Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy 54th Birthday Angus Young! YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG



Its better late than never....March 31st is AC/DC's Angus Young's birthday. Cheers to the world's oldest schoolboy!!!

Appel and Angel Lead The Way To The Final Four


Right up front....I was wrong. Yesterday I picked top seed in the Raleigh Region Maryland to beat Louisville, and I called for Iowa State to upset Stanford to win the Berkeley Region.

So much for my prognostication, but I'll try again later.

Angel McCoughtry led the way for the Cards in their 77-60 win over the favored Terrapins with 21 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Louisville women's team to their first NCAA Final Four ever.

And at Berkeley, what could you say about Jayne Appel's performance in Stanford's 74-53 beat down of an overmatched Iowas State squad?

There is one word..."Chamberlain-esque". She dominated the paint in a performance that would have old Wilt smiling down from The Big Court In The Sky. Appel, in a performance for the ages, scored 46 points to break Stanford's single game scoring record, and finish the game with the third highest total (50) in NCAA women's tournament history. Throw in 16 rebounds and three blocks, and you have the defining performance in the women's tournament so far.

So...we are now left with two more slots to fill for the FINAL FOUR in St Louis.

First....I'm taking OKLAHOMA over Purdue in the OKLAHOMA CITY REGION. The fact that I said "Oklahoma" and "Oklahoma City" in the same sentence says it all....don't bet against the de facto home team.

And I'm picking ARIZONA STATE over Uconn in the Trenton Region.......APRIL FOOL!!!!!

Seriously, only a crazy person, a relative of ASU Coach Charli Turner Thorn, or an April Fool would make that pick...and it ain't April yet.

Take UCONN....easily

Notes.....Angel McCoughtry called out ESPN's Kara Lawson for her lukewarm feelings about Louisville, and really came across like The Louisville Lip, Mark II. Earth to Angel....Kara Lawson has won a NCAA championship at Tennessee, a WNBA championship with the Sacramento Monarchs, and an Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing last year...just focus on St.Louis and the Oklahoma Sooners, and Stanford or undefeated UCONN down the road. And please, the whining and the negative body language and facial expressions aren't going to cut it at the next level.

The Stanford mascot...that tree with the bulging eyes HAS GOT TO GO!!! It looks like one of those stupid GEICO COMMERCIALS....with legs!!!!

And Steve Politi of the wonderful STAR-LEDGER....get a grip. C.Vivian Stringer didn't fail to develop Rutgers' freshman....its the freshman who failed to perform. She kept giving them chances, and they kept watching the chances blow up in their faces. Don't kill the coach, the media loved these recruits on signing day...they had to earn the court time, and they couldn't. Now Steve, go cover some baseball.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fleetwood Mac- Some Closing Thoughts


As stated before, Pete Frame's ROCK FAMILY TREES was invaluable in assembling this mini-project, as was his early interview with Lindsey Buckingham.

For additional information on the band, here's a few links that may be of interest.

Fleetwoodmac.com is the band's new official website. Its currently being reconstructed, but has a full(as of this writing) list of the band's tour dates.

The Fleetwood Mac Legacy is a very fine fansite, with news, pictures, histories and all kinds of good and fun stuff.



Fleetwood Mac.net is another very good and well constructed fansite worth a look. By all means check out its biography section, which has current info on all 16 persons (and new photos) who had been members of Fleetwood Mac over the years....including those who came and left quickly (Bob Brunning, Dave Walker, Dave Mason). This too was a huge source of information in assembling this story....hats off!!

Bowie, The Clown, and ASHES TO ASHES



I'm so dumb!!!!

Or maybe I'm just getter old-er, with emphasis on the "er" But for the past four weeks I've been writing about the BBC AMERICA debut (and subsequent episodes of ) ASHES TO ASHES, and I never really "got" what "The Clown" was all about. And maybe I still don't...but I had forgotten all about the David Bowie video of his song ASHES to ASHES from the album "SCARY MONSTERS", and Bowie as the clown in that video. The clown keeps reoccurring to Alex Drake in her time travel to 1981.

ASHES TO ASHES, the TV show, is the sequel to LIFE ON MARS. ASHES TO ASHES, the song, is a continuation of the story of Major Tom, the space traveler in SPACE ODDITY by Bowie. Major Tom was shot into the stratosphere,he loses contact with earth, and moves on to infinity in SPACE ODDITY. Bowie's ASHES TO ASHES continues the story.

Here's the chorus from ASHES TO ASHES;

Ashes to Ashes funk is funky.....We know Major Tom's a junkie....Strung out in heaven's high....hitting an all time low


More.......

Time and time again I tell myself....I'll stay clean tonight...But the little green wheels are following me...Oh no, not again....I'm stuck with a valuable friend...I'm happy, hope you're happy too....One flash of light but no smoking pistol...I've never did good things....I've never done bad things...I've never done anything out of the blue...I want an axe to break the ice....I want to come down right now.


In the series Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) was shot in 2008, and finds herself in 1981 with characters from LIFE ON MARS....."her valuable friends". She's stuck in infinity. It could be heaven, though it defies the usual concept we have about the afterlife....this is no reward for living a good life, its a place strangely like the one she left, but not quite the same, experiencing the same thing Sam Tyler did on LIFE ON MARS, and for that matter, Major Tom in the song ASHES TO ASHES.

Or then again...maybe Alex is in purgatory, trying to atone for past sins... or perhaps the theme of possible eternal separation might be indicative of being condemned to a personal hell.

To take a more secular view, Alex could be in a coma, or actually in an alternate universe that mirrors our own.

But I really believe that some of the clues are contained in the lyrics of Bowie's song, and perhaps in the video...check it out, embedded from the BBC America Website.





Andrew Clover, who appears as The Clown in ASHES TO ASHES, is interviewed.

Purdue Ends RU's Season; ASU, UCONN, Sooners Advance



The Rutgers women's basketball team season ended in Oklahoma City at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers, 67-61 in a game that was a microcosm of the entire season. Led by Lakisha Freeman's 18 points, and another 13 from Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, and domination on the glass (PU out rebounded RU 34-30), Purdue's height and sharpshooting (52.9%) doomed the Scarlet Knights, who ended the season at 21-13.

Rutgers shot only 40%, though they had four players in double figures led by Brittany Ray with 19 points and Epiphanny Prince with 15. However, Prince was 6-17 from the floor and only made it to the foul line one time- she usually goes to the free throw line 8-10 times a game- that was a contributing factor in a game that Purdue controlled most of the way, and led by as many as 16 points in the first half.

The RU bench only contributed four points, all by April Sykes. The RU bench played a total of 19 minutes in all, while Purdue got more milage from their reserves with 44 minutes played and seven points.

Here's the Box Score, from ESPN.

Below, also from ESPN, some post game comments from RU coach C.Vivian Stringer.

"More than hurt, I'm disappointed," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "We knew what we had to do and we went out there and were foolish."....."It was in the end as it was in the beginning, the same things, the same behaviors," Stringer said. "I was thinking, 'Why are we here?'"


In other games UCONN smoked California in Trenton 77-53, behind Tiffany Hayes 28 points. Cal led the game in the first half by eight points- the largest deficit UCONN had to overcome this year. UCONN went on a 40-12 run, and blew Cal out of the Sovereign Bank Arena. In Game Two at Trenton Arizona State beat second seed Texas A&M 84-69 behind Briann January's 22 points. The sixth seeded Sun Devils will meet (1)UCONN tomorrow night in Trenton for a ticket to St. Louis and the Final Four.

In the Oklahoma City Region's nightcap last night, the Oklahoma Sooners smacked the Pitt Panthers 70-59 behind the Whitney Hand's 22 points, and the usual heroics of the Paris twins; Courtney had 10 points and 9 rebounds, sister Ashley had a double-double with 12 and 10. Danielle Robinson and Nyeshia Stevenson both had 10 for the Sooners, giving all five starters double figures in scoring for a relatively easy win. (1) Oklahoma will play (6) Purdue for the Oklahoma City Regional Final tomorrow night.

In tonight's Elite Eight Games-

(3)Louisville vs (1) Maryland in the Raleigh Regional Final- I'm a Big East guy, and I'll be rooting for the Cardinals to beat the Terps. I love Angel McCoughtry's game for the Cards... but I think the combination of Kristi Toliver and the peaking Marissa Coleman (42 points against Vanderbilt) will be too much to handle. PICK-Maryland.

(2) Stanford vs (4) Iowa State in the Berkeley Regional Final- my instincts say take take Stanford, they're playing close to home, they're the higher seed, they have more height and better inside presence. But the hot three point shooting of the Cyclone might just be able to pull this out, sending them to The Final Four. PICK-Iowa State, in an upset.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ashes To Ashes This Week- Episode 4



Last night's episode of Ashes to Ashes on BBC America had Alex (Keeley Hawes), Gene (Philip Glenister) and the crew trying to solve a murder that was initially thought to be a suicide. A code is found on premises that leads the investigation to a group of revolutionary feminists, who had been supplied with information about a secret nuclear weapons program by the murder victim.

In the workshop of the murder victim Gene and Alex find incriminating photos of Alex's mother Caroline Price (Amelia Bulmore) involved with none other than Evan White (Stephen Campbell Moore) while Alex's father Tim was in America.

To gain evidence to solve the crime Alex and Gene use phony ID's to break into a government compound to look for files in a hidden vault....and they subsequently get locked in. The lack of oxygen, the heat inside, and Gene's flask of booze finds Gene and Alex removing outer layers of clothing, which leads to the defining scene of the night....Alex in a red cami, with Gene looking to the ceiling saying, "God if this is a test I do believe I'll fail".

Of course, the cavalry arrives in time to "save them" from what would have happened next....and on to solve the murder.

Once again, the show is a strange mix of 1980's cop show, sci-fi/fantasy, and romantic comedy. And while watching this latest episode here in the States I thought it isn't so much a stretch to compare the chemistry between Hawes and Glenister as being similar to Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn...there's a magic at work on the small screen that was present for those cinema legends.

One side bar benefit of discovering this show is finding some of the video tributes to it on YouTube. There are dozens out there, but the one below is one of my faves, featuring Hawes and Glenister, and set to the music of Bryan Ferry.



I'll be back with more next week.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fleetwood Mac-The Chain Broken & Repaired 1994 to 2009



In 1994 FLEETWOOD MAC went through a massive personnel shuffle. Rick Vito and Stevie Nicks had both left, and singer BEKKA BRAMLETT and former Traffic and solo star DAVE MASON joined the band. BILLY BURNETTE became the lead guitarist. Holdovers from the classic lineup were Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie.

They released the album TIME in 1995 and toured extensively in support of the new release. Public acceptance of the new lineup was practically non-existent, and record sales were very disappointing. In the past Fleetwood Mac had been able to reinvent and regenerate into something different; but it seemed the only version of FLEETWOOD MAC that the public would accept needed to include Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

The band collapsed, and Fleetwood Mac went into a period of suspended animation.

In 1996 the individual band members collaborated on various projects. The following year (1997) the classic RUMOURS lineup got together on a soundstage and recorded a live concert video, the result of which was the reunion album THE DANCE.









The lineup of Buckingham-Nicks-McVie-McVie and Fleetwood toured extensively through 1997 in support of the album, which sold over 5 million units. It was their biggest seller since 1987's TANGO IN THE NIGHT.

In 1998 Christine McVie retired as fullmember of the band, though she still contributed to subsequent projects for the Mac and its members, and as a soloist. Also in that year Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Included were the RUMOURS lineup, and early members Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan.






SAY YOU WILL was the next release for the band (2003), their first without Christine as a band member since THEN PLAY ON in the Peter Green years. The CD was #3 in the Billboard Hot 200, and was followed by a successful tour.









FLLETWOOD MAC is currently engaged on their Unleashed tour, with dates through spring and into summer throughout North America. Chronicling the tour, Mr. Fleetwod is before the cameras on MICK TV.


Home Shopping Queen: Is HSN Dropping Kim Parrish?#c5496907960918165727#c5496907960918165727


Home Shopping Queen: Is HSN Dropping Kim Parrish?#c5496907960918165727#c5496907960918165727

That's the question being asked by our friend QUEEN BEA on her blog.

Check it out....because like Sgt Schultz, I know nothing!!!

More info on Kim Parrish, from our Making a Difference series.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rutgers Womens Basketball; THEY DESERVE MORE SUPPORT




Note- this entry is a response to the column in this morning's Star-Ledger by Steve Politi regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team.

And I'll fess up right now....I've been tough on the Star-Ledger for the past several months because of their role in the ousting of former athletic director Bob Mulcahy, and because of their stand on the reinstatement of the Olympic sports that were cut by Mulcahy. Also, I have ripped Steve Politi in the past because of some of his "lock-step" mentality regarding the perceived "party line" and talking points presented by the Star-Ledger.

And yes there is irony and inconsistency in his criticism of the lack of transparency and the use of tax dollars for the football program, while calling for better marketing of women's basketball.

