Tag Archives: Led Zeppelin

My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: Live Albums

Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six live albums.  The live album is always a risky proposition but when it is good, it is oh, so good.

So, let me regale you with the melodious sounds of live music.

Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Van Morrison

This was an amazing studio album and only gets better with the live element.  Van is in fine form vocally and the musicians are incredible.  If you are fan of Van the Man, than you need to check this out.  If you are not a fan you need to get checked out. 

Live From Mars

Ben Harper

If you are going to own one Ben Harper album, this is the one.  A great cross section of his material, a high energy set, and a few incredible cover tunes (Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, and the Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work”).  All of this jam packed into a double CD with 25 tracks.

Brothers of a Feather

Chris & Rich Robinson

The brotherly duo behind the greatness of the Black Crowes perform as dueling guitarists while showcasing songs from their respective solo careers as well as songs from the Crowes catalog.  Stand out tracks on this album are “Thorn In My Pride”, “My Heart’s Been Killing Me”, and “Someday Past Sunset”.

Undone: A Musical Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

Various Artists

Wade Bowen, Reckless Kelly, Cody Canada, Walt Wilkins, Chris Knight, Randy Rogers, Roger Creagar, Max Stallings, Cory Morrow, Jason Boland, and Robert Earl himself appear on this album.  If you have any understanding or appreciation for the greatness of Robert Earl Keen, then this album is for you.  Not a bad set on the whole album. 

MTV Unplugged

Alice In Chains

This album never gets old and the songs never get bad.  This was, in my opinion, one of, if not, the best MTV unplugged shows.  Layne’s vocals are just as tortured and haunting as the first time I listened to this album.  Stand out tracks “Would”, “Angry Chair ”,“ Nutshell” and every other song on the album.

Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

Rage Against the Machine

This is the last thing that was done before the breakup of the band in 2000 and the release was delayed three years due to the breakup and subsequent formation of Audioslave.  The performance is energetic and embodies all that was great about this band.  The mix and sound quality is not the greatest but still well worth the listen.  This performance  was also available as a DVD.

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to The Black Keys!

The Black Keys are the amazing bluesy, rocking dynamic duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney.  They formed in 2001 in Akron, Ohio and have been compared to another bluesy power duo known by the name The White Stripes.

Their debut album, The Big Come Up, was released on 2002 and followed up with Thickfreakness in 2003.  2004 saw the release of Rubber Factory.

Much like other artist of today, The Black Keys music has gained commercial recognition from T.V. shows, commercial advertising, and the silver screen. 

 T.V. Shows:

  • The O.C.
  • Big Love
  • Rescue Me
  • Dexter
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • One Tree Hill
  • Gossip Girl
  • Entourage
  • Friday Night Lights

 Advertisements:

  • Sony Ericsson
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • American Express

Movies:

  • Cloverfield
  • School of Rock
  • Zombie Land
  • Black Snake Moan
  • RocknRolla

Their fourth album, Magic Potion, was released in 2006 along with the EP Chulahoma.  In 2007 they released the Danger Mouse produced Attack & Release.  This was the first album that they released that was produced in an actual studio.

The Black Keys Discography:

  • The Big Come Up
  • Thickfreakness
  • The Moan (EP)
  • Rubber factory
  • Magic Potion
  • Chulahoma (EP)
  • Attack & Release
  • Brothers (Set to release May 2010)

The boys have toured with bands such as Pearl Jam, Beck, and Radiohead.  In addition to both critical and commercial success, they have quite a few fans that are in the business.  Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Josh Homme (Them Crooked Vultures & Queens of the Stone Age), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), and Kirk Hammett (Metallica) have all gone on record extolling the greatness of The Black Keys.

Top 5 The Black Keys Songs:

  1. Oceans& Streams (Attack & Release)
  2. Set You Free (Thickfreakness)
  3. Girl Is On My Mind (Rubber Factory)
  4. I Got Mine (Attack & Release)
  5. Strange Times (Attack & Release)

Musically, there is a raw, emotional connectivity that is heavily influenced by the blues.  The amazing thing about the group is how much sound they can produce between the two of them. 

Check out The Black Keys at www.theblackkeys.com.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHeF2lFO3IQ

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nWJ-e9pLSs&feature=related

 Great music awaits!


Missed and Must See Concerts!

So, this week has focused on music in a variety of, genres, decades, degrees of greatness and what some might call an assault to the auditory senses.  To wrap up this fine week of blogging, I am going to take my writing cue from some of the responses to the Concert Blog.

Over the course of my musical life, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to see all of the shows I’ve seen.  In addition to that, I’ve had the ability to create a personal library of considerable size in both CD and digital format.  However, being a music devotee, I want more.  I want more CD’s, more digital files, and more opportunity to catch live acts.  I look back at the missed opportunities to see some amazing shows and kick myself for being too lazy, too late, or at times even too responsible to attend certain shows.

