NEMS News #229 - June 30, 2007
- New England Music Scrapbook News
Alan Lewis, Editor
Our Corner of the Rock 'n' Roll Life
June 30, 2007
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We've got Thrills, chills, Dirty Water
What more do you need?
When the big beat hits ya
Comin' from your transistor
Like the T at full speed
When the big beat hits ya...
-- "Boston Lullaby," Dudick/Naihersey.
Copyright c. 1980 by Camaraderie Music, BMI.
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
. . . . .
I HAD ALREADY SENT THIS ISSUE. After clicking the "Send" button,
though, it is necessary for a moderator to approve the message. Can
you imagine a system so stupid where a moderator has to approve the
group OWNER's messages? Anyway, I had some second thoughts after
clicking "Send." I went back and added a short paragraph to the
Weisstronauts feature and toned down what I wrote about the Boston
Globe "Labyrinth" review. Then technology on some level turned this
effort into one gigantic nightmare. No matter how hard I tried, no
matter how many different things I tried, and no matter how long I
waited, I could not save a copy of this issue anywhere in Yahoo: not
in Yahoo Mail, Geocities, or Yahoo Groups.
I had to start over and lost all my work (all my revisions, that is).
So this was re-rewritten quite hastily because I am now seriously and
majorly out of time. I hope this came out okay, I think it may have
come out okay, but I really don't know.
At this point, though, I've GOT to get this thing sent.
FOR ME, THIS WEEK has been a special treat. First, I thought our
chance to connect with
was shot. So I was surprised and very happy on Wednesday to be
sending out an article, previewing her concert Thursday night at Toad.
If you caught that show, I would love to hear what you think.
Then, Pete Weiss of
had told me he was in the middle of a busy spell, and I was fully
prepared for our exchange to be of the mini-interview variety. It was
quite unexpected that I got so much great material from him. He was
very generous with his time, and I am grateful.
For the next little while, I would like to post a feature article here
every two or three weeks. So to send out two features in just three
days has been an amazing experience.
Thanks to Eileen Rose and Pete Weiss for making it happen.
No Longer Out There
WRSI-FM host and music director
made his final broadcast yesterday afternoon on the Northampton,
Massachusetts radio station. People don't get a lot more legendary
than Johnny Memphis, with his never-say-die enthusiasm.
This is a phenomenal loss, and we are all going to miss him like
The WRSI announcement said nothing about what he is going to do
from here. Retire? Shift to another station? We don't know. But we
do wish him all the luck in the world.
If you know what is to become of Johnny Memphis and you would be
willing to share your information, please e-mail us by way of the
following Web page:
AND THE FIDDLEHEADS
Zoe Darrow's Ready To Kick Up Her Heels,
How About You?
[Actually, I had never given any thought to kicking up Zoe Darrow's
heels. - Ed.]
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Arts and Entertainment Pullout Section
Since Sheryl Hunter sticks pretty tight to local music in her
weekly Greenfield Recorder "Sounds Local" column, she covers a
terrific amount of stylistic ground. Not long ago, she wrote a
knowing piece about Dinosaur Jr., and this week's column is about
ZOE DARROW AND THE FIDDLEHEADS.
THAT is range, let me tell you. If, instead, her topics gathered
around a home base of, say, singer-songwriters or alt-country bands,
her column would be much more narrowly focused. But concentrating, as
she does, on the wide-ranging Pioneer Valley music scene, Sheryl gets
into nearly every corner of popular misic.
To catch up with the young fiddling sensation (and to catch up
with our friend Sheryl), get looking for her column (still hardcopy
only, as far as I know) in the Arts and Entertainment section of
Thursday's Recorder out of Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Not incidentally, Sheryl also has a separate feature about the
Amherst, Massachusetts roots band,
Was I ever surprised to start the week with a completed
interview. I had been certain we had missed out on her as a current
Two things come to mind worth adding to the article I sent on
Wednesday. First and most importantly, let's get straight to the
trivia. Do you recall the name of the 1990s Eileen Rose band that
competed in the WBCN Rock 'n' Roll Rumble?
I had actually forgotten, 'til she reminded me, that Rose was even in
the Rumble. So of course I did not recall the name of her band. I
then searched the Web on this question and found her group listed, of
all places, in a back issue of this very newsletter. It seems that
Eileen Rose was a first-round Rumble winner with her 1990s Boston band
Going entirely on memory, I would never have gotten it.
