Archive | 11:57 pm

Healthy Snack Options from Two Moms

26 Mar

We recently received a shipment of sample snack products from Two Moms in the Raw of Lafayette, Colorado. I am pleased to report that these organic products are quite healthy and satisfying. Wholesome raw ingredients and no preservatives — now that’s what I’m talking about!

Co-owner Shari Leidich explains how it all got started …

In 2004, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After exploring all options, I found a natural approach to healing worked best for me. Food in its natural state without all the additives and pesticides is what the body needs to heal and feel good. As I continue on my personal journey to wellness I feel better each day and I know my diet has a lot to do with it. While exploring the raw lifestyle, I couldn’t find a tasty, satisfying treat to have on the run. After lots of experiments in the kitchen with other moms, I came up with these delicious Granolas and fantastic Sea Crackers.  Pretty soon all of my friends and family were ordering more than I could afford to give away.  As a result, I decided to start charging….and here we are today. From these wonderful beginnings we have benefited greatly and look forward to the future and sharing our Raw and Organic treats with you…the ones that we have already available and the many more we have yet to come up with.

The delicious Blueberry and Apple Granola chunks contains Millet, Buckwheat, Coconut, Flaxseed, Sunflower Seeds, Seasame Seeds, Pecans, Almonds, Pepitas, Apples, Agave, Cinnamon, Sea Salt and Blueberries. It does look a bit like bird seed, but the taste will win you over. This product is not tooth-snapping hard and is bursting with flavors of fruit, cinnamon and coconut. We sampled their Cranberry Granola and found it equally flavorful.

Our care package from Two Moms also included generous packages of Garden Herb and Tomato Basil “Sea Crackers.” These gluten free munchies are made with organic Flaxseed, Kombu (Edible Kelp), Sundried Tomatoes, Basil, Sea Salt and Spices.  I preferred the Tomato Basil variety, especially when getting the occasional nugget of tart sundried tomato.  

When it comes to healthy yet tasty snacking, Mother knows best!


26 Mar


CD series launches with Johnny Winter, Hot Tuna, and Poco

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Collectors’ Choice Music, the label that’s come to be known for compelling and often unexpected CD reissues, has announced the launch of Collectors’ Choice Music Live, a new label devoted to releasing great live performances, most of which have never previously been commercially available.

The series will launch April 20 with the release of four CDs: Johnny Winter And’s Live at the Fillmore East 10/3/70; Poco’s Live at Columbia Studios, Hollywood 9/30/71; and Hot Tuna’s Live at the New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA September 1969.

According to Collectors’ Choice Music GM Gordon Anderson, “After some 15 years of reissuing albums and compiling artists, we’re convinced that some of the biggest remaining veins of gold in the vaults are the live shows that a lot of labels recorded of their artists in their prime, particularly those who made their reputation with improvisational prowess and/or ever-changing set lists. These first releases on our new Collectors’ Choice Music Live label certainly fit that description.”

Johnny Winter And — Live at the Fillmore East 10/3/70: To commemorate the release of his Johnny Winter And album, Texas blues guitarist/singer Johnny Winter played some shows at New York’s Fillmore East, some of which were compiled on 1971’s Live Johnny Winter And, a classic live album of the era to which this release makes a nice bookend. He had just formed a new band consisting of former member of the McCoys (“Hang on Sloopy”) including Rick Derringer on guitar, bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, and drummer Randy Zehringer. Although the McCoys were none too familiar with Winter’s work, they proved quick studies and entered the studio to make the album Johnny Winter And within three weeks. The New York Times reviewed the Fillmore show, citing “a considerable improvement over Winter’s previous band. Winter and [Derringer] played solos back at each other, simultaneously and in alternation.” The live album contains the Winter hit “Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo” and his take on Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61” alongside blues classics “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “It’s My Own Fault” and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”

PocoLive at Columbia Studios, Hollywood, 9/30/71: In the fall of ’71, Poco was arguably the most popular of the first generation country-rock bands. By then, their album Deliverin’ had cracked the Top 30 and Poco thanked its label, Epic Records, with a private showcase at the CBS Records’ Hollywood studio. “We just set up as we would have for a small club,” recalls frontman Richie Furay, whose bandmates included guitarist/singer Paul Cotton (from the Illinois Speed Press), bassist Tim Schmidt (later of the Eagles), pedal steel player Rusty Young and drummer/vocalist George Grantham. By this time, Poco was evolving from country-rock towards an edgier rock sound. Says Furay, “Though we were innovators of the L.A. ‘country-rock’ sound, we weren’t going top be pigeonholed into being a one-sound band.” The 14 songs they performed for label employees that day were a solid cross-section of tunes that had appeared on its first four albums including the medley “Hard Luck Child/Child’s Claim to Fame/Pickin’ Up the Pieces,” plus “I Guess You Made It,” “A Man Like Me,” “Ol’ Forgiver,” “Heart That Music,” “Hurry Up,” “You Are the One” and more — an hour of music in all.

Hot Tuna: Live at the New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA September 1969: Hot Tuna was, of course, the blues band-within-a-band side project of Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady that outlasted the parent band and continues to this day. Interestingly, the duo’s first commercial album, which made it to #30 on the Billboard pop album chart, was recorded live at Berkeley’s New Orleans House, but a lot more material was taped than was released. Much of it is issued for the first time on this 68-minute CD, which consists entirely of previously unreleased recordings. Explaining why they recorded their debut album was recorded live, Kaukoken says, “We tend to go places . . . and you lose a bit of that when you work in the studio. And it was cheaper too!” Of the 13 songs on this CD, six — “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” “Winin’ Boy Blues,” “Uncle Sam Blues,” “I Know You Rider,” “Don’t You Leave Me Here” and “How Long Blues” — were included on the first Hot Tuna album, though the versions here are selected from different performances than the ones used on that LP. Other songs include Blind Boy Fuller’s “Keep On Truckin’,” Rev. Gary Davis’ “Keep Our Lamps Trimmed and Burning” and “Candy Man,” and Blind Blake’s “That’ll Never Happen No More.”


Tommy James Finally Getting His Due

26 Mar

As a kid, I was always a big Tommy James fan. Even then I didn’t quite understand why James didn’t receive the same level of recognition that his musical peers were enjoying. His body of work is undeniably impressive. Hanky Panky, Crystal Blue Persuasion, Mony Mony, I Think We’re Alone Now, Mirage, Crimson and Clover — must I continue?

Thankfully, Collector’s Choice has re-issued many of Tommy’s recordings in a sweeping retrospective. The music captured here documents James versatility … running the gamut from bubblegum to country rock. My personal favorite of these original Roulette LPs is “I Think We’re Alone Now,” which includes the great title hit, “Mirage,” and “Baby, Baby I Can’t Take It No More.” Yes, there is some of the typical filler found here, but the gems still shimmer and there are surprises galore to be discovered anew.   

If you’re a fan of classic 60’s radio hits, bubblegum, and “sunshine pop,” it’s time to dig just a little bit deeper to fully appreciate the immense musical talents of the influential Tommy James.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.Goldmine magazine called Tommy James “the most productive rock ’n’ roll singles artist of his era” in its review of the critically hailed 40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-2006) 2-CD set, released in 2008 by Collectors’ Choice Music. Mojo added, “James should be ranked among the most undervalued workmen in the American rock quarry.” Add to the fact that James has just released his autobiography with a title that tells it all — Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells (which Rolling Stone gave 3 ½ out of four stars)— and it’s evident the time is ideal to reflect on a career filled with what the Austin Chronicle called “definitive U.S. pop.”

On April 20, 2010, Collectors’ Choice Music, which released the 40 Years retrospective, will begin to reissue the individual Roulette Records albums by Tommy James & the Shondells and Tommy James solo. The first batch contains I Think We’re Alone Now, Gettin’ Together and Travelin’ by the band, and James’ own My Head, My Bed and My Red Guitar from 1972, recorded in Nashville with many of the city’s notable players.

Ed Osborne once again annotated the reissues, featuring extensive interview material from the Niles, Michigan native who is very candid about working with Roulette owner and convicted mobster Morris Levy. The band had a remarkable run on the charts with singles like “Hanky Panky,” “Say I Am (What I Am),” “It’s Only Love,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mirage,” “I Like the Way,” “Gettin’ Together,” “Out of the Blue,” “Get Out Now,” “Mony Mony,” “Somebody Cares,” “Do Something to Me,” “Crimson & Clover,” “Sweet Cherry Wine,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” “Ball of Fire,” “She” and “Gotta Get Back to You” among others.

