Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beatles Remastered - Magical Mystery Tour

By John R Powell

Magical Mystery Tour is an album that was not originally an album. Originally it was just an EP (extended play) which is half an album. In America it was extended to an LP (long play) by adding the singles that the Beatles had released that year onto the end of the EP. In the UK it stayed an EP.

In 1987, when the Beatles albums were released onto CD, it was released internationally as the LP instead of the EP because the LP was more popular. The LP has now become an official part of the Beatles catalogue rather than the original EP.

"Magical Mystery Tour" has a lot of great songs on it. McCartney has "The Fool on the Hill" which is a great ballad and it is McCartney at his best. McCartney also has "Your Mother Should Know", "Penny Lane", and "Hello Goodbye". George Harrison has "Blue Jay Way" which is a great psychedelic piece. The bulk of the creative and artistic achievements belong to Lennon though.

In the history of rock "I Am the Walrus" stands out as being unique. The lyrics are strong enough to stand alone as poetry without the music. All of the Beatles were themselves fans of Bob Dylan. His influence can be heard in "I Am the Walrus". Lennon also has "Strawberry Fields Forever" which is on many lists as the top rock song of all time. The Beach Boys Pets Sounds influenced the Beatles Sgt. Pepper, and "Strawberry Fields Forever" was the first song that the Beatles did for Sgt Pepper although it was released as a single and not on the album. When Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys heard "Strawberry Fields Forever", he believed that he couldn't top it.

If the 60's had an anthem it was "All You Need is Love". This was performed in front of a live audience. The only difference between this audience and usual audiences is this audience was the entire world. The program was called "Our World" and was shown internationally around the world. So this was played to the entire world. Not many bands can say they've done that in the 60's.

Basically, "Magical Mystery Tour" is an extension of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". This is because a lot of the songs were recorded during the Sgt Pepper recording sessions. "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" were both recorded during these sessions, but when they were used as a double-A sided single, it was the Beatles policy not to use singles in their album.

George Martin has explained that this is one of the Beatles biggest mistakes, and one of his biggest regrets. So even though "Magical Mystery Tour" doesn't hold up to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", it is a great album with a lot of great material that has lasted more than forty years. The remastered version sounds as if it were made this year.

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Beatles Remastered - Let it Be

By John R Powell

"Let It Be" was originally supposed to be an album that was a "back to roots" idea. The Beatles were supposed to compose songs that would be without overdubs or anything besides guitars, pianos and drums. They were also supposed to be filmed the entire time while composing, practicing and performing the songs on this album. This idea was originated because they wanted to perform the songs live in front of an audience once the songs were completed. Their previous albums were full of complicated arrangements and overdubs that were too advanced to perform in front of an audience.

There were a lot of problems and struggles within the band during "Let It Be". The band had started to grow apart and Lennon was also struggling with a brief heroin addiction. Paul McCartney was starting to try to be the "leader" of the group, which the rest of the group saw as trying to be controlling and bossy. This was because two years before this album their manager, Brian Epstein, died of an accidental drug overdose so they had nobody to manage them.

"Let It Be" is an album that is not up to par with the rest of the Beatles repertoire. The album has a lot of good music on it, like Paul McCartney's "Two of US" or his "Let it Be". He also has the rocker, "Get Back", and a piano ballad, "The Long and Winding Road" which ended up having orchestral overdubs thanks to Phil Spector. Phil Spector did this behind McCartney's back.

John Lennon didn't have as many songs on this album because he was creatively not interested in the band at this point, and also was dealing with his heroin addiction. Yet he still had a few good songs, like "Dig a Pony", and "Across the Universe". "Across the Universe" was a song that was done a few years before and put on this album by Phil Spector because Lennon didn't have enough material done for the album.

Lennon also did a song called "Don't Let Me Down", which was the B-side to the single "Get Back". Even though "Don't Let Me Down" was done during the "Let It Be" sessions, Phil Spector for some reason didn't allow it to be on the album. George Harrison even had a few good songs on the album. His "For You Blue" is a great acoustic guitar piece. He also had the ballad "I Me Mine" which later was worked on by Phil Spector by adding overdubs like he did on "The Long and Winding Road".

"Let It Be" was basically shelved after they finished what they had and they decided to get it together for one more project, which ended up becoming "Abbey Road". They decided to get back to the "way they used to do it" for "Abbey Road", which ended up making it one of their greatest achievements, and their "swan song". Even though "Let It Be" was released a year after "Abbey Road" it is not the last record they made.

The remastered version of this album sounds better in every way than the original. If you're a Beatle fan all you'd have to do is listen to one of the tracks from one of your old albums, then listen to the same track from the remastered version ... your ears will beg you for this ear candy.

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The Psychology of Drumming - An Interview With Peter Erskine

By Chris Peacock

What were your main goals as a kid learning your craft?

I wanted to do what the musicians were doing on the LP albums I was hearing. I wanted to be just like them and to be able to do what they could do. Television at that time was showing a lot of music, and this was inspiring as well. I wanted to be Art Blakey, and Shelly Manne, and Don Lamond and Sonny Payne. I wanted to be Sol Gubin, Saul Goodman and Elvin Jones!

Every summer was spent going to a Stan Kenton jazz camp, known in those days as the National Stage Band Camps. This is where I first met such jazz luminaries as Louis Hayes, Joe Zawinul, Oliver Nelson, Ron Carter, Alan Dawson, Jimmy Garrison, Donald Byrd, et al. (other students attending the camps at that time included Gary Burton, Keith Jarrett, Randy Brecker, Don Grolnick and David Sanborn). Of course, the members of the Kenton band were there, as well as Stan's staff of composers and arrangers. These were all very generous people with their time, talent and wisdom.

One piece of advice that made the biggest impression: "Listen to every kind of music." (Johnny Richards). I eventually started studying classical (orchestral) percussion, and for a while, this is what I wanted to do: play in an orchestra. My main goals, then, were to practice for my lessons and make my teachers happy, and to experience as much music as was possible. My parents were completely supportive of this, and I was allowed to play music in the house at any and all hours and volumes.

How did you approach your own development?

I just played ... and I listened to a lot of music. In that sense, I was always practicing. I also studied piano and trumpet in addition to drums and mallet percussion.

Do you still set goals for yourself today?

Any goals I set nowadays are usually along the lines of trying to be a better person. I have always strived to play music with the best of intentions and the utmost of sincerity; I don't know any other way to do it (but I do know how to do it better nowadays than when I was younger). I guess if I were to think about specific musical goals, then those would be along the lines of trying to find those moments of musical truth every time I play. I enjoy the craft, as well as the art, of playing. I'm also trying to learn to be a better composer, especially in terms of orchestration and counterpoint.

Have you picked up any tools over the years that have really helped you perform better?

Yes ... the art of surrender. I'm also really enjoying the instrument more and more now. There's so much to discover. It's quite fun.

About The Author

Chris Peacock began playing drums at the age of 12. He received a scholarship to Berklee College Of Music and studied at LA Music Academy under the guidance of Ralph Humphrey and Joe Porcaro. He has performed in the UK, US and Japan. His book, The Psychology Of Drumming features interviews with 20 drumming legends including Jojo Mayer, Steve Smith and Kenny Aronoff. You can download a free copy of the eBook by clicking here.

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The Beatles USB Apple - The End of a Long and Winding Road For Audiophiles

By James Magary

At long last, the Beatles will finally release properly remastered versions of their classic albums. For audiophiles, however, a limited release product called the Beatles USB Apple actually goes a step further, providing better than CD quality versions of all of the music, as well as high-quality mp3 files. But why are the remastered versions better than the old versions, and why would someone buy the Beatles USB Apple instead of the remastered Beatles CDs?

First let's discuss mastering, as many people do not know what it is, let alone what "remastering" is. When an artist makes a record in the studio, they mix it down to a "final" product. If the product is to be mass produced, however, their record company must make a "master", which is the single copy from which thousands, or millions, of copies will be duplicated.

When records were released on vinyl, the master was actually made as a reverse-image copy of the recording, which was then used as a "stamper" to press the grooves into the vinyl material so that the record would play correctly. Due to the limitations of the medium, the vinyl master would have to be tweaked vs the final studio recording in an attempt to maximize the quality on the vinyl.

Don't let anyone tell you that vinyl records sound better ... they may offer a certain nostalgic appeal, but they cannot possibly sound superior to a properly mastered digital audio product. In the vinyl mastering process, the sound is changed dramatically compared to the recording the artist created in the studio. If a recording has a lot of bass, for example, an exact transfer of the sound might make the actual grooves in a vinyl record too wide, causing the record to skip, so the record company would usually limit the amount of bass to prevent this from happening.

