Saturday, July 19, 2008

Spring/Summer Top 40 - May - June - July 2008

About this Summer's "Top 40"
August 13, 2008

Can't believe how quickly the summer has flown by! There are stacks of CDs, DVDs, movies and other intellectual property I'm working diligently to get on this blog.
1)The Dark Knight
2)Ian Lloyd O-de-Po
3)Deep Purple Around The World 4 DVD Set
4)Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider
5)Vincent Bugliosi "The Prosecution Of George W. Bush for Murder" (Book)
6)Santana - Multi Dimensional Warrior (double CD)
7)John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band (DVD)
8)Dick Cavett Rock Icons (3 DVD set)
9)Downtown Mystic
10)Denny Jiosa Dreams Like This

Happy reading.

Joe V. 1:31 PM

#1 The Dark Knight

Though not perfect BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT is far and away the best comic book film in movie history, bringing the audience a level of seriousness that had escaped Spiderman; an element that was sought by the X-Men, but which that franchise due to scripts that lacked staying power and less substance than was promised.

Read the lengthy Joe Vig essay on THE DARK KNIGHT on my rock journalist page:

In the Land of O-De-Po


For those of us who have enjoyed decades of music from the Stories frontman on record, along with watching Ian Lloyd onstage since the early 1970s, the CD "In The Land of O-de-Po" shows the full depth of this journeyman's artistic vision. He and co-producer Tony Sankitts put "Brother Louie" into a techno-dance shuffle that acts like an entre to this new sound. "Side By Side" has his immaculate voice dancing around a terrific melody which reflects the packaging. Lloyd performs with his son David's band, Social Hero, and he brings an intensity found on this disc to the band's live performance. The role is more of one in the background, clearly giving the group its focus as well as some superb backing vocals. It would be helpful if Social Hero would put their dad front and center, playing the youthful energy against the polished experience of a true rock & roll original. If Social Hero added the music of "In The Land Of O-de-Po" to their repertoire they would be a formidable ensemble. Indeed, in-between Social Hero originals this CD should be played in its entirety live onstage - the way Carole King presented her Fantasy album to her devoted audience. The title track is remarkable. A very satisfying and important work from an individual who has yet to peak.


Deep Purple Around The World Live is a delicious box that provides an amazing glimpse into the group that released 7 albums between 1968 and 1972, finding the double live album as the sales catalyst to launch them into history. This is a FOUR DVD Box from Eagle Vision which takes that double album concept into another dimension. India 1995 starts things off with a bonus feature of eight songs from Seoul, 1995 - Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice with Steve Morse on guitar. A 34 page booklet on slick paper is inside this handsome case which features six faces on the cover.
"A wealth of previously unseen material" it's a bootleggers worst nightmare and a fan's dream come true.


Alice Cooper is a total pro in these decades after he launched to superstardom and his product is of consistent and very high quality. "Along Came A Spider" is a nice addition to the Cooper collection. "The One That Got Away" is good pop/rock - the only problem for long-time fans is that we are waiting for the next "Under My Wheels", "Ballad Of Dwight Frye", "Is It My Body." Perhaps it is time for a reunion of the original members of the Alice Cooper Group and a production party with Bob Ezrin at the helm. "Along Came a Spider" is certainly good stuff, and a great title ripped from a Morgan Freeman movie about a semi-serial kidnapper. Alice was just a little more fun when he dipped into the culture, penning "The Man With The Golden Gun" even though they were passed over for the James Bond movie theme. "Wrapped In Silk" discusses getting passed by...good solid product delivered by The Coop, but it is time for something more. Alice is always fun, but Buzzy Linhart and Ian Lloyd have released new albums with more adventure, heart and inquisitiveness. Their performances are more attractive. Alice needs to pair up with journeymen like Lloyd and Linhart to pen a terrific new album and blow everyone away. This one is good, but Alice has the potential to always be great. Why be good when you are great?
This is the Jack Nicholson Joker while Ian Lloyd's new disc is, say, Christian Bale playing Batman. Nothing here has equaled the Heath Ledger barometer...but we'll keep looking for the G spot and the Holy Grail.

What's truly odd in this day and age is that Wikipedia has instant information on so many things that were hard to track down in the time before the internet. An information explosion is certainly fun, as is this disc.


Vince appeared on Visual Radio #411 for 50 minutes or so chatting with me about serial killer George W. Bush. It's stunning stuff and some critics are calling this one of my best interviews. Well, Vince is pretty automatic, he's the prosecutor who put Manson away, and in this book he builds a very strong case for why another psychopath who was not at the scene of the crime (or who just visits the scene of the crime on Thanksgiving and Christmas) should be put away for good. It's brilliant - and tough - stuff. We hope to post some of the interview on YouTube in the near future. 3:30 AM July 20, 2008.

Found this double CD from Santana on my doorstep - release date is September.
I'm giving it a few spins right now - great stuff, of course, what's not to like about Santana, one of the most famous guitarists in the history of mankind who is still underrated. How do you sell more albums than anyone else in the guitar scene yet not have the prestige and underground luster of Jimi Hendrix? It's not that millions and millions of musicians don't kiss the ground Carlos walks on, I'm not saying that at all, I'm just saying he is IN the Hendrix category, a unique arena, but does not get the credit for his innovative style. More on this impressive collection soon.

7)John Lennon PLASTIC ONO BAND DVD from

Description by Joe Viglione

More than a second look at Beatle John Lennon's first solo album, this edition of the "Classic Albums" DVD series is closer to an analyses of the work - just as the songwriter/singer used the vehicle for self-analyses. With contributions from those involved in the recordings, bassist Klaus Voormann, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, EMI Studios engineer Phil McDonald, tape operator John Leckie as well as Dr. Arthur Janov, co-founder The Primal Institute, which had a big impact on Lennon and the creation of the album, the fifty-three minute television special revisits the trio of 45s which preceded the album, "Give Peace A Chance", "Cold Turkey" and "Instant Karma", building up to the revelation of how this seemingly simple disc with beautiful melodies crafted for "Hold On", "God", "Isolation" and others is actually quite complex in construction and message. Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner, journalist Richard Williams, Beatles author Mark Lewisohn and others contribute commentary to the documentary, however it is the nine bonus tracks which really bring this DVD to another level. Read more here:


Description by Joe Viglione

This deluxe and quite elegant package is a delicious presentation from Shout!Factory that houses these interviews and vital performances with the touch of class they so richly deserve. Dick Cavett's ability to bring great guests with terrific chemistry together along with his gift of gab and decent sense of moderation sets the pace and separates his show from the programs which demanded stricter formulas. It's the colloquial tack which allowed all the guests to participate so that some of the interviews become sort of superstar panels. The combination of his straight-laced nerd approach interacting with so many hippies - The Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Sly Stone - as well as the more reserved (as far as rockers go), George Harrison, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and a diverse selection of movie actors, Margot Kidder, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gloria Swanson and even a football player, Dave Meggyesy, resulted in a free for all with Cavett the sometimes shy and reticent ringleader. Meggyesy talking about his book, "Out Of Their League", which seems to have vanished from the face of the earth (well, you can get it on Amazon for forty-one cents), is conspicuous in just how unimportant he is by comparison. The fact that a music company is issuing the project with the emphasis on the "Rock Icons" doesn't render Chet Huntley's appearance moot, in fact, the addition of individuals clearly outside of the world of music adds to the drama - though Meggyesy - obviously - does not inspire compelling talk on the same level of a Raquel Welch and, being out of his league - as his book prophetically notes, it is apparent why he is an unknown today while the "icons" made their mark and stood the test of time. Read more here:

9)DOWNTOWN MYSTIC "Read The Signs"

A subtle psychedelic cover with a purple hue is what houses this rocking bit of
post-Flamin' Groovies/Byrds style of brash pop, the authenticity missing from 99%
of Tom Petty's releases. "Eyes Of The World" and "A Way To Know" contain no-nonsense
pop by the quartet which features Robert Allen, Bruce Engler, bassist Paul Page and drummer extraordinaire Steve Holley. Listen to the wild guitar lines on "A Way To Know", the kind of core music that's been missing on the radio waves.

10Denny Jiosa Dreams Like This

Superb album from jazz artist Denny Jiosa - more thorough review to follow...

