Thursday, December 31, 2015

Album Review: Horrendous- Anareta

Horrendous
Anareta
*** out of *****
The self proclaimed "Old School Death Metal" act Horrendous have followed up their acclaimed Ecdysis with Anareta. The Philly power trio sequestered themselves away for a month to prodcue this disk which flashes with angst and power.

The destroying planet title filters into the sounds as razor edged guitars slash and low end delves into the filth. The group plays with tempos alternating plodding doom with upbeat chaos and mid tempo slaughter.

Opening with "The Nihilist" the group kicks things up rampaging through different metal genres before the epic "Ozymandis" takes over. Spiraling in an out of sections the tune is a whirlwind, with some gorgeous solos and crushing drum fills and pumping bass runs. The tune reminds of Metallic Master of Puppets era with its linking together of various styles into an overall cohesive piece and is a stand out on an excellent the disk.

The trio continues to shred with the instrumental "Sidera" flashing lightning up and down the fret board. "Polaris" starts melodic before a slamming middle section and screaming vocals. The screaming style is pleasantly raw and rarely so abrasively off putting while bass runs find their way through the carnage.  

The only negative on Anareta is the production which sounds as if a black fuzz veil has been cast over things. This may be a cosmetic choice to keep the darkness in play as some of their melodic riffs manage to get quite gorgeous no matter the gruesome cover art.

Like High on Fire, this trio proves metal doesn't take an army of players to kick ass. While branding themselves "Old School Death Metal" may help them with genre buffs (a shockingly divisive clientele in the metal community) the Horrendous range all over the map with some very accessible heavy music. Label it whatever you want, just label it good.
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Another great bandcamp find. Support the band, stream/buy the album or listen below:


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

10 Years With Glide Magazine: A Look Back Part 5

Wow, @glidemag, has it really been 10 years since I first contributed to the website? That is hard to believe, time flies. In chatting with the sites fantastic editor, Shane Handler, about this series it turns out I have been the longest continual contributor to Glide, that's a fun feat. It continues to be a great ride but since everyone likes round numbers, I decided to take some time to look back at my favorite writings for the site.
For our final installment we want to focus on the piece we go back to the most and the one we were the most proud to work on, as we helped shape Glide's List of the Best Albums of The Decade.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Album Review: SUNN O))) - Kannon

SUNN O)))
Kannon
*** out of *****
The first release from SUNN 0))) proper since 2009's drone masterpiece Monolith's & Dimensions finds the minimalist/over-driven metal priests worshiping back at their slow moving/crushing noise alter. Unlike M&D's grandiose instrumentation (full orchestra), the core duo of Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson take over the reigns here with just a bit of outside help and surprisingly only crush ear drums for a half hour.

Before we go any further a disclaimer is needed if you are new to SUNN0))); this isn't your typical metal band, the term 'drone' is much more apt. No fret-board wizardry here, just plodding walls of sound. The opening section moves at a glacial pace reverberating around. "Part Two" increases the tempo (slightly) and adds chilling chimes and reverberations to enliven things just enough to twist the ear and send shivers.

It is in those touches or subtle chord changes that really bring home the loud dense sound and that is what makes SUNNO))) so intriguing, for us at least, minor shifts in huge walls of unstoppable sound that washes through your full body.

Lyrically Attilla Cshiar takes over and monotone chants, guttural throat clearings and nightmare screams all fall into the background, adding an extra layer of sound but never elevating the proceedings. The closing piece to this triple puzzle is the most serene and haunting as things reverberate into darkness and voids.

The doom and gloom noise purveyors have crafted another work of art that is engaging, but while three songs going 33 minutes might seem long in theory, when it is finished Kannon feels under-cooked. Playing as more a long EP than a proper follow up to M&D, a bit more meat was expected on the sonic destroying bone. Perhaps the band is happy to work in more brevity but any-which-way the darkness displayed here can still be beautiful, and compassionate.
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In truth we were disappointed in Soused and never got around to reviewing it, the Scott Walker SUNNO))) partnership never worked to these ears. Kannon is closer to Monoliths & Dimensions which we loved but feels lighter then it should.

On a personal note, the title Kannon hits home, one of the first songs we ever wrote in Angels & Vagabonds was called that. We've played it live a bunch but never recorded it, we still may.

Anyways, support the band, buy the album, stream it on their bandcamp page or below:

RIP Lemmy

The baddest ass bass player with the loud Rickenbacker slamming directly into Marshall amps has passed away from cancer. He was 70 years old.


The fusion of metal and punk can pretty much be found in that song above. Everyone loved Motorhead, everyone loved Lemmy. He will be missed.

Remember, enjoy every sandwich.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Dylan Cover #214 J.M. Baule "Series of Dreams"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by JM Baule playing "Series Of Dreams" 

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
An ambitious track that really should have kicked off Oh Mercy. In fact reading the Wikipedia entry on this song gives you a bit of insight into Dylan's notoriously flippant studio style; had this started Oh Mercy it would have been kept in even higher regard then it already is. The first time we came across it was on The Bootleg Series 1-3, along with "Blind Willie McTell" and "She's Your Lover Now" we were simply stunned such amazing songs were just left in the outtake pile. "Series of Dreams" closes that amazing collection and makes you want to re-listen to the whole damn thing.      
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We have never heard of JM Baule, but his bandcamp is right'chere
Thoughts on Cover:
Fantastic, we end our Dylan series in 2015 on a perfectly stated "Series of Dreams". Enjoy. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from Rock The Body Electric

Have a Happy One on @RockBodyElec:

Here is our favorite Christmas song for the Holiday Season, sing it Clarence!


And a bonus tune as a stocking-stuffer because we are in the giving spirit. Here is Albert King trying to get Santa the respect he deserves...


Enjoy the holiday and as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Album Review: The Max Levine Ensemble- Backlash, Baby

The Max Levine Ensemble
Backlash, Baby
***and1/2 out of *****
The Washington DC based trio, The Max Levine Ensemble have put fourth a full length disk of excellent poppy punk with Backlash, Baby. From start to end the group keeps the energy high the lyrics questioning and the tempo upbeat.

