Blasts From The Past: Bad Company, John Mayall & Dion

I’m putting a little spin on Flashback Friday by sharing some news on some throwback.

While there is justification in Physical Graffiti fever that has arrived with the masterful deluxe reissue, I have news about another classic rock band from the ‘70s – Bad Company. Bad Company was a true supergroup as it featured two members of Free (vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke), Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. Sometimes they get characterized as Led Zeppelin’s more commercial, little brother but if you looked that they best songs, you have big stuff, you’ll come away impressed. “Can’t Get Enough,” “Ready For Love,” “Bad Company,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” Shooting Star” and “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” all were AOR radio staples and all can be found on their first two records, Bad Company and Straight Shooter, both of which Rhino will be re-issued in expanded form on April 7.


Bad Company

Bad Company

Rhino also has salutes one of the most successful pop/rock bands of the ‘70s – the Bee Gees. On March 24, the label will unveil a 5-disc set that contains four albums and one bonus disc that cover the years 1974-1979. Yes, it includes the albums Main Course (that holds their hits “Jive Talkin’,” “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)” and “Nights On Broadway”) and Children of the World (that features “You Should Be Dancing”). Personally, I favor the “Massachusetts”/”I Started A Joke”-era better but…

On April 21, Forty Below Records presents a very special release – John Mayall’s Bluebreakers – Live in 1967. John Mayall is one of the grand masters of the British blues scene and he was best known for all of the great guitarists who played in his bands (Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Peter Green). Green is heard on this recording (which a fan made at a handful of club shows in 1967 and Mayall only recently acquired them) along with bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. This was a short-lived lineup as Green, McVie and Fleetwood would leave to start a little band that they named Fleetwood Mac later in 1967.


Another CD featuring previously unreleased live material is Dion: Recorded Live at the Bitter End, August 1971. Brought you by those archive-lovers at Omnivore Recordings, this CD presents a rather unique look into the music of this Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer. In this concert, it is just Dion, armed with just an acoustic guitar, performing his hits (“The Wanderer” and “Abraham, Martin and John”) along with covers like the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” Leonard Cohen’s “Sisters of Mercy” and Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business.”

This year’s early contender for the best Johnny Cash/Rick Rubin odd couple pairing is Andy Kim, of “Sugar, Sugar” fame,” teaming up with Kevin Drew from the Broken Social Scene. Earlier this week, they released It’s Decided. You can get a taste of that album on this track, “Shoot ‘Em Up, Baby.”

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Go See Hear In L.A. Feb. 23-March 1 (The Church and Cathedrals edition)

The Oscars are over. The glitter washed away with the rain but there’s still a lot of music to enjoy this week.

Mon. 2/23

Top Show: Lucinda Williams starts her World Tour of California with a show tonight and tomorrow night at the Troubadour. She’ll be at Pomona’s Glass House on the 26th and downtown at the Regent on the 28th.

The Mynabirds top the bill at the Satellite while the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen leads a tribute to his band’s classic album Will The Circle Be Unbroken as well as a Carter Family salute at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

Tues. 2/24

Gregory Alan Isakov will share his well-crafted songs at the El Rey with special guests Shook Twins opening.

John Doe is one of the guests at Judd Apatow’s benefit for the Brady Campaign at Largo. Colleen Green has been getting a lot of buzz for her new CD I Want To Grow Up. She’ll showcase a few tunes at a free Amoeba in-store.

Jonny Fritz

Jonny Fritz

Wed. 2/25

Top Show: The Hotel Café is loaded with fine music tonight as Langhorne Slim, Jonny Fritz, Chris Stills and Mia Dyson all are scheduled to play sets. Aimee Mann and Petra Haden are expected guests for Susanna Hoffs’ latest outing at Largo.

Airborne Toxic Event will do a free set at Amoeba while the Cathedrals will come down from the Bay Area for a show at Santa Ana’s Observatory tonight and then the duo performs at the Echo on the 26th.

