Saturday, April 10, 2021

Saturday Slumgullion


Mr. Wood’s Rolling Stones portrait is available for sale on his website.

Congratulations to musician/artist Ronnie Wood on being honored with the Freedom of the City of London, which recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement. Wood also recently posted on Facebook that he’s been performing with The Rolling Stones for 46 years. And he’s got the paintings  to prove it.


It’s about time. WXRT finally extended the list of years it covers for the weekly Saturday Morning Flashback program to include 2000 and 2001. The Chicago radio station had only been going up to 1999 for quite a while. Air personality Johnny Mars did a fine job ushering in both of the new years in a special combo edition this morning. Mars, Richard Milne, and Frank E. Lee take turns hosting Saturday Morning Flashback, and I would be remiss if I did’t mention that Wendy Rice also did a great job running it for several years before they took over.


Tina, a new documentary about Tina Turner directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, premiered recently on HBO. According Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper’s three-and-a-half-star review, the film offers a “treasure trove of archival footage, interviews with former backup singers and songwriters and other associates of Tina’s, as well as a series of interviews with Turner.” The documentary will be available on demand via HBO, HBO2, and HBO Latino through May 2.


Morgan Fisher from Mott The Hoople makes a guest appearance as a synthesizer player on the new “She Ain't No Fluffer” single by The Handcuffs. The catchy, ribald tale is one of the two tracks featuring Fisher on the band’s upcoming Burn The Rails album. It will be the Chicago band’s fourth effort.


The 37th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival opened this past Thursday and will feature a mix of 36 virtual screenings and drive-in screenings at ChiTown Movies at 2348 S. Throop.


Just a heads up to Steve Marriott fans: The April issue of MOJO magazine (with Lana Del Rey on the cover) comes with a free 15-track CD titled Afterglow: Rare! Live! Unreleased! - Steve Marriott - Small Faces - Humble Pie.


Tomorrow, April 11 is the final day to catch a livestream of Sweet Home Chicago Blues - Celebrating 50 Years Of Alligator Records on YouTube. The event features Billy Branch And The Sons Of Blues, along with special guests Shemekia Copeland; Toronzo Cannon; and Lil’ Ed Williams.


It was great to see Miriam Di Nunzio’s article in this past Thursday’s Chicago Sun-Times about the Mercury Theater staging (pun intended) a comeback a year after it announced it had closed for good due to the pandemic. Dancer-choreographer Christopher Chase Carter has been announced as the new Artistic Director. A few years back, my wife Pam and I enjoyed the Mercury Theater’s production of Spamalot so much we came a second time, along with some friends.


Chicago-based, hard-edged power pop band The Viaducts will kick off the month of May with a live gig on Chicago’s north side. More info to come. 


The Illinois Rock And Roll Museum On Route 66 is finally here but will need donations and subscribers to reach its full potential. The museum is housed in a three-story building at 9 West Cass Avenue in Joliet, Illinois, with exhibits that celebrate the history, genres and cultures that have shaped the work of local musicians who went on to become world famous. There will be a stage for live performances, a photo/art gallery, and an educational studio. Those looking to lend their support can sign up at the website.


Garbage is set to release its seventh album—No Gods No Masters—on June 11. A short preview of the song “The Men Who Rule The World” suggests it would be a good segue from Sunshine Boys’ song “Infinity Girl.”


As noted in a recent post on The Second Disc website, several recording artists have joined forces on a tribute album for the late Adam Schlesinger. The Saving For A Custom Van 3-LP set on pink vinyl is due out in September on Vinyl Me Please and will feature cover versions of Schlesinger compositions by Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood; Kay Hanley; Nada Surf; Rachel Bloom; Ted Leo; and others. The material showcases Schlesinger’s impressive work with Fountains Of Wayne and Ivy, as well as on motion picture soundtracks. All proceeds from the album will go to MusicCares COVID-19 Relief.


The Who will present a free livestream of a documentary about the creation its 1967 The Who Sell Out album on nugs.net on April 22. A post on the band’s official Instagram site promises rare archival footages well as new interviews with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry. The Who have a Super Deluxe Edition of The Who Sell Out arriving on April 23 that includes 112 tracks on five CDs and two seven-inch singles.


Stevie Van Zandt has added being an author to his list of entertainment-related activities. His book Unrequited Infatuations is now available for preorder from Hachette Books in print, eBook, and audio formats.


