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Don Snowden

Don Snowden

Past:

20-plus years as regular freelance contributor to the Los Angeles as well as interviews, reviews, and columns for Los Angeles Weekly, Los Angeles Reader, the New York Times Syndicate, Boston Phoenix and many others.

Dozens of liners notes for re-issues, focus on Chicago blues and New Orleans R&B, for Rhino, Chess/MCA, Warner Bros., Capitol, Shanachie and other labels.

Co-author of I Am The Blues: The Willie Dixon Story by Willie Dixon with Don Snowden.

Instigator/editor/collaborator of the book Make The Music Go Bang: The Early Days of L.A. Punk with photographer Gary Leonard.

Present:

Reviews for AllMusic.com

Contributions to Village Voice, Los Angeles Weekly

Occasional travel features for various U.S. newspapers

Research and interviews for three different books on various facets of culture and life in present-day Spain.

Future:

Fiction?

Web site related to modern world Spain culture?

Keep exploring those aspects of pop music and culture that intrigue me.

List of articles in the library by artist

AC/DC Plugs Into Primitivism

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1979

AC/DC: Long Beach Arena ...

Johnny Adams Creeps Up On Some Recognition

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1984

NEW ORLEANS — Sometimes talent alone isn't enough to forge a successful career in pop music. ...

Johnny Adams, Percy Mayfield: Johnny Adams and Percy Mayfield: A Blues Gem From A Surprising Pairing

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1990

Walking on a Tightrope album mixes Johnny Adams' vocals and Percy Mayfield compositions ...

King Sunny Ade and his African Beats: Synchro System (Mango)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1983

APPROACHING SUNNY ADE'S juju music from a Western pop perspective is difficult, because his creative objective is a smooth flow with nothing much happening in ...

The Alley Cats: On The Street With The Alley Cats

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, New York Rocker, Fall 1980

THE ALLEY Cats may play a bad set some night but I'll probably be long dead and gone before it happens. Sure, some sets are ...

Roland Alphonso: Kingston 12, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1985

THE START of saxophonist Roland Alphonso's second set at the Kingston 12 Friday brought to mind those uncomfortable evenings with aging blues legends where the ...

Howard Armstrong: Louie Bluie Still Plucking Away at Strings of His Heart

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1988

HOWARD ARMSTRONG may be the music world's leading 79-year-old rapscallion. ...

Art Ensemble of Chicago: The Art Ensemble Of Chicago

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, March 1990

"OUR MUSIC IS primarily intended to stimulate thought, to get people to make new rationales," said Art Ensemble of Chicago trumpeter Lester Bowie. "We're expanding ...

Aswad: The Palace, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1985

STEEL PULSE spearheaded the charge of British reggae artists to America, but Aswad served notice at the Palace on Wednesday that it's ready to claim ...

The Avengers: Avengers Summer

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, September 2012

GOD, THE AVENGERS were a great little band. And I say little band only because time and geography conspired against any possibility of them being ...

Bad Company is Mean But Clean as they Roar Through the USA

Interview by Don Snowden, Circus, July 1977

BAD COMPANY'S 1976 American tour was a marathon four month affair that left the British blasters drained of energy and suffering from a severe case ...

Burning Spear, Judy Mowatt, Pato Banton: Second Generation Picks Up the Torch From Bob Marley

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1989

Bob Marley Day: Long Beach Arena, Los Angeles ...

Art Blakey

Interview by Don Snowden, LA Weekly, August 1984

LET'S SEE, NOW...Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, Keith Jarrett, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Jordan, Curtis Fuller, Johnny Griffin, Reggie Workman, Branford Marsalis, Woody ...

Bobby Bland: Bobby “Blue” Bland: I Pity The Fool – The Duke Recordings, Vol. 1

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess/MCA Records, 1992

AN ENDURING IRONY of the periodic blues revivals that rear their heads is that each and every one has managed to pass by the immense ...

The Blasters: Hardline (Slash/Warner Bros)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1985

THE BLASTERS FACE a perennial battle in balancing their allegiance to roots forms of American music with the ever present danger of becoming predictable purists ...

The Blasters: Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Rhino Records, 2002

CRUNCH THE NUMBERS, run the marketing templates and when you get down to it, it just doesn't compute that the six-year life span of the ...

The Blasters: Down Home with The Blasters

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, New York Rocker, March 1981

FIRST THINGS first: I love roots music but I'm no great rockabilly fan. The part I like best – the beat – is pure black ...

Blazers, the: The Blazers: East Side Soul

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, New Rounder, October 2010

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – the first weekend of March, 1995. Mudslides wiped out nine homes in a town near Ventura while OJ trial junkies debated the ...

Kurtis Blow Takes The Rap

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1980

ASK KURTIS BLOW about 'Another One Bites the Dust' and his reply is quick and to the point. "That's my 'Christmas Rappin''." ...

Kurtis Blow: Rap, Rap, Rapping At Top 10’s Door: Kurtis Blow and Company

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1981

Twas the night before Christmas and allthrough the house...Hold it, hold it. That’s PLAYED OUT.Don’t give me all that jiveAbout things you wrote before I ...

Blue Oyster Cult at Pauley Pavilion

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1979

THERE WERE enough guitar solos at Blue Oyster Cult's concert at UCLA'S Pauley Pavilion Friday to satiate even the most dedicated ax fanatic. But, judging ...

James Booker: R&B's Invisible Great

Obituary by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1983

The late James Booker fit comfortably into the New Orleans R&B piano tradition of Fats Domino but he also was a contemporary equivalent of the ...

The Brat, El Chicano, Los Illegals, Los Lobos, Tierra: Latino Bands

Overview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1984

EVER SINCE Ritchie Valens rocketed into the national spotlight a quarter century ago with 'La Bamba', Los Angeles' Latino musicians have made repeated attempts to ...

Herman Brood, The Kinks: The Kinks, Herman Brood & His Wild Romance: Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1979

Kinks Are Still Crowd-Pleasers ...

Charles Brown: His Blues Get a New Audience

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1990

Comeback: The low-key, urbane music of veteran singer-pianist Charles Brown fell out of favor during the rock era, but he is winning new fans opening ...

Charles Brown: The Rebirth Of Charles Brown And His Blues

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1989

A resurgence of interest in a big man of the post-World War II era ...

Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers: Chuck Brown And The Out-Of-Air Go-Go Experience

Comment by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, May 2012

THE ONLY TIME I saw Chuck Brown live made a deep, deep, indelible impression on me in an altogether unexpected way. ...

Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, Experience Unlimited (EU), Redds And The Boys, Trouble Funk: The Capital Gains Of Go-Go

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1985

IS WASHINGTON'S explosive Go-Go funk Style destined to follow New York's rap/scratch/hip-hop brigade into the pop mainstream? ...

Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh: Peter Tosh and Dennis Brown: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1983

REGGAE RAUCOUSLY RECEIVED AT GREEK ...

Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons: Clarence Clemons: The Big Man Down For The Count

Comment by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, June 2011

LET'S JUST SAY I'm hoping the "always comes in threes" death trinity principle doesn't hold true this time because with Clarence Clemons moving on to ...

Buckwheat Zydeco Happily Plays to the Younger Set

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1988

STANLEY (BUCKWHEAT) DURAL Jr. played organ with Clifton Chenier from 1976 to 1978 – a stint that left more than a musical mark on the ...

Solomon Burke: Soul Alive!

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1984

APPARENTLY THE audience at this 1981 D.C. club date didn't realize that classic, gospel-rooted soul is hopelessly unhip, because it responds to Burke's impassioned performance ...

Solomon Burke: Soul Alive! (Rounder)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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, ...

Johnny Otis, Little Richard, Solomon Burke, Thee Midniters: Solomon Burke, Willie Garcia, Johnny Otis, Little Richard: Four Souls – From Music To The Ministry

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1985

SOLOMON BURKE looked more like Don Corleone surveying his domain in The Godfather than a preacher preparing to conduct a recent late-afternoon service. ...

Burning Spear Aims to Stay True to Roots Reggae

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1989

THERE IS no more pure exponent of roots reggae than Burning Spear. Reggae has gone through a number of permutations in the 15 years since ...

Burning Spear Debuts At The Roxy

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1980

THE WEST COAST debut of Burning Spear before a packed house at the Roxy Tuesday night may not have matched the excitement of Bob Marley ...

Burning Spear: Resistance (Heartbeat)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Paul Butterfield Blues Band: Paul Butterfield

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1986

PAUL BUTTERFIELD played a vital role in popularizing blues with the '60s rock audience but the Chicago-born harmonica player/singer never experienced them as acutely as ...

Paul Butterfield Blues Band: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Discography by Don Snowden, Record Collection Journal, March 1976

WHILE ENGLAND was paving the way for mass acceptance of white interpretations of classic blues material with bands like the Yardbirds and Bluesbreakers and talented ...

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

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

J.J. Cale's Cooking a Low-Burner Affair

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1979

J.J. Cale: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles ...

Cameo Wins Funk Fans With Sly Wit

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1986

Cameo: Santa Monica Civic, Santa Monica ...

Cannibal & The Headhunters, Lil' Julian Herrera, Thee Midniters: Lil' Julian Herrera, Cannibal & the Headhunters, Thee Midniters et al: The Sound Of East L.A., 1964

Retrospective and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1984

That was the Baby Boom age. There were more Mexicans being 15, 16, 17 years old than you can think of. Everybody seemed to be ...

Captain Beefheart: The Legendary A&M Sessions

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

James Carr: At the Dark End of the Street (Blue Side)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1987

Artist: James Carr.Album: At the Dark End of the Street (Blue Side). ...

Clarence Carter: I Caught You Making Love: The ABC Years

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Ichiban Soul Classics//Sony Music, 1996

SELF-TAUGHT ON guitar, formally trained on piano, a gospel church-bred singer, Clarence Carter combined a bluesman's flair for storytelling with a frankly lusty take on ...

Clarence Carter: Dr. Carter To You

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1987

CLARENCE CARTER decided to challenge himself last year and hit the jackpot with the best-selling album of his career. ...

C+C Music Factory: This Ain't No Disco

Overview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1991

UNLIKE THE '70s, today's dance music is based on a radical mix of styles that may signal a new era in pop. ...

Clifton Chenier: Live at the San Francisco Blues Festival

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Clifton Chenier: Club Lingerie, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1983

CHENIER GETS THE LINGERIE ON ITS FEET ...

Clifton Chenier: Remembering Clifton Chenier, the King of Zydeco

Obituary by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1987

THE ONLY WAY Angelenos could get a true glimpse of the musical world of Clifion Chenier, who died last weekend at 62, was to attend ...

Neneh Cherry: Unsung Hero/ine

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, March 2012

THE ORIGINAL TITLE for this piece was "Ticked Off at a Tick". The reason being that I spent more than a few years operating under ...

Chic: Back to Bass: Bernard Edwards

Interview by Don Snowden, Bass Player, April 1991

"I THINK 'GOOD TIMES' is the song we're remembered most for," said Bernard Edwards of the reunited Chic. "We were a commercial band and a ...

Chic: They're Still Family

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1992

AFTER AN 8-year layoff, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards relaunch their group Chic but worry that their soulful sound may be dated. Can the architects ...

Chic: The Return of Chic

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1992

THE COMMERCIAL savvy which made Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards hit pop producers for 15 years nearly derailed their Chic reunion. ...

Alex Chilton: Feudalist Star: Alex Chilton

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1985

AFTER YEARS of maintaining a low musical profile, southern pop cult hero Alex Chilton's star may be on the rise again. ...

The Clash In L.A.: Just The Best

Live Review by Don Snowden, LA Weekly, February 1979

THE ARRIVAL in LA of The Clash, the hot English rock band, had been eagerly anticipated by local hard-core rockers ever since the release of ...

The Clash: Give 'Em Enough Rope (Epic JE 35543)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1978

THE CLASH IS A PUNK ROCK BAND and proud of it, but fans who dismiss it for that reason alone are making a mistake. This ...

Merry Clayton, The Rolling Stones: 'Shelter' from the Storm: Merry Clayton

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, March 1986

MERRY CLAYTON'S spine-chilling vocal in the middle of ‘Gimme Shelter’ is one of the most electrifying moments in rock history but you couldn't blame Clayton ...

Ornette Coleman: Music Dreams Are Made Of: Ornette Coleman at Town Hall, New York

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1987

NEW YORK – Funny, the pent-up anticipation that usually wells up before a concert didn't hit me until a half hour before Ornette Coleman took ...

Ornette Coleman and Outrage

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, December 2010

AMAZING, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. At 80 years old, Ornette Coleman is still capable of generating overt displays of outrage without doing anything more than playing his ...

Albert Collins' Showdown

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1987

ALBERT COLLINS' CAREER has been on the upswing since he signed with Alligator Records in 1979 but the veteran blues guitarist has shifted into overdrive ...

Ry Cooder: Cooder at the Movies

Interview by Don Snowden, Musician, February 1985

"A MOVIE SCORE is probably the last refuge of abstract music," remarks Ry Cooder in the spartan foyer of a Hollywood sound studio. "You can't ...

Ry Cooder

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1984

"PARIS, TEXAS IS like a perfect career job," reflects Ry Cooder, the composer of the film's haunting score. "It's the kind of film that if ...

Ry Cooder's Mood Indigo Meditations: Paris, Texas

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Robert Cray Bringing The Blues Up To Date

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1985

YOU CAN UNDERSTAND why Robert Cray felt uncomfortable about the stir he created among blues fans two years ago. The arrival of an accomplished young ...

