Wednesday, March 01, 2023

March 2023 Joe Vig Top 40 Ken Elkinson "Cue" Robin McNamara / The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver "Life Boat," "Dream Kid" "Hallelujah" Sweathog


Cue Review

by Joe Viglione


While Oscar Peterson can dazzle getting the listener to pay special attention to his spirited and entertaining technique, Ken Elkinson chooses to use the piano to paint soft pastels, each addition to his catalog combing the depths of this soothing and mellow music with a restrained and methodical passion. Opening track "Porteños" refers to the "people of the port," or as one public domain website puts it, "people born in the Argentine city of Buenos Aires." It is dramatic, perhaps a good soundtrack for the TV show Days of Our Lives. The album Cue gives the world 12 titles in addition to the 33 compositions he recorded previously, and they are along the same lines as Elkinson's earlier moody, meditative music. While the previous collections contained all Elkinson originals with one Jimi Hendrix title entering the mix, this CD concludes with the artist collaborating with Tom Freund on a Freund original employing vocals in a repertoire that was previously all instrumental. The guest singer's limited range works in this context, as the nearly spoken "Beautiful Sadness" does provide a nice change of pace and is itself reincarnated -- as the song was originally written for guitar accompaniment. Everything is pretty laid-back with the slight exception of "Firefly," which is more commanding in style compared to the other 11 ethereal selections. After his 1997 debut, Midnight Conversation, and the Revelry release in 2000, Elkinson waited three to four years before giving the world Opal, with another couple of years until Cue. The four "new age" discs over a span of a decade have a consistency in both cover art and production. The 12-page booklet included with this disc contains poetry, insight into the artist's personality and favorite charitable causes, and other information pertinent to the music.                 

Out of Crank Review


by Joe Viglione


"Sugar Man" leads off Keith's follow-up to his debut album. Written by Sandy Linzer and Denny Rendell, producer Jerry Ross seems to be pulling out all the stops. Out of Crank is a good Keith record, but not as strong as the album that preceded it, nor as listenable as his highly experimental The Adventures of Keith that followed this release. "Candy" feels like his hit "98.6" with a bit of show tune flavor. "Easy As Pie" also has that "98.6" vibe, producer Ross knowing a good thing and clearly trying to capitalize on earlier success. The cover of Spanky & Our Gang's "Making Every Minute Count" doesn't have the strength of the hit version, also on Mercury. Keith has a radio-friendly voice for pop, and he had enough edge to keep him from falling into the Brian Hyland/Tommy Roe zone of teeny bop. The Renzetti/Ross "There's Always Tomorrow" is one of the highlights, as is "Daylight Savin' Time," Ross knowing how to write a good hook. The verses are distinct enough but the chorus is pure "98.6." When you talk about typecasting, this album is a perfect example. Still, the sequel to Keith's biggest hit is great, albeit blatant. "Times Gone By" is a pleasant departure, co-written by Ross/Gamble, the team that composed Bobby Hebb's "You Don't Know What You Got Until You Lose It." Keith's own "Happy Walking Around" is his first original to show up on either this or the earlier recording, and it is the most innovative thing on this disc, a good indication of the substantial path he would set out on. "Be My Girl" by Spector/Sands is in the same style as the rest of this album, very pop, and nothing to be ashamed of.

98.6/Ain't Gonna Lie Review


by Joe Viglione


Sublime is the only way to describe Keith's biggest hit, the top 10 "98.6" and the almost as wonderful Top 40 hit which preceded it two months before, "Ain't Gonna Lie". This twelve song album is resplendent in Kal Rudman's obtuse, exaggerated liner notes which years later read like so much unnecessary nonsense and hyperbole. The artist deserved a more classy approach. All three albums by Keith are highly listenable adventures, and though one tune here, "White Lightin', would have been better left on the cutting room floor, there's a real nugget in the cover of "Tell Me To My Face", written by Graham Nash, Allan Clarke and Tony Hicks from The Hollies Stop! Stop! Stop! album. That's the disc where those three Hollies wrote all the tunes on their own, and it's a wonderful find. In fact, the Alice Cooper group lifted their melody for "Billion Dollar Babies" right from this composition, almost note for note. The rendition here has Arabian nights instrumentation, clever, classy and memorable. For the most part the album is solid material, Fischoff, Powers, producer Jerry Ross and arranger Joe Renzetti dominating the album with adult pop, a stunning amalgam of Chris Montez meets Tony Hatch. Ross, Renzetti, Fischoff and Powers have the perfect voice/vehicle for their smartly crafted melodies and the singer is always in tune with very appealing vocal chords. It sounds like they modeled this material after what Burt Bacharach and Hal David were doing for Dionne Warwick and the pity here is that Keith didn't get the chance as Dionne did to send songs like "Our Love Started All Over Again" way up the charts. You can hear hints of Gene Pitney, elements that combine and make for a refreshing sixties moment that got away. Such a shame, for the brilliance of "98.6" was no fluke, Keith was the real thing. Maybe it was Kal Rudman's incessant gushing that held this creative collection of melodies back? Still, "98.6" remains as a truly special pop moment, a song as monumental as Al Anderson's "No Good To Cry" and, thankfully, not as obscure.

Lay a Little Lovin' on Me Review


by Joe Viglione


Robin McNamara's album, titled after his big 1970 hit "Lay a Little Lovin' on Me," appeared on Jeff Barry's Steed label and features that singer from the Broadway show Hair along with his cast members. The 45, as well as its non-LP B-side "I'll Tell You Tomorrow," were both co-written by the singer and his producer, with songwriter Jim Cretecos helping out on the title track. That radio-friendly bubblegum confection brightened up the summer of 1970, but it is not indicative of the adult contemporary sound on the rest of this very listenable disc. The music on the Lay a Little Lovin' on Me LP is actually a better reflection of the hip Broadway shows of the day. Neil Goldberg's "Now Is the Time" would fit just as well on the Godspell album, so different from the number 11 hit from July 1970, which no doubt inspired the likes of Richard Mondo, aka Daddy Dewdrop, and his irreverent 1971 novelty tune "Chick a Boom" -- a frosty little bubblegum number like "Lay a Little Lovin' on Me." McNamara is a credible songwriter on his own and it is a wonder he didn't land a couple of other hits, but it's more a wonder that he faded so quickly from the musical landscape. He did show up on radio station WMEX in Boston, allegedly ripping his shirt off like some Hair promo for DJ John H. Garabedian (famous for discovering the hit "Maggie Mae" for Rod Stewart ) and appears as a musician on a Monkees compilation, but he just didn't reap the rewards promised by this very sophisticated endeavor. Side one ends with a tune co-written with Ned Albright called "Lost in Boston," a fun little ditty mentioning Fenway Park that's a lot like McNamara's solo composition "Beer Drinkin' Man." Albright and Bob Dylan cohort Steven Soles co-write a very the Band-ish "Together, Forever," and they were responsible for "All Alone in the Dark" from the Monkees 1970 disc ChangesJeff Barry was a co-producer of that Monkees event and this album's engineer, Mike Moran, showed up there, as well, giving McNamara's 11-song collection a certain value for the fans of that TV show. There are some great lost moments here, unexpected on a disc that became popular by putting the cast of a Broadway show on a tune appropriate for the Partridge Family. "Got to Believe in Love" could have changed the perception as it fuses the gospel of "Hang in There Baby" and "Glory, Glory" with the pop that brought this LP to the attention of the masses. This is a solid effort all the way around.

