November Desk Clearing: Tift Merritt, Chuck Prophet, Wild Reeds And Morphine

The Grammy Museum has added 25 important songs to its Hall of Fame. The new tunes are:

Arlo Guthrie – “The City of New Orleans”
The Beach Boys – “I Get Around”
Billie Holiday – Lady Sings the Blues
Blind Willie McTell – “Statesboro Blues”
Bonnie Raitt – “I Can’t Make Your Love Me”
Cab Calloway And His Orchestra – “(Hep-Hep!) The Jumpin’ Jive”
David Bowie – “Changes”
Deep Purple – “Smoke of the Water”
Dion – “The Wanderer”
Elvis Presley – “Jailhouse Rock”
The Everly Brothers – “Wake Up Little Susie”
Jackson 5 – “ABC”
Lalo Schifrin – “Mission-Impossible”
Lesley Gore – “You Don’t Own Me”
Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra – “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Merle Haggard – Okie From Muskogee
Mills Brothers – “You Always Hurt the One You Love”
Mississippi John Hurt – “Stack O’Lee Blues”
N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton
Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Prince – Sign ‘O’ the Times
R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion”
Rod Stewart – “Maggie May”
Sly & The Family Stone – “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”
Sonny & Cher – “I Got You Babe

UMe continues its big Frank Zappa vinyl reissue with a handful of his most famous records Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (1968), Joe’s Garage (1979), Lumpy Gravy (1967), Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970) and We’re Only In It For The Money (1968) on Dec. 9. For those keeping score, Weasel was the last Mothers of Invention album and Lumpy was his first solo outing. Ruben & The Jets was a nod to the doo wop era and Money was one of Frank’s wickedest satire while the rock opera Joe’s Garage features his “hit” “Catholic Girls.”



In honor of Capitol Records’ 75th anniversary, UMe has put together A Capitol Christmas, which mines holiday classics from Capitol’s vast catalog. Available now digitally, on CD and as a double LP housed in a gatefold package, the 24-track album brings together beloved Christmas songs from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby and many more.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s first album so a special deluxe edition of the band’s self-titled debut will come out on Jan. 20. Besides having the original album’s songs newly remastered, there will also be a bonus disc of the complete unreleased concert from July 29, 1966 and select cuts from July 30, 1966 performed at the P.N.E. Garden Auditorium in British Columbia. Also out that day will be a small batch (10,000 copies) of 12-inch picture discs of The Grateful Dead. Deadheads should make note too that 2017 will also see a limited-edition series of 7-inch singles starting March 1 with the band’s first single “Stealin'” b/w “Don’t Ease Me In.”

Trainspotting not only was a breakout, buzzed about film in 1996 but it also had a killer soundtrack. In honor of the movie’s 20th anniversary, Rhino has reissued the soundtrack on vinyl and CD. The 14-track set contains tunes like Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life,” Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day,” New Order’s “Temptation,” Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” Elastica’s “2:1,” Pulp’s “Mile End,” Blur’s “Sing” and Damon Albarn’s “Closet Romantic.” Director Danny Boyle’s new Trainspotting film gets released in February.

Damon Albarn and New Order are also part of the new documentary 808. Due 12/9 on Apple Music, this film tells the story of the highly influential Roland TR-808 drum machine. There was even a band named 808 State after the drum machine. Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, The Beastie Boys, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and Rick Rubin also are in the movie.


Peter, Paul & Mary

One of the bands whose albums I remember seeing around my house growing up (and this does age me) is Peter, Paul and Mary. A new documentary 50 Years With Peter Paul and Mary (due 12/9 on MVD) will spotlight this seminal folk trio and feature some rare footage, such as an early ‘60s appearance on BBC TV.

MVD will also release on Dec. 9 Journey of Dreams, about the group Morphine and its leader Mark Sandman who died tragically young while performing on stage in 1999. This DVD documentary looks at the Boston band that created some distinct music that twisted blues and jazz into the ‘90s indie rock world. at the band and Along with archival footage and interviews with survivor bandmates saxophonist Dana Colley and drummers Billy Conway and Jerome Dupree, the doc also includes appearances by Henry Rollins, Joe Strummer and Steve Berlin.


Sam Phillips


We just finished waiting the Gilmore Girls’ Netflix 4-part TV movie event, which offers a great opportunity to bring up the criminally underappreciated singer/songwriter Sam Phillips who did the show’s score. She also has just released Human Contact Is Never Easy, an 8-song EP with 4 new tunes, 2 live tracks and two cuts from her last album, 2013’a Push Any Buttons.

The Revelers have a fun EP coming out Dec. 16. The Revelers play Swamp Pop Classics Volume Two contains their versions of Gary U.S Bonds’ “Trip to the Moon,” Arthur Alexander’s “If It’s Really Got To Be This Way,” Spooner Oldham’s “Lonely Women” and Warren Storm’s “Nobody Would Know.”

