R.I.P.: Sonny Burgess

He outlasted the scene, the studio, and about everybody else. (As always, there is the apparently immortal Mr. Lewis.)


Start of tonight’s soundtrack. It’s all nonfanatics would need. But you must have it if you are serious about (Sun) (rockabilly) (rock and roll), hell, popular music of the 20th century. Adam Komorowski’s vivid, informative liner notes are a serious bonus. Noted: “Truckin’ Down the Avenue” and the killah, “Mama Loochie.” Guy’s got a yowl that perfectly evokes a Raven at sunset in the South.

My #1 for Gonna-Be Overlooked Album of 2017: Peter Perrett

Tipped off by an ace review from Peter Margasak*, I was wowed to hear this was a rock and roll record precisely because, as Langdon Winner once said, it “comes from where no one is looking.” The forms and phrases and even licks may sound familiar — the title track is the latest fever re-dream of “Sweet Jane,” for instance — but the fresh angles and juiced emotions confirm, this is only because Perrett speaks rock and roll. Essential plus: frequent funny lines.

Seek this out.

*About 85% of the time, Peter and I are riding the exact same wave of music. The rest of the time I understand and appreciate his arguments, even if I don’t hear them.

Zeshan B: Screen and Stage

Chicagoan Zeshan B’s performance of “Cryin’ in the Streets” on Colbert got quite a ripple going last week. For good reason. I bet the majority of the small crowd at Zeshan’s Boston debut last night at the new venue Sonia in Central Square had seen the TV show.

Let me say right off that the Colbert segment and the live performance I saw does more justice to the man and his backup than the uneven and rather muffled studio album, Vetted. Even with a stripped-down five piece group, Zeshan splashed charm all over the room, confirmed that he had a feel for soul and a resonant voice suited to a beefy Chicago-rhythm-section. On record and on stage, standouts included the non-English original romper “Ki Jana?” and the plaintive devastation of  William Bell’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” done with just Zeshan singing and piano by Lester Snell.

You’ll be there the next time this outfit comes around, right?


R.I.P.: Paul Oliver

[I will try to supplement this later. Too pooped right now.]

A pioneer, no question.

For me, the two most pioneering works were his biography of Bessie Smith, which brought her back from utter obscurity in 1959 and made the case for her as a blues master, at a time when only [male] solo country performers were thought to be the “real thing.”(I did not know the book was not originally his idea. Oh well.) The other was his book Savannah Syncopators, which founded the discussion of links between African and African-American musics. I haven’t picked it up in a very long time and I’m sure it’s dated (not least because we know so much more about African musics now), but like I say, pioneering.

Good interview with lots of little-known scoop.

(Still) R.I.P.: The Pelvis

(Still) R.I.P. The Pelvis

Some people call it the album for only the most devoted Presley fans.

I won’t go that far (these good-is-bad-is-outside-in propositions give me sorassisis), but I will agree with Marcus that it is “perversely listenable.”

And you’ll pry my copy (the only one I ever saw and way more than I could sanely afford at the time) from my cold, dead, peanut-butter stained hands.

A Needed Negative Review

I’m sure not gonna subscribe to the WSJ to read this article. But it does prompt me to take note of the most justified negative review I’ve read in quite a while.

Namely the Number 9 item in this Real Life Rock Top 10.

When I heard this album my response was also WTF — then I realized it had been overhyped with scarcely a claim that the performances were outstanding (and Dion barely mails them in). Instead, fabulous producer on hot streak and exciting times for music and Dion has made killer records. Fooey.



(Final?) Followup on Carl Craig’s “Versus”

Checked out Debussy done by Les Siecles, directed by Francois-Xavier Roth. Because I wanted to hear something else by the ensemble that worked on Versus. Turns out much like the more familiar numbers on the Francesco Tristano piano-duets album: smart and lots of fun, but I can live without. With the added limitation that I don’t hear anything more in Versus after hearing this. Just (“just”) a sprightly modern classical ensemble.

Looks like that’s a wrap.