September 26, 2012 |
At 66, Bettye LaVette is celebrating her 50th year in the music business. In 1962, as a Detroit teenager, she had a Top 10 R&B hit with the upbeat "My Man - He's a Lovin' Man. " Three years later, when just 19, LaVette was singing a sadder song - a classic of world-weary heartache called "Let Me Down Easy" - that also made it into the Top 20. The hits did not keep on coming. And as LaVette makes plain in her new memoir A Woman Like Me (Blue Rider Press, $26.95), the decades that followed mostly found one of America's great soul singers struggling in obscurity, victimized by bad record deals, rotten luck, and her own poor decisions.
September 25, 2013 |
Suddenly, it's a David Bromberg convergence: Work from his past and work from his present are hitting simultaneously. Tuesday brings the release of Only Slightly Mad , Bromberg's third album after returning in 2007 from a 22-year hiatus from recording. Also out on Tuesday is Live at Caffè Lena: Music From America's Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013 , a three-disc compilation that includes a 1972 Bromberg performance of "The Holdup," an amusing song he wrote with George Harrison.
January 26, 2015 |
When it comes to big-name albums, it's becoming rare for release dates to be announced much in advance. The element of surprise is a big bonus, and social media spread the word like wildfire. So, rather then tell us ahead of time, everybody's trying to keep a secret, then spring it on us for maximum promotional value, Beyoncé-style. So, along with the three to-be-announced releases by Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill listed below, a whole lot of other marquee releases expected in early 2015 have no specified arrival dates.
June 24, 1995 |
Last week's announcement that Bob Dylan would play the Theater of Living Arts was accompanied by an explanation: Dylan, now touring stadiums with the Grateful Dead, was restless. He had days off, and wanted to play. But few in the TLA's capacity crowds Wednesday and Thursday could have been prepared for what they encountered: Dylan was being literal. Not content to stroll through his house blend of hits and back-page obscurities, he wanted to play. As in, play guitar. As in, play guitar solos.
July 21, 1986 |
As the ultimate singer/songwriter of the contemporary folk and progressive rock eras, Bob Dylan has always had his pick of great and worshipful sidemen (and women), from Joan Baez to the Band, Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield to the Rolling Thunder brigade and Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler. None has ever put Dylan's gritty visions into as sweet and commercial a context, though, as his latest recruits, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who joined Dylan for two very satisfying shows at the Spectrum, Saturday and last evening.
February 4, 2014 |
IT'S PROBABLY just as well most people's yards aren't zoned for Clydesdales. Because golden retriever puppies - already too popular for their own good - are likely to be in even more demand after Budweiser unveiled its latest cross-species love story before millions at last night's Super Bowl. Let's pause while everyone goes, "Awwwww. "; And to remember that the ad, "Best Buds," was posted to YouTube by Budweiser last Wednesday and had already had more than 33 million views a few hours before kickoff.
September 25, 2014 |
WHEN IT comes to money, no one in hip-hop beats Dr. Dre . Beats, get it? Thanks to his ownership stake in the headphone company sold to Apple, Dre has finished No. 1 in Forbes ' latest list of the top earners in hip-hop. His pretax earnings? $620 million - the biggest number of any entertainer ever evaluated by Forbes , the magazine said, and more than the combined earnings of the other 24 heavy-hitters on the Hip-Hop Cash Kings list. Even among the 1 percent, there's a 1 percent.
November 20, 2012 |
Guessing what Bob Dylan might do next - and pondering why he does what he does - has been a time-consuming avocation for amateur Dylanologists for pretty much the entire half-century of his incomparably inscrutable career. On Monday, the mysterious man in the white boater hat played the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia, on a double bill that also featured Mark Knopfler, the former Dire Straits frontman who produced Infidels , Dylan's standout album from 1983. This date on the Never Ending Tour had a more compelling raison d'etre than most.
September 30, 2014 |
Maybe the electrical problems that delayed Sunday's memorial service for Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tony Auth were meant as metaphor. The power went out, but the light never dimmed. "In your life, Tony Auth, you welcomed the stranger, spoke up for the outcast, punctured the pretensions of the hypocrite," said longtime colleague Chris Satullo, quoting what he imagined God saying to Auth, a not particularly devout new arrival at heaven's gate. "You were devoted to those who loved you and you were disinclined to despise those who did not," Satullo said.
April 19, 2012 |
Levon Helm, the Arkansas-born drummer and singer for The Band, the four-fifths Canadian ensemble whose music in the 1960's and '70s, some of it with Bob Dylan, endures as a high-water mark of quintessential American rock and roll, has died of cancer. He was 71. "Levon Helm passed peacefully [Thursday] afternoon," according to an announcement on his official Website. "He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul.