Saturday, December 31, 2016

SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT

Musically, this year started with David Bowie succumbing to cancer (January 10) and ended with George Michael's passing on December 25.

Many icons were lost, along with many younger musicians who are gone before their time.

As we usher in a new year, let us take a moment to remember some of the artists who touched our ears and our lives who will not be there to see the ball drop on Times Square.

John Berry of The Beastie Boys
David Bowie
Steve Byrd (Guitarist for Kim Wilde, Ian Gillan)
Leonard Cohen
Dennis Davis (Drummer for David Bowie, Stevie Wonder)
Paul Demers, Canadian singer-songwriter
Holly Dunn, Country singer-songwriter
Keith Emerson, ELP
Joey Martin Feek (of Joey & Rory)
Glenn Frey (Eagles)

Craig Gill (Inspirational Carpets)

Christine Grimmie (The Voice)




Fred Hellerman of The Weavers


Wayne Jackson of The Memphis Horns

Sharon Jones of Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings


Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship
Greg Lake (ELP)

George Michael

Rick Parfitt of Status Quo




Doug Raney, jazz guitarist

Leon Russell

Lewie Steinberg of Booker T and The MG's

Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention


Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

DIANNE MICHELLE (DI3M)-OH HOLY NIGHT

This recording was produced by Christ's Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona, where I have been attending services (albeit not as regularly as I ought to) for several years.

Their music presentation is on a par with some professional concerts I have seen, and for several years I was fortunate enough to see Dianne Michelle sing.




Last year, she released her first Christian music CD, and I wish her the best of luck with that career. Check out Dianne's website for more.

I have always found her rendition of this Christmas song breathtaking.




Quite frankly, this recording still pales compared to hearing her sing it live. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016

BOTB-FIGHT TO SURVIVE



Ah, the Seventies! 




Bad hair. 





Bad fashion. 




But for my money this was the most diverse time for popular music on radio airwaves, with Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster Cult, Lynyrd Skynyrd and James Taylor all sharing time on DJ playlists.

Those playlists were discretionary (meaning no one told the DJ what to play) which led to radio exploration of deeper album cuts (rather than the lip-service that term has been given for the last thirty years), and it was before MTV, so a performer did not have to be a supermodel to get signed-they had to be talented.

In the middle of all that was disco-often derided, but no question that it had an impact on pop culture.

Gloria Gaynor had one of the genre's landmark songs, much to the chagrin of anyone who has been in a bar where they host karaoke.

Here is Gaynor's original, 

This is for REFERENCE only-if you vote on this, it's kind of like a vote for an independent candidate-I'm not going to count it.





I was one of those people to whom the words "Disco Sucks" had religious significance in the seventies, and there was a time when I would have said it's not hard at all for a cover to top a disco single.

But as I've aged, I've mellowed, and I will allow that Gaynor's song is somewhat iconic. However, alternative rock band Cake do an excellent job, tweaking the lyrics and breathing new life into the song with their trademark guitar sound and other touches.






Another version by Chantay Savage keeps the song in the R&B side of things but slows the tune down to a 90's ballad. While Savage is not necessarily unique enough as a performer to separate herself from the other R&B artists of her decade, she still has an interesting take on the song.

This is the version I am pitting against Cake's cover.




Savage's version hit #28 of Billboard's Hot 100, ad Cake's reached #24 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, but you can decide for yourself which attempt is better and let me know in the comments.

And remember-if you vote for Gaynor's version, you may not be punished in this life, but you will spend your afterlife listening to really bad karaoke singers!

You may feel that's an empty threat, but think about it-they're going to heaven, too, and they're gonna need an audience. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

NOTHING TO FEAR BUT F.E.A.R



You may not have heard of Marillion but either directly or indirectly, however, you have almost certainly felt the influence of one of the UK music scene’s best-kept secrets.

