Category Archives: Shows

#353 – Sass Jordan – Rebel Moon Blues

Sass Jordan – photo by Derek Sharp

It makes everybody happy…what the heck?

Canadian rocker Sass Jordan is probably best known in the States for a pair of gritty albums in the mid-90’s and hit singles like “Make You a Believer” and “High Road Easy.”  She won a Juno award for Most Promising Female Vocalist of 1989, she’s portrayed Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway musical Love Janis, and she dueted with Joe Cocker on a song from the Bodyguard soundtrack.  But, all along, the best word to describe Sass is REAL. 

Her latest project, Rebel Moon Blues, embodies that description, featuring seven blues covers, casting a wide net over the genre – from Willie Dixon and Elmore James, to Rory Gallagher and Taj Mahal.  Plus, she’s written a brand new original that fits in perfect with this hallowed material.  Everything was done live in the studio with her signature, whiskey-soaked vocals over top.

Sass talks about the origin of this project and the fun process of picking the songs. Plus she talks about how she was able to have raw rock hits, even during the height of Grunge.

352 – Robin McAuley of Black Swan – New Album, Shake the World, and Health Scare

Robin McAuley is probably best known for his stint in the McAuley Schenker Group in the late 80s/early 90s – putting songs on rock radio like “Anytime” and “When I’m Gone.”  McAuley has also spent time in Grand Prix, Survivor and Far Corporation. 

His latest project is a star-studded affair – Black Swan features McAuley on lead vocals along with Reb Beach of Winger and Whitesnake on guitars, Jeff Pilson of Dokken and Foreginer on bass, and Matt Starr of Ace Frehley and Mr. Big on drums.  The combination of all four of these great musicians manages to sound both familiar and fresh. 

McAuley talks about how this all-star lineup came about, how vampires inspired one of the new songs, and how he almost died earlier in the year!

351 – Johnny Mathis – The Voice of Romance Tour, “Misty,”…and Bill Russell

2020 marks Johnny Mathis’ 64th anniversary as a recording artist.  He has never stopped touring and recording since his first album was released back in 1956. “Chances Are,” “Misty,” “It’s Not For Me To Say,” and “Wonderful, Wonderful” are just a smattering of his timeless hits.

He continues to stay busy in many ways – he’s recently dueted with both Freda Payne and Dionne Warwick on two new songs, plus Second Disc and Real Gone Music have been reissuing some of Johnny’s albums from the Seventies, including a “lost” record with him and the funk band Chic.  In addition, he’s recently guested on the season finale of Criminal Minds. 

Johnny is currently on the road with his Voice of Romance Tour, coming to a city near you.

We talk with Mathis about the “Voice of Romance” moniker, plus he tells us how he beat out NBA legend Bill Russell in a high jumping competition (and what he thinks of the hoopster’s singing ability!). Mathis also talks about his other interests outside of music and gives us the story behind his classic song, “Misty.”

350 – Marshall Crenshaw – Miracle of Science revisted

Marshall Crenshaw has spent the last 40 years creating memorable, melodic-laden rock songs, scoring hits with songs like “Someday, Someway” and “Whenever You’re on My Mind.” Plus, he co-wrote “Til I Hear it From You,” a big hit for the Gin Blossoms, and he’s had several bit parts in some Hollywood movies, like La Bamba and Peggy Sue Got Married. 

Well everything old is new again – when Crenshaw was issuing albums in the 1990’s and early 2000s, vinyl was dead – so those records only came out on CD.  Now, he’s regained the rights to those albums and has started reissuing them, with bonus tracks – and on…you guessed it, vinyl.  The first in the series of reissues is Crenshaw’s 1996 album, Miracle of Science, which also features some brand new material.

349 – Myles Goodwyn – April Wine and Friends of the Blues

Myles Goodwyn – photo by Darren Lulka

Myles Goodwyn has been a guiding force behind Canadian rockers, April Wine, for 50 years running now, scoring hits in the US, like “Just Between You and Me,” “Roller,” and “You Could’ve Been a Lady.”  In 2018, Goodwyn issued a solo album titled Myles Goodwyn – Friends of the Blues, which garnered an East Coast Music Award and a Juno nomination. Now, he’s back with Friends of the Blues 2, and once again he’s assembled a who’s who of Canadian blues giants, including Jack De Keyzer, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and Angel Forrest.

