NYCD: The Blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Hey music lovers! Just a quick note to mention a couple o'things.


The classic release from Paul Weller & the gang gets a beautiful rehaul. Disc one features the LP newly remastered, along with a whopping 14 bonus tracks, which include b sides, demos, and rarities. Disc two is a DVD featuring the Don Letts film "The Making Of All Mod Cons," which includes previously unseen live perfromances, promo clips, and new interviews with Paul, Bruce and Rick. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! This MAH-velous package also features new liner notes and a limited edition replica poster. HOLY UNION JACK, BATMAN! Act fast!

VARIOUS ARTISTS- "OH YOU PRETTY THINGS: THE SONGS OF DAVID BOWIE" Sure, you get "All The Young Dudes" by Mott The Hoople. But, what makes this 23 track compilation so appealing, is its inclusion of such long-lost gems as "Oh You Pretty Things" by Peter Noone, "The Man Who Sold The World" by Lulu, "Silver Tree Top School For Boys" by The Beatstalkers, tracks by Dana Gillespie, Mick Ronson, and Ava Cherry, and the piece de resistence, the brilliant Phil Spector-ish version of "Rock 'N' Roll With Me" by Donovan.

PETE SHELLEY- "HOMOSAPIEN" This classic from head Buzzcock is now remastered and includes 6 bonus tracks.

A superb collecton of everything you need by "Woody," newly remastered. Disc one features all the essential solo tracks from such albums as "I've Got My Own Album To Do," "Now Look, " and "1-2-3-4, " as well as a few rarities. Disc two features classic tracks from The Birds, The Creation, The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces, and ze Rolling Stones. 37 tracks in all.

Summer Concert Series
Our good friends over at CBS have begun their summer concerts series out on the plaza.
Join CBS The Early Show out on the Plaza @ 59th and 5th Ave to see these live, FREE performances.
Coming up this week: THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS! THIS FRIDAY, 6/30 AT 12:PM.


THE CBS EARLY SHOW- Summer Concert Series
June 30, 2006- Pussycat Dolls
July 7, 2006-
July 13, 2006-
Sheryl Crow
July 14, 2006-
July 21, 2006-
Daniel Powter
August 11, 2006-
Carrie Underwood
September 14, 2006-
Kenny Chesney

Monday, June 26, 2006





Sorry we're a few days late with the newsletter, but if you've been reading this blog, you'll see that we've been keeping busy. Scroll down to read about Smokey Robinson's killer new CD and why Tony hates boogieing hippie scum!


CHUCK BERRY - HAIL HAIL ROCK N' ROLL (DVD) - The brilliant Taylor Hackford concert film from 1986 captures a once-in-a-lifetime event that featured Chuck along with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, and tragically, Julian Lennon warbling a very nasal version of "Johnny B. Goode." Finally getting proper DVD release, it comes in both a 2 disc and 4 disc set. No matter how hard we try, however, we can't tell what the extra two DVDs include. Hopefully, not any more Julian Lennon.

PET SHOP BOYS - FUNDAMENTAL and FUNDAMENTALISM - The Boys' new CD gets stateside release, both as a single disc and a 2 CD deluxe version with features 8 additional tracks, 3 of which are unavailable on the standard album, and the other 5 being remixes of tracks from the single disc version.

RICHARD THOMPSON - 1000 YEARS OF POPULAR MUSIC (2 CDs/DVD) - We believe the story is as follows: Playboy magazine once asked Richard Thompson for a list of his favorite songs of all time. In typical snarky fashion, Thompson took them seriously and gave them songs dating as far back as 1260. Thompson took this one step further and decided to tour with this concept, playing versions of 16th century ballads about King Henry, traditional 17th century Victorian hymns, as well as hits by the Ink Spots, Nat King Cole, The Who and Britney Spears. You get both a DVD featuring the full performance as well as 2 CDs in this beautiful hardback package, with lots of annotation by Richard himself.


Two of my fave records from 1979 and 1982 get slapped together on one amazing collection from Raven Records in Australia. Tulsa pop idol DWIGHT TWILLEY sees arguably his two strongest releases, 1979's TWILLEY and 1982's SCUBA DIVERS, get remastered and released on CD for the very first time. Some of the best songs of Twilley's career appeared on both these records, including "I'm Back Again," "Alone In My Room," "Out Of My Hands," and "I Think It's That Girl." Also includes as a bonus the rare 1979 single version of "Somebody To Love," with its B-side, "Money (That's What I Want)." Twilley's unique vocals still stand out today.

