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
Welcome to Joe Viglione's look at pop culture! The Joe Vig Top 40! (Actually the Top 75!)
Tons of reviews from AllMusic.com to The Malden Observer, North Shore Sunday, The Medford Transcript, AllMovie.com, MP3.com and more! Joe Vig talks about pop culture on his TV show, Visual radio. Here's the monthly list of what Joe is writing and talking about!
Extended to Top 75 for January 2008 / December 2007!
1)Wax Poetics Anthology Vol. 1Andre Torres
, Editor-in-Chief of Wax Poetics Magazine, was interviewed on Visual Radio at WCAT via phone 1/17/08.
The Wax Poetics Anthology Vol. 1 is a collection of interviews from WAX POETICS MAGAZINE and it is a very classy and thick collection of interviews and album cover art. There's an additional book which focuses only on the cover art. Both are essential additions to any record collector's bookshelf!http://waxpoeticsbooks.com/
- Hardcover: 238 pages
- Publisher: Wax Poetics Books (November 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0979811007
- ISBN-13: 978-0979811005
2)Dionne Warwick Do Right Woman on YOU TUBE!
Someone has posted my review of Dionne's classy "Soulful" album up on YouTube with three songs from the album. What a great place to re-explore a Warwick classic.
Writes Joe Viglione in the All Music Guide: "Soulful is a major work in Dionne Warwick's deep catalog, and one worthy of study and appreciation. Starting off with her gutsy rendition of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," the album shifts from songs containing the sweet and ever present voice found on '60s radio to one of a masterful artist in control, renditions of "Do Right Woman" and the tender approach to "I've Been Loving You Too Long" allowing these copyrights to be heard in a different and intriguing light. The album was recorded at American Sound Studios in Memphis, TN, with the great Chips Moman engineering and co-producing with Warwick. In her liner notes on the back cover the singer writes, "I hope you will enjoy experiencing with me the joy and excitement I felt in recording Rhythm and Blues -- my way." To quote blues singer Genya Ravan, "and she means it!" for more of the review click here:
3)SPIRIT IN THE SKY.COM
The website of Norman Greenbaum, author of "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago", "Canned Ham" and "Spirit in The Sky"! Norman was interviewed on Visual Radio 1/17/08 for the Malden Observer. check out his fantastic site http://www.spiritinthesky.com
4)SIDE ONEJohn Batdorf
In the liner notes to his 5 song Side One CD extended play John Batdorf explains that this is the "solo" debut he's been attempting since 1969. Of course in 1981 he was signed to 20th Century Records and released a 45 RPM cover of The Ronettes' "Be My Baby", but the label that also featured Genya Ravan and Harriet Schock folded before a full album from this artist could be released. Twenty-four years later this compact and elegant package features the singer's distinctive voice interpreting music he composed with Michael McLean, an artist who has close to two dozen releases on his own and who is a frequent collaborator with Batdorf. The opening track, "I Found You", is delightful sunshine pop with an uplifting vocal over a descending guitar line and sparkling radio friendly production. "All For You (Song from an unknown soldier)" is back to the coffee house folk circuit with introspective thoughts making for a nice musical bridge between the opening and "Only Seventeen", a progressive rock/ballad that Janis Ian could make controversial - and would be an interesting follow-up to her 1975 hit "At Seventeen" if performed from her perspective. It's about a father having a crush on his son's beer drinking teenage girlfriend.
5)Janis Ian FOLK IS THE NEW BLACK
6)Salvatore Baglio "Memory Theater"
7)PLUG YOUR BOOK by Steve Weber
The musicians who picked up David Nevue's excellent "How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet" (see http://www.rainmusic.com/
know that Nevue was putting the ideas out there before most. Now Steve Weber has a similar book for authors. Review forthcoming
8)Jay Atkinson City In Amber
9)Neil Young Under Review 1976-2006
Review by Joe Viglione
This release from Sexy Intellectual, part of the Chrome Dreams group of companies, is more in-depth than some outside biographies of recording artists, perhaps because Chrome Dreams is the name of the "lost"/unreleased/bootlegged Neil Young album and no doubt where these devotees got their corporate handle. It is a follow-up to the companion DVD Under Review 1966-1975 and covers the 30 years of Young's career that fall between 1976-2006 -- triple the span of time explored by the first disc. Mandy O'Neale narrates this "journey through the past" over 14 chapters alongside eight name journalists including Robert Christgau and Nigel Williamson -- who are both in conflict over the artist's Trans album: Williamson calling it "appalling," Christgau praising the disc by saying "he made only one good album during the '80s years and that was Trans." Clinton Heylin, Bill Friskics-Warren, and others help conduct this investigation and do a good job of holding the viewer's interest over the hour and 20 minutes of chatter. Neil Young's repertoire, like that of David Bowie, is so complex it begs for a bit of cataloguing, and that's what these reviewers do a good job of, this "Under Review" a solid attempt at putting Young's vast catalog into perspective. It might even be a more difficult task with Young because, unlike Bowie, he drifts in and out of the mainstream spotlight. For more click here:
10)Dave Davies TRANSFORMATION
Lou Reed issued Transformer, an album meant to psychologically (if not sexually) transform the listener, over three decades before Kinks guitarist Dave Davies documents just a portion of his live performances with a superb and highly recommended 73 minutes of music entitled Transformation. For the fans who have seen the other half of the Kinks live, consistency is as much a part of the equation as entertainment for this artist. The guy not only brings some of the Kinks catalog with him, he takes along much of the fun as well. Keith Smith's extensive liner notes are great reading while one explores "Father Christmas," "Till the End of the Day," and other titles, catching a vibe from the intense and passionate playing: Jonathan Lea's rhythm guitar keeping pace with Jim Laspesa's drums and the lead singer/guitarist's various notions. Some of the material is from 2002's Bug album, most notably the beautiful and moving "Rock You, Rock Me," "Flowers in the Rain," and two variations on "Transformation" — which is "Life After Life" from the Bug album, and sounds like Dave was listening to Cher's disco hit "Believe" repeatedly when he composed it. This album captures the magic of what's been a treat for the cult that has experienced Dave Davies in concert, truly someone deserving of more attention, as evidenced here.
