Friday, November 30, 2012
Album:Out With A Bang
Party Crowd was the breakthrough hit for country music singer songwriter David Lee Murphy in 1995. He has had five top ten hits but most of his success has been as a songwriter. He was born Jan. 7, 1959 in Herrin, IL which is near Carbondale in the southern part of the state. Murphy moved to Nashville in 1983. Veteran MCA Records producer Tony Brown spotted him but didn't sign him at the time. Brown is best known for producing Steve Earle among others. A couple of Murphy's songs were recorded by others like Reba McEntire and Doug Stone. Brown signed Murphy in 1993 and his first appearance was on the soundtrack of the 1994 film 8 Seconds. His debut CD Out With A Bang was released in 1995 and Party Crowd reached #6 on the Country Singles chart. Murphy wrote the song with veteran songwriter Jimbeau Hinson. The next single Dust On The Bottle did even better and topped the Country Singles chart. Out With A Bang was certified Platinum. It's available as a budget CD. His second CD Gettin' Out The Good Stuff did well and the single Every Time I Get Around You reached #2 on the Country Singles chart. But his third album We Can't All Be Angels did not sell and Murphy left MCA. Murphy returned in 2004 on Koch distributed Audium and had a top five hit with Loco. Koch closed their Nashville office in 2005. Since then, Murphy has concentrated on songwriting and has written number one hits for Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean. He also wrote and produced several songs on Kevin Fowler's 2011 CD Chippin' Away. Murphy still performs occasionally but songwriting is currently his bread and butter. Here's the video for Party Crowd by David Lee Murphy.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Album:Best Of: Make The Music Go Bang
X were a pioneer of punk music especially in Los Angeles. But they never had the commercial success that other bands achieved in the 80s. I would describe them as a major cult band. Singer and bassist John Doe (real name: John Nommensen Duchac) grew up in Baltimore and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. He met guitarist Billy Zoom (real name: Ty Kindell) through a newspaper ad and they decided to form a band. Doe brought his poet girlfriend Exene Cervenka to band practice and she joined the band. They went through a few drummers before settling on DJ Bonebrake. In 1979, X released a couple of singles on the Dangerhouse label and this led to a deal with Slash Records in 1980. They released two highly acclaimed albums on Slash and then signed with Elektra. Former The Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek produced their albums. The 1982 album Under the Big Black Sun was their biggest success to date and included Hungry Wolf. Though they continued to be critically acclaimed and got their videos played on MTV, X never got that big commercial breakthrough. Attempts on later albums to produce a more commercial sound didn't work. All it did was alienate their established fanbase. Zoom left in 1986 and was replaced by Dave Alvin of The Blasters. Then Alvin was replaced by Tony Gilkyson. X split up in 1988. This 2CD comp is the only one in print at this time. John Doe had already started a career in acting which he still does today. He also released solo albums and so did Exena Cervenka. X reunited a couple of times. but that became permanent in 2009 and they are on tour now. Certainly X are a must for punk fans. Here's the video for Hungry Wolf by X.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Album:Swinging Mademoiselles: Groovy French Sounds from the 60s
If you're familiar with the French Ye Ye Girls of the 60s like France Gall or Francoise Hardy, I think you will enjoy the handful of songs recorded by Clothilde. She had a brief but very successful career. Apparently she didn't like being a pop singer. She was born Elisabeth Beauvais Feb. 22, 1948 in Montmorency, France which is a suburb of Paris. Her father was writer Robert Beauvais and her mother was TV host Giselle Parry. It seems mom wanted Elisabeth to get into show business and introduced her to producer Germinal Tenas. He had a band Chorus Reverendus and also produced other artists. He liked to use instruments like french horn and harpsichord in pop music. Elisabeth resisted at first but mom talked her into recording with Tenas. He named her Clothilde and signed her to Vogue Records. He wrote and produced her music and told her what to wear. She didn't like any of it. She recorded four songs including Saperlipopette and two of the songs were translated into Italian. The songs were popular. Vogue was very happy with Clothilde and wanted her to record more songs. But she didn't enjoy singing and quit. You can get Clothilde's songs on this various artists comp from the soundtrack label Silva America. She returned to school and later married and raised a family. There were a lot of obscure Ye Ye singers in the 60s and most of them are a lot of fun to listen to. Here's the video for Saperlipopette by Clothilde. Thanks to Ready Steady Girls for the info about Clothilde.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Song:That Ain't My Truck
Album:A Thousand Memories
That Ain't My Truck was the breakthrough hit for country music singer songwriter Rhett Akins in 1995. He had one other big hit and then got caught up in record company management shuffles. Akins still writes songs for others. He was born Thomas Rhett Akins Oct. 13, 1969 in Valdosta, GA. He had a band with his brothers as a teen. He earned a football scholarship at the University of Georgia but he was encouraged to pursue music instead. After working for his father's oil distribution business, Akins performed in Music Country Music at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. He moved to Nashville in 1992. He signed a songwriting deal with MCA and then Decca Records Nashville signed him to a recording deal in 1994. His debut CD A Thousand Memories was released in 1995. His first two singles were top 40 country hits but then That Ain't My Truck reached #3 on the Country Singles chart. Akins wrote the song with veteran songwriters Tom Shapiro and Chris Waters. Waters is the older brother of singer Holly Dunn. His second album Somebody New did even better and Don't Get Me Started topped the Country Singles chart. Then Decca Nashville was closed and merged into MCA Records Nashville. Akins released the CD What Livin's All About in 1998 but it didn't perform as well as the first two albums. It looks like he got lost in the shuffle due to the management change. So he left MCA. A Thousand Memories is available as a budget CD. Akins voiced the title character in the 2000 animated film Tom Sawyer. Then in 2002, he released the CD Friday Night In Dixie on Audium Entertainment. He signed with the Sony label BNA Records. He recorded the CD People Like Me but the singles did poorly and Akins bought the album and self released it in 2007. Akins has written number one hits for Joe Nichols, Blake Shelton, Josh Turner and Rodney Atkins. He was part of the first season of The Outdoor Channel TV series Bone Collector and a CD for that show was released in 2009. Akins' son records as Thomas Rhett and he released an EP in Aug. 2012. Here's the video for It Ain't My Truck by Rhett Akins.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Song:A Hundred Million Miracles