A really cool CD for the whole family (really) is Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute To David Bowie. I mentioned it briefly in an earlier post but after listening to it, I can thoroughly recommend it. This Bowie homage holds a wonderfully eclectic cast of contributors. For instance, Kindie star Justin Roberts’ wistful take on “Kooks” is followed by Antibalas’ funky “Let’s Dance.” Then kids musician Gustafer Yellowgold gets well-paired with “Space Oddity” and Ted Leo brings a rock edge to “Heroes.” Proceeds from this Spare The Rock Records release will benefit It Gets Better Project, an organization that works with LGBT youths.

In other news from the kids entertainment world (sort of), Steve Burns, the original host of Blues Clues has partnered in project with Flaming Lips guitarist Steven Drozd that they are calling as STEVENSTEVEN and their will release their debut all-ages album, Foreverywhere, in February.

On Dec. 2 Third Man Records will be an album of unreleased Leon Redbone recordings. Long Way From Home holds 18 tracks recorded in 1972; eight tunes are from a University of Buffalo’s coffee house performance and the other 10 come from a session for the university’s radio station WBFO. The label also is reissuing his 1975 Warner Brothers On the Track that is stocked with Redbone’s distinctive rendition of classic American tunes from early 20th century.

Nonesuch Records is the three-CD box set The Randy Newman Songbook on December 16. On top of covering the legendary songwriter’s five-decade career, it also holds five bonus tracks (“Feels Like Home,” “A Wedding in Cherokee County,” “Family Album: Homage to Alfred, Emil and Lionel Newman,” “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country” and “I’m Dreaming”).


The Feelies


The fabulous Feelies, one of my longtime favorites, are celebrating its 40th anniversary by recording their first studio album in over 6 years. In Between is set to be released on Feb. 24 by Bar/None.

Son Volt’s new album Notes of Blue finds Jay Farrar exploring blues music in his own unique way. The Feb. 17 release (on Thirty Tigers) stands as one of the most anticipated Americana release in early 2017. Another is the much-anticipated album from Tift Merritt. Stitch of the World (due from Yep Roc on 1/27) is her first since solo effort since 2012’s Traveling Alone. The label has several significant releases slated to start the year. On Feb. 10, they will also put out Chuck Prophet’s latest offering of gritty “California noir” music, evocatively titled CD Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins. Wesley Stace’s new album, Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding comes out on Feb. 24. Not only does it contain a fine collection of wittily written songs but Stace is backed by the Jayhawks. Meanwhile, Yep Roc is releasing Northern Passages from the long-running Canadian alt-country outfit The Sadies on Feb. 10.


Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

A couple other albums I am looking for forward to in 2017. Soul rockers Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears will put out their 4th CD Backlash, out Feb. 10 on INgrooves. Feb. 10 is also the day you can find a new album from Sallie Ford; Soul Sick (Vanguard) is a powerful set of songs that Ford describes as a “confessional” album. Nashville-based guitar maven Will Kimbrough has teamed with the talented soulful singer Brigette DeMeyer for a CD called Mockingbird Soul that has a Jan. 27 release date. The Charleston band Susto caught by attention this summer with their hilarious single “Chillin’ On The Beach With My Best Friend Jesus Christ.” That song isn’t on their upcoming album & I’m Fine Today (due 1/13 via Missing Piece/Caroline) but the CD does hold a potent set of Southern-bred rock (“Hard Drugs” is a current fave).

The cool SoCal Americana group The Wild Reeds has signed with the Dualtone so expect their next full-length arriving in 2017, while Compass Records will unveil Laws of Gravity from the adventurous bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters on Jan. 13.

Singer/songwriter Radney Foster will be taking to a different type of stage in January as he has been cast in the musical, Troubadour, by playwright Janece Shaffer (The Geller Girls, Broke) with original music by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Kristian Bush that is getting its world premiere at the Atlanta’s Tony Award® winning Alliance Theatre. The play will open Jan. 18 and run through Feb. 12.

Filmmaker Glenn Aveni is doing a documentary on the landmark 1982 US Festival, which boasted an all-star lineup featuring Ramones, B-52’s, Talking Heads, The Police, Santana, The Cars, The Kinks, Pat Benatar, Tom Petty & the HeartbreakersThe Grateful DeadJimmy Buffet, Jackson Browne and Fleetwood Mac. He has a Kickstarter campaign – – to help pay for all the music clearances he needs.

Jeff Antebi, the founder of Waxploitation, has produced an interesting book of adult “children’s stories” written by musicians like by Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Frank Black, Justin Vernon, Laura Marling, Devendra Banhart, Alison Mosshart and Kathleen Hanna and featuring illustrations by such artists as Anthony Lister, Dan Baldwin, Swoon, Will Barras, James Jean, Ronzo and Kai & Sunny. Proceeds from Stories for Ways & Means will benefit Room to Read and Pencils for Promise, two non-profits working to build schools in some of the poorest regions of the world so kids can learn to read and write. Learn more at

Lastly, I want to leave with a song from the late, great Sharon Jones, who passed away earlier this month.

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Go See Hear In L.A. Nov. 18-22 (the Leon Russell/Mose Allison edition)

While I ponder how Thanksgiving is a week away, here are some shows to check out before then..


