Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez

Christine OhlmanI like artists who are in earnest when they perform their craft. Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez are such artists. If you are looking for that gritty blues sound that shouts to your soul I urge to listen to the Bee Hive Queen and her band.

I first saw Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez a few years back outdoors in Meriden, Ct. at the Daffodil Festival. They were the opening act for Eric Burdon and the Animals on April 26, 2008. I liked their set and their sound.

I have noticed they have been hard at work in the last three years. They have three live dates scheduled for CT so far. Their first Connecticut concert is scheduled for January 28, 2012 at The Maple Tree Cafe in Simsbury, Ct. They also have a club date closer to my home in New Haven at Cafe Nine on February 25, 2012. The third date is later in the year at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville on June 16, 2012.

Her day job is vocalist for the Saturday Night Live Band. I really appreciate Christine Ohlman’s role as a music scholar. She makes a strong contribution to the music selected and played on SNL.

Her latest studio recording is The Deep End released in 2010. Ohlman recruited a stellar group of artists to contribute to that CD, including Marshall Crenshaw, Dion DiMucci and Ian Hunter as duet partners, as well as an all-star list of accompanists: G.E. Smith, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel from the Del-Lords, NRBQ veteran Big Al Anderson, Catherine Russell, and the Asbury Juke Horns (Chris Anderson and Neal Pawley).

There is also LIVE HIVE, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez’s premier concert DVD, recorded January,16  2011. It was filmed right down the street from where I live.

Live Hive contains 17 tracks plus bonus interview segments, the electronic press kit for The Deep End, and the video for “Love Make You Do Stupid Things.”

Tower of Power

Thursday night my wife and I will attend our 30th concert of the year. We continue to happily do our part as loyal patrons of the arts. The concert features the double bill of Tower of Power with special guests Average White Band. An event that James Taylor would call a “churning urn of burning funk.”

The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, CT is the location for this event. This will be our third show at the Klein this season. It is also our sixth event with The Fairfield Theatre Company as member participants. FTC continues to offer engaging live music options for its patrons, which we are thankful to enjoy. 🙂

Tower of Power Proof

Tower of Power is another great product of the San Francisco Bay area from the late 60’s. Bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Big Brother, Journey and others all helped to define the “San Francisco Sound.” Tower of Power has been a band I have wanted to see to complete that list (having seen all the others mentioned…).

Otis Redding – 70 Years On

Cover of "The Very Best of Otis Redding"
Cover of The Very Best of Otis Redding

Otis Redding is back in the limelight, deservedly so, due to the overnight Internet success of the new music collaboration by Jay-Z and Kayne West, “Otis”. They sample Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness” which empowers them both underneath to rap with great aplomb.

Otis Redding

The renewed interest in Otis Redding, the King of Soul prompted me to purchase The Very Best of Otis Redding on Apple iTunes. I lacked an essential Otis Redding digital recording in my music collection. The soulful mastery Otis Redding possess’ is perfectly matched against the backdrop of the Memphis Stax/Volt sound.

I noticed that the city of Macon, Georgia will be honoring their former citizen Otis Redding with a three-day 70th Anniversary celebration September 9-11 of this year. September 9th will be Otis Redding Day. I’d like to attend this event, if possible…

My personal favorite live recording of Otis Redding’s is when he performed his stellar set at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. The electricity and energy of his performance for the love crowd brought down the house that night.

Steve Cropper – Dedicated (Due 8/9/11)

Steve Cropper will have a new recording coming out on August 9th, 2011 on the 429 Records Label. Its entitled, Dedicated and it is a tribute to the R&B/Doo Wop Act, The 5 Royales who gave us such hits as “Dedicated to the One I Love” , “Think”, and “30 Second Lover”.

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Dedicated features reworked versions of The Five Royales most enduring songs, and includes duets with Lucinda Williams, Bettye LaVette, John Popper and Sharon Jones. There is also plenty of guest star collaboration with B.B. King, Brian May and Steve

“We grew up on their music. ‘Think’ had some great funky licks. I used the same licks in the Mar-Keys. Pauling’s sound was funky, gutsy. He would alternate lead and rhythm, which is something I always did.”  – Steve Cropper

Dedicated: A Salute To The 5 Royales

Amazon is accepting Pre-Orders Here.

Steve Cropper is known as the preeminent soul guitarist, and has also been an A & R man, engineer, producer, as well as a songwriting partner of Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, dozens of other others and founding member of  both Booker T. and the MG’s and The Mar-Keys, Cropper was literally involved in almost every record issued by Stax Records from the fall of 1961 through year-end 1970.

The 429 Records Label has a great roster of artists that includes many new recordings by The New York Dolls, Bruce Hornsby, Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, Jackie Greene, Marshall Crenshaw, and many others….

Gil Scott-Heron, Winter in America

Mourning the late, great Gil Scott-Heron this morning, adding my Sunday prayers to the blessing of the ascension of his soul.

Gil Scott-Heron was insightful and visionary. He saw the world through a very introspective lens he admirably shared with us through the vision of his poetry and music. I especially loved his collaborative efforts with Brian Jackson. They were very in tune with the ecology. When I was a weekend disk jockey at Fairfield University on WVOF-FM 1974-1975 I played the Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson recording Winter In America often on my show. I leaned heavily on “H²Ogate Blues”, as I was very anti-Nixon as a liberal Democrat who worked on the McGovern campaign.

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When Gil Scott-Heron re-released Winter In Americain 1998  it contained four bonus tracks, three of which were live recordings. Posted out of deep respect for our environmental poet is “Winter In America“, recorded live at the Wax Museum in 1982.

It has been a season collectively of frozen aspirations, frozen hopes – Gil Scott Heron, Winter in America

Peace Go With You, Brother.

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The Modern Muse of Rickie Lee Jones

I first learned of Rickie Lee Jones at a Warner\Elektra\Asylum party held at their sales office in Connecticut one evening in 1979.  When I walked in there she was on the large video screen singing this song and  I was immediately hooked on her bohemian cool.

Rickie Lee Jones’s modern muse is calling me again as I listen with a renewed sense of purpose to her auspicious body of work. I am taken with her mystical voice as it swirls thoughtful sensibilities about my head.  I have gained an appreciation for Balm in Gilead her latest studio recording (2009).

Rickie Lee Jones chose Stockholm as the location for  her live concert filming. I sense a warm energy surrounding this performance. The unique setting is the historic and regal Berns Salonger, built in 1862.  It is an impressive setting amidst massive crystal chandeliers, gilded walls, and paintings of Swedish royalty.  Live in Stockholm is available for pre-order here.  

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