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Dec 18 Ryan Adams: ‘Johnny Depp Is One Of The Deepest Guitar Players Out There’
Typed up on my manual typewriter and born and delivered from a simple riff we found on his i phone. Johnny is a real songwriter and one of the deepest guitar players out there. Thats us singing and playing and playing all the parts ourselves with just our pal Marshal Vore on drums.
Posted 18 December 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Dec 18 Lily Allen Offends Christians With A Nativity Scene
Plus she sat on a bed of hay, surrounded by backing dancers dressed as a Christmas cracker, a gift and a donkey, recreating a sort of nativity scene… I don’t get it, is she Mary or baby Jesus, or both? Well she called her last album Sheezus, so she had to act on it, after all Kanye West has brought the real Yeezus on stage.
Posted 18 December 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Dec 18 Madonna’s New Album “Iconic” Leaks… Are these Two of The Songs?
“Madonna’s new (and thirteenth) album, apparently called Iconic, has been leaked in full – long before it’s even officially announced. It features eleven tracks and is thought to be unfinished.
Posted 18 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 18 Singles Going Steady Week Of December 15th, 2014
The Eye – Brandi Carlisle – A real beaut this with a great metaphor: “You can dance in a hurricane only if you’re standing in the eye” and her double tracked vocal is perfect Americana – B+
Posted 18 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 18 Best Albums Of 2014 #17: Kate Tempest’s “Everybody Down”
The sounds are deep, beautiful, haunting and rough, violent images and the stories are working class stories of horror and faith, “Everywhere is monsters. Tits out, wet-mouthed, heads back. Shouting and screaming just to prove they exist” is how the story of Becky opens, she meets a guy in bar, he goes off to a bad drug deal, she becomes a sex worker and the happy ending isn’t at all.
Posted 18 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 18 US Top 10 Albums 12-27-14
I was disappointed by the J. Cole album, it needed a little more discipline,it needed a couple of killer songs, a “Power trip” or a “Work Out” to beckon us in. The album isn’t bad, it’s good, but it needed to be great.
Posted 18 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 18 US Top 10 Singles 12-27-14
Wow, the last singles chart of the year is a great one one A+, four as, 5 B=s, this is the best chart since I satarted keeping track in 2009, every song here is a doozy and the top and the bottom are magnificent star turns. Both of Meghans hit home and the Ed Sheeran is his greatest moment ever. What a Christmas.
Posted 18 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 18 10 Songs: Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Steel And Feathers (Don’t Ever) – Nikki Jean – I don’t know how I ever missed this, it is better than the entire New Basement Tapes Band album combined, half completed, it didn’t make it onto “Shot Of Love” and Nikki polished it off in 2011 – A+
Posted 18 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 17 Feels, Burnt Ones, Corners And Cosmonauts At The Echo, Sunday December 14th 2014
I spent another Sunday night at the Echo, and this brought me right back in the middle of last summer, with a ‘Part Time Punks’ soiree featuring Feels, Burnt Ones, Corners and Cosmonauts… another sleep-depraved 24 hours in perspective to start the week, but it was all worth it
Posted 17 December 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Dec 17 Watch Panda Bear’s New Song And Journey
Panda Bear is a mystery to me, and this is the beauty of him and his music. Noah Lennox has dropped a second single off his upcoming ‘Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper’, and the song ‘Boys Latin’ even comes with a very poetic animation video.
Posted 17 December 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Dec 17 The Super Duper version of Darlene Love Singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” On Letterman
This would be my 28th year in a row. They never told me not to, but it was an unspoken thing. They couldn’t ask me not to sing ‘Christmas (Baby)’ on another show, but after 10 years, then 15 years, of doing this one song on this one show, I felt I had an obligation to be true to them
Posted 17 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 17 Best Albums Of 2014 # 18: Marla Mase’s “Half Life”
Marla is a central presence beckoning you forward till you are in the middle of her world and yet you don’t know where you are. It could be 1974, it could be the day after tomorrow, but you are experience something, not half but a life entire
Posted 17 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 17 Last Call: Final Tracks Off New Albums Week Of December 8th, 2014
Don’t those beats sound manufactured? They’re like doubled up and then some tom toms are added, and just before that and during that a sonic boom and a lot of vocal “uhs” and a rapper who sounds an awful lot like a kiddie Snoop. Not bad at all – B+
Posted 17 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 17 Must See: The Temptations And The Four Tops On Broadway, January 2015
if the Temptations still has Otis and Duke Fakir is the only name I recognize in the Four Tops, but then again after Levi Stubbs it’s a little hard to care and since Levi has left the building, here we are now with two original member between two groups who are playing a week at the Palace on Broadway
Posted 17 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Dec 17 10 Songs: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Betray My Heart – D’Angelo, The vanguard – The question here is, is he being intentionally obtuse or is his soul ear failing him. Sounds great either way – B+
Posted 17 December 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment

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Cliff Richard Gramercy Theater Saturday June 21, 2014 Reviewed
Cliff Richard Gramercy Theater Saturday June 21, 2014 Reviewed
Sir Cliff

Sir Cliff

The difference between Elvis Presley and the English equivalent Cliff Richard, is Presley’s voluptuousness was carnal and Richard’s remains boyish. The result was a a star who was by definition an Elvis disciple yet considered,  Stateside at least, a minor artist. The teenage Cliff  of the  late 1950’s, had a tender lushness about him, girls adored him,  he wasn’t threatening but rather Mickey Rooney meets post-Army Elvis meets Dion . Any thoughts of juvenile delinquency disappeared as hit after hit after hit turned him pop.

