NEW! On The Turntable

14 06 2010

There is a new album up on the “On The Turntable” page. For June, GG is featuring a classic from The Kinks. It’s their 1970 release Lola versus Powerman & The Moneygoround, Part I. Of all their albums this is my favorite. It’s a concept album that was written and recorded during a transitional period for the band. During the late 60’s The Kinks were banned from touring in the States. It is unclear as to why and has never really been confirmed from sources at the American Federation of Musician’s but it’s long been thought that it was a direct result of their loud, boisterous stage presence. The Kinks had reached critial acclaim about the same time so the inability to tour in the worlds largest and most robust rock & roll market was a huge hit to their momentum. Perhaps it was this that led Ray Davies to produce an album that took on the industry with such a satirical view. Each song on the record take jabs here and there at the powerhouse labels, suits, critics, publicists and the like. It turns out the songs were quite good, solidifying Lola versus Powerman & The Moneygoround, Part I as one of the earliest successful concept albums and helped get The Kinks back into the mainstream. The title is far from straightforward utilizing references from the songs while implying the struggle between all the many facets of the industry. The most curious portion is the “Part 1” as there was never a Part 2. The band indicated that they thought there would be a follow up when it was pressed but it never came to fruition. Although, future projects were often called Part 2 while in the working stages, only to be properly named prior to official release.

Check out the “On The Turntable” page for some additional background info. While there, you can listen to the entire album. My personal favorites are  are 3 lesser-known tunes: “Stranger”, “This Time Tomorrow” and “Powerman”. All of which were never really considered hits for The Kinks but will forever standout in their catalog as incredible pieces of work. Below is some live footage from a 1970 promotional tour of the band doing “Apeman”, one of the two huge singles from this album (the other being “Lola”). In it, you will see lead singer Ray Davies, playing his dobro (aka resonator guitar). Ray bought this guitar for just $150 while they were recording the album. He was looking for a really clean and crisp guitar sound with a little twang so he went to the shop around the corner and bought a classic vintage Martin acoustic and this inexpensive dobro. As producer on the album, Ray decided to recorded both guitars and then blend them in the mix to get a truly unique guitar sound. It makes for a pretty cool effect, which influenced their style for many years after the session.


More info on The Kinks

More info on Ray Davies

More info on Lola versus Powerman & The Moneygoround, Part I

More info on the American Federation of Musicians

NEW! On The Turntable

11 05 2010

Now that May is in full swing, the On The Turntable page has been updated. This month it’s yet another classic: Stevie Wonder’s 1970 Motown release Signed, Sealed & Delivered.  This one is probably my favorite Stevie LP although it’s really too tough to say for sure. This one, like so many others, has so many great songs that is is a great listen form start to finish. Just the other day I had it on and someone said, “you got to send me this playlist”, as though I had weeded out all the bad songs or something. Well, not the case… this one is just a solid collection of material that doesn’t quit. There are some great videos of Stevie promoting this album back in 1970 (and plenty of later stuff too). I’ve tried to select just one or two but it is so hard to choose. Below is some footage of Stevie performing one of the lesser known hits live, “Heaven Help Us All”. This version is really great. The rap he gives in the intro is amazing and, damn, what a groove…

Here is the title track “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” from the Dick Cavett show. I love when Stevie gets up from the keys and starts groovin’ out with the back-up singers.

The interview from this appearance is very funny as well as informative. It’s pretty neat to see him be so candid. Not only does the man have a ton of talent but he has a great sense of humor too.

Visit the On The Turntable page to listen to the entire album and learn more about it.  If you don’t already own this one, you can follow the links to make a purchase online… it’s a must have.

NEW! On The Turntable

23 04 2010

I have been very delinquent with my updates to the On The Turntable page. So much so that I completely missed March. So, in order to keep a clean house and have everything in order I have updated for both April and March. April is up on the current page, featuring Herbie Hancock’s incredible album Fat Albert Rotunda. While March is in the archive on the side bar. Unfortunately, March never got a fair shot but you can still enjoy it. It features one of my favorite short lived bands Blind Faith and their self titled album. Take a look at both, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. For those desk jockey’s out there, these make for some great listening while hard at work in your cubicle. You can locate these links on the top navigation bar and the side bar archive… or you can just click the album covers below to listen to these albums in their entirety. Enjoy!

Blind Faith                                              Fat Albert Rotunda

As a little extra fanfare, there are few videos to get you in the mood. The first is Blind Faith live at Hyde Park in 1969. They do an awesome version of The Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb”. Now, perhaps it’s just because I am a huge fan of young Steve Winwood but I think this rivals the original… Sorry Mic.

The next is the opening theme to Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert cartoon. For those not familiar with the Herbie’s Fat Albert Rotunda, it was inspired by the work he did for this show.  To be clear Herbie did not write this theme but he did some work for the show as he was friendly with Cosby. That said, the album is FAR superior to anything ever featured on the show but this will likely get you in the mood and perhaps even trigger some nostalgia.

MGMT | Congratulations… again

13 04 2010

MGMT’s new album Congratulations came out today. It’s not really a big deal given it was leaked a few weeks ago. But, as part of the fanfare they have released a new video for the single “Flash Delirium” and are rolling out an all new website with some pretty cool features. Buy the album or just check out the new site:

Previous GG posts about this “long awaited” album:

*Update: MGMT | Congratulations

Sneak Peek: MGMT | Flash Delirium

NEW! Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

12 04 2010

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings just released a new album this past week. Recorded for Daptone Records in their modest Bushwick (Brooklyn, NY) studio, the new album, I Learned The Hard Way, continues the tradition of beat heavy, groove-based soul music reminiscent of that which was coming out of Stax and Motown in the 60’s & 70’s. Not only does the material bring you back to this amazing era in American music but the sound of the recording is true to the classics. Recorded on a Ampex 8-track tape machine in Daptone’s analog studio, it’s remarkable how great this album sounds. There is an amazing  warmth and richness to it that harkens back to the old days of real soul music. As good as the songs and performances are the sound of the recording is truly the standout for me. I’m a sucker for that old school sound and there are very few folks out there today who are able to capture it so well. This album is available on vinyl too so you can really appreciate the nuances of what they are doing out there in Bushwick. That being said, when it comes to the material and performance Sharon and the gang did not take this 4th studio effort lightly. I Learned The Hard Way is without a doubt among their best releases thus far. Between this and their previous (2007) album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, it’s a close call.

The whole album makes for a great listen all the way through but I particularly like the title track “I Learned The Hard Way” as well as “Better Things”, “Mama Don’t Like My Man” and the bonus track “He Said I Can”. I was surprised to see that there is an instrumental on here given Sharon is such a presence in this sound, but I really dig it… it’s called “The Reason”.

“I Learned the Hard Way”

“Better Things”

“Mama Don’t Like My Man”

“He Said I Can”

“The Reason”

GG fans may already know I’ve been into Sharon & The Dap Kings and Daptone Records for years. For those that are not regulars, you can take a look at an earlier post on Sharon  and the boys HERE. There is also some more really cool Daptone stuff HERE.

If you want to learn more about Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings visit their site. Once there, you can sample music, check out tour dates and learn more about the band and the label. You can also buy their albums on CD, LP or MP3… which ever suits your needs:

Here is a link to a PBS interview that showcases Sharon’s amazing personality and offers a little background on the band, the label and music. : Sharon on PBS

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