Friday, October 26, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 73: Prince & the Revolution - Purple Rain

Album - Purple Rain
Artist - Prince and the Revolution
Key Players - Lisa Coleman - keyboard and backing vocals, Wendy - guitars and backing vocals, Bobby Z - percussion, Brownmark - bass and backing vocals, Matt Fink - keyboards and vocals, Prince - Guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, vocals.
Produced By - Prince and the Revolution

Release Date - June 25, 1984

What caused me to blow off the dust? - There are so many Prince releases that seem to float under the radar. His last two or three alone have struck a chord with fans but they seemed to go ignored. Since many folks have this album figured it was time to have you blow the collective dust off a real gem right along with me.

- This was the sixth release from Prince. This record also introduced the backing band "The Revolution" to the masses. The album would prove to be the biggest selling Prince album and it would win three Grammy awards, and the title track would also win an Academy Award. Four of the songs would go top 10 in the US and in 2007 Vanity Fair voted this the best movie soundtrack of all time.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Spoken words over long keyboard notes open "Let's Go Crazy". Prince preaches his gospel and about 40 seconds in the electric drums and back beat kick in. With a patented "Woooo" by Prince the keyboard clunk down and the now almost campy 80's layers of electronica wash over the track. Wendy and Lisa offer a nice high end touch to the vocal responses. The guitar line is terrific and it doesn't take long before you realize the virtuosity Prince possesses on the guitar. It smokes, plain and simple. The song has a great crescendo to the end with yet another smoking guitar solo. Folks probably recall the video where Prince baby steps and covers his body time and time again with his hands..but the solo again smokes. Co-Star in the film Apollonia sings this a duet with Prince on "Take Me With U". For some reason, this has always been a personal favorite of mine. There is a certain way the chorus hits me. The track features some strings (which are not credited in the liner notes) and more acoustic guitars. The track has a happy, bouncing feel to it. A gem of a track. Some form of electric drums or keyboards open up "The Beautiful Ones" before the keyboard dominates. The vocals are delivered in an even higher vibrato than prior Prince tracks. Its a slower track over all until about the three and half minute mark, when Prince digs deep and really shows off his vocal pipes. He grinds the vocals as the keyboards wash over the top. A guitar solo is there as well, but its buried a little in the mix. "Computer Blue" opens with almost the same keyboard effect as "When Doves Cry. The keyboards kick in and its got a little more of the 80's cheesy keyboards but the song has a great underlying back beat. A guitar solo, that is more a run of scales, with some drum changes alters the course of the track, in a good direction mind you, before it comes back around for another guitar solo that is a little cleaner than the earlier one. One of the more infamous Prince tracks ever follows..."Darling Nikki". A song that caused many a blushed face opens with a delayed guitar chord and single keyboard progression. The cd is void of a "Parental Advisory" sticker so be warned of little ears as questions may arise. The vocals are a little more spoken but the overall feel is dark, dirty and downright magical, a standout Prince track and well worth the attention it gets. This also has a reverse vocal portion (called backmasking) and shows a very opposite direction of the song. If the portion is played backwards it says: "Hello, how are you? I'm fine, 'cause I know that the Lord is coming soon. Coming, coming soon.". One of the most well known tracks follows in "When Doves Cry". There is some great guitar work, a bunch of the patented Prince yelps, and an instantly identifiable keyboard solo. "I Would Die 4 U" is heavy on the keyboard. Musically it sounds like something out of the film "Blade Runner". If you are not looking as the cd changes track it is almost as if "Baby I'm a Star" is the same track. It has some great musical urgency yet has that great "Prince and the Revolution" feel. Its a strong lost track from the album. The "epic", covered by a million other bands, lighter waving, hand swaying "Purple Rain" closes out the record, need I really say anything?

Where are they now? - Brownmark (aka Mark Brown) took a short break from music and his back performing. (see links). Wendy and Lisa would join forces to score television and films. Wendy has been active as music producer as well. Bobby Z (aka Robert Rivkin) has also been working a producer and launched a record label. Matt Fink (aka Dr.Fink) has just begun work with a new organization (see links) which hopes to "write and produce cutting-edge pop-music for major markets." Prince continues to write, record and perform. Since 2005 alone he has done (to name but a few) released two new albums, performed at the Superbowl, done a major world tour, written and recorded for movie soundtracks and the list goes on and on. In February of 2004 Prince was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - File this under one of the top 3 "still active bands/performers I still need to see live". There was a chance on his 3121 tour to see him for a mere $10.00. To this day I have NO idea why I didn't go.

