Archive for April, 2010

This Week’s Birthdays (April 25 – May 1)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Apr 25
1913 ● Earl Bostic → Jazz saxophonist
1917 ● Ella Fitzgerald → The “First Lady of Song”
1923 ● Albert King → Blues guitarist
1933 ● Jerry Leiber → Lyricist, Leiber & Stoller songwriting team
1945 ● Bjorn Ulvaeus → ABBA
1945 ● Stu CookCreedence Clearwater Revival
1949 ● Mike Brown (Michael Lookofsky) → The Left Banke, solo
1950 ● Steve Ferrone → Average White Band, sessions
1955 ● David SikesBoston, Giuffria
1958 ● Fish (Derek William Dick) → Marillion, solo
1964 ● Andy Bell → Erasure
1965 ● Eric Avery → Jane’s Addiction
1980 ● Jacob Underwood → O-Town

Apr 26
1886 ● Ma Rainey (Gertrude Pridgett) → The “Mother of the Blues”
1925 ● Jorgen Ingmann → Jorgen Ingmann & His Guitar
1938 ● Duane Eddy → Electric guitar pioneer, “Rebel Rouser” (1958)
1938 ● Maurice Williams → Zodiacs, “Stay” (1960)
1942 ● Bobby Rydell (Ridarelli) → Teen idol, “Wild One” (1960)
1943 ● Gary Wright → Spooky Tooth, solo, “Dream Weaver” (1976)
1946 ● John “Bucky” Wilkin → Ronny & The Daytonas
1946 ● Vito Balsamo → Vito & The Salutations
1960 ● Roger TaylorDuran Duran
1961 ● Chris Mars → The Replacements
1970 ● T-Boz (Tionne Tenese Watkins) → TLC
1976 ● Jose Pasillas → Incubus

Apr 27
1932 ● Kemil Amen “Casey” Kasem → Radio DJ, American Top 40
1932 ● Maxine Brown → The Browns, solo
1947 ● Anne Peebles → “I Can’t Stand The Rain” (1973)
1947 ● Peter Ham → Badfinger
1948 ● Kate PiersonThe B-52’s
1951 ● Paul “Ace” Frehley → Kiss, solo
1959 ● Marco Pirroni → Adam And The Ants
1959 ● Sheena Easton (Sheena Shirley Orr) → “9 To 5 (Morning Train)” (1980)

Apr 28
1941 ● Ann-Margret (Olsson) → Pop vocalist, actress
1941 ● Peter Anders (Andreoli) → The Trade Winds, The Innocence
1943 ● Fantastic Johnny C. (Corley) → R&B/soul, “Boogallo Down Broadway” (1968)
1945 ● John Wolters → Dr. Hook
1952 ● Kim Gordon → Sonic Youth
1955 ● Eddie Jobson → Roxy Music, Mothers of Invention
1956 ● Jimmy Barnes → Cold Chisel, INXS
1966 ● Too Short (Todd Shaw) → West Coast rapper
1968 ● Daisy Berkowitz → Marilyn Manson
1969 ● Mica Paris (Michelle Wallen) → “My One Temptation” (1988)

Apr 29
1899 ● Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington → Jazz composer, “Take The ‘A’ Train” (1941)
1928 ● Carl Gardner → The Robins, The Coasters
1931 ● Anthony James “Lonnie” Donegan → English skiffle star, rock ‘n roll pioneer
1936 ● Albee Cracolici → The Mystics
1942 ● Klaus Voorman → Manfred Mann, Plastic Ono Band
1942 ● Vincent Poncia, Jr. → The Trade Winds, producer, songwriter
1943 ● Duane Allen → Oak Ridge Boys
1945 ● Tammi Terrell (Thomasina Winifred Montgomery) → “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967)
1947 ● Joel Larson → The Grass Roots
1947 ● Tommy James (Thomas Gregory Jackson) → The Shondells, solo “Draggin’ The Line” (1971)
1948 ● Michael Karoli → Can, producer
1958 ● Simon Edwards → Fairground Attraction
1968 ● Carnie Wilson → Wilson Phillips (daughter of Brian)
1969 ● Master P (Percy Miller) → Hip-hop
1973 ● Mike Hogan → The Cranberries

Apr 30
1896 ● Rev. Gary Davis → Ragtime/folk guitarist, mentor
1925 ● Johnny Horton → “The Battle of New Orleans” (1958)
1933 ● Willie Nelson → Country star, “On The Road Again” (1980)
1941 ● Johnny Farina → Santo & Johnny, “Sleepwalk” (1959)
1943 ● Bobby Vee (Robert Thomas Velline) → “Take Good Care Of My Baby” (1961)
1944 ● Richard Shoff → The Sandpipers, “Guantanamera” (1966)
1948 ● Wayne Kramer → Proto-punker, MC5, solo
1953 ● Merrill Osmond → The Osmonds
1967 ● Turbo B (Durron Maurice Bulter) → Snap!, “The Power” (1990)
1971 ● Chris “Choc” Dalyrimple → Soul For Real
1972 ● J.R. Richards → Dishwalla, “Counting Blue Cars” (1996)
1973 ● Jeff Timmons → 98 Degrees, “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” (2000)

May 01
1929 ● Sonny James (James Loden) → The “Southern Gentleman”
1930 ● Little Walter (Marion Walter Jacobs) → Blues harpist, “My Babe” (1955)
1939 ● Judy Collins → “Both Sides Now” (1968)
1945 ● Mimi Farina (Baez) → Folk singer, Joan Baez’s sister
1945 ● Rita Coolidge → “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher” (1977)
1946 ● Nick Fortuna → The Buckinghams, “Kind Of A Drag” (1967)
1954 ● Ray Parker, Jr. → “Ghostbusters” (1984)
1966 ● Johnny Colt → The Black Crowes, Brand New Immortals, Train
1967 ● Tim McGraw (Smith) → Country star, “It’s Your Love” (1997)
1968 ● D’Arcy Wretsky-Brown → Smashing Pumpkins

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Album of the Day: Rolling Stones (4/23/71) 39 Years!

The Rolling StonesSticky Fingers is one of the best rock ‘n’ roll albums of all time. Released on April 23, 1971, it’s a raunchy masterpiece of American roots music – some country, some blues, a dose of Southern soul and heaps of raw rock ‘n’ roll – all packaged in an Andy Warhol-designed, blue jean crotch shot cover with a working metal zipper (at least on my copy of the original LP release).

The Stones were at the top of their game on Sticky Fingers. The album was the first on their own label, Rolling Stones Records, it topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, featured new lead guitarist Mick Taylor, introduced the now iconic lips and tongue logo, and firmly established the Stones as the self-appointed World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band. And the music’s great: druggy “Sister Morphine,” extended guitar work on “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’, countrified “Wild Horses” and “Dead Flowers” (with Mick’s twangy vocals), the fine “I Got The Blues” and its bluesy partner “You Gotta Move,” the mid-tempo “Sway” and finally the late night closer “Moonlight Mile.” Capped with the intro hit “Brown Sugar” and the raunch-rockin’ “Bitch” and you couldn’t find a single bad tune on the disc.

Sticky Fingers is among my favorites and is ranked #63 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 albums of all time. There are two Stones playlists in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault and Sticky Fingers is available on Amazon and iTunes. Enjoy!

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Album of the Day: The Monkees (4/22/68) 42 Years!

For most people, The Monkees will forever be the teen/pop, made-for-TV band that could barely play their assigned instruments and would never have existed without the faceless session musicians and backroom songwriters who created the music behind their vocals. In reality, that’s an exaggeration. Yes, the band was assembled from a casting call for the TV show, and yes, their first two albums were largely performed by session players with vocal overdubs. But in 1967 the band released two well-received LPs (Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.) on which they played, sang and wrote most of the material.

Mike Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones had far more musical talent than they’re usually credited with, especially Tork (folk guitarist prior to the Monkees) and Nesmith, a songwriter (Ronstadt’s hit “Different Drum” and several Monkee B-sides) and solo 1970s country-rocker. After demanding and receiving control over Headquarters and Pisces…, their cohesiveness splintered as each member sought independence to write and produce his own material within the context of the band. The result was the April 22, 1968 release, The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees. While it sounded much like a typical Monkee record, it was an amalgam of songs produced and recorded separately by the four members using different backing musicians at different studios.

