Today marks the 67th birthday of the man who, since the death of Jerry Garcia, is generally the first person people think of when they think of the Grateful Dead: Bob Weir. Rather than put together yet another Dead-centric playlist, however, we thought we’d take a look back at Weir’s first forays into a solo career, even if his debut album found him more or less backed by the Dead, anyway.
Released in 1972, Ace came about as a result of Warner Brothers rewarding the Dead for signing up for another go-round with the label by providing the members with the opportunity to record their own solo albums. In turn, Garcia released the appropriately-titled Garcia, on which he basically played everything himself except for drums, which were handled by fellow Dead member Bill Kreutzmann, while Mickey Hart put out Rolling Thunder, featuring guests like Stephen Stills, Tower of Power, Grace Slick, and Paul Kantner. Weir, however, mostly stuck with guys he already knew, which is to say that he was backed by Garcia, Kreutzmann, Keith Godchaux, and Phil Lesh. Sure, there were a few guests, including a bit of bass work from Dave Torbert and some horns by Snooky Flowers, Luis Gasca, and the Space Rangers, but mostly it was guys from the Dead. Not that it worked against the album’s contents, however: songs like “Playing in the Band,” “Looks Like Rain,” and “One More Saturday Night” definitely make one of the better solo albums by a Dead stalwart.
NATHAN LA FRANEER
If you bought "Joni Mitchell," aka "Song To A Seagull," when it came out, you're a member of a very exclusive club or you're lying. There were no famous covers, no big media campaign, the record barely made a noise. Yet, when you discovered it sometime thereafter, which you did if you were a big Joni Mitchell fan, you became enraptured, because of the sound. This is my favorite cut on the LP, the story of a ride to the airport. Exquisitely recorded by Art Cryst and produced by David Crosby this is the sound of enough money to get it right, it's evidence of a lost art. Hearing the album is akin to viewing ancient relics of the Mayans and the Greeks.
Sit down, kids, and let us tell you a tale of a gentleman named Jack and his mannequin…
No, no, just kidding. This is actually a story about a band called Something Corporate…or to be more specific, it's a story about Something Corporate's singer, Andrew McMahon, who decided in 2004 that the fact that his band was going on a bit of a hiatus didn't mean that he had to do the same with his career. Instead, McMahon took the money in his savings account and recorded a solo album, releasing it under the moniker Jack's Mannequin.
Founded in 2002, the Austin City Limits music festival is relatively new to the scene, but boasts stellar line-ups year after year. In 2008, at the height of their fame and popularity, Gnarls Barkley played the festival - this is the setlist from that date.
25 years ago today, the boys in Blur - Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree - released their debut single, a fact which is almost certainly going to make a whole lot of Britpop fans feel really, really old.
Actually, when Blur released “She's So High,” which preceded their debut album, Leisure, by a full 10 months, Britpop wasn't even really a thing yet. No, if anything, Blur were much more of the Madchester movement, but unlike Candy Flip or Flowered Up - just to pull out two names at random, you understand - they managed to escape the movement with their musical credibility intact.
I don’t know about you, but I spent most of 2006 making plans to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Good thing I had this soundtrack.
ABOUT DR. RHINO
Turning 75 today is a man who's often been called the Peter Pan of pop, but when you've sold more than 250 million albums worldwide - which, yes, Cliff Richard has done, thank you very much - you find you can put up with just about any silly nickname the music press cares to assign you.
Born Harry Rodger Webb, Cliff Richard changed his name when a fellow named Harry Greatorex wanted him to switch to something a bit more appropriate for a rock 'n' roller. Apparently the “Cliff” came because of its association to “rock,” while the “Richard” came via a suggestion by songwriter Ian Samwell that he pay tribute to Little Richard. With his name duly changed, Cliff recorded “Move It,” written by Samwell, and if you don't know the song, you probably should: John Lennon called it “the first British rock record.”