In the case of the Beatles and other classic artists, this vinyl mastering amounted to a crime against audio, so it is with great relief and anticipation that many fans are eagerly waiting to buy the remastered versions of the Beatles albums. The new CD versions and the Beatles USB Apple both contain remastered versions of the songs, meaning they have been specially remastered to modern digital formats, providing the maximum dynamic range and detail that today's technology allows.

If you are a true audiophile and a Beatles fan, then you probably are considering to buy the Beatles USB Apple, even in place of the remastered CDs. This USB Apple contains the remastered versions of the music, but notably, has them in 24 bit FLAC format. FLAC is a lossless format which is better than CD quality, so there is simply more data on the file than what you have in a CD, and that will bring out even more detail and emotional resonance from the music.

And, as a handy option for those mp3 listeners, the Beatles USB Apple includes 320 kbps mp3 versions of everything. These are higher quality than you can get from most mp3 download sites, and are also DRM-free, which means they are not restricted in terms of file access and duplication.

The Beatles USB Apple is out on December 8th, and there are only 30,000 copies made so it will probably be a massive collectors item.

To learn more, or to buy the Beatles USB Apple click here:

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The Beatles Remastered Albums - Box Set Vs USB Apple

By James Magary

2009 has been a very active year for the Beatles, despite the fact they have been broken up for over 30 years. Following the release of Beatles Rock Band and the remastered Box Set collections, soon 30,000 fans will be fighting for the chance to buy the Beatles USB Apple which comes out on December 8th.

This is a limited edition "box set" in the form of a green aluminum apple, which has a removable USB drive containing all the same music as in the stereo box set. Either the box set or the USB will give you a comprehensive Beatles collection, but the much smaller USB package actually has much more in it.

The music on the Beatles USB Apple is the same as the stereo box set in terms of the albums and songs that are included. It has the stereo mixes of all the major studio releases from the Beatles career, including the classic albums you would expect. Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (White Album), Abbey Road, and Let it Be are all included here, as well as the early albums. All the hits and B-sides that were not included on a regular Beatles album, like "Hey Jude" and "Revolution", are also part of this set.

The key advantage of the USB version is that it contains all of this music in two formats, neither of which is used on the CD releases or the box set CDs. The first is high-quality FLAC 44.1 Khz 24 bit format sound files, which are a step up from 16 bit CD quality, so audiophiles who think that CDs are too "cold" sounding can finally get their Beatles fix in a format that caters to them.

Second, if you buy the Beatles USB Apple instead of the box set you will get mp3 versions of the tunes, in a high-quality 320kbps format, and they are DRM-free, unlike most iTunes mp3s. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management which places access restrictions on the content, so it's better not to have it. This is a significant release, as it represents the first time that the Beatles have decided to release any of their music in mp3 format.

To this day you still cannot buy the Beatles tunes on iTunes or other download sites that sell mp3s, but you can get them all on the Beatles USB Apple, and transfer them to your iPod from there. The final temptation of the Beatles USB Apple is that as of now, there are only going to be 30,000 of them for sale, so they will probably be hot collectors items.

If you don't use CDs anymore, or you are an audiophile, and you are looking to get the whole Beatles collection at once, the Beatles USB Apple is a great option, especially since it has the USB functionality plus higher quality music files vs the CD formats. All the visual materials, including album artwork, expanded liner notes, and a 13-minute documentary film are also on the Beatles USB Apple, so there is really nothing missing vs the box sets, except for those pesky CDs.

To learn more, or to buy the Beatles USB Apple click here:

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

James Taylor - The Troubadour Reunion‏

by Brent Warnken

Wouldn't it be great to reunite with old friends and get paid for it? That's just what James Taylor and Carole King thought as they put together the 'Troubadour Reunion' tour, an event originally sparked from the 50th anniversary celebration of West Hollywood's landmark two years ago.

Now the two veteran performers, along with a few friends, will kick off a new "Troubadour" event this March in Australia, courting New Zealand, Japan and the U.S., as well. Get James Taylor tickets today online to see the acts together.

"This tour ... has been waiting to happen for a long time but the years seem to have vanished. When we reunited for the Troubadour 50th Anniversary celebration in 2007, it was, and still is, all about the music and the celebration of performing together," Taylor said in a press statement.

Now the two have reignited that original passion, an emotion close to their fans, for a blast back into the past. The two first performed together at the Troubadour Club in 1970; the event not only marks a legendary performance for the Troubadour but also for King, who performed solo for the first time that evening.

Just two years ago they reunited with their original 1970 band and loved the reunion format so much they decided to take their performances to the road. "When James and I first played together in the early seventies, we connected immediately, both musically and personally, with an effortless, comfortable familiarity," King said to Monsters and Critics online. "After we reunited in 2007 with Danny Kortchmar, Lee Sklar and Russ Kunkel, the original band from our early Troubadour shows, none of us wanted the fun to stop."

Now the infamous duo of smooth '70s rock will not only appear together, but so will their band - as Kortchmar, Kunkel and Sklar all join Tyler and King for the reunion trek. Only seven dates have been announced with promises for more, as the rock group plans to visit Australia's Brisbane, Hunter, Sydney and Melbourne; New Zealand's Auckland; Japan's Tokyo and Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl in the U.S.

That celebrated '70s Troubadour performance had Taylor performing his self-titled Apple Records album that included the hits "Carolina in My Mind" and "Something in the Way She Moves." Though King had been a prominent songwriter - penning tunes for Aretha Franklin, the Monkees and more, it was the first performance that she was stepping out on her own. Taylor and King have since become multi-platinum selling acts, each earning their fare share of awards as well as inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Taylor just finished up with his Covers Tour, a nationwide tour that promoted his new albums Covers and Other Covers, his first Top 10 album. The sets have James covering some of his favorite classic acts like Leonard Cohen, George Jones and the Temptations. All the tunes on Covers were prominent parts of Taylor's concerts throughout his career. "Crowd pleasers, rabble rousers," as Taylor calls them. "It just seemed like a really obvious album we wanted to make."

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Monday, November 23, 2009

VIDEOS: Iconic Australian 1960s Band - The Loved Ones

by Robert Muller

Hi all, here's a couple of classic tracks from one of Australia's most iconic rock bands of the 1960s - The Loved Ones with the wonderful Gerry Humphries up front of vocals. The Loved Ones were an R&B band that formed in 1965 with its members coming out of the thriving trad-jazz scene in early 60s Melbourne. This is their first single 'The Loved One' from 1965.

The Loved One:

And here's one from 1966 - Everlovin' Man:

If you've never heard The Loved Ones before, leave a comment and let me know what you think of their music!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

These Candles Are For Lennon

By Krystal Bennion

John Lennon would have turned 69 years old this week. That is, if he was not shot dead by a demented fan. In commemoration of his birthday, Julian Lennon, John's son, together with Liverpool Lord Mayor Mike Storey, organized a candle lighting campaign. This drive not only symbolizes the ex-Beatle's birthday but more on the promotion of humanitarian issues.

It can be remembered that Lennon's career started in 1960s while he was performing in clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg. For three years, the then five-member group Beatles slowly carved its name in the music scene. The five became four because the original bassist, Stuart Sutcliffe, died from a cerebral hemorrhage. It was in 1962 when the quartet of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison was formed. In the later part of that year, the impeccable group achieved their first hit in the UK with their song "Love Me Do'. And as they say, the rest is history.

The all-English band became a worldwide phenomenon writing really wonderful songs, making great music, and selling one chart-topping record after another. Aside from their music, the Beatles became fashion icons, trend setters and even had a significant social influence. Up to this day, the Beatles are still regarded as one of the most successful and critically acclaimed bands of all time.

But all great things must come to an end. After record-breaking albums and series of concerts across the globe, Beatlemania ended. Controversy has much to do with it and the now infamous line of Lennon saying that "the Beatles are more popular than Jesus" has come to a stop. By 1970, the former quartet officially disbanded as they all released solo albums.

Ten years after, front-man and music-genius John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City.

And, almost five decades since the Beatles took the world by storm, their music and influence lives on. And to mark another tribute on behalf of John Lennon is the candle lighting campaign. With his great music as his legacy, humanitarian and peace promotion should be easy. Light a candle and say a little prayer for him and for peace in this planet.

Candle lighting can symbolize many things. This week, offer your organic candles, soy candles and even virtual candles in honor of John Lennon's birthday. Keep the fire burning and not just imagine a peaceful world. Rather, take part in making it happen. It should not be that difficult.

