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Brak55's Amazing Compendium of Junk
Fartin' Around at Fifty-*coughthreecough*
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Let's see...it's only been about two years since I posted here.

So, you may ask, what brings me back. It is called shameless self-promotion. My original site, Vintage Vinyl News is now VVN Music and has been joined by three additional sites, VVN Music Almanac, VVN Modern and VVN Broadway.

The first, VVN Music, remains dedicated to news of veteran artists who have been recording for 25 years or more. VVN Modern is the site for information on those that don't qualify for the Music site.

VVN Music Almanac is a daily post of birthdays, death anniversaryies, significant events, number ones, etc. over the past 70 years of music.

Finally, VVN Broadway is news on the shows that are currently playing on the Great White Way.

For those who might be interested in the sites:

VVN Music
Site: www.vintagevinylnews.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Vintage-Vinyl-News/153398739064?ref=ts
Twitter: twitter.com/VVNMusic

VVN Modern
Site: www.vvnmodern.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/VvnModern
Twitter: twitter.com/VVNModern

VVN Music Almanac
Site: www.vvnmusicalmanac.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/VVN-Music-Almanac/207432402627530?v=wall
Twitter: twitter.com/VVNMusicAlmanac

VVN Broadway
Site: www.vvnbroadway.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/VVN-Broadway/125714667481695?v=wall
Twitter: twitter.com/VVNBroadway

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What is the best movie of 2010?

View 1531 Answers


I don't know.  I'll let you know in 2013 when I've actually seen some movies from 2010.

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I haven't done this in awhile, so here we go.  Three new songs that I'm really liking.

I'm really excited about the release of the album She and Him, Volume 2 this coming Tuesday.  I loved M.Ward and Zooey Deschanel's Volume 1 and this one, from what I've heard on the stream at NPR, may be just as good.  Both albums are full of very infectious alternapop like this first video from the new album.



This is a new discovery for me, although she has been recording as a session singer for awhile. This is Suzi Ragsdale and her sound really doesn't show any of her Nashville upbringing.  A great natural voice that reminds me a bit of Bonnie Raitt.



Finally, the latest single for one of my favorite country singers, Martina McBride.

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Dear Mylie Cyrus,

STFU!

In the last couple of weeks, you've told us how to you and your boyfriend are so much deeper than most people, that you can't wait until you're done shooting Hannah Montana because you are SO over it and, now, that country music scares you because it is so fake.

Let me tell you a couple of things.

1. You're not deep.  Not at all.  You're a spoiled little brat.
2. Hannah Montana and, to some extent, country music made you.  If it wasn't for them you probably wouldn't have half the career you have now.

Oh, and your comment that your father left country music?  Ah, no.  Country music left him.  It was about the time that the two of you started showing up on awards shows and your Abbott and Costello routine (with you being all smart, high and mighty) didn't play well.  He also wasn't exactly getting father of the year citations, either, letting his 15 year old date a 21 year old.

Worst of all, shame on the media because, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't even know all this crap.
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This was my very favorite performance at Sunday night's Grammys (yes, I know Pink was amazing, but this one got to me),  It actually brought tears to my eyes because, first, they were actually taking the time to salute the late Les Paul who changed the course of music.  About 90% of the people in that audience probably didn't realize that, without him, music would have had a much different sound today.  He invented the solid body electric guitar, multi-track recording, looping and all sorts of other recording and guitar effects.  Second, I was amazed that Jeff Beck could reproduce Paul's sound so perfectly.  I mean, he may be the greatest living guitarist, but he nailed this.  Third, I didn't know who Imelda May was, but I'm going to be listening to her a lot more.



Here's another great performance by them from an earlier appearance.

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Here's my list of my favorite albums of the year as published on my site.  Yes, I'm writing plural instead of singular.  It's to make readers think there's more there than just me.  :)


Last year, when we entered the "best of" fray for the first time, we did it with much trepidation, because we had only heard a small fraction of the thousands of albums released during the year.  That's why we call this our "favorites" and not the absolute best albums released during 2009.  We'll totally admit, the list represents our particular take on music in the genres that appeal to our tastes (we still don't totally understand the Flaming Lips at times) but you should still see a fairly wide range of music styles.

Because this site does concentrate on the veteran artists who have been recording for 25 years or more, we will make our choices on two different lists.  The first, the veterans, represents new recordings by artists that the site covers on a daily basis.  The second list, the modern artists, presents our favorite recordings by today's artists who, if they keep recording music of this quality, will become working veteran artists down the line.