Thurs. 2/26

Local country rock mainstays I See Hawks In L.A. will do a show at El Cid.

Fri. 2/27

Top Show(s): The multi-talented multi-instrumentalist David Lindley has a two-night stand at McCabe’s starting tonight. The Church, longtime cult idols from Down Under, come up to L.A. with a new CD (Further/Deeper) and a show at the El Rey. Local troubadour Tom Brosseau probably will be showcasing songs from this forthcoming Perfect Abandon at the Sanctuary.

Intriguing songstress Jessica Platt plays Long Beach’s Carpenter House tonight and The Echo on Saturday. Jon Brion will do one of his regular Friday night things at Largo while another keyboardist Howard Jones unveils his latest project “Engage” at the Saban Theatre. Brooklyn’s The Sidekicks serve up their fun, ragged punk rock at Jewel’s Catch One.

Eleni Mandell photo by Laura Heffington

Eleni Mandell
photo by Laura Heffington

Sat. 2/28

Top Show: Two fine singer/songwriters – Peter Bradley Adams and Eleni Mandell – share the bill at the Bootleg HiFi. Bradley, one of the L.A-based eastmountainsouth, has carved out a solo career in Nashville over the past decade while Mandell is a local luminary whether playing on her own or in groups like The Living Sisters.

The White Buffalo will be roaming around the House of Blues stage. Julian Velard has a Hotel Café appearance.

Sun. 3/1

Top Show(s): Slaid Cleaves is just one of the best singer/songwriters around. You can find out why at McCabe’s. Dengue Fever will share some of their terrific new disc Deepest Lake at their Amoeba in-store.


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Go See Hear In L.A. Feb. 17-22 (The Goodnight, Texas/Tall Tales and the Silver Lining edition)

Lots of good music this week with Saturday night in particularly being packed with fine shows to see.

Tues. 2/17

Top Show: Steve Earle stops by the Grammy Museum to celebrate his terrific new album Terraplane, which shows off his bluesier side. He’ll undoubtedly have a few memorable stories to tell too.

In honor of Fat Tuesday, the Mint presents Steel Toed Slippers with special guests Leo Nocentelli (the Meters) and Kenny Gradney (Little Feat). Soulful singer/songwriter Ryan Montbleau has a gig at the Hotel Café, along with Chris Jacobs.

Scott H. Biram

Scott H. Biram

Wed. 2/18

Top Show(s): There is a trio of fine shows for your Wednesday night. Scott H. Biram brings his raucous one-man band to the Echo with vet. Texas guitarist Jesse Dayton also on the bill. Peter Himmelman always has something interesting to say and play – see what he’s up to at the Mint. Over the Rhine and William Fitzsimmons made for a wonderful pairing at the Troubadour as both acts create memorably thoughtful music.

Thurs. 2/19

Top Show: Tall Tales and the Silver Lining is the fine local outfit led by Trevor Beld Jimenez. They have a new CD, Tightrope, coming out 2/24 that overflows with lovely music inspired (but updating) the Laurel Canyon sound. You can catch them at Pasadena’s Old Towne Pub. Tall Tales will also be at Origami Vinyl on the 22nd and Costa Mesa’s Casa on 2/26.

Milo Greene headlines the El Rey, while the one-and-only (and current LA Weekly cover boy) Billy Idol plays the Wiltern tonight and tomorrow night. Get there early to catch the hot young band, Broncho.



 Fri. 2/20

Top Show: Goodnight, Texas might done be from Texas but as they show on their impressive album, Uncle John Farquhar, they know how to make some darn-good Americana music. They’ll be at the Silverlake Lounge with Some Go Haunting. The Mastersons (who do come from Texas) put out a great album last year – Good Luck Charm. You can enjoy their music at McCabe’s with Aaron Lee Tasjan opening.

