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PIGSHIT: A WORLD WITHOUT GEORGE

“Music is at the core of our being. Can you imagine a woman rearing a child and not humming to it? It's as natural as breathing.”

Just in case you haven’t already been listening over the past sixty-some-odd years, Eagle Rock Entertainment’s grand new Produced By George Martin documentary demonstrates once again, via a wealth of vintage clips and contemporary interviews with clients past (Paul McCartney, Cilla Black, Jeff Beck, Bernard Cribbins even) and protégés present-day (Rick Rubin, T-Bone Burnett) the sheer magnitude of the man’s sonic innovations on, and indelible contributions to, the music industry. Or what remains of it, I should say.

All of which got this Rock and Roll Reporter thinking, for not the first time mind you, what exactly our aural lives would have, could have been like in, dare I even imagine it…

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PIGSHIT: 10 reasons why The Rolling Stones WERE the world’s greatest rock and roll band

As what remains of the literary world eagerly celebrates the arrival this month of none other than Keith Richards’ long-awaited autobio “Life,” I thought I’d just keep this particular ball, well, rolling with…..

TEN REASONS WHY THE ROLLING STONES WERE THE WORLD’S GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND

1. BRIAN JONES’ HAIR

Not only the longest and the blondest, but the most distinctive coif to come out of the (first) British Invasion – hence his invariably being positioned as the focal point of the band’s publicity photos, not to mention album covers. “Personally, I always make a point of cleansing my hair after every meal,” a young Brian would defiantly inform the press when asked if the band, as their promo boasted, bathed only during months with an “R” in them.

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New Artist Beall Releases So-So Rockabilly Effort

Laurence Beall – The Huntsville Sessions
Self-Released

About fifteen years ago, while most of the music-loving fans in the world had discarded the poodle perms, black leather pants and the gaudy turquoise and silver baubles associated with hair metal to embrace the slackerisms and flannel workshirts associated with grunge, a different sort were looking at huge belt buckles, cowboy boots, and pedal steel guitars. These folks were encountering, then hopping aboard the alt.country trend, a musical sub-genre championed by the likes of Uncle Tupelo, Jayhawks, Eric Ambel, Blue Rodeo and many other lesser-known acts. While grunge was known as bare-bones, meat-and-potatoes rock with no frills, the purveyors of the alt.country trend took “bare bones” a bit further, with most adopting a sound best described as Johnny Cash on meth as performers and devotees yearned for the perfect blend between traditional country circa 1958-1965 and rock and roll derived from the days of Sun records revved up with a post-punk modern feel. Though grunge also had a primitive feel, it had it’s own sound. In contrast, while the best alt.country and roots bands filtered their music through the prisms of punk and post-punk, an equal amount were enamored with simply striving to emulate their ’50’s and ’60’s heroes down to the bent notes on their paisley Telecasters. Though bands of this nature were found mostly on the second-tier, even the edgiest bands such as Uncle Tupelo showed their indebtedness to their heroes from Nashville on their sleeves and were careful not to stray too far from their country inspirations. It was the same catch-22 which modern blues players find themselves. How much do they honor their past and provide a touchstone to fans, while still blazing a trail and progressing their music so new generations will find elements to enjoy?

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PIGSHIT: Through the past, smartly

For those who arrived at the party rather late – meaning the first new Stones record you ever bought had a big red tongue splayed across its label – the five years and ninety-nine minutes contained within Chrome Dreams’ fine new Rolling Stones: The Mick Taylor Years DVD will serve as a more than welcome addition to all of your recently-acquired Exile On Main St. collectibles. In fact, should you consider yourself a part of the ever-expanding constituency who swear the Stones’ best work was done during that key half decade between the death of Brian Jones and the arrival of Ronnie Wood, this is one documentary which absolutely deserves your undivided attention.

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Pigshit by Gary Pig Gold: OUT OF EXILE

For an album that received such a lukewarm-at-best reception upon its initial release (even the almighty Rolling Stone magazine used the words “overdone blues cliché” whilst making snide comparisons to Tommy James), the tenth album produced by Keith Richards and company – “The fact is that Mick spent most of his time away ’cause Bianca was pregnant; you know, royalty is having a baby. So what am I supposed to do?” the human guitar griped in 1979, “I’m supposed to be making an album!” – has certainly enjoyed a critical reappraisal and then some over the ensuing thirty-eight years. Why, even the proud papa Jagger who in ‘72 complained “This new album is fucking mad. It’s very rock and roll. I didn’t want it to be like that. I mean, I’m very bored with rock and roll,” today insists the recording of Exile On Main St. “was a wonderful period; a very creative period.”

And, of course, Rolling Stone now places those very same blues clichés near the tip-top of most every Greatest Album Of All Time list it regularly publishes in between all the sneaker and suntan crème ads.

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The Shadows know and, thanks to Gary Pig Gold, now you can too

For those still old enough to peg the launch of British rock to the evening of February 9, 1964, when four young Liverpudlians appeared, as if from nowhere, on the stage of The Ed Sullivan Show, think of this: last year a different U.K. band celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a series of sold-out concerts at London’s mammoth O2 Arena. At the height of their success, this band placed an astounding twenty-eight hits atop the British charts, have released over one hundred albums worldwide and their lead singer was knighted by the Queen before Elton John, Tom Jones, Mick Jagger or even Paul McCartney. That singer’s name? Cliff Richard. His band? The Shadows.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s grand new release, Cliff And The Shadows: The Final Reunion DVD, documents the band’s landmark 2009 O2 Arena performances and constitutes the perfect two-hour primer of and for pre-Beatles British rock. Accordingly, barely a minute into the proceedings and legendary Shadows guitarist Hank B. Marvin claims Cliff’s 1959 chart-topper “Living Doll” as, and I shall quote,”The first real British rock and roll record.” That classic is duly performed herein, along with forty-one! other songs and it’s all in just under 137 minutes. Every song comes fast and furious, short and sweet, and at a near assembly-line pace. All the excitement is captured in sight and especially in sound, which is clean, bright and sharp from the very beginning until the final encore.