Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cover Songs Served Live

Matt Alber photo MattAlber001_zps3183979c.jpg Tom Goss photo TomGoss002_zpsdd193214.jpg
Stewart Lewis photo StewartLewis001_zpsb5941638.jpg Tom Goss & Matt Alber photo TomMatt001_zps972ffaa5.jpg
Clockwise: Matt Alber in Philadelphia, Pa; Tom Goss in Washington, DC; Matt & Tom in Philadelphia, PA; and Stewart Lewis in Wilmington, DE. Photos by me.

If all has gone well, I will be at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia, listening to the amazing Eric Himan and his musical support, the Soultré Sisters. So I thought it only fair you get some live music as well, from shows I been to in the area, and taken pictures and videos that I can share with you. While they has some amazing music of his own, I thought it might be fun to show clips of cover songs, something that always brings the audience in even closer. First up, I offer the very handsome and very talented Matt Alber, who I have been lucky enough to see a couple of times. At his show in Philadelphia, PA, with Tom Goss, Matt did a couple of covers, but I was particularly enamored with his take on the Katrina and the Waves hit, "Walking On Sunshine". It was a hit for Katrina 30 years ago, but Matt gives it a little "Alber" shine, and makes it feel new. So here is Matt Alber singing "Walking On Sunshine".

I have seen a couple of shows of Tom Goss recently. Sometimes, it just works out like that. For the clip tonight, I decided to go with a performance from a show he did with Eric Himan at The Dunes in Washington, DC. It was just after Tom had released his take on "Can't Hold Us", written and made famous by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, off their 2012 album 'The Heist'. Tom does an amazing job with the song, putting together the layers live with a deft hand. Turn up the volume and enjoy Tom Goss performing "Can't Hold Us".

I took this clip from a show in Wilmington, DE. Wilmington-based promoters Gable Music put together an evening of singer/songwriters, utilizing both local and not-so-local talent. Stewart let me know he would be in the area, and I couldn't wait to see him live again. He has a wonderful voice, and has a way to use subtle changes to really communicate with the listeners. While he did mostly original tunes, he had fun with a medley of hit songs, showing a light hand with editing on the fly with some old and new favorites everyone knows. Enjoy Stewart Lewis as he sings the "Hit Song Medley", and feel free to join in with him, for the live audience did!

Finally, I will return to the show in Philadelphia, with Matt Alber and Tom Goss sharing the bill. Both men are talented songwriters, and early in the show, Matt joined Tom on a performance of Tom's charming song, "Till The End". While the audience was familiar with the music of both men, I don't think anyone was ready for when they joined together for a duet. They took to the stage, and did a stunning acoustic version of "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. Matt played the piano, and it was the first time I ever remember seeing Tom perform without playing an instrument! I hope you Matt & Tom singing "If I Ain't Got You".

Have a great night!

Fuzz Face • Fuzz Face EP

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Chris, Matt and Sam of Fuzz Face.

Sometimes I just get so excited, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. As I type this post, I am experiencing that, and on many levels. When I first heard of Fuzz Face, I was listening to JD Doyle's OUTRadio broadcast for August 2013, he interviewed Samuel Damewood, and played some of the songs. I was instantly engaged by the fun, bold, frank, and bawdy band. Before the segment was over, I was on iTunes, buying the 2013 EP. The band referred to themselves as "the south's loudest and proudest queer alt folk rock band". The Nashville-based band are: Sam on violin, fiddle and vocals; Matt on guitar and vocals; Chris with percussion and vocals; and Lucian on the Dobro and electric guitar. Sam and Matt were at the creative core of the band, writing the music and taking most of the lead vocals. So what could have me riding the roller coaster of emotions? As I was preparing to post about the music that was giving me such great joy had decided to call it a day. Yes, it seems Fuzz Face are no more. But you know something, I am still gonna talk about the great music they made, and tell you that this EP should be in your music collection. Like now. Yes, it is that good.

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Fuzz Face photo FuzzFace0002_zps12ad386f.jpg  photo FuzzFace0003_zps5e426e21.jpg
Shots from live shows.

So now I am going to talk about the music, which is what enchanted me to begin with. The five-song EP starts out with the strains of a violin that soon gives way to a driving percussive beat, and Sam's voice singing about the inherent need to cover up a sexy, hairy chest. Yes, that is the dialog on "Button Up Boy", a bold and suggestive anthem to male sensuality, and how we are perceived affects us. There is something inherently soft and aching to "Old Man". There are wonderful harmonies in the chorus, where the lyrics allow us in on the intimate nature of the song. From the opening bars of "Cowboy", there is no mistaking the hard-driving Country sound those boys are making. You can listen to all the reasons they want a Country man in their lives...

There is another bold Country sound for "Furry Belly", a look at all the joys and distractions of going Bear hunting. Kind of like a Mardis Gras tradition in Bear bars, the boys are looking to get some fur exposed! "Came Out Hard" slows thing down the tempo, but ups the sexy greatly. There is a breathy, whispering quality at times that will give way to a throaty exclamation, which certainly is familiar, isn't it? Only with greater instrumental accompaniment. Here is a live performance of Matt and Sam playing "Old Man", the second cut on the EP.

The five songs on the EP are amazing individually, and collectively show a great range of talent. It is one of the saddest part about the breakup, but on the bright side, I still have this EP, and can play it all I want. And I have played it repeatedly, and it only gets better. I can't pick a favorite, for each song speaks to be in one way or another. Since the band has broken up, the official website has been taken down. So to learn more about Fuzz Face, visit their page on Facebook, or their page on ReverbNation. You can purchase the Fuzz Face EP from iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

40 Years Ago • August 1973

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Roberta Flack - Killing Me Softly cover photo Roberta-Flack-Killing-Me-SoftlyCOVER_zps372d2ef1.jpg Allman Brothers - Brothers & Sisters cover photo AllmanBrothersBrothersampSistersCOVER_zpsc9fcfe3f.jpg

I am not sure exactly what made me think of this, but I looked over some of the music that hit the music store shelves 40 years ago. The year was 1973, and it was a turbulent time for many. The Vietnam War was grinding to a halt, and in February the first American prisoners of war were released by Vietnam. In March, the last episode of 'Laugh-In', the comedy show that was politically charged, aired. The Watergate scandal was all over the news, and a Special Prosecutor was named. The World Trade Center was officially opened in April. The next month, Chicago's Sears Tower opened, making it the tallest building in the world. Bobby Riggs promoted a few tennis matches, beating Margaret Court before losing to Billie Jean King. Secretariat wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes to earn the Triple Crown. But when it comes to the music, the news was very good all around. In the month of August alone, there was some great music that was released. One of those was released in August of 1973, the self-titled debut album from Folk/Blues singer Maria Muldaur. The album featured the hit single, "Midnight at the Oasis", which went to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

On August 3, 1973, one of the best albums of the year was released. Stevie Wonder had been making wonderful music for over a decade at this point, his first album out in 1962. He had gone from the novelty 'Little Stevie' to the amazing songwriter and musician who was respected by so many. With the release of 'Innervisions', he scaled to new heights, following up two consecutive #1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. The first release off the album was the hit "Higher Ground", which went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the R&B chart.

The very first day of the month, August 1, 1973, there was another album released that was one that will long be remembered. Roberta Flack released the album and lead single "Killing Me Softly". The album went on to be nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy Award, while Flack took home the Grammies for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, and for Record of the Year. The song, with music by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel, seemed to appeal to everyone, and it was a huge hit, sitting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. I hope you enjoy Roberta singing "Killing Me Softly".

August of 1973, The Allman Brothers Band added their sound as they stirred the pot. Some considered Duane and Gregg Allman the architects of Southern Rock, as they blended Rock, Blues, Jazz and Country music to make a great sound. But in 1971, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident, and no one knew if the band would continue. But Gregg and Dickey Betts stepped up to continue on, only to have bassist Berry Oakley involved in a motorcycle accident just 3 blocks from Duane's, and pass while recording a new album. So Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Lamar Williams, Chuck Leavell, Jaimoe, and Butch Trucks went back into the studios to finish the album, and finally they released the album 'Brothers & Sisters'. The album features some classic Allman Brothers songs, including the hit "Ramblin' Man". The single went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In an amusing side note, the #1 song was "Half-Breed", sung by Duane Allman's future wife, Cher. Here is the Allman Brothers Band performing "Ramblin' Man" live.

