Monday, January 23, 2023

February 2023 Top 40 Ian Hunter "Bed of Roses" Jefferson Starship Miracles, Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now / Happy Heart Petula Clark / Ant Man QuantumMania,


Writing rock reviews is so much easier when it is Ian Hunter's music. This is not said because I was an original fan back in the 1969 self-titled, Mad Shadows, Wildlife and Brain Capers days, it is stated because the fun I'm having listening to "Bed of Roses" is fact.

"Bed of Roses" is such an immaculate enchantment, and keep in mind I can be a very tough critic (just ask fans of Patty Duke and producer Ron Nevison, God love them.) It is because the hook in the song won't quit, not simply because Ringo Starr is the drummer. The ascending middle-8/break of Na Na Na's perfectly placed, a superbly written composition, not just because it is the team of Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac guitarist Mike Campbell with Ringo and Ian.

The band played all night long, song after song, Ian Hunter's voice is magic. Ringo Starr's playing innovative and enlightening. It's a delight throughout the five minutes and twenty-six seconds. IF the album Defiance Part 1 is anything like this one slice, lookout world.

Ian's new album Defiance Part 1 will be arriving on April 21, 2023, and his new song “Bed of Roses,” featuring Ringo Starr and Mike Campbell, is out NOW! Listen to the song and pre-order your copy of the album, here: Video Director/Producer: Frank Gryner Connect with Ian: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Tiktok: Website:


A rock n' roll trailblazer for over six decades, Ian Hunter reflects on his musical journey while looking forward to the next chapter in his storied career. Known for his high-profile collaborations, Ian Hunter continues this tradition on his new album, Defiance Part 1. Backed by fellow legends Ringo Starr and Johnny Depp, Hunter rocks on all original tracks like "This Is What I'm Here For," and "Bed of Roses," with a printed inner sleeve from Ian personally thanking all the contributors. 180g.

Disc 1
1. Defiance
2. Bed of Roses
3. No Hard Feelings
4. Pavlov’s Dog
5. Don’t Tread on Me
6. Guernica
7. I Hate Hate
8. Angel
9. Kiss n’ Make Up
10. This Is What I’m Here For

2)Ant Man and the Wasp: QUANTUMANIA 


In the film, which officially kicks off phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Super-Hero partners Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Together, with Hope’s parents Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought was possible. Jonathan Majors joins the adventure as Kang. Director Peyton Reed returns to direct the film; Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard produce.


Facebook: @MarvelStudios @antman

Twitter: @MarvelStudios @antman

Instagram: @marvelstudios @antmanofficial

Hashtag: #AntManAndTheWaspQuantumania


3)Savoy Brown


John Lappen on behalf of iconic blues-rock band Savoy Brown.

The band is proud and excited to release its new album, Blues All Around, worldwide on Quarto Records, on February 17.    

The release of the new album is especially poignant in that it comes after the December 13 passing from cancer of band founder and sole constant Savoy Brown member guitarist/lead vocalist Kim Simmonds.

Simmonds is considered one of music’s premier blues/blues rock guitarists and songwriters and is also discussed as one of the architects of the 1960’s British blues scene in London.  

Simmonds, an early pioneer of the British blues movement and a passionate proponent of the blues, lost his hard-fought battle with cancer just a week after turning 75.

Blues All Around follows Savoy Brown’s critically acclaimed 2022 album, Ain’t Done Yet, and is lovingly dedicated to the band’s families, friends, and Savoy Brown fans everywhere. 


Please let me know if interested in an interview with bassist Pat DeSalvo and/or drummer Garnet Grimm, both of whom have been integral members of the band’s lineup since 2009 and were part of the longest-running consistent line-up in the band’s lengthy history.


Both are articulate, engaging guys who are excited to share with you their thoughts about the new album and, of course, their thoughtful reminisces of Simmonds.
If no interest in an interview, I would appreciate a mention or a review of the album.

Savoy Brown was formed in 1965 by Simmonds in London, England as the Savoy Brown Blues Band.  Simmonds had been the group’s guiding hand from the first singles released in 1966 through the band’s newest effort, Blues All Around. 

Throughout the years, the band became known for their fierce dedication to blues music, music which not only remained faithful to their deep blues-roots but could also rock like mad.  The band were always true road warriors as well, their non-stop touring also becoming a hallmark of the band’s legacy.

Lead by Simmonds’ clean, crisp, biting guitarwork, the band’s peerless sound quickly became a staple of the 60s music scene and lasted right up through Kim’s unfortunate passing.   The band developed a loyal core following throughout the world, particularly in the U.S.

Energetic blues/ blues-rock was the calling card of the band from the beginning.  Blues Rock became the catch-all phrase in the late 1960s to describe the band’s music along with that of contemporaries like Cream, Fleetwood Mac, and Jimi Hendrix.


In fact, in the 2013 movie, “Jimi Hendrix: All Is by My Side,” a Savoy Brown song co-written by Simmonds was included in the soundtrack.


Many of the band’s singles and albums have appeared on the Billboard charts. Through the 60s, 70s and 80s songs such as I’m TiredTrain to NowhereTell Mama and Lay Back in The Arms of Someone became Billboard Hot 100 entries and band staples.


Two of the band’s albums in the 70s, Looking In and Hellbound Train, appeared on the Billboard Top 40 charts and Street Corner Talking charted in the Billboard Top 100.  All remain classics to this day. 


