Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Long John Baldry • Cuckoo & Baldry's Out

Long John Baldry photo long-john-baldry-1968_zps73a13380.jpg

From his time as a handsome Pop star in the 1960s, to fronting a couple of bands, Long John Baldry eventually found his way to singing the Blues in the 1970s. It was the music he loved, and where he felt the most comfortable. But even in the 1960s, when he was hitting the UK Pop charts with hits like "Let The Heartache Begin", he was laying down his blue-eyed-soul vibe down like few could. That would include on his 1966 recording "Cuckoo",  which I love. I have it on the album 'Looking at Long John: The UA Years', a yummy collection, by the way. Please enjoy his recording of "Cuckoo".

Between the 1960s and the 1970s, Long John changed up his style and his look a bit. His matinee idol headshots were replaced by pictures of a Blues man, someone with a career aimed at touring clubs, not scheduling an appearance on 'Top of the Pops'. Hell, I think he looks good either way. His voice had a more pronounced rasp, giving is more of an edge than he had earlier. Could have been spending all that time in clubs, I suppose.

Long John Baldry photo Long-John-Baldry-Baldrys-Out_zps3ccbc495.jpg

I wanted to get the week off to a rousing start with a little bit of boogie-woogie, Long John style. In 1979, he released 'Baldry's Out', a tongue-in-cheek album title that not only referenced the title track, but also the fact the singer had been an out and proud gay man for some time already. There is a saucy feel to the album, which combined a few classics, like his version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", the Righteous Brothers classic written by Phil Spector, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil. Long John sang it as a duet with Kathi MacDonald, and it made it on the charts in both the United States and Canada. It was a surprise hit in Australia, where the song went to #2 on the Pop charts. Bill Medley, of the Righteous Brothers, classed this the best remake of the song. But like I said, I wanted to have a bit of boogie, so here is the title track, "Baldry's Out".

Unfortunately, neither album is available on online in the US. You can find it one music stores, like Amazon, as an import. Have a swinging week!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dark Monday • I Can See It

Sam Harris photo Sam_Harris_zps8ca2086f.jpg

I still remember the first time I saw Sam Harris, a young singer from Oklahoma. He was appearing on 'Star Search' in 1983, coming out on stage with his fluffy mullet, high top sneakers, his long formal jackets with the big flower in the lapel. What is this funny little man going to do?, I wondered. Then he started singing. The firs time hearing Sam sing, you couldn't really help but stare, your jaw hanging open, not sure this was real. But it was. And I have no problem telling you I cheered for him the rest of his season. After all, he was Star Search's 'Kelly Clarkson'...

Sam Harris photo sam-harris_concert_zpsc81d5ea1.jpg

Sam was signed by Motown, and had some radio success. He also went on to play on Broadway, sharing that amazing instrument with so many. He also worked with other artists, and continued to sing live. At one show, he sang on of my favorites from the iconic off-Broadway musical, 'The Fantasticks'. I first discovered "I Can See It" on Barbra Streisand's "My Name Is Barbra" album, and thought it so wonderfully dynamic. When I thought about this post, I was interested to see who else might have sung the song, and was intrigued when Sam Harris came up. After all, he has that spectacular voice. And after listening, I so so very glad I did find it. So here is Sam Harris singing "I Can See It" from the 1960 musical 'The Fantasticks', written by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones.

Only recently, I mentioned Sam's collaboration with Levi Kreis for the new album. And only last week, Sam was on Jimmy Fallon's show 'recreating' his big moment on 'Star Search', when he sang "Over The Rainbow". For more about Sam Harris, visit his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook, and 'follow' him on Twitter.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bobby Jo Valentine • Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

Rain July 28, 2013 photo Rain003_zps031c1fe8.jpg
Rain in Delaware photo Rain001_zps7bc1da29.jpg Rain in Delaware photo Rain004_zps66452ce3.jpg
Bobby Jo Valentine - Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head photo BJV001_zpsfad65318.jpg
Above see the rain here on the farm, and the adorable Bobby Jo Valentine.

