Monday, August 22, 2016


Everybody knows their big hits "Centerfold" and "Freeze Frame," but the J. Geils Band had amassed 9 studio albums and 2 live albums before hitting it big with their radio-friendly Freeze Frame album.

Here is a look at what came before...


Love Stinks was one of their first hit records with three singles charting, setting the stage for their commercial breakthrough. I open my list with the title track.


During the early days, the band was sometimes at their best covering old R&B numbers, which led to the Covered By Geils compilation, and these two classic tracks, 
"First I Look At The Purse" and "Where Did Our Love Go?"

One Last Kiss hit #35 on the Pop Singles charts in 1979

"I Do" is another cover, from 1977's Monkey Island. While it was not released as a single, and the album led to the band being dropped by Atlantic, a live version became a hit in 1982.

"Raise Your Hand" was from the bands second live album in 1976-the album reached number 40 on the Pop albums chart.

"Must Of Got Lost" hit number 12 on the pop singles chart in 1975.

Two more tracks from the Love Stinks album make my list, "Night Time" and "Just Can't Wait"

Sanctuary was the first album I bought by the band, so I thought I should close my list with another song from that record. Here is "I Don't Hang Around Much Anymore."

Here is a link to the Spotify playlist.

Friday, August 19, 2016


What do you get when a Massachusetts-born Berklee College of Music grad who spent a decade and a half building a blues resume takes up with a slide guitar progeny who is the offspring of (and was  a member of in his own right) a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band?

I guess that would be the Tedeschi Trucks Band, who dropped their third studio effoit early this year (with an edition on Amazon featuring a bonus CD) and deliver a sonic feast that few ensembles can do any better.

Romantic as the marriage of Susan and Derek may be, the marriage of Tedeschi's voice and Truck's guitar work is truly one made in heaven that no one should be allowed to put asunder. 

Loosely translated you two, that means you gotta stay together for the fans! 

The lead track, "Anyhow," starts life as a subdued ballad and slowly builds, showcasing both of the pair's strengths without drowning out the rest of the band.

Allman influences abound, as well as echoes of Tedeschi's prior life. Another highlight for me is "Don't Know What It Means."    

A solid effort that builds on the prior releases.


Monday, August 15, 2016


On August 1, I did not promise I would regularly participate in Battle Of The Bands, but I did not say I wouldn't either! This song came to mind as a contender, so here I am, the uninvited guest, crashing your party.

In the eighties, Australia set off to conquer the (music) world, with INXS being the weapon that pulled it off. With smash albums Listen Like Thieves, Kick and X, the band was incredibly successful, although their career skidded to a halt with frontman Michael Hutchence's death in 1997.

When listening to Bonnie Raitt's latest album for the first time, one song sounded real familiar to me, but took me a couple of minutes before the light bulb went on.

I probably do not need to bother-if you were alive in the 80's you know the original song by INXS, but here it is for reference only-don't vote on this one.

Here is Raitt's version. I like what she does with it here-not too far afield, but adds her own elements that gives it some unique flavor.

The challenger? This one's for McCarthy-I expect him to vote for it-but Richard Cheese has followed his muse making covers of other people's songs in a lounge style...and he did his own version of the INXS song that must have Hutchence spinning in his grave.

 You know the drill by now....comment....pick one...get disappointed when I forget to do the obligatory follow-up post and you have to tally up the results yourself.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Those of you reading who have the rock music history will recognize where The Legal Matters, a Michigan power pop supergroup, lifted their moniker from-leave it in the comments if you know!

Featuring Chris Richards of Chris Richards & the Subtractions, Keith Klingensmith of the Phenomenal Cats, and Andy Reed of An American Underdog, their collective self-titled debut album is a tuneful delight with great melodies, hooks, and vocal harmonies. I looked for this on CD when it was originally released in 2014 but none were to be found.

Whether a re-release or a broader release last month, I’ve been spinning my copy in a regular rotation and this is a power pop gem that can trace influences to The Raspberries, Badfinger, Big Star and Village Green Preservation Society-era Kinks, some pretty good neighborhoods to be in for fans of the genre.

There are plenty of tunes here that would be hit singles in a just world, especially the sunny opening track "Rite of Spring," and three principals work beautifully together, bringing out the best in one another's abilities as songwriters, vocalists, and instrumentalists.

The Legal Matters have instead delivered something a bit more sophisticated and ambitious that cookie cutter power-pop, and this album is truly a collaboration that delivers more than the sum of the parts, a hook-laden ear candy record that grabs you with the first few notes and never lets you go.

Monday, August 8, 2016


John Hiatt is one of those singer-songwriters that nobody knows until I play one of his songs, or one of the songs he wrote that someone else made a hit out of.

Hiatt got his start when Three Dog Night took a song he wrote (while working as a songwriter for a record label in Nashville), "Sure As I'm Sittin' Here," and made a top 40 hit out of it. That led to a recording contract and a career that includes 21 studio albums and covers of his songs by artists like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt (among others).

