Thursday, October 27, 2011

2011 Voodoo Experience Artist Spotlight: The Raconteurs

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, now the spotlight shines on: The Raconteurs 

The Raconteurs close the festival on Sunday @ 7:15 on Le Ritual Voodoo Stage
They were a surprise late announcement and coming as a huge victory for all rock and roll fans Voodoo Experience placed the storytellers of rock and roll as the festival closers on the main stage.  Jack White has recently been touring with Wanda Jackson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler did a Greenhornes record and Brendan Benson has been working on some solo action, but the time has come for the group to reunite.
The band started back in 2005 and released their first album Broken Boy Soldiers.  It was instantly clear that White relished the opportunity to break out of his self made confines and play with a full rock and roll outfit.  Keller and Lawrence provided the thundering low-end while Benson provided a writing partner for him, flourishing into a full group not just a side show vanity project.  The songs were solid if not earth shattering, "Level", "Store Bought Bones" and "Steady As She Goes" were all winners:

The band hit the road and RtBE had the privilege of first catching them open for Bob Dylan in 2006 and were instantly impressed, seeing them 3 more times that tour.  The band's second album Consolers of The Lonely was a surprise to most fans as it was recorded quickly and released even quicker in 2008.  The album was sonic blast of pure rock and roll with the group hitting on all cylinders.

The disk doesn't let up from beginning to end, no weak tracks at all.  RtBE helped out Glide Magazine at the end of the last decade with their "best of" list, and we ranked Consolers of the Lonely as the 4th best album of the decade, here's what we wrote:
#4.  The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely (2008)
The rock world had been waiting and it finally happened; Jack got himself a band.  The first effort from these raconteurs had it’s moments but the stars aligned when
Consolers of the Lonely was conceived and rushed to release.  Loose enough in production yet utterly precise it destroys speakers with its power (“Salute Your Solution” & “Attention”) soothes with it’s over the top pomp (“The Switch and The Spur” & “Many Shades of Black”) and most surprisingly goes huge with its arena rock-ability (“Rich Kid Blues” & “Consolers of The Lonely”).  Brian Stoltz, guitarist for the Funky Meters told Glide in regards to this album:  “I can’t find one note on this record to criticize - nothing out there this innovative. In the land of noodles and white gravy, these guys are the saviors of rock ‘n roll.”  We agree.

Stoltz is a New Orleans staple, and one of RtBE favorite shows ever was The Raconteurs set at the 08 Jazzfest when the ripped into the new album with flair and passion.  Their live show is just as dominate as the albums and probably even more so as the group lets it all hang out:

Hopefully you can stay until the end of the Voodoo Experience because The Rac's promise a hell of a show, and lets hope a new album soon!

2011 Voodoo Experience Band Showcase: Morning 40 Federation

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, now the spotlight shines on: Morning 40 Federation

Morning 40 Federation will be playing @ 3:15 at Le Carnival Bingo! Parlor.  

The band of marauders known as the Morning 40 Federation are a perfect example of the mystical power of the Voodoo Experience.  The band is no longer, but rises like revived Zombies every Halloween as the group reunites for a special concert.  The band is drawn to the fest like a drunk to a free shot...and that is something else this group knows about....

The group was legendary for their insane live sets at the beginning of the 00's becoming a must see live act in NOLA and one that would routinely sell out, party all night and end in a mix of sweat, liquor and mayhem.  Their were mainstays until 09 when they played their last show during Mardi Gras:

RtBE first got turned on to the group back in 02 or 03 (the years blur together) when we went to the quarter to celebrate Halloween, some insane costumes were in tow that year, but what stood out the most from that trip was catching Morning 40 Federation at One Eyed Jack's.  The band was on fire and the crowd was lapping up every minute, they played all night and we hung with the band post and then drank with the rising sun.  It was a trip as is the band:

We caught up again with them in NYC when they played one of the dirtiest bars in Manhattan (it was closed down shortly after they played) for a friends book release party.  The group does it's best to contain the mayhem and put out horn drenched funk-outs and break down/get down jams all behind lyrical yammering and howling. 

