Thursday, March 31, 2011

THEY CALL ME McDOGG.....OR IS THAT BOCEPHUS?

Sometimes you just can't say it better. Take a note that our friend, the Ferret-Faced Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy sent me last week after I lent him my copy of Hank Williams Jr's "The Bocephus Box" for his listening enjoyment.

I tend to acquire things at such a rate that I don't always get time to listen to them right away, so since I had enough in my CD changer I was happy to lend this three disc collection to Stephen before I had had a chance to digest it.

Funny thing is, when I read his e-mail, I realized no review of mine would do the set justice like this would.

So here's a piece from guest reviewer Stephen T. McCarthy:


"THE BOCEPHUS BOX"- Hank Williams Junior




McLC ~


Hey, Buddy, that is one darn good Bocephus compilation! I got to hear a number of songs I hadn’t heard since my pre-CD Licorice Pizza era, and a bunch of songs I’d never heard before in ANY era.

As always, certain songs got left out that leaves one scratching their head. Of course, they needed to include the big Country-Western hits, and after that, which non-hits to include becomes a subjective matter. But I’m thinkin’ to myself: How could you leave out ‘Dinosaur’? [“You’re singin’ a song about makin’ love to your drummer. Well, gay guitar pickers don’t turn me on.”]

And ‘The American Way’? [“Some high-society lady says, ‘Is your horse outside?’ No, ma’am, he’s between my legs but you’re too fat to ride.”] And ‘Won’t It Be Nice’? [“I don’t always hit the ball over the fence.” – I always loved that simple line!]

Well, obviously, acquiring The Bocephus Box won’t allow me to jettison my copy of ‘Habits Old And New’.

And they didn’t include ‘The Coalition To Ban Coalitions’ [“Now the latest thing they want to stamp out is violence on TV / And worst of all is that Oscar-winning rabbit, Bugs Bunny / Farewell Foghorn Leghorn, so long Yosemite Sam / They're messin' with our heroes and we’ve got to stop them now!”] or ‘Ballad Of Hank Williams’ (one of the funniest songs ever recorded).

Well, obviously, acquiring The Bocephus Box won’t allow me to jettison my copy of ‘The Pressure Is On’.

And neither does the set include ‘Young Country’ or ‘I’m For Love’ :

Mothers against drunk drivers, The Pope is against the pill
The union’s against the workers, Working against their will
The President’s against the Congress, The Senate is against the House
People are against politicians, And I’m against cats in my house

CHORUS:


But I’m for love and I’m for happiness
And I’m for “If you don’t like it can’t you just let it pass?”
And I’m for turning off the news and turning down the lights
‘Cause I’m for nothing else but me and you tonight

The city’s against the county, The county's against the state
The state is against the government, And the highway still ain’t paved
The banker’s against the farmer, The farmer’s against the wall,
The doctor’s against me smoking, And the devil's against us all

CHORUS

The cops are against the robbers, The laws are against the cops
Justice is against the system, And some people are blowing their tops
The horse is against the automobile, The bus is against the train
The train is against the jumbo jet, And I’m against fishing in the rain

CHORUS

So, I guess I’ll also need to hang on to my copy of ‘Greatest Hits, Vol. 3’.

But, heck, I might have to get The Bocephus Box anyway because it’s loaded with good stuffs!

It’s funny that I have heard the song ‘Mind Your Own Business’ a thousand times (a kick-butt Country rocker!), and knew that Reba McIntire and Willie Nelson each sang a verse, but I had never realized that one of those other verses featured Tom Petty. Really? Tom Petty? So I listened to it again and – DOH! – of course that’s Tom Petty’s voice. What, am I deaf? How could I have failed to note that all these years? I just never dreamed that Petty would be on a Bocephus track and so my mind overlooked the obviousness of Petty’s highly identifiable vocal quality on that particular verse.

I love the fact that the set included the LIVE version of ‘My Name Is Bocephus’ – one of my all-time favorites by him. It made my Blogfest entry for “All-Time Greatest Drinking Songs”:

http://stephentmccarthysstuffs.blogspot.com/2010/06/10-favorite-drinkin-drivin-songs.html

I wrote:


Here we have Hank Junior doing a kind of Muddy Waters “Mannish Boy” / “Hoochie Coochie Man” thing. On his list of Desert Island Music Albums, my friend Mr. Paulboy wrote of The Who’s music: “When I hear The Who I want to kick somebody’s ass. Too bad I’m alone on this island. Heck... pause the music, I’m gonna walk around and see who I can find!”