Hope you enjoyed the look back!

50 Years Ago • The March on Washington

Martin Luther King, Jr. photo martin-luther-king-jr_zps0f748c09.jpg
Mahalia Jackson photo mahalia-jackson_zpsf33f6f89.jpg Marian Anderson photo marian-anderson-sings-lincoln-memorial-1939_zps51b08c0e.jpg Odetta photo odettta_zpsad03cd0c.jpg
Top: The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bottom, from left: Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson, and Odetta.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's, historic March on Washington, and his "I Have A Dream" speech, I thought I would do what this blog does best. I will mark the day with music, and it occurred to me to bring you the music that was being heard that very day. Now there were many artists who offered their talents on the day, but I have singled out three very talented women. All three were leading vocalists on their own, and it is easy to know why just by listening to them here. First up, we have Mahalia Jackson. She was often called the "Queen of Gospel", and it is easy to know why. Her beautiful voice is just so rich and so true, it demands you listen. This is Mahalia Jackson singing "How I Got Over" from the 1963 March on Washington.

Marian Anderson was a star of the highest variety, with her gorgeous contralto celebrated all across the world from the 1920s to the 1969s. She would sing anything from Classical arias to Gospel favorites, and would pack the house whenever she did. But all that did not keep Anderson from feeling the sting of bigotry in his home country, when the Daughters of the American Revolution refused permission to sing in front of an integrated audience at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, in 1939. Later, with the assistance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor, she gave a free on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where she was heard by over 75,000 there, and millions by radio broadcast around the world. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a clip from the march, but this is a clip of this wonderful lady singing the song, but here is Marian Anderson singing "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands".

Odetta Holmes, known simply by her first name, was a singer, songwriter, actress, and activist, and was often called "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement". She was an important figure in the revival of American Folk music in the 1950s and 1960s, and made some seminal recordings of music during that time. During the March On Washington, Odetta sang "I'm On My Way". Again, I couldn't find any clips of her singing for the March, but I did find her recording of a trio of spirituals. This is Odetta singing "Oh, Freedom", "Come And Go With Us", and "I'm On My Way".

I know I wasn't at this March on Washington, for I was far too young, but that doesn't mean this didn't have an impact on my life. This iconic moment for the Civil Rights Movement paved the way for the struggles of all other minorities. So I did not march in 1963, but I did in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s, when I was old enough to understand that it is wrong to treat people differently, just because you don't like something about them. So I marched for Gay Rights, and I marched to tell the Reagan administration that they could not ignore the AIDS pandemic and hope the gays would just go away. We needed to stand up and let the world know what was happening, for the 40th President held office from 1981 to 1989, and never once mentioned the terms 'AIDS' in public at all. His administration ignored what was happening, even thought the Centers for Disease Control recognized AIDS and the HIV infections in 1981. And we, as a people, marched so our voices could be heard. The Names Project set out the AIDS Memorial Quilt on the Mall on Washington. We could do that because Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., showed everyone that peaceful and organized protest could bring about change. Thank you all who took part in the March 50 years ago!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nik Kershaw • The Riddle Reissue

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Almost 39 years ago this November, a wonderful album hit the shelves that included one of my personal favorites of 1985. On November 10, 1984, Nik Kershaw's 'The Riddle' hit the shelves in the UK, and soon thereafter it was on the shelves of the Import shops, and then the record outlets in the US. The album featured three songs that all went into the Top 10 of the UK single charts, proving he was a force to be reckoned with, on the heals of his success with 'Human Racing'. The platinum selling classic album has been remastered and now comes heaped with b-sides and amazing rare live material all mixed by Nik himself!

Nik Kershaw - The Riddle cover photo NikKershawTheRiddleCOVER_zps2740f8c9.jpg

Following the acclaimed 'Human Racing' reissue, Universal Music Catalogue are now pleased to announce the Re-Presents edition of 'The Riddle'. Featuring three top 10 singles, this expanded edition comes with b-sides and live material, which was mixed by Nik himself. 'The Riddle' heralded Nik's dominance of the UK pop music scene. In 1984, Kershaw spent the most weeks as a solo artist in the chart. You could give credit to the first single off the album, "The Riddle". The song went to #3 on the UK and Irish Pop charts, and the video went into regular rotation on the American TV.

At the beginning of 1984, a Nik Kershaw had released his breakthrough song "Wouldn't It Be Good", which reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart, and was a big success in Europe. He enjoyed three more Top 20 hits from his debut album 'Human Racing'. The music video for "Wouldn't It Be Good" hit American television, and was soon in rotation. The bold imagery along with the strong song made the video a must watch, and a hit with college kids enjoying the Electro-Pop sounds coming out the England. And with his new release, Kershaw once again became the darling of the college audience, as well as those who were loving the New Wave of music coming from the UK. The second single off 'The Riddle' was "Wide Boy", and it went to #9 on the UK Single chart, and #5 on the Irish charts.

In July 1985, Kershaw was among the performers at Live Aid, held at Wembley Stadium. He played four songs on the stage, "The Riddle", "Wouldn't It Be Good","Wide Boy", and the third single off the album, "Don Quixote". I have no problem admitting this was my favorite song off the album. There is something almost combustible in the song, with the the rhythm section driving at a strong cadence, somehow held in check by the vocals. I hope you enjoy this expanded version of the music video for "Don Quixote".

The reissue includes a remastered version of the original album, which is pretty great. But that is not all, for it also includes eleven addition tracks on a second CD, which includes extended version of "The Riddle", "Don Quixote", and "Wide Boy", two B-Sides, and six live versions of songs from the album, recorded at London's Hammersmith Odeon on December 31st, 1984. The tracks all sound great, and I am so pleased I have my copy!

Nik Kershaw at Live Aid photo nik_kershaw_live_aid_zps48047000.jpg

You can purchase the re-release on iTunes, Amazon, and wherever great music is sold. To learn more about Nik Kershaw, visit his official website. There you can find all the latest news, and check out his touring schedule to see if he is playing new you. You can also 'follow' Nik HQ on Twitter, and 'like' him on Facebook.

Corey Tut • Chasing Down the Bedlam

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Corey Tut photo CoreyTut005a_zps2cad1dba.jpg Corey Tut photo CoreyTut007_zps01c047a4.jpg

I first discovered the music of Corey Tut through another musician I greatly respect, David Raleigh. When I get a recommendation from another musician, I really pay attention. While I was expecting to hear something good, I wasn't expecting what I heard. Corey plays rock, and plays it hard. Perhaps I should have realized it when I saw his pictures, the edge you see is also the edge you hear when you hit play. As I listened, I heard the influences of rock bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, as well as psychedelic hints of Led Zeppelin and The Who. Vocally, Corey is right on the mark, and could stand toe to toe with anyone. Like some of the great Rock vocalists I love, he brings more than a rocker growl, with shades of the Blues, and a bit of R&B heard in his voice. I couldn't wait to buy 'Chasing Down the Bedlam' and give it a listen.

Corey Tut - Chasing Down The Bedlam cover photo CoreyTuTChasingDownTheBedlamCOVER_zpsc3492406.jpg

'Chasing Down the Bedlam' is a 10-song collection that was released at the end of July. All the songs were written by Tut, The album begins with a quiet start on "Something Good", with Corey singing along with an electric guitar, simple and sweet. Soon drums are added, on the way to full instrumentation. There is a density here that calls to mind the grunge bands of the 1990s, and as the sound grows, so does Tut's vocals. It builds to a hypnotic end I just love. "These Are The Days" starts off with a tad abstract, but the sounds soon coalesce into a hard-driven song that reminds me of the Power-Pop from when the hair bands ruled the airwaves.

Now there is a song I could turn on my radio to hear! Next up, "Already Gone" takes the spotlight, giving me a bit of Beatles/U2 realness, with a wonderful depth to the music. "Shine a Light" gives me a little Athens, Georgia, combined with a bit of New Jersey Turnpike, to weave a beautifully textured musical journey. His songwriting intricately together the threads of Pop and Rock to make something truly special. "Waste My Time" starts off with a little fuzzy guitar, and supercharges from there. I swear I hear a young Robert Plant on the vocals, with Soundgarden playing in support. There is a wonderful techno-feel to the song that rings so damn true. There is something classic in the Western feel for "Tired of You", bringing the Blues into play. Crank up the volume and listen for yourself.