The cocktails and other things will be in full effect on  Sunday afternoon as the band takes the stage.  It is pure Boosh to catch the fellas when they are playing, and an even bigger one when it is this haunted time of year...their set is not to be missed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 Voodoo Fest Band Showcase: Fishbone

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, now the spotlight shines on: Fishbone

Fishbone will be playing Sunday 10/30 @ 1:45 in Le Carnival Bingo! Parlor  
We are moving now to the last day of the festival with our Sunday Spotlights and there are a ton of great acts playing the Voodoo Experience's last day, so pace yourself kiddies! 

The rock/funk/soul/toss-all-the-sounds-in-a-bucket-and-see-what-pops group from Los Angeles California, Fishbone will be doing their dirty deeds this year making the Voodoo Experience that much more freaky.  The band has seen it all over the last 30 years and still continues to get amped and play with unbridled passion.
Coming to prominence in the late 80's Fishbone were the great band that never seem to break out into massive stardom that seemed destined for them.  Now they have a new documentary titled Everyday Sunshine that chronicles the bands career and since it has been completed the band has hit the road to accompany showings of the film.  Voodoo Fest is one of the biggest stages the band has played in a while and surely they will rise to the occasion.

RtBE have been mega-fans of the group ever since we first got a cassette copy of the bands self titled EP released in 1985, and it is still the recording that holds the dearest place in our hearts to this day. Tracks like "Lying Ass Bitch", "U.G.L.Y" and "Another Generation" are all fantastic tracks, not to mention the uber jam, "Party At Ground Zero"

(They played this at the Playboy Mansion? That must have been something...)

Recently RtBE had the privilege of catching the band with a bunch of good friends and we were amazed that the group has lost none of it's edge, in fact they were tighter then they had been in recent years according to most in attendance.  

The album Truth and Soul is another fantastic voyage with a number of great tracks, the bands cover of "Freddie's Dead" was a fantastic update of a classic track, an exceptional cover.  "Subliminal Fascism" is an out and out burner, "Ma and Pa" has always been one of the favorites, but the track that takes the cake is "Bonin' In the Boneyard" with Norwood Fishers insane bass runs:

Joining Norwood on stage in NOLA will be the irrepressible Angelo Moore and the guitar magician Rocky George who played with metal/hardcore stalwarts Suicidal Tendencies and the Cro-Mags.  The band is primed for some mid day Halloween insanity on the 30th, so cruise on by the Bingo! Parlor at 1:15 to get onboard the freak train.     

2011 Voodoo Experience Band Showcase: Mastodon

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, now the spotlight shines on: Mastodon

Mastodon will be playing Saturday 10/29 @ 4:15 pm on the Le Ritual Voodoo Stage
There can be many late night bar-stool arguments as too which bands were and will be the funkiest, bring the best party or groove the smoothest on the Voodoo Experience stages, but the argument regarding the heaviest group on the bill?  No need for that one as Mastodon has been tapped to bring their ice age riffage to the Le Ritual Stage for the masses.  The sludge metal proprietors from Atlanta aren't all doom and gloom though, they are intellectually conceptual (almost to a fault) and have a keen sense of humor as they wrote tracks for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie, just peep this:

That is bad ass!  The group has really done a number of interesting metal albums/prog-rock at times with their elongated songs and winding concepts.  RtBE got turned on to the group back in 2004 when we heard that a southern metal band had just released an album based on Melville's American Masterpiece Moby Dick.  The album was Leviathan and it is still our favorite from the group.  Here is one of the mega tracks from that release, "Blood And Thunder"

If you are going to put the time and effort into a project like that AND pull it off, RtBE will forever be a fan.  Granted their last few albums have received larger critical acclaim and sales, but the tales of the whale always fell the freshest for some reason, all though I still think Melville should have received a writing credit....

Blood Mountain came next with its complex changes and mental acrobatics amidst searching lyrics (minus the grooves that kept Leviathan engaging and afloat though), and then the tripped out Crack The Skye followed.  It was an emotional journey and a concept about Russian prohpets, time-travel and who knows what else.  Dedicated to drummer Brann Dailor's sister Skye who committed suicide the album deals also with some deep issues.  The 11 minute "The Czar" is typical of the album, long songs that explore a lot of space:

Their newest release The Hunter, isn't going for a concept and things seem to have been better off, it feels like a classic metal album in all regards.  There are traces of Sabbath, Alice In Chains, early Metallica along with a host of other bands, but in the end it still sounds like Mastodon (stay tuned for a full review coming soon to RtBE)  One of the tracks that resonates and even sounds radio friendly is "Curl of the Burl":

This Saturday get your headbanging on @ 4:15 on Le Ritual Voodoo Stage with the lumbering Mastodon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Voodoo Experience Band Showcase: Soul Rebels Brass Band

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, next the spotlight shines on: The Soul Rebels Brass Band.