Album:Flower Drum Song: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Japanese born actress and singer Miyoshi Umeki won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the 1957 film Sayonara. She also starred in the Broadway and film productions of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song. And she starred in the 60s sitcom The Courtship Of Eddie's Father. What many fans may not know is she was a singer long before she got into acting. She was born May 8, 1929 in Otaru, Japan which is on Hokkaido island. She was the youngest of nine children. Her father owned an iron factory. After WWII, she started singing in nightclubs as Nancy Umeki. Apparently Billy Eckstine was one of her favourite singers. She signed with RCA Victor Japan in 1950 and recorded American pop music until she moved to the US in 1955. She sang in Japanese and English. She was a regular on Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts for a year and signed with Mercury Records. She recorded the 1956 album Miyoshi Umeki Sings For Arthur Godfrey. Director Joshua Logan spotted her when he was casting for the 1957 film Sayonara. Miyoshi was the first Asian to win an Oscar for acting. Obviously because of her singing ability, she was a natural to play Mei-Li in Flower Drum Song. It played on Broadway for two years and she also starred in the 1961 film version. A Hundred Million Miracles is her big number and unlike some of the other actresses in the film, she did her own singing. The Original Broadway Cast and film soundtrack are both available. But I am recommending the soundtrack because my video clip is from the film. In the 60s, Miyoshi did a lot of guest shots on TV until she was cast as Mrs. Livingston in the popular sitcom The Courtship Of Eddie's Father. After the show's three year run, Miyoshi retired from acting and ran a film editing equipment rental business with her husband Randall Hood. He died in 1976. Later on she moved to Missouri to be close to her son's family. Miyoshi Umeki died of cancer Aug. 28, 2007 at age 78. Here's Miyoshi Umeki performing A Hundred Million Miracles in the 1961 film Flower Drum Song.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Song:To Be With You
The hard rock band Mr. Big had their only number one hit with To Be With You in 1991. As we see with hard rock bands, the song wasn't typical of their music. They are very popular in Japan. Mr. Big was formed by bassist Billy Sheehan after he left David Lee Roth's band in 1998. First he recruited singer Eric Martin who had recorded solo for several years with little success. Then he added guitarist Paul Gilbert from the group Racer X and session drummer Pat Torpey. They signed with Atlantic Records in 1989. Their first album didn't sell but they caught on in Japan and are still very popular there today. But then they struck gold when To Be With You topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. It was from the album Lean Into It. Eric Martin wrote the song when he was a teen and had never recorded it. They also had a top twenty hit with Just Take My Heart. Subsequent albums didn't do as well but the Japanese success continued. This comp is a good intro to their music. Paul Gilbert left in 1997 to reform Racer X and he was replaced by former Poison guitarist Richie Kotzen. That band continued but split up in 2002 after Sheehan went on tour with Steve Vai and the others resented that. The original lineup reformed in 2009 and they released a CD in 2011 and still tour Japan regularly. Here's the video for To Be with You by Mr. Big.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Album:So: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Most music fans probably became aware of Peter Gabriel when he was a founding member and lead singer of Genesis. As a solo artist, he is a world music adventurer. But he showed with the 1986 album So and the smash hit Sledgehammer that he could be commercial if he wanted to do that. It just doesn't interest him much. He was born Feb. 13, 1950 in Chobham, Surrey, England. His mom taught him to play piano. So he co-founded Genesis in 1967 and became known for his crazy onstage costumes. Among Gabriel's musical influences were Family lead singer Roger Chapman and Cat Stevens. Gabriel was thought to be the creative force of Genesis which irked the rest of the band and he left in 1975. Gabriel developed an interest in world music and his early albums reflected that interest. But he didn't have any big hits. With the 1986 album So, Gabriel decided to make a full blown pop record. As with his music for the film Birdy, Gabriel worked with Canadian producer Daniel Lanois who had worked with U2. Gabriel said that Sledgehammer was his chance to sing like Otis Redding. So it was clearly a Stax tribute and the horns were by the Memphis Horns. The music video by Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman was a big part of the song's success. Sledgehammer topped the Billboard Hot 100 in Aug. 1986 and So was certified 5XPlatinum. So is currently available in a 3CD 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. The other two CDs are Live In Athens 1987 and it also come with a booklet. Gabriel doesn't seem interested in doing a greatest hits comp. Gabriel could have continued to record pop music but he prefers to explore world music and he continues to do that on his Real World label. He is currently touring to celebrate the 25th anniversary of So. Here's the video for Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Invicta announced most of the card for the Jan. 5 show in Kansas City. Still no TV deal. Phooey on them. So the main event was supposed to be Carla Esparza vs Ayaka Hamasaki for a 115lb title. But JEWELS pulled Ayaka and she will defend her JEWELS belt on Dec. 15. The replacement is Brazilian fighter Claudia Gadelha. My first thought was Claudia is a 125lb fighter and has never fought at 115. And my second thought was that though she is undefeated at 8-0, Claudia has never fought an elite fighter. Most of her fights have been in Brazil where the competition level is not up to par. And in her only North American fight, she won by split decision over Valerie Letourneau in April. Claudia actually quit pro fighting a couple of years ago and concentrated on BJJ tournaments for a while. So she has skills but she's not a proven fighter and should not be making her Invicta debut on a main event for a title belt. Seems like someone is overrating her. Carla is 8-2 and was an All American wrestler. If she sticks to wrestling and doesn't try to be a kickboxer, she will be fine. She is very quick. What else is there? Shayna Baszler will face Alexis Davis. Shayna beat Alexis back in 2010. I think Alexis has improved since then but I don't think she has improved that much. Amanda Nunes will face Sarah D'Alelio. I like Amanda in this one. I think she's at a higher level. Ediene Gomes will face HIROKO. Not crazy about either of them. Undefeated Scottish fighter Joanne Calderwood will face Aussie Bec Hyatt. It's Bec's first fight outside Australia and a big step up in competition for her. Her record is 4-1 but Joanne is very dangerous. Stephanie Frausto will face Cassie Rodish. Stephanie's 4-4 record is somewhat deceptive because some of those losses were at 115 and she is better suited to 105. Cassie should be a good opponent for her. Veronica Rothenhausler will make her much anticipated pro debut against Katalina Malungahu. Veronica won all three of her amateur fights by KO. On the last Invicta show, Katalina lost to Ediene Gomes. That's not a good sign. Tamikka Brents will face Carol Bell. Not familiar with either of them. Liz McCarthy won her Invicta debut in July and will face Jodie Esquibel. Rose Namajunas will make her pro debut against Emily Kagan. And Tecia Torres, who won her debut on the last Invicta show will face 18 year old Paige VanZant. They also announced that Leslie Smith will be on the show against an opponent to be announced. The good news is I now have a tablet so I won't have to sit in front of my PC for five hours. Get a TV deal, ya dopes.
