Sunday, November 2, 2014


Recent Releases of Note
  • The Band - Carter Barron Amphitheater, Washington DC, July 17th
  • The Beatles - The Beatles in Mono [14-LP reissue box set]
  • Beck - Song Reader
    • Featuring Loudon Wainwright III & 18 other artists interpreting songs Beck wrote as sheet music but did not record
  • Eric Clapton & Friends - The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale
    • featuring Mark Knopfler, Willie Nelson and Tom Petty
  • Bob Dylan - The Lyrics: Since 1962 [book]
  • Genesis - R-Kive
    • 3 CD career retrospective of the band, together and solo
  • George Harrison - The Apple Years, 1968-75
    • First six solo albums remastered with bonus tracks
      • Wonderwall Music [soundtrack; DVD was also reissued this year]
      • Electronic Sound [rare on CD; also unlistenable]
      • All Things Must Pass [last remastered/reissued in 2001]
      • Living in the Material World [last reissued in 2006]
      • Dark Horse; Extra Texture [not remastered since their first CD release in 1992]
  • Diana Krall - Wallflower
  • Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV; Houses of the Holy
    • Both reissues will be in the following formats-
      • Single CD or original album LP
      • Deluxe Edition - 2 CD or 2 LP with 2nd disc having unreleased audio
      • Super Deluxe Edition
        • Deluxe Edition CDs and LPs
        • Digital download
        • 80-page hardcover book
  • John Lennon - Icon [greatest hits package for the discount market]
  • Julian Lennon - Everything Changes box set
    • Album on CD and 2-LP picture discs
    • Acoustic version of the album on CD
    • Instrumental version of the album on CD
    • Documentary DVD
    • Limited to 1000; signed by the artist
  • Jenny Lewis - The Voyager
  • Paul McCartney - New
    • Reissue of 2013 studio album
    • 2nd disc of unreleased and live tracks
    • DVD of music videos and 'making of' stuff
  • Stevie Nicks - 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye
  • Ringo Starr - Icon
  • They Might Be Giants - First Album Live
    • free download on
  • Loudon Wainwright III - Haven't Got the Blues (Yet)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - Mandatory Fun
  • Soundtrack - Boardwalk Empire
    • featuring Elvis Costello, Regina Spektor & Loudon Wainwright III
  • Soundtrack - Mary Poppins: The Legacy Collection
    • 3 CD set
    • includes "The Lost Chords" - fully produced recordings of demos for songs not used in the final film