The Soul Rebels Brass Band with Special Guest Cyril Neville will be playing Saturday 10/29 on the Bud Light/WWOZ Stage at 1:45 PM
In the crowded land of New Orleans Brass Bands, The Soul Rebels Brass Band manage to stand out with one foot in tradition and another in the future. The band was started by Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss who wanted to combine their traditionalist style with the new beats and rhythms of the era.  The group has consistently melded funk, hip-hop, rock and roll with the early foundations of Brass Band music.  Never wanting to disrespect the past the band really wanted to make it's mark in the current scene and does so via covers, hip-hp vibes and vocals, a part of the music not normally found on traditional Brass Bands.  

It is virtual impossible not to start dancing when the band gets it's mojo flowing.  The group is legendary for it's live act, having a residency Thursday nights at the uptown at Le Bon Temps Roule that attracts stars and locals alike.  Last Jazzfest RtBE had the privilege of attending their post fest show in the uptown juke joint which packed the house beyond capacity; dancing wasn't an option, but drinking, sweating and having a good time certainly was. 

The band is world renowned, but NOLA will always be home and getting a chance to play with the man who gave them their name, Cyril Neville is going to be a "Crazy" at this years Voodoo Experience. 

The group has even made available a special free EP to it's fans right here:

just dig on their cover of "Sweet Dreams" for a hot minute, I guarantee you will start shimmying in your desk chair... and we will see you dancing at their set this Voodoo Fest.

2011 Voodoo Experience Band Showcase: R Scully Rough 7

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, today the spotlight shines on: Ryan Scully and The Rough Seven

The Rough Seven will take the stage Saturday 10/29 at 11:30 am in Le Carnival Bingo Parlor
We are starting our Saturday Voodoo Experience spotlight off with a bang.  There are very few bands who RtBE are looking forward to catching more then The Rough Seven during this years Voodoo Fest, sure it's an early set time on Saturday, but it will be well worth the rising.  RtBE has spoken with and written about The Rough Seven many times before and are only to happy to do it again for those who haven't yet found out the glory that resides with this group of musicians.

With the demise of NOLA party staples The Morning Forty Federation (more on them later) guitar man and songwriter extraordinaire Ryan Scully looked to move on and construct songs that dealt with more then just a night of debauchery.  He enlisted some of NOLA's finest with the low end of CJ Floyd on Bass along with Mike Anderpoint on drums joining Scully from the Morning 40's.  Local Scene stealers Rob Cambre on guitar and Ratty Scurvics on keys joined up and the group was rounded out by the vocal talents of the great Meschiya Lake and Erika Lewis, a veritable whose who of artists from the talented city.      
The group's lone release is Give Up Your Dreams and it is a Albert Pujols like home run.  Mixing in elements of classic rock, gospel, blues and jazz the group has struck sonic gold mixing styles, but never once sounding generic or carbon copies of anyone else.  There are flashes of highpoint era Rolling Stones, burning guitar duels in the vein of Neil Young and Crazy Horse and holy moments that call to mind blissful Al Green.  While the record is fantastic their live show raises it to a whole 'nother level... 

Having the privilege to chat with part of the band and meet a few members on past trips to NOLA it is a pleasure that good people are making such great music all the while kicking ass with such great showsThe Rough Seven have been a staple of RtBE ever since we first heard them, and Voodoo plans to add another layer to the magic, set your alarm and get to the site early for a set that you won't forget, this is one act we can not hype fact we will be catching them twice while we are down there, BOOSH!.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Voodoo Experience Artist Showcase: Cheeky Blakk

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, today the spotlight shines on: Cheeky Blakk

Cheeky plays on Friday October 28th at 11:30 am on Le Carnival Stage
She will also be involved in the New Orleans Azztravaganza on Sat at 5pm on Le Carnival 
Twisting into the world of hip hop and NOLA Bounce music we have the reigning Queen on the scene with this preview, Cheeky Blakk.  Cheeky is the Queen of Bounce, this powerhouse of get down rhymes and ass shaking bounce has been all over the NOLA bounce scene and really is Southern Royalty making a strong case to be an artist that is not missed at this years festival regardless of her early set time.   

Cheeky, born Angela Sherrie Woods is a New Orleans lifer having been born and raised in the cities 9th Ward District.  Cheeky's first hit was the club classic "Twerk Something" which still gets the ass shaking in the southern clubs when it comes on...a bounce club classic:

The track is bumping and Cheeky has always been empowering to her female fans getting them not only moving and shaking at every possible moment, but singing female positive rhymes in the club in her own style and being an all around force of nature.  On "Lemme Get That Outcha" her tongue is slipping all over her fast beats:

She has worked with a slew of producers in the past include Mannie Fresh, but perhaps her biggest national exposure to date came last year when she guested on Galactic's fantastic snapshot of current day New Orleans Music Ya-Ka-May.  Cheeky almost stole the show with her raucous "Do It Again!"

Bounce music in New Orleans is fascinating with it's gender blurring, repetitive beats and hip-hop beefs there really can be a whole case study done on the scene and its intriguing layers.  In fact it is just one more musical divergence that is purely NOLA and goes to prove that city still has so much musically to offer the rest of this country.  Cheeky Blakk the Queen of Bounce...don't miss her.  

2011 Voodoo Experience Band Showcase: Honey Island Swamp Band

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the show, today the spotlight shines on: Honey Island Swamp Band

The Band plays on Friday October 28th at 3pm on the Le Flambeau Stage
Every single band playing this festival has been affected by Hurricane Katrina on some level, all of America has, but the effects were dramatic on Aaron Wilkinson, Chris Mule, Sam Price and Garland Paul.  All were Big Easy musicians who were displaced from their home city due to the flooding.  They individually made their way to San Fransisco and naturally gravitated to that towns live music scene at the Boom-Boom Room on Fillmore Street.  Mule and Wilkinson had worked together in Eric Lindell's Band and recognized both Price and Paul from the NOLA scene.

The 4-some decided to make the most of a shitty situation and started playing music together.  The group landed a gig where they formed, playing Sunday nights at the Boom-Boom, eventually creating a must attend gig, mixing NOLA funk and San Fran Americana. 

The group weathered the storm and returned to their home city, continuing the success they started on the left coast down amongst the dirty coast.  The group has three formal releases their first self titled 2007 EP which launched the band.
This disk combined all of the bands sounds, NOLA funk, country, reggae and blues to get the group rolling.  One engaging tune to come out of this session was the jam laden "Slip":

The groups first full length was Wishing Well and the album as a whole sounded transported back to the mid-seventies with a roots rock sound.  Wishing Well touched on classic rock and swampy NOLA funk with equal ease and the album seems to effortlessly encompass all forms of popular music from that mid 70's time period.  "Sophisticated Mamma" is a countrified goodness of a tune off of that one, and here is a version captured live in the studio @ WTMD in Baltimore:

The bands newest release is Good To You which was recorded in New Orleans in association with Threadhead Records as the band reconnected completely to the Crescent City music scene.  The newest album focuses heavily on the groups collaborative live sound and it cooks, just take a bite of this "Chocolate Cake".  This is a video (with a unique angle) from a sold out show at Tipitina's 7-16-10:
The band is already a live NOLA Staple and festivals like Voodoo give them a chance to play to a larger audience and spread their unique sound to the masses, so don't miss them the sweet honey.

The Band plays on Friday October 28th at 3pm on the Le Flambeau Stage

Friday, October 21, 2011

2011 Voodoo Experience Band Showcase: Soundgarden

Rock The Body Electric will be covering this years Voodoo Experience.  Leading up to the event we will be showcasing some of the acts who are playing the event, today the spotlight shines on: Soundgarden.