This pattern continued with Witchy Feelin’, the band’s 2017 album, reaching #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart.  They also garnered great chart success on many blues charts worldwide.


Along the way, Savoy Brown toured continuously, making it one of the longest running blues rock bands in existence. Through the years, the band headlined concerts at many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, the Fillmore West, and London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall.


Savoy Brown, having established national status in the 1970s, provided opportunities for other bands to launch their careers. Some of the bands who opened for and toured with Savoy Brown back in the day include Kiss, ZZ Top, The Doobie Brothers amongst many others.


Many notable names have performed with Savoy Brown over the decades and went on to perform with other name bands, including, among others, singer Dave Walker (Fleetwood Mac and Black Sabbath), Bill Bruford (King Crimson), Andy Pyle (The Kinks) and Paul Raymond (UFO).  Most notably, classic rock legends Foghat were formed by Savoy Brown alumni Roger Earl, Lonesome Dave Peverett and Tony Stevens.


Simmonds received many accolades over the years, including appearances on the covers of a multitude of guitar magazines including the cover of Guitar Player magazine of which he was a devout fan, enshrinement on the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame and acceptance in many regional “Halls of Fame” in the U.S and Canada.


Savoy Brown helped spawn the 1968 UK blues rock boom and later opened the eyes of many 1970s American music fans to their own homegrown blues artists, many of whom had a huge influence on Savoy Brown’s music.


Blues All Around is a fitting, final tribute to both the amazing career of Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown.


Link to Savoy Brown website:


Link to classic Tell Mama:



Link to classic Street Corner Talking:



4)Phil Darosa   "January Grey"


6)Chris Montez

Song Review by Joe Viglione  [-]

"Call Me" came three and a half years after Chris Montez' first and biggest hit, "Let's Dance", but made more of an impact despite only a Top 25 showing versus the Top 5 status of "Let's Dance". A & M 45 RPM #780 started off 1966 with a mellow sophisticated bar-room sound, not totally cocktail lounge, but certainly more laid back than the "cellar full of noise" Petula Clark sang about in "I Know A Place". Written by the producer/songwriter who was behind Ms. Clarke's ascendancy it is nice to hear someone else take on Tony Hatch's material. That big sound Hatch gave Petula Clark is absent from this rendition - as well as from Clark's own version. It's got plenty of movement to keep it lively, but goes in an almost dreamy direction, a smooth sound from Herb Alpert's stable and that record executive's grasp of the marketplace creating a song with much staying power - and just a perfectly pleasant vocal from Montez that gets the message across. It's interesting that Petula Clark kind of rushed her way through her take on "Call Me", the diva's performance sounding almost live in the studio, lacking the flourishes of what brought her to the attention of the world. One wonders if Tony Hatch and his artist gave their "Call Me" the polish of a production like "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love" that maybe this title could have worked on the charts for her as well. Montez is almost tentative in his vocal approach, like he's nervous about asking the object of his affection out on a date. But he's also sure that he is the remedy for loneliness and the request, "Call Me", is a wonderful invitation over a light and breezy arrangement.

7  Call Me

Chris Montez

Miracles by Jefferson Starship - Track Info | AllMusic


8)Burt Bacharach FUTURES

As with 1973's Living Together album, Burt Bacharach was given a lot of latitude by A&M, and deservedly so. This album is even more deep and complex than Living Together; though commercially it has more to grab onto, it still lacks the immediate punch of his Reach Out album, Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits or even A Tribute to Burt Bacharach: Composer, Arranger, Conductor. This is a very musical episode with Burt Bacharach: Reach Out engineer Phil Ramone co-producing. When you've got Jamie Anders singing on "When You Bring Your Sweet Love to Me," Joshie Armstead contributing to four titles, and even Peter Yarrow helping out on "The Young Grow Younger Every Day," the result can be called "underground adult contemporary." It goes down smooth, and where there are no singers, like on "Time and Tenderness," sophisticated Muzak emerges. As negative as the term Muzak has become, that is a compliment. The audience that enjoys a "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" are more apt to listen to this perfectly balanced array of performances and arrangements. Futures is a great title; it's a very futuristic middle of the road album, Bacharach looking like he stepped out of the gym riding in what looks like a ski lift on the cover. An Engelbert Humperdinck type relaxing, if you will. But the music inside is complex, and the project itself is as tremendous as Jethro Tull's A Passion Play. Unfortunately, it is also as difficult. With the legendary songwriter's many achievements it makes sense that A&M would allow him to go so far out on a limb. As Carole Bayer Sager's masterpiece Sometimes Late at Night mesmerizes -- and keep in mind Burt Bacharach was a major contributor to that epic, Futures is not as easy to absorb. It is immediately accessible, but not as easy to contain or recall. On the back of the album the artist writes, "My music came alive because of these people...," and that pretty much says it all: a major composer and arranger bringing more of his individual music to life. It's a classy project that may find appreciation years after it was recorded, one that might have been overlooked because the composer's other work is so popular.

