Saturday, February 28, 2015

Guilty Confession

I have to confess something. The summer of 1988, I saw Richard Marx in concert three times.  His first album was great. It was the soundtrack to that year.  I rediscovered it in adding CDs to the cloud.  On relistening, I really enjoyed it all over again.

Before you go hating on Richard Marx and yes almost everything he did after this- save for the single Hazard- is a rehash of this album. But if he had to rehash anything this album is great.  Anyone of my age remembers slow dancing to Endless Summer Nights or Hold On To The Nights. Hum lots of love songs about nights on this album??

The album starts with Should've Known Better, a great love gone wrong track, once again lots of love songs on this album.  The first single, Don't Mean Nothing, is great rock song and wonderful take on California and the entertainment industry.  This track was special with Richard Marx's background. In writing songs and trying to break into the music industry he must have really felt the lyrics.

Reviewing the tracks on the album, I noticed something that happened a lot in the days of cassettes, the first side is all the hits.  Why this happened I don't know. I know Journey's Frontiers and some Billy Joel albums from the 80s are this way.  I am not saying the 2nd side of this album is bad just not the hits.

The first Richard Marx album is so worth a listen, most of the tracks stand the test of time and the ones that don't are nostalgic.  Till next time, be good to your ears- they are worth it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The too Dangerous to be released Prince

Once again, back in 80 something, Prince was the very talented Bad Boy.  I loved and still love him.  He always pushed the envelope in the sexual areas and, if not double meaning in his lyrics, he out an out talked about sex.  He was very taboo back then.

The Black Album from his Royal Purpleness was to follow up Sign of the Times, an album I have reviewed earlier and still consider his best, The Black album was pulled before release.  Many different rumors on why the pull but mainly I heard Warner Brothers thought it was too dirty.  I never fully believed that one because if you have seen the album cover to LoveSexy, the album that came out instead The Black Album is the one with a naked Prince on the cover so that rumor makes no sense.  Any how, I heard a few bootleg tracks here and there. On a side note, one of the bootlegs I heard during this time period was Prince and Miles Davis.  Those bootleg tracks weren't of great quality but wow the music was awesome! 

94 comes along and Warner Brothers finally releases the album. Of course, I buy it!  Ah I won't say disappointed in what I heard - more underwhelmed at the lack of the Dirtiness.  That being said the dirtiness was probably there in 87 but no longer as shocking in 94.  Funny how much had changed in music over that time period.  With Hip Hop coming along and dominating in those years the words used and terms used to describe women and sex really changed.  Prince seemed checky, erotic and fun, Hip Hop just was too blunt at that time. 

That being said the music is as awesome ever for a Prince album and some of the tracks should have been classics on this album.  The first working title of the album was The Funk Bible and it would have really fit. The tracks are very early Prince funky.  It starts with Le Grind and the dance tracks continue from there.  Cindy C is  dedicated to Supermodel Cindy Crawford and is another solid track.  Dead On It is a song that came too late, a wonderful swipe at Hip Hop of the time.  Rock Hard in a Funky place is classic dirty Prince. It is a funny track about being rock hard at an inappropriate place, if you know what we mean. 

The stand out track - and I could write a whole blog on -  is Bob George.  A song about a man who isn't very likable and doesn't like Prince, "The Skinner MF'er with the high pitch voice."  The song is so different and out there it is one of my favorites and quoted often by me and my friends. 

I wish the album had been released when it was supposed to be, but it is a classic.  Maybe the long mystery of the album helped but I don't think so.  As for the genius of Prince, it showed that the naughtiness wasn't what made him it was the music.

Til the next time, be good to your ears -  they deserve it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Early Joel

Back in 1980 something, I asked for an album by Billy Joel for Christmas.  As mentioned in the earlier post I was raised on 70's AM radio and Billy Joel was one of the giants of that era.  I must of been in either 6th or 7th grade, early teens, and just learning what kind of music I wanted to listen to.  I received Songs in The Attic by Billy Joel, not one of his big hit albums, which turned out to be wonderful.

Now I don't know how my parents chose this album but a good friend of mine at the time made a very smart ass comment that it was a kind of album that a parent would buy.  He was sort of right but I guess this helped  me to learn about early Billy Joel and the tracks on albums that aren't big hits.
This whole album is not exactly big hits.  When Mr. Joel started out he worked with studio musicians on his first few albums.  After a few years he got a band together and preferred the way they sounded on the early songs.  So the new Live versions on the songs were put together in a new album.  The new versions are great. 

The album starts with Miami 2017 a post apocalyptic tale of New York city and the driving of the song and the crowd really stand out live and shows why he picked the songs to be on this live album. I also really enjoyed Streetlife Serenader, Everyone Loves You Know. The last track, I've Loved These Days is a stand out, really shows the overindulgence and decadence of the 70's and how it is almost romantic.

I think this is a great album for people who have heard the Glass Houses and 52nd Street and want more.  I really enjoyed it and formed a lot of what I looked for in music.

Until next review be good to your ears and listen to the best

Thursday, February 5, 2015

For Dad

In earlier posts, I have mentioned Mark Benson who was a great influence on my music tastes. This post will focus on the other great influence on my music tastes and one of his favorite artist.

The other great influence on my music tastes is my father Dave Woolverton.  Some of my earliest memories are in the 70's in the Volkswagen listing to AM gold coming through the speakers.
Some of things I have noticed is how he really pays attention to the lyrics of a song and enjoys listening to the story especially if there are some good word play involved. Many of a time he has told me to listen to what the artist is saying and grins when I get the play on words or  the big reveal at the end of the song.  In fact, the artist in this post has a classic song that has a wonderful reveal at the end.

I would have to say my love for the singer/ songwriter and introduction to jazz and blues comes from my father.  As most children do, I branched out from there and went more hard rock and bebop than on the jazz side; but the ground work was laid from what I heard him play and enjoy.

Nancy Wilson is one of my father's favorite singers.  I know most of my generation will see the name Nancy Wilson and think of the Heart sisters, but this isn't her.  Nancy Wilson is a jazz signer from the 60's and 70's who really knows how to craft a story into a song with her voice.  She got her start thanks to Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.  In fact, a father's day gift from a few years back was an album of duets they did together. A must listen if you find it.

Spencer McGuire is a very old and dear friend who's father also loved Nancy Wilson.  I wanted to make sure he got a mention in the post, especially since the CD I will be reviewing is a Christmas gift from him. 

Turned to Blue was released in 2006 and is Nancy's most recent release.  While not the fan my father is I can really appreciate this CD and have enjoyed the story teller that she is.  Smooth and mellow it is a great listen for a Sunday Brunch or an afternoon reading with some coffee.  For a introduction to what Jazz singers really should be this CD would be a good start.