The Strypes

The Strypes Rock the Ed Sullivan Theatre

It could be the British Invasion all over again. The Strypes made their debut on the David Letterman show this week, at the same theatre where The Beatles made their US debut 50 years ago . They rocked the house and went down a storm.

The main difference is, this baby faced band is from Ireland and built a very impressive posse of fans before they even released their first album. Their 60′s influenced blues rock and RnB drew admirers from Rock royalty. Elton John, Noel Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Paul Weller, Dave Grohl, and Roger Daltrey are all confessed fans and it’s no surprise, given The Strypes energy and early influences.

After releasing a few independent tracks, The Strypes drew attention from the major labels. They signed with Elton John‘s Rocket music management company, then Mercury Records in late 2012

Their debut album was released in September 2013 and features covers of Willie Dixon and Nick Lowe songs as well as their own originals. Snapshot is reminiscent of many early 60′s RnB acts, including the Rolling Stones. But it most reminds me of Dr Feelgood, who came along a decade later and dominated the British pub rock scene and were one of the biggest influencers of Punk Rock that was to follow shortly after.

The Strypes

The Strypes are Drums – Evan Walsh, Bass – Pete O’Hanlon, Guitar – Josh McClorey, Vocals/Harmonica – Ross Farrelly

Make sure you get to listen to the Album Snapshot and if you get a chance to catch them live I would certainly jump at that too.

CLICK HERE to download The Strypes songs from iTunes

By Max Power
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Bruce Springsteen, Perth Arena, February 8th 2014

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band Rock Perth

Finally one of the worlds biggest touring acts brought his roadshow to Perth, Western Australia. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band had never performed in the world’s most remote city, even though he has visited Australia several times.

Bruce Springsteen Ticket Perth Arena

Personally I had seen Springsteen in London in the 80′s, four times, and loved every show and my excitement was now piqued after seeing recent reviews and video excerpts of gigs. It was piqued even further by friends who had seen the first two shows in Perth and said they were the best concerts they had ever seen and they were not particularly Springsteen fans.

The show kicked off with a huge rock and roll acknowledgement to the locals, with The E Street Band playing AC/DC‘s Highway to Hell. In case you didn’t know Bon Scott lived in Fremantle, the port just outside of Perth, for years before he joined Acca Dacca.

Whereas AC/DC make do with just Angus and Malcolm Young churning out the riffs and solos, The E Streeters filled the sound with four electric guitars and an acoustic. With Nils Lofgren, Tom Morello, Steve Van Zandt and the Boss himself giving it their all.

Highway to Hell went straight into Bruce‘s own Badlands and then Adam Raised a Cain. There was a brief pause and Springsteen took a sign from a fan at the front of the stage, showed it to the band and looked for their acknowlodgement. Then they launched into the first request of the night, Streets of Fire. This would not be the last time in the evening that the set list would be decided on the hoof. This section of the show finished with Candys Room another great song from Darkness on the Edge of Town.

More covers followed, but both are featured Bruce‘s new album High Hopes. The title track was followed by Just Like Fire Would, originally recorded by Australian band The Saints. I’d heard this track a few times on radio, TV and various other media and was still not sure about it, but I really enjoyed the live performance.

Bruce Springsteen in Preacher Mode

Bruce Springsteen in Preacher Mode

Bruce then went into his preacher routine and asked if we could feel the spirit. When he was sure that we could, he launched into Spirit in the Night and himself into the audience. Jake Clemons followed him, armed with his saxophone. They found another platform at the back of the first block of standing patrons and performed the majority of the song from there. Then, as the band played a long outro, Bruce crowd surfed his way back to the stage.

After Wrecking Ball and No Surrender, Roy Bittain‘s gentle piano signified the beginning of Because the Night, the powerhouse of a tune that Bruce originally gave to Patti Smith. This was one of the many major highlights of the evening. The band rocked and Nils Lofgren played a barnstorming solo that should be bottled and saved for posterity.

Downbound Train was followed by a very gospel influenced Heaven’s Wall.

The Bruce Springsteen Artist Store launched this week on iTunes with 10 classic albums newly Mastered For iTunes.
CLICK HERE to Download the remastered albums

Bruce then warned us that in 30 seconds our Australian Asses would be leaving their Australian seats, he even had a stop watch displayed on the big screens to prove the point and you guessed it, he was right. Thirty seconds into Open All Night everyone was up and out of their seats and the houselights were up, so there was no hiding place for anyone. This segued into Little Richard‘s Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey and then Hey Ho Rock and Roll Deliver Me from Nowhere.

From total Rock and Roll, The E Street Band slipped just as easily into the celtic sound of Shackled and Drawn. Which featured a beautiful solo spot from backing singer Cindy Mizelle.

Tom Morello, Bruce‘s guest on this tour, was heavily featured on Radio Nowhere and The Ghost of Tom Joad and showed that he can play a mean guitar solo himself too.

After Land of Hope and Dreams, The E Street Band took their bows and departed the stage. But Bruce stayed on, took another sign from the audience and made his way to the piano to play, solo, The Promise.

The band returned to the stage and launched into Born in The USA. This huge hit of Springsteen‘s was very popular with the crowd, but for me signalled a low point in his career. Again redemption was at hand. One of the best songs of determination and triumph ever written, Born to Run. This was followed by Moon Mullican’s 7 Nights To Rock which saw Bruce on camera having his head bashed against the piano keys by Roy Bittan.

Dancing in the Dark followed and it seemed like every woman in the audience wanted the Courtney Cox role from the video clip and many of them saw their dream realised. At least six women joined the band on stage, including a mother and daughter, carrying a sign that read “My mum wants to be Courtney Cox”. The ladies danced with Tom Morello, Jake Clemons, Gary Tallent as well as the Boss himself.

Nils Lofgren, Bruce Springsteen and Jake Clemons

Nils Lofgren, Bruce Springsteen and Jake Clemons

Bruce launched himself into the audience again to sing Tenth Avenue Freeze Out and when Bruce sang “When the Big Man joined the Band” photos of the dearly departed Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici were flashed up on the big screens. There was another false ending after American Land and the band left the stage again, while the boss stayed and strapped on an acoustic guitar.

CLICK HERE to download, songs, albums, videos and books by Bruce Springsteen from iTunes

Supporting the locals, Bruce made an announcement about a charity show by local musicians for recent victims of the bush fires close to Perth.

Another sign was handed to him from the audience requesting Terry’s Song, for Erik. Bruce said he had to remember it, which he duly did and gave a great performance of this song of tribute and loss.

Bruce finished the night with his accoustic guitar and harmonica for a sing a long version of Thunder Road which everyone joined in on.

Finally the show really ended, after three hours and then some and he still hadn’t dented his enormous repetoire of amazing songs.

Partly because of my position in the arena and the part occupancy of my seat by the huge guy next to me, and maybe because I had built myself up a little too much for the show, having waited nearly 30 years to see one of my favourite artists again, I left the arena a little disappointed. But looking back there were so many highlights I really had no reason to be and I would certainly recommend anyone that has not seen Bruce Sringsteen and The E Street Band live should definitely put it on their bucket list.

The band plays rock and roll, the band plays celtic, they play Irish reels and gospel and pretty much everything in between. Bruce and the whole crew seem to go out every night to enjoy themselves and make damn sure that you do to. So if I get another opportunity to see them, I will be there, but front and centre next time, after mortgaging my house for the price of a ticket.

The Bruce Springsteen Artist Store launched this week on iTunes with 10 classic albums newly Mastered For iTunes.
CLICK HERE to Download the remastered albums

Musicares Person of Year: Tribute to Bruce Springsteen

CLICK HERE for Musicares Person of Year: Tribute to Bruce Springsteen DVD

CLICK HERE to download MusiCares Tribute to: Bruce Springsteen from iTunes

By Max Power
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The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers, The Magpie and the Dandelion

The Avett Brothers are a contemporary alt-folk and alt-country act that owe a great deal to some of the great folk/rock acts of the past. Both Scott and Seth Avett often sound like Neil Young when they are singing and their arrangements are strongly reminiscent of The Band.

The Avett  Brothers

The Avett Brothers, Scott and Seth

The brothers share vocals, while Seth plays guitar and Scott plays banjo. The line up is filled out with upright bass and cello.

The Avett Brothers have released eleven albums since their formation in 2000, including three live albums. Their latest release is The Magpie and the Dandelion, released in October, and includes Another is Waiting, featured in the video clip below.

The Magpie and the Dandelion and it’s predecessor, The Carpenter, were both born from the same sessions and produced by Hip-hop supremo Rick Rubin. Rubin has of course also produced albums by Mick Jagger, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash and Tom Petty, amongst others.

The Avett Brothers see themselves as heirs to the tradition of Americana from artists like The Band, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris etc. and are happy to accentuate their rustic roots. As such, they should appeal to a very wide audience.

CLICK HERE to download The Avett Brothers music from iTunes

By Max Power
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Rock Icon Lou Reed Dies on Long Island

It was sad to read today that long time rock icon Lou Reed passed away on Sunday.

At the time of writing Rolling Stone Magazine did not know the cause of death, but it has been reported elsewhere to be the result of complications following his liver transplant earlier this year.

Lou Reed was almost as famous for his alternative lifestyle as his music, but only because much of his music reflected that alternative lifestyle of the New York underground of the late 60′s and 70′s

His iconic songs will long be remembered and continue to be covered by other artists, as they have been in the past. A generation will not forget songs like Walk On The Wild Side, Sweet Jane, I’m Waiting for the Man and Perfect Day.

Rolling Stone broke the news below

Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71

New York legend, who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, underwent a liver transplant in May

By Jon Dolan
October 27, 2013 1:15 PM ET

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today on Long Island. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.

With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. “One chord is fine,” he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. “Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”

Lou Reed Transformer

Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed was born in Brooklyn, in 1942. A fan of doo-wop and early rock & roll (he movingly inducted Dion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989), Reed also took formative inspiration during his studies at Syracuse University with the poet Delmore Schwartz. After college, he worked as a staff songwriter for the novelty label Pickwick Records (where he had a minor hit in 1964 with a dance-song parody called “The Ostrich”). In the mid-Sixties, Reed befriended Welsh musician John Cale, a classically trained violist who had performed with groundbreaking minimalist composer La Monte Young. Reed and Cale formed a band called the Primitives, then changed their name to the Warlocks. After meeting guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker, they became the Velvet Underground. With a stark sound and ominous look, the band caught the attention of Andy Warhol, who incorporated the Velvets into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable. “Andy would show his movies on us,” Reed said. “We wore black so you could see the movie. But we were all wearing black anyway.”

“Produced” by Warhol and met with total commercial indifference when it was released in early 1967, VU’s debut The Velvet Underground & Nico stands as a landmark on par with the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde. Reed’s matter-of-fact descriptions of New York’s bohemian demimonde, rife with allusions to drugs and S&M, pushed beyond even the Rolling Stones’ darkest moments, while the heavy doses of distortion and noise for its own sake revolutionized rock guitar. The band’s three subsequent albums – 1968’s even more corrosive sounding White Light/White Heat, 1969’s fragile, folk-toned The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded, which despite being recorded while he was leaving the group, contained two Reed standards, “Rock & Roll” and “Sweet Jane,” were similarly ignored. But they’d be embraced by future generations, cementing the Velvet Underground’s status as the most influential American rock band of all time.

After splitting with the Velvets in 1970, Reed traveled to England and, in characteristically paradoxical fashion, recorded a solo debut backed by members of the progressive-rock band Yes. But it was his next album, 1972’s Transformer, produced by Reed-disciple David Bowie, that pushed him beyond cult status into genuine rock stardom. “Walk On the Wild Side,” a loving yet unsentimental evocation of Warhol’s Factory scene, became a radio hit (despite its allusions to oral sex) and “Satellite of Love” was covered by U2 and others. Reed spent the Seventies defying expectations almost as a kind of sport. 1973’s Berlin was brutal literary bombast while 1974’s Sally Can’t Dance had soul horns and flashy guitar. In 1975 he released Metal Machine Music, a seething all-noise experiment his label RCA marketed as a avant-garde classic music, while 1978’s banter-heavy live album Take No Prisoners was a kind of comedy record in which Reed went on wild tangents and savaged rock critics by name (“Lou sure is adept at figuring out new ways to shit on people,” one of those critics, Robert Christgau, wrote at the time). Explaining his less-than-accommodating career trajectory, Reed told journalist Lester Bangs, “My bullshit is worth more than other people’s diamonds.”

Lou Reed

Reed’s ambiguous sexual persona and excessive drug use throughout the Seventies was the stuff of underground rock myth. But in the Eighties, he began to mellow. He married Sylvia Morales and opened a window into his new married life on 1982’s excellent The Blue Mask, his best work since Transformer. His 1984 album New Sensations took a more commercial turn and 1989’s New York ended the decade with a set of funny, politically cutting songs that received universal critical praise. In 1991, he collaborated with Cale on Songs For Drella, a tribute to Warhol. Three years later, the Velvet Underground reunited for a series of successful European gigs.

Read more at: Lou Reed Dead at 71

Further reading
Lou Reed, Velvet Underground frontman, dies aged 71

Lou Reed, 1942-2013
Outsider Whose Dark, Lyrical Vision Helped Shape Rock ’n’ Roll


Lou Reed, Velvet Underground frontman, dies at 71

Lou first recorded with the Velvet Underground and although their first album never sold well, legend has it that everyone who bought a copy formed a band.

Whether that is true or not, his place in the history of Rock and Roll is confirmed.

CLICK HERE to download music from Lou Reed

RIP Sweet Lou.

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Vintage Trouble on The Craig Ferguson Show

Fantastic Retro Soul Act Vintage Trouble

I was introduced to a great band by Craig Ferguson on his late night show tonight. Retro soul act Vintage Trouble have apparently been around since 2010, but this was my first introduction.

Vintage Trouble were formed by vocalist Ty Taylor, who is heavily influenced by Otis Reading and James Brown, along with, Steve Cropper like guitarist, Nalle Colt.

The boys really rocked out with Push Your Pelvis on the The Craig Fergsuon Show and their influences would have been proud of them.


There is no clip available from Craig Ferguson yet, so here’s Vintage Trouble on Jay Leno


Vintage Trouble
began gigging around Laurel Canyon in California and recorded their first album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, in three days, which fits in well with their 60′s influences.

They were hugely popular on the British TV Show Later.. with Jools Holland and, as a result, spent much of 2011 touring the UK.

CLICK HERE to download Vintage Trouble music from iTunes

If you get a chance to see Vintage Trouble take it, I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed.

By Max Power
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Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic

Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic – David Letterman 9-9-13

Janelle Monáe made a stunning debut on the Letterman show in 2010 with her performance of her song Tightrope. At the time we described it as the best musical performance we had ever seen on the show.

Well she was back last night and Janelle‘s performance of Dance Apocalyptic was no less energetic and all inclusive. It did not excite me quite as much as Tightrope, but it was still mighty impressive.

David Letterman described Monáe as “the hardest working woman in show business” and he would not be far wrong there.

It would be amazing to see her and this band in concert. Surely they could not keep up those energy levels for an entire show. But if they had the songs and could pace it right, it could be one of the best shows you would ever see.

I know that I am being pernickety, but I was a little confused at the start of the song when I was sure I could hear either a banjo or ukelele, but could see none on stage. Can you spot one of either, or were they using a backing track?

No need for answers on a postcard, just put them in the comments below.

CLICK HERE to download Janelle Monáe’s music from iTunes

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Blues and Soul Singer Bobby Blue Bland Dies at 83

It seems that we have posted far too many of these obituaries lately, but unfortunately we are in an era when the originators of the most powerful forms of music are reaching their time.

Bobby Blue Bland

It was sad to hear of the passing of Bobby Blue Bland, a name that many young music fans may not be familiar with. But have no doubt, he was one of the best and most influential blues and soul singers of all time.

If you don’t believe me, check out some of the video clips that we have included in this tribute and the names of the musicians who have recorded his songs.

We have reproduced the obituary By Erin Coulehan of Rolling Stone Magazine below

Bobby “Blue” Bland, the blues and soul singer of songs such as “Further on Up the Road” and “Turn on Your Love Light,” died yesterday in Memphis. He was 83. According to Bland’s son, the blues singer died of complications from an ongoing illness, The Associated Press reports.

Bland was known as the “Sinatra of the blues” thanks to his smooth vocals, and was also influenced by Nat King Cole. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and was known as one of the last living connections to the roots of blues.

Bobby Bland

“He brought a certain level of class to the blues genre,” said Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, son of musician and producer Willie Mitchell.

After moving to Memphis when he was a teenager, Bland co-founded the Beale Streeters, a group that included B.B. King and Johnny Ace. Following a stint in the U.S. Army, Bland recorded in the mid-Fifties with Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, who launched the careers of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, but it wasn’t until later in the decade that Bland found success.

His first hit came in 1957 with “Further on Up the Road” which reached Number One on the R&B charts. He earned the nickname “Little Boy Blue,” taken from one of his songs, from his lovelorn subject matter, which yielded a string of hits including 1960′s “I’ll Take Care of You” and 1961′s “Turn Your Love Light On” that became hits in the early 1960s.

Although he wasn’t as widely known as some of his blues contemporaries, his songs were influential: rockers including Eric Clapton and David Bowie recorded Bland’s tunes at the beginning of their careers.

“He’s always been the type of guy that if he could help you in any way, form or fashion, he would,” his son, Rodd Bland, said.

Read more: Bobby Blue Bland Blues Singer Dead at 83

Further reading
The LA Times: Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland dies at 83; influential blues singer

The Guardian: Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland dies at 83

The New York Times: Bobby (Blue) Bland, Soul and Blues Balladeer, Dies at 83

 
If you are a fan of true roots music, or any kind of soulful music, do yourself a favour and check out Bobby Blue Bland and his contemporaries.

CLICK HERE to sample and download the music of Bobby “Blue” Bland from iTunes


Stormy Monday – Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnnie Taylor and Bobby Rush

Recording equipment and instrumental effects may have been limited back then, but musicians have been trying to recreate that soulful feel ever since those old black and white days.