Today we are going to talk about concerts in both past and future terms.  Confused yet?  Good, me either.  I will keep this in a Top 10 format and will list the concerts that I missed or at least wished I had the opportunity to see and I will also list the concerts that I want to see before I am unceremoniously taken from this lovely thing some call life.

Top 10 missed opportunities:

  1. Pink Floyd Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour
  2. U2 Joshua Tree Tour
  3. Guns N Roses & Metallica (I realize that tour was plagued with problems but at long as I am dreaming, if I had attended, it would have been a flawless, musical love fest with duel encores)
  4. Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA Tour (I’ve seen Bruce on several occasions but this tour was sort of a revival and they went all out and played monster sets (3-4 hours).)
  5. Uncle Tupelo (This band was such a tinder box of musical genius that there was no conceivable way for it continue.  I’ve seen both bands from the former temperamental leaders (Jeff’s Wilco & Jay’s Son Volt) and would have loved to catch them early.)
  6. Led Zeppelin Reunion (This was never an option or an opportunity but man what a treat that would have been.)
  7. The Black Crowes (I had free tickets at Will Call for an early show they did in Dallas when they opened up for ZZ Top.  I never made it to the show for various and sundry reasons.  Looking back none of the reasons were reasonably worth what I missed.)
  8. 2002 Austin City Limits Music Festival (This was the inaugural musical voyage for ACL and it had a great lineup of bands on the rise as well as the ARC Angels reunion show.)
  9. Farm Aid 1 1985 (A great event with a stellar line up.  Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Waylon Jennings, to name a few.)
  10.  Nirvana (Just to be part of that bit of musical history.)

Top 10 Must See Acts:

  1. My Morning Jacket (Amazing live shows and wicked cool music)
  2. Red Hot Chili Peppers (I just dig them)
  3. Neil Young (Musical icon)
  4. U2 (They are awesome)
  5. John Mellencamp (Great catalog even when he was Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp)
  6. Phish (Ultimate Jam band that took the torch from the Grateful Dead)
  7. Paul McCartney (Come on, he is a friggin’ Beatle)
  8. Lyle Lovett (I like all his music even the song from the Stuart Little soundtrack and well, he was married to Julia Roberts!)
  9. Counting Crows (I realize that despite their latest release, they are in the twilight (or beyond) of their career but I really dig their live albums and think they would be fun to see live)
  10. The Eagles (I am a huge fan and begrudgingly have never seen them.  In my defense, their exorbitant ticket price is one key factor to this dilemma.)

So dear reader, who is on your concert list?

 Great music awaits!


50 Artists you should be listening to and own at least one album!

Ok, I thought yesterday’s blog was fun and elicited some reaction from you, the sweet , gentle reader  and a few David Cassidy fans( ITILY ladies and possibly gentlemen) and also caused a bit of a stir on facebook as well.  So, let’s go and reverse the whip.

I will attempt to continue to WOW you with my vast musical knowledge and then silently judge you if you are not impressed with my musical prowess.  Just kidding, I would never judge you or your poor musical taste. 

I do think that there are some artists that transcend genres and have universal appeal.  Others have a loyal following and then have that one album that regales the masses and they are beloved for generations.  Some of us grew up on music and we think it is greatness based solely on the nostalgia for the time and place in which we first heard it.  And then there are music purist who likes a band /artist because they respect the lineage and the impact that they had on music.

I tend to be a bit of all of the above.  There are some artists that I like because there is some form of connectivity that I really can’t explain, while others are truly a moment in time that has endeared me to an artist, and then there is the whole musical heritage piece.  I am intrigued by the evolution of music and the artists that find themselves compelled to play.  As mentioned previously in a blog, I have no musical talent.  I do not play and instrument, I do not sing close to well, and I’ve never had aspirations to do either.  I simply love to listen to music. 

As much as I have a propensity to scorn/judge, in my humble opinion, awful music, I really respect the fact that those dreadful musicians had the nerve to attempt to play, at some point get signed, and were able to release an album or at the very least a single.  When it comes down to it, I don’t judge the horrific musicians as mercilessly as I judge the faction who listens and procures the music.

So, below is a listing of artists/bands that you should be listening to and would be in any reputable music collection.  

  • Ryan Adams
  • The Band
  • The Beastie Boys
  • The Beatles
  • Beck
  • The Black Crowes
  • Jimmy Buffet (with love to Gwendolyn)
  • Johnny Cash
  • Eric Clapton
  • Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Bob Dylan
  • The Eagles
  • Steve Earle
  • Foo Fighters
  • Pat Green
  • Merle Haggard
  • Ben Harper
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • John Mellencamp
  • Metallica
  • Willie Nelson
  • Nirvana
  • Pearl Jam
  • Tom Petty
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Pixies
  • Joe Purdy
  • Radiohead
  • R.E.M
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Rush
  • Paul Simon
  • Sonic Youth
  • Sound Garden
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • James Taylor
  • Traveling Wilburys
  • U2
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Wilco
  • Whiskeytown
  • The Who
  • Neil Young
  • ZZ Top

I just listed the artist and not the album or albums that you should be listening to and really own by said artist.  Also, I stopped at 50 and that took a considerable amount of restraint.

