Tuesday, November 16, 2010


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wedneday morning at about 9 am ET-ish, I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ where I am a contributor to The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. (The show is co-hosted by comedian Keith Price). Tomorrow I'll be talking about new music from some real legends.

First off is Elvis Costello's new album, National Ransom, which I just wrote a post about. The album sort of combines what he did on his last album, the very rootsy Secret, Profane and Sugarcane, and the prior album, the more garage rocking Momofuku. It actually combines musicians from both albums. I really respect the way Elvis is always pushing himself. With all of his success, he still seems to really try hard.

You can't really say the same for Rod Stewart, who has just released the fifth volume of his American Songbook series. I guess you can't blame the guy for going back to that: his album of soft rock covers (Still The Same) and his R&B covers album (Soulbook) didn't really do well, but the Songbook series sold millions. And he's pretty good at doing it. I have heard a few songs from the new album - same deal as all the prior installments of the series - they're fine.  But you don't get the impression that he's even sweating.  And Rod's best music (his early solo stuff, The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces) has lots of sweat. I've heard Rod say that he wants to do something with The Black Keys.  Hell yeah!  Oh, by the way, The Faces are touring with dude from Simply Red singing.  Just sayin'.

Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry has a new album, Olympia. I have to admit, I never really "got" Roxy or Ferry, but I don't have a problem with them. There's a new song on his album, "Heartache By Numbers," that I was hoping I'd like - it is a collaboration with Scissor Sisters, but I didn't really like it. I do like the song "Me Oh My," which I think features David Gilmour.

Speaking of Gilmour, he has a new collaborative album with trace music group The Orb. People may think that that is an odd combination, but I don't.  Plenty of Floyd's music sounds like a precursor to trance. Listen to the beginning of  "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." That said, I don't really "get" it, but I thought it would be interesting to talk about, especially if Larry or some of the listeners can explain it to me.

Here's a real legend: Loretta Lynn. She should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, no question. Yes, she's obviously country, but listen to "Rated X," "Don't Come Home From Drinkin' With Lovin' On Your Mind" and "Fist City." The woman is badass. There's a new tribute album to her, Coal Miner's Daughter. It's OK: like lots of tribute albums, it's about the list of artists, it demonstrates how influencial she is.  Loretta does a new version of "Coal Miner's Daughter" with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow. It shows that she appeals to both sides of the aisle, as it were. The White Stripes are on the album, as is Steve Earle and Allison Moorer, Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Lucinda Williams and Kid Rock. My opinion: they should have gotten Elizbeth Cook, who reminds me more of Loretta than anyone else I've ever heard.

Quincy Jones has a new album, Soul Bossa Nostra. I guess the deal with his albums is, he produces everything. Dude has experience producing great music, he's worked with Ray Charles, Miles Davis and Michael Jackson. Some of the stuff I have heard on this album is awful.  He works with Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson on a cover of "It's My Party." I wish I liked that, but I don't.  There's an "update" of the Sanford & Son theme, featuring T.I. and B.o.B. and some other people, but it's just a generic sounding hip-hop track that samples that classic theme. One song I do like is "Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me" which features Mary J. Blige and Q-Tip (although Tip is hardly even on it!).

I wrote about Tom Jones a while back. On his last album, he did a really great cover of Bruce Springsteen's "The Hitter." It wasn't Vegasy or over the top.  He takes that a bit further on his new album , Praise and Blame, produced by Ethan Johns for Lost Highway Records. It reminds me of what Rick Rubin has done with Neil Diamond... it makes you look at him a bit differently.  Tom does a good cover of the Dylan classic "What Good Am I?" and a pretty rocking take on John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell."

Speaking of the blues, Buddy Guy has a new album, Living Proof, and we'll talk about that too.

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