Who did the first rock n’ roll song? It’s a discussion that music fans have had for over a half century. Well, it wasn’t Elvis or Bill Haley. A strong case can be made for Lloyd Price who wrote and recorded “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” way back in 1952. That song sent shockwaves through black, and white audiences alike, and started Price down some uncharted territory. A successful black entertainer was hard to find in the early Fifties, and he met up against deplorable discrimination, time and time again, even while he was having hit after hit, with songs like “Personality,” “I’m Gonna Get Married,” and the #1 smash, “Stagger Lee.”
Price chronicles these stories in a very frank autobiography called, “Sumdumhonky” from Cool Titles, He tells some great stories about the origins of both “Stagger Lee,” and “Personality,” and reveals how he helped Little Richard get his start.
We chat with Stony Plain head Holger Peterson about a new Jeff Healey compilation – The Best of the Stony Plain Years. Healey was an amazingly talented musician, best known for his 1989 top five hit “Angel Eyes.” He lost his sight at an early age, picked up the guitar at three, and developed an unique style of playing the instrument on his lap.
The Jeff Healey Band showcased his talents as a searing blues-rock guitarist, releasing a series of albums in the late Eighties and early Nineties. But, as the decade wore on, Jeff became increasingly weary of the trappings of the genre. Amazingly, he switched gears, teaching himself how to play trumpet and immersing himself in traditional jazz of the Twenties & Thirties. Thus began a new chapter in his musical career – he issued a series of classic jazz & blues albums in the 2000’s up until his untimely passing in 2008.
Peterson, who was a longtime friend of Healey’s discusses this new compilation, Healey’s deep love for classic jazz and blues, and other releases he has coming up for Stony Plain.
Saxophonist Jessy J is one of the hottest stars in Smooth Jazz, she’s hit #1 on the charts several times with her songs, and she’s collaborated with everyone from jazz legend Joe Sample to classic rockers Aerosmith. She’s just released her fifth album, My One and Only One – her most consistent record yet, featuring a great mix of Smooth Jazz with Latin & Pop elements. As typical, she’s brought in a few guests, this time around Paul Brown on guitar and Gregg Karukas on keyboards.
She also does a trio of fantastic cover songs – Toni Braxton’s “You’re Makin’ Me High,” the Cure’s “Livesong,” and the Brothers Johnson’s funk classic, “Strawberry Letter #23.”
Bruce Kulick is best known for his 12-year, non-makeup stint in KISS – he played on five studio albums, including Asylum, Crazy Nights, Hot in the Shade, Revenge and Carnival of Souls. He was also featured on the MTV Unplugged video. Kulick has had a colorful career which included touring with Meat Loaf, recording with Michael Bolton and Billy Squier, and his most recent stint, as guitarist in the legendary Grand Funk Railroad.
But, his latest project goes back – way back to 1974 and his first band – KKB, featuring bassist/vocalist Mike Katz and drummer Guy Bois. “Got to Get Back” features six classic tracks, plus a brand new, powerful recording of the reunited band – 40 years later.
Indianapolis singer Tad Robinson has a knack for creating soul records that just sound effortless. We raved about his last record, Back in Style, from 2011. Now he’s back with another CD called Day Into Night. Once again, he’s achieved that perfect blend of smooth R&B featuring Robinson’s soulful vocals leading the way. We chat the recording process for his new CD, which features a guest appearance by Anson Funderburgh.
Chandler Travis and David Greenberger have had a musical friendship that’s lasted over 30 years. Bocce & Bourbon – the Comfortable Songs of Chandler Travis & David Greenberger sums up that partnership by culling songs from Travis’ multiple bands, The Incredible Casuals, The Chandler Travis Philharmonic, The Catbirds, and The Chandler Travis Three-O, with lyrics all penned by Greenberger. In addition, the two have collaborated on eight brand new tracks to add to this compilation.
Tom Chapin is a three-time Grammy-award winning artist who’s released 24 albums over his long career. He’s one of the few artists who’ve been able to lead a dual life as both a folk artist and popular childrens’ performer. His new album, 70, celebrates his milestone birthday with a diverse collection of acoustic-based tunes – socially-conscious tracks rub shoulders with heartfelt love songs. It’s a fitting summation of his 50 years as a performer. He tells us the story behind “Guitar Child,” a song that pays homage to some of his heroes.
He also talks about the great songwriter Steve Goodman, and why he chose to cover his “City of New Orleans.” In addition, we discuss his late brother, Harry Chapin, and his lasting impact as a social activist.
Musician, actor, TV theme singer, voice-over announcer – Billy Vera is all of those things. He scored several R&B hits in the late Sixties, including “Country Girl, City Man,” a duet with Judy Clay. But, Billy is best known for his surprise #1 hit in 1987, “At This Moment,” which gained popularity from being included on the hit TV show Family Ties. Yet, he’s also an avid music historian – writing liner notes to countless CDs.
His latest project is penning the notes to the brand new Little Richard box set called Directly From My Heart, from Specialty Records, and Concord Music Group.
Canadian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Wilkins is back with his sophomore album, All From Hello. Still intact is his keen sense for melodic hooks and lush arranging. But, this time around, Wilkins has steered things in a definite soulful direction. He’s released the new disc on his own Midnight Train Records, which even includes a guest vocal from former Pointer Sister, Bonnie Pointer. We discuss the writing and recording process, along with Wilkins’ decision to relocate to the States, and why you really should hear his music on CD and not mp3’s.
Our conversation with guitar great Albert Lee continues. He talks about his influences, how he began playing with Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, the Everly Brothers and Bill Wyman. He also talks about the emotional Concert For George which he took part in, last year’s Everly Brothers tribute at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and playing with Spinal Tap.