The Adventures of Odd Keith Review


by Joe Viglione


"Alone on the Shore" opens the third album by Keith, the one name handle for James Barry Keefer. The shimmering pop that was created by Bobby Hebb producer Jerry Ross and arranger Joe Renzetti on the first two Mercury discs is replaced by original compositions and the arrangement of the meticulous Larry Fallon. Fallon is credited for arranging The Looking Glass hit "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl," however, he is the actual producer on that disc. He is one of the industry's underrated talents, and he allows Keith's band of David Jiminez (guitar), Joe Coyle (ryhthm guitar), Dave Fiebert (bass), and Rick Fox (drums) to experiment in ways that are admirable. This LP plays more like latter day Donovan, another one-name pop maestro. "Alone on the Shore" and "Trixon's Election" are heady pop tunes, maybe too deep for Top 40 at the time. Even Buffalo Springfield knew enough to temper their politics with radio friendly music. The sounds here are an intriguing mixture of '60s garage rock with British pop, flavors of The BeatlesThe Small FacesKaleidoscope UK, and other psychedelic rockers. The production by Ted Daryll allows this group to stretch out. "Waiting to Be" is five minutes and thirty eight seconds of psychedelic jam. Keith wrote only one song on his second album, none on his first, so RCA Records showed some kind of faith in the artist allowing him to compose/co-write all ten titles on The Adventures of Keith. These are adventurous tunes, and worth listening to. It's a natural progression from the second album's Jimmy "Wiz" Wisner's (yes, the one and the same from Tommy James & the Shondells sessions), arrangement of the Spanky & Our Gang hit "Making Every Minute Count" to the short one minute and fifty six second "Melody," which begins like a track from one of the first two Keith albums, diving into the progressive nature of this recording, and back to the pop sensibilities of the first two LPs. "The Problem," which is the last song on side one, was issued as a single with the excellent "Marstrand," the first track of side two. "Elea-Elea" is another five minute plus track, and one of the album's standouts. Great melody and all the indications that Keith should have been a major, major pop star. Where Donovan had Led Zeppelin performing on "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and the Jeff Beck Group behind him on "Goo Goo Barabajagal" helping churn out the hits, Keith and his band crafted an album perfect for FM radio, perhaps a bit ahead of its time for an artist known for covering the Hollies. But Keith's musical direction here is impressive and reiterates how clever his three Top 40 hits prior to this release really were.

 Opal Review

by Joe Viglione [-]
Ken Elkinson's third album, Opal, is a relaxing collection of ten original titles that feature the songwriter's simple, wandering piano musings. No lyrics, no vocals -- one has to get clues from the arrangements as well as the titles of the songs in order to understand the artist's intent. An opal is a gemstone of rich iridescence, and on the title track the pianist explores the initial translucent melody with a style that suggests a musical question and answer. Unlike Canadian Frank Mills' 1979 success with "Music Box Dancer," a piano classic that featured up-tempo riffs and instrumental accompaniment, Elkinson keeps the entire proceedings low-key, new age keyboard movements meant to soothe rather than provoke. When he covered Jimi Hendrix' "Little Wing" on his second release -- 2000's Revelry -- he absorbed the melody into the style that permeates this presentation. But Opal is darker in tone to the bright, glassy music found on his first CD, Midnight Conversation, as well as the aforementioned Revelry. Elkinson takes passages that Carly Simon has utilized with great success, her melody to "Coming Around Again" tucked somewhere inside "Augustine." "Orchid," "Indigo," and "Afterglow" form a trio of four-minute-plus essays that seem to work on the subconscious while they close out a creative album chock-full of notions and effect.

Compiled by Digital Music Archive Director Joe Viglione


Boston Free Radio Digital Music Archive Director Joe Viglione with Burton Cummings of The Guess Who 

New Artists Added

Saturday, Record Store Day April 22, 2017

Colin Blunstone Sings Zombies' Greatest Hits
Robby Krieger of the Doors   Robby Krieger (Jazz)
Bev Grant   It's Personal
Leo Harmonay  The Blink of an Eye 
Various: Remembering John Lennon and the Beatles  Tribute
Various:  Tapestry Revisited (A Tribute to Carole King) 
Mikey Wax    Mikey Wax

Stains of a Sunflower   February    *Regional N.E./Boston area music
Geoff Bartley   One Kind Word      *Regional N.E./Boston area music
Geoff Bartley   Put the Big Stone Down    *Regional N.E./Boston area music
Geoff Bartley Heart That Wind Howl   *Regional N.E./Boston area music 

April 21, 2017 Friday
John Batdorf   Home Again
Fred Gillen Jr.  Match Against a New Moon
P.F. Sloan  All The Best - (Still on the) Eve of Destruction
Etta James  Love Songs (MCA)
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart  Live in Japan July 20, 1976

Loose Salute  Pisces, Cancer, Leo & Yates, Ltd.* Regional/N.E. Boston Music
The Brigands   Night Patrol* Regional N.E./Boston music

Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart   Live in Japan

Loose Salute

Pisces, Cancer, Leo & Yates, Ltd. features:
  1. (Theme From) The Monkees (instrumental)
  2. Circle Sky
  3. Rio
  4. What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
  5. Nine Times Blue
  6. I Wanna Be Free
  7. Calico Girlfriend
  8. Joanne
  9. Grand Ennui
  10. Take A Giant Step
  11. Propinquity
  12. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
  13. Sweet Young Thing 

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 and 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 fifty-seven 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 referencfed 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 #1 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.


John Batdorf's  three and a half minute "Me and You," track 2 on Home Again (not a sequel to the other John, John Denver's "Back Home Again,") is a bright, uptempo song about relationship happiness, and what two smiles can do. The title song is neo-Celtic with the elegant playing we expect from the maestro  - hear a live version here:  

April 20, 2017 Thursday

The Stompers  Live Scrapbook* Regional N.E./Boston
Ed White   Ed White cd  27 tracks

Marianne Faithful  Blazing Away
Robin Gibb  Secret Agent (of the Bee Gees)
Turk, Matt  Washington Arms
Arms of Kismet Eponymous

Tuesday April 18
Lou Reed  Phantom Animal: Live in Europe 1973
Marilyn Monroe  Greatest Hits Remixed
Extreme  Saudades De Rock
Janis Joplin Woodstock 1969 Soundboard
Janis Joplin 2nd album I Got Dem Ol Kozmic Blues Again, Mama plus rare Work me Lord
Joe Viglione  Life's Work Vol. 1 2005
The Last Poets  Time Has Come 
Frank Sinatra  Quadromania

Monday April 17
Jon Butcher   Experienced  (Hendrix Tribute)
Jimi Hendrix Curtis Knight Live at George's Club Procol Harum   Novum
Feed the Kitty   Westbound & Down
Fred Gillen Jr.    What She Said
Matt Turk   Cold Revival
The Beauty Way    Beauty Way
Hummingbird Syndicate   Pop Tricks
Llama Tsunami   Safety First 
John E Funk and the Skunk  Self-titled
Pamela "Ruby" Russell  Highway of Dreams
Adam Rivera   Best of Trilogy
Geoff Pango and Mr. Curt 
A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac - Just Tell Me That You Want Me
Pineapple Jam
Kris Delmhorst  Strange Conversations
Nick Zaino   Blue Skies and Broken Arrows
BFR Instrumentals Vol 1 The Joe Vig Collection

