Billy V. Bruce

The Stranger is proof even if Billy Joel has an all-time best-seller, doesn't mean the critics will stop slandering him, and (something I read in a review of the album,) if “Scenes From and Italian Restaurant” had been written by Bruce Springsteen, critics would be lining up to sing its praises. Bruce and Billy are two sides of the same coin. While Springsteen plays guitar with his focus on image-laden lyrics, and Billy rocks the piano with an effortless grasp of melody. Both conjure up memories of early 60s rock (and use wailing saxophones.) Lyrically and musically, they hint to their working-class beginnings, Bruce from nowhere, New Jersey and Joel Hicksville, Long Island. Every step of their career mirrors the other, with one key difference. Critics of the time snubbed Billy but canonized Bruce.

Margaret Truman

Truman FamilyTruman Family

Another connection to our collective recent past has died. Margaret Truman
(Daniel) daughter of former President Harry Truman died Tuesday January 29. Ms Truman was the author of the popular, mystery series “Capital Crime Series with 23 titles in total.
In addition to her writing skills Ms Truman was an accomplished singer. In 1950 her Father then President sent a now famous missive to a music critic who had trashed his daughter’s performance at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Truman wrote, “I have just read your lousy review …I have never met you but if I do, you’ll need a new nose” I wonder if any of the present aspirants to the Presidency would be as candid.

Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!

You know, I can find a lot to hate about Born In The U.S.A. I hated The Boss for the longest time after my outrage over the title track. So much of the record irritates me—superficially: the booming music, the fat synths, the unmistakably 80s drums, the voice, adrift in a sea of echo. The title song irritates me—superficially—with redundant music and a crudely jingoistic chorus. But Springsteen is doing something here: he is critiquing the state of the country and music in 1984.

Mozart: Piano Concertos in C Major, 13 + 24.

In his newly released debut recording, Pianist Martin Helmchen offers a superb, well-balanced presentation of Mozart's 13th and much beloved 24th Piano Concertos, accompanied by the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra under the conduction of Gordon Nikolic. In the words of one reviewer, "this is one of those rare and treasurable recordings where everything seems just right...this was almost like discovering the music for the first time".

Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2007

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The annual Pitchfork staff list of the top 50 albums of 2007 has been up for a few weeks now; have you investigated yet? With 50 albums (as well as their 100 favorite songs of 2007 and the debut of the Pitchfork readers poll) there are many albums from a variety of genres. So if you’re looking for something new-ish or buzz-worthy, give it a whirl. The long list includes many we have at the AADL, some of which are:

8 Diagrams by Wu-Tang Clan
Andorra by Caribou
The Reminder by Feist
Graduation by Kanye West
Night Falls Over Kortedala by Jens Lekman
Strawberry Jam by Animal Collective
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? By Of Montreal
Kala by M.I.A.
Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem
and...
Person Pitch By Panda Bear (the #1 album) (And it is indeed divine!)

He looks pretty good for 252

Mozart turns 252 this month, and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra is celebrating with a special concert featuring Orien Weiss on the piano.

Mozart's Birthday Bash will be January 26th at 8 pm at the Michigan Theater and will feature Mozart's Symphony No. 41, Piano Concerto No. 21, and the Overture to The Magic Flute.

Trying to avoid the cold until then? Check out our many biographies of Mozart. How many books about you will be in the library on your 252nd birthday?

Sticky Fingers: 0 out of 5 Stars… Wait, what?

In Rolling Stone’s review of The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, critic and future Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau gave the number one album containing “Brown Sugar,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’,” and “Wild Horses” zero out of five stars. But in fact, reading the text of the review, he writes, “The low points aren't that low, but the high points, with one exception, aren't that high,” which sounds more like a two- or three-star record. Nonetheless, he gives—in his mind—an okay record a scathing rating, because The Rolling Stones here are not The Rolling Stones he knows and loves.

A Mixed CD

As I tearfully prepared my Tundra Focus to return to the Ford dealership, its lease imminently running out, I found a mixt CD I'd made almost three years ago. In honour of my car, I will forgo my usual big blog today for twenty-two small ones about each track!

1. Handle With CareThe Traveling Wilburys: I had discovered The Wilburys in April of ’05, and I listened to their debut over and over on my way to Mt. Pleasant for a Dylan concert.
2. What Becomes of the BrokenheartedJimmy Ruffin: Having just seen Standing In The Shadows of Motown, Joan Osborne’s cover of this tune inspired me to seek out the original.
3. Step On Me – 1984: Off of a CD Borders dubiously marked an import, this late sixties group featuring pre-Queen Brian May on guitar. I hadn’t heard this song since ‘05, so rehearing it made me smile.
4....

Sing "Down by the Old Mill Stream" and others.

barbershopbarbershop

Have you ever wanted to sing in a barbershop quartet? Well, here's your chance. Every Monday, the Motor City Metro Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society invites all male singers to join the weekly rehearsals of this local barbershop harmony chorus. It's all happening at Oz's Music Environment, 1920 Packard. Free to visitors ($130 annual dues for those who join). 474-1155. Contrary to popular knowledge,barbershop harmonies originated with African-American men who formed these pick-up quartets, sometimes in front of barbershops or at other local gathering spots.

Francophiles Delight!

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Fans of French indie-pop artist Pauline Croze won't want to miss her brand new release, Un Bruit Qui Cour, and if you haven't yet, make sure and check out her self-titled debut album, Pauline Croze. Here's a clip of her performing live.

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