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Monthly Archives: July 2008

Rate A Record: In My Arms – Teddy Thompson…3.8

Thanks to all who rated and commented on the Teddy Thompson Rate A Record.  I appreciate all of the discussion and honesty.

Overall, Teddy rates a 3.8 at Music Maven.  The average in the comments was 3.7 and I skewed the rating just a little higher, due to the George Jones cover.

Some comments:

I like the song but Teddy’s voice is kinda of mellow for my taste. This would be a big summer hit if someone with more of an edge to his voice sang it.

Frankly, I like the mellow simplicity of Teddy’s voice.

The song is catchy, and not full of platitudes.

I actually kinda like that it’s mellow…. Really simple song, but it works.

I thought it was very repetitive….those background instrumentals with the organ made me feel like I was on a bad carnival ride.

Personally, I really like the song.  But, more because I love the Traveling Wilburys.  When I first listened to this song, I was like who is that…it’s oddly familiar…wait a minute…oh, yeah!….

  You Got It, Roy Orbison

with a dash of:

  Dwight Yoakam

and of course, the influences of Dylan, Petty and Harrison, as well:

  Handle with Care, The Traveling Wilburys

or maybe more appropriately:

  The Wilbury Twist, The Traveling Wilburys

Regardless, Teddy seems to be combining a little folk with a little country and a little old school rock and even a little soul.  THAT, is something I can’t help but like.

As skylight mentioned in comments, Teddy does a mean Ain’t No Sunshine:

 

But, the one that puts me over the top is the fantabulous Roger Miller staple, King of the Road.  As Teddy’s George Jones cover, She Thinks I Still Care, King of the Road takes me back to my Dad’s endearing rendition some 40 summers ago.  I abosultely LOVE the song and the duet with Rufus Wainwright is simply delightful.

  King of the Road, Teddy Thompson with Rufus Wainwright

Teddy is a nice reminder that there are still new artists out there that appreciate music across various genres, even those of yesteryear.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 31, 2008 in Emerging Artists, rate a record

 

Current Country

Felt it was time to touch base on the Country front.  Unlike other music genres, there’s some pretty good music still coming from Nashville.

Currently, the #1 Country song in the land is Good Time, by Alan Jackson.

I really like this song because it’s fun and upbeat.  And, the catchy refrain is infectious…G with an O, O with a D, T with an I and a M and a E.   Good stuff.

Alan Jackson has proved to be a great songwriter over the years, with simple, heartfelt lyrics that really grab the listener.  His last hit, Small Town Southern Man, is a song about his father but it could have just as well have been about my own father.

As I have said before, Country is the new “Pop” music.  Many songs that are considered Country would have been classified as Country 20 years ago.  Also, many songs now cross-over from Country to Mainstream Pop and vice versa.  The #2 song in Country today is a cover of Michael Buble’s Home, performed by Blake Shelton:

One of my all-time favorite Country singers is George Strait.  For 25 years, George has been on or near the top of the business.  Despite the fact that he is some fine eye candy, he also provides songs that are simple, to the point and resonate.

His latest hit, I Saw God Today, is a sweet anthem that pays homage to the simple things in life:

I have often said that when you look into the face of a newborn baby (particularly your own), you look into the face of God.  George’s song echoes that.  The song hits on the kinds of emotions that resonates with virtually all who have been through having a child.

And finally, a ballad from Kenny Chesney…just because I like it.  True to form, Kenny hits the mark with an easy tune and a powerful lyric.  Wonderful in it’s simplicity.

  Better As a Memory

I move on like a sinners prayer
And letting go like a levee breaks
Walk away as if I don’t care
Learn to shoulder my mistakes
Or built to fade like your favorite song
Get reckless when there’s no need
Laugh as your stories ramble on
Break my heart, but it won’t bleed
My only friends are pirates
That’s just who I am
But I’m better as a memory than as your man

Never sure when the truth won’t bend
And pretty good on a lonely night
Or move on the way a storm blows through
And never stay, but then again, I might.
I struggle sometimes to find the words
Always sure until I doubt
Walk a line until it blurs
Build walls too high to climb out
But I’m honest to a fault
That’s just who I am
I’m better as a memory than as your man

I see you leaning, you’re bound to fall
I don’t want to be that mistake
I’m just a dreamer and nothing more
You should know it before it gets too late

Cause goodbyes are like a roulette wheel
You never know where they’re gonna land
First you’re spinning, then you’re standing still
Left holding a losing hand
But one day you’re gonna find someone
And right away you’ll know it’s true
That all of your seeking’s done
It’s just a part of the passing through
Right there in that moment you’ll finally understand
That I was better as a memory than as your man
Better as a memory than as your man

Country appears to be live and well….YEE HAW!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 30, 2008 in Country, Music Today

 

Rate a Record….Teddy Thompson

Back by popular demand….RATE-A-RECORD!!

