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A Gift for Uncle Stinky PDF Print E-mail
Music - Music News
Written by John M. James   
Wednesday, 21 May 2008 02:16

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Better than an old Sears, Roebuck catalog nailed to the outhouse wall, the Bathroom Readers' Institute Press knows that sometimes a hearty morning constitutional goes better with reading material. So far they've printed nearly 20 volumes of their Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series, just releasing the latest: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Music. I feel sorry for big families if there's a music-trivia nut in the bunch, as the 516 pages are packed with factual frivolity, sure to keep the "occupied" sign up for a while. From nuggets about unsung heroes such as Motown's Funk Brothers to musical word origins to rockers who died young to the first record purchases of major stars to Cab Calloway's jive dictionary, this and a pack of matches might be the perfect gift for Uncle Stinky.

Speaking of rockers and the Grim Reaper, the Chicago Review Press has just released The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars by Jeremy Simmonds, a 600-page tome that isn't nearly as morbid as it sounds. Subtitled Heroin, Handguns, & Ham Sandwiches, the book doesn't organize the deceased by genre, the Billboard charts, or cause of death, simply marking time day by day and month by month starting in 1965 and culminating with James Brown's demise on Christmas Day 2006. Peppered with black-and-white photography, Simmonds' reflection on the work and final hours of major and minor stars is revealing and quite touching. I found myself back in time, behind the record store counter, in a 12-month period that started in April 1993 and included the deaths of Mick Ronson, G.G. Allin, Mia Zapata, Frank Zappa, Harry Nilsson, and Kurt Cobain.

Lisa Loeb returns next week with Camp Lisa on her own Furious Rose Records imprint. Remembering the joys of summer camp where she learned to play guitar, the album is timed with the launch of the Camp Lisa Foundation, which looks to provide access for 50 underprivileged kids to the great outdoors. Opening with a take on the theme from the 1979 film Meatballs, "Ready for the Summer," the CD is a kid-friendly sing-along with ditties including "Peanut Butter & Jelly," the "Cookie Jar Chant," and "When It Rains." Happy campers include Jill Sobule, Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt, Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, Dave Gibbs of Gigolo Aunts, bass superstar Lee Sklar, and funnyman and serious banjo player Steve Martin, who shows up with "The Disappointing Pancake." One more cool cover makes the set: Neil Young's "Love Is a Rose."


Television Alert:


The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Jimmy Buffett this evening and The Republic Tigers on Thursday; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Al Green tonight and Colbie Caillat on Friday; The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson presents k.d. lang this evening overnight; Jimmy Kimmel Live boasts The Kooks tonight, Death Cab for Cutie on Thursday, and Neil Diamond on Friday overnight; and Austin City Limits features R.E.M. this weekend.


New Releases Coming Tuesday, May 27:


36 Crazyfists - The Tide & Its Takers (Ferret Music) featuring a cover of Satchel's "Criminal Justice"; the band is on tour now with Napalm Death and DevilDriver

Ellen Allien - Sool (Bpitch Control Records) intergalactic sexual soundtrack for robots from the German electronica pioneer

Kissy Asplund - Plethora (R2 Records) glistening, erotic downtempo soul, produced by the Papa Jazz Crew

Jack Black & Cee-Lo - "Kung Fu Fighting" (Interscope) covering the Carl Douglas smash from 1974, this digital-only single is a teaser from the upcoming soundtrack to Kung Fu Panda

Booka Shade - The Sun & the Neon Light (Get Physical) percolating German electrohouse, also available in a limited-edition two-CD set with bonus "club" mixes

The Byrds - Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 (Sundazed) available on CD or two LPs

Drakkar Sauna - Wars & Tornadoes (Marriage Records) Kansas cousins gloriously harmonizing in the spirit of The Delmore Brothers; these nine Louvin Brothers classics are covered in grinning, refreshing, God-lovin' fever

Eliza Gilkyson - Beautiful World (Red House) poetic, pensive return of the songwriting treasure, highlighted by the soft, honest grip of "Great Correction"

Al Green - Lay It Down (Blue Note) with guests John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Roots' ?uestlove, and the Dap-Kings' horn section

John Hiatt - Same Old Man (New West) backed by guitarist Luther Dickinson and harmony vocals from his daughter Lill, this is perhaps his best album in a decade; also available on 180-gram audiophile vinyl and in a deluxe edition with a bonus DVD featuring live performances of favorites "Memphis in the Meantime," "Have a Little Faith in Me," and four other songs

The Herbaliser - Same as It Never Was (!K7) fantastic, super-funky, shape-shifting return of the London duo with vocalist Jessica Darling

Cyndi Lauper - Bring Ya to the Brink (Epic) her first new music in 12 years, collaborating with dance-floor mavens Scumfrog, Basement Jaxx, and Max Martin

Sharon Little - Perfect Time for a Breakdown (CBS Records) dynamite, soulful label debut from the singer/songwriter, opening for Robert Plant & Alison Krauss' Raising Sand tour

Make Believe - Going to the Bone Church (Flameshovel) new from Tim Kinsella and Sam Zurick of Joan of Arc, deconstructing and strangling the Rolling Stones in "Satisfaction (I Can't Understand)"

Larry Norman - Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: The Anthology (Arena Rock) 20-track anthology honoring the recently passed "father of Christian rock"

The Pogues - Just Look Them Straight in the Eye & Say Pougemahone! (Rhino) with 111 tracks spread over five CDs, this import-only box set collects demos, rehearsals, BBC sessions, and guests Joe Strummer, Kirsty MacColl, and The Chieftains

Mike Ragogna - Summerland (Trafficbeat) closing out the CD with "Home," a duet with 1970s hit-maker Dobie Gray

Jenny Scheinman - Jenny Scheinman (Koch) gorgeous vocal debut from the jazz violinist, laid back and old-couch comfortable in Americana covers of The Platters' "Twilight Time," Bob Dylan's "I Was Young When I Left Home" and Tom Waits' "Johnsburgh, Illinois"

Sex & the City - original motion picture soundtrack (New Line) featuring a new song, "Labels Or Love" from Fergie, a Madison Park Vs. Lenny B remix of Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love" performed by Nina Simone, and a cover of The Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love" by The Bird & The Bee

The Smithereens - Live in Concert! Greatest Hits & More (Koch) featuring two new songs and covers of Buddy Holly's "Well Alright" and the Batman theme, the 18-track set is culled from the band's four-night stint at The Court Tavern in New Brunswick, New Jersey, earlier this year

Frank Zappa - Wazoo (Vaulternative Records) two-CD live concert from 1972 released by the Zappa Family Trust, celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Grand Wazoo album

various artists - Disco Italia (Strut) 13 lost, fly European boogies of the 1977 to 1985 club era from Kano, the Five Letters, Firefly, and D.D. Sound

various artists - Little Steven's Underground Garage Presents: The Coolest Songs in the World Volume 5 (Wicked Cool) tracks by Cheap Trick, the Hellacopters, Butch Walker & the Lets Go Out Tonites, The Pipettes, The Dollyrots, and Jimmy Jukebox

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