YesVintage Vinyl News Top 10 Albums of 2009 by Veteran Artists

  1. Yes - Pet Shop Boys - After a few years of diversifying their style and sound, the Pet Shop Boys are back to what they do best, great synth-pop.  From the opening bounce of Love Etc. to the huge dance hit Did You See Me Coming and through the ambient closer Legacy, this is an album without a bad track and enough variety to keep us coming back.
     

  2. The Kinks Choral Collection - Ray Davies & the Crouch End Festival Chorus - What sounded like a horrible idea turned out to be one of the most beautiful albums of the decade.  Ray Davies takes many of the Kinks classics and performs them with a regular band backed by a large choir.  With only one or two missteps, the choir blends beautifully with the music and doesn't sound in the least contrived.  The gems of the collection are a cycle of songs from the Village Green Preservation Society album and the openers, Days and Waterloo Sunset.
     

  3. Under the Covers, Volume 2 - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - Yes, it's an covers album.  What makes this so good is that it is flat out fun.  Sweet and Hoffs pick sixteen songs from the 70's ranging from the Dead's Sugar Magnolia to Bread's Everything I Own and gives them fairly dead on readings.  Highlights include their takes on Fleetwood Mac's Second Hand News, Mott the Hoople's All the Young Dudes and an excellent version of Rod Stewart's Maggie May sung by Hoffs.  This is a great album to put on in your car and turn up loud on a hot summer day.
     

  4. Together Through Life - Bob Dylan - Dylan has had an amazing run this decade with Love & Theft, Modern Times and this year's Together Through Life (we'll consider Christmas in the Heart as just an aberration) .  This one is messy, spontaneous and is the most alive Dylan has sounded in a long, long time.  Based around the sound of New Orleans and the blues, there are some great songs to add to the Dylan canon such as Beyond Here Lies Nothin', Life is Hard and Forgetful Heart.
     

  5. Songs From Lonely Avenue - Brian Setzer Orchestra - When Brian Setzer assembled his big band, it was the beginning of what would peak in the mid-90's as the Swing Revival.  Unfortunately, this superb group of musicians got caught in the fast burnout of the fad and have been written off by too many.  With Setzer on sizzling guitar and one of the tightest bands around, they've continued to make some great albums, including their latest.  Songs From Lonely Avenue is described as the soundtrack to an unmade noir film, and you can hear how it would fit but, more important, it is a fantastic album performed by some of the best musicians in the business.
     

  6. Preliminaires - Iggy Pop - Another total surprise of the year, the normally hard rocking Pop recording an album based on the jazzy sound of European pop.  The opening cut, Les Feuilles Mortes, starts with a small combo and Iggy talking in French.  It's not until you're a third of the way into the track that you realize that the song is Autumn Leaves and Pop is going to finish it out as a crooner.  There are surprises throughout this album of very unusual material.
     

  7. Secret, Profane and Sugarcane - Elvis Costello - The combination of Costello and producer T-Bone Burnett had us hoping for another Raising Sand, but the album fell short.  It's not that it isn't a great album, but our expectations were so high that it ended up somewhat disappointing.  There are still some great tracks here, including our favorite of the year, Complicated Shadows, the rather bawdy Sulphur to Sugarcane and the Emmylou Harris duet The Crooked Line.
     

  8. Twang - George Strait - There is nobody in country music more reliable than Strait, and this one lives right up to the billing.  It's filled with the type of country that few still perform, much less turn into radio hits.  While the first single, Living for the Night was a standard Strait ballad, the title song kicks it into old style country and the album closer, El Rey, even takes him in the direction of Mariachi music.
     

  9. High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project - Loudon Wainwright III - The third big surprise of 2009.  Loudon Wainwright III recorded two discs of music recorded in the 20's by country singer and all around hellraiser Charlie Poole, along with a few original compositions in the Poole style.  Don't be scared away by the almost century old music.  The updating gives the tracks a modern sound even though the structure of the songs still retain the feel of their original days.
     

  10. Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot - This one is simple.  It's the music Van Halen would have recorded if what's left of Van Halen wasn't so full of itself.  This is pure, simple, driving rock and roll played by a group of veterans (Sammy Hagar, Mark Anthony, Joe Satriani and Chad Smith) that certainly have the experience to pull it off.



