Sunday, January 15, 2017

Johnny Rivers...The Memphis Sun Recordings

Johnny Rivers is one of the most underrated rock pioneers. This album is his tribute to rockabilly by recordings that made Sun studios so famous. He plays and sings them close to the originals. Rivers pays homage to the greats, yet makes each well known song his own; no small feat.

One can only imagine how crowded the little Sun Studio in Memphis must have been when this great record was made - guitars, horns, back-up singers, bass, etc, and Johnny singing live. Just terrific versions of early Sun songs plus some of Johnny's hits in stripped down versions. His "Memphis" sounds just as strong as his original 60's recording at the Whiskey A Go Go. Johnny enlisted hall of fame musicians to lend a hand, the late Carl Perkins and James Burton, to name two. 

Carl Perkins sits in and plays after Johnny says to him "Carl, why don't you come in and help us out", after being told by Rebekah Alperin who was helping with the project that I think Carl wants to play. Johnny was thrilled when Carl joined him. Johnny handed his guitar to Carl and picked up an acoustic guitar and they started playing "Bopping the Blues". Carl went on to play lead on all the songs that were his.

Johnny Rivers is in his strongest element on this album; this had to be a great work of joy for him, and it shines through. He has gone back to the roots of rock and roll. Elvis, Roy and Carl would be proud.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Auction at Graceland Elvis memorabilia January 7th 2017

Once again, The Auction at Graceland is on with a collection of very unique and rare Elvis artifacts and memorabilia up for grabs.

The Auction At Graceland, which starts at 2:00 PM CST on the 7th, has more special Elvis items than ever! Elvis was involved in so many different pursuits and his life touched so many people that there are many important items still left at the Graceland estate for auction. With the help of Invaluable, fans have the chance to own part of his legacy.

 Here are a few lots to check out: 

Lot 61: Elvis Presley Gold and Diamond Ring

Estimated Price: $10,000 - $15,000

The offered ring emanates from Charlie Hodge. It was purchased in the early 1980's along with 11 other rings and the original box in which Elvis kept them when he gave them to Charlie.

Lot 126: Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley Signed Divorce Document

Estimated Price: $5,000 - $7,000

Their love was legendary and their parting was amiable, as evidenced in this one-page Supplement to Property Settlement Agreement in which assets are divided. According to the document, Priscilla is to receive $100,000 tax-free and should any claim be made against this sum, Elvis has agreed to be liable. This agreement is dated August 15, 1972, and framed with two images of Elvis and Priscilla leaving the Santa Monica courthouse the day their divorce was final.

Lot 62: Elvis Presley Film Worn Boxing Gloves

Estimated Price: $12,000 - $15,000

From the collection of “Rockin’” Robin Rosaaen.

check out other Elvis memorabilia and collectible items up for auction on Invaluable.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stax Instrumentals..Booker T. and The MG's and The Mar-Keys

As back up band for the majority of Stax studio soul music alumni, Booker T. and the MG's/Mar-Keys had a wide range of melodic styles back then as represented on this compilation encompassing early 60's yackety sax dance party pop to the smokey electric base, twangy guitar and bluesy-cool jazz organ riffs first heard in the 1962 Green Onions hit.

Their unique sound has permeated through American pop culture where their influence can be heard in Frankie Avalon beach movies, Beach Boys songs, the Doors' "Rider's On The Storm", the Partridge Family, even TV commercials all the way to the present Late Night with David Letterman and the early SNL bands. The thing is most of the songs on this compilation sound more modern, fresh and original than what most bands are producing today.

Also, specific to this Fantasy Records release, is the sound quality of this remix is the best out of the bunch. Big bass sound with distinct separation between instruments on the majority of the cuts that give a live studio feel similar to the way jazz sessions were recorded back in the day.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book review - Sam Phillips, The Man Who Invented Rock'n'Roll...paperback edition now available

Peter Guralnick, the author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis, brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who single-handedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records.

The music that he shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices passionately proclaiming the vitality of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical day. With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over a 25-year period with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, Guralnick gives us an ardent, unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, or Thomas Edison.

Marty's review: Probably the most fascinating and informative book on the history of Sam Phillips and Sun Records I have ever read. It is also a music encyclopedia on the birth of rock and roll and all that it spawned after it. The just released paperback edition is a generous 763 pages worth, including dozens of photographs, that will have the most ardent music aficionado drooling over its pages and devouring every tasty morsel of juicy facts, historical events and biographical detail. If you thought you knew all about Sam Phillips, Sun Records and the beginnings of Elvis Presley's rise to fame, then this book will surprise and delight and have you digging out your music collections and wanting to hear more of the artists mentioned hear and appreciate their roots and the music they made.

