Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Love Is The Only Goal: The Best Of Wendy Waldman
Wendy Waldman is an enormously talented songwriter, singer, and musician who started out in the early seventies and is still going strong. When her first group Bryndle (with Karla Bonoff, Andrew Gold, and Kenny Edwards) disbanded, she was signed by Warner Brothers, where she recorded her first five albums between 1973 and 1978.
This extraordinarily well chosen set is drawn from those five albums, Love Has Got Me, Gypsy Symphony, Wendy Waldman, The Main Refrain, and Strange Company, except "Mad Mad Me" which was re-recorded for this collection and "Charles River Song" which is an unreleased demo. Wendy's music embodies everything that was good about the L.A. singer-songwriter movement in the seventies.
Wendy first landed on the map when Maria Muldour recorded two of her songs, "Mad Mad Me" and "Vaudeville Man," on her 1972 album, Maria Muldour. Even though none of her own albums ever charted, as a songwriter, Wendy is no stranger to the charts. According to her website, more than 150 songs, written or co-written by Wendy, have been recorded by others, including the Grammy award winning, "Save The Best For Last" which was a number one hit for Vanessa Williams and has gone on to become a standard.
All five of Wendy's Warner Bros. albums are long out of print, indeed this collection is also out of print on disc, but MP3s are still available, an excellent value at about $12.00 for the 18 tracks. Wendy recently released Back By Fall, A Retrospective, which surveys all eight of her studio albums with 35 tracks spread over two CDs. More information about this, as well as a complete discography including her work with Bryndle and the Refugees is at her website.
Listen to "Vaudeville Man"
Listen to "Love Has Got Me"
Photo courtesy of Wendy Waldman
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Saturday Video: It's been seven years since Dido's last album, Safe Trip Home, a record that was richer and more complex than her first two, and even though it sold a more than respectable five million copies worldwide, it didn't have the glistening hooks and succession of hit singles to drive sales into the stratosphere like it's predecessors, No Angel and Life for Rent. Hits or not, Dido is such a good songwriter and performer that her music appeals not only to the singles crowd, but to the singer-songwriter audience who wouldn't be caught dead listening to hits radio.
After so much time, expectations are high for Girl Who Got Away released next month, Dido's fourth album. Dido was here in the States this week to promote it with an appearance Wednesday on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Here she is with a live performance of the lead track and first single, "No Freedom".
She also did "White Flag" on Kimmel.
Girl Who Got Away (Deluxe Edition)
Here is the track list for the deluxe edition.
1. No Freedom
2. Girl Who Got Away
3. Let Us Move On' feat. Kendrick Lamar
5. End of Night
6. Sitting On The Roof Of The World
7. Love To Blame
8. Go Dreaming
9. Happy New Year
10. Loveless Hearts
11. Day Before We Went To War
12. Let Us Move On
13. All I See
14. Just Say Yes
15. Let s Run Away
16. Everything to Lose
Bonus Video: Here is the "No Freedom" music video.
Photos courtesy of Dido
Jimmy Kimmel Live! Website
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Live With the Roots, The Best Band in Late Night, Watch Jessie Ware (1/16/13), and Eric Burdon (1/28/13)
Saturday Video: In the four years since Jimmy Fallon succeeded Conan O'Brien as the host of NBC's Late Night program, it has become the most music-friendly of the late night talk shows, often featuring performances by a wide array of musically interesting artists. New artists making their television debut, and artists who don't normally do television are more likely than not to appear on Late Night. Fallon has turned out to be enormously good at musical parody, deadly funny too; his Neil Young and his Tebowie are just two examples, but that's a post for another day. One big reason for the musical excellence is the Roots, who have been the house band since Jimmy took over the show in 2009.
Jessie Ware started out doing guest vocals on other people's records in her native U.K. and she attracted critical acclaim last year in London with a series of successful singles and live shows, culminating in the release of her debut album, Devotion. We've written about her several times. She is currently in the midst of her first U.S. tour, behind her recently released If You're Never Gonna Move EP. Devotion is scheduled for U.S. release in April. When she appeared on the show, she chose to give her band the night off and instead played with the Roots as her band. Here is "Wildest Moments" from January 16th.
In his Keynote address to SXSW 2012, Bruce Springsteen said that everything he's done in his career is derived in some way from "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" by Eric Burdon and the Animals. Burdon is one of our most talented and most durable rock singers. In the sixties with the Animals he amassed a body of hit singles second only to the Beatles and the Stones. He ushered in the seventies with the soul/funk band War.
He's now been at it over fifty years and still going strong. He went on Fallon a few weeks ago to play "Water", the lead track from Til Your River Runs Dry his new album, released the next day. He too, played with the Roots as his band. After the show was over, he did an extra song for a web exclusive. Here's Eric Burdon with the Roots doing "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" from January 28th.