As the rain pours down in Delaware today, as you can see in the pictures above, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to share with you all a wonderful cover song from the talented and adorable Booby Jo Valentine. The song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1969 film, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", starring the stunningly handsome Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The song was a huge hit for B.J. Thomas, making it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in January of 1970. It also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. But here is Bobby Jo Valentine's version, worthy of an award, I think!

For more about Bobby Jo Valentine, visit his official website. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook. His latest album, 'Home', can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

BBC's Being Human - Pie And Prejudice

'Being Human' is the BBC's series that inspired the SyFy Channel's retooling. The series follows the lives of a supernatural trio, a ghost, vampire, and werewolf, as they live together and attempt to lead a 'normal' live. It blends domestic comedy and horror drama to tell the story. The show was a breakaway hit in the 2009 debut, the show continued with the success, with a hot new cast! However, it has been announced this is the final season.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_002_zps020aecc4.jpg
Being Human stars (left to right): Damien Molony, Michael Socha, and Kate Bracken.

When we last saw our sexy supernatural threesome, Hal and Tom, our vampire and werewolf respectively, had lost their jobs at the Barry Grand Hotel, but were being called back in. You know, the hotel where the Devil was staying, and talking people into suicide. Like Patsy, the boss with the crush on Hal. Alex had battled with the other realm, taking on the men with sticks and rope, and returned to the B&B. And Dominick Rook had introduced himself to Hal, explaining his job, and how his bureau was being abolished. What more can happen to our otherworldly creatures? We will find out tonight.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_001_zps89aab356.jpg

This week opens in a television studio, where a weatherman is recording his segment nine months ago. He's being a diva, sure the crew were trying to make him look bad. As he exits the studio, he is giving a woman a hard time on the phone, complaining about a recently purchased jacuzzi. On the way to the car, he drops his golf clubs, and when he looks up, he sees a snarling werewolf. After it scratches his shoulder, he beats it with his gold club.

 photo BHUKS5E3_015_zps2ef5b55f.jpg

Back in current time at the hotel, we learn Hal has been made acting manager of the place, as they are still trying to find Patsy. Tom is a bit jealous he wasn't asked to me the manager, and Alex is toying with Hal, tossing bits of food at him. As they argue, the weatherman walk in, still a lame ass as always. And Hal immediately identifies him as a werewolf. He is going to be speaking at the Hotel. When he begins his talk, the few audience members there sit silent, not finding his stories all that funny. Afterwards, Tom speaks to him in the men's room, impressed with the werewolf. However, the man seems oblivious to Tom's questions. He autographs a picture and is then on his way.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_003_zps33034c1c.jpg

At the bureau warehouse, Mr. Rook is losing it as he hears a politician on the radio, talking about cuts to government bureau's that are not pulling their weight. We leave as he starts to toss things around. At the B&B, Tom mocks Hal, who is dressed to visit his friend, Lady Mary. Tom warns him about hanging with other fangers, but Hal informs him she is not a vampire, but a ghost. Alex is not impressed he knows a lady ghost and not introduced her. As he visits with Lady Mary, Alex surprises them, and despite Hal's consternation, the Lady decides to try to help Alex with her 'finish'. She sends Hal away, and as soon as he is gone, the frail and blushing Lady Mary disappears, and the brash ghost comes out to play with Alex.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_009_zpsb8538f8d.jpg

Hal is trying to get a bead on what is up with Larry Chrysler, interested in getting him out of the Hotel. The weatherman takes food from the buffet by the bagful, and agrees to move on. In a dance club, a cursing Lady Mary hangs with Alex, and we learn she was once the posh Lady Hal knew, but through the decades has learned much about the world, although Hal can't see it. So she pretends with him. She is fascinated with Hal, having once had something with him, until she was killed. As they chat, Lady Mary is reading human minds, finding dark secrets and loving it. Indeed, she has changed with time. At the Hotel, Tom runs into Chrysler as he goes out, Tom commenting on the man scenting his trail with the chicken. Again, Chrysler seems oblivious.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_010_zps7eb75b36.jpg

