Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday This And That

mary poppins in the rock n'roll hall of fame?!

Actually, it's the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame ... as a "must own" soundtrack album.
Finding that to be a hard pill to swallow???
Well, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!  (kk)

Hi kk,
You'll be pleased to know that Lou Simon's "Home for the Holidays" special countdown received more than the usual amount of positive feedback for his shows.  That was great to hear because it seemed like he was taking a bit of a gamble on this one by playing a good number of forgotten hits in sequence that didn't reach the weekly top 50, like the two brought up in this week's FH editions by Jan & Dean and the Joiner, Arkansas Junior High School Band.
The warm response to this countdown may be taken as proof that there is "a hunger" among listeners keen on hearing these lost gems.
Dann Isbell
Great to hear ... and proof again that programmers and consultants who believe the audience will only accept the same 200-300 "tried and true" oldies really do appreciate something OFF the list once in awhile, too!  (kk) 

Please tell Paul Evans, who wrote about Jack Kalin's passing (of Kalin Twins & 'When'), that there are those of us who still love his 'Happy Go Lucky Me.'  (Also 'Hambone Rock' & '7 Little Girls.')  I defy anybody to listen to 'Happy Go Lucky Me' & not smile or at least want to have a reason to smile.   He had such a lively lilt to his voice.   I was a fan.   
Did you check out Paul's video for his "Santa's Stuck In The Chimney" new release?  This guy is still crankin' 'em out!  (kk)

GREAT news ... Dick Biondi's name has been reinstated (thanks to all the shake-up going on at WLS-FM regarding Jan Jeffries) ... so once again they're calling it The Annual Dick Biondi Toy Drive.  The location is new  (downtown now for the first time after years at Stratford Square and Yorktown Mall) ... and the big event will be next weekend (Saturday, December 14th to be exact!)  You'll find all the details here thanks to Chicagoland Radio and Media:  Click here: Dick Biondi's Annual Toy Drive Returns This Month

And be sure to check in this Christmas / Jingle Bells video sent in by Gary Pike, formerly of The Lettermen: 
If you’ve never seen him before Tony does a great job.  

Reading the comments about Garth's concert reminded me that the year The Beatles Anthology showed on TV (at Thanksgiving) there was a commercial for Garth's newest cd at Walmart or Kmart.  (do not remember the particular 'mart')  It pictured a family eating Thanksgiving dinner and then rushing out to get the cd.  At the time, I thought the commercial was funny, and I think Garth Brooks worthy of the 'rush'.  But now that these stores are remaining open over ALL family holidays ... I am not laughing anymore.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
Garth's new box set premiered at #3 on The Billboard Album Chart last week ... and is expected to reach #1 ... not bad for a guy who's been out of the limelight these past several years.  It was a KILLER special ... the girls watched the live Carrie Underwood version of "The Sound Of Music" last week ... and Garth's live show blew this one away.  (kk)

Belated congratulations kk!
Thanks for all the fun facts and stories.
Bravo! and blessings,

Wow! 15 years ... how Pond! ;-) 
I'd send you a"Whipped Cream" cover, but having trouble finding hot men to bathe in whipped cream!  Later.
Ed Pond
Then I guess we'll have to run this spaghetti shot again!  Thanks, Ed!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Has the documentary "Searching For Sugar Man" been discussed on FH? I strongly recommend you see it if you haven't.
Actually, yes, it's come up NUMEROUS times now ... and always to stellar reviews ... yet (incredibly) I STILL haven't seen it yet.  (Saw that it was on this past weekend but at the point I caught it, it was already half over.)  Will have to make it a point to check this one out ... VERY good reviews nanimously thus far.  (kk)

How wild is this?!?!?
For his wife's 54th birthday part, Paul McCartney hired a Japanese Beatles sound-alike band to perform!
Despite the fact that they can barely speak a word of English, The Parrots are Japan's top Beatles copy-cat act ... yet they mimic the exact sound of The Fab Four when performing their songs.
Even wilder?  McCartey got up and joined them on stage to perform "I Saw Her Standing There"!!!
Now THAT would have been cool to see!!!  (kk)

The other day we mentioned some new Beatles titles that might make for great holiday gifts.  Now FH Reader Ken Voss sends us some OTHER holiday book suggestions ... "heavy" in the Jimi Hendrix arena!
Looking for that perfect Christmas gift. How about a new Hendrix book? Let’s take a look at the books that have come out in the last year:
• Jimi Hendrix: A Brother’s Story by Leon Hendrix with Adam Mitchell (Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press ISBN 978-0-312-66881-5) – This is the family story as told by the one living person that spent the most time with Jimi growing up – his brother Leon. It’s as much as autobiography of Leon, who admits to the demons that ostracized him from the family, but gives us another personal view of Jimi Hendrix. A must read.
• Jimi Hendrix FAQ by Gary J. Jucha (Backbeat Books ISBN 978-1-61713-095-3) – Subtitled as “all that’s left to know about the Voodoo Child,” I expected this paperback to be a list of facts – chronology, itinerary, concert dates, etc. None of that can be found here (although certainly can be found in other books). What we get is Jucha telling a series of stories documenting the facts about the particular topic (i.e. a topic on Eric Clapton covers all different times Clapton and Cream were involved with Jimi. Similar pieces on Paul McCartney, John Lennon, etc.) While it’s an interesting read and ties things together, breaks no new ground and will be disappointing to those who buy looking for the lists.
• Jimi Hendrix: Made in England by Brian Southall (Clarksdale Books ISBN 978-1-905959-4-19) – This paperback looks specifically at the 15 month rise to fame of the Jimi Hendrix Experience providing additional insights from many of the musicians and music industry personnel who crossed paths with Jimi during that period. Provides some interesting new perspectives and tidbits of information.
• Jimi Hendrix: Staring At Zero (Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-62040-331-0) – This is the story of Jimi Hendrix – in his own words. As described by Peter Neal, to all intents and purposes this book has been written by Jimi Hendrix,” a dossier of Hendrix conversation, stage banter, interviews all compiled from dialogue culled from records, interviews, articles and other sources.
• Hal Leonard Guitar Tablature Books
    o JIMI HENDRIX: BLUES PLAY-ALONG (HL00843218 - ISBN 978-1-4584-0269-1) Guitar tablature volume that is part of the Blues Play-Along series of Hal Leonard books. Designed for use with all B-flat, E-flat, Bass Clef and C instruments. The volume provides easy-to-read lead sheets and tablature with lyrics of eight Hendrix compositions – “Fire”, “Foxey Lady”, “Jam 292”, “Little Wing”, “Red House”, “Spanish Castle Magic”, “Who Knows” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. Also include is a CD featuring two tracks for each song – one a full stereo mix with all recorded instruments present on the track, and one split track where bass or guitar parts can be removed. The CD is also enhanced so MAC and PC users can adjust the recording to any tempo without changing the pitch.
    o JIMI HENDRIX: ESEENTIAL ELEMENTS (HL00865013 - ISBN 978-1-4584-0086-4) Guitar tablature volume that is part of the Essential Elements series of Hal Leonard books for guitar ensembles. Considered a “mid intermediate” skill level, the tab book features 15 songs arranged for three or more guitarists (guess it takes three or more to equal Jimi). Each arrangement features the melody, a harmony part, and bass line in standard notation with chord symbols. For groups with more than three or four guitars, the parts can be doubled.
• Legends of Music: The Life and Legacy of Jimi Hendrix (Charles River - ISBN 9781492393245) This short 32-page paperback reads more like a lengthy magazine article or college thesis summarizing Jimi’s life and career, slightly skewing historical information and injecting the author’s theories and reasonings tracing Hendrix from birth in 1942 to the how the legacy he left behind is being managed. Not much here to warrant paying any attention to. And while published in paperback, won’t be surprised to see an e-book edition.
• Star Guitars by Dave Hunter (Voyageur Press - ISBN: 9780760338216) These are the guitars so famous that their names are often household words: B. B. King’s Lucille, Eric Clapton’s Blackie, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s First Wife, Billy F Gibbons’ Pearly Gates, Neil Young’s Old Black, and many more. Author Dave Hunter documents those instruments with this illustrated history of the actual guitars of the stars that made the music. While other volumes on guitar histories look at the rank-and-file models, this book is unique in profiling the actual “star guitars”— the million-dollar babies, such as the 1968 Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix burned at Woodstock, which sold at Sotheby’s auction house in 1993 for $1,300,000. If you're into guitar history, this book is great. The volume is a beautiful coffeetable-like art book with over 700 photos of the famous guitars Hunter explores.
• Voodoo Child: A Jimi Hendrix Novel by Jon Caven Atack (Kid Menthal Music - ISBN 978-1482658040) First off, this is a novel – a fictional story. According to author Atack, “the following pages at last unveil the untold secret of the death of Jimi Hendrix. This revelation is set in a dream arising from a long meditation upon his too brief life, the constant illumination of the blues, the voodoo truth and the myth and history of the Cherokee people, with whom Jimi Hendrix was identified both through blood and belief.” While amazing the factual information Atack wove into this tale, it is a tremendously difficult book to meander through as he interlaces Cherokee pantheon, Chinese philosophy, Christian mysticism, Buddhist beliefs, Astro-physics, Oriental Theospophy, and a combination of allusions and illusions in creating this story that is either an angelic dream of Ecstasy trip.
• Forever 27 by Joe Guse (Crown Publishing – ISBN 978-1449487994) – Author Guse explores the “27 Club” of msucians who died at age 27 with “a psychological profile of Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.”
• 27: A History of the 27 Club Through the Lives of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse by Howard Sounes (DeCapo – ISBN 978-03068221684) Much of the book's power lies in its refusal to pander to the romantic-melancholy notion of the tortured young artist who lives fast and dies young. Instead the squalor and chaos of their everyday existence is exposed in uncompromising detail…. This book is not about more rock star mythologizing. It's about skewering the mystery of the 27-connection, by exposing its all-too-tragic reality. Sounes goes on to say The 27 Club is a truly a coincidence – a major one, true, and terribly sad, but a coincidence nonetheless. Still, in addition to commonality of age, the musicians experienced other parallels which Sounes explores. If you want to believe the myth of The 27 Club, it’s an interesting read.
• Woodstock Experience by Michael Lang and Shepard Fairey (Genesis Publishing - ISBN 978-190566-2-098) – This set actually came out a couple years ago, but we thought we would revisit at the “ultimate” Christmas present. The British publishing house prides itself on providing not just a book, but a treasured volume. With direct artistic collaboration, they create an artistic package with unique graphic design, craft bookbinding and exclusive packaging. This is more than another book recapping the Woodstock festival, but a well-researched bundle that becomes a cherished edition. The printing is limited to 1,000 numbered copies, hand signed by Lang himself. We call it an “ultimate” present because of the price - £395.00 ($650 U.S.)! This is a multimedia box set that celebrates the history and 40th anniversary of Woodstock created with the assistance of original festival producer Michael Lang as the “official” book to celebrate the festival. The two large format books in the set contain over 300 pages retelling the story of Woodstock. Volume One is the authorized history by 60 musicians, staff and audience members, illustrated by photographer Henry Diltz. Volume Two presents the unseen photography of Dan Garson, capturing the complete Woodstock environment and atmosphere. Printed on 200 gsm matt art paper, the two cloth-bound volumes are highlighted with gold and silver page edging and blocking. The books are housed in a hand-made case with artwork featuring Jimi Hendrix silkscreened on the front. The case also includes a drawer that holds five new essays in a facsimile Woodstock press pack, a reprint of Lang’s hand-drawn festival map, a 7” vinyl record featuring Santana’s “Favor” and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”, and a fine art print by famed artist Peter Max. A leather pocket contains an original Woodstock ticket.
• John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion by John Varvatos (Harper Fashion – ISBN 978-0062009791) – From Jimi Hendrix to Lady Gaga, an art book of a look at Rock in Fashion. Another expensive, large volume, coffeetable book – 272 pages, over 4 ½ pounds, $60. As review posted on Amazon notes, “In John Varvatos, the legendary designer reveals his perspective on how rock & roll music and style have influenced his own designs and fashion worldwide. Varvatos’s personally curated collection of more than 250 images are some of the most provocative ever shot by top rock photographers from the late 1960s to today, from the Rolling Stones to the Kings of Leon. The featured photographers are among the world’s finest, including Mick Rock, Bob Gruen, Elliott Landy, Danny Clinch, Lynn Goldsmith, and more. Also included are select images from Varvatos’s own advertising campaigns, featuring artists such as Slash, Iggy Pop, Scott Weiland, and Miles Kane. Varvatos’s captions and incisive commentary on the artist and his or her look accompany each image. Every chapter also contains numerous quotes from the musicians themselves, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, Jack White, Pete Townshend, Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, and Patti Smith. An extraordinary anthology of some of the finest images in rock & roll and the most influential rock looks in fashion and popular culture, this volume will delight music lovers, and fans of music photography, fashion, and fashion history.”

FH Reader Dave Barry sent us this article from Jesse Hamil of The San Francisco Chronicle talking about a brand new tribute film remembering the late, great Tower Records ...
Walking into a Tower Records store in the rocking 1980s was an eye-grabbing experience, whatever city you were in or whatever music you were after. You'd be met by those big, blazing-colored 3-D displays promoting the latest record by Prince or the Stones, Ozzy Osbourne and his bloody cross, a white-gowned Linda Ronstadt, posed provocatively as a 1940s songbird. 
The wild young graphic artists who hand-crafted each of those dazzling displays - for the Berkeley, San Francisco and other Tower outposts during the high-flying heyday of album cover design and record retailing - talk about that bygone world in the documentary "Art Gods: An Oral History of the Tower Records Art Department." It premieres at San Francisco's Balboa Theatre Dec. 6 and 7, followed both nights by a Q&A with the filmmakers and their subjects. On Jan. 26, the film screens at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento, the city where Russ Solomonopened the first Tower store in 1960. 
Written and directed by Strephon Taylor, a Berkeley metal-rock musician and filmmaker who worked as a Tower artist in the late '80s and early '90s and heard tales about the crew that preceded him, "Art Gods" is a fun, low-budget 70-minute production that mixes interviews, music, archival images and footage and a few cartoon graphics to tell its nostalgia-laden story. 
Tower, which was known for the wide range of music it stocked and the varied expertise of its music-mad employees, expanded from that single Sacramento store into an innovative global chain, with stores from Fresno to London to Tokyo, before eventually declaring bankruptcy in 2006 and liquidating its assets. It was a victim of the Internet, big-box discounters and apparently its own mismanagement. 
Like millions of other young folk, Taylor, who grew up in Richmond, spent hours on end in Tower - in his case, the big Berkeley store on Durant Avenue, where Steve Pollutro developed and ran the original art department - browsing the bins, digging the sounds and admiring the artwork on the album covers and the big displays that riffed on them. 
"As a kid shopping for records, it was the cover art that grabbed me. Now with the Internet, you can listen to samples of the tracks, but the artwork is the size of thumbnails," says Taylor, 46. He remembers being blown away by seeing Van Halen's name - accompanied by a giant image of Western Exterminator's top-hatted bug killer, which the band used as its 1984 tour icon - painted boldly on the exterior and interior walls of the Berkeley store. 
"That was outrageous. Those displays were just so cool," says Taylor, who produced three other local documentaries: "Remembering Playland," "Sutro's: the Palace at Lands End" and "The Complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features." He was initially approached by two of the Tower artists, Mark Devito and Zak Wilson, both of whom helped produce this film, to document how they crafted those displays, which set the standard for other retailers (they did wonders with foam core, X-acto knives and air-brushed paint). But when he met some of the colorful characters, like Craig Long and Andrew "Skip" Peterson, Taylor decided to tell their stories, and in the process capture a little slice of the culture.
"It was 1980. Everybody was drinking and doing cocaine," says Long, now a metal sculptor. As a fledgling artist with a passion for music, he thrived in the freewheeling Tower environment where artists could run with an idea. 
In the movie, Tower founder Solomon - who was not interviewed for this film but was for an unfinished documentary about Tower by Colin Hanks, son of Tom, who raised $95,000 on Kickstarter for it in 2011 - is heard on an audio clip talking about the Tower culture, which encouraged employees at each store to have a say in the identity of that particular store. 
"The ideas came from the kids, the employees in the field," the boss says. "I just let them happen." 
That piece of our musical culture "is gone forever," says Taylor, who, unlike many of the people featured in the film, never wore his hair in that '80s rock 'n' roll shag. "I was a big Ramones fan. I had straight hair and long bangs." 
For more information, go to www.novemberfire.com.
Jesse Hamlin is a Bay Area writer.

