by Blake Hammond
A playllist of Beelzebub's favorite songs, just in time for Halloween weekend
you call him Beelzebub, Satan, the Prince of Darkness, Mephistopheles, or just
the plain ole devil (it’s all about your preferred nomenclature, man) there is
no denying the big guy downstairs has been a huge influence on Rock & Roll.
by Mike Breen
"The Survivors" record a one-off and Sigur Ros film coming soon
On this day in 1981, The Survivors Live, an album featuring Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, was recorded in West Germany. The story goes that the three artists — who all started out together on the trailblazing Sun Records — were touring Europe at the same time and Lewis and Perkins joined Cash at a concert on their day off. The trio reportedly played the concert without rehearsing, performing several of each others well known tunes and covers like the finale, "I Saw the Light," a Hank Williams standard (listen below). The threesome were 3/4 of the "Million Dollar Quartet," named for a legendary recording session in 1956 that featured Perkins, Lewis, Cash and some fella named Elvis Presley (The Survivors name, obviously, a reference to Presley's absence; he died four years earlier). The trio would get together one last time for a recording. The 1986 album Class of ’55 also featured Roy Orbison (who, coincidentally, would have turned 76 today). Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing an April 23 birthday include early Boogie Woogie piano pioneer "Cow Cow" Davenport (1894); Rock legend Roy Orbison (1936); violinist for the ’70s version of Prog aces King Crimson, David Cross (1949); musician/writer/producer (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin) Narada Michael Walden (1952); late, longtime Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark (1960); stylish former bassist for Interpol, Carlos "D." Dengler (1974); and singer and guitarist for Icelandic Post Rock group Sigur Ros, Jónsi (1975). Jónsi provides the bowed guitar and falsetto vocals for Sigur Ros (among other things), which has been an internationally acclaimed band for the past decade or so with their enrapturing, cinemascopic sound. The band's new album, Valtari, is due May 28 and, this July, Sigur Ros is embarking on a very brief North American tour.If you are unable to make it to one of the nine North American dates announced thus far, this Friday you will be able to experience an artsy, quality approximation of the Sigur Ros live show right here in Cincy. Earlier this month, as part of the auxiliary programming related to its current Spectacle music video exhibition, downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center welcomed in award-winning singer/songwriter Feist and music video director Martin de Thurah for a special screening and talk. This Friday, the CAC welcomes another music video auteur, Vincent Morisset, who will present a screen of the widely acclaimed black-and-white Sigur Rós concert film titled Inni (Morisset also made the Sigur Rós flick Heima.) The movie screens at 6:30 p.m., followed by a discussion with Morisset about the Sigur Rós projects, as well as his stunning music video work, including Arcade Fire’s riveting “interactive” video, “Sprawl II.” The screening and chat are free to attend with regular gallery admission ($7.50; free for members). Click here for more details. Below, you can check out the trailer for Inni and also register to win a signed Inni poster (the drawing for the winner will be done at the screening). Just enter your email address below.
by Deirdre Kaye
If you mimicked everything you heard in popular songs, you'd be in jail right now
As you know, the Bengals aren’t the only celebrities that have been busted for illegal activities. Actors and actresses have certainly had their share of run-ins with the po-po, too. No one, though, is more ballsy about their lives of crime than those in the music industry. They also enjoy broadcasting their vices. While most of the smack is centered around drugs, they’ve also done their fair share of whoring and murdering, too.Perhaps the most famous murder-boasting singer is Johnny Cash. While, as far as we can tell, Cash never actually shot a man in Reno (or anywhere) just to watch him die, he sure enjoyed singing about it. On “Cocaine Blues,” he notably sings of shooting his woman down, for example.He’s not the only gun-toting singer, though. In “Murder Was The Case,” the hard-to-hate Snoop Dogg rapped about the allegations that he murdered a rival gang member. On the other end of the musical spectrum, everyone’s favorite space oddity, David Bowie, sang of going on a killing spree in “Running Gun Blues.” Of course, Morrissey sang of killing in The Smiths' “Meat is Murder.” But that doesn’t count, because there’s nothing illegal about a steak. Thank God.A distant third on the list of bad things to sing about are sex crimes. Most disturbing is the personal favorite of nearly every girl who grew up in the '90's. We all grew up singing with Reba on “Fancy,” but we were quite a bit older before we realized what, exactly, Fancy was up to. Mama Fancy turned her daughter out to prostitute.Our long-time love affair with sex doesn’t stop at “Fancy,” though. In 1967, The Velvet Underground released one of their more mainstream hits, “There She Goes Again.” Listen carefully — It’s pretty blunt. Sting, always the voice of morality, tried to clean up the streets with The Police’s hit, “Roxanne.” It didn’t work. Of course, sex crimes include more than just street-walking. Sublime’s “Date Rape” is a song about a much more serious sex crime. Only Bradley Nowell could take it full-circle so … poetically.Perhaps the biggest illegal vice used as song fodder by Rock stars, Country musicians and rappers alike is drug use. Oh, where to begin?! Nearly all of the previously mentioned artists have songs about drugs, but there are so many more to chose from!