Opening with the title track the group injects some starts and stops to go with the pure pop power punk formula of nasally vocals and sing-a-long choruses. The bass and "oh-oh-oh" vocal filled "My Valerian" cooks while "Panoptic Vision" is blistering fast and direct and "Suns Early Rays" builds to a fulfilling crescendo. "Born At The Wrong Time" incorporates the shout along style to the verses and feels like a big single for the group while "Shadow Of Death" uses ska touches to switch up the feel.    

The best tracks here however get more political and deeper musically as the rumble heavy "Fall Of Constellations" crashes with questions about voting malaise around a mid song heavy break. The Bruce Springsteen sounding "American" is the most expansive and exhilarating track here as piano is added to the groups arsenal and the lyrics become personal. They directly address growing up in a country and seeing it change into something that is hard to recognize. The track kicks up at the end and adds to the angest and frustration presented; a winner.

Not everything is fantastic, the middle can drag a touch with "Big Problem, USA" trying to work as an ugly surf rock number and just ends up feeling jumbled. However, the hits far outweigh the misses and the positive closer "Going Home Part 2" shakes into the sunshine of summer and reminds us things can always get better.     
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Support the band, buy the album or stream it, and peep some video below:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

10 Years With Glide Magazine: A Look Back Part 4

Wow, @glidemag, has it really been 10 years since I first contributed to the website? That is hard to believe, time flies. In chatting with the sites fantastic editor, Shane Handler, about this series it turns out I have been the longest continual contributor to Glide, that's a fun feat. It continues to be a great ride but since everyone likes round numbers, I decided to take some time to look back at my favorite writings for the site.
For this installment we will pick or favorite review that we have ever written for the site and we got one of the editors favorites of ours as well to talk about.
First up is our Editors pick as Shane really enjoyed this review of Body/Head's disk Coming Apart from '13. When he first read it he was impressed mentioning it reminded of a NY Times review. We have never really delved into the break up of Sonic Youth and specifically Kim and Thurston because of one main reason...we didn't want to.


In reviewing Gordon's and Moore's respective albums though it is impossible not to infer somethings into it as our Body/Head review did as well as our Chelsea Light Moving overflow review in 2013. SY shaped who we are as a music fan and person, so it is hard but we will always have the tunes, even if neither of those disks were particularly lasting.
   
RtBE's personal pick for our favorite review we've written for Glide is this one. It is of Kanye West's album Yeezus.
We don't particularly like the album , but feel it was/is important to hip-hop, so in turn, pop music in general. There are so few "hip-hop" beats here that it plays more as an art project then an album at times musically and that is incredibly interesting, if not always listenable/enjoyable. While the review may be a bit longer then I would have liked, it all needed to be said and this would be the one we showed to people who wanted to sample our writing. 


As always, thanks to Glide for posting our pieces and thanks to everyone for reading.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Year In Review 2015- Top Ten Albums Part 3

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2015 Top Ten Albums numbers 5-1:
Gameday Indeed!
In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read it.  RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on their Top 20 so expect some overlap. 

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us. Personally we released an acoustic based EP this year, but we will graciously remove ourselves from the rankings however, you can gave it a listen or download it for free.

Today we finish our top ten, in retrospect it was a year with a lot of good albums but few great ones, sorta like 2011 which overall was the weakest year of releases since we started this site. Last year we had a dog fight at the top and honestly any in the 2014 top five would have been in the peak slot this go around. (If you missed them, Part 1 and Part 2)

Our top ten for 2015 is filled with pop, acoustic, cover songs, noise, punk and a very healthy sprinkling of female artists so click the Read More to dive into things

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dylan Cover #213 Kiersten Holine "Boot Of Spanish Leather"

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 Kiersten Holine of the Dylan tune "Boots Of Spanish Leather"


Thoughts On Original:
From the first time we highlighted someone covering this tune:
One of the first Dylan songs that really bowled me over.  I know on the Times They Are a-Changin' there are a ton of epic songs but this was the track that stayed with me the longest. It is ghostly in it's presentation and still just as dynamic now as when he wrote it back in 1963. My favorite show I have seen Dylan play live was back in 1999 at the RPI Fieldhouse. The whole night was great, my favorite backing band of his since The Band, a tiny venue and a setlist that was magical.  One of the major highlights was "Boots of Spanish Leather", I need to break out that bootleg this week and re-live that great night.
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Have not heard of Kiersten Holine before but she is a Twin Cities born, Seattle based folk musician who has a few albums on her bandcamp site you can check out. 
Thoughts on Cover:
A very pretty take on an excellent song and one we seem to feature often on this site and with reason as people make excellent versions of it. Ms. Holine does the same, and makes us remember we need to get some Xmas gifts pretty soon....

Friday, December 18, 2015

Full Show Friday: BB King and Friends 4/15/87

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week.. BB King & Friends!


The world lost a great one when BB King passed away earlier in 2015. We wanted to celebrate his life and this show from 1987 is an excellent capturing from LA on a night where his "friends" joined him. It was a murders row of contributors.  

The hour long show is packed with people from the pop, blues, soul world ready to help the legend out (you can see the list below). Our personal highlights are the Etta James/Dr. John "I'd Rather Go Blind"  (really anything Etta sings) and the cooking "Let the Good Times Roll", but honestly this whole show it pretty dynamite. 

While we have used Mr. King as a Full Show Friday in the past, we never really talked about his passing much and this show can do the talking for us. 

