Steve Crawford

the Best of The Kinks Komplete

By Steve Crawford | July 30, 2014

Where Have All The Good Times Gone,” 1965. At the ripe old age of 21, poor rock star Ray is already wondering what’s happened to the worry free lifestyle of his youth. This sounds like a major hit, but was a B-side in 1965, then bombed as a single in 1973 (released after Bowie did his cover on Pin Ups). Is it just me or does the mother figure sound like a cougar?

The Best of The Kinks – Part II

By Steve Crawford | July 28, 2014

The picture is Waterloo Station in the mid 1800 but by the time young ray wrote about it, it was an industrial quagmire, Number One? Crawford had this to say: “Waterloo Sunset,” 1967. The most beautiful song I will ever hear.

The Hickoids, Fred’s Texas Café, Fort Worth, Texas, July 25th, 2014, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | July 27, 2014

It’s all about irreverent fun, although the shirtless Smith does bring a layer of sweat and sexuality. The 90 minute set ran a bit too long, this band can say everything it needs to in an hour, and I would have loved to have heard their spleen crushing version of “Brontosaurus” again.

The Best of the The Kinks – Part 1

By Steve Crawford | July 26, 2014

My first draft list had 25 entries, but with feedback from experts like Bill Holdship, John Kordosh, Iman Lababedi, Michael Bennett, A.C. Rhodes, and others, the list expanded to 40 and I could have easily included many others (“Powerman,” “Two Sisters,” “God’s Children,” and “Celluloid Heroes” are among the missing)

1981 – A+ List

By Steve Crawford | July 25, 2014

At the # 1 spot, American artist: “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” Willie Nelson. One of Willie’s best – a beautiful lyric of self-less love matched with equally inspiring guitar work. A #1 country hit.

The A+ List – 1980

By Steve Crawford | July 19, 2014

Lemmy and the boys formed in 1975, but struggled in their native U.K. until the Overkilland Bomber albums dented the album charts in 1979. The band released their signature punk meets metal anthem “Ace of Spades” in 1980 and it even went to #15 on the U.K. pop charts. Kilmister’s work as a rock ‘n’ roll icon and independent lawn killer is a never ending mission.

A Farewell to Da Brudders – The Ramones Leave Home

By Steve Crawford | July 14, 2014

The Ramones provided a psychological safety zone for a generation of misfits who intrinsically knew that conformity was neither a valid goal nor a viable option. They provided a haven not just as a gathering place for outcasts, but a beautiful celebration of the power of eccentricity.

Mack Vickery – Remembering Nashville’s Meat Man

By Steve Crawford | July 7, 2014

While his name isn’t widely known among music fans, the list of artists that recorded his material would make any writer proud. George Jones, Johnny Cash, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Lefty Frizzell, Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Jennings, and John Anderson all sang Vickery compositions

My Ten Favorite Tunes By My Favorite Ten Bands

By Steve Crawford | July 3, 2014

It was suggested that I might want to submit an article on my favorite songs by my ten favorite bands or spend the rest of my career dissecting Peter Cetera’s contribution to the Mexican milkweed underwear industry for Granola Bong Hit magazine’s South American edition

1979 – A+ List

By Steve Crawford | July 2, 2014

. “Boogie Wonderland,” Earth, Wind, & Fire. EWF managed to be all things to all people in the late ‘70s – they had elements of disco and funk, but stayed safely within the confines of Top 40 music. Looking back, they seemed bigger than they were – scoring seven Top Ten hits, four in ’78 and ’79. This happy feet dance number, which included The Emotions on vocals, captured the giddy vibe of the disco era,.

Parker Millsap, Billy Bob’s, Fort Worth, Texas, June 27th, 2014, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | June 29, 2014

That Pentecostal fervor informs his music – he can sing a straightforward ballad, but on the uptempo numbers, he howls and screams and bellows and throws his entire body into the music. He is a naturally unique and gifted performer.

The A+ List – 1978

By Steve Crawford | June 28, 2014

Van Halen erupted on the scene in ’78 with Eddie’s unmatched guitar pyrotechnics and David Lee Roth’s tongue-in-cheek (and elsewhere) macho posturing. Pretty much a coin flip on whether to select this one or “Dance the Night Away,” but the campy “I been to the edge” monologue makes the difference for me.

