Critic Joe Viglione reviews movies, books, DVDs, CDs, and has all sorts of opinions on a variety of things. The monthly Top 40 is a sort-of directory...
commentaries and essays expand the thought process on RockJournalistJoeVig.blogspot.com ...so the reviews on the Top 40 aren't final, they are just the starting point to more discussion. You can always contact Joe directly at visual_radio [@] yahoo.com
OCTOBER 2007 Joe Vig Top 40
Here's an exquisite package of progressive rock guaranteed to please the crowd that likes to go deeper into the genre than Yes, E.L.P., Asia and the other usual suspects of the progressive mainstream. Beautifully put together with an 8 page color insert booklet as well as a centerfold photo on the reverse of the DVD cover, this project contains a plethora of extras including band members' profiles, photo gallery, desktop images, weblinks, logo and the obligatory bonus tracks which are a real treat. The fly-on-the-wall rehearsal moments from a hand-held camera are a rarity in a musical realm where perfection is sought in concert - off key practice vocals and a laid-back approach give a unique look at how the concert will be compiled.
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2)Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America (Hardcover)
by Jonathan Gould
3)The Queers Are Here
Review by Joe Viglione
The Jennifer Kaufman directed video of "Punk Rock Girls" which is placed towards the end of this fascinating DVD by New England area band, The Queers, is a defining moment. Joe King, a.k.a. Joe Queer, comes up with the best song the Beach Boys never wrote with a superb hook of "yummy yummy punk rock girls" and excellent lines like "I wish they'd let me share their bubble gum". Placed after a sonically challenged "Noodlebrain" one gets the picture that the carefree spirit and approach from and by this band is as limiting as it is empowering. The pastiche of videos from "This Place Sucks" to "Blabbermouth" keep the art contained inside the underground while the professional cartoon video to "I Can't Get Over You" has the pop elements that hit radio craves. It's total dichotomy, the sing/songy commercial potential of these great, short, classic pop tunes and their cool videos obliterated when "Fagtown" and "Wimpy Drives Through Harlem" come over the speakers - as recorded in Florence Italy - and sonics that feel like a transistor radio after the speaker got smashed.
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4)Arturo Sandoval & His Group
Review by Joe Viglione
Arturo Sandoval & His Group contains eleven songs which take the listener on an instrumental pop/jazz journey that is completely satisfying and full of musical surprises. The close to seven minutes of "Para Empezar a Vivir" is pure 1980s lounge while "Cuatro Gigantes" starts off with traditional Latin sounds before veering off into Weather Report territory. The cover of Jennings/Kerr's "Yo Nunca Volveré a Amar de Esta Manera" has Sandoval scorching the horn in parts, far more intrusive than Dionne Warwick's beautiful rendition, her Top 5 1979 hit "I'll Never Love This Way Again". At certain points he intentionally tears into the melody while the band has some fun with the rhythm, the ending disintegrating into mayhem and one wondering if some satire isn't going on.
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5)Citizens Here and Abroad "Waving, Not Drowning" CD
Review by Joe Viglione
If the Go-Go's went for a more underground edge, they'd find a song like "In the Dark" from the group Citizens Here and Abroad to be their "Stairway to Heaven." Oozing with '60s vocal harmonies and nearly cosmic guitars, it all swims in a very catchy mix of new pop. There's so much to this 11-song disc that one needs multiple sittings to grasp the intense and pretty melodies that are drifting -- and sometimes plowing -- through the elegant and very tight playing. The packaging is stunning, featuring colorful artwork on the cover and dozens of small (less than one-inch) photos inside the CD cover. It reflects the music inside with precision missing in many an album jacket. "The Neighbors Called the Police" is a highlight, spooky Ventures-style guitar that drifts off into a thicker and more exotic collection of musical flavorings and vocals.
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6)The Ventures "...play the greatest surfin' hits of all-time"
Review by Joe Viglione
Varese Sarabande has outdone itself with this marvelous package of surf instrumentals by the Ventures, containing 18 tracks that surely fit into the "space age bachelor pad" category of fun sounds with the superb playing that listeners expect from the legendary group. "Out of Limits" is short and sweet at 1:59 -- but full of vibrant '60s energy and distinctive guitar. From the "Hawaii Five-O" theme to the tension of "Lonely Surfer," this is a really superb lineup of songs, a nice companion disc to the In Search of Eddie Riff masterpiece by Roxy Music's Andy Mackay.
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Review by Joe Viglione
Progressive rock superstar Greg Lake takes stage front and center with his well-known voice and sublime guitar playing, rocking out in this exquisitely filmed documentary taped in 2005 at the U.K.'s Shepperton Film Studios. It runs 50 minutes and everything is self-contained -- the interview footage and the rehearsals for the upcoming tour in one very exciting program. No "bonus tracks," no liner notes, but a dynamite package featuring David Arch's spacy keyboards, which give Rick Wakeman a good run for his money. For more of this review click here:
8)THE HONEY FITZ LOUNGE, MALDEN by Joe Viglione
Fitz of laughter
Fri Sep 07, 2007, 03:27 PM EDT
Malden - With new food in the works, live music most nights and a refreshed list on-tap beers, the Honey Fitz Irish Pub in Malden is making changes. This weekend, they’ll introduce one of their most exciting entertainment changes yet – when comedian Johnny Joyce takes over the Sunday night performance slot in what owners hope will become a regular night of laughs.
The Honey Fitz Irish Pub is a restaurant located on 142 Pleasant St., across from Malden Access Television (MATV) station and a stone’s throw from Malden City Hall. The Pub is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Friday, noon to 2 a.m. on Saturdays, and noon to midnight on Sundays – with the kitchen running 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Monday through Saturday.
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9)GARY BROOKER OF PROCOL HARUM WITH THE NEW DRIFTERS
THE DRIFTERS / Greatest Hits Live a.k.a. The Greatest Hits
Review by Joe Viglione
If you try looking for Peter Lamarr (joined in 1990), Rohan Delano Turney (1991), Patrick Alan (joined the band in 1999) and Victor Bynoe (joined in February of 2002) in the files of the dozens of people who have credentials in a group known as The Drifters, well, they are far down on the totem pole. But something has to be said for the honesty of this DVD admitting that they are the latter-day voices carrying on in the tradition of what came before, and for interviewing these young men who probably weren't even alive when Atlantic Records had a hit in 1959 with "There Goes My Baby", the first of 16 Top 40 tunes that appeared between that date and 1964. Joining a band 43 years after its initial hit would have more validity if the singers found their own niche, the way the post-Diana Ross Supremes were truly a force on pop radio with some magnificent songs they could call their own
Gary Brooker adding his vocals to "A World Of Love", ahh, that's worth the price of admission and a reason to buy what is otherwise a group of men singing Drifters' songs and providing their commentary on the group. The four and a half minute tune is superb, their harmonies sublime and perhaps they should've played the entire concert with Gary Brooker. That would take the concert from Grade Z to something worth watching. Procol Harum fans will be more interested in this disc than fans of The Drifters as Gary Brooker truly adds a much needed touch of class.
10) Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven & Various Artists
The First Annual Camp Out At Pappy And Harriet's Pioneertown Palace
Review by Joe Viglione
For fans of Camper Van Beethoven this music from The First Annual Camp Out At Pappy And Harriet's Pioneertown Palace is sublime, superb and just tremendous. There's tons of material to explore on this set of concerts recorded on September 9 and 10, 2005 by a variety of acts. Sure the lighting is spotty and the imagery goes from fantastic to grainy, but "Eye Of Fatima (Part 1 & 2)" shows the power and the glory and for those not exposed to Camper Van Beethoven it is instantly accessible and just plain old fun! Chant along with "Take The Skinheads Bowling" and understand that punk doesn't have to be played at a hundred miles an hour or with the volume on 11...just 8 and a half and climbing. The reggae "Might Makes Right" takes the rhythms elsewhere and the fly-on-the-wall documentary feel of this collection of tapes exudes the good vibrations that were present at this novel event. It translates so well to DVD and is a good example of how easy it is to make a great live concert video if the art is there in the first place. For more read here:
Review by Joe Viglione
Tuesday May 30, 1978 at 8 P.M. Andy Williams performed with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Utilized for a two part television special An Evening With Andy Williams features the legend in concert as well as in conversation with Benny Green. It's an elegant, glitzy and sensational set of performances which opens up with outside footage and the entourage arriving, Williams enters from the back of the audience to John Georgiadis leading a London Symphony Orchestra which is both spirited and flawless. Williams' personal musicians, lead guitarist Bruce Windham, pianist Dick Shreve, drummer John Sumner and Garry Walters on bass supplement the orchestra marvelously. Read More Here:
12)NAT KING COLE'S MUSIC BEAUTIFULLY REPRODUCED!
For those of us who remember Nat King Cole's hit records blasting out over the transistor as children, we had no idea of the true majesty and power of these recordings which have reached "adulthood" with his audience, restored for CD with all the symphonic wonder of the strings behind that velvet voice mixed in with traditional instrumentation. This series compiles two lp's each on one CD and for the purposes of this review we'll start with "Ramblin' Rose" b/w "Dear Lonely Hearts" and their 25 tracks accompanied by an 8 page booklet. Perfect packages of perfect music making for a tremendous listening experience. This review initiated 2:24 pm on October 8, 2007. More to follow.
13)BENEFIT FOR KITTY CONNECTION - Malden Observer by Joe Viglione
Fundraiser benefits ‘Kitty Connection’
Wed Oct 03, 2007, 10:17 PM EDT
Malden - A fundraiser to benefit Kitty Connection will be held on Oct. 11, 2007 between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Dockside Restaurant, 229 Centre St. in Malden. The monies raised will help HubCats continue to provide adoption, spay/neuter and medical services for kittens and cats in need in the Malden area.
The Dockside will donate 10 percent of all food purchased between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m., but customers have to tell them they are there for HubCats.
Donations of cat food and litter will also be accepted that evening.
The people at Kitty Connection work hard every week helping to find homes for abandoned or homeless animals, and the families who find their pets through Kitty Connection say the group offers an important service.
“Wonderful cats are at shelters waiting for loving homes. I say this with first-hand experience as someone who used to volunteer at a shelter,” said Audrey Stanwood, in a posting on the MedfordMass Yahoogroup about Kitty Connection. “Shelter pets are SO grateful and happy for the chance to live with a family...they are ready and waiting to be a part of your life.”
One Medford household went to Kitty Connection and saw several cats that needed homes. Some of the cats have been deemed “unadoptable” by other groups because they are too shy; Kitty Connection organizers said they’re out to prove no pet is too shy to find a permanent home.
Taking home “Little Guy” on May 19, 2007, his adoptive family said it took time to get the shy little cat to understand he was in a forever home. He would stay under the bed frightened, so the fellow who adopted him would spend up to 15 minutes on the floor talking to “Little Guy.” Eventually, the kitty realized he was in friendly territory. Just a few days later he started bouncing around the house interacting with his new brother and two sisters. Four and a half months later, he has brought new excitement to the little “colony,” the four of them now family, his owner said.
Kitty Connection and Hub Cats often have “adoption days” at the Pet Smart store in Everett, which is located at 5 Mystic View Road right over the bridge from Kiss 108 and Kelly’s Roast Beef. After Hurricane Katrina, the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture created new rules that made it difficult for that Pet Smart to have daily adoptions.
The Malden Observer spoke with Paige Donnelly of Pet Smart Charities, who said “the new regulations from the Department of Agriculture impacted our stores in the following ways. One, we need to identify our adoption partners and see that they meet the new requirements. Two, we need to make sure that our facility can meet the requirements,” Donnelly said. “In the case of four stores, currently, they are in the process of retro-fitting.”
Some of the stores in the state are doing seven-day cat adoptions, during which the animals do stay overnight. Some of the restrictive requirements – such as mandatory quarantine before an adoption day - mean that Pet Smart stores must build extra walls, which Donnelly said the stores are working on.
“We’re working towards that,” she said. “Pet ddoption is what many people associate with Pet Smart and Pet Smart charities.”
For those coming to the event at the Dockside Restaurant, Marie Mazzeo of Kitty Connection will have information on when the next event at Pet Smart will be – and when she is having the next “open house” at her home in Medford to adopt out cats and kittens.
Older cats need homes as much as the shy kittens, Mazzeo said.
The Dockside Restaurant is located on Route 60. The telephone number is 781-321-3000, and their Web site is www.docksiderestaurants.com.
14)ORCHESTRA LUNA Review by Joe Viglione
THIS ALBUM WAS REVIEWED YEARS BACK FOR AMG FROM THE VINYL! MARKET SQUARE RECORDS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM HAS RE-RELEASED IT ON CD
The Orchestra Luna album began the musical legacy of Rick Berlin, the composer/singer who goes by his birth name, Richard Kinscherf, on this Epic Records debut in 1974. The seven-piece ensemble was truly groundbreaking in a world that doesn't take kindly to innovation. Where the Who were content to write rock operas, Kinscherf and his band put opera to rock. This adventurous mix of songs, written as if they were Broadway show tunes backed by a rock band with jazz and classical influences, might sound like a bit much, and 11 minutes and 53 seconds of "Doris Dreams" never had a chance of Top 40 success, or an edit that could get it there, but that idiosyncrasy is part of what makes this album so daring, and special. Co-produced by Rupert Holmes, the man who gave us "Escape (The Pina Colada Song," a monster smash in 1979, and the cannibal anthem "Timothy" in 1971, the choice might not seem appropriate on the surface. But Holmes' unheralded work for Barbara Streisand and the Broadway musical Drood actually makes him a perfect choice to oversee this project. "Miss Pamela" has wonderful Randy Roos guitars blending with Rick Kinscherf's pretty keyboards, keyboards that could have inspired Billy Joel, sounding very much like his 1978 hit "Just The Way You Are." For more of this review click here:
15)OLD COUNTRY BUFFET by Joe Viglione
Old Country Buffet keeps growing at Meadow Glen Mall
Tue Sep 04, 2007, 04:57 PM EDT
Medford - What keeps former Medford High School grad George Doherty trekking down from Wilmington to the Meadow Glen Mall three or more times a week?
“It’s the best place in the world,” says Doherty, of the Old Country Buffet on a Monday afternoon in August. “The quality of the food, the hard working managers, the gals who clean the table...I still miss Medford!”
The Old Country Buffet celebrated its ninth anniversary at the mall this past July and the business is growing.
Take Mondays, for example. While it’s supposed to be the slowest day of the week, on Aug. 13, about 246 customers were enjoying a spread of salad, macaroni, pizza, fried chicken dozens of other items available on the lunch menu between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Located at 3850 Mystic Valley Parkway, across the street from Shaw’s Supermarket and the new MassBank, the restaurant has a clean atmosphere that includes a huge wall of mirrors separating the kitchen area from the food bars creating a lively ambiance. The other side of the room faces the inside of the mall with windows giving eaters a view of other stores and mall clientele.
“We get a few people who are in the mall that come to us, (but) we bring customers into the mall,” says Kitchen Manager Paul Harriman, of the restaurant’s success. “And that’s the key — people gravitating to OCB for a good meal at a bargain price and making special trips to taste the huge variety of salads, soups, main courses and desserts.
