Friday, July 31, 2009
This is definitely for fans of Free (more than a little Paul Kossof in the guitar), Bad Co., Trower, hell any of the great 70's guitar bands.
Eric Bangeman reports...
It's all over for Joel Tenenbaum—except for the size of the check he'll be told to write the RIAA. In a reversal of her decision last night, Judge Nancy Gertner has granted the record labels' motion for a directed verdict on the issue of copyright infringement. Tenenbaum is now liable for infringing all 30 songs at issue in the case. All that will be left to the jury is to determine the size of the damage award and whether the infringement was willful.
Judge Gertner's change of heart came after she had a chance to review the transcript of Thursday's testimony by Joel Tenenbaum. During direct examination, Tenenbaum was asked a simple question by the labels' counsel: "on the stand now, are you admitting liability for downloading and distributing all 30 sound recordings that are at issue and listed on Exhibits 55 and 56 of the exhibits?" His simple "yes" answer was enough to hand the labels a victory on the question of liability.
"Notwithstanding the protestations of Tenenbaum's counsel, Tenenbaum's statement plainly admits liability on both downloading and distributing, does so in the very language of the statute (no 'making available' ambiguity) and does so with respect to each and every sound recording at issue here," wrote Judge Gertner.
When the jury gets back to court Friday morning, they'll hear the closing arguments from each side and then decide whether Tenenbaum's infringement was willful and the amount of the damages that can be awarded. If the jury concludes that the infringement was willful, he could be forced to pay damages to the tune of $150,000 per song.
For all of the theatrics in the months leading up to the trial, things have gone down differently since the trial started Monday morning. Judge Gertner eviscerated Tenenbaum's Fair Use defense right before things got underway, and it has been all downhill from there for the defendant. Should the jury throw the book at Tenenbaum on the issue of damages, his counsel, Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson, will challenge the constitutionality of the damage provisions of the Copyright Act. But that's another chapter; this one is all but written.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
You don't see that too often these days. We need more of that.
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) -
Security experts have uncovered flaws in Apple Inc's iPhone that they said hackers can exploit to take control of the popular device, using the tactic for identity theft and other crimes.
Users need to be warned that their iPhones are not entirely secure and Apple should try to repair the vulnerability as soon as possible, they said at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, one of the world's top forums for exchanging information on computer security threats.
"It's scary. I don't want people taking over my iPhone," Charlie Miller, a security analyst with consulting firm Independent Security Evaluators, said in an interview.
Miller and Collin Mulliner, a Ph.D. student at the Technical University of Berlin, also discovered a method that allow hackers to easily knock a victim's iPhone off a carrier's network.
It prevents users from making calls, accessing the Internet and exchanging text messages, they added.
They said the information they presented at Black Hat will give criminals enough information to develop software to break into iPhones within about two weeks.
They said they warned Apple of the flaw in the middle of July, but that the company has yet to fix it.
"Apple's credibility and reputation could get hurt if they don't respond. Positive buzz is good; negative buzz is much more harmful," said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research.
About 4,000 security professionals were in attendance, including some who are really hackers. While experts ferret out software flaws to fix them and protect users, hackers use the same information to devise pranks or commit crimes.
The researchers showed the audience how to break into iPhones by sending computer code via the phone's SMS system. Mobile phones use SMS to send and receive text messages along with software upgrades. They said that the phone's users cannot detect that it is receiving the malicious code.
It is not illegal to disclose ways to hack into computer systems, though it is against the law to use it to break into them.
When asked why they would hand over such information to criminals, security experts said they felt it was necessary to alert the public that iPhones were just as vulnerable to attack as personal computers.
"If we don't talk about it, somebody is going to do it silently. The bad guys are going to do it no matter what," Mulliner said.
They have successfully tested the hacks on iPhones running on networks of four carriers in Germany along with AT&T Inc in the United States. They said they believed the methods will work with iPhone carriers around the world.
The two said they used a similar method to break into phones running on Google Inc's Android operating system. Google patched the flaw after they notified the company of the vulnerability.
Apple officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle; Additional reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Richard Chang and Tim Dobbyn)
Joe Elliott is an asshole...
This is from Rock Radio.
Joe Elliott has spoken once again about the media feud that broke out between Def Leppard and Poison last year, before the bands cleared the air and went on tour together.
The singer explains that when he said Def Leppard were better than Poison, he didn’t mean Poison literally – and that, as a member of Def Lep, he’s entitled to think his band is better than everyone.
Taking a break from the US trek with Poison and Cheap Trick, Elliott tells Noisecreep: “I didn’t say their music had no substance. I said ours had more. My belief is that we’re better than them. But I would say that about any band, whether it be The Who or the Stones or the Beatles. Not because I’m an arrogant idiot – but because when you’re in a band, you are absolutely 100percent allowed to believe you’re the best band in the world.
“So if that question had been asked of Bret Michaels, I’d have expected him to answer it in a very similar way. He’s entitled to think they’re a better band than us, because he’s in the band.”
In the end, Elliott believes the real problem wasn’t between musicians, but between musicians and the journalist who asked the original question. He says: “It was taken out of proportion. I could barely hear what was going on and I was getting agitated. It was a dumb question from a dumb journalist - to a dumb singer about a dumb subject.”
I made a stop down at Looney Tunes and asked if there was anything new and exciting to fire up this OldRockr. John put on Blackberry Smoke. I instantly recognized the Trent Wilmon track "Good One Comin' On", a great party tune. This was a smokin' little blast of southern rock. It ain't country (too heavy) and it ain't straight rock (too redneck). It is however just what I have always liked. After all Long Island might as well have been below the Mason-Dixon line back in the 70's.
The new CD is called "Little Piece of Dixie" and it was out briefly earlier this year. They have been signed to a new label and should be available again in the not to distant future. Don't miss this one, hunt it down and play the shit out of it.
Ian is now 70. It's hard to get used to our Rock & Roll heroes getting old. In this case though, older does not mean boring. Following up on the strength of Rant and Shrunken Heads, Ian returns with another excellent release. Not as rocking but no less gripping as some of his best work. Another triumph.
I'm a casual jazz fan. I tend to like some fusion and most of what I like I came to through my rock leanings (Jeff Beck, Larry Carlton). Back in the 80's I was working at Looney Tunes where I was introduced to Return to Forever's Romantic Warrior. I finally found some "real jazz" that I could get into. I still break that one out on occasion.
I missed the reunion tour (the United Center is just too hard to get to) but I did pick up this 2-CD live recording recently. It's pretty good, in particular Corea and DiMeola really stretch out on some extended pieces. I should have went...
Vintage RTF - Romantic Warrior
I really was quite excited to see this show. Clapton is a favorite and Winwood is one of the best voices in rock so expectations were high. For me the show did not disappoint. Clapton and Winwood shared vocal duties (a little more weighted in Steve's favor) and most of the tunes gave them the chance to stretch out a bit. This CD is worth it for their take on Voodoo Child alone. Clapton has really become re-energized of late, especially when he lets someone else sign and he just plays the guitar. I love this stuff.
This is the follow up to his exceptional 2006 release "Streets of New York". Willie Nile is a name you may know but are really not familiar with. The sound echoes Dylan a bit in the vocals and he is most definitely a New York singer-songwriter. One that rocks! This is another fine effort that is worth your time to check out. The video clip is from his recent live cd.
Uncle Junior 2006
12 Bar Blues Lesson
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Biggest Industry Mistakes Of The Digital Age
Audioholics has composed a list of its favorite corporate and industry-specific "disasters" and the music industry proudly made the list in two places.
The Largest Music Retailer Is A Computer Company - Why did the music labels and an entire industry sit on its laurels and allow a computer company to innovate and develop the largest resource for online music? Perhaps because, like a lumbering shipping vessel, the labels, used to bullying around an entire industry of artists, distributors and broadcasters, were simply too slow to recognize that the world was passing them by...From behind this massive Titanic-bound juggernaut came Apple Computer, who, known for their innovation and market-savvy, decided to work their own back-door deal and invent the world's first (and over 7 years later still the most popular) mass-market digital music player that was quickly followed by a robust, fully-loaded online music store.
Music Industry Hails Solution to "CD Problem" - Embraces DVD, DVD-Audio and SACD Discs - Really? No... no... not really. Instead they continued to sue teenagers and little old ladies for thousands of dollars and resist all attempts to give consumers what they wanted - online streaming content. But they also did one other very important thing: they failed to innovate in the area of the physical disc...
The music industry dropped the ball. The real question is will they continue to drop it. With the dawn of Blu-ray and its support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, music can once again be lifted up to a new level. The throw-down challenge is whether the RIAA will raise the bar and push its artists to use the new medium, charging only a modest premium over CDs in an effort to switch the dominant format. Blu-ray is a harder nut to crack since it has not yet penetrated the market as fully as DVD (which has near total penetration) but they could certainly steer the music in this direction and drive the market.
