Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Best Of Both Worlds

Ellis Marsalis, 1934-2020
Adam Schlesinger, 1967-2020

My heart is heavy.

It's not that I wasn't already afraid.
Or that I needed faces to go with the stats.
Or that I thought this would all just disappear.

But maybe I wasn't so afraid.
Maybe I did need to be shaken up.
Maybe I did try to just do what I was told for awhile, and it would go away.

I promised myself Burning Wood would be the happy distraction until all of this was over. But yesterday was difficult.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Be well. Stay safe.

Thanks Adam.
Thanks Ellis.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Concert Memories #1: Rickie Lee Jones, Pier 84 NYC, 8/10/82

Attending live music is a thing of the past...temporarily, of course. And since I have some time on my hands, I thought I'd revisit some of the most memorable shows I've attended since my very first concert in 1974. I welcome all of you to do the same, if you are so inclined.


I had not yet been sold on Rickie Lee. Honestly, I didn't like "Chuck E's In Love" at all, and her performance on Saturday Night Live left me cold. What the hell was she singing...or thinking? But, it may have been more my fault. I was caught up in punk, glam, skinny ties and of course, the hard rock now referred to as "classic" that WNEW-FM had been spinning on a regular basis.

Then, one afternoon while record shopping on Bleecker Street, my friend Joe, then working at Disco-Rama, played the first track off Rickie Lee's new album, "Pirates." The rest is history. "We Belong Together" knocked me out. Joe had been a fan long before her debut was released, claiming to be friends with Sal Bernardi, who sang and I believe co-wrote with Miss Jones. I have a vivid memory of Joe performing visual commentary, as I like to call it, as the rest of "Pirates" played. He'd use his hands to conduct the various points of seemingly impossible vocal tricks from Rickie Lee, the sweeping harmony that comes in the third verse of ""Living It Up," the hipster phrases and percussion in "Woody N Dutch." It was beyond entertaining, and truly helpful. Almost 40 years later, I tend to do all of those moves myself whenever I listen to "Pirates," which remains my favorite record of RLJ's.

That summer, the Dr. Pepper Concert Series on Pier 84, was star-studded. Looking at the schedule, it appears that I attended a dozen shows between June 25th and September 1st, double bills that included Duran Duran/Split Enz, Joe Jackson/Marshall Crenshaw, King Crimson/The Alley Cats,  Cheap Trick/Axe (one of the loudest concerts I had ever witnessed and it was outdoors), Elvis Costello/Talk Talk, as well as Todd Rundgren, Weather Report and Miles Davis. But it was Rickie Lee's show that made a lasting impression and it was thanks to Joe and his assisted listening manoeuvres during "Pirates" that sent me there.

The show ran well over two hours. She had a rack of outfits on stage that she would "shop" through and often change behind from song to song. There were covers, "My Funny Valentine," "I Won't Dance," "Walk Away Renee," "I'll Be There," possibly a few more. The band played extended jams, occasionally swinging like the Count Basie Orchestra, and then getting a bit funky like Earth, Wind & Fire. Rickie Lee told jokes and broke hearts. It was nothing like I had seen prior. The show made me a fan for life.

Years later, when I had my shop, if I played Rickie Lee, someone would inevitably strike up a conversation, sometimes heaping praise, and others claiming "I just don't get her." One person was at the same show in 1982 and he remembered it differently, calling it a shambles, saying Rickie Lee seemed out of it and the band phoned it in. Not how I remember it at all. It still ranks high on my list of all time favorites shows.

Monday, March 30, 2020


Original Split Enz members Tim Finn, Eddie Rayner and Noel Crombie, along with Roxy Music guitarist and original Split Enz producer Phil Manzanera started hanging around together after a 40 year layoff. During their catch-up, they managed to form a band and record an album. The band is Forenzics and the first single "Walking" is out now, though as far as I can tell, it is only viewable on Eddie Rayner's Facebook page. I see nothing on YouTube. But I like the song a lot and so I wanted to share the news. If you are a fan of Finn or Phil or the Enz, click on this link and give the song a spin.

h/t hpunch

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Songs Of The Week, 2020: 3/21-3/27

Couldn't Love You More- John Martyn
Toy Soldier- Four Seasons
Dreamtime- Daryl Hall
Why- The Byrds
Down On My Knees- Bread
Love Is Not Enough- Nine Inch Nails
Willin'- Little Feat


Couldn't Love You More- John Martyn
It may be sacrilege to some, but I prefer the Phil Collins produced version of this John Martyn gem, and that's what we have here.

Toy Soldier- Four Seasons
I have a vivid memory of sitting on my Uncle's speedboat which was parked on his lawn in Far Rockaway and hearing this song on WABC through a little transistor. For that reason, this will always be a fave Four Seasons track.

Dreamtime- Daryl Hall
Daryl Hall's second solo record "Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine" is a fantastic piece of work. It's power pop, funk and soul with some of Hall's best material, including a gorgeous cameo by Joni Mitchell on "Right As Rain," and this track, the first single, which was covered by Elvis Costello on his 1986 "Spinning Wheel" tour. Yes, the album does suffer a bit from LOUD and HOT 80's production, but the songs are so good, you let Daryl off the hook. It wasn't his fault. It was the decade.

Why- The Byrds
I watched "Remember My Name," the David Crosby documentary. (No menton of his horrible visit to my shop in 2004. Idiot.) I quite liked it and of course, needed to hear all the music and artists seen and discussed in the film. Listened to The Byrds and decided to share this one.

Down On My Knees- Bread
Speaking of David Crosby, his "Lady Friend" might just be my favorite Byrds track, which made me think of The Posies who recorded a stunning cover, which brought me to this Bread track, which was covered by Ken Stringfellow of The Posies. (No, I'm okay. Really.)

Love Is Not Enough- Nine Inch Nails
I know many choose soft music, or wordless music, or soothing music to help through difficult times. For me, it doesn't matter. Occasionally, something loud, throbbing and aggressive does the trick, as well. "With Teeth" is my favorite Nine Inch Nails, and one of my favorite albums of the last 20 years. Give the album a try, if you are up for it.

Willin'- Little Feat
One of the greatest songs ever written. I needed to hear it.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Deep Cut Six Pack Volume Twelve: New Orleans Edition

Needless to say, a lot has been cancelled, including both French Quarter Fest and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. I don't want to get into the bad news. We know it. We are here for the music. So, with New Orleans on my mind, I offer up a Deep Cut Six Pack.

Keep the spirit.

Laissez le bons temps rouler.

And wash those damn hands.

Immigrant Song- Tin Men
Poor Boy Got To Move- Allen Toussaint & The Stokes
Southern Man- John Boutte
Okemah- The Iguanas
When The Party's Over- Jon Cleary
Grow Too Old- Bobby Charles


Oh...and here's a new Bob Dylan song.

Thursday, March 26, 2020