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Showing posts from December, 2006

The 10 Best Things I've Heard All Year

Hey Soul Mates, it's the end of 2006. Time to review my favorite records of the year. As usual, my choices are not meant to be a compendium of the "best" releases, but the ones that resonated most with me. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by many of the selections. One is flat out biased. I'll freely admit it. A couple may astonish. Several were discovered as a direct result of our trip to the UK (one has seen no U.S. release at all). Anyway, I heartily recommend all of these listening experiences as they all enriched my life this year. May the music reach your ears and satisfy your soul. This year, due to the lack of outstanding LPs, I mixed it up with singles and entire CDs. In descending order. #10. Jay-Z - "Kingdom Come." This chopped up single featuring a wicked Rick James sample is the cream of Hova's otherwise o.k. comeback album. #9. The Lightyears - Mission Creep and the cyber single "Miles Away." These genial guys played at

Long Live King James!

Merry Christmas, Soul Mates. Wow. We here at Rush Hour Soul are severely saddened by the passing of one of the greatest entertainers in Earth's history. This is a rough way to start a day of celebration. It simply means I'll have to put on JB all day long. Starting with his Holiday sides. It's bad enough being sick on Christmas. I'm beyond sad right now. James is one of the Titans of rock and roll. I'm blessed to have seen him perform once. Thanks for all of the music and the positivity, Mr. Brown. You are well-loved by this group. JAM! Love, Power, Peace (which came from the title of a live lp by James Brown)

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Hey Soul Mates, I hope that you are all doing well this holiday weekend. I spent my Saturday doing a lot of business and errands around North Hollywood. It gave me time to listen to the two LPs I've boiled it down to in the Album of the Year category. Being a Grammy voter is serious stuff, as I mentioned previously. Both records have their merits and their missteps. Listening to them in the car though really brings out the best in a disc. No decision yet. There are plenty of categories where I'm already certain, but AotY still has me listening keenly. I might tell you in person what they are, but don't ask me to print them. Other than Grammy nominees, Dylan Thomas' reading of his seasonal opus "A Child's Christmas In Wales," has been in heavy rotation on the iPod. It's a fantastic piece of work. Sometime in the future I'm going to commit A Child's Christmas to memory. So much of the imagery reminds me of Winters on the North Coast. Without the

And When You Smile For The Camera

Hey Soul Mates, I've finished posting the pictures from our Wednesday/Holiday show at the Gig. Our photographer Patty got some spectacular shots. You'll really see the smoke and sweat, you'll also dig the vibrant colors of our outfits and rich textures of the stage. We looked sharp, I tell you. But don't take my word for it. See for yourself. Don't forget to watch the webcast of the set while you can! Plug: This afternoon, I helped on a "dog-walk" with the folks ( Friends For Pets ) from whom I got my pooch. She was a great Wiemaraner named Cheyenne . It was almost a North Coast afternoon: rolling hills, leaves changing colors, rain clouds and a beautiful dog. Cheyenne was a little skittish, but enjoyed our time outdoors and was good at staying by my side on the walk. If you are looking for a new best friend, this no-kill rescue organization is tops at placing love canines with good humans. Happy Holidays. Love, Power, Peace

Great Responsibility

Hey Soul Mates, I got something very exciting in the mail yesterday: my first Grammy Ballot . That's correct, yours truly is voting! But with this power comes great responsibility. Having watched the Grammy telecast for years and knowing "what I like," I figured it would be easy to vote for what I thought was the best of the best. But having read the criteria and the cover letter that came with the ballot, I feel I need to seek out and at least listen to, once, each of the nominated songs (whole albums, not so much) to make an informed choice. NARAS takes all of this very seriously and as someone who's single vote might now determine the fate of an artist, I shall too. As a result, I've discovered some great songs nominated in individual fields that didn't get a lot of radio play or otherwise. I've also heard some things that are lackluster and surprise me that they were tabbed for the shortlist. There is no "write-in" choice on the ballot, so t

Hollywood Holiday [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates, yes, it was a fantastic show. We played our hearts out and wowed the crowd with two new songs. That we only rehearsed in full last night. The band looked really sharp, too. I had on my layers of berry and my vintage vest from the Netherlands. Doug rocked the purple and black. Bryan sporting shades had on his trademark Cavern black, including skinny tie. We're very excited because not only will you get to see the whole concert on the Gig's website, but we had the show shot by a pro videographer in HD (Christo, you're going to love it). Action! Here's the set from tonight's show: U Had The $ Everyone's Ingenue Sucka I Can't Cry For You Everything My Heart Desires Down By Love Roosevelt's Revue (debut) Fall Out Raspberry Beret (cover) A Talent For Loving That being said. It was also a dismal failure tonight. We would like to thank everyone who came out to our show... Jen T. Kristee L. Patty T. Gabe G. Blake Mc. Garner K. Oh, and Mari B. Jana

Today's News: We Have A Show Tonight!