11)FEELINGS Morris Albert
12)Alastair Moock Heading for the Road By Joe Viglione
Fri Jan 11, 2008, 04:56 PM EST
Malden - One look at the “friends” list on Myspace.com/alastairmoock gives deep insight into the tastes and influences of regional artist Alastair Moock. It’s also a good indication of the music to be found in his impressive library of original work.
Read more here:
13)Ride Captain Ride Song Review
Song Review by Joe Viglione
"Ride Captain Ride, a top 5 hit from May of 1970, is one of those magic moments in pop music - a "perfect storm" of writing, production and performance which form a feeling and sound that is as hard to duplicate as it would be to recreate Michelangelo's Pieta. It's a moment that probably influenced The Looking Glass when their "Brandy" brightened up the beaches two years later. And by making over a masterpiece I'm not talking about David Clayton-Thomas destroying the exquisite melody with his trademark bull-in-a-china shop force as found on Live And Improvised, a 1975 concert recording from Blood Sweat & Tears, or Roger Clinton's lame pseudo-reggae version from 1994's Nothing Comes Easy disc (President Bill's brother does outdo Clayton-Thomas, but that's not saying much). The desecration being discussed here also won't be found in Jeff Arundel's respectful 1993 version on his Compass album. No, it's the remnants of Blues Image who couldn't recapture their claim to fame as when Mike Pinera had Gail MacGregor write some additional lyrics for "Ride Captain Ride Revisited" on his In The Garden Of Eden CD from 1996. The original composition from keyboardist Frank "Skip" Konte and guitarist Pinera generated a beautiful summer tune which broke out in the springtime and helped usher in the 1970s. Producer Richard Podolor and his engineer Bill Cooper, the men who put the gloss on Three Dog Night hits of the day like "Celebrate" and "Mama Told Me Not To Come", knew how to take this gem and polish each phase of it, and the result is a masterpiece of 70's blues/rock. Read more here:
14)BOB MOULD Review by Joe Viglione
Released exactly two years after being recorded on October 7, 2004, at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., this is a lengthy and terrific concert from Hüsker Dü founder Bob Mould and some highly innovative and respectful friends. The four-piece unit tears into "A Good Idea" from 1992's Copper Blue album, when the music was marketed under the name Sugar, and they do a great job with it. Richard Morel's keyboards lift riffs from Cars bandmember Greg Hawkes' inventory of ideas, while Verbow's Jason Narducy on bass may as well have been with his mentor from the very beginning, his backing vocals and rhythms a perfect complement to the methodical and raggedly dreamy "Hardly Getting Over It." The legendary lead singer then dives into a solid wave of Buzzcocks-styled slashing guitar and unintelligible vocals, making for some great rock & roll on "Could You Be the One," recorded with lots of close-ups and taped with a dark hue. Read more here:
15)LEO KOTTKE Review by Joe Viglione
This is a superb DVD chock-full of the personality of Leo Kottke, with first-rate direction by Mary Perillo, who produced and directed the original version of Home & Away, 60 minutes of performance tape from a 1988 Toronto concert that was edited by Paul Provenzano and released in 1989 on VHS by Atlantic. This new edition was restored and re-edited by Mary Perillo, thus the new title Home & Away Revisited. The additional 30 minutes bring Kottke's many stories to light -- in fact, the end of the film has him telling a story of a crush from his early years as he suits up and goes scuba diving! Not to be lost in the jam-packed media is the superb instrumental work of this guitar virtuoso who can scrape a guitar with his right hand as eloquently as the fingers on his left work the fretboard. There is some singing, but this artist communicates best when he's playing the instrument or charming the audience with his anecdotal tales. Kottke does a wonderful version of Cymarron's 1971 hit, the Alex Harvey/Eddie Reeves title "Rings," which is like a dividing line between so much instrumental performance. The video work itself is well done and holds up over the 20-year span, crystal-clear imagery with excellent camera shots, close-ups, fades, and plenty of focus on the guitarist's hands. The full-length version also has shorts inserted, Kottke going in to songwriter Eddie Reeves' office with Reeves explaining that it was a wedding song for a friend that Harvey and Reeves sang at the friend's wedding reception. For more click here:
16)SOLOMON BURKE The King Live at AVO Session Basel Review by Joe Viglione
Solomon Burke gives a dynamite performance on this DVD filmed in Basel, Switzerland, as part of the AVO Session Basel series. It is magnificently filmed with Burke on a throne surrounded by red roses and that voice in such great shape. "Georgia on My Mind" is a tight reading with the full band -- horns, harp, Hammond B-3 -- cooking and allowing "the king of rock 'n' soul" to put the music in a most classy setting. Solomon only gets up from his chair at the end when a stage full of musicians and fans join him for "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and as he walks off the stage throughout the beautiful mayhem. The 74-minute concert is everything a fan could want, and those watching the DVD will have to be content with that as the bonus tracks are all about the concert series, so don't expect an interview with the star or any other Solomon Burke-related goodies. The 18 selections begin with the band warming up on "Back at the Chicken Shack" and "The Greeting Song," both tunes sizzling while Burke, resplendent in red robe, takes the stage to work his magic. It is all accurately retained by high-quality lighting and cameras that capture the variety of musicians and their movements. For more click here:
17)PAM TILLIS LIVE AT THE RENAISSANCE CENTER
There's an entire series of DVDs titled Live at the Renaissance Center, one with Ray Price actually taped at Doc Severinsen's music showplace venue and not the place slapped on the packaging, making suspect any project in the catalog. Have no fear, however, as this Pam Tillis DVD is the real deal and has so much to offer that it is totally worth the price of admission. Unlike her dad's Mel Tillis Live disc, which is simply The Nashville Network's Church Street Station program issued with little information, this project was conceived by Tillis and her associates and is a fan's dream come true. In the 15-and-a-half-minute interview she explains this is a "greatest-hits career retrospective live." Tillis notes that they don't record the shows on her 130 dates per year, so this is something they made for the fan base. There's a four-and-a-half-minute "backstage pass" where the tech guys talk and Pam gives a tour of the bus, 20 pages of chronological "career highlights" starting with 1991, a delightful three-minute "slide show," a seven-page biography, "home movies" that run like a video to a mix of "Demolition Angel," and this is all luscious stuff before you even get to the terrific concert.
Rockin’ with Lauren Bateman
By Joe Viglioneemail@example.com
Fri Jan 04, 2008, 01:19 PM EST
Malden - Malden resident Lauren Bateman is a 24-year-old singer and songwriter who grew up in Medford with her mom and her sister. These days, she’s busy running from boxing training to open mic nights at local clubs.
Readers can tune in to the songs she has available on http://myspace.com/laurenbatemanmusic.
20)Al Di Meola Speak A Volcanohttp://wm03.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:d9fwxzqhldae
21)MC5 Kick Out the Jams [Video]http://wm03.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3xfqxqqsldhe
22)Where Is The Chesterfield King?
Review by Joe Viglione
Having a movie soundtrack to go along with the music of beloved bands is a superb concept and with a group as accessible and fun as The Chesterfield Kings such a film should be easy to make. Just string a bunch of performances together like an episode of The Monkees and add any type of silly story line to connect that music together. Alas, what our heroes do with this video adventure is exactly the opposite, they put great music next to a script which rivals Plan 9 From Outer Space, and add some strained Three Stooges madness that falls flat. Watching it is ...painful...even when Mark Lindsay makes a guest appearance. The grainy texture to the DVD is actually quite appealing, and all the elements for an underground smash are in this bow, it is just that the arrow misses the mark. The original 2001 Motion Picture release comes with extras that are so cool you will find yourself watching them instead of the flick. Those extras include a manic and psychedelic low-fi couple of 1997 performances from The El Sol Club in Madrid, Spain, "Rock n' Roll Murder" from the Bilbo Club in Spain that same year with the boys sounding like The Gizmos on bad acid, while the 1999 "Freak Out" from Rochester New York is definitely your Saturday night fly-on-the-wall camera having convulsions.
