Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Roger Waters says that the main obstacle to a Pink Floyd reunion is guitarist David Gilmour.

Waters spoke to Britain's The Word magazine and when pressed about the prospects of Floyd reuniting in the future, Waters candidly explained, "The answer is... not up to me. The answer is: I'd be very happy to do it but it's sort of up to Dave, I guess. But I don't think he wants to do it, so I don't think it'll happen. And that's absolutely fair enough. It's not going to change my life, but I did love (playing) Live 8. I thought it was really, really, special."

He went on to explain that although he was overwhelmed by the reunion, which took place after years of lawsuits and in-fighting between him and the band, the feeling was far from unanimous: "The feeling was... it was so... it was so intense... I'm quite sure that we didn't all feel that -- but most of us did."

Waters shed light on the status of his current relationship with Gilmour: "Well we never speak to each other. But we don't speak to each other in a very cordial way! I feel no enmity at all... Nick (Mason) and I have a more than cordial relationship. We met up on a beach in Mustique and we've become great friends again."

He went on to say that the troubled life and death of Syd Barrett has always been misrepresented in the press, especially following his death in 2005 at age 60: "I think it's a great shame that people swallowed the notion that he suddenly took a lot of acid and it destroyed him... There was something much more fundamental about Syd's schizophrenia than taking too much acid. I still feel regret that we weren't able to enjoy his company for all those years when he disappeared into the illness. But I think of him often."

Roger Waters recently performed a series of shows in which played Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side Of the Moon in its entirety. He'll next perform on June 6th in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Obviously just one side of the story. I would like to hear what David Gilmour has to say about it. In the "Remember That Night" DVD by David Gilmour, he included a short segment where he and Roger talked. Strange that he would do that if they can't stand each other.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tony Carey Compilation

I always liked Tony Carey's solo albums and his work with the Planet P Project. His CDs are mostly out of print and some are rather expensive if you can find a used copy. Here is a great new compilation that will be released on Tuesday 5/13/08.

TONY CAREY: A Lonely Life-The Anthology (New release 5/13/08)

One time member of Rainbow, Carey hit much bigger as a solo artist. His hits "I Won't
Be Home Tonight" and "First Days of Summer" did well on the record charts, but "Fine
Fine Day" hit the #1 spot. This compilation also includes the Planet P Project hit "Why Me" that had a very popular video on MTV.
1. I Won't Be Home Tonight
2. West Coast Summer Nights
3. Why Me?
4. King For a Day
5. A Fine, Fine Day
6. Lonely Life
7. First Day of Summer
8. We Wanna Live
9. She Moves Like a Dancer
10. Blue Highway
11. Bedtime Story
12. Burning Bridges
13. I Feel Good
14. Cold War Kids
15. No Man's Land
16. Only the Young Die Good
17. Boystown
18. Storyville

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The 25 Best "Best Of" Albums

Yes - I know a lot of you hate "Best of" lists, but this one is kind of interesting - especially the comments about the Doors and Neil Young.


The 25 Best "Best Of" Albums
Posted Wed May 7 4:02pm PDT by Rob O'Connor in List Of The Day
"Greatest Hits" collections are a tricky bunch. Some people never had a lot of hits and get to write their history as they see fit (Nirvana, Neil Young). Others had so many hits, the collections write themselves (Elvis Presley, The Eagles, Al Green, The Beatles). Besides, there are more than 25 deserving artists. I could've compiled 200 and Y! Music would've found me dying at the bottom of the hamster wheel whispering..."Golden Grass, Grass Roots...Otis Redding...Sam Cooke...Motorhead...Tom Waits...Placebo...Replacements..."

Then there are performers where you're better off just buying their actual studio albums. If you want more Meat Loaf, buy Bat Out Of Hell. If you like Bruce Springsteen, get Born To Run or Darkness On The Edge Of Town. The Sex Pistols only made one album and then a ton of ripoffs.