Posted as Jimi Hendrix Curtis Knight  Live at George's Club
This is a pre-order and is expected to ship on or around March 17.
1. Introduction - :41
2. Killing Floor - 3:22
3. Last Night - 2:24
4. Get Out of My Life Woman - 3:48
5. Ain't That Peculiar - 4:24
6. Mercy, Mercy - 3:30
7. I'm A Man - 5:17
8. Driving South - 6:03
9. Baby What You Want Me To Do - 3:47
10. I'll Be Doggone - 2:57
11. Sweet Little Angel - 4:33
12. Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go - 3:55
13. Travelin' To California - 4:30
14. What I Say - 4:52
15. Land of 1000 Dances - 4:38
16. Come On (Let The Good Times Roll) - 4:10
17. Band Outro - :57
Never officially released in the U.S. before, these recordings showcase Jimi’s explosive guitar work and lead vocal performances that Animals bassist Chas Chandler witnessed less than a year before becoming his manager and moving him to England to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

New York area bandleader Curtis Knight met Jimi Hendrix, then known as Jimmy James, in October 1965 and recruited the budding guitarist for his pre-Squires band the Lovelights. At the cusp of turning 23, Hendrix was already somewhat of a veteran, having already toured and recorded with, among others, the Isley Brothers and Little Richard. These raw recordings, made at George’s Club 20 in Hackensack, NJ on December 26, 1965 and January 22, 1966, capture the Lovelights (filled out with bassist Ace Hall, drummer Ditto Edwards and saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood) tearing through popular rock and roll, soul and blues songs of the day. Chris Kenner's Land of 1000 Dances, Ray Charles’ What’d I Say, Mercy Mercy by Don Covay and I'll Be Doggone, the Marvin Gaye hit, are featured in their repertoire, in addition to two songs Jimi would go on to play with the Experience: ‘Driving South’ by Albert Collins and Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Killing Floor’.

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. A blurring of the perceived lines between the political and personal. The first album to really highlight Gillen's electric guitar style.

Joe Viglione Review 


Fred Gillen Jr.

Album: 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 stand out.  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.


Artist:  Delmhorst, Kris
Title    Strange Conversations
12 songs listed here

 Release June 27, 2006

 Added to BFR  4/16/17
Joe Viglione, BFR Digital Archive Music Director


AllMusic Review by   [-]

Recorded simultaneously with her Shotgun Singer CD but issued prior to that release, the difference here is that Kris Delmhorst takes established writings by the likes of Edna St. Vincent MillayRumie.e. cummings and a variety of other established wordsmiths, finding not only inspiration in their thoughts, but embracing their artistry within her own in much the same way that author Sena Jeter Naslund found motivation for the novel Ahab's Wife in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Walt Whitman probably never envisioned his "A Passage to India" translated into "Light of the Light," a production that might feel a bit out of place on this country/folk disc, but still works within the context because Delmhorst is a confident (and accomplished) musician and visionary who won't let a genre interfere with what she chooses to discuss. It is also the most radio-friendly track and has "hit" written all over it. Strange Conversation sounds like it was influenced by the Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo more than poetry from long ago and contains the Delmhorst stamp to such an extent that unless one is familiar with the source material they'd miss the fact that this is a collaborative effort. Self-produced in North Reading, MA with engineer Chris Rival on the boards, the sound is very consistent with this artist's other releases while stylistically dipping into other bags. The cover art of piles of books against the color green suggests a spoken word disc and hardly indicates that such an exciting palette of sound is contained herein. Both "Invisible Choir" and the final track, "Everything Is Music," are immersed in New Orleans flavors while the ambient folk of "Sea Fever" suggests Enya is the collaborator, not poet John Masefield making a posthumous contribution. And "Since You Went Away" feels in sentiment like it owes more to Buffy Sainte-Marie than James Weldon Johnson, but that's the beauty of this work, the majority of its listeners are probably not going to pick up on the "source" material, as disguised or derived as it may be. Bassist Paul Kochanski is certainly the right choice for the project, his talents as a member of Swinging Steaks finding their way on to the craftsmanship of Alastair MoockJonathan Pointer, and Delmhorst labelmates Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem make him one of the key bassists for this new wave of folk/bluegrass/roots rockers emerging on the once very parochial rock & roll scene. The title track, "Strange Conversation," is the appropriate choice for that honor. Delmhorst's sultry vocal on material she conjures up from modernist Hermann Broch's "The Death of Virgil" is pure pop/folk, and most compelling pop/folk at that. Released in between the cultivated Songs for a Hurricane disc and the heady sophistication of Shotgun Singer, the music here is more traditional folk / country with the exception of "Light of the Light," "The Drop & the Dream," and "Water, Water," any of which would have fit perfectly on Shotgun Singer. It's an impressive and ambitious work that is evidence of the sophistication enveloping the Kris Delmhorst catalog and one hopes that these important musings get noticed beyond the cult that realizes something very special is happening here.
















released June 21, 2014

Four John E Funk and the Skunks songs added to library
01  Debbie
02  Jack Don't Know
03  One Way Road
05  Elevation
06  Pickles

track 4  Milkshake is missing

The Beauty Way
     Original Blue Oyster Cult's Jim Bouchard, Sev Grossman of the Boom Boom Band, this amazing group has delivered a dozen tracks produced by Dan Cardinal at Dimension Sound, where Craig Leon produced those phenomenal Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band demo tapes for MCA, the tapes that actually should have been released AS the album.
"Sixes and Sevens"  opens with drummer Peter D'Angelo's "boom boom" sound straight out of David McLean from Sev's iconic band.  Bouchard's slinky guitar nicks some Creedence - "Fortunate Son's" riff, but that mutates and evolves into a driving stomp.  Terrific stuff.














AllMusic Review by   [-]

"Tengo Razon," a beautiful essay, is sung in Spanish, embellished by Evan Harlan's accordion, which is on four of the ten tracks that embody Highway of Dreams by Bostonian Pamela Ruby Russell. An album that boasts Carly Simon guitarist and arranger Peter Calo playing numerous instruments and co-producing, 'Til Tuesday guitarist Robert Holmes, and others finds incredible unity and a truly original sound. "Avenue of Tears" combines these talents for a rather complex presence behind Russell's dominant voice. The pan flutes and charango of Roberto Cachimuel play along the dirge-like guitar. Imagine Black Sabbath getting subdued and backing Marianne Faithfull. Comparisons will also be made to Loreena McKennitt, with lots of haunting keyboards, voices, and flutes finding their way into these folk-rock arrangements. Calo is a formidable talent, and he brings so much out of Russell -- the party atmosphere of "Is There Any Love" takes the sounds Lulu and Twiggy were crafting in '60s pop, redefines them, and re-establishes them. Co-producer Bob Patton's baritone saxophone comes out of nowhere on "Is There Any Love," replaced by Ana Pacanoska's violin, more flutes, and more accordion. This music is dense and thought-provoking, but it doesn't take away from the performance. "Sounds of the Sea" features kena, soaring solos, and Miguel Jimenez on the pan flutes. Russell is a character, and her very serious music has a charm that many musicians fail to express in the recording process. "Boxcar" is a great opening, specifically the drone of "Walk Thru Fire" where "we glimpse through fire and the future." It feels like gypsies spying on a black mass listening to this tune -- incredibly moody and perceptive. There is little of the shrill homogenized Top 40 production that stops so many good records from becoming great. Ernesto Diaz plays strong gothic percussion on "Walk Thru Fire," setting up the listener for the tour de force performance: the title number. The singer walks across a roadway that reaches over water and into the stars with a full moon above her and a red rose piercing the blue. The cover is an exquisite reflection of this great song, with heavy contributions from Holmes. It's rare to find a statement like Highway of Dreams; music this good shouldn't get lost in the shuffle of life.


