Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bonnie Raitt - Dig in Deep: On Her 20th, Bonnie Blows The Doors Off

Photos courtesy of Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt's last album, Slipstream, topped my list of the best releases of 2012, as it began her move for musical independence from the major labels. Like Slipstream, Raitt self-produced Dig in Deep and recorded it with her fabulous band. "The response to 'Slipstream' was such a refreshing and unexpected boost. So going into this album, I had renewed energy" Raitt said on her website.

Dig in Deep becomes Bonnie's second release on her own label, Redwing Records. This album has everything you could want from a Bonnie Raitt album, she's in great voice, the material is excellent, and the music is loaded with guitars, especially the slide guitar which has become her trademark.

Dig in Deep has the funkiest blues-rock guitar heard since the early days of Little Feat. In fact, when this band plays full bore the music threatens to invoke the very spirit of Lowell George himself.

Let's get started. Here is the official video for track one, "Unintended Consequence of Love".

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1. Unintended Consequence of Love
2. Need You Tonight
3. I Knew
4. All Alone With Something To Say
5. What You're Doin' To Me
6. Shakin' Shakin' Shakes
7. Undone
8. If You Need Somebody
9. Gypsy In Me
10. The Comin' Round Is Going Through
11. You've Changed My Mind
12. The Ones We Couldn't Be

"Need You Tonight" is remarkable for a couple of reasons. Even if you didn't know that this was an INXS cover, I think the triple cadence on the chorus would give it away. Click above and play this track start to finish. Listen to Raitt and her band totally stop on a dime. Then marvel at the quality of the guitar work as they burn it to the ground. Amazing. Meanwhile, over on track six it's party time as they cover Los Lobos' "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes".

The band on most of the tracks included the bedrock rhythm of Ricky Fataar on drums and James "Hutch" Hutchinson on bass. George Marinelli played electric guitar and Raitt played slide. Mike Finnegan played the Hammond B3 organ and Jon Cleary played Wurlitzer. The combination of the two guitars and two keyboards is killer. Arnold McCuller and Maia Sharp also added backing vocals to some tracks.

On Dig in Deep Raitt herself wrote or co-wrote five of the tracks. "I wanted to come up with some songs that went with grooves that I missed playing in my live show," she says. "Looking around at my friends and peers, a lot of them are doing some of their best work, and I found it very inspirational to get back into the pit, coming up with my own point of view again, as well as writing with my longtime bandmates, George Marinelli and Jon Cleary."

Raitt recorded a session with Joe Henry in 2010. That session was so fruitful that she included four of the songs on Slipstream. On Dig in Deep we get one more, "You've Changed My Mind", which Henry wrote, produced, and played on. Also playing on this track are Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz on electric guitars, David Piltch on acoustic bass, Patrick Warren on keyboards, and Jay Bellerose on drums.

As a ten time Grammy winner, Bonnie Raitt knows her way around a ballad. To close the album, she followed the Henry track with a song she wrote, sang, and performed on piano accompanied only by Warren on keyboard. "The Ones We Couldn't Be" is a song of regret.

And though it seems much kinder 
Just to leave some things unsaid
Like all the ways I tore myself apart
If you really want forgiveness, better
Try the truth instead
It may not be enough, but it's a start

Note: To the Director of Promotion, Redwing Records -
"All Alone With Something To Say" and "If You Need Somebody" deserve to be hit singles. They've got everything that Bonnie brought to the table this time around. Plus, they also have that little something extra in the songwriting, the classic sound of a hit single. I haven't cared much about the Billboard singles chart in a long time, however, this album and these songs are so good that we need a return to the days of the early 70s when good music ruled the charts. These two songs are worthy of being #1 singles at the same time that Dig in Deep is the #1 album. Even if they only make top five, they will class up the Hot 100 for sure.

When I fell for Bonnie Raitt singing acoustic blues on her first album, it was hard to imagine that five decades on we'd be celebrating an artist at the top of her game. "When you get the right people in the room and don't think about it too much, that's when I think the best magic happens."

Bonus Video: "Gypsy In Me" - The Recording Sessions

Bonnie Raitt's Website
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dion - New York Is My Home; Yes, That Dion Has Made A First Rate Rock Album, Still "Creative and Relevant" After All These Years

Photo courtesy of Dion

Dion. Dion DiMucci might not have been my first thought when I heard Mike Marone play a killer track the other day on his Loft morning show on Sirius XM. The song was "Aces Up Your Sleeve", and though I didn't recognize the singer, the guitar work made my hair stand on end. It sounded like early Mark Knopfler circa the first two Dire Straits albums, think "Sultans of Swing". I missed the intro so I jumped onto the Loft's Facebook page and posted a request to know who it was. The answer came back shortly from Mike; it was Dion from his brand new album, New York Is My Home, released February 12th.

Dion is fronting this explosive, well-produced rock band with superb guitar work and a brand of rock that sounds timeless. Timeless is how we must also describe the singer. This album is so good, and Dion is so at home with the material, that you would never ever know that this is a singer who is now in the sixth decade of his career and that he can even now, at age 76, restore our faith in the redemptive power of rock and roll. Bruce Springsteen, a guy who knows a little bit about the redemptive power of rock and roll himself, said of Dion, "All hail Dion, the real link between Frank Sinatra and rock n roll."

There's a very good reason why Dion sounds so at home with this material and that is because he wrote or co-wrote most of it. New York Is My Home also features a duet with Paul Simon on the title track, a song written by Dion to showcase the love of NYC that these two musical titans share.

Dion told the Morning Call newspaper, "It’s the best album I’ve ever done. I feel more relevant today than I did back when I recorded ‘Runaround Sue.’ Unbelievable – it’s like I’m having a ball."

Another reason why Dion sounds so comfortable singing these songs is that his last two albums were blues albums. Although New York Is My Home leans a little more toward rock, the blues is always there and Dion's voice reminds me of Robert Cray especially on the two blues covers, Lightnin' Hopkins' "Katie Mae" and Tampa Red's "I Ain't For It".

