I've been a fan of TSO since their beginning, and have been amazed at how popular they have become. If you like them, and do not have it, they have a DVD from the early days that is well worth picking up. Their non-holiday discs are quite good, too, especially Beethoven's Last Night.
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL-OH HOLY NIGHT
Since I already had my Todd schtik going and could not do Christmas tunes in the Battle Of The Bands posts... ...and since I'm too lazy to actually come up with new material... I thought I'd spend the days leading up to Christmas sharing some Christmas tunes with you, albeit done in a less traditional style than you may be accustomed to.
I have been a stowaway on their journey, at least until I run out of covers of Todd Rundgren songs. For today's post, I am back to what should be more familiar territory, with another tune from what is often considered Todd's opus, Something/Anything?. "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" was the second track on the Something/Anything? album, although it was not released as a single. It was a catchy ballad that has remained a concert staple over the years, and was even covered by Rundgren himself on his bossa-nova album With A Twist. The song is another nod to 1960's pop songs. The song would later be covered by Alison Kraus on her album Forget About It.
TODD RUNDGREN- IT WOULDN'T HAVE MADE ANY DIFFERENCE
ALISON KRAUSS- IT WOULDN'T HAVE MADE ANY DIFFERENCE
Today is the day Arlee Bird gets roasted as this year's
On his main blog, “Tossing It Out,” Lee describes himself,
in part, “as a writer, speaker, entertainer, music lover, collector, husband,
father, grandfather, friend, traveler, seeker of truth and wisdom.”
It is a little known fact that the first prescription issued on Venice Beach for medicinal marijuana was given to Arlee Bird.
He majored in alternative uses for pipes...um..herbal
studies...er, that is, English while at
the University of Tennessee.
Arlee has blogged since 2008, and currently has six blogs that
delve into his diabolical...er...um...diverse mind.
Come on-you've read his blog about dreams-this guy is
further out there than Cheech and Chong!
Why do you think he lives in California and goes to a
pharmacy on Venice Beach?
I kid Lee, of course. Lee has the unfortunante (for him)
distinction of being the only person in the blog world I've met face-to-face
(besides Stephen T. McCarthy, and that doesn't really count since I'd known him
for a decade prior to blogging).
So enough with my introduction. There were some assignments
for this post, so let's get to them.
Why did Lee come up with the A-Z Challenge?
Were you not paying attention earlier when I made my Cheech
and Chong joke?
Obviously because he’d smoked some ganja and looked at a
How else would you come to the conclusion that if you
discounted Sundays, April would have the same number of days as letters of the
If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean?
With six blogs, I think we are seeing the living embodiment
of what it means.
In fact, with six blogs, I think Mr. Bird may need to seek
out a support group.
"Hello,my name is Arlee, and I am a blogaholic."
The first step is admitting you have a problem...
Is a post by Mr. Bird worth two in the bush?
That’s just silly-how would you get two posts in the bush in
the first place?
A better question to ask is, what was he smoking before that last post and where can I get some?
Who could play Lee in a documentary? (Living or dead.)
If I were casting the Lee in the juggling picture, I am
thinking Rob Reiner back in the All In The Family days.
In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction
all these prompts:
The chainsaw juggler took off his brown jacket and readied
himself for his act.
A crowd had started to gather on the Venice Beach
He grinned as he started up the power tools, enjoying the
challenge that this provided-anyone could juggle balls
safely, but one false move with a chainsaw and you’d be
called Lefty for the rest of your days.
Tossing the chainsaws in the air, he began to manipulate the
heavy objects to keep all three in the air while the onlookers dropped change
and small bills into the bucket he’d set out.
At one point, a seagull swooped down, one of the chainsaws
narrowly missing the bird.
He smiled to himself-today was looking like a profitable
It came to 123-I was too lazy to edit it down
In +/- 40 words, can you come up with a caption for Lee’s
Arch-why must you always call me Meathead?
Lee-here' to ya, my friend! Sorry about all the stoner jokes....but it is a roast!
On Boston's first album in 11 years, and the first since the
tragic death of legendary vocalist Brad Delp in 2007, the band sticks with its
tried-and-true sound, one that has come to nearly define the classic rock
Or, said another way, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
From the first time the world heard "More Than a
Feeling" in the 1970s, Boston burned its way into rock's DNA with an
identifiable sound: layer upon layer of angry guitars, harmonic solos and
angelic vocals backing Delp, who could hit notes only dogs could hear.
