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Jeff Beck, Brian Wilson review: perfect harmony
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck have lived their lives in parallel musical universes, but in the wide, wonderful world of rock 'n' roll, parallel lines do meet. At the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on Tuesday, in an unforgettable tableau, the exquisite British blues-rock guitarist drew out Wilson's sunny melodies in silvery, wavering guitar lines as the combined forces of his band and the Beach Boys founder's backing group stitched together the complex harmonies and orchestrations from Wilson's lost masterpiece, "Smile." ...sfgate

Rascals' show revisits era of good lovin', playin'
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
How did Little Steven find the time?

He tours the world playing guitar with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. He maintains a thriving acting career launched by a long-running part in "The Sopranos." He hosts a syndicated weekly radio show and runs his own record label, among other enterprises....sfgate

Fillmore's Poster Room filled with walls of sound
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
They ran out of space on the walls of the Poster Room at the Fillmore Auditorium years ago. The most recent addition advertises a Black Keys concert from 2007. Every available inch of the wall space in the upstairs bar and restaurant as well as the adjacent balcony room is covered with framed posters from sold-out Fillmore shows of the past ...sfgate

Giving credit to Woodstock hero Alvin Lee
Friday, March 8, 2013
His frantic, flashy guitar playing on the nearly 10-minute "I'm Going Home" made British rock musician Alvin Lee, who died this week at age 68 in southern Spain, one of the heroes of Woodstock, both the music festival and the subsequent movie....sfgate

Singer Rick Stevens embraces 2nd chance
Monday, January 28, 2013
Wearing a glacial-white suit and tie, set off by a blood-orange shirt, the compact, dark-haired vocalist Rick Stevens leaned into "You're Still a Young Man," his signature song as lead vocalist of Tower of Power, when the band burst out of the East Bay funk scene 40 years ago and Stevens had a promising future. ...sfgate

Review: Johnny Cash Columbia boxed set
Monday, December 3, 2012
Johnny Cash had to disappear from the skyline before it became obvious how tall a tree he truly was.

If any doubts remain, the newly released 63-disc boxed set, "Johnny Cash - The Complete Columbia Album Collection" - takes the full measure of the man's recorded legacy. With the addition of a single disc covering his first three years of recording for the Sun Records label - and Cash's absent latter-era sessions with producer Rick Rubin notwithstanding - this unwieldy set is an American treasury along the lines of....sfgate

2 Generations of Hoodoo Rhythm Devils
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
A son who grew up barely knowing his father and a musician who still misses his partner more than 30 years after his death will team up to bring back to life the music of the Hoodoo Rhythm Devils, a little-remembered band that was one of the great almost-was, hard-luck stories of the '70s San Francisco rock scene....sfgate

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival ends
Monday, October 8, 2012
As Emmylou Harris walked out on stage Sunday to close the 12th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, as she has every year, a light ocean breeze picked up, signaling the end of a great musical weekend....sfgate

qNew Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival review
Monday, April 30, 2012
Seven years later, New Orleans is back and hotter than ever.With record-breaking attendance at the first weekend of the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - highlighted by appearances from Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the re-formed Beach Boys - the town's many restaurants, bars and clubs packed with patrons and the French Quarter overrun with visitors, Jazz Fest has finally equaled and exceeded pre-Katrina prosperity. ...sfgate

qSaxophonist Bobby Keys rolls with rock's royalty
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Keith Richards likes his pal's book better than his own. " 'It gets to the meat of the matter faster' is what he said," says Bobby Keys, saxophonist for the Rolling Stones for the past 40 or so years and pirate mate to swashbuckling Richards. ...sfgate

qLevon Helm: an appreciation by Joel Selvin
Saturday, April 21, 2012
At the heart of the clapboard honesty that made the Band sound so revolutionary when it emerged on the rock scene in 1969 was the impossibly dusty voice of Levon Helm. Everything he sang was the truth - an unmistakable sound. ...sfgate

qFete for a King: Dan Hicks at 70
Monday, April 2, 2012
Dan Hicks is feeling the pressure, as he inspects a piece of scenery being painted at the studio above Mill Valley's Throckmorton Theatre. It is a giant cutout of a '40s automobile, all fender and tires, which he calls "Hicksville ambience." He regards painter Joan Reynolds balefully......sfgate

qBig Brother & the Holding Company live CD review
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Bear's Sonic Journals Presents Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968: Columbia/Legacy, $9.99.

A new compact disc of old live recordings by Big Brother & the Holding Company captures not only that band at its enviable peak but perhaps the entire San Francisco '60s Haight-Ashbury thing in one of its last shining hours. ....sfgate

qChubby Checker awaits reward for life of twists
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Lincoln, -- Placer County - Chubby Checker is ticked off. But only in the very nicest possible way.

The 70-year-old creator of the twist, the greatest dance sensation in history, doesn't feel the respect he thinks he deserves. He sits in his modest suite on the top occupied floor of the Thunder Valley Hotel and Casino, where he will perform that evening once again, trying to explain how he feels.....sfgate

qJohnny Otis - Rhythm and Blues Renaissance Man
Monday, January 23, 2012
If rhythm and blues ever had a renaissance man, his name was Johnny Otis.