For the record, Dion started his career in the 1950s, hitting his stride in the early 60s with "The Wanderer" and "Runaround Sue". He peaked again in the late 60s with "Abraham, Martin, and John" an indelible song that has been with us ever since. Dion's career has continued through the decades. I last caught up with him in 2000 when he released the excellent Deja Nu, which contained two Bruce Springsteen covers, including a very cool Doo-wop version of "If I Should Fall Behind", and yes, you read that right, a very cool Doo-wop version.

Watch the official video for "New York Is My Home" by Dion and Paul Simon.

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

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1 Aces up Your Sleeve
2 Can't Go Back to Memphis
3 New York Is My Home
4 Apollo King
5 Katie Mae (Lightnin' Hopkins)
6 I'm Your Gangster Of Love
7 Ride With You
8 I'm All Rocked Up
9 Visionary Heart
10 I Ain't For It (Tampa Red/Hudson Whittaker)

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Vivino : "Me & Dion @RivingtonGuitar #NYC
Finally wkin on the record we threatened to make 28 years ago... Takin' our time!"

Check out New York Is My Home (the track list above is linked to the music). How did Dion come to find this amazing band? The fact that New York Is My Home was produced by Jimmy Vivino may tell you all you need to know. Vivino's prodigious skills have been on display on TV for many years as a musician and more recently bandleader for Conan O'Brien's TBS show, Conan.

Vivino produced the album using musicians from his TV band, Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band. Dion sang and played rhythm guitar, Mike Merritt played bass, drums were handled by Duke Gadd and James Wormworth. In addition to producing, Vivino sang, played keyboards, and guitar including that fiery lead on "Aces Up Your Sleeve". On the title track guest Paul Simon sang, played guitar, and bass harmonica.

Here is the complete text of what Dion told John J. Moser of The Morning Call, July 9, 2015:
“...And I just finished a new album with Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians. It’s coming out in a couple of months. It’s the best album I’ve ever done. I feel more relevant today than I did back when I recorded ‘Runaround Sue.’ Unbelievable – it’s like I’m having a ball.

That band is within the Conan O’Brian Band. So they’re, like, blues guys. And we did a rock/blues album, with a couple of other things in there. I did a duet with Paul Simon on one thing. It’s about New York – it’s just so good. I love it.”

I’ve seen Jimmy play around here. He plays with The Fab Faux, The Beatles tribute …

“Yeah, The Fab Faux. Yeah, he’s a connoisseur. That guy’s like a historian. But he’s really a blues artist. When it comes down to it, he could play with … I mean, he’s in Fab Faux but of course he’s a blues historian. But his natural [state] is like me – he’s very much into blues.”

Is there any new music on the new album? Anything you wrote?

"Oh, it’s all new. On the new album it’s all new. Except one Lightning Hopkins song. But it’s basically all songs I wrote. Crazy good. Like I said, I feel more creative and relevant today than I did back then. It’s crazy. [Rock journalist] Dave Marsh, he told me, he said, ‘You’re the only guy from the ‘50s who stayed creative.’ I started arguing with him. He said, ‘Prove me wrong.’ And I couldn’t prove him wrong.”
Bonus Video #1: Dion performed "The Apollo King" with Jimmy Vivino on last night's Conan, 2/23/2016.

Bonus Video #2: Last night Dion and Vivino also performed "I'm Your Gangster of Love" for the web extra on

Bonus Video #3: Here's Dion (guitar) singing "Turn Me Loose" with Jimmy Vivino (keyboard) and Max Weinberg (drums; E-Street Band) on Conan, 4/20/95.

Photo courtesy of

Dion's Website
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Jimmy Vivino's Website
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Luther Dickinson - Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook) Volumes I & II, A Super Find On New Music Friday

Photos courtesy of Luther Dickinson

I was doing my usual Friday routine of going through the list of new releases, when I stopped at the name Luther Dickinson. I'm not quite sure why I stopped there. I didn't recognize the name right off the bat.

Checking out the first song, I decided to listen to the album free of all expectations. Here is what greeted me on track one, "Hurry Up Sunrise".

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I loved what I heard. A simple production, drum and bass, acoustic guitar, a pleasing duet with a female vocalist, and halfway through it a nice electric slide guitar solo. I also enjoyed the song composition, very warm and friendly. Now take a listen to track two, "Up Over Yonder". The album continues in this manner, track after track, well written songs played and sung in a homey back porch style that totally drew me in. By the end of Volume I, I decided that I'm in love with this record.

Luther Dickinson is a prolific music artist, musicologist, and song collector. With his band, The North Mississippi Allstars, Dickinson has ten albums so far. He also has two solo albums and another twenty in side projects and collaborations, two with John Hiatt.

Dickinson's website describes this album in detail. "On Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook) Vol. I & II, Luther Dickinson finds his way forward by retracing his steps. This ambitious double album collects twenty-one tunes from throughout his life and career—songs he wrote with his rock & roll band the North Mississippi Allstars, songs he learned from friends and family, songs passed down to him by his heroes and mentors, songs that have lived in the American subconscious for decades now—and pares them down to their irreducible elements. Voice, guitar, drums. Here and there some blues fife or Beale Street piano."

In addition to my favorable reaction as a listener, I have clearly walked into something very special here. Read the following statement from Dickinson regarding this album, the music, and the culture; this is brilliant stuff.
This acoustic collection of songs interpreted simply, recorded live, solo or with a small group of friends reflects my relationship between music, songs, the written word and legacy. Blues & Ballads celebrates the American oral tradition of blues and folk songs, not only being passed down and evolving but being transcribed (the original recording technique) and entered into the discipline of written sheet music and songbooks.

The songs themselves tell the story of growing up in a modern day rural south amongst first generation Memphis rock ‘n rolling, song collecting, folk bohemians, disapproving pre-rock ‘n roll holy rollers, and citified punk rockers and modern day blues giants, experiencing the miracle that was Fat Possum Records and Hill Country Blues in the 90s, singing songs in a language near extinction, barely pre-internet, when community, word of mouth, firsthand experience, books, records and art still ruled. When the elders begin passing on, these family, friends and heroes should be made into folk heroes and their vernacular and stories should be sung.

The CD package contains my handwritten lyrics representing the songwriter’s notebook and the creative process that I love.

