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THE BLACK BUTTERFLIES Tuesday, September 7th 9 PM at NUBLU

While this is just the debut release from The Black Butterflies, a group led by 27-year-old saxophonist Mercedes Figueras, veterans would do well to prick up their ears and take note. The Butterflies deftly blend the Latin rhythms of Figueras' native Argentina with free and post-bop noodling and tantalizing natural-world percussive elements, into full, invigorating music that sprouts, twines and flourishes over the 63-minute span of this entirely satisfying album.

The title track kicks off the record. It is a relaxed, comfortably humid piece that sways from a melodic opening into more forceful strains on the wind of Figueras' sax and swingingly persistent conga thumps. The piece never reaches--nor even strives for--the anthemic quality the title might suggest. Instead, the labor sweats happily, singingly under the sun. Appropriately, the tune--and, thus, the album--takes flight on the crystalline wings of Dan Tepfer's echoing, solo keyboard statement. It's appropriate not only for fashioning a sly musical equivalence to the band's moniker, but by spotlighting in Tepfer one of the group's, well, keys. Tepfer's polished electric tones lace the Latin rhythms and strings them up on a brightly modern line that still never smoothes the crisp, pulsing edges of the traditional beats. As mentioned, it's this facile navigation of divergent musical fields and the ability to rake loose from the passage a lively new hybrid that makes listening to The Black Butterflies so palpably intriguing. Ears laugh at their good fortune.

"Afro Blue," with its inevitable rekindling of saxophonist John Coltrane's spirit, also sparks the ghost of Albert Ayler, the twining sax statements of Figueras and her (even more?) experimental mate, Tony Larokko, rendering the Coltrane vehicle as a mighty, squealing, squawking, melodically impassioned conversation between the lost giants of the avant-garde. The saxophonists pause for a breather midway through, revealing front and center the rolling-thunder percussion the listener's body already knew was there. Tepfer contributes another light yet zinging solo over the drums before backing off to give conga man Bopa "King" Carre, percussionist Fred Berryhill and drummer Kenny Wollesen even more space to break loose and rumble.

The first of Figueras' two original pieces on the album, "Pipi's Blues," follows "Afro Blue" with the type of jumping cadence saxophonist Joe Henderson might have favored with the mid 1960s support of pianists McCoy Tyner or Andrew Hill. Only here Tepfer remains electric, adding the swirling bluesy punch of organist Jimmy Smith, while also not refusing to jut off on Larry Young-like angular departures.

Larokko contributes the next two numbers, "Spiritual Travels" and "Yah-Yah," the first a jolting, percussion-heavy piece full of strong repeated sax figures that again recall the journeys of Ayler. The latter, the album's most experimental piece, evolves from whistles and an array of percussion instruments that erupt into a cacophony of insect and animal noises--nature's nighttime rhythm section--that in turn give way to the African chants that supply the song's title and the singing of Figueras. Her voice is strong yet slightly coarse and splintered like the timbre of her sax, relating in insistent, desperate Spanish the tragic tale of "Los Ojos Azules," a Bolivian song popularized by the late Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa, while accompanied by an increasingly complex and urgent layering of rhythmic human voices and drums. The whole ultimately explodes into a screeching battle of horns--the saxophones' cries themselves sounding almost human at times--that burns out through extended, passionate playing, leaving only the snaps and twangs of nature and the soft, compelling "Yah-yah, Yah-yah" chants of dancers or workers.

Yet, lest it be thought the band has gone irrevocably, unrestrainably tribal, it closes on the infectious Figueras piece, "Music Heals All Wounds," a soulful "Auld Lang Syne" with Caribbean accents. (To belabor the Ayler connection--or to kill it, finally--this most certainly is not "Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe.") Figueras' tune delivers as advertised--a warming salve that demands multiple healing doses on the spot, then lingers, replaying itself for hours in the listener's brain to pleasant, calming effect.

Yes, this is the debut release from a new band whose young leader has issued only one other record under her name, Elefante (2007), a free-improv set from Figueras and drummer Martín Visconti. But make no mistake, 1 de Mayo also happens to be one of the best overall records of 2010.

