Thursday, October 31, 2013


Last night, at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ronnie Spector performed her career retrospective, a live musical documentary, Behind The Beehive.

As recounted by Ronnie, when The Ronettes teamed up with Phil Spector, and in the early 1960s, they had huge hits with "Be My Baby", "Baby, I Love You", "The Best Part of Breakin' Up, "Do I Love You?" and "Walking in the Rain."

Heck, when they toured England in 1964, The Rolling Stones were THEIR opening act!  

They partied with the Beatles, and Ronnie maintained a friendship with John and George for many years.

As their success faded, and Ronnie’s relationship with Phil Spector turned romantic, Spector’s jealousy grew. After they married, Spector’s paranoid manifested in a threatening control of Ronnie’s life– she wasn’t allowed off their heavily guarded property with shoes, for example.

Ronnie started drinking. She recounted that the only way Phil would let her leave the mansion was for alcohol rehab. ("I loved rehab! It was like breaking free.")  So she found that by continuing to drink, she would get out of the house for extended periods of time. But Phil’s dark side finally prompted Ronnie to literally flee the house without shoes.

Ronnie spoke of her subsequent successes – recording with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Southside Johnny and Eddie Money a healthy and stable second marriage – as triumphs over that relationship.

Because the spectre of Spector still looms over the Ronettes catalog-Spector refused from prison to grant permission for the use of their biggest hits in the production, songs like "Be My Baby," "Baby I Love You" and "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" were not included in the production. Ronnie’s limited access to her hits didn’t prevent her from bringing out a lot of audience favorites that she performed in between her narrative. 

She sang "Time Is on My Side" after recounting the Ronettes’ road adventures with the Rolling Stones. (Spector does a very good Keith Richards imitation.) After that came the Beach Boys’ "Don’t Worry Baby," which Brian Wilson wrote as a follow-up to "Be My Baby;" and, keyed to her finally leaving Phil’s mansion, barefoot, Billy Joel’s "Say Goodbye to Hollywood," which Spector recorded as an E Street Band-backed single in 1977.

After a brief intermission, Ronnie performed a brief concert set, and treated the crowd to “Be My Baby” and Baby I Love You” as part of that set.

Ronnie was amazing-I do not know if she is, in fact, a grandmother, but there were times during the narrative where that’s how she came off. 

While singing some of the earlier material, she still seemed like a shy teenager (albeit a sexy shy teenager), and on a few number she simply radiated sexiness.

Her voice has lost a little range with the years, but the big, yearning tone behind all those "whoa-whoa-whoa" sobs was still in good shape

"Phil Spector wanted to erase me from the public consciousness," the producer's ex-wife, Ronnie Spector, said with righteous indignation.

I am glad he did not succeed.

She was funny and engaging while telling her stories, and captivating to watch sing. If the show comes to your town, I’d recommend it.

Ronnie’s web site offers some of her more recent recorded work, and you can still see some of the earlier albums on Amazon and eBay. 






Wednesday, October 30, 2013


(post was delayed to give readers a chance to find the Bromberg CD review, so this may not be news anymore...)

Lou Reed died Monday in Southampton, N.Y. of an ailment related to his recent liver transplant, according to his literary agent, Andrew Wylie, who added that Reed had been in frail health for months. Reed shared a home in Southampton with his wife and fellow musician, Laurie Anderson, whom he married in 2008.

Reed never approached the commercial success of such superstars as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, but no songwriter to emerge after Dylan so radically expanded the territory of rock lyrics. Indie rock essentially begins in the 1960s with Reed and the Velvet Undergrounds; the punk, New Wave and alternative rock movements of the 1970s, '80s and '90s were all indebted to Reed, whose songs were covered by R.E.M., Nirvana, Patti Smith and countless others.

"The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years," Brian Eno, who produced albums by Roxy Music and Talking Heads among others, once said. "I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!"

Reed's trademarks were a monotone of surprising emotional range and power; slashing, grinding guitar; and lyrics that were complex, yet conversational, designed to make you feel as if Reed were seated next to you. 

Known for his cold stare and gaunt features, he was a cynic and a seeker who seemed to embody downtown Manhattan culture of the 1960s and '70s and was as essential a New York artist as Martin Scorsese or Woody Allen. Reed's New York was a jaded city of drag queens, drug addicts and violence, but it was also as wondrous as any Allen comedy, with so many of Reed's songs explorations of right and wrong and quests for transcendence.

He had one top 20 hit, "Walk On the Wild Side," and many other songs that became standards among his admirers, from "Heroin" and "Sweet Jane" to "Pale Blue Eyes" and "All Tomorrow's Parties."

