If you’re one of those Chicago fans who’s been grousing about the fact that the band’s 1975 live album, Live In Japan, has only been available in digital form for the past several years, prepare to be excited: as of today, it’s finally back in print on CD.
Recorded during a three-night stint at the Osaka Festival Hall in 1972 while the band was touring behind Chicago V, Live in Japan has often been described by fans and even the occasional band member (stand up, please, Walter Paradzeider) as sounding significantly better than Chicago’s previous live album, Live at Carnegie Hall, a.k.a. Chicago IV. Unfortunately, the Osaka shows haven’t been heard by nearly as many ears, as Live in Japan initially only saw release in Japan, and while that does make at least a little bit of sense, it’s still surprising that it took until 1996 for the album to earn a Stateside release, and even then only via the band’s own label, Chicago Records.
45 years ago today, Led Zeppelin released their first single, and even though it only made it to #80 on the Billboard Hot 100, it still managed to become a full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll classic.
As the lead track of Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut, “Good Times Bad Times” had already made a significant impact on listeners a few months before it found its way onto a 45 – backed with “Communication Breakdown” – and into the lower reaches of the singles charts. The song features guitarist Jimmy Page passing his Fender Telecaster through a Leslie Speaker for the guitar solo, drummer John Bonham kicking out the jams, and bassist John Paul Jones offering a riff which he described in a 2008 Rolling Stone Q&A as the one most difficult one he ever wrote. Once the band threw Robert Plant’s howling vocals on top of it all, there was little question in anyone’s minds that the resulting song was going to leave a lasting impression.
50 years ago today, Mose Allison dropped a swinging jazz platter on the masses, and while it may not be seen by all critics as his most seminal ‘60s work, it’s one that can still get people’s fingers snapping when it’s spun on the turntable.
Released on March 10, 1964, The Word from Mose could arguably qualify as a classic Atlantic Records jazz recording simply because it was recorded under the supervision of Nesuhi Ertegun, but what really makes it stand out is the way Allison – ably backed by bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Roy Lundberg, Allison – blends material from other artists, including Muddy Waters’ “Rolling Stone” and Everett Barksdale’s “Wild Man,” with stylistically-similar originals like “One of These Days,” “New Parchman,” and “Don’t Forget to Smile,” and puts together a mixture that’s just as jazzy as it is bluesy.
I have been meaning to read Ben Fong-Torres latest book, "Willin’: The Story of Little Feat." Now, adding fuel to that fire, Rhino just released a 13 disc box-set gathering up the band's studio and live output (along with outtakes), entitled Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971-1990. A sprawling history of one of the biggest best kept secrets of 70s rock & roll (yes, I realize they continued after the death of Lowell George), one can hope this latest collection will turn on those who have to get on board the Little Feat train.
March is Women’s History Month, which certainly seems like an appropriate time to pay tribute to some of the outstanding female performers whose work can be found within the Rhino catalog. Not that we don’t pay tribute to them on a regular basis, you understand, but when the incredibly powerful calendar consortium takes such great pains to decade an entire month to the history of their gender, we just feel like we’d be missing an opportunity if we didn’t do a little bit extra.
Today’s playlist spotlights several top-notch female R&B artists, spanning numerous decades and more than a few different musical sensibilities, including a bit of blues, jazz, and even a bit of hip-hop thrown in for good measure. Hope you enjoy!
We just got out our little red book and realized that today is Arthur Lee’s birthday, so we thought we’d better offer up a brief tribute to the late Love frontman, a singer, songwriter, and musician who’s influenced a lot of folks without ever becoming the sort of household name he had the potential to be.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1945, Lee – birth name Arthur Taylor – came by his musical ability honestly (his father, Chester, played the jazz cornet), but in high school he was much more likely to be found playing basketball than an instrument. In fact, it wasn’t until 1963 when he first entered a recording studio as a member of a band called the LAGs, the lineup of which featured fellow future Love member Johnny Echols. Lee took to the studio quickly, however: by the following year, he was already doing a bit of producing for other artists, including a single for singer Rosa Lee Brooks, whose band included none other than Jimi Hendrix.