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Collectors' Choice introduces CCM Live label: J. WInter, Hot Tuna, Poco. J. Denver

Collectors’ Choice Music, the label that’s come to be known for compelling and often unexpected CD reissues, has announced the launch of Collectors’ Choice Music Live, a new label devoted to releasing great live performances, most of which have never previously been commercially available.

The series will launch April 20 with the release of four CDs: Johnny Winter And’s Live at the Fillmore East 10/3/70; Poco’s Live at Columbia Studios, Hollywood 9/30/71; Hot Tuna’s Live at the New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA September 1969; and John Denver’s Live at Cedar Rapids, 12/10/87.

According to Collectors’ Choice Music GM Gordon Anderson, “After some 15 years of reissuing albums and compiling artists, we’re convinced that some of the biggest remaining veins of gold in the vaults are the live shows that a lot of labels recorded of their artists in their prime, particularly those who made their reputation with improvisational prowess and/or ever-changing set lists. These first four releases on our new Collectors’ Choice Music Live label certainly fit that description.”

Johnny Winter And — Live at the Fillmore East 10/3/70: To commemorate the release of his Johnny Winter And album, Texas blues guitarist/singer Johnny Winter played some shows at New York’s Fillmore East, some of which were compiled on 1971’s Live Johnny Winter And, a classic live album of the era to which this release makes a nice bookend. He had just formed a new band consisting of former member of the McCoys (“Hang on Sloopy”) including Rick Derringer on guitar, bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, and drummer Randy Zehringer. Although the McCoys were none too familiar with Winter’s work, they proved quick studies and entered the studio to make the album Johnny Winter And within three weeks. The New York Times reviewed the Fillmore show, citing “a considerable improvement over Winter’s previous band. Winter and [Derringer] played solos back at each other, simultaneously and in alternation.” The live album contains the Winter hit “Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo” and his take on Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61” alongside  blues classics “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “It’s My Own Fault” and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”

•Poco —Live at Columbia Studios, Hollywood, 9/30/71: In the fall of ’71, Poco was arguably the most popular of the first generation country-rock bands. By then, their album Deliverin’ had cracked the Top 30 and Poco thanked its label, Epic Records, with a private showcase at the CBS Records’ Hollywood studio.  “We just set up as we would have for a small club,” recalls frontman Richie Furay, whose bandmates included guitarist/singer Paul Cotton (from the Illinois Speed Press), bassist Tim Schmidt (later of the Eagles), pedal steel player Rusty Young and drummer/vocalist George Grantham. By this time, Poco was evolving from country-rock towards an edgier rock sound. Says Furay, “Though we were innovators of the L.A. ‘country-rock’ sound, we weren’t going top be pigeonholed into being a one-sound band.” The 14 songs they performed for label employees that day were a solid cross-section of tunes that had appeared on its first four albums including the medley “Hard Luck Child/Child’s Claim to Fame/Pickin’ Up the Pieces,” plus “I Guess You Made It,” “A Man Like Me,” “Ol’ Forgiver,” “Heart That Music,” “Hurry Up,” “You Are the One” and more — an hour of music in all.

Hot Tuna: Live at the New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA September 1969: Hot Tuna was, of course, the blues band-within-a-band side project of Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady that outlasted the parent band and continues to this day. Interestingly, the duo’s first commercial album, which made it to #30 on the Billboard pop album chart, was recorded live at Berkeley’s New Orleans House, but a lot more material was taped than was released. Much of it is issued for the first time on this 68-minute CD, which consists entirely of previously unreleased recordings. Explaining why they recorded their debut album was recorded live, Kaukoken says, “We tend to go places . . . and you lose a bit of that when you work in the studio. And it was cheaper too!” Of the 13 songs on this CD, six — “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” “Winin’ Boy Blues,” “Uncle Sam Blues,” “I Know You Rider,” “Don’t You Leave Me Here” and “How Long Blues” — were included on the first Hot Tuna album, though the versions here are selected from different performances than the ones used on that LP.  Other songs include Blind Boy Fuller’s “Keep On Truckin’,” Rev. Gary Davis’ “Keep Our Lamps Trimmed and Burning” and “Candy Man,” and Blind Blake’s “That’ll Never Happen No More.”

John Denver: Live at Cedar Rapids, December 10, 1987: What is the sound of an audience eating out of the palm of a performer’s hand? Utter silence. And that’s what was heard during the two-hour-plus Iowa concert that comprises this two-CD set.  By 1987, Denver’s days as a Top 40 hitmaker were a decade in the past, but he remained a solid concert draw as a beloved, thoroughly American artist with a permanent place in the history of pop. It says much about Denver’s songwriting that, with the exception of half a dozen songs on which he’s accompanied by string quartet, he delivers two hours of solo music just his voice and 12-string guitar. The hits are here but so are new songs, some early-repertoire nuggets and a well-chosen cover or two.  Included are “Farewell Andromeda (Welcome to My Morning,” ”Take Me Home Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Annie’s Song,” “Love Is the Master,” “Mother Nature’s Son,” “Blow Up Your TV (Spanish Pipe Dream),” “Shanghai Breezes,” “Ohio” and more.