Read more click here:
23)Gail Davies Greatest Hits with Special Guest Stars Denise Price, Downs & Price, Barbara Fairchild
Review by Joe Viglione
Like the Mel Tillis DVD from Quantum Leap recorded live at Church Street Station in Orlando, FL, this wonderful set by respected songwriter/singer Gail Davies is interrupted 15 minutes through by the same annoying narrator from the Mel Tillis DVD introducing Cliff Downs and Jimmy Price doing their easy listening "Last Time I'm Leaving." Hey, it's nice music, but why distort and do a pastiche edit of these fine performances when everything's going along just fine? Quantum Leap really needs to study MVD's Tim Buckley release, My Fleeting House, to get an understanding of what the buying public wants. In an information age it just isn't enough to find a great tape and slap it together with multiple artists -- Barbara Fairchild, Downs & Price, and Denise Price -- and label it as Gail Davies' Greatest Hits. Read more here:http://wm03.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:jnfrxzwgldae
24)Let's Hear It for the Girls!: Classic Tracks from the Queens of Swing
25)Origin Of The Species Led Zeppelinhttp://wm03.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:jzfqxq9rldae
26)David Peel & The Lower East Side, featuring Boston O'Donohue
27)Glen Campbell The Best Of Glen Campbell Music Showhttp://wm03.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kxfexq8rldde
13)Lee Greenwood Live
28)The Age of Shiva Manil Suri
29)Ohio Express Best of Ohio Express 40 Years
30)Tommy James It's Only Love on Billboard.com
Tommy James & the Shondells' second album, It's Only Love, put forth a bubblegum image that haunted the artist through most of the '60s and '70s. The title track sounds like David Cassidy's Partridge Family and is actually the first of many hits Ritchie Cordell would write for the group, though it isn't as classic as his "Mony Mony" or "I Think We're Alone Now" would become. "Juanita (Nothin's Gonna Stop Our Love)" is or could be the McCoys backing up Tony Orlando and Dawn -- this Henry Glover production feels a bit more contrived and is an abrupt change from the sound and the collegiate look of the debut disc, Hanky Panky. On that long-player, the Shondells resembled the Kingsmen on campus, and as a public relations move that earlier style worked much better. Still, this is a great learning period for an important and innovative artist and should be viewed as such, despite its musical limitations. "Big Time Operator" is typical low-budget '60s teenybop, while the cover of Lee Dorsey's "Ya Ya" is authentic enough to indicate a sense of direction taking shape. Side two fares much better; "We'll Have a World" and "Don't Let My Love Pass You By" may have influenced popular songs of the day, the latter displaying a touch of the American Breed's 1968 hit "Bend Me Shape Me" and a whole lot of 1967's "Come on Down to My Boat Baby" by Every Mother's Son, to the point where it is too close to call. Read more here:
Was on ROLLING STONE:
31)KCRW SOUNDS ECLECTIC
32)THE COMPLAINTS "FEAR"
Taking a cue from John Cale's "Fear is A Man's Best Friend",
33)Linda Draper One Two Three Four
Linda Draper One, Two Three Four
On her fourth release since 2001 - thus the title - One, Two, Three, Four - Linda Draper takes a less is more formula on these dozen tunes and lets her pretty voice and minimal folk strums tell each tale. Though probably not influenced by early Marianne Faithful and Nico she has that little girl voice which speaks with authority over dangling arrangements that are pleasant and insightful. The wordy essays are printed in the six page booklet that accompanies the music, a photo inside recalling Jennifer Warnes circa her days with John Cale as producer. And Cale himself could have put this solid outing together, the six minute and eighteen second "Lifeboat" would do The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver proud, and would also be a nice track for a Gavin Sutherland solo disc. The piano taking a dominant place over the guitar among the eerie sounds makes for a dynamic and plodding mini-masterpiece...someone mail this to John Cale for his observations... Most of the material hovers around the three minute mark, "Jezebel" displaying a 1920's vocal-style that sounds like Norman "Hurricane" Smith took over the console and found a vintage microphone just for fun.
Read more here:
34)Dave Robinson's SWEENEY ON THE FRINGE
35)Tommy James Hanky Panky GARAGE ROCK CLASSIC! Review by Joe Viglione
The debut album by Tommy James & the Shondells features a garage rock classic, "Hanky Panky," the suggestive Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich title which launched the career of the charismatic and talented lead singer. Produced by Bob Mack, the "Pittsburgh teenage nightclub operator" as the liner notes refer to him, this initial project is a vintage collection of recordings and is more effective than the follow-up, It's Only Love. Fact is, everything about this first effort displays a more authentic approach than what producer Henry Glover took when he made the band's sound more bubblegummy the second time around. "Don't Throw Our Love Away" is the Shondells writing and performing a decent tune, while "Say What I Am," the Bob Mack/Tommy James original, is right on the money and actually charted higher than Ritchie Cordell's "It's Only Love," which became their third hit and title track to their follow-up LP. An instrumental version of "Cleo's Mood" is unnecessary while the Shondells beat out James & Bobby Purify by covering "Shake a Tail Feather" before that duo got it to the Top 25. Many of the songs have that McCoys guitar riff tension from their hits "Hang on Sloopy" and "Fever." It's certainly there on "Say I Am" as well as "Cleo's Mood" and the rave-up "Lots of Pretty Girls" written by Paul Luka, the man behind Peppermint Rainbow and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."
read more here:
Check out the official site: http://www.tommyjames.com/albums.php?album=hankypanky
36)Yma Sumac "Miracles" by Joe Viglione
The album cover of Miracles is a striking gold on blue with imagery of modern technology meeting the old world. VU meters adorn steps next to a mini sphinx with boats and electric/acoustic guitars in the water. The first song on this disc should've been a hit; "Remember" begins with a hard rock explosion and Sumac exploring what the liner notes call her "extraordinary five-octave voice." There are no lyrics here, just Sumac's vocal flights which ride over rock & roll textures. Although the rock here sounds like it is straight out of the Berklee College of Music, jazz influenced organ courtesy of Richard Person, Chuck Cowan's guitar, the bass of Roger Cowan, and Skippy Switzer's drums all shine here. On "Let Me Hear You," Sumac reaches down into her gut and comes up with a sound Peter Frampton utilized on his 1976 hit "Show Me the Way," the amazing thing is, she didn't have to use the mouth instrument employed by Frampton! Read more here:
37)The Fifth Estate DING DONG THE WITCH IS BACK Review by Joe Viglione
In the mid-'60s, Wayne Wadhams performed in a band called the D-Men that evolved into the Fifth Estate. They went Top 15 in 1967 with a novelty remake of the Wizard of Oz tune "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!." Their only hit on Jubilee Records is very misleading. This group should be as sought after as Moulty & the Barbarians. This is a very generous collection of demos: songs they wrote for the Righteous Brothers and Cilla Black, and covers of Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy''" and John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom." This album really goes across the '60s spectrum, which makes it so fun and so unique. The rhythm tracks to "I Wanna Shout/Tomorrow Is My Turn" sound like the Ventures performing in your living room; the second portion of the song descends into a dirty "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"-type riff. With all the cult fascination for Roky Erickson and the Chocolate Watchband, it is amazing what the 64-plus minutes on this disc reveal, and even more amazing that this music isn't as sought after as so many other bands from that era. A novelty hit, after all, hardly has the lustre of a Standells riff or ? & the Mysterians' organ passages. The unreleased 1966 single "How Can I Find the Way" sounds like Barbara Harris of the Toys. The liner notes on the back of the CD call this "A real first: the complete recorded output and memoirs of a group who recorded for four labels between 1964 and 1967." The demo for their breakthrough hit, the cover from The Wizard of Oz (as well as the hit version) is here, and when you play that next to "Love Isn't Tears Only," their demo for the Righteous Brothers, the abilities of these New Englanders comes totally into focus.
