Music Review http://culturecatch.com/music en An American Singing About... http://culturecatch.com/node/3779 <span>An American Singing About...</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/168" lang="" about="/user/168" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Jay Reisberg</a></span> <span>October 14, 2018 - 19:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/148" hreflang="en">Cabaret</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/581" hreflang="en">vocalist</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1430" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-10/steve_ross-birdland.jpg?itok=WVCoWVDo" title="steve_ross-birdland.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo credit: Ron Spivak</figcaption></figure><p>Steve Ross: <i>An American in Paris</i></p> <p>Birdland Jazz Club, NYC</p> <p>October 1, 2018</p> <p>Steve Ross took to the piano in front of a sold-out audience for <i>An American in Paris, </i>his show of both French and American songs. These songs about (or taking place in) the "City of Lights" had been written and/or sung by the greatest performers in French and American popular song culture. This presentation was, as per Steve's tradition of excellence, another superb offering from the man dubbed "The Crown Prince of New York Cabaret." Whatever Steve puts his voice and fingers to, takes on a fresh, original, and personal glow, yet retaining the pure essence of the original.</p> <p>Steve commenced with a piano overture, which included, "I Love Paris," "Sous le Ciel de Paris," "I Will Wait for You," and closed this overture with a voice rendering of "Valentine"-- a song which Maurice Chevalier premiered in 1925, and which was to become the song most closely associated with him, his "Over the Rainbow" so to speak, (until the advent of <i>Gigi</i>).</p> <p>The overture properly wet our appetite for the body of the show, which included songs and melodies by (or identified with) Charles Aznavour, E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg, Charles Trenet, M. Phillipee Gerard, Jacques Brel, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Steven Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Bob Merrill, and others. A great deal of material was covered in the nearly hour-and-a-half show, which -- via Steve"s informed pacing -- went by so quickly, that by the end I felt he had just begun.</p> <p>After the overture, he opened the show proper with a spirited rendition of Aznavour's "Le Temp." This was more timely then I'd first thought, for at song's end he announced that Charles Aznavour, at 94, had passed that morning at his home at Mouriès in southern France -- hence the evening was rightly dedicated to him. Aznavour, was a titan of the French song, as a singer and a song writer, who I'd first seen when I was 18 in his initial Los Angeles appearance and has remained one of <i>le plus bon </i>singers in <i>any</i> language.</p> <p>Steve then let out with two songs by Charles Trenet who, among a large body of work in France, is mostly known to Americans for only two songs: the romantic "I Wish You Love" ("Que Reste-t-il de Nous Mon Amours?," with English lyrics by Albert Askew Beach) which was sung by <i>everyone</i><b>; </b>and "La Mer" ("Beyond the Sea") which was a monster hit for Bobby Darin in 1959, with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. Steve's gentle touch with these well-worn standards renders them anew.</p> <p>Next was "Piano pour Piaf," Steve’s instrumental medley-tribute of the songs of "The Little Sparrow" -- which I found absolutely fascinating, even hypnotic. Uncannily, Steve distills the essence of each melody, but augments them with his own stylistic enhancements. This opened the opportunity, each time, for a fresh listening experience. We’ve all listened closely and enjoyed these melodies for decades -- and yet Steve Ross, skilled artist that he is, presents hitherto undiscovered nuances.</p> <p>This medley included eight tunes: "La Foule" ("The Crowd") with music by Argentine composer Angel Cabrai; "Hymne à L'amour" ("Hymn to Love") with music by Marguerite Monnot; <i>"</i>La Goualante du Pauvre Jean<i>" ("</i>The Ballad of Poor John"<i>), </i>with music by Marguerite Monnot, and heard in the USA mostly as an instrumental called "The Poor People of Paris" (sometimes with lyrics that had nothing whatsoever to do with Poor John); "Padam Padam" with music by Norbert Glanzberg, (which has been described as a "maddeningly catchy" waltz and was recorded by Tony Martin with "maddeningly" atrocious lyrics); "L' Accordeoniste" ("The Accordionist") with music by Michel Emer, which was Piaf’s first million-seller; "La Vie en Rose" with music accredited to Piaf; and "Milord" also known as "Ombre de la Rue" (literally "Shadow of the Street") with music by Marguerite Monnot (recorded in America by Teresa Brewer and Cher, and in the U.K. by Frankie Vaughn.)</p> <p>Jane Lapotaire, won a Tony award for her portrayal of "The Little Sparrow" in Pam Gems's 1981 Broadway play "Piaf." Although it included musical numbers, it was not a musical per se. Steve's "Piano pour Piaf" plays like something akin to the overture of an as yet un-produced full-blown Broadway or Westend musical -- one we'd love to see!. At this segment's closing, Steve got energetic with "Milord" with his bar room honkey tonk piano ending -- and his melding of elements from "La Vie en rose" with "Milord" was astonishing.</p> <p>Steve moved forth with a plaintive version of "When the World Was Young" with music by M. Phillippe Gerard and the lyrics of Johnny Mercer; following with Jacques Brel's and Gerard Jouanesset's bombastic and many-worded "Jacky" ("La Chanson de Jacky"). Both the French and English lyrics by Mort Shuman run a-mile-a-second, in this first person account of a young, unpleasantly crude braggart. Steve luckily possesses the clear diction, stamina, and tonal range to produce an engaging performance of this verbal explosion. As an antidote to Jacky’s angst, he next sang Cole Porter's amusing and playful "The Tale of the Oyster," from 1927's <i>Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong</i>, followed by Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern's "The Last Time I Saw Paris" a wistful remembrance of Paris prior to its 1940 occupation by the Germans. Exquisite selections from Lerner and Lowe's "Gigi" were next followed by the sad "Just a Gigolo," originally a 1929 Austrian-German song adapted into English by Irving Caesar in 1931 (and recorded by Bing Crosby and others). The sentiments of this song of longing and missed opportunity about "a Frenchmen, a hero of the war" was beautifully presented by Steve, who followed with Stephen Sondheim's "Ah, Paris" from his 1971 Broadway show <i>Follies</i>.</p> <p>He then presented a lovely waltz-tempo song from the Broadway musical <i>The Happiest Girl in the World</i>, entitled "Adrift on a Star," with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg (using music by Jacques Offenbach). The musical was based on Aristophanes play "Lysistrata," and ran a scant 98 performances in 1961. This song provided Vic Damone with a popular hit in the 1960s. It is one of my favorite songs and Steve certainly did it justice.</p> <p>At this point you're probably thinking that this already sounds like two concert's worth of material -- and there was more to come. Such is Steve's charm and dexterity that this <i>motto grande </i>just flew by.</p> <p>Next on the program was a seemingly unlikely -- yet successful -- joining of two songs. First, Jerry Herman's "Song on the Sand" from <i>La Cage aux Folles,</i> of which Playbill wrote, "It's hard to think of a love song more beautiful."  In a striking choice, he joined it with "One of Those Songs," which was a hit for Jimmy Durante, a master of elevating the pedestrian into art. It appeared on Durante's 1966 album of the same name, with words by Will Holt. The melody of "One of those Songs" was taken from a 1955 French instrumental recording entitled "Bal Chez Madame de Mortemouille" by Gerard Calvi, and apparently appeared in the 1959 Broadway musical, <i>La Plume de Ma Tante</i> (which was nominated for three Tony awards). In Steve's meld, both are about recalling a song, so the association is certainly warranted -- but who, other than Steve Ross would have made the connection and presented them in such a harmonious and complementary manner?</p> <p>Steve next gave us the song "Mira," from the 1961 Broadway musical <i>Carnival</i> with music and lyrics by Bob Merrill. Since attending the Kennedy Center's superb 2007 revival, this song has retained a special place in my heart. In the show, the song is sung by Lili, an orphan from the town of Mira, where everyone knew her name. Now she wants a taste of the big time, where everybody knows her name but this time "in lights." A sweet and sentimental song, and Steve served it up with his delicately placed light touch.</p> <p>Enter the night's guest: Jean Brassard is a wonderful singer whom I first heard when Steve and he presented a show entitled <i>French Lessons in Song</i> in 2011 at the newly reconstructed Opera House in Hudson, New York. Mr. Brassard presented Jacques Brel's "La Valse à Mille Temps," which first appeared on Brel’s fourth album in 1959 (and was later released with English lyrics by Will Holt in 1966 as "Days of the Waltz," sung by Patti Page). Mr. Brassard began in English, then transitioned into the vibrant many-worded French lyrics. This song is show-stopping by nature, and Mr. Brassard gave it its full-blown due. Steve and Mr. Brassard followed with a touching and poignant duet rendering of the classic 1785 song, "Plaisir d'amour," with music by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini, and set to a poem by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian.</p> <p>It would not have been a completely French night out in America without at least two songs from Cole Porter's 1953 musical <i>Can Can</i>. Hence we were presented with<i> </i>"C'est Magnifique" (with mandatory audience participation) which glided smoothly into a recall (this time with words) of "I Love Paris"--an instrumental which was included in Steve’s opening medley. What a lovely and appropriate manner with which to end the show!</p> <p>Steve returned to encore with "Can Can," a song with arguably the most clever lyrics Porter had ever written.</p> <p>After a night like this, and hearing the audience's outpouring of appreciation:  Mr. Ross, isn't clear that discerning music lovers can't get enough of you?</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3779&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="h2GKeZ8xPfHPMrbEecahzDhlUOphnHN96rDBKG-czoE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 14 Oct 2018 23:22:42 +0000 Jay Reisberg 3779 at http://culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Ophelia" http://culturecatch.com/node/3778 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Ophelia&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>October 14, 2018 - 19:02</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/579" hreflang="en">Roo Panes</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/huS6ehHJpQA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Some songs are immediate. So is the case with British singer-songwriter Roo Panes new single "Ophelia" (Single Version) from his latest album (3rd long player) <em>Qui</em><em>et</em><em> Man</em> released through CRC Records in June 2018. Wonderfully arranged, Roo's heartfelt vocals underpin the timeless melodies of the song that drift through dreamlike harmonies, building into the soaring chorus finale, layered with strings, Hammond organ, mandolin and a magnificent gospel choir. In support of <em>Quiet Man</em>, Roo will be touring in the US before European show dates. Catch him in NYC on 19th Oct 2018 at Le Poisson Rouge and in Boston on the 20th of Oct 2018 at City Winery.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3778&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="_s2WkKG-g06SA-FG11oylCeofYpOpWq1QjLWbx5TgLk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 14 Oct 2018 23:02:26 +0000 Dusty Wright 3778 at http://culturecatch.com Video of the Year: "Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now" http://culturecatch.com/node/3776 <span>Video of the Year: &quot;Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>October 6, 2018 - 10:55</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/127" hreflang="en">music video</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/578" hreflang="en">NSFW</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/juubxnkgnS8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Bold, courageous and required viewing, the video for the song "Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now," by singer/songwriter <a href="http://amandapalmer.net/" target="_blank">Amanda Palmer</a> (The Dresden Dolls) and co-singer/writer <a href="https://www.jasminepower.com/" target="_blank">Jasmine Power</a>, who have literally bared their souls on this song and video, have created art that cuts to the bone. It must be seen and shared with everyone. Released on October 5th, the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, it has quickly gathered press attention all over the globe. This past July, a group of women from all walks of life gathered one Sunday in a former Episcopalian rectory in Brooklyn, NY under the direction of choreographer Noemie Lafrance to create an explosive video to accompany the song. The cast, production and set crew were comprised of over 60 women from the New York area working on both sides of the camera. Many of the cast were performers with little or no film or stage experience from Palmer's extensive internet fanbase. The results of this fearless collaboration will shake you to your core. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3776&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="qD2zsnapt2pQDEUFCB3F9NzK6t5KcW3LL_vcfQP3M5Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 06 Oct 2018 14:55:11 +0000 Dusty Wright 3776 at http://culturecatch.com Otis Rush R.I.P. http://culturecatch.com/node/3773 <span>Otis Rush R.I.P.</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/steveholtje" lang="" about="/users/steveholtje" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Holtje</a></span> <span>September 30, 2018 - 01:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/573" hreflang="en">Otis Rush</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/454" hreflang="en">blues</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/574" hreflang="en">Chicago blues</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/575" hreflang="en">Samuel Charters</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/576" hreflang="en">Willie Dixon</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uy2tEP3I3DM?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p style="margin:0in 0in 0.0001pt">Otis Rush (April 29, 1934 - September 29, 2018), the greatest of the second generation of Chicago blues guitarists, has passed. And to call Otis Rush that is no small accolade, because I'm saying he was better than both Magic Sam and Buddy Guy. Why? Because he was not only a superb left-handed guitarist with an immediately recognizable style, he was also a highly emotive singer with a rich and agile voice. He was, with Sam and Buddy, one of the main innovators of the West Side sound, but with a darker, more intense take on it. Yet despite that, no modern blues artist of his caliber and longevity was more poorly documented, with only seven studio albums in 46 years, and two of those seriously compromised at that.</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 0.0001pt"> </p> <p>Born in Mississippi, Rush moved to Chicago in 1948 and became a star with a song producer Willie Dixon wrote about one of Rush's relationships: "I Can't Quit You Baby" in 1956 on the Cobra label. (Label owner, Eli Toscano, reputedly cheated his artists to feed his gambling habit; Cobra collapsed when Toscano was murdered in 1959.) Dixon took Rush to Chess Records, which only released two Rush singles; a move to the Duke label yielded just one single in five years. His best '60s work came on a multi-artist album, <i>Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol. 2</i>, which included a reworking of  "I Can't Quit You Baby" that was closely copied by Led Zeppelin for their first album. Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary put out Rush's first full LP, <em>Mourning in the Morning</em>, recorded in 1969 in Muscle Shoals, but the production (by Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites, who co-wrote six of its 11 songs) is so atrocious it's painful to listen to.