Pro sound, Pro video, setlist below, Enjoy:
Live at Ebony Showcase Theatre in Los Angeles, April 15th 1987

0:00 - Why I Sing The Blues

5:45 - Please Send Me Someone To Love (w/Gladys Knight)

11:18 - The Thrill Is Gone (w/Eric Clapton & Phil Collins)

18:15 - I'd Rather Go Blind (w/Etta James & Dr. John)

24:15 - When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (w/Billy Ocean)

28:15 - The Sky Is Crying (w/Stevie Ray Vaughan & Albert King)

25:13 - Somebody's Got A Hold On Me (w/Etta James)

39:00 - In The Midnight Hour (w/Etta James)

43:03 - Ain't Nobody's Business (w/Gladys Knight & Etta James)

48:10 - Let The Good Times Roll

51:25 - Take My Hand, Precious Lord

54:40 - Finale


Starring:

B.B. King

Gladys Knight

Chaka Khan

Etta James

Paul Butterfield

Stevie Ray Voughan

Albert King

Billy Ocean

Phil Collins

Eric Clapton

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Year in Review 2015- Top 10 Albums Part 2

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2015 Top Ten Albums numbers 10-6:
In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read it.  RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap. 

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us. Personally we released an acoustic based EP this year, but we will graciously remove ourselves from the rankings however, you can gave it a listen or download it for free.

Last year we had a dog fight at the top and honestly any in the 2014 top five would have been in the peak slot this go around.

Our top ten for 2015 is filled with pop, acoustic, cover songs, noise, punk and a very healthy sprinkling of female artists so click the Read More to dive into things

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

10 Years With Glide Magazine: A Look Back Part 3

Wow, @glidemag, has it really been 10 years since I first contributed to the website? That is hard to believe, time flies. In chatting with the sites fantastic editor, Shane Handler, about this series it turns out I have been the longest continual contributor to Glide, that's a fun feat. It continues to be a great ride but since everyone likes round numbers, I decided to take some time to look back at my favorite writings for the site.
Since last week we picked out a few of our least favorite albums, with some of our favorite reviews attached to them. This week we will reflect on great albums whose reviews hold up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Prayers For Lil' Richard

When a good writer nails it, we gotta give props, and David Ramsey does just that with his article titled "Prayers For Richard" in Oxford American's newest edition. Give it a read
This piece reminds us of Nick Tosches unreal book on Jerry Lee Lewis, Hellfire. That for RtBE's money, is the greatest thing ever written about Rock and Roll, and David Ramsey latches on to that spirit for his Little Richard piece.

I mean, has there been a better line then "the self-proclaimed king and queen of rock & roll looked fabulous".

Here's hoping Ricardo is doing well, he is the embodiment of rock and roll and gets nowhere near the credit he deserves. I hope he finds solace in the scripture and is living out the rest of his life as best as it can be. There will never be another like him.

Enjoy some of his tunes on this Tuesday:



Good Booty indeed.

Year In Review 2015- Favorite Live Show

The live show is a slippery thing. There are lots of variables at play, most having little to do with the performance itself.  Does the venue have enough bathrooms?  Is it going to rain?  What day of the week is it on?  Did I have a shitty day at work before hand?  Did tickets cost waaay too much? All of this effects one's opinion of a live show before the band even tunes up and with reason, but when the stars align, there is no place RtBE would rather be then in the moment of magic occurring spontaneously from the stage.

Live Music Has No Equal.   

While we can't see every show that is out there, we try our hardest to see as many as we can (and more then most) here at RtBE.  Sure there are a few left in the calendar year, (we are even playing one Friday) but for now, here is a listing of of the best concerts we were fortunate enough to have seen in 2015. Also because who doesn't love arbitrary rankings, one show at the bottom  took the top prize as RtBE's 2015 Show of the Year. To continue our Best of 2015 just click that Read More button and get started

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dylan Cover #212 Raising Scarlett "Thunder On The Mountain"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from Raising Scarlett and is a live cover of "Thunder On The Mountain"  

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
The opening track on Dylan's 2006 album Modern Times, "Thunder On The Mountain" has all the ingredients of a classic; ingenious word play, a rhythmic backbone and some sweet fret work.  In my original review of Modern Times I quoted three sets of lyrics from this tune.  It is epic and fits in with the heavyweights of Dylan's past.  
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I am not familiar with Raising Scarlett. They are a Rockabilly group and here is an article on them. The players here are: Tammy Lynn (vocals), Mike Myles (guitar), Mike "Papa" Solis (bass), and Bill "Fitz" Fitzpatrick (drums).  
Thoughts on Cover:
The band takes this song over and makes it theirs, I love the lyric switch to address Jerry Lee, that is a great move. I don't mind the other lyric misses or changes that much because the song is cooking. Enjoy it on this chilly Monday.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Full Show Friday: Elvis Costello & the Attractions 1978

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week.. Elvis Costello & the Attractions!

We have a mix of a two shows of Elvis Costello & the Attractions this week from 1978.  The group is caught with some backstage footage and the editing makes it that it's technically not a full show, but can't complain at all.

The sound and audio quality are not the best but this is 1978, so we can't be too picky. Enjoy:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Year in Review 2015- Top 10 Albums Part 1 (The Just Misses & Let Downs)

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2015 Top Ten Albums: The Just Misses & Let Downs:

In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read it.  RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap. 

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us. Personally we released an acoustic based EP this year, but we will graciously remove ourselves from the rankings however, you can gave it a listen or download it for free.

Today we are going to focus on the "Just Misses" of our top 10 and unfortunately the "Let Downs" released this year. Obviously these are just our personal preferences, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments.  Expect installment 2 (#10-6) soon, but for now click on the jump:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

10 Years With Glide Magazine: A Look Back Part 2

Wow, @glidemag, has it really been 10 years since I first contributed to the website? That is hard to believe, time flies. In chatting with the sites fantastic editor, Shane Handler, about this series it turns out I have been the longest continual contributor to Glide, that's a fun feat. It continues to be a great ride but since everyone likes round numbers, I decided to take some time to look back at my favorite writings for the site.

