December 17 - 23, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 51

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 By Lee Zimmerman
Music Columnist

Listening with Lee Zimmerman

John Batdorf/James Lee Stanley:  All Wood and Stones
(Beachwood Recordings)
If ever there was an unlikely premise for a concept album, it has to be All Wood and Stones, an enticing new pairing from singer/songwriter James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf, half of the ‘70s duo Batdorf and Rodney. Relying on their acoustic guitars, some rough-hewn harmonies and an occasional guest star (Timothy B. Schmidt from the Eagles, ex-Monkee Peter Tork and Paul Barrere of Little Feat among them), they take the unusual tack of offering up unplugged takes on an album’s worth of Rolling Stones songs. Surprisingly, it’s a smooth segueway and one that works remarkably well. 
Of course, early on the Stones had an ample inventory of ballads that easily fit this format without a lot of tampering. Despite their rough and tumble image, they excelled at a softer side as well; “As Tears Go By,” originally written for Marianne Faithful, was one of the first rock songs to feature string accompaniment, while classics like “Ruby Tuesday” and “Back Street Girl” added a different dimension and a more textured approach to the band’s ‘60s dynamic. Not surprisingly, those songs are included here, giving license for Batdorf and Stanley to apply an Americana sound to the proceedings. What’s unusual is the way they transform such relentless rockers as the Stones’ signature songs—“Satisfactions,” “Under My Thumb,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together and “19th Nervous Breakdown,” among them—into equally emotive readings. It’s impressive how effectively the tunes make the transition from rowdy rockers to smooth serenades.
What may be most shocking is the fact that this approach hasn’t been attempted before. Even the album’s title seems a natural. An amiable combination, these are two elements that naturally go together quite well. 
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The Blonde and The Maven Rock, Roll and
Jingle All the Way to the Jingle Ball

by Robin Roth and Shara Rosayn,
from “The Blonde and The Maven”
Staff Writers

Every year at this time, the Miami-based radio station Y-100.7 FM, owned by Clear Channel Communications, holds a multi-artist concert, known as Jingle Ball. Tickets are usually sold out before the day of the show. This year was no exception, as tickets sold out a week before the concert.

On Sunday, December 12, 2004, at the Office Depot Center, the smashing Jingle Ball concert was a huge success! The line-up of recording artists included Alicia Keys, Switchfoot, Kevin Lyttle, Hilary Duff, John Mayer, Rupee, Maroon 5 (with a special acoustical performance), Ryan Cabrera, and The Black Eyed Peas. Artists performed around three to five songs each. The Y-100.7 station ALWAYS puts on a tremendously amazing show. If you were shut out this year, folks, we suggest you purchase your tickets EARLY next year!

The Blonde: First of all, I have to say that my kids won't talk to me anymore since they didn't get to go to this concert. These performers are all amongst their favorite musical stars. I have to admit, it was great fun and a terrific evening of music. To begin with, Ryan Cabrera, who sings the hit song “On the Way Down,” is such an adorable and talented performer, but what's up with the Don King hairstyle?

The Maven: Maybe he thinks it makes him look taller. I think he's a real cutie, too! What an exciting night! When Ryan waved at three girls standing up, they started crying and looked like they would faint right on the spot. It reminded me of the reaction The Beatles used to get!

The Blonde: No way! I know The Beatles, and Ryan Cabrera is no Beatle! But he was fun to watch. I have to say that I was very disappointed that Rupee never showed up. I was DYING to see her sing. She is sooo one of my favorite artists. I never enjoyed watching her perform more than I did at the White Party!

The Maven: What are you talking about? Rupee did show up and brought down the house! I think you might be referring to RuPaul, you BLONDE!

The Blonde: NEVER MIND!  Is he a she?

The Maven: No he is a he!  Remember when we went to concert and lit lighters as a tribute?

The Blonde: No, I'm younger than YOU!

The Maven: AH-HAH, sure you are! Moving right along…Now they light up cell phones.

The Blonde: I have to be honest, though, my favorite part of the evening was when Y-100, represented by Kenny and Footy, did The Christmas Wish giveaway. A teenage boy named Patrick won for his letter about his mother and little sister who wouldn't be able to afford Christmas this year without outside help. He was only concerned about his family and not himself.

The Maven: It was so sweet of him because he wrote that he wanted to bring a smile back to his mother’s face again. For winning, his mom received Christmas dinner prepared and delivered to their home and a day at the spa. The sister received a few grocery baskets filled with presents.

The Blonde: Yeah, but Patrick, as selfless as he was, made out the best. He received a flat-screen television, a stereo system, a Nintendo Game Cube, and a computer.

The Maven: If all of that wasn't mind-blowing enough for this family, they also won a Disney World vacation, all expenses paid.

The Blonde: Readers, Y-100 will continue the Christmas Wish giveaway everyday until Christmas. Talk about sharing the love at Christmas!

The Maven: When I looked out into the audience, I noticed many parents with their 11-year-olds. Would your parents have taken you to a concert like this?

The Blonde: No, but my parents didn't love me! I'm just kidding. Parents didn't do stuff like that with their kids when we were growing up! The circus was as close as we would get to a concert.

The Maven:  Your parents took you to the circus? All my parents ever took me to was the drive-in, and they made me hide in the trunk to sneak me in! Did you notice the jewelry Frankie J was wearing?

The Blonde: OF COURSE! I'm no fool. I also got the name of his jeweler!  The crowd pleaser of the night seemed to be The Black Eyed Peas! They energized everyone to dance in the aisles when they sang “Lets Get It Started.”

The Maven: I would like to bottle their energy and sell it.

The Blonde: Just open up your own can of peas! Did you notice how John Mayer, who sang the pop hit “Your Body is a Wonderland” was staring at me from the stage? I didn't think he could see my wonderland body from the stage with all those bright lights on him.

The Maven: He wasn't staring at you or your wonderland body! He was staring at your camera. He was just helping you get some good photographs of him.  

The Blonde: Oh please, you are so jealous! Speaking of jealous, I have to admit Hilary Duff, who sang “Coming Clean,” was adorable and exciting to watch perform. She has it all, doesn't she?

The Maven: She had some nice jewelry, too!

The Blonde: GREAT, she even has that!  Enough about HER! The star-studded evening ended with the long-awaited Alicia Keys! She was phenomenal! Her outfit was outrageous, she was stunning to look at and, MAN, she can sing up a storm. What a dynamic performance she gave! My only complaint is that she didn't sing her huge hit and my favorite song, “Crazy in Love.”

The Maven: That is because “Crazy in Love” is a hit by Beyoncé! I would like to say your mistake is because you are so tired, BUT I KNOW BETTER!  However, Alicia’s big hit is “Fallin’.” The most exciting part of the evening for me was when Alicia dropped her SHOW cane, and it was THE MAVEN who picked it up for her. Does that make me part of her act?

The Blonde: Yes, in YOUR DREAMS!  The most exciting part of the evening for me was watching the sold-out crowd having the best time of their young lives.
The Blonde and The Maven: Kudos to all the people at Y-100 who did a wonderful job getting such a great line-up of performers and making the evening a tremendous success. Their holiday spirit and generosity through the Christmas Wish giveaway brings joy and happiness each year to the community who supports them.
1. Alicia Keys
2. Hilary Duff
3. Black Eyed Peas
Photos by Robin Roth

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