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That's The Way It Is
That's The Way It Is
Price: £83.97

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great set, which I am compelled to write about ..., 7 Aug 2014
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This review is from: That's The Way It Is (Audio CD)
This is a great set, which I am compelled to write about in glowing terms.

The reasons being that, in the time frame of 1968-1970, rock and pop was reborn. You had some amazing albums coming out at this time, i.e. The Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed: The Beatles' White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be. Elvis' immediate contemporaries were also in the ascendancy, as Jerry Lee Lewis was making a country comeback, Johnny Cash had come out of an amphetamine abyss with the Folsom and San Quentin prison concerts, and was bridging the gap between country and rock by recording with Bob Dylan. Carl Perkins was even returning to the country charts with Daddy Sang Bass, as a writer, and Restless as a performer.

However, at the time that Elvis was making his comeback, revisiting his oldies with passion on the 68 TV Special, producing soulful contemporary material in Memphis in 1969, recordings from the South were in vogue. There was Bobbie Gentry recording and hitting the charts, Tony Joe White also obtaining critical acclaim, Stax in the ascendant, and even jazz artists like Herbie Mann recording in Memphis. These years also saw the rise of southern rock in the form of the first two Allman Brothers albums, and songwriters like Eddie Hinton and Dan Penn having their tunes recorded by Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett etc.

So coming to Elvis; the hybrid studio-live That's The Way It Is, initially released in November 1970, was mostly recorded in June 1970, with, unlike the Memphis Sessions from 1969, some of the Muscle Shoals swampers, and James Burton. Also, unlike the Memphis Sessions, the soulful touches were put on the backburner mostly, and replaced with an almost adult contemporary sound. The songs were Elvis as an adult recording artist, and showcased just how varied he was as a 1970 contemporary recording artist. There were ballads such as I've Lost You, I Just Can't Help Believing, and an amazing underrated rocker in Patch It Up. You also had a mostly Elvis movie soundtrack writer like Ben Wiseman come up with Twenty Days & Twenty Nights, which certainly surpassed his previous efforts. Throw in Stranger In The Crowd, and Next Step Is Love, and you'd be mistaken that the future certainly looked good for Elvis. Alas, it wasn't to be, as song choices soon were a reversion to post 1962, and awful numbers.

However, moving on to the live discs, Nos 2 - 7, you soon find that Elvis continued in the same seam of form from the Comeback special, and the 1969 early Vegas concerts. This is Elvis sans bombast, no Also Sprach Zarathrusta intros, mostly no rushing through the oldies, and no version of I Got A Woman spoilt by JD Sumner, as on the recently reissued 1974 Memphis concert. This is the serious Elvis, albeit good humoured, but intense. One disc has a 6 minute 42 second killer Suspicious Minds that is worth the price alone. Likewise, there's versions of Hound Dog that are heard to be believed, unlike 50 second versions on Aloha From Hawaii, or Prince From Another Planet. One thing this box set highlights too is just how much the TCB Band were able to jam, as highlighted with the various Polk Salad Annies on this set. Thereafter, it became a bass solo tune for either Jerry Scheff or Duke Bardwell, and became perfunctory sadly.

Finally, the rehearsals showcase some great material, such as Little Sister / Get Back, and the bluesy cover of Percy Mayfield's Stranger in My Own Home Town, though some of the bawdy lyrics are excised from this version.


Corazón
Corazón
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £8.75

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, 17 May 2014
This review is from: Corazón (Audio CD)
Awful album, akin to his Guitar Hell album.

I don't understand why Carlos is doing this; I've watched him on youtube, cutting loose with John McLaughlin on a cover of Miles Davis' Black Satin, and think he's still got it, yet why is he inflicting this garbage on us.


30th Anniversary Concert Celebration
30th Anniversary Concert Celebration
Price: £12.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Brilliant, 4 Mar 2014
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In 1992 Bob Dylan was in a creative impasse, not a rut I hasten to add. His last album of written material, Under The Red Sky, was unjustly maligned and slated by critics who really didn't understand it. Song & Dance Man by Michael Gray highlights quite why this album was a hidden gem.

