Ten Good Reasons 45 by Donna Loren

February 29, 2012

Donna Loren appeared in a number of BEACH PARTY movies with Frankie and Annette, was a regular on the TV show SHINDIG, and was the Dr. Pepper Girl, yet did not have a chart single.

She issued a number of songs for various labels during the 1960s and all were catchy and melodic. She possessed a woderful pop voice and the looks to become a star but quietly disappeared from the music scene to raise a family. During the last several years she has begun touring and recording again.

“Ten Good Reasons” was representative of her sound. It was simple but catchy 1960s pop.

Wild Horses 45 by The Rolling Stones

February 29, 2012

An under rated song and single by The Rolling Stones.

The highlight of “Wild Horses” for me has always been the Keith Richards electric guitar/ Mick Taylor acoustic guitar interplay. Taylor was the perfect foil for Richards and tended to bring out the best in him.

It was a moderate hit in the United States reaching number 28 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE named it as one of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.

If you want to hear a different version check out Gram Parsons’ Flying Burrito Brothers.

Tumbling Dice 45 by The Rolling Stones

February 29, 2012

When in doubt, write a song about gambling and love. Blues artists have been doing it for almost a century.

“Tumbling Dice” was the lead single from the classic Rolling Stones album, EXILE ON MAIN STREET. It was a commercially successful in the United States reaching number seven on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during the spring of 1972.

Keith Richards provided the lead guitar work and Mick Taylor some supporting slide guitar. Taylor also provided the bass work as Bill Wyman missed the sessions. The piano work was curtesy of Nicky Hopkins.

It all added up to more good rock ‘n’ roll from The Rolling Stones.

Some Enchanted Evening 78 by Perry Como

February 28, 2012

Perry Como, 1912-2001, was a superstar of the 1940s and 1950s and his active career spanned over half a century. He placed over a hundred songs on the American singles charts. He was also married to the same women for 65 years.

Many of his songs have stood the test of time well as he had a smooth and soothing vocal style.

“Some Enchanted Evening” reached number one on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Singles Chart, August 20, 1949 and remained in that position for five weeks.

Honky Tonk Women 45 by The Rolling Stones

February 28, 2012

The Rolling Stones had me from the cowbell intro on this one.

“Honky Tonk Women” remains one of the Rolling Srones signature and most popular songs. Released during the summer of 1969, it topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart for four weeks.

It contained one of Keith Richards best guitar performances and when you add it Mick Taylor’s later overdubs, it was a guitar lovers delight.

It was also their last chart single in the United States on the London Label before they switched to their own Rolling Stone label.

Four Flicks (DVD) by The Rolling Stones

February 27, 2012

Four Flicks was a four-DVD three-concert box set from the Rolling Stones Hot Licks Tour of 2002-2003, surely the only time in history that a band got so much mileage from a best-selling hits collection released just before (Forty Licks). The Stones have traveled a lot of miles over the past 40 years and Four Flicks proved they can still rock with the best.

There is a lot to recommend here. Three concerts are presented in their entirety. I have never liked concert albums or DVDs that take songs from a number of concerts and piece them together to form the perfect show. Just give me the highs and lows of a complete concert and enable me to experience the good with the bad.

Fortunately, that is the case here, as the three shows are an arena gig from Madison Square Garden, a stadium show from London and a small theater show from Paris. Each of these settings show the Stones in a different light and, in different ways, the group proved it was still one of the better live performers in rock ‘n’ roll.

Disc 1 is the bonus disc, a documentary (the fourth flick, if you will). Don’t watch this one first, as the concerts are much better. But for fans it will be a treat, since it’s one of the better documentaries that I have ever seen or heard. The journey from performance concepts to rehearsals to finally hitting the stage are all chronicled. In addition, interviews with the members of the band and rare concert footage is inserted throughout. There is an old short clip from a concert with Brian Jones that is chilling, while Keith Richards is reflective and talks about living “not a predictable life.” Charlie Watts provides also very interesting commentary, but for me, seeing Bill Clinton introduce the Stones and hearing Mick Jagger sing the scales as a warm up is priceless.

Disc 2 is the Madison Square Garden performance. Ron Wood mentions that he is sober for this tour and it is here that he shines. He plays lead on many of the songs and shows a great deal of versatility. This concert is mostly hits from the early and middle careers of the Stones; “Let It Bleed” and “Midnight Rambler” in the middle of the concert are terrific. The concert comes to a powerful conclusion with “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “When The Whip Comes Down,” “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Rock does not get much better than that.

