Far below the surface of mainstream music, blues records were being made by Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, and a few others with scary adjectives in their names. The charts were more diverse than one might suspect – African- American performers Louis Armstrong, the Mills Brothers, and Cab Calloway were scoring hits
Posts By: Steve Crawford
Flansburgh, who seems to be more disheveled and heavier each time I see him, mugs for crowd, jumps up and down in time with the music, and dramatically plucks out one note at a time while jerking his guitar at different angles. He’s the nerd rock Rick Nielsen.
Foley played in small Austin bars, when they weren’t banning him due to drunkenness, and lived in a car. He released a few singles in his life, but album releases were never meant to be – master tapes were continually lost or stolen.
The trio is comprised of three outstanding musicians – violinist Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith, and stand-up bassist Jake Erwin. Performing jazz and pop standards and Western swing classics, the virtuosos rotate playing rhythms/melody and taking solos. They know when to be unobtrusive and when to take the spotlight. They simmer and burn with equal aplomb.
The Essential Songs of 1991 have all turned 21 now. They’ve discarded their fake IDs – some are in college, some are in the military, and there’s a trust fund baby in the crowd. They grow up so fast.
Cub Koda and company are best known for their pro lung cancer anthem “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” which made it to #3 in 1973 and was covered by Motley Crue in 1985, becoming that band’s first Top 40 hit.
“They have never achieved competence – they are actively untalented.”
“Such a tricky question, Steve!! But truly – anyone who stays true to their own vision and doesn’t allow the music business machine to sabotage their art is my hero – or heroine!”
Steve married Beth in 1990 and this Valentine Day’s he shares the essential songs in the year of his wedding.
Memo to Blake. It may be that people aren’t nostalgic for their grandpa’s country music. They may be nostalgic for country music with heart and substance.
Inspired by exciting yet technically challenged groups like the Buzzcocks, Undertones, and The Damned, the Adverts were non-musicians ready for stardom. In 1977, the group released their first single on Stiff Records, “One Chord Wonders”
Scott-Heron’s catalogue is a mess, many of the albums he recorded for Arista from 1974 to 1983 are no longer on the market and there are too many bargain bin compilations to address. It’s hard to know in retrospect if Scott-Heron was a brilliant artist that never had the opportunity for the following he deserved
In 1998, the twenty year old, second generation bass player founded the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. B.R.M.C. have released two albums that achieved gold status in England and remain respected by music fans on both sides of the pond.
Public Enemy fought the power and The Beastie Boys released their brilliant Paul’s Boutique album. As we look back at the decade, we were able to survive a decade of synth-pop, kitschy videos, and electronic drums. As we peek around the corner to the ‘90s, I’m seeing flannel.
Lacking familiarity with the Spanish-language tracks, I didn’t connect with most of the songs on a lyrical level. However, the musicianship was so impressive that the group easily made a gut level, visceral connection with the audience.
Eight slow tempo sad songs about women in abusive relationships, women in suffocating relationships, or women trapped in their own loneliness can take its toll on a person. Lucinda Williams is unarguably one of the preeminent songwriters of this era
The Traveling Wilburys were the rare supergroup that deserved that designation and Public Enemy pushed rap music into a more stringent and confrontational direction. And if you haven’t heard Gary Stewart’s “An Empty Glass,” you’re missing out on one of country music’s most eloquently heart wrenching drinking songs
Bruce Springsteen contemplated married life and The Replacements saluted a Memphis legend and worked with The Memphis Horns. R.E.M. released their most muscular album while the Grateful Dead had a Top Ten pop hit.
Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys pushed a new rock/rap fusion into the marketplace and while punk rock and new wave had been put to bed, a new batch of college radio acts
During the early 1980s, R.E.M. had established Athens, Georgia as the alternative center of the universe, but by 1985, Husker Du and the Replacements shifted the eyes of the indie world to Minneapolis/St. Paul,
One of the strengths of the collection is the diversity of visual styles, including work by graphic designer Paul Sahre, and animation specialists including Laika House, Hine Mizushima, Divya Srinivasan, and the brilliant Brothers Chap of Homestar Runner
Willie drops names and f-bombs and off color jokes. Lacking any cohesive narrative (and repeating some themes), it’s almost more of a scrapbook/time capsule than anything else. It’s a bit of a chore.
Teenage girls across America dumped their boyfriends for the honor of singing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and feeling solidarity with Taylor Swift. Justin Bieber returned with less hysteria but still hitting the charts. Let’s hear it for the girls, as Adele and Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson had #1 singles.
Bruce Springsteen and Prince ruled both the pop charts, while The Replacements released the best album of their messy career. Los Lobos proved that they really weren’t just another band from East L.A. and Leonard Cohen quietly released a song that would later become recognized as a classic.
Nelson has a powerful voice, figuratively and literally. He can sound both world weary and triumphant and the record rocks harder than typical long haired guy with bare feet publicity photo shots might lead you to believe (including some nice lead guitar and B-3 organ spots). Nelson has the goods. Hopefully his music will find the audience it deserves.
Prince Rogers Nelson also became a pop sensation with his double album 1999 and that little ol’ band from Texas conquered the MTV generation and had their greatest success after a decade plus of recording. Ray Davies and The Kinks had the most heartwarming comeback of the year
Wearing rudely tight purple spandex pants, a ripped Sex Pistols t-shirt, and sporting a ‘70s style Afro, he made repeated lascivious comments to the ticket buying females and shouted about “THE REVOLUTION” between songs, except when he was spewing obscenities
Imagine that you could record one more record with Johnny’s later period weathered vocals with Rick Rubin, taking a break from imagining what chicken fried steak tastes like, twiddling the knobs. Here are the tunes that Rock NYC would break out for the occasion.
Visually appealing/interesting artists like Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls were crossing over from MTV to radio airplay. Synth pop was pushing guitar bands to the back of the classroom, Tommy Tutone created the best known telephone number in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, while The Clash had (merely) their most commercially successful album release.
Ely enjoys rich lyrical images, check out this opening couplet from Butch Hancock’s “Row of Dominoes” – “Carmen must have been the Devil’s daughter/At least he taught her how to wear her clothes.”
The 1970s had given the music world all female bands Fanny and The Runaways, but the Go-Gos were the first female band writing and performing their own music to top the Billboard album chart.
The Wheel brought their Christmas show to Fort Worth, with Benson noting, “Ever since Perry Como left us, there’s been a void and we are here to fill it.” The band has been Benson’s lifelong passion
Classic rock was in fine form in 1980 with Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and Queen having major success on the album charts. London Calling by the Clash and Bruce Springsteen’s The River topped the critic polls. John Lennon released his first album in over five years, while punk rock/new wave energy was still spitting out fantastic songs
There’s an exhaustive quality about performing each piece with such tremor shaking force. It’s like being hit by serial tidal waves with no time to recuperate. On a number like Joe Simon’s “Your Time to Cry,” it feels like the material is being sledge hammered.
Blondie, the B-52s, and the Talking Heads were cross pollinating dance beats/rhythms into a traditional rock context. Pink Floyd built the wall, Cheap Trick brought Budokan to the States, and AC/DC paved the highway to hell. 1979 – the year is gone but it’s not forgotten.
I acknowledge the following concerning this list – (a) it is subject to change as I discover other music released this year, (b) it’s only November, and (c) Iman Lababedi listens to more music during one day than I do in six months.
This is music of Dement’s geographic and spiritual roots, songs inspired by the Arkansas Delta based upon church piano and organ instrumentation. If you can make peace with DeMent’s voice, which often savors every syllable on the slower songs, you may fall in love with this album.
Saturday Night Fever ruled the box office and the soundtrack did the same to the pop charts, creating a series of smash hits by The Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, and The Trammps. The Clash had replaced The Sex Pistols as the great hope of the punk rock movement and Elvis Costello was truly that year’s model. Sprinkle in a high quality albums by veterans like The Rolling Stones and Neil Young with fine debut efforts by Van Halen and The Cars and the result is a very good year.
Dan Fogelberg passed away from prostate cancer in 2007, yet will most likely taunt me from the grave every holiday season for the rest of my life. Nobody gets the last laugh on Dan Fogelberg.
Punk rock was proving to be an excellent singles medium, with The Buzzcocks and The Jam and The (non-Tom Petty) Heartbreakers undeniably making that point. An English nerd named Declan MacManus excited critics with his wordplay and craftsmanship. Disco and Fleetwood Mac ruled the Top 40 airwaves, while groups like Television and The Ramones and The Talking Heads were establishing a New York dump named CBGB’s
Junior Brown plays guitar like a man that can orchestrate tornadoes. Stooped over his double electric and steel guitar, Brown played solos that sounded like Don Rich (of the Buckaroos) performing at the speed of light
I was given the dreaded 1960s overview assignment. This is particularly difficult on me for two reasons. One, I was toasted out of my skull on bad acid for the entire decade and, two, I was only four years old when 1970 rolled around.
While citizens across our great nation were celebrating our Bicentennial, Jeffry Hyman, John Cummings, Douglas Colvin, and Thomas Erdelyi entered a recording studio in New York and created a new genre of rock ‘n’ roll that would remain viable for decades. The Ramones started the revolution.
Neil has gotten the boys together for two head scratching releases this year (perhaps Cortez told Neil to race the Mayan calendar) and there is one undeniable conclusion – the man needs an editor.
it was in 1975 that Mr. Springsteen ran onto the cover of both Time and Newsweek. He faded into obscurity the following year and is believed to be manning a hot dog stand in Atlantic City at this time. Patti Smith reaped critical hosannas with her unhinged, beatnik, word slinging persona and an English blues band named Fleetwood Mac morphed into a pop sensation
Criss takes on his old cronies, accusing Gene of having indiscriminate taste in groupies and often reeking of body odor. Stanley’s feminine mannerisms and lifestyle choices are detailed, without getting in the legal trouble of calling him gay. Of course, Ace was a train wreck.
As we continue our Soul Train line dance through the 1970s, we’ll note that 1974 was the first year that music was produced as much for the dance floor as it was the transistor radio
Satan was working overtime in ’73, loading the pop charts with demonic material by Tony Orlando and Down, the Carpenters, and Marie Osmond. However, during Beelzebub’s lunch breaks, the New York Dolls and Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop pushed some timeless goodies into the marketplace.
Performing in bare feet and alternating between a sly “did you see what I did there?” grin and a huge Jimmy Carter smile, Snider kept the crowd in the palm of his hand
Whether the subject is western swing music, barbeque, or water conservation, Patoski has the Lone Star State covered like a blanket.