RIP Bobby Blue Bland, your music will live on.

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Tools for Making Music With Your iPad, iPhone, or iPod

Your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Can Be Your Gateway to a Whole New World of Music Creation.

Musicians are using their iPads, iPhones, and iPods for so much more than just listening to music or viewing videos these days. Although all three iOS devices are ideal for those purposes, much more can be achieved with a creative mind, some musicianship and the right devices and apps (applications).

Your iPad, iPhone, or iPod can help you learn music, compose, perform and record your performances. From simple applications such as tuners and metronomes, to sophisticated recording and effects modules are available for those tiny computerized devices that you can hold in one hand.

iPads, iPhones, and iPods are widely used by DJ’s, as well as “real” musicians, for creating beats, layering loops, setting up speakers and creating and storing mixes.

We have taken a look at some of the plugin devices that you can add to your iOS device of choice to stretch your music making abilities, without stretching your budget or having to lug around bulky equipment.

First of all, you will want hands free access to your iPad when you are on stage or performing in the studio. So we will start with iPad music stands and mounts

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CLICK HERE to get your Primacoustic Showpad Mic Stand Mount for iPadPrimacoustic Showpad Mic Stand Mount for iPadCLICK HERE to get your Quiklok IPS10 iPad Stand/HolderQuiklok IPS10 iPad Stand/HolderCLICK HERE to get your Peavey Tablet Mounting SystemPeavey Tablet Mounting System

There is a range of devices available for guitarists to interface their iPad or other iOS device with their guitar, for either recording or creating effects.

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CLICK HERE for Your APOGEE JAM Guitar Input for iPhone, iPad and MacAPOGEE JAM Guitar Input for iPhone, iPad and Mac
CLICK HERE for Your Apogee Jam iPhone Audio Interface for GuitarApogee Jam iPhone Audio Interface for GuitarCLICK HERE for Your IK Multimedia iRig HD iOS Guitar InterfaceIK Multimedia iRig HD iOS   Guitar Interface

For recording there are numerous links for keyboards, midi devices and capturing your sound via microphones.

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IK Multimedia iRig KEYS Keyboard Controller for iPhone/iPad
IK Multimedia iRig KEYS Keyboard Controller for iPhone/iPad
IK Multimedia iRig KEYS is an amazing ultra-slim and highly portable universal MIDI controller keyboard for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac/PC. iRig KEYS connects directly to the iOS device 30 pin dock connector or the USB port on your Mac/PC.
IK Multimedia iRig KEYS Keyboard Controller for iPhone/iPad
CLICK HERE for more info on the IK Multimedia iRig KEYS Keyboard Controller for iPhone/iPad
Samson Carbon 49 has been carefully designed with the iPad in mind and features an integrated iPad slot. When combined with the iPad using Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit, the Carbon 49 is a great tool for making music on-the-go.
Samson Carbon 49 USB Midi Controller Keyboard for iPad
CLICK HERE to Get Your Samson Carbon 49 USB Midi Controller Keyboard for iPad
IK Multimedia iRig KEYS Mini Keyboard Controller
More than just a 37-key USB MIDI keyboard controller, the iRig KEYS plugs directly into your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with a 30-pin dock connector.
IK Multimedia iRig KEYS Mini Keyboard Controller
CLICK HERE for more details on the IK Multimedia iRig KEYS Mini Keyboard Controller
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IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast - Mic for iPhone/iPad/iPod
The IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast is an ultra-compact voice recording microphone for iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad.
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast - Mic for iPhone/iPad/iPod
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast - Mic for iPhone/iPad/iPod
Apogee MiC USB/iPad/iPhone Microphone
Studio quality USB microphone compatible with iPad and iPhone
Apogee MiC offers a highly compact and portable studio quality USB condenser microphone compatible with iPhone, iPad and Mac computers.
Apogee MiC USB/iPad/iPhone Microphone
CLICK HERE ofr your Apogee MiC USB/iPad/iPhone Microphone
Tascam iM2X Stereo X-Y Microphone for iOS Devices
Record audio on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with the Tascam iM2X stereo microphone. Great for recording rehearsals, this mic handles up to 125 dB SPL.
Tascam iM2X Stereo Microphone for iOS Devices
CLICK HERE for your Tascam iM2X Stereo X-Y Microphone for iOS Devices

For DJ’s there are portable PA’s with built in iPod mounts and mixers.

