Tuesday, June 15, 2010


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ. I am a weekly contributor to The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Tomorrow I'll be talking about some great singer-songwriters, including one of Larry's favorites.  

A while ago, I wrote about James Taylor's tour with Carole King. It turns out that it is one of the hottest tours of the year! In the early '70s, James and Carole shared a backing band and did gigs together.  They actually did a few shows at the Trobadour in L.A. a while back, and have just released an excellent live album from the shows. It's easy to make fun of this and call it boomer soft-rock or whatever.  But James is an incredible songwriter and in my opinion, Carole is even better. She is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - as a "non-performer." For her career as a songwriter for other people (along with her former songwriting partner and ex-husband, Gerry Goffin). I would argue that she should be inducted for a second time, this time as a performer. 

Speaking of Carole King, Sony Legacy has just released The Essential Carole King. It is a bit different than the many other releases in the Essential series, in that one disc is Carole performing her own songs, the other disc features other artists, including Aretha Franklin, Little Eva, The Cookies and Billy Joel, performing her songs.  Before she was a performer, she worked as a songwriter in the Brill Building (Neil Diamond worked there as well). She wrote a lot of great songs for other people: but her own album Tapestry is a stone cold classic. 

A lot of people classify Jackson Browne along with James and Carole: a singer-songwriter who came of age in the late '60s and early '70s who seemed to be the drier next movement after the hippie era. And like James and Carole, he was never part of a band to reunite with.  James and Carole had both done some stripped down and solo tours, and without a band to reunite with, they reunited with each other (and their former backing band). Jackson has also done the stripped down thing in recent years, but for this live album, he reunited with his multi-instrumentalist collaborator David Lindley.  Their live album was recorded on a tour of Spain in 2006, and features some collaborators from Spain. I'm not a huge Jackson fan.  I love his politics, but I'm not totally into his music.  He is one of Larry Flick's favorite artists though. I interviewed Jackson once, and he was very cool.  

Jakob Dylan just released his second solo album, Women & Country.  His first one was produced by Rick Rubin and was stripped down a la double R's productions of Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. This time around he worked with T-Bone Burnett who produced his most successful album, The Wallflowers' Bringing Down The Horse. Women & Country is great. I think Jakob is always going to be underrated. First of all, there's dad. Second, that Wallflowers album was so big, he isn't likely to get another album that is that popular. But you have me, so you don't need hype!  Trust me, get this album. 

Jack Johnson has just released his latest album, To The Sea, which apparently had one of the best first week sales numbers of 2010.  Of course, that doesn't mean as much as it used to, but good for Jack. I think even he is surprised at how successful he's been.  I've interviewed him, and he seems to be such a good guy. People think he doesn't have any edge to him, but he grew up listening to Fugazi and Metallica.  It's just not his thing to make that kind of music. Anyway, I like a lot of his songs (I don't know if I'd go to a concert, but I've enjoyed seeing him open for other people and at festivals), and I really like his new song, "You and Your Heart." 

Finally, Karen Elson a new artist who took me totally by surprise. I promise to write more about her pretty soon.  I really like her self titled debut album. 

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