From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hungry For Great Music: I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore

Back in the day...way back in the day, late 60's, I was an early teenager. Hey, I've always said I was old...but I had a hell of a lot of fun and the memories I have...wouldn't ever trade them.

There was a semi-local group which we all had a vested interest in. The Rascals or The Young Rascals had some roots in town. Local born Vocalist Eddie Brigati had lived a couple of blocks away and the band showed up in town at some church fairs and stuff like that from time to time.  Actually got their start in a local place...The Choo Choo Club, right next to the railroad tracks. Not too long ago, the corner nearest Eddie and his brother Dave's (background vocals/arrangements) house was renamed Brigati Way. I believe the drummer Dino Danelli was a Jersey boy as well.  Keyboardist & vocalist Felix Cavaliere came from New York and guitarist Gene Cornish originally from Canada.

"Yeah, I admit you've got the biggest brown eyes and you know how to part your lips to tantalize, sure"

Known for creating blue-eyed soul, The Rascals had their share of hits including "Groovin", "A Girl Like You", "Good Lovin", "It's A Beautiful Morning" and "People Gotta Be Free."  All great early rock.

To choose a favorite from The Rascals is like picking a favorite child. Sorry, I love them all. But for the taste of the day...

"I love you, I love, I do girl...but you ain't gonna cheat on me
I need you, I need you, I do girl...choose is it him or me"

Because the videos are so poor, I'm including both a studio version and a not so great video.

Start the drum roll Dino...
"I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore." - studio
"I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" - semi-live (gotta love the outfits)

"You better watch your step or girl you're gonna lose the best thing you've ever had."

Yes, indeed.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Going Home To Motown: No Disputing The Truth

Motown. Where do you start...and how do you choose one definitive artist or song.  Can't be done, so here's what we're gonna do.  Start to cover all of it.  Just like we're going to revisit the cover songs and great lyrics from time to time, Motown will be a recurring theme. No other way around it.

Now, I grew up on Motown. Whether it was Smokey (how I love that man), The Temptations, Four Tops, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5 or so many more, they could be seen on TV and heard on the radio non-stop. Fine by me.

The first taste of Motown is none of the above. One of my favorite songs from the Motown empire was from a group called The Undisputed Truth.  While not a really well known group, when you saw them on TV, you would not forget them  "Psychedelic Soul,"...they came out with huge white afros and white make-up.

In a song originally done by the Temptations, The Undisputed Truth had their biggest hit.

A double dose of the same song. Because I love the studio version so much, that one is up first.  But, I'd be remiss if I didn't include their live performance in full costume.

Watch your back, here comes...

"Smiling Faces, Sometimes"  - studio
"Smiling Faces, Sometimes"  - live


Monday, February 27, 2012

Can You Hear Me Dr. Woo?

Funk, soul, jazz, R&B, alternative rock...what type of music hasn't Bernie Worrell played?  As a founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic, for which he has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Bernie's incredible mastery of the keyboard continues to amaze each new generation.  Dr. Woo has recorded with everyone from Jack Bruce to The Talking Heads, as well as pulling together some great musicians to work on his solo albums.

Here are three tasty morsels for a Monday afternoon.

"Watermelon Man"  starts out worth the listen
"Red Hot Mama"

And one hot version of  The Talking Heads "Burning Down the House."

...indeed he does.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hybrid Ice: On Fire And Going Home (Part Two)

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview veteran rock band Hybrid Ice. The following is Part Two of that question and answer session. This interview first appeared on This post contains some additional video links so you can enjoy just how good this band continues to be 30+ years later.

“The Most Famous Unknown Band in the World.” is how Hybrid Ice once described themselves. This year, that may change in a big way.

While this Pennsylvania-based band has toured with and supported some of the greatest names in rock history, a deal with a major record company has never materialized. But it isn’t for lack of talent or conviction. Coming up this year, Hybrid Ice will be the support group for such classic rock names as Jimi Jamison, best known as the former frontman for the chart-topping band Survivor, Bobby Kimball (Toto), Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple) and Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent). The first set of shows will feature Jimi Jamison, including a March 17th date in the hometown of Hybrid Ice…Danville, PA.

Recently, three members of Hybrid Ice answered a few questions about their approach to working as a support band, their 30+ year history and what’s in store for the upcoming shows with Jamison.

Hybrid Ice is: Rick Klinger (vocals/drums), Bob Richardson (vocals/keyboards), Jason Schaffer (bass), Chris Alburger (vocals/guitar) and Rusty Foulke (lead guitar/vocals).

In Part Two of the interview, Hybrid Ice discusses the band’s long journey, how they reunited, the current line-up and their expectations for the upcoming shows.

Kat's Theory (KT): Reading your bio, I was really impressed by the marketing ingenuity you guys possessed at such an early age, before you had the Hybrid Ice name. Since I think I’m about the same age as most of you, I can gauge pretty accurately and I know many of the things you tried would never have popped into my head. Example, renting the local Y, hiring a headline band and having your band open for them. Who was the entrepreneurial genius at work back then?

