Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Amanda Picks The Worst Country Songs Of 2016

Since I don't have time to invest in crappy bro country music messes, I found this little reply to Country Perspective's 2016 Worst Songs to be quite entertaining and dead on.  To Amanda, we here at Record World love this sort of music reviews and thank you for investing the time to write this out.
Original post is here: https://countryperspective.com/2016/12/05/country-perspectives-2016-worst-song-of-the-year-thomas-rhetts-vacation/


10. (tie) Michael Ray, “Think a Little Less”
The first entry in the worst singles of 2016 list is by last year’s worst song of the year champion, Michael Ray. Michael Ray was the dark horse in last year’s list, with “Real Men Love Jesus” sneaking in at the last minute to win it all, passing by such abominations as “Ridiculous”, “B.Y.H.B”, and what was to be last year’s champion, Old Dominion’s “Break Up With Him”. “Real Men Love Jesus” pissed me off to no extent with its bullshit societal stereotypes of what a real man should be. And of course, Michael Ray is back this year with this shitty, vapid hookup song. Seriously, Michael? “Kiss a little more, think a little less…get you out of this bar, out of that dress?” I thought you would learn something from “Real Men Love Jesus” barely peaking inside the top 20. This is just another stupid song about meaningless hookups that shouldn’t exist. I remember in a few interviews of Michael Ray that I stumbled upon early in his career, when he said that he loved traditional country music and that he would make traditional country if his record label would let him. What the fuck, Michael? You’re on the same record label with Ashley Monroe and William Michael Morgan. Both of them have been able to make pure country music, much less pure country albums, so the whiny bullshit about your record label is not an excuse. I also remember Michael Ray saying that Gary Allan was his hero, and that his [Michael’s] music was like that of Gary’s. Being as big of a fan of Gary Allan as I am, that kinda pissed me off and really soured my outlook on Michael Ray a little bit. Michael Ray is a mindless pretty boy pop singer, much like Luke Bryan. And I hate to break it to you, Michael, but Jon Pardi is closer to being musically similar to Gary Allan than you are or ever will be. And of course, “Think a Little Less” is written by none other than Thomas Rhett, who will make an appearance of his own later on in the list. Puke a little more, listen a little less.

10. (tie) Love and Theft, “Candyland”
Okay, guys, I have a confession to make: I like pop-country as well as traditional country. But only if it is insanely catchy, very well-written, or both. Right now, I can think of five examples of pop-country done right on the current chart: RaeLynn’s “Love Triangle” (a very well-written, great song), Trent Harmon’s “There’s A Girl” (another decently-written song with obvious country influences), Maren Morris’s “80’s Mercedes,” (more of a straight-ahead pop song, but nonetheless insanely catchy and very well-written), Little Big Town’s “Better Man” (a very well-written song), and Lauren Alaina’s “Road Less Traveled” (an insanely catchy song that I’ve found myself singing along with quite a few times). There is a definite place in country music for pop-country. Carrie Underwood is another example of a fantastic pop-country artist. Maddie and Tae are a fantastic pop-country duo with traditional influences, and they are arguably the best group/duo in mainstream country music today. However, pop-country is an insanely hard concept to master. And when pop-country goes wrong, it can result in a complete doozy. Which brings me to Love and Theft’s “Candyland”. “Candyland” is this year’s last-minute entry. I was analyzing the bottom 30 of the top 60 on the Billboard Country airplay chart one day. I was familiar with Love and Theft but had never heard Candyland. Out of curiosity, I opened up my Spotify account and typed in “Love and Theft Candyland”. Holy shit. Turns out, my curiosity got the best of me, as “Candyland” turned out to be downright awful. “Got you better than a lemon drop, poppin’ like a pop rock/Feeling like a kid in a candy store”?!?!? You have got to be fucking kidding me. This song sounds like a bunch of bored middle-schoolers wrote it on their study break. And to think it came from the same duo who sang “Whiskey on My Breath”. What a difference a year makes.😦

9. Old Dominion, “Snapback”
You know there’s an even bigger pile of shit ahead when Old Dominion tanks to #9. Snapback is an exercise to avoid being country at all costs. The instrumentation/production is beyond annoying, the lyrics are stupid, and there’s absolutely nothing country at all about a snapback hat. This song sucks.

8. Steven Tyler, “Red, White, and You”

“Free fallin’ into your yum yum…” That’s enough to make the pink umbrella stickers themselves, Florida Georgia Line, cringe in disgust. Enough said.

7. Kelsea Ballerini, “Yeah Boy”
You know, I have almost had enough of this Mickey Mouse country. It is completely mind-boggling to me how artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Clare Dunn (who I’ll get to in a minute), Hunter Hayes (who is actually super-talented but wastes his incredible gift on this poppy bullshit), RaeLynn (I love “Love Triangle” and like “Careless” but most of her other music sounds like it could be interchangeable with the music from all of the Disney Princess movies or Disney Channel sitcoms), and the like are even considered in the same genre with various legends (George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Dolly, Tammy Wynette, Hank Sr., and the like) and George Strait, Alan Jackson, Gary Allan, Tim McGraw, Josh Turner, William Michael Morgan, Eric Church, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton, Mo Pitney, Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack, Maddie and Tae, and Miranda Lambert. “Yeah Boy” is just another piece of shit pop song that belongs nowhere near the country genre. “Yeah Boy” would fit better on an episode of Hannah Montana or some other fluffy Disney Channel sitcom than on a country radio station. And to add to all of this, “Yeah Boy” is basically female bro-country. The lyrics are extremely shallow and somewhat objectifying. Mouseshit is a good word for describing this type of Mickey Mouse Disney country. And “Yeah Boy” is mouseshit.

6. Clare Dunn, “Tuxedo”
While we’re on the subject of female bro-country and Mickey Mouse mouseshit, here’s another good example brought to us by Clare Dunn. “Tuxedo” is extremely vapid and stupid, and Clare Dunn, while a talented guitar player, has one of the worst voices I have ever heard in the genre of country music, along with Brantley Gilbert (who will be featured later on this list), Tyler Farr, RaeLynn, and Tucker Beathard (who sounds like a mix between a dying cow, nails on a chalkboard, and a cat in heat, and who barely missed the list with his boringly bad single “Rock On”). Clare’s Iggy Azalea-style white-girl rapping is absolutely horrendous and the lyrics are just vapid, stupid, and somewhat objectifying. “My baby looks so sexy out there working in his boots…” “He’s a knight in shining armor with them blue jeans on…” “He’s like a George Strait quiet type…” How dare you name-drop George Strait in your gosh-awful pop song! The audience demographic that this song seemingly aims for (stereotypical pre-teens and teenagers) probably don’t even know who George Strait is, sadly. And the “Tux-tux-tuxedo” bridge is headache-inducingly annoying. Much like “Yeah Boy”, “Tuxedo” sounds more like it belongs on an episode on Hannah Montana than on a country station. Mouseshit.

5. Jana Kramer, “Said No One Ever”
Holy. Fucking. Shit. What on earth is this?!?!? Jana Kramer should know better than this. I’d halfway expect it out of someone like Kelsea Ballerini or RaeLynn, but Jana Kramer? The same artist who sang songs like “Why Ya Wanna” and “I Got the Boy” (both of which I thoroughly enjoyed, and the latter being one of the best singles of 2015)? It doesn’t even sound like the same person. “Said No One Ever” is arguably worse than anything Kelsea Ballerini or RaeLynn both have ever released. “Said No One Ever” makes Kelsea Ballerini’s “Yeah Boy” sound like Kacey Musgraves and RaeLynn’s “God Made Girls” sound like Ashley Monroe. Along with how cringe-inducingly bad “Said No One Ever” is, while “Yeah Boy” and “Tuxedo” sound like Mickey Mouse mouseshit, “Said No One Ever” sounds slightly more childish and more like it wouldn’t sound out of place in a Barbie or My Little Pony movie. I would love to support Jana Kramer because her first album and a select few songs of off her second album (“Boomerang”, “I Got the Boy”, “Dance In the Rain”, and “Last Song”, namely) are awesome, but “Said No One Ever” and over half of its accompanying album, Thirty-One (every song on Thirty-One except the four named above) makes me seriously question Jana and if she is really serious about a career in country music. This song is pretty good……said no one ever.

4. Chris Lane, “Fix”
At this point, trashing “Fix” for the umpteenth time would be pretty much beating a dead horse. The subject of many memes, much tomfoolery, and quite a few epic rants (thanks to Farce the Music, this site, and Saving Country Music), “Fix” has made Chris Lane pretty much universally hated by all real country music fans. “Fix” also spearheaded Chris’s crap-tacular album, Girl Problems, which is a strong competitor (and maybe even the winner) for the worst album of 2016. However, for a quick review, “Fix” likens a romantic relationship to meth, cocaine, and alcohol. It also painfully references Breaking Bad when it says “I’ll be your smooth ride, your late night, your Walter White high…” Obviously and sadly, Chris Lane has a point here. The only way anyone in their right mind could enjoy Chris Lane and “Fix” would be if they were incredibly drunk and/or extremely high. Not to mention that “Fix” is not country in any way, shape, or form, and has a sound that makes Sam Hunt sound like Alan Jackson. The lyrics are kindergarten-level stupid, and after hearing Chris’s annoying falsetto, I couldn’t find the Motrin fast enough. Chris Lane is just another of many pretty-boy pop singers making a living in the country genre. Maybe he and these other posers should take notes from guys like George Strait, Alan Jackson, William Michael Morgan, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Jon Pardi, Gary Allan, Brad Paisley, and Josh Turner on how to make country music that is enjoyable but still genuine and respecting the roots of country music. And is it just me, or does the narrator of “Fix” seem like a complete douchebag? The narrator of “Fix” is self-absorbed, pushy, extremely whiny and needy, and a slight bit creepy. The narrator of “Fix” reminds me of this one guy I have had a class with in college. He is also pushy, excessively needy, and extremely self-absorbed, with an ego bigger than the entire state of Texas. The ambience of “Fix” also annoys the hell out of me. It all seems so contrived and fake. The delivery of the song would actually be somewhat convincing coming from the guy from the class I described, although still pushy, needy and creepy. But it seems like a total cop-out for Chris Lane. The way I perceive Chris Lane, he seems to me like a seemingly heartless ballsack of a douche (for lack of a better insult) that hasn’t the slightest clue on the subject of romantic pursuit. To sum it all up, “Fix” is yet another exercise in sheer stupidity and blatantly avoiding anything at all to do with actual country music.