Today, any musician, artist, writer, or budding entrepreneur can quickly set up a crowdfunding campaign using established specialist companies like PledgeMusic and Kickstarter. Of course, this wasn’t always the case and previously, artists in need of finance and exposure had little choice but to sign their rights away in often exploitative and one-sided business deals. It can be argued that every artist today owes Marillion a debt of gratitude because now there is another way forward.



As far back as the late 1990s, Marillion’s fans sponsored an entire US tour responding to an appeal posted on the fledgling Internet, donating $60,000. In 1997 the band responded creating its own website (the first rock ‘n’ roll website in the UK) and began what was to change the landscape of music. With the support of its passionate fans, Marillion bypassed the conventional music industry, took control of its future, and forged its own path, naming their album marillion.com, banishing the spectre of record company pressure and influence once and for all. Marillion launched its own record label, the aptly named Intact imprint. In so doing, the band freed itself up to produce some of the finest music of its career.



In 2001, Anoraknophobia saw Marillion take the groundbreaking step of asking fans to pre-order an album a full 12 months before release. Anyone doing so would receive a specially packaged CD, which would include their name in the “Thanks” list. An amazing 12,000 people signed up, helping not only to finance the recording, but also to create a budget to launch the album. In doing so, the band invented “Crowdfunding”. This was anything but a one-time event and the band has since funded a number of albums this way. The crowd-funded business model has since been embraced globally to finance music, film and art which otherwise might never have existed.

Marillion’s music is, by its nature, tough to sum-up but perhaps can be approximately described as musically-experimental-yet-emotional Rock, married to thought provoking, soulful lyrics – a powerful and moving cocktail which, for those who “get it”, elicits extraordinary devotion. Its global fan base is impressive and hyper-engaged, with fans often travelling thousands of miles to attend live shows. Little wonder then, that the band was well-placed to harness this faith and trust to provide an alternative way of operating.
On September 17th 2012, Marillion released its 17th studio album, Sounds That Can’t Be Made. During that same year, the band toured extensively in North America, South America, and Europe.



After over thirty years, the band shows no signs of slowing down and new generations of young fans are discovering the music for themselves. And there’s plenty of it. With a catalogue of 17 albums behind them, having written music that draws on every genre Marillion can be considered Progressive not just musically, but in just about every sense.

The band is unique not only for what it has done, but how it has done it. Over the course of its career, Marillion has displayed little regard to the vagaries of the musical fashion police or mainstream radio but innovated the ways and means to stand apart from music-business pressure, media pressure and its attendant artistic compromises.



In 2015, Marillion returned to the studio to begin writing its 18th studio album, which is scheduled for release in 2016 with a world tour in the planning stages for 2016. Marillion have recently announced that they have joined forces with PledgeMusic for this release thereby endorsing PledgeMusic as the foremost platform within the Crowdfunding model.


The band has evolved into a vibrant and international musical force. To those who already love Marillion, the band is something special. To the uninitiated, it’s a potential love affair waiting to happen.


Fear is released Friday, September 23, 2016. Marillion have scheduled a rare tour North America in October and November 2016.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

BOTB-HURT



I am not a huge country music fan, but you don't accumulate a collection the size of mine without having some in there. It's mainly the guitar tuning-there is a lot of good songwriting in country music.

But one of my favorite songs on a country album came from the very tail end of Johnny Cash's career, and it was a cover song.

I am not sure if any past BOTB post ever featured Johnny Cash's Hurt, but if not, here it is, and if so....here it is again.

First, the haunting cover by Johnny Cash. Johnny is clearly nearing the end of the road-you can hear it in his voice-and it makes the version quite compelling.



Next, another cover version by Leona Lewis. Lewis is a British pop star, but her 2011 EP released to tide fans over between her second and third albums contained some pretty ambitious stuff, this song being an example of that.


You know the routine. Listen. Comment. Opine. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

BURN BABY BURN

When CW made his Labor Day post about a bonfire, I was looking for this album cover to append as a comment, planning to say that THIS is a bonfire.