Krystal Bennion loves writing and writes about anything.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

The Sixties - The Greatest Music Decade

By Ray Weber

Rock and roll was big in the fifties but it was really defined in the 60s when some of the greatest rock bands in history emerged. These artists continue to influence the direction and style of music today. They were frequently intoxicated and many died young as a result, but during the 60s, we found more music legends than possibly any other decade.

The sixties bands included every genre of music from hard rock to soul, bubblegum rock to beach music, Motown to rockabilly. This was the generation that included such diverse popular music groups as The Four Seasons and The Rolling Stones; the good boys and the bad boys.

The era of Woodstock and man landing on the moon was a decade of blaring electric guitars, wa-wa effects, drum solos and strange lyrics. Those who were only toddlers or babies during this decade likely don't understand the wa-wa effect or the fuzz effect. Guitars screamed, capitalized on feedback and made use of the two aforementioned effects. Yes, wa-wa and the fuzz effect were at the guitarist's discretion and made the hard rock sound of the 60s unique.

A decade and music of contrasts

The music of the 60s found its adherents based on age group. Young teens were into the bubblegum rock bands who sang repetitive, sometimes silly lyrics. Songs like 'Yummy, Yummy, Yummy' and 'Simon Says' appealed to young teens and tweens. The older teens and young twenty-somethings listened to serious rock music. Groups and musicians like Jimmie Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), The Guess Who, The Animals, The Beatles and Steppenwolf.

Many solo musicians became legends during the 60s. Singers like Ray Charles, Dion, Roy Orbison, Percy Sledge, James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding had top-ten hits and became music legends. These musicians were the inspiration for a new generation of rock and rollers.

The Motown Sound

What would the 60s be without Motown? The soul, rhythm and blues and gospel sounds of the Motown sound were distinct from other 60s music, but also produced some of the greatest hits of all time. The Temptations, Diana Ross and the Surpremes, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Smokie Robinson and the Miracles, The Four Tops and the Jackson Five all made their mark on the decade.

In 1966 alone, the percentage of hits on the national charts from just the Berry Gordy-managed artists was an astonishing seventy-five percent. This was one of the few decades, along with the latter half of the seventies, that supported two different sounds, both hitting the tops of the charts concurrently.

The number of bands, twosomes, soloists and studio acts that made great music during the 60s are too numerous to mention. The 'blue-eyed soul' of the Righteous Brothers stood in stark contrast to the folksy music of Simon and Garfunkel. Chubby Checker sang the Twist during this generation while The Rolling Stones sang Jumpin Jack Flash. The difference in music styles during this single ten-year span found fans of every music style. It became hard to define 'pop' music when so many styles were popular.

Few decades will ever equal the sixties for legendary artists, diverse music and interesting personalities. The music from this one decade will live on as the true classics of popular music.

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From our humble beginnings, and the expansion of our warehouse and shipping operation in south Florida, The RetroBaby developed our original offering of hip, trendy clothing for babies and toddlers. Our clothes hearken back to the days of Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and the Stones; clothes that you won't find on the baby next door. You can pay tribute to the greats of rock and roll and popular culture with our unique clothes.

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The Ash Grove - Mick Jagger Gets the Blues

By Chris L Morton

In his Ash Grove recording, guitarist Dave Alvin laments the loss of a favorite Los Angeles club, a venue that should be on the National Register of Historic Places. It would have to be in an urn, however, the club burned not once, but three times.

Ed Pearl (an uncle of Spirit's Randy California) founded the 250-seat Ash Grove in 1958. "I started with the perfect show," says Pearl. "Brownie McGhee, Guy Carawan ... McGhee was the Southern folk-bluesman who, at the time, hadn't quite yet formed his famous alliance with harmonica partner Sonny Terry; Carawan is best known for adapting We Shall Overcome with Pete Seeger."

Going forward, stage acts would include Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Arlo Guthrie, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Jerry Garcia, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, Son House, Mose Allison, Hoyt Axton, Eric Burdon, the Byrds, Canned Heat, Commander Cody, Albert Collins, Larry Coryell, James Cotton, Jose Feliciano, Firesign Theater, Robben Ford, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Ahmad Jamal, Dr. John, Albert King, Charles Mingus, Pharoah Sanders, Spirit, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt, "Big Mama" Thornton, the Chambers Brothers, Flying Burrito Brothers, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal. Many other acts also appeared at the Ash Grove over the years.

Everybody hung out at the Ash Grove. It was there that Jim (Roger) McGuinn met David Crosby before forming the Byrds, and a chance encounter of Linda Ronstadt's led to the formation of the Stone Ponys.

"I always had two or three cheap recorders going ...," [Pearl] explains. "I'd just turn them on because I wanted to listen ... Ry, Taj, and the rest of us liked to listen to the old guys." Some 3,000 hours of recorded live performances at the Ash Grove have survived. Many of these recordings may be streamed live or purchased from Wolfgang's Vault.

Currently in production, Ash Grove Burning is a documentary by Sundance award-winning filmmaker Aiyana Elliott. Hers is perhaps not a recognized name in music circles until one learns she is the daughter of Grammy-Award winner, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, a regular Ash Grove performer. Being very patient while it loads, you may view the movie trailer online at Ash Grove Film.

Chris Morton ( lives in Northern California and is an FCC-licensed, classic rock wannabe-DJ and quasi-sociohistorian. At, therein Chris rambles ad nauseum about many genres of music, the musicians, strange connections, the venues, and the gear with which to legally and aurally transcend wherever you happen to be.

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Paul McCartney and Wings Lullabyes

By Robert DeLuca

When you think of Paul McCartney, you think love songs or The Beatles and now you can think Lullabyes. Yes, Sir Paul (as the Brits like to call him) can now put your little ones to sleep with lullabyes. After 10 years of being the bass player of the biggest band in history The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney is now going on his 39th year as a very successful solo artist.

I know, I know ... you're saying "Hey man, Wings was a band". But c'mon ... does anyone NOT consider them Paul McCartney's back up band? Although, I have to admit that the "Wings" era, I thought, was the best music of Paul McCartney's solo career ("Venus and Mars", "Red Rose Speedway" and of course, the fantastic "Band On The Run" to name a few).

McCartney Gets His Wings

In 1971 he formed the band Wings. Paul says the idea of naming the band Wings came to him while he was praying during the birth of his second child Stella. Apparently there were complications and while praying for the survival of his wife (Linda) and their new born, Paul had visions of wings.

Wings only had 3 permanent members. Paul, wife Linda McCartney and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. The rest of the lineup changed a few times. Did you know that "Wings" were the only "permanent" group that any of the Beatles were involved with after their breakup? "Hey, what about John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band?" Well, apparently the difference is that Wings had other songwriters credited other than Sir Paul.

The 9 or 10 years Paul spent with Wings spawned 12 top 10 singles. Also a very successful tour and "live" album in 1976 with "Wings Over America". Wings officially ended in 1980. Their recording sessions were canceled when John Lennon was assassinated. When Paul decided to go back to work he recorded "Tug of War" (as a dedication to Lennon) and was credited officially as a "solo" record. So, if you are a fan of Paul McCartney's "Wings" era and you have little ones. You can now share "Lush Lullaby Renditions of Paul McCartney and Wings.

Lush Lullabyes of Paul McCartney and Wings (Baby Music for Junior ... with or without the farm)

Roma Music's "Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star" series have done a great job in selecting 10 Hit songs by Paul McCartney that span the the "Wings" era. They have, once again, arranged and recorded them into very dreamy lullabyes.

In reviewing "Lush Lullaby Renditions of Paul McCartney and Wings", I found myself really enjoying the simplicity of each baby lullaby. McCartney's melodies are so memorable and these lullabyes stay true to each one. It's not easy to take a song like "Jet" which is an upbeat rock n roll song and turn it into a dreamy lullaby for your baby to fall asleep to. But that is exactly what they have done at Twinkle Rock. Oh, and for those with an empty nest, these lullabyes have that "Day at the Spa" like feel. Which is great for practicing meditation and yoga to.

Paul McCartney and Wings Lullabyes Song List (Twinkle Rock decides to "Wing" it)

The song selection process must have been difficult in narrowing it down to just 10 lullabyes. And I feel Twinkle has done a great job of it.
  • Band On The Run
  • Dance Tonight
  • Maybe I'm Amazed
  • Silly Love Songs
  • My Love
  • Jet
  • Uncle Albert-Admiral Halsey
  • Listen To What The Man Said
  • Ebony And Ivory
  • Say Say Say
These lullabyes are Mp3 downloads. So Mommy can upload them to her Ipod and take them anywhere. They list for $8.99 or by track for $.99.

My personal favorite lullabyes on this record are Band On The Run, My Love, and Jet. The arrangements are very soothing and each lullaby flows into the next. I can't really say much about the last couple of tracks, because, every time I listen to this record, I fall asleep like a baby.