THE HACIENDA BROTHERS - WHAT'S WRONG WITH RIGHT - This strong collection of Texas soul is produced by the legendary Dan Penn, and features some Penn-penned tunes.

BRAD MEHLDAU - HOUSE ON HILL and LOVE SUBLIME - "House On Hill" was recorded with his longtime trio partners, Larry Grenadier and Jorge Rossy, back in 2000. They went into the studio to record some originals and interpretations of the usual Mehldau selection of standards and rock tunes. The covers ended up on 2002's "Anything Goes," while the original material surfaces here for the first time. "Love Sublime" combines the work of both Mehldau and vocalist Renee Fleming for a seamless song cycle that could either be amazing or painful. We have not heard it yet.

Another fave of NYCDs, SKERIK, sax player extraordinaire from GARAGE A TROIS, releases his third solo LP and his second with his Syncopated Taint Septet. At times, Skerik can be a little too quirky for jazz purists, but on this new release, entitled HUSKY, he should keep the jazz snobs quiet with one of the strongest jazz releases of the year.

And now you know why we waited so long to write the newsletter! Not a whole lot of exciting new releases, although we stand by everything we've just mentioned. TO ORDER ANY OF THESE RELEASES, OR TO GET ANYTHING ELSE YOU MAY WANT, CALL (212) 244-3460 OR EMAIL HEYNYCD@AOL.COM!

DON'T FORGET, WE WANT YOUR CDs AND DVDs! We'll even give you money for them, if they're not crap! CALL OR EMAIL!



The New Cars/Blondie tour has officially been canceled. The official word is that it was nixed because Elliot Easton broke his clavicle. We think the $65-125 ticket price and the fact that Bea Arthur was fronting Blondie was the more likely culprit.

Your friends,
Jack, Meg and Betty White

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I work with two Deadheads. Or rather, one Deadhead and one guy who loves the music but also knows the value of a good bath. But you get the point. I've never liked the Dead. Not that I've listened to them much, or more than I have to, really. I've heard Anthem Of The Sun and the first album and Workingman's Dead and Reckoning and In The Dark and a few others, and snippets of plenty of bootlegs, and none of it has ever made much of an impression, except when the singing gets too out of tune and I frantically start looking for the nearest exit, or at least the nearest wall to smash my head into.

If my co-workers want to put on the Dead every time I leave the room and give me one of those "OK, party's over" looks when I come back, that's their business. But the other day, before I had a chance to go to the happy place in my head so I could avoid listening to Jerry and the boys, I was confronted by the more recent convert to Dead-dom. A man who, until about eight months ago, was on my side of the fence in the Dead-vs.-No-Dead debate, but has since switched sides enthusiastically.

"You know, Tony," said this fellow, whose name I shall not mention (but it rhymes with "Pal Shmunziato"), "I don't think it's that you don't like the Dead so much as you don't WANT to like the Dead. You've probably had people play you the wrong stuff -- the off-key singing and the meandering solos -- so many times that it doesn't matter to you that they write great songs, they're brilliant musicians, and Jerry's voice really is beautiful and soulful.
You just don't care, do you?"

I laughed off the accusation. Narrow-minded? Moi? Just because I don't like those endless versions of "Dark Star" and Bob Weir's painful caterwauling? That doesn't make me narrow-minded. Does it?

That night, I went to see a friend's fiancee's dub band at the Knitting Factory. I went out of kindness to my friend, not out of any interest in the music. I haven't heard a whole lot of dub, but what I knew came off to me as sluggish and formless -- reggae after one spliff too many. But once I realized I couldn't escape going to the show, I decided to try and enjoy it. And for about five minutes, I did. Throbbing beats, swirling and echoey instrumentation, decent soloing... a hypnotic experience. And then I found myself thinking, "I wonder when the song starts?" Unfortunately, the "song," or at least my version of what a song is supposed to be, never did start. Instead, I got one ten-minute groove after another, with lots of echo and looping and other sonic manipulation. No hooks, no catchy choruses, no killer riffs. Kinda like... a jam band? I mentioned this to my friend and she shot me a look so cold I needed a sweater. "They're NOT... A... JAM... BAND. It's totally different. You know," she said, "
you should really try to be more open-minded about music."


Twice in one day I'd been accused of having insufficiently broad musical horizons. Me! The guy who listens to Les Baxter and then the Posies and then Ray Barretto and then Al Green and then... more Les Baxter, probably, but you get the idea. So I don't like the Grateful Dead. Or jam bands in general, really. Or, for that matter, just about all '70s L.A. rock, with the exception of Fleetwood Mac. Or prog rock. Or country rock. Or jazz fusion. Or....

Yikes! Maybe my accusers were right! Maybe I've gotten it wrong all these years! I staggered home from the show and went to bed resolving to try to make peace with all the bands I've so haughtily disdained over the years. I would attempt to try to understand the appeal of genres that had thus far left me cold. Bring on those ELP CDs! And top it off with another Weather Report disc, would you? And while you're at it, howzabout a heaping helping of
The Allman Brothers Live At Fillmore East?

I woke up with my equilibrium regained, and the desire to listen to music I don't like was gone, as quickly as it had appeared. But I had learned something very important. I realized that music is an intensely subjective and extremely personal thing.
It ain't math. If you like A and B, you're not necessarily going to like C. At the same time, I realized that just because I don't like something doesn't mean it sucks. Just about all music, with the possible exception of 2 Live Crew, has something to recommend it. In the end, if I go wild for Pink Martini but Pink Floyd leaves me cold, it doesn't mean that one sucks and the other rules. It just means that... well, I like what I like. As the immortal bard, William Shakespeare, said, "The fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves." And as the other immortal bard, George Clinton, once said, "I got a thing, you got a thing, everybody's got a thing."

The important thing, however, is to give everything a chance. You never know what might happen. If you think you hate Journey just because
Steve Perry is a big-nosed, feather-haired douchebag, put on "Don't Stop Believin'" or "Any Way You Want It" and you may realize, as I did many years ago, that they've got some great songs, douchey singer or no. But as for my personal relationship with Jerry Garcia... well, let's just say that, for now at least, if you need to know whether Cornell '77 or Winterland '78 is the better Dead show to buy, ask Sal or Rob.


As I was about to fall asleep on Monday night, something kept going through my head. NO, not the usual bit involving Campbell Brown, ice skates, and snap peas. I was thinking, "I wish another has-been singer would release another sub-par standards record." Well, I got up on Tuesday morning, and lo and behold, SMOKEY ROBINSON'S "Timeless Love" had hit the streets. I've loved Smokey since forever, and while hardly a has-been, the hits stopped coming in the early 90's. Still, I just wasn't ready or even remotely excited about another standards CD. Then, I read a few reviews all giving kudos to Robinson's execution and performance. I had to hear it for myself.

I'll keep it simple. BUY THIS CD!

Smokey Robinson is nearing 70, yet his voice is as smooth and angelic as it was during his heyday with The Miracles. What "Timeless Love" offers up that so many other recent debacles by Michael Bolton, Rod Stewart, and Carly Simon do not, is class. A small ensemble, tasteful production, and brilliant arrangements create a perfect background for this masterful singer.

Whether Robinson is keeping it straight as he does on "Speak Low, " or mixing it up as he does on "I'm In The Mood For Love," cleverly segueing from the original melody into the James Moody's sax-solo- with-lyrics "Moody's Mood For Love," Smokey grabs the listener and never lets go. Two more highlights are his slow-funk version of "Tea For Two," which could have easily been on a classic soul record from the early 70's, and the absolutely gorgeous take on "Our Love Is Here To Stay," where Robinson's perfect melisma could bitch-slap Mariah all the way back to Syosset.

Don't hesitate. It's Smokey. You know you love him, so why miss out on this 4-star release.

Friday, June 16, 2006






Head Pixie is backed by a stellar line-up of legendary musicians for his new release. This specially-priced, 2 CD set features such names as Al Kooper, Ian McLagan, Steve Cropper, Bob Babbitt, Levon Helm, Steve Ferrone, Carol Kaye and Jim Keltner, to name a few. This is Black's strongest solo release since his debut in 1993. The all-star musicians help keep Black in control for a perfect combination of soulful roots-rock, with that slight Pixies edge.

MARC COHN- "THE VERY BEST OF" No, this is not a CD single of "Walking In Memphis." Grammy winner Cohn, when not getting shot at, is a class-A songwriter who has not been in the spotlight in years. Maybe this new 18 track collection is being released to remind everyone who he is, before his long-awaited album of new material gets released.

PAULA COLE- "GREATEST HITS: POSTCARDS FROM THE OCEANSIDE" Another Grammy-winner, unfortunately not recently shot at, who hasn't had a hit since the dreadful "I Don't Want To Wait." Cole gets anthologized on this new collection from Rhino. Let's hope this is NOT a sign of more to come.

COUNTING CROWS- "NEW AMSTERDAM: LIVE AT HEINEKEN MUSIC HALL" A live recording from 2003. Ok. Features the new track "Hazy." Ok.

NELLY FURTADO- "LOOSE" The first single "Promiscuous," a duet with hip-hop star Timbaland, is already on top of the charts. Furtado's wholesome image gets the trashy makeover for this new CD in hopes of doing a bit more business than her carppy sophomore release "Folklore."

Following the enormous success of their debut, "Hopes & Fears," the kind-of-boring-but-still-kind of-melodic Keane, releases more of the same on this new CD. Think Coldplay on TheraFlu.

LUNA- "BEST OF" The indie-rock supergroup of sorts has the best of their respected career compiled on this new CD from Rhino. (This is where Tony would write something exciting to make you wanna buy this. I'm not a fan, so all I can say is, "How 'bout them Mets?")

MADONNA- "I'M GOING TO TELL YOU A SECRET" Oh yeah, as if the Gena Rowlands of dance pop has anything left to share! This 2 CD/1DVD live document of Madonna's Re-Invention Tour should really expand and jam out on the pre-recorded material.

OLD 97'S- "HIT BY A TRAIN: THE BEST OF" The alt-country/pure pop band that brought you Rhett Miller, sees the best of their career put together on this new Rhino compilation.

GRAM PARSONS- "COMPLETE REPRISE SESSIONS" The legendary Parsons, an influence on everyone from The Rolling Stones to Elvis Costello to The Black Crowes has his entire Reprise output remastered for this 3 CD set. This beautiful package also includes a wealth of unreleased material, as well as some interviews with Parsons and Emmylou Harris.

CORINNE BAILEY RAE- "CORINNE BAILEY RAE" Released a few months back to rave reviews in the U.K., the U.S. debut by this British vocalist is a winner. A sexy and soulful outing, CORRINE BAILEY RAE's record sounds like a punchier Norah Jones fronting a silky R&B band.

Still more music from the legendary country singer, this 3 CD set includes two of his masterpieces from the early 70's, "SHOTGUN WILLIE" and "PHASES AND STAGES," in remastered and expanded form, as well as an expanded version of "LIVE AT THE TEXAS OPRY."


ERNEST DAWKINS' NEW HORIZONS ENSEMBLE- "LIVE AT THE VELVET LOUNGE" 2004 saw the release of this Chicago-based sax player's brilliant CD "Meen Ameen," a remarkable free-form-yet -amazingly-accessible tribute to late trumpeter Ameen Muhammed, which featured the dynamic Maurice Brown on trumpet. This same ensemble is captured live at Chicago's Velvet Lounge, for one incredibly hot performance. This package also includes a DVD of this performance.

VARIOUS ARTISTS- "ATLANTIC UNEARTHED" 2 separate CDs, "SOUL BROTHERS" AND "SOUL SISTERS," feature lost soul classics from the great roster of Atlantic recording artists. Deep cuts from Wilson Pickett, Percy Wiggins, Otis Redding, James Carr, Darrell Banks, Aretha Franklin, Mary Wells, Baby Washington, Irma Thomas, and Bettye Swann fill up these two awesome CDs.

Any and all of these releases, as well as anything we may have missed, or just anything dammit, can be ordered by calling us at
212-244-3460, OR e-mailing us at

CHECK US OUT ON MYSPACE.COM! We're not sure why we're there, but... maybe you can help us figure it out.

And as usual, please remember
we want your CDs and DVDs! Call or email! We'll even come pick them up if you've got enough stuff and you don't live in, like, Maine or something.

Until next week, we leave you with this:

Please note: I did not take advantage of Tony's absence by mentioning New Orleans once.

Your friend,
Big Chief Sally Tchoupitoulas

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sal Checks Out Rufus Wainwright's Homage To Judy Garland

I have never been a fan of Judy Garland. I love the songs she sang. I love the people she sang with. And the people she sang with loved her. But I am not one of the people who consider Judy At Carnegie Hall a landmark recording. As a matter of fact, she kinda scared me as a kid. Seeing her on TV, wearing too much make-up, looking 20 years older than she was, singing with that quavering voice and pre-Joe Cocker spasmodics, Garland would always get in my way, while I waited patiently for Flip Wilson's set on Hollywood Palace.

On the other hand, I think Rufus Wainwright is one of the greatest singer-songwriters of our generation. And I know many people who feel about Rufus the way I feel about Judy. Some I know can barely tolerate him at all. I understand this. His voice, at its best, is an emotional powerhouse. At worst, it can be compared to Penny Marshall after two sips of orange juice.

This week, the openly (and I use that term loosely) gay Wainwright is recreating Judy Garland's historic performance at Carnegie Hall, from April of 1961. Once the news of these planned performances hit the airwaves some months back, you could hear the collective "Oh Jeez!" resounding across the tri-state area. "What the hell is Rufus doing?" Some people actually thought this was going to be some drag-fest at La Mama. "You're really going to this?" I was asked by too many people. To me, it was a no-brainer. I love Rufus. I love standards. How can you go wrong?

