Gregg Allman back on the road.  Although he’s flying solo without the Brothers, The Richmond Press gives him high marks for letting it fly…

Though the Allman Brothers Band played their final show in 2014, Gregg Allman is hardly resting on his laurels these days. A sold-out crowd had the opportunity Sunday night to see this iconic figure in a more intimate setting, joined by a band that played The National like it was the Bonnaroo Festival.

Source: Music review: Gregg Allman at The National

Thom Hickey over at The Immortal Jukebox published this wonderful tribute to Fats Domino.  Enjoy!


Had I been born in Louisiana in the 1920s I know what I would have done with my life if I had survived World War Two intact and by fair means or foul accumulated a decently thick bankroll. I would …

Source: Fats Domino – Pharaoh of The 1950s! King of New Orleans!

Sometimes I need you wild…

Posted: March 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

Some interesting observations about Leonard Cohen from a fellow blogger. I know I give Lenny big respect for Hallelujah and Bernadette but,,,, Thanks Neil!


Transported to a strange place by the stark compositions on Songs from A Room. Sitting in the dark with only the faint crackle of the 47 year old vinyl as the stylus creates the sounds to fill the space.

roomI have to admit this is the very first Leonard Cohen I have ever listened to in it’s entirety, I am on my third play and every listen is as fresh as the first which is really a novel experience in a jaded world of downloads and streaming. There is no brick walling of the sound and it seems that Laughing Len is in the room with me mumbling his exotic lyrics in my ear.

Truth be told it’s just a great album and the back cover captures a time and a place so well as Marianne sits in that stark otherworldly room in Greece.

It’s a truly powerful experience, go…

View original post 18 more words


I’ve been a Santana fan for decades.  The premier Latin Rock band in the history of rock music, Santana has been thrilling audiences since their inception in 1967.  I first saw them in concert back in the early ’80’s in Central Park and then again a few years ago in Madison Square Garden.  Their concerts are powerful statements to their deep well of talents and are also unique in their approach to mixing their hits with a good dose of carefully selected covers.

[Side note: “Santana” refers to the name of the band led by Carlos Santana.]

I was very happy to come across a used copy of their 1997 release Live at the Fillmore 1968.  Recorded in December of 1968, the album opens with an introduction by Bill Graham – “Born out of the belly of San Francisco…Santana” as they launch into a nine-plus minute version of “Jingo”, a cover of the late Babatunde Olatunji’s tune they recorded six months later and included on their debut album in the summer of 1969.

In addition to Carlos’ guitar and vocal work, the band included the early line-up of  Gregg Rolie on keyboards / vocals, David Brown providing the bottom, Marcus Malone behind the congas and Bob “Doc” Livingston on drums.  By the time the debut album was recorded in May 1969, both Malone and Livingston were gone – replaced by Michael Shrieve and the percussion team of Michael Carabello and José Areas.

[Trivia:  According to Wikipedia Malone was out as he had been convicted on manslaughter and was busy jamming at San Quentin,]


The concert moves into the early Santana standards of Persuasion, Treat, Soul Sacrifice, and Willie Bobo’s “Fried Neckbones” but also surprises the listener with four tracks that never made it onto a Santana studio release.  They take off on Chico Hamilton’s “Conquistadore Rides Again”, “As the Years Go Passing By” by the late Deadric Malone (aka Don Robey), and Carlos & Gregg’s compositions of “Chunk A Funk” and “Freeway”.

For my money, “Treat” is the hidden gem here but the Hamilton cover is a very close second.  Never staying too far from their Latin and Blues roots, the band, fueled by Carlos’ solos addresses “Conquistadore…” in an expanded 8+ minute romp that closes the set before Bill Graham brings them back on stage for a blistering 50-minute encore that starts off with their classic, and future Woodstock anthem, “Soul Sacrifice”.

I’ve included tracks for “Treat” and “Conquistadore Rides Again” below.







Some days the obtuseness of free jazz, the weight of heavy metal, and the ponderous complexities of classical music are put aside for the free-flowing exuberance on power pop grooves and quirky, yet intelligent, lyrics.

(The) Judybats were an alternative power pop band from Knoxville, TN, active primarily in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The fit the bill perfectly.

From Wikipedia: First formed in 1987 after vocalist Jeff Heiskell, who with Ed Winters (guitar) had been playing acoustically in Knoxville as a duo, met Tim Stutz (bass) at a local bar called Hawkeyes Corner. Stutz, Johnny Sughrue (guitarist) and Terry Casper (drums) had known each other since high school and had been playing music together as a trio. Peggy Hambright, who was Stutz and Sughrue’s roommate, added keyboards, violin and vocals.

