COVERED: The Beatles vs. Keith “Wild Child” Middleton

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We all know about Abbey Road, the 1969 album by The Beatles that has been honored, homaged, parodied many times over in the 45 years since its release. Now there’s a new album that pays tribute to the cover in its own way. This time it’s a new release by Keith “Wild Child” Middleton called Transitions, released last month but I only became aware of the release a month later. Middleton portrays each member of his “group” in the photo, while the Ringo spot seems to be energetic and jumping up proud. Middleton raps but also explores some spoken word into his music too so if you’d like to have a listen, the Bandcamp page for the album is below.

SOME STUFFS: Chris Robinson to release new album with the Brotherhood this Friday

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If you have been waiting for new music from Chris Robinson, Friday is the day. He and the Brotherhood will be releasing a new EP exclusively on vinyl called Try Rock ‘N’ Roll, a celebration of the music of the past featuring four cover versions, including Mel Tillis’ “Goodbye Wheeling”, Delaney Bramlett/Mac Davis’ “Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingam” (covered by Bobby Whitlock and Blue Cheer, among many), and a live rendition of Big Joe Turner’s “Shake Rattle And Roll”, also made famous by Bill Haley & The Comets. The title track is the centerpiece, originally performed by Bobby Mitchell. To check out “Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham”, head to LA Weekly for a listen.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood are currently on tour but the new record will only be sold at record stores, so head to your favorite vinyl shindigs and get a copy or two. As for a show, head there too, incuding some festival dates in April down in Australia:

November 25-26, 2014… San Diego, CA (Belly Up)
November 28, 2014… Los Angeles, CA (El Rey Theatre)
November 29, 2014… Santa Barbara, CA (Lobero Theatre)
November 30, 2014… Santa Ana, CA (The Observatory)
December 2, 2014… Sacramento, CA (Harlow’s)
December 3, 2014… Arcata, CA (Humboldt Brews)
December 5, 2014… Nevada City, CA (Miner & Foundry)
December 6, 2014… Chico, CA (El Rey Theater)
December 7, 2014… Sonoma, CA (Sonoma Winery)
December 30-31, 2014… Denver, CO (Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom)
January 2, 2015… Telluride, CO (Telluride Mountain Village)
January 7, 2015… Park City, UT (FIS Freestyle World Cup)
January 17, 2015… St. Petersburg, FL (Sunshine Music & Blues Festival)
January 18, 2015… Boca Raton, FL (Sunshine Music & Blues Festival)
February 3, 2015… Minneapolis, MN (Fine Line Music Cafe)
February 5, 2015… Milwaukee, WI (Turner Hall)
February 6, 2015… Chicago, IL (Park West)
February 7, 2015… Pontiac, MI (Crofoot Ballroom)
February 8, 2015… Millvale, PA (Mr. Small’s Theatre)
February 10, 2015… Woodstock, NY (Bearsville Theatre)
February 11, 2015… Washington, DC (9:30 Club)
February 13-14, 2015… Boston, MA (Paradise)
February 15, 2015… Stowe, VT (Rusty Nail)
February 19, 2015… Huntington, NY (The Paramount)
February 20-2, 2015… New York, NY (Gramercy Theatre)
February 22, 2015… Philadelphia, PA (Theatre of the Living Arts)
April 2-3, 2015… Byron Bay, Australia (Bluesfest)
April 4, 2015… Melbourne, Australia (The Corner Hotel)
April 6, 2015… Sydney, Australia (Metro Theatre)

VIDEO: Alex Calder’s “Lola”

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Alex Calder has released a single for his song “Lola” (no relation to The Kinks song of the same name). It’s a tune that wil lbe released on his album out on January 20th called Strange Dreams and while he may have them (strange dreams, that is), this song is not strange by any means. Watch and listen to “Lola” and if you like your style of pop with eclectic twists along the way, you will find this very interesting and enjoyable.

VIDEO: Hosannah’s “The Road”

From It’s ALL Academics is the debut album from Hosannah, who would like to share with you a song produced by The Clydes called “The Road”. They’re not in the middle of the road nor at the end of it, but they may be on it because they must ride it all night long, and days. The video, which may come off unfinished but what’s what they supplied, was directed by José Ruiz.

