July 31, 2012
“Twist And Shout” is one of those classic rock ‘n’ roll songs that has been covered by hundreds and probably thousands of bands. It was a song recorded by The Beatles before they became famous. Issued by the small Tollie label in the United States, it spent four weeks at number two on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during the spring of 1964.
That was not the end of the story, however, as 24 years later it returned to the American charts. It was a featured song in the popular movie, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, and was pulled from the soundtrack and released as a single. This time it reached number 23 during its 15 weeks on the charts.
It remains one of the better covers of the old rock song.
July 30, 2012
Jimbo Mathus has traveled a strange and convoluted musical journey since his 1967 birth in Oxford, Mississippi. As a member of Johnny Vomit & The Dry Heaves, he was part of a punk rock band. He was a founding member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, who combined Delta blues with New Orleans jazz. His solo albums have explored the blues, traditional country, folk, and even some string music.
He has now returned with his latest release, a six song EP titled Blue Light. He draws on his southern roots as the blues are the foundation for his new album with some rock and country steel guitars mixed in for good measure.
The opening title track sets the tone for what will follow. There is a pounding bass and some simple guitar lines but the lyrics and vocals are direct from his Delta heritage. His voice has a Ray Charles tone and phrasing and is a good instrument to interpret his stories.
“Haunted John” moves toward a traditional southern rock sound but is held back from completely crossing over by his bluesy vocal. “Fucked Up World” is a throwback to his punk days as the lyrics find him venting his anger. “Burn the Honky Tonk” is musically different from the other tracks as he slows down the tempo and moves in a country gospel direction.
As with many blues artists he is able to tell stories through his lyrics. His current songs are taken from a lifetime of southern living and travels. A press release quotes the late Memphis producer Jim Dickinson as saying Mathus has “the singing voice of Huck Finn.” That probably describes his latest musical approach.
His is backed by his band of many years, which includes fellow Mississippians Justin Showah (bass) and Eric Carlton (keyboards), plus Arkansas guitar player Matt Pierce. Drummer Ryan Rogers is the newest member having been added last year. They provide tight backing for his vocals and guitar playing.
He has been prolific since the mid-1990s. Blue Light is his ninth solo release and when you add in nine more albums by the Squirrel Nut Zippers, you have a lot of music and styles. His albums are always an adventure and Blue Light is a journey worth taking with him.
Article first published as Music Review: Jimbo Mathus – Blue Light [EP] on Blogcritics.
July 30, 2012
There were a number of 45’s of the BATMAN THEME released during the 1960s and one of the most obscure was by orchestra leader Nelson Riddle.
Nelson Riddle, 1921-1985, was an orchestra leader/arranger who worked with such artists as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Linda Ronstadt. He only had five singles reach the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart with his biggest hit being the 1955 release Lisbon Antigua.
He release of the “Batman Theme” did not chart but it remains one of the most collectable nearly 50 years later.
July 29, 2012
The Chocolate Watchband was a psychedelic rock band formed during 1965. There were many line-up changes during their existence but originally it was guitarist Ned Torney, guitarist Mark Loomis, bassist Rich Young, drummer Pete Curry, organist Jo Kemling, and vocalist Donny Phay.
They never had a single reach the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop 100 Singles Chart. However, their releses have become very collectable.
In The Midnight Hour/Psychedelic Trip, which is a Sundazed Label reissue, is a good example of their raw rock sound.
The band reunited during 1999, and continues to play and record together.
July 29, 2012
1954 had dawned and Eddie Fisher was back on top of the pop charts. He is one of the forgotten superstars of the pre-1950s rock ‘n’ roll era. I have mentioned this a number of times but he was married to Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, and Connie Stevens.
He was a pop crooner who enjoyed tremendous commercial success. One of his biggest hits was “Oh My Pa-Pa,” which topped all three BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Charts.
Best Sellers In Stores Chart – 1/2/54 – 8 Weeks At Number One.
Most Played By Disc Jockeys Chart – 1/15/54 – 7 Weeks At Number One.
Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart – 1/30/54 – 6 Weeks At Number One.
His career never recovered from his divorce of Reynolds and marriage to Taylor plus the advent of rock ‘n’ roll as the dominant music form. Still, only a very few artists can match his popularity during the first half of the 1950s.
July 28, 2012
Sometimes “Don’t” slips under the Elvis Presley radar but it ranks as the 10th biggest hit of his career.
It first reached the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart January 27, 1958, and during its 20 weeks on the chart, it spent five of those at number one.
It was very different from the big hit that preceeded it, “Jailhouse Rock.” It was a slower song that just lulled the listener as Elvis got the phrasing just right. His slower material many times made you realize just how good a voice Elvis possessed.
As with most of his 1950s material, it is still worth seeking out.
July 27, 2012
Debbie Harry was and is the lead singer of Blondie, 1974-1982, and 1997-present. The band has sold over 40 million albums during the course of their career and have had four singles reach number one on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. THey were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 2006.
Debbie Harry’s solo career has not been as successful. She only had four singles reach the top 100 and none entered the top 40.
While most of her solo material has been forgettable, “I Want That Boy” stands head and shoulders above the crowd. It was really a throw back to the disco/dance era. It had a wonderful beat and just perculated along. Released as a single, it did not reach the Pop Singles Chart.
Harry wisely reunited Blondie during 2007 and they remain active in the studio and on the road.