The second thing is a prediction. I don't claim to know much about
the future, and normally I avoid any forecasting. I will say what
COULD happen or what OUGHT to happen, but generally I steer clear of
saying what I think WILL happen. But I do predict that once her
latest album is out - it is titled "Come the Storm" - many Eileen Rose
fans will be obsessing over it. It is that kind of recording. A lot
of fans will find that "Come the Storm" speaks individually to their
own lives, and they are going to take the record totally personally.
It will be a mass culture phenomenon only in the sense of being a
shared experience. Otherwise, this will be a one-on-one connection
between the artist and the individual listener.
Eileen Rose has done her job, pulling together a great album. "Come
the Storm" is very likely to make my 2007 Top 10. Now what she needs
are the two things everyone else needs: promotion and distribution.
If she gets those, she is likely to do very well, indeed, with "Come
The Accidental Diva:
Queen of Cobras Follows
Unlikely Career Path
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Ovation! Pullout Section
in any way qualify in the area of our local music? Well, my mother
grew up in Detroit. She was a Detroit Campfire Girl. And she has got
lots of family there still. So, it's local for me.
You may have seen this group's name this week in this newsletter.
Eileen Rose mentioned the Detroit Cobras so often in our interview
that I am sure, without checking, that at least a couple references
made it into the final article.
The Detroit Cobras sounds like an act worth knowing about, though I
have never actually heard this outfit. It is the topic of this week's
column by our friend Dave Madeloni. Give it 'til the end of the day
and you can probably check out his column online at
Do the Detroit Breakdown
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Motor City shakedown
Yeah, yeah, yeah
and then check out Dave's column.
Lounging at the Abbey and
Hopping at Toad
By Alan Lewis
New England Music Scrapbook Newsletter
June 30, 2007
"If there's such a thing as a forward-thinking surf band,
Boston's The Weisstronauts are it." This quote from the Nashville
Scene's Jack Silverman currently adorns The Weisstronauts home page.
Darien Brahms, a personal favorite rocker out of Portland, Maine, has
been known to call her own music "retro-progressive," so maybe there
is sense to this "forward-thinking surf" thing.
The Weisstronauts' latest CD, "Featuring 'Perky,'" is a real
delight, featuring an authentic mid-1960s guitar sound and just enough
psychedelia and later grooves to keep listeners on their toes. Though
the band has a kind of instrumental rock-roots style, after repeated
listenings to "Perky" we find ourselves edging away from the word,
"surf." So we asked Pete Weiss about The Weisstronauts' listening and
playing backgrounds outside the surf zone.
"We very often get pigeonholed as a 'surf' band," he said. "I
think it's an easy label because we play generally clean,
non-dissonent electric guitar melodies and harmonies. But the 'surf'
label is incomplete. I think it's more accurate to say that we blend
genres such as western swing, psychedelic, jazz/lounge, garage rock,
punk and even electronica. A few people have coined it 'spy music,'
which I kind of like as a catch-all name."
The Weisstronauts do invest West Coast rock guitar with a pinch
of psychedelic garage-punk energy while adding certain modern touches.
The first half-dozen tracks of "Perky" are a good introduction to
the album's variety, featuring, for instance, several 60s psychedelic
passages. "Berlining," the second cut, at one point has a sound like
an electronic instrument imitating a slide whistle, while elsewhere
the track features one of the disc's noisier, yet more interesting
stretches. "Berlining" is followed by the oddly-named "Creosote,"
which is instrumental soft-rock at its pastoral best. Next,
"Fibonacci" could be someone's idea of some surf-rock piece off the
"Hair" soundtrack, while "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself"
sounds most familiar - which it ought to do, having been written by
one of the biggest ever rock-era hit-making teams, Burt Bacharach and
Hal David. Ending the opening run of six is the perky, catchy,
mainstream rock of the title track.
And there's country grit. On "Perky," the cut, "Odysseus Goes to
America," got us imagining The Ventures backing Johnny Cash, while
"Uncle Turtle/Johnny Drama" gave us a double shot of rockabilly rhythms.
I published three "Best of 2006" lists at year's end, each aimed
at a somewhat different audience, geographically. "Featuring Perky"
made all three lists. This is a really fine album (that benefits from
cranking the volume).
Weiss seems to like to be part of several acts at once. When
asked why it would not be better to concentrate on just one band, he
answered, "Variety is the spice life, right? I relish the chance to
musically collaborate with a variety of different people. Bouncing a
musical idea off of one person can yield completely different results
from bouncing it off another."
This Weisstronauts crew now has a slew of new tunes and another
CD in the works. "For the new album, we've reached out a bit further.
There is a dramatic George Hall composition called 'Seven X's' that
sounds sort of Eastern European and Javanese at the same time. Kenny
Lafler wrote a lilting bossa nova tune called 'Caixa Dos Moluscos'
(which is Portuguese for 'The Clam Box.') And one of our drummers,
Jeff Norcross (also an accomplished guitarist/bassist) wrote an
infectious 60s-style party anthem somewhat reminiscent of the old
song, 'Cool Jerk.' I think it qualifies as our first 'party tune.'
"Meanwhile, I wrote a few new songs, one of which is kind of a
blues filtered through a truckin' piano beat; hard to describe, but my
point is that none of these new songs I've just mentioned would be
confused with what is traditionally called 'surf music.'
"That said, there are at least two new songs that are pure surf;
they're sort of companion pieces called 'Sir Fee' and 'Sir Wacky.'
"We would love to get this new album done and released by this
fall, which would be about two years after 'Perky' was completed and
pressed," he said, adding that the record is "tentatively called
'Weisstronauts IV' (as in the number 4)."
We wondered whether work on the new disc may represent a
quickening pace of writing and recording activity among the Weisstronauts.
"[T]he pace of writing and recording this new album has been
furious," said Weiss. "The band concentrated on playing live in
2005-06 and we really only got down to the task of writing new
material this past winter. I think we kind of panicked, in a way ...
realizing we had gone about 18 months without writing a single new song!
"Suddenly every member of the Weisstronauts started writing songs
independently and presenting demos to the other members. Also, some
songs were written collaboratively by the whole band. After just a
few weeks of this mad productivity, we had assembled a group of nearly
twenty songs to work with."
In a recent interview, David Minehan said he thought his band,
The Neighborhoods, could manage to fill engagements anywhere on the
East Coast reasonably easily.
"That's cool and not surprising," said Weiss. "The Neighborhoods
have a bit more history and drawing power than the 'Nauts, so I'm sure
they could easily make the numbers work."
Asked what The Weisstronauts might be able to do, touring-wise,
he explained, "I'm not sure we are in a spot right now where we could
pull off, say, a two-month tour. Everyone in the band has a day job
and most of the members have kids. So, while it would be awesome and
great fun to be able to do that, I think for the time being we'll
concentrate on 10-day tours at the longest.
"Of course, money talks. If anyone offered the kind of funding
that would allow it to happen, anything's possible!"
Do we have any tour promoters out there?
As for day jobs, when he isn't rocking out at clubs, Weiss is
kept quite busy at his southern Vermont recording facility, Verdant
While home recording has grown cheaper and easier, we notice that
smaller-size professional studios, often situated out from cities
beyond the suburbs, these days are typically really busy. What do
they offer that an artist cannot get just as well at home?
"The main thing is an experienced pro engineer and/or producer.
As inexpensive as it can be to record at home, there has never been a
substitute for having a qualified person taking care of the technical
end of things. To try to be a musician and technician simultaneously
is usually an exercise in driving oneself crazy. It's two different
sides of the brain.
"Studios also, of course, offer amenities that not everyone has
in their home, such as acoustically designed rooms, a comprehensive
microphone collection, higher-end gear and instruments in general.
These things add up to making it easier for the artist to, for
example, get drum sounds that don't sound like they were recorded in
someone's boxy spare bedroom."
Vermont's many coffeehouses and small-ish listening rooms are
fertile ground for folk bookings but are not necessarily equally
attractive to everyone else. Many artists and bands are routed around
the state instead of through it, maybe zipping into Burlington -
Vermont's principal city - for an isolated show. We were curious as
to whether any similar dynamic is at play with respect to recording
studios. Weiss said he has noticed this in regards to concert
bookings. As for the recording end of the business, "[B]ecause
Verdant Studio is so close to Boston, Northampton, and even New York
City, I haven't seen it so much with artists from these areas wanting
to come up to work on music. [On the contrary,] because we have
overnight lodging, artists/bands have been overwhelmingly eager to get
out of the city into a more rural, less distracting work environment
for several days at a time."
Asked for an anecdote about one of those strange occurrences that
come up, sooner or later, in a career, Weiss recalled, "In Norfolk,
Virginia - I believe during our 2003 tour - we were playing a song
which normally features 'round-robin' guitar solos. We were a bit
road-punchy and thought it would be HILARIOUS to pass around a whoopie
cushion, so that each of us could 'solo' with that instead of on
guitar. Why we had a whoopie cushion with us still remains a mystery.
But, it was one of those mega-silly moments that was almost
unbearably funny to us - on stage, doubled over with laughter. And
guess what? Through tear-blurred eyes, I looked out to the audience
(it was a pretty decent crowd at this place called Cora's...) and
absolutely no one in the crowd thought it was funny. Crossed arms, no
smiles. I mean ... come on folks! Lighten up! How many times do you
get to see a band trade off whoopie cushion solos?"
At their next shows, The Weisstronauts will be playing for a
Boston-area home audience, including an appearance at Toad and a
residency at the Abbey Lounge through July.
Speaking of Toad, Weiss said, "We love playing there. There's
something kind of perfect about Toad's size and layout. The stage is
tiny, especially for us being a five-piece and using a lot of floor
pedals, so that's a challenge, but the vibe is so friendly and
supportive there that the challenge is a happy one. And the sound is
usually great. Plus, I've never met a bartender there that I didn't
Do these Weisstronauts have anything out of the ordinary planned
for the Toad audience? "[L]ive, over the past two years, we've
basically played songs from a pool of about 40 or 50, which allows for
a decent amount of variety. But this Toad show will be one of the
first in which we debut a good amount of new material - songs from the
upcoming album - in a live setting. So that's pretty exciting for us
and hopefully for our fans who have been itching to hear some new stuff!"
Everybody knows that we are going to wind up this article by
repeating that The Weisstronauts have a new album in the "Pipeline."
Having gotten it out of our system, we will just add that...
For the latest tunes by these trad-rock innovators, those in the
know will leap-frog over to Toad.
Who: The Weisstronauts
Where: Toad, Cambridge, Massachusetts
When: Saturday, July 7
For more information: http://www.toadcambridge.com/,
* THE WEISSTRONAUTS also have a Boston-area July residency at the
Abbey Lounge every Thursday.
= = = = =
BRIEF ITEMS :
"A new album entitled 'Bad Road, Good People' will be recorded in
-- Boris McCutcheon, "A Message From Boris,"
June 25, 2007
We don't get a lot of news from
so this is definitely a special occasion. In addition to announcing
the forthcomingness of his forthcoming album, he slipped in details of
upcoming shows on a swing through the Northeast.
Narrows CFA, Fall River (MA?), July 12
Middle Earth, Bradford VT, July 14
Woods Hole (MA) Community Hall, July 15
I would not be surprised if other shows get booked, but this is what
we have at the moment.
"Looks like we managed to finish up working on our new album before we
jumped on the plane for Germany. Tentatively titled 'The Meanest of
Times' we're getting everything ready for a September release-date, so
please stay tuned for more news and details on that in the coming weeks."
-- Dropkick Murphys, "DKM European Tour Under Way,"
June 27, 2007
"New CD Coming Out
"In just a few short weeks we will have a new CD out called 'The Best
of Me.' It spans our entire career together from 1998 through 2007,
15 classics and 5 previously unreleased songs too! It will be
available at all shows and through CDbaby.com. We'll let you know as
soon as it arrives."
-- "News from Becky Chace," June 25, 2007
JO DEE MESSINA
COUNTRY GORDY SENT US the following Jo Dee Messina news:
Jo Dee Messina Is Engaged
<<<< from today's Dick Schuey column >>>>
June 25, 2007 Jo Dee Messina has announced her engagement to
Albuquerque, N. Mex., native Chris Deffenbaugh.
"This is such a happy time for us," said the couple in a joint
statement. "And we are so appreciative for each other and for our
families, friends and fans that have sent us cards and e-mails. Thank
you, from the bottom of our hearts."
Jo Dee, originally from the Boston area, has sold more than 5 million
albums, including three releases that reached No. 1 on the charts:
Burn, Greatest Hits and Delicious Surprise. She's had nine No. 1
singles and is currently putting the finishing touches on a new album
slated for release this fall.
Chris owns and operates Deffenblaster Enterprises, which builds custom
road cases and audio equipment.
The couple is planning a fall wedding.
GRACE POTTER AND THE NOCTURNALS
"Lot's of new news and tour dates have popped up since we last checked
in. Three songs from our upcoming record 'This Is Somewhere' are out
on ITUNES, and our first single, 'Ah Mary,' was the #1 most added song
by Triple A Radio during the month of May. We've also been scheduled
to make our TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on August 2nd,
followed by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on August 3rd, just
in time for our official album release on the 7th."
-- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, "New Album,
TV Appearances, and Summer Tour Info,"
June 27, 2007
PLOUGH & STARS
In an announcement of Thursday's show at Cambridge's
PLOUGH & STARS
Pete Weiss of the Weisstronauts added this about the venue:
"Please note... If you have not been to the new, revitalized Plough
yet, it's dang nice, with awesome food and an upgraded sound system to
-- Pete Weiss, "Weisstronauts at The Plough
Thursday," June 23, 2007
YOUNG AT HEART CHORUS
THE FOLLOWING ITEM, from the Young at Heart Chorus June newsletter,
was relayed by the group's good friends, The Drunk at Heart Stuntmen.
"Young @ Heart Chorus News
"The Walker George Film 'Young@Heart' won two Rose D'Or awards ... the
Best Art Documentary and the Best of 2007 Special Prize...."
"Stuntman Steve and Freddy Freedom both appear in this wonderful
WBOS-FM SERIES OF FREE CONCERTS
"Mark your calendars: THE DENNIS BRENNAN BAND and BRANDI CARLISLE
kick off WBOS FM's Concerts at Copley series on Thursday, July 12 at
5:30 PM. Be there in the Square (Copley T) in beautiful downtown Boston.
-- Dennis Brennan, "Brennan's Rear End in View,"
June 25, 2007
WBOS's series of free concerts looks to be among the best of mid-year
2007. Thanks to Dennis Brennan for a reminder of his part in the show
that gets the whole series started.
The operation which manages Patti Casey's mailing list was down when
we sent our last regular issue and for at least two hours longer than
Against the possibility that some of our readers tried to sign up for
Patti's mailing list and got understandably frustrated, as I did,
we'll just say again that Patti has a new or renewed mailing list and
anyone who would like to get on it should go to
look in the upper right corner, and then sign right up.
Patti Casey is a Vermont veteran who has gotten better and more
interesting, while altogether too many artists have gone in quite the
We are so sorry to hear that opera singer
evidently is having a tough fight with cancer. I remember her as a
very popular talk-show guest, and she seemed to be a really
down-to-earth sort of person. We certainly wish her luck.
Here is the Boston Globe's posting of the Associated Press article:
Sills is 'gravely ill,' said to be in hospital
By Verena Dobnik, Associated Press | June 29, 2007
end BRIEF ITEMS
= = = = =
THREE DAY THRESHOLD
"Against the Grain"
THREE DAY THRESHOLD
album, "Against the Grain," is worth mentioning again, though this is
coming up very soon after we first noted the record last Saturday. If
one could triangulate the current 3DT sound, the corners might be
something like 1) a punk-altered stringband; 2) a terrific, though
quite unusual Maine original-music band, The Coming Grass; and 3) the
Dropkick Murphys. This may be eccentric stuff; but there is a
definite audience for it, and count me as a member.
I didn't start playing "Against the Grain" until right after I THOUGHT
I had finished last Saturday's newsletter issue. So what I wrote was
really hasty. And though what I DID write was quite positive, if
anything I may have sold the record a little short. "Against the
Grain" is solid throughout, has terrific variety, still stands
together quite nicely, and comes to a very strong ending. These
things, combined, raise "Against the Grain" to heights that not a lot
of albums come close to reaching.
We definitely need to give "Against the Grain" more spins. But we can
say already that the members of Three Day Threshold clearly have
advanced their cause. If they can get out to do a lot of shows, they
should be having serious fun in 2007.
Looking for the buzz? Follow Protokoll.
It's been a banner year for this Boston band
By Jonathan Perry, Globe Correspondent | June 29, 2007
It is terrific and more than a little amazing to find a "Rock Notes"
column once again in the Boston Globe.
THE STATIC AGE
The Static Age had several items of significant size in the band's
latest mailing. The following could be of greatest interest to most
of our readers:
"First and foremost, we have an introduction to make: Bridget Nault
will be joining us on keyboards this summer. We'll be touring as a
five piece (with Eric Carlson on guitar as well). Bring earplugs.
[This tour is with New York's Theo and the Skyscrapers. - Ed.]
. . . . .
"In other news, a script has been developed based on three songs from
the album 'Blank Screens' - 'Lights in the Attic,' 'Blank Screens,'
and 'The Bluebird Room' - and The Static Age has been working with
director Nick Paley and animator Vanessa Wood (among others) over the
past month on developing a series of short silent films for release
this fall. The production is under way, and the three short
video-films will be released in sequential order this Fall.
"The Static Age will also be recording again this Fall, and has plans
regarding release of future material. We'll post more on that soon."
