Were the Old 97's prophets when they released this song back in 1995? Either way, here's a cheerful reminder of your pending tax apocalypse. Happy New Year!
Filtering by Category: News
Back on New Year's Eve on a whim I decided that I would write a post about the list of resolutions that musician Woody Guthrie had jotted down in his diary. Little did I know at the time that it would inspire others to do great things.
This seemingly innocuous post - in my mind at least - led local freelance writer Robin Wheeler to create a new blog, Bound For Glory, as a place to celebrate the centennial of Guthrie's birth and to discuss his 1943 memoir of the same name.
In turn, this led Wheeler to ask local musician/photographer Corey Woodruff to help with some pictures for the project. He hatched an idea of his own - to create a visual representation of each resolution on the list through a series of photographs. Woodruff began researching Guthrie and started to collect several people from around the St. Louis region willing to participate in his endeavor including musicians, activists, writers, and more. He was even gracious enough to allow myself and Wheeler to participate in two separate spots on the list.
Yesterday, Woodruff began a Kickstarter campaign, "New Year Rulins: Photos Inspired by Woody Guthrie" to raise money to allow him to display all of the 33 resolution photographs in one setting. He plans to have an event in mid July around the anniversary of Guthrie's birth date.
I strongly encourage you to support him in this project and donate to the cause. On his Kickstarter campaign page he details the benefits of your generous donations and you can give as little or as much as you want. The pictures are gorgeous representations of the ideals that Guthrie set forth seven decades ago.
The more people inspired by this great American the better. Guthrie deeply loved his country, but also cherished his right to criticize it when the need arose - a point that's been lost on many Americans today. To carry on his legacy, in even just a small way, is a great honor.
This morning the announcement finally came down regarding the first leg of the Bruce Springsteen 'Wrecking Ball' tour including a group of U.S. shows.
While local fans -- which obviously includes us here at 3 Minute Record -- were disappointed that St. Louis didn't make the cut on the first leg of the tour, the news of this announcement is not exactly surprising. Springsteen is usually well into the tour when the buses roll past the Arch into the Gateway City. During the last two tours, the Springsteen played shows in the late summer and early fall. By this point the E Street Band is a well-oiled machine and ready to bring all the power it can muster.
The dates for the first leg, running from mid-March to early May, mostly encompass the Eastern U.S. with a few exceptions of a couple of dates in California and a stop at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The European dates, announced for some time, begin in mid-May and run through the end of July. At that time, there will likely be another break to recover and a third leg of the tour will likely start in late August or September. Just before these US dates Springsteen will be the Keynote Speaker at the South By Southwest conference in Austin where he will also perform.
The main question on everyone's mind regarding this tour is how Springsteen will replace the presence of long-time saxophonist Clarence Clemons who passed away last year. After a 40-year professional relationship, there is no possible way that Springsteen can replace the sound of Clemons' horn. As with the very best saxophone players Clemons had a distinctive sound all his own.
I know what the diehard fans are going to say next. Yes, Springsteen replaced long-time organ player Danny Federici onstage, but he left in the middle of a tour and gave a farewell performance. There is no word whether Springsteen will attempt to do the same with Clemons. Currently, no one outside of the inner camp really knows the answer to that question there and that's probably best. There is no reason to start any comparisons or negative energy if Springsteen has chosen someone to provide Clemons' sax solos.
This is just another chapter in the storied history of a treasured artist. Let him dictate how he wants things done. After all, he's the Boss.
US Tour Dates
March 18 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
March 19 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
March 23 Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Times Forum
March 26 Boston, MA TD Garden
March 28 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
March 29 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
April 1 Washington, DC Verizon Center
April 3 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
April 4 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
April 6 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
April 9 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
April 12 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
April 13 Buffalo, NY First Niagara Center
April 16 Albany, NY Times Union Center
April 17 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
April 24 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
April 26 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
April 29 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
May 2 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
The internet certainly didn't shut down for the Boss yesterday.
All day there was a barrage of news circling about the new single "We Take Care of Our Own" and the new album, Wrecking Ball. Twitter and the blogs devoted to Springsteen were on fire. By the end of the day via Blogness on the Edge of Town, you could listen to the entire song via YouTube and had the U.K. release date of the album.
Today Columbia Records will make some confirmations. According to the Springsteen website this morning the album's release date is March 6. Hopefully, the fans clamoring for the U.S. tour dates will not be waiting much longer. Springsteen will start the tour in Europe in May and continue through the end of July which means we should see him stateside in the late summer and throughout the fall.
Wrecking Ball is the 17th studio album from Springsteen and features 11 new songs. Lyrically he is back to discussing the issues of the working-class and the economic issues surrounding the 99% of Americans. A thread throughout his career, Springsteen is at his best when he's angrier and wants to comment on the current state of affairs.
The new album was produced by Ron Aniello (Jars of Clay, Lifehouse, Guster, Barenaked Ladies) with Bruce Springsteen and executive producer Jon Landau. However, it was his production of the 2007 Patti Scialfa album, Play It As It Lays, that brought Aniello to the Springsteen camp.
The new single takes a political stance that according to his long time manager Jon Landau runs throughout the new LP.
'Bruce has dug down as deep as he can to come up with this vision of modern life. The lyrics tell a story you can't hear anywhere else and the music is his most innovative in recent years. The writing is some of the best of his career and both veteran fans and those who are new to Bruce will find much to love on 'Wrecking Ball.'
The lyrics of the new single are clearly a shot at the Bush administration and the lack of harmony shown by politicians over the last decade.
"Where are the eyes, the eyes with the will to see? Where are the hearts that run over with mercy? Where’s the love that has not forsaken me? Where’s the work that will set my hands,my soul free? Where’s the spirit that will reign, rain over me Where’s the promise from sea to shining sea…"
"We Take Care of Our Own" (with Lyrics)
Here’s the track list to Wrecking Ball. A special edition will include two bonus tracks and exclusive artwork and photography.
1. We Take Care of Our Own
2. Easy Money
3. Shackled and Drawn
4. Jack of All Trades
5. Death To My Hometown
6. This Depression
7. Wrecking Ball
8. You’ve Got It
9. Rocky Ground
10. Land of Hope and Dreams
11. We Are Alive
12. Swallowed Up (Bonus track)
13. American Land (Bonus track)
Tomorrow, St. Louis rock and roll radio station KSHE-95 changes the morning drive time programming for the first time in more than a decade.
The station will move to a format of all music in the morning putting the emphasis back on the roots of the station and its slogan of ‘Real Rock Radio.’ To contrast the morning talk that dominated for years, the venerable station will place long time disc jockey John Ulett in the spot in an attempt to resurrect falling ratings.
Late last week I spent roughly 25 minutes talking with Ulett by phone for an interview prior to the change. First, we discussed the reasons station management changed the morning drive slot and what the reaction from the public has been to the announcement. Further, we discussed what listeners can expect from the change and how much input he has on the music he plays on the air. Finally, we discussed the St. Louis radio market and a formula for DJs to get their foot in the door in the radio business.
Scott Allen: The big news is that starting on Tuesday, January 17, you’re moving to the morning drive time slot on KSHE-95. Tell me about the big decision to change the drive time per Bob and Tom had filled that slot for a long time.
John Ulett: Yeah, 16 years I think it was. Arbittron has a new ratings system to rate radio stations. People who are involved in the survey wear these meters instead of the old diary system. Once they switched over to this system we noticed that music stations that had talk shows on them the morning talk shows were sliding in the ratings. I was part of the morning show with JC Corcoran on KHITS (KIHT 96.3) when all this started. We were consistently in the top 5 or 6 and sometimes as high as two, but we dropped to #16 and #17. The same thing happened to Bob and Tom. They were consistently #1 and #2 in this marketplace in the old rating system. The new ratings system comes along and they dropped to 14 and 15. It’s really dramatic. So the station hung in there for a while with them because they had a contract. They were trying to do things to help, but nothing changed. So, they decided they needed to go back to the music and play as much music as they possibly can. That’s what worked for KHITS when JC left. On KHITS we started playing nothing but music and try to make our breaks real short – in and out. The ratings went up to where KHITS was #2. That’s what we’re going to try to do with KSHE as well. If you’re a music station I guess you better be music 24 hours a day now. This new rating system is punishing talk on music stations.
That’s interesting that it had that much of an effect when you changed systems. It almost seems that there could be a glitch in there someplace.
We thought that for a while, but after a while we thought, “how come this glitch is not working out?” You can only linger like that ratings wise for so long until your ad rates go down and affecting the bottom line so they had to do something.
Just from my standpoint as a long time listener of St. Louis radio Bob and Tom wasn’t necessarily my favorite thing. I would stop there from time to time and listen to somebody like singer-songwriter Todd Snider or somebody else they were interviewing, but it wasn’t must listen radio. Maybe that’s what you’re referring to that it’s time for a change.
The responses that we’ve gotten from various venues – feed back on our own email system, response on the website, my Facebook page and the station’s Facebook page and stltoday.com – have overwhelmingly been received well. So we get a good response to it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not your typical morning guy and the station knows that too. My history with the station and playing music, and being a part of the music and growing up inside the station for all these years they just felt like -- Put me on there. Do the basics and let the music play as much as possible. Keep the breaks short and hopefully we’ll get a good response.
I read through some of the responses on the KSHE website after the publicity roll out and I saw some listeners against the change. What would you tell listeners who wanted to stay with the status quo?
Well, I’ll tell you Bob and Tom, Chick and Christy you talk about consistency and talent and a solid morning show. Those guys are really good. I think that everything runs its course after a period of time. 16 years is by far the longest running morning show in the history of KSHE radio and KSHE has been around 45 years. They knocked it out of the park for a good number of years. For a good 12 years they were consistently #1 or #2. I would tell those people that we did all we could and we were patient when we brought them in. When we first brought those guys in it took them two years before we got response and ratings. Our listeners did not like them for the longest period of time, but our management was patient and almost two years to the day they became #1. They stayed #1 or #2 of for a good dozen years. I explained the whole ratings system change and what happened. Those are good guys and we have no hard feelings towards them and they have no hard feelings towards us. They know it’s purely a business decision and I think they are getting the same response elsewhere. I don’t know there’s much they can do about it. If they were on a talk formatted radio station I’m sure they’d be absolutely fine.
Like you said you’ve worked mornings for a long time with JC Corcoran, Rick Sanborn and others. How much local flavor do you plan to inject into the programming or is it just going to be in and out and back to the music?
The initial plan is to play as much music as possible. Make my comments whenever I open the microphone to say anything give some good information, get it out fast and get back to the music as quick as possible. People in the morning they want a lot of music, but they also want to be informed too. They want to know what’s going on. You can’t just play the music and not say anything. This is morning radio. People are getting up and want to know what the weather is and what the high temperature is going to be today. What happened last night in sports after they went to bed and things like that. We’re going to get in and get out and do the basics the best I can and see where that takes us. It’s a cleansing of the palette, if you will, from all the talk. It’s got to be stark and it’s got to stand out. It has to be completely different. There will be no chit-chat. As a listener if I’m hearing mindless chit-chat I hit the button so fast it’s ridiculous. If we do fall into that it’s going to be totally by accident.
That makes sense. Obviously you start with the other end of the spectrum and then move a little closer to the middle if things warrant that.
That’s right. As time goes on if things warrant it because it’s been 16 years of no music in the morning. (Laughs) There’s been a pretty good coverage of it in the media and talk on the air. However, there are still so many people out there that have no idea what’s going to happen. We live in the center of this universe and we get caught up thinking everybody knows, well that’s not the case. It’s amazing how many people are not listening to your radio station even if you have good ratings. There are still 1.8 million people out there who don’t listen to your station and have no idea what’s going on. It’s going to take time for people to realize. When they hit the button and say, “Whoa, wait a minute. KSHE is playing music. What’s this?” We want to make sure we’re playing music when they come to check us out.
Speaking of the music - how much freedom will you have as a DJ to play what you want on the air during the new morning show?
I’ll get to pick a couple of songs during the course of a morning. Every show will start with a KSHE Klassic at 6 a.m. and I’ll play “The Lone Klassic” at 9 a.m. Other than that the music is all programmed by the program director and our music director. They want to have pretty tight control over the situation especially right out of the box. That could change as time goes along if I can prove to them that I can get the ratings up and maybe loosen the reins a little bit. They’re not going to loosen them a whole lot. There is so much that is riding on the ratings and the program director’s job is on the line with these things, so he’s going to want to have control. I’ve got not problem with that. I gave up freedom of music selection in the ‘80s. That’s when that went out the window. Of course on the Klassics show on Sunday I get to pick whatever I want, but not Monday through Friday.
The KSHE Klassics show has been a long time staple of the station with Ruth Hutchinson and Rich Dalton preceding your tenure. With your new duties will you still be running that show as well?