Goodwyn, who’s known more for his rock music, talks about how this blues project came about.  He also tells us the origin of April Wine’s first hit, “You Could’ve Been a Lady,” and how the band was embraced in the early days of MTV.

348 – Franke Previte – The Knockouts Complete & Dirty Dancing

Franke Previte was a founding member of Franke & the Knockouts, who had a top ten smash in 1981 with “Sweetheart.”  “You’re My Girl” and “Without You,” also charted on the Top 40, plus the songs “Come Back” and “Never Had it Better” got significant play on rock radio back in the day.  In all, the band issued three albums for major labels, two on Millennium and one for MCA. 

After the band’s demise, Previte worked on his songwriting craft, co-writing the two big hits off the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes” (the former hit won an Academy Award for Best Song in 1987).

If you try and find any of the Franke & the Knockouts albums online, you’ll find that they’re fetching a lot of money.  That motivated Previte to issue Franke & the Knockouts – The Complete Collection from Friday Music. 

Featuring all three albums, plus some choice bonus tracks – this fantastic music is back in print.  Plus, part of the proceeds from each collection will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in honor of his friend, Patrick Swayze, who succumbed to the disease.

347 – Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown – City Night

I know that at any moment…this could stop

Savoy Brown, one of the longest-running British Blues Rock bands.  Formed in 1965 by guitarist Kim Simmonds, the band achieved success with songs like “Train to Nowhere,” “I’m Tired,” and “Hellbound Train.”  Former band members have gone on to success with groups like Yes, Fleetwood Mac, and several members forming Foghat.  But, through all this, Simmonds has remained the one constant, guiding force. 

The band’s 40th album, City Night, has just come out on Quarto Valley Records, and Simmonds searing guitar is once again, front and center, augmented by Pat DeSalvo on bass and Garnett Grimm on drums, the most consistent lineup in the group’s history  The band is also in the midst of a US tour.

We chat about how Simmonds saw the Rolling Stones very early in their career, plus how he was influenced by Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, and why he doesn’t play his signature Flying V guitar much anymore.

346 – Robert Rodriguez – 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road

It’s been 50 years since the Beatles issued their final studio album, Abbey Road, and to celebrate, Apple Records has just released several deluxe versions.  The biggest selling point is a brand-new remix of the original album by Giles Martin, son of Beatles’ producer George Martin.  Also included are various demos and alternate versions that give us a peek behind the scenes of the Fab Four’s final masterpiece. 

And, to talk about it, we welcome back Rob Rodriguez, who has written many books on the Beatles, including Fab Four FAQ 2.0, Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock n’ Roll, and Solo in the Seventies.  He also hosts a podcast called Something About the Beatles.

345 – Louis Price – The Temptations, When Doves Cry Re-imagined

Louis Price was the lead singer of the legendary Temptations in the late 1970’s. He also spent time in the Drifters after that.  Price recently teamed with pianist Starr Parodi for an emotionally-charged update of Prince’s 1984 hit, “When Doves Cry.” 

The duo strip away the synths and heavy percussion of the original recording, leaving just voice and piano. This scaled-back approach places a stronger emphasis on the lyrics, especially the line, “why do we scream at each other,” which Price repeats, again and again near the end, to incredible, spine-tingling, effect. This re-imagined version is an attempt to bring peace through the power of music. 

He also gives us the crazy story of how he became lead singer of the Temptations, one of the most revered vocal groups of all-time.

344 – Joe Puerta of Ambrosia – Kurt Vonnegut, Alan Parsons and Yacht Rock

Ambrosia
Photo credit: Manny Dominguez Photography

Ambrosia released five albums and five Top 40 singles during their original chart run.  Their hits included “Holding on To Yesterday,” “How Much I Feel,” “Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re the Only Woman.”  For the band’s last tour, an up and coming musician by the name of Bruce Hornsby played piano for them.  Well bassist Joe Puerta is an original member of Ambrosia, who followed Hornsby and played in the original Bruce Hornsby and the Range as well.  Now, Ambrosia is back out on the road, playing a series of dates.

We talk to Puerta about the what got him playing bass, the origins of Ambrosia, and the struggles they had early on in their career.  A couple of other tidbits of our chat include working with Alan Parsons on their early records, and the story behind “Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” which features words by author Kurt Vonnegut.