9)A Tribute to Burt Bacharach (Scepter Records)

 A Tribute to Burt Bacharach: Composer, Arranger, Conductor Review

by Joe Viglione [-]

Fifteen tracks on this single-vinyl disc was typical for the Scepter label in the day, and with Columbia Records issuing a similar set of recordings by various artists, entitled The Carole King Songbook, for that great singer/songwriter around the same time, these compilations were tribute albums before the concept came into vogue in the '90s. How can anyone dispute the vast array of talent here? It's a brilliant collection featuring Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney, Timi Yuro, Jerry Butler, and Bobby Vinton -- artists one doesn't necessarily think of when a Bacharach/David hit comes to mind. Did you know that "Blue on Blue" was written by this dynamic duo? How about Earl Wilson's brilliant liner notes covering Burt Bacharach's stints with Marlene Dietrich, the Ames Brothers, Polly Bergen, even mentioning his work with Vic Damone at Bill Miller's Riviera, the club owned by the dad of Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller. While reading about the rich history of the composer/conductor/arranger, listening to this magnificent album is an easy task. "Anyone Who Had a Heart" is certainly one of Dionne Warwick's most dramatic numbers -- just ask Tim Curry, who did a tremendous Bob Ezrin produced version years later on hisRead My Lips LP. But that take didn't have Gene Pitney's "Only Love Can Break a Heart" follow it as this album does, which in turn is followed by Dusty Springfield doing "This Girl's in Love With You." Now that trio of performances is tough for anyone to beat, and when this was compiled, the powers that be at Scepter probably didn't realize what a compilation masterpiece they were in the process of producing. A critic can gush about this new album and tear apart that, but everyone who putsA Tribute to Burt Bacharach: Composer, Arranger, Conductor on the turntable and should realize that it is a precious work of art, a fine wine that should be treasured and put in a special place on the mantlepiece. Eight of the fifteen tracks were licensed from other labels, and it is a shame this didn't take the world by storm, because if you go track by track it rivals Carole King's Tapestry as a listenable and essential document of this period in music. Timi Yuro's powerhouse voice follows "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" with her thunderous "The Love of a Boy," which is just total contrast, and add Jerry Butler performing "Make It Easy on Yourself," Chuck Jackson on "Any Day Now," along with Jackie DeShannon's "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and you find balance and integrity in these grooves. The depth of Bacharach's catalog and production work is presented in clever fashion here. It's just a real sleeper of an album ripe for re-release on CD, one of those rare moments when an artist's songs come together in a magical combination that works so well, that the only word to describe the experience is genius. Burt Bacharach is pure genius, and this obscure early-'70s album is exhibit A.

10)Burt Bacharach  Living Together

 Living Together Review

by Joe Viglione [-]
The ten songs on Living Together all feature Burt Bacharach on piano, but that's where the similarity to his hit recordings ends. This album plays with less commercial viability than one would expect; it's a lush and elegant exercise and pleasant listening experience, but not easy to grasp. "Long Ago Tomorrow" is mostly instrumental, with voices coming in as additional instrumentation -- it could very well be an outtake from a Broadway show. "Something Big" starts off like Simon & Garfunkel but quickly moves to that "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" sound of a Dionne Warwick record, which is what listeners expect from Bacharach. The Fifth Dimension did put out "Living Together, Growing Together" as the title track of their 1973 Bell album, Bacharach truncating that for the title of this album, Living Together. The Fifth Dimension did crack the Top 40 with the song, their last of 20 chart hits, in fact, and 18th in terms of popularity. Their version was featured in the Peter Finch film Lost Horizon. Tony Middleton and the always exquisite Cissy Houston do the vocals on "I Come to You," but the song is not his most memorable and this album is a far cry from Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits or A Tribute to Burt Bacharach, Composer, Arranger, Conductor. "Monterey Peninsula" a good case in point: It's a jazzy instrumental piece connecting "Something Big" with "I Come to You." "Walk the Way You Talk" would make Mantovani proud. Heck, Mantovani did "Ari's Theme in 1961 and Bacharach did "Arthur's Theme" in 1981, and Bacharach must have certainly looked up to that orchestra leader, but the heartfelt vocal on "The Balance of Nature" is really what the fans expected with the Engelbert Humperdinck-style cover photo, and it comes off as one of the most appealing tracks on the album. This is said with all due respect: Living Together is Muzak with integrity, and makes for good background music while cleaning house.

11)Burt Bacharach  Isn't She Great?

 Isn't She Great Review
by Joe Viglione [-] #11 on the for February

Where the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls had a terrific Dionne Warwick classic in the title track (the biggest of her first 22 Top 40 hits), the reuniting of producer/arranger Burt Bacharach with lyricist Hal David and vocalist Warwick is about as memorable as this biographical film about Jacqueline Susanne, the author of Valley of the Dolls. One problem is failing to utilize the film's star, Bette Midler, on any of the songs here, proving how essential that diva is to both sides of the movie-making experience. Even dialogue from the motion picture would have given this endless middle-of-the-road loop something to hold onto. It sounds like all involved showed up to get their paychecks, manufactured the music off of an assembly line, and maybe had some fun reminiscing about the really great work they all did once upon a time. The album opens up with Warwick singing "On My Way," a nice enough performance with lyrics that -- if not flavored by "Valley of the Dolls" -- sound like they are outtakes from that epic title song over a melody with little staying power. At 13 tracks into the CD, the tune is reprised inside something called "The Book Tour," an instrumental minute and ten seconds before Warwick comes back in with the "Somewhere I will find me a new love" lyric and some mellow Tom Scott sax work. Though Hal David is credited with co-writing all 17 compositions, only two have his words, with Vanessa Williams getting to sound like her "Save the Best for Last" self on "Open Your Heart." There's an interesting theft of the melody lines from "The Look of Love," the 1967 hit from the James Bond film Casino Royale, dipping in and out of "Sexual Me, Sexual You." Too bad they just didn't have Midler sing that Dusty Springfield/Sergio Mendes/Warwick classic. But look at the bright side: The entire 39 minutes and 15 seconds make for good background music. One can stare at the pictures of Bette Midler and Nathan Lane in the eight-page booklet that even includes an ad for the soundtrack to Valley of the Dolls or do some housecleaning while this pleasant exercise spins. A waste of resources.

