Monday, February 28, 2011





At long last, the moment has come to unveil my list of debut albums. The SUPER 8, as it were. When putting this list together, I really tried to evaluate the debut album as a piece of work, regardless of where the artist ranked among my favorites. Frequent visitors to my blogs may be stunned to see that Todd Rundgren is absent, but the truth is, his solo debut (as well as the Nazz and Utopia debuts) were not as solid as the eight here.

So without further rambling, let's get to the music!

PLEASE NOTE: The album covers and the quoted song lyrics link to a sound byte for one of the songs on each album.

In descending order, here are my picks for the best eight debut albums!


Is there anyone between the ages of 45 and 50 who has not done a duet to “Paradise By The Dashboard Light?” Heck, in my high school and college years, that was so ingrained in the courtship ritual, it was practically foreplay.

Normally, the production, guitars and background vocals by a certain Todd Rundgren would make this my number one debut, but between 1977 and 2011, a funny thing happened.

I got old.

And these song lyrics just do not hold up that well after all this time.

“It was a hot summer night and the beach was burning
There was fog crawling over the sand”

Don’t get me wrong-Steinman is a master at making a cliché a song, and paints some powerful images. As masterful as the music is on this debut, the lyrics simply do not hold a candle to some of my other choices, even those from the same era (compare to Rickie Lee Jones, for example).


Although Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys get credit for inventing the “punk” Irish sound, people seem to forget that we owe this sound to the Pogues, and it was Black 47 who brought it to America.

Discovered by Ric Ocasek (once and soon-to-be-again of The Cars), the band is still a fixture in NYC after more than twenty years and a dozen albums (a new compilation is released next month).

“Her father said you’ve got two choices:
Castration-or a one-way ticket to New York”

This one is still their best, and I pull it out at least every St. Patrick’s Day. Black 47 and green Guiness-life cannot get much better than that!


You all know Jonathan Edwards. All I’d have to do is play the first song on side two of this album, and you would all say, “Oh that’s who this guy is.”

“Sunshine go away today, don’t feel much like dancing”

As is often the case, the song that got the radio airplay is far from the best song on the album, and this is one folk-ified bluegrassy classic album!

In a perfect world, you’d all own a copy and I wouldn’t have had to say anything. All I can do is say, if you like folk music, go get this while it’s still in print and I promise you you’re going to like it!


The sign in the window of Cherry Hill, NJ’s Compact Disc World read “If Elton John Were A Woman, He Would Have Released “Little Earthquakes.”

Not a huge Elton fan (gay I could overlook, but those friggin sunglasses!), I still thought that was a rather bold statement and bought the album on spec.

“Why do we crucify ourselves, ever day”

Emotionally and musically intense, Little Earthquakes shows that the piano is as much a rock & roll instrument as the guitar. Tori Amos's debut (if one disregards Y Kant Tori Read, a band album well worth disregarding) is at once listenable and challenging.

A child prodigy and minister’s daughter, Tori takes on topics from sex to gender to religion in an uncompromising manner. By the time the album gets around to "Me and a Gun," sung hauntingly by Amos without accompaniment from her piano, the juxtaposition of Amos' sweet voice and the emotional complexity of her lyrics is both familiar and shocking.


They were playing this album in Zia Records in Phoenix, Arizona on one of my last business trips out before accepting a transfer. I bought the CD on the spot, and most people I have played it for have purchased a copy, too.

Born Ted Horowitz, Popa Chubby is a true native son of the Big Apple. He grew up in the neighborhood immortalized in Robert DeNiro's film "A Bronx Tale."

“I was looking back to see
If she was looking back to see
If I was looking back at her”

Don't mistake the rapper looking Chubby on the cover and the word Booty in the title. This is the blues, and in my opinion it still remains the best blues rock album of the 90's. Combine tasty guitar licks, great songwriting, and witty and cutting lyrics, and you have a recipe for true blues rock delight.


It starts with a sunrise, it ends with "one star shining," and in between it is vintage Tom Waits, with waltzes, lullabies, blues, and jazz. Driving songs, drinking songs, and even a country tune (Rosie).

Songs of such quality that they’d be covered by acts such as the Eagles and Hootie And The Blowfish and turned into hits. Even Meat Loaf did a cover of Martha on a late 90’s release.

Here is a line that illustrates why I think this man is pretty much neck and neck with Dylan and Todd Snider:

"Every time I hear that melody, something breaks inside."

Everybody should own this. I have spoken.


The breezy melodies and jazz stylings of Rickie Lee Jones's debut album are usually found in the works of more mature pop artists.

Far more mature a debut than a 23-year-old would be expected to deliver, one must remind one’s self that Jones's perspective was shaped hanging out in mid-1970s Los Angeles with barroom troubadours Tom Waits and Chuck E. Weiss (the same Chuck E. that fueled her Top 10 hit), a pair of mentors that would make for some colorful storytelling, with ballads about automobiles and broken hearts, howling at the moon and the Sinatra-esque "After Hours" with a lonely Jones singing to a lamppost.

Listen to “Saturday Afternoons In 1963” and I dare ya not to get all misty-eyed thinking of that room in the house where you grew up that you felt safe in.