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THE BLACK BUTTERFLIES

when: Tuesday September 7th
Time: 9 PM
Where: NUBLU (62 Av C New York, NY 10009)
http://www.nublu.net/

BoomBox NEW Album "downriverelectric" out NOW

Once again, the otherwise understated area of Muscle Shoals, Alabama finds itself in the limelight. Recognized for inspiring legendary recordings from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones and The Allman Brothers, Muscle Shoals has played host to some of the most creative music in popular culture. The town is so legendary that even current platinum selling artists such as The Black Keys have recently have made it a point to record recent releases there.  This leaves no doubt that a musical revival is imminent and the locally bred electronic duo BoomBox is leading the charge.

“I do believe that music is genetic—it’s a family thing. Whatever was magical about Muscle Shoals is still there.” Dan Auerbach, The Black Keys

BoomBox was born in Muscle Shoals, AL. Not just figuratively, but literally. The duo grew up just a few short blocks from the famous “Muscle Shoals Sound Studio” where legend claims the most famous recordings in history have been inspired. As luck would have it, the two met in 2004 during a recording session, and haven’t looked back since. In recent years, BoomBox, in addition to the likes of the Drive By Truckers, have become one of a few acts that are being recognized for their unique take on “the Shoal’s” musical history.

Featuring Producer/Engineer/Drummer Russ Randolph and Producer/Vocalist/Instrumentalist Zion Rock Godchaux, BoomBox draws their inspiration from the roots of the region including elements of Motown, Folk and Vintage Rock while infusing modern elements of IDM, Disco and Funky House. Add layers of raw guitar riffs, catchy songwriting and signature psychedelia poetry lyrics and the result is like nothing else on the scene today.

As thousands of units of their debut release Visions of Backbeat continue to move and tracks like Stereo hit dancefloors worldwide, BoomBox releases their sophomore album, downriverelectric on Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

While many electronic acts typically record within digital production formats, it happens the very same organic setting that was the impetus in the create the movement of BoomBox ultimately became the final inspirations for the completion of downriverelectric. Through tapping some of the same vintage gear of their Muscle Shoal predecessors, the duo pays respect to the musical memoirs of Muscle Shoals’ as well as the rhythms of the Tennessee River with a different, yet familiar, flavor.

From new cuts such as Dungeons and Watergun to live favorites Headchange and Mr. Boogieman, downriverelectric deliberately weaves a variety of dance frenzy beats filled with catchy songwriting and soul shuttering lowend.  While the album took a bit longer than expected, the final product foretells yet another groundbreaking release from the area worth recognition.  What’s yet to come from the Muscle Shoals music scene is hard to tell, but one thing is for certain, with acts like BoomBox infusing the rich lore of the area into their current sound, history is guaranteed to repeat itself.

To celebrate the release of downriverelectric the group currently has 2 tracks for free download at www.music.thisisboombox.com and on Wednesday, June 30 will make the first 1000 downloads of entire album available free!  Listen to Boombox's 'Watergun' {play}images/mp3/watergun.mp3{/play}


downriverlectric track list:
1. dungeons
2. headchange
3. showboat
4. cool aide smile
5. watergun
6. round & round
7. shakedown street
8. mr boogie man
9. watergun (reprise)

The Undertones reissued digitally in the U.S.

The Undertones emerged from Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1977, as part of the U.K. punk and new wave scene. Inspired by radio, records and the Ramones, five Derry teens (Feargal Sharkey, brothers John and Damian O’Neill, Billy Doherty and Mickey Bradley) had never been in bands before. Straight out of a local pub, The Casbah, the band recorded Teenage Kicks, their debut EP, which caught fire on John Peel’s BBC Radio One show and got them signed to Sire Records in the U.S.  “Less interested in fashion, anarchy, or politics than in the heady joys of a great pop song, they fused irresistible, hooky tunes with the fierce passion of teenage rock & roll believers, and came up with a handful of instant classics,” observed All Movie Guide’s Mark Deming.

On June 28, 2010, Union Square Music will make the Undertones’ four albums available digitally. Included will be The Undertones (1979), Hypnotised (1980), Positive Touch (1981) and The Sin of Pride (1983), the Teenage Kicks EP, as well as a never-before-released Best of the Undertones compilation.

The digital-only reissues will be available at iTunes.

The Undertones: Appearing in both the Q magazine list of the “100 Greatest British Albums Ever” and the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, The Undertones' debut LP is a bone fide pop-punk classic. The lead track “Teenage Kicks” has long been regarded as one of the purest expressions of teenage punk pop and has been covered by everyone from KT Tunstall to Green Day. It was also famously U.K. DJ John Peel's favorite record ever. Signed to Seymour Stein’s Sire records in 1978, the band had not originally planned to make an album but after seeing many of their contemporaries —The Sex Pistols, The Clash etc. — make successful albums, they decamped to Eden Studios in West London to record the songs they had been playing in their legendary Friday night gigs at the Casbah. As the bassist Michael Bradley says, there was “No plot, no theme, no parodies of any genre.” The Undertones’ 1979 debut is an off-the-cuff collection from five Londonderry kids with nothing to lose.

Hypnotised: As critically acclaimed and as commercially successful as the Undertones debut LP, Hypnotised featured both the classic three-minute pop punk of its predecessor (check “My Perfect Cousin,” “There Goes Norman” and “Whizz Kids”) while highlighting a newfound maturity and sensitivity with tracks like the plaintive “Wednesday Week” and stately “The Way Girls Talk.” Recording in the tranquil surroundings of the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum in the Netherlands (three band members would cycle to the studios every day) so relaxed the band that they weren’t overly concerned that they didn’t have enough songs for the album until the producer Roger Bechirian suggested that “I can ask that chap from the Rumour to write some for you.” Back in Londonderry, the O'Neill brothers came up with three more songs — “Wednesday Week,” “Tearproof” and “More Songs About Chocolate and Girls,” an homage to the Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food. “More Songs . . .” would open the album and define the appeal of the band with its much-quoted line: “Sit down relax and cancel all other engagements, it's never too late to enjoy dumb entertainment.”

Positive Touch: Bassist Michael Bradley admits that despite the commercial success of Hypnotised, the Undertones were bored musically by the time they reconvened in the Wisseloord studios in Netherlands to record Positive Touch. Freed from their contract with Sire, they started recording without a record deal, enabling them to experiment without any executives breathing down their necks. If the band’s debut album was influenced by what they’d been listening to in O’Neill’s front room, then Positive Touch came out of what they’d been listening to since, with influences as diverse as the Stones, Motown, Orange Juice and Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Melody Maker declared the resulting 14 songs to be “one of the truly classic pop albums of all time.”   

The Sin of Pride: For the Undertones’ fourth and final album the band demoed the songs in a home-built studio in Londonderry. As bassist Michael Bradley recalls, “When I say ‘build,’ I mean we went out and bought the wood, and the nails, and cobbled together a small hut. Then we sent away to HHB for a Fostex 8-track and a bunch of microphones. Feargal, being the most technically minded, looked after the recording.” The band weren’t happy with the results and neither were their label EMI with the final album produced by Mike Hedges (of Cure and Wah fame). Lacking the pop punk of the band’s debut album, The Sin of Pride has its merits: NME described it as “an immaculate conception of pop” but the album was not a commercial success and tensions with Feargal soon lead him to leaving the band.   

Best of the Undertones: This never-before-released compilation contains the songs for which the Undertones are best noted: “Teenage Kicks,” “Get Over You,” “Here Comes the Summer,” “”You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It),” “My Perfect Cousin,” “Wednesday Week,” “It’s Going to Happen,” “Julie Ocean,” “Beautiful Friend” and “The Love Parade.”

Teenage Kicks EP: In a move to bring back the EP, quintessential to the development of punk and new wave, Union Square will offer the original Teenage Kicks EP from 1978 featuring the hit “Teenage Kicks” along with “Smarter Than U,” “True Confessions” and “Emergency Cases.”

