The Jukebox Heroes celebrate 4 decades of rock with new 2-disc best of
Look around at the current rock landscape – there’s not many legendary bands left. But, count Foreigner as one of those still standing. The group is celebrating 40 years together with a current tour, and a brand-new collection, 40, their first-ever career spanning retrospective. Continue reading Foreigner – 40 (Atlantic/Rhino)→
A Countrypolitan masterpiece, improved with a healthy dose of bonus material
One of the most underrated vocalists of all-time, Skeeter Davis helped blur the line between Country and Pop music at a time when such an act was still considered blasphemy, and in doing so, paved the way for everyone from Tanya Tucker to Taylor Swift and beyond. Playback Records, a reissue label based in Australia, has just put out Let Me Get Close to You, a classic album of hers from 1964, complete with a heaping bunch of bonus tracks. Continue reading Skeeter Davis – Let Me Get Close to You (Playback Records)→
John Gary Williams was a member of the Mad Lads, who were signed to Stax Records in the early Sixties, while he was still in high school. They had several R&B hits, including “I Don’t Have to Shop Around,” and “I Want Someone.”
Williams decided to go solo in the early Seventies, recording a fantastic debut, self-titled album in 1973. Full of lush strings, funky rhythms, and Williams’ falsetto overtop, it should’ve been a smash hit. Yet, distribution problems kept his album from getting into key markets like Detroit and Chicago.
Now, over 40 years later, his album is finally getting a proper release, as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration.
We chat with Williams about his early days in the Mad Lads, who were much closer to New York Doo Wop, than Memphis Soul. Plus, he talks about an upcoming movie that’s in production about his life. And, he takes us track by track through the reissue of his debut album.
We’re going to start calling Resonance Records the “Babe Ruth of reissue labels,” because all they’re doing lately is hitting home runs. Whether it’s digging up lost treasures from guitarist Wes Montgomery, pianist Bill Evans or saxophonist Stan Getz, the label continues to add to the lexicon of jazz.
Somewhere, in an alternate universe, Big Star sold millions of albums and achieved the success they so badly deserved. Best of serves as the “greatest hits” that never was. While there have been several collections to compile this under-appreciated band, this is the first to concentrate on their singles. Continue reading Big Star – Best of (Stax)→
Comedian Christopher Titus first gained notoriety for his comedy special “Norman Rockwell is Bleeding,” where used his own warped version of the American family dynamic as a topic. Now he’s promoting his eighth special, “Amerigeddon,” a show where he hilariously aims to “put to country back together.”
Titus also talks to us about his upcoming feature film, Special Unit, described as “Agents of Shield with midgets and handicapped people.” He tells us what inspired him to do that show, which features many disabled actors in it.
We also delve into what started him down the path to comedy. Christopher Titus is playing the Dayton Funnybone for two shows on Weds, June 28th. More information can be found at christophertitus.com
There was a time when each record label had its own sound. Atlantic was responsible for the pioneering R&B of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, while Motown turned an assembly-line mentality into a string of pop crossover hits. Yet, no label got closer to pure soul than Memphis’ Stax records. The label is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a string of cost-friendly compilations, which serve as great introductions to a wealth of phenomenal music.
A little bit of New Orleans by way of Minnesota arrived in Dayton Saturday night in the form of Davina & the Vagabonds, bringing their-juiced up blend of jazz & blues to Oddbody’s. Led by singer/pianist Davina Sowers, who possesses a monster of a voice capable of incredible range and depth, she was flanked by trumpet, trombone, standup bass and drums.
A cover of Louis Jordan’s jump blues’ “Knock Me a Kiss” got things rolling, allowing Sowers to inject plenty of humor in the proceedings right from the git go. Things immediately got darker with their original “Black Cloud” (title cut off their fantastic 2011 CD), before again switching gears for the decidedly more rosy “Sunshine” (title cut off their followup, from 2014). Continue reading Davina & the Vagabonds – Oddbody’s, Dayton, OH – July, 17, 2017→
Truly a lost gem of classic soul – as relevant today as ever before
Few people heard this fantastic album from former Mad Lads’ vocalist John Gary Williams when it was recorded 44 years ago. Full of lush strings, slow-jam grooves, and psychedelic guitar flourishes, this criminally-ignored LP is elevated even more by Williams’ soaring vocals. It’s a great record, from start to finish, and it should’ve been a hit.
As with most of the output released on Stax Records in the mid-1970’s, it suffered from poor distribution and neglect at the hands of CBS, who made a deal and then quickly lost interest in the legendary Memphis label – essentially marooning great albums like this to the warehouse, and preventing them from getting into key markets like Detroit and Chicago. Now, four decades later, John Gary Williams is finally getting its due as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration, a joint venture between Concord Music and Rhino Records. Continue reading John Gary Williams – self titled (Stax/Concord Music Group)→