Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eagles return with Long Road Out of Eden, first studio album in 28 years

Long Road Out of Eden


Released: October 30, 2007

Peak: 11 US, 11 UK, 2 CN, 16 AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US *, 0.6 UK, 8.2 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: heritage rock

* Actual sales were 3.5 million, but because it was a double album, it was certified for twice that.

Tracks, Disc 1:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. No More Walks in the Wood
  2. How Long (8/16/07, 10 AC, 23 CW, 76 CN)
  3. Busy Being Fabulous (2/9/08, 12 AC, 28 CW)
  4. What Do I Do with My Heart (2008, 13 AC)
  5. Guilty of the Crime
  6. I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore (2009, 23 AC)
  7. Waiting in the Weeds
  8. No More Cloudy Days (7/9/05, 3 AC)
  9. Fast Company
  10. Do Something
  11. You Are Not Alone

Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. Long Road Out of Eden
  2. I Dreamed There Was No War
  3. Somebody
  4. Frail Grasp on the Big Picture
  5. Last Good Time in Town
  6. I Love to Watch a Woman Dance
  7. Business As Usual
  8. Center of the Universe
  9. It’s Your World Now

Total Running Time: 90:53

The Players:

  • Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Don Henley (vocals, drums)
  • Timothy B. Schmit (bass, vocals)
  • Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals, keyboards)


3.960 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)

Quotable: “An album meticulously crafted to fit within the band’s legacy without tarnishing it” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After 1979’s The Long Run and a live album the next year, the Eagles disappeared for 14 years. They were widely embraced when they returned 14 years later with 1994’s mostly live album Hell Freezes Over. They cashed in on that reunion, “driving up ticket prices into the stratosphere as they played gigs on a semi-regular basis well into the new millennium.” AMG They released a box set, which contained their 1999 Millenium Concert, a 2005 DVD of yet another tour outing, and a 2003 2-disc compilation.

However, it wasn’t until 2007 that they released a full-fledged studio album. “It could be that they were running out some contractual clause somewhere, it could be that they were waiting for the money to be right, or the music to be right.” AMG

When they finally did come out with Long Road Out of Eden, they did so with little fanfare, “indulging in few interviews and bypassing conventional retail outlets in favor of an exclusive release” AMG in which the album was only available in North America through their website or Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores. AMG Billboard magazine controversially reversed a policy under which such exclusive releases were inelligible to chart, allowing the album to debut at #1.

As for the actual material, it is “crafted to evoke the spirit and feel of the Eagles’ biggest hits…The J.D. Souther-written How Long recalls ‘Take It Easy,’ the stiff funk of Frail Grasp on the Big Picture echoes back to the clenched riffs of ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ and while perhaps these aren’t exact replicas, there’s no denying it’s possible to hear echoes of everything from ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ and ‘Desperado’ to ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ and Timothy B. Schmit turns Paul Carrack’s I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore into a soft rock gem to stand alongside his own ‘I Can’t Tell You Why.’” AMG

“These tunes…but sonically… play as companions to Henley’s brooding end-of-the-‘80s hit The End of the Innocence, both in their heavy-handed sobriety and deliberate pace and their big-budget production.” AMG “The Eagles…sound utterly disconnected from modern times, no matter how hard Don Henley strives to say something, anything about the wretched state of the world on Long Road Out of Eden, ‘Frail Grasp on the Big Picture,’ and Business as Usual.” AMG However, “it’s all executed well and the doggedly out-of-fashion sonics only make the songs more reminiscent of the Eagles’ older records, especially if their solo work from the ‘80s is part of the equation.” AMG “It often manages to avoid sounding crass, as the songs are usually strong and the sound is right, capturing the group’s peaceful, easy harmonies and Joe Walsh’s guitar growl in equal measure.” AMG

On the second disc, “Walsh spends seven minutes grooving on Last Good Time in Town as if he were a Southwestern Jimmy Buffett with a worldbeat penchant, Glenn Frey sings Jack Tempchin and John Brannen’s Somebody as if it were a sedated, cheerful ‘Smuggler’s Blues,’ and the whole thing feels polished with outdated synthesizers.” AMG

If disc 2 “seem a bit like the Eagles’ lost album from the Reagan years, the first disc recalls their mellow country-rock records of the ‘70s – that is, if Joe Walsh had been around to sing Frankie Miller’s blues-rocker Guilty of the Crime to balance out Henley and Frey’s Busy Being Fabulous and What Do I Do with My Heart, a counterpoint that serves the band well.” AMG

“That first disc is the stronger of the two, but the two discs do fit together well, as they wind up touching upon all of the band’s different eras…it’s an album meticulously crafted to fit within the band’s legacy without tarnishing it.” AMG

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First posted 3/26/2008; last updated 8/20/2021.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand

Raising Sand

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Released: October 23, 2007

Peak: 2 US, 2 UK, 45 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.2 US, 0.3 UK, 2.91 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: Americana


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Rich Woman (Dorothy LaBostrie, McKinley Millett) (2008, --)
  2. Killing the Blues (Roly Jon Salley)
  3. Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us (Sam Phillips)
  4. Polly Come Home (Gene Clark)
  5. Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) (The Everly Brothers) (9/16/07, 2 AA)
  6. Through the Morning, Through the Night (Gene Clark)
  7. Please Read the Letter (Robert Plant, Charlie Jones, Michael Lee) (2/16/08, 22 AA)
  8. Trampled Rose (Kathleen Brennan, Tom Waits)
  9. Fortune Teller (Allen Toussaint)
  10. Stick with Me Baby (Mel Tillis)
  11. Nothin’ (Townes Van Zandt)
  12. Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson (Milton Campbell)
  13. Your Long Journey (Doc Watson, Rosa Lee Watson)

Total Running Time: 57:13

The Players:

  • Robert Plant (vocals)
  • Alison Krauss (vocals, fiddle)
  • T-Bone Burnett (guitar, producer)
  • Marc Ribot (guitar)
  • Greg Leisz (steel guitar)
  • Dennis Crouch (upright bass)
  • Jay Bellerose (drums)


4.041 out of 5.00 (average of 31 ratings)


“These two voices meld together seamlessly…They don’t soar, they don’t roar, they simply sing songs that offer different shades of meaning as a result of this welcome collaboration” – Thom Jurek, All Music Guide


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

While Robert Plant and Alison Krauss seemed an unlikely pairing, the result is “one of the most effortless-sounding pairings in modern popular music.” AMG “While a huge star in the world of country and bluegrass, singing fiddle player Alison Krauss was also an ardent heavy rock fan. Plant, meanwhile, had a passion for bluegrass and country.” Q Producer T-Bone Burnett brought the two together under the banner of the Americana genre. He’d already won a Grammy for album of the year for the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack in 2000. He repeats the feat here.

“The proceedings are, predictably, very laid-back. Burnett has only known one speed these last ten years, and so the material chosen by the three is mostly very subdued. This doesn’t make it boring, despite Burnett’s production, which has become utterly predictable since he started working with Gillian Welch. He has a ‘sound’ in the same way Daniel Lanois does: it’s edges are all rounded, everything is very warm, and it all sounds artificially dated.” AMG In fact, the BBC said the album was “a stunning dark, brooding collection, comparable in tone to Daniel Lanois’ masterful job on Dylan’s Time Out of Mind.” WK

“Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us”
Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us is a centerpiece on this set…This tune, with its forlorn, percussion-heavy tarantella backdrop, might have come from a Tom Waits record were it not so intricately melodic – and Krauss’ gypsy swing fiddle is a gorgeous touch. There is an emptiness at the heart of longing particularly suited to Krauss’ woodsy voice, and Plant’s harmony vocal is perfect, understated yet ever-present. It’s the most organically atmospheric tune on the set – not in terms of production, but for lyric and compositional content. Stellar.” AMG

“Rich Woman”
“Plant’s own obsession with old rockabilly and blues tunes is satisfied on the set’s opener, Rich Woman.” AMG “It’s all swamp, all past midnight, all gigolo boasting. Krauss’ harmony vocal underscores Plant’s low-key crooned boast as a mirror, as the person being used and who can’t help it.” AMG The song took home the 2009 Grammy for Pop Vocal Collaboration. Interestingly, it was the second song from this album to take home that prize. Read on…

“Killing the Blues”
Killing the Blues sounds like it was recorded by Lanois, with its cough syrup guitars, muffled tom toms, and played-in-bedroom atmospherics. Nonetheless, the two vocalists make a brilliant song come to life with their shared sorrow, and it’s as if the meaning in the tune actually happens between its bitter irony in the space between the two vocalists as the whine of Leisz’s steel roots this country song in the earth, not in the white clouds reflected in its refrain.” AMG The song “was #51 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.” WK It also took home the Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.

“Polly Come Home” and “Through the Morning, Through the Night”
“There is a pair of Gene Clark tunes here as well. Plant is a Clark fan, and so it’s not a surprise, but the choices are: Polly Come Home and Through the Morning, Through the Night,” AMG “originally recorded by Dillard & Clark for their 1969 album, Through the Morning, Through the Night.” WK “Polly Come Home” “is a haunting ballad done in an old-world folk style that Clark would have been proud of. It reflects the same spirit and character as his own White Light album, but with Plant and Krauss, the spirit of Celtic-cum-Appalachian style that influenced bluegrass, and the Delta blues that influenced rock, are breached. ‘Through the Morning, Through the Night’ is a wasted country love song told from the point of view of an outlaw.” AMG

“Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)”
“Plant gets his chance to rock – a bit – in the Everly Brothers’ Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On). While it sounds nothing like the original, Plant’s pipes get to croon and drift over the distorted guitars and a clipped snare; he gets to do his trademark blues improv bit between verses. To be honest, it feels like it was tossed off and, therefore, less studied than anything else here: it’s a refreshing change of pace near the middle of the disc. It ‘rocks’ in a roots way.” AMG At the 2008 Grammy Awards, it took home the prize for Best Pop Vocal Collaboration.

“Please Read the Letter”
This was first released on Plant’s reunion with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on their 1998 Walking into Clarksdale album. Here it is “slow, plodding, almost crawling” AMG and “Krauss’ harmony vocal takes it to the next step, adds the kind of lonesome depth that makes this a song whispered under a starless sky rather than just another lost love song.” AMG In a feat that may be unmatched by any other album, the song’s Record of the Year prize means that four separate songs on the album won Grammy awards.

“Trampled Rose”
“Waits and Kathleen Brennan’s Trampled Rose, done shotgun ballad style, is, with the Phillips tune, the most beautiful thing here. Krauss near the top of her range sighs into the rhythm. Patrick Warren’s toy piano sounds more like a marimba, and his pump organ adds to the percussive nature of this wary hymn from the depths. When she sings ‘You never pay just once/ To get the job done,’ this skeletal band swells. Ribot’s dobro sounds like a rickety banjo, and it stutters just ahead of the bass drum and tom toms in Bellerose’s kit.” AMG

“Fortune Teller”
“Naomi Neville’s Fortune Teller shows Burnett at his best as a producer. He lets Plant’s voice come falling out of his mouth, staggering and stuttering the rhythms so they feel like a combination of Delta blues, second-line New Orleans, and Congo Square drum walk. The guitar is nasty and distorted, and the brush touches with their metallic sheen are a nice complement to the bass drums. It doesn’t rock; it struts and staggers on its way. Krauss’ wordless vocal in the background creates a nice space for that incessant series of rhythms to play to.” AMG

“Stick with Me Baby”
“The next three tunes are cagey, even for this eclectic set: Mel Tillis’ awesome ballad Stick with Me Baby sounds more like Dion & the Belmonts on the street corner on cough syrup and meaning every word. There is no doo wop, just the sweet melody falling from the singers’ mouths like an incantation with an understated but pronounced rhythm section painting them singing together in front of a burning ash can.” AMG

“This little gem is followed by a reading of Townes Van Zandt’s Nothin’ done in twilight Led Zeppelin style. It doesn’t rock either. It plods and drifts, and crawls. Krauss’ fiddle moans above the tambourine, indistinct and distorted; low-tuned electric guitars and the haunted, echoing banjo are a compelling move and rescue the melody from the sonic clutter – no, sonic clutter is not a bad thing. The weirdest thing is that while it’s the loudest tune on the set, it features Norman Blake on acoustic guitar with Burnett. This is what singer/songwriter heavy metal must sound like. And it is oh-so-slow.” AMG

“Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson”
“The final part of the trilogy of the weird takes place on Little Milton Campbell’s Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson, a jangly country rocker in the vein of Neil Young without the weight and creak of age hindering it. Krauss is such a fine singer, and she does her own Plant imitation here. She has his phrasing down, his slippery way of enunciating, and you can hear why this was such a great match-up. The band can play backbone slip rockabilly shuffle with their eyes closed and their hands tied behind their backs, and they do it here. It's a great moment before the close.” AMG

“Your Long Journey”
“The haunting, old-timey Your Long Journey…with its autoharp (played by Mike Seeger no less), Riley Baugus’ banjo, Crouch’s big wooden bass, and Blake’s acoustic guitar, is a whispering way to send this set of broken love songs off into the night. These two voices meld together seamlessly; they will not be swallowed even when the production is bigger than the song. They don’t soar, they don’t roar, they simply sing songs that offer different shades of meaning as a result of this welcome collaboration.” AMG

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First posted 9/27/2010; last updated 3/13/2024.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

50 years ago: Buddy Holly “Peggy Sue” charted

Peggy Sue

Buddy Holly & the Crickets

Writer(s): Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Norman Petty (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 21, 1957

Peak: 3 US, 4 HP, 2 CB, 3 HR, 2 RB, 6 UK, 4 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 15.5 video, 40.5 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“What do you think McCartney and Lennon, Dylan, Jagger and Richards, Fogerty, Townshend, and the rest spent their teen years daydreaming about? They wanted to be rock and rollers: stand like Elvis, shout like Little Richard and Jerry Lee, rock like Chuck, testify like Muddy, and speak in music like Buddy Holly…Listen to ‘Peggy Sue’ and you’ll understand why.” PW For the “purpose of getting across…what he’s feeling, [Holly] invents a dozen new ways of using the human voice as a communicative vehicle.” PW

“Peggy Sue” was originally going to be named “Cindy Lou” after Buddy Holly’s baby niece. However, Jerry Allison, the Crickets’ drummer, suggested the name change to get back into the good graces with his girlfriend “Peggy Sue,” with whom he’d recently broken up. TB It worked. The two eloped on July 22, 1958. TB

The song was recorded at producer Norman Petty’s studio in Clovin, New Mexico on July 1, 1957 (actually before Holly charted with his #1 hit “That’ll Be the Day”). SS Amazingly, the song only features Holly and Allison. They started out trying to record it with a calypso feel, but it didn’t work. Then Holly suggested Allison do some drum rolls PW “which he did on a snare drum with the snares turned off.” TB This gave the song “a dynamic rock ‘n’ roll aspect.” TB Critic Dave Marsh called it “the biggest drum beats in rock and roll history.” DM

“It’s all that Holly can do to summon the strength to sing over them, and the guitar has to race to keep up.” DM He ends up “playing his rhythm guitar part entirely with speedy downstrokes.” TB Jimmy Guterman called it “the greatest rhythm guitar solo in all rock ‘n’ roll.” SS “The lyrics are childlike in their simplicity and repetition, but Holly belts them out with such conviction and sensuality that no one can doubt his intense ardor for this woman.” SS The song has “an almost throwaway quality [that] lifts the song and makes it irresistible.” TC


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First posted 3/26/2023; last updated 3/30/2023.

50 years ago: Elvis Presley hit #1 with “Jailhouse Rock”

Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Presley

Writer(s): Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller (see lyrics here)

Released: September 24, 1957

First Charted: September 30, 1957

Peak: 17 US, 3 HP, 13 CB, 2 HR, 11 CW, 15 RB, 14 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.79 UK, 9.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 237.8 video, 238.74 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was intent on getting his star into the movies. He was frustrated that people could see “the King” for free on television, but movies were different. People had to pay. AH The first film was a western originally called The Reno Brothers which was reworked into Love Me Tender, a vehicle for four new Elvis songs. Next up was Loving You, “a more straight ahead rock and roll film…[that] was basically a fictionalized version of Elvis’ own life to that point.” AH It included a title song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, “the first important non-performing songwriters of the rock era.” TB They were known for their R&B hits, one of which was the jail-themed “Riot in Cell Block #9” by the Coasters. TC They’d also written one of Elvis’ biggest hits – “Hound Dog – first recorded by Big Mama Thornton. RS500

Even so, the team weren’t sold on Elvis – until they met him. Then they were impressed with his work ethic and knowledge of R&B and agreed to write the prison songs for the King’s third movie, Jailhouse Rock. It was their first movie score. SF As bad as Elvis movies could be, the songs that soundtracked them were often worse. Still, Elvis had “his celluloid moments” and perhaps never better than in Jailhouse Rock, HL which is generally considered Elvis’ best film. AH

Leiber and Stoller’s score “was perfect” but nothing could match the energetic title song. HL Inspired by “Comeback” by Memphis Slim, KL “Jailhouse Rock” sported a tongue-in-cheek nature on par with the Coasters’ material. However, Elvis ignored the lyrical jokes, such as the gay-prisoner-themed line about one inmate telling another “You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see” and “sang it as straight rock & roll.” RS500

As for the dance routine involving dancing convicts in their cells, it was choreographed by Elvis himself, FB making it his only full-fledged example of such work in one of his movies. HL The dance sequence accompanying “Jailhouse Rock” featured dozens of men dressed as convicts. Alex Romero was tasked to choreograph the scene, but because Elvis was “a natural mover,” AH he wasn’t used to how trained dancers moved. Romero’s solution was to have Elvis move as he normally would on stage and then Romero worked those moves into the larger routine. AH It is often cited as an early influence on the development of music video. DJ

Music historian Steve Sullivan called the song “an all-out rocker with Elvis in peak, full-throated vocal form.” SS Music critic Dave Marsh said it was “an enduring smash” DM because of “the great walking bass, Scotty Moore’s invention of power chording, and D.J. Fontanta’s drumming, which is halfway between strip joint rhumba and the perfect New Orleans shuffle.” DM

The “hot rocking theme” DT was a huge hit, topping the U.S. pop, R&B, and country charts. It was the first #1 debut on the UK charts. While common today, it was considered impossible at the time. HL It returned to the peak in January 2005 when released to commemorate Presley’s 70th birthday, making it the oldest single top ever top that chart and one of three to top that chart twice. The other two were Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” SF both of which regained attention because of the deaths of their songwriters.


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Last updated 4/5/2023.