Out at the club, Lady Mary and Alex are in the bathroom, which is rife with sex. It seems Lady Mary gets her thrills reading the minds of the couple having sex, not a great time for Alex. Tom is at work, and sees Chrysler coming in wearing an ill-fitting dress, talking about a big night out with some fans. Tom tells him he recognizes the signs, and he is a werewolf too. It seems Larry has never met another werewolf before. Tom wants to know the secret to his success. Chrysler babbles some, intent on learning more about Tom's living situation.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_007_zpsc8d481af.jpg

Speaking of which, Hal is back at the B&B, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, and Alex pops in to tell Hal his quiet Lady Mary is a lunatic. Alex fears crazy might be in her future, although Hal assures her they are very different. While Alex is not so sure, Tom is jumping around, and answers to door. It seems he was expecting Chrysler to come for a visit. He is going to tutor Tom to be successful, and will move in to do so. Alex and Hal are less than impressed with the idiot. Up in his room, Tom mentions he was surprised Larry was moving in to the B&B, but Chrysler bluffs his way through. Tom wants to start his training, and Chrysler has him read a silly self-help book, 'I Want All The Pie'. Tom seems enchanted with the man, wanting to be a success himself, to make his father proud. Chrysler gives the boy an ill-fitting suit, a beginning to the training. But he really could use some money, as his own is tied up in banks at the moment. Tom goes to work at the Hotel, wearing the jacket. He congratulates Hal on his promotion, they explains there is a new player in town, ready to compete with Hal for the glory. Tom moves through the dinging room as we hear the opening of the Flying Lizard's cover of the Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy song "Money", also covered by the Beatles.

Tom and Chrysler are in a car together, and Larry would like the young werewolf to break a windshield in a parking lot. Tom wants to know who owns the car, and after some double talk, Larry admits is was his, but now belongs to his ex-wife. After Tom refuses, Chrysler settles for letting the air out of the tires, which Tom does. Cut to Alex having a chat with Lady Mary, trying to figure things out. She discovers the elder ghost has had plenty of doors pop up, but she has ignored them all, to be there for Hal. Mary believes she is keeping Hal clean, and that she was his last victim. Alex thinks there are too many lies, and that Mary needs to come clean. But the Lady is afraid Hal might not like her any more. Alex invites her to come out of the castle, to her world.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_006_zps9b39c786.jpg

Back at the B&B, Hal has a chat with Chrysler, hoping his tutoring is progressing, and the werewolf will be on his way soon. We then see Mr. Rook struggling to figure out what is next for him, as he had only his job before, and is lost without it. He is talking on the phone, and opening up more than perhaps he should, and certainly more than he ever has before. After he says what he needs to, we see it is a phone sex line. Hal tried to talk to Tom at the B&B, explaining he fears Chrysler might not be the success they once thought. He explains the weatherman was fired six months before, but Tom only sees it as jealousy that Tom might have found a path to success. Hal calls the man a charleton, but Tom doesn't buy that at all. Chrysler might not be nice, but Tom is tried of being nice and finishing last. He feels he is letting his father down, settling instead of striving. Hal feels for the young wolf, but knows this can't continue.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_005_zps5c26a053.jpg

Alex bring Mary to the B&B, where she meets Tom and Larry, and immediately find no use in Chrysler. Tom invites her for dinner, and Alex tries to force some truth out of Hal. Meanwhile, Larry interrupts, asking about hygiene and sex. He presses on, and while Hal is in the kitchen, Mary gets a knife to Chrysler's neck. Then between his legs, and he leaves. Mary sees Hal glancing into the room, and pops back to the castle. Hal comes in, convinced Alex has 'broken' his Lady. She points out the Lady is faking it with Hal, to keep him off blood. Hal doesn't think Lady Mary could handle the truth, and leaves the room. Tom tells Alex her friend is a nutter, and she tells him his friends is a ass, and a letch.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_008_zpsa0a2c74f.jpg

Tom goes up to see his friend, and finds the mirror broken and his knuckles bleeding. Tom asks about when his tutor will be returning to the small screen, and gets a vague answer. He'd like to do some schooling at Larry's house, and see his jacuzzi. Of course he can't, since the older man's ex has the house, and he has nothing. Tom calls the man out, but Larry tries to deflect the talk. He speaks to how the wolf has changed him, added to his aggression, to his lust. Tom is not buying it, but leaves upset.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_011_zpsb5d3c10d.jpg

Lady Mary comes back, and Alex convinces her to be honest with her vampire suitor, and she comes clean. Hal tells her she was not his last victim, and has not kept him clean. She tells him off, and gives Alex the business as well before she pops out. Alex is also angry with Hal, but is interrupted by Chrysler, who was hiding behind the bar. He tells them Tom has left the house, and he plans to fill in for him, both on the job and in the house. Hal and Alex know where to find Tom, and go to McNair's grave to find him. Tom is down, thinking there is no way to succeed as a werewolf. No matter what success a wolf might have, they all end up in the woods, eating rabbit. The wolf is making Tom stupid, or so Tom believes. Hal is not happy, and tells Tom that even if that is true, he proves his worth by fighting it every day, much like he fights his bloodthirst. He tells him he is a success, and is, in fact, the best man he has ever known. But Tom has given up, and is crying in is tent. Hal storm back to the B&B, eager to get rid of Chrysler. He threatens the wolf, wanting him gone.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_004_zps20726b7f.jpg

In an empty room, we find Rook with a stopwatch and a gun. He hits go on the watch, and puts the gun to his head. Soon 30 seconds, then 45 pass. Back in the woods, Alex is talking to Tom, speaking of her fear of ending up like Lady Mary, a little crazy and alone. She needs an anchor, and that is Hal and Tom. He needs the werewolf to come home, to help her stay connected and not go crazy. Alex goes home, to give Hal her surprise. She finds him struggling with a stake, and Lady Mary is sitting in the corner, seeking revenge. No matter what Hal says, she continues to press the stake closer. Alex works her mind to save the vampire, only making Mary try harder. Tom walks in and grabs the stake, keeping it from Hal's heart.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_014_zpsd61c1ad7.jpg

Alex goes to Mary, and tells her to let go, for now Hal is not Mary's problem, but Tom's and Alex's. They will keep him clean, she can move on. Mary relents, and let's go of the stake. Alex and Mary are talking outside, Mary trying to figure out what might be in her future, like traveling. Alex bids adieu. Tom and Hal are talking inside, the vampire talking about Larry deciding to leave. Tom thanks Hal, and tells him he is a good bloke. As Tom walks down the hall, Hal remembers how things ended with Chrysler, as the werewolf picked a fight with the vampire, pushing and picking at him. The vampire comes out, and is soon choking the wolf with a lamp chord. As he falls unconscious, Hal realizes what he is doing. As Rook watches the stopwatch come up on a minute, he still has the pistol at his temple. As he is about to pull the trigger, his phone rings, It is Hal. He needs some help in cleaning up a mess, as Chrysler lies lifeless on the floor. Hal is upset, having killed again.

Being Human Season 5 Ep 3 photo BHUKS5E3_012_zpse8906d2c.jpg

Now that Rook is in their life, will he help with the Devil at work? Will the trio be able to return to a happy life, or has just too much gone on with them lately? Guess we won't know, until next week. 'Being Human' can be seen at 10PM on Saturday nights on BBC America! For more about the show, visit the official website here. You can purchase previous episodes from the fourth season on both iTunes and Amazon. You can also follow BBC America on Twitter, or like them on Facebook.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Great Ladies of Jazz • Abbey, Shirley, Lena & Nina

Abbey Lincoln photo Abbey-Lincoln_zps519be45f.jpg Shirley Horn photo Shirley_Horn_zps4a7a4173.jpg
Nina Simone photo nina-simone_zpsad1dac01.jpg Lena Horne photo horne-lena_zpsfdd09ae3.jpg
Clockwise: Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, Lena Horne, and Nina Simone.

While thinking about tonight, I found an album simple called 'The Great Ladies of Jazz' and felt inspired when I read the song list, I felt pretty damned inspired. While Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan had two songs each, I decided to go with the incredibly talented ladies who had one track on the compilation. First up, we have a woman I knew about, but didn't really know about the scope of her career. As a songwriter and a vocalist, she started working in the 1950s, singing Jazz and Pop, including an appearance in the 1956 film, 'The Girl Can't Help It', starring Jayne Mansfield. She wrote songs from her heart, and they often incorporated the civil rights issues of the day. In 1981, she released the album 'You Gotta Pay the Band', on which she wroked with the great Stan Getz. She recorded "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime", a song written in 1930 by lyricist E. Y. "Yip" Harburg and composer Jay Gorney, and was one of the best-known American songs of the Great Depression. It spoke to so many, talking about the core of the country, the workers who built it up. I hope you enjoy Abbey Lincoln as she sings "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime".