Singer-guitarist Steve Dawson from Dolly Varden and Funeral Bonsai Wedding has co-written an emotionally rich, fairy tale type musical with Bob Drucker that’s titled The Plane That Took A Train. It’s going to be released as a six-part podcast in the near future and features 15 songs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Get Your Kicks


It’s been a while since I first heard about the plan to create an Illinois Rock And Roll Museum honoring the wealth of talent that’s emerged from this state over the decades. So it was a pleasant surprise when Brad Elvis recently posted a video on Facebook promoting the museum’s arrival. Brad Elvis, a founding member of The Handcuffs, as well as a veteran of The Elvis Brothers, Big Hello, and Screams, appears in the 30-second clip, along with Eddie “King” Roeser from Urge Overkill, vocalist Jenny Hall, vocalist Megon McDonough, and Gary Klebe from Shoes. Their collective message is that the Illinois Rock And Roll Museum On Route 66 is finally here but will need donations and subscribers to reach its full potential.

The museum is housed in a three-story building at 9 West Cass Avenue in Joliet, Illinois, with exhibits that celebrate the history, genres and cultures that have shaped the work of local musicians who went on to become world famous. There will be a stage for live performances, a photo/art gallery, and an educational studio. Those looking to lend their support can sign up at the website.


The website is also worth checking out for the t-shirts, mugs, and books at its online store. Cheap Trick is prominently featured in the merchandise, particularly via miniature replicas of Rick Nielsen’s fabulous guitars. Cheap Trick is among the artists chosen for the Illinois Rock And Roll Museum’s first Hall Of Fame induction, but the celebration has been postponed due to COVID-19. The other 2020 inductees are Muddy Waters, Ides Of March, REO Speedwagon, Buddy Guy, Chicago, The Buckinghams, WLS Radio, Larry Lujack, Dick Biondi, Chess Records, and The Thirsty Whale. The Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66 is a public charity 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Happy Birthday, Agnetha, Allan, Joe and Steve.


Cheers, Mr. Clarke. Welcome Back

Hard to believe I only just noticed that my nephew Joe Flamm was born on the same day as Allan Clarke, a founding member of The Hollies. Not the same year, of course, but both came into the world on an April 5th. You can add ABBA vocalist Agnetha Fältskog and Chicago-based musician Steve Dawson to those celebrating today.

Allan Clarke’s distinctive vocals can be heard on several Top 40 Hits, including “Look Through Any Window,” “I Can’t Let Go,” “Long Cool Woman,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and “The Air The I Breathe.” The gorgeous harmonies he created with Graham Nash and Tony Hicks and the music he co-wrote with them resulted in The Hollies being inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Clarke retired in 2000, but released the impressive comeback solo effort Resurgence in 2019.

Joe Flamm will be opening his Rose Mary restaurant in Chicago’s trendy Fulton Market area on April 20, and it’s not just family pride that has me thinking it’s a big deal. My nephew was previously Executive Chef at the critically acclaimed Spiaggia restaurant on Michigan Avenue, and he won the Season 15 Top Chef competition on the Bravo channel. A recent video he posted to his Instagram page garnered 16,246 views. If I get 10 Likes on one of my Facebook posts, I think it’s a hit. Rose Mary will specialize in Italian and Croatian food, pastries and fine wines.

Singer-guitarist Steve Dawson has drawn critical acclaim for his work with the alt rock/Americana band Dolly Varden he fronts with his wife Diane Christiansen, as well as his other band Funeral Bonsai Wedding. There’s an article by Doug George in today’s Chicago Tribune about an emotionally rich, fairy tale type musical called The Plane That Took A Train that Dawson co-wrote with Bob Drucker for kids. It’s going to be released as a six-part podcast in the near future and features 15 songs. Along with Dawson and Drucker, the cast includes Thatcher Jacobs and Kar Kron.

In addition to sharing the same birthday, Agnetha Fältskog and Allan Clarke were both inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2010. Definitely two good reasons for throwing a joint party. ABBA’s major hits include “Waterloo,” “Fernando,” “S.O.S.,” and “Dancing Queen.” Their songs inspired the Mamma Mia musical. While I’ve seen Allan Clarke, Joe Flamm, and Steve Dawson in person, the closest I’ve come to catching Fältskog in action was when local singer Holly Senchak Dausch and The Webstirs did a top notch ABBA tribute as part of a Halloweekend bash at Martyrs a number of years back. Amazingly, Senchak Dausch was every bit as believable as Courtney Love when her band Metropolly performed as Hole a year earlier.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Slumgullion


As noted in a recent post on The Second Disc website, several recording artists have come together for an Adam Schlesinger tribute album. The Saving For A Custom Van 3-LP set on pink vinyl is due out in September from Vinyl Me Please and will features cover versions of Schlesinger compositions by Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood; Kay Hanley; Nada Surf; Rachel Bloom; Ted Leo; and others. The material showcases Schlesinger’s impressive work with Fountains Of Wayne and Ivy, as well as on motion picture soundtracks. All proceeds from the album will go to MusicCares COVID-19 Relief.