See, that song has a wonderfully arid, heat-waves-coming-off-the-road feel, doesn't it? Tut picks up the tempo with "Matter of Time", once again showing a skillful hand at blending, with the bold Rock and clean Pop coming together with a bit of a Sgt. Pepper break built in. I do love the way Tut weaves Psychedelia throughout this musical tapestry. From the first notes of "Pretty Little Liar", I felt the Punk unleashed on the song, the attitude strong. There is an abrupt change with "Whole", as the hazy cloud descends on me, taking me on a very special trip. Is love that hypnotic? Next up, there is a military feel to the drum corp at the beginning of "Chasing Down the Bedlam/Can You Feel the Love?", and you can hear the rest hear.

The album explores universal themes of love and life, and the journey we all take on this earth-bound road. There are some fine lines we all cross, between love and hate, and between sane and insane. How we color between those lines along the way adds much to our travels. The music on this album explores that journey, as well as taking a stylistic exploration. Corey skillfully combines musical styles and influences to make a sound that has a new and fresh sheen. I was lucky enough to asks Corey about the album, and learned he wrote all the songs, laid down all the vocals, and played all the instruments, except when he had friends Charlie Nieland and guitar Goddess Alicia Godsberg add more flavor to a couple of the tracks. He produced it all himself, recorded in his home studio. I can't say enough about this album, save that every time I have listened to this album, I find at least three places I decide I should ask Corey Tut to marry me. Yeah, it is that good. Damn, now I gotta figure out a way to see this man play live. For more about Corey Tut, you can visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, and 'like' him on Facebook. You can purchase 'Chasing Down the Bedlam' on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and Bandcamp.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dark Monday • Girl Crazy

Gril Crazy poster from 1943 photo GirlCrazyPoster_zps677cce66.jpg

In 1943, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released 'Girl Crazy', based on the 1930 Broadway musical of the same name. This was the second go at the show, the first being a 1932 film that was said to have lost over $150,000, a great deal of money at the time. This seems strange, considering the music was in the hands of George and Ira Gershwin, so it took a little time before Hollywood tried it again. And once they did, they employed Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney, never a bad move. But with great songs like "Embraceable You", "I Got Rhythm", "Fascinating Rhythm", "Bidin' My Time", "But Not For Me", and "Treat Me Rough", this seemed destined to be a hit. MGM first hired Busby Berkeley to helm the project, but was soon let go after repeated arguments with Garland. His only contribution to the film was his staging of the great number "I Got Rhythm", featuring Judy. Of course, the song would go on to be a classic.

Once Berkeley was gone, Norman Taurog was brought in. Tauroq was an Academy Award-winning director, but is perhaps best known as director for many Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies, as well as nine Elvis Presley films. But there was plenty of talent in this film to go with Garland and Rooney, including June Allyson, Nancy Walker, and Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra. In this clip featuring "Treat Me Rough", Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra play for June Allyson, as well as Mickey Rooney, who joined the ladies in the chorus.

And, finally, I don't know if there can be anything sweeter than the young Judy Garland singing "Embraceable You", the magnificent song by the Gershwins. She is joined on the number by Rags Ragland and his chorus. Judy has a delightful dance break with Ragland that is just happiness personified. And Judy at just 21 years old is a joy to watch, she is positively glowing.

You can find 'Girl Crazy' on DVD in just about any online store.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Josh Groban • All That Echoes

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I must admit I have been a sucker for Josh Groban and his music since I first caught the singer on a PBS special, 'Josh Groban in Concert', in 2002. I loved the sound of his voice, and his adorkable look. I admit I soon owned his first album, his eponymous 2001 release. I have been addicted since, and have all his albums in my collection, and love them all. I enjoy his blend of Classical and Pop, it just works for me. I was excited when I heard he was about to release a new one, 'All That Echoes'. The album is a collection of old jewels and new music co-written by Groban. The first single, "Brave", was written by Groban with Canadian artists Tawgs Salter and Chantal Kreviazuk. Check out the music video for "Brave".

Earlier this summer, a second single was released. "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)" was written by Stevie Wonder and Yvonne Wright, and appeared on Wonder's 1972 release, 'Talking Book'. It has been covered by man, from rocker Peter Frampton to Art Garfunkel to George Michael. Groban puts his own ethereal spin on the song, as you can hear in the official music video. So I hope yo enjoy Josh singing "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)".