Song:Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)
Album:That's What I Like About The West
Sollie Paul "Tex" Williams was a pioneer of the mix of country music and jazz called Western Swing. He is best known for the 1947 chart topping novelty song Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!. He was born Aug. 23, 1917 in Ramsey, Fayette County, IL. Williams moved to Los Angeles in 1942. There were a lot of transplanted Texas and Oklahoma natives living in California working in the defense industry and they wanted to hear Western Swing that they heard at home. The most popular Western Swing band at the time was Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys featuring singer Tommy Duncan. Spade Cooley hired Williams to sing in his band because he sang in a baritone like Tommy Duncan. Cooley renamed him Tex Williams so listeners would know what kind of music they were performing. Williams sang several of Cooley's hits including his biggest hit Shame On You in 1945. In 1946, Capitol Records offered Williams a solo contract. Williams thought Cooley should pay him more anyway. Cooley blew his top and fired Williams in June 1946. But the band went with Williams and The Western Caravan was born. Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! was written by legendary guitarist Merle Travis for Williams' talking blues singing style. The song topped the Billboard singles chart for six weeks in 1947. The song was also a hit for comedian Phil Harris. The best known cover of Smoke! Smoke! Smoke was by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen in 1972. And Williams' original recording was played over the opening credits of the 2006 film Thank You For Smoking. Williams had a few more country hits until he left Capitol in 1951. And Western Swing wasn't popular in the 50s. Capitol released a comp in 1996 but it's out of print. And a lot of the available Tex Williams CDs do not contain his original recordings. The exception is this CD from the European label ASV/Living Era which also contains some Spade Cooley hits. Tex Williams had some country hits in the late 60s But he faded in the 70s. He died from cancer on Oct. 11, 1985 at age 68. Here's Tex Williams performing Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette).
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Song:Working For The Weekend
Though Working For The Weekend was not Loverboy's biggest chart hit, it may be their most memorable song. In the 80s, radio play became less significant with the rise of MTV. They had four consecutive multi platinum albums. Loverboy was formed in Calgary in 1979. Mike Reno was lead singer of Moxy. Paul Dean was lead guitarist of Streetheart. Moxy was based in Toronto and Streeheart was from Regina. Both guys wanted to live in Calgary. So they got together. Dean brought Streetheart drummer Matt Frenette. Other members were Doug Johnson on keyboards and April Wine bassist Jim Clench. Clench left and was replaced by Scott Smith. So they signed with Columbia Records Canada and worked with producer Bruce Fairbairn. Their 1980 debut album Loverboy and the first single Turn Me Loose did so well in Canada that Columbia released the album in the US. The album was certified 2XPlatinum. Their second album Get Lucky did even better and was certified 4XPlatinum. Working For The Weekend reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it was their biggest hit internationally. Their next two albums were also certified double platinum. Lovin' Every Minute Of It was their highest charting single at #9 in 1986. Things started to fall apart with the 1987 album Wildside. It did not perform as well as previous albums. Doug Johnson refused to appear in the video for Heaven In Your eyes from the film Top Gun because he felt it glorified war. He left and then Reno and Dean were squabbling over the poor sales of Wildside. Loverboy split up in 1988. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Reno and Dean reunited for a 1991 benefit concert for Chilliwack's Brian MacLeod. Since then, Loverboy has been active and they continue to record and tour today. Scott Smith died in a 2000 boating accident. Loverboy was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame in 2009. Here's the video for Working For The Weekend by Loverboy.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
|Ayaka Hamasaki, Emi Fujino|
Song:How 'Bout Us
Album:Soul Hits of the 80's
How 'Bout Us was the biggest hit for R & B group Champaign in 1981. They had a few more R & B hits over the next couple of years. But most fans will only remember the one song. They were named after their home town of Champaign, IL. Percussionist Rocky Maffitt and keyboard player Michael Day were students at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Maffitt was a member of Water Brothers Band with keyboard player Dana Walden, guitarist Leon Reeder and bassist Michael Reed. Reed left and Day replaced him. Then singers Pauli Carman and Rena Jones were brought in and the group name was changed to Champaign. Walden wrote How 'Bout Us and it was recorded by Water Brothers Band in 1975. Champaign recorded a demo of the song. Most record companies wanted the song but not the band. Champaign signed with MCA Records' Infinity label. But the label closed before they could record. Columbia Records producer Joe Wissert signed them. He had worked with Earth, Wind & Fire and Boz Scaggs. Former Tyrone Davis producer Leo Graham produced Champaign's debut album. How 'Bout Us reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the R & B Singles chart. Champaign's other hit Try Again reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top ten R & B hit. Champaign recorded three albums for Columbia. There is a Champaign comp on Collectables but it doesn't include Try Again. That's a major fail. So I recommend this 3CD various artists budget comp containing plenty of soul hits. A cover of How 'Bout Us by Betty Wright and Grayson Hugh appeared in the 1989 film True Love and was a top 30 R & B hit. Rena Jones turned to gospel and was a member of the choir O'Landa Draper & the Associates. Pauli Carman has recorded solo and still leads a version of Champaign today. Here's the video for Hoe 'Bout Us by Champaign.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Song:Waiting On The World To Change
John Mayer has been very successful in the very crowded singer songwriter category. Waiting On The World To Change is one of his more popular songs. Mayer has been on hiatus due to vocal cord problems and is slowly returning to touring. He was born Oct. 16, 1977 in Bridgeport, CT and learned to play guitar as a teen. After two semesters at Berklee in Boston, he moved to Atlanta with his friend Clay Cook and formed the duo LoFi Masters. That didn't last and Mayer went solo. Mayer released an EP and then an appearance at South By Southwest got him a record deal with Aware Records. They released his debut CD Room For Squares in 2001 and then signed a distribution deal with Columbia. Though Mayer has never had the radio hits that the average record company would like to see, his live act has attracted a lot of attention and he does well on iTunes. Mayer changed his music by getting involved with rappers like Common, jazz guys like Herbie Hancock and John Scofield and blues artists like Buddy Guy. In 2005, he formed The john Mayer Trio with studio musicians Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan. And Jordan co-produced the 2006 CD Continuum. Waiting On The World To Change was the first single. I would describe the song as blue eyed soul typical of guys like Mayer. The social commentary was a new thing for him. It reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was downloaded two million times on iTunes. He also appeared on the TV series CSI. The song and the album both won Grammys. Mayer's success has continued. While preparing his 2011 CD Born and Raised, Mayer was diagnosed with granulomas near his vocal cords and needed surgery. The CD was released Oct. 2011. In Mar. 2012, Mayer announced that he would have to have the surgery a second time. It is not known yet if he will return full time. He has been making some isolated appearances. Here's the video for Waiting On The World To Change by John Mayer.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Song:My Back Pages
Album:The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration
This is the kind of tribute concert that can either be a lot of fun for fans and participants or become a major train wreck. This one turned out very well. It was to celebrate Bob Dylan's 30th anniversary as a recording artist. And of course it was filmed for CD and video release. The concert was on Oct. 16, 1992 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The show was produced by veteran Columbia Records exec Don DeVito. The first thing he did was hire recording engineer Jeff Rosen to produce the audio and then he hired Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith to deal with the musicians. And Smith brought in the best backup band in popular music history. That would be Booker T. Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass and Anton Fig on drums, otherwise known as Booker T. & The MGs. The participants included John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Eddie Vedder & Mike McCready, Tracy Chapman, Johnny & June Carter Cash, Willie Nelson, Johnny Winter, Ronnie Wood, Richie Havens, The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rosanne Cash, Shawn Colvin, Neil Young, Chrissie Hynde, Eric Clapton, The O'Jays, The Band, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roger McGuinn, Nanci Griffith, Cissy Houston leading her choir, Jim Keltner, Al Kooper, George Thorogood, Don Was and Reggie Young. My Back Pages was performed at the end of the show right before the finale. It was a top 40 hit for The Byrds so it was appropriate that Roger McGuinn led off followed by Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Dylan and George Harrison. In the video, you can see G.E. Smith directing traffic and you will see Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Anton Fig. This was released on 2CDs and reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 200 and was certified Gold. It was released on VHS in a slightly expended version. It's available on DVD in a heavily edited one disc edition. The CD is recommended but not the DVD. Here's the video for My Back Pages from the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration. This particular version is not on Youtube.
Neil Young,Dylan... My Back Pages by ivaxavi
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Song:Down in the Valley
Album:The Head and the Heart
The folk group The Head and the Heart did very well with their 2011 debut CD and seem poised to make a big splash with their next CD. I'm sure the success of groups like Mumford & Sons gives them hope. The Head and the Heart were formed in the summer of 2009 at open mic night at Conor Byrne Pub in Seattle. Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell met keyboard player Kenny Hensley and the three started writing songs together. They brought in drummer Tyler Williams from the group Prabir and the Substitutes. Like Russell, he is from Richmond, VA so they knew each other. Russell had sent him a demo. Then they brought in violinist Charity Rose Thielen who had just returned from Paris and Conor Byrne bartender Chris Zasche on bass. They recorded a CD and sold it at gigs. After interest from several record companies, The Head and the Heart signed with Sup Pop Records in Nov. 2010. Sub Pop had them go back into the studio and re-record a couple of songs and add a song. The reworked album was released Apr. 2011. Down in the Valley was the single and they did a video. They were also named Best New Band by Seattle's CityArts Magazine. The group has appeared on Conan and Jimmy Kimmell and they have opened for Vampire Weekend, The Decemberists and Dr. Dog among others. Down in the Valley was used in the British TV series Beaver Falls. Their songs have been used in Chuck, How I Met Your Mother and Hart Of Dixie. The Head and the Heart have just finished a fall tour. It looks like it's time to record new music. They have gotten off to a good start. We'll see how they develop. Folk music fans should check them out. Here's the video for Down in the Valley by The Head and the Heart.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Album:An Introduction To...Elliott Smith
Singer songwriter Elliott Smith became an overnight sensation when Miss Misery was nominated for A Best Song Oscar and Smith performed it on the Oscar broadcast. But fame didn't help Smith overcome depression and alcoholism and he died in 2003. The obvious parallel to Smith is Jeff Buckley. Both were talented guys with problems. He was born Steven Paul Smith Aug. 6, 1969 in Omaha. His parents divorced and his mom remarried and they moved to Duncanville, TX. He renamed himself Elliott because he thought it was cooler than Steve. He didn't get along with his stepfather and moved to Portland to live with his father at age 14. He was in a few bands as a teen. While attending Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, he and classmate Neil Gust formed the band Heatmiser after moving to Portland after graduation. They signed with Virgin Records but Smith left in 1994 to go solo. While still under contract to Virgin, Smith recorded a couple of CDs independently. His big break came when director Gus Van Sant, a Portland native, asked Smith if he could use a couple of songs in his film Good Will Hunting. Smith also recorded some new songs including Miss Misery. The film was a big hit and Miss Misery was nominated for a Best Song Oscar. After performing Miss Misery on the Oscar broadcast, Smith signed with DreamWorks Records. They bought out his Virgin contract. He performed Miss Misery on Conan O'Brien May 5, 1998. Through all this, Smith was drinking heavily and took anti depressants. He even tried to commit suicide when he jumped off a cliff in North Carolina. He lived when he was impaled by a tree. He recorded two CDs for DreamWorks and then a third one was scrapped. Friends and business acquaintances always confronted him with these problems. When he met with DreamWorks, he complained about this intrusion into his personal life. He was apparently able to recover in Aug. 2003. While working on a new album, he argued with his girlfriend. While taking a shower, she heard him scream and found him holding a knife that was stuck in his chest. Elliott Smith died on Oct. 21, 2003 at age 34. The coroner's report was inconclusive but he left a suicide note. He was still on anti depressants. There was a CD released posthumously and this comp is a good intro to his music. Certainly Elliott Smith had talent but his addictions led to a life cut short. Here's the video for Miss Misery by Elliott Smith.