Read more here:
Formerly on RollingStone.com
Charlie Farren was lead singer of the Joe Perry Project six years prior to the release of this Keith Olsen-produced record. It is arena rock, make no doubt about that, but it is great arena rock. Farren is a tremendous singer, frontman, and songwriter. He's appeared on Bad Company's Fame & Fortune disc as well as The Heat by Nona Hendrix, but the industry has failed to give him his due. "Lost in Loveland," "Fool in Love," and "Shine" on this Warner Bros. debut are outstanding titles. This is not your annoying, whiny Steve Perry/Mickey Thomas eunuch rock, all due respect to those gentlemen. But where their voices tend to grate upon repeated listening, Farren is smooth as silk. He's got the grit along with the range, a very nice balance. "Bad Habit" might not be his most legendary tune, but it still rocks better than most. Deric Dyer's saxophone adds an element to "Impossible World," which lifts it beyond the genre Farrenheit knows so well into a jazz/rock territory Steely Dan keeps a tight grip on. Read more here:
Formerly on RollingStone.com
39)Doppelganger on ROLLINGSTONE.COM
40)THE SUPREMES NEW WAYS BUT LOVE STAYS
In 1970 a determined Supremes recorded three albums — unprecedented for a band who lost a superstar lead singer. That all three albums launched hits in the Top 25 is amazing as well. New Ways But Love Stays is the second volume of this film as directed by producer Frank Wilson, containing the post-Diana Ross Supremes biggest hit, "Stoned Love." Co-written by Frank Wilson, as was the other Top Ten smash, "Up the Ladder to the Roof" from their debut with Jean Terrell on lead vocals, Right On, the two albums were recorded almost simultaneously. "Everybody's Got the Right to Love" was recorded on April 22, 1970 and released almost immediately; "Stoned Love" began recording on March 2, prior to the second hit from the Right On album. The two works deserved to be combined on one CD with liner notes by Frank Wilson, they are extraordinary girl group recordings.
For more click here:
Formerly on Rollingstone.com
new ways but love stays
41)Helen Reddy CENTERSTAGE
42)Starship Love Among The Cannibals
43)SUNNY BOBBY HEBB
44)Jackie DeShannon "You Know Me"
45)Jack Bruce Monkjack
47) Disco Tex
48) Sonny & Cher Live In Las Vegas Vol. 2
49)Liv Taylor LIV
50) Jonathan Edwards Lucky Day
51) 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".
52)Herman's Hermits On Tour: Their Second Album
Review by Joe Viglione
Three Top Five hits, including the million-seller "I'm Henry VIII, I Am," a remake of the song that hit twice in 1957 for the Diamonds and the Rays, Bob Crewe's "Silhouettes," and the lead-off track "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" propel this album into rock history. Mickey Most's tremendous production of Peter Noone, the near country of "Traveling Light," the cover of Skeeter Davis' "The End of the World" -- her number two hit from 1963 -- and Barry Mann's wonderful "I'll Never Dance Again" all make for a highly listenable album created in a day when albums were secondary to hits. The genius of Mickey Most is that he packs the punch into all these songs in a solitary moment -- every one of them clocks in at three minutes and under. "Silhouettes" is three seconds shy of two minutes, "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" an amazingly succinct one minute and 49 seconds. These are short little pop blasts -- you could really fit the 26 minutes on one side of a long-player -- and the young Peter Noone brings each melody home. His instincts are obvious, while the partnership of Noone and producer Most finds them very serious about their art. Read more here:
Formerly on RollingStone.com
53)Pete York & Friends
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE - Review forthcoming
In the 80s Pete York (Spencer Davis Group) decided to invite some of his old colleagues to tour under the motto "Pete York Presents...": Spencer, Chris Farlowe and Brian Auger all came on the road with Pete and rhythm partner Colin Hodgkinson. This collection includes: Spencer Davis/Pete York/Colin Hodgkinson: Live Together (Recorded October 1984 In Freiburg/Germany). Brian Auger/Pete York/Colin Hodgkinson: Steaming (Recorded April 1985 Freiburg/Germany). Chris Farlowe/Spencer Davis/Pete York/Colin Hodgkinson/Zoot Money/Miller Anderson: Extremely Live (Recorded July 1988 In Birmingham U.K.)