-- "The Static Age Summer US Tour 2007," June 25,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 1, 2007
PASSIM HONORS BOB AND RAE ANNE DONLIN - "ONE MORE
SONG" FESTIVAL JULY 1 - 3
[For some reason, holding up an index finger to indicate to a
performer that there was time for only one more song became a
trademark for Bob Donlin. I imagine this is the origin of the name of
this festival, "One More Song."]
Where: Club Passim
47 Palmer St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tickets: $ 25.00 for entire festival and can be
purchased in advance at http://www.passimcenter.org or
by calling 617. 492.7679 proceeds will benefit
Passim's non-profit educational programs.
TUESDAY JULY 3
7:00 Vance Gilbert
8:00 Harvey Reid
8:30 Bob Franke
9:00 Chris Smither
9:30 Passim All-stars
Bill Staines, Guy Van Duser, Billy Novick, Jeannie
Stahl & Mason Daring
[I remember once when a person opening a Mason Daring and Jeannie
Stahl show here in Brattleboro, Vermont was tremendously surprised at
what stars they were in this town. We Brattleborians were definitely
high on Mason and Jeannie.]
MONDAY JULY 2
7:00 Kim Wallach
7:30 Ellen Cross
8:00 Paul Geremia
8:30 Jack Hardy
9:00 Cormac McCarthy
9:30 David Massengill
10:00 Bill Morrissey
10:30 Buskin & Batteau
SUNDAY JULY 1
6:00 Scott Alarik
6:30 How to Change a Flat Tire
7:00 Willie Nininger
7:30 Dennis Pearne
8:00 Brooks Williams
8:30 Taylor Armerding
9:00 Geoff Bartley
9:30 Les Sampou
10:00 Dave Crossland
(please note-schedule subject to change.)
* I DEFINITELY DID NOT FOLLOW all the ways artists were grouped
together. For clarification of the particulars, it would probably be
best to visit the Club Passim website.
Henson's boundless imagination fails to energize 'Labyrinth'
By Wesley Morris, Globe Staff | June 29, 2007
SAD TO SAY, a case could be made that the main thing wrong, in this
instance, with the film, "Labyrinth," is the guy watching it. If you
can't see this from Wesley Morris' opening few sentences, I will be
tremendously surprised. This Boston Globe piece is one seriously
David Bowie's "Underground" on the "Labyrinth" soundtrack is one of
the single greatest works in one of the most storied careers in rock
history. Clearly Bowie GOT a lot from this story and from the filmmaker.
We received an e-mail, in the past month or so, from a
dyed-in-the-wool David Bowie fan who told us he hadn't been a Bowie
fan AT ALL until he saw "Labyrinth."
If you are a David Bowie fan or even could be and you haven't seen and
heard "Labyrinth" yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a careful
look and listen really soon. Chances are about one hundred percent
that you will listen to this film a lot more expertly than the Boston
Globe critic did and you will understand it a whole lot better, too.
"Labyrinth" is a fantastic film in more ways than one. Nothing is for
everyone. But everyone who reads this newsletter ought to at least
give "Labyrinth" a try.
A Forthcoming Box Set
A LOT OF THE CUTS on the forthcoming Doo Wop box set are doo wop
recordings by no stretch of the imagination. So I expect this will be
a controversial set. Yet there is real sense anyway to a lot of these
selections. Many, many rock 'n' roll artists who performed through
most of their careers in some style other than doo wop nonetheless
sang doo wop in their early days or otherwise had it in their backgrounds.
By no means was every song Dion ever sang a real challenge for him.
But there are points in his recording career and, no doubt, in his
concert career where Dion sang rock 'n' roll as well as anyone ever did.
Once Charlie Rose interviewed Dion on "CBS News Nightwatch." Dion
came on the show without a band and with no instrument. Here and
there throughout the interview, Dion illustrated musical points by
singing with no accompaniment other than sometimes slapping his hands
against his legs. And it was some of the best rock singing I have
ever heard. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. Dion was extraordinary.
It was his doo wop background stepping to the front. And Dion that
night was absolutely phenomenal.
It is worth remembering that, well before his year or so with The
Belmonts, Dion was singing Hank Williams material: some of the
greatest American songs ever written, but maybe just a little bit of a
strange fit with Dion.
Later, we would be hearing a real mix of influences and experiences in
Dion's music, with doo wop prominently among them.
Similarly, some of the artists on this record set could hardly be said
to be singing doo wop. But quite likely singing doo wop was how they
learned to do what they did.
