Mon, 31 October 2016
Turn the volume up to 11 and check out the latest episode of the Blerd Radio podcast. In this installment, Dr. Z, Michael Parr and Big Money are discussing Metallica's magnum opus, their self-titled 1991 album.
That album (otherwise known as The Black Album-not to be confused with Prince's Black Album...or Jay Z's Black Album..or The Beatles' White Album...or Jamal Lyon's Black & White Album) is a behemoth of the modern era. Over 17 million copies sold, winner of multiple American Music Awards and Grammys, and still in the top 100 25 years after its release. Metal "purists" these days may scoff at the album's quality, but the proof is in Metallica's continued success.
The album contributed to the vanquishing of the "hair metal" era, outlasted the grunge era, and inspired just about every hard rock subgenre to follow. The podcast discusses the influence of notorious taskmaster producer Bob Rock, the power dynamic of lead singer/guitarist James Hatfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and the slight refinement of the sound Metallica put together over their four previous albums. Also discussed: everything the quartet has released in Metallica's wake, a few interesting observations regarding fellow thrash metal legends Megadeth (I'm gonna assume you all are aware of Dave Mustaine's connection to Metallica) and whether the black album truly is the crown jewel in Metallica's catalog.
Mon, 17 October 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, in which Thomas Inskeep and Mike Joseph listen to and discuss the songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot Black/R&B/Soul Singles chart during the '80s, five at a time.
Uh...make that six at a time. We've deviated from the 5 songs format quite a bit over the last several episodes (which you can listen to if you click this link), and in this particular installment, we do six songs to get all of our Thriller conversation out of the way. Why? Because three of the first six songs to top the R&B charts in 1983 came from Michael Jackson's behemoth LP. The six tracks we discuss, in order, are...
"The Girl Is Mine" by MJ & Paul McCartney
We get the three Michael songs out of the way consecutively, so I guess you could say this is the first episode in which we don't totally go in sequential order. And now for some show notes...
-Clearly, 1983 belonged to Michael Jackson. For goodness' sakes, the man got a BEATLE to top the R&B chart. Stevie couldn't even do that!
-Someone might actually have a soft spot for will.i.am's McCartney-less 2008 remix of "The Girl Is Mine".
-The yacht rock conversation rears its head again; not only due to McCartney's involvement, but because the members of Toto are all over "The Girl Is Mine" and the rest of Thriller, for that matter. Our friends over at the Beyond Yacht Rock podcast recently dedicated an entire episode to "yacht soul", and they also discuss Toto's connection to the Quincy Jones/Jackson family.
-If we're talking about Michael Jackson and Toto, a conversation about the Grammy Awards can't be far behind. Thomas sidebars into a discussion about the NARAS voting policy, which used to allow for singles and albums to be nominated in the same category (and doesn't anymore).
-We take a few minutes to pay tribute to the great Rod Temperton, who contributed mightily to Thriller and who sadly passed away about a week before this episode was recorded.
-Memories of Motown 25 and Michael
-Shout out to Jeffrey Daniel of Shalamar.
-"Beat It" might have been the hardest rocking track to chart #1 R&B, a tribute to Michael Jackson's momentum at that time. MJ was such a hot commodity at that point that Eddie Van Halen (who infamously played the guitar solo on "Beat It") found himself with an R&B chart single barely a year after playing on Michael's session.
-We could do an entire podcast listing songs that have sampled The Gap Band's "Outstanding", and this segment cements the Wilson Brothers as the entity we've discussed the most in the first several episodes of this series.
-We could also do an entire podcast listing songs that have sampled George Clinton's "Atomic Dog", which was not only the P-Funk mastermind's sole solo #1 hit, but also his only R&B Top Ten as a solo artist.
-Going long on Clinton, the late '70s reign of Parliament/Funkadelic and all of Clinton's satellite projects are discussed. As is the fact that the first charted recording of a former Miss America (and future multi-media megastar) named Vanessa Williams came as the result of a Clinton session.
-"Candy Girl" introduces Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike and Ralph to the world and also becomes the first R&B chart-topper to feature a rap segment.
-If it wasn't for New Edition, there wouldn't be a New Kids On The Block. As much as NKOTB gets derided, they do have an R&B chart presence as well, although some of us would rather forget this golden moment with rappers Nice and Smooth.
-Thomas saw New Edition live a few years ago, and he has a story to tell about it.
(We also acknowledge that a) there are some audio fidelity issues with this podcast that will be fixed next time around and b) this episode runs slightly longer than usual. We appreciate you listening!)
Oh right! The opening and closing tracks in this episode are, respectively: "I.O.U." by Freeez, and "Block Party" by Stacy Lattisaw with Johnny Gill.
Tue, 11 October 2016
Get your big suit on and join me, Dr. Z and Michael Parr for the latest episode of the Blerd Radio podcast. In this installment, the three of us are talking about 1983's Speaking In Tongues, the most commercially successful studio album by new wave legends Talking Heads. A million-seller, Tongues was an MTV favorite that spawned the quartet's only top ten pop single, "Burning Down The House". It also spawned a host of warmly remembered songs that have become classics in the ensuing decades; the funky "Girlfriend Is Better", the shuffling groove of "Slippery People", and the tender "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)".
This podcast acknowledges the relatively commercial bent of Speaking In Tongues (relative to Talking Heads' earlier work) and explores how the album's sound combined with the band's visual presentation to ensure success. We also talk about the Talking Heads-related side project Tom Tom Club (featuring band members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth), and how that album's unexpected success paved the way for Tongues. We shout out P-Funk keyboard legend, the recently deceased Bernie Worrell (who played a huge role in Tongues), and explore the album's foray into funk, further assisted by LaBelle's Nona Hendryx and The Brothers Johnson's Alex Weir. Props are given to the Staple Singers (who covered "Slippery People), Dave Matthews Band (who have covered "Burning Down The House" live on several occasions), and a ton of artists who have covered "This Must Be The Place", a song that deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame of love songs.
If you'd like to enjoy this and other podcasts in the Blerd Radio family, you can listen in the player below. You may also stream the podcast on Liberated Syndication, or download the audio directly to your device. Of course, we'd love it if you checked us out on iTunes and subscribed! No matter how you decide to listen, we hope you keep coming back for more!!