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Jan 27 Be Here Now: First Reviews Of New Albums, Week Of January 26th, 2015
After reading Pitchfork’s ” She crafts slow-burning soul music indebted to singers like Dolly Parton, Dusty Springfield, and Jenny Lewis…” I was gagging to unload on this sucker but the songs are excellent and her voice is beautiful. It is like indie country plus odd instruments and her falsetto
Posted 27 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 27 This Cat’s in the Cradle or Andy Warhol’s Behind the Times…
I believe now, even though everyone and their mother can release tracks without a record company backing them, the glut of product, even though it may be fantastic, may be getting overlooked
Posted 27 January 2015 by Edward Huerta  Add comment
Jan 27 Debbie Reynolds Wins SAG Awards, Here Is A Live Review From 2011
Watching her finest moments of her filmed career, the woman jumps off the screen in a manner perfect for the hyper reality of the Hollywood dream factory whether throwing a cream pie at Gene Kelly in “Rain.” or kicking up her feet on a long bar in “Molly,” she was the personification of the rounded entertainer
Posted 27 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 27 Not With The Band: Why Judgment Is Part Of Us
The ‘innocent until proven guilty’ statement just applies in the courtroom, not only we have the right to express an informed opinion outside of it, but we should! Expressing and writing what we think is part of our rights. What are people so afraid of?
Posted 27 January 2015 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Jan 27 Sam Smith To Pay Out Royalties To Tom Petty For His Song ‘Stay With Me’
‘Of the four phrases, three are virtually identical. The pitches are the same; the rhythms are the same; the chords are pretty much the same, with Petty’s D subbed out for Smith’s C Even the structure of the lyrics is similar — the songs’ titles both arrive on the same notes in the first full bar and are repeated in the last phrase.’
Posted 27 January 2015 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Jan 27 That Was The Week That Was: January 19th, 2015
Let’s hand it to rap, two terrific albums to start the new year. Joey Bada$$ , Bed Stuyvesant liviest one co-founder of the rap collective Pro Era, and who would be big time indeed if he widened his interests on debut album B4.DA.$$ . Or narrowed them as Lupe Fiasco did on his superb Tetsuo And Beyond.
Posted 27 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 27 Mark Knopfler, New Album And Tour 2015
Here in New York it is Tuesday afternoon, that is a State of Emergency and I am rushing like crazy to hit the road and get home… just like Mark Knopfler (well, we are both hitting the road. So this cut and paste from Sacks and Co PR firm should be forgiven because if I die…? Right?
Posted 27 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 27 Last Call: Last Songs Off New Albums Week Of January 19th, 2015
At eleven minutes on length you’d think this awesome rock drone push and punish finishing “The End” would slacken somewhere but it never relents and its unyielding, ugly power changes a good album to a great one – A
Posted 27 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 27 10 Songs: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Wake Shake Bake – Fidlar – The popular pop punk band’s ode to intoxicants like Wavves never realized the limitations of being young and dumb. Like the man said, you’re never too old to enjoy dumb entertainment… so enjoy – B+
Posted 27 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 26 The Frights, Meatbodies, FIDLAR At The Regent, Friday January 23rd 2015
Last night was a triumphant repeat of that same chaos, a celebration of youth exuberance and recklessness, also amplified by the two other bands opening for them.
Posted 26 January 2015 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Jan 26 Interview: Shinobi Ninja’s Buying Time, Rocking Hoods, Seven Years Later
“We’re all about love. We are always love, its just its just its just about music man.If you’ve got fans it means youre doing something right. If we can come over for you its a good look for us.”
Posted 26 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 26 Fleetwood Mac at Madison Square Garden,– Thursday, January 22nd, 2015, Reviewed
Consensus – a phenomenal performance. I have no hesitation in saying that because I know so little, I enjoyed them to no end. And hearing all those hits, which irritated me so many years ago, was a joy – and the musicianship left my head turned completely
Posted 26 January 2015 by Robert Ross  Add comment
Jan 26 Listen To The New McCartney-Kanye-West-Rihanna Collaboration Via Rihanna’s Website
Is it me or this sounds a bit cheesy-folksy, a bit campfire song, part old fashioned, part Jack Johnson tune mutated with powerhouse vocals? Not disagreeable but easily forgettable.
Posted 26 January 2015 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Jan 26 UK Top 10 Singles 1-31-15
I swear, at first glance I thought they’d misposted last weeks charts by mistake but no, the Avicii, which I quite like, is a new track from an old album. Otherwise, everything is where it was only you are there for your sins
Posted 26 January 2015 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Jan 26 UK Top 10 Albums 1-31-15
Finally, 2015 hits the charts and while I am not crazy about #1, I am crazy about # 2, FOB’s best album ever and if it did this well in the UK, I wonder if it can take over from Meghan in the US? No, I don’t really like the new Belle & Sebastian but I approve of them as a concept.
Posted 26 January 2015 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-