Tag Archives: Let It Be

Having A Wild Weekend

A very fab foursome

No, not the Dave Clark Five movie. But even more fun.

Jumped in the car with my friend Bill and drove through Pennsyltucky to the wild plains of Northern New Jersey to visit pop bands in their natural habitat. Enjoyed Pat DiNizio’s Fifth Annual Halloween Party and Smithereens Fan Fest, which this year featured a long day of great music and all the food and drink you could ingest (which is a good thing, since you can’t get a beer in Jersey after midnight if your life depended on it!).

“It’s my fervent wish and desire to help you feel better for a few hours,” DiNizio said. “All of us need to get away from the six-foot plasma television, shut off our phones and start talking to each other with our breaths, smiles and laughing, and enjoy some rock ‘n’ roll music.”

Mission accomplished, sir.

I’ll tag the full magazine feature I’m writing when it posts online. For now let’s just say that I had more than my moneys’ worth by the time The Scotch Plainsmen (DiNizio fronting a band of eight wonderful musicians) finished playing their Beatles set, which was Let It Be in its entirety –  including dialogue from the movie and cuts from the sessions. Two other bands had already performed, and a wonderful steak and pasta dinner accompanied by open bar was in full swing. Had that been it, I would have been satisfied that the drive and expense was well worth it.

But then The Grip Weeds blasted an explosive set featuring their new album (and Best of 2010 contender) Strange Change Machine.

And then the inimitable Graham Parker – voice, guitar playing and wit all in top form – played a career-spanning yet eclectic set that brought the packed house to its feet.

And then The Smithereens – sounding fresh and vital – played a selction of their hits, a medley from their Tommy tribute album and a brand new song from the upcoming record before inviting Parker back onstage to recreate one of my favorite collaborative musical moments – “Behind The Wall of Sleep“. The evening was capped by a jam session with various group members jumping in and out.

Eight hours of great fun. Met one of the DJs from KFOG in San Francisco who was headed home to get his station manager to add a couple of these artists to their playlist. Ran into Reigning Sound organist Dave Amels who tipped me to the new project he and Greg Cartwright worked on, The Parting Gifts. And then Bill and I laughed our asses off all the way home listening to great comedy albums, none funnier than Jim Jefferies.

Pete Townsend was wrong. I’m glad I’m still here.

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Filed under Comedy, Music, Reviews

T.G.I.F. – Let It Beatle!

I’ve tipped my sizeable cap to Angelo at Power Pop Criminals before; he is an amazingly creative guy with an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre. He’s gone to great lengths to assemble some intriguing virtual tribute albums over the years. Recently he launched the last of his Tribute To The Fab Four series that he started in 2007 – reassembling the original albums with cover versions of each track. As he says, without the Beatles, there would be no powerpop music.

Of course, there are quite a few Beatle tributes on the market, everything from reggae to bluegrass to avant-garde interpretations to straight-ahead homage (like the recent efforts from The Smithereens). But these truly are a labor of love, and although you might not be a fan of every track, I promise you will be rewarded if you check them out.  I think album-to-album they’re as good or better than the commercially assembled releases.

Sure, some of the bands are extremely obscure, even to powerpop fans who dig deep. But you’ll also find a ton of great Beatle covers from famous artists like The Hollies, The Flamin’ Groovies, Aerosmith and Roger McGuinn, and even a couple from one (or two) hit wonders like Moon Martin and The Cyrkle.

Best of all, you’ll hear from many great bands that aren’t household names but are revered by powerpop fans, and rightfully so:  Cotton Mather, Ross Rice, The Blow Pops, The Quick, Walter Clevenger and The Shazam to name but a few.  (And if and when you do get turned onto some new bands in the process, maybe that album or two you purchase from them – you will, won’t you? – makes their day too.)

You’ll need Windows RAR software to unpack the files, you can download that here. And you’ll need the password, which is listed on each tribute page.

So pay it forward…and Thank God It’s Friday. Here’s a ten-spot, thanks to Angelo:

ppc beatles

Please Please Me

With The Beatles

A Hard Day’s Night

1965 / Beatles For Sale

Revolver

Rubber Soul

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Abbey Road

The White Album

Let It Be

animbeatles

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Filed under Features and Interviews, Music

Magnet (Magazine) – Opposites Don’t Attract

I used to really enjoy reading Magnet, one of the few magazines that really seemed to go out on a limb and find some new bands to trumpet. Their year-end take on important groups and albums – like any such list – was an enjoyable read, chuckles be damned, and I’d always scribble a name or two to follow up on.

But then I remember stopping whatever I was doing when Rolling Stone arrived in the mailbox so I could devour it cover to cover. Do that these days and you’ll get (1) paper cuts from the eleven free-floating subscription cards, (2) nausea from the perfume and cologne samples and (3) even more nausea from the words found buried between the fashion pages. But I digress…we’re talking Magnet today.

I get their teaser emails announcing what’s in the upcoming issue. Normally I glaze past the bullets without anything reaching out and catching my eye; another Sleater-Kinney feature or perhaps the newest adventures of the bass player who used to roadie for Walt Mink but now is producing six bands out of his Astrovan…I get it, he’s really, really indie. But today, I could not forgive the following:

The Beastie BoysPaul’s Boutique just turned 20. MAGNET re-examines one of the greatest pop albums of all time, right up there with Radiohead‘s OK Computer, the BeatlesRevolver and Bob Dylan‘s Blonde On Blonde.

Exfuckingscuse me, but what??

Unless this list of “greatest pop albums of all time” is on a one-page-a-day calendar, you do not mention The Beastie Boys in the same breath as The Beatles or Bob Dylan, ever. Ever! It’s not that I don’t find the Beasties entertaining; I wore the grooves out of “She’s On It” and I will always fight for my right to party. But Hey Ladies, get serious –  one of the greatest pop albums of all time? To paraphrase what  Joe Piscopo as Frank Sinatra would say…”I got pieces of albums like that in my stool!”

See? Not lyin'.

See? Not lyin'.

So how can I take their other offer seriously – the one where their “resident expert” will tell me which Replacements tracks I need and which I am wasting my time listening to? I don’t think so. So for God’s sake, Magnet… Let It Be. You Stink.

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Filed under Editorials, Music