Led Zeppelin – How the West Was Won – (Swan Song / Atlantic)
The one, and only, live album every fan should own
Led Zeppelin wasn’t always great in concert.
I know, that sounds like blasphemy, right? But, in truth, this legendary band was capable of laying an egg just as easily as blowing your mind. Unfortunately, there’s lots of proof of the former: just do a quick Youtube search of the bootlegs out there, or watch the weary Song Remains the Same film, or if you dare, the horrendous Live Aid “reunion” from 1985, or even the creaky Celebration Day reunion from 2007.
The musical landscape of the of early 1980’s was an unique one. Disco had died down, yet MTV hadn’t quite taken hold yet. The charts were ruled by mellow recordings full of lush arrangements. Now, years later, this style of music is being called Yacht Rock.
One such artist having hits back then was Robbie Dupree, who hit #6 on the Billboard charts in 1980 with “Steal Away.” Then, a few months later, found himself back in the Top 20 with “Hot Rod Hearts.” Blixa Sounds is issuing for the first time on CD, the first two albums from Robbie Dupree, remastered, and featuring bonus tracks.
We talk the crazy events that got him signed to Elektra, playing in an early band with Chic’s Nile Rodgers, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
An In-Depth Look at Every show the Beatles played in America
There have been literally thousands of books written about the Beatles over the last 50 years, covering virtually every aspect of their brief career. Yet, Chuck Gunderson has found an unique angle.
In Some Fun Tonight, a two-volume set of coffee-table books from Backbeat books, he goes behind the scenes of the groundbreaking and tumultuous tours the Beatles did in North America in 1964, 1965 & 1966, giving us an account of what happened before, during and after each concert the Beatles played in the US and Canada.
He tells some incredible stories of the planning, and jockeying of promoters and radio stations to pull off bringing the four lads from Liverpool to America. In his research and detective work, Gunderson has also unearthed a treasure trove of never-before-seen photographs and memorabilia from each stop on those tours.
The end result is a must to anyone who attended these legendary performances, or anyone that wants to understand just how crazy these tours of the Beatles really were.
Few band have dealt with as much chaos and tragedy as Stone Temple Pilots. Yet, here they are issuing their seventh studio album, simply titled Stone Temple Pilots, the first album without original vocalist Scott Weiland.
It’s not surprising that there’s a dark cloud that hangs over much of the album. For twenty years, the band rode the roller coaster ride of Weiland’s drug problems – sporadically breaking up, then reuniting, before finally firing him for good in 2013, and replacing him with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. Both Weiland and Bennington would tragically pass away over the next few years. This new record is dedicated to both men, saying simply “we miss you” in the accompanying booklet. Continue reading Stone Temple Pilots – self titled – 1st New Album Without Weiland→
Steve Barton is best known as the leader of the Los Angeles band, Translator, who was signed to Columbia records in the early Eighties, scoring a college radio hit, “Everywhere That I’m Not,” in 1982. Barton issued his first solo record in 1999, and since then has issued six more, his latest being Tall Tales and Alibis.
At a time when many artists have abandoned the album format for the far more economical single, Barton’s new release is a triple album, tour de force, with each disc taking on it’s own unique mood; a staggering 37 new songs to add to his catalog. In addition, his venerable band Translator continues to record and tour.
Barton plays all the instruments on the first two discs, which he recorded at his home studio. The third disc is a full band record, featuring cameos by fellow Translator members as well as Pete Thomas on drums from Elvis Costello’s Attractions.
He also talks about a dream he had where Bob Dylan played him a new song, which is included on one of the new discs.
A complete overview of the band’s lesser-known years
History is a strange animal. Bands with long careers too often get distilled into one or two songs. Case in point: Steppenwolf, who are best remembered for the motorcycle anthem, “Born To Be Wild,” and the psychedelic rocker “Magic Carpet Ride.” You might be surprised to know that the band actually scored eight Gold albums during their heyday, and have continued to release albums and tour to this day. A new, three-disc collection attempts to tell a more complete story of the band in Steppenwolf at 50 from Rainman Records.
Elvis Presley – The Searcher – Original Soundtrack (RCA / Legacy)
3-disc soundtrack to the new HBO documentary
It’s hard to mention Elvis Presley and not think of the white jumpsuit, the gold-rimmed glasses and his “thank you very much” deep voice. In fact, his music often seems to take a backseat to the legend. Elvis Presley – The Searcher, a two-part documentary debuting on HBO, attempts to set the record straight by concentrating on Presley as an artist.
“You’re as baaad as Eric Clapton, and I know Eric Clapton”
Those words were uttered by legendary bluesman Buddy Guy and he was talking about guitarist Peter Parcek, who’s been creating a name for himself playing shows in the Northeast and releasing several critically acclaimed albums, even being nominated as “Best New Artist” by the Blues Foundation.
Yet, it’s been awhile since we’ve heard from him – seven years in fact. He’s broken his silence with Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, an album full of his gritty guitar and signature atmospheric blues sound. He’s backed by a stellar lineup of musicians, including Spooner Oldham and Luther Dickinson.
We discuss what took so long between releases, how some potent moonshine entered the recording process, and what he thinks of being referred to as “innovative and old.”
First time on CD for a pair of underrated solo albums from the ex-Byrd
Chris Hillman was a late-bloomer. He began as the bassist, and occasional vocalist for the seminal 60’s band, the Byrds. Yet, his early songs sounded tentative, and video footage of him from that time period revealed an uncomfortable rockstar. Who could’ve guessed that much bigger success for him lurked right around the corner?
Eventually, Hillman would help found the groundbreaking country-rock outfit the Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons, team with Stephen Stills in the genre-bending Manassas, and hit well-deserved success in the early Eighties with the country combo the Desert Rose Band. The Asylum Years, a new disc from Omnivore Recordings, fills a gap in that story, making available for the first time on CD and digital formats, two forgotten solo albums Hillman recorded in the late Seventies, Slippin’ Away and Clear Sailin’. Continue reading Chris Hillman – The Asylum Years (review)→