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JohnO

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Everything posted by JohnO

  1. While I, too, am grateful that Mr. White produced that album with Loretta L., it would have been a whole lot better without that awful (IMO) duet between LL and JW..... Supporting lesser known artists in the R&R world used to be done a lot more....from the Beatles mentoring Badfinger (and Psul M. giving them their first hit song) and the other artists they signed to Apple (Jackie Lomax, Mary Hopkin, etc.), to Led Zeppelin creating their own SwanSong label and signing Bad Company and The Pretty Things, to the Beach Boys pushing the South African group Flame (from whom they borrowed Blondie C. and Ricky F.)......to the Stones always insisting on Black opening acts to get them more exposure to White America (BB King, Stevie Wonder, Living Color, etc.).
  2. ...I've never noticed any postings on this board yet (and admittedly, I'm still a relative newbie) regarding Robert Pollard or Guided By Voices. Are there any GBV fans out here? Just curious...... Personally, I think the hyper-active (from a recording standpoint at least...and he also seems a bit wired in person, too) Mr. Pollard is a all-time frigging genius as far as coming up with great power pop riffs....but NOT necessarily a consistently great songwriter. To me, so many of his tunes are somewhat half-baked (for want of a better term), based on a killer riff, but not fully developed in terms of what we generally think of as song structure (verse - chorus-bridge, etc.). I think it's possible to cherry-pick through GBV LPs and come up with possibly several 50-60 minute disks that would make it seem like they're one of the greatest bands in history.....but overall, there's just something that's not totally satisfying to me about Guided By Voices. Any thoughts?
  3. I just found an answer to my question about Tommy's "Strange Alliance" LP.....2 vendors have copies for sale on www.gemm.com - one costs $115, the other $125.
  4. At one point, I had two vinyl copies of his debut "Strange Alliance", complete with the bonus single...but sold both of them for about $30-40 apiece well over 15 years ago, after copying one of them on cassette....which my car tape deck promptly ate several years later. Wonder what decent quality copies of that LP are bringing nowadays? (The title track can also be found on "Disconnected", a DC compilation from the early 80's, that featured my old pals Black Markey Baby, who just had a compilation of their work released on Dr. Strange in Feb.....BMB, in my opinion, were the best punk band DC ever produced - screw the Dischord crowd and all of those awful bands!)
  5. Don - That's great news about Tommy & RP doing an album together.....although with Pollard having put out about 50 albums (or the equivalent of) in the past 15 years or so, it shouldn't be all that surprising. (Luckily, when I ran into the dynamic duo in Austin - at Antone's record store - Robert didn't remember me as one of the fools down front at his 930 Club show back in January, who was yelling at him throughout his set to let Tommy do a song or two.....(although Tommy did)....)
  6. Well...I got the title wrong, it's "Crashing The Ether", per his web site.....and is out a week from next Tuesday, although Not Lame apparently has advance copies for sale. Having seen him with Pollard twice, it's a shame Robert isn't giving him at least 1-2 songs per set (although I didn't ask RP why not.....I guess he's just hired help...although I'm sure that RP/GBV fans would certainly not object...)
  7. Popdude & anyone else who's a fan or Mr. Keene - I had the incredibly good fortune to run into Tommy and Robert Pollard, his current employer, last week in Austin. Shockingly, TK remembered me from the 80's DC days (my first ex-wife's best friend at work was Bill Craig's fiance - Bill was the 2nd guitarist in Razz with Tommy in the late 70's....the Razz's rhythm section of Ted Nicely and Doug Tull became Tommy's first rhythm section when he went solo....but I digress....). Anyhow, to make a long story short, I ended up hearing about 1/2 of Tommy's new solo CD, Chasing The Ether (I think that was the title) - it'll be coming out in April. Most excellent!!! Perhaps his best ever....
  8. Yeah, agreed....while Waterloo Sunset wasn't a hit in the US, it's arguably his best song ever.
  9. Billy K - There were rumors flying about Neil playing or sitting in with Richie Furay, but it never happened. I didn't hear about him playing anywhere. Re: 127, I don't know. What some wristband wearers were b*tching about to me was that even some of the smaller clubs this year tended to book at least 1 act per night that was a big draw late....making even those clubs very difficult to get into. I thought about the lakefront show on Saturday, as I would have loved to have seen Sam Moore...but I opted for the Antones record store show, which lasted until 8 (when Sam was due on stage)...and was indoors. I'll go again, and what I'll probably do next time is get one of the wristbands for the movies (considerably less than the $575-595), and find out thru my friend Freddie about who's booked in non-sanctioned shows. The amazing thing is - there's no telling who'll show up at any of the shows, sanctioned or otherwise....at last Wednesday's Saxon Pub show with the Freddie Steady 5, Jerry Cole (of surf instrumental fame and Phil Spector's wrecking crew) showed up and sat in....what an awesome guitarist!!! At two of the Magic Christian shows, members of the Plimsouls showed up and sat in.
  10. Just saw Ray Davies live Monday night at the 930 Club in Wash, DC. Great show! - he played 2 sets - the first an hour and fifteen mintes, the second about 45 minutes. 7-8 songs from the new "Other Peoples' Lives", and the rest were classic Kinks (I'm Not Like Everybody Else for an opener, Where Have All The Good Times Gone, Til The End of the Day, Sunny Afternoon, Deadend Street, Set Me Free, Tired Of Waiting for You, All Day & All of the Night, Days, You Really Got Me, Lola for a last encore, plus some middle period tunes - several from Village Green Preservation Society, The Hard Way, Low Budget, and a couple of others). He was accompanied by a 4 piece group (guitar, bass, keys, drums), and sounded great. I believe he's doing 11 shows - the DC one was his 4th. Highly recommended.....
  11. I just got back from Austin a couple of days ago...and heard nothing but complaints from those who went the sanctioned SXSW show route. In many cases, they had to line up outside a particular club 4-5 hours before a particular band/artist was playing...and they still didn't get in! Most of the clubs with the SXSW shows only hold 200-300 people tops, and the big name acts go on around midnight or 1 AM usually....and the club's filled by 7-8 PM, with most people sitting thru 4-5 bands to get to the act they really want to see. What I did was go to just non-sanctioned shows. You had to keep your eyes peeled for non-SXSW schedules. For example, if you wanted to see Norah Jones' new hillbilly band, The Little Willies - they played at, I believe, a very packed La Zona Rosa at Midnight on Friday or Saturday. However, they also played a free show at Waterloo Records earlier that afternoon, which holds one Hell of a lot of people. They only played for 1/2 hour or so, as opposed to 45-50 minutes at their SXSW club date, but you didn't have to pay the $575 or $595 registration fee for the wristband, either...which gets you into the SXSW shows. I saw Roky Erickson and The Explosives play twice, Magic Christian (with Cyril Jordan of the Flamin Groovies and Prairie Prince on drums) play 3 times, Sal Valentino twice (Beau Brummels singer...and yes, he did "Laugh Laugh" each time), the Minus 5, Susan Cowsill, and a lot of other excellent bands at free shows or ones with small cover charges. The non-sanctioned route is the way to go in Austin, IMO......
  12. For fans of Memphis-style garage rock - Greg Cartwright was formerly known as Greg Oblivian of The Oblivians, and he's been in a slew of other bands, most notably the Compulsive Gamblers and Deadly Snakes....all of which, IMHO, were (and are, in the case of Reigning Sound) much better than The White Hypes...er, Stripes, whose success is primarily due to their press agent, NOT their music....which isn't that bad, but isn't that revolutionary or remotely original.
  13. Eric - You talked earlier about the change in paradigm about how recording is done, distributed, etc. Roger McGuinn's been almost exclusively putting out his new CDs via his web site (NOT the Columbia reissues), and the two reasons he cited are: total artistic control, and the fact that he's pulling in 20-30 times the bread per CD doing it this way. I also posted in another thread about the new Hollies comeback CD, "Staying Power". While it's on EMI, they recorded the entire album in bassist Ray Stiles' home recording studio...and it sounds as good, or better as any of their older releases. P.S. What's wrong with "Pimp My Ride"? That's one of the few MTV shows worth watching....usually hilarious, even if I don't care for the background music/muzak (which a lot of gangsta rap has become nowadays)....
  14. While I've also been using a POD for several years, I prefer a Vox Tonelab.....its preamp is powered by an actual tube, so it sounds more vintage/analog than my POD. Regarding old Dano's, I've had a couple of great ones with the lipstick pickups that sounded amazing overdriven, but I've also had a couple of lemons. I remember seeing Spirit in the late 60's live, and Randy California played a $39 single pickup Dano or Silvertone the entire show, and sounded great! Plexiglas has been used by several companies, most notably Dan Armstrong. If I recall, the plexi Alembic basses cost a fortune back then, and weighed a ton and a half.
  15. I just learned that The Searchers are once again gracing the US of A with their presence this July...they're playing at least 6 shows, with possibly 2 more to be announced, from 7/13 to 7/22. These are the original Searchers (as opposed to Mike Pender's Searchers), although John McNally's the only original member left. (Frank Allen's been with the band about 35 years, so he's almost an original as well). They're better than ever live....they still do the killer harmonies, Needles & Pins, When You Walk In The Room, Love POtion #9, etc. I'm going to try to catch them in Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Casino) on 7/14, and The Cutting Room in NYC on 7/15. The last 2 shows will be out west - Sacramento on 7/20, Las Vegas on 7/22. If anyone wants to hear what they sound like now, email me off-line (The Searchers sell fan club-recorded live CDs, only available at their shows). I last saw them in Annapolis in June 2004. A great live act! A huge surprise for me - at a Tower Records tonight, I found a brand new Hollies CD!!! Just released in the UK, it's called "Staying Power" -their first new studio album in 23 years. Only Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott remain from the old band. Their new singer (replaced Carl Wayne of The Move, who fronted the Hollies throughout the 90s, but passed away in 2004) is a guy named Peter Howarth, and their new Graham Nash (high harmonies) is Steve Lauri. They still have exquisite 3 part harmonies (Howarth/Lauri/Hicks) which, while not sounding like Clarke/Nash/Hicks, are great on their own. Shimmering, glistening power pop (with more emphasis on the pop) in the best Hollies tradition.....a much better album than I would have guessed or hoped for. A lot of the songs were written or co-written by Rob Davis (formerly of Mudd, Hollies' bassist Ray Stiles' old band), who's written several of Kylie Minogue's hits. Well worth getting, although it's very pricey, being just available via import so far.
  16. Julia - yep, it was the Kinks' cover, with very cool backing vocals by Wally & Dave. Ray Davies, BTW, is playing that song in his upcoming US live shows....and it's about time!!!
  17. Eric - Just to add my quick 2 cents, the advent of rap and hip-hop music, where a "songwriter" doesn't have to be able to play an instrument....they can just sample riffs or parts of someone else's songs/melodies, then add their own lyrics - hasn't helped with any sort of a natural progression for songwriting. (Not to mention that the "lyrics" are generally just rhyming couplets with no ties to any sort of a melody.) And this new music is reviled and hated by practically everyone over the age of 30 or so.....making, of course, the kids like it all the more. Even some modern day rockers like Beck (who's critically acclaimed, and very successful) have fallen victim to this. Arguably his best album, "Odelay", is chock full of samples from the album "Them Again" (Van Morrison & Them's 2nd LP in the US). The intros from "I Can Only Give You Everything" and Them's take on "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" were just outright swiped! I agree that the best way to judge a songwriter's chops is to let them just sit there with a guitar or piano and go to town with it.....if it works under that scenario, it's a good song. P.S. Oh, and BTW, Chris Wood was the flutist/flautist for Traffic who did the long solos. Jim Capaldi was their drummer and later 2nd singer/tambourine player. Thankfully, we were spared lengthy solos from the late Mr. Capaldi!
  18. "Also, Edward once said in an interview that Allan Holdsworth was one of the best guitarists. Anyone heard any of his work???" Yeah, Holdsworth was originally a rock & roller in the band Tempest in the 70's, then UK in the 80's, before becoming the pre-eminent jazz fusion axeman in England, and somewhat of a pioneer with guitar-synths. Incredibly fast & fluid, technically brilliant, if a bit unemotional, with an instantly recognizable style. His last live CD, "All Night Wrong", recorded in Japan a couple of years ago, is pretty representative of his work.
