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Showing posts from 2008

Various Artists - Just In Time For Christmas (1990)

I would like to belatedly thank the person who posted a response on this blog last year, making me aware of a Christmas song by Klark Kent (a.k.a. Stewart Copeland) which did not appear on the Kollected Works CD. The song “Yo Ho Ho” was part of a 13-track various artists CD called Just In Time For Christmas, which was released in 1990 on the now-defunct I.R.S. Records. Those who appreciate the rest of the Klark Kent repertoire will enjoy this comical Yuletide song as well. If I didn’t know better, I would think that Copeland’s jokey vocals on the song were mimicking the style of Psychedelic Furs singer Richard Butler.

There are other enjoyable items on the CD as well, by other artists who recorded for the Miles Copeland-run label. This collection generally eschews the classics and covers that fill current holiday CDs in favor of originals, although there are some familiar tunes here, including a sincere minimalist treatment of “Silent Night” and a reverent Steve Hunter guitar instrumen…

Van Halen's Legendary M&M's Rider

The folks at the Smoking Gun website have provided me with a hilarious '80's flashback. They have published Van Halen's infamous 1982 concert contract rider that stipulates that no brown M&M's should ever be included in their backstage servings. Here it is:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/1211081vanhalen1.html

Here is what the Smoking Gun site says about the rider:

While the underlined rider entry has often been described as an example of rock excess, the outlandish demand of multimillionaires, the group has said the M&M provision was included to make sure that promoters had actually read its lengthy rider. If brown M&M's were in the backstage candy bowl, Van Halen surmised that more important aspects of a performance--lighting, staging, security, ticketing--may have been botched by an inattentive promoter.

While the concert riders of famous musicians are now old news, it is revealing to thumb through the 53-page VH rider to see examples of …

Did Coldplay rip off Joe Satriani?

American rock guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani is suing Coldplay, claiming that the title track from the Britpop band's 2008 album Viva La Vida "copied and incorporated substantial original portions" of his 2004 track "If I Could Fly". Hmmm...Coldplay stealing from Satch? When I first heard this, I thought it sounded almost as unlikely as, say, Avril Lavigne ripping off the Rubinoos. It is hardly uncommon for two songs to resemble each other purely by coincidence. In fact, Coldplay were already accused of stealing that song's melody from an obscure Brooklyn band called Creaky Boards. But this clever YouTube video supports Satriani's claim quite well:



Maybe Coldplay should have asked Satch's permission to sample it. Just kidding. In any case, the plagiarism-or-coincidence argument may boil down to this question: How likely is it that Coldplay listen to Joe Satriani?

Led Zeppelin to tour without Robert Plant?

The notion of Led Zeppelin without its legendary frontman Robert Plant seems unthinkable to many, but apparently not to the other surviving members of Led Zep. Billboard.com reports that Led Zep may tour with Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy if Plant will not come on board. Here's what the article says:

Kennedy has rehearsed with Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones and drummer Jason Bonham on several occasions, according to sources in the know. In a recent BBC interview, Jones confirmed the band was planning to tour but didn't refer to Kennedy by name.

Although he was onboard for a one-off reunion in December 2007 in London, Plant has steadfastly declined to hit the road with Zeppelin. In late September, he issued a statement saying he has "no intention whatsoever of touring with anyone for at least the next two years," and also wished Page, Jones and Bonham "nothing but success with any future projects."

Hmmm. To my ears, Kennedy sounds li…

Dr Pepper is making good on their Guns N' Roses offer

Earlier this year, the people at the Dr Pepper soft drink company promised that if the new Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy was released before the end of 2008, everyone in America would get a free can of the soda. They probably felt safe making this bet, but as fate would have it, the much-delayed GNR album is scheduled for release on November 23rd of this year. So the beverage company is keeping its word. Here's how it will work: fans are asked to visit DrPepper.com on the November 23rd release date and register online to receive a coupon for a 20-oz. Dr Pepper redeemable wherever the drink is sold. Here's the catch: the coupon will only be available for 24 hours and will expire on February 28th.

By the way, if you haven't yet heard the first single, which is the album's title track, you can listen to it (legally) here:

http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003876302

It sounds half-interesting, but I hope it's not the best …

"Original rapper" Rudy Ray Moore dies

Rudy Ray Moore, the raunchy '70's comedian, died this past Sunday, October 19th, from complications caused by diabetes. The Associated Press story says that Moore was 81, but some sources are saying he was born in 1937, which (if correct) would make him 71 at the time of his death. Surprisingly enough, the AP article states that his mother is still living! Moore is best remembered as the producer/star of Dolemite, a quite awful 1975 blaxploitation flick in which he played (I kid you not) a kung fu pimp.

Moore has been called "the original rapper", and he is probably as deserving of that title as anyone. The recorded history of rap music basically begins in 1979, but Moore was doing it at least four years before then, as this clip from Dolemite demonstrates. (Warning: profanity is contained therein).