Upcoming New Releases
  • John Denver - All of My Memories: The John Denver Collection [11/4]
    • Four CD box set
    • Hits, album cuts, rare & unreleased tracks
  • Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete [11/4]
    • Six CD set
  • Bob Dylan - The Basement Tapes Raw [11/4]
    • Two CD or 3 LP condensed version of Vol. 11
  • Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night [2015]
  • Genesis - Three Sides Live [11/4]
    • concert DVD & Blu-ray reissue]
  • Genesis - Sum of the Parts [11/17]
    • documentary DVD & Blu-ray
    • no US release date at this time
  • Jeff Lynne - untitled studio album [Spring 2015]
  • Paul McCartney - Venus and Mars [11/4]
  • Paul McCartney - Wings at the Speed of Sound [11/4]
    • both reissues will be in the following formats:
      • Standard Edition - 2 CD or LP w/ download card
        • 1 disc of the original album remastered
        • 1 disc of bonus material
      • Deluxe Edition
        • Standard Edition
        • DVD with archival video
        • Hardcover book with artifact reproductions
  • Paul McCartney - Hope [single][TBD]
  • The Monkees - The Monkees [11/11]
    • 3 CD/100 track box set
    • Original album in mono and stereo
    • Davy Jones' pre-Monkees solo album
    • Six tracks of pre-Monkees Michael Nesmith
    • 48 tracks of demos/rehearsals/alternate takes/odds and ends
  • Moody Blues - The Polydor Years 1986-1992 [11/24]
    • 6 CD/2 DVD/1 7" single
    • "The Other Side of Life", "Sur la Mer" and "Keys of the Kingdom" remastered
    • Bonus, rare and live cuts of the era
    • "A Night at Red Rocks" concert on two CDs
    • "A Night at Red Rocks" excerpted DVD
    • "The Other Side of Red Rocks" documentary DVD
  • Frank Sinatra - This is Sinatra [11/4]
    • vinyl reissue of 1956 'best of' album from Capitol
  • Frank Sinatra - Sinatra: London [11/25]
    • 3 CD/1 DVD box set
    • reissue of "Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain"
    • Session material, BBC radio show appearances, 1984 London concert
  • Bruce Springsteen - Outlaw Pete [11/4]
  • Bruce Springsteen - The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984 [12/17]
    • first seven studio albums newly remastered
    • his first two albums have not been remastered since their original CD release in 1984
  • Ringo Starr - untitled studio album [3/15]
  • Take That - III [12/2]
    • includes tracks produced by Jeff Lynne
  • Neil Young - Storytone [11/4]
  • various - Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes
    • T-Bone Burnett produced album of various artists recording songs Bob Dylan wrote but did not record
  • various - The Art of McCartney [11/18]
    • Tribute featuring Bob Dylan, Barry Gibb, Billy Joel, Jeff Lynne, Steve Miller and Willie Nelson
    • 2 CD or 3 LP set with 34 tracks
    • Deluxe Edition includes 'Making of' DVD
    • Amazon Deluxe Edition includes two bonus tracks
    • Deluxe Box Set [record label exclusive]
      • Deluxe Edition
      • 3rd CD with 8 more tracks
      • 'Making of' audio documentary and hardback book
      • Limited to 1,000
  • soundtrack - Wild [11/10]
    • New song by First Aid Kit
    • Catalog songs from Leonard Cohen, the Hollies, Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen and Wings

Black Friday Record Store Day - 11/28

  • Beatles - Long Tall Sally 7" [reissue of 1964 4 song EP]
  • First Aid Kit - America 10" [4 exclusive songs]
  • Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation [reissue of 1974 LP]
  • Jenny Lewis - The Pax-Am Sessions [2 alternate tracks from her recent album]
  • Little Richard - Little Richard [reissue of 1956 LP]
  • Ennio Morricone - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly [reissue of 1967 soundtrack on red vinyl]
  • Roy Orbison - At the Rock House [reissue of 1961 Sun LP on colored vinyl]
  • Elvis Presley - Showroom Internationale [2 LP first release of 1970 dinner concert]
  • They Might Be Giants - Flood [reissue of 1990 LP on green vinyl]
  • Neil Young - Official Release Series Discs 5-8 box set
    • On the Beach
    • Time Fades Away
    • Tonight's the Night
    • Zuma
  • various - A Christmas Gift for You [reissue of 1963 Phil Spector produced LP on red vinyl]
  • various - American Hustle [2 LP soundtrack with 6 songs not on the CD version]
  • various - Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 [as it was meant to be heard - on cassette!]

On Tour in the Tri-State
  • Adrian Belew - Indy - 12/19; Cincinnati - 12/21
  • Iris Dement - Columbus - 1/16; Bloomington - 1/17; Cincinnati - 3/5; Louisville - 3/6; Bowling Green - 3/7
  • Dennis DeYoung - New Albany - 2/14
  • Neil Diamond - Columbus - 3/18; Indy - 4/17
  • Bob Dylan - Cleveland - 11/12
  • Fleetwood Mac - Louisville - 2/17; Cleveland - 2/18
  • Garfunkel and Oates - Cincinnati - 11/14; Indy - 11/15
  • Steve Hackett - Cleveland - 12/3
  • Herman's Hermits - Belterra - 12/30
  • John Hiatt - Bloomington - 11/24
  • Chrissie Hynde - Akron - 11/13
  • Nick Lowe - 12/10
  • John Mellencamp - Louisville - 1/23; Cincinnati - 1/24; Columbus - 1/30; Cleveland - 1/31; Bloomington - 2/3, 2/4; Evansville - 5/27; Indy - 8/4
  • Mike + the Mechanics - Cleveland - 3/15; Cincinnati - 3/17
  • Randy Newman - Carmel - 11/23
  • New Pornographers - Cleveland - 11/15
  • The Orchestra - Louisville - 5/24
  • Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons - Cleveland - 11/9
Review by Matt Tauber