Pamela Ruby Russell   Highway of Dreams 

Avenue of Tears
Walk Through Fire

AllMusic Review by   [-]

"Tengo Razon," a beautiful essay, is sung in Spanish, embellished by Evan Harlan's accordion, which is on four of the ten tracks that embody Highway of Dreams by Bostonian Pamela Ruby Russell. An album that boasts Carly Simon guitarist and arranger Peter Calo playing numerous instruments and co-producing, 'Til Tuesday guitarist Robert Holmes, and others finds incredible unity and a truly original sound. "Avenue of Tears" combines these talents for a rather complex presence behind Russell's dominant voice. The pan flutes and charango of Roberto Cachimuel play along the dirge-like guitar. Imagine Black Sabbath getting subdued and backing Marianne Faithfull. Comparisons will also be made to Loreena McKennitt, with lots of haunting keyboards, voices, and flutes finding their way into these folk-rock arrangements. Calo is a formidable talent, and he brings so much out of Russell -- the party atmosphere of "Is There Any Love" takes the sounds Lulu and Twiggy were crafting in '60s pop, redefines them, and re-establishes them. Co-producer Bob Patton's baritone saxophone comes out of nowhere on "Is There Any Love," replaced by Ana Pacanoska's violin, more flutes, and more accordion. This music is dense and thought-provoking, but it doesn't take away from the performance. "Sounds of the Sea" features kena, soaring solos, and Miguel Jimenez on the pan flutes. Russell is a character, and her very serious music has a charm that many musicians fail to express in the recording process. "Boxcar" is a great opening, specifically the drone of "Walk Thru Fire" where "we glimpse through fire and the future." It feels like gypsies spying on a black mass listening to this tune -- incredibly moody and perceptive. There is little of the shrill homogenized Top 40 production that stops so many good records from becoming great. Ernesto Diaz plays strong gothic percussion on "Walk Thru Fire," setting up the listener for the tour de force performance: the title number. The singer walks across a roadway that reaches over water and into the stars with a full moon above her and a red rose piercing the blue. The cover is an exquisite reflection of this great song, with heavy contributions from Holmes. It's rare to find a statement like Highway of Dreams; music this good shouldn't get lost in the shuffle of life.


Matt Turk  Cold Revival
Cracked Egg 
Cold Revival

 Nick Zaino   Blue Skies and Broken Arrows


The new compilation from
recording artist
Adam Rivera 
A unique 27 track collection
culled from 3 previous discs
1) Hello                                        15) All I Want
2) Gone                                        16) For Evie
3)The Answer                              17) Get Away
4)Time Lost                                  18) Contradiction
5)Chance                                      19)Forever
6)Never Unloved                          20)Rainbow
7)Civil                                            21)Time Machine
8) Boulevard East                        22)On The Day
9) Lies                                            23)Everything
and Nothing
10)Miss You Love You                24)Addiction
11) Free                                        25)Oceanside
12)Cursive Writing                      26) Grey World
13)Merry X-Mas Anyway            27) Oneonta
14)2000 Miles
Best of the Trilogy
explores the first three albums from acoustic / speed-folk artist Adam Rivera

Super Auspicious  2012

Rorschach Radiowaves

The Externals Adam
Rivera Featuring Katie Feeney 2014

Social Media:

Adam Rivera- SuperAuspicious

It’s been fourteen years and counting since Adam Rivera’s debut the Oceanside EP (released 1999). Those that have eavesdropped on his stage magic or his blueprint in the recording studio aren’t shocked by his longevity. The revaluation is Adam’s ability to walk several musical directions.
To wear one hat and flourish is difficult enough. To balance three takes proficiency and high competence. Adam and his faithful enjoy his unique brand of speed folk, the alter ego James K Folk (playing the songs of They Might Be Giants), and the two person band the Externals (with Katie Feeney).
In 2012 Adam Rivera’s SuperAuspicious saw the light of day. Adam leads the brigade with vocals and guitar, Chris Harry takes the drum stool, Kyle Graham handles the keyboards, and Adam Z fingers the bass. The four are a cohesive unit as made evident with a wonderful opening track The Answer. Adam obviously knows the question; he’s been around long enough to know the importance of the first song. The Answer sets the tone for thirteen cuts that combine folk, pop, and his own stamp of individuality.
The follow-up track Unsaid articulates plenty with a high energy opening before the vocals take root.
Contradiction a song placed perfectly in the middle of the running order is another ear catcher. In less than two minutes the high octane rocker says more than many tunes three times the length.
Thirteen numbers all creating a premium listening experience.

Adam Rivera- Rorschach Radiowaves

A multitude of artists that release a quality record as Adam Rivera did in 2012 (SuperAuspicious) would rest on their laurels and savor every moment before heading back into the studio for the follow-up. Adam’s work ethic would never allow new material taking a backseat to a pat on the back.
2013 gives us another gem, Rorschach Radiowaves. One change in the personnel department, Ryan Malloy takes a seat on the drums.
The opening track Gone with a clever hook and a substantial vocal immediately pave a smooth road for the fifteen song experience.
Special Kind Of Us documents once again Adam’s ability to say a myriad of things in a short time span. Clocking in under two minutes it manages to deliver a knockout punch.
Take Three is another track of intensity. The musicians cook on all cylinders.
Near the CD’s end there is a perfectly titled number Road Song. Adam knows the highways well. He’s logged many a mile leaving a trail of a memorable songs and concert goers that got their dollars worth.
All the best,
Craig Fenton
Author: Jefferson Airplane “Take Me To A Circus Tent
Jefferson Starship “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”

Procol Harum   Novum
See the Joe Vig Top 40 for more album reviews

 Digital Music Archive Director Joe Viglione with Burton Cummings of The Guess Who

 Joe Viglione with Felix Cavaliere of The Young Rascals

BFR Instrumentals Vol 1 The Joe Vig Collection
3)Secret Things
4)Perry Mason Theme
5)The Way of Love (Cher)
6)Where Did Our Love Go (Supremes)
7)Hugo Montenegro  The Good The Bad and the Ugly
8)Sunny  Cyril Aimee
9)Deacon Blues  Steely Dan
10)Spooky Sounds
11)Sounds Orchestral Cast Your Fate To the Wind
12)Secret Things 2   Le Comte
13)Gimme Shelter  Rolling Stones
14)Midnight Cowboy  Paul Mauriat
15)My World is Empty  The Supremes
16)Midnight Train to Georgia  - Gladys Knight
17)Laughter In The Rain Neil Sedaka
18)Instant Karma - John Lennon
19)Fred Steiner Park Avenue Beat (Perry Mason Theme)
20)Midnight Cowboy  Ferrante and Teicher
21)Midnight Cowboy  Ferrante and Teicher
22)Midnight Cowboy  Ferrante and Teicher
23)Very Good at Love by Joe Viglione, performed by Peter Calo

to be added:

American Preservation   Matt Turk

Matt Turk: American Preservation

This is an interesting left turn for Matt Turk, a countrified modern-ish Americana album of cover tunes that cover a wide spectrum and diverse musical field. Turk’s voice lends itself well to these journeys, some obscure, some very popular at one point in time. Opening up with John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” gives the song authenticity that this writer felt the over-exposed John Denver lost along the way…”Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes” works better for me than that…and run-throughs of “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” or the sublime Rolling Stones country moment, “Sweet Virginia”.
As a jamboree flash of the moment they would work fine but it is hard to improve on greatness in this setting and Turk fares much better with his stunningly beautiful reinterpretation of “I’ll Follow The Sun”. Not to say that anyone can improve a Beatles episode, they are all so indelibly imprinted on our minds, but his soulful stirrings are tremendous and say more about the artist and his ability to take that melody down a notch to a different place. “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” is another hard song to compete with, Matt holds his own but is more effective when he goes for it “On The Turning Away” with its masterful a capella flourishes.
“America The Beautiful” gets a respectful reading while “City Of New Orleans” is also so much larger than life that it would fit into a live show more efficiently than a live-in-the-studio cd. But “Wabash Cannonball” and “Mama Don’t Allow” also have big moments…the lesser known compositions the more appealing excursions – to these ears – than the popular numbers, for the most part. Still, a nice effort…commendable, really, and something Spanky McFarlane and Mark Newman would like to be on a bill with, no doubt.