</p> <p>Capitol signed Rush in 1971, but the album he made for them, <i>Right Place, Wrong Time</i>, lay unreleased until issued five years later after Rush bought the master from Capitol; it was then released in Japan by P-Vine and in the U.S. by a tiny indie label, Bullfrog. A 1974 French album, <i>Screamin' and Cryin'</i>, didn't appear in the U.S. until 1992; Rush denigrated it, but it's worth hearing; a 1977 European studio effort, Lost in the Blues, had keyboards added (and some Rush solos excised) without his consent. Fortunately two great albums on the mighty and more respectful Delmark label saved the '70s for him, but Rush had understandably become suspicious of many recording offers, which limited his output further. The '80s were so bad that Rush withdrew from the scene. Activity picked up in the '90s, but a studio album from Mercury that could have turned his career around was followed by "personal problems"; 1998's <i>Any Place I'm Going</i>, for House of Blues, disappeared with that label's demise, and he made no more studio recordings.</p> <p>Any hopes for another comeback were dashed by a 2003 stroke, after which Rush was unable to perform. After that, older concert recordings began to appear, making Rush's discography look less skimpy; some are good, but never do they seem crucial, though of course fans are generally happy to have additional Rush. (Except for <i>Double Trouble: Live Cambridge 1973</i>, a muddy recording with sloppy and indifferent playing, a too-prominent saxophonist using a Varitone, and ill-advised covers of "Watermelon Man" and  "Popcorn.")</p> <p>Where should a neophyte start? I have the temerity to rank his best work:</p> <p><i>So Many Roads: Live in Concert</i></p> <p>This inspired 1975 concert in Tokyo, Japan (with a Chicagoan backing trio including Jimmy Johnson on rhythm guitar) finds Rush letting it all out, with his trademark burning guitar tone and his full-bodied, expressive vocals on peak form. He reprises many of his classics, including "I Can't Quit You, Baby," "Crosscut Saw," "Looking Back (Take a Look Behind," "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)," and "So Many Roads" (with especially impassioned singing on this classic slow blues). This 1995 CD reissue adds three songs there weren't room for on the original Delmark LP: jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell's blues instrumental "Chitlins Con Carne," "I've Got News For You," and "Mean Old World," the latter an evocative blues standard that matches Rush's long-suffering persona.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x7ylZa-hI6s?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><i>The Classic Cobra Recordings 1956-1958</i></p> <p>All 17 of Rush's seminal tracks for the Cobra label (plus seven alternate takes), including "I Can't Quit You Baby." When Rush started writing his own material, he came up with such classics as "Double Trouble," "Keep on Loving Me Baby," and one of his signature songs, "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)." Some of his other efforts were lyrically weak, but the fervor of Rush's singing could make anything sound good, and the stinging tone he got from the Fender Stratocaster he used at this time is iconic. Pianists are Lafayette Leake and Little Brother Montgomery, harmonica players include Walter "Shakey" Horton and Little Walter Jacobs, and there's usually a honking or wailing sax.</p> <p><i>Right Place, Wrong Time</i></p> <p>Recorded in '71 for Capitol with fine San Francisco players but not released until five years later, this is nonetheless a great album. Rush co-produced with Nick Gravenites, but the soundstage here is better (if still unnatural) than on the Gravenites-co-produced Mourning in the Morning of two years earlier, the arrangements are less cluttered as well, and the horn charts are hot (I had the good fortune to interview Rush in the 1990s and he made it clear that he loved having a horn section). Most of all, the material is superb, with some of Rush's best originals, including "Take a Look Behind," "Three Times a Fool," and the title track. It's a surprise to hear him sing the Brook Benton hit "Rainy Night in Georgia," but he puts it across nicely. This is one of the rare Rush albums where he sounds equally involved in the fast tunes as well as the slow blues he excelled in.</p> <p><i>Cold Day in Hell</i></p> <p>This 1975 studio album (which returned Rush to the attention of U.S. blues fans) has its ups and downs, but listening to Rush's agonized singing on the slow blues tracks is a cathartic experience. There is as much pain and bitterness in these numbers (though spilling over into melodrama on the title track) as anywhere in the blues, inspiring some of Rush's most intense guitar solos. Eventually the CD added a fiery alternate of one of the best tracks, "You're Breaking My Heart." By the way, "Midnight Special" is not the familiar Leadbelly song, but instead a darkly sinister instrumental. With a pair of saxophonists, Big Moose Walker on organ and piano, and rhythm guitar (mostly Mighty Joe Young), this has the full sound Rush preferred.</p> <p><i>Ain't Enough Comin' In</i></p> <p>A kick-ass 1994 comeback after a long studio recording hiatus, this mixes a few of Rush's less-played tunes (a remake of "Homework," his one Duke single, is especially welcome) with lesser-known blues and soul classics. Rush picks up a Telecaster again (as on his Cobra sides) after years with a Gibson and his sound takes on more of an edge. He needs it to cut through the big arrangements, with piano and organ (Stones sideman Ian McLagen and Little Feat's Billy Payne), three horns, and one or two rhythm guitars plus bass and drums. It's the sort of big production Rush preferred but rarely got, and he gives it his all. The expressiveness of his playing is marvelous.</p> <p><i>Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol. 2</i></p> <p>In December 1965, blues scholar/producer Samuel Charters recorded three LPs' worth of sessions with nine Chicago blues artists and their bands, then put them out three artists per album. (Collectors can acquire all three albums in one set.) It introduced players largely overlooked outside the Windy City to a nationwide -- in fact, worldwide -- audience, and helped keep interest in Otis Rush alive during one of his dry periods. He's heard playing five songs in a quintet with Robert "Sax" Crowder on alto sax and Luther Tucker on rhythm guitar, and "Rock" gives a glimpse at the kind of R&amp;B blues bands were experimenting with.</p> <p><i>Live in Europe</i></p> <p>This captures Rush at a 1977 festival concert in Nancy, France with his regular working group of the time (Bob Levis, rhythm guitar; Bob Stroger, bass; Jesse Green, drums), the pre-overdub group on Lost in the Blues. The repertoire is largely familiar and predictable, but the band is tight and Rush is on fire, with abundant solo room and with his singing strong and impassioned.</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 0.0001pt"> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3773&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="8WGPuOhdZQp3NeZ1VCx_oZE0w6iBSTr-mQgod2K4r-Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 30 Sep 2018 05:59:26 +0000 Steve Holtje 3773 at http://culturecatch.com Summer's Final Rays of Light & Warmth http://culturecatch.com/node/3771 <span>Summer&#039;s Final Rays of Light &amp; Warmth</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/c-jefferson-thom" lang="" about="/users/c-jefferson-thom" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">C. Jefferson Thom</a></span> <span>September 25, 2018 - 16:51</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/441" hreflang="en">music</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/94" hreflang="en">rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-09/zombies-2018_2.png?itok=S-8jGAfG" width="1200" height="800" alt="Thumbnail" title="zombies-2018_2.