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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday to Bob Dylan.....

    Yes, yes, I realize that his birthday was several days ago, but time got away from me....

     Dylan's influence in modern music is almost incalculable. His role in the folk, electric folk, country rock, and singer/songwriter genres is groundbreaking. He proved (which was an impossible notion at the time) that you didn't need a great voice to be successful. Much of the introspective writing that the Beatles were given credit for would have never happened without Dylan. For a child of the 70's however, he never seemed to :"click" like he does for a child of the 60's. It's not the music because many of his albums from the 70's were among his best. He had a bit of an up and down decade in the 80's, but since 1993's, "World Gone Wrong" he has consistently been on his game. So for me and many others who's formative musical years was not in the 60's the question has been, "what was the fuss?"

     As one looks back it's clear that by the mid 70's all of the groundbreaking had been done. Everything I mentioned at the beginning of this article had been accomplished by 1975, which is why I believe he went through a bit of a downturn in the 15 years after that. He had done it all and more...and it was obvious he was a bit without direction. Thankfully that has changed and he is not only considered the accolades for his groundbreaking work in the past, but also given credit for the wonderful songwriter that he continues to be......

     Here are three classics and one new one from the great Bob Dylan

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Omnibus live!!

Don't forget to listen to the Rock and Roll Omnibus live on the air over The fun starts at 9pm Central US....we will be all over the place musically and if you are adventurous in your listening...come and join us!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: The Action--Shadows and Reflections (1967)

     Sometimes when you look back in time you hear artists and just wonder what was it that kept them from stardom? The Action from England is one such group....

      They were made up of  Reg King (lead vocals), Alan King (lead guitar vocals), Peter Watson (guitar), Mike Evans (Bass, vocals), Roger Powell (Drums), and were are part of the "mod" subculture of the mid-60's that also brought us "The Who", and the Small Faces".

       Reg was a fine white blues singer, the much of their best work was covers of R&B songs. If you go on You Tube, you can find several of these fine singles. However, all of them sank on the charts. "Shadows and Reflections" I thought was one of the most marketable of the bunch, but still went nowhere.

        During 67', they went into the studio to cut some songs, and had decided to move in a more progressive/psychedelic direction. The result were a collection that rivaled music that was being done by their contemporaries, but the record company didn't like it at all and in fact dropped them from the label. This essentially ended the band. This collection was finally released in 2002 as "Rolled Gold", which showed a group that was on top of their game, and has held up much better than many who were attempting the same kind of music. In fact, this is one of the most fun things about The Action is that almost ALL of the music holds up well. Check this and other songs by The Action.....thanks and have a great Sunday morning....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gladys Knight and the Pips--Midnight Train to Georgia (1973)

     For many of my vintage, when you think of Gladys Knight and the Pips, you are taken back to the early/mid 70's. For others it goes back to the late 60's with songs like, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine". Actually however, the story of the group goes back to 1952 when at the age of 7 she won Ted Mack's Amateur Hour. The next year Gladys, along with her brother Bubba, sister Brenda, the cousins William and Eleanor Guest began, "The Pips". They began to tour regularly with cousins Langston George and Edward Patton replacing Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest in 1959.

     Their first hit was in 1961 with "Every Beat of My Heart" which began a streak of 41 top 100 hits with 16 of them being top 20. Gladys took a couple of years off to start a family, but was back for good in 1964. Their real popularly began after signing with Motown in 1966. By the way...despite how much Motown wanted you to believe that Diana Ross "discovered" the Jackson Five, it was Gladys Knight who recommended them to Berry Gordy. 1973/74 was the peak of their success having 5 top 5 songs which "Midnight Train to Georgia" was the first and only No. 1.

     The first clip is an audio from Gladys Knight's performance on the Ted Mack show at the age of 7...Happy 67th birthday!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ramsey Lewis--The 'In' Crowd (1965)

     Ramsey Lewis turns 76 today....

     Ramsey has been recording since the mid-50's and is, at least chartwise, one of the most successful jazz pianists ever. With 19 songs hitting the charts, 6 in the top 40, three Grammys (one for this song),  and five gold records, he is still recording and performing. "The 'In' Crowd" was his most popular song, but the years of 1965 and 66 were especially good  to him.

      Please check out this and other songs on our 24/7 online radio station...just click to the banner on the right.
      Also, be sure to tune in to our new radio show! Monday evenings from 9pm-11pm Central US, will get you the best of rock and pop. You can find us at Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Hal David...