Yes, absolutely. As a matter of fact we’re in the middle of playing the entire KSHE Klassic list that we use from A to Z. It started October 9 of last year and won’t finish until August or September. You can go to our [Klassics] website and follow the list of what we’ve played so far. When we’re done our entire list will be on the website. We’ve never made the list like that available in the past. It’s a first time thing and the listeners have really responded. They want that list. They are listening and going to the website and checking the list out every Monday and Tuesday.
You were discussing the programming thing - with the program director and music director making the choices on what songs to play on the air why doesn’t a station like KSHE play newer songs by the established artists that made the station great in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s?
That’s a good question and one we’ve wrestled with over time. Funny you bring it up now because we’re playing the new Van Halen song. I would not rule out something like that happening in the future here. Right now we’re evolving and in this environment with all the competition that’s out there we’re trying to figure out where we fit it which direction is the best for us. Nothing is set in stone. Right now we’re a classic rock station and not playing any new music. I don’t know how long that will last, but right now the programmers want to go in this direction. They changed the morning show and re-establish the roots of what KSHE has been all about over the years and go from there.
I had noticed that over the past couple weeks, especially since this announcement went out, that when I spun the dial to KSHE there was no new music being played.
There could be changes in that coming up pretty soon.
As a DJ, what was your reaction to a classic artist like Tom Petty releasing a song like “The Last DJ” based on long time Los Angeles DJ Jim Ladd?
Well, to be honest with you, I’m not familiar with the song. I’ve not heard it.
It’s certainly a record to check out. In my opinion Tom Petty doesn’t put out bad records. Over his career his albums have been pretty solid.
I’ll have to do that.
It’s a critique of the music industry at the time and definitely one about the DJs losing their control on what they get to play.
How old is that song? When did it come out?
Being a DJ you’d think I’d be aware of that one. For whatever reason, I’m not. I don’t know. For KSHE too, up until about three or four months ago we didn’t play any Tom Petty. We’ve been rocking pretty hard for a long period of time. We’d play Metallica, Mötley Crüe. Tom Petty fell out of our play list for a long time. KHITS is playing it of course. I didn’t really follow him over the past 10 years or so. I’ve always been a fan. I like Tom Petty a lot. As a DJ you’d think I’d know that song. I’m kind of embarrassed.
The radio community here in St. Louis seems to be dominated by DJs who began in the ‘70s and ‘80s. When someone gets fired they usually find work at some other station in the market – either FM or AM dial. Is harder for young DJs to make a name in this market?
Yeah, it is I think. It’s unfortunate. This young lady that’s going to be working with me on the morning show - Lauren Colvin is her name. She goes by Lern on the air. I did a favor for a friend of ours. My daughter plays volleyball his daughter. He explained that a daughter of a friend of his is in the radio business and she went to Illinois State in communications. He asked me, “Can you get her an internship?” I said, “Yeah, I can probably help out.” I got her an internship in the promotions department. Now, a year and a half later, she’s my partner on the morning show. (Laughs) There’s an example of a young person getting a break and coming in and impressing people and now she’s in. I don’t know how often that’s happening in the radio business right now - especially not in the classic rock arena. You know, we’re a little older and you have to know your chops to get in where we are, but I would imagine at the Top 40 stations or a country station that people are getting their feet wet and getting in the business. You don’t see them much in our area.
You’re a native of St. Louis who attended Broadcast Center and made it to radio right out of high school. What would you tell someone trying to get into that industry?
I know it worked for me. I’ve seen what’s worked for other young people along the way that have come in behind me -- Lern being the most recent example. You get your foot in the door some way some how. I was lucky enough to get in and I was full-time right away. I didn’t have to an internship. I don’t know if they had interns back then to be honest with you. Now, maybe that’s the best way. Do whatever the established people ask you to do. Be a hard worker and be pleasant and easy to get along with and have no attitudes. No task is too small. Those people will fall in love with you and will want to help you. If you have any ability after that happens for you then you’ll do fine.
Sounds like very good advice. Obviously, that’s kept you on the air at one place for the last 35 plus years.
The main reason why I’ve been there as long as I have is the same format, same ownership and no changes in management. That’s made it possible. We’ve had the same general manager, John Beck, since 1985. That promotes stability.
From the desk of in case you missed it - St. Louis ambassadors Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three performed on the annual Jools Holland New Year's Eve special, Hootenanny, to help ring in the New Year.
Actually, Pokey LaFarge rang in the New Year twice -- once on television and once in person. The television performance for BBC Two, taped in advance, ran as scheduled, but in real time LaFarge was in St. Louis that evening. He entertained at The Royale with his vintage 78 RPM records for a special Prohibition themed event held at the South Side neighborhood restaurant and bar.
Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three creatively mix the genres of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing into concoction that's infectious. Whether you're a purist who loves old-time American roots music or a newcomer that swears they don't listen to country-style music, LaFarge and company will captivate you with a big swinging beat.
In 2011, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three had quite the exciting year getting their name out to fans around the world all while spreading the good word about the city they call home. The main point of the year came when the group released their sophomore full-length album, Middle of Everywhere. The album received a huge nod when it debuted as a First Listen on the NPR Music site.
However, the group spent 365 days last year promoting itself. Highlights included a a new vinyl single release with Third Man Records (produced by Jack White), a NPR Tiny Desk Concert session in April, a performance at the Newport Folk Festival in July and Pickathon in August, and a Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. Playing a tour with over 200 dates around the country and the U.K., the group managed to play various shows around town for the St. Louis fans including at Off Broadway in August and December and celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the Folk School of St. Louis. LaFarge even took the time from his busy schedule for some hand written correspondence for a two-part series of interviews for KDHX (Part 1 - Part 2).
Makes you sweat just reading that doesn't it? If last year was any indication, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three will conquer the world in 2012.
"Drinkin' Whiskey Tonight"
"La La Blues"
The Austin based garage rock/funk band will play a show for their local fans on Wednesday, February 15.
Last June, the group sauntered through town for a hot set at Off Broadway, a favorite venue of music fans situated in the Historic Cherokee-Lemp neighborhood. They even laid down a few tracks in the 88.1 KDHX studios while they were in the city.
In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Lewis dispelled the notion that the band is a soul revival band. Lewis advised that they "have to keep fighting that battle." Even though references to Clarence Carter, Joe Tex or Tyrone Davis keep popping up, Lewis was not so much influenced by the soul that his dad and uncles listened to while growing up, but by more modern rock and hip hop.
Lewis, who cites James Brown and Lightnin' Hopkins as two of his bigger influences, gets high marks from his band,
"The thing about the band is that we play with each other, not against each other. It's not a pissing contest, the way it is in some bands. We communicate with each other without speaking, and I think that has a lot to do with Joe's attitude -- he has an amazing ability to just draw people in. For a lot of people, the blues is a museum piece, but Joe brings it into the moment." - Honeybears' guitarist Zach Ernst
"Joe's a really special, really natural performer," says Spoon drummer Jim Eno, who thought enough of the band to lend his production skills to the group's first two albums available from Lost Highway.