Friday, November 16, 2012
|Rina Tomita, Naoko Omuro|
Aterciopelados were very popular in their native Colombia in the 90s. They had some success in other Spanish speaking countries and some of their albums were released in North America. They seem to be inactive right now. The name of the band translates to The Velvety. The core members of Aterciopelados are lead singer and songwriter Andrea Eccheverri and bassist Hector Buitrago. Buitrago led a hard rock band in the 80s. He met art school student Eccheverri in the early 90s and they formed Delia y los Aminociados. They changed the name and signed with RCA Records. Over the next few years, they became one of the most popular bands in Latin America. For their 1996 CD Le Pipa de la Paz, they went to New York and recorded with former Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera. This got them a small following in the US but the language barrier is always going to be an issue. El Estuche is from the 1998 CD Caribe Atomico. This was nominated for a Latin Grammy. Aterciopelados took a hiatus and Eccheverri had a child. They returned in 2001 and after two CDs, took another break. They also left RCA. This budget CD is a good intro to their RCA recordings. Buitrago and Eccheverri both recorded solo albums and reunited again in 2006. Since the 2008 CD Rio, Aterciopelados have not recorded though Eccheverri recorded another solo album in 2010. The band website promotes Eccheverri's band. Atercipelados is on hiatus. Here's the video for El Estuche by Atercipelados.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Song:A Little More Country Than That
Easton Corbin hit a home run his first time out when his 2010 single A Little More Country Than That topped the Country Singles chart. Corbin will appeal to those who like new country music to sound like old country music. He is frequently compared to George Strait. He was born Apr. 12, 1982 in Trenton, FL and he was raised on his grandparents' farm after his parents divorced. They were big country music fans and Corbin watched Hee Haw and Grand Ole Opry with them. After he was taught to play guitar by session musician Pee Wee Melton, he joined a band and played gigs locally. After earning an Agribusiness degree at the University of Florida and getting married, Corbin and his wife moved to Nashville. He worked at Ace Hardware during the day. Corbin was spotted by Mercury Nashville A & R director Joe Fisher and signed a record deal in 2009. Carson Chamberlain was assigned to produce Corbin's debut CD. Chamberlain has produced several Mercury artists including Billy Currington. Easton Corbin was released Mar. 2010 and reached #4 on the Country Album chart and #10 on the Billboard Hot 200. A Little More Country Than That topped the Country Singles chart. Though Corbin writes some of his own songs, A Little More Coluntry Than That was written by Rory Lee Feek of the husband wife duo Joey + Rory along with Don Poythress and Wynn Varble. His second single Roll With It also topped the Country Singles chart. Corbin toured with Brad Paisley. His second CD All Over The Road was released Sept. 2012 and has also done well. He is currently on tour. Here's the video for A Little More Country Than That by Corbin Easton.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Pat Boone was the clean cut alternative to Elvis Presley in the 50s. There were others like Boone but he had the longest run of success. He is frequently vilified for his sanitized covers of R & B classics. Moody River was his final number one hit in 1961. He was born June 1, 1934 in Jacksonville, FL and grew up in Nashville. At age 19, he married Shirley Foley, daughter of country music legend Red Foley. An appearance on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour earned Boone a stint on The Arthur Godfrey Show. He first recorded for Republic Records and his 1955 cover of Fats Domino's Ain't That A Shame was his first #1 hit. And though purists vilify Boone for covering that song, Domino liked Boone's version and it helped launch Domino's career. Then Boone signed with Dot Records. Dot owner Randy Wood liked the idea of Boone covering R & B songs. Wood had done it with other artists. After Boone had top ten hits with covers of the Little Richard songs Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally, his next #1 hit was his cover of the Ivory Joe Hunter classic I Almost Lost My Mind. His biggest hits at the time were Love Letters In The Sand, which was originally recorded in the 30s, and the theme from the 1957 film April Love. He starred in that film. He was also chosen to replace Dinah Shore as a spokesman for Chevy and they sponsored his variety show. Parents thought Boone was a clean cut alternative to Elvis. Many teens thought Boone was corny. Boone faded until he topped the charts for the last time with Moody River in 1961. I always thought that Boone didn't know what he was singing half the time. Moody River is an uncharacteristically dark song. It's about suicide. It was written and originally recorded by Chase Webster (real name-Gary D. Bruce). He recorded for Dot and Randy Wood chose the song for Boone. That was the end of Boone's run and by the 70s, he was recording Christian music. He still surfaces occasionally and has his own theatre in Myrtle Beach, SC. Beware of rerecorded versions of Boone's hits. This 2CD comp is from the Dutch oldies label BR Music. Here's Pat Boone performing Moody River on The Lawrence Welk Show June 1961.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Song:James Bond Theme
Album:Best of Bond...James Bond: 50th Anniversary Collection
The theme from the James Bond films is one of the most iconic movie themes in history. Variations of the theme are still used in today's Bond films. It started out over the opening credits of the 1962 film Dr. No, the first James Bond film. John Barry arranged and conducted the song and went on to compose the scores of several Bond films. But the theme and the score for Dr. No was written by Monty Norman. And he has proven that in court twice. Norman was born Monty Noserovitch Apr. 4, 1928 in London. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Latvia. After serving in the RAF in WWII, he sang with bands like Cyril Stapleton, Stanley Black and performed in variety shows. By the late 50s, He got into composing musicals. One of those shows, Expresso Bongo, was turned into a film starring Cliff Richard in 1960. Dr. No producer Cubby Broccoli liked Norman's 1961 musical Belle and hired him to write the music for Dr. No. A lot of the film was filmed in Jamaica and included appearances by Byron Lee & The Dragonaires and others. So Norman wrote and arranged the score for Dr. No. But Broccoli didn't like his arrangement of the opening theme. So John Barry was brought in to arrange and conduct the theme. The guitar is played by The John Barry Seven guitarist Vic Flick. The problem was later on Barry took credit for writing the James Bond theme. Norman sued him and won. This was a big deal for Norman as he still gets royalties. The theme from Dr. No charted and then it was used in all the films. It wasn't until Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey that singers were hired to sing the opening theme. You can get the Dr. No theme on this budget CD. Monty Norman is still around but nothing he has done has been as famous as this one song. Here's the James Bond Theme by John Barry Orchestra as it appeared in the opening credits of the 1962 film Dr. No.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Album:The Rhumb Line
