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Month: January 2011

I’m Tired Joey Boy

A beautiful Van Morrison tune (from Avalon Sunset), covered by Tom Petty. I’ve had this MP3 for years, and was surprised to find the video tonight on a spur of the moment search.

Tom dedicates the song to Bill Graham, who had passed just a month earlier. “I’m Tired Joey Boy”, from November 23rd, 1991:

The Friday Five: January 28, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

It’s been one of those days, here’s what just shuffled up:

“White Summer / Black Mountain Side” by Led Zeppelin (from Boxed Set, 1990)

“Taking It Away” by The Jesus and Mary Chain (from Hate Rock ‘n’  Roll, 1995)

“Who Will Survive in America” by Kanye West (from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010)

“The Stars Are Underground” by The Frames (from Dance the Devil, 1999)

“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson (from Thriller 25, 2008)

What’s on your shuffle today?

The Colossus of the Twin Cities

Much like their song King Kong, American Revival is straddling the Twin Cities with one giant left foot in Minneapolis and one giant right foot in St Paul. Since writing about them last November, I have truly enjoyed following this local band as they begin to play bigger venues around town. It has been far too long since I’ve had some home town boys to geek out over and these guys have been exceeding my expectations with each gig I see.

Here is a video from a stellar show last December at the Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. It’s very illustrative of their energy, professionalism, and amazing sound.

You can pick up their EP on iTunes here. American Revival is currently in the studio working on their first album. Follow them on Facebook for updates and check back here with me for a story on the making of the album.

The Friday Five: January 21, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“Breakdown” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (from The Live Anthology, 2009)

Recorded in June of ‘81 at The Forum, in Los Angeles; this take simply smolders its way through six solid minutes of groove. It’s definitely a testament to the power of a solid shuffle. The “Hit the Road Jack” tag towards the end of the jam is a bonus. Despite having this in my collection for over year, I still haven’t listened to the entire collection.

“I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes (from Highlights: The Very Best of Yes, 1993)

This is shaping up to be one of the longest shuffles in recent memory, clocking in at just shy of seven minutes, the prog-rock pledge of allegiance demands attention. Rise up! Grab your 12-string laúd and recorder and salute Roger Dean.

Let’s hope for a shorter song to follow …

“Infinite Arms” by Band of Horses (from Infinite Arms, 2010)

Make that the Grammy Nominated album, Infinite Arms. Dreamy and serene, this is probably the closest tie on the record to their impeccable debut, Everything All the Time. Naturally, it is a favorite of mine. The crickets at the close remind me of being a kid sitting out on the back lawn

“Delicate” by Damien Rice (from B-Sides, 2004)

Another live performance, this time from perennial Irish sad bastard, Damien Rice. That’s not to say that Ireland isn’t teeming with sad bastards, that is; rather, to say Mr. Rice is famously especially sorrowful in his bastard ways. Add to the fact that this version of “Delicate” is played just a hair slower than the original, amping up the dirge quality.

“Candy” by The Silver Seas (from Château Revenge!, 2010)

Ahh … a perfect power pop song close to what was becoming a very heavy Friday Five. I’m sure I’ve shared the story of how I came to know and love The Silver Seas, so I’ll spare you all the gory details, but I will share that the band has just released a brand-spanking new “3 AM” version of Château Revenge! for your listening pleasure. You can hop on over to http://chateaurevenge.com/ and pick up the “Blue” as well as the original “Red” versions of the record. It came in at number two on my Top 12 of 2010, and is a must-listen.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Cheap Trick perform “Dream Police” on Conan

I’ve never been the biggest of Cheap Trick fans, but I’ve always had an appreciation. My oldest brother cranked the Budokan album when I was a wee lad. And it was from him that I inherited the Dream Police record. “Way of the World”, “Gonna Raise Hell”, and of course the title track… at 9, 10, 11 years old, I was eating these songs up!

I’m sure you have a similar album – one where you’re not necessarily a fervent follower of the band, but there’s one seminal album that made a huge mark on you way back when? Count Foreigner 4 among those for me too (and every other preteen and teen in 1981)…

So it was a trip back in the time machine when Cheap Trick dropped by Conan last week. There’s Rick Nielsen (he’ll be buried in that hat, don’t you think?), Tom Petersson on bass, and the ageless Robin Zander on vox. The one missing link in the performance – drummer Bun E. Carlos! I asked the question on Twitter, and someone mentioned that he may have some back problems holding him down. So Bun – get well bro!

Cheap Trick brought along a string section for the “Dream Police”, and they kick some ass during the mid-song breakdown. Good times!

Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John [Belle and Sebastian, Norah Jones]

The latest Belle and Sebastian album crossed my radar a few weeks back, thanks to the “Recent Activity” social feature on Rdio. One of the people I follow had added it to his collection. I decided to take a listen, so *click*… and now, a few weeks later, I must have listened to it four or five times straight through.

It’s simply a great, accessible pop record. Great melodies, and just a nice overall vibe.

The album includes a song called “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John”, with Norah Jones joining singer Stuart Murdoch. Of course, the mere mention of Norah Jones means I get to perform a thorough Google Image search. Woo hoo! Be right back.

Nice, but need something more current, right?
But I have to include this one. Stubebaker?
That's more like it. Updated Norah.

There. That was nice.

So listen to the song – a slowed down ditty about l-o-v-e just out of reach. The song appears not only on B&S‘s latest one, but also on …Featuring Norah Jones, an album of Norah’s collaborations.

Click the covers to check out the albums…

Belle and Sebastian Write About Love

…Featuring Norah Jones

Chris Rea’s ‘Auberge’

A lost treasure was unearthed yesterday while the wife was on a mission to clean my daughters’ bedrooms: a spindle of old CD’s. Lots of Springsteen bootlegs, old mixes… but what I was most excited to find: Auberge.

British singer/guitarist Chris Rea released Auberge in 1991. Like most of Rea’s work, it didn’t make much of a ripple in the USA. I’m not sure why. Featuring Rea’s low, smoky vocals, the record is an atmospheric, emotional masterpiece.

Hearing a few of selections doesn’t come close to capturing the feeling you get after listening to the record straight through, from “Auberge” to “The Mention of Your Name”. But they do give you a glimpse into the sweeping ambience of the album – soothing, wistful, joyous, bittersweet… a critic might call it melodramatic at times. But that’s just fine with me…

♦ Gone Fishing – Hey Chris, tear my heart right out of my chest, why don’t you? Rea wastes no time getting deep down into it on track number two of the record, throwing up his hands and heading out on the water… “you ain’t ever gonna be happy, any how, any way / so I’m going fishing, and I’m going today”.

♦ Sing a Song of Love To Me – Pure, heartfelt longing for love. “Sing a song of love to me, as the shadows start to grow / And I won’t be sad lonely any more”.

♦ Looking For The Summer – One of the more uptempo numbers, with a bluesy, rootsy crawl. Looking for a path out of the darkness…

Check out Auberge on Amazon. Thought the record is sadly out of print, it looks like Amazon burns a CD-R for those who want it – for a fee of course.

Official Web Site: ChrisRea.com

Here’s a nice video from Rea’s 1993 tour. A nice slide guitar intro into “Auberge”…

A good man named Hans from Germany sent me this link on Twitter this afternoon. He put it best: “it doesn’t get any better than this.”
That’s the truth. I was speechless after watching this…

The Friday Five: January 14, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“Lets Go Crazy (special dance mix)” by Prince (from Ultimate, 2006)

“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here to get through this thing called life.” I’m particularly fond of this version, as it features the extended guitar breakdown that was featured in the film.

“Got the Time” by Joe Jackson (from The Best of Joe Jackson, 2007)

Looks like we’re entering another “Greatest Hits” shuffle. I dig Joe.

“Will You Still Love Me?” by Chicago (from Greatest Hits 1982-1989, 1989)

Between the snow storms that have dumped over 30 inches of snow in the last week, my dear friends Jason and Jessica Hare paid the wife and I visit. During the ensuing music geek-off, Jason revealed the following performance that, well … I’ll just let you see for yourself:

“Starfish & Coffee” by Prince & The Revolution (from Dream Factory, 1986)

Yes, that does say by Prince & The Revolution. Yes, I do have a copy of the July 18, 1986 configuration of the unreleased gem that would later become part of His Royal Badness’ magnum opus, Sign “” the Times. With a minimal amount of internet sleuthing, you too could unearth the glory of Prince’s unreleased treasures.

“If I Had $1000000” by Barenaked Ladies (from Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits: 1991-2001, 2001)

I’ve always wanted a monkey.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Willie’s Spirit

Since stumbling across it on Rdio yesterday, I’ve become quickly enamored with Willie Nelson’s Spirit album. “She Is Gone” is the only song I was really familiar with from the record. It’s a sparse, heartbreakingly gorgeous tune – one that I moped along to in the late 90’s during a breakup or two. But I had no idea it was nestled into an album of equally sparse and beautiful songs, and also no idea that the song that comes before it – the album opener and instrumental “Matador” – actually enhances the beauty of “She Is Gone”. It serves as sort of an introduction to the song – and to the album as a whole.

Spirit is a somber affair, to be sure – the theme heartbreak and loss – but oh the delicate beauty of it.

Excuse me while I jump back in…