Hilton Valentine, Founding Member Of The Animals, Dies At 77

Photo Credit: Germaine Valentine

January is not yet over, but the entertainment world is mourning the loss of yet another of its own today.

Hilton Valentine, a founding member of the famed rock band The Animals, has died. According to a press release distributed Friday night, Valentine died Friday. His death was revealed by his wife, Germaine Valentine, according to the document.

Valentine was part of the original lineup of The Animals, which also featured among its members, Chas Chandler, Alan Price, Eric Burdon, and John Steel. He was a member of the band when it released hits, such as ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ ‘Baby Let Me Take You Home,’ ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,’ ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place,’ ‘It’s My Life,’ and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down.’

As a member of The Animals, Valentine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. The band was honored with a spot on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame in May 2001.

Burdon spoke warmly of Valentine during a recent interview with Guitar International.

“It really was Hilton who made the early Animals a rock band because I don’t think the element of rock was in the band until we found him,” he said. “In those days, Hilton wasn’t just playing rock ‘n’ roll, he looked rock ‘n’ roll. Here was a guy with the greased mop of hair combed back, cheap leather jacket, winkle picker shoes, black jeans and a smile on his face playing through an echoplex, which was a secret weapon back then.”

Valentine would reunite with his band mates in The Animals over the years. He also released a solo album, All in Your Head, in 1969 for Capitol Records. The reunions with his band mates resulted in the release of at least one album, Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, in 1977.

The news release distributed adds that in recent years, Valentine had formed his own band, Skiffledog, and toured with the band in the U.S. and U.K. The band released two albums, It’s Folk ‘n’ Skiffle, Mate! and Skiffledog on Coburg ST. Additionally lent a helping hand to other bands, such as The Woggles, and The Headless Horsemen.

Valentine released a holiday album titled Merry Skifflemas! in 2011. Big Boy Pete assisted with that recording.

The noted press release quotes ABKCO, which had its own role in Valentine’s life and career, as mourning his passing in a prepared statement.

“We at Abkco have been privileged to serve as stewards of The Animals catalog and his passing is felt in a truly profound way by the entire Abkco family,” the statement reads.

Hilton Valentine was 77 years old.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Time Life To Release Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concerts Collection Next Month

Courtesy: Time Life

Time Life Entertainment announced today that it will release a special new collection of live performances from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame next month.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in ConcertEncore is scheduled to be released September 21 on Blu-ray and DVD.  The collection features 44 performances and presentations from Hall of Fame ceremonies between 2010 and 2013.  The performances come from the likes of Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Heart, Dr. John, Public Enemy, Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie and many others.

Along with the performances, induction speeches from Don Henley — as he inducts Randy Newman — Neil Young inducting Tom Waits and many others are also included in the recording’s overall presentation.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in ConcertEncore runs a total of 481 minutes (just over 8 hours). It will be presented separately on a four-disc DVD set and two-disc Blu-ray platform.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $34.99 and the Blu-ray for $39.99.  It is part of a much bigger 25-disc set that can be ordered online direct via Time Life’s official store.

More information on this and other titles from Time Life is available online now at:


Website: http://timelife.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.


The Yardbirds Announce Makeup Dates, Welcome New Member

Courtesy:  Kayos Productions

Courtesy: Kayos Productions

The Yardbirds will fly again this fall!

Yardbirds founding member and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jim McCarty announced today that the band will hit the road this fall and make up a string of North American dates that had to be postponed earlier this year. Along with those make-up dates, the band—with McCarty , bassist Kenny Aaronson (Bob Dylan, Billy Idol, Brian Setzer, Mick Taylor), guitarist/singer John Idan, and Myke Scavone (Ram & The Doughboys) on blues harp, vocals, and percussion—will also play additional dates later this fall. Those dates have not yet been confirmed. Though, they will confirmed at a later date. It has also been announced that fellow founding member Chris Dreja will be unable to make the upcoming dates but will be with the band in mind and spirit. Longtime David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick will join the band on its upcoming tour as well.

The band’s currently confirmed tour dates are listed below.

Tour Dates:


30                                           Infinity Hall                      Norfolk CT

31                                           Musicfest Café                  Bethlehem PA



01                                           Newton Theatre                  Newton NJ

02                                           BB King’s                             NYC

06                                           Harrah’s Casino                 Phoenix AZ

07                                           Harrah’s Casino                 Lake Tahoe NV

10                                           Harrah’s Casino                 Loughlin NV


The Yardbirds’ fans can keep up with all of the latest updates to the band’s tour schedule and get all of the latest news from the band online at:


Website: http://www.theyardbirds.com


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ACL Celebrates 40 Years Is A Wonderful Celebration Of A Show And Of Music Itself

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS and its hit concert series Austin City Limits celebrated two major landmarks for the series this fall. This past October Austin City Limits celebrated forty years on the air. That landmark makes the concert series the longest-running concert series on television to date. Making the anniversary even more special is the fact that this October, the show’s original studio was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tenth Rock and Roll landmark. Both of these marks are big honors for ACL and for PBS. In honor of these honors, PBS released on DVD today the brand new concert recording Austin City Limits 40 Years. There is a lot to like about this concert recording starting with the show’s all-star lineup. Featured in the concert is a who’s who of the music industry. It features legendary names such as: Willie Nelson, Buddy guy, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foo Fighters, and even the original members of Double Trouble among so many others. There are even performances from up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes. It’s a display in its own way of how many generations this series has reached over the course of its four decades on the air. Making the set even better is the concert’s set list. Emmylou Harris covers Willie Nelson’s hit ‘Crazy.’ There’s also an all-star tribute to Sam & Dave with a performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ And just as enjoyable is the multi-song, all-star tribute to blues legend and Austin native, the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. These are just some of the examples of what makes the show’s set list so important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least noteworthy regarding the recording’s success is its bonus material. Included as bonus material, is forty-five minutes of bonus performances. There is also a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the work that went in to making Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a reality. It’s all set against a great performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood.’ These bonuses, partnered with the show’s all-star list of performers and its equally wonderful set list, serve to help make Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years one of this year’s surprise best new live recordings of 2014. It also serves to show yet again why PBS is the last bastion of worthwhile programming on television today.

Austin City Limits has been on television for forty years this year. That is a huge landmark for PBS’ concert series. It has outlived MTV’s Unplugged Series. It has also outlived VH1’s Storytellers and CMT’s Crossroads. In the four decades since it made its debut, ACL has gone from focusing on just one or two genres of music to being one of the preeminent destinations for some of the music industry’s biggest names. Elvis Costello has been on the show. Kings of Leon appeared just last year. And even none other than Nine Inch Nails appeared this year. It just goes to show how much this show has grown since its earliest days as has its importance in the music industry. That is shown just as much in the list of performers tapped to appear on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. The list of performers tapped to appear on this recording is a who’s who of the music industry from past, present, and even the future. It includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Guy Clarke, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Emmylou Harris, and up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes and so many others. With such a wide swatch of performers, that list becomes for all intents and purposes a music history lesson live on stage. It shows not only where ACL has been and where it is going but where music itself started and to where it has come today. And every act tapped to perform is an excellent example of both histories. It’s just one of plenty of reasons that audiences will enjoy this DVD.

The list of performers tapped to perform on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this brand new release from PBS. That list is itself a music history lesson and a lesson on the history of ACL. The performers themselves serve as plenty of reason for any music lover to check out this DVD. The songs that they perform make the recording just as enjoyable if not more so. Audiences will love Willie Nelson’s performance of the classic song ‘On The Road Again,’ and Emmylou Harris’ cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ If that’s not enough, there is a star-studded, multi-song tribute to Austin, Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan. That tribute features performances from Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and almost every member of the a-list cast of performers. There is also a special tribute to Sam & Dave in the performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ That song is handled by Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the star-studded tribute to SRV is complemented with an equally gran tribute to Buddy Holly. These are just some of the performances included in the concert that audiences will enjoy in watching this recording. There are plenty of other great performances along the way that audiences will enjoy just as much. Collectively, all of those performances make for yet another wonderful reason for every music lover to see this concert.

If the who’s who list of performers tapped for this concert and their performances aren’t enough for audiences, the bonus material included on the DVD will convince audiences. PBS has included forty-five minutes of performance footage as bonus material on this DVD. That forty-five minutes includes a performance of ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ from Willie Nelson and ‘Freight Train’ from Gary Clark, Jr. and Sheryl Crow among the bonus performances. Robert Earl Keen handles ‘I Gotta Go’ and Joe Ely covers ‘All Just To Get To You’ as part of the bonus performances, too. Partnered with that is a special behind-the-scenes look at the concert set against a performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood’ by Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph, and others. It’s a double whammy for audiences. Not only does it give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the concert from pre-pro to show but it also offers audiences a bonus performance. Audiences are given another bonus performance by Bonnie Raitt and company in their rehearsal for their performance of ‘Wrap it Up.’ It’s a nice finisher to a concert recording has already more than proven itself one of this year’s best. Together with the aforementioned list of performers and set list, it pushes this recording over the top, once again proving why ACL has run so successfully for forty years and why its original studio is now part of music history thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shows once more why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

So much can be said of what makes Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a success and a total enjoyment. And so much has been said, obviously. It goes without saying that the show’s production values are just as impressive as everything else already noted here. Whether one is taking in the concert on a regular TV or one with a high-priced surround sound home theater system, every viewer will agree that all of the other positives noted here would be nothing without those top notch production values. The concert looks and sounds just as good as other performances recorded over the years. It is that proverbial cherry on top of the musical sundae that is this recording. It is that last part that makes this recording well worth the listen by music lovers of every age.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search. More information on this and other recordings from Austin City Limits over the years is available online at:

Website: http://acltv.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/austincitylimitstv

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Frehley’s Fans And Classic Rock Fans Will All Find Something To Like About Space Invader

Courtesy: eOne Music

Courtesy: eOne Music

Legendary rock band KISS has been in the news quite a bit in 2014.  The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame amid a fire of controversy.  And bassist/founding member Gene Simmons has found himself in the headlines time and again seemingly thinking himself everything from an economist to a professional therapist to an expert on the music industry in whole.  And now not long after the release of his latest solo album Space Invader original guitarist Ace Frehley is back in the news, having made some less than complimentary remarks regarding his former band mate Paul Stanley.  His comments regarding Stanley aside, Frehley’s own latest full length studio effort proves to be worth at least a listen by itself.  The album is one that any old school rock and roll fan will enjoy even with just one listen thanks to its mix of bombastic guitar licks and equally classic lyrical topics.  That mix of bombastic, over the top music and classic style lyrics is evident right off the top in the album’s opener and title track.  Even more enjoyable is the solid rocker that is ‘I Wanna Hold You.’  And Frehley’s completely….spacey cover of The Steve Miller Band’s hit ‘The Joker’ is one that absolutely must be heard to be full understood.’  The more up-tempo, rocked out cover of the classic tune gives it a wholly new identity.  It’s not one of those covers that will hit audiences with the first listen.  Rather, it will grow on audiences that are open-minded enough to give it chance.  Those that do give it a chance will agree that in some bizarre way, it actually works as odd as it sounds.  That being the case, it’s one more song from this latest release that will leave audiences agreeing once more that Space Invader is one record that any classic rock fan should hear at least once before the year winds down.

Ace Frehley’s latest full length studio effort is one that fans of both the original KISS lineup and of classic rock in general should hear at least once before this year wraps.  Frehley makes his case for this argument right off the top in the album’s opener/title track.  Its full-on, over-the-top music alone is proof enough of why it is worth checking out.  The manner in which the song was produced gives it a feel that instantly conjures thoughts of it being performed in a live setting.  And on its lyrical side, it is just as interesting.  Frehley writes in this song, “You know the planet/Has been in trouble/For a thousand years/We’ve all been blind/There’s no time to waste/Give up the struggle/We must embrace our host/Give it up for/Space Invader.”  He goes on to write of the said figure, “He comes from distant galaxies/Space invader/He stands before you/To set you free/No rhyme or reason/No piece of mindThe Earth’s survival/Will coincide/The day draws near/Of his arrival/We must accept our fate.”  So is “Space Invader” supposed to be a certain religious figure?  Frehley does write of “Space Invader” that “he comes to save us…behold his majesty.”  Regardless of what Frehley may or may not be saying here, there’s no doubt that this song is sure to generate its own share of discussion if only for its rather interesting lyrical content.  That discussion, along with its musical side, makes for a song that is understandably the right choice to open this album.

‘Space Invader’ is quite the opener for Frehley’s new album.  The mix of its full on classic rock sound and  thought provoking lyrics make it a solid first impression from Frehley on this his latest release.  One more piece that audiences will enjoy is the straight forward rocker that is ‘I Wanna Hold You.’  This song is an even better representation of what makes Space Invader work than its opener/title track.  Lyrically, one would expect it to be just another ballad style piece.  He writes in this song, “I can’t escape/Emotions tell the tale/It’s give and take/Love isn’t always fair/People will stop and stare/What we’ve got/We don’t have to share/No damage done/There’s more to come/And I’ve been dreamin’ so long/I wanna hold you/I really must confess/Because I told you so/You’re not like the rest , oh no.”  It sounds like a page right from some cheesy 80s big hair ballad.  But the song’s musical side tells a very different story.  It’s a rather up-tempo 4/4 piece anchored by Frehley’s guitar work and that of drummer Matt Starr.  Frehley shows even at his age, that old dogs can in fact be taught new tricks.  And Starr’s timekeeping is just as impeccable.  The song’s musical elements couple with its simple and fun lyrics to make one more of the highest of points on this album.  It isn’t the last of the album’s high points, either.  If this song, and the album’s opener aren’t enough for audiences, then Frehley’s full-on re-imagining of The Steve Miller Band’s hit song ‘The Joker’ will definitely make audiences sit up and take notice.  Anyone that is familiar with ‘The Joker’ knows how laid back this song proves to be.  That laid back nature is what makes it such a fan favorite to this day.  Frehley’s take on the song gives it not only new life but a wholly new identity.  It really is most easily understood when heard for itself.  The best way to explain it is that Frehley has taken it and turned it from something laid back to something akin to an arena anthem, if that makes any sense to anyone out there.  It has big guitar licks, big drums, the works.  It most definitely isn’t what one thinks of when one thinks of ‘The Joker.’  But it will grow on listeners that are open-minded enough to give it a chance.  Those that do give the song a chance will hear it for the interesting work that it most definitely proves to be. And along with the likes of the album’s opener/title track and the up-tempo anti-ballad that is ‘I Wanna Hold You,’ it’s one more song that proves the overall value of this record to Frehley’s fans and fans of classic rock in general.