One quote from the AP article is quite revealing:


Moore said he developed the (toasting) style, later a feature of rap music, by listening to men sitting outside joints &quo…

Alex Chilton "1970"

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I've completed my 17th Spotlight Album Review. The subject is Alex Chilton's "1970", a solo album which was recorded during the title year by the former lead singer of the Box Tops and Big Star, but which was unreleased until 1996. The CD is out of print, but fans of any of Chilton's work are advised to search it out. It actually serves as the missing link between several phases of Chilton's strange career. Here is the review:

http://rarebird9.net/chilton.html

Dennis Wilson "Bambu"

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I recently picked up the new deluxe edition of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue, the 1977 solo album from the late Beach Boys drummer. The remastering job done on the CD is very good. The album could be described as a '70's variation on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, but with much grittier vocals. Although I am still not a great admirer of the album (as many others seem to be), it was worthwhile to upgrade to CD from my ancient cassette copy. It is now easier to appreciate the musical arrangements, although Dennis' worn and ragged singing voice is still a flaw in my view. "River Song", "What's Wrong", "Time", and "You And I" are tracks that I am happy to program my CD player to play, sometimes repeatedly. In addition to the 12 original album tracks, the Pacific Ocean Blue disc features four bonus tracks. Two of them, "Tug Of Love" and "Only With You", are basically more of the same. The other two bonus …

Dennis Wilson's "Pacific Ocean Blue" CD reissue coming June 17th

Sony Legacy will be releasing a deluxe edition of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue on June 17th, 2008. The long-unavailable 1977 album was the only released solo album from the late Beach Boys drummer, who died from drowning in 1983. This edition will be released in 2-CD and 3-LP formats, which will not only feature bonus tracks for the original album but will also feature the entire unreleased Bambu album, which was intended to be Dennis' second solo release.

This will be a dream come true for many Beach Boys fans, some of whom regard Pacific Ocean Blue as a long-lost masterpiece. Personally, I do not share this view of the album. Although it did prove that Dennis could withstand comparison to his brother Brian in the songwriting and production departments, Pacific Ocean Blue suffers from a tragic flaw: Dennis' vocals. The aging Beach Boy's voice had become worn and ragged, and it tended to clash with the album's well-crafted arrangements. Pacific Ocean Blue is a…

Nine years!

It has now been nine years since I first made my website Rarebird's Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews viewable to the public. Time is certainly flying, because it seems like only yesterday that I was surprised that eight years had passed since the beginning. I've probably made fewer additions to the site in the past 12 months than in any previous 12-month period in the last nine years. The reason is because I have basically accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with the site. However, I will continue to make updates and additions as I see fit, and I will point them out on this blog when I do. In the meantime, I want to once again thank everyone who has visited and supported the site over the years. I hope to keep the site online for many more.

Reissues of Alice Cooper's first two albums

The folks at Rhino Records are reissuing the first two Alice Cooper albums on CD on June 10th. The albums Pretties For You (1969) and Easy Action (1970) were quirky low-budget recordings that were originally released on Frank Zappa’s Straight label. Both had previously been available on CD from the Enigma label, which has been defunct for over a decade.

Alice Cooper was the band name in the beginning; lead singer Vincent Furnier later took the name for himself when he went “solo” in 1975. Although the original band did not yet become masters of shock rock when the first two albums were released, they had already achieved a different type of notoriety. Zappa signed them to his label for the opposite reason that most artists get signed: they had a rep for clearing out the venues in which they played, and Zappa admired them for it.

On the debut album Pretties For You, Alice and company gleefully explored bizarre musical ground that he/they never revisited. Whenever I have played the album…

Rainy Day (1984)

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Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #16 has now been added to the site. The subject is a 1984 covers album titled Rainy Day, which was put together by David Roback (formerly of Rain Parade, Opal, and Mazzy Star). The album was recorded by a loose collective of musicians from the early-'80's California music scene known as the "Paisley Underground", including two members of the then-little-known Bangles. The review is here:

http://rarebird9.net/rainyday.html

I've learned that this album was the inspiration for the 2006 album Under the Covers, Vol. 1, a similar-minded covers CD recorded by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. I came across this interview with Sweet and Hoffs from '06, which is mainly about Under the Covers, but there is also some discussion about Rainy Day in the second half of the interview.

10,000 hits on the home page!

Today, the web counter on the Rarebird's Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews home page finally surpassed 10,000 hits. The site has been online since 1999, but it bears mentioning that more than 8,000 of these visits were logged since mid-2004. For the first five years of my site's existence, it only had a counter on the links page. (You don't want to know why). And, after five years, that counter had only registered about 1800 hits. As I recall, I was actually beginning to think that no one was visiting the site anymore, simply because no one was visiting the links page. Finally, I installed a working hit counter on the home page around June of 2004, and learned that my site is visited nearly every day. In the nearly four years since, the home page has been visited more than 8,000 times, while the links page has only been visited about 400 times. I'll never know how many visits the home page got during the first five years, but there's no point in crying over spilt milk. …