Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas To All!

Merry Christmas to you and yours from the entire OldRockr1 family!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Best Records of 2011

And I do mean records.  2011 will be remembered, at least by me, as the year that virtually every new release I wanted was available on vinyl in addition to those other formats.  I love it.  Wanna stop piracy?  Release it all on vinyl.  One negative that has not been corrected by many of the labels is the failure to provide a download code. C'mon you money grubbing whores at the majors...those of us buying the new vinyl are your core customers so how about a little respect.
OK, enough of that.  2011 was for an OK year in music.  There were some really good releases but not as many as in years least to these ears.  What I did like I enjoyed immensely with some great music coming from both new and established artists.  What follows is a list of records that did it for me in a bid way in 2011.  These are in no particular order and I am leaving what I think is the top album for the end.  So here goes nothing...

I know, I know this is chock full of the same old blues classics but you know what?  Johnny Winter is playing and singing better than he has in years.  This is a legend ripping through some of his favorites along with some top notch guests.  You can't go wrong with this one if you like the blues at all.  Good time, beer drinking rockin' blues.

John Hiatt has been making great records for decades.  All of them are good, some of them are great.  This one falls in the latter category.  This is the best thing he has done since Slow Turning.

Austin Lucas doesn't look much like a country singer, but he sure as hell sounds like one.  The best high-lonesome sound I have heard in years.  Real Country Music!

Speaking of real country doesn't get much more real than this one.  The self described "scumbag country" band returns with their finest work yet.  Ever so slightly less in your face than last year's Old Highs and New Lows, Damaged Good benefits from the approach.  The song writing and performances are top notch.  You can trash all those Jason Aldean records...Hellbound Glory is the real deal my friends.

The hardest working man in rock & roll serves up his first solo project since the mid-90's.  Warren turns to the soul music he loves and gives it a little kick.  I haven't enjoyed a Mule record this much since Life Before Insanity.

I never much cared for The Decemberists.  That is until I heard The King is Dead.  With an REM meets Neil Young sound, The Decemberists take it in a much more accessible direction which is a very good thing.  This was my favorite album for most of the first half of the year and it is still right up there.  Love it, love it, love it.

By now you know the story.  Glen Campbell has early Alzheimer's and he wanted to make one last record and go out on the road before he can't anymore.  If this is his goodbye record he is going to be remembered for creating a classic.  A tremendous record from start to finish that rivals and often surpasses his best work from the late 60's and early 70's.  A shining example of how great music is timeless and ageless.

This one took a bit to grow on me.  I didn't dislike it at just wasn't doing it for me.  More than a few folks whose opinions on music I respect said I need to give it a few more spins.  How right they were.  This record has grown on me to the point it is on my year end list.  Both Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are undeniable talents who have left me a bit cold on previous efforts.  This material fits them both quite well and all the Delaney & Bonnie comparisons are not that far off.  A very, very good listen.

Matt Schofield is a British Blues guitarist who has made quite a name for himself on the other side of the pond over the last couple of years.  He reminds me quite a bit of Robben Ford in his playing.  Definitely more polished than raw with some great vocals and never less than impressive playing.  I hope he gets over here this year for a couple of shows.

I know is voice is shot now but it wasn't too bad when this was recorded back in 2008.  I don't care about that.  The shear joy that jumps out of the grooves is worth the price of admission.  Levon Helm is an American classic!

They may not be the most traditional bluegrass outfit but they can sure play their asses off as this live document attests.  The best of the young bluegrass/newgrass/jamgrass bands.

Any record that starts off with a killer (pun intended) murder cut has to be good and this one is.  Cruz Contreras and the rest of the Black Lillies have turned in one of the best Americana releases of the year.  Tall trees is like some kind of bluegrass meets the Allman's with a kick of gospel mash up and it works really, really well.  I've been playing this since it ended up in my ReviewShine inbox.  I'm still playing in December.

And last but not least my favorite album of the year....

