Thursday, December 29, 2011

Clearing The Decks For The End Of The Year

Watch for some brand new features in 2012 ...

And we'll have New Year's related pieces Friday and Saturday, too ...

But today we're clearing the decks for the end of the year.

Here are a couple of comments we've received in the past 24-48 hours:

These year-end wrap-ups are always so sad ... and there were times this past year where it seemed as though all we were doing was publishing rock obituaries ... but here's a list put together by and sent in to us by FH Reader Tom Cuddy:
Saluting those veteran musicians, songwriters and executives who passed away in 2011.

    January 4 - Gerry Rafferty (Stealer's Wheel, Baker Street)
    January 17 - Don Kirshner (promoter, TV host)
    January 26 - Gladys Horton (Marvelettes)
    March 17 - Ferlin Husky (Wings of a Dove, Gone)
    March 21 - Loleatta Holloway (Hit and Run, Love Sensation)
    March 31 - Mel McDaniel (Baby Got Her Blue Jeans On)
    April 9 - Randy Wood (founder of Dot Records)
    April 26 - Phoebe Snow (Poetry Man)
    May 22 - Joseph Brooks (songwriter, You Light Up My Life)
    May 27 - Gil Scott-Heron (Godfather of Rap, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
    June 3 - Andrew Gold (Lonely Boy, Thank You For Being a Friend)
  June 8 - Steve Popovich (executive for Columbia, Cleveland International, Mercury Records)
   June 12 - Carl Gardner (Coasters)
   June 18 - Clarence Clemons (Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band)
   July 11 - Rob Grill (Grass Roots)
   July 24 - Dan Peek (America)
   August 22 - Nick Ashford (Ashford & Simpson)
   August 22 - Jerry Leiber (Leiber & Stoller)
   August 24 - Frank Dileo (manager of Michael Jackson)
   September 13 - Wilma Lee Cooper (Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper)
  September 22 - Vesta Williams (Congratulations, Once Bitten, Twice Shy)
   September 29 - Sylvia Robinson (Mickey & Sylvia, Sugar Hill Records) 
   September 30 - Marv Tarplin (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles)
   October 8 - Roger Williams (pianist, Autumn Leaves)
   November 7 - Andrea True (More, More, More)
  November 24 - Charlie Douglas (DJ at WSM, announcer for the Grand Ole Opry)
   December 6 - Dobie Gray (The In Crowd, Drift Away)
   December 6 - Barbara Orbison (publisher and widow of Roy Orbison)
   December 14 - Billie Jo Spears (Blanket on the Ground)
Philly's original R&R Pioneer, CHARLIE GRACIE, performs 'LIVE' this coming FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30TH, at NOON from the WORLD CAFE in Philadelphia, PA., to be heard on NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO all across the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
CHARLIE'S new SINGLE, 'BABY DOLL', which is taking off nationally, will be performed as well! The show can be heard in the Philly-Region on WXPN, 88.5 FM!
Those in the Philly region may attend this special free performance at the World Cafe (30th & Walnut) by going to the link provided here:  Link for Free Tickets: WWW.XPN.ORG
If any of our readers are able to attend this special free concert, please drop us a line and let us know what you thought.  (What a GREAT way to ring out 2011!!!)  kk
Every day we're getting more and more reports about the upcoming Beach Boys Reunion Tour ... there really is QUITE a buzz going on!
Here's another "Set Suggestion" by one of our readers, Phil Miglioratti, who also runs the Pray For Surf website.  (A few surprises here, to be sure ... and personally, I can probably think of about 500 songs I'd put ahead of "Cassius Love vs. Sonny Wilson" ... but hey, to each his own!!!)  Be sure to check out the link at the end of this piece and vote for your own "Heroes and Villains" of Beach Boys lore!  (kk)
Beach Boys 50th Celebration Concert Tour - My Top Ten List 
By Phil Miglioratti 
None of the Beach Boys have asked me, but if they did, here are a few suggestions for the upcoming tour celebrating their 50 year anniversary as a band:
1) Open with "Meant For You" 
It is a perfect way to set the stage (pun intended) to send out the core message of the Beach Boys: peace and love. They can play "California Girls" later in the show. 
2) Followed by "Friends"
A reunion for the fans but more importantly may this tour be a measure of reconciliation for the group that started with brothers, a cousin, a neighbor and a friend. All the lawsuits, power struggles, tarmac fist fights, stolen royalties and more than we fans will never know of, may each be forgiven. Maybe not forgotten but no longer standing in the way of giving the world joy of a live concert by a band of friends.
3) Then rock on with "Do It Again"
This was the perfect tune to re-record. The lyrics beg for a reunion. The texture of the song straddles the surf & street era and the progressive stage of the Beach Boys career. 
4) Reprise the band intro from the Beach Boys' Concert album.
"And now, from Hawthorne, California, to entertain you tonight, with a gala concert and a recording session, the fabulous Beach Boys!" Fred Vail, back then a teenager brash enough to promote a concert and bold to couple it to a recording that became the first live concert album of a rock group to hit #1 on the charts, is the perfect choice to bring them onstage. 
5) Honor David Marks
Give him a guitar solo on "Break Away" so we can hear what the original 6 would have sounded like had he not been dismissed from the band. The guitar solo inserted for the single version of this song sounded forced and unrelated to the feeling and flow of this great Brian Wilson song. Maybe David can fill that break with a Beach Boys inspired sound. Murry Wilson may have been greedy (when he engineered David's departure) and David may have been immature in his too-quick reaction to Murry's taunts but it is not too late to make the song a more complete Beach Boy tunes.
6) Keep the break in "Little Girl I Once Knew"
No general managers worrying someone may change from their station when you go into that glorious break - Give us the full song, silence and all! Every second of it! Just like Brian imagined it.
7) "'Cassius' Love vs 'Sonny' Wilson"
Few listeners realize this album-filler, though not an example of a Beach Boys classic, is a grand example of Brian Wilson's understanding of humor and how it can augment the rock ethos. And now, almost a lifetime later, our naivete when first listening to "Our Favorite Recording Sessions,'' and "I'm Bugged at My Old Man" has given way to the realization of how revealing the Love vs Wilson banter was and how painfully accurate was the "I'm Bugged" story-line. I'm not suggesting they perform this cut onstage .. I'm hoping Mike, who has identified his humor as sarcastic, will stay away from anything that sounds sarcastic or causes Brian to feel fear or hurt. I'm not picking sides, just hoping everyone stays with the positivity that Mike preaches in his interviews.
8) Dennis and Carl, please
Bring more than their memory by reminding us of how "Do You Wanna Dance" was a great Dennis lead and how Carl's voice on "God Only Knows" is considered one of the best in rock and roll history. Let their recorded voice take the lead while they are shown bigger than life on a video screen and as the band plays and sings live. They did it for Elvis; why not the most energizing rock band of our time?
9) The Alan Jardine Album
Most of the night will be Brian Wilson - Mike Love tunes (Amen!) but how about a set of songs on which Al sang lead or pushed to the forefront? "Help Me Rhonda" (a #1 hit), "Sloop John B" (Brian took his good idea and turned it into greatness), "The Times They Are A-Changin" (...yet, here are the Beach Boys on world tour!), "Cotton Fields" (Alan's version, please), "Then I Kissed Her" (his lead helped Brian out Spector, Spector), and "Susie Cincinnati" or "Come Go With Me" or Heroes & Villains, or ...
10) "Love & Mercy" 
What would it be like to end the concert with the Beach Boys semi-circled behind Brian at the piano singing "Love & Mercy" as the closing hymn, I mean song. A fitting benediction to what will be an amazing live experience and what was an unparalleled career bringing joy to millions across the globe and generations. 
P.S. I need your help identifying the 50 heroes & villains who shared the lives and shaped the careers of the Beach Boys - Cast your vote and share your comment at: 
Jeffrey Roberts has a great new Beach Boys piece running in his Examiner column ... here are the links: 
Without question, one of the highlights of 2011 was the new Reeling In The Years home video production of "The Hollies: Look Through Any Window".  HIGHLY recommended, here are links to two more reviews (including our own!!!):
In Tuesday's Comments upon the passing of Sean Bonniwell and him being a member at one time of the group The Wayfarers, I don't really know or remember much about that group. They did however, have a record that made our local top 40 radio station's weekly survey here in OKC back in 1960. Said record was RUN, COME SEE on Mercury. Without getting it out and playing it
again, I think they sounded a lot like the Kingston Trio.
I'm thinking this may be an all-together different group, especially if they were more in the folk-vein ... but maybe one of our readers knows for sure (???)  kk
I got Amy Winehouse's new CD for Christmas. You know until she died I really didn't know much of her work. You would see the tabloid stories and I really thought she was just a joke. I had no idea how talented she was. I really love the new CD. "Tears Dry On Their Own" is beautiful. I had never heard it before. If you haven't already ... check it out.
I just noticed Amy's name missing from the list of those artists we lost in 2011 ... maybe she wasn't considered "veteran" enough???  (kk)
Kent ...
Wanna Jam with Steven Tyler at the next Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp?
You also get to partake in a 10 hour recording session.
And, your final performance is at the Playboy Mansion.
They don't give a price ... so you know what that means!!!
Frank B.
And a quick dose of "Helping Out Our Readers" ...
Who's the deep-voiced male background singer on Patti's songs?
Anybody know for sure?  Joel Whitburn's book says that in addition to her sisters Lorranie and Emma (who made up The Drew-Vels), the bass voice belonged to Carlton Black (who was also married to Emma).  Maybe he stayed with her after she started her solo career???  (kk)

Good choice as usual for the FH of the Day. I just had one question to throw out and something that kind of threw me. I have the record filed here at home under Dottie West. Nowhere on the label and the flip is Kenny Rogers name mentioned. You are correct about it peaking at number 14 on the charts. I notice that Kenny Rogers' name is in parentheses under the song title when the title is given.
I don't have the 45 anymore (although I definitely bought it when it came out in 1981) ... like much of my vinyl collection, it has been replaced by CD.  Joel Whitburn's book lists the artist as officially "Dottie West (with Kenny Rogers)" which is probably why it's shown in parentheses on your copy.  While certainly a duet, I always found Kenny to be the more dominant artist on this track, even though it was officially released as Dottie West's record.  Hard to believe Dottie's been gone over 20 years now.  Great tune 'tho!!!  (kk)
Kenny and Dottie ... thanks ... forgot all about this song but always loved it.  Thanks for posting it.