'All That Echoes' is the first of Groban's sell less than a million copies, but there is still time for that. The first week of release, the album did go #1 on the Billboard 200, which charts the album sales from week to week. I will honestly say that while it is not my favorite of Groban's albums, I did enjoy it. One of my favorite songs on it was the traditional song, "She Moved Through The Fair". The music had a strong Celtic feel, yet Groban's vocals escaped the expected, with the bold reading.

I could listen to Josh singing like that all day long. For more about Josh Groban, you can visit his official website. You can also 'like' him on Facebook, and 'follow' him on Twitter. "All That Echoes is available anywhere music is sold, including iTunes and Amazon.

This Train • Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison & Carl Perkins

Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis photo Carl-Perkins-Roy-Orbison-Johnny-Cash-Jerry-Lee-Lewis_zps8d17737c.jpg
Left to right: Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Sometimes we do get the best presents for Christmas. On a 1977 Christmas Special starring Johnny Cash, the man in black invited a few friends to sing a song, and dedicate it to Elvis Presley, who had just recently passed away. Billed as the "Class of '55", a subtle nod to the original 'Million Dollar Quartet', when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley met at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, in a recording studio, and some believe that was the birth of Rock 'N Roll in the United States. With Elvis gone, the men invited Roy Orbison to complete the quartet as they sang the great gospel classic "This Train" for Elvis.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Once In A Blue Moon

Ruth Etting photo Ruth_Etting_zps9c09ef8d.jpg Julie London photo Julie_London_zpsff7ef97d.jpg
Patti Page photo Patti-Pag_zpsd4c8a4fa.jpg Boswell Sisters photo Boswell_Sisters2_zps2a5275ff.jpg
Clockwise: Ruth Etting; Julie London; The Boswell Sisters; and Patti Page.

I was inspired by the recent blue moon, a rarity to be sure. The moniker 'blue moon' has nothing really to do with the color, for all the term means is there was a second full moon in a calendar month. But that is a rare thing, and hence the title of this post, "once in a blue moon". So I thought the songs tonight would be inspired by the moon, and, more literally, have "moon" in their title. The first of the evening will be sung by the lovely Miss Ruth Etting, who came to stardom in the 1920s in vaudeville, which lead to a recording career. She also met and married mobster Moe Snyder in 1922, who also managed her career. Their tempestuous relationship ended with a divorce in 1937. The following year, Etting fell in love with her piano play, Merl Alderman, who was shot by Snyder. Alderman survived, and later that year married Etting. Snyder was convicted of attempted murder, but was released after serving one year. However, the scandal of the trial and the salacious details of her love life effectively killed her career. Her life was the basis for the fictionalized 1955 film, 'Love Me or Leave Me', which starred Doris Day as Etting, James Cagney as Snyder, and Cameron Mitchell as Alderman. Etting and Alderman were happy together until he passed in 1966. She had a lovely voice, and I love her recording of "Shine On Harvest Moon", a song credited to the married vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth, who debuted the song in 'The Ziegfeld Follies' of 1908. Etting recorded the song in 1931.

Singer and actress Julie London has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid, and heard my mother playing her records on the hi-fi stereo. Still to this day, I listen to her and she brings me back to those days. I was also a fan of the actress playing Dixie on the 1970s show 'Emergency!', and it was some time before I realized singer and the actress were one and the same. And while not quite the high drams of Ettings life, 'Emergency!' featured Julie and second husband, Jazz pianist Bobby Troupe, and was produced by Julie's first husband, Jack Webb. For Julie, I chose her 1955 recording of "No Moon At All", a wonderful song written by Redd Evans/Dave Mann.

Patti Page was the top-selling female artist of the 1950s, selling over 100 million records! Page recorded Pop music, but incorporated Jazz and Country influences in the music, setting her apart from many of her fellow artists of the time. She is perhaps best known for her recording of "Tennessee Waltz", a Country song she made her own. The song was her second #1 hit, and was the biggest selling single of her career. She recorded and released that song in 1950. For tonight, I chose her wonderful single "Allegheny Moon", the recording released in 1956. The song was written by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning, and Patti's version went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. This is a wonderful clip of Page singing "Allegheny Moon".

