I was never a big fan of The Pretenders, but my wife was, and we saw them in 1987 on their tour for their fourth album, Get Close. And it was a truly excellent concert; as bands can do, they won me over with their live performance. (If you think you don’t like Hall & Oates, that’s because you haven’t seen them in concert!)
Eric Clapton and the late J.J. Cale had a long running friendship and Clapton had covered many of Cale’s tunes, often with good success. Many listeners think “Cocaine” and “After Midnight” are Clapton’s, though Clapton has always been quick to point out Cale’s influence and talent. Clapton’s latest show of kinship is The Breeze, An Appreciation of JJ Cale, a sort of Cale greatest hits performed by Clapton and a who’s-who of other talent.Clapton and Cale collaborated on an album together, though, back in 2006, The Road to Escondido, and that may be the best tribute to their shared sound and love of music.
Most of us know Willie Nelson as an incredible songwriter, one of the best in the business, so it’s ironic that many of us also know his 1978 cover album Stardust better than many of his other LPs. It’s a brilliant album and one of the earlier cover albums and certainly one of the best in which an artist makes old tunes his, imbues them with his sound to the point where many listeners think of “Blue Skies” as a Willie Nelson song and not Irving Berlin’s. Not a bad accomplishment for an artist covering some of the best pre-Beatle pop songs of the twentieth century.
Our Then-album is The Rolling Stones, Now!...from 1965. So what were The Rolling Stones like then? Well, brilliant. Twelve brilliant R&B numbers work together to make one of their most consistent and rewarding albums; who’d know it was one of those cobbled together US releases? Lenne Allik and aficionados of the Stones—otherwise all that matters is that this is one of the best albums, from any era, by The Rolling Stones.