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16)Joe Jewell Quartet
14)Tommy James My Head My Bed My Red Guitar
16)Tommy James Cellophane Symphony
17)Tommy James It's Only Love
18)Tommy James Hanky Panky GARAGE ROCK CLASSIC!
19)Yma Sumac "Miracles"
20)The Fifth Estate DING DONG THE WITCH IS BACK
22)Doppelganger on ROLLINGSTONE.COM
new ways but love stays
24)Helen Reddy CENTERSTAGE
25)Starship Love Among The Cannibals
26)SUNNY BOBBY HEBB
27)Jackie DeShannon "You Know Me"
29) Jack Bruce
30) Jack Bruce Songs For A Taylor
31)Jack Bruce Out Of The Storm
32)Jack Bruce Question Of Time
34) Disco Tex
35) Sonny & Cher Live In Las Vegas Vol. 2
36)Liv Taylor LIV
37) Jonathan Edwards Lucky Day
38) HELEN REDDY SONG REVIEW I AM WOMAN Fri, 25 Oct 2002
The Ray Burton/Helen Reddy co-write first appeared on Helen Reddy's 1971 debut lp along with that album's first hit and title track, "I Don't Know How To Love Him". Produced by Larry Marks, the original has jazz influences, pronounced horns, a cool backbeat and wonderful modulation on the second verse. Helen's voice is far more
tongue-in-cheek and listener friendly here without the backing vocalists chiming in with their "strong" - "invicible" lines on producer Tom Catalano's hit version. The horns and cascading strings make this original track one that really should have made the rounds as an alternative to the chart version. It works on many levels. 17 months later the song would come back re-worked for her third album, titled after this anthem. It would be Helen's first #1 smash clocking in at three minutes and thirty-four seconds, a minute nineteen more than the original two-minute and fifteen second version.
Capitol single #3350, "I Am Woman", was a heaping helping of unbridled feminism, an Amazonian declaration almost better suited to The Plasmatics' Wendy O. Williams in its lyrically overstated angst. Where Alice Cooper told the world the problems with being "18" the year before in this same type of song format, only Helen Reddy's everywoman's voice could pull off this boldly arrogant call-to-arms. Sexist beyond anything feminist pioneer and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy could have envisioned in the 19th century, Reddy agrees with Eddy in the invincibility of womankind.
The music is pleasant and laid back adult contemporary accompaniment and the singer, along with former husband Jeff Wald, definitely had a plan, despite the alleged lack of interest from their record label, Capitol. The song, indeed, was her break-through hit and signature tune which opened the floodgates to Helen's reign on the pop charts in the '70's. A kind of warped answer to The Yardbirds by way of Bo Diddley's 1965 Top 20 hit, "I'm A Man", as well as the clever Jimmy Miller / Spencer Davis/ Steve Winwood nugget from 1967, those different songs with the same title turned out to be affirmations. Not so here, in "I Am Woman" Helen is through figuring out if she knows how to love him or not, there is no bartering with lines like "until I make my brother(s) understand." It's all out war, and the final fade of "I am woman, I am invicible, I am strong" is so annoying on the hit that one only wishes the original Larry Marks' gem had beat it to the punch. The song was included in the 1972 Jacqueline Bisset women's lib film "Stand Up And Be Counted".
39)Herman's Hermits On Tour: Their Second Album
40)MICKEY THOMAS "As Long As you Love Me"
The man who replaced Marty Balin in the Jefferson Starship while Balin was practicing the song "Jane" (which became the first hit for Mickey Thomas when he joined that group) sings a Grace Slick staple, Somebody to Love, backed by Booker T. & the MG's with Toto's Jeff Porcaro on drums. With 20 or so musicians involved, Thomas pulls out all the musical stops on this disc, performing songs by Van Morrison, Barry Mann Cynthia Weil, George Clinton and more.