traveling wilburys

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The Traveling Wilburys: The Traveling Wilburys Collection (Rhino/Warners)

The Traveling Wilburys: The Traveling Wilburys Collection (Rhino/Warners)

Cannot lie about this: when the first Wilburys album came out in '88 I gave it a cursory listen and wrote it off as some geriatric project which was doubtless enjoyable for all concerned, but was actually just dull. The Dylan track I heard sounded like a parody or self-parody, Harrison was back into his troppo-strumming style, Petty who...

The Darlings: The Cicada Sessions (Ode)

The Darlings: The Cicada Sessions (Ode)

The Darlings are New Zealand singer Jackie Clarke and singer-songwriter Callie Blood with drummer-to-the-stars Wayne Bell, here mostly playing acoustic guitar -- which makes them somewhat of a Kiwi supergroup given their long pedigrees in various band and studio sessions. Together they make what their bio calls "grown-up pop", which...

Danny McCrum Band: Awake and Restless (McCrum)

Danny McCrum Band: Awake and Restless (McCrum)

Here's a guess, this smart pop-rock album from an Auckland singer-songwriter and his tight, crackling band won't get much attention. The reason? There's not been much sympathy or space for well-crafted adult pop-rock in New Zealand, the Finns and Dave Dobbyn aside. Critics generally prefer something with a little more quirkiness and...

Gary Louris: Vagabond (Ryko/Elite)

Gary Louris: Vagabond (Ryko/Elite)

Louris was a founder of the cornerstone alt.country band the Jayhawks whose career in the 90s saw them weave their way from country-rock to post-grunge rock and sometimes pure pop They were hard to get a bead on but that was the great pleasure of their career. With the Jayhawks seemingly on hold Louris steps out for a debut album under his...

Grand Archives:  The Grand Archive (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Grand Archives: The Grand Archive (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

There are albums which, if you never hear, you probably can ignore and live happily without. For those who hear them however they become a private passion. I can't imagine my life without a regular blast of the Dwight Twilley Band or Neil Halstead's Sleeping on Roads. This debut album is like that: it breaks no particular boundaries and...

The Calico Brothers: God Left Town EP (Ode)

The Calico Brothers: God Left Town EP (Ode)

As with the Traveling Wilburys these "brothers" (three, a cousin and a friend) all share the coincidence of the same surname, "Calico". And as with the Wilburys they also share a love of clearly rendered country-pop pushed by acoustic guitars, distinctive vocals and memorable melodies. This six-song EP (I leave it up to...

Mudcrutch: Mudcrutch (Reprise)

Mudcrutch: Mudcrutch (Reprise)

Here's an odd and unexpected one. Anyone who has seen Peter Bogdanovich's recent Runnin' Down a Dream DVD doco about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (in Absolute Elsewhere, use the tag below) should be very interested in this belated debut album by Petty's pre-Heartbreakers band. Mudcrutch were Tom's band in Gainesville, Florida in the mid...

Tom Petty: Village scribe, meet the village idiot

Tom Petty: Village scribe, meet the village idiot

For more years than I can recall when people have asked me what I did I have variously answered “I‘m a writer“ or, when Customs officials look difficult I would say “I’m a journalist” -- and oddly enough that would work better than the more amorphous description “writer“. Often, for my...

Chris Isaak: Always Got Tonight (Reprise)

Chris Isaak: Always Got Tonight (Reprise)

The composed and moody Isaak isn't a guy you'd credit with a sense of humour but his TV show, sort of sitcom-cum-real life, was so self-deprecating he's going to get a fairer hearing round my way from now on. That said, little has changed since his last album four years ago — the humour injection notwithstanding — and...

Chris Isaak: Mr Lucky (Universal)

Chris Isaak: Mr Lucky (Universal)

I've got a soft spot for Chris Isaak for a couple of reasons: I interviewed him and he was a genuinely likable and funny man, and his television series was an astute and self-deprecating show about the life of a musician in which he didn't spare himself from ridicule for his self-delusion, pomposity and arrested adolescence.. In one episode...

Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Given who these people are -- Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes, M Ward, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket (aka Yim Yames) -- you might be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of neo-folk meeting on the mountain top, or possibly a younger, more serious and sprightly version of the Traveling Wilburys. But in the hands of producer -- and fourth...

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The Live Anthology (Universal)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The Live Anthology (Universal)

They used to say you could always judge a band by its covers. But today many bands write "originals" which sound exactly like their influences (like these people), or seem to be above such direct referencing. You suspect only the most confident of bands play other people's songs simply because they love and respect them. Tom Petty...

JAKOB DYLAN INTERVIEWED (2002): Out of his father's long shadow

JAKOB DYLAN INTERVIEWED (2002): Out of his father's long shadow

You gotta feel sorry for the guy. He's 32 years of age, is now on his fourth album with his band the Wallflowers, and still people want to talk about what he politely calls "the peripheral stuff". You can guess what that might be when the guy's name is Jakob Dylan and he was the youngest of five children growing up with their...

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

My take on Tom Petty -- most of whose albums in the first decade or more I cherished with a passion, but had misfortunes with the man -- is that when he hooked up with the Traveling Wilburys he became prematurely geriatric and he lost his rock edge. This is a theory which doesn't bear much serious scrutiny perhaps (I was "wrong"...

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

When Jim McGuinn changed his name to Roger in ’67 during a period of chaos without and within for The Byrds, there were those who thought it was an elaborate hoax. Jim had taken off to Rio and been replaced by his lookalike brother, said Paul-is-Dead paranoids and conspiracy theorists. Hence the wry in-joke title on his album Back...

Luke Jackson: . . . And Then Some (Popsicle)

Luke Jackson: . . . And Then Some (Popsicle)

After a mention of the late Robert Kirby's string arrangements in a review of the Magic Numbers' The Runaway, this Canadian singer-songwriter with a well-stamped passport got in touch: he too had benefited from Kirby's smart touch. And he sent on a copy of this album which opens with a classic blast of power-pop (Come Tomorrow, the title even...

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

At the fag-end of the Seventies, the sound of the Sex Pistols explosion in Britain had faded and in the place of furious punk anger came the more intellectual and cooler sound of post-punk: bands like Magazine, Wire and Joy Division. Across the Atlantic the Ramones' flat-tack energy was faltering and the names to note were Talking...

ROY ORBISON 1960-65: The years of monumental pop

ROY ORBISON 1960-65: The years of monumental pop

Looked at one way, the great Roy Orbison (who died in late '88) had five separate careers, but he only ever changed musical direction once. "The Big O" -- or "the Caruso of Rock" -- as he was known, had long periods away from the spotlight and it would be fair to observe his defining work was done in an exceptional period...

The De Sotos: Your Highway For Tonight (Ode)

The De Sotos: Your Highway For Tonight (Ode)

If the very fine previous album Cross Your Heart by this Auckland-based four-piece country-rock band went past you and the name is unfamiliar, then you may have heard their widescreen sound which was the theme music for Macrus Lush's overrated smallcreen programme North. (Too much telling us how interesting the people were and how beautiful the...

RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM, a doco by PETER BOGDANOVICH (DVD, 2008)

RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM, a doco by PETER BOGDANOVICH (DVD, 2008)

The American actor/director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon etc and Dr Melfi's psychotherapist in The Sopranos) seems an unusual figure to be behind this four-hour doco of the 30-year career of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Unlike Martin Scorsese who did the similarly-lengthed Dylan doco No Direction Home,...

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