Tag Archives: Otis Blackwell

T.G.I.F. – Ten Trippy Tributes

I bow in your honor

I love, love, love tribute albums. Some are so inventive they occasionally exceed the original. Some are so poorly regimented that they’re fun like an Ed Wood movie is fun. You just have to admire a group of artists taking the plunge, whether it’s a label trying to promote their artist roster or a heartfely bow to some grand master.

I think the pinnacle for me is still eggBert’s Sing Hollies In Reverse, which featured a stunning asssemblage of pop stars, great song selections and some unbelieveable takes on the Hollies canon. Then they wrapped it up in a beautiful package with a well-written and informative booklet. Handled with care. The late great Greg Dwinell is no longer with us, but that album is one of his shining legacies.

Still the champion

But I know most people aren’t like me – tribute albums make as much sense as ducking an artist’s concert to see a cover band. And the funny thing is, I abhor most cover bands. Maybe I like tributes more because of the one-song-per-artist rule, or maybe it’s that I don’t have to watch them…I can just listen. And when the collection creatively juggles so many styles – folk, rock, dixieland, punk, r&b, glam, powerpop – so much the better.

Here are ten tribute albums that might have slipped by you. Click on the links below to listen to sound clips – you’ll be surprised how great some of the cuts are, not to mention some of the famous artists participating on even the tiniest label efforts!

Resurrection of The Warlock  (T. Rex)

Lowe Profile  (Nick Lowe)

Turban Renewal  (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs)

Uncovered  (Bob Dylan)

We Will Fall  (Iggy Pop)

Brace Yourself  (Otis Blackwell)

Caroline Now  (Brian Wilson/Beach Boys)

Chooglin’  (John Fogerty/ Credence Clearwater Revival)

Blastered  (The Blasters)

Frankly a Capella  (Frank Zappa / The Mothers of Invention)

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Stand Up Wit…Jim Norton

Jim Norton on - not dropping - a stool.

It only seems fair that as the rest of the world focuses their attention on the Olympic Games, I choose to draw your attention to the re-release of two of Jim Norton’s comedy albums. Although previously available in CD format, today marks the first time these albums are available for digital download and streaming through popular stores such as iTunes, Amazon.com and Rhapsody. In other words, welcome to the Twenty-First Century, Jim

If you don’t know Jim, let’s just say these are not safe for play at the workplace, although I would hope that anyone who can read would figure out that bits called “Liz Taylor’s Hairy Hat” and “Bloody Lump on the Linoleum” might draw their own conclusion in that regard. Both are irreverent, hilarious, filthy, perverse, bizarre and mind-blowing, but what do you expect from a hooker and self-gratification fan whose two favorite words are teabag and tickle? It’s safe to say that when they made Little Jimmy Norton, they smashed the beaker

Used copies of Yellow Discipline and Trinkets I Made With Gorilla Hands have been going for over twenty-five bucks, so to be able to get these digitally for a normal price is a godsend for Norton fans, most of whom would have needed to chloroform Grandma and take her wallet to get the hard copies. 

I’m a big Norton fan; he draws his own line, crosses it and goes further down the road to drag someone back to see what he did. Although many swear by his Opie and Anthony tenure as his best comedic moments, I’m more partial to him walking the tightrope (and usually falling off, spectacularly) on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and his acerbic, perverted, leering pot dealer on the late, great Lucky Louie. (When you can make Rick Shapiro look normal, you are dancing on the edge, my friend). 

Norton has also written a pair New York Times best-selling books (Happy Endings: The Tales of a Meaty-Breasted Zilch and I Hate Your Guts)  and has had three HBO specials (Monster Rain, Down and Dirty with Jim Norton and One Night Stand, all now available on DVD) plus numerous stand-up sets on all the top shows. 

Amazingly he was in good standing during a run of Last Comic Standing when a filming conflict forced him to withdraw from the round of twenty finalists. The next step was whittling down to the ten comics who would move into the house (and therefore reap the most benefits from the television exposure). I still can’t imagine how Jim would have been able to survive the censors (although he killed on Letterman) but if the network had any cojones that would have turned reality television on its ear

So please buy Jim Norton’s CDs – hookers aren’t cheap, you know. 

Formal Attire

Tour dates, merch links and more info at Jim’s website (be sure to read the survey at the bottom!) and Jim’s wiki page 

Videos, including Jim on the Bob Saget Roast 

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And they’re no longer here to celebrate, but we can – Happy Birthday to Ward Cleaver, Elvis Presley’s Best Songwriter and Cher’s Husband

More cake for us!

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Five More Enter The Hall…

Guarded by the Guitar Army

I must admit I was a bit surprised when I saw the list of artists elected for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the ceremony will take place March 15, 2010)

  • Abba – on their second nomination in ten years of eligibility
  • Jimmy Clifffirst nomination, though eligible for twenty-one years!
  • Genesis – also their first nomination, eligible for sixteen years
  • The Hollies – another first nomination after twenty-one years
  • The Stooges – finally, after eight nominations in sixteen years

Amazing to see that three of the artists were eligible for between sixteen and twenty-one years prior to even getting nominated, and then they get elected on the first try. That’s just odd. How do these bands never even get to the nomination stage and then make it all the way to the podium in one move? And what does that say about the rest of the talent pool still hanging by the telephone?

Alice Cooper is still waiting. So are Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Todd Rundgren…and KISS, of course. I could name dozens more who made bigger marks than some of the current inductees – Rick Derringer, The Faces, Lou Reed, Mott The Hoople – but I’d just get pissed off again, even though I know in my heart that it just doesn’t matter.

But it’s great to see The Stooges finally beat the door down – one would expect that a band that had been nominated so many times would eventually break through. And maybe the election of The Hollies opens the door for The Turtles or Herman’s Hermits, and Abba legitimizes the induction of The Monkees. Outside of Guns’N’Roses, there aren’t many newly eligible bands in the next two or three years to provide fresh competition. (Want to feel old? Julian Lennon became eligible for induction in 2009.)

And I certainly can’t argue with any of the songwriter nominations except to say…what the hell took you so long? Mort Shuman (Doc Pomus’ partner), Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Otis Blackwell, Jesse Stone…the real crime here is that Ellie won’t get to take that bow since she passed away earlier this year. Of course, the Songwriters Hall of Fame was on the ball and elected them way back in the 80s and 90s (only Stone is not yet inducted).

Let’s hope Iggy rips ’em a new one come March.

About fucking time.

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