Beyond The Dead – Bowie, Cooper, Kiss and More Classic Rock News

With the big Fare Thee Well concerts happening this weekend, it got me thinking about catching up on some news about classic rock acts.

So first off, let’s start with the Grateful Dead. Rhino will be releasing the three Chicago Soldier Field shows in a variety of formats (CD, DVD, Blu-ray, digital) on November 20

The Rhino’s archivists have been busy. They have boxed up Chicago’s 20 studio albums into a pair of 10-CD box-sets scheduled for a July 10 release. The following week, Rhino will unveil an 8-CD collection of America’s Warner Brothers work (seven studio albums and one live album).

On July 31st, Rhino celebrates that “school’s out” with a massive 15-CD boxed set of all of the albums that Alice Cooper made for Warner Brothers. If you just think of Alice Cooper for his stage shtick and his hits “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out,” you’re missing out on some other great songs – rockers like “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Elected.” “Hello Hooray” and “Under My Wheels,” and even “softer” tunes like “Only Women Bleed.”

Another act that I grew up listening to in Cleveland was David Bowie. Cleveland was one of the first U.S. cities (perhaps the first, if I’d want to boast) to fall under Bowie’s spell. In September, Warners will put out David Bowie Five Years 1969-1973, a huge 12-CD box-set that includes all of those early, landmark albums along with 2 live albums and a pair of rarities discs.

Another major reissue label, Real Gone Music has an interesting slate this summer. They will be releasing a Steppenwolf double-disc, The ABC/Dunhill Singles Collection, a 50-track Ben E. King set The Complete Atco/Atlantic Singles Vol. 1—1960-1966, the Carny Soundtrack featuring music by Robbie Robertson and Alex North and the Steelyard Blues soundtrack, which offers performances by Maria Muldaur, Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites. However, the most intriguing might be of Come For A Dream—The U.K. Sessions 1970-1971 by Dusty Springfield. These are 17 recordings that Springfield did in England that never got a proper U.S. release.

Speaking of overlooked recordings, I wanted to make special mention of You Don’t Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972, the recently released compilation of Carl Hall’s music. I wasn’t familiar with Hall, but Omnivore Recordings has put together another winner. This 19-track set comes packed with sweet soul songs, and most of this material has never been released before even though Hall was working with the great producer/songwriter Jerry Ragovoy. It’s a must have for any soul music fan.

By the way, going back to classic rock land, Omnivore will be putting out a pair of ‘80s-era Peter Frampton albums, Premonition and When All The Pieces Fit in August.

Back in his teen years, my brother Dan went through a prog rock period and among the vinyl he had were Yes albums. I was thinking of listening to “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper” that other day when I read that Chris Squire had passed away. I hadn’t realized that the bassist had been the sole band member to stay with the group since it started in 1968.

And now some items that would fall in the category of “random notes.”

I don’t know if you are old enough to remember when KISS exploded in popularity for the first time. There was a slew of KISS merchandise – comic books, lunchboxes and a pretty forgettable film. Now the band has gone the cartoon route (insert your own aside here) and have done an animated film with Scooby Doo and the rest of the Mystery Inc. crew. The DVD, due out July 10 from Warner Brothers Animation, features 6 classic Kiss tunes plus a new original song.

This year not only marks the 50th anniversary of the Dead, but the Youngbloods as well. Founding member Lowell Levinger (aka Banana) has put together an album that revisits some of the group’s classic tunes. Joining him is his fellow Youngblood Jessie Colin Young as well as David Grisman and Ry Cooder.

On September 29, Roger Waters returns to The Wall yet again as it will be presented as a special cinematic experience. For theater and ticket information, go to

And, finally, some rather odder tour news – there is word that Patsy Cline…or more precisely, a hologram of Patsy Cline will “tour” in 2016.

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Chris Thile: From Nickel Creek To Lake Woebegon

Congratulations are in order for Chris Thile. Word came out to name that Thile will be replacing Garrison Keillor as the host of A Prairie Home Companion after Keillor retires in 2016. It’s not like Thile isn’t busy enough already. Depending on the day, you could find the mandolin maven playing with his old band Nickel Creek, his newer band the Punch Brothers or doing one of his side projects with folks like Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan and Yo-Yo Ma.


It will be interesting where Thile takes the popular public radio program and makes it his own.

