Friday 11am: Spot Light Artist – Ramones

May 17, 2019
Editor In Chief

The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite achieving only limited commercial success initially, the band was highly influential in the United States and the United Kingdom.

All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname “Ramone”, although none of them were biologically related. They performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. In 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music festival, the band played a farewell concert and disbanded. By 2014, all four of the band’s original members had died – lead singer Joey Ramone (1951–2001), bass guitarist Dee Dee Ramone (1951–2002), guitarist Johnny Ramone (1948–2004) and drummer Tommy Ramone (1949–2014).

Recognition of the band’s importance built over the years, and are now mentioned in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as number 26 in the Rolling Stone magazine list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and number 17 in VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”. In 2002, the Ramones were ranked the second-greatest band of all time by Spin magazine, trailing only the Beatles. On March 18, 2002, the original four members and Tommy’s replacement on drums, Marky Ramone, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their first year of eligibility, though Joey had died by then. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Thursday 11pm: Feature LP: Sammy Hagar & The Circle – Space Between (2019)

May 16, 2019
Editor In Chief

AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Sammy Hagar calls his band — either his fifth or sixth, depending if HSAS is counted or not — the Circle because this quartet brings him back to where he started. A look at the band’s lineup illustrates why Hagar believes this to be true. Within the Circle, Hagar surrounds himself with some old running mates — notably, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony anchors the group, but Waboritas guitarist Vic Johnson also has a prominent place in the band, while drummer Jason Bonham provides a reminder of the Zeppelin influence on Hagar’s earliest band, Montrose. Despite being so strongly rooted in the past, the Circle plays for the present, cranking the amps to 11 and pushing Bonham’s beat toward the forefront. The heaviness is so bracing that the hooky pair of “Bottom Line” and “No Worries” comes as somewhat of a relief halfway through the album; not only are they more melodic, they are nimble, demonstrating that this group of old pros can keep it light if they so choose. For the rest of The Space Between, they choose heaviosity. It’s a forceful, powerful sound that gains a bit of depth thanks to Hagar’s inscrutable social commentary — he’s against a spoiled “Trust Fund Baby” and happy to be a “Free Man” — but for as invigorating as the sheer wallop of the Circle can be, it proves a bit exhausting in the long run.

01 Devil Came to Philly 2:35
02 Full Circle Jam (Chump Change) 3:38
03 Can’t Hang 3:57
04 Wide Open Space 3:46
05 Free Man 4:20
06 Bottom Line 2:43
07 No Worries 3:27
08 Trust Fund Baby 4:15
09 Affirmation 3:20
10 Hey Hey (Without Greed) 2:51

Thursday 10pm: Feature LP: Steve Earle & the Dukes – Guy (2019)

May 16, 2019
Editor In Chief

AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

While he found his fame in Nashville, Steve Earle was born in Texas, and he cut his teeth as a songwriter in the ’70s while hovering on the outskirts of the Lone Star State’s circle of great tunesmiths. The literate but unpretentious approach of the Texas songwriting community clearly suited Earle, and he’s never been shy about acknowledging his influences from his early days. In 2009, Earle released the album Townes, in which he paid homage to his good friend and mentor Townes van Zandt, recording 15 of his best songs. Ten years later, Earle has offered a follow-up in the form of 2019’s Guy, a set of 16 songs from the songbook of his late friend Guy Clark. While Townes was primarily a solo effort, Guy was cut with Earle’s band the Dukes, and the difference speaks to the temperment of the two albums. Van Zandt’s songs were often powerfully introspective, and he was often given to a dark night of the soul. Clark, on the other hand, was no less pithy but considerably warmer, and there’s a playful humanity in his songs that Van Zandt’s usually lacked, as great as they were. This also explains why Townes is ultimately a more satisfying album than Guy — while Earle can be powerfully witty when he wants to be, he’s traditionally drawn to darkness more than light, and while it’s clear he loves songs like “L.A. Freeway,” “Rita Ballou,” and “Heartbroke,” the easygoing amiability and small-town wisdom of Clark’s lyrics feel a bit off coming from Earle’s increasingly craggy rasp. And though the grainy tone of Earle’s voice works on the rocked-up cover of “Out in the Parking Lot” and the twangy two-step of “Texas 1947,” and his phrasing is as canny as ever, it doesn’t work as well on more thoughtful numbers like “Desperados Waiting for a Train” and “The Randall Knife.” (This album recycles a version of “The Last Gunfighter Ballad” from a 2001 Guy Clark tribute album, and its presence points to the considerable wear on Earle’s voice in the 18 years that separate it from the rest of the album.) There’s never a moment where Steve Earle sounds anything less than fully committed on Guy, and this was clearly a labor of love, particularly on the closing number “Old Friends,” where Emmylou Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker, Rodney Crowell, and Terry Allen join in. But the execution isn’t quite as strong as Earle’s good intentions on Guy, though if he wanted to either remind old fans on the greatness of Clark’s songs or convince new ones to explore his body of work, he makes his case will eloquence and affection.

