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Monday, July 1 2002

The Coolness of John

I understood the value of John Entwistle's rock-solid strength amid the pinball-bouncing craziness of his bandmates' fierce energy. If they were the sizzle, 'The Ox', as he was affectionately known, was the steak.


Success Story

The camera falls on Entwistle, who's caught with a half-assed grin that quickly turns into a grimace. That one shot says it all for John: the guy standing at the back who had more up his sleeve than he was letting on.


John Entwistle, 1944-2002

Onstage, while Townshend would be smashing his guitar, Moon kicking over his drum kit and Daltrey scraping the microphone on one of Moon's dislodged cymbals, Entwistle would stand in front of his bass cabinet playing various scales right through the chaos around him.


Friday, June 28 2002

The Clarks

Mention The Clarks to most music fans outside of Pittsburgh, and you're likely to be met with a look of blank indifference. However, the fact that the four-piece band stole the show when sharing the stage with Three Doors Down at the Iron City's IC Light Amphitheatre last summer, tells you all you need to know about The Clarks' popularity in and around their hometown.


Hard Hitting Blues: The Last Man Standing: James Brown

The tag 'Soul Brother Number One', attributed to the great funk God James Brown, didn't come without him paying dues -- literally and figuratively.


Hard Hitting Blues: Smitty’s Blues

Byther Smith has been a working man his whole long life, and rightly takes pride in that honest fact.


Hard Hitting Blues: Ten Reasons Bo Diddley Is the Forgotten Heavyweight Champion of Rock

Bo Diddley is more important than the Stones, more crucial than the Beatles, more fundamental to rock as a lyricist and an instrumentalist and a conceptualist than Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly or Brian Wilson.


Hard Hitting Blues: Remembering the Mighty Man

Mentioning his name will jumpstart memories of powerful Chicago-style soul blues that telegraphs a rhythm into the soul of any blues fan.


Hard Hitting Blues: Professor Longhair

Longhair is the Picasso of keyboard funk.


Hard Hitting Blues: Walkin’ the Blues: Willie Dixon

Dixon's stature only grew with the British Invasion.


Hard Hitting Blues: Champion Jack Dupree: Great Long Ways From Home

Dupree's own life, as well as his music, provide a narrative that touched on so many aspects of the 20th century African-American experience that it at times beggars belief.


Hard Hitting Blues: Jelly Roll Morton

The life of the New Orleans piano 'professor' who grew up playing in whorehouses and clip joints has long been the stuff of legend in both jazz and blues music.


Hard Hitting Blues: Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It?

The most telling connection between blues and boxing were the bluesmen themselves who had also been fighters. But evidence of this association can be seen elsewhere, if you happen to look in the right places. If you're lucky, there it is, staring you straight back in the face, just like the early blues and R&B posters do.


Hard Hitting Blues: How’d a White Boy Get the Blues

Popa Chubby is one of today's rising blues musicians and one of the blues' biggest fight fans.


Hard Hitting Blues: Johnny “Clyde” Copeland

Like many bluesmen -- and any boxer -- Texas guitarslinger Johnny Copeland got knocked down a lot, but he always fought hard to get back up.


Hard Hitting Blues: Requiem for a Heavyweight: Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson will be recognized as a superb gloveman who wasn't afraid to mix it up in the corners, only to be brought down by the same habits he acquired when he was learning to harness his amazing gifts.


Hard Hitting Blues: Baby Workout: Jackie Wilson

His tragic career will always be offered as an object lesson in power and greed (not to mention the fate of the black man in entertainment).


Hard Hitting Blues: Blues, Boxing, and Work

Comparing bluesmen to boxers is a parlor game -- okay, a saloon pastime -- worth trying once or twice.


Tuesday, June 25 2002

Be Like June . . .

If June Jordan has been invisible to the mainstream in her death, it was not simply because she was black, but because she was a black woman, who chose to be an activist and an intellectual, in a society that seemingly has little value for black women who aren't taking off their clothes, while celebrating their 'bootilicious' reality on a Viacom-owned video channel or an HBO 'sex' series.


The Legend of the Lipstick Killers

The record business perceived the Dolls as too dangerous, too radical, too frightening even to be in the same room with, too hard to sell. Every time Leber and I talked to record people we came across an invisible wall. Could they play as well as the Allman Brothers? What is this gender bending thing? Are they gay?


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