Our bet, however, is they will continue to lull themselves to sleep, only to be awoken suddenly when their largest artists have moved onto independent labels of their own and new artists are figuring out that their bests interests lie not in losing 90% of their revenues to large men in suits.
Will Apple kill off the iPod Classic?
by David Carnoy
The iPod Classic may be an endangered species.(Credit: Apple)
If you've read the stories on Apple's latest earnings, you may have noticed that Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer took the time to break out the sales of each model in the iPod franchise, which is seeing year-over-year declines for the first time in its history. In her piece, our own Erica Ogg wrote:
"During the third quarter, Apple sold 10.2 million iPods, compared with 11 million a year ago. It turns out that the shifting appeal of the Shuffle, Nano, and Classic model iPods are to blame. But Apple apparently saw this coming." She then goes on to quote Oppenheimer, who says those declining sales are "the reason we developed the iPod Touch. We expect our traditional MP3 players to decline over time as we cannibalize ourselves with iPod Touch and iPhone."
As rumors continue to circulate that Apple will introduce new iPod models this fall (as it traditionally has), the big question is whether the iPod Classic becomes the odd iPod out. In a recent MP3 Insider podcast, CNET editor Donald Bell points out that orders for new Samsung hard drives that would go into an updated Classic appear to be nonexistent, according to Ars Technica and Apple Insider. And shortly after the earnings were posted, TechCrunch writer MG Seigler asked whether the iPod as we know it is dying.
The prevailing bet among iPod followers is that the Classic may stick around for a little while, but it probably won't be upgraded and will be quietly put out to pasture. The fact is that the iPod Touch offers a lot more functionality and, most importantly, it can run iPhone apps, which people find appealing, and they generate revenue for Apple.
Of course, there's a lot of folks out there who need a high-capacity iPod to store all their tunes and videos. The Classic remains a pretty decent value from the standpoint of a storage player, and we're seeing great deals on refurbished fifth-generation video iPods. If indeed Apple comes out with a 64GB iPod Touch this fall--as we expect it to--it will still cost quite a bit more than a 120GB iPod Classic. And that will keep Classic owners clinging to their antique iPods.
Personally, I hope Apple keeps the Classic around until the prices for flash memory drop enough to make a high-capacity Touch affordable. But I have a feeling the Classic will be gone by then.
Comments? Will Apple save the Classic or let it die?
The DVD will be released on September 29th, 2009 in the US and September 28th, 2009 outside the US in Europe. You can keep yourself updated on this release by going to www.jbonamassa.com
In fact I really get a Cream vibe from this disc, that is if Jimi had played in Cream instead of Clapton. Not better, just different. This is such a strong album, but one that is from another time, which is a pity as I don't see much of an audience for this type of record. It's great, but nobody cares.
This is worth it to just hear Trower play. The songs are strong as are the vocals, but it is Trower who steals the show. The playing is just so great, with such feeling that any fan of rock, or blues really ought to check this out.
1. Seven Moons 4:42
2. Lives of Clay 5:04
3. Distant Places of the Heart 5:25
4. She's Not the One 2:56
5. So Far to Yesterday 3:35
6. Just Another Day 5:31
7. Perfect Place 3:47
8. The Last Door 5:10
9. Bad Case of Celebrity 4:06
10. Come to Me 4:45
11. I'm Home 3:11
Rumor has it that Jack Bruce will be joining Robin Trower on the upcoming leg of Robin's North American tour. I got this from someone at Samson who works with Jack and he swears it's happening. One can only hope. I have tickets to take my son to the Boulton Center show in September (a 230 seat theater in Bayshore, NY). Should be great either way. The clip below is from earlier this year of Jack & Robin performing Politician.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I was lucky enough to get tickets to both nights. Way up high but in the building. Ticket prices are a joke $79.50 to $2450.50 (and some of these are not even on the floor). These two nights have the potential to be very special. Here is the press release from the Hall of Fame...
U2, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Simon & Garfunkel, Metallica, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Crosby, Stills Nash & Friends and Eric Clapton along with Special Guests Set to Perform in Concert at Madison Square Garden
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 22, 2009: Music’s biggest stars – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, U2, Paul Simon, Metallica, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Friends, Simon and Garfunkel – will come together on October 29th and 30th at Madison Square Garden for two unique concerts celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The shows, presented by American Express, will be packed with guest stars and unique collaborations designed to tell the story of rock and roll. American Express® Cardmembers have access to advance tickets through ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000 starting 9 a.m. on Monday, July 27th. Additional sponsorship support for the event is being provided by Bacardi.
Each night will feature entirely different line-ups, with artists performing their own songs and the music that inspired them –tracing the history of genres ranging from soul to hard rock. All proceeds raised will go towards creating a permanent endowment for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and Museum. “Twenty-five years ago a group led by legendary Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun created this foundation to recognize and celebrate the music and careers of artists whose music helped shape and define our generation,” said Jann Wenner, Founder and Chairman of Rolling Stone and Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “These once-in-a-lifetime concerts are designed to celebrate the artists and their music.” A creative team of Tom Hanks and his producing partner Gary Goetzman, Wenner, singer-songwriter Robbie Robertson, Academy Award®-winning screenwriter, director Cameron Crowe and several others will work with the artists to curate the show through the live performances and filmed segments. Joel Gallen, the producer/director behind the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies and the MTV Movie Awards (1995-2006), will direct the show and oversee the 25th Anniversary Celebration along with the creative consultants.
This event is being presented in conjunction with the American Express Concert Series. American Express offers Cardmembers the exclusive opportunity to purchase advanced tickets to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation 25th Anniversary Celebration, prior to public. Tickets will be available for purchase with an American Express Card through ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000, from 9 a.m. Monday, July 27th, through Sunday, August 2nd at 9 p.m. Tickets will be on sale to the general public beginning Monday, August 3rd at 9 a.m.
The Rock and Roll of Fame Foundation and Museum’s anniversary celebration will also extend beyond the concerts, with both a book and a deluxe DVD set to be released this fall. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The First 25 Years, chronicling 25 years of induction ceremonies, will be published by Collins Design (an imprint of HarperCollins) in September. In August, Time Life will issue a nine-DVD boxed set of highlights of the past induction ceremonies, featuring speeches and all-star performances, many that have never before seen by the public.
Performing on October 30th will be:
Saturday, July 25, 2009
If teacher pay is tied to student test scores several things will happen as a result.
1) The best teachers will avoid the worst schools.
2) Teachers and districts will teach to the test. Since when should we strive for mediocrity?
3) Increased "competition" between teachers will result in less collegial exchanges. The free exchange of information, ideas and best practices is essential to creating a climate of academic optimism where the students can not only learn but excel.
I love competition and never back down from a challenge, but this is one idea that everyone should drop.
Test Scores do not measure how much a student has learned, they just measure the minimum.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Back in 1994 Bill Clinton and the rest of the left leaning democrats in congress tried to ram their version of health insurance reform down the throats of Americans everywhere. They reached too far, too fast and were ultimately removed from power.
Over the 8 years of the Bush administration, little was done to ease the burden of increasing premiums and loss of coverage suffered by millions of working Americans. In my opinion the Republicans did no better, they only were ineffective in different ways. Clearly congress, under the control of the right or left, is incapable of fixing this major problem. And make no mistake this debate is driven by the right and the left, not the center.
So now it is 2009 and Nancy Pelosi now thinks that she knows what is best for the rest of us. Speaker Pelosi is perhaps the most partisan and least qualified speaker in decades. The current plan that the House is debating is a disaster in waiting. This plan forces those with insurance they are happy with the have to settle for less which is plain wrong. Why is it wrong? It is wrong because it won't fix the problem.
We are talking about working Americans in need of health insurance. Insurance that is affordable. We are not talking about those who are covered by Medicaid/Medicare. What they Congress needs to do is slow down and take this on in increments. The first thing they need to do is make insurance portable and eliminate pre-existing conditions being a reason to deny coverage. This takes many of the uninsured into account.
President Obama campaigned on each American having access, in his words, to the same coverage as Congress at a fair cost. Well I don't know about you, but I think that what we are getting forced to accept is not that, not even close. President Obama has in fact not used this phrasing in any recent speeches on the topic of health care. I have to admit to feeling a little buyers remorse from the last election.
Slow down. Work this out. Stop attempting to re-distribute the wealth in America and get this right. We can cover most of those who don't have insurance by first making sure that insurance is portable and then making denying coverage for pre-existing conditions a thing of the past. Congress and the President can then move forward to try and include more folks in the future. You can't do this all at once.
Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, the bank bailout, the automaker bailout, and on and on...government meddling is not the answer, it is part of the problem.
Ellis County - If Americana has a defining song at the moment this is it. This slice of life written by Julie (and I often overlook just how great a song writer she is) is the perfect start to the album.