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iDJ MIXING CONSOLE FOR iPOD
The iDJ is a transforming the iPod from a personal music player into a source playback device for their portable music libraries with other music and sound reinforcement systems
iDJ MIXING CONSOLE FOR iPOD
CLICK HERE for your iDJ MIXING CONSOLE FOR iPOD
Numark iDJ Live DJ iPad Controller
Numark iDJ Live delivers a new style DJ software controller for Apple's range of i-gadgets. Numark iDJ Live offers an ultra-portable DJ controller that is compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod.
Numark iDJ Live DJ iPad Controller
CLICK HERE for Your Numark iDJ Live DJ iPad Controller

Samson XP308i Portable PA System with iPod Dock

The compact Samson XP308i portable PA system has a 300-watt mixer, dual 2-way speakers, and an iPod dock.
Samson XP308i portable PA system with iPod Dock
Samson XP308i portable PA system with iPod Dock

So do not underestimate or under utilize the power of that tiny device in your hand. Pick up the plugin devices that best suit your music making and make new sounds wherever you want to.

iPad Mini


Apple iPad Mini (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black)
5MP iSight Camera & High Speed Wireless

Apple have introduced a more portable version of their iPad range.

Everything you love about the iPad is everything you’ll love about iPad mini, too. The beautiful screen, fast and fluid performance, FaceTime and iSight cameras, thousands of amazing apps and the 10-hour battery life are just a few features that are available on the Apple iPad Mini.

CLICK HERE to get your Apple iPad Mini for Only $349

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Two Great Names Leave Us

Womack and Presley Join the Heavenly Chorus

Cecil Womack with his wife Linda

Cecil Womack with his wife Linda

This week saw the passing of two great names of popular music. Cecil Womack was most famous for his success in the 80’s, in partnership with his wife Linda Womack as Womack and Womack, but Cecil had been successfully writing and performing music since 1953. The Telegraph in the UK gave us the following obituary:-

Born on September 25 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, Cecil Womack was the son of a steelworker who also sang and played guitar in a gospel group. Cecil and his older brothers — Curtis, Harry, Friendly and Bobby — formed The Womack Brothers in imitation of their father’s group, and as a child Cecil quickly proved proficient on guitar and piano.

Impressed by The Womack Brothers, their father abandoned his own group to sing with his sons, and the six Womacks were soon singing in churches across the Mid-West. In 1953 they opened for The Soul Stirrers, which featured the rising star Sam Cooke. Once established as a solo star, Cooke would sign The Womack Brothers (without their father) to his label, changing their name to The Valentinos and insisting that they sing secular music.

The Valentinos began releasing boisterous R&B singles that exhibited their excellent harmonies, instrumental prowess and songwriting. In 1964 they had an R&B hit in the United States with It’s All Over Now, which was quickly covered (even more successfully) by The Rolling Stones, giving the British band its first UK No 1 and first hit in America. The song had been written by Bobby Womack, who later recalled: “I was still screaming and hollering right up until I got my first royalty cheque. Man, the amount of money rolling in shut me right up.”

Cooke was shot dead in late 1964, and without his support The Valentinos disbanded soon afterwards. Bobby Womack — who had been working as Cooke’s guitarist — married his widow, Barbara, and developed a very successful career as songwriter, session guitarist and, eventually, solo artist. In 1966 Cecil married the Motown singer Mary Wells, for whom he wrote and produced several songs; they went on to have three children together.

Meanwhile, Bobby’s marriage to Barbara had ended disastrously when she discovered that he was having an affair with her daughter Linda, who was still a teenager; Bobby had to flee the family home at the end of a gun barrel.

In 1976 Cecil and Mary Wells divorced, and the next year he married Linda Cooke. Together the couple penned hits for The O’Jays, Patti LaBelle, George Benson and Teddy Pendergrass, for whom they wrote one of his biggest hits, Love TKO. In 1983, as Womack & Womack, they secured a recording contract with Elektra. The duo’s 1983 debut album, Love Wars, won wide critical acclaim, while the title track was a hit in both America and Britain .

In 1987 Womack & Womack moved to Island Records, and their 1988 album Conscience turned out to be the most successful of their career, with the single Teardrops reaching No 3 in the UK charts and proving a huge hit worldwide.

Womack & Womack’s songs combined musical intelligence with fine harmony vocals and supple instrumentation. Yet the couple never managed to capitalise fully on Teardrops’ success, and their 1991 album Family Spirit failed to chart. Not long afterwards, following a visit to Nigeria, Cecil and Linda claimed to have discovered ancestral ties to the Zekkariyas tribe, and they adopted the names Zeriiya (Linda) and Zekuumba (Cecil) Zekkariyas; in 1993 — under the name House of Zekkariyas aka Womack & Womack — they released an album called Transformation to the House of Zekkariyas, which featured their final UK Top 50 hit, Secret Star.