Singer/Songwriter Tift Merritt Returns With See You On The Moon

See You On the Moon is Tift Merritt's most visceral work to date. A deeply centered departure, these focused and creative musical short stories find Tift at the height of her powers. "I wanted to make
a really direct record. I wanted to take everything to a place that was less labored, of more depth. Open space, real strength. There was a certain feeling of inevitability about it. Like I found these songs whole."
To bring her musical short stories to life, Merritt recruited Tucker Martine, best known for his work with Bill Frisell, The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, Laura Veirs, Spoon, and as one of Paste magazine's top ten producers of the decade. Martine produced, recorded and mixed the record while receiving a detailed tour of Tift's native turf.  "It made a lot of sense to take this record back to North Carolina,” she added. “Build a fort in our own backyard." With longtime band mates Zeke Hutchins on drums, Jay Brown on bass and vocals, and guitar player Scott McCall, the Martine-Merritt partnership sounds firmly anchored in the deep water of home while deliberately and wholeheartedly venturing from the docks. "Tucker has such a gentle way of bringing the best out of people, of taking the time to see what you are really made of and getting at, and coaxing you further from there. We wanted to come at things from different directions, not go straight for a band combo, really build around the songs rather than some idea of how things were supposed to happen.  I played more instruments on this record than any other I've made."  At heart, See You On the Moon is a profoundly focused Tift doing what she does best better than she ever has - poignant writing and performing welded to the steady pursuit of new places. Joining the ‘Moon’ sessions were, among others, celebrated pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz and My Morning Jacket’s Yim Yames who adds hauntingly beautiful harmony to album centerpiece Feel of the World.
In her nascent career, Tift Merritt has already produced an impressive body of work and earned a passionate, dedicated audience. Her live performances, both with her band and on her own, are similarly riveting. Tift's preceding albums are 2002’s debut Bramble Rose, 2005’s Grammy nominated Tambourine, and 2008’s widely acclaimed Another Country. 2010’s stellar See You On The Moon is a most important step forward in a remarkable artistic journey that continues to search, penetrate, and surprise.
TOUR DATES
June 3  - Charlottesville, VA  - The Jefferson Theater  (w/ Ryan Bingham)
June 4 - Charlotte, NC -  The Visulite
June 5 - Raleigh, NC - North Carolina Museum of Art *
June 7 - Annapolis, MD - The Ram’s Head *
June 8 - Pittsburgh, PA - Three Rivers Arts Festival (w/Jason Isbell)
June 11 - Albany, NY - Linda Norris Theatre *
June 12 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground *
June 15 - Philadelphia, PA - World Café Live *
June 16 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere *
June 17 -  New York, NY - The Hiro Ballroom *
June 18 - Northampton, MA - The Iron Horse *
June 19 - Boston, MA  - Paradise Rock Club
June 25 - Atlanta, GA - Botanical Gardens (w/ Emmylou Harris)
June 26 - Freeport, ME - LL Bean Summer In the Park Concert Series
July 2 - Westhampton Beach, NY - Westhampton Beach PAC *+
July 16 - Charleston, SC - The Pour House
July 17 - Wilmington, NC - Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
July 22 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel *+
July 25 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Fest
July 28 - Louisville, KY - WFPK Outdoor Concert
July 29 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark
July 30 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
July 31 - Milwaukee, WI - Shank Hall
Aug. 1 - Minneapolis, MN - The Fine LineAug. 13 - Lyons, CO - Rocky Mountain Folks Festival

JACOB FRED JAZZ ODYSSEY | STAY GOLD

JFJO celebrated Record Store Day this weekend with a limited edition 7-inch release of "The Sensation Of Seeing Light," which also served as a sneak peak into the quartet's sprawling new album, Stay Gold, that is due on June 22 on CD, Double Gatefold Vinyl and mp3. If you collect wax, it's not too late to track down the single at your favorite indie record stores.