This is the cover of one of my favorite albums, Utopia's Swing To The Right

The cover was inspired by a lot of album burning rallies that had been happening in the early 1980's, and while I knew that the picture could not have originally shown a Utopia record, I never had seen the original photo.

Until this week



Wow-Meet The Beatles is the devil's music!

I can see a Beach Boys' fan saying that, but come on, really?

All it takes is one narrow mind to rile up the masses and get people acting crazy. 

Or in the case of the current presidential campaign, two narrow minds.

I am scheduling this post for September 11 with intent. Today there will be a lot of remembrances of what was in fact a great tragedy, and they will undoubtedly be laced with a lot of jingoistic rhetoric that will not show Americans at their best.

Just as these album burning rallies, taking place over two decades, were laced with a lot of rhetoric that did not show Christians at their best.

What did Jesus say-love the sinner, hate the sin?

Not all Muslims want to bomb Americans.

And not all rock music is demonic. In fact, the stuff that is is generally so bad that it often does not sell until some narrow mind organizes a bonfire and gives it free publicity.

So when you are flag waving today, remember those who have fallen, but how about curbing the whole "death to ragheads" sentiment.

And play some rock and roll. 





Friday, September 9, 2016

MORE STUFF YOU NEVER CARED TO KNOW

Call me a follower-I saw this on another blog and found it amusing, so I stole it...

1. ARE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?  

Saint Laurence, who was martyred by being burned alive. 


At one point he said “turn me over, this side is done.” 

I was not expected to survive (a 2 pound baby in 1961 was not a common thing) and while I never loved my name, my father put so much thought into it I could never bring myself to change it.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? 


The day the music died










3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?  



I do….no one else does, starting with Miss Ridgeway in second grade









4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Chicken breast


5. DO YOU HAVE ANY KIDS?  Do cats count?

Rocky Balboa



6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS?  

Sure…I already talk to myself now, so it would be a natural transition







7. DO YOU USE SARCASM?  You frigging kidding me?


8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?  Why-you want ‘em?


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?  Nope-had a co-worker back in the early 90’s who hurt her back in the process, plus I hate heights.


10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?  



Have not eaten cereal in years other than oatmeal….so I guess oatmeal






11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?  


Sneakers no, dress shoes yes






12. DO YOU THINK YOU’RE STRONG?  



Not as strong as I used to be (used to power lift)







13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? 


Ben And Jerry’s Cherry Garcia












14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?  


Smart cat!

I guess the face...although for women I am usually checking out the back side...









15. RED OR PINK?  For a shirt, pink


16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF?  The fact that my weightlifter chest went south (belly)


17. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING RIGHT NOW?  Black shorts and sandals and I am working from home so who cares if my feet are stinky?


18. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?  



Breakfast was Siggi's black cherry yogurt, although it is getting close to lunch time as I type this...








19. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?  


Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"


20. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?  Black...paint it black!


21. FAVORITE SMELL?  pizza....pocorn is a good one, too


22. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO? Talked? A client. Texted my girlfriend after that


23. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? football...started last night!





24. HAIR COLOR THAT'S REAL?  


The Headblade ATX head razor
Shaved but it used to be brown with lots of gray on the sides and lots of open space on the top















25. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?  


Technically yes-I have implanted contact lenses




26. FAVORITE FOOD?  Believe it or not-chicken




27. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?   happy endings



28. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?  




29. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? 

That's not me...but it's the same shirt



30. SUMMER OR WINTER?  In Philly it was actually fall (always loved that first day you saw your breath in the morning), in Arizona it’s winter


31. HUGS OR KISSES?  Depends who they’re from...


32. FAVORITE SWEET FOOD?  




33. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? 



In between books right now, but have a mystery book by Lawrence Block I need to start









34. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?  



Todd Rundgren Utopia logo at work; a cat at home










35. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST?  




36. FAVORITE SOUND?  




37. ROLLING STONES or BEATLES?  





38. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE TRAVELED? 




39. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I have a BS in BS






40. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? 


apparently they do not want me back...