   Sorry about the blog not being up yesterday, but spent much of the day in bed sick. Am feeling quite a bit better this morning, but still in a pretty mellow mood. Thank goodness today is Hal David's 90th birthday!
    David began as a lyricist in the mid-40's for band leaders like Guy Lombardo and Sammy Kaye, but it was his collaboration with Burt Bacharach that put both of them on the map.

    They began working together in 1957 writing, "The Story of My Life" for Marty Robbins in 1957, and from then until the early 70's had an impressive list of hits songs for many artists. Here are three that he had a hand in.... Enjoy your Wednesday.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cat Stevens--Moonshadow (1971)

   Well well....the premiere of "The Rock and Roll Omnibus" is tonight at 9pm Central US. You can hear it at, and hope you will all give a listen. In the meantime, it's cloudy, rainy, and I feel like I've been hit by a truck. The only think I know to do is take meds and drink fluids and be thankful that it's still about 15 hours away.

    In the meantime, this is a good morning for some laid back sounds.

     Cat Stevens wrote "Moonshadow" for the album "Teaser and the Firecat", and in 1977 a cartoon short was made based on the song. Stevens wrote the dialogue and it was released along with others as the Fantastic Animation Festival. The first time I saw it was on ABC's "In Concert" series, which (I think) was also it's US debut. Looking back, it's very whimsical and utterly delightful.....hope you like it and hope that you all give me a listen tonight as we debut, "The Rock and Roll Omnibus" on radio..... 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: The American Beetles: You Did It to Me/She's Mine (1964)

     As we meander around the history or Rock and Roll, it becomes evident that just like in other areas of entertainment that imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery. In popular music, it also becomes a millstone around the neck of artists and record companies. There is ONLY one Elvis, The Beatles, Stones, Claption...etc.., however billions of dollars are wasted on finding their version of the icon while other artists are languishing.
     Which brings us to the American Beetles. I don't know much about these guys other then someone's attempt (band members? Manager? Record Company) to package them as the American equivalent of the fab four right down to the "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's".  On the packaging of one of the 45's you can even see them in a pose exactly like their British counterparts. Ironically, the music in these two singles are not bad, and they do a passable job of sounding like a British invasion band, but something more on the lines of Herman's Hermits than The Beatles.
      My imagination runs wild with guys like this, because there are so many questions to ask. For now, we'll just enjoy the music and wonder who in the world thought this was a good idea....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cher is 65???

     There are a handful of singers who have continued to be popular and creative over generations. There are few actors who's work span over the decades. But there is only one who straddled that creative gap between Hollywood and the recording studio and that is Cher. God knows the last 40 years have brought us actors who think they can sing, and singers who think they can act. Some actually do it with a modicum of success. But, like her or hate her, Cher has outlasted (and in some cases outlived) her detractors with a body of work in the studio and on the screen that has truly made her an icon.

     One night a few months ago, my wife and a few of our friends talked me into seeing Burlesque. In what was truly an awful movie, Cher took to the stage and showed everyone in the theater (and probably on the movie set as well), what it was to grab an audience. I can't fully explain it, but she has an ability to draw people in, either by her voice, or her acting, or maybe in the 70's with her stunning good looks. Anyway...whatever she chooses to do, she is still a force....and anyone who can still pull that off at 65 has my admiration.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Pete Townshend....

    Today Pete Townshend turns 66....

     One of the raging music debates in the late 60's/early 70's was who was better, The Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Of course the question itself was framed in a way where one had to be the best and the other was second. Now don't get me wrong, the Stones have a lot of things going for it, but for my money the second best group to come out of the British Invasion was The Who. I'll spend a lot of time on them down the road, but one thing is for sure, Townshend was one of the best writers to come out of the 60's. If we hear Roger Daltry as the voice of the Who, it was Pete's lyrics that gave it's base and soul. Not to mention his demanding stage presence was as revolutionary as his songwriting talents.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Allman Brothers Two-fer: Ramblin Man (1973)/Jessica (1973)

     I have always appreciated the Allman Brothers, but with some age and perspective it is obvious how for a short time they were the best band in the world, and arguably the best US band of the 70's. The material recorded with Duane was at sometimes downright stunning. The death of Allman and bassist Berry Oakley would have put a lesser band out to pasture, but the rest of the group led now by Dickey Betts to put out some great work that was popular with critics and on the charts. Ramblin' Man is by far the highest charting single, reaching #2 in August of 73. Jessica is one of my favorite songs of all time so including it here....

