NEWSLETTER 2007: 2
TONY RETURNS FROM SHUFFLEBOARD CONVENTION IN FLORIDA!
SAL PUTS AWAY PHOTOS OF JIMMY ROSELLI AND TAKES DOWN DRIED SAUSAGES HANGING FROM CURTAIN RODS
STILL TOO EARLY IN THE YEAR FOR MANY NEW RELEASES, BUT WE'RE GIVING YOU WHAT WE'VE GOT
A SPECIAL COMMENTARY: POISONING THE WELL -- FORMERLY GREAT ARTISTS WHO NOW SUCK, AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM
and now... THE NEWSLETTER!
NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES!
SAL'S PICK OF THE WEEK!
THE HOLMES BROTHERS - STATE OF GRACE. The Brothers have been making records since the late '80s, but it was only with the release of the Joan Osborne-produced Speaking In Tongues a few years back that they really seemed to find their voice. Their followup, Simple Truths, produced by Craig Street, was in the same vein -- soulful, even a bit preachy, but no less wonderful. Now, Craig Street is back behind the boards with State Of Grace, which could be the best of the lot. The majority of the instrumentation is done by the Brothers themselves, with help from such studio greats as Larry Campbell and Glenn Patscha, and the repertoire features some Holmes Brothers originals along with some of the most unique cover versions you'll ever hear, including a duet with Rosanne Cash on Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)," a couple of Lyle Lovett covers, and the crown jewel, a version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me" that will leave you frozen in your seat -- check it out!
I WANT YOU TO WANT ME.mp3
AMERICA - HERE & NOW. This band got a bad rap for songs such as "Muskrat Love" and one of their biggest songs, "A Horse With No Name." But back in the '70s, their string of hits, produced by Sir George Martin, as well as some fine album tracks, made them a most respectable pop band. So much so that such luminaries as Adam & Chris from Fountains Of Wayne and Ryan Adams, plus not-such-luminaries like Ben Kweller and Nada Surf, all jumped at the chance to work on this new release. And you know what, dear readers? It's a damn good listen. Just think Fountains Of Wayne for the over-40 crowd. Also comes with a bonus live disc recorded just a few months back, featuring "Muskrat Love" and "A Horse With No Name!"
LOCKSLEY - DON'T MAKE ME WAIT. After a year as an Internet-only item, the debut from this Brooklyn-based band is finally made available with additional material. You may already know the title track, as it's been used on the Showtime network and a new commercial for either a car or soap, we can't remember. Regardless, this is Beatlesque power-pop at its finest. (WOW! 3 for 3 so far! But wait, there's more!)
PATRICK SIMMONS - ARCADE (REMASTER). Those wacky people at Wounded Bird Records pull another one out from the memory banks with the 1982 solo debut from one of the less attractive but very talented members of the Doobie Brothers. Features the kind-of-a-hit single "So Wrong."
THE SMITHEREENS - MEET THE SMITHEREENS. For the 25th anniversary of the Smithereens' existence, the boys pay tribute to the greatest band of all time by recreating, note for note, Meet The Beatles. It is so precise that when you throw it on iTunes, the database actually brings up Meet The Beatles. Well done, Smithereens!
THE STRANGLERS - SUITE XVI. Our old boss thought the Stranglers were the third best band in rock history, behind the Beatles and the Sex Pistols. This is why he now sells toilet parts.
JAZZ RELEASE OF THE WEEK!
CHARLES TOLLIVER - BIG BAND WITH LOVE. In the early '70s, Tolliver was one of the brightest young trumpeters around. As a matter of fact, his Live At Slugs performances from 1970 are some of the hottest live albums of the period, and some of that material is now available through a special box set from Mosaic Records. But if you don't want to go whole hog with an expensive box, this new release is just as smokin'. A big band which features Craig Handy, David Weiss, Clark Gayton, and Robert Glasper rips through some Tolliver originals and standards including a brilliant take on Monk's "'Round Midnight." The high-energy performance of this band is barely contained. The soloing, at times, feels like it'll ride you right off the rails. This kicks ass! It's an ass-kicker!
AL GREEN - THE DEFINITIVE GREATEST HITS. For those of you who still don't own an Al Green compilation, this new set is quite good. 21 remastered tracks featuring all the hits right through his most recent releases on Blue Note, plus a bonus DVD with six performances both old and new. Everyone should own at least one Al Green album, and this is as good as any.
DIANA ROSS - I LOVE YOU (CD/DVD). It's her first new studio album since 1999, but who noticed? To be quite honest, we haven't listened to Miz Ross since the classic Nile Rodgers-produced Diana album in 1980. Maybe we'll listen to this one if you ask nicely. We're a little curious. After all, she is the stepmother of Leona Naess. But we draw the line at her cover of "Take My Breath Away." The DVD features 40 minutes of Diana twirling in the rain while people get their pockets picked.
