COLLECTORS’ CHOICE TO REISSUE ABKCO’S CAMEO-PARKWAY CLASSICS

On June 22, 2010, Collectors’ Choice Music in conjunction with ABKCO Music & Records will begin a rollout of six reissues and compilations from the legendary Cameo and Parkway Records masters. The initial six CDs, including four twofers, are Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites, Bobby Rydell Salutes The Great Ones/Rydell at the Copa, Chubby Checker’s It’s Pony Time/Let’s Twist Again, The Orlons’ The Wah-Watusi/South Street, Terry Knight And The Pack/Reflections plus the compilation Remember Me Baby: Cameo Parkway Vocal Groups Vol. 1 which features The Lydells, The Dovells, The Tymes, Lee Andrews, Billy And The Essentials and more.

For some time ABKCO had been looking for the right team with whom to delve into its vaults to create an ongoing Cameo Parkway reissue program.  ABKCO found the right mix in Collectors’ Choice Music and have entered into an exclusive arrangement, ensuring that a flow of reissues and compilations will be available over the next few years. All releases will be curated by Teri Landi, ABKCO’s resident engineer and catalog archivist, and annotated by respected music journalists.

Jody Klein, CEO of ABKCO Music & Records commented, “We are delighted to have Collectors’ Choice Music onboard for these releases of great historical relevance. Their expertise in this area will ensure that the music that made Cameo-Parkway such a cultural touchstone will be enjoyed by music fans who have long awaited these collections.”

Much of the material has not been available since its original release on vinyl some 45-50 years ago. Both companies have approached these reissues with careful A&R, annotation, package design and sound engineering. Said Gordon Anderson, Sr. VP of Collectors’ Choice, “The opportunity for our company to release this material represents the culmination of a career-long dream for me, and a fervently-held dream for thousands of our Collectors’ Choice Music customers.”

Founded by Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann in December 1956, Philadelphia-based Cameo-Parkway was one of the great American indie labels during the late ’50s and ’60s.  It was home to big pop-rock and R&B stars like Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and The Orlons, as well as to all manner of styles and artists both famous and obscure. It also represents the last great, largely untapped repository of vintage pop music from the rock ’n’ roll era.

It has been argued that popular culture was forever changed by the impact of Cameo-Parkway hits. Cameo-Parkway was one of America’s leading independent labels during the era that preceded the British invasion, offering a breathtaking range of pop, soul, rock, novelty and dance records that have continued to resonate with fans over the past five decades.  The label’s biggest claim to fame is the string of dance craze hits that followed in the wake of “The Twist.”  These included “Mashed Potato Time,” “The Wah-Watusi,” “Bristol Stomp,” “Do the Bird,” “Hully Gully Baby,” “Pony Time,” “The 81,” “Limbo Rock” and, of course, “Let’s Twist Again.”

Beyond the dance songs — most of which originated in Philadelphia — Cameo-Parkway issued garage rock classics from the Midwest including ? And The Mysterians’ “96 Tears” as well as early tracks by Detroit’s Bob Seger, The Rationals and Terry Knight And The Pack. The label even embraced the British invasion, releasing sides by The Kinks and Screaming Lord Sutch. Soul played a significant role with singles by The Tymes, Patti LaBelle And Her Bluebells, Frankie Beverly And The Butlers, The Five Stairsteps, and Bunny Sigler. Beyond those, Cameo was the label home of Bobby Rydell, who transformed from “swingin’ pop idol” to a mature vocalist and was accepted by both teen and adult audiences with such hits as “Wild One,” “Kissin’ Time” and more adult fare such as “Volare” and “Sway.”  

Collectors’ Choice’s initial rollout of six CDs includes the following:

• Bobby Rydell — Bobby Rydell Salutes The Great Ones/Rydell at the Copa. These two 1961 albums — presented here in their original stereo mixes — represented an effort by Rydell to move beyond the limitations of his teen idol persona. The title of Rydell’s Cameo LP, Bobby Rydell Salutes The Great Ones, works on two levels.  It is an early tribute to the performers the young singer admired all his life, as indicated by the little caricatures of Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the upper corner of the LP’s cover, and the “great ones” in the title refers to songs from the Great American Songbook such as “Mammy,” “That Old Black Magic” and “All of You.”  By recording a live album at the Copa, Rydell was following a well-trodden trail left by other pop male vocalists like Bobby Darin and Paul Anka.  Jim Ritz contributed liner notes.

• Chubby Checker — It’s Pony Time/Let’s Twist Again: This twofer includes two albums from the height of the Chubby Checker twist phenomenon that he and Cameo-Parkway had spawned, virtually ruling the music charts in 1960 and 1961. The first album’s title track, “Pony Time,” went to #1, his only chart-topper besides “The Twist,” while Let’s Twist Again, his fourth album, hit #11, shortly followed by three Top 10 albums in a row. Also featured here are “We Like Birdland,” “The Watusi,” The Hully Gully,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Let’s Twist Again” and more.  Jim Ritz penned the liner notes.

The Orlons — The Wah-Watusi/South Street. Discovered by high school classmate and future Cameo labelmate Len Barry, The Orlons (Shirley Brickley, Marlena Davis, Rosetta Hightower and Stephen Caldwell) were one of Cameo-Parkway’s most popular vocal groups and certainly the label’s top girl group. This twofer presents their only two charting albums from 1962 and ’63 respectively, and both featuring Top 5 title tracks. Heard here in their original pristine mono with notes by Gene Sculatti that contain quotes from Caldwell (he of the ultra-low “frog” voice), this reissue contains the title hits plus “Dedicated To The One I Love,” “Tonight,” “Cement Mixer” and more.

• Terry Knight And The Pack — Terry Knight And The Pack/Reflections. Although Cameo-Parkway was best known for rock ’n’ roll, pop and R&B, these albums (originally released on Cameo’s Lucky Eleven imprint) illustrate the label’s embrace of Midwestern rock. Flint, Michigan’s Knight And The Pack were a garage band with many regional hits that never broke nationally; they might have become stars but for the fact that band members Mark Farner and Don Brewer left to form Grand Funk Railroad, with Knight producing. In his liner notes, Jeff Tamarkin tells the story of their 1966-67 fuzz-laced sounds featured in “Numbers,” “You’re a Better Man Than I,” “The Lovin’ Kind,” “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” “Dimestore Debutante” and others.

Clint Eastwood — Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites: Oscar-winning actor Clint Eastwood has demonstrated a musical streak throughout his acting and directing career, and this 1963 album catches him at the beginning. Fresh from his success on the TV series Rawhide, he croons (and quite convincingly so) a collection of cowboy favorites. The set includes the 1962 single “Rowdy” b/w “Cowboy Wedding Song,” as well as “San Antonio Rose,” Bouquet of Roses,” “Along the Santa Fe Trail,” “The Last Roundup,” “Sierra, Nevada” and more.  Jim Ritz contributed liner notes.

Remember Me Baby: Cameo Parkway Vocal Groups Vol. 1: There are collectors and there are doo-wop collectors, which is why Collectors’ Choice devoted its very first compilation in the series to the vocal groups whose recordings defined Cameo-Parkway during its earliest years. Heard here are The Gainors’ “You Must Be An Angel,” Billy And The Essentials’ “Remember Me Baby,” and never before released tracks by The Dovells and The Tymes, “Short On Bread” and “Did You Ever Get My Letter?,” respectively.  Also featured are rare tracks from The Anglos, The Defenders, The Exceptions, The Expressions, The Gleems, Pookie Hudson And The Spaniels, The Impacs, The Rays, Rick And The Masters, The Sequins, The Skyliners and The Turbans — 24 tracks in all. Annotated by Ed Osborne.

The Yardbirds on tour this Spring

The Yardbirds will be playing east coast and Ohio dates this May.  A true institution, in the brief period from 1963 to 1968, The Yardbirds made an indelible mark on the music and culture of the time, and then on future generations.

To the casual music fan, The Yardbirds are best known as the band that honed the skills of future “guitar gods” Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page; and for their slew of chart hits, including “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,” "Shapes of Things,"  “I'm A Man,” and “Over Under Sideways Down.” However, led by core members and songwriters Jim McCarty (drums), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar/bass) and the late Keith Relf (vocals/harmonica), the band's experimental explorations also provided the crucial link between British R&B, Psychedelic Rock, and Heavy Metal, while pioneering the use of innovations like fuzz tone, feedback and distortion.  Even their 1968 break-up set the stage for Rock 'n' Roll's future…leading Jimmy Page to form the New Yardbirds, later re-christened Led Zeppelin.

Reuniting decades later, McCarty and Dreja with a new generations of talented players including the raw talents of young lead guitarist Ben King, bassist Dave Smale, and vocalist/harmonica player Andy Mitchell, the group has been steadily touring and making new music.

The Yardbirds' 2003 CD, BIRDLAND on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label featured guest appearances from Vai, and friends Brian May, Joe Satriani, and Slash.

In 2007 Favored Nations released the YARDBIRDS: LIVE AT BB KINGS, again showing the power of the band, and its legacy of great songs.

This season, The Yardbirds return to the States under the leadership purposeful and insightful Dreja and McCarty and the future music superstars: King, Smale and Mitchell.

May 21          Parilla Center                                Rockville, MD
May 22          Chesapeake Blues Fest                  Annapolis, MD
May 23          Tangiers                                      Akron, OH             
May 25          Sellersville Theatre                        Sellersville, PA
May 26          BB Kings                                      New York, NY
May 27          Boulton Center                             Bay Shore, NY          
May 28          Showcase Live                              Foxborough, MA       
May 30          Remember The Music/Heroes         Virginia Beach, VA

Great American Taxi Donates Track to Coal Miners Relief Fund

Just in time for Earth Day (April 22), Great American Taxi, whose current album Reckless Habits is climbing the Americana radio airplay charts, has donated a free download of a song, “Appalachian Soul” culled from its debut album Streets of Gold, to raise awareness of the plight of coal miners and their communities in West Virginia. The track is offered free to radio stations that agree to direct listeners to GreatAmericanTaxi.com, which in turn links to West Virginia Council of Churches website, which collects donations for the miners.

GAT frontman Vince Herman, who grew up in West Virginia, comments: “Great American Taxi sends our thoughts out to the families and communities effected by the mining disaster at the upper big branch mine. We hope that their unconquerable Appalachian spirit and families can help them navigate these difficult times. The country and the world share in their grief. We need coal.  We need our miners to be safe. We need understanding on all sides of this contentious issue of our national energy policy. We would like to make Taxis' tribute to that  Appalachian spirit available as a download here and suggest a donation to the WV council of churches to assist  the families of our fallen brothers. Let's all come together and honor the families who have paid that ultimate price for our energy needs and hope that this is the last such disaster we must face.”

In the past five years, Great American Taxi has become one of the best-known headliners on the jam band circuit, their uninhibited sound a swinging concoction of swampy blues, progressive bluegrass, funky New Orleans strut, Southern boogie, honky tonk, gospel and good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll. That loose, anything-can-happen feel is the hallmark of Reckless Habits, the band’s second album, which was recorded in Loveland, Colo., with producer Tim Carbone (from Railroad Earth) bringing the feel of an onstage performance to the recording process. The new album was released through Thirty Tigers on March 2, 2010.

Blurt called Reckless Habits “a giddy combination of boogie, blues, bluegrass, nu-grass and honky-tonk, it's as readily infectious and genuinely freewheeling as its eclectic content might imply. Hopefully this Great American Taxi will continue to take listeners along for similarly spirited rides in the future.”  Country Standard Time called it  “a well rounded album that fully pays homage to Gram Parsons and his vision of a cosmic American sound that incorporates all the pages of the American Roots songbook.”

When banjo player Mark Vann of Leftover Salmon died of cancer in 2002, that band desolved. Salmon singer/guitarist/mandolinist Vince Herman had a few rough years and survived a broken neck before joining keyboardist Chad Staehly for a superstar jam to benefit the Rainforest Action Group in Boulder in March 2005. “We put together a dream band of the best local musicians for a one-off gig,” Herman recalls. “It worked so well we had to do it again, and again, and again.” And so Great American Taxi was born. The current lineup includes Herman, Staehly, guitarist Jim Lewin, bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon.

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.

Keller Williams announces Brand New Album and Summer Tour Dates

Keller Williams releases his first-ever all-covers collection, amusingly titled Thief, on May 25, 2010. Recorded with the Keels—husband and wife duo Larry and Jenny KeelThief includes songs originally written and recorded by as wildly diverse an assemblage as anyone’s ever likely to dream up.

