essay Archive

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

March Through Time: R.E.M.

I grew up in Atlanta, so R.E.M. was considered a local band (Athens is just over an hour’s drive). One didn’t even have to be particularly hip or plugged into the music scene to know about them, and I’m not claiming any particular inside knowledge on that score. They were just a really good, unusual

March Through Time: The (Young) Rascals

“Blue eyed soul” is the term we used to employ to describe The Young Rascals (later simply The Rascals). But that problematic term fails to describe what really made the group special: an ability to put its exuberance and sophistication across without sacrificing one or the other. I’ve interviewed Felix Cavaliere a couple of times,

March Through Time: Porcupine Tree

Led by Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree is for me the most important musical discovery of the 21st century. I first heard the group in early 2007, around the time of their ninth album, Fear of a Blank Planet. Interviewing Wilson for the first of several times then, I had a lot of catching up to

March Through Time: The Alan Parsons Project

The concept of studio-as-instrument has a proud tradition. It began, arguably, with Les Paul, was built upon by The Beatles with George Martin (and certainly others of that era) and then by Jimi Hendrix, Todd Rundgren, etc. The success that engineer/producer Alan Parsons had would lead to him launching a career as head of a

March Through Time: Shuggie Otis

Shuggie Otis is a criminally under-recognized artist. A one-man-band when he was a mere teenager, he was also a superb guitarist right out of the gate. Son of legendary bandleader Johnny Otis, Shuggie never caught on with the record buying public like he should have. His song “Strawberry Letter #23” is a bona fide classic,

March Through Time: The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues’ career arc can be neatly divided into four distinct if unequal parts. The first is the r&b/pop era during which Denny Laine was a lead vocalist. The second is the one that listeners of a certain age remember fondly: the years of what even the band members call their “big six” albums.

March Through Time: The Monkees

Time was, the Monkees were a “guilty pleasure” for many. Time has rightly been kind to the group, and they’ve undergone a near-complete re-assessment. Did they all play on their early records? Well, no. Did The Byrds play on theirs? Did the Wrecking Crew play on everybody’s (except The Turtles’)? Good – and sometimes great

March Through Time: Moby Grape

I’m not alone in my belief that Moby Grape was the Great Lost ‘60s Rock Band. For myriad reasons both internal and external, the group never capitalized on its staggering breadth of talent. But – a certain former manager be damned – when we can find them, we have the albums. Even the least of