Backed by a 40 piece orchestra and a small combo that featured Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, Rufus had, in his own words, "the single gayest moment of his life." And I am happy to say, I was there to share that with him, along with one of the most enthusiatic and star-studded Carnegie crowds I have ever seen. David Bowie and David Byrne, not to mention me and my wife, all knew this was going to be an event to be savored.

In great spirits for the 2 1/2 hour concert, Rufus did everything right. Joked when appropriate. Stayed true to the material. And tore the house down with his inspired versions of "The Man That Got Away," "How Long Has This Been Goin' On," "Zing Went The Strings of My Heart," and my fave moment, "Do It Again," which Wainwright explained was "one of the only songs tonight being done in the original key." It was mesmerizing.

Donning a top hat and tails for the start of Act 2, Rufus came flying out to "That's Entertainment," and never looked back. "A Foggy Day," "Come Rain Or Come Shine," and of course "The Trolley Song," to which Rufus exclaimed "HERE WE GO!" The crowd roared! Rufus was 100 feet off the ground.

A few surprises throughout the evening: Wainwright's mother, the great folkie Kate McGarrigle, accompanied him on piano during "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." Garland's "other" daughter, Lorna Luft, came out for a damn good "After You've Gone." And one of the most intense moments of the night was Rufus' sister, Martha Wainwright, tearing the house down with a jawdropping solo version of "Stormy Weather."

To the skeptics, being at this show did not make me "turn gay." Being at this show m
. ade me realize two things: they don't write songs like they used to and Rufus Wainwright made one of the greatest decisions of his life when he chose to perform this amazing material.

Thursday, June 08, 2006







Let's get right to it, shall we?



The first two classic records by BOSTON, their 1976 self-titled debut and 1978's “DON'T LOOK BACK,” get remastered from the original master tapes for the very first time. One report claims that each features two previously unreleased bonus tracks, but we've seen a hard copy of “Don't Look Back,” and it doesn't feature any bonus tracks, so we can't confirm or deny. But the packaging is deluxe, and the sound is deluxer. With albums this killer, why do you need bonus tracks, anyway?

FUTUREHEADS - “NEWS AND TRIBUTES.” The UK punk/new wave throwbacks made a name for themselves with their awesome cover of Kate Bush's “Hounds Of Love.” Their sophomore release features more XTC-meets-Big Country punk bliss. Highly recommended.

JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS - “SINNER.” Originally released in 2004 as a Japanese import, the first studio album from the former Runaway and rock semilegend in over a decade has been slightly tweaked, but still is one of her strongest releases since 1982's “I Love Rock & Roll.” Features the usual smattering of cool covers such as the Replacements' “Androgynous” and the New York Dolls' “Personality Crisis.” Also from Ms. Jett, expanded remasters of her first two classic albums, “BAD REPUTATION” and “I LOVE ROCK N' ROLL,” each featuring bonus tracks as well as enhanced video material, including live material from the early '80s!


“The Piano Drunk” has now documented his record-setting 12 night run at Madison Square Garden with the double live recording “BILLY JOEL: 12 GARDEN NIGHTS.” Sal was at one of the shows, and if you listen carefully during “Vienna,” you can hear him say “Wow, this drunken bastard's not that bad!” Actually, it was an amazing set list featuring songs Joel had never performed live before, such as “Laura” and “The Great Wall Of China,” and others he had long retired. This will make you remember why you used to love him before he recorded “We Didn't Start The Fire.” The fact is, he's much better behind the piano than behind the wheel.


THE REPLACEMENTS - “DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I THINK I WAS?” A 20 track compilation spanning their entire incredible career, from indie punk screwups to major label rock screwups. Features two new tracks from one of the most improbable rock reunions of all time. If you don't know this band, you're really missing out, and this is a great place to start exploring.


SONIC YOUTH releases their 100th record on Geffen Records! “RATHER RIPPED” features Thurston, Kim, Steve and Lee doing what they've been doing exactly the same way since the heyday of “Dirty.”

REGINA SPEKTOR - “BEGIN TO HOPE. We didn't like her last record, but this is getting a lot of buzz, so order a few - we could use the eight bucks.

MATTHEW SWEET - “GIRLFRIEND (LEGACY EDITION).” Power-pop classic from 1991, now given the Sony/BMG Legacy treatment, with the famed promo-only disc “Goodfriend” as the bonus disc. For those who don't know, “Goodfriend” features rare live and acoustic tracks from the now-enormous Sweet.