Keller is on tour this summer - at solo shows, with The Keels, and even for a run of gigs as vocalist/guitarist in The Rhythm Devils, the project by Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann and his partner percussionist Mickey Hart. Keller’s complete list of currently confirmed tour dates is included below.

Thief offers up Keller-versions of songs by an [almost] unthinkable collection of artists: from Amy Winehouse (“Rehab”) to the Grateful Dead (“Mountains of the Moon”), the Butthole Surfers (“Pepper”) to Kris Kristofferson (“Don’t Cuss That Fiddle,” which opens the album, and “The Year 2003 Minus 25,” which closes the album). The set is filled out with tunes by Ryan Adams, the Presidents of the United States of America, the Raconteurs, Patterson Hood, Danny Barnes, Cracker, the Yonder Mountain String Band and Marcy Playground. All over the place, indeed, but that’s the way Williams likes it. And in his hands it all makes sense—like everything he’s ever touched, whether from his own pen or someone else’s, it all becomes Keller Williams' music. Fans are encouraged to stay tuned for a big Thief pre-sale and contest announcement coming soon.

Keller’s thirst for music of all kinds has also led him to the world of radio. For the past seven years he has hosted Keller’s Cellar, a weekly syndicated program available on over 40 terrestrial stations and online. Williams describes the show as “a self-indulgent, hour-long narrated mix tape of stuff I’m into. It’s rule-less except for what the FCC says we can’t do. I don’t play contemporary country music. I don’t play contemporary Christian music—however, there is possibly some old gospel. I don’t play opera. Everything else is fair game. World music from all around—African music from all the countries, jazz, funk, reggae, techno, chill, lounge, lounge singers, rub-a-dub, dancehall. I pretty much stay away from smooth jazz. It’s definitely a fun outlet for me.”

Long considered one of the most unique and prolific performers in all of rock, the Fredericksburg, Virginia native is known for flying by the seat of his pants on stage, utilizing an unorthodox approach that centers around an Echoplex Digital Pro looping unit, which allows Keller to alternate between several instruments on stage.

Keller Williams’ Current Tour Dates:
Friday, April 16 Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver BC
Sunday, April 18 World Ski Festival Whistler BC
Thursday, April 22 WorkPlay Theatre Birmingham AL
Friday, April 23 Floyd's Tallahassee FL
Saturday, April 24 Freebird Live Jacksonville FL
Friday, April 30 Handle Bar Greenville SC
Thursday, May 13 Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Richmond VA
Sunday, May 16 The Hangout Music Festival Gulf Shores AL
Saturday, May 22 SmileFest - Deerfields Amphitheater Pinnacle NC
Friday, May 28 Bella Madre Music Festival Geneva MN
Saturday, May 29 Summercamp Chillicothe IL
Sunday, May 30 Delfest Cumberland MD
Keller Williams and Friends
featuring Jeff Austin and Keith Moseley
Thursday, June 17 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Telluride CO
Saturday, June 19 Clearwater Festival - Croton Point Park Westchester NY
Friday, July 2 Nateva Music & Arts Festival - Oxford Fairgrounds Oxford ME
Sunday, July 11 All Good Music Festival Masontown WV
Saturday, July 17 YMSB String Summit North Plains OR RHYTHM DEVILS
Sunday, July 18 Britt Festival Jacksonville OR RHYTHM DEVILS
Saturday, July 24 The Spud Drive In Driggs ID RHYTHM DEVILS
Sunday, July 25 Red Butte Garden Salt Lake City UT RHYTHM DEVILS
Saturday, July 31 Gathering of the Vibes Bridgeport CT RHYTHM DEVILS
Saturday, August 14 Mile High Music and Arts Festival Denver CO
Saturday, August 21 Hoxeyville Festival Cadillac MI

Otis Redding's 2-CD 'Live on the Sunset Strip'

In 1966, Otis Redding had emerged not only as the star of Stax Records but as one of nation’s most influential soul singers. With his version of “Satisfaction” climbing the charts in April 1966, Redding arrived in Los Angeles to play both the Hollywood Bowl (as part of a KHJ-AM listener appreciation concert that also featured Donovan, Sonny & Cher and the Mamas & the Papas) and a four-nighter at the legendary Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip. According to Taj Mahal, whose ’60s band the Rising Sons opened the Whisky shows, “At that time, Otis was it.”

