Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Night Party with Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand • Donna Summer

Sometimes, all you need is a great song, a voice like Streisand, and the volume turned up loud. At least that can be what I need. I mean, check out when she sings the theme song to the 1979 movie The Main Event live about 20 years after she recorded the disco hit. Here she is singing The Main Event (Fight). Crank up those speakers!

Here Barbra is singing live and joined on stage by Barry Gibb to sing Guilty, written by Barry and his brothers, Robin and Maurice. The album was really amazing, and I think still underrated to this day.

No, can one song hold two amazing voice without exploding? No, it can't, as Barbra and Donna Summer prove when the shear brilliance of their voices explode all over No More Tears (Enough Is Enough). With lesser voices, this song would not exist.

Sometimes Streisand could get a bit on the bluesy side, and that is the case when she made a television appearance with Ray Charles. She sang Sweet Inspiration with Ray on the piano and brought the pot to a boil!

INXS • The Swing


My love for Aussie music is nothing new. In 1982, I discovered a really cool Australian band when I heard the song, Don't Change. I was reminded of them when I saw the news they had a new lead singer, Ciaran Gribbon. I will admit I was not the slightest bit interested in the collaboration with Rock Star: INXS winner J.D. Fortune, but will be interested in checking out the sound with Gribbon. But what I remember is the bold statement the music of INXS made almost 30 years ago, and how I just immediately responded to it. So I was quite excited in 1984 when they released The Swing. I immediately had to go out and buy it!

INXS The Swing

Of course, INXS were Garry Gary Beers, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, and Michael Hutchence. In fact, save for the late Hutchence, they are still together. Sexy, smart and bold, INXS had it all going on. All the boys were easy on the eyes, and had a smooth and easy personae that was quite sexy. Take a look at the first single off The Swing, Original Sin.

Somehow, they managed to take on religion and racial politics all the while remaining sultry. They maintained a Rock edge with the strong guitars, and the growl of Michael Hutchence's vocals. And for the second single, I Send A Message, the boys brought out a Pop sound that had a raw edge, with the driving guitar and sexy sax pushing the sound.

The next single, Burn For You, was a hot and sultry love song. Of course, there was a certain point when you had to admit everything Hutchence sang was given a sexy sheen by his involvement.

There is a sweet beginning to the final single off The Swing, Dancing On The Jetty. As the song builds in the first minute or so, you get a bit more, as the layered production comes together. The song moved from sweet tune to a motion for the youth to come together for world peace. And some great musical licks along the way.

For more about the band, check out their official website here. You can also find them on Facebook here, and on Twitter here. You can find their music on all the music sites. To purchase The Swing, go to iTunes here or Amazon here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Videos From B.Slade™

With the brilliance of his Diesel album still ringing in my soul, there are two new videos I am happy to post here. First up is a clip from The Daily Buzz, as B.Slade rocks out on Papi Figure.

Then there is also an intriguing video for the beautiful song, Start. The R&B ballad is a wonderfully textured track, and the richness of color on the video and the imagery suits it all very well.

You can find Diesel on iTunes here, and on BandCamp here. You can also find it on here. You can find out more about B.Slade at this official website here. He also has an active Twitter page here, and on Tumblr here.

Worth Another Listen • Tiffany

Tiffany Tiffany

Every generation/decade has them, you just have to pay attention. Who? The Teen Queens, that is who. In the 60s, we had Patty Duke, who parlayed her successful acting career into a couple of album releases. The 90s had a mess of them, including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lindsay Lohan, and Hilary Duff. The turn of the century gave us Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. Well, in the 80s, we had a couple, Kylie Minogue, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, for example. Tiffany was renown for a successful run on Star Search, finishing up 2nd in the 1985 Junior Vocalist competition, and following that up with a tour of malls around the nation to bring her music to the fans. In 1987 she became the first Star Search contestant to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her hit cover of I Think We're Alone Now, originally sung by Tom James and The Shondells. A recent Old Navy commercial reminded me of it.

While it was easy to pass off her success for various reasons, it was tough to deny she had a voice that was strong. The girl could sing, a fact that was often overlooked with jokes about mall tours and reality game shows. She and Debbie Gibson were putting out music that was directed at the young kids, who couldn't get enough. She followed up her initial success with Could've Been, a lovely ballad that made it to #1 in 1988.

The next single, All This Time, made it to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the first single off her sophomore album, Hold An Old Friend's Hand, released later in 1988. Unfortunately, it was Tiffany's last trip to the Top 10.

