Search Results for: "Graded on a Curve"

Graded on a Curve:
The Mama’s and the Papa’s, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

Remembering Denny Doherty, born on this day in 1941. —Ed. A few random observations about The Mama’s and the Papa’s’ 1966 debut LP and folk-pop classic If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. 1. This album has everything, including a toilet on the cover! Which puts it in some elite crapper company, including the […]

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Graded on a Curve: Typical Girls Volume 6

Emotional Response Records of Cottonwood, AZ has amassed an impressive discography, with the Typical Girls various artists compilations amongst the standouts in the bunch. The focus of these comps is international female-fronted punk, post-punk, darkwave, and indie sounds (a song by The Slits gives the series its title), and the latest volume is out now […]

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Graded on a Curve: Randy Newman,
12 Songs

Celebrating Randy Newman on his 79th birthday. —Ed. In my mind’s eye I see Randy Newman supine on a sofa, taking an afternoon nap. Or a morning nap. Or an evening nap. It doesn’t matter. Or I see him in a comfortable armchair watching television, an old movie perhaps, or a documentary about acid rain, […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Eric Clapton,
Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert

Recorded with a one-gig supergroup composed of guitarists Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, and Ronnie Wood, keyboard player and vocalist Steve Winwood, Blind Faith and Traffic bass player Rick Grech, Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi, drummer Jimmy Karsten, and percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah in 1973 following a two-year absence from the stage by the album’s namesake, Eric […]

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Graded on a Curve: Graham Parker, Squeezing Out Sparks

Celebrating Graham Parker on his 72nd birthday. —Ed. Some guys just can’t catch a break. Especially if their name is Graham Parker, who released four stellar albums from 1975 to 1979 and never came close to making the big time. Just how good was he in his prime? The English rocker’s first two LPs (1975’s […]

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Graded on a Curve: The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan contains multitudes, as articulated in his song riffing on Walt Whitman’s concept, on the 2020 album release Rough and Rowdy Ways. And this is evident once again in Dylan’s new book, The Philosophy of Modern Song.  Throughout his complex and regenerative career, all of his different sides, and the characters within him, are […]

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Graded on a Curve: Loggins & Messina,
On Stage

We got to the Orpheum Theatre in Boston early. Of course we did! We wanted the best seats in the house! And who wouldn’t, because the greatest duo in rock history, Loggins & Messina, were about to lay their groovy sounds on us and we didn’t want to miss a single note. It was March […]

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Graded on a Curve: Gordon Lightfoot,
An Introduction to Gordon Lightfoot

Celebrating Gordon Lightfoot on his 84th birthday. —Ed. Robbie Robertson has called Canadian folk rock singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot “a national treasure,” and so he is. Canadians don’t just love their Orillia, Ontario native son, they worship him in temples that can only be entered by pilgrims clad in the holy sandals Gord wore on the […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Big Bill Broonzy,
Live in Amsterdam 1953

Born on June 26, 1903, William Lee Conley Broonzy, aka Big Bill Broonzy, was a giant of the blues. Cutting his first sides for Paramount in 1927, an extensive stretch of recordings followed across the next two decades. After a break in the late 1940s, he experienced a career resurrection that lasted until his untimely […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Black Friday Recommendations

The Record Store Day 2022 Black Friday event is November 25th. The following round-up is led by a Record Store Day jazz reissue, and also includes a bespoke audiophile jazz vinyl companion to a PBS television special on a celebrated jazz bassist; a three-CD tribute to one of the key American artists of the ’60s […]

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Graded on a Curve: Townes Van Zandt,
At My Window

Released in March of 1987, Townes Van Zandt’s At My Window was the celebrated singer-songwriter’s only studio album of the 1980s. It’s a tidy 10-song set that captured him in solid form with the assistance of his longtime producer “Cowboy” Jack Clement plus sturdy backing from session pros including guitarist Mickey White, fiddler and mandolinist […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Stone Roses,
The Stone Roses

Celebrating Gary “Mani” Mounfield in advance of his 60th birthday tomorrow. —Ed. As a famous man (I think it was Geoffrey Chaucer) once said, time waits for no man. And in the case of Manchester’s The Stone Roses, the five long years that passed between this, their massively popular 1989 debut, and 1994’s Second Coming […]

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Graded on a Curve:
ORG Music Black Friday Releases

ORG Music has three releases for Black Friday 2022, all reissues: the self-titled debut by Overwhelming Colorfast, Thriller by Augustus Pablo, and The Complete 1931 Sessions by Skip James. It’s a diverse, worthy haul available on 11/25. All three are covered in more detail below. The scoop on Overwhelming Colorfast is that the band’s eponymous […]

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Graded on a Curve: Public Image Ltd.,
Second Edition

Remembering Keith Levene. —Ed. Okay, so in everybody’s life there comes a day so bleak that not even Joy Division can do it justice. And on that day there’s only one recourse: to crank up Public Image Ltd’s Second Edition. John Lydon’s post-Sex Pistols band’s sophomore release, also known as Metal Box because it initially […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Frank Zappa,
Baby Snakes

I’m in the mood for a diatribe so here goes: Frank Zappa is, without a doubt, the most annoying rock act who’s ever lived. More annoying than Rush; more annoying (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) than Emerson, Lake & Palmer even. He was prissy, pretentious, punctilious, arrogant, and smug, possessed a sense of […]

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