It’s so good to see live in-person shows returning to the Early Warnings concert listings in The Chicago Reader. Toward the top of the list, you’ll find a free Amazing Heeby Jeebies gig in the beer garden at Montrose Saloon tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 pm. Other shows listed include Bluesy Tuesday featuring Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials at FitzGerald’s on April 6; Michael Steve Cohen from The Abbeys and The Pop Dollies at Montrose Saloon on April 11, 18, and 25; Waco Brothers at FitzGerald’s on April 10; Clannad at the Irish American Heritage Center on September 20; Alanis Morissette, Garbage, and Liz Phair at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater on September 11; Sinead O’Connor at City Winery on August 18, 19 and 21; and Tame Impala and Perfume Genius at United Center on October 7. The Chicago Reader, Chicago’s long-running free paper is available throughout the downtown and north side Chicago areas.


The Morrison Hotel graphic novel about The Doors from Z2 Comics has finally come out after a lengthy pre-order period. Written by Leah Moore and featuring a number of artists and colorists, it covers various aspects of the band’s career, with plenty of turbulent and free love 1960s atmosphere.


Cheap Trick is having an album release party for its new In Another World album on iHeart Radio stations and on the oHeart YouTube site next Friday, April 9. There will be a picture disc version available exclusively at Target stores.


The Who will present a free livestream of a documentary about the creation its 1967 The Who Sell Out album on nugs.net on April 22. An post on the band’s official Instagram site promises rare archival footages well as new interviews with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry. The Who have a Super Deluxe Edition of The Who Sell Out arriving on April 23 that includes 112 tracks on five CDs and two seven-inch singles, this edition features an 80-page hard cover book, rare posters, inserts, and stickers.


I had never heard of the Strum and Thrum various artists compilation until Mark Caro praised it in an article he wrote about 1980s jangle rock for last Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times. Caro is a writer I enjoy and respect, so I immediately ordered a copy. The 28-track double CD is as he described it—brimming with energetic guitar playing and catchy melodies reminiscent of R.E.M. Aside from The Reverbs, I hadn’t heard of any of these bands but I quickly got into their music. Caro also likes the new box set by the the 1980s band Pylon, so I might look into that next. 


Things I learned from the March issue of MOJO that came in the mail this week: John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame has two sons who have formed a psychedelic blues band named Hearty Har; Barry Gibb was quite a bit taller than his brothers Maurice and Robin when they first started performing together as kids; and the magazine’s staff thinks “A Forest” was the best song The Cure ever recorded.


Sweet Home Chicago Blues - Celebrating 50 Years Of Alligator Records is now streaming on YouTube and will be available to watch through April 11. The event features Billy Branch And The Sons Of Blues, along with special guests Shemekia Copeland; Toronzo Cannon; and Lil’ Ed Williams.


Stevie Van Zandt has added being an author to his list of entertainment-related activities. His book Unrequited Infatuations is now available for pre-order from Hachette Books in print, eBook, and audio formats.


The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit at the Lighthouse ArtSpace in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood has been extended through September 6. Organizers have social distancing, along with numerous other health and safety measures in place, so visitors can be surrounded by the world famous artist’s best works for a little over a half hour.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday Slumgullion


The Chicago Reader’s annual Best Of Chicago issue came out last Friday, and as with past editions, this one will be stored in my archive of favorite newspapers and magazines. The Best of Chicago honors are spread across several categories. Here’s a sample of the winners: Best Record Store
  - Reckless Records, runner-up Laurie’s Planet Of Sound; Best Local Label - Bloodshot Records; Best Rock Band - Wilco; Best R&B Artist - Jamila Woods; Best Punk Band - Rise Against; Best Established Theatre Company - Steppenwolf; Best Radio Station WBEZ, runner-up WXRT; Best Radio DJ Lin Brehmer; Best Outdoor Music Venue - FitzGerald’s; Best Advocacy Organization - My Block, My Hood, My City; Best Charity - Greater Chicago Food Depository; and Best Overall Best Athlete - Javier Baez. You can grab a copy of the Chicago Reader from one of the its boxes downtown and on the north side, and at assorted venues in those areas. The issue is also available online

The TheaterMania website ran an encouraging post recently stating New York City is planning to have Broadway and off-Broadway productions up and running by this fall. Dedicated COVID-19 vaccination sites and a mobile vaccination unit are coming, along with guidelines for keeping performers and audiences safe. While I was reading the post, a song from the Mr. McGoo Christmas special came to mind. 