Don't Say Goodbye - A heartbreaking song of loss sung by Julie with back-up provided by Patty Griffin.
What You Gonna Do LeRoy - Buddy and Robert Plant on a track that would fit perfectly on Raising Sand. What an interesting combination of voices. Great track.
Chalk - This is my personal favorite on the album and, in my opinion, one of Buddy's best vocals. This clip says it all...
The Selfishness of Man - A great closing track with Emmylou Harris to help out.
What strikes me about the album is that it is not truly a album recorded as a duo. It's more a collection of recording made between Buddy and Julie and those with others, both alone and together. Some they wrote together, some written by Julie and others found by Buddy. The sum of the parts is so much more than any one individual cut. Buddy and Julie make records different than the mainstream. The care with which they are made, the musicians who participated and those voices all shine through to make a great record. Put it on the year end list now because there is no way it won't make it come December.
Can you tell I am a fan?
It's raining in NY today. One of those cold, wet days. The economy is tanking, the war in Afghanistan looks to be expanding, the ocean is rising... It's that kind of a day. What do I need? Well besides a beer? I need to hear something that will stir up my emotions. Something devoid of fluff. Well let me tell you ladies and gentlemen this CD is it. Combine it with the Otis Gibb's CD I reviewed a few weeks back and you have a potential year end 1-2 punch that is out in February. This CD is another classic in a very young 2009.
From the first track to the last what will grip you is the voice. It's somewhere between Tom Waits and well who knows what. I even hear a little Jim Dandy (for those of you old enough to remember). That voice coupled with these songs makes for an amazing listening experience. This is protest music for our times sung with passion and insight into the human condition. The trials that so many are going through. New Dylan, maybe. Check out a few tracks below. Watch the video and see if you think the same thing.
Get your own playlist at snapdrive.net!
There is an excellent review over at Twang Nation.
I was zipping around the blogs today and found a post about Otis Gibbs over at No Depression. I was intrigued. It sounded like I might want to give Otis a chance. Comparisons to Steve Earle usually get my attention so I headed over toe see if it was available on eMusic. As luck would have it, it is. I hit the button and within minutes I was listening to this very fine album.
The tracks are sparse with respect to instrumentation but rich with imagery. I hear a little Chris Knight but the vocals are gruffer. The songs have a political edge like much of Steve Earle's music but the overall result is much stronger in my opinion compared to the last few Steve Earle records. This is a very strong release. Topical, well written and emotionally delivered.
Check out "Ain't Nothing Special". If this was a Springsteen track Rolling Stone would go nuts. "Everyday People" pays tribute to those who took the hard path when others wouldn't. Pretty timely in this era of change. The changes won't come from the politicians in DC it will have to come from us.
I think this one is a keeper folks. Head on over to No Depression to read the article that peaked my interest. You can grab the CD from Otis at his website.
While Dirt Farmer was pretty much an acoustic album, his newest release Electric Dirt is more firmly rooted in his own musical history, that is it sounds like something that the voice of the Band would make. Robbie Robertson may have written the songs, but it was Levon Helm who imbued them with the sound of the rural south. His voice was, and is, instantly recognizable and while it is a little more worn and ragged it is no less compelling an instrument.
Check out the video of Tennessee Jed below. The joy that comes through is infectious. This album, more than its predecessor reminds the listener of just why the Band was such a great group to begin with. The sound is pure Americana with an authenticity that many newer artists can only hope to achieve some day. Tracks like Growin' Trade and When I Go Away stay with you. At once new and interesting while at the same time familiar and comfortable. I've heard some good albums this year, in particular from Otis Gibbs and William Elliott Whitmore,but as of right now this is my favorite. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
The Making of Electric Dirt
Tennessee Jed on Letterman
I envision this blog as a place to share what I feel passionately about. That certainly includes, but is not limited to, music, politics, pop culture, pretty much life in general. You need to know that I am a middle-aged teacher from Long Island that is a registered independent that leans a bit right of center. This should help when reading my thoughts on the state of things in America.
Music is central to my life. I've been a music "junkie" as long as I can remember. The first album that I got was Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" back in 1973 or 74. My first concert was Kiss and I've bought thousands of albums and CD's and seen hundreds of shows since then.
If you are looking for download links for the albums I review here, well look elsewhere. All links will be to the artists web site or one of the commercial services such as Amazon. No judgements here on downloading, it's just not my intention with this blog.
So if you have found me somehow, leave a comment, let me know what you think, and welcome.