The songs noted here each play their own part in the overall sustainability of Space Invader.  They may not be the favorite of one listener or another.  There are plenty of other songs not noted here that each listener will find to be his or her favorite.  Those songs along with the ones noted here prove collectively that Space Invader is definitely a modern classic rock record worth at least one listen.  Ace Frehley will be on tour next month in support of his new album, beginning November 13th in New Brunswick, New Jersey.   His upcoming tour schedule also includes a performance on November 17th at the Carolina Theatre.  Before any of those dates, Frehley will be taking part in the annual “Chiller Theatre” later this month, October 24th – 26th.  Audiences can get more information on these dates and all of the latest news from Ace Frehley online at


Website: http://www.acefrehley.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialacefrehley


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Roy Orbison To Receive New Award

Photo Credit: Janet Macoska

Photo from “The Last Concert” Credit: Janet Macoska

Legendary musician Roy Orbison is gone but definitely not forgotten.  The legendary musician will posthumously receive an award from the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.  Orbison will be awarded the Iconic Riff Award.  The award, which is being awarded for the first time, is being awarded to Orbison for his hit 1964 song, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman.’  The song would go on to become a number one single after its original release.

Heads of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum said the reason that Orbison was chosen as the first recipient of the award because of the riff that opens ‘Oh, Pretty Woman.’  The song itself has been covered by countless artists. It rose to its biggest fame thanks to rock band Van Halen’s cover of the song.  It was also the inspiration for the hit 1990 rom-com, Pretty Woman, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.  The song itself can even be heard in the movie’s soundtrack.

Along with its numerous covers and use in movies, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ the song is also included a new live concert recording from Legacy Recordings titled Black & White Night.  The DVD recording was released this week.  It was recorded in September of 1987 and includes the likes of: Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Brown, JD Souther, and Tom Waits joining the star for his hit song.

Roy Orbison is one of the music industry’s most well-known and respected names.  He started his career in 1956.  He was signed to the famed Sun Records at the time.  The label also boasted the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash on its roster.  It wouldn’t be until he signed a deal and recorded for Monument Records in the early to mid-1960s that his career truly took off.  The release of ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ marked the peak of his career at the time.  The song, which Orbison co-wrote with Bill Dees, would go on to sell seven million copies and spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  It also peaked at number one on the British charts for three weeks.  This was an unprecedented feat for any American recording artist at the time.  That is because The Beatles were dominating both countries’ charts at the time.

A new collection of Orbison’s hits titled The Monument Boxset will be released November 26th.  The collection is a vinyl only package that includes three of the most well-known and beloved albums that Orbison recorded during his time with Monument Records.  Those records are: Lonely and Blue, Crying, and In Dreams, which was also just recently re-issued on CD.  The new box set also includes a fourth album that had not existed until now.  The album will be centered on ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ and will be comprised of five tracks.  The album’s songs were chosen by Orbison’s own sons, Alex, Roy Kelton, and Wesley Orbison.  Orbison’s suns have maintained their father’s legacy, running Roy’s Boys LLC, which is responsible for managing their father’s likeness, image, and musical releases.

Roy’s Boys LLC and Legacy Recordings are set to release one more live Roy Orbison concert before the year ends.  The Last Concert25th Anniversary Edition chronicles what would be Orbison’s final concert before his death in 1988.  The concert was recorded on December 4th, 1988.  That was only two days before he would suffer a fatal heart attack.  The fact that he would pass away only two days later is only part of what makes the upcoming concert so important.  Orbison commonly closed his shows with a performance of ‘Running Scared.’  But recording engineers ran out of tape that night before Orbison performed the song.  The result of that shortage is that ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ would end up being the final number from his final ever concert.  More information on all upcoming Roy Orbison releases is available online at http://www.royorbison.com and http://www.facebook.com/royorbison.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.