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, October 30, 2013

A Perfect Day with Lou Reed

I've been neglecting my friends. But as we are all in the same boat, the one named "too much shit, too little time," they understand. But it's time to slowing get back to paying back, paying forward... being a good neighbor. So I'm back.

Since Lance is in mourning, as am I, over the loss of our writing fun at Sprocket Ink, I thought it would be nice if I jumped back into his 100 Word Song Challenge. The song this week is a good one too.

We lost Lou Reed this week. Not much you can say other than we've lost someone of great musical importance. Someone who provided the soundtrack to a lot of lives. So even though I had my little Lou salute the other day, he is worthy enough to feature him twice this week.

For those new around our weekly fun, you take the song as inspiration and write exactly 100 words about it. Poetry, prose, a honey-do list, just make it 100 words.

The song is "Perfect Day," and I ask "Is it really?"

He’d waited long enough.

Two years to the day; it was time. Ryan glanced over the room. After cleaning the whole day, time was too short to cook. The Thai restaurant delivered; he’d order her favorite.

She’d been preoccupied lately; stress from work, she said. He worried that she gotten too thin. In his mind’s eye, he could see her smile as he gave her the ring. Ryan could see nothing to ruin this day.

His mind snapped back as Angie closed the door. He saw her red eyes, but before he could ask, she said “I have brain cancer.”

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A Trio of Birthdays: Party Time, Turn Up the Music

Quick music lesson today.

On this day in 1939, the musical stars aligned and three babies who would impact the world of music, were born.

Eddie Holland, Otis Williams and Grace Slick.

Eddie Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland, was to Motown music what Gerry Goffin and Carole King were to the Brill Building. Eddie, his brother Brian, and Lamont Dozier wrote, produced, and arranged hit after hit for virtually the entire stable of Motown talent. Just a few of their hits: "Heatwave," "Quicksand," "Where Did Our Love Go," "Mickey's Monkey," "Baby I Need Your Loving," "Nowhere To Run," "Stop In The Name Of Love"... I could go on and on. Almost every hit by The Four Tops, The Supremes and Martha & the Vandellas, were written by the trio. As a kid buying 45s, I saw their names on almost every single I bought... for years. Incredible talent. If there's a songwriting award they haven't won, I couldn't tell you what it is.

Here's just one of their songs, done way back by the Isley Brothers, it's been covered... a lot. Here's one of the best, by the Doobie Brothers.

"Take Me In Your Arms"

Otis Williams has spent most of his life as the baritone/second tenor for The Temptations. From their first Top 20 hit in 1964, "The Way You Do The Things You Do," through their sixty or so CDs... 60 freakin' CDs, Otis Williams has been part of one of the defining groups of an era. Back in the day there were two musical arguments: Beatles or Stones and Four Tops or Temptations. While the Four Tops were great and had more of the pop sound, The Tempts were smooth as silk, always expanding their repertoire. "Cloud Nine," talking about drugs, "Papa Was A Rolling Stone"... a deadbeat dad. As for pretty... they did that too. Think "My Girl." How to choose? "I refuse to explain."

"I Wish It Would Rain"

And then there's Grace.
If you've read this column long enough, you know Grace was my idol. Talk about attitude, hell she was all that AND she could sing. And I'm not talking about the Starship Pop Grace, I'm talking about the Woodstock Grace, the "tear down the wall motherfucker"  Grace. The Grace who suffered no fools. Really, if you understand my devotion to her, it explains so much about me. While Grace could handle it on her own, think "Somebody To Love" or "White Rabbit," for me it was always her songs with Marty Balin singing lead. They played off each other perfectly. From Woodstock... Warning, some crazy 60s nekkidness.

"3/5ths Of A Mile In 10 Seconds"

October 30, 1939. One hell of a day for music. Party Time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

One Last Walk with Lou Reed

I only have one Lou Reed story, but it's a memory that makes me smile to this day.

When I was a senior in high school and for a year or two after, I worked at a department store called Grand Way. It was later taken over by K-Mart, and it was basically the same type of store. There were a lot of kids all about the same age working there. It was a time of being able to drink at age 18, it was a time of smoking a joint during break time, it was a time of not much responsibility, it was a fun time.

Anyone who's ever worked in retail knows what it's like. The best time to work in a store is before it opens and after it closes, especially if you worked with a group of people just like yourself. We had a General Manager, Mr. Boyle, with shoe polish hair and not an ounce of humor. And we had an Assistant Manager whose last name I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure his first name was Dave. Well, Dave was the polar opposite of Mr. Boyle. He looked more like David Johansen than Lou Reed, but he was just a few years older than us and he was a cool guy. As soon as the store closed, he would turn the Muzak off and turn on the rock.