Word to the wise: I wouldn't miss this show. Whatever Lewis wants to call his music, it will make you move and make you sweat. James Brown would be proud that 50 years on musicians have decided to carry on his groove. Since it's the day after Valentine's Day, I'd bring your favorite lady or gentleman friend along. He or she will want to groove with you at the club and maybe even when you get home.
Check out a few videos below for yourself and tell me you don't want to go. If you do I'm going to call you a liar.
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears - "Sugarfoot"
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears - "I'm Broke"
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears - "Living In The Jungle"
For many, the end of the year is a time to pause and reflect about the events of the past year and start planning for the upcoming year.
Have you made your New Year resolutions yet? If not you're running out of time! There are only a few hours to go until 2012.
If you need some guidance you might check out the New Year's "Rulin's" that a then 30-year-old Woody Guthrie jotted down in 1942 (see picture above). Currently making the rounds on the internet, Guthrie's list contains simple items for living life (complete with companion doodles and sketches in the margins) to remember in the next year. Items include "Work more and better," "Write a song a day," and "Wear clean clothes - look good." The list is part 'to-do list' and part thoughts on how to live life as a better person in the upcoming year. Guthrie included both positive ("Play and sing good", "Love everybody") and negative attributes ("Learn people better", "Don't get lonesome" and "Dance better") of his persona in the list.
This reminder of how Guthrie wanted to live his life segues perfectly into a celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday in 2012.
Purchased by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the archives will be housed in a former warehouse in downtown Tulsa as part of a four building complex slated to open by January 2013. The center will focus on the arts and house not only the Guthrie archives, but also offices for the Tulsa Symphony, space for the University of Tulsa, the Brady Craft Alliance and a satellite museum of Native American and Southwestern Art.
It will be a homecoming of sorts as Guthrie was born Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (after the recently inaugurated President of the United States) in Okemah, OK on July 14, 1912.
This year will also see a release of new music by Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker and Yim Yames paired with unpublished lyrics written by Guthrie. In an interview with Farrar that I did for 88.1 KDHX the singer/songwriter spoke about the details of the project titled New Multitudes due out in January 2012 on Rounder Records.
Further, Nonesuch Records plans to release a Deluxe Box Set of the classic 1998 album Mermaid Avenue by Billy Bragg and Wilco in March, 2012 -- the first album to pair new music with Guthrie's unpublished lyrics.
For a detailed calendar of events, educational conferences, grassroots events and more new musical releases planned in conjunction with the centennial celebration of Woody Guthrie visit the Woody 100 website.
Last week I felt like I got punched in the gut and I was left gasping for air. That's what happens when your favorite group of all time announces that they're going to stop being a band.
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." - R.E.M.
With that official statement the highly influential group - who famously promised to break-up on New Years Eve 1999 - finally called it quits. While the bell didn't toll that night for the band, and longtime fans were disillusioned by the departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1997 a couple of years before that, R.E.M. still meant a lot to a large group of people who found a special connection to this American band.
I began my love affair with the music of R.E.M. in the 1980s. I first heard their music when they were still an up-and-coming College Rock band from Athens, GA. This was in the days before their music was played on mainstream album oriented rock radio. They paved their own way as an American independent rock band by keeping up a relentless schedule of recording and touring up throughout the decade.
Later, when I found out that singer Michael Stipe graduated from the same high school I was attending I felt even more of a connection. Even though Stipe seemed much different from me, he drew me in with his artistic vision, lyrics and a live flair which added greatly to the band's image.
"A wise man once said--'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it." - Michael Stipe
Over the years I collected their albums and singles on vinyl and CD, live bootleg concert recordings, posters, videos, books and joined the official fan club -- something I've never done for any other group. At one point, if their artistic soul became corrupted (read: Kiss) and they licensed baseball cards, comic books and lunch boxes I might have bought one. Thankfully the marketing vultures were kept away by ex-manager Jefferson Holt and legal advisor Bertis Downs and those products never materialized.
If my love for their music was not enough, R.E.M. did more to introduce me to music that would influence my tastes and how I listened to music. Some of these other musicians became some of my favorite artists from any era. From reading reviews, articles, liner notes and anything else I could find about the band, I first found out about artists who shaped their sound and they respected as contemporaries. Musicians like the Velvet Underground, Roky Erickson, Big Star, Patti Smith, Television, Sneakers, The Vibrators, The dBs, The B-52s, Pylon, Love Tractor, Let's Active, Oh-OK, Robyn Hitchcock, Billy Bragg, 10,000 Maniacs, Steve Wynn, Indigo Girls, Vic Chestnutt and many more.
"One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you." - Peter Buck
Not only did I find new music to listen to via R.E.M., but my knowledge of classic artists like The Byrds and Warren Zevon broadened when comparisons arose between the jangly, ringing sounds of the 12 string played by the Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn and R.E.M's own Peter Buck. When band members collaborated with other musicians over the years, Warren Zevon for instance, I began to look deeper into those artist's back catalogues for clues about why a member of my favorite band decided to work on said project often with satisfying results.
Undeniably, their biggest influence was that on their contemporaries and bands that followed on their wake. In the 1994 book, Talk About the Passion: R.E.M.: An Oral Biography by Denise Sullivan, former Dream Syndicate guitarist and musical contemporary, Steve Wynn, relates,
"They invented a whole new ballgame for all of the other bands to follow whether it was Sonic Youth or the Replacements or Nirvana or Butthole Surfers. R.E.M. staked the claim. Musically, the bands did different things, but R.E.M. was first to show us you can be big and still be cool." - Steve Wynn
A band with strong artistic values, R.E.M. were four musicians who worked relentlessly to hone their craft writing some of the best original music of the Rock era. I urge you to listen to bootlegs of their shows from 1980 and 1981 and you'll understand just how far they came to make their first EP Chronic Town (1982) and first full-length LP Murmur (1983). With Stipe, a shy, reticent performer, at the front of the stage as the anthesis of the '80s rock frontman, the group appealed to those who weren't as hip and cool.
While the strength of my affinity for R.E.M. waned a bit after drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997, I never lost my faith for them to reign as my favorite band. I enjoyed the albums that the three remaining members crafted after Berry's departure, but I didn't enjoy them as artistic statements as much as I enjoyed the first the first ten albums. Individual songs from the last five albums stuck out, but the cohesive statements did not strike as strong of a chord with me.
