Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Sunday Comments ( 08 - 28 - 16 )

Kent:
You might want to advise your readers that the Cornerstones of Rock concert that PBS filmed in Chicago is starting to air in other U.S. markets.  It will be broadcast in New York this weekend (Saturday, Aug 27, 10pm, WLIW-TV) -Tom Cuddy

It's about time!!!  Actually, it's been airing on various Midwest PBS stations for a while now so this is great news ... soon this music will be rediscovered (or discovered for the very first time) all over the country and our Local Heroes will soar yet again. 
The live show at The Arcada next weekend is a complete sell-out ... again ... EVERY show they've done has sold out immediately.  (I'm bummed because I can't even get in to see these guys!!!  When tickets first went on sale some six months ago, I knew we couldn't go because we had Labor Day Weekend plans to be out of town ... then about a week ago those plans fell through ... so now I'm kicking myself 'cause I can't get in to see them ... I've missed EVERY show they've done so far due to scheduling conflicts ... but if this momentum keeps going, there's a good chance they'll be back soon.) 
Hey Ron ... how 'bout if I MC the show???  Would that work?!?!?  (kk)   

Kent,
Thanks for the kind words and great review. You really captured the creative essence of the CD.
If you get a chance, check out my new venture ... I thought it was a good idea. There are so many great songs that, for one reason or another, never became a hit. I think they should be heard.
Lou Christie  
http://www.itshouldhavebeenahit.com/  
I think this will go over great with our audience.  There are a couple of jocks on the list who have dedicated themselves to providing the opportunity for music lovers to hear and enjoy many of these great "shoulda-been-a-hits" that slipped thru the cracks for whatever reason the first time around.  Maybe we can get Rich Appell and Dave The Rave on board to help promote this site ... you may get more great suggestions than you ever bargained for!  (kk)  

Hi Kent,  
Got something I suspect that you'll be interested in.  My old friend Dean Torrence is hitting the bookstores on September 6 with Surf City: The Jan & Dean Story ...
https://www.amazon.com/Surf-City-Jan-Dean-Story/dp/1590793951/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472161602&sr=1-1&keywords=surf+city+the+jan+and+dean+story.  
I've read a few chapters and it's quite good, plus he's beating the Mike Love and Brian Wilson autobios to the shelves by a few weeks.   
Scott Paton  
Great news, Scott.  (Scott is trying to set us up with an interview with Dean to talk about the new book ... so stay tuned!!!)  kk   

Talk about a heart of gold ...  
Back in the mid '80's Herb Alpert established The Herb Alpert Foundation in order to provide funding to charitable organizations and institutions that allow young adults to reach their full potential. 
Well, on Thursday Morning it was announced that Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, were issuing a grant of $10.1 million dollars (!) to Los Angeles City College to allow them to provide full scholarships to all the music majors at the school along with any needed instruments.  The gift allows all music majors to attend the school tuition-free. 
Alpert, who says that he realizes that he has been blessed beyond his dreams, made the largest gift to an individual community college in the history of Southern California.  It is also the second largest gift ever donated in the history of the entire State of California. 
Robert Schwartz, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles City College Foundation said "The vast majority of our students are from underserved communities and faced with enormous financial challenges as they strive to attain their academic and career goals.  This generous gift from The Herb Alpert Foundation allows these talented students to focus on their studies while pursuing their individual pathways towards successful careers in the music industry."  (Los Angeles City College provides post-secondary education to 40% of the area residents, who go on to higher education ... including three times as many Latino and four times as many African-American students than all University of California campuses combined.) 
It is an incredible and unprecedented gift of music education.  We salute Herb Alpert for his generosity and willingness to share the love of his craft with others who feel the same way.  Wow! 
In closing, Alpert said "LACC is a gem of an institution.  The biggest motivation was helping kids who don't have the financial energy to go to a major college.  At LACC, they've nurtured thousands of dedicated students every year.  My brother went there.  My ex-partner Lou Adler went there.  I've visited the school.  It's alive.  It's kickin'."   

And how cool is this?!?! 
Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar have reunited to voice their original Batman television characters in a brand new animated feature! 
Catch the official trailer here:


Hi Kent,  
Great reading on your (old) Mickey Thomas and Bobby Kimball reviews.  I must’ve missed them the first time around.  I loved all the various incarnations of Jefferson Airplane / Starship over the years.  I thought for sure that their hit-making days were over when Marty Balin left, but then I heard Mickey Thomas belting out “Jane” and all doubts were erased.  I loved the Mickey Thomas-led hits, such as “Find Your Way Back”, “Be My Lady”, “Winds Of Change” and “No Way Out”.  I even liked the eventually over-played biggies “We Built This City” and “Sara”.  My only disappointment came in 1989 when I saw Starship in concert.  Mickey’s voice was off that night and Grace was gone, so it just wasn’t a very good show.  As for Bobby Kimball, I always felt that he got a raw deal with Toto.  After the first album, I felt that they tried to downplay his role with the band.  Still, his vocals come shining through on the chorus of both “Rosanna” and “Africa”.  Even though he was supposedly gone by 1984, I swear I can him singing background vocals on the hit “Stranger In Town” (a very under-rated song, IMO).   
Nice to see that Mike Nesmith is doing one more show with The Monkees.  I’m also glad that Micky and Peter are keeping the music alive, but it’s just not the same without Davy Jones.  The TV show debuted the year I was born, but I caught the reruns as a kid and eventually bought all the records.  I was in college during the 1986 revival and played them quite often on my campus radio show.   
Keep up the great work! 
Paul Haney  
Mickey's got an incredible voice ... actually "Sara" is one of those that I've never gotten tired of hearing.  And Bobby Kimball's voice helped define Toto back in the early days.  It's sad that all these artists can't get along well enough to play in the same sandbox ... but fans now have the choice to see BOTH halves in concert and judge for themselves.  (Seeing Toto and Bobby Kimball perform within a reasonably short timeframe is a kick ... we did the same with Three Dog Night [or more accurately Two Dog Night] before Cory Wells died and then caught Chuck Negron's solo show a few months after.  Twice the music and still presented in a professional and respectful manner.  (kk)  

>>>Thanks for sharing the song "Resurrection Shuffle".  I don't know why but I always thought these guys were black!!!  (Steve Sarley)  
Tony Ashton  and Roy Dyke where part of the Remo Four who backed me for a while.  They were both very talented.  Roy once played drums for me when the Dakotas' drummer was sick.  Roy played the whole tour with me he is the only drummer who could play everything that was required without the aid of any special effects like we used on the record of Little Children.  He played the part perfectly and was one of the best drummers I have ever worked with.
Billy J. Kramer

Sad stories emerge from most of our early radio and TV entertainers. I will not stand on my soap box as I don’t know when to get off, BUT I do know that “Authorized by the Red Skelton Estate” appears on the dvd sets that we have for sale on our vintage dvd rack at the store. Are they organized, or released with any pattern? I do not know, but I have purchased them, and right now I have none in stock.  
Shelley

Kent -
Below is a link to a Greek interview I just did that's getting great reviews.
My new "Tiki Lounge Live" CD will be out in November.  It features the last song recorded by Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy before he passed away. 
All My Best,

BMI'S FELDMAN DOES PROJECT GRAND SLAM
NY - BMI's Charlie Feldman came out for Robert Miller and Project Grand Slam's Rockwood Music Hall-release event last week in NYC. Their latest album, The Queen's Carnival , featuring the single "You Really Got" (with Lucy Woodward on guest vocals), is  out now via RED / SONY.
We featured this new track a couple of weeks ago in FH ... scroll back to check it out if you missed it.  (kk)

Two requests, please ...  
1) Circa 1959 or 1960, there was a tune (it wasn't a commercial; it was a rock-and-roll song), that got radio air-time, about "HiFi Billy," sung by a girls' group.  The tune's several verses described a teen-age guy named "Billy," and Billy's fascination with his hifi record player, and the last verse said "...Billy-boy comes to the end of his age (death, that is) ... and we'll all sing a song for HiFi Billy with a lily in his hand ..."  I am surprised that I've not been able to locate the tune, since I heard it several times, during that 1959-1960 era.  Can you help identify this song and artist? 
2) Summer / Fall, 1965, Thom McAn had an ad on the radio (I would hear it on Chicago's WLS, in the evenings), that featured a guy singing (solo), with a nice guitar arpeggio accompaniment: "...I want a soft girl ... with a soft smile (or was it foot?) ... who walks in a little soft shoe ... from Thom McAn ..."  Gorgeous little commercial!  Would love to hear it again. 
Thanks ...
Dan Drew

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fun Night!

I take back everything bad I've ever said about Disco ...

(well, almost everything) ...

On a last minute whim last night we ventured out to The Arcada Theatre to see The New York Bee Gees Tribute Show (which also included a special tribute to Donna Summer) and we were blown away.  What a fun night!

I am not ashamed to say that I have ALWAYS loved the music of The Bee Gees ... every era ... so we knew going in that we would be sitting there listening to music that we might otherwise be enjoying at home anyway.

As expected, it was heavily weighted to their music of the disco era ... Ron Onesti even removed a large block of seats to create a dance floor ... and I'll tell you what ... it was PACKED the whole night ... all the more impressive when you consider that overall it was a fairly sparse crowd ... but everybody there came out to have a good time and relive that golden era when The Bee Gees ruled the world.  (And Ron was dressed to the hilt last night with a SUPER sharp-looking suit, a large collared shirt and black and white platform shoes that were to die for.  [I figure he had to dig pretty deep into the closet to dig those babies out!!!])  With probably only about a third of theater filled, it sounded like THOUSANDS cheering after every song ... this crowd was into it and having a great time.

Watching the dancers was almost as much fun as watching the band!  (I've never seen so much silver-grey hair on a dance floor before!!!)  But these folks had it DOWN!!!  They were having a GREAT time, reliving the moment (and dusting off some of their old dance moves, many of which had obviously been shared with that same dancing partner over the past 40 years!)  Entertaining as hell ... we literally smiled the whole night through.

And the band had it down, too ... essentially just four pieces, they were able to create an incredibly full sound and pulsating beat that never fell short.  (Props to Mammy Focarazzo [Fake Maurice] on keyboards for really filling in the sound, Peter Lazos on drums and Mike Flyntz on guitar ... as well as female vocalist Tammi Wolfe who covered some of the "Bee Gees for Others" material like "If I Can't Have You", "Emotion" and a couple of the Babra Streisand / Barry Gibb duets.)

The dance floor also allowed Fake Barry Gibb (Peter Mazzeo) the opportunity to come out and mingle with the crowd, which the audience absolutely ate up.  While Fake Barry was really the driving force in maintaining the high caliber of The Bee Gees sound, Fake Robin (Tom Flyntz ... who sounded absolutely NOTHING like the real Robin Gibb ... but had an outstanding voice of his own) provided one of the concert highlights when he sang "I Started A Joke", earning one of the loudest ovations of the evening.

As good as The New York Bee Gees were, the girl honoring Donna Summer (Rainere Martin) was phenomenal ... she looked and sounded just like the real thing ... what a GREAT blend of talent up there.

After the show I made it a point to tell Ron Onesti, Fake Barry and Fake Donna that they sure knew how to throw a party!

For a night of just pure fun entertainment, check these guys out.  (And the next time Ron has them back out to The Arcada, a couple of suggestions ... expand the dance floor to twice its size because people were DYING to get up there and boogie ... and next time around, let's get them a full house audience, too, because they absolutely deserve it!)

HIGHLY recommended ... check them out if they hit your area.
http://www.newyorkbeegees.com/tour-dates/

A short overview of the show is featured below ... FUN NIGHT!!!


Friday, August 26, 2016

THE FRIDAY FLASH

Vintage Vinyl News is reporting that Michael Nesmith will be making his last appearance with The Monkees ... possibly ever ... when the band hits The Pantages Theater in Los Angeles on September 16th.  

In a statement posted on Nez's Facebook Page he states:  

Been talking to Micky and Peter about the Los Angeles Pantages Monkees concert and have agreed to come down to play that show with them. They are putting together a world tour after that -- off to Australia and New Zealand, and other points global in what sounds like a great time.
I, on the other hand, will be starting my “Infinite Tuesday” book tour in the first quarter of 2017, as well as some solo concerts, and other projects that will make it not possible to be with them on that tour. So this seemed like the right opportunity for me to get together with them as Monkees.
The show is set for September 16th -- which I believe is almost a perfect match for the fifty year anniversary of the TV show -- at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. I am bringing Gretsch, my beautiful, intelligent blonde to help me, and it looks like I’ll make it once again.
I expect it will be fun, and a great way for me to sign out. I see the specter of the multiple Sinatra retirement / farewells -- and this seems like the perfect time for me to step off, sit down and shut up.
Hope I see you there. No, I don’t have any tickets. What a long strange trip it’s been said TGD -- and it looks like I’ve made it to the end.     

Speaking of The Monkees, FH Reader David Salidor sent us this cool UK article about Micky Dolenz and The Monkees' 50th Anniversary ...  

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/monkees-star-micky-dolenz-beatleweek-11790431  

>>>I think the Red Skelton collection would make an AWESOME home video collection ... but it looks like they're not even interested in pursuing that route.  Too bad ... I know I'd order a copy immediately!  (kk)  
I've told this story before in Forgotten Hits, but here's a recap in case you missed it before.    
Back in the '80s, while the Music & Entertainment Editor of Reader's Digest, I helped found Reader's Digest Video -- which both marketed existing film and video properties and created / produced a lot of its own.  As a longtime admirer of Red Skelton, whom I'd met once as a kid backstage at CBS in 1966, I thought it would be a great idea to compile three hours of the best material from his long-running CBS comedy-variety series into a TV special Reader's Digest could both release on home video and syndicated to television.     
In a 1964 TV Guide article, Skelton was asked why he had written into his CBS contract that after each episode of his series was telecast, he would gain 100% ownership of the videotape.   As CBS had no intention of ever rerunning Skelton's old shows, why would he want such a thing of no apparent value?   Red replied that he envisioned a day when people would own home libraries of movies and TV shows, just like they did books.  The TV Guide reporter thought Skelton was kidding -- but he wasn't.  Thirteen years before VHS tapes were introduced in the U.S. -- making consumer home video possible -- Red Skelton had the foresight to contemplate something few others could even imagine in that long ago year of 1964. 
Red Skelton's TV series was the most successful comedy program of the '50s and '60s -- in the Top 10 almost consistently for 20 consecutive years.  It was the third most popular show on television in 1969 -- the year CBS abruptly cancelled it -- claiming that their new demographic studies revealed that the program attracted not only young viewers but older ones as well -- and any show appealing to "old folks" had to go.  The next year the same CBS programming idiots also cancelled every series they had with a rural theme ("Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," etc.) -- including those also then in the Top 10!
Skelton was stunned when he got the news -- at a point in the season when CBS' only network competitors, ABC and NBC, had already locked in their new fall schedules.  NBC, where Red had started on TV, finally chose to bump out one new series in order to give Red not his usual hour but instead a 30 minute time slot.  The result was a one-season Skelton series later released on home video which clearly shows a Legend of Comedy onscreen without his heart in his work.  Bitter over the CBS dismissal and upset that his weekly time had been chopped in half,  Skelton later announced that he was putting in his will an order to have all his TV tapes destroyed upon his death!  
Knowing all that and feeling I had nothing to lose, I wrote to Red, proposing the three-hour TV retrospective project -- which I was told by everyone around him that Red would flat out reject.   To my surprise and excitement, instead I got a very nice letter back from Skelton, telling me that he loved the idea.  He invited me to come out to his home, go over his tape archives with him and together we'd select just the right clips to compile.  I was thrilled to no end -- and as a comedy writer and actor myself, I have often channeled Red in my own work, thinking, "So what would Red do now?" .  .  .
When I told my boss at Reader's Digest about Red's reaction, he was equally elated -- but a couple days later dropped the bomb on me.  Star struck, my boss had decided that HE would meet with Skelton instead of me -- and he'd bring along with him a sleazebag producer friend of his.   
That duo was greeted warmly on the doorstep of Red, who then asked which of the two was Gary. When it was explained that neither was, Red's tone changed.  "My appointment," he said, "was with Gary Theroux."  
While apprehensive, Skelton did let the duo in and listened to them talk for about ten minutes. While I don't know exactly what was said, Red was able to quickly sized up the oily, sleazy producer and when it became evident that neither of the two had any real knowledge or understanding of Skelton's style, career or comic legacy -- all things I had underscored in my correspondence with Red -- Skelton threw them both out.  And that was the end of my project. The good part of this story is that after his death in 1997, Red's widow did not destroy the tapes -- which still exist -- and it would still be possible for me to compile the three hour Skelton comedy retrospective I did so much in-depth research on in the late '80s.  I'm glad that footage of Red's pop and rock guests is finally coming out on home video and most all of that long unseen material is GREAT.  Believe me. But the heart of "The Red Skelton Hour" was Red -- his classic monologues, silent bits, cavalcade of crazy characters and infectious comedy sketches -- material sadly unseen on either broadcast television or home video since 1969.  It is comedy GOLD.
As a footnote, I might mention that B&W kinescopes of some of Skelton's earliest TV work (he started on NBC in 1951) fell into the public domain over time and has since turned up on budget line home video.  It outraged Skelton that people were making money off his name and his work without his being compensated in any way for it -- but there wasn't anything Red could do about it.  In that respect, he sure had something in common with a lot of the makers of classic hit oldies -- who also haven't received a dime in royalties in decades. 
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"

Great story ... but how very sad.
Unfortunately these clips are NOT coming out on home video ... which, of course, is where they would be most appreciated.  They are available for licensing only (their website stresses "not for fans or collectors") but rather to be chopped up into 10-30 second clips for use in other music profiles. 
What a waste!!! To have pristine copies of these vintage performances, not seen in fifty years and then STILL deny the public the opportunity to see them serves no purpose whatsoever (except, perhaps a self-serving one.) 
They just don't seem to get it ... this audience is dwindling ... there are fewer and fewer of us left for whom these clips would actually MEAN something.  By the time some new enterprising producer puts together a new documentary that might actually utilize a few of these soon-to-be heavily edited clips, there may not be anyone left around who'll want to watch them!  (kk) 

Have you seen the new PBS Music Special hosted by Mike Love of The Beach Boys?  "Summer, Surf And Beach Songs We Love" spotlights all kinds of great '60's and '70's clips (although the night we watched it something was terribly messed up with the soundtrack and it was only broadcasting on one channel ... when The Mamas and the Papas performed "California Dreamin'", the entire lead vocal was missing!)  Still, some great music and clips all in all.  Check your local listings to see when it next airs in your area.  (kk)



I recorded my Those Were The Days radio program and asked my wife of 29 years on a date Saturday, August 20th.  The occasion was a rare appearance by Felix Cavaliere in the Badger state.  One concert goer told me he thought it was the first time in 20 years that the former Rascal has played in the middle of Wisconsin.  He is one of my favorites and I had never had the pleasure to attend one of his or the Rascals shows. 
Felix and I were both born on November 29th (though 21 years apart).  I only saw a few concert fans that may have been younger than me on Saturday night.  From the start, Felix had them in the palm of his hand.  There were problems with his organ and key boards for several songs.  First of all, the sound was not coming through the house system.  Felix did not miss a beat and switched over in mid-song to play and sing on band member Steve Hornby's mic and keys.  After the sound guy got the problem corrected, Felix's Korg on top of his Hammond B3 almost fell off three times.  This was an unfortunate distraction. 
When all was said and done it was a good show.  Felix talked with several fans from the stage following the concert and than came down to the merch table and met anyone else that wanted to chat (including me).  He seems to be a very nice man and loves to talk.  He and I talked about my radio station which made me feel that he was truly interested in what I had to say.  
I remember reading your review of a Felix Cavaliere's Rascals show a couple of years ago and you talked about many songs that turned into medleys.  The crowd Saturday night at Ho Chunk Casino in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, seemed to love the medleys of songs.  I like to hear the songs played pretty close to the original arrangements ... however, I found myself enjoying them as well.  His voice was very strong. 
Here is a list of the songs and the order they were played Saturday night ... 
1. Midnite Hour (medley - Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf), Billie Jean)  2. A Girl Like You 3. Love Is A Beautiful Thing  4.  A Beautiful Morning  5.  You Better Run  6.  I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore (sung by drummer Vinnie Santoro),  7.  Come On Up (medley - Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher And Higher)  8.  Mustang Sally (medley - It's Only Rock And Roll, Play That Funky Music)  9.  Groovin'  (medley - Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, My Girl, Just My Imagination  10.  I've Been Lonely Too Long (my favorite song of the night)  11.  How Can I Be Sure (keyboardist Steve Hornby sang lead)  12.  People Got To Be Free (medley - Oh Happy Day,  Happy,  Celebration)  13.  Good Lovin' 
Phil Nee
Phil and Felix

Felix heads back our way on September 30th for a show at The Arcada Theatre with Jay and the Americans as his opening act so we're hoping to catch that one.  After talking to him for years through Forgotten Hits, maybe I'll finally get the chance to meet him, too!  Thanks, Phil ... good review.  (Too bad he was having so many technical difficulties!)  kk  

Thanks for sharing the song "Resurrection Shuffle".
Here is the video.
I don't know why but I always thought these guys were black!!!
Steve Sarley



Hey Kent -
If one considers just the cold, hard numbers, John may or may not have been correct in saying the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus." I think what turned people off was his (apparent) condescending and insulting tone, maybe to the point of arrogance. It was hard to tell from printed words on a page, though. Not for me to judge. That statement, whether in context or not, did cause quite the uproar at the time. Maybe John was only showing his exasperation at how Beatlemania had gotten so out of hand, and how people almost worshipped four regular guys from Liverpool?
- Larry Cave
 

And, throwing his hat into the ring, is Alice Cooper ...  

This from Vintage Vinyl News ...  

