Monthly Archive:: August 2012

Album Review: Donny Hathaway – Live + In Performance

Take the crowd command of Isaac Hayes in his prime, the soulful melodicism of Steve Wonder at his peak, and the musical chops of, say, Billy Preston, and what do you get? Well, one thing you might get is the 1972 album Donny Hathaway Live. A mere eight songs, and originally on a single vinyl

Album Review: The Electric Prunes – The Complete Reprise Singles

Rock historians have rightly made the point that one of the many ways in which The Beatles changed the music business was by ushering in the era of the self-contained group. Before them, as the story goes, most acts were a front person and a group of backing musicians often assigned (and controlled) by the

Album Review: Joe Jackson – The Duke

Tribute albums are, quite often, dodgy things. Many are ill-conceived and/or put together with profit as the only motive. I know of one recent tribute album in particular that really perplexed me: admittedly, the artists being paid tribute did indeed have a number of hits and critically-lauded songs several decades ago. But the artists paying

Off the Road Yet On the Road: A Talk with Alvin Lee, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: The title and cover art of your new album Still On the Road to Freedom overtly reference your 1973 collaboration with Mylon LeFevre. Beyond the text and visuals, what is the connection between the two records? Alvin Lee: There’s not really a connection. The only connection is that in

Off the Road Yet On the Road: A Talk with Alvin Lee, Part One

Guitarist Alvin Lee first rose to international prominence with his band Ten Years After. The band’s performance of “I’m Going Home” is a highlight of both the Woodstock film and the accompanying soundtrack. The band enjoyed a number of hits – most notably 1971’s “I’d Love to Change the World.” In 1973 Lee stepped out

Album Review: Grateful Dead – Dick’s Picks #31

I had a minor epiphany recently. After years of slagging The Grateful Dead and their fans, I found a live album that led me to say to myself, “Aha…so this is what they find so special about the Dead.” As I’ve mentioned more than a few times, I like the Grateful Dead’s studio work (I

Tiki-lounging with Merrell Fankhauser

Merrell Fankhauser‘s name is not as well-known as some others from the rock era, but he’s been an important force in the development of both surf and psychedelia. Outside of record-collecting circles, Fankhauser’s name is recognized thanks to an excellent profile/interview in Richie Unterberger‘s 1998 book Unknown Legends of Rock’n’Roll. But thanks to a clutch

Album Review: The Higher State – The Higher State

It is with some amusement that I turn to the words of that 21st century philosopher: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, ‘fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me…you can’t get fooled again.’” Back in 2010 I reviewed an album called

20 Questions with Van Dyke Parks

In Fall 2011 I got the opportunity to see Van Dyke Parks in a rare concert tour date. The following morning, he and I met for coffee, during which we enjoyed a long and fascinating conversation. On the strength of that resulting piece – as well my previous features for them – Shindig! Magazine asked

Album Review: Galahad – Battle Scars

File Galahad under that growing list of accessible progressive rock acts that had (up to now) escaped my notice. Apparently they’ve been around for some years; their debut In a Moment of Complete Madness came out way back in 1993. Of course, had I heard them at the time, I might have dismissed them entirely: