Saturday, February 23, 2013



The first song on guitar virtuoso Robben Ford’s new album, Bringing It Back Home, is entitled “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky,” and he proceeds to live up to that promise on the ten cuts that follow.

One of the premier electric guitarists today and a five-time Grammy nominee, Ford is known for his blues playing and has played with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, George Harrison, Bonnie Raitt, John Scofield, Greg Allman and Bob Dylan.

Bringing It Back Home is a study in soul, style and virtuosity that cuts to the heart with emotion-laden musicianship. The album’s supporting cast features organist Larry Goldings, drummer Harvey Mason, bassist David Piltch and trombonist Steve Baxter.

The album is a diverse selection of songs, from Charley Patton ("Bird's Nest Bound") to Bob Dylan ("Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine") to Allen Toussaint (the aforementioned "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky") all nicely melded in a bluesy/jazzy style, with vocals that seamlessly connect with the material, providing a nice counterbalance to his musicianship that Ford makes look easy.

This album showcases Ford’s considerable skills as a bandleader and song interpreter, and is one you won’t want to miss.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Magic Slim, a revered and towering figure in the field of traditional Chicago blues, died today in a Philadelphia hospital at the age of 75. Born Morris Holt in Torrance, Mississippi in 1937, the guitarist performer, bandleader, and recording artist went on to enjoy a career that launched him to national and international recognition and acclaim.
Slim was one of the foremost practitioners of the raw, gut-bucket, back alley blues associated with the postwar Chicago blues sound. He and his band, the Teardrops, were known as "the last real Chicago blues band" for their authentic, no-frills, straight-no-chaser performance of the music.
Slim's slash and burn guitar technique and booming vocals made for a commanding stage presence. His intense style was the blueprint that spawned much of the music played by modern blues artists and rockers.
After catching one of Slim's electrifying live shows at a local nightclub Eddie Vedder invited Slim to open Pearl Jam's concert in Chicago. Magic Slim also had an encyclopedic repertoire of hundreds of blues songs in his head, giving his live shows a charming impromptu quality.
Growing up in Grenada, Mississippi, Slim took an early interest in music, singing in the church choir, and fashioning a guitar for himself with baling wire from a broom, which he nailed to the wall. "Mama whooped me for that," recalled Slim. His first love was the piano, but having lost the little finger on his right hand in a cotton gin accident, he found it difficult to play properly. Undaunted, he simply switched to guitar, working in the cotton fields during the week and playing the blues at house parties on weekends. In 2011 the state of Mississippi erected a Blues Trail Marker in Slim's honor in front of a building in Grenada where his mother operated a restaurant.
In 1955, like many musicians from the Deep South, Slim migrated to Chicago, where he was mentored by his friend Magic Sam, who gave the lanky Morris his lifelong stage moniker. Initially discouraged by the highly competitive local music scene, Slim went back to Mississippi and spent the next five years woodshedding and perfecting his craft. He confidently returned to Chicago and became a formidable player on the scene, eventually putting together the Teardrops, who would become one of the busiest and best-loved blues bands around, and one of the most sought-after headliners for festivals in Europe, Japan, and South America. Slim and his group won the coveted Blues Music Award in 2003 as "Blues Band of the Year," one of six times Slim won a BMA, considered the highest honor in the blues. Living Blues magazine called Slim and the Teardrops "a national treasure."


Owns a record store. CHECK.

Heads a record label. CHECK.

Makes all kinds of records. CHECK.

I can think of no one better than Jack White to fly the flag for Record Store Day 2013, can you?

I will let Ambassador White speak for himself, in his official Ambassadorial State of The Union Address..

Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey.

A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop?

The number of kids that answered "yes" was... zero.

Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, "Can you blame them?" 

How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc?

Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence, and to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it.

Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences?  Just click your mouse. 

Well here's what they'll someday learn if they have a soul; there's no romance in a mouse click.  

There's no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum).

The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater.

The Internet is two-dimensional…helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. 

But we all know all of that, right?  

Well, do we?  

Maybe we know all that, but so what?

Let's wake each other up.

The world hasn't stopped moving.

Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on.

Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. 

So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? 

We know better. 

We should at least.

We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. 

The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn't know that it's a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? 

You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. 

You put the record in their hands. 

You make them drop the needle on the platter. 

Then they'll know. 

Let's wake each other up.

As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.

Let's wake each other up.

Jack White has delivered limited edition vinyl releases each year on Record Store Day and on Black Friday, and this year he's taking it up a notch!

Make sure you visit your local independent record store on Saturday, April 20. You might just find yourself falling in love with records all over again!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Todd Rundgren's new album, State, is due April 9, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


From Rolling Stone Online:

Rick Huxley, the bass player and co-founding member of the Sixties pop group the Dave Clark Five, has died at age 72.

Huxley, a heavy smoker, had battled emphysema for years, though bandleader Dave Clark said the bassist had recently been given a clean bill of health. Clark called Huxley's death "devastating." "We'd talk once a week," Clark said. "I spoke to Rick on Friday, he was in great spirits." 

Founded in 1958 after a previous incarnation, the Dave Clark Five were part of the British Invasion movement that brought the Beatles to America in the Sixties – in fact, the group appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show just two weeks after the Beatles in February 1964, and the Dave Clark Five's song "Glad All Over" knocked "I Want to Hold Your Hand" out of the top spot on the U.K. singles chart a month earlier. 

The song was one of several hit singles by the Dave Clark Five, along with "Bits and Pieces" and "Everybody Knows."