Today I want to take a second to look at three of our favorite "Thumbs Down" reviews, thumbs way down actually...they can't all be zingers.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Album Review: Deafheaven- New Bermuda

Deafheaven
New Bermuda
***and1/2 out of *****
With 2013's Sunbather the San Fransisco duo Deafheaven  quite simply blew the fuck up, I mean they were used in an iPhone ad of all things, if that's not taking intense metal mainstream I am not sure what is. Their sound is a mix of pretty/raw, and on their newest release New Bermuda, they stay with that pairing and bring in even more sub-genre's to tag onto their sound, trumping their last release.

This group quite simply rings out the prettiest sounding metal riffs and drum slams. The juxtaposition can be glorious and the band shines brightest on opener "Brought To Water". Melodically it goes on a journey of slashes, soars and falls complete with a piano outro. That same style goes back and fourth between all the tracks here, all of which also go over or brush against the ten minute mark without feeling bloated.

"Baby Blue" starts sweet and begins to slowly build tension with crisscrossing guitar lines, rhythmic and melodic descents and neatly ends leaving the listener wanting more, which is especially noteworthy as the track runs over 10 minutes. The two closing songs on the disk lighten the load as both "Comeback" and "Gifts For The Earth" flirt with a delicateness, more inline with inde-rock/shoegaze while "Luna" front loads the heaviness (the hardest section of the album) blast beating away before a melodic break leads to what is supposed to be a soaring end, but the vocals of George Clarke make sure that never happens. 

Our biggest critique of the bands breakthrough was that the constant screaming style of Clarke was so one dimensional (full throttle all the time) that it lost it's impact over the course of the album. Nothing has really changed on that front, lyrical statements? Forget it. However, there does seem to be a better production/pairing and layering to the screams; musically it all sounds well matched from a a technical standpoint.   

A follow up record that actually improves on the super hyped Sunbather was not expected but that's exactly what happened. New Bermuda may even bring in more fans to Deafheaven's dense tunes, who knows if it will get them more commercials, but it will definitely satiate heavy desires.
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We always want to like these guys more then we actually do, but this album may change things a bit as it worked better for us then Sunbather. It is a solid album but not truly a great one, oh and we jumped the gun a bit, giving them props for their excellent album art already.

Support the band, buy the album and peep some video:

Year In Review 2015- Best Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2015 with a favorite feature in the Best of... area, Album Art.  Like in years past we will be choosing our Best Albums of the Year, a few we were underwhelmed with and our favorite show. Today we are starting out by judging books (records) by their covers (vinyl sleeves, jackets, digital pics, etc). We are going to support the creative minds behind the Best Album Art Work of 2015

The biggest gripe RtBE has with digital music is not the quality (that has been massively improved the last few years) nor the disposal nature of it (still a problem, but whatever), it is the lack of amazing album covers and art work.

Sure there may be great artists out there but seeing it on a screen, in iTunes or elsewhere is nothing compared to holding an LP cover or even a CD booklet with pages of lyrics, pictures etc. Thankfully the rise of vinyl is helping this dilemma but it is still not enough. The hours we spent staring at covers while listening to music can not be adequately recorded, it added new dimensions to the sounds...Anyways...  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dylan Cover #211 Erica Conway "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from the Erica Conway and is a live cover of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" 


Thought's on Original:
From the first time we reviewed a cover of this tune:
Yet another one of the mega-Dylan tunes that we haven't covered someone else covering on this site (got that covered?).  Hard to believe because this song is so iconic and flat out awesome.  Biting and yet not bitter, a toss off of the grandest proportions, "Don' Think Twice" is epic and yet so straight forwardly simple.  It easily ranks as one of the bard's best works, truly a classic.  
Cover: 

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Have never heard of Erica Conway before, but via her FB page it seems she is a singer songwriter based out of London. Her Soundcloud page gives you more tunes from her.  
Thoughts on Cover:
A pleasant live cover that sticks close to the vest and works just like the original with a guitar and a great voice. An easy way to kick off this week.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Full Show Friday: Sound Tribe Sector 9, Electric Forest 2014

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week.. Sound Tribe Sector 9! 
We waited til late in the day for this one because the trippy sounds of STS9 work better under darkness and the early setting of the winter sun works on these tunes.

The instrumental semi jam band plays with all genre's including funk, prog, rock, jazz, hip hop and EDM. Enjoy the 2001 quote to start. Give it a spin in the background or get your groove on to end the week.

Enjoy:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Happy 30th B-Day Dinosaur Jr.

We wrote a long article for @glidemag to celebrate Dinosaur Jr's milestone of turning thirty this month. You can Read it Right C'here!!!
It was a pleasure to go back through the bands discography and pick one song from each of their albums to highlight. What was really staggering was how there was very little drop off from disk to disk; the band never made a bad album.

The band celebrates their milestone by starting out 7 Sold Out shows tonight at our favorite NYC venue Bowery Ballroom. We will be in attendance tomorrow night and can not wait.
Originally Shane over at Glide had asked me to put together a top ten song list, but I personally would have overloaded that list with songs from You're Living All Over Me, (for more of my thoughts on that disk please read this piece written for NYPL on the 25th anniversary of that disk).  Instead I went through each of their albums and found the songs that spoke to me the most. It was a joy as this band is so damn good there are no clunkers in the mix.
That exercise also proved just how critical J is to Dino, that may be obvious, but while it is cool the original trio is back together, honestly (and this was a new surprising realization) as long as Mascis decides to keep playing these songs with anyone, they will be worth seeing.
Glide posted youtube versions of all the songs we selected so we will post five songs that just missed our cut for the article, enjoy:
"Start Choppin'"

"Been There All The Time"

"The Post" Live in 2005

"Tarpit"

"The Wagon"

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

10 Years With Glide Magazine: A Look Back Part 1

Wow, @glidemag, has it really been 10 years since I first contributed to the website? That is hard to believe, time flies. In chatting with the sites fantastic editor, Shane Handler, about this series it turns out I have been the longest continual contributor to Glide, that's a fun feat. It continues to be a great ride but since everyone likes round numbers, I decided to take some time to look back at my favorite writings for the site.

