Archive for current listening

current listening 01/08/11

+ Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band: Safe as Milk (1967) – From an audience standpoint, this is where the long, very strange trip of Don Van Vliet began. Located between dark Delta blues and pure pop psychedelia – along with cameos by Taj Mahal, Milt Holland and a very young Ry Cooder – Safe as Milk remains the most accessible and perhaps most joyous misadventure in the entire Beefheart catalog. RIP, Captain.

+ Dexter Gordon: Live at Carnegie Hall (1998) – A string of late ‘70s recordings for Columbia remain underappreciated chapters in tenor sax great Gordon’s suave jazz resurgence. Live at Carnegie Hall is a beautiful coda to those records. Though released in 1998, it presents a Carnegie Hall concert recorded two decades earlier with fellow tenor warrior Johnny Griffin as special guest. A gorgeous blast of regal bop beauty.

+ Jorma Kaukonen: Jorma (1979) – With Hot Tuna sitting in a pile of neo-metal wreckage and a brief, punkish sojourn with Vital Parts knocking at the door, guitarist Kaukonen cut this unaccompanied work that harkens back to his more wistful songs with Jefferson Airplane as well as some of Hot Tuna’s leaner blues beginnings. But it’s the album’s sparse, mysterious sound that ignites one of Kaukonen’s most neglected works.

+ The Band: Northern Lights Southern Cross (1975) – It pales next to The Band’s early classics, but Northern Lights still emits an ultra wintry glow. Levon Helm sounds positively righteous on Ring Your Bell, Richard Manuel sings like a boozy angel on Hobo Jungle, Rick Danko reaches a vocal zenith with It Makes No Difference and Robbie Robertson pens a masterful tale of displacement with Acadian Driftwood.

+ Graham Parker: Alone in America (1989) – This solo live set stands as a snapshot in time with a repertoire made up mostly of  pub-soul gems Parker first cut with The Rumour. But we’re slipped a mickey half way through with The 3 Martini Lunch, an album exclusive that chronicles a Hollywood novice-turned-burnout “wasting another afternoon punching a hole in my life.” Seldom has getting plastered sounded so sobering.

Marie Osmond set to keep on dancing.(TV – RADIO)

Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) November 8, 2007 Byline: Associated Press NEW YORK – Marie Osmond may have lost a loved one, but she’s not ready to lose her place on “Dancing With the Stars.” The 48-year-old singer, who missed Tuesday’s results show after the death of father George Osmond, will continue to compete on the top-rated dance competition, ABC publicist Aime Wolfe said Wednesday. web site marie osmond wedding

Osmond will also appear with family members – including brother Donny – on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show Friday, said Don Halcombe, a publicist at Harpo, Winfrey’s production company.

She skipped Tuesday’s live broadcast of “Dancing” to be in Utah with her family.

George Osmond, patriarch to the Osmond family’s singing group, The Osmond Brothers, died Tuesday at age 90. Family spokesman Kevin Sasaki said Osmond died at his home in Provo, Utah. Because he had not been ill, he likely died from natural causes incident to his age, Sasaki said.

Jane Seymour, who missed an elimination show last month after the death of her mother, was voted off the competition. “I’ve had a ball,” the 56-year-old actress said. see here marie osmond wedding


PHOTO CARL KAELSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS MARIE OSMOND, shown with “Dancing with the Stars” partner Jonathan Roberts, will return to the showafter mourning her father’s death.

current listening: 11/27/10

Can’t really explain why, but Thanksgiving week guided me back to these sublime solo piano works…

+ Liz Story: Night Sky Essays (2005) – Like Story’s fine Windham Hill recordings, Night Sky Essays – 12 pieces, each composed for a specific zodiacal sign – is a direct, emotive and at times atmospheric blend of folk and jazz stategies. The album emerged with almost zero fanfare five years ago. Sadly, Story has all but disappeared since then.

+ Yngve Goddal and Roger T. Matte: Genesis for Two Grand Pianos, Vols. 1 & 2 – (2010) – Yngve who? Roger what? Don’t worry, the pianists underscore their anonymity by purposely omitting their names from the cover credits so as to fully promote a fascinating concept – interpretations of Genesis’ most prog-ish music performed on only two pianos.

+ Matthew Shipp: Creation Out of Nothing (2010) – A double-disc outing pulled from a February 2009 concert in Moscow by one of today’s most inventive piano improvisers. Musically, Shipp possesses the playfulness of Thelonious Monk with the daring of Cecil Taylor. But when Shipp’s own piano voice is asserted, as on Patmos, Creation shines.