Former Hot Water Music vocalist Chuck Ragan has been leading the folk-punk charge for a bit now and he has released what may be the perfect example of this genre (whatever the hell folk-punk means).  A stripped down guitar/fiddle/bass sound to go along with his gruff but honest vocals singing songs of the road has kept me playing this over and over since it came out.  Think Springsteen rocking out with acoustics and no E. Street band with a little high lonesome sound thrown in for good measure.  A couple of cuts with Brian Fallon doesn't hurt either.  An instant classic.

So there it is,  my faves for 2011.  It wasn't the best year ever but there were some really great releases.  Let's hope 2012 is another good one.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from the entire OldRockr1 Family!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dave Alvin - The Boulton Center 11/22/11

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones pulled into the Boulton Center on a very rainy night to heat things up a bit for the criminally sparse group in attendance.  I can't figure out Long Island and the lack of interest in great music.  Last night there was zero support for this roots rock pioneer and let me tell you that folks are going to get what they deserve.  The last couple of shows I have seen at the Boulton Center have been sparsely attended. The place only holds about 250 people for goodness sake.  C'mon Long Island you need to start going to some of these shows to keep the place afloat.

Those in attendance did get more than their money's worth out of Dave Alvin.  Long one of America's great songwriters, Dave Alvin also knows how to bring the rock & roll (more roots rock of late but still rockin').  The show last night started out with King Of California and while this tight 4 piece wasn't exactly unplugged, it was a bit more introspective during the first set.  An excellent Border Radio was one of many highlights.
After a short break the Guilty Ones returned to crank it up a bit.  Dave Alvin is touring in support of his fine new album Eleven Eleven and several great new songs were featured including Harlan County Line and one of the encores Johnny Ace is Dead.  Abilene and Fourth of July were predictably crowd pleasers, but if you were familiar with his work you would know that already.  These are two of my favorite songs so they were worth the price of admission alone.
Great songs and some really good stories behind them made for a great night of music.  The Blasters Marie Marie sent everyone out back into the rain a little happier than on the walk in.  Great Rock & Roll has a way of doing that.  Dave mentioned that his brother Phil in the hospital at the moment.  Let's hope that he makes a full recovery.  Another Blasters tour wouldn't suck folks.

Dave is playing City Winery tonight in NYC.  Check him out if you can.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Furthur - MSG 11/10/11

Furthur rolled into MSG last Thursday night for the fall stop of their 2011 tour.  Bobby and Phil may be the only original members playing in this line-up so it's really not the Dead, but it is a pretty good group just the same.  In fact, aside from a few Phil shows back around 2000, I have to say this is pretty much my favorite post-Jerry lineup.

The first set was just so much fun.  I took my son for the first time and he loved it.  Kind of a Best of the Dead set.  The second set really stretched out a bit with a fine The Other One > St. Stephen.  It was even great to hear the Disco Dead of Shakedown Street.  Larry Campbell guested on a number of songs and his always fine playing was a wonderful addition.

Here's a photo of the setlist...

This was my first time seeing this line-up.  My last couple of experiences were less than great (Dead @ Nassau 2009 and Ratdog at Westbury) but this might draw me back again next year.  This was a good time folks.

You can download the show at the Internet Archive.

John Hiatt at City Winery - October 21, 2011

I've been a John Hiatt fan since "Bring the Family" but I've only been able to catch him live one time with Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark and Joe Ely (during a blizzard yet) for one reason or another.  This deficiency was solved last night at City Winery.  My first visit to the venue was last year for Nick Lowe and I wasn't crazy about it.  Too many tables too close together but there was none of that feeling last night.  Perhaps they took a few tables out.

Opening the show was Lily Hiatt, John's daughter, who is a singer-songwriter in Nashville.  Her style is generally not my thing but she got a polite, if not overwhelming, reception and appeared to have went over well.  It does help when your father is the headliner. 

John Hiatt is nothing if not consistent.  He has made good album after good album for the past twenty years and his newest is no exception.  His set drew heavily from his latest as well as a bunch of songs from Bring the Family and Slow Turning.  The band was tight, his voice was strong and things were good.