12) mike by name, "I've Got to Be the One" (Official Video)

Review by JV
Two minutes and forty-seconds from this proficient musician, mike by name, has all sorts of elements superbly mixed into a delicate and entertaining dance/pop tune. "I've Got to Be the One" mirrors Sly and the Family Stone / Prince and even Liz Damon's Orient Express.  Transcendent neo-New Age also flows through this composition's veins.  Delightful and a keeper.

Follow mike by name Website: TikTok: Instagram: Facebook: Stream mike by name: Spotify: Apple Music: All other services: Lyrics: I’ve come to feel like a ripple of water I’ve come to swim upon your safe sound shore I’ve come to love you like a moon move water I wanna wash up and then I want some more I’ve got to be the one To live inside your heart I burn to belong to you We dance like clouds without a lie I’ve got to be the one Let’s go I’ve come to situate and swoon you darlin I’ve come to love you like a reckless child I’ve dreamt up days where we don’t see no one We don’t see no one We just pull the blinds I've got to be, to be the one I've got to be, to be the one I've got to be, to be the one I've got to be, to be the one When it’s all said and done We just might see the light Of the setting sun I’ve got to be the one To live inside your heart I burn to belong to you We dance like clouds without a lie I’ve got to be the one Let’s go Mike Moore All Rights Reserved Copyright 2023 Michael Andrew Moore ASCAP FunkyBlood Publishing ASCAP #mikebyname #musicmaker #indieartist

13)KeelyB  "Let Me Love You"

BSpanner  Let Me Love You
Artist: B-spanner Director: B2 Boy Title : Let Me Love You | Amazing song | Mixed and Mastered: DEA The Busker

14)John Batdorf   

Home Again John Batdorf review by Joe Viglione Though an essential songwriter/singer behind the scenes in the music and film industry, John Batdorf deserves equal time on the radio and Home Again provides solid evidence for that argument. A reunion of sorts with '70s partner Mark Rodney, the title track is a remake of a Batdorf tune from their second release as a duo, 1972's eponymous Batdorf & Rodney. As with Ian Hunter, Buzzy Linhart, the group Epitaph, and a notable list of other veteran artists, the music they are generating in the new millennium is in many ways superior to their previous efforts, and better than what radio and what's left of the industry is attempting to force on the masses. Mark Rodney writes the liner notes here inside this elegant package with over a dozen photo images of the players and he mentions the sound of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Yes, the title track could fit nicely into that trio's repertoire, though Batdorf takes this disc through his own personal journey. "Me and You" is one of seven co-writes with Michael McLean and it would be a nugget on any Paul McCartney album. Vocally sounding like a cross between Jon Anderson from Yes and Seals & Crofts (both of them; and yes, Batdorf & Rodney have been compared to that duo in the past), Batdorf generates a striking album with help from his colleagues, a master craftsman delivering the goods without resting on past laurels or going through the motions. Though there is nothing groundbreaking here, that isn't the objective; it is refreshing to hear an artist do what he does best and do it without concern for Top 40 airplay or commercial success, though this album is oh-so-very radio-friendly. Drifting through folk/pop and the blues of "Solitude," Batdorf communicates his ideas superbly, backing vocals cascading in a spacious production that is minimal yet still big. "I Don't Always Win" evokes that minstrel-in-the-gallery-feel Ian Anderson spoke of, the voices matching the guitar sounds with amazing effect. The ten titles clock in at under 45 minutes but it is great playing and well-considered production that make this a very special project. The final track, "Where Are You Now?," is an old Batdorf & Rodney number which previously only showed up on their Live at McCabes release. Perhaps collaborations with Jonathan Richman and other quirky originals could take this music to an even different path and audience in the future but for right now, the sounds on Home Again are warm, eloquent and very enjoyable.

15)Meredith Day

16)John Cate & The Van Gogh Brothers Gone For Good

17)Iggy Pop

Live in San Fran 1981 Review

by Joe Viglione


It is tough to compete with The Stooges and Fun House when it comes to menacing rock & roll/ punk with as much ambiance as attitude. With a bootleg type feel, Live San Fran 1981 is still able to rise above the predictable with a few choice cuts to satisfy those devoted to Iggy's music. Opening with a decent "Some Weird Sin" from 1977's Lust for Life, this set is not comprehensive, and that it is so haphazard is actually a plus here. The obligatory "TV Eye" and "1969" are included, but outside of the title track to "Lust for Life," everything else will be obscure to people not acquainted with the Stooges' brand of mayhem. The core of the album is in support of the 1981 Arista release Party, and the second track, "Houston Is Hot Tonight," is one of the more manic and exciting cuts here. It sounds like a bizarre and revamped sequel to "White Light/White Heat" by the Velvet Underground with plenty of grunge to bring it over the top. "Rock & Roll Party," "Eggs on Plate," "Pumpin for Jill," and "Bang Bang" are the other titles from Party, those five tracks being half that album represented here on the twelve live tunes. "Dum Dum Boys," the only track from 1977's The Idiot, has eerie guitars and a sinister vocal that propels and differentiates it from most of the show on display in this package. "I Need More," a Matlock/Pop collaboration, has a good anthemic feel to it with a made-for-football-game chorus, and "I'm a Conservative," also from 1980s Soldier disc on Arista, has some decent moments. Despite the low sonics, the performance is very good and some of the selections -- "Houston Is Hot," "Bang Bang," "Dum Dum Boys," even parts of "I'm a Conservative" -- are hard driving and successful. The two studio bonus tracks, "Fire Engine" and "Warrior Tribe," were produced by Cars mastermind Ric Ocasek They don't have Pop's sneer nor Ocasek's trademark edge, but they are nice to have for completists. At the end of "Bang Bang" the Ig announces the band to an appreciative audience, though the tracking appears not to be in the order of the concert. About Iggy Pop/Jim Osterberg's recorded "live" concerts, Greg Prato says in his review of Ultimate Live: "either Iggy is focused and ready to take on the whole crowd (1977-1978, 1985-present day), or indifferent and half-hearted (1979-1983)." This 1981 disc is the exception to that rule, except for the Ocasek produced studio material, which is a shame because Ocasek is a truly gifted producer when he puts the elbow grease into it. Perhaps Ric and Iggy were having too much fun to settle down and let it rip, as the techno drums on both tracks get in the way of the hard-rocking live set. But all of it -- live and studio -- is nice to have for Iggy completists, and there are some key moments on this fine little platter. [A DVD of the show was released in 1986; a CD-only version was also available.]                 

18)Betty Everett Original 1900 Yesterday

 Betty’s time in the spotlight had pretty much passed by mid-1969 when this track appeared on her LP “There’ll Come A Time,” but the song enjoyed better fortune in early 1971 as a mellow top-40 hit for Liz Damon’s Orient Express: Track issued on UNI LP 73048 & 45rpm single 55141 - 1900 Yesterday (J Cameron) by Betty Everett For hundreds of other ‘originals,’ please visit the fascinating playlist “FIRST RECORDING OF THE SONG…” (click here: )

19)Liz Damon's Orient Express

1900 Yesterday · Liz Damon's Orient Express Liz Damon's Orient Express ℗ 2003 Varese Sarabande Records Released on: 1970-01-01

Liz Damon's Orient Express Review

by Joe Viglione


"1900 Yesterday" is as classic a slice of middle-of-the-road/adult contemporary music as you'll find, and the hit single is up there with Ray Conniff's Top Ten 1966 hit, "Somewhere My Love" ("Lara's Theme" from the film Dr. Zhivago is a superb example of the genre). Indeed, Liz Damon's group of three frontwomen and six male musicians sounds as enamored of Ray Conniff and his sound as Ric Ocasek and the Cars were of the Velvet Underground. The Cashman & West song "But for Love" is brilliant, more edge than you might find on an album by the Lettermen, while "You Make Me Feel Like Someone" could have fallen off the first Ronettes album, no joke. Ben Wood's liner notes say this is the band's album debut, and yes, they are lined up in some Holiday Inn-type venue on the back, empty tables and chairs, some people crowded up front -- it's bar band schmaltz, with something here nonetheless. Producer George J.D. Chun put together some sterling work at Annex Studio in Los Angeles and Commercial Recording in the group's hometown of Honolulu. "Bring Me Sunshine" hails back to Connie Francis' early-'60s pop. Keep in mind that this is only four years after Conniff's smash and about seven years since the lengthy reign of Queen Connie. The record is absolutely delightful if you consider the strange combination of genres -- girl group meets middle-of-the-road. The sounds are not strange bedfellows, it's just that for the time this was the antithesis of hip, though that hit single keeps coming back -- as wonderful a tune as the Five Stairsteps' "O-o-h Child," albeit lighter, much lighter.

And yes, the Beatles covers are pure Lettermen; "Something" features the gals backing up the guys with Supremes-type chirps, as does "Let It Be," but it is more palatable than an album like Hugo Montenegro's Dawn of Dylan. Cutting "Let It Be" and "Something" may have been the popular thing at the time; decades later that certain collectibility garnered by Beatles covers puts this album into another league. The guitar solo to "Something" is pretty interesting, as the bar band emerges from the slick adult contemporary sound for a moment, and it is very cool. It's interesting to note that a latter-day version of H.P. Lovecraft known simply as Lovecraft had the same Holiday Inn look, but that band issued a Latin rock sound instead of this frothy stuff. "You're Falling in Love" is a good little tune for Damon's voice, and had she a Phil Spector or a John Farrar to bring her to the heights reached by Olivia Newton-John and Ronnie Spector, she could have held a chanteuse crown for a while. "Everything Is Beautiful" has the band playing the intro that Ray Stevens' choir worked on for his 1970 hit; it's the guys back in front for this and, with no musicians getting credit (only their faces on the back cover and in the gatefold), it's a wonder they didn't just push Damon instead of nameless people taking time up on a record that featured her image front and center. A marketing blunder from the label that brought the world all those Turtles hits, but a fun disc regardless, and a timeless hit single in "1900 Yesterday" worth hearing again and again.                 