Matt Turk  Turktunes

AllMusic Review by   [-]

Matt Turk is an exemplary singer/songwriter from the New York area with a six-song CD overflowing with refined power pop that shows ingenuity and enthusiasm. "Jimmy" opens the CD with a hook that won't quit while conjuring images of angels taking a damaged human being from this realm to the next for a new start. "Buffalohead" is track three but should have switched places with the beautifully mournful "Never Said Goodbye." "Goodbye" brings things down a few notches while "Buffalohead" has intense boom boom drums from some "Indian Reservation" that Paul Revere & the Raiders once visited, and a very in controlled vocal by Turk. The contrast between this and the mandolin-colored "Never Said Goodbye" when matched against the bluesy "Angel in Disguise" shows a mastery of different pop styles. Southside Johnny or Eddie Money need a tune like "Angel in Disguise" in their repertoire. Turk's use of melody in the verse and hook shows a skilled voice with depth, complemented nicely by horn sounds. "Fifth of Faith" is in the same style as "Jimmy" but has more hope and promise, while the vibes and horns that propel "Favorite Tune" show an off-hand, free, and easy attitude chock full of vocal improvisation that really brings the song home, certainly not the studied discourse that is the Paul Simonish "Fifth of Faith.." As the late Lillian Roxon raved about the young and relatively unknown Jackson Browne in her book Rock Encyclopedia back in 1969, Matt Turk may strike you as just as talented a find.


AllMusic Review by   [-]

The record industry is in constant crisis and facing a multitude of problems for one very easy to fix reason: arrogant A & R men have often failed to pick up talent in a timely fashion. Matt Turk's What Gives is a smart, professional, highly palatable collection of frosty pop tunes that fall out of his pen effortlessly, enunciated by a voice so AM/FM friendly there is no question the world would be a better place with his material rocking the airwaves. You Are The One" opens things up with a slow-paced pop blues feeling sort of like "Like A Rolling Stone" gone Triple A radio. "Bette Says" might be a subliminal tribute to Lou Reed with his "Lisa Says"/ "Caroline Says" episodes - and don't forget Lou married a Bettye. It's got a solid rockbeat with reggae-tinged guitar that could've fit nicely on Reed's Sally Can't Dance phase, following a Robert Johnson-style acoustic "Hobo Boy". Turk plays with diverse elements 
and a glimpse at his bio on shows where and how those vibes came into his music, Matt's affiliation with Pete Seeger as well as his previous group, The Hour, opening for The Dave Matthews Band - history that brings different colours to this palette. It works by being so well balanced, the singer not shying away from using anything and everyting in his aresnal, doing so -for the most part - tastefully. This is power pop embraced by artists like Richard X. Heyman, the concise statement we all feel in "Wish List": pop music sprinkled with Russ Irwin's keyboards and very pronounced production from Kevin Hupp. As an artist in the same vein, Pat Burtis, got too graphic with the sexual imagery in his "Breakfast In Bed", both songwriters may have lost out on having hits with the tunes in question by not employing that wonderful old poet's friend - innuendo. "Wish List" is too good a song to lose to frivolity and should get a re-write. But for those who have a problem with the vocals of a Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan, Matt Turk has a smooth tone that complements his playing and that's a major strength. The shifting of mood and styles is also a plus, "Stranger" a total change of pace which adds a dimension to the cd missing from the work of many mainstream artists. Then "History's Gripping" explodes from the speakers, another short burst of power pop. With production just complex enough to give the record depth as well as an edge, What Gives, like Aimee Mann's similarly titled Whatever from a decade ago, is a huge musical statement by an artist to be reckoned with. It says a lot with eleven songs that hover around the three minute mark.

Arms of Kismet  Cutting Room Rug

Review by 

The follow-up to Arms of Kismet's 2004 release, Eponymous, finds much darker things emerging from Mark Doyon's pen. The theme here is put right on the table with opening track "Auriculara (Listen to Me)," reprised with two 30-second moments later on -- "Listen (To This)" and "Listen (To That)." Not recommended for bipolar people, there are more down moods painted then ups, making the earlier disc more inviting. "Clarendon" is an interesting episode on this close to 35-minute outing that travels through rockabilly and post-punk worlds like a journeyman possessed. The singer/songwriter stretches through these dark passages on Cutting Room Rug with his dry, witty observations. "Cracks" explains it in an airy moment, drums brushing against a collage of sounds that sets the stage for "Pinnacle of Same." "Pinnacle" hits a majestic tone aided by Beatles-influenced guitars -- mastering engineer Jon Astley (having worked with George Harrison) certainly knows how to keep them subtle and sweet. It's the opposite of "Coil," a tune that pulsates slowly, with sounds that pull the listener back into the cave. "Life Imitates" finds Doyon's collaborator from his earlier Wampeters ensemble, Kowtow Popof, returning to lend a hand on what could easily be dubbed "downer folk." Other guests join the montage on this intriguing but sometimes disturbing statement, which closes out with "Listen to You." The give and take slips everything back into the solitary mood, kind of like George Harrison's reworking of the slow version of "Isn't It a Pity" on All Things Must Pass, a counterpoint to its exhilarating doppelgänger, in this case "Auriculara (Listen to Me)," which started the whole thing off.
Fred Gillen Jr.
Match Against a New Moon
In “The Devil’s Last Word” Fred Gillen Jr. sings “Well I’m staying on these tracks until I hear the Devil’s last word…” and it is perhaps a Freudian slip that the songwriter/vocalist is talking about his own recorded tracks, splashy and glorious with high production values and catchy guitar playing. The disc starts off with “Come and See Me” and, personally, I would have preferred the CD to launch with a more uptempo version of this same tune a la George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity” with the opening rendition placed somewhere in the middle of this Match Against A New Moon album. Start the listeners off with a good boot in the pants to get the party started.
“Cecelia” reminds one of the Simon & Garfunkel classic about a fun girl on the Bridge Over Troubled Waters album while “Flicker” could be the hit on this excellent set, it utilizes lines from the title track. Fred Gillen Jr. often performs with Matt Turk as Gillen & Turk…both balladeers are worth keeping an eye on with these eleven selections on Match Against a New Moon a very good look inside the mind of Gillen, spiritual thoughts permeate most of this recording culminating in “Primitive Angels”. Lots of depth here demanding a need to explore it through repeated play. Spin on!
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.
The Brigands
Artist: The Brigands
Title:   Night Patrol
16 songs

Produced by the Brigands, this sixteen 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 2nd 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 and 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.  Tracks recorded and mixed by Rayboy Fernandes, former drummer with the Atlantics.(Joe Viglione)
Send CDS to 
Joe Viglione 
P.O. Box 2392
Woburn MA 01888
demodeal (@)

Previous adds in 2016
Chihiro Yamanaka  Reminisce
John Batdorf  Old Man Dreaming
John and Mark Batdorf and Rodney
Fred Gillen Jr. Silence of the Night
Diana Ross   To Love Again
Barrence Whitfield  Savage Tracks
Boston  Third Stage / Amanda
Angel Corpus Christi, Accordion Pop Vol 1

