Friday, March 30, 2012

5 "Weekend" songs

Well, we made to the weekend. However you're gonna spend it, Enjoy....
Here are 5 "Weekend" songs.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Original vs Cover: "Jealous Guy"- John Lennon or Roxy Music?

"Jealous Guy" originated as a Lennon demo in 1968; a song inspired by the Beatles trip to India:
                              " Child of Nature"

Never one to waste a good melody, John re-wrote it as "Jealous Guy" for the "Imagine" album.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

10 good Springsteen covers

Bruce is in the Philly/DC area this week. So in his honor, here are 10 good Bruce covers

Original vs. Cover: "When You Were Mine"- Prince or Mitch Ryder?

"When You Were Mine" is a cool, sparse little powerpop-esque song from Prince's "Dirty Mind" album.
 In 1983 two different artist, Mitch Ryder and Cyndi Lauper, covered it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Original vs Cover: "Just my Imagination" Temptations or Stones?

Starting a new little feature. "Original" vs. "Cover"
which is better?

"Feel Like a Stranger"- 15 "Stranger" songs

"Stranger"(noun)- an unfamiliar person, someone we don't know. You can feel like a stranger; alone or lonely among others.
"Stranger" (adjective)- more unusual than normal. out of the ordinary

A stranger can be someone we've never met. It can also be someone we used to know quite well that we feel we don't know anymore. You've changed, they've changed...
there can be a certain sadness when someone slips away from you..

Here's 15 "Stranger" songs....

New BoDeans song- Premiere: The BoDeans "All The World"

Relix - Audio - Artist Exclusives - Premiere: The BoDeans "All The World"

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Keep on Working" -10 "Work" songs

Pretty simple. You need money so you have to work.
 I've experienced unemployment a couple of times and while it's nice not to have to be anywhere, it's a struggle to not have money and survive....

Happy Monday....Here's 10 "work" songs...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Figure of Eight": 8 good 80's Paul McCartney songs

I decided to focus on some lesser known tracks from Paul's 80's output. There are some little gems in there.


"I thank the Lord for the people I have found"- 15 good Elton John songs

I would never claim to be an Elton John expert or even a huge fan. When I was a kid, I though he was a big nerd. He didn't look cool and had started to wear some horrible costumes (the Donald Duck Outfit may have been the worst)
Over the years I've developed an appreciation for some his music. He started off heavily influenced by The Band, Leon Russell and The Beach Boys. He went off in other directions as well, with mixed results, but Elton is still here and made it to 65 today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This is one to get! Paul McCartney's "Ram" to be reissued

Very happy to see Paul McCartney's "Ram" getting the deluxe reissue treatment. 
I think it is my favorite solo album of his (well it is credited to Paul & Linda McCartney).
the info from Paul's site: press release

Today's playlist: 7 songs rolling 'round my head..

Just some songs in my head and on the stereo today...

Artist Spotlight: The Posies

Out of the Seattle area, but never really a part of the Grunge movement, the Posies were more influenced by the combination of  70's power pop and early 80's alt rock.  
I've always felt they've played down their pop writing skills. Almost like they would try to skew away from being too pop. They probably could have been bigger if they would have played to their strengths as pop writers but maybe they didn't want to be the Gin Blossoms (who I think are great). 

They went on to do a nice job filling in as members of the reunited Big Star.

Friday, March 23, 2012

5 great power pop songs (vol. 1)

It has been said that Pete Townshend coined the phrase "Power Pop" to describe the Who's sound in the early days. 
If you listen to tracks like "I Can't Explain" and "So Sad About Us" I think that is accurate. You could certainly include some Beatles stuff in the genre as well.

In the 70's The Raspberries , Big Star, and Cheap Trick optimized the sound.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

10 more cool Beatles covers. (vol. 3)

I love it when I hear a song from an old band that I have never heard and like it. 
Today on Sirius I heard Journey covering the Beatles 
"It's All Too Much". 
It inspired me to post more great Beatle covers...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

5 "Normal" songs

The concept of "normal" seems to be changing all of the time. Sometimes that's good, sometimes not so good. Normal can be boring but sometimes normal is nice, calm, not annoying.

What is "normal". 
some definitions:

"conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural."

"serving to establish a standard."

"approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.

"free from any mental disorder; sane." uh-oh, we could all be in trouble here....

"Producer Spotlight" George Martin

Ok, even casual music fans probably know that George Martin was the producer for arguably  the greatest group of all-time, The Beatles.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"In the Heartland Tonight": The Michael Stanley Band: Unsung heroes of rock n Roll

"And this nine to five is just killing time 
And hour by hour trying not to lose my mind
 I know from time to time girl I lose my way 
So I just had to call you From the heartland tonight" 
-from "Rock Me Easy"-the Michael Stanley Band 1986

These lyrics kind of sum up what the Michael Stanley Band were about. Working hard, living in the "heartland", and trying to find some love as a refuge from the daily grind. 
The music wasn't really about changing "the" world, it was more about changing "your" world.

Aerosmith on 60 minutes

I laughed out loud on some of this. Mind you there was not really intended humor. Just funny how they still fight.

5 Simon & Garfunkel covers

5 Simon and Garfunkel covers


Friday, March 16, 2012

Be Lucky- 10 "Lucky" songs

ah St. Patrick's day is here. 
An excuse for folks to get wasted on green beer.            
Here's 10 "Lucky" songs fer ya.
Have a safe one...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Gimme Some Money"- 15 "Money" songs

Love or money
You can live without love. 
You may not be truly happy...
But you gotta have cash for food and shelter. 
I am having a day thinking about money... I need more


Song Spotlight: The Call "This is Your LIfe"

The Call had some mild success in the 80's with songs like "I Still Believe", "The Walls Came Down" and "Let the Day Begin". Peter Gabriel and Bono were among their fans. They weren't exactly "video friendly" as far as their looks and I think that may have hurt them some.

This track is from their final major label release "Red Moon". A lively, "wake up and smell the coffee" type song. This is your only shot, "carpe Diem" ,etc. Live life to it's fullest...

Unfortunately, lead singer Michael Been passed away a couple of years ago, but he left us some inspirational tunes.

This Is Your Life by The Call on Grooveshark

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Add it Up - 5 "math equation" songs..

"Pi" day made me think of songs having that have some type of equation theme to them....

care for some" Pie" with your" Pi" ?

Some people play "Solitaire", "Words with Friends", and other various games. Me? I do these stupid theme post...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"We were cool on craze…” The night we “Wang Chunged” -May 1984

Anytime I get together with my old friend "Whitey", we tend talk about old times and have some laughs. It’s only natural. Dave (his first name) and I had been out of touch for 9 years before we reconnected just over a year ago. It happens..A lot has changed for him . He’s a husband, a Dad and a business owner. So we don't have as much in common anymore, but I’m really glad for the way things have turned out for him.

We recently went to the Van Halen concert together so it’s natural that we would reflect on other shows we went to together. 

Song Spotlight: Don Henley w/ Axl Rose -"I Will Not Go Quietly"

"I'm strong enough to be weak" That is the lyric that is embedded in my brain.

The track itself is nothing spectacular. Henley's version of a "heavy metal" song. The music bed written by his producer and collaborator Danny Kortchmar sounds a little like something Joe Walsh might come up with. With programmed drums and synths it's actually kinda stiff. Throw in the unlikely participation of Henley's Geffen label-mate Axl Rose and you've got an anomaly in the Henley catalog. "Best of My Love" it ain't!

Rose is brought in to add power to the lyrics of defiance and determination. It is to Henley's credit that a lyric of vulnerability is stuck in there as well. It is no accident. The guy is a master lyricist who combs over every word and cadence before he releases it to us.

I love the sentiment "strong enough to be weak". It is so true. You have to be a strong person really in touch with your real self to allow yourself to be weak at times. Their are times when you need help. It can be a physical illness, an emotional problem, a struggle with a substance. It is that concept of surrender. "I can't do it alone. I need some help". It takes courage to allow yourself to ask for help, love, guidance...