Otis, who died Tuesday at 90, was a bandleader, an administrative assistant to the lieutenant governor, a minister with his own church, a disc jockey, a college professor, a painter and sculptor, an author, and a celebrated chef. ....sfgate

qWarren Hellman's passion spawned world-class fest
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Warren Hellman stood behind his desk in the corner office. He was wearing his trademark faded denim shirt and no tie - hardly the expected gear for billionaire investment bankers. He punched up a website on his laptop and broke into a huge grin as the voice of coal miner's daughter Hazel Dickens sputtered forth......sfgate

qSelvin on Bill Graham's death, 20 years later
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of the death of concert impresario Bill Graham, founder of a business empire and a major player in rock 'n' roll history both in the Bay Area and throughout the United States. The Chronicle's longtime pop music critic Joel Selvin remembers that night. ....sfgate

q'George Harrison: Living in the Material World'
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The portrait of George Harrison that emerges from the new Martin Scorsese documentary, "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," airing in two parts Wednesday and Thursday on HBO, is a convoluted mass of contradictory characteristics, with a little Vaseline on the lens to blur some of the less comfortably explained pieces of the story.....sfgate

qLouisiana's Honey Island Swamp Band has S.F. roots
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The hottest new band in New Orleans started in San Francisco. Guitarist Chris Mulé and bassist Aaron Wilkinson were playing with guitarist Eric Lindell on tour in San Francisco when Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005. Everything Wilkinson owned was stashed in his van and his roommate's apartment back in Louisiana ....sfgate

q'Rock of Ages' musical exhumes '80s power ballads
Sunday, February 27, 2011
There have been few musical sins committed in the name of rock 'n' roll as egregious as the power ballad. Not really rock and not really a good idea to begin with, the rock power ballad was born in the '70s as a way for hard-rock bands to get their crummy music on the radio, like "Beth" by Kiss.....sfgate

qRodney Crowell's memoir 'Chinaberry Sidewalks'
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Rodney Crowell recounts the turbulent, complicated relationship of his parents in his memoir, "Chinaberry Sidewalks" (Knopf, 272 pages, $24.95), like a sad country song he might have written, distancing himself from the pain and anger with dark humor. ....sfgate

qArhoolie Records' roots showing on 50th birthday
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Chris Strachwitz remembers when giants walked the earthHe shakes his head as he recalls recording Mississippi bluesman Big Joe Williams, king of the nine-string guitar, at the very beginning of Arhoolie Records, the Berkeley folklore recording empire over which he has presided for a full 50 years....sfgate

q'Composed' Rosanne Cash makes peace with past
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Rosanne Cash is going to appear the next day on "Good Morning America." She looked in the mirror that morning and thought she needed to lose 5 pounds, so she doesn't eat her french fries and orders her hamburger without the bun. Show business demands sacrifice.....sfgate

qBuffalo Springfield together again on Bridge bill
Monday, October 25, 2010
For a group from rock's Pleistocene era that managed only one real hit in the band's short life and haven't appeared together onstage in 43 years, Buffalo Springfield has always attracted an outsize degree of sentiment, largely because of its two famed alumni: Stephen Stills and Neil Young....sfgate

qHardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival draws 600,000
Monday, October 4, 2010
The bluegrass invasion swarmed over the west end of Golden Gate Park again this weekend as financier Warren Hellman threw his million-dollar bash, the 10th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and the park was filled with people playing fiddles, mandolins and banjos - way past the legal limit.....sfgate

qMusic review: Bob Dylan at the Warfield
Friday, August 27, 2010
Bob Dylan conducted something of an intimate house party Wednesday at the Warfield with more than a thousand of his closest friends or, at least, those willing to wait in line for tickets before the show. Tickets for the last-minute addition to his touring schedule - he played the night before at a sold-out Fox Oakland - were placed on sale the day of the show only and sold for cash. When the box office opened at 5:30 Wednesday afternoon, a line snaked down Market Street,

q40-year reunion of 'Mill Valley' third-graders
Monday, August 9, 2010
A half-dozen middle-aged men and women adjusted their glasses and looked up at the television in Judy Berman's living room. Watching themselves as 8-year-olds in a promotional film shot 40 years ago by a young Francis Ford Coppola, they were celebrating the anniversary of a flukey hit record that painted the town of Mill Valley as an idyllic haven "where people aren't afraid to smile, and stop and talk to you a while."....sfgate

qTime comes back around for Lester Chambers
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Lester Chambers can't play the cowbell anymore. An injury to his neck, probably exacerbated by all those years of playing cowbell in the first place, has sidelined the man who made the instrument famous on the opening of the Chambers Brothers hit "Time Has Come Today.".

qqOld friends join Bill Kirchen for truck-free CD
Sunday, June 20, 2010
There are no truck songs on "Word to the Wise," the new album by guitarist Bill Kirchen. "The second record with no truck songs, you'll notice," he says over the phone from his Maryland home. "I figured that I had enough truck songs in my repertoire, that I'd either written or learned, to last a lifetime. I'm not eschewing truck songs. My plate is full. ....sfgate
qTrombone Shorty to spice S.F. with Treme flavor
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
A packed crowd of drunken white Southern college kids jammed into the House of Blues in the French Quarter last month on the opening night of Jazzfest to watch Trombone Shorty, New Orleans' brightest new star in a generation, play a punishing 2 1/2-hour set, only the first gig in the 10 busiest days of his annual calen
dar ....sfgate

qAll-star concert honors life of Norton Buffalo
Nobody ever knew anybody like Norton Buffalo. It was his gift to make anyone he met feel like his friend. He played on more than 180 albums, and every one of the musicians who hired him thought he was their friend.
When Buffalo was diagnosed with lung cancer in September after getting off his summer tour with the Steve Miller Band, his longtime bandleader and close friend talked to Buffalo about putting together a benefit concert.....sfgate

qDionne Warwick has sung a 'blessed' career
Dionne Warwick was a college student who sang in New York City recording sessions when songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, yet to have their first big hit, picked her out of a background choir at a Drifters session. She sang their demos first and eventually made their biggest hits, including "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Walk on By," both recorded at the same morning session, and another half dozen Top Ten hits that formed one of the most beloved treasuries of 20th century American popular song......sfgate



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