Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1-Stop-Experience - Peeping Tom

1-Stop-Experience is a group that combines the styles of Ska and reggae with Latin and jazz elements to create a spicy musical mix.

The band is made up of performers from a variety of former groups.

On tha album Jennie Matthias of the 80’s all-girl group the Belle Stars is on lead vocals. Skip McDonald plays lead guitar. Chico Chagas is on keyboards and synthesizer. Paget King is on keyboards and programming. Jim Dobson plays rhythm guitar. Martin Sawtell is on the bass. Damon Brown plays trumpet with additional horns provided by Crispy Horns. Winston Marche lays out the drumbeats. The production mix is by Adrian Sherwood.

On the road, Martin Stuart (of Bad Manners) plays keyboards. Lenny Bignell and Dredy Madoo (of Pama International) are on lead guitar and drums respectively. Ruby Fortune is on backing vocals. And Jim Dobson, Martin Sawtell, Damon Brown and Jennie Matthias all reprise their recording roles.

Monday, January 30, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 11)

This week's episode of Once Upon A Time was entitled "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".

Emma finds herself a very unexpected ally in Sidney, the editor of Storybrooke's Daily Mirror newspaper. It seems he wants to expose Mayor Regina.

In the land of Fairytales, we get the story of King Leopold who messes with a Genie and three wishes. As this show has been telling us since the start, magic always comes with a price.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Phil Collins - Face Value

Happy sixty-first birthday today (January 30th) to English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist, actor Phil Collins.

After over a decade as the drummer for the rock band Genesis, Collins decided to do his first solo album. The result, 1981's Face Value, was very well-received worldwide. The record went to number 1 in the UK, Canada and Sweden, number 2 in Australia and Germany and number 5 in Norway. In the US it peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Album chart. Since its release it has gone Platinum in sales multiple times over.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Huey Lewis and the News - Picture This (30th anniversary)

Today, January 29th, marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Huey Lewis and the News' second studio album Picture This.

For my review of this album, please click here.

To celebrate, I'm going to cue this one up on my iPod and enjoy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Shalamar - Friends

The next few days bring a number of celebrations for American singer, songwriter, and producer Jody Watley. Watley was part of the trio that made up the classic line-up of Shalamar (along with Jeffrey Daniel and Howard Hewett). On Monday January 30th she celebrates her fifty-third birthday.

And Sunday January 29th is the 30th anniversary of Shalamar's release of their sixth studio album Friends. This certified Platinum album went to number 6 in the UK charts, number 35 on the US Billboard Album chart, and number 1 on the US R&B charts. The album featured the musical talents of a number of family members of the R&B group the Sylvers (Leon, Foster, Ricky and Patricia) as well as James Ingram.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The B-52's - Mesopotamia

Today (January 27th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the B-52's EP Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia was produced by David Byrne of the Talking Heads and was intended to be the B-52’s third studio album. However, things did not work out so only the six songs were produced. Released as an extended play instead, it served as a bridge between the groups first two full length albums The B-52's and Wild Planet (click here and here respectively for my reviews of each of those records) and their 1983 release Whammy!. The EP went to number 35 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 18 in the UK and number 21 in Sweden. All six songs could be found across three single releases as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Van Halen - Van Halen II

Happy fifty-seventh birthday today (January 26th) to guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer Eddie Van Halen.

Following up their hit debut album the year before (click here for my review of that one), Van Halen released Van Halen II on March 23rd of 1979. The record charted even better than their first, reaching number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 15 in Canada and number 23 in the UK. Since then, it has gone multi-Platinum in sales and become a main-staple of album-oriented rock stations everywhere.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fine Young Cannibals - Fine Young Cannibals

Happy fifty-sixth birthday today (January 25th) to Andy Cox, guitarist and one of the founding members of the Beat.

In 1985, Cox joined fellow Beat member David Steele (bassist and keyboardist) and singer Roland Gift to form Fine Young Cannibals. On December 10th of that year, they released their first studio album, the self-titled Fine Young Cannibals. The record reached number 11 in the UK and number 49 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Neil Diamond - On The Way To The Sky

Happy seventy-first birthday today (January 24th) to American singer-songwriter and 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Neil Diamond (a long deserved honor, in my opinion).

Continuing off the successful momentum of 1980’s The Jazz Singer soundtrack (click here for my review of that album), Neil Diamond followed it with his fourteenth album On The Way To The Sky in November of 1981. The album reached number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 39 on the UK album charts, number 12 on the Australian charts, and number 11 on the New Zealand charts.

TV: Pan Am (episode 12)

This week was the airing of the twelth episode of ABC's Pan Am. As regular readers recall, I had high hopes for this show at the start but it seemed to be spiraling into a cliched soap opera as week's progressed. Would this week be any different?

This week's episode is entitled "New Frontiers". Some of the crew is slated for a flight to Rome while Ted and Laura are still in New York dealing with some personal issues.

Let's take a look at the details...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jimmy Buffett - Somewhere Over China

In January of 1982, American singer-songwriter and entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett released his eleventh studio album. Somewhere Over China, the last album Buffett did with producer Norbert Putnam, went to number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart and number 43 on the Canadian album charts. This month it celebrates its 30th anniversary.

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 10)

This week's episode of Once Upon A Time was entitled "7:15 A.M." and picks up where last week's episode left off. Both Emma and Regina are a little suspicious of the stranger that showed up on his motorcycle. Meanwhile, David and Mary Margaret try to figure out where their forbidden love is leading them. In the land of Fairytales, Prince Charming is facing his upcoming wedding to King Midas' daughter while Snow White tries to ease her brokenheart.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Journey - Departure

Happy sixty-third birthday today (January 22nd) to Steve Perry.

On March 23rd of 1980, the American rock band Journey released their sixth studio album, the final full studio album for the band to include founding member and keyboardist Gregg Rolie. Departure has gone multi-Platinum in sales and ranked number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 48 on the Canadian charts, and number 61 on the Japanese charts.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Billy Ocean - Billy Ocean

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

Happy sixty-second birthday today (January 21st) to the Trinidad-born English singer Billy Ocean. In 1976, he released his self-titled debut album Billy Ocean. This now hard-to-find record, whose songs are a mix of R&B/soul and disco, generated a trio of Top 20 hit singles in the UK.

Friday, January 20, 2012

KISS - Dynasty

Happy sixtieth birthday today (January 20th) to Paul Stanley.

Since they recorded on Casablanca Records, a label known in the late 1970’s as one of the homes of many disco acts, it is no surprising that the hard-rocking band KISS would end up putting out a record with dance overtures. Of course, this being KISS the result was going to be big, loud and theatric. The end result was 1979’s Dynasty, the seventh studio album for the group, released on May 23rd.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dolly Parton - 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs

Happy sixty-sixth birthday today (January 19th) to American country singer-songwriter and actress Dolly Parton.

In late December of 1980, Dolly starred along side Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dabney Coleman in the office-comedy film 9 To 5. The film had a big opening weekend at the time and has since gone on to make the list of the 20 Highest Grossing Comedy Films.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Tom Bailey

Happy fifty-eighth birthday today (January 18) to British musician and composer Tom Bailey.

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, started out as a music teacher. In 1977, he formed the Thompson Twins which eventually settled in as a trio with Bailey (on vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards), his then girlfriend Alannah Currie (on percussion, saxophone and vocals) and Joe Leeway (percussion and vocals). Bailey and Currie eventually married.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Bangles - Different Light

Happy fifty-third birthday today (January 17th) to Susanna Hoffs.

After their 1984 debut album All Over the Place (click here for my review of that one), the Bangles followed it up in January of 1986 with their second album Different Light. The record was the group’s best selling to date, having gone multi-Platinum a number of times over. It reached the number 2 spot on the US Billboard Album chart, number 2 in Australia, number 3 in the UK, number 5 in Norway and number 19 in Canada.

TV: Pan Am (episode 11)

This week was the airing of the eleventh episode of ABC's Pan Am. Last week I was bemoaning about all the soap opera elements and wanted to see more of some of the earlier elements (the plane, travel, foreign countries).

This week's episode is entitled "Diplomatic Relations". The crew is chosen for a trip to Moscow, to help with diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union. Ah, can't have the 60's without those Cold War elements. Needless to say, it got a little unbelievable.

Let's take a look at the details...

Happy Birthday, Andy Rourke

Happy forty-eighth birthday today (January 17) to bass guitarist Andy Rourke.

Born in Manchester, England, Rourke received his first guitar at age 7. At age 11, he made friends with a young John Maher (who would later use the studio name Johnny Marr). At age 15, Rourke dropped out of school to work and play in music; one of the first bands he belonged to was a funk group called Freak Party.

Monday, January 16, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 9)

Taking a look at the show's ratings, last week's episode "Desperate Souls" saw a jump of the ratings (10.35 million viewers). This is more in line with the first month of the show as opposed to the sligh slide it had taken in December.

This week's episode was entitled "True North" and features the guest star Emma Caufield (known as Anya on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). In this episode, the new sheriff tries to aid runaway children Nicholas and Ava in locating their birth father before they are torn apart in foster care. On the Fairytale side, we learn the tale of Hansel and Gretel and the Blind Witch (Caufield).

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Romeo Void - Never Say Never

Hailing from San Francisco, California, the American rock band Romeo Void combined post-punk and new wave styles to create their sound. Following their debut album It’s a Condition in 1981, the group (consisting of Peter Woods, Benjamin Bossi, Frank Zincavage, Larry Carter and Debora Iyall) followed it up in January of 1982 with a four song EP entitled Never Say Never. Ric Ocasek of the Cars was one of the producers on the record.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - Spanish Fly

Happy forty-sixth birthday today (January 15th) to Lisa Lisa (born Lisa Velez).

Following their platinum selling debut album Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force (click here for my review of that album) in 1985, the freestyle R&B group from New York City went to work on their second album. Once again, the R&B group Full Force stepped into the role as producers on this album (why mess with a formula that worked the first time?). 1987‘s Spanish Fly was the group’s best charting album to date, reaching number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 7 on the US R&B charts. It also generated a number of hit singles including two number 1 records.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Three Dog Night - It Ain't Easy

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

As the new decade was starting, Three Dog Night was finishing up their third studio album. The original working title was The Wizards of Orange and had planned to have a cover with the band wearing orange make-up and body stockings to appear as if they were posing nude. The record label rejected the title and cover art.

On March 31, 1970, they released It Ain’t Easy on vinyl and 8-track tape. The album did quite well, reaching number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 5 on the Canadian album charts.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Limahl - 1983 (EP)

This week saw the single and EP release of 1983 by Kajagoogoo lead singer Limahl. Working with Tommy Olsen and writer/producer team Rune Maurtvedt and Stig Erik Antonsen, he has crafted a highly danceable track that has both a modern sound and a touch of nostalgia too. It can easily appeal to a new audience of youth today and those forty-something folks like myself who are parents of said teens and young adults. It is a song that can bring generations together.

Gang of Four - Another Day, Another Dollar

The Gang of Four consists of four musicians from England: Dave Allen on bass guitar, Hugo Burnham on drums, Andy Gill on guitar, and Jon King on vocals. The group was known for their raw mix of punk rock, funk and reggae styles with lyrics focused on problems in society and politics.

In January of 1982, Gang of Four released a five song EP in between their second and third full length studio albums. Another Day, Another Dollar went to number 192 on the US Billboard Hot 200 charts.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Village People - Village People

Happy fifty-eighth birthday today (January 12th) to Felipe Rose, a founding member of the disco group Village People. While part Puerto Rican on his mother’s side, the Indian attire he wears while performing is in honor of his Native American heritage on his father‘s side.

Village People was the creation of Jacques Morali, a French composer. Having penned a few dance tunes in the late 1970’s, he approached singer/actor Victor Willis to record them. The songs did very well, particularly in the gay disco scene.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Waitresses - Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?