Austin’s indie pop/rocker Wild Child headline at the Roxy, while Omaha’s Cursive whips up their emo-fueled rock at the Echoplex

Sat. 2/21

Top Show(s): McCabe’s offers a triple bill of fantastic female singer/songwriters: Mary Gauthier, Eliza Gilkyson and Gretchen Peters (who just released a CD Blackbirds worth checking out). Another fantastic female artist Anne McCue will be at the Hotel Café to celebrate her wonderful new release Blue Sky Thinkin’, which showcases her interest in jazzy styles. If these aren’t enough, Largo hosts Sam Phillips and Joe Henry this weekend as the two share the stage and a band.

The Mary Onettes show up at the Bootleg HiFi and Never Shout Never appears at Santa Ana’s Constellation Room tonight with a Troubadour show on the 22nd.

Sun. 2/22

Top Show(s): Israeli singer/songwriter Asaf Avidan caught my ear after listening to his new album Gold Shadow. He’ll be headlining at the Mayan. I don’t know a lot about Brett Harris and Skylar Gudasz, two young singer/songwriters coming to McCabe’s, but Chris Stamey is on the bill with them. And if he endorses them, then they are worth investigating.

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What’s New From Old Friends: The Mavericks, Dwight Yoakam, Glen Campbell, Paul Kelly, Lead Belly and Buena Vista Social Club too.

A number of familiar old names have some interesting new projects on the horizon.

Glen Campbell, who just won a Grammy and has an Oscar nomination, will see the release of the soundtrack to this highly praised documentary Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me. Big Machine Records will put it out on Feb. 17. It contains his Grammy-winning track “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” plus versions of his classic tunes “Gentle On My Mind” and “Wichita Lineman.”


February 17 also is the day that the Mavericks unveil their latest effort Mono (The Valory Music Co.), which marks the reunited band’s continued excellence with it comes to making cool, eclectic country music that is lively, heartfelt and memorable.

Honky tonk kingpin Dwight Yoakam (who performed with Brandy Clark on the Grammy awards telecast) will share his new CD Second Hand Heart on April 14. It mixes 8 originals with covers of “Man of Constant Sorrow” (which seems like a fine fit for Mr. Yoakam) and Anthony Crawford’s “V’s of Birds.”

Ray Wylie Hubbard, a true Texas outlaw troubadour, will be releasing his 16th album on April 7. Ruffian’s Misfortune is another raucous ride through the mind of Hubbard, who also has an autobiography A Life…Well, Lived on the way.


Another one of Texas’ finest Gurf Morlix (okay, he was born in upstate New York but still…) has a new release Eatin’ At Me, which offers a showcase for his legendary guitar playing and his unique way around a tune.

Another well-known Texan Robert Earl Keen is exploring new territory on his just-released CD Bluegrass Sessions, an album which – as the name implies – finds him in the land of Bluegrass, along with guests Lyle Lovett, Natalie Maines and Peter Rowan.

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly

Also out now is Paul Kelly‘s latest project: The Merri Soul Sessions, which features the acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter along with a number of guest singers providing a more soulful sound to a set of Kelly tunes, including a new rendition of his lovely old song “Sweet Guy.”

Folk icon Tom Paxton is still going strong at 77. He’ll have a new album Redemption Road coming out on March 10. It is something like his 62nd album. This one, produced by Jim Rooney, features contributions from Janis Ian and John Prine. March is a big month for Paxton. Besides the CD, he’ll start a tour with Ian and gets inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

World Circuit Records and Nonesuch are releasing previously unreleased Buena Vista Social Club material on the aptly named CD Lost and Found. Due March 24, this collection contains a mix of studio tracks and live recordings, which capture the magic that has been the BVSC such as international hit. Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, a core band featuring several of the original musicians, will set out on a farewell “Adios” tour later this year.

The Word is back! The awesome ensemble, featuring keyboard whiz John Medeski, pedal steel master Robert Randolph, and the North Mississippi All-Stars (guitarist Luther Dickinson, drummer Cody Dickinson and bassist Chris Chew), have done their long-awaited sophomore effort – it has only been 14 years. Soul Food, which Vanguard is putting out, has a May 5 release date.

