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Boston Phoenix

Joe Tex: The Soul Of An Underdog

Profile and Interview by Joe McEwen, Boston Phoenix, May 1977

THE SHOW was held at South Philadelphia's Spectrum, still a brand-new facility in 1969, but it could well have been the fare at North Philly's ...

The Band: The Weight: The Band's Anthology

Review by Dave Marsh, Boston Phoenix, 1978

IT'S NOT HARD to understand the release of Anthology, the second repackaging of Band material in two years. The group made only eight albums (one ...

David Bowie: Boston Garden, Boston

Live Review by Deborah Frost, Boston Phoenix, May 1978

DAVID BOWIE borrows identities and musical ideas the way teenage girls borrow their best friends' clothes. But no matter whose duds Bowie puts on, with ...

Television: Knock, Knock, Knocking: Television's Adventure

Review by Deborah Frost, Boston Phoenix, June 1978

HE'S THE KID in the back of every high school classroom - the one you never thought could talk. The one you try to remember ...

Sniff 'n' the Tears: Fickle Heart

Review by Deborah Frost, Boston Phoenix, September 1979

BACK BRISTLING, fangs bared, the black cat on the cover of Fickle Heart stares into the cold blue of the gun that's just wasted its ...

Bob Seger: Against The Wind

Review by Deborah Frost, Boston Phoenix, April 1980

DEAR BOB: It's about your album. A funny thing happened to you on the way to the pantheon. You forgot you wrote most of the ...

Split Enz: True Colours

Review by Deborah Frost, Boston Phoenix, October 1980

ALL A friend remembers about the Split Enz gig at Paul's Mall a couple of years back was the sign announcing the coming attraction: Tom ...

The Special AKA: Special Aka: In The Studio (original version)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, August 1984

THE 2-TONE ska era was never more than another passing Anglo hip trip in America, but the Specials represented the pinnacle of the idealistic phase ...

Captain Beefheart: The Legendary A&M Sessions

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, October 1984

SINCE HIS ear-bending 1969 breakthrough, Trout Mask Replica, Captain Beefheart's reputation as rock's most unvarnishedly unconventional artiste has overshadowed the earthy R&B roots of his ...

Mutabaruka: Outcry

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, October 1984

SINCE THE DEATH of Bob Marley, the union of message music and popular appeal that he forged for reggae has undergone a widespread breakdown. ...

Chaka Khan: I Feel For You (Warner Bros.)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, November 1984

CHAKA KHAN'S quest to distance her solo work from Rufus' sly, slinky funk led her into an electronic embrace with producer Arif Mardin Two albums ...

Jeffrey Osborne: Don't Stop (A&M)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, December 1984

MAINSTREAM BLACK pop embodies the 'It ain't what you say, it's the way that you say it' principle; and so success is measured by a ...

Motorhead: No Remorse (Bronze/Island)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, January 1985

IF THE HEAVY-METAL aesthetic boils down to regular Joes recasting themselves in larger-than-life molds, ring up a sterling success for Motorhead, who play the nightriding ...

Fela Kuti's Last Stand?

Review and Interview by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, February 1985

"THE GOVERNMENT is trying to lure me into participation in the politics of Nigeria now but that doesn't really mean my situation is very cool ...

The Skatalites: Scattered Lights (Alligator)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, February 1985

FOUR YEARS AGO, the Two-Tone ska revival raced through America as another Anglo hip trip, a six-month passing fancy that disappeared in a swirl of ...

Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield Blues Band: Can Blue Boys Play The Whites Revisited?

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, March 1985

ANYONE WHO TAKES the crapped-out lethargy of his recent output as proof positive that Eric Clapton never played a worth while lick in his life ...

Ry Cooder's Mood Indigo Meditations: Paris, Texas

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, April 1985

SOUNDTRACK ALBUMS – the genuine article, not song collections assembled in executive suites with an eye for tapping the teen demographic – are inherently strange ...

Burning Spear: Resistance (Heartbeat)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, June 1985

A FULL DECADE after the landmark Marcus Garvey (Island) album, the voice and vision of Burning Spear (the nom de stage of Jamaican singer/songwriter Winston ...