Hypnotic Eye - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers [Warner Bros] - I'm sitting here looking at the album cover, trying to think of a song from the album, an album I own and have heard at least three times.  I can't.  That's not to say it's a bad album.  It's a good album that has the signature sounds of the Heartbreakers.  But I keep waiting for that 'wow' moment, and it never comes.  Props to TP for getting it done at 64, and they're one of my all-time favorites.  I'm glad to see them chugging along with new material, but they don't seem to be taking any chances.  Fellow reviewer Jim Bates has told me he was similarly unimpressed, but rates it better than 2010's "Mojo".  I disagree, as I think that prior album had some sharp turns.  "Hypnotic Eye" keeps you on the straightaway.  It's a good ride, but your hoping for a detour.

and now…some wisdom from guest reviewer Jim Bates!

The Black Crowes Alumni Report

The Black Crowes have become an odd band in the new millennium.  Touring on and off since reforming in 2005, they release new material in dribs and drabs.  Only two albums of new material have hit the record store since the end of their first hiatus; they appear uninterested in the usual studio album and tour cycle.   In 2013, they hit the road with only a live album download and LP release to promote.  It almost smack of a band lacking anything new to say, but that isn’t the case, as the members’ side projects clearly illustrate.

So what are the Black Crowes alumni doing in 2014?  Read on dear reader...  (I am sad to say I have no Sven Pipien news to report. I hope we won’t find him filling burgers at some Atlanta McDonalds.)

Trigger Hippy – Steve Gorman

Trigger Hippy is the new side project of drummer Steve Gorman and touring guitar player Jackie Greene.  Also featuring guitarist Tom Bukovac and bassist Nick Govrik, the band’s secret weapon is vocalist Joan Osborne.  An eleven-song set covers all the bases of R&B, soul, country rock, funk, know, the usual rock and roll stuff…  The band really gets cooking on a few of the tracks, including “Turpentine,” “Cave Hill Cemetery” and “Nothing New.”  Jackie and Joan share a couple of nice ballads, “Pretty Mess” being the standout.  (Just as an FYI, the funky “Pocahontas” does not reference either Marlon Brando, the Aurora Borealis or the Astrodome).  As always, Gorman is the man, but what I took away from this album is  a reminder of how much I enjoy listening to Joan Osborne.

The Ceaseless Sign - Rich Robinson

Wow, Rich Robinson just made the best Keith Richards solo album ever.  From the Stonesy “I Know You” opener, this is the most Black Crowes-esque of al of the albums mentioned here (And “The Unfortunate Show” might even be a better Stones style rocker).  But it isn’t all riffs, just good roots rock.  “In Comes the Night” reminds me of the '80s.  “The Giving Key” is the kind of swaggery ballad you don’t hear much anymore.  “One Road Hill” is a pretty acoustic sing along, and it is hard to classify the drum-based “Trial and Faith.”  Rich continues to mature as a singer and his singing is no longer cringeworthy.  Add to that some well-done lyrics, and Mr. Robinson has hit another solo album home run in a row after a shaky first effort. 

Get the LP release because you get some bonus instrumentals on side four, some neat looking coloured vinyl and a copy of the CD to listen to in the car.  Sweet.