Alice Cooper is tired of the rhetoric - the mudslinging – the media frenzy. Keeping his snake in his cage and the guillotine in storage, he is putting people before career. Alice Cooper wants to be Elected.  
His classic 1972 hit is once again an anthem for modern times and when it all boils down to it – a long flowing mane of (real) hair beats Bernie/The Donald/Hillary styles hands down. And he's released a new single ofElected for this campaign, available here at iTunes, Spotify and other online sites.  
But it's not all about debonair good looks and long flowing locks -- Alice Cooper has a platform that every voter can get behind. He is asking his fellow Americans, and all those around the world who are disillusioned with their leaders, to join "The Wild Party."

Alice Cooper has spent countless nights on the road; many troubled hours worrying about the course of our great nations. Not afraid of controversy or springing into action, Alice Cooper plans to channel every ounce of energy (including his Alice Cooper and Hollywood Vampire campaign appearances/concerts (click on the links for his schedule), his syndicated radio show "Nights With Alice Cooper," and his daily round of golf, of course) towards solving the world's problems. He is tackling the everyday concerns discussed among his fellow woman and man - the ordinary, decent hard working (and rocking) people he meets and entertains every day while performing nearly 100 concerts a year around the world.  

So, if you're looking for a candidate with a platform that matters, vote Alice Cooper, the man with the plan to tackle the hot button, contentious and provocative issues on the minds of the real America and Britain:

  • Getting Brian Johnson back in AC/DC
  • A snake in every pot
  • No more pencils, no more books
  • Adding Lemmy to Mt Rushmore
  • Rename Big Ben "Big Lemmy"
  • Groucho Marx on the $50 bill
  • Peter Sellers on the £20 note
  • Cupholders required for every airplane seat
  • Ban on talking during movies in movie theatres
  • Ban on taking selfies, except on a designated National Selfie Day
These "troubled times" call for a "troubled mind" indeed. These "troubled times" call for Alice Cooper.  
 Said Alice, "Why NOT me? I have t shirts to sell." Yes, there's campaign merchandise available here!


Kent ...

One of those Toto guys will be performing on this cruise.  I think I'll pass on this one.
Frank B.
Not a very strong line-up overall (at least to for my tastes), but we've seen Bobby Kimball twice now and both times he's put on an excellent show.  He's still got all of his vocal chops that made those early Toto recordings so dynamic ... highly recommended (especially if you can catch him on a double bill like we did ... first with Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship fame and then with Eddie Money!)  kk

'60's FLASHBACK:  

Here are excerpts from our two Bobby Kimball reviews ... 

Two of the most dynamic voices of the late '70's and early '80's teamed up for a show at Schaumburg's September Fest this past weekend. Officially billing themselves as "Starship, starring Mickey Thomas - featuring Bobby Kimball, the original lead singer of Toto" ... wow! that's a mouthful! ... these guys rocked the house this past Sunday Night. With an incredibly tight back-up band (and a female vocalist named Stephanie Calvert very ably handling all of the old Grace Slick parts), this was a non-stop hit assault. (Incredibly, as hard as the band rocked on some of these numbers, the two highlights for me that night were Thomas doing "Sara", a #1 Starship hit from 1986 and Bobby Kimball's rendition of "Africa", the #1 Hit for Toto back in 1983.) While Kimball's high-end range was a little lacking at certain points during the show, Thomas sounded just as good as he did when he first entered our consciousness with "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" back in 1976 as the lead vocalist in Elvin Bishop's band. (His performance of this tune Sunday Night was another concert highlight.) One forgets how many hits Starship had with Thomas at the helm ... three #1's, in fact ... the ONLY #1's in the band's long-standing career ... and "Sara", "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and the encore of "We Built This City" had the crowd up on its feet. He also quite capably handled some of Marty Balin's leads on "Count On Me" and "Find Your Way Back" (which is STILL playing in my head some 14 hours later as I type this!!! lol). One of OUR favorites, "Miracles", fell a little flat ... although one of Jefferson Starship's biggest and best-know hits, the substitution of BOTH lead singers (Slick and Balin) just didn't make this song sound right. Kimball, on the other hand, did a GREAT job of running through a number of Toto's hits ("Hold The Line", "I'll Supply The Love", the aforementioned "Africa", "I Won't Hold You Back" and the big crowd-pleaser "Rosanna") in his abbreviated sets within the show. All-in-all, a GREAT night of musical entertainment ... a great WEEKEND, in fact! (kk 

Hey Kent,
Bill Fortune and I had a blast finally meeting the "Forgotten Hits Guy" and attending SeptemberFest 2009 with you and your wife Frannie! We were very impressed by the magnitude of this event that the Village of Schaumburg has been staging for the last 39 years!
It's always great to visit Chicago (the city where I was born) every few years, visit family and, of course, hang out with Bill, my pal of 40 years (who deejayed at WCFL back in the seventies and anchored radio news at WMAQ for many years back in the nineties).
We really enjoyed the concert featuring Starship with Mickey Thomas joined by my old friend Bobby Kimball. It was great to see Bobby perform (and then hang out with him backstage after the show). I haven't seen Bobby since the early Toto days in L.A.! I hired Bobby to sing on a couple of radio station jingles I produced back in 1976 and he did a great job on those.
Here are a few pix from the event, including a rather bizarre shot of Bobby and me where the digital camera decided to make Bobby appear a bit like a "ghost of Toto's past!"
Enjoy ... and, hey, the fireworks show following the concert was totally kick ass! One of the best we've ever seen! Props once again to the folks of Schaumburg who staged the event. A real holiday weekend treat for us all, to be sure!
See you soon!
Joe Klein


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nJaUJ7NDRiU/SqWvdaHkU4I/AAAAAAAABBU/B3bi-r39tXo/s1600-h/Bobby-Kimball-Septemberfest-2009.JPGBobby Kimball

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_nJaUJ7NDRiU/SqWvd2wwOFI/AAAAAAAABBc/uxstvvKdqB4/s1600-h/Bobby-Kimball-2-Septemberfest-2009.JPGBobby Kimball

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_nJaUJ7NDRiU/SqWveVZSPFI/AAAAAAAABBs/3d7q1zEiQug/s1600-h/Mickey-Thomas-Bobby-Kimball-2-Septemberfest-2009.JPGMickey Thomas and Bobby Kimball
 
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_nJaUJ7NDRiU/SqWveFWjn3I/AAAAAAAABBk/YHuXqRXARoU/s1600-h/Mickey-Thomas-Bobby-Kimball-Septemberfest-2009.JPGMickey Thomas and Bobby Kimball


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_nJaUJ7NDRiU/SqWve89AomI/AAAAAAAABB0/_QSNV-LSP6s/s1600-h/Joe-Klein-Bobby-Kimball-Septemberfest-2009.JPGJoe Klein and Bobby Kimball (after the show)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nJaUJ7NDRiU/SqWwCRsIWpI/AAAAAAAABB8/WNHg91a8Ja0/s1600-h/Bill-Fortune-Kent-Kotal-Joe-Klein-Spetemberfest-2009.JPGBill Fortune, Kent Kotal and Joe Klein
(Rockin' on a Sunday Night, right after the show)

Some great shots here, Joe ... thanks for sharing them with our readers. Too bad we didn't stick around to meet Bobby after the show ... but it sounds like he's got some neat stuff coming up.  (kk)


The Saturday Night Special ... 

The Chicago Six (featuring 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champions Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson and Steve McMichael),  Bobby Kimball (former lead vocalist of Toto) and Eddie Money  

Man, this was a LOUD concert!!!  (And we sat up in the balcony for this one ... and STILL got blasted out of our seats!!!)  

The Chicago Six is a Chicago Bears Tradition, dating back to before The Bears even made The Super Bowl in '85.  (In fact, at one time Walter Payton ... in all his "sweetness" with his high falsetto was a member of the group!)  They have recently regrouped (along with a few back-up musicians) and pretty much feature a mix of feel-good, party-music ... played pretty darn well for a bunch of football players!  (At one point, they reminded us ... if we spotted any musical weaknesses ... that they used to tackle guys for a living!)

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The incomparable Chet Coppock introduced the act and they played a decent set of warm-up music.  Not a bad way to kick off the evening!  

Next up was Bobby Kimball.  We saw Bobby a few years ago when he performed as part of Schaumburgfest, sharing the bill with Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship.  That night he only performed a few songs, but he sounded quite capable of still hitting all the notes that needed to be hit ... and that helped define the early sound of Toto ... but he was more of a "featured guest performer" than a headlining soloist.
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This time he was performing as the main event with his own band ... which included some pretty stellar musicians who were able to faithfully replicate the intricate sounds of Toto, live on stage.  (No easy task, for these tracks were originally laid down by seasoned studio musicians, who were some of the best in the business!)       