Ha! Well, that’s kind of the way I feel when I hear “My Name Is Bocephus”, only I don’t have to go to the other side of an island to find some dude to fight – I just gotta walk around to the other side of the bar. “YOU! I’m talkin’ to YOU! …No, not you; you’re too big. I’m talkin’ to that little guy standing next to you.”

During one of our earliest listening sessions at your house, I played you ‘My Name Is Bocephus’, but I think you weren’t at all open to Country at that time and, as I recall, your reaction was the equivalent of a shrug. I remember thinking something like: Hokey-Smoke! How can LC not LOVE that song? I just wanna go outside and kick somebody’s ass now. Anyone will do…

(EDITOR'S NOTE-a few times a year Mr McCarthy and Mr. DiscConnected will gather and play select cuts off of new acquisitions or old favorites. A good way to share music with your friends, although stereos are getting harder and harder to find)

I was looking at some of the thumbnail photos of old Bocephus albums on one of the pages toward the back of The Bocephus Box booklet and counting how many of them I had owned on Licorice Pizza. And when I got to the album ‘Five-O’ (his 50th album in 1985!) I recognized that I’d owned it and read the liner notes about it.

Turns out that’s the album with the Zevon cover of ‘Lawyers, Guns & Money’. When you played that at your house last Sunday, I didn’t have any recollection of having heard it before. So, I was wondering how could I have forgotten that? And then it dawned on me: ‘Five-O’ is the album that also includes his cover of the famous Fats Waller tune ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ (I’ve probably heard at least 15 different versions of that song in my lifetime, including the Fats Waller original). And that song just SO OVERSHADOWED everything else on that album that I seem to have forgotten every other track but that one.

Bocephus owns – OWNS! – ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’. He even stole it from Fats! It is, in my opinion, a literally PERFECT track: Great arrangement, wonderful musicianship, and Hank’s vocal is absolutely spot-on PERFECT! He sings it in such a relaxed, fun, easygoing way (right down to the little laugh at the very end, when you think the track is already over) that it is unquestionably my all-time favorite Bocephus song, period.

‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ by Bocephus was the first song mentioned on my blogfest entry for “Favorite Love Songs”:

http://stephentmccarthysstuffs.blogspot.com/2010/06/10-favorite-love-songs-10-favorite.html

It was written by Fats Waller and it’s been sung by everyone with a tongue, but no one ever had more fun with it than Hank Junior. The Countess and I – this was “our” song.

One last thing about The Bocephus Box . . . I had never heard his version of Skynyrd’s ‘Tuesday’s Gone’ before. I think it’s head and shoulders better than the Skynyrd original. I was never crazy about that song before, but Hank just makes it seem so heartfelt and bluesy.

Anyway, Bro, I’m-a think I-needs to get The Bocephus Box. Approximately how much did you pay for yours? Do you recall?

~ Defense McDogg, Scourge Of The Southwest





So there you have it. If that don't make you wanna get yer mitts on this collection, nothing will! And since he wrote this message to me, I happen to know that our good friend McDogg picked up his very own copy of "The Bocephus Box!"

A happy ending if there ever was one. There's no place like DiscConnected's CD room!
 
Tomorrow-A to Z begins! Check out the button up there on my sidebar to sign up or to see who's participating. I think we've got more bloggers than California has conservatives...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

THE ROCK REMAINS


Every Saint Paddy's day, I break out my Irish CD's. Most of these CD's are ot the Irish you might think of, although I have a few by the Chieftains, and one with Van Morrison and the Chieftains that is quite nice. But mof these are Irish rock bands, and this year I played The Book Of Invasions by Horslips for the first time in a long time.

Horslips - you probably never heard of them, right? Well they are an Irish band that has a sound reminiscnet of Songs From The Wood era Jethro Tull, and this album was a nice progressive/concept piece inspired by Irish mythology, particularly the story of Tuatha De Danann's conquest of ancient pre-Christian Ireland.

But I'd never heard of them either once. In the spring of 1980, I started my first semester at college in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Since I didn't know anyone else, I hung out with a friend of my cousin Joe, Steve H, who was a disc jockey the the college radio station. It was a cool place to hang out (a lotta records!), and while Steve and I weren't really friends in high school, the shared love of music gave us a common ground.