Fri. 11/18


John Mayall

Top Shows: Blue rock pioneer and hall of famer John Mayall will be at the Rose in Pasadena. The 80-something hall of famer has a new album Talk About That slated for an early 2017 release. Sarah Simmons, who just released a new CD Freedom, showcases her powerful, soulful vocals at at Hotel Café’s Second Stage.
McCabe’s welcomes Mary Fahl, co-founder of mid-1990s folk-rock/adult alternative group, October Project. Moon Hooch brings its horn-blasted genre-busted music to the Echoplex, while the UK pop rock duo Slow Child will be at the Echo. Jon Brion makes an early appearance at Largo since the last Friday of the month is Black Friday. You can spend a merry night at the City National Grove of Anaheim with the Aquabats.


Sat. 11/19

Top Show(s): The popular electro pop trio LANY delivers their catchy, catchy songs at the Fonda tonight and tomorrow.  That cool couple from the Bay Area, Chuck Prophet and Stephanie Finch visit McCabe’s for a night of stimulating music. Prophet, who was in Green On Red back in the day, has a new CD coming out on Yep Roc Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins in Feb. Here is a song from it (I love the album cover and the tune too).



Dirtwire, featuring David Satori (Beats Antique) and Evan Fraser (Hamsa Lila, BOLO), play their electro-Americana hybrid at the Mint. Master bluesman Guitar Shorty returns to town with a gig at the Arcadia Blues Club. Singer/songwriter decker comes up from Arizona to play the Resident in support of his new EP Snake River Blues while Nashville-based tunesmith Tony Lucca plays the Troubadour tonight.


Sun. 11/20

Top Show(s): Austin legend Bill Carter comes to McCabe’s ahead of his next album Innocent Victims and Evil Companions, due 2/26/16.

Santa Ana’s Observatory offers a night spotlighting some fine vocalizing. Lucius, who recently backed up Roger Waters on tour, shares the vintage twang harmonizers Cactus Blossoms.


Cactus Blossoms


Midwest rockers The Orwells helps up brave the new world with a show at the Resident.


Mon. 11/21

The Troubadour hosts a pair of troubadours: NoCal’s Matt Simons and the Irish singer Gavin James.

 Tues. 11/22

Sweden’s El Perro Del Mar has a concert at the Echo where she’ll undoubtedly play music from her recently released KoKoro, which ranks as her most ambitious album yet. Yes men – Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman – perform as ARW at the Orpheum. It’s the first time they’ve played together since 1990.


Sadly, I am closing with another in memoriam. Actually two of them: Leon Russell and Mose Allison. A pair of piano-men who just seem like two cool cats. Their music both had blues roots but Russell took his into the rock and country worlds while Allison favored jazzy vibes. Both leave a treasury of great tunes.

While “Tight Rope” might be my favorite Russell song, I liked this vintage clip of him doing the always fabulous “A Song For You”



Allison, who is the father to the talented singer/songwriter Amy Allison, had a wonderful way with words. Again, there are a lot of excellent example to use, but went with “Your Mind’s On Vacation”



have a good Thanksgiving everyone.

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Go See Hear In L.A. Nov. 12-15 (and a remembrance of Leonard Cohen)

Still looking for weekend music? Let me share some shows, once over lightly.

Sat. 11/12

Top Show(s): The 50th Anniversary of the Sunset Strip Demonstration will be commemorated at the Echoplex with performances from Love Revisited, the Pandoras and more. You remember of course that the club Pandora’s Box was a key part of the Riots. Erin McKeown and Anna Tivel form a strong double bill of smart songwriters at McCabe’s. Shooter Jennings has just reissued his dystopian concept album Black Ribbons this week. Will he be playing some of it at the Troubadour? You got to go and find out.


Shooter Jennings


The haunting soundscapes of Psychic Twin will fill the El Rey, with STRFKR also performing. Soulful singer/songwriter Amos Lee continues his two-night stand at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel. Adam Torres put out his winsome folk-ish album Pearls To Swine in Sept.; he’ll be at the Resident with Thor & Friends and the Broad Stage hosts the Canadian roots group The Slocan Ramblers. The Teragram welcomes Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band, while Justin Trosper (formerly of Unwound!) plays the Smell.

Sun. 11/13

Top Show(s): Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano celebrates the release of the crowd-funded DVD The Naked Show, as well as breaking in her new band, The Division Men, at the Hotel Café. Johnny A, who has played in recent Yardbirds incarnations, shows off his guitar prowess at McCabe’s. It would be worth seeing Car Seat Headrest at the Teragram but the show is sold out. Brett Harris headlines the latest Wild Honey benefit; get more details at

Sweet Spirit, Tickle Torture (featuring Velvet Negroni) join Har Mar Superstar at the Echoplex. You don’t need to take the Ventura Highway to see America – the group will be at the Saban tonight.

Mon. 11/14

Temple of the Dog – the Seattle supergroup featuring Soundgarden‘s Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam‘s Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Mike McCready, and drummer Matt Cameron – are out on their first-ever tour, so it’s no surprise that this show is sold out.

