Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Ticket Giveaway: Big Head Todd & The Monsters in New York

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ATV favorites Big Head Todd & The Monsters are once again back out on the road, playing sets that mix a hefty dose of blues from their latest release Big Head Todd Blues Club - 100 Years of Robert Johnson with favorites from their vast catalog. With the classic Sister Sweetly album celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the band will naturally be spotlighting tracks from the album in their concert setlists.

The current tour hits New York City this Saturday (2/16) for a show at Irving Plaza. We've got a couple of pairs of tickets to give away to the show, so if you'd like to go and check it out, drop us an email with "Big Head Todd NYC" in the subject line and we'll pick two lucky readers to go to the show!

Good luck!

(Update: Congrats to our two winners, Tim and Jim! Stay tuned for more contest fun coming up!)



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Hey there music lovers, join me as we climb into the old-guy time machine for a visit to CBS-TV Studio 50, now known as the Ed Sullivan Theater.

For those too young to know, Ed Sullivan was television’s grandmaster of variety shows, a host whose collection of acts penetrated living rooms across America for 23 years on the CBS Network. In its heyday, the show generated mountains of revenue as ratings for the Ed Sullivan Show were rivaled by few.  For performers, it was the crown jewel when it came to bragging rights and potential exposure.  Remember that the Beatles American debut occured on the Sullivan show in February 1964.

Much like Johnny Carson years later in late-night, if you appeared on Sullivan’s show and he called you over at the end of your act for an on-camera moment, you had truly made it. Many a rock star found his or her way over to the spot on stage for a quick handshake and maybe a plug for a tour or album.

As square as he could appear to be, Sullivan knew a hit when he saw one.  That explains six appearances by the Rolling Stones over six years, four of which have been collected on this unique two-disc package.  Twelve songs that give us great insight into the evolution of the Stones from an R&B combo to a pop group to a rock and roll band greatly influenced by the kaleidoscope of the sixties.

Spanning 1965-67, the performances are a video jukebox filled with hits: “The Last Time,” “Little Red Rooster,” “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” “Satisfaction,” “As Tears Go By,” 19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Paint It Black,” “Lady Jane,” “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby Standing in the Shadows?” “Ruby Tuesday” and the infamous “Let’s Spend Some Time Together."

Performing live in the early shows, the band seems to have fun while playing it pretty straight.  Giving way to singing with recorded backing tracks as the hits became bigger, the charade is too distracting and it’s almost comical to watch Brian Jones play a flute no one hears or to see Keith banging on a piano that is drowned out by the volume of the backing tracks.

Take note of “2120 South Michigan Avenue” as it plays under the credits of the May 1965 show. You can hear the foundations of what became the harmonica jam in the live versions of “Midnight Rambler.”

It is fascinating to see the Stones as they are on the verge of shedding their screaming girl fan base and heading toward a period in which they are one of the world’s most dangerous and vital bands. Such was the transition for many groups but few succeeded, particularly with the power and sustainability shown by the Stones.

Along with the Stones, we witness a cavalcade of entertainment from a range of acts: a puppeteer, an incredible female contortionist, jugglers, clog dancers, singing nuns, a ventriloquist and the Romanian Folk Ballet.  It sounds dry to today’s ADD generation, but all are truly entertaining and put the variety in each show.

Names of the day appearing as performers include Tom Jones in a stunning take on “Watcha Gonna Do When Your Baby Leaves You,” Louis Armstrong, Robert Goulet, Dusty Springfield, comedienne Totie Fields (who had an encounter with Gene Simmons of KISS on the Mike Douglas Show ten years later), pre-plastic surgery Joan Rivers, ground-breaking comedian Flip Wilson, all-world actor Hal Holbrook, and the Muppets.

This is a fantastic package made with the collector/aficionado in mind. Watching full shows which include the classic Sullivan opening, each of the unedited performance segments, the end credits and the original commercials helps to recreate the entire viewing experience nearly 50 years on.

SOFA Entertainment is to be congratulated for releasing this material in context as part of a historic Ed Sullivan project.  We are able to enjoy a proper look back in time at the Stones and the world that was the mid-sixties, be it in crisp black and white or full living color.

A deluxe package containing all six Stones appearances, a 24-page booklet and other cool things is also available.