An outlaw in his early years, Reed would eventually perform at the White House, have his writing published in The New Yorker, be featured by PBS in an "American Masters" documentary and win a Grammy in 1999 for Best Long Form Music Video. 

The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 1996 and their landmark debut album, "The Velvet Underground & Nico," was added to the Library of Congress' registry in 2006.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


David Bromberg has been around the folk and  blues scene since the 1960’s, when he played guitar for Jerry Jeff Walker. 

He was a staple at the Philly Folk Festival after he started releasing albums of his own, although his first Grammy nomination did not come until 2008. He has also performed and recorded with such names and Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and jerry Garcia.

Bromberg took a sabbatical from the recording biz between 1989 and 2007, and learned the craft of violin making (he has a shop in WIlmington, Delaware).

Luckily, independent Pennsylvania-based label Appleseed Records brought him back to the shelves (or at least to internet sites). 

Only Slightly Mad is his third release since his return, following the Grammy-nominated Try Me One More Time and 2011’s critically acclaimed Use Me.

Simply put, this may his best album to date, with a brilliant choice of material in a wide variety of styles. 

The CD includes more than an hour of top notch performances, and for those with better eyesight than me, song-by-song commentary from David on the CD digipak.

Bromberg takes you from the deep blues of “I'll Take You Back,” the old time blues of Keep On Drinkin, to the bluegrass of the Stanley Brothers’ “The Fields Have Turned Brown.”  

The musicianship is top notch, and Larry Campbell’s production at Levon Helms' old studio brings out a little bit of everything in a lot of styles-in other words, the same recipe that made his old Fantasy albums so great.

Guest performers include Helms’ daughter Amy on background vocals, John Sebastian and John McEuen.

Other albums may have songs that are as good, but every song on this release is great, with my highlight being “I’ll Take You Back” with all of its tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. 

If this is not his best album, it certainly has to be in the discussion. 

A must own for any fan, and a great place to start for someone unfamiliar with his past work.




Saturday, October 19, 2013


Transatlantic reveal new studio album ‘Kaleidoscope’ and 2014 World Tour!

 Progressive-rock super-group Transatlantic, featuring Pete Trewavas, Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse and Roine Stolt, will release their brand new fourth studio album ‘Kaleidoscope’ on the 27th January 2014. The track-listing for the forthcoming record is as follows:


The band will also embark on a 6-week World Tour that will see them joined once again by Pain of Salvation’s Daniel Gildenlöw as a 5th touring member.
As part of the extensive tour, the band will also headline the Progressive Nation At Sea 2014 Cruise from the 18th till the 22nd February alongside 22 other leading Prog acts including Adrian Belew Power Trio, Devin Townsend Project, King's X, Anathema, Spock’s Beard and many more.
This unique performance will see the band performing a very special encore of classic Yes material with the legendary Jon Anderson on vocals. You can find more details on PN14 here:



An Evening With Transatlantic 2014 World Tour:

Jan 31st - Los Angeles, CA - El Segundo Performing Arts Center
Feb 1st - San Francisco, CA
Feb 2nd - Seattle, WA
Feb 4th - Chicago, IL - The Arcada Theater
Feb 5th - Quebec City, Canada - Theatre Du Capitole
Feb 6th - Montreal, Canada - L'Olympia
Feb 8th - Philadelphia, PA - Keswick Theater
Feb 9th - New York City, NY - Highline Ballroom
Feb 11th - Mexico City, Mexico - Teatro Metropolitan
Feb 13th - São Paulo, Brazil - Carioca Club
Feb 14th - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Feb 15th - Santiago, Chile
Feb 18th to 22nd - Progressive Nation At Sea
Feb 27th - Madrid, Spain - La Rivera
Feb 28th - Barcelona, Spain - Razzmatazz 2
March 2nd - Milan, Italy - Alcatraz
March 3rd - Rome, Italy - Orion
March 5th - Pratteln, Switzerland - Z7
March 6th - Karlsruhe, Germany - Substage
March 7th - Munich, Germany - Muffathalle
March 8th - Berlin, Germany - Astra
March 9th - Cologne, Germany - E Werk
March 11th - Antwerp, Belgium - Trix
March 12th - London, England - The Forum
March 13th - Tilburg, Holland - 013
March 14th - Tilburg, Holland - 013
March 15th - Paris, France - Le Bataclan
June - Sweden Rock Festival

For more information visit:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Here I am for the third time sneaking in the stage door at the Battle Of The Bands blog-hop!

These five bloggers are co-sponsoring a blog event on the first and fifteenth of each month, and I am once again hitching a ride on their parade because I seem to have no original ideas of my own! 