The Chops create something Sky Saxon of The Seeds would be so proud of. A bluesy, psychedelic riff that permeates their song "Steppin' on Sunshine."  The guitar is magic with keyboards straight out of Question Mark and the Mysterians.  The Chops build a mood that would feel at home anywhere on Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye's Nuggets compilation.   Find the group on Apple, Soundcloud etc.


Cosmic American Blog picks up my Starship review from AMG

I wish I could say I've seen Mannequin so that I could make a snarky comment about it, but I just remember that when it came out, I thought the TV ads were funny. I was also seven years old. However, if you don't think that the soundtrack gave us one of the greatest power ballads of the '80s, hands down, no question, end of story ... then you'll need to get out of my face. AMG's Joe Viglione knows what I'm talking about:

For those purist fans of the early Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, a song like "We Built This City" took the path the Marty Balin-less group embarked on with "Jane" (a title Balin actually rehearsed with the group prior to his leaving for a solo career) farther into the arena rock wasteland. The four minutes and 29 seconds of "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" were a huge treat on an entirely different level. It's really more a collaboration between producer/arranger Narada Michael Walden and singers Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas than it is a Starship track. Lead guitarist Craig Chaquico is merely a guest star here, for this is a high-tech quagmire of bells, whistles, strings, and Walden's vision, building the melody into a rock-solid stomp, but for Starship, it is its zenith ... With this tune the band evolved into the counterculture Archies, but Slick remains the Queen of Cool, and she adds a dimension of integrity, even bringing the very best performance out of Thomas, who was all things a singer for Jefferson Starship should not have been. Slick and Thomas work in unison here, not the tapestry that was her marriage with Balin's voice on "Miracles" but an effortless combination like the guitars of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, a doubling effect which intensifies the sentiment. The song by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren could not be constructed more perfectly or with such refined precision. Walden has to be commended for merging dance-rock with industrial, and for all the contrived elements, anathema to fans of the institution which once crafted "It's No Secret" and "Plastic Fantastic Lover," this platter is itself a fantastic plastic march of triumph and overcoming all obstacles.

"Merging dance-rock with industrial?" Well, it certainly merged something with something. I also didn't realize Thomas and Slick were the Richards and Wood of '80s power ballads, but who am I to argue? The opening percussive barrage sounds like an android version of John Bonham on NyQuil. It may be tame, but it's huuuuuuge. And once it settles into the main rhythm, the beat truly feels like a massive generator that's suddenly up and running and could not be stopped even if someone wanted to stop it. It's like the inevitable chug of time immemorial. Nothing's gonna stop that throbbing thump in the background. And the moment it kicks into gear, it unleashes all these little sparkly sounds that flutter around the stereo spectrum. It's like they dipped the song in glitter.

Hearts & Other Favorites Review


by Joe Viglione


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. Why not include the excellent "I Do Believe In You" from the Hearts album, along with that disc's Balin co-write, the very fine "Lydia!," and add the fourth Barish track, "Music Is the Light," while at it? Hearts & Other Favorites is a chance for the label to put the hit song on another title from this important artist. Decent liner notes and a couple of new tracks would have been easy to obtain had EMI used a little effort. "From Elvis to Marilyn"? With big corporations it is more like from Balin to Bowie. The front cover of this re-release is the Aaron Rapoport photo from Lucky with new lettering and design. The collection is a pleasant set of music from a counterculture figure going adult contemporary. It segues perfectly with Hamilton, Joe Frank, & Reynolds, which isn't a bad thing; it just isn't what Jefferson Airplane fans could have ever imagined in the '60s.B


Rayna Jhaveri: lead vocals, keytar, melodica, harmonizer
Chris Antonowich: drums, beats, backing vocals
Tom Stepsis: electric bass guitar

"Send it Back" starts with a bubbling rhythmic groove which builds in its intensity.  "Send it Back" is kinda like a protest song against  Tone-Lōc's (1989) "Funky Cold Medina,"   which came in at 4:09.  Muzzins go for 4:51 with all sorts of fun sensations ....sounds a lot bigger than a trio, some Vanilla Fudge mixed with modern-day grunge.  Very catchy and fun.

30)What About Love  - Heart

             Song Review by Joe Viglione  [-]

Exactly three years after their ninth Top 40 hit appeared on the charts, this gorgeous AOR ballad, "What About Love?", written by Allen/Alton and Vallance, initiated a year long stretch of four singles from the self-titled 1985 Ron Nevison produced comeback album, Heart. Capitol Records 45RPM #5481, "What About Love?", is the quintessential musical exploration of that elusive relationship element, the thing that is supposed to be the real glue in human intimacy. A great song is one which can connect with the public, and how many hopeless romantics haven't posed the questions inside this brilliant tune? The lover asks the importance of climbing up the ladder of life vs having someone to care for. The 3 minutes and 42 seconds herald a new sound for the group, the riff-rock of earlier signature tunes "Crazy On You", "Magic Man" and "Barracuda" is replaced with a smoother, more traditional style acceptable for radio of the day; the guitar lead majestically bolsters the title question, what about love? A great line like "The love I'm sending/ain't making its way to your heart" is something experienced by most who find themselves in this dilemma - with the Wilson sisters playing it for all its worth, Ann's impassioned vocals speaking volumes. Capitol Records struck platinum when Tina Turner reinvented Al Green in a big way the year before this, so it was no stretch for the label to take another pair of industry veterans and do the same. Both Turner and Heart found phenomenal success with their respective big ballads leading the charge. "What About Love?" was the perfect re-introduction to this talented ensemble, and a tremendous piece of songwriting which ushered in their new era with a touch of class.       