I was a commuter student, so I would hang out for long periods of time between classes, and it soon was obvious that I knew a lot about music. Pretty soon I started being asked to fill in while people ran to the rest room or downstairs for a coke. Soon after that, I was asked to fill in when people didn't show up.

Now believe it or not, the upperclassmen (and women) suspected I was somewhat obsessed by the music of a certain Todd character from Upper Darby.

It soon became obvious that while I knew a lot about music and had (even then) a pretty comprehensive record collection, I was not the least bit interested in what the listeners wanted to hear and was not destined to challenge Howard Stern for radio supremacy. In fact, when a show slot opened up, I really was not interested, partyl because of work reasons, but mainly becuase I didn't like the idea of a playlist and I never knew what to say between songs.

During this semester, I came across this Horslips album, and I would play tracks from it when I filled in (the only way to listen to their records-borrowing was prohibited). I got to liking it a lot.

A presentation of Horslips at their best, this concept album blends progressive rock elements with ancient Celtic musical styles to conjure up the mist and mire of the bogs and forests of an Ireland long forgotten.


Released in 1977, the album is named for the Lebor Gabála Érenn, a book of Irish mythology known as The Book of Invasions in English. In my opinion, it is the best attempt at a fusion of traditional Irish music with rock music.

Every track is wonderful and distinct but all combine into an album length suite piece of music with vivid lyrics recounting tales of love, unity, power and glory.

It still holds up in 2011, almost thirty five years later. And it's back in print, remastered by the band, so you can hop on over to Amazor or CD Universe and get yer mitts on a copy.

Click here to check out a sound clip.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

THE OTHER BRUCE

BRUCE COCKBURN-SMALL SOURCE OF COMFORT



With a career spanning more than forty years and a resume that includes 31 albums, Canadian folk-rocker Bruce Cockburn (stop snickering adolescents, it's pronounced "Co-Burn") has quietly developed an enthusiastic international following and earned him appearances on Saturday Night Live, Live 8 and various Canadian television appearances.



Small Source of Comfort, Cockburn's first studio album in six years, is an evocative collection of tracks inspired by his unusual and diverse muse that boasts guest appearances by some of the best musicians recording today (violinist Jenny Scheinman, former Wailin Jenny Annabelle Chvostek) and producer Colin Linden.

As both a songwriter and a guitarist, Bruce Cockburn is considered among the world s best, and he has been called a virtuoso on guitar, placed in the esteemed company of Andrés Segovia, Bill Frisell and Django Reinhardt. His songs have been covered by such diverse and talented artists as Jimmy Buffett, Judy Collins, Anne Murray, Chet Atkins, k.d. lang, Barenaked Ladies, and Jerry Garcia.


While it may not be up to the level of his late seventies and eighties work, I am pleased to see Bruce returning to an acoustic sound with rich instrumentals, and lyrically not as dark and angry as some of his more recent works, but also somewhat less profound and spiritually thought provoking than the early days.


I normally do not do a track-by-track analysis, and will not here, but a few bear a mention. SSOC opens up with the catchy "Iris Of The World," an infectious song with great Bruce wordplay that echoes "How I Spent My Fall Vacation" from Humans, some three decades hence..

The second song, "Call Me Rose," is the single, written from the viewpoint of Richard Nixon who has been reincarnated in the body of a single mother living in the projects, that captures a feeling of resignation and perhaps even a chance at redemption.

The album closes with "Gifts," written in 1968, a short poem (perhaps prayer) set to music. Bruce's manager wanted him to record it for his first album, and Bruce said he would rather record it for his last.

Is this his last album?

Bruce is 66 years old, an age at which most other professions retire. He has certainly given us nine strong lyrical songs and five solid instrumentals, so the old dog has some new tricks left!


Bruce once said "Everything that exists in time runs out of time one day." If this his time has run out, he has certainly left behind a vast musical legacy.

I could not find any sound clips, except for the samples on Amazon here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

HEALER IN HARTFORD


http://www.courant.com/entertainment/music/sound-check/hc-danton-todd-rundgren-concert-revie20110326,0,7621125.story


Todd Rundgren Shows
Wide-Ranging Musical Ability
With Full-Albums Show in Hartford






Apart from indulging his super-fans, Todd Rundgren's full-album show Friday in Hartford was also an excellent demonstration of his wide-ranging musical taste and abilities.

