Monday, May 01, 2017

May 2017 Top 10 songs, TOP 40 CDs, Books, Etc. Guardians of the Galaxy, Jon Butcher, Kenny Selcer, Lilly Black, Pineapple Jam, Period Comma, John E Funk and more!!!

Welcome to the Joe Vig Top 40 for May, 2017
Pop Culture and More! tm

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Some of the songs played on my radio show Wednesdays 1-3 pm

reviews on the Top 40 

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Joe Viglione / P.O. Box 2392 / Woburn, MA 01888
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The Demo That Got The Deal tm inside Pop Explosion Radio

TOP 10 songs on the Pop Explosion Radio Chart
1)Kenny's Tune (Instrumental) Kenny Selcer
2)California Country Girl - Feed the Kitty 
3)Newport Beach - Positive Negative Man
4)Don't You Believe Me Baby - Elsewhere
5)Waiting For a Change (Edit) - Lilly Black
6)Dandy  Ian Hunter
7)Bare Bones  Kat and Josh
8)Elevation - John E. Funk and the Skunks
9)Positivity  Sway Casey
10)Brandy You're A Fine Girl  b/w;
Fox On The Run - 
Guardians Galaxy Soundtrack

TOP 40


The Who 2004 Live at the Isle of Wight, CD 1 and CD 2 uploaded to the library along with Boston band BAD FOGELBERG - I'm asking the publicist for the audio of the Rolling Stones OLE OLE OLE - I'm reviewing the DVD, maybe we'll have the Stones stuff this week. I believe we are one of the first stations in the world to have this new WHO triple disc (2 cd, 1 dvd) songlist in our library today May 14, 2017. Enjoy. Joe VIglione, BFR Digital Archive Music Director and host of the Pop Explosion Wednesdays 1-3 pm on Boston Free Radio



3)Eric Lee  

Artist: Eric Lee

CD: Eric Lee

6 songs

“Miles above the Ground” opens this six song set of originals from Western Massachusetts phenom Eric Lee who brings his smooth, compelling voice and introspection to this strong four and a half minute composition.  Lee has more than a grasp of the vibrations he sends forth, playing violins, mandolin, electric violin and guitar with the music here focused, entertaining and highly commercial.  “The Raven” shuffles along under J.J. O’Connell’s drums and the bass of Rhees Williams while “Rose and Storm” adds a balance.  Critics can compare the storytelling of a Gordon Lightfoot to the dramas offered by Jim Croce, but to say that Eric Lee paints with his own style and magic is to understate what this artist has crafted.  And take caution – there are many, many singer/songwriters out there named Eric Lee, so one has to seek out the music that I’m writing about here. Lee has performed on the road with the great Eric Andersen, Peter Rowan of The Rowan Brothers and Seatrain, John Gorka, Vance Gilbert, the Grand Slambovians and so many others.  It’s easy to get mistaken for a backing musician, as Carole King and Neil Diamond at first were thought by the public to be songwriters dabbling with hit records.  Time proved both King and Diamond to be major forces beyond their work for other artists and this Lee is himself making waves regionally outside of the background circuit he participated in for the last decade and more. With Jim Henry’s electric guitar and dobro fitting in perfectly with this quartet and some backing vocals from Brie Sullivan and Max Wareham, these half a dozen songs stand up to repeated spins with  “Hands of Fortune”  and “To Write You a Song” truly remarkable.    At the risk of sounding overly complimentary, those who have followed this writer’s thousands of reviews over the past almost five decades know that I can be as rough on poorly made recordings as I can hand out the accolades on the ones with merit. There’s something very special here. You’ll know you’ve reached the right Eric Lee as this music stands in a class by itself. (Joe Viglione)


4)Lilly Black  MY OWN HERO
Artist: Lilly Black
Title:  My Own Hero
Tracks:  5 + 2 radio edits

          Opening track "Waiting for a Change" off of Lilly Black's My Own Hero CD is a gliding, rocking, sliding-on-the-groove bright pop tune with the energy of the New York Dolls meeting the pop majesty of the Go Go's.  Liam Barry's drums bolster the undercurrent opening the door to track 2, "Rag Doll."  These first two songs contain explicit lyrics and are repeated at the end of the CD in the form of "radio edits," but I've yet to hear the naughty words so...  "Rag Doll" is a delightful change of pace from the first opus, Lilly Senna's appealing vocals over a dense Mike Barry production from Babyland Studio.  Poignant yet harsh lyrics and Bobby Linscott's consistent and imploring guitar work add to the mystery.   "You're Probably Right," like the preceding songs, has a pure 60s vibe brought up to date in 2017, impressive upon the first listening.  The CD itself jam-packed with information, photos and an intriguing color scheme, yet it's the music from this solid band that speaks the loudest.  Five songs plus two radio edits makes for a short and sweet listening experience. When we critics and radio programmers get 15 song discs galore it's like listening to double vinyl albums from the old days, quite a bit to absorb.   Fact is, the longer the CD, the more time it takes to review and sometimes they get lost in the shuffle.  "Leave Me Alone" is not the notable songs by Lou Reed and helen Reddy (or is it Helen Reed and Lou Reddy, I can't remember anymore...)a thumping beat with a solo vocal chant and Phoebe Clark's keys augmenting this nicely, but never getting in the way a la Greg Hawnes of the Cars. "Leave Me Alone" comes with exquisite guitar work by Linscott as does the final track, "My Own Hero," which takes things down a quasi-Gothic notch with a careful, incessant snare drum bang and the aforementioned electrically activated simmering-almost-fuzz guitar under this hard ballad. Love it all. Five stars...and absolute knockout.   All songs over two and a half minutes and under three thirty so you get that short bust of energy and can repeat or play another on this well-planned compact disc. (Joe Viglione)

5)Guardians of the Galaxy Quest 2

Guardians of the Galaxy II has brought in Worldwide: $431,548,346 since May 5th, much of which materialized thanks only to my review of the film!

Fox On The Run - from Soundtrack
live version that is NOT in film but on soundtrack


Brandy, You're A Fine Girl

Film Review  CNBC

Joe Vig Film Review  5/3/17
The long awaited sequel to 1999's Galaxy Quest is finally here...not really, but director Dean Parisot's over-the-top-humorous take-off on Star Trek is reincarnated inside  director James Gunn's 2017 extension of where he started off in 2014 with Guardians of the Galaxy 1.    Yours truly walked into the theater during the opening credits to this new 3D blockbuster, some beast fighting the anti-heroes with the first thing crossing my mind being color, color, color. If you are looking for a virtual reality ride inside Peter Fonda's 1967 LSD experience known as The Trip, this is probably it.  If you're too young to remember The Trip, IMDB describes Fonda's TV commercial director as experiencing "visions of sex, death, strobe lights, flowers, dancing girls, witches, hooded riders, a torture chamber, and a dwarf."   You'll get all this and more in Guardians of the Galaxy Quest II, with the dwarf times two of baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel who doesn't sound like Diesel this time around,) and Bradley Cooper's Rocket (raccoon) ...who is still cute, even when it's not Bradley in flesh and blood, a sure sign of good acting.   It is psychedelic celestial lunacy of the highest degree, a very exciting roller coaster ride with some additional outside humor by throwing Howard the Duck into the mix and, as tempting as it gets for comic book fans, two appearances of the almighty Watchers - mysterious and beloved characters from the Fantastic Four, which are not put into the mix without good reason.  You see,  20th Century Fox has the rights to the FF, and - purportedly - all the characters within that FF universe or whatever one wants to call it, the Watchers being prime candidates for that.  And with 20th Century saying its working on a 4th Fantastic Four film after three ...ahem...strange attempts, well, one wonders what kind of deal was struck when Spiderman (Sony) popped up in an Avenger's flick.    Will Disney/Marvel do another swap, or will they just buy the franchise back?   Guardians of the Galaxy 2 proves that Marvel/Disney is able to take a lost comic book title and make it a household name.  Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, Howard the Duck, you know what's coming next, and the totally out of control chaos gets so convoluted - in a fun way - that people outside of the comic book fandom - and some inside it - will find many moments in this film hard to follow.  This fast and furious water slide has no thought of etiquette (even Kurt Russell gets off color and blue, after Brad Cooper initiates the bride blush,) fractures the law of physics and casts its fate to the wind with nothing intelligently resembling some kind of peaceful order.   It is the insanity, the lack of logic, that allows the "anything goes" attitude to totally suspend belief and give the audience a chance to get with the program.   

    Though this was a critic's screening on Tuesday, May 2, there were winners of radio station WROR 105.7 ticket giveaways and you could feel with their laughter, and applause, that director  Gunn nails it for the audience he wants...which is going to be huge and global.

   The soundtrack keys this film and its predecessor just as the oldies collections in the Big Chill and Dirty Dancing made the music the advertisement for what would come on the big screen, sometimes overshadowing it.   Not here, the music, as deranged as the selections are, become part of the dance, and get new imprints on memories for new generations.  Eliot Laurie's brilliant "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" by his the Looking Glass is sensational, but Kurt Russell's bizarre description of the song, and calling it the greatest song ever written, or something along those lines, stated...bizarre.   It's nice that Laurie's "Brandy," along with Jay and the Americans' writers Bobby Hart, Tommy Boyce's estate and Wes Farrell (if he's still alive) will be getting huge paychecks for the appearance of their music in this film, but watching the 1964 hit "Come A Little Bit Closer" act in a slaughter scene is the humor that director Tim Burton failed to get in 2012's lackluster Dark Shadows.   The music and the film merge here as good as Jerry Goldsmith's phenomenal sounds in the original 1968 Planet of the Apes, though Goldsmith's genius was to have it subliminal, the undercurrent to the action, 49 years later Marvel/Disney/Director Gunn make the classic rock and oldies essential characters more than components, while all hell, literally, breaks loose.
    Kurt Russell takes the image of the Matrix villain Deus Ex Machina well as the similar villain in Dr. Strange, Dormammu,
  (side note, the Matrix is coming back... )   Russell's character, Ego, the living planet that first emerged in Thor #132 in 1966, is at least owned by Marvel/Disney.  If there's no organization in the thrill ride that is Galaxy Quest of the Guardians, 2, at least there is in the reality of the business world.

      There will be a debate as to which Guardians is better, 1 or 2, but that's as arbitrary as it is academic.  The film is just an extension which will carry over to Guardians III, which will (spoiler alert, as if it matters) have the same evil gold-skinned space queen as in this film.  It's not a series, it's not a set of sequels, it's truly becoming its own continuum.  

6)Kenny Selcer   I SIMPLIFY

Review: Artist: Kenny Selcer
CD       I Simplify

14 tracks

On Kenny Selcer’s long-awaited ambitious effort, I Simplify, New England’s veteran acoustic / Americana minstrel has put together an album that fuses Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street nuances with Grateful Dead guitar/keyboard interplay.   

Those Stones’ nuances are subtle, an undercurrent on the opening track, “I Know It’s Not Too Late,” Selcer’s philosophical observations rife with intentional simple word structure a la Bernie Taupin in Elton John’s classic “Daniel,” taking the “rain in Spain” cliché rhymes and using them to good effect.    “It’s All Around You” was in release a few months before the album (an electronic, internet single, of sorts) and it is beautifully constructed with Steve Peabody’s drums giving the reggae flavored love song its march along beat.  The production is exquisite, Selcer the former owner of a recording studio in Boston back in the 1980s and live sound engineer who has worked with too many name artists to list here, places instrumentation and voice perfectly. Each song is over four minutes, so the fourteen tracks make for a lengthy listening experience, about seventy minutes or so.
Kenny Selcer - all guitars, bass, keyboards, mandolin, all vocals, percussion, drum programming.
Mike Migliozzi - drums on 1, 3, 4, 7, 9,12,14
Andy Solberg - bass on 1, 3, 4, 7, 9,12
Chris Billias - keyboards on 1, 3, 4, 9, 12,14
Manolo Mairena - congas, percussion on 1, 3, 4, 9, 12,
Steve Gilligan - bass on 14
Roland Ochsenbein - piano on 7
Steve Peabody - drums on 2, 11
Rob Rudin - help on drum programming on 5

all music/lyrics ©2001-2016 Kenny Selcer, BMI

Click Here to Download!

The four and a half minute “Evelyn” is a standout and has Selcer on mandolin and most instruments a la Emmit Rhodes and Paul McCartney, Rob Rudin helping out with some of the drum programming. For the Americana Pop that the song is, there’s a flavor of blues in the singing and lyric.   