One night after closing, as we were finishing up, Dave turned the music on. A few minutes later he was riding the escalator going up. On either side of him were two of our co-workers, One was Cheryl and the other I can't remember her name. They were both black. With Lou Reed blasting throughout the store, he's riding the escalator singing the lead to "Walk On The Wild Side," while the two "colored" girls on either side of him sang "Doo do doo, doo do doo, doo do doo."


Now this was only visible to a small section of the store. I was one of the lucky ones able to enjoy it. Forty years later, I still do.

Easy Journey Lou.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

What Am I Doing Here? Twisted MixTape

I am very, very tired. It's been a rough day, so I'm just going to jump into this weeks invite by Jen, for a Twisted MixTape. The challenge this week is to choose five songs outside your comfort zone, stuff from any genre which is not on your usual playlist. The original idea was five from the same genre, but that's not gonna happen tonight, so I'll mix it up.

Now I'm a rocker, don't think there's many of you who don't know that, but the blues always set me free. So I'll try to stay away from those two styles, but no promises. Like I said, I'm really tired.. and cranky, so zip it with the comments.

Let's start with Classical. Yeah, I said it. Now I don't know shit about Classical music for the most part, just a few pieces here and there. This piece is one I first heard a long time ago when "the other" would play it non-stop as he conducted an imaginary orchestra. Oh hell, we've all done it. It's been used for commercials, the Olympics, anytime you need a grand statement. The entire piece was derived from the poems of Benedictine monks in the 11th or 12th century. By the way, most of the poems were a little... erotic. Fun times. Written by Carl Orff, this is one piece of it, don't ask which piece, I'm to tired to go any further with it. Let's just say it's one of the better know sections of the composition.

Carmina Burana

Jazz, not my strong suit. But older Jazz I like. A little something from 1959. Miles Davis.

"So What"

A little country, not old country, but not new country either. Sometime during high school, I got into Kris Kristofferson. Then I got a bunch of my friends into him as well. That guy with the rough voice, who sounded like at age 30something, he had inhaled the fires of hell. Great lyrics and back in the day, not too hard on the eyes. From the album The Silver Tongue Devil and I, an album I may have played the grooves off...

"Lovin Her Was Easier"

Metal, or as far as I usually get into metal. Def Leppard. If they come on the radio, I won't turn them off, but I'm not playing them at home.

"Bringing On The Heartbreak"

Last up, a little country rock. It's fairly new, by an artist I interviewed this year, You can read it here on It's rocking, got some great licks, and is sexy as hell. From the album, The Road Ain't Long, Mr. Dee Rock.

Don't have a video, but take a listen to the audio.

"Ripples On The Moon"

Thanks for the extra curricular workout Jen. Enjoyed tonight's exercise.

Jen Kehl

Friday, October 11, 2013

Down In Lousiana with Bobby Rush

Started out the evening listening to a little Americana. Tasty as hell, but more about them in a week or so. After that little treat was over, some fresh blues came across my computer. And damn it was sweet and juicy.

Bobby Rush is a blues man from the way back. Born in Louisiana in the '30s, Bobby did what all musicians did back then, play enough to scratch out a living. And play he did, and he's still playing twenty-something albums later.

His latest release is eleven tracks of blues, funk, soul, and hot licks. From the first few beats of "Down In Louisiana" off the album of the same name, Rush hooks you. A little funky bass, Cajun accordion, and screamin' B3 organ. Produced by Paul Brown who's also the guy smokin' the keys. Totally on fire.

From start to finish, it's real good, Let's have a little taste of the title song.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Does It Matter That She's White?

Writing a music blog this morning wasn't on my very long list of the written words for the day, but as I glanced at my overnight Twitter timeline, something caught my eye.

On Twitter, I follow a  lot of music people, go figure. One of those musicians is Joe Bonamassa, guitarist extraordinaire. I also follow and am a huge fan of Beth Hart. Joe and Beth have recorded two albums together, tour together, and I would suspect at this point are friends with each other. If you're not familiar with Beth, you should be, she is incredible. I've already reviewed her live show at the NYC Winery, and her latest solo album Bang Bang Boom Boom.

On Hart's and Bonamassa's latest album Seesaw, Hart does a cover of Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits," and knocks it out of the park. When the video of the recording of the song was released, I showed it to everyone I knew. The reaction I received from nearly everyone was one word, "Wow."

This morning on Twitter, I saw Joe Bonamassa retweeted something Gene Simmons (yes, KISS) had tweeted earlier.

Beth Hart's cover of the original, NUT BUSH CITY LIMITS by Tina Turner is surprisingly convincing for a white singer. Check it out

In fairness, Bonamassa replied "I agree, she sang great."
But the tweet by Simmons really bothered me, which is why we are all here today. I thought it might be time to have a little discussion about the inclusion of race in his tweet. While there is no denying there are musical lines drawn in genres of music preferences between races, is it ok to compare an individual voice by race?

Here are the two videos, first the original by Tina, then Beth Hart with Joe Bonamassa. They both kick ass.

What do you guys think?

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