4

The Real Dirty South: Bios of James Brown, Harry Crews

One man became a cultural icon, the other a cult figure. But James Brown and Harry Crews have more in common than you might think.

1

Yuletide’s Greatest Hits

Rockin' the Holidays, with James Brown, Otis Redding, Brenda Lee, Commander Cody, Amos Milburn, The Sweet Inspirations, etc.

4

Monkey Hips and Rice: The “5” Royales

Pretty excited that guitar legend Steve Cropper will be coming to Cleveland on April 18 to induct The "5" Royales into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here's a re-post in their honor.

7

A Brief History of American Roots Music

From W.C. Handy to The Black Keys: A quick look at how American roots music evolved in the 20th Century. Footnotes available upon request.

4

Doin’ the Carolina Shag

Just a few random observations from my recent week-long vacation in Atlantic Beach, NC: Weather was spectacular, and so were the sights — many dolphins close to shore, wild horses roaming [...]

7

Songs of Protest

I’ve always had great respect for the power of a well-crafted protest song. But you won’t find me poring over an album by Pete Seeger (god rest his soul). I’d rather hear Miles Davis deconstruct [...]

6

Little Willie John: Fever

I just read a fascinating book about one of my favorite singers… Seems like a good excuse to showcase the music of Little Willie John while sharing a little love for the excellent bio Fever: A [...]

1

Unsung Soul Sisters

Flea market record bins are filled with artists who never got their due. And the fickle ways of listeners and labels alike are especially apparent when it comes to women soul singers. For every [...]

0

King of the Independents

Here’s a re-post from 2009 that looks back at one of America’s greatest independent labels, Cincinnati’s King Records. Its huge catalog includes seminal recordings by some of the most [...]

7

The Seventies are Back

Let’s talk about the Seventies. What exactly happened? I’m not sure I can answer that question, because I lived them – in the same smoky haze that partially obscured my view of The Rolling Stones [...]

5

Rock ‘n Soul on TV: The Sixties (Part 1)

Just picked up a good read about the troubled marriage of rock and the boob tube: “TV a-Go-Go” by Jake Austen (producer of a cable-access children’s dance show that airs in [...]

0

It’s the Weekend… Who Cares?

Back in the heyday of Cleveland rock radio, this wildman named Murray Saul – sounding a lot like Howard Dean when he blew up his campaign for President – would usher in the weekend with a [...]

6

Monkey Hips and Rice: The “5” Royales

Think of the many streams that flow into that big river called early rock ‘n roll – blues, gospel, R&B, doo-wop, country… You can hear all of those influences and maybe a few others (Southern [...]

1

Big Hits from the Small Screen

Last year, you couldn’t avoid hearing The Black Keys on TV. And I have to admit, it started to annoy me a little bit. But I realize their marketing strategy is dead right. I mean, who listens to [...]

4

Roast Your Chestnuts to These Holiday Tunes

We’re in full holiday mode here in the Rubber City – plenty of white stuff on the ground and white people in our malls searching for Susan Boyle’s latest CD. Now I’ve got nothing against Ms. [...]

1

King of the Independents

In the early 1980s, I lived in Cincinnati and edited one of those free entertainment newspapers you see blowing through the streets of big cities throughout the country.  The following piece [...]