John Batdorf  Home Again

AllMusic Review by   [-]

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 HunterBuzzy 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.
Batdorf and Rodney Still Burnin'
(to be added)

This reunion of John Batdorf and Mark Rodney happened in the XM Satellite radio studios for “The Loft,” that station’s live concert presentation. Recorded on November 16, 2007 the 11 songs from the concert are embedded on an album with two new studio recordings as bookends. Batdorf co-writes the new material with Michael McLean, and it is in the same style that fans expect to hear from Batdorf & Rodney, “Summer of Love” (not the Jefferson Airplane minor hit from that group’s 1988 self-titled Epic release) and “Four Days Runnin’” slide perfectly onto this package, though Mark Rodney only appears on the first of the two new recordings, “Summer of Love.” The live material doesn’t have the feel of a concert, more like a live in the studio recording, a re-creation of some of the songs considered Batdorf & Rodney classics with no applause and studio precision rather than the ebb and flow of a concert hall appearance. It’s a crystal clear reworking of the duo’s material together, commentary on each track found on the songwriter’s web page For those who want to study the history of this pair that, along with Aztec Two Step, early England Dan & John Ford Coley and others in the second wave that followed Simon & Garfunkel’s successful emulation of the Everly Brothers, this CD and those liner notes on the internet make for a delightful listen and read. A casual spin of the music has the “live” material blur right into the fabric of the new studio gems. “One Day” stands out and with Scott Breadman’s percussion and Bill Batstone’s bass and backing vocals it could easily be mistaken as one of the new studio recordings. A live version of “Home Again” is nice as well, bringing things full circle as the pair re-recorded that composition as the title track of a 2006 John Batdorf solo release. Batdorf & Rodney deserved more recognition, which this CD re-emphasizes, and though the laid-back feel here will please the fans a full concert recording in front of a packed house and some audience electricity will really help this solid material come to life decades after its initial splash. – Joe Viglione


 Review: Fred Gillen Jr.’s Silence of the Night 

track listing here:


 With nine albums listed on the All Music Guide from 1997’s Intentions as Big as the Sky up to Match Against a New Moon (along with the 2008 Gillen & (Matt) Turk effort, Backs to the Wall), this 2012 release -listed as the eighth full length from Fred Gillen Jr – Silence of the Night makes for an enormous body of work to absorb from the journeyman artist. The trouble with a waterfall of so much melody, instrumentation and production is that the general public may have a hard time focusing on one song to propel the singer into the commercial realm so many seek. Opening with the subtly sacrilegious “Morphine Angel” we find she’s no cousin to Marianne Faithful and the Rolling Stones’ “Sister Morphine”, a dirge that fits better as an opening act to the Velvet Underground than the “American Folk” advertised. Probably not a sequel to “Primitive Angel” from the previous and aforementioned Match Against a New Moon (Fred does have an affinity for angels), the song is an odd choice to open the disc with. More preferable to these ears would be the title track, “Silence of the Night’, with its exquisite Beatle-esque phrasings and pretty backing vocals. “Vanity runs the world” and Al Pacino would have to agree while in character as Lucifer in The Devil’s Advocate (it’s his favorite sin!)…the song (“Vanity”) is terrific – and would also have been a choice pick to open “Silence of the Night”. So would “Find a Rodeo”, arguably the best track here, and a sublime country/rocker in the vein of Gram Parsons, the Byrds and Boston’s well-loved Country Bumpkins. The cover of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono’s classic “Silence” (track 16), lasts only 30 seconds, though I don’t think John & Yoko are credited here. Find the original on “Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions”. “This Town Is Our Song” is another gently played ode to another time, more optimistic than Simon & Garfunkel’s reunion tune “My Little Town”. Gillen plays all the instruments save drums which feature Eric Puente and the fiddle of Sarah Banks. Carolann Solebello’s duet vocals are perfect. There is a lot to explore on Silence of the Night, Gillen and Puente finding their groove again on “Only Sky”, a superb hook that is up there with “Vanity” and “Find A Rodeo” as the album favorites, at least for me. It’s an ambitious effort by an ambitious singer who, of course, can’t resist penning a tune entitled “Angel.” No, not the Jimi Hendrix classic from The Cry Of Love / First Rays of the New Rising Sun. Perhaps Fred can cover that on his next outing. Click here to hear tracks on this disc 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.



Change Review by Joe Viglione [-]
Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane released an extraordinary album on Epic in the 1970s, prior to her joining the Mamas & the Papas with McKenzie Phillips, the new Mamas playing with the old Papas. Although the pop elements Spanky was known for are here, the opening track "I Won't Brand You" could certainly be considered the logical sequel to her minor hit "Give a Damn," the album is more country than pop or rock. "Standing Room Only" opens with a great line, "you must think my bed's a bus stop/the way you come and go," and has Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson arranging the strings with the San Francisco Symphony String Ensemble and the Lovin' Spoonful's Jerry Yester on vocal harmony. While Olivia Newton John was delivering country-pop hits to the chagrin of many in Nashville, this American artist goes to the roots of American music on "When I Wanna"; the hardcore country is uplifting when the trademark Spanky & Our Gang vocal harmonies glide in. You want to talk about artistic risk, this album is chock full of it. John "Juke" Logan adds harmonica to "Since You've Gone," bringing tough country-blues to this mix. The band self-produced except for Chip Young's work on the first track, "I Won't Brand You," and the sound quality is first-rate. It's hard to see what Epic was thinking, though, with such stylistic change. "San Diego Serenade" is lovely, and this album is a work of art, but wouldn't the fans have appreciated maybe a country-pop version of the Peppermint Rainbow's 1969 hit "Will You Be Staying After Sunday," producer Paul Leka's tribute to Spanky's "Sunday Will Never Be the Same" and "Sunday Mornin'"? It would have made for a nice Sunday trilogy. Gene Clark's "L.A. Freeway" has a freewheeling, up-tempo sound, but this is all such a Change from the musical statements McFarlane made with her Mercury albums that one can see radio programmers being confused in 1975. "Space Cowboys Forever," featuring Gail Laughton on harp, is one of the standout tracks on this excellent album, along with "Dues," which has Jackson Browne/Fleetwood Mac guitarist Rick Vito's sounds coloring the solid number. In 2001, Spanky hooked up with producer/engineer Stuart "Dinky" Dawson, who recorded the lost Mamas & the Papas album with her. The final track on this album, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready," with Richard Thompson on piano and Jerry Yester on arrangements with Thompson, is the closest to her original sound.

Tony Vitale i love spanky, have reviewed her, interviewed her, and eventually promoted this album above. Here's one of my reviews of their LIVE album: Spanky & Our Gang Live Review by Joe Viglione [-]
Five years before they would reunite for the country & western version of Spanky & Our Gang on the Epic Records release Change, Mercury, the home of their hits, released this live disc recorded prior to their debut for the label in 1967. The liner notes explain that "this album was recorded during the group's earlier days at the Gaslight Club South in Coconut Grove, Florida." Recorded and produced by Richard Kunc for Strawberry Hill Projects, the sound is pretty impressive. Spanky & Our Gang Live has more clarity than Judy. London. 1969., the posthumous Judy Garland album recording by her husband Mickey of her last night on-stage; it is also more precise than the Velvet Underground's Live at Max's Kansas City, which was the product of Lou Reed's abrupt departure from that group. There are no hits here, but as a historical document, it is worthwhile, the major drawback being the absence of a recording date and who is performing what. Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane sounds great on the Gordon Lightfoot tune "That's What You Get for Loving Me," and the band rocks, not only on the instrumentation, but with sterling vocals and much spontaneity. "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" brings the house down, deservedly so. The voices are simply amazing.

The track closest to the sound that the record-buying public became accustomed to is listed as a Carole King/Gerry Goffin tune, "Wasn't It You?"; however, the band calls it "Gypsy" from the stage. It sounds like the Beau Brummels meet the Jefferson Airplane and Spanky wraps her soul around this one -- it's a performance and a half. This is so totally different from what the world considered Spanky & Our Gang to be that it is hard to see it satisfying those longing for more "Sunday Will Never Be the Same" or "I'd Like to Get to Know You" (and neither of those hits are on this early outing). The bandmembers aren't even given credit on this, although a picture of three gentlemen in top hats and Elaine McFarlane is on the cover. "Waltzing Matilda" is totally a cappella, and in tune, showing what depth this ensemble had without studio tricks to camouflage or hide things. "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" is a treasure, and it is the only title here that showed up on the band's debut album. There's another Gordon Lightfoot cover called "Steel Rail Blues," and a highly political "The Klan." McFarlane contributes one of the 12 tunes with her 1940s-flavored "Oh Daddy," and it is the only writing contribution from the band. There are skits that would be perfect for vaudeville, and insight for fans on the evolution of a '60s group that was compared to the New Seekers, Peter, Paul and Mary (this album is proof why!), and the Mamas & the Papas. Engineer/producer Stuart "Dinky" Dawson recorded the unreleased Mamas & the Papas album featuring John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Spanky McFarlane, and Mackenzie Phillips in the 1980s. He also recorded every gig they did, and someday those tapes will no doubt surface as this important recording did, giving another glimpse of the great voice fans of oldies radio appreciate. This album is a wonderful primer for people to hear Spanky McFarlane in a setting before she brightened up pop radio.

A Long Time Comin' Review

by Joe Viglione


Writer Jeff Tamarkin says "ex Butterfield Band guitarist Mike Bloomfield, drummer Buddy Miles, and others put this soul-rock band together in 1967. This debut is a testament to their ability to catch fire and keep on burnin'." That The Electric Flag do so well -- they appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival with the Blues Project, Paul Butterfield, and Janis Joplin, and all these groups had some musical connection to each other beyond that pivotal festival. A Long Time Comin' is the "new soul" described appropriately enough by the late critic Lillian Roxon, and tunes like "She Should Have Just" and "Over-Lovin' You" lean more towards the soul side than the pop so many radio listeners were attuned to back then. Nick Gravenites was too much of a purist to ride his blues on the Top 40 the way Felix Cavaliere gave us "Groovin'," so Janis Joplin's eventual replacement in Big Brother & the Holding Company, Gravenites, and this crew pour out "Groovin' Is Easy" on this disc. It's a classy production, intellectual ideas with lots of musical changes, a subdued version of what Joplin herself would give us on I Got Dem Ole Kozmic Blues Again, Mama two years later, with some of that album written by vocalist Gravenites. Though launched after Al Kooper's the Blues Project, A Long Time Comin' itself influenced bands who would go on to sell more records. In the traditional "Wine," it is proclaimed "you know Janis Joplin, she'll tell you all about that wine, baby." As good as the album is, though, the material is pretty much composed by Mike Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg, when they're not covering Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" and adding spoken-word news broadcasts to the mix. More contributions by Buddy Miles and Gravenites in the songwriting department would have been welcome here. The extended CD version has four additional tracks, Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" and "Mystery," both which appear on the self-titled Electric Flag outing which followed this LP, as well as other material which shows up on Old Glory: The Best of Electric Flag, released in 2000. "Sittin' in Circles" opens like the Doors' "Riders on the Storm," the keyboards as well as the sound effects, and a hook of "hey little girl" which would resurface as the title of a Nick Gravenites tune on the aforementioned follow-up disc, where Gravenites and Miles did pick up the songwriting slack, Bloomfield having wandered off to Super Session with the Blues Project's Al Kooper. Amazing stuff all in all, which could eventually comprise a boxed set of experimental blues rock from the mid- to late sixties. Either version of this recording, original vinyl or extended CD, is fun listening and a revelation.      

           happy birthday Gavin Sutherland July 7 2023

Lifeboat Review

by Joe Viglione [-]

This album should have been the big breakthrough disc for the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, chock-full of catchy adult pop songs like the fantastic leadoff single, "(I Don't Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway," followed by what became a minor hit for Rod Stewart, the second track, "Sailing." With Peter Noone also covering "You Got Me Anyway," the band had the attention of some very musical people but that didn't keep this truly remarkable album from staying off the radar screen of the record-buying public. Steve Winwood and John "Rabbit" Bundrick are thanked on the back, along with others, but there's no mention if they are playing on this really superb record -- it sure sounds like they are with more than a few hints of Traffic and Free finding their way between the grooves. This original rendition of "Sailing" is more primitive than Rod Stewart's near-gospel approach, and the lonely drumbeat adds a mood that reflects the classic cover art of a small rescue craft defying the gods of the sea. "Real Love" sounds like a Traffic outtake, and with Muff Winwood handling the production chores as he did with Dream Kid, the follow-up album, this intriguing disc gives the world ten more portions of Quiver and the Sutherland Brothers' interesting blend of music. Lifeboat is a record that cries to be released on a compact disc with Dream Kid, though a CD booklet would hardly do justice to the cover painting, "Pride of Our Isles" by Bernard Gribble, on loan by "kind permission of Royal National Lifeboat Institute." The picture of hopelessness is worth a thousand words, and while "Real Love" closes out side one with a great hook, and "Have You Had a Vision" and the title track show depth and integrity on side two, it's the first song on the album, "You Got Me Anyway," that brings this effort out of the realm of very good projects up to the level of classic. All Music Guide has this album listed as 1972 with four different tracks, so it may have been re-released. The original lineup noted by AMG has "A Lady Like You," "Lifeboat," "Where Do We Go Wrong," "Ireland," "All I Got Is You," "Space Hymn," "Change the Wind," "Sailing," "Love Is My Religion," and "Real Love." This review is for the 1973 disc, which has "You Got Me Anyway," "Have You Had a Vision," "Not Fade Away," and "Rock and Roll Show" in place of "Ireland," "Love Is My Religion," "A Lady Like You," and "All I Got Is You."   
 Dream Kid Review

by Joe Viglione [-]
An artists conception of The Dream Kid looking out into a blue universe, standing in a clear cube with clouds and seagulls in his line of sight, is a colorful and good visual equivalent to the music inside this team-up of two musical forces. Songwriters Ian Sutherland and his brother Gavin Sutherland recruit three members of the Warner Bros. group Quiver -- drummer Willie Wilson, guitarist Tim Renwick, and bassist Bruce Thomas -- and come up with a smooth and very satisfying product. Gone is Quiver songwriter vocalist Cal Batchelor, and it is a unique transition concept. Where Chris Thomas produced 1972's Gone in the Morning album for Quiver, Muff Winwood is enlisted to guide the rhythm section and guitarist behind the singing and playing Sutherland Brothers. Interestingly enough, they've retained Quiver engineer Bill Price and cover artist Barney Bubbles from the Warner Bros. days and issue the newer sounds on Island. The album's history lesson aside, the music is an excellent early- to mid-'70s hybrid of folk-rock and pop, with more emphasis on the clever pop side of things. This is Eric Carmen's Raspberries gone underground with less of the jangle guitar -- sounds more borrowed from early Beatles' hits by way of latter day Traffic, and that comfortable silky vocal sound, especially on the five-minute-55-second suite which ends the album, track ten, comprised of three titles, "Rollin' Away," "Rocky Road," and "Saved By the Angel." These Ian Sutherland titles all melt into one another and are easy on the ears, good listening music, though there is nothing on this album as extraordinary as their minor hit "You Got Me Anyway" or the song Rod Stewart picked up from them, "Sailing." Like labelmates Traffic, this is an adult rock endeavor, meant for those who want to hear the lyrics as they take in the solid melodies. "Seagull" is a song that embodies what the band is all about, ebbing and flowing with hooks and pauses, not your typical rock outfit, which might explain why they slipped through the cracks without making a bigger noise. Peter Noone, like Stewart, was smart enough to cover their music, and it is a pity that "Flying Down to Rio" and "You and Me" didn't get more time on FM radio. "I Hear Thunder" and "Lonely Love" are standouts, precursors to AAA radio like Barclay James Harvest and Matthew's Southern Comfort. The strong lyrics are included on the album sleeve, and enough good things can't be said about this album: bouncy guitars and spirited rock which producer Muff Winwood squeezes into the grooves. You've got to spin it three or four times before it catches you; it's one of those special discs that doesn't grab the listener first time around, but when it does, it gets you good.

