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Soul Source: Don Covay 1938-2015

Monday, 16 February 2015 06:51 AM Written by


Pioneering soul vocalist Don Covay died January 31 after suffering a stroke. He was 76 and had been recovered from a stroke in 1992. The native of South Carolina, born Donald Randolph in 1938, had a long career as an R&B singer in various 1950's vocal groups after getting his start as part of Little Richard's group.

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The Late John Murray's Musical Side

Friday, 13 February 2015 06:26 AM Written by

The coverage of former Duquesne University President John Murray's passing, has included, understandably, much about his distinguished and honorable legal and academic career.  Another aspect of the man hasn't gotten as much mention: his musical talents

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Dylan's 'Shadows In The Night' Reviewed: PG Music Podcast

Thursday, 12 February 2015 06:48 AM Written by


Last week, Columbia Records released Bob Dylan's Shadows In The Night, his interpretation of ten Frank Sinatra tunes spanning the years 1945 to 1963. In this week's music podcast, I review the album and, for perspective, play some of the Sinatra originals to get deeper into what Dylan was trying to do? Listen here for my conclusions

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Three Country Legends Who Caught Hell And Won

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 06:28 AM Written by

In the wake of the Garth Brooks tsunami, it's been noted other now-iconic country singers took flak for making musical changes or were sometimes considered out of the norm.  That never applied to Garth, whose music didn't change unless he was hiding behind his Chris Gaines persona (where I think his true musical essence lies). But the idea other singers have stirred controversy for altering their trajectories is absolute fact.  It's just a matter of identifying the right vocalists. 

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SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven't seen Episode 2 of Better Call Saul.

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SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven't seen the series premiere of Better Call Saul.

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1965's Other Hits: A Select Sampler

Friday, 06 February 2015 08:30 AM Written by

On Thursday Scott Mervis ably chronicled the year in rock circa 1965, the concerts and the ways the new music from Britain, California and New York (not to mention Motown) arrived and took root in Pittsburgh. I was 14 that year and it's pretty much how I remember it. I also remembered these 12 songs, most big hits that year but not all. But they were songs I loved then and now. Most are live TV performances. I've favored clips where the acts are actually singing and playing, not lip-synching.  And yes, in those days, you COULD hear all this on Top 40 radio.

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Beyond Lawrence Welk: Guitarist Neil LeVang

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 03:00 PM Written by

Guitarist Neil LeVang, who died in his sleep a week ago at 83, accompanied with everyone. He backed Sinatra on records  along with quite a few 60's rock bands and singers and even Zappa on the first Mothers of Invention album.  He was also involved with countless TV show and movie soundtracks during his decades in the LA recording studios.  He spent one day a week as guitarist on The Lawrence Welk Show, which gave him national exposure if not musical satisfaction.  Filling that role with Welk for nearly 20 years gave his kids health insurance and allowed him to spend the rest of his time making records and getting top dollar.

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