Record Reviews

Walk, Don’t Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures

At the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, Ca.  December 7, 2019-August 3, 2020

  By Harvey Kubernik © 2019 

Sixty years after the release of their first hit, “Walk, Don’t Run,” the Ventures are considered the most influential, best-selling instrumental

Courtesy of Fiona Taylor

 

band in rock and roll history. To showcase the group’s impact on pop culture, guitar players, and their worldwide fan base, the Grammy Museum® in Los Angeles, California has just announced Walk, Don’t Run: 60 Years Of The Ventures, a new exhibit showcasing original items from the group’s six-decade career including instruments, tour programs, never-before-seen photos, vinyl, and more. 

The exhibit will open on Dec. 7, and will run until Aug. 3, 2020.

On Jan. 9, musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (who has been associated with the Ventures since the 1980’s and has done recordings with them over the years), Fiona Taylor (Mel Taylor’s widow and band manager), and other special guests to be announced soon will be at the museum to discuss stories behind the exhibit with Scott Goldman in the Clive Davis Theater.

“It’s such an honor to have an exhibit dedicated to the Ventures at the Grammy Museum and be recognized for our impact on music history,” said Don Wilson, founding member of the band. “I like to think that, because we ‘Venturized’ the music we recorded and played, we made it instantly recognizable as being the Ventures.  We continue to do that, even today.” Continue reading

The Kinks Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire

50th Anniversary Edition Now Out on BMG & ABKCO Formats: Deluxe Box Set, 2LP, 2CD & Digital

By HARVEY KUBERNIK © 2019 

To mark its 50th anniversary, The Kinks today announce a special release of Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire released

Album Cover Courtesy of BMG

last October 25th on BMG & ABKCO, the Kinks 7th studio album is one of the greatest rock albums ever made, a near perfect example of Ray Davies’ incredible storytelling ability in what was an innovation in 1969: a concept album. It’s also poignant that a record based on the story of emigrating from the UK around its potential to enter the Common Market should hit its 50th anniversary right now. With Brexit on the horizon, the themes of Arthur ring alarmingly familiar.

Arthur received unanimous acclaim on its release. Each of its 12 original album tracks is an absolute gem and all perfect examples of Ray Davies’ intrinsic ability to weave a story around a song. In what was a golden period for the Kinks, Arthur followed another classic, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society when it was released on October 10th 1969.

In the midst of the Arthur sessions, studio time was devoted to completing tracks for Dave Davies’ proposed solo album. The idea had progressed in staggered intervals since the initial success of Dave’s 1967 single, “Death Of a Clown” but, ultimately, never reached completion. Continue reading

James Taylor: The Warner Bros. Albums 1970-1976

Linda Ronsdadt 1969-1974  

Chris Darrow The Real-To-Reel

By Harvey Kubernik © 2019 

On July 19th, music journalists, record reviewers, writers, online bloggers, influencers, radio programmers and deejays started touting and

Photo Courtesy of Rhino/WMG

praising the 50th anniversary of James Taylor’s landmark Sweet Baby James album that is housed with five other Taylor titles as both 6-CD and 180-gram, 6-LP sets, as well as digitally. The Warner Bros. Albums: 1970-1976.   

Potential chroniclers and targeted consumers for this Taylor package that implements Sweet Baby James, nominated for two Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, should know additional information and regional facts pertaining to this landmark SBJ disc, the nascent Southern California folk and country-rock genre, and Linda Ronstadt’s 1969-1974 touring and album repertoire multi-instrumentalist Chris Darrow unselfishly helped establish and develop.  

I recently glanced at James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away, the first definitive biography of the singer-songwriter by Timothy White published in 2001. A writer and critically acclaimed author, White was editor-in-chief of Billboard magazine from 1991 until 2002. 

I was miffed that noted songwriter Chris Darrow, a co-founder in 1966 of the influential eclectic psychedelic world beat band Kaleidoscope and a contributing force in creating the 1968-1972 SoCal folk and country rock/soft rock sound in Sweet Baby James mentioned only as “a nifty fiddle player.”   Continue reading

THE BEATLES REVISIT ABBEY ROAD WITH SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY RELEASES SEPTEMBER 27th

Abbey Road Presented with New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings and Demos 

By Harvey Kubernik © 2019 

It was 50 years ago today, on August 8, 1969, that the world’s most famous band stepped out from London’s EMI Recording Studios to

Courtesy Universal Music Enterprises/ Apple Corp. LTD

stride, single-file, across the black and white stripes of Abbey Road’s nearby zebra crossing. With photographer Iain Macmillan balanced on a stepladder and one policeman stopping the street’s light traffic, The Beatles crossed back and forth three times, led by John Lennon, followed by Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Just six photos were taken, with the fifth selected as the cover shot for The Beatles’ penultimate studio album, Abbey Road, named after the tree-lined street in which the studios are located. 

Released September 26, 1969, Abbey Road was not The Beatles’ final album, as Let It Be followed in 1970, but it was the last one John, Paul, George, and Ringo recorded together as a band. The Beatles will celebrate Abbey Road’s anniversary with a suite of beautifully presented packages to be released worldwide on September 27 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. the album’s 17 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high res stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of which are previously unreleased.

This is the first time Abbey Road has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings and demos. The album’s sweeping new edition follows the universally acclaimed remixed and expanded anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The BEATLES (‘White Album’) released in 2017 and 2018, respectively. To create Abbey Road’s new stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos mixes, Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios. All the new Abbey Road releases feature the new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original eight-track session tapes. To produce the mix, Giles was guided by the album’s original stereo mix supervised by his father, George Martin. Continue reading

The Ramones: New Deluxe It’s Alive Out In September

End of the Century 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition Scheduled  

BY HARVEY KUBERNIK © 2019 

With the new September 2019 deluxe edition of the 1979 Ramones’ tour album, It’s Alive, and the planned last quarter 2019/early 2020 40th

Courtesy Rhino/WMG

anniversary of the original Phil Spector-produced End of the Century, with producer Rick Rubin now involved for an expanded reissue of the initial pressing, multi-instrumentalist David Kessel and his cavehollywood.com website asked me to re-visit End of the Century, cut at the landmark Gold Star Recording Studios in Hollywood. 

I was in attendance at just about all End of the Century sessions, as a food runner, and on occasion, supplied hand claps and percussion, and was credited on a few tracks.  

 I eventually penned the liner notes for a 2002 Rhino Records repackage of the album.  It was an assignment that came just after ownership changes at the label. The late great Gary Stewart graciously insisted that I do them knowing I covered the Ramones/Spector relationship for the London-based Melody Maker.   

So, before we hear the upcoming “revised” Rhino/WMG label End of the Century in a handful of months, cavehollywood.com is displaying portions from my 2002 product text with additional and un-published 2002 interviews with Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky Ramone.     Continue reading