Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Jan. 7, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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England's legendary Yardbirds is putting the finishing touches on its first new studio recording since "Little Games" in 1968. The new Yardbirds album, "Birdland," will be released April 22 on Favored Nations Recordings.

In addition to founding members Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar and backing vocals) and Jim McCarty (drums and backing vocals), the new Yardbirds are Gypie Mayo (lead guitar and backing vocals, formerly of Dr. Feelgood), John Idan (bass and lead vocals) and Alan Glen (harmonica and backing vocals, from Nine Below Zero and Little Axe).

Former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck guests on "My Blind Life." Other special guests include guitarists Brian May (Queen), Steve Vai, Slash, Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter.

Producer Ken Allardyce (Weezer, Fleetwood Mac, Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls), actually saw the Yardbirds open for the Beatles at Hammersmith Odeon in 1964 and has been a fan ever since. The album contains newly recorded versions of eight of the Yardbirds' best known hits -- "I'm Not Talking," "The Nazz Are Blue," "For Your Love," "Train Kept A Rolling," "Shapes of Things," "Over, Under, Sideways, Down," "Mr. You're A Better Man Than I" and "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" -- plus seven new songs.

"To make our first album in so many years has been a lasting ambition of ours," Dreja said. "We wanted to do our original songs and our new ones with modern production while preserving the essence of our sound. It was a labor of love, and we're grateful to everyone who helped -- our guest musicians and especially to Steve Vai. To me, it doesn't sound like we've been away for 35 years. The Yardbirds are still a kick-ass, high-energy band -- and that comes across on this album."


New Orleans-based OffBeat magazine has published a list of acts that will appear at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. On opening Thursday, April 24, Dash and New Orleans Klezmer Allstars will appear. Saturday, April 26 it is: Otis Taylor, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Cha's, Motorway, Terrence Simien, Andi Hoffmann and B-Goes, Theresa Andersson, Marva Wright, The Dudes, Cassandra Wilson and New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra. On Sunday, April 27 the list includes the Iguanas and Cowboy Mouth.

The Thursday, May 1, schedule has Papa Grows Funk, Tab Benoit, Los Lobos, Sonny Landreth and Woodenhead. On Friday, May 2, it is Marcia Ball, Los Lobos, C.J. Chenier and Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band. Saturday, May 3, includes The Holmes Brothers, The Vipers, Sean Ardoin and Zydecool, The Neville Brothers and Glenys Rogers. On Sunday May 4 it will be Dwayne Dopsie and The Zydeco Hellraisers, Ben Eyler, Wayne Toups, Kim Carson and Joe Krown Organ Combo.


Arista Records president of black music, Jermaine Dupri, denies rumors gal-pal Janet Jackson has been the "other woman" in Justin Timberlake's life. Jackson is rumored to be the rebound girl in Timberlake's ongoing soap opera with Britney Spears. Dupri defends Jackson's virtue in an interview with Honey magazine, insisting she has been faithful to him.

"I love being around her," Dupri tells Honey. "When I'm with her, I don't think about anybody else. She's a very beautiful person."


Long Island's Scoldees are set to release a second album, "Nightcap World," on the Off Hour Rockers label Feb. 4. The album is the followup to the band's 2000 debut, "My Pathetic Life." The album takes listeners from the internal struggle and emotional captivity of "Cocoon" and "Just Like Rita" to the hope and compassion of "Better Day" and "Come To Me." A moving version of the Joni Mitchell classic, "A Case Of You," highlights the warm, expressive quality of Nancy Sirianni's voice.

"Nightcap World" was produced by the same team that made "My Pathetic Life," producer John Michel (Lee Nestor, Little Blue) and engineer Brian Harding (Billy Joel, Ray Charles). Guest artists on the album include guitarist Jeff Pevar (CPR, Carly Simon) on all tracks, as well as Mario Cruz (Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker) and returning

player Richie Cannata (Billy Joel, Beach Boys) for a tenor sax duet on "Just Like Rita."


A benefit will be held at B.B. King's in New York City Jan. 22 to raise money for Hubert Sumlin's medical expenses. Sumlin underwent surgery in November to remove his lung; doctors believe the 71-year-old guitarist is now cancer-free. Sumlin, who backed Howlin' Wolf, will be the guest of honor at the show, which is being billed as "Howlin' for Hubert."

Scheduled performers include David Johansen, Levon Helm, Shemekia Copeland, David Maxwell, Jimmy Vivino, Michael Hill's Blues Mob, Marc Ribot, and Jon Paris. Sumlin is also expected to perform, and organizers say "special surprise guests" could join the celebration as well.

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