IDIOT OPTIMISM is truly one of the all time great Power Pop albums! Van Duren was another seminal figure in the Memphis/Big Star Pop scene of the 1970's. He was good friends with Chris Bell and Jody Stephens, and in fact, once auditioned to replace Chris in Big Star. Then Van later was a member of Chris Bell's & Jody Stephen’s post Big Star band, The Baker Street Regulars. He went north in 1978 with Jon Tiven, who produced Van’s first album, Are You Serious?, released on vinyl in the 70's. This album has become an underground classic amongst cult Power Pop fans across the world (that one will be issued by Lucky Seven on CD for the first time in the US next year). Then Van worked long and hard on his second album, IDIOT OPTIMISM, but had a falling out with the record company before its release. In listening to it now, I am totally amazed by the depth and quality of his songs and performance. This is truly one of the lost gems of recorded music! One of the highlights is his version of Chris Bell's song "Make A Scene." (Less)
IDIOT OPTIMISM is truly one of the all time great Power Pop ... (More)
The group ROCK CITY has never had an album released before. This ROCK CITY recording, made in 1969-1970, has never seen the light of day publicly until now. In fact, the master tape was lost in a mis-marked box for these last thirty-three years! Yet, ROCK CITY are widely known as a very influential musical force. How can this be?
ROCK CITY was the group which immediately preceeded, and contained members of, the famous group BIG STAR, which is regarded in most musical critics’ circles as the biggest influence on modern pop-rock music not named The Beatles!
Two of the members of ROCK CITY, Christopher Bell and Jody Stephens, were also members of BIG STAR. Three of the songs on this CD were also on BIG STAR’s first album, #1 RECORD, in later versions. The worldwide cult following which has shadowed BIG STAR for now over thirty years has long been aware of the early group names which were used by these players. And, in fact, this group under another of those now-famous names, ICEWATER, also appears on this CD performing one song (“Feel”). And the other two members of ROCK CITY, Thomas Dean Eubanks and Terry Manning, are also well known in Memphis and BIG STAR music folklore! Also included on the ROCK CITY CD are two songs by Thomas Dean Eubanks in solo mode, which were released as a ‘45’ single on the highly-collectible PRIVILEGE label in 1975. (Less)
The group ROCK CITY has never had an album released before. ... (More)
The Ramblin’ Letters have been getting a lot of attention with their song relating to the BP oil spill, Sportsman’s Paradise (AKA Paradise Lost), a parody of the John Prine’s song Paradise. After a live WWOZ performance in May, they were asked to perform the song live on the BBC to an estimated 193 million listeners. The recording of the Sportsman’s Paradise has been getting regular airplay on WWOZ & WTUL, and a video for the song is in the works. (Less)
The Ramblin’ Letters have been getting a lot of attention wi ... (More)
Taken in 1965, this famous photo of a young Marine could have been taken yesterday. Inspired by and named for the award winning documentary "Dear America - Letters From Vietnam" this classic Ben Sherrod home recording pays homage to these forgotten and seldom heard voices. (Less)
Taken in 1965, this famous photo of a young Marine could hav ... (More)