Tues. 11/15


Sturgill Simpson

Top Show(s): Sturgill Simpson plays tonight and tomorrow at the Wiltern. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these shows are sold out. If you aren’t familiar with the excellent songwriter William Fitzsimmons you will have your chance to tonight as he brings his band to the Troubadour. And don’t miss Laura Burhenn who is opening the show.

To celebrate their new EP, The Active Set will shake some action with their New Wave-y tunes at the Satellite. The legendary rock drummer Kenny Aronoff has a sit-down at the Grammy Museum. His book, Sex, Drums, Rock ’n’ Roll! The Hardest Hitting Man in Show Business, is coming out soon. Smokey Brights brighten up the Hotel Café with the Classic Rock-inspired sound.

I just wanted to end with a note on Leonard Cohen. A lot of great things have been said of this great artist. The small thought on Cohen that I wanted to add was how I always associate him with the great Robert Altman movie McCabe and Mrs. Miller – and vice versa. Altman use of Cohen’s music in this 1972 film was truly inspired. The songs served as another character. Even though they had nothing to do with the Western’s turn-of-the-century setting, the songs wonderfully enhanced the movie’s mood and emotions.

Here is the opening of the film:

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October Desk Clearing (part one?): Buck Owens To Frank Zappa

I wanted to share some of the music news that surfaced on my radar during October. Well, at least some of it. It got to the point that I needed just to wrap it up and ship it out. So, here you go…October saw Chuck Berry turn 90 and announce that he will be putting out his first album in nearly 40 years – Chuck – that Dualtone will release in 2017.


It has been a little over a decade since the Rolling Stones’ last studio album but that has been the longest stretch in their career. On Dec. 2, they will return with a new album Blue & Lonesome, which finds them covering old blues tunes by the likes of Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon. Neil Young, meanwhile, seems to be crankin’ out an album every six months. His next one, Peace Trail (Dec. 2, Reprise) reportedly favors acoustic numbers and features a rhythm section of drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Paul Bushnell.


John Cale’s 1992 live album Fragments of a Rainy Season is getting reissued courtesy of Double Six/Domino on vinyl, CD and as a digital download. It captures Cale on his 1992 solo tour and the song list covers a range of his song catalogue including “Paris 1919,” “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” “Chinese Envoy” and his memorable version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” There are also several previously unreleased outtakes, such as “Waiting For The Man.” Here is a new (and rather creepy) video Cale does for “Hallalujah”


October saw the opening of Paisley Park to the public. Visitors now can explore Prince’s music complex and see his recording and mixing studios, rehearsal rooms, a huge soundstage and concert hall – plus his private office which has not only one but three beds. NPG Records and Warner Bros. Records also announced that they will be putting out the first posthumous Prince releases. First is Prince 4Ever (Nov. 22), which will hold over three dozen of Prince’s biggest songs plus the previously unissued “Moonbeam Levels” (that was originally recorded in 1982). Next year will bring a deluxe reissue of Purple Rain, featuring a number of never-before-released material.


Duane Allman’s long out-of-print retrospective An Anthology came out at the end of October on Mercury/UMe. The 1972 double LP showcases Allman’s guitar genius over the course of a career-spanning 19 tracks, from his session work (like Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude” cover) to his classic songs (“Layla” and a live version of “Statesboro Blues). November 20, by the way, would have Allman’s 70th birthday.


UMe in conjunction with MCA Nashville, also reissued in October Steve Earle’s breakout debut Guitar Town in honor of its 30th anniversary. The two-disc set pairs a remastered version of the original album with a previously unreleased 19-song live concert performed at Chicago’s Park West in 1986 as part of the Guitar Town tour at the Park West in Chicago in 1986. Besides the 2-CD set, both Guitar Town and the live recording are out separately on vinyl. Here is Earle’s video for “Guitar Town.”

Earlier this year, Heal My Soul, an album of previously unreleased Jeff Healey recordings, came out and on Dec. 9 there will be another album (Holding On) that contains five rare studio tracks and 1999 live recording from Oslo, Norway that further reveals the majestic playing of late guitarist.


Getting its first proper US release on Nov. 18 (via MVD) is Man Of The World, a documentary that the BBC made a few years back on the legendary UK blues guitarist Peter Green. Green, who was Eric Clapton’s replacement in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, founded Fleetwood Mac, although he chose to not to attach his name to the band’s name (he apparently didn’t want the attention that would come with his name in the band’s name). If you know Fleetwood Mac’s early (pre-Lindsey Buckingham) music, then you know Green’s songs like “Albatross,” “Oh Well” and “Black Magic Woman” (yes, he wrote that song; it isn’ a Carlos Santana tune). The documentary also recalls the emotional troubles that not only Green had but also the other two Mac guitarists from that era: Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan.