TO ORDER ANY OR ALL OF THESE RELEASES, EVEN THE ONES WE MADE FUN OF, EMAIL US AT HEYNYCD@AOL.COM OR CALL (212) 244-3460! WE CAN ALSO GET ANY OLDER CDs OR DVDs YOU WANT!
SPEAKING OF OLDER CDs...
GET YOUR BUTTS OVER HERE WITH YOUR COLLECTIONS! It's two weeks after Christmas. You're all broke. You need some money. And we need your CDs and DVDs. Get here toot sweet! We pay top dollar or even more top store credit! Call or email to make a date to SELL YOUR STUFF!
And now, it's time for...
POISONING THE WELL: THE LIFE AND (CREATIVE) DEATH OF SOME OF OUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS
Just about every artist was better in the early part of his or her career. Elvis peaked before he went in the Army, the Beatles' solo careers don't measure up to their group work, Elton John's first six records have more good songs than his last 46, and so on. But there are certain artists whose recent material is so inconceivably bad that we can't even listen to their good old material anymore. Some may think we shouldn't take this personally, but we think otherwise, because we are the fans who gave them fame and fortune in the first place, and now we feel abandoned. Here are a few examples:
STING: Sure, he pissed a lot of people off when he left the Police at the peak of their career to go solo, and it pissed even more people off when he won a Grammy for best jazz performance in 1985. But that's not his fault. And his first four solo records ("Dream Of The Blue Turtles," "...Nothing Like The Sun," "The Soul Cages," and "Ten Summoners Tales") really were damn good, even if they didn't sound like the Police. But since then, Sting has all but abandoned the pop music that he's best at. Even when he tries to revisit his classics, it's usually some sleepwalk through "Roxanne" or "Message In A Bottle" with the aid of some current pop star in the spotlight. Now, by delving into world music, classical music, and most offensively, 16th century lute music, he's poisoned the well. You couldn't fault the guy for trying to expand his musical horizons. But he's made it known publicly that he thinks all current rock and pop music is boring. You know what we'd like to do, Sting? We'd like to take that lute and shove it up your tight Tantric ass.
THE REPLACEMENTS: One of the most passionate and exciting bands of the '80s would be so reckless onstage that their performances could veer from tight, rock-solid punk brilliance to drunken covers of Petula Clark hits within minutes, and their fans loved them for it. Records like Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me influenced more bands than their record sales might indicate. Once they broke up in the early '90s, however, frontman Paul Westerberg got on the wagon, fell in love, had a kid, and ruined it for everyone by making some of the most boring, soulless, insipid, flaccid, utterly crap albums in rock history. In order to pay the bills, his most recent album was the soundtrack to an animated film, and even four year olds thought it was wimpy. You know what, Paul? We heard you fell off the wagon on your last tour, and even that didn't work. Maybe you should try leaving your wife next.
DAVID BYRNE: If you could love a pretentious asshole, then you had to love David Byrne. The first four Talking Heads records are arguably some of the most influential and groundbreaking albums ever made. Three skinny white guys and a skinny white gal who met at RISD and pooled their talents in New York City laid down some of the nastiest grooves since the heyday of Fela and James Brown, and made it cool to be a nerd in the process. But Byrne's ego got in the way, and the beginning of the end began. Sure, Rei Momo, Byrne's 1989 post-Heads solo debut, was a little bit of fun, and we thank him for turning us on to so much great Brazilian pop via his "Beleza Tropical" series. But then, it was one debacle after another. Forays into avant-garde neo-classical doody like "Music For The Knee Plays" and "The Forest" were painful, and even his most recent attempts at pop records were little more than the B-level material heard on latter-day Heads records like Naked and True Stories. Now, we have this pompous release on the horizon: a collaboration with Fatboy Slim on the life of Imelda Marcos. You know what, David? Shut yer piehole. No one gives a s**t anymore except people who go to see you because they think you wrote "Take Me To The River."
There are many others who fall into this category, such as Prince, Joe Jackson, and the aforementioned Elton John. Some of you may wonder why we didn't include Rod Stewart, who went from being one of the greatest performers in rock history to a man who makes us ashamed to say we like music. There is nothing more unlistenable than Rod Stewart's recent success in the form of poorly sung standards with poor arrangements and poor production. But for some reason, we can still get off on the Faces and his early solo work without thinking of the travesty that he's become. Go figure.
Thanks for reading!
Until next week, we leave you with this:
In the words of the great Louis Armstrong, "There are some people that, if they don't know, you can't tell them."
Lovely Rita and Vaughn Meader