News Column

STEVE SMITH: Brian Wilson joins Jeff Beck in L.A.; The Turtles 'Happy Together' in Beverly Hills [Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)]

July 11, 2013

YellowBrix

BRIAN WILSON TO PLAY L.A. WITH JEFF BECK

Former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, one of the most acclaimed hotshot six-string practitioners in rock history, is appearing on at least one upcoming Brian Wilson album. However, that's not all. The 69-year-old Englishman will join Wilson and fellow former Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks in concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Oct. 20.

Beck will open the show with a set of his own before joining Wilson and the guys for their set.

Of the legendary teaming, Wilson said, "I feel like this is a cool continuation of what we did last year - with the exciting addition of Jeff Beck. We've got some new tunes we want to try out on a live crowd as well as doing some great music from our catalogs."

Last year, during the Beach Boys' 70-show 50 th Anniversary Tour, a re-inspired Wilson wrote a ton of new songs - so much so that Wilson is possibly planning to release three separate albums, each very different from the other, including an all-instrumental album entirely with Beck, whom he met last year when they headlined a Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp.

In other Wilson/Beach Boys news, it appears that Mike Love, 72, who owns the Beach Boys name and brand and is currently playing much smaller venues with longtime Beach Boy Bruce Johnston than he did on the 50 th Anniversary Tour, wants to possibly make peace with his cousin, Wilson, with whom he wrote dozens of classic '60 s surf tunes, including "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Help Me, Rhonda" and "California Girls," and work with him again.

Love tells Britain's Daily Star, "I don't know how that sacking controversy started. I'd love to work with Brian again. I'd very much like to get in a room, just him and I, to write more songs. We've always had a special chemistry, which has helped craft some fantastic music and given us a tremendous amount of success. We didn't write together on last year's album, and I'd like to do that more than anything."

Love also gave his interpretation of why Wilson, Jardine and Marks aren't still Beach Boys. "The anniversary tour was originally 50 dates, and got extended to 73. At that point, Brian said: 'No more dates for us, please.' So once we finished those 73 shows we went back to the line-up of the band before he rejoined." In earlier statements and an open letter to a local L.A. paper, Wilson has disputed this, saying that he felt he was fired from group. And there was no mention from Love about the possibility of Wilson or the others rejoining The Beach Boys.TOBY KEITH DISASTER BENEFIT ITSELF BECOMES A DISASTER

Toby Keith's all-star benefit Twister Relief Concert for disaster victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes was itself a disaster when almost 1,300 concertgoers had to be treated for heat-related medical problems, according to the Tulsa World. The reports said that 140 fans required additional treatment and 21 were transported to area hospitals.

The concert that drew a sell-out crowd of more than 65,000 to the University of Oklahoma Stadium in Tulsa also featured Garth Brooks, his singer wife Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, John Anderson, Mel Tillis, Ronnie Dunn and Sammy Hagar (and Carrie Underwood via satellite from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville). All proceeds from the concert benefited the United Way of Central Oklahoma's May Tornadoes Relief Fund. At press time, it was unknown how much money the concert raised.

In other disaster-related news, New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi has donated $1 million to the New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, reports Billboard.RANDY TRAVIS UNDERGOES EMERGENCY HEART SURGERY

Randy Travis, who has sold more than 25 million records and scored 22 No. 1 hits on Billboard's country singles chart, has been hospitalized in an unnamed hospital in Texas. Travis, who returned to touring recently after finishing a court-order stint in rehab for a series of alcohol-related incidents last year, thought he had a bad cold. It turned out that he had pneumonia. Once he was in the hospital it was also diagnosed that he was suffering from viral cardiomyopathy, an infection of the heart muscles that is very serious and can lead to heart failure, reports CNN. Travis remains hospitalized in critical condition at press time.

So, prior to being transferred to another hospital, the 54-year- old singer "underwent the placement of an Impella peripheral left ventricular assist device for stabilization," according to a written statement from his spokesman Kirt Webster. The device is "an implantable mechanical pump that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart to the rest of your body," according to the Mayo Clinic's website.

CNN asked Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist and internal medicine specialist in Washington, about Travis' condition and he replied, "To say that Mr. Travis' alcohol use exacerbated his problems would be pure speculation, but if someone told me alcohol played a role in his cardiac problems, I wouldn't be surprised."THE TURTLES' 'HAPPY TOGETHER TOUR' IN BEVERLY HILLS

You know a show is a big hit with concertgoers when you see and hear groups of fans singing the songs they just heard onstage as they exit the venue.

