Bill Paxton, who died on Saturday at age 61 due to complications from surgery, was generally known first and foremost for his work as an actor, secondarily for his work as a director, and once in a blue moon, he might come up in conversation for his work as a musician. Not often, though. And that’s a shame, because his band Martini Ranch delivered 10 tracks of fun with their 1988 album HOLY COW.
It’s a little staggering to realize that The Nitty Gritty Dirty Band celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, but just because it’s hard to believe doesn’t mean it isn’t true: they’ve been around since 1966, and although the lineup might have changed a bit over the years, they’ve never stopped making music.
by Will Harris
47 years ago this month, The Impressions released their 12th studio album, but it’s an LP that’s remembered predominantly because it’s the last one that featured Curtis Mayfield fronting the group.
Recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, CHECK OUT YOUR MIND! kicked off with the album’s seriously funky title track, which went on to hit #3 on Billboard’s R&B Singles chart and had such an undeniable groove that it gave the group another top-40 hit as well, hitting #28 on the Hot 100. The album’s second single, “Turn On to Me,” also proved to be a substantial hit, climbing to #56 on the Hot 100 and to #6 on the R&B Singles chart.
49 years ago this month, Vanilla Fudge released their sophomore album, an LP which followed the same general formula as their self-titled debut but was released in a form which was ultimately more the vision of their producer than it was of the band members themselves.
Taking its title from the Sonny Bono song that features on the album, THE BEAT GOES ON was produced by George “Shadow” Morton, who took Vanilla Fudge’s work in the studio and turned it into a concept album filled less with songs than what might be best described as sound collages. It’s a supremely odd piece of work, to be sure, and it’s one that’s called “the weirdest album in classic rock history” by some and called “the worst album I’ve ever heard” by others.