This is fundamentally meant to light the candle of thought and get you to think about your 50 artists.  If you only had 50 artists that you could listen to, who would they be?  Think of yourself as Tom Hanks in Cast Away and instead of Wilson the volleyball, you have an iPod with 50 artists and their entire catalog. 

So take some time, peruse the list and let me know who you would have added or deleted from the list or send me you complete list.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Reckless Kelly!

Reckless Kelly is the rocking alt/country Austin based band via Bend, Oregon, where they originally formed, but moved to Texas as quick as they could.  The band was organized and helmed by Braun brothers, Cody and Willy.  Their father happened to have a western swing band, Muzzie and the Boys, where the boys cut their early musical chops. 

Reckless Kelly’s debut “Millican” was released in 1998 and the title is a reference to Millican Oregon.  The album has one of my favorite songs “Drink Your Whiskey Down”.  In 2000 they released two albums “Acoustic: Live at Stubbs”, a great Austin barbeque joint, and “The Day”.  The live album features covers of Bob Dylan (Subterranean Homesick Blues), AC/DC (You Shook Me All Night Long), and Led Zeppelin (Whole Lotta Love).

In 2003 they switched labels and released “Under the Table and Above the Sun” on Sugar Hill Records who have had such high profile artist as Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Townes Van Zandt to name a few. They followed up with 2005’s “Wicked Twisted Road” which had three singles “These Tears’, “Stick Around”, and “Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More” that broke the Top 10 on the Texas Music Chart.  In 2006 the live CD/DVD “Reckless Kelly Was Here” was released

In 2008 they again switched labels (Yup Roc Records) and released “Bulletproof” which the band taking umbrage with the current sociopolitical landscape.  The single “Ragged as the Road” peaked at #1 on the Texas Music Chart. 

Reckless Kelly Discography:

  • Millican
  • Acoustic: Live at Stubbs
  • The Day
  • Under the Table and Above the Sun
  • Wicked Twisted Road
  • Reckless Kelly Was Here
  • Best of the Sugar Hill Years
  • Bulletproof
  • Somewhere In Time

Top 5 Reckless Kelly Songs: (in no particular order)

  1. Let’s Just Fall (Under the table and Above the Sun)
  2. Drink Your Whiskey Down (Millican)
  3. Baby’s Got a Whole Lot More (Wicked Twisted Road)
  4. May Peace Find You Tonight (Under the table and Above the Sun)
  5. American Blood (Bulletproof)

Their music is typical alt/country with guitars (acoustic, electric, & occasional steel), bass, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and drums.  They have a surprising pop sensibility with catchy hooks and well crafted songs.  It is their ability to take tired themes (love, loss, redemption, etc…) and rejuvenate them with a fresh sound that is a combination of their musical prowess and the gruff, weathered vocal styling of Willy Braun.  They are known for their straight forward musical approach, the connectivity and energy of their live shows, and the fierce loyalty of their fans

Check out Reckless Kelly at www.recklesskelly.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpUXrDrUfDM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko2BRa5o_84

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Them Crooked Vultures!

Them Crooked Vultures is the musical love child of Led Zeppelin and Nirvana consummated in the California dessert. The group was conceptualized in the mid 00’s but did not officially form until 2009.  Their self titled debut album was released in November 2009.

 The musical triumvirate, which I think sounds cooler than super group, of John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Dave Grohl ( Nirvanna & Foo Fighters), and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) play bombastic guitar driven rock that is in your face and unapologetic.  This is to say, they play rock music as it should be played.  I am sorry to say, that I missed them when they played the Austin City Limits Music Festival last October but heard good things about the show. 

Jones, as expected, plays bass and keyboards, Grohl is back behind the kit, and Homme riffs on guitar and covers the vocals.  As is to be expected with a band that has this type of pedigree, the elephant in the room is, does the hype equal the output.  And the simple truth is no, but the reason is that there is no way that it should.  I mean we are talking about the founding members or Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and the talented Josh Homme.  How can anyone live up to that expectation?  Grohl captured lightening in a bottle with the Nirvana and Foo Fighters but how lucky can one guy get. 

Given that Homme sings and plays guitar, it has a certain Queens of the Stone Age feel but as the album moves on, it just rocks.  It has moments that recall Zeppelin and others that have the feel of three guys having a quickie because it feels good and in this case, sounds good. 

I think the album is really entertaining to listen to and does not require a lot of thought which is what a good rock record is all about.  You can listen and not feel like you wasted your time, nor will you find yourself trying to decipher and find the hidden meaning behind the lyrics.  You will tap your feet, strum your fingers, bob your head, listen, and take pleasure in the music.  This is the kind of music that would have Beavis and Butt-Head rocking out, playing air guitar, and thinking that it did not suck. 

Check out Them Crooked Vultures at www.themcrookedvulters.com

Great music awaits!