All Right Boys, This Is It: Over The Hill

The Eagles reuniting means Hell has frozen over, but Led Zeppelin Musical Group reuniting proves Hell exists. Of course, looking at the current trend, it seems any successful band whose golden years have since passed is putting aside old daemons, boning up on the oldies, maybe cranking out some newies and hitting the road on tour. This summer we saw Genesis and The Police. In recent years Cream and Queen have made even more improbably tours. “Classic” artists have also been releasing loads of new records. All of these endeavours have had [be polite, John]… mixed results.

Let yourself give in to "Temptation"

Or should I say The Temptations who will be interviewed on stage and performing at Washtenaw Community College's Towsley Auditorium this Friday, December 14. This legendary Motown vocal quartet's current lineup features original member Otis Williams along with Bruce Williamson, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, and Joe Herndon. The group just released the CD Back to Front, a collection of soul classics ranging from Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" and Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin'" to the Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself." Unfortunately, tickets are sold out but you can view a simulcast. Call 973-3450 for more information. To re-familiarize yourself with some of their work and take a nostalgia trip to Motown, check out some of the Temptations' cd's at the Library.

My Secret Addiction

For several years, I suffered from addiction. My poison came not in a bottle, but in the form of biopics about musicians. The cheesier and made-for-TV-ier, the better, I felt. Sure Walk The Line and Ray honoured Johnny Cash’s and Ray Charles’s musical legacy while making them appear as three dimensional humans, but these movies didn’t do it for me. In fact, the past few years, Hollywood has left my addiction far from sated. But good news for me and everyone else with this disease (that’s right, CDC, addiction is a disease; live with it!) Jake Kasdan, son of U of M alum Larry Kasdan, has teamed up with Judd Apatow and filmed Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

What's your "Fourth Wish?"

If you're looking for fun, reasonably priced musical entertainment this weekend and want your wishes (musical, that is) to come true, check out Fourth Wish this Friday, December 7 at Kerrytown Concert House. Composed of four local musicians on saxaphone, piano, string bass and drums and a female vocalist, Fourth Bass plays all acoustic jazz. The group has played many venues around town including the Riverside Big Band and the Plymouth Symphony.

Where are your Holiday CDs?

Are you trying to get into the holiday spirit? Need a little nudging? Why not pop in a holiday CD to get you in the mood. At the Downtown library there is a special section set aside just for holiday CDs. That’s right! It’s in the regular CD section, right under the clock. Which must mean that it’s time to listen so some cheery tunes. (My favorite? A Christmas together by John Denver & The Muppets.)

Guilty Pleasures

The hardest question I’ve ever been asked is ironically one I address in these blogs; several years ago, a friend of my parents asked me—then a tenth grader—“What kind of music do you listen to?” The question’s difficulty didn’t stem from a lack of an answer, rather my embarrassment over giving it. I meekly offered two vague words, “Punk rock,” hoping to end the topic, but my questioner would not relent until she heard a name. “Green Day,” I squeaked. A lie, to be sure: I never listened to them. I just figured they sounded credible, though this predated American Idiot. As I then suffered a drubbing over dubbing Green Day punk rock—“Oh they are not punk rock!”—I could only be happy, happy I didn’t say the real band I liked… Blink-182.

West African Pop from Mali

Malian guitarist and singer Habibe Koite is credited with bringing worldwide recognition to the wealth of music emanating from the West African nation of Mali. His latest album, Afriki, is an engaging, collaborative representation of the diversity of musical styles active in Mali today. Click here to see an excerpt from a live concert in Seattle.

New French Pop in our World Music Section

The library's expanding World Music section recently saw the addition of Popular music from Japan and Mexico, and now, we bring you France. If you're looking for a place to start, try Pauline Croze for a young pop-folk sound, or the platinum selling Alizee and Mylene Farmer, or check out Johnny Hallyday who has been described as France's answer to Elvis. Click here for the full list of French World Music, and check back often for new additions. Interested? Then you can also check out new music from French speaking Quebec. If you have time, let us know what you think, and if there any artists that you would like to see the library carry.

Albums… What A Concept, Part II:

Uggh... "concept album." I read a review dubbing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road “a concept album without a concept.” This bugs me. Firstly, that kind of sounds like a bad thing, and I’ll be gosh darned if I sit by and let anyone say anything bad about pre-1976-slash-post-1994 Elton John. Secondly, if Yellow Brick is truly a “concept album without a concept”—or “album” as I like to say—what constitutes a concept album? A running storyline like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, song-cycle like construction ala Tommy, a musical theme like Pet Sounds, or simply cross-fades and a reprise like Sgt. Pepper’s?

He is still burning bright

Today, November 28 is the 250th birthday of poet William Blake. Blake was only four years old when he began seeing visions of angels. He began drawing and when his parents saw his talent sent him to art school to become an engraver. He produced engravings for works of Chaucer, Dante, the Bible and books on architecture, botany and medicine. Blake's work became more infused with his visions and not as saleable. He had also been writing poetry for most of his life and began printing it on his own printing press. He wrote his poems on copper plates and engraved illustrations around them. He sold these small collections himself.

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