Tag Archives: rock and roll

The Beatles’ The Beatles and Esher Demos

Well here we are again, celebrating another 50th anniversary of a ground-breaking Beatles LP with a deluxe, remastered reissue. This time it is the double LP The Beatles, otherwise known as The White Album, the first proper album the Beatles … Continue reading

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CP Lee’s Like the Night (Revisited) — Bob Dylan and the road to the Manchester Free Trade Hall

The 1966 concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall is the most legendary single performance of Bob Dylan’s career; perhaps of the entire rock era. This concert, at which an irate fan shouted “Judas!” at Dylan, almost immediately entered the … Continue reading

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Ian Anderson at the Beacon Theater

Fifty years ago, a group of young musicians from Blackpool released a record called This Was, launching the career of Jethro Tull, one of the most influential and original rock bands ever. This year, Ian Anderson is out on the … Continue reading

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Geoff Emerick’s Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles

Geoff Emerick is one of the unsung heroes of The Beatles’ saga. Inveterate reader of liner notes that I am, I’ve been aware of his name for some time, but it tended to blend into the amorphous blob of names … Continue reading

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Birch Pereira & the Gin Joints’ Western Soul

Birch Pereira, Oregon-grown and now based in Seattle, leads his band the Gin Joints through a set of hot jazz, rockabilly, bluesy folk and more on their sophomore album Western Soul. It’s a tour through Americana in the era of … Continue reading

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Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas’s The World of Captain Beefheart

It’s pretty audacious to record an album of Captain Beefheart’s music, but apparently guitarist Gary Lucas is that kind of guy. He comes by it honestly, though. He played in a late incarnation of Beefheart’s Magic Band in the 1980s, … Continue reading

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Baba Zula’s XX

My favorite musical discovery of 2017 was Turkish psychedelia. Who knew this was even a thing? Well, obviously lots of people, but maybe not so many in the U.S.A. I first tumbled onto it with the reissue of many of … Continue reading

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Gun Outfit’s Out of Range

Out of Range is the fifth full-length record by the Los Angeles-based Gun Outfit. They refer to the sound of their music as “Western expanse,” and that’s as good a description as any. Musically it’s a guitar-laden melange of cosmic … Continue reading

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Jackie Shane’s Any Other Way

I don’t feel too bad about not knowing who Jackie Shane is, because she’s mostly unknown outside of Toronto, where she had a brief career as a soul singer in the 1960s. But I do feel bad that I never … Continue reading

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Billy Strings’ Turmoil & Tinfoil

If you love acoustic guitar playing, or if you love bluegrass music — or both — you have to check out the duet that Billy Strings plays with Bryan Sutton on a traditional tune called “Salty Sheep,” on Billy’s new … Continue reading

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Deer Tick’s Deer Tick Vol. 1 & Deer Tick Vol. 2

In the chorus of “Only Love,” midway through the acoustic, folky Deer Tick Vol. 1, Deer Tick front man John McCauley sings, “It’s only love, so don’t be afraid, it will let you down but not today … it won’t … Continue reading

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Jack Cooper’s Sandgrown

Jack Cooper’s two-man band Ultimate Painting has made three albums and is working on a fourth, but in the meantime he has released his first solo album. Sandgrown is a song cycle of sorts painting a sonic picture of his … Continue reading

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The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

Somehow 50 years have come and gone since Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released. And unless you’ve been living in a cave (or have been too preoccupied with the intense political goings-on around the world in 2017), you … Continue reading

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Cory Branan’s Adios

The best thing about Cory Branan is his now-they’re-funny, now-they’re-sad lyrics. No, wait, the best thing is the way the tune always works just right with the lyrics, and it’s always catchy as hell. No, wait, the best thing is … Continue reading

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The DeSoto Caucus’s 4

The DeSoto Caucus released their second and third albums within 11 months of each other, in 2013 and 2014. I first caught up with them on their third, self-titled album, which I liked a lot. This Danish quartet took a … Continue reading

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Slothrust’s Everyone Else

The music I find myself drawn to these days has at least some element of a drone in it. Sometimes that’s the comforting drone of hardangar fiddle in Nordic folk and jazz, the martial drone of pipes, the spine-tingling vocal … Continue reading

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Julian Dawson’s and on piano… Nicky Hopkins: The Extraordinary Life of Rock’s Greatest Session Man

Nicky Hopkins was born in February 1944 in London, England. He died fifty years later in Nashville. In those fifty years he played piano on more hit records than anyone else I can think of. Ray Davies wrote a song … Continue reading

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Cocksucker Blues

Cocksucker Blues is an unreleased documentary film directed by Robert Frank chronicling The Rolling Stones’ North American tour in 1972 in support of their album Exile on Main Street. Though never released on DVD or screened in any meaningful sense, it … Continue reading

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Deborah Grabien’s JP Kinkaid Chronicles

I have been hooked on Deb Grabien’s novels since I had the great good fortune to read the first of her Haunted Ballads series. What pulled me in from the beginning was not only the characters and settings but also … Continue reading

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Mark Brend’s Rock and Roll Doctor

Lowell George was the best singer, songwriter and guitar player I have ever heard, hands down, in my life. — Bonnie Raitt The first time I heard Lowell George was on a song called “Strawberry Flats.” It came from the … Continue reading

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Fred Hellerman RIP

Howlin’ Wuelf Media Fred Hellerman, the last surviving member of The Weavers has passed away. The NY Times ran a lovely and informative account of his and the band’s career mentioning the role Alan Lomax played in their ascent from … Continue reading

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The Traveling Wilburys’ Collection

The entire output of the supergroup known as The Traveling Wilburys is at long last available on various digital platforms. To mark the occasion Concord Music Group is reissuing this 2007 collection in a nice package that includes both of … Continue reading

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Dylan Speaks: the legendary 1965 press conference in San Francisco

In Paul Williams’ authoritative book Bob Dylan: performing artist 1960-1973, the early years Williams describes an event: This one hour press conference, held and filmed in the KQED-TV studios in San Francisco on December 3, 1965, hosted and produced by critic Ralph … Continue reading

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Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet

The world is groping for a new mythology, one that makes sense in a world that has seen nuclear devastation and sent humans to the moon; a world that encompasses both communications satellites and children starving to death in the … Continue reading

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Cats Laughing’s Cats Laughing Bootleg Issue and Another Way to Travel 

The Estate Library may be the onlyplace where you can go to read William Shakespeare’s The Trapping of the Mouse or Edgar Allen Poe’s The Worm of Midnight while listening to the music of Gossamer Axe or Snori Snoriscousin and His Brass Idiots. The world of literature … Continue reading

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Bob Dylan’s Together Through Life

There’s a funny thing that happens whenever Dylan releases an album that the critics like (I think it averages out at one every three releases). When they fall all over themselves praising an album, as they did 2006’s Modern Times, … Continue reading

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Flight Plan: A look back at the Jefferson Airplane

A little over forty years ago, some people got a few friends and a few bands together, and threw a party. It went down in a farmer’s back forty in Bethel, New York, and things got a little hot and … Continue reading

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David Quantick’s The Clash

In the year 2000, a series of books was published under the imprint “Kill Your Idols.” They were published in a neat little format, black covers with a b&w photo of the subject and his name as the title. Neil Young, Tom … Continue reading

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Taj Mahal’s Taj Mahal: Autobiography of a Bluesman

Born in New York, Henry Saint Clair Fredericks has been known as Taj Mahal for most of his sixty years. The original Taj Mahal is an icon of beauty and remembrance representing love and amazing craftsmanship which stands outside of … Continue reading

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XIXA’s Bloodline

XIXA’s dual frontmen, Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan, seem to have internalized the Tucson musical ethos of collaboration and inclusivity epitomized by Giant Sand and Calexico. It’s no mystery, since the two have played with both of those bands, the … Continue reading

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Warren Zevon’s Recordings

Now that I am dead my agent finally said he wanted to have lunch with me Now that I’m deceased my record sales increased I’m making lots of royalties I’m a composer decomposing I’m on the rocker’s roll of fame … Continue reading

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Crystal Zevon’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon died in 2003, within a week of Johnny Cash. While he was nowhere near the cultural icon that Cash was, Zevon was one of the most important voices in popular music in the second half of the 20th … Continue reading

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Warren Zevon’s Warren Zevon

Rhino Records, in conjunction with Asylum, has just re-issued Warren Zevon’s first album! The self-titled collection is part of Rhino’s Collector’s Edition line, which seeks to re-introduce “legendary albums remastered, and expanded…with previously un-released material, extensive liner notes and rare … Continue reading

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Nap Eyes’ Thought Rock Fish Scale

