Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Steve Giddens Reviews Townes By Steve Earle

Managed to get a pre-release of the new Steve Earle record of Townes Van Zandt covers, appropriately titled Townes. Steve pays tribute to his hero through a record that both channels and reinterprets the work of the man that many consider to be the one of the great modern songwriters. Since the songs speak for themselves, I thought I might do a track by track take on the approach Earle takes to each song. Keep in mind that this is my first listen through the record.

1. Pancho and Lefty - Steve plays it straight, with his string-..snapping fingerstyle playing and a little piano. Kudos for realizing that this song, above any of Townes' others, stands strong on its own.

2. White Freightliner Blues - Flashes of The Mountain, the record Earle cut with the Del McCoury Band come back as raucous banjo and fiddle create the feeling that the wheels are coming off this rambling ode to the highway.

3. Colorado Girl - Earle's last record, Washington Square Serenade, was calculated enough to fit the songs with beats, courtesy of Dust Brother John King. He interprets Colorado Girl about as loose as it could come, which seems about right for a TVZ song.

4. Where I Lead Me - Steve gets downright dusty for this song, which rides a steady beat and features some bristling distorted harmonica in a call and response with the lyrics.

5. Lungs - Featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine/..Audioslave, Steve shows his willingness to interpret Townes' material through a modern filter. At first singing through a digital filter, the song quickly moves along to a sampled beat, before Morello's fuzzed out guitar breaks the song loose.

6. No Place to Fall - This song has a bit of an Irish feel, as Earle picks and strums over a droning pump organ, creating an ominous environment that never quite rises or falls.

7. Loretta - This sounds like it could be an outtake from Earle's last record, with the sampled beats providing a nice loping groove, accompanied by Alison Moorer, Earle's wife, and a loopy fiddle.

8. Brand New Companion finds Earle moderating a simmering blues with his pleasantly overdriven guitar and harmonica. He opts for substance over flash, but the song drones on just a bit too long without a whole lot of dynamic or differentiation...

9. Rake - Steve takes on this desperate waltz with a raw voice and two fiddles. A brilliant interpretation of one of my favorite TVZ songs.

10. Delta Momma Blues - Luckily, this song doesn't suffer the same fate as "Brand New Companion", as Earle takes an Appalachian approach with a sawing fiddle and banjo that pleasantly rolls along and frames the song with the same carefree mood as Townes' original version.

11. Marie - This song barely diverts from a single fingerpicked motif over a slapped tambourine. Earle doesn't attempt to grow this song beyond a dirge, and wisely so.

12. Don't Take It Too Bad - Earle is joined by a fiddle and a Dobro on this pleasantly waltzing ode to hopelessness (but disguised as reassurance).

13. Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold - Earle takes on one of Townes' best story songs by using a simple panning trick to give the song two voices, finally joining in the final verse, which serves as a "moral of this story" moment. For all of Earle's recording experimentation.., this might pay off as the best use of the medium.

14. (Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria - Earle takes a light treatment to this swirling tribute to a near-mythical woman, and lets the lilting melody carry the song without a whole lot of addition.

15. To Live's to Fly - A fitting end to this disc, Earle fronts a simple band on one of Townes' better known songs. As he echoes Van Zandt's exhortation to "shake the dust off of your wings", the song seems to take flight.

After the last song finished, my iTunes skipped straight into "Mystery Train, pt. 2", the first song from Earle's largely acoustic Train A Comin', and it seemed to fit perfectly. On this tribute, Earle shows as much of himself as he does his mentor and idol, and is able to draw the straight line connecting his style and Townes' songs, just as if a son tried on his father's clothes. A great record for Steve Earle fans, and those who could never get into Townes because of his hit and miss production."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Rising Rivers Of Spring

Spring can be a time of transition, from the bleak cold and snow of winter to the bleak clouds and rains. People enjoy the spring since they can now go out of the house and ride their ATVs up and down this dirt road or do outside burning of shrubs and sticks and stink up the joint. And then the real calling of spring of Redwing Blackbirds and having them attack everybody and everything on sight. Or other birds thinking that the overhang and downspouts are potential nestings spots and further add misery to keeping a decent house. And spring of course brings gas prices back over two bucks a gallon. A neverending cycle. Anyway my favorite time of year is four months away in August when the Redwings all of a sudden disappear into cornfields and making things somewhat safe to go walk the trails again.