Here’s how it works.  Listen to the featured track and then give your rating on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.  I’ll compile everyone’s feedback into an average score and do a follow up post featuring your comments in addition to my own feedback.

Today’s submission is Teddy Thompson, son of folk rock legends, Rick and Linda Thompson.  (And no, she wasn’t engaged to Elvis.)  Rick & Linda were authentic hippies who raised young Teddy in an English commune.  (I know, oxymoron.)  Somebody sent me a heads up on Teddy and I’ve been checking him out.

Teddy recently released his new CD, A Piece of What You Need.  Teddy emerged from a back-up singer for Rufus Wainwright, who can be seen in a cameo in the video as Elvis rockin’ the organ.

So, without further adeui, Teddy Thompson and In My Arms:

 
25 Comments

Posted by on July 28, 2008 in Emerging Artists, rate a record

 

America’s Got Talent…Well, at least Emily David does

Ladies and Gentleman, Aretha, Jr.

40 year old, Emily David, the next great find from America’s Got Talent:

GEAUX EMILY!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2008 in aretha franklin, Emerging Artists, TV

 

R.I.P. Randy Pausch

1960 – 2008

Late last year, someone sent me an email encouraging me to watch an extraordinary lecture by a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Randy Pausch, who had been recently diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.  His lecture, titled The Last Lecture, centered on truly realizing your childhood dreams and wound up becoming a viral sensation.   Ultimately, the lecture was modified into a best-selling book (a $6 million deal for Randy & his family).

Although the lecture was designed as a legacy for his three young children, it ended up being an inspiration to millions.  Randy’s contention was that if you live your life right, karma will take care of the rest.  I think that his last year, just like the rest of his life, proved that theory out.

If you haven’t experienced the lecture or even if you already have, I strongly encourage you to view it:

  Full lecture

While he explains that he totally understands exactly where his situation stood, he was humorous, engaging and thoroughly sincere in making people see a path to their dreams.  In the Spring, Oprah invited him to give an abridged version of his original 75 minute lecture on her show.  Interestingly, his mood is much more serious and emotional.  The difference in six months showed the psychological wear and tear of living with the fact that you are dying and seeing the affects on your friends and family.

  Abbreviated lecture on Oprah

Randy lost his battle with cancer on Friday, passing on at the age of 47.  However, his positive message of constant pursuit of happiness and dreams has been viewed by over four million viewers.  This lecture will stand as a testament to someone who truly influenced and impacted people lives with a simple example of living a good life — a life of purpose and pursuit.  In the end, Randy provided the perfect legacy for his children…and for many, many others — through his enthusiasm, humor and tenacity.

In a recent TIME interview, a reader asked a musical question of Randy: “What music do you turn to these days to help you get through?”  His answer was that he and his kids are particularly fond of Sgt. Pepper’s….a particluarly fitting piece.

  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2008 in inspiration, memorials, the beatles

 

On This Day in Musical History….July 26th

1971:  Mozart born.

1943:  Mick Jagger is born.

1960:  Sam Cooke’s Chain Gang is released

 

1968:  John Lennon and Paul McCartney complete Hey Jude (arguably the one of the best songs ever written — but then I AM BIASED)

 

1968:  The Jackson 5 sign a 1-yr. contract with MoTown

 

1969:  Marilyn McCoo marries Billy Davis, Jr.

 

1975:  The Hustle, by Van McCoy & The Soul City goes to #1 on the Singles Chart

…man, flashbacks.

 

1980:  The Rolling Stones hit #1 with Emotional Rescue – it would remain there for seven weeks.

 

1984:  Prince, or the artist formerly know as Prince, premieres his new movie, Purple Rain

 

1986:  Peter Gabriel goes to #1 with Sledgehammer — IMO, the BEST rock video ever made.

 

1992:  MoTowner and originator of My Guy, Mary Wells, dies of cancer

 

2000:  Napster receives an injunction via the RIAA to refrain from allowing file sharing of RIAA material on their site.  Too bad the genie was already out of the bottle.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on July 26, 2008 in motown, Music History, oldies, on this day

 

Friday on My Mind

  The Easybeats, 1967

Happy Weekend.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2008 in oldies, weekdays

 

Spotlight On….Wilson Pickett – I’m In Love

Year:  1968

Artist:  Wilson Pickett

Songwriter:  Bobby Womack

Label:  Atlantic Records

Recorded:  American Studios, Memphis, TN

Producers:  Tom Dowd, Tommy Cogbill

The title track from Pickett’s 1968 album that also featured Stagger Lee and Bring It On Home to Me, I’m in Love stands out as the one song in “The Wicked’s” repetoire that shows any kind of vulnerability or longing.  Most of Pickett’s hits were displays of his vast male bravado and self assurance, so I’m in Love was an enjoyable deviation from his norm.

Like most pioneers of soul music, Wilson Pickett started out in gospel and perhaps the brash sexual nature of his popular music had a little something to with that.  Many of the sexy, soul singers of the ’60s and ’70s, like Otis Redding, Bobby Womack and Sam Cooke all became dichotomies of their upbringing by embracing and advancing sensual, risque’ music that quickly became the music of love.

In 1962, Atlantic Records signed Wilson Pickett as part The Falcons, who had a modest R&B hit with I Found a Love.  Eddie Floyd of Knock On Wood fame, as well as Sir Mack Rice who penned the classics Respect Yourself and Pickett’s Mustang Sally, were also members of the famed Falcons.

Soon after, Pickett went solo but had no success in his first few attempts.  Atlantic executive, Jerry Wexler, then made the fateful decision to send Wilson on down to Memphis to record with Stax musicians and writers.  There, Steve Cropper worked with Wilson Pickett to write In the Midnight Hour, which became a huge hit in 1965.  The Stax collaborations would produce other hits, like 634-5789 and Don’t Fight It.  After Stax owner, Jim Stewart, banned all outside production in 1965, Pickett moved on to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, where he recorded Mustang Sally and Funky Broadway.

In 1967, Wexler arranged for Wilson to go back to Memphis, but this time at the pretigious, American Studios.  There, Pickett recorded the I’m in Love album.  He would subsequently return to FAME to do a funky version of The Beatles’ Hey Jude, with Duane Allman sitting in, but the I’m in Love album would prove to be his apex.

In the single I’m in Love, Pickett exudes sex and charisma, with a side of desparation that is so appealing to women.

  (Live)

The lyrics, or rather, the phrasings create a sense of wanting and needing mixed with jubilation.  Coupled with Pickett’s steamy delivery, I’m in Love is a pure anthem of love.

I´m in love, yes I am
Love, love, love
I´m in love, sho ´nuff in love
Look-a-here
My friends all wonder what´s come over me
I´m as happy as a man can be
I´m in love (love, love)
I´m in love (love, love) love
I´m in love (love, love)
I´m so glad I can tell the world
(love, love, love)
I´m too proud on my own
(love, love, love)
Yes I am
(love, love, love)
I´m sho ´nuff in love
(love, love, love)
Look-a-here
I feel just like a baby boy (ooooo)
On a Christmas mornin´ with a brand new toyI´m in love (love, love)
I´m in love, love, love
Uum-mmm
I´m in love (love, love)
Sho´ nuff´ in love (love, love)
I can shout about it, yeah
(love, love, love)
I can cry about it sometime
(love, love, love)
Whoa sho ´nuff in love
(love, love, love)
Sho ´nuff in love, yes I am
(love, love, love)
FADES-
I can knock on wood, now
(love, love, love)

 

This song is one of my absolute FAVORITE songs.  Wilson Pickett’s passion and enthusiasm has yet to be matched by today’s artists in terms of delivering REAL soul music, with the possible exception of Marc Broussard.  When I hear this song, it really gives me that “feel good all over” feeling and makes me want to grab Mr. D to cut a rug.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 21, 2008 in music legends, oldies, Soul, wilson pickett

 

Is YouTube Down the Tube?

 

In the on-going battle between media moguls Viacom and YouTube/Google, Viacom has had to take the defensive and quell fears of invasion of privacy of hordes of internet video purusers of the wildly popular YouTube.  It seems that as part of the $1 BILLION dollar copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Viacom against YouTube and its parent, Google, a judge ruled that YouTube must turn over it’s vast database of videos and the usage data along with it.  This data would include user names, IP addresses and profile information that users have included such as hometowns and even names. 

Privacy advocates went ballistic, accusing Viacom of trying to acquire the names of YouTube uploaders and viewers in an attempt to pursue, in the vein of the RIAA’s prosecution of those downloading illegal music.  Viacom suddenly was thrust into a PR nightmare and had to substantially back-pedal and qualify that they only wanted the usage data to either prove or disprove that the majority of YouTube’s content is user established and proprietary to uploaders, rather than copyrighted programming.  As such, YouTube agreed in principle to provide the data “masked” through other naming or numbering to hide the actual user names and information from Viacom.  This may or may not appease the ACLU-types, as masking doesn’t necessarily protect users if they can be tied via a usage pattern to other databases that could provide user data.