They purportedly took their name from a song which contained the line “punch me with a judybat” in a punning allusion to Punch and Judy shows.

They went through some personnel changes over the years but eventually coalesced into a well-crafted unit for their 1994 effort Full Empty and broke up just after that album didn’t do well on the charts.  Some of the band members went on to form a band called The Doubters Club.  I know, I hadn’t heard of them either.

I have their 1992 and 1993 releases Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow  and Pain Makes You Beautiful in my collection and stay on the look out for the 1991 debut release Native Son and the final release Full Empty.  I find their music lyrically smart and upbeat with the right amount of groove and infectious hooks.

Below for your consideration “She’s Sad, She Said”  and “Native Son”.


best inbox

I’ve been busy with work lately and the new music flowing into my inbox has been piling up. Not to worry!  I’ve started the listening and while much of it gets deleted within a minute or so, there are some great new artists out there who catch my ear and send me off to find out more about them.  As you’ll see, none of them are “new” – some have been around – but the releases are new and as they say on TV “New to me”.

I hope you find some of these as enjoyable as I do.  If you do, go read about them. Visit their websites.  Re-tweet the post to your friends.  Drop in on You Tube.  If you’re anything like me in your passions about music, there’s no better fun than finding something entirely new.  You never know the path it will take and you may find a new world of listening.  What’s better than that?  As they say across the pond “It’s all the fun at the fair!”



Brad Byrd

Indie-rock/Alt-country singer/songwriter Brad Byrd has been crafting hooky, timeless, left-of-center indie-rock-pop songs since the age of 21.   His body of work has been described as “powerfully haunting and soulful”. With penetrating melodies and lyrical imagery that effortlessly deciphers the human condition, the elusive yet “on the verge” indie-rock singer/songwriter has been delighting crowds in the local bar/club, coffee shop scenes from LA, to NYC and all over New England consistently since his critically acclaimed and nationally distributed debut LP “The Ever Changing Picture” (2005).
Brad’s sophomore effort, entitled “Mental Photograph”, was voted singer/songwriter album of the year! (2011) in Europe.  His music has appeared in dozens of popular television shows such as FOX’s “Ben & Kate”, ABC’s “Happy Endings”, E! and even independent films, namely “Winner – Best Short Film Documentary (at the Maui Film Festival) “All Aboard the Crazy Train”, featuring cameo appearances by Ben Stiller and Eddie Vedder, and includes music by Pearl Jam, U2, Beck, Ben Harper, and Mr. Byrd.  Brad’s on a US tour now and after a few dates in San Fran and LA will be in New York at Bowery Electric the end of April.

Brad Byrd Official Site



Jennifer Saran

Jennifer Saran is a North American alt-pop/adult contemporary artist, songwriter and vocalist based in Hong Kong. Her debut holiday themed album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved was released in 2015 and received many great reviews and widespread radio exposure. Her 2016 follow-up album Walk With Me was produced and co-written by the legendary producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Sting), and released on his Tarpan Records label.
She spent years away from music – raising children, working in various corporate roles, only singing in the shower or her car, rarely having any time away from work or children. She was moved to Philippines for an international corporate role where she spent 2 years, followed by another role in Singapore where, after two years she moved to Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been Jennifer’s home for the past 24 years.
Jennifer stumbled upon a women’s choir with the AWA in Hong Kong in 1992, which she joined as a Mezzo (second soprano/first alto). She and members of that choir broke away in 1997 and formed a registered charity in 1997, named The Hong Kong Women’s Choir, where the group performed to raise money for local charities. Under the brand name ‘NOVA’, along with an additional cappella subgroup named ‘The Grace Notes’, the choir’s aim was to perform more contemporary music and raise money for the disadvantaged in Hong Kong. THKWC has performed for multiple events over the last 19 years, including charity functions and public performances, and while many local and international women have joined and departed over the years, Jennifer is the sole remaining founding member.