Such was the case at The Turtles' annual "Happy Together Tour" stop in Southern California.

The Turtles, led by lead singer Howard Kaylan and his comical backup-singing cohort Mark Volman, took their caravan of hit-makers to the 1,900-seat landmark 1930 art nouveau Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills for a sold-out gig. Also on board is Gary Lewis, former Paul Revere & The Raiders frontman Mark Lindsay, Union Gap vocalist Gary Puckett and former Three Dog Night lead singer Chuck Negron.

This annual jaunt is such a hit with fans - and why not? It's nearly three hours of classic hit after classic hit from the '60 s and early '70 s - that the tour continues to grow and book more venues with each year. This year's "Happy Together Tour" is nearly 70 shows, double the number of shows on last year's tour.

All were in fine voice (Lewis was just a tad flat on occasion), especially Lindsay, Negron and The Turtles. I caught Negron perhaps five years ago at the Gibson Amphitheatre and his voice was nothing like the man who sang, "Joy to the World." Not so last weekend. The voice belonging to this Chuck Negron was classic Three Dog Night- era Negron and it was a joy to hear.

What's unique about this tour is that fans are treated to an encore that sees each artist again performing one of their biggies. For instance, Lindsay gave everyone another run-through of The Raiders' "Kicks," while Puckett reprised his biggest hit, "Young Girl."Here's the setlist:

Gary Lewis: 1. "Count Me In" (No. 2 in 1965). 2. "Sure Gonna Miss Her" (No. 9 in 1966). 3. "Save Your Heart for Me" (No. 2 in 1965). 4. "Everybody Loves a Clown" (No. 4 in 1965). 5. "My Heart Symphony" (No. 13 in 1966). 6. "This Diamond Ring" (No. 1 in 1965). 7. "Just My Style" (No. 3 in 1965).

Mark Lindsay still has that rock star charisma at age 71. He looked, sounded and bounded around the stage as though he were still in his late 20 s or early 30 s. It must be said that it's a crime that Paul Revere & The Raiders not only are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they've never even been nominated for induction voting. 1. The chorus of the theme song from The Raiders' afternoon teen music show, "Where the Action Is." 2. "Steppin' Out" (No. 46 in 1965 and No. 8 in Canada). 3. "Just Like Me" (No. 11 in 1965). 4. "Arizona" (No. 10 in 1970). 5. "Hungry" (No. 6 in 1966). 6. "Good Thing" (No. 4 in 1966). 7. "Indian Reservation" (No. 1 in 1971). 8. "Kicks" (No. 4 in 1966).

Gary Puckett: "Lady Willpower" (No. 2 in 1968). 2. "Over You" (No. 7 in 1968). 3. "Don't Give In To Him" (No. 15 in 1969). 4. "This Girl is a Woman Now" (No. 9 in 1969). 5. "Woman, Woman" (No. 7 in 1967). 6. "Home," a newer tune dedicated to our veterans. 7. "Young Girl" (No. 2 in 1968).

Chuck Negron, who possesses a wonderfully funny self-effacing sense of humor derived from his decades of drug and alcohol abuse: "Shambala" (No. 3 in 1973). 2. "Celebrate" (No. 15 in 1970). 3. "Mama Told Me Not to Come" (No. 1 in 1970). 4. "Eli's Coming" (No. 10 in 1969). 5. "One" (No. 5 in 1969). 6. "Joy to the World" (No. 1 in 1971).

The Turtles: "She'd Rather Be with Me" (No. 3 in 1967). 2. "You Baby" (No. 20 in 1966). 3. Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" (No. 8 in 1965). 4. Volman's Jim Morrison impersonation on "Riders on the Storm" and a brief Doors medley that segued into "You Showed Me" (No. 6 in 1969). 5. "Peaches En Regalia," a tune from Volman & Kaylan's days with Frank Zappa in the early '70 s that provided an intentionally jarring segue into "Eleanor" (No. 6 in 1968). 6. "Happy Together" (No. 1 in 1967).

After taking a break for a couple of weeks, the tour continues later in the month and through August in New England and the Midwest. The lengthy tour wraps on Oct. 18-19 at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, Mo. The guys are already looking at next year's tour. They've got a "Happy Together Tour" gig with Lindsay, Negron, The Grass Roots and The Buckinghams at the Spotlight 29 Casino Showroom in Coachella, south of Palm Springs on March 29, 2014.JETHRO TULL'S IAN ANDERSON AT THE GREEK

Last year, after 45 years, Scottish flute and guitar-playing singer-songwriter Ian Anderson broke up his London-based progressive rock-Renaissance and Celtic folk-jazz-blues-rock band, Jethro Tull.

