Tag Archives: Ray Paul

Big Star For A Big Cause

 

(Thanks to my buddy Ray Paul for forwarding this info…)

Channeling Chilton

The City Winery in New York City is presenting a night of remembrance and celebration this Wednesday, July 28th, as former members of the Box Tops, Big Star, plus Alex’s longtime friends and other collaborators come together to celebrate the man and the legend that is Alex Chilton.Part proceeds of the evening will benefit families and businesses affected by the Deepwater Horizon Disaster through the Gulf Restoration Network.

Artists so far confirmed include:  Yo La Tengo, Marshall Crenshaw, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, Doug Garrison, Rene Coman, Alan Vega, Jon Spencer (of the Blues Explosion), Fran Kowalski, Chris Stamey, Lesa Aldridge (Elizabeth Hoehn), Jay Proctor (of Jay & the Techniques), Bill Cunningham, Gary Talley, Terry Manning, Evan Dando, Jesse Malin, Danny Kroha (of The Gories).

Check the City Winery website for updates as more artists are confirmed.

Take Me Home And Make Me Like It

December Boys got it bad. RIP, my friend.

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Emitt Rhodes Documentary – it’s here!

Finally!

After having a premiere at the Rome International Film Festival in Italy last October, the Emitt Rhodes documentary,  The One Man Beatles, is going to make its US debut Thursday July 8 at the Don’t Knock The Rock film festival in Hollywood. The film features interviews with The Bangles, Keith Olsen, Ray Paul, Michael Penn, Allison Anders, and of course, Emitt Rhodes.

Trailer

From the Italian film festival publicity blurb: “A young director crosses the ocean to find Emitt Rhodes, the mysterious forgotten American pop star from the 1960s/70s, once dubbed as the secret alter ego of Paul McCartney. But these theories are refuted by Emitt himself, flushed out and placed in front of a video camera after many years spent holed up in his house full of old guitars and vintage amplifiers. His words reveal a past filled with regrets. His voice and his music proving his pure talent.”

In conjunction with the release of the film, Permanent Press is releasing a single by Ray Paul that was intended to be on the Emitt Rhodes tribute album Rhodes Of Perfection (currently put on hold by Brewery Records). Ray’s cover version of the Emitt Rhodes composition ‘Til The Day After” has just been sent to radio and will appear on the August 2010 radio industry trade CD Sampler A Taste Of Triple-A.

Rhodes and Paul have a long history; they performed together in concert in February 1997 in Santa Monica, California and some footage of that show is included in the film. A collaborative single, “Some Sing, Some Dance“, released in May 2000, received airplay on 55 Hot A/C  and A/C stations.

Listen to “Til The Day After

Listen to clips from Emitt’s discography

Emitt Rhodes website

Ray Paul website

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Blast From The Past: Walter Clevenger

Revered in powerpop and roots rock circles but unfortunately not a household name, Walter Clevenger and his band play an appealing blend of those musical styles and are as strong as a live act as they are tight on record. I had the pleasure of seeing them play a couple of times many years ago, and each time they grabbed the crowd from the opening song and never let go.

And much in the same way, Clevenger’s albuns have held up very well – I still play them loud and often. Frankly, in a world where Tom Petty has achieved rock royalty status, I’m stunned when artists who are as good as Clevenger don’t find mass appeal from the same audience. If you’re one of them, I implore you to click the links at the bottom of this essay and listen to some song clips.

Could that commercial apathy be part of the reason that it has been seven years since Walter Clevenger and The Dairy Kings last blessed us with an album? I do know that it’s been thirteen years since my review of The Man With The X-Ray Eyes ran in Consumable Online

“Love can make you happy/or it can spit right in your face…”

Therein lie the two moods of one Walter Clevenger, whose yang and yin theories of love and relationships pack an impressive debut record. And if the “yang” is the “my life is so blissful with you” half of that couplet, this album is chock full of yin. Thank God for that!

The first thing the listener will zero in on is that Clevenger sounds uncannily like Nick Lowe. In fact, I’ll wager that I could play “Love You Like A King” , “Love (A Misunderstood Thing)” and “Angels” to friends who are fans of Nick Lowe and they’d swear it was their boy. Although Nick is one of Walter’s heroes, I don’t consider this record a rip-off or even a homage to Jesus Of Cool; rather it’s a case of someone who grew up loving a certain type of music naturally emanating it in his own. That said, however, the converse is certainly true – if you do like Nick Lowe, you’ll love Walter Clevenger.