Guitarist For Ozzy Osbourne Zakke Wylde Will Celebrate Les Paul

The Iridium is pleased to announce that legendary guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society Zakk Wylde will celebrate Les Paul Monday, January 25th at 8 & 10PM.

About Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society:

In the two decades since Ozzy Osbourne hired him away from his job at a New Jersey gas station to become his new guitarist, Zakk Wylde has established himself as a guitar icon known and revered the world over. Writing and recording with Osbourne led to multi-platinum success, inspiring him to create the now legendary Black Label Society in 1998. In the decade since, BLS has turned the notion of what a rock band should be upside down by inspiring legions of fans (known as Berserkers) all over the world to follow the mantra: Strength, Determination, Merciless, Forever. SDMF for short, the Berserkers, along with Wylde have created a heavy metal institution true to his vision of uncompromising, unfiltered and unrestrained rock and roll. Wylde’s inspiration comes from not only the fans, but from such notable guitarists including Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Frank Marino, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Albert Lee , as well as the vocal stylings of Elton John, Gregg Allman and late Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman Ronnie VanZant. Wylde has won nearly every guitar award imaginable, and is a major influence to a new battalion of rock guitarists currently popular today. One thing is for certain, wherever Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society travels: brewtality is sure to follow. For more information please visit www.blsnation.com and/or www.blacklabelsociety.com

IRIDIUM JAZZ CLUB
1650 BROADWAY (CORNER OF 51ST)
NEW YORK, NY 10023
RESERVATIONS: 212-582-2121
HTTP://WWW.IRIDIUMJAZZCLUB.COM/
LES PAUL TRIO SETS AT 8:00 & 10:00PM

Trading Label for Fan-based Experiment: Ari Hest's Song a Week

Ari Hest- for the Grateful Web

In January, singer/songwriter Ari Hest launched an ambitious project to write and record a song each week of the rest of the year. Fans would then pick their favorite songs and twelve songs would be pressed into a new album. Fifty-two songs in a year would daunt many a songwriter, but for Hest it's an opportunity to showcase new work. "I have a lot of ideas," Hest says. "Music comes to me very quickly. It's the lyrics that take a while longer. I knew that that would really be the hardest part of writing this year. There are still tons of songs I still have to write. I just have to keep life interesting and keep meeting new people for inspiration."

It's not surprising that Hest is attempting this kind of project. He's been writing songs since he was in high school. "I never thought that this would end up being my career," he says.  He was writing and playing in bands for fun.  But after his last band broke up, Hest recalls, "I started to realize that I don't need a band with the music that I was writing, which was highly percussive, acoustic guitar music." He began recording his own records that didn't leave room for any other instrumentation.

Then, in 2004, he was signed by Columbia Records who decided to re-release one of his independent recordings. They remixed it and offered it to the public. That effort set a precedent for Hest. From that moment on, Hest was chasing his older material. For some artists that wouldn't be a problem, but for Hest who was constantly evolving, those label efforts jerked his creative temperament. That first recording had songs on it that were three or four years old. "I thought I was done with them, but then I had to tease myself into thinking that they were new again for the general public who still had not heard them," he recalls. "I was writing stuff in 2004 that didn't see the light of day until the Break In, which was my last CD in 2006.  It just set this cycle up where I had plenty of material all the time. It was kind of a nice problem, but at the same time it was mentally a little challenging, knowing that you are writing better songs now but you have to promote songs that you wrote a while ago. Really for me, the style of my playing changed and my thinking about what I feel is a quality song, even my singing style changed tremendously in the last three years."

Those old songs have been good to Hest. "If you go to iTunes right now and you look at what my most popular downloaded songs are," he says, "you'll find that the majority of them are old. They are songs I wrote six or seven years ago.  It almost doesn't sound like what I do now. I am proud of those songs. I think the writing, especially for my age at the time, is pretty good, but I feel that I've gone in a very different direction, one that I'm happier with now."

So, when Hest parted with Columbia, he decided to find a new way to produce his music.  He decided then to write and record current songs. But this time the songs are immediate. These weren't songs that were written months or years ago, but last week or yesterday.

But Hest realizes that even putting a song a week on a website may not be enough involvement for his fans. "We wanted to make this more interactive. We wanted to involve them as much as we could in the creative end of things," he says. "Basically, they're being my A&R people. They are telling me which songs they like the best and which songs they think that other people will like the best. I'm going to listen to them." Moreover, Hest will hire a producer to bring some cohesiveness to the album.

"Everybody needs more word of mouth networking," Hest adds. "I don't have the money to do a whole lot of publicity without a major label. I need to rely on my fans to tell their friends."

Between meeting interesting people and recording the songs those meetings generate, Hest continues to tour college campuses.