Rick Klinger (RK): If I remember correctly, that was Rusty. Jeff (Willoughby, former bassist) was responsible for the idea to buy old limos. Playing clubs like PJ'S in Daytona Beach for the purpose of finding out whether or not we could find a concentration of hot girls who liked guys in bands - that was me.

Bob Richardson (BR): The band has the ability to think outside the box. We did not have the internet back then and marketing was done the old fashion way. We earned it. One plan comes to mind. We wanted to play New York City at the same place Aerosmith was discovered: Max’s Kansas City. We hired two buses and brought our fan base to make an impact. It was a lot of fun and we had some interest from labels, but unfortunately nothing ever developed.

KT: With more than 30 years of music in the rear-view mirror and a legion of fans following you from the start, Hybrid Ice is a very odd success story. You’ve opened for some of the greatest musical acts, did some recording and had your music recorded by others, most notably Boston covering “Magdelene”…yet the brass ring was never quite in your hand. Do you think the music demise of the 1990s was a key factor?

BR: It is one of those mysteries that will never be solved. We had a regional hit on our hands but still could not get a record company to take interest. Looking back you can see that we were not alone. Record companies did not want to sign Rush or Boston either. Proves that the suits don't really have a clue when it comes to good music.

RK: Who knows for sure. We were told we had too many lead singers (like The Beatles or Styx). We were told we were too self-contained. This is true: We were actually told that a deal from a New York label was pretty much in the bag if Chris would shave his beard! I get your question though. All I know is that when I realized nobody recorded guitar solos anymore, our dream was probably toast.

KT: Bob, you started out as a drummer and switched to keyboards when you joined Hybrid Ice. That takes a lot of conviction in thinking this was the right band to join, when hooking up with another band and staying on the skins might have been an easier path. What did you see in Hybrid Ice that allowed you to make that decision?

Looks like Bob still has all the right moves!

BR: I had seen Hybrid Ice play before I joined and they were very impressive. They had talent and full production at a young age. The real question would be why did they hire me? When I played drums in my previous band I had a synthesizer at my side, so I guess this made me a keyboard player. The audition was shaky at best but I am glad they decided to take a chance on me. I wanted it so bad that I practiced 8 hours a day to get up to speed.

KT: Around 1998, the band went their separate ways for quite a few years. Now you’re back, sounding great and looking toward a very busy summer. What was the driving force for the reunion?

RK: A label in England contacted us wanting to reissue the first record, remastered, on CD. ( It was only ever out on vinyl ).

BR: The five that had recorded on the album had a meeting to discuss this. A reunion idea came up to support the release so we had intended to play one or two shows and go our own way. To our surprise it went over extremely well. This is too much fun, so we still do it.

RK: We recorded 2 new songs for it. That spawned the idea for the shows. We just never knew that they'd be so successful. So, 2002 became 2003 became 2004 - you get the idea. And here we are.

KT: Rick, you and Rusty are the two members with the most seniority. Having Chris on vocals and Bob back as well, the current line-up must be very comfortable for you.   With several other former members to choose from, how did this line-up come together.

RK: Myself, Rusty, Bob, and Chris, and at the time Jeff (Willoughby, who left the band in 2010 for medical reasons)…we're bandmates, brothers, the recording version of Hybrid. Rusty and I talked, then went to Bob to see if he wanted in. He said yes, and at that point we decided to " blow the dust off of Chris to see if he could still sing ". We had decided that in order to do reunion shows, we had to have all 5 original guys. Really, playing music with these guys is like putting on your favorite old comfy jeans. It just fits.

KT: The first shows with Hybrid Ice supporting the classic rockers begin in March with Jimi Jamison. One of those shows is in the town where it all began…Danville PA. It’s got to be a kick to be back performing to the fans who were there when you first started out, as well as backing up one of melodic rocks most respected voices. How fun is that night going to be?

BR: This is one of those moments that we will have to see before I can answer that one. It is a new thing for us to have a world renowned singer with us in our little home town. It is kind of strange.

RK: I'm sure we'll all relax, play loose, and kick ass. Not much happens around here. All indications are that this will be HUGE!

Jason Schaffer (JS): It’s going to be beyond a blast doing the shows. Can’t wait!

Kat’s Theory: Can’t thank you enough for your time and insight. Danville, PA is sure to be rocking on March 17th, looking forward to being there.

Hybrid Ice Interview (Part 1)

Enjoy a taste or three of Hybrid Ice.

Looking Glass

Never Coming Back


Find Hybrid Ice:
The Hybrid Ice Official Website
Hybrid Ice Facebook Page

Jimi Jamison Official Website

Article first published as "Hybrid Ice: On Fire and Going Home (Part Two)" on Technorati

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hybrid Ice: On Fire And Going Home (Part One)

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview veteran rock band Hybrid Ice. The following is Part One of that question and answer session. This interview first appeared on This post contains some additional video links so you can enjoy just how good this band continues to be 30+ years later.

“The Most Famous Unknown Band in the World.” is how Hybrid Ice once described themselves. This year, that may change in a big way.

