Get Rhythm

Tom T. Hall's 'Fox Hollow' Album Revisited

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 02:45 AM Written by

The year 1974 saw singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall in the midst of a hitmaking streak that started in 1969 and lasted for another decade.  His successes ("A Week in a Country Jail," "The Year that Clayton Delaney Died") gave him clout with his record company, Mercury. Records, yet his Nashville producer Jerry Kennedy was a shade skeptical when Hall pitched an album for kids, an exotic notion for a country artist, aside from the many earlier kids' albums by singing cowboys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and a 1957 effort by Eddy Arnold.

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Sam the Sham: Then and Now

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 07:35 PM Written by

If you heard the review of the Sam the Sham reissue on this week's "Believe Your Ears" podcast, and didn't see the Sam videos we posted last week you might wonder what there is from the old days, and what he's up to nowadays.  Here are both the posts from last week complete with some new ones that go (nearly) up to the present time.

 

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Ukulele Madness: More of the Story

Monday, 16 May 2011 03:40 AM Written by

Marlene Parrish provided an excellent survey of the revived popularity of the ukulele, both timely and wide-ranging, in Sunday's PG. Ditto the sidebar localized to its popularity around Pittsburgh. Regarding her statement "the uke wasn't considered a serious musical instrument. Until now."  I understand that statement but actually, that's not quite the case.  Music insiders always took it more seriously than the general public. Only now is the public at large realizing its value, enhanced by the power of social media.  There's actually more to say about both the instrument's past and its rising popularity.  So here goes.

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On this week's "Believe Your Ears," I'm reviewing the new CD by the Blind Boys of Alabama, titled Take the High Road,  with a number of big-league country guest stars including Vince Gill and Willie Nelson.  You can listen here.

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Joe Negri: South Hills High Hall of Famer

Monday, 09 May 2011 11:48 PM Written by

 

On Saturday evening, Joe Negri, jazz guitarist (first generation bebopper, no less), regional entertainer, local TV personality and of course "Handyman Negri" of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, received another honor to the many he's received over nearly  70 years in local show business.  He was inducted into the South Hills High School's Hall of Fame.

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Bet on it. Very shortly we'll have few rock, rap and country "good riddance" songs regarding Osama Bin Laden appear in the next month, from the grassroots and from established acts.  And  hey, why not?  He's not only worthy of the honor, these songs are part of a continuum in American music going back through our earlier wars against psychotic dictators. That includes the Cold War era, when iron-fisted megalomaniac Joseph Stalin ran the Soviet Union. 

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Georgie Fame's Magnificent Third Act

Monday, 02 May 2011 07:05 AM Written by

One has to time-travel 43 years back to recall British R&B singer Georgie Fame's real presence in America. That brief spurt of 60's US popularity was a byproduct of the tidal wave of UK pop acts swept into America behind the Beatles during the British Invasion.  Fame had just three hits in the US, two in 1965: "Yeh Yeh," penned by jazz vocalese master Jon Hendricks and the pulsating Fame original "Getaway." 1968's "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde," inspired by the hit Warren Beatty-Faye Dunaway film, was his sole Top Ten US single. Except for later tours with Van Morrison as his bandleader and singer-organist with ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings in the past decade, that was it for Fame over here.  But what most of America doesn't realize is that at 67, Fame's making the best music of his career.

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