The title track at 5:39 is the longest, an epic with the rhythmic beats accented, a heavy reggae boost with Selcer choosing multiple light guitar licks and backing vocals to boost the vibe.  Mixed by Matt Hayes at Wellspring Sound in 2016 with the studio owner, Eric Kilburn, handling the mastering, the love and care put into this project is clear, as exhibited in the Celtic instrumental “Kenny’s Tune,” a truly inventive mix of sounds that is compelling bringing to mind when voiceless pop songs would rule the airwaves, Paul Mauriat’s “Love is Blue,” the timeless “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” by Sounds Orchestral, the airy, catchy, splendid sounds before Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” developed the hard rock instrumental as a hit record.  Final track “Stay Awhile” features Stompers/Fox Pass bassist Steve Gilligan, with keyboards from Chris Billias and Mike Migliozzi on drums.  The use of a band brings another flavor to a mostly self-performed album though players Roland Ochsenbein on piano, conga/percussionist Manolo Mairena and bassist Andy Solberg add their talents throughout, this is mostly a self-performed project with Kenny Selcer bringing to life some of his BMI administered catalog featuring music and words that span fifteen years, from 2001 to 2016.

    WALLS 3:53

The band and songwriter describe "Walls" as "an introspective look at pushing away the ones you love."

It's a lilting, oh so pretty ballad with strength opening with straightforward solo acoustic guitar,  Jack Maher's pure voice echoing from the confessional, and an honest admission of creating self-imposed barriers.  With Jon Shumway's drums quietly keeping time with smart reverb shimmering, John Lousteau's understanding production adds a dash of subtle keys at Studio 606, Northridge, California.  Breaking out of the reverie at the 3:26 mark, backing vocals giving that subliminal message (think Richard Perry's strings on Carly Simon's "Your So Vain," having the antagonist on his high horse, well, it's the opposite here with the composer and/or producer letting you read between the lines) that the door is opening ...ever so slowly.  Where Jim Croce's magic was the sincerity coming out of his rather unique voice, Maher has a more commercial, precise and engaging set of pipes that he uses to great effect, employing the simple is more strategy he comes up with a very powerful performance.

8) John E. Funk and the Skunks 
self titled

9) Ralph Nader, ANIMAL ENVY  (book)
JV about to read this, review to follow

Publisher notes
Ralph Nader's newest work of the imagination, Animal Envy, is a fable about the kinds of intelligences that are all around us in other animals. What would animals tell us—about themselves, about us—if there were a common language among all animal species? A bracingly simple idea, one that has been used before in books like George Orwell's Animal Farm and E. B. White's Charlotte's Web among others, but never like this. In Animal Envy, Ralph Nader proposes, quite plausibly, that a programmer has created a "digital translation" app whereby animals of different species, from insects to whales, can speak to one another, and through a "hyper-advanced converter" these animals can then also speak, both collectively and individually, to humans. It is decided that there will be a global assembly. It will be called "The Great Talkout." Humans are persuaded to reserve 100 hours of network coverage so The Great Talkout may begin and will be viewed by humans everywhere, in all human languages, as well as all animal languages.  
The narrative that ensues is deeply felt and powerfully informed. Just as he did when he wrote Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us, Nader shows here that his visionary genius knows no limits.

10)Kat and Josh   Bare Bones (single)

"Call it science, call it magic It's a chemical reaction" Kat Quinn sings on this perfectly crafted three minute single explaining the un-explainable while the unwritten speaks loud and clear - a subtle noting of the unbelievers. Be it comparing the process "involving effervescence and the giving off of heat" whether on the kitchen table or in a laboratory, "they" don't understand the combination known as "me and you." Kat puts the blues inside this pure pop in a most clever way while the instrumentation reflects the math involved. Very nicely done.

Kat Quinn and Josh Riccio

11)Period Comma

Artist:  Period Comma

CD: The Greatest Hit

12)Jon Butcher  TWO ROADS EAST

13)Sway Casey   Walden

Artist: Sway Casey
CD: Walden
6 tracks 

The enigmatic cover art to the maxi-E.P. Walden by Sway Casey reflects the inner mind and magically indistinct music the East Coast pop/rap/hip-hop artist unveils. Starting with “Contentment” Sway is gliding on sweet keyboards “waiting for the sun to come up, waiting for you to be mine,” in a happy-go-lucky medium that shifts into the second track, “Moonbeams” - featuring Mossh. Two minutes and forty-five seconds seemingly channeling Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Transcendentalism, the guitar line merging with the keys a la The Doors’ Morrison Hotel tune, “The Spy.”

“Macchu Picchu” has a heavy beat holding down the thoughts that roll out as if speaking in tongues, advice and perspectives twirling in multiple motions.  It drives the ideas like a master juggler keeping the audience’s eye intentionally off the ball. A creative platform, which stands alone just fine, but also acting as a bridge between the neo-spirituality of “Moonbeams” and the next tune, “Positivity.” That fourth selection, with a keyboard as elegant as the first track - and the place it paints - continues the theme and is equally content as Sway notes: “the world’s crazier than what I thought it is, so I always keep my attitude positive.”  ”Selfishness” is another one word title on Walden(something David Byrne and the Talking Heads employed across an album,) this with electronic vinyl record scratches, quickly spinning introspection featuring a strong melodic sermon, hypnotic instrumentation and strains of backing vocals that make for an eerie yet thought-provoking piece.

Akira’s production is solid throughout and the bonus track, “Summer Trippin’,” is a treat evoking Sly and the Family Stone’s attitude and gift of something fun for the sunny months. Mixed and mastered by executive producers James Mendillo (JTM) and Will Beale with artwork by Matypus, Walden has lots to offer, and something refreshingly different uncovered with each repeated spin. (Joe Viglione)


CD Baby



Producer Akira

14)Rusty Mullet   
Artist: Rusty Mullet

CD: … Destroyer Death Squadron

10 Tracks

ith what sounds like an old theramin (it is!) from Lothar and the Hand People, straight out of The Outer Limits, a minute and five seconds of "Shazam" opens this creative ten song effort from Rusty Mullet.   The debut album from this quartet emerged May 5, 2017 and it gets right down to business, track 2 "Gurrl" has a trippy, jangly open that deconstructs into pure melodrama grunge. The vibe and attitude consistent and compelling.    It descends even further into the amazing "Toaster Soda" with a mesmerizing guitar riff and flavors of 60s group the Peanut Butter Conspiracy before it enters Black Sabbath territory.   With material written by vocalist, rhythm guitarist Atiba J. McLaren (vocals, rhythm/lead guitar)
 "Demented" crackles with electric fuzz and bubbling rhythms in a drone recitation a la The Velvet Underground's "The Gift."   Only two tracks are in the 3-4 minute range, the opening prelude a minute .5 with the rest of the disc stretching out, going deeper into the secret sauce Rusty Mullet has concocted for their audience.   "For Now" has a killer chorus with  McLaren’s leads frosting the mix with edgy guitar that goes off the deep-end - insanely and nicely.  Bassist John Frechette indeed engages the theramin (track 1) while Brian Turcotte keeps it all together on the drums.  That track at 6:15 while it's follow-up, "The Aftermath of a Rose," clocks in at 6:07 with a heartfelt rock/ballad.  "My Sweet Mistress Nicotine," frenetic instrumental "LSD Cowboy" and the exquisite "Spiderman" keep pace with distinct 1960s flavors updated for this new generation. You can than David Draper’s guitar solos on those previous two songs, along with the second solos/ guitar blasts in “My Sweet Mistress Nicotine” and “Toaster Soda.”   It is garage rock, alternative punk-blues rock all mixed in an interesting and quite exciting way.  "Trickery and Witchery" is an explosive ending to this thought provoking onslaught that has much to offer. (Joe Viglione) 