KEB' MO' - “SUITCASE.” In the same sense that James Taylor was never the new Dylan but always the new Tony Bennett, Keb' Mo' was never going to be the new Robert Johnson, but always the new Harry Belafonte. (Thanks to Offbeat magazine for that wonderful description of this so-not-blues guy.) But buy this album - we could use the eight bucks.

ALLISON MOORER - “GETTING SOMEWHERE.” Shelby Lynne's cleaner sister releases her new, kinda-country-kinda-pop album on Sugar Hill Records.

BUSTA RHYMES - “THE BIG BANG.” Another record from Mr. Rhymes, featuring special guests Mary J. Blecchh, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Stevie Wonder, and Rue McLanahan.



SELL STUFF TO US! You know you want to load up your iPods, make some shelf space, and use the cash for your f***in' lattes at $5.50 a pop. CALL OR EMAIL! WE MAKE HOUSECALLS!


Sorry to say, you've gotta be fast on these, as we only have one left of each.

THE COMPLETE METEOR BLUES, R & B AND GOSPEL RECORDINGS” - Another brilliant 2 CD compilation from Ace Records. Here for the first time is every blues, gospel and R & B release from the Memphis, TN label. You got your Elmore James, Buster Smith, James Anderson, Little Milton, Fenton Robinson, Minnie Thomas, and the legendary Earl “Whoopin' And Hollerin'” Forest, and more. 54 tracks!

BETTYE LAVETTE - “CHILD OF THE SEVENTIES.” Rhino Handmade's limited edition compilation from the soul legend features an unreleased full album recorded in 1972, plus ten bonus tracks, collected all in one handy-dandy CD for the first time. Only 7,500 made!


All you fans who have been holding your breath waiting for Sting to record an album of 16th century lute music, you can exhale! Your moment is here! Coming soon from Deutsche Grammophon, also known as the label which releases rock stars' unlistenable and pretentious side projects, is “SONGS FROM THE LABYRINTH,” featuring songs by that Elizabethan hepcat John Dowland. OK, now it's time for you to play! Pick your favorite snide comment, or email one of your own! The best one will get a free lute lesson from NYCD's own Robert Eichel!

That crap release “Sacred Love” is sounding a lot better now, isn't it?

Features a duet with Mary J. Blige on “Message In A Goblet”!

Can now justifiably change his name to Stink.

Features guest appearance from Andy Summers on “Everye Breathe Thou Takest.”

Top imbecile!

Once again, all you newsletter subscribers, keep checking out the blog
for even more content and a chance for you to participate!


If music be the food of love, does that make Leo Sayer a side of couscous?

Your friends,
Henry Bibby and Bubba Crosby

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Everyone loves a list. Ten favorite movies? 5 best burger joints? People more repulsive than Ann Coulter? (OK, that's a really short list.) What is the appeal of letting others know what you like and dislike? Why do we love to use lists to say "This is the essence of who I am, as represented by my favorite Helen Reddy songs in chronological order"? Beats us. Maybe we could make a list to explain it. But we'll leave that for another time.

In the meantime, here's a twist on a classic. We all have our favorite songs by our favorite artists that aren't the songs casual fans will be familiar with. As a matter of fact, buy any 20 track CD anthology by an artist you really like and we guarantee you will find yourself saying, "Oh man, I can't believe they left off so and so." Or, "This compilation would have been perfect if the label included so and so."

Well, here is
a list of our favorite "unlikely choices" for "Best Song" by some of our favorite artists.
Confused? Ok, here's an example: Mention Elvis Costello and many will call out "Alison." Or "Chelsea." Both damn good songs. But, how many people will call out "Hand In Hand," that sweet, melodic gem from side two of "This Year's Model?" Even die-hard Costello dorks will most likely go for something deeper or more obscure. Sal was there at the "Elvis On Broadway" tour of 1986, when he was taking requests, some putz yelled out "Wave A White Flag," which we believe is a pre-"My Aim Is True" song. Costello heard him and shouted back, "No one thinks you're cool. How 'bout something people wanna hear?" So, in that spirit, we're not trying to stump anyone, or impress anyone with our deep knowledge of music. Usually, no one is impressed. We just wanna point out some winners that may have fallen off the radar, and share the joy.

Taken from his underrated masterpiece "Blue Moves," released in 1976, this torchy, cocktail lounge ballad is a heartbreaker about a fallen star, delivered with an emotional punch that Elton has not be able to match in years. Gorgeous from start to finish.