FarVintage Vinyl News Top 10 Albums of 2009 by Modern Artists

  1. Far - Regina Spektor - Our overall favorite album of 2009 is quirky, at times unsettling and overall wonderful.  Spektor's formal training in classical music shows through in her piano arrangements and some of the song structures but it doesn't stop her from embellishing the music with her own mouth rhythms, strange instrumentation and odd interludes.  On first hearing, the album can sound almost dissonant at times but further listening shows just how well structured and memorable is her writing.
     

  2. A Strange Arrangement - Mayer Hawthorne - Hawthorne has the voice, both regular and falsetto, to pull off a magnificent facsimile of 70's soul.  His admiration for the genre has allowed him to write all new material that reflects the style of the time and his crack band recreates the soulful arrangements perfectly.
     

  3. Give Up the Ghost - Brandy Carlile - Mark our words.  One of these days the award givers and the general public are going to realize what an immense talent this woman is.  Give Up the Ghost is possibly an even better album than 2007's The Story, which was a brilliant mix of songwriting and style.
     

  4. High Hopes and Heartbreaks - Brooke White - Yes, this is the Brooke White from American Idol.  Her debut album is wonderful return to the singer-songwriters of the seventies.  These finely crafted songs should have been all over the radio and charts.  Are you listening radio programmers?
     

  5. It's Not You, It's Me - Lily Allen - Forget the tabloid reports, Allen's second album is nearly as good as her first.  The thing about Lily is that her totally unassuming style of writing has actually produced some of the most biting, clever lyrics of the decade.  Who else could write a farewell song to George Bush with the bouncy pop sounds of the seventies and call it Fuck You.
     

  6. Wishful Thinking - Hot Club of Cowtown - Everyone thought that the Willie Nelson/Asleep at the Wheel Album Willie and the Wheel would be the best in Western Swing.  They were wrong.  The Hot Club of Cowtown sows up that honor with this album that not only covers the swing genre but ventures out into a bit of old-time jazz.  This is their first album since they reformed and we're hoping that it proved to them that they need to keep recording for a long time.
     

  7. Blacksummer'snight - Maxwell - Here's another artist who didn't record for much of the decade but came back with a great album.  In a world filled with hip-hop and rap, Maxwell proved that its still possible to make a smooth R&B album AND get the public to buy it.
     

  8. Middle Cyclone - Neko Case - They label her Americana, but we think she's just a good all-around artist.  Middle Cyclone includes a few more upbeat songs than her previous albums but there is still plenty of plaintiff ballads to keep her fans happy.  Particularly good is a cover of Nilsson's Don't Forget Me.
     

  9. Wait for Me - Moby - We've been waiting for Moby to return to the heights of his album Play.  This isn't it, but it's the closest he's come this decade.  The album is filled almost exclusively with ambient songs with vocals contributed by a variety of female vocalists.  The sound of Play is here.  It just falls a little short on the quality of the songs.
     

  10. Amanda Leigh - Mandy Moore - Her 2007 album, Wild Hope, was a revelation.  It showed that a former teen pop star could transition to very serious folk-rock-pop sounds.  Amanda Leigh continues that trend, with the exception of the 80's pop tinged I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week, with an album of sophisticated writing and arranging.  The albums opener, Merrimack River, is a particularly beautiful piece of writing while Pocket Philosopher will make you think you are listening to a newly discovered Burt Bacharach song.


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As the mania ramps up for the Michael Jackson movie This is It and the "soundtrack" album is released, we have to ask how many times people are willing to pay for the same music?

Jackson's Number Ones is currently the biggest selling album of the year, moving over two-million units. A bit farther down the list are his Essential and HIStory compilations along with the original albums Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous. All of these albums are still on the charts, many selling tens-of-thousands of copies a week. Number Ones, HIStory and Thriller all remain in the top 50 selling albums in the United States.