Those you who like the latter day version of Fleetwood Mac will be interested in knowing that Rhino is putting out deluxe versions of Stevie Nicks’ first two solo albums, Bella Donna and The Wild Heart, on Nov. 4. Bella Donna will be a 3-disc set with one disc containing demos, alternative versions and soundtrack selections (“Blue Lamp” from Heavy Metal and “Sleeping Angel” from Fast Times At Ridgemont High) and another disc with 1981 concert recordings. The Wild Heart has a bonus disc that the B-side “Garbo,” “Violet And Blue” from the Against All Odds soundtrack and previously unreleased studio recordings.


There will be a pair of vinyl boxsets covering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 40-year career. Coming out first (Nov. 25) will be The Complete Studio Albums Volume 2 (1994-2014), which starts with Wildflowers and ends with Hypnotic Eye. Volume 1 (1976-1991), which curiously will be released second (Dec. 9) goes from their self-titled debut through Into the Great Wideout.


Hart Valley Drifters


You might not know the band The Hart Valley Drifters, but this early ‘60s group featured Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter and David Nelson, who later co-founded the New Riders of the Purple Sage. On Nov. 11, a recording that they did in 1962 on Stanford University’s KZSU radio station will be released. Beyond its future famous band members, the Hart Valley Drifters’ Folk Time is a very entertaining set of old-timey and bluegrass tunes.


Coming out Dec. 9 is London Fog 1966, a live recording that captures the Doors before they made it to the Whisky a Go Go and before they released their first album. This previously little known recording was made a young woman Nettie Peña who borrowed a ¼” reel-to-reel recorder that belonged to the LA United School District (her dad was a LAUSD teacher). The 7-song set holds a handful of covers – Big Joe Williams’ “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, Wilson Pickett’s “Don’t Fight It,” Little Richards’ “Lucille” and Muddy Waters’ “Rock Me” and “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” – plus two originals (“Strange Days” and “You Make It Real.” This collector’s edition boxed set (Rhino/Bright Midnight Archives) includes both a CD and vinyl versions as well as a bunch of replica memorabilia.


A Frank Zappa Chicago concert recording will be released on Nov. 4. Chicago ’78 features a complete show of Zappa and the Mothers of Invention performing at Chicago’s Uptown Theatre in September of 1978. Because of technology limitations at that time, it was recorded on three different sources and all of the tapes were remastered for this released.  Here is a weird vintage Zappa clip of “Cosmic Debris” that just might be from 1972 and might be from the Petit Wazoo tour.

Zappa Records/Ume will also be releasing two other titles on Nov. 4. Meat Light is a three-disc set that has the original 1969 vinyl mix of Zappa’s classic Uncle Meat album, Zappa’s never-before-released original sequence and a bunch of unreleased rare alternate mixes, live performances, and studio session outtakes. Little Dots, which stands as a “sequel” to Imaginary Diseases that came out around a decade ago, contains more material from Zappa’s “Petit Wazoo” tour he did with a horn-oriented ensemble in 1972.  Zappa fans should also note that the Sony Pictures Classics’ feature documentary, Eat That Question, is out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital with all-new bonus features.


Omnivore Recordings is heading up to Bakersfield for two new compilations. Arriving Dec. 9 is Buck OwensThe Complete Capitol Singles, a 2-disc set that delivers 56 A- and B-side tunes. It holds hits like “Act Naturally,” “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” “My Heart Skips A Beat,” “Together Again” and “Cryin’ Time,” along with some singles he did with Rose Maddox. Dec. 16 is the date for Guitar Pickin’ Man, an 18-song collection spotlighting Don Rich, the guitar whiz who lead of Owens’ Buckeroos band until his untimely death in 1972 from a motorcycle accident.

The DecemberistsThe Crane Wife’s will get a big deluxe reissue to celebrate its 10th anniversary. A limited edition vinyl boxset (due Dec. 9 on Capitol Records/Ume) will have 5 LPs. The original album will fill two LPs and the other three records are packed with b-sides, bonus tracks, unreleased outtakes, alternate versions and Meloy’s solo acoustic demos. There will also a Blu-Ray of a two-hour concert filmed live for NPR in 2006 at Washington, D.C.’s famed 9:30 Club.


The beginning of November brings some other interesting releases. Hip-hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest will put out their first album since 1998 on Nov. 11 via Epic Records. The recording was done before before founding member Phife Dawg‘s death this past March. Another NYC music pioneer James Chance has re-formed his band The Contortions (as opposed to his other band James White and the Blacks) for the new CD The Flesh Is Week. Joining Chance is longtime Contortions lead guitarist Tomás Doncker, who also co-produced. It will come out on Doncker’s True Groove Records and offers new tunes plus the band takes on songs like Gil Scott Heron’s “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” and Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”.

11/11 also is the release date for another slice of experimental rock. Body/Head – featuring ex-Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon and Northampton Wools guitarist Bill Nace – share their sophomore CD No Waves (Matador Records), which is a live recording done in 2014. Canada’s kings of Americana Blue Rodeo delivers their 14th album 1000 Arms on the 11th. I like both this song and its video.



I have a couple tips for non-CD gift buying. Two fine music-related books just were published. Pickers and Poets: The Ruthlessly Poetic Singer-Songwriters of Texas (Texas A&M University Press) offers essays on the state that might be home to more great troubadours than any other. Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Hayes Carll, Rodney Crowell, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Robert Earl Keen are some of singer-songwriters profiled.

