#326 – Martha Davis of the Motels – The Last Few Beautiful Days

The Motels had several big hits in the early Eighties, including “Only the Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer.”  At a time when new albums are kind of an afterthought, The Motels have just issued one of the strongest albums of their entire career called The Last Few Beautiful Days.

Vocalist Martha Davis is reunited with Marty Jourard who provided signature saxophone and keyboards on many of their albums. This new record somehow manages to be both modern and a reflection of everything that the band has done before.

We chat with Davis about what led to this new project, and how using vintage keyboards on the new record helped give it a timeless quality .  Plus, she gives us the stories behind their biggest hits.

Led Zeppelin – How the West Was Won – The Real Live Zeppelin

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.

If you want to enjoy Zep in all their in-concert fury, there is no substitute for How the West Was Won. Originally released in 2003, the three-disc set is back in the spotlight in a remastered edition from Atlantic. Continue reading Led Zeppelin – How the West Was Won – The Real Live Zeppelin

#325 – Robbie Dupree – Steal Away & Nile Rodgers

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.

Purchase the debut album from Robbie Dupree on Amazon

Purchase Street Corner Heroes from Robbie Dupree on Amazon

#324 – Chuck Gunderson – Some Fun Tonight – The History of the Beatles Live in America

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.

Stone Temple Pilots – self titled – 1st New Album Without Weiland

Stone Temple Pilots – self titled (Rhino)

Against all odds, the band is back

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

#323 – Steve Barton – Tall Tales and Alibis

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.

Steppenwolf – At 50 – Collection Grabs Hard to Find Gems (review)

Steppenwolf – Steppenwolf at 50 (Rainman)

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.

Full disclosure here: the band’s biggest hits have been omitted in favor of their lesser-known material (there are live versions of the hits on disc 3).  For those looking for just the hits, start with The ABC/Dunhill Singles Collection (reviewed here). Continue reading Steppenwolf – At 50 – Collection Grabs Hard to Find Gems (review)

Elvis Presley – The Searcher (Soundtrack) – Examining Elvis the Artist

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.

An accompanying three-disc soundtrack pulls together his most passionate performances – familiar favorites sit alongside rare alternate and live versions, and songs that he was influenced by.  The goal here is to help paint a more clear picture of Elvis as an extremely talented musician.  Continue reading Elvis Presley – The Searcher (Soundtrack) – Examining Elvis the Artist

#322 – Peter Parcek – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven

Peter Parcek – photo by Margaret Lampert

“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.”

Spinal Tap – The Big Black Book Winners Announced!

Congrats to Patrick Ogelvie of Wilmington, NC, and Rich Reuter of Dayton, OH – they both picked up copies of Spinal Tap – The Big Black Book courtesy of Backbeat Books and Icon Fetch.

Check back for more giveaways coming soon!

Win this new book from Backbeat featuring removable memorabilia from the legendary rockumentary.

 

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