There are three tracks on the album that feature the late
Delp’s vocals. The unreleased song, "Sail Away," is about the
government's response to Hurricane Katrina (it HAS been a long time between
albums, right?), while the two others ("Someone" and "Didn't
Mean to Fall in Love") appeared on the band's Corporate
America album, but Scholz was never really happy with them and has
rebuilt them from top to bottom while keeping the original Delp vocals.
Or, said another way, Scholz was unable to come up with an album full of new material in more than a decade.
"Heaven on Earth," with David Victor singing lead
could be a hit single, if all the Boston fans who were "Smokin'" in
the '70s remain loyal to a group who helped define what rock 'n' roll sounded
like for many years.
Sadly, that audience is probably in the early stages of
dementia and may not remember the band.
Other songs don't fare as well, including "If You Were
in Love" with Kimberley Dahme's vocals coming off as nothing-special, and
Tom’s turn on lead vocals not even passing that bar.
Vocals by Tommy DeCarlo, the
Delp sound-alike found on You Tube, are not bad, but the songwriting does not
approach that of the first three Boston albums.
When you consider
that there are three re-records and one short instrumental, you’re left with
seven new songs in eleven years.
And only one is good enough to be lined up against that first album.
I would think with that much time on his hands, Scholz would have outdone the first album.
I like the album, don't get me wrong-the songs are ok, the performances good and the production slick (a little overdone, but that's Tom's production style). I'm just not sure that this is an album for everyone-it's a lot closer to the last two albums than the first three.
Overall, worth checking out for die-hard fans. Nostalgic fans looking
to revisit the stellar debut may want to just break that one out of mothballs.
We've been hearing for years that the CD format is dying.
In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to review CD's and get people excited about the album format again.
Sadly, while I seem to get respectable hits, the pattern of comments from the same handful of people (even when I tried giving away CD's it did not change) would indicate that I was not very successful in my mission.
Don't get me wrong you faithful who stop by and comment-I appreciate your interest and your words-but I'd hoped to reach a wider audience and have failed at that.
And here we are, coming towards the end of another year, still discussing the viability of the album format.
As Kasim Sulton (Todd Rundgren, Utopia, Meat Load, Joan Jett, Scandal) readies his latest solo effort for release, he has indicated that this will be the last one. Other artists have said similar things, and a simplistic analysis of unit sales would seem to indicate that the album is breathing its last.
Since 2000, album sales have fallen in every year but one (2004) and physical unit sales have gone from 785 million to 194 million. Digital albums have made up some of the losses at 118 million units, but that's still leaving album sales at 60% lower levels than their peak.
But that peak was unrealistic. Album sales are only down 49% from 1994 levels, and only 15% lower than 1975 levels.
Keep in mind that during the CD era, the record labels were selling catalog titles in record numbers alongside new titles as listeners rushed to upgrade their LPs to CD. And the labels exploited that frenzy, with one CD reissue campaign after another (how many copies of Dark Side Of The Moon can one person buy? I can tell you if you really want to know).
But even in this age of iTunes and single-song purchases, 42% of Americans purchased a CD last year, and another 21% purchased a digital album.
And in a very interesting trend, the number of teens who purchased digital albums last year decreased, while teens who purchased physical CD increased (see the graph below).
None of this counts the continuing increase in vinyl LP sales, a trend that is now in its sixth year. In 2012, about 5 million new vinyl LP's were sold.
Add all of this up, I don't know what you get. Even Billboard, the trade magazine, tells the story both ways (the album is doomed, there's still hope).
But it would seem that the rumors of the album format's death are greatly exaggerated.
As you shop this holiday season, why not consider getting someone the gift of an album on CD or vinyl LP?
And while you're at it, why not get one for yourself?
Do you still buy albums? What's the last one you purchased?
I always wondered why it took so long for the band Boston to
release albums. The conventional wisdom has always been that Tom Scholz is a
That may be true. On December 3, Boston releases Life Love
& Hope, the band’s sixth album of original material in it’s thirty-seven
year career, and the first since original lead singer Brad Delp committed
suicide in 2007.
Scholz has been involved in a number of lawsuits surrounding
Delp's death, having sued the Boston Herald over coverage of Delp's death (claiming
emotional distress), and also suing Delp's former wife, Micki, claiming that
she defamed him in statements that she made after Delp's death (a Superior
court judge dismissed those claims).