The Guitarist is the focus of the new book Play It Loud, An Epic History of the Style, Sound, and Revolution of the Electric Guitar. Les Paul, Billy Gibbons, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Peter Townshend, Jimmy Page, Steve Vai, Ted Nugent, Billie Joe Armstrong, Jack White, Dan Auerbach and Patti Smith are among those helping to tell the history of the electric guitar.







There is a curious new salute to David Bowie. Let All The Children Boogie is a 20-track tribute geared for young rock fans. This benefit  benefit for the  an LGBTQ youth charity organization It Gets Better mixes acts from the family music world (Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players: “Kooks,” Sonia de los Santos & Elena Moon Park: “The Man Who Sold the World,” Gustafer Yellowgold & the Pop Ups: “Space Oddity,” Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower featuring Simi Stone: “Changes” and Uncle Rock with Tracy Bonham: “Lady Stardust” with “adult” music acts (Antibalas: “Let’s Dance,” Rhett Miller: “Ziggy Stardust” and Ted Leo: “Heroes”) and some who have straddled both worlds (Walter Martin: “Breaking Glass” and Sally Timms & Jon Langford: “The Prettiest Star”). It does sound like one of the great albums that spans the generations. You can hear Leo’s Heroes over at

Hopefully I will get to part two but I did want to mention one more thing. A couple posts ago, I mentioned the upcoming release of the “lost” album by Terry Dolan that was recorded in 1972. Well, there’s another “lost” album from 1972 coming out. In the early ’70s Jemima James worked at fabled Long View Studios in western Massachusetts. While there, she recorded some of her songs but nothing ever happened to them until now. Jemima James At Long View Farm is a lovely album that Team Love Records is putting out. James, who is the mother of singer/songwriter Willy Mason, will also have a CD of newly recorded tunes as well.


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Go See Hear In L.A. Nov. 1-8 (the Sunshine Bean/Greensky Bluegrass edition

All I can say is “November, really?”

Tue. 11/1

Top Show: Bob Forrest, who made some wildly wicked rock in his days with Thelonious Monster and later solo efforts, will be at the Grammy Museum with his new album Survival Songs and talking about his own survival from addictions. Another ‘90s survivor, Spain continues its Tuesday residency at the Love Song.

Emmy the Great and Jens Lekman team up for a night of well-crafted musical adventures in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. San Pedro’s Warner Grand welcomes the 20th century hit makers Goo Goo Dolls, with Safety Suit as their openers.

Wed. 11/2

Top Show: Shovels & Rope bring tunes from their fantastic new album Little Seeds to Fonda with Indianola as their opening band. The last time I saw them, the duo put on quite a show as they switched around between who was playing guitar and drums.

David Crosby showcases songs from his new stripped down CD Lighthouse at a free Amoeba in-store performance.

Tina Sinatra and a panel of Frank aficionados will be at the Grammy Museum to celebrate World On A String, a new 4CD/DVD collection. Besides the Frank talk, clips from the DVD will be shown. Boy and Bear will be at the Teragram while Sunshine Bean and Plum play a “30 Days In LA” concert at the Roxy. Georgia-based multi-instrumentalist Zach Deputy has a Hotel Café gig tonight and Sainte Rockne show tomorrow night with Ballyhoo!

Thurs. 11/3

Top Show: Spend the night with the wonderful vocalist Audra Day at the Belasco. Greensky Bluegrass will be picking their progressive brand of acoustic music at the Teragram. Check out their excellent new disc Shouted, Written Down & Quoted. Dwight Yoakam’s latest is the bluegrass-flavored effort; he’ll have a concert at Ventura’ Majestic Theater tonight.

In advance of their next CD Ship of Fools, Elephant Stone comes to the Satellite. Ballroom Thieves (who just released Deadeye) and Paper Bird land at the Bootleg. The Rescues wrap up their Fall residency at the Hotel Café tonight. The Fonda will be rockin’ with the music of the Struts and Hunna. And Weezer’s Rhonda’s Kiss Benefit Concert at the El Rey is a sold out, FYI.

Fri. 11/4


Three Dog Night…back in the day

One my favorite children bands, Three Dog Night, plays the Saban in Beverly Hills. Don’t know how they sound live now or if it is better to listen to their old albums. SSHH is a new project with Zak Starkey (yes, son of Ringo and drummer for latter day The Who and Oasis), Sshh Liguz and pals. They’ve done an interesting all-covers album and have a show at the Viper Room that benefits the Teen Cancer Trust. Jen Chapin has singer/songwriter in her genes (she’s Harry Chapin’s daughter) and has a two-night stand at Torrance’s Nakano Theater.

Sat. 11/5

Top Show(s): A pair of legends perform in Southern California tonight. Kris Kristofferson has a concert at the Segerstrom down in the OC while Disney Hall welcomes Joan Baez.