  19. Just saw the reunited Pogues last night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. It was their first of 9 shows on American soil. Still an incredibly great live band.....and Shane McGowan's still......well, he's best described by my friend Kim as - "he's like Dylan, only with no guitar, and really drunk, and with a thick Irish accent." (NOTE: Also, hardly any teeth!) It almost made me want to sh*tcan my plans for Austin and SXSW, and follow The Pogues around the country....except all shows are long sold-out.....
  20. "I can only think of the weight issue of guitars as to why Eric played the ones he did because he never really played the most popular models." My guess is Eric played what felt and sounded the best to him, the Dan Armstrong aside.....(and actually, the plexiglass Dan Armstrongs were pretty popular in the 70's, but it was a very small company that was making them, so large numbers of these axes simply weren't available). Eric was also playing a Les Paul for awhile, as well as the Gretsch equivalent, the Duo-Jet...one hugely popular model, one fairly popular one. While Gibson Melody Makers (his main early Raspberries guitar), like Les Paul Juniors, never really caught on in the 60's/70's, due primarily to the fact they were bottom of the line models, they were killer guitars....and old Juniors have gotten very popular (and super expensive)in recent times. At the recent reunion gigs, Eric was playing a Fender Telecaster ('52 reissue, it looked like), as well as his Line 6's - teles are one of the 3 most popular guitars ever (along with strats and LPs).
  21. While the man was/is clearly one of the Guitar Gods of all time....and this goes out to anyone who ever spent any time in guitar shops or music stores in the 80's/90's - we have EVH to thank for all of the those annoying kids sitting in front of cranked-up Marshalls, trying their damndest to play "Eruption"......(NOTE: The decade before, it was all of those awful attempts at "Stairway To Heaven"). I personally watched the two-hands-on-the-fretboard schtick summed up by Danny Gatton one Saturday afternoon at the old American Guitar Center in Wheaton, MD. After 4 of us were subjected to an impromptu "Eruption" attempt by a teenager, Danny took the same strat, asked the kid - "Hey, is that the song by Van Halen where he does this?"....then proceeded to play it about 4 times as fast as EVH's version. As the kid's jaw dropped, I said - "Danny, I don't believe I've ever heard you do that two hand tapping". "Nope, never tried it until just now......" (Anyone who ever heard or saw the late Mr. Gatton knows exactly what I'm talking about.)
  22. "Somewhere" even sounds great with Tom Waits singing it......
  23. Agree that a Les Paul's construction and thicker, heavier wood gives it a distinctive sound...BUT within a given type of guitar, the heavier ones are usually much less resonant than the lighter weight ones. The best Les Pauls I've ever heard, a couple of 59's, were very light compared to other LPs...and by light, I'm talking approx. 8 pounds, which is almost featherweight for a LP (many of which run over 10 lbs). They rang like bells, even acoustically. Of course, at prices of over $100K, they should! (NOTE: I've also heard 60's SG's, that weigh in the 6-ish pound range, destroy Les Pauls head to head...the wood's just one part of the equation). Within Fender strats or teles, the same thing applies - a main reason that 50's and 60's pre-CBS strats and teles sound so much better (and cost one Hell of a lot more) than recent ones is lighter woods (ash, alder) (NOTE: A lot of their recent custom shop or masterbuilt models are great guitars...and they also, almost without exception, are built from lighter woods). Anyone doubting this, pick up any Vintage Guitar or 20th Century Guitar magazine, and check out the ads from vintage dealers...you'll find many claims of "lightweight", "featherweight", etc., and damn few dealers bragging about how heavy a particular guitar is. There's a huge premium on relatively lighterweight guitars...and it's not just because they're easier on your shoulder. On the other hand, there are magical guitars, ones that just feel and sound like they were made for you, of all makes, weights, sizes and shapes.
  24. ...and I'll be there.....to also see Roky Erickson & The Explosives and Sal Valentino (Beau Brummels singer).....
  25. I believe he had surgery for throat or mouth cancer several years ago....would account for some of the decline.
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