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Among the legends of Rock &amp; Roll, The Zombies occupy a unique position with an unusual story. The band formed in 1961 in St. Albans, UK when all its members were in their mid teens. They experienced early success with their hit single "She's Not There," which led to years of touring and recording with Decca Records, but as the 1960s stretched on, their rise to fame lost some steam. In late 1967 they decided to break up, but not before recording on final album, <em>Odessey and Oracle</em>. That album was released in 1968 to critical praise but didn't sell well and went largely unnoticed until one of its tracks was released as a single in the U.S. That track was "Time of the Season" (you know it, the song that asks, "What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich? Is he rich like me?" amid popping claps and sensual breathing) and while it took some time to catch on, by 1969 it became a colossal hit, topping out at #3 on the Billboard charts. "Time of the Season" has since become the soundtrack for the intense and turbulent decade that followed. Over the years, listeners began to explore <em>Odessey and Oracle</em> as a whole and it eventually came to be considered a seminal album of great importance, ranked along side those being put out by The Beatles and Beach Boys around that same period.  This is an indisputable success story with a happy ending, right?  How could it be viewed as anything else, but when "Time of the Season" first started attracting this overdue praise and attention The Zombies hadn't been a band for close to two years. The band members had gone their separate ways, some to other recording careers, one was selling cars, while its original lead singer, Colin Blunestone, was working in the claims department of an insurance company when his voice began to echo across the air waves of the United States.</p> <p>On the Tuesday before they kicked off their present tour, starting in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity of catching up with Colin Blunstone over the phone, asking him about this sleeper success story and where it has brought him today...</p> <p><b>Interview:</b></p> <p><strong>Culture Catch:</strong>  You're starting your tour on the West Coast of the United States and then you head off to Europe, do you have a favorite city or venue that you're particularly looking forward to?</p> <p><strong>Colin Blunstone:</strong>  That's an interesting thought.  I love playing on the West Coast of America.  I love playing in America all together. The business is very professionally run over here, I think, so it's always a pleasure to come here and do our show.  The whole process is quite sophisticated compared to some countries, so it's a pleasure to work in The States.  Of course I like performing at home in the UK.  I particularly like playing in Holland, but you asked for specific dates, didn't you?  I think I'm looking forward to playing at the Troubadour in L.A. because I first played there in the early '70s as a solo artist and so it's got quite a lot of history.  I've since played there with The Zombies and this time we're going to be playing there for two nights... I'm looking forward to that one.</p> <p><strong>CC:</strong>  The Zombies have a very unique sound.  I've heard it called Baroque rock... it almost has an Elizabethan sound to me.  It almost sounds like if Shakespeare had an opening band for his plays you guys could have done it, with the flutes and period sounding percussion... What do you think of the sound of The Zombies?</p> <p><strong>Colin:</strong>  First, let me say we could have never opened for Shakespeare.  He's a lot older than us, but... I'm being serious now... it's very difficult to describe what you do yourself.  With The Zombies it was very natural... I didn't write any of the songs on <em>Odessey and Oracle</em> but I was there when the songs were being written.  It's a very natural way of writing songs, arranging, rehearsing, &amp; recording, that's the five of us being together, that's the sum of what was happening in our musical world. There's one thing I would say about The Zombies is that we had many influences when we first got started, but by 1967 we weren't particularly influenced by anybody. You can like The Zombies and there are people who don't like The Zombies, but they're [The Zombies] different, so whether you like them or not they definitely are different.  I think one of the reasons is that in our formative years- we first got together when we were fifteen and we were all interested in so many different kinds of music and such a wide spectrum of influences from classical music, modern jazz, blues, rhythm &amp; blues, rock'n'roll, standard pop music- we loved pop music, and all those influences come together.  I can hear them all on <em>Odessey and Oracle</em> and that's how we arrived at the kind of sound that The Zombies made.  We weren't directly influenced by anyone in particular but we did take influences from lots of different types of music and it came together through our filter, if you like, to sound like <em>Odessey and Oracle</em> ... Also we had these two quite sophisticated writers in that band and that really took me by surprise when I was seventeen... we got a deal with Decca Records and we were introduced to a producer called Ken Jones, but before that first session he was giving us a bit of a pep talk and he said to us 'You know you could always write something for this session', it wasn't a big deal, he just dropped it into the conversation and Rod [Rod Argent, Zombies keyboardist and singer] went away and wrote "She's Not There".  He came back two or three days later and played us this song and I was absolutely amazed.  I had no idea he could write songs.  It was a big shock and I think we all knew that it was a special song.  So we were so fortunate to discover, it seems to me almost by chance, because Chris White also developed into a fine writer as well- our original bass player.  But we had these two writers and that was a big change for the band... I think <em>Odessey and Oracle</em> was the culmination of those seven years we were together.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qzpPy9hJYA8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>CC:</strong>  Speaking of <em>Odessay and Oracle</em>, this album is epic in many regards, both in its qualities and it's unlikely success story.  Your'e still there, but the band's long-since over when the album hit.  What was it like watching that happen in delayed action?</p> <p><strong>Colin:</strong>  It was very, very strange.  I have to say that there was never any conversation with anyone about reforming the band.  There was absolutely no interest.  Everyone was committed to other projects and we watched it with great interest.  It's always been a bit of a mystery to me. I don't mean that in a dismissive way.  I find it fascinating how that could happen, because it shouldn't happen.  Record companies put such promotional interest on current records that you would think that a record that had already come and been released and then been ignored wouldn't stand a chance.  So it shouldn't have happened that "Time of the Season" should have been a big hit or even, years later, that <em>Odessey and Oracle</em> would sell truck loads of albums.  I don't understand it but I find it fascinating and really interesting but it's a huge mystery to me.  But going back to the time, it was a fascinating experience to watch this thing grow because we weren't supporting it. It almost felt like an album that was recorded by other people because two or three years had gone by and suddenly this single is a huge hit and led to me coming back into the music business.  Because I was really, really disappointed when The Zombies finished and I wasn't sure I wanted to stay in the music business, but with "Time of the Season" being a huge hit I got a lot of offers and slowly but surely I just dipped my toe into the waters of the music business and I think I fully committed with Rod and Chris again when they produced my first solo album... I think there was a three year gap for me in all by the time I had a really big hit in the UK again.</p> <p>CC:  You have a very positive attitude towards the experience.</p> <p>Colin:  For me the thrill and the pleasure and fulfillment is writing and recording records and then going out there and performing and if anyone is familiar with any of the work I've done I'm eternally grateful.  I don't expect people to know everything I've done in my life... I'm very happy to talk about the past but the important thing is what comes next.  We need to be writing new songs, we need to be back in the studio... where are we going to be touring next year?  What's happening?  We're really happy to play- we'll always play three or four tunes from <em>Odessey and Oracle</em>.  