Phosphorescent Harvest - Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Everyone’s favorite jam band - the Brotherhood - are back and spacier than ever.  “Shore Power” opens this album with Adam MacDougall’s space keyboards once again on full display and a big New York City breakdown.  It, along with “Meanwhile in the Gods...” and “Jump the Turnstiles,” are the only upbeat rockers.  The rest of the album is slower and trippier, with “Clear Blue Skies & The Good Doctor” almost entering ELO territory.  I was excited to see the Black Crowes’ lost classic, “Tornado,” recast into a full band track.  “Help yourself to some of my disaster...”  The closing track on the CD- “Burn Slow”- might be the best review possible of this album (oh, and the track itself isn’t bad either...think Crazy Horse on serious downers).

The LP release includes two bonus tracks...the electronic instrumental “Humboldt Windchimes” and “Star Crossed Lonely Sailor” which should have been included on the album itself.  That is the good news; the bad news is how it sounds.  Something went wrong at the pressing plant that day...snap, crackle, and pop! I’ve heard LPs sound better after warping in the sun...Glad they included a free download code!

The CRB is better live, and the song on this album are, too, but this is the closest they have come to putting their live sound down on tape.  My understanding is that they worked on this album for quite a while and it shows.  Can’t wait to hear what the next album sounds like.
Holy Ghost - Marc Ford

Who expected this?  Guitar-slinger Marc Ford doing a mostly acoustic Americana album?  The results are pretty damn good.  Sure, there isn’t much electric guitar and Marc never really lets loose, but he has some good songs here.  His lyrics have improved, but still occasionally fall into cliché.  “I once had a problem as big as a truck, I was running on empty, shit out of luck” from “Dream #26,” for example.  However, the same song does have a nice chorus - “Easy like Sunday with the Reverend Al Green.”  The songs work with Marc’s vocals, and while this isn’t the kind of album that will change rock and roll, it is an enjoyable listen with a strong spiritual undercurrent.  It makes me wonder if this is the kind of album Eric Clapton wishes he had made in the '90s.

has the hooka smoke cleared?  ok, then
…here's guest reviewer Lucas Hardwick!

Leonard Cohen - "Popular Problems"

Released two days before his 80th birthday, Mr. Cohen seems to have overcome the mortality dilemma he was facing in “Old Ideas,” and takes on well, “popular problems” for his latest album.

He starts off reminding us that, yeah, he’s got his way of doing things, and gives us great rhyme and rhythm with “Slow.”  That said, he’s rather prolific for his age, giving us his second album in as many years.  You don’t get that from many pop artists or even today’s Top 40 folks.

“Almost Like The Blues” is the first single release from the album and takes on the theme of the record’s title. “There is no God in heaven / there is no Hell below / so says the great professor of all there is to know. / But I’ve had the invitation / that a sinner can’t refuse / It’s almost like salvation / It’s almost like the blues,” is the most profound lyric of the song and suggests themes like “Jesus only loves a man who loses,” and asks why do bad things happen in the world.

He also addresses regular relationship troubles in “Did I Ever Love You” and “A Street.”

Not a single miss on this album, and in spite of it’s bummer of a theme, I find it more relatable and upbeat than “Old Ideas.”  I’ll catch myself listening to this one many more times.

Standout tracks include:  “Samson In New Orleans,” “A Street,” “Nevermind,” and “You Got Me Singing,” which provides a call back to his classic “Hallelujah.”

P. S.  It really is a great album, but I joked about the album art not being one of the “problems.”

Other recent great purchases:
Scott Walker and Sunn(O))) - “Soused”:  Nightmare music and a song about Marlon Brando

Prince - “Art Official Age”:  Experimental and overproduced, but good to see him back

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL - “Plectrumelectrum”:  Rock and roll with a little R&B inside.  Fantastic album!!!  One of my favorites from The Artist.

Thanks so much Lucas and Jim!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Could a femme fatale of the funny pages cause real-life controversy?  Yes, indeed, tells J.B. Winter in Miss Mizzou: A Life Beyond Comics.  Winter takes a deep dive into this 2-D bombshell and her 3-D effect on her adopted hometown of Columbia, Missouri and her fans at Missouri University.  The book is stirring up local memories, as reported in the Columbia Missourian and the Tribune.

The book is not only an engaging work of scholarship, but features rare Caniff art and a back cover blurb from yours truly.  The book is available in paperback and Kindle.

Hotshot Charlie made new appearances in the "Dick Tracy" comic strip.  In the storyline, Hotshot is called to the aid of Tracy and Little Orphan Annie, who is guesting in the strip.  Annie's own strip ended in 2010.  Here are the two strips that feature Hotshot - 8/17 and 9/10.

Hotshot Charlie was created by Milton Caniff for "Terry and the Pirates."  He first appeared on June 25 1944 and was a major character in for both Caniff and his successor, George Wunder.

The latest issue of Comics Revue (August 2014) reprints the "Steve Canyon" strips from March 18 to April 14, 1973.  It's the beginning of a Bitsy Beekman story, and features the return of Fireball Feeney, a character who appeared early in the strip's run.  

This issue also features "Tarzan" by John Celardo, "Tarzan" by Russ Manning, "Flash Gordon" by Mac Raboy and "Alley Oop" by V.T. Hamlin.

Kill My Mother is a new graphic novel by Jules Feiffer.  Feiffer is a famed Village Voice cartoonist who has been drawing professionally for nearly 70 years.  Feiffer was a longtime devotee and friend of Caniff and author of "The Great Comic Book Heroes", one of the earliest works of comics scholarship (Bonanza Books, 1965).  Feiffer was the 2004 recipient of the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award.  "Kill My Mother" contains a dedication to Caniff and other artists.

The work of another Caniff award recipient is at the subject of a new exhibit at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.  Will Eisner: 75 Years of Graphic Storytelling is a career retrospective of the legendary cartooning pioneer.  Will Eisner was a Caniff friend and peer.  Eisner's interview with Caniff about his career has been reprinted in both Milton Caniff: Conversations and Will Eisner's Shop Talk.   The exhibit runs through November 30th.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Last weekend I attended Cincy Comicon, held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.  It was a fun, packed weekend of artists and comics!  I talked with a lot of nice folks, found some back issues I'd been hunting for, and having my eyes bug out at some amazing sights.

I guess I need to lose weight if Galactus thinks I'm a planet.

Hulk and Iron Man with their good friend Kelsey.

Matt with Daredevil artist Chris Samnee.

Cincy Comicon's special guest Kelley Jones signing my copies of his Deadman miniseries.

A Leon Trotsky sketch commissoned by my pal Ted from Harvey award winner Chip Zdarsky.

A trio of stunning sketches from congenial Chris Sprouse.

Sprouse's Hawkman was the envy of all onlookers.

Green Arrow and Black at first sight.

A dynamite rendition of Dart from Atari Force!

Matt with Aym Geronimo artist Todd Fox.

A Batman sketch by Fox.

Fooling around at the Cincinnati Museum Center booth.

Making super hero masks in the kids' craft area.

A Lego enthusiast demonstrating his replica of Tony Stark's armory...which he's decided to wear on his head!

The boys are always excited to meet the local members of the R2 Builders Club.

These R2 units are amazing.  Not statues, but rather rolling, turning, talking movie-ready replicas.  Wow!

Me with some new friends.  See you all next year!

Friday, August 22, 2014


Robin Williams' TV character Mork was a pop culture phenomenon.  His wacky, anything goes style fit perfectly with Cracked Magazine's askew take on the world.  Cracked loved Mork, featuring him on the cover of seven issues within 1979 and 1980.  He was so popular he edged out Gary Coleman and Penny Marshall, two other Cracked favorites, for cover face time.  Covers meant be drawn by Cracked mainstay John Severin.  Severin, a legendary comics artist with a knack for likenesses, seems like he had fun drawing Williams' malleable mug.

Severin's original drawing for Williams' first appearance - Cracked #158 (May 1979).

