Tag: rock

Album Cover of the Week: The Bob Seger System, Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man

Album Cover of the Week: The Bob Seger System, Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man

Album Cover of the Week, Music
Shortly before he became one of the top heartland rock acts of the 1970s and '80s, and a few decades before "Like a Rock" guaranteed that he would never have to work again, Bob Seger released a pretty great and eclectic debut LP in April 1969. Ramblin' Gamblin' Man was issued by Capitol Records (ST 172) under the group name The Bob Seger System, one of three records that group recorded for the label. You might be wondering what that lovely portrait of a young lady in blue standing on an ice shelf has to do with the album title. Fortunately Seger explains on the back cover: The title of this album up until three days ago was "Tales Of Lucy Blue". At that time I realized that Lucy Blue is Ramblin' Gamblin' Man. Thank you Doctor Fine! I have no idea what he's talking about either...
Album Cover of the Week: Jefferson Starship, Red Octopus

Album Cover of the Week: Jefferson Starship, Red Octopus

Album Cover of the Week, Music
As '70s AOR goes, Jefferson Starship's Red Octopus is pretty good. Not fantastic, but really solid stuff. But what I really dig about it is the album cover. It comes in a few variations, which we'll look at together. First up is an original issue from the band's own Grunt Records imprint (catalog number BFL1-0999). It has a sort of embossed look to it, as the material for the band and album names shimmers based on the light source. Same goes for the "red octopus," which is a heart with eight legs. Non-U.S. editions of the album have the same layout as the original, but ditch the gold leaf effect in favor of a straight red and yellow color scheme. Here's a specimen from the U.K. (Grunt FTR 2002). I have to say I prefer this scheme over the fancier one. It's a very striking arrange
More Than 50 Years After the Music Died

More Than 50 Years After the Music Died

Music
It hardly seems possible that it's been more than half a century since a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza and its occupants departed from an airstrip in the dark of the Iowa night, bound for Minnesota, and flew into history. But that's exactly what happened on February 3, 1959 when, shortly after 1 am local time, the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson crashed just after takeoff in Clear Lake, Iowa, killing the three musicians and their pilot instantly. While many beloved musicians have died before and since, this is known as The Day the Music Died. It's easy to overlook the impact these musicians had on rock and roll and American society -- particularly Holly and Valens -- but it is incalculable. Countless musicians to come in the s...
Album Cover of the Week: Frank Zappa, Over-Nite Sensation

Album Cover of the Week: Frank Zappa, Over-Nite Sensation

Album Cover of the Week, Music
It took a long time before I had the nerve to finally dive into the deep, deep well that is Frank Zappa's discography. And for me, the album that hooked me to his delightful weirdness was 1973's Over-Nite Sensation. It's a bizarre mix of music that is by and large straightforward and experimental at the same time. Zappa truly was a colossal talent and is missed. And just like the music therein, the cover of Over-Nite Sensation is absolutely packed with fun details. Because there are so many of them, I've included an extra-large foldout version of the cover. Click for a larger version. So we've got an electric hand reaching into a painting of Frank Zappa's dressing room for a cigarette. There's some sort of figure in white rising out of a crack in a table, and in the upper left on...
Listening Booth — Fleetwood Mac, “Hypnotized” and “Miles Away”

Listening Booth — Fleetwood Mac, “Hypnotized” and “Miles Away”

Listening Booth, Music
Yesterday the sad news broke that former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Bob Welch had died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. He was 65 years old. This has been an especially bad year for deaths in the entertainment world. Just so much loss. But let's try to forget that for a moment and remember the great music Welch left behind. Here's a rare Listening Booth two-fer in Bob's memory. Both of these come from Fleetwood Mac's underrated 1973 LP Mystery to Me, which I've discussed on this site previously, and they were both written by Welch. There's the melodic, mid-tempo treasure "Hypnotized" and the harder-edged "Miles Away," both of which showcase Welch's talents in singing, songwriting, and guitar playing. Enjoy "Hypnotized" and "Miles Away." RIP Bob. Related articles...
Listening Booth — The Rolling Stones, “Mother’s Little Helper”

Listening Booth — The Rolling Stones, “Mother’s Little Helper”

Listening Booth, Music
Last night's excellent Mad Men episode ("Tea Leaves") featured Don Draper and Harry Crane's funny attempt to snag the Rolling Stones for a Heinz commercial. Based on the dialogue in the show, the concert seems to be from July 2, 1966. The Stones played that night at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, New York. Their latest single from the Aftermath album -- "Mother's Little Helper" -- had just come out that day in America, although it doesn't appear to have made the band's setlist. So here it is, Mad Men and Rolling Stones fans -- "Mother's Little Helper," featuring Brian Jones playing that distinctive guitar part on his Vox 12-string Mando-Guitar.
Bruce Springsteen has a new song and I kinda dig it

Bruce Springsteen has a new song and I kinda dig it

Listening Booth, Music
I've made no secret of the fact that I am not a very big Bruce Springsteen fan, despite being Jersey born and bred. This gives me one advantage over Boss diehards, in that I can approach his new music with a fairly objective ear. This leads me to "We Take Care of Our Own," the first single from Bruce's upcoming Wrecking Ball album. To me, it sounds like the Bruce I know best. It's hooky and anthemic, as was his classic '70s and '80s material. But it also sounds modern, which is what keeps the song from sounding too overblown. And I gotta hand it to Bruce, he still sounds passionate and a little angry at age 62, which is more than most people half his age can claim. I may just have to pick up a copy of Wrecking Ball, which would be the first new Bruce album I've ever bought. It...
The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

Music
The usual disclaimers about my year-end music lists still apply. I'm only one man and only have so much time to listen to new albums. So even if I hear an album and it's really good, if nothing about it grabs me right away I may end up forgetting it. Also, naturally I'm going to gravitate toward music either from acts I already know and like or that's recommended by friends and writers/critics I respect. These, then, are the ten albums that I have returned to more than any other in 2011 and probably will in 2012. Because at the end of the day, isn't that the only mark of a good record? #1. Mastodon, The Hunter As much as I was disappointed with Crack the Skye, I absolutely love The Hunter. I've read a lot of comparisons between it and Metallica's "Black Album," and I can see why. It's...
So Fresh — 10 Doors Songs That Will Never Get Old

So Fresh — 10 Doors Songs That Will Never Get Old

Music
Maybe it's the part of me that remains eternally 13 years old, but I can say without apology that I love the Doors and probably always will. It's not even a matter of separating the band's mystique and Jim Morrison's penchant for pomposity from their music -- to me it's all part of the same entertaining package. But I understand that as popular as the Doors are, they're an incredibly polarizing band. Like another of my favorites (Steely Dan), there doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground for them. People seem to either embrace the group wholeheartedly or reject them as posturing clowns with bad poetry. So for those people -- well really for anyone -- I've put together ten Doors ditties that are musically satisfying and belie the group's tarnished critical reputation. Put on you...