Disc 3 is the stadium concert from Twickenham Stadium in London. I am not a big fan of stadium shows, as I feel they are not nearly as intimate and it’s near impossible to see the band. But here, since the viewer has the best seat in the house, is a chance to see the Stones kick off the leg of the European tour with a fresh vitality. Richards shines here; let’s face it, the man can play these songs with one hand behind his back now while standing in a coconut tree, but here he is focused, his leads are tight and there is wonderful improvisation within the structure of many of the songs. Jagger has room to wander and his strong voice carries show highlights such as “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Paint It Black” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Disc 4 is the Olympia Theater Show in Paris. This show is different; the crowd is on top of the band and Jagger dominates. The choice of songs is eclectic and many rarely-heard tunes make an appearance, which is a treat for the longtime fan even if the songs aren’t stellar performances. A sample of the tunes? “Neighbors,” “No Expectations,” “That’s How Strong My Life Is,” “Going To A Go-Go,” “Love Train,” “Before They Make Me Run” and “Respectable” all get rare appearances in concert form; all but one are songs that only fans would know.

Four Flicks is about six hours of Rolling Stones. This DVD set presents the Stones where they are today and it is a pretty good place to be. There is a combination of energy and maturity that very few rock groups will ever achieve, making Four Flicks a must for any fan of the Stones and any rock fan in general.

Theme From A Summer Place 45 by The Ventures

February 27, 2012

“Theme From A Summer Place” will always be associated with Percy Faith. His version spent nine weeks at number one during 1960.

The Ventures released their single during 1969. Their’s was guitar based rather than having the lush strings. Unfortunately it would stall at number 83 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart and was the band’s last chart single.

All ended well for The Ventures as they are now safely enshrined in the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME.

Lotta Love 45 by Nicolette Larson

February 27, 2012

Nicolette Larson was a noted session singer having supported such artists as Van Halen, Linda Ronstadt, and Neil Young. It was a Neil Young song that brought her solo success.

She turned his “Lotta Love” into a pop classic. It reached number eight on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart and number one on the Adult Contemporary Chart.

She placed three more songs on the Singles Chart and continued her session work. She would pass away from a cerebral edema at the age of 45.

Paper Hearts by Katy Boyd

February 26, 2012

Katy Boyd has traveled thousands of miles and produced a lot of music during her life and career. Growing up listening to Irish folk music and Tchaikovsky, a chance meeting with Joan Baez pushed her in a folk direction. Today she has settled into a country sound and her latest album, Paper Hearts, was recoded in Nashville.

She has gathered a stellar cast of musicians to support her. They include Justin Moses (banjo, mandolin, and fiddle) and Mark Fein (bass), both of Ricky Skaggs’ band, as well as Fats Kaplin (steel guitar and accordion), Lynn Williams (drums), Thomm (with two m’s), and Jutz (guitars, keyboards, and harmony vocals). She provides the vocals and acoustic guitar.

Her folk background shines through with her lyrics. She is a poet who is able to adapt episodes of her life to music. Her stories of love, loss, abuse, and traveling dominate the album. They tend to be meditative ballads and she probably would have been better served to include a few more up-tempo tunes. The lyrics tell wonderful, if sometimes slightly depressing stories. One saving grace is a couple of the songs’ lyrics are filled with satire and are quite amusing.

The music is straight classic country with a steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo. A couple of the tracks even move in a bluegrass direction. Floating on top of it all is her twangy and soulful voice, which is a perfect fit for a country sound.

“Jigs & Reels & Ferris Wheels” is a song that tells the tale of traveling for love and constantly being rejected along the way. The message of continually falling in love despite the unhappy results is one that should resonate with just about anyone who has ever been in love. “Mama” tells the personal tale of the relationship with her own mother. The only non-original tune was a simple and beautiful cover of the Steve Winwood/Blind Faith classic, “Can’t Find My Way Home.”

My Favorite track was “Happy Single Mother’s Day,” which includes lyrics about selling her children on EBay. “I’m Not Depressed” is a witty song and perfect for the moody material that has preceded it.

Katy Boyd has created an album filled with imagery and humanity. So grab a bottle of wine, put some wood on the fire, and let the music take you away.

Article first published as Music Review: Katy Boyd – Paper Hearts on Blogcritics.

Blue Suede Shoes 45 by Jerry Lee Lewis

February 26, 2012

Jerry Lee Lewis released his version of “Blue Suede Shoes” while he was with the Sun Label. It did not become a hit as the original by Carl Perkins remains the standard for this classic rock ‘n’ roll song with Elvis’ a close second.

Still, during the late 1950s, Jerry Lee Lewis really did not produce any bad rock ‘n’ roll songs for the Sun label. While “Blue Suede Shoes” will never be associated with Lewis, it was still a rocking cover of a classic song.