In an interesting side note, in the 1970s, The New York Times asked Harburg to update the lyrics of the song, trying to get a more current feel for a new generation. The man who wrote great lyrics for songs like "Over The Rainbow", "It's Only A Paper Moon", "April In Paris", "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?", "Down With Love", and "Lydia The Tattooed Lady", came up with the following.

Once we had a Roosevelt
Praise the Lord!
Life had meaning and hope.
Now we're stuck with Nixon, Agnew, Ford,
Brother, can you spare a rope?

Next up, we have a song that has some pretty impressive writers as well. "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" is a a pop and jazz standard with music by Duke Ellington and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster published in 1941. The song was first recorded by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, with Ivie Anderson as the featured vocalist. Like many of the songs written by Ellington, it became an instant classic, and everyone was clamoring to sing it. Almost a half decade later it was still the case, as the wonderful Shirley Horn recorded it for her 1987 album, 'I Thought About You'. Horn was first 'discovered' by the great Miles Davis in 1960. His praise of her work as a singer and pianist brought about new opportunities, and it wasn't long before she was signed to a label. I do hope you love this version of "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" as sung by the wonderful Shirley Horn.

It is hard to figure out what hasn't already been said about the enormous talent of the glorious Nina Simone. She wanted to become a classical pianist, but in the United States in the 1950s, she was turned down admission into the schools. She decided to work had on her own, and soon was playing clubs to earn money, and was expected to sing as well as play. And it wasn't long before people started to take notice. She released her first album in 1958, 'Little Girl Blue'. One of the songs on the album was her own take on "I Loves You Porgy", from the 1935 opera written by George and Ira Gershwin, 'Porgy and Bess'. She tried to infuse as much of her Classical leaning as she could, and created a wonderful recording. Written as a duet, Simone adapted it as a solo. By all means, push play and enjoy Nina Simone as she sings "I Loves You Porgy"

Finally, there is the always delicious Miss Lena Horne, a talented and beautiful woman. Lena started her career in the chorus at the world famous Cotton Club in Harlen. Wanting more, she moved out to California, and was soon being cast in several movies, including a few leading roles. She was great in 'Cabin In The Sky' and in 'Stormy Weather', her most memorable roles. But in the late 1950s, the political climate grew tougher with McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee leading the way, Lena and several other artists found themselves unable to work in Hollywood. She devoted her time and talents to music, and was making lots of great albums and playing in clubs around the world. But before all that, she hit songs like "Stormy Weather", and had a wonderful 1948 recording with Luther Henderson's Orchestra on a wonderful song composed by Fred Rose with with lyrics by Walter Hirsch. It was written in 1926, and is still a wonderful song. It is my pleasure to offer you a clip of Lena Horne singing "'Deed I Do".

I do hope you enjoyed tonight's music. And hope you have a great weekend!

Bobbie Gentry • Ode To Billie Joe

Bobbie Gentry photo Bobbie_Gentry00_zps6f2a7864.jpg

Bobbie Gentry produced her first song in 1967. The song, "Mississippi Delta", was a Country Rock song, but it wasn't released as a single. In fact, it was the flip side of her second single, which is truly more well known. She Bobbie also wrote "Ode To Billie Joe", a song that was more like Tennessee Williams than Country Music, telling the dark tale of of Southern life, where a young boy throws himself off the Tallahatchie Bridge after being seen on the bridge with a young woman, looking much like the narrator of the song, throwing something into the river. The song became a big hit, going to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Please enjoy this live performance of "Ode to Billie Joe".

