Thursday, August 30, 2007

The story of Blondie's autograph...

I wrote what we call an "omni" review of Blondie Chaplin's recorded ouevre for Green Man Review a few years ago. It's been one of my most popular reviews,'s one of the few things on the internet to deal with Blondie's career. Oh, he now has his own MySpace site, and even his own web site, if you look hard enough. But for a long time you Googled "Blondie Chaplin" and you got my GMR article. It even led to Blondie himself phoning me at the office. Of course, I was on vacation at the time and missed the call...we never did connect...although I have spoken with Keith Lentin and Rob Fraboni and I've been put in touch with the people who are planning to distribute Blondie's great unreleased classic Fragile Thread. They tell me it's still coming!
Anyway...Blondie was on tour with the Rolling Stones, providing backing vocals and playing some guitar, and an internet pal printed off my review and had Blondie sign it after a Stones show a couple of months back. There it to the left. To Blondie and to Gwen...thanks!

what next?

It seems that the standard nowadays is the deluxe package with a 20-30 minute DVD included along with the CD. I must admit that I find this to be good value. For an extra $2 or so, you get some really nice collectible material. Of course, it can be overdone...see the case of Bruce Springsteen who released a regular edition of the Seeger Sessions, a DualDisc edition and then a few months later put out the American Land edition which featured a couple more bonus tracks, extended video on the DVD, and cost a lot more! How many times do they expect people to buy this stuff? Of course...then the Boss did the whole thing live and released a double CD, or a DVD, or a double CD+DVD edition of the Live Seeger Sessions! Whew! And in the meantime...he worked on a new album of original material due for release in October. I think I'll hang on til I see the premium edition for a good price!
I bought the new Lyle Lovett (with DVD) and it's great value! $17 for a half hour's worth of video material + a dandy collection of new songs! Excellent. Ben Harper's new one is called Lifeline and it comes in a reasonably priced box set too. A live DVD of all the songs from the CD, played in the same order. And a book of photos from the sessions. All for around $20. Trouble is...Ben is just so darn dull these days. As he expanded his band...he stopped doing what I liked best about him...playing the Weissenborn. It features only on the final two tracks. And those two tracks are my faves...but the synthetic R&B/gospel stuff that people seem to love about Ben just pales in comparison to the real stuff that I much prefer. Give me the Staple Singers, or the new Vee-Jay anthology, or any number of old Marvin Gaye albums.
Opinionated? Moi?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday, August 22nd...

Finishing off some vacation time, by hanging around the house...playing the guitar...watching some DVDs (Wild Hogs was a bit of a laugh) out the know the drill. I picked up the Popeye DVD set which FINALLY has the early B&W Popeye cartoons that I grew up loving, along with some wonderful documentaries and extra bonuses. And, NO I'm not old enough to remember these cartoons from their first release...but the I Yam Wot I Yam doc tells about how they were Popeye's popularity was rejuvenated in the mid-50s with the playing of these great 'toons on TV, with local hosts (like Big Al, or Captain Andy, f'rinstance). I had previously bought some poor transfers of Popeye cartoons on DVDs from Walmart, for about $1 each. The quality on this new set is extraordinary. It also features the long-form Sindbad and Ali Baba films in glorious technicolor! Beautiful!
Read The Rabbit Factory (a detective story about a Disney competitor plagued by a serial killer) which was an entertaining read! And now moved on to Michael Palin's Diaries 1969-1979 which are subtitled the Python Years and provide an intimate look at the creation of Monty Python's Flying Circus. As expected Palin is a charming and gentle writer, quite erudite, witty and opinionated.
Trying to get into Crowded House, which my friend Rick tells me is a great band, but apart from a song here and there...I don't get. I managed to find an interesting DVD in the deleted bin at Zellers. The Acoustic YES. Now I never thought of them as having much of a sense of humour, but they do "Tiger Rag" for their sound check. This is well worth the $4.94 I paid for it. If they'd had more than one copy I'd've bought them for Christmas presents for my brothers! I guess they'll have to be happy with what I brought them from NYC! Don't tell them though!
One last DVD recommendation...Les Paul Chasing Sound. I saw this on PBS last month, and it was highly informative and fun to watch. Okay, Les has a massive ego...but after all he did...he deserves it! Some dandy bonus footage too! From the Iridium Jazz Club in NYC, where he plays every Monday night.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

the latest fascinating news...

So we're back from the great north woods, where we visited our friends Don & Pat. On the way we stopped at the new Tim Horton's in Bracebridge where I met Mike O and bought his Pignose amp. I took my 335 with me to test it out, and man...this little thing has a lot of sound. Especially if you want distortion, but played with the volume down you can achieve some nice pure tones. Well worth the money, and (after all) I've wanted one since the very first time I saw it advertised in a magazine...WAY WAY BACK!
Bought the new Crowded House CD, which has some nice tunes on it, and the John Lennon covers album for Darfur. If some of the money goes to helping those folks in Darfur, then I'm all for it. Read Dave Eggers' What Is The What for a taste of what is going on over there! Horrifying!
I'm still enjoying Paul Wellers' Hit Parade CD, and finished reading the new biography of Joe Strummer (another guy I've really begun to appreciate.) My son (and his girlfriend) gave me a gift card for Chapters which I spent on the new Bob Marley book about Exodus (which includes a CD of the album) and this is an excellent look at the creation of this classic album.
Thanks to Gwen for sending Blondie Chaplin's autograph! I appreciate it! Love that guy. When is Fragile Thread coming out?
Look for RPC on the cover of the fall edition of Sing Out! which should be coming any day now!

Monday, August 6, 2007

cd player update...

So, the next morning, I turn the car on, and out pops my CDs! As easy as that. Now it's loading and unloading, and playing, and random selecting, and all the other functions just great. I think I must have rushed pushing the 'load' button, while it still said 'wait'...anyway...I won't do that again.
I'm not sure if anyone out there reads Vanity Fair, but there's a dandy interview with Sly Stone in the new issue! With some recent pictures too! And he doesn't have that weird white mohawk he sported when he did the Grammies!
After 2 weeks of vacation I'm back to work tomorrow, and then I'll work on the budget update, and prepare for another couple weeks off. I am buying a Pignose amp from a guy in Bracebridge. He bought 2, for some reason. So, I'll meet him at a coffee shop on my way to the cottage. Make the exchange, my money for his amp. I'll take a handful of AA batteries with me and then I can plug in my 335 on the dock, as I'm relaxing in the sun! Aah! All mod cons!
Time to go, gotta vacuum the know the drill.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

cd player in car...

OK. Does anybody out there have recommendations for a jammed CD player? It's a 6-disc premium player, but has twice now jammed with CDs in it (the 2nd time just this morning). So now my Jimmy Rogers All-Stars Blues Blues Blues CD and Richard Thompson's Sweet Warrior are trapped in that netherworld of @#$%ed-up technology! I didn't get to load Joe Strummer or Paul Weller...but all I could listen to on the way to the market was 1150 CKOC! Yikes. (To be honest, fiddling with the FM dial was too distracting).
I'm thinking that, maybe if I pull the fuse, the logic might reset itself when I re-install it!?!?
Worked fine yesterday on the road trip to St. Jacobs, we listened to Taj Mahal, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham, Eric Clapton, and more.
I bought a beat up old copy of Their Satanic Majesties Request just for the lenticular cover. It was only $10, because you can use the vinyl for a peanut dish! But the picture is in good shape. This is an album that's always been on my Guilty Pleasures list. It doesn't really work, that's true, but I can't help but like some of the tunes. Why don't we sing this song together? That's a darn good question.
I read Song Man by Will Hodgkinson and it was every bit as entertaining as Guitar Man was. I highly recommend both, to anyone with a sense of humour about the music business. And...if you look on MySpace (for Double Fantasy) you'll find the songs Will and his "band" you an extra feel for the story. Great stuff.
Only a week til my birthday! Keep those cards and letters comin'!