BOOK’S JOOK: Earth Wind & Fire’s “Mighty Mighty”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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    It is uncertain what was the first Earth, Wind & Fire song I heard but considering that we only had the Open Our Eyes album in our house until Spirit was released, it’s safe to guess that it would be the opening track to Open Our Eyes, “Mighty Mighty”. The song has a groove and a wicked sense of funk, what a way to begin a fantastic album. Sure, I got into the band more as they released That’s The Way Of The World, Spirit and All-N-All but Open Our Eyes was my album, it was a must, it became necessary for me to listen to.

    As a kid, I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics for “Mighty Mighty” but I knew the chorus “we are people of the mighty, mighty people of the sun” because it seemed to represent my upbringing in Honolulu, for me at least. When I heard the second half of the chorus which said “in our heart lies all the answers to the truth you can’t run from“, I wasn’t sure what they were singing about, and it would take me awhile, and living life where I’d be able to relate to it completely, did I know its meaning.

    The first chorus had Maurice White and Philip Bailey singing about keeping true to yourself, whether it’s with a spiritual sense or whatever you choose to believe in because “how’s your faith? ’cause your faith is you/who you kiddin’, to yourself be true“. What I never understood was the second chorus, but once I started living as an adult and got a job, then it all became perfectly clear:

    The eagle flies every seven days
    still cryin’ blue all about your pay
    what ya gonna do ’bout your living thing?
    will ya make it better or just complain?

    everyday is real, don’t run from fear
    ’cause better days are very near
    there are times when you’re bound to cry
    one more time, head to the sky

    The song was about working a 9 to 5, having to deal with the powers that be and feeling stuck within certain boundaries. If you stick to your intentions and what you enjoy doing, you’ll be happy. After that point, Bailey starts reading the high notes of the song, but he doesn’t even stop there. He goes higher during the chorus and that has got to be the brightest sound of jubilation ever heard on wax.

    Even the small moments in the song are great, from the brief mention of “delicious” after the line “who you kiddin’, to yourself be true” to a minor “uh” panned to the left channel after the line “the eagle flies every seven days“, whatever reasons they were placed and remained in the mix, it sounds awesome. The song lasts a mere thre eminutes and yet I’d love to hear a full version of it, be it unedited or to a proper close without a fade. I want this to happen in my life, it is on my bucket list.

    Considering how much I love the drums, it makes sense that another reason why I like this 45 is because of its B-side, the song that opened side two of Open Our Eyes, “Drum Song”. It opened me to the kalimba and made me want to have one, even though I had no idea how to play one. I received it as a gift for my 7th or 8th birthday and I have it to this day, out-of-tune and everything.

    I also intended of putting other Earth, Wind & Fire songs into my dream jukebox, including “Got To Get You Into My Life”, “Serpentine Fire”, or “Fantasy” but no other song would fit perfectly into my jukebox than “Mighty Mighty”, for me at least. I remember it as one of my earliest musical pleasures. If the entire album was released as 45’s, I’d include it too but “Mighty Mighty” would have to go in there, for it represents who I am, in many ways.

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  • REVIEW: “I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-70″

     photo SlyStoneStoneFlower_cover_zps6c6adf35.jpg Over 15 years ago, I had an idea I suggested to Rhino Records that came from me spotting a 45 I found on Stone Flower Records. The Atlantic-distributed subsidiary was short lived but was a label given to Sly Stone as a way for him to record new music. In truth, it has been said that Stone wanted to come out with new music outside of his Epic Records soundtrack so as he was putting together what would become his There’s A Riot Going On album, he went into the studio to release a lot of material. I had learned that Little Sister, which featured Stone’s sister Venetta Steward, had recorded a full album meant for release, but remained in the tape vaults at the last minute when Sly finished the Family Stone album form Epic. So I knew more music existed. I figured Rhino Records would be the label to contact since it’s a Warner Bros.-related label, Atlantic is distributed by Warner Bros., it wouldn’t be difficult to come up with the masters. I did not get a response from Rhino, and I thought it would be a way for fans to hear music I felt already had a potential audience, and collectors would go nuts over it.

