Saturday, March 10, 2018

Singles Going Steady-From The Vaults Of KISU 1963

It seems to me that March is one of those idea months for finding 45s of the lost cause.  Granted, I'm not going to take much stock into finding rock and roll 45, unless they are jukebox copies and scratched and played to death.  So I hold my breath and try to find the alternative sort of stuff, you know forgotten Northern Soul songs that Half Price Books have for 49 cents, or selective country or even pop songs.  God knows I have seen a lot of the latter and documented them in the past.  Last year at this time, somebody dumped a bunch of pop 45s at the Salvation Army and I bought about 20 and wrote out the results.  Laughed at most of them and donated them back to the St Vincent De Paul.  It's what we call recycling baby!

Between the good and the bad and the forgettable, lies a diamond in the rough, a single from a forgotten artist that makes you rediscover the music in the grooves. Some pop music has surprised me a bit, most didn't. I have actually liked a couple of Margaret Whiting's London 45s, Wheel Of Hurt but the B Side Nothing Last Forever was much better.  Even in my bargain hunts of 45 hunting, I cannot bring myself to buy Frank Sinatra's 45s or even CDs;  Waterloo's St. Vincent De Paul actually had four CDs in pristine shape including Ring A Ding Ding, but outside of the first Greatest Hits, I wasn't interested.  But I did waste a quarter on a Mantovini's 45 Clair De Lune just to hear what the fuss was all about.  The King of Muzak he was and forever will be, even though he did influenced Brian May.

At 57 years old and with time winding down, I'm have become more obsessed with finding the obscure 45 and longing for the days of when the label sent boxes of records out to radio stations and let the DJ's dictate what to play, instead of Corporate interests and radio playing the same 57 songs over and over.  In reality the 50's through the 80s were a vast goldmine of music to be discovered through vinyl records and of course, those box set of mystery 45s that let me discovered High School USA (Washington DC Area), Piano Nellie, and Ben E King's Let The Water Run Down. Let's face it, I am not going to get wowed by bad rap, oversung R and B and modern rock that doesn't rock.  I really doubt if my girlfriend will be impressed by Tony Roma or Jack Jones, but as long the music keeps me occupied she won't care at all and still love me for the record hoarder collection that I am.

Why continue to collect and hear oldies from artists nobody cares about you ask.  Well, it's a way to remember the ones that made singles that time and radio have forgotten.  Unless you look hard for them on You Tube before that goes away, you won't hear much if at all from a Melody Condos or Donald Hines or Teri Allen. And Grandpa Jones could sing a mean hillbilly number as well.  Who's Len Snider?  Hell I don't know but he made a single called I'll Be Coming Home Tonight.  And it looks unplayed.

The selections of this Singles Going Steady came from Half Price Books but from a Ames radio station called KISU, which is the Iowa State University radio station.   And I think will be a two part SGS blog.  While sorting through the records yesterday, I forgot to pick up a couple 45s since there was a woman wanting to check out the ones that I didn't buy, I think she did buy Alley Cat from Bent Fabric and Garden Party from Rick Nelson but I had both of those 45's and didn't needed them.  What I thought I had Bobby Day's Joe Blon I had Melody Condos instead.  And sad to say that TD Boogie Woogie by The Crusaders, which would have been the find of the day, had a crack in the 45 making it unplayable.  But at least I got a decent 45 record sleeve out of the deal.

On paper (or vinyl) I have some interesting finds. Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote the big hits for the Everly Brothers, had a EP of some of his best known songs.  Joe Melson, songwriting partner to Roy Orbinson had a single for Hickory and Paul Desmond had a 45 of Take Ten, the answer record to Take Five, a song he made famous for Dave Brubeck.  Thankfully that record is not broken or cracked.   In some ways, this blog does give a peek inside of what would going on at KISU in the mid 60s although I'm sure these 45s were stuffed in a box and donated somewhere till somebody picked them up, thought they sucked and got a few cents out of them at HP Books.  I tend to have a good judgement about 90 percent of the time and I do believe these selections are the pick of the litter.  But I do know I have been known to be wrong at time and finding crappy singles and donate them back to charity after the results.   But I make sure I document the good and the bad and reserve judgement till I need to clear space.  And we all know I'll be doing that before my next trip to Madison.

1)   You Were On My Mind-Ian & Sylvia (Vanguard VRS-35025)  1964

Of course We Five did a version of this with a few years later (Chet Powers alterated the lyrics a bit but melody still remains strangley familair)  but the duo of Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker did score a Canadian hit this lively folk number.  B side Someday Soon, would be a minor hit for Judy Collins and is only 2 minutes long.  I like this version better than Judy's.

2)   High Is Better Than Low-Melodye Condos (RCA 47-8234)  1963

What I thought I had the Bobby Day single, turned out to be this one instead and by the time I raced back to Half Price Books, that record was long gone.   Condos has a Doris Day styled vocal to this dated pop song that nobody bought but it's only a minute forty five. More of positive Connie Francis style I guess, but not exactly memorable.  B side Lonely People Do Foolish Things would have worked better for Brenda Lee or Lesley Gore, or Connie Francis for that matter.