11)Nat King Cole The Very Thought of You

12)Lissa Schneckenburger Song


Review by Joe Viglione

This third album, Still Crooked from Crooked Still, is an elegant package of superbly crafted musical styles taking country/folk as the deep foundation and veering off into exhilarating and exciting directions. Starting things off with a haunting version of the late Ola Belle Reed's "Undone In Sorrow" the album begins much like The Youngbloods Elephant Mountain when "Darkness, Darkness" opened that lp almost forty years before. Producer Eric Merrill doesn't need drums to propel this quintet, the fiddles a blazin' on a two and a half minute entry entitled "The Absentee", like the equally lively "Poor Ellen Smith", keep things flowing in a square dance sort of way. The slick twelve page booklet has lyrics to all the titles, "Captain Captain", serious and slow, making for a good read while the music plays. The devotion to the styles embraced is spot on, a reinvention of Sidney Carter's a cappella "Pharoah" from Rounder Records release of the many Alan Lomaxtapes, this one found on the compilation Southern Journey, Vol. 1: Voices from the American South, is stunning - even more so when you compare it to Carter's - or take the effort to actually put Sidney Carter's voice as the intro to this string-heavy rendition and hear the tremendous results. Picture the tempo of Lou Reed's "Street Hassle" cut in half, slowed down so that Aoife O'Donovan can pour her emotions all over the track. It's amazing stuff, and it can hardly be called "bluegrass" or be locked into one genre. Where Ray Charles gave us Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music back in 1962, Crooked Still bring those expressions into the new millennium. "Florence" is credited to T.W. Carter 1844 and is a more traditional country take, in the fashion of guitarist Peter Calo's excellent Cowboy Song from 2001 where he took traditional songs of the American frontier and recreated them.
Read more here:

15)Men Without Wax Anchor

16)Jann Klose

17)Vance Gilbert "Up On Rockfield"

18)The Complaints Sunday Morning Radio

19)Dana & Susan Robinson 'Round My Door



22)Oasis Disc Manufacturing INSPIRATIONAL Volume VIII #4 Radio Sampler

Another beautifully packaged collection of songs from Oasis Manufacturing, though
titled "Inspirational" some of these performances are as Gospel as Gospel gets.
Darren Prater's "My Redeemer" starts things off, the Alaska String Band contribute
"Farther On", the Kansas based Antioch Church deliver "Never Ending Love" from their
Live It Loud album. This compilation flows smoothly without the usual "various artists" hodge podge syndrome; each track listenable and professionaly performed.

48)Jann Klose "The Strangest Thing" CD

This album was released in August of 1999. It features the songwriter/singer in a laid-back setting with folk/jazz overtones. Klose is in good voice here though the material tends to wander.

49)Deep Purple "Hush"
Song Review by Joe Viglione

Deep Purple's phenomenal version of "Hush", written by country/pop songwriter Joe South, took the Vanilla Fudge style of slowing a song down and bluesing it up another step, venturing into the domain of psychedelic heavy metal. Covered by Kula Shaker in the 1997 film I Know What You Did Last Summer other versions were recorded by Billy Joe Royal, Gotthard , former Ritchie Blackmore lead vocalist Joe Lynn Turner on his 1997 Under Cover album of song interpretations and even John Mellencamp. But once the tune received this rendition's indellible stamp no one could touch it again, not even the songwriter. South's lyrics are highly suggestive, beyond Van Morrison's "Gloria", straight into Louie, Louie territory with: "She's got a loving like quicksand... It blew my mind and I'm in so deep/That I can't eat, y'all, and I can't sleep." Or as Aimee Mann sang, hush hush because voices carried this one right by the censors with Jon Lord's quagmire of thick chaotic keyboard sound meshed with Ritchie Blackmore's guitar. Tetragrammaton Records single #1503 went Top 5 in August of 1968, 4:11 as originally released on the Shades Of Deep Purple album, 4:26 on Rhino's 2000 reissue The Very Best Of Deep Purple. For more click here:


Expanded to ten minutes and twenty-seven seconds on the blockbuster Made In Japan live album, "Lazy" plays at 7:19 in its original incarnation from the Machine Head disc, a snappy blues/rock number with minimal lyrics and superb playing. The progression from Deep Purple In Rock to Fireball to Machine Head can certainly be felt in the grooves here, for "Lazy" is anything but; it can only be considered laid back because it comes in between the two gargantuan riffs that make up "Smoke On The Water" and "Space Truckin' " which sandwich it on side two of what Warner Brothers thought would be the break-through disc for Deep Purple. Jon Lord's dragons and dungeons organ pervades the opening while some tasty Ritchie Blackmore guitarmanship plays over the shuffling vamp awaiting Ian Gillan's appearance. Read more here:

Monday, April 07, 2008

Top 40 for April 2008

April is under construction...stand by!

1)Kris Delmhorst Shotgun Singer
If Songs for a Hurricane, Kris Delmhorst's album from 2003, was deep and thought-provoking, this fifth solo CD (excluding side projects and EPs) released five years later, Shotgun Singer, wraps up that psychological web with sound modifications that go deeper and denser. The artist seems to take liberally from George Martin's efforts on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and transfer those embellishments to the needs of a songwriter/singer in the same way that Emitt Rhodes emulated the first Paul McCartney solo LP, McCartney. The dangling vocal on "Midnight Ringer" squeezes out all emotion possible while the instrumentation goes about its business filling the available spaces in highly entertaining fashion. Keep in mind, all this praise isn't saying that this is "the next Sgt. Pepper's" or anything of the sort, what is obvious is that Delmhorst picks up on great work and uses what came before to interpret her new ideas, forging a sound that is both original and appealing. Picture Joni Mitchell deciding to step into Brian Wilson's treasure chest of sound effects and very consciously — and cautiously — blending them like some aural chemist to interact with the words and melodies. "Blue Adeline" is simple yet majestic, the cymbals working as if they offer their own notes, the song following the path set by another K.D. — k.d. lang — on her masterpiece, Ingénue, which this artist clearly owes much to. That debt, though, is perhaps on another level, say the dark recesses that the Velvet Underground's Nico explored, yet fashioned to translate well to the arena where Delmhorst chooses to reside. Read more here:

2)The Rolling Stones Under Review 1967-1969

Where {^The Rolling Stones Under Review 1962-1966} had
its moments with eight commentators giving us the
beginnings of Stones history, this part 2 - {^The
Rolling Stones Under Review 1967-1969} with a dozen
critics and musicians interviewed - is truly superior
in its approach and in direction, a perfect segue to
the un-named part 3 of this trilogy from {@Chrome
Dreams/Sexy Intellectual}, the very excellent {^Keith
Richards Under Review}. Critic {$Keith Altham} is on
all three documentaries as is {$Tom Keylock}, and
they add wonderful insight, notably {$Altham}'s
essential critiques and historical perspective.
{$Thomas Arnold} is the narrator, as he is on the
Richards disc, replacing {$Mandy O'Neal} from the
first volume, and the storyline is meatier as the
"greatest rock & roll band in the world" move into
these new phases of psychedelia and what followed, the
time labeled their "golden era" with guitarist {$Mick
Taylor} and producer {$Jimmy Miller} enhancing the
sounds the band would generate. The previous
documentary ended with {&"(I Can't Get No)
Satisfaction"} while this edition opens with
{&"Sympathy For The Devil"}, interesting bookends with
so much territory to cover. Even die-hard Stones fans
who know much about the history will embrace the
clips, the perspectives and the chronology.
{$Alan Clayson} calls {&"Ruby Tuesday"} The Stones
version of {&"Yesterday"}, attributing the initial
writing of {&"Ruby Tuesday"} to {$Brian Jones} -
{$Keith Altham} also bringing up the fact it was a
{$Brian Jones} composition which {$Keith Richards} and
{$Mick Jagger} added to; Clayson also notes how {$Bill
Wyman} came up with the riff to {&"Jumpin' Jack
Flash"} - the many instances of this "plagiarism", as
Clayson calls it that is part of the Stones legend,
though the DVD doesn't go further into{$Marianne
Faithful} co-writing "Sister Morphine", $Ry Cooder's contribution to the hit version of {&"Honky
Tonk Women"}, {$Mick Taylor}'s work on {&"Time Waits
For No One"}, and the late {$Jimmy Miller} saying that
{$Billy Preston} actually wrote {&"Shine A Light"}.
One could do a family tree on the alleged songwriter
contributions, which this documentary actually
initiates in a way. For the fans the inclusion of
{$Anita Pallenberg}'s idea for the backing vocals on
{&"Sympathy For The Devil"} and {$Marianne Faithful}'s
action of giving {$Mick Jagger} a book which helped
develop the idea is essential food for thought on the
making of {^Beggars Banquet}. Read More Here:

3)Nick Drake "Under Review"

Though die-hard Nick Drake fans may find this hour and a half docu-biography superfluous, the general public doesn't have much of a clue about this puzzling but important musical figure. As with the Kate Bush entry in this "Under Review" series, the "review and critique of" Drake and his music is a wonderful introduction that gives a "Cliff Notes" look at him in a very warm and respectful way. With Fairport Convention alum Ashley Hutchings and Dave Mattacks as well as biographers Trevor Dann and Patrick Humphries, Incredible String Band's Robin Williamson and the usual insiders that Sexy Intellectual/Chrome Dreams track down to participate, the brief life of Drake is covered in such an engaging way that the unfamiliar viewer will most likely want to pick up on his music after hearing Drake's story. The Velvet Underground connection is touched upon and John Cale would've been a nice touch had he been interviewed for this; that's not a complaint, only a nod that the intense fan base of that group would certainly help spread the word with more efficiency. Read more here:

Kerry Kearney Welcome To The Psychodelta

5)Kris Delmhorst Songs For A Hurricane

The woman who played fiddle and sang on Carl Cacho's excellent Spark album releases a dreamy and elegant 50 minutes of music over 13 titles. Kris Delmhorst's Songs for a Hurricane do not overpower like Stacie Rose's and Deb Pasternak's fine and more rocking endeavors. This artist is subtle in her approach with music that comes up behind you and a voice that breathes through the speakers. The eight-page booklet stretches the lyrics to all the songs in scroll-like fashion down four of the pages, a good way to get this extensive material into the listener's hands. The packaging is very old world with a weather vane pointing southwest. "Blow me down and leave my lying in your wake," she sings on the title track, and there's no doubt it's a passionate albeit dysfunctional relationship, commentary that the person in question would "rage" and "rain" and how "you could see it coming on for miles." Boy, hasn't everyone been there. It's music to take to heart, and though Neil Young made a similar comparison on his original while Bob Dylan was referencing fighter Rubin Carter, Delmhorst uses track eight to wake the sleeping giant, having lulled you into a trance with "Waiting Under the Waves," and on "Weathervane" she does dip into that world where Rose and Pasternak explode on record. The production by Delmhorst and Billy Conway is commendable, and the different instruments by a host of musicians find their place, all the elements part of a fabric. Read more here:


This seven track CD entitled The Gathering has an intuitive drive and some controlled power that makes it appealing on many levels. Thirty-two minutes and three seconds total time harkens back to the days when vinyl lps held 15 minutes per side and, for a prolific bunch like Living Legends, the audience might feel a bit slighted though others may consider that the rappers are putting a heavier emphasis on this septet of sound essays than overloading the cd. The title track has an eerie keyboard juxtaposed against a solid beat and percussive sounds; it's the second longest piece on the disc, dips into Richard Matheson territory with a nod to "I am legend", and is a good way to kick things off: with a nice bang. "She Wants Me" follows with a hypnotic variety of sparse sounds under the narrative flowing into a killer chorus about a drugged-out psychotic bisexual girlfriend the protagonist met on myspace. It's territory Willie "Loco" Alexander covered in the 70s with a similarly-titled song MCA refused to release on the second Boom Boom Band lp, "Nazi Nola (She Wanted Me)", the stretch from heavy punk/R & B to R & B/rap not as far thematically as one might think. It's the rhythm and blues that is the common denominator with more misogyny infiltrating the funky "Pants On Fire", each track needing a parental guidance sticker. "War And Peace" has a slinky Parliament/Funkadelic guitar line that drifts under the verses which give in to a chant of "If you want to make war end you gotta start with peace...", a heavy vocal chorus of "war" a la Edwin Starr's classic 1970 hit the frosting on the cake. "Luva Changer" is even heavier funk/r & b with Stevie Wonder overtones pulled from the eternal soul textbook Songs In The Key Of Life}. While there's no direct lift of a famous hook such as Luckyiam's sample of Three Dog Night's "Easy To Be Hard" titled "Cruel" on his Myspace page, there are tons of nods to musical pieces strewn throughout The Gathering, the two minute and forty-three second "Samba" an interesting diversion before the tour-de-force final track. "After Hours" (Extended Euro Mix), the grand finale, is almost like a rap version of Lou Reed's "Coney Island Baby", a narrative that goes on for almost eight and a half minutes and even fades out a la Reed when Lou speaks directly to drag queen Rachel. Here {Living Legends} update that 70's classic with: "I want to give a shout out to Baby Rio, to Andy Kahn and all the hipsters...that shirt cost $60.00 that you just spilt Katsup on it's really limited edition..." The rant veers off into a bit of other similar raps from {$Armand Schaubroeck}'s 1978 nod to {$Lou Reed}'s {^Street Hassle}, the epic Ratfucker. The Legends continue to admonish the listener: "You shouldn't do drugs that are harder than you...(expletive, expletive, expletive) about you have a mind of your own man...if you're downloading this for free you're never going to get (expletive) again..." The keys and horns are a perfect blend of jazz and pop while the chorus pulls in some of the charm the group {$War} utilized on songs like {&"Why Can't We Be Friends"} ... "Living legends...we invented fun..." They didn't invent a good time, but this ever growing bunch certainly know how to perpetuate it and prove that on {^The Gathering}.
Read more here:

American Speedway

Piss Ant Piss Off

REW* That*sr*ite

Review by Joe Viglione

Minimal underground rock has always had a place on college radio and in the caverns that cater to live music, jangly and primitive instrumental backing that has attitude by musicians who play for the fun of it. Mark Alexander and Teresa Starr of The Echoes take full advantage of the genre as does this ensemble on Rew*'s that*Sr*ite CD. On "Skeletonz" the lead singer wants to bare her soul, if the person she's singing to will reciprocate, right after "u annoy me", an essay full of relationship negativity that refuses any chance of reconciliation. This is an album chock full of soap opera dilemmas, one of the most effective being "u suck" which has so much invective and X rated language that rappers Living Legends might blush were they to do a cover of it. It also happens to have a great melody and is most useful when a highly sexual relationship is over and it is time to throw bottles at the wall. Combining the angst of L.A. punk rockers Piss Ant with the spirit of The Echoes results in a risqué approach to light sounds and pretty melodies smashing into heartache...and the mania that sometimes follows. The title track, "that*s rite", is a slinky, creepy Doors-influenced song about movin' on with the charismatic front woman matter-of-factly walking out the door. "megan", on the other hand, is a Lou Reed-ish ballad from his Coney Island Baby period and will appeal to fans of that classic cd; the subtle guitar lines are a pleasant touch Read more here:

Pierre Elaine "Litterature"

"Arrivederci" opens this creative and highly listenable album by Pierre Eliane of France. Available only in Europe, it was released in 1984. Eliane sings entirely in French, and although they say rock & roll is an art form most effective in English, this techno/dance album works musically and vocally. Eliane's best material is the tunes he pens about people, from "Isadora Duncan (A Quoi Tu Penses Quand Tu Danses)" to the closing title, "Song to Len." In between is the album's finest track, and the one of two titles, along with "Song to Len," to have any English — "Willie Take Care," dedicated to "Loco" Alexander, the Bostonian who toured Europe as a member of the Velvet Underground and recorded for Capitol with the Lost, ABC/Dunhill with Bagatelle, MCA as leader of the Boom Boom Band, and RCA Europe as a solo artist. As intriguing as "Etoile Hlm," "Paroles de Nuit," and "Ou Que Tu Alles" are on Eliane's disc, it is his tribute to Alexander which has a manic intensity, slashing guitars, deranged vocals, and true rock & roll passion. It opens with a slow techno stomp and simply and quickly falls into the tense chorus. Eliane's voice creates a hook with his "aaahhh" — almost an answer to Alexander's "uh yuh uh yuh," which was a battle cry in the dungeons of Boston rock music. The production by Manfred Kovacic is really extraordinary.


Recorded simultaneously with her Shotgun Singer CD but issued prior to that release, the difference here is that Kris Delmhorst takes established writings by the likes of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Rumi, e.e. cummings and a variety of other established wordsmiths, finding not only inspiration in their thoughts, but embracing their artistry within her own in much the same way that author Sena Jeter Naslund found motivation for the novel Ahab's Wife in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Walt Whitman probably never envisioned his "A Passage to India" translated into "Light of the Light," a production that might feel a bit out of place on this country/folk disc, but still works within the context because Delmhorst is a confident (and accomplished) musician and visionary who won't let a genre interfere with what she chooses to discuss. It is also the most radio-friendly track and has "hit" written all over it. Strange Conversation sounds like it was influenced by the Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo more than poetry from long ago and contains the Delmhorst stamp to such an extent that unless one is familiar with the source material they'd miss the fact that this is a collaborative effort. Self-produced in North Reading, MA with engineer Chris Rival on the boards, the sound is very consistent with this artist's other releases while stylistically dipping into other bags. The cover art of piles of books against the color green suggests a spoken word disc and hardly indicates that such an exciting palette of sound is contained herein.
Read more here:

RATFUCKER Armand Schaubroeck

The darkest and best of Armand Schaubroeck's onslaught of recordings from the '70s, this descent into the gutter is the underground version of Lou Reed's Street Hassle. Both recordings were released in 1978, and both feature the artist on the cover with sunglasses reflecting a twinkle from the light. Schaubroeck may have been mimicking what Reed put out to the world — Street Hassle was released in March of 1978, Ratfucker recorded in June and released sometime after — but regardless of the intentional cop, Schaubroeck sure is persuasive. Street Hassle is Reed once again on the outside looking in; as with Berlin, his narration is detached from the violence he explores. Armand Schaubroeck, on the other hand, is a convicted criminal, so the rat with a knife through its throat on the front cover, dripping blood on Schaubroeck's hand, is totally believable. "Ratfucker," the title track, is the best Lou Reed song Reed never wrote, but there is no doubt this is spawned from the former leader of the Velvet Underground's work. The three minutes and 47 seconds of depravity are perfectly recorded, unlike the Richard Robinson/Lou Reed experiment with "binaural sound." No — Ratfucker has the sound and the vibe promised by Street Hassle, the unnerving, cold, heartless tale of a man who robs babies and sells them for 4,000 dollars to perspective parents: "Anything you want C.O.D. baby/C.O.D. on my block."

