Monday, April 30, 2012

5 songs in my brain or on the radio today...

another mix in my brain....

5 tunes covered by Willie Nelson- Happy birthday Willie!

Hard to believe Willie Nelson is almost 80. I guess smoking all that weed is not that harmful!

Willie has one of most unique voices in music. His nylon-string guitar tone is also instantly recognizable. I would never claim to be well versed in his catalog , but like Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, and BB King, he is an American treasure.

He still does more road dates than musicians half his age. He plays a sold out show at the 9:30 Club this coming month.

my new camera....Sony Cybershot HX9V

I've been kind of a photography hobbyist since I was a teen. In High School I took Photography and enjoyed it. I wasn't particularly gifted with it and was probably a "C" student. Same for community college where I took Photo 1 & 2 (!). Oh sure, I still remember the "Rule of thirds" for composing and framing a picture, but I'm not sure if I ever saw much improvement.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

In praise of Michael Nesmith (and the Monkees too)

I became a Monkees fan in 1976-77 watching the reruns on local UHF TV. My favorite Monkee usually went back and forth between Peter and Micky. Mike (of course with his wool hat on in the 1st season) kind of stood back a bit a took in the proceedings; sometimes dishing out some words of wisdom near the end of an episode. He always seemed the smartest and wisest one; the calming influence. Of course, this was a TV show ABOUT a band as the men who played "The Monkees" always say. But of course, it became more. The guys battled that age old dilemma of "commerce" vs. "Art" and took over the reigns of their own musical destiny, getting Don Kirshner fired off the project.

Of course, the recent passing of Davy Jones has put the Monkees back in the spotlight again a bit. I've always felt I've had to defend my love of the Monkees music. You might as well tell people you love "The Archies" or "Justin Bieber" but these same people who scoff have probably never listened to anything beyond the big hits by the band....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Label Spotlight-Rock Candy Records

 On occasion, I want to shine a light on some great record labels. 
 Today we take a look at the Rock Candy Records label.

I'm assuming they've named their label after the classic Montrose song. They are a UK based label specializing in reissuing classic and obscure 70's & 80's AOR

5 Rock Instrumentals

Instrumentals are a mixed bag. Some aren't too bad, but most of the time aren't you really wanting a nice vocal melody over top of it?

I do enjoy some work by Joe Satriani; and I am a huge Eric Johnson fan, but a lot of his work includes his very good vocals. Jeff Beck is a master who has also often used vocalist...

Rush's "YYZ" might be the king of all rock instrumentals.

Here are 5 that came to mind today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

80's fan? upcoming classic rock shows in the Maryland area.

Cheap Trick and Styx at the Delaware State Fair July 22nd. Tickets on sale tomorrow

Survivor and Eddie Money play in Ocean City , Md. for Springfest on May 5th 

At the Dundalk, Md. Heritage Fair 

Dennis DeYoung  (formerly of Styx) 
 plays on June 29th

and Joan Jett appears on  the 30th

Today's "mix tape"- random playlist- 5 tunes

5 tunes that came to mind today...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

15 great tunes from Robbie Robertson's solo career

While I knew and liked a bit of the Band's work, I became a fan of Robbie Robertson when he released his first solo album in 1987. 
He had done a bit of quality soundtrack work, even a bit of acting since leaving the Band. I was excited to hear that the album would be produced by Daniel Lanois and feature appearances by the BoDeans, U2, Peter Gabriel and Maria McKee; all favorites of mine at the time.

Some of the guys in the Band may have been upset with Robbie for breaking up the band but he did what he said he was going to do;that is, get off the road and work sparingly. He could have cashed in and assembled a band to play all the old hits, but he didn't. He challenged himself and moved forward.

 His first solo album is a must own and it's follow up, "Storyville" is also great.  
I confess he started to lose me a bit with his next couple more experimental works but his return in 2011 with the excellent "How to become Clairvoyant" was a welcome addition to his legacy; another "must own".

Of course, sadly, the music world just lost the talented Levon Helm this week. It was a reminder that we have to appreciate artists while they are still with us. 
Buy their music, go to their shows; it doesn't last forever. Robbie Robertson is still among us and he deserves to be celebrated.