Bob, himself, had just come out of recording some electric folk music, some of which later appeared on Bootleg Series Vol 8, with David Bromberg. He had also recorded his first album of traditional material since circa 1970, and had written some songs that turned up on Michael Bolton, Danny O'Keefe, Gerry Goffin, and Willie Nelson albums. Bob's live gigs, at the time, could be notoriously hit-or-miss: a live concert from Stuttgart from 1991 was circulating amongst bootleggers as 'Name That Tune", amidst allegations that Bob was imbibing too much booze, and that his backing band wasn't up to much. Certainly, while Tony Garnier is still a mainstay of his backing band, the 1991/92 band never had the same impact as GE Smith, or much later, Larry Campbell, or Charlie Sexton.

So, what are we to make, after the renaissance of Time Out of Mind, Love & Theft, Modern Times, Tempest, Tell Tale Signs, an amazing memoir, Theme Time Radio Hour, and some ongoing great gigs, of this reissue ? With the exception of Sinead O'Connor's rehearsal of I Believe In You, Willie Nelson's What Was It You Wanted, Tom Petty's License to Kill, and, though not on this compilation, Booker T & The MG's Gotta Serve Somebody - it crops up on the Time is Tight 3cd box set - there's hardly anything post 1979.

Some of the covers are quite uninventive, i.e Johnny & June Carter-Cash hoe-downing through It Ain't Me Babe as if it were 1964 all over again. Bearing in mind Cash's Rick Rubin renaissance was 2 years' down the line, maybe Cash would have been better on his own, growling through Every Grain of Sand, or Saved's Are You Ready. Kris Kristofferson also falls into uninventive with I'll Be Your Baby, Tonight. However, what redeems this album is Willie Nelson on What Was It You Wanted. Willie later covered Gotta Serve Somebody on Moment of Forever, and Senor with Calexico on I'm Not There, and has revealed himself to be a great interpreter of Dylan.

Lou Reed's cover of Foot of Pride shows one great songwriter covering another: Lou was, apparently, overjoyed that Dylan wrote Brownsville Girl as a result of hearing Lou's Doin' The Things That We Want To. A debt repaid, and almost similar to Lou's great protest album, New York. George Harrison also surprises by covering Absolutely Sweet Marie, whereas you would expect him to take the easy option and return to If Not For You.

However, in a foreshadowing of the Transatlantic Sessions, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Roseanne Cash, and Shawn Colvin return to that Basement Tapes era folk/country sound with You Aint Going Nowhere, giving it also a delicious Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo flavouring too.


Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013
Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013
Price: £12.56

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What is it with Clapton ?, 7 Dec 2013
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Something has been bothering me of late, concerning EC's studio albums. From Back Home to Old Sock has revealed that EC's studio recordings currently have serious feet of clay. There's something missing, that you cannot really put your finger on: it's as if a yearning is there, but the execution is pointless, or wrong-headed.

That's not to say, however, that his collaborations, and other live albums, lack something: far from it. EC has worked wonders with Wynton Marsalis, reunited with Cream for some excellent concerts in 2005, and given us an amazing live album with Steve Winwood. He's also cut the mustard with the late JJ Cale on The Road to Escondido, and this various artists, EC curated, album shows that the live and collaborative material is what EC currently does best.

It opens with a great Tears In Heaven, and follows that with a nod to the Tulsa sound, with Vince Gill, on Lay Down Sally. Then the guests take over, with an amazing Green Onions by Booker T, Steve Cropper, Albert Lee etc. I have an obscure ferocious take on Green Onions on a Stax 4cd set, and this version summons up that ghost. John Mayer also channels an inner Brothers & Sisters / Harvest mellow rock feel on Queen of California, and what he does with Keith Urban on Don't Let Me Down is amazing. Urban is excellent in recent collaborations with Jimmy Webb and John Fogerty, and this only highlights his brilliance.