Women don't seem to have as big a problem with the concept. They are raised that it is ok to weep, mourn, ask for help and love. Men? We are raised to be tough. Don't get me wrong, no one wants to see men openly weeping over trivial everyday things, but to try to uphold some kind of macho facade is physically and emotionally unhealthy. You need to allow yourself to be open and vulnerable in order to experience and grow in life, other wise you just stay stuck in a rut. Being shut-down and walking around like a zombie sucks, so be "strong enough to be weak" sometimes. You will feel better in the long run.....

I Will Not Go Quietly by Don Henley on Grooveshark

Monday, March 12, 2012

Song Spotlight- "Between a Laugh and A Tear" John Mellencamp w/ Rickie Lee Jones

I always thought this was a good album track that kinda got buried on the "Scarecrow" album

 It's somewhat of a duet with folkie/jazzy singer Rickie Lee Jones

I always thought the lyrics were really good .
The lyric that comes to mind a lot for me is
"I know there's a balance, I see it when I swing past..."

Happy Monday- 5 "Monday" songs

Monday's are tough. Especially when you lose an hour sleep! ugh. Time to get movin'..

Sunday, March 11, 2012

10 "Friendly" songs

Friends. no not the sitcom... 
The most important people in your life besides your family. Sometimes you are closer to them then some of your family members. Ya need friends in this world. 
Some friendships are based on basic things: a common workplace, a love of sports or music,etc. Some go deeper...


Sometimes it's not a word you like.  Someone you are interested in romantically may tell you they just want to be "friends". Or someone may breakup with you and say they "still want to be friends"

Friendships often need to be maintained to last. Social networking has become a great way to keep in touch with friends. 

Regardless, here are 10 "Friend" songs....

5- "Sunday" songs

Sunday is hopefully a day you get to kick back and relax. For some it is a chance to run errands or tackle tasks that have had to wait all week. Either way hope it's a good one for you..


Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Change"- 10 "Change" songs

ah "change". Such a buzz word these days.  Some change is good, some is bad...
Really people aren't that fond of change. We like the known.
 Even when we are in bad situations (jobs, relationships, etc.) we can be fearful of the unknown so we stick with what we know.  Hence the "Better the devil you know" phrase...

Other people are content with their lives and really don't want change. they're "good". Does that make them bad people for not wanting to change? I don't think so...

These days I see people expecting others and even society as a whole to "change" for them. I think that is a lot to ask! 
If you are part of a small group of people who want a larger group of people to change for you,  I think you are asking too much...sorry...

We can all try and change ourselves... 
We are the only ones we can really can control anyway, remember the world really don't owe ya nothin....
Good luck to ya...

Producer/engineer spotlight-Rhett Davies

Today I want to spotlight Producer/Engineer Rhett Davies. Probably best known for his work with Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry. Most of his productions feature a lush, esoteric sound to them. He does great recordings. The records have a sophisticated feel to them. Featured below are some examples of his work.

5 more "time" songs

So many songs, so little time...

Springing forward- 10 "time" songs

As we spring forward tonight, I started to think about "time"

 It flies, it can drag on... All depends on what you are doing. your perspective at the time. 
As you get older, 5 years go by like 1 used to. When you are young every school year feels like three years!
   Don't forget to reset the clocks tonight!

Friday, March 9, 2012

5 "Friday" songs for ya...

Yes it's Friday. Just gotta get thru the work day and that feeling off relief comes; the weekend.....

Here are 5 "Friday tunes for yer day....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

5 "Learning and Lesson" songs.. .

Learning is an ongoing thing in everyone's life, and not just academically...
 Here are 5 "Learning and Lesson" oriented songs....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 "Goodbye" songs- for Peyton Manning and the Colts

So it looks like the Peyton/Colts divorce is coming..
here are  5 "Goodbye" songs for all the parties involved.