He also sent us THIS "book report" from the San Francisco Chronicle, spotlighting Greg Kihn's new book on The Beatles: 
Greg Kihn has been a staple of the San Francisco music scene since the 1970s with his band, the Greg Kihn Band. He also spent more than 15 years as the morning DJ for KFOX (KUFX). In the 1990s, he had his first novel published.   
"I have always written. Back in high school I wrote a couple of bad novels that never saw the light of day," he says. "Back in the '80s, when we were on the road, I read a lot of Stephen King novels. Then I started writing in my spare time, short stories and different horror ideas." 
Kihn's early novels reflect his love of the horror genre. His first novel, "Horror Show," was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel.

After not releasing a book in more than a decade, Kihn released his fifth novel, "Rubber Soul," this year. The book steers away from Kihn's horror roots, instead featuring the Beatles as main characters in a murder mystery. The central character is called Dust Bin Bob, and "Rubber Soul" is based on the lives of the Beatles, before they were famous.

"When I got the idea for Dust Bin Bob and projected him into the Beatles' world, that sucker just wrote itself," Kihn says. "Dust Bin Bob is a composite character, but really he's me, he's kind of like me projecting into the story."

Over the years, Kihn has interviewed surviving band members and those close to them. He says he was intrigued by how they developed their sound and how they were getting R&B records from the United States.

"They all told me the same thing: 'We got them from friends of the merchant marines' because Liverpool is a big port. These guys come back from Philly, Baltimore and New York and they bring the latest R&B singles with them, and they trade them to a guy like Dust Bin Bob, who has a stall at the flea market. Then the Beatles walk by one day and suddenly they become best friends with Dust Bin Bob because he's got the records. What separates all of the Merseybeat bands in the early days was material, repertoire."

This isn't the first novel where Kihn, who's currently working on the next Dust Bin Bob novel, has brought in his experiences as a musician.

"You bring certain things to the party. And one of the things I bring to the party is I'm a writer and I know rock 'n' roll and what it's like to be on the road and in the studio."

And Kihn's enthusiasm for the Beatles is infectious.

"I've been to Abbey Road. I sat in the studio and I actually went into the stall, in the men's room after hours and smoked the only joint in all of London, which I brought specifically with me, to smoke in the sacred stall where the Beatles used to smoke after hours when they were working on 'Sgt. Pepper.' I had the guy show me: 'What was the stall that they went into?' 'Oh, it's that one.' And later when everybody left, I snuck back in there and did the deed," he says.

-- Tony DuShane is a freelance writer who hosts the radio show "Drinks With Tony." E-mail:
96hours@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @tonydushane

A few new shows at The Arcada Theatre worth mentioning ...
Thursday, February 6th - A Second Show has been added for Cheap Trick!  (The FIRST show sold out in about 45 minutes!)  Don't miss your chance to see one of The Midwest's Finest!)
Saturday, February 15th - 10,000 Maniacs
Saturday, March 29th - Eddie Money
Sunday, March 30th - A Tribute to Ricky Nelson (by his twin sons Matthew and Gunnar) ...
    WHOA!  Put me down for THIS one, Ron!!!
Sunday, April 13th - Paul Revere and the Raiders ... THIS ONE, TOO!!!
    You're not going to see a better show than this one ... a guaranteed night of non-stop, fun entertainment!
Saturday, April 19th - Foghat
Saturday, May 17th - Blue Oyster Cult
Saturday, June 7th - Lou Gramm of Foreigner
As always, check the OShows website for updates and more ticket information!

The annual “A Hometown Holiday” with Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s will air Christmas Day December 25th, 7 am - 4 pm, on WLTL-FM 88.1 and stream.   
The history of the annual holiday special:  http://www.mikebaker45s.com/page7/Forgotten45s.html   
Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s broadcast the first "A Hometown Christmas" on Christmas Day, 1995. Carol and Joe Gentile on WJJG-AM 1530 brought the holiday special to listeners commercial-free. The annual special included Christmas one hit wonders, holiday hits from the golden age of top-40 and more. The holiday music oldies show was all live and local, year after year for 16 years.
The current info and listen live:  http://mikebaker45s.wordpress.com/a-hometown-holiday/   
Chicago Christmas favorites include:  
(Sweet Angie) The Christmas Tree Angel - Fran Allison (host of Kukla, Fran & Ollie)
Pretty Little Dolly - Mona Abboud  
At the above website is a list of Christmas one hit wonders that was originally published by Jerry Osborne in the Chicago Sun-Times

We've heard from a few folks who have made donations to The Sonny Geraci Fund set up by Streetsboro Family Days.  As soon as we get more information about the Live Concert DVD, we'll pass it along.  Meanwhile, here is that information again, courtesy of Dennis Tufano, former lead singer of The Buckinghams:
Make checks payable to: Streetsboro Family Days.
In the lower left corner memo you must write in SONNY GERACI BENEFIT.
SEND CHECKS TO: Benefit For Sonny Geraci, PO BOX 5266, Willowick, OH 44095
For information email at: benefitforsg@gmail.com
Merry Christmas and a great New Year to you and your family. Hope to get back in the Chicago area next year. It's been a while!!!
The Sonny Geraci Benefit went very well. It was the "Woodstock" of Streetsboro, Ohio for sure. 25 acts non-stop live ... a hit maker jukebox concert.  And we raised some $$$ for our friend Sonny and his family. 
Be well. Thanks again Kent.

Current Buckinghams Guitarist and Vocalist Dave Zane sent us a link to a great blog report of the concert from his keyboardist Steve Hoye.  Dave and Steve (along with several other members of their Bigger Picture band) provided all of the back-up music for the cavalcade of stars who entertained that weekend.
You can read Steve's full report here:  http://thebiggerpictureband.com/myblog/?p=30
(And how cool is it that Dave can perform regular with the current Buckinghams line-up, featuring key members Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna ... and still play and support original lead vocalist Dennis Tufano in his efforts to help raise money for Sonny Geraci's family and medical bills.  Pretty damn cool in my opinion!)  kk
(Here's a shot of Dennis performing on stage with Dave Zane at 
The Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert, courtesy of photographer 
Tom Apathy ... thanks, Tom!)

And, speaking of The Buckinghams, our FH Buddy Al Kooper gave them a shout-out in this week's "Music For Old People" column ... dedicated to great Beatles covers recorded over the years.  (He singled out their version of "I'll Be Back" from their "Time And Charges" album.)
You can view the complete list here ...
And, if you're not already on his email list, sign up for the weekly jukebox sends.  (kk)
Working on your answers to our Joel Whitburn Trivia Challenge?  (Scroll back to Sunday's posting to find our 50 Questions About The '50's.)  
Send us your answers by Friday, the 13th ... and on Sunday we'll announce the winner of Joel's latest book "Billboard's Best Sellers and Hot 100 Charts of the 1950's"!  (kk)