A trio of sisters made big waves on the music scene in the 1930s, and while you might think I am speaking of the Andrews Sisters, they were not the only family group to be making great music. Martha, Connee, and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell were better known as The Boswell Sisters, known for their tight harmonies and great tone. In fact, the Andrews Sister were inspired by the Boswell Sisters. The have been inducted into both Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Hall of Fame. They recorded from 1925 to 1936, when the sisters decided to forgo music to pursue their own lives. Connee, who was confined to a wheelchair since an accident in her childhood, was the only sister to make music as a solo act. I picked their recording of a song written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934. It wasn't long before "Blue Moon" became a classic song, with people recording it for decades to come. The sisters recorded it in 1935. This is the Boswell Sisters singing "Blue Moon".

Have a great weekend!

Gary Shearston • I Get A Kick Out Of You

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The song "I Get A Kick Out of You" first appeared in the 1934 Broadway musical 'Anything Goes', where Ethel Merman introduced the Cole Porter song that was quickly confirmed as a classic. It was covered by many, including people who participated in revivals and movie versions of the show. In 1974, the song was given an acoustic treatment by Australian Folk singer Gary Shearston. He had a dry approach to the song, not offering the more common reading, using sly wit. Shearston's cover earned world-wide attention, with radio play from London to Melbourne to Los Angeles. Watch this clip of Shearston playing "I Get A Kick Out of You" on 'Tops of the Pops'.

Shearston continued to make music, but never achieved the same success. He spent time in London before moving to California for several years. In 1989, he left the music business, and went on to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Australia. It was said he would sometimes lead Folk services, playing his guitar as the congregation sang. Shearston passed away in July of this year, at the age of 74. You can purchase Gary Shearston's version of "I Get A Kick Out of You" on iTunes.

Priest Gary Shearston photo gary-shearston-priest_zpscbe1fb07.jpg

Friday, August 23, 2013

Date Night • 'Love Bite' & '33 Teeth'

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This evening I have another delicious double feature for you, although watching both films will take less than eleven minutes of your time. And I will start with 'Love Bite', the 2008 short that runs just over three minutes, but leaves a much deeper impression. It was written and directed by Craig Boreham, and stars handsome actors Aidan Calabria and Will Field. While both are starting to deal with the munchies after smoking some weed, Noah, played by Field, feels the need to share an intimate secret with Gus, played by Calabria. However, things don't go exactly as planned...

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The second short film was written and directed by Evan Roberts, and tells the singular story of a boy coming of age, with the assistance of his hunky jock neighbor. '33 Teeth' features Eddie, a boy just entering into puberty, who truly admires his jock neighbor. As Eddie, played by Spencer Siegel, watches Chad, played by James Ratliff, from his bedroom window, he watches the muscular boy in the bathroom. What happens next even surprises me! Enjoy '33 Teeth'.

33 Teeth ~ by cibox19

Have a great weekend!

Dancing 1979 Style

Anita Ward photo AnitaWard_zps946ffd2f.jpg Blondie photo blondie_zps8cbe4f79.jpg
Chic photo chic-le-freak_zps5d841bbc.jpg Amii Stewart photo AmiiStewartKnockOnWood_zpsdd2d6931.jpg
Clockwise: Anita Ward; Blondie; Amii Stewart; and Chic.

Ah, yes, 1979, what a fun year that was. I was in college in Reading, PA, striking out on my own, in that first-time-out kinda way. The music of the time was, well, I'll call it diverse. Rock was still living large, and Punk was starting to shine. Dance music was standing tall, and Pop was, well, popular. The Year-End Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 included The Knack, Donna Summer, Rod Stewart, Peaches and Herb, Gloria Gaynor, Village People, and Robert John, as well as some of the members of this post. Just outside of the Top 10, you had the Bee Gees, Dr. Hook, David Naughton, Pointer Sisters, Olivia Newton-John, and The Doobie Brothers. That is a list that could be called eclectic, to say the least. Away at college, I managed to get out more often than I cared to admit, be it parties on campus or perhaps one or two of the bars/clubs close to campus that did not linger too long on ID. There was plenty of music, no matter where I went. So to kick off the weekend, I thought I would pick four of the more memorable songs of the day, and share them with you. I will start with the song that finished #9 on the Billboard Year-end chart. "Ring My Bell" showcased the distinctive voice of Anita Ward, with music that was very bit as light and effervescent as she was. I know I danced to this more than I should have over the years, for it brings back some great memories. Enjoy Anita Ward singing "Ring My Bell".