But you have to draw limits and to some degree attempt a little something called balance. And you have to have a little fun. Will Radiohead's new greatest hits album redefine the genre? Probably not. But it could serve as an introduction for people looking to be casually introduced. Which is what these collections do. For some, it's all you need. Unless you're obsessed or something.

The numbers are sometimes arbitrary. Everyone had to fit somewhere. Whether the greatness of Motown really should fall behind the Smiths and the Cure is probably reason to have my lights punched out, but I considered the number 19 to be luckier than 15 or 16, so there was a certain amount of superstition involved. Which reminds me that Stevie Wonder should've been on this list. But he isn't. But then neither is Hank Williams or Muddy Waters or Sheryl Crow or Randy Newman or The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band or the Jam...you get the idea...

25) Nirvana--Nirvana: Kurt Cobain had a knack for a catchy tune, but he didn't have the intestinal fortitude to comfortably accept commercial success. He likened writing hits to some sort of existential compromise. Yet, he liked pop music, from the Beatles to Queen. Nirvana didn't make many albums. Three official studio albums, a b-sides collection and a couple of live things was all they made, so a "Greatest Hits" doesn't need to cover much ground. This makes a nice Cliff's Notes version of the band and makes an entire boxed set seem a little silly.

24) Greatest Hits--Eagles: One of the best-selling albums of all-time and probably the one album you break out if an alien lands on our planet and asks you to explain what it was like to listen to the radio in the 1970s. And it doesn't even contain "Hotel California," which made it onto the second volume. This is insidious music, crafted to perfection, devoid of soul but enriched by "hooks." You can't NOT sing along. You also may find yourself nodding off somewhere in the middle. But that was what the ‘70s were like. Not everyone woke up.

23) The Best Of Blondie--Blondie: Though Blondie came out of the CBGB's scene that birthed Patti Smith, Television, Ramones, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Talking Heads and the Tuff Darts, they were the only ones destined for the radio. The Ramones wanted the airwaves, but Blondie made the most sense on them. Besides, those other bands made great albums--well, not the Tuff Darts--while Blondie made great singles.

22) Back To Mono--Phil Spector & Various Artists: Long before becoming a Court TV regular, Phil Spector managed to make himself a star in a way that bass players have been envying ever since. Spector wasn't even in the band. He was the guy producing the records. He created the "Wall of Sound," which these days bands create with one guitar and a huge overdriven amplifier. But Spector had to be more inventive, so he pulled a musical variation of how many guys can you cram into a telephone booth in the recording studio and the result was an explosion of ‘60s girl groups like the Ronettes, who were admittedly much more appealing to look at than Spector--as anyone watching Court TV can attest.

21) Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy--The Who: The Who were grand conceptualists, owners of the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, but they were at their best with the junky old three-minute single. This early collection of youthful frustration and sexual tension is more fun than their later songs where Pete Townshend focuses on his alcoholism, his mid-life crisis and concepts no one can explain, especially Townshend himself.

20) The Kinks Kronikles--The Kinks: What makes this 2-LP collection so intriguing is how it avoids the songs you might expect. No "You Really Got Me" or "All Day and All of the Night" and lots of songs that would never make it to radio even if the radio station owner's last name was Davies. But in terms of the road less traveled, an alternate secret history, well, this is one long confusing garden path that leads to patches of poison ivy and long afternoons of tea along the English countryside.

19) The Motown Box--Various Artists: It's not just any label that can release a boxed set of their best acts and establish both group identity and label identity. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops all carved out their sound within the confines of a Detroit recording studio and the overhearing ears of Berry Gordy Jr. The label was a hit-making machine like Disney is today but loving and benevolent where now there is only the face of evil.

18) Chronicle Vol. 1--Creedence Clearwater Revival: Creedence Clearwater Revival had the distinction of scoring a string of #2 hit singles. Not #1. Someone else always hogged that spot for themselves. But Creedence did manage 19 hit singles that are collected here and make for a quick jolt through a past that was being imagined while it was being created. John Fogerty may be rock music's first genuine nostalgist. And for times he didn't even experience. The band, after all, were from San Francisco and not the Louisiana bayou swamps where mosquitoes would've eaten them alive.