Cactus Live

Mat Treiber

Born in Montreal, 1979, New York folk rocker Mat Treiber, married to chanteuse Roxanne Fontana, has released this five-song EP on the same label as his wife (Etoile Records). Produced by Benji King, who played keyboards on Fontana's splendid debut, Love Is Blue, this collection has a lot in common with fellow New Yorker Matt Turk. Concise pop songs like "She's Got It Good" are radio-friendly, crisp productions. No-nonsense performances and no-pretension vocals bring tunes like "Sinking Fast" back to your consciousness after you've walked away from the disc. Treiber's voice, particularly on this cut, is almost a clone of Soft Cell's vocal sound on "Tainted Love," although this song is more basic rock than that techno hit. The fade has great interaction between the guitar, keys, and drums. Treiber makes a chameleon change with his reading of "Victoria the Queen," sounding like a British balladeer.

ROXANNE FONTANA "LOVE IS BLUE" Produced by Dino Danelli

Review by Joe Viglione
"The Whirlygig" defines this album produced by the Young Rascals' Dino Danelli, a driving original with Fontana's distinctive voice sounding like a techno Jackie DeShannon, a mesmerizing hook, and dark keyboards and production by Rascals drummer Danelli. It's hard to figure out exactly what a "Whirlygig" is, perhaps some kind of ancient graffito writing by teachers and skywriters. There's a reference to Brian Jones, and if the music doesn't sound like early Rolling Stones, she certainly has their attitude, and Marianne Faithful's to boot. "Spring in Love" is a thumping Nico kind of rock/dance episode, again Danelli adds a real mood. "Your Monkey Slides" slinks in with more drama and less intensity, "When you're done with me where will you land?" Mysterious and inviting stuff. Recorded at Bombshelter Studios in New York, the "bombshelter" mix of the title track is the first of two versions. This is an exquisite rendering of the smash Paul Mauriat and his orchestra's number one instrumental from January, 1968

Read more here

Roxanne Fontana souvenirs d'amour

souvenirs d'amour - all music guide review
Roxanne Fontana's 1999 release was produced by the Rascals' Dino Danelli and had more of a dance feel. This self-produced, ten-song CD shows musical growth and is a fun excursion into Fontana's vision of new wave and power pop. "Eyes of the Defeated," with its dense guitars by the artist, dark vocal, and underground rock vibe, is a successful blending of pop and punk. Dressed like a '60s British artist on the inside cover, a la Twiggy, the Italian Fontana reminds one of a rock & roll Francoise Hardy, a Marianne Faithful without the despair. "Deep Sea" is a compact, nearly three-minute trip featuring fellow Etoile artist Mat Treiber on guitar. (Treiber married Fontana in between the release of her first album and Souvenirs d'Amour.) On "Roman's Holiday," the singer's voice dances over plucky guitar and drums set far in the background. Fontana does a fine job producing herself, and the record is a departure from the sound forged on the debut disc. Gordon Raphael's flute adds to the mystery, with that "She's a Rainbow" style the Rolling Stones played with. In fact, that song would be a perfect cover for Fontana, who wrote all the titles here except for McTell's "Michael in the Garden," the wonderfully dreamy opening track. Laurent "Lolo" Piacentino's drums create a nice foundation for Fontana's questioning vocal. Read more here:,,1130420,00.html

Francois Hardy "Maid In Paris"

Recorded in France, Maid in Paris contains six songs by Francoise Hardy sung in English, and six songs in French. "Only You Can Do It" is a subdued Dusty Springfield. Her delightful voice is backed by strings and very '60s pop guitar, bass, and drums. You can hear flavors of the production from Marianne Faithfull's version of "As Tears Go By," but Hardy's voice is not as fragile as Faithfull's. This material would fit nicely in a Bikini Beach movie with Annette & Frankie. The cover has Hardy with psychedelic pillows in a crate, dressed in black like some renegade version of the Velvet Underground's Nico. She doesn't have the homogenization or the range of a Celine Dion, but she should have dominated the U.S. charts during the era of Lulu and Petula Clark. "I Wish It Were Me" is representative of this disc; it's a subtle theme like Cher's "The Way of Love," and clocks in at two minutes and 20 seconds (only the final song, "Je N'Attends Plus Personne," tops the three-minute barrier). "Another Place" adds a little drama, and is one of four that Hardy wrote on her own -- she co-writes seven other titles here -- and performs one tune written without her help. "How Ever Much" is a very pleasant French re-creation of the Phil Spector sound -- heavy on strings, with backing vocals right off Red Bird Records. It ends the English speaking side in very Shangri-Las like fashion. What is appealing about the French side is that the listener doesn't have to understand that language and the words to be entertained. The music speaks for itself. Where the French language doesn't lend itself to rock & roll, as a pop vehicle, it is pleasant to the ear. Unlike her Reprise album Alone, where she is more Americanized than Nancy Sinatra, looking like a voluptuous folk artist on the cover,

The Singing Nun

Françoise Hardy she's not, but to American audiences The Singing Nun proved that the French language lent itself to folk music better than to rock. Hitting number one in November of 1963, "Dominique" was a catchy song that children could grasp and, like the Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie," which was breathing down the song's neck on the charts, few in the U.S. could figure out the lyrics. Philips packaged this album in immaculate black-and-white with three color sketches included in an album portfolio inside the sleeve, three items drawn by the folksinger -- Soeur Sourire, which means "Sister Smile," the stage name for Jeanine Deckers -- known inside the Convent as Sister Luc-Gabrielle -- and to the outside world as -- not Sally Field's Flying Nun but -- the Singing Nun. With more than the three color paintings by Sourire, the expensive presentation has 12 pages inside the gatefold containing a story by K. Stanton about the Convent at Fichermont, which the writer says is "the very Waterloo in fact, where Napoleon met his defeat." Nine of the pages are sketches by F. Strobel which accompany Stanton's essays about the Singing Nun and her guitar named "Adele."
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Jackie DeShannon's exquisite "What the World Needs Now Is Love" leads off this collection, and it's quickly followed by a cover of the Dusty Springfield hit "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," as well as a version of "It's All in the Game," making for a very recognizable three songs in a row on this 1968 release featuring as its title her 1965 Top Ten hit, originally on the This Is Jackie DeShannon album. What THIS is, is another stellar set of vocal performances with DeShannon being produced and arranged by a dazzling array of industry names. "So Long Johnny" is a pop tune by Burt Bacharach and Hal David which sounds so much like their Dionne Warwick work it is interesting to hear another great singer in that setting. "Windows and Doors" follows the same formula, while "Changing My Mind" could have been straight from the session that produced Petula Clark's "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love." Bacharach tracked the hit on his own, while Calvin Carter, who produced the For You album, collaborates with Bacharach and David on a number of songs here. Dick Glasser's production of "Little Yellow Roses" is the only one of the dozen songs with his participation; the country ballad is a real departure from the rest of the album, even with the arrangement by Jack Nitzsche. There are five arrangers in all, and an interesting cover concept. Jackie DeShannon appears on the front barefoot against a tree, holding a bouquet, while on the back cover she holds the bouquet with two boys, a Caucasian and an African American. It wasn't something you saw often in the '60s, and truly held with the sentiment of the title track. Tony Hatch's "Call Me" ends the album, and you knew from "Changin' My Mind" that those involved here were listening to Hatch's work, his influence among the many in the grooves of this fine recording.
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26)Roger Williams - Born Free with Bobby Hebb's SUNNY

by Joe Viglione
In October of 1966, Roger Williams had his seventh Top 40 hit with an instrumental version of the song from the film Born Free. There are four songs from movies on this disc: an elegant "Strangers in the Night" from A Man Could Get Killed, "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music, and the theme from The Bible. Not content to leave it up to musical sleight of hand à la Liberace, Williams uses the scales to counter the brilliant orchestration which is arranged and conducted by Ralph Carmichael. When tackling a big Frank Sinatra hit, one must pull out all the stops. He takes the Association's "Cherish" and makes it a pure delight. Tension between the piano and the band is precious; Hy Grill's production is outstanding; Roger Williams' touch works so well with the accompaniment that there is drama in the grooves. Some instrumental artists can fall into that "Muzak" trap, but not Williams, "Edelweiss" opening with voices that Ray Coniff was so fond of, but they only come in on the chorus, leaving the music up to the pianist and orchestra. Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" gets a superior treatment. Where Dusty Springfield had orchestration which hinted at the James Bond theme, Ralph Carmichael pushes the orchestra to the limit and this jazz/swing version dances around the nuances of Hebb's composition, the piano dominant with the big band following Roger Williams' lead. Hebb has stated that he's recorded it twice and (outside of live versions) he doesn't want to perform it a third time, but some hip producer could always sample his voice and slip it over this stunning rendition for a few cameo appearances. The song is timeless, and this instrumental in the right film could bring the Born Free album by Roger Williams back into the charts Read More Here:


27) Ken Elkinson Revelry on Windows media


Jefferson Starship
Deep Space/Virgin Sky
Release Date: 1995
Running Time: 74:12
Label: Intersound

Deep Space/Virgin Sky is a 74-minute live album which was recorded at The House of Blues in Hollywood in the mid-'90s. Grace Slick makes a rare guest appearance, participating on "Wooden Ships" and singing her songs "Lawman" and "White Rabbit," as well as ex-brother-in-law Darby Slick's "Somebody to Love." On this version, though, it is Slick Aguilar from the KBC band who has pretty much received the mantle that Jorma Kaukonen and Craig Chaquico handed down, his harder rock sound falling somewhere in between the arena rock of Chaquico's Starship work (before he went jazz) and the San Franciscan sound that is Kaukonen. Also interesting on Deep Space is the song "Dark Ages," originally released by MCA recording artist World Entertainment War in 1991. Darby Gould was in that group and brought this exquisite song along with her. It's an amazing composition, one of the high points of the new material. And have you kept tabs on how many bandmembers utilize portions of Darby Slick's name? He never graduated from the Great Society to the Jefferson Airplane, but with "Slick" Aguilar and Darby Gould, the tradition continues...somewhat. There is some great stuff on Deep Space, from the Nona Hendryx tune "Women Who Fly" to a brilliant Rowan Brothers composition, "Gold," from their ill-fated Columbia release. "The Light" is also one of Paul Kantner's best post-Mickey Thomas Starship copyrights, the kind of thing that could rejuvenate Jefferson Starship if the co-leader could come up with one of these more than once every decade. The studio versions of some of these previously unreleased songs did see the light of day in 1999 on the Windows of Heaven album released on CMC, but that puts a spotlight on the sad nature of the record business -- RCA should be issuing the new albums from this veteran group every year. That the material is being scattered across the universe on a variety of labels, Intersound and CMC and others, is a slap in the face to a band who was and still is such a part of the RCA/BMG legacy. It also gives reason to praise Intersound and CMC for giving the world this important music. There are great moments as well as weak on this live set, though Kantner's "Shadowlands" and "I'm on Fire" work, and Marty Balin's "Miracles," as well as his version of Jesse Barish's "Count On Me," are always a treat. Balin's "Papa John is a touching tribute (the whole album is dedicated to Papa John and Gretchen Creach), but squeezing all the lyrics and liner notes onto four pages (an elaborate collage of photos in outer space illuminate the other four pages) makes for tough reading. Jefferson Starship through the '90s is a band playing for the fans, allowing taping of live performances, and always ready to throw a few surprises your way. Deep Space is an important document of a band constantly in flux. When Gracey goes off-key, it's all documented for posterity, no overdubs, the way the true fans love it. Her intro to "Lawman" shows why she brings star power to the table. Darby Gould (and Diana Mangano, who is not on this particular disc) have the chops they need to develop their personalities to truly fill Slick's shoes, and to allow this important act to survive in the 2000s. Joe Viglione, All Music Guide

29)Imaginery Long Lost Pride

When Lion Music executive Lasse Mattsson introduced guitaristBob Katsionis to Swedish singer Bjorn Jansson -- merging the prolific Greek musician with a talent from further north -- a new chapter in the group Imaginery's history began. Not to be confused with new age ensemble Imaginary (note the one letter difference), the album Long Lost Pride contains ten very hard rocking episodes that contain creativity and bite. Opening tunes "Hypnotized" and"The Sign f Today" have enough melody and balanced tempo to keep one's attention, a tough formula to execute, and one that Katsionis and Jansson achieve with the help of bassist Olof Sundfeldt and drummer Mark Adrian. "Roughly Scratched but Alive" clocks in at almost six minutes (nothing here is under four) with a terrific opening riff and an equally strong hook close to one used by the Bee Gees, of all people, on their song "Alive" from 1972's To Whom It May Concern disc. The difference is that Imaginery's title will be limited by the style -- a metallic onslaught that is top-notch for those who follow the intricacies of loud music. Click here for more:

Jay Geils biography

Aram Schefrin's Blog

Ten Wheel Drive was a band that formed after Genya Ravan's all-female band Goldie and the Gingerbreads broke up. Around the same time Michael Zager and Aram Schefrin were also looking for a band as well. After being introduced to each other by their managers and also after filling the entire brass section Ten Wheel Drive was officially born. The thing about Zager, Schefrin, and Ravan is that they all came from a different musical background, so they all had to find a way to mix and match these to create the best possible formula for Ten Wheel Drive, and they did an amazing job.

Their first big show was in 1969 at the Fillmore East in New York where halfway through the show Genya Ravan decided that her voice and the music behind it wasn't quite enough for the crowd so she decided to take off her vest and perform the last half of the show topless.

Shirley Bassey "This Is My Life",_Shirley/Discography/album/P3082/R487650/

Little Steven - Live At Full House



Live at Carnegie Hall - Barnes &

Live at Carnegie Hall -!2045449040&pid=3563&aid=20489

And I Love You So - UK Bonus Tracks/Artist,,1118240,00.html

This Is My life,_Shirley/Discography/album/P3082/R487650/

I Love You People

38)Herb Ellis Live

There are only about 38 minutes of performance on Live, a DVD featuring seven titles by Herb Ellis on guitar, accompanied by Dave Maslow on bass, but it is the expected fine playing by the veteran from the Oscar Peterson Trio, Casa Loma Orchestra, and so many other legendary ensembles that makes this DVD a keeper. Recorded live in February of 1986 at the Triangle Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota it looks like a pretty good Public Access TV presentation -- though the long shot is definitely a bit blurry -- make that annoyingly out of focus! However on a sonic level the material sounds good and the maestro effortlessly lets the notes pour out. Ellis and Maslow perform "Days of Wine and Roses," "Here's That Rainy Day," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and other familiar tunes in their brief set. It's very entertaining work and if you're not in the mood for watching this instrumental DVD, it works very well as background music.

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39)Dame Shirley Bassey Does Anybody Miss Me

40)Dionne Warwick's HERE WHERE THERE IS LOVE
Mention of Shirley

BONUS TRACKS! Extra reviews

Sister Kate Kate Taylor

Livingston Taylor


Anni Clark A Light For Liza

Lenore Lenore

Lenore Summer Dancing

Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem

Pat Burtis Radium Girls

Pat Burtis Clarify

Carl Cacho

Kris Delmhorst Songs For A Hurricane

Deb Pasternak Home

Deb Pasternak Eleven

Evan Brubaker Third Floor

Evan Brubaker Halfmoon not reviewed

Jonathan Kingham self-titled 1997

Charlie Farren Live At Club Passim

Garrin Benfield

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

MARCH 2008 TOP 40


"You Can't Always get What You Want" Remix from '21'

THRILLER 25th Anniversary Edition


TRIPLE #1 This Month

Norman Greenbaum and The Rolling Stones

1)Norman Greenbaum
1)"You Can't Always Get What You Want" Re-mix of Rolling Stones/Jimmy Miller classic
1)Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition
2)"The Age Of Shiva" by Manil Suri - Book Visual Radio #406
3)Painting With Words & Music - Joni Mitchell DVD
4)Something Simple Stuart Davis
5)World Entertainment War
6)American Speedway
7)Pato Banton & Friends
8)The Transmitters
9)The Quick Mondo Deco
10)Mar y Sol - Classic Rock Retrospective

1.Rolling Stones Remix

Awesome! Jimmy Miller would be so proud!

2)The Age of Shiva - Manil Suri

Review by Joe Viglione
Joni Mitchell's exquisite voice and guitar playing are on display in this satisfying hour-and-a-half-plus of the iconic performer directed by Joan Tosoni and filmed in an intimate setting. The dominant instruments are, no surprise, the singer's voice and her guitar, which is heavy with liquid effects. Much effort went into the circular set and the six cameras have unobstructed views with graceful pans and elegant zoom-ins. Mitchell is the set designer and editorial director with her own paintings adding to the decor, positioned on the walls that swing around the set. There's a two-and-a-half minute discussion of the event before actress Rosanna Arquette introduces the star and the festivities begin. A semi-pensive and solo "Big Yellow Taxi" opens the show, Mitchell not worried about being under this stunningly beautiful microscope that is the colorful set and the all-revealing eye of all these cameras. "Just Like This Train" has the singer close to her artwork and strumming the guitar as if with a paint brush, quite possibly an intentional metaphor from the clever singer always exposing her intuition with a bit of flair. She announces the band early on, just prior to "Night Ride Home," and the musicians ease into the program like drawings that quietly and slowly come to life. Read more here:

4.Stuart Davis "Something Simple" The prolific Stuart Davis has some nice slices of pop on "Something Simple, "Deity Freak" with its compelling hook of "party like a pop star" is as infectious as it gets. "The River" is an invitation to jump in, energetic but still holding on to a bit of Al Green's sentiment from his similarly titled tune. "Sugar Bullets" is another great hook, it's just that the set-up isn't as intriguing. Perhaps he should bring this back to the drawing board as the world could use a melody such as this on the airwaves, nice different stylistic swings inside the production to which makes the music all the more appealing. You can hear lots of Elvis Costello influence though Davis personality has no problem making things his own. The bonus audio cd contains samples from the singer's audio book, Love Has No Opposite and, as spoken word goes, it may be tough for some. Read more here:

5.World Entertainment War

This is truly the "lost" Jefferson Starship album by soon-to-be Grace Slick replacement Darby Gould (Darby, of course, the name of Grace Slick's ex-brother-in-law who wrote "Somebody To Love").