Nap Eyes is an indie-rock quartet out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their new album Thought Rock Fish Scale is a tuneful, catchy trip through the kind of angst that might trouble a young biochemist obsessed with guitars, words and rock … Continue reading

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Thin Lizzy at the University of Limerick Concert Hall, Limerick, Ireland

John O’Regan wrote this review. Ending the Irish leg of their 2005 European Tour, Thin Lizzy arrived in Limerick to play at the University of Limerick Concert Hall to a capacity house. During the halcyon days of the 1970’s and 1980’s, Thin Lizzy … Continue reading

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Mount Moriah’s How to Dance

Mount Moriah’s third album How to Dance is a tour of the American South. Not so much a geographic tour, though plenty of places are name-checked, but more a survey of the spiritual, literary and mythic landscape of singer-songwriter-guitarist Heather … Continue reading

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Blind Faith’s Blind Faith (Deluxe Edition)

Craig Clarke penned this review. Blind Faith was arguably rock’s first “supergroup!” The conglomeration sprang from the breakups of Eric Clapton’s previous band, Cream, and one of the many breakups of Steve Winwood’s Traffic. Clapton and Winwood had planned to … Continue reading

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The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus DVD

In 1968, as the year was dying, Mick Jagger got to have what must have been seven kinds of fun, staging a response (or a bookend piece) to The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, released a year earlier: The Rolling Stones, … Continue reading

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Festival Express

It was a train full of insane people careening across the Canadian countryside playing music night and dayevery once in a while we’d stop and play a concert. — Phil Lesh (The Grateful Dead) It opens with a faded map … Continue reading

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Los Lobos’ Live at the Fillmore

Just what do you expect a live DVD to accomplish? I want great sound, and lots of images of the band (or soloist). I personally like lots of closeups of the guitarist’s fingers on the fretboards. Most directors and camera … Continue reading

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Banditos’ self-titled release

With a name like Banditos, you might expect this band to be from, say, Texas. But all six members are from Birmingham, Alabama, though now firmly ensconsed in Nashville. The alternative Nashville, that is, where you can still twang and … Continue reading

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Angel Olson’s Half Way Home

It’s a cliché to say that such-and-such a singer is a “unique voice,” but I have to resort to it in the case of Angel Olson. In a world full of cutesy and waif-like vocals from female singers in all … Continue reading

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Lost Bayou Ramblers’ Mammoth Waltz

After beginning as a traditional Cajun band in Lafayette, Louisiana, the Lost Bayou Ramblers began experimentally fusing elements of indie rock and other styles into their sound. With Mammoth Waltz they go full-on psychedelic in their arrangements of what remains … Continue reading

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Frank Zappa’s The Torture Never Stops (DVD)

If, like me, you never saw Frank Zappa live with one of his fabulous bands, this DVD release from Eagle Rock is a great way to see what you missed. Or even if you did witness the madness before Zappa … Continue reading

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The Beatles in Portland DVD

The Beatles made their one and only visit to my home state of Oregon as part of their 1965 tour, playing two shows on a Sunday in August. Alan Ginsburg even wrote a poem about it. Salem-based filmmaker Chuck Stenberg … Continue reading

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The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show

Clips of The Beatles playing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 have become part of American popular culture, to the point that everybody remembers watching that historic first appearance, even if they didn’t actually watch it, or weren’t even … Continue reading

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Andy Gill & Kevin Odegard’s A Simple Twist of Fate — Bob Dylan and the making of Blood on the Tracks

Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks is a landmark album. It is listed on numerous “best-of” album lists, be they of “all time” or the Seventies, or of the rock era. It and its follow-up Desire are his two top-selling … Continue reading

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Larry Kane’s Ticket To Ride

Larry Kane indeed got a ticket to ride. He was the only American journalist in the Beatles’ official press group on their groundbreaking 1964 U.S. tour. The tour changed the way rock ‘n’ roll concerts were played, it changed a … Continue reading

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Calexico’s Feast of Wire

In Feast of Wire the Tucson, Arizona-based Calexico has made the most overtly political statement in its brief but prolific history. Their fourth full-length CD offers a cohesive vision of the collision of cultures in the desert borderland between the … Continue reading

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Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band’s Trout Mask Replica

The avant garde of one generation is often the mainstream of future generations. Thus, Yoko Ono’s ululations of the Sixties influence The B-52s’ warbling in the Eighties; Velvet Underground’s dark, jagged art-rock informs punk and postpunk bands too numerous to … Continue reading

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