Good Listening: Cockburn Christmas Three

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It’s the third annual Columbia Records Radio Hour Christmas Concert with Bruce Cockburn live from New York on December 12. 1993.  This year’s special guest is the one and only Jackson Browne who is riding high on the swelling success of I’m Alive and about to experience a tremendous rebirth of interest in his substantial career.

Holding true to the standard established the past two years by Cockburn and his dsitinguished guests, this year’s Christmas show is filled with great performances of poignant pieces.  The pair collaborates throughout with the highlights being Cockburn’s 1975 look at life and death entitled “Lament for the Last Days” and Browne’s comments on the true meaning of Christmas in “The Rebel Jesus.”

Other treats are the show’s opener, which was one of Cockburn’s first US radio songs, “Wondering Where the Lions Are” and a cover of Timbuk 3’s “All I Want for Christmas (is World Peace).”

Kick back with your favorite holiday spirit for 56 minutes of a thinking man’s Christmas with Bruce Cockburn and Jackson Browne.



Wondering Where the Lions Are

I Saw Three Ships

Lament for the Last Days

Crystal Ball

All I Want for Christmas (is World Peace)

Los Anges Dans Nos Campagnes

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Incandescent Blue

The Rebel Jesus

Away in the Manger



Good Listening: Cockburn Christmas Volume Two

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Only a few more shopping days left until the big day.  Are you ready?  Ready or not, be sure to take some time to savor a bit of great Christmas music courtesy of the Stereo Dictator and ATV.

Today’s offering is a present from December 20, 1992 featuring Bruce Cockburn and that irrepressible icon of holiday joy and glee (who also happens to be one of the gods of rock and roll), Lou Reed performing his seasonal gem, “Xmas in February.”

Another installment of the annual Columbia Records Radio Hour, this one is the big money bonus round of radio shows. Enjoy the talents of Rosanne Cash on “From the Ashes” as well as Rob Wasserman, who plays on all tunes including a wickedly jolly version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

It’s a holiday trip back to the 90s that is well worth the 51 minute investment. And it beats standing in line at the mall.


Lord of the Starfields

Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Early on One Christmas Morning

From the Ashes

Burden of the Angel Beast

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

We Three Kings

Xmas in February

All the Diamonds

Cry of a Tiny Babe


Good Listening: Christmas with Cockburn

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Hey there music lovers!  It's been awhile, but have no fear, the Stereo Dictator is back.  And I am once again prepared to pillage my archives in search of the greatest live recordings for the benefit of the ATV community.

Last year, we brought you the 12 Boots of Christmas, featuring big-time rock and rollers at various locations throughout the world.  This year, we are doing a series of radio broadcasts originating from upstate New York courtesy of the eclectic and prolific Bruce Cockburn.

Beginning in the early 1990's, Cockburn performed an annual Christmas show that was broadcast on the Columbia Records Radio Hour.  In the midst of that run, he released his own outstanding collection entitled "Christmas" on the Columbia label.

Today's show is a 48 minute gem recorded on December 15, 1991 at the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock, New York.  It sounds beautiful and rocks from the outset with a great version of "Lovers in a Dangerous Time."

**Extra Special Christmas Bonus Alert: The lovely and talented Sam Phillips appears on more than one track!

Cozy up to your stereo and get in the holiday spirit with Volume One of a Cockburn Christmas.


Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Silent Night

Dream Like Mine

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

If a Tree Falls

Cry of a Tiny Babe

Waiting for a Miracle


Video: Geeking out with Because Sound Matters

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The folks at Because Sound Matters (the vinyl arm of Warner Brothers) are currently taking a five part video stroll through Bernie Grundman's mastering studio. The first two parts are up, and it's an interesting look inside Grundman's bag of tricks.

The Because Sound Matters blog also features a number of videos "unboxing" their latest vinyl releases, including the newish Green Day "Ultimate" 7" Singles Box Set, which was released in September.  The box set features 21 (!!!) Green Day singles, packaged together for the first time.  Check it out for yourself, and peep the track listing here:

As long as we're talking vinyl, here's a special shout out to my good pal Judd, who recently posted an excellent write-up at The 6149 regarding Lou Reed's classic New York album.



The 12 Boots of Christmas: Don’t Give Us None of Your Aggravation

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Hey there music lovers, we’ve reached the end of the line.  Santa has to get ready for the big show and we have to be sure to get the last boot in the 12 Boots of Christmas series prepared for placement under the tree.


Today's North Pole nugget is a vintage seasonal performance from one of the kings of rock and roll, the one and only Elton John.