Thin Red Line

December 10th, 2009

Linda Ronstadt took a lot of flak in 1980 upon the release of her new wave influenced album Mad Love. She was accused of jumping on and trying to ride the punk/new wave bandwagon, a place where many believed she had no business. She was, after all, known primarily as a “folk,” “country-rock” “70s pop” artist. She didn’t write her own songs. To many she was nothing more than a fluffy Top 40 songstress. But, Ronstadt was always so much more than that and throughout her career she had a … [more]

Rubies On The Lawn

July 26th, 2009

Not too long after I moved from Austin to Nashville in late 1996 I ran across an album titled Crooked Mile by Trish Murphy. It was an independently released CD that had caught the attention of someone at the label I was working for, Koch Records. I was doing A&R for Koch at the time so I was given the task of finding out more about Murphy. A Texas singer-songwriter, this was her first real album (she’d released an independent, six song cassette titled Driving Home in 1995). Though I … [more]

T. Talton / B. Stewart / J. Sandlin

July 16th, 2009

The late sixties and early seventies were the golden years for the independent record labels. This was long, long before the entire music industry was swallowed up and controlled by three or four giant conglomerates. Like many record aficionados I had my favorite indie record labels. Asylum was my very favorite. In the mid-seventies they seemed like the label that was releasing everything I loved: Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, John David Souther, Linda Ronstadt, Souther-Hilllman-Furay Band, Tom Waits, etc. There were also some lesser known, but still … [more]

My 13 Favorite Reissues Of 2008

January 11th, 2009

Similar notes as with my list of 10 Favorite New Albums of 2008: 1. These are my “favorite” reissues from the past year. I’m sure there are some I missed, but these are the ones I spent the most time listening to and was most thankful to see released, for one reason or another. 2. It’s interesting to note that of the thirteen albums listed here, four consist of completely new “previously unreleased” material (Hank Williams, Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Simon & Garfunkel). The other nine consist of “new” … [more]

From The Paradise Motel

January 10th, 2009

In the mid-eighties I came across a publication from the Elliott Murphy Information Society. A newsletter really that provided a lot of information about, well, Elliott Murphy. Now, I’d been a big fan for many, many years (his debut, Aquashow, is in my Top 10 of all time), so I was very happy to make this discovery. I subscribed to the newsletter and eagerly awaited each edition (I think they came out quarterly). This was probably 1985 or 1986, way before email or websites. I can’t remember how it happened … [more]

My 10 Favorite New Albums Of 2008

January 1st, 2009

OK, a couple of things: 1. These are my “favorite” new albums released in 2008. I refrain from using the term “best new albums” as that’s too subjective of a term in my opinion. These are simply the records I liked most this year. I’m not saying they’re the best. 2. I’m sure there were other albums released this year that might have made this list but I simply haven’t heard them yet. This is what I’ve heard this year. 3. They are pretty much in order. 1. The Fabled … [more]

Kate & Anna McGarrigle

September 12th, 2008

Linda Ronstadt gets a bad rap in my opinon. Apart from the extraordinary run of superb albums she released in the mid seventies, she was instrumental in furthering the career of numerous fledgling artists and songwriters. Her self-titled album from 1971 featured a group of musicians who would soon be known as The Eagles. She was a huge influence on other female artists like Emmylou Harris and Nicollete Larson. She provided crucial exposure to up and coming songwriters like Karla Bonoff and Warren Zevon. Beginning with 1973’s Don’t Cry Now … [more]

Pet Sounds (RS #2)

August 17th, 2008

I grew up in Southern California. But, I’ve never been surfing, not even once. There’s a lot more to Southern California than just the “surfing/beach party” impression that many people have of it. My family moved to Lancaster, a small town in the Mojave Desert, when I was about three or four. It’s less than a ninety-minute drive from Lancaster to the golden beaches of Santa Monica, Venice or even Malibu. But in almost every way possible it seemed like a million miles away to a kid growing up there … [more]

Detours

August 16th, 2008

I used to frequent a record store in San Marcos, Texas called Sundance Records. I’d make a point of stopping by almost every day. The folks who owned and ran the store became friends, as did the clerks who worked there. I’d always head first for a little bin next to the cash register where they’d place used “new arrivals,” a great place to get cheap CDs. Many of these were often “promo” CDs. For those that might not know, the record labels sound out hundreds, if not thousands of … [more]

Tomorrow The World

August 13th, 2008

We installed hard wood flooring in my home office recently and that meant moving all my CDs and vinyl out into a storage shed for a couple of months. No small task. Moving it all back in required me to once again alphabetize the CDs as I put them onto the shelves because no matter how careful you are packing they are going to get a little out of order when transfer them from shelves to boxes and back to shelves again. As I was unpacking a box one day … [more]