The band Plays Friday October 28th, Set Time: 9:00pm on Le Ritual Stage
The summer of 2010 saw the return of one of the 1990's most revered musical acts, Seattle's own Soundgarden.  They reunited to play the quintessential 90's concert Lollapalooza in Chicago and this summer saw them touring in a limited around the United States.  Headlining this years Voodoo Experience was welcomed news for fans of the band, giving them another destination escape to catch the foursome in a headlining format.

It is impossible to think of Soundgarden and not call back the days when Grunge ruled the airwaves.  When Nevermind changed the landscape of popular music in 1991 it brought along a few other bands in its wake, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden where the biggest.  Out of that group Soundgarden always seemed the most metal, primarily due to Kim Thayil's cutting guitar leads.
The group had a bit of a cleaner sound then some of their grunge piers that gave them that slightly metal feel, and Chris Cornell's soaring front-man pipes added to that feel even more.  Matt Cameron is such a perfect fit in Pearl Jam these days that it is odd to remember him as Soundgarden's thumping force, proving he is one of the best rock and roll drummers playing today.  The group had a distinct edge and were the first of the "grunge" bands to sign a major label deal.

My first exposure to them was the combined EP of Screaming Life/Fopp.  I enjoyed their sound and particularly liked the bass thumping of Hiro Yamamoto, and was disappointed to learn that he quickly left the band after these EP's.  "Hand of God" was the tune that stuck with me for the rock bottom sound:

The group hit the big time with1991's Badmotorfinger taking over MTV and propelling them to great heights. "Rusty Cage" "Outshine" and "Jesus Christ Pose" are all burners in that metallic vein.

However, it was their next album that really blew up, 1994's Superunknown.  A massive album in size and scope the group blew it out with some incredibly memorable tunes.  "Black Hole Sun" sounds like a distorted Beatles track that just found the light of day in the mid-90's, "Spoonman" is a fun romp and "Like Suicide" is a powerful closer.

The release always felt like a double album to me, and one that could be a bit overwhelming at times, but the high points were certainly there.  For me the two best tracks were the powerfuly bleak "The Day I Tried To Live"

and the riff fest of "My Wave"
The follow up was titled Down on the Upside and was successful but not as critically vaunted as the previous albums and the band parted ways not too long after citing "creative differences".   
Cornell went on to mega success with Audioslave and his solo career and this reunion has been waited for with baited breath by fans of the band, it is good to see them putting aside differences and playing to large crowds again.   

Personal take:
Soundgarden's talent is undeniable and their sound is heavy, yet cleaner then most of their peers, but what always kept me at bay were Cornell's lyrics.  He is a great frontman, and can wail with any of the all-time greats, but his lyrics seem to wallow in despair and not have particularity much to say about things.  At the peak of their fame too he always came off pompous in interviews, not that it matters much, but I could never really identify with what he was getting at.  Among the grunge groups they were only my 4th or 5th favorite at the time and I haven't returned to their catalog in sometime.  Here's hoping their Voodoo Experience set gets me to dust off their old CD's in my collection.       

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy 85th Birthday Chuck Berry

"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might 
call it 'Chuck Berry'." -- John Lennon

Chuck Berry IS Rock and Roll...Period.  I had to take a second to wish happy birthday to the absolute legend of the rock and roll sound and attitude...Chuck Berry.

I have actually been listening to a lot of Chuck lately, and finding his tunes just as timeless as I am sure they sounded when they were released.  He is the man who inspired The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and everyone else who ever picked up an electric guitar.  

He never really found success after his initial sound was milked for as long as it could be but who cares?  In the past I have argued that "Johnny B Goode" is the greatest Rock & Roll Song of All-Time and I still stand by that today:

Willie Dixon's bass lines and Lafayette Leaks piano fills are critical, but it is that ringing guitar lead and swaggering vocal that makes it leap to the front of the class...what a tune!  It never gets old!

 What I have been listening too lately has been Two Great Guitars matching up Berry with the equal legend Bo Diddley.

It is wild to hear the two together and those jams on that disk go on for a loooong time...I have been digging Chuck's longer stuff, even though it doesn't go a lot of directions, the repetition can be soothing, like with  "Concerto in B Goode"

I swear his guitar says "Meah" around the 8:00 mark...