Today, Billboard reported that first week sales of the This Is It "soundtrack" could be in the area of 300,000 to 350,000 copies. The thing is, this is NOT a soundtrack to the film. You will not get the audio of Jackson rehearsing Billie Jean. All you will get are the same tracks found on all the other compilations, ordered as they are in the film, plus two versions of the new single, three demos and a poem. To be more specific, here are the tracks on This is It broken down by the number of currently charting albums on which they appear:
  • On Four Charting Albums
    • The Way You Make Me Feel (Bad, HIStory, Essential, Number Ones)
    • I Just Can't Stop Loving You (Bad, HIStory, Essential, Number Ones)
    • Thriller (Thriller, HIStory, Essential, Number Ones)
    • Beat It (Thriller, HIStory, Essential, Number Ones)
    • Black Or White (Dangerous, HIStory, Essential, Number Ones)
    • Billie Jean (Thriller, HIStory, Essential, Number Ones)
    • Man In The Mirror (Bad, HIStory, Essential, Number Ones)
  • On Three Charting Albums
    • Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Thriller, HIStory, Essential)
    • Smooth Criminal (Bad, Essential, Number Ones)
  • On Two Charting Albums
    • Human Nature (Thriller, Essential)
    • Earth Song (HIStory, Number Ones)
  • On One Charting Album
    • Jam (Dangerous)
    • They Don't Care About Us (HIStory)
    • Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (Essential)
  • Previously Unreleased
    • This Is It (New)
    • This Is It (Orchestra Version) (New)
    • She's Out Of My Life (Demo) (Previously Unreleased)
    • Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Demo) (Previously Unreleased)
    • Beat It (Demo) (Previously Unreleased)
    • Planet Earth (Poem) (Previously Unreleased)
Multiple compilations are not a new phenomenon. Who knows how many times Motown has repackaged their artists' catalogs. The same goes for artists like Aerosmith. The difference is that these albums rarely chart more than one at a time. Most likely next week, the studio versions of the songs Thriller, Beat It and Billie Jean will be on four different albums in the top 50.

The death of Michael Jackson moved the singer from persona non gratis to a cultural phenomenon in the United States. While the rest of the world was much more forgiving to the singer and his various oddities, U.S. consumers had turned their back on Jackson. Now, he is the biggest music story of the year and the U.S. public is willing to plunk down their hard earned cash for the same music over and over. It is a phenomenon that has not been seen before nor is it likely to be seen again at any time in the near future.
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...you have to admit that Madonna is in pretty damn good shape for her age (and I'm not talking body/physically, I'm talking cardio/physically).



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This is one of the bounciest, cutest pop songs to come out this year...and most people will never hear it because it (for obvious reasons) can't be played on the radio. Every time I listen to it, I end up with it running through my head for the rest of the day which is a problem if you have a tendency to start singing softly to yourself at work, at the store, etc.

This is from Lily Allen's latest album and is dedicated to former president George Bush.  The video has absolutely nothing to do with the song or the subject, even though it has a couple of cool effects.

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It seems that Dick "Dick" Cheney's daughter Mary is once again pregnant.  This has brought out a huge chorus of bat-shit crazy far right people with their mostly unintelligible comments about how "this just ain't right."

My favorite: “but I don’t understand why he is allowing his daughter to take innocent children into her lesbianic home”

At the top of the just plain ignorant scale: "There is something quite perverse about a society that allows avowed and unrepentant homosexuals to unnaturally take on children as playthings."

To see more of the crap spewing from the mouths of the [fill in your favorite word for the less than tolerant/intelligent here], go to Pandagon

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Here's the first release from my favorite contestant last year, Allison Iraheta. I'm kind of torn on this one. I was afraid that the record company would try to change her into a Pink style rocker when she would be much better in blues-rock. Well, this is too hard for Pink, but it's definitely not bluesy. I'd be interested in hearing what others think.

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Passing along the invitation to a worthy site which one of my LJ friends, adaveen , helped create.


Visit Little Episodes

Little Episodes is an organisation started by professional writers, editors, artists, musicians and actors aiming to use the arts as a platform to raise awareness for people who suffer from depression, addiction or mental illness.

http://www.littleepisodes.org

We focus on a range of activities:
  • Anthologies – Little Episodes produces anthologies by established and emerging artists and writers in order to support and empathise with those with depression, addiction and mental illness. Work is commencing on our first anthology, 'Crazy Days - an expression of depression'.
  • Events – Little Episodes holds regular 'Late Night Episodes' featuring material from our anthology 'Crazy Days - an expression of depression' as well as showcasing new performances and exhibitions. We will also help and support those who wish to hold their own 'Little Episodes' themed nights wherever you are.
  • Galleries – Our website features free flash tools to allow members to upload an infinite number of Music (mp3), Video (mp4) as well as text and image files. There is also the ability to embed material from your own web/social networking sites and share your content with others across the Little Episodes network. Our aim is to create a multi-media portal for members to have a voice. Suitable work from unknown as well as established talent will constantly be updated as part of our featured artists.
  • Forum and Chat Room – Our website offers somewhere for people to go for empathy, socialising and sharing work as well as a chat room for real time support.
  • Blogs – Our website offers free blogs for members to journal, post work and have their say.
  • Residential units or day centres - Little Episodes is keen to reach out to people who can’t get to other Little Episodes events. These visits can include readings from the book, promotion of the website and hosting a general Q&A. Mail us at info@littleepisodes.org for further information.

We are constantly looking for new submissions for future publications and material for our website and events.

Mail us at info@littleepisodes.org for further information
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It was 25 years ago yesterday (Sunday) that the music world lost one of its great unsung heroes and I personally lost one of the biggest influences from my time of playing music.

Steve Goodman was a Chicago singer-songwriter who is best known for writing The City of New Orleans but, when you dug deeper into his recordings, you found a person that could go from extreme depths of emotion in his songwriting to total silliness. He was an extremely good guitar player, had a sparkling personality and was a musicologist who would mix songs from the 20's and 30's, old rock and roll and his originals into one of the most entertaining shows I've ever seen.

The only time I saw him live was in 1973 at the Buffalo Folk Festival. I actually met him walking across campus while looking for the building with a guitar clinic. He, John Prine and Loudon Wainwright III were doing the same thing. Between the five of us, we figured it out. I was too young and too shy to talk to them, but it was an experience walking across the campus and listen to them talk about themselves.

After seeing his show, I knew that I wanted to become more like him as a guitar player and an entertainer. I never got near him in either, but it he was a great person to look up to.

Unfortunately, Steve had a long fight with leukemia (he was diagnosed in 1969) that took his life on September 20, 1984 at the age of 36. He was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, writing two songs about the team (A Dieing Cub Fans Last Request and Go, Cubs, Go). His ashes were scattered at Wrigley Field in 1988.

Here he is singing one of the most touching songs ever about old age. Ironically, he didn't write this one, but he sang it at almost every show.



From the other end of the spectrum, here's Steve singing his own composition, Talk Backwards.

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This is from today's Rite-Aid ad.  I'm not sure you will sell a lot of condoms if you call them Barf.



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So, the new health care plan is to fine people if they don't have health insurance, just like they do car owners. What are they going to do, take away people's licenses to live?

It's probably the dumbest idea I've heard yet. Peo...ple who can't afford health insurance are fined money they don't have so that they can't afford health insurance even more.  I swear that the Democrats are just as out of touch with the world as the Republicans.
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Writer David Wild has been cracking everyone up on Twitter all day with all sorts of exclamations about our President's speech to the schools.
  • Worried President Obama wants to inspire my children to learn. President Bush would NEVER have tried such a thing.
  • Help my President is trying to speak to my children! Someone call the authorities.
  • Just to confirm, right wing, it's okay to send our kids to Iraq, but not to talk to them during school hours?
  • Help an employed Harvard grad family man is trying to inspire my kids about education!
  • Help the leader of the free world wants to send my boys to health care reform school!
  • Help an elected official is trying to consistently communicate with the people who pay his salary!
  • Help, I just spotted a former community organizer near a public school!
  • Help runaway official attempting to improve things!
  • Police, hurry! I think I just witnessed an attempted act of leadership!
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I have a question about the Health Care Reform and was wondering if anybody understands it enough to even take a shot at it.

Everyone will be REQUIRED to buy Health Insurance of a certain level.  It's my understanding the IRS will be the final determiner of whether each individual is doing so and there will be fines if you don't do it.

The lower-income people will be provided tax credits to pay for their coverage, but credits come (normally) in the aftermath of an action.  For example, you buy health insurance in 2012 and you get the tax credit on your 2012 return in early 2013.

How exactly are the lower-income people supposed to pay for that first year (2012) of health care?
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I came across this tonight and was amazed that Amy Winehouse almost looks coherent. I know I've made a lot of fun of her in the last couple of years, but I do feel that, if she cleaned herself up, she could be a great talent.

This is Amy performing with The Specials (and yes, I do have quite a fascination with them at the moment, too).


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Yes, many may find this a bit sleep inducing, but I happen to like it. This is the new Smokey Robinson single, his take on Norah Jones' Don't Know Why.