Upcoming JFJO dates are:

June 12 | OK Mozart Festival | Bartlesville, OK
June 16 | The Grog Shop | Cleveland, OH
June 17 | Rochester International Jazz Festival | Rochester, NY
June 18 | Chris' Jazz Cafe | Philadelphia, PA
June 19 | 92Y Tribeca | New York, NY
June 22 | Mill Hill Saloon | Trenton, NJ
June 23 | Parima | Burlington, VT
June 24 & 25 | Outpost 186 | Cambridge, MA
June 26 | Mass Moca | North Adams, MA
July 9 | Festival Lent | Maribor, Slovenia

1320 Records to Release John Hughes' RESET THE WAREHOUSE May 18th

STS9's boutique record label, 1320 Records, proudly presents Reset the Warehouse, the new studio release from John Hughes (May 18th, 2010 / 1320 Records).  A new recording studio, a new record label, and a new record allow John Hughes to step out from the familiar surroundings of Hefty Records, the label he founded in 1996, to strengthen his creative partnership with 1320 Records.

Though Hughes has collaborated with label-founders STS9 for years, this marks his first official release on 1320-an alliance long in the making, given both parties' shared mission of creating and supporting new music under artist-run labels.  Like Hefty, 1320 is an independent, musician-run collective that stresses cooperation between the artist and label.

According to Hughes, "Working with 1320 affords [him] the freedom to focus entirely on the music and the live performances in support of the record."

And, STS9 adds about Hefty, "few contemporary American labels have had as much influence on [the band]. We are extremely honored and excited to be apart of the 'Reset' release."

Hughes has recorded and released over a dozen albums under various aliases and groups like Slicker, Brood, Some Water and Sun, and Bill Ding, as well as under his own name.  His latest creation, Reset the Warehouse, represents the prime selections from a productive period of meticulous tracking and experimentation at his HFT Studio, located outside of Chicago.

Working with a team of veteran musicians and trusted collaborators, Hughes has assembled a cohesive union of styles and recording techniques, resulting in a record that explores uncharted directions while remaining rooted in sounds and beats that a listener may only describe as "classic."

As Hughes explains, "I wanted this recording to have a live, gritty sound, so I took it outside of the computer as much as I could. It was mixed through a board to tape, and the synths are all analog. Within the context of an electronic record, the live performances also help give it a warm, organic feel."

When it came time to edit and mix the tracks, Hughes looked to vibraphonist Rick Embach, who was involved in the sessions from the earliest stages, as well as his old friend Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv.  Hughes brought his recording sessions to Eustis' studio in Chicago, and together they mixed the tracks thorough an analog mixing board and then to two-track tape, giving the album the finishing touches and appropriate analog "glue" it required.

Visit here to view the entire supporting cast of Reset the Warehouse.

The Reset the Warehouse track list is as follows:

1.  A Reflection of the Times

2.  Waukee Wallop

3.  Another One

4.  Reset The Warehouse

5.  Pterodactyl Piano Bar

6.  Little Dot in the Sky

7.  Done Everything

8.  Moan Pop Asheesh

9.  Witchfinger

10.  You Don't Love Me

11.  Wow, I Think I Love You

12.  Naphtha Jets

As his work in the studio continues to evolve, and interest in his music continues to soar, John Hughes takes to the road this summer with label mates STS9, in support of Reset the Warehouse.  Hughes will perform this August and September with STS9 at select events in NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and at the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

For more information on John Hughes and to see full tour date information please visit here.

AUSTIN’S STONE RIVER BOYS FLEX THEIR BRAND OF “COUNTRY FUNK”

After tearing it up in the Lone Star State and across the country for nearly two years, Austin’s Stone River Boys will issue their recording bow Love on the Dial on June 1 via Northampton, Mass.-based Cow Island Music.

The Texas-based quintet features the talents of two well-traveled roots music practitioners — guitarist Dave Gonzalez, formerly a driving force in the Hacienda Brothers and the Paladins, and vocalist Mike Barfield, “The Tyrant of Texas Funk” and onetime leader of the Hollisters. Together, Barfield and Gonzalez have fashioned a gutsy crossbreed of country and R&B they’ve labeled “country funk.”

The Stone River Boys’ sound extends the direction of Gonzalez’ previous band, the Hacienda Brothers, who recorded three studio albums with producer and country-soul legend Dan Penn. Gonzalez was partnered in the Haciendas with Southern California-bred singer Chris Gaffney.

After Gaffney was diagnosed with liver cancer in early 2008, Gonzalez organized a benefit tour for his ailing bandmate, drawing musicians from Austin’s fertile talent pool. One of the principal members of the touring group was Barfield, whom Gonzalez had known since the early ’80s, when he fronted the top Southern California rockabilly band the Paladins and Barfield led the Houston bands the Rounders and the Hollisters.

Gaffney succumbed to cancer in April 2008, but the tour went on. “We went and did it anyway, and sent the money home to his wife Julie,” says Gonzalez. “A buddy of mine had a recording studio up in Nebraska, and while we were out on tour he invited us to come over there. We went in and cut a couple. I said to Barfield, ‘If you want to do a record, I’d love to, man.’ And we just started making a record.”

Barfield says, “We really naturally just started keeping it going. The name of the band came from the first place we rehearsed for that trip, in this little subdivision in deep South Austin, on a street called Stone River.”

Gonzalez recalls, “When I hooked up with Barfield, he had a whole pocket full of tunes. I felt, ‘We need to record these things right away.’ We wrote a couple right on the spot together. He had a few that were unfinished I kind of helped him with. But he wrote the majority of the material on the record.”

Produced by Gonzalez, the album was recorded during several sessions in 2008-09 with a band that included bassists Scott Esbeck (formerly of the way-out instrumental combo Los Straitjackets), Hank Maninger (Hacienda Brothers) and Kevin Smith (Dwight Yoakam), pedal steel whiz Dave Biller, and drummers Justin Jones and Damien Llanes. It extends the seamless fusion of country and soul influences essayed by both the Hacienda Brothers and Barfield, whose over-the-top funk shows at Austin’s Continental Club have become the stuff of legend.

“Chris Gaffney was a great Western singer,” Gonzalez says, “but he also had a knack for singing R&B and soul tunes, too. When I hooked up with Barfield, it was the same thing. He’s a country bro’, but he’s a funky soul bro’, too. In that sense, it does lean toward the way the Hacienda Brothers were. Dan Penn called our music ‘Western soul.’ Mike is real funky; I was telling everybody it’s more country soul. Lately we’ve been calling it ‘country funk,’ because we’ve got a little more funk and a little more up-tempo material in this new band than we did with the Haciendas.”

Barfield sees a natural connection between the sounds of country and R&B: “There’s a picture of Solomon Burke and Joe Tex, and maybe James Brown, and they all had cowboy hats on. A lot of those soul performers will talk about how they used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry. Some R&B songs, especially the ballads, are very close to some of the honky-tonk ballads. To me, it’s all very similar.”

Love on the Dial features 10 original songs written or co-written by Gonzalez, Barfield, Esbeck, and Biller, plus four musically diverse covers — the late Stephen Bruton’s “Bluebonnet Blue”; a cover of Tyrone Davis’ 1968 hit “Can I Change My Mind”; Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “Take a Giant Step” (recorded by the Monkees, the Rising Sons, and Taj Mahal); and Nashville hitmakers Jerry Foster and Bill Rice’s “Special.”

Gonzalez says of the new unit, “I feel really refreshed. We have a different take on the country side of things. Mike is a Gulf Coast country Texas boy, and at the same time he’s got this funky up-tempo R&B thing going. I’m working a new style of guitar that I’ve always loved, but I’ve never had the opportunity to play it. People are saying they love the new band, and they’re glad to hear me playing a lot of guitar again.”

“This is the first band where I’ve had a full-time steel player,” says Barfield. “That’s something in this band I like — there are so many voicings. It gives you what a horn section might do or an organ might do.”

Gonzalez, Barfield, and Esbeck are joined in the current edition of the Stone River Boys by pedal steel guitarist Gary Newcomb and drummer Mark Patterson, who both played with Esbeck in Austin singer-songwriter Bruce Robison’s group. The band will support the release of Love on the Dial with a summer 2010 tour of the Southwest and the West Coast.