 Good Times A'Comin' Review

by Joe Viglione [-]

The name Hookfoot sounds as generic as Bulldog, Sweathog, and other pedestrian 1970s monikers, and the music on the group's second release, Good Times a' Comin', reflects just that. It's Elton John sessionmen -- Caleb Quaye, Dave Glover, and Roger Pope from Tumbleweed Connection and other John discs -- recording their Dick James-published songs which were produced at Dick James Studios and going for the brass ring on their own with feeble results. The a cappella ending to "Living in the City" shows they have vocal as well as instrumental chops, while "Gunner Webb's Changes" lifts musical passages right out of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Long Time Gone" and "Almost Cut My Hair." That should come as no surprise since they covered both Stephen Stills and Neil Young on their self-titled debut from 1971. Lead guitarist Caleb Quaye writes or co-writes nine of the ten titles, vocalist Ian Duck is the runner up with six, but with titles like "Sweet Sweet Funky Music," "Slick's Blues for Jumbo," and "Flying in the U.S.A.," it's obvious the creativity of Bernie Taupin or Elton John is missing from this effort. The blues-oriented grooves are all solid and played with precision, but they also fail to excite. Some of it comes off like Savoy Brown without any bite. Why they didn't raid the Dick James vaults for a hit or ask their friends John and Taupin to throw them a hook is the real mystery of Hookfoot. It's an elaborate package, with a gatefold containing the lyrics and classy photos, but these aren't what one would classify as songs to be sold to other artists. "Look to Your Churches" sounds inspired by Traffic and the Band, but not up to those artists' standards. Sometimes sidemen are supposed to be just that, lending their ability to translate a performer's ideas -- to help put the crowd into a frenzy; one can't see Elton John performing the title track, "Good Times a' Comin'," despite Ian Duck and Caleb Quaye generating interesting moments with their guitar duel. It seems none of John's magic rubbed off on the pair's songwriting chops. Still, had England's pianoman made an appearance on this record, it would have made a world of difference. This same year, Hookfoot's American counterparts -- Danny Kootch, Russ Kunkel, and Leland Sklar -- released the first of three albums under the name the Section. What it proves is that without an Elton John, Carole King, or James Taylor, these records end up sounding like instruments playing themselves. A wonderful argument for the value of charisma and the vacuum of space without a star to fill it with light. 

Hallelujah Review

by Joe Viglione [-]

The Top 40 title track got Sweathog some chart action in 1971. Drummer Frosty found fame with the pop/blues minstrel Lee Michaels, and here forges a Southern rock sound with bassist Dave Johnson, guitarist B.J., and organist Lenny Lee -- none of them household names, and an album that is highly competent but as non-descript as the players. When your drummer and a guest pianist by the name of Michael Omartian have more recognition, it is clear it will be an uphill climb. There's an interesting version of "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo," a song which wouldn't hit until 1974 for Rick Derringer, so the band showed they have some taste (and that they toured with or at least listened to Edgar Winter's White Trash). For the times, though, heartfelt songs like "In the Wee Hours of the Night" needed a strong personality fronting the group. L. Goldsmith performing Joe Cocker's "Ride Louise Ride" or Sanford Townsend Band material makes for a solid outing, but not the additional hit singles this group needed to amass a following. Great music, stirring performances, it's just that the world wasn't quite ready for Three Dog Night meets the Allman Brothers Band. The title track remains a forgotten classic which oldies stations would be smart to add to their play lists.

Hallelujah was written by Mitch Bottler, Roberta Twain and Gary Zekley. Frank Barsalona signed Sweathog to the Premier Talent Agency and became a top opening act for Black Sabbath, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The J. Geils Band, Edgar Winter's White Trash, Grand Funk Railroad and more. 

Review by #JoeViglione #JoeViglioneMedia
Tell it All Brother - Kenny Rogers and the 1st Edition

from Movie Mars and eBay

Personnel: Kenny Rogers (vocals).
Appearing on their sixth album, Tell It All Brother, are the last two hits from Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, their sixth and seventh Top 40 chart-climbing 45-rpm records. Deep vocals with a bass-heavy rock sound employing just a touch of country leanings are what resonate through the title track. Alex Harvey's "Tell It All Brother," a political song that went Top 20 in the summer of 1970, is followed by Kin Vassey's "Heed the Call," one of the three weakest of Rogers' 27 Top 40 hits released between 1968 and 1984 (it lingered in the Top 35 in November of 1970). But "Heed the Call" is a great song, more uptempo than "Ruby," "Reuben James," and "Tell It All Brother," and with undeniable charm. "Heed the Call" begins with tambourine and has gospel-inflected vocals over handclaps, marching drumbeats, and a campfire feel. It is, along with being the band's final hit, one that displays individual talents working in unison perhaps better than any of their previous commercial efforts. It contrasts with the title song chant, which is all Rogers, his big voice over the bass drum and tambourine, with piano and bass taking a back seat and the guitars invisible. "Shine on Ruby Mountain" is a Kenny Young song, and it has the uptempo square dance drive that is present on many of the non-hit album tracks. Rogers' adaptation of the traditional "Camptown Ladies" continues the party atmosphere with a hootenanny vibe. Mike Settle gets only one composition here, a far cry from the nine songs Settle wrote on the first album and the four he composed on First Edition '69, perhaps indicating how settled in Rogers and producer Jimmy Bowen were at this point in time. "I'm Gonna Sing You a Sad Song Susie" isn't a bad song -- it just sounds like the singer/songwriter was listening to Glen Campbell's 1969 hit "Where's the Playground Susie" a little too much. Rogers' sole original, "Love Woman," co-written with Douglas Legrand, is an uptempo country-rocker, with the direction of the group more defined -- it is no longer just a band but a vehicle for an emerging major star. After "Heed the Call," things come down a bit on side two with Harvey's third composition on the album, the beautiful ballad "Molly." It should have been a hit, for it is Harvey's "Delta Dawn" slowed down and ready to become a part of Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection album. "After All (I Live My Life)" is a perfect showcase for new addition to the group Mary Arnold, and why she didn't climb the charts with this group is a mystery -- she arguably has the best and most distinctive voice. The two hits on this album did not get on Rogers' 1977 Ten Years of Gold retrospective, and though they aren't his best-known songs, they show that this crew had no aversion to experimenting with the formula. Both tunes add an interesting dimension to the band's classic 1971 release, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition's Greatest Hits. ~ Joe Viglione 

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....