Also, back after an extended hiatus is Six String Drag. The pioneers have released their first album in 18 years. Roots Rock ‘N’ Roll (on Royal Potato Family) certainly up to its title. The Kenny Roby-led group serves up a wondrous set of old-school roots music packed with soul, twang and, of course, rock ‘n’ roll.

Lead Belly

Lead Belly

Lastly, Smithsonian/Folkways has two super collections coming out shortly. On Feb. 24, they have compiled a 5-disc boxset covering the life and work of the legendary Lead Belly, which includes over a dozen previously unreleased tracks and radio program recordings. One month later, they will release Classic American Ballads, a 25-track compilation that includes tracks by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Dock Boggs, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe and many more.

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Here Comes The Replacements – New Tour This Spring!

Over the past few years, the Replacements have been playing shows – a benefit here, a festival there. A TV appearance. A hometown show. Sporadic concerts that garnered glowing reviews. Well, the ‘Mats are making it official by announcing today that they will being an actual reunion tour.

Photo: Steven Cohen

Photo: Steven Cohen

Dubbed, in typical Replacement humor, the “Back By Unpopular Demand” Tour, the group will start out west at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre on April 9 and make their crooked way east with the tour currently ending in Philadelphia on May 9. 13 shows (lucky 13?) in 12 cities. Oh, yes, this only includes the U.S. concerts, they will also head across the pond for gigs in Barcelona, Amsterdam and London at the end of May and the beginning of June.

Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson will be brothers-in-arms again with, one assumes, drummer Josh Freese and guitarist David Minehan filling out the quartet.

You can get more information at their sites:

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Go See Hear In L.A. Feb. 9-15 (The Avett Brothers/ Dr. Dog Edition)

Everyone can exhale now that the Grammys are over. Congratulations to the winners, and to the other nominees too. In case you missed the fine print of the winners in the Americana genres. They included Rosanne Cash‘s three awards (Best American Roots Performance, Best American Roots Song and Best Americana Album), Old Crow Medicine Show for Best Folk Album, The Earls of Leicester for Best Bluegrass Album and the late Johnny Winter for Best Blues Album. Also worth noting the Best Boxed Set Packaging when to The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One, Best Historical Album was Hank Williams – The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 and Glen Campbell won Best Country Song (more Campbell news in an upcoming post).

Mon. 2/9

Top Show: Father John Misty (sometimes known as Josh Tillman) headlines the Roxy with Guy Blakeslee opening.

Tues. 2/10

Israel Nash

Israel Nash

Top Show(s): Israel Nash has a cool psychedelic twang thing going that recalls Neil Young. Check him out at the Echo. English singer/songwriter Ben Howard, touring behind his recent album I Forget Where We Were, will perform at the Shrine Expo Hall.

Nicole Atkins will be rocking at the Bootleg HiFi.

Wed. 2/11

Top Show(s): Liam Hayes, who has called a “cult pop craftsman,” comes to L.A. from the U.K. with a new album Slurrup (on Fat Possum) and a gig at the Hotel Café. Also at the Café tonight is the rising songstress Natalie Prass.

Thurs. 2/12

Top Show(s): Americana stars The Avett Brothers can be found tonight at Pomona’s Fox Theater and tomorrow night at Long Beach’s Terrace Theater, with the talented (and former Old Crow Medicine Show-man) Willie Watson serving as opener. The beguiling Jessica Lea Mayfield will be at the Echo.

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Babes in Toyland are back with their Fontanelle-era lineup for a show at the Roxy and ALO brings their Tour d’Amour IX to the Trobadour with T Sisters opening.

Fri. 2/13

Top Show(s): The sister duo Lily & Madeleine headline the Troubadour with Young Summer and Shannon Hayden also on the bill. Their CD Fumes is an intoxicating delight. The always interesting Dr. Dog play the Wiltern with Hanni El Khatib.

