Monday, August 22, 2016

Week In Review: King Buffalo, Davenport, QDogs Bluesfest.

Two years after the great Record Find, I decided that somehow the time would be right to see if anything decent coming in for 45s at my favorite Salvation Army hangout.  Again, the usual scratched up 45 suspects that have seen better years about 5 decades ago but I did pick up a nice 45s storage case that still had most of the number stickers that people used to deface their records with.  I do think the past couple of times I have been there, I have bought some of their donated records.  Perhaps if I get some ambition I'll try to match up the records with the number dividers that came with the record case.  I could have bought the other case there but I figured somebody would need one too.  It would have been EZ to get the other one but then again I would have to take the Don Corneal and Hilltoppers 45s inside as well.

It was road construction hell once again, and I couldn't get across any of the bridges to Moline.  The one that went to the arsenal, there was an accident and traffic was backed up, the I-74 bridge is in a five year replacement plan and even on a good day, getting across it is a pain in the ass and more road construction made that impossible to cross.  For the first time ever, I didn't buy anything from Ragged Records, not that they had anything good, but I just didn't find anything that was worth a listen.  I did find three LPs very cheap at Goodwill, picked up two cds for 67 cents at Stuff Etc and that was good enough for me this trip around.  Down by the river, they had the Quad Cities POPS, which parking space was filled to the brim and I basically parked down by Ragged Records and walked a mile to the ballpark to which the Quad Cities River Bandits lost 4-2 to Kane County.  That will end my trip to the Woodman Park for this year, the team started out slow and never did make a valid effort to make the playoffs, promotions will do that.  Looks like if I want to see any playoff games is to drive to Clinton.  In the meantime, The QC jam band of The Dawn played and they delivered two amazing sets last night.  Sean Ryan provides the set list:

The Dawn- 8/20/16
Set One:
Water In The Sky, Tired & Blue, Let Me Down Easy> Space> Let Me Down Easy, Phases> Drums> Sugaree, Troubled Days, Wait For The Moment, 1612, Rock Your Body
Set Two:
Born To Run, A Little Piece Of Mind, Blue Indian, Ticklelicious, Mikes Song> Wooly> Drums> Weekapaug Groove, Debra, Freezeframe
Bust outs: Tired & Blue and Phases haven't been played since 2014

Around this area, the places are still buzzin with great outdoors shows, QDogs held their annual Bluesfest with the likes of Tony Brown and Dan Johnson, Kevin Burt, The Janeys managed to play outdoors after the rains went through earlier in the morning.  This is Dan with the Skeeter Lewis All Stars.

(Photo: King Buffalo)
File this under Your Dream Date for the Month but it also is a discovery of a up and coming band that blew me away with their new album Orion.  They're King Buffalo and they're from Rochester New York but they play old time heavy rock blues with plenty of Black Sabbath Masters Of Reality sound with hints of King Crimson aka Red, although I'm sure the guys would disagree with. What we can agree with is that this new album is the future of real rock and roll, none of that bullshit NuMetal or bogus Autotuned angst Rock 108 plays.  In fact if Rock 108 ever plays King Buffalo, I'll be surprised as you will be.

Passing's: Lou Perlman, shyster and the guy that broke the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC big in the late 90s died in prison he was 62...Matt Roberts, formerly of 3 Doors Down died of a drug overdose in West Bend Wisconsin, Friday, he was 38.  Toots Theilman famed harmonica player that played on a few jazz albums and on a Billy Joel passed away Wed.  He was 94.

A Sandy Pearlman tribute by Paul Rappoport:

Record Reviews:  (Popcorn jam photo of John Hernandez, Peter Stark, Terry McDowell, Tommy Bruner, credit: Brenda Snow)

Tommy Bruner-Camping With WiFi  (Orange City 2016)

He didn't take too long for the followup to Miles To Go.  On this recording, the odd time of My Sweet  Charade, is more of a slight departure from the previous album, he's not afraid to reprogram the drums to do such things.  Some songs a bit more darker than Miles To Go, the anti love of Not The One and Sizzling Rivalry  might suggest he was listening to Richard Thompson.  Except for Rick Clay adding some metallic guitar leads at the end of Cranberry Lane, everything is done by Bruner.  His mellower stuff still has that Mark Knopfler influence although Tommy has been playing guitar longer before Dire Straits came onto the scene.  Originally the album got delayed a few months as Tommy was looking for a more polished sound and added a few songs along the way.  To pick a song that would sound good on radio would take a bit more listens but I'd go with Aging Eyes, a bit more aggressive in song than It Doesn't Work Like That from Miles To Go.  Or maybe Purgatory Train, which bestows a dry sense of humor to perhaps the hardest rocking track on WiFi.  But the anti war and tribute to the last grod Republican  might be the most potent song on this album.   While the overall songs of Wifi might be better than Miles To Go, it's the recording that really stands out, it's one of the best recorded albums I've heard in a while.  Certainly he's not quitting his day job (that would be The Past Masters), but like fellow Iowan Bo Ramsey, Tommy Bruner remains one of the best songwriters out there.  Camping With Wi Fi shows that.
Grade A-

Julie London-Julie Is Her Name (Liberty 1955)

No shortage of her albums in the thrift store bins and while I remembered her most as Jack Webb's wife, then she would divorce him and marry Bobby Troup and they would stay together till his passing in 1999 and she would follow him a year later into the great beyond, of course being a chain smoker didn't help either.  Outside of that, she shared a love of jazz music with both Jack and Bobby and in 1955 did a very intimate torch light jazz album with Barney Kissel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass.  This stripped down affair did yield a hit single with Cry Me A River.  The rest of the album are basically standards by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer and Irving Berlin and for background music before bed it's not bad at all.  Certainly not rock and roll but for being a torch singer with limited range, Julie knew her comfort zone and never stretch out too far.  Not a lot uptempo stuff,  Can't Help Loving That Man or S'Wonderful are about as uptempo as it gets.  But hey the cover art is sexy.  The record that I found was in fairly good shape, had a few pops and clicks for a early 60s reissue album not bad.  Once Bobby Troup started getting her into more arrangements with full bands and orchestras it got too pop for my liking.  But in a stripped down effort like her first album,  I can listen to it.
Grade B+

Robin Trower-Long Misty Days (Chrysalis 1976)

After putting together three strong albums, Robin kinda ran out of gas on this record and it didn't help with Bill Lordan smashing cymbals left and right really sucking the mood out the more quieter numbers like Hold Me and the title track but the title track sounds like a rewrite of I Can't Wait Much Longer.  Messin The Blues is the reason I still have this record, which the drummer does decide to play more of a drum beat and not cymbal crashes.  S.M.O is the second favorite but overall, it's one of the weakest efforts that Trower put out during the classic years.
Grade C+

Spike Jones-Dinner Music (for people who aren't very hungry) (Verve  1957)

Like Louis Jordan, and Bob Wills, Jones was the toast of the 1930s and 40s but by 1957, rock music and country kinda pushed these guys to the background.  Wills never changed his country swing and the MGM and Kapp albums were quite good.  Jordan did attempt to update his music with more rock guitar (courtesy of Mickey Baker and produced by Quincy Jones) for Mercury but people weren't buying sad to say.  Jones, on the other hand was a singles artist for RCA but in 1957 he decided to do his first every long player album and he revisits most of his RCA hits.  Of course the RCA sides were better but Jones made a valid effort to update them, Betsy Gay replacing Homer And Jethro on Pal-Yat_Chee is actually more hillbilly then the other guys, and only Jones could come up with a drum solo throughout Ramona, and decides to one up the Singing Dogs on Memories Are Made Of This.  Remakes never really top the originals, and despite what Spike tells you Cocktails For Two is slightly redone, but however I got a chuckle out of hearing Wyatt Earp Makes Me Burp.  Rhino did issue this on CD in 1990, but I found the G & O reissue of the Verve album in fairly good condition. Which seems to be the norm while sorting through old pop albums nobody cares about anymore at Goodwill.  When it comes to Spike Jones, I still do care.
Grade B+

The Thieves-Seduced By Money (Capitol 1988)

One of those odd ball albums of the 1980s that really didn't fit in with the trends.  The Thieves, actually belong into the side of Nashville rock and roll, owing a lot to Jason And The Scorchers, who even in their classic years, struggled to get any airplay on the radio but they did influence many of the rough and tumble bands of country, even the likes of A Thousand Horses and Blackberry Smoke can lay claim to that part of music history.  Another that comes to mind is the Questionnaires, who like Jason and company got stuck on the EMI label and made two albums that became bargain bin classics. While Gwil Owen wrote all the songs on this album, Kelly Looney would be better known for moving on to Webb Wilder and then Steve Earle and The Dukes, he played bass and Jeff Finlin, who later made a few albums on his own played drums but didn't write the songs.  And they were produced by Marshall Crenshaw, a cult star in his own right (at that time Crenshaw produced two classic various artists rockabilly CDs on Capitol).  But the sound Marshall gotten out of these guys were close the Jason And The Scorchers, but alas settled upon James A Ball to record the album and like most of Ball's recorded albums, tend to sound too boxy and cluttered.  At times, there some hard charging songs, Everything But My Heart sounds like I'm Not Your Man from Tommy Conwell (Conwell did make two albums for Columbia, Guitar Trouble was the better of the two, Rumble had the hit single) and the Scorchers sounding From A Motel 6 and the title track, to which would have worked better had Ball faded out the trainwreck ending. Black Lipstick sounds like the Romantics or Kings Of The Sun for that matter.  Owen has continued to write and record (although research seems to indicate that he hasn't done anything since 2010), but even in 1988 hardly anybody mentioned this album and I did find the cd for 20 cents at Stuff Etc a few years ago.  It won't make you forget Jason And The Scorchers or The Long Ryders but The Thieves were just as good if not better than Tommy Conwell or even Green On Red.  Problem was they were rock and roll, not hair metal.  For Cowpunk as they call it, it does rock.
Grade B+

The Uninvited-Pop This (Roarshack 1992)

Another band that couldn't find a audience after landing a deal with Atlantic Records in the 1990s was this band that had more in common with Too Much Joy than Sugar Ray, even The Rainmakers.  Steve Taylor had a dry sense of humor and didn't mind throwing a F bomb or two as indicated on Three Little Monkeys, somewhat a rap rock number, Ordinary Man a bit of punk bluegrass country roll.  Credit or blame Jim Wirt for the wide variety of styles, he'd later produced albums from Incubus and Jimmie's Chicken Shack later on.   This band, no relation to the Uninvited band that did Our Two Cents Worth, did make a good debut, they would improve on that when Atlantic snatched them up for a quick tax write off album.  But nobody around here knew much about this band, and this CD which gather plenty of dust at the thrift store was sold for 16 cents to me.  I tend to have a soft spot for bands such as The Uninvited and will continue to seek out the bargain bins for their four other albums.
Grade B