17) Echoes--Pink Floyd: One doesn't associate Pink Floyd with the recording industry's hit-record making machine. This was a band who took the idea of leisure time to an extreme, to the point where they could be accused of loitering. And the band's sound shifted over the years, embracing the technological innovations that transformed the recording studio. Let's hear it for air conditioning! You don't always know what they're up to, but they sure are taking a long time doing it.

16) Staring At The Sea--The Cure: Another band with a visionary--Robert Smith, in this case--who liked to stretch out over full-length albums, but who was also quite proficient at writing the hit single when it was his need. The fact that this was considered "alternative rock" at the time (the '80s) proves the music industry had gone insane. What's alternative about well-written pop songs? But then this was back when having a Mohawk, a body piercing, a tattoo, or being a guy wearing eye make-up would get you endlessly harassed. There were no shows on TV featuring tattoo parlors back then. If you can believe it.

15) Louder Than Bombs--The Smiths: Another band that made nice albums but even nicer singles. And much like the Cure didn't always bother to put their singles on their albums. It's a British way of doing business, whereas here in America (where I'm paying taxes) our bands have always used the single as the sucker punch to make us buy the whole album. For a British group, they make you buy the single or wait what seems like a very long time to buy the eventual "Greatest Hits" collection. Then once they break up, it seems as if they never run out of ways to reconfigure the same hits.

14) The Chess Box--Chuck Berry: Years of reissues and deleted collections have made it difficult to figure out which "Greatest Hits" collection is actually available. Chuck Berry's Golden Decade collections were solid and the Great Twenty-Eight made for a swell Xmas gift. But, alas, you may have to spring for this three-CD box in order to capture enough Berry to make sense of it all. Because they have deemed it so.

13) We Sold Our Souls For Rock N' Roll--Black Sabbath: If any one band could be held responsible for both the greatest and worst sludge ever foistered on the rock music community, it would be Black Sabbath. Sab inspired people who never should've taken up musical instruments to do so anyway, and they also inspired many others who might not have had the guts otherwise. They made a glorious noise that often sounds like a band playing at the wrong speed. It is this "wrongness" that cast a light for millions. And without any intention on their part led to everything from the rise of the moshpit to endless festivals where young people get very dirty and listen to hundreds of bands pay tribute in their own very loud way.

12) The Very Best Of--Prince: Before he changed his name, before he confused his adoring public with too few and then too many albums, Prince was a "go to" guy if you wanted a solid hit single. He managed to write cute and clever while never losing his experimental drive. He knew how to get weird without losing the commercial thread. He knew how to walk the line. And he never lost his inner weirdness. But he did lose a good chunk of his audience.

11) The Very Best Of The Doors (2CD)--The Doors: The Doors with Jim Morrison (the version of the band that everyone cares about) recorded six studio albums. Over the years this has translated into about 35 greatest hits collections, all featuring some variation of the same songs. This 2 CD best of released in 2007, not to be confused with other albums bearing the same name or something close to it, is just as good as the other albums bearing the same name or something close to it. I'm sure at this point no one needs to hear "Light My Fire" again, but other songs appear quite often as well and therefore must also be important.

10) The Top Ten Hits--Elvis Presley: The Sun Sessions remain his most stunning achievement. But his longevity and the scope of his career deserve as much attention as his initial impact. This dude is majorly famous. And these 38 top ten hits span decades and give you a broad overview despite the fact that nothing from Sun Records, no gospel or blues, little country and many hits are missing. (They didn't go Top Ten!) Even without all that there's still what marketing departments call "an embarrassment of riches."

9) Mania--Ramones: Any of the Ramones first four albums would probably serve as a "Greatest Hits" of sorts, but while the Ramones consistency dropped a bit in their later years, they still managed to slip some fine songs into their catalog while the rest of the world seemingly ignored them. This one-disc collection is truer to their spirit than the 2-CD anthology. The Ramones were about speed and getting it over with, not dragging it out. Odd then that there isn't a 20-minute, 12-track "Best of" out there.