I am also fond of Gary Clark Jnr, who also appears on the recent Buddy Guy album, and was a guest on some of the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary gigs. He's a revelation on this album, whether it be with Doyle Bramhall, electric blues, or acoustic blues. Additionally, he's the younger blues in contrast to the fiery older blues of Buddy Guy, represented here on Damn Right I Got The Blues, and shows the blues to be in safe hands.

I would add too that EC's revisitation of Derek-era material with Derek Trucks and the rest of the curremt Allman Brothers Band is brilliant, and maybe that could be, or should be, the roots of a great live collaboration. Bobby Whitlock is still alive, and it could be worthwhile.

Furthermore, Jeff Beck on Women Of Ireland is far better than he was with the Corrs doing the same track. It's not a patch on The Chieftains original version, but it's still good.

I would add, finally, that EC really knows what to do with his back catalogue: his live archives are coming to light with a recent 2 disc Unplugged reissue, a 1977 concert as a bonus on Slowhand, and highlights from the Johnny Cash show on a deluxe Layla. Unlike the Stones, he's really giving the fans what they want, in the last year, be it a new studio album, Old Sock, the live concert with Wynton Marsalis, and the deluxe Slowhand, in addition to the deluxe Unplugges. We, in the forthcoming week, will also be expecting Give Me Strength; the 1974-75 Sessions, and , hopefully, there'll be more in 2014.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2014 2:01 PM GMT


Southern Roots -Digi-
Southern Roots -Digi-
Price: £25.28

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not good in parts, great all round, 14 Aug 2013
This review is from: Southern Roots -Digi- (Audio CD)
I love the new 2cd set of Southern Roots, an amazing album where the Killer meets the MGs, Doug Sahm, Tony Joe White, Carl Perkins, and Huey Meaux.

People will, justifiably, feel that Huey Meaux wasn't the most salubrious of people, and that his personal life was deplorable. Yes, that's true, but he also got the last great album, with the exception of 1979's Elektra album, Jerry Lee Lewis, out of the Killer, and for that we should be thankful.

The sleeve notes state that the Killer was starting to sound just a little bored with being swamped in strings, and that Nashville was stultifying the Killer. A little bit of perspective is required, I think, and we need to look at previous years. In 1970, the Killer recorded a Live @ Church gospel album, which was never released: his mother was dying, and Myra, his third wife, had left him for the last time. In 1971, Dallas Frazier and Al Owens wrote a stone-cold Killer classic in Touching Home. There were strings on the Touching Home album, but When He Walks On You was also a great single. Mercury must have thought that the Killer and strings would make an excellent format, and sure enough, he had another huge country hit with Would You Take Another Chance on Me, a Foster / Rice tune centred on the breakdown of his marriage to Myra.

However, in 1972, Jerry Lee decided to rock again, totally transforming Me and Bobby McGhee into a 190 mph rocker. Likewise, he revived Chantilly Lace to stunning effect, and Lonely Weekends too. However, these rockers also had a plethora of strings and backing vocalists. The Killer also cut some string-heavy country numbers, such as Think About It Darlin', Who's Gonna Play This Old Piano, and No Traffic Out of Abilene, but the urge to rock again remained. Jerry Kennedy passed the Killer to Roy Dea, though, and they cut a single of Tom T Hall's Me & Jesus, with Linda Gail Lewis, but it sank without a trace.

In 1973 Jerry went to London, recorded the Session at Advision Studios, and saw only one small hit from it, Drinkin' Wine Spo Dee O Dee. The Session, with Rory Gallagher, Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Matthew Fisher, was, in the main, a rock album, but it was also a retread, with many of the songs oldies. A postscript to The Session was the Jack Daniels Old No 7, produced by Tony Colton, with Steve Cropper on guitar, but that also sank without a trace. So, where next ? Stan Kesser, of Goldwax and I'm Left Your Right, She's Gone, produced two overproduced sessions, but Sometimes A Memory and He Can't Fill My Shoes, were fair-sized country hits. Honky Tonk Wine could have been a rocking good hit, were it not overproduced, and Ride Me Down Easy was an excellent early Billy Joe Shaver cover.