     If you like to hear more of this, click on the banner to the right to hear the hits and those that should have been on Rock and Roll Omnibus radio...also be sure to friend us on facebook....thanks!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Brothers Johnson--I'll Be Good to You" (1976)

     Happy 58th Birthday to George Johnson of The Brothers Johnson....

     George and Louis Johnson had been in bands backing The Supremes,  Bobby Womack, then full time members of Billy Preston's band. After joining Quincy Jones in the studio and then a tour of Japan, he produced, "Look Out for No.1" in 1976. The first single, "I'll be Good to You" topped out at #3 which was the first of three top 10 hits. They did even better on the R&B charts topping out at #1. In 1990, the song reached No. 1 on the R&B charts again as Chaka Khan & Ray Charles sang on Quincy Jones' album, "Back on the Block"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Co-Founding member of the Guess Who: Chad Allan--Through the Looking Glass (1968)

    Chad Allan and the Silvertones were formed in the late 50's and several years later was changed to Chad Allan and the Reflections and then finally the Expressions in 1963. In 1965, they recorded, "Shakin All Over" and in the promo material sent to the radio stations the song was credited to "Guess Who?" as a promotional stunt. As the year went on however, the name stuck and was soon officially the "Guess Who". 
     The next year he began to have some problems singing and gave over part of the duties to newcomer Burton Cummings, and after their third album, he left for good. Over the next five years he worked in television and a solo career which this song was his first release. After 1973, he has dabbled more in television, writing gospel music, and even some teaching. He now lives in Vancouver and performs often.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: Aliotta, Haynes, Jeremiah--Lake Shore Drive (1971)

     Most all of us have songs that we loved as kids, but then forgot. In doing some research this week, I came upon this gem. It was never a hit outside the midwest, but in Chicago and St. Louis it is still loved. So here it is for your listening pleasure....happy Sunday y'all....don't forget to friend us on Facebook, and check out our radio station by clicking on the banner to the right...

Bobby Darin--Mack the Knife (1959)

     Today Bobby Darin would have been 75....

      The story of Mack the Knife has it's origins in Britain and Germany. It was composed by Kurt Weill and Bertoit Brecht for their drama "Die Dreigroachenoper" or in English, "The Threepenny Opera", and premiered in Berlin in 1928.
      The opera is based on the deadly Mackie Messer who himself was patterned after the highwayman Macheath in John Gay's, The Begger's Opera. The opera was translated into English in 1933, but was a flop on Broadway (although it did achieve some success off-Broadway). The first swing version was done by  Louis Armstrong in 1956. Interestingly enough the jazz great's use of the name Lottie Lenya was a total improv in honor of Weill's widow who was in the studio at the time of Armstrong's recording. This also became a part of Darin's version.

      One more story before we hear the song. Before choosing it, Dick Clark advised Darin not to record it since he thought that it being from an opera would turn off teen fans (obviously he didn't have a problem with the subject matter). Clark liked to laughingly refer to this story for years afterward....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Alfred Hichcock meets The Chipmunks: Alfi and Harry--The Trouble With Harry (1955)

     The person that links all three of things listed in the title is one Ross Bagdasarian Sr., better known as David Seville. Still not sure?? Listen on....

     David was an actor and songwriter. His first big success was co-writing "Come On-a My House" with his cousin the author and playwright, William Saroyan. Rosemary Clooney had a hit with it in 1951. He then found work for the next few years playing bit part in movies. The role he would be most known for was the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, "Rear Window". In it, he portrays a piano playing songwriter who composes, plays and sings a song called, "Lisa". His character lives across the street from Jimmy Stewart.

    He found himself in the studio for Liberty records in 1955/56 and recorded several songs under the name of Alfi and Harry of which one of them would have some airplay. "The Trouble With Harry" had the same name of a Hitchcock movie that was released the same year, although I'm not sure if there is any real connection.

     The work in the studio during that time interested him in the recording process. So he bought a tape recorder and started messing around with sounds and voices at different speeds. This led Bagdasarian, by this time David Seville, to release a song called "Witch Doctor", which would hit No. 1 in 1958, and shortly thereafter to create Alvin and the Chipmunks.

     If you like what you see and hear, please friend us on our facebook page, or subscribe to our blog. If you want to hear the greatest hits of the past, and the songs that should have been, feel free to click on the live 365 banner on the left....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jay Ferguson--Thunder Island (1978)

     Jay Ferguson turns 64 today...

      Jay started out as keyboardist and lead vocalist for the group Spirit, which was a highly underrated band from the late 60's. I'll do a blog about them down the line, but go to You Tube and hear the song, "I've Got a Line On You" to hear one of their best. He left Spirit and along with bassist Mark Andes formed Jo Jo Gunne, whose first release was in 1972. They released four albums total and split up in 1974. He embarked on a solo recording career which went from 1976 to 1982, then moved into writing soundtracks for movies and television. He has written for dozens of movies and television shows, most recently writing songs for the TV show, "The Office"...."Thunder Island" was his first and only top 10 hit, but also reached the top 40 in 1979 with, "Shakedown Cruise"

     Give our radio station a listen by clicking on the live 365 banner to the left...there you will hear the hits and the songs that should have been. Also check out our facebook page and be a follower of the Rock and Roll Omnibus!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to Billy Joel

      It seems like it's been forever since Billy Joel left the stage as a pop/rock recording artist. He has not released an album that wasn't classical or live since 1993, which wouldn't be unusual until you realize that today he JUST turned 62!! He said at the time that he had nothing more to say, again which seems odd considering (at least to these ears) that "River of Dreams" seemed to show Joel at a high level. Why he truly left is not fully known (he might not even know), but there are two things that we have seen over the last 18 years. One is that he is still a dynamic live performer, and second he NEEDS to record again since his life outside of touring shows a man who is lost. His piano counterpart, Elton John had been in a bit of an artistic lull until he reached his early 50's, and one could argue that his last 4 albums have been his best since the 70's. I am suspecting that Billy still has some great music inside of is hoping that the fire to create comes back as well....

      My initial introduction to his music was as an FM performer (specifically the Piano Man album) and because of that many of my favorites are not the hits, although no one can argue the quality of many of his singles. Given that, we'll mix up the video selection here. Please check out the live 365 banner to the on it for the best in oldies...the hits...and the ones that should have been. Also, please check out our facebook page...and don't forget to friend us...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: Aerosmith-- S.O.S. (Too Bad) (1975)

    When many think of Aerosmith (especially those under the age of 30), the thoughts go to the band who's comeback brought major success in the 90's. However, one could argue that although the sales were not quite as high, the music in the mid-70's was tougher and gritter. This is one that kind of fell between the cracks, coming just before "Sweet Emotion".

      Please click on the live 365 link to the right for the best hits and those that should have been...on the Omnibus...and Happy Mother's Day...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Adds to the playlist this week.

The Ad Libs--Think of me (1966)
Ritchie Adams--Every Window in the City (1965)
The Action--Shadows and Reflections (1967)
The Adorables--Daddy Please (1964)
The Accents--You Better Think Again (1965)
Aerosmith--S.O.S. (Too Bad) (1975)

This and many more will be added throughout the days and week....keep it tuned to the best hits from the past and the ones that should have been....all on the Rock and Roll Omnibus. Just click on the live365 banner to the right....

The Mamas and the Papas--Monday Monday (1966)

   On this day in 1966, the Mamas and the Papas reached No. 1 on the US charts with "Monday Monday"....

    I'll never forget hearing their harmonies for the first time and being totally intoxicated by them, especially Cass Elliot. To this day, when hearing any of their music, my ears perk up at the weaving of the voices and the pristine (for that day) production. Monday, Monday was a song that none (except for John Phillips) of them liked at all, but were rewarded with a No. 1 hit and a Grammy in 1967 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group. Happy Saturday all....and don't forget to check out our radio station. We have the songs that were hits, and the songs that should have been all in one place....just click the live 365 banner to the right of this page.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bob Seger: Ramblin Gamblin Man (1968)

