Eric Clapton: Unplugged


Eric Clapton – Unplugged
Alain DuPuis, July 2018
This month’s pick is Eric Clapton’s album Unplugged.
Recorded in front of a live audience in the winter of 1992 in England, Unplugged represented a stripped down version of Clapton’s music. Bluesy and soulful, the album went on to receive nine Grammy award nominations, ultimately winning six, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. Not a bad haul for one performance.
Eric Clapton was a musical giant long before he recorded Unplugged, lending his talent as a guitarist to such notable musical acts as the Yardbirds, and Cream.
Born in Surrey, England, Eric first picked up a guitar at age thirteen, but within three short years, he managed to achieve a large amount of notoriety for possessing advanced prowess with the guitar. As he continued to play around the country in a number of different musical outfits, Clapton forged a distinctive style and rapidly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene, an accolade that would dog him – for better or worse – for decades.
Despite professional success, Clapton’s personal life has been troubled. At various times he has faced tragedies, loss, and heartache, battled depression, and fought a crippling addition to drugs and alcohol, but he has always managed to overcome – a feat he attributes to his music, stating: “I almost subconsciously used music for myself as a healing agent, and lo and behold, it worked … I have got a great deal of happiness and a great deal of healing from music.”
His music has undoubtedly also brought happiness and strength to millions of fans around the world.
Let’s dive in to Unplugged.
Eric Clapton – Wikipedia
Unplugged – Wikipedia
iTunes
Amazon

The Allman Brothers Band: At Fillmore East


The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
Scott Coates, July 2018
I’ve known of the Allman Brothers my entire life but until recently had never listened to one of their albums. A few years ago while searching ‘best live albums’ online, their At Fillmore East album was listed; I was intrigued but didn’t listen to it. Fast-forward a couple years and I came back to it.
The double album, featuring just seven songs, was recorded at New York’s Fillmore East theatre on March 12th and 13th, 1971. They were the opening, opening act for Johnny Winter and Elvin Bishop Group the first two nights, but gained so much momentum, they closed the third show as the headliner. The band was paid $1,250 each show. This was the band’s third album and the one that made them a commercial success, being released in July 1971.
It’s interesting to note just how regarded Duane Allman was at the time, regularly jamming with Eric Clapton, and he was invited to join Clapton’s band Derek and the Dominos but declined. Find a comfy chair, nice drink and settle in to what many publications have listed as one of the best live rock albums of all time.
Other Albums Considered
Rolling Stones: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!
MC5: Kick Out the Jams
Motorhead: No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith
Kiss: Alive!
Bob Seger: ‘Live’ Bullet
Wikipedia Page
On iTunes
On Amazon

Review of Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

Please read and listen to Darren Scott’s pick for Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense  before reading and listening to our reviews below.

Quick Summary: 

  • Would we recommend?
  • Influence us and our tastes?
  • Overall
4.4

Review of Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

Let the live album round begin! I (Darren) was quite excited to pick The Talking Heads to start us off on our live album round. In 1984 the Talking Heads were really starting to attract a large audience after collaborating with Brian Eno on the 3 previous albums leading up to this concert. The movie was shot, and the album recorded, over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in December 1983, as the group was touring to promote their new album Speaking in Tongues.
We discovered many interesting things about this album so listen to our stories and opinions and be sure to listen along with us as we relive classic albums just like this.
Here is a few things you’ll find out by listening this month:
• Why the Tom Tom Club songs are played on this album.
• Brian Eno is not Canadian!
• Typical books don’t talk.
Listen up and please leave us a comment.
The Sonic Collective


Our Individual Review Scores
Darren Scott:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 5
Influenced my tastes: 4
Scott Coates:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 5
Influenced my tastes: 4.5
Scott Gregory:
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: (3 album  / 5 Movie)
Influenced my tastes: 4
Alain DuPuis:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 5

Review of Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?

Please read and listen to Scott Gregory’s pick for Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?  before reading and listening to our reviews below.

Quick Summary: 

  • Would we recommend?
  • Influence us and our tastes?
  • Overall
3.8

Review of Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?

For May 2018 we take a leap across Canada to the East Coast where people and music strongly influenced by their Scottish, Irish, Engligh and French heritage. Combining Celtic and Scottish sounds with folk, rock and pop, Ashley McIsaac from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia showed what a motivated fiddle player could do. His hit song from this album, and a must-listen, Sleepy Maggie was a smash hit in Canada and showed that East-Coasters have what it takes musically to occupy a world stage.
Ok, that sounds all good. However, we forgot to mention that Ashley McIsaac was also one of the most controversial artists and has struggled with serious addiction issues and anger issues. Join us for this crazy ride and review.
Here is a few things you’ll find out:
• How much you’d sell a fiddle for to feed a crack habit.
• Which Sonic Collective member plays a mean set of spoons.
• What’s the difference between McIsaac and MacIsaac anyway?
Listen up and please leave us a comment.
The Sonic Collective


Our Individual Review Scores
Scott Coates:
Overall opinion: 2
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 1
Darren Scott:
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 3
Scott Gregory:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 5
Alain DuPuis:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 4.5
Influenced my tastes: 5

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense


Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense Live Album Selection
By Darren Scott, June 2018
This month we decided to resurrect our round of live albums that proved to be a very popular–at least with our group anyway–genre of albums. Besides, what is better than live music to show just how great a band is?
Though I had originally intended to pick a more obscure album, I have always loved the Talking Heads and David Byrne. After chatting with a few good friends about the recent David Byrne concert in Calgary I completely knew I had to pick this legendary band.
I had never listened to this soundtrack, nor have a seen the Stop Making Sense movie so I was excited to make this pick.
Listen to my selection audio, watch the video clips or the movie if you can find a copy, read up on this classic live movie and then join us at the beginning of July to hear our thoughts, what we learned, and if this movie/soundtrack are still worth having in your collection.
Enjoy Stop Making Sense by The Talking Heads.
Stop Making Sense on Wikipedia
Stop Making Sense on Spotify
Stop Making Sense Trailer

First 30 Minutes of Stop Making Sense

Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?


Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?
Scott Gregory
This is Scott G from the Sonic collective with our May 2018 pick.
Hi, how are you today?
No, really. That’s the pick. Hi How Are You Today by Ashley McIsaac.
Canada seems to have a couple musical hot spots, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and every 5 or so years there seems to be a massive eruption of talent that comes out of the East coast, frequently with an Irish or Celtic root that gets fused into the current musical trend.
Ashley’s a fiddler from Nova Scotia that exploded onto the Canadian scene in 1996 with his most-critically acclaimed and commercially successful album, “Hi How are you Today”.
I remember the main single Sleepy Maggie, was on the radio like every single hour. You may not know this, but Canada has laws requiring a minimum amount of Canadian content to be played on the radio, so when someone like Ashley or, god help us, Nickelback comes along they really play the snot out of them.
The album went double platinum and enjoyed some moderate success in the United States and abroad.
Historically, I’ve stuck pretty high up on the various lists of top-500 albums, but I thought it would be a great pick to explore a musical theme that comes forward frequently in Canada, and Ashley’s one of those musical oddballs that translates a pretty wild personal life into a uniquely crafted musical experience.
I didn’t know this, but apparently he plays his fiddle left-handed, but keeps it strung right-handed, which contributes to his unique sound. Thanks for that, wikipedia!
Other albums that were dominating the public conscience that year were the previously-reviewed Jagged Little Pill by Alanis, What’s the Story Morning Glory by Oasis, and Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt. Keep that in mind as you try to figure just how this album managed to carve out its own place in 1996.
Break out your kilts, gather everyone in the kitchen for a listening party and join Darren, Alain, Scott and I at the Sonic collective in (hopefully) enjoying this month’s pick, Ashley MacIsaac’s “Hi, How are you today.” Cheers.
Ashley MacIsaac on Wikipedia
Itunes
Spotify
 
 

Review of Alice Cooper: Love it to Death

Please read and listen to Alain DuPuis’ pick for Alice Cooper: Love it to Death before reading and listening to our reviews below.

Quick Summary: 

  • Would we recommend?
  • Influence us and our tastes?
  • Overall
3.5

Review of Alice Cooper: Love it to Death

Maybe Scott Coates put it best when he said, “…how can we call ourselves rock fans without listening to an early Alice Cooper album…”. We all surprisingly liked this album and took many things away from it. Our scores may not be really high but do not let that discourage you from listening to this classic that influenced some of the best prog rock, punk and metal band of our generations. This review and album is worth a listen.
Here is a few things you’ll find out:
• Who Vincent Furnier is
• What song is it that Alice Cooper gets his head chopped off to?
• What Scott Gregory found on Darren Scott’s Spotify
Listen up and please leave us a comment.
The Sonic Collective


Our Individual Review Scores
Scott Coates:
Overall opinion: 3.5
Would I recommend?: 3.5
Influenced my tastes: 4
Darren Scott:
Overall opinion: 3.5
Would I recommend?: 3.5
Influenced my tastes: 3
Scott Gregory:
Overall opinion: 3
Would I recommend?: 3.5
Influenced my tastes: 4
Alain DuPuis:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 3.5

Review of The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Please read Scott Coates’s pick for The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion before reading and listening to our reviews below.

Quick Summary: 

  • Would we recommend?
  • Influence us and our tastes?
  • Overall
4.6

Review of The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

It is unfortunate that The Black Crowes will unlikely ever reform. Personality and personnel issues were known to the band through the history of the group. Their second album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, really allowed them to write and record songs they wanted to be remembered for. After the monster success of their debut Shake Your Money Maker their label, Rick Rubin’s Def America, was very empowering by letting the band explore their sound instead of forcing them to stick to the catchy sound and covers featured on their debut. We loved this album, have a listen as to why and learn about this complex recording.
Here is a few things you’ll find out:
• What Allman Brothers member was hugely responsible for a part of their new sound
• Who is Jeff Cease and how his replacement contributed
• What other albums was this up against for air play
Listen up and please leave us a comment.
The Sonic Collective


Our Individual Review Scores
Scott Coates:
Overall opinion: 5
Would I recommend?: 5
Influenced my tastes: 5
Darren Scott:
Overall opinion: 4.5 (.5 deducted for that poor Calgary concert)
Would I recommend?: 5
Influenced my tastes: 5
Scott Gregory:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 4.5
Influenced my tastes: 4.5
Alain DuPuis:
Overall opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend?: 4.5
Influenced my tastes: 4.5

Alice Cooper: Love it to Death


Alice Cooper: Love it to Death
Alain DuPuis
In the late 1960s, Alice Cooper had failed to find any commercial success, despite having released 2 albums under Frank Zappa’s record label. Their sound was just too psychedelic, low-fi, and weird for most people. But that all changed in November of 1970, when with the help of Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, the band released the song, I’m Eighteen, to much acclaim. Approaching their music with a more aggressive, hard rock style, the band managed to convince Warner Brothers records that it had commercial potential to release an album, and I’m Eighteen became the first single on their third album Love it to Death, which was officially released in March of 1971.
The band’s popularity and fame only grew from there thanks to their reputation for putting on flamboyant, over the top live performances.
Love it to Death is considered to be one of the foundational albums that inspired the heavy metal sound, and left a considerable influence on hard rock, punk, and heavy metal. Joey Ramone wrote his first song for the Ramones based on the chords to I’m Eighteen, and John Lydon auditioned for the Sex Pistols by miming to the song.
Along with their contemporaries, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper helped shape the future of hard rock and heavy metal for decades to come.
Love it to Death Wikipedia Page
Alice Cooper Wikipedia Page
iTunes
Amazon

The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion


The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
Scott Coates
Hard to Handle was the hit song of the moment and I was spinning it as a young DJ at Lloyd’s Recreation, a rollerskating rink and Calgary landmark that sadly recently closed. I was 17 and didn’t realize the ‘hit’ was a cover. A few other tracks on The Black Crowes first album, Shake Your Money Maker, caught my ear but then they kind of disappeared. Their second album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion came out but it didn’t really grab me.
Years passed, then sometime in the 2000s, I hit upon The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion again, and, wow… Age and maturity was needed to appreciate this one it seems. Much like Catcher in the Rye read at 15-years-of-age wasn’t fully grasped, this album escaped me during first listens at a young age.
The Crowes second release, it came out on May 12, 1992 and went on to spawn four hit singles. This album reminds me a lot of old Rolling Stones albums and rock albums of the seventies. I’ll stop here and let you decide – sit back – have a listen – and enjoy.
Wikipedia page
On iTunes
On Amazon