19 AUG 14 CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and six-time GRAMMY®-winner Dr. John is New Orleans' most prominent living musical icon. The embodiment of his hometown's freewheeling creative spirit and multiple musical traditions, he's built a visionary, idiosyncratic body of work that's deeply rooted in the Crescent City's myriad blues, R&B, jazz and rock 'n' roll traditions.
So it's fitting that Dr. John's debut on Concord Records, Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch, pays heartfelt tribute to another larger-than-life New Orleans legend: the seminal trumpeter and vocalist Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, whose musical innovations created the template for 20th-century jazz, and whose playful attitude and life-embracing spirit made him a beloved figure whose worldwide appeal transcended music.
"He's the most famous guy that ever came out of my neighborhood," notes Dr. John. "He became a legend all over, for his trumpet playin' and everything else, and he was the United States' ambassador to the world."
Produced by Dr. John and Sarah Morrow, Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch honors Armstrong's musical genius as well as his effervescent personality with 13 quintessential numbers drawn from various phases of Armstrong's five-decade career, with Dr. John joined by a stellar supporting cast that manages to update the material while maintaining the music's timeless emotional appeal.
"The whole thing felt pretty special, and I desitively was in a different zone for this record," says Dr. John, who co-produced the album with his longtime trombonist and Nite Tripper band directress Morrow, who also arranged the album. "I wanted to pull together some of his hits and some of the songs he wasn't as well known for, and make them feel fresh and different. Sarah wrote some slammin' charts that kept everything spacious and hip. And everybody played and sang great, and gave it their own spirit."
"It's an honor to produce and write for Dr. John-he's open-minded, adventurous and positively-spirited," Morrow says. "The combination of my writing and his one of a kind voice keeps things fresh and over the top!" Adds Dr. John, "Sarah and I are one of those rare and hiply waited duos that make a truly great musical combination. She's a genius-ocity of the highest order."
The subtitle The Spirit Of Satch is particularly appropriate given the album's birth cycle, which Dr. John says was set into motion when the late Armstrong-whom he'd only met once during his lifetime, in the office of their mutual manager Joe Glaser-came to him in a dream.
"Louis' spirit came to me and told me to do something, that's how this whole thing started," says Dr. John, who's previously released tribute albums to musical giants Duke Ellington and Johnny Mercer. "Louis told me, 'Take my music and do it your way.' It was the most unexpectable thing in the world to me, to have Louis' spirit show up like that, but he gave me a concept of where to roll with it that was spiritually correct. That made me feel very open to try some different things, because I felt was that his spirit had ok'd this record."
Prior to making the album, Dr. John honored Satchmo on stage, presenting rapturously received tribute concerts, dubbed "Props to Pops," at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2012 and at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2013.
In addition to Dr. John's trademark vocals and piano, and backup from some of New Orleans' finest musicians, Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch features a stellar assortment of guest singers and players. Bonnie Raitt shares the spotlight on a swinging reading of "I've Got the World on a String," Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters lend gospel authority to "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," Anthony Hamilton is featured on a mournful "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," Shemekia Copeland trades verses with Dr. John on a playful reworking on "Sweet Hunk O' Trash," and the Blind Boys of Alabama lend their powerful voices to "What a Wonderful World" and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams."
Since Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch is a tribute to the man who popularized the trumpet for a worldwide audience, it's fitting that the project should feature some of today's greatest trumpeters, namely Nicholas Payton (on "What a Wonderful World" and "Gut Bucket Blues"), Terence Blanchard ("Mack the Knife," "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams"), Arturo Sandoval ("Tight Like This," "Memories of You"), Wendell Brunious ("Thats My Home") and James Andrews ("Dippermouth Blues"), along with New Orleans' legendary horn ensemble the Dirty Dozen Brass Band ("When You're Smiling").
Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch is the latest achievement in a singular musical history that stretches back to the 1950s, when Dr. John-then still known by his given name, Mac Rebennack-emerged as an in-demand producer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter on New Orleans' studio scene, working for such local labels as Ace, Ron and Ric, collaborating with the likes of James Booker, Earl King, Professor Longhair, Art Neville and Frankie Ford, and scoring the regional solo hit "Storm Warning."
In the early '60s, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he played on countless sessions before debuting his flamboyant new musical persona, "Dr. John, The Night Tripper," with his first solo album, 1968's Gris-Gris, which introduced the world to his uniquely eclectic voodoo-funk. In the years since, he has remained a distinctly prolific and powerful force, releasing more than 30 albums of his own while collaborating with a broad array of acts including the Rolling Stones, Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Levon Helm, Ringo Starr, Rickie Lee Jones, B.B. King and Christina Aguilera. He also performed in such films as The Last Waltz and Blues Brothers 2000, and pursued a successful two-decade songwriting partnership with legendary tunesmith Doc Pomus.
Dr. John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and won the most recent of his six GRAMMY® Awards in 2013 when Locked Down was voted that year's Best Blues Album.
