Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Classics - London Calling

The Clash...The Only Band That Matters. What an audacious claim and while maybe not entirely true this is one band that changed things for me muscially at a pivotal point in my life. I was never a "punk". Too big, too much hair (then at least) and I like too much of what is now classic rock to fit the mold. However back in the late 70's there was a ripple in the force. I was beginning to hear about this music here and there which wasn't easy on Long Island which was divided up between the rock and disco fans (truth be told I think disco was winning at this point). I would go back and discover others in the genre and indeed devour the entire Clash discography but for me this is the album that summed up the period.

I remember watching the Clash on Fridays with some friends and they just didn't get it. In fact all of them pretty much walked out but I was so into it. I hadn't seen anything like this previously.

London Calling signals the arrival or demise of punk depending on your perspective. No doubt it was a change in terms of sound from all previous punk albums but the initial assault of London Calling > Brand New Cadillac sure sounds punk enough to me. However there is a refinement of sound here. The production was superior to all the other punk releases and the band themselves were growing. They were already tired and constricted by the formulaic nature of this type of music. Trips to Jamaica and the influence of ska and reggae was already changing their sound considerably as dub music would on the next album.

Pop music, actually a couple of brilliant pop songs in Lost in the Supermarket and Train in Vain signaled a new direction as well. This wasn't all beat you over the head music. Great songs were now played very well and the songwriting is pointed and dare I say polished. This isn't a great punk record it is a great rock record. In fact I still play it quite often to this day. I can't say the same for the other punk albums of the era or the other Clash albums for that matter. This one just gets it done on so many levels and it opened up my ears to new styles and sounds like other has either before or since.

This one never fails to get me to drive a little too fast...

They never repeated this one but even if it was all they ever did it leaves a remarkable imprint on mine and others music psyche's that will never be erased. I thank them for that.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Back to Vinyl

After all these years I am biting the bullet and going back to vinyl whenver possible. I miss the warmth of records compared to the CD. That and the mastering on most new releases sucks big time. Can anyone recommend any good web sites?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tommy Castro and Coco Montoya at the Boulton Center

Coco Montoya

Tommy Castro
Great night of Rockin' Blues yesterday at the Boulton Center in Bayshore out on Long Island. Tommy Castro and his smokin' hot band ripped it up for a 90 minute set that relied heavily on his material from his latest CD "Hard Believer". This band really cooks up a soulful, bluesy mix that is not to be missed. These guys have some serious fun up there and it shows. The crowd was on its feet shakin' it to James Brown's Sex Machine at the end. Great fun!

I've seen Coco Montoya before but never as the headliner. Coco played guitar back in the 80's with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (along with Walter Trout) so you know he can play and play he did for almost 2 hours of killer blues with a bit of soul. A very extended Have You Heard About My Baby from that first Bluesbreakers album was a standout as was Good Days, Bad Days. It's a little strange watching a lefty from up close, but there is no denying his talent. Coco needs to be heard by more lovers of blues guitar. Check him out if you get the chance.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Concert Ticket Shams

So my buddy was bitching about not being able to get Lady Ga Ga tickets on the pre-sale. I know, I know that should be celebrated but for some reason my friend really wants to go. So what gives. Larry is the ticket king for goodness sake. Never gets shut out. What gives?

Larry's problem is increasingly becoming the defacto situation in the concert industry. Artists don't want to appear greedy so they work back channel deals with TicketBastard and Live Nation to hold back huge amounts of tickets for them to re-sell on Stub Hub and other services. No real surprise. They make like the ticket industry is the problem. The problem is greedy artists who want to charge more for tickets but can't due to public opinion. They make their money either way and the real fans lose. How else can Stub Hub list tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

Will this ever change? Probably not. Nobody has the heart to legislate and then prosecute. There are too many other issues of injustice to deal with in 2009. This one just hits home more for some of us.

Check out this link...

It highlights what happened with "good guy" Keith Urban's show in Nashville.

We need to do something. Is there a politician that cares. Hey Chuck Schumer how 'bout you do something?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bruce Springsteen - Down to the River

There's not a whole lot to say and there is so much that needs to be said. The performance of The River is a fan's dream. The rockers roared but it was the more introspective numbers that killed for me. Fade Away, Stolen Car and Drive All Night were jaw dropping. Why they don't make it into the set more often is confounding. The Price You Pay was another that was just amazing.

The rest of the set really rocked. Atlantic City > Badlands > BTR > 7 Nights to Rock just took it to another level. Sweet Soul Music was a blast. The rest of encores were predictable but that is forgivable considering how great the set was. Two special, special nights of music. When is the next tour?

Wrecking Ball (with Curt Ramm)
The Ties That Bind
Sherry Darling
Jackson Cage
Two Hearts
Independence Day
Hungry Heart
Out in the Street
Crush on You
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
I Wanna Marry You
The River
Point Blank
Cadillac Ranch
I'm a Rocker (with Curt Ramm)
Fade Away
Stolen Car
The Price You Pay
Drive All Night
Wreck on the Highway
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Atlantic City
Born to Run
Seven Nights to Rock
* * *
Sweet Soul Music (with Curt Ramm)
No Surrender
American Land (with Curt Ramm)
Dancing in the Dark
Can't Help Falling in Love
Higher and Higher

A note to Bruce...Sunny Day & Wrecking Ball need to never make it in to the set again. My only quibble and it is a small one.

I made it to 5 shows this tour + the Hall of Fame show. Thanks to Bruce and the Band for some great music. Enjoy the break, you all deserve it.

Thanks for the pictures Larry!

Fade Away

Stolen Car


Sweet Soul Music

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bruce Springsteen - A Wild Garden Night

Last night was a treat for the fans. The Wild, The Innocent, and the E. Street Shuffle was played straight through last night for the 1st time. Kitty's Back burned and Incident > Rosie , NYC was just amazing. What a great show. While some of the song choices look a little predictable, there was an energy last night that kicked the whole show up a few notches. And I love Human Touch, great song from perhaps his worst album. Elvis Costello guested on Higher and Higher. Can't wait for The River tonight.

Prove It All Night
Hungry Heart
Working on a Dream
The E Street Shuffle (with Curt Ramm & horns)
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Kitty's Back (with Curt Ramm & horns)
Wil Billy's Circus Story
Incident on 57th Street
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
New York City Serenade (with Richard Blackwell, the Sam Bardfeld Strings, Curt Ramm & horns)
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Raise Your Hand
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Glory Days
Human Touch
Lonesome Day
The Rising
Born to Run
* * *
Wrecking Ball (with Curt Ramm)
Bobby Jean
American Land (with Curt Ramm and Sam Bardfeld)
Dancing in the Dark
Higher and Higher (with Elvis Costello, Richard Blackwell, Curt Ramm & horns)

I could live without Sunny Day, Bobby Jean and Glory Days, but the crowd eats it up.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Richie Havens - Boulton Center 11/6/09

I saw Richie Havens at the Boulton Center in Bayshore, NY last night. He was his usual gracious self. Getting a bit older but the voice is still wonderful. He may ramble a bit and tell the same stories every time (but with some variations) but it is still a great night. He did a little Q&A before the encore and told his Woodstock story. Great fun.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

This Weekend Is Gonna Rock


Special programs announced for this weekend's Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band shows at Madison Square Garden

On Saturday, November 7, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle in its entirety for the first time.

On Sunday, November 8, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform The River in its entirety for the first time.

The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle was originally released in 1973 and The River was originally released in 1980. They now join Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Born in the USA as albums that Bruce and the Band have performed in their entirety during their Fall tour.