pop Archive

Sidney Barnes: A Preview

Note: I recently conducted a wide-ranging and lively interview with Sidney Barnes; the result of that is an in-depth feature running soon in Record Collector Magazine. In the meantime, this shorter feature will whet your appetite. — bk Born in a West Virginia mining town, Sidney Barnes eventually moved with his family to New York

Book Reviews for the End of 2017

With so much of 2017 spent writing a book of my own, I’ve found less time than usual to read the works of other authors. Happily, three titles that I did read were all superb. Here’s a quick close-to-end-of-year rundown. Women of Motown: An Oral History by Susan Whitall Seeing Whitall’s name on this book

Olivia Newton-John Returns to Live Performance with All-hits Show

Olivia Newton-John has been a pop star for more than four decades. She got her professional start on Australian TV and radio, and cut her first single in 1966. Newton-John made a name for herself with the release of her first solo album, 1971’s If Not For You. On that record and several that followed,

100-word Reviews for November 2017: New Music

So much great music and so little time. Here’s ten reviews: all new music, each summed up in 100 words. All are worth your time. Bryant Fabian Marsalis – Do For You? (Consolidated Artists) I struggle with a lot of current-day jazz. No matter how I try, much of it leaves me cold. Here’s a

Peggy Ratusz and Paula Hanke: Celebrating Women Who Make Music History

Note: See the update at the end of the story. — bk Peggy Ratusz and Paula Hanke are among the most well-known musical performers in Asheville; both have played on most every stage in town, singing everything from blues to country to pop to jazz, and most everything in between. Friends since 2007, they’ve collaborated

Ten 100-word Reviews: Archival/Reissue Releases

With a great deal of my time these days spent working on my new book and various artist interviews, I tend to amass a backlog of albums for review. To lessen that backlog, I present ten reviews, each distilled down to its essence. Or at least to 100 words. All of these titles are reissues,

Hundred-word Reviews: September 2017

Time for some more hundred-word reviews; new music from many different genres. Linsey Alexander – Two Cats (Delmark) A lot of modern-day blues has a sterility that makes it the sonic equivalent of a museum display: too perfect, too slick, soulless. Linsey Alexander is having none of that on Two Cats. The 75-year old blues

Album Review: Various Artists — Songs, Bond Songs

Andrew Curry‘s label has released an impressive clutch of tribute-type albums, including ones focusing on 80s pop, “lite rock” and so on. For the most part, the artists involved tend to fall at least loosely into the power pop subgenre. Curry Cuts’ latest project is Songs, Bond Songs. And as the title (and wonderfully clever

Album Review: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo — Mozartistic

At its best, kid-hop is a family friendly version of hip-hop, with lyrics full of universal appeal. Because while not everyone can identify with slice-of-life reality depicted in some rap and hip-hop, everyone has been a kid. Many still are. And at its best, kid-hop takes the form of the music made by sometime Asheville

Jimmy Webb: A Consummate Tale-spinner (Part 4 / Conclusion)

Continued from Part Three… Over the years, several recording artists have chosen to record entire albums of nothing but Jimmy Webb songs. Johnny Rivers was the first to do so, on his 1967 album Rewind. Also in 1967, The 5th Dimension recorded 16 Webb originals, spread across two albums. The following year, Irish actor-turned-singer Richard