July 25, 2016
The Dave Clark Five, for a short time, were considered the equal of the Beatles. While that comparison did not last, they did go on to place 16 singles in the American Top 30, which would ultimately propel them into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Today the band is best remembered for such hits as “Bits And Pieces,” “Glad All Over,” “Because,” and ‘Catch Me If You Can,” but their only number one American hit was a remake of Bobby Day’s 1958 single “Over And Over.”
The songs delivered a wonderful Christmas present as it reached number one for the week of December 25, 1965.
The Dave Clark Five disbanded in the early 1970’s and were a very rare group in that they never performed again.
July 25, 2016
The Byrds are best known for their other number one song, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” but “Turn Turn Turn” was the bigger hit.
The song has the distinction of being the number one song with the oldest lyrics. Pete Seeger had adapted the words the the Biblical Book Ecclesiastes to music. The Byrds added more of a beat and harmonies. Their version reached the top of the Pop Cart December 4, 1965, and their it remained for three weeks.
July 12, 2016
Sometimes, the coming together of musicians may seem a stretch but eventually everything works out fine.
Wendy DeWitt played piano for the legendary Hank Ballard and is recognized as one of the premier boogie woogie piano players on the music scene today. Kirk Harwood is a classically trained drummer who backed harpist Norton Buffalo.
Their release, Getaway, can be best described as blues as Harwood lays down a foundation for DeWitt’s piano excursions.
DeWitt composed 8 of the 12 tracks and has a surprisingly good voice to interpret her lyrics. Her use of a brass section in places serves to add a little punch to the music. Also, guitar player Steve Freund brings a funky element to the mix, which gives everything a richness of textures.
Getaway is a interesting release by two musicians from disparate backgrounds whose sound meets somewhere in the middle. Wendy DeWitt and Kirk Harwood have crafted a release that should deservedly attract some attention.
July 12, 2016
Folk singer Sammy Walker is about to release his first album since 2008’s Misfit Scarecrow. The odd thing about Brown Eyed Georgia Darlin’ is that the music was recorded 40 years ago.
During the early 1970’s he released four albums for the Folkway and Warner Brothers labels. One of his Warner Brothers releases was produced by legendary folk artist Phil Ochs. He had recorded demos for a fifth album but changing musical trends and the disco era intervened. He would work 18 years in a convenience store before resuming his music career full time.
His music looks back to the end of the original folk revival movement. The lyrics are pointed and have meaning and while they may be a bit dated four decades later, they still hold up well. His “Talkin’ Women’s Lib” is a folk history lesson by itself.
It is an album of personal stories that have lain dormant from a bygone era. “Decoration On The Wall,” “Days I Left Behind,” “The East Colorado Dam,” and “A Cold Pittsburgh Morning” all point to a different time when folk music was an important voice in society and culture.
Also, being loyal to the theme of releasing tracks that were in the vaults for 40 years; this is a vinyl record issue. I’m not sure about the overall commercial impact of that decision, but as a vinyl addict I appreciate the purity of intent.
Arthritis has slowed Walker in the last several years, so it is high time that these old songs see the light of day. They provide a nice glimpse into the mid of Walker and hopefully will bring him some long overdue success.
July 12, 2016
Home By Dawn was J.D. Souther’s fourth studio album and his only studio release between 1979 and 2008. It was an album of Americana pop meeting country rockabilly that fused two different styles into a creative mix. It was a commercial failure and a creative triumph. It may not be Souther’s most cohesive work but it is his most unique and entertaining.
The title track has rockabilly influences and is a style that one wishes he could have explored more fully. Incorporating rock and country, he gives it an energy that enables him to escape the laid back nature that permeates much of his work.
Treading the line between styles is a number of poignant pieces. “All For You,” and “Bad News Travels Fast,” are smooth and polished with incisive lyrics. “Say You Will” has a 1950’s flavor and the vocal duet with Linda Ronstadt is heartfelt.
The Dixie Chicks covered “I’ll Take Care Of You” 14 years later on their 12 million selling Open Spaces album. Two versions of the song appear on this release. Souther’s finished and laid back version plus a bonus track that presents the song as a raw demo allows one to follow the evolution of his creative process and where one of his songs ended up in a more famous cover.
The best of the bonus tracks is another duet with Linda Ronstadt. “Hearts Against The Wind” was originally issued on the Urban Cowboy film soundtrack and its county leanings make it a good fit with the rest of the material.
Home By Dawn remains an interesting stop in Souther’s musical journey. It was a return to his country roots. His attempt at creating a rockabilly release was moved a little off kilter by his pop sensibilities. Still the results were excellent.
July 12, 2016
Colin Linden was a pre-teen guitar prodigy who is now past the 30 year mark in his recording career. He has always been in high demand as a session musician and has appeared on over 400 recorded songs. Recently he played with Bob Dylan as the guitarist in his touring band. Last year he released his first studio album since 2009.
At the heart of his music is his ability to write a song. The 12 tracks were all written or co-written by Linden and bear his personal stamp. Introspective, they explores a variety of subjects within the context of the blues and country-rock.
The heart of the release are a number of ballads. “Delia Come For Me” is an acoustic piece on which he overdubs some slide guitar. “The Hurt” is an extended blues style ballad made all the more authentic by harp virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite’s excursions. “Everybody Ought To Be Loved” takes a soulful approach with exquisite background harmonies.
He does travel in a number of other directions. “Knob & Tube” is a laid back track featuring his mandolin work and stellar vocals by Amy Helm. “I Need Water” ramps up the energy level due to his slide guitar work. “No More Cheap Wine” continues the trend as he moves close to a rock sound with crackling guitar play.
Colin Linden is one of those talented musicians who continues to ply his craft without achieving massive commercial appeal. If you have not explored his music, Rich In Love will be a treat.