THE 40th ANNIVERSARY of the Grateful Dead at HARPUR COLLEGE

1970's intense. T.C. leaves the band in late January. The band's 'busted down on Bourbon Street' on January 31st. In March they discover their manager, Mickey Hart's father Lenny, has been stealing them blind (they're already hugely in debt to the record company). Only the music is sane; they enter the studio in March and in three weeks record Workingman's Dead, fulfilling Garcia and Hunter's work of the past year. It comes out in June. They add a regular opening act, the New Riders of the Purple Sage (Garcia plays pedal steel in it), and their shows stretch ever longer. Late that month they cross Canada on the Festival Express. In September they have some spare time, and go back into the studio, producing another gem, American Beauty. In the fall they begin a long series of college concerts that will establish them (along with the two albums) in a long-term way as a touring band.

“Finally I have the quality I’ve been looking for on this famous date. There are so many outrageous things that stand out on this date, that I hesitate to list them all. There are a few places where the quality “garbles” of fades in & out, during the “Anthem” & “Viola Lee Blues”, but outside of this everything is excellent. In “Cold Rain & Snow”, Garcia tunes up several times & really gets into singing with gusto, like I’ve never heard this tune. There is a really nice riff from “Dark Star” that they do during the end of “Dancing in the Streets”. During the Acoustic Set, there is one point where Garcia & Weir lecture the noisy audience about being a more “respectable audience.”

Dick Latvala

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THE 40th ANNIVERSARY of the Grateful Dead at HARPUR COLLEGE

May 2, 1970

The Zen Tricksters Will perform the entire show forty years to the day on May 2, 2010 at Brooklyn Bowl

Tickets: $5.00

Online ticketing

Venue phone: 718-963-3369

Doors: 7:00pm | Show: 8:00pm

Brooklyn Bowl Website

Frank Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim reissue coming on Concord

In 1967, Frank Sinatra teamed up with Brazilian singer, pianist, guitarist, composer and songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim to record an album that married the Chairman’s signature vocals with rhythms from the master of bossa nova. The resulting album, Francis Albert Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim, reached #19, remaining on Billboard’s rock-dominated album chart for 28 weeks.

Forty-four years later, on May 4, 2010, Concord Music Group, on license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), will release a deluxe reissue of the Sinatra/Jobim classic including all ten songs from the original album plus seven songs from a subsequent collaboration between the two, and three songs from that session that were not released until decades later, when they were included in a box set. Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings features digital remastering and expanded liner notes by Stan Cornyn, longtime head of creative services at Warner/Reprise and author of the book about the Warner Music Group, Exploding.

Sinatra and Jobim gathered at Hollywood’s Western Recorders for three nights, January 30 through February 1, 1967. Jobim brought the beat in the form of bossa nova percussionists and arrangers. Sinatra supplied the producer (Sonny Burke), the string arranger/conductor (Claus Ogerman) and the rest of the orchestra. The resulting session produced ten songs including the classic “The Girl From Impanema” plus “Dindi,” “How Insensitive [Insensatez],” “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” and six others. (After bidding até a vista to Jobim, Sinatra, on the high of making one of his finest albums ever, stayed at the studio to record a duet with daughter Nancy that would reach #1 on the charts, “Something Stupid.”)

Two years later, Sinatra and Jobim returned to Western Recorders to record ten more bossa novas for a shorter-titled follow-up: Sinatra-Jobim. Replacing Ogerman was a 26-year-old long-haired arranger named Eumir Deodato (later to be known for his 1973 jazz version of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra [2001]”). The songs were all written or co-written by Jobim, many with unusual melodic twists.  Producer Burke enlisted conductor Morris Stoloff to ensure a pop feel to the session.

After three nights, the album was wrapped, and was readied for release in the fall of 1969. The eight-track version of the album had shipped when the call was placed to Warner/Reprise’s Burbank, Calif. offices. It was Sinatra, demanding that the label “kill the album,” so Warner recalled most of the recordings. A 2005 Goldmine story reported that the rare eight-track would command $5000.

Sinatra later agreed to permit Reprise to release seven of the Sinatra-Jobim vocal tracks on the album Sinatra & Company. It reached #73 and remained on the album chart for 15 weeks in 1971.

More than 40 years later, the airport in Rio has been named Antonio Carlos Jobim International. And an American postage stamp honored Frank Sinatra. And the Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sinatra-Jobim albums have been combined to form Concord’s Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings set.

Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere reunite for new album, 'Midnight Flyer'

Steve Cropper, guitarist for Booker T. and the MGs and one of the primary architects of the unmistakable Stax sound of the 1960s, and vocalist/keyboardist Felix Cavaliere, the voice of the Rascals and the pivotal figure in the blue-eyed soul movement of that same era, have reconvened for their second collaborative recording. Sparks fly at the crossroads of Memphis soul and East Coast R&B when Stax Records releases Midnight Flyer on June 15, 2010.

Midnight Flyer, recorded in Nashville and mixed by the legendary David Z, is the followup to Nudge It Up a Notch, the 2008 maiden voyage by Cropper and Cavaliere that scored critical acclaim from the music and mainstream press. The San Francisco Chronicle called Nudge It Up a Notch “an unexpected delight,” while Blues Wax heralded the project as “one of the great surprises of 2008, and further evidence of Concord’s genuine commitment to the revamped Stax imprint.”

The Stax legacy — and Concord’s commitment to it — are very much alive in Midnight Flyer, an album that once again showcases the songwriting prowess of two towering figures from one of the most seminal periods in the history of American pop music. Assisting with the songwriting throughout most of the album’s 12 tracks is drummer/percussionist/vocalist Tom Hambridge, who also lent a hand with the crafting of the previous album.

“Felix and I come from pretty much the same musical school — but from different geographical locations,” says Cropper. “He’s a Jersey boy at heart, and I grew up in Memphis, but when soul meets soul, what can you say? There are no borders. There are no boundaries.”

But geography does play a role in the making of great songs, says Cavaliere. “Steve has that Southern vernacular, which is something I really like,” he says. “It’s almost like another language to those of us from the East Coast. It has a certain folky quality to it. Some of those idioms are part of the hit songs that Steve has written and recorded over the years, and they’re part of this record as well.”

The impact of both of these musicians and songwriters on pop music is nearly impossible to quantify. As part of Booker T. & the MGs — the house band for the Stax label in its original incarnation during the 1960s — Cropper co-wrote and produced classics by artists like Eddie Floyd (“Knock On Wood”), Wilson Pickett (“In the Midnight Hour”) and Otis Redding (“Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”). In subsequent decades, he lent his instrumental and production skills to a range of artists including Jeff Beck, the Blues Brothers, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and many others.

Cavaliere came to prominence in the mid-’60s as vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter for the Rascals (initially known as the Young Rascals). Cavaliere wrote and/or sang several of the band’s biggest hits, including “Good Lovin’” (1966), “Groovin’” (1967), “It’s a Beautiful Morning” (1968) and “People Got To Be Free” (1968). The phrase “blue-eyed soul” was coined during the Rascals’ heyday, due in large part to the group’s highly successful forays into R&B and soul — styles that had been developed and previously dominated by African-American artists.

Co-produced by Cropper, Cavaliere and Hambridge, Midnight Flyer captures the synergy and brilliance that can only emerge when two powerful forces of nature come together. The result is a range of styles and shades, from heartfelt ballads like “When You’re With Me” to the soul-charged “I Can’t Stand It,” a churning vocal duet featuring Cavaliere and his daughter Aria. “Sexy Lady” harkens back to the soul stylings of the ’70s, while the funky instrumental “Do It Like This” digs into a tight groove and makes plenty of room for Cropper’s tasty riff work to close out the set.

“The main thing we both take away from this record is how much fun we had making it,” says Cavaliere. “We may have used a lot of new technology that didn’t even exist when Steve and I were recording back in the day, but the songs themselves are still the most important part of the process, and we just had a blast writing and recording them. I think that spirit comes through on the record.”

Cropper notes a timelessness about Cavaliere that serves as a metaphor for the music itself. “Felix is ageless,” he says. “Sure, you can look at him and see that he’s gotten older since those early days, just like we all have. But if you close your eyes, he sounds as young and energetic as he did when he was making records back in the ’60s . . . Working together on records like this reminds us of the kinds of things that go into the making of a good song. We’re still doing that, and we’re still having fun doing it.”