54)16 Legendary Covers from 1969/70 As Sung By Elton John
Elton is rumored to have played piano on "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" by
The Hollies, kind of like Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant on "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan, but here's Elton taking on early 10CC's "Neanderthal Man" when they were known as Hotlegs, as well as an interesting cover of "Spirit In The Sky", and the gay theme song from The Other Side, the notorious Boston club that David Bowie's limo took him to after his first Boston show.
God knows how many versions of this album exist so...check out the tracks before buying. While some of his vocals sound raw and early his version of "My Baby Loves Love" is that distinctive Elton voice we've come to know and love doing a famous sixties song, and it makes this rendition a blast.
55)DESTROY ALL MONSTERS GROW LIVE MONSTERS
Grow more monsters with your Chia Pet Grow Live Monsters kit from DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, a very psychedelic film of sorts that gives "Where Is The Chesterfield King?" a good run for its money, but is too heady to compete with the MC5's John Sinclair masterpiece.
56)Sarah Jane Morris LIVE IN CONCERT
On March 29, 1990 Sarah Jane Morris performed for the German TV show Ohne Filter/Musik Pur which, loosely translated, means "unfiltered, pure music." This DVD is the result of that broadcast and sounds so contemporary a couple of decades later that it stands as a testament to Morris's elegant artistry. Yes, the rock beat has a bit of a disco tinge, and the six male musicians backing her are all very dapper in their laid back attire, but the 49 minutes plus of music is as expert as if Tom Scott himself was leading the band. There's no description of the players, no credits that roll, and it is the lack of real bonus material which makes this feel a little bare. You won't find a rendition of her 1986 hit, "Don't Leave Me This Way", though it is referenced on the back cover, but a song from 1995's Blue Valentine is advanced here, a nice take on "Afraid Of The Dark". She introduces "Me & Mrs. Jones" as a single she had out the year before, and proceeds to give a convincing rendition of Billy Paul's #1 1972 hit without changing the gender, of course - perhaps her time with Jimmy Somerville rubbing off a bit... Read more here:
57)Palast De Republik by Einstürzende Neubauten
Review by Joe Viglione
Einstürzende Neubauten's 81-minute or so concert on November 4, 2004, taped in Berlin at the former Parliament building, Palast der Republik, is an amazing sound-and-vision documentary that is beautifully packaged in a red cardboard DVD case with plenty of credit information and some excellent photography. The band is as obscure as their name is difficult to pronounce, but their mission, attitude, and penchant for industrial sounds is captured here as Blixa Bargeld's vision is described with narration over the performance art. The DVD is put together very logically with easy-to-click icons that lead to all sorts of treasures, including delightful chimes that play over the menu. The encore performances of "Die Befindlichkeit des Landes" and "Redukt" are super, as is a very intriguing movie trailer that tells the story of the destruction of the Palast der Republik.
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58 Aynsley Lister
For those who enjoyed Aynsley Lister as he appears with BluesCaravan on the DVD BluesCaravan: The New Generation, recorded on December 7, 2005, this performance from a year before allows the guitar phenom to stretch inside the power trio unit to better display his prowess. Recorded at Harmonie in Bonn, Germany during the Rockpalast Crossroads Festival on March 23, 2004, the 84-minute concert features 13 songs all played with wild abandon. Lister begins the show with solo slide electric guitar and he's quite proficient putting a poppy spin on "Aeroplane Blues" while still showing his grasp of the blues format. Director Peter Sommer does an excellent job of keeping up with the singer by giving tons of quick cuts which make for exciting viewing. The edits not only bring the energy level up, they give a clear indication of the guitarist's talent by providing overviews and side shots, but still managing to focus on his hands when the performer dives into a variety of compelling riffs. He follows that epic with six-and-a-half minutes of an acoustic "As the Crow Flies," taming things for a brief moment. For more click here:
59)Blues Caravan The Next Generation
Recorded on December 7, 2005, at the Underground in Köln (Cologne), Germany, the night after Sue Foley's brilliant Live in Europe was tracked as part of the BluesCaravan tour, BluesCaravan: The New Generation delivers as powerful a set as Foley herself. The concept gets rather confusing, as Sue Foley is part of the "Blues Guitar Women" on the BluesCaravan tour while this trio of musicians (which recorded the album Pilgrimage — a disc featuring a song they all co-wrote entitled "Blues Caravan") appears at the famous Rockpalast as Blues Caravan: The New Generation. It's a powerful two-plus-hour concert with five additional musicians augmenting the convergence of the three main talents, Aynsley Lister, Erja Lyytinen, and Ian Parker.
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Review by Joe Viglione
On March 9, 2004, Dickey Betts & Great Southern taped a triple live CD at the Odeon in Cleveland. About a half a year later, on September 29, 2004, the same group, albeit with a different bassist, performed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and those September recordings are what make up most of this project, Back Where It All Begins: Live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. This DVD superbly captures the glory, and has lots of bonus features to boot that make it very appealing for the fan base. Outside of the obvious, that this material is absolutely redundant and something the hardcore Allman Brothers Band aficionado has heard and seen a zillion times, it's still a wonderful presentation and something a casual Allman Brothers fan will pick up on and not even realize it's not the original group.