"So hold on to your special friend

Here, you'll need something to keep her in :
'Now you stay inside this foolish grin ... '
Though any day your secrets end
Then again
Years may go by"


As has been discussed elsewhere on this blog, this album gets my vote for the best release of the nineties.

The old cliché is that you have your whole life for your first album, and Snider certainly made use of the time. Similar to Rickie Lee Jones, these songs show a maturity far beyond the young man’s years, as well as giving a glimpse into a rare storytelling talent.

With this release, Todd Snider set a bar for songwriting excellence that has not yet been attained by his competition. If, as Stephen McCarthy and I agree, his peers are Dylan and Waits, even those two giants have not produced an album of this quality in the last two decades.

I won’t rehash my review-you can go read the post if you have your doubts, but you need to add this album to their collection if it’s not already there.

"Tell all these people at the end of the line

Somebody's coming
Tell all these people holding "I'll work for food" signs
Somebody's coming
Somebody's coming that don't need your vote
Gonna rattle your cage and rock your boat"

Thanks again to Stephen T. McCarthy of STUFFS and FFFF for the idea. Thanks also to Arlee Bird of TOSSING IT OUT and ALEX J. CAVANAUGH of his eponymous blog for promoting this exercise.

This was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. First of all, me leaving Rundgren off of a "top" anything list is kind of like breaking all ten commandments at once. Second, a whole slew of debut albums came into consideration.
These are some of the other albums that were considered. This was not as easy an exercise as I thought it was going to be. Here are just some of the other titles that were debated:

Blessid Union Of Souls “Home”
Bodeans “Bodeans”
Elvis Costello “My Aim Is True”
Christopher Cross “Christopher Cross”
Sheryl Crow “Tuesday Night Music Club”
Counting Crows “August And Everything After”
Dire Straits “Dire Straits”
The Doors “The Doors”
Steve Forbert “Alive On Arrival”
Guns ‘N’ Roses “Appetite For Destruction”
The Knack “Get The Knack”
Nils Lofgren “Nils Lofgren”
Lynyrd Skynyrd “Pronounced”
Marillion “Script For A Jester’s Tear”
The Outfield “Play Deep”
Graham Parker “Heat Treatment”
Pearl Jam “Ten”
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers “Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers”
Liz Phair “Exile In Guyville”
The Police “Outlandos d’Amour”
Bruce Springsteen “Greetings From Asbury Park”
Talking Heads “77”
Van Halen “Van Halen”
Weezer “Weezer” (blue)

Thanks to everyone who participated-I promise to visit your lists in the next day or two. Anyone who didn't participate, may I suggest you consider Arlee Bird's Blogging A To Z Challenge in April, co-hosted by many other fine blogs and sure to be a lot of fun.


1. DiscConnected

2. Alex J. Cavanaugh

3. Stephen T. McCarthy STUFFS

4. Arlee Birds Tossing It Out

5. Nicole Ducleroir


7. HalloweenOverkill

8. Kelly Polark

9. welcome to my world of poetry 

10. Love In The Truth

11. Eeleen Lee

12. Sober, Chronic, FABULOUS!

13. el-vox

14. Yellow Matter Custard

15. Dance on Fire

I'd also encourage you to look at some of my older posts to learn about some recent releases and older classic albums that you may be interested in checking out. And I'll have a new album in the spotlight tomorrow!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Review originally posted on on May 10, 2008

I can think of few mental images more disturbing than the lovely Scarlett Johanssen paired with Tom Waits.

When it was announced that Scarlett's foray into popular music would be an album of Tom Waits covers, I had to scratch my head and wonder. Why not Dylan covers? She had been cast in the video for "When The Deal Goes Down." Why not the usual actress-turned-pop-star bubblegum?

The song selection focuses on Waits' more recent catalogue, ignoring his works from the seventies (where I've always felt his strongest songwriting was demonstrated). Musically the album works, opening with a reworking of an instrumental from Waits' 2002 album Alice, and from there using the instrumentation to create the mood.

Sadly, Johansson never truly inhabits these songs, failing to "get into character." That, and the fact that the material is not Waits' strongest,  makes this album middle-of-the-road, never truly living up to its potential.

That Scarlett sure is pretty, though!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Produced by T Bone Burnett, The Union marks the culmination of a musical friendship that began in the late 1960s between Elton John and Leon Russell. With songwriting collaboration between John, Russell and Bernie Taupin and a guest musician roster including Brian Wilson, Booker T, Don Was and Neil Young.

As he mentions in the liner notes, The Union is Elton John's acknowledgement of Leon Russell's profound influence on him as a pianist and vocalist, and on this release John collaborates enthusiastically with Russell, each sharing equal disc space.

The album recaptures the decades lost between these two musicians and puts Russell back into his element-southern-fried ruminations on haunted love and loss. It's great to hear some new material from Russell, and the two of them playing off each other makes for a much better duet than I was anticipating.

Producer T-Bone Burnett accommodates the partnership well, giving the songs (many of them ballads) a feeling of pain and longing. The production brings out the best of the singers' amazing voices and well-honed studio skills. Between these men is nearly a century's worth of practice and refinement of skill, and it shows here.