Here are 15 songs from his solo career .

5 songs for Earth Day

 I can never understand how the environment can be a partisan issue. I am conservative on some issues and pro-business, but some of the abuses we reign on the planet are too much.We all have to live here. There's no where else to go!

5 Songs for Earth Day

Saturday, April 21, 2012

R.I.P. Levon Helm- 5 tunes from the Band

I would never say I am a Band "expert". I remember borrowing "The Last Waltz" from the library and liking a lot of the guests but thinking the Band tracks were just ok. To a 12-13 boy this wasn't rock like the Stones of the Who. Their music sounded a bit "rural" to me. I guess today we would call it "Americana". Levon and Rick Danko sang most of the songs even though Robbie Robertson wrote them (later a point of contention between Levon and Robbie). A lot of the songs were stories, "period pieces" even! 
Levon was the only member actually from the US, the other guys were from Canada. Odd that a Canadian would write music songs so distinctly "American".

Levon with Steven Seagal in "The Fire Below", actually not a bad movie.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Have ya done yer taxes?- 5 "tax"songs for April 15th

As Chris Rock once said
"One thing Clinton did l didn't like,
raise taxes. Taxes all high and sh#t.
You know what's f@c*ed-up about taxes?
You don't even pay taxes. They take tax.
You get your check, money gone! That ain't a payment, that's a jack!


   Of course Chris sings a different tune these days, 
but we can talk about hypocrisy another day.. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rx for the Blues?- for me, a visit to the record store..

Was feeling depressed yesterday, as I am prone to depression (hooray!). Decided to go downtown to Soundgarden, one of the only record/cd stores left in town. Hadn't been there in at least ten years (?). It's hard to park in Fells Point especially on a Saturday evening. Thankfully Soundgarden has their own small parking lot.

It was just what I needed. To get lost in flipping through the cd racks. They had some cool shirts (had my eye on a Neil Young Harvest shirt) I want to get when they come back in stock. A good DVD selection. I didn't see much that I can't order online, but I still enjoy the experience. 
I picked up two used cd's for $5 each , James Gang "Yer Album" and Simple Minds "New Gold Dream" (from before they got real big) in a mini-album sleeve. Also got a nice Soundgarden T-shirt for $6.99 on clearance.
my finds from Soundgarden 4/7/12
Check em out sometime:

Rolling Stone named them the #2 record store in the country?

5 Easter oriented songs

Hope everyone has a nice Easter (no matter what your beliefs are)!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sam Llanas (formerly of the BoDeans)

Sam left the BoDeans quite suddenly last year under some mysterious circumstances. Not much as been said by either side. He was in the band for 30 years! 
     I didn't realize he had already released a solo album. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"It's Hard Life"-10 songs about how "hard" it is...

a rough day can really set you back and make you feel depressed.... I had a rough one today...didn't feel good...boss was snippy at me...etc..

Here's ten songs about how hard it can be....

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Is that the Beatles?"- 5 songs that sound like the Beatles

Every since the Beatles broke up, everyone had also hoped they would reunite. Once in a while, especially the first few years after they broke up, an album would come out that people would say was the Beatles under an alias etc or Paul McCartney.

Here are 5 songs that are heavily influenced by the Beatles/Paul McCartney

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Producer Spotlight: Chris Thomas

Producers and engineers are some of the unsung heroes in music. They craft good songs into sonically pleasing pieces that we know and love.

Look in your collection. I bet you own at least one record produced by Chris Thomas. He's certainly produced some of my all-time favorite albums. The funny thing about Chris Thomas is that I could not say he has a "signature" sound.  He gets good, solid, no-frills sounds. He did help mix "Dark Side of the Moon" which is one of the greatest albums of all time.

His production work with the Sex Pistols is raw and basic. Some of that carries over to his work with the Pretenders. In the 80's he helped Pete Townshend launch his solo career and INXS to reach their greatest heights.

"What A Fool Believes"-15 "Fool" songs

Be on your guard today is April Fools Day.
 I personally think it is stupid and kinda mean sometimes.