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61)EXODUS A RAY OF SUNSHINE
Review by Joe Viglione
This 45-five song concert from the Polish group Exodus — not to be confused with all the other entities that utilize the same moniker — is something for the fan base as well as those people who can't get enough of the sounds generated by Genesis, Yes, Asia, and the other mainstream prog rock artists who write long songs, utilize impeccable soprano vocals, and play their instruments to perfection. The main set was taped live in 1980 from something called the Jazz Jamboree Festival, and the band is as tight and on target as you would expect. The lighting leaves much to be desired on this polished concert and the dark video is only at its best when there are close-ups and other essential zooms. That results in an excellent concert with lo-fi production values, a bit of a paradox in the progressive rock world where all facets of the product are supposed to reflect the music Click here to read more:
62)A TASTE OF FNX (Compilation)
Review by Joe Viglione
Back in the '60s and early '70s radio station WBCN in Boston would bring in Marc Bolan of T. Rex and air him live, actually said to be Bolan's first performance on American shores ever. DJs Tommy Hadges and Buffalo had legendary "rare tape nights" where the 50,000 watt station would play material you now find as bonus tracks on boxed sets. The live tape of Led Zeppelin from The Boston Tea Party got lots of spins on "the rock of Boston" and became legend, as did Jonathan Richman's classic "Roadrunner." Well, now that WBCN in Boston is a mainstream station the relevance goes to the smaller but more influential "FNX radio network" owned by the weekly Boston Phoenix newspaper. FNX has come up with a real winner with these dozen tracks of mostly rare live performances by alternative artists making waves in 2007. As with any compilation album, there are going to be hits and misses, and the good news is that there are more tracks worth treasuring here than not. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Gold Lion" is a nice way to start things off, subtle and easing the listener into the CD, one of six tracks taped at First Act Guitar Studios. "Tear You Apart" by She Wants Revenge sounds like a cross between the Talking Heads and Devo, and the live acoustic from the FNX radio studios is sonically most impressive. Read more here:
63)Chicken Shack I'd Rather Go Live
Review by Joe Viglione
This is just a gorgeous DVD from Angel Air in the U.K. including an almost thirty minute long interview with Stan Webb researched and conducted by Steve Johnson (who is also one of the camera people on the full concert) and a ten page biography/discography as "bonus features", but it is the eleven songs stretched out over about two hours with high production values from producer/director/cameraman Brian Wakerley) that gives journeyman Webb his due on a gig taped in the summer of 2004 in Lyme Regis, Southern England. read more here:
64)GUNS 'n' ROSES 2 CLASSIC ALBUMS UNDER REVIEW
The Guns N' Roses story is a fascinating one, as the band launched so high and so fast they should have remained in the upper echelon where Aerosmith still remain. Indeed, when they opened for Aerosmith in Boston during the 1988 tour they pretty much upstaged them, and this DVD does a pretty good job of trying to figure out what happened, as it focuses on Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II in a way that is more intriguing than some of the pedestrian "under review" DVDs that merely scratch the surface. And there are tons of people to talk to — Tim Yasui and Lizzie Grey of Spiders & Snakes, merchandiser Howard Teman, who played piano on these albums, studio owner Skip Saylor, Teddy Andreadis, who toured with Guns N' Roses behind these two discs, Tracey Amos, who was backing vocalist on that same tour, and a number of rock writers and personalities who add to the mix in a positive way. Tony Pomfret does the very professional voiceover on the 90-minute or so exploration of the group and its rise and "decline."
65)Elvis Presley Classic Albums on MP3.com
Album: Elvis Presley: Classic Albums
Artist: Elvis Presley Release Date: 2/12/2002
Part of a series of Classic Albums DVDs which include looks at Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Lou Reed's Transformer, and Metallica's Metallica, among
others, Eaglevision USA's look at the first RCA album from Elvis Presley is pretty wonderful. As the record was a phenomenon, selling around 300,000 units upon
its release and breaking boundaries, the DVD actually spends more time addressing the musical psychology of Elvis, his intuition, and the dynamics that made for
this groundbreaking release. In that sense, the DVD is an overwhelming success. You will see Sam Phillips talk about the Sun sessions, and be treated to an
expansive overview of "the King" as biographer Peter Guralnick considers Elvis' philosophy, life, and those moments in the recording studio which he calls
"classic, unrehearsed sounds springing right from the soul." Read more here:
66) Ball and Pivot Heart In The Sky
Ball and Pivot launched from The Atlantics and this material recorded between 1985-1988 is now out on CD Their MySpace page has some selections and an excellent bio of the group.
67)Lou Reed Coney Island Baby - Reissue - contains the eight original songs on the album plus the B side "Nowhere At All", and unreleased versions of Crazy Feeling, She's My best Friend and the title track. What would be delicious ? The tape of the Music Hall concert that preceded this LP back in the day including the encore of Nelson Slater's "Complete The Story Now" from his Wild Angel album, a sort of companion piece to this, and "You Can Dance", a song Lou only performed live during that tour (Doug Yule was in the band).