It is interesting to me that Viacom had no real issue with YouTube until Google and their deep pockets made the scene.  Perhaps Viacom sees this suit is an easier money maker than, say, providing quality programming that would attract more and better advertisers. 

No, Viacom has chosen to pursue a company that has repeatedly shown that it proactively tries to prohibit copyrighted material from its servers and has always complied with taking down material upon request.  That complies full with the DMCA — the law by which this case is governed.  Confused?  Perhaps this video can shed some light.

In the meantime, there is speculation that Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart will actually be called as witnesses in the case.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it will be to lament how their pockets are being picked by wanton pirates who are uploading their shows, as well as nefarious viewers who are illegally watching their shows through YouTube instead of on The Comedy Channel, where advertisers pay hordes of money to Colbert and Stewart, by way of Viacom, for viewers to tune in there.

Here is a NEWSFLASH.  Viacom, along with many other media companies have MISSED THE BOAT.  Again.  Instead of joining forces with YouTube to further distribute their programming and broaden their audiences, they are once again, shooting themselves in the foot by trying to cripple or destroy one of the outlets that are actually helping them to sustain viewers.

Go through this with me.  Let’s use The Daily Show for an example.  Now, certainly, there are people who watch The Daily Show every day.  They consider Jon Stewart a god and tune in every day at x:30 to soak up his sardonic witticism and sarcastic political diatribes.  Let’s say that he gets a 10 share or 10% of American TVs were tuned in (a generous number, here).  That leaves 90% of us who are not watching him or maybe not watching anything, for that matter.

Common sense tells us that unless they happen to miss an episode, the loyal 10% are not relying on YouTube to provide their Jon Stewart fix.  So, YouTube is really a big, ole billboard for The Daily Show in that people like me may tune in to a YouTube video linked onto a blog that I read or that someone emails me.  Then, perhaps, Mr. Stewart intrigues or entertains me enough to take a real interest in what he has to say.  Well, I will want to hear him say it at x:30 on the days that he’s on and if I can’t make it, I can always set my DVR to record it.  Regardless, I am going to the source to get my content.

Let’s face it, old movies and TV shows don’t make YouTube until they’ve already been played on TV.  How does this affect my viewership of something like The Daily Show on The Comedy Channel?  They aren’t running every show in re-runs for me to catch up.  Some networks like NBC do provide episodes of their TV programs to watch via their websites, so I can understand their beef.  But, again, isn’t YouTube simply providing trailers for people to find these shows?  Very rarely are you going to find ALL of the episodes of a particular TV program on YouTube.  But, a snippet of one might just cause you to seek out the TV program (on its network), if you are appropriately stimulated to do so.

I also find it interesting that The Daily Show can be found on the front page of Hulu.com, so evidently they are not above having viewers watch their show on a competing network’s vehicle.  (Hulu is owned by NBC/Universal.)  While I understand that they are getting paid, why not try to strike a similar deal with YouTube.  YouTube actually approached Viacom about cutting a deal that would allow them to broadcast Viacom shows and in return, YouTube would build filters (similar to their porn filters) that would block material from Viacom projects from being uploaded without consent.  Viacom views this as strong-arming and has declined.  It just appears a bit hypocritical to me that Viacom agrees to sell its programming to Hulu (a competitor) and won’t work out a deal with YouTube and Google.  Sadly, what they miss is that if they did, they would be viewed as pioneers of progress and amply rewarded by increased viewership. 

While the revenue stream for musicians and writers is more convoluted, they are missing the same boat by not embracing the awareness-building outlet of YouTube to gain exposure for their music.  Some artists “get it” and that’s why you’re starting to see YouTube channels like Radiohead, AliciaKeys, mayermusic, and AmosLeePodcast.  These guys understand that YouTube is a vehicle for distribution.  To engage the viewer/listener.  To evoke enough of an interest to have that viewer buy tracks, seek out concert tickets, and become A FAN.  Once you’ve got fans, then the word of mouth of people like you and me become more precious than diamonds and gold.  The label is not getting the arist the kind of exposure YouTube and other non-traditional on-line outlets, like blogs, are providing.  Again, why not embrace the change instead of trying to eradicate it.  In the annals of history, there is no-one who has ever stopped progress through limiting technology.  Why try something that has been proven to fail every time?