The vinyl art includes my dream come true – my songbook, a printed collection of my tunes (my life), transcribed and made to look legitimate. The limited pressing makes the legitimacy fleeting and as it should be: rare and underground. I represent the Memphis underground and the mid-south region’s music. This art is not for the masses. It is meant to wither and fade and then rise from the ashes again and again, evolving and mutating.

Is it too late to tell your and your community’s tales thru the vinyl groove and the block lettered, mimeographed page? Never! So be it through text messaged fluency of thumb and mp3-ed micro speakers, the lives and legends of modern day folk music heroes will live on and the spirit of American roots rock ‘n roll will shout to the man, the masses, and disposable pop culture, "Fuck off. Even in death, the art lives on." -Luther Dickinson

On Blues & Ballads, production was handled by Dickinson who also sang and played guitar, mandolin, and piano. Among the musicians that accompany Dickinson are Sharde Thomas on vocals, drums, and fife, Amy LaVere on vocals and upright bass, and Lillie Mae Rische on fiddle and vocals. The guest artists appearing on the record include Jason Isbell, JJ Grey, and Mavis Staples.

The best way to get the flavor of what's going on here is to listen. The following track list is link to the songs. When you listen to "Ain't No Grave" with Mavis Staples, be sure to read (in the next section) about her participation.

Volume I:
01. Hurry Up Sunrise
02. Up Over Yonder (feat. JJ Grey)
03. Bang Bang Lulu
04. Moonshine
05. Jackson
06. Mean Ol' Wind Died Down
07. How I Wish My Train Would Come
08. Ain't No Grave (feat. Mavis Staples)
09. Let It Roll
10. My Leavin'

Volume II:
11. Horseshoe (Reprise)
12. Highwater (Soldier)
13. And It Hurts
14. Storm
15. Mojo, Mojo
16. Ol' Cannonball
17. Devilment
18. Blow Out
19. Mayor Langford Birmingham Blues
20. Shake (Yo Mama)
21. Horseshoe

Photo courtesy of Mavis Staples

The website description of the inside story of the making of Blues & Ballads continues below. This is a fascinating read.
The performances on the record itself are some of his most excitable and energetic, with the bounce and rumble of early blues and rock; the arrangements transcribed in the illustrated songbook (which accompanies the vinyl edition of the album) reveal the intricate and imaginative rhythms and melodies that underpin all of Luther’s compositions. “The idea,” he says, “was to re-record everything very stripped down—very acoustic and honest and folky—to accompany the songbook.” As the subtitle suggests, this is only the beginning of what promises to be a multi-volume undertaking.

It started, as so many good things do, with Mavis Staples.

The two have been friends and occasional musical partners for twenty years: She has sung with his rock-and-roll band the North Mississippi Allstars, and he accompanied her on the soundtrack to Take Me to the River, the 2014 documentary about soul music in the South. When Mavis mentioned that she wanted to record the Allstars tune “Hear the Hills,” Luther knew he had to make it happen. On the day of the session, however, Mavis changed her mind and asked to record another song, “Ain’t No Grave,” from the Allstars’ 2011 album Keys to the Kingdom.

It’s a song that means the world to Luther. He wrote it shortly after the death of his father, the producer/singer/songwriter/all-around badass Jim Dickinson. Most people know him as a session musician who played on hits by the Stones and Dylan or as a producer who helmed seminal albums by Big Star and the Replacements. He taught Luther everything he knows: how to play guitar, how to lead a band, how to keep a songwriter’s notebook.

For Mavis, “Ain’t No Grave” is the kind of song her own father—the great Pops Staples—might have taught her and her sisters back in the 1950s and ‘60s, when the Staple Singers were the biggest name in gospel. Arranged, performed, and recorded on the fly, their version of the tune is haunting. The tempo is slow but determined, as though midway through a long, arduous journey. Sharde Thomas taps out a sympathetic rhythm on her drums while Luther lays down a wiry blues riff and sings about living up to his father’s example: “When the day comes, death comes back my way,” they sing together, “I would hope to be as brave as he was on Judgment Day.”

Mavis sings behind him, her voice trailing his, her presence a reassuring hand on Luther’s shoulder. Fatigue colors their voices, evoking the inescapable gravity of death: We are all pulled toward the grave, but it’s what we do along the way that matters. At the heart of the song is a kernel of hard-won hope, as though simply making music is consolation enough.

That memorable session sent Luther down the road toward Blues & Ballads, which he describes as a community project: “This is the most casual record I ever made. I’d record one or two songs at a time, very effortlessly and unstrategically. Then I started recording songs with different groups of friends, wherever I happened to be.” Fortunately, he happened to be in some of the best and most historic rooms in the world, including Sun Studio and Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios in Memphis. Equally fortunately, he has some incredibly talented friends: Jason Isbell, J.J. Grey, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus, Lillie Mae Rasche, and Charles Hodges, a keyboard player of the legendary Hi Records rhythm section that backed Al Green.

In addition to these cameos, Blues & Ballads emphasizes first and foremost Luther’s chemistry with his solo band, Amy LaVere on bass and Sharde Thomas on drums, fife, even accordion. Sharde in particular plays a prominent roll on these songs, not just providing a steady backbeat but singing backup and lead. It’s her voice that introduces the album on opener “Hurry Up Sunrise,” which is fitting since the song was written by her grandfather, the renowned blues fife legend Otha Turner. Their voices blend gracefully on the verses, lending the tune a spry bounce and a wide-eyed tone. Luther is so moved by the performance—recorded in one take—that he punctuates it with an excited, “I love you, girl!”

He’s been singing the song for most of his life, first learning it on Otha’s front porch. “Back in the day when I was a teenager, I would sit on his porch with our friends, all guys in the hill country blues scene, and we would all play guitar. We’d try to get Otha fired up enough that he would start singing. If he started singing, we knew were getting somewhere.” That porch was where he met Sharde, back when she was just 9 years old but already something of a fife prodigy. As a teenager, she started playing with the Allstars. “I look at him as an older brother,” she says. “When we’re onstage together, magic seems to happen. I know Otha’s smiling down on me and Luther’s father’s smiling down on him.”

