Friday, January 18, 2008

John Stewart - Musician - RIP

Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 10:42:40 EST

John has fallen ill and been hospitalized in the San Diego area this
morning, Buffy and his children are with him.

Word came later today that John Stewart passed away.


The Kingston Trio years

The Kingston Trio, one of the best-known and best-selling acts on the folk music scene, was enjoying a lucrative recording and touring contract with Capitol Records, with ten albums under their collective belts, when Stewart joined them in 1961. They had emerged from the relatively crowded San Francisco folk music culture in 1957, using a mixture of calypso, pop, and folk styles, along with several forms of comedy, in their act. Relying on new arrangements of folk music classics as well as some original compositions, the Trio simultaneously earned their first gold record with "Tom Dooley," while launching a major revival in folk music that would lead to and influence the careers of Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul, & Mary, and John Denver, among others.

When Dave Guard left the group to explore other musical directions, Stewart was selected by remaining members Nick Reynolds and Bob Shane as his successor, bringing with him his respected skills as a musician, composer, and performer. The trio of Reynolds, Shane, and Stewart would record a dozen albums together, taking the music of the Trio into new directions, including more original material, and performing covers of songs by relative newcomers Tom Paxton, Mason Williams, and Gordon Lightfoot.

The folk era began to wane and the music of groups such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones dominated the charts, and the members of the Kingston Trio decided to disband the group in 1967.

Solo career, the post-Trio years

Stewart continued to write songs and record for Capitol, while touring as a solo act. It was during this time that he composed the hit, "Daydream Believer" for The Monkees (later a hit for Anne Murray as well), and later toured with Robert F. Kennedy's ill-fated 1968 presidential campaign. He also met and married fellow folk singer Buffy Ford — with whom he remains today (2007) — and began recording a remarkable string of albums. These include his signature album, California Bloodlines, as well as Willard, Cannons in the Rain, and Wingless Angels.

Though usually successful with critics and a core group of fans, Stewart's albums were not considered commercial successes. He left Capitol after only two solo releases and was signed by Warner Bros. Records, with whom he also recorded just two albums before moving on to RCA Records, where he recorded three LPs (including a live performance album). Stewart followed his release from RCA with a contract at the Robert Stigwood organization, the same organization that serviced the recording contracts for the Bee Gees, as well as several other disco performers. It was at RSO Records that Stewart enjoyed his most commercially successful years as a solo artist. Teaming with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (of Buckingham-Nicks and, later, Fleetwood Mac), Stewart recorded and released Bombs Away Dream Babies, which included the #5 hit, "Gold," in 1979. Two other tracks from the album, "Midnight Wind" and "Lost Her in the Sun," would also hit the top 40. The follow-up album, Dream Babies Go Hollywood, proved to be a commercial disappointment, and shortly thereafter Stewart dropped from the pop charts, never to return as a performer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tommy Bolin - The Ultimate: Redux CD

If you are a fan of Tommy Bolin, you will definitely want to get a copy of this 3 disc set. It features demos, outtakes, etc. of various tracks from Tommy's career as a solo artist and with various groups.

1. Teaser - (Acoustic Demo 1973)
2. Cross the River - (Zephyr Live/Boulder, CO 1973)
3. Hard Chargin' Woman - (Zephyr Live/Boulder, CO 1973)
4. Sister Andrea - (Demo 1971)
5. Red Skies - (Energy 1972)
6. Heartlight - (Energy 1972)
7. Hok-O-Hey - (Energy 1972)
8. Got No Time For Trouble - (Energy 1972)
9. Miss Christmas - (Energy 1972)
10. Journey - (Demo 1973)
11. Alexis - (Acoustic Demo 1973)

1. Standing In the Rain - (Acoustic Demo Circa Bang)
2. Cucumber Jam - (Early Version Of Cucumber Slumber)
3. Spanish Lover - (Acoustic Demo Circa Miami)
4. Stratus - (Ebbets Field 1974)
5. Getting Tighter - (Tommy Bolin Tribute/Denver, CO 1997)
6. Homeward Strut - (Ebbets Field 1974)
7. Teaser - (First Time Live-Disc 2 Version, with Tommy Bolin Band)
8. Wild Dogs - (Early L.A. Demo 1974)
9. Dreamer - (Early L.A. Demo 1974)

1. People, People - (Ebbets Field 1976, with Tommy Bolin Band)
2. Lotus - (Ebbets Field 1976, with Tommy Bolin Band)
3. Savannah Woman - (Demo)
4. Crazed Fandango - (Teaser Outtake 1975)
5. Sweet Burgundy - (Acoustic Demo/Naked II)
6. Shake the Devil - (Albany, NY 1976)
7. Someday We'll Bring Our Love Home - (Acoustic Demo/Naked I)
8. You Told Me That You Loved Me - (Albany, NY 1976)
9. Post Toastee - (Electric Guitar Demo/Naked I)
10. Post Toastee - (Albany, NY 1976)
11. Slow Driver - (Acoustic Version/Naked I)

Friday, January 04, 2008


Stephen Stills was successfully operated on yesterday (January 3rd) for prostate cancer in Los Angeles. Stills, who also celebrated his 63rd birthday yesterday, is expected to make a full recovery. His wife Kristen issued a statement, saying, "Stephen's procedure went remarkably well and he couldn't be better. He will be home by noon... and the pain will be minimal."

Stills will be on hand on January 25th at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah to attend the Neil Young-directed world premiere of CSNY / Deja vu. The documentary chronicles Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's 2006 Freedom Of Speech tour.

Stills is also planning a spring North American solo tour in support of his latest album, Just Roll Tape, which features a recently discovered batch of demos recorded in 1968.