The A+ List – 1977

By Steve Crawford | June 25, 2014

“Alison,” Elvis Costello. Declan MacManus delivered a debut album that couldn’t be ignored; pairing pub rock licks with punk rock attitude and the wordplay/songwriting skills of a learned veteran, not a rookie that had just quit his day job. On “Alison,” he stumbles across an old flame that is drowning in unsalvageable sorrow

10 Essential Songs From the Pen of Gerry Goffin

By Steve Crawford | June 22, 2014

He is most famously known for his songwriting partnership with Carole King (the couple were married from 1959 to 1968). As a lyricist, Goffin was known for his acute writing from a female perspective and as King has noted, his ability to put “big ideas into simple words.”

1976 – A+ List

By Steve Crawford | June 20, 2014

“Anarchy in the U.K.,” The Sex Pistols. In November of ’76, a sea change occurred in the U.K. music scene as Johnny Rotten introduced himself as an anti-Christ/anarchist. While Rotten was declaring his goal to destroy passersby, the multi-tracked guitar of Steve Jones roared in violent agreement with the sentiment.

Casey Kasem – The Potentate of Pathos

By Steve Crawford | June 17, 2014

If Kasem had been simply spinning platters and telling chart positions, he would have been imminently replaceable. The bits of trivia, the stories about the artists and the songs, the dramatic build to the #1 hit of the week was all part of an ongoing narrative – part mystery, part discovery, always leading to the next week’s chapter in the ongoing saga of pop music history.

1975 – A+ List

By Steve Crawford | June 16, 2014

“Ballroom Blitz,” Sweet. Mixing bubblegum pop with Townshend power chords, songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman wrote a series of U.K. hits for Sweet, including “Little Willie,” “Wig-Wam Bam,” and the excitingly punctuated “Block Buster!” “Ballroom Blitz” is Sweet at their irresistible best and was a major international hit – it went to #2 in the U.K. in 1973 and #3 in the U.S. in 1975.

The Genius of Bob Wills – Twenty Essential Songs from the 1930s

By Steve Crawford | June 15, 2014

He truly displayed the versatility of the Texas Playboys during a stretch from 1935 to 1938, when the band recorded material influenced by blues, jazz, jug band, big band, pop, and country sources to make his uniquely rhythmic and upbeat brand of dance music

George Strait: A Wild And Crazy Bore

By Steve Crawford | June 12, 2014

He could be catchy and clever at times, but his calling card was restraint, not emotion. He didn’t make me laugh or cry or belt out a chorus – at best, he just didn’t make me lunge to change the station when his latest hit was played.

The A+ List – 1974

By Steve Crawford | June 9, 2014

John Prine penned “Angel” for his extraordinary 1971 debut album. Raitt gave this despondent tale of a woman living a passionless life an even more touching treatment. Always remember, common side effects of Zoloft include sleepiness, nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, skin rash, headache, diarrhea, upset stomach, loss of appetite, abnormal ejaculation, dry mouth, and weight loss.

Rolling Stone Magazine Gets Countrified

By Steve Crawford | June 7, 2014

The rag kicked off its new venture with, of course, a list. The website trumpeted loudly this week – “The Greatest 100 Country Songs of All Time.” The specific country was not designated.

1973 – The A+ List

By Steve Crawford | June 3, 2014

“Love Train,” The O’Jays. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the kings of the Philly soul sound, wrote and produced this #1 hit. The O’Jays formed in the late 1950s, but had no success until 1972, when Gamble and Huff produced “Back Stabbers” for the group. The O’Jays smartly stayed with G&H for the rest of the decade. For the love of money, if nothing else.

Dolly Parton, WinStar Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma, May 31st 2014, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | June 2, 2014

There is nothing inherently wrong with glitz, but Dolly has spent so much time focusing on her image and her bank account, that she has no energy left to put any heart into her music. I spent over $150 for two of the cheap seats at the sold out casino gig and in return my money, I got a lengthy Milli Vanilli tribute show.

Steve Crawford's Top 25 Songs Through May 31st, 2014

By Steve Crawford | June 1, 2014

This list heavy on alt-country No Depression Americana, but that’s just the way I roll these days. The #1 slot is by the band with the best album of the year so far (and the #3 slot comes from the second best album of the year). I have no idea if Parker Millsap is being sincere or ironic on “Truck Stop Gospel,” but in either case, he’s made me a believer. In Parker Millsap.

