NOT SO SLIGHT RETURN: More than a half century after their front man and guitarist's untimely passing, the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE will be the subject of a previously unreleased concert album, Live In Maui. Set for November release, the latest ambitious Legacy and Experience Hendrix collaboration will be available as a blu-ray DVD concert film, as well as a two CD set and a three album package.  Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell has the full story on this forthcoming landmark project in the Bits And Pieces column. (Click on the Bits And Pieces link under the Previous Posts heading at right for the full story). (Click on above image to enlarge).

SINCE 1975 -

Welcome to the official web site for Blitz, The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People. Since 1975, Blitz has been the leading voice for the discerning music enthusiast. Blitz Magazine was also one of the first magazines of its kind to embrace the internet, having also been online since January 1996.

Here you will find news and updates about all of the key artists essential to the growth and development of rock and roll music and related genres, including rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and easy listening. For highlights from recent past editions of the Bits And Pieces and Shape Of Things To Come columns, click on the archival postings on the right hand side of this page. Be sure and check back frequently for regular updates.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at

Michael McDowell
Blitz Magazine
Since 1975 - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People

E-Mail us at for a list of available back issues.

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Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People


Follow the fascinating and unfolding tale (through her favorite music) of the life and times of Blitz Magazine's late and beloved Photo Editor, Audrey McDowell, as told by her husband, Blitz Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell. A Facebook exclusive! "Like" us on Facebook at Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People, and watch for further installments.


His work as "The Hullaballoer" on Monroe, Michigan's WQTE-AM and Pasadena, California's KRLA AM made him one of the most beloved figures in radio history. We salute the legendary DAVE HULL, who passed away on 17 October at age 86.

He recorded a summit meeting single with Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV. He founded his own record label, where he turned in one of Northern Soul's definitive masterpieces and introduced the world to the Cowsills. He spent a season in Jamaica and upon his return to the United States brought considerable forward movement for the reggae and rock steady sub-genres. We remember the great JOHNNY NASH, who succumbed to natural causes on 06 October, following a lengthy battle against heart disease.

The careers of HELEN REDDY and MAC DAVIS paralleled one another to such a degree that both artists unwittingly finished their remarkable journeys at the same age, and within hours of one another. Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell highlights the similarities in career paths of the two greats who proclaimed I Believe In Music when such proclamations were in seemingly short supply. 

The JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE is the subject of Live In Maui, a forthcoming DVD, vinyl and CD release chronicling the band's heretofore unavailable pair of 1970 live sets that were originally slated for inclusion in the motion picture, Rainbow Bridge.

We pay tribute to pioneering rocker MAX MERRITT, who lost his years long battle against an auto immune disease on 24 September.

For any artist to outpace absolute, utter perfection is practically unheard of in any setting. But that is exactly what composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist LUCILLE STARR did with her larger than life cover of Lesley Duncan's I Want A Steady Guy. We remember the extraordinary career of the co-founder of the Canadian Sweethearts and Bob And Lucille, who succumbed to a lengthy illness in Las Vegas on 04 September.

ABKCO Records commemorates the fifty-third anniversary of the ROLLING STONES' landmark Dandelion / We Love You single with the release of lyric videos in August.

In a free-standing article, Record Store Day 2020 was a triumph on many fronts, despite ongoing concerns regarding the pandemic and other such issues. (Click on Record Store Day 2020 link under Previous Posts column at right).

In a free standing article (link under Previous Posts heading at right), veteran Long Beach composer and vocalist LISA MYCHOLS discusses how the onset of the pandemic delayed the release of her acclaimed new collaboration with one man band, SUPER 8.

Blitz Magazine salutes beloved composer, vocalist and musical visionary TRINI LOPEZ, who succumbed to complications from the Corona virus in a Palm Springs hospital on 11 August.

SHADOWS OF KNIGHT co-founders Jim Sohns (lead vocals) and Jerry McGeorge (rhythm guitar) have joined forces with new lead guitarist Michael Weber for the 27 May release of their brand new single, Wild Man.

Inspired by the late Staff Sergeant Barry Salder's 1966 RCA Victor label signature single, The Ballad Of The Green Berets, UNRELATED SEGMENTS bassist and co-founder BARRY VAN ENGELEN is among the latest vetreran musicians to weigh in with words of encouragement for those on the front lines in the battle againt the virus pandemic.

Composer, vocalist, one time Wes Dakus And The Rebels guitarist and Edmonton, Alberta native BARRY ALLEN lost his protracted battle with cancer on 04 April. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell remembers the psych/rock single that made Allen one of the genre's most beloved statesmen.

The Hollywood, California outlet of the gargantuan AMOEBA RECORDS chain has confirmed a new location for its Fall 2020 move.


Legendary composer, vocalist, arranger, producer and record label founder SAM COOKE is the subject of an exhaustive 5CD box set, The Keen Years (1957 - 1960), which chronicles his prolific association with the Los Angeles-based Keen label.

A fixture on the Southern California club circuit during the 1980s, the unique stylings of PHAST PHREDDIE AND THEE PRECISIONS are celebrated in Manifesto Records' comprehensive two-CD collection, Limbo.

Roger Maglio's Gear Fab label has added to its acclaimed Psychedelic States series with one of its most solid offerings yet: West Virginia In The '60s.

The Los Angeles-based Org Music label has at last once again made available the highlights of the catalog by the legendary Vallejo, California sextet, the VISCAYNES in their acclaimed new vinyl compilation, The Viscaynes And Friends.

The 7a label continues its impressive series of the finest Monkees-related releases with Cosmic Partners, the landmark 1973 live concert at McCabe's Guitar Shop by MICHAEL NESMITH AND RED RHODES.

Blixa Sounds has once again made available in the LP and CD configurations Mesh & Lace and After The Snow, the debut albums by MODERN ENGLISH.

The Stoney Plain label has made available The Lost Tapes, a 2 CD collection of heretofore live recordings from the early 1970s by folk rock pioneers IAN AND SYLVIA, with guest appearances by the great LUCILLE STARR.

Ash Wells' Teensville label has produced a pair of extraordinary Various Artists collections in recent months, including the acclaimed Early Morning Sun and Lazy Day.


Veteran composer and multi-instrumentalist DANA COUNTRYMAN takes a more laid back approach in his latest Stirling Swan release, Come Into My Studio.

Veteran blues rockers SAVOY BROWN have once again come out swinging on their latest album, Ain't Done Yet, their forty-first release overall.

Composer, vocalist and Baltimore, Maryland native TOM SLESS sings the praises of Los Angeles better than most in his all new Marina Vista album, California Dream.

Composer, vocalist and Juno Award-winner LAILA BIALI celebrates her triumph over a series of challenges with her latest Chronograph release, Out Of Dust.



YOU GOT THE LOVE: The above two LP set commemorating the catalog of the legendary White Whale label was one of the highlights of the 2020 edition of Record Store Day. Despite ongoing woes due to the pandemic, Record Store Day was a resounding success on many fronts. Blitz Magazine Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell summarizes the highlights below (Click on above image to enlarge).

By Michael McDowell

If nothing else, the ongoing concerns about the pandemic have inspired quite a bit of creative thinking.

In response to those issues, the 2020 installment of the annual Record Store Day event was postponed for several months. Even so, many retailers, artists, musicologists and record collectors have found novel (and often inspiring) ways of addressing the situation. 

Sadly, not all responses to those circumstances were to the liking of everyone concerned. Southern California ranks among the hardest hit in that respect, with three of its most vaunted retail establishments sitting out the holiday.

The beloved Freak Beat Records has long been the venue of choice for the most discerning collectors and musicologists. However, co-founder Bob Say was among the first retailers to announce that his Sherman Oaks-based storefront would not be able to give his loyal client base the usual world class presentation warranted by the holiday. 

The venerable Rockaway Records in neighboring Silver Lake followed suit in due course. A Los Angeles County institution for more than four decades, Rockaway made a similar decision after determining that their trademark efficient use of square footage could prove to be counter productive in such matters.

"Our retail store remains closed", Rockaway said in an online statement.

"We will reopen once we can ensure your safety and ours".

As much a victim of bad timing as it is the health concerns at hand, the third such retail giant to opt out of participation is the legendary Hollywood branch of Amoeba Records. Hailed throughout the current century as the world's largest record store, Amoeba is in the process of relocating from its original site on Sunset and Cahuenga Boulevard to a new location on Hollywood Boulevard. Nonetheless, Amoeba is actively celebrating Record Store Day online with all of the holiday exclusives that would have been featured in their brick and mortar setting. 

Interestingly enough, these multiple closures have met with mixed reactions within the record collector community.

"Hardly any singers I follow have posted any info on Record Store Day releases", said Southern California collector Bruce Roubitchek.

"In the past, there have been a couple. The singer Ingrid Michaelson had a really cool double-sided, seven-inch picture disc a couple of years ago. 

"There is a good sized store in Long Beach called Fingerprints Music that had them. I went there and got it. It is a really nice store! I have been back a couple of times since then".

It is in fact that long term loyalty that has been key in the industry's decisive rebound from online download domination through the resurgence of vinyl and the current pandemic woes. In some instances, those complex circumstances have produced unexpected positive results.

Midway across the continent in Toledo, Ohio, the long standing industry leader, Culture Clash Records has found itself in circumstances similar to those facing the Hollywood Amoeba outlet. Long a fixture on the city's westside on Secor Road, Culture Clash surprised long time clientele by announcing its move during the month of August to a downtown storefront on Monroe Street. As of the day prior to Record Store Day, Culture Clash was still in transition in that respect.

However, those circumstances have enabled Toledo's other leading record retailer, Allied Record Exchange to seize the moment decisively. In the days leading up to Record Store Day, Allied had a game plan in place.

"We will be lining up all of the Record Store Day items along the wall", said an Allied representative.

"We're bringing everyone in, ten at a time to find their selections and then check out, to give everyone a chance".

And for those whose shopping list included standard collectible fare outside of Record Store Day exclusives, Allied has maintained on the remainder of their sales floor a massive selection of 78s, 45s, LPs and CDs that staggers the imagination. Highlights include top drawer rarities by the Episode Six, the Scarlett Letter, the Monkees, Steve Mancha, T-Bone Walker, Bob Seger And The Last Heard, the Parliaments, Billy Ward And The Dominoes, the Spaniels and Barrett Strong, among thousands of others. 

An hour's drive north on the I-75 freeway to the Windsor / Detroit area, music retailers seem to be faring just as well, if not better. The area's leading retailer, Dearborn Music (a community fixture since 1956, often referred to by its fiercely loyal clientele as "Amoeba East") has assured that pretty much all of the current Record Store Day exclusives will be on hand, along with an impressive selection of holdovers from previous celebrations. 

In turn, Solo Records in the northern suburb of Royal Oak has kept expectations high by offering hard to find pressings of items by high demand artists ranging from the Monkees, Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones to the Byrds, Queen and the Beatles. Likewise, the massive Rock Of Ages outlet in Garden City continues to build and maintain good will by offering a wide selection of peripheral merchandise, as well as a free flexi-disc with each purchase.

Other factors have presented their own set of challenges in 2020, not the least of which was the Northern California fire in February that destroyed one of the world's only two active plants that manufactured the materials used in the production of vinyl records. As chronicled in a recent extensive piece on the subject in Blitz Magazine, the remaining plant, which is based in Japan, has doubled down production in its efforts to keep pace with the enormous demand since that time. 

Those developments of course have also impacted the artists directly, whose own livelihoods through live performance have been adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic concerns. 

Among them is beloved five-tool player (composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer) Deborah Ann "Debbie" Gibson, whose iconic August 1987 debut album for Atlantic, Out Of The Blue is the subject of a reissue in tandem with the Barnes And Noble book store chain. That blue vinyl commemorative edition (which comes with an autographed photo) saw its release date postponed on multiple occasions (due in part to the aforementioned materials concerns), but nonetheless has sold out in its initial pressing. 

True to form, the relentlessly optimistic Gibson (who celebrates her 50th birthday on the 31st of August) has rallied to the cause in a variety of ways, from the support of MusiCares (a charitable entity that assists musicians in crisis situations) through the production of a thinking outside the box twelve-second video vignette, The Crossing Guard, in which Gibson is depicted in the title role as a reflection of the changes in the industry (as well as society at large), as well as a measured response to it. The Crossing Guard can be viewed on Gibson's Twitter page.

Happily, the faithful have responded in kind, with most retailers reporting brisk business at midday. Among the most popular additions to the Record Store Day legacy are a series of reproductions by Third Man Records of rare Tamla label 45s (including the Supremes' Buttered Popcorn) and a two-LP set highlighting the best of the legendary White Whale label. Holdovers from previous Record Store Day events are also experiencing a renewed interest, from a series of reissued Kinks EPs to the Get Hip and GNP Crescendo label's joint venture by first generation garage rock visionaries, the Seeds. A new release by Deep Purple has also done brisk business in the early hours of the day.

To be certain, while the mainstream media and social media have both overwhelmingly focused on divisive and discouraging socio-political issues in recent months, true to form, music lovers have opted through the art itself to celebrate the best of their God-given abilities. As time and circumstances permit, take a cue from the aforementioned Beach Boys and Celebrate The News accordingly.


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: From a four page mimeo in 1975 to becoming the first ever music magazine of its kind to adapt an entirely online presence, Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People finds itself as the last active magazine from the publishing boom of the mid-1970s. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell celebrates a few of the highlights of this extraordinary forty-five year journey below. (Pictured above: The cover of Blitz Magazine #34 from 1979).  (Click on the above image to enlarge).

By Michael McDowell
Among other things, the year 2020 may be remembered as the year of waiting and anticipation.

Since the onset of the so-called pandemic earlier this year, many of the activities that we as a society have taken for granted throughout the decades have either been canceled or postponed. Productions on Broadway in New York are indefinitely on hold. Musicians who managed to complete new albums are finding their release dates pushed back because of production problems in the vinyl and CD industries. Major League Baseball has had its season delayed and reduced from 162 games to 60 games. And college football has decided to table its Fall 2020 season until 2021. 

To be certain, in terms of delays and postponements that have manifested due to unforeseen circumstances, Blitz Magazine was not exempt from the impact of it all. Even so, circumstances may change, but calendar dates do not. And since the month of August 2020 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the premier of Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People, we pause in spite of it all to note it accordingly 

Blitz Magazine remains the lone active survivor of the independent publishing boom that began in the music industry in the mid-1970s, in tandem with the onset of the so-called punk/new wave movement. That landmark musical development was the culmination of years of frustration by the hardcore faithful, who felt increasingly disenfranchised by the mainstream media since the end of the 1960s. Mainstream music had become increasingly elitist, divisive and self-indulgent; three traits that were and are anathema to rock and roll at its most vibrant.

A number of the front line artists in that movement went the independent route in terms of recording and producing their releases. In turn, the publications that chronicled the proceedings were often produced under the most rudimentary and challenging of conditions. Blitz Magazine was no exception, with its first dozen issues literally hand drawn and photocopied as needed.

Thankfully, the response to those early endeavors was both overwhelming and encouraging. So much so that in late 1976, renowned graphic artist Dennis Loren approached Blitz Magazine at a record trade show and offered his services in that capacity. And with the onset of 1977, Blitz had graduated from four page mimeo to a full blown magazine.

While game changing in and of itself, that development was not without consequences. Early participants in the project found the quantum leap to be beyond their level of interest, and bowed out accordingly. 

But in short order, Blitz Magazine began to develop a reputation not just as The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People, but one with a world class roster of writers, photojournalists and contributors. To wit, such renowned industry vets as John Mars, Mary Anne Casata, Gary E. Tibbs, Beverly Paterson, Jerry Schollenberger, Sean Ross, Helena Farnum, John Clayton, Kiki Moretti, Frank Beeson, Lynne Aldridge and the late John Kordosh and Dean Mittelhauser all contributed to Blitz in various capacities before going on to establish their own formidable legacies within the industry. 

And with the departure of Dennis Loren when Blitz Magazine relocated to Southern California in late 1979, a succession of visionary Art Directors kept the magazine's image growing by leaps and bounds. They include Heather Johnson, Spencer Eldridge, the late Greg Shaw and Point co-founder Tom Alford. In turn, Al Kracalik and the late and much, much missed Audrey McDowell were also crucial in making the quantum leap from print publication (Al) to the internet (Audrey), when Blitz Magazine became the first publication of its kind to adapt an entirely online presence in January 1996. 

To be certain, Blitz Magazine has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. As noted repeatedly throughout the years, our main inspirations in launching the magazine were and are the groundbreaking work done by the so-called Keener Key Men Of Music, who were the air staff of the visionary radio station WKNR Keener 13, as well as the game changing approach to music journalism that was implemented by Jim Delehant during his tenure as Editor of Hit Parader Magazine. Tragically, we lost Jim to a major stroke and heart failure on the 28th of July. This celebration is dedicated to his memory. 

Part of that lifelong dream has also been being able to refer to musicians who started as heroes and inspirations as friends instead. Among the many such heroes and friends who have graced Blitz Magazine's pages from the onset include the Monkees, the Beach Boys, Herman's Hermits, Rick Nelson, Jan And Dean, Canned Heat, Sam And Dave, Freddy Cannon, the Kingston Trio, Hank Ballard, Paul Revere And The Raiders, Danny And The Juniors, Hank Williams Junior, Hank Williams III, the Belmonts, Bobby Vee, Billy J. Kramer, the New Colony Six, the Remains, the Tol-Puddle Martyrs, Del Shannon, Pete Fountain, Question Mark And The Mysterians, Mitch Ryder, Millie Jackson, the Yardbirds, Creation, Bobby Rydell, Roy Brown, Lou Christie, Spanky And Our Gang, Ian Whitcomb, the Electric Prunes, the Tokens, the Guess Who, Solomon Burke, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Barry McGuire, Dwight Twilley, the Go-Gos, X, the Residents, Tiffany, SVT, Cinecyde, the Plimsouls, the Romantics, the Blasters, the Ivories, the Three O'Clock, the Mutants, Black Flag and the Last, among many, many others. 

Moreover, there were a number of industry friends who went far over and above the call of duty in the closing weeks of 2014, after the unexpected and horrific passing of Blitz Magazine's beloved Photo Editor Audrey McDowell from a major stroke and brain hemorrhage. Among those messaging and/or calling on a regular basis to offer comfort, support, prayers and encouragement were the Delicates' Denise Ferri, Electric Prunes front man James Lowe, WKNR Keener 13 alumnus Frank "Swingin' " Sweeney, and legendary rockers Bernadette Carroll and Wayne Fontana, to name but a few. 

Moreover, veteran rocker Bobby Rydell (who endured his own fair share of tragedy with the passing of his wife Camille in 2003) was generous with counsel and insight in that respect in the wake of Blitz Magazine's lengthy interview with him a couple of years ago. Tragically, Frank Sweeney, Bernadette Carroll and Wayne Fontana are no longer with us. But the extraordinary kindness and love shown by all of these greats will never, ever be forgotten. 

Indeed, tragedy seems to have become a byword in society in these early months of the 2020s, in light of the ongoing unrest in the socio-political spectrum, as well as in terms of the ongoing impact in the culture at large as a result of the virus pandemic. The more resourceful have adapted in a variety of ways, including living room concerts staged at home by musicians whose livelihoods were adversely impacted as a result of those developments. 

So is there a cause for celebration under those circumstances? 

According to the Bible, there is. "Be still and know that I am God", says Psalm 46:10. And in Psalm 3:5-6, we are encouraged to, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding". Or to put it in the perspective of the late rocker Ian Dury, there are indeed Reasons To Be Cheerful.

With that in mind, we will proceed with gratitude and thanksgiving for the joy that music has brought to enrich all of our lives, as celebrated in Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People from the onset. And while more grandiose celebrations are out of the question at the moment, there will still be reasons to be cheerful indeed.

Because of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, a number of music, film and television award ceremonies that were scheduled to take place earlier in the year had to be postponed. Nonetheless, a number of them are proceeding later than scheduled and somewhat scaled back out of necessity in the process. And Blitz Magazine was not exempted in that respect.

At the close of every decade since the 1970s, Blitz Magazine has published a Blitz Awards, which celebrates those releases which in our estimation have represented the best in music from the decade that has just concluded. So in tandem with this forty-fifth anniversary celebration, over the course of the next couple of weeks, Blitz Magazine will be commemorating the Blitz Awards For The 2010s, chronicling the best new releases and reissues in singles and albums from that ten year period. 

For the first time ever, the Blitz Awards will now also include a look at the best television programs of the decade that has just ended. In recent years, there has been an unexpected renaissance in network television programming that found it frequently approaching the quality of that found during the so-called Golden Age of television. Moreover, the role of music in the ongoing plot lines of many of these shows has endeared them to music purist and casual observer alike. The television segment of the Blitz Awards For The 2010s will post within the coming days, followed shortly thereafter by a look at the best new releases and reissue albums and singles. 

Although they currently exchange hands for premium prices in the collectors market, the early print editions of Blitz Magazine are not yet chronicled in an online setting. That long term project is presently in the works on this end. Developments will be updated accordingly.

However, despite their present general unavailability, there were a number of landmark interviews conducted in those early editions of Blitz Magazine that continue to draw attention on a regular basis. As is the case with most interviews of that sort, there is almost invariably a backstory that did not make the final cut at press time. In tandem with Blitz's forty-fifth anniversary celebration, we will be recalling for the first time ever in a public setting some of the better "behind the scenes" moments of those summit meetings. Watch for them throughout this celebration.

Finally, Blitz Magazine would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to you, our audience, for standing by us for so long, and especially to our Lord, who for some reason saw fit for Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People to be the last publication of its kind to still be standing. Onward and upward!



THE HULLABALLOO IS OVER: From his pioneering work at Monroe, Michigan's WQTE 560 AM in the early 1960s through his iconic tenure at Pasadena, California's KRLA 1110 AM in the 1960s and again in the 1980s and 1990s, Alhambra, California native Dave "The Hullaballoer" Hull became one of the most beloved personalities in radio history. Blitz Magazine Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell remembers his iconic career below.  (Click on above image to enlarge).


