Tag Archives: Bob Seger

The Rationals Deserve Some of Your Respect

20 Jun

 In 2010, 60’s garage-rock band  The Rationals finally got some respect when they were voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends online Hall of Fame. Coincidentally, The Rationals’ cover of “Respect,” by Otis Redding is what initially launched them onto the charts for the only time in their six-year existence. But despite the lack of success, their brand of Beatles-influenced garage rock was certainly an influence for later Michigan musicians like The Stooges and MC5.

The Rationals were formed in 1964 and immediately found success in the local market. This prompted some attention by record companies, and the band was signed by A² records in 1965. In 1966, the band covered “Respect” which was picked up by Cameo and released to the country. It found the charts at #92 and earned them some notoriety. Unfortunately for the Rationals, the music didn’t latch on everywhere and the band remained a Michigan favorite but not a national success. After some more singles they fell victim to in-fighting and bad management and broke up in 1970.

It took until 2009 for a collection to be put together called Think Rational which featured a good sampling of the band’s work. And, proving that hindsight is always 20/20, the band was (and still is) heralded as a seminal garage rock act and a true unappreciated treasure. Better late than never I guess. It is well deserved. The music is fresh and lively. It is catchy and twangy, raw but organized, British-inspired but genuinely American branded. Lead Singer Scott Morgan, who is battling liver disease and currently awaiting a liver transplant, had a smooth and almost effortless voice. He also could blow the heck out of the harmonica. The band also featured Steve Correll on lead guitar and vocals, Bill Figg on drums, and Terry Trabandt on bass and vocals.

Here is a video of The Rationals performing “Respect.”  It is a tame cover, well constructed and a true head-bopper. I am a big fan of Scott Morgan’s voice. I also love the Brit-esque harmonies and the harmonica trill. When I listened to this cover I was a reminded of Bob Seger’s early work as a garage rock musician in Michigan with his band the Last Heard. Recorded around the same time as The Rationals’ “Respect” you can certainly spot several similarities (the song also shares a similar chorus with “Gloria” which was recorded by Van Morrison and Them two years earlier)

Listen to Seger’s “East Side Story”

Let me also show you the B-side of the “Respect” single that hit the charts. It is “Feelin’ Lost,” and pays even more tribute to the invasion sound that was pervasive in rock music at the time.

The song is short and repetitive. It features choral harmonies, a short recognizable riff, and a constant drum beat. These are all distinguishable factors of the British Invasion and Garage Rock. The band does it quite well though and it is a shame they did not hit more success. But, alas, we can enjoy it now!

Tours and New Albums and Tours: Bob Seger, Bright Eyes, The Mountain Goats

31 Jan

Bob Seger Turns the Page Quickly

Back Touring

In a Rolling Stone exclusive, writer Andy Greene outlines the process of Bob Seger’s decision to tour this Spring. Last year his staff quietly scheduled 40-50 concerts which Seger declined initially. But, he turned the page on the book of no and randomly alerted his staff this month that he actually wants to tour. Seger put his staff in a large predicament. It takes months to schedule a U.S. wide tour. To say they have scrambled to get everything together is an understatement.

But it has been announced that Seger will embark on a two-and-a-half month tour beginning in March, so I guess they did a good job. A few dates will be announced next week as the staff continues to iron out the tour details.

The tour will be classic Seger mixed with some new tracks off of his upcoming 17th studio album set to be released sometime this summer, according to Seger.

I saw Bob Seger back in 2006/2007 when he toured last. He rocked MSG to the tune of a packed crowd. I expect the very same this time around.

Article: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-bob-seger-tour-details-20110128

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Bright Eyes’ Bright New Album

Bright Eyes has released several albums displaying their indie/folk style and lead singer/songwriter Conor Oberst’s melancholic and fluid lyric. In an exclusive NPR first listen, writer Robin Hilton boldly declares that their new album The People’s Key is the zenith of Bright Eyes’ success. Keep in mind Bright Eyes released I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning which is widely regarded as one of the best album’s of the last decade.

In the review, Hilton describes Oberst as, “older and wiser and more sure of himself. His voice is stronger, the sonic palette is richer and the poetry is more compelling.”

And on first listen I actually agree. Oberst and Bright Eyes explore a wide spectrum of music on this album. They move from straight folk into odd experimental tracks. There is no better example than the first track “Firewall” (below) which features Oberst’s friend Denny Brewer, who is the guitarist for the band Refried Icecream, talk about his esoteric views on existence. Esoteric because I don’t want to call them utterly nonsensical and chimerical. The song that follows continues in that vein both musically and lyrically. The album is a huge success and is available for listening on NPR through the link provided. The album comes out for purchase on Feb. 15.

Exclusive First Listen: http://www.npr.org/2011/01/30/133278431/first-listen-bright-eyes-the-peoples-key

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All Eternals Deck Continues Mountain Goats’ Awesomeness

I have posted so many pictures of this band on the blog I am running out of picture choices.

The Mountain Goats are coming back to the Eastern United States to promote their new album All Eternals Deck, which is set to be released March 29. How do I respond to this news?

YES!!!!!!!!!

That is somewhat suitable. They are coming to Ithaca on April 2 and I am going to see them for my second time. I just bought tickets. The Mountain Goats are one of my favorite bands and John Darnielle is a lyrical deity.

The new album will most likely be fantastic. I will lean on the first song leaked from the album entitled “Damn Those Vampires.” Take a listen.

Below is the track list from the album and the concert schedule.

All Eternals Deck tracklist:
1. Damn These Vampires
2. Birth of Serpents
3. Estate Sale Sign
4. Age of Kings
5. The Autopsy Garland
6. Beautiful Gas Mask
7. High Hawk Season
8. Prowl Great Cain
9. Sourdoire Valley Song
10. Outer Scorpion Squadron
11. For Charles Bronson
12. Never Quite Free
13. Liza Forever Minnelli

The Mountain Goats – 2011 Tour Dates
3/24 Richmond, VA @ The National
3/25 Washington DC @ 930 Club
3/26 York, PA @ Strand-Capitol PAC
3/28 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
3/29 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
4/01 Boston, MA @ Paradise
4/02 Ithaca, NY @ Castaways
4/03 Toronto, ON @ Opera House
4/05 Chicago, IL @ The Vic
4/06 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
4/07 Atlanta GA @ Variety Playhouse
4/08 Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
4/10 Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
4/11 Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center
4/12 Pittsburgh PA @ Mr Smalls
4/15 Philadelphia PA@ Theater of Living Arts

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