Written by: Matt Rowe
There's lots of good content happening over at MusicTAP this week including a great post about the addition of vintage concert videos to Wolfgang's Vault. We welcome Matt Rowe of MusicTAP back with a review of the new Hot Tuna album.
Lucky is what Hot Tuna fans are. Many classic bands that recorded back in the ’60s/’70s find it quite the chore to produce an album of immense worth, a worthy addition to a successful catalogue. It usually seems to be a blended mess of current musical styles and the “breath” of the original sound that got them onto turntables and radios in the first place. Not a good mix. But when a band opts to continue recording the stuff that got them attention in the first place, as this current Hot Tuna band has done, well, the results can be stunning.
Hot Tuna began as a side venture for Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady (both members of Jefferson Airplane), which allowed them the vent with which they let their blues steam from. Once they began releasing albums, they found an audience that never let go. Over the decades, the constant stream of Hot Tuna albums solidified the band’s legacy.
With the release of Steady As She Goes, Hot Tuna have added to an already strong body of work that began way back in the early ’70s with their debut released in 1970. The album is loaded with 12 excellent tracks, acoustic and electric. Kaukonen’s guitar is as sharp as it has always been, as is Casady’s bass. And with Barry Mitterhoff, and drummer, Skoota Warner, along with a few pals, Hot Tuna has delivered an unforgettable album worthy of being spoken of with reverence.
There are no bad tracks on the album. And that’s quite a bonus. To isolate certain songs as great examples would be to shortchange the album as a whole. Hot Tuna fans, you’re going to have to trust me on this one. Steady As She Goes is a classic Hot Tuna album, fitting in with every other album created by the band. Do I have favorites? Yes, all twelve tracks.
All twelve tracks.one
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
Part of the fun, adventure and sport of being a Neil Young fan is that you never really know what you're going to get from Neil....or if you're going to get it at all!
But lately, there have been a flurry of releases from Young and fans of both Neil's music and vinyl in general will be happy to hear that the parade of releases will continue in June with the release of A Treasure, a live country album recorded with The International Harvesters during tour dates in 1984 and 1985. The 12 track live album (featuring five cuts that are previously unreleased) will be released on CD, Blu-ray and digital download on June 14th (pre-order via this link).
A special vinyl edition will be released prior to that, available at Record Store Day retailers and NeilYoung.Com on May 24th. The vinyl edition of A Treasure was pressed onto 180 Gram double vinyl at Pallas and mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering by Chris Bellman and features three sides of music with a fourth side of vinyl featuring specially etched artwork.
Young himself previews the release in musical mad scientist form with the following 13 minute Youtube video and from the crudely inserted "Blu-ray" voiceovers from Neil, one could almost guess that this release has been in the planning stages for a while (ya think?).
I had the opportunity to hear an advance preview of the album and as you'll hear from the video, which offers a more than adequate tease of the material, A Treasure is going to be a great one for fans to sink their teeth into and even if you're a vinyl hound like me, I think many will want to accessorize and pick up the deluxe Blu-ray package as well!
Here are some additional notes from the official press release....
The 12-track live album, A Treasure includes songs – 5 of which are previously unreleased -- recorded during Young’s 1984 and 1985 U.S. tours without the support of an album or Young’s then record label due to unique and unusual circumstances. Among those, “Grey Riders” will be the first track serviced to radio. A Treasure features Young’s onstage work with some of the greatest artists in the history of country music, including the late, great Ben Keith on steel and slide guitar and Rufus Thibodeaux on fiddle, along with living legends Spooner Oldham and Hargus “Pig” Robbins on piano, Tim Drummond and Joe Allen on bass, and Karl Himmel on drums, among many others. A Treasure is Young’s first release since last year’s Grammy- and Juno Award-winning album, Le Noise.
The live album captures this iconic artist during a fascinating time in his career, when he was facing criticism and lawsuits from his then current record company for exploring a more traditionally country sound. “You can call me erratic,” Young said when asked at the time about his tendency toward musical shape-shifting, “but I’ve been consistent about it, consistently erratic.” Always celebrated for his musical versatility, A Treasure, is akin to a sonic time capsule, instantly transporting the listener to the time and place when it was made. “I love this record,” Young says. “I hadn’t heard these takes in 25 years, but when we unearthed them co-producer Ben Keith said, ‘This is a treasure.’”
Part of what makes A Treasure so compelling is the musical contributions of The International Harvesters, with whom Young was playing at the time. Many of them were already paragons within the country music world and their notoriety has only grown in the years since. “I just love to hear those guys,” Young says. “They’re all country music legends.” Those behind the scenes also made significant contributions to A Treasure’s sonic potency. Tim Mulligan mixed and mastered the tracks. At the time these songs were recorded, Bob Sterne was the tour manager, Tim Foster ran the stage, and Larry Cragg was in charge of the band’s instruments.
A Treasure will be released in several formats, including standard CD, vinyl, digital download with and without videos, and as a deluxe CD/Blu-ray package. The Blu-ray version will feature a curated selection of video that lends context and imagistic power to the tracks. “I like to look at these old live videos and listen to what I think are the best versions of these songs,” Young says. “It’s fun to see what we looked like when we were playing it then.”
The city and track-listing for A Treasure is as follows:
* Denotes Previously Unreleased Track
1 *Amber Jean (9/20/84) Nashville Now TV - Nashville, TN
2 Are You Ready For The Country? (9/21/84) Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH
3 It Might Have Been 9/25/84 Austin City Limits TV - Austin, Texas
4 Bound For Glory 9/29/84 Gilleys’s Rodeo Arena - Pasadena, TX
5 *Let Your Fingers Do The Walking (10/22/84) Universal Amphit - Universal City, CA
6 Flying On The Ground Is Wrong (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
7 Motor City (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
8 *Soul Of A Woman (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
9 Get Back To The Country (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
10 Southern Pacific (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
11 *Nothing Is Perfect (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
12 *Grey Riders (9/10/85) Pier 84 - New York City, NYmore
Written by: Matt Rowe
I'm pleased to welcome longtime MusicTAP site editor Matt Rowe to ATV for a guest review of the new Nazareth album Big Dogz (which will also be available on vinyl). MusicTAP is a longtime favorite destination of mine for music reviews and release news, so it's a pleasure to have Matt's words here on the site. Enjoy!
Being a fan of Nazareth through their many albums (no, I didn't love them all), I have determined that when they hit the gong well, they really hit it. Razamanaz (1973), Hair Of The Dog (1975), Loud 'n' Proud (1974), and Rampant (1974) were strong albums in the golden age that were tough to beat. Although I preferred Razamanaz over them all (and still do), I've never ruled out the potential of any of their albums.
The release of The Newz in 2008 left me feeling good about aged classic rock with new material from a band that actually recorded during the period, and so it was with much hope that Big Dogz would adhere to the blues/rock quality that permeates a good Nazareth album. And it does to a good degree. There are eleven songs on the album, with several excellent tracks that are pure Nazareth. The opener track, "Big Dog's Gonna Howl" musically offers a Nazareth experience, if not a pure one. But it is necessary to get to the final two songs on the set to immerse a bit deeper into the Nazareth experience that is familiar to fans.
"Butterfly", is a reflective ballad that drips with love for a girl that was unable to stay. We've heard this stuff from Nazareth before and so we can go with it when we hear it "again". The final track, "Sleeptalker", now THAT'S Nazareth. Which is why it's so odd to see it buried all the way down at the end. It's here where the album earns its patch with excellent guitar work by Jimmy Murrison even as the album (like The Newz) still misses Manny Charlton. Charlton's guitar-work were as distinctive of early Nazareth as McCafferty's voice is. McCafferty's voice now, while admirable for a 65-year old, doesn't have the range it used to have but that doesn't impact a new Nazareth album in any way.
The remaining songs on Big Dogz, all the ones that lead up to the last (and important) two, are good efforts. "Claimed", and "Radio" are a couple very good tunes. What makes the final two so important is that they reveal that this band hasn't finished making good albums. They may not be Razamanaz, or Rampant, or even Hair Of The Dog from their prime years, but as a fan, Nazareth can still satisfy a classic itch.more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
Anyone who bought the Beach Boys Record Store Day single for "Good Vibrations" without realizing that it was a 78 RPM pressing will be interested in this video (unless you simply went to the more recent and now old-fashioned CD backup). Furthermore, you'll be intrigued by the method used to achieve playback on this turntable, which only has 33 1/3 RPM and 45 RPM speeds built in. Kids, don't try this with your dad's expensive turntable!
I do not have a 78 player, however there is a easy mod that can allow you to play it. I have belt drive USB table to record this. Take a straw and cut it down to the right size of the motor top so that the belt travels on the straw rather than in the groove of the motor. It will then allow the platter to spin close to 78. I can make a video if you folks would like to show you what I did. ? I would not recommend doing this on a top of the line table.more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
If you've been following our Twitter feed, you'll know that we were submerged in Record Store Day fun over the weekend, something that will be familiar to many music fans who mapped out their weekend plans in a similar fashion. While we came away with some good scores (Beach Boys 10", the Beady Eye singles box set, etc.), our Record Store Day didn't come with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. But 200 lucky citizens of music in Long Beach were privy to an intimate show at the local record store Fingerprints.
Prior to the gig, Grohl spent some time talking about his early vinyl memories (which makes sitting through the cheesy voiceover worthwhile).
Check out this article for further details about the special gig.
I'm just about to unwrap my own copy of Medium Rare, the RSD-exclusive Foo Fighters release that collects some of their very best cover songs including "Band on the Run" and my personal favorite, "Baker Street." Hopefully you were able to get your hands on a copy as well!
Here's a final bit of video magic from the Foos - a full album performance of Wasting Light + 80 minutes of hits, recorded last week at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City!more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
By now, hopefully you've managed to obtain your very own copy of the excellent new Don Dixon-produced Smithereens release 2011. I've been keeping uncharacteristically mum regarding my thoughts on the album, because I'm working on an interview to dig deep into the 2011 album via conversations with the band. But that won't stop me from telling you about the band's new video for "Sorry," the lead single from Smithereens 2011.
The Smithereens will be out playing shows in support of 2011 and perhaps they're coming to a venue near you! For Cleveland fans, we'll get our first Smithereens show in a long time on Friday, April 29th at the Tangier in Akron. If you're in the mood for a road trip, the band will also be in Pittsburgh the following night at Diesel.
I'd like to say I'm sorry for posting this video, but I won't.more