15)Steve Dennis     Demo

     Don't know if "Dubhe" refers to the Imperial Black India Pale Ale, but the four minute sixteen song has a groove and strong melody that needs no re-recording. The music  Dennis captures has an allure where the magic is isolated without a full band or choir or massive production, the tunes innocently show themselves to be complete in this simple setting. Both "Your Garden" and "Reboot" as carefree and to the point as 1960s folk/pop star Norma Tanega. "Reboot" especially works from the perspective of a singer/songwriter giving his point of view and reflections.  "The King" stays with the guitar and vocal approach with the singer's style shining through - it's his delivery that brings the message forward in almost four and half minutes.   "Any Time Now" keeps things short and sweet, sketched out with an uptempo, happy-go-lucky feel...with some reservations.


Artist: Four Point Restraints
Title: Malice
6 tracks
Vocalist / guitarist Evan Dadowski and lead guitar Will Barry write the material for Four Point Restraints and the maxi-EP Malice brings together a nice mix of rock and country with solid playing, enthusiasm and heart.  In four minutes and fourteen seconds “The Last of Me” gallops along with a dynamic, spaghetti western flair as if out of television’s Rawhide or director Sergio Leone’s legendary For a Few Dollars More.  The backing vocals add immense spirit to this opening track, Cat Verlicco’s bass keeping up the intensity with Tim McCarthy’s drums.  “Barroom Kyrie” follows with Kurt Weil style, Barry’s harmonica giving the period piece a go-between nod for the splashy chorus of “have mercy on me.”   Sterling production by WMFO’s Joel Simches at Watch City Studios, the song construction is studied and smart.  “Partner in Crime” is one of three titles under the four minute mark, and it picks up where “The Last of Me” started.
“The Plague” changes pace, nearly seven minutes that descend into a revved up Doors dirge like “The End,” only Dadowski gets more borderline personality disorder than Jim Morrison here, the country flavors dissipating over the edge.  It’s one of the more provocative titles on the half a dozen titles here, and it works on many levels.  The 3:27 “Heading East” gets back to the wild old west, thumping with a loose abandon while closer, “The Writing’s on the Wall” is exactly that eccentric quasi-schizophrenia referenced in the liner notes.  It’s radio friendly with its melodic pop/grunge engagement.  (Joe Viglione)


26)The Peanut Butter Conspiracy
For Children Of All Ages


AllMusic Review by  [-]

Ralph Schuckett, who played keyboard with Todd Rundgren, the Monkees, Hall & Oates, and others, adds a Vanilla Fudge sound to For Children of All Ages by Peanut Butter Conspiracy, and it is a shame more of that appealing, made-for-radio production Vanilla Fudge made famous is absent from this set. Alan Brackett's vocals sound straight out of Boston band Ultimate Spinach, and that is the downside here. The vocal pretension and bleached lyrics put a damper on this party. Still, it has its moments. Barbara Robison's voice on "Try Again" is hardly Grace Slick, but it adds a hippy vibe one expects, interrupted by strange sound effects which make the listener think the tone arm has lifted off the disc prematurely. Robison's contribution to "It's Alright" puts this group closer to New Colony Six meets Spanky & Our Gang, and an intuitive producer would've known that that was the way to go. For pomposity it's hard to beat "The Loudness of Your Silence," which would make even Paul Simon cringe. The classic West Coast sound that "Now" boasts is neutralized by the showy, ostentatious playing. "Out in the Cold Again" would have worked better had Barbra Robison sang lead; her sincerity is at constant odds with the vocal work of bassist Alan Brackett and guitarist John Merrill. When she's not singing, this band sounds like the guys taking over on Big Brother & the Holding Company's first album for Mainstream -- a recording only Janis Joplin could salvage. Here is an example of too much creative control working against an artist.
27)The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading

AllMusic Review by  [-]

If you want to know why producer Gary Usher is revered in some circles, play The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading next to the pretty much self-produced For Children of All Ages. A name as trendy as the Jefferson Airplane -- and a sound that is absolutely the Airplane -- meets the Mamas & the Papas; the '60s guitars sound smart; the 1967 liner notes by Lawrence Dietz tell you nothing about the group; and the front cover looks like something Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper encountered during Easy Rider. "It's a Happening Thing," like much of this record, tries too hard. Decades after it was recorded, there is charm in a band like the PBC (which rhymes with PCP) being such an authentic figment of someone's countercultural imagination. Sandi Robison is stunning on "Then Came Love," and the production by Gary Usher really is impressive -- it makes the record something special. But if the intro to "Twice Is Life" sounds like the Monkees (and it does), The Peanut Butter Conspiracy ends up sounding like an FM version of Spanky & Our Gang. Spanky McFarlane's hits are what made her so hip, and the PBC's lack of hits makes for an interesting trip back to the days of flower power, and not much else. "You Took Too Much" has gorgeous harmonies, a sing-songy guitar riff, and lyrics bogged down by blatant references to the hippy-dippy mindset of a record company trying to cash in. "Second Hand Man" could be Peter, Paul & Mary on mescaline. That's not a knock; the song actually works in its audacity. A very hip oldies station could play this and attract listeners. It's just hard to take songs like "Why Did I Get So High" seriously when artists like Marty Balin and Grace Slick were freaking out their record label and doing this for real. But credit must be given when it is due -- the Peanut Butter Conspiracy was everything the Ultimate Spinach aspired to be, and this record has merit and is very listenable despite the flaws.