Florida Georgia Line-Dig Your Roots (Republic Nashville 2016)

More autotuned beat box bro country pop whine.  This time they try their hand at reggae with Ziggy Marley on the title track and somehow bring what's left of The Backstreet Boys on God, Your Mama And Me, which might have been a hit for the latter, say 1998.   Perhaps they have their eye on top forty radio this time out. Compared to country music radio today, you couldn't tell the difference. This should appease to the 16 year old females and drunken bubbas out there. For the rest of us, there's much better stuff out there (Nickelback, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steven Tyler)...
Grade D-

Albums from my youth: The Battle Of The Bands (Starstream 1982)

Many years ago before MTV took root into videos, the local starving bands would submit tapes and 45s to the radio station for hopes that their songs would get airplay, which many did not.  The bright ideal of the 1980s was to have bands submit demos, and the 10 best songs would get picked on a LP that the winner would have a chance to record for a major label, in this case Atlantic.  Who wouldn't want to record for a label that had Led Zeppelin, Big Joe Turner, Aretha Franklin, Yes and many others?  Well we were all blind once.  Miller Lite Beer sponsored and major cities had their share of bands sending things in.  Alas, time has not been kind to the dated new wave sounds most bands submitted, Jinx  had two of them and neither one stands out. Landslide also put in two songs, Yesterday's Gone the better of the two. I'm not sure who won the Cedar Rapids version, nothing comes up on the internet on who did and if they went to the final, the guess was Feeling Free with Ain't Got Time, which has a nice a bass introduction to it but they can't decide on what to do with the rest of the songs.  Tank's Dangerous Girl has a high end midrange guitar sound that is damn near unlistenable and The Misstakes  He's Not-She's Not There is so so girl pop.  The only ones that stood out for me is the goofy I Wanna Go To College by The Subsonics which has a Kraftwerk groove that's very catchy, but the lyrics are Sophomoric at best, Kicks with the more straight forwarded rock of Pessimistic People and the best one, Nick Stika and The Buzzard's punk rock of She's The One.   The next year 1983 the project was scaled back to a skimpy 4 song EP, with the unfortunate winner getting a EMI America contract (and you know how bad they were for a label; they couldn't do anything with David Bowie and J Geils Band, when both had hits). But, Starstream never did print out who the members were on these bands outside of the songwriters and most were well known around the area, rumors of Doug Robertson (later of Dangtrippers) were contributors.  For an album, it served it's purpose back then, but most of the music outside of She's The One or Pessimistic People, is just dated new wave or music trying to impress the Corporate brass.  Which might explain why the winner of the 1982 Battle Of The Bands Cedar Rapids Version didn't move on after the next finals.  It's just not very good.
Grade C+  


King Buffalo-Orion (Self-released 2016)

While rock and roll radio continues to mine the same 200 songs on Classic Rock Radio (or in KRNA's case 250) and modern rock/alternative rock radio sucks even more, today's new bands face a dilemma, do they sell out the major 3 labels and sound all the same or do they go with the net pod radio approach and go with the grassroots of playing live and releasing their albums on Bandcamp or CD Baby and hope for sales via word of mouth?  Being the old Crabb, I still can't get into most of what passes on the major labels but in the meanwhile the best music is out there via self released albums.  My favorite albums of the year are from the non major label artists, from local faves Wooden Nickel Lottery, Tommy Bruner and The Dawn as well as the established ones such as Foghat.  It's hard to keep up what's out there; I do think most bands try their best to put out what they think is great music.  Granted I am not much on Twitter anymore, unless I'm doing meltdown play by play of Iowa Hawkeyes game (coming in September) or promoting this website.  Once in a while I'll get followers that have music out there but those fairweather followers are bad rappers or so so pop singers or country wannabe stars  But Bob Lefsetz I'm not.  I have no connection to the major labels, but I am a part of Lucky Star Radio and anybody who wants to submit songs and albums can email them at gmail. (  Certainly if anybody does follow me in Twitter land, I do check out what they have for music.  But since I'm in my 50s, I don't have much time as I once did but if it rocks I'll do my damnest to get the word out.  Provided if my fingers can type the review.

I'm guessing that my liking of the last Mondo Drag album, might have something to do with Twitter picking out King Buffalo to be a new follower, so basically I found their website and decided to check out what they had to offer.  Turns out that King Buffalo might have made the best hard rock album of 2016, even more than Mondo Drag's latest The Occultation Of Light.  Beginning with the title track, Orion, there is an element of foreboding bass and guitar, not heard since Black Sabbath's Masters of Reality.  In fact Sean McVey sounds a bit like early Ozzy Osbourne, as the song twists and turns into a sludgey jam.  But I also hear Hawkwind (Lemmy Kilmister when he was in the band) particularly into the reverb drenched vocals of McVey in Monolith and Down From Sky.   They also have a bit of Kyuss in them (Sleeps On A Vine)  although I think they're more in the 70 heavy blues rock, (Ummagumma Pink Floyd, Budgie), even Porcupine Tree too.  The kind of heavy blues rock that I always enjoyed.  Like Porcupine Tree, King Buffalo works well in the extended songs, such as Kerosene (which sounds a bit like Stranglehold, till the chaotic ending which does sound a bit like Budgie's Crash Course), the hypnotic Orion Subsiding and the 10 minute closer  Drinking From The River Riding. Already the band has been getting great reviews from the metal online sites and they should.  This is an album that really gets better with each repeated listens, unlike the stale modern rock heard on the radio, the last classic debut album that I heard was Radio Moscow back in 2009.  This is better, it's everything that I love about rock and roll and heavy blues, it's simple but it rocks, it's controlled chaos that doesn't overstay its welcome.  And even at the end of the 10 minute Drinking From The River Rising, you just want to play the whole album over again.  Time will tell but I do believe that King Buffalo is one of the best up and coming heavy blues stoner rock bands. And Orion is one of the best debut albums I have heard in a long time.  That's saying something.
Grade A

Singles Going Steady Medley-Davenport Finds (2 Years onward)

While the finds were not as great as they were two years ago, they were better than last year's finds.  I think I found 2 45s back then.  The results.

King Of The Road-Roger Miller  (Smash S-1965)  #4 pop 1965 #1 Country

Two years ago, was the best bargain hunt ever for 45s at the Salvation Army and every year after that, I seem to return back there.  Didn't find much but I did get a record case for the continuing growth of 45s.  Again, basically country finds and it's rare to find anything Roger Miller that isn't scratched up to oblivion.  This was the song that defined Roger Miller and of course credit must be given to Jerry Kennedy for the stripped down affair too.   B side is Atta Boy Girl, a brief minute fifty six of quick country fun.

Out Of Control-George Jones (Mercury 71641)  1960

Another honky tonk drinking song from the voice of country music.  While the majority of people will say he was the best at ballads, I still concur that his uptempo stuff for Mercury/Starday were some of the finest country music had to offer.  Certainly while the Musicor, United Artists, Epic, Asylum, MCA years had their moments too, the Mercury/Starday is where to start.  B side Just Little Boy Blue, is really a hard rocking country song in the style of White Lightning or Who Shot Sam.  Backing vocals by Donnie Edwards later known as Johnny Paycheck.

Dealing With The Devil-Merle Haggard  (MCA 52020)  1981

Ole Merle and those drinking honky tonk songs.  What he does best.  Eddy Raven co wrote this song.
B side Fiddle Breakdown show Merle's fiddling skills.

No Love Have I-Webb Pierce (Decca 9-31021)   #4 Country 1960

Another hit single written by Mel Tillis, a nice little singalong in the style of I Ain't Never with a bit of drum rolls like Til I Kissed You from the Everly Brothers.  I'm thinking Buddy Harman might on drums.  It's odd that in the past couple years of how many quality country singles I have found via The Salvation Army or St. Vincent De Paul.  It does help that they're in very good shape, although they have been  played many times (but not like the used juke box records).  B side Whirlpool Of Love isn't as memorable or good as No Love Have I.

Cannonball/Moovin N Groovin Duane Eddy (Jamie EP JEP-101)  1958

A rare EP that was in these bunch of records that I buy.  In the old days, when jukeboxes had EPs, they tended to cost more to play.  Growing up, there was a baby sitter that had a bunch of Duane Eddy 45s, and she knew those songs would keep me occupied for a while.  Produced by Lee Hazlewood during the classic Jamie years.   The other side has Mason-Dixon Line and The Lonely One.  Which means more Duane twangy guitar and plenty of honking sax and hoops and hollers. All four songs clock under 2 minutes.   The record looks a bit rough but does play fine.

Thanks to Karen Howarth for keeping all the records in their sleeves.  Rest assured these have found a good home at the hoarder house of hits.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Week In Review; TE Radio 21 Paul McCartney, 50 Cent CD Reviews

During the big jams going on last week, I did stumble upon some CDs found for 50 cents at the Salvation Army with their 50 percent off sale and managed to find a bunch of goodies from the past.  All were in good shape.

What was found:

The Cars (1978)  It's debatable how this album managed to grab a spot on the classic rock list and I still enjoy the overplayed Good Times Roll, Best Friends Girlfriend, Just What I Needed and Don't Cha Stop.  And of course the wonderful Bye Bye Love, but I still think the last two numbers Moving In Stereo and All Mixed Up are filler songs.  The late Ben Orr made the songs become rock classics, Ric Osacek doing the more freaky I'm In Touch With Your World.  It's not a five star album to my ears, just like the beginning it's a B plus. No more no less.

Hanoi Rocks-Two Steps From The Move (1984)  These guys were the bridge from glam to what Guns and Roses would succeed with their debut but now sadly a footnote in rock history.  Who knows what would have happened had Dazzle the drummer not gotten into an ill fated ride with Vince Neil.  I don't think they would have done much in rock and roll, they were way too British for the US folks to care much about, but this album, echoes lots of Slade and even The Motors.  Their only known hit was a cover of CCR's Up Around The Bend, and the ballad Don't You Dare Leave Me is part Alice Cooper, part Mott The Hoople.  Overall, I like this better than Appetite For Destruction or even Mott (the 1973 album).  And Guns And Roses did pay tribute to them by issuing most of the Hanoi Rocks albums prior to Two Steps From The Move.  I give this an A minus

Billy Joel-The Nylon Curtain (1982)  After Billy's rock move Glass Houses, he went back to a more progressive piano sort of pop and while reviewers scream out POMPOUS and OVERBLOWN, I tend to enjoy this record a bit more.  Goodnight Saigon does kinda have that progressive rock vibe to it. I sure Bruce Springsteen wrote better blue collar songs than Allentown or Foreigner doing a better rock number than Pressure but I like both songs better than what the boss would come up with or that matter the latter band.  Mark Prindle would disagree with me on both songs.  B+

Sammy Hagar-Through The Fire (1984)  Basically a thrown together live document of original songs done with Neal Schon, Mike Shrieve and Kenny Aaronsen as the Red Rocker tried his back to revisit the first Montrose album.  Of course the original Montrose album wins out, better songs, better guitar player and a more rocking rhythm section, Shrieve is better at during the latin rock of Santana.  Not a lot of substance for songs but Top Of The Rock is a nice song and Without You could have been a hit had Sammy decided to record it for his own solo album.  For a busman's holiday, it's a okay album, but for a rock and roll album it does sound forced.