As is wont to happen, musical tastes change, and to bold Pop of the 80s gave way to Grunge and Rap in the 90s, and soon the Teen Queens were working hard to maintain careers amidst the shift. Acting became an option, with Gibson going to Broadway, and Tiffany giving voice to Judy in The Jetsons: The Movie.


In March of this year, Tiffany released a new album, A Rose Tattoo. It is her foray into Country music. The first single, Feel The Music, was co-written by Tiffany with Julie Forester and Dee Briggs.

For more about Tiffany, you can check out her official website here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

GLEE Redux • I Am Unicorn

Glee Season 3

Honestly, I missed this episode of GLEE as I was at a high school soccer match, and am beginning to think the athletics program at Smyrna High didn't take the GLEE schedule into consideration when making the soccer schedule. Once again, I thought I'd continue to do my coverage of the show, in my own special way. I use the original artists when possible of the songs from the show, but in relationship to the GLEE storyline. Hope you enjoy.

Well, once we dispense with the recap, we find out that Brittany wants to help Kurt in his bid to become senior class president, for she sees him as a unicorn.That is, no matter what he has gone through, Kurt has never forgotten how special he is. She'd like to help him win, since she doesn't think she is smart enough to hold office. We also learn that since Vocal Adrenaline has fired their coach, and I am sad no more Cheyenne Jackson! Mr. Schuester wants to focus on the Glee Squad winning this year, so he puts Coach Beiste and Miss Pillsbury in charge of the school musical, West Side Story. Rachel is not happy. Mr. Schue offers Artie the chance to co-direct the musical with the teachers. And he has Mike instruct Finn, Mercedes, Kurt, and Blaine on their dancing skills, in hopes of winning Nationals.


Shelby Corcoran, aka Rachel's birth mother and adoptive parent of Quinn and Puck's baby (Beth), comes to McKinley High to head up a second Glee club, featuring the talentless Sugar Motta. The club is funded by Sugar's wealthy and indulgent father. Shelby realizes she needs to reach out to the kids. Meanwhile, Quinn and Skanks are busting kids for their lunch money, and Sue steps in to make Quinn an offer. If Quinn agrees to be part of a campaign video as the girl who lost everything because of "The Arts," Sue will make her popular once again. Quinn agrees.


Brittany is at Kurt's house, showing him her ideas, including a swag bag she plans to call "Kurt's Bulging Pink Fun Sack." Including in the sack are ruby red heels, a teletubby, rainbow flags and a unicorn, among other things. Kurt tries to be nice, but he is worried what Brittany has done is just too, well, gay. Brittany is a bit hurt, but tries to listen. He wants something more understated, less, well, gay. More Judy Garland glamor....

Quinn and Puck see Shelby, and Corcoran offers Quinn the chance to be a part of Beth's life, provided she cleans up her life. Quinn has her say, and leaves. Puck looks at the camera, and my heart melts. Dance camp begins, and we find out Blaine is auditioning for West Side Story, and Kurt suddenly realizes that Blaine would be perfect for Tony, but Blaine reads the situation, and will audition for Bernardo, or Officer Krupke. After all, he is just a junior, and the lead should go to a senior, right? This can not end well.

As Rachel rehearses for the auditions, Shelby stops in. There is great discomfort, and she tells her to audition with Somewhere.

Rachel starts to sing, and soon Shelby is singing at her side. Cut to the auditions, and she receives a standing "O" from the directors. Sue is shooting her scripted documentary about Quinn, and has her go in to Mr. Schue's office to blame the arts and the glee club for her problems. For once, Mr. Schue has a backbone, and tells Quinn to quit playing the victim, and blaming the people who stood by her time and time again.

Puck stops by Shelby's apartment, eager to prove to her he is doing whatever he can to be able to see Beth. When he does, it is a beautiful moment. It is Kurt's time to audition, and he performs I'm The Greatest Star from Funny Girl.

Of course, he had Rachel's permission to perform Barbra. He sings and swings his way around a scaffolding that was build specifically for this audition. And he gets a huge ovation from all there. Puck stops in the see Quinn, and tells her she needs to get her act together. He saw their baby, and she is beautiful, and looks like the old Quinn.

Kurt overhears Artie, Miss Pillsbury and Coach Beiste talking about casting, and how he might be "too delicate" for the role of Tony. He goes to find Rachel for help, and finds Brittany and Santana hanging pink posters of Kurt riding a unicorn. He melts down a bit, shouting for them to come down as he pulls Rachel in for the emergency audition meeting. Brittany fears she has failed her unicorn, but Santana tells her it is a great campaign, and Kurt doesn't deserve the campaign or Brittany as a manager.