Elton John and Leon Russell should have sat down to record 20 years ago, but they make up for lost time on a collaboration that lives up to the promise.

The deluxe edition contains two additional tracks: "My Kind of Hell" and "Mandalay Again," as well as a DVD on the making of the album.

Friday, February 25, 2011


In honor of the SUPER 8 DEBUT ALBUMS Blog Hop coming Monday (have you signed up yet?), here is a review of a classic debut CD that is also one of the best albums released in the nineties.

Way back in the nineties, I was driving somewhere in the greater Philadelphia area, and listening to the alternative rock station. That was back when "alternative" still kind of meant something, and when the alternative stations really played music you couldn't hear on mainstream stations. Anyway, they played a song by some guy named Todd Snider that was styled in the Dylan "Talking Blues" style but the subject was a send up of Grunge-mania.

And it was hilarious.

Hysterical enough for me to seek out that new comic's album. But he wasn't a comic. And when I got the CD (Songs For The Daily Planet) home, I fast-forwarded through a couple of times, and that song wasn't even on the disc. Boy was I pissed.

Angry enough to go back to the record store (Compact Disc World in Cherry Hill, NJ - sadly a casualty of the declining music biz) and complain. Imagine my embarrassment when they told me that it was a hidden track at the end.

A ha!

After "Joe's Blues" ends, you have to sit through a minute or so of nothing to get to that song.

But it's worth it.

A funny song, that was the foreshadowing of Snider's storytelling talent. Although I am glad artists have moved away from such antics as hidden bonus tracks, because frankly, pressing fast forward to skip two minutes of silence is a hassle and CD's are supposed to be convenient.

But I digress.

A funny thing happened.

I started listening to the other songs on the disc.

And as it turned out, "Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues" was far from the best song on the album. In fact, this was a cracker of a debut, that deserved to be listed up there with albums like "Boston" and "Rickie Lee Jones."

Maybe ranked even higher, since Snider actually took the time to think of a title, and those guys chose the lazy eponymous route. Genre-wise, it's in the alt country zone that has since become mainstreamed by Ryan Adams (but in 1994 was alternative enough to earn the "alt" moniker), but the songwriting is from a young man who is gifted.

Call him roots rock or alt-country, Todd Snider has been largely ignored by the musical mainstream, and, to borrow a line from "Alright Guy," I still don't know why. This album is simply a masterpiece, demonstrating that Snider has songwriting chops comparable to guys like Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon, Nick Lowe, and that Dylan feller.

Like the title of his latest live release implies, Snider is a natural storyteller. There are all kinds of characters on the debut album, from the concerned neighbor in the affecting `You Think You Know Somebody,' to the rejected youth in the mournful `That Was Me' and the misunderstood stoner in the third verse of 'Alright Guy.'

If you need inspiration, try 'Somebody's Coming' on for size. After all, "somebody's coming and he don't need your vote!"

Simply put, this CD is amazing. If every generation has their Dylan, Todd Snider had the title for the nineties, and set the bar for a challenger pretty high with this album.

Everyone should own this record. Splurge and buy it new so Snider gets the royalty and credit for the sale. Signing him was one of the few things the record industry has done right in the last twenty years.

And don't forget the SUPER 8 DEBUT ALBUMS Blog Hop coming Monday (have you signed up yet?)

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Back in the mid-eighties, Slash Records seemed to be on the brink of starting a whole new American breed of rockers, signing Los Lobos, The Blasters and Bodeans. The Bodeans were young and enthusiastic kids from Wisconsin, not trendy or fashionable, just making roots music and trying to get heard.

In a perfect world, the Bodeans debut would have exploded all over the radio when it was released, but unfortunately the rock and roll biz emphasized image over content and to this day "Love&Hope&Sex&Dreams" remains a lost classic of 1980' roots music. Produced by T-Bone Burnett at the top of his early production game, the Bodeans gave us an stellar debut album full of catchy melodies, great lyrics and guitars that bristle with youthful enthusiasm. With the opening notes of "She's A Runaway" and its theme of breakout, the band had an instant classic that should have slotted in comfortably next to the Springsteen or Mellencamp hits of the day.

T-Bone convinced Warner to sign the Bodeans because he thought they'd be bigger than The Beatles. Listening to this album after all these years makes you scratch your head as to why it didn't happen.

And don't forget the SUPER 8 DEBUT ALBUMS Blog Hop coming Monday (have you signed up yet?)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Stryper, the world s most celebrated multi-platinum Christian metal band, is back with an evocative take on classic rock songs. My disappointment when I found out they were releasing an album of cover songs (with "God" being the only original song) should come as no surprise to faithful followes of my blog, especially any My Space readers who have made their way here. I think that a band's influences should be implied and not heard. O said another way, WRITE SOME NEW SONGS!

Now Stryper has put out a couple of new albums in recent years, so I decided to cut them some slack and listen to the album. Especially since I'd shelled out my own sheckels for it (how do you get on the record company's list for review copies, anwyay?).