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I was very saddened today to learn that one of the truly great men in the history of modern music passed away, Les Paul. The music of the last 50 years would have been very differnt without his innovations in guitar design and recording. This is the salute I wrote to him on Vintage Vinyl News.

----------------------------------------------------

The world has lost one of the greatest guitarists and innovators of the last 75 years with the passing of Les Paul. Not only did he have 14 number one records, but he's also the man behind the solid body electric guitar, multitrack recording, overdubbing, delay, phasing and many more innovations. Paul passed away earlier today (Thursday) of complications from pneumonia. He was 94.

Les Paul was born on June 9, 1915 in Waukesha, Wisconsin where he picked up on a variety of musical intstruments (harmonica, piano, banjo) at an early age before settling on the guitar. Les started playing in public at the age of 13 and, by 17, he had quit school and was playing in Sunny Joe Wolverton's Radio Band that was based in St. Louis.

Paul was well versed in a variety of styles, playing "hillbilly" guitar under the name of Rhubarb Red while also playing jazz in other locations under his own name. He recorded in the mid-30's under the Red moniker along with backing up musicians like blues singer Georgia White.

In 1938, Paul moved to New York where he began playing on national radio in Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians. It was during that time that he started experimenting with building his first electric guitar, opting to experiment with a solid body instead of the early hollow body models on the market.

His constant experimenting was interrupted in 1940 when he electrocuted himself while working at his home. Paul underwent two years of rehabilitation followed by a stint in the U.S. Army where he played and recorded for Armed Forces Radio.

Post-military, Paul formed a new trio and perfected his mix of jazz and western swing, recording for Decca and as featured performers with many of the label's vocalists, including Bing Crosby who regularly had the group on his radio show. The exposure led to Paul's first number one, It's Been a Long, Long Time.

Never one to just languish with fame, Paul began experimenting with overdubbing which eventually led to his Lover (When You're Near Me), a record that featured the guitarist playing simultaneously on eight different parts. Shortly after the record's release, Paul would almost lose his life for a second time in a decade when he was involved in a serious car accident that nearly destroyed his right arm and elbow. It took some serious persuading, but he was able to convince the doctors to permanently set his arm in a position that would allow him to continue to cradle and play his instrument.

While recuperating from the accident, Les began his work on adding a fourth head to a reel-to-reel tape recorder, an innovation that would lead to multi-track recording along with tape delay. By the start of the new decade, Paul was ready to apply all that he learned and recorded How High the Moon with wife Mary Ford. The record shot to number one and stayed there for nine weeks in mid-1951. The pair also topped the charts for eleven more weeks in 1953 with Vaya Con Dios and had top ten records with the likes of Tennessee Waltz, Mockin' Bird Hill, Bye Bye Blues and I'm Sitting On Top of the World.

It was also during the late-40's and early-50's that Gibson guitar worked with Paul to develop the ultimate solid body electric guitar. Les was never satisfied with the sound of the hollow body models, saying he wanted a way to pick up the pure sound of the strings without any vibration from the wood. It all came together in 1952 with the release of the original Les Paul Goldtop which would set the standard for solid body electric guitars for years to come.

Les Paul and Mary Ford's hits became less frequent as rock music became the norm; however, they continued to do their weekly television show which aired from 1953 until the latter part of the decade. The pair divorced in 1964 and Les fell out of the public eye in the U.S., preferring to play in Japan.

From the late-60's on, Paul had numerous run-ins with poor health, forcing him to take time off from his musical pursuits. He returned to recording in 1977, winning a Grammy Award for his collaboration with Chet Atkins, Chester and Lester. His health caught up with him again later in the year when he suffered a heart attack and had to undergo bypass surgery.

Over the next three decades, despite arthritis, hearing loss and other ailments, Les Paul has continued to entertain. In 2005, he won two Grammys for his album Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played which was recorded with artists like Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and Joe Perry. Since 1984, Les has played weekly shows in New York, first at Fat Tuesday's and, starting in 1996, at the Iridium Jazz Club. His last appearance at the club was in June.

Les Paul is the only person to be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said “Without Les Paul, we would not have rock and roll as we know it. His inventions created the infrastructure for the music and his playing style will ripple through generations. He was truly an architect of rock and roll.”

