The Grumpiest Music Reviewer on the Web

This whimsical, eclectic, menagerie of musical ramblings, reviews, and recordings is not moving towards the dark side- at least not for now. However, I wanted to point you towards the grumpiest music reviewer I have found on the web: Only Solitaire. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the critical reviews on his site- though they are WAY too long for my taste. What really gets me is the classes that this website has lumped bands into. Here are some examples borrowed from the site (Class A is the best, Class E is the worst):

Class C: Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, The Beach Boys, The Zombies, Simon and Garfunkel
Class D: The Grateful Dead, Jeff Beck, Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young

These gross generalizations are, well, just plain gross. And, in my opinion completely lacking in appreciation for quality music. Thoughts in the blogosphere? Shoot em at me 😉

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Not a Dead Ripoff Band: The New Face of Jam Rock

The Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is a great new jam band. This group has talent, distinct lyrics, and is not relegated to the basements of drunken fraternity parties. The music is both fresh and timeless. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “This ain’t no wish-it-was-Jerry jam band knockoff, kid, but killer electric jazz improv. ALO excels at floating harmonies, soulful vocals, sublime bass grooves, tasty Rhodes keyboards and the most ace lead guitar lines.” I couldn’t have summed up the group better myself.

Waiting for Jaden is one of my favorite songs by this band. The song tells the story about how Zach Gill, the keyboardist, was waiting for his daughter, Jaden, to be born. However, the baby was past her due date and the doctors were threatening to induce labor- Gill did not like that idea! You can listen to the song to find out more info,… anyway, it conveys the strong emotion of waiting for a baby to be born. Not something you typically hear in a jam-band song.Below are mp3s from live shows for Waiting for Jaden and other favorites of mine. Pick up their album today🙂

Waiting for Jaden

Walls of Jericho

Girl I wanna Lay You Down

Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song).

Barbeque

Related Tags: Animal Liberation Orchestra, Jam Band, ALO

The Most Under Appreciated Jam Band of All Time

When I was listening to Disc 2 of the Very Best of Jerry Garcia, the Garcia cover of the Beatles song Dear Prudence brought me back in time. Though this is a good version of the song and worth the listen, a better recording was made by the most under appreciated jam band of all time- God Street Wine- at their final show.

Recently listed at #855 on the Greatest Bands of All Time by WXPN Philadelphia, God Street Wine splashed onto the music scene in the early 90s, playing their final show on December 23rd 1999- I was there. A couple of friends and I hopped a train to The Wetlands in New York City to see the end of an era (which is Immortalized on the 2-CD Good To The Last Drop). Sadly, the venue closed its doors only a year later.

The final GSW show was the longest concert I have ever been to. The guitarist/singer Aaron Maxwell, who has a voice that makes you wanna cry, brought his father on the stage to perform trumpet with the band for a rendition of Dear Prudence. Having Maxwell pay tribute to his father, a music professor, was a special moment in the show. And though the performance is not flawless, the sheer emotion conveyed in the live recording makes this particular version unparalleled. However, this was not the only special moment in the show- The band must have played for 5 hours. And even when they played their last notes at 4 a.m. The fans still wanted more.

Though they did play a reunion show in 2001, band members have moved on. Lo Faber, lead guitarist and lead singer along with Mawell, has embarked on a whole new journey as a PhD student in history at Princeton University. I wonder if his classmates know the impact that Faber made on people. Check out this post calling God Street Wine “the best American Band from the 1990s.”

I recently visited amazon.com and saw that all GSW albums are currently out of print and available from resellers (often for pennies). $1.99 Romances, God Street Wine, and Red are worth picking up. God Street are among the best Jam Bands ever. Yes, ever. For reasons (mostly by record companies and such), GSW did not get the attention that others from the era received such as Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, and The Spin Doctors. However, GSW can easily compete with any of these bands. Moe., Umphry’s McGee, String Cheese Incident all owe it GSW for helping pave the way. Now it is time for a new generation of listeners to check out God Street Wine.

So, I’ve been searching the web for the last remnants of GSW. The best resource is archive.org. You can still download God Street Wine shows there, there are 23 total. Here are some live recordings of some of my favorite God Street Wine songs thanks to archive.org.

Hammer and Spike
RU4Real
Ballroom
Into The Sea
Borderline
Mile By Mile
Princess Henrietta
Imogene
Wendy

GSW, we miss you. If these tracks peak your interest in GSW, please let me know.