3)   Can't Run To Daddy Anymore-Teri Allen (ABC Paramount 10482)  1963

Unlike Melodye Condons, Teri Allen benefited from better production and songwriting from Paul Vance which sounds like  He's A Rebel.  Perhaps the Wrecking Crew might had a hand in playing the music.  B side Her Or Me, with the screaming MAKE UP YOUR MIND opening intro line grabs your attention.  Kinda a minor Lesley Gore vibe.Make up your mind?  I'll pass.

4)   I'll Be Coming Home Tonight-Len Snider (All Boy 45-8507)  1963

Turning our attention to the lesser known teen idols nobody heard about comes from Len Snider which adds a bit of British backback to Len's Bobby Vee vocals. Or is it Bobby Rydell?  B Side Everybody Knows is a more of teen ballad, somewhat like Dion.   But a good chance you'll never hear it, unless somebody posts it on You Tube.

5)   TD's Boogie Woogie-The Crusaders (Cameo 285) 1964

A shame this record had a crack in it, but it's a teen version of the old boogie woogie number Pinetop Perkins played back in the 1920s. No relation to the Jazz Crusaders of Put It Where You Want It fame.  B side At The Club is a jazzier number but basically background music regardless.

6)   Trouble Is My Name-Donald Himes (Hi-2068)  1963

Early soul music from the folks at Hi Records and one can detect the genius of Willie Mitchell and the Hi Rhythm Section although this would be the only single that Donald put out. One of those actual one hit wonder would have happened if the label would have promote this better but this does sound like a one take demo.  B side You Had To Pay is more straight lined blues, something that Bobby Bland would have done.  I do know Willie Mitchell has his fingers all over the production.  A Northern Soul classic before it's time.

7)   Your Goose Is Cooked-Little Rose Evans (Tahoe Records 45-2357) 1963

Did you ever by a record simply of the fact of the title make you want to check it out?  Case in point this hard charged R and B number complete with a mumbling bass vocal as the hook. A call and response between Little Rose and the chorus shouting back the title line. The other side Minutes and Hours probably was destined as the plug side.  A bit more polished the Goose Is Cooked but not as much fun although I still get a kick out of hearing Mr. Bass mumbling along.  Ray Ellis on the arrangements.

8)    Reassure Me-Eddie Bo (Cinderella 1203)  1963

From New Orleans Eddie Bo recorded for a variety of labels (Chess, Ric, Ace) and this was one of two singles that he recorded for the NOLA based Cinderella label to which London Records picked up distribution.  Best known for Check Your Bucket that Duke And The Drivers covered later.  Reassure Me owes a bit to Professor Longhair but with a soul beat and Chris Kenner too.  The guesswork is that The Meters might have been the backing band.  B side Shake Rattle And Soul is more of the same NOLA R and B.  But it doesn't really excite me that much.

9)  Hot Biscuits And Gravy-Marvin & Johnny (Felsted 45-8681)  1963

Another soul biscuits jammer, Marvin And Johnny recorded sides for Speciality (Day In And Day Out) and Modern (Ko Ko Mo) and Aladdin before doing this one off single for Felsted about the joys of hot biscuits and gravy.  Thank you guys, you just made me hungry on that one. B Side I'm Tired Of Being Alone is doo wop blues soul and the better side.

10)   My Little Lady-Grandpa Jones (Monument 820)  1963

He was more than the novelty act on Hee Haw, Jones had some very good country sides for RCA, King and Monument and he does a cool take on the Jimmie Rogers number, with a little help from Nashville's finest musicians, most notably the ones who played on the RCA recordings of other artists. You can tell by that polished and echoes sound (Floyd Cramer, Jerry Reed, Murray Harman, Anita Kerr).  Grandpa Jones needs a good overview album for his accomplishments to country music.  B side  Away Out On The Mountain continues that Nashville sound complete with Jones' Yodel.  They don't make em like that anymore.

11)   Stay Away From Her-Joe Melson (Hickory 45-1229)  1963

Melson is better known for co writing songs with Roy Orbinson but he did strike out on his own.  This was his final single on Hickory. A more bouncy and uptempo number I gather this fell under too rock for country department since it didn't take off.   B side His Girl sounds eerily like Only The Lonely if Buddy Holly would have sang it.

12)   Take Ten-Paul Desmond (RCA 47-8264)  1963

Perhaps the find of the batches of 45, was Paul's update on Take Five.   And one of the reason I continue to search of the obscure and elusive 45s that time has forgotten.  Desmond has one of the coolest sax sound in the jazz era, which would perfectly in Dave Brubeck and at times on his own,  Even his old Columbia producer George Advirian on board too. B side Embarcadero  is more of a bossa nova type of jazz that Desmond and Jim Hall trade leads.  Tastefully done.

Part 2

13)   Tommy Makes Girls Cry-Kelly Garrett (Ava C-137)  1963

More of the pleasant but forgettable Lesley Gore vibe.  Less interesting on the B side Baby It Hurts.

14)   Dreamy Moon-Boots and Idaho (RCA 47-8211)   1963

WOW, this is hillbilly music, even for RCA standards, this is much rougher than the smooth sounds they got out of Jim Reeves and the others.  This song inspired me to Google Boots Faye and it turns out she recorded two singles for Capitol with Idaho Call, her singing partner and husband.  Originally on Callfrye, RCA picked it up in 1963.  A honky tonk hillbilly waltz with an accordion for lead instrument this is the oddball single find of the day. B side Tip Toes shows off Boots' guitar playing skills. She was actually quite good.

15)   What Do They Know-Carol Montgomery (Sound 7 Stage 45-2512)  1963

More girl pop, to which Ray Stevens produced under the Ahab Productions banner. Carol was married to Bob Montgomery (Buddy Holly) and they did a few singles for Warner Brothers under Bob And Carol.  One of two singles she released on her own name with Bob writing the songs. She was also a in demand background singer (Elvis, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton).  B side Wish I Didn't Love Him is a fun little girl pop romp, which is over and done in under two minutes.

16)    A Week In The Country-Ernest Ashworth (Hickory 45-1237) 1963

While 1963 may have not been a ideal year for Rock n Roll, country was doing quite well, even for the minor artists.  Usually Hickory Records could be relied upon putting out good to great music, after all they had access to the Acuff-Rose Publishing Company but on this song Ashworth records something from Baker Knight and 4 Star Publishing.  Baker Knight wrote a few hits for Ricky Nelson at that time but Week In The Country didn't do much on the charts, although it might have skirted the bottom reaches of the top 100.  B side Heartbreak Avenue is a country weeper which sounds like Big Al Downing is playing piano or Floyd Cramer.  Whoever is playing piano has that perfect honky tonk tone.

17)   A Statue In Windows-Lorry Peters (Hickory 45-1228) 1963

Lorry made two singles for Hickory, this one was written by Boudleaux Bryant (Bye Bye Love) and is a country weeper.  B side she tackles What About Me, which is written by Don Gibson and is the better song.  Sounds a lot like Let's Think About Living.

18)   I Had To Run Away-Jimmy Elledge  (RCA 47-8241)  1963

His biggest hit was a cover of Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away but Elledge had more of pop shine than actual country, his vocals are more like Narvel Felts and Chet Atkins actually steered him more towards pop than country. There's Nothing Left For Me is a torch ballad.  The next to last RCA single Jimmy would issue, he would move over to Hickory Records for more of the same. Singles nobody bought.

19)   As Long As There's A Sunday-Justin Tubb  (Groove 58-0024)  1963

The son of Ernest Tubb, Justin made recordings for Decca and later Groove/RCA,  This song is the template of the Nashville Sound of the 1960s for RCA, Anita Kerr backing singers and Chet Atkins polished productions made it a first rate song.  Again, like most of these 1963 singles that I've been playing, none made the charts and if they did they didn't chart too high. B side When Love Goes Wrong was written by Dottie West.  Just for the record I do enjoy the RCA Nashville Sound at that time.

20)   Day Dreamin-Norm West (Hi 45-2073)  1964

Back to the early soul of the Memphis sound, West was a journeyman soul singer that made two singles for Hi Records and with Willie Mitchell producing. Minor Northern soul ballad.  B side Angel Of My Dreams, more of the same, or rather less.

21)  You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming-Betty O'Brien (ABC Paramount 45-10461)  1963

Popcorn soul as they call it. One of two singles Betty recorded for ABC.  Not exactly impressed with this song.  B side I Don't Feel A Thing is rocking R and blues. Probably would have better as a A side.

22)  I Don't Stand A Chance-Rosco Gordon (ABC-Paramount 45-10501)  1963

As we close this Singles Going Steady blog about the finds of the month, I think this is the first time I ever had most of the songs come from the same year. Which goes to show that 1963 wasn't exactly a memorable year but at least we didn't have to contend with Broken Wings or Sweet Chile O Mine, but thank your lucky stars The British Invasion turned things around. Rosco Gordon recorded for many labels, best known hit was Just A Little Bit for Vee Jay in the 1950s.  But on his final ABC single he goes more a more soulful strut with a bit of Motown thrown in to appease the kiddies. Which still didn't sell.  B side That's What You Did, Rosco duets with Barbara Gordon, who adds a bit of something extra but not enough to remember this song after you played it.

23)  She's No Lady-Lyle Lovett (Curb/MCA 53246)  1988  #17 country

Lyle has been a outside country legend  since he broke in 1986 but I find him to be acquired taste although I did like the easy swing of She's No Lady but the B side Pontiac is boring the hell out of me as I write this.

24)  If I Were A Carpenter-Johnny Cash & June Carter (Columbia 4-45064)  #36 1970

They were perfect together.  B side is Cause I Love You

Monday, March 5, 2018

Russ Solomon RIP

The guy who founded Tower Records, passed away from a heart attack watching the Oscars Sunday.  He was 92.

Even though Tower Records wasn't close by, I went to the stores when I was out in Seattle, Las Vegas and Phoenix. They might have been pricey but I can't think of any other stores that had the complete Status Quo remasters as Tower Records did.