But on most of his points in the column, he's right.

All and all, the Rutgers women's basketball team have been relegated to the back seat by the Rutgers athletic department...but even worse, they have shamefully been ignored by the majority of sports fans and media of this state, and by the metropolitan area.

Part of the problem is simply BECAUSE its women's basketball, and the perception that its not the same as men's basketball. And that perception is reinforced....dare I say...by media outlets like the Star-Ledger who go ga-ga over the men's tournament and treat the women's tournament as if its something they are REQUIRED to cover. Shouldn't the Star-Ledger's "Bracket Boy" give some love to those women who are practicing at dawn on cold winter days, getting elbows to the face and midsection, having their ACL's blow out, while trying to balance school work and graduate within the specified five year time frame?

The local electronic media is even worse in its regard for the sport. Unless RU gets to a Final Four...or is insulted by a national media celebrity...they rarely, if ever, get a mention on local TV sports reports, the exception being cable's NEWS 12 NJ. No Len Berman or Scott Clark...just invisibility. And the decision of WCTC New Brunswick (which broadcasts most women's games) to go to that boring "goodtime oldies" format eliminates any local sports talk and subsequent buzz that the team could have. Yes, there is WRSU, but college radio is what it is...college radio, designed for insiders.

Media problems aside, there are things Rutgers should and must do in order for women's basketball to become more mainstream. It will never replace football or baseball as the first love of area sports fans, but as a "niche sport", like soccer or even hockey, it can get more visibility in this media market.

The team drew an average of 3,321 fans per game and watched its national rank in attendance drop from 24th to 39th nationally. There were two sellouts this year, against Tennessee and UCONN- bigtime opponents do draw in an area that is driven by "the Big Event". Part of this drop in attendance can be attributed to the poor play Rutgers had when they appeared on national TV- against Tennessee and Maryland, for example, they were awful; that's not the way to sell a program.

But even more disturbing were some poor choices by Rutgers athletics in identifying just who made up their fanbase, who buys tickets, getting people to buy tickets, and getting more "fannies in the seats".

The athletic department can't be blamed because they didn't foresee a nation in economic freefall- few of us did. But the price of courtside seats has risen to
$20-30 per game. Courtside youth is $15. Now, Mom and Dad and their two kids decide to take in a game. Let's say they want to sit courtside....we're talking at least $70 to $90, not counting parking, food, souvenirs, etc. Its easily a $100 day or night, unless you get a family four pack and sit up in the nosebleed 300 sections.

The women's basketball fanbase of Rutgers consists mainly of seniors, families with young children, girls groups and teams, and female sports fans. The percentage of students going to the games is minuscule, unless it involves a UCONN or a Tennessee. Ticket prices for courtside seats have risen more than 100% in the past five years, but attendance at games is dropping (at the worst) or static (at the least). Families with a tight budget have to decide- do we take in a movie and/or go out to dinner, or go see a women's basketball game? Seniors on fixed incomes watch ticket prices escalate for games being played in a building that isn't user friendly for the aging; there are no handrails for courtside seats, no escalators, only one elevator, and a handicapped section that is close to being maxxed out.

Even if we were NOT in the throes of a deep recession, how can Rutgers athletics justify raising ticket prices for women's basketball when at best the yearly per game attendance is about 4,000 or less in an 8,000 seat arena?

Now....I'm no financial wizard by any stretch....but hasn't anyone involved with RU sports ever heard of the rule of supply and demand?

Wouldn't it make more sense to make women's basketball ticket prices more in line with the price of a movie at around $10 or less?

To find a model of how a sport like women's basketball can survive in a media market like that of New York/New Jersey, just take a ride down US1 to Trenton to see how the Trenton Thunder have succeeded above anyone's expectations.

To the north and east there are the Yankees and the Mets, and to the south there are the World Champion (and it still feels odd to say those words) Philadelphia Phillies. Champions of the AA Eastern League, the Trenton Thunder are one of the greatest success stories in the history of minor league baseball. They play in a 6,500 seat ballpark, and average about 6,000 fans per game, and have drawn more than 400,000 fans per year in all but one year of their existence, having moved to Trenton from London, Ontario in 1994.

Ticket prices to Thunder games range from a high of $12 to a low of $9. Parking (as of last year ) was $2. They have corporate promotions at nearly game, and run a fan friendly ballpark experience for the family. Its fun, and its affordable- four box seats and parking at a Thunder game will cost Dad and Mom 50 bucks, less than half of the price of two Rutgers women's courtside seats ALONE.

Granted...this is private enterprise, and the Thunder payroll is subsidized by the deep pockets of the New York Yankees. But the fans keep packing the place. Back in 1993 the naysayers were telling all that New Jersey would never accept minor league baseball.

The success of the Thunder, followed by other affiliated and non affiliated winners as the Somerset Patriots, Lakewood Blue Claws, and the Camden Riversharks proved minor league baseball can flourish in this area by keeping the games fan and family friendly, and affordable.

Women's college basketball may be a tougher, but not an impossible sell. There will always be the usual sexist pinheads who wouldn't give the game a fair look even if their own daughters were playing in it. And the problems at Rutgers are not much different than at the vast majority of women's programs.

They already have a good product at RU....now they just need to get more people to buy what they're selling. New AD Tim Pernetti was one of the architects of College Sports Television, which is now CBS College Sports.

If there ever was a person out there who could sell women's basketball to the public, it seems that Pernetti could be that man.

Here's hoping for success.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Televisionary: Universal Remote: The Nine Circles of Hell on "Damages"


Televisionary: Universal Remote: The Nine Circles of Hell on "Damages"

Pictured- Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons, from Damages on FX. Read the review of the show leading up next week's 90 minute season finale.

Zbigniew Brzezinski Talks Foreign Policy on MORNING JOE


Mika's dad, also known as Dr.Zbigniew Brzezinski, was on MORNING JOE on MSNBC this AM, and its refreshing to hear foreign policy talked about by a diplomat and statesman, rather than by a partisan politician. Other guests were Mike Barnicle and Jim Cramer.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Fleetwood Mac-The Chain; 1972-1994




In 1972 Danny Kirwan was fired from FLEETWOOD MAC. And it is at that point where we'll resume the documentary BBC ROCK FAMILY TREES (Part 3), with the arrival of DAVE WALKER and BOB WESTON into Fleetwood Mac.

Part 4 continues after the pictures of Weston and Walker, with the story of the BUCKINGHAM/ NICKS years, early edition.

