He was a rebel, hitting jail multiple times and not giving a flying fuck about anything, touring solo and demanding to get paid in cash while playing with backing bands who he could give two shits about.  A pure Rock and Roller and one who I am excited to honor on his 85th birthday.

Here is the song that started it all....

B Goode Chucky!   or better yet, don't....

Glide Review - Wooden Shjips - West

Hey all, got a new review up on Glide

Give it a Gander Right C'here!!!

It is of the newest release from San Fransisco's Wooden Shjips entitled West.

The album itself isn't horrendous, it is just not very memorable.  I had higher hopes for the group after listening to their last release, Dos.  This time around they are more in line with creating a full album (something I usually appreciate) but they do so in a middle of the road stoner rock way that doesn't excite the ears nearly as much as it should.

As I mentioned I hear a lot of The Black Angels in what they are doing here, as a night of these two bands back to back would be drone heaven if you are into that sort of thing.  Other sites seem to be higher on this album then me, but I agree with Tiny Mix Tapes when they say:

"There are certainly moments of well-crafted, spaced-out music, but West is not as overwhelming as it could be. And to be honest, even after several listens, all the songs in West still sound pretty much the same.

Yup, ditto...oh and by the way that story I told in the review is of Mark Catalina whose Dead Tapes were vital when I was commuting to grad school from Weehawken, thanks Mark!  As for Wooden Shjips, give yourself a listen though, you may fall into the rabbit hole and enjoy the trip:  

"Lazy Bones"



Monday, October 17, 2011

Dylan Cover #29 Sam Cooke - "Blowin' In The Wind"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by Sam Cooke of "Blowin' In The Wind

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
The classic Dylan song, if you asked 100 people to name you the first Bob Dylan song they thought of, or his best known song, I am guessing 95-99 of them would answer "Blowin' In The Wind".  It is an epic, vital song in the history of recorded music.  The lyrics tell a stirring tale, the melody is enchanting, it is pretty spot on perfect, and when it originally came out if announced to the world the greatness that was Bob Dylan.   

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
This is a rare case of a Legend covering another Legend.  Sam Cooke was the king of soul and influenced so many artists it would be impossible to name them all.  Shot and killed way too young it is sad that Cooke wasn't able to grow into an even greater presence, but his catalog is still rich with hits.  "A Change Is Gonna Come", "Twistin' The Night Away" and "Chain Gang" are just a few of the classic tracks that he left us with and as a major fan of Dylan it is a shame he never got to hear more of the bard's work to put his own spin on things. 

Thoughts on Cover:
Cooke was amazed at "Blowin' In The Wind" and it's direct correlation to racism in America, and even more amazed it came from the white Dylan. He loved performing the tune and it lead him to re-think his songs, adding a deeper political texture to them.  Eventually he wrote his most famous song "A Change Is Gonna Come" from Dylan's inspiration.  This cover is quicker, and more lighthearted in presentation then the original, but still conveys the same meaning.  Cooke's smooth voice is also a change from Dylan's nasal delivery but the "pretty'in" up of this one does nothing to diminish the tunes power.   I particularly dig the way Cooke sings the "Tell Me" line in this cover, it is a great twist making it spiritual and engrossing. 

Grade:  A-

Wilson's Take:
This is the best cover of Blowin In The Wind out there...even without the coordinated background dancing that shows up 45 seconds in. And to get one thing straight: if there is anything in life more indulgent and yet shamelessly-pleasing to the eye as coordinated background dancing, it's certainly not allowed on 1960s television. This video represents the early hours of coordinated dancing, a performance art that blew up on 1960s music shows, grew a little chaotic with the Mods, and later became essential for any Hollywood film aspiring to the canon of "1980s Classic" (see Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Dirty Dancing, etc, wherein perfect strangers sway in step as if the whole world suddenly inhabits Billy Joel's Uptown Girl).
I've always had a bemused soft spot for any cultural derivative of the Greek Chorus. The well-dressed background singers who, while unnecessary, take an artist to the next level: the Pips to your Gladys Knight on Midnight Train to Georgia. How much better would our Presidential debates be if each candidate were given their own Pips to do a little shuffle while underscoring each patriotic point? If the stunning Ms. Knight would loan these guys out to Gingrich for a few weeks, the former Speaker would catch a 20-point upswing before Iowa.
Sam Cooke engineers the best cover of Blowin In The Wind. Dylan's original sounds like a genius sighing; Cooke puts the song in a southbound convertible on a sunny afternoon. So "how many road must a man walk down before they call him a man?" While Dylan always seemed lost in somber wonderment - broken - Sam Cooke asks the question with a smile as if answering: "Not my problem."
Janasie's Take:
Good lord, "Blowin' in the Wind" has been covered to death, pretty much since the day it hit the airwaves.  But you know what?  I never get sick of Bob's version and some of the covers over the years have been quite moving as well.  It is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.  I hadn't listened to this version before - I like the up tempo take.  Sam Cooke's voice is a gift from the great beyond and I could listen to him read the phone book and be perfectly content.  I think I am going to go and play this clip ten or fifteen more times.  Great stuff.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Glide Review - Trombone Shorty -For True

