Best Albums of 2013: Two Views

Is there anyone out there who still gives CDs as Christmas presents? If you’re thinking of giving one to a person under the age of 21, forget it! For the young, everything is downloaded onto computers, iPhones etc. Buying them a compact disc when they don't use a CD player would be like giving them a butter churn. An iTunes gift card is a much better choice. But if you are thinking of buying music for someone a little older, looking to treat yourself to some fine music, or looking to make a good suggestion to the recipient of an iTunes gift card, read on.

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Rock and Roll Roots: Chuck Berry and Little Richard

Chuck Berry and Little Richard were among the first ten inductees voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  In addition, they have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and several of their recordings have been listed among Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock. Both artists were also very important to me at the beginning of my going-on-sixty-year love affair with rock and roll music.  If you were me and had to select the Top 15 songs for both Chuck Berry and Little Richard, which recordings would you choose?

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Rock and Roll in the Movies Pt. 1: The 50's

It’s been 61 years since rock and roll music made its first appearance in a motion picture; but it was almost an accident that it was included in the soundtrack. The song, which was recorded by a Michigan-born artist, caused a sensation when matched with the images in the film, and its box office success spawned a rash of other rock and roll-related movies by filmmakers anxious to capitalize on this latest trend.

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Michigan Invasion 2013

The Beatles spearheaded a mid-1960’s phenomenon that came to be called the ‘British Invasion’ wherein a wealth of rock and pop acts from the United Kingdom, as well as other aspects of British culture, became immensely popular in the United States. Besides setting rock and roll on its ear and selling millions of records, the Beatles were also a major influence in the formation of countless teenage bands across America, including hundreds in the state of Michigan. Forty-nine years after the “Fab Four” changed rock and roll forever, one of those bands, the Sixth Generation from Niles, Michigan, is planning an ‘invasion’ of their own at the birthplace of the Beatles; the city of Liverpool and its world-famous Cavern Club.

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Incredible Story of Jackie Wilson's Lost Son

by Al Abrams

Al Abrams, Motown’s legendary director of advertising and public relations, has written a fascinating essay for the debut CD of Bobby Brooks Wilson in which he details the rags-to-riches story of the lost son of the late Hall of Fame singer. Abrams, a 2011 MRRL inductee, was kind enough to allow this site to reprint his stranger-than-fiction account of the rise to prominence of the son that Jackie Wilson never knew.

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City of Smooth Jazz: Michigan CD Focus

The Robert Lee Revue's new CD, "City of Smooth Jazz" was selected by MRRL as one of 2012's Noteworthy Michigan Albums. Its two founding members hope that their unique brand of smooth jazz will eventually be heard and recognized around the world. They have achieved that lofty goal once before while in a rock and roll band and recording for a major label; but will they be able to grab that elusive brass ring a second time as independent artists?

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Best Albums Of 2012 And More: Two Views

What are the best bets if you're planning to give someone the gift of music? We're here to help. For the third consecutive year, my friend and fellow music fanatic Larry Van Cleve and I have put together our lists of what we feel were the best CDs of 2012. We put the lists together independently of each other, and since there are no record companies that are sending us free albums to review, our choices are made up of what we have bought, and sometimes, borrowed and burned. We’ve also each included a Blast From The Past section that deals with some older material we’ve listened to during the past year that we think is worthy of comment.

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