All in all a great night of music.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Willie Nile - The Innocent Ones

For years I had a cursory awareness of Willie Nile.  He made some records in the 80's that I remembered hearing but I was never "a fan" in that I kept up with him as time passed.  Every 10 years or so you would see a review of an album or show but the output was never what you would call consistent.  For me things changed with the release of 2005's "Streets of New York".  Essentially a love letter to NYC, this album captured the city in a way no other had.  Frankly it was absolutely brilliant.

2010 saw the "release" of "The Innocent Ones" in Europe.  The album will see its domestic release on November 22nd here in the US.  "The Innocent Ones" is another dose of superior songwriting that is somewhere between Bob Dylan and The Clash.  Often times deceiving in its folk approach, the topics and delivery are more often CBGB's than The Bitter End.

There is some really great rock music on this album.  Willie Nile tackles some of the realities of the past couple of years and there isn't always a happy ending.

 “This album,” he says, “includes a number of songs dedicated to the downtrodden, the forgotten, the outcasts, the hopeless — the innocent ones. It deals with some heavy issues here and there, but at the same time I think it’s an upbeat, feel-good record. I wanted it to be light on its feet and fun to listen to, and it’s all that.”

"Singin' Bell", "The Innocent Ones" and "Rich and Broken" are among his best.  Folks this is a true believer in the power of rock & roll.  Check this one out and grab Streets of New York while you are at it.  You won't be disappointed.  No question this gets the OldRockr1 Seal of Approval.

Johnny Winter - Roots

If you've seen Johnny Winter live over the past decade you probably had the same feeling I did...this is not someone in great health.  Thankfully he seems to have gotten stronger over the past couple of years in spite of a ridiculous touring schedule that sees him out on the road for much of the year.  If the recent release "Roots" is any indication things are going pretty well for him at the moment.

"Roots" will not be a revelation to anyone who has listened to any of his records over the past 40 years.  Johnny is paying tribute to his influences here and it comes off as exactly that.  This is what Johnny Winter has been doing his whole career...bringing blues to the masses.  His vocals and playing are stronger than at any time in recent memory.  In particular the duet with Susan Teseschi finds them both in excellent form.

Track listing and special guests joining Mr. Winter on Roots:

T-Bone Shuffle (featuring Sonny Landreth slide guitar)
Further On Up the Road (featuring Jimmy Vivino guitar)
Done Somebody Wrong (featuring Warren Haynes slide guitar)
Got My Mojo Workin'
Last Night (featuring John Popper on harp)
Maybellene (featuring Vince Gill on guitar)
Bright Lights, Big City (featuring Susan Tedeschi on lead guitar/vocals)
Honky Tonk (featuring Edgar Winter on sax)
Dust My Broom (featuring Derek Truckson slide guitar)
Short Fat Fannie (featuring Paul Nelson on guitar)
Come Back Baby (featuring John Medeski on organ)

Lots of guests to be sure and all fill their roles well. I'd prefer a little more Johnny Winter and a little less guests but that is just me. Lots of good playing on an enjoyable, if a bit predictable, blues album. Is it groundbreaking? Nope. But it still gets the OldRockr1 Seal of Approval. Oh Yeah, there is some stellar guitar playing on this one...but you probably already knew that.

Dust My Broom with Derek Trucks

Bright Lights Big City with Susan Tedeschi

Done Somebody Wrong with Warren Haynes

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grateful Dead - Cornell 77 and Veneta 72

Here's a pair of classic Dead shows for your listening pleasure.  If you haven't grabbed them before, now is the time.  First up is the Veneta, OR show from August 27, 1972.  This is one of my favorites and the sound is stellar for the era.