Van McLain, was the de facto leader of Shooting Star, a Kansas City based band that made a few albums for Virgin Records in the 1980s but one of those bands that simply were forgotten in the age of classic rock.  Run For Your Life was a cult best selling album that I usually bought and sold to the folks at Relics Records.  Virgin Records at that time, did distribution deals, and Shooting Star was assigned to Epic, to which their second album was done under the infamous 5.98 emerging artists series.  Their first album was produced by Gus Dudgeron (Elton John) and Shooting Star was like a more lighter Journey or Styx.   I really wasn't that into that band, but in my last trip out to Arizona, the Goodwill Casa Grande store had about 10 copies of their first album on CD (as well as Burning) and I picked it up and played it once.  Since I still have that copy, I play it in tribute to Van who died complications from the Nile Virus.on Saturday.

After 40 years of rocking Chicago. The Loop has been sold to a Christian Broadcast Company for 21 and a half million dollars, which means the rock will stop sometime in the future.  Well Corporate Classic Rock has been in the shitter for about 20 years anyway and with Corporations not interested in breaking new acts and just focusing on the Pink Floyd/Zeppelin/Guns N Roses overplayed songs it basically had to end.  Gone are the days of Album rock stations promoting the new music but if there's a chance they'll find a way to celebrate older albums, such as Dark Side Of The Moon released 45 years ago last week.  But then again, the world needs another Christian Contemporary Station right?

Tom Waits now owns the Elektra/Asylum masters to his albums and will be reissuing them via Anti-Epitaph.  Which means they'll be in glorious digipack.

Anyway, since you're all here.  I have reviewed a few cds along the way.  Here goes.

Moonshine Sorrow-While You're Drinking (self released 2016)

Let's face it, there will always be a band that plays three chord Rolling Stone inspired songs and song about drinking and fucking and paying for it the next day.  As long as I'm alive I'll be happy to hear what they have to say.  In the grand style of the bar bands of our lifetime (The Brains lost Tom Gray, gained Dan Baird and became the Georgia Satellites, Blackberry Smoke even Uncle Tupelo) my favorites were the most simple and to the point.  The Randy Cliffs made the best bar rock album of this century and if you look hard enough in Madison you can still find a dollar copy of Trixie's Trailer Sales.  Closer to home, Waterloo for that matter, we have Moonshine Sorrow, a band that had two different personalities, one is the legendary Rush Cleveland who writes all but two songs on this EP, the best song Walking In Waterloo is about as true as it gets if you live in that hell hole (I did about five decades ago) and Wild N Crazy to which pass the bucket rhymes with Fuck it!. Cleveland has a voice that echoes Jerry Lee Lewis, which does stick out like a sore thumb in the hard country bar rock of M.S.  The other is Jason Surratt who echoes Brian Henneman from The Bottle Rockets and gives us  Feed Me, Fuck Me, Buy Me Weed, a concert favorite and my favorite track Houser South a little story about a guy who can't get laid but is ready to kick your ass if need be.  Knowing that, he's probably a regular at Spicoli's in Cedar Falls.  In some ways, While You're Drinking mirrors Trixie's Trailer Sales from The Cliffs, sloppy drums, sloppy guitar leads but a whole rock and roll attitude that is missing from most new bands that get touted on Pitchfork.  It may not be pretty but it does sound pretty to me.

The Pipettes-We Are The Pipettes (Cherrytree/Interscope 2007)

British pop girl rock that has a charm of its own at times, and with a Ramones like 16 songs at 39 minutes, most past by without much melody of forethought and the recording is loudness overblown.  The favorite is ABC 123 and XTC to boot.  A shame they didn't go more into this direction.

Bette Midler Sings The Peggy Lee Songbook (Columbia 2005)

One of those albums that Sony Music decided to copy protect the CD, but Bette has been the subject of a few thrift store finds, basically on the strength of her It's The Girls album from a few years ago.  I love Bette for her sassy and spunk on Big Spender and Fever and the Barry Manilow cameo is camp fun too.  But it's those ballads that turn this record from great to good. Mr. Wonderful ends things on a blah note, but for tribute albums she makes Peggy Lee proud.  I'll see about her Rosemary Cooney tibute album in the future.  In other words another uneven Bette album.

Jim And Jessie-Dixie Hoedown: The Complete Starday Recordings (Starday/King 2002)

A stop gap along the way for the McReynolds boys but still a important document.  Hard Hearted was the best known hit single but the secular songs have a certain amount of charm to them, the title track a hard driving instrumental. Jim and Jesse only did three recording sessions for Starday, two in 1958 and the 1959 session was all gospel material and all of it is worth hearing once.   Even for 14 songs the album barely clocks over a half hour.  Jim and Jesse had a good backing band featuring Vassar Clements on fiddle, Bobby Thompson on banjo and Don Mchan on bass and backing vocals. Once their tenure at Starday ended, they would move on to Epic Records and their glory years featuring Diesel On My Tail, to which Sony Music left off their best of.  No accounting for major label taste it seems.  This compilation, thrown out by the indifferent Highland Music company, managed to put some thought into this and provided liner notes and recording sessions.  The CD is hard to find but worth a listen

Carrie Underwood-Storyteller (19/Arista 2015)