05 AUG 14 CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Riding a tidal wave of rave reviews, killer TV appearances, and Triple A Top 10 single "Do You" (just added into rotation at mtvU and MTV2), Spoon’s eighth – and by all accounts, best – studio album They Want My Soul (Loma Vista/Concord) has entered the U.S. album chart at #4, selling nearly 40,000 copies in the week since its August 5 release. They Want My Soul's #4 debuts ties the band’s career high, established by its previous album Transference (Merge) that debuted in the same position in 2010. They Want My Soul also claims the #1 spot at independent retail by a large margin, with nearly 20% of the record's first week tally coming from Spoon's groundbreaking Vinyl Gratification initiative. Additionally, They Want My Soul landed at #3 on the digital chart.
Spoon recently kicked off its tour supporting the new album with a sold out show on the Fairbanks Lawn of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, as well as show-stealing performances at festivals including Governors Ball, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands, all of which back up ROLLING STONE's warning that ”you’d be a fool to miss Spoon in concert if you get the chance”. For a complete listing of shows and additional information, visit http://www.spoontheband.com/shows/
Watch “Do You” video: VEVO
29 JUL 14 CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Stax Records will reissue two seminal albums by one of the most influential bands of the 20th century: #1 Record and Radio City by Big Star. Both releases, which have been out of print as individual CDs in the U.S. for many years, will be remastered from the original analog tape sources, and are due out September 2, 2014.
#1 Record and Radio City will be available digitally in standard, Mastered-for-iTunes and 24-bit high-resolution audio. LPs of the two albums are presently in print, available via Stax Records. Liner notes by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills (a vocal fan of Big Star, as well as a core musician on the “Big Star’s Third” concert series) will accompany the releases.
Big Star, considered to be among the founders of power pop, has been cited as an influence by many of the major alternative bands of the ’80s and ’90s, and continues to be a powerful presence in today’s musical landscape. Artists such as R.E.M., Teenage Fanclub, The Replacements (who famously penned the song “Alex Chilton”) and Wilco all enthusiastically tout the artistic impact of the group. Mike Mills recalls Big Star as “a band who had gotten it right, who made records that sounded like rock and roll bands should sound. A band who wrote all the songs, from flat-out rockers to achingly beautiful ballads that were still somehow rock songs.”
The Memphis band formed in 1971, with a lineup of singer/songwriters Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, drummer Jody Stephens and bassist Andy Hummel. Heavily inspired by the British Invasion, Chilton and Bell drew on the Lennon/McCartney style of collaborative songwriting to create their debut — Chilton taking a visceral approach, often laying down guitar and vocal tracks in one take, while Bell added polish with overdubs and harmonies. Ardent Records founder John Fry engineered the album in his studio and released #1 Record on his Stax-distributed label in 1972 to sweeping critical success.
In the fall of 1973, following the departure of Chris Bell, the band regrouped and began work on album number two with Alex Chilton at the helm and Fry once again behind the console. Losing the creative input of a major talent such as Bell could have wreaked havoc on the band’s progress, however, Chilton was able to use this opportunity to shine, and prove himself to be an incredible songwriter on his own. Journalists and fans agreed: bearing another tongue-in-cheek title, Radio City garnered rave reviews and produced several cult favorites, including “September Gurls,” which has been covered by everyone from The Bangles to Superdrag.
The legacies of #1 Record and Radio City have far exceeded the original commercial letdowns of both albums, which are now considered to be milestones in the history of rock by critics and musicians alike. The two LPs made it onto Rolling Stone’s 500 “Greatest Albums of All Time” lists, while tracks from each album (“Thirteen” and “September Gurls”) are also among the magazine’s 500 “Greatest Songs of All Time.” Numerous artists (Elliott Smith, Beck and Jeff Buckley to name a few) have recorded covers of the band’s songs. Big Star has been honored with a tribute record (Big Star Small World, 2006), a documentary (2012’s Nothing Can Hurt Me) and a touring live show, “Big Star’s Third,” which features the sole-surviving original member of the band, Jody Stephens, on drums, guest vocalists, a chamber orchestra and a core band including Mike Mills, Chris Stamey of The dB’s, The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and others. The ever-changing ensemble performs Big Star’s album Third/Sister Lovers, as well as favorites from the first two records.
Of the reissues, Stephens says, “Very glad to see these two coming out with the sonic approval of John Fry. Grateful for Chris, Andy and Alex and for Jon and Ken. The music’s journey continues.” Fry adds, “All I can say is that these were the best projects I have ever worked, with the best artists and friends I have ever had the pleasure to know. I love the music and the cast of characters: Chris, Alex Andy and Jody. I think fans will be pleased by the sound and the packaging. They may have to turn the volume up a bit, since we did not want to remove the analog dynamic range. Sit back and enjoy the definitive digital versions of #1 Record and Radio City, two of my three favorite albums.”
The band’s enduring legacy can be attributed to many factors, but perhaps Mike Mills summarizes it best: “Songwriting has always been, for me, the most vital gauge of a band’s quality, and these guys were clearly masters … [Big Star] gave you something satisfying to listen to, no matter how many times you heard them.”
28 JUL 14 CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
BROWSE ARCHIVE OF NEW RELEASES VOICES