3. Brantley Gilbert, “The Weekend”
Oh, Brantley. Don’t you know that bro-country is so 2014? Obviously not, because “The Weekend” is bro-country cranked up to eleven. As I already said before about this song, it features blatantly lazy songwriting, terrible instrumentation that could make a deaf person cringe, and it gave me a nagging headache after listening to it once out of curiosity. I spent the following two hours listening to Gary Allan, Tim McGraw, and Lee Ann Womack to clean out my ears and relieve my headache. “Wake and bake and we at it again…”? Really, Brantley? I thought you were sober. And even worse, “we at it again”? As a future English teacher, this bugs the absolute shit out of me. It’s “we’re at it again”. Learn some grammar, Brantley. The rest of the song is just extremely stupid and incredibly cliché. “The Weekend” is music for those who have the I.Q. of a sheep. And speaking of his sheep fans, the die-hard members of the BG Nation will defend Brantley to the death. They are always like “Brantley iz da bestest kuntry artest evurrrrrrrrr! Reel kuntry muzik at it’s finust! BG NASHUN 4 LYFE!!!!!!” You could tell me that Brantley Gilbert is better than Cole Swindell and Thomas Rhett, and I would agree with you. You could tell me that Brantley Gilbert is better than Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, and I might believe you. But there is absolutely no way that you could tell me that Brantley Gilbert is better than George Strait, Alan Jackson, Chris Stapleton, Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Gary Allan, Josh Turner, William Michael Morgan, Jon Pardi, Brad Paisley, Mo Pitney, Chris Young, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, Lee Ann Womack, Maddie and Tae, Brothers Osborne, and Maren Morris. Anyway, avoid this song like the plague and go listen to William Michael Morgan’s excellent new album, Vinyl, instead.

2. Luke Bryan, “Move”
(Semi-rant time!) The runner-up spot in this year’s worst-of list rightfully goes to Luke Bryan. Just when I thought Luke couldn’t piss me off any more, especially after taking up three back-to-back spots in last year’s worst-of list, he proves me wrong and does it yet again with “Move”. This is basically “Country Girl Shake it for Me 2.0”. In all honesty, “Move” is actually worse than “Kick the Dust Up”, “Strip it Down”, and “Home Alone Tonight”, which I counted among the worst of the worst of 2015. And of course, after the decent “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day”, Luke releases the worst song on his Kill the Lights album and one of the worst songs of his entire career, the absolutely horrendous “Move”. Luke Bryan is 40-fucking-years-old. When the hell is he ever going to grow up? Luke, you are a grown ass man and you’re still singing about spring break and dancing with teenage girls. What the hell? I feel sorry for his wife and family. If I were his wife and saw him dancing and prancing around like an assclown and humping every freaking thing in sight on stage, I would be the epitome of mortified. It would embarrass the absolute shit out of me. Luke, you are not sexy. You are creepy as hell. Gary Allan is sexy. And he doesn’t wear sparkly skinny jeans, he doesn’t shake his ass like a Chippendales dancer and dance like an idiot, and he doesn’t sing about mindless, meaningless hookups and spring break. Gary Allan is the perfect example of what a sexy male country star should be. He dresses and looks sexy with his plethora of tattoos and his tight-in-all-the-right-places jeans (NOT skinny jeans like Luke’s, absolutely no man should ever wear skinny jeans, in my honest opinion), and he struts around the stage in a sexy manner, but he doesn’t act vulgar, disgusting, and immature like Luke Bryan. There is a way to be sexy that completely avoids being disgusting and creepy. Apparently, Luke Bryan hasn’t quite grasped this concept yet. And y’all know the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Luke Bryan is an “old dog” that has been wiggling his non-existent pancake ass on stage for so long that it has seemingly become a habit of his. I highly doubt Luke ever will learn how to be sexy but mature. Going back to the song, “Move” is absolutely fucking pointless. The lyrics are extremely misogynistic and idiotic. Hell, Luke even gives his army of sheep fans a spelling lesson with M-O-V-E. Luke, a rational person would already know how to spell “move”. But those who actually enjoy this song are not rational. Many of Luke Bryan’s fans are seemingly idiots. They’ll eat up anything, even ridiculous, pandering bullshit. It absolutely baffles me why people my age (mainly girls and the “douchebag bro” type guys my age; I’m 20) eat this shit up. Seriously, I’m beginning to think that I’m one of the very few 20-year-old girls who thinks Luke Bryan is creepy, disgusting, and an absolute waste of space and airplay in the country music world. “Move” makes me want to puke every time I hear it, and Luke Bryan makes me want to puke every time I see him on TV shaking his ass and acting like a horny college bro. It is quite appropriate that “Move” is number two on this list, because it is nothing but a flaming pile of shit.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…the worst country single of 2016 is………*drum roll please*…………………………

1. Thomas Rhett, “Vacation” (WARNING: NSFW language rant)
Well, well, Thomas. You have really managed to fuck up mainstream country music for good this time. As soon as I caught wind that Thomas was releasing “Vacation” as a single, I knew that no one, no matter how hard he, she, or they tried, would be able to top “Vacation” as the worst song of the year. I have been waiting since the moment it was released to tear the song a good deserved one, and now is my chance. So let’s get started, shall we?
The first issue that I have with Vacation is the fact that Thomas Rhett basically borrowed the beat from War’s “Low Rider”. Essentially, this is what he did with “Crash and Burn (ripping off Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang” and copying basically every Bruno Mars song from the past five years) and “Die a Happy Man” (which is Thomas Rhett’s half-assed cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”). Thomas Rhett is an artist with not a shred of originality to his name. He is a proud product of nepotism, riding the coattails of his daddy, 90’s country star and songwriter (one of the infamous Peach Pickers, might I add) Rhett Akins. Rhett had some pretty decent songs back in the day. Thomas has only had one song that I enjoy, and that is “Beer With Jesus”. That being said, the lyrics to “Vacation” are absolutely asinine. The lyrics sound like an annoying jingle to a commercial. “Vacation” could be a commercial for a number of things: Billabong bikinis, Coppertone lotion, Motel 6, Solo cups, Walgreen’s beach chairs, Red Stripe, and Busch Light beer. If “Vacation” was a commercial, it would be a headache-inducingly annoying one. “Vacation” would be one of those commercials in which a person would change the television channel every time it came on. And let’s not even get started on the grammar. It’s awful. Who the hell wrote this? A five-year-old? “Hey, let’s party like we on vacation”? Give me a fucking break! And Thomas, you don’t mean to tell me that it took 14 songwriters to write this trainwreck. 14 fucking songwriters! Of course, half of them are from the band War, in which Rhett wisely credits because he shamelessly stole the beat from “Low Rider”. Take away half of 14 and you still have seven. How in the hell does it take 7 songwriters to come up with something that sounds like a little bitty kid wrote it? Every time I think about this song, I think of my two very favorite country songs of all time and how many people it took to write them. It took only two people to write Gary Allan’s “Smoke Rings in the Dark” and it only took two people to write Ashley Monroe’s “Two Weeks Late” (one of those two being Ashley herself). Both “Smoke Rings in the Dark” and “Two Weeks Late” are absolute musical masterpieces. If you take away the members of War, you have, I’m assuming, six or seven songwriters. It took six or seven songwriters to create “Vacation”, and it is an absolute disaster. I could write a random song by myself that would probably suck, but still be a hell of a lot better than “Vacation”. And the video for this shit mountain is just creepy as hell. Seven-to-eight-year-old little girls dancing around in bikinis singing about “cold ones”. Holy moly shit, it makes Thomas Rhett look like a pedophile and it is just plain wrong. “Vacation” is a train wreck coming in contact with a plane crash. It is truly horrific, awful, and terrible in every way, shape, and form. Thomas Rhett has really outdone himself this year with “Vacation”. I’ve been wanting to nail him ever since he released Tangled Up last year, but he didn’t make that easy. Crash and Burn, while not a great song, had decently-written lyrics to back the annoying Bruno Mars-on-drugs-style instrumentation and Thomas’s weak vocals, Die a Happy Man was kinda boring (but dare I say average if not due to radio overplaying the song), and T-Shirt was bad, but not really among the worst of the worst. I know that this title gets doled out a lot over the years, pretty much every time a horrifically bad song is released, but I can confidently say that Thomas Rhett has released the worst radio single in the history of country music. Not even country radio cared very much for it, as it only peaked at #30(?) on the country airplay charts, and they’ll play whatever tripe Thomas Rhett sends them. And if it wasn’t for Thomas’s slightly more horrific album cut “South Side” (which gets my vote for the worst country song of all time), Vacation would even be considered “the worst country song of all time”, in my opinion. “Vacation” is way worse than “Kick the Dust Up” and “Donkey”. “Vacation” is way worse than any song Sam Hunt has ever released. “Vacation” is worse than “Move” and “Burnin’ It Down”. Hell, “Vacation” is even worse than “Real Men Love Jesus” and “Break Up With Him”. “Vacation” is terrible in any genre you put it in. It is a sorry excuse for a country song, a sorry excuse for a pop song, a sorry excuse for a rap song, a sorry excuse for an R&B song, a sorry excuse for a song in general. Shit, “Vacation” isn’t even really music. “Vacation” is a haphazard hodgepodge of sounds and noise fused together to form a gigantic mass of audio diarrhea. To make yet another sarcastic, attempting to be humorous quip to sum up the awfulness of “Vacation”, I would rather be forced to write down every dirty and downright inappropriate thought I have ever had about Gary Allan and next go on national country radio and read them all aloud, than to ever listen to “Vacation” again, or even better yet, “Vacation”‘s accompanying album, “Tangled Up”. There are two groups of people who purposely listen to this drivel: the extremely brave reviewers at sites like this one, Saving Country Music, and the like (I greatly admire you guys, I couldn’t make it the entire way through “Tangled Up” without getting a massive migraine); and the Thomas Rhett fans who are seemingly so stupid and have not a clue what real country music is. Aside from maybe “Beer With Jesus”, the career of Thomas Rhett has been nothing short of embarrassing and just plain sad to those who know what real country music is and love real country music. As a fan of mostly traditional country and decent pop country, “Vacation” made me angry that Thomas Rhett would have the nerve to release this steaming pile of dog shit as a single, especially as a single in the country genre, and it also made me sad for what country music has become, and for what many people my age that claim to be country music fans think of as country music. “Vacation” is an absolute disgrace to country music and music in general. Congratulations, Thomas Rhett. You have not only unearthed the worst single of 2016, but the worst single of all time.

Dishonorable mentions:
-Thomas Rhett, “T-Shirt” (unsurprisingly just another bad song by Thomas Rhett)
-Kane Brown, “Thunder in the Rain” (pop bullshit that sounds like Justin Bieber/One Direction)
-Every Cole Swindell single released/or had significant impact in 2016 (somehow Cole managed to miss my list this year, which totally takes me by surprise considering the fact he is a constant source of horrible music)

-Tucker Beathard, “Rock On” (due to his gosh-awful cat-in-heat vocal performance)

-Chase Rice, “Everybody We Know Does” (Bottom-of-the-barrel horseshit like everything else Chase Rice releases)

-Justin Moore, “Somebody Else Will” (a straight-up pop song with no place in country music. Although Justin Moore is not one of the best artists in mainstream country music, he clearly knows better.)

-Dustin Lynch, “Seein’ Red” (another shitty pop song from a once-promising artist)

-Chase Bryant, “Room to Breathe” (more shitty pop-funk type music. Chase is talented, but he should stay away from this Sam Hunt-copycat music.)