Danny and Dusty, The Knitters: Old Punks At Home: The Knitters and Danny & Dusty

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, July 1985

THE MOST VIGOROUS Los Angeles rock in the past five years has been staunchly traditionalist, the work of true believers rallying around and expanding upon ...

Lee Dorsey: Holy Cow!

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, August 1985

SOME PEOPLE MAY cherish Holy Cow! (Arista) for making readily available a single-volume collection of Lee Dorsey's irresistible, sublimely lazy '60s hits like ‘Ya Ya’ ...

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Untouchables: When You’re Hot: Red Hot Chili Peppers. When You’re Not: The Untouchables

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, November 1985

ROCKABILLY AND COUNTRY have fit in right nicely with the white-boys-(and-girls)-making-white-noise ethos that underlies the return-to-sources rampage of recent Los Angeles rock. ...

Clifton Chenier: Live at the San Francisco Blues Festival

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, November 1985

ZYDECO, the musical marriage of Louisiana's indigenous Cajun and Southern R&B traditions, first crawled out from the bayous and oil derricks of southwestern Louisiana 30 ...

Joe Higgs: Triumph (Alligator)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, February 1986

OBSCURITY MAY become some legends most, but reggae singer Joe Higgs has taken that questionable tenet to absurd lengths. ...

Stan Ridgway's Rock Noir: The Big Heat

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, April 1986

IF YOU JUDGED him from his work as the mouthpiece of LA’s Wall of Voodoo, you’d be tempted to dismiss Stan Ridgway as an irredeemably ...

Solomon Burke: Soul Alive! (Rounder)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, May 1986

THE TRUE TRIUMPH of Solomon Burke's Soul Alive! (Rounder) was neither the spirited elan of performances that transcended mere revivalism nor the startling, albeit chart-invisible, ...

Pere Ubu: Beau Pere Ubu: Terminal Tower

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, June 1986

IT’S SHAME THAT Pere Ubu’s debut singles in 1975-’76 consigned the Cleveland band to the remote fringes of that pop reserved for the experimentally minded. ...

Thelonious Monster: Halfway Hilarity

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, August 1986

THELONIOUS MONSTER’S Baby...You’re Bummin’ My Life Out in a Supreme Fashion (Epitaph) is one of the all-time dream titles, right up there with ‘Death May ...

Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair: New Orleans Pianos: Talking Fingers

Film/DVD Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, September 1986

You don't have to be addicted to New Orleans piano style to savor the rich portrait of Stevenson Palfi's Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together ...

Sugar Minott: Inna Reggae Dance Hall (Heartbeat)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, October 1986

BOB MARLEY'S international breakthrough spawned a glut of Jamaican journeyman scrambling for the reggae rainbow's seemingly attainable pot of gold but an inevitable byproduct of ...

Joe Louis Walker: Dark Is The Night (High Tone)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, November 1986

OVER THE YEARS, persistent claims that a blues renaissance is at hand have sunk to the credibility of the little boy who cried howling wolf. ...

Los Lobos: By The Light of the Moon (Slash)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, January 1987

‘ONE TIME One Night’ kicks off Los Lobos's By The Light of the Moon (Slash) with such instantly riveting command and power that it seems ...

Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs: Blues Rooting: Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs

Interview by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, October 1987

THERE WAS A time (1980-81) when Top Jimmy (not just a figment of the Van Halen imagination on 1984) & the Rhythm Pigs (not the ...

Roger Troutman, Zapp: Roger Troutman: Unlimited! (Reprise)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, December 1987

THE DAYTON, Ohio-based Troutman clan that has given us Zapp and now Roger has developed perhaps the most schizoid personality in black music. ...

T-Bone Walker: T-Bone Underdone

Book Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, December 1987

T-BONE WALKER occupies a peculiarly ambiguous place in blues history considering he’s the man credited with inventing the single-string style of electric blues-guitar playing. Virtually ...

Salif Keita: Mandjou/Soro

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, March 1988

THE RECENT GLUT of African pop releases has now revealed a mesmerizing vocalist, one capable of reviving the hoary show-biz adage that he could excel ...

X: Live at the Whisky A Go Go on the Fabulous Sunset Strip

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, May 1988

FOR ALL THE national accolades heaped on X throughout the '80s, the group never stopped viewing itself as an LA band stepped in the nitty-gritty ...

