Friday, October 26, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 284 - Huey Lewis & The News - Fore!

Album – Fore!
Artist – Huey Lewis and the News
Key Players - Sean Hopper –keyboards, vocals. Chris Hayes – lead guitar, vocals. Bill Gibson– drums, percussion and vocals. Johnny Colla – saxophone, guitar and vocals. Mario Cipollina – bass. Huey Lewis – lead vocals, harmonica.

Produced By – Huey Lewis and the News

Release Date – September 26. 1986

What caused me to blow off the dust? -Hey I need to mix it up now and then too!

Overview – This is the fourth studio album from San Francisco California band Huey Lewis and the News. Formed in 1979 the band would mix pop with a hint of the blues and a dash of soul and find huge success in the mid 1980's and early 1990's. Earlier in their career some of the members were Elvis Costellos backing band on “My Aim is True” and at one point they were not the “News” but “the American Express”. MTV would be a huge tipping point for the band. This album would continue on the success of “Sports” and would go to #1 on the Billboard charts. It would contain five top ten singles (two went to #1).

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The ten track album opens with “Jacobs Ladder”. The full band comes in with guitars, bass and drums. There are some keyboards, but once Lewis begins to sing everyone peels off some and just light fills from Hayes or Cipollina are heard as it builds towards the chorus. Hayes takes a short, but clean guitar solo. Nearly every member sings back up to Lewis so the harmonies are nice and the track has a full vocal feel. Cipollina has his bass a bit high in the mix at times, but Hayes solos a second time as the track fades. Gibson kicks off “Stuck With You” and Hayes has a choppy, yet clean guitar sound. Lewis has the deep smoky baritone and the playful guitar over the top plays well with some of the keyboard fills from Hopper. Hopper gets his time after the second chorus where in lieu of a guitar solo he gets the spotlight. There is some fun harmonies to open up “Whole Lotta Lovin”. Having the feel of an older doo-wop track for the first verse is really top notch before the full band comes in. Hayes and Gibson are quick to get things moving. Colla offers up that second guitar and it has then it feels a bit more rock-a-billy. Lewis gets a turn on harmonica and its just that right length before the band comes back in. A solid track that was probably skipped by many when this album was getting dozens of spins a week. Shows the band is far more than just a “pop” band. Another huge single from the record comes in“Doing it All for My Baby”. The backing horns on many tracks for the band on this, and in the past came from Tower of Power. Hopper on piano right along with the horn section has the big intro. It is a mid-tempo track that has a fun backbeat to keep your toes tapping. Hayes flutter as few guitar lines here, but its a laid back fun song. It has aged well to these ears. The band is no set of slouches that is for sure. Hayes has a clean solo once more on the guitar and the horns really reach out and pull you in. Hopper alternates from a piano sound to a heavier organ sound. A solid single from this record. Keeping the hits coming you get “Hip to Be Square” right away. I had no idea on this...and don't adjust your screen on this bit of news. Giving backing vocal support on this track (and the next) were Joe Montana (yes..that one), Dwight Clark, Ricki Ellison, Ronnie Lott, Herome Fletcher, Mike Duke, Ralph Arista, Jim Moran and Stephen “Doc” Kupka”. Yeah it is okay to read that again. Stephen “Doc” Kupka from Tower of Power offered up the Baritone saxophone section here as well. It was hard to escape this track on the radio in 1986 (Be sure to check the music section below for a curious observation of how the track was used). As the song wraps up Gibson gets way over on the bell of the ride cymbal and Hopper swtiches to organ, the Tower of Power gets rolling, it almost seems to fade a little too early. A third big single in a row keeps this going as “I Know What I Like”. Gibson and Hayes are off to the races on this and Hopper chimes in. Cipollina is heard a bit better once Lewis begins to sing. Personally this was one of my favorite of the 'singles' from the album, if not my favorite. The backing vocal, call and response sections are what I seemed to like. “I Never Walk Alone” has a keyboard intro led by Hopper and the whole band comes in. Lewis, how doesn't have a huge range, pushes himself on this track. Again there are some terrific harmonies on this track. Hayes flies out of the gate trading sections with Hopper as “Forest for the Trees” begins. It flows in to a little more laid back tempo, but Gibson keeps a tight ship as always. “Naturally” is a fully a'capella do-wop, vocal frenzy. When I was 16 I probably rolled my eyes, but now, I go back and listen again. Impressive. The album concludes with “Simple as That”and Tower of Power returns. This is one of the slower tracks on the album, but don't let that fool you in thinking it is not a full sounding track. Sure the horns add to it, and Hopper seems to stretch out some on the keybaords and the backing vocals are easy and smooth.

Where are they now? - The band is still active both in the studio and as a touring act. Mario Cipollina left the band in 1995. Chris Hayes also left the band. He left in 2000 to spend more time with his family.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – Freely admitting I've seen the band. Once actually on this very tour. Aprl 26, 1987 at the Centrum in Worcester MA. I don't recall a ton about it, other than it being pretty spot on versions of the songs I wanted to hear.

FDF Overall Take – You could not escape this band for a few years and at the time when MTV was showing videos they latched on to clever and fun ideas. They are a talented group of guys and some may see it as 80's throw back act. They may have had their most success commercially 20+ years ago, but that doens't mean it wasn't good then, or now. Listening back this is a very talented band, and the harmonies are solid. It is just a fun record, you should go back and listen with that adult ear, you might be surprised they are far more hip than you think.


Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
All of these will take you back...miss MTV yet???
Doing it All for My Baby (man love long videos!!)
Just because..Hip to Be Square discussed in the film “American Psycho”. (note he says 87..but it was 86) here

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.

Friday, October 19, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 283 - Portishead - Roseland NYC Live

Album – Roseland – NYC Live
Artist - Portishead
Key Players – Geoff Barrow – decks, drums. Beth Gibbons – vocals. Adrian Utley – guitar, keyboards
Produced By - Portishead

Release Date – November 10, 1998

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I was shuffling the ipod the other day and a track from this came up.

Overview - Formed in 1991 in Bristol England Portishead the band started as a duo consisting of Gibbons and Barrow. They'd craft moody trip-hop and lo-fi electronic music and release their debut “Dummy” in 1994. They'd try to avoid press, but the debut was fairly successful and the band followed it up three years later with a self titled release. This live record would then follow. This live album was recorded primarily from the Roseland Ballroom in New York City on July 24, 1997 (Sour Times was recorded on April 1, 1998 in San Francisco and Roads was recorded on July 3, 1998 from the Quart Festival).

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The New York Philharmonic orchestra warms up amongst a few audience cheers and the shrill of a theramin gets “Humming” off to a slow start. Muted trumpets and a few slow keyboard lines as the deep bass from the strings compliments the theramin. This goes on for about two minutes before Gibbons finally begins to sing. The back beat is methodical,almost robotic. The strings are a nice compliment to her angelic voice. Immersed with headphones you feel like you are there, the album is recorded really well seeming to capture not only the sounds of the night, but somehow how it might have smelled. Its odd I realize to say that. “Cowboys” has a more rock feel to it. The bass line is a bit more attacking, and the keyboards have a lot of samples with stop tempos. Gibbons sounds a little more gruff vocally, but she still soars over the moody track. The choppy, vinyl scratching sound mixes while Adrian Utley works across the guitar. There is time for an audience clap,a fade and then “All Mine” begins. At the start is sounds like the intro to a James Bond movie. The bright brass instruments with heavy bass drum before the ease of the tempo comes in. This is an assault on the ears, in a good sense. There is so much going on. The swirling guitar, to the long sustain on the organ to the bright horns. Everything is clear, nothing seems to out hustle the other. Met with a loud road “Mysterons” begins. This is every example of the bands sound. Clean, tight and haunting. Whatever Barrow is doing on these “decks” is something. The samples to the chilling theramin like instrument. It all just feels perfect. The band is great about mixing up tempo and vibe. “Only You” follows and with spoken samples and dj scratching that are then blended with flugel horn, trombones and saxophones. The bass line keeps it all slow, but the horns make it smooth. The shrill of strings with the plucked bass notes open “Half Day Closing”. There is a light effect on Gibbons vocals, giving them a shimmering feel. “Over” has the single guitar portion to open with quiet sustained keyboard passages. This track is not as busy as the others, but it is still strong. The string section opens up “Glory Box” and Gibbons greats that with a nasally delivery. The keyboards offer light touches before the buzzy guitar from Utley returns. Perhaps the most well known track from the band “Sour Times” follows. The bass work from Jim Barr is subtle and drummer Clive Deamer is careful to not get overzealous. The samples are awash through out. Gibbons is in fine form, easing in to her delivery, but by the end she is a frantic as you'll ever hear her. “Roads” is another easy sounding track full of samples and low key drum work. The collection concludes with “Strangers” a musically heavier track that most at the start, but then its almost like a jazz guitar part is played. Utley and Gibbons are alone for the first verse and the audience even begins to clap along in unison. Then the band goes deep and Gibbons pushes herself vocally. The end is the pay off with the big horns and really wonderful crescendo that is met with a thunderous roar from the audience. A perfect closer to this collection.

Where are they now? - After the release of this live record the band went on hiatus. The members focused on various solo projects. The band released the album “3” in April of 2008. The band has reported they are working on new material and are 'excited' about the process. As of this writing there is no time frame on a release.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have never seen the band live, but would like to very much.

FDF Overall Take – This is a good place to start if you are new to the band. You get very full, and honestly a little bit stronger versions of the tracks. The production is great. You can hear everything from the bass, to the horns and back. A very solid release and one that is a great introduction to the band.


Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
(i've been trying to imbed..but always get errors)

You can still get the record here

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.

Friday, October 12, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 282 - Low Pop Suicide - The Death of Excellence

Album – The Death of Excellence
Artist – Low Pop Suicide
Key Players - Mark Leonard – bass. Melle Steagal – drums. Rick Boston – guitars, bass, vocals.
(these are the players, but each track seemed to have a differnet drummer, or guitar player etc..i'll do my best on the tracks)
Produced By – Michael Vail Blum and Rick Boston

Release Date - 1994

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This blog is getting up there on a number of artists/albums that have been checked out...with out a a repeat artist. Its getting harder to pick things that many will just find too obscure to care to read. Taking a chance, this was one band I really thought was going to take off.

Overview – Formed in the early 90's Low Pop Suicide would release two albums and tour in support. After the first record there would be some re-organization within the band and the style would change some to this second record. They never really had much on radio or MTV.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – As noted, the liner notes are extensive, but quickly confusing when they say “Brian Keats played drums on everything except.....” What I will do is list the liner notes at the bottom, and each track I'll just say “the drumming was....” or “the bass....”. Folks will get their due.