You can check them all out at Twinkle along with other great artists like Jack Johnson, Michael Jackson, The Foo Fighters and many more.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Two Sides of the Same Coin?

By Martin Fister

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are two tremendous figures in the civil rights movement. Based on some of their famous sayings, such as Martin's "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that," and Malcolm's "Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery," you might believe the two men to be on complete extremes. However, both men actually had very similar policies in the end, as I'd like to show you.

So, Martin Luther King's an easy one. As the quote says, he believed in peaceful resistance a la Gandhi. He promoted peaceful protests like sit-ins and boycotts and all that hoopla. How can Malcolm X, a man known for promoting violence and separationist ideologies, be considered similar? To get a grasp of Malcolm X's ties, it's important to look at both ends of Malcolm X's political activism.

First, while a member of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm promoted a sense of racial pride in being black. While he promoted nationalism and retaliation against whites (Malcolm once said "Power never takes a back step - only in the face of more power"), he also instilled a sense of strength in the black race. Along these lines, Malcolm said "A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself."

Thus, while Martin Luther King was working to bring the whites into a place where they could accept blacks and to see them on the same level, Malcolm X was working to bring blacks to a place where they could accept themselves as being on the same level. Martin Luther King told the blacks to stand strong and love thy neighbor, no matter how that neighbor treated them. Malcolm X told the blacks to stand strong and love thyself, no matter how that neighbor treated them. While different, the ideas work hand in hand with one another and greatly benefit one another.

Second, after leaving the Nation of Islam, Malcolm formed his own organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. This group moved further from violence and served as a political attempt at unifying the black cause in America and building ties to the African community. Under this wing, Malcolm sought to unite with the civil rights movement and to elevate the cause of blacks in America to an international level. Using the organization as a jumping point, Malcolm sought to bring the blacks case to the United Nations and to file a human rights violation case against the United States. Unfortunately, Malcolm X was murdered shortly thereafter in February of 1965 so this part of his legacy often doesn't receive much attention.

To keep it simple, the two men were both strong members of the civil rights movement and despite all the differences between the men, I believe it's an easy task to respect everything they both did. To take some kind of message from all this though, I think it's good to use the teachings of Malcolm X to grasp this idea.

Before you can love someone else, you must first learn to love yourself.

Martin Fister is an active product blogger, writing for web sites including Linksys Wireless Routers and Trolley Suitcase. In his spare time, Martin also pursues his interests in the music industry as a journalist.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Rolling Stones, Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

By Nathan Stallings

One of the more challenging releases in music history, the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request is also one of the more divisive releases. While divisive is an appropriate description of the album's reception within the mainstream music media of the time, it also describes the reception within the Stones' fan base.

The mainstream decried it as a ripoff of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (the cover doesn't help). The Stones fan base, already slightly perplexed by the baroque pop leanings of the Between The Buttons, was pushed over the edge with the album's blatant psychedelic inclinations, while the title of album was sure to turn people away (now it would be considered a boost). In short, the album was doomed from the start.

Fortunately, time does do the album some service as a large number of the tracks, such as the sing-along folk of the lead off track, "Sing This All Together," and the psychedelic sunshine pop of first single, "She's A Rainbow," demonstrate. Bassist Bill Wyman has his only turn as a songwriter for the band with the second single from the album, the baroque pop song "In Another Land," which sounds like it could be from the soundtrack of some medieval fantasy while "Citadel," "The Lantern" and "2000 Man" sound like the rock songs from the same soundtrack.

The cover of the album also lends credence to the whole medieval fantasy concept. The real gem on the album is the dark and moody "2000 Light Years From Home," a nightmare of a track that underscores the dark side of the 60s psychedelic movement.

The album is somewhat weighted down by filler tracks, such as the eight minute-plus "Sing This All Together (See What Happens)," while "Gomper," although somewhat plodding and tedious, does serve as a good lead up to "2000 Light Years From Home." The closer "On With The Show" sounds like a leftover from Between The Buttons but is by no means a letdown as its nonsensical atmosphere (and its underpinning ode to the rock 'n' roll decadence that would consume the band by the early 1970s) is a great way to close out this album.

Unique in its own right, Their Satanic Majesties Request provides an important link between the Stones' early work and their subsequent return to straightforward rock 'n' roll with their subsequent release, Beggar's Banquet. In summary, this album has the trappings of a cult classic.

My name is Nathan Stallings and my interests are both popular music and music history. Some of my favorite artists are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, The Smiths, David Bowie, The Kinks, Depeche Mode, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Muddy Waters, The Cars, Miles Davis, Smashing Pumpkins, Merle Haggard and The Cure too name a few. You can visit my Rolling Stones website at:

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The Beatles in MP3, Finally - The Beatles USB

By Jackson Weinheimer

Holding Out

The Beatles have been one of the few holdouts who have not made their music available in the mp3 format (in fact I don't know of any other band that is not available for mp3 downloads). With the release of The Beatles USB that changes, kind of.

The Beatles USB

Their music will still not be available for download, but it will be available in high quality 320kbps DRM free mp3s in an Apple themed USB stick. This USB stick is essentially a digital version of the critically acclaimed Beatles in Stereo Box Set (which includes digitally remastered versions of all of their stereo albums).

320kbps DRM Free MP3s

These are the best kind of mp3s because they are of the highest quality (much higher quality than those bought on iTunes) and they are DRM free which removes a lot of the headaches (most iTunes downloads have DRM embedded and it can make them annoying to deal with).

24bit FLAC

The Beatles entire remastered stereo catalog is also included in 24bit FLAC on this USB stick. These files are actually of superior sound quality to CDs which are only 16bit. These will be a huge draw to audiphiles who want to hear the greatest band of all time's music in it's best available quality.


A lot of people probably assume I mean the Apple computer company (that runs iTunes and makes iPods and Mac computers) when I say this USB stick has an Apple theme, but I actually mean the Apple company that The Beatles created in 1968 which was originally meant to be involved in various things but really became a record label (they signed James Taylor and Badfinger) that now only really exists for The Beatles music. It's symbol is a green apple, not the apple with a bite taken out of it that is the computer company's logo.

Buy The Beatles MP3s.

The Beatles USB includes The Beatles in FLAC which are audiophile quality (better than CD).

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The Beatles in FLAC - Audiophile Quality Beatles Stereo Catalog in the Beatles USB Memory Stick

By Jackson Weinheimer

The Beatles USB memory stick is the digital version of The Beatles in Stereo Box Set which was released on 9/9/9. It includes all of the same remastered stereo mixes and all of the same visual content (including the mini documentaries, the photographs, the original LP artwork, and the extended liner notes).

The difference is that this version of the stereo box set can easily fit in your hand and includes the songs in mp3 format and 24bit FLAC format. The mp3s can be easily added to and played on any mp3 player (such as a Zune or an iPod) but it's the 24bit FLAC versions that are the topic of this article.

For this remastering project, the original analog tapes were captured in 24bit sound quality and then remastered in 24bit, it wasn't until they were put on CD that they compressed to 16bit. Now with these FLAC files the high quality 24bit sound can be heard by Beatles fans.

It should be noted that these are 44.1kHz FLAC files, not the 96kHz files that audiophiles would prefer, but still the point remains: These are now the best sounding versions of The Beatles albums available and that will make this USB stick a "must buy" for serious Beatles fans and audiophiles all over the world.

Some may wish to hold out in case the 96/24 versions are available at some point in the future (on Blu-Ray discs most likely). But of course there is no guarantee that 96/24 versions will ever be released. At least anytime soon. With this memory stick apparently being a limited edition with only 30,000 copies being made, there may not be an opportunity to purchase it again once it has sold out.

CLICK HERE to learn more about The Beatles USB.

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The Beatles USB - Beatles Entire Discography in the Palm of Your Hand

By Jackson Weinheimer

The Long Wait is Over

For years now there have been rumors that The Beatles music was finally going to be available in digital format (MP3 specifically) so that their music could be easily added to iPods, Zunes, and other mp3 players.

With the release of The Beatles USB on December 8, 2009 it is possible to buy The Beatles entire remastered stereo catalog (all 13 studio albums plus the Past Masters non-album tracks compilation) in the form of this USB memory stick you can easily hold in your hand (and you're welcome for getting "I Want to Hold Your Hand" stuck in your head!).

Digital Version of The Beatles Stereo Box Set

This USB stick is the digital version of Beatles in Stereo Box Set. It contains the same remastered stereo mixes (which sound absolutely outstanding, by the way.) It contains the same 13 mini-documentaries (one for each studio album). It contains the same extended liner notes, exclusive photos, and original vinyl LP artwork.