28)The Washington Squares

Washington Squares utilizing my CD review from AMG for their CD Baby
Album Notes
The second album from the Washington Squares starts off with a strong statement by this pioneering folk-rock ensemble, a band that should've charted, a band that other musicians admired. Lauren Agnelli wrote for Creem magazine under the pen name of Trixie A. Balm. Her first major label album was the also-underrated long-player by Nervus Rex. This is a very big change in direction -- imagine Peter, Paul & Mary with a more radical slant. "The Fourth Day of July" is a traditional tune with new words and music by Agnelli, Tom Goodkind, and Bruce Jay Paskow. Drummer Billy Fica isn't featured on the album cover or jacket, but his contribution is noted, and essential. "Charcoal" presents Agnelli as pop chanteuse; it is the Washington Squares, but veers away from the music embraced in their cover of Hamilton Camp's "The Pride of Man." Agnelli's chameleonic performance is what makes the band very special, her voice changing the texture of "The Pride of Man," which evolves into some kind of Sunday afternoon prayer and song chorus for a folk mass. Paskow's "Neal Cassady," with the mournful backing vocals by the band, reads like early Jefferson Airplane with Signe Anderson if Arlo Guthrie had produced them. "La Roue de Fortune" (by Agnelli) shows strength and maturity. Buffy Sainte-Marie would be proud. The guys chime in with really impressive vocal work, and that is the key to the Washington Squares. They are every bit as polished as Peter, Paul & Mary, but in covering Hoyt Axton's "Greenback Dollar" they probably confused the heck out of radio. Not quite pop, not quite country, and then there's Tom Goodkind's "Join Together," which is campfire funk, if there is such a thing. A hootenanny for the '80s. The traditional "My True Love and I," as rearranged by Agnelli, Paskow, and Goodkind, is a beautiful period piece. When Dar Williams tours and can put 3,600 people into a venue on her own without a hit single, it amazes that this beautiful music did not find a huge audience. It's also a pity that a radio station would have to show courage to air something this retro/progressive. This is the kind of sound that fits nicely next to the grunge of modern rock, and gives the listener a breather. It is, after all, in the same spirit -- just a different volume. Paskow's "Other Side of Sin" has a great beat and proves that point. "All Over the World" is about the hardest rocking, actually reminiscent of Nervus Rex's near-hit "Don't Look." Fair and Square is unique and listenable music from a very talented bunch. ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide

29)Feed the Kitty  Westbound & Down

Artist: Feed the Kitty
CD:  Westbound & Down
11 tracks
By Joe Viglione
“Road Less Traveled” opens up “Westbound & Down,” written by band members Jed Mottley (bass,) drummer Jon Shumway and vocalist/guitarist Jack Maher along with Tyler Neuhausen and Chris Hagerty, a driving track that has elements of Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Flying Burrito Brothers with a twist: the opening riff, the effective guitar electronics and a dash of reggae in the middle, the mix of genres and attitudes which sets the stage on this third studio CD from west coast band Feed the Kitty.  “Californica Country Girl” is as memorable and attractive a song as you’ll find, “every city slicker’s wet dream,” fun, clever lyrics about a West Coast gal out of place behind the bar in Alabama. Everything about this song – performance, solid writing and sensitive production from John Lousteau make it so very radio friendly for the summer of 2017.  “Bring your Bikini but leave your gun”…she’s a California Country Girl. 
Track 3, “Walk with Me,” displays the balance of Westbound & Down, the dynamics in the sequencing, and Maher’s voice so ultra-commercial delivering his line - “heart’s done time, but…”  - with the subtlety of a movie star at a key moment, catching the audience off guard.  The singer’s tone works perfectly avoiding the eunuch bombast of arena rockers or that swallow-your-tongue 80’s sound of Michael McDonald, Rick Astley and Michael Bolton. Maher’s pitch and soothing inflection are perfect and appealing, pure rock star material.  At 2:59 “Walk with Me” is another side of commercial, distinctly different from “California Country Girl,” and a wonderful follow-up that begs repeated spins.  “Making My Way” with its energetic country pop shifts gears the way Big Brother and the Holding Company post-Janis Joplin delivered their classic Nick Gravenites tune “I’ll Fix Your Flat Tire Merle” (picked up by Pure Prairie League,) showing that they were more musical than they were ever given credit for…the double edged sword of being on stage with one of the all-time greats and constantly being overshadowed.  Feed the Kitty, as a unit, has no such dilemma as this cohesive trio prove Euclid and Aristotle correct about the sum of the parts. These cats drive with an intensity, determination, and yet they know how to take their foot off the pedal and give that sensitive side to keep things interesting.
“Makin’ My Way” with its echoing acoustic intro, blends into a “dangling conversation.” It revolves in quiet emotion --- like a slow dance monologue to oneself about getting back home, or to the one you love. Elegant in both vocal and production, a sustained, pensive mode so complete and accurate just as the harder compositions explain the depth of the songwriting and performance better than any critic can.  “One More Week” keeps the intrigue going – much of the album by this group that gigs about 300 nights out of the year is about that “one more week” – till the tour draws to a close.    It’s – perhaps – best exemplified with the title track “Westbound” which hints thematically at Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” (as does “Makin’ My Way”) – Feed the Kitty rocking it out with a mild C & W twist, to good effect. The band plays contemporary 2017 pop/country drawing from the work of 1960’s masters, but with 20/20 vision for the future of the genre.

The band and songwriter describe Track 9, "Walls," as "an introspective look at pushing away the ones you love." It's a lilting, oh so pretty ballad with strength opening with straightforward solo acoustic guitar, Jack Maher's pure voice echoing from the confessional, and an honest admission of creating self-imposed barriers.  With Shumway's drums quietly keeping time with smart reverb shimmering, John Lousteau's understanding production adds a dash of subtle keys at Studio 606, Northridge, California.  Breaking out of the reverie at the 3:26 mark, backing vocals giving that subliminal message that the door is opening ...ever so slowly (think Richard Perry's strings on Carly Simon's "Your So Vain," having the antagonist on his high horse, well, it's the opposite here with the composer and/or producer letting you read between the lines.)  Where Jim Croce's magic was the sincerity coming out of his rather unique voice, Maher has a more commercial, precise and engaging set of pipes that he uses to great effect, employing the simple is more strategy - and he comes up with a very powerful and necessary performance.   

 “Human Race” draws from the great soundtrack maestro Hugo Montenegro – especially Montenegro’s re-working of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly for the film of the same name while the three minutes and five seconds of “Anxiety” is equally dark, a break-up of what once was, with instrumentation that explains it to the complementary lyrics.

No songs dip under 2:21 and nothing goes over 3:52, keeping the song construct perfect, short and sweet, unlike the Eagles,  the band that paved this road and yet, despite all their success, left so much on the table.  Feed the Kitty have the instinct from their years of studio work and relentless touring.  From “Sorry” to closing track “I’m to Blame” Maher, Mottley and Shumway deliver what’s promised on record as well as from the stage.  Producer Lousteau adds just the right touch – the combination of these talents creating something very special that has the potential to give radio listeners melodies that light up the phone lines. 