Robert Cray: New Twist On The Blues

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1987

"IT'S REALLY FUNNY now, because when you're really down and out, nothing comes to you," reflected Robert Cray. "But when things start going for you, ...

Roger Daltrey: Who's One Of The Boys?

Review and Interview by Don Snowden, Rock Around The World, September 1977

THE FACT that 1977 has witnessed the reformation of a number of bands that enjoyed their heyday during the mid-'60's – Small Faces, Animals, Booker ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Dave Davies: AFLI-3603

Review and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1980

STAUNCH KINKS fans have been predicting anticipating a solo album from lanky lead guitarist Dave Davies ever since his single 'Death of a Clown' reached ...

Miles Davis: Mapping the Sonic Future: Miles Davis' In a Silent Way

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, December 2009

IN THE MIDST of all this full-blown industry overkill of the 40th anniversary of this or the expanded deluxe edition commemorating 25 years of that, ...

Bo Diddley: His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess/MCA Records, 1997

TO PARAPHRASE the titles of two of the 20 Bo Diddley nuggets contained on His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection , you can't judge ...

Dire Straits: Communique (Warner Bros.)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1979

THE GREATEST CHALLENGE facing a band that has enjoyed sudden commercial success is to avoid churning out subsequent LPs that are carbon copies of the ...

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Energetic Updating Of Brass-Band Sound

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1984

NEW ORLEANS — This city is a hotbed of jazz tradition, but the Dirty Dozen Brass Band has come up with a new twist on ...

Willie Dixon Loves To Write The Blues

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1979

WILLIE DIXON'S name doesn't pop up frequently on lists of great songwriters, but American music wouldn't sound the same without him. Muddy Waters and Howlin' ...

Lee Dorsey: Holy Cow!

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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’ ...

Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey: New Orleans R&B Hits The Club Lingerie

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1984

Bill Bentley and Harold Battiste hope to trigger renewed local interest in New Orleans music at Club Lingerie. ...

Dos: Dos y Dos

Comment by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, August 2014

NO SURPRISE to anyone that Mike Watt's hard-working man advocacy for the brotherhood of the bass has placed him and his trusty thunderstick (one back-in-the-day ...

Dr. Feelgood: Dr Feelgood: Whisky a Go Go, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1980

New Feelgoods know the ropes ...

Dr. Feelgood: At the Whiskey

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1980

Dr. Feelgood's Los Angeles debut four years ago was an impressive and welcome breath of fresh air. The British quartet's lean, mean brand of English ...

Dr. John: Nights For Trippin' With Dr. John At The Lingerie

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1985

DR. JOHN SHOULD feel right at home this weekend at the Lingerie in Hollywood. ...

Dr. John, The Meters: The Meters and Dr John: Walking to New Orleans

Review by Don Snowden, Pasadena Guardian, December 1975

WHILE UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED as one of the birthplaces of jazz, New Orleans has never received its due as a rhythm and blues center in the ...

Bruce Springsteen, Dr. John: Bruce Springsteen & Dr. John: Fan Recalls First Close Encounter

Memoir by Don Snowden, Thunder, February 1978

WELL, IT WAS the summer of '74 and all in all life was reasonably comfortable but pretty boring. Home was the spacious second floor of ...

Dr. Ross: Blues – What The Doctor Ordered

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1986

SAM PHILLIPS' Sun Records has a special place in rock history as the musical birthplace of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny ...

George Duke

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Musician, June 1984

"THERE WERE times last year when I would walk in here and say, 'Look at this,'" muses George Duke, surveying the now calm control room ...

George Duke, Mtume: Mtume, Duke et al: Class Of '74 Pops Into The Mainstream

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1984

LOOK AT WHAT 10 years can do to jazz mavericks. A decade ago, George Duke, James Mtume, Reggie Lucas, Ndugu Chancler and Stanley Clarke were ...

Snooks Eaglin: The Eclectic Blues Of Unpredictable Eaglin

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1987

WHAT DO WASHINGTON'S Go-Go masters Trouble Funk, California instrumental rockers the Ventures and New Orleans R&B singer Smiley Lewis have in common? ...

Duane Eddy and A Band He Couldn't Refuse

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1983

DUANE EDDY's "twangy" guitar sound on hits like 'Rebel-Rouser' established him as a major star during the golden era of rock instrumentals, so his return ...

Eek-A-Mouse: Reggae For The Fun Of It

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1985

REGGAE ARTISTS usually strive to appear as visionary prophets in concert, but Eek-A-Mouse will bring a more light-hearted approach to the Music Machine on Saturday ...

Eek-A-Mouse

Interview by Don Snowden, Spin, August 1985

He's been a musketeer in London and a buccaneer in New Orleans. "People want to see you in costume," explains reggae star Eek-A-Mouse. ...

Electric Light Orchestra: Facing Up To ELO: Electric Shocks, Leapin' Lasers, Light Opera & Dueling Cellos

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Crawdaddy!, November 1976

LOS ANGELES – "Hughie [McDowall] just smashed one cello absolutely to pieces," Bev Bevan recalls with a laugh. "He throws it in the air and ...

Alton Ellis: A Reggae Pioneer Who Preceded Marley

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1984

Artist: Alton Ellis. Personnel: Ellis, vocals, backed by local reggae musicians. ...

The Fleshtones Let the '60s All Hang Out

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1984

CAN THE FLESHTONES prosper in today's slick, sophisticated pop world of Michael Jackson and Boy George? Percentage players would probably bet against the irreverent New ...

Andy Fraser, Free: Andy Fraser

Interview by Don Snowden, Phonograph Record, April 1977

THE SOUND OF Traffic's first album reverberates against barren, functional walls as gray as the overcast L.A. day outside. ...

Robert Fripp: The Small Mobile Intelligent Pest Of Rock 'N' Roll

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Reader, August 1979

IT SEEMS peculiarly appropriate that, on my arrival at Polydor Records' West Coast offices on Sunset Boulevard, virtually everyone is engaged in a frantic search ...

Lowell Fulson: Hung Down Head

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess Records, 1991

HUNG DOWN HEAD was a profoundly shocking record when it was first released in 1970 as Chess LP 408. ...

Generation X: Valley Of The Dolls (Chrysalis)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1979

MOST NEW-WAVE bands decry the jet-set life styles of established rock stars, but it's a safe bet to assume many were attracted to rock by ...

Lowell George: Thanks I'll Eat It Here

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1979

THE IMMINENT RELEASE or this, the first solo LP by Little Feat mainstay Lowell George, was a rumor in good standing among certain segments of ...

Lowell George: Artists Salute

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1979

GRAHAM PARKER'S salute to Lowell George at the close of his Santa Monica Civic concert last weekend symbolized the respect the rock community held for ...

The Go-Go's: The Go-Gos Go!!

Interview by Don Snowden, New York Rocker, June 1980

THE GO-GO’S are a great rock ‘n’ roll band, pure and simple. ...