Hailing from Akron, Ohio, the Waitresses was a new-wave rock band that performed from 1978 to 1984. Initially the group was Patty Donahue on lead vocals, Tracy Wormworth on bass and Ariel Warner on backing vocals. Chris Butler on guitar, Billy Ficca (formerly of Television) on drums, Dan Klayman on keyboards, and Mars Williams on saxophone and reed instruments rounded out the group.

The band put out their first single “Slide” in 1978 and then “I Know What Boys Like” in 1980. In 1981, their song “Christmas Wrapping” appeared on the album A Christmas Record, a compilation of seasonal songs by various artists on the ZE Records label.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TV: Pan Am (episode 10)

After a month long hiatus, this week was the airing of the tenth episode of ABC's Pan Am. If you recall, episode nine ended with a cliffhanger: Kate had shot and killed Bolger in order to save Anderson, her FBI ally. Dean and Colette slept together, Maggie had gotten involved with Congressman Chris Rawlings, and Laura was starting to realize she has feelings for Ted.

This week's episode is entitled "Secrets and Lies". Conflict arises between Maggie and Rawlings while fate intervenes between Colette and Dean. And just who has Ted believe is the love of his life? Oh, how the soap opera elements are swirling now.

Let's take a look at the details...

Happy Birthday, Pat Benatar

Happy fifty-ninth birthday today (January 10) to Pat Benatar.

Patricia Mae Andrzejewski was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY, and later moved to Lindenhurst, NY. She had plans to train in classical opera at Juilliard School of Music but then ended up at SUNY at Stony Brook. After one year, she left school and married her high school boyfriend Dennis Benatar.

Monday, January 9, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 8)

It is week eight for ABC's Once Upon a Time. A month ago we were left with a heart-wrenching (quite literally) final minutes of episode seven. I don't know about you but this one definitely had me amped up to see where the show would go in 2012.

This week's episode was entitled "Desperate Souls", an episode written by Jane Espenson. With the void left by last episode's shocking death, Emma finds herself at odds against Regina to fill that position, with Mr. Gold acting as a wild card in the whole thing. Also, one of the most anticipated tales from Fairytale land is revealed.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Shy Blakeman - Long Distance Man

One of the things I enjoy about doing a blog and being on Twitter is having the chance to interact with musicians whose creative output might be something I would enjoy. I tend to not listen to a lot of current radio, so this is the perfect way for me to be exposed to new music that might not otherwise hit my radar.

This past weekend, one such opportunity came my way. I was pleased to be followed by a Texas artist by the name of Shy Blakeman (he can found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/ShyBlakeman and his website http://www.shyblakeman.com). He describes himself as “an old soul” who “melds together all the rural sounds from below the Mason-Dixon Line in order to create unique music that is hard to define by one genre”.

Crystal Gayle - Miss the Mississippi

Happy sixty-first birthday today (January 9th) to country singer Crystal Gayle, younger sister to Loretta Lynn and known for her famous nearly floor-length hair.

In the fall of 1979, Crystal Gayle released her seventh studio album. Miss the Mississippi reached number 3 on the US Country charts and number 6 on the Canadian country charts; it also crossed over and made it to number 36 on the US Billboard Album chart.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Last month, the latest installment in director Guy Ritchie's franchise based upon the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character made its debut.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows once again stars Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, Jude Law (as Dr. John Watson), Rachel McAdams (as Irene Adler), and Kelly Reilly (as Mary, fiancee to Watson). Added to the cast this time are Jared Harris (as Professor Moriarty), Noomi Rapace (as the gypsy Simza) and Stephen Fry (as Mycroft Holmes).

David Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

Happy sixty-fifth birthday today (January 8th) to English musician, actor and producer David Bowie.

On September 12th of 1980, David Bowie released his fourteenth studio album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), his final album on the RCA label which he had been with since 1971. After trio of artistic releases, this album was developed with a more commercial approach which paid off quite well. The album went to number 1 in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, number 3 in Sweden, and number 4 in Switzerland. In the US, it reached number 12 on the Billboard Album chart.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Grass Roots - More Golden Grass

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

The Grass Roots were an American rock band from Los Angeles, California, that started out in 1966 and charted songs for about a decade. P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri of Dunhill Records wrote their hit songs; the duo initially used studio musicians to record the songs but later filled a line-up for touring, promotion and additional recording.

