Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tribute to the Great Matty Alou!

Hello, friends! I want to take a moment to pay a tribute to my all time favorite Pittsburgh Pirate, one Matty Alou.

 Matty died last November but at the time I was taking a hiatus from blogging. The Pirates' front office's failure to make any significant moves at the trading deadline really got to me. Opportunities are so fleeting...but anyway, I've revamped the blog and now I'm writing the post I've wanted to write for quite a few months now, which is to pay tribute to the late, great, Matty Alou.

Honky Tonk Women - Evolution of a Song!

The Rolling Stones unleashed the single “Honky Tonk Women” in 1969.  In many ways, it was somewhat anamolous; it has a unique sound among the Stones classics; at the same time, it’s instantly recognizable as the Rolling Stones. Classic Keith riff, Jagger’s party-time vocal, Charlie’s propulsive rhythm.  Add a touch of Mick Taylor’s new guitar and Bill’s steady bass, and there you go. Da Stones.

However, perhaps because the song is so unique it has, more than most of their classics, lent itself to some interpretation over the years by the band.   Some changes in the live performance are subtle, some less so.  As such, I thought it would be interesting to really study the evolution of the song over time and relate it, where it made sense to do so, to where the band was at any given time in their career.  Let’s start with the 1969 single as a baseline, and explore the band’s interpretation over the years on that basis. 

New Stones Tour? SURE! Here's How To Do It!

So there’s this organization out there called the Rolling Stones Liberation Front. Worth checking out at:

Now see how well they get along?
Anyway, they have six demands for a 2012 tour – considered highly likely, as 2012 is the band’s 50th anniversary. I agree, it is likely – not just for sentimentality, but because all the licensing and merch deals are reportedly in place. If anyone knows anything about the Stones, they know that that’s a pre-requisite for these guys!

The RSLF’s demands are ones that I, as a long-term, diehard fan, endorse, and I applaud the dudes for making the case.  With the exception of rolling back the ticket prices, however, I think most folks would be disappointed if they didn’t hear a bunch of the warhorses, and I think that limiting the shows to very small venues would just drive ticket prices up for those shows on the secondary market, and cut out a lot of people.

But the RSLF is on track, and they insprired me to think about MY vision for 2012.  So what would I like to see? Well, here’s my ten point plan! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ten Essential Sparks Albums!

Background: I love Sparks.  They are totally unlike almost all of the other groups I listen to – the Stones, AC/DC, Ramones, Jett, and variants thereof.  Sparks are led by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, and they’ve been producing music together for over 35 years.  People often ask me which Sparks albums they should get to acquaint themselves with the music.  Well, a few albums represented key turning points for the band, or were of such extremely high quality, that they could be deemed “essential” and therefore top the list. So from their 22 albums, here’s my list of ten essentials!  The first seven were highly significant with respect to Sparks’ evolution over the past 40 years.  Three others are discussed because of their extremely high quality, even if they didn’t represent “turning points” per se.