With the release of Collapse Into Now earlier this year, R.E.M. brought back some of their early '90s sound and arguably their best album since New Adventures in Hi-Fi, the last album that included Berry. In their quotes on their website bassist Mike Mills describes how their last studio record related to the decision to break up as a band, "During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, 'what next'? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together."
The thing that irks me about this announcement is that fans didn't get to say goodbye with a tour. At least if they would have toured with the last studio record a mass pouring of love -- like a baseball player who's just announced his retirement -- from fans and critics could have ensued. Special moments with guests on stage or with original drummer Berry might have occurred in a feel good moment. Instead this feels like the guys just threw in the towel.
"We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this--there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We've made this decision together, amicably and with each other's best interests at heart. The time just feels right." - Mike Mills
However, they must have known that the time was right. No fan wants to see their favorite band going through the motions just to release albums worth of dreck. Even though they were not on the top of their game, this announcement by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band is bold - just like their art. I'll always remember them for that.
By Chad Baalman
"For those who are asking, this album will be raw, nasty, tough rock with a good deal of the old Aerosmith 'tongue in cheek," Douglas was quoted as saying on Blabbermouth.net. The yet-to-be-named album, the band's first with all-original material since 2001, is tentatively scheduled for a May 2012 release.
Douglas should know about that classic sound. The longtime producer worked with Aerosmith during its salad days of the 1970s, first overseeing the production of Get Your Wings in 1974 and then staying aboard to help crank out the 1975 breakthrough Toys in the Attic, the critically acclaimed Rocks a year later and finally Draw the Line in 1977.
Those days were highlighted by a combustible mix of groovy, bluesy and straight ahead rock from lead singer Steven Tyler, lead guitarist Joe Perry and Co. Few did it better than the "Toxic Twins" in the 1970s. The excesses of drugs and other vices, some say, might have given Aerosmith that edge that led to classics like "Back in the Saddle," "Sweet Emotion," "Same Old Song and Dance" and "Walk This Way."
But after things reached the tipping point and Tyler, Perry, rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer came down from that smoky haze, the sharp edge became dull. Aerosmith seemed to kick the mindset that worked in the '70s to the curb and replaced it with an effort to gain widespread commercial success and chase that big chart-topping single. The 1990s and early 2000s were filled with a litany of sappy ballads, a single named "Pink" in 1997, that No. 1 hit with 1998's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (a collaboration with songwriter Diane Warren), and 2001's Just Push Play, perhaps the band's epic fail moment with a pink-colored album cover and a female robot in a blown up skirt (think Marilyn Monroe).
Granted, when Aerosmith chose that path to Top 40 radio, their wallets got fatter and record execs at Columbia and Geffen smiled. Doors were opened that Aerosmith had no business knocking on earlier in their careers. Does anyone think for a minute that the bony Tyler would be sitting hip to hip with curvy J-Lo on the set of American Idol if things continued on the path they were taking during the Night In The Ruts sessions in 1979 and when the band wandered through the early 1980s during the Jimmy Crespo/Rick Dufay era?
So if that mainstream kick was a necessary evil, a midlife crisis so to speak, so must a return to Aerosmith's roots for this go-around. What better way to end a 11-year (in 2012) original material drought than with a stirring comeback to regain that swagger from yesteryear? Compare it to a manager in the World Series giving a call to the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth and tabbing that reliever - with "Back in the Saddle" blaring in the stadium of course -- who has been on the mend for a couple years to reach back for one more 90+ mph fastball to get him one more out for the win.
Syncing up with Douglas was a step in the right direction. Aerosmith last worked in the studio with Douglas on the covers album, Honkin' On Bobo, which was released in 2004. The effort allowed the band's blues influences to bubble back to the surface. Perhaps bringing Douglas back into the fold will get those juices flowing once again for the boys from Boston.
It would be a stretch to expect Rocks II at this point (but we can dream, right?), at least capturing that vibe and a rougher, raunchier sound instead of some of their over-produced work in later years will whet the appetite of longtime Aerosmith fans.
"We can see and hear the album in our minds," Hamilton said recently in a video message on the band's website. "We can kind of tell what's going on. And I like to describe it as being crunchy on the outside with a creamy center."
Hamilton added that the basic drum and bass tracks have been laid down and that Perry and Whitford are in the midst of doing the guitar overdubs, with Tyler scheduled to start adding the vocals before the end of the year.
Here's hoping Tyler's mind is in the right place these days and the album doesn't end up being entirely made of cream. It remains to be seen what kind of effect a season of being a judge on Idol (Tyler is coming back for another season) at a reported $18 million has done to him. In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, Tyler said, "Did I take this job to show the band? F**k yeah. Not to show them, but that I can't be held hostage anymore. I will be my own hostage. The band can't throw me out."
Has Tyler been "all in" during the process or has he lost focus? Have he and Perry been able to stay on the same page and put the "Is he (Tyler) in or is he out?" soap opera from two years ago behind them?
If the answer to those questions is 'Yes' and Tyler hasn't gotten too sappy on us, old school fans should really have something to look forward to.
If the answer is "No" and Douglas and Hamilton's proclamations turn out to be hollow, it might give those same fans a reason to "Just Push Stop."
Rosanne Cash reported on Twitter this morning that legendary bass player, Marshall Grant, an original member of Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two died early Sunday morning at St. Bernard’s Medical Center in Jonesboro, AR., from the effects aneurysm. He was 83.
Marshall Grant, original of Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two, died lst nt. Grateful I was w/ him last 2 days. Boom Chicka Boom, old friend. - Rosanne Cash via Twitter
Cash, the eldest daughter of legendary singer Johnny Cash, had a lifelong friendship with Grant as she was born at the beginning of the group's rise to stardom. She further called the musician her 'back-up dad' and was happy she got to spend a couple of days with him just before his death.
Cash played a show at the Johnny Cash Music Festival at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR this past Thursday night. The Johnny Cash Music Festival is raising money to restore the singer's boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas and brought out performers who played with Cash or were close to his life. The performance recorded for a later broadcast featured husband John Leventhal, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Rodney Crowell and other Cash family members. Grant was also scheduled to perform and even made an appearance at rehearsal the previous evening, but went to the hospital after suffering a brain aneurism following the rehearsal. Leventhal even got to play a guitar once owned by original Tennessee Two guitarist Luther Perkins, who died in a house fire in 1968.