That's true even on a song-to-song basis, but the diversity of Rundgren's catalog was thrown into bold relief when he performed his 1973 album "Todd," followed by his 1981 album "Healing," at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.

Re-creating the albums on stage back-to-back emphasized Rundgren's penchant for pushing, prodding and stretching music as far, and in as many directions, as possible. (Additional evidence: he said in a recent interview that's working on an album of dance music.)

"Todd" was classic weird-'70s, with a jumble of guitars, keyboards and drums on songs balancing a sense of experimentation (layers of synthesizers and crying guitar on "The Spark of Life") with rock 'n' roll heft (the brash chugging guitars of "Heavy Metal Kids"). The curtain came up at the start on Rundgren alone on an empty stage, back to the audience and wearing a silvery high-neck cape as his five backing musicians stepped (or rolled, in the case of the drummer and keyboard players) into place.

The band, dressed in colorful blares of patchwork psychedelia, advanced and receded as necessary for the songs, on which Rundgren sang, played guitar and occasionally sat down at an upright piano.

After playing the second-to-last song from "Todd," the curtain came down for an intermission while the band readied itself for "Healing."

That one was weird-'80s, with a heavier emphasis on keyboards and the contributions of a vocal choir. Dressed in tunics of varying colors, the musicians — Jesse Gress, Greg Hawkes, Prairie Prince, Bobby Strickland and Kasim Sulton, with choirmaster Dirk Hillyer — created atmospheric passages with synthesizers, broken up on "Golden Goose" by a skittering, descending guitar part and pierced on "Healing Part I" by a shrill electronic instrument that looked sort of like a clarinet.

The show was the opening night of a brief five-date tour, and there was a miscue or two, which Rundgren laughed off.

"First show, you know," he said during the "Todd" portion. "It's a privilege and a liability."

The crowd seemed to see it only as the former. In fact, when Rundgren and the band returned for an encore performance of "Sons of 1984," the one song they left out of the "Todd" half of the show, some of the faithful stuck around to sing another chorus or two after the final curtain had come down.

Ticket Info:





www.sonsof1984.com

Friday, March 25, 2011

WHAT DOES "EMO" MEAN ANYWAY?

JIMMY EAT WORLD “CHASE THIS LIGHT”
Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on 10/21/2007





I've always thought of Jimmy Eat World as a guitar-driven power pop band, albiet with a slight edge, and their new album returns to that genre after a detour through slightly darker territory on their last disc.


Noted producer Butch Vig adds an extra coat of studio gloss on this record that features rockers, catchy choruses and finger-snapping pop numbers you can dance to. The guitar work is sharp, and the vocals, while still bemoaning love lost, add a hopeful tone on some songs such as the title track.

"Chase This Light" should please longtime JEW fans and provide an accessible introduction to new listeners.

Video for "Big Casino"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

IT'S BEEN COVERED BEFORE

QUEENSRYCHE “TAKE COVER”

Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on 11/22/2007




How I feel about covers albums has been well-documented. The alarming trend continues, as Queensryche becomes the latest band to "pay tribute to their influences" (or as I prefer to believe, release an album without writing a goddamn thing).


In the decade since guitarist Chris DeGarmo departed Queensryche, the band has been lacking in direction and execution, their albums suffering from inconsistent songwriting. Even a desperate effort to regain their past success, a sequel to their '80s metal masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime (the cleverly titled Operation: Mindcrime II) has not returned them to their DeGarmo heights. Even in spite of my feelings about covers albums, my trepidation at the prospect of Take Cover can certainly be understood.

Overall, this is a varied collection of songs with many tracks that will surprise Queensryche's fans. Opening the album is "Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd, by far the best track on the disc. Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights" is another gem. Some of the tracks on the album must have seemed better on paper than they sound here (the worst being "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield), although I do have to give the band credit for trying on some different sounds. The vocals and production on this effort seem rushed. It's a novelty and with the exception of Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" and Sabbath's "Neon Knights" it contains no material that will beg you to play it again. Recommended for die-hards, but casual fans will want to preview the tracks before buying.

Monday, March 21, 2011

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

MILTON & THE DEVILS PARTY “HOW WICKED WE’VE BECOME”
Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on 12/28/2007





Philadelphia's Milton and the Devils Party makes power-pop for thinking people. Not a shock when you consider that the band was founded by two English professors with rock roots who love great pop songs and know how to write them.