Coming Up Next- The reunification of the RUMOURS lineup, Christine's departure, and FLEETWOOD MAC in the new millenium, and on tour in 2009.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Life On Mars (As Performed by The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre)


I know I've been preoccupied with basketball and March Madness, and have been negligent in giving the readership here more hard hitting current events. Furthermore, I've cheated you by not presenting samples of "high brow" culture, so lacking on the internet and in our daily lives.

I will rectify that matter as of this moment.

Here now, to present their version of Socks On Mars, ladies and gentleman, The Scottish Falsetto Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.

God save the Queen!

And Sean Connery!!!!

On To The Sweet 16....Hits and Misses (Part 1)



The first two rounds of the women's NCAA Basketball Tournament were a surprise on several fronts, the most obvious being while the men's tournament held few upsets, and all of the one and two seeds held for the men, in the women's side it was a different story.

So...let's do, ladies first.

On Monday seventh seeded Rutgers beat the two seed Auburn, and the fifth seed Purdue knocked off (3) North Carolina, while (4) Pitt was given a scare by Gonzaga, but won....and last night (1) Oklahoma had all they could handle from (9) Georgia Tech in the Oklahoma City Region.

The Raleigh Region held true with numbers one through four Maryland, Baylor, Louisville, and Vanderbilt (with Baylor winning squeakers in both opening rounds), and the Trenton Region had (who else?) (1)UCONN, (2) Texas A&M, and (4) Cal advancing, while second seed FSU was eliminated by (6)Arizona State.

But the biggest bracket buster OF bracket busters was the Berkeley Region. Though Tennessee was only a five seed, there was still reason to believe that Pat Summitt would find a way to get the Lady Vols into the Sweet Sixteen. Upstart Ball State, in their first NCAA Tournament, knocked Tennessee out in the first round. Yesterday, while Ball State was preparing for its game with (4) Iowa State ( who beat Ball State 71-57), Tennessee was back in Knoxville, having a practice, preparing for next year. But there was more...(9) seed Michigan State used a suffocating defense and a home court advantage to beat (1) Duke. This was the first time a nine seed had advanced to the Sweet Sixteen since 1998, and it was MSU head coach Suzy Merchant's (pictured above) first trip to the Sweet Sixteen. Third seed Ohio State and (2) Stanford advanced...and the Cardinal should be a favorite to advance to the Final Four in consecutive years, with the next two rounds being held in their backyard.

Overall, I picked 12 of 16....Berkeley was my worst bracket, I picked both Tennesee and Duke to be there in the field of 16, as well as North Carolina (Oklahoma City) and Florida State (Trenton).

Here's the matchups for Saturday and Sunday.

• RALEIGH: SATURDAY
No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 2 Baylor (ESPN, noon)
No. 4 Vanderbilt vs. No. 1 Maryland (ESPN, 2)

• BERKELEY: SATURDAY
No. 9 Michigan St. vs. No. 4 Iowa St. (ESPN, 9)
No. 3 Ohio St. vs. No. 2 Stanford (ESPN2, 11:30)

• TRENTON: SUNDAY
No. 4 California vs. No. 1 UConn (ESPN, noon)
No. 6 ASU vs. No. 2 Texas A&M (ESPN2, 2:30)

• OKLAHOMA CITY: SUNDAY
No. 7 Rutgers vs. No. 6 Purdue (ESPN2, 7:30)
No. 4 Pitt vs. No. 1 Oklahoma (ESPN2, 9:30)

My Picks-

No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 2 Baylor - LOUISVILLE
No. 4 Vanderbilt vs. No. 1 Maryland- MARYLAND
No. 9 Michigan St. vs. No. 4 Iowa St- MICHIGAN STATE
No. 3 Ohio St. vs. No. 2 Stanford - STANFORD
No. 4 California vs. No. 1 UConn - UCONN
No. 6 ASU vs. No. 2 Texas A&M - ARIZONA STATE
No. 7 Rutgers vs. No. 6 Purdue - RUTGERS
No. 4 Pitt vs. No. 1 Oklahoma- OKLAHOMA

OK....lets see how not smart I am!

Fleetwood Mac; The Early Years- 1967-72



FLEETWOOD MAC was formed in 1967, and has had several different incarnations during its history. The most famous eras of the group were that of PETER GREEN in the first years of the band, and of LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM and STEVIE NICKS, the current singer/songwriters/performers with the band.

In 1994 the BBC presented a documentary of the history of the group, based on PETE FRAME'S ROCK FAMILY TREES. Below are two segments telling the band's story from its inception in 1967 to the departure of DANNY KIRWAN in 1972.

























The story of the band's move to America, the lawsuit against their manager, the departure of Bob Welch, the Buckingham-Nicks Era and beyond coming up next.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rutgers' SWEETEST 16!



Daddgummit! They do'ed it! Who woulda thunk it?

A couple of days ago I said on this blog that the Rutgers women's basketball team would have to play a perfect game to beat a second seeded, 30-3 Auburn team in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

And they did just that.

In a season where there was no perfection and only alot of erratic play, Rutgers played their game of the year....and possibly of a couple of years...in destroying an overwhelmed Auburn team 80-52. And it wasn't even that close.

Khadijah Rushdan scored the opening bucket for RU a few seconds after the tip, then it was off to the races, and Rutgers never looked back. Then it was Epiphanny Prince with a two pointer, Heather Zurich with a jumper for two, and Brittany Ray hit a three to make it 9-0 Rutgers at the 17:33 mark of the first half, with Auburn Coach Nell Fortner calling a timeout to stop the bleeding.

Travesha Jackson made a layup for Auburn at 16:48 to finally get Auburn on the board, 9-2. And that seven point deficit was as close as Auburn got the rest of the night.

Rutgers center Kia Vaughn (15 points, 11 rebounds) made her first field goal at 14:25, Rutgers led 15-4. At 13:17 Zurich was fouled making a three pointer, then converted the free throw for a four point play, and it was Rutgers 19-4. Then another three by Ray, and then a two pointer by backup center Rashidat Junaid gave Rutgers a 24-6 advantage at the 10:16 of the first half.

At halftime, the score was 43-28 Rutgers. If this was a boxing match you could have stopped it right there. In the second half RU came out a little chilly, and Auburn was able to cut the lead to single digits, 45-34 after Whitney Boddie hit a layup for Auburn. then RU was able to stretch the lead back to 10 on a free throw by Rushdan, then came another three pointer by Ray at 14:17 to make it Rutgers, 49-36.

Then it was time for Rutgers All-American Prince to do her stuff, with strong support by Vaughn. Prince finished the game with 27 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and only one turnover.

When the smoke had cleared the final was 80-52 Rutgers beating Auburn, and moving on to the Sweet 16 for the fifth consecutive year.

The offense for Rutgers was tremendous, and defense stifling. Zurich and Ray were charged with defending Auburn's Boddie and their superstar DeWanna Bonner, who scored 10 and 17 points respectively, many of which came when the game was out of reach.

Going to the game last night I felt that Rutgers would need to score at least 70 points to win, and they needed to keep Auburn in the 60's to have any chance of winning. In my heart, I didn't think it was possible....but the fan in me said, they can find a way. Its March, they're Rutgers, this is what Rutgers does in March. But I really expected a close game...and honestly, I was prepared to see Auburn come out with a win.

I never, in my wildest dreams, could have foreseen this, for all intents and purposes, a first round TKO of a very good team from a great conference.

This win over Auburn redeemed a season of inexplicable losses, meltdowns, cold shooting, and defensive lapses....no one is going to remember the struggle to beat Prairie View A&M by two points in December. Or being blown out by Stanford in Palo Alto, 81-47 last November. Or needing double OT to beat a mediocre Georgetown team, and then days later losing to Pitt in OT, after having a lead in the game and in overtime only to watch it evaporate. And the loss on national TV to Maryland, 67-47 on February 15th, leaving the Knights at 14-10 with only five games left in the regular season.

And of course, the big one....leading Tennessee by 20 at the half, 33-13- on CBS on a Saturday afternoon this past January 3rd....and losing the game, 55-51, for the greatest comeback in the history of Lady Vols basketball.

But has fate would have it...Pat Summitt and Tennessee are "one and done" for the first time in their illustrious history. Pat had her team practice yesterday after being eliminated from the tournament. I wonder what they're doing today?

We know what Rutgers will be doing....preparing for Purdue in Oklahoma City this weekend.

This was the most amazing and unexpected treat for Rutgers fans...one game that redeemed what at one time appeared to be a lost season.

RUTGERS IS GOING TO THE SWEET SIXTEEN!!!

I ask again....who woulda thunk it?



More about the game from ESPN's GRAHAM HAYS here.

Televisionary: Keys to the Kingdom: Disintegration and Realignment on the Season Finale of "Big Love"


Televisionary: Keys to the Kingdom: Disintegration and Realignment on the Season Finale of "Big Love"

A fine review of the season's surprising finale.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Buckingham Nicks- FROZEN LOVE, CRYING IN THE NIGHT and CRYSTAL




Note; This entry is the first in a series chronicling the story of FLEETWOOD MAC. For an earlier blog entry telling a very condensed history of the band from 1967 to 1975, click here.

Buckingham Nicks was the title of a ten track LP released by the duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in 1973, produced by Keith Olsen and released on Polydor Records. This was the album Mick Fleetwood heard when he was looking for a studio for the next FLEETWOOD MAC record in Los Angeles, and remembered the impressive artists when he had to replace the departed Bob Welch in FLEETWOOD MAC. The album was popular with a small core of Buckingham Nicks fans, but was generally considered a commercial flop when released. It was re-released in 1976 after Lindsey and Stevie joined FLEETWOOD MAC and were fronting the band with its successful album simply called Fleetwood Mac.

Palo Alto born Lindsey Buckingham and Phoenix native Stevie Nicks were fronting a band called Fritz from 1968 to 1971. Below, from Rock Family Trees by Pete Frame (1980) is the text of an interview Frame conducted with Lindsey Buckingham, and Lindsey tells in his own words the story of FRITZ, BUCKINGHAM NICKS, and how Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac.

“I started playing guitar when I was seven....started by trying to play along with my brother’s records. He’s 34 now, and he has one of the greatest collections of rock n’ roll 45's that I’ve ever seen.....so he used to come home with these classic singles, Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran ...it was like having the story of rock n’roll unfurled in front of you. So those records obviously had a great influence on me.’

“Then I fell under the spell of folk music in the mid sixties, and I used to spend all of my spare time working out picking styles on my acoustic guitar....which altogether didn’t help me when I came to join my first rock band. I was a good folk picker, but I couldn’t master a raunchy rock style- so I played bass in that group, which was called Fritz .

The lineup was STEVIE NICKS-vocals; LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM-bass, vocals; XAVIER PACHECO-organ, vocals; BRIAN KANE-guitar; Bob Geary-drums.

While they didn’t billow out of the magic mushroom which enveloped the Bay Area at that time (1967) they “gigged around the Bay Area a great deal, had a real good time, and gained a lot of experience.”

“Our manager, David Forrest, tried to get us a record deal, but we just couldn’t relate to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles couldn’t relate to us, , as far as cutting albums went...so in the long run FRITZ went nowhere fast, and the group broke up in 1971".

“At that point Stevie (Stephanie) Nicks and I became romantically involved, and we decided to strike out on our own as a duo- calling ourselves Buckingham Nicks . We were set to move down to LA, but I was ill and laid up for 8 or 9 months- during which time Stevie and I sat around working on songs and ideas...and I got hold of an electric guitar to work up my lead playing”.

“Eventually we moved down to LA, and through a friend called Keith Olsen, we got a deal with a small label called ANTHEM, which was run by Ted Feigan and Lee LaSeiffe, who had previously been involved with WHITE WHALE RECORDS. They had a production deal with some major distributor (United Artists, I think), and the original idea was for us to go to London and cut an album at Trident Studios...and then Lee and Ted had a disagreement and split up- which meant the end of the ANTHEM label, which had put out only one album (by the Dillards, as I recall).”

“ So we sat around and wrote a few more songs until Lee got himself a deal with POLYDOR , and we cut an album, BUCKINGHAM NICKS , but the record stiffed out, and we were back to square one.”

“At that point, I turned my hand at session work- did some studio work, among other things, went on the road with Don Everly’s band. This was after the Evely Brothers had split up, and Don was doing a short club tour with a backup band that Warren Zevon had got together for him. That tour was a real thrill for me because I had always been a big Everlys fan- and I got to sing Phil’s part on SO SAD TO WATCH GOOD LOVE GO BAD. As well as that went, I stayed in Nashville for awhile and he introduced me to people like Roy Orbison, Ike Everly, and Merle Travis... he and I played guitars together, and that is something I will always remember.”

“Well, our musical activities weren’t bringing us abundant amounts of money so-rather than get involved in scenes I can’t relate to we took jobs- Stevie worked as a waitress in this place called CLEMENTINE’S in Beverly Hills, and I worked for an agency- getting on the phone and soliciting advertisements. It wasn’t the most spectacular of lifestyles, but that along the odd session, got us by, and we managed to eat for a couple of years following the failure of the album.”

“ During this time, despite the hardships, we had complete faith in what we were trying to do. We had managers who were trying to get us to do Top 40 stuff. They said they could get us all the gigs we could handle if only we’d be prepared to play that kind of music- but Stevie and I knew that if we did, we’d lose whatever musical direction we had, and we didn’t want to prostitute ourselves. So we resisted that, and as a result got no gigs....nobody wanted to hear Buckingham Nicks doing their own songs.”

“Well....almost nobody...because we had this very strange area of localized success....a little pocket of Buckingham Nicks- mania! Of the few gigs we had done two were in Birmingham, Alabama; the first was opening for MOUNTAIN, and the second was opening for POCO...and for some reason we really caught fire in that town. Some DJ’s picked up on the album, and it was a huge success there- so we went down a storm! If nowhere else in the world, Buckingham Nicks were stars in Birmingham, Alabama..”

“It so happened that our last gigs as Buckingham Nicks was at Birmingham just after we’d joined Fleetwood Mac. As a result of our two previous gigs we were booked as the headline act, and the lineup was ; Stevie Nicks-vocals; Lindsey Buckingham-guitar, vocals; Bob Geary-drums; Gary Hodges-drums; Tom Moncrieff-bass. So we topped the bill to an audience of 7,000- and Buckingham Nicks went out on a much higher note than anyone could have expected.”

“Meanwhile we had been asked to join Fleetwood Mac. Mick Fleetwood had bumped into a guy called Thomas Christian in a supermarket, somewhere I think- and they got to discussing recording studios- because Fleetwood Mac were looking for a new studio to record their next album. This guy suggested that Mick check out Sound City in Van Nuys.”

“So Mick went there, and the engineer Keith Olsen ( was asked) to demonstrate the qualities of the studio, (Olsen) played a tape of a from the Buckingham Nicks Album that was recorded there.”

“As it happened, Stevie and I were in the next studio working on some demos, and as I went out for coffee, I heard “Frozen Love” leaking out from somewhere. So I went to see what was happening, and there was Mick Fleetwood standing there, stamping his foot to the rhythm. “

“About a week later, Bob Welch announced he was leaving- so Mick phoned Keith and asked if he thought we’d be interested in becoming members of Fleetwood Mac. At the time we were having a New Year’s party at our house...wondering if 1975 would be a better year for us. And Keith walked in and said “Hey I’ve got some news...Fleetwood Mac want you to join them! You could have knocked me out with a feather!”


From Fleetwood- My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac Mick Fleetwood said that originally he was only looking for a guitarist to replace Bob Welch, but soon warmed to the idea of bringing in both Lindsey and Stevie.

The album Buckingham Nicks has never been released on CD, and is a collectors item on vinyl. Lindsey and Stevie are co-owners of the rights, and have debated for years on releasing it on compact disc. It has obtained a cult status among collectors.

Few (if any) film or taped clips of Buckingham Nicks exist, though there are some audio bootlegs available of their rare live performance, some of which may be found on YouTube. Below are some some slide shows backed with three tracks from the album; FROZEN LOVE, CRYING IN THE NIGHT, and the original version of CRYSTAL.





The fansite Buckingham Nicks is a homage to the classic album and the duo, with music clips and more available material....a must for Fleetwood Mac, Stevie, and Lindsey fans.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Rolling Stones- GIMMEE SHELTER (Featuring Lisa Fisher)



I usually try to incorporate a bit of history with each entry to this blog, but with the "World's Greatest Rock n' Roll Band", I won't even try. Their bio is too lengthy, their accomplishments too numerous, and The Rolling Stones official website does a much better job than I ever could.

Their history, told by the month, is chronicled in this archive, starting in January, 1962 when Brian Jones recorded a tape of an Elmore James song, which he sent to the "Father of British Blues", Alexis Korner, then on through the decades of the '60's, '70's, '80's, '90's, and on to the new century.

Charter members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and "new guy (of 30+years)" Ron Wood probably will, like they said of love in their first American hit in 1964, "Not Fade Away".

Below...my favorite Stones song, recorded live in Paris in 1998 and featuring longtime backing singer Lisa Fisher.....Gimmee Shelter.

Ashes to Ashes Update; Episode 3



In the third episode of Ashes to Ashes, Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) wages a one woman campaign to treat the alleged rape of a prostitute as a real crime, as it ties into the case of a seemingly unrelated murder/rape/mutilation being investigated by Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), assisted by Ray Carling (Dean Andrews) and Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster). There are the usual twists and turns in the plot, with Gene eventually coming over to Alex way of thinking. Along the way Alex gives an insulting Gene a nice right cross to Gene's jaw, she engages in a tipsy one night stand with a (in her words) " Thatcherite wanker", and attends a "fancy dress party" with Gene (as "The Man With No Name), Chris (as Superman/Clark Kent), and Ray (as a mustachioed James Bond).

Throw in some tunes by Roxy Music and by solo Bryan Ferry, and this episode had a feel to it like a British version of MIAMI VICE, had there ever been a British version of MIAMI VICE..

One more note....the sexual tension between Alex and Gene, always present in every scene, is something that hasn't been on the small screen since the early seasons of MOONLIGHTING with Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepperd.

I really love this series....because every Saturday night I get to have a (sort of) date with the delectable Keeley Hawes, in the guise of Alex Drake.

More next week.

Click here for the ASHES TO ASHES homepage.

RU "Piphs" VCU....But Woe Is That Bench



Its been a a year for Rutgers women's basketball that has had its share of lows, broken up by highs to lift the team out of a season long malaise. And yesterday's 57-51 first round NCAA victory over Virginia Commonwealth was a microcosm of the entire season.....bursts of excellent basketball followed by disappearing acts and blunders. Yes, this was a win, but yesterday's game took on alot of the characteristics of the historic meltdown RU had against Tennessee on January 3rd, a game in which Rutgers led 33-13 at the half, only to lose to the Lady Vols 55-51.

Yesterday RU played a sloppy game in the first half, but still led VCU by two points at the half, 25-23. Rutgers did open 8-1, but VCU got back into the game, led briefly, and the teams spent most of that first half exchanging the lead or being tied. In the second half, at the 11:20 mark RU led 40-33, and then went on a tear. Brittany Ray stole the ball, and dished to Epiphanny Prince who scored. Then Ray, cold until that point, hit a 2 and then a 3, and led by the steady Prince (26 points, 11 rebounds) and center Kia Vaughn (13 points, 6 boards in 25 minutes) RU went on a 15-4 run that gave them an 18 point lead with 6:18 to go, the game seemingly out of reach, 55-37.

Then RU Coach C. Vivian Stringer went to her bench, inserting the four freshmen from her highly touted recruiting class...and the roof didn't cave in, but it started to leak like crazy. There were silly fouls, allowing VCU to get to the line with the clock stopped, mindless turnovers, poor defense, and just a feeling of watching kids dropped into the deep end of the pool. Luckily starters Heather Zurich and Vaughn were reinserted before any further damage was done. VCU chipped away at RU down the last 6:13, outscoring RU 14-2. The final was 57-51...and never should have been that close.

I won't name names, or point fingers....but when March rolls around, the credo is freshmen are not freshmen anymore.. The mentality of "they aren't ready yet" doesn't cut it. Coach Stringer showed faith in these four freshmen to go in and contribute down the stretch...her reward for showing that faith almost cost Rutgers the game. There was some good play at times by certain individuals, but collectively they didn't get it done.

Using the criteria of Rutgers radio color commentator Mark Peterson, the job of bench players is to leave the team in better shape when they leave the game as compared to when they entered it....and the RU bench didn't do that.

Its time to grow up....right now.

The game's Box Score.

Up Next-The Auburn Tigers

Auburn Coach Nell Fortner has built a high scoring and talented juggernaut at Auburn (30-3) who smoked Lehigh in the first game in Piscataway yesterday, 85-49. At the 7:38 second half media break Auburn led 69-49....and Lehigh never scored again against what was the Auburn bench.

Led by SEC Player of the Year DeWanna Bonner (26 points), Trevesha Jackson (11 points),Keke Carrier ( 11 points), Chantel Hilliard (10 points), and Whitney Boddie (8 points, 9 assists) this is a good, deep, and VERY talented basketball team that could be still standing in early April. I've never seen a player of Bonner's height (6'4") with her skill set- she's guard, as thin as a reed....imagine Manut Bol playing shooting guard. And KeKe Carrier- she's simply the most massive woman (at 6'7") that I've ever seen. Watching her play against Lehigh was like watching an adult playing a CYO game against 12 year olds....she merely picked offensive rebounds out of the sky for the putback, while exhausted Lehigh defenders could only helplessly watch.

Rutgers can win this game. It's in Piscataway, on their home court. But they will have to be nearly perfect to do so.

And this has been less than a perfect season.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hats Off to PETE FRAME



This morning while thinking about a subject to write about on rock history I thought it was about time to acknowledge one of my sources, used again and again when researching the music and the artists and performers who have been at this for so many years. While writing up the EAGLES history of two days ago, or the story of FREE and the origins of BAD COMPANY yesterday, I kept going back to the same very reliable source.



Pete Frame has been writing about rock music since the late 1960's. Frame was born in Luton, UK in 1942. He worked for a couple of record companies in the 1970's, but since 1979 he has primarily been a chronicler of rock music, and one of its most valuable and accurate historians. He has written for such publications as Melody Maker and Rolling Stone, but what he is most noted for are his ROCK FAMILY TREES.

The first edition of Rock Family Trees was published in 1980. It covers everything and everyone in rock from Cliff Richard and the Shadows to Blondie, The Sex Pistols, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions. I have an original copy of the book, in soft cover....and it looks like a thirty year old softcover book. The binding is shot, the pages have long fallen out, it sits in a tattered pile to the left of me as I type...and I treasure it with my life. There is no book available that goes into such minute detail in telling the stories of rock bands and their members, which lineup recorded what, who replaced who and when, and how individual bands are related. The original version asks this question..."How are THE EAGLES and WHITESNAKE related"?

Give up?

The common link is TOMMY BOLAN, who replaced JOE WALSH in THE JAMES GANG, and who later replaced RITCHIE BLACKMORE in DEEP PURPLE, where he played with singer DAVID COVERDALE. Coverdale later went on to found WHITESNAKE.

In 1998 Frame published More Rock Family Trees...which I'm FINALLY going to treat myself to on my next birthday.

Frame has done family trees for boxed sets by Jeff Beck, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and Yes...and those are just the collections that I own, there have been many more that he has researched and contributed to.

For more information on Pete Frame check this Rogan House publication link.

Thank you Pete Frame....I couldn't write this blog without you!

Obama, AIG, Give 'Em Hell Harry....and "The Buck Stops Here"



Last night I found myself flipping back and forth from the NCAA Tournament and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno to catch most of President Barack Obama's appearance. I'm of the opinion that in our media driven culture sometimes the best platform people of influence can have are the ones that will gain the largest audience. I have no criticism of the President and his appearance on the show; many critics and members of the minority party do. Every 20 years or so we have a president who has that gift of communication. Probably the best in the last 60 years have been Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan....and now Barack Obama.

Some say that Obama should concentrate on the economy and not be appearing on....to quote a minority party spokesman on MSNBC....a comedy show and filling out NCAA brackets. My answer to this person, and all critics is this...calm and confidence needs to be restored in government and in our economic system. Before a fire can be extinguished it needs to be contained.

As we've seen in appearances by John McCain with David Letterman, and with Jim Cramer with Jon Stewart, sometimes the satirist does make the best interviewer. Jay Leno was respectful of the President, however he never threw Mr Obama any curveballs in his interview. One interesting segment was when Leno said that it seems that the goal of most lenders is to keep borrowers in debt with outrageous lending practices....and the President agreed. Mr. Obama went on to say the culture must change, on Wall Street and with ourselves.

Mr. Obama's interview mentioned how life has changed for him...being president, he said, is like "being on AMERICAN IDOL and everybody is Simon Cowell". Leno asked the President about the bowling alley in the White House. When Mr. Obama said he bowled a 129, and compared his bowling skills to those seen in The Special Olympics, White House spokespersons were called for damage control, saying that the President was in no way disparaging those people with physical and mental challenges.

That was the risk Mr. Obama ran by appearing on a program like THE TONIGHT SHOW....any little off the cuff quip would be magnified, and over analyzed, at a time when such trivia and nonsense would divert his message and program in a time of national crisis. Earlier today on The Pix Morning News from New York comedian D.L. Hughley remarked that the feigned outrage of Mr. Obama's critics was just more proof that the country has no sense of humor. And to a point, I agree with him.

Consider this...what if Harry S. Truman was the President in this age of 24 hour news, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. On second thought, maybe Truman WOULD NOT be president had such networks existed during his tenure. He was known to have an afternoon "libation" (ie, a nice shot or two of bourbon) each day. Truman once called out a critic of daughter Margaret's singing, threatening to punch him in the nose, and even giving him a good swift kick in the....well, you know where. He fired the popular General Douglas MacArthur and engaged the nation in a war in Korea that became a bloody stalemate. At a time of Jim Crow, Truman ordered the American military to be desegregated- even though behind closed doors, Truman routinely used the "n-word" when referring to African Americans.