While this Pennsylvania-based band has toured with and supported some of the greatest names in rock history, a deal with a major record company has never materialized. But it isn’t for lack of talent or conviction. Coming up this year, Hybrid Ice will be the support group for such classic rock names as Jimi Jamison, best known as the former frontman for the chart-topping band Survivor, Bobby Kimball (Toto), Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple) and Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent). The first set of shows will feature Jimi Jamison, including a March 17th date in the hometown of Hybrid Ice…Danville, PA.

Recently, three members of Hybrid Ice answered a few questions about their approach to working as a support band, their 30+ year history and what’s in store for the upcoming shows with Jimi Jamison
(Photo by Patty Smith)

Hybrid Ice is: Rick Klinger (drums/vocals), Bob Richardson (keyboards/vocals), Jason Schaffer (bass), Chris Alburger (vocals/guitar) and Rusty Foulke (lead guitar/vocals).

Kat’s Theory (KT): Hybrid Ice recently announced they will be providing musical support for some of classic rocks finest names. Bobby Kimball, Joe Lynn Turner, Derek St. Holmes and first up, a couple of shows with Jimi Jamison. I’m taking a guess that this booking is through Sally Irwin and SJI Entertainment. Did this all come about before the December cruise with Jimi, Bobby, John Cafferty, Chuck Negron and Mickey Thomas…or was it a result of the success and fun of a full week at sea?

Bob Richardson (BR): You are a good guesser. It was almost like an audition. Sally was probably quite nervous to have Jimi play with a band she had never heard before. Sound check was more of a jam session than a rehearsal. Musicians can tell pretty quickly if it is going to be good or bad. Jimi smiled the whole time so I guess we passed the audition.

Rick Klinger (RK): This whole thing actually happened on the cruise as a result of the show with Jimi. He had given us 14 songs to prepare and we had plenty of time to work on them. We never were the kind of band to just throw something together, so we were ready. I think that we have an energy flowing off stage that crowds feed off of. Anyway, Jimi is not only a monster singer, but quite simply just a great guy. We had a blast, he had a blast, and by the time the ship docked back in Baltimore, both Jimi and Sally said "We have to do more of these shows!" The next cruise will be in February of 2013

KT: As a fan of any artist, I want to hear my favorite songs, but as a music lover, I feel my heart race when I hear those deeper tracks or when a singer does a cover. I always feel those are the songs the artist is more excited to sing on a given night, not just what is expected. Any thoughts on that?

BR: You are not only a good guesser but now you are starting to freak me out. This insight is spot on. I was checking my keyboards for the sound check and started playing “Layla” just as Jimi was walking in. He was really excited to play that song at the show. We spent all of sound check going over this instead of the songs we had rehearsed. You never know what is going to happen, so we had best be on our game.

RK: Hybrid Ice played a pool party on the top deck of the ship. That show was 90% covers. It morphed into a giant jam session. Jimi traded verses of “Separate Ways” with Chris. He also did some Steppenwolf along with Alex Ligertwood (Santana), both the bass player and the keyboard player from Starship did some Toto with us. I won't say that they were excited to do those songs, but I'm sure they all had a rippin' good time.

Jason Shaffer (JS): That is very true. Jimi wanted to throw some old Doors tunes and things like that in. For me personally, some of my favorite tracks to play are the deeper album cuts.

KT: The piano solo from “Layla” can stop anyone in their tracks. What’s interesting to me on several levels is Jimi choosing to sing it. I can think of 100 covers he would knock out of the park, but “Layla” would not have been on that list, and not because he couldn’t do it justice. Here’s why: the vocal runs for 2 minutes, then you have the guitar and keyboard solos, which take your breath away. While they do give the singer a little rest period, most times the breather comes in the middle of the song, the singer then comes back to end the song with a big finish. For a frontman to leave the end of the song to the band tells me two things. He has true admiration for the musicianship of the band and is a man of little ego.

BR: With Jimi it is all about the music. I can only imagine that with all of the people he plays with, no one ever thought to do it. I play it all the time as it is a great piano piece. All musicians have egos; some are just more evident than others.

KT: In backing up a group of singers such as those mentioned, of course you need to know all the hits…that’s what most of the fans want to hear, but how far into the artists’ catalogs do you need to rehearse?

BR: It is totally up to the artist. We request a set list and key the artist would like us to play it in. It is not a guarantee that we will play the song in the original recorded key so this is really important. At that time, the ball is in our court and we will learn the song and work out the harmony parts. We have four members who sing, but it is weird to sing the harmonies at practice, without the lead part.

RK: These are very bright guys who are well aware of how to please their audience. They also simply want to have a really good time, singing. That, I'm sure, sometimes includes songs which are a little bit off the beaten track. For example, we learned “Crossroads Moment”, as well as “Layla”, which is one of his (Jamison’s) all time favorites.

JS: We learn what the artists’ current set list is… but with Jimi we realized it’s better to know more than that. He likes throwing in some old goodies!

