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Lana Del Rey under other names

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The American art-pop singer Lana Del Rey (real name: Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) has fashioned a form of dream pop that has been described as “beach noir” and “Hollywood sadcore”, painting hazy pictures of a Southern California that is as seamy as it is steamy, backed by mood music that is sometimes orchestral, sometimes languid, always cinematic. She has also crafted an image of herself as a contemporary tragic icon, a sort of modern-day Marilyn Monroe, and uses symbols of Americana in her lyrics and visuals to add flavor to her often sordid tales of troubled young women who seek out relationships with unsavory men. As of this writing, the singer is showing signs of a stylistic shift towards more commercial terrain with her 2017 album Lust For Life, but I’ll leave it to others to discuss that. I’m here to talk about her rare self-titled digital album from 2010, which predated her official 2012 debut album Born To Die. This album, titled Lana Del Ray A.K.A. Lizzy Grant, was available d…

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 32: Dead Weather "Live At The Mayan, Los Angeles"

The 32nd set of exclusive vinyl items offered to Platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in June of 2017. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist as well. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (one full-length album and one 7” single) to its Platinum members every three months.

The 32nd Vault package featured three items by the Dead Weather, the Goth-rock band consisting of Jack White on drums, Alison Mosshart (from the Kills) on lead vocals, Dean Fertita (from Queens Of The Stone Age) on guitar and keyboards, and Jack Lawrence (from the Raconteurs and the Greenhornes) on bass. The package contains a 2-LP live album recorded in 2009, a DVD documenting the same concert, and a 7-inch single containing two songs from the band’s 2015 album Dodge And Burn.

The live double-LP…

Gregg Allman and Cher as Allman And Woman

By now, you have probably heard about the passing of Gregg Allman, who died on May 27th at the age of 69. During his lifetime, the legendary blues rocker -- who was a key figure in the creation of the Southern rock genre in the '70's -- was married seven times, the most famous of his ex-wives being none other than Cher (aka Cherilyn Sarkisian). Allman was married to the iconic pop singer/actress from 1975 until 1979, when the Allman Brothers Band became temporarily inactive, and at a point in time when the "Goddess Of Pop" was having more success as a TV variety show hostess than as a recording artist. Show business has always been known to make strange bedfellows, but the marital union between the Southern rock pioneer and the erstwhile Sonny & Cher entertainer made for an even odder coupling than most. Their stormy marriage inspired many tabloid headlines, showing its first public signs of trouble after only one week.

This unlikely pair seemed like the least

Eighteen!

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Cue the Alice Cooper music, 'cause it's eighteen! That's how many years it has been since the day my website, Rarebird's Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews, first "went live" on May 31, 1999. Even though a zillion things have changed since then, it's hard for me to believe it's been that many years since I first began to build the website. Anyone who was born the same day or year as my site is now becoming a legal adult!



"Adulthood" may or may not be a good analogy for the site, because I shudder to think about how old the site may be in website years. In recent months, I've felt more future shock than usual about the age of my site. Personal websites like mine have become "rare birds" in themselves due to their decline in popularity since 2004 or so, when the growth of blogs (like the one you are reading now) and social media resulted in easier ways for people to express themselves on the internet.

Personally, I've never thou…

The Cars "Live At The Agora, 1978" (2017 Record Store Day release)

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The Cars Live At The Agora, 1978 was a 2-LP set issued on Record Store Day 2017, limited to 5,000 copies. It was a previously unreleased recording of a concert performed by the Boston new wave quintet at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 1978. This concert took place the month after the release of the band’s platinum-selling self-titled debut album, which found success among both new wave enthusiasts and mainstream rock listeners. The 13 live cuts are spread out across the first three LP sides; the fourth side has an etching of a Cars “tire tread” logo designed by drummer David Robinson.

During this concert, the band performed all nine of the songs from the debut album, as well as "Night Spots", which later turned up on their second album, Candy-O. All of those songs maintain the same mixture of new wave tension and rock and roll accessibility that graced the studio versions. As they did on record, Ocasek and the late Benjamin Orr alternated the lead vocal …

David Bowie "Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74)" (2017 Record Store Day release)

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David Bowie's Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74) was a 3-LP set issued on Record Store Day 2017, limited to 17,000 vinyl copies worldwide. It was the first official release of a much-bootlegged live concert recording from September 5, 1974 at the Los Angeles Amphitheatre. The 20 live cuts are spread out across the first five LP sides; the sixth side has an etching of the same Diamond Dogs-era "BOWIE" logo that appears on the front cover. This album was mixed by Tony Visconti in the fall of 2016. The album is going to be released as a 2-CD set on June 16th, first in a limited-edition digipack, then in a standard jewelcase package.

Footage from this concert had appeared in the 1975 BBC TV documentary titled Cracked Actor. Bowie’s supporting players for this show consisted of some of the same musicians who worked on his 1975 album Young Americans, which was a work in progress at that time. These players included guitarists Earl Slick and Carlos Alomar, flute and sax …

Sting "Live At The Bataclan" (2017 Record Store Day EP)

For Record Store Day 2017, Sting issued the six-song EP Live At The Bataclan. Limited to 3,500 copies, the EP contained six live cuts from the former Police frontman’s November 2016 concert at the Bataclan theatre in Paris. That concert officially reopened the doors of that venue one year after the terrorist attack that took place there in November of 2015.

This concert was performed one day after the release of 57TH & 9TH, which was Sting’s first rock and roll album in 13 years. The two selections from that album, “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You” and “One Fine Day”, have a straight-ahead rock sound, and have the most immediate appeal, thanks in large part to the guitar sounds provided by the supporting players. Sting and company also perform two of his well-known Police hits, “Message In A Bottle” and “Every Breath You Take”, which are both given respectable treatment. But the two most memorable tracks are drawn from Sting’s 1987 solo album …Nothing Like The Sun. The gentle “F…

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes "Live At Jones Beach" EP (2017 Record Store Day release)

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On Record Store Day 2017, a live EP from Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes was issued. Limited to 4,000 numbered copies and pressed in white-and-black-marbled vinyl, Live At Jones Beach contained three live cuts performed together by the Led Zeppelin guitarist and the Southern rock band at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY on July 10, 2000. (Thus, these recordings are drawn from a later show than the 1999 concert documented on the 2000 double-album Live At The Greek). All three of this EP's selected songs were Led Zeppelin songs.

Page and the Crowes were a good musical match, as the Crowes' penchant for retro-'70's rock made them better equipped than most bands to help Page recreate the Led Zeppelin sound. One common criticism of this teaming was that Crowes drummer Steve Gorman was less impressive than Led Zep's legendary John Bonham -- but what living drummer isn't? Gorman is a fine drummer on his own smaller scale, and the band’s chemistry with Page resulte…