Showing posts from July, 2016

Dexys - Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul; Music To Warm Your Heart and Make You Smile

All photos courtesy of Dexys Dexys Midnight Runners was an Irish Band, best known in this country for their 1983 hit "Come On Eileen". The band formed in 1978 and over the years they've broken up and reassembled numerous times. When co-founder and leader Kevin Rowland assembled the current band, he shortened the name to Dexys. Dexys has just released it's fifth album, Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul, which is an album of covers. The mix of songs on this record is sufficiently idiosyncratic; you might expect the traditional Irish songs, which are beautifully rendered, but the pop songs they do are a continually surprising delight. Here's what Rowland had to say about this project on the Dexys website: “The album is called ‘Dexys DO Irish and Country Soul’: DO it, not BECOME it,” he emphasises. “We’re not trying to be Irish, and we haven’t used too many Celtic instruments on there. It’s our sound. We’re bringing our style to these songs. I’

Bob Dylan, The Mann Center, Philadelphia, 7/13/2016; A Right of Passage Long Overdue

In all my years of concert going, there was one giant missing piece. I had never been to a Bob Dylan show. I have read enough to know that Dylan likes to make his concerts, let's say, "challenging" to the audience. So I was prepared to find much of the show undecipherable. I was pleased with actually recognizing two songs from the first set. I knew three from the second set, plus one of the two encore songs. In the first set, he did a fairly faithful reading of the standard "Melancholy Mood". He ended that set with my favorite of his many great songs, "Tangled up in Blue". Armed with the above foreknowledge, I wasn't thrown that the song didn't sound anything like the original on Blood On the Tracks. What I wasn't ready for was the completely new rhythm and completely new melody, if you want to call it that. The only way to know it was "Tangled up in Blue" was that the lyrics were unchanged, except that he replaced the verse

Mavis Staples, The Mann Center, Philadelphia, 7/13/2016; As Opener for Bob Dylan, Mavis Was a Revelation

Mavis Staples is amazing. I had not had the pleasure of seeing her play live before, but fortuitously she is out on tour right now with Bob Dylan as his opening act. Her show, which clocked in at something under 40 minutes, was one the those rare opening sets that you wish were longer. Mavis drew most of her excellent set from The Staple Singers catalog, with two notable cover songs (see setlist below). She had the rapport and dynamics of a revival preacher on a Sunday morning. The band was terrific, especially the guitarist. Midway through her set she did "Freedom Highway", a song that she said was written by her father (the late) Pops Staples in 1962 for the Civil Right March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Mavis went on, "I was there, I am a living witness." And with that she sang Buffalo Springfield's durable protest anthem, "For What It's Worth". Her version was awesome and considering recent events involving policing, protest, and th

Billy Joel, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, 7/09/2016, It's All About the Shared Experience With 30,000 Of Your Closest Friends; Christina Perri Opened

Photos courtesy of Billy Joel The Billy Joel faithful converged on Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia last night to partake in what has become one of the rites of summer. Joel delivered a tight twenty-six song set packed with hits and favorite album tracks. He joked at the beginning that this wasn't one of those concerts where you have to sit through the artist's new album, which was pretty much stating the obvious since he hasn't released a new pop record since 1993. But that's okay, his fans still come out in droves whenever he plays live, and this was his fifth time performing at a Phillies' ballpark. He has sold out the New York baseball stadiums many times and he became the first artist in residence at Madison Square Garden recently, playing a monthly concert at that venue, I believe selling out the place regularly. As you can see on the setlist below, there was no letup; he'd go from one great song right into another, to the crowd's delight. Wi