Archive for December, 2010



Yes everyone needs to be loved and Shania Twain is no different. Congratulations on your announcement.

Here are 12 lighthearted  SHANIA Stocking stuffer quotes from yours truly

1-Eileen, can you still snare a rabbit? Frederic will be impressed

2-At least now if you decide to peform again, there will be no more dodging drunks at the RIV (hometown bar)

3-Was it  Don’t Stop Believing that I remember you singing from the JP days? 

4-New cd title- Shania Sings Eileen

5-You must have new love songs written by now..where the hell are they?

6-Mutt may not like your singing anymore, but I’m sure a few million still do

7-Sure you were only 6 years old..but do u still remember Country Roads Take Me Home

8-Heck does this mean no more MAXIM magazine photos

9-If you forget your own songs, you don’t need scraps of paper anymore..use the teleprompter

10-Shania- Just sing-Forget about Autotune

11-How come I’m not on your new reality show?

12-You sure were cute

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio show host..check out his show  BELOW

you can purchase JOHN’S solo cd on Apple Itunes

or his fave rock band THE SHAFTMEN on Itunes here




Documentary or live performance Blu-ray releases are a big passion for me. When it’s done right, it’s all encompassing.

I will watch them over and over. For some strange reason I do not do this with a regular movie

Everyone/or company seems to have a shot at it. When you visit your fave retailer, some of the stuff on the shelf  is pretty bad            

Eagle Rock Entertainment is without question a leader in this field. Their master audio and video resolution is always top shelf.  In addition Eagle Rock bring the widest variety of source music material of any company out there today

On an audio note, if you do not have a receiver that plays back  HD Master Audio, you may want use LPCM Stereo as opposed to dolby digital surround for older shows. 

I may miss one or two titles  that I have watched but here are my top blu-ray/dvd music releases for 2010   

When Your Strange-A Film about The Doors-Overall the most satisfying of the all too many Doors releases on the market.   A lot of the archival footage I had not seen. Plus interviews with Jim Morrsion’s father and bandmembers are exclusive and revealing.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band-London Calling- Live at Hyde Park-Stunning looking and sounding concert that has to be seen to be believed. I have played it for my friends and bandmembers who are  fans of The Boss   The verdict is The best they  have ever witnessed him and the band play besides being at the venue.

TAMI Show-1964 Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Leslie Gore, The Beach Boys with Brian Wilson, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Chuck Berry, The Supremes and many others. Plus a house band with Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, Jack Nitzsche, Hal Blaine and others. All artists live, with film totally restored. Wow!!!

Ghost Blues-The Story of Rory Gallagher-Wow. A very well done documentary on Rory. Superb archival footage, interviews and a second disc titled The Beat Club Sessions. Great value.

Ladies and Gentlemen-The Rolling Stones-Yes and OMG. The Stones on the 1972 Exile On Main Street tour. Sure there are limitations because of the original source. Don’t worry about it one bit. Great looking, solid stereo track, and filmed over 4 nights in Texas. Includes 2010 interview with Mick Jagger.

Jimi Hendrix-West Coast Seattle Boy-Simply put the a must have 90 minute Hendrix documentary!

The Rolling Stones-Stones In Exile-The making of this classic Stones album. Archival footage abounds. U need it!

Bee Gees-In Our Own Time-The complete Bee Gees story. Fascinating interviews and footage. You will have new respect for the brothers after you see this one

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concerts-25th Anniversery-Can you tell me why most of the artists who are over 60 years of age out play most bands under 30 years of age. You may have seen the HBO Special but this has way more.

Without going into detail here are my other picks. Leonard Cohen-Songs From The Road, The Everly Brothers-Reunion concert Live At Royal Albert Hall, Crossroads 3 Dvd Clapton and Friends, Rush Classic album series 2112/Moving Pictures, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers-Damn The Torpedos Classic album series, Emerson lake and Palmer-Live at Montreux-1997-Black Sabbath Paranoid /Classic album series, Nils Lofgren-Cry Tough, and last but not least Free Forever.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio show host..check out his online radio site. OR purchase  tunes from ONE of JOHN’S fave blues rock bands THE SHAFTMEN on Apple Itunes














Three Important notes. My top album picks from 2010 are only what I have heard.  If the record labels did not service them or I did not buy them or download them, then I did not hear or review them. In addition these picks are not in any order.

Lastly here is my musical criteria.

What makes albums great for me are  passion in performance  and good songwriting .  A drum rolL… please

Peter Wolf- Midnight Souvenirs-Wolf’s extensive knowledge of R & B, Soul and blues is fused into perfect Americana. Standout tracks I Don’t Wanna Know, Thick As Thieves and Watch Her Move. Guest include Neko Case and  Merle Haggard

Neil Young-Le Noise-When Young sings of the backstreets of Toronto and his warm intimate lyrics fall into your head, your inside.  Again you are nailed to your chair with his electric and acoustic guitars and Daniel Lanois mindblowing production and additional instrumentation.

Black Dub-Self Titled-Daniel Lanois is one of the most intutive musicians on the planet.  Trixie Whitley is I would say THE MOST interesting and compelling voice I have heard in 5 years. Killer playing and great songs.

Bryan Ferry-Olympia-Ferry is one of a kind. Making an album this good late in his career. Wow

Marc Jordan-Crucifix In Dreamland-Like Bryan Ferry, Jordan is so on top of his game. It’s downright impressive

Keith Urban-Get Closer-Bridging the gap between pop and country. Songs of Love.  But hell it’s good

Celleste-Ready To Fly-Your probably wondering what a newcomer is doing on a list that includes iconic rockers. Celleste is combustible. She has a fire down below whether it’s full out rock on Yer Goin’ Down or singing her heart out on  Best I Can. I love that about her. You will too.

Kings of Leon-Come Around Sundown-It took me 3 listens to warm to this BIG production. U2 soundscapes, intense grooves, solid songs and ATTITUDE

Ron Wood-I Feel Like Playing-Wood’s  best vocal work yet, excellent songs and great gtr work. You will love it!

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers-Mojo-Possibly the best working band on the planet, besides maybe The Street Band. Blues rock songs rule!

Robert Plant-Band of Joy-Authentic roots music with just enough boost. Gets well engrained after a second listen. Gorgeous

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals-Self Titled-Passion, tight band arrangements and songs you don’t hear anythere else. You need to hear this NOW

The Gaslight Anthem-American Slang-Songs that are alive with passion and urgency. YOU NEED THIS

Drive By Truckers-The Big To Do-This band may be the truest  bar band of all time. Of course they are a big act.  They don’t  act like it. My kind of band.

Brandon Flowers-Flamingo-Honestly when I heard this on Itunes I could not believe the depth of the Killers frontman. Good songs abound

Andrew Cole-Why We Wonder-As with Celleste this album will surprise.  Cole has a yearning vibe to both his songwriting and voice. This is laid back but gets under your skin in a very cool way.

Santana-Guitar Heaven-Sometimes I just want to rock out. 14 classic rock songs ripped by Santana and his road band. Yes!!


JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio show host..check out john’s radio show here

you can purchase one of john’s fave blues rock bands THE SHAFTMEN on Apple Itunes..check them out  here



JOHN LENNON-“you say you want a revolution”-my top Lennon picks-by JOHN EMMS

The day John Lennon was murdered on December 8th 1980 I had just came home from working the afternoon shift (3-11) at the McIntyre  mine. My wife and daughter Amanda (then only just over a year old) were already in bed.

I went downstairs to the rec room and put on ABC’s Monday Night Football.

However I had the sound down and was playing a cassette variety tape I was putting together for an X-Mas party.

I went upstairs for a sandwich and  I believe I may have seen a photo of John Lennon then or on Nightline later that night.

It was not till the next day when I turned on the radio in my old 1977 Sport Fury I heard the news. I remember sitting in the vehicle in utter disbelief.  I have to admit I was devastated. I had every John Lennon solo album on vinyl (still have those copies) and had followed his career after The Beatles.

Some of my songwriting and guitar style has been influenced by Lennon. No question about it

For example the fact of following major chords with a minor chord right after (Nowhere Man) or adding seventh chords and bridge minor chords and double tracking your vocals (No Reply)  In addition I always liked the way Lennon’s rhythm guitar parts stood out on The Beatles recordings (I Feel Fine). 

Lennon’s guitar work had a rough style that I still use today with The Shaftmen

These were all direct John Lennon influences. 

Ok folks.. we will no doubt leave out a lot of fan faves,  but here are my top John Lennon songs in no particular order

Nowhere Man- 3 part harmonies and cool guitar solo by Lennon and George Harrison. “Doesn’t have a point of view, knows not where he’s going to, Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

Mind Games-The title track and lead single to one of the my fave Lennon solo albums whenever I hear it I turn it way up. Notable that Lennon played the slide guitar parts

I Am The Walrus-“Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come” Amazing it was the B side to Hello Goodbye

God-” I don’t believe in Elvis, I don’t believe in Zimmerman, I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me, Yoko and me..that’s reality”

Revolution-Nasty swabs of dirty guitar, outstanding lyrics and the room overtones on the recording are killer. Wow and love the video.

Sexy Sadie-One of my faves from the White Album, and written in India. One of the coolest bridge patterns of any Beatles track

Imagine-World anthem. Will always be that special

Don’t Let Me Down-Check out youtube video version. Billy Preston, Ringo, Paul’s high neck bass runs, George’s telecaster chords and of course John’s vocal. (even when he forgets the words) Wow.

Come Together-Opening track on Abbey Road Wow. Still sounds amazing today. Note that Lennon played the funky electric piano on here.

Working Class Hero-“They hurt you at home, they hit you at school, they hate you if your clever, they despise a fool, Till your so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules”

Woman-Definite Beatle-esque vibe, love the vocal on this recording. 

Happy X-mas War Is Over-featuring The Harlem community choir. Another christmas standard

Strawberry Fields Forever-“Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It’s getting hard to be someone, but it all works out, It doesn’t matter much to me”

Help-Lennon’s gorgeous acoustic guitar, George’s descending guitar lines and an honest as all hell double tracked vocal from John

Nobody Loves You When Your Down and Out-You have to hear this track from Walls and Bridges-Check out the bridge vocal

A Day in The Life-We used to sit and listen (on vinyl) to Sgt Pepper and stunned on that last piano chords this ending track  over and over.

Watching The Wheels-This indicated Lennon’s prowess as songwriter and musician in the last year of his life. His third and final single from Double Fantasy

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio show host and musician

JOHN’S SOLO CD is available on Apple itunes

john emms (@emmsreviews) / Twitter

December 2010