The songs combine power-pop with a literary sensibility (or as FDR (indie label) president dexribes it, "wickedly smart and super catchy"). The lyrics invoke the anger of Elvis Costello while the music channels the pop of Matthew Sweet.

Add it all up, and this is a solid effort worth checking out.

Soundbytes available on the Amazon page here

Saturday, March 19, 2011

BACK TO THE SWAMP



Georgia Warhorse, the new release from JJ Grey and Mofro, is named after the resilient Southern lubber grasshopper. "Yellow and black, and tough like an old-school Tonka toy," says JJ. "They seem so at ease with the world. Nothing seems to rile them. They're in no hurry but they have a kind of resilience because they just keep coming back and I've always felt there was a lesson in there for me to learn."


Grey could be described in such words; his own career has grown over the course of a decade of winning over fans night after night. Grey returns with eleven new original songs including one co-written with songwriting icons Chuck Prophet and Angelo Petraglia (Kings of Leon). Also joining JJ for a track on this album is Grey's long-time musical hero and reggae icon Toots Hibbert, and fellow Jacksonvillian Derek Trucks on another. Basically, Mofro went back to what it knows best, a blend of blues, rock, soul, gospel, and country that may be best called "Swamp Soul." Whatever you call it, it works, an eclectic style that is impossible to categorize. The voice, the music and the lyrics are rich with blues and soul, with a nice rootsy overtone. Not a new sound for sure, but one that'll fit most listeners quite nicely.

Check out a sound clip here.

And here!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ERIN GO BRAGH



Black 47 earned their chops playing the pub scene in Manhattan and self-producing their first indie record, Black 47, before converting The Cars' Ric Ocasek to the cause and gaining mainstream attention with their second album. The band celebrated their 20th year in 2010, but I wanted to take a look back at their major label debut, which still serves as their finest hour.


Black 47 espouses an unblinkingly political and thoroughly Irish form of rock 'n' roll, with songs covering topics from the Northern Ireland conflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporary New York. Larry Kirwan writes music of an epic nature, and on this album, every track is memorable.

In short, this disc nails it. With its disparate roots and influences, the album sounds like Springsteen influenced by traditional Irish music instead of R&R and R&B. Black 47's music encompasses a range of subject matter and emotion, all tied together by the recurrence of the "Living in America" theme throughout the album.

This band was doing Irish punk alongside the Pogues and before Flogging Molly or the Dropkick Murphys. Veterans of thirteen albums on various labels, if anyone is left standing, it will be Black 47.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

GETTING OUT OF THE OFFICE


Although he was a founding member of the Grass Roots, Creed Bratton is probably better known as the eponymous character he plays on The Office.

Returning to his original profession, Bratton has released "Bounce Back," a collection of rock and roots music that should please any fans of classic rock, as well as aficionados of more recent alt-country releases.


The artist's uniqueness alone is enough to fuel the less notable tracks, with mellow Dylanesque undertones balanced out by some knee-slapping country-rock. This release is your ticket to Creed Bratton's inimitable funky vibe, and is well worth a spin.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SCIENCE FICTION BLUES



Honeytribe was formed by Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band) in 1999, although they took a hiatus, reforming in 2005, and releasing their debut album in 2006. Today, we're here to talk about the follow-up to that favorably-reviewed debut, "Space Age Blues," released in October, 2010, and featuring a guest appearance by Huey Lewis on harmonica in addition to the power-trio of Devon Allman, George Potsos and Gabriel Strange.


'Science fiction blues' isn't a genre you'll find in an illustrated history of rock and roll, and the songs here are not 'Space Age' but a collection of rocking blues songs, with perhaps the weak track being a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke." Honeytribe's sophomore effort is a musical thrill ride, carefully constructed and full of exploding guitar licks and lush beds of strings in a musical stir fry of classic rock with a side of soul and a modern psychedelia chaser. Allman does not disappoint-no attempt to emulate his legendary uncle Duane by playing any slide, he seems to focus on his songwriting and vocals, occasionally letting loose on some short guitar solos. Some of these songs are outstanding, most others are pretty good, with the aforementioned weak link. Overall, it's a success, and I recommend it for blues-rock fans!

Friday, March 11, 2011

HONEST WORK



I purchased "For Lack Of Honest Work" at the merchandise table at the Akron "Todd/Healing" show. How could I pass up a chance to make small talk with Todd's wife and son? And I was pre-ordering the Toddstock DVD anyway, so while I had the credit card out...