California Country Girl

CD Baby

1) Road Less Traveled   (2:58)
2) California Country Girl   (3:20)
3)Walk With Me (3:00)
4)One More Week (2:49)
5)Makin' My Way (3:52)
6)Westbound (3:10)
7)Human Race (2:21)
8)Anxiety (3:04)
9)Walls (3:53)
10)Sorry (2:26)
11)I'm to Blame (2:23)


30)Classic Groove live at the Cantab Lounge
When drummer Rich Marshall called out to “All you hamburgers and cheeseburgers” it was quoting the late Little Joe Cook of “Peanuts” fame, the legendary r & b singer who ruled at the Cantab.  On Saturday, April 29 three members of Little Joe’s band, bassist Lee Lunday, guitarist Candy Delgado and Marshall with Daemian Allen on keys, Steve Tajian on saxophone and Susan Jeffrey on vocals rocked the packed room called on of the best “dive bars” in America.   Taking Gnarls Barkley’s classic “Crazy” and putting a woman’s voice on it works effectively, this veteran blues and rhythm band with a pulsating presence that had the twenty-something audience captivated for the entire evening.  It’s what separates the Cantab from other nightclubs, a college crowd that wants its bluesy pop, found on a Cambridge sidewalk that the city named Little Joe Cook Square.  Members of the band host an open mic on Sunday nights, but Classic Groove only performs once a month.  Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” was rocking, while “I Love the Nightlife,” the 1978 Alicia Bridges hit, evolved from its disco roots to smart dance r & b.   When that concluded a set the band decided to give the audience the instrumental encore of  “Unchained Melody” with the leader of this Waltham based group, Steven Charles Tashjian, front and center with the saxophone playing the vocal melody. Their set list is stunning, from Motown to Grand Funk and the Doors, and one wonders if the flock of young club goers are aware of the heritage the players from Little Joe’s band bring to the party.  Like having Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding or Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie band on a Saturday night bringing the sounds that endure from the power and the glory of the Little Joe Cook days.   (Joe Viglione)

31) Kat Quinn  Waiting to Exhale

Review: Exhale Kat Quinn

Songwriter/singer Kat Quinn has a wonderfully compact 4 song E.P. entitled EXHALE now in release. It is a refreshing blend of melody, inspired words and a sincere and impressive voice communicating her ideas.
“What Love Feels Like” starts things off, and it is simply amazing, drenched in the superb production work of master craftsman Peter Calo. Go back over previous reviews of mine, this writer is not prone to hyperbole unless something reaches into the ether and comes up with a surprise, and the surprise is here. Special sounds are what the audience is seeking in 2012, new sounds to dazzle – and the mix of fluke (a ukulele) of Kat’s along with a dizzying array of instruments Calo provides – acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, keyboards, percussion, Viola de Terra (a stringed instrument from the Portuguese islands of The Azores,) lap steel, dulcimer, bass and drum programming, it is a stunning mix.
“Waiting To Exhale” with its ghostly voices at the end is a quick change of pace, mellow but moving followed by “Coffee Shop Song”, perhaps an answer to Harriet Schock’s “Starbucks”, low-key, though, not as “swinging” as Harriet’s song’s been called. The musing over a guy and wondering if he has a wife is longing where Janis Ian’s “In The Winter” had her declare in anger “You have a lovely wife” over an ex she is venting over. “So Damn Cute” could even be a sequel to “Coffee Shop Song”, an uptempo ditty which ends the quick four song escapade that makes up the 4 song Exhale CD. Everything is Grade A on this classy and smart outing, Calo’s production skills simply outstanding. The guy’s a monster that improves like fine wine. Four stars.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for, and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.

32)John Mooney
33)Rusty Kershaw

             AllMusic Review by  [-]

In the early '90s, producer Rob Fraboni was the man behind Domino Records, a label distributed by Relativity Entertainment Distribution. Domino released Zoom, the self-produced album by Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee, along with two discs produced by Fraboni, one by blues artist John Mooney and the other being this excellent effort by Rusty Kershaw. For fans of Neil Young's Harvest, this is even more laid-back, but it shows Young's roots, and he actually shows up on six of the 13 tracks. "I Like to Live on the Bayou" has Ben Keith on dobro and pedal steel, and Young playing a melancholy harmonica. This material was recorded and mixed in New Orleans, and it can't be beat for authenticity. Now & Then is a record from another time and place, and if you aren't accustomed to the sound, it really needs to be played a couple of times to detox you from what you may be used to listening to; the 12 Kershaw originals and one arrangement of a traditional tune, "Stop Kicking My Dog Around," have an amazing effect when given a proper ear. Fraboni's production is perfect, allowing the music to get absorbed by the analog recording tape. Art Neville's piano on "Musician's Woman" and "I Don't Like the Feeling" is a nice addition to the Subdudes, the band recording with Kershaw on this disc (Steve Armadee on tambourine, Johnny Ray Allen on bass, Tommy Malone providing acoustic guitar, and John Magnie on keyboards). "This Is Rock & Roll" is not rock & roll -- it's some blend of folk and Cajun music -- but it works, and the instrumentation weaves a nice tapestry here, a little more uptempo than most of the record. "I Don't Like the Feeling" brings things right back down; Kershaw's vocals are almost unintelligible, and the performance feels like B.J. Thomas' 45 rpm version of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" played at 33 rpm. There is amazing precision in these grooves; Kershaw is able to slow things down with more intensity than Vanilla Fudge in its heyday. Fans of modern rock might find this musical morass monotonous, but that would be a pity. "Married Man," with contributions from Young and Keith, is like some sort of Cajun funk. It's music with a well-deserved cult following, and is a treat for connoisseurs of the genre. (Joe Viglione)                 