+ Chuck Leavell: Forever Blue (2001) – The longtime Rolling Stones pianist offers a solo piano set that reflects his rich Southern background. Echoes of blues, ragtime, boogie woogie, jazz and more surface. But Forever Blue is at its best when it regally mixes such melodic sounds, as on Leavell’s decades-old Sea Level tune, A Lotta Colada.

+ Keith Jarrett: The Carnegie Hall Concert (2006) – Not the best solo piano concert album cut by Jarrett (although it’s close), but certainly the best recorded. Carnegie Hall provides every storm-gathering soundscape, every fanciful turn and every vocal grunt with the clarity only a great record label (ECM) and ever greater concert hall can provide.

current listening 10/23/10

+ David Bowie: Station to Station (1976/2010) – Arguably David Bowie’s greatest work, Station to Station is a slab of dark post-disco cool that still rocks like mad. It lives again this fall as a three CD box set that teams the original album with an unreleased double-disc live set cut in New York two weeks after Station‘s release. A serious look and listen to one of Bowie’s most dangerously creative but critically underappreciated periods.

+ Dave Alvin: The Best of the Hightone Years (2008) – Despite the generic title, this 18-track, 77 minute disc is boldly comprehensive is its assemblage of sleek Americana cool,  righteously traditional folk and West-of-the-Rockies rock ‘n’ roll. A few unreleased treats (Dixie Highway Blues, Why Did She Stay So Long) and alternative takes fortify this vital primer album by one of America’s most skilled, soulful and literate songsmiths.

+ Caravan: In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971/2001) – An unmistakably autumnal sounding slab of vintage British prog rock. The highlight remains the eight-part, 22 minute suite Nine Feet Underground, a wondrous mix of post psychedelic pop and meaty jams by singer/guitarist Pye Hastings and keyboardist David Sinclair. A relaxed instrumental version of Winter Wine highlights the unreleased goodies added in 2001.

+ Miles Davis: Live at the Hollywood Bowl (2010) – A clean, but still bootleg-ish account of a September 1981 concert that solidified Davis’ stage return after an extended hiatus. An album-opening guitar slash by Mike Stern, which jolts Back Street Betty to life, establishes the jagged, primitive flow of these performances. One of several new low-priced import live albums documenting Davis’ final concert years.

+ Mark Knopfler: The Ragpicker’s Dream (2002) – My favorite post-Dire Straits Knopfler record. Its sound is light, sleek and pristine. But never is the music antiseptic. You Don’t Know You’re Born, for instance, positively shines from the polish. But the twang of its airtight groove is still impossibly cool. Ditto for the horns that pepper the hot rod machismo of Coyote and the Yuletide ghosts at play on the title tune. A quiet classic.

current listening 05/08/10

+ The Holmes Brothers: Feed My Soul (2010) – Another expert blend of vintage R&B, sleek contemporary blues and subtle gospel drive from the Virginia-bred Holmes trio. Gospel remains the driving force, although when the group takes on The Beatles’ I’ll Be Back, pop desolation becomes soul jubilation. Kentucky’s own Joan Osborne produced Feed My Soul, but the album’s resolute feel, underscored by the gospel reflection Take Me Away, is an act of pure, brotherly love.

+ On Fillmore: Extended Vacation (2009) – The latest and most accessible outing by the duo of Glenn Kotche and Darin Gray boasts a cover photo of a tropical sunset that appears to be taking place underwater. The music’s lovingly ambient chill factor reflects the view. Percussionist (and University of Kentucky alum) Kotche sets the pace with abundant, cool chatter while acoustic bassist Gray sets the otherworldly sounds within a woody, organic frame.

+ Don Cherry: Complete Communion (1965) – Cherry’s first official album as a leader after rattling the world of jazz harmony with Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking late ‘50s quartet, Communion is often viewed as an avant-garde milestone. But listening to this 2000 Blue Note reissue finds the album’s two extended suites to be quite approachable,  especially when the cornetist mixes things up with bassist Henry Grimes. To today’s ears, Communion sounds full of open, boppish intrigue.

+ Tony Levin: Waters of Eden (2000) – A May 18 date in Newport by his band Stick Men prompted a renewed listen to this decade-old instrumental gem of an album. As a studio musician with miles of credits and long running alliances with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, Levin has long been a forceful player. Here, his composing skills surge with elements of chamber and world music along with good old prog rock. Ten years on, Eden is still a wondrous listen.

+ Graham Parker: The Mona Lisa’s Sister (1988) – The first in a series of great but forgotten albums by the great British post-punk songsmith. Parker’s songs always balance a level of venom with a surprisingly sunny sense of pop-soul tradition. Thus the twitch that ignites the single Get Started (Start a Fire) is all finger-popping cool while the celebrity postscript offered on Success is countered by doo-wop harmonies that seem to stretch to infinity.

current listening 04/24/10

+ R.E.M.: Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) – When its extraordinary third album was released, R.E.M. was a band of wonder – and not just because you couldn’t understand a blessed word Michael Stipe was singing. With veteran British folk-rock champion Joe Boyd producing, the Georgia rockers created a neo-psychedelic dreamscape album full of murky hooks and melodies where you can practically hear the rain, fog and shadows.

+ Jeff Beck: Blow By Blow (1975) – Released 35 years ago this spring, Blow by Blow remains Jeff Beck’s masterpiece – an instrumental album cut at the heart of the fusion era with George Martin as producer. From the elegant blues of Steve Wonder’s Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers to Martin’s majestic orchestration on Diamond Dust to Beck’s own ferocity on Scatterbrain, this career-defining triumph still sounds like a million bucks.

+ Various artists: California Concert (1972) – Out-of-print CD edition of a 1971 live album featuring jazz artists signed to the then-booming CTI label, including George Benson, Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine. The music makes nods to fusion without being overtly poppish. Asking price for a new copy on $177. Found a clean-as-a-whistle used copy at CD Central last week for 7 bucks. Mercy.

+ Grace Potter and the Nocturnals: Live in Skowhegan (2010) – Borrowing from vintage girl group pop and muscular, organic ‘70s rock, Vermont songstress Potter has rightly earned high marks as a live act – hence, this seven-song concert EP from a June 2008 show at a Maine opera house. Available as a limited edition release for Record Store Day, Skowhegan nicely fills the gap until Potter’s next studio album hits stores in June.

+ Various artists: Broadcasts Vol. 17, KGSR Radio Austin (2009) – Every year at holiday time, a friend in Austin, Tx. sends a copy of the newest Broadcasts disc. With proceeds benefiting mental health and addiction services for the central Texas music community, Broadcasts is limited to single pressings of fine acoustic radio performances. Then they’re gone for good. Vol.17 boasts Steve Earle, Alejandro Escovedo, Gillian Welch and a lot more.

current listening 03/20/10

+ The Finn Brothers: Everyone is Here (2004) – As if Crowded House and Split Enz, along with a healthy string of solo albums, weren’t enough to convince the world of the pop intellects of Tim and Neil Finn, we had this delight. The mood is mistier and the sound more wintry, partly due to the fact that the album eulogizes the Finns’ mom. But as the record winds its way through Gentle Hum, the pop sentiments quietly soar.

+ Genesis: Genesis Live (1973) – The veteran prog-popsters made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday but left performance duties to Phish. Admittedly, the latter did a fine job with Watcher of the Skies. But its version just made me long for this ancient concert album where Watcher, with Peter Gabriel at his wildest, sounded majestic and primitive. The Dickensian melodrama Get ‘Em Out By Friday was way cool, too.

+ The Climax Chicago Blues Band: The Climax Chicago Blues Band (1968) – Well, there were elements of Chicago blues in workmanlike covers of Don’t Start Me Talkin’ and Mean Old World. But the twist in the debut by this very British roots and boogie brigade was that it brought a loose, psychedelic groove to the blues. Witness the eight minute finale And Lonely, which matches youthful British rock zeal with Otis Rush-style soul.

+ The Rascals: Peaceful World (1971) – A forgotton sleeper, Peaceful World was the next  to last album Felix Cavaliere and Dino Danelli cut as The Rascals with the gospel soul turns of their Atlantic albums yielding to contemplative passages accented by jazz and tropical grooves. The title tune, a mostly instrumental 21 minute work, was as enticing as anything The Rascals ever recorded. It also destroyed the band’s commercial fanbase.

+ Mahavishnu Orchestra: Apocalypse (1974) – No sooner did guitarist John McLaughlin split the original, ear-bleeding Mahavishnu band than he returned with a second, larger ensemble. But Apocalypse stacked the deck. It enlisted violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, famed producer George Martin, the entire London Symphony Orchestra and a young Michael Tilson Thomas as conductor. It remains a work of pastoral, spring-like grace and heavy fusion cunning.

current listening 03/13/10

+ King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (1969/2009) – The beginnings of the mighty Crim were celebrated last year with three separate editions of its debut album, a groundbreaking mix of prog rock invention, heavy psychedelia and free jazz exploration. A two-disc version features a vivid remix by Porcupine Tree’s Steve Wilson along with numerous extras, including a lovely acoustic guitar/woodwind duet of I Talk to the Wind.

+ The Misled Children/Odean Pope: The Misled Children Meet Odean Pope (2008) – A cross generational summit that brings a West Coast hip hop outfit featuring the enigmatic Clutchy Hopkins to the veteran Philadelphia saxophonist Odean Pope, now in his 70s. The results favor Pope in lean groove settings that recall the organic meshes of jazz, soul and funk spearheaded by Blue Note Records in the early 1970s. Very, very cool.

+ David Bowie: Heathen (2002) – The three studio records Bowie released over the past decade barely dented the charts, but all are gems – especially this spooky/spiritual session where his ghostly croon meets the guitar loops of David Torn. The way the ethereal Sunday surrenders to a trip hop beat is a thrill, as is the evolution of the title tune from an outer space noir soundscape into a deliriously static party piece. A masterful sleeper.

+ John Jorgenson Quintet: One Stolen Night  (2010) – Having played country music in the Desert Rose Band and arena rock with Elton John, guitarist Jorgenson offers his latest gypsy jazz outing. Fashioned after the ‘30s records of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, Jorgenson makes the sunny string sound his own with discreet Eastern European accents and a curious bit of Greek flavored bluegrass titled Kentucky Kastrinos.

+ Michael Hoenig: Departure from the Northern Wasteland (1978) – Definitely one for the “Whatever Happened To…” files, Hoenig is a German composer from the modulated “Berlin School” of electronic music. He briefly played in Tangerine Dream, which seems the prototype for this spacious sounding album of synthesizer music. Dated? Absolutely. But the emotive, cinematic flair of these works makes for a majestic chill out soundtrack.

Eagle Ford Shale in the US – Oil and Gas Shale Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2020.

Energy Weekly News November 12, 2010 Increased Drilling Activities and Encouraging Well Results Allow Eagle Ford to Emerge as a Major Potential Oil and Gas Producing Region in the US The encouraging results from the wells drilled in Eagle Ford shale have significantly increased the drilling activities in the shale play. As per Texas Rail Road Commission (RRC), as on April 16, 2010, there were 231 permitted wells and 123 drilled wells in the play. The activity in the play is expected to continue to increase over the next few years. Major companies in the play together plan to drill approximately 230 wells in Eagle Ford shale in 2010. here eagle ford shale

The Shale play is expected to emerge as a major oil and gas producing field in the US over the next decade. EOG Resources, one of largest players in the Eagle Ford shale play has estimated that the Eagle Ford, as an oil discovery, will rank sixth in size among the all time giant oil fields in the US – just after the Bakken Shale. The overall production of Eagle Ford shale is expected to reach approximately 2,827.4 million cubic feet equivalent (Mmcfe) per day by 2020.

Oil and Condensate Production from the Eagle Ford Shale Makes It A Lucrative Investment Destination The Eagle Ford Shale, in contrast to other major shale plays in the US like Barnett, Haynesville and Marcellus, which primarily produce natural gas and condensate, produces oil in addition to natural gas and condensate. The oil and condensate percentage in some regions have been quite high giving the companies a huge premium. in our site eagle ford shale

The Eagle Ford shale is expected to attract huge investments over the next decade with rapid increase in activities in the play. The major eight companies in the play plan to spend over $1billion in 2010.

current listening 03/06/10

+ Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune (2010) – New Hendrix? Sort of. Due out on Tuesday, Valleys of Neptune offers unreleased documents of an especially restless guitarist at work during the final days of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. A chaotic instrumental version of Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love signals Hendrix’s push to a more percussive sound. But the post-Experience take on Elmore James’ Bleeding Heart proudly upholds the blues.

+ Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010) – The last of the Rick Rubin-produced American Recordings has Cash making peace with the world. The funereal title tune, cut with the Avett Brothers, may brood a bit. But this is still the warmest, most affirming entry in the American series. From the resolute reading of Satisfied Mind to the island farewell of Aloha Oe, Ain’t No Grave brings Cash’s mighty last chorus home.

+ Mose Allison: The Way of the World (2010) – Due out March 23, The Way of the World places an 82 year Allison back in the studio with Joe Henry producing. Sounding hip and human as ever, Allison stays the course here with slices of spry jazz piano cool. Henry brings the guests, including drummer Jay Bellerose and guitarist Greg Leisz. But Allison’s ageless whimsy on My Brain, Modest Proposal and Ask Me Nice bring on the big fun.

+ Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound in 1970s Nigeria (2010) – This new sampler album shows just how deeply Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat sound permeated the music emanating out of Nigeria in the early ‘70s. Kuti and his Africa ‘70 band lead the 11 act roster. But all of the performers follow a unified course with extended, mantra like grooves that balance percussion and brass for a funk sound of a truly different color.

+ Jason and the Scorchers: Halcyon Times (2010) – On the first new Scorchers album in 14 years, Jason Ringenberg and Warner Hodges reteam to redefine cowpunk, from the high octane misfit anthem Moonshine Guy to the free-for-all charge of Gettin’ Nowhere Fast. But Mother of Greed bears a comparatively worldly cast as Ringenberg sings of a civilization “losing history to a modern reality.” Clear headed cowpunk with its eyes wide open. Due out Tuesday.

Store defends Hitler cake snub Market won’t put 3-year-old Adolf’s name on icing.(News)

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) December 18, 2008 Byline: Associated Press A supermarket is defending itself for refusing to a write out 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell’s name on his birthday cake.

Deborah Campbell, 25, of nearby Hunterdon County, N.J., said she phoned in her order last week to the Greenwich ShopRite. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son’s name spelled out, she was told to talk to a supervisor, who denied the request.

Karen Meleta, a ShopRite spokeswoman, said the store denied similar requests from the Campbells the last two years, including a request for a swastika. see here easton express times

“We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate,” Meleta said. “We considered this inappropriate.” The Campbells ultimately got their cake decorated at a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania, Deborah Campbell said Tuesday.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Anna Taylor told The Easton Express- Times that the store won’t put anything illegal or profane on a cake but thinks it’s important to respect the views of customers and employees.

“Our No. 1 priority in decorating cakes is to serve the customer to the best of our ability,” Taylor said from Bentonville, Ark.

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because “no one else in the world would have that name.” The Campbells’ two other children are named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, who turns 2 in a few months, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, who will be 1 in April. here easton express times

Campbell said he was raised not to avoid people of other races but not to mix with them socially or romantically. But he said he would try to raise his children differently.

“Say he grows up and hangs out with black people. That’s fine, I don’t really care,” he said. “That’s his choice.” He said about 12 people attended the birthday party on Sunday, including several children of mixed race.

INFOBOX Children’s names The names of the Campbell children:

* Adolf Hitler Campbell * JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell * Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell CAPTION(S):

Photo Heath and Deborah Campbell pose with son Adolf Hitler Campbell, 3, in Easton, Pa., on Tuesday. They attempted to buy a birthday cake, but the store would not spell out the boy’s name. RICH SCHULTZ / ASSOCIATED PRESS

current listening 02/27/10

+ Pretenders: Live in London (2010) – “This is one for all the gentlemen in the house, if there are any,” says the magnificently ageless Chrissie Hynde on this jaw-dropping-ly great CD/DVD package. Here, her present day Pretenders (still with Martin Chambers in the drum chair but now fortified with pedal steel demon Eric Heywood) rip through two dozen rockers new (Boots of Chinese Plastic) and vintage (Precious). What a blast.

+ Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline (1969/2003) – Quite possibly the most accessible album Dylan ever made. And on the 2003 remastered edition, its country ambience sounds even more spacious. That’s especially true on one of my all time favorite Dylan tracks, Tell Me It Isn’t True, where pedal steel and organ seem to echo for miles. Of course, having an in-his-prime Johnny Cash helping out on Girl from the North Country is pretty cool, too.

+ Aretha Franklin: Live at Fillmore West (1971/2006) – Her hysterical new TV commercial for Snickers (“everytime you get hungry, you turn into a diva”) prompted a friend to ask what my favorite Aretha album was. This is it, hands down. On a 2006 double-disc edition, there is, as they say, more to love. Shoot, Aretha is so cool with her King Curtis-led band that she even makes Bread’s Make It With You sound soulful. And that’s impossible.

+ Focus: Live at the BBC (2004/1976) – For an archival album like this to even exist, one has to believe the BBC has retained recordings of every live performance it blasted across the airwaves during the ‘70s. But this is a real find – Dutch rockers Focus playing in 1976 with the Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine in the place of the great Jan Akkerman. The result is a jazzier take on Focus’s prog sound. A beautifully dated, neo-fusion getaway.

+ Joe Martin: Not By Chance (2009) – I did something I almost never do with this record. I bought it based on a review written by someone else. But the rave from The New York Times proved worthy. Bassist Martin is an in-demand jazz cat in New York and Not By Chance is a warm, unassuming post-bop session that employs two of his former employers – pianist Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Chris Potter – as bandmates.

current listening 02/13/10

+ Crowded House: Temple of Low Men (1988) – Somewhat underappreciated in the wake of Crowded House’s mighty 1986 debut, Temple of Low Men stands today as a near perfect pop album. It places Neil Finn’s seamless sense of songcraft within what might well be producer Mitchell Froom’s finest studio settings. The hapless radio hit Better Be Home Soon and the neo-psychedelic strings engulfing Into Temptation stand as proof.

+ David Sanborn: Only Everything (2010) – On his second tribute album devoted to the great sax sound Hank Crawford and David Newman designed for Ray Charles’ classic soul records of the ‘60s, alto sax star Sanborn creates a warm, organic R&B fabric with the great B3 organist Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Steve Gadd. Vocal cameos by Joss Stone and James Taylor fall flat. But when Dave, Joey and Steve swing, Brother Ray’s spirit shines.

+ Steve Miller Band: Anthology (1972) – Happily purchased at a truck stop just outside of Nashville on a frigid January afternoon was this full CD version of a Miller collection that stops just shy of his 1974 pop breakthrough. That means it ignores all of that Rock’n Me nonsense. Instead, Anthology sports the kind of semi-acoustic, blues-accented psychedelia many fans never knew Miller had in him. A remarkable pre-stardom portrait.

+ Dave Liebman: Lookout Farm (1974) – Reading that saxophonist Liebman will be jamming in New York this weekend with members of his multi-cultural fusion band Lookout Farm for the first time in ages prompted a renewed listen to the ensemble’s only recording – a warm and wonderfully textured vehicle for Liebman’s snakecharming soprano sax leads (and improvising) and Richie Beirach’s exquisite Rhodes piano work.

+ Simple Minds: Once Upon a Time (1985) – I don’t get nostalgic for ‘80s pop too often. Even on this album, which marked Simple Minds’ brief commercial heyday, the drum and synthesizer gloss is as overcooked as Jim Kerr’s dying-to-be-Bono posturing. Still, the songs, every last one of them, are gems. Sanctify Yourself and Alive and Kicking create icy drama out of pure production excess. A surprising testament to soul over style.

Gonadal protection by a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist depot in young women with Hodgkin’s disease undergoing chemotherapy

Gynecological Endocrinology May 1, 2005 | Franke, Henk R; Smit, Wim M; Vermes, Istvan Abstract Objective. To explore the effects of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist depot (goserelin acetate) in women with Hodgkin’s disease receiving chemotherapy while taking a continuous combined estrogen-progestin preparation as addback on the prevention of premature ovarian failure (POF).

Methods. In a prospective pilot study, five premenopausal women with Hodgkin’s disease received a GnRH agonist depot plus add-back until polychemotherapy was completed. Every 4 weeks during treatment and thereafter, a hormonal profile (follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone, 17?-estradiol, progesterone and inhibin B) was measured until resumption of menstruation or the development of a hypergonadotropic state (2 ? FSH > 30 U/1).

Results. All patients reached prepubertal status during treatment. After discontinuation of goserelin acetate, one patient developed a hypergonadotropic state and four patients resumed menstruation. One of those patients became pregnant and delivered a healthy son. this web site hodgkin s disease

Conclusions. The effectiveness of GnRH agonist plus add-back on the prevention of POF during polychemotherapy in women with Hodgkin’s disease needs further elucidation in randomized controlled trials. The results of our pilot study are promising.

Introduction Among patients with Hodgkin’s disease, treatment with chemotherapy has reached almost maximum response rates. However, one major long-term sideeffect that can seriously interfere with quality of life in both men and women is sterility due to gonadal damage [1-3]. In women of reproductive age, chemotherapy is an established cause of the condition known as premature ovarian failure (POF). The incidence of POF in women treated with six courses of the classical MOPP (mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine and prednisolone) scheme for Hodgkin’s lymphoma is approximately 40-70%. Certain cytostatic drugs such as mechlorethamine, cyclophosphamide, procarbazine and bleomycin cause more gonadal damage than others and some have dosedependent effects [4-12]. It is unknown whether dose reductions or recent modifications in the chemotherapy schemes used in patients with Hodgkin’s disease will result in a reduction of the incidence of POF.

Two mechanisms for chemotherapy-induced damage have been proposed. Early studies showed that alkylating drugs might cause apoptosis of ovarian follicles by irreversible damage to the proliferating granulosa and theca cells, which are the main components of developing follicles [13-15]. second, alkylating agents lead to a reduction in the number of ovarian follicles in mature rats. This has been proposed to occur initially by the destruction of large follicles and after prolonged treatment by the loss of primordial follicles as well [16].

At the present time, oocyte donation, embryo cryopreservation and in vitro fertilization are the established options available to patients at risk of developing POF. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation prior to treatment and subsequent autografting may be a promising avenue for the future. However, there may be a simpler way of preventing POF for patients at risk, i.e., by deliberately inducing a state of temporary, reversible medical castration during chemotherapy. It has been noticed that prepubertal children receiving chemotherapy are more likely to maintain gonadal function than are young adults [17,18]. This led to the hypothesis that inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis by gonadotropinreleasing hormone (GnRH) agonists may result in quiescent gonads, simulating the prepubertal milieu, and thus rendering the gonads less susceptible to cytotoxic treatment.

This hypothesis was first tested in a murine model and it was found that concurrent administration of D-leu-des-Gly-NH2, proethylamide GnRH with cyclophosphamide, prevented testicular atrophy [19]. However, the same GnRH agonist failed to improve fertility rates significantly in a group of young adult males [20]. Another GnRH agonist, leuprolide, prevented the loss of ovarian follicles in adult female rats [16]. The mechanism proposed was deprivation of the follicles of gonadotropins and interference with the process of recruitment of follicles from the quiescent pool into the chemotherapy-sensitive pool of maturing follicles. These findings were later supported by additional data from a study where the GnRH agonist goserelin suppressed the rat ovarian tissue uptake of [3H] thymidine [21]. Since such uptake is considered an index of mitotic activity in rat ovary, it was consistent with the proposal that chronic GnRH agonist therapy could inhibit follicular development [16].

Promising results were achieved in a clinical study where a synthetic GnRH agonist was administered to young women with lymphoma during standard combination chemotherapy regimes: 93.7% of the women experienced resumption of ovarian function after termination of treatment [12]. Thirteen patients with early-stage estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer received a GnRH agonist depot during adjuvant chemotherapy. All patients resumed menstrual periods after completion of chemotherapy [22]. In a long-lasting non-randomized study, a GnRH analog was administered before and during polychemotherapy. It demonstrated an enhanced ovarian function and preservation of adolescent fertility [23].

In the present prospective pilot study, we studied the efficacy of a GnRH agonist (goserelin acetate) in five premenopausal women with Hodgkin’s disease receiving polychemotherapy on the prevention of POF. Treatment effects were assessed by measuring the hormonal profile, consisting of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), 17?estradiol, progesterone and inhibin B. Inhibin is a heterodimer, a protein comprising two different polypeptide chains, ? and ?, secreted by granulosa cells and known to selectively inhibit FSH secretion in the pituitary. Inhibin A is a product of the dominant follicle, whereas inhibin B reflects the size and/or activity of the cohort of developing primary and early antral follicles in a given cycle [24].

Methods In this prospective pilot study, five premenopausal women treated for Hodgkin’s disease with chemotherapy (schemes according to the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) trials 20884 and H 9) (Table I) received a subcutaneous depot formulation of goserelin acetate 3.6 mg (Zoladex?®; AstraZeneca, Zoetermeer, Netherlands) 1-2 weeks before initiation of chemotherapy and every 4 weeks thereafter. In one patient a depot formulation of goserelin acetate 10.8 mg was given every 12 weeks. During treatment a continuous combined estrogen-progestin preparation as addback was administered every day to relieve the symptoms of estrogen deficiency and to reduce the impact on bone mineral density of the GnRH agonist depot [25]. In patients A and B the add-back consisted of 1 mg 17?-estradiol and 0.5 mg norethisterone acetate (EN) (Activelle?®; NovoNordisk, Alphen aan de Ryn, Netherlands), while patients C, D and E received 20 ?g ethinylestradiol and 150 ?g desogestrel (ED) (Mercilon?®; Organon, Oss, Netherlands). Treatment with the GnRH agonist plus addback was continued until the chemotherapy was completed.

At baseline and every 4 weeks during treatment and thereafter, the profile of FSH, LH, 17?-estradiol, progesterone and inhibin B was determined until resumption of a normal menstrual cycle or the development of a hypergonadotropic state (2 ? FSH > 30 U/L with an interval of 4 weeks). Blood samples were collected by venepuncture. Immunoreactive FSH, LH, 17?-estradiol and progesterone concentrations were measured with a commercially available microparticle enzyme immunoassay using an AxSYM(TM) random access, immunoassay analyzer (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL, USA). Immunoreactive inhibin B levels were measured by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Oxford Bio-Innovations Ltd, Oxford, UK).

No institutional review board approval was necessary because it reflects only clinical observations.

Results The age of the patients ranged from 15 to 26 years and all had a regular menstrual cycle or used oral contraceptives. After chemotherapy all patients received involved field radiotherapy and reached complete remission of the underlying disease.

Prepubertal status was reached in all patients within 4 weeks after the first GnRH agonist depot was administered.

Figure 1a shows serum FSH levels during treatment and thereafter until resumption of menstruation or the development of a hypergonadotropic state. In four patients, menstruation resumed 4-40 weeks after the last injection of goserelin acetate was given (Table II). Patient B, treated with eight courses of MOPP/ABV (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine) polychemotherapy, developed a hypergonadotropic state.

As shown in Figure 1b, serum estradiol levels during estrogen-progestin add-back demonstrate adequate substitution only in those patients with EN add-back.

Figure 1c shows the levels of inhibin B during treatment, demonstrating the recovery of normal ovarian function in four of the five patients. Patient D became pregnant and delivered a healthy son 4 years after the completion of chemotherapy.

Discussion The treatment of Hodgkin’s disease with polychemotherapy in women is complicated by POF in 4070% of patients [4-12]. Although the subject of the present EORTC studies, it is not known whether dose reductions or the recent modifications in chemotherapy schemes will reduce the incidence of POF. The use of oral contraceptives may not protect the ovaries sufficiently from follicular destruction by a chemotherapeutic regimen [26,27].

FSH has a predominant role in the development of immature follicles and the selection and maturation of the dominant follicle [28,29]. Until recently, it was generally believed that follicle growth until the selectable phase was a gonadotropin-independent process. However, there is growing evidence that FSH, although not obligatory, facilitates the initiation of follicular growth or stimulates early follicular development in a complex cooperation with other largely unknown factors. If true, high FSH levels are expected to accelerate depletion of the follicle pool by stimulating resting follicles to start growing, thus advancing reproductive events, including menopause. In contrast, low or undetectable FSH levels may delay reproductive events by inhibiting follicle depletion.

GnRH agonists act directly on breast, ovarian, endometrial and prostate cell lines to inhibit their growth. The GnRH receptors in extrapituitary tissues have similar if not identical properties to those of the pituitary gland [30]. The administration of a GnRH agonist may also have a direct protective action on the ovaries resulting in the suppression of apoptosis of follicles by inhibiting the maturation of the dividing oocyte, producing involution and thus avoiding the deleterious effect of polychemotherapy on the dividing cell [23].

The results of our pilot study are promising, demonstrating normalization of the hormonal profile and resumption of menstruation in four out of five patients and subsequent pregnancy and delivery in one patient; however, randomized controlled trials are urgently needed.

Preferably the add-back should consist of estradiol, instead of ethinyl estradiol, combined with a progestin to ensure adequate serum estradiol levels.

Although the number of our patients is limited, we have demonstrated that the use of a GnRH agonist during chemotherapy protected the ovaries of four premenopausal women with Hodgkin’s disease. These results are comparable with the findings of Blumenfeld and colleagues [9]. The simultaneous administration of GnRH agonists is well tolerated and did not interfere with the start of chemotherapy. Because of the limited follow-up period, however, no prediction can be given on long-term fertility and subsequent development of POF in the future.

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[Author Affiliation] HENK R. FRANKE1, WIM M. SMITT, & ISTVAN VERMES3 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital Group, Enschede, The Netherlands, 2 Department of Internal Medicine, Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital Group, Enschede, The Netherlands, and 3 Department of Clinical Chemistry, Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital Group, Enschede, The Netherlands [Author Affiliation] Franke, Henk R; Smit, Wim M; Vermes, Istvan

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