FRANK SINATRA - SO LONG, MY LOVE Sinatra put out so much great music in the '50s that some of it was bound to get lost in the shuffle, and that's the case with this Nelson Riddle-arranged classic. A bright, brassy swinger with downright nasty lyrics, but Frank sings it in such a happy-go-lucky manner that if you don't pay attention, you might not notice it's a "I'm dumping you, now scram" song.

This track appeared on Waits' 1977 album "Foreign Affairs." No one ever questioned Bette Midler's ability as a singer, yet her flamboyant stage act never helped her gain credibility with music heads. This bittersweet duet, set in a singles bar, finds both artists in a setting that seems as familiar to them as Sinatra at the Sands. Midler never sounded better, and hearing Waits harmonize with ANYONE is worth the price of admission alone.

R.E.M. - DEPARTURE From 1996's "New Adventures In Hi-Fi," the album that started R.E.M. on their long slide into commercial irrelevance. Recorded while on an exhausting world tour, it's a strange album, but an adventurous one that hits the mark more often than it misfires. In case you've forgotten, they used to crank up the amps, and this is one of their strongest rockers. Michael Stipe spits out the lyrics with as much attitude as anything he ever sang.

The closing track from the last proper album delivered to Warner Brothers, which Prince loved so much he didn't want anyone to hear it so he promoted it on TV.....or something like that. By 1995, The Purple Peabrain was already over. Even his fans had had enough. Too bad. "The Gold Experience" was as strong as anything in Prince's career, and "Gold" was a lenghty showpiece in the same vein as "Purple Rain." A triumphant chorus, big production, and a blistering guitar solo. Very emotional and truly amazing!

PEARL JAM - MANKIND By the time of the "No Code" album in 1996, grunge had run its course and a lot of Pearl Jam fans were wondering "Do I still care about these guys?" The answer, judging from their post-"Vitalogy" sales, is No. But "No Code" was an underrated album that found the band writing and performing as well as ever. Tucked away towards the end of the disc is this little Stone Gossard-penned-and-sung gem that doesn't sound like anything Pearl Jam had done before. It lacks Eddie Vedder's arena-rock grandiosity and punky passion, but it's catchy as hell, sounding almost like a vintage new wave song. A Pearl Jam song for people who don't like Pearl Jam.

Taken from "Living In The Material World," the strong follow-up to the Quiet Beatle's masterful debut "All Things Must Pass," this perfect piece of pop heaven sounds more like Phil Spector-produces-The Beatles than the Spector-produced "Let It Be." Harrison's falsetto is stunning, and it has one killer hook!

LED ZEPPELIN - WEARING AND TEARING Their 1978 attempt to take on punk rock on its own turf. It doesn't sound anything like the Sex Pistols or the Clash, but the guitars roar, the drums pound, and Robert Plant wails his ass off. This is Zeppelin at its thrashiest, and proof that even towards the end, they were still in great form. Released on the posthumous "Coda" collection.
DAVID BOWIE - 5:15 THE ANGELS HAVE GONE This track is from one of Bowie's half dozen, ridiculously underrated and criminally ignored records, 2002's "Heathen." A haunting melody, with an equally haunting backing track, Bowie's delivers one of his best vocal peformances, using to great effect, both his deep-throated crooner voice and his Anthony Newley meets Ziggy Stardust voice, all held together by Sterling Campbell's brilliant and completely unique drum pattern.

TONY BENNETT - TRAPPED IN THE WEB OF LOVE Tony Bennett is known for a couple dozen or so classics, and this isn't one of them -- but it should be. From a long-forgotten (and out of print) 1965 album, "Trapped" sounds a little like "Fever" and swings even harder, thanks to a rock-solid Torrie Zito arrangement. Bennett's at the top of his game here -- he rarely sounded so hip or sexy.


Thursday, June 01, 2006






Let's get right to NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES, shall we? (With a few of this week's thrown in)


We've written about this and teased all of you for weeks now, and your chance to buy it and hear it for yourself is finally here. ELVIS COSTELLO & ALLEN TOUSSAINT's "THE RIVER IN REVERSE" is a landmark recording. What originally started as a Joe Henry-produced Elvis Costello reading of the Allen Toussaint songbook became an emotional collaboration between the two artists and some of New Orleans' finest musicians. Rather than go for the obvious Toussaint hits, El & Al (El-Al for short) dug deep into the Toussaint catalog for songs that relate in some way to the tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina. What we get is one of the finest recordings of the year. Costello's vocals are restrained compared to the oversinging he's been prone to on his collaborations with the Brodsky Quartet and Burt Bacharach, and Joe Henry seems to do no wrong lately in the producer's booth. An interesting sidenote: Many of these songs can be found in their original form on the LEE DORSEY "YES WE CAN" import on Raven Records, which is also available through us. Get them both!