68)RATS FIRST RECORD
69)David Kubinec's Mainhorse Airline
Veteran producer Pat Moran, who worked with Edie Brickell, Jon Butcher Axis, and so many others, engineers and produces this highly listenable and entertaining album by the band Zot. It's the songs and vocals of keyboard player Randy Wayne who would go on to work with one of the big acts at the Stiefel Company which represented Zot, that act being Rod Stewart. There's appropriate alien cover art and a vocal from Wayne which is borderline Nick Gilder veering off into David Bowie territory. Randy Wayne would have been the perfect addition to the Spiders From Mars when Bowie's rhythm section tried to launch a career of their own. This is the stuff fans of Ziggy Stardust could truly have appreciated. Though there are no sparks of brilliance à la Roxy Music or other adventurous experimental bands, Zot works because the music is simple, ethereal, and quite pleasing. Read more here:
71)Destroy All Monsters Live In Tokyo
72)Somebody To Love Song Review by Joe Viglione
Originally titled "Someone To Love" when the former Grace Wing's brother-in-law and bandmate, Darby Slick of The Great Society, penned it for that band, it became the break-through hit for the Jefferson Airplane when re-titled "Somebody To Love" going Top 5 in May of 1967. The opening with Grace Slick's voice booming an acappella "When the truth is found" is such a great top of the hour lead-off call to arms that classic rock and oldies radio do just that with it decades after its initial sojurn at the upper reaches of the charts. Followed in less than two months by "White Rabbit" the members wouldn't have Top 40 success again until 8 years later when revitalized as Jefferson Starship Marty Balin's "Miracles" went Top 3 in September of 1975. "Somebody To Love" with its jangly guitars and cool San Franciscan sound moves with a pop intensity and urgent lyric so essential to the vibe of the time. Todd Rundgren wanted to find himself and Leroy a girlfriend in "We Gotta Get You A Woman" in 1971 and John Cougar needed "a lover that don't drive" him crazy in 1979, but the purest sentiment regarding finding a significant other was in this track, a direct admonition: "You'd better find somebody to love." The Lady Mondegreen or mis heard lyric here is a major one. In the second verse. The lyric sheet reads "When the garden flowers ...are dead", but it sounds like sly Grace might be slipping in "When God and his laws, are dead...". How counterculture. The song... read more here:
73)White Rabbit song review by Joe Viglione
From the Surrealistic Pillow album comes this song which, like the word
surrealistic indicates, has "an oddly dreamlike or unreal quality". Few psychedelic moments can match Grace Slick's trance-like monotone perhaps inspired by having just read - Lewis Carroll: The Complete Illustrated Works: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found here. With hypnotic guitar work in the slow-march intro sounding like it was induced by F.A. Mesmer himself, it's all the more ominous in the harder rocking version released decades later on the Deep Space/Virgin Sky live reunion CD. Originally performed with The Great Society, this composition by Grace came right on the heels of "Somebody To Love" and instantly insured Ms. Slick superstardom with more Top 40 airplay in 1967 than her famous colleague Janis Joplin. With well over a hundred cover versions by such diverse acts as punk/new wavers The Damned, the hard rock Lizzie Borden (no relation to the new wave girl group produced by Genya Ravan) and, believe it or not, jazz maestro George Benson, it is Grace and her pharmaceutical prescription advice which is the definitive rendition and inspired the Keanu Reeves film The Matrix as much as James Cameron's The Terminator did. When in the movie Morpheus offers Neo the little red pill or the little blue pill, it is pure Grace Slick opening the door to wonderland with narcotics. Years later it is amazing the censors didn't put a stop to it,
Janis Ian's "Society's Child" finding more problems with an interracial love affair than The Jefferson Airplane's window to another world. It's a classic in the truest sense of the world and always a pause for fun when it comes on the radio.http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:3vfyxqudldhe
74)Manilow Live (Legacy Edition)
When the album was first released the extended version of "Trying To Get The Feeling Again" was missing! David Pomeranz classic is finally here in all its glory, with the verse that is missing from the truncated Top 40 hit.
75)Batdorf & McLean
The title track to John Batdorf and Michael McLean's Don't You Know album has a simple philosophy and a strum that goes along with an eloquent melody that is easy to hold on to. In the decades after the reign of Seals & Crofts and England Dan & John Ford Coley, as well as more famous pairings like Simon & Garfunkel, John Batdorf soldiers on impressively, finding a formidable collaborator in the popular Michael McLean. The 11 songs are well constructed and highly commercial, from the very catchy "It's Not Love," borrowing heavily from the Rolling Stones' final (and uncredited) Jimmy Miller-produced hit, 1981's "Waiting on a Friend," to the moving "Heartbeat Away." That the sensibilities are straight out of the '70s and '80s folk-rock era is an indication of where these craftsmen found the components to build their ark. A chorus of backing vocals emphasizes the point as the folksy "It's Not Love" rocks to its conclusion, while "Promised Land" doesn't take as long to set the stage, driving with the spirit of any uptempo Eagles number. And that's the interesting element at play here, for the material is stronger than latter-day America or Eagles music, but with no major-label push or commercial platform, superb titles like "It's Only My Heart" remain hidden performances lost in the shuffle of millions and millions of copyrights looking for recognition. For more read here: