Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday This And That

re:  The Grammys:

It would not be at all uncomplimentary to say that this year's Grammy Awards Ceremony was more than a little bit "daft"!  In fact, Daft Punk won several major awards for their techno-pop hit "Get Lucky" ... and also (with the help of soul legends Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder) turned in the performance of the night when they performed the song live.  (Of course, having Pharrell Williams on lead vocals didn't hurt either ... boy, talk about "getting lucky" ... what a year THIS guy has had!!!)

The song in question is a throw-back to '70's pop / soul, sounding VERY much like Chic meets Earth, Wind and Fire meets Kraftwerk!  It's just a WHOLE lotta fun, infectious as hell ... and certainly threw a MAJOR upset into the mix, beating Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (by all accounts the biggest record of the year in terms of sales and airplay ... and an assumed "sure thing" to walk away with all the big awards.)  "Get Lucky" won for Record Of The Year, the album from which it came, "Random Access Memories" won for Album Of The Year, and the song also took top honors in the Best Pop Duo / Group Performance and Best Dance / Electronica Album.  (Having Paul Williams accept their final award was pure genius, by the way ... after thoroughly enjoying the documentary on Paul's career earlier this past year, the usually entertaining Williams outdid himself comedically with references to his "drinking and using" days only to find himself now, back up in the spotlight again, thanks to a couple of robots!)

Actually, it was several of the "new kids" scoring upsets Sunday Night that kept the show interesting.  Lorde won several awards (including Song Of The Year and Best Pop Solo Vocal Performance) for her hit "Royals" and newcomer country star Kacey Musgraves beat out competition like Taylor Swift and Blake Shelton to win Country Album Of The Year, "Same Trailer, Different Park" as well as Best Country Song for her hit "Merry-Go-Round". 

If there was one major disappointment for me, I'd have to say it was the complete misuse of our very own Chicago.  Making their first-ever Grammy appearance, the group was reduced to nothing more than acting as the back-up band for Robin Thicke, who then hogged the spotlight singing many of the band's most famous songs before morphing it all into his own 2013 Hit "Blurred Lines".  Not that any portion of this presentation sounded especially bad ... just inappropriate.  Honestly, I felt embarrassed for them ... they deserved more.  (Let's see if 45 years from now Robin Thicke's album will be inducted into The Grammy Hall Of Fame the way Chicago's "C.T.A." album finally was after all these years!  For some reason, me thinks not!)

Much hype was made of the appearance of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr ... and I'll admit to looking forward to it quite a bit myself, just to see what they were actually going to do together ... and they didn't disappoint, performing together on Paul's "Queenie Eye" after Ringo did a great solo spot with his 1973 #1 Hit "Photograph".  (Some have called Ringo's performance unnecessary ... and not really fitting within the format or context of the show ... what relevance did his 40 year old song have on the night's events? ... but I thought he sounded great.)

And besides, The Beatles were receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award that night ... (although it wasn't televised ... probably saved for CBS' upcoming 'The Night That Changed America' special instead) ... and I don't think I've EVER seen Ringo appear as a guest on ANY television show and perform a song live before ... so it was a REAL treat for me!  My daughter even spotted former "Voice" contestant Judith Hill singing background on Ringo's song!)   McCartney even won a Grammy himself for his collaboration with David Grohl and other former members of Nirvanna for their super-star jam "Cut Me Some Slack".  Yoko Ono (with son Sean, who looked like a cross between his father and one of Woody Allen's rabbi characters) and George Harrison's widow Olivia were also on hand, most likely to participate in the aforementioned "Lifetime Achievement Award" celebratation ... but then also presented an award together after co-presenter Alicia Keys referred to Yoko's late husband as "John Legend" before correcting herself.  (Oh my God, what a ditz!)

I was surprised (but VERY pleased) to see  a couple of old WCFL-ers remembered in their special "those who left us" segment ... Larry Lujack and Jerry G. Bishop had their pictures displayed side by side on the screen ... both left indelible marks on all of us growing up back in that era.  (Whose picture would they run today?  Short of Ryan Seacrest ... who I believe is beamed to every planet in the universe ... whether they want him or not!!! ... how many other contemporary deejays can you mention?  Boy, it sure isn't like the old days ... when the jocks were nearly as important as the music itself!)

Other moving performances included those by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on their hit "Same Love", a song I've probably turned off at least a couple of hundred times on the radio while switching channels these past few months ... but I've got to give them a whole new level of credibility after seeing them perform it live on the show.  The execution was perfect, and the otherwise bland tune came across as a VERY power gospel / rap number (is there really such a thing?) at Sunday night's ceremony.  (The duo also won for Best New Artist).  Their live performance included a marriage ceremony of 33 couples in the audience ... and a guest vocal by Madonna! 

Lorde didn't fare as well in my book, coming across as a bit bizarre when performing her #1 Hit "Royals".  I didn't especially care for Beyonce either ... or the way that had to bleep out such a large percentage of her song.  And I cannot help but wonder if today, some 36 hours later, Taylor Swift is still feeling the effects of whiplash after her rather animated performance at the piano that night!

A country medley by a revamped version of The Highwaymen (now featuring Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton) was a show-stopper.  (Boy, the lyrics to "Okie From Muskogee" certainly are dated by today's standards!!!  It was especially funny and ironic watching Willie Nelson up there singing about NOT smoking marijuana!  LOL)  Pink, Katy Perry and a smashing duet between Carole King and Sara Bareilles kept the performance levels high throughout the night ... the show never dragged or got boring, despite its well over 3 1/2 hour length.  All in all, one of the more interesting Grammy Shows I've seen in recent years.  (kk)  

But not everyone agreed ...   

I'm sure you'll get a ton of comments about the Grammys. I might as well stick in mine.
First of all, that was just about four hours of my life I'm not getting back ... and I stayed up past my bedtime. It was sort of like watching a train wreck ... you couldn't look away. The first 90 minutes in particular were painful. That would include the segment with Chicago and Robin Thicke. I understand the logic behind combining the old with the new, but it didn't work for me. I'm not a fan of Chicago, but they are PROS! If Robin Thicke is the future of pop music, then shoot me right now.
Beyonce may be the hottest commodity in entertainment today, and she's easy on the eyes, but she's not gonna make me forget about any of the 50's, 60's or 70's R&B / soul sisters. To me it's fingernails on the blackboard.
In fact, for me, it was the appearance of the 70-plus year old stars (country and rock) who showed them how it's done. "Photograph" wouldn't have been my choice for a Ringo segment, but I guess it was an excuse to show John and George on the screens. It really looked like Ringo and Paul were having fun performing together. How soon is their song gonna be on the radio? Probably right now, but I live in a dead zone and can hardly pick up any radio stations.
It's obvious that Kris Kristofferson has lost his voice and Merle Haggard isn't too far behind. It's funny to hear them play Merle's signature song, "Okie From Muskogee", when at least three of the four, (don't know about Blake), and probably a good portion of the audience have indulged in the very activities frowned upon in the song. In Merle's defense, he wrote the song looking at the world from his father's point of view, not his.
I'm not sure what Daft Punk's gimmick is, but after hearing snippets of their song all thru the show and then watching them with Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder, the song kinda grew on me. Given a choice I'd rather hear one full song, then a medley. I'm glad  that Billie Jo Armstrong and Miranda Lambert did "When Will I Be Loved" in it's entirety, rather than a medley. That may be what annoyed me most about the Chicago / Robin Thicke segment.
I'm sure there's some other things I forgot. In closing it was great seeing Larry Lujack and Jerry G. Bishop getting a mention.

re: This And That:
Folk Legend Pete Seger died Monday (the 27th) at the age of 94.  He was an inspiration to SO many of the folk and folk/rock movement of the '60's ... an absolute icon of the era.

I'd like to pose this question to all your readers. Has there EVER been an opening riff, a full band track, that resonates with more energy to the boomer generation than the Rolling Stones' phenomenal work on "Gimme Shelter?
I was wheeling to Wrigleyville after a Bulls - Lakers game Monday night and heard the song for, maybe, the 10-thousandth time.
The track has never bored me. Never will! Unlike so many great songs from the 60's, 70's and into the 80's that I will go out of my way to ignore - see Steve Miller or Journey - "Shelter" is somehow a reminder of "be ins", Woodstock, Altamont, Billy Graham, "start a revolution" and Rush Street when that cozy hunk of near north Chi-town real estate was about twenty-somethings who were looking for instant boy-girl gratification rather than corporate restaurants.
Really, has there ever been a song, any group - any year, that screamed bad-ass rock 'n roll more than this truly amazing song? Keep in mind, Bo and Chuck introduced us to the game while Mick and Keith took us down the highway that has never been explored before or since.
Chet Coppock
Host: Chicago Blackhawks Heritage Series

It was literally ALL over the news so we never really mentioned it in Forgotten Hits ... but it's apparently also "all over" for The Captain and Tennille ... Toni filed for divorce last week, supposedly catching husband Daryl Dragon by complete surprise after 39 years of marriage ... but it sounds like there may have been more to it than that.  Dragon is suffering some medical issues (he has something similar to Parkinson's Disease, which makes it virtually impossible for him to play the piano anymore ... similar to what Linda Ronstadt recently described as the reason she can no longer sing) and it sounds like this may have been more of an insurance ploy to get the insurance company to pick up a greater percentage of his mounting medical bills.  Hopefully the couple remains close ... after 39 years, it's hard to imagine them splitting anything less than amicably!  (kk)

Below is a link to my B Day Boogie on the Tiki Lounge stage Dec. 21st, 2013! Hope this finds you good.
Best Alohas,

Oak Ridge Boys Ink Deal With Cleopatra Records To Release Their First Ever Live Country Album! 
Los Angeles, CA - With a legacy that stretches across six decades, encompasses more than 41 million albums sold, and includes numerous iconic hit singles such as “Elvira,” “American Made,” and “Y’all Come Back Saloon,” it’s no wonder that The Oak Ridge Boys are one of the most popular live acts on the circuit today, packing fans in by the thousands and tens of thousands wherever they perform. What is surprising is that the Boys, renowned for their great live shows, have never released a full length, official hits concert album - that is, until now! Cleopatra Records will release Boys Night Out on April 15th, in three formats - CD, vinyl, and digital download - finally giving ORB fans the experience of the group’s well-polished live performance for them to enjoy anytime, anywhere.
To be sure, Oak Ridge Boys fans have been clamoring for a live album of hits for several years now, but as the band explained, “For some reason or another, the time never seemed right.” Then, in early 2013, lead vocalist and producer Duane Allen saw the stars align as the band was able to get its hands on some top quality remote recording equipment, and promptly began capturing performances of their current show dubbed “Boys Night Out.” Night after night, The Oak Ridge Boys wowed audiences across the nation with a set list that packed all of the group’s hit singles and fan favorites into one magnificent celebration. Years of preparation have made such well-loved songs as “You’re The One,” “Thank God For Kids,” and the brilliant “Bobbie Sue” sound even more exhilarating than when they were originally recorded! It might not be quite the same as being there, but it’s thrillingly close!
1. You’re The One
2. American Made
3. (I’m Settin’) Fancy Free
4. Love Song
5. Y’all Come Back Saloon
6. Sail Away
7. Dream On
8. This Crazy Love
9. Trying To Love Two Women
10. Come On In
11. Make My Life With You
12. Thank God For Kids
13. Elvira
14. Bobbie Sue
Friends of late night radio, our dear broadcasting legend, Joe Deuth (Donovan) passed away this past Sunday.  My brother Steve told me about his late night show back in the 80's and won an autographed copy of an LP the station was giving away on the air.  By the time Joe's show was airing on WHAS, top 40 oldies were mostly long gone from AM radio -- especially mega super power stations like 840 WHAS in Louisville.  Joe was the opposite of what I had grown up loving in DJs.  I grew up with Riley's quick wit and happy go lucky presentation and Larry Lujack's sarcasm, but Joe was just easy going, knowledgeable about music and loved playing it for listeners who tuned in all night to hear the songs they grew up with.  His hour long 3 AM "Odd & Obscure" part of the show was my fave.  Always something to be heard that I had not before, whether it be Claudine Longet's cool "Think of Rain" version or garage or New Christy Minstrels tracks.  It was anywhere and everywhere.  Larry Neal at KOMA had shows like that, but not overnight for hours on end.  Truckers loved it.  DX'ers like me loved it too. 
I taped Joe's shows occasionally and when he reached out to his thousands of listeners one night, I called in to help.  Attached is the call and the good old AM fade that DXers are used to.  I was able to hook both Joe and his listener, Phil Dahl, with the record in question.  In fact, Phil and I became good friends because of Joe!! 
Joe, I missed you when you went to afternoons in the 80's and will miss you always! 
Rest in peace. 
Clark Besch 