FDF Overall Take - Its hard to really add anything that hasn't already been said about the album. This is probably the first, or one of the first Prince songs/albums people ever heard. He is one of the most under rated guitar players of all time and has a vault of unreleased material that, if were ever to see the light of day, would push his total number of albums in to the 100's released. Prince has a ravenous and very passionate fan base. He pays the fans back with a constant string of live shows, releases and VIP fan club membership perks. Some fans found him to be "too weird" with the name change and the not nearly as successful stream of releases, but he appears to be coming back strong and more focused than ever. I'll be here for the next round with open ears.

Brownmark on myspace
Wendy and Lisa - Official page here
Dr. Fink - Official page here and a myspace page here.
Prince - Official site here and a fantastic fan page is here.

***mp3's have been removed Nov 21, 2007 11:28 am ET***
Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Take Me With U
Darling Nikki
Baby I'm a Star

You can get the cd here for starters.

This weeks special download a few tracks....

Paisley Park Studios, Minneapolis MN
December 31, 1987

mp3s have been removed

Let's Go Crazy
When Doves Cry

This was an FM broadcast or TV feed. Sounds good with slightly altered, heavier on the horns versions.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 72: Weather Report - Heavy Weather

Album - Heavy Weather
Artist - Weather Report
Key Players - Joe Zawinul - electric piano, piano, synthesizer, vocal, melodica, guitar, tabla, Wayne Shorter - Soprano and tenor saxophones, Jaco Pastorius - Electric bass, mandocello, vocals, drums, steel drums, Alex Acuna - drums, congas, tom toms, handclap, Manolo Badrena -Tambourine, congas, vocal, timbales, percussion

Produced By - Joe Zawinul and Jaco Pastorius

Release Date - 1977

What caused me to blow off the dust? – For some reason I have been in a jazz fusion mood the last few weeks. I looked at the few jazz cds I own and decided to grab one that had not been listened to in a bit (sadly there were too many) but this one stood out. I grabbed it initially when I was in a heavy Jaco Pastorius phase.

Overview – Weather Report were a popular jazz fusion group of the 1970s. The band was originally and idea of Miles Davis and it would begin a long tenure as a groundbreaking band of talented musicians. Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter were two fo the longest running members (the two that actually decided to end it all as well). Heavy Weather would be one of the bigger selling jazz fusion albums of all time.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Once you hear "Birdland" (see download) you’ll say “oh yeah I have heard this before”. The track establishes the overall vibe of the record with stellar musicianship. Pastorius has some intricate bass fills, on this, his second record with Weather Report. Shorters sax work is also a stand out. Zawinul opens with some cascading piano on “A Remark You Made" which is then followed up with Shorter playing a soulful intro. For a jazz fusion record this is actually a little on the mellow side of things. "Teen Town" has a more fun feel and is lead by Jaco’s bass lines. Shorter plays only subtle notes here and there to compliment Acunas tight drum work. "Harlequin" has more synthesizer than any prior track. It has a “wavy” sound over the top and Shorter again layers sax lines over but then you notice the piano stand out a little more. Opening to give you a feel of a live record "Rumba Mamá" is covered with clapping and cheering. This is really pretty much a drum solo track. "Palladíum" has a real fusion feel from the outset. A lot of stop/start time, grooving bass, sax layered over and the piano playing some single notes. Its has a great feel and is easy for someone who is not a jazz person to better identify with. "The Juggler" is also another, less chaotic, jazz track. The keyboards have a certain vibe to them on this track. Zawiul does not over do much on this track but uses a few tools on the track. He is not committed to one sound or instrument. Shorter gets a little action around the two minute mark. The album closes out with "Havona", a track that showcases all the players in their full glory. Jaco wrote it so he really excel ls, but Shorter is no slouch on the sax parts. A decent album closer for sure.

Where are they now? - This jazz ensemble had a lot of members. To keep it simpler, and release specific, we shall cover the members on Zawinul passed away on September 11, 2007. He was hospitalized after a tour and died of a rare form of skin cancer. Wayne Shorter continues to perform. Jaco Pastorius, one of the most celebrated jazz bass players in history battled drug problems and bipolar disorder. His final day is clouded in mystery, but Jaco was on the end of a severe beating outside a bar and was knocked in to a coma. His family decided to remove him from life support and he died on September 21, 1987. Acuna has continued to work and also has been a teacher at various music schools, he continues to tour. Badrea is active in a band called Trio Mundo

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – Weather Report disbanded in 1986, well before my time as a fan of the jazz genre. I still have hope to see some surviving members on their other projects.

FDF Overall Take – Jazz fusion was a big deal in the 1970s’. The 80s’ saw stark changes to the musical landscape and the band struggled, but were very accomplished musicians. Jazz was and still is huge overseas (Japan and Eurpoe) that fans will always have something exciting and new to listen to. Weather Report for a long time running were a testament to the bounds that could be pushed musically and they succeeded on many levels.


Weather Report on myspace
Alex Acuna on myspace
Trio Mundo
Wayne Shorter on wiki
Official page for Jaco Pastorius

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's have been removed***


You can buy a copy here as well as
here for starters.

.Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request

Friday, October 12, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 71: Silverchair - Frogstomp

Album - Frogstomp
Artist - Silverchair
Key Players - Chris Joannou - bass, Ben Gillies - drums, Daniel Johns - guitar, vocals
Produced By - Kevin Shirley

Release Date - March 27, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I am not sure if terrestrial radio is playing it, but Sirius is playing a single off the new cd that I think is really good. This had me decide it was time to go back as my attention to the band did ebb and flow over the years.

Overview - This was the first album from Australian, and then teenagers Silverchair. This particular album would garner them a lot of press in America both for music and their age. The album hit at a perfect time with the grunge movement and the album. The band would release a few albums then take a short break, to return in 2007. To this day, one of the bigger bands to come from Australia.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - A solo chugging, yet swirling bass opens up "Israel's Son". After a few bars the crunchy guitar and drums come in. It doesn't take the listener long to get what Silverchair will sound like. The sound is full, and mature for such young kids. Simple riffs perhaps but a full and well produced sound. The track kicks in to high gear as Johns sings "Get your hands in the air" a track that would cause mosh pits to come to life. The song that was probably the reason most folks (myself included) bought the record for in the first place "Tomorrow" follows. A rather simple,. quiet opening is quickly hushed by the rousing chorus. Again, its a full sounding track with each instrument having just the right level in the mix. "Faultline" begins with a more laid back approach but the band is on to something with the quiet/loud kind of thing. Sure is kind of a lather/rinse/repeat format but the songs are catchy enough to not bore the listener. Another single on American radio was "Pure Massacre". Rolling tom toms roll out underneath as Johns and Joannou play lightly over the top. By the one minute mark we have hit the distortion pedal and we are off once more. "Shade" is a lighter more casual track from the band. The band shows a softer side with acoustic guitars but its by no means a ballad. "Leave Me Out" brings back the rock. The opening riffs have a very heavy "monsters of rock" feel. Sort of generic grunge riffs but still thick and heavy. Johns voice never had a ton of range but he bellows this track pretty well. "Suicidal Dream" is the obligatory introspective track on the record. Johns pines over emotions and uncertainty. The track, musically, is nothing out of the norm for the record. It's a mid-tempo track until towards the end when the band speeds it up some but its not for long before the song is fading. Grinding riffs that kicked of many a mosh pit the instrumental "Madman" is up next. Sure its filled with virtually every stereotypical moment of rock music but it none the less rips. See for yourself in the download section. "Undecided" opens with the distorted bass, single notes at that, and the band drops in 10 seconds later. Its a crunchy track, most notably on the guitar. The drums have a certain "thwap" sound to them as well. "Cicada" follows with the thump thump of the toms before the guitars come down. As mentioned before there are not really ground breaking moments here, but the band is a great collective whole. Feeding off one another the song just remains a tight mix with the right mix of heavy. "Findaway" is a great album closer. It leaves the listener with a sample of everything they'd now expect in listening to Silverchair. Big guitars, rolling bass and hard hitting drums. A perfect closer.

Where are they now?
- The band is still active and have recently released Young Modern. Following a 2002 tour the band did go on "hiatus". Johns, who had battled anorexia in the past worked on solo projects and was married. Joannou and Gillies both took the downtime to work on solo projects. None of the projects were as successful as their collective whole and in late 2005 the band announced the break was over.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Personally I have seen the band three times. The first was their first US tour in support of Frogstomp at the Paradise September 3, 1995. The show was good, but the funniest, oddest thing about the show was that comedian/actor
Bob Goldthwait stood next to me and my buddies. We shared some jokes and sing was odd. The next stop was an opening slot for the
Red Hot Chili Peppers on December 6, 1995 at the Fleet Center in Boston. The band did a pretty good job with the larger venue and I recall hearing rumors that their dads were their roadies. The final time was part of a radio festival called the WBCN River Rave. This was at a larger amphitheater on June 8, 1996. The band did run thru Boston earlier in 2007 but I missed them.

FDF Overall Take
- In recent years Daniel Johns as gone on to say that this and the bands follow up "Freak Show" were more albums made by a high school band and the band has gone on to ignore songs from both in their live sets. Considering their ages its a pretty solid record throughout and the sales alone can prove it.

Official Page
Myspace is here (check out Straight Lines)

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
***mp3's have been removed Nov 21, 2007 11:29 am ET***


If you like it you can buy it here for one.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, October 05, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 70: Van Halen - 1984

Album -1984
Artist - Van Halen
Key Players - David Lee Roth - lead vocals, Michael Anthony- bass, Alex Van Halen - drums, Eddie Van Halen - guitar and keyboards.
Produced By - Ted Templeman

Release Date - January 9, 1984

What caused me to blow off the dust? - With all this talk of reunion shows and touring I went back to this one out of sheer nostalgic value. There are better (and worse) Van Halen records but this one sort of set the tone for me personally with the band.

Overview - Gaining more momentum and larger fan base than they'd ever expected Van Halen released 1984. This, the bands sixth studio album, would also be the last with David Lee Roth as the lead vocalist. The album would peak at #2 on the Billboard charts and go on to sell well over 10 Million copies.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) Opening with the keyboard/instrumental 1984 first time listeners, but long time fans of the band are probably not swayed one way or the other. Its not overly complex or even that interesting for that matter. "Jump" follows. This MTV staple would be a massive single for the band (selling 3 million plus) and the band would have fun spending more money on booze than they did on making the actual video. Guitar loving fans were shocked at this direction, but Eddie was a classically trained pianist so he sounds just fine, but the new sound takes some adjusting for long time fans, they are quickly won over. The hard core Eddie lovers have to wait an agonizing 2 minutes before one of his trademark solos are unleashed. Even after completing that solo there is a keyboard "solo". "Panama" is a welcome return to the Van Halen sound. We are clicking on drums bass and guitar. David Lee Roth is in that classing "speaking the lyrics" rather than singing. If you really listen..he doesn't "sing" that much. Released as a single the video was very popular as it showcased a lot of the band in a live setting (much of which was recorded at the Worcester Centrum in Worcester Ma). Eddie lays down his solo at about the right time per Van Halen songs (2 minutes in) and then there is a breakdown (recall the video with David doing the samurai sword dance?). A short call and response chorus brings the song back together. Michael Anthony is the unsung hero on a lot of the Van Halen tracks over the year with his very high harmonies. In a band of show offs and superstars he was the glue. "Top Jimmy" has some early finger plucks from Eddie and then the band jumps in with a 12 bar blues feel, a very bar room rock, feel to the track. Anthony again can be heard extensively on the second verse as well as the chorus. Alex holds the tempo strong and for a massive drum kit he utilizes it all. "Drop Dead Legs" opens with Eddie doing a few guitar lines with Alex on cowbell before the song kicks in. This song just sounds like a Van Halen song, the band always had a very specific sound. This particular track holds contains the longest guitar solo from Eddie. "Hot for Teacher" the widely popular single, and equally as fun and funny video only kept the wagon rolling for Van Halen. Opening with Alex on electric drums that were somewhat delayed in overdubs he clicks to the ride cymbal before Eddie takes the song off with the monster guitar licks. The song slows some and Dave speaks the lyrics before the band comes in and then they get back to the momentum of the track. Its easy to see and hear why this song was popular then, as well as now. "I'll Wait" showcases mostly Alex using a series of rototoms on his drums kit as well as one of the more heavily keyboard oriented tracks on the album. Eddie still has a guitar solo, but its not as flashy as prior solos, perhaps done to maintain the overall feel of the song. "Girl Gone Bad" opens with Eddie and Alex feeding off one another and at about the 45 second mark Michael jumps in and perfect "jam session" moment feels like it is taking place. The bass and drums just drive as Eddie flashes over the top. Roth comes in and by the chorus Anthony is once more doing the harmonies over the top. "House of Pain" has an older Van Halen feel, which would be accurate since this song was a tune they had written before. There are the more machine gun drums and guitar long time fans had grown to love.

Where are they now? During and after the tour for 1984 the band began to fall apart. David wanted to act and make a solo album. Over the years a lot of the stories have played out as he said/she said. David went on to release a few solo albums and tour. Van Halen would continue on with Sammy Hagar for a few albums (that sales wise were some of the biggest) before severing ties. A single album was released with former Extreme front man Gary Cherone taking over for Hagar. The album and tour did not go well and Van Halen sort of went in to hiding. After a few botched attempts to reform with Roth, and a rehab and cancer scare for Eddie Van Halen the band reformed in 2007 for a tour. Michael Anthony was not asked to be in the band and the bass duties have been rolled to Eddies song Wolfgang. The band is currently on tour.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Some say "You never saw Van Halen" mostly because I saw them one time, on the 5150 tour with Sammy as the vocalist. It was August 22, 1986 at the Providence Civic Center and it was awesome. I was 16. There was over the top drum and bass solos and then Eddie laid down one of his 15 minute solos..blowing smoke rings and jumping around like a mad man. A+ stuff.

FDF Overall Take - Some 23 years later classic rock radio still plays at least four tracks from this album. When looking at the album once more it was really was a peak and valley for the band. After many successful years the charismatic front man was gone. The band continued on and even though many fans followed with Sammy (and like him) they all longed for the original band to be once more..we are close...real close.


Official Site
Unofficial Site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

(heck turn on your local classic rock station and wait five minutes) are three from 1984

***mp3s have been removed Nov 21, 2008 11:28 am ET***
Hot for Teacher
Top Jimmy

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.