The band chose some interesting tunes to cover, including a surprise cover of a Kansas staple, "Carry On Wayward Son." Although, since they covered a Boston tune on their last album, I guess I should not be so surprised.

1. Set Me Free (Sweet)

2. Blackout (Scorpions)

3. Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath)

4. Lights Out (UFO)

5. Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas)

6. Highway Star (Deep Purple)

7. Shout It Out Loud (Kiss)

8. Over The Mountain (Ozzy Osbourne)

9. The Trooper (Iron Maiden)

10. Breaking The Law (Judas Priest)

11. On Fire (Van Halen)

12. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)

13. God (Stryper).

Michael Sweet's vocals are nothing short of extraordinary, and he really does do these songs justice. As many of you already know, Michael filled in for Brad Delp on the last Boston tour and was truly exceptional. The selection of songs here suit his vocal talents, and the band is as tight as ever. Old-timers like me will recognize all these songs, and Stryper has clearly modernized all of them while remaining true to the originals, and the album production is top-notch. I'd rather this be all original songs, but it is hard to argue with the final product. "God" (the lone original) is a great song that picks up where the last album left off.

This is a solid effort and I recommend it.

And don't forget the SUPER 8 DEBUT ALBUMS Blog Hop coming Monday (have you signed up yet?)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


One of my essential Todd solo albums, "The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren" is less experimental and more accessible than Rundgren's debut. Although the solo debut had a pretty solid single in "We Got To Get You A Woman," this follow-up may be his mellowest and most straightforward production.

Musically very solid, it's stuffed with wispy, richly harmonized piano ballads that tread so close to Carole King's Tapestry it's downright distracting ("A Long Time, A Long Way To Go"; "Hope I'm Around"; the awesomely tuneful "The Ballad (Denny And Jean)" and "Be Nice To Me"). He also dabbles in other genres, with a clever, gently waltzing cowboy sendup ("The Range War") and the haunting, jazzy open spaces of "Boat On The Charles" (where he plays both vibes and sax).

Rundgren's melodies have never been more ornate, and there are a few mid-tempo rock 'n' rollers mixed in with the ballads.
And don't forget the SUPER 8 DEBUT ALBUMS Blog Hop coming Monday (have you signed up yet?)

Monday, February 21, 2011


Taking inspiration from soul greats, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers, and folk legends, John Prine and Dave Van Ronk, Philadelphia native Amos Lee directs his music with a spirit and presence rooted in American tradition. Amos delivers a unique brand of folk-soul music that aims to unite, uplift, and inspire. If it were still the seventies, the genre would be called "singer-songwriter" and Lee would fit in nicely with early Jackson Browne.

Mission Bell, his fourth album for Blue Note Records, is Lee's richest and most fully formed album to date. Produced by Joey Burns of the acclaimed band Calexico, the record displays both range and cohesion, an array of emotions unified by Lee's intimate arrangements and distinctive vocals. With a remarkable set of guests (Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Priscilla Ahn) and the musical backing of Calexico, the album marks the arrival of Amos Lee as a mature artist who continues to explore his musical and thematic interests. Amos' soulful voice expresses the love, loss and hope that are the central themes of the songs, and Burns' production is excellent, combining elements of folk, soul, blues and rock into a rich, flavorful blend that makes for a highly recommended listen.

Packaging note-Does the record industry have to buy into the "green" mindset in such a big way? This is a double-fold gatefold package, with the CD opening into the seam, sized so small that I practically had to rip the cover to get the CD out. Why do you make a cover that's temporary to hold a CD that will last forever?

And don't forget the SUPER 8 DEBUT ALBUMS Blog Hop coming next Monday (have you signed up yet?)

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Just a reminder that the SUPER 8 DEBUT ALBUMS Blog Hop is coming your way next Monday, February 28.

To sign up, clink on the link tool up top, or click on the logo for more information.

Music fans won't want to miss this!

And while I'm in a promotional mood, let us not forget the April A to Z Challenge, the second annual blog fest created by Arlee Bird of Tossing It Out fame.

Hosted by Arlee at Tossing It Out, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jennifer Daiker at Unedited and others, the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is climbing toward 300 participants.

Considering that is three times the almost 100 bloggers who participated last year, it looks like this is on it's way to becoming a runaway success!

Their goal is 500 participants-let's help them out.

Click on the button above or the one to the right if you have not already signed up!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Review originally posted on on July 1, 2007

Dennis DeYoung chose to open his latest album with a song reminiscent of his love of the stage. Why the French lyrics? Well, it is a Canadian-only release (so far). I did wonder as the first track spun whether this was what the whole album was going to be like.

Don't get me wrong-any release from Dennis is a call for celebration in my book, especially one of all-new material for the first time in almost twenty years (not counting his Broadway tunes disc or the soundtrack to his musical rendition of "Hunchback Of Notre Dame." Twenty years. That would make him about sixty. Which means I'm starting to push fif-let's not even go there! The point being, Dennis DeYoung has always had one of my favorite voices in rock.