-Dierks Bentley and Elle King, “Different for Girls” (Dierks sounds great here, but the production is a bit sleepy and sterile, and the lyrics are filled with presumptuous lies and outdated gender ideals. Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” is a good counter-argument to “Different for Girls”, stating that girls sometimes do the same as guys regarding the demise of a relationship. Some girls move on quickly, while some also try acting seemingly tough and unscathed although they are deeply saddened and devastated inside. And unlike “Different for Girls, “Vice” is actually a good song. “Different for Girls” falls quite a few points short of average due to the nature of the lyrics.)

-Blake Shelton, “She’s Got a Way With Words” (Blake sounds decent here and the production is alright, but the lyrics are nothing but vapid, shitty, petty, stupid bullshit. Blake sounds childish and whiny throughout the duration of the song, which has an extremely immature approach. There’s a reason Jake Owen passed on “She’s Got a Way With Words”.)

-Drew Baldridge, “Dance With Ya” (Horrific, sad, and pathetic. That’s all.)

-LoCash, “Ring on Every Finger” and “I Know Somebody” (LoCash is nothing but the poor man’s FGL. We definitely don’t need another one of those. One FGL is more than enough.)

-Dylan Scott, “My Girl” (Holy hopping sheep shit, did he just name-drop Eminem in a supposedly country song? Between the dime-a-dozen, painfully generic lyrics and migraine of a production, Dylan’s monotone delivery makes “My Girl” nearly insufferable.)

-Morgan Wallen, “The Way I Talk” (“The Way I Talk” sounds like a FGL reject. And Morgan Wallen reminds me very much of a Tyler Hubbard impersonator.)

-Jerrod Niemann and Lee Brice, “A Little More Love” (two has-beens collaborating on a stupid ’90’s sounding rap-pop-rock-reggae song. I thought we’d heard the last of Jerrod Niemann with the ridiculously humiliating “Donkey”, but I was wrong. While “Blue Bandana” was decent, “A Little More Love” sucks. The only scrap of redemption found in this song is the fact that Lee and Jerrod harmonize fairly well in the chorus. Other than that, the song is a pathetic cry for attention. Lee and Jerrod should co-headline a tour and call it “Touring With the Has-Beens”. Randy Houser, Jana Kramer, Parmalee, and Thompson Square could open for them.)

-Lanco, “Long Live Tonight” (We do not a “country” One Direction. Especially one with a name that sounds like a catering company.)

-Dierks Bentley, “Somewhere on a Beach” (Dierks, please. Get back to the music we all know and love you for. “Somewhere on a Beach” is more sad than anything, because it signifies that 2016 was the year of Dierks Bentley selling out. Hope you like the cash, Dierks. You had to trade in your respect for it. Hopefully his next album is better than “Black”. Aside from a couple of decent-to-good songs, “Black” is a disappointment. Maybe Dierks will get back to himself, the Dierks Bentley we all know and love, with his next album.)

-Chris Lane, “For Her” (Go away, Chris. And never come back.)

-Granger Smith, “If the Boot Fits” (I hate this song. It’s one of the laziest bunch of cliches songwriting I’ve ever heard. Is it bad that I wish that Granger would completely abandon his mainstream career and pack up and go back to Texas? His Texas country music was actually somewhat decent. He could go back to the Texas scene or he could always make a career out of his Earl Dibbles Jr. comedy schtick. Granger’s Earl Dibbles act may be corny, but it’s a hell of a lot better than his mainstream country career. Granger’s mainstream country career is the real joke here.)
-Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.” (Leave it to FGL to place sexual innuendo in a supposedly spiritually-based song. “Get ya singing, babe, hallelujah, we’ll be touching heaven”…um, no thanks.)
-Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (The lyrics do have a bit of a sleazy nature, but Keith’s latest offering isn’t really as much outright bad as it is dreadfully and painfully boring. “Blue Ain’t Your Color” is Lunesta in audio form.)

In the midst of all of the awful atrocities that were listed that mainstream country music had to offer in 2016, “Vacation” is my personal pick for Worst Song of 2016. I fully agree that Thomas Rhett’s “Vacation” is Country Perspective’s worst song of 2016. No contest really, not even with “Move”, “The Weekend”, “Fix”, and “Said No One Ever”.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Week In Review: December, 800 Views, More 45s

Yeah, I'm still around.  I have been working on some band projects of late to which you can catch up on the Townedgers blogspot side of things.  But I really didn't see a need to flood band activities over here.  Technically it's music news but it's also my own personal band and from what I have seen nobody cares much about The Townedgers side of things.

It's December and it looks like we will finally get the snows that have been forthcoming.  And we have been lucky so far, till you get two to four inches of the white shit and the trail walking season comes to an end.   Unless things melt off.  But the weather forecasts for more snow and ice and other crap the next couple days.  I'm not looking forward to it, but the bargain hunting season is finally over, there's a Dubuque run after I get the car serviced.  I have no desire to pop into a Stuff Etc with Christmas music blaring, or KDAT giving us ten versions of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.  So I guess from here on out, Record World will look back at this year and lament of all the happenings and passings that came to be.  I'm sure next year we'll continue to lose more musicians and friends and family.  The price we pay for hanging around for 55 years I guess.  Some day it will come to an end here.  The snow finally ended, and we got six inches of the white wet shit, making it heart attack snow to shovel.  Or another way to fuck up your back.  Welcome to winter.

I have no hope for 2017, now that the voting public voted for the failed reality star and that's how I'm going to call this fraud.  The GOP controls, the house, the senate and you can pretty much kiss whatever freedoms you had away too.  I have seen the failed reality star and his choice of picks to head this country and I'm not surprised.  I have right wing friends pleading to give this failed reality star a chance and so far he's failed to impress me and he's not even in the damn white house yet. Draining the swamp?  More like flooding it with the same old same old.  I did vote and therefore I still reserve the right to bitch about this wrongheadedness this country has become.  If we're not in another war or not in another great depression it will be a miracle.  But it's hard to judge anything I see on social media, most of it is bullshit and I'm too tired to  separate the real from the fake.

On the football side of things, Wisconsin blew a 28-7 lead and Penn State rallied to win 38-31. The final four picks should be Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and......Washington.   Why not? Except for a USC upset, they have proven to be a worthy Pac 12 team, blowing out Colorado in the Pac 12 Championship game.  I just don't see the Big 10 having two teams in the final four.  Penn State did beat Ohio State, but Michigan blew out Penn State 49-10, and any blow out will look back for a final four team.  Iowa will head to Florida, to play Florida in the Outback Bowl, nothing like going to a bowl game and have to play a team based out of that state, but Iowa has done that twice before.  What's another third time playing the same team in January.

On the basketball side of things.  Iowa's men team sucks, they can't play defense, they can talk of the NIT but I'm looking at a 20 loss season.  It may cost Fran McCaffery his job if they don't attempt to play defense.

As much as people rave about the new Rolling Stones Blue And Lonesome album, their first in 11 years, I find it commendable but not enough to give it a place on the best of 2016.  It might have benefited them around 1996 or 2005 for that matter.  But honestly, I just can't get excited about Blue And Lonesome.  At least Mick Jagger is playing more harmonica this time out.   Let Rolling Stone and All Music give them the four and half stars rating.  I'll go as far as a B Plus, but we all know that it's a album destined for the shelves after playing it once or twice.  It's honest, but the original sources is where I'll go to should I want to listen to Hate To See You Go or Willie Dixon.

November found the Record World under the Mendoza line or 2,000 views and even with the 200 plus views today (for the first time in two months so says Blogger Stats) it's too little too late for ole Crabby to give much thought.  I look at Record World as a nice diary of what happened in the music biz, or the teams that I root for.  Or where the bargains are at or the road trips to them.  Or the eye candy wallpaper that I sometimes come across.  Anybody that has a blog, spends copious amount of time to get the word out and that becomes time poverty to other things.  Let's face it, I'm nowhere near Bob Lefsetz in terms of statue or satire.  I'm not hip to what he likes for new music or for that matter whatever radio puts out, but also let it be known that I'm not hip to what NME or SPIN touts for new music either.  I have local favorites, I have a big archives of past music and there's always interesting things found on the cheap too.  Records, CDs, Tapes, it will never end.  Till the day I die, I will continue to tout the lesser known and bitch about corporate radio playing Bohemian Rhapsody four times in a day.  Nothing like hearing 40 year old songs over and over.

So, 205 plus views today might be considered great news, but things run in cycles and I haven't posted in over a week, so getting 200 plus views for doing nothing is suspicion in my views.   Most don't comment, unless it's the absent anonymous dude hiding behind the blogger banner touting E.D. pills, or hook up dates or porn sites, which is not what Record World is about.   It's a place for discovering the lost bands, The Brains/Delta Moon project of Tom Gray, discovering Mom's Apple Pie or giving props to Swinging Steaks or Gene Cotton or a forgotten 45 that somebody decided to use for their own enjoyment on 45 cat.   And after a while, bloggers do give up, or get off the computer, to live life again, to be grandparents to a newborn or to get out in the open.  Certainly, there are more time gaps between blogs over here.  I would love to devote more time to the C.R. Music scene and the musicians out there, but I have my own band to contend with too.  For next year I cannot tell where I'm going to be, or if I'm still going to have a job or if I'm still going to be alive.  At this point, it really doesn't matter what I think or do.  When I mentioned that something special was going to happen this year, it actually did happen.  The Chicago Cubs won the pennant, went to the World Series and won The World Series.  I would have loved to find that special somebody in my life or join that super new band but things didn't pan out that way.  If i could find that special somebody, chances are I wouldn't be on the computer all that much but I think the year I posted the most was when I had somebody in my life.   I certainly didn't do her any favors by hogging the computer back then.  But I thought I had some important things to say.  Looking at the ratings I was proven wrong.

When you give 15 years of your life to talk about music and life, that turned out to be 27 percent of your time on this planet, it was a bold attempt to preserve and keep the lesser music alive.  The Mach Fives, The Big Back Forty, Robyn Hitchcock, Dramarama, Translator, Rank And File, Blackberry Smoke, Trio, Gene Cotton, Chuck Murphy, there was no point of me talking about Pink Floyd or Queen since many others do that.  I'm more interested in The Fugs or 54-40, although I have used the ICON for The Who and Aerosmith but in all fairness it's another glorified attempt to pay homage to the bands I grew up listening to.   Yes, Record World has been a place for top ten songs of the week, review of albums I listened to during the week and some of the entries have been good reference to gather information with.   And every year at this point, I reflect on if I should invest another year of my time and typing skills to do a whole year of news and views.  Since 2002, it was decided that I should renew my commitment and sign on for another year.  If I can count on 205 views a day, it might be worth the effort but once things wind under 100 views for almost a whole month, I should say fuck it and conclude things.  But then again, maybe I should thank Blogger for inflating those views one in a while and be happy with it.  But I noticed Blogger doesn't update the all time views at all. And we all know the Swinging Steaks blog, should be in the top fucking five, they certainly got more than the less than 200 views that Blogger says it has all time.  I call bullshit on that blog not in the top ten, and the Swinging Steaks even have a link to that blog.

So for now, let's consider this a new update and go from there.   I know there's a few more entries to add and I'll continue to update things here as prescribed by law.    At some point, as Charlie Rich sang there won't be anymore.   We just don't know when yet.

