New CD, DVD and Blu-ray releases

Brenda Lee – In Praise of “Little Miss Dynamite”

Written by admin on December 11, 2012 – 4:27 pm -

Harley Payette pays tribute to the legendary Brenda Lee, who celebrated her 68th birthday on December 11.

On the surface, Brenda Lee might be considered one of the lucky ones. Every year, from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas, Lee is one of the handful of ’50s and early ’60s rock ‘n’ roll artists still consistently heard in the mainstream. Her “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is one of the true Christmas staples, ranking in popularity with “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” or any other standard you’d want to name. What’s more, unlike many of the Christmas standards, no version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” has even approached Lee’s in popularity. Brenda Lee

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Posted in Rock 'n' roll | 1 Comment »

Elvis and Dion at the Garden – 40 years on

Written by admin on June 9, 2012 – 9:55 pm -

New York City was an exciting place to be for rock ‘n’ roll fans in June 1972, with Dion and the Belmonts coming together for a highly-anticipated reunion at Madison Square Garden on June 2, and Elvis Presley performing four sold-out shows at the same venue the following weekend. Forty years on, Harley Payette takes a look at the legendary gigs and the musical context in which they took place.

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Posted in 60s pop, Elvis, Gigs, Rock 'n' roll | No Comments »

Ray Charles – “Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles” review

Written by admin on February 25, 2012 – 7:07 pm -

Harley Payette reviews the recent five-CD Ray Charles collection – “Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles.”

ABC-Paramount Records almost gave up the store when they signed Ray Charles to a long term deal in late 1959. The contract the singer received was unprecedented in the industry. After recording and promotional expenses had been recouped, the singer would receive a royalty rate of 75 percent. Generally artists received a rate between one (on the really disreputable labels) and five percent. There was also a $50,000 annual guarantee whether Charles’ records were profitable or not. On top of that, after five years of exclusive use by ABC-Paramount, ownership rights of Charles recordings made at the label would revert to the singer. This is a consideration rare even in today’s more artist friendly industry. What made the deal all the more remarkable was the fact that Brother Ray had only placed one record in the Pop Top Twenty to that point, the same year’s breakthrough masterpiece “What’d I Say.” The fledgling corporate owned label, though, was eager to make the signing because they felt Charles’ name would encourage other artists in the lucrative R&B, jazz and rock and roll fields to see ABC-Paramount as a potential home.

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Whitney Houston – The Voice

Written by admin on February 18, 2012 – 10:00 pm -

As the world says goodbye to Whitney Houston, Harley Payette discusses her musical legacy and reminds us why she was one of the most important singers of the last 25 years.

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Posted in Obituaries, Soul | No Comments »

Elvis Presley’s Concept Album

Written by admin on January 28, 2012 – 11:50 am -

Following the recent release of the Legacy Edition of Elvis Presley’s “I’m 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country,” Harley Payette explains why he thinks that the album “tells us as much about the man who created it as anything he ever did.”

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