Jennifer Saran Official Site

Nick 13_credit Casey Curry

Tiger Army

Produced and mixed by Grammy winner Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, The Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys) and featuring Tiger Army vocalist/guitarist Nick 13, acclaimed bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Ray Lamontagne, Dan Auerbach) and drummer Mitch Marine (Dwight Yoakam), V •••– is Tiger Army’s first album since 2007’s Music from Regions Beyond.   Tiger Army have been playing “Prisoner of the Night” during their recent live shows, including their current tour with Dropkick Murphys.   About the track and how it fits into the band’s set, Nick 13 says, “Our sound has always been about a mix of old and new. But this song, like others on the new record, draws from the early ‘60s. It was a transitional period after the end of rock ‘n’ roll’s first wave, but prior to the British invasion. There was a lot of sonic experimentation as people tried to figure out ‘what’s next’? Radio singles of that era also went on to influence early NYC punk, so ‘Prisoner’ plays with that as well.”  Since their arrival in ’96, TIGER ARMY have drawn critical praise from the New York Times, performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, had a No. 1 Most Requested Song on influential LA radio station KROQ with the single “Forever Fades Awa

Tiger Army Official Site


  1. Brad Byrd – “Back to Nowhere”
  2. Jennifer Saran – “Rise Up Time”
  3. Tiger Army – “Prisoner of the Night”



I’m pleased to announce that I’ve added a Twitter account for the Eclectic Ear posts.  Please consider signing up and following me. My Twitter handle is @EclecticEar.

They’ll be lots of posts, re-posts, tweets and re-tweets – and the best of old and new music across many genres.





Music collectors troll and stumble through dusty bins on that never ending search for their brand of gold.  The kind of gold that comes in shiny silver compact discs or black vinyl platters.  The eyes scan the jacket or the case and lock onto a long sought title or something familiar that strikes a chord as a smile crosses the face.

I had the recent joy of picking up the Mosaic Records box set of the The Complete Anita O’Day Verve / Clef Sessions.  9 discs and 192 songs of pure artistry by Ms. O’Day.

oday_anita-_completea_101b The Mosaic Box Set

Born Anita Belle Colton, O’Day was known for her impeccable timing and a range of dynamics that has rarely been matched.  She shunned the “girl singer” image and preferred to be known as a jazz musician.  A cool cat indeed, O’Day left the evening gown at home and wore a band jacket (just like the guys) and a skirt.  She changed her name to O’Day as it is pig-Latin for “dough” as in money.

Closely associated with the West Coast “cool” school of jazz and lumped in that way with Mel Torme, she knew some drumming, and while she was known to swing, she developed great improvisational skills in both melody and rhythm.  She was fast to admit that the legendary Martha Raye was her main vocal inspiration but she also gave a nod of respect to Ella and Billie.  In her bio, she maintained that a badly done tonsillectomy as a child marred her ability to sing vibrato causing her to develop better rhythm on shorter, but more percussive, notes.

3696f36dcf1eff2e2c7995da8924bYoung Anita

In the mid-’40s, Anita’s star rose with her work with the Gene Krupa and Stan Kenton orchestras.  She was trying to make her mark as a solo performer but was having a tough time of it.  She was recording on unknown small labels, she was in a lousy marriage, and even went through a prison term in 1953 for heroin possession.  But 1952 turned her around when Norman Granz signed her to Clef Records. (Granz had founded Clef Records in 1946 just after the war.  Ten years later, in 1956, he started Verve and merged the two labels.)


Fast forward to the 1956 and the release of her first 12-inch LP, Anita, on Granz’s new Verve label. (The Japanese release (pictured above) was titled “This Is Anita“.) With full orchestration backing her up, Anita’s talents shone bright.  Her versions of the classic ballads “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “Time After Time” absolutely blew me away.

O’Day went on to record 14 more albums for Granz and even included a reunion with her old boss, Krupa.  The albums covered a range of small group collaborations with jazz greats like Oscar Peterson, Barney Kessell, and Cal Tjader.


A Jazz Artist

As much as I admire the use of O’Day’s vocal talents on heavy jazz arrangements like Hammerstein’s “Lover, Come Back to Me” or big-band powerhouses like Porter’s “You’re the Top”, I’m a sucker for the soulful ballad.  The aforementioned “Nightingale”, “Time After Time”, and Sammy Cahn / Jule Styne’s “I Fall In Love Too Easily” make me stop and listen.


There’s a lot of Anita O’Day recordings out there and, for the casual listener, I’d recommend steering clear of some her earlier small label releases on Signature or Coral (although serious students of jazz history will note her development arc here).  The Mosaic box set is pricey at just under $200 – so look for it used.




31734.ngsversion.1422031299027.adapt.768.1 Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Challenger explosion.  One of those moments when many cam remember where they were when they heard the news.  For me, I was sitting in a car in the parking lot of a supermarket in the Fair Haven section of New Haven, CT.  My wife had run into the store to buy some groceries for her grandfather while I watched our then 10-month old son.

I was listening to the news and they broke in with the news of the explosion. As a NASA and space-fan, I was stunned and we went upstairs to her grandfather’s apartment to watch the news unfold on television.

