Friday, November 30, 2007
"You get a chance to mix with everybody/Nobody seems to care... Good times/Cheap wine/Young chicks/So fine... All shapes and sizes of women/Pulling on your sleeve...You'll get juiced/You'll have fun/Doing things you've never done." Now that's what I call a great lyric! Toss in the brilliant voice of Clyde McPhatter, a honking solo by an anonymous saxophonist and perfect backing harmony vocals and it becomes one of the greatest pop songs ever. The 1954 date was actually released under the Drifters name. It can be found on the marvelous The Forgotten Angel compilation.
Snoop, I realize that the quality of your musical output has never been consistent, but I feel obligated to let you know that I was deeply embarrassed for you when I heard "Sensual Seduction" on the radio last night. Chris Brown's "Kiss Kiss" is no longer the worst song of 2007. I will admit, however, that the video is awe-inspiring.
Kansas City Click: Paddy Keenan plays pipes tonight at the Irish Museum in Union Station. You just know that'll be a blast.
The triple bill of Electric Six, Willowz and We Are the Fury promises to be one of the best rock shows of the year. It's Saturday at the Record Bar.
I'm still haunted by memories of the stunning Trio Mediaeval concert I saw last year. They return to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Sunday.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Back To Rockville tipped me off about the forthcoming Big Dipper reunion. For guys of a certain age (ahem), this far more exciting than news about a reunion of the Police or Soundgarden. One of the bands in the Big Dipper constellation is Dumptruck. Their third album, 1987's For the Country, combines the familiar jangle of that era with accomplished roots rock. It's enough to bring a nostalgic tear to the eye of a geezer.
Does anyone else remember the moment when it looked like Vinx was going to be the biggest Kansas City export since Charlie Parker? I guess Vinx was a little ahead of the curve with his jam-band tendencies. Instead of becoming a popular attraction on today's jam-band circuit, he's now living in LA and doing a slick cosmopolitan jazz thing.
Kansas City Click: I'm always startled by how well Max Groove goes over with his audience. Some people genuinely love the smooth jazz thing. He plays tonight at the space currently named the Embassy Bistro.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The dream is over.
I'm enthralled with the film memoir footage Laurie Pepper has posted at YouTube. As she told NPR, Art Pepper's widow has embarked on a unique approach to documenting the altoist's life. Even if you hate jazz, I implore you to watch this 30-second segment. Roots hero James Intveld plays Art. The altoist died less than three months after this out-of-print 1982 session with George Cables, John Dentz and Tony Dumas. The title track contains some mighty pretty playing.
Don't let me or anyone else fool you. This video of Cash Money performing their regional hit "In My Chevy" is what's really happening in Kansas City.
Even in the anything-goes world of music blogs, I feel totally isolated. Thanks to Largehearted Boy's best-of link-fest, I'm finding that my forthcoming best-of lists are distressingly unique.
Kansas City Click: The biker rock of Frank Bang isn't really my thing, but I can wholeheartedly recommend his gig tonight at Knuckleheads to the thousands of Kansas Citians who live on a steady diet of straightforward boogie.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I prefer Budweiser to Heineken. A ticket to a Rob Zombie concert would make me happier than being guest-listed for a Cat Power show. And I know that Puddle of Mudd is a much better live act the Arctic Monkeys. While I dig folk singers from Cape Verde and noise out of New York's downtown jazz scene, I also embrace music enjoyed by my neighbors and co-workers. And it doesn't get more honest than the artist roster of Suburban Noize Records.
Big B's "How It Sounds," from 2006's Random Stuff, is a near-perfect pop gem about appreciating lyrics. If the deck wasn't stacked against self-proclaimed white trash like Big B, it probably would have been a hit. The video for "Hooligan" is an ideal summation of Big B's ethos. "One hundred percent natural born loser," Big B confesses. "But I've never sold out- not even once." I believe him. And so do the thousands of fans who are showing up to see Big B and the Kottonmouth Kings on their current tour.
The venues won't be packed with trendy kids or elitist music bloggers. The audience cultivated by Big B and the Kottonmouth Kings doesn't need anyone's permission to appreciate material like "Hit That," an unrepentant ode to getting wasted. It's on Hidden Stash III.
Talk about random... The Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet consists of four post-bop jazz cats based in Croatia. And they're excellent.
Kansas City Click: Vader, Abigail Williams, Malevolent Creation and Cattle Decapitation are just a few of the acts on Death By Decibels, the black metal tour of the year. If the surburban police department doesn't panic, the show will start at 6 p.m. tonight at the Mission Theater.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Too much beauty.