Blues & Ballads has a retrospective flavor, but it’s not a greatest hits. Rather, it’s a means of translating these songs to a new moment, of letting them breathe and take new shapes. In that regard, it’s fitting that the vinyl edition includes that songbook. “I love all sorts,” says Luther, an avid collector of “hymnals, children’s songs, country music, whatever. And I’ve always wanted to have my own.” When he was growing up in rural Mississippi, these songbooks formed the bedrock of his musical education. “My grandmother was the church pianist, and I remember looking at the hymnals and trying to figure out the music. I would read the words and listen to the people singing along. Growing up pre-internet, I would go to the library and memorize every music book in the Hernando Public Library.”

Around this same time, Luther learned to keep copious notebooks full of stray thoughts, fragments of lyrics, doodles and drawings, anything that came to his mind. It’s an approach his father insisted was essential not just to the songwriter, but to anyone who creates any kind of art. Luther continues the practice today, archiving his old notebooks—all emblazoned with stickers and filled with his chicken scratch penmanship—the same way he collects songbooks.

“My whole life my dad really helped teach me how to craft songs. I’d bring in these rough songs and we’d demo them up and record them. He would always go through them and make sure the syllable count added up and the rhymes were traditional. He taught me the importance of getting the most out of every word, making every word as strong as it could be. Now that he’s gone, I still work on songs using what he taught me. We’re still working together, because he taught me how to do it. The collaboration lives on.”

Every song on Blues & Ballads was born in those songbooks and notebooks, a fact that lends the double album the feel of a memoir. This is the sound of a vital artist taking stock of his life in music and acknowledging his debt to his heroes: his grandmother, his father, Otha Turner, Mavis Staples, and so many others. “When you put all these songs together, they tell my story and my family’s story.”
Whatever it was that made me stop at Luther Dickinson on that list of new releases, I am grateful. Dickinson's passion for the music, his knowledge, experience, and talent as a songwriter, singer, musician, and producer rings loud and clear. Jerry Garcia had a most amazing repertoire of songs, an incredibly deep well of rock, folk, soul, jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, and gospel. He was essentially a living repository of American music and his death still resonates. Greg Brown shares a similarly deep repertoire of American music. Everything I've heard so far and read about Luther Dickinson suggests that he may also be an heir to that legacy. I have much listening to do. Luther Dickinson and the Cooperators (Amy LaVere - vocals, bass and Will Sexton - guitar) are touring the songs from Blues & Ballads. Check Dickinson's website link, below, for dates and locations.

Bonus video: Luther Dickinson sits down for a One On One Session at City Winery in New York on January 28th, 2016.

Luther Dickinson Website
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North Mississippi Allstars Website
North Mississippi Allstars Facebook
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North Mississippi Allstars Instagram

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wish You Were Here, The London Orion Orchestra Takes On the Pink Floyd Classic With Help From Alice Cooper, Rick Wakeman

New Music Friday: I almost skipped it. Reading the list of new releases last Friday, I got several albums beyond Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here Symphonic before it sunk in and I went back to check it out. In the back of my mind, I feared that this might be another exercise in self-importance by Roger Waters, similar to what he's done with The Wall over the last twenty years. I dialed it up on Spotify and began to play track one. Maybe it was my lowered expectations, but this version of the title track sounded really good. Seeming to come out of nowhere, Alice Cooper did a great job with the vocal, and they've got Rick Wakeman on piano, sweet.

My curiosity now piqued, I listened to the album in its entirety, and I am not only amazed at how good the music is, I am finding that it adds another dimension to the venerable Pink Floyd classic. Once I knew what I was dealing with, I sat down and listened to the entire Pink Floyd original, followed by another complete listen to the Symphonic version.

In 1975, Pink Floyd had the enviable task of following up Dark Side of the Moon, the breakthrough album that went immediately to #1 on the Billboard album chart upon its 1973 release. It remained on the chart for a remarkable 741 weeks, amassing worldwide sales of over 50 million copies. Wish You Were Here proved to be a worthy follow-up, with its set piece "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" spread over half of side one and all of side two. Musically it was a proper successor to Dark Side, while lyrically it paid tribute to Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett who left the band in 1968 with mental issues. In between the two sections of "Diamond" were three more songs that sound like a jab at the record business.

The new symphonic Wish You Were Here takes the original five songs and adds three tracks. Track one is the vocal version of the title track, which provides a nice introduction to the album. Track two is "The Orchestra Tunes" which gives you the sound you hear right before an orchestra plays. Tracks three through seven are the orchestra's version of the five original album tracks. All are done instrumentally except "Welcome To The Machine", which adds some Alice Cooper vocals. The arrangements of the vocals for orchestra are artfully done; in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", for example, Pink Floyd's vocal melodies are carried by the woodwinds and sometime the brass. Track eight is the third new track, a bonus orchestra performance of "Eclipse", which is the last song from Dark Side of the Moon.

The opening track sounds utterly fabulous, and we can look at the players to understand why. Alice Cooper did the vocals, Rick Wakeman played keyboards, and guitar work was handled by Dave Fowler & Stephen McElroy. That they sound so perfect playing this material doesn't come as a surprise when you learn that Fowler and McElroy are from the Australian Pink Floyd. The Aussie Floyd is a world class tribute band on the order of the Fab Faux (Beatles) and The Musical Box (Genesis). This new version of the title track adds a beautiful piano part played by Wakeman that is not in the original. Listen to the beginning of it on the following video which nicely samples every track on the new album.

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The symphonic Wish You Were Here celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Pink Floyd release. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, the same place that Pink Floyd recorded the original. The London Orion Orchestra is conducted by Peter Scholes, who also wrote the arrangements. This was no small feat, as the success of the project totally depends on the arrangements. I have to say that Scholes did an amazing job and the symphonic Wish You Were Here succeeds on every level. Scholes has conducted orchestral interpretations of rock before including Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd (1995).

Alice Cooper had a successful band by the same name in the early 70s. He injected a needed sense of humor into his brand of hard rock by way of a very theatrical presentation largely drawn from horror movies. Cooper demonstrated his range as a singer on his solo debut, Welcome To My Nightmare, 1975. He has been recording as a solo act ever since, as well as doing some acting and becoming known as a golfing celebrity. With a total of 26 studio and 11 live albums to his credit, he also has a bit of history with Pink Floyd. In the video below, Cooper talks about his relationship with Pink Floyd and the making of this album.