To start this retrospective I wanted to focus on my first interview for Glide, which was also my first reporting interview anywhere. It was with an emerging band from Philly who were just starting to break out, Dr. Dog.
The band had just released We All Belong and were hitting the national radar for the first time. You can read the full piece here, but I want to reminisce on the experience.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Album Review: Neil Young- Bluenote Cafe

Neil Young
Bluenote Cafe
*** out of *****
The newest release in the Neil Young Archive Performance Series is the Bluenote Cafe which commemorates Uncle Neil's 1988 Blue Note's tour. That was in support of Young's This Note's For You album which was an experiment in the blues with a six-piece horn section. That brass went out on the road with Neil and the best of those shows is captured on this disk.

While not as far flung as his Trans or Everybody's Rockin'  periods This Note's For You has never been a high point for fans, more of a step back onto the right road for Neil. His amazing Eldorado EP would surface as an import before the glorious return to form Freedom arrived. There are traces of that Neil here, "Life In The City" almost plays as a sketched out version of "Rockin' In The Free World". When listening to this archive release, even without the knowledge of what was coming next, two things are pretty clear from the get go.

First, the players, production and performances are drum tight and sound beautiful. The deep bass of Rick Rosas holds the bottom while the keyboards of Frank Sampedro and the horn section float around the heavens. Each instrument, solo, and change is captured excellently and audiophiles will have a field day with the sound of this archive release.    

Second, Young was not as his songwriting best. While his singing is heartfelt, he will always be Uncle Neil and fans are used to that. The issue becomes a lot of these offerings just aren't that memorable, they are 2nd or 3rd rate tunes from a man who has written some of the best rock tunes ever. There are passing tracks like "Hello Lonely Women", "Twilight" and the obviously dull "Ten Men Working". The two crime tunes run the gamut "Crime Of The Heart" could be a real winner in say Wilson Pickett's hands while "Crime In The City" is very interesting and a good example of this period (minus the horns), it is played with fire and determination, but it ends up sounding derivative in the overall Young collection.  

The must hears from this double CD offering are the blistering piano laced "Ordinary People" that really breaths alive without getting stale for its extended run time. "This Note's For You" places you into 1988 Neil's anti-corporate stance, and one that in the light of today's artists aching to sell-out, seems so ancient.

The other track fans and non-fans should search out is the set closing version of "Tonight's The Night" which expands to almost twenty minutes. It is this kind of adventure that makes you wonder what would happen if Young re-imagined more of his back catalog with this added horn section. Then again who knows where the muse will take Uncle Neil, he could do that in 2016.   
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video:  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Dylan Cover #210 Jack Evans "Make You Feel My Love"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Jack Evans of "Make You Feel My Love" 

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
From our first take on a cover of this tune:
There is something about this tune that always felt off to me, it doesn't strike me as a Dylan song (which makes it an excellent candidate for covers). Perhaps it is just too Broadway or schmaltzy but the tune never really felt like his to me. Simple and direct in it's lyrics and sparse with a piano for the tune, it should be a simple pleasure, but it always felt forced to me coming out of the bard's mouth.  The fact that he has never played it live perhaps gives some indication to his feelings on the song as well. Or maybe he just hasn't found a way to re-work it yet....
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Have not heard of Jack Evans before, but he is a multi-instrumentalist from Cincinnati. You can find more info on Mr. Evans here. His bandcamp page also has some releases.
Thoughts on Cover:
As we have said, this is a perfect candidate for covering from Dylan's catalog and Jack does a fantastic job. He spruces up the drama, incorporates an accordion and sings passionately. Excellent work.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Full Show Friday: Carpathian Forest Live at Wacken

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week.. Carpathian Forest!

It is upon us!  BLACK Friday! In a tradition we started a few years ago it is time for the most evil Black Metal ever; because really it is the perfect soundtrack if you are hitting the brutality of shopping on this day. Granted we here at RtBE are not fans of the genre but have researched a few bands after enjoying the documentary Until The Light Takes Us

Carpathian Forest are a Black Metal band from Norway who are apparently here to "make sex with you!" Classic. The group have a bunch of albums out and sway more towards the punk side of Black Metal rather then the theatrical side. So we welcome the most evil day of the year the only proper way.

Enjoy:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving From RtBE!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Make sure you spend some time over this holiday doing what is truly important...Watching The Last Waltz:

Also make sure to enjoy your time with loved ones and family. As a famous man once said, "Enjoy Every Sandwich"...especially the leftover turkey, mashed potato, stuffing and gravy ones on potato rolls...

The last few years we have thrown it back to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades of the past and this years no different. Enjoy the full parade from 1991 broken into two parts:


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Album Review: Parquet Courts- Monastic Living EP

Parquet Courts
Monastic Living EP
* out of *****

Parquet Courts new EP goes away from everything that has made them the popular darlings of the indie rock world as they experiment with sound in an excruciatingly dull manner on Monastic Living.

Unfortunately creating, then listening back and deciding this was a worthwhile release for the band was a complete mistake. There is little to no craft in the shaping of the sounds and just repetitive drones, electric repeats and feedback that doesn't expand in any direction. Noiserock can be a liberating and rewarding place to dwell and explore but none of that excitement is present.  

"No, No, No!" is the only track with lyrics as the quick blast gets distorted and pumps with energy and would be a fine opener to a more invested experimental album. Unfortunately what follows is a mess.

"Monastic Living I" goes the noise repetition route for over seven minutes and the sound travels nowhere. The "Elegy of Colonial Suffering" is straight noise that again doesn't move the needle off of empty while "Frog Pond Plod" is just boring feedback. "Vow of Silence" starts to add electro keys to the distortion, that continues through to "Monastic Living Part II" and the first half of "Alms For The Poor", playing like bored robot muzak.

The oddest thing happens halfway through "Alms For The Poor Though" it is as if the band spliced on a rough rock demo instrumental as a treat to anyone who made it this far into the EP.