While Bobbie Gentry became a hero to many female singer/songwriters, "Ode to Billie Joe" was her only real hit. A few of her duets with Glenn Campbell made it into the Top 40, but by 1978, she decided to retire form the music business, and the public eye. In 1991, one of the songs she wrote and sang was covered by a Country superstar who had a hit with it. Reba McEntire released her version of "Fancy", another dark story of Southern life, this one where a mother sends her daughter off to work as a prostitute. But still, it is "Ode to Billie Joe" that will be the lasting legacy of Bobbie Gentry.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Date Night • Secrets

Secrets short film photo Secrets001_zps7c8d1b78.jpg
Secrets short film photo Secrets002_zps26c0cc3b.jpg Secrets short film photo Secrets003_zpsa0ecf0da.jpg
Secrets short film photo Secrets004_zps02f9d805.jpg Secrets short film photo Secrets006_zpsadc21c87.jpg

Starring Bryan Endress-Fox and Casey Graf, two of five young people proving their is no such thing as an innocent evening of drinking. As the alcohol flows, cards are pulled, with the high and low cards spending time together in the bathroom. Between the drink and a seemingly dangerous infatuation with erotic asphyxia. some of these youngsters are left figuring out their own secrets, and leaves other gasping for air.When someone starts pressing their eye to the keyhole, will they see what they expected? The short film was produced, written and directed by Jeff Warden, and was included as part of the collection 'Boy Brief 5', a DVD release. The film runs just under 15 minutes, and will surely charm you.

Have a great weekend! To learn more about writer/director Jeff Warden, visit his official website.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Top Songs of the Summer of 1983

David Bowie photo davidbowie_1983_zps3b5a320e.jpg Irene Cara photo Irene_Cara_zps0db627fe.jpg
The Police photo The_Police_zps0552cc9f.jpg Eurythmics photo eurythmics_zpsb0688a02.jpg
Clockwise: Davie Bowie; Irene Cara; The Eurythmics; and The Police.

Thirty years ago, there were four songs that hit #1 for the sixteen weeks from the end of May to the end of August of 1983. And when looking at the songs, it is no wonder they topped the Billboard Hot 100. I actually owned three of the four songs, and enjoyed each and every one of them. I am starting with the #1 song for the week ending May 21. Although he was no longer Ziggy Stardust nor was he the Thin White Duke, David Bowie was still a superstar and had many, including myself, rushing to the record stores to buy whatever he was putting out. His 'Scary Monsters' album still remains a favorite of mine, as did the follow up, 'Let's Dance'. With producer Niles Rodgers, there was some magic going on, including in the title track. I not only remember buying and loving the album, but hearing this track everywhere in New York City. I was surprised to learn it was his second of only two #1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Enjoy the music video for "Let's Dance".

In 1983, you couldn't go anywhere and not feel the reach of the movie 'Flashdance'. The movie was a surprise hit, and people were lining up to see it. There was the fashion impact, with cut out sweatshirts, and the leg warmers were everywhere as well! And there was the soundtrack album, put together by Giorgio Moroder, who did an incredible job. There were two singles off the album, and both made it to #1 on the US Pop chart. The first was the soaring "Flashdance...What A Feeling", re-establishing Irene Cara's hold as queen of the soundtrack. She had already scored big with songs from the movie 'Fame'. With the new song, Cara spent six weeks at #1, from the week ending May 28th to July 2. I hope you love Irene Cara singing "Flashdance...What A Feeling".

Now I remember coming across much new music when I was in college, first hanging out with guys working at the radio station, and soon hanging out in the station itself. There I found an album called 'Outlandos d'Amour', by a band I hadn't heard about. They were The Police, featuring the amazing Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers. I fell in love, and was ready to race to the mall to get whatever was coming out next. By the time 1983 hit, they were releasing their fifth album, sounding much more polished and finished than their punk roots every predicted. They still had an edge - after all, how can Sting not bring edge? The first single off 'Synchronicity' was the brooding "Every Breath You Take". The song kept The Police in the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for an astounding eight weeks, from the week ending July 9th to August 27th. I can't believe you haven't heard their ode to stalking, "Every Breath You Take", but perhaps it hasn't been recently.