34)  Josh Small-Richmond
35)Mike Morrissey   Haley Katrin  Dionysia





Club Bohemia, downstairs at The Cantab Lounge
Mike Morrissey’s aching vocal works over interesting guitar weavings, the space in between the strums and the voice play with the imagination in a nice way recalling hit artists Norma Tanega, Tim Buckley and Janis Ian.  Morrissey uses subtleties to make his point, and a good transition for the audience.  Morrissey’s set goes from She Smiled, Unseen, Arrive, Heartbeat, Puppets, Hands, Miss June, Fool’s Gold, and Rainy Days… in that order.
Billy Quill’s voice and compositions are drenched in bluesy pop with a solid groove with words that combine insight with introspection.  The instrumentation sometimes dangles in the air, as does his voice, to good effect.
Haley Katrin is backed by guitarist Adam Sickler and drummer Shade Tramp –they’re create an entertaining mixture of sounds seguing from acoustic to pop rock with a heavy backbeat. Katrin’s authoritative voice punctuates each note with the precision of a pro, but rock ’n’ roll enough to let the band drive with a nice ragged edge. Haley’s set consists of Be Your Girl Skate By Sheep Sugar Water Angel from Montgomery Half Past 3 23 Tinder Hipster Prince.
Dionysia plays songs from their CD The Breach and issue their musical statement with polish and sometimes lots of angst.  Songs like “Zombie,” “Glory” and “Doorstep” have one-word titles which push the pop envelope with catchy chord changes and clever riffs.   (Joe Viglione)

36)Melissa Weikhart / The Chicken Slacks

Review of April 27, 2017 at THE CANTAB



The Cantab, Cambridge, MA
It’s an evening of pop with heavy cosmic jazz influence as Melissa Weikart brings a dreamy sound into the Club Bohemia cavern (downstairs at the Cantab) that is usually noisy and loud.  Adam Tuch is dominant with his smooth and inviting keyboards over Zach King’s drums and Devon Hurt’s bass.  Weikart plays to a substantial and appreciative crowd on a beautiful Thursday night in Central Square, Cambridge, MA.
The diva’s voice reaches amazing heights over Matt Okun’s liquid guitar strums with bass, drums and keys. They all generating a symphonic, airy bit of mystery, embracing Weikart’s lyric in a pleasant and entertaining way.  Engaging renditions of her “Our Room,” White Dress,” “New Normal” and “Broken Records” gives way to Weikart sitting down at Tuch’s piano to perform solo.  “Unconventional, but it’s happening” she notes as they were able to get the stand-up microphone at the right height for “Humans.”  The solo material, in particular, seems perfect for a new Twilight Zone, odd piano sounds and a vocal sound that go contrary to the notes she pluckes off of the keyboard, quite difficult to pull off.  The audience, all the tables and chairs filled, but still intimate, keeps quiet during the solo portion.  Pure artistry at play and a very welcome change of pace for our cellar full of noise in the cavern under Massachusetts Ave.
Upstairs Chicken Slacks are downright frighteningly good with a more than average rowdy crowd stomping to pure rhythm and blues.  This writer gets to see the Slacks almost every week, but this night, April 27, is more intense than usual.  The club is filling to capacity and the room and floor are shaking…and there’s a line of more people outside.  I snap one video that captures the craziness, but had to get out of Dodge as it is just too many people for me at midnight. (Joe Viglione)

37)Loose Salute with Mick Lawless


Pisces, Cancer, Leo & Yates, Ltd. features:
13 tracks
Mick Lawless is a superlative musician and the final track on this “loose” salute to The Monkees puts an exclamation mark on that statement. “Sweet Young Thing” is a brilliant composition from Mike Nesmith, Carole King and Gerry Goffin amazingly reconstructed by Loose Salute, the almost two minute instrumental intro begins as stunning a piece of rock ’n’ roll music as you’ll find.  Track 9, “Grand Ennui,” is not a nod to the Lou Reed classic, “Ennui,” from Sally Can’t Dance, it’s actually a Nesmith country tune that plays nicely after the beautifully uptempo rendition of  his classic, “Joanne.”   There’s a quasi Vanilla Fudge version of “(I’m Not Your) Steppingstone,” two and a half minutes of a countrified “I Wanna Be Free,” a four minute “Take a Giant Step” – the immortal flip of the 1966 45 rpm “Last Train To Clarksville,” and a 57 second of a Hugo Montenegro-inspired (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) instrumental of “Theme to the Monkees.”   Monkees covers along with Nesmith originals that are derived from the Monkees’ style.  For the record, there are three Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart songs, a Goffin/ King classic along with the duo’s co-write with Nesmith referenced above and “What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round?” a song by the Lewis and Clarke Expedition’s Michael Martin Murphey (he of “Wildfire” fame) and Owen Castleman. notes that they were label-mates on Colgems with The Monkees, so it all makes sense, and comes full circle.  The CD cover, of course, is a take-off on  the number one album from The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. … which itself was prophetic in the eventual metamorphosis that generated Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart.   Mick, Tom, Pete and Keith of Loose Salute are devotees, and their musicianship separately and collectively is major league. Take a listen to how they re-speak “Propinquity” bringing in flavors of The Band, Dylan, Nesmith and Kris Kristofferson.  Just wonderfully planned and produced. (Joe Viglione)

38)Scott Damgaard  Leaving Hyannis


Leaving Hyannis
13 tracks
Leaving Hyannis… a 12-song, 13-track disc from Scott Damgaard, formerly of psychedelic band the Wayoutz, is almost as stylistically adventurous as Santana’s huge Supernatural CD and outside of singles – where the focus is on one composition – the abrupt shifts can be jarring for the first few spins.   Damgaard is a craftsman who rolls out the melodies and the stories with a free spirit abandon.
“Alligator” goes deep into the Cajun wilderness, the bluesy, slinky opening track would make Rusty and Doug Kershaw both proud.  In a sudden turnabout an uptempo Jim Gambino accordion (he of Swinging Steaks) on an Irish jig sends the mood into a different dimension on “Oh, Annie Murphy.” And if you think “Patrick Stands” keeps the Emerald isle a rolling, you’d be wrong.  This is a Dr. John blues beat that might fit in New Orleans, but it’s not of the same wavelength as “Alligator” which starts the show off.  There’s literally the cast of thousands at this party, different flavors from many musicians, co-songwriters and a variety of grooves. “I’ve Always Been Lonely” is in the Damgaard pop craftsmanship pocket while “Alden” opens up like John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” evolving into a superb folk/ pop/ blues song with staying power and heartfelt singing and playing.
“Darwin’s Uncle” opens up with Scott’s acoustic guitars very reminiscent of Ray Jackson of Lindisfarne’s Mandolin on Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.”  Damgaard keeps switching styles, “I found love that first night/ her soft eyes looking at me” in the neo-skiffle “An Accidental Look (It was).”   Then we swing back to New Orleans on “Nantucket Stroll,” the song that has most in common with the CD’s title, Leaving Hyannis.  The musicianship is top notch throughout the 12 tracks plus bonus hidden adventure that is the unlisted number 13.  A baker’s dozen that are light years away from the pure pop/ psychedelia of the singer’s Wayoutz band and their classic Something Now disc.
Four minutes and 21 seconds of “Frankie Got My Lighter” sound like an opening act for Ricky Riccardo of I Love Lucy going half-reggae while “Sandcastles” gets more serious.  Saving the best for last, “Sandcastles,” “Bikini Island” and “You Were Here” close out the disc with some beautifully crafted pop.   “Margaritaville” with a bit of Elton John’s “Island Girl” gloss.   “Bikini Island” is a look at the devastation and radioactive fallout removing the beach music aspect of that area while “You Were Here” goes full-out reggae/ pop, the full journey of Leaving Hyannis clocking in at 52 minutes. (Joe Viglione)

