Road To Forever by Don Felder

August 11, 2013

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Don Felder returned last year, which may be a little unfair as he really never went anywhere. He is best remembered for his two stints as a member of the Eagles during the periods of 1974-1980 and 1994-2001. As such, he was a part of such classic albums as On The Border, One Of These Nights, Hotel California, and The Long Run. While he has remained active in the music industry, this is his first full studio album since 1983’s Airborne.

I wasn’t sure what to expect after all these years, but the quality of the music was beyond my expectations. It is an album of excellent and straight forward rock and roll, plus the songs have a personal touch as he brings elements of his life to the lyrics.

His guitar sound is distinctive and still has elements of the Eagles in it. The music, however, has a much harder edge than that of his former band. While the music has sophistication, it remains at its foundation, a guitar centered album. Songs such as “Wash Away” and “You Don’t Have Me” have solos that quickly prove just how good a guitarist Felder can be.

He may not have the strongest voice but it is more than adequate to carry the album. Again it has an Eagles quality to it and one can see how it was an important part of their harmonies. Whether it is slower tunes or high energy fueled rockers, it is more than acceptable and satisfactory.

He calls in some favors from some well-known names. David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash bring their voices to “Fall From The Grace Of Love.” Likewise, Tommy Shaw of Styx lends a hand on “Heal Me” and “Wash Away.” Throw in David Paich and Steve Porcaro of Toto, Randy Jackson, and Steve Vai and you have a number of friends who provide support for his music.

Maybe Road To Forever will begin to put the Eagles in his rear view mirror, especially since he was not invited to participate in their latest tour. It confirms that he is still an extremely talented musician and is well worth a listen.


Heartache Tonight 45 by The Eagles.

November 1, 2012

The Eagles had me from the a cappella type introduction.

“Heartache Tonight” was written by committee but what a committee it was. Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bob Seger, and J.D. Souther got together to pen one of The Eagles biggest hits.

The Eagles were huge stars when they released the song during early October of 1979. It would become their fifth number one single topping the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart for one week.

As usual the harmonies were impeccable. The song won a GRAMMY AWARD for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group. This is one the Grammy’s actually got right.


Live At Tales From The Tavern by Jack Tempchin

September 30, 2012

Jack Tempchin is primarily known as a songwriter. He greatest fame came for his songs recorded by The Eagles and Glenn Frey; but other artists such as George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Kate Wolf, Tom Rush, Richie Havens, and a host of others have recorded his material.

Every once in a while he steps out of the background and issues an album of his own. On September 25, he will release his eighth album titled Jack Tempchin – Live At Tales From The Tavern. It is the latest in the Tales From The Tavern series, which records artists in intimate settings at small clubs. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Jon Dee Graham, Chris Hillman, and Steve Forbert have all recorded for the series and now Jack Tempchin joins their ranks.

His new release is a CD/DVD combo which presents him at his simple best as he sings a number of his well known songs and combines them with some newer material. It is just his voice, guitar, and harmonica, which puts a new spin on many of the tracks as it keeps the focus on the lyrics and his skill as a songwriter.

Two of his most famous Eagles compositions highlight the album. “Peaceful Easy Feeling” was made for his laid back approach but “Already Gone” is transformed from rock to a folk interpretation. Two songs associated with Glenn Frey, “The One You Love,” and “You Belong to the City,” receives similar treatment.

I had forgotten he wrote the Johnny Rivers hit, “Slow Dancing.” Here he presents a gentle version of Rivers’ mid-tempo pop rocker. When you add in such lesser known tunes such as “Bender,” “Loneliest Piano in Town,” “Jazzbird,” and “Jesus and Mohammed,” you have a fine collection of well-crafted songs.

Tempchin’s approach is about as laid back as they come, but he is perfect for a small club setting. His patter and stories between the songs only add to the atmosphere. Live At Tales From The Tavern is a heartfelt live presentation by Jack Tempchin of some of his notable material. It is a fine way to spend an hour.

Article first published as Music Review: Jack Tempchin – Jack Tempchin: Live At Tales From The Tavern on Blogcritics.


Please Come Home For Christmas 45 by The Eagles

July 25, 2012

The Eagles are an iconic American rock band who are one of the most commercially successful groups in American history. Their first GREATEST HITS album is one of the two biggest selling albums in music history. It was number one but when Michael Jackson died, THRILLER passed it.

While their albums have sold ten-of-millions of albums, they also issued a number of successful singles, with five reaching number one on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

“Please Come Home For Christmas” was issued during the late fall of 1978 and became a holiday hit by reaching number 18. The flip side, “Funky New Year,” was also a catchy holiday song.

It may have been an unusual release for the Eagles but it remains one of the better holiday discs of the 1970s.


Already Gone 45 by The Eagles

March 1, 2012

The Eagles have sold close to 100 million albums and their first GREATEST HITS release is one of the two biggest selling albums of all time (with THRILLER by Michael Jackson.)

They also had a number of catchy singles make the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. “Already Gone” was released during early spring of 1974. It may have only reached number 32 on the American Singles Chart but it was just about the perfect single.

“Already Gone” was a rocker with perfect harmonies that just washed over you. It was one of the great rides in the Eagles catalogue.


The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks 45 by The Eagles

May 10, 2010

The beauty of the 45 rpm format was that there was always a second song on the flip side. While these B sides would be throwaways or weak album tracks many times, every once in awhile there would be a gem which I would prefer it to the hit side.

The Eagles had a top ten hit with “I Can’t Tell You Why” during the winter of 1980. It would reach numer eight on the American singles charts. I must admit that I rarely played the A side as it is one of those records I turned over.

“The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks” is about as loose as The Eagles would ever sound. It is a high octane rock song that can be classiifed as modern frat rock. It remains one of my favorite Eagles songs and makes me wish they would loosen up more often.


Hell Freezes Over by The Eagles

July 15, 2009

So how long does it take for hell to freeze over? According to The Eagles about fourteen years. The animosity was so great within the group in 1980 that Don Henley stated, “Hell would have to freeze over before The Eagles would play together again.” The individual members of the group had gone on to modest solo careers and so in 1994 they re-grouped. It proved that in this case the streets of hell were paved with gold.

The re-formed Eagles would be as popular as ever with their concerts consistently selling out despite charging exorbitant prices. Hell Freezes Over would top the American charts and sell millions of copies.

This new album would consist of eleven live versions of their older material plus four new studio tracks. There is also a DVD version of this album which presents all the songs live plus contains some bonus tracks as well. In some ways it is superior to the CD as it allows you to see the purity of group’s vocal perfection without any studio wizardry.

The eleven live tracks have all been heard before and in several forms but after nearly a decade and a half it was nice to hear the vocal harmonies soar once more. No track is more flawless than “I Can’t Tell You Why” which just shimmers. On the other side of the musical equation “Hotel California,” with a new intro, and “Life In The Fast Lane” give Joe Walsh and Don Felder one last chance to unite their guitars into the sound that was so unique.

One of my favorite tracks was the new studio song, “Get Over It.” It could almost be a biographical statement as tensions would remain despite their new career. They would never really take their own advice as expressed here. The other new song of note was “Love Will Keep Us Alive” where Timothy B. Schmidt shows off his unique vocal style.

Hell Freezes Over may not have been the best or most creative album that The Eagles ever released but it did not matter as their fan base had been waiting fourteen years for a new release.

All in all it was a credible effort and while it has been superseded by other releases it nevertheless established the fact that the re-formed Eagles of 1994 had not missed a beat.