Happy Birthday, Kathy Valentine

Today, January 7th, is the fifty-third birthday of rock guitarist Kathy Valentine.

Valentine first began playing the guitar at age sixteen in Austin, Texas, where she grew up. In her teens, she played with bands like Girlschool (a British heavy metal band) and the Textones. She helped out the Go-Go's for a New Year's Eve show in 1980 and decided to stay with the band as their bassist on a more permanent basis. She has also played guitar in the World's Cutest Killers, the BlueBonnets, and the Delphines.

In 2005, Valentine released a solo album Light Years that she wrote, arranged, co-produced, as well as providing guitar and vocal tracks. She is married with one daughter and resides in her hometown of Austin. You can find her regular on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Kathy_Valentine.

Here are a few of the albums I have reviewed previously that feature Valentine and the Go-Go's:

- for the band's 1981 debut album Beauty and the Beat, click here

- the band also appeared on the 1981 soundtrack for the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High which I reviewed here

- for the band's 1982 second album Vacation, click here

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sister Sledge - The Sisters

Happy fifty-third birthday today (January 6th) to Kathy Sledge, the youngest and lead singer of the R&B group.

In January of 1982, the quartet of female siblings from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, released their sixth studio album The Sisters. The record reached number 69 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart and number 17 on the US Billboard R&B chart. It also generated a pair of singles.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Blondie - Plastic Letters

Happy sixty-second birthday today (January 5th) to American guitarist Chris Stein.

Between Blondie’s self-titled debut album in 1977 and their third album Parallel Lines in the fall of 1978 (click here and here for each of those two reviews respectively) came their February 1978 sophomore release Plastic Letters. This album went to number 72 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 9 in Germany and number 10 in the UK (the later country it had reached Platinum status).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

R.E.M. - Reckoning

Happy fifty-second birthday today (January 4th) to Michael Stipe.

One year after the release of their debut album Murmur (click here for that review), the Georgia-based rock band R.E.M. was back in the studios in Charlotte, NC, to record their sophomore release. On April 9th of 1984, Reckoning hit the airwaves and record stores. The album reached number 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 23 in New Zealand and number 91 in the UK.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kimberley Locke - One Love

In 2003, American Idol was starting its second season, which happened to be the first full season of the show I actually watched. There was a lot of talent in that years top 12 including a singer from Hartsville, Tennessee, by the name of Kimberley Locke (who just happens to be celebrating her thirty-fourth birthday today - January 3rd).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Irene Cara - Anyone Can See

Irene Cara began her career at a very young age. During the 1970’s she was a regular on the PBS education series The Electric Company. She also appeared in a number of on-and-off Broadway shows and musicals. In 1980, she hit the big screen in the movie Fame for which she performed a number of songs including two that were nominated for Academy Awards (click here for my review of that motion picture‘s soundtrack).

In January of 1982, Cara released her first full length album entitled Anyone Can See. The record had a strong showing on the R&B charts and a number of singles.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hanoi Rocks - Oriental Beat

In late 1979, the Finnish rock band Hanoi Rocks was formed by Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy. They did some early recordings at the end of 1980 with their first album released in 1981.

In January of 1982, Hanoi Rocks released their second studio album Oriental Beat which they recorded in London. The album helped to expand their audience in markets like the UK and Japan. Early music videos on MTV also helped expose them to a new audience in the United States.

Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year and welcome to 2012.

2011 was an amazing year for my blog and I owe a lot of that you all, my readers. I went from having barely a couple hundred hits of month at the end of 2010 to over a hundred hits a day (leading to thousands of hits a month). The final three months of the year have been record breakers with each month greatly exceeding the previous one. The fact that December's number of hits nearly reached 5,600 is more than I ever could have imagined! I would love to see the traffic levels to sustain and/or continue to grow as word of mouth spreads. If you like what you are reading, please share the links with others (repost, retweet, etc.).

So, you're probably wondering what to expect here at Martin's View for the new year. I actually did a little bit of thinking about that as December 2011 was coming to a close.