Local country mainstays I See Hawks In L.A. can be seen at Coffee Gallery Backstage with guitar maven Tony Gilkyson also on the bill. The Dodos have a new CD, Individ, and a show at the Roxy, with the impressive young L.A band Springtime Carnivore opening (so come early).

Sat. 2/14

Jorma Kaukonen

Jorma Kaukonen

Top Show: Tickets are scarce, if at all getable for Jorma Kaukonen’s shows tonight and tomorrow at McCabe’s. He has a fine, folky CD Ain’t In No Hurry coming out in a few days.

What’s Valentine’s Day without a little “hart.” Beth Hart will fill the El Rey with her blues-fused rock. She has a new CD Better Than Home arriving in April. Cult kingpins Sparks performs their key album Kimono My House (an all-time great title) and other tunes with a 38-piece orchestra at the Ace Hotel. The Bootleg HiFi will host the eclectic local outfit Vaud and the Villains.

Sun 2/15

Top Show: Afrobeat-ists Antibalas team up with Zap Mama for a special concert at the Broad Stage.

The Watkins Family Hour welcomes Glen Phillips to Largo and the Stone Foxes travel down from San Francisco for a show at Hermosa Beach’s Saint Rocke.

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Go See Hear In L.A. Feb. 4-8 (The Weyes Blood/Murder By Death Edition)

Hey, it’s Grammy week here in Los Angeles. See how many of these acts are in town for the awards show.

Wed. 2/4

Top Show: It’s hard to pass up on a Willie Nelson show – even if you have to go to Ventura to catch him at the Majestic Theatre.

Fellow Texan Carolyn Wonderland blows into the Mint to serve up some bluesy music.

Thurs. 2/5


Dengue Fever


Top Show: Dengue Fever’s new album The Deepest Lake might just be their best as they elevate their multi-culture/multi-genre sound to perfection. They’ll celebrate the new disc at the Echoplex.

Local songstress Ryn Weaver will be at the House of Blues

Fri. 2/6

Top Show: Cyril Neville and Devon Allman lead the Royal Southern Brotherhood into the Mint for a jam-tastic night of roots tunes. Blackberry Smoke will be lighting up the Troubadour tonight and Saturday with their Dixie-flavored rock ‘n’ roll. Their new album Holding All The Roses (produced by Brendan O’Brien) really impressed me. These guys not only know how to rock but they know the importance of a riff too.

Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke

There will also be plenty of soulful sounds at the Fonda with Hozier (now here’s someone here for the Grammy’s). John Oates has a solo set at the Hotel Café. It may be the Year of the Sheep on the Chinese calendar but it’s always the Year of the Cat when Al Stewart plays – he’ll be at the McCabe’s tonight and tomorrow. Friday Fridays at the Natural History Museum features sets by Robert DeLong and Tom Vek as well as a lecture on “Citizen Science Activism.”

Sat 2/7

Top Show(s): Murder By Death celebrates its new album Big Dark Love at the Roxy with Rocky Votolato opening. Longtime Lloyd Cole fans (and I’d count myself one) should be excited by this new CD Standards, which is classic Cole –literate rock with wit and bite. Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) creates an alluring, dark folk sound on her album The Innocents.

Local hyphenate JD Shultz showcases new album Back To Music at the Viper Room. Noah Guthrie, a young man with a soulful voice, stops by the Hotel Café along with another up-and-comer Gabe Dixon while Jesse Harris can be found at the Bootleg HiFi.

Sun. 2/8

Top Show: I don’t know what Buffy Saint-Marie will be doing at the Bootleg HiFi but it should be interesting to hear what the activist/folk icon is up to.

Happy (second from left) in his early Sixties group, The New World Singers

Happy (second from left) in his early Sixties group, The New World Singers

Another veteran folkie Happy Traum (he apparently did the first recording of “Blowin’ In The Wind”) will be at McCabe’s with the local folk troubadour Ernest Troost.

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