Other things:

Blogging for 14 years has been a labor of love, I sure didn't get into this to make money, none is being made here.  As I continue to look at the tanking ratings and back to double digit views,  I can see why folks like Groove Sandwich and others quit doing them.  In a way, it's a diary in the 14 years of buying music and commenting on things that matter or bands that matter.  It's a balancing act of trying to go to work, pay bills, play in bands and documenting all the happenings.  But I think at some point the frustrations of trying to keep things going with minimal comments, or people actually read this blog makes it even worth continuing on.  I've seen good music mags with a much more shorter life than Record World come and gone.  It's a far cry from the peace and love mags that I read growing up in the 70s onward, at some point the good intentions and good vibes become Corporate owned and all of a sudden the world makes The Kadashians  superstars.  You can do your best trying to tout bands that should have been better known, and there's other sites that do that, and once in a while you'll find a band that does take notice of your efforts but they're few, far and between.  And people do lose interest, I really don't have any of my original followers from hanging around.  You get married and have better things to do, be a grandparent and post pictures of grandkids, work and try to survive their lives, some pass on.   It's tough to continue to blog on and cuss the computer out when words get misspelled or seeing editing errors and missing words to prove a point or review an album.  But rather a love of keeping the obscure and up and coming bands some acknowledgement.  Is it worth mentioning about the forthcoming announcement of Paul McCartney going back to Capitol a third time, nor Pink Floyd re reissing their albums via Columbia anymore?  They are established stars but in reality neither Pink Floyd has made any new albums lately, or Macca making a listenable album  worth a mention.  A few weeks ago Steven Tyler made his country album but nobody talks about that.  Used to be new albums were a big deal, now they're just a shrug and move on to the next flavor of the minute.   For new bands, NME named a few that I never even heard about in the first place, Glass Animals, Alex G, some 13 year old rapper Lil Poopy? And hard to believe that the Arctic Monkeys have been around for 10 years now.  And you still don't hear them on radio.

With KRNA making a return to Classic Rock, it's just going around in a circle. The classic rock format hasn't changed at all , you're still hearing the same ole tired crap and let's face it, classic rock hasn't changed at all since Kurt Cobain left us. The three Corporate Major Labels don't promote the up and coming rock and rollers who could fall in that classic rock format and they certainly don't play the new Eric Clapton nor Blackfoot or Skynyrd but they be happy to give you Free Bird or Sweet Home Alabama every hour on the hour.  It's fun to do something on net radio, where Townedger Radio base itself from, perhaps it would be better if a corporate radio station would promote something off the beaten path, or give a glimpse into how radio was forty summers ago before Slick Willie and his cronies gave us the Telecom 1996 act and basically killed free form radio as we know it.  Or promote the regional artist.  That don't exist anymore.

By then people give up buying music and simply play the stuff they grew up with or what Corporate Radio plays.  Or have the local band play those overplayed classic rock stuff at the local bar.    You can talk about it, rave about it in your blog and try to get the word out as best as you can, but in the long run there comes a point you just throw your hands up in the air and said I did my best and get off the social media and go mow the yard.  It might be 660 views or (today) 43 viewers but in the end, it really don't matter.  It just seems that you haven't accomplished a thing, even though you did your best to rave about forgotten bands that made an impact in your lives.  Despite the good intentions of KRNA, they will not play Swinging Steaks, nor The Townedgers.   They will mention a new song from the likes of Metallica but in the end, they end up playing Enter Sandman.  

Preston Hubbard, bass player for Roomful Of Blues and later The Fabulous Thunderbirds was found dead Wed.  He was 63.  Years of hard living caught up with him.  He's best known for the classic period of the Fab Birds (Tuff Enuff through Walk That Walk Talk That Talk).

The fire season in California has been hell for the people in San Bernardino County and a Route 66 icon Summit Inn was consumed by the Blue Cut Fire.  At 3:00 PM the staff was told to vacate at once and two hours later, the fire came through and burned it to the ground.  Only the sign was left among the ruins. (Photo from Cactus Hugs)

Is the third time the charm for Paul McCartney?  At the end of his career he decided to return back to the label that started it all for him, he signed a big deal with Capitol to once again reissue his back catalog starting his 1970 McCartney album and everything else along with it.   In this day and age, it may be his final victory lap but in three headed monster known as the major labels, this is looked with indifference  and a shrug.  By now, most everybody has had their albums in their lives and what could Paul possibly do to get people to reinvest in the forth make over of Band On The Run?  Capitol is no longer a major EMI label but rather part of the big Universal behemoth.  Or just a satellite label and a shadow of its former self.   I just don't look at this as anything major, unless it's the last of a dinosaur artist still valid enough to command some sort of dollars due to his legacy and being part of a band known as The Beatles and still have enough in him to make a classic album such as Band On The Run.  Outside of his Give My Regards To Broadway soundtrack, none of his albums since has made much of an impression on me.   In the meantime, McCartney did leave Capitol for a few years on Columbia and returned and then went to Concord for a few years and now has returned back to Capitol to join the likes of The Rolling Stones and Elton John, although Capitol didn't like E.J.'s last album, they had to reassign that to Virgin/Island.  It's still Universal regardless.  It means that Capitol will issue the new McCartney album next year and maybe in 1976 or even 1996 it would have been big news.  And for myself still into rock and roll forty years onward, it's worth reporting.  But by tomorrow you'll forget all about it.  Just like reading this blog and forgetting all about it the next day. That's how it is in a Pokemon-Go text and crashing your car into another not paying attention to the rules of the road.

And what else?

First Flight-First Annual Iowa Album (Snowflake 1980)

If you're from Iowa you would know more about this early album of some of the finest CR Musicians playing on 10 songs of living in Iowa.  My jam buddy Dan Johnson plays bass on half of the ten songs, including Iowa City Wild Weekend Nights with legendary guitarist Craig Erickson, all 2 minutes of its glory.  If you listen to this, you'd swear that the Craig Erickson that would make the more noisy lead guitar all over the place of his albums for Mike Varney's Blues Bureau label.  Dennis McMurrin, Dan's guitar playing buddy contributes Feeling Blue, a standard in the DaddyO/DJ duo blues band which they still play from time to time.  Mcmurrin and Johnson also help Roger LaBarge on his folk Mississippi River song.  Not a lot of rock and roll to choose from, Billy Janey coughs up his song Stone City with Jace Boleros,  and Voyager shows off their inner Rush tendencies with The Final Battle, which like early Rush, a nice medley of song ideas and music execution but it does feel like a filler track before you get the best cut on the album.  Akasha's Madam Operator to which they add a bit of EWF and Steely Dan to their jazzy blues rock.   The record tends to be a bit too folkish for repeated listenings and Billy Janey did make a better version of Stone City somewhere but for 1980 it did give a valid argument that Iowa musicians can make good music.  Sometimes a great song too.  For example seek out the SouthEast Iowa Comps of the 1980s and 1990s.
Grade B+

The Beach Boys In Concert (Brother/Capitol 1973)

The so called last album of the wilderness years before American Graffiti came along and rendered the Beach Boys to pure nostalgia.  In some ways they were trying to branch out to something outside other than Girls, Cars, and Surfin.  Hey, I like them doing Sail On Sailor and Marcella, but not so much Trader or Leaving This Town to which the folks waiting to hear California Girls or Help Me Rhonda took a pause for the cause or went and got more beer.  Mike Love was still creepy back then if you think about it, but with Carl and Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine still around they did keep him in check.  Hell of a backing band too, Ricky Fataar smashing and crashing drums left to right all the way to Fun Fun Fun which rocked pretty damn hard.  It's easy to dismiss this all together but it is a fun album even on the throwaways such as We Got Love or Funky Pretty; the version of Help Me Rhonda sounding like a jam band of all things.  The Beach Boys would never get this rocking ever again, even if Mike Love still continues to milk the Beach Boys name for all its worth, he'll never top these live performances from 40 plus summers ago.   Certainly the end of an era.
Grade A- 

Blackfoot-Highway Song (Atco 1982)

An import at the time (Wounded Bird did issue it in the 2000s) it showed the classic Blackfoot lineup tearing through some of their songs in front of a British crowd loving every minute of it.  Something about Jakson Spires that I really love to hear him pound those drums on Every Man Should Know and Train Train and they did pick out the best of the Atco sides, from Gimme Gimme Gimme to Road Fever to the Free Bird jam of Highway Song.  Would have been nice if they would have dig deeper, say Catch A Train or Flying High from the early albums  Nevertheless it's a jolly good time.  At least from the British fans side.
Grade B

Flight 16-(550 Music 1998)

Cry all the way to the bank, writes the dude from All Music Guide and even in 1998, Flight 16 was behind the times.  They couldn't figure out who to be, Alice In Chains, Verve Pipe, Our Lady Peace, Soundgarden but unlike the two star review in AMG, there are some enjoyable songs among the muck, Fly has got a nice beginning hook, My Only Love apes a bit of The Beatles and Poison Apple grabs a bit of Black Sabbath to go with their post 90s alt grunge rock.  For 56 minutes, even if you managed to sit through this album, the self loathing will eventually get to you.  It's amazing that I still have this cd in my collection after all these years, but to be honest, I still enjoy their attempt to recapture that flannel moment that passed them by.   But I don't know, even Flight 16 sounds a bit resigned to the fact that this album was a Sony Music tax write off and all they got for their effort was this album, now taking up space at local bargain bins at flea markets, next to Hootie and Limp Bizkit.  Even Dave Jerden, seemed to have a half hearted  (or half assed) in the production and mix of this album, the songs really don't come alive.  And their so called big hit If All The World Hated Me (wouldn't you be the one to love me) was wishful thinking although the rest of world had other things to worry about, like those up and comers Limp Bizkit's classic 3 Dollar Bill Y'all.  Certainly I go more for the pout rock of Flight 16 rather than the Bizkit goofballs and probably will dust this album off when the moment is right.  But pout rock never has aged all that great.  Just ask Matchbox 20, (or The Verve Pipe)
Grade C+

Townedger Radio 21-The Music of 1976 Edition  (Broadcast 8/18/16 )

Two String Guitar Song-Rodney Smith
Roadrunner-The Modern Lovers
Double Trouble-Lynyrd Skynyrd
Honey Child-Bad Company
Flyin' High-Blackfoot
Are You Ready For The Country-Waylon Jennings
Slick Titty Boom-Elvin Bishop
Turn It Loose-The Doobie Brothers
Sick As A Dog-Aerosmith
Walk Away-Joe Walsh
This Ain't The Summer Of Love-Blue Oyster Cult
Get Across To You-Eddie And The Hot Rods
Rolling And Tumbling-Dr. Feelgood
Good Vibrations-Todd Rundgren
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead-Warren Zevon


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Crabb Bits: KRNA, All Time Best Albums, FB And Company

Summer is winding down as you can tell.  The sun keeps setting sooner and we lost about 15 minutes of evening day time since August 1.  The turning of the tide, the butterflies making their suicide run to Mexico and monsoons a plenty.  Thursday Night, our area at work at six inches of rain and the the drainage system in the parking had a massive whirlpool going on and a waterfall in our falling apart place of employment that got the eastern end of the department all wet.  The sewers couldn't keep up and failed at Solon and at Coggin and plenty of roadways were under water.  I found that out the hard way going home and took Kirkwood Blvd and saw a raging waterflow into the street about a foot and half high.  Thankfully the car didn't stall.   I haven't been in a great mood anyway and the weather made it worse, as well as the messed up lights in town that seem to stay red longer than ever before.  No fucking fun, having the damn things changed in front of you and nobody is coming from the other direction.  Even if you do get a green light, nobody stops at them, I had three cars plus a Linn County Deputy waltzed out in front of me the other day.  Too much playing pokemon and yacking on the cellphones they are doing anything but driving.

The Saturday Night Sweet Corn Festival ended early when about 70 teenagers started getting into fights and things went downhill soon after.  It's the way of the world it seems anymore.

Bands a plenty going on, so I had to go out to see them.  First up is The Shadow, a new band project featuring Tommy Bruner and Bart Carfizzi from Past Masters teaming up with John Stepanek (The Twist And Shout) and Fossiltones leader Joe Hutchcroft playing drums.  Their first gig was Rumors Friday Night and for their first time they did sound pretty good.  I'll give Joe this, he can do the beginning of We're An American Band very well, at least he did when I heard him.  It was a strange night anyway, somebody spilled beer on Tom Miller, who usually pops up for the Elvis Medley but John Stepanek did fine.  And what to make of a woman making moves on the floor like somebody does at a strip club and watching her dancing partner getting wore down by her dancing.  The guy had to helped off the floor.   Most of the elite of CR was gone by the time I made it up there.  Of course Tommy Bruner's new album comes out this month and the Past Masters remain their day job, but The Shadow is a fun oldies band all their own when there's idle time.   Their Saturday show, local newsanchor Scott Sanborn of KGAN played drums to Roadhouse Blues.  Scott is a excellent drummer too.

Saturday, across the street from Crabb central, the church was having their bluegrass gospel fest going on and I managed to catch a couple sets, the best coming from a guy and multi-racial group to which a black girl played decent violin, and two black boys playing steel guitar.  It's nice to see them doing bluegrass rather than the usual gangsta rap garbage that's now commonplace.  There was a Spinal Tap moment on the exchange of banjo and guitar to Dueling Banjos, a guitar on a stand blew over by a 20 MPH wind.  However the grand moment was hearing them sing I'll Fly Away and Are You Washed In The Blood, for old gospel staples the 12 year old girl had a nice high lonesome vocal.  After that, I went into town to check out the Barks and Brew fest at New Bo and two bands were up there, one was Action Figures, which played 90s alt rock with the likes of Jane's Addiction or Cake.  You gotta admire them for even covering Reel Big Fish but I kinda got bored with their type of music before they close things down with Weezer's Hash Pipe.   Avery Riot suffered from sound problems from the onset, you can hear Stephanie Reynolds vocals very well, but you couldn't hear the drummer and the guitar player though.  Hopefully, their next gig (in September at the Chome Horse) they'll have better luck.  Finally, I concluded the Saturday Band Hopping with Skin Kandy playing outdoors at Cedar River Landing to a mostly packed bunch of motorcycle riders trying to win a 14 thousand dollar brand spanking new Harley Davidson.  Unfortunately for Chris Walters who won the bike but then lost out since he/she went home and some guy named Chuck won it.   Skin Kandy is hard metal rock and with a replacement drummer a bit more metallic than usual but thankfully his refusal to play anything Poison  kept me hanging around till the winner of the motorcycle was named and as they fire up Welcome To The Jungle, I called it a night, to which by then it was too late to partake a trip to Waubeek to see Dennis McMurrin, Tony Brown and Dan Johnson at F B and Company.   Even though I live close by, I never ventured to F B & Company but perhaps I should some day.  Perhaps I should check out their Saturday Night Jams too, maybe you should too.

With that out of the way, the big announcement comes from 94.1 KRNA to which the big mouth DJ, who kept wasting my time with his rhetoric and unfunny jokes (including F Bombs since he was lacking anything to say) at the Skin Kandy outdoors thingy, is that after two years of giving us alternative garbage crap rock is now they're going back to classic rock, which has brought out the Alt fans in droves, leaving nasty messages on their FB site and complaining even more.  The new station manager is Mike  Ferris who had good luck with stations in Madison and Norfolk Virginia.  And certainly KRNA needed a kick in a ass, the 2 year "alternative" (and I use that term loosely) rock simply didn't bring in the ratings and KRNA found themselves in the lower regions of the the charts.  So Ferris decided the best way was to revisit the classic rock format.  If you live in this area, there are no shortage of classic rock stations, 100.7 The Fox is classic rock and really doesn't vary their song list outside of the same 200 songs, with the exception of Lunchtime to which you might hear Momma Let Him Play or even Stealin', but even with Nikki Sixx's Sixth Sense, the songs are classic rock overplayed to the max.  KMRY has also gone stale with their classic rock/oldies format, likewise KOKZ 105.7.  So far the best classic rock I heard was Fazoil's playlist to which they managed to play, the likes of Uriah Heep Stealin' and Drivin Wheel by Foghat, not exactly obscure by any means. But still even with an obscure classic, it's back to Show Me The Way or I love Rock and Roll.

If anything Mike Ferris, does take this seriously about changing the classic rock format and adding more songs.  A look at the most recent played songs do show slightly more obscure stuff, Guns And Roses Mr. Brownstone has popped up, Deep Purple's Highway Star, (It's still off Machine Head), and Stone In Love by Journey and Fool For The City by Foghat although the songs are still coming off the so called classic albums.  I don't see a return to free form days of FM radio, and Brian does locate a copy of Full House by J. Geils Band or even a Status Quo song from the 1970 boogie days, or even Rory Gallagher  I might nominate him for President.   He even repiled to my comment about adding some Rory or Quo.

I hear you loud and clear. Keep checking in as I think you'll be pleasantly surprised the more you listen. I appreciate your feedback. - Mike Ferris

So at least he's listening to the listeners out there.  

If nothing else, it means I can actually listen to KRNA once again. 

Best albums of all time?

If I have to pick just 10 records to spend the eternity with  I'd be taking all of eternity just to pick 10.  I think we have had these discussions from time to time in the 14 years of blogging.  Let's just forget the all time great albums that get picked time and time again. Pet Sounds, Dark Side, LZ 4, Exile On Main Street.  All are worthy and must hear, but can you live without them.  If you have classic rock radio you can hear, Free Bird, Welcome To The Jungle, Walk This Way etc etc. and not have to worry about buying the albums or best ofs of these songs.  They'd be at your disposal 24/7.

And then there are the influences, (Elvis, Buddy Holly, Howlin' Wolf, Otis Redding, Jimi etc etc) and then you have to make space for their go to albums.  If Time Life could ever come up with the ultimate box set of the best all time 60s singles that would occupy a space too.  But at least check they have yet to release Gonna Send You Back To Walker, My Girl Josephine, The Last Time and I'm sure trying to clear clearance and performer rights is a nightmare itself.   If the criteria just limits to the usual suspects then, basically it's all a moot point.  But then again I think of the overall picture and not just the trail blazers.  Sometimes an imitator or bar band does more wonders for me than Sgt Pepper or the like.

So let's just say fuck it and pick the ones that I play the most.  It's not perfect nor open for debate.  These get the most plays and make me happy.

Howlin Wolf (the rocking chair album) 1962 
The Very Best Of The Bobby Fuller Four (1st Rhino attempt of a best of) 1990
Love-Forever Changes (Elektra 1967)
The Animals-Retrospective 
The Complete Buddy Holly And The Crickets
The Randy Cliffs-Trixie Trailer Sales (2002)
The Townedgers-Forthcoming Trains (2014)
The Who Live At Leeds (1970)
Mott The Hoople-Backsliding Fearlessly (Best of the Atlantic Years)
Ozark Mountain Daredevils first album

For better or for worse, this is the best that I can come up with.  To put my own band and The Randy Cliffs on top of Led Zeppelin or The Beatles might be blasphemous to rock and roll and to Elvis.  It's also a matter of taste too.    The only reason why Buddy Holly didn't make it is because of Bobby Fuller.  The Who won out simply of I liked them better than the Stones, Beatles, Kinks.  The Randy Cliffs won out due to their punk Americana bar rock and roll over The Ramones and Replacements.  While Mott's All The Young Dudes made them well loved, I enjoyed their sloppy songs for Island Atlantic.  Brain Capers over Dude?  How could you?  How could I?  It's my ten best all time. That's why.

The anything goes country rock of OMD did managed them to sneak up to grab the final top ten spot. The weirdness of Chicken Train, the cowboy Psychedelia of If You Want To Get To Heaven, the folk start of Colorado Song before ending on a rock out fade.  The record speaks volumes for me more so than The Velvet Underground and Nico, which I didn't discovered till 1985 and even though I loved most of the songs, I didn't worship it like the critics out there today.

And with only choosing 10 albums, I didn't even scratch the surface of jazz nor country, nor prog rock, nor pop music for that matter.  It's kind of like debating the best Billy Joel album, I can't stand Piano Man the song, his best to me was Glass Houses but that's nowhere near the top 50 nor 100 best. or Pink Floyd and how Dark Side Of The Moon changed your life but it didn't mine.  I was in the minority on Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, which does make the top 25 all time best.  But I'm not going to reveal the rest of the 90 best albums of all time,  They are interchangeable and would place simply of the fact that I remembered the titles of said albums.  I like jazz and I love Motown but as you can tell for only 10 spots, there was no room at the inn.

But in the long run, I'm better off just grabbing 10 random CDs on the shelf and heading out on the road and calling those my all time ten best but I doubt Steven Tyler's latest would even be considered. But for simply the 10 albums that would be taking with me to the next life, the ones that were mentioned, I think I could live with what I picked.

But of course your opinion will vary much different than mine.   And that's okay.   

Popcorn Jam this week was with Kenny Webb, Captain Kurt and my old Open Highway bandmate Dewayne Schminkey.  Basically we did rough go through songs like Can't You See, plus Oh Boy and We Belong Together sang by D.W.  and a couple of oddball jams between me and Kenny Webb while we were waiting for the other guys to come up with some songs.  