Despite its origins and its aftereffect (a disillusioned Tork left the Monkees later in 1968), The Birds… became a gold seller with the hits “Daydream Believer” and “Valleri.” Nesmith is credited with four of the twelve tracks, including the delicious “Tapioca Tundra” (a precursor to his future) to offset a couple of syrupy Jones soft rockers. The Monkees are in Playlist Vault and The Birds… is available from Amazon and iTunes.

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This Week’s Birthdays (April 18 – 24)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Apr 18
1924 ● Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown → Electric blues guitarist, “Okie Dokie Stomp” (1954)
1939 ● Glen D. Hardin → The Crickets
1941 ● Mike Vickers → Manfred Mann, film score composer
1946 ● Alexander Lee “Skip” Spence → Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane
1946 ● Lonnie Baker → Sha Na Na
1958 ● Les Pattinson → Echo & The Bunnymen
1970 ● Greg Eklund → Everclear

Apr 19
1928 ● Alexis Korner → Blues Incorporated, Rocket 88
1934 ● Dickie Goodman → Buchanan & Goodman
1942 ● Alan Price → The Animals
1943 ● Eve Graham (Evelyn Mae Beatson) → New Seekers
1946 ● Tim Curry → Singer, actor, Rocky Horror Picture Show
1947 ● Mark VolmanTurtles, Flo and Eddie, Mothers of Invention
1956 ● Rod Morgenstein → Winger

Apr 20
1929 ● Bob Braun → Pop-rock, “Till Death Do Us Part” (1962)
1939 ● Johnny Tillotson → Pop-rock, “Poetry In Motion” (1961)
1945 ● Jimmy Winston → Small Faces
1948 ● Craig Frost → Grand Funk Railroad, Silver Bullet Band
1951 ● Luther Vandross → R&B/soul producer, singer, “Stop To Love” (1986)

Apr 21
1939 ● Ernie Maresca → “Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out)” (1962)
1947 ● Iggy Pop (James Osterberg) → The Stooges
1947 ● John Weider → The Animals, solo
1948 ● Paul Davis → Pop-rock, “I Go Crazy” (1977)
1959 ● Michael Timmins → Cowboy Junkies
1959 ● Robert Smith → Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Cure
1963 ● Johnny McElhone → Texas

Apr 22
1922 ● Charles Mingus → Jazz bassist, composer
1936 ● Glen Campbell → Country star, “Wichita Lineman” (1968)
1937 ● Bernard Alfred “Jack” Nitzsche → Producer, arranger, songwriter “The Lonely Surfer” (1963)
1950 ● Peter Frampton → Humble Pie, Frampton’s Camel, solo
1951 ● Paul Carrack → Squeeze, Ace, Roxy Music, Mike + The Mechanics
1955 ● Arthur Baker → Hip-hop producer
1966 ● Kimberley DahmeBoston, producer
1969 ● Craig Loman → Bros
1979 ● Daniel Johns → Silverchair

Apr 23
1936 ● Roy Orbison → “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (1964)
1939 ● Ray Peterson → Pop-rock, “Tell Laura I Love Her” (1960)
1944 ● Sandra Dee (Alexandra Zuck) → Actress, singer, wife of Bobby Darin
1952 ● Narada Michael Walden → Mahavishnu Orchestra, solo, songwriter
1960 ● Steve Clark → Def Leppard
1964 ● Gen (Simon Matthews) → Jesus Jones
1969 ● Stan Frazier → Sugar Ray

Apr 24
1933 ● Freddie Scott → R&B/soul singer, “Are You Lonely For Me” (1966)
1940 ● George Tomsco → Tex-Mex guitar, The Fireballs, “Torquay” (1960)
1942 ● Barbra Streisand → Stage, film, pop vocalist
1945 ● Doug CliffordCreedence Clearwater Revival
1945 ● Robert Knight → R&B/soul singer, “Everlasting Love” (1965)
1947 ● Glenn CornickJethro Tull, Wild Turkey, Paris
1947 ● Hubert Ann Kelly → Hues Corporation, “Rock The Boat” (1974)
1954 ● Jack Blades → Night Ranger, Damn Yankees
1955 ● Gary Cambra → Tubes
1957 ● David J. (Haskins) → Love & Rockets
1958 ● Boris WilliamsThe Cure
1963 ● Billy Gould → Faith No More
1967 ● Patty Schemel → Hole
1968 ● Aaron Comess → Spin Doctors
1982 ● Kelly ClarksonAmerican Idol, “Since U Been Gone” (2005)

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Album of the Day: Lynyrd Skynyrd (4/15/74) 36 Years!