If you have been a follower for my record review and top ten consortium, you know my love and hatred of the all time best selling American Idol.  Yes she can sing but what she does is oversing and throughout her decade of being a part of Nashville music scene she has battled Miranda Lambert head to head on country albums, for myself Miranda always wins of the fact that she doesn't oversing. On the recommendation of Robert Christgau, I decided to listen to her last album.  And just as I figured, she oversings on the majority of the songs.  But Storyteller is her best album to these battered ears but in the age of Nashville Music the songs tend to borrow way too much of the Mumford and Sons arrangements and overuse of the worthless Chris DeStefano, HOWEVER, was responsible for the two most memorable numbers of this album, the failed single Smoke Break and Clock Don't Stop.  She is getting better on the revenge numbers, Church Bells, a interesting story about a woman marrying a rich oil dude, who beats her up and she gets back by poisoning the dude.   To be honest, Storyteller is coming of age Carrie, who managed to find some decent numbers, and of course this record beats anything she released beforehand, including her best of.  I'll take Christgau's word that she's beginning to relax and not oversing but in my case she still has a long way to go before I decide on taking another chance with her again.   Nevertheless, for the first time ever in her record career, she made a better record than Miranda's 2 CD album, which still hasn't wowed me.  And probably never will.

I think we have had this talk before about Dark Side Of The Moon, my opinion will not waver.  I'll never look at The Great Gig In The Sky as anything but fast forward to the next song but some people love it.  In this day and age I can tolerate it better than Daniel Powter's Bad Day or Mr Mr. Broken Wings or A ha's Take On Me or Sweet Child O Mine or anything FGL puts out.  Another opinion on why Dark Side Of The Moon continues to sell, 45 years after the fact and still used copies aren't that easy to find.  I have never owned that on any format but perhaps a day will come when I will succumb to that and buy it for a dollar at St Vincent De Paul

Music from  my youth:  John Cale-Guts (Antilles 1976)

Originally on Island, it was a small summery of John's tenure with that label, but not a greatest hits since Cale never had any.  But a good mix tape so to speak.  Again Robert Christgau had issues with two songs, Mary Lou and Helen Of Troy but for myself I liked them a lot and still do.  As well as the title track which might be most insane thing Cale ever wrote.  Cale has been an acquired taste even on the good days. I do have the 2 CD Complete Island albums that Polygram Island issued years ago but don't play it as much (if at all) than Guts.  Life after Island, Cale became more of a cult artist that fell in terms of overrated, the only album that worked for me was the 1985 John Cale Comes Alive, which also welcomed him back to Island (via the ZE sub-label), and his take on Hallelujah, and his version remains the best, even more than Jeff Buckley's version and his 1990 album with Brian Eno, Wrong Way Up, after that, meh.  Phil Collins plays drums on Fear Is A Man's Best Friend along with the likes of Chris Spedding, and the rhythm section that backed up Linda and Richard Thompson  at that time.  Not a bad track on this album, the deadpan Pablo Picasso is more smart ass than Jonathon Richman's version, and Heartbreak Hotel, is the book of Revelation coming true before your eyes and ears.  Instead of Guts, Island should have named this  Dirty Ass Rock And Roll.  Which nails the spirit of this album.

Mud Bowl Memories:  Cleveland 24  New York 7 (12/9/56)  Yankee Stadium

A tale of one dynasty ending and another beginning, Cleveland dominated the early and mid 50s in making to the title game, but in 1956, the New York Giants with Frank Gifford, Charlie Connerly and Kyle Rote would win the division title and a blow out of the Chicago Bears and the infamous sneaker game but on this rain and snow mudfest, the Browns upset the Giants on two Tommy O'Conner touchdowns and throwing a TD pass to Fred Morrison who wore number 32 at that time.  The next year, Jim Brown would be the next and last Brown to wear number 32 but that's a different story for another time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rock And Roll And Valentine's Day

It was 20 years ago on this day that the person that I was seeing with, announced that she was seeing somebody new behind my back for two weeks prior before our breakup on V Day 1998.  We have been seeing each other for 3 and a half years, the first two years were great till we had a major fight on Independence Day of 1996 and that became the crack that would tear down our foundation of love together.   Of course, getting a new car and a new trailer didn't help and with the breakup, it was time to get our name off the lease.  I wouldn't be done with her yet, I then had to get the Corsica from a year later, to which by then, she was three payments behind and I was two steps ahead of the repo man and almost ruined my credit.   The way she was seeing, eventually moved in and got kicked out for emotionally abusing her boys.  I haven't seen her since.

Valentine's Day has been somewhat of a passe for me.  There were times I did buy gifts for the ones that I was dating at the time.  In 2000, I was seeing Olivia from the west coast and although the first couple months was fun, when she came to visit me in 1999 in 20 degree weather and snow, she decided that this wasn't going to work.  On V Day 2000, I ended up sending her a lavender pillow in the mail, she liked it fine but she wasn't sure that she wanted to continue to be with me.  At that time, my best friend was having issues with his long distance love affair but me and Olivia convinced them to stay together.  In 2001, They tied the knot and have been married ever since.  By then Olivia found somebody close to home, they got married and lived happily ever after.  Or maybe not, I haven't chatted with her in five years now.

After my breakup with my last flame in 2012, I had enough of the dating scene and basically wrote this life off of ever finding anybody to be with in life.   Funny thing about love is, it seems to happen when you're not looking and trying to convince anybody that it's not worth their time or effort to even think of being with me.  I could live my life forever chasing records and music.  Let's face it, I'm too old for children and not about to go the Tony Randall route of being a dad as a senior citizen, make a couple and then kneel over and die.   But I got tired of watching crappy cable TV and become  a couch potato, so I basically start playing guitar again and venturing out into the crowd.  It'd be safe, nobody would want a 57 year old hobbyist with a crabby vibe and cuss the Creator out everytime something goes wrong.

And then Julie came along.  She sings in local bands, hosts a acoustic jam every other week at Checkers' and probably the most unique woman I have met yet in life. An organic Vegan, with a hippie attitude and a love for animals and mother nature.  She fucking hates the GOP, Donald Trump even more. She loves everybody that she meets and while the Conservatives will give her a hard time,most will agree that she is a sweetheart once you get to know her.

Julie has had a rough go in life. She lost her guitar playing boyfriend in 2015, and got both of her knees replaced the past year.  But yet somehow, she saw something in me to maybe think that I was worth chasing.   After her boyfriend's passing, about a couple months later, I was at a jam and she came up and smiled and introduced herself and sat down to check her smart phone for messages. A innocent start but it would evolved into me going to see her band play and playing drums on a couple songs and then started doing the acoustic jams on guitar,and she started singing along to my primitive guitar playing on Gold Dust Woman.  Last December, she became my special somebody.

We didn't do too much for our first Valentine's Day together, we shared a few kisses and a few hugs. Instead of candy and flowers, I went to Earl May and picked up a Dragonfly figurine and she loved it. I also gave her some seeds for her garden to plant.  She made  meatless pasta for dinner. And we spent an hour together before I went home and her to bed.

There's no guarantees in life, love come, love goes.   The special people will always remain by your side.   Julie is one of those special folks.  I hope she will remain a part of this life for a long time.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Passings: Micky Jones Pat Torpey

Micky Jones replaced Levon Helm when Dylan went electric in 1966 and played on the infamous Live 1966 album died Thursday from a long illness.  He was 76.  Jones also drummed for Johnny Rivers during Johnny's live recordings which Johnny got hits from songs like Memphis Tennessee, The Seventh Son, Secret Agent Man and others.  Jones would eventually join Kenny Rogers and The First Edition during their hit making years.  Jones would eventually become a actor to he starred in Home Improvement in the 1990s

Torpey, played in Mr. Big and was also their drummer.  He passed away from Parkinson's.Wednesday. He was 63.

Craig McGregor, bass player for Foghat in the late 70s, passed away from cancer Friday Morning.  He was 69.  Craig played on Night Shift through Zig Zag Walk.  He then later rejoined Foghat after replacing Tony Stevens in 1998 and continued to play till cancer took his life. He will be missed

John Barlow, who wrote with Bob Weir on a few Grateful Dead songs passed away from a short illness on Sunday.  He was 70.

In Vinton a fire gutted half of the downtown area, including the Micheal And Dowd furniture store Thursday Night during yet another snowstorm in the area.  Strange how we went through most of the winter and not have to deal with snowstorms but we have had 7 straight snowstorms in as many nights and you all know my feelings for the white shit.  Christmas is over, bring the rain not the snow crap.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Notes: Dennis Edwards Best Buy

Dennis Edwards, who replaced David Ruffin in the Temptations and scored hits with I Can't Get Next To You and Cloud Nine for them died Friday.  He was a day short of 75.  His gritty vocals turned the Temptations into a more funkier group (Norman Whitfield had something to do with this as well) and look up Psychedelic Soul for the best overview of Edwards' tenure with that band.

That is if you can find a place that sell CDs.  Best Buy has announced that they will be eliminating CDs this summer and Target is slated to tell the major labels they'll pay them on consignment.  The sign of the times I suppose but not in a good way.  In 1987, Best Buy was the cheapest way to buy CDs and at one time they had six isles of CDs to choose from, but since 2002, BB has continued to shrink and demote the CD section into just about nothing.  Best Buy has been crap anyway for the past few years for CD searching, they only have the greatest hits and certain album titles.  I'm sure CDs will continue to find their way to thrift stores and the very few remaining record stores still around.  We are in the second month of 2018 and I have yet to buy any new releases anyway.  There's nothing from the major labels and new artists worth getting although I heard good reviews from Greta Von Fleet, whoever they may be.

On Tuesday Night, Robby Norton, who started up KRNA back in the early 70s and later became president of KZIA ended up going on Interstate 380 from the 33rd Ave exit and made it past the hwy 30 turnoff only to run head on into a car driven by Jenny Koenigham before the 76th Ave overpass and both were killed instantly.  When I got off work, we couldn't take the 380 home since the accident took place not too far.  But we are seeing that way too much nowadays, drivers taking the wrong way and crashing head on to drivers going the right way.  Norton was 69, Jennifer was 28.  Who knows what Norton was thinking or if he got distracted and went the wrong way or may have been drunk.  We'll know more about it as the days go by.  Norton was responsible for KRNA, to which back in 1974 was more album originated rock and roll  but not as all over the place as KFMH 99 plus.  Eventually Norton did acquire KQCR (Q103) and remained it KZIA after a radio corporation brought KRNA and KZIA but backed out on buying the latter, so Norton kept that station. KZIA is the top 40 station in town.