Keyboardist Rick Wakeman is no stranger to fans of progressive rock. He has spent over thirty years as an on and off member of Yes, including the recording of their seminole albums in the early seventies. A prolific player, he has had an active solo career racking up a total of ninety albums.

The Australian Pink Floyd's website informs us that, "Having sold over four million tickets to concerts that have taken place in 35 countries, The Australian Pink Floyd Show is rightfully hailed as one of the most in demand touring entities currently operating. The Times Newspaper in London described them as “The Gold Standard”. This act are so good they were even engaged by David Gilmour to perform at his 50th birthday celebration!"

The London Orion Orchestra Website
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Peter Scholes Website
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Alice Cooper Website
Alice Cooper Facebook
Alice Cooper Twitter
Alice Cooper Instagram

Rick Wakeman Website
Rick Wakeman Facebook
Rick Wakeman Twitter

The Australian Pink Floyd Website
The Australian Pink Floyd Facebook
The Australian Pink Floyd Twitter

Pink Floyd Website
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Pink Floyd Instagram

Friday, February 05, 2016

Dori Freeman, Virginia Singer-Songwriter Releases Self-Titled Album, A Most Impressive Debut

Photos: Kristin Horton

Dori Freeman is a singer and songwriter from the town of Galax, Virginia. She has today released her label debut, simply titled Dori Freeman, and it's already turning many heads. NPR Music said, "It's startling to hear such a fully formed singing and songwriting voice come out of nowhere." Rolling Stone Country calls her, "one of the most authentic vocalists to emerge from the hills of southwestern Virginia."

The first thing that struck me upon hearing her advance track, "Any Wonder", was the tone, clarity, and confidence in her voice. Next, I picked up on her songwriting skill, especially her sense of melody.

Listen to "Any Wonder":

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Freeman comes from an area that's steeped in folk music tradition and located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia. The town of Galax hosts the Old Fiddlers' Convention, the oldest and largest convention of its kind; Freeman attends annually. She grew up in a musical family with both her father and grandfather being musicians, and Dori has been singing and writing songs since the age of 15.

The third thing that got my attention was that her album was produced by Teddy Thompson. Thompson is a singer-songwriter from England who transcends categorization in the way that he blends rock, folk, country, and rockabilly into the mix on his own excellent records. Freeman first contacted Thompson via Facebook. She told Fretboard Journal, "I sent him a note telling him I’ve been a big fan of his music for a long time along with a video of me playing and singing a song ["Lullaby"]. I just thought I may as well give it a shot, the worst thing that could happen is he wouldn’t respond. But he did respond. He was intrigued by it and wanted to hear more. We exchanged a few emails and talked on the phone. He very generously offered to produce a record for me."

The album opens with "You Say", performed solo acoustic. Although I might prefer more instrumentation, the simple production really works well to provide an introduction to Freeman's voice and songwriting style. I love the way that Freeman deals with unrequited love in her lyrics.
Darlin' I can't stop thinking of you
Like a dog in the hot night I'm howlin' for you
And I know it'll leave me blue
But I'm still in love with you

"Where I Stood" continues the intimate presentation but adds backing vocals by Teddy Thompson. By the third song, "Go On Lovin'", we have a full-on production, an old school country song that sounds like it could just as well have been recorded fifty years ago. Freeman's heartbroken vocal and Jon Graboff's steel guitar make this track exceptional. The next song, "Tell Me", has chunky chords and a rock sound that would class up The Hot 100. The album continues in this manner hopscotching musical genres from classic sixties pop ("Fine, Fine, Fine") to folk-pop of the highest order ("Any Wonder").

The album is comprised almost entirely of songs about love and relationships. Smack in the middle comes a song that will stop you in your tracks and drop your jaw. With only finger snaps for accompaniment, "Ain't Nobody" features just Freeman's incredible voice. Every time I hear this song my appreciation for it grows. It's quite an amazing piece of work in that it sounds so authentic.

Listen to "Ain't Nobody":

Listening to it I realized that I had read that all the songs on this album were Freeman originals. So I asked her about it:

Music & More: I like the entire record, but I want to ask about your A Capella work song. It sounds like it could have been sung in the mines. How did you come to write this?

Dori Freeman: I wrote Ain't Nobody working around the house when my daughter was still a baby (I have a 2 1/2 yr old). I just wrote it a little bit at a time. I listened to a lot of bluegrass, gospel, blues, etc, growing up which certainly had an influence on the song. I was thinking about my ancestors and imagining folks who've experienced different struggles in Appalachia.

The song that follows, "Lullaby", may be my favorite track on the record. This is another old school country tune in which the past crashes into the present. Freeman's vocal is joined by some expressive tremolo guitar work by Graboff with piano (Erik Deutsch) that perfectly amplifies the retro country-jazz vibe established by the bass (Jeff Hill) and drums (Rob Walbourne).

Listen to "Lullaby":

"Song For Paul" goes the straight folk route with Freeman's vocals and acoustic accompanied by Thompson on piano and backing vocals. The album concludes with "Still A Child", in which Freeman criticizes her man and the state of their relationship, and not in a good way.
Don't ask forgiveness, don't reach for my hand
I see in your eyes what you
don't understand
You say you need me but I need a man
And you are still a child
The song features some nice fiddle by Alex Hargreaves and a tune that encompasses country, folk, and pop in a way that leaves the listener wanting to hear more.

Dori Freeman, the person, is a gifted singer and songwriter. Dori Freeman, the album, is not only a pleasure to listen to, but it is a most impressive debut. I think we will be hearing lots more from this talented newcomer. The album is out today on Free Dirt Records.

Bonus video: Hear an early version of "Ain't Nobody" that appears to be recorded at home and posted in October of 2014.