8) Smash Hits--Jimi Hendrix: Hardcore Jimi Hendrix fans need to listen to something else. They need to hear Jimi play long, extended solos in jam sessions and live concerts and they can rightfully marvel at the man's ability to twist six strings into so many directions. But there are those who are just curious, who want maximum impact and don't have hours to spend with a wah-wah pedal jammed between their ears. For those people, there is this album, where you get the poetry, the hits, the hard rock, the blues and the psychedelia in quick, crushed up doses without the long, extended guitar lessons.

7) Greatest Hits, Volume 2--Bob Dylan: Maybe it's because I don't ever want to hear "Everybody Must Get Stoned," (titled "Rainy Day Women, your SS# here") that I've chosen this collection instead of something more obvious. Or maybe it's because as much as I enjoy "Isis" or anything from Knocked Out Loaded, I don't want it showing up on a Greatest Hits collection. Hardcore devotees enjoy his every burp, but the average person can barely stand his voice. So let's not overextend ourselves and force too much of the man's catalog onto people all at once This double album will do.

6) Greatest Hits--Al Green: Call Me and The Belle Album come recommended but here's another gentleman who belongs to the radio. Who doesn't get chills hearing that voice slink up the pole for "Let's Stay Together"? Usually when you reduce a man's career down to a handful of essential tracks, you're, well, reducing him. Yet, here the effect is the opposite. By reducing Green's multi-decade career into a Reader's Digest Condensed Edition, it actually makes each punch a knockout blow.

5) Decade--Neil Young: Some people said he couldn't sing. Some people said he was too moody, too erratic. Some people think we're going to see the release of his voluminous archives in our lifetime. Some people think they "understand" the method to the man's madness. Some people think "Heart of Gold" is a nice song and don't know what the fuss is. Well, this once 3-LP, now 2-CD collection from the mid-70s doesn't assemble every key moment by any stretch, but it gives you a good idea of the man's range. And, no, he can't sing, by any "formal" definition, but remember those who can't sing, sing rock n' roll!

4) Greatest Hits--Sly And The Family Stone: Yes, Stand and There's A Riot Goin' On are great albums, but Sly was a master of the single. His songs belonged on the radio and to the radio. His ability to distill his ambitions into three and four minute explosions of joy without getting corny or preachy came from his ability to kick his band's butt into overdrive. He went crazy as a result. Or was it the craziness that gave him the results? I think we've got a chicken or the egg theory here.

3) Star Time--James Brown: I don't like to include boxed sets because "Greatest Hits" serve as an introduction to an artist's work and a four-disc box is more than just a big hello, it's an overbearing, sweaty hug from someone you're meeting for the first time. But Star Time serves as a great overview of a long, deserving career that I'm willing to overlook just how far Brown's tongue gets jammed down my throat. Hey, it's great to see you too! Godfather of Soul! The R&B years, the invention of funk, the angeldust, its mastery, and eventually the slowdown, it's all here.

2) Hot Rocks--The Rolling Stones: The world's oldest rock n' roll band were once the among the greatest and this collection spanning up to 1971 captures enough of the highlights to qualify as a decent, if not definitive, collection. They simply recorded too many top notch tunes and until they get a real boxed set collection together--The Singles Collection is ok, but is paced with A-side then b-side and not as an album--this will have to stand. You can always add More Hot Rocks for the extra-tasty "fazed cookies."

1) 1--The Beatles: Assembling their #1 hits in one spot is a great move for beginners. Too obvious for most and the group's genius was partly how they turned the album into an artform of its own. They even managed to do this with albums they didn't program, as the US versions didn't start matching their British counterparts until Sgt. Pepper's and yet the American release of Rubber Soul plays just fine. Chances are you can sing the songs on this collection in your sleep. If not, you haven't mastered the art of singing in your sleep. Or you've never owned a radio.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Neil Young to release archive on Blu-ray discs

SAN FRANCISCO - Rocker Neil Young plans to release his entire music archive on Blu-ray discs, a sign that the discs' capabilities are building appeal among musicians as well as movie studios.

