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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tad Robinson is no stranger to soul music – he’s been doing a blend of it mixed with blues for decades, and it’s earned him eight nominations in various Blues Music Award categories. But, this time around, the Indianapolis singer/harmonica player decided to travel to one of the soul music mecca’s, Memphis, to record his latest record, Real Street, coming soon on Severn Records. He got a chance to play with the legendary Hi Rhythm Section, and the results are 10 tracks that sound like they came out of the same stable as Al Green and Ann Peebles.
Robinson tells us what it was like working with these legendary musicians, some of the great stories behind his originals, and why he re-worked songs like Roy Orbison’s “You Got It” and Bread’s “Make it With You.”
It was 50 years ago that three days of peace and music changed the world forever. A new book, Woodstock 50th Anniversary – Back to Yasgur’s Farm from Krause Publications, captures the spirit with a front row seat account of the happenings with author Mike Greenblatt, who was there and lived to tell about it. Greenblatt also tracks down many of the artists who played the festival, as well as some of the behind the scenes folks that made it all possible. 224 pages featuring over 300 photographs, it’s great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a half a million strong.
Greenblatt talks about what led him to getting there early to the festival, some of the crazy stories of seeing his favorite bands, and also interviewing Graham Nash, one of the artists he missed (he left early, as did many others).