Tommy James & the ShondellsI Think We’re Alone Now: This 1967 album marked the group’s move from a singles band to a more album-oriented outfit, with new producers (Ritchie Cordell and Bo Gentry), a new arranger (Jimmy “Wiz” Wisner, who’s worked with artists ranging from Barbra Streisand to Iggy Pop) and a new studio (New York’s Allegro Sound). Unlike its predecessors — Hanky Panky and It’s Only Love, which consisted of the smash hits plus songs culled from Morris Levy’s publishing catalogs — this album benefitted from better song selection and the better technology of Allegro Sound. The centerpiece was the single “I Think We’re Alone Now,” brought to James as a ballad by Cordell and Gentry, but converted to a mid-tempo rocker by James and Wisner utilizing an “eighth note pegging” technique. Recorded on Christmas Eve 1966, it was on the radio by January. The hit was followed up by “Mirage,” with cellos intermingling with guitars, and “I Like the Way,” punctuated with a horn riff. Also included on this release are covers of the Rivieras’ “California Sun” and the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.”

Tommy James & the ShondellsGettin’ Together: This album, released in later 1967, cemented the creative process that began on I Think We’re Alone Now. The title track had been earmarked for Gene Pitney to record, but James heard it, knew it was a hit, and “pitched a fit” to Morris Levy, who eventually granted permission for James to record it. Cordell and Gentry sped up the vocal track and the song raced up the charts. Although utilizing the same producers and studio, the album was a progression over its predecessor. “I Want to Be Around You,” “So Deep with You,” “Real Girl” and “World Down on Your Knees” are examples of late ’60s “sunshine pop,” comparable to the Mamas & Papas, the 5th Dimension or the Association. Cordell and Gentry remain the key song sources, but by now the band would write as a band. Today, James counts Gettin’ Together as one of his favorite albums: “What really made me happy with the guys in the studio is that they were like actors in a play . . . Everybody had a great sense of proportion . . . [and] everybody would contribute something. I still enjoy listening to it today.”

The new James book (seen above) is getting good reviews

Tommy James & the ShondellsTravelin’: Travelin’ followed the Shondells’ 1969 releases Crimson & Clover and Cellophane Symphony. It was created entirely by the band, from songwriting to playing to producing and arranging. The final album under the Tommy James & the Shondells name, this 1970 release is also considered by many fans to be their best. It’s their edgiest effort, recorded with very few technical effects (“gritty and grainy, just like dust in your mouth and sand in your boots,” says James). The grit theme was even carried over into the artwork in which renowned American West painter Ron lesser, a protégé of Norman Rockwell, painted a portrait of the guys in a stagecoach being chased by Morris Levy. Apart from the Shondells, James’ main writing partner was Michigan confrere Bob King. From this association came highlights “Gotta Get back,” “Moses & Me,” “Red Rover” and “Talkin’ & Signifyin’.” James says, “If we had stayed together as a group, it would have been very, very interesting [to hear] the music we would have come up with.”

Tommy James — My Head, My Bed & My Red Guitar: James’ second solo album was a total departure from his earlier work. Recorded in Nashville, it featured the Music City’s “A team.” By this time, the Byrds and Bob Dylan had embraced country music. But for someone with a pop track record, recording the Nashville way was an uncommonly bold move. Produced by James with Bob King and Pete Drake, musicians included Scotty Moore (also the engineer) and D.J. Fontana from Elvis Presley’s band, Drake on pedal steel, King on bass, Hargus “Pig” Robbins on keyboards, Buddy Spicher on fiddle and Charlie McCoy on harmonica. “I was real keen on the idea of putting myself in different situations [where] I’ve got to sink or swim,” says James. “These players were unbelievable . . . I was impressed by their musical ability and lack of ego.” Interestingly, Rolling Stone finally acknowledged James’ work with this album. “[They] gave us the best write-up I ever had on any project,” he says. During the session, Scotty Moore received a phone call from Presley, who said he’d drive to Nashville to take James and Moore out for steak. The visit never materialized. But James did end up with a credible country debut.