A slide rips over the bass strings as “Bless My Body” starts off the 12 song album. The drums click off underneath then the trio hits down. The song has a big full sound with the guitar leading things. Boston begins the vocals. He has a deep baritone and has a fitting voice, it is not overly powerful. After the first verse the band opens up and the song gets that real urgent push, before settling some for the verses but the payoff comes when the band strikes down and that slide bass, which is distorted and raunchy comes back. The trio locks in to a tight groove as it all seems like they want to out hit one another. The frantic feel of the songs continues with “Almost Said”. What you notice about the band is they are able to balance the heaviness with a sense of lyrics. Sure they ease off when Boston sings, but it provides a solid transition on the tracks. The band is tight and knows their place. The mix is solid on the whole record. Bass lines are prominent to the subtle acoustic guitar progression. The band was focused on a solid end result. The track slowly breaks down with the bass having a solid punch to it and acoustic guitars being very dominant. “Suicide Ego” is a slower track than the previous two. Boston's vocal track is slightly delayed and layered. There is a smoother lap steel/piano and the bass work shines on the track. Boston pushes vocally some, but never goes beyond his means. The track “Zombie” has seemingly dueling acoustic guitars. Both sound to be drop tuned and heavy on the low end. Jessy is right there with Boston on the vocal portion. They seem to sing/chant in sync. Its not a backing vocal by anymeans, but not a “duo” by the standard definition. The part that makes tracks like this so fun is you can't piegon hole the band. “Life and Death” starts right out and it is a big booming wall of sound. The band does tend to peel off some when the vocals come in, and its a big shift in gear usually for me. They all hit/strum hard so it can be a wildly differnet feel at vaious points of the track. Still a solid, stand out track on the record this is. Sounding like a smoky live jazz club jam “No Genius” is lead by a swooping upright bass. The drums work to find a place and Boston almost sounds like he is making up the words as he goes. The track is over in just over a minute, and honestly, that is fine. Acoustic guitars open “Humbled” and you get a “last goodbye (jeff buckley) type feel. That big acoustic guitar sound with a solid underbelly of bass. Musically it is big, but Boston is not in any hurry to push the tempo and it remains pretty even for the duration. Guitars are a bit more crunchy on “More than This”. The drum tempo is very 4/4 rock time and this is the bands sort of “cookie cutter” rock song with the tempo and tranistions. It works for them, since the album has had various styles through out. “Philo's Snag” is another slower track with acoustic guitars and violin undertones. Boston seems to talk the lyrics at times. Occasinally he goes up in range so it feels more like he is 'signing' but this is the bands slowest track on the record showcasing the lighter side for sure. Sleigh bells mark the tempo on “Sheep's Clothing”as it begins. Another solid track that has the band it tight form. Deep bass and strong piano lines always keep you guessing what genere to even put the band in. “Face to Face” is another mid tempo, but heavy sounding track. The guitar towards the end is the payoff. It is really the first guitar solo on the album. They close the record out with “Tell Them I Was Here” a slower, yet still booming track.

Scott Petersen played drums on Sheeps Clothing. Jerry Angel played them on “More than This”
Tony Ruiz played bass on “Almost Said, Philo's Snag, Sheeps Clothing, Face to Face and Life and Death”. Mark Leonard put the “pump” on More than This, Suicide Ego and Humbled. Jessy sang on Zombie and Philo's Snag. She “bowed” on Phlo's as well. John Nau played piano on Suicde Ego, Sheeps Clothing. Natalie Wood played guitar on Tell them I was Here and Suicide Ego.

Where are they now? - There is very little out there on the band or performers it seems. World Domination label is long since folded. There is one web site where the person is doing the best they can, and he created a facebook page as well. See the links. Of course, anyone with anything drop a note in comments and we can add them in.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I saw the band twice. Both were at Mama Kin in Boston (the small room). I don't have ticket stubs for either show but I am pretty sure it was for early and late legs in support of this record. The second time I was able to talk with Rick for a while, as well as his girlfriend. They were always great live, sounded good. It is a shame they are such an after thought..or an any thought.

FDF Overall Take – The album has its moments. I personally like the harder/heavier stuff from them. They are willing to spread their wings which is to be commended. A mixed listen for me. If I were to move to my mp3 player I'd only pull over a few tracks vs. the entire thing.

Fan site
facebook page

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Bless My Body

Almost Said

Out of print, but not too hard to find. Start here

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.

Friday, October 05, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 281 - Paul Pena - New Train

Album – New Train
Artist – Paul Pena
Key Players – Paul Pena – guitar, vocals and piano. Ben Sidran – Piano and Organ. Harvey Brooks – bass. Gary Malabar – drums and percussion

Produced By – Ben Sidran

Release Date - September 26, 2000

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Scannng the cd rack I stumbled upon this. When I was working in Boston radio we played a few cuts from it, and I found it rather interesting. Its been a long, long time since I went front to back on this.