In order to best represent the overall sound of Toto, Kimball enlisted the help of co-vocalist, which not only  complimented the sound but also enabled the duo to recreate both ends of the Toto vocal spectrum ... in fact at times he sounded just like the record, handling the vocals originally waxed by David Paich with flair and ease (despite looking a bit like a deranged Leprechaun from one of those "worst-nightmare" horror films from years ago while prancing around the stage!)  Over the course of the night, in fact, I'd have to say the lead vocals were equally shared ... as many of the hits performed that night like "Rosanna", "Africa" and "99" weren't primarily Kimball vocals in the first place ... which is why I find it all that much more surprising that I can't find this poor guy credited ANYWHERE on the Internet or Kimball's website ... between us, Frannie and I searched 40-50 pages last night trying to properly credit this guy, who was in equally fine voice Saturday Night and lended a real authenticity to the sound of this material.  (If ANYBODY out there can properly credit him, please let me know ... he deserves some recognition for the fine job he did.  Our best guess is that it MAY have been Neil Baruelo ... but I've yet to receive an official confirmation on that.) 

Regardless, it's just WRONG that Kimball doesn't properly acknowledge his band on his site ... bad form, Bobby!

All in all, an enjoyable (if loud) performance ... which set the stage perfectly for the evening's headliner, Eddie Money.

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Without question, this was Eddie's crowd.  Money has played The Arcada several times in the past and always packs the house.  Saturday Night was no exception ... the crowd was up on its feet, singing along for the majority of his set.  (I've never seen Eddie Money perform live before ... it was a bit unusual in several ways ... he never really looked comfortable when it was his turn to command the stage ... yet command it he did.  About the nicest thing I can say (and I truly do mean this in the most flattering way) is that Eddie Money sounded just like Eddie Money!!!

All of the vocal chops were there ... and the crowd hung on every note.  Money's choreography consists of not much more than spinning around in a circle and wiping fake tears from his eyes or simply holding his head ... nowhere near as "spastic" as say Joe Cocker (who just HAD to be an early influence judging by his stage presence) ... although he tries ... but never really looking comfortable in the process, once he hits the spotlight.  (He almost seems surprised to be the center of attention at his own show!)

All the hits were there, including one of my Forgotten Hits favorites, "I Wanna Go Back", a #14 Hit from 1987.  Ron Onesti quipped early on that he sold "900 tickets to paradise" for this sold out event ... and Eddie played it to the hilt.  Again, strong musicianship throughout the very loud show ... but ALL the hits were covered to rousing ovations.

FRANKIE VALLI will release a brand new Holiday Album in October  
Titled with a word-play salute to his group, 'Tis the Seasons serves up a baker's dozen of familiar favorites, including a medley of "Toyland" with "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," a longtime radio staple from The Four Seasons Christmas Album, first released in 1962.
There are other medleys on 'Tis the Seasons:
"Joy to the World" rolls into "Do You Hear What I Hear?" The album concludes with a roll-up of "Come All Ye Faithful," "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," which was also on the 1962 release.
According to Amazon.com, 'Tis the Seasons will initially be available on CD only.
-- Tom Cuddy

Lou Christie sent me a copy of his brand new CD "Pledging My Love" the other day and I've been listening to virtually nothing else ever since.  (What was it like opening up the new package?  It was exciting ... exciting ... ooo-wee, ooo-wee baby!)
Seriously, there's some great music on this new release ... and Lou is in fine voice throughout.  He co-wrote seven of the twelve tracks and all of these have a very contemporary feel that still maintain ties to that his roots of the early '60's era where Christie first made a name of himself on the charts.
He also does a couple of stand-out remakes on the CD.  I'm especially fond of his arrangement of "Mr. Diengly Sad" as well as his re-imagining of the '50's classic "The Wayward Wind", which evolves into something that both sounds totally of today's time, yet still retains the timeless melody of the original, too.  (Like I've always said, a good song is a good song is a good song!)  He also covers the title track and the Paul Anka / David Foster tune "Hold Me Till The Morning Comes."
I've picked two selections to feature here today, something "old" ("Mr. Dieingly Sad") and something new (the lead-off cut, "What Happened To The Night").  You can also find live samples of "Rita, Joanie and the Wayward Wind" online ... Lou tells me that this has become a favorite in his live shows.
The CD is available through his website via the link below.





Hi Kent,
Thank you so much for your response.
I'm glad you like the CD.
It's so nice to be able put on what you like as a writer or as a producer without much input from a record label.
I feel you've nailed it in your responses to 'The Wayward Wind' and 'Mr. Dieingly Sad'. We are doing 'The Wayward Wind' in my concerts now and people are responding to it like crazy! And, 'I Sure Fell In Love With You' is a new kind of feel for the audience but they seem to really enjoy it, too. 
Lou Christie