Tennessee City Can Change Its Name to Rocky Top

By Steve Crawford | May 31, 2014

The city council of Lake City has yet to formally vote on the name change, but that is most likely a mere formality. “Rocky Top,” a tune written in ten minutes to celebrate an idyllic, fictional Tennessee lifestyle will soon morph into a manufactured, t-shirt selling tourist trap. I bet Hooter’s is already looking for property.

1972 – The A+ List

By Steve Crawford | May 26, 2014

The common theme of ‘70s rock criticism was “this decade is horrendous, everything great happened in the ‘60s,” which is a sentiment that proves that The Beatles were more effective as a hangover than they were as an intoxication. 1972 was actually an embarrassment of riches and this listing could easily be doubled. So, let’s groove on back to the Nixon era without being nattering nabobs of negativity.

“Looking for Johnny”, Johnny Thunders Documentary, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 25, 2014

Like most documentaries, this is a labor of love and director Garcia does a fine job at highlighting the key events in Thunders’ life. However, the limited ability he had for licensing is a shortcoming of the film – most of the music used in the film is clamorous stage footage that doesn’t adequately display Thunders’ skill as a songwriter

The Old 97’s “Most Messed Up” Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 23, 2014

Rambunctious and sloppy and chaotic and hysterical with songs that you can both sing with and scream along to. If you’ve forgotten how thrilling traditional rock ‘n’ roll can be, this is one hell of a reminder. Play it loud. Knock back a few shots. Piss off your uptight neighbors.

Fading to Black – Tracing Johnny Cash's Footsteps in Dyess, Arkansas

By Steve Crawford | May 20, 2014

Poverty among rural farm families was the norm in that era and as you drive down the rough dirt road where Cash lived, you can easily imagine long walks into town on humid summer days – surrounded by nothing but dirt, cotton, and endless blue skies

1971: The A+ List

By Steve Crawford | May 15, 2014

1971 was a great year for what we now call classic rock – Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who all released indispensable albums. Boiling down 1971 to 20 A+ tracks was no easy feat – my apologies to the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics, among others.

1970 – The A+ List

By Steve Crawford | May 9, 2014

This record gets the Best Supporting Cast award for 1970. Motown legends Holland/Dozier/Holland wrote the tune under a lawsuit avoiding pseudonym and The Funk Brothers played on the track. Ray Parker, Jr., who was still attending classes at Detroit’s Northwestern High School, played lead guitar.

The Flamin’ Groovies, The Kessler Theater, Dallas, Texas, May 4th, 2014, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 6, 2014

It was an abbreviated set – approximately 45 minutes long (or, one minute for each member of the audience). Jordan even apologized for the weak performance prior to the encore

Ghost (B.C.), House of Blues, Dallas, Texas, May 3rd, 2014‏

By Steve Crawford | May 5, 2014

Following the pre-taped introduction, the band hit the stage like a tornado – using wireless equipment gives the guitarists the freedom to stomp around the stage like rabid pachyderms. There’s plenty of flash, crunch, and bombast typical of a heavy metal show

The Zombies, Kessler Theater, Dallas, Texas, April 30th, 2014, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 2, 2014

Blunstone and Argent really haven’t lost a step; Blunstone still sounds more like a rock star than a man pushing 70. Argent gave the original hits “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No” a jazzier feel with his signature keyboard style. There were plenty of pleasures in the nineteen-song set.

Hank Cochran – The King of Traditional Country Heartbreak

By Steve Crawford | April 30, 2014

Cochran’s wasn’t interested in clever wordplay or innovative song structures. His specialty was traditional country heartbreak, served up in a simple ballad format. Listed below in chronological order are some of his most enduring contributions to country music.