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Go See Hear In L.A. June 29-July 6 (the Honeyhoney/Honey Country Edition)

Things may be a little slow this week due to the big July 4th holiday weekend but still go out and grab some live music before being distracted by the bright lights of fireworks.

Mon. 6/29

Psychedelica-flavored rocker Jacco Gardner swings through Southern California with at show at Costa Mesa’s The Wayfarer tonight and the Echo tomorrow with Calvin Love.

Tues. 6/30

Aussie indie rockers The Griswolds have sold out the Troubadour for tonight’s show; they’ll be at Santa Ana’s Constellation Room tomorrow.

John Mayall

John Mayall

Wed. 7/1

Top Show: Legendary bluesman John Mayall, whose resume few can rival, will perform at the Whisky A Go Go. Make sure you get there early enough to see Brigitte DeMeyer whose bluesy, twangy music has a hint of Lucinda in it. Her current CD Savannah Road is well worth checking out.

Brigitte DeMeyer

Brigitte DeMeyer

Honeyhoney, an alluring local outfit, celebrate their sweet new CD 3 at the El Rey. Cult pop-punkers The Clorox Girls have reunited and have several area appearances: tonight at Long Beach’s 4th & Vine, tomorrow at L.A.’s Redwood and Fri. 7/3 at San Pedro’s Harold’s.

Thurs. 7/2

Top Show(s): Tonight’s top shows are totally different in their decibal levels. The talented trio of female singer/songwriters Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan have teamed up for a tour, called I’m With Her. They’ll be performing at Largo. The iconic NYC punk band Television are back and you can tune into them at the Teragram Ballroom tonight (which is sold out) or tomorrow (which might be sold out by now).

SoCal honky tonker David Serby headlines the Honky Tonk Hacienda at El Cid, while the melodic country trio Honey Country have a return gig at the Hotel Café. The Ting Tings will do their thing thing at the Fonda. Mitski’s music could be described as a more intense, rougher Mazzy Star. She’ll be playing the Echo tonight.

Fri. 7/3

Top Show: Santa Ana’s Observatory will be jamming as the Aussie roots rockers The John Butler Trio will be sharing the bill with Anderson East, whose rock ‘n’ soul music lit up the Hotel Cafe last week.

Tristen, who has played in Jenny Lewis’ band, has a solo outing at Madame Siam and the John Butler Trio

Sat. 7/4

Top Show(s): Celebrate the Fourth of July with that rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, who headlines a special show at the Observatory, with Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys, Isaac Rother & The Phantoms and Cutty Flam.  Or head over to Pasadena’s Levitt Pavilion for a free show by the Americana ensemble Dustbowl Revival.



Mon. 7/6

Top Show: The raucous Southern rockers Banditos will be ripping things up at Harvard & Stone in support of their high-spirited Bloodshot debut.

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Quick Take: Anderson East at the Hotel Cafe – June 25, 2015

It is not easy to tear me away from watching the NBA Draft (sadly, that isn’t much of a joke) but I am mighty glad that I did last night to hear Anderson East do a set at the Hotel Café.

I had heard Anderson’s new album, Delilah, and enjoyed his soulful music, but I wasn’t prepared for his live show. It was a fantastic blast that made the Thursday night feel like a weekend party. The main complaint was that the set was too short – which is a good problem to have.

Anderson’s music dug into the classic Stax and Muscle Shoals sound, which makes sense since the singer hails from Alabama (he also recently recorded an EP at Muscle Shoal’s fabled Fame Studios). Tunes like “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em, and Forget ‘Em,” “Satisfy Me,” “Quit You” and “Only You” feel like classic soul tracks and he held his own covering Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey” and old Eddie Floyd hit “Knock On Wood” (which give you a sense of where Anderson’s coming from).

Anderson East  photo by Neil Krug

Anderson East
photo by Neil Krug

On top of all that, Anderson is a charmer of a Southern gent who quickly won over the crowd. He even got the notoriously sedentary L.A. audience up out of their seats to move to his music. His band is a funky, fun outlet where keyboard and guitars are supported by trumpet and sax. Oh, and then there’s his voice, which has a dirt road raspiness but also holds the power to be a gritty belter. Add up all of these ingredients and Anderson is poised to be the next great rock ‘n’ soul man (although that begs that question, who was the last great rock ‘n’ soul man).

Anderson East’s album, Delilah, comes out on July 10 on Low Country Sound/Elektra Records (it’s the first release on producer Dave Cobb’s new label).

Here’s a video of Anderson East doing “Satisfy Me” from those Muscle Shoals sessions.