Since I mangled my left knee on Thanksgiving afternoon, seemingly simple tasks like replacing a disc in a CD player have become a major challenge. So after about five consecutive plays of the new Jay-Z, I finally convinced someone to grab Sao Vicente for me. It's no substitute for Vicodin, but the music of Cesaria Evora can help ease the worst of pains. Elements of Portugese fado, Brazilian MPB, African rhythms and Italian pop inform Evora's sublime beauty.
Until this morning, Taylor Swift was a shoe-in as my least favorite artist of the year. The kid's calculated insincerity really irks me. But then I heard NPR's interview with soprano Measha Brueggergosman on Morning Edition. "I think that music without drama or character is uninteresting and that's what I kind of like about this repertoire," she said of contemporary art songs. "It feels like it's an extension of who I am anyway." Ugh.
Here are a few pictures I took of Millie Jackson, Floyd Taylor and Johnnie Taylor, Jr., at the Thanksgiving dance in Kansas City, Kansas. My pal Jason has his own take.
Kansas City Click: I can't attend tonight's early show at The Record Bar. Because I prefer listening to noise bands in ten minute bursts, I might not suffer through The Locust 's entire set anyway. But I'd love to catch openers The Beautiful Bodies, Sleeping People and Yip Yip.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The annual Thanksgiving breakfast concert is one of Kansas City's best traditions. It usually features soul-blues artists like Z.Z. Hill, Clarence Carter, Marvin Sease and Bobby Rush. This year we get Millie Jackson, along with two of Johnnie Taylor's sons. I'm giddy. Every Jackson album contains wacky moments, and perhaps none is odder than Royal Rappin's. The 1979 collaboration with Isaac Hayes features a cover of Foreigner's "Feels Like the First Time." It mostly concerns faltering relationships and the politics of sex, common Jackson themes. "If You Had Your Way" is a prime example. Hayes' exhortations are both amusing and convincing. Jackson is infamous for her vulgarity, but it's intelligent material like this that makes her an extraordinary talent.
I wasn't tempted to buy Keith Urban's new hit collection yesterday. But when I listened to an e-card for Rhonda Vincent's January release this morning, I was struck by her wonderfully sympathetic duet partner on "The Water Is Wide." I was startled to discover it was Urban.
My favorite rock star is Brandon Phillips of the Architects. So it's no surprise that I'm amused by his little conceit at Jason Harper's blog.
Kansas City Click: Will anyone be at the VooDoo Lounge tonight for the John Butler Trio? (It blows my mind that this video is approaching two million views.) There Stands the Glass favorite Brett Dennen opens.
As noted above, Millie Jackson, Floyd Taylor and Johnnie Taylor, Jr. are at the National Guard Armory in Kansas City, KS, on Thursday. BYOB.
Monday, November 19, 2007
In the rare instance anyone thinks of Kansas Joe McCoy, it's probably either in reference to his wife Memphis Minnie or their 1929 recording of "When the Levee Breaks." Both are notable achievements. One In a Hundred, a collection of McCoy's dates, is packed with 24 additional reasons he should be more clearly remembered. This 1931 session with Memphis Minnie (I don't know why he calls her "Miss Sheila" on the recording; maybe he's saying "mis-treater." And for that matter, why does he pronounce "deaf" as deef"?) is so enthralling that it's somewhat surprising that a blues revival band like Led Zeppelin didn't cover it. Maybe it's just too dirty and too odd.
Although I love pure pop music (regular readers already know about my weakness for Beyonce and Ashley Tisdale) the first 55 minutes of last night's American Music Awards was excruciating. After painfully pitiful performances by Fergie, Will.I.Am, Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls and Rascal Flatts, the Jonas Brothers seemed brilliant. That's when I turned off my TV.
I enjoyed a Chris Cornell/Earl Greyhound concert over the weekend. My review is here.
Kansas City Click: I called Jerry Hahn "an angry Jim Hall" at Plastic Sax. See why here. The Wichita-based guitarist is featured at the Blue Room tonight.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I didn't hesitate to pay an exorbitant twenty dollars for Ralph Stanley's self-titled CD. It was the price of entry to a roped-off merch area where I had the honor of shaking the great man's hand. Along with artists including Alison Krauss & Union Station, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs and Del McCoury, Stanley was part of the 2002 version of the tour. The eighty-year-old visits a roadhouse in my town Saturday night. The ancient "Little Mathie Grove" is about a terrifying battle that concludes with a spiteful decapitation.
I don't care about Hanson one way or another, but I'm very impressed by their charitable shoe walk campaign. It's a cool idea for the artist, their fans, an apparel company and the charity's recipients.
Here's a damning confession- until I picked up Mothership earlier this week, I didn't own a single Led Zeppelin CD. I just never felt the need to replace my vinyl. I feel like a drooling 17-year-old miscreant again.
Kansas City Click: Vanessa Rubin's elegant crooning comes to the Blue Room Friday.
It doesn't get much cooler than Ralph Stanley performing at Knuckleheads Saturday.
The People's Liberation Big Band gets anarchic at The Pistol Sunday.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Or maybe not.
I share Bob Dylan's infatuation with Alicia Keys. It's not (just) that she's pretty; she's the obvious people's choice to inherit the traditional R&B crown. Even so, I bought As I Am with minimal expectations. I'm not a big fan of the first single, even though I look forward to her next tour when I can sing along to the bit at 3:27 in the video. After a spinning it a couple times, As I Am sounds like a near miss. With a few minor tweaks it could have been in the same league as good-but-not-great albums by Stevie and Aretha. She'll get there. And while I'm sure Keys would object to the assertion, I believe she's already surpassed the fine career of Patti Austin. Big ballads like "It Might Be You" are even better when delivered by Keys. But if she hasn't already absorbed this recording, Keys would do well to study Austin's caustic spoken word routines on 1992's Live. Austin is a remarkably gifted comedian.
My friend Corky recently posted a stunning set of photos of Billy Joe Shaver.
Kansas City Click: Eric Bachman picks and grins at the Record Bar tonight.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
A few years before he was reconfigured into his current incarnation as a legendary "bloozeman," Buddy Guy made several tough recordings for the British JSP label. They're not life-chaning documents on the level of Hoodoo Man Blues, but they're essential for anyone wanting to know the man's whole story. This set, which includes the harrowing live 1979 session featured here, is the handiest way to go.
The triple bill of The Hold Steady, Art Brut and 1990s is surely one of the most inspired I've witnessed. My review of last night's event is here.
New local post-screamo supergroup Paper Cities sounds stupefying. I can't wait to see them.
Kansas City Click: Try requesting "The Dollar Done Fell" at Buddy Guy's show tonight at the Voodoo.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Let's hear it for perseverance. With their twelfth album, Conjunto Agua Azul finally has a national hit on the norteno circuit with "El Diccionario". I love the chaotic celebration of their 2002 En Vivo. It's exactly how all live albums should sound.
I'll admit that Regina Spektor buckled my knees a couple times last night. My review is here.
I know at least of couple of There Stands the Glass readers plan on driving from Kansas City to Lawrence tomorrow night for the Hold Steady/Art Brut show. Since I'm not drinking, let me know if you'd like me to be your driver. I could pick you up at a nearby bar, or if you're planning on a truly massive night, just park at my home and crash in my basement after the show. You derelicts know who you are.
Kansas City Click: MmmBop! Hanson is at the Beaumont tonight.
Friday, November 09, 2007
At the pinnacle of the last great blues revival, Zuzu Bollin's Texas Bluesman was my favorite album. The core band on the 1989 session was the Juke Jumpers, an incredible bar band popular on the I-35 circuit from San Antonio to Minneapolis. But the final CD version also featured roots music stars like Duke Robillard, Doug Sahm and David "Fathead" Newman alongside Texas favorites including Doyle Bramhall, Hash Brown and Marchel Ivery. Ivery, a talented but largely overlooked Texas tenor, died eleven days ago. He was 69. (News tip to my friend BGO.) The Dallas Blues Society produced a fine documentary on Bollin. An Ivery solo begins at the 3:10 mark in this 2005 video.
I watched much of the Latin Grammys last night. While I'm not his biggest fan, the night's best performance was by Pepe Aguilar. It's not up on YouTube yet, but the audience's response was not unlike the frenzied reaction in this insane footage. Forget what I said last week about Bobby Rush; this might be the best live music video ever. Aguilar just owns it.
Have you physically handled Garth Brooks' new product? Ultimate Hits is really impressive. Its two CDs and DVD are contained spool-style in a single jewel case. It can be easily had for well under $20.00. The music industry as we know it would survive if more superstar artists followed his lead.
Kansas City Click: Mary McCaslin plays a house concert Friday.
Chiara Quartet dares to enter the Brick on Saturday.
Come Sunday, Regina Spektor graduates to the Uptown.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
One of my pet theories is that the most genuine musicians- the ones who place music above all else- tour right until the bitter end. It doesn't matter if they're filling arenas or are reduced to playing in the dingiest saloons. They simply must keep performing. Hank Thompson was one of those. The 82-year-old honky tonk and Western swing star died Tuesday. "The New Green Light," an excellent kiss-off hit from 1954, is typical Thompson. The song is captured from an odd camera angle in this television appearance. Thompson's Vintage Collection is superlative.