Grateful Dead
Old Renaissance Faire Grounds
Veneta, OR

SBD Recording

Set I
Promised Land
Me & My Uncle
Black Throated Wind
China Cat Sunflower->
I Know You Rider
Mexicali Blues

Set II
Playin’ In The Band
He’s Gone
Jack Straw
Bird Song
Greatest Story Ever Told

Dark Star->
El Paso
Sing Me Back Home
Sugar Magnolia
Casey Jones
One More Saturday Night

Download it here.

Next I have perhaps the most famous Dead show ever...Cornell 77. Some say it is overrated, which may be true, but this version of Scarlet>Fire is worth the download alone. I guess it holds up so well for so many because it was one of the first pristine soundboards that circulated back in the day.

Grateful Dead
May 8, 1977
Barton Hall
Cornell University

Set I

1. Minglewood Blues -> (AUD splice provides beginning of track)
2. Loser
3. El Paso
4. They Love Each Other
5. Jack Straw
6. Deal
7. Lazy Lightning -> Supplication (Aud Splice during transition)
8. Brown Eyed Women
9. Mama Tried
10. Row Jimmy
11. Dancin' In The Streets

Set II

12. Take A Step Back/Tuning
13. Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain
14. Estimated Prophet
15. Tuning/Dead Air
16. Saint Stephen->
17. Not Fade Away->
18. Saint Stephen->
19. Morning Dew
20. Encore: Saturday Night

You can get this here.

Keep checking back. Many more shows to come over the coming days, weeks and months. I have collected a lot over the years and it's time to give back. As always...thanks to the tapers wherever you are.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The SteelDrivers - Grey Fox 2011

Gotta say up front...I Love This Band!  I was a little worried when Chris Stapleton left and Gary Nichols took over on guitar and vocals but those fears have long since subsided.  The SteelDrivers performed two sets at Grey Fox this year (dance tent and main stage) and both were killers.  I have found a copy of the main stage set that you can find here.  I am still looking for the other if anyone comes across it.

A couple of years back I was not a big time bluegrass fan, you might say I was a fringe fan.  Some newgrass and some jamgrass but that was about it.  Sam Bush and Railroad Earth.  I saw the SteelDrivers on the Opry and was hooked.

The Steeldrivers
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival
Walsh Farm
Oak Hill,New York


2.Two Angels>
4.Good Corn Liquor
5.Where Do You Go When You Don't Come Home
6.Can You Run
7.You Put The Hurt On Me
8.Drinking Dark Whiskey
9.Heaven Sent
10.To Be With You Again
11.Midnight Tears
12.Guitars,Whiskey,Guns And Knives
13.Sticks That Make Thunder
14.If It Hadn't Been For Love
15.Band Introductions
16.Ghosts Of Mississippi
17.Blue Side Of The Mountain
18.Encore Break


19.Where Rainbows Never Die

Tammy Rogers-Fiddle,Vocals
Mike Henderson-Mandolin,Vocals
Mike Fleming-Bass,Vocals
Gary Nichols-Guitar,Vocals
Ricahrd Bailey-Banjo

This may not be Bill Monroe bluegrass, but the sound is just fantastic.  How about we call it "Soul Grass"?  I for one can't wait for the next album and hope they'll be back on the bill next summer.  Just another great set among many at this year's festival.

Talented Artists Can Make Boring Records

I am kind of a little bored with some new releases.  They sounded good on paper, but on record...not so much.  The first one I am not thrilled with is the new release from Beth Hard and Joe Bonamassa "Don't Explain".  She can flat out sing and he is a great guitarist and singer as well but for me this is, well just dull.

It does everything right.  Perhaps what's woring is it is too perfect sounding.  Soul music with very little soul.  You want to have a blast check out the JJ Grey & Mofro live album "Brighter Days".  A shout bam-a-lama greasy southern soul stomper.

Another couple of artists I try to dig time after time are Derek Trucks and his Mrs.  Susan Tedeschi.  Both have gobs of talent but frankly bore the hell out of me.  The new album "Revelator" is no exception.  Well played, good vocals and still not worth my time.  I tried to like it.  Played it a bunch of times which makes listening to music work instead of a joyful experience.

