Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fantasy: 2015 Edition

I finally got around to watching the recent Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame concert on HBO. As usual, I was entertained, even if the whole shebang is suspect. I was particularly moved by all things Bill Withers, including Stevie Wonder's rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine," while Withers sat by his side, visibly moved himself.

It was this performance, along with two new releases, Franz Ferdinand's collaboration with Sparks and the upcoming Richard Thompson record produced by Jeff Tweedy that reminded of something I believe I posted twice before, but thought it would be fun to revisit. The original piece titled "It's All Part Of My Rock & Roll Fantasy" was posted in September, 2010 and it posed the question, "What musical projects would be on your fantasy list?"

Here is my original list, which five years on, looks even less like a reality than it did back then. (Though #2 did mostly come true. Maybe Tony Visconti read my piece.)

1. Bill Withers with Joe Henry or Rick Rubin producing, an acoustic soul record with no gimmicks. (Though, some may think having Rick Rubin on board is a gimmick.)

2. David Bowie dumps Tony Visconti as a producer, and strips everything down for a new record. Visconti and Bowie have been long time collaborators, and I happen to really like the last few Bowie records, especially "Heathen" and "Reality." But, I often wonder how much better those records would be if every inch of tape hadn't been utitlized. Visconti's production is so bombastic, it's hard to discern what's being played by which instrument.

3. The Jules Shear/Marshall Crenshaw record. In the early 90's these two wrote together and played a few rare live dates together. This really was magic. Their voices had an Everlys quality that worked perfectly over their pop tunes.

4. Speaking of duets, how about the Daryl Hall/Todd Rundgren record? Todd's appearance on Daryl's internet program, Live From Daryl's House was the perfect preview of the magic these two can make when in the same room.

5. A Paul McCartney acoustic/ballads record.

6. Speaking of Macca, how about that McCartney/McManus record? Paul and Elvis already have a dozen demos in the can. And they are really good, so...

7. A friend says,  "When I die, don't let Don Was touch any of my records." How about Mick & Keith and Charlie and Darryl, if Bill won't do it, and maybe Mick T. along with Ronnie, just make a country/rock record with no outside producer and no special guests or female vocalists.

8. Roy Wood backed by Cheap Trick. They've covered Roy enough, and Roy's voice can still make you weep. But he needs to ditch the all-girl horn section, and really get the comeback on track.

I've come up with a few more since 2010.

9.  Speaking, as I do, of Todd Rundgren, I am still waiting for that grown-up, back to basics piano record.

10. A Roxy Music record that sounds like Roxy Music and not solo Bryan Ferry. Yes, we are light years from the glammy, Eno-treated heyday of their first two records, but Ferry's "Olympia" was damn good and showed signs of life.

11. John Hiatt- Bring The Family 2- a magical lineup that featured Nick Lowe, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner on the original, I'd love to see a full on collaboration again.

12. A Jeff Lynne project featuring new songs with live instruments and less "splat" sounding drums.

What's in your wallet? (Oh wait, wrong post.)

What are some of your dream records?


Anonymous said...

I'll second the grown up piano Todd album - been waiting for that one for years. How 'bout Pete T. giving up on his concept albums and re-interpretations of Who records and giving us a good ol' LP of Rough Mix/Empty Glass type songs? Randy

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

I definitely second your emotion ona McCartney acoustic album and a reprise of that particular John Hiatt configuration. Oh, and, of course, the Bill Withers fantasy. Never gonna happen, though. Here's my off the top of my head fantasy list....some of which would require a time machine. I wish:
- Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane make another album of standards. Their one album should be required listening in schools as a shining example of the American musical legacy.
- Sweets Edison made another album with Johnny Hodges. Listen to the "Back to Back" and refer to my comment above.
- that KD Lang would record (and tour) with the Mavericks. The thought of Lang and Raul Malo together makes my ears tingle.
- that Dave Edmunds would collaborate with...someone...anyone!
- somewhat related to Edmunds, I wish that some young country female singer would call up Billy Bremner and suggest a country-rock-pop collaboration. Kind of an update to the Robert Gordon/Link Wray idea. Someone help me fill in the blanks on this one.
- totally out of left-field....I wish the Swedish folk-pop duo, First Aid Kit, would collaborate with Ray Davies. Before you bum-rush me out of here, listen to FAK do Waterloo Sunset:

And....back to you.....