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The Other Ork – The Legendary Ork Records

Before there was Mork from Ork, there was Terry Ork, who in the mid-70’s started Ork Records and released some of the first music to come out of the New York punk scene. I remember reading somewhere (Cleveland Scene magazine? Creem?, both?) about “Little Johnny Jewel,” a single by a band named Television that Ork put out. That was undoubtedly my first encounter with the name Ork Records. Now, I won’t say that I was one of those guys who went out and bought those early Ork singles. But I certainly bought the bands that Ork put out – Television, Richard Hell, Alex Chilton, Chris Stamey and the dB’s and the Feelies.

I mention all of this because the reissue label Numero Group will be releasing Ork Records: New York, New York a 2 CD (or 4 LP) box set that chronicles the short but super life of Ork Records. Besides the acts I’ve already named, the collection includes releases by Mick Farren, Lester Bangs, Cheetah Chrome and others who played in that CBGB’s scene. The album is due out in October (or Orktober, as Numero is calling it) but here is a trailer for the release.

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More Weekend Recommendations: From the Blasters To Banhart

I overlooked two interesting events happening this weekend. Up in Ventura, the Roadshow Revival will rev things up in Mission Park. While it is entitled “A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash,” it is more than just a tribute show. Scheduled performers include The Reverend Horton Heat, Robert Gordon, Slim Jim Phantom and Jamie James and the Kingbees (Saturday) and Billy Joe Shaver, John Doe, Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys and The Blasters (Sunday). The festival also includes a pin-up girl pageant, a vintage car & bike show and kids activities.

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver

The scene should be a little different at LACMA on Sunday when Devendra Banhart has a conversation about art and music. He will be accompanied by his band as well.

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Go See Hear In L.A. June 23-28 (The Anderson East/Far West Edition)

This week is marked by show from some wonderful songwriters, starting with Robert Earl Keen and continuing on with Dan Penn and Kim Richey, and that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Tues. 6/23

Top Show: One of Texas’ top singer/songwriters, Robert Earl Keen, plays the El Rey behind his latest, the bluegrass-oriented Happy Prisoner.

Wed. 6/24

Top Show: Lauren Shera returns to town with a gig at Room 5. She’s gathering attention with her current CD, Gold and Rust, which features the heavenly folk/pop track, “Hell’s Bells.”

Power Pop aficionados should head to Pomona where Paul Collins’ Beat has a show at the Acerogami. The Swedish/Malawian duo The Very Best serve up their genre-splitting music at the Roxy. Local songstress Alexa Melo shows her feisty tunes at Loaded night. She’ll be at Chinatown’s Summer Night performances on the 27th. And that dreamy singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran starts his 2-night stand at the Hollywood Bowl.

Thurs. 6/25

Top Show: Anderson East really impressed me with his soulful, rootsy debut Delilah. There’s a terrific timeless quality to this music. Check him out at the Hotel Café, where the local alt. folk/pop outfit Distant Cousins has also have a gig tonight.

Alice Smith Photo Credit: Alex Elena

Alice Smith Photo Credit: Alex Elena

The eclectic soul singer Alice Smith (her music is more distinctive than her name) headlines the Roxy, while over at the Troubadour, Americana up-and-comers Houndmouth will be performing. The L.A. band Phases, which features Z Berg (The Like), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley/Bright Eyes), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet) and songwriter Michael Runion, will be at Jewel’s Catch One for their first hometown show.

Fri. 6/26

Top Show: I could fill a blog with just the wonderful songs that Dan Penn has written but here are three: “The Letter,” “Dark End Of The Street” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” Songs I can hear everyday of the week. Penn makes a rare SoCal appearance at McCabe’s.

Grand Performances welcomes a free concert from The Family Crest and Run River North. Jon Brion sets up shop once again on a Friday night at Largo.

Sat. 6/27

Kim Richey

Kim Richey

Top Show: McCabe’s is the place to see great songwriters this weekend as Kim Richey. You can also catch one of L.A.’s best country acts, David Serby, at a free show at the Farmers’ Market.

Best Coast has a sold out concert at the Wiltern while Ben Folds does this thing at the Greek and it’s country night at the Irvine Meadows with a bill featuring Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt.

Sun. 6/28

Top Show: This week’s edition of the Grand Ole Echo offers Cale Tyson, Jonathan Tyler, The Far West and Smooth Hound Smith.

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