I intended to watch the CMA Awards last night, but I was distracted by Gardner-Webb's amazing victory over Kentucky. I did catch Taylor Swift accepting the best new artist award. The teenager really bugs me.
The Star reports that the body of Dan Billings, the drummer for Missouri, was discovered last week. Missouri enjoyed significant regional success in the late '70s.
Kansas City Click: Will Hoge brings his dramatic roots rock to the Grand Emporium tonight.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
The danger has passed.
My previous post was the 500th entry at There Stands the Glass. Since the site's inception 24 months ago, I've never featured the same artist twice (excepting Porter Wagoner, who I spotlighted in a duet with Dolly Parton in June 2006 and upon news of his death last week). My self-imposed rule of never using material among Amazon's top 20,000 sellers has been broken only at the explicit request of labels and artists and when James Brown passed away. I've almost always written about music that I consider excellent. Until today. In acknowledgment of my dubious achievement, I'll willfully feature something truly wretched. I respect Edgar Winter. I even went to see him perform this summer. But man, Mission Earth is surely one of the worst albums ever released by a significant rock artist. The 1986 "collaboration" with the late L. Ron Hubbard is a fascinating case study in awfulness. "Treacherous Love" is the rock opera's best song, and everything about it is horrifying. Bonus points for the absurd album cover.
I've never been much of a Jay-Z guy, so I bought American Gangster with low expectations. I can't believe I'm writing this: it's great.
Jazz Times reports that trumpeter Donald Ayler, Albert's younger brother, died in October.
Kansas City Click: I'm considering subjecting myself to what's arguably the best heavy rock tour of the year tonight- Otep, Hellyeah and Blood Simple are at the Uptown.
Monday, November 05, 2007
As I stood in line waiting to enter Isaac Hayes' Friday night show, I noticed that a woman resembling "Mama" was engaged in an intense conversation with Bobby Rush's dopppelganger. (Best video ever, by the way.) I had to listen in. The woman had been comped her ticket, but she had no idea who Hayes was, and she was starting to get a little nervous about the composition of the audience. "Well," the Bobby Rush guy explained, "Isaac Hayes is kind of like Barry White." That didn't help "Mama," and I don't know if she liked the show. I did; my review is here. And as much as I also love Barry White's hits, orchestral soul doesn't get much better than White Gold, the 1974 release by his primary side project.
Back when Kansas City had a handful of outstanding record stores, Saul Tucker was one of the characters who made them great. I hadn't seen him for well over a year, but he popped up ESPN on Saturday.
Kansas City Click: Mr. Garth Brooks begins his extended run at the Sprint Center tonight.
Friday, November 02, 2007
No more words.
I was disappointed the only time I saw Warren Zevon perform. The man seemed halfhearted and combative during the 1990 club show. The following year he released Mr. Bad Example. I wasn't especially impressed with it, either, but it does contain this fine slice of honky tonk. The guest vocalist is instantly recognizable.
Crazy Horse. The Band. Billy Preston. Bonnie Raitt. It's almost impossible not to toss out comparisons when discussing Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I caught their live show for the first time last night. Their opening set for Gov't Mule was so soulful that not a single Warren Haynes guitar geek threw a bottle at them. Even though Potter and her band are shamelessly derivative, they somehow manage to find new ways to make 1971 sound fresh and invigorating.
"My Drank N My 2 Step" is on repeat inside my noggin. Please send help.
Kansas City Click: Isaac Hayes is at the VooDoo tonight.
The Pitch has a nice piece about the Colt 45 reunion show Saturday at Knuckleheads.
Jay Reatard and the Pink Socks get sloppy at the Record Bar Sunday.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Peter Green- The Honeymoon Is Over
A great deal of publicity accompanied the publication of Eric Clapton's autobiography last month. Not to diminish any of Clapton's accomplishments or personal tragedies, but the saga of another British blues guitarist is even more harrowing. Peter Green's brilliant rock star days and recent happy resurgence are encapsulated by two videos. Get past Hefner's idiocy at the Playboy Mansion to see the cracks in Green's psyche becoming visible. And lately Green is playing impressive but somewhat unspectacular trad blues. His 1998 tribute to Robert Johnson is typical.
I don't know why the cool kid music bloggers aren't losing their minds for Fourth of July. The Lawrence, KS, band offer outstanding post-Pavement melodic jangle and impeccable hipster cred. They can be sweet and goofy. Tim Finn wrote a profile of band member Adrianne Verhoeven for today's Star.
Kansas City Click: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals open for Gov't Mule tonight at the VooDoo.