His lyrics are witty and biting, as anyone who has been on the wrong end of a romantic crash can attest. Sometimes it’s utter dejection (“I used to make the hit parade/Now I only line the cage“) and sometimes bitterness (“You say you’re sorry/I don’t believe you/’Cause sorry couldn’t cover/half of what you’re doing“). Even when he is singing about a happy relationship, it turns out that it’s one that slipped through his fingers. If you’re despondent about love, this is the soundtrack for your life, and it will either pick up your spirits or hit you deep. Either way, it leaves a mark.

Musically, Clevenger nails the pop bulls eye by wrapping up pathos in three-minute nuggets. There are a few different sounds to the record, which may be a result of it having been recorded over a longer period of time. Most are 70s/90s classic pop (“Yesterday’s News Now” could be a Rockpile outtake) and some, like “Cries Of Desperation”, suggest folk and country-pop influences like the Everly Brothers. Only the closer, “I Don’t Like Your Face (Just Git)”, sounds out-of-place. But hey, rednecks gotta cry at the jukebox too, so why not to this one?

Clevenger recorded most of the record at his home and issued it under the title PoPgOeStHeMuSiC in 1995. (The cassette-only release quickly sold out through word of mouth and is now a collector’s item.) I was delighted to see that Walter’s recording was picked up by a label for distribution, and not just any label, either. Permanent Press Recordings is headed by Ray Paul (Klimek), a popster himself, who has also released records by deserving artists like Bob Segarini and Klaatu.

The Man With The X-Ray Eyes is proof positive that sometimes the best music around is being made in someone’s bedroom or garage.

After The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, he went on to record more albums that were as good or better (Love Songs To Myself in 1999 and Full Tilt And Swing in 2003) as well as contributing tracks to tribute albums like the Bobby Fuller song (below) and his own homage project, Lowe Profile.

Video: “Only When I Dream

And while he has been preoccupied with production and his own label (Brewery Records), the band does still perform. I noticed a couple of slots at the upcoming IPO Festival in Los Angeles next month. But I sure could use a new Walter Clevenger album, and I know I’m not alone in that thought.

How about it, Walter?

Walter Clevenger website and MySpace site.

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Emitt Rhodes, At Last

This will need a revision

I guess this will need a revision soon...

Funny how things circle around and back again. I bought and liked Emitt Rhodes‘ debut album when it first came out, but somehow I didn’t catch the insatiable bug for his music that so many other power pop lovers seem to have caught. Besides, I’m in New York City and I’m being bombarded with all kinds of sounds as the music of the 60s come crashing to a halt and FM radio finally cuts the umbilical cord to AM radio. Rock stars were dying, The Beatles were defunct, psych and garage and prog and glam and metal and a hundred other things were coming at me at warp speed. Can’t blame me for not following every single tangent. And by the time this one hit the wall, I didn’t even notice.

Several years later, I’m working in a Syracuse record store (which used to be a prestigious job. Hell, I had to audition!) and Ray Paul‘s 45 comes across the desk. Looks interesting, so I play it. Sounds great, so I buy it. Ray is from Rochester, just an hour or so up the road, but that’s a million miles at the time. And those other singles are telling me things like “God Save The Queen” and “So It Goes” , so a momentary pleasure is enjoyed and the single gets added to the collection.

Maybe two decades later, I finally meet Ray Paul in California at Poptopia. It’s ironic; he now lives in Los Angeles while I’m in his former hometown of Rochester.  I tell him the story about the single; he tells me about his friendship with Emitt Rhodes. (I don’t remember if we met Emitt that night – Ray and I  tipped more than a few pints that evening along with a couple of magazine editors). Within another year or two, he and Emitt release a new single on Ray’s Permanent Press label. I catch the bug.

And today, a decade after that meeting, Ray – now a friend as well as a musician I enjoy – emailed me with great news. The Emitt Rhodes film documentary, “The One Man Beatles“, will premiere  at the Rome International Film Festival on October 21st & 22nd. Ray was interviewed extensively for the film, along with Keith Olsen, Michael Penn, The Bangles, Joel Larson, Allison Anders, Janice Fortier, Dan Mayer and Jim Rolfe“The film, which is in the running for best documentary in  the festival, includes several songs which will be on the forthcoming  CD performed live in the studio by the new Emitt Rhodes Band. English narration is currently being put together for the release in the USA.”

The film announcement is exciting enough, but a new Emitt Rhodes album?? Wow!! Now that Ray lives in Rochester again, I guess it’s time to celebrate with a few pints on this coast.

A link to the film festival website.

Don’t know Emitt Rhodes? Here’s a link that will fill you in while you await the new film and album (and – hopefully – some live performances?)

Emitt wiki page

Ray Paul‘s MySpace page.

Permanent Press Records

Ray Paul Charles Beat

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Filed under Features and Interviews, Film/TV, Music