Van Halen - Wells Fargo Center 3-5-12 Phila, Pa.

Well, as they sing in their new song “China Town”, “It’s all happening downtown” and in Philly last night it was. The Van Halen show was the place to be.  I was lucky enough to secure 8th row floor seats during the presale. 
It was a chance for us 40-somethings (and 50-somethings) to let loose and remember our youth. The sound of Van Halen is eternal summer, blasting music from a Camaro at a parking lot party....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

15 Cool Neil Young Covers

Neil is such a great writer and many diverse artists have covered his songs.

10 great Byrds Covers

The Byrds are one of the all-time great American bands.

They pioneered the sounds of folk-rock and country-rock.
 Roger McGuinn said his goal was to put a folk sound to a rock beat. 
After seeing the Beatles "Hard Day's Night" movie Jim McGuinn (he later changed his name to Roger) bought the instrument that would define the Byrds sound; the Rickenbacker 12-String electric guitar. He saw George Harrison playing one and knew he had to have one!

Here are 10 great covers of Byrds songs

Some Ronnie Montrose...R.I.P.

Would never claim to an expert on Ronnie Montrose's music. Sorry to hear he passed. ....

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bruce Springsteen on Jimmy Fallon

Gotta say Bruce and the band really kicked ass on Fallon. "Death To My Hometown"- Tom Morrello really added energy. <> Bruce turned it all into a party! "E Street Shuffle" <> From Monday night: "Wrecking Ball" Interview from Friday night

10 good Hendrix covers

 Of course many artists have covered Jimi Hendrix songs , with mixed results. 

Here are 10 good ones.

Chrissie Hynde is a huge Hendrix fan. She has covered a couple of his songs. I think this one is my favorite Hendrix cover ever. 
The original always sounded unfinished (I guess it was. it didn't come out until after his death) and I had trouble telling whether it was supposed to be in major or minor key!! I've got a decent ear, but Hendrix's version never sounded quite right or special to me. 
Chrissie and the boys took it and really made it something. Robbie McIntosh is a tour-de-force on slide guitar and Martin Chambers propels the song along on drums (before Chrissie kicked him out of the band!)

                                    The Pretenders "Room Full of Mirrors"


  Eric Clapton was a contemporary and friend of Hendrix . Here he covers one from "Electric Ladyland"

                                               "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"


Eric Johnson is a disciple of the Clapton/Beck/Hendrix school of guitar playing. He does some excellent Hendrix covers. 
This one is a little less known from "Are You Experienced"

                                                           "Love or Confusion"


  Paul Rodgers is one of the greatest singers in the history of rock. He was the lead singer of Free, Bad Company, The Firm and in recent years even worked with Queen as their lead singer. The man is a legend. Here he teams up with Slash to cover:

                                                               "I Don't Live Today"


Doyle Bramhall II has lived an interesting life. 
His dad was Stevie Ray Vaughn's best friend. 
By 18 he was in the Fabulous Thunderbirds
He formed the Arc Angels with Charlie Sexton to record a successful album before rumored drug problems derailed him. 

He got back on his feet and toured with Roger Waters and Eric Clapton.
 He was married to Prince's former muse Susannah Melvoin for a time.
 He recently produced Sheryl Crow (and is rumored to be dating her).
Here he digs in on Hendrix's wonderful song "Angel"




Emmylou Harris seems an unlikely candidate to cover Jimi Hendrix but her "Wrecking Ball" cd was produced by the great Daniel Lanois and he is a huge Hendrix fan.
                         This is a nice cover of 
                                   "May this Be Love"

Dave Mason was a singer/guitarist in the group Traffic. He was also a friend of Jimi Hendrix. Apparently he played bass on some of the takes of "All Along the Watchtower" and he played the acoustic guitar on other takes?
Ok, I know this is a Dylan song, but Hendrix basically reinvented it and made it his own.

                                                  "All Along the Watchtower"


Well you gotta have some SRV in here! Stevie was a Hendrix freak and was the most exciting blues based guitarist to hit the scene since Hendrix's death. Stevie covered a number of Jimi's tunes. 
He didn't just cover them he inhabited them!

Stevie Ray Vaughn "Voodoo Chile" (Slight Return)

Here's another from Eric Johnson

      The title track of Hendrix's 1967 debut LP

                               "Are You Experienced"


I'm going to go out the way I came in, with one from 
 Chrissie and The Pretenders

One of my favorites, maybe my favorite Jimi Hendrix song ever.

                                      "Bold as Love"


10 Steely Dan covers

Most Steely Dan songs aren't easy to play.
 Here are some interesting covers. 
I couldn't find Better Than Ezra's version of "Dirty Work" or Pat Travers version of "Black Friday", two other good ones. 

The Farrelly Brothers must be Steely Dan Fans as they had a number of artists cover Steely Dan songs for their movie "Me Myself and Irene"

Certainly not one of their jazzier songs. I've only discovered this one in the past year. One of their best

Ben Folds Five "Barrytown"


  Tommy Shaw from Styx and Jack Blades from Night Ranger put out a great cd of covers in 2007

                                                  Here's "Dirty Work"


Brian Setzer might seem unlikely to cover Steely Dan, but this one works



 Local Baltimore band ,Hectic Red, do a great job covering SD.

                                                           "Pretzel Logic"

Another one from "Me Myself and Irene" soundtrack

                                                Wilco "Any Major Dude will tell You"

I must admit ,I don't know this one, but Joe Jackson covering Steely Dan makes sense to me

                                               "King of the World"

Here's a weird one. Apparently this band covered the entire "Aja" album! Quite a different take on it...

                                                 The Darcys "Peg"


     Here's one you have to stream, 
Butch Walker & Marvelous 3 "Reelin in the Years"
                           Marvelous 3 -Reelin in the Years

         If you are in the Baltimore/DC/Annapolis area, this tribute band plays around

                                            Technicolor Motor home "My Old School"

                            another one from Technicolor Motor Home

                                           "Don't take me Alive"


The guys will be playing live in Annapolis on May 25th:

                   Rams Head Live Tickets


Happy 50th to Jon - a little respect for Bon Jovi

I know I'm a day late, Jon Bon Jovi turned 50 yesterday! man, we are getting old. So here's a bit of a backhanded tribute. lol


 Now I am no expert on Bon Jovi and cannot claim to big a big fan. There are some of his albums I could not name you one song but I was surprised how many of their songs I do like. Thinking about it, while I would never call them "innovative" or "original", I would rather see Bon Jovi in concert than, say, Pearl Jam or Green day. 

"Have a Nice Day" is the album I liked best by them. 

My friend Greg once won a contest and took a couple of us to see them in concert and meet them before the show. I kinda of wish I had saved my signed ticket to sell on Ebay!

I know "Bon Jovi" is a household name, but pre-1986 they were no more famous than their contemporaries like Dokken, Ratt, Honeymoon Suite.

Long before the days where you could record an album on your laptop, John Bongiovi had an advantage. His cousin Tony ran the noted NYC studio "The Power Station" (yup that's where that group got their name...). He got John a job there being a gofer, sweeping up etc. John was able to record demos a night. "Runaway" features great session men like Roy Bittan, Tim Pierce and Frankie La Rocka. It got local airplay and John Bongiovi became "Jon Bon Jovi" and got a deal....

                   The music was pleasant 80's AOR (album oriented rock)  in the same vein as the April Wine's, Billy Squier's, Foreigner's of the world.

I know Jon now tries to act like his influences are all Bruce and Southside Johnny types, but this is revisionism. He was all hair spray an spandex for a looong time.


         I barely remember their 2nd album coming out . I was working at a record store at the time and remember thinking the single "In and Out of Love" was lame crap that dirtbags that reeked of cigarettes made out to. 
I'd be surprised if our store even sold 10 copies but Billboard says it went Gold!

  Long before Poison was cranking out power ballads Bon Jovi was doing it...