Anonymous said...

John Doe always works well with woman vocalists (Kathleen Edwards, Jill Sobule). Maybe teaming up with Emmylou Harris would get her out of her comfort zone.

people move on, but I wish Steve Earle would recovene the Will Rigby/Eric Ambel version of the Dukes.

are we talking only feasible projects? because Alice Cooper fronting Bob Stinson-era Replacements would be the end.

Talk Talk's "Laughingstock" is a favorite of mine. I would like to hear Mark Hollis back in a band setting and given free rein, maybe on ECM.

William Repsher said...

Back in the 90s, I was always hoping either The Black Crowes or Marah would kidnap Rod Stewart, take him to a barn somewhere in Appalachia, and make him use their talents to put together an album like he used to. At this point, I'd settle for Rod, Ron Wood and Kenny jones reconvening to do a tribute album to Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan. Not holding my breath.

Why every major artist doesn't open up the closet and let out all the demos surrounding a classic album, I have no idea. It's money in everybody's pocket, fans crave those stripped-down versions of great songs, and these guys go on making money. If they're thinking, "But that would lower the standard of quality my fans expect" ... really for most artists, demos from their golden age are light years beyond their last handful of albums!

At this point I'm much more interested in remixes. With the tools available now with digital, songs can be reimagined in so many ways. I'm coming across this constantly on youtube. Most remixes are terrible, but every now and then ... try the Reflex Revision of the Jackson 5's "ABC." Mindblowing what some people are doing with their computers.

ASWAN said...

Great post! Never really thought about this question until this post:

1. Bill Nelson re-forms Be-Bop Deluxe and delivers a "pop"/"mainstream" album
2. Cheap Trick produces an album with Jeff Lynne (Jeff co-writes also)
3. Tom Petty and Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem) together
4. Roger Clyne (Refreshments) backed by the E-Street Band
5. Paul McCartney and David Myhr produced by Linus of Hollywood
6. Bob Geldof doing an R&B album (lots of horns)
7. Little Steven and Bruce Springsteen doing an album of Little Steven songs...

Ken D said...

I know a lot of the time tribute albums fall short but if they could be done right I'd like to see someone put together tributes to Randy Newman and John Prine.

Mark said...

I'd like to see either Robyn Hitchcock or Lloyd Cole working with The Church or David Kilgour.

A Guy Called Tak said...

My dream-team project.
1. Brian Wilson solo produced by Lindsey Buckingham, Andy Partridge or John Cale.
2. Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones duet album (I know it's impossible, but...)

And, yes, I'd like to see Todd/Daryl collaboration someday soon. I can almost taste it!

hpunch said...

I was hoping for Sparks to go back to playing with a full, rocking band,,, oh wait. FFS comes out today.
A Squeeze reunion, .... oh wait, they just finished recording a new album,
I wondered what would a Jeff Tweedy produced Richard Thompson would sound like, oh wait, he produced Richard Thompson new album coming out this month....

Still waiting.
Ray Davies recording a collection of songs he wrote and demoed for his various musicals. Without seeing his friends.
I've heard that Pete Townshend wanted to record an album with Ray Davies, and that became Rough Mix with Ronnie Lane.
A classic, but I'd still love to hear what Ray and Pete could do. Even if it's a concept album.
Another Jon Brion album.
Paul McCartney produced by Mr. Brion.
The Rails produced by Ethan Johns.

cmealha said...

I'll take 4,6,8 and 9

tinpot said...

Someone bluesy to do for Gladys Knight what Jeff Tweedy did for Mavis Staples. GK has sung a couple of songs with BB King to hint at what sort of blues singer she can be, tho BB and the material was a bit too mellow.
Gladys plus a tight band with a mean guitarist, some classic blues songs, NO PIPS AND NO STRINGS and you have a winner.

mauijim said...

Sheryl Crow needs some help, she seems to have lost her way so a duet lp with Gregg Allman or Steve Earle could recreate the magic Alison and Robert had on their duets lp produced by Booker T Jones ala Stardust.

Troy said...

I'd like for Joe Jackson to make a new studio album of original material, one that is a worthy successor to Rain. Of course, he could put the JJ Band back together and make Volume 5 and I wouldn't complain either.

I'd like for Bruce Springsteen to make a straight up rock and roll record - - no pennywhistles, no jigs. E Street Band would be good, but come to think of it, he should do something with a 4 piece combo and just rock out.

Allen Toussaint and Lyle Lovett recently performed together on stage. I'd love to hear that or any collaboration between those two.

Bombshelter Slim said...

I'm still waiting for the Emmylou Harris/Chrissie Hynde album, it's been many moons since their version of "She" on the Gram tribute whetted my appetite... and as far as Tweedy and Mavis Staples, don't forget that Ry Cooder did it first: there's a whole other can of worms!!

Bill said...

I third the John Hiatt suggestion--that was a great band.

I'd like to see a Richard Thompson/Loudon Wainwright album. They've toured together, and Thompson has played on some of Loudon's albums, but it sure would be nice to hear a full album of them together.

And in that vein, an Elvis Costello/Nick Lowe duet album would be great too.

Anonymous said...


Does the Little Village album count as "Bring the Family, part 2"? In any case, I would love to hear Hiatt/Lowe/Cooder/Keltner back together.

Likewise, a Lowe reunion with Rockpile would sound good as well. (Dave Edmunds has been making music again but has had some health issues.)

Hiatt and Lyle Lovett have toured together quite a bit over the last few years so an album could be a possibility.

Given Hiatt's songwriting, an all female tribute album sounds like a worthy endeavor to me, given the success that Bonnie Raitt and Rosanne Cash had years ago.

For others:
I'd like to hear Robin Trower and Bryan Ferry do a full album together.
Ry Cooder and David Lindley should do record with a full band. Otherwise, I'd like to hear another El-Rayo-X album from Lindley.
Steve Forbert produced by Jeff Tweedy could be a good project.
I like to see Eric Clapton put together a record based on the music of the 3 Kings (Albert/BB/Freddy)and do it in a stripped down format.
Steve Hackett and John Wetton with Brian Eno and Robert Fripp.

Michael D.

M_Sharp said...

There might be some friction in the "Bring The Family" band. I distinctly remember two radio interviews on World Cafe.

One was with Nick Lowe, maybe 10 years ago by now, and he was asked if there would be a Little Village reunion. The host said that Hiatt had mentioned it. Nick said he hadn't heard about it and added sarcastically "if John says it, then it must be true, because John knows everything". The host didn't push.

They also interviewed Ry Cooder at the time Buena Vista Social Club was released, and did a recap of his career. The host said when they came to the BTF/Little Village era, Cooder refused to talk. He just shook his head 'no' several times, and waved his hand emphatically to indicate he didn't want to talk.

Things may have changed since then.

Anonymous said...

Great post, and great comments. I agree with most of them, and I'd suggest Mandy Barnett be the female singer paired with Billy Bremner, both don't seem to be able to capture the scope of their magnificence with a live mic in front of them.

An Emmylou & Chrissie Hynde album would save me $$ as I already buy whatever either of them put out--despite having been disappointed a time or two.

I'm for anything that makes John Doe the gigantic mega-star he should have been 30 years ago, or pushes Rod Stewart to reclaim his former fire. That early period with The Faces is hard to beat. R.I.P. Ian MacLagan.

A Rockpile Reunion would be my #1 fantasy, and one that could conceivably happen.

Fantastic blog!


Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear a really thoughtful, soulful solo album by Todd Rundgren; or a Todd/Darryl Motown album; or a Todd/Daryl/Smokey album. I'd like to hear Todd arrange harmonies for The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie.

I'd like Brenden Urie from Panic! at the Disco to do a Broadway album.

Alice Cooper and The Black Angels or Linkin Park.

Amy Lee do a pop album with gothy lyrics. Band TBD.

The Decemberists and Metric.

The Downtown Fiction and No Doubt.

Cheap Trick & the All-American Rejects -"Dirty Little Secret" could have come right off CT's first album.

Now, who for the Offspring to pair up with? Bruce Springsteen?

I'm just having fun now.