Huey Meaux was the next option, and the album rocked better than The Session. It wasn't just the backing musicians, it was the way the piano and vocals were miked. Also, Meat Man, written by Mack Vickery, was lascivious, filthy, and had a lethal combination of piano, organ, guitars, and backing vocalists. When A Man Loves A Woman was top drawer, so too Hold On I'm Comin, yet this was southern soul, not rock, not country, and it was a seriously brilliant curveball. Has Jerry Lee done soul since ? No.

Likewise, Just A Little Bit, the Roscoe Gordon number, was transformed into a howling falsetto-esque rock number: a far better treatment than what Elvis did to it some months' prior, down in McElmore Avenue at Stax. Born To Be A Loser was a return to swamp pop, a la Jerry's cover of Cookie & The Cupcakes' Mathilda. Blueberry Hill was a fantastic Dixieland brass arranged reinvention of both Fats Domino and Louis Armstrong. Haunted House rocked like crazy, and you wonder if Bruce Springsteen got his cover-version from the Killer. John Fogerty may have done so, too, as he recently covered it for the Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again.

Revolutionary Man, the Doug Sahm cover, may be a minor misfire, but it still has a Jerry Lee committed vocal, and the combination of Jerry on piano and Augie Meyers on organ, is worth listening to. Big Blue Diamonds, the Little Willie John tune, is given a raw country flavour, sans strings, and That Old Bourbon Street Church, is a fantastic conclusion. The album began with the profane Meat Man, and concluded with the sacred Old Bourbon Street Church, which summed up an artist torn between Sunday worship and Saturday honky tonk.

But wait ? There's extra tracks, and they're just as good as what was released. All Over Hell & Half of Georgia is, quite possibly, the greatest ever unreleased Jerry Lee Lewis track, written by Charlie Daniels, and performed with more than enough gusto. I Sure Miss These Good Old Times turned up, radically different, on 1976's Country Class, but Jerry Kennedy ruined it by overproducing it. Cry and Margie, I think, were old songs; Cry from Johnnie Ray in the 50s, and Margie from Eddie Cantor in the 1920s. Jerry Lee may have heard them by Ray Charles, as they also turn up on Sweet & Sour Tears and Dedicated to You.

So, you may ask, why the second disc ? Well, such music was created in surroundings of serious conviviality, or, to be more exact, Bacchanalian excess. Jerry Lee and Huey Meaux, from the dialogue recorded, were absolutely plastered, and the dialogue only highlights just how talented both men were in creating this absolute gem of an album. To dismiss it as only great in parts, suggests that you don't really know the true history of a great album.


Elvis At Stax (Deluxe Edition)
Elvis At Stax (Deluxe Edition)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £22.36

13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One last roar, 5 Aug 2013
By 1973 Elvis' drug issues were beginning to consume him, and his performances, apart from Aloha, were becoming more and more unprofessional. Stories abound of him threatening stage invaders in Vegas, and of performing Suspicious Minds to the tune of What Now My Love.

However, Presley was still cogent enough to make for Stax, and to create, quite possibly, his last great performances. At the time, however, very few people bought the albums, from 1973-1975, that constituted some of the Stax sessions. Presley's sales may have dipped, but these recordings were, in the main, excellent, be they Billy Joe Shaver's outlaw ballad, You Asked Me To (Amazing how close Elvis gets to Waylon Jennings on this one), Chuck Berry's Promised Land, Al Martino's Spanish Eyes, or Tony Joe White's For Ol' Times Sake and I've Got A Thing About You Baby.

Stax suited Elvis, as he brought his touring band with him, and had them augmented with Bobby Manuel, Al Jackson Jnr, and Duck Dunn. It was also close in proximity to him at Graceland, and the sound was different to his 1972, 1971, and 1970 sessions, as it was less bombastic and more intimate.

