I just got back from Canada, and while it’s nice and pleasant at all, the thing that always strikes me about it is that there’s no edge, no funk. I like it “fine,” which is pretty much the same as I feel for all-Canadian, funk-free band Rush.

Rush AllMusic page


Yes, kids, people used to write rap songs about shoes. And you know what? Those songs were awesome. Rap used to be a lot of fun.

Run-D.M.C. AllMusic page

Ruben Blades

I haven’t had a chance to add to my “quite the looker in his younger days” list in a while. Ruben Blades has solved that problem.

Ruben Blades AllMusic page


I used to hate the Roots, then I heard Game Theory, and now I love them. But … Jay Leno? Seriously?

Roots AllMusic page

Rolling Stones

I’m not sure what’s more impressive: The fact that these guys have been around and kicking for more than 50 years basically intact, or the fact that for the last 40 of those years they haven’t released anything worth listening to. (Note: Every time he sneezes, Mick Jagger makes $10 million. I’m sure he cares—a lot—about my opinion.)

Rolling Stones AllMusic page

Rod Stewart/Faces

On the list of musicians who actually have talent and completely threw it away, Rod Stewart probably ranks right at the top. “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”? Number one, no. Number two, even when my kid was five and had a speech impediment, he knew how to spell and pronounce “do.”

Rod Stewart AllMusic page

Faces AllMusic page

Rockpile/Brinsley Schwarz/Dave Edmunds/Nick Lowe

The complicated history of these players and groups deserves a blog of its own. But my mom likes Dave Edmunds, and  Nick Lowe released an album called Pinker and Prouder Than Previous, which sounds like a gay anthem, even though I’m pretty sure he’s not gay. So that must count for something.

Rockpile AllMusic page

Brinsley Schwarz AllMusic page

Dave Edmunds AllMusic page

Nick Lowe AllMusic page


How is “rockabilly” different from “early rock and roll”? Is rockabilly different from early rock and roll? No idea. But I like the song “Summertime Blues,” so I needed a way to get it onto a list somehow.

Rockabilly AllMusic page

Robyn Hitchcock

See Jonathan Richman. Swap in “Robyn Hitchcock.”

Bonus points for the lyric, “And balloon man/Blew up/In my hand.” What does that even mean?

Robyn Hitchcock AllMusic page

Robert Johnson

The devil may have gotten Johnson’s, but clearly the real winners from that deal are anyone who loves music that comes from the soul. Pretty much every artist and genre that gets a list on this blog (except the prog rockers and, you know, Madonna) can trace their lineage back to this one man and his guitar. To be honest, I think the devil got shafted.

Robert Johnson AllMusic