For the second year, the 65-year-old Anderson is touring America and the world with his crack 5-member solo band, celebrating the 40 th anniversary of his and Tull's epic progressive rock album, "Thick as a Brick," the 45-minute, album-long song that contains many movements and hit No. 1. He's performing the work in its entirety for the first time since the album's release in 1972.

At a nearly sold out 5,700-seat Greek Theatre amidst the forest of L.A.'s Griffith Park, the original "TAAB" as it's known comprised the first half of this tour's show.

Early in 2012, he and his newer band recorded a sequel to "TAAB," called simply "Thick as a Brick 2." Like the original, this album is also a song-long album containing many movements. So it's natural that Anderson presents this new work during the second half of these concerts. The packaging is actually inspired and "TAAB" and TAAB 2" fit seamlessly.

Anderson has performed shorter abbreviated versions of "TAAB" at virtually every Tull show the band has played these past four decades. However, the music from these short versions was all from side one of the album. So, for Tull fans it was a treat hearing him deliver side two. And because the new "TAAB 2" includes several brief musical interludes from the original for continuity, it all flowed beautifully and his audience roared its approval.

The newer "TAAB 2" CD features familiar Tull-ish classical prog- rock runs throughout that are reminiscent of music from the excellent under-heard and under-appreciated "J-Tull Dot Com" album from 1999.

Anderson permanently damaged his voice in 1984. Since then, his singing has been marginal at best, wince-inducing at its worst. Unfortunately, the concert at the Greek provided mostly moments of the latter. Having heard recordings of the show at quite a few dates over the last year, sadly the Greek gig found Anderson's voice in particularly poor form - undoubtedly due to the rigors of an awfully long tour.

However, after 28 years, Anderson has finally come to terms with this problem. He is utilizing a younger singer with an ideal background in rock music, theatre and with circuses. Englishman Ryan O'Donnell, 30, is a compliment to Anderson; a man who sings in Anderson's key, can ape his trademark moves and who possesses a voice that is not so strong that it will show up his boss. He and Anderson traded vocals back and forth throughout - and it works well.

After years of shows that have increasingly frustrated fans because of Anderson's vocal problems, as well as Anderson's insistence on playing many of the same songs year-in and year-out, the brilliant 65-year-old has rediscovered the magic and presented a show that is a triumph. Its popularity with both fans and critics alike has enabled Anderson to extend the tour into its second year.

For the encore, Anderson gave his fans one classic warhorse, an extended, solo-filled "Locomotive Breath," from Tull's biggest- selling album, 1971's "Aqualung." The tour is currently winding its way through the eastern United States.

They're taking August off before marauding through Europe and Russia in September. However, Anderson and band are returning to the U.S. and Canada for more dates before heading off once again to Europe in November for four more shows.FREE SUMMER SOCAL SHOWS

Fans throughout southern California will be treated to several free concerts this summer, many featuring popular classic artists.

Donna Loren, star of the Frankie and Annette beach films who memorably sang "It Only Hurts When I Cry" in 1965's "Beach Blanket Bingo," shares a bill this Saturday with The Rip Chords ("Hey Little Cobra") at the 4 th Annual Collector Car Appreciation Day Celebration at the Simi Town Center Mall in Simi Valley.

Also this Saturday night is the annual Cruise Night on Brand Blvd. in Glendale this year. Amidst the 400 classic cars and hot rods, will be The Tokens ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight") and The Surfaris, who are celebrating the 50 th anniversary of "Wipe Out." Meanwhile, J. Macias, founder of alt rockers Dinosaur Jr., plays Amoeba Music on Sunday.

The annual picnic concert series at Warner Park in Woodland Hills begins this Sunday with former Stray Cat Lee Rocker, followed by A Flock of Seagulls on July 21 and The Doors' guitarist Robbie Krieger on Aug. 4.

The free concert series at Pershing Square in Downtown L.A. kicks off on July 20 with a couple of hours of jumping Oingo Boingo music courtesy of Johnny Vatos Boingo Dance Party. Vatos was Boingo's drummer for two decades until the band called it a day after a sold- out show at the then-Universal amphitheatre (now the Gibson Amphitheatre) on Halloween night 1995. The Vatos Boingo Dance Party band features a total of six former Boingo members (I can attest that they are great!). Bow Wow Wow will open for them.