Update: 822 views today. Imagine that. More views today then the last two and half weeks. Thanks to those who read the archives. Which means we should finish the year in grand style.  And no comments (except from the mysterous Blogger person who throws bullshit spam ads in the mailbox, you know they're not going to get approved don't ya, mysterous Blogger person?).

Passings: Sean McKeough http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=sean-mckeough&pid=182995256

Record Reviews:

The Kentucky Headhunters-On Safari (Practice House/Plowboy 2016)

God bless them, they're still around, and like their last album Richard Young is still doing lead vocals, which is becoming their disadvantage, he doesn't have much of a voice.  Doug Phelps does the bulk of the lead singing and at this point in time, The Headhunters are lost the country twang of their hit making years, but they had a rock thunder in Fred K Young's drums, and he still is rock solid.  They cover a Alice Cooper number (Caught In  A Dream), and revisits Mark Orr's Beaver Creek Mansion, (Orr wrote it a while ago), which Doug skirts into bro country word wise, but the music is southern rock.  Like their last album, there's a inconsistency that doesn't rise it to the levels of Grass String Ranch, Doug Phelps's high water mark, (since Ricky Lee did the earlier stuff it doesn't make sense to bring up Pickin On Nashville or Electric Barnyard).   But it does end on a good note with God Loves A Rolling Stone and the instrumental Governor's Cup, a rare glimpse into the Headhunters pickin and a grinning.
Grade B+

The Rolling Stones-Blue And Lonesome (Polydor 2016)

God bless them too, a nice tossed off effort of getting back to the what made the Stones so powerful in the first place, they knew how to redo the blues into white boy R and B back in the 60s, although this time out, Mick Jagger decides to avoid the straight r and b and do mostly Chicago blues.  And for their four and half star Rolling Stone Mag ratings, it is overrated.  Consider a more modest three and a half or perhaps a solid four stars.  Arguments still prevail over the last true classic Stones album. For myself Some Girls was their last major statement, Bill Kopp disagrees and thinks It's Only Rock And Roll was their last hoorah and Martin Daniels sided with Black And Blue.  There have been good latter day albums, Voodoo Lounge, had they knocked off the filler or perhaps Steel Wheels if I'm in a forgiving mood.  Yeah, Don Was polishes things up a tad bit too clean and this is not going to make me give up my Little Walter collection at all, but at least Mick Jagger is blowing more harmonica and actually singing more rather than striking a pose and jiving all over the place.  Call it three days of fun jamming and revisiting their roots, their first new album in 11 years, and it could be their last, like any band out there,  Deep Purple who have hint their next album will be their last, Willie Nelson who continues to put out two or three albums per year and will continue to do so till he keels over, or Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, who both checked out of this world after finishing their last albums.   At least with Blue And Lonesome, The Stones go full circle with the blues.  It won't make me forget Some Girls but at least it's a bit better to remember them by than say...A Bigger Bang.
Grade B

Singles Going Steady Medley-Goodwill 45's-Dubuque Store

Here we go again.  The last of an very uneven find that BDW hasn't had anything of note for the past two months and the Salvation Army Store in Davenport had nil too.  It's odd to find that the Dubuque Goodwill has even had anything of note, although some are pop stuff, and more big band confetti.  Let's see if Bullfrogspond has any insight on the lesser known stuff.

 I'll Take Romance-Edie Gorme (ABC Paramount 45-9780)  #65 1957
Sure you want to Edie, I would too;  that's why we love ya. Wait till you hear the five octave outro.  B Side-First Impression is a lush piano torch ballad.  It's not rock and roll. It's actually quite boring.

That Ole Black Magic-Louis Prima/Keely Smith  (Capitol F-4063) #18 1958

Louis is more into rock than pop and it's odd to note this is the first of two Capitol singles that ever made the top 100, this was his only top 20 showing for Capitol, a less interesting take of Wonderland By Night made number 15 for Dot but by then Randy Wood was too busy making Louis more muzak than rocking.  His slapstick to Keely's straight singing has always made these songs classic. Had he lived, he'd be 116 today.  B Side, You Are My Love, is Keely and Nelson Riddle doing a torch ballad.

Star Dust Mambo-Richard Maltby and Orchestra (X-4X-0075)  1954

Oh yeah, Papa loves mambo ya know?  Big band music.  As is B side Strictly Instrumental.

Music To Think By-Morty Craft and his Orchestra (Smash S-2087)  1967

The answer to Music to watch girls by?  I guess they call it swinging go go pop.   B side A Man And A Woman, is more of that swinging dated 60s pop too.  Something a kin to a Doris Day movie I gather.   Sometimes I wish we can all go back 50 years and live that all over again.  Or maybe not.

Where Are They Now-Robin Wilson (A&M  959)  1968
Female singer that made three singles for A&M, somewhat like a cross between Petula Clark and Vickie Carr.  Produced by Allen Stanton who produced The Byrds Eight Miles High.  B Side House Is Not A Home written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, probably more suited for Dionne Warwick. Next.

A Tribute To The Four Seasons-Society's Children (Atco 45-6618) 1968

The strange 45 out of the bunch.  Society's Children did record a few singles for Atco, including a version of White Christmas, but they decided to do a medley of Four Seasons songs for shits and giggles, including canned applause.  B Side Golden Child......more of that sunshine pop that seemed to be the sign of the times of 1968.  Just as forgettable as Yummy Yummy Yummy.

Sunshine Girl-The Parade (A&M  841)  #20  1967

A one hit wonder power pop classic from a band featuring Jerry Riopelle, who wrote and produced this song.  This has been on a compilation album, although I thought it was on Nuggets, it's not on the box set of Nuggets Rhino put out but rather the 1988 More Nuggets.  I knew I'd find it eventually.

Back On The Street  Again-The Sunshine Company (Imperial 66260)  #36 1967

Another sad power pop song in the grand style of the Mamas and Papas, although the bass player and drummer would find employment with Loggins and Messina and later Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  While Larry Sims and Merel Bregante were the rhythm section, it does sound like the Wrecking Crew backing them up.  Could be wrong.  B side I Just Want To Be Your Friend was written by Curt Boettenger, who later be responsible for Sagittarius and The Millennium bands. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Week In Review: Florence Henderson, Iowa Football

Looks like Blogger has done a few upgrades and I'm not used to them.   I wish blog sites would quit tweaking things, I'm still trying to figure out how to do it the old fashioned way.  The big story is Florence Henderson passing away on Thanksgiving evening, due to heart problems.  She was 82.  She'll be forever known as Mrs. Brady on The Brady Bunch.  Back when that sort of TV shows we wanted our neighborhood to be a lot like.  Perhaps our favorite TV mom.

Passings: Fritz Weaver, veteran stage actor who appeared on The Twilight Zone, passed from a long illness, he was 90....Tony Martelli, former major label president and later started the T J Martelli Foundation, also passed away on Sunday.  He was 90.

(Photo: Steven Malley-The Gazette)

Funny how a month can change a team from being a pretender to contender.  Four weeks ago, Penn State shredded Iowa's defense for 599 total yards.  Since then Iowa has gone 3-0, took out Michigan, shut out Illinois and then whopped Nebraska 40-10 and kept the Heroes Trophy.  LaSaun Daniels went over 1,000 yards this season and scored two TDs as well. Akim Wadley scored on a 75 yard TD romp, and Riley McCarron burned the Popcornhuskers defense with a 77 TD catch. I think this game showed that maybe Iowa was good as advertised and perhaps Nebraska was overrated.  Ohio State blew them out 62-3 at Columbus. For Tommy Armstrong Jr, it's his final game against the Hawkeyes and he was fighting hamstring issues and wasn't 100 percent.  But neither he or his back up QB had much luck against a Hawkeye defense that has gotten their act together.

 (Photo: James Daniels blocking for older brother LaShan Daniels, from NCAA)

But still it has been a bittersweet month, even though Iowa went 3-0, they ended up losing four top star recruitment players, three from Texas citing the no visit policy of the Iowa Coaches, that stopped them from visiting other schools. But that has been the Kurt Farenez way of coaching, surely if you're committed to playing to one school, why visit someplace else.  One of the players wanted to check out Arizona State, since they're in need of defense players. ASU is the worst defense team of the NCAAs, not exactly what you want if you want to make the playoffs and ASU couldn't beat winless and last place Arizona and keep the territorial cup, losing 56-35, the first pac 12 victory for Arizona.  ASU finishes their rebuilding and disappointing year at 5-7 and I'm guessing changes will be forthcoming on the defense side of things, coaches and players involved.  But as for Iowa, they actually finished with a strong 8-4 record and will probably go to a nice bowl game.  Even though they turned things around with a 3-0 record, the ESPN naysayers won't have much to say about the Hawks, in Colin Cowpussy's show he'll only criticize Nebraska for being pretenders too.  A bowl victory may not play into much but for perhaps a number 25 rating but the past three games, we finally got to see how the Hawkeyes could play winning football.  Better late than never although losing to Northwestern and Wisconsin didn't help things either.  In the end, it will be Penn State against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship next week, Penn State blew out Michigan State 45-12 and Wisconsin continues to have a hold on Paul Bunyan's Axe by beating Minnesota and winning the West Division title. Minnesota did have a 17-7 halftime lead but the Badgers scored 3 TDs in the fourth quarter and Mitch Laudner, ends his Big Ten Career with 4 interceptions, unable to withstand the Badgers rush in the second half.

Fidel Castro passed away Friday, old age at 90.  He survived 11 US presidents and a few coup attempts in his 50 plus years of ruling Cuba and you either love the guy or not. History will be kind to him.

Thanksgiving with the folks went okay.  Although Mom did say that this would be her last Thanksgiving cooking turkey and supper.  At age 72, my mom has done her damnedest to cook Thanksgiving and having to deal with the old man bitching about something being burned or undercooked and sometimes I wish that I could be more help than hinder in such dinners.  Five years ago was the last time I bought company and a girlfriend over.  Family gatherings for dysfunctional folks like myself, it's hard to go to anybody's else home for Thanksgiving, in fact I can't recall going to anybody home for Thanksgiving dinner.  In 1993, I went to an ex girlfriend's folks Thanksgiving and ended up sleeping on the sofa watching the ball game.  An early 1999 get together in Portland bought out my date's mom telling me that she doesn't forsee me coming back to her family after that and she was right.  So the only recourse of relief is still having my parents still alive to get together on these holidays, and we'll do it again on Christmas Day.  Family time is more important than Black Friday or buying gifts.

(photo: KCCI-Housefire)

My friend Doug Bonesteel was in town visiting his mom and he called me up to offer some old records that his mom or grandma had in her collection and we chatted a while and picked up a couple small crates of old records, mostly country and Christmas stuff, not a lot to get excited about, but there was some decent copies of Wanda Jackson and George Jones although a lot of the albums did show they got played a few times.  Doug also played in The Open Highway Band of the 1980s and starred on the sessions that bestow upon the world a chaotic version of Rocky Mountain Way.  Doug and his family managed to get back home just in time to have their house burn down, which is a total loss.  A Go Fund Me page has been set up for donations.  Even though Doug can be a bit of a radical right winger at times (he has managed to infuriate my former band mates with his pro Regan rhetoric) Doug has been a very good supporter of my music blogs and Townedger Radio. He's gone through a few rough go's in his life and I'm sure he'll pull through on this. The Link is here: https://www.gofundme.com/doug-bonesteel-house-fire-fund

Update: Doug said that the washer was the cause of the fire. It may have been overheated. If anything new comes up I'll pass it along. 