There were many who believed that radio would never recover from the protracted aesthetic slump that was brought about by a marked decline in mainstream music in the early 1970s. Thankfully, they were wrong.

In the early 1980s, the renaissance that was triggered in the mid-1970s by the rise of the so-called punk and new wave movement had been accepted (if not thoroughly assimilated) by radio in Southern California. By the end of the 1970s, such AM outlets as KTNQ (Ten-Q) openly embraced the work of Ramones, Robert Gordon, the Sex Pistols and other visionaries of similar intent. 

Concurrently, Pasadena's KROQ-FM and Long Beach's KNAC-FM dove head first into the movement, giving equal time to the established international artists, as well as the countless aspirants coming into their own in the burgeoning Southern California musical movement. In the process, such charismatic personalities as KROQ's Rodney Bingenheimer, Ian Whitcomb and Dick "Richard Blade" Sheppard, as well as KNAC's Norm McBride and Sylvia Aimerito were welcomed by the highly discerning musicologists that characterized their target demographic. Blitz Magazine was blessed to have worked in tandem with them throughout that critical era.

Through it all, the musicians involved in the musical renaissance at hand were united in their support for the pioneering artists that put rock and roll on the map decades earlier. And in terms of Southern California radio at that time, no other station stood in solidarity in that respect with them more so than did Pasadena's premier AM outlet, KRLA 1110. 

Like WKNR Keener 13 in suburban Detroit, KRLA took a more cerebral approach to its programming, championing a variation on Keener mastermind Bob Green's "Intelligent Flexibility" maxim. In short, continuity meant that their on air talent was to be as compelling and entertaining in their delivery as was the music they programmed, rather than an entity to be endured between songs. 

The one constant that saw KRLA through the aforementioned aesthetic slump in that respect was the legendary Art Laboe. As founder of the iconic Original Sound record label (recording home of Sandy Nelson, the Skyliners, the Sot Weed Factor, the Penguins, the Music Machine and many others), Laboe was a fervent champion of the "friend / voice in the night" mission statement that was pioneered by the great Alan Freed in the 1950s. 

With the punk / new wave movement triggering a most welcome rise in the profile of the work of the pioneers of rock and roll, KRLA began to enjoy a healthy ratings renaissance in the process. In 1981, the station hosted a reunion weekend, in which they brought back on air many of the beloved personalities that made the station the Southern California equivalent of WKNR Keener 13 in that most crucial era, the mid-1960s.

Among them was the great Dave "The Hullaballoer" Hull. Born in Alhambra, California in January 1934, Hull first rose to prominence during Monroe, Michigan's WQTE AM 560's brief foray into rock and roll in the early 1960s. Following a format change at WQTE, Hull eventually headed back to Southern California, where he became a much loved presence on KRLA, as well as at KFI, KIIS and KMPC. 

Relentlessly optimistic and self-depreciating to the point of that seeming liability becoming an endearing attribute, Hull earned a guest appearance on an episode of the Monkees' NBC television series in 1966. He also worked closely in a behind the scenes capacity with such rock and roll giants as the Dave Clark Five, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. 

Those attributes, combined with his impassioned delivery, easily put Hull in the upper echelons of radio personalities throughout that most crucial era. As such, it came as a surprise to few when, in the wake of that 1981 KRLA reunion, Hull was offered a permanent position at the station. He persevered with KRLA into the 1990s, concurrently adding to his curriculum vitae via his work as the host of the Matchmaker television series.

Following KRLA's format shift, Hull relocated to Palm Springs, California and joined the air staff of KWXY. He remained at the station until his retirement in 2010. In recent years, Hull continued to do occasional voice over work, with his highly charismatic and distinctive voice continuing to bring a smile to all within listening range.

Sadly, Hull's journey came to an end in Palm Springs, California on the seventeenth of October. He now leaves behind one of the most impressive, enduring and impacting legends in radio history. Hull was 86.


Drawing your musical inspiration from the Bible invariable almost invariably reaps aesthetic dividends.

Such was the case with composer, vocalist, producer, record label founder and Houston, Texas native John Lester "Johnny" Nash. After making his debut as a vocalist in his his church choir, Nash signed with ABC Paramount and enjoyed a reasonable amount of success in 1957 with his A Teenager Sings The Blues single.

In 1958, Nash joined forces with ABC Paramount label mates Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV to record the acclaimed single, The Teen Commandments. Therein, Nash, Anka and Hamilton took turns improvising upon the Biblical mandate of Exodus 20 with the intent of bringing their target audience around to the Lord's way of thinking. The resultant single is an enduring and pertinent classic that remains a highlight among the vaunted repertoires of all three artists.

Following brief but fruitful affiliations with Chess, Argo, Warner Brothers and Groove (where he released his classic I'm Leavin' single in 1964), Nash opted to form his own record label, while concurrently pursuing work in film and television. In its brief two year existence, Nash's JoDa Records had the foresight to introduce the world to first generation garage rock greats, the Cowsills via the band's debut single, All I Really Wanta Be Is Me. While at JoDa, Nash also recorded what arguably remains his finest moment, the November 1965 monster classic, Let's Move And Groove (Together).

Following JoDa's demise via bankruptcy, Nash relocated to Jamaica, where he briefly tried his hand at artist promotion. It was a move that would forever alter the course of his own musical vision.

By 1968, Nash had assimilated enough of Jamaica's rock steady and reggae movements into his own mission statement to return to the studios with a vengeance. Forming the JAD label (an acronym for label founders Nash, Arthur Jenkins and Danny Sims), Nash reemerged late that year with his Hold Me Tight single and album. Both were instant huge successes, prompting such subsequent releases as You Got Soul, Lovey Dovey and a cover of Sam Cooke's Cupid.

Nash's continued high profile stood him in good stead with audience and label alike. By 1972, he had been recruited by Epic, where he released the immensely successful I Can See Clearly Now (subsequently covered by Gladys Knight And The Pips and Jimmy Cliff) and Stir It Up singles.

While not in the spotlight as frequently during the remaining years of the twentieth century, Nash devoted much of his attention during that time to production and remastering his own vast catalog. In tandem with his own unwavering faith (and in a sense as a byproduct of his own mandate in The Teen Commandments), he also spent a great deal of his time with his family.

Sadly, in recent years, Nash had battled heart disease. According to his son, John Nash III, he succumbed to natural causes at his home on 06 October. Nash was 80.


It was the worst of times, musically speaking. Or so it seemed at the time.

After basking in the abundance of musical blessings during the creative boom of the 1950s and 1960s, the early 1970s seemed anti-climactic in comparison. While groundbreaking new music did not disappear altogether, it was nonetheless in markedly shorter supply. 

Moreover, the so-called AM / FM wars that began in the late 1960s fragmented the audience exponentially. With that fragmentation came a polarization and division that was often based on such periphery as chronology and the viability of a given musical work from a perspective that championed trends and fads over aesthetic merit and creativity.

Those developments were particularly hard on veteran artists, who either held their ground and rode out the storm, or acquiesced to a degree in order to better sustain their momentum. Ironically, two such veteran artists who took the latter option and flourished in the process have tragically passed away within hours of one another.

But that is not where their similarities end.

Both Lubbock, Texas native Morris "Mac" Davis and Melbourne, Victoria's Helen Maxine Reddy were 78 years old at the time of their tragic deaths at the close of September 2020. Both were also accomplished composers, who at various points in time hosted their own television series. Both had endured lingering illnesses, with Reddy losing her five year battle against Addison's disease and dementia in Los Angeles, California. Meanwhile, Davis had succumbed to complications following heart surgery in Nashville, Tennessee. Moreover, both were firmly established as recording artists prior to entering the phases of their career which put them on the proverbial map. 

To wit, Reddy made her studio debut in 1963, singing a jingle for Consulate brand cigarettes. Her efforts were concurrently released as a promotional single on Consulate's custom record label. In the ensuing years, Reddy primarily focused on live appearances, including acclaimed guest shots on Australian Bandstand

By 1968, Reddy had become enough of a recognizable presence through those endeavors to return to the recording studio in earnest. The resultant Go single (with the ambitious One Way Ticket on the flip side) was released on Philips at home, and picked up by Fontana Records in the United States. 

But just a scant three years later, the aforementioned aesthetic slump and divisive atmosphere had dominated the mainstream to the extent that the relentless optimism of the likes of Go was simply not something that would sustain her momentum in that increasingly fickle atmosphere. Thankfully, Reddy by that time had accrued enough savvy and self-assessment to rise to the occasion and respond accordingly.

By 1971, Reddy had reinvented herself as a painter of vivid musical portraits that celebrated tales of the seemingly disenfranchised. That approach also worked well for others in the early years of the decade, as evidenced by Bobbie Gentry's Fancy and Vicki Lawrence's Dime A Dance. With her commanding, charismatic and endearing stage persona, Reddy mastered the form via such acclaimed singles as Angie Baby (composed by pioneering rocker Arch Hall Junior's former guitarist, Alan O'Day), (Leave Me Alone) Ruby Red Dress and her spot on cover of Tanya Tucker's signature single, Delta Dawn

Interestingly enough, it was often cover material that enabled Reddy to sustain that momentum, from her soaring takes on Yvonne Elliman's I Don't Know How To Love Him (from Jesus Christ Superstar) and the great Kenny Rankin's Peaceful to I Believe In Music, which most ironically was composed by Mac Davis.

This is not to say that Reddy's compositional acumen languished at the time. To be certain, her self-penned I Am Woman ultimately became her signature single. Dismissed in some circles at the time (with one renowned music archivist of the day blithely reinterpreting the lyrics as, "I am woman, hear me roar, wipe your feet, don't slam the door"), I Am Woman has nonetheless endured as a prototypical anthem of sorts. To her considerable credit, Reddy on the resultant I Am Woman album reiterated her penchant for the relentlessly optimistic by closing side two of that album with her stupendous interpretation of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's The Last Blues Song (which was also covered in 1973 by Amber Hue on the Cincinnati-based Q.C.A. label).

Indeed, if there was any variable between Reddy and Davis as both met the challenges of the early 1970s head on, it was that Davis' level of output was significantly higher at the point of entry. Having relocated to Decatur, Georgia in his late teens, Davis joined forces as a vocalist and harmonica player with guitarists David Savage and Billy Beldon, as well as drummer Bobby Dawkins to form the Zots. The Zots' haunting and masterful Ocean Full Of Tears single on Oscar E. Kilgo's QEK label remains a prototypical hallmark of first generation garage rock.

Although Davis persevered with the Zots throughout 1965, he concurrently made his debut as a solo artist in 1962 with Pick Hit Of The Week for Nite-Time Records. He briefly came on board later that year with the prolific Jamie label, which was also the recording home of Duane Eddy, the Velaires, Roosevelt Jones, and Billy Carlucci's Billy And The Essentials. At Jamie, Davis' I'm A Poor Loser single eventually proved itself to be a shining example of the high drama that found its way into many a classic single.

By 1963, Davis had signed with the vaunted Vee Jay label, where his utterly stupendous Lookin' At Linda single at last established him in earnest. He followed suit on Vee Jay with a notably unique arrangement of the Drifters' often covered Honey Love, which was perhaps tied only by the rendition by the Four Lovers on RCA Victor in terms of its taking the highly charismatic track to the next level. A number of the highlights of that phase of Davis' career were reissued several years later on a compilation album on Trip Records.

But it was Davis' 1965 lone outing for Capitol that forever endeared him to devotees of first generation garage rock. Composed by Davis and produced by the like minded and highly prolific Joe South, Bad Scene was a commentary on the times on par with Sonny Bono's The Revolution Kind. It arguably remains one of the finest moments in Davis' recorded legacy.

Davis spent the remainder of the 1960s concentrating on songwriting, albeit somewhat at the expense of his own studio endeavors. While his In The Ghetto and A Little Less Conversation did extraordinarily well via renditions by Elvis Presley for RCA Victor, Davis himself had relatively little in his own portfolio to keep pace with his earlier triumphs. 

But just as Capitol recognized the potential of Helen Reddy to overcome such challenges when they signed her in 1971, Columbia was likewise certain that Davis' proven capabilities as a composer and a vocalist could indeed make a smooth transition without compromise into that most difficult era. The resultant Whoever Finds This I Love You, Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me, Your Side Of The Bed, Stop And Smell The Roses and the aptly titled Rock And Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life) underscored the wisdom of their decision.

Buoyed by that momentum and concurrently freed from the limitations of the musical mainstream by the advent of the so-called punk and new wave movement in the mid to late 1970s, Davis signed with the late, great Neil Bogart's ambitious Casablanca label. At Casablanca, Davis reinvented himself as a master of bravado, who nonetheless retained across the board charisma. In the process, his self aggrandizing It's Hard To Be Humble single and his sublime rockabilly salute, Hooked On Music (which arguably remains his finest moment) brought Davis enduring acclaim from those who knew little of him outside of his work for Columbia. 

During their later years, Reddy and Davis embarked upon different career paths, albeit ones that brought each considerable satisfaction. For Davis, a transition to film work served him well, with starring roles in Cheaper To Keep Her, The Sting II and Possums. Meanwhile, Reddy (who had permanently relocated to Los Angeles) turned to theater. For three years, she also served as a member of California Governor Jerry Brown's nine-member commission of the state's Parks And Recreation Department. 

As such, given the remarkable parallels among their careers, it seems sad yet fitting that they completed their respective journeys concurrently. Such was the power of two like minded visionaries that believed in musicReddy's survivors include two children, while Davis is survived by his wife of thirty-eight years, Lise and his three children.


Few artists have been so prolific that their catalogs continue to provide a wealth of unreleased material decades after their passing.

To wit, following his death in a Tennessee plane crash on 31 July 1964, the legacy of country music great Jim Reeves continued to enjoy a steady string of new releases into the 1980s. Likewise, jazz visionary John Coltrane (who passed away in 1967) was the subject of three new albums' worth of previously unreleased material within the past few years. And the discovery of a treasure trove of long lost material in the early 2000s literally doubled the catalog of country music's absolute master, Hank Williams (who died in January 1953) overnight.

Likewise, a half century after his September 1970 passing, guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix is the subject of a heretofore unavailable live album. Scheduled for 20 November release, The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live In Maui also features bassist Billy Cox and Riot Squad alumnus, original Experience drummer and avid record collector and musicologist, Mitch Mitchell. 

Filmed in tandem with the production of the motion picture, Rainbow Bridge, much of the material that comprises the two live sets slated for inclusion here was not featured in the film itself. Of remarkably high audio and video quality, these two performances find the Jimi Hendrix Experience offering first rate renditions of such band landmarks as Fire, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze, Spanish Castle Magic and Stone Free, as well as such relatively newer material as Dolly Dagger and In From The Storm.

Arrangements for the band's appearance in the film were at best haphazard. The trio had a schedule conflict in place with a concert on the first of August 1970 in Honolulu. Ultimately, only seventeen minutes of concert footage of relatively marginal audio quality made the final cut in the Rainbow Bridge film, with drummer Mitch Mitchell having to re-cut his drum parts in the Electric Lady Studios in 1971 in order for the material to be suitable for inclusion.

Suffice to say that the project at hand is at last up to the Jimi Hendrix Experience's usual impeccable standards. Experience Hendrix and Legacy Music will be releasing Live In Maui as a blu-ray DVD concert film, with the audio versions available in both a three CD set and a two album vinyl set, complete with an extensive essay and unreleased photos.

(1941 - 2020)

Sadly, the man who brought the world the Arista label Slippin' Away single in 1975 has now slipped away himself. 

A giant force in the world of music since founding the Meteors in 1956, composer, vocalist and Christchurch, New Zealand native Maxwell James "Max" Merritt amassed one of the most impressive legacies in all of music. Upon making their recording debut in 1958 with their groundbreaking and decidedly rocking Get A Haircut single for the HMV label, Max Merritt And The Meteors became one of their nation's leading musical lights in short order.

Upon seeing Max Merritt And The Meteors in concert in January 1959, fellow rocker Johnny Devlin introduced Merritt to promoter Harry M. Miller. Their meeting led to a highly coveted opening spot for Merritt and the band on rock and roll giant Johnny O'Keefe's New Zealand tour that year. 

When the United States set up a military base in Christchurch in 1959, Merritt found considerable favor with the visiting service people. Their legacy grew to the point that a relocation (along with fellow greats Ray Columbus And The Invaders) to the larger city of Auckland followed in 1962.

By mid decade, Max Merritt And The Meteors began one of their most prolific and memorable associations as the backing band for beloved fellow rocker Dinah Lee. Their collaborations can be found on such essential Viking label releases as Reet Petite, Don't You Know Yockomo and Do The Blue Beat. Merritt and the band concurrently collaborated with Tommy Adderley in the studio for his 1964 I Just Don't Understand single for the Mar-Mar label.

At the end of 1964, Max Merritt And The Meteors relocated to Sydney, New South Wales. An appearance on Johnny O'Keefe's acclaimed television show followed in 1965, as did a full embracing of rhythm and blues-tinged first generation garage rock by the band. The resultant So Long Baby single for RCA is regarded by many as Merritt's finest moment. 

Although the band members sustained considerable injuries in a June 1967 auto accident while driving through Melbourne, Victoria (resulting in the loss of Merritt's right eye), the group rebounded and persevered. By 1968, they had recovered to the point of being able to compete in a Battle Of The Bands, coming in fourth behind such fellow first generation garage rock greats as the Groove, Masters Apprentices and Doug Parkinson of In Focus fame. 

Sadly, a five year tour of the U.K. from 1971 to 1976 resulted in the Meteors going their separate ways. Merritt put together a new band in short order, and relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 1977. He returned to Australia in 1996 to considerable acclaim on the road. But by the early years of the twenty-first century, Merritt returned to the United States to settle in Southern California.

In 2007, Merritt was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital, where he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that affects the kidneys and lungs. A benefit concert was held in Victoria on his behalf in October 2007. 

Despite valiant attempts to return to the stage in subsequent years, the illness and the resultant dialysis gradually took their toll on Merritt, who passed away on Thursday 24 September.

"I am just so devastated", said Dinah Lee.

"Max and I go so far back. What a legend in the entertainment world. My love and condolences go to his family".

Max Merritt was 79.


It takes an artist of extraordinary capabilities to take perfection to the next level. But that is exactly what Lucille Starr did. 

In 1963, the supremely gifted composer, vocalist and Stockton-On-Tees native Lesley Duncan recorded a sublime original that was among the first recordings to celebrate the solidarity in vision and purpose of country music and the so-called "girl group" sub genre. Conducted by Johnnie Spence with backing from the Jokers and released in the United States on Jerry Dennon and Bonnie Guitar's Seattle, Washington-based Jerden label, Duncan's I Want A Steady Guy immediately took center stage in the movement. 

With its dreamscape template and fast paced 6/8 tempo, I Want A Steady Guy was nothing short of jaw dropping perfection. Duncan's vision was also shared by the great Jody Miller, who was concurrently making similar inroads at Capitol Records. But Duncan and Miller were not alone in making such decisive steps forward.

In due course, Duncan's single caught the attention of fellow composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and Saint Boniface, Manitoba native, Lucille Marie Raymonde Savoie, who by that point had been performing under the name Lucille Starr. The match of artist and material was nothing short of answered prayer. Drawing primarily from Duncan's template, Starr added a touch of the exotic in execution, giving an even more ethereal quality to the swirling vocal, string and horn interplay that underscored the arrangement. 

The key component of her Say You Love Me album for Herb Alpert and Jerry Ross' A&M Records, I Want A Steady Guy was also released as the B-side of her landmark, Rod McKuen-penned So Many Others single in 1965 on A&M's affiliate Almo label. In a case of supreme irony, as well as a testimony to the rich diversity of her repertoire and her formidable acumen as an interpreter, the haunting So Many Others became one of the standout singles of the richly productive month of June 1965.

Although Starr had been well established on stage and in the studio at that point, So Many Others was the point of introduction to her work by many who purchased that single in 1965. However, almost invariably, those who did so were in for a revelation upon hearing the flip side for the first time. I Want A Steady Guy made such an impact that a number of radio stations that were playing So Many Others suddenly found themselves fielding calls from listeners to begin airing I Want A Steady Guy, as well. 

Initially, their endeavors did not bear the intended fruit. Nonetheless, it was now obvious to many that a formidable talent had made an enduring impression. For Starr, it was a breakthrough borne of years of dedication to the quest for perfection.

Having relocated to Port Coquitlam, British Columbia in her early years, Starr subsequently became proficient on guitar, mandolin and bass. Beginning her professional career as a member of the vocal group, Les Hirondelles, Starr eventually met and married country vocalist Bob Regan. The pair began recording in 1958 as Bob and Lucille, highlighted by such memorable singles as Demon Lover and What's The Password for the Hollywood California-based Ditto label. 

They continued to record as Bob and Lucille and eventually under the name the Canadian Sweethearts upon signing with A&M in 1963. Along the way, they continued to turn out such memorable fare as Highland Lassie and The Flirtin' Kind in the process.

As a solo artist, Starr's profile increased exponentially with the released of her single, The French Song for A&M in 1964. But after the game changing success brought about by So Many Others / I Want A Steady Guy the following year, Starr changed course to a degree and followed suit with a series of remarkable solo 45s that demonstrated an increasing propensity towards the country half of the country / girl group hybrid, including, Wooden Heart, Once A Day, Crazy Arms and a re-release of the earlier Jolie Jacqueline

Although Starr and Regan continued to perform as the Canadian Sweethearts, the pair divorced, with their professional collaboration drawing to a close in 1977. However, Starr had been well established as a solo artist with Epic Records since 1967, with such inspired singles as Who's Gonna Stand By Me?, Hello Sadness, Is It Love? and A Brand New Heartache to her credit for the label. She concurrently added to her curriculum vitae exponentially by providing ghost vocals for the late Bea Benaderet's Cousin Pearl character on The Beverly Hillbillies television series.

In her later years, Starr relocated with her new family to Las Vegas, Nevada. She continued to receive a variety of accolades for her numerous accomplishments, from having a street in Coquitlam, British Columbia renamed Lucille Starr Way in her honor to her inclusion in the Edmonton, Alberta-based Stony Plain label's 2019 The Lost Tapes, a collection of previously unreleased live recordings by pioneering folk duet, Ian And Sylvia. 

As was also the case with Lesley Duncan (who tragically passed away in March 2010 from cerebrovascular disease), Starr became an occasional presence on social media during the 2010s, fielding a steady stream of well wishes from her legion of devotees. 

Sadly, Starr also succumbed to her own lengthy illness in Las Vegas on 04 September. Survivors include her husband, Brian Cunningham, stepdaughter Shannon Cunningham and stepson David Cunningham. In accordance with Starr's wishes, no memorial service is planned. Starr was 82.


Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People is not the only veteran musical institution celebrating an anniversary in August.

In August 1967, during one of the most tumultuous seasons of their long and storied career, the Rolling Stones rose to the occasion and released what is arguably one of their finest singles. Recorded at Olympic Studios and issued in the United States on London Records, Dandelion trod the fine line between adventurous and accessible better than just about any other release during that most freewheeling and tumultuous era.  

Blessed with sublime vocal harmonies and relentlessly optimistic lyrics, Dandelion also benefitted exponentially from a stunningly gorgeous instrumental interlude that may well be the finest such moment of their career. Ultimately, Dandelion found itself in a four-way tie (along with Donovan Leitch's Epistle To Dippy, Frankie Beverly And The Butlers' If That's What You Wanted, and Finders Keepers' Friday Kind Of Monday) as Blitz Magazine's pick for Best Single of 1967.

On the flip side of Dandelion was an equally adventurous original that was regarded by some as the single's A-side. We Love You opens with the sounds of jail doors, followed by an ambitious piano solo from Nicky Hopkins. Also featured are guest backing vocals from John Lennon and Paul McCartney, whose own recent studio ventures at that point would be the subject of an ingenious parody by the Rolling Stones at year's end. The single was produced by band manager Andrew Loog Oldham, and marked his final studio venture with the band in that capacity. 

To commemorate the fifty-third anniversary of this landmark release, ABKCO Records, the current stewards of that phase of the Rolling Stones' catalog, have released lyric videos that present both Dandelion and We Love You in a psychedelic setting that best reflects the band's intentions with that single. 

"The Stones were right there at the opening of the new Olympic Studios", said Eddie Kramer, who engineered the session.

"(I remember) Keith singing backup vocals on Dandelion".

For the purist, the only things that may be missing from these fifty-third anniversary commemorative videos are the interludes from the single's respective flip sides, which are found only on the original pressings of the 45 (The brief vocal swirl of "Blow away Dandelion" after the fade of We Love You, as well a snippet of Hopkins' piano romp on the latter track after the fade of Dandelion). However, Dandelion is presented in stereo in the lyric video, which reiterates and enhances the blissful audio experience exponentially. To be certain, with the release of that groundbreaking single, the Rolling Stones were doing anything but Sitting On A Fence.

 (1937 - 2020)

Several years ago, Trini Lopez was a regular presence on social media. He had been feeling a bit of a creative resurgence at the time, and was enthusiastic about sharing his vision with the faithful.

Blitz Magazine was grateful to have had multiple exchanges with Lopez during that period. He had been doing research on independent CD production. In addition to providing a few industry insights, Blitz also referred him to a pressing plant that specialized in the type of project that he was working on at the time. Like many others, we waited with great anticipation to hear the outcome of his endeavors.

Within social media outlets, it is sadly and not so surprisingly quite common to find professions of surprise and wonder from casual observers upon encountering accounts of encouraging developments such as those. But given his extraordinarily prolific and productive six decades in the spotlight, those developments are very much in keeping with the unique creative vision that has guided Lopez since the release of his 1958 debut solo single, The Right To Rock for the Volk label.

Born Trinidad Lopez III in Dallas, Texas, Lopez began to pursue music in earnest at a very early age, when his father, Trinidad Lopez II (who was an accomplished musician in his own right) purchased a guitar for him. By 1952, at the age of fifteen he had already formed a band, which worked prolifically in the Dallas area over the next several years 

Lopez's first break of consequence came in 1957, when he was befriended and mentored by rock and roll giant and fellow Texan, Buddy Holly. Holly was actively branching out into other facets of the recording industry (production, session work, artist management, and the like), and saw tremendous potential in Lopez. 

In turn, Holly and his father, Lawrence Holley referred Lopez to producer Norman Petty, who cut the instrumental 45, Clark's Expedition at his Clovis, New Mexico studios with Lopez as part of the group, the Big Beats. Columbia released it as a single in 1957, but Lopez soon after left the group to pursue a solo career.

Following the release of the aforementioned The Right To Rock single, Lopez's momentum continued at a frantic pace. Numerous singles followed for Syd Nathan's King Records from 1959 - 1960, as did the 1963 Teenage Love Songs album. An interim 45 for DRA Records, Sinner Not A Saint followed in 1962, after which time Lopez began a long and productive association with the Reprise label.

At Reprise, Lopez became a front runner among the label's vaunted artist roster in short order. Albums such as Live At PJ's, The Folk Album, The Rhythm And Blues Album and Trini Lopez In London kept him consistently in the spotlight, as did such magnificent singles as If I Had A Hammer, Kansas City, Lemon Tree, Sad Tomorrows, Jailer Bring Me Water, I'm Comin' Home Cindy and his sublime cover of Patience And Prudence's Gonna Get Along Without You Now

While at Reprise, Lopez also collaborated with the legendary Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart on his landmark 1969 album, The Whole Enchilada. That LP included an ambitious interpretation of Cream's Sunshine Of Your Love and a back to basics rendition of Boyce And Hart's 1967 I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight single, complete with an inspired rave up in the track's final moments.

Lopez's formidable capabilities as a musician and his charismatic stage presence also led to a prolific career in film and television. In addition to numerous guest appearances on variety shows, he also starred as a dramatic actor in multiple episodes of the Adam 12 television series, as well as the acclaimed motion picture, The Dirty Dozen.

Although not as prolific in the recording studio during the twenty-first century as he had been during the 1960s, Lopez continued to perform live prolifically. By the early 2010s, the ongoing success and impact of the indie movement within the recording industry inspired him to explore those options further. 

Despite his unwavering resolve to build upon his formidable legacy, Lopez had been in failing health in recent years, which in part circumvented his plans to bring those ideas to fruition. Tragically, he succumbed to  complications of the Corona Virus in a Palm Springs, California hospital on 11 August.

"He was fabulous, I loved him", said fellow Reprise Records alumnus and Kinks co-founder Dave Davies in an online statement.

"He was a big influence on our generation".

Not only on Davies' generation, but on a world of music enthusiasts for more than a half century. Lopez was 83.


It has been suggested to never send in a rookie to do a veteran's job. 

This is not to say that an aspiring artist is bereft of merit. Quite the contrary. Many a new artist has come along throughout the years and managed to hit a home run with their first at bat in the recording studio.

Nonetheless, few musical experiences are more satisfying than to hear new material from seasoned greats who remain at the top of their art. And in one particular recent instance, it was a relative newcomer who played an integral part in bringing these veteran artists' latest musical vision to fruition.

Such is the case with first generation garage rock giants, the Shadows Of Knight. The Chicago-based band recorded two superb albums in 1966 for Atlantic's affiliate Dunwich label, Gloria and Back Door Men. Their mastery of the genre also served them well through a series of classic singles for the label, including Oh Yeah (and its utterly stupendous flip side, Light Bulb Blues), Bad Little Woman, I'm Gonna Make You Mine, and their early 1966 signature single, their sublime and definitive version of the monster classic, Gloria.

Following his successful run with the Shadows Of Knight, rhythm guitarist Jerry McGeorge went on to spend a season with H.P. Lovecraft during the latter band's tenure with Mercury's affiliate Philips label. Meanwhile, lead vocalist Jim Sohns continued to front various incarnations of the Shadows Of Knight through a series of acclaimed singles for the Team, Atco and Super K labels. Sadly, original Shadows Of Knight lead guitarist Joe Kelley is deceased, having succumbed to lung cancer in September 2013.

Happily, band co-founders McGeorge and Sohns have returned to the studio with new lead guitarist, Michael Weber to record an all new single, Wild Man. Co-authored by Sohns and Weber, Wild Man marks Sohns' and McGeorge's first studio collaboration since 1967. 

For their current project, Weber is one relative rookie who definitely got the job done, having also contributed organ, bass and drums to the Wild Man sessions. The Wild Man video also features action shots of the original band during their heyday with Dunwich. It is hoped that a new album will follow shortly.


When the late Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler sang of the accomplishments of The "A" Team for RCA Victor in 1966, it is unlikely that he had in mind a time such as this.
These days, The "A" Team is facing a set of challenges that were heretofore unknown to this generation. The so-called virus pandemic has witnessed society at large at war in recent weeks against an unseen enemy. 

To their considerable credit, The "A" Team in the current conflict is comprised of not only the various military personnel who routinely lay their lives on the line for the common good, but a legion of dedicated medical professionals who risk their own health and safety to attend to those directly impacted by the disease. Their efforts are augmented most capably by the various retail personnel who likewise put themselves on the front lines to ensure that the basic needs of life continue to be met for one and all. 

Thankfully, their endeavors have not gone unnoticed by either the faithful or the musical community. To that effect, pastors around the globe have taken to social media to bring the message of the Gospel to the world during this most unusual Easter season. In turn, countless musicians have also weighed in with words of encouragement, as well as an uplifting musical interlude of their own.

Interestingly enough, the latest veteran artist to contribute in that respect is a combination of the two.

Bassist, composer and vocalist Barry Van Engelen is one of two surviving founding members of the legendary first generation garage rock quintet, the Unrelated Segments. The band earned a permanent place in the upper echelons of the genre with their trio of 1967-1968 Jack Chekaway-produced singles, Story Of My Life for HBR Records and Where You Gonna Go? and Cry, Cry, Cry for the Liberty label. Van Engelen's extraordinary and unique bass runs on those singles have been hailed as being among the best ever committed to record.

A Vietnam veteran, Van Engelen in recent years has remained active in veterans affairs, and also serves in a leadership role at his home church in southeastern Michigan. He concurrently performs live prolifically as Barry the Guitar Guy. making regular appearances in that capacity at the historic Greenfield Village in neighboring Dearborn. 

All of which prompted him to take guitar in hand and offer a few musical words of encouragement for those on the front lines in these trying times.

Inspired by the aforementioned Barry Sadler's early 1966 signature single, The Ballad Of The Green Berets, Van Engelen added his own timely observations to Sadler's compelling melody. Van Engelen's performance posted on Easter Sunday.

"I felt this coming for a while", Van Engelen said.

"This song was just laying inside me".

Within hours, the response went viral in a good way.

"Barry Sadler would have been proud", noted more than one observer. 

As for the rest of us, Van Engelen's Barry Sadler-inspired musical words of encouragement not only resonate, but inspire in a manner that points toward both Easter's hope of the cross, as well as the light at the end of the tunnel with regards to the circumstances at hand. To be certain, the answer to Van Engelen's 1967 musical question, Where You Gonna Go? is onward and upward.


Once in a great while, Dobie Gray got it wrong.

Gray's 1965 Charger label signature single, The "In" Crowd featured a lyric that resonated to such a degree that it became an integral component of Blitz Magazine's mission statement:

"Other guys imitate us, but the original's still the greatest".

In terms of music overall, Gray's observation has more often than not proven to be the case. For rarely does the cover version of a given recording pack the impact, vision and emotion of the original. 

However, in the case of Edmonton, Alberta vocalist, composer and guitarist Barry Allen Rasmussen (professionally known as Barry Allen), one particular standard improved to such a degree via his interpretation that it became a hallmark of the garage/psych hybrid.

Following fruitful affiliations with RCA Victor, Vik, Groove and other labels, veteran duo Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanderpool briefly signed with the Willow label in 1961, where they released the acclaimed single, Love Drops. In Mickey And Sylvia's hands, Love Drops became a career highlight as the result of their unique mid-tempo arrangement and dramatic delivery. 

Meanwhile, after a successful run as guitarist with Wes Dakus And The Rebels, Barry Allen opted for a solo career. His acclaimed releases for Capitol at home led to an affiliation with Dot Records in Nashville. While at Dot, Allen joined forces with legendary producer Norman Petty at the latter's renowned Nor-Va-Jak Studios. In their most capable hands, Love Drops was transformed from a dramatic ballad into a pathos-laden, vocal harmony rich hallmark of psych rock. Dot released Allen's version in March 1966, and it has since became one of the genre's definitive masterpieces.

Allen continued to perform and record prolifically well into the current century. Working with a new version of the Rebels, he took to the stage regularly throughout the mid-2010s. 

Sadly, Allen underwent a bout with cancer in 2016, which curtailed his live performance schedule. He rebounded to the degree that he was able to complete the acclaimed solo project, Speed Of Dark, which was released in November 2019.

Tragically, Allen faced a recurrence of cancer earlier this year, which finally claimed his life on 04 April. He was 74.


After much speculation (and no small amount of anxiety among musicologists and record collectors), the wait is over. 

Amoeba Music, which ranks among the world's largest record retailers, has announced that its Hollywood location (which is presently on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Cahuenga) will be relocating in the Fall of 2020. The new site will be several blocks away, at 6200 Hollywood Boulevard, on the corner of Argyle.

"It's a bit smaller, but not a whole lot", Amoeba announced on 05 February in a statement.

"It's still a huge space that will house all the formats and goodies we carry now".

Long targeted for re-development, Amoeba's Sunset Boulevard location is directly across the street from the immensely popular Jack In The Box restaurant, and a short walk from the First Southern Baptist Church Of Hollywood, which is pastored by renowned musicologist Gary Tibbs. The new Amoeba outlet will anchor the El Centro complex, next door to the Fonda Theatre.

One potential concern may follow Amoeba from its present location to the new one. The Sunset Boulevard location offers limited on site free parking in the form of an underground garage, which during peak hours of operation has been known to generate traffic back ups onto Cahuenga. But according to Amoeba, some changes are inevitable in that respect.

"The El Centro complex has a large, well-managed parking garage", according to the Amoeba statement.

"We'll validate for the first 75 minutes with any in store purchase. There are many parking meters on all three of the surrounding streets (Hollywood, Argyle and El Centro)".

A fixture in Hollywood since the dawn of the twenty-first century, Amoeba also has locations to the north in San Francisco and Berkeley. The store is known for its massive inventory in virtually all recorded formats, including 78s, 45s, vinyl LPs, CDs, DVDs, cassettes and eight track tapes. Amoeba also boasts an extensive selection of such related merchandise as t-shirts and turntables. 

The move is scheduled to take place after Labor Day 2020. Amoeba anticipates minimal interruption in its day to day operations during the transition. Meanwhile, Amoeba's three outlets remain closed during the virus pandemic, as does the San Fernando Valley-based Freak Beat Records.