Featuring performances recorded across four decades and spanning at least two continents, FLOHW kicks off a new Todd archives project (after the Japanese Victor and Sanctuary UK efforts earlier this decade).

The sound quality is good and there is good variety, although this collection teases the listener who will want the full concert performances. A fair amount of these recordings are represented by those earlier "bootleg" series, so die hard fans (who else is buying this collection) already have them. Fortunately, the three CD set is reasonably priced, so the listener gets a fair amount of new material for the price (although I pretty much had everything on various radio shows I'd recorded and "import" releases (ok, bootlegs-I've still bought every legitimate recording Todd's appeared on three or four times).

Hopefully this will develop into future releases and not go the way of the rumored "Artifacts" box set, the AWATS dvd, etc.

Todd is a genius, but sometimes his attention span causes him to abandon projects and leave money on the table. His fan base isn't getting any younger, either. He ought to release product now while we've got incomes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A TO Z REMINDER


Just a reminder to sign up for Arlee Bird's (and his posse of co-hosts) Blogging A to Z Challenge in April.

There's a link on the sidebar to the right to sign up.

Anyone who is anyone and some who are noone will be participating. You don't want to be left out!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MARCO MENDOZA "LIVE FOR TOMORROW"

Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on July 7, 2007

If I were to recommend that you run out and pick up "Live For Tomorrow," the debut solo CD from Marco Mendoza, you'd probably say, "who?" and rightly so. It is a Frontiers Records release, and these gents have a pretty good track record spotting and signing AOR talent.


Mendoza certainly has some AOR credentials, having played in Blue Murder and Soul SirkUS, and having toured with Ted Nugent, Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy. And suppose I were to say that this disc was produced by guitar slinger Richie Kotzen, who shares many of the writing credits? Would you give it a listen?

Fans of Kotzen's work should like this disc, Guest stars include Doug Aldrich, Ted Nugent and Steve Lukather. Musically the record offers a down-to-earth sound mixing elements of classic rock with blues and melodic rock. I hear hints of Mr Big and Damn Yankees, and Richie Kotzen handles the bulk of the guitar work and duets on vocals with Marco on "I Want You".

Enuff said? Give this a listen-get it at www.nehrecords.com.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A BEARD CLASSIC

Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on 1/6/2008


There are those who say that Spock's Beard sold out to go commercial on the "Day For Night" album, originally released in 1999 and reissued last year in a special edition with enhanced packing and some bonus demo versions of songs.


The Beard has always had very identifiable pop elements (big choruses, catchy hooks) in their music, and while the songs on this album are generally shorter than the epics commonly associated with prog, there is no question that this is a classic Beard disc. "The Healing Colors of Sound" is a suite that's over 20-minutes long with the Beard's signature style of songs within a song wrapped together by recurring themes.

The album has echoes of classic 70's progressive bands blended in with moments of sublime invention and beauty. Tracks like "Skin" and "Can't Get It Wrong" may lend to the perception that this album is pop or commercial (although both are great songs), but overall the disc is not a digression from the band's style. "Day for Night" is addictive progressive music that stands up quite well.

FYI-Neal Morse is doing a solo show in Whittie, California on May 28. Look at the CalProg website for more info!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

JUST A LAD FROM LIVERPOOL

Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on June 1, 2008



Ringo has been on somewhat of a roll lately, with a recent best-of compilation, "Photograph" showcasing blasts from his past (pun intended) and this new album celebrating all things Ringo from his musical wit and cheer to his commitment to the Sixties ideals of peace and love.


Referring to the neighborhood where he grew up, ""Liverpool 8" shows the reflective side of one of rock and roll's most beloved icons, as well as a rock star who is in his twenty-sixth year of marriage and still a romantic.

Only Ringo Starr could get away with a lyric like: "When I look back / It sure was cool / For those four boys from Liverpool?" The wrap-up line is from the title song from the drummer's autobiographical 14th album, and while it won't win any songwriting accolades, when you ask for Ringo, it's Ringo you get.

Producer Dave Stewart heaps on the gloss with a technique similar to that of Jeff Lynne (who helped Harrison stage his '80s comeback and recorded the two "new" Beatles tunes the following decade), giving Starr's songs an old-friend quality.

Friday, March 4, 2011

FORGOTTEN BUT NOT GONE...or something like that


Television shows never last forever. Either they run their course and quietly fade into syndication (Seinfeld), or they are brutally cancelled before they have a chance to spread their wings (Firefly). Of course, some overstay their welcome and Jump The Shark.

