Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review of "Clapton, The Autobiography"

It's summer and like most of you, I am catching up on my reading list. Over the past years, several of my music friends highly recommended Eric Clapton's autobiography that was first published in 2007.  I finally got a chance to read it. Although this book became a New York Times bestseller, I personally  found it somewhat disappointing and not at all uplifting. I will give Clapton a good deal of credit for doing the writing himself and not going with the guest-writer route that most rock stars have used.  However, Clapton's lack of writing skills resulted in a book that was somewhat boring in parts for the reader.  That said, Clapton's honesty about his own shortcomings and his love for the blues and the major players that influenced his career makes the book "a must" for all Clapton fans.

 Eric painted a life story of a troubled young boy with an identity problem who evolved into a chauvinistic unhappy narcissist. It seemed to me that Clapton's life was consumed by the need to capture things and people he wanted and once he got them he lost interest which is what occurred with his relationship with Pattie Boyd. However, on a positive note, his description of his burning love for Pattie Boyd while she was still married to George Harrison produced his outstanding song "Layla".

Like most of the rock stars of the 70's, Clapton goes into great detail about his addictions that somehow did not kill him until he finally turned the corner and cleaned up.  I found his comments about his thoughts and relationship with other extraordinary musicians like the Stones, the Beatles, B.B. King, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan very interesting. I was disappointed that Clapton did not spend more time writing about his wonderful guitar playing.  I think it would have greatly added to the enjoyment of the book.

Music Man Awards This Book "2 Quarter Notes"

4 Quarter Notes= Excellent Book, Must Read
3 Quarter Notes= Good Book
2 Quarter Notes= Somewhat Interesting
1 Quarter Notes= Save Your Time and Money

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Review of "From California With Love". West Coast Musicians Step Up To Raise Money for Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief

Diane Hubka

I recently came across a new CD produced as a result of an idea that came from the great singer/guitarist Diane Hubka and renowned producer Bill Reed of SSJ Records. Japan has always been a welcome place for American Jazz performers, and the purpose of this new CD is an attempt by this group of talented musicians to return the love in Japan's time of need. 100% of all sales goes to Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief.

Bill Reed

The CD includes some familiar and respected singers and musicians featuring tracks from: Diane HubkaAlan Broadbent, Jim Cox, Johnny Holiday, Christian Jacob, Leslie Lewis, Dick Noel, Frankie RandallSue Raney, Kurt Reichenbach, Dan Sawyer, Tierney Sutton, Pinky Winters, and a special bonus track by the late Chris Connor.

There are 13 tracks on this CD and if you love hearing superb singers and musicians playing great songs, you must buy this CD. Every singer and musician on this CD will leave you wanting more.

List of Album Tracks and Performers:
1.   Blue Skies: Sue Raney and Alan Broadbent
2.   Sweet and Lovely: Alan Broadbent
3.   Strike Up The Band: Johnny Holiday and Sam Most
4.   Skylark: Leslie Lewis and Gerard Hagen
5.   Here's To Life: Kurt Reichenbach and Jim Cox
6.   Sweet Happy Life (Samba de Orfeu): Diane Hubka and Dan Sawyer
7.   Ue Wo Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki): Christian Jacob
8.   Beautiful Love: Tierney Sutton and Christian Jacob
9.   We Can Work It Out: Jim Cox
10. Dream: Dick Noel
11. I Feel A Song Coming on; Chris Connor
12. The Wave: Frankie Randall
13. You'll Never Walk Alone: Pinky Winters and Jim Cox

I know my music friends in Palm Springs will just flip over this CD.  Many of my favorites are on this CD: Sue Raney, Alan Broadbent,  the always great Frankie Randall and the one and only Tierney Sutton. But as a bonus, I got to know some talented new friends, Johnny Holiday, Sam Most, Leslie Lewis, Gerard Hagen, Kurt Reichenbach, the remarkable Jim Cox, Diane Hubka, Dan Sawyer, Christian Jacob, Dick Noel, The late great Chris Connor and Pinky Winters.  All these great singers and musicians for $20 and it goes to a worthy cause.  The best deal in town!  You can buy the CD on CDBaby.

By the way, singer/guitarist Diane Hubka who was one of the driving forces on this CD, has a new release by SSJ Records, "I Like It Here: Live in Tokyo".  I will be doing a review of this CD in the near future. Look her up, she is an exciting talent.

I can't leave this posting without a comment about producer Bill Reed.  I had no idea of who Bill Reed was or what he had done until I started to do some research for this review.  I went on the SSJ Records site and was just knocked out by the outstanding singers Bill has produced over the years; one better than the next. This gentlemen knows what great sounds are all about.  Thanks Bill for keeping quality music playing!                                                                                                                                                          

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Who Is Harry Nilsson And Why Is Everybody Talkin About Him?"

I am sure that some of you have heard of or were fans of the great singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson.  I have not followed Harry's career but I did know he wrote and performed some really great songs. I was recently contacted by Lauren Dellipoali who works for "SnagFilms" who sent me a link to a new movie they produced called "Who is Harry Nilsson and Why Is Everybody Talkin About Him?". She gave me permission to share the movie with my readers for free but only until August 19. I watched the movie and I found it professionally done and very interesting.  This movie explores the very complex but interesting life and career of Harry Nilsson and looks at many of his relationships in the music business including comments from his friends including John Lennon and Ringo Starr.

I would also encourage you to checkout the SnagFilms site,  They have an online library of over 2,100 films that are unusual and entertaining.

Check out the Nilsson film,,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Steven Tyler's Autobiography: "Does the Noise In My Head Bother You?"

When I decided to read Steven Tyler's autobiography "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?", I really did not know what to expect other than Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll.  I was not disappointed but Tyler's book also gives us a very honest and frank look into more than Steven Tyler "The Rock Star". It also gives us an up close look at Steven Tyler "The Person".  While it seemed like Steven was having a lot of fun talking his way through his past life for this book, I believe that he did reveal the more real person under all the star trappings.  Along the way, Tyler colorfully tells us abut his life of debauchery, sex and drugs in a very off the cuff manner. Tyler wrote this book with the help of David Dalton, the founding editor of Rolling Stone Magazine.  Dalton did an remarkable job of organizing and making sense out of the constantly changing thoughts that seem to just pour out of Tyler. At times, Tyler seemed to be in a stream of conciseness with the clear purpose of playing with the reader's head. But that said, clearly Steven Tyler knows who he is, where he has been and where he still wants to go.

 Steven Tyler is highly intelligent as well as talented.  He knew what he wanted and he was willing to pay the price to get it. Tyler's description of his important and complicated relationship with his creative partner Joe Perry was fascinating.  Seems like most of the legendary rock bands of the 60's, 70's and 80's were defined by at least one strong partnership like Paul and John and Mick & Keith and of course,  Tyler and Perry.

This is the third "Rock Star" autobiography that I have read recently and still don't understand why with all of their outstanding musical and performing talents they all needed to immerse themselves in  drugs and alcohol to reach their creative highs? It's interesting to note that all three, Keith, Eric and Steven have been clean for years now and are still producing some talented and creative work without the "creative inspiration" of drugs or alcohol.

Music Man Awards This Book "3 Quarter Notes"

4 Quarter Notes= Excellent Book, Must Read
3 Quarter Notes= Good Book
2 Quarter Notes= Somewhat Interesting
1 Quarter Note=  Save You Time and Money

CD Review: John Vanore, "Primary Colors"

Trumpeter, Composer, Producer, Educator and Bandleader John Vanore has just released a long-forgotten studio recording of a duet he reco...