So did you go to the Cheetah Club?   
Nope ... I was just a kid!  Missed out on SO many great performances back in the day!  (The Exceptions were supposed to have been a KILLER band ... members went on to join Chicago and The Buckinghams!)  kk

>>>About Chicago and REO performing on tour together - so why don't they have a date scheduled anywhere in CHICAGO?????   (Marlene) 
>>>I couldn't believe when I saw the tour schedule and didn't see a Chicago stop on the list ... so two of our area's biggest bands ever are FINALLY touring together ... and they're not even gonna play one for the home crowd so that we can go and see them?!?!  What's up with that?!?!?  (Personally, I think they're saving that announcement for later ... what better place to cap off the tour than right here at home?)  kk
Marlene, if Chicago won't come see you, go see them when they were the REAL Chicago!  Here in glorious sound and stereo is a 1970 concert!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWKtVzzWo4U&feature=player_embedded#t=0
I "saw" Chicago back in 1970 when they performed at Ravinia ... I use the term "saw" very loosely.  (Suffice to say I never saw ... and barely HEARD ... them!)
The place was absolutely PACKED ... a complete sell-out.  Their second album had just come out and they were all over the radio with their latest hits "Make Me Smile", "Colour My World" and "25 or 6 to 4" ... plus they started re-releasing stuff from their first LP again now that they were hot, so soon "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is", 'Questions 67 and 68" and "Beginnings" were all over the radio, too.  We sat SO far back we never saw a thing ... listened to the whole concert through a small speaker nailed to a tree.  I remember thinking halfway through the concert that I'd rather go home and just listen to the records ... for one thing, they'd sound WAY better ... and I wouldn't have to fight the crowd and ridiculous parking situation!  (lol)
Several years later, we went back to Ravinia as Chicago's guests and sat in the Pavilion ... and, thanks to backstage passes, got to meet and visit with the band (as well as enjoy a pre-show dinner!)  QUITE a different experience, let me tell you ... and to top it off, it all took place on my birthday! 
Chicago enjoyed another "first" this past weekend when they were invited to perform at The Grammy Awards Ceremony.  (It's about time!!!)  That's because their first LP was finally inducted into The Grammy Album Hall Of Fame this year.  (Can a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nod be far behind?)  Besides their Grammy performance, they also did two shows at The Symphony Center right here in town on Michigan Avenue, backed by The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  (WLS-FM has been giving away tickets to these shows for weeks now!)  
Click here: Iconic band Chicago to debut with CSO - Chicago Sun-Times    
And look for an announcement REAL soon about a local area appearance by Chicago and REO Speedwagon ... toldja there was no way they were going to leave our city off the map.)  In fact, don't be surprised if it happens just in time for my birthday again this year!)  kk    

 >>>Please Please Me  did not make number one in UK.In January, 1963, it stalled at number 2. It was kept out of top spot by: Cliff Richard =The Next Time / Bachelor Boy; The Shadows = Dance On; and Diamonds = Jet Harris / Tony Meehan.  All Three of these tunes were number one in January of 1963.  The Beatles had to wait until 2nd May, 1963, for their first UK number one single = From Me To You - it stayed seven weeks at the summit.  (Geoff Dorsett) 