Erinn at something else to distract me is co-hosting the Gone But Not Forgotten blogfest, where entrants list their top 5 TV shows no longer making NEW episodes.



Not being a huge TV watcher, but having watched television over parts of five decades, this was tough. I decided to pick one show from each decade.

SIXTIES:  STAR TREK



Nothing can beat Kirk bedding a green Orion slave girl, violating the Prime Directive , phasering the living s*&t out of a Klingon ship and firing Scotty for not fixing the Enterprise quickly enough, all while masterfully overacting.

Runner-up: Mission Impossible

SEVENTIES: VEGA$



I am a huge Robert Urich fan, mainly due to this show and to Spenser For Hire. Sadly, this show's plots do not hold up so well after thirty years, but I still love the car, and still have a crush on Bea!

Runners-up: Alias Smith And Jones, Kung Fu, Banacek

EIGHTIES: MAGNUM P.I.



This was tough-do I pick Spenser For Hire, The A-Team, or Magnum P.I.?

Once again, I gotta give it to the car, Tom Selleck's Ferrari. The A-Team was fun, but the same plot every week. Spenser introduced me to the work of Robert B. Parker, but as much as I like Rober Urich, the books were better (although Avery Brooks as Hawk was casting genius).

Magnum P.I. was a nice spin on the private detective series, with characters you grew attached to over eight seasons. And the season seven finale (which was originally to be the series finale), a sort of homage to "Heaven Can Wait," was simply wonderful.

Great casting. Great writing. Great locale. Great car.

Runners up: The A-Team, Spenser For Hire

NINETIES: HIGHLANDER



This was easy-I didn't watch much else in the nineties but Seinfeld and Highlander. Although Seinfeld gets my vote for the best comedy ever (sorry Stephen T), there was something about Highlander that appealed to me, even though, like the A-Team, it was sort of the same plot every week.

What can I say? There can be only one!

Runners-up: Seinfeld, The X Files, Brisco County Jr.

00's: ALIAS


This was tough, as there really were a lot of good shows on in this decade. But Jennifer Garner is a hottie, and I loved the Rimbaldi plotline that wove through the series' run.

Runners-up: 24, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Smallville, Fringe

There you have it. And I should have this posted by midnight!

Now where did I put that remote control...

Thanks to Erinn and her cohosts for putting this on!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

DON'T WE ALREADY HAVE A DYLAN?



Dylan LeBlanc is a young session player from Louisiana with a voice which made me think of a cross between Ryan Adams and Drive By Trucker's Patterson Hood. On LeBlanc's debut album, Pauper's Field, the carefully sculpted songs and rich well of country soul bring to mind the era of Alabama's fabled Muscle Shoals sound.


A nice blend of country, rock and folk, with arrangements that remind me of Harvest-era Neil Young, melancholy vocals and an emphasis on songwriting. The cover to "Paupers Field," like an old Civil War photograph, hints at the classic country rock to come, and you can hear the influence of Adams, Young and Townes Van Zandt in the grooves.

While LeBlanc is not breaking new ground, the songwriting really shines here, with personal and poetic lyrics that stand out in front of the understated arrangements-I know it's a cliché, but there's not a bad song on this album.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

G LOVE’S GOT THE BLUES



After years of chasing after mainstream success, G Love (Philadelphia’s Garrett Dutton) delivers Fixin’ To Die, an album that gets back to basics in more ways than one. Produced by Scott and Seth Avett (of The Avett Brothers fame), the album incorporates roots elements and acoustic delta blues styles, setting aside the R&B and hip-hop influences that are the hallmarks of previous G Love And Special Sauce releases.


The Avett's production suits the song selection, a collection of rearranged traditionals, a classic pop cover, and a slew of G. Love originals that capture the roots sound G. Love has cultivated over his entire career but never fully embraced until now.

Thematically touching on the lonely and weary side of life on the road and a longing for home, the lyrics are also among Dutton’s most mature to date.

In a Relix magazine article, Dutton said he’d been ready to make this album for 25 years. G-what were you waiting for? Recommended.



PS-Just wanted to thank everyone who participated in the Super 8 Debut Albums blog-hop yesterday. Everyone's lists either reminded me of something I forgot to include or gave me someone to give another listen to! Hope it was as enjoyable for everyone else as it was for me!