The raucous old (as in ‘80s/’90s) Scot band Primal Scream can be heard at the Regent; the Death Valley Girls will open the show. The David Wax Museum brings their eclectic collection of tunes to the Hotel Café. The UK outfit Wild Wild Horses gallop into the Echo tonight with Made Violent and From Indian Lakes (give a listen to their cool new one Everything Feels Better Now when you can). McCabe’s will be in a bluegrass mood with the Lonely Heartstring Band.

Sun. 11/6

Top Show: Robbie Fulks is just a wonderful songwriter, whether he is serious or sarcastic, and quite the entertaining performer too. Find out for yourself at McCabe’s.

The Regrettes is a one of those hot young L.A. rock bands but still I was impressed by them. They’ll headline the Echo with with Peach Kelli Pop, Upset and DJ Honey Power also in the bill.

Over at the Bootleg you can discover the Cave Singers, the Seattle folk-rock outfit formed from the remains of Pretty Girls Make Graves.

Mon. 11/7

Top Show(s): Oakland-based songstress Hazel English has an alluring indie pop quality to the couple tunes I’ve heard of hers.

You can hear more at the Echo tonight. Girl In A Coma frontperson Nina Diaz will play songs from her potent solo debut The Beat Is Dead at Multiply LA. Australian songtress Gabriella Cohen brings her moody, unsettling music to L.A. for the first time with a show at the Echoplex

King Washington starts their November residency at the Satellite while the Veils unveil tunes from their latest effort Total Depravity at the Roxy.


Tues. 11/8

The Drag City band Purling Hiss will be making some noise at the Resident tonight.

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Go See Hear In L.A. Oct. 26-31 (The Damned/Southern Culture On The Skids edition)

Top Show: Damien Jurado has a gorgeous new album Visions of Us on the Land that I’m sure he’ll be sharing at the Highland Park Ebell Club.

Supersuckers, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, and Jesse Dayton will be down in Long Beach at Alex’s Bar. Leslie Stevens will get twangy at the Bootleg. Ingrid Michaelson starts her two-night stand at the Theater at the Ace Hotel tonight while Hannah Georgas is doing a free show at the Monty Bar in DTLA.

Thur. 10/27



Top Show(s): Hopefully you already have a ticket for Dawes’ Grammy Museum appearance because it is already sold out. It would be interesting to hear them talk about how they evolved their sound on their latest CD We’re All Gonna Die. Punk rock pioneers The Damned play the Belasco as part of their 40th anniversary tour. That should be “Neat, Neat, Neat!”

Doc Martens know how to have a grand store opening. Tonight they host legendary San Diego rockers Rocket from the Crypt at their new Studio City store. Run River North rolls into the El Rey. Cello rock band (yes, that common genre) Rasputina marks the 20th anniversary of their debut disc with a Bootleg concert. You can catch an intimate set from singer/songwriter Greg Holden (who had a big hit with “Home”) when he plays the Hotel Café’s second stage. On the main stage, the Rescues continue their fall residency that they’ll wrap up on 11/3.

Fri. 10/28

Top Show(s): Blind Pilot and River Whyless form are strong bill of rootsy-ish rock at the Teragram, which is probably why it is sold out. If you can’t get into that show, you can check out Fort Frances at the Hotel Café. This Chicago-based band delivers some strong hooky rock – not too light, not too heavy – on their CD Alio.


Fort Frances

The Coffee Gallery Backstage hosts an excellent lineup of singer/songwriters Sam Morrow, Claire Holley, Jeff Turmes and Bliss Bowen.

French music icon Charles Aznavour headlines the Pantages. Veteran folk singer Carrie Newcomer visits McCabe’s. And, since it is the last Friday of the month, you can find Jon Brion and his pals at Largo.

Sat. 10/29

Top Show(s): Alt-folk troubadour Jeffrey Foucault will be sharing his evocative story-songs at McCabe’s. Kim Simmonds started the Savoy Brown Blues Band in 1965. The preeminent British bluesman will be performing at the Arcadia Blues Club. He’ll be at the Coach House on Sunday.

Hollywood Palladium will be rocking with a concert (would you call it “progressive punk?”) featuring Fidlar, SWMRS and The Frights. I’m sure you know that Fidlar frontman Zac Carper produced the SWMRS’ 2016 debut disc. The Icelandic rock band Kaleo will be performing at the Fonda. Big Bad Voodoo Daddies will cast a spell on you at the Cerritos Center. Electro-pop pioneers the Pet Shop Boys are back and appearing at the Microsoft Theater.

Sun. 10/30

Top Show: Spend Halloween eve with Alice Cooper at the Pantages. Is there a better classic rock show to see before Halloween? Tom Petty’s pianoman Benmont Tench has a solo show at McCabe’s – which friends of his will be lending their support?


Benmont Tench

King Charles (aka Charles Costa) is a fast rising singer/songwriter from London; he’ll be at the Hotel Café tonight. Where art thou O’Brother? The Atlanta-based rockers can be found at the Regent Theater.

Mon. 10/31

Top Show(s): After you are done trick-or-treat, head over to the Echo where Southern Culture On The Skids will be serving up some roots rock mayhem. The suave Boz Scaggs has a show at the Rose in Pasadena.