The Fall: The Praxis Of Punk

Essay by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, April 1989

Why The Fall continue to rise ...

The Lemonheads: Getting In Their Lick

Review and Interview by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, May 1989

Who needs coherence? ...

Ringo Starr: Starr Dust

Comment by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, August 1989

Does Ringo have too many friends? ...

David Bowie: Sound + Vision

Review by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, October 1989

Boxing Bowie: Sound + Vision puts it together ...

Prince: Graffiti Bridge

Review by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, 1990

Take it to the bridge — Prince's funky graffiti ...

Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, X: Rock Of Middle Ages

Comment by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, February 1990

The new traditionalism looks for its roots ...

Sonic Youth: Will Sonic Youth Keep Rock Honest?

Comment by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, March 1990

EVER SINCE punk failed to explode rock's dysfunctional excess with red-faced ire, hardcore noisemakers have been wrestling with the problem of how to be outrageous. ...

Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam/Columbia)

Review by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, April 1990

Their Own Worst Enemy? Fear of a Black Planet; seductive music, muddled message ...

Van Morrison: Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles

Live Review by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, April 1990

Soul to burn — the spirit moves Van Morrison ...

Gram Parsons: Gram Cracker

Profile by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, May 1990

Parsons's Grievous Angel returns ...

2 Live Crew: Nasty or Nice?

Comment by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, July 1990

2 Live Crew: Just what they wanna be ...

Yo La Tengo: Fakebook (Bar None)

Review by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, September 1990

Yo La Tengo's pop mother lode ...

The Replacements: All Shook Down (Sire/Warner Bros.)

Review by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, September 1990

Refining the metal – The Replacements shake it down ...

Get Ready... Get Set... Dance

Guide by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, December 1990

The perfect party tape ...

Led Zeppelin: Lead Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin (Atlantic box-set)

Review by Tim Riley, Boston Phoenix, December 1990

Dead Zeppelin: New Led box is full of hot air ...

Sonic Youth: Dirty

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, July 1992

IF THERE'S ANYTHING all great rock-and-roll bands – from Muddy Waters' early-'50s Chicago electric outfits to Chuck Berry's Chess session players to the Rolling Stones ...

Tindersticks

Profile by Barney Hoskyns, Boston Phoenix, July 1997

IT USED to be easy to dismiss Tindersticks - to deride them as boho poseurs, as wannabe Nick Caves, as provincial boys who came to ...

Green Day: Nimrod

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, October 1997

GREEN DAY have dropped another load of Dookie upon us. By which I mean the band have made a big pile of new songs as ...

Lori Carson: Everything I Touch Runs Wild

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, October 1997

IF THERE'S BEAUTY in sadness, it comes from the honest outpouring of emotions that sadness causes. ...

Mike Watt: HMS Watt: Contemplating the Engine Room

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, October 1997

WHAT BECOMES a punk-rock legend most? In the case of Mike Watt, it's love. His new Contemplating the Engine Room (Columbia) brims with the stuff. ...

Ruth Brown Keeps Deep R&B's Fire Blazing

Profile and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, October 1997

MISS RHYTHM is on stage working the blues, and she's got the audience on a string. Sashaying up to the microphone in the ballroom of ...

The Pixies: Death to the Pixies

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, November 1997

THE DOUBLE BILL looked great on paper: the Pixies and Throwing Muses at Avalon. Actually the Lansdowne Street club was called Metro then, back in ...

Metallica: Metal Memories: Ten years of close encounters with Metallica

Retrospective by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, November 1997

THE MONSTERS OF ROCK Tour in '87 was my wake-up call. Even if waking up in Akron is like rising with a hangover. ...

Robert Palmer, 1945-1997

Obituary by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, December 1997

POPULAR MUSIC has never had a better friend than Robert Palmer, the critic and musician who died l POPULAR MUSIC has never had a better friend ...

Jimmy Bowen and Jim Jerome: Rough Mix (Simon & Schuster)

Book Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, January 1998

JIMMY BOWEN is the music-biz sharpie who made Nashville's country industry what it is today -- a multi-billion-dollar-generating machine. For that, he's both loved and ...