The Go-Go's: Beauty And The Beat (I.R.S.)

Review by Don Snowden, New York Rocker, October 1981

THE DIFFICULT thing here is reconciling expectations based on long-time familiarity with the vinyl reality. For you, the Go-Go's are the all-female L.A. quintet behind ...

Robert Gordon: Changing Style

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1979

Robert Gordon: The Roxy, Los Angeles ...

Al Green: The Gospel According To Al Green

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1985

Al GREEN was the hottest soul singer this side of Stevie Wonder in the early '70s but don't expect to hear old hits like 'Tired ...

Marcia Grifiths, Ziggy Marley: The Resurgence of Reggae

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1990

Pop music: Major labels sign more artists and watch sales rise. The Jamaican style enjoys renewed popularity with a new generation of performers and fans. ...

The Gun Club, The Flesh Eaters: Locals Only: The Flesh Eaters and The Gun Club

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, July 2014

NO ONE ON the L.A. scene in 1981 got enough of the version of the Flesh Eaters featured on A Minute to Pray, A Second ...

The Gun Club, Jeffrey Lee Pierce: Remembering Jeffrey, Not Jeffrey Lee Pierce

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Six Stream Sermon (Bang Records) , 2010

NOW, THE FIRST THING you should understand is that I never knew Jeffrey Lee Pierce. But I did know that same person as Jeffrey for ...

Buddy Guy: The Complete Chess Studio Recordings

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess Records, January 1992

THE BEST measure of Buddy Guy's talents as a bluesman could well be the fact that he's been presiding over the most distinguished fan club ...

Buddy Guy: The Complete Chess Studio Sessions

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess, 1997

THE BEST measure of Buddy Guy's talents as a bluesman could well be the fact that he's been presiding over the most distinguished fan club ...

Charlie Haden Recalls Lessons Of Cuba Visit

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, March 1987

CUBA IS A RARE tour stopover for any American, artist, but Charlie Haden’s appearance in Havana last month fulfilled a dream the eminent bassist had ...

Charlie Haden: Lifetime With Charlie Haden, R.I.P.

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, July 2014

THERE WAS NEVER any doubt I would write something about Charlie Haden moving on to the next phase but then a daunting thought struck me: ...

Hall & Oates: Magic: Hall & Oates' Wizardry

Interview by Don Snowden, Crawdaddy!, October 1977

LOS ANGELES – "I think I would have been either Gary Gilmore or a musician," Daryl Hall maintains in deadly earnest, nonchalantly flicking an ash ...

Herbie Hancock: Beverly Theater, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1984

HERBIE HANCOCK still refuses to put all of his eggs in one basket. The veteran keyboard player blithely continues to release both funk-oriented material geared ...

Joe Higgs Seeks Reggae 'Triumph'

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1985

"IF I WAS A prophet, I wouldn't have left the Wailers, but I didn't know they were going to become this monstrous," Joe Higgs said ...

Joe Higgs: Triumph (Alligator)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, February 1986

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

ZZ Hill: Z.Z. Hill Is Happy He's Got The Blues

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1983

Z.Z. Hill's most recent blues albums have surpassed the sales of those recorded by bigger names. ...

ZZ Hill: Z.Z. Hill: Love Is Good When You're Stealing It

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Ichiban Soul Classics/Sony Music, 1996

Z.Z. HILL WORE many hats during a career that was cut tragically short by a heart attack in 1984. A songwriter who enjoyed early hits ...

Linda Hopkins Sticks To The Gospel Truth

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1985

GOING FROM the glitzy glamour of opening four shows for Joan Rivers to the down-home atmosphere of the Long Beach Blues Festival this Saturday afternoon ...

Howlin' Wolf: Live and Cookin' at Alice's Revisited

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess/MCA Records, 1992

BY 1972, HOWLIN' WOLF was on the downhill side of his fabled career as one of the twin titans of Chicago blues. ...

Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson: Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter

Review by Don Snowden, Pasadena Guardian, November 1975

Howlin' Wolf: Change My Way (CHV 418)Sonny Boy Williamson: One Way Out (CHV 417)Little Walter: Confessin' The Blues (CHV 416)Chess Vintage Series (Chess/Janus Records) ...

Bull Moose Jackson: A Bull Moose Party

Profile by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1984

Personnel: Jackson, vocals, backed by the Flashcats: Cindy Sotak, vocals, guitar; Dave Kent, vocals, guitar; Pete Loria, trumpet; Phil Brontz, saxophone; Jim Fanning, bass; Carl ...

David Williams, Michael Jackson: David Williams: A Slight Case Of No Credit

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1984

Session guitarist David Williams' name was left off Thriller album. ...

The Jam: Sound Affects (Polydor)

Review by Don Snowden, New York Rocker, March 1981

SOUND AFFECTS finds the Jam stretching out, once again successfully staying off the (seemingly) inherent limitations of a three-piece lineup. ...

David Johansen: In Style

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1979

DAVID JOHANSEN'S first solo effort last year was a satisfying effort which found the former New York Dolls lead singer working on musical turf halfway ...

Jimmy Johnson: Johnson At Peace With His Music

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1986

LARGE EGOS are common in the music world, but Jimmy Johnson is one performer who doesn't believe in loudly trumpeting the virtues of his music. ...

Linton Kwesi Johnson: Reggae's Pioneer Poet Has Picked Up His Pen Again

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, March 1990

Music: Linton Kwesi Johnson took a break because he was afraid he'd run out of things to say, but Europe thought otherwise. ...

Robert Johnson: Demons on the Delta

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1988

Standing at the crossroadsI tried to flag a rideNobody seemed to know meEverybody passed me by.– 'Crossroads Blues' by Robert Johnson ...

Judas Priest in Santa Monica

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1979

WHILE THE PRESS has been busily lavishing attention on punk bands, a new wave of groups has been quietly – well, not exactly quietly – ...

Salif Keita: Mandjou/Soro

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Albert King: An Old Blues Artist Is Easing Away

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1990

"It's Time to Quit," Says Famed Guitarist Albert King, 67 ...

Albert King: Full Circle For Albert King

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1983

Albert King is no stranger to passing pop fashions. ...

Albert King, Otis Rush: Albert King/Otis Rush: Door To Door

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess Records, Fall 1990

CERTAINLY IT made sense for Chess to release an album combining the handful of songs recorded by Albert King and Otis Rush during their short-lived ...

Fela Kuti: Music is the Weapon: Fela

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1985

THE CONCEPT OF combining music with a strong political message is a romantic, enticing notion to many young musicians but it's a harsh, often painful ...

Fela Kuti: Music Is the Weapon

Film/DVD/TV Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1985

THE IDEA of combining music with a strong political message is a romantic notion to many young musicians, but the concept is a harsh reality ...