This 1991 disc is interesting and important as a Jefferson Starship artifact. Vocalist Darby Gould would step into Grace Slick's shoes, all documented nicely on Jefferson Starship's own Deep Space/Virgin Sky disc from 1995, and her emergence here is a nice starting point for a singer who still works with the legendary 70s group well into the new millennium. In fact, it's not a stretch to say this material follows the Paul Kantner solo efforts of the 1970s, though not with as much vision and charm. The key song, "Dark Ages, written by vocalist Rob Brezsny, became an important part of the J.S. 1990s set and is a keeper. A melody with strong commercial potential, the message also cuts through better than anything else on this self-titled disc. Read more here:



The title and opening track to Ship Of Fools by American Speedway is a no-nonsense, hard-hitting Ramones-gone-metal blitzkrieg moment that blends into a two and a half minute track they call...American Speedway". With both the CD title and group name branding the first two solid efforts/tracks the album continues with a consistent and relentless high energy mix of sizzling guitars and spitfire vocals. Though stylistically a light year or two away from the aforementioned Ramones this quartet faces the same dilemma that venerable punk band experienced - as good as this material is, and it is very good, it is firmly locked into one style with little hope for a Top 40 hit and no chance of playing to anyone outside of its realm. Read more here:

7.Pato Banton & Friends

Review by Joe Viglione

Overflowing with guests, Pato Banton and Friends gets right down to business with a catchy reggae-pop opening track, "Bubbling Hot," to start things off. Ranking Roger is the first colleague to blend his talents with Banton and they are a perfect match, the lyrics flow in quick succession but are easily understood, and the zany sound effects add much to the musical concoction. The "Ska Remix" of "Spirits in a Material World," featuring Sting, is a good and abrupt change of pace, and a sign of things to come: that the reinvention of American pop hits will be the highlights on this disc — not as much because the melodies are familiar but that Banton and crew seem to put more effort into these classics. It certainly shows. They do a fine job on this nugget from the Police, with offbeat sounds swimming inside the vibe the two singers set. Stephen Morrison showing up on a cover of the Rascals' "Groovin' " is perhaps the most effective production here, and evokes an immediate smooth and easy feeling in the listener. The "positive summertime vi-bray-tion" is a super blend of Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere's melody with dancehall. Pulling "Baby Come Back" out of the mothballs, the 1968 classic by Eddy Grant's Equals is also terrific, UB40 adding their talents to another one of the highlights on this CD.

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8.The Transmitters I Fear no-one...
Jangle jangle tucked inside cacophony is just part of the mantra of the Transmitters on I Fear No One..., a 22-track album that is a combination of non-stop erratic mania mixed in with avant-garde ambient-flavored musical experiments. The notes on this CD scrapbook are frustratingly threadbare except for the track listing of the 14 or so musicians who show up to perform on specific songs/essays. A cover of the Velvet Underground's "Ferryboat Bill," once embraced on a mini-four-song bootleg EP before being legitimized on Another View, is a nice run-through but not as true to the spirit as other Velvets-inspired pieces like "Ache." Total beat poetry stream of consciousness in that song: is he singing "Another mad crush another man abuses"? Who knows? — it's another mad descent into a quagmire of electronic sounds — one of the previously unreleased tracks recorded around London, and one of the more impressive ones. Moody music with a pessimistic point of view announced over the musical wanderings and so different from the harsh punk of "Paper Boy," a 35 second 1978 track from the album 24 Hours. It's all a bit more cohesive than Half Japanese but still disorganized enough to keep this music firmly stuck in the realm of college radio with little chance of mainstream crossover. Read more here:


Earle Mankey worked with Sparks and the Dickies, and the type of understanding necessary to translate sounds from those experimental groups is a plus on Mondo Deco, from the original Quick. As with the other major Kim Fowley and Mankey discovery, the Runaways, this band was released on Mercury in 1976, and it is one of the best examples of fun new wave to escape unscathed from all the hype. Unfortunately, it failed to sell in big numbers, but the album is terrific, a real underground gem. Guitarist Steven Hufsteter writes impressive and energetic pop; "Hillary" and "No
No Girl" are two excellent examples. The Runaways should have cut "Anybody" — it could have been their breakout hit. With its tight bassline and perfect
hollow underground rock drums, Mondo Deco has lots of treats hidden among its ten tunes. Read more here:

MAR Y SOL with Emerson Lake & Palmer, J Geils Band, Cactus

After Monterey Pop, Woodstock, the Atlanta Pop Festival, and Isle of Wight, the Mar Y Sol: First International Puerto Rico Pop Festival was more than anti-climactic, and the resulting double-record set runs almost like a supplement to the similar Medicine Ball Caravan film soundtrack. The Allman Brothers Band, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and B.B.King may have been legitimate headliners, but Osibisa were hardly a household name, and "Bedroom Mazurka" by Cactus on this LP makes one wonder why half that band would ever want to leave Vanilla Fudge to create a watered down Black Oak Arkansas. A five-minute-plus version of "Looking for a Love" by J. Geils Band rips the album wide open; it's a terrific performance by a terrific up and coming band that had barely dented the Top 40 with the tune three months before this concert, held on April 1, 2, and 3, 1972. Atlantic executive and album producer Tunc Erim should've known better than to follow Geils' up-tempo raver with 13 minutes and 20 seconds of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. Despite the heavy use of violin, this was not the Velvet Underground, and the manic early fusion is just a little too progressive to balance out the program. It's great to hear Jonathan Edwards perform two songs for almost eight minutes; his originals are highlights here, and like J.Geils Band, he was making his music in Boston and had recently charted on the Top 40, but this festival wasn't going to do for these artists what Woodstock and its triple-vinyl set would do for the acts on that enterprise. While Dr. John and John Baldry bring legendary status to the affair, Nitzinger and even Herbie Mann are a bit of a stretch for what is called a "pop" festival. Jean-Charles Costa's liner notes are lengthy, but don't tell us much about the event. Read more here

Artist: Various Artists
Title: Mar Y Sol: The First International Puerto Rico Pop Festival
Date: 1972
Label: Atco Records SD-2-705
Cover Photography: David Gahr
Inside Liner Photography: Wendy Lombardi
Art Direction & Album Design: Richard Mantel

Check out this great site for Cover Art

This best-of Marty Balin's two EMI albums, released in 1990, features four songs from the 1981 Balin LP and five from the harder-to-find 1983 Val Garay production of Lucky. Some say that the signing of David Bowie to EMI during his 1983 Let's Dance phase came at a cost to artists on that label, Balin included. It would account for this small output from such a major talent. "Hearts went Top Ten in 1981, followed by the Top 30 "Atlanta Lady (Something About Your Love)" four months later, both written by Jesse Barish, who also penned "Do It for Love" off Lucky, included on this set as well. It is rather astonishing that there is only one Marty Balin composition here, and it is a co-write at that. He's one of four songwriters who came together to pen "All We Really Need" from Lucky, making a clear statement that both EMI releases focused on Balin the singer. There are two things wrong with this picture. In the first place, the guy who wrote "Miracles," "With Your Love," and a number of classic Jefferson Airplane tracks only has one co-write each on his two solo albums. Meanwhile, Jesse Barish, author of "Count on Me" and other tracks on both the Spitfire and Earth Jefferson Starship albums, gets double the output on both of Balin's solo discs than the star himself. The second item is that the record should have been issued in 1982. The Lucky recordings were made between August and December of 1982, with too much time in between. Val Garay was hot with the number one worldwide smash "Bette Davis Eyes" for Kim Carnes two months before "Hearts" hit; for an artist of such depth, both in the songwriting and the vocal departments, it was shameful that EMI couldn't put a follow-up together more quickly, and one that was more in line with what the artist was all about. Read more here:

12.Cactus Live
For hardcore fans of Cactus, and/or Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, the boogie onslaught of this first live concert in over 30 years by the updated version of this venerable group should do the trick. It's a solid effort by a band that never offered any surprises, and the inclusion of harp player Randy Pratt and non-descript vocalist Jimmy Kunes keeps things in line with past efforts. Sure, guitarist Jim McCarty goes into overdrive on Mose Allison's "Parchment Farm," but the current lineup of Blue Cheer in 2007 just happen to give the style at play here a little more punch. The encore of "Rock N Roll Children" from this outfit's 1971 release, One Way...Or Another, rambles along with vocalist Kunes looking and sounding like any member of the audience jumping on-stage to have some fun with a trio of rock & roll legends. Without any frills there's little to differentiate the music here from any other collection of yesterday's stars getting together to reminisce. In fact it could be Starz, or a reunion of Flint, former members of Grand Funk Railroad, playing this hard-driving blues/rock in any typical nightclub in suburban America. The camera work is very public access TV, the lighting inconsistent, and the direction rather pedestrian. Plus there's no "Take Me for a Little While" or "You Keep Me Hanging On" for fans to key into, perhaps the biggest let down. Read more here:

13)Kim Carnes by Kim Carnes

14)Andi Sex Gang - Inventing New Destruction

15)Glenn O'Brien's TV Party THE HEAVY METAL SHOW

16)Blaze Bayley Alive in Poland

17)Nick Drake Under Review

18)Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Greatest Hits Live

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19)Hurricane "Over The Edge"

Over The Edge is a superb ten song collection of close to 46 minutes of album rock from the latter end of the 1980s, AOR metal with hooks and clever twists that bring it a cut above the expected fare the plethora of hair bands gave the audience in that era. With the same irreverent fun that made Ratt's "Round & Round" so listenable the songs here venture from the 3 to 5 minute range, whipped into shape with superb riffing behind a heavy chorus and Kelly Hansen's very on-target vocals. When you listen to Hansen sing the hits of Foreigner eighteen years later on the Alive & Rockin' DVD it is like tuning in to a Doors' clone band when the real thing is preferable - and in Foreigner's case, potentially available. The problem with Hansen's version of Foreigner is that the new line-up would be better off re-exploring some of the songs the new players were affiliated with, most notably the material on this exemplary disc. "Messing With The Hurricane" is inspired rock & roll, rising above the metal trappings with solid beats and some guitar majesty from Robert Sarzo, yes, the brother of Quiet Riot's Rudi Sarzo, just as bassist Tony Cavazo is the brother of Quiet Riot's Carlos Cavazo. Hurricane is Quiet Riot without the sneer, no-nonsense metal produced by Mike Clink a year after he helped put together Appetite For Destruction, and for those who like that Guns 'n' Roses classic this album has much to offer. "Messin' With A Hurricane", a theme song for sure, is more than slightly reminiscent of GnR and coming four years after Scorpions' Top 10 hit, "Rock You Like A Hurricane", it probably found some inspiration in that popular metal gem. Check out how phonetically similar the endings to both "hurricane" songs are. Love It To Death/longtime Alice Cooper producer Bob Ezrin is listed as Executive Producer and "Insane" not only has an opening ripped right out of "Billion Dollar Babies", the title is the centerpiece word from Cooper's "Ballad Of Dwight Frye". Don't think it isn't intentional, the slowed-up version of "I'm 18" is perfect for the Nights with Alice Cooper radio show and a commendable slow reinvention of Alice's break-through song. Read more here:

20)Gary Morris Live
As with Quantum Leap's Mel Tillis Live, Gail Davies Greatest Hits, and Lee Greenwood Live the material here appears to have been filmed at Orlando, FL's Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House, which hosted a number of country acts for The Nashville Network's Church Street Station program. Unlike those three DVDs, the announcer here is initially absent, as is the usual "Church Street Station" logo and other identifying marks. What this disc does have in common with one of the aforementioned collections is Denise Price and the duo of Jimmy Price and Cliff Downs (aka Downs & Price) performing smack-dab in the middle of this concert, as they do on Gail Davies Greatest Hits. The music is fine and Morris is in his usual rich, bellowing voice, singing in a shirt that needs pressing...or how about a wardrobe change after "The Love She Found in Me," as he's pretty soaked in sweat by this point. Gary Morris doesn't move around much, but he can get somewhat chatty mentioning Orlando before going in to an original, "No Place to Hide," which isn't even listed on the packaging's "Featured Tracks" section. "Headed for a Heartache," from his 1981 self-titled album, sounds great augmented by this proficient backing band, the singer in suit jacket and thoroughly engaging, though still pretty stationary. Denise Price comes in eighteen-and-a-half minutes into the set with a sassy "Can't Even Get the Blues," toning it down for an authentic and quite elegant rendition of Anne Murray's "Could I Have This Dance?" Read more here:

21)New Ladies of Country
One of the better collections of performances from The Nashville Network's Church Street Station show recorded at The Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House this features four main artists and works better than other DVDs in the series because there is less extraneous material and more performance. Kathy Mattea opens things up with the country tune "Ball & Chain" (not to be confused with Janis Joplin's rendition of Big Mama Thornton's classic or Tommy James pop tune with the same title). Her rendition of "Someone Is Falling In Love" is styled after the Kenny Rogers/Helen Reddy reign of 70s/80s middle-of-the-road easy listening style, and her voice fits the melody perfectly. The band behind Mattea is lively, including a guy and a gal on backing vocals who keep the movement happening behind her. The guy, John Thompson, steps forward to duet on "Put Yourself In My Place which is a good change for this all female presentation. Lorrie Morgan starts off with Olivia Newton John's big 1975 hit "Please Mr. Please, titled Please Me Please on the DVD case. She also covers Lionel Richie's 1984 hit, "Stuck On You", which lends itself beautifully to this format as if written for country. Read more here:

22Greg Lake
This eponymous live audio CD culls its ten tracks from Greg Lake Live, a more extensive DVD which has even more familiar material from the Greg Lake history/repertoire than this spin-off disc. In that respect, this presentation in its truncated form is rather redundant. When other artists from the time period (though not necessarily from the same genre) like Leslie West have their own "Official Bootleg Series" of CDs including fancy titles to keep the fans on notice, one has to ask why Lake isn't getting the same kind of treatment. He certainly deserves it. Yes, there are credits galore in the four-page booklet and the music is as precise and powerful as one expects it to be, but the question remains -- do rabid fans of prog rock want a less than full-length concert when the DVD offers so much more? Also keep in mind that many of Lake's solo recordings are live, including a 1981 CD which reflects the DVD title to this concert, Greg Lake Live. Confusion reigns, even for the die-hard fans. Now on to the music. It's as good as you would imagine, the singer/guitarist in fine form spinning a magical "In the Court of the Crimson King" as well as a dirge-like "21st Century Schizoid Man," both from the brilliant 1969 King Crimson debut. Sure, the fans will appreciate those classics getting the glossy progressive treatment, the eerie cutting edge of the original versions now polished by time and not as provocative, but the difference between them is stark and the bombast present here doesn't add to the legend, it merely gives another perspective.

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23 Reboundin' Jen Murzda

24. Living Legends The Gathering

25.Queen Under Review 1980-1991

26)Sex Gang - Live At Ocean
The Borman Chain" opens up the proceedings like Marilyn Manson without the drag. Perhaps the best description of this very underground tape is Pere Ubu meets Marilyn Manson, the visuals very out of control at the beginning, so much so it feels like a bootleg looking for respectability. Which for the deep-catalog fans of Sex Gang Children is probably a plus - some added integrity to this goth sensation who include in this package an "image gallery" as well as two and a half minutes of backstage footage as bonus features. There are just a few words and credits on the back cover, no liner notes, so appreciate the grunge/machine shop industrial bent of the concert because what they do give is a lengthy set list. Seeing a goth band putting its makeup on does have advantages for the fan base, but it's the erratic tape that followers will cherish. Read more here:

27)John Baglio


29)Chris Barber

Review by Joe Viglione
The redoubtable Chris Barber is joined here by many guests, including Andy Fairweather Low and Graham Lyle. The title Can't Stop Now: European Tour 2007 is a bit misleading, as this terrific collection of songs (running well over an hour) was compiled from a variety of sources dating back to 1985, 1988, 2006, and early 2007. The four-page booklet is jam-packed with information, but you can go to the legend's own website,, to get the dates, players, and even more information. The sound is superb, and although he could very well be George Burns singing "I Wish I Was 18 Again" on the title studio track, "Can't Stop Now," Barber should be allowed the frivolity that fans will find charming — a charm that could irritate the uninitiated into breaking dishes when they hear his voice. But the music is absolutely beautiful from start to finish, with Fairweather Low's contributions, including the medley of "Lay My Burden Down" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," recorded in February of 2006 at the Riverfront Theater in Newport For more click here:

In 1974, Columbia Records took advertisements out for this project produced by Brian Eno and conducted by John Farley, and those ads blared "Indisputably, the worst orchestra in the world." "It was awful," stated a Mrs. Betty Atkinson from New Musical Express, adding, "I want my money back." And this statement came from the Evening Standard: "One member...was caught secretly practicing and had to be thrown out." This was the classical version of Mrs. Miller, with Eno among the 33 "band members" on display on the front cover. "Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 31 (Excerpt)" is pretty funny, but if your cup of tea is to hear Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss, Bach, Bizet, Holst, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, and Rossini bastardized, you are probably one of the few who appreciated the sequel. Antilles released Hallelujah two years later in 1976, and there seems to be little excuse for it. Making an intentionally bad record is an art form — Lou Reed did it with Metal Machine Music to stick it to his record label, and that record is as unlistenable as the Portsmouth Sinfonia's Plays the Popular Classics, but it is far more valuable in collectors' circles.
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31 Kathi McDonald