John Lee Hooker: The Sound of Teardrops: John Lee Hooker

Profile and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, January 1998

HOW DEEP IS John Lee Hooker's blues? "You can't go no deeper than me and my guitar," he says. "I open my mouth, and it's ...

Robert Wyatt: Deep Shleep: Robert Wyatt Gets Personal

Interview by Mac Randall, Boston Phoenix, January 1998

"THE BIG PROBLEM I have with rock and roll is the rock end of it," says Robert Wyatt. "But I love the rolling. I'm into ...

Carl Perkins, 1932-1998

Obituary by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, February 1998

CATS ARE SUPPOSED to have nine lives. Rockabilly cat Carl Perkins had at least three. The first got spent in '56. As Perkins was driving to ...

Gov't Mule: Psycheblues: Gov't Mule Don't Mess with the Fat

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, March 1998

BIG, BAD-ASS blues rock. Nobody's got the nuts to play it nowadays. Not in a pop world where it's more important to sound alternative or ...

Marilyn Manson with Neil Strauss: The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell

Book Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, March 1998

MARILYN MANSON might be a cultural liberator, but he's certainly a shameless asshole. Well, not utterly shameless. In this autobiography penned with help from Rolling ...

The Beach Boys, The High Llamas: Pet Sounds and High Llamas

Review by Mac Randall, Boston Phoenix, April 1998

THERE CAN'T BE MANY classic rock albums that rock less than the Beach Boys' 1966 opus Pet Sounds. The fruity orchestral arrangements are about as ...

Producer in Paradise: Joel Dorn Revisits a Golden Age of Jazz

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, April 1998

JOEL DORN describes himself as "a stand-up guy. I grew up on the street corners and in the playgrounds, and I was raised to believe ...

Honeyboy Edwards: Delta Delight: Honeyboy Edwards, Country Bluesman

Profile and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, May 1998

THE BLUESMAN Honeyboy Edwards got arrested in Greenwood, Mississippi, in 1936. His crime was being a black man. ...

Down-home delights: The soulful blues of Malaco Records

Report by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, June 1998

THIRTY OR 40 YEARS AGO, the Jackson-based Malaco Records would have been called a "race" label. That was the tag for outfits like Specialty, King, ...

Absolute Kristal: CBGB's new punk rock label

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, July 1998

HILLY KRISTAL'S MAD AS HELL and he's not gonna take it anymore. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. But the 66-year-old hipster who owns the New ...

The Hard Stuff: Almost a Dozen Reasons to Like Metal Again

Review by Chuck Eddy, Boston Phoenix, July 1998

A FEW YEARS AGO, bored by grunge and late speedmetal and still lamenting the loss of pretty glam in prettier haircuts, I thought loud guitar ...

Dale Hawkins: Rockabilly Hipster Dale Hawkins Returns

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, October 1998

DALE HAWKINS'S FIRST HIT launched two of the greatest careers in rootsy American rock. But not without a left-field nudge from famed record producer Jerry ...

Luther Allison: Moonshine Blues: Luther Allison Revisited

Retrospective by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, March 1999

THE GREAT blues guitarist and singer Luther Allison once told me about an incident from his childhood that he carried as close to his heart ...

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Repackaging Stevie Ray Vaughan

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, April 1999

YEAH, HE NEVER played alternative rock, and to him hip-hop was something the Easter bunny did. He also wore his influences like a neon suit. ...

Michael Gira, Swans: Black Saint: Michael Gira Goes Solo

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, May 1999

FIRST IMPRESSIONS do last, so I'll always remember Michael Gira as the "revenant black saint" he goes on to describe himself as in the lyrics ...

Deep River: The Bounty of Alan Lomax

Retrospective by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, June 1999

THE CD STARTS with a banjo picker burning on a hoedown called 'Cripple Creek,' progresses along a chain of mountain songs to 'Arkansas Traveler,' and ...

Kelly Joe Phelps: Zen Guitar: Kelly Joe Phelps Heads East

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, July 1999

KELLY JOE PHELPS is a traveler. With a pair of acoustic guitars in his car's trunk and notepads scattered about its seats, he drives across ...

Newport Notes: How the Jazz and Folk Festivals made history

Retrospective and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, August 1999

"WELL, THIS IS real bullshit!" yelled Eddie Condon.  ...

Kim Richey: Her Country: Kim Richey's Nashville fusion

Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, August 1999

THERE SEEM TO BE four kinds of country music these days. There's the pop stuff, a mix of up-tempo numbers and sugary ballads plied by ...

Kevin Coyne: Sugar Candy Taxi

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, August 1999

BRITISH SINGER-SONGWRITER Kevin Coyne is a strange one. As influenced by the rough-and-tumble sounds of Mississippi blues as by his job as a counselor to ...

Wilson Pickett: Still Wicked: Wilson Pickett's Raw Return

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, October 1999

THE HOWL is unmistakable. Raw as fresh meat, gritty and powerful as sandblasting. That's Wilson Pickett shouting thunder over the fatback grooves of a new ...

Hall-of-Fame Hitter: Drummer Earl Palmer gets his due

Retrospective and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, January 2000

LIKE ANY GOOD GRANDFATHER, Earl Palmer has tried to find interests to share with his grandkids. So far, coin collecting has been a favorite. It's ...

Lou Reed: Ecstasy

Review by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, April 2000

LIKE THE ALEWIFE and the manatee, Lou Reed has enjoyed a sort of protected status in the wake of punk rock. The truth is, he's ...

¡Cubanismo!, Jesús Alemañy: ¡Cubanismo!: Jesús Alemañy goes beyond Buena Vista

Report and Interview by j. poet, Boston Phoenix, April 2000

IT'S BEEN EASY to get the impression over the past couple of years that Cuban music starts and ends with the Buena Vista Social Club. ...

Ali Farka Toure: Connections: Ali Farka Touré's Cross-Cultural Blues

Profile by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, July 2000

THE BLUES CAME to America in chains, contained within the hearts of the enslaved people of Africa. Two hundred odd years later it went back, ...

The Ramones: Joey Ramone's 50th Birthday Bash: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York

Live Review by Michael Azerrad, Boston Phoenix, May 2001

IT'S FUNNY HOW memorials often take on the character of the person they honor. The sold-out "Life's a Gas – Joey Ramone's 50th Birthday Bash" ...

Mission of Burma: Burmese Days

Retrospective and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, January 2002

MEMORIES OF THE MISSION: Roger and Clint back in the days when ‘Academy Fight Song’ and ‘That's When I Reach for My Revolver’ blared out ...

Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand

Review by Wayne Robins, Boston Phoenix, May 2004

I’M THUMBING through the March issue of Uncut, the comprehensive and entertaining British music monthly, when I hit the front of the review section and ...

Merle Haggard: Branded Man: Merle Haggard Brings The Bakersfield Sounds East With Dylan

Report and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, April 2005

WHEN BOB DYLAN CALLS, other musicians listen. Even when they're icons and gifted songwriters in their own right. ...

Diamanda Galás Prepares To Perform A New Defixiones

Profile and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, September 2005

DIAMANDA GALÁS has had a talent for plucking beauty from the maw of horror for more than 20 years – right from her first solo ...

Godsmack: Godsmack IV

Review and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, May 2006

The idea of fall and redemption is thousands of years old, and it’s laced into the new Godsmack album, where singer Sully Erna’s lyrics spin ...

The Cramps, The Gun Club, Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds: Kid Congo Powers

Profile and Interview by Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, September 2006

THE LATE 1970s were a time of ignition. Punk rock set a fuse that burned through every aspect of the arts, and the lives of ...

Bryan Ferry: Tangled Up In Bob

Interview by Jim Sullivan, Boston Phoenix, June 2007

"DYLANESQUE" isn't what comes to mind when you think of the suave, new-romantic, once-and-future frontman of Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry. But time and again throughout ...

Devo: We Are Devo

Interview by Jim Sullivan, Boston Phoenix, June 2008

The return of Akron's finest... ...

Captain Sensible, The Damned: The Damned's Captain Sensible

Interview by Jim Sullivan, Boston Phoenix, March 2009

THE Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Jam — they get punk rock respect more than three decades down the pike, but their contemporaries the Damned ...

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