About the Author

Peter Guralnick has written extensively on American music and musicians. His books include the prize-winning Elvis Presley two-part biography Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love; an acclaimed trilogy on American roots music, Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway and Feel Like Going Home; the biographical inquiry Searching for Robert Johnson; the novel Nighthawk Blues; and Dream Boogie, a biography of Sam Cooke. He splits his time between Nashville and Massachusetts.

Published by Little Brown and Company


Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Guitar Sounds of James Burton....Guitarist for Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson and many others

Produced by former Elvis producer Felton Jarvis, THE GUITAR SOUNDS OF JAMES BURTON is a must for fans of great-sounding guitar. He sizzles in places, and backs off in others. Most people know James' resume, having played guitar for so many great artists, especially Elvis. But he is a great artist in his own right. He is a pleasure to watch live, continually proving that you don't need to jump up and down and smash your guitar to get attention. James Burton epitomizes the word "cool."

Originally released in 1971, the album was recorded when Elvis was booked into a Nashville studio but was ill and thus unable to record. Felton Jarvis suggested they use the time to make the solo LP that James had been discussing with him. This album has twelve tracks, many of which are instantly recognizable classics ("Hound Dog," "Mystery Train," "Suzie Q" and "Johnny B. Goode"), but there are tracks on this disc which James wrote himself, "Rock and Raunch" and "Long Reach," which, not surprisingly, play to James' strengths as a picker.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

5 “Ground Breaking” Albums That Are Horrendously Overrated

Okay music collectors and critics, this is one you will either love or hate, but it's an interesting view either way. The article was written and contributed by Jessica Kane (see below article).

5 “Ground breaking” Albums That Are Horrendously Overrated

They might be classics, but that doesn't make them good. Here are just five albums that are unfairly or excessively lauded in music circles.

1. Metallica - The Black Album (1991)

The Black Album was a critical and commercial success, so much so that many people held it up as proof that heavy metal could be profitable and not just a niche market. But how much do you really remember about this album? More than two decades later, can you name any song other than Enter Sandman? While Sandman is admittedly awesome, the presence of one killer song shouldn't elevate its album into "incredible" or "unforgettable" territory. It's with a heavy heart that we have to declare The Black Album to be overrated.

2. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)

There are some good tracks on this album. Smells Like Teen Spirit is a classic, of course, and Lithium is one of the best of the genre. Even Something in the Way has spawned thousands of mournful covers from kohl-lined bands in dimly-lit bars. But once you take the romanticism and mythos of Kurt Cobain out of it, does Nevermind really stand up to the test of time? Is it really and truly the golden standard to which rock albums should all be compared? Really?

3. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

The favorite album of pretentious music snobs everywhere, The Wall is hailed as one of the most innovate artistic expressions in the history of mankind. It's too bad that The Wall is actually kind of terrible when you get right down to it. Strange, disjointed and lacking memorable songs beyond Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, it simply isn't a good album by any definition. Even worse, you can't criticize it without millions of angry fans instantly descending on you and declaring that you don't "get it." We admit it: We don't get it.

4. Eminem - The Slim Shady LP (1999)

Eminem has done some amazing things for the hip-hop industry. Unfortunately, these things aren't on The Slim Shady LP. As soon as you've heard My Name Is, you've heard the best of the album, and everything else is a collection of gross-out humor and shock-jock threats. He deserves a little slack since this was his first real debut on a major label, but it definitely isn't on par with his later albums.

5. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

It may seem blasphemous to discredit one of the most popular albums of all time, but honestly, can you name any song in this collection besides Thriller? Even if you remember fun numbers like Billie Jean, you probably forgot clunkers like P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) and Baby Be Mine. That's what most of this album is: filler. The great songs were very much in the minority, and what's more, they were sandwiched between the mediocrity in a way that forced you to eat your broccoli before you got your desserts. That isn't a great album. It's an overrated one.

These are just a few of the most overrated albums of all time. What do you think? Did we get the worst offenders, or did we miss one?

Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPITurntables.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Jefferson Airplane...60's Psychedelia and the San Francisco Sound

Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane were a San Francisco, California-based band who pioneered the American counterculture movement as well as psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Area to achieve international commercial success. They were headliners at the three most famous American rock festivals of the 1960s—Monterey (1967), Woodstock (1969) and Altamont (1969)—in addition to the first Isle of Wight Festival (1968) in England. Their 1967 break-out record Surrealistic Pillow ranks on the short list of most significant recordings of the "Summer of Love". Two songs from that album, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit", are among Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

The "classic" line-up of Jefferson Airplane remained stable from 1967 to early 1970, and consisted of Marty Balin, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen and Grace Slick. The group broke up in 1972 and split into two bands: Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Jefferson Airplane

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Psychedelia At Abbey Road....1965 to 1969...various artists

22 Tracks...The Major and the Minor
A Journey Through the Vaults

This is a phantasmagorical collection of 60's pyschedelic rock and pop. Either a great way to introduce yourself to a fascinating era in music, or an excellent way to get a hold of some hard to find tracks. Of interest also to prog-rock fans (prog-rock's roots lie in psychedelia) for the tracks by Tomorrow (featuring a 17-year old Steve Howe on guitar before he joined up with Yes) and "Kites" by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, a precursor to the band Gentle Giant.

From Donovan's self-confident "Sunshine Superman", to Syd Barrett's moody, suitably trippy "Golden Hair", this is a fine collection of British psychedelia. Many of the people here would go on to some distinction including the N'betweens, who would become Slade. A really great anthology including a handful of absolute must-haves....especially the amazing "Circus With A Female Clown" by The Fingers and "We Are The Moles, Part 1" by The Moles.

  1. Sunshine Superman-Donovan
  2. My White Bicycle-Tomorrow
  3. Delighted To See You-The N'Betweens
  4. Sunny South Kensington-Donovan
  5. Circus With A Female Clown-The Fingers
  6. Why-Tomorrow
  7. King Midas In Reverse-The Hollies
  8. 10,000 Years Behind My Mind-Focus 3
  9. Monday Morning-Tales Of Justine
  10. Maker-The Hollies
  11. Kites-Simon Dupree And The Big Sound
  12. Talkin' About The Good Times-Pretty Things
  13. Walking Through My Dreams-Pretty Things
  14. Weatherman(He's Our Dear Old)-Mark Witz
  15. 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box-Aquarian Age
  16. Carpet Man-The Nocturnes
  17. Barricades-The Koobas
  18. We Are The Moles(Part 1)-The Moles
  19. Mr. Armegeddon-Locomotive
  20. Hey Bulldog-The Gods
  21. Strange Walking Man-The Mandrake Paddle Steamer
  22. Golden Hair-Syd Barrett

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beat at Abbey Road 1963 to 1965 by various artists

Beat at Abbey Road is a 28 track collection from various major groups and artists that laid down recordings at the famed studios in the early 1960's at the height of the beat boom. Some went on to major success while others faded away into relative obscurity.

Artists on this compilation include Cilla Black, The Fourmost, The Dakotas, Freddie and The Dreamers, Manfred Mann, The Hollies, The Swinging Blue Jeans and Rod Stewart. Also included are some rarities and obscurities that will please the avid aficionados.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Lost 45's...1960's...Collection of Previously Unavailable Tracks by Various Artists

The Lost 45's is 20 track collection of 1960's hits by various artists that were popular on Australian radio of the time and were previously unavailable on CD.

Includes tracks by Booker T and the MG's, Gene Pitney, MPD Ltd, Normie Rowe, Eydie Gorme, Lee Hazelwood, Neil Sedaka, Donovan, The Cherokees, Sandie Shaw, Derek, Dion and Manfred Mann.


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Friday, May 20, 2016

Not Fade Away...Buddy Holly 1957: The Complete Recordings

This 90 track collection features every known 1957 Buddy Holly recording, the hits of which were issued alternately as by The Crickets ("That'll Be the Day", "Oh Boy", "Maybe Baby") and as by Buddy Holly ("Words of Love", "Peggy Sue", "Listen to Me"). Also here are the album tracks of the period, alternate takes, demos, air shots and more. 

As well as all of the 1957 recordings marketed as by both the Crickets and as by Buddy Holly, this three CD set also includes a wealth of tracks on which Buddy and his friends backed other Country, Pop and Rock 'N' Roll singers in the Clovis studio - such as the first (?) recordings by future folk star Carolyn Hester - along with the soundtracks from TV shows, on-air interviews and amusingly-tailored promo jingles to massage the egos of various music industry figures.

Track Listings
Disc: 1
  1. I'm Lookin' For Someone To Love - Buddy Holly
  2. That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly
  3. Last Night - Buddy Holly
  4. Maybe Baby - Buddy Holly
  5. Last Night - Buddy Holly
  6. Words Of Love - Buddy Holly
  7. Words Of Love - Buddy Holly
  8. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues - Buddy Holly
  9. Not Fade Away - Buddy Holly
  10. Not Fade Away - Buddy Holly
  11. Everyday - Buddy Holly
  12. Ready Teddy - Buddy Holly
  13. Valley Of Tears - Buddy Holly
  14. Tell Me How - Buddy Holly
  15. Buddy's Hone Call To Paul Cohen OF Decca Records - Buddy Holly
  16. Go Boy GGone - Gary Dale
  17. Gone - Gary Dale
  18. Go Boy Go - Gary Dale
  19. The Golden Rocket - Gary Dale
  20. Gone - Gary Dale
  21. I Overlooked An Orchid - Gary Dale
  22. On My Mind Again - Billy Walker
  23. Viva La Matador - Billy Walker
  24. A Whole Lot Of Lovin - Jim Robinson
  25. A Whole Lot Of Lovin - Jim Robinson
  26. A Whole Lot Of Lovin - Jim Robinson
  27. A Whole Lot Of Lovin' - Jim Robinson
  28. It's a Wonderful Feeling - Jim Robinson
  29. Starlight - Jack Huddle
  30. Believe Me - Jack Huddle
  31. Starlight - Jack Huddle
  32. Believe Me - Jack Huddle

Disc: 2
  1. Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly
  2. Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly
  3. Listen To Me - Buddy Holly
  4. That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly
  5. That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly
  6. Oh, Boy! - Buddy Holly
  7. Oh, Boy! - Buddy Holly
  8. That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly
  9. I'm Gonna Love You Too - Buddy Holly
  10. Send Me Some Lovin' - Buddy Holly
  11. It's Too Late - Buddy Holly
  12. Send Me Some Lovin' - Buddy Holly
  13. It's Too Late - Buddy Holly
  14. Man From Texas - Jim Robinson
  15. Honey, Honey - Gary Dale
  16. Look To the Future - Gary Dale
  17. By the Missio Wall - Fred Crawford
  18. Wreck Of the Old '97 - Carolyn Hester
  19. Scarlet Ribbons - Carolyn Hester
  20. Sugartime - Charlie Phillips
  21. One Faded Rose - Charlie Phillips
  22. One Faded Rose - Charlie Phillips
  23. Sugartime - Charlie Phillips
  24. One Faded Rose - Charlie Phillips
  25. Humble Heart - Sherry Davis
  26. Borken Promises - Sherry Davis
  27. Moondreams - Norman Petty Trio
  28. Moondreams - Norman Petty Trio
  29. Moondreams - Norman Petty Trio

Disc: 3
  1. You've Got Love - Buddy Holly
  2. Maybe Baby - Buddy Holly
  3. An Empty Cup (And a Broken Date) - Buddy Holly
  4. Rock Me, My Baby - Buddy Holly
  5. That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly
  6. That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly
  7. Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly
  8. Interview With Ed Sullivan - Buddy Holly
  9. Little Baby - Buddy Holly
  10. You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care) - Buddy Holly
  11. Look At Me - Buddy Holly
  12. Mona - Buddy Holly
  13. Mona - Buddy Holly
  14. Mona - Buddy Holly
  15. Mona - Buddy Holly
  16. Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly
  17. Don't Do Me This Way! - Rick Tucker
  18. Patty Baby - Rick Tucker & the Picks
  19. Don't Do Me This Way! - Rick Tucker & the Picks
  20. Promotional Spot For Bill Randle #1 - Bill Randle
  21. Promotional Spot For Bill Randle #2 - Bill Randle
  22. Promotional Spot For Don Passerby #1 - Don Passerby
  23. Promotional Spot For Don Passerby #2 - Don Passerby
  24. Promotional Spot For Don Passerby #3 - Don Passerby
  25. Promotional Spot For Don Passerby #4 - Don Passerby
  26. Interview With Red Robinson - Red Robinson
  27. Promotional Spot For Red Robinson - Buddy Holly
  28. Interview With Freeman Hoover - Freeman Hoover
  29. Promotional Spot For Interview With Freeman Hoover - Freeman Hoover

  30. Interview With Dale Lowery - Dale Lowery