Rachel and Kurt take the stage to show his ability to play 'straight', as they do a scene form Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. everyone is laughing at him, and he leaves the stage at a run. Quinn goes to see Shelby, who is finishing up a lesson with the delusional Sugar. Shelby shows her a picture of Beth with Puck, and Quinn starts to cry. Shelby tells her she needs to figure out who she is, and stop blaming herself for what she did as a child.

We get to see Finn at work in the garage, and Rachel is visiting. She is talking about being nervous about casting, and he assures her she will get the role. He talks about staying in Ohio, and working as a mechanic, and she tells him if it makes him happy, sure. But she thinks he is better than that, destined for greatness. Kurt is there as well, and we get our first Burt Hummel sighting. Kurt is complaining that he is too gay, and will never get cast as the romantic lead he wants to play. Burt tells him to get over it, he is gay, and if the roles aren't there, he needs to write them. Like Quinn, he is basically told to stop playing the victim.


Dance camp is back, and Finn is struggling with the moves. He gets a pep talk from Mr. Schue, and miracle of miracles, he does the dance. As the cheers from everyone die down, we see Quinn standing there, looking all blond and sweet. She wants back into Glee, and everyone is more than happy to welcome her. Puck tells her how proud he is, only to be cut off, and told she wants full custody of Beth, and if pretending to be her old self is what it takes...

In the teacher's lounge, Sue comes up on Miss Pillsbury, Coach Beiste, and Mr. Schue, and tells how she is making her hatred of the arts of brand, and she is selling it big time. She is leading the field of candidates, and the teachers want to figure out what to do to stop her. Kurt is in the hallways, hanging up his new posters, much like the ones Brittany suggested in the beginning. He see her, and apologizes. She is thrilled, but tells her she is running as well. Blaine has his turn to audition, and sings Something's Coming.

He is, of course, brilliant. Kurt looks down from the balcony, smiling proudly at the talent of his boyfriend. The directors applaud and Coach Beiste even wipes a tear from her eye. Then Artie notices he is auditioning for Bernardo. He ask him if he would audition for the role of Tony. Blaine stumbles for an answer. The color drains from Kurt's face, and he leaves the theater.


End show. I enjoyed this episode. There were fewer songs, and we got a whole lot of story going on. I like that. At times, this show can get lost in the music, and forget to tell the story of the kids. In this episode, no one was doing it better than Quinn, Puck, and Kurt. Well done!

What will Blaine do? How will Kurt handle it? Will Brittany be the next class president? Will Quinn do anything to get her daughter back? Guess we'll have to tune in to see.

Cover Boy • Dave Patten


I have been enjoying the music by Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Dave Patten for a couple of years now, and am so happy for him that he is starting to get some radio time with his self-produced music.And while he records and releases original music, he did do at least one cover than I know of, a really nice one of Maroon 5's Sunday Morning. The acoustic vibe fits this video so very well.

You can find out more about Dave Patten at his official website here. You can purchase his music on the familiar places, like iTunes, Amazon, and the like.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Matt Doyle • Daylight

Matt Doyle
Matt Doyle

Matt Doyle has a pretty impressive resume, including big roles on the stage as well as on television. The out and proud actor has been featured on Broadway in Spring Awakening, Bye Bye Birdie, and currently in War Horse. He was also brought in to sing the role of Peter in the recording of Bare: A Pop Opera. He was cast in the recurring role of Jonathan in the CW's hit Gossip Girl. He's also been seen in the films Private Romeo and Once More With Feeling. So what might this talented young man do in his free time? Apparently, he writes and records music, as evidenced by his EP, Daylight.

Matt Doyle Daylight Cover

The sing-song collection is a blues-inspired work, reminiscent of some great Memphis blues recordings. There are 5 original songs, co-written by Doyle with Will Van Dyke, opening with My Arms Are Open. There is such a nice fullness and depth to his voice. There is also an underlying flirtatiousness, a little sexy growl. Check out Matt performing the song live at the CD release.

The EP is cradled in the arms of the blues/pop music so many of us love. The bluesiest of the lot is Lost And Lookin', the one cover on the EP. It was written by James Alexander, James W. Alexander, Lowell Jordan and originally sung by the incredible Sam Cooke in 1963. It is so nice Doyle found this one. He sounds amazing on it. He sounds great on What Do You Gain?, too, giving himself a chance to wail a bit. His voice certainly holds up to what is asked of it, and the song is the better for it. Weigh Me Down is perhaps the Poppiest of the songs, a searching ballad that gives the softer side of his voice a chance to whisper to us before the soaring chorus steps in. The final track on the EP, Home, brings me back to some of my favorite singer/songwriters from the 70s, like Karla Bonoff. The introspective quality is so nice. I thought I would leave you with a video of Doyle singing If Morning Can't Wait, the second track off Daylight.

