Monday, May 11, 2009


Recent Releases of Note

  • Bob Dylan - Together Through Life

  • Fireman - Electric Arguments

  • Flatlanders - Hills and Valleys

  • Indigo Girls - Poseidon and the Bitter Bug

  • Roger Klug - More Help For Your Nerves

  • Nick Lowe - Quiet Please: the Best of Nick Lowe

  • Don McLean - Addicted to Black

  • Move - The Very Best of the Move

  • Willie Nelson - Naked Willie

  • Willie Nelson/Asleep at the Wheel - Willie and the Wheel

  • Mark Olson & Gary Louris - Ready for the Flood

  • Paul Simon - One-Trick Pony [DVD]

  • Frank Sinatra - Live at the Meadowlands

  • Bruce Springsteen - Working on a Dream

  • Wilco - Ashes of American Flags [DVD]

  • Neil Young - Fork in the Road

Upcoming Releases

  • Beatles - entire catalogue - 9/9/09*

  • Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane – 6/2

  • Crosby, Stills & Nash - Demos – 6/2

  • Nanci Griffith - The Loving Kind – 6/9

  • George Harrison - Let It Roll (compilation) – 6/16

  • Paul Simon and Friends - Gershwin Prize – 5/19 [DVD]**

  • Son Volt - American Central Dust – 7/7

  • Regina Spektor - Far – 6/23***

  • Wilco - Wilco (the album) – 6/30

  • Neil Young - Neil Young Archives,Vol.1 – 6/2^

    *The complete original UK Beatles catalogue has been remastered for CD. The remasters are in stereo and each album will be available individually, with the previously separate ‘Past Masters’ discs (which collected the non-LP tracks) combined as one set. The stereo albums (16 discs) will be available as a box set. The albums that were originally mixed for mono (‘Please Please Me’ through ‘Sgt. Pepper’) will make up a remastered mono box, but will not be available individually.

    **the “Friends” include Alison Krauss, Art Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, and more.

    *** Includes 4 tracks produced by Jeff Lynne.

    ^The archives project, announced about 15 years ago, is finally here! It’s available in multiple formats: 10-discs on Blu-Ray with Book, 10-discs on DVD with Book, 8-discs on CD with booklet. The advantage of the Blu-Ray ($300) and DVD ($200) sets is that they will have both audio and video content. Also, with Blu-Ray you will be able to download new content as it becomes available. The CD ($100) set just has the music and no book, which is just fine with me. Amazingly, all the discs, and the book, can be purchased separately of the box sets.

On Tour in the Tri-State

  • America - Indy –9/3,9/4; Dayton –9/25, 9/26

  • Elvis Costello - Dayton – 5/27

  • Crosby, Stills & Nash - Cincinnati – 7/31; Indy – 8/4

  • Iris Dement - Newport – 8/13; Cleveland – 8/15

  • Bob Dylan^^ - South Bend–7/4; Louisville–7/8; Dayton–7/10;Cleveland–7/11

  • Steve Earle - Indy – 6/26; Cincinnati – 6/27

  • Colin Hay - Newport – 7/15; Cleveland – 7/17

  • Indigo Girls - Louisville – 6/20

  • Billy Joel/Elton John - Indy – 5/19; Cleveland – 5/23; Columbus – 7/14

  • Jenny Lewis - Columbus – 6/6; Louisville – 7/6

  • Loggins & Messina - Dayton – 9/4

  • Steve Miller Band - Dayton – 7/21

  • Moody Blues - Cleveland–8/11; Louisville-8/28; Cincy-8/29; Indy-8/30

  • Willie Nelson - Indy – 5/18; Paducah – 5/25; Elizabeth - 6/1

  • Leon Redbone - Springfield, OH – 10/16

  • John Sebastian - Dayton – 8/2; Frankfort – 10/9

  • Jerry Seinfeld - Cincinnati – 6/13

  • Todd Snider - Lexington – 5/28; Newport – 5/29

  • Wilco - Cincinnati – 6/12

    ^^the Bob Dylan Show includes Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp


Frank Sinatra - Live at the Meadowlands - This is most of a 1986 concert, with the Chairman singing the standards to an enthusiastic home state crowd. What surprised me about this set is not the effortless, sometimes playful, mastery he has over these songs, it's his attitude. Now in the sixth decade of his career, he's was a true living legend, but he doesn't show it. He exhibits graciousness instead of hubris, his natural swagger tempered by gentleness. The audience is wowed by him, but he gives the credit to the songwriters and arrangers. He talks about how great the songs are, having us believe that it's his lucky night to be singing them for us. The release of this concert is proof that we are the lucky ones.

Bruce Springsteen - Working on a Dream - After considering 200?'s 'Magic' album to be no less than a masterpiece, I reacted to the Boss's latest LP with a ho and a hum. I thought maybe repeated listens and time would change my disinterest, but it seems just like before. People are calling this the "Happy" Springsteen album, now that he no longer has to write scathing rebukes of George Bush (though I never found him all that scathing). While Springsteen is more upbeat here than recent outings, the post-9/11 optimism of his album 'The Rising' was more affirming.

There is some adventurous music here, like the Beach Boys homage "This Life" and the raucous blues of "Good Eye". But much of it is either dull and by-the-numbers, or sweeping epics made of pseudo-novelty songs ("Outlaw Pete", "Queen of the Supermarket"). The highlight of the set is the catchy, toe-tapping title track, which Springsteen snuck into his Super Bowl set. The most affecting song is "The Last Carnival", which I take as a tribute to lost E-Streeter Danny Federici.
Moonrise, moonrise
The light that was in your eyes
Has gone away

Daybreak, daybreak
The thing in you that me ache
Has gone away

Neil Young - Fork in the Road (Special report from Jim Bates of A Scale Canadian)...Neil Young is not the kind of guy to ponder and mull over an idea. I’m sure he woke up one day thinking, “Hey I should write a bunch of songs about my electric car.” Rather then consider his original thought and realize how silly the idea is, Neil Young brings us Fork In the Road.

If you are looking for deep intellectual songs on the worlds ills with complex and shifting music look elsewhere. If you are looking for spontaneous rock and roll album about the things in Neil’s head this minute, jump on in.

After a few listens it became clear that Fork In the Road is a bash of two forgotten Young albums Re-ac-tor and Everybody’s Rockin’. Remember those instant classics? No? Well that is your loss. Both the short album length and “Behind the Wheel” reference Everybody’s Rockin’ while I’m convinced “Cough up the Bucks” is a 2009 sequel to “T-Bone.”

We get songs about “big rock star whose sales have tanked,” and how “a song can’t change the world.” We get the repetitive titles of “Hit the Road,” “Off the Road,” and “Fork In the Road.” We get great off the cuff lyrics like “Where did all the money go, where did all the cash flow” and we get the first ever ballad about being stuck in traffic “Off the Road.” Outside of “Light A Candle” these are Crazy Horse style rock songs (without Crazy Horse this time), but the riffs are a little more syncopated then usual for Neil, so it all sounds a little funkier then when Neil plays with the Horse.

But the real winner here is “Johnny Magic.” In his best “Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze” style Neil tells the story of Johnny Magic the “motor head messiah” who invents a “Heavy Metal Continental.” This is just a dumb predictable rock and roll song with a group chorus of not only “Johnny Magic” but also “Wichita.” When Destiny enters the picture, I almost expected it to be his girl…though it isn’t this time…Neil you missed at least one cliché… If you can’t enjoy this, something is wrong with you.

I think that is what most critics missed about this album, is that it is supposed to be a dumb rock and roll record, not some treaties on electric cars or the environment. It is not Neil preaching, it is Neil having fun. Enjoy it for what it is.

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