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June 8, 2012     Post-Gazette
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June 8, 2012

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Iage lb POST.d/;TT,'JtJNE 8, 2()1 F a ct- 0O0ax reviewing the best'!i ii'!i=iiiii the rest THE VERY BEST OF NEIL DIAMOND Columbia-Legacy Neff Diamond fans are anxiously anticipating his Boston TD Garden appear- ance on Saturday, June 23 rd. To ease the wait, Columbia/ Legacy has released the ultimate collection of Dia- mond's original studio recordings, together for the first time on one CO. The album features 23 of the most popular hits and signa- ture tracks from America's quintessential singer-song- writer, beginning with his Bang Records days in 1966 ("Cherry, Cherry"--"Solitary Man") and drawing from his complete studio discography. Tracks include favorites as. "Forever In Blue Jeans." "I Am ... I Said," "Sweet Caroline," "I'm A Believer," "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" with Barbra Streisand, "Red, Red Wine," "Sweet Caroline," "Holly Holy," "America" and many more. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored Diamond with a spot in Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2011. Digest the contents of this CO, then take a deep breath as we head towards the date of Neil Diamond's appearance in Boston. Watch this column for extensive coverage of Neil's Garden appearance June 23 rd. RONNIE DUNN - SPECIAL EDITION Cracker Barrel Country music superstar Ronnie Dunn's newest solo album hit stores with a bang and will donate a por- tion from sales to America's Wounded Warrior Project. Dunn, a two-time BMI Coun- try Songwriter of the Year, had a hand in 11 of the 14 tracks on this CO. The pre- viously unreleased, patriotic "I Love My Country" starts the festivities, followed by the rockin' "Singer in a Cowboy Band," slowing down the foot- work for "I Don't Dance" and "Your Kind of Love," back on the road with "How Far to Waco," the solitary "Once," hitting the halfway mark via "Cost of Livin'." Typical Dunn delights are usually about life and love, and that trend continues with his charted "Bleed Red," the pretty "Last Love rm Tryin'," the raucous "Let the Cowboy Rock," the insecurity of "I Can't Help Myself" and "I Just Get Lonely." Dunn winds down his works with the ballad "Love Owes Me One" and the previously unreleased "Keep On Lovin' You." TANK - THIS IS HOW I FEEL Atlantic / R&B artist Durrell Babbs, a/k/a Tank, delivers rhis Is How I Feel' -- his fifth studio album. The CD debuted at # 1 on Billboard's "Top R&B Al- bums Chart," his highest charting to date. Highlights have collaborations with Chris Brown on the opening cut, "Lonely," featuring T.I. and Kris Stephens on the emotional "Compliments," and Busta Rhymes on the hook-laden "Nowhere." The tender beat of "Your One" paves the way for "Don't Give Up," the soothing "Off Your Hands," the roller-coaster ride of the title cut "This Is How I Feel," filling his lungs with the single "Next Breath." Finishing touches have the skyward spiral "Better Than Me" and his finale "Lost It All." Tank will hit the road on the "Summer Music Festival Tour," July 13 th in Detroit, MI and continues through the summer, wrap- ping up on August 11  in Los Angeles, CA., alongside such R&B legends as Patti Labelle, The O'Jays, Babyface and Maze. Tank's tasty treat[ LJUBA DAVIS LADINO ENSEMBLE - EAST & WEST Singer Ljuba Davis turns her Ladino roots into pure poetry, as she transitions the musical traditions of her ancestors into fresh sounds. Part of the early West Coast Jewish music revival, Ljuba is a musical elder who savors the joys of song, celebration and wisdom. The two-disc CD features a vocal version and a matching instrumental version, each separately. The vocal track collection shines with the spirited, "Et Dodim," trailed by the emotions of "Scalerica," the rhythmic "Morenica," along with the gentle lullaby "Durme." The timeless music continues with the uplifting "Cuando," the moving "Adio Kerida," quickening the pace again, this time with the expressive "Adir Hu," ending with a lush version of the Yom Kippur prayer "Rachamana." The need to understand the lyrics of Ljuba as she sings is negated, as it is the sound of the music that will move you! KIP MOORE - UP ALL NIGHT MCA Nashville Georgia native Kip Moore is a country music singer/ songwriter who has already left his mark on the music charts with his fun, hit single "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" included in-'Up All Night.' Moore also leaves his stamp on the 11 songs on his debut album, each of which he had a hand in creating. Kip opens with the coming- of-age "Drive Me Crazy," the feel-good "Beer Money," the importance of having some- one to share the good times with "Everything But You," plus the special feeling of "Crazy One More Time," questioning his emotions with "Where Are You To- night." Kip's dreams of life with a partner come through on "Hey Pretty Girl," along with the semi-autobiographi- cal "Reckless." Moore's title track "Up All Night" is about refusing to give in to age and living life as you want, wind- ing down with the sad lyric/ happy melody song "Fly Again" and the finale is the spiritual effort titled "Faith When I Fall." When you lis- ten to Moore's lyrics, you hear the words of an honest, sincere and down-to-earth guy with a big heart! The time has come, the walrus said, TO TALK OF MANY THINGS of shoes and ships and sealing "wax of cabbages and kings by Sal Giarratani BRAVE BOXFORD BOVINES BREAK-IN FOR BEER BASH A band of rogue bovines led local police on a slow speed chase through the Town of Boxford before breaking into a backyard party which sent guests running for safety. When Lt. Jim Riter received the call for loose cows, it didn't take him long to find "evidence" of where they had been. He followed the trail and caught up with the herd in a backyard. The cows sent party guests running for cover. Riter who in his career has been chased himself by rogue goats and turkeys said, "On the humor factor it's kind of high up there." At least one cow appeared to like beer as he slurped it up off the table. Other cows report- edly may have started knocking over cups of beer off the table. What a story to tell. I was at a party drinking beer before a bunch of cows chased us off and drank up our beer we left behind. There's quite a story to tell your grandkids someday, huh? The caper ended quickly when the cows' owner showed up. Between him and the po- lice escort everything ended smoothly. No one was injured. The only damage, the cows chewed up some grass and drank someone else's beer. As Sgt. Joe Friday might have said, "These are the facts, ma'am." or sir as the case may be. ASSEMBLY SQUARE TO GET NEW ORANGE LINE STATION Constriction is ongoing on a new MBTA Orange Line station at Assembly Square. It will be the first new transit stop in 20 years and will be built between Sullivan and Wellington stations. Assembly Square is be- ing redeveloped as a so-called Smart Growth mixed-use near public transit development of more than 2 million square feet of retail and office space. AMC Theatres has signed on to build a movie theater complex and more than 2,000 residential units are also in the works. Mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville sees a bright economic future for the City of Seven Hills. Boston folks from Charlestown like the whole idea of Assembly Square too. It is a boom for the surrounding communi- ties like Medford and Everett too. SAM MALONE FINALLY BACK Eastie's Sam Malone, never to be confused with the other Sam Malone from Cheers, has finally returned home from his long winter wacation down in Florida. Everyone down at the Knights of Dunkin' Donuts on Ben- nington Street are once again happy to be together. Even Dickie is happy too. FIRST FEMALE HEADMASTER FOR ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOL English High School of Boston in Jamaica Plain has a new headmaster. Superinten- dent Carol Johnson has appointed Ligia Noriega-Murphy as the first female head- master of English High School in its 167 year history. English High School is America's old- est public high school. Noriega-Murphy will take over in September and is currently the assistant academic superintendent for high schools. MAKING MARYLOU'S A FEDERAL CASE Marylou's Coffee Shops on the South Shore have earned the ire of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission on its hiring prac- tices. Why do they hire young, attractive fe- males from the South Shore at their 29 store chain? The Hingham-based chain says they have never discriminated and hire based on the demographically limited pool of applicants from the mostly white South Shore region. Apparently, EEOC officials didn't like the Marylou cable commercials showing perky, pink t-shirt clad white girls selling their cof- fee to TV viewers. State Sen. Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth) blasted the EEOC as "a meddlesome, over- blown, intrusive federal agency." He plans to contact both U.S. Reps Bill Keating and Stephen Lynch over why the federal probe. "Why, because they haven't hired old over- weight men who want to wear a pink t-shirt and serve coffee?" Hedlund said. "The fed- eral government has better things to do with my tax dollars than to harass a legitimate business." I TRULY BELIEVE IN THIS STUFF Recently, a co-worker lost his mother. Af- ter the wake, funeral and burial, he and all of his family members went to their respec- tive homes mourning from her passing. She died a few days before Mother's Day which made it more difficult on her children and grandchildren as well as her husband and other family members. It was a difficult day for her four adult sons. Mother's Day without their mother for-the first time in their lives. A few days after that day, my friend said he was upstairs in bed and smelled steak being cooked on the stove downstairs the way his mother always cooked it. He went downstairs to the kitchen it was dark, empty and with- out any steak. He believes it was his mother letting him know she was okay. One of her grandson's around the same time saw a cloud formation above him in the bright sky that looked just like her. He took out his cell phone and took a photo of it. It had the like- ness of his grandmother all over it. Sounds strange but I think these things happen and happen for a good reason. It is a way I believe that those who go before us let us know that they are okay. My friend feels much better after smelling that steak and looking at the cloud image. I told him about my own experiences that envelop our senses. Things happened to me when my mother passed 20 years ago. If we truly believe that life goes on after we pass, why should anything surprise us? I believe these kinds of experiences tell us there is a heaven awaiting all of us. It is real not make believe. MEANWHILE, OVER AT WEZ 1030 I graduated from Boston State College and during part of that time; Dan Rea from WBZ Radio was also a student there. He gradu- ated a year before me. Over the years since those long ago campus days, Dan Rea did quite well as a news reporter for WBZ-TV and now is the host of "Nightside" weekday eve- nings at 8:00 pm. He has one of the best night time radio talk shows and actually makes radio fans of his think about all sides of an issue. He reminds me of both Avi Nelson and Dave Brudnoy. Not bad company to be lumped together with, huh? FRONT PAGE PHOTO IN BOSTON HERALD On Wednesday morning May 23, it was hard to miss right there on the front page of the Boston Herald. I took a double take at it, a full-colored photo of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Inside on Page 5, there was a commentary by Margery Eagan and both a good size photo of my friend Lorenzo 'Don' Grasso and his statement on what has been transpiring since October 2004 at Mt. Carmel. Remember, every Sun- day at I0:00 am (weather permitting) Sun- day Service across the street from the church by the Padre Pio statue. BETH CHILDS THE RIGHT CANDIDATE IN 4 TM CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT A recent front-page News Briefs item (May 25) has brought comments in my direction. People have an awful time trying to figure me out. I must be a "complicated man" like John Shaft. I keep telling readers who in- quire that I remain a registered Democrat because most think I am a Republican. Then last week's column, I backed Beth Childs over Sean Bielat in the GOP primary in that con- gressional district. People want to know how can a conservative not back Bielat against Jo-Jo-Jo Kennedy. I am no knee-jerk con- servative. Beth Childs is a good conserva- tive-leaning, common sense Republican and not simply some kind of ideologue-driven mouthpiece. By the way, that's not what I am calling Sean Bielat. However, I actually have known Childs since about 1988 and for a time she was the Commissioner for the State Department of Mental Health. I saw her do a very difficult job first-hand really well. She always knew her sense of duty. Like Donna Summer always sang, "She works hard for her money." I think Republican and independent vot- ers should hear from both GOP candidates before voting in September. Word to the wise from this columnist; ff I lived inside this Con- gressional district, I would be backing Beth Childs. You decide for yourself but you owe it to yourself to hear what she has to say too. Then decide.