We play "She's Not There" and "Time of the Season", songs that people know... and maybe some Argent hits, because obviously Rod is a founding member of Argent, but one of the really rewarding things is that the new songs get as good a response as the old songs.  I can imagine that some times it can happen that the new songs could be greeted by absolute silence but that's not the case with us... One runs into the other really naturally and it's very rewarding when we get up there and we realize that we play songs that perhaps they're not familiar with and the reaction has just been fantastic and that's very fulfilling.</p> <p>CC:  Now I know you guys are looking to the future, I can't help but look to the past still. In researching about The Zombies I came across a story of your touring in the U.S. and you guys playing seven shows a day at the Brooklyn Fox Theater and that's amazing to me because I've only ever heard stories like this when I see documentaries about the Beatles touring in Germany- that era of bands pumping out performances, twelve hour days that is just unthinkable today.  No one would do that.  Do I have that information correct?  Did you really play that many shows in a day?</p> <p>Colin:  Well we did, but whereas The Beatles were playing non-stop.  It was a tradition. By the time you were on one of these American shows you would have a lot of artists playing just a few songs.  When The Beatles went to Germany they were playing in clubs and they were expected to play for six or seven hours a night and they would play for a couple hours and take a break. It's quite different when you do these tours... we played the Brooklyn Fox, Christmas 1964 into 65 and we opened on Christmas day but we only played a couple of songs as did the other acts... and so we would go on and sing a couple of songs and then we'd just have to wait around.  I think what happened at the end of the show they played a short film and then it all happened again.  So we would start at ten o'clock in the morning and the last show would be seven or eight o'clock at night.  But it wasn't physically demanding show like that but you had to be there all day just waiting and also we couldn't go outside at all because there were thousands of people around the theater.  There was an hysteria about music then that probably happens today but I don't think it happens so much.  I know that Paul Atkinson, our lead guitarist, went out of the stage door once while we were there for ten days and the weight of people just came forward and pushed him up against a plate glass window and he lost his shirt and the police came in and got him and just said, "Listen.  We'll do this once, but we're not going to do it again".  And that meant we had to be back stage the whole time until all the crowds went home, so it led to a long day... but I'm just trying to say it's not the same as what The Beatles did when they went to Hamburg.  We decided to become a professional band in 1964 before we recorded "She's Not There" and if "She's Not There" hadn't been a hit we probably- there's quite a good chance we would have ended up in Germany or in Europe playing those kinds of hours to just get the band together but because we had a hit we took a different route.  We didn't choose that, it just happened to us.</p> <p>CC:  Still that is an amazing moment in music history to have been a part of.  Any particularly fun backstage stories from that time that you'd like to share with us?</p> <p>Colin:  A lot of the ones that are more interesting I can't tell.  It would be extremely indiscreet if I were to go into too many details of what was going on... (Laughs) I'm trying to think of something that would be good.  The thing is you have to remember, these stories- it's fifty years ago.  If I stay here for an hour or two I could probably come up with a few good stories... I remember we did Dick Clark's <em>Caravan of Stars</em> -- it's a terrible name.  There was quite a well known female artist on our bus who drew a gun- I mean I'd never seen a gun before.  But she drew a gun on someone on the front of the bus and I just remember her being forcibly ejected off the bus and I felt really sorry for her.  We drove off -- this is a hit artist and we drove off leaving her standing by the side of the road with her suitcases.</p> <p>CC:  And her gun.</p> <p>Colin:  And her gun! (Laughs) Oh, dear... We made a point of going to the back of the bus with all the soul artists and they would sing for hours through the night and we just loved it.  And then I think we were pretty much accepted, you know we were English, for a start, and we were very young and they got to a point where the said, "OK. Now you sing." And we had to stand up and sing in front of all these wonderful soul artists.  We were really a bit apprehensive, but we got threw it and we were accepted after that.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3f33ZUM1RjM?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>CC:  To say you've seen shifts in the music scene would be an understatement. You've seen whole paradigm shifts in the music industry from being a young man touring with The Zombies, through your solo career, and up to this present tour.  How has the music industry most changed through your career?</p> <p>Colin:  Well, can I give you two answers?  The first one is a light-hearted answer but there is a degree of truth in it.  I found the music industry intriguing but a bit of a mystery and its been through many, many changes.  You know it's going through changes week on week at the moment, but it's still a mystery to me.  In some ways I'm quite fortunate because it never changed for me.  It didn't understand it in 1964 and I don't understand it now.  So, in many ways, there's no difference, its just a different kind of mystery.  I don't pretend to understand the music industry and I'm not really interested in the music industry.  I'm interested in the creative process.  I love the idea of writing and recording songs and performing, that's where I get my energy from.  But how you market a record or how you promote your record and whatever else you're suppose to do to records... my eyes glaze over.  I try and be interested and I try to be polite if people want to tell me... but I'm not really interested.  On a more serious note, one of the things that intrigue me is that you use to -- record sales have fallen through the floor.  Quite a few people would sell a million records in 1964, well that's a real achievement now to have a million-selling record.  So you used to tour to promote records.  It was quite straight forward, you got a record coming out, you needed to tour.  But now it is practically the other way around.  Records don't make money.  Very few records will make enough money to pay back the costs of making the record.  Unless, sometimes with a first or second album, you might make them at home quite inexpensive, but if you'r using commercial studios and even then, you still got to pay for marketing and all the other things that come with it... art work.  It's quite hard to earn the money back that it costs to make a record.  It's almost now as though records are released to promote tours whereas it was completely the opposite when I first came into the industry.  Tours are far more important now.  Before, to a large extent, they were promotional vehicles for records but now the tour is the focal point and records pretty much promote the tour.  I think that is one really big change that's happened in the music industry.</p> <p>CC:  That's interesting.  I never thought of it that way, but that's absolutely right.  It's almost like it's an excuse to go on tour and hopefully -- if you're selling something you're more likely to make money off of t-shirts or something then you are off of the album itself.</p> <p>Colin:  But you know it's quite often true.  I'll tell you what's a really good one: posters.  If you've got a good poster... I remember we were touring in Japan and they made a special poster for the tour.  I mean how much- obviously you have to have the poster designed, but it costs about a penny or two pennies to print a poster and I know in Japan if they're signed you can get serious money... fifty dollars or something.  I actually said this to Rod, we shouldn't make records.  We should forget this records thing.  We should become a poster company and just do posters. (Laughs)</p> <p>CC: (Laughs) I think sadly a lot of bands have gone that way...