                                                       "Silent Night"

   Here's one were the band tries to "act" They must cringe. But musically, it wasn't bad 80's AOR

                                                              "Only Lonely"

 So what changed in 1986 to shoot them to stardom? 
Well Jon Bon Jovi really liked the album "The Big Prize" by Canadian AOR band Honeymoon Suite. The album didn't do much here (if you like 80's AOR, it is very good, probably better that "Slippery"). 
It was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who had worked with Loverboy,  Prism, and Blue Oyster Cult as well. So Bon Jovi enlisted Fairbairn and engineer Bob Rock (who went on to big success with Motley Crue, Metallica, and the Cult) The record company also brought in an outside writer, a "song doctor" if you will, Desmond Child. Child helped them craft "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin on a Prayer" into the big hits... and the rest is history. 
This album probably saved their career.  

Again, Jon is a revisionist. Their image was as  often stupid and immature as bands like Motley Crue.

Original cover for the album:
The album is a fun representation of 80's hair metal/rock. 
You put on "You give love a bad name" in a bar a everyone from the sheet-metal worker, to the housewife, to the yuppie are signing along.

      maybe Jon really was kinda the Hair Metal Springsteen. This one had the good "everyman" feel to it..

                                                "Without Love"
                                                    a spandex "Glory Days"? kinda

                                                       "Wild in the Streets"


 I wasn't a fan of songs that came next like "Bad Medicine" , but I thought Jon turned a corner when he went solo for "Young Guns Soundtrack". He asked Danny Kortchmar to produce. Danny worked with James Taylor Jackson Browne and Don Henley
He was no hard rock producer. Jon also brought in  Jeff Beck, Aldo Nova, and long before he was on "American Idol" calling everyone "dawg", Randy Jackson, to play on the album



                                                 "Bang a Drum"

The band reconvened in 1993.
 Jon got the "haircut heard 'round the world"
Still a bit corny and overwrought, they were still a success

  "In These Arms"


        A funny thing happened, they got better the longer they lasted! I think the chorus to "It's my Life" is great. Might be their best song.

                                           "It's my Life"

  they even channeled  Bowie, Mott, T-Rex for
                             "Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen"


 I think "Have a Nice Day "  is their best album. I give them credit for changing their sound to adapt to the times.  You can definitely hear the influence touring with a newer band like SR-71 had on them.
They teamed up with John Shanks who was and is one of the hottest producers in music. Smart move. Shanks is great at getting good tones.


 They branched out further into "new country" territory with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

                                        "Who Says You Can't go home"



                            "Last Man Standing"

        this one really has that punky power pop sound. I think it's a good one

                                                            "Last Cigarette"

      more good power pop. I think this is my favorite by them



 more in that vein

                                           "Story of My Life"


I haven't heard too much of their stuff since then. The went more in the "new country" direction with "Lost Highway" A lot of it all sounds the same? Not bad, but nothing that brings me back...but they aren't offensive. 

The only cringe moments when they try to come off as hip or sincere." Bon Jovi" is a business man, an image , a brand.
 That is not a criticism. They are supposed to be "light" fun rock n roll. 
Missteps are when they and cover songs like "Rockin in the Free World", "I Don't like Mondays", Little Steven's "I am Patriot", and the ubiquitous "Hallelujah" (although Leonard Cohen said he really likes their version!) 
Sincerity doesn't fit ya guys. Leave it to Bruce, Jackson Browne, Neil Young and the like.

I was surprised that Bon Jovi is not in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame yet. I think their is something to be said for longevity, reinventing yourself and selling a hell of a lot of records! 
I do think bands that came before them like Bad Company, Foreigner, Journey, Styx, etc. should get a shot at getting in first...

I recently heard the Director of the Rock Roll Hall of Fame say the number one factor weighed when electing someone to the RRHOF is "influence". Bon Jovi is more of a "product of their influences" rather than being an influence. Time will tell....

Til then don't be ashamed to turn it up sing along with Bon Jovi ......