This Spotify Playlist represents the songs I'd play for you to introduce to to Hiatt's work. As a result, I don't care what song you'd leave out or what song you'd have included. It's my list!

Hope you enjoy it and hope it makes you interested enough to go check out more of John's music.

"Perfectly Good Guitar" is one of the few songs where John's own version is the familiar one. 

This was his last album for A&M despite being his highest charting effort. 

Go figure.

"Angel Eyes" was a hit for Jeff Healey-John did not release his own version until his greatest hits album.

"Slow Turning" is the title track to his first record to crack the top half of the Billboard 200, and was Hiatt's only top ten chart single (#8 on Mainstream Rock)

"What Love Can Do" is from a string of criminally unknown records from the last decade or so. 

Like much of the good music these days-it's out there but you have to look for it.

Next up is a song that is not on any John Hiatt record. 

"Don't Think About Her When You're Trying To Drive" is from the one-off Little Village project, 

One of my favorite songs ever, it had to be on this list-just as this album has to be in your collection!

"Feels Like Rain" is also from the Slow Turning record, and was covered by Buddy Guy on his album of the same name (Feels Like Rain, not Slow Turning was the name of Buddy Guy's record).

"When New York Had Her Heart Broke" was Hiatt's 9/11 song. 

Also from a recent album that vanished without a trace.

"Blues Can't Even Find Me" is a nice acoustic blues number from Mystic Pinball.

Yep-recent masterpiece that went undiscovered by most.

Bring The Family was Hiatt's eighth record, and his first to hit the Billboard album chart.  

The record featured the musicians who would later form Little Village. 

"Have A Little Faith In Me" has been covered quite a few times-here is Hiatt's original.

"Here To Stay" was originally released on Terms Of My Surrender, but I went with this version from the Here To Stay compilation because it features a rock edge and Joe Bonamassa guesting on guitar.

Like I said, Hiatt has been covered often. 

A partial list would include Bob Dylan, The Searchers, Delbert McClinton, Willy DeVille, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Willie Nelson, Three Dog Night, Joan Baez, Paula Abdul, Buddy Guy, the Desert Rose Band, Jimmy Buffett, Mandy Moore, Iggy Pop, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rosanne Cash, Suzy Bogguss, Jewel, Aaron Neville, Jeff Healey, Keith Urban, Joe Cocker, and Chaka Khan.

There are a few collections of Hiatt covers, such as It'll Come To You,  Love Gets Strange, and Rolling Into Memphis.

Friday, August 5, 2016


Grammy-nominated Eliza Gilkyson, a politically minded, poetically gifted singer-songwriter, has become one of the most respected musicians in roots, folk and Americana circles.

Beautiful World, her 2008 release is a radio-friendly collection of songs, celebrating the beauty that shines amidst these dark days of war and corruption. 

Sadly, the American landscape has not changed in the past eight years.

These eleven songs serve to document Gilkyson’s mettle as a singer-songwriter extraordinaire, and with arrangements less folky than her previous work, the album has more of an Americana or alt-country feel. 

The lyrics often lean towards political reflection, but a little less from one ideology than another and a little more from the writer’s emotional reaction to the state of the world. 

Monday, August 1, 2016


Stephen T. McCarthy has asked a couple of times if I would return to BOTB as a regular, and July 15th's post was meant as a joke to him.

Now I am not promising that this post means anything, but the other day I was listening to a new (for me) CD and heard a song that I thought would be perfect for a BOTB post.

Robin McKelle is a recent discovery for me, and her albums seem to vary between old-school soul/R&B (which I love) and jazz (which I've been experimenting with more over the past few years).

The jazz experimentation comes after years of McCarthy being a pain in my ass, "Jazz, jazz, jazz, fuck rock, liberals suck, star trek fans are wussies, Springsteen fans are commies, jazz, jazz, jazz"

These are real quotes-he calls me and leaves this stuff on my voice mail-I wouldn't make this up!

Or would I?

Anyway, I heard a song that sounded strangely will know it by  the Steve Miller original, which I am posting below.

This went on to become one of Miller's biggest hits, topping the charts in six countries, charting and ten, and staying on top of Billboard's chart for two weeks. 

Robin's cover was nice and jazzy, and that is my first entry.

Now the easy thing would have been to pit McKelle against Miller. That's what I usually did when I was a regular participant.

Think of the build-up:

Old dog versus young lioness

The battle of the sexes

Nah, too easy. 

I still pop over to a few of your BOTB blogs regularly, and I like the trend of finding two versions OTHER than the original-makes it a lot more of a discovery for people and is (often) less predictable. I even went back to Far Away Eyes original BOTB post (remember, she's to blame for all of this nonsense), and there was nothing there saying one version had to be an original-I'd simply inferred that.

So I'm going to follow the crowd and pick another cover of Miller's song, this one by Sugar Ray.

I think everyone knows the drill by was never much good at doing a results post but I will try to remember it. 

Remember, the Miller original is there for reference-you are voting between Robin McKelle and Sugar Ray.

Stop by and check out my new music Friday posts, and be sure to leave a note letting me know you were there.