</p> <p>Colin:  I know.  The merchandise side of the industry, it just didn't exist when we started.  It's so funny that side of things just didn't exist and now it's so important.  But, you know, again, I watch that side of the business with interest but from a distance.  You don't want to get too weighed down with that stuff.</p> <p>CC:  No, because that isn't why you got into the music.  It wasn't to make money off of posters-</p> <p>Colin:  Absolutely not.  You know, to a large extent we didn't get into the business to make money either.  We all love music and we got together to have fun and that's what we're still doing.  I don't think anyone I've worked with over a long period of time has ever been particularly motivated by making money.  If you make music well... if you're good musicians and you put on a good show, with a little bit of luck you will make money.  But that's a big difference from coming into the business to make money or even to be famous.  Heaven help us, I never ever thought like that.  I really just want to learn my craft and be the best I can.</p> <p>CC:  I think that's the spirit where the really good music comes from and I think it shows in your work.</p> <p>Colin:  Oh thank you.  Even taking us out of the equation, I agree with you that that's where the good music comes from and I think people get it terribly wrong when they come into the industry because they want to be famous and they want to make a lot of money.  No one can be really famous- with one or two exceptions, no one is really famous for years and years and years so it always ends up with sadness and desperation and depression and usually dependence on some kind of stimulus, you know, and it usually ends badly.  But if you're just trying to write songs and perform well, maybe have some good fun at the same time with some other good musicians, with a little bit of luck you can have a fulfilling and happy career.  That's my aim anyway.  That's what I'm trying to do.</p> <p>CC:  I know because you guys disbanded before your music was as big as it would later become I've heard stories that there were a lot of fake bands claiming to be The Zombies trying to capitalize on that.  Do you have any fun stories about that?</p> <p>Colin:  Well that's very true.  I think in the 60s- it happened later as well, about 1990 there as an English band touring America claiming to be The Zombies.  But in the 60s there was a time when there were three bands going around it and it was funny because Chris White was in America, he was in Rolling Stone's office and they got the phone number of the manager of one of these bands and they phoned up and put Chris on the phone to this guy and Chris asked him to explain about this Zombies band. And the manager of the band said it isn't the original Zombies but the lead singer in the band was killed in a car crash and this is our tribute to The Zombies... and I happen to be the lead singer in The Zombies.  It was on the front page of Rolling Stone and I read about this with great interest.</p> <p>CC:  I'd imagine you would.  You'd want to know about your death.</p> <p>Colin:  I know.  The news of my death has been greatly exaggerated, I hasten to add.  And, also, in one of those bands- two of ZZ Top were in one of those bands.  More recently they've talked about it.  Listen, I want musicians to work, I want them to be able to get work.  Good luck to them.  If that was what was on offer at the time, take it, of course, we weren't using the name and they've gone on and done wonderful things.  The later band that was more around 1990, we did try to stop that band and they did stop.  And I in my naive world thought I had contributed to that stop, I had phoned the musician's union, I'd spoken to lawyers, and I thought well they've stopped, maybe something I've done has resulted in them stopping, but if we go back to one of of our previous topics what happened was they were an English band, playing in America, claiming to be The Zombies.  They'd found a guy named Hugh Grundy, the same name as our drummer but he was actually a bass player and he was also about four inches shorter than Hugh, but apparently they weren't very good and they came off stage, they're in their dressing room, and one of the guys from the audience went into their dressing room and pulled a gun on them and said "You are not The Zombies" and obviously scared them to death and they never played again.</p> <p>CC:  I guess, I don't know if the guns worked out in our favor that time around...</p> <p>Colin:  Maybe that was one of the better uses for a gun, I'm not sure that it should always be used in a dispute about a band's name, but...</p> <p>CC:  No.  Probably not.  I just can't get over the irony that that one band gave your band's name more a layer of validity because you now are the living dead.  You are the singing, living dead.</p> <p>Colin:  That is true. (Laughs) I don't want anyone to get too carried away with that aspect of our band's name because they may want to take it a stage further and we're just nice guys that go out and play tunes.  I don't want anyone to look too deeply into that.</p> <p>CC:  Exactly.  But you already died in a car accident and you're still singing, so The Zombies are real.</p> <p>Colin:  Absolutely.</p> <p>---------------------------------------------------</p> <p><b>The Zombies @ The Neptune - 9/18/2018</b></p> <p>That was the end of my conversation with Colin and on the Tuesday following this interview my wife and I got a chance to see The Zombies perform live at The Neptune in Seattle. Colin was telling the truth when he said that they really just love to play music and they did so without pretense, despite the legacy they've already left us. The new songs were great, these guys are clearly continuing their musical explorations and working to ever-improve their ample skills, but hearing them sing their old songs, those twelve timeless gems from <em>Odessey and Oracle</em> along with some of their other, older hits... it was pure time warp. Colin's voice has maintained and strengthened fantastically.  He sings with power and control, hitting notes with the same purity and beauty that he hit them back in 1967.  His falsetto hums and his tone is impeccable... at moments I closed my eyes and felt transported to an era I've only ever been able to experience through my imagination, but having his voice and those musical sounds to accompany my imagination brought a unique level of clarity to the vision. Rod Argent, the other founding member still touring with The Zombies, also hasn't missed a beat with his runs on the keyboard.  Both Argent and Blunestone clearly love what they're doing and it was a pure pleasure to watch and listen to them do it.  Anyone with an appreciation for solid rock &amp; roll, from any era, should take the opportunity to catch these masters as they both remind us of the magic they've woven in the past and introduce us to the new wonders they're imparting us with today.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thezombiesmusic.com/" target="_blank">The Zombies</a> will be on tour in the U.S. &amp; Europe through to February 17th, 2019.</p> <p>For more information, visit:</p> <p><a href="https://www.thezombiesmusic.com/" target="_blank">https://www.thezombiesmusic.com/</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.colinblunstone.net/" target="_blank">http://www.colinblunstone.net/</a></p> <p><a href="http://rodargent.com/" target="_blank">http://rodargent.com/</a></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3771&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="B6lla7dB7AvxbY-cKbjOmssS6RdQRmA2ZtxsszA2wo4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 20:51:36 +0000 C. Jefferson Thom 3771 at http://culturecatch.com Album of the Week: Music From Big Pink http://culturecatch.com/node/3765 <span>Album of the Week: Music From Big Pink</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 14, 2018 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/441" hreflang="en">music</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/417" hreflang="en">vinyl</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sWNgvsv243A?