Hall of Fame vice president Jim Henke added “Les Paul was truly a unique human being. He was an artist who made his mark as a tremendously influential guitarist. He was also an inventor, the man responsible for the solid-body electric guitar and multi-track recording. Few people have accomplished as much as Les did in his legendary career. We will truly miss him.”

Finally, Henry Juszkiewicz, President and CEO of Gibson Guitars, issued the statement, "The world has lost a truly innovative and exceptional human being today. I cannot imagine life without Les Paul. He would walk into a room and put a smile on anyone's face. His musical charm was extraordinary and his techniques unmatched anywhere in the world."

A few memories of Les Paul:

Les Paul and Mary Ford talk about multitracking and perform the classic How High the Moon.



A great video from early-50's TV that not only shows Paul's guitar talent, but also that Ford was no slouch, either.



A later recording with Jeff Beck and Billy Squire.



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LiveJournal is so small that nobody bothers to write a denial of service attack against it.
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Ever since the dawn of the digital download era, the price of a MP3 track has been 99 cents through places like iTunes and Amazon.  Just recently, they increased the price of some big songs to $1.29.

The RIAA wants to set a new pricing level.  They and the courts think the cost of an individual track should be $22,500.   At least that is what they are charging Boston University physics student Joel Tennenbaum (hopefully, he is part of the Royal Tennenbaums so he can afford his music).  Joel's latest bill came to $675,000 for thirty songs on his iPod.

For those curious, this is what $675,000 will buy you:

Aerosmith, “Pink”
Aerosmith, “Water Song/Janie’s Got A Gun”
Beastie Boys, “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)”
Beck, “Loser”
blink-182, “Adam’s Song”
Deftones, “Be Quiet And Drive”
Eminem, “Cleaning Out My Closet”
Eminem, “Drug Ballad”
Eminem, “My Name Is”
Fugees, “Killing Me Softly”
Goo Goo Dolls, “Iris”
Green Day, “Minority”
Green Day, “Nice Guys Finish Last”
Green Day, “When I Come Around”
Incubus, ”New Skin”
Incubus, “Pardon Me”
Limp Bizkit, “Leech”
Limp Bizkit, “Rearranged”
Linkin Park, “Crawling”
Monster Magnet, “Look To Your Orb For The Warning”
Nine Inch Nails, “The Perfect Drug”
Nirvana, “Come As You Are”
Nirvana, “Heart-Shaped Box”
OutKast, “Rosa Parks”
OutKast, “Wheelz Of Steel”
Rage Against The Machine, “Guerrilla Radio”
Ramones, “The KKK Took My Baby Away”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “By The Way”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Californication”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “My Friends”
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Word is that Steven Spielberg is going to remake Harvey.

I have very little to say about this other than...

What an asshat!
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  • Sarah MacLachlan's Possession would be really, really, REALLY creepy if sung by a guy.
  • You may not be a fan of cover albums, but I have to HIGHLY recomend Under the Covers, Volume 2 by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles. The did Volume 1 two years ago covering 60's songs and, this time around, it's the 70's. Great versions of Go All the Way (done as a back and forth duet which was probably a bit too much for early-70's radio), Second Hand News, Willin', Beware of Darkness and a bunch more. Their cover of All the Young Dudes is below.
  • Revolver is the best Beatles album. I know the gold standard is Sgt. Pepper, but I just like Revolver better with Abbey Road second. I'd probably put Abbey Road first but the second side medley always sounded like "Hey, we better use these partially finished songs before we call it quits." That doesn't mean I don't like it, it just, somehow, sounds slapped together.
  • Miranda Lambert is about as twangy as a country singer gets, but she can still kick ass.
  • The Black Eyed Peas have one too many Saturdays in their week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday).
  • Country's Gretchen Wilson has parted ways with her label. I can't say I'm surprised as she hasn't done much since her first two singles. Doesn't bother me either as I just never found her very credible.
  • I have never been a fan of Tim McGraw, but I will give him a LOT of credit. He recently stopped his concert to have security escort a guy out who was evidently beating on his girlfriend. McGraw said from the stage “You don’t treat a woman like that.”
  • I'm really excited about the new Brandi Carlile album that's coming out in the fall. Her last album, The Story, was one of those really pleasant surprises that came out of nowhere.
  • Wanna feel old?  AC/DC's Highway to Hell was released 30 years ago today and the number one album in the country 25 years ago was Prince's Purple Rain.


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Brak55
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