Raised in Bessemer City, NC, Grant was one of twelve children born of Willie Leander and Mary Elizabeth (Simmonds) Grant. He married his wife of over 64 years, Etta May Dickerson on November 9, 1946. They had one son, Randall. The two settled in Memphis, TN the following year with Grant working as an auto mechanic. There Grant worked with Perkins and met Roy Cash, Johnny's older brother. Upon seeing the two aspiring musicians playing their guitars on breaks at work Roy Cash mentioned he had a brother stationed overseas who would probably like to play with them when he returned home. On July 15, 1954, Grant got to meet Roy's brother, J.R., who was returning from serving in the Air Force in Germany. J.R. Cash left for Texas to get married and a month later when he returned everything started to happen.
With his upright bass, Grant was a master of the rolling boom chicka boom sound made famous by the group in the 1950s and 1960s. Originally Grant, Perkins and Cash all played acoustic guitar, but they soon realized that to follow the lead of fellow Memphis musician Elvis Presley someone would need to to play electric guitar and bass. Perkins bought an electric guitar and Grant bought a used bass at OK Houck Music Store in Memphis for $25. To save costs and because it needed to be done, Grant served as road manager during Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two tours in addition to playing bass. Grant made housing and travel arrangements for the group to get them to gigs. The group would travel by car and station wagon from city to city to play concerts. Grant also managed the Statler Brothers for many years until their retirement last decade.
Grant wrote with Chris Zar about his experiences playing with Cash in his autobiography I Was There When It Happened: My Life With Johnny Cash published by Cumberland House in October, 2006. The title is a reference to the a gospel song the group presented to Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records, to record. Phillips rejected the song on the grounds he couldn't sell gospel music asking the group if they had any other material. The group got hard at work building music around poems written by Johnny Cash. Grant wrote the book on his experiences in Johnny Cash's inner circle from memory without the aid of a diary or extensive notes. Ever the straight sideman, Grant admitted that he never drank alcohol, took drugs or smoked cigarettes.
The book, endorsed by way of forwards written by both Rosanne Cash and the Statler Brothers, is Grant's account of his days playing with Cash from the early 1950's up until his dismissal in 1980. The stories contained are both stark and truthful telling readers many of the behind the scenes details of Cash's life including his demons with amphetamine and barbiturate addictions.
In an interview, Grant discussed how the he sat with writers initially slated to write the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk The Line." The writers were eventually replaced by the studio, but Grant's recollections were used even though they were now third hand.
Grant was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2009. In addition to music Grant also enjoyed owning and racing outboard powerboats racking up many victories.
With her new compilation, the Essential Rosanne Cash out a couple of months ago in time for her birthday, Rosanne Cash plans to mix book tour stops with live performances the road this summer and fall including a stop in St. Louis. Cash will stop for a book signing at Blueberry Hill in University City to promote her book "Composed," originally released in hardcover by Viking last year, the paperback edition comes out August 1. If you're interested in finding more about the book read an excerpt from the book here. Watch a video of a 2010 interview with Cash from PBS here.
For her last studio album in 2009, The List, Cash finally found the time to record some of the songs her father jotted down for her in the early 1970s as classics she needed to know. The album genesis stemmed from that age-old generational discussion between parent and child, teacher and student or mentor and student when the older person learns that the younger person has not been exposed to certain necessary benchmarks. Therefore, the older person feels it necessary to educate the younger person to bring them up to speed. In this instance, Johnny Cash learned that his daughter Rosanne needed to know more about the history of country music and essential songs.
“When I was 18,” Cash explains, “I was on the road with my dad. One day, we were sitting in the tour bus, talking about songs, and he mentioned a song, and I said, "I don‟t know that one.‟ He mentioned another one, and I said, "I don‟t know that one, either.‟ Then he started to get alarmed, so he spent the rest of the day making a list on a legal pad, and at the top he put "100 Essential Country Songs.‟ And he handed it to me and he said, "This is your education." ”
The album, The List, won "Album of The Year" at the 2010 Americana Music Honors and Awards and was nominated for a GRAMMY in the "Best Americana Album" category.
Listen to a few streaming audio tracks contained on the compilation The Essential Rosanne Cash below
Rosanne Cash - Seven Year Ache from Seven Year Ache (1981)
Rosanne Cash - What We Really Want from Interiors (1990)
Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac from Black Cadillac (2006)
Rosanne Cash with Bruce Springsteen - Sea Of Heartbreak from The List (2009)
Seven Year Ache - Live In Studio 1983
Tennessee Flat Top Box - Live from Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute 2003
Rosanne Cash, host of the 2010 5 Under 35 Celebration, Interviewed by Amanda Stern
Sadly, Clarence Clemons, iconic saxophone player for Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, passed away yesterday. I do not normally feel overly saddened by celebrity deaths, but this time I could not but help to feel very saddened upon hearing the news. If you have ever noticed the quote at the top of our page, you know that Bruce and the E St. Band's music means a lot to Scott and I. When we were kicking around ideas for the name of the blog, I was immediately drawn to the "3 Minute Record" name because of a long time love of the song "No Surrender" in which that quote comes from. That song still moves me as much now as when I first heard it some 25 years ago. I have already shared on this blog how my love of Springsteen can be attributed to my dad. The bond I share with my father has a lot to do with the music we have been able to share, especially the sounds of Bruce and the E St. Band. Mr. Clemons was one of the most important figures in helping create those sounds, and having to imagine the E St. Band without the Big Man is just unbelievable. I guess that is why I feel so sad tonight. I have so many great memories of seeing Bruce live and getting to hear Clarence's sax echo through the arena. I usually prefer intimate, small club shows as opposed to arenas, but there was something about seeing Bruce and the band live that was just amazing even in an arena. Clarence's sax soaring out of the PA and echoing throughout the hall had a way of just making you feel so alive. To know that I will never get to have that experience again is why I feel so sad tonight. Bands break up, relationships end, people pass on. When you realize that you will never get to experience something that brings so much happiness into your life, all you can really do is raise your glass and shed a few tears. Thank you sir for all the great music and performances, you had a great life.
"To bring joy and light to the world is my purpose in life" - Clarence Clemons
Put away your handful of quarters, nickels and dimes. This month the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. launched a new ambitious project called The National Jukebox.
I first heard about this project earlier this month on NPR. The site is a free archive of sound recordings that documents sounds (music and speeches) recorded at the dawn of the 20th century and allows the listener to stream (but not download) each song via their computer. Still the site garnered interest from the public with over 250,000 visits already.
The Library of Congress spent the majority of 2010 digitizing over 10,000 sides (78 RPM records have one song on each side) from the Victor Talking Machine Company (now under the arm of Sony Music Entertainment) originally produced between 1900 and 1925. The website states that, "The National Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives." As a mission this ambitious project has
The goal of the Jukebox is to present to the widest audience possible early commercial sound recordings, offering a broad range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning.