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s #2 LP, the aptly titled Second Helping, was served up on April 15, 1974. It’s now widely considered a first-tier 70s Southern rock album, right up alongside the several releases by the god-band, Georgia-based Allman Brothers Band. But Skynyrd cooked up a grittier, harder-edged platter of Southern blues-rock. Many will argue that they were the real Southern rockers (even when Allman fans chime in). Whatever your bend, Southern rock peaked about the same time Second Helping. It is unquestionably a showcase album.

For a young-but-bar-scene-seasoned band, Skynyrd explored the edges with “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Workin’ For MCA.” The former’s a now-classic retort to Neil Young’s self-righteous condemnation of southern American history (sings Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant: “we don’t need him around, anyhow”). The second’s a thinly-veiled shot at their growing dissatisfaction with the music business (guys, aren’t you biting the hand that feeds you?). Add the spunky “Don’t Ask Me No More Questions,” the rocking drug-fest of “Needle And The Spoon” and a Dr. Rock-favorite in the rollicking “Call Me The Breeze,” and Second Helping’s everything is billed to be – first-rate, kick-ass Southern guitar rock.

Like its predecessor (Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd), Second Helping was produced by Al Kooper, the terribly under-appreciated but still-legendary blues-rock god (founder and leader of The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears) and producer for the 60s pop-rockers The Zombies, among others. Kooper coaxed the best out of Van Zant and his bandmates. The result really is one of the best Southern blues-rock albums of all-time.

Second Helping reached #12 on the Billboard album charts. Skynyrd’s in the Playlist Vault and Second Helping can be downloaded from Amazon and iTunes.

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Album of the Day: Van Halen (4/14/82) 28 Years!

Van Halen’s fifth record, Diver Down, surfaced on April 14, 1982. It’s a mixture of decent original material and vastly more memorable covers of 60s classics. The band recorded the album in about 12 days to catch the wave of popularity from the shooting star single, the cover of Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman,” which they’d released earlier in the year.

Without the exuberant remakes of the Kink’s “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” and the Martha & The Vandellas’ “Dancing In The Street,” the originals might have been lost. They’re good but memorable only to hard core Van fans. Those three cover-singles outperformed the three original singles (“Secrets,” Little Guitars” and “The Full Bag”) by a wide margin and floated Diver Down into the #3 spot (it spent a total of 65 weeks on the charts) and eventually over 4 million in unit sales.

Perhaps the oddest cover of all is Van Halen’s rendition of Dale Evan’s (wife of Roy Rogers) “Happy Trails,” the song she wrote for her husband’s TV show (on which she was a nearly equal star). Van Halen’s in the Playlist Vault and Diver Down can be downloaded from Amazon and iTunes.

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This Week’s Birthdays (April 11 – 17)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Apr 11
1943 ● Tony Victor → The Classics
1956 ● Neville Staples → Fun Boy 3
1958 ● Stuart Adamson → Big Country
1965 ● Nigel Pulsford → Bush
1966 ● Lisa Stansfield → “All Around The World” (1989)
1970 ● Delroy Pearson → 5 Star
1970 ● Dylan Keefe → Marcy Playground

Apr 12
1930 ● Carole Lindsay → Kaye Sisters
1933 ● Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) → “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” (1968)
1940 ● Herbie Hancock → Jazz fusion, “Chameleon” (1973)
1944 ● John Kay → Steppenwolf
1950 ● David Cassidy → Actor, singer, The Partridge Family
1951 ● Alexander Briley → Village People
1956 ● Herbert Grönemeyer → Actor, German rocker
1957 ● Vince Gill → Pure Prairie League, country star
1958 ● Will Sergeant → Echo & The Bunnymen
1962 ● Art Alexakis → Everclear
1964 ● Amy Ray → Indigo Girls
1970 ● Nicholas Lofton Hexum → 311

