By Jerry Shriver, USA TODAY - http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news ... 9_ST_N.htm
NEW YORK — Separately, the Dukes of September have sold tens of millions of albums, explored every major strain of popular music and commanded attention over four decades.
United, they are promising to deliver a unique concert bonanza for Boomers and connoisseurs of R&B and soul.
Tonight in Danbury, Conn., Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald play the first of 22 Rhythm Revue dates during which they'll try to justify the regal, doo-wopish title they've bestowed upon themselves. It shouldn't be hard, as they offer up nuggets from their own careers, alongside tunes from jukebox heaven and the Americana attic. Tour stops include Boston (Aug. 31), Chicago (Sept. 11), Los Angeles (Sept. 29) and a finale in Las Vegas (Oct. 2).
VIDEO: Five questions for the Dukes of September http://www.usatoday.com/video/index.htm ... 9159555001
"We don't want this music to be forgotten," says Fagen, 62, during a break in rehearsals with the Dukes' nine-piece backing band, which features members from Steely Dan's touring group.
The trio is a natural fit: Guitarist/singer Scaggs' career embraces stints with the Steve Miller Blues Band, disco-inflected R&B hits and recent forays into jazz. Singer/pianist Fagen made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with jazz-popsters Steely Dan. And McDonald's voice and keyboards have been showcased with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers and in a solo career.
The three last hooked up in 1993 as part of the New York Rock and Soul Revue, which featured a cast that included Phoebe Snow, Charles Brown and members of The Rascals. This time, the focus is on the three of them and they'll all play on all of the songs, switching off lead vocals.
"This is so much fun that there's the danger that the music will be like what they say about sex: We may be the only ones enjoying it," says McDonald, 58.
"One phone call is all it took to get me out with these guys," says Scaggs, 66. "Our audiences like each other ... and rhythm and blues from the late '60s and '70s is what I cut my teeth on."
In addition to a shared love of the music, the reunion was prompted by fortuitous timing. McDonald and Scaggs had been touring together, and when Steely Dan decided to take the summer off, that freed up Fagen.
A shared past will also result in each of the principals singing a song by The Band, a segment that's the result of Fagen's connection to former Band drummer Levon Helm. Fagen's wife, Libby Titus, used to be Helm's partner (they have a daughter, Amy), and Fagen sometimes sits in with the band for the Midnight Ramble shows that Helm stages at his barn in Woodstock, N.Y.
"I have a great time playing with Levon," Fagen says. "When (The Band's debut album) Music From Big Pink came out in '68, it had everything you could want — country, jazz, gospel — in this concept of Americana that was really original with them."
A MUSICAL ERA IN RETROSPECT:
Like this summer's highly successful Carole King and James Taylor tour, the 22-date Dukes of September outing that launches tonight will largely mine the music of the '60s and '70s, the era that directly influenced Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald and Donald Fagen.
The old favorites
Hits from each of their own careers will dot a set list that delves into an R&B-dominant treasure-trove, including:
I've Got News for You (Ray Charles, 1961)
You Never Can Tell (Chuck Berry, 1964)
Help Me Rhonda (Beach Boys, 1965)
Don't Mess Up a Good Thing (Fontella Bass, 1965)
Sookie Sookie (Don Covay, 1966)
The Shape I'm In (The Band, 1970)
Them Changes (Buddy Miles/Band of Gypsys, 1970)
Rock Steady (Aretha Franklin, 1971)
Love Train (The O'Jays, 1973)
Love T.K.O. (Teddy Pendergrass, 1980)
The new classics?
Though the singers all acknowledge their debt to that period, they differ on whether it represents the last great hurrah for American pop music:
Scaggs: "Music is everywhere today, it's moving very quickly, and it's very segmented, so it's going to be very hard for classics to emerge, songs that wear into people's soul. There will be classic songs to come out of the past few decades, but they won't have the resonance of the songs of the '60s and '70s."
Fagen: "There is nothing close to it now. Black popular music at that time all came out of the church -- gospel was the root. Although some black singers (today) may start singing in a church, it's a different church. The music sounds more like pop than gospel. ... If there is any more powerful music than soul music and straight gospel music, I don't know of it."
McDonald: "No, the '70s wasn't the last great era. What's happening right now will, in hindsight, become much more important to people. I didn't appreciate the '70s then as much as I do now. And the '80s -- I wasn't a big fan until now."
Just got word that Michael will be performing live on the season finale of American Idol tonight. Please check your local listings or visit the American Idol website for details.
Cape Cod Times
By KATHI SCRIZZI DRISCOLLJune 21, 2009
HYANNIS – It was ‘70s night at the Cape Cod Melody Tent on Saturday, as two longtime friends whose voices were a big part of that decade’s soundtrack kicked off a summer long joint tour.
Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald evenly split the bill, each playing a 75-minute set heavy with their hits, but with nods toward the genres they’ve recently favored. The crossover artists are both described as “blue-eyed soul singers”, but McDonald veered into Motown when he went beyond his Doobie Brothers standards, while Scaggs favored a New Orleans flavor.
Both were in strong voice, despite McDonald’s jokes about reaching AARP status. The musicians – McDonald behind his keyboard, Scaggs on guitars – were each backed by six-member bands that included outstanding female vocalists. Scaggs offered bluesy numbers and a more laid-back mood, while McDonald’s segment was more hard-driving.
McDonald started the night, with his mane of white hair grown out since his role in the “He Needs a Kidney” parody in the “30 Rock” season finale. He relied heavily on Doobie Brothers standards, starting with “Real Love” and “It Keeps You Runnin’” and moving through “What a Fool Believes.” Highlights of his 14-song set, though, were his yearning “You Don’t Know Me,” and a rousing Motown medley.
Scaggs brought the crowd to its feet with “Lido Shuffle” after slower-tempo, sometimes torchy versions of hits like “Georgia,” “Lowdown,” “Slow Dancer” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me.” Vocalist Ms. Monet stopped the show with “Until You Come Back to Me” and Scaggs seemed happy to yield her the floor.
Scaggs and McDonald will be at Bank of America Pavilion in Boston on Thursday.
ALL-STAR CELEBRATION OF MUSIC
OH HAPPY DAY OUT MARCH 31
ALBUM FEATURES PERFORMANCES BY 3 DOORS DOWN, AL GREEN,
PATTY GRIFFIN, HEATHER HEADLEY, JON BON JOVI, JONNY LANG,
QUEEN LATIFAH, JOSS STONE WITH BUICK AUDRA AND MANY MORE
EMI Music/Vector Recordings is set to release the highly anticipated recording Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration on March 31. The album features performances by 3 Doors Down, Al Green, Patty Griffin, Heather Headley, Jon Bon Jovi, Jonny Lang, Queen Latifah, Joss Stone with Buick Audra and many more (see reverse for full track listing). For the project, these world-renowned musicians collaborated with Gospel artists and several of today’s top Gospel Choirs to record renditions of some of the most loved and recognizable inspirational songs. It’s been said you don’t just hear gospel music you feel it. It’s woven through the fabric of the American spirit and history and its influence can be felt and heard around the world today and in the background of many of today’s most talented artists and musicians.
The album’s concept resulted from a close partnership between EMI Gospel and Vector Recordings and was produced by Ken Levitan, Bill Hearn, Jack Rovner, Ken Pennell, Drew & Shannon, Johnny K, Sanchez Harley, Obie O’Brien, Keith Thomas, Tommy Sims, Cedric Thompson, Simon Climie, Michael McDonald, Joss Stone and Buick Audra. Of the project, Bill Hearn, CEO of EMI Christian Music Group comments, “We wanted to create an album that honored the legacy of gospel music—it’s the backbone of the American spirit—but also create unique artist pairings that fans could find no where else.” Vector’s Ken Levitan adds, “Gospel music has always been not only spiritually and musically uplifting but also a great American art form. With this project we’ve taken artists who have been successful in other genres and combined them with this great art form to create new powerful music.”
While recording the record at Ocean Way Studio in Nashville, Jonny Lang notes, “(Gospel music) is really all I’ve been listening to for the last few years...it’s my favorite form of music…at least for now...” Lang goes on to say, “it’s such an honor to record with the legendary Fisk Jubilee Singers, their very first take on the song just blew me away. They’re such pros…quite an honor...” Additionally, Heather Headley comments, “It’s not everyday that you get the opportunity to revisit a classic song like “People Get Ready,” record it with a great producer like Keith Thomas, and sing alongside a legend such as Rev. Al Green. It really was a pleasure, and I had a great time doing it.”
1. Jonny Lang & the Fisk Jubilee Singers “I Believe”
2. 3 Doors Down & the Soul Children of Chicago “Presence of the Lord”
3. Robert Randolph & The Clark Sisters “Higher Ground”
4. Jon Bon Jovi & the Washington Youth Choir “Keep the Faith”
5. Al Green & Heather Headley “People Get Ready”
6. Mavis Staples & Patty Griffin “Waiting for My Child To Come Home”
7. Michael McDonald & the West Angeles COGIC Mass Choir “Storm Before The Calm”
8. Angelique Kidjo “Redemption Song”
9. Aaron Neville & the Mt. Zion Mass Choir “A Change is Gonna Come”
10. Queen Latifah & Jubilation “Oh Happy Day”
11. Joss Stone & Buick Audra “This Little Light Of Mine”