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Larry Kirwan - 2 EPs: Teddyboy (2019) & Heroes/Belfast (2019), plus a single, Stronger and Better (2020)

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A couple of posts ago readers were treated to a discussion about Larry Kirwan's recent novel, Rockaway Blue . Now it's time to talk about what he is best known for - making great rock 'n roll.  As he has done twice  for Bloggerhythms  in the past , Kirwan, the former leader of Black 47, participated in a question and answer session by email. This time he discussed his most recent music, and as always, I thank him for his cooperation. We're going to talk about three separate releases. T eddyboy (2019) is a five song EP, Heroes/Belfast  (2018) is a four song set, and in 2020 the Irish native son released two versions of a one-off single, "Stronger and Better." Then the interview closes with one final question. TEDDYBOY I knew Teddyboy was a stage musical but I wasn't able to find anything else about it, so Kirwan was kind enough to fill us in with all of the details. This comes directly from the show's press release. " Teddyboy is a musical writt

Buried Treasure: Do You Remember Cashman & West?

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Tommy West, one half of the early 70s soft-rock duo, Cashman and West, passed away on May 2, 2021. In tribute, below is a very slightly edited reposting of an article that was first published on Bloggerhythms on September 30, 2010.  My lifelong passion for the Philadelphia Phillies is second only to my passion for music. For those of you not in North or South America,  The Caribbean, Japan, or South Korea, they’re a professional baseball team from The United States and in 2008 they were the champions of the whole sport. On Monday night The Phillies won their division title for the fourth straight year and earned a chance to play in their second straight World Series. If they do indeed make it to the final round I'm hoping they get to play Joe Girardi's New York Yankees this fall so they can show The Bronx Bombers that they are the new sheriff in town. The impending post-season got me thinking about baseball songs and Terry Cashman's "Talkin' Baseball (Willie,

Larry Kirwan - Rockaway Blue (2021)

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When I first listened to Black 47 I was astonished by their unique sound. I loved everything about them even before I discovered they were considered one of the elite Celtic-rock bands in America. Unfortunately, mainstream success always eluded the New York outfit despite working with highly regarded rockers such as The Cars' Ric Ocasek who produced their major label debut CD and live appearances on many of the biggest late night talk shows. They were guests of David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon. After listening to Black 47's fourth major label studio release, Trouble In the Land -   the CD that was on record shelves when I first discovered the sextet in 2000 - I wrote these words to describe their music: "The band played a loud mixture of Celtic folk music, punk rock, and reggae punctuated by Irish revolutionary politics. If you can visualize Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Chieftains, and The Clash all playing on stage together in the same band

Almost Hits & Buried Treasure: The Yellow Balloon - Yellow Balloon (1967)

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I don't know whether to file "Yellow Balloon," released by the band of the same name, under  Buried Treasure or under  Almost Hits   because both labels easily fit this little ditty by a forgotten "one-hit wonder" quintet.  This slice of Southern California sunshine reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was from the only LP The Yellow Balloon ever made - and believe it or not - it's still available for purchase on iTunes. The most interesting piece of trivia about the short-lived outfit was that the late Don Grady (1944 - 2012) was the group's drummer. He was better known for playing Robbie Douglas on  My Three Sons  and for being a Mouseketeer from 1957 to 1958. For reasons unknown the band sometimes billed him as Luke R. Yoo instead of using his real name. For a brief time the band's lineup also included Daryl Dragon (1942 - 2019) who later became the captain in The Captain & Tennille. "Yellow Balloon" is quite typical of the Laur

Rusty Young (1946 - 2021)

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Very early Poco. L to R: Jim Messina, George Grantham, Richie Furay, & Rusty Young I'm not sure I've ever posted anything on this blog two days in a row before today, but some unfortunate news broke yesterday that is forcing my hand. Even though it's another sad day for earthbound, classic rock fans Rock 'n Roll Heaven just added another member to its all-star band. Poco's Rusty Young passed away on April 14, 2021 at age 75. Young was one of the founding members of Poco, along with Richie Furay and Jim Messina. The latter two asked him to join their new band following the demise of Buffalo Springfield after the steel guitar virtuoso assisted them on the last Springfield album.   Young was the only member of the country-rock pioneers who played on every single Poco record. He was best known for composing two of the group's best known songs, "Rose of Cimarron" (#94 on the Billboard Hot 100) and "Crazy Love" (#17). Almost all of Young's

Mark Knopfler - Local Hero (1983)

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I was a Dire Straits fan from the very beginning. Their first single "Sultans of Swing," from their debut album released in 1978, knocked me off of my feet. The band's third and fourth albums, Making Movies (1980) and Love Over Gold (1982), were among the best rock records I heard in the 80s. Both were big hits in the U. K. and America. I have to admit I was a little smug when the rest of the world suddenly discovered the band a few years later with "Money for Nothing" from their 1985 album Brothers In Arms . I said to myself, "This album is good but you haven't any idea what you missed." The band's leader, Mark Knopfler, consistently mixed classy guitar playing and singer-songwriter intelligence within the framework of a rock 'n roll band. The combination placed Dire Straits way above many long forgotten 80s synth rock bands, hair bands, and punk rockers. To this day Knopfler remains my favorite guitarist. As much as I liked Dire Str

The Rise Of FM Alternative Rock Radio

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Among my oldest memories are listening to my mother's kitchen radio tuned to the music popular with adults of the early 60s. True, those artists included some giants such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, and Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, but unfortunately I also had to listen to The Ray Coniff Singers and The Singing Nun . Then, in February 1964 The Beatles arrived in New York to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show . It wasn't love at first sight but my conversion came about swiftly and completely. From then on music superseded baseball as a childhood obsession. The Beatles led me to listen to Philadelphia's only radio station that played rock & roll, top 40 WIBG, 99 on the AM dial. Later I moved on to the more modern, faster-paced WFIL, Famous 56 , who usurped WIBG's throne. For those of us living in the northern Philadelphia suburbs we could also listen to the king of all the top 40 stations, New York City's WABC, Musicradio 77 , whose sig

Desert Hollow - Thirsty (2021)

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Xander Hitzig and Nicole Olney are Desert Hollow , a young California duo who have been compared to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Musical comparisons to those two 70s legends have become almost too commonplace with any new male/female couple working in country or folk music today. That early praise is often unfair because if the recipients of it do not live up to the positive advance notices they're often looked upon as disappointments. I don't want that to happen to Desert Hollow, but, after you listen to Thirsty -  the couple's five song, debut, EP - you'll know why those analogies are being made.  Olney sounds like Harris when she is front and center and Hitzig harmonizes perfectly with her when he's not singing lead. Hitzig is from rural West Virginia and Olney, his partner in more than just music, is from the California desert. Their rural upbringings heavily influence the pair's sound. Their songs are full of banjos, guitars, fiddles, and tin whistles.