Apr 13
1934 ● Horace Kay → The Tams
1936 ● Richard Timothy “Rashad” Feild → The Springfields, spiritual teacher
1940 ● Lester Chambers → Chambers Brothers
1944 ● Brian Pendleton → Pretty Things
1944 ● John William “Jack” CasadyJefferson Airplane/Starship, Hot Tuna
1945 ● Lowell GeorgeLittle Feat, solo
1946 ● Al Green (Albert Greene)→ Southern R&B, “Call Me” (1973)
1946 ● Roy Loney → Flamin’ Groovies, solo
1951 ● Max WeinbergE Street Band, Max Weinberg 7
1951 ● Robert Peabo Bryson → R&B duets, “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” (1983)
1954 ● Jimmy DestriBlondie
1955 ● Louis Johnson → Brothers Johnson
1957 ● Wayne Lewis → Atlantic Starr
1959 ● Kim McAuliffe → Painted Lady, Girlschool
1966 ● Marc Ford → Black Crowes, solo
1972 ● Aaron Lewis → Staind
1975 ● Lou Bega (David Lubega) → Latino, “Mambo No. 5” (1999)

Apr 14
1935 ● Loretta Lynn (Webb) → Country star, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970)
1945 ● Ritchie BlackmoreDeep Purple, Rainbow, Blackmore’s Night
1946 ● Patrick Fairley (Fairlie) → Marmalade
1962 ● Joey Pesce → ’Til Tuesday
1969 ● Martyn Le Noble → Porno For Pyros
1974 ● DaBrat (Shawta Harris) → Urban rapper

Apr 15
1894 ● Bessie Smith → The “Empress of the Blues”
1933 ● Roy Clark → Country star, “Thank You God And Greyhound” (1970)
1939 ● Marty Wilde (Reginald Leonard Smith) → Early Brit rocker, “Bad Boy” (1959), father of Kim
1944 ● Dave Edmunds → Roots-rocker, “I Hear You Knock'” (1970)
1947 ● Stuart “Wooly” Wolstenholme → Barclay James Harvest
1966 ● Graeme Clark → Wet Wet Wet, “Love Is All Around” (1994)
1966 ● Samantha Fox → “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)” (1987)
1968 ● Ed O’Brien → Radiohead

Apr 16
1924 ● Henry Mancini → Composer, conductor, “Moon River” (1961)
1929 ● Roy Hamilton → 50s R&B-pop, “Unchained Melody” (1954)
1930 ● Herbie Mann (Herbert Jay Solomon) → Jazz-pop flautist, “Hijack” (1975)
1935 ● Stanley Robert “Bobby” Vinton → Pop-rock crooner, “Blue Velvet” (1963)
1939 ● Dusty Springfield (Mary Isabel O’Brien) → Pop-soul diva, “Son Of A Preacher Man” (1969)
1943 ● “Lonesome” Dave Peverett → Savoy Brown, Foghat
1945 ● Stefan Grossman → Folk-blues guitar, The Fugs, solo
1947 ● Gerry Rafferty → Stealers Wheel, solo, “Baker Street” (1978)
1947 ● Lee “The Bear” Kerslake → Uriah Heep, Blizzard of Ozz
1963 ● Jimmy Osmond → The Osmonds
1963 ● Nick Berry → Brit actor, singer, “Every Loser Wins” (1986)
1964 ● David Pirner → Soul Asylum, solo

Apr 17
1934 ● Don Kirshner → Band manager, music publisher, concert promoter
1936 ● Alexander “Pete” Graves → The Moonglows, “Sincerely” (1954)
1940 ● Billy Fury (Ronald Wycherley) → Early Brit rocker, “Halfway To Paradise”” (1961)
1942 ● Shelly Buchansky → Vito & The Salutations
1943 ● Roy Estrada → Captain Beefheart, Mothers of Invention, Little Feat
1948 ● Jan Hammer → Jazz-rock fusion, “Miami Vice Theme” (1985)
1954 ● Michael Sembello → Producer, composer, “Maniac” (1983)
1955 ● Pete Shelley (McNeish) → Buzzcocks, solo
1957 ● Afrika Bambaataa (Kevin Donovan) → Hip-hop artist, spiritual leader
1964 ● Maynard James Keenan → Tool, A Perfect Circle
1967 ● Liz Phair → Indie pop-rocker, “Supernova” (1994)
1974 ● Victoria “Posh Spice” Adams → Spice Girls

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