1 Dublin Blues 3:48
2 L.A. Freeway 4:06
3 Texas 1947 3:14
4 Desperados Waiting for a Train 4:34
5 Rita Ballou 3:12
6 The Ballad of Laverne and Captain Flint 4:05
7 The Randall Knife 4:00
8 Anyhow I Love You 3:06
9 That Old Time Feeling 5:02
10 Heartbroke 2:44
11 The Last Gunfighter BalladS 3:21
12 Out in the Parking Lot 2:39
13 She Ain’t Going Nowhere 3:49
14 Sis Draper 3:27
15 New Cut Road 4:10
16 Old Friends 4:56

Thursday 9pm: Feature LP – Various – Thunderbolt – Tribute To ACDC (1998)

May 16, 2019
Editor In Chief

1 Highway to Hell 3:59
2 Little Lover 4:36
3 Back in Black 4:30
4 Live Wire 5:50
5 Sin City 4:55
6 Ride On 5:39
7 Shake a Leg 4:20
8 Whole Lot of Rosie 4:20
9 Night Prowler 5:43
10 It’s a Long Way to the Top 5:37
11 Walk All over You 4:53
12 TNT 3:42

May 16, 2019
Editor In Chief

Thursday 6pm: The Chain with Ron Kovacs

Thursday 11am: Spot Light Artist – George Strait

May 16, 2019
Editor In Chief

George Harvey Strait Sr. (born May 18, 1952) is an American country music singer, songwriter, actor, and music producer. George Strait is known as the “King of Country” and is considered one of the most influential and popular recording artists of all time. He is known for his neotraditionalist country style, cowboy look, and being one of the first and main country artists to bring country music back to its roots and away from the pop country era in the 1980s.

Strait’s success began when his first single “Unwound” was a hit in 1981. During the 1980s, seven of his albums reached number one on the country charts. In the 2000s, Strait was named Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music, was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and won his first Grammy award for the album Troubadour. Strait was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 2013, and ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1990 and 2014. He has been nominated for more CMA and ACM awards and has more wins in both categories than any other artist.

By 2009, he broke Conway Twitty’s previous record for the most number-one hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart when his 44 number one singles surpassed Twitty’s 40. Counting all music charts, Strait has amassed a total of 60 number-one hits, breaking a record also previously set by Twitty, and giving him more number one songs than any other artist in any genre of music.

Strait is also known for his touring career when he designed a 360-degree configuration and introduced festival style tours. For example, the Strait Tours earned $99 million in three years. His concert at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in June 2014 drew 104,793 people, marking a new record for largest indoor concert in North America. Strait was successful innovating country music and in numerous aspects of being a part of popular music.

Strait has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. His certifications from the RIAA include 13 multi-platinum, 33 platinum, and 38 gold albums. His best-selling album is Pure Country (1992), which sold 6 million (6× platinum). His highest certified album is Strait Out of the Box (1995), which sold 2 million copies (8× Platinum due to being a box set with four CDs). According to the RIAA, Strait is the 12th best-selling album recording artist in the United States overall.

Wednesday 11pm: Top 100 Albums of The 70s – #88 – Elton John – Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player (1973)

May 15, 2019
Editor In Chief

Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player is the sixth studio album by Elton John. Released in January 26, 1973 by DJM Records, and was his second straight No. 1 album in the US, yielding his first No. 1 single in both the US and Canada: “Crocodile Rock”. “Daniel” was also a major hit from the album, giving him his second Canadian No. 1 single on the RPM Top Singles Chart and just missing the top slot south of the border, still reaching a successful No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reaching No. 4 in the UK, one place higher than achieved by “Crocodile Rock”.

The album’s title comes from something Elton said during an evening spent with Groucho Marx. After an evening of constant ribbing from Marx, Elton’s comeback was to hold his hands up and say, “Don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player.” The album’s cover photograph, which shows a young couple outside a movie theatre whose marquee reads: Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player starring Elton John, also includes a movie poster of the Marx Brothers’ film Go West. Whether this was an intentional tribute to Groucho, or merely a coincidence, is uncertain.

The title is also a play on the 1960 François Truffaut film Shoot the Piano Player and the original Oscar Wilde quote “Don’t shoot the piano player, he’s doing his best”, which Wilde said he saw in a saloon on a visit to the U.S.

“Daniel” – 3:54
“Teacher I Need You” – 4:10
“Elderberry Wine” – 3:34
“Blues for My Baby and Me” – 5:42
“Midnight Creeper” – 3:55
“Have Mercy on the Criminal” – 5:57
“I’m Gonna Be a Teenage Idol” – 3:55
“Texan Love Song” – 3:33
“Crocodile Rock” – 3:58
“High Flying Bird” – 4:12

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