Coming later in the week. TE Radio, the 1976 Version.  

Photo found somewhere, this fan reminded me of Chris Walters who left before their name came up to win the 14,000 dollar Harley Davidson but don't feel too bad.  Some fan didn't get his nap in time and missed out having John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl pop up to photobomb him.  Just as bad as being tea bagged?  I'll be back later in the week.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

ICON-Molly Hatchet

Somewhere lurking around your local county fair or dive bar is a tribute band that doesn't features original members (the majority of them are dead, Dave Hlubek tours close to home) but uses the name of Molly Hatchet, next to Blackfoot one of the more blazing Southern rock bands ever to make the big time.  Originally Ronnie Van Zandt was slated to produce their first album but a ill fated plane trip took care of that and the band would wait a year to do their first album with Tom Werman behind the controls.

The original Hatchet, like late Skynyrd had a three guitar attack of Hlubek, Steve Holland and the late Duane Roland, balanced by Danny Joe Brown's croaking but original vocals which more than anything else shaped the Molly Hatchet sound.   Certainly, their 1978 debut remains one their best overall albums, even more than Flirting With Disaster, although the title track turned out to be their biggest hit and perhaps the only song you hear on the radio.  Live At The Agora Ballroom, an official bootleg issued in 2000 is the only known live document of the early Hatchet, recorded before Flirting With Disaster.  But the 1978 debut features their own arrangement of Dreams I'll Never See, the old Allman Brothers classic done in bar band style that Molly Hatchet's version has taken a life of its own.  Plus hard rock goodies like Gator County and Bounty Hunter.  While the guitar players kick butt, it is the Van Zant vocal influences of D J Brown that makes this record a classic.  Flirting With Disaster offered more of the same  Bounty Hunter morphs into Whiskey Man, Boogie No More, more Skynyrd based boogie rock and roll, and Good Rockin, more fodder for your local bar band to jam with.  It pales next to the first album but still mighty fine.

With that Danny Joe Brown left and Jimmy Farrar took his spot.  Farrar was more reared into the blues styles of Bobby Bland and other R and B flavored acts and Odds begin to show a bit more reliance on southern country rock, namely Charlie Daniels Band.  A bit more workmanlike, but there are still worthwhile songs (Dead And Gone, Few And Far Between,Sailor)  Take No Prisoners hinted more of a harder rock style, and even Baby Jean Kennedy from Mother's Finest duets with Jimmy Farrar with Respect Me In The Morning.  Even Katy Sagal (Peg Bundy) guest stars as backing vocalist. Some fine songs like Bloody Reunion but the album as a whole, like Odds, was lacking something.  A cheap Extended Editions live CD of the Farrar led Hatchet band shows the band in very good form.

But while Molly Hatchet rolled along, Danny Joe Brown did find the time to record a solo album, and his Danny Joe Brown And The Danny Joe Brown Band turned out the better of the bands.  Key note is that this band features John Gavin on keyboards and Bobby Ingram on guitar, a little known metallic guitar player but he would eventually would changed the scope of this band once he joined up in 1989.  The D J Brown Band album (produced by Glyn Johns) sharpens the visions of the first two Hatchet albums, and ended up with a classic song with Edge Of Sundown, with some of the best guitar interplay between Ingram, Steve Wheeler and Kenny McVey.  The DJ Brown Band was more akin to Blackfoot, especially on the harder rocking Hit The Road or Beggar Man.  Soon afterwards, the whole band quit on Danny Joe Brown and he resorted to use other players to finish the tour.  When Jimmy Farrar left Molly Hatchet, Danny Joe Brown replaced him and John Gavin replaced one of the guitar players. What remained of the D J Brown Band became Bounty Hunter and have continued on and off to this day.

In 1983 Molly Hatchet returned with a new drummer (Barry Borden from Mother's Finest) to come up with No Guts...No Glory an album that got mixed reviews.  Basically some southern rock (Sweet Dixie namechecks Willie Nelson), Ain't Even Close and Fall Of The Peacemakers, yet another song done in Free Bird fashion, starts out slow then boogies toward the end. When Epic was using their CX mastering process for the LP, that version made the songs stand out a bit better than the original stoic mix.  But with each new album, the sales became less and less and so in 1984 Terry Manning, fresh from his success with Z Z Top, was chosen to produce The Deed Is Done.  By then, Bruce Crump came back to replace Borden (who moved on to Atlanta Rhythm Section, then The Outlaws and now Marshall Tucker Band which he still plays drums).  The one thing that stands out is how loud the drums were mixed, beginning on the Gimme All Your Loving inspired Satisfied Man.  For the first time, Molly Hatchet was sounding more pop than southern rock and it drove a wedge into Hatchet fans, even though Satisfied Man made number 13 on Mainstream Rock and Stone In Your Heart number 22, the latter song sounds more Survivor than Southern Rock.  Despite the two star All Music rating, I still like this album a lot, including songs like Backstabber, She Does She Does (although the sax playing lead is not Molly Hatchet at all) and Straight Shooter.  Even with the new sound, The Deed Is Done bombed.  After Double Trouble Live, an album of the 1984 Hatchet playing live dates, Epic said bye bye to Molly Hatchet.

Five years later, Molly Hatchet returned to a new label (Capitol in the US/SPV elsewhere) and with Bobby Ingram in tow, replacing Dave Hlubek recorded Lightning Strikes Twice.  I remember talking to Duane Roland about this album in a chat and he didn't seem to care much about this album. Perhaps he was right, it was more pop driven with an eye on the latest hair metal trends. They even covered KISS's Hide Your Heart, and there was some half hearted attempts to revisit the southern rock cliche of Take Miss Lucy Home and There Goes The Neighborhood, but the outside song doctors didn't help much.  Another attempt to rewrite Edge Of Sundown as a ballad surfaces as Heart Of My Soul.  By then, nobody bought Molly Hatchet.  Two outtakes surfaced on Epic Molly Hatchet Greatest Hits which combines most of the Molly Hatchet hits and the two Jimmy Farrar written songs were off the Double Trouble Live album. The Essential Molly Hatchet upgrades the songs and even Jimmy Farrar gets his due on the Beatin The Odds and Bloody Reunion.

The final Molly Hatchet album of note is Devil's Canyon, the final album that Danny Joe Brown had anything to do with.  He did write a couple songs and is credited where due but Phil McCormick takes over at lead vocals and it's amazing how note for note he does sound like D J Brown.  Bryan Bassett (Wild Cherry, Foghat) came on to replace Duane Roland on Guitar and anything that Bassett plays on is worth hearing.  A producer originally, he produced the last album from Root Boy Slim, Bassett is a great slide guitar player.  Devil's Canyon returns Molly Hatchet to a more southern hard rock style and the key rocking tracks (Rolling Thunder, Devil's Canyon) echoes vintage Hatchet. They also echo the hair metal of Lightning Strike Twice with That Look In Your Eyes which sounds like a Starship reject. And then a pointless acoustic remake of Dreams I'll Never See.  In retrospect, Devil's Canyon is the final worthy album.  Each album, Ingram would remark on a more heavy metal sound that would get worse with each effect. Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge their worst all time effect, as Ingram discovers the whammy bar for lead.  Justice (2010) Ingram lays off the hair metal and takes the time to revisit the Lynyrd Skynyrd songbook for better use but by then Molly Hatchet ended up becoming the original/tribute band of no members (except when Dave Hlubek leaves the house to record).  Their covers album Reinventing The Axes bring nothing to the table.  Aint' nothing different that your local bar band would do better.  The last true Molly Hatchet album is probably Jamming For DJB, from the Dixie Jam Band  to which former Hatchet members (including Jimmy Farrar) pay tribute to Danny Joe Brown, while D J does try to sing on Dreams I'll Never See Again.  Danny Joe Brown died in 2005.  To which Molly Hatchet basically died soon after.


Molly Hatchet (Epic 1978) A-
Flirtin' With Disaster (Epic 1979) B+
Beatin' The Odds (Epic 1980) B
Danny Joe Brown And The D J Brown Band (Epic 1981) A-
Take No Prisoners (Epic 1982) B
Extended Versions Live (BMG 1982) B
No Guts No Glory (Epic 1983) B+
The Deed Is Done (Epic 1984) B+
Double Trouble Live (Epic 1985) B-
Lightning Strikes Twice (Capitol 1989) B-
Molly Hatchets Greatest Hits (Epic 1990) B+
Devil's Canyon (Mayhem 1995) B+
Silent Reign Of Heroes (CMC International 1998) C+
Jamming For DJB by the Dixie Jam Band (Riffnotes 1999) B+
Live At The Agora Ballroom (Phoenix 2000) B+
Kingdom Of XII (SPV 2000) C
Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge (SPV 2005) D+
Justice (SPV 2010) C
Reinventing The Axes (SPV 2012) D

(in the vinyl revival SPV in Germany has reissued some of the Epic albums from Beatin' The Odds and The Deed Is Done and Lightning Strikes Twice-no word on if Sony Music has followed suit, although the guess is that the first two might have come out on vinyl and would sell for about 25 dollars apiece. Quite a far cry from the Nice Price of 4.99 years ago.) 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Week In Review: Tanking Ratings,Best Ever, Pet Sounds

Looks like that Russian bump that gave me inflated ratings have now ebbed again and we are back to the usual double digits views rather than the 660 that managed to pop up late July, thinking that this was going to be bigger than originally thought.  Looks like we back at low tide again.  The even more stranger side of things is The Review Consortium getting triple digits and I haven't posted anything there since March.  For the most part, I continue to use the Record World site more often.  I'm getting to the point that trying to maintain three different sites is more time consuming than need be and the hours invested of posting forgotten bands and pop 45s isn't paying off anymore.  With carpel tunnel issues, I just decided to cut back on the postings last week.  This is hell on the hands and wrists but the news will continue on as long as I'm thinking it serves a purpose.  I guess I'm one of the longer bloggers out there as I have seen bloggers come and go the past 14 seasons.  On occasion I'll see Jamie from A Sound Woman post something via Facebook and Tad continues to keep in touch, but I do miss Groove Sandwich.  Last time I chatted with Jamie was her observation about Dillard and Clark to which you can read here:

While she's busy going to college and living life I do hope someday we can chat again. A woman that buys vinyl, is worth keeping in touch. 

Basically the world continues to suffer in a world of shit between a Presidential year that has bring us the two most undesirable candidates ever, the failed reality megalomaniac  Donald Trump and the other  Hillary Clinton.  With Bernie Sanders out of the running and him trying to get his people to vote for Ms. Clinton, the observation is that, like the Bushes, the world is sick of Clintons.  But the bigger problem remains are the career politicians in both house and senate, doing less and less as the years move on.  With no term limits, Chuck Grassley will be voted in every fucking year, just like the puke face from Kentucky Bitch McConnell.   I think it is pointless to even mention the hijinx of Trump and everything that he says, he has no clear plan except getting the nuclear warhead codes and using them at the slightest minute.  Plus the guy doesn't pay his taxes, why else would he keep making excuses why he doesn't show his? Trump has done a fine job fleecing the tax payers for his bankruptcies.  But then again he's always been a bullshit artist.  As for Hillary......she's basically a Republican nowadays.  There's certainly no real Democrats anymore.  And the do nothings that hold congressional seats continue to go on vacation.  The hard working folks sure are not in congress anymore.  Enough of politics, even bitching about it does nothing anymore.  Do nothings sure do make a lot of money bitching about nothing, just ask Sean Hannity.