YouTube may have a bit of a rock road to travel, however because of Google’s deep pockets they are here to stay.  IMO.  If not, I’m going to be really pissed.

Here’s some Tubeliciousness that I came across today.  Imagine being deprived of these?

  Astral Weeks, Van Morrison

  Street Corner Preacher, Amos Lee

  It Take Two to Tango, Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles

  Slip Slidin’ Away, Paul Simon (live @ Abbey Road)

 

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Colette’s Corner: A Birthday Contribution

That’s right. Today is Colette’s Birthday, so a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ms. C.

In addition to reflecting on her birthday, Colette has also been reflecting on the late, great Dusty Springfield. A soul icon, I always considered Dusty a bit of a white-bread Janis Joplin — and I mean that in a good way.

She’s worshipped in England, and a soul queen for many in other nations. Once you hear that tender, sultry, bluesy sound of her unique voice, you just want more of it.

The personification of blue-eyed soul, Dusty Springfield was a passionate devotee of Black American music, with a thrilling set of pipes. She came up in the ’60s with her family band, The Springfields, then quickly hit the charts with a string of solo hits. The many wonderful songs she introduced are matched by her covers of a big sampling of the greatest pop/r & b tunes of the 1960s and ’70s.

Though she died fairly young, at age 59, after a lengthy bout with breast cancer, Dusty left behind a slew of albums. And aficienados can be grateful for the tremendous cache of videos of her live performances, thanks to fans collecting numbers from the popular TV musical variety shows she hosted in England. She was also among the first people to introduce British TV audiences to the glories of Motown, by hosting the “Ready, Steady, Go” series, “The Sound of Motown.” (The whole thing is available on Youtube, and it is fabulous.)

Recently the American singer Shelby Lynne recorded a lovely tribute disc of Dusty tunes, titled “Just a Little Lovin.” And in the wake of that release it’s great to share some of Dusty’s finest performances and those of her colleagues/acolytes. (If you like’em, more will come later — including some smashing duets.)

Let’s start with one of Dusty’s first major hits:

This boppin’ little tune by Phil Spector has a melody I can’t get out of my head. It’s a total delight, and a major fave in Dusty’s repertoire. Fashion note: Dusty loved big blonde ‘dos, heavy Cleopatra-style eye makeup, and very glam, sparkling duds. But if she often had a plastic-fantastic look, her bubbly personality and terrific musicality were totally for real:

— “I Only Want to Be with You”

Here’s Shelby Lynne’s charming bossa nova-style take on the same song:

— “I Only Want to Be With You”

Here is another great Dusty hit, performed on the “Sound of Motown” show with the fantab Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

— “Wishin’ and Hopin’” with Martha Reeves and Vandellas

This song is perhaps my favorite female/male-duet song ever. I love the Carly Simon/James Taylor version, the gritty Inezz & Charles Fox original. But even though I don’t know (or care) much about the band she’s performing with (The Echos) the way Dusty tears into this just slays me:

— “Mockingbird”

Among Dusty’s many, many cover gems, give a listen to her take on a little Herman’s Hermits ditty that she turns into a kick-butt soul tune. Sing it sister! (sorry for bad visuals, but the sound is swell):

-”Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat”

Even when drenched in musical melodrama and soapy strings, Dusty’s great voice rang through. This is one of them big ‘ol, schmaltzy love songs from the early 1960s, a huge hit for Dusty — and a challenge for most singers, including quite a few American Idol contesants who’ve botched it. Dusty’s peerless original:

— “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”

Here is a bit of Shelby Lynne’s poignant version of the same song:

— “You Don’t Have to Say Love Me”

Here’s one of the choicest of Dusty hits, on a tune that Aretha (stupidly, in my book) passed on. Recorded on her great album recorded in Muscle Shoals, “Dusty in Memphis,” it tells such a poignant story. (Eat your heart out, Joss Stone…..)

— “Son of a Preacher Man”

Aretha recorded “Preacher Man” later, with predictably awesome results:

Probably the song most associated with Dusty is this ultra-seductive Burt Bacharach tune. I first heard it on the soundtrack of the James Bond flick, “Casino Royale,” and it went right into my musical bloodstream:

— “The Look of Love”

I’ll end this set with a rare clip of Dusty singing an Anthony Newley song, from his Broadway musical “The Roar of the Greaspaint, the Smell of the Crowd.” This is Dusty picking up on the roots of black music, jubilant in her understanding of its passion, and backed up by three great backup singers:

— “Gonna Build a Mountain”

Thanks for a great look back at the great Dusty Springfield, Colette….and a very Happy Birthday to You!

 
 
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