     Even up into the 70's, you had many regional artists who had solid followings in their areas, but nowhere else. Our FM station of choice was KSHE 95 in St. Louis, where you could hear things that were not played anywhere else. (In fact the Omnibus station was patterned after it in style if not content). We heard Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Head East and others like Billy Joel, long before they made it big.
     Bob Seger had a bit hit with "Ramblin Gamblin Man' in 1968, then a series of songs that failed to make much of a dent in the charts (outside the midwest that is) until 1976 when he released "Night Moves". During that time he honed his songwriting skills to match the band's furious stage show. He has always been in mind a very underrated writer and is pleased to see him on tour again. The clip below was from 1968....Happy 66th birthday!!
     If you like his music and others from your past, the ones that were hits and those that should have been...just click on the banner to the right and you can check out our radio station. Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Elvis' First Number 1--(1956)

    On this date in 1956, Elvis Presley hit No. 1 for the first time with, "Heartbreak Hotel". It was first released in January of that year, but took off to the top spot after an appearance on the TV show, "Stage Show" starring Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. The song itself almost never made it to the studio as just about everyone who heard the song (written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton) thought it was "terrible" and "morbid". The song had been based on a news story from Miami who had destroyed his identification papers and then committed suicide leaving just a note that, "I walk a lonely street". In writing the song Mae asked the question, "Why not put Heartbreak Hotel at the end of that street".....

     Upon hearing it for the first time, Elvis loved it and played it ten more times until he memorized it, then promised Mae that he would record it. Sam Phillips at Sun records and many executives at RCA didn't like it either, but Elvis persevered and it soon became his first huge hit...the clip below is from the actual Dorsey show in Feb. of 1956.

     If you like this and want to hear the oldies you remember and the great songs that never had the chance to be a hit, click on the live365 banner to hear the best in music from the past....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Beach Boys: Wouldn't it be Nice (1966)

    Ever have one of those days where you feel like just mailing it in? Well, today is one of those days. Am not really motivated to write about anything special, so I just get to write about something that comes off the top of my head. Luckily, when it comes to music, that is never a problem....there is ALWAYS a "go to" song.

     I could probably spend more time writing about Brian Wilson than anyone except for the Beatles. His life has been rock and roll soap opera to the max ( could the whole story of the Beach Boys), but his genius cannot be denied to anyone who hears the fantastic production values (especially for the 60's) and the luscious harmonies. So for my day off....let's hear one of my favorites...

     If you like the popular hits like this one, and the more obscure ones as well, click on the banner to the right and give a listen to the best oldies on the planet.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Adorables --Daddy Please (1964)

     The Adorables were two sets of sisters, Pat and Diane Lewis, and Jackie and Betty Winston. They cut four singles for Golden World label between 1964 and 65, and all four went nowhere. They broke up and Pat began to embark on a solo career when all of Golden World was sold to Motown, the masters, singers, songwriters and all. Pat at this point joined The Andantes which was Motown's premier female backing group, she later was a part of the Hot Buttered Soul Unlimited group which backed Isaac Hayes during his most successful years.

      "Daddy Please" was the first single they cut for Golden World in 1964 , and it is something to hear. A sharp instrumental and the great voice of Pat Lewis... If you want to hear your favorite oldies and those more obscure, just click the live365 banner on the right and give us a listen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ritchie Adams--Every Window In The City (1965)

    Every once in a while I come across a song that really sounds good, but know very little about the artist(s). This is one of those if you have more information and would like to share, it surly would be appreciated. I do know that Adams was member of The Fireflies, and had a solid songwriting career...and this is a great song...

     If you like oldies, not just the popular ones, but the obscure ones as well...I invite you to click the banner to your right. It will open up in another tab, and you can listen to the best music while reading blog posts....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: Art Adams--Rock Crazy Baby (1960)

By 1960, much of Rockabilly had gone underground. It was being recorded on small labels all across the country and was full of the reckless abandon that top 40 rock and roll had promised, but by 1960 was failing to deliver. Listening to many of these records now, it has a native urgency and rawness that it the true essence of rock and roll.

Art Adams was a Kentucky boy who, with his group 'The Rhythm Kings', recorded a couple of sides for Cherry Records. They also cut a bunch of songs that were never released at the time, but thanks to the Brits (again) and Canadians, Adams and many like him were re-discovered. His popularity has been such that after decades of inactivity, he has a band again and touring.

"Rock Crazy Baby" was released in 1960. If you are interested in hearing more, there are several albums that not only have his released output, but the demos that were never released...also check out You Tube.  If you like the oldies, popular and more obscure, I invite you to click the live 365 banner to the right and the station will pop up in another tab. Then you can listen while checking out the other blog posts....have a great Sunday everyone!