The First Bobby Hart Solo Album Reissued In December

Bobby Hart Solo AlbumEveryone has heard of The Monkees. During their run, the popular band produced a massive collection of Top 40 single hits, and, in the process, sold a wild number of LPs. Even if you remember little about The Monkees, you’ve certainly heard, at one place or another, one or more of their songs. There were tracks like, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, written by a well-known singer-songwriter by the name of Carole King. There is a song that I believe everyone remembers, “I’m A Believer”, written by the Brill Building legend, Neil Diamond. That song was popularized by The Monkees back in 1966. One of the first hits for the band was a tune called “Last Train To Clarksville”. It was written by the dual team of Tommy Boyce And Bobby Hart. This team not only wrote that famous tune, but they wrote the opening theme to The Monkees TV series.

In 1980, Bobby Hart released his solo effort, The First Bobby Hart Solo Album. It was only released in a handful of countries back then, and unfortunately slid from attention pretty early. Recently, the label behind The MGM Singles Collection featuring the music of Mickey Dolenz unearthed the album, provided new remastering luster to the tracks, and expanded The First Bobby Hart Solo Album with three previously unreleased bonus tracks (see track list below).

This new 7a Records reissue is on the calendar for a fairly quick release date of December 7. In addition to the remaster and the bonus tracks, the reissue will provide a 24-page booklet with new liner notes, an in-depth interview with Bobby Hart, song lyrics, and plenty of photos from the period.

The First Bobby Hart Solo Album – Bobby Hart

Track Listing:

01. Funky Karma
02. I’m On Fire
03. I Can’t Fight It
04. Hurt So Bad
05. (You’re Breaking My Heart) Street Angel /
0I Get Crazy
06. Still Hung Up On You
07. First Impressions
08. You Can’t See Thunder (previously unissued)
09. Runnin’ (previously unissued)
10. I’m Just Taking The Long Way Home (previously unissued)


Charlie Hilton (Blouse) To Release Solo Album In January

Charlie Hlton PalanaThe music of Blouse, a Portland origin band, has always intrigued me with its blend of ’80s-styled music with a slight Goth bent (but don’t let that stop ya!). They have two albums in release that include their 2011 self-titled debut (with the lush and dreamy “Into Black”), and Imperium (2013). One of the reasons for their success easily lies in the voice of Charlie Hilton. With a voice that’s airy, dreamy, smooth, and sexy, she has lent a sense of perfection to the music of Blouse.

But enough about Blouse (but don’t forget about ’em!). Charlie Hilton is planning to release a solo effort with as much a sense of anticipation as we might have if Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays) were to release solo album. Her voice is incredibly able to deliver a strong album of tunes that we might find just as attractive as her Nico-like appearance.

On January 22, Captured Tracks will release Charlie Hilton‘s album, Palana. Currently, this new album is being heralded by the release of a 7″ vinyl single with “Pony” as the A-Side, and an exclusive non-album tune, “When I’m Gone” as the B-side (buy here for $6). Of course, “Pony” is available digitally, including Spotify as a stream (hear “Pony” below).



New The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart EP

Pains Of Being Pure At Heart HellI first warmly discovered The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart some years back during their pre-album release of their debut. There were several songs floating around. Every one of them captured my attention. The band hails from NYC (one of my favorite band origin destinations). Their first album was released in 2009. They have since followed it up with several transitioning sets (Belong – 2011, Days Of Abandon, 2014).

Recently, I received the notice that the five-piece band had released a three-track single fronted with “Hell”. All three tracks can be heard via several platforms that include iTunes (which sells each track), Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud. The new EP features the original track “Hell”, and provides two cover songs, “Ballad Of The Band” (Felt), and “Laid” (James).

The great news is that a new The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart album is likely to be expected soon. If you haven’t heard anything by this band, you should at least give them a chance, especially with anything off their first album.

New Mortiis Album, The Great Deceiver, Scheduled For January

Not Album Cover

I’ve always had a strange fascination for industrial music. From the music of Ministry to the modified music of Norwegian Black Metal band, Mortiis, there’s a fair helping of the music to choose from. One such band is the morphing Mortiis, evolved from the once high and mighty Emperor. Mortiis, the stage name of Håvard Ellefsen (bass, Emperor, 1991-1992), formed first as a creator of morbid dungeon music, then as a full-bodied band of four.

Mortiis has previously released four albums (The Smell Of Rain – 2001, The Grudge – 2004, Some Kind Of Heroin – 2007, Perfectly Defect – 2010). With a new lineup, Mortiis has a new album on the horizon, planned for release on January 29 via Omnipresence Records. The new album is called The Great Deceiver.