The closing tracks are back to formless sound with a police siren ending the album on "Prison Conversion" pretty appropriate as anyone who shelled out money for this offering should feel the victim of a crime.  
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If this was a free release, we would have simply skipped it, but charging $14.99 for this effort we  needed to point out how bad it was. We didn't mind one of their EP's but  RtBE have not understood the hype in the past for this group but they have some decent songs. If you are new to the band check out any other offering besides this one. Still we encourage supporting them, buy the EP if you dare or want to waste 15 bucks and peep some video of an older better song here:


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Album Review: The Grateful Dead- The Best Of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead
The Best Of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of The Grateful Dead
**and1/2 out of *****

This is an odd release for a band that seems to be milking everything out of their "last" shows. They are releasing the complete set of music from these three nights, which collectors will clamor for. The 7/5 show complete with DVD which they must have deemed the best of the bunch. While many fans have already downloaded full streams of all the sets and are free to shuffle around for their own best of. This highlight two disk collection seems to be for fans who want to dip their toes in and see what the fuss this summer was all about, but for anyone truly interested might RtBE suggest you go to the source.

All that said, the playing here in the cold light of headphones is good, not otherworldly as Trey Anasatsio and Jeff Chimenti joined the Dead Boys (Weir Kreutzmann, Hart, Lesh and Hornsby) to celebrate the groups history. While the show was mega from ticket prices to hyper-praise the sets themselves were varied and this highlight disk does it's best to give more then a sample of the high points.

Positioned as if it was a real show, with a classic "First" and "Second" set offering (complete with "Drums") the 2 disks remind of old cassette tapes. Phil Lesh's bass lines take center stage on the funky "Shakedown Street" and the slinky smoothness of "West L.A. Fadeaway" fits Trey's guitar style and Hornsby's vocals expertly. The band bangs around a clunky "Bertha" but the grooving/jamming "Music Never Stopped" picks things back up.

While it must have been a blast for Trey to lead the OGD's on the classic pairing of "Scarlett Begonias > Fire On The Mountain" it isn't a particularly intriguing version, outside of Anastasio's strong vocal work (his best on this collection) and the drumming of The Rhythm Devils Hart and Kreutzmann. The two homage's to Garcia which close this offering, "Touch of Gray" and "Attics of My Life" are beautiful and heartfelt as the last track closed the whole shebang in Chicago. 

There have been other huge musical moments for the remaining Dead players since Jerry's passing (the Trey & Page influenced Phil and Phriends still sends shivers, oooh "Viola Lee Blues") and for those that attended this is a nice record if you blew your wad on tickets and can't afford the full package. Fare Thee Well will be remembered fondly by all involved, but as a major musical moment in the Dead's career? Probably not.   
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Support the band, buy the album and peep some video:


Monday, November 23, 2015

Dylan Cover #209 Zeb Picaso "Isis"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from Zeb Picaso and is a live acoustic cover of "Isis" 

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune in the series:
Desire is such a thick album, Dylan's most complex story songs seem to hover in and around it, and not all are winners...."Isis" is though.  A great song that manages to engage even without a chorus, it is one of Bob's more "mystical" tunes and lures most people in the first time they hear it...before the mp3 age it came right after the powerful "Hurricane" and transforms the album from timely to timeless. 
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
I have no idea about Zeb Picaso, I'm not even sure if that is his name, but here is his youtube channel with other cover uploads.
Thoughts on Cover:
A really fun, almost off the cuff, energetic run through of an excellent Dylan song in which the live acoustic player makes it his own without recalling the bard, a trick we dig. The energy is really palpable and there is a wander spirit floating around in this version, the way it should be. We will cheers an oil can of Fosters to that.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Full Show Friday: Robert Randolph & The Family Band Rawa Blues 2014

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Robert Randolph & The Family Band!
Every year around Thanksgiving, Robert Randolph & The Family Band hold court at Brooklyn Bowl, (they are doing it again next Tues and Wed) and most years we catch a show, this year we can not. To remedy that we are sharing this set from Rawa Blues Festival in 2014.

It is a great showcase of the band as they add their flare to covers, Bill Withers "Use Me" is a jamming good time, as is their Zep mix. Our all time live favorite from the group is here with "I Don't Know What You Came To Do" (41 minutes in) and it is always a foot stomping jump around blast.  So while we won't get to party with the Family in Brooklyn this year we can at least hang out virtually now.

Enjoy:

Track list:
01. The Sky Is Crying
02. Use Me
03. Shake Your Hips
04 Brand New Wayo
05. Jam
06. Lickety Split
07. I Don't Know What You Come to Do
08. Whole Lotta Love / Good Times Bad Times
09. Ain't Nothing Wrong With That

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tool To Tour With Primus in 2016

Our 10th grade self just freaked out a little bit when we found out a reformed Tool will be touring with Primus.
While we stopped listening to Tool after 1993's Undertow, we could be down to check this out, but as of now the tour dates seem to be keeping them west and south.

One thing is for certain the visuals on this night are going to be really intense. Until the tour peep some video of both bands below:
 "Sober"

 "Tommy The Cat" Live on Dennis Miller

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Album Review: Dead Ghosts- Love And Death And All The Rest

Dead Ghosts
Love And Death And All The Rest
**and1/2 out of *****

The four piece from Vancouver, Canada have a relaxed take on retro garage rock for their newest release Love And Death And All The Rest. While other bands put punk or soul twists on retro rock Dead Ghosts stick in the pop field, taking their time and letting their sound seep in.

The slow rolling "Another Love" kicks off things as the band lackadaisically comes out of the gate and the pretty "Upside Down continues that languid pace to things the band is rarely in a hurry here. "Rat Race" picks up the tempo, injecting some "Hey Hey Hey's" while the advice giving "Waste My Time" shakes things up injecting wah-wah and swirling guitar effects.