Hey Soul Mates, I've been narrowing down my selections for my favorite albums of the year. I will post them this coming week, just in time for the holidays. I'm very excited because we have our last show of the year tonight. Rehearsal (our first in a month) last night went into the wee hours and the new material sounds interesting to say the least. Our new original Roosevelt's Revue is gelling. It's a brisk number less than 3 minutes, just the way I like them. As usual, here are the lyrics (reprinted with my permission and subject to change, ha ha.) Roosevelt's Revue I know exactly what you’re thinking. The Revue’s a legend, only myth. But I promise you my friends That the party never ends And I’m giving all of you a lift. My cousin called me from the dance floor Said the Revue was blowing up the chart Got to get your groove along Cause they’ll play your favorite song If the music is in your heart Everybody’s dancing Everybody’s dancing Up at Roosevelt’s Revue Ever

Imagine Again

Hey Soul Mates, December 8 is always a day of thoughtfulness for me. A day of remembrance, melancholy and celebration all in one. It's the day the world lost John Winston Ono Lennon. I have a vivid memory of waking up to Strawberry Fields Forever on the radio the following morning in 1980. After being in Liverpool this year and seeing where John spent his youth and young manhood, my connection to his spirit and music is tighter than ever. Playing at the Cavern and strolling the streets he would have was an inspiring and awesome time for me. It was an honor to be in his city and perform The Word . The day we went to his Woolton home in Menlove Ave. I stood on his driveway, Imagining and crying. It's no surprise that I'm going to name the Beatles' Love one of my top 5 discs of the year. No matter how you slice it, genius is genius and that would be the Beatles. Love, Power, Peace . Really.


Hey Soul Mates, Check out the trailer to a new film called Before The Music Dies . Now, I've only seen the preview, but it's a subject close to our hearts. The general public needs to see that American Music needs to be saved (and not just archived). This film delves into why or at least sheds some light on what's wrong with the state of popular musical arts in the good old U.S. and A. And why it's so hard for acts to attain that any stature, let alone critical mass. And why others are mind-bogglingly successful. Holler. Love, Power, Peace

Everybody's Dancing At Roosevelt's Revue

Hey Soul Mates, we had a really productive rehearsal last night. Bryan and I fleshed out the new cover tune that will be the show's finale. It's a real sing-a-long. So wear a scarf to keep those vocal chords warm. Baby, it's cold outside. No, were not doing a holiday song. That was our original intent, but we couldn't pick one to do justice, that would also fit in with our set. But I'm certain that everyone will enjoy what we've selected. Following that, we caressed and finessed our hottest, newest into shape. I've mentioned it numerous times in passing in the blog. It's called Roosevelt's Revue . Roosevelt's Revue is about a place in time; a moment in your heart and mind when everything is joyful. It's an transistor radio childhood reverie brought to the 5.1 surround sound era. The lyric doesn't come close to expressing everything I wanted to say, but it's pretty jubilant nonetheless. The music is a triptych of my favorite noises, a

Happy Birthday To The Reason There's Rock And Roll

Hey Soul Mates, on this day, every year, I give thanks for the birth of Rock and Roll and specifically to the Originator, the Emancipator, the Architect, the Georgia Peach: Little Richard . Mr. Penniman is 71 or 74 today. Either way, it's been nearly 50 years since he made his initial global impact. So Happy Whoooooooooooooo! Birthday, Little Richard!! In your honor, I'm going to blast some Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally riiiight now. Richard is still at the top of my "I want to meet" list. Wherever he's celebrating, I'm sure it's a party and a half. Maybe next year, I'll get an invite. Want to read last year's tribute to Little Richard? Check out The Originator at 73 . OK, gotta hunker down and practice. Yes. Practice. Our show is in a week and we definitely have at least one addition to the set list. Love, Power, Peace

Bringing SharpBack

Hey Soul Mates, How's the weekend treating you? Yesterday was Christmas tree day. Got a beautiful 6 foot noble pine. I think. Lots of the houses in the neighborhood have their halls decked ! It was also a fitting day for my newly altered suit. My tailor, Armen, who also did my shirts for our tour of the UK is reconstructing my suits so they actually fit. Let me tell you, it makes a huge difference. You can't walk around this town in a big gray box. Lookin' like a wall of fabric. David Byrne in his big suit, you know? It's a Ted Baker, though (and I dig Ted's stuff), so it didn't need too much work. Anyway, the sleeves need a gentle touch and then it's off to the races. To go with the suit, I acquired a new gray snap brim hat. Who's bringing sexy back? Don't care, I'm bringing sharp back. Been bringing it! I'll post pictures next weekend. Which reminds me, we are going to be working on two new songs at our next few rehearsals. One is an orig