Blu-ray discs hold much more data than DVDs, are easily updated over the Internet and offer better picture and sound quality.

Young revealed his plans Tuesday at a Sun Microsystems Inc. conference in San Francisco. Santa Clara-based Sun makes the Java technology that gives Blu-ray discs their interactive menus and ability to accept updates over an Internet connection.

The first installment of Young's archive will cover the years 1963 to 1972 and will be released as a 10-disc set this fall on Reprise/Warner Bros. Records.

Young said the archives will be released chronologically and include some previously unreleased songs, videos, handwritten manuscripts and other memorabilia, in addition to the high-resolution audio that Blu-ray technology is known for.

Fans can download more content like songs, photos and tour information directly to the Blu-ray discs as the content becomes available.

Blu-ray's rival format HD DVD effectively died with maker Toshiba Corp.'s announcement in February that it will no longer produce HD DVD players.

Most of the Blu-ray discs manufactured so far have been used for high-definition movies.

Musical artists such as AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and Destiny's Child released concert videos on Blu-ray discs, but Young's support of the technology for his ambitious archive project demonstrates more fully the capabilities of Blu-ray as a music medium.

Earlier technology didn't offer the ability to browse archive material while listening to songs in high-resolution audio, Young noted.

"Previous technology required unacceptable quality compromises," he said in a statement. "I am glad we waited and got it right."

Here are my thoughts on this.....

I think Neil Young has made a BIG mistake here. Blu-Ray has not been widely accepted by consumers at this point. It may happen eventually, but it is not there yet. Blu-Ray players are still very expensive.

Personally, I am not interested in having to watch and listen or be required to be in my house / living room and use my TV to play the damn thing. I know I'm getting old and becoming more of a laggard in the area of technology. But Neil needs to realize a lot of his fans are 50+ years old and not all of us are running out and buying plasma big screen TVs, Blu-Ray players, or PS3 boxes. I think he will find that a lot of his fans will decide to pass on this collection - which is a shame.

Most people (my self included) listen to music in their car or on the go. My car doesn't have a Blu-Ray player and I don't think it will anytime soon. Also, at this point, you can't rip the audio from a Blu-Ray disc to a CD or a portable device like an iPod. Of course I have to think that progammers will develop a utility program to do this before too long.

This may also turn out to be another nail in the record company's coffin as well. I have to think that if this box set tanks in terms of sales, the record companies will have some hard decisions to make about continuing down this path. But then again, when have the record companies ever listened to what their customers want?

What are your thoughts? Comments are welcome.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I really don't get this. Jimmy Page or anyone else in the group has not looked at the film footage or listened to the multi-tracks. Obviously, these guys don't have much, if any, interest in releasing the show. You would think that the record company might have an interest too, in an attempt to save their ass. By the time the "distant point" arrives, no one will give a damn about it. I guess we will have to settle for the bootlegs that are floating around.

Led Zeppelin will receive the Best Live Act honor at the upcoming Mojo Awards, set to take place on June 16th in London. The band reunited last fall to play a show at London's O2 Arena, and since then, there had been talk about another gig or tour, but nothing has materialized. Singer Robert Plant recently told Uncut magazine, "I really enjoyed it. And hopefully, one day we could do it again for another really, really good reason."

As for a CD release of the show, it's still up in the air. Guitarist Jimmy Page said there are no plans just yet, adding, "It was recorded, but we didn't go in with the express purpose of making a DVD to come out at Christmas, or whatever. We haven't seen the images or investigated the multitracks. It's feasible that it might come out at some distant point, but it'll be a massive job to embark on."

Meanwhile, John Paul Jones wouldn't reveal anything when asked about a possible reunion album. All he said was, "I'm not too certain about anything at the moment. I've got no idea what's going to happen, but I'd certainly like to play with Jimmy again."