    15 years later, Seattle’s Light In The Attic have released a compilation that is very much exactly what I wanted Rhino to do so what became Rhino’s loss is now LITA’s gain. I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-70 features the four 45’s Stone Flower Records released, plus a wealth of songs that had remained unreleased until now. If you are a fan of Sly Stone, then you have definitely heard Little Sister’s “Somebody’s Watching You”, “Stanga”, and “You’re The One (Parts 1 & 2)”. If you are a Stone collector, you most likely picked up or heard of 6iX and the song “Just Like You”. You may have even heard of an early version of “Life & Death In G & A (Parts 1 & 2)” by Acaba Dream, released by A&M but was Sly & The Family Stone incognito with Hicks on vocals. In Hicks’ own version, it’s much slower, sleazier, grittier, dirtier but very much sexier. In truth, while the vocalist on these songs were by others, all of the music was entirely played by Sly Stone, and all come off as skeletal elements of what would become There’s A Riot Going On, consider this a deep deluxe edition in a way.

    What you also get on hear is the single Hicks released through Scepter Records, “Home Sweet Home – Part II” and “I’m Goin’ Home”. Both had Stone involvement and the label said it was a Stone Flower production, so it seems Stone was trying to find yet another label to release his music. If there are any major highlights on an album that is a highlight in itself, it’s the songs credited solely to Sly Stone, including an early version of “Africa”. One gets a sense that he was getting deep into himself as he was putting these together, but arguably this may have been the seeds of what happened when Stone started to lose himself as well. The man was a wizard in the recording studio and understood the roles he played inside, so what we’re hearing is a master that was up there with people like Frank Zappa, Todd Rundgren, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Wonder Stone deserves to be ranked up there with the musical geniuses, and is example of the shadows someone like Madlib is in with his great production techniques.

    In a greedy matter, I would have loved to have been an executive producer for a project like this had Rhino Records given the go-ahead. Today, I look at Light In The Attic Records as a label that came up with the idea too and did I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-70 properly. For me, this was long-awaited and fortunately, they did it right. Job well done.

    REVIEW: Puddle Splasher “Poor Planning”

     photo PuddleSplasher_cover_zps99ad74d2.jpg Poor Planning is a new 4-song EP by Puddle Splasher that play some pretty good rock, the type that you rarely hear on the radio these days or see on TV, but have to search for, which is how you discover the best music these days. I think these guys are pretty good, but so far I’ve mentioned the phrase “prety good” twice, and that was the third. It left me wondering if they’re able to do anything more other than hit the popular cliches that other bands of their ilk can do and have done better. The song I was won over with was “You Will”, and that’s probably due to the fast tempo and the delicate moments the group went through in the song. What I like is that the songs are good and easy to remember and it didn’t make me want to switch over to the next song. I wanted to hear more than the four songs featured here, which means I’ll wait around until they come up with a full length album, then we’ll go from there. I’ll be anxious like the young kid on the cover.

    REVIEW: Happy Diving’s “Big World”

     photo HappyDiving_cover_zpscd30dbb4.jpg Upon listening to the opening song on Happy Diving’s new album Big World, it lead me to wonder how they’re going to keep up the massive flux of distortion they’re placing in the song. I love distortion and there’s a lot of harmonies going in the playing but can they keep it up? They do with their next song “Space Ooze” and I have to prepare for the massive punch these guys are going to supply. They don’t lighten up their intensity until the half way point when “Sad Planet” begins, only to realize the verse are the sensitive part, the choruses (or what they call choruses) is a much bigger punch into the gut. They repeat the formula on the second half of the song, keeping things low and to the floor until the 10th and final song, “10”, and then they bathe in walls of feedback. In between this, they sing songs of strength, power, loss, love, and wonderment, and they may do it in a way that some may overlook due to the velocity of how loud they play (or how bold the music is mixed). Fortunately, the album is mixed nicely, it doesn’t sound terrible by any means, it’s something that can be handled if you can tolerate the loudness. I happen to love it and when it comes time for the band to take a breathe, they do it nicely before they suffocate until the album properly ends.