Both releases prove that the sum is not always greater than the parts.  And don't get me started about the Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton collaboration...BORING!!!

I know I am in the minority on these releases, but music is so personal and it's really what I am feeling.  Nothing here sucks, but for me none of these warrants another listen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sam Bush - Grey Fox 2011

This year's Grey Fox Festival was a blast. I have a bunch of shows from the festival and will be putting a few up over the next day or so. To start things off here are both of Sam Bush's sets (Main Stage and Master's Stage).

Sam Bush Band
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival
Walsh Farm
Oak Hill,New York
Main Stage


2.Old Joe Clark>
3.Long Haired Country Boy>
4.Old Joe Clark
5.The Mahavishnu Mountain Boys
6.One More Love Song
7.Roll On Buddy Roll On
8.Unconditional Love
9.Riding The Bluegrass Train
10.Circles Around Me
11.Out On The Ocean
12.Band Introductions # 1
13.Key And locket
14.Ballad Of Stringbean And Estelle
15.Bringing In The Georgia Mail
16.Blue Mountain
17.Howlin' At The Moon *
18.New Country
19.Friends Of The Band Introduction/Banter
20.Laps In Seven
21.Band Intro #2/Encore Break


22.Banter/Tuning/Neck Jeenie
23.Up On Cripple Creek>
24.Arkansas Traveler
25.Thank You Very Much,Have A Great Evening!

Masters Stage – Workshop 6:00 pm

Sam Bush - Mandolin
Stephen Mougin - Guitar
Scott Vestal – Banjo
Mark Schatz – Bass

1.Soundcheck and Introduction
2.Little Girl Of Mine In Tennessee
3.Sam talks about last year's shortened set...
4.Paddy On The Turnpike
5.Sam talks about Bill Monroe
6.Heavy Traffic Ahead
7.Q & A about Sam's favorites
9.Sam talk
10.Ralph's Banjo Special

Time: 55:15

You can get them both here in one big package.  As always...thanks to the tapers.

Railroad Earth - A Pair of Shows

Railroad Earth is one of my favorite "new" jam bands.  They jam, but in an organic, acoustic, sorta bluegrass kind of way.  A RRE show will for sure put you in the right frame of mind.  These are a couple of shows from the NYC area that sound fantastic.  Thanks to the taper for his/her efforts!

Railroad Earth
12/10/09 (Thu)  
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY

Set 1: 
1 Carrying Coal to Newcastle - > 
2 Mighty River
3 Give That Boy a Hand
4 The Good Life 
5 Bread and Water
6 The Forecast 
7 Crossing the Gap
8 Water Fountain Quicksand

Set 2: 
1 Happy Song
2 Elko
3 For Love
4 Been Down This Road 
5 Like a Buddha
6 New Jam (Spring-Heeled Jack) 
7 Peace on Earth
8 Sing for Me
9 e: Moonshiner

You can grab this one off the Archive or you can direct download it here at VBR.

Railroad Earth
Irving Plaza
New York, New York

Taper: Tim in Jersey
Location:On floor, near balcony, DFC
Source:mk4(ORTF)>kc5>cmc6>SD 722 @ 24/44.11
Transfer:SD 722>IEEE 1394>PC>Audacity 1.3.12-beta (amplify, dither, tracking, FLAC encoding)

**16 bit**

Set 1:
01. Crowd
02. Long Walk Home
03. The Jupiter and the 119
04. Bird in a House
05. The Hunting Song
06. Old Man and the Land
07. Mourning Flies
08. The Green Roofs of Eireann>
09. Like a Buddha
10. Bringin' My Baby Back Home

Set 2:
01. Crowd
02. Long Way To Go
03. Head
04. Lone Croft Farewell
05. Storms
06. Water Fountain Quicksand
07. Black Elk Speaks
08. Spring-Heeled Jack
09. Potter's Field
10. E: Peace on Earth
Again, you can get it at the Archive or direct download here in VBR.