Nov 282023
goose i would die 4 u

The Festive Season is upon us, and jam-band fans know what that means: Goosemas. In preparation for their annual showcase in December, Goose played their first European tour in smaller venues and, in one case, on a moored boat. A portion of their devoted flock joined them, along with interested locals. During their first-ever show in Manchester, England, they played a cover, only their second, of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” with a new twist.

Of course, it is always an act of bravery to take on a Prince tune. To do it live when you know that this version exists, raises the stakes higher still. No trepidation shows. Opening the second set, Peter Anspach frames the piece with keyboards and then the band fill the scene, before Rick Mitarotonda takes on the improvisational duties. In a bravura performance, he goes through delicate phrasings and a panoply of power chords before something suddenly emerges.

Multiple listens do not give any hint of what is coming. If “Purple Rain” was one of the cultural phenomena of 1984, the surprise addition of “Axel F,” aka the theme to Beverly Hills Cop, was another. Bringing them together is something even Prince did not do.

Goose’s Manchester gig was one of the best-received on the tour and is available on Bandcamp.

Nov 272023

The lap steel guitar is a simple but versatile tool. It can air, space, and emotion to work, and is regularly heard on Hawaiian music or adding color to Country tracks. One man, Sean Williamson, aims to expand the palette further, into the realms of shredding. His Velocihamster project believes it is the “world’s only lap steel metal band.” He is, in his own words, “hell-bent” to expand the use of, and proselytize about, the instrument. As well as heavier tracks the project also looks to classics and AOR. Their new cover of “Broken Wings” is now available as a single. Continue reading »

Nov 242023

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

The Pointer Sisters

When we think of The Pointer Sisters–June, Ruth, and Anita, L to R above–we tend to think of their fun, frothy, soul-pop ’80s mega-hits like “He’s So Shy,” “I’m So Excited,” “Jump (For My Love),” and “Automatic” (to name a handful). These deliriously happy 40-year-old (!) songs, with their “roller rink-aerobics class-cruise the strip in a neon pink convertible” vibes, still have the power to kickstart even the most jaded heart.

But those hits don’t tell the whole Pointer Sisters story. You see, in the late ’70s, just before the aforementioned hot fudge sundae of singles was unleashed, The Pointer Sisters released two bona fide, screaming, strutting, sexy ROCK albums in a row. This is the story of those rebellious years when The Pointer Sisters, beloved AM radio sweethearts, went totally FM. Let the fantastical and improbable tale begin…
Continue reading »

Nov 202023

There is something happening, but you don’t know what it is, as someone once said, and they may well say it again, following this daring further adventure in the wonder of Ms. Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power. Despite a healthy and reliable back catalog of her own material. she has become quite the regular on these pages, care of her regular re-interpretations scattered liberally about her output. Sure, she has “done” Dylan before, but she has never, nor anyone else to my knowledge, taken on quite such a doughty challenge as she has on Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert.

A legendary recording, initially only available on bootleg, Bob Dylan’s “Royal Albert Hall” concert (ask your hep uncle why that’s in quotes) has passed into the annals of not only Dylan mythology, but of the whole development of 20th century music. Few would ever risk such an endeavor as recreating, let alone in a live setting, let alone in the same live setting as the original. (OK, as the original claimed to be, the Dylan program actually coming from a concert at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall. Plus, given that Manchester venue is now a Radisson hotel, it would be tricky.) But, ever the free spirit, this is what Cat Power did. And here we have the evidence.
Continue reading »

Nov 202023
sydney sprague

Arizona singer-songwriter Sydney Sprague recently recorded a Turnstile cover for a musical compilation that will help aid sea life. This song collection is called Changing Tides and will have proceeds directly go to a group called Sea Shepherd. What better reason to make music than to help save our ocean? And the theme of this song is all too fitting.  Continue reading »

Nov 172023
lou barlow convoy

“Convoy” is one of those weird novelty #1 hits from the past that seem inexplicable to generations who weren’t alive when the song took off. Though I’m tempted to compare it to something like “Monster Mash,” that song at least resonates with children around Halloween. The CB radio culture of “Convoy” is utterly foreign to anyone who didn’t live through it. There were even movies (including one based on the song). Imagine in twenty or thirty years, a young person listening to a song celebrating the culture of Periscope or Clubhouse or some other app that is no longer popular. Now imagine that song is a spoken-word country song containing conversation snippets supposedly taken from the app, plus spoken verses, all voiced by a character from a recent bread commercial. Plus a chorus sung by commercial jingle singers. That’s “Convoy.”

Lou Barlow, most famously of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, and his wife Adelle have a podcast called Raw Impressions. For their weekly feature “mini-music-monday,” Barlow records songs, usually covers. For the most recent music episode, Barlow has covered “Convoy.” Continue reading »