Further, this collection will not remain static and stodgy lending credibility continued. The website continues by stating, "New recordings are added to the Jukebox every month. Later this year, we will begin digitizing recordings from additional record labels, including Columbia and Okeh, along with selected master recordings from the Library of Congress Universal Music Group Collection."
First, I clicked on genre and found the Traditional/Country section and near the top was a favorite country standard of mine.
Wreck Of The Old 97 - Vernon Dalhart - 1924 http://media.loc.gov/player/flowplayer.commercial.swf?0.8696789029376122
Next used a search term "St. Louis" and found some interesting hits from an even earlier era. The first song is a classic from the 1904 World's Fair hosted in Forest Park in St. Louis performed here by Billy Murray. A strong tenor voice helped Murray become one of the most popular singers of the first quarter of the 20th century singing into as acoustic recording horn. Murray started out in vaudeville as a teenager and by 1903 he was in the New York area making studio recordings. By the mid-1920s when the electronic microphone came into use, the new sound of crooners eclipsed Murray's sound forever.
Meet Me in St. Louie, Louie - Billy Murray - 1904 http://media.loc.gov/player/flowplayer.commercial.swf?0.8545572064060243
St. Louis Tickle - Ossman-Dudley Trio - 1906 (Instrumental) http://media.loc.gov/player/flowplayer.commercial.swf?0.4831903982451466
St. Louis Blues - Original Dixieland Jazz Band - 1921 http://media.loc.gov/player/flowplayer.commercial.swf?0.18645644567922426
That Baseball Rag - Arthur Collins - 1913 http://media.loc.gov/player/flowplayer.commercial.swf?0.4422833037025974
As an owner of both a vintage jukebox and my great-grandfather's Victrola, this project intrigues me to no end. The website allows you to make playlists to back and listen to these songs again and again; just like pulling out your old records over and over.
Before reading any articles or news reports, the first thing I thought about when I heard about this project was Joe Bussard's collection of 78 RPM records. Wouldn't it be great to have his collection as part of this rich history of recorded American music?
If you've never heard of Joe Bussard then you're in for a treat. Bussard, the self-professed "King of Record Collectors," is a record collector who started collecting 78 RPM records in the 1950s and 1960s - mostly blues, Cajun, country, folk, gospel, and jazz. He took trips into remote Mid-Atlantic towns near his Maryland home to seek out people who would sell their rare records. Presently, Bussard is an opinionated, cigar smoking old man with a record collection of 78 RPM sides that has few rivals. There is a well done documentary about Bussard called Desperate Man Blues: Discovering the Roots of American Music that gives a nice synopsis of the man and the collection.
Old Hat Records released a compilation of some of Bussard's 78 RPM sides a few years ago on Down In The Basement: Joe Bussard's Treasure Trove of Vintage 78's.
But these will remind others of the collection Harry Smith put together in the 1950s for Moe Asch's Folkways Records called the Anthology Of American Folk Music. Cited by countless musicians as a heavy influence on their work, this collection effectively re-started the entire Folk music revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Kudos to the Library of Congress for taking on such an ambitious project. America's musical heritage is a treasure and worth preserving for future generations to hear.
Footnote: For some reason the ability to embed these songs into the post did not work correctly and I'm not sure why. If you can speak to that issue please let me know.
Last week, a press release from Cassie Morgan & The Lonely Pine showed up about an ambitious new project they were involved with a couple of weeks ago. Love Drunk studio, a live music video project out of Omaha, Nebraska, came to St. Louis on April 30th to shoot a live, one-take music video with St. Louis indie folk duo Cassie Morgan & the Lonely Pine. The band and crew spent part of an afternoon in an undisclosed warehouse in South St. Louis shooting the video.
You can watch the video of Cassie Morgan & the Lonely Pine - "These Years" below. "These Years" is a new, unreleased track by Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine.
The press release advised that "the video shoot with Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine is part of a tour in which the folks of Love Drunk are shooting live sessions of 16 bands in 15 days, in 13 cities, for free. These live, one-take music video sessions are featured on hearnebraska.org, which is a non-profit cultural organization that cultivates the state's vibrant, fertile music and arts community."
Recently I caught up with Morgan out on the town and she advised there are plans to make a record later in the year, but the schedule may be dictated by the producer's decision to go back to graduate school.
Next Friday, May 20 you can catch Cassie Morgan & The Lonely Pine playing the 10:00 p.m. slot at the "Home Grown Showcase" with Warm Jets USA, Ellen the Felon & the , and Riley James & the Bad Men at The Pageant in the U-City Loop.
In June, the folk duo will also play during Twangfest 15 presented by 88.1 KDHX. The show at Blueberry Hill Duck Room on June 9 with Jill Andrews, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, and Eileen Rose & the Holy Wreck.
And mark your calendars for July 8 when Cassie Morgan & The Lonely Pine will play The Sheldon with Kentucky Knife Fight and Pretty Little Empire.
Bloodshot Records and the Bottle Rockets announced a release date for a new live album from the band this afternoon. Titled Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening with the Bottle Rockets (BS 187 CD), the album will see the laser light of day on August 16, 2011.
Recorded live at the now defunct Lucas School House in St. Louis, the Bottle Rockets take 13 songs from their now substantial catalog, unplug the electric guitars and pull out their acoustic guitars (and let's not be naive here, plug those in too) to re-cast some of their songs in new light. The set includes some songs from early albums now long out of print.
The Riverfront Timesreported the venue closed in late 2008, so this live set was recorded in 2007 or 2008. From the language on the Chicago based independent record label's website it seems that Bloodshot is planning a CD release, but something may happen where a vinyl release of the album is possible as well. The Bottle Rockets' last full length LP, Lean Forward(Bloodshot, 2009), saw both a vinyl and CD release. We're keeping our fingers crossed!
Here's what the press release from the band said:
"Although it may not be obvious, most Bottle Rockets songs are written on acoustic guitar. Contrary to being identified as a loud rock band, we enjoy the opportunities to perform without amplifiers and electricity. Songwriting is distinctly showcased under those stripped down conditions and requires the songs to sink or swim on their own. And on such occasions, we are always amused by the tangle of cords, plugs, and wires that are still involved with supposedly 'unplugged' music.
Choosing the right venue is important to the success of any show, and the Lucas School House in St. Louis was our correct choice for two sold out shows. Located on the edge of the historic Soulard neighborhood, the venue was formerly a one-room school built in 1898. The small, second floor gymnasium had been renovated into a concert hall with a beautiful wooden interior, stained glass, plush leather seating and state-of-the-art sound system. Serving as an ideal listening room during its short life, any performance in that space was an intimate music experience.