Live on the Sunset Strip, slated for May 18, 2010 release on Stax Records through Concord Music Group, captures Redding in the white heat of transition, when his star power was undeniable and it was still possible to catch him backed by his own road band in the tight quarters of a smoky nightclub. The 2-CD set features three full live sets that have never been previously available in their entirety. A definitive live statement from Redding, the songs are sequenced exactly as they went down, complete with an emcee and spoken introductions by Redding. The booklet features rare photographs as well as extensive liner notes by Ashley Kahn, author of music biographies and a contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition.

Live on the Sunset Strip highlights versions of Redding’s best-known songs: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “Security,” “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” “Satisfaction,” “Respect,” “These Arms of Mine” and “Just One More Day,” to name a few.

As Kahn points out in his notes, “In 1966, Redding was 24 and defined not only the sound but the style and look of a true soul man. Tall and lanky, he was ready to drop to his knees and tear off the thin-lapelled jacket of his sharply pressed suit when it was time to deliver the goods. His ten-piece band was his personal, traveling amen-corner, urging him to testify night after night . . . His out-of-breath stage patter was warm and downhome. ‘Ladies and gentlemens,’ he addressed his fans, ‘holler as loud as you wanna — you ain’t home!’”

The Whisky A Go Go was known for its integrated booking policy and for helping bring awareness of R&B and blues to rock audiences, who attended shows by the Doors, Love, and the Standells at the venue. On April 7-10, the club booked the Otis Redding Revue for the Easter weekend that followed the Hollywood Bowl appearance. Redding’s entourage included an emcee and a full 10-piece band (led by saxophonist Bob Holloway) along with three up-and-coming singers performing one tune apiece before the headliner hit the stage. Engineer Wally Heider, the West Coast’s leading recorder of live performances, was hired to tape the three nights.

The shows did not go unnoticed by the Los Angeles Times, which noted: “Drawn by his growing popularity, a fervid audience shoe-horned into the club . . . Redding was assured of an In Group [sic] following Thursday night when from among his spectators emerged Bob Dylan, trailed by an entourage of camp followers.” (Legend holds that Dylan offered him “Just Like a Woman” as a possible cover that night, though Redding thought the song was a little wordy.)

Redding achieved even greater heights in the months after the Whisky performances, chalking up two new hits (“Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa [Sad Song]” and “Try a Little Tenderness”). He played San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, took part in the Stax/Volt Revue through Europe in March ’67 and stole the show at the historic Monterey International Pop Festival in June of that year. The ultimate tragedy happened on December 10, 1967, when, as eloquently stated by Kahn, “his death in an airplane crash . . . dramatically froze his star forever in its perfect, meteoric apogee.”

In 1968, Stax posthumously issued the LP In Person at the Whisky A Go Go, with liner notes by Los Angeles Times critic Pete Johnson, who’d also reviewed the live show. In 1993, the CD Good to Me: Recorded Live at the Whisky, Vol. 2 expanded on a largely forgotten 1982 LP, Recorded Live. While those releases juggled selections from different shows, Live on the Sunset Strip stands out as a historically true document, offering the last three consecutive sets capturing Redding and his band in top form.

“I’m still real clear about those shows,” recalls Taj Mahal, whose Rising Sons opened them. “It was raw and unscripted. It was just the joy of music, you know. The joy of rhythm, the joy of energy. . .”

The Morning Pages Cover Lady Gaga

Brooklyn’s six-piece root-rockers The Morning Pages have just recorded an alt-country take on Lady Gaga’s "Telephone" along with a grainy lo-fi stock photography-esque video complete with slide guitars, cowboy hats and tin cans on strings, answering the question "How would "Telephone" play out in the 1850s?".  The ubiquitous song caught the attention of lead singer Grant Maxwell who decided to cover the song because "a great song is a great song and indie music doesn't have to be all dissonant and obscure and depressing all the time and on the other hand pop music could stand to sound a lot more organic and musical. My thought was they maybe we could combine the depth of roots music with the visceral enjoyment and popular appeal of mainstream music and get the next revolution started....also, I just couldn't get that song out of my head!" You can watch the new video HERE on YouTube.