I would have to actually hear this box set. Many of the titles and
even a good number of the artists are unfamiliar to me. But based on
what I DO know, I would not be too quick to fault the producers for
their selections. This looks to be a set well worth having. Here is
most of the press release we received:
For Immediate Release
June 28, 2007
ENDURING POPULARITY AND INFLUENCE OF
SOUND OF THE CITY
3-CD BOX SET
FIRST RECORDING EVER BY
In Stores July 24
Fairfax, VA --- The distinctive sound of doo-wop has never faded away
from American pop culture. More than 50 years after it was first heard
on city street corners throughout the country, doo-wop continues to be
as popular and influential as ever and is commemorated in Sound of the
City, a new 3-CD box set (in stores July 24). The a capella harmonies
and songs of teenage love have now made it from the streetcorner to
Broadway, where the Tony Award-winning musical "Jersey Boys" (based on
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) is playing to sold out crowds. The
doo-wop influence can also be heard in the boy bands that dominated
the pop charts in the 90s, in the big screen blockbuster "The Lion
King" and in surprisingly popular PBS specials.
Sound of the City is the untold story of what happened to doo-wop in
the pre-British Invasion years. It began as an R&B art form, but by
the mid-1950s, just as it was waning in popularity within the African
American community, it was largely taken up by Italian American groups
in the greater New York area. As Dion says in his liner notes for
Sound of the City, "It was Black music filtered through an Italian
neighborhood, so it just naturally came out with a different
attitude." There were the original Jersey boys the Four Seasons; in
the Bronx there were Dion & the Belmonts; in Brooklyn there were the
Tokens; and in Staten Island there were the Elegants. And there were
so many more.
Sound of the City takes listeners on a journey back to Brooklyn, circa
1959, where three, sometimes four guys are found huddled together in a
lunch room, or on a street corner, or even in a stairwell. One starts
singing, "Sixteen candles make a beautiful sight " The others join in,
harmonizing, "shoo-doo-doo-doo-wop." That was the simplicity of
doo-wop. Street corner music, made by guys trying to impress the
local girls. Guys who felt like they had to act tough, but found a
release in sweet, sentimental songs. Doo-wop didn't need a forty-piece
orchestra or written charts. It just needed feeling and the innate
gift of harmony.
The box set features many all-time doo wop classics: "Sherry" and "Big
Girls Don't Cry" by the 4 Seasons; "Little Star" by the Elegants, "The
Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens, "Barbara Ann" by the Regents, "I
Wonder Why," "Runaround Sue," and "Teenager in Love" by Dion;
"Hushabye" by the Mystics; "Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)" by the
Impalas; "Remember Then" by the Earls; "16 Candles" by the Crests; and
"There's a Moon out Tonight" by the Capris. In all, 38 of the tracks
were bona fide hit singles. It also features local favorites, and
collectors' items by the Neons, the Echoes, and The Four Evers, whose
"Please Be Mine" features uncredited vocals by Frankie Valli who
stepped in when one of singers was sick during the recording session.
But the most important tracks of all are the two songs by an early
incarnation of the 4 Seasons and Dion's very first recording, made in
1956 on a home tape machine with two guys he invited over from the
local pool hall. "Rooftop Serenade" has never before available
anywhere prior to this.