(Photo: Head East in Davenport, Roger Boyd on keyboards-Karie Skogman Pic Credit)

I didn't partake in any Black Friday Record Store Day Special Events but Ragged Records put on a fine showcase of talent on Friday, as well as the folks at CDs 4 Change and Moondog Music. Kevin Schaefer doing a book signing at Ragged Friday Afternoon.  In the Quad Cities, 50 Shades Of Rock played at one place and Shock Treatment, the Ramones Tribute Band featuring Lincoln Hinzman and Brook Hoover played in Rock Island.  Brook turned 55 on Wednesday and we exchanged birthday greetings and pledged to work together on something in the future.  To which while compiling this blog at midnight, Brook buzzed me through messenger to come on over so we can work on a new song.  I'd would have taken up on his offer, but the lateness of hour and playing drums at 2 AM in his part of town wouldn't make nice neighbors.   But I might be free this weekend, so perhaps I show up, with drumsticks and drumset in tow unannounced and asking where to set up.   I really don't have any more bargain hunts to partake for the rest of the year, except when Half Priced Books had 20 percent off like they did on Black Friday.  I ended up getting an Urban Verbs CD plus a couple dollar ones from the likes of Bob Marley (Exodus) and The Donnas (Gold Record).  If I hold out a little more longer, I can probably score Squeeze Play or The Sinceros and Harem Sacrum for 2 dollars a piece.   Or maybe not.

(Photo: Shock Treatment at RIBCO 11/25/16, by Rob Miller)

With the Miranda Lambert and Mike Eldred Trio albums reviewed, this ends my 2016 albums to be reviewed and eventually I will try to pick the best albums of the year.  The major labels don't help with the amount of crappy shit they put out and modern rock is as bad as top 40.  Not much really stood out, and while critics raved about Miranda's latest effort, the bad production and recording made it her least interesting album, but not enough to make it on the turkey list.  But on a second listen Revolution Radio from Green Day didn't do me any favors, which I dropped the grade to a B minus, still not enough to call it a turd of the year.  I'm still surprised I haven't traded in the latest Weezer album though, it actually has held up through repeated listens.  Also, the new Whiskey Myers album Mud is getting better each time I listen to it.

For the bargain hunting season of 2016, I'm still surprised of what I continue to find in the dollar bins, and if the future has anything in store, it's that I'll continue to be surprised of what I might find.  As I go into the Goodwills around here, I'm disappointed of how they managed to cram all the CDs, Tapes and LPs into a small media storage unit and I tend to think that both they and the Salvation Army do weed out the rock and roll albums to sell at inflated prices.  It's probably been their method of doing things which explains you rarely see a Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin album, unless it's moldy, trashed or both. My favorite source of media storage, the 45, this year is the most hit and miss in the vinyl revival era. At the right time, I have found some worthwhile stuff, but let's face it, the world isn't getting too excited for a Margaret Whiting or Cliff Steward 45.  For Nostalgic value, Born To Be Wild on the original Dunhill label by Steppenwolf is fun and I basically got it for Everybody's Next One.  But I think the bargain hunts of late is to try to find LPs and 45s that I grew up with as a child, which might mean that I'm winding down, not only in bargain hunts for 45s but in life itself.   Still in good health while dealing with HBP and an elevated liver but I been dealing with the latter for almost 20 years now and it hasn't killed me. As long as I have some sort of meaning to find music and blog about it, it's a good bet I'll be around a little while longer, give or take a year or two or three.   But I am beginning to draw the line on museum pieces, i.e. 45's over 5 dollars, or the unmarked 45 at local record shops.  To which the owners would look up on EBAY the selling price and then act accordingly.  That scratch on Dillard & Clark's Don't Let Me Down is the same as finding a copy of it with worn off grooves at a thrift store.  And Goodwill is as guilty as selling a 3.88 45 of Dave Clark Five's Bits and Pieces, with no grooves on it.   The general rule of thumb has always been most donated copies of 45s and LPs have been played to the point of no grooves or the label peeled off back in the past.  Sometimes it's a rare occasion to find any sort of Beatles or Rolling Stones in decent shape at thrift stores.  It's nice to own a Vee Jay copy of Please Please Me in decent shape but in reality, it's a luxury item that doesn't get played much here either.  Better to frame it on a wall.

Let's face it, the 45 era is long gone and not the revised 10 dollar copies you see as Record Store Day Exclusives are going to bring back top 40 45s for sale at 92 cents at your local K mart, that is if you still have a K mart in your town.  Losing Hastings Entertainment has put a big kabash in finding the cheap CD, one of the highlights of long ago Arizona Trips.  Up here we got lucky with Half Price Books coming into town 11 years ago to continue our discovery of cheap music, but for the rest of the world, your FYE stores are dying and on life support and unless you have a consignment store (Savers, Stuff  Etc, Bookmans) you're SOL and have to go online to look for bargains.  Or Goodwills if they have anything of value.  Or Salvation Army or St Vincent De Paul. Or take out a second mortgage and hit a Antique Store. Or Flea Markets, but in the case buyer beware; there's still honest sellers and traders out there but there's plenty of ones that fuck you in the can and steal your money while trying to play "Pawn Stars" with an outdated 45 of Prudence and Patience that looked worthy of hearing (for under a dollar), but not at 5 dollars.  I realize they gotta make a profit too, but I know that I have bills to pay and have to eat.  Some places I'll continue to check out from time to time (BDW in Marion's mini Antique Mall where Balster's used to be at) if the prices are affordable, but if a sleeveless 45 with scratches all over it and worn grooves are going for 4 dollars a piece then that place can have that museum piece.

But as for myself, if the price is right and under 2 bits, I'll volunteer my time and effort to listen to it, or rediscover a classic album, such as Exodus by Bob Marley, The Cars first album and Dave Brubeck Jazz At The Pacific Volumes 1 and 2.  But I'm more than half way to 60 now and time is beginning to be more and more valuable to me and my ears and really cannot invest in time and money for that big Pink Floyd Boxset or the Complete Bob Dylan 1966 Tour.  Coffee table boxset CDs might be a nice conversation piece but unless you're on the go and have a CD player to boot (or stream it as the case may be today) chances are you won't play it.  Hell I don't even play my Nuggets boxsets most of the time and yet to open up the Children Of Nuggets Boxset that Rhino threw out years ago.  A reminder on how dollar foolish I have become in the 3 decades of CD collecting and bargain hunting for that matter.  No matter how I continue to insist that I'm cutting back on my buying, my friends and dear readers (all four of you) will think otherwise.   You can't change a person collecting music for 5 decades to quit overnight.

Record reviews of the week:

Urban Verbs-Early Damage (Warner Brothers 1981)

Kind of confusing band of the early 80s.  They had elements of Talking Heads Fear Of Music, plus elements of Pere Ubu and Throbbing Gristle as well, judging from the noisy opener When The Dance Is Done, which goes into the Ubu like  Jar My Blood and Acceleration, which Linda France adds a bass work somewhat like Gang Of Four.   Don't know if this industrial new wave was worth the effort or Wounded Bird reissuing this as CD and at times it gets tedious.  Which all ends on Terminal Bar, which they take a page out of Wire's book of oddball alt new wave.  Not exactly accessible nor rock and roll but weird enough to suggest to Bauhaus fanatics as well.
Grade B

Bob Marley And The Wailers-Exodus (Island 1977)

I always consider Marley's live albums to be the ones to listen to and Legend the best overview of his work but finding this for 2 dollars in the thrift bin is worth a listen and pickup.  You can't quibble with Three Little Birds and One Love/People Get Ready (the latter version in its original mix which is much different than the Legend mix) but I think the lesser known Heathen and romantic ballad Turn Your Light Down Low are worth a listen.  I also still think the Barrett brothers' heavy rhythm of the title track remains one of their highest classic moments.  Carlton Barrett, king of the one drop beat, second to none, often imitated but never duplicated.   I'll leave it at that.
Grade A-

Delbert McClinton-Keeper Of The Flame (Capricorn 1979)

He can flat out work that harmonica and knows how to cover a good song but it does leave me to go seek out the original artists, Don Covay (Have Mercy) Roscoe Gordon (Just A Little Bit) and even Emily Lou Harris cover of Two More Bottles Of Wine.  Overall, a nice workmanlike type of Rhythm and Blues but I think Delbert has done better albums.
Grade B-

Dave Brubeck-Jazz At The College Of The  Pacific (Fantasy 1953)

There are arguments about how valuable this live recording is.  In the early to mid 50s, Dave had a damn good timekeeper in Joe Dodge, a very modest and shy drummer who rather forgo drum solos in favor of being behind the scenes and then would leave around 1957 to go back into banking, to be replaced by another Joe...Morello, who would shape up the classic Brubeck lineup.  Ron Crotty also playing a vital role behind the scenes as well as bass player.  Still this is Brubeck and Paul Desmond at their best, scatting around fast tempo songs All The Things You Are and Lullaby In Rhythm, featuring a rare Dodge drum solo.  Desmond's sense of humor has been a staple of great albums which made them much better, before the arrival of Joe Morello and Eugene Wright and more of those guys elbowing themselves for solo space on later albums.   I have yet to hear a bad live Brubeck band album anywhere, and Jazz At The College Of The Pacific  is a classic live album of the early jazz era of the 50s, as new musicians and bands started turning jazz into something much more different than it was.  Dave Brubeck has mentioned that Joe Dodge was a very good drummer in his own right.  This album proves that Dave was right.
Grade A-

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week In Review: Mud Games 2, Crabby's Turkey Shoot

Basically, a very short week of music. And lots of football to contend with.  Ratings should continue to squeak past 2,000 views.