I still can't believe how far Norton got down 380 that far and drove about 4 miles the wrong way, not only did he lose his life but he also took the life of a woman just got done from yoga class and was on her way home.  But I have seen wrong way drivers personally, one night coming home from hwy 30 and noticing a car coming up the hill and it seemed that those car lights were closer than they should be.  It was.   Sadly, Norton won't be the last wrong way driver or Jennifer being a victim of a wrong way driver crash.   Chances are it will happen sooner than later.  The way it goes.

And keeping with my traditions, 59 years ago, we lost Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and JP Richardson in a horrific plane crash in a blizzard. Gone but never forgotten.


Phil Bo King-Phil Bo Blues (2017)

Phil Koening is from Martelle, down the road from me and we met at a open mic jam and have become friends and stage mates.  He goes by the name of Phil Bo King and he plays more blues than rock.  When Maury Baker came to town to do a seminar, he did signed off on doing a jam with a few of the better musicians in town.  Plus I borrowed Phil to help me through a couple of long blues songs. Anyway, Phil has done a few songs off his debut album.  He has a John Hammond type of vocals but very distinct and on Phil Bo Blues, he plays everything but a couple songs from a guest drummer.  Fisher Blues and One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor he plays at local jams, and choice quality stuff.  But I find myself the album gets stronger towards the end, and finishing up with Woodchuck Bill, which recalls more of a Captain Beefheart style and sound.  Which surprises the heck out of me.  A fine debut.

Nik Turner-Life In Space (Purple Pyramid 2017)

Hawkwind fans hate him after his ouster from that band after a power struggle with Dave Brock.  As much as I would like to root for Dave, I find his Hawkwind albums have gotten closer to New Age than space rock, but Turner has managed to find the right musicians to restore that spacey sound that I come to enjoy from the Hawkwind era.  Since being on Cleopatra, Turner made a decent comeback album a few years ago and the followup was a admirable but failed effort of space jazz.  So he once again gets back into the space rock with Life In Space and even if the original guys are missed Turner knows enough about the past to recreate it and not bore the hell out of us.  In typical Cleopatra style, the music does the talking and old Hawkwind members Paul Randolph and Simon House help, especially Paul on End Of The World.  You might confuse the Hawkwind haters on Secrets Of The Galaxy and As You Were by playing these songs as generators and keyboards howl and hiss and Turner's barely audible vocals ebbs in and out of the mix.  And concludes with a remake of Master Of The Universe which remains Turner's claim to fame.   For space rock. Turner still has it.

Golliwogs-Fight Fire The Complete Recordings (Craft 2017)

It took decades for a stand alone compilation of Creedence Clearwater Revival's early years known as the Golliwogs, a dumb name for sure but still in the history of rock and roll still vital in some ways.  You can hear them turn away from the Doo Wop balladry that Tom Fogerty seem to have like, into a more garage rock type sound and eventually the sound that would the trademark of CCR, namely Porterville.  The title track Fight Fire might have been weak lyrically, but there's no denying that signature riff employed by John Fogerty and it outrocks everything on this track.   Brown Eye Girl owes a lot to Them and Tell Me is them trying to sound like the Beatles. A couple years, I ended up spending a 25 dollar gift card to Half Price Books to get the Golliwogs Pre Creeedence LP that came out in 1975 but Fantasy never bothered to reissue it till Saul Zenthz sold it to Concord Music Group and they finally relented to audiophiles request to put the album out again.  The alt take of You Can't Be True is something I can live without and you get a a radio promo tacked on at the end which is worth hearing once but over all Fight Fire is a essential piece of history of CCR.  They might have been searching for that sound but they always did have a decent rhythm section.  And Doug Clifford is one of rock's most underrated drummers.

UFO-The Salentino Cuts (Cleopatra 2017)

Would you believe that Vinnie Moore has been the longest tenured guitar player in UFO, even more than Micheal Schneiker? He is to what Steve Morse is to Deep Purple, excellent guitar players that managed to fit in quite nicely from the better known guitar players.  Unlike Morse, Moore plays for UFO, a great band that made classic albums for Chrysalis in the 70s and 80s up till Walk On Water.  Problem remains that Phil Mogg is no longer the expressive vocalist that he once was and the last time I was that interested in UFO was the Jason Bonham on drums album You Are Here.  After years on SPV Steamhammer, they're on Cleopatra and that label is scattershot for aging bands.  So UFO decided to do a covers album, nothing wrong if you do it right (See Krokus).  Problem is a lot of the songs sound like they're done in one take and Mogg trying to figure out how to sing them, he really makes It's My Life and Mississippi Queen kinda hard to listen to.  It's not all bad, they did a nice version of Mad Season's River Of Deceit, Vinnie Moore manages to get the feel of Robin Trower's Too Rolling Stoned and Just Got Paid really does rock.  In any case, The Salentino Cuts is a interesting album, to which UFO becomes your local hard rock band trying to do cover songs, and going half good, and half try it again with more feeling.  That is if the lead singer can learn the sing the song accents right.