However, while some of the material was lachrymose, Elvis' Stax sessions were not as good as Jerry Lee Lewis' sessions at Trans Maximus also in 1973. Jerry Lee rocked more, and Huey Meaux actively encouraged the associated craziness of Jerry Lee's sessions. Jerry also needed a break from the country material that he was mostly cutting at the time.


Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel
Price: £6.37

6 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mel - A life story, 17 May 2013
This review is from: Guardian Angel (Kindle Edition)
With apologies to Frank McCourt's young and miserable in Ireland, i.e. Angela's Ashes, this is the story of someone that was young and miserable in England.

If we put Mel on the couch we'll find how her formative years have shaped her, making her a highly-paid troll for the Daily Mail, fuelling her crazed opinions. Her hatred of Islam stems from her pro Zionist opinions, and was fermenting long before her vile Londonistan book.

Likewise, her anti Climate Change stance, and her voice of doom, the world going to Hell in a Handcart, evinced on The Moral Maze: it all has its roots in this crazed rollercoaster ride of Mad Mel's formative years. Buy this book by all means, but, for God's sake, do not take it seriously.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2013 11:07 PM GMT


Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations
Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations
by Mary Beard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 17 Mar 2013
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I was beginning to think Professor Beard's publications were becoming "Caviar to the general" to quote Shakespeare, and that her work was tied in to her excellent televisual persona. This has come has a nice, and thoroughly enjoyable, surprise.

What Confronting The Classics is, is a wonderful collection of articles and reviews by Professor Beard on a wide range of matters Classical, ranging from Greek history , Greek Tragedy, Greek poetry, both epic and pastoral, Latin literature, history, and philology, and the reception of the ancient world, i.e. The Classical Tradition.

Professor Beard also acts as a wonderful contrast to TP Wiseman's interpretations of the Remus myth in "Who Wanted Remus Dead", which was a review of Wiseman's books on the Romulus and Remus myth. This, too, was wonderfully showcased in a recent In Our Time documentary on Radio 4, concerning the Remus myth, wherein Professor Beard engaged with TP Wiseman on the Remus debate.

Professor Beard also reviews the wonderful philologist, Professor J N Adams' Bilingualism & The Latin Language, within her article "South Shields Aramaic", and the true nature of ancient Roman bilingualism. As a philologist, Professor Adams contributed the ground-breaking Latin Sexual Vocabulary in the early 1980s, and Professor Beard is a beacon of truth in describing Professor Adams' work on bilingualism as "Marvellously informative". It also makes for two excellent reviews of Professor Adams' work on Bilingualism and the Latin Language, as I seem to recall reading Leofranc Holford-Streven's review for the London Review of Books recently.

Professor Beard also provides an excellent critique of the wonderfully enthusiastic Professor Edith Hall's wonderful Dionysus Since 69, which details modern-day reception of Greek Tragedy. I can remember, when I was doing my Masters on Classical Tradition, and locating a bizarre version of Euripides' Bacchae which was performed in New York, circa 1991, and feel that Greek Tragedy is open to many interpretations. Professor Hall is utterly aware, and utterly enthusiastic about reception of Greek Tragedy, be it within Shaw's Major Barbara, and her earliest monogram, Inventing the Barbarian, changed the way academics, and Classics students, consider Greek Tragedy, after such stale texts as HDF Kitto's Greek Tragedy. I would also, and I digress here, add that Professor Hall is extremely clued-in on the reception of Homer, having recently read a magazine article in which she mentioned O Brother Where Art Thou and its Homeric roots. I also happen to agree with Professor Beard, having also read Wole Soyinka's adaptation of the Bacchae, that "Every worthy political cause" of the past three decades has "Found support through performances of Greek Tragedy".