One would think with a name like Ra Ra Riot that they would be a punk band. But the most interesting thing about Ra Ra Riot is they come with their own string section. Ra Ra Riot is from Syracuse, NY. The lead singer and keyboard player is Wes Miles. Other members are Milo Bonacci on guitar, Mathieu Santos on bass, John Pike on drums, Rebecca Zeller on violin and Alexandra Lawn on cello. They met in college in 2006 and then moved to New York and worked the club scene. But before they could really get going, tragedy struck when after a show on June 2, 2007 in Rhode Island, John Pike went missing. His body was found the next day. Ra Ra Riot announced they would continue and Kenny Bernard was the new drummer. After releasing an EP independently, Ra Ra Riot signed with V2 Records. They recorded their debut CD The Rhumb Line but V2 didn't like it. So they left and signed with Barsuk Records. The Rhumb Line was released Aug. 2008. Their second CD The Orchard was released Aug. 2010. They are a very good indie band and the strings are an asset. But it doesn't look like Ra Ra Riot will ever be a mainstream success. Alexandra Lawn left Ra Ra Riot in Feb. 2012 and will not be replaced. Their next CD Beta Love will be released Jan. 2013. It remains to be seen if Ra Ra Riot will still be interesting without the cello. Here's a video for Oh, La by Ra Ra Riot. This was taped in the attic of an old house in Syracuse.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Song:Oh How Happy
Album:Oldies But Goodies Vol. 2
Oh How Happy was a top twenty hit in 1966 and the only significant hit for the vocal group Shades Of Blue. A lot of folks think the group was black and they were on Motown. Neither of those things was true but they are from the Detroit suburb of Livonia, MI. They started out as the doo wop group The Domingos in 1961. Nick Marinelli was lead singer. Other members were Bob Kerr, Ernie Dernai and Dan Guise. They performed locally in Detroit and split up after graduating from high school. While attending college, they became friends with members of The Reflections. They had just had a big hit with (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet. They suggested to Marinelli that they should audition for their record company Golden World and the owner Ed Wingate. Golden World was Motown's chief rival and Motown bought them in 1966. They couldn't find Guise so he was replaced by Linda Steinberg. She married Bob Kerr. The problem was The Reflections were a very unpleasant experience for Wingate. So he didn't want a similar group. But he allowed them to hang around the studio. Golden World's chief asset and the reason Motown bought them was Edwin Starr. Starr wrote Oh How Happy. The Domingos cut a demo of the song. Starr liked it and took it to producer John Rhys. He produced The Newbeats hit Bread and Butter. Rhys renamed the group Shades Of Blue and released Oh How Happy on Impact Records. Oh How Happy reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then they recorded an album and went out on tour. In the end, Shades Of Blue were not successful and split up in 1970. You can get Oh How Happy on this various artists comp. Shades Of Blue toured the oldies circuit in recent years but I'm not sure if they still tour. Their website is kaput. Here's Shades Of Blue performing Oh How Happy 1966.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
|Erika Kamimura, Rooma Rukkbunmi|
Song:Let Me In
Album:Philadelphia Doo Wop
I'm sure a lot of folks have heard this song and think the title is Weee-oooo. Let Me In was a top five hit for The Sensations in 1961. The group was from Philadelphia and started out as The Cavaliers in 1954. Yvonne Mills was lead singer and the other members were Tommy Wicks, Alphonso Howell and Hosea Haralson. A doo wop group with a female lead singer was unusual at the time. The Cavaliers recorded for Atlantic's Atco label and Yes Sir That's My Baby and Please Mr. Disc Jockey were top twenty R & B hits in 1956. The Cavaliers split up soon after and Yvonne got married and started a family. Her name was now Yvonne Baker. In 1961, Howell and Phildelphia DJ Kae Williams convinced Yvonne that the group should reform. They added Richard Curtain and Sam Armstrong and were now called The Sensations. They signed with the Chess Records label Argo First they had an R & B hit with their cover of Music, Music, Music. And then Let Me In reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Yvonne Baker wrote Let Me In. It turned out to be The Sensations only big hit. You can get it on this various artists comp from Collectables. Yvonne Baker recorded for Cameo-Parkway in the mid-60s and You Didn't Say A Word is a cult classic with soul fans. Here's a video for Let Me In by The Sensations.
Friday, November 09, 2012
Song:The Walls of Lechuguilla
Album:When The Heart Emerges Glistening
With his 2011 Blue Note debut, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire has a emerged as a worthy successor of the legacy of jazz greats. It's early in his career so it will be interesting to follow his development. He was born May 1, 1982 in Oakland, CA. He played trumpet in the jazz band at Berkeley High School. When sax player Steve Coleman gave a workshop at the school, he took Akinmusire on a European tour and Akinmusire played on Coleman's 2001 CD Resistance Is Futile. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music and then moved to Los Angeles and attended the Thelonious Monk Institute at the University of Southern California. He played on albums by Aaron Parks and Vijay Iyer. He released his debut CD Prelude...to Cora on the Spanish label Fresh Sounds in 2007. After winning the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, Akinmusire moved back to New York. While performing with pianist Jason Moran, he was spotted by Blue Note Records president Bruce Lundvall. Akinmusire signed with Blue Note and Moran agreed to produce his CD. His 2011 CD When The Heart Emerges Glistening reached #6 on the Jazz Album Chart. Moran plays piano on two songs and Gerald Clayton plays piano on the rest of the album. Drummer Justin Brown normally plays with Clayton. Tenor sax player Walter Smith III has played with Christian Scott and Terence Blanchard. Akinmusire played on Smith's 2006 CD Casually Introducing. and Smith's 2010 CD III. These two guys work very well together. Harish Raghavan is on bass. Akinmusire has also played with Esperanza Spalding among others. Akinmusire got a lot of buzz with this CD and I like what I hear. Check him out for yourself. Here's Ambrose Akinmusire performing The Walls of Lechuguilla at Jazz Standard in New York City 2009. Except for the pianist, it's the same band that is on the CD.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Song:Sweet City Woman
The Stampeders had their only US top ten hit with Sweet City Woman in 1971. It was also their only number one hit in Canada. They had six top ten hits in Canada. The Stampeders were formed in Calgary in 1964 as The Rebounds. The founding members were Rich Dodson, Len Roemer, Brendan Lyttle, Kim Berly and Race Holiday. They renamed themselves The Stampeders and Roemer was replaced by Ronnie King and Van Louis. They moved to Toronto in 1966 and by 1968 were a trio of Dodson, Berly and King. Dodson was the lead singer but all three wrote songs. They signed with Mel Shaw's MWC label and Carry Me reached #2 on the RPM Singles chart in Canada. This got the attention of Bell Records and The Stampeders signed with them for the US. Sweet City Woman reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Canadian charts. They won three Juno Awards including Best Song for Dodson's Sweet City Woman. Though they continued to have hits in Canada with Devil You and Wild Eyes, Sweet City Woman was The Stampeders only big US hit. They charted one last time with a cover of Hit The Road Jack featuring Wolfman Jack and then split up in 1976. The Montreal label Unidisc now owns The Stampeders recordings and you can get all their hits on this comp. After the split, Rich Dodson opened his recording studio Marigold Studios. He has released solo albums and produced and engineered plenty of artists. The Stampeders reunited in 1992 and continue to tour Canada today. Here's a video of The Stampeders performing Sweet City Woman at the 1971 Calgary Stampede.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Album:The Very Best Of Rainbow