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Can you imagine the shock waves that this album caused upon its release in 1968? At the height of the psychedelic rock era? Some critics have suggested that it spawned the "Americana" music movement. George Harrison and Eric Clapton even cited The Band and this album as steering their future careers via their/its "roots" sound. In fact, Clapton was so knocked out by them, he wanted to join them.</p> <p>"I was given an acetate of <em>Big Pink</em> back in England and it shook me to the core," he said during a press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival to promote his doc, <em><a href="http://www.tiff.net/tiff/eric-clapton-life-in-12-bars/?v=eric-clapton-life-in-12-bars">Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars</a></em>.</p> <blockquote> <p>"I was in Cream at the time with already the notion that it wasn't going in the right direction, and I thought, well this is what it is. I knew who (guitarist) Robbie Robertson was but I didn't realize that was their group. I thought they just appeared. I thought they were all from the Mississippi Delta."</p> </blockquote> <p>Clapton even went as far as traveling to Woodstock to "jam" with The Band, but alas they were quite happy with Robbie on lead guitar. Clapton was so inspired that he wold quit Cream and begin his own solo career odyssey.</p> <p>As far as debut albums, it doesn't get much better than this for any act. Certainly helps to have had the opportunity to tour, play and record with Bob Dylan prior to recording this masterpiece. The opening track, the epic and ragged love ballad "Tears of Rage," co-written by Dylan and Richard Manuel, sets the tone for what is to follow. It's easy to get lost in the ramshackle vibe and synergy that was created by Robbie Robertston (guitar), Rick Danko (bass, vocals), Richard Manuel (keyboards, vocals), Levon Helm (drums, vocals) and Garth Hudson (keyboards and accordion).  John Simon's production has so much breathe that you feel like you're literally sitting in the middle of the studio. The new remix and remastering adds additional subtle tonal hues that draw the listener in. Their inter-band harmony vocals have never sounded more ragged or more beautiful. The interweaving of the keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums from song to song hangs together like master paintings inside a national art gallery. </p> <p>Can you imagine what it must have been like hearing any of these songs on the radio back in the day? Robbie Roberston's beloved classic "The Weight" — a traveling song about Robbie visiting the Martin guitar factory in “Nazareth” Pennsylvania and written on a Martin guitar — has stood the test of time as one of the greatest songs ever committed to vinyl. And the album closes with two majestic Dylan tracks -- "This Wheel's on Fire" by Dylan and Danko and another Dylan timeless classic, the redemptive gospel-fueled ballad "I Shall Be Released." These two tracks, along with others on The Band’s debut, were born during <i>The Basement Tapes</i> rehearsals and recordings that gave birth to this majestic album.</p> <p>It was no happy accident that <em>Music from Big Pink</em> would usher in a new sound. Moreover, it would be the first of many extraordinary albums they would record and share with the world. With the release of this remixed and remastered two-LP set on 180-gram 45 r.p.m. vinyl, Capitol may usher in a whole new generation of singer-songwriters, musicians, and bands to follow suit. Music should be inspirational, and music this well conceived and executed should continue to inspire and inform musicians and listeners alike. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3765&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="U8xqhkL9A401sLGCMil4_P7btevhuRvQ64EqZzyMFRs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 14 Sep 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Dusty Wright 3765 at http://culturecatch.com 9/11 http://culturecatch.com/node/3766 <span>9/11</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 10, 2018 - 17:20</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/566" hreflang="en">9/11</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/127" hreflang="en">music video</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8QvGfCOqSy8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>From my friend <a data-hovercard="/ajax/hovercard/user.php?id=564037016&amp;extragetparams=%7B%22fref%22%3A%22mentions%22%7D" data-hovercard-prefer-more-content-show="1" href="https://www.facebook.com/daniel.schneider.3532?fref=mentions&amp;__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARDkTU7UnQXXPcZduiTJovjxaU24Ahxn1pQaxs_Cdv72p9CfPAO3PBtbb4loqED0aDojtRh_7MKJXIkKRGwaxzYzAB_OkDy5-oLc-gGbUi7ySVCWZFH1C0k9Xb6LUXL3m8_hi_tgvO6-7KOAMO1zYT4rRvRkDBFx85uU8VWCbtYmuqjHD7bwb2Y&amp;__tn__=K-R">Daniel Schneider</a>'s son Max -- one talented young man -- and Joey Bada$$. Tonight on ESPN from 7-8 PM EST, their 9/11 Memorial video of "Still New York" will be premiered as part of a new documentary. It should be on approximately 7:50 PM. Please set your DVRs if you can't see it live.  </p> <blockquote> <p>"On the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, ESPN will explore how sports helped the nation heal following one of the darkest days in US history.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Produced in conjunction with the National September 11 Memorial &amp; Museum in New York, the E:60 presentation of <em>Comeback Season</em>: <em>Sports After 9/11</em>. Anchored by Mike Greenberg, it will include interviews, features and memories from athletes, coaches, families and others whose stories marked key emotional milestones in sports following the 9/11 attacks.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3766&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="3vjtRjVxVglrJ5rZnE6cRmnjdLYEW19pxMFO8m6l-tg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 21:20:29 +0000 Dusty Wright 3766 at http://culturecatch.com Shiny and Oh So Billy http://culturecatch.com/node/3760 <span>Shiny and Oh So Billy</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/c-jefferson-thom" lang="" about="/users/c-jefferson-thom" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">C. Jefferson Thom</a></span> <span>August 30, 2018 - 17:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/556" hreflang="en">Billy Corgan</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/557" hreflang="en">Smashing Pumpkins</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/413" hreflang="en">music review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mjs3_Kkn05w?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I am, and have been for multiple decades now, a fairly ardent fan of The Smashing Pumpkins. For years they maintained a constant home in my CD player and I listened to their catalog religiously throughout my twenties, ruining their music for one of my college roommates by overplaying his initial affinity into irritation. I finally got to catch The Pumpkins live back in 2000 on the tour for <i>Machina, </i>and the very next day they announced on the radio that they were breaking up. I thought I would never get to see The Smashing Pumpkins again and, though I have been to two of their concerts since...I was correct.</p> <p>The Smashing Pumpkins have toured a number of times since their initial break-up, each time presenting a rotating cast of band members with Corgan as the only constant. One of those times I caught them at Terminal 5 in NYC with Billy Corgan as the only original member. That show wasn't worth talking about, but this current tour is.</p> <p><em>Shiny and Oh So Bright</em> is a serious endeavor of impressive production quality: multiple costume changes, sharply coordinated light shows, original videos displayed on towering, moving screens. Corgan even brought back original bandmates Jimmy Chamberlin (drums) and James Iha (guitar), though bassist D'arcy Wretzky wasn't included (there are stories that she was initially invited and then had her invitation rescinded; Billy's version differs). Both Chamberlin and Iha were excellent as always; Jimmy remains one of the best drummers I have ever had the privilege of seeing perform live. However, even with all these pieces in place, something didn't match up to that first Pumpkins concert I vividly remember. I would have much preferred to have seen Wretzky on bass, but she had already left the band by the <i>Machina </i>tour when I saw them, so that wasn't it...