Where were you?

So here’s to the courageous crew of the Challenger.


I’ve attached a clip of Jonathan King’s ballad “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon“,  A beautiful song, released in 1965 when King was still a student at Cambridge University.






A wonderful piece posted at WBGO, New Jersey’s premier spot on the dial for jazz.

Source: Songs of the Civil Rights Movement – Rhonda Hamilton

The Joby Talbott post set me off on a search for some other new classical music.  I eventually made by way to 30 year old, Sarasota native, Roger Zare.


From Zare’s website….

Roger Zare has been praised for his “enviable grasp of orchestration” (New York Times) and for writing music with “formal clarity and an alluringly mercurial surface.” He was born in Sarasota, FL, and has written for a wide variety of ensembles, from solo instruments to full orchestra. Often inspired by science, mathematics, literature, and mythology, his colorfully descriptive and energetic works have been performed in five continents by such ensembles as the American Composers Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra, the Australian-based Trio Anima Mundi, the Donald Sinta Quartet, and the New York Youth Symphony. An award winning composer, Zare has received the ASCAP Nissim Prize, three BMI Student Composer Awards, an ASCAP Morton Gould award, a New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, the 2008 American Composers Orchestra Underwood Commission, a 2010 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Copland House Residency Award, and many other honors. An active pianist, Zare performed his chamber work, Geometries, with Cho-Liang Lin, Jian Wang, and Burt Hara at the 2014 Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival. He has been composer in residence at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, the Salt Bay Chamber Music Festival, the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington and currently serves with the SONAR new music ensemble.

Zare holds a DMA (’12) from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield, Bright Sheng, and Kristin Kuster. He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory (MM ’09) and the University of Southern California (BM ’07), and his previous teachers include Christopher Theofanidis, Derek Bermel, David Smooke, Donald Crockett, Tamar Diesendruck, Fredrick Lesemann, and Morten Lauridsen.




WQXR radio in New York runs a web broadcast called Living Composers / Living Music.  It’s a highly recommended, well-done look into the world of modern classical music.  I’ve been enjoying it and was recently introduced to the music of British composer Joby Talbot (b. 1971).

His newest work, Tide Harmonic, is an instrumental chamber music composition released under the Signum Classics label.

From the Signum press release / website:

“Tide Harmonic is a new work for small ensemble by the contemporary British composer Joby Talbot. With a compositional aesthetic that threads through his classical and concert works, this disc was born out of a collaboration with choreographer Carolyn Carlson originally entitled Eau. A piece for small ensemble of string quartet, percussion, harp and keyboards (celesta, piano and harmonium), Tide Harmonic is described by its composer as: “… a kind of water symphony that, rather than constructing a poetic or narrative programme inspired by man’s relationship with water, instead focuses on the substance itself, the forces that act upon it, and the energy that flows through and from it”. This is Signum’s second disc of Talbot’s work, and comes 5 years after Path of Miracles (SIGCD078) with the professional chamber choir Tenebrae:

“From its opening eerie rising vocal glissando (A Tawainese singing effect called pasiputput) for the gentlemen of Nigel Short’s Tenebrae, to the final distribution of the pilgrims having reached Finisterre … Path of Miracles is little short of a musical miracle in itself. I would go so far as to suggest that this is to the first decade of the 21st century what Arvo Pärt’s Passio was twenty years earlier”

See more at:

Sorry to say that I’m not familiar with Talbot but I do plan to correct that.  I hear strains of Max Richter here, whom I blogged about a few years ago here:


From the Signum bio on Talbot:

Joby Talbot was born in Wimbledon in 1971. He studied composition privately with Brian Elias, and subsequently at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Simon Bainbridge. Talbot’s career comprehends a range of styles and purposes, including concert works as diverse as a trumpet concerto (Desolation Wilderness, 2006) for Alison Balsom and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; a 60-minute a cappella choral journey along the Camino de Santiago for Nigel Short’s Tenebrae (Path of Miracles, 2005); arrangements of songs by Detroit rock duo The White Stripes alongside existing works for acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor’s Chroma (2007) at The Royal Ballet; and, also at The Royal and the National Ballet of Canada, the music for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011), the first full-length narrative ballet score to be commissioned by The Royal Ballet in almost 20 years. In addition, Talbot has written the madrigal The Wishing Tree (The King’s Singers, 2002); the orchestral Sneaker Wave (BBC National Orchestra of Wales, 2004) and an arrangement of Purcell’s Chacony in G Minor (BBC Symphony Orchestra, 2011) for the BBC Proms. Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity was commissioned in 2012 by the Philharmonia Orchestra as an addition to Holst’s The Planets, for the second of their immersive orchestral experiences, ‘Universe of Sound’. Tide Harmonic (2009), a work for large ensemble, began life as the score for Eau by choreographer Carolyn Carlson and CCN Roubaix. Other significant works written or adapted for dance include Fool’s Paradise (2007) for Christopher Wheeldon and Morphoses, an arrangement of Talbot’s 2002 silent film score The Dying Swan; Genus (2007) and Entity (2008) for Wayne McGregor and the Paris Opera Ballet and Random Dance respectively; and Chamber Symphony (2012) for the Residentie Orkest in Nederlands Dans Theater’s Chamber by choreographer Medhi Walerski. Talbot also has considerable experience writing for the screen, including BBC2 comedy series The League of Gentlemen, and feature films The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Son of Rambow (2007), Franklyn (2008) and Hunky Dory (2011), for which he developed orchestral arrangements of pop songs with young musicians, alongside writing the largely electronic score.




I love a good used CD bin find. A recent expedition into the Sutter’s Mill of record stores panned a real nugget from one of my favorite group efforts. “On Golden Smog” from the band Golden Smog.  This hard-to-find EP has five cover songs.

Golden Smog was a loose compilation of band members from Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Wilco, The Jayhawks, Run Westy Run, The Honeydogs and Big Star.  I came across Golden Smog from following the Midwest exploits of the The Jayhawks and particularly Gary Louris.

The lineup changes regularly but the most regular participants include guitarists Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run), Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum) and Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), along with bassist Marc Perlman (The Jayhawks).  I hesitate to use the term “supergroup” as it’s been applied to CSN&Y or Cream but obviously this one talented group of musicians.


The five songs covered on this EP include:

“Son (We’ve Kept the Room Just the Way You Left It)”  – A Michaelangelo cover.

“Easy To Be Hard” – A Hair Cover. (Sung by The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris)

“Shooting Star” – 4:44 – A Bad Company Cover. (Sung by Soul Asylums Dave Pirner).

“Back Street Girl” – 3:55 – A Rolling Stones Cover.

“Cowboy Song” – 5:29 – A Thin Lizzy Cover. (Sung by Soul Asylum roadie, Bill Sullivan).












I recently came across a recording of “What’s the Use of Wonderin'” by Bernadette Peters that just floored me.  Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for the 1945 play Carousel,  the song is performed by the female lead (Julie) about halfway through the 2nd act.

The Bernadette Peters’ recording isn’t from a soundtrack but is tastefully performed solo with just a guitar for instrumentation.

[Trivia note: For awhile Bernadette was sporting a fake tattoo on her left arm of a heart with the initials “BP + R&H”.]

When he wants your kisses,
You will give them to the lad,
And anywhere he leads you, you will walk.
And anytime he needs you,
You’ll go running there like mad.
You’re his girl and he’s your feller,
And all the rest is talk.



Risa_Hall_-_SoundtrackRisa Hall releases new single, ‘Soundtrack to My Life’, a pop ballad with influences ranging from Dexy’s to The Pretenders.

Risa, great-niece of Estee Lauder and friend of The New York Dolls, was born in New York City where she attended Forest Hills High, the same school as Simon and Garfunkel and The Ramones, who were friends of both her and her brother. The school was immortalised in The Ramones’s ‘Rock and Roll High’.

Following some time working as an actress and musician in London, Risa now resides in Manchester, England. After appearing as Frenchy in the Broadway Cast of Grease, touring as Mae in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, working as a voice over artist and performing in radio plays (Radio 4, Red Dwarf, Emmerdale and Stuart Little 2) Risa was inspired by KT Tunstall and Nerina Pallot to take out her guitar and start writing, tapping into a latent talent for infectious melodies and insightful lyrics.

After the release of her self-produced EP ‘Apple Tarte’, Risa worked with producer, Nigel Stonier (Waterboys, Thea Gilmore, Sandi Thom) resulting in an eclectic collection of ten self-penned songs. Risa has earned coveted support slots with Nerina Pallot, Alice Gold, James Apollo and Jess Klein as well as headlining Bury Met and ‘An Intimate Afternoon with Risa Hall’ at BBC Radio Lancashire. She has also appeared on BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Nottingham, All FM, BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Merseyside as well as Radio Verulam and Vixen 101. In the USA she is regularly played on WPKN.

Social Links
Twitter: @risahall
Facebook: /Risahall