Scholz has also been embroiled in several lawsuits with
former band members regarding trademark violations on the band name Boston.
lawsuit against Fran Cosmo and his son Anthony was decided in August 2013 when
federal judge James Robart rejected Scholz's efforts to bar the Cosmos from
referring to themselves as "former members" of the band.
also blocked an injunction request put forth by Scholz seeking to dictate how
the Cosmos could refer to their past band affiliation.
A more recent lawsuit
seeking to bar former Boston member Barry Goudreau from referencing his former
band affiliation has yet to be determined. It is at least the third such
lawsuit against Goudreau put forth by Scholz.
With all of his court appearances, it is no wonder that the first
new album in eleven years only contains eleven songs, two of which are
re-recorded versions of songs on the last record.
Scholz was also critical of the label’s handling of his last
effort, 2002’s Corporate America. The album did place at #42 on Billboard’s top
200 album chart, which is pretty surprising since it was also light on new
material (nine songs plus a live version of a song from the prior studio album, 1994's Walk On.
Considering Boston’s last true blockbuster release was in
1986, and considering what rock music did in the 90’s, Scholz should be amazed
by a #7 peak for Walk On and a #42 peak for Corporate America.
eight year sabbaticals between each album, a music industry that had gone from
grunge to country and rap, a fan base that was rapidly approaching (in
1994) and then cresting (in 2002) middle-age, and albums that were light on new material, the fact that he sold any copies
at all is astonishing.
Don’t get me wrong-I liked both of these albums, but most
people my age are not waiting for the record store doors to open each Tuesday-and
they weren’t in 1994 or 2002 either.
When rock artists fail to accept that as
their audience ages, they seem to need to spend their income on diapers, school
books, etc, instead of records, I am always amused.
Especially in recent years, where digital sales make up such
a huge portion of the industry, I think artists like Boston have their best bet
on album sales at their merchandise tables at shows. Fans are not going to go
to a record store, nor will they likely think to download the album the day
after the show. But get the new release in front of them while they’re walking
out, and you have a pretty good chance of selling them a copy.
I was at a show last night with three 1970’s bands-no
merchandise table. Their loss.
I hope the new Boston album sells-I preordered my copy. But
Tom Scholz needs to accept the fact that it is no longer 1976.
And if he needs any proof, he should just look at this picture, and see if he can find anyone today wearing those clothes or hairstyles!
Esoteric Antenna appear to be living up to their promise to release material from Todd Rundgren's archives, following the abandoned Utopia Disco Jets album and a live Nearly Human concert (Live At The Warfield) with this eagerly awaited live CD and DVD set that captures highlights of Todd's US tour that followed the release of his album of songs written by the legendary blues musician Robert Johnson,
The band was comprised of Todd Rundgren (guitar, vocals), Jesse Gress (guitar), Kasim Sulton (bass) and Prairie Prince (drums).
In addition to classic Robert Johnson songs, the band also performed classic material from his back catalogue including 'Black Maria', 'Soul Brother', 'Open My Eyes', 'I Went to the Mirror', 'I Saw the Light' and 'Boogies (Hamburger Hell)', making for a memorable live experience captured wonderfully in this set.
The DVD in the set is region free and in NTSC format and can be played in any country. ""Todd Rundgren's Johnson Live"" is packaged in a deluxe digi pack format with a lavishly illustrated booklet.
Roger Waters wrapped up his three-year Wall tour in
September, and since then he's turned his attention toward his first rock album
since 1992's Amused to Death.
"I finished a demo of it last night,"
he tells Rolling Stone. "It's 55 minutes long. It's songs and theater as
well. I don't want to give too much away, but it's couched as a radio play. It
has characters who speak to each other, and it's a quest. It's about an old man
and a young child trying to figure out why they are killing the children."
Waters is not sure if he'll support the disc with a tour.
"I'm suffering a little bit of withdrawal after ending the Wall
tour," he says. "It's sort of a relief to not have to go out and do
that every night, but they're such a great team. There were 180 of us together
everyday. That piece was very moving every night."
The massive show was staged 219 times at stadiums and arenas
all over the globe, grossing upwards of $458,000,000.
"I can't top that tour,"
Waters says. "First of all, you have to accept the fact that I'm not going
to live forever. I'm 70 years old. You just have to accept that when you do
something as enormous as that tour. The hardest thing in the world is thinking
of something to do, so going and doing it is a reward in itself."
The memory of the tour still brings a big smile to his face.