Next up we have the band that let me have my 'Punk' moments, even on this song that was a big Pop and Dance hit. Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri, and Frank Infante released the album 'Parallel Lines' in the Fall of 1978, and it was a must-have album in every college freshman's collection. The entire album was packed with great songs, but the one that made it into the Top 20 of the Billboard Year-end Top 10 was the Dance song with attitude, "Heart of Glass". The blasé delivery of by Harry was priceless, and made the song all that much more fun. Enjoy the music video for Blondie's "Heart of Glass".

Back in the late 1970s, Nile Rodgers was well on his way to being 'the man', working with everyone from Grace Jones to David Bowie. Rodgers formed the group Chic with Bernard Edwards, and the soon added Tony Thompson, Raymond Jones, Alfa Anderson, and Luci Martin to the lineup when they went to the studio to record "Le Freak", a great song written by Rodgers and Edwards. The song was the best selling record ever for Atlantic Records company, and the best-selling single ever for Warner Music Group until Madonna's "Vogue" sold more in 1990. When anyone heard the opening bars of the song, you knew it was time to head to the dance floor. Turn up the volume, and enjoy the music video from Chic for the #3 song of 2979, "Le Freak".

For the final slot on this post, I picked a song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper, which first hit the charts in 1966 as a single from Floyd. It was covered by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967, and David Bowie in 1974. But in 1979, it was Amii Stewart who had the honor of taking the vocals for "Knock On Wood", which made it to #22 on the year-end chart. This was another song that would draw me and my friends out on the dance floor in 1979, and for years to come. It was such a great recording, it still doesn't feel old at all. There was such power and energy in the song! So crank up the volume and hit play on the music video for Amii Stewart singing "Knock On Wood"!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eric Himan Back On The Road

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On the heels of releasing a beautiful new album, singer/songwriter Eric Himan is going back on the road to showcase some of the great new material on 'Gracefully'. Honestly, I try to catch Eric whenever he plays near me, for it is always something special. The man has such great talent, it makes me happy. The last time through, I saw Eric play a show in Washington, DC, at The Dunes, a show he played with Tom Goss. It was wonderful, and the pictures and videos in this post were from that show. The first video is Eric singing "Running", a single he had released last year. It is a wonderful song, as you can hear.

A talented multi-instrumentalist, Eric plays his acoustic guitar, his electric guitar, and the piano at his live shows. And, of course, he sings while playing, with that amazing voice. In the following clip, he sings "Symmetry", a song featured on 'Gracefully', his 2013 release. The album, dedicated to his late grandmother, blends the Folk, Rock and Soul that are the basis for his music. Enjoy this lovely acoustic version of "Symmetry".

One of the many things Eric does so well is to pick a couple of songs to cover, allowing the audience to enjoy and sing along, as well as getting a little peak into the man himself, as he explains the influence the song and/or artist has had on his career. And he generally sings the hell out of the song, as he does on "Walking On Broken Glass", a song written and performed by the great Annie Lennox. Feel free to sing along!

As you can see and hear, a live show by Eric Himan is a wonderful journey captained by a strong artist. Eric has a great rapport with the audience, and shares little stories and experiences from his own life, like the issues, both pro and con, of being an out and proud artist, or what it is like recording at Henson Recording Studios, or what it is like to run into other artists on the road, like Justin Bieber. And when he smiles and laughs, you can't help but join in.

Eric Himan Live at the Dunes photo EricHiman003_zps6462c1b3.jpg Eric Himan Live at the Dunes photo EricHiman005_zpsad2a4dff.jpg
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To learn more about Eric Himan, visit his official website, where you can order his music, as well as checking out his tour schedule. I have posted his schedule in a widget below, but if you don't see a date or place near you, you might want to check his official website to be sure. To keep up-to-date on all things Eric, you can also 'follow' him on Twitter, or 'like' him on Facebook.


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