"Drink It Dry" plays with tempo on both sides of things sluggishy dripping then kicking things up. Besides pacing, the band seems to be extremely comfortable in these retro waters filled with jangles and organ fills. Guitar slashes and bass runs expertly color numbers like on the "Pretty Woman"
sounding "It's Up To You". While the album is clearly one trick of backwards looking rock and roll, the band plays that trick for all it's worth, while a full disk isn't world beating, it isn't meant to be. 

A track like "All In A Row" brings all the best of the band to the forefront, and sounding like it came right out a dusty 1965 record crate this is a good thing as the bass dances with warbling guitars all in front of distorted vocals. looking to scratch that retro pop itch? Dead Ghosts are up to the task.
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Another great bandcamp find. Support the band, buy the album stream it below:

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Album Review: Wolf Eyes- I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces

Wolf Eyes
I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces
*** out of *****
We first got clued into Wolf Eyes when we reviewed their 2006 Sub Pop horror fest Human Animal. While the star ranking is outdated (would be 8 stars on the current Glide system) the same cinematic scope and nuance is present on the bands first release for Third Man Records titled I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces.

The group has moved to calling their music trip-metal, but that term calls to mind crazy tempo psychedelic's and what IAAP:MiP does better then freak outs is deliver an ominous sense of brooding. The first three tracks build up the slow pounding tense like an oncoming headache as "Catching the Rich Train" Twister Nightfall" and "T.O.D.D" all thud ahead while circling otherworldy sounds in front of buried lyrics.

"Asbestos Youth" pulses with more dread kicking off the second side of the album while "Enemy Ladder" takes the buzzing and burning hairs to nightmarish levels kicking up drums, approaching the most "normal" sounding song here which still drips with menace. "Cynthis Vortex aka Trip Memory Illness" closes the disk with a selection of gurgles and hisses, the sound of a mind leaking out of an ear.  

The Michigan based trio capture a movie-tone and dramatic feel in pretty shocking manner for a group who love to play up their minimalist tendencies there are grand theatrics below the surface. While not as cohesive as some past efforts the group gets pretty damn weird and that is exciting in itself.
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Support the band, buy the album, peep some video:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dylan Cover #208 James Kole "Country Pie" Live

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 James Kole of "Country Pie"


Thoughts on Dylan Original:
Recorded for Nashville Skyline "Country Pie" is a tasty little treat that doesn't leave you too fat after consuming it. The free-wheeling sense that accompanies it is simply charming, almost a kid song that I could see parents singing to children it has a whimsical air that elevates it up above simple throw away tune. It was certainly a surprise to hear it live, the 2000 tour was the only time he broke it out in his career.    
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Have not heard of James Kole before, but he is a blues-man from St Paul, Minnesota, same state as the bard as well.       
Thoughts on Cover:
A really fun light run through with some cooking electric guitar a nice stand up bass and some funky drums. Nice quick way to kick off the Monday, in fact listen to it twice. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Full Show Friday: The Kinks- One For The Road

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's.  These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...The Kinks!
This show comes from their 79-80 tour and while we dig them, we've never been huge Kinks fans, but it is impossible to not get into the opener "All Day And All Of The Night". What a classic piece of kick ass rock and roll. It is a bit messy here and that only makes us like it more.

"Lola", "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" are some great numbers played here and the band cooks. They made a live album out of this tour as well. Pro-shot and Pro-sound and an hour of fun for this Full Show Friday.

Enjoy:

  1. "Opening"
  2. "All Day and All of the Night"
  3. Intro: Lola
  4. "Lola"
  5. "Low Budget"
  6. "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman"
  7. "Attitude"
  8. "Celluloid Heroes"
  9. "Hard Way"
  10. "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?"
  11. "You Really Got Me"
  12. "Pressure"
  13. "Catch Me Now I'm Falling"
  14. "Victoria"
  15. "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" (snippet sung)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Album Review: Lil Wayne- Free Weezy Album

Lil Wayne
Free Weezy Album
** out of *****
With The Carter V in purgatory Wayne released this FWA, Free Weezy Album and while not on par with his best work it contains blinding reminders why Wayne is constantly worth keeping tabs on.

The be all end all (and one of Weezy's highest points of his career) "Glory" starts the offering and it literally destroys over its running time of five plus minutes, eschewing a chorus for overstuffed verses in front of a huge sweeping back beat provided by Infamous, Onhel and Avenue Beats.

From the beginning of this invigorating track the stage is set regarding the tone of his album/contract ("Woo, This the Shit they didn't want me on") to staples like putting down rivals ("soft as teddy bears/talk to Marky Mark") shit rhymes ("Glory Hallelujah/Holy Shit, I'm the Holy Shit/God's Manure") weed/the boss boasts ("I'm spittin' hail/I'm like Clinton/Well, I did inhale") and numerously crazy Wayne flights of fancy that touch on everything from MLK, The Boston Bruins and Marcia Brady.

The last one is for "White Girl", the cocaine rhymes that Wheezy touches on in each of these songs setting a tone that flows through the album of up tempo cuts mixed with slower lonely tracks. The tempo changes and wild fluctuations are novel attempts at structure, but a madman on the mic like Wayne works best when he has a target and attacks.  "Pull Up" is an example and another solid track, starting slow, with a piano movement, before things kick up instantly with a lot of skittering slapping beats as Euro helps out but the run on sentences calling out Young Thug by Weezy are vigor filled.

The issue is on this full length release, even while being free, it just sputters too much especially anytime the tempo slows. Slow songs in themselves can lead to decent results, but it is the production here that does him a disservice. Wayne never needed huge booming beats, and seems to do his best work over Casio and thin pop samples, but here getting artsy and minimalist just doesn't work; the beat all but disappears on some tracks leading Wayne to just wander. The best example is when Weezy does his Drake impression to close on "Pick Up Your Heart" it sounds like a demo or Weezy trying out a style that doesn't fit him like it should.  