Howdy Peoples!

Got a new review over with my friends @ Glide. 

Read it right C'HERE!!!

It is of the fantastic Trombone Shorty's newest album For True.

I have been a mega fan of Shorty's after being blown away by his set back at Jazzfest in '08.  I have seen him a bunch and written about him almost as much, simply put I can not recommend his music highly enough.

Go see him live as often as you can you will not be disappointed, I promise you.

All that said this album seems to be a natural extension of his last release, Backatown, in fact it is almost the same thing, high praise, since his last album was really top shelf.  The man seems to have an endless supply of fantastic instrumentals and the unique ability to get the hips shaking from the first notes he blows.  Some bigger and badder guests arrive to help out, his star is certainly rising around the popular music scene, which is dope, but I think it should soar even faster. 

I wrote a different ending to this review then switched it up, I originally compared Trombone to another phenom, Robert Randolph.  I think both are very similar at they are masters of instruments not always seen in mainstream music (especially these days) but both are ungodly talented doing what they do.  Randolph has been around the national scene longer, but they both lack that one break-out hit.

I also used Santana as an example, super guitar player, amazing backing band (The Family Band for Randolph, Orleans Ave for Shorty) but he was just another gifted San Fran player until his cover of the great Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va" hit the ears making his career.

All are such great musicians, but with the younger two aren't great song writers yet, and Santana has never been, his Supernatural album gave him a late career (and financial) boost that made him a household name.  Not being great song writers doesn't take away from their music in the slightest, but the energy and passion Shorty and Randolph display makes you want them to be bigger then they actually are.

Sure, it is fun to see them in small venues, but the world should be privy to these virtuoso's not just fans in the know.  Anyway, that critical third album is next for Troy, lets hope he explodes to bigger and better heights.  Until then, enjoy the music, it is virtually impossible not too...   

"Do To Me" That solo at 1:55 (and stays until the end) is Jeff Beck, even though he ain't in the vid...

"The Craziest Things" Live on Jools Holland

"Dumaine St." "Lagniappe" and "Do To Me" live at NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Phish Plan to End 2011 Proper

Just this weekend I found one of my favorite shows from last year online and now this:

NYC + NYE + Phish ='s BOOSH!

So I passed on catching Phish so far in 2011.  There were lots of reasons, but it mainly boils down to I am not nearly as enamored with version 3.0 of the band as I was of 1.0 or 2.0 (I know I am probably in the minority with the 2.0, but I dug that era immensely).

All that said, one reason I held out was I love seeing the band in MSG more then any other arena out there and the combo of NYE+NYC and Phish is pretty much perfect.

("Harpua" from the 1997 NYE run which ranks as one of my personal favorite tours of the band, just check out this "Tube" from 12-29 a show that I was at)

Getting a chance to catch up with old friends, see people from tours long gone, and being in my home city all help, but the real magic lies in the band's playing when they are on that particular stage.  I have traveled across the country to see them in the past and no other venue gets the boys as juiced as MSG.
("Ghost" from 12/31/2010)

So it is with much joy that I read this AM that Phish will be doing another NYE run at the Garden.  4 nights, 28-31 so grab your tickets now.  I am looking at 29 or 30th at this point, but open for all.  Get in there, and have a good show, maybe I will see you at Billymarks pre and post, partyin' it up, best of luck getting good seats.