Fela Kuti: 'World Festival'

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1984

SUNDAY'S "WORLD Cultural Music Festival" was postponed Friday after two key performers coincidentally ran into customs difficulties, festival publicist Jeff Gans said. He expects the ...

Fela Kuti's Last Stand?

Review and Interview by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Daniel Lanois: A Nomad Settles Down to Record His Own Album

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1989

DANIEL LANOIS is best known for co-producing such chart breakthrough albums as U2's The Joshua Tree and Peter Gabriel's So. But you won't find much ...

Denise LaSalle: Right Place, Right Time: The Return of Denise Lasalle

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1984

DENISE LASALLE THOUGHT her singing career was over three years ago. The blues-soul singer, who appears at the Long Beach Blues Festival Saturday, was a ...

The Last Poets: Last Poets: The First And Lost Poets Of Rap

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1984

Group: The Last Poets. Record: The Last Poets (Celluloid 6101). Personnel: Abiodun Oyewole, Alafia Pudim, Omar Ben Hassen, vocals. Nilaja, percussion. ...

Little Feat: Feats Don't Fail: Richie Hayward R.I.P.

Obituary by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, August 2010

If you like country with a boogie beat / He's the man to meet... ...

Little Feat: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1989

SO MUCH attention was focused on the late Lowell George's central role as the chief singer-songwriter for Little Feat that the inimitable funky boogie style ...

Little Feat: Interview with Bill Payne

Interview by Don Snowden, Pasadena Guardian, Summer 1975

BILL PAYNE is a little freaked with L.A. rock fans. Clearly tired from the strain of Little Feat’s four night stand, he is really looking ...

Little Feat: The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1992

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Figures that Little Feat would show up Thursday for the first night of three "all-acoustic" shows at the Coach House with ...

Little Feat:The Rock and Roll Doctors

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Rock Around The World, July 1977

IF RAVE PRESS NOTICES and the acclaim of their fellow musicians were the standard measure of success in the rock world, Little Feat would surely ...

Little Milton: Long Beach Blues Festival, Long Beach

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1986

IF SOMEONE HAD distributed a checklist following Little Milton's set Saturday afternoon – rating his performance for singing, instrumental solos, arrangements, set pacing, use of ...

Little Milton: Touring Little Milton Still Big On The Blues

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1987

LITTLE MILTON'S set was the clear highlight of the 1986 Long Beach Blues Festival, and it turns out that performance was just as memorable for ...

Little Walter: The Essential Little Walter

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess/MCA, 1993

LITTLE WALTER was a singular figure among the Chess artist roster by virtue of the fact that he was the only one whose popular appeal ...

Nils Lofgren: Nils

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1979

NILS LOFGREN was widely regarded as a sure bet for rock stardom during the mid '70. The singer-songwriter-guitarist's early solo albums and efforts with the ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Los Lobos: How Will The Wolf Survive?

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1984

THE EAST L.A. musical landscape is littered with one hit wonders who plunged back to obscurity as swiftly as they escaped from it, but the ...

Baaba Maal

Interview by Don Snowden, Escape, June 1997

"WE HAVE A proverb in my hometown that says, 'Music must be the generosity of something that you take from your heart and you must ...

Magic Sam: Bluesman Magic Sam: His Legend Lives On

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1985

WHAT IF HE HADN'T died so young? Among rock fans, that kind of speculation usually centers on icons like Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Holly. Among ...

Magic Sam, Otis Rush: Various Artists: The Cobra Records Story

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Capricorn Records, 1993

STRANGE THAT The Cobra Story marks the first time that these late '50s recordings culled from three short-lived Chicago labels run by Eli Toscano have ...

Ray Manzarek: Manzarek Hears Echoes Of Doors

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1983

Ray Manzarek's Carmina Burana will distance him even farther from his days with the Doors. ...

Bob Marley & the Wailers: Aston Barrett: Rhythm Behind The Reggae

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, November 1984

THE BARRETT BROTHERS may be the most influential unsung heroes in pop music. ...

Bob Marley & the Wailers: Bob Marley & The Wailers: Confrontation (Island)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, 1980

MOST RECORD COMPANIES waste little time in emptying the vaults when a major artist dies, but Island has refrained from pursuing that course with the ...

Bob Marley & the Wailers: Bob Marley To Live On Through Reggae Tour: Rita Marley talks about her late husband's legacy and U.S. tour

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1984

THREE YEARS AFTER Bob Marley succumbed to cancer, his old Wailers band and three backing vocalists — including his widow — are embarking on an ...

Ziggy Marley Livelies Up Himself in the Nick of Time

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1989

ZIGGY MARLEY did not wait a minute too long to dip into his father's songbook for 'Lively Up Yourself'. ...

Ziggy Marley: Marleys' Melodious Messages

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1986

REGGAE FANS may still mourn the death of Bob Marley from cancer five years ago, but the next generation of the Marley clan is already ...

Memphis Slim: McCabe's, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1985

Sly Slim ...

The Meters: Leo Nocentelli Looks Back

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1984

LOS ANGELES is a Mecca for hungry musicians...and not only those with dreams of stardom. The constant demand for movie and TV soundtracks, commercial jingles ...

The Meters

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, unpublished, May 1984

"One of my theories is that as long as I don't know about something, I can continue to seek it out," George Porter reflected in ...

The Meters: Uptown Rulers! Live on the Queen Mary (Rhino)

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Rhino CD, July 1992

SAY WHAT else you will about Paul and Linda McCartney, they sure knew how to throw a party back in 1975. ...

Thee Midniters: Zyanya: Tuned To New Latino Rock

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1984

THE LOCAL Chicano rock contingent has a new outlet for its music, courtesy of Rhino Records. The plucky independent label recently inaugurated a subsidiary label, ...

Steve Miller: Book Of Dreams

Interview by Don Snowden, Circus, June 1977

STEVE MILLER FOUND himself caught on the horns of a dilemma in 1974. A cult favorite from the first days of the Summer of Love, ...

Charlie Mingus: Charles Mingus: What’s Everyone Got Against a Legend?

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1993

In his lifetime, Charles Mingus was a rebel and a true giant of jazz, Now the Library of Congress has acquired his works and he’s ...

Sugar Minott: Inna Reggae Dance Hall (Heartbeat)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Hal Willner, Thelonious Monk: Interpretations Of Monk By Jazz, Rock Musicians

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1984

WHAT DO FELLINI soundtrack composer Nino Rota and the late jazz great Thelonious Monk have in common? ...

Van Morrison: Into The Music

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1979

LAST YEAR'S Wavelength may have dispelled lingering doubts about Van Morrison's creative talents, but it did so only at the expense of some of the ...

The Motels: Not Long Ago, But Far, Far Away: They Were There When L.A.'s Vital Club Scene Was Reborn

Retrospective and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1990

IT WAS 1976 and they were five newcomers in three bands. Together, they helped stage 'Radio Free Hollywood' and opened the door for hundreds of ...