High Quality 320kbps MP3 Files

The mp3 files included in this memory stick of are the highest quality possible (320kbps). This makes them of higher quality than the vast majority of mp3s available for sale on ITunes and other digital retailers. Most people can't tell the difference between 320kbps mp3s and CDs.

Audiophile Quality 24bit FLAC Files

What will excite serious Beatles fans about this USB stick is that it also includes 24bit FLAC files which will be the highest quality version of these remasters available (CDs are actually only 16bit). Although these are only 44.1kHz FLAC, not 96kHz. (96kHz/24bit is what's usually included on high definiton releases, The Beatles catalog has not yet been released in that format). Still, these 24bit FLAC files have a higher sound quality than CD.

Apple Theme

This USB stick has an Apple theme. Some may assume by that I mean Apple computers, but The Beatles actually started their own company named Apple in 1968 and that's what the (green, not red) apple design of the USB is referencing.

Limited Edition

Only 30,000 copies of this USB stick are being made.

Buy The Beatles USB.

CLICK HERE for more information.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Marvin Gaye - The Real Thing - In Performance 1964-1981 DVD

By Payo W Perry

For far too long there has been a rarity associated with footage of Marvin Gaye on DVD. Of the recent releases however "Real Thing: In Performance 1964-1981" is on of the best and features some really great Marvin Gaye performances for all fans to sit back and enjoy. It's a 16 track compilation and very well put together especially with its re-mastered sound quality and comprehensive colour booklet.

The DVD begins at the very beginning of Marvin's career from Motown and follows his development as a singer, performer and artist right throughout the decades. From the 1960's we get "Hitch Hike", "Can I Get a Witness" and "Ain't That Peculiar" and it's so interesting to see his performances in front of totally white audiences and go-go girl teenagers. By the end you're left in little doubt of how incredibly expressive and pure the voice of Marvin Gaye was.

The DVD does not rely on the TV sound recordings but rather uses the digitally re-mastered audio from the original sound recordings. This makes the sound quality gorgeous especially when played through a quality hi-fi system. The live performances start kicking in at around track 8 with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" from 1969 and together with "Lets Get It On" they provide highlight points for the entire DVD.

Intertwined throughout the film are interviews with Marvin on various TV shows and this helps to bring the music out and help put the periods of his career into context. I would highly recommend this DVD as essential viewing for anyone who likes Marvin Gaye. You'll watch it time and again I'm sure.

The author is a respected online reviewer. You can check out his most recent expert review on mens electric shavers here. The site also has lots of great deals for remington electric shavers

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BOOK REVIEW: The New "Best of James Taylor For Guitar" Tab Book

By Payo W Perry

For anyone wanting to learn how to play some of the most famous songs by James Taylor this book is worth looking at. It's written in guitar TAB so you'll get highly accurate notations for all the chords along with the complete lyric sets for every track. The tracks include Country Road, Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, Fire and Rain, Shower the People, Steamroller, Sweet Baby James, You've Got a Friend and Your Smiling Face among others.

The greatest difficulty when learning how to play tracks by James Taylor are the intricate fingerstyle applications used throughout the chords. Unless you have a well developed ear for guitar then trying to learn these directly off the record would probably only result in a lot of frustration. This book can save you a lot of time and heartache!

I would also recommend that you invest in dedicated fingerstyle lessons as your technique will need to be developed and secure to stand a reasonable chance of being able to play these songs. If your fingerstyle playing is not developed or you learned in an incorrect manner you'll really struggle to get the most out of all this book has to offer.

As with most TAB books it's very useful to have the real recordings available to play next to you while you're your learning. This will help you a lot in terms of being able to hear the rhythm and timing aspects of each track. Often TAB as a medium for notating guitar does not do a good job in this respect.

Finally make sure you learn small sections at a time, use a pencil to mark off where you are and progress slowly each day. The slower you practice the better the end result will be.

The author has a popular online product review site. Be sure to check out his latest expert report for marcy fitness equipment where you'll also find lots of information and bargain deals on marcy home gyms.

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The Beatles USB Includes 24bit FLAC and 320kbps Mp3 Versions of the Beatles Remastered Stereo Catalog

By Jackson Weinheimer

Digital Version of The Beatles in Stereo Box Set

The Beatles USB includes all of the same elements that the very popular Beatles in Stereo Box Set contains, the only difference (and it's a big one) is that the USB contains digital versions of the 16 remastered stereo CDs, 1 DVD (which contains 13 mini-documentaries), extended liner notes (for each album), previously unpublished photographs, and original vinyl artwork that comes with the box set.

High Quality 320kpbs MP3s

The mp3 files in this USB memory stick are of the highest quality possible (for mp3s) and in fact, most people cannot tell 320kpbs mp3s from CD quality. For comparison's sake, the mp3s sold on iTunes are only 128kpbs, and those sold on AmazonMP3 are usually 192kbps or 256kbps.

Audiophile Quality 24bit FLAC

These 44kHz/24bit FLAC files are of superior audio quality in comparison to CDs (which are 44kHz/16bit.) All of The Beatles music on this memory stick is available as both mp3s and FLAC, it's up to the listener to decide which version they want to listen to.

DRM Free

If you've bought music on iTunes you may be familiar with "DRM" which stands for Digital Rights Management and it can be, quite frankly, a pain in the butt. The files on this USB are DRM free.

Limited Edition: 30,000

This is a limited edition of only 30,000 so there's a good chance that they will sell out rather quickly just as the first pressings of the (stereo and mono) box sets did.

The Beatles USB is the 3rd "flavor" of Remastered Beatles to be released.

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Who on Earth Was the Fifth Beatle?

By Bobby A. Spider

On January 24, 1962 the Beatles started to be managed by Brian Epstein. His role in the group was cut short by his sudden death on August 27, 1967 of a drug overdose. Along with the Beatles, Brian managed other groups and artists, such as: Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Cilla Black, and the Remo Four ... but the Beatles were by far the most popular.

What was the impact of Brian Epstein on the development of the Beatles? He has long been attributed to the success of the Beatles (especially in the early years). Paul McCartney is said to have uttered, "If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian".

Brian Samuel Epstein was born on September 19, 1934 in the port city of Liverpool, England. At the young age of 16 he expressed his desire to become a dress designer, but that didn't sit well with his father. His father, mortified at this suggestion, ordered him to "report for duty" at the family's furniture shop. This was certainly not Brian's idea of a meaningful career, but he did comply with the demand.

It is thought that the first time Brian heard of the Beatles was via the issues of the Mersey Beat, and on the numerous posters of them that were displayed around Liverpool at the time. On November 9, 1961 he went past "heard of them" to "heard them" perform at the Cavern Club. He was immediately impressed with their unique sound and their sense of "on stage" humor, and everything steamrolled started from there. On January 24, 1962 the Beatles signed a 5 year contract for Brian to manage them.

Although this was the first time Brian had ventured into the arena of "artist management", he made his impact known early in not only their dress-code, but the attitude that they displayed on stage. It was Brian who encouraged the group to wear suits. He stopped them from smoking, swearing, drinking or eating onstage. Do you happen to remember the synchronized bow at the end of the Beatles performances? It was Brian who suggested that particular formality.

In the early years Brian made many trips to London to try and secure a recording contract for the Beatles. Unfortunately for the labels, he was rejected by many of them (i.e.: Columbia, Philips, Pye, Oriole, and Decca). The Decca audition is a particularly historical one, and we will be discussing this in another article. Eventually Brian worked his way over to EMI, and the Beatles were signed by their Parlophone label (after the group had been rejected by almost every other company). George Martin, the manager of Parlophone never even saw the Beatles play. He said that it was Brian's enthusiasm that won the deal.

As we mentioned previously, Brian died of a drug overdose on August 27, 1967. The Beatles did not attend his funeral as they wanted to give his family privacy. They felt that they would only have drawn the media and fans. Here's a bit of trivia ... Years later, in 2008, the first contract that the Beatles signed with Brian was auctioned off for 240,000 pounds ...

If you would like more information on the Let It Be album, then visit for the very best in Beatles Information.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Moody Blues - "In Search of a Lost Chord"

By John R. Olson

The Moody Blues expanded their songwriting creativity and took us with on a musical songwriting journey with "In Search of a Lost Chord." "In Search of a Lost Chord," is the Moody Blues 3rd album and was released on Deram Records in July 1968. This concept album received its title from the myths many cultures have about a lost chord with incredible powers. It also explored themes of traveling for a quest for spiritual fulfillment, and the different ways you could journey to find this.

