New Peter Wolf album; Throwback video

peterwolfIt’s criminal, you know, that the J. Geils Band is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  And it matters for one selfish reason: there is a credibility bump that translates to dollars available on the road. Simply put, you get in, your career gets better.

So selfishly – and correctly, I might add – the Boston band needs to get in.  They need to earn a spot for one main reason: so they will continue to play live as a band, and more fans (like me) can see Peter Wolf and the band blaze through the rock and blues and soul revue that they do so well.

Wolf, meanwhile, rolls right on along, all 135 pounds of him.  The 70 year-old singer, who has reunited with the Geils boys as recently as last year for the opening slot on the Bob Seger tour, has his own band, and they are set to hit the road for a tour. On April 8, Wolf released A Cure For Loneliness,  a followup to 2010s Midnight Souvenirs.  While the previous album leaned on a rootsy, country-ish Memphis groove, the new record is a soul album, lashed with country, with the always-present Boston R&B.  Plus, there is a reworked cover take on the J. Geils hit “Love Stinks”, tipped musically to bluegrass.

A couple links follow, one for the first single “Wastin’ Time”, one of the two or three best songs on the record, The second link is to a brilliant and unseen-outside-of-Boston PSA for the Boston library.  It is a bit of subversive video work before it was cool for libraries and NPR to play things a bit more hip.  Plus, a nice job of keeping the acting straight from the “Woofa Goofa”.

ADDENDUM: I got into a discussion at a music club one night with a friend, and we ended up trying to rank the top 5 rock and roll frontmen of all time. (Not the singer/songwriter Springsteen/Prince/Sly  Stone model – frontmen, you see,  can’t be known for playing instruments.  They sing.  They play some tambourine). I said Peter Wolf belongs on that top 5 list.  May have even said he was top 3.  We were drinking. I probably mentioned that if you really think about it, Wolf may be the most underrated frontman of all rock and roll time.  I think we agreed on Jagger at the top, and then it got murky real quick.  Freddie Mercury? Steven Tyler?  Eddie Vedder?  Roger Daltrey?  Paul Rodgers? Jim Morrison? Elvis?




VIDEO: J. Geils Band in Boston – Aug. 7, 2011

The wonderful, rollicking, rolling, rhythm and blues of the fantastic, still doin’ it, dirty water-drinkin’ J. Geils Band.  They tore it up in Beantown Sunday night in the first of a series of mostly East Coast dates (except for an annual pilgrammage to Detroit on August 19) .  Worthy video choice here – and don’t tell me they don’t belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…

VIDEO: “Looking for a Love”

Our most popular post? Who would have guessed the J. Geils video…

As of this week, the Rockforward Music blog has posted 308 times since we started watching all things roots-rock back in mid-2009.  I’ve written and posted video about Indiana music, and bits from a more national perspective, that are either interesting to me, a bit odd, or maybe just some damn good, goosebump-inducing rock and roll that’s worth spending four minutes of your day on.

There ‘s been weeks when it has been all great rock video posts from YouTube.  There’s been weeks when I have posted my diatribe on the uselessness/irrelevence of MySpace.  Some weeks find me writing every day, some weeks produce one (though high-quality and award-winning) post.

And since we started, there have been two posts that reign as the most popular, day-after-day, stretching for months at a time.  Their daily traffic many times surpasses the roots-rock news updates, the concert previews, the album reviews, the show reviews and even the the behind-the-scenes peeks at the sleazy underbelly of rock music that get passed to you, the reader.

One of these two popular posts (I will write about the other next week) has been a ten-minute, three-song live video featuring the legendary R&B/rock stylings of the J.Geils Band, recorded with one camera, close to the Fenway Park stage as the band opened for Aerosmith in August, 2010. 

Why this video?  My guess? 

I don’t really know.  In the big rock picture, J. Geils is, for right or wrong, not a huge band (and still waiting to get into the R&R Hall of Fame), though they picked up a second generation of fans with the “Centerfold”/”Freeze Frame” punch. It is a pretty clean side-stage shot, though only slightly above-average sound.  A big, unique setup at an old baseball park, so that is intersting.  The bill is shared with Aerosmith.  It is a vintage, interesting, from-the-soul performance.   It is all those things.  But why this more traffic-worthy than of the other 307 entries, many of which took a whole lot more time to write than putting the one video on the blog. 

Truthfully? I have no fuckin’ idea. 

But I like it.

Peter Wolf at Fenway Park (photo: Boston Globe/click photo to read their review)

And the nicely trashy rumor at the show was that J. Geils singer Peter Wolf got into a heated argument with Aerosmith front dude Steven Tyler before the show after Wolf was told he couldn’t take his moves and romps onto the ramp that stretched into the crowd – only Tyler was going to be doing that.

Watch the video: Wolf uses the ramp.

VIDEO: J. Geils Band at Fenway Park – 3 songs

Legendary live albums highlight a long discography

The J. Geils Band is  one of the great rock and roll bands of all-time – and I ain’t bullshittin’ ya.  A band’s legacy isn’t worthy of a title like that unless they come with it live, night after night, tour after tour.  And they did. Sweaty, R&B, bluesy rock and roll. Frontman Peter Wolf is deserving of every accolade you might hear about Mick Jagger or Robert Plant or Steven Tyler.  

The band is back this summer for some dates, and played a double-bill with Tyler’s Aerosmith at Fenway Park last Saturday.  Wolf and the Geils boys opened.  They fought some odds: It was daytime, the crowd wasn’t crazy drunk, and the small stadium is still a cavernous place to see a rock show.  But the J. Geils Band still has it.  Wolf is still Wolf.  And here is a video we found of the end of “Lookin’ for Love” and all of “Whammer Jammer”, and “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Houseparty”, together in one long, take-me-there video. Shot side stage by a videographer from the Boston Phoenix alternative paper.

NOTES: According to, Tyler didn’t want Wolf to use the ramp that extended into the audience and told him so the night before the show. According to a source, the singers had a “heated argument’’ in the outfield as a few dozen workers put the finishing touches on the stage Friday. In the end, Tyler relented, but he told Wolf to also get the OK from Joe Perry, which Wolf did.

New Album Releases – Week of April 5

Spinning the Digital Disc: New Album Releases

Tuesday, April 6:
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – “I Learned The Hard Way” – Retro-soul, in the tradition of mid to late ’60s and early ’70s Motown, Stax, and the Philly sound.
Jakob Dylan – “Women and Country” – Country and spare roots ballads on love and life in tough times. Neko Case helps out.
Murder By Death – “Good Morning, Magpie” – from NUVO’s Scott Shoger’s review: “The band moves easily between genres and textures, from the mariachi horns of ‘On the Dark Streets Below’ (echoes of ‘Ring of Fire’) to the cello and singing saw duet on ‘Good Morning, Magpie,’ the hellish cabaret of ‘You Don’t Miss Twice’ to the rumbling, metallic drone anchoring ‘White Noise.’” (read full review)
Jeff Healey Band – “Last Call” – Final album from late blind guitarist; jazzy and some swing.
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim – “Here Lies Love” – Odd little pairing of two pretty big names, plus Tori Amos, Steve Earle make appearances.
Peter Wolf – “Midnight Souvenirs” – J. Geils Band frontman with an album that does him proud. R&B and rock done well. Merle Haggard sings a duet.
Bodeans – “Mr. Sad Clown” – Roots harmony rock and roll, recorded in Austin, with Kurt Nuemann and Sammy Llanas on all the instruments for most of the record, though a couple tracks have horns added. No big surprises; sturdy Bodeans music.

April 13:
Natalie Merchant – “Leave Your Sleep”
Trampled By Turtles – “Palomino”

April 20
Shelby Lynne – “Tears, Lies, And Alibis”
Willie Nelson – “Country Music”
Rusty Bladen – “Homegrown Treasures”

April 27
Melissa Etheridge – “Fearless Love”
Mary Chapin Carpenter – “The Ages Of Miracles”
Peter Frampton – “Thank You Mr Churchill”