Showing posts from June, 2005

Genesis Reconsidered - The Live Lamb, Genesis Archives Volume 1. 1967-1975 (Atlantic, 1998)

The recent performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by The Musical Box has brought a new appreciation for the Genesis original. Although Foxtrot (1972) and Selling England by the Pound (1973) were masterworks in their own right, and even though a case could be made that Banks, Rutherford, Hackett and Collins carried on with some great progressive music sans Gabriel on A Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering (both 1976), I'm starting to think that The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) may be Genesis' best album. For many listeners, the story of the Lamb tends to overshadow the music. While the imagery is often bizarre, it's really not that different from what Genesis was already doing lyrically, in their previous records; think about "Supper's Ready" for example. The weirdness really got the spotlight because the Lamb was a concept album spread over two vinyl lps. It's become pretty clear over the years that the Lamb was the breaking point that

New Album from Al Stewart Released on 6/21/05

A Beach Full of Shells is Al Stewart's first U.S. release in ten years, not counting collections and live recordings. Stewart has always been one of our more literate and tuneful singer-songwriters. I can still recall being first introduced to Stewart's music by disc jockey Luke O'Reilly who at the time was an exchange student at the University of Pennsylvania who came over from Britain with an excellent record collection which he freely shared on his WMMR radio program in the formative days of fm progressive rock radio (1970-71). O'Reilly later became Stewart's manager. Although he began recording in the sixties, it was a string of albums in the early seventies that included Past, Present and Future , Modern Times , Year of the Cat, and Time Passages that gave Stewart his greatest notoriety, mostly due to the huge worldwide success of "Year of the Cat." He's worked steadily over the years, with 1988's Last Days of the Century being another high

The Girl in the Cafe (HBO Films, 2005)

Being friends with Bono and Bob Geldof and sharing the mission to help end world poverty, especially in Africa, and being a filmmaker rather than a musician, Richard Curtis decided the best way of furthering the cause was to write this movie which premiered on HBO on June 25th. Directed by David Yates, The Girl in the Cafe is ostensibly a love story set in the midst of this year's G8 summit, fictitiously located in Reykjavik, Iceland. In his previous efforts such as Four Weddings and a Funeral , Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill , and Love Actually , Curtis has proven himself the master of the British romantic comedy, writing all of the above and also directing the latter. The love story in The Girl in the Cafe is the calling card to attract viewers to hear the political message. Bill Nighy, the aging singer from Love Actually , does a fine job as Lawrence, the assistant to the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lawrence by chance meets Gina, played by Kelly MacDonald, i

Mark Knopfler - Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, 6/25/05

Mark Knopfer has his reasons for retiring the Dire Straits tag, and his solo albums have studiously avoided the sort of guitar pyrotechnics that built a huge worldwide following for this amazingly talented player. However in concert, even now, fourteen years on since the last proper Dire Straits album, the distinction is irrelevant. Knopfler live is Dire Straits, regardless of who's manning the bass, drums, and keyboards. The solo material which on record often cries out for more guitar, gets fleshed out in concert with all the guitar that's lacking in the studio versions. The Dire Straits classics are well represented in the set too and Knopfler still kills on every one. The concert production on this tour is a good as it gets; superb lighting with numerous color schemes to delight the eyes. More importantly, the concert sound was the best I've ever heard; loud and powerful when it needed to be with nice deep bass, with a perfect mix that allowed every instrument to be hea

Genesis Reincarnate: The Musical Box, Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, NJ, 6/22/05

. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Despite the many glowing testimonials I'd heard and read, I couldn't shake a certain basic skepticism regarding The Musical Box recreations of classic Genesis concerts, after all this is just a cover band, right? That, combined with the notion that Father's Day gifts should really not be any more extravagant than a $15.00 tie, led me to initially think that Jenn had taken leave of her senses when she made me a present of two tickets to the Musical Box performance of Genesis' Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Genesis tour from 1974-75, booked for four nights at the Xanadu Theater in the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, NJ for the final U.S. performances of this tour leg. . Broadway Melody of 1974 It's likely that nothing I could say here could possibly reverse any similar skepticism in the uninitiated reader, however I will try. This Canadian band of music lovers and ultimate

The Musical Box - A Reader Responds

I'm posting this thoughtful response with permission from Larry P. from email because it wouldn't fit within Blogger's comment space limitation. You've got the floor Larry: I can sense these musicians have a great respect and caring for the original Genesis music - how often do the covered artists give such a blessing and so much cooperation! So, philosophically, I can see some distinction between this and Beatlemania, which was a commercial concept where the producers found the singers to fill the roles. I suspect Musical Box was a much more from-the-music-up effort (art-driven; not dollar-driven). Says a lot that Genesis members cooperated. In classical music and other performing arts, we draw a distinction between art and entertainment. Entertainment can happen when someone listens to Beethoven's 5th and just likes the familiar melodies. The effect is compounded if the musicians are comatose or the conductor is a self-adoring showman. Art, on the other hand, take

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour, Indianapolis Convention Center, 11/22/74