Simply put, The Great Deceiver will most certainly NOT be for every music fan, nor will ANY of Mortiis’ prior works. That includes the band itself. But, like the evolving theater of Dark Rock that began with Alice Cooper, and advanced by Marilyn Manson, Mortiis is an interesting part of the whole phenomenon. It might be said, however, that even the fright of Marilyn Manson’s music and show, pales considerably under the weight of a Mortiis set.

For the interested, Mortiis is giving away their first single, “Doppelganger”, for download at their site. The song is a single edited version of the longer track found on the album. There is also a lively remix track of “Doppelganger” available for download.


New Joe Cocker 2CD Retrospective, The Life Of A Man, In December

JoeCock_TheLife_CoverAr_500DPI300RGB1000170559It’s been nearly one year ago since we’ve lost Joe Cocker. If you’re like me, some of his great songs has often been replayed in one way or another since then. Over time, you being to develop a strong realization that Joe Cocker left behind a beautiful and strong body of work.

On December 11, Hip-O Records will issue a 2CD set of collected studio and live tracks from Joe Cocker, assembling them into a nice collection being called The Life Of A Man – The Ultimate Hits (1968-2013). The two CDs covers a long stretch of a brilliant career. And, after looking over the track-list, you find that a nice representative song has not been included, well, join the club.

For myself, I love the awesome included cover of “Come Together” from Across The Universe movie. Yes, I do consider it essential. Just like “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” and “With A Little Help From My Friends”essential. It makes The Life Of A Man feel complete.

The Life Of A Man: The Ultimate Hits (1968-2013) – Joe Cocker

01. Feelin’ Alright
02. High Time We Went
03. Marjorine
04. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
05. I Can Stand A Little Rain
06. Many Rivers To Cross
07. Shelter Me
08. You Can Leave Your Hat On
09. Can’t Find My Way Home
10. Darling Be Home Soon
11. One
12. My Father’s Son
13. Fire It Up
14. Unchain My Heart
15. Delta Lady
16. Cry Me A River (Live At The Fillmore East)
17. The Letter (Live At The Fillmore East)
18. With A Little Help From My Friends
19. You Are So Beautiful (Live At The Lanxess Arena)

01. When The Night Comes
02. Come Together
03. First We Take Manhattan
04. Summer In The City
05. Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong
(Love Theme From The Paramount Film “An Officer And A Gentlemen”)
06. Don’t You Love Me Anymore
07. Unforgiven
08. Have A Little Faith In Me
09. You Are So Beautiful
10. Woman To Woman
11. The Simple Things
12. N’Oubliez Jamais
13. Tonight
14. Night Calls
15. Hard Knocks
16. I Come In Peace
17. Performance


Listening To Jim James And His Regions Of Light And Sound Of God Debut

Jim James Regions Of Light And The Sound Of GodI caught up with the latest episode of The Leftovers (episode 6). It starts with the silent approach of a scientist as he makes his way to Miracle, TX to talk with Nora concerning the disappearances of her family. As the scenes are played out, a song is overlaid that is captivating. (This series has a nice string of captivating songs that weave their way through the series scenes.) That song is “The State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.)”. It’s a song from Jim James.

Immediately, as I will do, I began looking for the song. I immediately found it and have been listening to the debut solo effort of Jim James since. The song is found on his 2013-issued album, Regions Of Light And Sound Of God. The album is populated with nine tracks, all with a bluesy feel to them.

Jim James is first and foremost a primary member of My Morning Jacket. His strength lies in his song-writing, and his thoughtful approach of it. His My Morning Jacket affiliation is compelling and important. But this solo album, which I did NOT know existed until The Leftovers is an extraordinary piece of work.

This post is merely to direct your attention to some new music that you may not have heard as of yet. Enjoy the video for “The State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” below. You may find is as compelling as you find My Morning Jacket.

Thanks, The Leftovers. Your contribution to my musical awareness is greatly appreciated.


In Memoriam: Allen Toussaint

Allen ToussaintAs it’s been said before, the value of a man is as he is remembered. That applies in so many ways that it would be impossible to list them all here. In the world of music, the value is the body of work an individual (or band) has left behind. When I say left behind, I’m talking when the ability to create music no longer is any kind of option. On Tuesday, November 10 (2015), the world lost a monumental talent to a heart attack. But while the ailments that lie in wait and thieve are not worth talking about, the people that death takes are immeasurably worth talking about. In the world of music, that particularly applies to Allen Toussaint.

