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The Black Swan - SingleThe Black Swan available on iTunes

Bert Jansch The Black Swan

The final album up for review this week is by Scottish folk legend Bert Jansch. The guitarist and songwriter first received attention from fans like Neil Young, Jimmy Page and Sound Opinions guest Donovan, and now, 40 years later, he has finally been signed to an American record label. The Black Swan, released by Chicago-based Drag City, sounds like a classic Jansch record with melancholic tunes and his signature skillful guitar playing. But, there's also some young blood: Devendra Banhart, Beth Orton, and Mazzy Star's Dave Roback all make contributions. Immediately after listening to the track "When the Sun Comes Up," Jim announces that he despises this record. He thinks it is“pretentious boring drivel,”which he“hated to the core of his being.”This critic gives The Black Swan a Trash It. Greg contends that the guitar playing is brilliant and the songs beautiful. He thinks Jim completely missed the point, and gives it a Buy It.

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Go to episode 51
news

Music News

One of the news stories Jim and Greg have been writing about this week is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's anti-trust investigation of Lollapalooza promoters C3 Presents. Chicago's Lollapalooza, like many large music festivals across the country, imposes a radius clause on its artists. That's an industry-standard contract of exclusivity with performers that restricts their touring within a certain distance. These clauses impact not only bands, but local music clubs, and really shrink their bookings for the summer. Jim and Greg wonder if this type of investigation will grow to the federal level.

Also in the news this week, Led Zeppelin is being sued for copyright infringement by Jake Holmes, a 70-year-old folk singer. Holmes, who toured with Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds in 1967, claims he actually wrote "Dazed and Confused." Lawsuits like this are a dime a dozen these days, but this one sparked Jim and Greg's interested because the evidence is just so darn convincing. Listen for yourself.

Go to episode 240

Music News

Hard rock gods Led Zeppelin announced its surviving members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones will perform live for one night only at England's 02 arena. The missing John Bonham drum slot will be filled by his son Jason Bonham. This event is all for charity. It's in honor of the late Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegün. All proceeds will go towards the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund. Robert Plant's altruism and high regard for Mr. Ertegün must be quite substantial considering he had this harsh thing to say back in 2002 about the band reuniting. Jim points out that nowadays no band ever stays broken up and predicts that once the band finishes this gig, they'll launch a world tour. Zep heads everywhere are crossing their fingers.

"Amateur" singer-songwriter Marié Digby rose to pop success this summer from her“DIY”video of her covering Rihanna's "Umbrella" on acoustic guitar. The video has been viewed 2.3 million times and launched her into US radio and iTunes success. It turns out her entire“amateur”marketing campaign was orchestrated by the not-so-amateur Hollywood Records. The Disney owned Hollywood Records signed Digby back in 2005 — well before she/the machine posted her YouTube video. The fact the she was on a major label was kept hidden until only very recently. Greg points out how this shows you how much a sham the major labels have become when Digby herself states she didn't think people would like her if they knew she was on a major label. Greg feels now that the artifice is exposed, her 15 minutes are over.

Pioneering jazz keyboardist Joe Zawinul died recently at the age of 75. Zawinul was one of the founding members of the 1970s jazz fusion band The Weather Report. According to Jim and Greg, the band was the pinnacle of the jazz fusion sound, a melding of rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. Zawinul introduced the synthesizer and electronic instrumentation to jazz. He helped pioneer the jazz fusion genre with Miles Davis on Davis's In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Jim and Greg also ask listeners not to blame Zawinul and Davis for where the jazz/rock fusion led to. As a tribute to Joe Zawinul, Jim and Greg play The Weather Report's most iconic song, "Birdland."

Go to episode 94