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Sunday, December 12, 2010

JEFFREY MORGANíS MEDIA BLACKOUT #241


DON’T GET HUNG UP ABOUT JEFFREY MORGAN’S MEDIA BLACKOUT #241!

SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK – SIDE ONE: Betty Moon
Rollin Revolution (self released) :: Back in the ’70s my all time fave femme singer was Wendy Herman of Angletrax so you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m pleased as punch to report that this here Moonage Babedream is a heavy hard rockin’ revolutionary Hermanesque hellion who’s got a slinky ’n’ sly predatory eye on your danglin’ prize. “I’ve got skin and know how to use it and I wanna lose it,” she confidently declares on “I’ve Got This” so who are you to say nay? Bonus points for having the refreshingly good taste to salute her roots by covering Grace Slick, who was my all time fave femme singer back in the ’60s don’tcha know. Points deducted if she doesn’t call her next album Moonage Babedream.

Robert Plant
Band Of Joy (Rounder) :: Although I may listen to Manic Nirvana more than any other Plant platter, I know deep down in my heart of hearts that Fate Of Nations is his artistic apex. Luckily, Band Of Joy happily straddles the sonic fence somewhere between the two in that it’s much less manic than Manic and far less fateful than Fate. In other words, it’s a relaxed romp that’s part honeydrippin’ desire, part flower power posy, and part tremolo trouble.

SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK – SIDE TWO: Bachman Turner Overdrive
Bachman & Turner (Box Of Songs) :: So what if this album is technically credited to “Bachman & Turner”? I’m never afraid to call a spade a spade, which is why I’m tellin’ ya that this is a BTO album as sure as the day is long—and the day’ll never end as long as you’ve got this hot wax drippin’ off your turntable on eternal auto-repeat. But don’t take my word for it: just listen to the infectious “That’s What It Is” with its thick hunka-chunka power chords and st-st-st-stuttering vocals ’cause in BTOland things ain’t never gonna change.

Led Zeppelin
A Work In Progress: 15 Camera Mixed Edition – The O2 Arena, London, UK, 10th December 2007 (no label) :: If the heavy bludgeoning sound doesn’t kill you, the band’s preternatural performance will. You can’t buy it in stores so download it now—and whatever you do, make sure that you get this two disc edition.

SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK – SIDE THREE: Leon Russell & Elton John
The Union (Rocket) :: It’s always admirable when a legendary rocker gives a helping hand up to another legendary rocker whose star has inexplicably and unjustly dimmed. Bowie did it for Lou and Iggy when they needed it and now Elton is doing likewise for Leon on this long player that proves you can go back home again—and for me personally, home is when I first saw them performing live: Leon in 1971 at O’Keefe Centre and Elton in 1974 at Maple Leaf Gardens. Bet you didn’t think they knew how to rock ’n’ roll but, back then, they sure as shootin’ did.

I say did because, as is often the case with efforts of this ilk, there are no real out ’n’ out rockers on The Union; that’s what albums like Leon Live and Rock Of The Westies are for. Instead, there’s a heartfelt poignancy that’s never wistful because this is one helluva joyous celebration of two men’s mutual musical respect. You can still pick out Leon’s distinctive piano playing a country mile away, and if he doesn’t sing in that fever pitch whoa-wailin’ style that he used to do back when he was filling football stadiums, his voice still has as much soulful resonance as it ever did—especially on number like the archetypal tune “Hearts Have Turned To Stone,” which sounds like a 1971 outtake from Leon Russell And The Shelter People during his “Holy Trinity” heyday.

Me, I’m more than happy to have a Leon-Elton-Neil Young duet on “Gone To Shiloh,” not to mention “Snakey” Jim Keltner on drums; Bernie Taupin on lyrics; Brian Wilson on background vocals; and T Bone Burnett on guitar and production—not to mention heartfelt liner notes by Elton himself and a painterly ‘old masters’ cover photo by Annie Leibovitz. But most of all, I’m especially happy that in 2010 the world is once again getting to hear a man who was one of my main musical heroes back when there were musical heroes worth having.

So stop stewing and turn around; Leon Russell’s back!

Be seeing you!

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