There’ll be a bit of an ‘80s New Wave flashback at the Maui Sugar Mill Saloon where Holly Vincent will perform.

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Go See Hear In L.A. Oct. 21-24 (the Bon Iver/Blitzen Trapper edition)

Yes, I am a little behind but before I got further behind, I wanted to share some of the great shows for this weekend (and Monday).

Fri. 10/21

Top Show: Lori McKenna’s show at the Hotel Café is not surprisingly sold out, and deservedly so. She is one of the great songwriters around even if she isn’t a household name. The LA Times even did an article on her the other day –

And just because I found it, McKenna doing a bit of “Humble and Kind” in my old stomping grounds of Gloucester, MA


To celebrate the 30th anniversary of his self-titled debut, Peter Case has invited several of his collaborators from that album (like Van Dyke Parks, Steven Soles and Jorge Bermudez) to join him at McCabe’s, and drummer Don Heffington and Dead Rock West will be joining in too. Hey, hey, the Monkees’ 50th anniversary tour swings into the City National Grove of Anaheim. Their show last month at the Pantages was excellent. The Mint has two shows tonight – both are recommendable and both star bass players. The early show spotlights Amy LaVere, who hails from the Memphis roots music scene. The late show celebrates George Porter Jr., the fabled bassman for the Meters. Hinds, the all-female garage rock band from Spain, headlines the Regent.

The Violent Femmes play Pomona’s Fox Theatre tonight and will be playing Beach Goth tomorrow (see below). The Coffee Gallery Backstage serves up a double shot of acoustic goodness with the UK Americana band The Good Intentions and the local outfit Susie Glaze Folk Ensemble (who will play McCabe’s on Sat.). Priscilla Ahn is a SoCal singer/songwriter with a lovely, ethereal vibe; she’ll be at Largo tonight. L.A.’s own Dreamers have a record release show at the Troubadour with Night Riots and Mainland. Ra Ra Riot and Young the Giant is a fun marquee pairing for the Greek while you’ll find Andy Shauf with Scattered Clouds at The Echo.


Sat. 10/22

Top Show: Seeing Hiss Golden Messenger (whose new CD Heart Like A Levee is a must hear) at the Bootleg should be great and having Tift Merritt as his special guests only makes it, well, more special.

Shirley Manson and Donita Sparks are scheduled to appear at the screening of the rock doc, The Smart Studios (the fabled studio founded by Butch Vig and Steve Marker) at the Echoplex. Ronnie Mack, Chad Watson, Paul Zollo and Matt Cartsonis are among those paying musical tribute to the great songwriter Guy Clark at the Coffee Gallery Backstage. Melissa Gotttlieb & E11even The Rave-Ups and Taylor John Williams form tonight’s Mint bill. The 90’s Boston band Letters To Cleo has reformed and will be at the Troubadour. Rachael Yamagata is out with a new album Tightrope Walker; she’ll be playing Santa Ana’s Constellation Room tonight and the Teragram on the 26th.


Festival break: The GrowlersBeach Goth festival happens at the Observatory Grounds this weekend. Saturday’s lineup includes Bon Iver, Patti Smith, Violent Femmes, Albert Hammond Jr., Gang of Four, Hinds and James Blake while Sunday holds Grimes, Devendra Banhart, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Timber Timbre, Dwight Twilley and Moving Units playing Joy Division.

Sun. 10/23

Top Show(s): It bears repeating that Patti Smith and her band (that includes original members Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty plus Tony Shanahan and Jack Petruzzelli) will perform her landmark album Horses which came out Dec. 1975. Also on the bill are Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger (with Tift Merritt).

Earlier this year, Bloodshot released Luke Winslow-King’s I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always, a bluesy, rootsy meditation on heartache. LW-K will be sharing tunes from this powerful album at the Hotel Café, which also welcomes San Francisco alt-rocker Megan Slankard. Oregon-based folk rockers Blitzen Trapper will do a small club show at the Bootleg.

Mersey Beat-sters Chad and Jeremy visit McCabe’s on what they say is their final US tour. Quite impressive since the duo did their first single in 1963 and scored their biggest hit, “A Summer Song” in 1964.

Here they are playing the song on American Bandstand


The winner of the first annual Harry Dean Stanton Award is…Harry Dean Stanton. Kris Kristofferson, Father John Misty, Karen O, Inara George, John C. Reilly and Harper Simon will pay tribute to Harry Dean in one way or another at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel.


Mon. 11/24

Top Show: It’ll be fun time at the Echoplex with Supersuckers, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, and Jesse Dayton all playing some form of rocked up roots music. The Fray and American Authors will fill the Wiltern with their anthemic rock ‘n’ roll.

Of Montreal arrives at the Regent with a new album Innocence Reaches released back in August. Up-and-coming honky tonker Aaron Lewis has a date at the Hotel Café. Busman’s Holiday is a fun band from Indiana led by brothers Lewis and Addison Roger. Considering this is L.A., I’m guessing that they’ll be playing “Beach Song” at the Belasco.

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