KT: With the internet making it easy to send song arrangements, I would think actual rehearsal time with the singer is cut down a lot. When doing support for an artist you’ve never worked with before, how long does it take the band itself, to get ready for the first rehearsal with the artist?

BR: There was never a rehearsal with the artist. We received the set list in September, each one learned individual parts on their own and full band rehearsal started in October. It is not that the songs are hard to play, but remembering the arrangement of songs that we were not that familiar with was. Some of the songs had fade outs on the record and we had to come up with endings that sound professional. I have seen it a lot when a band plays a song pretty decent and then botches the intro or the ending. I would estimate each member spent 40 actual hours to get ready.

RK: I met Jimi the day before the show with him on the ship. We did sound check and then played the show. The critical part is making sure everyone is on the same page with the song endings. There are always several endings to choose from. We checked out youtube for the ones we felt he uses most.

J.S: We busted our butts to know these songs inside and out… we wanted to play them better than anyone else… and to make the singer whip around and think “holy crap! This is rocking!” But it is actually a little difficult since we learn these songs without the singers there in the room with us. And, they tend to do their own things after years of doing these songs. So it’s kind of like be prepared for the unexpected.

KT: As a person with no musical training, not having a rehearsal with the artist is astounding to me, and I would think a little unnerving on the first night. Over the years, have there been any oops moments the first time out with an artist?

BR: I have an oops moment every night. I just don't let people know it. Sometimes if I make a mistake I will do it again so everyone will think I meant to do it. This advice was given to me many years ago by one of our talent agents who was also a really good keyboard player. He noticed that when I had made a mistake I would cringe and I was letting everyone know about it. Some of the best advice I ever received. It is best to know your limitations, and just play under that when you are live. Keep practicing and when you feel confident, then throw it in the show. Almost like singing. If you know you can't hit the note, then don't try to sing it and let everyone know you can't hit the note.

KT: Hybrid Ice has been through various lineups over the years and been touring and recording for a very long time. Members come and go, it’s a reality of almost all bands, but most of you guys go way back. Besides a shared musical vision, what’s made it possible to endure all those years on the road?

BR: We have become really good friends. I have only a few other people outside of the band that I can call true friends. You know…someone who will always have your back or do anything for you. It is like a marriage and I have never had to try to get my records back.

RK: One idea is that although we share all things pertaining to music and the party, we keep our noses out of each others personal business. The other possibility is that we all have so much dirt on each other that nobody dares piss anybody off. Then again, it could be that in this rare instance, the whole really is greater that the sum of its parts.

KT: Nicely said.

In Part Two of the interview, Hybrid Ice discusses the band’s long journey, how they reunited, the current line-up and their expectations for the upcoming shows.

Hybrid Ice Interview Part 2

Enjoy a taste or three from Hybrid Ice:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stand Back: I Will Not Be Denied

I need a jacuzzi...or at least a vodka.  Now don't go looking at your watch and saying it's barely nine in the morning. It's been that kind of morning...actually it's been that kind of week.

This morning I finally finished something that had been in the works for way over a month.  Whether it would actually get accomplished was in doubt several times over that period.  The next step is out of my hands for the time being. That being said, I need a little something to relax me and make a statement at the same time.

A little Bonnie Raitt, yes.  The ultimate comeback kid, Bonnie has been around for...well it might not be polite to say, just a long time will suffice. After touring and recording for over 20 years with up and down success, her album "Nick of Time" went to the top of the charts and made her the Grammy's sweetheart in 1990. The album is a good place to start if you are just getting into her music. Just don't stop there.  Bonnie Raitt does not do anything badly...taste as much as you can.

So, for my need of relaxation, I need a little something bluesy.  For my statement, this force of nature declares "I Will Not Be Denied.

All's I'm Saying.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Quick 60's Flashback: So Very Dusty

Today, this little ride is going back to the early 60's. As someone who grew up with the whole women's rights thing, I've always enjoyed the women early on in the music business, who found their way to the top.

Now in an earlier post entitled "Choosing A Role Model: It Explains So Much," I wrote of the influence Grace Slick had on my life. While Grace was up-in-your-face all attitude and voice, the late Dusty Springfield was the polar opposite.

Dusty was always perfectly put together, 60's style. Big hair, great manicure, fancy clothes.  Then there was the voice. Blue-eyed soul with feminine charm. Watching her on TV, always a lady...using those well-polished nails as an exclamation mark to her singing.

Best known for "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Wishin' and Hopin," her album "Dusty in Memphis," still reigns as a top in my eyes.

Just for fun, today's lick is just  Sixties pop at its best. Two minutes and 38 seconds of a view into the early joy of music videos.

Have a taste of  "I Only Want To Be With You."


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Railroad Earth: Newgrass not Bluegrass

Today's little snack is a bit of modern day bluegrass...or a derivative thereof. Now this is not your grandpappy's shit-kicking variety. Railroad Earth offers a blend of several musical styles: bluegrass, rock and jazz among them. Basically a band that takes the best from all types of music.