In related news, Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones recently reported that Second City will reopen with live shows on May 7. Some of America’s best-known comedy performers got their first big break at Second City. 


The English Beat has relaunched its 40th Anniversary Tour, with several dates throughout the UK, starting late June.


Mars Williams, the saxophonist known worldwide for his work with acts such as The Psychedelic Furs, Jerry Garcia, Billy Squier, and Kurt Elling, also has a long history on the Chicago music scene. He recently released Lost Soul Vol. 1, a compilation of previously unreleased live and studio recordings by his long-running band Liquid Soul. The 10 adventurous tracks highlight the group’s freestyle approach, and there’s also an irresistible ska take on Herb Alpert’s “Lonely Bull.” The live tracks were recorded at The Double Door, Abbey Pub, and The Elbo Room.


Robyn Hitchcock has shown a knack for crafting intriguing if occasionally puzzling lyrics throughout his career. He’s now chosen 73 examples to be in a book coming out July 6 titled Somewhere Apart: Selected Lyrics 1977 - 1997. There will illustrations for 34 of those lyrics. The book is available for pre-order here. So that’s what “Balloon Man” looks like. 


Check out page 61 in the April edition of Chicago Magazine and you’ll find my nephew Joe Flamm serving up his recipe for Abruzzi Lamb Ragu With Bucatini. The Season 15 Top Chef Winner (as well as being my godson) is set to open his Rose Mary Italian/Croatian restaurant at some point in April, and customers will be able to make reservations starting March 31


If you haven’t seen U2: Live At Red Rocks, Denver, Colorado - USA 1983, the second installment of the four-week series U2 The Virtual Road - 4 Ground-Breaking Concert Films, you can still catch it on the U2 YouTube Channel.The two-hour show is a great opportunity experience the iconic Irish band in its youth, powering through classic songs such as “Out Of Control,” “I Will Follow,” and “New Year’s Day.” The other two remaining concerts in the series are Popmart - Live From Mexico City - Mexico 1997 on April 1; and iNNONENCE  + eXPERIENCE: Live in Paris - France 2015 on April 10.


The Fest For Beatles Fans offered another one of its Fab Friday concerts featuring Chicago-based singer-guitarist Phil Angotti yesterday. You can still catch it via two posts on The Fest For Beatles Fans Facebook pages. Angotti concentrated on George Harrison this time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Incoming


Congratulations to director Mary Wharton on winning the Audience Award at this year’s annual SXSW Festival for her Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free documentary. The 90-minute film features lost footage from the recording sessions for Petty’s 1994 Wildflowers album. (An expanded version, Wildflowers and All The Rest, including Pettys previously unreleased version of his “Leave Virginia Alone," was released in 2020.) Wharton also directed the documentary Jimmy Carter: Rock And Roll President.

We’ve enjoyed his work as a musician, actor, radio host, and activist. And he’s pretty wicked at running a record label. Now, with his first ever memoir, we’ll see how Stevie Van Zandt does an author. Unrequited Infatuations is now available for preorder from Hachette Books in print, eBook, and audio formats.  I have a feeling Van Zandt could also craft a fun, hard-edged novel he set his mind to it.


This should make for a fun summer. The legendary FitzGerald’s Night Club in Berwyn recently announced it has already booked over 100 artists to perform on its patio.


The second installment of the four-week series U2 The Virtual Road - 4 Ground-Breaking Concert Films comes to YouTube tomorrow, Thursday, March 25. U2: Live At Red Rocks, Denver, Colorado - USA 1983 will feature remastered audio and enhanced visuals. The other two shows are Popmart - Live From Mexico City - Mexico 1997 on April 1; and iNNONENCE  + eXPERIENCE: Live in Paris - France 2015 on April 10.


Sweet Home Chicago Blues - Celebrating 50 Years Of Alligator Records is now streaming on YouTube and will be available to watch through April 11. The event features Billy Branch And The Sons Of Blues, along with special guests Shemekia Copeland; Toronzo Cannon; and Lil’ Ed Williams. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Slumgillion


After reading Joe Marchese’s post on The Second Disc about the upcoming 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young from Rhino and Atlantic, I was drawn to the new CSNY50 website he mentioned. In addition to pre-ordering the box set, I also purchased a Déjà Vu t-shirt and mug. The online store also offers caps, hoodies, bandanas, tote bags, and rolling papers.