The band members chose not to work with an orchestra for this album. In order to get a variety of sounds, Mike Pinder's mellotron is featured as well as 32 other instruments that the band members learned to play themselves. Some of the unusual instruments used included: the sitar (played by Justin Hayward), the tambura (played by Mike Pinder) and the cello (played like a bass guitar by John Lodge). The album was influenced by middle eastern mysticism.

The album opens with "Departure" which is one of their shortest songs at 48 seconds long and features the tambura and a Graeme Edge's poem, recited by Edge. Since most of Edge's poems on their albums are spoken word pieces by Mike Pinder, this is a rare gem. The next song, "Ride My See-Saw", written by John Lodge, was released as a single in October 1968. This song makes the history books since it was one of the first rock 'n roll singles to be recorded on 8 track. "Ride My See-Saw" is a classic rock gem; the song is fun and immediately recognizable when you hear it on the radio.

The third track is "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" is written by Ray Thomas. The fourth and sixth song on Side 1 is "House of Four Doors" which is a 2 part song written and sung by John Lodge. "Legend of a Mind" is the song between the two parts of "House of Four Doors". Legend of a Mind is about Timothy Leary, the LSD guru, is about six and a half minutes long and features a Ray Thomas flute solo.

Side two opens with "Voices in the Sky", written by Justin Hayward and released as a single, before the album in June 1968. The second song, "The Best Way to Travel" is written by Mike Pinder and relays to us how "thinking is the best way to travel."

"Visions of Paradise", the third song on side two, is the first collaboration by Justin Hayward and Ray Thomas. The fourth song is "The Actor" written by Justin Hayward, about a woman's unrequited love for an actor who she only sees on stage.

Side two's fifth song is "The Word" written by Graeme Edge and is a short spoken word piece featuring Mike Pinder at 49 seconds long. The sixth song is "Om" written by Mike Pinder and showcases many instruments, including the sitar, tables, and cello, as well as the Moody Blues usual flute and mellotron.

John is an avid music enthusiast and loves the music from the 60's and 70's. One of the best ways to listen to these artists is on the MFSL platform. The Moody Blues MFSL were one of the few artists that produced multiple records on the gold disc playform.

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Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit a Success‏

by Brent Warnken

Each year, veteran rocker Neil Young and his wife Pegi host the Bridge School Benefit, an annual concert that raises funds for the Northern California school, and this year Coldplay's Chris Martin and No Doubt were on hand to participate in the festivities.

Held on Sunday, Oct. 25 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., the 23rd Bridge School Benefit also featured performances by Fleet Foxes and Wolfmother. Young's wife Pegi founded the Bridge School for children with serious speech and physical impairments, and each year an impressive array of artists turn up to perform for the good cause.

After a pre-show performance by the Dennis Alley Wisdom Dancers, No Doubt got the seven-and-a-half-hour show started with a set list that paid tribute to lead singer Gwen Stefani's husband Gavin Rossdale's band Bush, and the set also featured covers of Prince's "Sometimes It Snows in April" and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." Next up, the newly-reconfigured Australian rock band Wolfmother took the stage, followed by Fleet Foxes and My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James' supergroup Monsters of Folk, which also features Mike Mogis, M. Ward and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst.

Sheryl Crow took the stage later on in the day, ending her set with a rollicking rendition of "Soak Up the Sun," and then comedian Adam Sandler performed comedic songs like "Listenin' to The Radio," "My Little Chicken" and the inevitable "The Chanukah Song" with a full band in tow.

Coldplay's Chris Martin performed a solo set featuring hits from his band's repertoire like "Clocks," "Lost?" and "Viva La Vida" and earned rave reviews from Rolling Stone, with the music magazine claiming Gwyneth Paltrow's husband "knocked out what was arguably the finest 30 minutes of the night." Not to mention Young's concert-closing performance, which ended with the song "Comes a Time."

Now one of the biggest names in rock music, Neil Young embarked upon his solo career after fleeing California folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield in 1968. The Toronto native got his start making the coffeehouse rounds while growing up in Winnipeg and eventually drifted south to California, where he formed Buffalo Springfield. After the band broke up, Young signed a solo contract with Reprise Records and released his self-titled debut album the following year. Around that time, Young recruited his now-famous supporting band Crazy Horse, which appeared on his sophomore solo album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album secured gold status due to hits like "Cinnamon Girl" and "Down by the River."

Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash after churning out two more solo albums, and thus expanded the group's name to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. While with the band, he continued to release solo albums like 1970's After the Gold Rush, which spawned the hit single "Only Love Can Break Your Heart." Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young splintered in 1971, after which point Young released Harvest, his first album to top the charts and his first to feature a number one single, "Heart of Gold" (surprisingly Young's only number one single). The successful album was followed by the poorly received film Journey through the Past and signaled a dark period for Young, highlighted by the deaths of two friends due to drug overdose.

In 1975, Young returned to form with Tonight's the Night and then recorded Zuma with Crazy Horse. After dabbling in country music and abruptly cancelling a tour mid-way through, Young released his so-called comeback album, Rust Never Sleeps, in 1979. The live film of the same name and the double album Live Rust followed, and after a string of confused releases Young jumped labels to Geffen Records. Geffen promised to grant Young complete artistic freedom, and he took their word for it with Trans, an electronic-leaning album that arrived way ahead of its time in 1982. More experimental releases followed, until 1988's This Note's for You saw him returning to his roots.

The 1990s saw a resurgence of interest in the folk-rock of artists like Neil Young, and in 1992 Harvest Moon, the sequel to his 1972 breakthrough album, became Young's biggest hit in recent years. Young upped his cool factor by recording Mirror Ball with grunge band Pearl Jam and steadily released solo albums into the new millennium. Although he was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening brain aneurysm in 2005, Young released the concert film Heart of Gold in 2006, followed by a stream of albums, most recently 2009's Dreamin' Man. Check out Neil Young tickets to see him live.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jimi Hendrix - What Was His Contribution to Music?

By James Mckenna

Technique is often mistaken for musicality. Flying fingers connected to a gigantic stage presence can be blown out of the water in one magical moment when a musician brings that mysterious something, the strange essence that moves our soul and makes us laugh and cry and dance and peek though a new door.

We may not even get it at first, or even really like it, but we are enticed by that wild promise of adventure, a suspicion that the view from the summit will be worth the scramble from the valley.

There have been countless guitarists since the death of Jimi Hendrix who have dazzled us with their style and speed; in some cases possessing seeming complete mastery of the instrument. And while we love what they are doing, when comparisons start being made (he is faster, she has better technique) the point is lost.

What Jimi brought to the table was far more than his innovative approach or flashy swash buckling manner. He invited us on a journey. He opened up our ear to new possibilities, what was once dissonant became a larger palette. Like a crazy jazz player he introduced the whole scale to our ear and even the possibility of micro-tones. He drew us out of the bland and the beige and gave us a taste of new possibilities and lands to conquer.

Of course the foundation was built on after he was gone. But Jimi opened a gate that the next generation of guitar players ran through. Pioneers make the cities of the next generation possible. We are well aware he was not alone, Page, Van Halen, Vai have all been door openers in their own way but I would wager JimI Hendrix has a lot of musicians standing on his shoulders.

What Jimi Hendrix accomplished (apart from those licks that send shivers down your spine) was the inspiration of thousands of the next generation of guitarist. A huge and thunderous army. It must be said we may or may not be grateful for all of those ambassadors of rock who came after; some shine and some make us search for the mute button.

After Jimi was dead there where many who wanted to continue his sound and keep his dream alive. But in many respects they missed the point. He lit up the way to new sounds, opened the door to new possibilities. No one will ever sound just like Jimi Hendrix, who would really want to?

Jimi Hendrix was a wonderful musician, an inspiration and a pioneer. What he left us apart from his amazing songs, was a bigger canvas to paint on and larger wings to soar on ... fly on.

G'day, There would not be many guitarists I know who don't have a soft spot for the music of Jimi Hendrix. Check out my blog for some more guitar inspiration or source some great stuff at Thanks for reading ... James.

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ALBUM REVIEWS: The Rolling Stones - Black and Blue (1976), Emotional Rescue (1980)

By Nathan Stallings

The Rolling Stones' quintessential jam album, Black and Blue is a departure from It's Only Rock n' Roll and Goats Head Soup in the sense that its does not revel in the decadence but merely showcases the band just, well, playing.

One could call Black and Blue the hangover from those two albums. Part of the reason for this was the departure of guitarist Mick Taylor after It's Only Rock n' Roll as the band was auditioning guitarists and because of this, there were numerous guitarists on this album. The band did eventually settle on former Jeff Back Group and faces guitarist Ron Wood, but he would be more extensively featured on the next album, Some Girls.