Rainbow started out in the mid-70s as a hard rock band. But by the early 80s and the 1982 single Stone Cold, they had softened their sound. They were more popular in England than in the US. Rainbow was led by Deep Purple founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. In 1974, Blackmore was unhappy with new Deep Purple lead singer David Coverdale. He left in 1975 and formed Rainbow when he hired singer Ronnie James Dio and his band Elf. After the release of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow in 1975, Dio stayed and the other members left. Former Jeff Beck Group drummer Cozy Powell was hired. Other musicians were hired and fired on a regular basis. Then after a couple of albums, Blackmore wanted to take Rainbow in a more commercial direction. Dio didn't like that and left to join Black Sabbath. Graham Bonnet was hired as the new lead singer. Powell told Blackmore that bassist Roger Glover had left Deep Purple and Powell also recommended keyboard player Don Airey who he knew from a previous band. Rainbow had success with the 1980 single Since You Been Gone. But Powell left for Michael Schenker Group and Bonnet was fired for drunkenness. They were replaced by singer Joe Lynn Turner and drummer Bobby Rondinelli. Then Airey was replaced by David Rosenthal. This is the lineup that recorded the 1982 album Straight Between The Eyes. Stone Cold was their biggest chart hit in the US. But the softening of the band's sound alienated fans of the earlier version of Rainbow. When the original members of Deep Purple reformed in 1984, Rainbow was dissolved. You can get all of Rainbow's hits on this budget comp. Blackmore left Deep Purple in 1993 and reformed Rainbow with new members for a 1995 album and tour. Blackmore is still around but attempts to reform Rainbow have been unsuccessful. Joe Lynn Turner had a successful solo career in the 90s and leads the band Over The Rainbow featuring Blackmore's son Jurgen Blackmore on guitar.. Here's the video for Stone Cold by Rainbow.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Album:The Very Best Of Little Richard
Based on talent, Little Richard should have been a much bigger star than Elvis Presley. But due to racism and Richard's inner conflict about secular music, it didn't happen. Lucille was one of his several number one R & B hits. Richard Wayne Penniman was born Dec. 5, 1932 in Macon, GA. He grew up singing in the family gospel group and was a faith healer at age 10. His influences were the singing evangelist Brother Joe May and legendary gospel singer and killer guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. He got to perform with her when she came to Macon in 1945. Marion Williams (Woooo!) and Mahalia Jackson were also big influences. Then Richard got into gospel influenced jump blues and befriended Billy Wright who was known as Prince Of The Blues. He also met Esquerita (Eskew Reeder Jr.) who taught him piano tricks. And as many fans know, Richard copied his look. Richard first recorded for RCA Camden and Peacock from 1951-54. But the singles were unsuccessful and Richard was unhappy with them. Then he went to New Orleans and started working with musicians there. Lloyd Price suggested that Richard send a demo to Specialty Records. Specialty owner Art Rupe bought out his Peacock contract and Robert "Bumps" Blackwell produced. At first Blackwell was unhappy with the recordings. On a break, Richard improvised Tutti Frutti. The song was risque so Blackwell cleaned it up. It was a hit but many radio stations wouldn't play black artists. So Pat Boone recorded Tutti Frutti and it was a bigger hit than Richard's recording. Lucille was one of several #1 R & B hits. But he didn't have the mainstream success he should have had due to racism. He also appeared in three films. Lucille was written by Al Collins (not the blues guitarist) and Richard bought the song while Collins was in prison. Richard was also known for his insane stage show. In Oct. 1957, Richard was touring Australia. And he saw a fireball while on a plane. It was actually the Russian satellite Sputnik. He took this as a sign that he should quit secular music and return to gospel. And that's what he did. Richard has changed his mind about this several times in his career. He's not the only R & B artist to have this conflict. Talk to Al Green. Richard has recorded his hits several times. Concord now owns the rights to the Specialty recordings and this budget comp was released in 2008. It's been remastered in mono. You don't want these songs in fake stereo. In recent years, Richard has found a balance and performs secular music and performs weddings as Reverend Richard Penniman. He's a legend and a hall of famer and his Specialty recordings are essential. Here's Little Richard performing Lucille in the 1957 film Mister Rock and Roll.
Monday, November 05, 2012
|Erika Kamimura, Daurun Gyappaton|
Song:Beyond The Mirage
Album:The Guitar Trio
Al Di Meola started out as a jazz fusion guitar whiz with Return To Forever in the 70s and later turned to acoustic guitar. He has recorded three albums with jazz guitar legend John McLaughlin and flamenco guitar legend Paco De Lucia including this 1995 CD The Guitar Trio. Di Meola was born July 22, 1954 in Jersey City, NJ. He was attending Berklee School of Music in Boston when in 1974 he was picked to replace Bill Connors in Return To Forever. Di Meola played on three RTF albums including the very successful 1976 album Romantic Warrior. Then he left to go solo and signed with Columbia Records. His debut album Land Of The Midnight Sun was very successful and Di Meola became known for his electric guitar virtuosity. At the time, McLaughlin was also signed to Columbia. He formed an acoustic guitar trio with De Lucia and Larry Coryell in 1979. They toured Europe and recorded the 1981 album Castro Marin. Then Coryell left and was replaced by Di Meola. This new trio recorded the very successful 1981 album Friday Night In San Francisco followed by the 1983 album Passion, Grace and Fire. Di Meola left Columbia in 1983 and recorded for Manhattan-EMI, Tomato and Atlantic. He reunited with De Lucia and McLaughlin for the 1995 CD The Guitar Trio on Verve. McLaughlin was on Verve at the time. Beyond The Mirage was written by Di Meola and he also recorded it on his first CD for Telarc The Infinite Desire in 1998. Fans of guitar virtuosity should check out The Guitar Trio. Though Di Meola still occasionally plays electric guitar, he prefers acoustic guitar. He is currently signed to Concord and his latest CD Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody was released Apr. 2011. Here's Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin performing Beyond The Mirage at the Audi Jazz Festival in Brussels, Belgium 1996.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Song:Rough & Tough
Album:The History Of Ska
Wilburn "Stranger" Cole is a pioneer of the Jamaican music known as ska. Ska is a mix of calypso, jazz and R & B. It became popular with The Mods in England in the mid-60s and has continued with cyclical revivals over the years, especially with the British groups The Specials and The English Beat in the late 70s. Cole was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1945 and was given the nickname Stranger as a child because he didn't resemble any of his family members. After he wrote the hit song In and Out the Window for Eric "Monty" Morris, Treasure Isle recording studio owner Duke Reid allowed Cole to record one of his own songs. Rough & Tough was a big hit in Jamaica in 1962 and today is considered to be a ska classic. Cole says he wrote the song when his girlfriend left him. The backup band on the record is The Skatellites and Baba Brooks plays the trumpet solo. Though Cole recorded solo, apparently he preferred recording duets. He was shy about performing solo. His most frequent duet partner was Patsy Todd and as Stranger & Patsy they had a hit in 1963 with When You Call My Name. Cole also recorded duets with Ken Boothe, Gladstone Anderson and Hortense Ellis. You can get Rough & Tough on this various artists budget comp from the Trojan label Receiver Records. Of course Trojan is the premiere label for Jamaican music. It's a great intro for beginners. Stranger Cole moved to England in 1971 and after touring there, he moved to Toronto in 1973. For years he worked as a machinist at the Tonka Toy factory. And he also opened a Caribbean record shop. He has recorded occasionally on his own label, most recently in 2006. He is also featured in the 2009 documentary Rock Steady: The Roots Of Reggae which I have seen and highly recommend. Cole's son Squiddly Cole has been a drummer for Ziggy Marley and others. Here's Stranger Cole performing Rough & Tough 1964.