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

"Rick was a dear friend and an immensely talented musician with an amazing sense of humor, he always made me smile," said Clark. 

Huxley was born in the British town of Dartford in Kent, and remained in the Dave Clark Five until the group split in 1970. He then pursued a career in real estate and the music business. 

With the deaths of saxophonist Denis Payton in 2006, and singer and keyboard player Mike Smith in 2008, Clark and guitarist Lenny Davidson are the only surviving members of the band.


Monday, February 11, 2013


Steven Wilson has released an animated video for his track "The Raven That Refused To Sing". You can view the video at the bottom of this posting.

The video was directed by Jess Cope and Simon Cartwright who also made the excellent video for Storm Corrosion’s “Drag Ropes” last year.

"The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)" is released on February 25th.

Saturday, February 9, 2013



Dr. John, the son of a record-shop owner, began his career in the 1950s as a teenage sideman and arranger. He played guitar until he got a finger blown off trying to protect a bandmate from a pistol-whipping at age 21; he then made the keyboard his primary instrument.

At 71, Dr. John has been shuffling musical styles like a well-worn deck of cards in a jive-talking nightclub hustle for decades. Revisiting the voodoo jazz funk of his early years, John delivers Locked Down, a collaboration with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who produces and plays guitar.

Locked Down is a record steeped in vintage rock and R&B.  Born of a jam session at last year's Bonnaroo, and full of vintage R&B grooves, psychedelic arrangements and oracular mumbo jumbo, it's the wildest record John has made in many years, as well as announcing Auerbach's inauguration in the new generation of studio wizards.

If the album's components may be retro, but the production has a 21st-century sensibility. With ghostly backing vocals wafting throughout and dub-reggae effects and the grooves of Nigerian Afrobeat and Ethiopian funk. Lyrically, the Doctor diagnoses the present through the past in a more weathered version of his trademark nasal growl, juggling generations of slang, conjuring conspiracy theories and drug-culture shell games that have changed little over the years.
All told, Locked Down is that rare thing: a retro exercise that looks forward, by an old hustler and a young player who, in the process of making a great record, probably taught each other a thing or two.





RELATED NOTE:The Black Keys will bring some New Orleans flavor to their 2013 Grammys performance when  Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band join them onstage. Dr. John is up for Best Blues Album for Locked Down , and The Black Keys are up for five awards, including Album of the Year for El Camino.

Friday, February 8, 2013



Warner Music's $765 million purchase of the Parlophone record label, which includes the rights to catalogs by Pink FloydColdplayRadiohead and Daft Punk, gives the third-biggest record label a much-needed power boost with regard to rivals Universal and Sony. 

Warner is the smallest of the "Big Three" record labels, providing just 20 percent of overall album sales in 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan, but Parlophone should significantly increase that number.

"It's going to make for a healthier, more competitive marketplace," says Steve Greenberg, a former Warner and Sony executive who is now founder and chief executive of independent S-Curve Records. "It enables them to have more of a seat at the table, and makes it less likely that someone can start a new version of Spotify – or something we haven't thought of yet – just with Sony and Universal."

Until 2010, the record industry revolved around four major labels – Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI. Despite its hugely profitable assets, such as the Beatles catalog and newer pop stars Katy Perry and David Guetta, EMI struggled for years before Universal took over its assets. 

However, late last year, European regulators stipulated that Universal must sell Parlophone over antitrust concerns. That's when Warner stepped in.

"This is a very important milestone for Warner Music, reflecting our commitment to artist development by strengthening our worldwide roster, global footprint and executive talent," Len Blavatnik, chairman and founder of Access Industries, Warner's parent company, said in a statement.

The Beatles' catalog, which belonged to Parlophone, was not part of the sale.


Todd Rundgren has booked tour dates in support of his forthcoming album.

Todd Rundgren will release his new studio album State on the Esoteric Antenna label on Monday April 8. 

It's Rundgren’s 24th solo studio album.

1. Imagination 
2. Serious 
3. In My Mouth 
4. Ping Me 
5. Angry Bird 
6. Smoke 
7. Collide-A-Scope 
8. Something From Nothing 
9. Party Liquor 
10. Sir Reality 

After his brief jaunt to the continent, Rundgren will be celebrating his birthday with a few hundred of his friends.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Reg Presley, singer of the influential English garage-rock band the Troggs, died last night at home in Andover, England, after a year-long battle with lung cancer. He was 71.

With Presley's primal voice, gritty guitar riffs and bludgeoning drums, the Troggs were part of the British Invasion wave of bands that included the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and the Who. On their 1966 single "Wild Thing," the band helped to define garage rock in the Sixties and inspired the architects of what would evolve into punk rock in the Seventies, including Iggy Pop, the Buzzcocks and the Ramones.
"Wild Thing," written by Chip Taylor, was a Number One hit for the Troggs in the U.S. The follow-up single, "With a Girl Like You," topped the charts in four countries, including the U.K.; while their 1967 single "Love Is All Around," later covered by R.E.M., reached the Top 10 in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. All three songs have sold more than one million copies.

Born Reg Ball, the singer was working as a bricklayer when he helped found the Troggs in Andover in 1964, adopting the name "Presley" at the suggestion of the band's manager. The band released just 11 studio albums over the years, but the Troggs frequently toured, and Presley fronted various incarnations of the group until last year, when he retired after receiving the cancer diagnosis.
Presley is survived by his wife, son and daughter, who were with him when he died.