"Insane Asylum"Kathi McDonald was one of the friends recruited by Big Brother & the Holding Company to perform on their two post-Joplin releases, Be a Brother and How Hard It Is. David Briggs, producer of the second Alice Cooper album Easy Action and multiple early Neil Young discs is at the helm on Insane Asylum. With arrangements by The Jefferson Starship's Pete Sears, this is a showcase for the chops and musicianship of McDonald. There's a terrific reading of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" (which Janis Joplin covered years earlier), and an interesting first track co-written by McDonald and Pete Sears, "Bogart to Bowie," with Nils Lofgren on guitar and Bobbye Hall on percussion. The photos of McDonald on the back cover are chaotic and beautiful, a cartoon caricature of these adorns the cover, the illustration by Seiko Kashihara. With Ronnie Montrose on guitar and Pete Sears on keys for a heavy version of "(Love Is Like A) Heatwave," you basically have Big Brother & the Holding Company/ Montrose/Jefferson Starship covering Martha & the Vandellas. This 1974 recording was a year before Linda Ronstadt repeated Martha's feat of going Top Five with the song. There is something about the record that feels like the band is holding back. That evaporates with what may be the best performance on the disc, "Threw Away My Love," the second Sears/McDonald original. Kathi's great, bluesy vocal fights and Journey's Neil Schon on guitar give the track lots of soul, which is missing in much of the record. Read more here:

32 Garland Jeffreys Escape Artist
Escape Artist is veteran Garland Jeffreys sounding very Elvis Costello, with clean Bob Clearmountain production and guest stars like David Johansen, Nona Hendryx, Lou Reed, Adrian Belew, Randy and Michael Brecker, and many others. It is a very satisfying pop disc. Jonathan Richman has his band Modern Lovers, Willie Alexander wrote a song with the same name, and David Bowie wrote "Modern Love"; Jeffreys' "Modern Lovers" has nothing to do with any of them except that he comes from the same underground scene as all of the above. A good idea is a good idea, and this is another good song with that title. "Christine" also works. It's a fun pop romp helping make this one of Jeffreys' most cohesive discs. "Ghost of a Chance" is a clever tune about a relationship with no hope; there is a solid, harder version of Rudy Martinez's "96 Tears" with some very cool guitar making it the most radio-friendly track. Jeffreys' vocals are in great shape, in control, and almost menacing. The back cover has him reading a New York Post with former president Jimmy Carter declaring an emergency, with very movie film-like photos/poses by the artist. "Innocent" takes the album other places, going into a Romeo Void or Cars '80s place. It's very catchy, very new wave meets techno. "When it comes to sex/You're using your special effects/...We're gonna ruin all the records in the fingerprint file." Classic Garland Jeffreys lyrics. Read more here:

33) 2 Decades on the Bus with Garcia and the Greatful Dead

Summer of Love
Performed by: Rock Scully, David Bean, Dane Edmondson,
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34.Bob Mould Circle of Friends LIVE

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. The music itself certainly makes for good listening, but the incessant darkness captured by the cameras and the lights flashing through "I Apologize" tends to make repeated viewings a bit of a chore. "Hoover Dam" is also veiled in blue light while issuing the power -- and the glory -- with keys, drums, and bass swelling behind Mould's guitar to give a truly united grunge outpouring with splendid backing vocals and a lead guitar solo lifted directly from the Neil Young scrapbook. Read more here:

35)SPECIAL EDITION: 2 Joni Mitchell DVDs

Joni Mitchell Special Edition combines two previously released videos/DVDs, 1999's Painting with Words and Music along with 2003's Woman of Heart and Mind. These are both excellent discs to have, the one problem being that some of the "bonus" tracks on Woman of Heart and Mind turn out to be some of the performances from Painting with Words and Music and so the consumer is getting a bit of déjà vu and double exposure. That's not as egregious as pulling the live performances off of Marianne Faithful's Dreaming My Dreams and re-releasing the DVD with only the biography narrative and interviews, but it shows a disturbing trend among name artists having their material released and re-released in the same fashion; Greg Lake another case in point with CDs and DVDs that contain variations on the same title, with some of the same recordings. The Susan Lacy written and directed biography has so much information packed into the story that the producers could easily have gone back into the vaults and beefed up the bonus aspect of this package. Read more here:

36.The Amboy Dukes Marriage on The Rocks / Rock Bottom
Marriage On The Rocks/Rock Bottom

Amboy Dukes' Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom is a very musical record, more experimental than their releases on Mainstream Records, not as soaked in the
Pat Travers blues-rock which the follow-up, Survival of the Fittest embraced, and not as rocking as The Call of the Wild, which would be released about four years after this on Warner Brothers' Discreet label. Interesting to note the mutation of the Nugent sound with every label change. This work on Polydor is certainly more in the Ten Years After bag (especially on Survival of the Fittest, Live), with keyboards up
there in the mix almost equal to Ted Nugent's guitar. The entire first side is composed by Nugent, and the first song, "Marriage/Part 1: Man/Part 2: Woman/Part
3: Music" sounds more like Jethro Tull than anything else. It's a nine-minute-and-three-second progressive blues number and it is highly listenable. Just looking at the image of the four bandmembers staring up from the darkness on the back cover shows as much of an identity crisis in the presentation as is revealed in
the music by the Amboy Dukes on this disc. Featuring Ted Nugent is low-key on the cover; he eventually would get co-billing with the band name and find fame
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37.The Amboy Dukes (debut)

38.STOMPERS SCRAPBOOK Review by Joe Viglione

Sal Baglio has never had the opportunity to show his innovative guitar prowess in the context of his Stompers, a vision he brings to the music of Andy Pratt as well as his own Rock E. Rollins Bowie-inspired work. The excitement of The Stompers as a live band overshadowed the fact that Baglio is a superb instrumentalist on the level of Pratt's other guitar genius Mark Doyle, or Ian Hunter axeman Mick Ronson. In 1994, Boston-area label Botown, founded by the late booking agent Mickey O'Halloran, released The Stompers: Greatest Hits Live, an important document of New England's Stompers in the environment where they shined -- on-stage. Live Scrapbook 1979-1983 goes a step further with 15 songs collected from various times and places, "This Is Rock 'N' Roll" from The Paradise nightclub dated February 13, 1979, to a rendition of "You're the One" from New York's Palladium, April 23, 1982. It is in that song that the listener can hear Sal Baglio's ability to get the audience into his performance, the band playing with objectivity while the singer brings the crowd into the mix.

39.WCOZ Album

review by Joe Viglione

Radio stations sponsoring compilations of local recording groups was the rage in the '80s, and some important musical time capsules were created. When acts hit from those discs, those time capsules turned into collectors' items. The first volume of now-defunct radio station WCOZ's The Best of the Boston Beat (named after DJ Lesley Palmiter's excellent Sunday night local music program) was issued on WCOZ Records, manufactured by Infinity Records, in 1979 (the station's major competition, by the way, was Infinity Broadcasting). This second set, released in 1981, is on the Starsteam label out of Houston, TX. Starstream Records/Big Music America may have been a company which specialized in radio station LP projects, as the disc came with a ballot for voting on the album's best track and there was a national 25,000 dollar grand prize and a "record contract" (no specifics other than that). "Big Music America has gone into major cities all across the country to solicit tapes," is the claim on the back cover. Years after the regional album's creation, no such "battle of the bands" mentality is necessary. Classic tracks by the Jon Butcher Axis, Balloon (who featured future Joe Perry Project lead singer Charlie Farren), soon-to-be Boardwalk recording artists the Stompers, along with Johnny Barnes and a band with future producer Chris Lannon as guitarist, Midnight Traveller, give the album credibility the contest could not. Musically, the best tracks are "Shutdown" from the Stompers, "Roll Me" from Johnny Barnes featuring the gifted Craig Covner on guitar, Charlie Farren singing "Political Vertigo," and a classic early rendition of "New Man" by the Jon Butcher Axis, more driving than the remake on their Polygram debut. Anne English gets a nice runner-up status with "All I'm Waiting for Is You," while the other artists provide a snapshot of a moment in Boston music history. "Rock on the Radio" by Mark Williamson and American Teen is mainstream hard pop, while Midnight Traveller travels that same road. Read more hear:

40.Billy Holiday
Entertainment for Home Video's (aka Efor Films) Billie Holiday: The Life & Artistry of Lady Day now finds itself part of the Jazzmemories series from Music Video Distributors, here given the alternate title The Genius of Lady Day. On the front cover MVD uses a Scott Yanow quote from AMG, which -- plus a few more paragraphs on the back -- is just about all of the written information the viewer can expect on this otherwise generous package of Billie Holiday film clips merged with a 30-minute biography. Read more here:

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Gary Sohmers Roar's Back March 8 with Collectibles Show, To Jah Nature Ellis, Tom Hambridge New CD, Keith Richards Waiting for the Man, Sean Walshe American Son, Clive Davis with Anthony DeCurtis

Top 10 1)Gary Sohmers 2)Tom Hambridge 3)Nature Ellis  4)Keith Richards "Waiting for the Man" Lou Reed's Birthday 5)Sean Walshe...