Music Bank

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Jaco Pastorius

Posted on Jan 20, 2021 in 70s, Fusion, JAZZ

Jaco Pastorius was a meteor who blazed on to the scene in the 1970s, only to flame out tragically in the 1980s. With a brilliantly fleet technique and fertile melodic imagination, Pastorius made his fretless electric bass leap out from the depths of the rhythm section into the front line with fluid machine-gun-like passages that demanded attention. He also sported a strutting, dancing, flamboyant performing style and posed a further triple-threat as a talented composer, arranger and producer…

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Sonny Condell

Posted on Jan 16, 2021 in Contemporary Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Following the break-up of Tír na nÓg, Condell released his debut solo album, Camouflage, in 1977. With accompaniment from musicians such as Clannad, Davey Spillane and Nanci Griffith, tracks such as ‘Down In The City’ traversed conventional folk and rock approaches to gain fervent critical reviews. Despite these good notices, he returned to a group format immediately after, completing five albums with eccentric Irish traditional band, Scullion…

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Huey “Piano” Smith

Posted on Jan 12, 2021 in 50s, Rhythm & Blues, Rock 'n' Roll

Huey “Piano” Smith was an important part of the great New Orleans piano tradition, following in the footsteps of Professor Longhair and Fats Domino to take his place among the Crescent City’s R&B elite. He was also one of R&B’s great comedians, his best singles matching the Coasters for genial, good-time humor, although his taste often ran more towards nonsense lyrics…

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Matthew Sweet

Posted on Jan 7, 2021 in 90s, Power pop, ROCK/POP

An artist who skillfully navigates the line between the power pop underground and the mainstream end of alternative rock, Matthew Sweet was a master of potent pop tunes and catchy melodic hooks, but he also knew how to make his songs rock, and his inspired use of incisive guitar work gave his songs an edge that was fresh and satisfying. Sweet spent much of the ’80s in the background, performing with the groups Oh-OK and Buzz of Delight, playing in Lloyd Cole’s backing band, and releasing a pair of overlooked solo albums (1986’s Inside and 1989’s Earth) as he honed his skills…

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Charley Pride

Posted on Jan 2, 2021 in Country, COUNTRY/FOLK

With a warm, strong baritone voice and a knack for phrasing that gave his performances a down-home sincerity and believability, Charley Pride was one of country music’s biggest success stories in the late 1960s through the mid-’80s. Most at home with relatable stories of love and life, with tuneful arrangements supporting his vocals, Pride racked up 36 number one country singles and 12 gold albums in his 1966 to 1983 heyday. For a time, Pride was second only to Elvis Presley among RCA Records’ biggest-selling acts, and he remained a popular live attraction long after his traditional style fell out of favor on country radio…

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The Olympics

Posted on Dec 27, 2020 in 50s, Doo-wop, Northern Soul, Rhythm & Blues, ROCK/POP

The Olympics were one of the great L.A.-based acts who managed to score regional hits on the West Coast by balancing upbeat and often humorous novelty R&B tunes with those about popular dances of the day … They are perhaps best remembered for their Coasters-derived “Western Movies”…

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Nikki Sudden

Posted on Dec 20, 2020 in 80s, ALTERNATIVE, Post-punk, Singer/Songwriter

After the post-punk band Swell Maps dissolved in the early ’80s, lead singer Nikki Sudden began a diverse and restless solo career, during which he worked with a number of different bands and side projects. Sudden released his first solo record, Waiting on Egypt, in 1982, followed closely by The Bible Belt in 1983; both records recalled the music he made with Swell Maps…

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Posted on Dec 14, 2020 in 70s, Power pop, ROCK/POP

There are few bands in the annals of rock music as star-crossed in their history as Badfinger. Pegged as one of the most promising British groups of the late ’60s and the one world-class talent ever signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records label that remained with the label, Badfinger enjoyed the kind of success in England and America that most other bands could only envy. Yet a string of memorable hit singles saw almost no reward from that success…

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Ray Smith

Posted on Dec 8, 2020 in 50s, Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly

Ray Smith was a rockabilly and country singer who recorded for the legendary Sun Records label, and is best remembered for his 1958 hit “Rockin’ Little Angel.” Smith was born on October 31, 1938 in Melber, KY, where his father supported his family as a sharecropper and sheet metal worker. Smith was a self-taught musician who didn’t begin performing in public until he joined the Air Force in 1952, after driving a Coca-Cola truck, operating an oven for a commercial baker, working in a shoe factory, and brewing moonshine with his brother-in-law…

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Woody Guthrie

Posted on Dec 2, 2020 in Americana, COUNTRY/FOLK, Singer/Songwriter, Traditional Folk

Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive. His greatest significance lies in his songwriting beginning with the standard “This Land Is Your Land”…

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