SOUND OF THE CITY
1. SHERRY THE FOUR SEASONS
2. LITTLE STAR THE ELEGANTS
3. THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT (WIMOWEH) THE TOKENS
4. BARBARA ANN THE REGENTS
5. RIP VAN WINKLE THE DEVOTIONS
6. BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY THE FOUR SEASONS
7. HE'S IN TOWN THE TOKENS
8. RUNAROUND THE REGENTS
9. DING DONG THE ECHOES
10. FATAL CHARMS OF LOVE THE FOUR CHEERS
11. I'LL PRAY FOR YOU THE DELL-SATINS
12. ANGEL FACE THE NEONS
13. DEAR JOANNE BRUCE BRUNO & GROUP
14. DARLING CAN'T YOU TELL THE CLUSTERS
15. TEARS BRING HEARTACHES THE STANDARDS
16. CANADIAN SUNSET THE IMPACTS
17. ECHO THE EMOTIONS
18. PICTURE IN MY WALLET DARRELL & THE OXFORDS
19. UNCHAINED MELODY VITO & THE SALUTATIONS
1. I WONDER WHY DION & THE BELMONTS 2:20
2. HUSHABYE THE MYSTICS 2:31
3. DENISE RANDY & THE RAINBOWS 1:56
4. SORRY (I RAN ALL THE WAY HOME) THE IMPALAS 2:40
5. YOU'RE THE APPLE OF MY EYE THE FOUR LOVERS 2;11
6. COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER JAY & THE AMERICANS 2:45
7. TONITE, TONITE THE MELLO KINGS 2:31
8. IMAGINATION THE QUOTATIONS 2:12
9. A TEENAGER IN LOVE DION & THE BELMONTS 2:36
10. BE MY GIRL (PLEASE BE MINE) THE FOUR EVERS 2:34
11. I REMEMBER THE FIVE DISCS 2:00
12. SHE CRIED JAY & THE AMERICANS 2:38
13. RUNAROUND SUE DION 2:41
14. THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS THE FOUR LOVERS 2:36
15. PIZZA PIE NORMAN FOX & THE ROB ROYS 2:17
16. WAKE UP THE ELEGANTS 2:30
17. TEARDROPS FOLLOW ME THE DEL-SATINS 2:05
18. BELIEVE ME THE ROYAL TEENS 2:30
19. DONNA LEE THE DEMILLES 1:57
1. ROOFTOP SERENADE DION (previously unreleased)
2. REMEMBER THEN THE EARLS
3. 16 CANDLES THE CRESTS
4. TELL ME WHY THE BELMONTS
5. THERE'S A MOON OUT TONIGHT THE CAPRIS
6. SHOUT! SHOUT! (KNOCK YOURSELF OUT) ERNIE MARESCA
7. HAVE YOU HEARD THE DUPREES
8. REMEMBER LAST SUMMER THE FOUR WINDS
9. ONCE IN A WHILE THE CHIMES
10. BABY BLUE THE ECHOES
11. THOSE OLDIES BUT GOODIES NINO & THE EBB TIDES
12. CONEY ISLAND BABY THE EXCELLENTS
13. UNBELIEVABLE THE RUNAROUNDS
14. PLEASE LOVE ME FOREVER CATHY JEAN & THE ROOMMATES
15. TILL THEN THE CLASSICS
16. BARBARA THE TEMPTATIONS
17. YOU THE AQUATONES
18. LIFE IS BUT A DREAM THE EARLS
19. MY OWN TRUE LOVE THE DUPREES
20. TEENAGE VOWS OF LOVE THE DREAMERS
21. LOOKING FOR AN ECHO KENNY VANCE & THE PLANOTONES
THE ELEVENTH MOTION PICTURE
I really loved the original
TV series, and one of the stars of Star Trek: The Next Generation
resides right here in this humble, little town.
No doubt with these things in mind, one of my few kinsmen hereabouts
sent the following:
Got this from Sci Fi's weekly newsletter.
Trek/ Script Done, Shoots In Fall
Roberto Orci, who with writing partner Alex Kurtzman is scripting the
new /Star Trek/ movie, told SCI FI Wire that they have finished the
script are in preproduction on the movie, which will go into
production in November under director J.J. Abrams. "We're still
casting," Orci said while promoting his next film, Michael Bay's
/Transformers/. "We're in preproduction, actually, this month."
While revealing little about the 11th /Trek/ film's top-secret plot,
Orci offered a few tidbits. "Kirk is in the movie," he said. "Some
kind of Kirk. ... We literally haven't cast them yet. It's actually
one of the challenges, and so we're hoping to have something by
Comic-Con [in San Diego in July], but we'll see."
Orci added that producers are wrestling with whom to cast. "That's
one of the debates, you know?" he said. "Like, how much does a
familiar face hurt or not?" As for rumors that Matt Damon is in line
for Kirk or Adrien Brody for Spock, Orci would only smile. "I've read
all those rumors, too."
Is the /Trek/ movie being eyed as the kickoff of a possible TV series?
"I'm sure CBS is thinking about that," he said. "That's not
[something] we're thinking about. We're just thinking about the movie.
Certainly, I don't know how they could not think about that."
*/Patrick Lee, News
REST IN PEACE :
Billie Beatty, guitarist in gospel quartets, 73
By Hamil R. Harris, Washington Post | June 25, 2007
Hank Medress, 68, member of the Tokens
By Ben Sisario, New York Times News Service | June 23, 2007
Paul Jordan, 91; booking agent, show-business entrepreneur
By Amanda Bergeron, Globe Correspondent | June 23, 2007
Donna King Conkling, singer with the King Sisters; at 88
By Jon Thurber, Los Angeles Times | June 23, 2007
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