#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.

 

Chris Hillman – The Asylum Years (review)

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)

Wilco Remasters Revisit the Early, Post Uncle Tupelo Days

A.M. / Being There (Rhino / Reprise)

Jeff Tweedy’s Wilco is one of the most respected bands of the last 20 years.  They’ve managed to gain critical praise while garnering decent sales and even battling major record labels.  Yet, there was a time when all of this was in serious doubt.  A pair of reissues from Rhino Records give us a glimpse of the early steps of the band with deluxe versions of their first two albums, A.M. and Being There.

When Uncle Tupelo imploded in 1994, leader Jay Farrar formed Son Volt, while the other remaining members joined Tweedy in Wilco.  Initially, it was Farrar that achieved success, both with Son Volt’s debut album, Trace, and its college rock hit single, “Drown.”  Sales of Wilco’s debut A.M. paled in comparison.   Yet, over time, Wilco has certainly gained momentum, especially with albums like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Continue reading Wilco Remasters Revisit the Early, Post Uncle Tupelo Days

The Choir – Artifact – The Unreleased Album

Never-before released album from band that spawned the Raspberries

The Sixties were a great time for music. Problem is, most everything has been overplayed from that era for years. Wouldn’t it be great to get some fresh, new music from that time period? Enter Artifact – The Unreleased Album from the Cleveland band, The Choir, just out on Omnivore Recordings.

The group is best known for “It’s Cold Outside,” a jangly bit of British Invasion imitation that became a minor hit nationally in 1966. The lineup at that time contained 3/4th’s of what would later become the Raspberries (minus Eric Carmen). But, as we find out in the liner notes and extensive family tree, The Choir became a revolving door of musicians from the North Coast, including members that would go on to be in the James Gang and many other, less-successful bands. Continue reading The Choir – Artifact – The Unreleased Album

#321 – Ian Anderson – 50 Years of Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull issued their debut album, This Was, back in 1968 to little fanfare. Few knew that this mix of blues, folk and psychedelia would usher in one of the most successful careers in all of rock. Now, a staggering 50 years later, leader Ian Anderson is celebrating that half-century mark by hitting the road with his venerable band for 50 Years of Jethro Tull, promising to not only cover the high points throughout the years, but also dig back into some of the very early material as well.

We chat the early days of the band, what’s in store for the new tour, and the continued reissue campaign of their catalog (Heavy Horses is the latest in the batch).  We also discuss a little-known fact – that Tommy Iommi of Black Sabbath briefly joined Jethro Tull in the early days.

Win Spinal Tap – The Big Black Book from Backbeat and Icon Fetch!

Enter the contest here:

Spinal Tap – The Big Black Book Giveaway from Backbeat Books

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[caption id="attachment_5426" align="alignnone" width="222"] Win this new book from Backbeat featuring removable memorabilia from the legendary rockumentary.[/caption]

This one goes to eleven

This is Spinal Tap is one of the greatest rock movies ever made. The Big Black Book is a celebration of the "Loudest Band in the World," Spinal Tap, featuring hundreds of full-color photos of the band in action, plus removable keepsakes like a large wall poster from the film, plus a replica of the napkin that led to the Stonehenge debacle, a ticket to "Puppet Show and Spinal Tap," and much more. Enter your email address for a chance to win a copy of this fantastic collection from Icon Fetch and Backbeat Books.

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