More at Cecil Womack…

You could easily make a film about the history of the Womacks and they probably will, but fortunately Bobby Womack is still a living the legend, so it may not happen yet.

CLICK HERE to download music from Womack and Womack from iTunes

Reg Presley was from the same era as Cecil Womack and was the lead singer of The Troggs, who notched up seven big hits in the 60’s, most famously Wild Thing. Once again The Telegraph provides a comprehensive obituary, here’s an excerpt from it:-

Reg Presley in his 60's Troggs days

Reg Presley in his 60′s Troggs days

The Troggs’ vertiginous climb to fame had spanned 18 months, a relatively brief period during which they achieved all seven of their British chart successes, including Any Way That You Want Me and With a Girl Like You; thereafter the band’s popularity hit a sticky patch which lasted in excess of 40 years.

This slow descent from celebrity was dramatically interrupted in 1994, however, when Presley’s composition Love is all Around, a Top 10 hit for The Troggs 27 years earlier, was covered by the Scottish group Wet Wet Wet and used on the soundtrack of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. It reached No 1 and remained there for what seemed an eternity – in fact, 15 weeks.

Reginald Maurice Ball – his unenviable pseudonym was given to him in 1965 by the celebrated publicist Keith Altham – was born in Andover, Hampshire, on June 12 1941. After school he joined the building trade, where he began a career as a bricklayer – a job he abandoned only when Wild Thing entered the Top 10 in 1966. The group’s name, an abbreviation of Troglodyte, was intended to communicate rugged sexuality. Unfortunately, as Presley observed, the title served instead as a gateway to derision.

“Paul McCartney,” he complained, “would always refer to me as ‘Reg Trogg’.”

The Troggs’ brief but intense flirtation with mainstream success was engineered by Larry Page, who turned to production after mixed reactions to his own short-lived performing career as “Larry Page the Teenage Rage”. It was Page who had the idea of persuading The Troggs to record Wild Thing. The song, which would become an anthem for Jimi Hendrix, was written by James Wesley Voight, younger brother of the actor Jon, under the name of Chip Taylor.

Presley recalled: “When I heard those lyrics: ‘Wild thing. You make my heart sing. You make everything groovy,’ I just thought: ‘Oh my God. What has Larry done to us?’”

Page dressed his protégés in loud striped suits and urged them to maintain an impeccable image offstage. Presley, a moderate drinker who smoked, by his own estimation, an average of 80 a day for most of his life, never took illegal drugs. But Page was also particularly insistent that the group refrain from swearing. With time, the musicians found this stricture more difficult to adhere to.

Wild Thing, With a Girl Like You and Any Way That You Want Me were outstanding singles which inspired a host of performers, including Iggy Pop. The late American writer Lester Bangs even went so far as to publish a 25,000 word eulogy to The Troggs, which hailed them as the godfathers of punk and called their music “holy”. At one point Bangs, whose critical instincts occasionally betrayed his prodigious consumption of narcotics, compared Reg Presley to Marcel Proust.

In 1987, when his fortunes were hardly at their zenith, Presley was hailed by Bob Dylan on the set of Richard Marquand’s film Hearts of Fire, in which the leader of the Troggs was appearing as an extra. “I had this guitar around my neck,” Presley told a reporter. “Dylan recognised me. He came up and said: ‘How long have you been playing the guitar?’ I said, ‘All bloody afternoon, mate.’”

Before he first fell ill with a serious stroke in September 2010, The Troggs had been entertaining large audiences at festivals in Belgium and Germany, countries where their legacy was especially well-appreciated.

More at Reg Presley…

RIP Cecil and Reg.

8SCKBUTREG79

CLICK HERE to download music from Womack and Womack from iTunes

CLICK HERE to download music from The Troggs from iTunes

or You can find music from both below.

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Jools Holland – The Golden Age of Song – Album Review

Jools Holland – The Golden Age of Song

The Golden Age of Song

Jools Holland has released a great new album of collaborations featuring a who’s who of vocalists. The album features some older artists and some much younger, including Jessie J, Tom Jones, Rumer, James Morrison, Paloma Faith, Joss Stone, Mick Hucknall, Gregory Porter, Ruby Turner, Amy Winehouse and Paul Weller, Lily Rose Cooper (née Allen), Paolo Nutini, Florence Welch, and Cee Lo Green.

Some tracks are newly recorded and others come from performances on Jools annual New Years Eve Hootenanny.

Here’s our views on each of the tracks.

1. Paloma Faith – Something’s Got a Hold On Me

A gospel like performance from Paloma Faith. For anyone that doesn’t know, Paloma is a tiny lady with an eccentric dress sense and a really powerful voice and that is fully featured here. A great opener for the album.