Bob Wills Day, Turkey, Texas, April 25th, 2014

By Steve Crawford | April 27, 2014

Every year during the last weekend of April, the small West Texas community of Turkey, Texas celebrates the legacy of their most famous citizen with Bob Wills Day, as a huge fan of both Bob Wills and general weirdness, I’ve wanted to attend this event for years

Different Songs With The Same Name, Part II

By Steve Crawford | April 23, 2014

As attentive readers know, the theme of this piece is great songs by different artists that share the same title. In the first article on this subject, we learned to “Walk Like a Man” with The Four Season and Bruce Springsteen (but forgot Grand Funk), we observed “Love Is All Around” from the Troggs and Joan Jett, and we were infatuated with “Starry Eyes” by The Records and Roky Erickson.

"Different Songs With the Same Name: Part 1

By Steve Crawford | April 19, 2014

Inspiration can come at odd times. On one of my recent trips to Rock NYC Headquarters, Helen Bach and I got into a wee bit of legal trouble. It’s a long story that started with us…um…borrowing all of the money in the petty cash fund

AC/DC – A Baker’s Dozen Done Dirt Cheap

By Steve Crawford | April 17, 2014

Speaking of money, AC/DC’s Black Ice tour that started in 2008 and ended in 2010 grossed over $440 MILLION DOLLARS. This is, of course, the same amount of money that the United States military recently spent on inflatable balloon antennas.

Fourteen Fine Tunes from 2014

By Steve Crawford | April 15, 2014

Rachael Price, the great granddaughter of Seventh Day Adventist leader George McCready Price, is a superb vocalist and this song has a ‘70s classic pop structure. This is a band that displays retro influences without smelling like a pet rock.

Radio for a Wide Range: The Texas Music Hour of Power

By Steve Crawford | April 14, 2014

The program is an eclectic mixture of Texas legends (Nelson, Bob Wills, Ray Price), one hit wonders, and rarities. Rock, blues, country, and Tejano music are all part of the mix, with the emphasis being on rocking fun

Music of the 1940’s – The Essential List

By Steve Crawford | April 12, 2014

There were some major setbacks for the music industry in the 1940s. Shellac, the material used for 78 RPMs before vinyl, was needed for World War II military purposes. Also, there were two strikes by the musician’s union during the ‘40s that halted the production of new records.

Music of the 1930s: The Essential List

By Steve Crawford | April 8, 2014

Bing Crosby, the Ink Spots, and the Andrew Sisters provided the safe pop fare, while Duke Ellington and Count Basie played sophisticated jazz pop for white and black audiences.

Booker T. & The M.G.’s at the Granada Theater, Dallas, April 5th, 2014, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | April 7, 2014

The gliding organ on “Time is Tight” was pure pleasure and the funk guitar lick on “Potato Hole,” reminiscent of “Bustin’ Loose” by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, gave another dimension to the M.G.’s sound

Holly George-Warren’s “A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton” Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | April 5, 2014

George-Warren hits every note perfectly as Chilton’s biographer. She has the background in journalism to be heavily invested in the facts and she’s an astute critic that can convey both the technical and emotional aspects of the music Chilton produced.

Motörhead to Release Air Supply Tribute EP

By Steve Crawford | April 1, 2014

“People think of us only as a one dimensional metal band. That’s an insult to me. We have done a number of ballads that have been directly influenced by Graham Russell and that other guy – the cute, pudgy short bastard.”

Stephen Koch's "Louis Jordan: Son of Arkansas, Father of R&B" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | March 30, 2014

Koch has done an excellent job summarizing the life and legacy of a truly underappreciated and original American voice. As for me, I’m ready for a Saturday night choo choo ch’ boogie reet petite fish fry. Take me right back to the track, Jack.

Bret Michaels Is the Father of Modern Country Music

By Steve Crawford | March 26, 2014

If this sounds like an old man “get off of my lawn” piece, please note that I felt the same way about the fatuous pop metal of the 1980s, when I was a much younger man.

The A+ List – Dazed and Confused Edition

By Steve Crawford | March 23, 2014

Not all of the songs listed below were in the movie or soundtrack, but they are representative of the mood of the era. You don’t have to know about the movie to enjoy these songs, but it would be a lot cooler if…

The A+ List – Drive-By Truckers Edition

By Steve Crawford | March 17, 2014

English Oceans, the latest release by the Drive-By Truckers, debuted at #16 on the Billboard album charts last week, marking their highest position ever While not their best album, this showing does reflect that through the combination of their touring, endless self-promotion, and longevity, they have managed to establish a sizable fan base – one that will automatically purchase any product as soon as it’s released