Robin (Your Daily Dose) 

My entry is (go figure) once again a Todd Rundgren song, this time his single, "Can We Still Be Friends," which went all the way up to 29 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song was featured in the movie "Dumb And Dumber," as well as "Vanilla Sky" and the TV show "Nip And Tuck."

It has been covered by Mandy Moore, Vonda Shepherd and Rod Stewart, but Robert Palmer's version, released in 1979, brought the song back to the charts, peaking at number 52.

First, the Todd Rundgren version from the Hermit Of Mink Hollow album:

And next, Robert Palmer's version from the Secrets album

Mandy Moore's version...

...and Vonda Shepherd's...

...and finally, Rod Stewart's


Monday, October 14, 2013


Vixen founder and lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund lost her battle with cancer on Thursday, October 10, 2013.

Kuehnemund was known for her guitar playing in the all-female glam rock band Vixen, who achieved success in the late eighties and early nineties. Hailed as the “female Bon Jovi,” the band’s debut featured two hits, the Richard Marx penned single, “Edge Of A Broken Heart,” and “Cryin.”

Vixen also raised the question-is it still a "hair band" if it's all women?

Vixen followed up their breakout success with Rev It Up in 1990, which yielded two singles, "Love Is a Killer" and "How Much Love." The album did not have the same impact as the band's debut, however, and they were dropped shortly after.

Vixen disbanded for several years but reformed with various new members until Kuehnemund returned in 2001. The band had a brief reunion of the classic lineup for VH1's Bands Reunited in 2004, but soon went their separate ways.

Rest in peace, Jan!

Friday, October 11, 2013


from Rolling Stone Online

"This beats going to class," Paul McCartney said with a big smile after taking the stage for a surprise performance at a performing arts high school in Astoria, Queens this afternoon. The 400 students packing the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts' auditorium seemed very much to agree.

McCartney and his band played a full set of 13 songs, including three selections from his upcoming album New (due out next week) and plenty of Beatles and Wings classics – performing each one with all the boundless enthusiasm he brought to arenas and stadiums on his Out There world tour this year. 

Astoria native Tony Bennett, who founded the school in 2001, was in attendance, as was McCartney's wife, Nancy Shevell, celebrating their second anniversary. (It was a day of many milestones: Today would also have been John Lennon's 73rd birthday.) 

The show was filmed by iHeartRadio, and will be streamed on ClearChannel radio stations and online on Yahoo! on Monday, October 14th.

McCartney took the stage shortly after 2:00 P.M., launching directly into "Eight Days A Week" to rapturous applause – never mind that most of the crowd was born 30 years or more after the song's release. 

He went on for 90 spirited minutes, with short breaks for questions from his student audience and longtime New York radio DJ Jim Kerr. 

As always, McCartney seemed genuinely thrilled to be onstage, buoyed by the crowd's cheers. "I could be home watching the TV now," he said at one point. "I'd rather be here."

He clearly enjoyed bantering back and forth with his new friends during the Q&A sections. "How are you?" asked one high school senior. "Groovy!" McCartney replied. 

The kids, aspiring artists themselves, seemed most interested in hearing about McCartney's younger days as a musician. "When we first started out, I was terrified of doing anything wrong on stage," he said after one girl asked for the greatest lesson he learned early on. "But then I learned that people don't mind. They actually kind of like it!"

Later, Kerr asked McCartney, in his sonorous radio voice, "How can one mind create so many memorable melodies?" McCartney paused. "Uh . . ." he began. "I don't know. Thank you for the compliment, but I don't really think about what I do." On reflection, he realized the answer was simple: "I just love what I do."

This much was obvious from watching him onstage. McCartney hopped from his Hofner bass to two acoustic guitars to his psychedelically-painted piano, singing his heart out all the while. 

After closing with a heartfelt "Hey Jude" and taking a bow with his band, he seemed almost reluctant to leave the stage. 

McCartney flashed a quick peace sign at the crowd on his way out, and the giddy students filing out of the auditorium raised an endless chorus of "na-na-na-na"s, echoing through the school's corridors.

Set List:
"Eight Days a Week"
"Save Us"
"Lady Madonna"
"We Can Work It Out"
"Everybody Out There"
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
"Band on the Run"
"Back in the U.S.S.R."

"Hey Jude"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Ok, not really, but I did go to see Booker T. (he who used to be backed by the MG's) on my birthday at the Musical Instrument Museum's intimate 300-seat theater, accompanied by longtime friend and Hammond organ junkie Stephen T. McCarthy.