The double meaning of the albums title in which this Tidal release was free and his wish to be let go from Birdman's Cash Money Records sparked some flame in Wayne, but the hit or miss style of his full length releases continues here, for both better and worse. Whose knows, maybe The Carter V will be out for Christmas.
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Catching up on some releases this week that are from earlier in 2015 of artists we like. Thanks for staying tuned, support Weezy here and peep some video of Wayne debuting "Glory" semi live for BET below:
       

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thoughts on Allen Toussaint

Guest correspondent Stefan Ian Muir sitting in on the keys this mournful evening. . .

The gumbo in New Orleans, Louisiana is like none other. A catalytic mix of French Imperialist, African Slave, Acadian Exile, Choctaw Indian, Irish and German Immigrant, plus the Spaniard,  más Cubano, plus the Greek, the Jew, and every gypsy wanderer on bottom or top, too. It is a sunken, Creole, port city brew. It is the birth of jazz in Congo Square. It is Professor Longhair. It is both the most and least American place in the Americas. And if you are with rhythm, nowhere in the world matters more.

In early 1938, just as Duke Ellington was making the leap from jazz composer to sponsor of what he called “American Music”, Allen Toussaint was brought to Gert Town (LA) and dropped into the NOLA musical stew. He studied at the syncopated feet of the aforementioned Longhair and bore witness to the birth of the funk, even if we knew not what to call it for decades still.

Toussaint was a rhythm and blues cornerstone for about 60 years and stood in the heart center of the NOLA sound. Earlier this week, he was taken from us in the best way I can see, shortly after he exited stage left at the Teatro Lara in Madrid. By all known accounts, he was in fine form.

It is a foolhardy quest to capture precisely how many melodious pies the man had his fingers inside, so let us not try. Instead, rest assured that if you find your foot transitioning from a subtle tap to a full scale rock and roll, Toussaint is in there somewhere. And while we are within that pocket, let us meditate a bit on just a smattering of his highlights.

Cissy Strut” (1969) and REJUVENATION (1974)



The studio band that Toussaint led through his string of 1960’s hit singles was composed of Art Neville on keyboards, George Porter Jr. on bass, Leo Nocentelli on guitar, and Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste on drums. They are collectively known as the Meters and they took the second line sound to the world at large. Rejuventation is possibly the funkiest record of 1974 and this is a year that included albums like Damn Right I Am Somebody, Inspiration Information, Up for the Down Stroke, and Standing on the Verge of Getting It On. It was nothing less than a feast for future hip hop samplers with acts such as the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy bearing witness. “Cissy Strut” is an unmistakable early evening smoker featuring the rhythm section of Porter Jr and Modeliste in all their nasty glory. It has brought ample bottom to turntables everywhere.

Rock of Ages: The Band in Concert (1972)


Rock of Ages is a bit of a glorious mess and represents a moment when The Band was exploding for better and worse. It is also precisely that joyfoul carnival ride due in no small part to the horn arrangements provide by Mr. Toussaint, who first collaborated with Robertson et al on the above track off of Cahoots (1971). Levon Helm, drummer of The Band, was a particularly natural collaborator for Allen Toussaint, as he was born on the immediate opposite side of the Muddy from the Mississippi Crossroads and carried the Delta sounds in his soul. The two would remain friends until Helm’s passing. As the story goes, Toussaint’s arrangements for Rock of Ages were lost along with his luggage and had to be rewritten on the fly after his arrival in New York. The hotshot, big city horn section hired for the New Year’s Eve gig balked at the sheet music laid before them, insisting that the arrangements were written in error. In response, one member of the group (Robertson?) gently suggested that they just play the goddamn notes.

“A CERTAIN GIRL” (1980)


Toussaint is paradoxically best known and least remembered for a long string of hot ones handed off to other artists. “A Certain Girl” was penned in the early 60’s, passed on to Ernie K-Doe, covered by the Yardbirds, then later charted by Zevon some sixteen or so years forward. Toussaint will be fondly recalled by many for his graceful nature; this was on no better display than when he would acknowledge the wonderful magic that others spun with his work. In short, he was as generous with praise as he was with singles.

RIVER IN REVERSE (2006)


Of all the devastation that Hurricane Katrina wrought, perhaps the lone blessing it provided was a powerful second act for Allen Toussaint. He playfully referred to the storm as his “booking agent”, as the aftermath forced him out of his NOLA home and back on the road. As the world’s thoughts were turned towards New Orleans, their ears inevitably followed, and interest in Toussaint’s catalog was on the rise just as the levy waters receded. Toussaint’s collaboration with Elvis Costello would become the most powerful artistic statement directed at that American tragedy and one of the finest records of the young 21st century. Toussaint’s songbook was reopened and he spent the next nine years carrying it across the globe.

“FREEDOM FOR THE STALLION” (2005)


“Freedom for the Stallion” was originally recorded by frequent Toussaint collaborator Lee Dorsey and was a centerpiece on the River in Reverse album. Toussaint was a brilliant pop music composer and many of his songs are best loved for their infectious R&B bounce. However, he was not without his heavy moments, both subtly (“Working in the Coal Mine”) and directly. “Freedom for the Stallion” is one of the finest examples of the latter. Allen Toussaint carried with him a sincere appreciation for both the beauty and the pain associated with our American melting pot, perhaps because he was born into the funkiest of those various kettles. If you are still with me, I invite you to spend some time with Toussaint’s Steinway, for that was where he was at his apex. However, if you choose instead to linger on his lyrics, you can do no better than these:

Some sing a sad song
Some got to moan the blues
Trying to make the best of a home
That the man didn't even get to choose

Lord, have mercy, how you gonna be?
With people like John and me?
They've got men building fences to keep other men out
Ignore him if he whispers and kill him if he shouts

Oh, Lord, you got to help us find a way

May it someday be so. And to our friend Allen Toussaint, may he find that blessed truth inside and lay in restful peace. Laissez les bons temps rouler.




Allen Toussaint (1938 – 2015)