Paloma Faith

2. Rumer – Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive

A smooth cabaret like rendition, with some nice tinkling of the ivories by Jools and some sweet trumpet

3. Paolo Nutini – Lovin’ Machine (Hootenanny 2009)

A real Boogie Woogie outing that makes you tend to agree with Jools‘ and Charlie Watts’ belief that Boogie Woogie is the beginning of everything musical, but even more so it makes you want to move and cut some rug. A perfect party tune. If I am not mistaken, Paolo throws in some of his lyrics from Pencil Full of Lead here.

CLICK HERE to download The Golden Age of Song – Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra from iTunes

4. Joss Stone – Bei Mir Bist Du Schön

A dusky bluesy showing from Miss Stone, sexy as in the intro. Then it breaks into a reggae like beat. The song was originally a Yiddish tune from a 1932 comedy musical. This version features the German title, but Joss sings the Yiddish chorus Bei Mir Bistu Shein, the rest of the lyrics are in English.

Joss Stone

5. Jessie J – Get Here

This is a far more current song. Originally written and released by Brenda Russell in 1988. A nice performance by Jessie J. She has a great, well trained voice and can really sing anything.

6. James Morrison – A Place In The Sun

A Stevie Wonder song and James Morison‘s voice really has that Stevie Wonder sound here. Similar to the original, but given the real Big Band treatment.

7. Amy Winehouse and Paul Weller – Don’t Go To Strangers (Hootenanny 2006)

This is a great performance and we have already included it on this site before, in Jools Holland’s Tribute to Amy Winehouse. We said it all then and we could say it again, but the best thing is to just listen to it.

8. Mick Hucknall – I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)

This is a pretty well known standard. This version uses the entire Big Band, but Jools piano, Hucknell’s voice and Gilson Lavis‘ subtle drumming are to the fore. A nice tune, but not one of the best on the album.

9. Florence Welch – My Baby Just Cares For Me (Hootenanny 2009)

A song made famous by Nina Simone. It gets the Big Band treatment here and some of it is very good, but given the choice I prefer Nina Simone‘s simpler rendition.

10. Caro Emerald – Mad About the Boy

A very dramatic performance from Caro Emerald, this reminds me a little of a Shirley Bassey Bond Theme and I am sure that Shirley has performed and recorded this song. This features some nice horns that emphasise the drama.

11. Tom Jones – I’ll Sail My Ship Alone

You can’t go past “Jones the Voice”. I don’t know when this was recorded but Tom’s voice shows no sign of fading, unlike many of his contemporaries. He does these old bluesy songs so well. We’ll have this one on replay.

12. Cee Lo Green – Reet Petite (Hootenanny 2010)

If Tom Jones was The Voice of the past Cee Lo Green has got to be one of the best voices to emerge in recent years. This version of Reet Petite is true to the original and I understand that Jackie Wilson is one of Cee Lo‘s biggest influences.

CLICK HERE to download The Golden Age of Song – Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra from iTunes

13. Gregory Porter – Sweet Country Love Song

It’s getting superfluous to keep saying how good the voices are on this album, but Gregory Porter is no exception. This is a very Ray Charles like performance and so is Jools‘ piano playing.

14. Paul Weller – September in the Rain

A very unusual choice from Mr Weller, very unlike his normal Mod influences. A mid tempo ballad, with some great horns and an accordion that gives it a very French feel.

15. Lily Rose Cooper (née Lily Allen) – The Lady Is a Tramp (Hootenanny 2008)

This was a big surprise to me, better than I expected, even if it is far from the best vocal on the album. But Lily avoids her normal Mockney (mock cockney) accent on this. She struggles at the top of the register, but maybe with some training and practice she could be a real singer.

16. Ruby Turner – Get Away Jordan

Ruby Turner is the vocalist that most often collaborates with Jools Holland. She puts in a gospel performance here. But I think the mix lets this track down a little. It sounds a little far back to me; it really needs to be in your face. I’ll give it a few more listens to see if it improves with familiarity.

17. Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra – When You’re Smiling

Jools singing himself on this one, not the strongest of voices, but obviously a song that he loves and everything is better when you’re smiling. Nice trumpet solo backed with a trotting rhythm.

All in all I think this album will appeal to anyone who appreciates good songs with great vocals and arrangements and it will especially appeal to fans of Later with Jools Holland and his annual New Years Eve Hootenanny.

CLICK HERE to download The Golden Age of Song – Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra from iTunes

Or get The Golden Age of Song or other Jools Holland albums from Amazon below

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