“Next Episode” from Dr. Dre, Snoop, and Nate Dogg is almost entirely about smoking weed (and also drinking and the alphabet, both still legal — for now). It also has a pretty catchy last line. It’s safe to say the number of people who know all the words to this song is far greater than number of people who actually partake in its subject matter on a daily basis. Back in the '90's, AltRock band K’s Choice sang “Not an Addict.” Someone should tell her that the first step is admitting you have a problem. The Beach Boys sing about drugs in “Good Vibrations," yet another song sung innocently by children all over America. And there’s the famous “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix (you’d chastise me if I didn’t mention it).Let’s face it, “Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll” is a cliche saying for a reason. While we at CityBeat in no way condone partaking in any illegal activities, it’s fun to live vicariously through our friends on the radio. Once again, here’s a playlist of even more songs about breaking the rules.
by Mike Breen
Famous musical marriages and Ke$ha's hidden talents
Were it not for the Grim Reaper, two celebrated musical couples would be celebrating wedding anniversaries today. Country music superstars Johnny Cash and June Carter (soon-to-be Carter Cash) tied the knot on this date in 1968 in a Franklin, Ky., church. The bride wore light blue; the groom wore (duh!) black. Their relationship was the basis for the celebrated biopic Walk the Line, which showed the couple's rocky patches in all their glory, as well as their dedication to each other. The couple had just one child together, John Carter Cash (born in 1970). The couple managed to put their problems behind them and remained married until June's death in May of 2003. Cash passed away five months later. June co-wrote (with Merle Kilgore) one of Johnny's biggest songs, 1963's "Ring of Fire," which is said to have been inspired by her conflicted feelings for Johnny.Also on March 1, Punk poetess Patti Smith and former MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith were hitched at the Detroit Mariner's Church in 1980. They'd met in 1976 in front of Detroit's Lafayette Coney Island, a famous hot dog joint, introduced by her guitarist, Lenny Kaye, before Fred's Sonic Rendezvous Band was set to open for Patti's band. They were a couple two years later and after marrying, the pair pulled back from the public eye to raise their children, daughter Jesse (born in 1987) and son Jackson (in 1982), who went on to marry The White Stripes' drummer Meg White in 2009. In 1988, Smith released Dream of Life, a collaborative project with her husband and her first album since 1979's Wave. Smith died of a heart attack in 1994, leading Patti back to New York City and back to music. She toured with Dylan in 1995, then released Gone Again the following year, marking her total return to the music world (she's had four albums since). Here's "Dancing Barefoot" from 1979, a song Patti dedicated to her new beau, Fred Smith.Click on for Born This Day featuring … OMG, Justin Beiber is 18 today!
0 Comments · Saturday, October 10, 2009
There's a chill in the air and the sheets are shiveringly cool when I climb into bed at 2 a.m., so Fall must be upon us. The big three (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) are lurking in the wings, and that can only mean one thing for a music journalist: What will make my Top 10 albums of 2009? One of the new releases from The Avett Brothers, Rosanne Cash, Lucero and Grant Hart might make it on that list.
Veteran singer's new album mixes modern hits with under-heralded classics
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 8, 2009
When the "comeback album" or "career reinvention" works, as it did with Johnny Cash's rootsy 'American Recordings' series, it can be among the artist's best work ever. When it doesn't ... well, has anybody heard from Pat Boone since 1997's hilariously disastrous 'In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy?' One of the better such albums came out last year: 'Meet Glen Campbell.'
Some CD/DVD box set suggestions for last-minute holiday shoppers
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Maybe record labels knew much sooner than Washington and the economic experts that hard times were coming, as 2008 will go down as one of the leanest of years for box sets. But here are several 2008 box sets that are worth the price (usually $50 and up), as well as some other releases that are good fits on this year’s shopping lists.