His second regular issue paired him with Coleman, another character who dominated Cracked covers at the time (#161, August 1979)

Pam Dawber gets cover time again with Williams, just two issues later!  I wonder if Severin thought up those pants as Mork's beachwear. (#163, October 1979)

Here he is again, this time cracking up the logo as well (#167, March 1980).

The last time we would see Mork on a cover, in this "Love Boat" parody (#187, July 1982).  The fourth and final season of "Mork and Mindy" ended a couple of months before this.

Here's Williams at the center of this collection of his peers. (Collector's Edition #32, November 1979)

Mork had two "Collectors' Edition" covers all to himself.  The only TV/movie character to do so. (#35, May 1980).

(#29, May 1979)

John Severin's original art for Cracked Collectors' Edition #29.

Cracked Magazine would later do parodies of other Robin Williams' movies - "Hook" (#272, July 1992), "Flubber" (#326, July 1998) and "Patch Adams" (#334, May 1999).  But Williams was never on the cover again.  Those '90s issues are hard to find, so I'm not even sure if Severin ever drew Williams again, but it's a good bet that he did.

While Williams earned his way out of Mork's shadow through stand-up specials and dramatic roles, for millions of viewers who recall being excited by his weekly antics, he would always be Mork.  So, I'll leave you with this parody by Severin from Cracked #164 (November 1979):

Saturday, August 9, 2014


The cover of the latest issue of Comics Revue (June 2014) features Milton Caniff artwork commemorating the bicentennial.  This issue reprints the "Steve Canyon" strips from February 18 to March 17, 1973.  It is the conclusion to of a sequence that has Steve on a mission in Israel.  The intrigue puts him at odds with an early nemesis, Captain Akoola, now robbed of her beauty.

The Famous Artists School is an art correspondence course created in 1948 by illustrator Albert Dorne. Caniff (pictured bottom right) was attached to the school as one of the instructors for a couple of decades, though I'm unsure what involvement he had.  I know his work was part of the instruction courses, but I don't think he was involved in the grading/evaluating of submissions.  The school still exists, and they even have the classic cartooning course available.

Robert and Magdalen Livesey, who purchased the Famous Artists School in 1981, have donated the school's archives to the Norman Rockwell Museum.  The archives are unorganized at this time, so who knows what Caniff artifacts they may unearth!

You can read more about the donation here.  For information about the founding of the school and it's founder, Albert Dorne, I recommend this book.

The Eisner Awards were given out July 25th at Comic Con International in San Diego.  The event had a couple of Milton Caniff connections.  Jenny Robb, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, was one of the judges.  The Library was founded on Caniff's archives.  The Library of American Comics (LOAC) took home awards in three categories.  The LOAC is the publisher of "The Complete Steve Canyon" series.  Congratulations to Dean Mullaney, Bruce Canwell and Lorraine Turner of the LOAC.  You can fine their reaction here.  A complete list of winners can be found her

Speaking of the LOAC, they recently announced a new project reprinting Corto Maltese.  Corto Maltese is considered by many to be the masterpiece of Italian cartoonist Hugo Pratt.  Pratt's art was greatly influenced by Caniff.  I'm excited to read some Pratt in English, as all I've read were from the Pratt-edited "Sgt. Kirk" magazine, which is in Italian.  Pratt was apparently comfortable with the comparison, as he reprinted Caniff's "Male Call" strips in "Sgt. Kirk" alongside his own work.

The 12-volume "Corto Maltese" series will be edited by Dean Mullaney, but published under a new IDW imprint - EuroComics, beginning in December.

The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) has launched a digital magazine - the National Cartoonist.  The magazine is available to read online for free at this link.  The issue includes a report on the recent Reuben awards, a profile of Jim Borgman, and an article about the brief return of Bill Watterson to the comics page.  

The NCS published a print magazine - The American Cartoonist - in the late '70s, and an annual Reuben awards magazine - The Cartoonist - for several decades.  Milton Caniff was a founding NCS member, a past president, a two-time Reuben award winner and is the namesake of its lifetime achievement award.