Today's "Believe Your Ears" PG music podcast features my review of Ronnie Milsap's new album Summer Number Seventeen, an album of newly recorded versions of R&B, country and pop oldies, not unlike Martina McBride's new R&B cover album Everlasting. The singer appears at the Palace Theater in Greensburg on May 18.
Sunday night's Season Seven premiere of Mad Men began in January, 1969, yet the two songs included were each hits two years earlier: The Spencer Davis Group's "I'm A Man" and at the show's end, as Peggy melts down on her apartment floor, Vanilla Fudge's reimagination of the Supremes' "You Keep My Hangin' On."
My Monday morning discussions of various historical songs featured in Mad Men episodes proved pretty popular last year. So I'll resume posting Monday mornings, following the Season 1 (Part 1) premiere Sunday. If you weren't around last season, I'd look at the history and circumstances of songs used on the show, who wrote them and originally recorded them, with added context on the circumstances and my opinion how the song (or songs) fit ioto a given episode. The first episode this season starts in January of 1969 (when I was in the final semester of my Senior year of high school), so we'll just have to take them as they come.
Today's "Believe Your Ears" Music Podcast reviews Young Guns, a never-released 1968-69 performance by the Gene Ludwig-Pat Martino Trio, a classic Organ Trio led by the late Pittsburgh Hammond B-3 master Gene Ludwig, who died in 2010.
Amid all the Mickey Rooney film comedies and his Emmy-award winning starring role as a mentally disabled man in the TV movie Bill, one of his most memorable roles is often forgotten, and it's my personal favorite: his portrayal of ruthless, psychotic comic and TV mega-star Sammy Hogarth, a former vaudeville funnyman, in Rod Serling's teleplay The Comedian, adapted from Ernest Lehman's 1952 novelette. This 1957 dramatic presentation that was one of the high points of the prestigious 1950's live TV dramatic anthology Playhouse 90, a program considered a gem of the first Golden Age of Television. Other memorable Playhouse 90 adaptations by Serling included Requiem For A Heavyweight, starring the late Jack Palance.
Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney, who died yesterday at 93, left his mark on American film and stage acting along with various TV roles. One thing not so well known today were Rooney's musical skills, more substantial than many realized. He was skilled on drums, piano, vibes and vocals. Virtually all movies featuring actors as musicians had professionals record for the soundtrack, but Rooney was the rare one able to it himself. Check out these examples.
The Jeannette School Board's decision to name their high school auditorium for Vaughn Monroe (1911-1973), Class of '29, is probably a mystery to the vast majority of the student body and a good many others below the age of 65. In an era of vastly different musics and technologies, Monroe, a vocalist and orchestra leader, is almost an ancient figure, a star of the 20th Century who gained stardom during the Big Band Era of the 30's and 40's.
The buzz about Christine McVie rejoining Fleetwood Mac for their upcoming tour makes her early days worth examining. 47 years ago, when she in her 20's, she was a singer-pianist and artist known by her maiden name of Christine Perfect and like the original Fleetwood Mac, her roots were in the same British Blues movement that spawned Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Rod Stewart, John Mayall, Mick Taylor, the Animals and even the Rolling Stones.
On this week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast, I review David Nail's new album I'm A Fire. Scott Mervis opens by interviewing Rachael Price of the Americana band Lake Street Drive. Listen by clicking on this link.
On this week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast, I review Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams's new album Reflections, released last week on Sugar Hill Records, an album that continues the mellow, laid-back style that made him famous and gave him quite a few big country hits 40 years ago. At the beginning of the podcast, Scott Mervis interviews Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs. Click this link to listen.