From northwest New Jersey...that's right, there's more to Jersey music than Bruce, Jon and Southside (but don't go fighting with this jersey girl about them), RRE has been playing for over a decade.

This delicious treat is a haunting ballad called "Lovin You." .So sweet and filled with wonderful instrumentation.

If you enjoy this treat and want to hear some great pickin' and playin' listen to this 12 minute, 3 song acoustic instrumental.  Each tune builds on the one before...tasty as hell. "Pickin' Medley."



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Got It Covered: This Ain't No Cheap Trick

I think it's time for another cover version in Kat's Theory of Music's battle of the bands.  Today, we are taking a suggestion from reader G.  When we did the blog post "Got It Covered Today: Serving Up Green Onions," G suggested a cover of the Cheap Trick song "I Want You To Want Me." done by Blues-Gospel-Soul trio, The Holmes Brothers.

If you have ever listened to a classic radio station, you could not have escaped that Cheap Trick song.  Their album from 1978, Live at Budokan, pretty much set the standard for successful live recordings. So the first taste for today is the live Cheap Trick version of "I Want You To Want Me."

Ok, now you need to totally clear your head.  Going in an entirely different direction, it's almost hard to believe this is the same song. Pure and heartfelt, it's meant to be savored.  The Holmes Brothers with "I Want You To Want Me."  Thanks G.

Close your eyes and open your soul.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Sailing Away Today: Nice & Smooth

Writing, you may have noticed, is my thing. So musically, the lyrics are what catches me first, then I go into the instrumentation. Specifically today, we're talking guitars. Boy this is gonna piss off some people to be sure.

Just like anything else, your favorite rock guitarist is a subjective thing. Yes... Eddie, Jimmy, Jeff...all masters, no argument from me. I can appreciate the depth of their ability and their soul.  Just not what soothes my soul.  My top three: Clapton,Vaughn & Knopfler...with Clapton and Knopfler on top...though no particular order. Disclaimer: No disrespect intended to any guitar players who might read this.  I like smooth, not frenetic...and then Stevie Ray is just Stevie Ray (can you say "Little Wing?")  Having seen all of them play live, well those are memories to savor.

The taste for today is from one of my top three.  The first time I heard "Sultans of Swing" with that guitar solo, it was 'whoa, can I hear that every day for the rest of my life?'  Kinda of how I felt and still feel about the guitar and piano solos of "Layla" never gets tired.

On this morning's menu is Mark Knofler doing a little something from one of his solo albums.  The title song from "Sailing to Philadelphia," features James Taylor helping out on the vocals. It's not a knock your socks off guitar piece, just a nice blend of vocals and instrumentation. This entire CD is wonderful, if you have the chance to check it out.

Sail away.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Need A Break? Take Five

Music soothes the soul. No doubt.

Having no musical training, one of the few regrets of my life, it is sometimes hard for me to really understand jazz.  Older jazz from Ella, the Duke, even Glenn Miller...I could understand the rhythm and the feeling. I have a harder time really getting the newer fusion stuff.

The taste for today is a classic from Dave Brubeck. Most everyone is familiar with "Take Five." It's been used as background music everywhere from commercials to ice skating competitions.  Written by Brubeck's long time collaborator, sax player Paul Desmond, "Take Five" is an enduring representation of fluidity in jazz.

And, who doesn't need to take five from time to time?


Friday, February 17, 2012

One For The Ladies: Wanna Have Fun?

So yes, I'm in a mood. In a state of "pissedoffidness," to be exact.  Read today's Theory of Life blog for more clarification on that.

But am I the type of person to allow that to cloud my musical vision of the day? Hell no. I need a little something to raise my spirit...I need wanna have fun.  Who better than Cyndi to take care of that.

"When the working day is done, girls just wanna have fun."

It is the weekend, let's all get happy...or at the very least try to get unhappy.

Let's hear it ladies "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" : Cyndi Lauper

They just wanna,they just wanna.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Serving Up A Mardi Gras Special: Queen Ida

It's Mardi Gras. Time for a little Zydeco music. A quick primer if Zydeco is unfamiliar to you.  Born in southwest Louisiana in the 1860s, it is a blend of Cajun, Blues, rural Folk and rhythms which came from the influx of Haitians coming in to work the sugar cane fields.

" Laissez les bons temps rouler "

Heavy on the accordion, it can be positively joyful...with a beat that becomes instantly familiar. Serving up the taste today is Queen Ida. Born in 1929, Ida Lewis Guillory hails from Lake Charles, Louisiana. She plays music to this day.  Most of the videos for the queen are poor in quality, so today's lick will be an audio version.  If you want to take a look at her in action here's a video link. "Queen Ida - Live"

Have a taste of Queen Ida and her Zydeco Band doing "Back Door."

"If your feet ain't tappin' you're dead."


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Take A Ride: Down The Tunnel Of Love

Last week in Tweetville, I was having a discussion with musician Andrew Boyd about song lyrics.  Specifically, to come up with some lyrics I thought were really good.  Those tweets bring us to the taste of the day.