Through it all, Truman told the American people that "the buck stops here". Sixty years later, Barack Obama has said the same thing. It is refreshing to have a chief executive who is willing to accept responsibility and admit mistakes.

He might have to admit mistakes were made very, very soon in the handling of the whole AIG mess.

American International Group, Inc had received $180 billion in taxpayer money since September to keep it from failing and causing a ripple effect that could have brought down the world's economy. The fact that AIG gave out retention bonuses amounting to $165 million was shocking, wrong, and never should have happened. But for the President and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to say they had no knowledge of these bonuses stretches my belief....and I'm one of the "true believers". Throw in Sen. Chris Dodd's (Senate Banking Committee chairman) insertion of a clause into last month's $787 billion stimulus bill allowing such retention bonuses for people at AIG who didn't do their jobs was a bad choice. How long did he think it would take before the American people would catch on?

Back to Harry Truman for a second...he had a faith in the intelligence of the American people. Truman often said it might take awhile for people to figure it out, but they always do. And once again, he was proven right.

The House's hearing on the AIG bonus scandal to reaffirm one issue with me.... that the main job our people in the House and the Senate have is to find ways to keep getting re-elected. Though I'm as outraged as the next guy about the AIG bonuses, what I saw earlier in the week was indeed the villagers with pitchforks forming a lynch mob. It seemed to be a contest for each questioner to be more outraged and angrier than the previous speaker. The only person who came off as reasonable was new chief of AIG Edward Liddy. That was a sad display from our lawmakers. But what was worse came yesterday.

The House voted 328-93 to tax at 90% on bonuses to employees with household incomes of $250,000 at companies who received at least $5 billion in bailout assistance. On the surface it looks like justice...but was it? Do we elect people to Congress to give them the power to enact punitive new laws on those who did nothing legally wrong, but who were ethically challenged?

I hate seeing AIG give out the bonuses to those who helped engineer the economic collapse....but is it Congress's job to act as judge, jury, and executioner regarding situations that they don't like, or find it politically beneficial to do so?

There's not a whole lot to say positively about a mess that just seems to get messier by the hour.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Televisionary: The Scales Fall From Their Eyes: Vindictiveness and the Truth on "Damages"


Televisionary: The Scales Fall From Their Eyes: Vindictiveness and the Truth on "Damages"


Glenn Close as Patty Hewes on FX's Damages. See the review.

Paul Kossoff; REMEMBERING THE GREATEST GUITARIST YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF



I was reminded after reading the entry in Dave White's very fine CLASSIC ROCK blog on About.com that on this date (March 19) in 1976 Paul Kossoff, former guitarist with Free, and at that time leading his own group, Back Street Crawler, died of drug induced heart failure. Kossoff was only 25 when he died.

Free had a brief but electrifying career, from April or May (conflicting sources) of 1968 to July, 1973, with a breakup of about six months from late 1971 to January of 1972.

The group consisted of (see photo, clockwise from left front);
Paul Kossoff- lead guitar; Paul Rodgers- lead vocals; Simon Kirke- drums; and Andy Fraser- bass.

They had fair success early on, but their greatest work came in 1970 with their album Fire and Water and its internationally huge single, the classic Alright Now. After disappointing sales of their followup album Highway- and with internal clashes and a worsening drug problem with Kossoff, Free broke up in May 1971.

Kossoff and Kirke joined singer/keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick and Japanese bassist Testsu Yamauchi to form Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu, and Rabbit. Andy Fraser's new group was called Toby, and Rodgers formed a band called Peace. Only "KKTR" recorded any material available to the public, and soon Toby and Peace broke up.

Free got back together in early 1972, recorded a new record Free At Last, and then saw Fraser leave for good in July 1972. Tetsu and Rabbit were brought in as replacements, and this lineup stayed for the duration. But all wasn't well. Kossoff's drug problem was killing the band, and at one point he couldn't be counted on for tours or recording. Rodgers was forced to stand in on lead guitar, and on one tour Osibisa's Wendell Richardson filled in on lead. One more album followed, Heartbreaker (1973) with another classic single, Wishing Well. But by July, 1973, Free was no more, broken up for good.

Tetsu went on to replace Ronnie Lane in The Faces, Rabbit was a noted side man who recorded alot and toured with The Who. Andy Fraser became a solo act, and Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers went on to form Bad Company with former Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and ex King Crimson bass player Boz Burrell.

Kossoff regained his health for awhile, and recorded two albums with Back Street Crawler, the second of which was released posthumously. He was a slasher and a progenitor of what would become known as HEAVY METAL. Bands like GREAT WHITE, DEF LEOPARD, BLACK CROWES, and PEARL JAM all covered songs recorded and composed by the members of Free, and their late, great guitarist, Paul Kossoff.

Here's a couple of vids. First Free performs Alright Now on TOP OF THE POPS, and following, before 600,000 at the ISLE of WIGHT FESTIVAL (1970) they do Mr. Big.



And My Picks For The Men's Final Four Are.....


For the record....and just to get this post in under the wire....here are my picks to make to Detroit on April 4th.

First, on the left side of the bracket, there are no big surprises. In the Midwest Region #1 overall seed Louisville will come out on top, beating #2 seed Michigan State in the regional semi-final.

In the West Region it will be #1 seed UCONN, over #2 Memphis in that semi.

Now, on the right side of the bracket, I think its going to be an all BIG EAST regional semi-final in the East Region, with #1 Pitt losing to #3 seed Villanova. I do expect that regional to be a classic, should it occur.

And on the bottom half, the South Region will have #1 seed North Carolina meeting #3 seed Syracuse (possibly the toughest bunch of kids I've ever seen on a basketball court- maybe new football Coach Doug Marrone can use them), and the Tarheels coming out on top.

Yes, I was tempted to go all Big East...but I think Syracuse has played so much basketball in the past week that they will hit a wall....

So the Final Four....Louisville, UCONN, Villanova, North Carolina....Louisville will beat UCONN in the first national semi-final, Carolina will beat Villanova in the second...and the in the NCAAA National Championship Game the North Carolina Tarheels will lose to the Louisville Cardinals.

Alright.....I'll be back with news and current events later, with a slap or two at AIG, Congress, and "The Usual Suspects".

Enjoy MARCH MADNESS!!!!
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