31)Software by Grace Slick (Reviewby Joe Viglione [-]on the
This fourth solo album from Grace Slick is a very real treat for fans. Far removed from the Great Society demos on Sundazed and her Jefferson Airplane work, "Call It Right Call It Wrong" is Slick and her co-songwriter, '80s producer Peter Wolf (not to be confused with the singer of the J. Geils Band), presenting very contemporary pop tunes that are enough to the left to keep this vision hip, but removed enough from Starship to be considered adventurous. The bottom line is that this is highly entertaining. "Me and Me" is Slick being schizophrenic, and asking her date to do the same -- unless she's splitting herself into quad. She has made a profession of introducing the concept of paradox to the mainstream. "All the Machines" is a wonderful techno mantra. It is amazing when one considers her star power at this point in time -- overshadowing all members of the Jefferson Starship from Paul Kantner to Mickey Thomas -- that a quirky song like "All The Machines" didn't become a novelty hit. Also noteworthy that college radio should have embraced this bold move -- but that dichotomy of a mainstream artist working with mainstream producers like Wolf and Ron Nevison doing truly alternative material, well, it may have been viewed as calculated. But it isn't as calculating as it is wonderfully arrogant. More palatable than Kantner's excesses, Slick's distinguished vocals add a depth to "Fox Face" that few could pull off, taking an overwordy composition with its dirge vibe and transforming it into some techno epic. Although Ron Nevison is a superstar producer with credentials all over the rock universe, he was not known for creating an identity as Jimmy Miller, David Foster, George Martin, and other legends did so well. This is one of the finest, if not the finest, recordings by Ron Nevison. Maybe it is the laid-back atmosphere allowing the cast and crew to take a song like Peter Beckett's "Through the Window," the only non-Slick/Wolf composition on this album, and hit a home run with it. This is real modern rock stuff, a glossier version of what Boston's November Group were doing, Slick's voice a not so delicate monotone. This is as much a Peter Wolf solo album with Slick doing vocals as it is another chapter in her illustrious career. The cover is fantastic, the artist's chest a computer world with mixmaster, a starship, speedboat, and other items, all next to an electrical outlet glowing pink. The back cover has her on a floppy disk being inserted into the wall. Very innovative for its time, "It Just Won't Stop" continuing the keyboard onslaught. Even Peter Maunu's guitar appears invisible, sounding like keyboards. The keyboard bass everywhere takes this so far away from the music we are used to hearing Slick sing to. The backing vocals by Paul Kantner, Mickey Thomas, wife of Peter Ina Wolf, and others all slip into the sheen of the music, five steps away from the Human League. Nevison gets a cleaner sound than Martin Rushent in this world; maybe it's a good break for him away from albums by Ozzie and Heart. "Habits" is a reading and emotive vocal wrapped into one, changing the mood before "Rearrange My Face," another schizo introspective number. A shrink could have a field day with the superstar on this album, wondering if the stream of consciousness lyrics might be revealing another side of Slick. "Whenever someone sees my face/they always have to call me Grace" -- bolstered by Peter Wolf's keyboard vibes and the Harry Belafonte style backing vocals. "Bikini Atoll" is a really lovely love song featuring Dale Strumpel's sound effects, very close to "Lather" by the Jefferson Airplane, maybe a subconscious sequel to her past life. For all the side projects members of the Airplane/Starship contingent have released, this is one of the most cohesive, and enjoyable.


Sailor's Delight Review

by Joe Viglione


The second album by the Knack's Doug Fieger was produced by Jimmy Miller with Andy Johns, eight years before producer Mike Chapman would unleash "My Sharona" on the world. Fieger's "Don't Want Nobody" has all the elements that Miller put into his Stones hits and Traffic classic album cuts -- piano and flute supplement the folk guitar and vocal, giving the singer an enviable platform. The album is a solid representation of Fieger's song compositions and pre-Knack efforts; "Let It Lie Low" is a nice bit of pop/rock that foretells what was to come, a happy-go-lucky drumbeat by Robby Stawinski exploding when the Rolling Stones' horn section of Bobby Keys and Jim Price kicks in. Young Fieger's letter to producer Miller not only landed him the two albums on RCA, it enabled the group to get the great players here, like guitarist John Uribe and the Stones' pianist Ian Stewart, continuing the tradition of the stellar guests who showed up for Sky's first album. "Taking the Long Way Home" definitely sounds like an American version of Traffic, with conga drums that help the transition from this song to the piano ballad "Come Back." Again, the Stones' horns come in to add a touch of class, creating a nice bed for the powerful song-title chorus to emphasize Feiger's slinky vocal. This track is outstanding, and should have been a staple on 1971 FM radio. Miller was quite busy in the early '70s with Locomotiv GT, the Savage Rose, the Rolling Stones, Delaney & Bonnie, George Harrison, and Ginger Baker's Air Force, among others. Sailor's Delight, with its beautiful red sunrise/sunset cover, is a lost gem from the major producer at the peak of his powers as well as from his discovery Fieger, who went on to create the hit of the summer of 1979, "My Sharona." Inside these grooves are melodies and performances that verify Miller's genius; "Tooly" has an island feel while John Coury's "Sing for Me" comes off like the serious side of Tommy James. "Sing for Me," "Come Back," and "Low Down" from this disc would be perfect Sky contributions for the inevitable Jimmy Miller production box set. As entertaining as it is historical, Sailor's Delight is creative work from the master producer and the musicians he believed in enough to sign. How many "name" producers on a hot streak would gamble on an unknown singer, with validation coming years later as the singer went on to worldwide fame?                 