39)The Brigands  in The Noise


Night Patrol
16 tracks
Produced by the Brigands, this 16 track disc has a local slant as “The World’s Last Honest Man” walks along Mass Ave, is found in Kenmore Square, while the band steamrolls along in minimal fashion, a chorus that borders on a chant. Peter Parcellin (guitar) and Brian Sullivan (drums) share the lead vocals and on songs like “She’s So Hot” two voices mix in interesting fashion a la Kenne Highland’s Gizmos, less the naughty lyrics.  “Looking for Lewis and Clark” (with its line “Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie…) references the old Boston Garden while the guitars churn away.  Brigands approach their work like a working man’s rock band with a Ramones’ approach mixed in with more traditional sounds.  The backing vocals are supplied by second lead guitarist Michael “Scott” Stewart and bassist John Skinner.  Track 3, “Supersonic” is a standout and an alternative version of the tune closes out the CD.  With an MC5 attitude over climbing guitar chords this is the direction that succeeds the best, no nonsense rocking out.  On most of the disc it sounds like the boys are having fun at a frat party straight out of Animal House, a rock ’n’ roll mission to have a good time.  The cover of Bo Diddley’s “Pills,” most likely found in the New York Dolls’ catalog, is durable, while “Acid Test” and the title track, “Night Patrol,” are key moments as well.  Night Patrol was recorded and mixed by Rayboy Fernandes, former drummer with The Atlantics. (Joe Viglione)

40)Fred Gillen Jr.  WHAT SHE SAID


Fred Gillen Jr. opens his masterfully produced album, What She Said, with “Prayer for America” giving time and space to refugees, philosophy and the iconic Statue of Liberty only partially visible, as if sinking in the sand in Charlton Heston’s original Planet of the Apes.   That philosophy, seeded throughout the variety of ideas, include possibly not believing in God but finding the need to pray.  See how he brings Palestine to Baltimore on track nine, discussed a few lines down. Gillen’s grasp of a hook, eloquent essaying and his veteran vocals make for an all-around strong performance, hitting all cylinders.  Remember Paul Kantner’s 1987 video and song for the KBC band, “America?”   Thematically we are still in the same place, if not more critical with the plethora of skewed headlines, and like a good outing for Law and Order: SVU, the songwriter/singer pulls pertinent ones together for his musical OpEd.  “Return of the Buffalo,” also coming in at three minutes plus, is a standout.  Great song, great hook, and reminiscent of Elton John’s second American album, Tumbleweed Connection, where lyricist Bernie Taupin utilized Elton’s voice and music to record his purported interest in the wild old west while working on conquering America as Roxy Music tried with “Prairie Rose,” and David Bowie succeeded with when he danced with the “Young Americans.”    Gillen’s voice gives this important melody what it deserves creating a moment that is both memorable and unique. This is an American singing about America, not a Brit experimenting with our country’s ideas (not that we mind that…it’s just that we’re the ones experiencing this world.) It glides in and out quickly like a pure pop song should, with staying power and also reminding those so inclined of the Star Trek episode, “The Man Trap,” the first episode to ever air.
Over the dozen tracks – which I’ve played in my car repeatedly – the vision is clear – a political statement on life in 2016/2017 with.  My computer skipped up to “Baltimore Burns,” track 9, and it actually works quite well after “Return of the Buffalo” in retrospect. It is one of only three of the dozen compositions which are in the four-minute mark, the other nine three minutes plus, Gillen Jr. smartly giving his commentary within a pop structure that makes for a more dramatic impact.  “She Loved” is folk/acoustic with country leanings, going back to where country radio was in the 1960s and 70s, including a line about her like for John Denver and Johnny Cash.  “Julia,” co-written – as is track 3, “Future Americans,”  with the equally talented Matt Turk (the pair also perform live as “Gillen and Turk,” )  is a change of pace, undercurrents of CSNY’s “Ohio” mixed with Robin Gibb’s popular classic solo outing, “Juliet.” Elegantly packaged in a six-panel cardboard, eco-friendly case, Gillen has taken a turn here from previous recordings to read – almost like spoken word over smartly crafted instrumentation.  That’s expressed carefully in “Some Call it Karma, Some Call it Grace,” always with a chorus to underline the thoughts being expressed.  “Where Are You Tonight Fallen Angel” concludes this next chapter in Fred Gillen Jr’s impressive journey calling out for a damaged someone, remembering the better aspect of a special friend who’s lost their way. A great conclusion to a thought-provoking disc that is worth your time exploring more than a few spins.
Worth noting from the P.R.: What She Said (2017) Full-length, solo, studio album #10, released on the 20th anniversary of album #1. 8 new Fred Gillen Jr original songs, and 4 co-writes with Abbie Gardner, Steve Kirkman, and Matt Turk.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.

41) Bonus

Extraordinary Songwriter Showcase with 
Eric Lee tonight at the Cantab Lounge

42)The Echoes

Heralded in Jersey Beat by famed rock critic Robert Barry Francos ("The songs are full of love and tenderness... an easy listen on many levels, including a joyful melody line and a to-the-point lyrics structure... it's a style that is very listener friendly. Like cocoa and a blanket on a chilly evening"), journalist Joe Viglione would go on record to note, in both the All Media Guide and on, "In a world of high-end explosions and music with nothing to say, these new Echoes communicate their feelings well over a stripped down framework that Nuggets fans will eat up."

2007 would see the release of "NOW HEAR THIS" and show the band not only expanding its repertoire, but skills as both performers and recording artists. Again taking note,'s Joe Viglione wrote: "Two years after the 'Listen Up' release, [The Echoes] return with 15 more selections that continue the charming journey they set out on--picture Half Japanese with more structure and a better attempt at going commercial. The six-minute-plus 'I Couldn't Stand' is truly modern-day underground rock;" with toting the fact "'I Couldn't Stand' has a great hook" in its appraisal of the act's second full-length offering.

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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...