MUSIC

Playlist: Bob Dylan (1962-64)

It seems Bob Dylan has lived a number of different lives over the past six decades since overtaking the folk music scene with his acoustic guitar and harmonica in the early 1960s. He’s somehow managed to remain relevant in some form or fashion no matter how much his arrogance and cynicism rubbed others the wrong the way.

The key to longevity lies in the willingness to adapt and evolve, though not necessarily in that order. What makes Dylan great is that even throughout his changes he’s somehow stuck to the script of writing songs for those that otherwise have no voice.

Dylan’s first four albums provide insight into what was to come in the many years that followed: Songs about life and death; of protest; about the comings and goings of love; and the reality of life’s prejudices.

(more…)

Playlist: Wu-Tang Clan Solo Album Compilation (1994-96)

The Wu-Tang Clan hit the scene in 1993 with a debut album that featured nine emcees rapping over gritty soundscapes unheard of at the time in hip hop.

What followed was the release of a handful of solo albums from 1994-96, by six individuals from within the group. The Clan’s creator, The RZA, oversaw the majority of production for each record outside of his involvement with the Gravediggaz.

This Spotify playlist contains 26 tracks from those albums. It opens with one song from each of the selections listed below, in order of release date, and repeats itself throughout. The intent was to include tracks from each solo album that featured other Wu-Tang members. Enjoy.
(more…)

Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore & Randy Rhodes featuring Ozzy Osbourne & Ronnie James Dio

Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne released their eighth and final studio album together in 1978. The aptly titled Never Say Die! came out the same year as Rainbow’s Long Live Rock n’ Roll, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals.

Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi eventually replaced Osbourne with Dio just as the decade was coming to a end. Ever since it’s seemed as if Sabbath and Osbourne were destined to move in different directions.

The Spotify playlist I’ve compiled focuses on a three-year stretch involving these individuals. It features every song from Never Say Die! and Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll, along with Sabbath’s first album with Dio (Heaven and Hell) and Osbourne’s first solo effort (Blizzard of Ozz), both of which were released in 1980.

It must be noted that Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll features Ritchie Blackmore on guitar while Randy Rhodes is the lead man on Blizzard of Ozz. There’s 34 songs in all.

(more…)

VIDEO: Outkast Returns With Full Setlist at Coachella Festival

Not many in the world of hip hop have been able to duplicate the creative prowess of Outkast over the past 20 years. Just sift through their discography for proof of the unique twists and turns they’ve taken with each album.

Each time they’ve returned to the scene they’ve captured the public’s attention while blending musical borders. And now they’re back in full force in 2014.

Big Boi and Andre 3000 made their long awaited reunion last night at the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival, which is some sort of gathering that pulls fans from all walks of life and musical backgrounds.

It’s likely that most in the crowd was experiencing the full brunt of Outkast’s funk for the very first time. Lucky for those of us who couldn’t be there, the whole performance can be seen online. It’s not without it’s flaws, but it’s all we’ve got for now. Check the full setlist after the jump.

(more…)

Album Review: Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars (2014)

Disclaimer: Back in the early 1990s I learned that I share the same birthday as that of iconic musician Johnny Cash. Through the years I’ve connected in different ways with the contradictions of such a personality, but I’ve also remained unbiased when it comes to critiquing his body of recorded work.

I’m not much of a country music fan, but I do consider myself a bit of a Johnny Cash aficionado when it comes to the Man In Black’s discography. Though I plan to write more about the subject down the road, the most urgent matter of today is this week’s release of a once-shelved Cash studio album dating back to the mid-1980s.

(more…)