Recordings from those shows provide the material for this live album and the songs selected here include a mix of favorites, rarities, reinventions, and performances in-the-moment. Although the Lucas School House has since closed, this album preserves the essence of those two special nights."
The end came last Thursday for a performer with one of the more perfect names for country music, as word from Nashville came on Friday that country music pioneer Ferlin Husky died. He was 85. Born in Cantwell, MO on December 3, 1925 and reared on a farm near Flat River, MO, Husky grew up as a typical Midwesterner with a hard scrabble existence during the Great Depression and an eighth grade education.
Learning the basics of guitar as a boy from an uncle, Husky performed in honky tonks around St. Louis after dropping out of high school in the early 1940s. He worked blue-collar jobs as a truck driver and at a steel mill before enlisting in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II. Here he further honed his performing skills while entertaining other troops and adopting a stage persona of Simon Crum, an outspoken hayseed comic character based on a neighbor from back home.
After the war, Husky took a job as a disc jockey and performed from 1948 to 1953 under the stage name Terry Preston before reverting back to his real name. On the radio he continued to work on his Simon Crum character drawing an audience and sponsors. With the help of Tennessee Ernie Ford's manager, Cliffie Stone, Husky signed to Capitol Records in 1953 and recorded for the label until 1972.
Husky entertained country music fans in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with hits like "Wings of a Dove" and "Gone."
His first number one hit on the country charts came during his first year at Capitol - "A Dear John Letter," a duet with Jean Shepard. The song also crossed over to the pop charts reaching number four.
In 1957, Husky reached the top spot on the country charts again with "Gone."
In 1960, Husky returned to the top of the country charts with "Wings of a Dove," a song written by Bob Ferguson, that stayed at number 1 for ten weeks and rose to number 12 on the pop charts.
Although Husky never reached the top of the charts again his music remained popular with country music fans. He reached number 4 twice with "Once" (1967) and "Just for You" (1968).
Husky semi retired in the late 1970s after heart issues. Though he returned to touring and performances, he ceased recording. In February 2010, the Country Music Association announce that Husky would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Over his career Husky charted 11 top ten country hits, 23 top twenty hits, and 41 top forty hits.
Within the last 24 hours or so I have become aware that Hugh Martin, Jr., best known as the writer of the music for the musical "Meet Me In St. Louis," died last Friday, March 11 at the age of 96 from natural causes. The Los Angeles Times first reported the story late on Friday and then published a longer story on Sunday.
Martin was best known for his work in the musical theater in such productions as Best Foot Forward (1941); Look Ma, I'm Dancin'! (1948); Make a Wish (1951); High Spirits (1964) and as an arranger and choral arranger for many other musicals. Martin was lucky enough to write music in the golden age of pop music.
Martin collaborated with Ralph Blane on three songs for the classic 1944 MGM musical "Meet Me In St. Louis" which starring Judy Garland. The plot centered around the Smith family and the events happening to their family around the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held during 1904 in St. Louis.
Martin and Blane wrote the music and lyrics for "The Trolley Song", "The Boy Next Door" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." In the movie Garland sung all three of their songs with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" becoming a Christmas standard in later years. Martin and Blane were nominated for an Academy Award for "The Trolley Song" at the seventeenth annual award ceremony held in March, 1945. On the 50th anniversary of the film's release in 1994, the Library of Congress deemed the work as culturally significant and added it to the National Film Registry. "The Trolley Song" was ranked #26 by the American Film Institute in 2004 on the 100 Years... 100 Songs list.
As someone with a degree in history and an affinity for antiques and all things old, I have to recognize that the 1904 World's Fair was a monumental event in the history of St. Louis. The Missouri History Museum in Forest Park has a permanent exhibit dedicated to the fair and its impact on the city. The St. Louis Art Museum is housed in one of the last buildings left from the fair. With a population over 575,000 people in 1900, St. Louis was the fourth largest city in the United States. That year the Olympic games were held in St. Louis; a first for a city in the United States. Written in 1904 with words by Andrew B. Sterling and music by Kerry Mills and later revitalized by the movie, "Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis" was played by the organ player at Busch Stadium between innings during St. Louis Cardinals baseball games.
In October, 2011 after celebrating his 96th birthday, Martin published his autobiography Hugh Martin - The Boy Next Door chronicaling his work as a songwriter in theater and film.
"Clang, clang, clang went the trolley/Ding, ding, ding went the bell/Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings as we started for Huntington Dell."
- The Trolley Song by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane
Streetcar service started in St. Louis in 1859, and by the early twentith century it was ubiquitous in major American cities, however, the service ended in St. Louis in 1966 only to be replaced by buses until the Metrolink light rail system started in 1993. A movement to reinstate a streetcar/trolley line from the Forest Park Metrolink stop to the University City Loop area could bring back the sound of the bells within a few years.
Admittedly your basic independent record store has not given me much besides some free posters, a copy of the local independent weekly, a promo cassette or compact disc, a paycheck for a short time and recently some concert tickets. However, they do need the business and I willing to give my money to them to allow them to stay in business so I can continue to shop there.
But wouldn't it be nice to win a trip for 2 to New York City?
The people behind Record Store Day are hosting a contest to send two people to NYC all expenses paid (airline tickets, hotel) and a $200 American Express gift card! Now that's a nice idea!
There's no purchase necessary, but your local independent record store would appreciate it greatly if you stopped by and give them some business. (Hint. Hint.)
The Friends of the Sheldon are hosting their 3rd annual Trivia night next Friday, February 4. A table of 10 will cost just $250 (or $25 per person) and proceeds will go to benefit the Sheldon's Educational Programs.
Your admission will get you free Schlafly beer, soda and water. A cash bar will be available and the organizers are asking that no outside alcohol be brought into the building. You can bring your own snacks or you can have pizza and pasta delivered to your table courtesy of Vito's Ristorante. A part of the proceeds from the sale of pizza and pasta will also go to the Sheldon.
The host for the evening is Phil Donato, a well-known trivia host around town. He will test your knowledge in such categories as: Pop Culture, Music, Art, Sports and more!
There will be cash prizes for the top two teams and a consolation prize for the last place team. Mulligans will be available for purchase. The group is planning a 50/50 raffle for the event as well.
Where: The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63108
When: Friday, February 4, 2011
Why: Benefit for Sheldon's Educational Programs
Cost: $250 for table of 10 or $25/person
Contact Lauren at 314.533.9900 ext. 17 or email@example.com to reserve your table or more information.