A late November feast of folk, rock, and country sounds, much of it gospel-tinged, all of it burnished in afternoon light. Expect occasional flurries, scattered leaves, and warm ovens. Foil-wrapped casserole dishes and those gold-brown canisters that Folger’s Crystals used to come in. Drunken uncles and grandma’s gravy. Cranberry as a condiment, cold turkey for breakfast. Pedal-steel twang. Thick scarves. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Tunes for keeping the engine warm, prayerful pleas for saying grace, and plenty of laidback Seventies stuffing to go round.
This week’s Mono Monday release is the album that helped The Association survive the sophomore slump of 1967’s Renaissance by virtue of one of its singles taking the group to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the second time in their career.
First of all, we should clarify that our use of the phrase “sophomore slump” is only in regards to the commercial success of Renaissance, which already had a hard row to hoe in the wake of the band’s debut album, And Then…Along Comes The Association, which hit #5 on the Billboard Top 200 and provided the band with their first top-10 single (“Along Comes Mary”) and their first chart-topper (“Cherish”). The Association’s decision to make Renaissance a completely self-penned album was certainly a way of taking their career into their own hands, but songs like “Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies” and “No Fair At All” just didn’t grab listeners as readily as the material on their debut effort.
If you thrilled to the sounds of shoegaze in the 1990s, wept when Ride disbanded, and have been treating the possibility of the band ever reuniting like a daydream, then it’s time to smile: guitarist Andy Bell, singer Mark Gardener, bassist Steve Queralt and drummer Laurence Colbert are apparently now in a different place, as they’ve announced that they’re getting back together and doing a series of tour dates while even going so far as to tease the possibility of the foursome writing and recording some new music together.
"It's going to be really cool,” Bell assured New Musical Express. “As we were all still friends, we always thought when the time was right we'd do it. And now the time is right."
"I guess it's something that's something that's always been there, chipping away like some little devil on your shoulder," Gardener told XFM. "There's a lot of unfinished business there. I can't imagine anything better than playing with Ride again."
74 years ago today in New Orleans, the man known as The Night Tripper was born, and…wait, hang on, we’d better check our facts to be sure they’re accurate.
Right place? Check. Right time? Yep.
Perfect. Then we’re good to continue onward and offer our birthday greetings to Mac Rebennack, otherwise known as the one and only Dr. John.
When you consider that his family has been rooted in New Orleans for several generations, it’s no wonder that Rebennack’s music sounds the way it does, but his inspirations are myriad, including minstrel tunes, Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, and Professor Longhair. Still, it was a close encounter with the latter musician when the future Cajun physician was just into his teens that proved to be the most influential, both on his music and his fashion sense. Rebennack found his way into a gig as a producer for Ace Records when he was 16, but his interest in music far outweighed his studies, leading him to drop out of Jesuit High School and begin pursuing a full-time career in music.
The legendary track on "McCartney" is "Maybe I'm Amazed."
I was immediately enraptured by "Every Night," I came to love "Teddy Boy," but now my favorite is "That Would Be Something."
How could an album so slight seem like such a masterpiece today?
Starting with "The Lovely Linda" and ending with the almost bizarre instrumental "Kreen-Akrore," "McCartney" sounds like what it was, an album cut alone, outside the spotlight. It's like a vision into Paul's soul.
"That would be something
It really would be something"
When one examines the various sitcoms that have appeared on the TV landscape over the history of the medium, there’s no shortage of stars who found their first taste of fame as stand-up comedians, but there’s really only one who’s managed to take a stammer and turn it into a career that’s been going strong for 54 years now.
If you lived through the ‘60s, then your first awareness of Bob Newhart almost certainly came via his comedy albums, but if you came up during the ‘70s or any decade thereafter, then you may only know him from his sitcoms. Be it The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob, or even the oft-forgotten George & Leo, Newhart spent the better part of a 25-year period as a constant figure on prime-time television, and although he’s not had his own series since George & Leo wrapped in 1998, he’s never really been away, having turned up on ER, Desperate Housewives, NCIS, TNT’s The Librarian movies, and – lest we forget – won the first Emmy of his career for one of his three appearances on The Big Bang Theory. But while TV has kept Newhart in the public eye, there are far too many folks who are kinda sorta aware that he’s a stand-up comedian without ever having actually heard him do stand-up.