There was another sweet surprise in 1983, with another new group to get to know. I hadn't really heard of the Eurythmics before, and neither Annie Lennox nor David Stewart were names that were familiar. That would quickly change, with one song at the end of summer. Out of nowhere, I saw the music video for "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" on MTV, back when they were all about music, not entitled teens and twenty-somethings. Everyone was blown away, not only for the music, which was great, but also the visuals, with Annie sporting an androgynous look. Annie was a startling talent on so many levels, with that incredible voice, an ability to look gorgeous one moment, and oddly striking the next. But for the week ending September 3, The Eurythmics spent one week at #1 with "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"

As our summer in kicking into high gear, you just have to wonder if thirty years from now, will people be able to look back at the #1 songs of 2013 with the same wonder we can look at 1983. Quite literally, from the week ending May 21, to the week ending September 3, 1983, these four incredible artists tied up the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for sixteen weeks, and on the minds of all paying attention to music. I hope you enjoyed revisiting the songs as much as I did.

Kevin Wong • Thinkin' 'Bout You

Kevin Wong photo KevinWongPiano_zps8da66866.jpg

About a year ago, singer/songwriter Kevin Wong released his album 'Songs From The Weekend'. It is a charming album, one I really enjoy. It is on my list of albums to review and promote, for I think more people should be paying attention to it. Kevin manages to make the most of his music with a strong Pop background, and paints with Jazz and R&B colors. But before I go there, he recently did a cover of "Thinkin' 'Bout You", a song written by Frank Ocean, a single off his award-winning album, 'Channel Orange'. Well, I love what Kevin does with the song, and just thought I should share it with you all.

And, while I am at it, I also found a video of Kevin Wong singing one of my favorites from his album 'Songs From The Weekend', the deliciously charming "My Baby". If I didn't think the recorded version was sweet enough, this live version takes it up a notch, and is amazing. This song just warms my heart and makes me smile every time I hear it. Please enjoy Kevin Wong singing "My Baby".

To learn more about Kevin Wong, visit his official website. You can also "like" him on Facebook, or "follow" him on Twitter. You can find 'Songs From The Weekend' on iTunes and Amazon. You can also find it on Bandcamp, where you can get quite the bargain!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Daniel Robinson • Not Your Boy

Daniel Robinson "Not Your Boy" photo DaneilRobinson17773sm_zpseb95a4cc.jpg

Daniel Robinson is a talented Electropop singer/songwriter, based out of Buffalo, New York. Robinson is also currently a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Earlier this spring, the out and proud Daniel released his second EP, 'Guesswork'. The music of the first single reminded me of the bold melodies of the 1980s, when bands like Duran Duran ruled the airwaves. After finding success with "Running With The Wolves", the second single is about to take off. "Not Your Boy" offers a more futuristic feel, reminding me of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, with an industrial, almost mechanical feel, one part video game, two parts melody. It seems a natural for your summer playlist, as you can hear for yourself.

After hearing that, you can tell why Daniel was named one of Music Connections Hot 100 Unsigned Artists. You can purchase the single "Not Your Boy" can be found on his EP 'Guesswork'. That is a great collection of Electropop, all little aural treats. In case you missed the first single, "Running With The Wolves", you can check it out now, in all it's Simon-Le-Bon-induced splendor.

Both are just examples of the strong music Daniel Robinson makes. You can find his 'Guesswork' on iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp. For more about Daniel Robinson, visit his official website, or 'like' him on Facebook, or 'follow' him on Twitter.

Daniel Robinson Guesswork cover photo DanielRobinsonGuessworkCOVER_zpse1e65e16.jpg

Mike Burns Single • There's Nothing "Awful" About It

Mike Burns - Awful Single cover photo MikeBurnsAwfulSingleCOVER_zps79a444f9.jpg

Well, Austin, Texas-based singer/songwriter has released a new single, and it is really special. I became familiar with his music last year, introduced to it by JD Doyle of Queer Music Heritage. I liked his latest release, 'Chapter Twenty-Seven', I had to keep it company with 'Courage & Longing', a 2010 release I really liked as well. In fact, you can read my thoughts on the former here. I recently noticed Mike talk about being excited about a new song, so I kept my ear to the ground. It is finally here, and I am loving it. Like much of Burns' work, it is piano-driven, but this one carries a darker feel that I find very sexy. Mike is in great voice, and the track is just wonderful. You can check it out for yourself. Please enjoy Mike Burns singing "Awful".

