Rock ‘n’ roll is all about railing against the“man.”And for musicians, there's no bigger man than the record business. Some songs celebrate music's great A&R men and women or label heads. Many more skewer the suits. Here are Jim and Greg's favorites:
August 28, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech "I Have a Dream." And when Jim and Greg look back at that era, the music stands out as much as the marches and words. During this segment they talk about the role music played in the struggle for civil rights and how gospel and folk influences found their way into the pop charts. Jim and Greg also speak with legendary disc jockey Herb Kent about working at WVON (Voice of the Negro) during this time. Here are the protest songs Jim and Greg highlight:
"Driva Man" by Max Roach & Oscar Brown Jr. featuring Abbey Lincoln, 1960
"How I Got Over" performed by Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington, 1963
"In the Mississippi River" by the Freedom Singers, 1965
"Mississippi Goddamn" performed by Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall, 1964
"A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke, 1964
"Keep On Pushing" by The Impressions, 1964
"Freedom Highway" by The Staple Singers, 1965
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" performed by Kim Weston at Wattstax, 1972
The history of rock ‘n’ roll is filled with memorable lyrics, but sometimes it's the wordless songs that stick. This week, Jim and Greg celebrate the Best Instrumentals. Not just any“instrumental”track will do. Both Jim and Greg agree, no“fa fa fa's”or“la la la's”admitted. Here are their lists:
This week, Jim and Greg bypass the festival headliners to bring you great music from the unknown artists on the side stage. It's our summer installment of Buried Treasures. These artists may not be household names, but their music demands attention. Here are Jim and Greg's hidden gems:
The family that plays together, stays together, right? If you‘ve ever traveled in a van you’re your mother, father, sister or brother, you know it's not that easy. But these great Family Bands made it work. Happy Father's Day from Sound Opinions!
Conscientious critics that they are, Jim and Greg don't leave their best-of list making until December. This week, they get a jump on their 2013“Best of”list by giving us their top albums of the year so far. Here's what made the cut as the mid-year best:
With Baseball's Opening Day around the corner, Jim and Greg team up with Len Kasper, TV voice of the Chicago Cubs, to pay homage to their version of a Grand Slam. We all know how this works in baseball (though sports-phobe Jim DeRogatis is still getting the hang of the rules). A batter hits a home run with bases loaded, sending four players to home plate. In music, Jim and Greg define a grand slam as four masterpiece albums in a row. Which artists have achieved this rarest of rock feats? Jim and Greg sit down to compare stats.
For years Jim and Greg have made their annual voyage down to Austin, TX for the SXSW Music Conference. The goal was always clear: discover great new musical acts. And, while they are at it, take the music industry's temperature. But in recent years, SXSW has gotten a little too big for its britches with over 2,500 bands and 10,000 registrants. And, as Jim and Greg explain, it's now become a platform for big name stars to advertise products. (Just check out this gross stage display.) But, if you can side-step the corporate elements (and St. Patty's partiers), there's still a lot to gain in Austin (including pounds from beer and queso). Jim and Greg were impressed with Dave Grohl's passionate keynote. And they have another list of up-and-coming bands to watch in the year to come.
When candy, flowers, and love notes fail to woo your sweetie back, there's only one thing left to do: stake out under a window, hold up that boom box and blast an“I Want You Back”song. This Valentine's Day, Jim and Greg present their favorite Pleading Songs.
Next week, South Park and Book of Mormon creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone join Jim and Greg in the studio to talk music and comedy. The duo's trademark musical satire has won them tons of fans - and a few Tony awards. In advance of the boys' visit, Jim and Greg warm up the crowd with a mix of rock n' roll's Best Satirical Songs. Whether they're pointing a finger at society's ills or sending up pop music forms, these artists turn the funny up to 11.