If you live in Arizona, the Musical Instrument Museum, or the MIM, as locals refer to it, has an incredible auditorium, with acoustics that every act I have seen here raves about. The museum subsidizes the ticket prices, so the shows are usually quite reasonable (often as low as $30), and while most of the acts are a little, shall we say, long in the tooth, they've featured Todd Snider, Edwin McCain, and in a couple of weeks, Vanessa Carlton. I've been to ten shows this year, and am considering becoming a donor. This photo gives you an idea of what the hall looks like (not a photo from the show, as cameras are prohibited)..

We sat in the front row pretty much at Booker T's right elbow, and while they weren't the MG's the band was tight and entertaining, and it was a great show.

The set list focused on title tracks from classic albums and tracks from his most recent two releases, "Road To Memphis" and "Sound The Alarm." There were also tracks from the various artists albums he was a creative voice when Booker T. And The MG's were basically the Stax Records studio band.

A great rendition of "Knocking On Heaven's Door" followed the revelation that Booker T. had played guitar on that song at Dylan's request.

His third most recent release (with the Drive-By Truckers) happened to be what I had in the car, so I got that signed after the show.

Stephen T. purchased the same title and got his signed as well (his second autograph request, Chuck Berry being the first).

Considering the show was how I celebrated my birthday, Booker T. did, sort of, play at my birthday party. It's just that I did not know 298 of the guests.

I've never done a proper review of Sound The Alarm, which was released in late June. For Booker T.'s tenth studio album, he returns to the scene of his first hit ("Green Onions"), Stax Records.

There are songs on Sound the Alarm that sound as though they could have been written back in those days.
“Feel Good” has a bit of a lazy feel that suits this week's Phoenix weather perfectly (we're finally below triple digits), and “Fun” is just that- a three-minute party of stomping percussion, irrepressible bass and jittery, dancing Hammond riffs. “66 Impala” is a cheesy blend of organ and sax.

Continuing in the spirit of his last two discs (where he was backed by The Drive-By Truckers and The Roots, respectively), most of the tracks find Jones collaborating with hot young artists, be it Bill Withers' daughter Kori, R&B singer Luke James, or guitarist Gary Clark Jr.
While I prefer Potato Hole (with the Truckers) of these three recent releases, all three are excellent, and you can't go wrong with Sound The Alarm.

So break out the bourbon, turn down the lights, and put this record on!



Friday, October 4, 2013


Regular readers of this blog will probably note that I mention the progressive rock band Marillion quite often.  I was introduced to the band back in 1990, just as they were bringing in a lead singer to replace Fish, who had just embarked on a solo career.

Interestingly enough, whether by design or coincidence, both the band and the solo artist have managed to maintain careers in a declining music business through savvy use of the internet. And while I would characterize Marillion as having mastered the 'net, Fish certainly has managed a living via the use of the online community allegedly invented by Al Gore. 

For A Feast Of Consequences, his tenth solo album. Fish delivers an album that will not disappoint.

With delicate and unhurried song construction, rich yet unimposing production and layered with mood, tempo and instrumental changes, the record rocks hard where it needs to, and is subtle as silk songs warrant a gentle touch.

The record opens with a dark and somber atmosphere, the opening track leading into a more upbeat number and then to the sparse beauty of Blind To The Beautiful, which, if there were justice in the world, would already be all over the radio. Next up is the title track, catchy and anthemic.

The album’s progressive leanings shine on the five-part High Wood suite, five epic songs that tell a tale of war and it’s horror. The album finishes with a ballad and a “proggy” final number.

Fish fans will love it, progressive fans should love it, and but there are songs here that would appeal to most rock and roll fans. Available at Fish’s site in a deluxe version and standard jewel case edition.




Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Here I am once again crashing the Battle Of The Bands blog-hop!

These five bloggers are co-sponsoring a blog event on the first and fifteenth of each month, and I am shamelessly leeching off of their idea because I am a bad person! 

Robin (Your Daily Dose) 

My entry is (surprise) once again a Todd Rundgren song, this time his first solo single, "We Gotta Get You A Woman," which went all the way up to twenty on the Billboard Hot 100. 

Betcha didn't know that!

And didja know there was a remake of this tune by the Four Tops?

These are the two songs I am featuring today...

First, the Todd Rundgren version from the Runt album:

And next, the Four Tops version.... I could only find a clip of this in a medley, so WGGYAW starts at about the two minute point...

So what do you think? There is only one winner (to quote another Todd song) so which is it going to be?
For the heckuvit, here is the song performed by Todd for the first time ever in 2011 with the Metropole Orchestra (I just saw him perform it for the fifth time ever with the Akron Symphony Orchestra).