Dori Freeman's Website
Dori Freeman's Facebook
Dori Freeman's Instagram

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Appreciating the Eagles: Goodbye Glenn Frey, Don Henley Speaks, the Eagles Album by Album, My Top Ten

Photos courtesy of the Eagles

The world of popular music changed forever and for the better on May 1, 1972 when the Eagles' first single, "Take It Easy" was released. There's been a ton written and said about the Eagles and founding members Glenn Frey and Don Henley since the recent passing of Frey at age 67. This is partially because Frey left us too soon, but mostly because the music of the Eagles has touched so many lives. Henley and Frey have had their detractors over the years, but in the end it all comes down to the music, and the Eagles' music is beloved for good reason; The Eagles Greatest Hits has been one of the largest selling albums of all time since its release in 1976.

Of all the things I've heard and read, two stand out. Henley gave a touching tribute to his musical partner in the Hollywood Reporter, the complete text is shown below. The other tribute that I would like to bring to your attention was written by Charlie Ricci in his blog, Bloggerhythms (be sure to click on the red link "The Dude" in the first sentence).

Glenn Frey (L), Don Henley (R)

This is the text of Don Henley's statement to the Hollywood Reporter (1/18/2016):

"He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn't quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved his wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year 'History of the Eagles Tour' to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I'm not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some."

Don Henley (L), Glenn Frey (R)

Not wishing to repeat what I've seen on so many sites, I think that this would be an excellent time to remember the music of the Eagles. When the Eagles started in 1972, the success of their music, both artistically and commercially, helped them to define the term country-rock. When I think of their early career, I remember one amazing ninety-minute episode of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert television show with half-hour sets by Jackson Browne, The Eagles, and Linda Ronstadt. They had formed as Ronstadt's backing band until they decided to strike out on their own as The Eagles (with Linda's blessing). All the stories, personnel changes, ego issues, etc. are nicely presented in the Showtime documentary, History of the Eagles(now available on DVD and Blu-ray). Beyond the triumphs of songwriting, performance, and production one of the Eagles' greatest strengths was that they could always rock hard with solid guitar work while at the same time creating the best sounding mellow songs with beautiful vocal harmonies. In addition to loving this music, I think I have a special place in my heart for this band because their first half-dozen albums coincided with the time frame of my career as an FM disc jockey.

"Take it Easy" (May 1, 1972) It seems like only yesterday that "Take It Easy" arrived at WECI-FM, my college radio station. It was a promotional 45 (vinyl) on Asylum distributed by Atlantic Records. I can still see the single on the station's turntable as we set the needle down and heard this band for the first time. We were transfixed and had to play it a couple of times. That's all it took. We knew the name Jackson Browne on the writing credit, but Browne did not release his own version until his second album in 1973; Browne's version was the similar, but different.

The Eagles (1972) The first album came out about six weeks after the single which was already climbing the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Peaceful Easy Feeling" was the song of that summer and the album never strayed far from my turntable. In those days the albums were vinyl and the covers were gloriously big 12" x 12" things of beauty. In this case, there's a gorgeous photograph by Henry Diltz. "Witchy Woman" was the second single and "Peaceful Easy Feeling" followed as the third. The Eagles was recorded in London with producer Glyn Johns. The lineup was Glenn Frey on guitars and vocals, Don Henley on drums and vocals, Randy Meisner on bass and vocals, and Bernie Leadon on guitars, banjo and vocals.

Desperado (1973) The second album was a concept album dealing with outlaws and cowboys of the old west. Neither the two singles nor the album cracked the top forty of their respective charts, but the record was an artistic success nonetheless. "Tequila Sunrise" was a direct descendant of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and it went down just as easy. "Desperado" became one of the Eagles most iconic tracks with numerous covers by a wide array of artists including Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Diana Krall, The Carpenters, and even Andy Williams. The album cover was a beautiful dark brown with the photo against a textured matte surface. According to Wikipedia, Desperado is the only Eagles album to feature a photograph of the band on the cover. The lineup is the same as the first album, and likewise, it was recorded in London with producer Glyn Johns.

On The Border (1974) On their third album, the Eagles added lead guitarist Don Felder to the lineup and achieved not only a shift toward a more rock sound, but they also delivered their most consistent album yet. This time they chose Bill Szymczyk to produce; Szymczyk was best known for producing The James Gang and Joe Walsh. There are guitarists aplenty and a set of nearly all rockers, like "Already Gone", "James Dean", and the title track. There are only two mellow songs on the record and they are both giants. Although I had heard Tom Waits before, I think the Eagles' version of "Ol' 55" was the first Waits cover I can remember and I've always thought of it as the definitive version. The other softer song turned out to be their first #1 single, "Best Of My Love", which drove On The Border to double platinum sales. When I think about trying to choose their best album, I always go back and forth between this and Hotel California. The series of beautiful covers continued with watercolor artwork against a white matte background.

One Of These Nights (1975) The Eagles kept the same lineup and producer for their forth album, but One Of These Nights could not have been more different from On The Border. Rather then sounding like parts of a whole, each track on One Of These Nights was a self-contained major production. For me, this album is defined by its three singles (all top five), and "After the Thrill Is Gone". The rest of the album, while sounding good, never gained traction. The title track, "Lyin' Eyes", and "Take It To The Limit" were such successful singles ("One Of These Nights" was their second #1 single), that they brought the Eagles their first #1 album and their first Grammy award, which was for "Lyin' Eyes". One Of These Nights boasted another gorgeous cover, this time the artwork was embossed into a gray and blue watercolor background.

Hotel California (1976) If On The Border was a home run, Hotel California was a grand slam. It was the quintessential Eagles album. The Eagles replaced Bernie Leadon with Joe Walsh on guitars and vocals; and they stayed with producer Bill Szymczyk. The songs were as consistent in their quality as they were varied in their style. They refer to this as a concept album, about urban California. The cover was a beauty, a photograph of the Beverly Hills Hotel at dusk. The year after it came out, when I was visiting the Los Angeles area, as a photographer I had to make a pilgrimage to the shooting site. Hotel California contained two #1 singles, "New Kid in Town" and the title track; the equally iconic "Life in the Fast Lane" was the third single. Hotel California received four Grammy nominations, winning two awards. All this kept the album at #1 for eight weeks and it went on to sell nearly 30 million copies in the U.S.