Furthermore, Professor Beard also writes reviews on such wonderful subjects as "What made the Greeks Laugh", which is a review of Stephen Halliwell's work on laughter in Greek texts from Homer onwards. There's the wonderful painting that Professor Beard includes of Coypel's image of Democritus, the laughing philosopher, from Abdera. I am mindful of Juvenal's description of Democritus being born under Abderan skies, and how Abdera and its inhabitants were, indeed, the "Butt of jokes". So, again, I can agree with Professor Beard's remarks that "Cicero, too, could use the name of the town as short-hand for a topsy turvy mess".

The trouble, however, with writing a review of this book is that, as a former classics scholar, I could write forever on Professor Beard's book, whereas I should be encouraging people to buy her book on amazon.co.uk. Yes, people should buy Professor Beard's books, be they the person in the street, but also the student, about to study classics, or the academic, who wishes to review, or use Professor Beard as secondary source material.

I am also heartily glad that Professor Beard has given people an insight into such excellent figures as Oliver Taplin, Professor J N Adams, Professor Edith Hall, Froma Zeitlin, the excellent late John Winkler, and Paul Cartledge. Many of these names have brought back memories for me, and I was lectured by two of them, too.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2013 10:19 PM BST


My True Story
My True Story
Offered by davehopetrading
Price: £7.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doo Wop to Soul In One Breath, 30 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My True Story (Audio CD)
Doo Wop is the rock'n'roll equivalent of the love poem: it is how do I love thee, let me count the ways. It doesn't have the aggressive attack of Little Richard, the lyricism of Chuck Berry, the lunacy of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the self-referencing of Bo Diddley, or the rockabilly of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, or 1954 - 1956 Elvis Presley, or even the borderline folk sounds of Johnny Cash from 1955 - 1958. It's the sound of what was defined as the "Street Corner Symphony", and had its roots in the jump and jive blues/jazz of Louis Jordan.

The beauty of doo wop was that it was centred on vocal groups, and some amazing bands arose in the early/late 50s, with some excellent harmonies, e.g The Penguins, The Five Spaniels, The Platters, The Glades, The Drifters, Gene Chandler, The Chords, The Parris Sisters, The Crests. One of the easiest oxymorons in the world is the title of a Penguins song "Earth Angel".

Doo Wop's influence has been tremendous, what with as far back as 1958, Elvis approximating the Doo Wop sound on Leiber/Stoller's Don't. Elvis also, during the Million Dollar Quartet sessions, in December 1956, referred to Jackie Wilson & The Dominos covering his Don't Be Cruel. Buddy Holly took the lush strings and gorgeous vocal arrangements to create True Love Ways in 1959. Likewise, where would Dion DiMucci's career, with and without the Belmonts, be without Doo Wop, and in turn Paul Simon, and Lou Reed. After all, what is Halloween Parade on Lou's New York, but a 1989 Doo Wop song, or John Lennon's Just Like Starting Over as a 1980's Doo Wopper ? Lou also did a cover of This Magic Moment on a David Lynch soundtrack for Lost Highway. Jerry Lee Lewis also attempted Doo Wop on the Class of 55 album, what with 16 Candles.

What surprises me is Keith Richards, however, as co-producer, but scratch beneath the surface, and you'll find an artist more than familiar with Doo Wop. In 1964, Keith' s main project, the Rolling Stones covered, albeit badly, Under The Boardwalk, after hearing The Drifters' version. Likewise, in the early 00s, Keith worked on a Ronnie Spector solo album, covering Ike & Tina's I Can't Believe What You Say as a duet with Ronnie. So Keith would be familiar with The Ronettes, who originally sang Be My Baby. Phil Spector, with Gene Pitney, also had a hand in unofficially producing the England's Newest Hitmakers, 1964, Rolling Stones album.

Aaron Neville has covered some great tunes in his time, whether it be, with the Neville Brothers, Ten Commandments of Love, or solo, Please Stay, which the Drifters did initially, Save The Last Dance for Me on a Doc Pomus tribute album, Pledging My Love. He also, with Show Me The Way, being one of his first records from 1961/62, would have toured with some Doo Wop acts.

Moving on, the album opens with a rocking, but mellow, cover of Clyde Macphatter & The Drifter's Atlantic classic, Money Honey. Money Honey was written by one of the great unsung heroes of rock 'n' roll, Jesse Stone; Jesse also wrote, inter alia, Don't Let Go, which was subsequently covered twice by Jerry Lee Lewis, and by Jeff Lynne on Armchair Theatre. Money Honey was covered with aplomb by Elvis in 1956, and by Ry Cooder in the 1970s. However, Aaron would have known his way around the Drifters version, and the guitar work from keith and Greg Leisz is a joy. Throw in Dylan's drummer, also from New Orleans, George Reeceli, and Heartbreaker, Benmont Tench, and the sound is excellently understated.

Ruby Baby, another Drifters number, covered by Dion, The Beach Boys, and later Donald Fagan on the Nightfly album, is given some excellent uptempo treatment too. However, the slow Spanish-tinged Gypsy Woman shows just how much Doo Wop was going to mutate into soul. Gypsy Woman was an early Impressions number, composed at about the same time as Mistress & Queen and People Get Ready. It predates the 1968-70 Young Mod's Forgotten Story and Choice of Colours. Prior to Gypsy Woman, the Impressions, with Jerry Butler in place, did the excellent VeeJay label tune, For Your Precious Love: another tune that shows the metamorphosis of Doo Wop into soul. Another little known fact is that The Rolling Stones did a version of For Your Precious Love, in 1989, as a Steel Wheels outtake, and like That's How Strong My Love Is, it's an amazing Stones soul cover. Aaron Neville also covered For Your Precious Love, so both Keith and Aaron are familiar with early Impressions recordings.

Be My Baby is enjoyable different: it's no longer the Ronettes with a huge Wall of Sound, but a nicely stripped down version of a classic. Brian Wilson covered Be My Baby on a live album, but it was just identical to the Spectorized version. Under The Boardwalk, however, erases the memories that Keith may have of the awful cover version that the Stones did on 12 x 5. It's nice to hear an excellent version of a much covered track, that Bruce Willis also destroyed too.

Work With Me Annie is a marvellous uptempo cover of the Hank Ballard tune. Hank was the original author of The Twist, covered by Chubby Checker, and James Brown, in the late 60s, tried to rehabilitate his fading career, in addition to helping the organist Bill Doggett out. Work With Me Annie also caused an excellent response-song, predating her Chess recordings, Roll With Me Henry by Etta James for Modern Records.

I also happen to enjoy the excellent Ting A Ling, a tune written by "Nugetre", Ahmet Ertegun's nom de plume. Nugetre also wrote Ray Charles' first big hit for Atlantic, Mess Around. Likewise, This Magic Moment, from Pomus and Shuman, is excellent, and an excellent Drifters cover. What this album is also doing is tipping the hat to Rudy Lewis, the man vocalist of the Drifters after Ben E King, with Under The Boardwalk. King actually sang on This Magic Moment, prior to going solo with Young Man Blues and Stand By Me. Rudy Baby was a Rudy Lewis effort, too.

Keith Richards would have also known Tears On My Pillow, via his buddy, Tom Waits, who referred to Little Anthony & The Imperials, on Christmas Card from a Hooker, on Blue Valentine, as well as hearing the original. However, the entire album isn't a post-modernist take on these 50s and 60s songs of young love, but a glorious return to a genre that very few, alas, listen to. Buy this album, and you'll discover the love and the flip side to Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On, School Days, Hound Dog, and Jenny Jenny.

Then, consider the source, and locate some excellent Rhino and Bear Family boxed sets.


GRRR!
GRRR!
Price: £10.50

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Star Tracks, 13 Nov 2012
This review is from: GRRR! (Audio CD)
If it is the music that matters, then GRRR truly deserves five stars.