Now as someone who started trying to interpret lyrics the first time I heard Simon & Garfunkel sing "The Sounds of Silence," words in music are a subject in which I take great enjoyment.

"Fat man sitting on a little stool,
takes the money from my hand
while his eyes take a walk all over you."

So begins the visual artistry of  "Tunnel of Love" by Bruce Springsteen. For my money, an opening line doesn't get much more picturesque than that.

"Then the lights go out and it's just the three of us
you and me and all that stuff we're so scared of
Gotta ride down baby, into this tunnel of love."

So now, we know we're not talking carnival ride.

"There's a room with shadows that gets so dark brother,
It's easy for two people to lose each other
in this tunnel of love."

Now if you have followed Bruce over the years, you'll remember this CD came out about the time his first marriage fell apart.  The entire album references issues of loss of trust, loss of communication and loss of commitment.  Personally, I think this is one of his best written songs and one of his best written records.

"Ought to be easy, ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love.
But this house is haunted and the ride gets rough.
You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above
If you want to ride on down,
Down in through this tunnel of love."

Funny, how this is the song I pick for the day after Valentine's.
Just don't go trying to interpret that.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on great lyrics in the comment area. This could be fun.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Working On The Valentine's Mojo

Ok, so I just finished the Theory of Life blog about Valentine's Day and now it's time to write the VDay themed music blog. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Now for New Year's Eve, in a post titled "Hot Licks For New Year's Eve" I offered up some "in the mood" selections. So let's see if we can find a few more.

The New Year's list began with Marvin Gaye and I've already tweeted  it this morning, if you can... start the day with it.  Because how do you not start with Marvin...?  "Let's Get It On."  oh yeah

Lou Gramm "Warmest Rising Sun"...sultry
Survivor "Too Hot To Sleep"...just too damn hot
Joe Cocker "You Can Leave Your Hat On"...anybody for a pole dance?
Eric Clapton "I Wanna Make Love To You."...well alright then

Feel that temperature rise, after that you guys are on your own.
Let it flow.


Monday, February 13, 2012

The Grammy Awards: The Day After

Today we are doing a little something different.  Our first guest post. Blog reader Teen L. serves up some quick thoughts on last night's Grammy Awards.

Grammy Night: Some Highlights and Low Lights 

Bruce..."We Take Care of Our Own"    Perfect way to open the show.
LL Cool...Very well done!
Adele... The song bird, vocals at its best.
Jennifer Hudson....Moving tribute to Whitney
Chris Brown...Not a big fan.
Katy Perry....I'm speechless
Foo Fighters...Oh Man!   "Music from the soul"
Bon artist, not to me--No fancy hi tech studio required.
Tony Bennet....A classic
Civil Wars....Excellent duo 
Glenn are "The Rhinestone Cowboy".
Sir Paul and the Rockers....."The End"  The Best 
Nicki Minaj....No Comment. ! 

So pleased the DVR was set. Cranked it up this morning to replay "The End". 

Thanks Teen.
There were definitely some moments that took your breath away and not necessarily in a good way. And then there was Adele, setting the standard for what music should be. No dancing, no simulated sex, no wardrobe malfunctions...just a song, a voice and an attitude. I, for one couldn't ask for anything more.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Voice In Heaven's Choir: Whitney Houston

Lately, it seems too often this music blog is written as a personal eulogy.  This one is no different.

I remember when MTV first began, it pretty much consumed me for years. To this day, I have drawers full of VHS tapes on which were recorded each and every favorite video of the moment. During those years, there was no way to miss the meteoric rise of one stunningly beautiful young woman, with a voice as big as the Grand Canyon...Whitney Houston.

This past week, in a post titled "Got It Covered Today," we talked about some great cover songs over the years.  So in keeping with that theme, we look to Whitney for one delicious rendition of a haunting love song.  Dolly Parton has written an incredible number of great songs. "Jolene and "Coat of Many Colors" to name two. But none was better than "I Will Always Love You."

Through the years, as Whitney battled, you always hoped the light would triumph over the darkness. Sometimes great artists never feel the sunshine. With a God-given talent so undeniable, when you heard  that voice, you knew it was indeed something unearthly.

In a live performance from 2000, Whitney showing why she will never be forgotten.
"I Will Always Love You."

Easy journey Whitney.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Don't Snow: Let It Rain

So okay, I admit it. I'm a sucker for a female singer with a raspy voice. Janis, Melissa Etheridge, even going back to Bonnie Tyler...those raw vocals where it seems their souls are being ripped out. Served up today, Canadian singer-songwriter Amanda Marshall.

The first time I became aware of Amanda Marshall was October 1999 when she opened for John Mellencamp at Madison Square Garden.  She started out with an a cappella verse of "I Can't Stand The Rain," then moved into today's taste "Let It Rain.". This video has just a touch of the a cappella lick.

Huge voice backed with a lot of soul. So tasty, I'm adding a couple more links of great live performances.
"Last Exit To Eden," emotionally scarring.
"Dark Horse," love...just go for it.

Crazy weekend ahead, no guarantees for any snacks til Monday...but then again...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's A Renaissance Day: Ashes Burning

In the late 70s, the music scene was so diverse you could hear heavy metal, folk, rock, soul and everything in-between.  At that time, there were several English progressive rock bands...Emerson, Lake & Palmer being the most recognized.  Another band combining rocked-out classical music, incredible musicianship and intricately written songs...Renaissance also had another weapon added to the mix. The incredible five-octave range of Annie Haslam.

Seeing them live in a local college auditorium, I remember standing there with my jaw dropping.  The vocals blew you away, and when you recovered you realized the band was going to take you for one hell of a wild ride.  Now Renaissance is definitely not everyone's cup of tea. I get that, but the purpose of this blog is to just expose new, old and just some wonderful songs & artists.

Close your eyes and let that voice amaze you...then listen to what is going on behind the vocal. Today's taste is the title track from the "Ashes Are Burning"

So hot.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Little Lunchtime Jam: Season Of The Witch

Today's taste popped into my head this it got there, no clue.  Haven't thought about this song in years and yet about 15 minutes ago...I could hear it up there bouncing off all those dead brain cells.

As it turns out, it is also a cover, though having another one today was not my intention. It first saw the light of day when Donovan recorded it in 1966, and had been played live by virtually every band in existence at the time.  Long and sweet, the songs allows for all types of jam interpretations.

In 1968, it appeared on the Super Sessions album with Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills & Nash), Al Kooper (Blood,Sweat & Tears,The Blues Project) and Mike Bloomfield (Butterfield Blues Band,Electric Flag).  A hugely successful album, it was considered the impetus of the supergroups...such as Blind Faith.and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Long but lovely...take a long draw on  "Season of the Witch."

Not scary at all.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Got It Covered Today: Serving Up Green Onions

Had a question on twitter today from musician Andrew Boyd as to what I thought were some of the great cover songs ever recorded. While I'm still working on that list, a few that came to mind were the Robert Plant-Alison Krauss version of "Black Dog", Heart wailing on "Rock & Roll" and basically any song that Joe Cocker has covered.

So I thought today's lick should be a classic cover.  Roy Buchanan was the son of a sharecropper and he could play the blues like nobody's business.  Mostly using a 1953 Fender Telecaster, Roy could make you see its soul fly out.  A true guitar picker in every sense of the word, today's tasty treat is a cover of the classic Booker T and the MGs "Green Onions."

Gonna make you cry.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Let's Go Up The Mountain: Long Red

Smooth and ethereal can describe the voice of the late Felix Pappalardi.  Known for his great vocal and bass work with Mountain, he was also one superb producer.  Cream's Disraeli Gears is an example of his vision.  Along with Felix, Corky Laing on drums, Steve Knight on organ and Leslie West on guitar, Mountain created some of the most classic and inspired music of the late 60s and early 70s.

Hits like Mississippi Queen, Theme For An Imaginary Western, and Nantucket Sleighride have created a legacy that can still be heard on rock radio stations today.  A testament to their popularity is the number of baby girls given the name Robin Marie after the release of Nantucket Sleighride.

While I have never gotten tired of any of those songs, my favorite was one that originally was recorded on Leslie West's Mountain album produced by Felix.  Great intro into Leslie's raw and raspy vocal. Legend has it  "Long Red" was written for a long, redhead that Leslie had some naughty thoughts about.  Could be, I just think it's just a nice combination of the right melody, vocal and guitar.

Two tastes today.  The original recorded version, which first got my attention all those years ago, and a vintage live lick showing off Leslie's guitar and some nice bass by Felix.

"Long Red" - studio
"Long Red" - live in 1969

Down and dirty, let it roll.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Go Big Blue: Bring On The Heat

Indeed, it is Sunday.  Not just any Sunday.  ARE YOU READY??? Giants-Pats. Come Get Some.

Now I do believe in karma, so I'm going to try to not to be mean and nasty...well, we'll see.  I'm from Jersey...don't start.  Grew up 10 miles from Manhattan and a few from the Meadowlands...home of the Giants.

I've seen the original Giants stadium being built, torn down and the new one built.  Met-Life Stadium? Not if you live in the area... for a very long time it will still be called Giants Stadium. Just like if you were going to the concert arena across the street, it was never the Brendan Byrne Arena or the current name, Izod is the Meadowlands. 

While I've always been a Giants fan, baseball is much more my sport and that's coming soon enough, but today it's all about Big Blue.  Don't like the Pats much, being a Yankee fan, Boston sports teams are like gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe.  Annoying because you just can't get rid of them. And then there's BabyHeadBrady. there, I've said it, yeah I still remember him after the last Giants-Pats Super Bowl, where we ruined their perfect season, crying like a little...I said I wouldn't be mean but it's so hard.  

Anyway, who knows what will happen today.  Hopefully one of the Giants will make a play like The Catch by David Tyree in the last Super Bowl, but all we can ask is a well-played game with no blown calls by the officials.

It's Time To Put Up Or Shut Up.
Taste for today, "The Heat Is On" by Glen Frey.  Come Get Some.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snow And Peace: A Night To Remember

1972.  While I had been a music junkie from the 60s, seeing my first live show always seemed like my rebirth.  No other passion has consumed me more.  In a previous post "A Chestnut from The Byrds,"   I talked about my first concert and mentioned that my second show was two weeks later.

Now in 1972, the Vietnam War was still an ever present factor, though starting to wind down.  Across the street from my house, two next door black and one white (the war knew no color lines) came home in caskets, forever changing the touch football games that were played on the street.  One of my brother's friends had the same fate.  Luckily my brother's number in the draft lottery was high (remember the draft) and he never had to serve. And as always, there was the music. Protest songs were everywhere.

"We were so close, there was no room
We bled inside each others wounds
We all had caught the same disease
And we all sang the songs of peace."

An unlikely protest song came from the singer Melanie. Now on February 19, 1972, I had four tickets to see Melanie, again at the Capitol Theatre.  It snowed all day and into the evening. I didn't have a drivers license yet, and the girls I was going with, were not gonna get their parent's car that way, no how. Determined to go, it was less than three miles away, I needed to come up with Plan B.
Call Up The Crush.

As a junior in high school, I was mad for one tall, long blond haired, big mustached, drop dead gorgeous, dumb as a doorpost senior, who lived a few blocks away...and he loved Melanie and he had his own car. We were good friends, that's all we would ever be, but that one night is still a memory I treasure.  Great seats, down front, great friends and great music. One night I was on top of the world.

"Some came to sing, some came to pray
Some came to keep the dark away."

A song that was heard everywhere in the early 70's, one we all sang along with every time it was on  the radio...float back in time for "Lay Down."

"Let your white bird smile up at the ones who stand and frown."

Friday, February 3, 2012

More Than A Corner Man: Angelo Dundee

Without Angelo Dundee, would Muhammed Ali still have been The Greatest...probably. But no one can deny the influence the legendary corner man had on the boxing great.  What do I know about boxing you ask?  Nowadays, not so much, but back when heavyweights ruled the sport, I knew boxers, trainers, promoters and announcers.  It was a family thing.

My dad and brother were sports junkies, I was never a playing with dolls kind of girl (well there's a surprise) so I followed right along with the boys.  Hanging with the guys, I thought was always a better option...still do.

"In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter and by his trade
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down 
or cut him til he cried out in his anger and his shame,
I am leaving, I am leaving...but the fighter still remains."

Angelo Dundee died on Wednesday at the age of 90.  A lot of living in those years.

With all that's in the news this week, the obvious choice for the taste of the day would be "Eye of the Tiger."  I may be called a lot of things, but I haven't heard obvious, yet.  The day is still young.

Equally wonderful, I give you  "The Boxer"  by Simon and Garfunkel, video from Central Park 1981.

Easy journey, Ang.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Little Bit Of Soul For Don Cornelius

October 1971, I was in full music mode.  Just about ready to start the live music scene, but with a part-time job, I was able to spend virtually all of my money on 45s and albums.

By that time, the 60s music shows like Shindig and Hullabaloo were gone and Midnight Special had not yet arrived.  There was American Bandstand...and then came the vision of Don Cornelius known as "Soul Train."

It didn't matter if you were black or white, it was music on TV.  Back then there was not a lot of choices, so any music was devoured and savored. Then, there were the dancers...actually it was all about the dancers.  The Soul Train line was more than kids showing off their moves, it was a mainstay of cultural influence for years.

Don Cornelius died yesterday, and while many of us had not thought of him in is important to think of him today and remember.

"Now when you're feelin' low and the fish won't bite
You need a little bit o' soul to put you right."

I don't know if the Music Explosion ever appeared on Soul Train, but I can't think of a better song than this to honor Don.

A wonderful treasure from the past:
 "A Little Bit O' Soul."  

If your feet ain't tappin', baby you're dead.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Old Chestnut From The Byrds

If you read today's post on Kat's Theory of Life, you would know I bought an IPhone yesterday. I also downloaded my first song from ITunes.  Yes, it has taken this long...I am so not into technology..but I keep getting sucked in. That's fine, old dogs, new tricks...woof.

So I browsed itunes for a few minutes before seeing a band with whom I first had a many years back.  February 5, 1972, good God that's 40 years ago. I went to my first rock concert.  It was at the legendary Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ...and the band was The Byrds.  Not my favorite group of all time, but definitely one who helped define the era.  I was hooked on live music from that point next concert was exactly two weeks later.

Once I saw The Byrds on itunes, I knew what my first download would be.  A song which I may have on vinyl (remember that), but do not have on CD. As a child who collected horse figurines and whose parents planned a family vacation to Florida by way of the Kentucky horse farms, "Chestnut Mare" was a song which made me happy for as long as I can remember.

"That's when I lost my hold and she got away
But I'm gonna try to get her again someday."

Now the song has been up to interpretation since it was released..was it about a horse, a woman, heroin...or is it about none of those at all.  Don't care, just makes me smile.

Hope it makes you smile too.