The Roots got together 26 years ago in Philadelphia and their brand of soul and jazz infused hip hop has earned them a worldwide following. At the same time, their proficiency in every element of music, from writing and performance to arrangement and production has placed them in high demand for their many skills, in many genres of music, even event production. Considering all that, they may just have the best gig in show business; it's a win-win-win, good for them, good for the show, and good for the viewers. Jimmy Fallon is fond of calling the Roots "The Best Band in Late Night", and we're inclined to agree.
Late,Night with Jimmy Fallon Website
The Roots' Website
The Roots' Facebook
The Roots' Twitter
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Dispatch from Norwich: Folk artist Jess Morgan has just released a new video for the title track of her forthcoming new EP, Richer Thinner Smarter, due March 4th. There are seven tracks on the EP, four new songs including "Richer Thinner Smarter" and three are new versions of songs from Jess' last album, Aye Me, which was one of the best albums released last year. Jess is currently in the midst of writing her third album, anticipated later this year.
The new songs reflect Jess' gift for writing songs that weave a story, give advice, or otherwise whisk you away to another place and time, often with a ssnse of humor that is uniquely Jess. Or in the case of "Richer Thinner Smarter", it's a love song, just in time for Valentines Day, which, in it's own very endearing way, covers the same lyrical ground as the clssic Billy Joel love song, "Just the Way You Are".
The new EP, as you can hear in the video, has a most intimate production style of just guitar and voice, not unlike an acoustic session. The sound of Jess' guitar and voice is so relaxing, and the world her songs inhabit is so inviting, that Jess' music is the perfect antidote for the rush-around world in which most of us live. When you've had a long day of calls, texts, tweets, Facebook, Instagram, wifi, cell signal and the rest, it's a huge pleasure to put on a Jess Morgan record and escape into her world for a while.
Jess had a great year in 2012. Her second album was released to universal acclaim. She gets great audience response at her shows, and she toured all over the U.K. She went from supporting artists like Megson, Paper Aeroplanes, Ellen and the Escapades, Teddy Thompson and First Aid Kit to headlining her own shows, including a sold out show in her home city of Norwich. When the Richer Thinner Smarter EP is released on March 4th, Jess will kick off a 32 city tour with a release party show in Norwich. The tour is shown on the photo above, tickets are available at her website, link below.
Photos courtesy of Jess Morgan
Jess Morgan - Richer Thinner Smarter EP
Jess Morgan's Website
Jess Morgan's Facebook
Jess Morgan's Twitter
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Saturday Video: Folksinger Greg Brown may have the largest repertoire of American music since Jerry Garcia, encompassing folk, blues, gospel, jazz, rock, R&B, and country. His concerts are his primary means of self expression. No two shows are ever exactly alike and when he writes a song or constructs a set, he draws from a rich palette of musical styles, times, places, people, ideas, and moods, all informed by his own experiences.
Although he has released many great albums over the years, none of his studio albums so closely approximate his live performances as his newest, Hymns To What Is Left. Greg is not the sort of artist who normally makes videos, so this "Official Video" for the new album's title track is something of a rarity. Greg accompanies his resonant baritone with his own acoustic guitar, his daughter Pieta Brown plays piano, and the evocative electric guitar was played by longtime friend and sideman Bo Ramsey. The simple but beautiful arrangement is typical of the album.
Greg & Bo Ramsey
If you want to keep up with the latest on Greg Brown, the best way is to check out the Greg Brown Discussion Group. There you will find news, reviews, concert reports, and set lists. In addition, members share live recordings (with Greg's blessing).
Bonus Video: This week, board mainstay Ramcey Rodriguez posted about a cool cover version Greg did, of a Tom Waits tune. Ramcey wrote, "Hey folks, A few years back, I received a recording where Greg covers Tom Waits' killer song called "Time" . I had remastered the song to send to a friend of mine in Canada. He's an expert at making really cool music videos, and he made one featuring this song. I thought that some of you might enjoy seeing it. It was recorded in Vergennes, Vermont in 2004 by P.M.
Photos courtesy of Greg Brown
Greg Brown - Hymns to What Is Left
Greg Brown's Website
Greg Brown's Facebook
The Greg Brown Discussion Group
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Saturday Video: We totally love the new video from Polly and the Billets Doux, "Hymn Song", which is their latest single, from the Hold Fast EP. The evocative outdoor setting is pure England.
Photos courtesy of Polly and the Billets Doux
Bonus Video: This is "Sycamore Ships " which was the B-side of their "Cry Cry" single. "Polly and the Billets Doux spend a bank holiday travelling the coast and visiting Swanage and Brighton for gigs."
Hold Fast (EP)
Polly and the Billets Doux Website
Polly and the Billets Doux Facebook
Polly and the Billets Doux Twitter