2016 is shaping up to be a grim year for musicians leaving this world and Sharon Jones was a big loss.  She was one of the late comers to traditional R&B blues of the modern era.   To be honest, her music never moved me enough to review any of them but what I hear what pleasant enough to be considered one day.  A nice piece on her from the L A Times (including the usual ads and other bullshit that bogs down your computer, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-sharon-jones-gabriel-roth-last-days-20161119-story.html

As we wind down on the 2016 football season, things are still clear as mud but there are shapes beginning to form.  Iowa went to Illinois and shut them out 28-0, the first shutout for Iowa since 2009 and first against Illinois since 1985.  Close game till the fourth quarter till TD runs by Akim Wadley and LeShaun Daniels' 50 yard run put the game away.  Iowa defense for the second straight game is beginning to dominate games (they have to, even with the big runs by Daniels and Wadley, the offense is still asleep with the switch).  Next up is Nebraska on Black Friday, to which they'll be fighting for that Heroes trophy.  Hawks still can get a 8-4 record if they defeat the Mighty Corn, with banged up senior Tommy Armstrong Jr sitting out the last game.   Other surprises was Kansas beating Texas for the first time since 1938 to which Charlie Strong, Texas coach might be 10 million dollars richer when Texas decides to part company with him after the next game.  I didn't think Texas was a top 10 team when the polls came out in September and they proved that but losing to Kansas was a no no.  You have to feel for Charlie especially after his emotional post game interview.   For a good heart he should be undefeated but in Texas 5-6 and having 6 turnovers against Kansas is not acceptable.  Over in Ames, Iowa State scored 66 points on Texas Tech and blew their high powered offense out of Jack Trice stadium, T Tech only had 10 points all day. Credit the Cyclone defense for holding in check the NCAA's number 1 rated offense.  Iowa State has come a long way since the 42-3 drubbing at the hands of Iowa earlier in the season. It's too late for them to make any bowls but they will plenty of momentum for next season.  As for Arizona State, they lived up to their billing as NCAA's worst defense as Washington bombed them out of Seattle with a 44-16 pounding.  ASU has now lost 5 games in a row.  Their last game will see if they can keep the Governor's cup for another year against winless Arizona.  What started out as a promising year has revealed that ASU was in rebuilding mode and each game they got worse.  A win and ASU will break even and maybe get into a post Christmas bowl, not as if they deserved it anyway.  A loss and ASU can call this season a waste.

BTW, Michigan and Ohio State is on a collusion course for this weekend.  Michigan kids have a special announcement for Bucky Buckeye.  Photo comes courtesy of Buckeye Empire.  Hmmm

(Minnesota/Detroit Thanksgiving 1969)

The NFL this year has not been much on my mind, and even less since we got rid of TV. But I still remain fond of the days of the 60s and 70s when they played 14 games.  Before luxury stadiums and field turf, most teams played in old rundown baseball stadiums.  Last year I paid tribute to the likes of the old Cleveland Stadium, who rainy games would turn the field into a muddy mess and while most games were meaningless (the 7-0 1974 Slopfest victory over San Francisco), if anybody played in these games, their bright white jerseys would be covered by topsoil mud.  On our second attempt to glorify the Mud Games, I have pulled out a couple odds and ends games that remain the middle finger to luxury stadiums and field turf.  Picking out plastic pellets off yourself playing field turf is not the same as sliding twenty yards on poorly kept sod at Briggs/Tiger Stadium in Detroit when they played Thanksgiving Day, usually in shitty weather.  Salute to the grand old ball park.

Two For Two: Lions Shutout  Thanksgiving Mud Games

(in glorious black and white-the 1968 Detroit Mudbath, probably in the first quarter-Dick Lebeau looking mighty clean the above shot, he's number 44, Norman Snead 16 hands off to an unknown RB)

(Alex Karras 71 ready to make a big splash in the mud, looks like all pro Bob Brown is leaning on Mike Lucci as the unknown Philly RB drowns in a sea of mud)

Philadelphia 12  Detroit 0 (1968)
Minnesota 27  Detroit 0 (1969)

The Lions are a Thanksgiving tradition, playing on Thursday for a long time.  The 1961 Packers 19-7 win was played on a muddy field and rain.  The Lions came back the next year to derail the Packers in the Turkey Day Massacre which Lions Defense line kept introducing themselves to Bart Starr time and time again.   But mostly in the 1960s  it usually was a victory for the other team or tie ball games.  But the 1968 Mud Bowl, is infamous for a winless Eagles team, who could have gotten O J Simpson if they kept losing but instead upset the Lions 12-0 on 4 Sam Baker Field goals.  A steady cold 36 hour rainfall turned Tiger Stadium into a swamp.  Wayne Walker swore if you stay put for a second, you would sink knee deep in the muck. Punts and passes would hit the mud and stayed there.  There has been complaints that the Eagles were using dry balls for the field goals, whereas the Lions were using mud caked balls for any sort of playing.  Although the Eagles won, they lost out on the OJ sweepstakes and ended up getting Leroy Keyes.  Detroit would stumble to a 4-8-2 record.

(Jim Marshall leading the charge to get Bill Munson: Minnesota Vs Detroit 1969)

One year later, the infamous Minnesota Purple People Eaters defense came a calling on a gale force wind and a blizzard/monsoon to boot.  This would have been John Madden's perfect idea of a mud game. And of course who could forget Jim Marshall, covered in mud with snowflakes falling all around waiting for the next play.  On this game Minnesota had plenty of fun turning Bill Munson and Greg Landry's jersey into different layers of Tiger Stadium mud.  If the 1968 game was knee deep in mud, the 1969 was full blown quagmire as both teams fought the elements to which the snow was falling so heavily you couldn't see the players, as in late in the fourth quarter, Jim Marshall picking off a Landry pass and then tossing it Alan Page as Landry tried to tackle Marshall.  For a mud game it was a bitch to play in but it's quite fun to look at from the TV set.  That would be the end of the back to back Lions being shut out on Thanksgiving.  Next season, Detroit upset the Oakland Raiders and ended the amazing streak of 5 games being won on the arm and toe of George Blanda 28-14.  For the first time in a few years, it didn't rain or snow and the field was playable.

Wrong Jersey Mud Bowl:  Detroit 24 Minnesota 20 10/11/64  (Minnesota)

This was the game that Norm Van Blocklin decided to do away with the purple pants.  Originally Minnesota showed up wearing white jerseys, a strange idea considering Minnesota usually played with purple home jerseys, why Norm did that we'll never know, but Detroit had their white away jerseys. So basically, Minnesota had to change jerseys during the game.  And ended up looking like over ripe grapes in the process. And the rains came soon after. In the end it turned out to be a rare Detroit victory over Minnesota.  And if memory serves me well, the only time Minnesota ever wore those purple pants at the Met (now Mall Of America).  Back in the days of multi purpose stadiums in September/October the infield would not be covered up, some stadiums would eventually sod them after baseball season but once the rains hits, everything turns to mud.  With both Detroit and Minnesota getting spanking new stadiums and field turf, the days of mud and grime are over.  In other words real football played back then.

(Photo:Getty Images-Martin Mills)

A triple dose of Mud games  Minnesota Vs Atlanta

Atlanta 10 Minnesota 3 (1969 Atlanta)
Minnesota 37  Atlanta 7 (1970 Atlanta)
Minnesota 24  Atlanta 7 (1971 Minnesota)

The last game of the season for both teams fell upon in rainy Atlanta for the 1969 game to which Claude Humphrey's fumble return for a TD was the only TD in that game, by that time Minnesota did sow up a playoff spot anyway.  They were not happy about being upset, so for the next rematch they blew out the Falcons in another sloppy game with 398 total yards.  In 1971 Atlanta went to the Mall Of America (Metropolitan Stadium) and got smacked again 24-7.  Surprisingly I haven't found any pictures of these games but the highlights that I saw on old NFL shows did indicated that all three games were very muddy.  I'm sure there's photos out there on the net but at this stage of the blog, you'll have to take my word on it.

Oh, the American Music Awards was on Sunday. Heard there was a lot of crotch grabbing by the females and rappers, but was there any sort of music going on there?  I think Green Day  pissed off Trump supporters with a song of theirs but outside of that I could cared less.

Well, it's Thanksgiving Week and usually that's the time that I post the Turds of the year in the annual Crabby's Turkey Shoot segment.  With each passing year, our list of crappy albums gets less and less, not because of lack of crappy music, hell there's plenty of that to go around.  But rather a more diligent and frugal way of buying better albums and avoiding the Five Finger Death Punch, or Korn or Kane Brown and FGL.  So basically it's a short list, and basically the biggest turkey remains crappy digipaks that open from within.  For jewel cases it's easier but lousy digital package remains as bad as texting and driving.  Let's see, I wouldn't say the Goo Goo Dolls-Boxes (WB) was a total waste of time but they have altered their sound to like trying to go for the Mumford And Sons sound and it just doesn't work for them.  With that, I decided that their best years are done, either they retire or become an oldies act.   Black Stone Cherry's Kentucky was supposed to be their freedom from Roadrunner but their new album shows them becoming more and more faceless modern metal.  Barry Gibb-Into The Now (Sony Music) starts out fine and then falls apart before your very ears on the second side.  Frank Zappa For President (Zappa UME) shows the Zappa Family Trust scraping the bottom of the barrel of selected synclavier solos and a remixed Brown Shoes Don't Make It; it was priced as a EP but even for 5.98 it was a wasted listen.    The Jayhawks-Paging Mr. Probst (30 Tigers) was a disappointment, even before he passed on, Bruce Stanley mentioned how boring the whole thing sounded.  Probably the worst produced album Peter Buck ever made too.  And then finally Steven Tyler's country move We're All Somebody From Somewhere (Dot) is no different than the last Aerosmith album Music From Another Dimension, but this time out Big Machine/Dot decided to go for the country market rather than rock.  Not a disaster but too many songs and a lack of direction doomed this from the start.  Surprisingly, it hasn't turned up in the dollar bins at your local thrift store.  Yet.

Gobble Gobble Gobble....happy Thanksgiving. 

Record Reviews:

Mike Eldred Trio-Baptist Town  (Great Western 2016)

Upon five or six years ago, Mike and trio gave us the best album of 2010 and  the one thing I noticed is how Mike digs into the real core of not only the blues but rather music that makes the blues.  I suspect it's a concept album about this town located deep in the Mississippi which Eldred came across while searching for Robert Johnson's grave.  While there's plenty of guest stars that show up (Robert Cray, John Meyer, David Hilgado), it's Eldred and his band of former Blasters (John Bazz, Jerry Angel) that translates the blues into a history lesson.  There's a connection between Robert Johnson and down home delta blues and gospel, the spirit of Sun Records (which the whole album was recorded at Sun Studios) but even Led Zeppelin and The Beatles completes this sort of modernizing the past with the present.  While the acoustic moments tend to pass on by, the electric side of record stand out with all the grit all the way down to Angel's drumming on Hoodoo Man or Sugar Shake.  There might be quibbles with the almost hour time of the whole album or perhaps a six minute reworking of Can't Buy Me Love which The Beatles are turned into a Led Zeppelin type of workout including feedback at the end.  Still Baptist Town gets points for being a brutally honest album about a place that still remains one and the same since Robert Johnson passed on, where love and hate, rich and poor, black and white still have not changed over the years in that place outside of Greenwood Mississippi, and I think Mike Eldred really did his research well and it shows in his songs.
Grade A-

The Floating Opera (Wounded Bird 1971)

Originally on Embryo and produced by Herbie Mann, This Ann Arbor outfit managed to make hippy dippy rock and roll with a side of Vanilla Fudge irony.  The Fudge irony comes across on first song Song Of The Suicides but The Opera go jam rock on The Vision, complete with crazy over the top drummer.  Carol Lees is not the lead singer but she does sing on Fever Day, which is a somewhat a relief from the dated playing and un PC like vanities in Buckwheat Girl.  But I tend to like dated hippy dippy playing a lot more in this day and age over the autotuned processed beats that is forced upon us and while Herbie Mann is more a jazz player, he simply lets the band do the talking as producer.  Side 2 shows a bit more restraint (just slightly) but still the songs do rock out (Angelfood Cake Song).  Half Priced Books managed to have a few obscure Wounded Bird reissues in their stores and this was the best of the bunch outside of Fire Town's first album (which I do have and recommend it).  The Harem Sacrum reissues are subpar hair metal.
Grade B+

Best Of The Kentucky Headhunters (Mercury 1994)

I think the better overview was CMJ's Flying Under The Radar which stole great moments from their post Mercury years.  That said, The Headhunters were more Southern rock than actual country and their jumping on the country bandwagon probably had the same effect as the new gatecrashers Sam Hunt and Kane Brown but they are more pop than Headhunters rock.  Their overall best Mercury album wasn't Pickin On Nashville but rather Electric Barnyard which (again) was harder Southern rock.  But if you're in a junk store and see a bunch of Headhunter albums and want just one, The Best Of does honor you with Dumas Walker and Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine.  In fact they did pick great songs from other people, Waylon (Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line), Don Gibson (Oh Lomesome Me) and even Norman Greenbaum (Spirit In The Sky) to which served as a wake up call to Ricky Lee Phelps and he eventually became a minister of the gospel, but not before he and his brother Doug would leave to do their own thing (Brother Phelps) and made two very good albums which were more country than rock.  Replaced by Mark Orr and Anthony Kenney, they got to be more blues based than country and Rave On! and the Johnny Johnson collaboration That'll Work proved that and whatever country fanbase they had, they lost.  But not me as I continue to stick with them through their sole BNA release and the return of Doug Phelps after Orr retired.  Mercury Nashville decided to give the Phelps Brothers more country loving,  9 songs to the 4 submitted by the Orr/Kenney led group concluding with hard rock version of You Got To Hide Your Love Away.  But all along, I always looked at them more as rock than country.   King of the Pork Chop look Fred Young powerhouse drumming is the reason why they rocked hard.
Grade B+

Miranda Lambert-The Weight Of These Wings (RCA 2016)

The most anticipated album of the fall and when anybody decides to put together a double album it better hold the attention or I lose interest quickly.  Lambert has always made great to good albums, Platinum suffered from too much of all things, worse of all a Carrie Underwood duet that sounded unfinished.  This time out Carrie finally has the better of the albums released. Since calling it quits with Blake Shelton, it would be interesting how she would address the situation and she has....by putting out another mess of an album spread out to two discs.  The better of the two is the one named The Nerve, starts out with a moody Running Just In Case and spins its tires before Miranda gets back into the country with You Wouldn't Know Me.  Usually Miranda is good for a decent hit single but Vice disappoints me, and so did the buyers, it didn't get past number 13 on the charts and second attempt hit We Should Be Friends has enough vibe to maybe appease the bro country crowd.   The Heart, the second disc might be her most personal to date but the songs run sluggish, and Bad Boy goes for a more metallic approach and falls on its face.  Final song I've Got Wheels is where Miranda exercises those demons of the past and rolling on to the next destination and is worth the price of The Heart alone.   Certainly The Weight Of The Wings is Miranda coming clean and they're delivered with honesty, I'll give her that.  But the production and recording is a bloated mess, too muddy and muffled.  As if the Weight Of These Wings are dragging you down and make you feel what Miranda is going through.  I hope she can return to the days of the Crazy Ex Girlfriend. She was more fun then.

Grade B-  

Counterpoint: https://countryperspective.com/2016/11/21/album-review-miranda-lamberts-the-weight-of-these-wings/

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (Polydor/Track 1969)

Perhaps the most zany bunch of horse hockey in the hippy dippy era, I can see why this album got a one star rating in Rolling Stone Review Book.  I look at Brown in the same way I look at Screaming Jay Hawkins or Wild Man Fischer,  Hawkins is more believable when it comes pulling off the melodramatics of  I Put A Spell On You, which would have made a better followup to Fire, the definite one hit wonder single of all time perhaps.  And Screaming Jay had soul too.  But Brown is more related to Wild Man Fischer, he's simply too weird and misses as much as the Wild Man, whose An Evening With Wild Man Fischer you can finally hear for yourself after it was freed from the clutches of the Zappa Family Trust.   Since I staked my time and money on Crazy World, I'll refrain from Wild Man Fischer.  Co conspirator Vincent Crane's noodling organ work is all over the place with Brown's frantic screaming and half sung lyrics, but even with the hit single Fire, Crane really doesn't have much to say about the wild side of things.  I'll give him this, he did Alice Cooper in shock value, going around with a fire helmet upon his head when he played live.  He might have inspired Ian Gillan for those hectic screams too.  Although not credited, Carl Palmer is the drummer on this album and might be the best player too.  The Cd reissued five mono cuts before the stereo album and the mono difference of no horns on Fire and the stereo version with horns is telling.   It also tells you go find the single on a One Hit Wonders Compilation CD too.  Unless you like over the top bad attempts of whatever Brown is trying to accomplish.
Grade C-


RIP Ralph Branca http://m.mlb.com/news/article/209499804/ralph-branca-dies/

Marie Dixon, first lady of the blues: http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/marie-dixon-79-fought-for-rights-to-spouse-willie-dixons-songs/


Monday, November 14, 2016

Week In Review: Townedger Radio 24, Leon Russell RIP, Hawkeyes Shocker

A couple things before I started the next blog.  One Billy Miller who was part of Norton Records and a big fan of the garage rock music scene died from kidney failure on Saturday.  More about this story as it infolds.

(photo: Syracuse.com)

Leon Russell also departed this world.  He passed away in his sleep Friday.  He was 74.  Russell had a heart attack earlier this summer which kept him from touring and never recovered from the complications.  Leon will forever be known as the go to guy during the 1960s, working with Snuff Garrett and recording the likes of Bobby Vee and Gary Lewis and The Playboys.  Russell's second stint was being part of the infamous Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour with the late Joe Cocker, during which Leon formed Shelter Records with Denny Cordell and recording the likes of Willis Alan Ramsey, Tom Petty and J J Cale just to name a few.  I tend to look his solo career to be spotty but his S/T album and Leon Russell And The Shelter People are his two best.  He was also known as alter ego Hank Wilson and had a sizeable hit with Rollin In My Sweet Baby Arms. He hit the top forty in 1975 with Lady Blue and Back To The Island but later releases didn't chart.  Around 1976 Warner Brothers signed him with his own label (Paradise) but those releases were subpar at best.  Russell would later resurface on Virgin for Anything Can Happen and then in 2010 paired up with Elton John for the comeback album The Reunion.  Russell's final album was 2012's Life's Journey.  To which he has now rejoined Joe Cocker and J J Cale with the new Mad Dogs And Englishmen show, somewhere in the great beyond.

Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings fame passed away Friday 11/18/16 from cancer. http://www.spin.com/2016/11/sharon-jones-has-died/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=facebook

Mose Allison, influential jazz piano player and witty singer songwriter passed away in his sleep Tuesday.  He was 89 years old.  Best known for Young Man Blues (done by the Who) and I'm Not Talking (covered by the Yardbirds) Mose's albums for Atlantic proved to be his best.  The question if he was either a blues artist or jazz artist, but I tend to think he was more into rock and roll since he influenced a lot of bands. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-me-mose-allison-20161115-story.html

Holly Dunn, best known for her mid 80s hit Daddy's Hands passed away from ovarian cancer Tuesday, she was 59. http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/daddys-hands-singer-holly-dunn-has-lost-her-battle-with-cancer?a=ta&var=RIPHolly-TCM&utm_campaign=ripholly&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_term=original-tcm-ta&utm_content=holly+dunn

Victor Bailey, bass player for the likes of Weather Report and many others as a in demand session player died at age 56 this Friday: http://www.notreble.com/buzz/2016/11/11/in-memoriam-victor-bailey/


And now, the shock of the week.  Iowa stunned number 3 Michigan with a last second FG to win the game 14-13.  We thought the Cubs would win the world series but we never gave Iowa a snowball's chance in Hell right?  Well, that's why they play football and Iowa came ready to play, at least the defense did. Keith Duncan hit a 33 FG with no time remaining to pull off the greatest upset that Iowa has pulled since Daniel Murray defeated Penn State with a last second FG 8  years ago.  Iowa had a chance earlier but CJ Bethard took a gamble and threw a long pass which Michigan intercepted.  But the much maligned Iowa defense finally stopped Michigan for a rare 3 and out and the Hawks got the ball due to a short punt and a facemasking call which put the ball at the 36 yard line.  To which Duncan would hit the game winner. Although Michigan had a 10-0 lead,  a Jaleel Johnson safety of their running back and a Akin Wadley TD made the game interesting and the Hawks battled them toe to toe.  The refs continue to throw bullshit calls, the first ever Roughing The Center call ever made which lead to Michigan taking the lead on a 51 yard FG but the Hawks fought back and surprised the world.  To which Colin Cowpie Cowherd now will say that Michigan isn't a championship team since they lost to Iowa and anybody that loses to Iowa gets knocked out of the top 4.  Still Colin can gloat all he wants, but the fact is that finally Iowa beat a excellent top ten team.  Michigan still controls their own destiny but they have to beat nemesis Ohio State and Indiana.  Then they're in. The drawback: they play Ohio State in Columbus and Michigan hasn't beat Ohio State since  2011. The team with the inside track:  Penn State, they win their last two, they'll be in the Championship game. Probably against Wisconsin.  With the victory, Iowa has momentum, and they have Illinois (there) and Nebraska at home and now both games are winnable.  Each victory will get them a better bowl and an 8-4 record might grant them a New Year's game and keeping the Heroes Trophy.  Nebraska hasn't looked to be world beaters and they struggled against Minnesota before winning that game.

Still, Hell must be freezing or in need of a new Furnace.  Back in 1985, when Jim Harbaugh was QB Michigan, his number 2 rated team took on top rated Iowa.  Rob Houghtlin kicked four field goals to propelled Iowa to a 12-10 victory on their way to the Rose Bowl that year.  For a change, Harbaugh decided to put up Michigan posters to combat the pink covered visitor's locker room before the game. It didn't work.  North Dakota State trolled Michigan by putting up a picture saying of the teams that were in that locker room this season, only one team came out a winner, which wasn't Michigan.  Perhaps Jim Harbaugh should consider North Dakota State soon.   And let's hope that North Dakota State was the only away team winning a game in Iowa City. Still, people are considering this to be the greatest upset in Iowa Football history.  That might be stretching it but it does rank in the top 5 of all time great upsets. 

 (Super Moon over Madison 11/14/16) (Photo: Madison.com)

(Ragged Records: Davenport) 

(Supermoon over the Mississippi River, Davenport)

This week we had the chance to see another Supermoon and the place of destination was Davenport again. Stops at Ragged Records and Co Op Moline and Ragged had a scratchy CD R of Cozy Cole Hits for 10 dollars and Co Op had Stages by Eric Andersen.  Moline Salvation Army had a decent copy of Bobby Bare 500 Miles Away From Home (but in mono form), still that record was a part of my childhood years and getting any decent copy of that is worth the trip.  Stuff Etc had three CDs for a dollar apiece.  Since I was there last month, the Davenport As Is Salvation Army collection of 45s were the same as they were last month, a couple new thrown in but for the most part I passed on them. As well as a couple Moline Goodwill 45s, to which a B B King ABC Paramount 45 I'm Going to Sit  In Till You Give In was marred by a couple vertical scratches that made that side of the record unplayable. http://www.45cat.com/record/4510316

B B's first ABC Paramount single finds the label trying to get him into the rock and roll boogie and it doesn't exactly work in B B's favor.  But it's one of those period pieces that would be a nice addition to a collection. B side You Ask Me returns B B to his crooning/shouting blues style of the Modern years.  Growing pains on being on a unhip label for the first time but eventually BB and ABC Records would find their own groove.  Still I came up empty in all three Goodwill stores in the Quad Cities, and I'm not too impressed in the way they continue to throw their CDs and LPs all in together.  Last time I was at the casino I won 250 plus dollars, this time out, I lost 10 dollars.   It's back to reality and shit luck once again.