Bobby Freeman-Do You Wanna Dance (Collectibles 1991)

The only new release I bought all year and it was a reissue that Barnes N Noble had in Davenport for many years.  The title track was the hit and Bobby tried a couple time to redo that song with other lyrics and the results are not as memorable.  It disappointing that Sinbad (B side to Ebb Tide) was left off, Collectibles certainly had enough CD space to put the song on there.   Freeman seemed to follow trends, his last hit was Cmon and Do The Swim (which seems to be a different version from the Autumn Sly Stone produced session), It's a spotty best of, and Freeman was pedestrian at best for words, but if nothing else, the title track and Betty Lou's Got A New Pair Of Shoes remain classic oldies rock gold

Frank Zappa-Zappatite (Zappa 2018)

Zappa's best years were with the the original Mothers of Invention plus Hot Rats or Grand Wazoo but once his locker room porn got the best of him, neither his great guitar soloing could save the albums after that.The Rykodisc overview from 20 years ago is the better deal and can still be found.  This best of, tries to be all things Zappa, from composer, to satirist to heavy metal (Trouble Coming Every Day) but it leaves out an all important genre, Doo Wop which makes Zappatite strictly for Zappa audiophiles collectors.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Grammys 2018

I didn't watch the Grammy's TM Sunday Night.

Waste of time.

Rolling Stones won a Grammy for best traditional blues album with Blue And Lonesome and Randy Newman won one for a instrumental. (Putin).

Bruno Mars creamed Kendrick Lamar and the critics went up in arms about that.  But I don't care.  Kendrick Lamar's rap is something I don't relate.

Overall, a waste of time, but then I said that earlier.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Few Words About Dennis McMurrin From Scott Sanborn

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, if people thought you were “hip” or “cool” they might call you daddy-o. Generations later that moniker is still being used, reserved for one local musician who is now getting a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association for his cool career Created in the Corridor.
“I’ve been playing gigs since 1963,” recalled Dennis McMurrin who first picked up a guitar when he was nine years old after watching his jazz guitarist grandfather play. “He was just great. He was fantastic. So when I was real little, I’d watch him. But that was my first influence.”
Growing up in Cedar Rapids, McMurrin took guitar lessons for nearly a decade. Claiming he wasn’t that smart he dropped out of high school in 11th grade to pursue his passion for picking full-time. “It never even entered my mind that I couldn’t do it,” said McMurrin. “I mean that’s how dumb I was…and I had no doubts. Never. I never did.”
And he’s never done anything else. McMurrin’s first band with fellow Cedar Rapids native Michael Boddicker—who went on to become a Grammy-winning composer, was called the Plannets. Their very first performance took place at the old Danceland Ballroom where the downtown Cedar Rapids convention center now stands.
Over the years, McMurrin developed a super-funky, soulful style of blues that won the attention of the world-famous Tower of Power. Their horns can be heard on McMurrin’s 1986 self-titled album recorded at Salty Dog Studios in Los Angeles.
Right after that album, McMurrin formed The Demolition Band to take the songs on the road. They’ve since played countless shows throughout the corridor.
Longtime collaborator Dan Johnson, a bassist, is another career musician who first saw McMurrin perform in the late 60s. “Dennis was in a band called ‘The Travel Agency’ and this is before I even was playing. He was doing stuff on the guitar I’d really never seen. Dennis was the first guy that I’m just going, ‘what is he doing on that guitar?’”
That guitar is the same Gibson McMurrin’s been playing since age 11. “I still remember getting it,” McMurrin recalled fondly. He actually still has the bill of sale from 1964.
And while he’s never given the guitar a nickname like B.B. King’s “Lucille,” He does have his own which he said came by chance thirty years ago on the streets of Iowa City. “A carload full of guys, college kids come by and (shouting) ‘Hey, hey great show last night daddy-o!’ That stuck like crazy.”
“The nickname Daddy-O is so apropos to his personality,” said Nick Stika, a member of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association’s board of directors who nominated Daddy-O for IRRMA’s Hall of Fame. “Talking to him on the phone was a riot when I got to call him up and tell him he was being inducted. He was excited about it but in that Daddy-O kind of way; ‘Ah, yeah man, that’s cool.’ You know, just the way he presents himself.”
Added Johnson,“The old, poor beatnik musician, it just really embodies him.”
Johnson said McMurrin also embodies style, originality and improvisation—all the elements needed to preserve music as an art form. “As far as the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame goes, there’s this small percentage of guys that are in there that truly, truly deserve to be in there…and Daddy-O is one of ‘em.”
“Just the influence that he’s got with all the musicians around this area,” explained Stika about McMurrin’s qualifications for recognition. “The influence he’s had on everybody to pick up the guitar and go out there and do it.”
“We had a recent gig here at Parlor City with Ron DeWitte,” recalled McMurrin about one of his favorite shows. Terry Lawless showed up. He was on Saturday Night Live the night before, literally he was in New York City. Huge show.”
And Daddy-O says, at 64, he’ll keep doing shows because he still loves it and the phone still rings.
“People keep calling, you know? Come play, so…that’s it.”