The 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Déjà Vu offers 28 previously unreleased tracks, including demos of “Teach Your Children” by Graham Nash and David Crosby; “4 + 20” by Stephen Stills; “Almost Cut My Hair” by Crosby;  “Birds” by Neil Young and Nash; and “Our House” by Joni Mitchell and Nash. It’s available in a $249.98 DC2 Edition with five LPs and a hardcover book in a special box; and a $99.98 Deluxe Retail Edition with four CDs, one LP and a hardcover book. Both versions come with a download code.


Rock Cellar Productions has several well-known musicians and celebrities lined up for its All Together Now L.A. free livestream concert coming tomorrow night, Saturday, March 20. Performers include Nancy Wilson; Alyssa Milano; Jack Black; Sheila E; Paul Rodgers; Jeff “Skunk” Baxter;  Colin Hay and Cecilia  Noël; War; Jess Colin Young; Laurence Juber with T Bear and Tony Braunagel; Strawberry Alarm Clock; The Cowsills; The Empty Hearts and Bootsy Collins. A text-to-donate link will be available throughout the event, with 100% of proceeds going to help homeless families and support first responders, musicians, and venues affected by COVID-19.


It’s nice to see Chicago area music venues getting back in the swing of things. Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue, which has been surviving on outdoor gigs when the weather allowed, live stream concerts, pizza sales, and gofundme donations, recently posted the Facebook message “We are inching our way closer to reopening!” I’m looking forward to it.


Omnivore Recordings has a new release coming out on May 7 that should interest fans of The dB’s, Let’s Active, Don Dixon, and other acts associated with the legendary Winston-Salem, North Carolina indie rock scene. Yesterday’s Tomorrow offers 23 tracks recorded live by Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby, and Don Dixon under various band names in 2018 at the Ramkat Club in Winston-Salem. The setlist includes originals such a “Room With A View” and “Every Word Means No,” along with some inspired covers of songs originally done by The Electric Prunes, The Beatles and The Easybeats. The CD comes with a 24-page booklet with anecdotes and photos.


Supergrass has a gig coming up at the South London venue Crystal Palace Bowl on August 20, as part of South Facing Open Air Concert Series.


Wolf Alice has been in a sharing mood lately; releasing its first new song in four years, announcing the arrival of a full album on June 11, and earlier today, revealing the dates and cities for its UK AND IRELAND TOUR 2022. It kicks off on January 7 in Glasgow, and includes stops in Manchester, London, Liverpool, and Dublin. Wolf Alice will mostly likely showcase “The Last Man On Earth” and other tunes from Blue Weekend, as well as its previous two albums at these gigs. It would be great if they followed up with a tour of America.


Congratulations to Kate Lewis on being chosen to participate in the Chicago Cubs’ year-long series of collaborations with artists to create team-inspired, socially aware memorabilia. Lewis is the second artist to be involved, following Nikko Washington. Like Washington’s very cool Ernie Banks t-shirt, the long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirts and poster Lewis created are available from the Chicago Cubs online Ivy Shop. All the proceeds from the sale of the Lewis items will go to Girls In The Game, a non-profit dedicated to helping young women develop athletic and life skills. 


A limited edition 180 gram translucent blue vinyl pressing of Donovan’s debut album What’s Bin Did And What’s Been Hid is now available on the Tower Records online store. It features his first hit single “Catch The Wind.” 


The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit at the Lighthouse ArtSpace in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood has been extended through September 6. Organizers have social distancing, along with numerous other health and safety measures in place, so visitors can be surrounded by the world famous artist’s best works for a little over a half hour.


Assembly, a new compilation of Joe Strummer’s solo work, comes out next Friday, March 26 on the newly relaunched Dark Horse Records. The album features covers of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and three efforts from his days with The Clash, along with some previously unreleased material. The 16 tracks were remastered by renowned musician/studio engineer Paul Hicks, whose Dad is guitarist Tony Hicks from The Hollies.


I received the BluRay/DVD of The Go-Go’s documentary I ordered and had a chance to watch it earlier this week. Directed by Alison Eastwood, it’s an honest portrait from the band’s early days on the Los Angeles punk scene to its recently released single “Club Zero,” an effervescent rock song that also serves as a politically charged protest. Former members are given a chance to express their sense of betrayal at being dumped, and we’re shown times when the core musicians struggled to get along. The film makes a compelling argument that The Go-Go’s should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. They’re still in fifth place in the 2021 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee Voting. Fela Kuti is in first place, followed by Tina Turner, Iron Maiden, and Foo Fighters.

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