For the sake of comparison, here's what the real thing looked like. The image quality of these scanned 35mm slides doesn't compare with current photographic technology, but you can get the idea. Check the Slipperman costume then and now. This show was the second stop on the U.S. tour which had opened in Chicago the night before. The Lamb album had not yet been released in the U.S., so the audience heard the double album in it's entirety for the first time live. . Rutherford & Gabriel . Gabriel & Collins . Hackett, Gabriel, Rutherford, Collins . Hairless Heart . The Colony of Slippermen . It . The Musical Box Jim Greider, our friendly local record store owner (The Peace Chief, Richmond, IN) gave both Dave and I imports of the Lamb album as we were leaving for Indianapolis to go to the show. We recorded the concert, but since we now had the album, we debuted the album on our college radio station, WECI-FM, the next night, in it's entirety, complete with Peter Gabr

New Single and Album Due from Texas

Texas will release two versions of a new single, "Getaway" in the U.K. on August 1st. Their new album Red Book , from which the single is drawn, hits the racks on October 31st. Bassist and songwriter Johnny McElhone describes the new record's influences as "Stax, soundtracks, electronic pop, Giorgio Moroder, Kate Bush, and the usual mix of Prince and Motown," which could just as easily describe their classic White on Blonde album (1997). At last count, this great Scottish band remains without a U.S. contract and this, their seventh studio album will be import only; their last album Careful What You Wish For (2003), the excellent collection, Greatest Hits (2000), and the standard-setting live DVD, Paris (2001) which featured the complete Paris concert from the Greatest Hits tour, plus every Texas song video as a bonus, were likewise not released here. Samples of "Getaway," more info, and a nice new Sharleen Spiteri photo shoot are all up now on the web

New Album From Tanita Tikaram Released on 6/13/05

Speaking of female vocalists from the U.K., it was great to discover yesterday that Tanita Tikaram has a new record out this week, Sentimental . From what I can gather, she's released it on a French label, Naive , which is distributed by V2 Records Scandinavia . There are sound samples of four songs at the Naive site, and they all sound great. It's available at at Amazon (UK) , but the best price is to be found at CD-Wow , £8.75 with free worldwide shipping which works out to approximately $15.99 . After breaking out with an international hit, "Twist in My Sobriety" at age eighteen, Tanita released six fine albums over the course of ten years, but hasn't been heard from since her last album, The Cappuccino Songs (1998) which never even saw release in the U.S. even though it ranked with the best work of her career. Sentimental features a simplified, live-in-studio production style that provides the perfect setting for the long awaited return of this talented si

Top Ten Female Singers from the U.K.

I'll freely admit to being swayed by a great live concert, and as such I've not been able to stop playing Swing Out Sister discs and videos since last Monday's show. Watching the videos again today, appreciating what a great singer Corinne Drewery is, I got the notion to formulate a top ten list of female singers from the U.K. Here it is. Corinne Drewery (Swing Out Sister) Julia Fordham Dido Sharleen Spiteri (Texas) Tanita Tikaram Andrea Corr (the Corrs) Eddi Reader Sade Tina Dico (Zero 7) Jem Here are some more excellent singers from the U.K. Please add any that I might have overlooked and if you are so inclined, please post a comment with your own top ten. Sophie Barker (Zero 7) Maire Brennan (Clannad) Kate Bush Christine Collister Kiki Dee Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention) Lisa Hannigan (Damien Rice) Annie Haslam (Renaissance, now transplanted to Doylestown, PA) Chrissie Hynde (another transplant) Annie Lennox Karen Matheson (Capercaillie) Alison Moyet Mairead Ni Mhoanai

Happy Father's Day

Chuck Elliot played a nice Richie Havens version of Cat Stevens' song, "Father and Son" yesterday on WXPN's Sleepy Hollow program (week in, week out the best music show on radio), in honor of Father's Day which got me to thinking about another great father song, "Jack Gets Up" by Leo Kottke from his 1989 album, My Father's Face . The album takes it's title from the lyric of this song, "If you look in the mirror it's your father's face/Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed." Kottke's an acoustic guitar master, but I still love his occasional vocal songs with his deep and sometimes droll vocal style. The complete lyrics for "Jack Gets Up" are here .

Swing Out Sister, The Trocadero, Philadelphia, 6/13/05

Simply put, Swing Out Sister 's performance tonight at the Troc in Philadelphia was one of the all-time best concerts I have ever been privileged to witness. This is partially because this is a band I didn't expect to ever see play live, much less here in my town. But mostly it is because over the course of eight studio albums spanning eighteen years they have amassed a wealth of excellent material which they played with the utmost of skill, utilizing many of the same musicians who have played on the albums and on their occasional tours. Corinne Drewery sings with a seemingly effortless command of this material, and the live treatments while true to the melodies on the records, expand and enhance the tunes, occasionally mixing in unexpected musical treats. The setlist was flawless with virtually all of their albums represented. The musicians made the most of their solo opportunities, including the two backup singers who maintained a vocal rapport with Corinne that was uncanny.