Saturday, November 03, 2012
Song:I Could Have Danced All Night
Album:A Little Bit Of Broadway
Julie Andrews was probably the most popular star of the mid-60s with the monster film musicals Mary Poppins and The Sound Of Music. But many fans became familiar with her when she appeared in the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. I Could Have Danced All Night is from that show. But she didn't get to be in the film version of My Fair Lady. Though the film was successful, Jack Warner's decision not to hire Julie is still controversial. And what if she had done that film instead of Mary Poppins. She was born Julia Elizabeth Wells Oct. 1, 1935 in Walton-on Thames, Surrey, England. Her mom was a piano teacher. After her parents divorce, her mom married vaudevillian Ted Andrews. She started performing with them as Julie Andrews. Julie performed at a 1948 royal command performance. And as a teen, she appeared in several children's shows on the London stage. She made her Broadway debut in the 1954 musical The Boyfriend. Then she starred with Bing Crosby in the 1956 musical adaptation of the Maxwell Anderson play High Tor. This was the first filmed made for TV movie. Then she was hired for My Fair Lady. It premiered on Mar. 15, 1956 and ran for 2,717 performances. And the original cast album was a best seller. She also appeared in the London production. She also appeared in a musical adaptation of Cinderella that aired on live TV Mar. 31, 1957. And she appeared in the musical Camelot in 1960. And she recorded albums for RCA and Columbia. When it came time to cast the film version of My Fair Lady, Warner Bros. president Jack Warner decided that Julie wasn't a big enough star and he cast Audrey Hepburn. But Audrey couldn't sing and Marni Nixon was hired to dub her voice. My Fair Lady was a success. But then Disney hired Julie for Mary Poppins and the success of that film made Warner look foolish. And of course Julie had even more success with The Sound Of Music. Julie recorded enough for RCA and Columbia that Sony could do a box set. Obviously they wouldn't be able to include Mary Poppins. But they have never done that. A Little Bit Of Broadway was released in 1977 and is available as a budget CD. It contains songs from Cinderella, Camelot and the London cast of My Fair Lady. Beware of poor quality foreign CDs. Being a star for family films became a problem for Julie when she wanted to do more mature films. The late 60s musicals Star! and Darling Lili were flops and she wasn't able to revive her career until Victor/Victoria in the 80s. Julie Andrews had a vocal cord operation in 1997 that damaged her voice. She still performs occasionally. Here's Julie Andrews performing a medley of The Sound Of Music, My Favorite Things and I Could Have Danced All Night on The Julie Andrews Show 1965.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Song:I Still Miss You
Hunky country singer Keith Anderson was on his way to stardom when he had his first top five country hit with I Still Miss You in 2008. He was also one of the most eligible bachelors in Nashville and has successfully written songs for others. But he left his record company in 2009 and hasn't recorded a full length CD since then. He was born Jan. 12, 1968 in Miami, OK. Growing up, he was a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan but turned to country after he listened to the Willie Nelson album Red Headed Stranger. He was also active in sports. Anderson earned an engineering degree at Oklahoma State University. He also played baseball and was scouted by the Kansas City Royals before a shoulder injury ended those aspirations. He took up body building and placed second in the Mr. Oklahoma competition. After graduation, he took an engineering job in Dallas and played clubs on the side. He quit his job and toured Texas under the management of Grapevine Opry. He also worked as a personal trainer and planned to attend the physical therapy program at the University of Texas. Instead he moved to Nashville and formed a band and recorded a CD. His big break came when he co-wrote Beer Run for George Jones and Garth Brooks in 2001. He started working with other songwriters and was spotted by producer Jeffrey Steele and signed with Arista Nashville in 2004. Steele was the lead singer of the country rock band Boy Howdy and turned to producing in the 90s. Anderson's debut CD Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll was certified Gold and Every Time I Hear Your Name reached #7 on the Country Singles chart. I Still Miss You from his second CD C'mon! reached #2 on the Country Singles chart in 2008. Anderson wrote the song with Tim Nichols and Jason Sellers. Both guys have had mediocre recording careers but have done well as songwriters. Anderson dedicated the video to his mom who died of cancer just before the single was released. C'mon is available as a budget CD. Anderson co-wrote Lost In This Moment which was a hit for Big & Rich. He also got a lot of attention for his hunky looks and was named one of Nashville's most eligible bachelors. Anderson had vocal cord surgery in Jan. 2009 and then left Sony in Oct. 2009. Between the two CDs, Sony closed Arista Nashville and moved all the artists to Columbia. Anderson may not have seen eye to eye with Columbia Nashville management. Anderson got married in 2010 (sorry girls) and his daughter was born Oct. 2011. Anderson currently hosts the syndicated radio show Cool Country Live from Ocean Way Nashville. He still tours and is supposed to be working on a new CD likely to be released on his own label. And he continues to write songs for others. He will be around Nashville for a long time even if he never has another hit single. Here's the video for I Still Miss You by Keith Anderson.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Song:Ya No Hace Falta
Album:The Best of Bamboleo
Bamboleo is a proponent of a style of Cuban music known as Timba. Timba is heavily influenced by 40s Cuban dance band music but can also include jazz, R & B and rap. La Banda NG is probably the best known Timba group. Bamboleo isn't as well known because they weren't around that long. They emphasize the showmanship of 40s dance bands with a contemporary twist. Bamboleo is from Havana and led by Lazaro Valdes. He plays piano, produces, arranges and is the main songwriter. Valdes started out as a sideman for Pachito Alonso, Bobby Carcasses and Hector Tallez. He wanted to start a band and went to Havana's National School of the Arts looking for music students. He started out with singer Haila Mompie and she recruited singer Vannia Borges. She became the lead singer of Bamboleo. Vannia had performed with the all female group D'Capo and Pachito Alonso. Mompie left and was replaced by Yordamis Megret. She had previously sung with Jose Luis Cortes. Bamboleo signed with Ahi-Nama Records. They are a Los Angeles company specializing in Cuban music. Te Gusto O Te Caigo Bien was their 1996 debut CD. Their live shows got a lot of attention and that's where you see the 40s dance band influence. And the two girls with their shaved heads makes for a striking visual. They recorded two more CDs including the 1999 CD Ya No Hace Falta. Bamboleo toured the world and appeared on the MTV series Road Rules. It looks like Bamboleo split up soon after. This comp is a good intro to their music and a couple of their live shows are available on DVD. Lazaro Valdes released a solo CD in 2003. I'm not sure about Vannia Borges. She may be active in Cuba but I'd like to see someone here sign her. It would be a shame if we never got to hear her sing again. Here's the video for Ya No Hace Falta by Bamboleo.