The compilation begins with the musical template for the Stones, i.e. Chuck Berry riffs filtered through an English sensibility, and which has served them well throughout the five decades that they have functioned, both solo and as a collective entity. Come On, though, wasn't even the best of Chuck Berry, as it was an overly commercial number to begin with. The Come On template shines through on solo material such as Wired All Night, I Could Have Stood You Up, and on Bigger Bang material such as Rough Justice.

However, what separated The Stones from other bands is how successfully they have remained ahead and behind the times simultaneously: they embraced raga-rcok, a la The Beatles and The Byrds, with Paint it, Black, but Mick's vocals are akin more to South Side Chicago than the Englishness of The Beatles, and the Dylan/Lennon combination of Roger McGuinn. The Stones also embraced Dylan, but whereas Dylan was coy on If You Gotta Go, Go Now, the Stones didn't beat around the bush and encouraged people to spend the night together. South Side Chicago also embraced and covered Let's Spend The Night Together, with it being one of the few decent recordings on Muddy Waters' Electric Mud album.

The Stones, no matter how hard they tried, were not exactly peace and love. She's A Rainbow may have eulogised the perfect woman, but 2000 Light Years From Home, unfortunately not on this compilation, reeks of alienation, and would serve Roger Waters and David Bowie well as a worthy template. We Love You is not peace and love, as it features jailhouse doors slamming, and another sneering vocal from Jagger. Again, it is psychedelia filtered through alienation, leaving you with a thoroughly disquieting feeling.

The second disc is the end of the Brain Jones era, and the move into Mick Taylor. The Stones, at the point of Jumpin' Jack Flash, were moving into open tuning, due to Keith hanging out with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. The second disc is also the beginning of the Stones as we know and love them: the blues-heavy greatest rock n roll band. All the classics are there, with a 3 song set of Exile on Main Street classics. There's also the last hurrah of Jimmy Miller on Heartbreaker and Angie from the criminally underrated Goats Head Soup. Mick Taylor's final moment, It's Only Rock n Roll, follows, before The Stones, with Harvey Mandel of Canned Heat on guitar, replicating Taylor, perform Fool To Cry.

The third disc ranges from 1978's perceived return to form with Miss You through to the newly-recorded Doom & Gloom and One More Shot. Miss You is the Stones doing disco, but Sugar Blue's harmonica solo is more Little Walter than Studio 54. Again, a case of moving forward and looking back. Even a monolithic riff-tastic number like Start Me Up from 1981 casts itself back to pre-war Lucille Bogan dirty blues, specifically with the 'dead man come" lyrics.

However, the desire to be contemporaneous does cause a banana-skin to appear: the banana-skin being Streets of Love. While this ballad is almost universally loathed, I find it a pastiche of the Diane Warren power ballads that propelled acts like Aerosmith and Celine Dion to number one. It should be seen as such, in much the same way as Far Away Eyes is seen as a country pastiche, and not a real country ballad.

Likewise, there's the sense of Mick and Keith equally destroying the dynamic of the band. Mick saying I want to go current, I want to hear what's on the dance-floor, I want to write Sweet Neocon and Highwire. Keith is at the back, saying what about Chuck, what about Buddy's Holly and Guy ? What about Little Walter, Howlin Wolf, and Junior Wells ? There's the push and pull of Keith, probably at home in Connecticut, grooving to an Arhoolie box set, with Lightnin' Hopkins, Clifton Chenier, and Mick wondering if he should check out the latest dance-band: it makes, even now, for a fascinating dynamic.

Happily, though, on the evidence of the final two tracks, the crunching blues-rock riffs are back. Maybe Jagger, in listening to The Black Keys, has gone full circle, and has decided that bluesy rock is the best option.

Finally, some caveats. GRRR is great, no doubt about it, but I am disappointed: the cast-iron Stones fan is only able to download archive recordings of concerts from [...] and not buy them on cd. Mick and Keith also need to consider the fan that has most of these recordings on GRRR already, so a little more thought to the serious fan would go a long way. LA Friday 1975, Brussels Affair, et al, need to be issued on CD, and then beginners will know what they are missing.
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