>>>"Please Please Me" made #1 on MOST of the British Charts ... just not the "official" chart, which showed it at #2.  (Same thing happened here in America with "Twist And Shout" ... since it didn't make #1 in Billboard, it's not "officially" a #1 Hit, despite topping the chart in both Cash Box and Record World ... as well as the Top 40 chart in virtually EVERY major American city.) Perhaps one of the most famous Beatles-related quotations of all time is George Martin's comment after the "Please Please Me" recording session: "Congratulations, gentlemen ... you have have just recorded your first #1 Single."  (kk)  

Coincidently, I just read this in one of the NUMEROUS magazines now out in the stands in honor of The Beatles' 50th Anniversary of conquering America ... it comes from the special Paul McCartney Tribute issue of "Life" Magazine:
"With the last notes of 'Please Please Me' still resonating from the recording studio room floor, George Martin switched on the control room intercom and said brightly 'Gentlemen, you've just made your first Number One Record.'  George Martin's prediction hit the bulls-eye.  Well, hit most of it.  The British music business of the early '60's had no equivalent to the authoritative record charts in 'Billboard', America's music-biz bible.  The situation in Britain was chaotic by comparison.  There were at least four charts, one each in the periodicals 'Disc', 'Melody Maker', 'New Musical Express' and "Record Mirror'.  'Please Please Me' hit Number One on the first three charts; on 'Record Mirror''s it ran out of petrol at Number Two ... which is why it was decided not to include the song in the self-explanatory titled 2000 Beatles collection '1'.  The Beatles had to wait until 'From Me To You', released on April 11, rang all four charts' bells, to satisfy music-business hairsplitters."

Hi Kent,  
This looks good. There are some other discs listed here, too, but I thought the Grass Roots disc would interest the rest of the Forgotten Hits folk.  All the original versions ... and the original mono single versions at that. 
Doesn't come out until March but there is a preorder link.

In the year 1968 in New England, Boston, if you purchased a (popular for that area) "Waleeco" candy bar it carried a coupon advertising the obviously acid influenced  "Flat Earth's Society" band's album aptly named "Waleeco" and for $1.50 and six "Waleeco" candy bar wrappers you could enter the psychedelic realm of the now. The soulful sounds of "Midnight Hour" went another dimension as it was the only tune on the LP not original. These guys did not "Monkee" around with it.  Makes you wonder if you licked the wrapper what would happen!
"Portrait In Grey" reminds me of the music of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOAGb_95-q0 
The Manson Family.

We've been telling you about Burton Cummings' first Las Vegas gigs at The Orleans ... now we've got a report (including the complete set list ... very similar to the show he did here in Chicago in a few months ago) from Vintage Vinyl News: 
Burton Cummings, former lead singer of the Guess Who and member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, played two nights to sellout crowds in Las Vegas at the Orleans Showroom. 
The show, which saw him receiving numerous standing ovations, was filled with the music of his former band along with his own solo hit Stand Tall and I'm Scared and a couple of Cumming's favorite standards.
Main Set:
  • No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature (from the Guess Who's American Woman, 1970)
  • Albert Flasher (non-LP single, 1971)
  • Clap for the Wolfman (from the Guess Who's Road Food, 1974)
  • Laughing (from the Guess Who's Canned Wheat, 1969)
  • Undun (from the Guess Who's Canned Wheat, 1969)  
  • (You might remember that Burton's flute wasn't working that night at The Arcada Theatre ... so we missed this one, certainly a crowd favorite!  I think you should come back, Burton, and treat us to it again!)
  • Stand Tall (from Burton Cummings, 1976)
  • Maggie May (Rod Stewart cover)
  • Mack the Knife (Bobby Darin cover)
  • Hand Me Down World (from the Guess Who's Share the Land, 1970)
  • Guns, Guns, Guns (from the Guess Who's Rockin', 1972)
  • These Eyes (from the Guess Who's Wheatfield Soul, 1968)
  • I'm Scared (from Burton Cummings, 1976) 
  • Baby, Come Back (from Bachman and Cumming's Jukebox, 2007)
  • Running Back to Saskatoon (from the Guess Who's Live at the Paramount, 1972)
  • American Woman (from the Guess Who's American Woman, 1970)
  • No Time (from the Guess Who's American Woman, 1970)Encore:  Share The Land (from the Guess Who's Share the Land, 1970)