36)Doug Fieger of the Knack on Apple Music bio

by Joe Viglione, discovered by Dave Mason and Jimmy Miller.   Bio I wrote on him on AppleMusic

Dave Mason brought Doug Fieger to the attention of Jimmy Miller
Jimmy signed Doug to RCA for SKY, two albums



Wikipedia Swiped it!   Here's my original review

38)Portrait of Petula Review


The 12 tracks released on Warner Bros. in 1969 are tremendous Petula Clark selections, from Andy Williams' "Happy Heart," splashed on the cover under the title, to versions of "My Funny Valentine" and "The Windmills of Your Mind," which has "from the United Artists motion picture The Thomas Crown Affair" written prominently on the vinyl label (although Noel Harrison sang the Academy Award-winning soundtrack version, and Dusty Springfield had the Top 35 hit with the tune). Speaking of Dusty Springfield: concept-wise, the orchestration here is very much like what Springfield sang to on Where Am I Going. Both singers were moving to what they may have considered the "legit" market for the day; years later, this "legit" market for both women would turn out to be the wonderfully snappy pop hit singles they blessed listeners with. Where "When I Give My Heart" is exquisite here, Clark doesn't quite master "Lovin' Things" when she has to hit those high notes and battle the big band. Sure, it's a stretch, and a good one at that, but where it brought significance to Springfield's catalog, the sound is merely a pleasant and somewhat welcome addition to Clark's work -- many of her Tony Hatch hits had mega-orchestration anyway. Essayist Stan Cornyn simply puts "S.C." on the back of the album, written March 10, 1969, declaring that the "girl" has become "Woman." Ridiculous liner notes -- Clark is a pop star, pop is what she does best, and the orchestration works here when she sings "Let It Be Me," the many instruments augmenting, not battling, the singer's unique and familiar pipes. She does take the tempo of Andy Williams' "Happy Heart" down a bit (where Springfield took Vanilla Fudge up a piece on her orchestrated outing), and "Some" is just beautiful, worth the price of admission on its own. There are more highs than lows on Portrait of Petula, and "My Funny Valentine" is charming and sweet (listen to Tony Hatch oversee her on Harold Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine" on the I Couldn't Live Without Your Love album for comparison). "Windmills of Your Mind" is an intriguing version, sophisticated somewhat like Noel Harrison's, but bringing the fan of Clark back to the fact that, as with Springfield, her gems like "It's a Sign of the Times" are where she wins over listeners completely. For those who want a change of pace from Clark's greatest hits, this is it.             

from Wikipedia    

Petula Clark

I Couldn't Live Without Your Love Review

The heart lifts and spirits rise when Tony Hatch's production and masterful pop sentiments meet up with Petula Clark. "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love" is more than over the top description of insanely obsessive love, it is two minutes and 50 seconds of pop supremacy; a climbing, soaring, ecstatic celebration of radio fun. The Top Ten hit, number one adult contemporary, came right in the middle of the 15 titles she drove up the charts with her perfect pop radio voice. Like contemporaries Lulu and Diana Ross, the magical tunes these women delivered cast spells. A cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" is a decent album track, but it is a run through with little of the production values of the title song. They are there somewhat, but not the full bursts of excitement that starts the album off. Petula Clark composes the melancholy "Two Rivers" on her own, and it isn't bad. In fact, it works better than the Paul Simon tune, but the arrangement of Harold Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine" is astounding. Mixed in with decent performances of the Mamas & the Papa's "Monday Monday," Sonny & Cher's "Bang Bang (what is it with the redundant double-word titles here?) and "Groovy Kind of Love" are brilliant performances of the Beatles' "Rain," Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night," Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly," and Carole King's "Wasn't It You." The Tony Hatch/Petula Clark connection could work miracles, and they are in abundance on this disc. The singer collaborates with her producer on "There Goes My Love, There Goes My Life," and it is one of the albums highlights as well. The important thing about I Couldn't Live Without Your Love is that some of the album tracks would be essential on a Petula Clark boxed set, something the timelessness of the title track demands.     

39)Funky Cold Medina - Tone-Lōc (1989)

Whatever happened to Tone-Lōc ? This song was the rage 34 years caught your ear for awhile, then fizzled

Redundant song that was used to antagonize listeners played for 3 days straight before the radio station changed formats. His "Wild Thing" follow-up even more annoying.


Joe Vig Pop Explosion May 11, 2016 First Anniversary on BFR with Bernard Purdie, Frank Dello Stritto




heart of the phantom galaxy (below)

May Top 40 Mare Winningham, Planet of the Apes, Andy Mendelson

  Happy Birthday Mare! Years ago Mare Winningham and her husband saw me at the Paradise Theater in Boston, a club I booked for many years....