For more about Matt Doyle, you can visit him on Facebook here and on Twitter here. You can find Daylight on Itunes here, CD Baby here, and Amazon here.

Christopher Dallman • Light The Love EP

Christopher Dallman - Light The Love Cover

Light The Love is here, and I couldn't be more excited! I quickly ask myself what do I love most about Christopher Dallman, and I am not sure I have an answer for that one. Certainly, his textured and nuanced vocals figure in greatly. Could it be the soul searching lyrics, his ability to ask the questions I often ask myself? Or the deft hand with the melody that sets him apart? I'd have to go with "D," all of the above. I love just about everything about his music, and get so damn giddy when he is close to releasing another. Yes, I have obsessively collected them all! Like now, with Light The Love.

Christopher Dallman

So, it is downloaded, and I have listened twice. I want more, but decide to get my first impressions on here. Buy it. Buy it now. I love this 5-song collection. The first cut gives the EP the title. It is amazing, and I can't help but get excited. I found this bootleg clip of Dallman performing the song out West to you to get a feeling.

So let me return to the details. Light The Love is the latest EP by the talented singer/songwriter Christopher Dallman, released today,September 27, 2011. Dallman wrote all five songs on the EP. George Sanford, a talented man in his own right, served as producer for the effort. The first two tracks, Light The Love and Count The Shadows, have not been recorded before. The are amazing songs, as you can hear in the clip above. The next two tracks, Subterranean and Hard To Breathe, could be found on the EP Live In LA he released in the summer of 2010. Needless to say, the performance has grown since that first live show, and it is so nice to hear them. The final cut, Right On Time, could be found on his first album, Race The Light, released eight years ago. What an amazing song to revisit, and to really give a new treatment to.

So, yeah, I love this thing. And I think you should cough up the money to buy it - I mean, it is under $5. The songs are exceptional, and should be in your collection. You owe it to you ears, your heart, and your soul. You can find Light The Love on iTunes here and on Amazon here. And you can learn more about Christopher Dallman by stopping by his official website here. Did you buy it yet? Yeah, I knew you'd love it, too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mikey Wax • Constant Motion

Mikey Wax Mikey Wax
Mikey Wax Mikey Wax

I have been a fan of Mikey Wax since I came across a YouTube video of the young man singing a cover of La Vie En Rose. From that moment on, I have followed his career, and purchased and enjoyed his music. So I was thrilled to hear he was back in the studio working on new material, and took the first opportunity to place my pre-order for Constant Motion!

Constant Motion Cover

So I was thrilled when it was released last week, and have given it several good listens. I do think the 11-song collection is Mikey's strongest to date, offering up a stronger Pop sound. Prior releases featured that very personal singer/songwriter feel, pulling the listener in. But Constant Motion explodes on the audience, coating everything with confectionery sugar, all delectably sweet and addictive. Like all great albums, we are taken on a journey that includes some twists and turns along the way. Here is a clip so Mikey can tell you a bit himself, and you can hear a sample of the music.

As you can hear from that video, there is a diversity in the music that keeps it interesting. There are moments when I hear the influences of some great 80s Pop, but the album always maintains a contemporary feel, a living and breathing in the moment, today. I would hope that in the several days since I got my copy, I would have been able to pick favorites by now, but I can't. I like them all, and like them very much. So I decided to go with what is ostensibly the title track, Counting On You.

That is the first track on the album, and it just exploded on to my eardrum on first listen, and with each subsequent time since. It makes me think this would be great to hear on the radio, but it sounds like nothing I can think of that is on the air. There is a freshness, and bold energy that comes out on this track. The second track, How It Feels, opens with a sound that pulls me back to classic hits by Go West or mid-80s Hall & Oates, yet still planted firmly in today.

I highly recommend Constant Motion. From start to finish, it offers on Pop confection after the other. To purchase Constant Motion, you can find it on iTunes here, on Amazon here, and get the physical CD at CD Baby here. You can order signed copies of this and other CD at his online store here. You can see me with my signed copy below.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumn is Here

Tis the season, my friends. It is now officially Autumn. So I thought I would pick some appropriate songs paired up with some photographs I had taken a few years ago here on the farm during the Fall.


Barbra Streisand Autumn from her album, People.


Marc Almond Autumn from the album Orpheus in Exile Songs of Vadim Kozin, which is indeed part of my collection.


Australian band Firekites have the beautiful song Autumn Story from the album, The Bowery.


Eva Cassidy sings her acoustic version of Autumn Leaves, from the Live at Blues Alley recording.


Sunday Morning with Diahann & Judy

Diahann Carroll & Judy Garland

To ease you into this Sunday morning, I thought I would offer the angelic voices of Judy Garland and Diahann Carroll singing a medley of songs by the great songwriters, Harold Arlen and Richard Rodgers. This was on the The Judy Garland Show, and aired in February of 1964. Both ladies had immense talent, and respect for one another. It shows in their performance.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Torch Circa 1967

Lena Horne Barbra Streisand
Shirley Bassey Aretha Franklin
Clockwise: Lena Horne; Barbra Streisand; Aretha Franklin; and Dame Shirley Bassey.

I wasn't quite sure what I was going to post tonight, so I cruised through YouTube, hoping to find a spark. I came across one video, then another. Both from 1967. The light went off, and here you have it. Four performances from 1967, by some of the strongest singers of the time. So break out the tissues, and pour your drink. I will start with the amazing and glorious Miss Lena Horne. With her beautiful voice and elegant style, she could sing anything. So here she sings Someday My Prince Will Come, from Walt Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, the 1937 animated feature. It was written by Larry Morey and Frank Churchill, and given new spark by Miss Horne.

Aretha Franklin was tearing up the charts in the 1960s, and this year was no exception. She went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and two weeks at #1 on the Hot Rhythm N' Blues Singles chart with her stunning Baby I Love You.

In 1967, Barbra Streisand was on her way to becoming the superstar we now know her to be. The following year, her first film, Funny Girl, will be released. She had some success on Broadway, and with records, but was still staking her claim on fame. So when she planned a live concert to be recorded in Central Park, some might have scoffed. Well, they shouldn't have. It was a big success, both live and when televised. Here she puts her own delectable spin on the classic, Cry Me A River.

The next song was originally written in French. Et Maintenant was written in 1961 by composer Gilbert Bécaud and lyricist Pierre Delanoë, Later the lyrics were translated by Carl Sigman. It was covered by many, as the song is an incredible anthem for the broken heart. Certainly the great Dame Shirley Bassey knew that, and delivered it will all the heartache one could stand. Here she is, singing What Now My Love?

Doctor Who • Closing Time

Photobucket Photobucket
Photobucket Photobucket

Tonight at 9PM/8PM Central, on BBC America, we have to opportunity to watch Closing Time, the latest episode of Doctor Who! In the 11th episode last season, we were introduced to Craig Owens, and he returns to the show tonight. Last year, he helped up see what a soccer star the Doctor might have been had he been born human, and on Earth. What can we figure out this time? After all, he dropped off Amy and Rory, like he was planning to go away, right? Watch the trailer.

Cybermen? Cyber Rats? Defenseless babies? Sounds exciting! For more about Doctor Who, check out the official site here and tune in tonight for more magic from Doctor Who!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Party Like It's 1984

Disco Ball
Eugene Wilde Jocelyn Brown
Photobucket Chaka Khan
Clockwise: Simplicious featuring Eugene Wilde; Jocelyn Brown; Chaka Khan; and Prince.

Ah, 1984. I was living in New York City, working off-Broadway theater, and forging a life with Bill. Honestly, I didn't have much money, but I did work in the heart of Greenwich Village, so while I didn't go out all that much, the music was everywhere. I worked at Sheridan Square, the corner of Seventh Avenue South and West 4th Street, right around the corner from The Monster, a gay club. Especially during the summer, you could hear the music rolling down the street from the club. Of course, it was not the only place playing dance music in the West Village, as you could hear a thumping bass line everywhere you went. One of those songs you were sure to hear was the #4 Dance song of the year, Let Her Feel It by Simplicious (featuring Eugene Wilde).

Not all the dance music for 1984 fell into the easily definable parameters of disco music. Take, for example, the next song on the count, Jocelyn Brown's Somebody Else's Guy. It starts out diva-balladish, but before you know it, Brown is taking it to new heights, both as a dance song, and as a soaring soul ballad. Damn, the woman can sing.

And if you wanna talk about a different kind of dance song, you never have to look further than Minneapolis native Prince and his anthemic Purple Rain. While there was an album and a movie with that same name, I am referring to the song of that name, the one that swept the nation in 1984. It was also sweeping the clubs, and was the #2 Dance song of the year.

But in 1984, there was nothing that could touch the success of Chaka Khan's I Feel For You. Well, interestingly enough, the song was written by Prince, and was on 1979 self-titled album. Chaka brought with her the rapping of Melle Mel, and Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica. And, of course, her huge performance with that amazing voice, immense talent, and all that hair!


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