It is a more mature DeYoung at work here. And from where I'm standing (well, sitting actually-I'm at my computer typing), Dennis' strong suit has always been his ballads. I think it is a special feat to have been in the rock world since the late sixties and still be married to, let alone deeply in love with, the same woman. Dennis certainly wears his heart on his sleeve for Suzanne, and it's a good thing for us, his fans, as that love has been the inspiration for some pretty great songs.

This album does not fail to deliver a couple of heartfelt ballads in "Breathe Again" and "I Believe In You."

The disc does manage to rock a little as well (check out "This Time Next Year" and "Turn Off CNN"), and there is not a weak song on the album. Fan's of Dennis' distinct voice and songwriting style will not be disappointed. Styx fans should not expect another "Grand Illusion," and will want to give the disc a few spins before passing a verdict. The Canadian import is available at Dennis' site ( and at NEH Records, a great mail order site ( Dennis' site says that an American edition will be available in the fall (sans the French lyrics) but I couldn't wait. Neither should you.

Friday, February 18, 2011


As one of the most popular groups to emerge in the post-grunge alternative rock aftermath, Weezer consistently delivers their trademark hook-heavy guitar pop. For the third time in its six-album history, Weezer released a self-titled album, and to distinguish it from the other eponymous albums, it's being referred by people as "The Red Album."

I suspect this may be because the packaging is red.

Comprised of sessions produced by Rick Rubin, Jacknife Lee and the band itself, the album is adventurous and undeniable Weezer pop-rock. The Red album forges new territory with all four members taking turns singing lead. This disc is the rarest of modern music combinations: being both immediate and having the quality of growing better upon each subsequent listen.

"Pork and Beans," the first single, was a tease of what was to come, written after an intense meeting with Geffen who didn't hear a single. Rivers angrily went home to write this song that as a backlash at the record company for not respecting the freedom of the band, and it ends up as one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Die hards will want to pick up the deluxe long version with extra tracks.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


There's a soft spot in my heart for all Philadelphia-bred bands, as I am a Phildelphian by birth (and for the first third of my life), and Marah is no exception. The band has developed a reputation as a live act, and has been championed by a certain Springsteen character who has been sighted in the swamps of that state just east of Philadelphia, but sometimes their recorded output has been hit-or-miss.

"Angels Of Destruction," the bands sixth album, hits the mark. This collection of songs about rehab and redemption manages to capture on plastic the manic energy of their live shows for what may be their best album yet. The instruments whirl and collide while David Bielanko sings about loss and joy, with a sound like an early Springsteen crossed with Wilco. Well worth checking out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Nicole Ducleroir at “One Significant Moment At A Time” is hosting a blogfest based on a list of questions developed by French journalist Bernard Pivot for a series he hosted on French television in the nineties.

Now I’m not saying this is one hundred percent, but these look an awful lot like the questions that Hugh Hefner asks of the girls who grace the center of his magazine. Which I only buy for the articles.

Am I wrong? “Turn ons, turn offs.” The are right outta the Hef book! I got suspicious when number eleven asked for my measurements.

Oh I’m kidding! It’s a good idea and easy to participate, so here goes…take that, Bernie P!

1. What is your favorite word?


Quizzes give it to me….

2. What is your least favorite word?

"Last call"

I know, that's two.

Sue me.

There’s no sadder time on earth…and right now it’s last call somewhere…

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Meeting new people….and pissing them off

4. What turns you off?

People who seem obsessed with impressing me with something of theirs that I could care less about (job, car, etc), and I could care less about most things that are possessions.

I’m serious about this one-why do people care what I think?

I don’t even care what I think!

5. What is your favorite curse word?

I've spent the last twenty five years trying to curb my use of them, but for extreme effect, there's nothing like the F BOMB!!

I used to not be able to finish a sentence without it.

Now most people think I never swear.

Go figure.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

The sound of a can of Diet Coke opening…

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

Fingernails across a blackboard

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

To own a small record label

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Anything involving having to sound nice on the phone

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"You done good, son"

Or even, “You’re in

Pretty much anything but “You gotta leave” or “You may want to ditch the jacket

So there you have it.

My answers. The God's honest truth. Or the sordid and seamy truth.

Over the next few days, I'll make the rounds to see your answers.

And if I may, a shameless plug for my own forthcoming blog fest, the Super 8 Debut Albums Blog Hop.

Sign up now, and post your list on February 28!

For more info, click on the logo below!

Tomorrow, back to the music!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Drive-By Truckers and ATO Records are pleased to announce the release of their new studio album, Go-Go Boots! Go-Go Boots is their eleventh record and was produced by their longtime producer, David Barbe (Deerhunter, Bettye LaVette, Sugar).

Go-Go Boots builds on their roots with the old Muscle Shoals country-and-soul sound. "We recorded nearly 40 songs last year and into this year and fairly early on divided it into two separate albums" explains DBT co-founder Patterson Hood. "The Big To-Do, released first, was the more straightforward 'rock' album. Go-Go Boots is what I sometimes (semi-jokingly) refer to as our country, soul, and murder ballad album. Those elements definitely play into it, but it's a little more open ended than that."

Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley continue to be the chief songwriters of the group, continuing a musical partnership that has lasted over twenty-three years. Bassist, Shonna Tucker, flexes her songwriting muscles once again by contributing two original songs to the album. Brad Morgan (drums), John Neff (guitar/pedal steel) and Jay Gonzalez (keyboards) round out the current Drive-By-Truckers lineup.

Available at Amazon and at record stores nationwide-and it's available in VINYL!!



Three decades have passed since a teenager from northwest England first packed his bags for London to pursue his passion for music. With The Babys, Bad English and a solo career, John Waite has shown formidable staying power, amassing chart-topping records and sold-out concerts around the world. 2011 finds the singer/songwriter releasing a new solo album, “Rough and Tumble.”

I don't know why all my favorite artists take a long time between records. In John Waite's case, many of his releases are patchy, with can't miss hits sandwiched in between tracks that do not do much for me. For me, John's finest hour was the brilliant Temple Bar album from 1995. Now all that said, Rough And Tumble was an album I've been anticipating for almost a year, and any John Waite is good John Waite in my book. This album is true to form, with moments of utter brilliance, but comes up short of classic.

The title track is hard edged with a raw swagger that harkens back to his early days-heavier than anything John has done in a long time, and there are a couple of moments of pure magic (Shadows Of Love and If You Ever Get Lonely) that easily could have been lifted from "No Brakes." The re-recording of "Mr. Wonderful" is interesting but pointless, and the haunting "Hanging Tree" provides another touch of brilliance that sounds like it came straight off Temple Bar.

The album's highlights far outweigh the filler, and it's been a long time since JW produced a flawless piece of art, so I recommend this to anyone who loved Temple Bar.

Sadly, I have heard that JW has unreleased tracks a' plenty that any artist would sell their soul to release. Please John-can you think about a box set?

Monday, February 14, 2011


I checked the Linky Tools site and they are having problems over there, which is why the sign up for the blog hop is not working.

Please try again in a day or two-sorry for the inconvenience.



The Ghost Who Walks is the title of Karen Elson's debut CD. Hence the post title. Maybe you've gotta be as old as me to get the reference to the old comic strip charcter.

This is an album that would probably get a lot of attention for who Karen Elson is (a model) and who she is married to (Jack White of White Stripes, Raconteurs and Dead Weather fame). This popped up as a recommendation for me on Amazon, and after reading a few of the customer reviews and listening to the samples, I was intrigued enough to order a copy.

Often albums by celebrities in other fields do not live up to the expectation, yet you still see albums from people like Paris Hilton and Brooke Hogan on the racks. In this case, the album and songs stand on their own, with the ambience of Gershwin or Porter standards alt-country fried with a dash of Neko Case. Elson has woven some intriguing tales of lost love, dashed hope, and romantic betrayal, and doles them out with an inviting voice and an acoustic guitar in a dark and seductive atmosphere.

Her small band features Jackson Smith on guitar, Elson's longtime collaborator Rachelle Garniez on accordion and vocals, and husband-producer Jack White on drums. As I alluded to above, Elson actually has a voice on her, and White's production brings out diversere arrangements and styles.

Her voice is timeless, her writing is fantastic, the backing band consists of some of the finest musicians of our time...Karen Elson definitely deserves a listen!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Remember that first helping of Meat Loaf?

How about when you "Got the Knack?"

Thos are just two debut albums that come to my mind that were dropped by the record label and met with instant critical and commercial success. Others might include Pearl Jam's "Ten" or Christopher Cross' eponymous debut.

You know what I mean, and I'm sure you've got some favorites of your own.

Well, on Monday February 28, join me in listing our all time eight favorite debut albums.


I have to give credit to Stephen T. McCarthy for the idea, although he did not envision a blog hop at the time. He thought we would be the only two participants. I'm hoping that my followers, lurkers, some friends and a lot of sympathetic strangers prove him wrong. I'd hate to waste the free link tool on a blog hop that bombs.

So sign up now!

Tell your friends.

You don't necessarily need eight, just tell us all what debut albums hold a special place in your record collection (or, I guess, your iPod, or server, or however you gather your music these days).


Saturday, February 12, 2011


Review originally posted on on July 19, 2008

It has a while since Motley Crue have released any new material, and their last couple of studio albums have not been among their strongest. I had heard a lot of pre-release hype that indicated that "Saints of Los Angeles" would be a return to form. After much too long of a wait, 8 years to be exact, we finally have a new Motley Crue disc with all new material.

It sounds like the band was looking for an epic opening, but the lead track ("L.A.M.F.) was not it. In fact, it probably could have been left off of the album and not missed. The second cut, "Face Down in the Dirt," would have been better served leading off the new disc, as it is a hard rocking tune and one of the better tracks on the effort.

The remaining tracks run from filler to stand out cuts, and highlights for me were the title track and "Going Out Swinging," which closes the album.

Not their best work, but certainly a strong return to form and I recommend it for fans of the genre.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Michael Stanley should be a national treasure. Both as a solo artist and with the Michael Stanley Band, his brand of heartland rock has made him a fixture on the Cleveland music scene for almost forty years. His 1980 single, "He Can't Love You," flirted with national chart success, peaking at number 33 (and it was the 45th video ever played on MTV-betcha didn't know that!). Another single, "My Town," reached number 39 in 1983, but further national success eluded him after that, although he has continued to release albums regularly.

On his 22nd release, "Shadowland," Michael hasn't lost his touch. The band hits the ground running with the album's opening rocker that throws down the gauntlet to bands that are years younger and dares them to rock as hard! The album features thirteen new originals that range from rockers like "It's All About Tonight" and the title track, along with some poignant ballads like "Skinny Jeans." The sound is "vintage" Michael Stanley, and continues his musical journey that spans almost forty years and keeps getting better.

A new album from Michael Stanley is sort of like a reunion with an old friend. It's been too long, and good to have him back Fans of late-seventies era Springsteen, Seger and John Cougar Mellencamp should give this a listen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Popa Chubby keeps on chuggin'. If you've listened to the big blues daddy's previous recordings, then you'll know what I mean and you already have "The Fight Is On" in your collection. If you're a novice, while I still think "Booty And The Beast" is the place to start, this album makes a good introduction as well, full of no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-metal blues rock from New York City's biggest man to play the blues.

Growing up in the neighborhood immortalized in Robert DeNiro's film "A Bronx Tale," Popa Chubby has been rocking the blues since 1990. The Popa Chubby name was coined during an impromptu jam with Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic. "He was singing a song called 'Popa Chubby' and he pointed at me," says Ted Horowitz (Popa's secret identity), "Popa Chubby basically means to get excited. The core of my music is about excitement. I think music should make people feel alive."

"The Fight Is On" is an electrifying selection of hard-charging, guitar-driven anthems. If you're looking for traditional blues, this ain't it. But if you like yer blues served up raw with a side of NYC attitude, come to Popa!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I first heard about these guys from the Thrift Store Music blog , and happened upon the CD the other day while sorting through the "C's" in my collection in my recent effort at reclaiming shelf space (pulling CD and artwork out of jewel cases and putting into clear plastic sleeves). Convoy was a short lived California-based rock band, who, to my knowledge, only released the one disc, Black Licorice, in 2001.

This was another one of those bands I found in the Zia Records bargain bin (cheap CD's are the main reason I need to spend countless hours pulling CD's out of jewel cases), and it was a fortuitous find, as the CD is an amazing blend of rock, pop, country, and couple of other flavors all woven together with some killer hooks and harmonies. These guys are old fashioned rock and roll with the swagger and attitude of the Stones and melodies that could have come from a Badfinger album.

This is a must have for those who appreciate song craft and musicianship. While you might be quick to call Convoy retro in the vein of Black Crowes or Lenny Kravitz, the band has done a good job of filtering their influences into a sound that is all their own. You'll hear echoes of Beach Boys, Beatles, Stones, Gram Parsons and even more modern acts like Wilco, and by the time the needle lifts from the grooves (okay, it's a CD, but the needle thing sounds better), you'll be rejoicing for the rebirth of rock.

Sadly, radio and critics did not wake up to this band-this was their lone release. Buy it if you know what's good for you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Heaven's Edge's widely unknown debut album is an underground classic. Hailing from the Philadelphia suburbs, Heaven's Edge is basically a faster, wilder version of hard rock/hair metal bands like Warrant & Danger Danger. Their self-titled debut, released in 1990, reached number 141 of the Billboard 200 and contains what was well-written and produced hard rock of the period, although the ballad "Find Another Way" was pure pop perfection, with a great melody and a powerful chorus.

Timing is everything, however, and by 1990 Philly was already saturating the MTV airwaves with Cinderella, Britny Fox and Tangier. The band were signed when Columbia Records were eager to increase their melodic rock market share, and veteran British producer Neil Kernon (Dokken, Queensryche, Autograph) put together an album full of catchy hooks and rock anthems. By the time it came to work the album, the music world was teetering on the verge of grunge, and with a new label hierarchy in place, it never really had a chance.

Overall this is a very good album, and Rock Candy Records' reissue does it justice. Although the import price is steep ($20-$25), this was going for upwards of $75 on eBay, so get it while ya can.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Very sad news today, as the rock and blues world has lost another icon at all-too-young an age.

Gary Moore (4 April 1952 – 6 February 2011)[1] was a musician from Belfast, Northern Ireland, best recognized as a blues rock guitarist and singer.

In a career dating back to the 1960s, Moore played with artists including Phil Lynott and Brian Downey as early as his secondary school days, leading him to membership with the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy on three separate occasions.

Moore shared the stage with such blues and rock luminaries as B.B. King, Albert King, Colosseum II, Greg Lake and Skid Row (not to be confused with the glam metal band of the same name), as well as having a successful solo career.

He guested on a number of albums recorded by high profile musicians, including a cameo appearance playing the lead guitar solo on "She's My Baby" from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.

Moore died while on holiday in Estepona, Spain. The 58-year-old was found dead in a hotel room on the Costa del Sol.

Rest in peace, Gary.


The nice Hitler people over at American Blues News ( ) took exception to my reprinting their article on Todd Rundgren's album covering Robert Johnson tunes.

My post, from last spring, even though I gave them full credit in my post and a link back to their site, according to their own instructions, apparently offended them so much that ten months later they e-mailed to threaten me with an unspecified action were I not to remove the offending post by February 9, 2011.

Apparently, this blog is such a media powerhouse that they fear my competition.

Normally, I'd try to arrange a boycott of their advertisers (Guitar Center is one-we can all stop buying out strings there), giving them full credit, of course.

But this is so laughable that I feel sorry for them.

Back when I posted that, I may have had a whopping TEN followers. Now I''m tipping the scales in the low twenties.

This blog is a diversion for me (too much accounting makes Larry a dull boy), and all I was trying to do with the post was spread the word about a blues release from my favorite artist.

I would think they'd have welcomed the publicity. Let's face it-CD's aren't exactly setting sales records, and blues CD's are kind of the red-headed stepchildren in a shrinking industry.

American Blues News should be embracing someone like me, who advocates listening to music that was not conceived on American Idol, and speaks out against illegal downloading.

Maybe we should all boycott their advertisiers. All twenty of us. Let's go picket Guitar Center! Who's with me?

Sorry American Blues's too short for you to worry about the small stuff, and you guys need to get a life.

I'm also going to post this on my blog at My Space-I've got several thousand friends there, most of them in the music biz. They may be able to cause you some agita.


Part street corner prophet and part good time buddy, Todd Snider, has been championing the overlooked and underappreciated for over 15 years, finally culminating in the folkie's career-spanning concert album that features a full band, although his hilarious banter and self-deprecating stories take center stage.

A live album like you've never heard before, The Storyteller captures Snider in his true element: onstage. Part Dylan and part Bill Hicks, the outspoken Snider has long established his concerts are more than just a set list. Todd Snider is an adept storyteller, and this album showcases his witty and intelligent musings on Americana.

Drawing inspiration from all over the musical map, from outlaws like Waylon Jennings to wise guy satirists like Randy Newman, Snider does not just imitate those geniuses, but manages to walk in their company. Snider is folk music's top wiseass, a tough-'n'-tender singer-songwriter who can play to the roadhouse crowd with boozy hard-luck narratives, great lyrics, and a tight band. While I will always feel that his best work was his debut, Songs From The Daily Planet, this album delivers country-folk and scorching bar-band numbers along with stories that will have you laughing in the aisle… or rolling on the floor.

His story on his high school football career is alone worth the price of the album, and funnier than most stand-up bits.

Go buy this now. One of these days, I'll post something on his debut, but you should buy that too. Right now. Go. Why are you still sitting there?

Packaging note-it's one of those gatefold cardboard packages, cut too tight for the CD-so be carful not to damage the disc when you're taking it out of the sleeve. Please musci biz-go back to the jewel case!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Review originally posted on on 8/16/08

No Fixed Abode offer up their new album, "Clearwater." No Fixed Abode are a folk rock band fronted by Una Walsh, whose haunting voice clearly carries an Irish accent, accompanied by Tony Dean on guitar. Filling in their sound are guest musicians including Ashley Hutchins (of Fairport Convention fame) and violinist Patrick Walker.

Their sound is hard to categorize, but folk-rock is close. I could cop out and compare them to Blackmore's Night, but they lean a little more modern than Blackmore's medieval stylings. In Walsh's voice, I hear qualities that echo Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos and Kate Bush, but again with a sound all her own.

The songwriting is top-notch and the album flows quite nicely.  It's an eclectic mix of songs ranging from  pure voice/guitar arrangements to a full folk rock sound with emotional stops all along the way.

If you like acoustic folk/rock and singer-songwriter music, this CD is definitely worth a spin. You can get yours at

Saturday, February 5, 2011


iZombieLover and Ellie Garratt are hosting the Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blog-fest. On a Sunday, no less!

While I am not the movie aficionado that Alex J. Cavanaugh or the hosts are, I have been watching movies since the Nixon administration, and many of them were science fiction. Not so many horror, so while I can think of ten quotes that are memorable, they are all from science fiction films.

So without further ado, here is a countdown of my top ten most favorite lines from science fiction movies.

Number 10 

“Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape”

from Planet Of The Apes

Number 9
"This is like finding Moses' DVD collection!"

from Aliens Vs. Predator

Number 8

“Doc, are you telling me you built a time machine out of a Delorean?”

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine out of a car,
Why not do it with some style?”

from Back To The Future

Number 7

“Come quietly or there will be trouble”

from Robocop

Number 6

“Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold?
It is very cold in space.”

from Star Trek II:The Wrath Of Khan

Number 5

“This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.”

from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Number 4

“One thing’s for sure, we’re all going to be a lot thinner”

from Star Wars

Number 3

“If the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists”

from Jurassic Park

Number 2

“I’ll be back”

from Terminator

Number 1

“There can be only one”

-from Highlander

OK, I know this is supposed to be a music blog, but this is an interesting diversion, right? Plus, Queen did the soundtrack to Highlander, so there's your music tie in.

The reviews will resume tomorrow.

I'll be at the Santisi Brothers Super Bowl extravaganza today. I have no idea who to root for...or against.

Go....Go Daddy Girls!