Monthly Archives: October 2011

Bismillah, yes!

The phone rang late this afternoon. Our friend Larry O was calling to say he’d seen our 16-year-old son on TV.

Unbeknownst to us, there had been a session at school today with the Bohemian Rhapsody Orchestra, a Queen tribute band that’s playing its “Celebrating Queen” show here later this week.

Needless to say, Evan digs Queen.

There he was, all over TV, no doubt leading the charge.

They did “Bohemian Rhapsody,” of course, and made a run at “We Are The Champions.”

I can’t embed the video, but here’s the link. If you have me on Facebook, you can watch it there.

If you could have set Evan’s pulse and synapses to music during this session — somehow capturing the thrill, the adventure and the accomplishment of the moment — it might have gone something like this …

“Battle Theme,” Queen, from the “Flash Gordon” original soundtrack, 1980.

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Filed under October 2011, Sounds

In the beginning

Do you remember when you first became aware of rock music? Maybe you were so young that it was more pop than rock, but you get the idea.

My moment came in early 1964, when the Beatles took America by storm. My introduction came from the girls at Russell Boulevard Elementary School in Columbia, Missouri. It came almost as a taunt.

“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

That got old pretty fast, especially when you are in first grade and you can’t figure out why all the girls are going so gaga over it.

Yet it wasn’t all that long before I heard something I liked so much that I learned the whole song. It was the summer of 1965. I was 7, maybe 8 by then. I must have heard it on one of the TV variety shows my dad so loved watching.

“I’m Henery the Eighth I am, Henery the Eighth I am, I am.”

You get the idea. A song that’s easy for a kid to learn and sing over and over.

Peter Noone came to town earlier this year, playing an outstanding Herman’s Hermits show. Our tiny casino lounge was jam-packed. The overflow crowd snaked out around the slot machines. A woman standing in front of me fanned herself with a copy of 16 magazine from November 1965. This one.

I hope Noone signed it for her. Autographs aren’t my thing, and there were plenty of the faithful on hand, so I didn’t stay for a meet-and-greet. Besides, my night was made when we got to sing along. I’ve known the words for 45 years.

“I’m Henery the Eighth I am, Henery the Eighth I am, I am.”

Ever since that night, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a good Herman’s Hermits record. I found one the other day.

“I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” Herman’s Hermits, from “Herman’s Hermits On Tour,” 1965. This is their second American release.


Filed under October 2011, Sounds

Slouching toward Cabo

There are is lot of vinyl in the crates and on the shelves behind me. There are not, however, any Sammy Hagar records.

OK, there is the Montrose record we listened to in Jerry’s basement all those years ago. And I do have a review copy of his last solo CD, released three years ago. But otherwise no solo Sammy Hagar, no Van Hagar, no Chickenfoot.

Even so, Sammy Hagar is one of my favorite live acts. I dig the energy and irreverence he brings to his shows, which are parties in themselves. It’s a bit like a Jimmy Buffett show cranked up … and more irreverent.

This week, those of us who dig the so-called Red Rocker had a little treat. Hagar’s birthday was Oct. 13. He’s 64 and seemingly has the energy of a 24-year-old.

He treated the faithful to live streaming video of four birthday shows from his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. There weren’t many of us watching on the nights I caught them, maybe 1,200 the first night and maybe 1,000 the third night, but it was something to see and hear.

They used one camera, pointed directly at the stage. They let it rip — visually unpolished and unedited — as Hagar, bass player Michael Anthony and a host of celebrity guests gleefully tore through tunes from all the groups Hagar has been in, plus Led Zeppelin and the Beastie Boys among the covers.

Think about that. Here’s one of your faves having a party with his friends, jamming in a little club, and you’re invited. Watch the streaming video and chat with other fans online if so inclined. Nice.

I’ll probably never make it to Cabo for one of those birthday bashes. I’m neither young enough nor cool enough for the room, nor could I drink enough for the room. So having Sammy’s party streamed all the way to Wisconsin was a nice way to enjoy it vicariously.

So why don’t more acts do this? I’m guessing Reason No. 1 is they don’t want to give away the product.

Somehow, I doubt Mr. Hagar was in any way shortchanged by streaming four shows in real time. That club looked plenty full every night. Nor do I think streaming those shows will cut into his record or merchandise sales in any way. Hagar may be on to something, not that anyone will follow his lead.

This is a little bit of what it was like.

“Dreams/Cabo,” Sammy Hagar, from “Cosmic Universal Fashion,” 2008. It’s a live cut from the 2007 birthday bash in Cabo.

Here’s what he says about this cut on the liner notes:

“We record shows all the time, but the audience in Cabo at the Cantina during the Birthday Bash is a very special crowd. This was ‘07 so if you were there then that’s you singing on Dreams and Cabo. If you go there once you’ll be there twice …”

The latter holds true for his live shows. Trust me.

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Don’t be frightened

There are lots of scary things out there these days.

Please feel free to insert the political joke of your choice at this point, but this is not really about that. No, it soon will be Halloween, which isn’t my bag.

If Halloween is your bag, please go visit the lovingly crafted posts by my friends Dane over at All Eyes and Ears and Andrew over at Armagideon Time. They really dig it, and they do a nice job with it. Each will have a full month’s worth of Halloween posts for your trick-or-treat pleasure.

In the unlikely event I want to get into the Halloween frame of mind, I’ll dig out “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” the 1976 debut LP by the Alan Parsons Project. I’ve long loved its musical interpretations of Edgar Allan Poe stories. Perfect mood music for the moment.

“The Raven” is the song everyone remembers from this record, and rightly so. Great song. But did you know “(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” actually was the single?

To get you in the mood for Halloween, here’s another cut off that record.

“The Fall of the House of Usher,” the Alan Parsons Project, from “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” 1976.

This is a 15-minute instrumental epic, complete with five movements titled “Prelude,” “Arrival,” “Intermezzo,” “Pavane” and “Fall.” It’s the only cut on the record on which arranger and conductor Andrew Powell shares a writing credit with Parsons and executive producer Eric Woolfson.

By the time he teamed up with Parsons for this record, Powell already had worked with Donovan, Leo Sayer, the Hollies, Al Stewart, Humble Pie and John Miles. Powell and Parsons worked together on all the Alan Parsons Project records that followed.

While you’re surfing: You also may wish to wander over to The Midnight Tracker, our other, more lightly traveled blog, for a little bit of click or treat.

Bonus video: Suggested by my friend Larry in the comments. Enjoy “The Raven” by Glass Prism, recorded in 1968 and released in 1969.


Filed under October 2011, Sounds