"I found that the loudest fans in the world are in Istanbul," he
"I remember standing there with the band during 'Hey You.' We were
behind the wall, so nobody could see us playing. We started looking at each
other going, 'What is that sound?' When they sang 'Don't give in without a
fight,' you could feel it. It was like the roof was coming off, even though
there was no roof. It was amazing."
With that in mind, he refuses to rule out the possibility of
reviving The Wall tour at some point in the future.
"I'm not thinking
about that right now," he says. "But that's not to say I won't. I
think there's an audience there. We did do 219 shows, which is a lot."
Here I am (one more time) with a rogue entry in the Battle Of The Bands blog-hop!
The five bloggers below are co-sponsoring a blog event on the first and fifteenth of each month. Since I appear to have no original ideas of my own and even less shame, I have been hitching a ride on their bandwagon!
Once again, I am listing a Todd Rundgren song as my entry.
Many of you will not know that "Love Is the
Answer" was written by Todd Rundgren for his band Utopia (closing track on
their album Oops! Wrong Planet).
England Dan and John Ford Coley reached number ten on the
Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1979 with their cover, and that’s the version most
readers will know. Coley was quoted as
saying: "Of all the songs we released as singles, that was my favorite.
The song first of all had a classical base, and the middle had a gospel section
which I loved."
The song has been covered by several times by Christian
artists (Sheila Walsh, Bill Cantos, Cindy Morgan, Bob Carlisle and Bryan Duncan),
and Filipino singer Gary V. also covered the song on his 2001 album, Revive.
The song remains a staple in Rundgren’s live shows.
So without further ado...here is the original Utopia version
And second....the England Dan/John Ford Coley cover...
Last night, at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ronnie Spector performed her career retrospective, a live musical documentary, Behind
As recounted by Ronnie, when The Ronettes teamed up with Phil Spector, and in the early
1960s, they had huge hits with "Be My Baby", "Baby, I Love
You", "The Best Part of Breakin' Up, "Do I Love You?" and
"Walking in the Rain."
Heck, when they toured England in 1964, The Rolling Stones
were THEIR opening act!
with the Beatles, and Ronnie maintained a friendship with John and George for
As their success faded, and Ronnie’s relationship with Phil
Spector turned romantic, Spector’s jealousy grew. After they married, Spector’s
paranoid manifested in a threatening control of Ronnie’s life– she wasn’t
allowed off their heavily guarded property with shoes, for example.
Ronnie started drinking. She recounted that the only way
Phil would let her leave the mansion was for alcohol rehab. ("I loved
rehab! It was like breaking free.") So she found that by continuing to drink, she
would get out of the house for extended periods of time. But Phil’s dark side finally
prompted Ronnie to literally flee the house without shoes.
Ronnie spoke of her subsequent successes – recording with
Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Southside Johnny and Eddie Money a healthy
and stable second marriage – as triumphs over that relationship.
Because the spectre of Spector still looms over the Ronettes
catalog-Spector refused from prison to grant permission for the use of their
biggest hits in the production, songs like "Be My Baby," "Baby I
Love You" and "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" were not
included in the production. Ronnie’s limited access to her hits didn’t prevent
her from bringing out a lot of audience favorites that she performed in between her narrative.
She sang "Time Is on My
Side" after recounting the Ronettes’ road adventures with the Rolling
Stones. (Spector does a very good Keith Richards imitation.) After that came
the Beach Boys’ "Don’t Worry Baby," which Brian Wilson wrote as a
follow-up to "Be My Baby;" and, keyed to her finally leaving Phil’s
mansion, barefoot, Billy Joel’s "Say Goodbye to Hollywood," which
Spector recorded as an E Street Band-backed single in 1977.
After a brief intermission, Ronnie performed a brief concert
set, and treated the crowd to “Be My Baby” and Baby I Love You” as part of that
Ronnie was amazing-I do not know if she is, in fact, a
grandmother, but there were times during the narrative where that’s how she
While singing some of the earlier material, she still seemed like a
shy teenager (albeit a sexy shy teenager), and on a few number she simply
Her voice has lost a little range with the years, but the
big, yearning tone behind all those "whoa-whoa-whoa" sobs was still
in good shape
"Phil Spector wanted to erase me from the public
consciousness," the producer's ex-wife, Ronnie Spector, said with
I am glad he did not succeed.
She was funny and engaging while telling her stories, and captivating
to watch sing. If the show comes to your town, I’d recommend it.
Ronnie’s web siteoffers some of her more recent recorded
work, and you can still see some of the earlier albums on Amazon and eBay.