The album incorporates disco ("Hot Stuff"), reggae ("Cherry Oh Baby"), ballads ("Fool To Cry" and the beautiful "Memory Motel," one of their finest), hard rock ("Hand Of Fate" and "Crazy Mama"), latin music ("Hey Negrita") and tin-pan alley ("Melody"). Like Exile On Main Street, Black and Blue does not feature any massive hits ("Fool To Cry" barely cracked the Top 10) but as a whole it's a rewarding listen. The musical landscape was changing with the emergence of disco and punk, however, and the band would need to revitalize itself (not to mention that Keith Richards would need to sober up) to remain relevant. Never count out the Stones.

Emotional Rescue followed the extremely successful Some Girls and it basically follows the same formula, especially since the album consists of leftovers from the Some Girls sessions. Given this fact it is easy to assume that this album consists of filler, and while this might hold true, it is filler that is very well written and performed. The reggae-tinged mail order bride anthem "Send It To Me," the silly rockers "Summer Romance" and "Where The Boys Go," the Buck Owens-ish "Indian Girl," and the disco rock of "Dance (Pt 1)" are solid songs if not guilty pleasures.

The punky "Let Me Go" and the blues-rock of "Down In The Hole" are winners. The cold but sexy title track track and the Chuck Berry-like "She's So Cold" could be considered classics that hold their own with the rest of the band's catalog, while "All About You" is another brilliant vocal contribution by Keith Richards. Overall, Emotional Rescue is a very solid outing with barely a dull moment, not to mention a terrific way to open up a new decade for the band.

My name is Nathan Stallings and my interests are both popular music and music history. Some of my favorite artists are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, The Smiths, David Bowie, The Kinks, Depeche Mode, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Muddy Waters, The Cars, Miles Davis, Smashing Pumpkins, Merle Haggard and The Cure too name a few. You can visit my Rolling Stones website at:

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Rolling Stones, Aftermath (1966)

By Nathan Stallings

After five studio albums (three in the U.K.), with Aftermath the Rolling Stones finally delivered a set of all original material, with every track written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The album opens with the ominous classic "Paint It, Black" with its signature sitar riff courtesy of Brian Jones.

What is quite noticeable about this album is the level of blatant sexism in several tracks: "Stupid Girl," which paints the perfect portrait of the golddigger; "Under My Thumb" with its catch melody which is further enhanced by the use of Marimbas courtesy of, once again, Brian Jones; "Doncha Bother Me" which sounds like an old blues track with a few modernistic touches; and "Think," the ultimate in your face, who's lying now pop song. "Lady Jane" is a beautiful Elizabethian track with a killer Dulcimer courtesy of ... Brian Jones, and is one their best tracks, while "I Am Waiting" is a beautiful hidden gem with its brooding atmosphere and mildly ominous tone.

"High And Dry" is a solid blues track while "Flight 505" and "It's Not Easy" are a good pieces of blues-rock. The problem with this album is one track, the eleven minute long "Going Home," which took up over a quarter of album. Were the band to have removed or shortened "Going Home", this album would have been even easier to admire as it appeared as if Jagger, Richards and the rest of the band didn't exactly now where they were "going." Ample credit must be given to Brian Jones for this album as his stylistic touches helped the group build upon their rock 'n' roll meets blues foundation. That said, Aftermath is one of the best albums of the 1960s.

The British version of Aftermath, which was actually released earlier than the American version, trades in "Paint It Black" for the prescription drug ode (and American Top Ten hit) "Mother's Little Helper." It was common place in Britain before Sgt. Pepper's to not include major singles on an album.

In addition to the swap, the album adds three tracks to the mix: another blatantly sexist, sneering number "Out Of Time," with an excellent intro courtesy of Brian Jones and his Marimbas; the beautiful and soulful "Take It Or Leave It"; and the country-ish "What To Do." All three are worthy additions and the absence of "Paint It Black" does not diminish the quality of the album.

My name is Nathan Stallings and my interests are both popular music and music history. Some of my favorite artists are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, The Smiths, David Bowie, The Kinks, Depeche Mode, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Muddy Waters, The Cars, Miles Davis, Smashing Pumpkins, Merle Haggard and The Cure too name a few. You can visit my Rolling Stones website at:

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Beatles record label EMI suing for offering unauthorized downloads of the Fab Four's tracks for sale

from on behalf of Robert

According to Reuters, BEATLES record label EMI is suing U.S. music website, which it said was offering unauthorized downloads of the Fab Four's tracks for sale. "EMI has not authorized content to be sold on," a spokeswoman said.

EMI confirmed it had filed a copyright infringement suit against in a US court earlier this week. offers songs for 25 US cents each, around one quarter of what a song would typically cost on the dominant online music retail site iTunes, owned by Apple Inc.

On offer is an extensive list of Beatles albums, both original and recently remastered versions, despite the fact that the band has yet to agree with music providers to the release of its cherished catalog online.

A year ago, former Beatle Paul McCartney said the band was keen to make its music available on Apple's iTunes music store, but that negotiations had stalled.

The settlement of a trademark dispute between Apple and The Beatles' company Apple Corps Ltd had raised hopes among fans and record company executives that the way was finally clear for the catalog to make it online.

McCartney said the dispute holding back online sales of Beatles music now lay between the band and EMI.

He said EMI wanted "something we're not prepared to give 'em."

Music industry sources said they suspected EMI's action against BlueBeat could be followed by other major labels whose content features on the site.

ALBUM REVIEW: The Rolling Stones, Goats Head Soup (1973)

By Nathan Stallings

Coming on the heels of the Rolling Stones' most acclaimed album Exile On Main Street and a four album winning streak, Goats Head Soup had the deck stacked against it from the beginning as the reviews were less than enthusiastic with some critics proclaiming it the band's worst album since 1967's Their Satanic Majesties Request.

First off, Their Satanic Majesties Request was not a bad album, and neither is Goats Head Soup. As a matter fact, it is very good - and on top of this it shows Mick Jagger and Keith Richards going in different directions, as Jagger is ascending up the celebrity A-list while Richards is slipping deeper into drug addiction.

There are moments that border on the rock n' roll decadence parody that the subsequent It's Only Rock 'n Roll would bring to the surface as the opening track, "Dancing With Mr D." "Dancing" would take the band's (namely Jagger's) satanic image to comic extremes while the closing track "Star Star" (originally titled "Starf___er") celebrated their (and many other celebrities') decadent lifestyle in an over-the-top sexually explicit manner.

Aside from those two tracks there are beautiful songs: such as the haunting "100 Years Ago"; the smash hit ballad "Angie" which Jagger wrote for Anita Pallenberg (who was married to Keith Richards at the time!); the majestic and drugged out tracks "Winter" (which recalls "Moonlight Mile" on Sticky Fingers) and Keith's vocal contribution "Coming Down Again"; and the murky psychedelia of "Can You Hear The Music." Of course there is always good blues rock as "Silver Train" and "Hide Your Love" best demonstrate.

The highpoint along with maybe "Angie" is the socially conscious funky hard-rocker "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" which deals with the grit and filth of 1970s New York City, namely the accidental shooting of a young boy by the police.

While Goats Head Soup might be a notch below Exile, it is much more accessible, not to mention, a great album.

My name is Nathan Stallings and my interests are both popular music and music history. Some of my favorite artists are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, The Smiths, David Bowie, The Kinks, Depeche Mode, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Muddy Waters, The Cars, Miles Davis, Smashing Pumpkins, Merle Haggard and The Cure too name a few. You can visit my Rolling Stones website at:

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50 Years of Music Label Island Records - Could You Not Be Loved?

By Beert Paters

After Motown blew out its 50 candles earlier this year (January 12), it's now time for another legendary record label to celebrate its semicentennial anniversary: Chris Blackwell's Island Records. Although never achieving the same mythical status as Berry Gordy Jr's soul label, the label-with-the-palm certainly isn't inferior to it.

The past half century Sun Island has put several genres firmly on the world music map. Jamaica's reggae of course (yep, all the classics, all the big names), but also the British folk rock of Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson and Nick Drake. And who can forget Bryan and Brian's art rock (Roxy Music) or Cat Stevens' singalong gems?

The list of quality, talent-in-abundance players goes on and on. How about Steve Gimme Some Lovin' Winwood, the androgynous disco of Grace Jones, U2's impressive back catalogue (they literally got Blackwell out of some difficult mid 1980s years), or enfants terrible Tom Waits and PJ Harvey? And oh yes, even Sugababes' hot nightclub-lick Push the Button got the blessing. Unlike Motown, Island also plays a role anno 2009, albeit now as part of big daddy Universal - with Mika, Amy Winehouse, Keane, The Killers and The Fratellis among others.

