest met with an enthusiastic reception; the LP quickly went to the top of the Billboard album charts and eventually became the highest selling album of 1972.

Along with the #1 hit “Heart of Gold” and the #31 single “Old Man,” Young delivered a masterful collection of second-tier slow, plodding and mid-tempo country-rock and folk tunes. Background vocals were provided by Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and Young’s former bandmates, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills. Two tracks (“A Man Needs A Maid” and “There’s A World”) feature the London Symphony Orchestra, a potentially disastrous mix that could have resulted in schmaltzy elevator music, but Neil pulled it off with his plaintive vocals topping just the right level of soaring orchestral background.

Harvest brought Young into the glare of rock stardom as a solo artist. While his later work includes many great albums, he never matched the widespread popularity of Harvest, his biggest seller. It’s available on CD, LP or mp3 at Amazon (click here). Downloads for iPods are on iTunes (click here).

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Album of the Day: Fleetwood Mac (2/24/68) 42 Years!

Fleetwood Mac (for Dr. Rock’s playlist, click here) is more than the 70s superstar group that brought “Rhiannon,” “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain” to the top of the pops. Surely those are undeniably great and lasting tunes, but long before Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and John and Christine McVie cut those classic pop-rock tracks, FM was a hardcore 60s British blues band organized around and named for the rhythm section of bassist McVie and drummer Fleetwood. But the two led the band in name only. Founder, blues guitarist and songwriter Peter Green and his partner Jeremy Spencer controlled things, at least until Green succumbed to lengthy drug fests and left Mick and John to move forward on their own in 1970. Seven years and seven LPs later, the latter two had the last laugh en route to the bank.

Debut album Fleetwood Mac (2/24/1968) is top-notch material from the British blues-rock bloom of the mid- and late 60s. A mix of Green/Spencer originals and covers of mid-level Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James, it’s one of the era’s best and a terrific counterpoint to what the world thinks is the real Fleetwood Mac.

Fleetwood Mac made it to #4 on the album charts in the UK but barely registered in the US. It’s available on CD, LP or mp3 at Amazon. Downloads for iPods are on iTunes.

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In Memoriam: Dale Hawkins, 1936-2010

In case you missed the news, Louisiana rockabilly star Dale Hawkins died a week ago Saturday at 73.  Often (and unjustifiably) labelled a “one hit wonder,” Hawkins surely had one massively memorable hit: “Susie Q” from 1957, mostly because the Stones and Creedence covered it with great effect in the 70s (click here for Dale’s TV performance from 1958).  But Hawkins’ repertoire of “swamp rock” tunes (a mix of rock ‘n’ roll, country twang and deep Louisiana blues) were a huge influence on early rockers, and he’s always been counted with Elvis, Buddy, Bill Haley and others among the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll music.

Dale continued to record through the 60s, despite being cheated out of royalties for “Suzie Q.”  He hosted a TV program and toured regularly in the 70s.  And his work as a record producer is forever pressed in several classic 70s AM pop-rock gems he shepherded, including “Western Union” by the Five Americans, “Judy In Disguise” by John Fred & The Playboy Band, and “Do It Again – A Little Bit Slower” by Jon & Robin.  After a lengthy 80s bout with prescription drugs and seclusion in Little Rock, AR where he founded and ran a rehab facility, Hawkins returned to recording in the late 90s with an album of new material – Wildcat Tamer – that received great reviews and sold modestly.  Another comeback album was recorded after he contracted colon cancer in 2006.

(Incidentally, Dale’s cousin is Ronnie Hawkins, a stellar rockabilly artist in his own right and frontman for the 60s rock ‘n’ roll group The Hawks.  The backing musicians in a mid-60s lineup of the band became known to the world as The Band in 1968.)

