pop Archive

Album Review: The Mamas & The Papas – A Gathering of Flowers

By my rough count, there have been more than twenty – yes, twenty – compilations attempting to distill the catalog of The Mamas & The Papas down to a disc or two. For me, the 1969 LP 16 of Their Greatest Hits was my introduction to the group. And while it was good – hell,

Album Review: Speed the Plough – The Plough & the Stars

Here’s a career retrospective from a band that had up to now escaped my notice, despite having a highly-regarded career that spans more than three decades. A gentle folk-laced sound (of the British Isles variety, though the band is form New Jersey) is the hallmark of many of the tunes. The first disc collects seventeen

Album Review: Marshall Holland and the Etceteras

The name of this act – Marshall Holland and the Etceteras is a rock-pop red herring: every sound you’ll hear on this delightful record was produced by Holland himself. The tunes are often gentle excursions with crystalline production, pop melodies that fold in subtle elements such as accordion and acoustic guitar. Holland often overdubs his

Album Review: Blood Sweat & Tears – The Complete Columbia Singles

For some years there, BS&T was a true hitmaking juggernaut. And a lot of their music was – for whatever reason – the kind of thing that your parents might have admitted to liking, too. Maybe that’s down to the tight horn work, done to arguably less appealing effect by Chicago. Or maybe it’s the

Zombies Among Us: A Conversation with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… One thing that has changed – somewhat – is Rod Argent‘s keyboard arsenal. “I would only ever use my real [Hammond] C3, a Leslie [rotating speaker], and a beautiful Steinway concert grand piano in the studio. When we are recording an album, that goes without saying.” “But,” Argent admits, “on stage,

Zombies Among Us: A Conversation with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… “I can’t tell you why [Odessey and Oracle] wasn’t successful when it first came out,” offers Rod Argent, “unless it was the fact that everything was so much more based in the country where you lived in at that time. And we only ever had one hit in the UK. Fewer

Zombies Among Us: A Conversation with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone (Part One)

The Zombies are among the fondly-remembered cast of characters from the British Invasion (or, as they somewhat more succinctly call it in the UK, the Beat Era). While they certainly didn’t rock as hard as The Who, Yardbirds, or The Kinks, and enjoyed nowhere near the level of chart success that The Beatles and Rolling

Album Review: Lisa Loeb — No Fairy Tale

Last weekend I was wandering about in an antique/ephemera mall that also housed a coffeehouse (this is Asheville; you routinely find such things here). There was an acoustic guitar singer-songwriter type of middling to good ability purveying his tunes to the assembled coffee drinkers. He wasn’t bad, but his original songs were a bit run-of-the-mill

EP Review: Marshall Crenshaw — Driving and Dreaming

By now, most have either been hipped to the songwriting genius of Marshall Crenshaw, or they haven’t and sadly probably never will. With Crenshaw’s releases stretching all the way back to the early 1980s, you’re guaranteed heartfelt songwriting, ear-candy melodies and crystalline, no-bullshit production values. All that’s in evidence on this, the third in his

Album Review: Various — The Del Shannon Tribute: Songwriter Vol. 1

The history of rock’n’roll is littered with artists who — for one reason or another – never quite got their due. Del Shannon is on that list. Best known as the man who gave the world the 1961 hit “Runaway,” he also achieved permanent trivia question-fodder status as the first American to cover a Beatles