I loved it from the first moment I I heard it, and hope you are also finding it irresistible. If that is the case, you can find "Awful" available for purchase on iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon. For more about Mike Burns, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter and 'like' him on Facebook. I am sure he'd love for you to say "hi", and tell him how much you love his new single!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When the Beach Boy Met the Bongo • Al Jardine & Richard Barone

Richard Barone & Al Jardine - If I Had A Hammer photo Hammer002_zps8da45cfd.jpg
Richard Barone & Al Jardine - If I Had A Hammer photo Hammer001_zpse0724eb9.jpg Richard Barone & Al Jardine - If I Had A Hammer photo Hammer003_zps16394860.jpg

There is an off-hand chance you might not understand the title, but it made me laugh, so that counts for something! Recently, Al Jardine, one of the original members of the Beach Boys, met up with Richard Barone, one of the founding members of the great 80s American bands, The Bongos. They met in the studio to record for One.Org, the organization looking to bring young people together. Jardine and Barone recorded "If I Had A Hammer", written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1949. The song was one of the first protest songs ever to become a hit record. The Weavers first performed the song publicly in the midst of the federal trial for the leaders of the Communist Party of the United States, accused of generating support for the overthrow of the federal government. Music can be funny, and this situation is no different. Seeger has been a teacher and mentor to Barone (who produced Seeger's most recent single), and was an inspiration for many of the Beach Boys' folkier tunes such as "Sloop John B." The group's harmonies were in turn a big influence on Richard's group The Bongos. Enjoy as they sing "If I Had A Hammer".

To find out more about the project, visit One.Org's official website. Many other artists have participated in the project, including Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Mumford & Sons, Green Day, and Alison Moyet, all to raise their voice so that maybe, just maybe, something extraordinary will happen. In this case, it most certainly did.

Richard Barone & Al Jardine - If I Had A Hammer photo Hammer004_zpsce9bf35a.jpg

Nathan Leigh Jones • Crying Out For Love

Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying002_zps2dc3aeef.jpg
Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying001_zps608cbc9d.jpg Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying003_zps95da2b4f.jpg

The first time I heard of Australian singer/songwriter Nathan Leigh Jones, it wasn't because of his music. He produced "That's What Friends Are For", the version recorded by the talented ensemble of David Raleigh, Sir Ari Gold, Billy Porter, and Alan Cumming. That 2010 version was a find for me, as I discovered the music of the wonderful David Raleigh, and his producer, Nathan. I also looked up Nathan's music, and discovered I really like it, too. Next thing I know, I was venturing to Joe's Pub in Manhattan, listening to David and Nathan performing live, loving every minute of it. And it was at that live show that I was introduced to 'Sooner Or Later', the album at teh center of the CD Release Party. Yes, I left with an autographed copy!

Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying010_zps639fd5d5.jpg Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying014_zps78d9fc4c.jpg
Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying011_zps17dae42c.jpg Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying012_zpsd552cf9c.jpg Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying013_zpsa56efa83.jpg

Fast forward to now, and it seems handsome Nathan Leigh Jones has released a new music video. It features the song "Crying Out For Love", a great track off 'Sooner Or Later'. The video was directed by Josef J. Weber, and was shot at a marriage equality rally in Sydney, Australia, where Nathan lives. Nathan is a great ally to the LGBT community, stepping up and speaking out in support of equality. While much is happening on the equality front in the United States, many are still hoping for the same in Australia. Nathan takes the opportunity to showcase his beautiful song with a message he believes in, making the music video a total win!

For more about Nathan Leigh Jones, check out his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook and 'follow' him on Twitter. "Crying Out For Love" is off the latest release. You can purchase 'Sooner Or Later' from iTunes and on Amazon.

Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying006_zps4113e6bd.jpg Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying004_zpsa7745133.jpg
Nathan Leigh Jones - Crying Out For Love photo NLJ_Crying007_zps5b599442.jpg


Related Posts with Thumbnails