</p> <p>While it isn't uncommon for a band to pull from a consistent selection of songs on a tour with only moderate variations in order and tunes played, it is unusual for them to play a three-hour set of the same songs in the same basic order night after night. The latter is the case with this tour, making it feel more like following the song list in a program for a musical than the set list for a band. Not a real complaint, but it was odd to be able to know with almost 100% certainty which song was coming next. These Pumpkins work their way through an extensive list of fan favorites, from their debut release <i>Gish </i>to the final release of their original manifestation, <i>Machina</i>. They played each song with conviction and intensity and their musicianship was tight, so no complaints there. They are not going through the motions on this tour but rather giving the music its due respect, and if you're eager to engage in some legitimate '90s nostalgia and want to hear the songs on their recurring set list, then buy a ticket and go -- but there was still something strange about the experience. It didn't hit me at first, but slowly the thought occurred to me. Underneath the very professional surface of a finely tuned and smoothly running performance was the nagging realization that this feels less like seeing a band in concert and more like catching a Vegas revue of a once popular act, starring Billy Corgan.</p> <p>While it is undeniable that Billy was always the key and most contributing figure of The Smashing Pumpkins, there was a time when they were much more of a genuine band. In some ways D'arcy isn't the only band member who has been left behind -- while Jimmy and James were certainly present on stage, it felt as though they were relegated to the role of guest artists rather than fellow band members. Sure, James got to sing his well-known Pumpkins love song, "Blew Away," but even this seemed like a bit of a concession, as Billy left the stage for this moment ,then returned to get back to playing his music. If there's any question about this being a frontman's vanity project, just look to the new video content created for this show and you will notice that it is extremely Billy-centric. There are brief moments where Jimmy and James appear in clips from old videos (again, absolutely no D'arcy), but all the new material is pure Billy: childhood Billy pictures, Billy-like cartoons, current-day Billy in videos with attractive younger women -- the one unifying component is always Billy.</p> <p>Finding a balance between accepting Billy for who he is as a person and the amazing music he has created is something that long-term Pumpkins fans have to make their own peace with at some point. While there are few songs penned by Corgan from his 1991-2000 releases that don't betray the touch of his musical brilliance, I have almost never heard anything but negative and horrifying stories about him otherwise. These dark tales would have one believe that he is a self-absorbed, difficult prick, and the underlying impression from this present tour doesn't contradict the theme that it's all about him.</p> <p>Without a doubt the weirdest and most off-putting moments of the evening were the videoed guest appearances made by Mark McGarth as vaudeville-styled interludes, leaving audience members to ponder "Is that 'Sugar Ray' and what the hell is he doing here?!"  Aside from the overlap of both artists performing in the early '90s, these interjections seem random at best. Either way, these clips drag on with an obnoxious energy, only working to conjure memories of songs better left forgotten.</p> <p>All this raises the question: What is the purpose of this tour? Was it really for us, the fans, to take a moonlit stroll together down memory lane and revisit a time when Rock was still king? Was Billy feeling lonely, is he looking to revitalize his performance career and pave the way for a new album, or is it just about the money?  I actually in some ways hope it's the latter; at least that would be relatively honest. All that being said, it was an enjoyable experience, just not nearly as meaningful as the one from my younger years. Maybe I'm just getting old.  Maybe Billy's getting even older.  Or maybe, like an enraged rodent in captivity once said, "time is never time at all, you can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth"...or significant parts of the band that once meant so much to you.</p> <p>The nightmare rides on with tour dates in the U.S. through September 5th, then moves on to Canada and Europe, wrapping up in Bologna, Italy on October 18th.  For more information visit: <a href="http://www.smashingpumpkins.com/" target="_blank">http://www.smashingpumpkins.com/</a></p> <p>Set list from the Seattle, Key Arena performance (virtually identical to all other set lists I've seen from this tour): <a href="https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-smashing-pumpkins/2018/keyarena-seattle-wa-73e8cafd.html" target="_blank">https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-smashing-pumpkins/2018/keyarena-seattle-wa-73e8cafd.html</a></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3760&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="Es-EIe3Z7E5XJZEGVoJLc5UrqNOCNgWF_xLDB0cU0as"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 21:53:29 +0000 C. Jefferson Thom 3760 at http://culturecatch.com Video of the Week: "One For Chuck" http://culturecatch.com/node/3755 <span>Video of the Week: &quot;One For Chuck&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 23, 2018 - 18:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/441" hreflang="en">music</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/127" hreflang="en">music video</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GrceMvKUCP4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>A little slice of funky, eye-popping psychedelia from the album <em>Let It Wander </em>(Rhino), the second long player from guitarist/singer-songwriter Neal Casal's quartet <a href="https://www.circlesaroundthesun.com" target="_blank">Circles Around the Sun</a> aka CATS. With an intro from the legendary Chuck D – the charismatic leader of the legendary rap group Public Enemy! Formed in 2015 -- with keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Casal's bandmate in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood), along with bassist Dan Horne and drummer Mark Levy -- to record some Grateful Dead-influenced instrumentals to be played during the set breaks at the Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concerts, the band was too good not to continue to record new songs and go on  tour. Catch them when you can.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3755&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="h879vRi5ohWlR6LKd02JZcHXFMPxBqgAcYsW7h6D0r0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 23 Aug 2018 22:19:53 +0000 Dusty Wright 3755 at http://culturecatch.com RIP, Ms. Franklin http://culturecatch.com/node/3751 <span>RIP, Ms. Franklin</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 16, 2018 - 11:08</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/441" hreflang="en">music</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/547" hreflang="en">soul</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/548" hreflang="en">R&amp;B</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Vyx34kgHGng?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed the world of popular music as a whole. In particular, her Atlantic Records songs are known by everyone. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-fueled. She will always been remembered best for her string of '60s hits with Atlantic Records -- "Chain of Fools," "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and several others.  She was the epitome of "Lady Soul," unrivaled by those pop and R&amp;B singers who were her peers and who would follow in her shadow.  The Queen of Soul has passed on, but her dynamic voice and her spirit shall live on. The world of music lost another giant today. Watch this remarkable concert from the Filmore West from 1971 to witness her action. RIP, Aretha Franklin, I shall say a little prayer for you and your family.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3751&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="lCgD0osFg4Gp7EJkPG2S9ypadsS4MDb28h2eKFWg4X4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 15:08:23 +0000 Dusty Wright 3751 at http://culturecatch.com