Tags: God Street Wine, Lo Faber, Aaron Maxwell, Jam Band, $1.99 Romances

Very Best of Jerry Garcia: 2 CD Set

Whenever I hear about a greatest hits package, I am a bit wary. Do we really need yet another best-of package by this particular artist? And, who is deciding that these are the “very best” that this artist has to offer. This is the case once again with The Very Best of Jerry Garcia. For one, Garcia has thousands of hours of recordings floating around. I’d bet he was one of the most recorded artists ever. The Grateful Dead have some 13,000 live audio and video recordings. Additionally, Jerry Garcia toured extensively with David Grisman, Merl Saunders, Old and In The Way, and The Jerry Garcia Band.

Well, the answer to this question is yes! Please note: Unlike Weir Here: The Best of Bob Weir (which contained mostly Grateful Dead songs, unfortunately), these CDs contains no Grateful Dead recordings! Though I am sure that you know from reading these posts that I am a fan of the Grateful Dead (And yes, I do even own several J. Garcia neckties!) I am not well versed in ALL that Jerry Garcia had to offer musically. With the Jerry Garcia Band, Garcia played in a different style than the Grateful Dead (though the Dead did adopt some of the songs- like The Wheel). With Old and In the Way and with David Grsiman, Garcia performed mountain music. So, though I own many Dead CDs, many of the songs here I had never heard before. I like that it provided songs from both live performances as well as studio albums.

The studio songs that I particularly like are “Rubin and Cherise” which sounds an awful lot like the Grateful Dead song “Built To Last,” though I don’t mind so much, as well as “Cats Under The Stars,” which is just such a beautiful song. My only gripe is that it doesn’t include anything solely with David Grisman or something from The Pizza Tapes. Anyway, don’t take my word for it. Check out this link and you can listen to the whole first CD. Or click here and pick up a copy.

Tags: Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir

New Release Tuesday: Robert Randolph

Since emerging from a House of God church in Orange, New Jersey steeped in the “sacred steel” tradition, Robert Randolph’s astonishing pedal steel playing has had a revolutionary impact. His infectious music can draw comparison to Sly and The Family Stone at times and even to Jimi Hendrix, and sometimes Lenny Kravitz such as on This video of the Thrill of It from Robert Randolph and The Family Band’s new album Colorblind.

I have been listening to this new album Colorblind for several weeks. I gave the CD a chance. I listened to it numerous times. And though I feel that Robert Randolph and The Family Band are immensely talented, this CD left me wanting that one great song which would seal the deal on the CD and that would make me tell people, “you have GOT to get this CD.” However, I never got that. I just don’t think anything on the album is anywhere close to the song More Love. Check out this amazing performance on Letterman.

Unfortunately, the CD ends up sounding like an ill-fated attempt to be something that its not. It is the type of CD that if you are a huge Robert Randolph fan, you will enjoy. However, I don’t think he will be gaining new fans from the release. I have definitely not given up on Robert Randolph- I am still a fan. I just don’t think this album is that great. Do you disagree? Please leave comments and show me what I’m missing.

Related Tags: Robert Randolph, colorblind, music, Jimi Hendrix, Lenny Kravitz

Electric Kool-Aid Talk Show Contest

Here is another contest for all you Lost Melodies fans, wannabe fans, and random web surfers alike. I have a copy, in hand, of The Tomorrow Show: Tom Snyder’s Electric Kool-Aid Talk show. And Guess what? I want you to have it! View the trailer here

Originally airing in 1979-1981, the DVD features interviews with some of the most colorful and well-known characters from the ‘60s hippie counterculture, authors Tom Wolfe (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) and Ken Kesey (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), the Galileo of Consciousness Dr. Timothy Leary, and the band that provided the soundtrack to the era, The Grateful Dead. In addition to interviews with Dead members Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman, this episode features live performances of four songs from one of my favorite Grateful Dead Albums- Reckoning .

To win this groovy DVD, all you need to do is write a slogan for lostmelodies.com. Leave your submission in the comments sections below. If I like it because it’s funny, entertaining or *gasp* usable, I’ll send you a copy of the Electric Kool-Aid Talk Show on DVD. If you can’t think of a slogan, pick up a copy here.