With Pete Fountain passing away, the music world that I knew back then is gone.  Musicians who define the pop and the rock scene have moved on to the next world and hopefully that world is a much better place.  The Bible keeps talking about the day that Jesus comes back to save this world but in reality, that is not going to happen.  Even the Son Of God wants nothing to do with this world anymore and we'll be dead before if anything comes out of the skies.  It's funny how growing up, we had three channels and PBS and they still had more shows and programming than the thousands of pay channels that offer nothing 24/7.  Viacom and changing VH1 Classic to MTV Classics is not a change, MTV in the 1990s may not been as a wasteland channel as it became in the 2000s but it's still a cultural decline and fall.  And the music never gotten any better, can you recall such classics like My Love Is Woo if radio plays it?  I betcha can't.   Can you recall anything from Limp Bizkit?  Radio doesn't play them anymore.  The great Clinton Telecom Act of 1996 is the cause of Corporate shitty music, it may have gotten you better cell phone service but music wise, we'll stuck with the classic rock playlist of 1985, updated with Stone Temple Pilots and one hit wonders like Eve 6 once in a while.  I love the 80s as much as anybody else but I rather not go back to Funkytown, since I never cared for that song in the first place.  What happened to old Oldies?  Well, they're like Big Band music, nobody plays those anymore.   We never thought that fifty years down the road that the music we grew up would not be heard on the radio anymore.  Except The Beatles or Elvis or Rolling Stones. But today's youth is surely missing out hearing the beginning notes of Duane Eddy's Peter Gunn coming from the jukebox at the local choke and puke. But today's youth wouldn't know that, they're too busy peering from their smart phone looking for Pokemon.  And once your youth is gone, you won't be finding those lost years looking for Pokemon. That's something you can never get back.

Still life goes on for those who rocked and rolled us 50 summers ago.  Case in point:  This Tuesday outdoors, you get Mike Love And The Beach Boys playing at the McGrath Amphitheater, with Otis Williams and The Temptations opening.  Four years ago, I might have jumped paying fifty dollars to see The Beach Boys with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine in tow, but despite having Bruce Johnston, the Mike Love Beach Boys just seems to be a creepy oldies act and Mike Love seems to be one of those musicians you rather stay away from.  Otis Williams is the last original Temptations, them of Motown fame, them featuring the talented but hot headed and irrational thinking David Ruffin now gone, the sweet tenor of Eddie Kendricks now gone and the cool bass singing of Mel Franklin now gone, Paul Williams gone, the Temps have become a Vegas like band that can sing the standards in their sleep, My Girl, Ain't Too Proud To Beg, Papa Was A Rolling Stone. Larry Braggs, who sang in Tower Of Power is one of the main vocalist today, while Ron Tyson is the longest tenured Temptation outside of Otis Williams.

Coming later in August is something called Psycho Fest featuring the likes of Alice Cooper, Blue Oyster Cult, Fu Manchu and Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats (no Mondo Drag though) and many many others but it also will feature the reunion of The Truth And Janey, Iowa's stoner band of the 1970s. Billylee Janey, who's been doing the white guy blues scene for many years will return back into his stoner rock mood, but I have no idea who will be a part of the original lineup, since somebody passed away from that band a few years ago and the archives haven't taken me to that article.  Stick around afterwards and hear Mr. Billy Lee tell you how he created stoner rock back then.  And basically No Rest For The Wicked is an Iowa rock classic album now back in print via the Rockadrome label, for 12.99.  If you want the original album, that might set you back a few more dollars but it is a worthy album to your collection.

Coming in September is the Happy Together tour with Flo And Eddie or better known as The Turtles, with a little help from Mark Lindsay, The Cowsills, Gary Puckett, Chuck Negron (of 3 Dog Night fame) and Spencer Davis which falls on September 2nd. at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.  The same night that 50 Shades Of Rock returns back to North Liberty.

Karl Hudson has moved back in town now.  Welcome home.

Site of the month:

Yet another site dedicated to the best albums ever made.  You be the judge.  

Popcorn Jam note:  Dan Johnson took the day off to go watch the CR Kernels play, Mike Williams and Dan Hartman rocked the acoustic jam at Cooters, but all the drummers went down to Rumors to partake into the southern rock jam featuring Kenny Webb, Rick Clay, Kyle from Indiana and T Mack. The Crabb only did one song, but if you're going to do one song you might as well go all out.  The version of Rocky Mountain Way, this time out I used the version I originally did in 1982, namely all cymbals rather than drums with the intense ending.  I heard it was quite well although I don't remember much afterward. 

BTW.  20 years ago, The Ramones played their last show.  Let that sink in a while.

And I guess Britney Spears is back with a new album.  To promote that fiasco, she posed topless. When all else fails in life, show your funbags.

Passings: Dottie Ray, longtime KXIC personality that had her very own 15 minute show, even after the Corporate mergers.  She retired the show in 2013.  She died Monday, she was 93.

Glenn Yarbrough, famed folk singer who's big hit was Baby The Rain Must Fall, passed away Thursday from Dementia complications.  He was 86.

Reviews for the discerning slacker

Frank Zappa-Frank Zappa For President (Zappa 2016)

It seems 23 years later that we need Frank Zappa more than ever now but unfortunately what remains in the archives suggest otherwise.  This cheapo cheapo CD, throws synclavier  noodling for 15 minutes before going into Brown Shoes Don't Make It, a key cut from Absolutely Free.  A couple of spoken word pieces from FZ gets my interests back up, plus two cuts from a 1988 show (When The Lie's So Big and  a trainwreck in the making  cover of  America The Beautiful), plus another 6 minutes of synclavier noodling in between.  The last Zappa album I bought, (The Mothers Of Prevention) suffered from good intentions done in by synclavier noodling as well and the best songs, which were jams with Johnny Guitar Watson was left off the US release.  I think Frank was at this point more into symphony type of works, in the style of Varese, the composer that Frank cites as a main inspiration.    It would have helped if Ahmet Zappa could have located I Don't Want To Get Drafted and perhaps hearing one of Zappa's last compositions Overture To Uncle Sam worth the 7 dollars to buy this.  But Synclaviers tend to bore me, even in Zappa's complex time signatures. It still is a snoozefest.
Grade C

The Beatles-Revolver (Capitol 1966)

In that year of Can You Top This, Revolver seemed to be a reaction piece to Pet Sounds, or so the story goes.  For the first time, Capitol US issued the record as is, unlike Rubber Soul to which they added a couple and subtracted a couple.  While I tend to think the US Rubber Soul was the better of the two, Revolver really does showed that The Beatles did up the ante, and even giving George Harrison three songs, the great lead off Taxman, the not so great Love You To and the underrated I Want To Tell You.  They did give a posthumous 1976 hit with Got To Get You In My Life, to which Earth Wind and Fire made their own a couple years later for the flop movie that came out.  Say what you want about Yellow Submarine but I still love that song all the way down to Ringo's vocals and for power pop bliss She Said She Said and And Your Bird Can Sing can't be beat.  Tomorrow Never Knows is still a love hate thing but I can't think of a better song to end this album.
Grade A

The Beach Boys-15 Big Ones (Brother 1976)

The Beach Boys were a nostalgic act even in the Bicentennial year although they did get  minor hits with Rock and Roll Music and It's OK.   While it's been mentioned this was their best album since Sunflower, the throwaway covers kinda make this a passable affair.  Talk To me, gets a rave up middle in Tallahassee Lassie and too bad they didn't keep the groove going.  Al Jardine comes up with a decent rocker in Susie Cincinnati before the change of chords kinda ruins the mood toward the end.  Still some innocent fun with Blueberry Hill and In The Still Of The Night but Brian Wilson can't sing very well on Just Once In My Life.  Should have left that one off the record.
Grade B

Buckner & Garcia-Pac Man Fever (Columbia 1982)

For a children's album, I tend to look at this  somewhat melodramatic, even on the overblown Ode To A Centipede and perhaps Froggy's Lament is a bit too sad the way that Gary Garcia sings it.    But there's no denying that Pac Man Fever remains perhaps the 80s answer to Yummy Yummy Yummy, but with better guitar and better lyrics.  I've been looking for ages a decent copy of this album but as you know children albums tend to get played through the grooves.  It does get a bit tedious, especially side 2 of the lesser known video games and too bad nobody thought up a groove for Q Burt.  Sony Music never did sign off on releasing this album on CD and when it did show up (On K-Tel if it really matters) Buckner And Garcia had to redo some of the songs.   Kids today wouldn't know the difference between Donkey Kong or The Enforcer since they're too busy chasing Pokemon but as a bygone era relic, this record is at least worth listening simply of the sound effects of those old video games.   It's cheesy but I think it has good intentions.
Grade B

Counterpoint: (Guess who)

The Stillroven-Cast Thy Burden Upon (Sundazed 1996)

Only from Sundazed could come this batch of covers from an obscure Minneapolis band.  Their choices of covers is quite remarkable, anybody that can cover Love, The Animals, Small Faces and based themselves out of the midwest gets points for thinking outside of the usual top forty songs of 1966 thereabouts.  Like any upstarting garage band their covers are quite crude, the off drumming to Steppin Stone, and for Hey Joe, they don't cover Jimi Hendrix or the Byrds but rather Love.  And like most garage bands, the covers don't come close to the original be it Love Is A Beautiful Thing or Under My Thumb.  The first version of The Small Faces Tell Me Have You Ever See Me is a bit more rougher and better than the polished second version to which they're wondering what to do next.  I'm guessing the unreleased songs were demos to get them gigs.  I'm not going to rake them over the coals, they meant well.  And if anybody does cover Moby Grape's fourth best overall song from their S/T album does get points and kudos.  Not memorable but it works enough to get them the Friday Night Gig at the local watering hole
Grade B-

The Jayhawks-Paging Mr. Proust (Sham/30 Tigers 2016)

I guess this is where I turn in my Jayhawks button.  After the disappointment of their previous album with Mark Olson (who then left again), Gary Louris soldered on with most of the lineup that made Sound Of Lies plus Kraig Johnson, formerly of Run Westy Run.  Certainly it helps when you have a few of the REM boys pop in and have Peter Buck co produce it, but I have never heard such a crappy mix from a major band.  It seems like Louris' vocals are buried so far in the mix you can barely hear the words (Blame co producer Tucker Martine).  Another problem is that for every good song that Louris comes up with (The Dust Of Long-Dead Stars, Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces), he also comes up some real turds, (Ace, a oddball avantgarde sort that has Gary trying out his guitar effect pedals).  But it seems to me that The Jayhawks made three great albums at the beginning and then beginning with Tomorrow The Long Grass begin to father badly, Sound Of Lies comes to mind.  Even the American Recordings best of seems to suggest that even with the highlights from the albums after Long Grass, they pale next to Blue Earth or Hollywood Town Hall, although Smile and Rainy Day Music had moments too.  If anything this album is better than Mockingbird Time, but you have to skip over Ace, a major buzzkill to get to the last five songs. This could have been the worthy followup to Rainy Day Music but to me, it's a disappointment to the point that it gets knocked down a notch for one of the worst recording jobs this century.   At least George Drakouius or Brian Paulson would have done a much much more better recording.
Grade C+

Albums From My Youth-The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Capitol 1966)

In my lifetime I have reviewed and heard just about every album that made an impact on the music world.  I have studied the Rolling Stone Review guides 1, 2, and 3, as well as Robert Christgau's reviews as well.  Until the day I die, I will continue to listen to anything that captures my attention. In the course of my lifetime, the music I most identify with is the music of my youth, which started when my mom bought 45s in the cheap bins and then going to my Grandparents to hear the big box of 45s all scratched up but playable.   Through the golden age of rock and roll that started in 1954 with Rock Around The Crowd and then having the likes of Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Freddy Cannon, The Everly Brothers, and through the British Invasion and the Animals, The Beatles and bubble gum pop like Tommy James And The Shondells, then to the garage rock of Paul Revere And The Raiders and The Rascals and The Doors, and then the underground rock and roll of Led Zeppelin, Foghat, Aerosmith and Blue Oyster Cult and continues to this day, although most new music doesn't hold much weight.

I have read Rolling Stones 500 Best Albums Of All Time and while the top ten continue to be the ones that people continue to buy, my views have been mixed on certain classic albums. Bob Dylan-Blonde On Blonde is an album that while worthy, I have never warmed up to it, nor Bruce Springsteen Born To Run, nor Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon.  They're still classic albums but for desert island discs, not my favorites.  I guess you can add Pet Sounds to that allotment.

While discussing this album with friends the past couple days and its importance to rock and roll, I finally decided to locate the album and play it on the way to work today.   Brian Wilson has said that mono version was the way to hear it (or at least he said that in a interview years ago).  When I found the CD for 4.99 at the now history Hastings store in Ames, it had both mono and stereo and after hearing it, I still like the stereo version better.  I think Brian Wilson had a such a fascination and obsession with Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound that he decided to do an  album such as Pet Sounds.  Of course you can't go wrong with Wouldn't It Be Nice, which leaves the album off on a great note.  The problem is, that side 1 really drags for me.  Of course Brian Wilson sings all over it, Mike Love kept in check, though he pops in on the bridge of Wouldn't It Be Nice, but does show up more often on side two beginning with Sloop John B which has always been one of my favorite Beach Boys numbers.  If the record deserves that A minus grade, it is the beauty of God Only Knows and Caroline, No. I do like the lesser known I Know There's An Answer and Here Today.  The connection to the wall of sound of Spector is that some of those musicians used by Spector, Wilson employs them on Pet Sounds,  (Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Larry Ketchnel, even Glen Campbell himself) plus Larry Levine records a couple of them.    The CD reissue (1996 version that is) really provides a detailed sessions of these songs, plus the bonus track Hang On To Your Ego and the liner notes are worth the price of the CD itself.

Given that, I do not deny Pet Sounds is a classic album, it influenced The Beatles to come up with Revolver and up the ante of some of the best albums that came out 50 summers ago, to which the youth and bands of today can never, never achieve, not even half way.  The Major labels will not support any band with the grand vision of what Pet Sounds became, when bands wanted to create their own music rather than fall into stale, flavor of the moment crap you hear on radio today.   Even Brian Wilson couldn't top what he did with Pet Sounds, with the failed Smile project which did come out years later and with Wilson with a band that could do the songs better than Mike Love and the hired hands of The Beach Boys and by then both Carl and Dennis Wilson moved on to the next world.   In the end, I more inclined, when wanting to listen to this period of The Beach Boys is to pull out the odds and ends that is 20/20 rather than Pet Sounds, which still remains on my CD shelf.   It doesn't matter what I think, for in the long run Pet Sounds will be part of the discussion of all time greatest albums of the rock era, after I'm gone.  If people think it's the best pop album ever made, so be it.  My guess remains had Wilson put Smile out, that would be the grand statement and really, Wilson's version of Smile (on Nonesuch) was one of the best of the 2000s.  But for myself, I have to be the mood to hear the first side and even on a good day, I can only muster up a A minus simply of the strength of the songs on side 2 and the popularity of this album from generations of critics and musicians.   I think I enjoy 20/20 more, but each to their own.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Week In Review: 50 Shades Of Rock. MTV 35, Pete Fountain

It's August.  I think this summer has been one of the best in terms of live music.  And plenty to chose from before it all ends.  I haven't been much in a blogging mood since my place of employment decided to have a Bloody Tuesday and got rid of almost of everybody that I worked with in the 28 years of being there.  Good people like Jim Malatek and my co worker of many many years Tom Woodruff decided to take the severance and leave.  Woodruff has been a mainstay there for 40 years like Jim and was planning to retire September 2nd.  I will miss him most of all. As well as my boss Ellen.   I'm very depressed about this but I'll carry on somehow.

So it's come to past that 35 Summers ago, the world was introduced to something called MTV.  To which it was the first channel to program music in a video form.  Now long ago and far away there was other forgotten cable channels that did show music videos, Midnight Special, Kirshner's Rock Concert and even Satellite Program 1 which had Video Concert Hall around 1979-1980 to which I saw Split Enz I Got You before MTV.  MTV would not be carried by our cable company till 1983, but at the gas station that I worked at, they had a dish to which we could see MTV and me getting yelled at for not doing my work. In reality MTV was a passing phase even when we got it in 83. It ended up making superstars out of ordinary bands such as Culture Club, A Flock Of Seagalls, Billy Idol and of course, some girl by the name of Madonna.  MTV would go down the toilet as the 80s rolled by, which VH1 got introduced for the more roots rock of bands. By the late 80s MTV became dance orientated but they did provide some rock and roll with Headbangers Ball, which mutated into hair metal and grunge and 120 Minutes which was the original alternative show before that got diluted into hair metal and grunge or that faceless crap music KRNA now plays.  In the 1990s MTV traded the Music for Moron logo as they introduced us to reality TV and lots of it.  Mindless shit such as Road Rules and The Real World would be the pioneers of crap reality shit for the likes of  Real Wives Of Whatever or The Kadashians to which today cable TV is unwatchable. Thanks to technology you can relive the first six hours of when MTV came in fresh and handy and given new spins to the likes of Pat Benetar, The Who and Rocking Rod Steward plus also forgotten band such as Ph.D.  With Viacom continue to fuck away what we remember of MTV, with VH1 Classic gutted in favor of MTV Classic (The 90s years mind you), and with new music videos the equivalent of a really bad soft porn video, those glory days will never return.  So if you want to remember the good ole days, try this link out, or seek what You Tube has out there.  It may have been stupid, even with the Swatch commercials, and you can't bring back your youth, but it's a nice trip back to the past before you have to go out to The Real World and pay bills and feed your family.

Pete Fountain, who's Dixieland via New Orleans jazz made him a star in the 40s and 50s, and one of the best clarinet players ever,  passed away Saturday at age 86 from heart failure.  He did a killer version of White Silver Sands with The Lennon Sisters:

Nice to see the readers in Russia giving the Record Review a much needed spike in ratings, which meant July ended with the 2nd best views ever, but the only folks that comment are my regulars, Tad and 2000 Man.  I ended up a few views short of 5500 but that was twice more expected than the 3,000 views originally forecast.   The TE 20 radio blog had the most views with 56 and everything but the Mom's Apple Pie blog came from the previous month.  Special thanks to Larry, who kept up to date with the latest of that rumored third album that Mom's Apple Pie made that never came out.

Like December, when I had the highest views ever, the next month did tail off and I was back into the usual 2000 views territory so I don't forsee 600 plus views every day.  If I make it past 100 that's a good day, but when I see 660 views I tend to get skeptical.   I don't plan to change much of the format, certainly it'd be nice to get more comments but I'm not about to bring back the faceless folks who troll or throw spam bullshit about watching more movies on the computer or make 2000 dollars a day clipping out coupons.  It's bad enough to weed out the fucking Canadian Drug comments when you could post anonymously. But after the highs of 660 views, I'm back down to trickle down views.  Strange when you go from 660 to 27 in a matter of days.  So much for that I guess.  I suppose the Russians read their fill of blogs for this season.

Despite my depression, I did managed to go up to the Popcorn Heavy Metal Jam, and of course it was loud and 8 drummers showed up to pound on the drums.  Most of Cedar Rapids finest metalheads did crowd the stage.  A good time was had by all who joined up to crank the guitars to 11 but a better time was Friday Night at J and A Tap in North Liberty to see the return of Tiffany Zweibohmer and 50 Shades Of Rock.   I tend to be biased, but I know who I enjoy watching most playing on stage.  I dig Hostage, Past Masters really are a fun band and God knows there's plenty of great drummers out there.  Terry McDowell is the round mound of beats, Troy Mitchell with his band can really do John Bonham damn near like the master and if the Saloonatics drummer yells at me for hitting his cymbals hard, thank his lucky stars Patrick Geisland didn't come up after me.  I might assault the drums with my playing but Patrick damn near destroys them.  Out of all the drummers, Tiffany Z is my favorite, simply of the fact that her playing echoes my style.  Borderline chaos but with a touch and feel for the original beat of the songs. Like me, she tends to add a bit more of her own creativeness to the songs and she plays loud and she has a certain intensity.  50 Shades Of Rock, is classic rock, with a spin on some later material, I don't know if Tiffany did her version of Shake It Off like she did with Motorboat on her final show with them   She did have a guest star in Julie Gordon on What's Up and Julie did her usual fine job of singing that song.  But the shining moment was when the band dusted off (you guessed it) Free Bird and damned of Tiffany played a note for note drumming like Artimus Pyle did on the live version.  While most drummers would stumble around the drum boasts, Tiffany nailed the whole thing down.  Even I gave her a standing ovation, she earned it.  Also, Stairway To Heaven.  I did mentioned to her about my intense version of Rocky Mountain Way with Hostage a couple weeks back before the break.  Needless to say her Free Bird drumming was intense in the first degree.  50 Shades Of Rock returns back to North Liberty on September 2nd.   I may have to pay her a visit.

I failed to mentioned this, but up in Madison they have given the marquee at the Orpheum Theater a new facelift and much needed new lighting and it looks stunning now.  Next Mad City trip will probably be sometime in October before the snow flies.  Might do some bike riding.

From Sean Ryan-the set list from their Down On The Farm show last weekend. Plus the August 5th set list. (Stolen from The Dawn's FB page)

We had a blast at Down on the Farm yesterday. Big thanks to our buddy's in Soap for having us!!!! And huge thanks to our brother Derek Fortin for making the trip with us!!!!

The Dawn- DOTF 7/30/16

Paradise> 46 Days> Paradise, A Little Piece Of Mind, Freezeframe, Walking On The Moon*> Ticklelicious, Troubled Days, Young Americans*
*= w/ Derek Fortin

The Dawn- 8/5/16

Set One:

Don't It Make You Wanna Dance, Funky Bitch, A Little Piece Of Mind, Let Me Down Easy> Gold Dust Woman*, Dreams*, Troubled Days, Lochloosa^> Debra^

Set Two:

He's Gone, The Way I Feel> Back On The Train, Save Me> Wolfmans Brother, Tall Boy> Drums, Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes, Freezeframe

*= w/ Rachel Nelson
^= w/ Derek Fortin, Samuel Carothers and Matt Ajishegiri
Entire set featuring Edub Wilson

I used to work at Marion APCO forty summers ago when my dad managed the place.  In fact you can say that I was forced to go up there to work there.  I'm sure my dad was trying to prepare me for the adult life whereas I wanted to live my childhood as long as I could.  The old place of employment got torn down and in its place will be the location of the new Dunkin Donuts, which used to be a block down at the former site now turned into the Marion Roundabout From Hell.  If you can navigate that cluster bomb of a roundabout, Dunkin Donuts will be a block away.

Acousta Kitties with Jess Toomsen (Wooden Nickel Lottery) guest star.  at Ramsey's 8-4-16 (Brenda Snow-Photo Credit)

Record Reviews:

Kevin Coyne-In Living Black And White (Virgin 1976)

While the metal fest was going on at Rumors Sunday, I was trying to form into words of the latest music that I have been hearing.  Hell with Quiet Riot give me something off the wall.  Kevin Coyne is off the wall, somewhat like Alex Harvey (SAHB) but a bit more schizophrenic.  Originally a two record import, CBS got cold feet and issued it as a stand along single live album and cherry picked the best moments.  He'll be forever known for House On The Hill, which rumored to be inspired by his days working at a mental hospital and Fat Girl, which is so un P.C. but he had a damn good band backing him up, featuring one Andy Summers before he found fame and fortune with Gordon Summer and Stuart Copeland in the Police and Zoot Money playing mad keyboards.  I think Steve Thompson might be the bass player for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Peter Woolf might be one of the mad unheard of drummers out there.  Certainly his uncompromising attitude might have prevented him from being a bigger name artist (he turned out an offer to replace Jim Morrison of The Doors according to Jac Holtzman) but even John Lydon liked his music such as Eastbourne Ladies. My favorite is Turpentine, which is part Pere Ubu and Part Who.  The CD version is the 2 Record LP set but my review for the single album.  Not bad, but it does make me wonder how the rest would sound like.
Grade B+

Screaming Jay Hawkins-At Last (Last Call/Valley Entertainment 1998)

Hawkins last album before his passing really doesn't open up any new roads or styles-he mostly rewrites his hits (I Put A Spell On You, Little Demon) and re titles them.  But with his blues styled R and B, he invokes comedy in them, starting off with Listen which borrows a lot from Louis Jordan or Babs Gonzalez complete with fart noises.  Hawkins is no stranger to poo poo jokes, he unleashed Constipation Blues for Phillips was back in 1969.  Hawkins enjoyed a semi comeback with albums for Bizarre/Straight in the 1990s but this album ended up on a lesser known independent label.  Plenty of all stars for this effort, Jim Dickenson produced it, David Hood and Roger Hawkins (playing electric drums...????) help out and it recorded at Sun Record with Roland James (Jerry Jaye) recording it.  All but one song Hawkins wrote, the exception being I Shot The Sheriff that gets bogged down with a new set of Hawkins lyrics that wear out its welcome at the end.  The guy could get weird and he really did love to f..k, (he boasted about having 75 children, but 33 could be verified as his) but he could also pen a heartfelt thank you song. (I'll Be There).  Make Me Happy, Hawkins raps out his epitaph.  His vocals really did held up all these years after bellowing out a drunken I Put A Spell On You and went from balladeer to all out freaky person.  This could have used a bit more cover version but for a finale, Screaming Jay did really go out on top.
Grade B

Kate Wolf-Give Yourself To Love (Volume 1 and 2) (Rhino 1983)

It's a shame that Kate's life was cut way too short.  She remains one of the best cult folk singers out there with a voice like a soft wind blowing through the trees.  She works better in a bluegrass accomplishment (Picture Puzzle, Give Yourself To Love) and can do wonders on other people's song. Although I'm not too sure about her take on Peaceful Easy Feeling, she really shines on Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where The Time Goes.  I found this for 1.88 over at Goodwill, a bargain considering the fact that her Rhino reissues really sell for big bucks.  For a live document, it really isn't too bad, it only goes to show had Wolf lived longer she could have been better known.  But thank your lucky stars that somebody managed to record her live performances.  Uneven yes, but damn I love her singing.
Grade B+

The Who-Greatest Hits Live (Geffen 2010)

A hodgepodge of live dates.  Of course disc 1 is the best since long dead drummer Keith Moon dominates the songs and yet Universal doesn't release Baby Don't You Do It, which remains a rip roaring B side thrash and probably never will.  It gets points taken away for sticking Magic Bus from the Live At Leeds album and a BBC version of My Generation, and perhaps the least memorable live version of Won't Get Fooled Again.  Early versions of Can't Explain and Pinball Wizard do show that when firing on all eight cylinders The Who were the best damn live band in the world.  If Zak Starkey was the second coming of Keith Moon, Universal stiffs him, he gets three songs, power house favorite Simon Phillips has five songs from the dreaded Join Together 1989 cash in.  And Kenny Jones is shut out.  Starkey was closer to the spirit of Keith Moon, (after all, rumor has it Keith taught Ringo's boy), Simon Phillips is more technically better, but his polished beats contradicted Keith's sloppy smash all, bash all.    Disc 1 remains overall the best of the two CDs but given the uneven 1989 pickings on the second disc and yet another new Who song that goes nowhere, this is for Who fanatics only.
Grade B-

Album From My Youth-Ten Years After: A Space In Time (Chrysalis 1971)

For a band with a wonderkind guitar specialist in the late Alvin Lee, their albums really didn't have the major hook that guaranteed repeated listenings, Robert Christgau lowered the grade two points from his original B plus review.  But even in terms of boogie blues rock, TYA had less staying power than Foghat.  In trying to pick the best album from TYA, all have problems, including Undead, which gave the world the original live version of I'm Going Home, basically a two minute song stretched out   9 or 10 minutes more, (the Woodstock version definite proof of its warts and all, great to see it when you heard it the first time but after that it tends to leave for a bathroom break).  Alvin Lee wasn't much of a lyricist either, case in point One Of These Days, which Lee sounds like he's making them up as they go.  Of course their greatest hit, I Love To Change The World is on this. But getting back to One Of These Days, it does feature one of TYA's greatest jams, featuring lead and rhythm harmonica.  Musically, it's all fine, the jam on I've Been There Too, the raveup of Once Upon A Time and the two minute failed followup single Baby Let Me Rock And Roll You, and the reworking of Good Morning Little School Girl that becomes Let The Sky Fall, and the moody Here They Come.  Alas, the problem lies with Alvin Lee the lyricist and most of the songs really lack focus on the the words.  And Lee was never a good lyricist in the first place, his guitar playing still makes these albums nice to revisit from time to time.  For the best overall Ten Years After album, Stonedhedge is the one to get.  Like Christgau, I have downgraded A Space In Time over the years to the point that Rock And Roll Music To The World was the better one after Space In Time.  But A Space In Time is still worth hearings because of Chris Kimsey who recorded the album and sweeten up the guitar effects.  But it's not an A minus album anymore.  It's a B plus, still recommended but you can also live without it too.

Singles Going Steady Medley-BDW August 45s

Touchdown-The Young Ideas (Swan 1044)  1959

Basically stolen from Bill Doggett, this is Honky Honk, except for the whistle and a youth glee club shouting along.  B side Dream might have been used for Happy Days.  Pretty corny but it did come from Swan Records, who basically did a corny teen pop stuff too.  Very laughable if you do get to hear this, kinda like a teen pop Crew Cuts or Danny And The Juniors.  (You got me flippin, how they managed to keep a straight face saying that I'll never know).

The Wheel Of Hurt-Margaret Whiting (London LON-101)  #28 1966

Better known for her pop tenure at Capitol in the mid 40s and early 50s, Whiting did managed to score a top thirty hit (this was number one on the easy listening charts) on the pop chart.  A bit of country influence as well.  B side Nothing Last Forever would have not sounded out of place on a Connie Francis album, and it's a bit uptempo too.

Cherokee Nation-Don Fardon (GNP Crescendo  GNP-405)  #20  1968

Fardon was once part of The Sorrows that had a minor hit with Take A Heart but this was his highest charting single with longtime producer Niki Dalton.  In some ways this song does mirror Take A Heart.  While Don had a modest hit with this, Paul Revere And The Raiders would do a note for note cover of this song and it would reach number 1 in 1971.  B side Dreaming Room is a bit more pop blues.

You Walked Into My Life-Kathy Linden (Felsted 8554)  1958

Her best known single Billy (#7 1958) but I never heard that song or don't recall it.  This was an uncharted single.  B side Somebody Loves You is sunny Diana Shore type pop.  Or Marilyn Monroe.  Pretty cheesy too.  The A side is much better.

First Date First Kiss First Love-Sonny James (Capitol F3674)  #25  1957

Top 25 followup to his number one Young Love, this shows Sonny to be in the teen pop mode.  Speak To Me is even more pop sounding. Eventually Sonny would find his country roots but it would be a while.  I prefer his Jimmy Reed over his Frank Sinatra moves.

Do The Madison-The Bachelors (Epic 5-9369)  1960

I'm guessing this is not the same group of guys that had a few hits on London.  A vocal group in the same vein as The Crew Cuts or The Goofers.  I suppose the Madison dance was kinda like the stroll, but this version has a happy harmonica and a kettle drum accent like Sha Boom via The Crew Cuts. B Side The Bachelors Club, sounds a lot like Standing On The Corner, this time out they sound like the Hi Lo-s.

There was other cool singles by the likes the Regents Barbara Ann, Tommy Roe's Everybody and a bunch of Johnny And The Hurricanes 45s and the Count Five Psychotic Reaction but those records were in poor shape.  Once again it seems that the best shape of records were the pop side of things and as you can see it was once again a hit and miss.  Hopefully we'll do better next month for BDW finds.