Allen Toussaint led a remarkable music life. Not only was the New Orleans-based Jazz pianist respected in his field, he was also revered in the grounds that he covered outside of Jazz. Notably, he wrote “Working In The Coal Mine”, originally recorded by Lee Dorsey. But so many artists recorded his music in covers too beautiful to imagine. Some of these include “I Like It Like That” (Dave Clark 5), “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Get Out Of My Life, Woman” (Iron Butterfly, Jerry Garcia, The Doors, Paul Butterfield, Gerry Rafferty, to name a few), “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)” (3 Dog Night, Maria Muldaur, Frankie Miller, BJ Thomas), and many more. Some other artists that recorded Allen Toussaint songs also include Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Robert Palmer, Ringo Starr, Paul Weller, the list goes on and on.

The list of bands that Allen Toussaint has collaborated with is even longer than the people who covered his works. Some of those include The Rolling Stones, The Band, Elvis Costello, John Mayall, Dr John, Paul McCartney & Wings, etc.

The shock that Allen Toussaint’s death was met with is commensurate with the depth that he permeates the world of music. It’s not everyone that can do that. We will miss the presence of Allen Toussaint’s wonderfully musical soul. I take comfort in the line from Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die”, “…there’ll be one child born in the world to carry on…”. Even so, the departure of Allen Toussaint requires big shoes to fill! BIG shoes!

Allen Toussaint RIP

Allen Toussaint

Five Rufus (Featuring Chaka Khan) Titles Reissued In December

Rufus Rags To RufusIn the early ’70s, Rock ‘n Roll became familiar with a funk band by the name of Rufus. Rufus featured the stunning vocals of Chaka Khan, who went on to solo fame some years later. Once “Tell Me Something Good” hit the AM Top40 airwaves, the legend was complete. With only their debut ahead of the album containing that Grammy Award-winning hit single, it was easy to catch up. Since that breakthrough album (Rags To Rufus – 1974), the band released nine other albums, with a series of hit singles and another Grammy Award win (and another nomination besides this one) for “Ain’t Nobody” in 1983.

Geffen Records will release new digital remasters for some of the revered Rufus (with Chaka Khan) catalog. These reissues are being sold domestically as Japanese Limited Edition housed in the familiar LP-styled cardboard sleeve. The titles expected include:

  • Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – 1975
  • Rags To Rufus – 1974
  • Ask Rufus – 1977
  • Rufus – 1973
  • Rufusized – 1974

All five Rufus titled are on the calendar for December 18.

Possible New Wolfmother Album In February

Wolfmother - VictoriousTen years ago, the power trio, Wolfmother gained a legion of fans with their excellent debut that gathered comparisons to the great hard rock of the ’70s, like Black Sabbath. The band formed in Australia, and has since released three albums (Wolfmother – 2005, Cosmic Egg – 2009, New Crown – 2014). Their first two albums were brisk sellers, with sales in the millions. With their release of their third set, New Crown, main Wolfmother, Andrew Stockdale opted to go the route of independent release. New Crown was issued first as a digital album via the popular distribution center, Bandcamp.

There has been hints that the band was recording a new album. With a few pieces of information, I’m making a guess that the fourth album from Wolfmother, (looking like it’s being titled Gypsy Caravan OR, perhaps, Victorious) will be released by UMe with a scheduled date set at February 19.

I love Wolfmother, and so I hope that this bit of whispered information holds completely true!

New Coldplay Album, A Head Full Of Dreams, (Their Last), Planned For December

ColdplayLast year, Coldplay released their sixth full-length album, Ghost Stories. It generated the well-played “A Sky Full Of Stars”, which, for me, was a return of sorts to the kind of dreamy Pop that the band has done so well with. After A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002), I fell off to the wayside with the music that Coldplay had decided to move forward with. When I heard “A Sky Full Of Stars”, and a few of the other tracks from the album (“Magic”, “True Love”, “Ink”), I felt much better about the band.

On December 4, Coldplay will release their seventh effort, A Head Full Of Dreams. The new title is planned to be released on CD, DD, and a pink and blue colored, 180g-weight 2LP set (which includes digital download rights).

Strangely, Coldplay is calling this this farewell release. After its issue, the band is expected to call it a completed day. They have not ruled out another album i the future, but, as far as they seemed to be concerned, this is the culmination of a successful career.

You can listen to the official audio of their pre-release single, “Adventure Of A Lifetime” below.  It has the band’s signature dream pop sound. For me, it did not reach out and grab as “A Sky Full Of Stars”. But who am I to judge on the first offering in an album “full of” songs?