We love the Bee Gees, from their early incarnation as a '60s British pop band right on through their groundbreaking disco classics which started with the legendary "Saturday Night Fever." Where they lost us was with their last seven records, where they turned into the Three Barry Manilows. And those, our friends, are the records that are now being remastered and reissued. "THIS IS WHERE I CAME IN," "STILL WATERS," "SIZE ISN'T EVERYTHING," and "ONE NIGHT ONLY," all of which had some forgettable hit singles and now reside in $2 crates all over the world. Also in this batch, which are not as horrendous, are 1979's "SPIRITS HAVING FLOWN" and the two CD "GREATEST HITS" compilation, as well as the genuinely solid CD "CHILDREN OF THE WORLD," from 1976. Let's hope that they're starting backwards with this reissue campaign and not forgetting the classic early releases.

CHEAP TRICK - "ROCKFORD." On their first studio album in three years, this legendary rock band continues to work for their money, and while we haven't heard anything off this new release yet, we can guarantee that, just like every single one of their releases since their debut in 1976, that it will contain at least a few classics.

CRACKER - "GREENLAND." Now featuring legendary bass player Sal Maida as part of their touring band, these MTV faves are back together for the first time in... in a long time. "Greenland" is getting a good buzz, so hear it for yourself.

ROBERT FRIPP - "EXPOSURE." Originally released in 1979, guitar legend and King Crimson founder Robert Fripp's debut solo LP gets expanded to include a second CD featuring a ton of unreleased tracks with such guest stars as Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall, Brian Eno, Phil Collins, Peter Hammill, and Terre Roche.

THE NEW CARS - "IT'S ALIVE." It's as ridiculous as you think it is, but if you like the Cars, this combo of two original members plus Todd Rundgren and Kasim Sulton playing the roles of Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr really sounds great. Rundgren does his best Ocasek on vocals, but since Rundgren always had a better voice, the songs sound less jokey and not as dated. Elliott Easton's guitar solos are right on the money as always, and the three new studio tracks are about as good as pop singles get. The first single, "Not Tonight," could take its place alongside any vintage Cars hit. So stop laughing.

SPEAKING OF WORLD PARTY... don't eat the Tuscan salad!

Instead, get the next two reissues, "BANG" and "EGYPTOLOGY." Both feature new remastering, deluxe packaging, and links to rare bonus tracks. Many people consider "GOODBYE JUMBO" to be the one to have, but take it from a World Party fanatic -- "BANG" is right up there, and "EGYPTOLOGY" is no slouch either.

ZERO 7 - "GARDEN." You've heard them in boutiques and restaurants worldwide -- now hear them in your home. Featuring layers of synthetic soothing beats and upbeat rhythms, all held together by the most minute thread of a melody. Sure to not offend anyone!

FRANK SINATRA, JR. - "THAT FACE." Fine, go ahead, laugh. But this is better than all those crappy standards records by Rod Stewart, Michael Bolton, etc. etc.. If you care, read an expanded review of this album right here on our blog! And if you don't care, then this will certainly make that New Cars record seem more appealing.


DAVE ALVIN - "WEST OF THE WEST." Alvin pays tribute to the songwriters of California, such as Ron Cey, Jim Davenport, Roman Gabriel and Jerry West. Oh wait, that's Phil Alvin's tribute to West Coast athletes -- sorry. On this album, Dave Alvin covers Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, John Fogerty, Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, Jackson Browne, and Tom Waits, to name but a few.

PEEPING TOM - "PEEPING TOM." Mike Patton's (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Lovage) new project features guest performances by Norah Jones, Massive Attack, Bebel Gilberto, and Kool Keith.

JAMES LUTHER DICKINSON - "JUNGLE JIM AND THE VOODOO TIGER." Memphis legend is once again backed by his sons, better known as the North Mississippi All Stars," but unlike his just-released spoken word record, this is Jim doing what he does best -- good old fashioned American rock n' roll. Also includes a brilliant testimonial by Ry Cooder.

THERESA ANDERSSON - "E.P." This new release from the New Orleans-by-way-of Sweden chanteuse could be the best release of her career. Stripped-down and simple, Andersson gives emotional readings to some new originals, as well as a brilliant, heart-tugging version of Madonna's "Borderline."


BUY! CDs from us on Amazon, that is!
SELL! Your CDs and DVDs to us, that is! Call or email and let us know what you've got!

Until next week, we leave you with this:

Eat a banana.

Your friends,
Earl Scruggs and Leslie Uggams, the Great Scruggs & Uggams