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This Week’s Birthdays (February 21 – 27)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Feb 21
1933 ● Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon) → “I Put A Spell On You” (1965)
1943 ● David Geffen → Geffen Records
1946 ● Paul Newton → Uriah Heep
1949 ● Jerry HarrisonTalking Heads
1951 ● Vince Welnick → The Tubes, Grateful Dead
1956 ● Lester Hunt → Climax Blues Band
1958 ● Mary-Chapin Carpenter → Folk/country-rock, “I Feel Lucky” (1992)
1961 ● Rankin’ Roger (Charlery) → English Beat, General Public
1970 ● Eric Wilson → Sublime
1986 ● Charlotte Church (Reed) → Classical crossover singer

Feb 22
1936 ● Ernie K-Doe (Ernest Kador, Jr.) → New Orleans R&B, “Mother-In-Law” (1961)
1938 ● Bobby Hendricks → Five Crowns, Swallows, Drifters
1944 ● Mick Green → Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
1945 ● Oliver (William Oliver Swofford) → “Good Morning Starshine” (1969)

Feb 23
1944 ● Johnny Winter → Blues-rock guitarist (Rolling Stone #74)
1944 ● Mike Maxfield → Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas
1946 ● Rusty Young → Buffalo Springfield, Poco
1949 ● Terry “Tex” Comer → Ace
1950 ● Steve Priest → Sweet
1952 ● Brad WhitfordAerosmith
1955 ● Howard Jones → “What Is Love” (1984)
1955 ● Zeke Manyika → Orange Juice
1958 ● David Sylvian (David Alan Batt) → Japan
1962 ● Michael Wilton → Queensryche
1971 ● Jett Beres → Sister Hazel
1973 ● Lars Olaf “Lasse” Johansson → Cardigans

Feb 24
1941 ● Joanie Sommers (Drost) → Pop vocalist, “Johnny Get Angry” (1962)
1942 ● Paul Jones (Paul Pond) → Manfred Mann
1905 ● George HarrisonBeatles, solo
1944 ● Nicky Hopkins → Quicksilver Messenger Service, session pianist
1947 ● Lonnie TurnerSteve Miller Band
1947 ● Rupert Holmes → “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” (1979)
1948 ● Dennis Waterman → UK actor/singer, “I Could Be So Good For You” (1980)
1962 ● Michelle Shocked (Karen Michelle Johnston) → “If Love Was A Train” (1988)

Feb 25
1932 ● Faron Young → “Four In The Morning” (1971)
1942 ● Roy Michaels → Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys
1946 ● Elkie Brooks (Elaine Bookbinder) → “Pearl’s A Singer” (1977)
1947 ● David Stensen → The Grass Roots
1957 ● Dennis Diken → The Smithereens
1957 ● Stuart “Woody” Wood → Bay City Rollers
1905 ● Mike Peters → The Alarm
1973 ● Justin Jeffre → 98 Degrees
1976 ● Daniel Powter → “Bad Day” (2005

Feb 26
1928 ● Antoine “Fats” Domino → “Blueberry Hill” (1956)
1930 ● Carl Cicchetti → The Playmates, “Beep Beep” (1958)
1932 ● Johnny Cash
1943 ● Paul CottonPoco
1945 ● Bob “The Bear” Hite → Canned Heat
1905 ● Mitch Ryder (William Levise, Jr.) → The Detroit Wheels, solo
1947 ● Sandie Shaw (Sandra Goodrich) → “Puppet on a String” (1967)
1950 ● Jonathan CainJourney, Babys, Bad English
1953 ● Michael Bolton (Bolotin) → Blackjack, solo
1961 ● John Jon (Jonathan Hellyer) → Bronski Beat
1971 ● Erykah Badu → “On & On” (1997)

Feb 27
1927 ● Guy Mitchell (Albert Cernick) → “Heartaches By The Number” (1959)
1950 ● Robert Balderrama → ? and the Mysterians
1951 ● Steve Harley (Stephen Nice) → Cockney Rebel, solo, “Ballerina (Prima Donna)” (1983)
1954 ● Neil SchonSantana, Journey
1955 ● Garry Christian → The Christians
1957 ● Adrian Smith → Iron Maiden
1957 ● Johnny Van ZantLynyrd Skynyrd
1960 ● Paul Humphreys → Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
1964 ● Ewen Vernal → Deacon Blue
1971 ● Chilli (Rozonda Ocelean Thomas) → TLC
1972 ● Jeremy Dean → Nine Days
1981 ● Josh Groban → Pop singer, “The Prayer” (2001)

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