Overview – There is just an amazing story behind Paul and this album. He was born in Massachusetts and his father and grandfather were well known musicans. Born with congenital glaucoma he'd be blind by the time he was 20. He'd hone his craft and eventually open for the likes of Frank Zappa and the Grateful Dead. He'd record this, his second album, but it would not see the light of day for 27 years. While in a dispute with his manager Steve Miller made “Jet Airliner” a huge hit. Seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up. Hollywood are you listening? Read his story on Wiki and be amazed, really.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The ten track album opens with “Gonna Move”. Brooks sets the tone on the bass right away and Sidran is happy to help with long organ notes. When the chorus starts you are struck with a wall of voices. The Persuasions are Pena's backing vocalists. Pena sings in a vibrant manner and has a deep soulful voice. A short electirc solo keeps things rocking before everyone gets back for the handclaps. Malabar does not rush things, but it is very hard to miss the Brooks bass line. The title track follows and Pena pulls in Jerry Garica on pedal steel and Merle Saunders on keyboards. Pena had opened some shows and they became friendly. The track is far more laid back than the opening track. Garcia keeps busy, but doesn't overpower the soulful ballad. “Jet Airliner” follows. The song was made popular by Steve Miller so it is interesting to hear a different take than you are used to hearing. It has the same groove, but it just feels a bit cleaner. I encourage you to check out the links and hear the song again for the “first time”. Plus, its great trivia at a party when the Miller Band comes up on classic rock radio. Plus, the guitar work is great. Pena continues with this tenacity on the electric guitar as the funky “Wait On What You Want” starts. The full band has a very stuttered progression. Malabar seems to be pushing everyone with the frantic odd time signature but Malabar and Sidran are right along with him and this song just cooks. Pena is a great guitar player and seems like to show what he can do. I found myself going back to listen to this track again while writing this post. Garica and Saunders return on “Venutian Lady”. The acoustic guitars are bright on this and it has a fun Grateful Dead type bounce to the track. Of course with the pedal steel you get that feel even more but the track has great summery vibe to it. Garcia shows off his chops on this more than the other track. A real hidden gem. “Cosmic Mirror” is a trippy, spaced out track. Think Pfunk meets the guitar of Jimi Hendrix and the same type of compressed vocals that Lenny Kravitz used when he covered “American Woman” and you sort of get the idea. Heck, even Miles Davis era Bitches Brew leaks out here. Dave Woodford guests on this track playing saxophone. Things level out with “Let's Move and Groove Together”. This track feels less chaotic than the last few. Chaotic is a bad term, I guess this track just is more in that “singer/songwriter” area. Pena has Charles Green help on backing vocals. There is also strings, which is a first on the album. A nice guitar solo that is played clean over the Malabar drums is a great touch. Continuing with the acoustic approach “Indian Boy” gets underway and has the layers of strings and strong support from Brooks again. Hearing Pena's influneces on todays “soul” crooners is more obvious after hearing this track. Many might not even realize it, but when you hear this track you'll understand. Sidran gets things going as “A Bit Of All Right” gets underway. This track has a little reggae feel to it with the choppy guitar and crisp bright drums. The tempo of the track is fun and it transitions some, but is still a bright and fun song. The album concludes with “Taking Your Love Down” a short, mostly acoustic track.

Where are they now? - Paul passed away on October 1, 2005. He was in a coma after a house fire in 1997 for four days. He'd retire a bit from music to tend to his ailing wife, return to music, but continue to battle diabetes, pancreatic illness, but these would claim his life.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I never saw Paul Pena live.

FDF Overall Take – For me this is one of those “who would have thunk it” type collections. Not sure how many people have even heard of Pena, and unless you heard clips you might not even be curious. The music here is solid. Something for everyone that you could put on at a BBQ and have more people than not ask you “who is this..its really pretty good!”


Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Finally a short clip on his Throat Singing

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.