Please Come Home For Christmas (1978) In 1978 the Eagles released a Christmas single, a cover of Charles Brown's "Please Come Home For Christmas" with the B side track "Funky New Year". This widely covered song is one of my favorites, and because of their popularity the Eagles version has become somewhat definitive. It came out in both 7" and 12" formats and it is notable that it became the first "holiday" single to break the top twenty on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in fifteen years.

The Long Run (1979) For the Eagles sixth studio album they replaced Randy Meisner with Timothy B. Schmit on bass and vocals. The personnel move actually took place earlier before the recording of "Please Come Home For Christmas". They also continued with producer Bill Szymczyk. There is an axiom in popular music that the sales of an album are largely governed by the popularity of the band's previous album, and that would certainly be the case on The Long Run. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album Chart, followed by two months at #1 with sales of over seven million copies. The Eagles have said that by the time they made this album their fame, fortune, and egos began to get in the way of the music as long term friendships and musical partnerships began to break down.

Although I love the first three tracks and the last track, I could take or leave the rest making this my least favorite Eagles album. There was nothing wrong with the performances or production of those tracks, it's just that the songwriting left me cold; okay, I'll admit that I did like "Heartache Tonight" better than the other middle tracks. Track one, the title track was, the band has said, their tribute to the city of Memphis. Track two, "I Can't Tell You Why", is one of the Eagles all time best; you will see below that it makes my Eagles top ten. Timothy B. Schmit wrote it with Frey and Henley and delivers a soaring falsetto that not many rock singers could ever touch. Joe Walsh provided track three, "In The City", which is classic Joe Walsh. The album ends with the other track I love, "The Sad Cafe", which is an epic song with a message in the mold of "Wasted Time" and "The Last Resort". The Long Run had three top ten singles including "Heartache Tonight", which went to #1 and won a Grammy Award.

Eagles Live (1980) This is a good news/bad news proposition. The good news is that the Eagles were such good performers that they could play live and have it sound exactly like the record. That is also the bad news. Track one, "Hotel California", is so identical to the studio original that even the dueling guitar solos are note for note the same, which makes live recording kind of pointless. As you'll see below in the comment from Bill Szymczyk, the "fixes" are actually studio overdubs in which the flaws are fixed and the vocals are sweetened. Peter Gabriel took a lot of heat for doing this on his Plays Live album. In my mind, this is cheating; live albums should contain the same music as the audience heard that night, nothing more, nothing less. This practice contributed to the "perfection" of the Eagles' live tracks. Even still, there was much to like on Eagles Live. Some tracks featured guest musicians and backup singers including John David Souther. There were three tracks not contained on any previous Eagles album. The live version of Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good" with its fiery lead guitars, cuts the Walsh original to shreds. They also do Walsh's "All Night Long." Finally, there was the new track "Seven Bridges Road" which was released as a single and was heavy on the Eagles' vocal harmonies.

According to Wikipedia, Eagles Live was a contractual obligation album, the bulk of which was recorded at a series of concerts at the end of July 1980, and at the conclusion of the last show (7/31/1980) the Eagles broke up. "Eagles Live was mixed by Glenn Frey and Don Henley on opposite coasts, as the two decided they could not stand to be in the same state, let alone the same studio, and as producer Bill Szymczyk put it, the record's three-part harmonies were fixed 'courtesy of Federal Express.'" For all the details of the breakup, watch the documentary, History of the Eagles. There is also a fascinating interview with Szymczyk in Goldmine Magazine.

Hell Freezes Over (1994) The title was based on a 1980 quote from Don Henley stating when the Eagles might get back together. When the Eagles did finally re-form, they went into the studio to record four new originals and they also performed a concert for an MTV special. On the album, the four studio tracks come first. Then Glenn Frey introduces the live concert by saying, "For the record, we never broke up; we just took a 14-year vacation." This album could not have been more different from Eagles Live; it seemed like every track had a fresh interpretation. The most changed was "Hotel California", performed all acoustic with an intro that sounds like an improvised guitar jam. The well-chosen set sounded great, and not just because the band had been away for so long. The one track that didn't originate on an Eagles record was "New York Minute" from Don Henley's The End Of the Innocence solo album; the Eagles did a beautiful rendition with backing from the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra. Whatever their issues, it was good to have the Eagles back, and this album is a keeper.

Long Road Out of Eden (2007) This is a weird one. To start off, this album was released as a Wal-Mart exclusive, meaning that for the first year it could only be purchased at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, or the Eagles own website. At face value, this marketing plan had to alienate some of the Eagles' core audience contradicting many of the shared values that were expressed in the music. The album was also self-categorized as "country" even though there was nothing country about it any more than say Hotel California or On The Border; this also seemed to contradict the Eagles long attempt to be considered rock rather than country rock. My personal reaction to the above was that it was caused by either 1) a misguided marketing move or 2) push-back against the Eagles' detractors, or 3) push-back against the now crumbling record industry that didn't know what to do with MP3s or the internet. Perhaps all three factors came into play but looking at the sales figures now at 3.75 million copies sold, I think we might cross off misguided marketing.

In hindsight, it's clear that these were probable indications of a band in trouble. This album felt to me that it never really reached its audience, sales figures not withstanding. I never heard any track from this album on the radio. I was surprised to learn, in researching this article that this album spawned five singles that charted on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart, two of which also scored on the country chart. Also surprising is the news that it had no singles charting on the Billboard Hot 100, the only Eagles album that failed in this regard. Let's review, two singles on the country chart even though the songs were not country at all. No singles on the Hot 100. And for the coup de grĂ¢ce, five singles on the Adult Contemporary Chart, this chart was formerly known as the Easy Listening Chart. There's something decidedly wrong with this picture; the Eagles on the Easy Listening Chart? Yikes.

Although the album took six years to record the pleasures are many on Long Road Out of Eden. It was a double album of all new material, plenty of good songs and good sounding performances. Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit sound more integrated into the band than ever before. In Walsh's case, instead of sounding like Walsh solo tracks with the Eagles singing backup, they sound more like Eagles songs with Walsh singing lead. There was one personnel change on this album; in 2001 the Eagles fired Don Felder. The Eagles are listed as the producer. Over the course of six years, there were numerous co-producers, one of whom was Bill Szymczyk. Long Road Out of Eden received six Grammy nominations and won two awards, one pop, one country.