Cliff Richard is no minor artist but he is no Elvis either and on stage at Gramercy Theater, Saturday, June 21st both his immense gifts and limitations were clearly on display.

Gifts? Richard has sold over 250 million albums worldwide, and he is the best selling single artist of all time in the UK.  Limitations? He became both a best selling AOR artist in the  70’s and a nostalgia act ever since, no matter how often he dons the Heathcliff cape.

Hawking the Nashville recorded covers album “The Fabulous Rick And Roll Songbook”, his first New York concert in decades  included his early hits, other 50’s hits, and highlights from the 1970’s and between them they amounted to a set, interspersed with an interview, which did what the true greats can do, it overwhelms its weaknesses and makes a strength of them.

The last time I saw Cliff on stage was  in 1963, the last time he performed in the States was 1981, so when Morrissey announced Sir Cliff (sell 200 million records and they’ll Knight you as well) was opening for him, some of us felt Cliff would eclipse the night. Cliff himself was thrilled at the opportunity to introduce his music to a new audience as well as the fans arriving from Australia from England from Canada for this opportunity to see the man in person.

“I didn’t speak to anybody for two days after learning it was canceled.” Cliff told us but slowly a plan emerged and there we were. “It’s a long time since we”ve shared such an intimate space ” he said at the 500 seater Gramercy a week after the Morrissey show was  canceled.

Somethings were necessarily lost. Cliff came to us with only a backup singer Suzie Furlonger, , a programmer and back up Keith Hayman and an interviewer Phil Silverstone,  but it was enough. He looked incredible. Not incredible for a septuagenarian , just incredible. Inches away from him he looks as though he’s 45, every single song he both sang and danced, if his voice is aged I couldn’t tell, he sounded the same as ever gentle, sweet, sharp Cliff.

Watching him hit the stage the years seem to roll away, the first three songs are just about what you want from Sir Cliff. The title track from his 1963 movie “Summer Holiday” followed by the lovely teenie bopper “I Could Easily Fall In Love With You”  and the early stretch “In The Country”. Then a song off his last album “Apron Strings” which fits in nicely. Interviewer Phil Silvers mentioned that Cliff had begun his career as a rocker, become a pop singer and is now balladeer, we started with the rocker.

Speaking of the interview, it was interesting to a degree and very unsentimental but a touch too much of it for my taste. A third of the two hour set was taken up with question and answers.

Speaking of ballads,  a note perfect take on “Miss You Nights” a good song I was not particularly fond of,  morphed into a valued fave with a powerful and moving take.  The other ballads I was less sure of (“We Don”t Talk Anymore”, the sixth song ever played on MTV, was the only time I found myself glancing at my watch) but this was a goodie.

Which leads us directly to set lists and pacing; there isn’t a musician who couldn’t learn how to put together a set list from this show. Early hits followed by later period  hits, followed by newbies astutely placed among favorites, followed by an acoustic set followed by two of his biggest hit.  Sure it was Cliff’s audience ti lose but still that’s the way it is done. Nothing is taken for granted.

This is all fun, well except for “the Twelfth Of Never”, but again it is the earliest stuff  that really is magnetic. Cliff’s first hit, at the age of 17, “Move It” is a real rocker that Marshall Crenshaw (who knows about 50s rock) has covered and is given an excellent take and the two #1 hits in succession, “Living Doll” and “Traveling Light” bring the house down. “The Young Ones” (six weeks at the top of the UK charts) was a huge singalong.

During another interview segment, Cliff  claims Elvis as his greatest influence. He doesn’t say before there was  Elvis there was nothing but he kind of meant it. A solo acoustic “All Shook Up” connected the dots. 

The interviews weren’t  really revealing at all, Cliff remains a guarded cipher, but he was very astute about the business, when Phil tries to claim EDM isn’t real music, Cliff corrects him about as sternly as Cliff can. And when Cliff says he was lucky to have been born in the era of the recorded song he puts his finger on what is missing in 2014. “Bands are not given the support we were” he claimed.

My only real problem with the show was mostly a question of taste, The late 70’s, early 80’s hits that closed the show doesn’t do it for me. The only time Cliff looks silly is the dance to “Devil Woman”.

But I wouldn’t of missed it for anything. Cliff mentioned that Morrissey is still in hospital and wished him well, and would be happy to support him if he tours again. So why leave it to chance?  Still voluptuous, still boyish, come back and play Carnegie Hall, we miss you nights.

Grade: A-