It was 30 years ago that I made my way down to Arizona to start a new life and looking for gameful employment, but it turned out to be more of a four and half month party of living at Zia's, Rockaway and Tower Records.  But the life of living in a "right to work" state didn't help me in trying to find a job and even getting turned down left and right.  The only time I actually worked was for a whole week cleaning out an old department store for a temp agency, which included such fun things like picking up trash in a local landfill,  a three day job of picking up trash around the old Los Arcos Mall and my aunt Sarge telling me about a job working at some place across town digging ditches and me making the 45 minute trip early in the morning only the have owner telling me to go back home after I couldn't convince him to give me a chance.  What seemed to be a good idea turned out for the bad, an hour after moving stuff around the Aunt Sarge's house and having the Chandler police giving me an impromptu greeting.  It basically got worse soon afterward.  But I do recall seeing Michael White's Led Zeppelin Tribute show at Rockers and getting to see all these girls dressed up in spandex and looking cool.  And seeing Randy California and Ed Cassidy's Spirit Band outdoors in the most quietest concert I ever been to.   Despite hanging at the record stores, although they all enjoyed taking my money, they never considered me to be a sales associate, which really would have been the perfect job.  I recall wasting an hour at some temp agency and a couple ladies throwing their attitude around, I had to laugh at them as I drove away and both of them came running out the door. Perhaps they felt they were being threatened at, when after hearing their lame excuses of no employment I threw my hands up in the air and told them what a waste of time being there if they were not going to offer some sort of employment. And to see these two old birds hurrying outside for another confrontation added to the frustration.  No wonder why they got the old number one flipped at them.

I remember there was a heavy metal band practicing out a few blocks away and they might have been Flotsom And Jetsom, a band that is still around today.  Outside of my best friend Dennis, I knew nobody down in Arizona and even using my aunt for reference didn't help and things were becoming more frosty. Couldn't find any job outside of paltry part time help and rent was expensive. Most of the time going to job interviews turns out to be a big runaround and the usual don't call us we call you crap continued. I'd hang around Long Wongs for cheap pasta and watery sauce. Finally in March, my aunt wanted me out of the house and after a couple more job offers fell through, moved back to Iowa. Arizona remains a mystical and wonderful place to be although I tend to favor Kingman and the Route 66 towns along the way.  Since then I have managed to revisit the state off and on till 2013. Even back then I had to contend with change zombies and part time help bothering the hell out of me for donations during the Christmas season.  It's certainly not the land of plenty, especially when you have 10,000 people moving in each and every month down there. Even in Chandler at the old neighborhood, some thugs did harass Uncle Clint when he went out for a walk in broad daylight.  The question remains if I gave it a chance but Aunt Sarge did throw me out and I didn't have enough finances to hook up being a roommate anywhere else.  The pitfalls of being young and foolish. But in the end, all it turned out to be was a snowbird's vacation  and managed to get some cool used records. But somehow never good enough to establish myself on the music or record store scene.  Just a bad time to be there, it was the time of the infamous Evan Mecham era to which the former POW and war hero became a car dealer man and ultra Conservative governor who rescinded Martin Luther King Day and would get impeached and removed from office in 1988.  He died in 2008 but had he lived long enough, he might be President today considering the circumstances.  I'll always have the love for the great southwest and who knows maybe I'll be retiring out there.  But I don't know. I think my time being there has come and gone.  I have no desire to be chased by the change zombies out there. 

TV remains unwatchable but it got slightly better.  Duck Dynasty is ending after 11 seasons. 

Record Reviews:

William Michael Morgan-Vinyl (Warner Nashville 2016)

While he gets compared to the trad hat acts (George Strait and to a lesser extent, Randy Travis) Morgan is the face of the return to so called real country, but Scott Hendricks (Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton) throws a few bro country numbers for the Thiesen's Hardware Store Crowd.  I do think he has a good voice and a good future in country music, but side 1 does up the ante on the bro country and creepy come on songs (The title track).  He did managed to turn Sam Hunt's I Met A Girl into a summer number 1 hit and strange enough the most George Strait sounding song I Know Who He Is is written by Tucker Bethard, (brother of C J, Iowa's senior QB).  A bit too much plandering to the Beer Drinkers who keep this world going, but side 2 does close out on a high note with Morgan's very own Lonesomeville which channels his inner Strait and Back Seat Driver.  The Nashville sessionmen tend to make this effort a bit generic, but the future does look bright, provided if Hendricks can deliver more on the slower tempo numbers that made George Strait a superstar.
Grade B

Cozy Cole Hits (Love Records 2001)

The aforementioned CD R that I got for 10 dollars at Ragged Records.  If we are going to pay top dollar for anything, be it CD or CD R, it better be in fine shape.  The credo of buyer beware comes into handy, in this day and age no refunds.  But I wanted to hear it and thankfully it did play.  It's a combination of two albums he did for his very own Love Records  Hits and It's A Cozy World.  Cole was one of the prime drummers of the big band era dating back to the early 30s before scoring a couple of hits with Topsy and Turvy.  While he recorded for King and Mercury Records, these selections are from either Love or Coral Records era, to which I think he had the masters all along.  Unless you're a big fan of Topsy Part 1 and 2, Turvy 1 and 2 and Topsy Turvy 1 and 2 or drum solos you might get bored.  But I find a perverse fascination with Cole's slow growling voice that introduce the songs and even raps a bit on Ol Man Mose.  He does cover Sandy Nelson's Let There Be Drums but with a much more smoother groove.  The 1964 remake of Topsy is more nosier.  Cozy's idea of rock and roll I gather.
Grade B+

Redbone-Cycles (RCA 1977)

While reviews of this are five stars and highly recommended at Amazon I tend to think otherwise. At this point Pat and Lolly Vegas exited from Epic Records to RCA just in time for the disco explosion and they couldn't figure to go disco, or funk or jazz and tended to spin their tires greatly.  While Redbone had hits with Witch Queen Of New Orleans and Come And Get Your Love, their albums never caught fire. Even their Essential Redbone album suffers from filler material.  Give Our Love Another Try is another attempt to capture the vibe of Come And Get Your Love and falls short, Cycles the title track goes for the Bee Gees and falls short and Checkin It Out does attempt to create something like the Tower Of Power would do, and falls short of course.  In fact I'm not sure why Wounded Bird would consider issuing this on CD in the first place. Perhaps it might be the presence of Jerry Goldstein as producer, or even more so WAR (who probably were the musicians behind the music although they were not credited, but they were thanked in the Thank You section.  But even the late 70s WAR was spinning their wheels as well.  And in the end, Cycles felt like everybody going through the motions.  The failure of this album would send Redbone into retirement.
Grade C

John Anderson Greatest Hits (BNA 1995)

Certainly his Warner Brothers albums were more country and better remembered but I tend to think John got a second wind during his stay at BNA Entertainment and this best of gets the majority of the better songs, meaning more uptempo numbers then the slow ballads that made Seminole Wind and Country Till I Die a chore to listen to, (the albums that is, Seminole Wind is my favorite song of his all time).  He can do Mark Klopher very well too but he damn near steals Keep Your Hands To Yourself from The Georgia Satellites.  It rocks just like the Kentucky Headhunters are country too. The Warner best of is where you find the early hits and a better version of Swingin', but the BNA years proves that Ole John had some hits left in him. (Straight Tequila Nights, I've Got It Made).
Grade B+

Lynn Allen-Retro Maniacs 1982-1988 (AOR 2014)

Lynn Allen is to Davenport/Quad Cities is what Hostage is for Cedar Rapids, long time bands that made rock and roll for three decades and still continue on.  As far I know Hostage only made one cd in 1993 thereabouts, where Lynn Allen made a few LPs and EPs.  Billy Pfeiffer, was so good at pulling off the MTV style of Loverboy and Night Ranger that he moved out to California for a spell to start a band with Ross Valory and Jeff Watson, a Journey guy and a Night Ranger guy but nothing came out of it and Billy returned back to Iowa eventually.  This CD is a combo of a 1982 EP and 1988 EP that did spawn off a regional hit with Leave Me Alone.  And the Night Ranger similarities is found on I See The Look In Your Eyes, the Loverboy soundalike of It's You.  For pop metal, not bad but those electric drums and keyboards do date the sound badly.  Which was probably why I liked their 1990s rivals Tripmaster Monkey a bit more, T.M was more garage alternative rock.  Pfieffer may have put the band to rest once again, no word about their albums being reissued but there's a DVD called One Last Night you can find at the Co Op Records Store In Moline. 
Grade B

Red Hot Chili Peppers-ICON What Hits?!  (Capitol 1992)

Reissue of the EMI album when Universal acquired EMI/Capitol.  And to this day, The Chili Peppers remain a acquired taste.  They have moments and they always had Flea popping that bass and a few drummers that have come and gone (Jack Irons, replaced by Chad Smith).  And a couple songs that do stand out (True Men Don't Kill Coyotes, Show Me Your Soul) but the problem has always been that Anthony Kedis wasn't that great of a vocalist and less of a rapper.   This album does do a good overview of the EMI years, plus Under The Bridge, that breakthrough hit that Warner Brothers was kind enough to license (it is the only Warner cut on this album) to Universal.  But RHCP do get props for bringing the funk in the early years and getting George (P funk) Clinton to produce. But they did need that hit and the cover of Higher Ground kept them going.   Not sure if they're fuck fiends as Robert Christgau proclaimed them on a flop album but they seem to be nice guys that would stumble upon a good idea or riff once in a while.
(They don't even have enough good songs to make a one-sided single. From Mark Prindle) 
Grade C+

Townedger Radio 24 Broadcast on Lucky Star Radio 11/16/16 Playlist

Abe Lincoln-The Backsliders 
Don't It Make You Wanna Dance-Rusty Weir
Mercury Blues-Steve Miller Band
Solitary Man-The Sidewinders
Into You-The Pulltops
CTA 102-The Byrds
Daddy Rollin (In Your Arms)-Dion
I Know You Rider-The Townedgers
Nervous Breakdown-Ducks Deluxe
Diddy Wa Diddy-The Remains
Say I Am (What I Am)-The Fireballs
Barefootin-Brownsville Station
Girl In The Magazine-The Brains 
It's All Behind Me Now-Swinging Steaks
Ohio-Crosby Stills, Nash And Young
Go Out And Get It-John And Beverly Martyn