essay Archive

A Celebration of Keith Allison

This last Sunday (April 3, 2022) marked the occasion of a lovely celebration of the life of Keith Allison. His stunningly lengthy list of credits includes: star of Where the Action Is, bassist and songwriter in Paul Revere and the Raiders, guitarist in the (post-Buddy) Crickets, actor in the Bee Gees’ Sgt. Pepper movie, solo

March Through Time: Frank Zappa

Even before his untimely death in the 1990s, Frank Zappa’s body of work was staggeringly large. And it was certainly intimidating to the novitiate: Where to start, especially in light of the fact that Zappa’s music changed wildly throughout his career? Rather than attempt the unwieldy task of discussing all of his releases up through

March Through Time: Yes

I love Yes. The progressive rock brand has a distinctive style that has served it well for more than a half-century. I’ve been lucky enough to see the group live onstage a few times, and I’ve interviewed no less than eight of its musicians (some more than once). Their career has had its ups and

March Through Time: XTC

When one thinks of artists who earn well-deserved critical plaudits again and again, all the while selling records in diminishing numbers, XTC comes immediately to mind. As is so often the case from my personal perspective, the band’s middle period is its best, with the early and later material less compelling. But it’s all worth

March Through Time: The Who

It’s quite easy to overlook the fact, but considering only studio releases of new material, The who released a mere twelve albums in the period 1965-2019. True, many say that The Who were best experienced live, and while there’s much in favor of that argument, the band always took its studio project very seriously. Here’s

March Through Time: The Tubes

Satirical group? Yes. Hard rockers? Sometimes. Progressive band? Now and then, yes. Punk? Not quite, but the spirit was there. One of the greatest live acts of all time, the Tubes got it right on their albums more often than not. Save for a brief time in the early ‘80s, they were destined to remain

March Through Time: Traffic

In the space of only eight years, Traffic went through a number of lineups and styles. All of it is worthwhile, though in different ways. The early material has nearly nothing in common with the later music, save for the involvement of Steve Winwood. But the group produced some fine music that helped push rock’s

March Through Time: Pete Townshend

As the primary songwriter for The Who, Pete Townshend created a staggeringly significant body of work. But he recognized that some of his material wasn’t right for the group, so he launched a concurrent solo career. (We won’t get into the way in which many of the songs on Face Dances and It’s Hard seem

March Through Time: Split Enz

Back in the very early 1980s, I had a fake ID card. It wasn’t something I acquired to facilitate alcohol purchases; no, I just wanted to gain entry to the Agora Ballroom in Atlanta. I got to see many great shows, including The Bus Boys, The Blasters, and – on two separate tours – Split

March Through Time: Paul Revere and the Raiders

I’m a serious fan of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Like The Monkees, the group has often been shortchanged in terms of the respect they deserve. The costumes certainly didn’t help in that regard, and the Raiders’ ubiquity on television back in the day led to them being considered unhip. But those records! It’s a