The celebrations are taking on many forms: gala evenings, live shows, documentaries, a fist-sized biography, a website, reissues and compilations. Such as the compilation boxes (each with three CDs) War ina Babylon: An Island Reggae Anthology 1959-2005 (no trace of Islands biggest star Bob Marley though, presumably a matter of rights), Meet on the Ledge: An Island Folk-Rock Anthology 1967-1977 (a good cross section), Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Anthology 1967-1972 (bad 7 years for the Shrooms with millennium-party plans) and Island Life: 50 Years of Island Records (the greatest hits of the past fifty years, plus covers by contemporary artists - Winehouse, Sugababes, The Feeling , Paul Weller, and others).

Maybe Island Records' achievements can best be accoladed by the success of some of Robert Palmer's works. Where soul, rock and pop, blues and jazz blend in to become one joyous cocktail. Back and forth, Fast and slow. South and north. I'd like to now propose a toast. To the best of both worlds. Cheers, Islanders. Happy 50.

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Beatles Remastered - Rubber Soul Recorded in 1965 Sounds Like a 2009 Performance!

By John R Powell

Is the Rubber Soul the soul that bounces back? You cannot tell that this music was made in 1965. The remastered version that were just acoustically upgraded in 2009 are so superior in every way to the original recordings that you'll want to throw the original versions away.

If you close your eyes and listen to the remastered version of Rubber Soul you might think you're sitting in the recording studio while this is being made. The distinctiveness of the individual tracks is simply amazing. Even though you might have heard these songs hundreds of times, listening to the remastered version is like hearing them for the first time. Indeed, all the sounds were on the original recordings, but the quality and the separation have to be experienced to be appreciated.

The name "Rubber Soul" was conceived by Paul McCartney after overhearing a black musician's description of Mick Jagger's singing style as "plastic soul". Lennon confirmed this in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, stating, "That was Paul's title ... meaning English soul. Just a pun."

John Lennon has also stated "Rubber Soul" as being The Beatles' first album where they had complete creative control during the recording sessions. This is obvious when you listen to the lyrics of the songs on "Rubber Soul" compared to previous albums. The relationships between the sexes moved from simpler boy-girl love songs on the previous albums to more subtle , even negative characterization on "Rubber Soul".

As with every Beatles' album, the genre and style change when compared to previous releases. "Rubber Soul" has a definite folk rock feel to the album. All four of the Beatles were fans of Bob Dylan; John Lennon notes Dylan as a prominent influence on his music during this point in his lifetime and career. "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" is often cited as The Beatles' first conscious recognition of the lyrical innovations of Bob Dylan.

"Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" is also acknowledged as one of the cornerstones of what is now usually called "world music" and is a major landmark in the trend towards incorporating non-Western musical influences into Western popular music. The reason for this is because George Harrison incorporated the Indian stringed instrument, the sitar, into the song. The use of the sitar was just one of the innovations the Beatles' were using.

They had just started to begin with recording innovations that would forever change the face of their music. For instance, on the song "In My Life" the keyboard solo sounds like a harpsichord but it is a piano. They recorded at half speed, so when they played it back it sounded like a harpsichord.

Other production innovations included the use of electronic sound processing on many instruments, notably the heavily compressed and equalized piano sound on John Lennon's "The Word"; this distinctive effect soon became extremely popular in the genre of psychedelic music. One more innovation that the Beatles used was just plain creativity.

On the song "I'm Looking Through You", Ringo Starr tapped a pack of matches with his finger to get the percussion effect that they wanted for that particular song.

"Rubber Soul" was the very beginning of the psychedelic phase that the Beatles went through from 1965-1970. One can hear the beginnings of what would become "All You Need Is Love" when you listen to "The Word". This album also marked the end of the Beatles' "mop top" days.

"Rubber Soul" was a major artistic achievement, a beginning of a transformation towards sophisticated rock 'n' roll that would define their later career. Critics and fans believed that "Rubber Soul" was the first album to not just fill up an album with single tracks, but have a full and complete album without the use of "filler" tracks. To this day, "Rubber Soul" is still seen as a major artistic achievement; and it's still great music to listen to.

John Powell is an educator turned internet marketing educator. His website offers simple yet effective techniques and strategies for educating yourself and then taking the necessary steps to walk into a profitable internet marketing future.

Recruiting and prospecting are actually the life blood of your home-based business. Click on the link for a free E-course. John has a refreshing approach and a different way to think about how to get People to Join Your Business.

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Beatles Remastered - Abbey Road Recorded in 1969 Sounds Like a 2009 Performance!

By John R Powell

With the exception of the 2000 compilation and Let It Be Naked in 2003, fans have been listening to the Beatles as they were put on CD in 1987. That is now 22 years ago. Sound technology has improved leaps and bounds since then.

If you're thinking you've heard the Beatles songs hundreds and hundreds of times, I'm telling you that the remastered CD's are the closest thing to new Beatle music as we're ever going to experience. The first song "Come Together" has so many "new" sounds that are actually sounds that were on the original recordings but they weren't separate and distinct as they are now on the remastered CD's.

For these new remastered tracks, engineers went back to the original tapes that George Martin mastered. They dug for all of the audio details of the individual sounds. The quality of the Beatles recordings were mostly very meticulous. George Martin in my estimation is the fifth Beatle. Four Beatles in the recording studio and the fifth (George Martin) was in the control booth. His contribution to their sound, their creative efforts and their overall success is undeniable. His recording techniques were brilliant to say the least. New life has truly been breathed into music that has proven itself timeless. Is this worth the investment of replacing older versions? Absolutely!

Abbey Road is the 17th U.S. album and the 11th U.K. album released. Even though Let It Be was the last album released before the dissolution of the Beatles in 1970, Abbey Road was the last album that was properly started by the band before they disbanded. Let It Be was nearly finished when Abbey Road started, and after releasing Abbey Road, the Beatles went back and completed various overdubs and a couple of recordings before finally releasing Let It Be. Basically, even though Let It Be is technically the last album ever released by the Beatles, Abbey Road is their true swan song. It is their true final goodbye.

Abbey Road has two sides that are completely different in style. The first side is full of single songs. The second side is a suite of compositions that Lennon and McCartney wrote that are combined together into a complex melody. I believe side two of Abbey Road is what makes this album one of the greatest of all time.

Side two has songs that if you look at the individual songs, they are just incomplete and fragmented songs. The suite starts with the McCartney composition "You Never Give Me Your Money", which is the only song that I would consider complete by itself. It continues on with "Sun King", "Mean Mr. Mustard", and "Polythene Pam". All three of these songs were composed by John Lennon.

The suite continues on with the McCartney penned songs "She Came in through the Bathroom Window", "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight", and "The End". The song "Carry That Weight" has part of the song "You Never Give Me Your Money" in it. They use that song as the bridge for "Carry That Weight" and then it goes back to the original song and continues on to "The End".

In my opinion, one of the most beautiful pieces of music the Beatles have ever done is the very end of the song "The End". It has the lyrics, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make". These are the last lyrics in the last song on the last album the Beatles have ever produced. It is a fitting ending for the greatest group I've ever listened to. The way that Producer George Martin and Paul McCartney compile these together proves that the Beatles (plus George Martin), when together, are bigger than any of them could ever be individually.

Abbey Road was named the 14th best album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. I personally think that it is better than some of the Beatles other albums that rank higher in Rolling Stones list. Particularly Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which ranks at #1 on the list. I think Abbey Road is better in so many ways. Abbey Road has more three part harmonies in it than any other Beatle album recorded.

The biggest aspect that sets it apart from other Beatle albums is the Abbey Road medley, the suite of songs that take up side 2 of the album. Nobody in the world has ever been able to reproduce anything like it. Nobody ever will. If you followed the fab four after the split, you know that with just a few exceptions the magic that was so special about most of the Beatle music was for the most part not present in the music of John, Paul, George or Ringo in their individual careers after the Beatles. They obviously had a magic as the Beatles that was greater than their individual talents. Collectively their was a creative synergy that transformed their individual gifts into something that had a large part in transforming the culture of their day.

My name is John Powell. I'm an educator turned internet marketer. I was hesitant to start writing articles because I didn't think that I had a lot to give to people. But shortly after I began, I found my voice. I discovered that I had a lot to say. I enjoy writing articles. I enjoy sharing information with others. I get a lot of satisfaction by helping others get connected with success.

Right now I'm giving away an email series that is very powerful. It's called The 10 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Join any Business.

Visit, enter your name and email in the box and you'll get the first article/email in just a couple minutes.

Starting in late October I'll be giving away a revolutionary browser (like Firefox or Explorer). This browser will do something that no other browser will do. It will share a portion of the advertising revenue with the person who uses the browser.

John Powell

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