The Motels: Booked Solid

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1979

MOST LOCAL BANDS have drawn inspiration from the classic rock bands of the '60s – notably the Rolling Stones and the Who. The chief exception ...

Motorhead Guitarist Is Running On All Cylinders

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1986

WURZEL BURSTON'S road to Motorhead qualifies as one of rock's more implausible success stories. Originally a drummer, Burston switched to guitar at the advanced age ...

Motorhead: No Remorse (Bronze/Island)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Motorhead: No Sleep 'Til San Diego: Motorhead

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1986

IT'S BEEN A TOUGH five years for Motorhead. The English heavy metal quartet, which appears Saturday in Santa Monica, Sunday in San Bernardino and in ...

Bob Mould: Ex-Husker Du Bob Mould Offers an Exercise in Angst

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1989

TO BORROW two titles from bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson, Bob Mould could be Mr. Downchild taking up permanent residence on Bummer Road. ...

Judy Mowatt: Mowatt's Winding Path To Success

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1986

JUDY MOWATT'S Working Wonders album has received a Grammy nomination, but that isn't the only reason she'll remember the record. A succession of studio disasters ...

Mutabaruka: Outcry

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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. ...

Nazareth: 'Skunk' Leads Nazareth To '80s

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1980

A RECORDING STUDIO can make strange bedfellows. Guitarist Jeff (Skunk) Baxter is best known for his work with the sophisticated rock of Steely Dan and, ...

Youssou N'Dour: Super Star of Dakar: Youssou N'Dour

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1986

PETER GABRIEL HAS often acknowledged the influence of Third World styles on his recent songs and the veteran British rocker is paying back that debt ...

Youssou N'Dour is All Set

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1990

YOUSSOU N'DOUR has supplanted King Sunny Ade as the most visible African artist to Western pop audiences since the current surge of international interest in ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Johnny Otis

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, New York Rocker, February 1982

IT'S BECOMING readily apparent that one salient characteristic of the first batch of Los Angeles bands (let's leave those lovable beach punks out of this) ...

Johnny Otis: Blues, R&B, Jazz

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1986

"THE BARRELHOUSE used to be right down there on the northeast corner of Wilmington," Johnny Otis said Saturday afternoon, referring to the nightclub – a ...

Augustus Pablo.: A Shadowy Reggae Legend

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1984

Personnel: Pablo, keyboards-melodica; Liebert (Gibby) Morrison, lead guitar; Fazal Prendergast, rhythm guitar; Anthony (Asher) Brissett, Errol (Tarzan) Nelson, keyboards; Christopher Meredith, bass; Harry (Harry T) ...

Jaco Pastorius: Beverly Theatre, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, November 1983

JACO PASTORIUS established himself as the most influential bassist of the late '70s during his extended tenure with Weather Report. But if Sunday night's 90-minute ...

Pere Ubu: Beau Pere Ubu: Terminal Tower

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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. ...

Pere Ubu Plays for Body, Brain

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1979

Pere Ubu: The Whiskey, Los Angeles ...

Pere Ubu: The Picturesque Sound of Pere Ubu

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1988

IS THE ROCK world finally ready for Pere Ubu? The critically acclaimed sextet from Cleveland, which finishes a two-night stand at Club Lingerie tonight – ...

Iggy Pop: New Values

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, November 1979

REEMERGENCE OF IGGY POP ...

Maxi Priest: Reggae's Maxi Priest Wins Mainstream Favor

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1991

Pop music: The British singer adds an R&B flavor to the Jamaican sound. He and his band play San Diego and Long Beach this weekend. ...

Prince: The Roxy, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, November 1979

IT MUST BE A daunting prospect for anyone to make his or her performing debut, save for a couple of hometown Minneapolis tuneups, before an ...

Procol Harum

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Rock Around The World, March 1977

A FULL DECADE has passed since the rolling organ chords of 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' heralded the arrival of The Summer Of Love. Ten ...

Professor Longhair: Mardi Gras In Baton Rouge (Rhino)

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Rhino, 1991

AHH, YES, THE virtues of the repertoire.Admittedly, it's a foreign concept these days, when artists are almost universally expected to write and perform fresh material ...

Professor Longhair: Mardi Gras In New Orleans

Review by Don Snowden, Rocky Mountain News, December 1982

I don't know who runs Nighthawk Records, but I'll nominate them for immediate induction into the Hall of Fame wing at the College of Musical ...

Professor Longhair: The Longhair Legacy

Retrospective by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1982

MOST ROCK fans have never heard of Professor Longhair, but lots of their favorite musicians certainly have. The New Orleans-based piano I player, who died ...

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

Film/DVD/TV Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Queen Ida: Zydeco Is Her Realm

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, 1980

IN THE LAST 18 months, zydeco musician Queen Ida Guillory has spent more than 250 days on the road. Contributed some background music to Francis ...

Bonnie Raitt

Profile by Don Snowden, Rock Around The World, March 1977

ON THE EVE of the release of her sixth album, Sweet Forgiveness, Bonnie Raitt still remains something of an anomaly in a music biz that ...

Bonnie Raitt Plus a Surprise Co-Star

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1979

Bonnie Raitt: Santa Monica Civic, Los Angeles ...

The Ramones: Touchstone Tommy Ramone

Comment by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, July 2014

MAKE NO MISTAKE, Tommy Ramone was the touchstone for all things Ramone. ...

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, The, 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. ...

Lou Reed: The Bells

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1979

LOU REED IS one of the major influences on '70s rock, but consistency has never been his strong point. As the creative catalyst of the ...

R.E.M.: The Reckoning of R.E.M.

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1984

R.E.M. DIDN'T go courting success but the acclaimed Georgia quartet is learning to deal with it. ...

Stan Ridgway's Rock Noir: The Big Heat

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Rockin' Dopsie: Hail The Crown Prince Of Zydeco: Rockin' Dopsie

Profile by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1985

ARTIST: Rockin' Dopsie & the Cajun Twisters. PERSONNEL: Alton Rubin (Rockin' Dopsie), accordion, vocals; John Hart, saxophone; Russell Gordon, guitar; Alonzo Johnson, bass; David Rubin, washboard; ...

Rockin' Sidney: It's Time For 'Toot Toot'

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1985

You can look as much But if you as much as touch You're gonna have yourself a case I'm gonna break your face So don't ...

The Rolling Stones: Dance On Waves 


Essay by Don Snowden, Rock Around The World, November 1977

"No Elvis, Beatles, or The Rolling Stones in 1977" — The Clash ...

The Rolling Stones: Love You LIve

Review by Don Snowden, Rock Around The World, November 1977

SIT BACK and try to imagine, the world of rock and roll over the past ten or 15 years without thinking of the Rolling Stones. ...

Otis Rush Singing The Blues About Obscurity

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1985

THE IMAGE OF THE under-appreciated blues artist laboring in obscurity has almost become a cliche, but Otis Rush genuinely fits that description. ...

Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels: Mitch Ryder At The Whisky

Live Review by Don Snowden, LA Weekly, March 1979

AT HIS FAMOUS ROXY GIG of three-and-a-half years ago, Bruce Springsteen prefaced a superb encore of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels' greatest hits by ...

Santana: Cooling Into The Norm

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Musician, March 1985

A BRISK BREEZE cools the crisp San Francisco afternoon but the glaring lights and cumulative body heat of 50-odd crew members, band friends and label ...

Gil Scott-Heron

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, LA Vanguard, May 1976

Gil Scott-Heron is a striking exception to the prevailing opinion in the record industry that music is solely an entertainment medium, a vital counterforce to ...

Gil Scott-Heron

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1981

GIL SCOTT-HERON was widely viewed as a potential superstar in 1974 when he became the first performer signed by Clive Davis at Arista Records. The ...

Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society

Interview by Don Snowden, LA Weekly, November 1983

If you've tapped into the East Coast/international jazz press recently, you've no doubt seen Ronald Shannon Jackson touted as "the future of jazz drumming" and ...

The Skatalites: Scattered Lights (Alligator)

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

The Skatalites: The Fathers Of Ska

Profile by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1986

Personnel: The 11-man lineup will include charter members Johnnie Moore (trumpet), Lester Sterling (alto sax), Roland Alphonso and Tommy McCook (tenor sax), Rico Rodriguez (trombone), ...

Sly & Robbie: Silent Assassin (Island)

Review by Don Snowden, unpublished, 1989

HMM, HMM, HMM, let's see here...looks like Sly & Robbie & KRS-One are on to something here but I don't think it's what most people ...

Sly & Robbie: Sly and Robbie: Laying Reggae's Bottom Line

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1982

QUESTION: WHAT do chic chanteuse Grace Jones. English rockers Joe Cocker and Ian Dury and reggae power house. Black Uhuru have in common? ...

Patti Smith: At The Roxy Theatre

Live Review by Don Snowden, Pasadena Guardian, Fall 1975

FIRST SHOW, first set on her first night in L.A., playing to a cold record company crowd, checking her out as a possible new phenomenon-- ...

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Southside Johnny: Dancing The Night Away With The Jukes

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1986

"YOU SWEAT HERE as much as anywhere else in the world, let me tell ya," said Southside Johnny Lyon, and that sentiment aptly summed up ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

The Specials: More Specials (Chrysalis)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, November 1980

CAUTION: Anyone expecting More Specials to duplicate the ferocious wallop of the British ska band’s live performances or debut LP is in for a surprise. ...

Bruce Springsteen & The Street Band: Live At The Roxy Theatre

Live Review by Don Snowden, Pasadena Guardian, October 1975

"I’m gonna sit back right easy and laugh When Scooter and Big Man bust this city in half" (‘10th Avenue Freeze-Out’) ...

Bruce Springsteen: Hustling For Rock’s Record Machines

Report by Don Snowden, Pasadena Guardian, September 1975

HE STARTED HIS career as a solo performer and fronting New Jersey bar bands like the Steel Mill and Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom. ...

Squeeze: British Squeeze at the Whisky

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, 1980

AN ECLECTIC MUSICAL approach can be a double-edged sword for a rock band. Incorporating a wide variety of styles can prevent a group from becoming ...

Steel Pulse

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1985

DAVID HINDS was not in the mood to mince words. The lead singer and chief songwriter of Steel Pulse was furious over the delay in ...

Steel Pulse: Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1984

STEEL PULSE'S strong performance before a capacity audience at the Hollywood Palladium Friday night confirmed the veteran British sextet as one of the leading contenders ...

The Stranglers: Live at the Whisky, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, November 1980

THE STRANGLERS, the British band which opened a four-night stand at the Whisky Friday night, didn’t waste any time in letting the packed house know ...

The Swan Silvertones: Pet Sounds: Get Right With the Swan Silvertones (Archives Alive/Rhino)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1986

GOSPEL MUSIC GENERALLY gets much lip service as an influence on R&B (and indirectly rock) vocalists but short thrift when it comes to re-issues of ...

Talking Heads: Nine Heads Are Better Than Four

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Ampersand, December 1980

"I'M ALWAYS A little surprised at our success because I know we're a little unusual," David Byrne muses softly on the eve of the first ...

Cecil Taylor: Pianist Cecil Taylor Makes Poetry Of His Jazz

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1987

"GREAT MUSICIANS are more than musicians – they are poets and spiritual forces," said pianist Cecil Taylor. "It is the sensitivity and the concept of ...

Koko Taylor: What It Takes - The Chess Years

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess/MCA Records, 1991

IT'S ALTOGETHER FITTING that Koko Taylor's first Chess single was ‘I Got What It Takes’. Nearly three decades in the blues business--years punctuated by a ...

Koko Taylor: A Blues Belter Bounces Back From Adversity

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1990

Pop music: Koko Taylor was injured in a van accident and then suffered the death of her husband-manager. ...

Thelonious Monster: Halfway Hilarity

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Thin Lizzy

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, 1978

CHANCES ARE GOOD that this time last year you had never heard of Thin Lizzy, let along heard them. Young veterans of the British music ...

Irma Thomas: Something Good: The Muscle Shoals Sessions

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Chess/MCA Records, 1990

CHESS WAS pre-eminently a blues label and Chess was most definitely a Chicago-based label but Chess was also a hit-seeking label and that fundamental fact ...

Irma Thomas: Time On Her Side: Irma Thomas

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1988

IRMA THOMAS' entrance into the music business is the kind of story rock dreams are made of. ...

George Thorogood & The Destroyers: Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, March 1986

GEORGE THOROGOOD & the Destroyers have added a few wrinkles, but the quartet hasn't changed much since Thorogood first danced on local tabletops seven years ...

Toots & The Maytals: Toots In Memphis

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1989

REGGAE GOT SOUL was the title of a 1976 Toots & the Maytals album, and Frederick (Toots) Hibbert decided to re-emphasize the connection when he ...

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

Interview by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Peter Tosh, The Wailers: Reggae: Can The Beat Go On?

Comment by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1987

THE DEATH OF Peter Tosh, gunned down Sept 11 at his Kingston, Jamaica, home during an apparent robbery, is only the latest tragedy in the ...

Ali Farka Toure: Ali Farka Touré

Interview by Don Snowden, Escape, April 1994

THE 18-WEEK run atop the Billboard World Music charts enjoyed by Ali Farka Touré's album The Source added the sweet touch of popular success in ...

Allen Toussaint

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1985

THE EXCITEMENT of performing before a live audience is the incentive for most pop artists to enter show business but it's taken Allen Toussaint almost ...

Allen Toussaint: The Collection

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, Reprise Records, 1991

BY THE TIME Allen Toussaint released his first Warner Bros. album, Life, Love And Motion, in 1972, it was already impossible to look at New ...

Trouble Funk On A ‘Go-Go’

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1984

WASHINGTON – Ronald Reagan may preside over official Washington, but Trouble Funk rules the inner city surrounding it. ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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. ...

UB40

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1985

"REGGAE IS JUST as much a part of my culture as it is for any Jamaican guy my age," contends guitarist/vocalist Robin Campbell of UB40. ...

James Blood Ulmer: Guitarist Ulmer At Club Lingerie

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1982

NEW YORK-BASED guitarist James (Blood) Ulmer has become a cause celebre in hip jazz and rock circles over the past few years. Several Big Apple ...

James Blood Ulmer: The 'Harmolodics' Of James Ulmer

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1985

NEUTRAL GROUND doesn't seem to exist when it comes to James (Blood) Ulmer's music. ...

Utopia: The Roxy, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1979

IT'S NOT SURPRISING that when Todd Rundgren first spoke to the crowd Tuesday night at the Roxy he mentioned recognizing a lot of familiar faces. ...

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Palladium, Los Angeles

Live Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1984

OK, STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN can play the everlovin' bejeesus out of the guitar, but packing a flash Stratocaster just ain't enough.  ...

Billy Vera: Billy & the Beaters et al: Bar Bands Make The Rounds

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1986

THE SATURDAY NIGHT crowd packed into At My Place in Santa Monica whooped it up as Billy & the Beaters kicked off their opening set ...

Billy Vera's 'Moment'

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, December 1986

'AT THIS MOMENT' is fast becoming the left-field pop success of the year. The soulful ballad by Billy & the Beaters, a popular fixture on ...

Bunny Wailer Goes To Market

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, February 1986

BUNNY WAILER, who formed the creative nucleus of the Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh when the group became Jamaica's reigning pop heroes in ...

Bunny Wailer: Wailers 'Together Again'

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1986

THE UPCOMING Wailers album Together Again isn't just your average reunion record. Besides Bunny Waller, Peter Tosh, Junior Braitwaithe and Constantine Walker, the lineup will ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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. ...

Joe Louis Walker: Blues With A Gospel Tint

Profile by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1987

Band: Joe Louis Walker & the Boss Talkers.Personnel: Walker, guitar and vocals; Kevin Zuffi, keyboards; Henry Oden, bass; Sieve Griffith, drums. ...

T-Bone Walker: T-Bone Underdone

Book Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

T-Bone Walker: The Complete Recordings of T-Bone Walker, 1940-1954 (Mosaic)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1990

The Complete Recordings of T-Bone Walker, 1940-1954 display the bluesman's seminal influence on the genre ...

Wall of Voodoo: A Nagging Question: What’s Behind The Wall Of Voodoo?

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Reader, May 1981

ONE OF THE prime joys of being an ardent music fan is the sense of exhilaration that runs through you when you stumble on something ...

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

Review by Don Snowden, Boston Phoenix, The, 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 ...

Frank Zappa: Zappa Zeros In On L.A.

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, April 1980

FRANK ZAPPA'S CONCERT at the Sports Arena tonight will be his first local appearance in 2 years, but rock's iconoclastic satirist certainly isn't viewing it ...

List of genre pieces

KACE's High: Funky Music In The Park

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, July 1984

'And the winner is band number....Number...." ...

Belated Props: Arhoolie Records at 50

Comment by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, March 2011

DON'T IT FIGURE that Arhoolie's 50th anniversary just happened to overlap with the publication of John Szwed's biography of Alan Lomax? An unfortunate but appropriate ...

Chess New Orleans

Sleevenotes by Don Snowden, MCA Records, 1996

THE COMPETITION amongst independent R&B labels after the post-World War II era was understandably fierce. Labels often lived from single to single – moving fast ...

Chess Studios: Notes for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Retrospective and Interview by Don Snowden, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1987

THE ROCK 'N ROLL scheme of things has offered up any number of delineated "Sounds", those confluences of particularly musical elements that came to be ...

Chris Strachwitz: Slices From Arhoolie

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1985

EL CERRITO, Calif. – "Since I only record music I really love, it's like being a preacher or a junkie," mused Chris Strachwitz, founder of ...

Disc Haven For Rockers: Rough Trade

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1981

SMALL, INDEPENDENT labels have introduced many of rock music's most influential figures. Elvis Presley (on Sun Records), Chuck Berry (Chess) and Little Richard (Specialty). Even ...

Flailing and Railing: Brendan Mullen, 1949-2009

Memoir by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, October 2009

BEST KNOWN as a catalyst and chronicler of the late '70s L.A. punk scene centred around the Masque club, Brendan Mullen died suddenly of a ...

Global Music With a Single Heart

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1988

QUICK, WHAT do English rock star Peter Gabriel, L.A. club favorites the Bonedaddys, West African vocalist Salif Keita, Israeli pop star Ofra Haza and the ...

In Search Of The L.A. Black Beat

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1983

LOS ANGELES IS the home of black music stars. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Donna Summer, Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, Earth, Wind & Fire, ...

James Jamerson: Motown's Unsung Hero

Obituary by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1983

THE EMPHASIS IN pop falls on people in the spotlight but some of the biggest contributions to our pop culture come from the musicians who ...

John Storm Roberts: An Appreciation

Memoir by Don Snowden, Rock's Backpages, April 2011

I'VE ALWAYS BEEN more than a bit ambivalent about the whole concept of mentoring, at least when it applies to the music world we run ...

Malaco: Rhythm & Business

Profile and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, May 1987

MALACO RECORDS isn't exactly a household name in the music industry but the Jackson, Mississippi-based label was behind one of the surprise grass-roots success stories ...

Moog On The State Of The Synthesizer

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, June 1981

IT’S NOT UNUSUAL for a musician to become controversial, but it is rare for a musical instrument to be debated. Robert Moog may have envisioned ...

New Orleans: Crescent City's Other Legacy

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, September 1979

NEW ORLEANS IS widely recognized as the birthplace of jazz, but the Crescent City has also played a part in rock 'n' roll. Its rhythm ...

Rock Sax: Resurgence Of The Saxophone

Overview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, March 1983

THE SAX IS BACK.Honking saxophones played a major part in shaping '50s rock 'n' roll, but the instrument's role was virtually eliminated by the guitar ...

Rock's Fiery Jamaican Connection

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, November 1979

REGGAE MUSIC was widely tabbed as pop's Next Big Thing five years ago. With fiery lyrics of social protest wedded to a catchy dance rhythm, ...

Sampling: A Creative Tool or License to Steal?

Report by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1989

Guitarist Leo Nocentelli vividly remembers his first exposure to sampling in 1982. "I was on a session and the guy pressed one note on the ...

Uncle Jam’s Army: Mobile Disco Dances To A Different Beat

Report and Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, October 1983

A GROUP OF MODS, coats festooned with badges of their favorite bands and likenesses of the "Two-Tone" man, snake around the perimeter of the dance ...

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