The series continues on July 27 with Dave Alvin. It's one of America's greatest rock bands, The Smithereens (who should also be in the Rock Hall of Fame along with Paul Revere & The Raiders - see above) headlining on Aug. 3, while The Tubes with Fee Waybill close the series on Aug. 10.

The Santa Monica Pier's annual series, ten concerts this year, sees jazz-soul and reggae singer-songwriter-bassist Meshell Ndegeocello on July 18. The English Beat headlines on Aug. 18, while Trombone Shorty plays Aug. 29. The series wraps on Sept. 12 with reggae icon Jimmy Cliff.

The Diamonds ("Little Darlin'") play Schabarum Regional Park in Puente Hills on July 23. Jazz and blues vet Barbara Morrison plays the Boulevard Music Summer Festival in Culver City on July 25, while hot-picking English journeyman guitarist Albert Lee, who led Heads Hands & Feet and spent more than a decade backing his heroes The Everly Brothers, plays the fest on Aug. 1.NEW RELEASES

Among the recently released albums, digital reissues, MP3 downloads and deluxe box sets are "The Best of Merry Clayton," 17 songs from the legendary backup singer who is featured in the new documentary, "Twenty Feet From Stardom" and whose vocals on The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" (her own version is included here) is the stuff of rock lore; the 14-track "Calm After," the first completely new studio album in nine years from Georgia-born country singer Travis Tritt; and "That's It (Amazon Exclusive)" from New Orleans iconic Preservation Hall Jazz Band, co-produced by My Morning Jacket leader Jim James with new songs co-written by Paul Williams.

"Can Do," the 22 nd studio album from Canadian hard rock singer- guitarist Pat Travers; a 40-track 2-CD, "Hardcore" from quirky devolution pop-rockers Devo; a 2-CD compilation, "Nile Rogers Presents Up All Night (The Chic Organization Album," features hits by the disco-R&B outfit Chic, such as their 1978 No. 1 smash, "Le Freak," as well as Chic and Rogers-Bernard Edwards-related hits like Diana Ross' 1980 hit, "Upside Down" and Sister Sledge's 1979 trademark biggie, "We Are Family;" and "Bula Quo," from British boogie rock vets Status Quo, who are best known in America for their debut 45, the psychedelic "Pictures of Matchstick Men" that hit No. 12 early in 1968.

"Red River Drifter," from pure Western singer of cowboy songs, Michael Martin Murphy, whose "Wildfire" spent a couple of weeks at No. 3 in June 1975; a 4-CD import set, "Anthology 1977-1979" from Brit punk-New Wave rockers The Tom Robinson Band, whose debut single in 1977, "2-4-6-8 Motorway" was a minor hit here (it hit No. 5 there); soul figurehead Solomon Burke's "Live at Montreux 2006" sees the late rotund singer belt out 18 tunes, including his 1964 hit, "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and the Dixieland gospel staple, "When The Saints Go Marching In;" and a 4-CD import box, "8 Classic Albums" from laidback jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis priced at only $14.99 on Amazon.NOW PLAYING

Classic acts from the '50 s, '60 s and '70 s continue to perform. Here's what one of them is doing.

Mitch Ryder will never be confused with, say, Jack Jones - (note: Jones, the 75-year-old crooner who is perhaps best known to today's audiences for his 1979 hit, "The Love Boat Theme," has just been cast in the music industry gangster film, "American Hustle").

Far from it. No, Ryder is known for shredding his vocal chords on such raw rock and roll screamers as "Devil with a Blue Dress On/ Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Jenny Take a Ride."

The leader of The Detroit Wheels scored several wild and crazy hits during the mid-'60 s. His hits began in 1965 with "Jenny Take a Ride," which hit No. 10 on Billboards Hot 100 pop singles chart. He followed it the next year with a two-song medley that made it to No. 4, "Devil with a Blue Dress On," co-written by Shorty Long and "Good Golly Miss Molly," a classic for Little Richard in 1958. His final biggie, "Sock It to Me - Baby," reached No. 6 in 1967.

In 1968, Ryder and The Detroit Wheels parted company and, aside from a couple of minor singles that made it into the upper echelons of the Hot 100, his hit-making days were done.

But Ryder himself was far from done. At 68, he maintains an active schedule. He starred in a "Where The Action Is" Caribbean cruise with Gary Lewis, Chubby Checker and Paul Revere & The Raiders. Then, in February and March, he embarked on a tour of Europe that saw him play a couple dozen dates.

He's got a couple of domestic shows set this year, including on Oct. 20 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on a "Where the Action Is" show, along with The Association and the aforementioned Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Like, recommend or share the column on Facebook. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.

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