With their 2007 EP The Company You Keep, The Morning Pages immediately stood out from other Brooklyn acts by tracing their roots back to country and folk influences such as Willie Nelson, Gram Parsons, Waylon Jennings, and The Band. It was this EP that caught the attention of Russell Simins of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion who went on to produce their upcoming debut full length Rising Rain.

The album’s standouts include joyous foot-stompers like “With The Lord,” “Move To The Country” and “This City Keeps Me Down,” as well as plaintive ballads like the album’s first single “My Name Is Lion.”

The Morning Pages New York Dates:
April 9th – Brooklyn, NY @ Spike Hill
May 6th – Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo
May 20th – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
May 27th – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (Dylan Fest 2010)

The Henry Clay People To Release "Somewhere On The Golden Coast"

We know what you’re thinking: The Henry Clay People aren’t really from L.A., right? After all, their TBD debut, Somewhere on the Golden Coast, sounds like the riff-slinging byproduct of playing hard—and drinking even harder—in Midwestern bars that keep their jukeboxes stocked with old Pavement and Replacements records or whatever Robert Pollard released that week.

“While we don’t quite fit in with L.A.’s noise scene or the singer-songwriter crew that hangs out at the Hotel Cafe,” says vocalist/guitarist Joey Siara, “we've found a nice little niche for bands like us in L.A—just a bunch of friendly people who prefer to hang out, drink cheap beer, and listen to Big Star records on a Saturday night.”  Joey and his 23-year-old little brother Andy—also a singer/guitarist—formed The Henry Clay People in 2005.  Since then the band has developed a reputation for spreading their unpretentious slacker guitar rock though out greater Los Angeles and beyond.  "I think we played close to 200 shows in 2007-2008 and most of those were just local to southern California. 2009 was nice though because we really got to hit the road for most of the year and see if the tunes held up outside our little bubble."


Somewhere on the Golden Coast bottles that boundless live energy in 11 airtight tracks and 34 filler-free minutes. Listening closely, it’s easy to see how all of this started, how a revolving door of “crappy punk bands” led the Siara brothers to form The Henry Clay People in the first place.  Two buzz-building albums (2006’s Blacklist the Kid With the Red Moustache and 2008’s For Cheap or For Free) and several lineup shifts later, they’re still keeping things simple.  Recorded mostly at The Ship Studios in Eagle Rock, CA by Earlimart frontman Aaron Espinoza, he encouraged the band to ditch the headphones, take it easy on overdubs, drink more beer, and record live in the same room to tape.  The idea was to get as close as possible to the essence of the live show.

Golden Coast pushes and pulls between the two brother's influences.  Joey's zeal for jagged distorted guitars ("Nobody Taught us to Quit), gets smoothed out by Andy's laid back "drive into the sunset" love of The Byrds, Jackson Browne, and Grandaddy. The influence of the latter—along with their dad’s considerable classic rock collection—creeps into a couple Golden Coast cuts, lending a nostalgic from-dusk-’til-dawn feel to “A Temporary Fix” and the album’s melancholic curtain-closer, “Two Lives At the End of the Night.” Both of which provide a nice contrast to such certified piano-spiked jams as “Working Part Time,” “Your Famous Friends,” and “End of an Empire.” And since this particular long player barely eclipses the 30-minute mark, you better believe The Henry Clay People never wear out their welcome. In fact, they may just leave you wanting more.

“We want our music to be accessible, but still mean something,” says Joey. “That’s the spirit of this band—nothing we’re doing is rocket science, but we’re playing the music we love. And if some people recognize that, great. Rock ’n’ roll is rock ’n’ roll.”

May Tour With Drive By Truckers:

May 5th Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ
May 6th House Of Blues San Diego, CA
May 7th Avalon Ballroom LA, CA
May 8th Fillmore Theater San Fran, CA
May 12th In The Venue Salt Lake City, Utah
May 13th Boulder Theater Boulder, CO
May 14th Aggie Theater Ft. Collins, CO
May 15th Belly Up Aspen, CO

THE CORE:

JOEY- Voice and Guitar
ANDY- Voice and Guitar
MIKE- Drummer Boy
JONATHAN- Voice and Bass JORDAN- Piano and Voice

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.”