Various Artists - Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles (1993) Coming out the year before Hell Freezes Over, Common Thread is a country tribute to the Eagles, foreshadowing (or maybe contributing to) the Eagles aligning themselves with country on Long Road Out Of Eden. Considering that popular country music has become no more country than the Eagles were, this is kind of ironic. In any case, Common Thread offers a star-studded lineup, circa 1983, of country artists performing the songs of the Eagles. As an album, it all sounded good; I'm just going to offer some highlights. Vince Gill's falsetto holds its own compared with Timothy B. Schmit's, on "I Can't Tell You Why", and with some sax Gill offers a nice country-jazz interpretation. The pedal steel sounds good on "New Kid In Town" and Trisha Yearwood's pleasing vocal reminds me of Linda Ronstadt. I love Tanya Tucker's "Already Gone"; this is a great kiss-off anthem and rock song and Tucker sings the hell out of it. Brooks and Dunn hew pretty close to the original on "Best Of My Love", but since the original is such a good song, there's nothing wrong with that. The album closes with "The Sad Cafe" by Lorrie Morgan. I love both the song and Morgan's vocal.

It's impossible to write about the last few Eagles albums without dealing with the inevitable back-story of the band, it's members, and its break-up. In David Browne's review of Common Thread in Entertainment Weekly (1993), he had some interesting things to say: "By the time the Eagles plodded on to their last studio album, 1979’s The Long Run (as sleazy, sated, and fascinating as any superstar album ever made), the band members had become humorless millionaires, their arrogance matched only by their self-loathing and contempt. They despised everything they had become and desired—and, hey, so did we. By the late ’70s, a string of inept presidents and frustratingly long gas lines had curdled the American dream; we had grown to hate ourselves and our country. In that sense, the Eagles were a metaphor for our low self-esteem during the tail end of that decade. No wonder we didn’t shed any tears when the band folded at the dawn of the ’80s—they so epitomized an era that their time had simply come and gone."

Coming twenty-seven years after the last studio album, Long Road Out of Eden was considered by the group to be their last album. If we have learned one thing from the Eagles, it's never say never. With the passing of Glenn Frey, the group is down to three members, Henley, Schmid and Walsh. I could see, perhaps, the Eagles re-assembling with longtime co-writer J. D. Souther, or maybe Jackson Browne, or maybe both.

My Eagles Top Ten:

1. Hotel California from Hotel California (1976), written by Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey

On a dark desert highway
Cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas
Rising up through the air.

I don't know just what colita's are, but I hope that I'll know them if I ever encounter them.

Up ahead in the distance
I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night...

The quintessential Eagles song on the quintessential Eagles album.

"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!"

2. Peaceful Easy Feeling from Eagles (1992), written by Jack Tempchin
As soon as I heard this song on my initial spin of the Eagles' first album, I knew I would love this band. "I want to sleep with you in the desert tonight, with a billion stars all around." It doesn't get better than that.

3. The Best Of My Love from On The Border (1974), written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, J.D. Souther
Not for nothing was this the Eagles' first #1 single. A standout song on every level, it sounded good whether on FM or AM. It sounded especially good to me in a radio set following anything with a cold ending, and then the song segued quite nicely into "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers. It was also both a sweet love song and a post-mortem on a failed relationship.

4. One Of These Nights from One Of These Nights (1975), written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey
From the rubber band bass intro to the falsetto backing vocal, the appeal of "One Of These Nights" was undeniable. It became the group's second #1 single. I think the secret of its appeal is that it is a great soul song masquerading as country rock. Look no further than the cover version by Keb Mo and you'll hear it plain as day. By the way, I love both versions.
Oo, someone to be kind to
In between the dark and the light.
Oo, coming right behind you,
Swear I'm gonna find you
One of these nights.

5. I Can't Tell You Why from The Long Run (1979), written by Timothy B. Schmit, Glenn Frey, Don Henley
Bassist Timothy B. Schmit brought "I Can't Tell You Why" with him when he joined the Eagles. Henley and Frey helped him finish it, and it was the last Eagles' song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Schmit's falsetto vocal is amazing and everything about "I Can't Tell You Why" sounds right.

6. Desperado from Desperado (1973), written by Glenn Frey, Don Henley
Although it was never released as a single, "Desperado" is one of the Eagles most iconic songs. The simple melody accompanied a soulful vocal with genius lyrics like,

Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day
You're losin' all your highs and lows;
Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away?

7. New Kid In Town from Hotel California (1976), written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, J.D. Souther
I always loved this track from Hotel California, and working on the radio I got to play it often. At the time, I (erroneously) thought that this song had something to do with Jimmy Carter winning the 1976 presidential election. It did fit.

8. Is It True from On The Border (1974), written by Randy Meisner
I love the slide guitar on "Is It True" that comes from an album that is rich with guitar work. I first thought that maybe Joe Walsh was guesting on this track, and I had to look up the credits to learn that it was not Joe after all but Glenn Frey.

9. The Girl From Yesterday from Hell Freezes Over (1974), written by Glenn Frey, Jack Tempchin
Finally a real country song from the Eagles. There were two gems among the four new studio recordings on Hell Freezes Over, this and "Love Will Keep Us Alive". Either one could hold down this spot on my Top Ten, but "The Girl From Yesterday" has such a good lead vocal by Frey that this is the way I'd like to remember him.

10. The Last Resort from Hotel California (1976), written by Glenn Frey, Don Henley
This is an epic Don Henley composition with a great melody and a strong environmental message. Henley says, "The gist of the song was that when we find something good, we destroy it by our presence — by the very fact that man is the only animal on earth that is capable of destroying his environment. ...We have mortgaged our future for gain and greed."
Who will provide the grand design,
What is yours and what is mine?
Cause there is no more new frontier,
We have got to make it here.

Eagles Website

Don Henley's Website
Don Henley's Facebook

Timothy B. Schmit's Website
Timothy B. Schmit's Facebook
Timothy B. Schmit's Twitter

Joe Walsh's Website
Joe Walsh's Facebook
Joe Walsh's Twitter