Unfortunly, this year brings out snowmelt to which snow from the upper midwest flows into our rivers and to further aggervate the situation we get endless spring rains and endless cloudy days if it doesn't rain or the stray snowstorm that seem to come out before April. Last year, we had 60 inches of snow on the ground and then ended up getting forty days and nights of rain rain rain, thus aggervating the rivers and the ground moisture to the point that I used all of my Goldmine archives to combat the damn water in the basement. And the fact of the matter was that the five feet of snow melted within a couple days thanks to a five inch weekend rainfall. We were never given a dry week at all in the Spring of 08 to which finally things came to a head on May 25th with a tornado outbreak and a week later 10 inches of rain that swelled the Red Cedar River to epic flooding of 31.3 feet that wiped out Cedar Rapids' neighborhoods.

But that's nothing compared to the people at Fargo ND or Grand Forks who in 1997 had to deal with a big flood and now in 2009 The Red River Of The North is ready to overtake the town with a major flood of 41 feet! Which would wipe out the record 1997 flood, just like the Flood of 08 wiped out the 1993 Flood or the 1929 or 1961 Floods of CR. And just like 08, Grand Forks/Fargo can't seem to buy a break with big snows up there and a continual rains.

When you go through floods, it either makes you stronger or makes you pissed off enough to move away from any body of water. We have scenic rivers and when it's not the rainy season (10 months out of 12 seems to be rain rain rain), The Wapsipinicon River is one of the most beautiful rivers in the state. But I don't love the river enough to put a house in its wetlands to pay me a visit in the spring. And like The Red Cedar, The Wapsi when it gets swollen of winter runoff and storms that overstayed their welcome goes on a rampage as well. And 24 feet of angry Wapsi did put out parts of Anamosa just like the Cedar did the Czech Village in CR. I have never been to North Dakota to see the Red River Of The North, it doesn't flow downstream but goes up north to Canada and empties into Lake Winnepeg to which means that Winnepeg better be on high alert in the next week or so after the Red crests Monday. You don't mess around with a raging river, if you survive a flood of epicness, you tend to get the hell out and move to higher ground or at least away from the floodplain. I do not wish floods on my worst enemies. Maybe the Taliban or Rush Limburgh or Ann Coulter or Dick Cheney. Floods suck, when they make history as the worst flood ever they suck even more. 10 months after the fact, The CR City council still have their heads up their ass and pity the poor folk who lost their homes and livelihood from the June 13, 2008 river rampage. Here's hoping the Grand Forks/Fargo folk have better luck and pray for their well being and pray for the damn rains to stop (or snows). The folks in the Midwest, especially those who live near rivers always have to deal with this every springtime. You can't take any storm for granted anymore. Blame it on global warming if you dare but I think that in the history of the planet that spring has always been the most extreme of weathers regardless and will continue to do so till the end of time.

They say that water will be most important liquid and will pass oil in terms of survival, and if that's the case then we must be the sheiks of the world or future. And it's too damn bad that we can't find a way to harness this valuble resourse when it invades our basement or comes roaring down a swollen and overflowed riverbank. And it's also too damn bad that we can't move The Gulf Of Mexico, the big problem of this and other problem, storm systems that form in the rockies to other places of this planet. We've been in a moisture surplus for the past three years due to very wet springs and very brutal winters to which we caught a break this year with a warm February that melted most of the snow away. But then again we got hit with five inches of rain the first week of March and about four feet of snow up in the hills to which is part of the Red River Of The North being at 32 feet and rising this week.

Yep, it's springtime in the midwest again, rain and flooding at someplace, somewhere in the midwest. We can pray and hope for a week or ten days of dry weather but we always seem to get the opposite of what we want. But then again if we get ten dry days, then some stupid hack will be crying for more rain, complaining it's too dry.

Springtime in the midwest. Makes me long to return to Arizona.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-Lost Souls

Since I couldn't do Madison this month, I decided to head up to Dubuque instead.  Hard to figure that town smaller than CR would still have two working record stores in Cds 4 Change and Moondog Records.  And still have a Little Ceasers Pizza too.  If I lived up in Dubuque I would hang around the west side of town since most of the happenings are around JF Kennedy Blvd.  It's also amazing that Moondog Music would have both Tommy Keene and Steve Earle's albums and not Best Buy here.  With no independent music stores here in town a CR person would have either drive or buy online.  I will hit Madison when the weather starts cooperating but in this time of year it's a bitch since we get storm systems up the ass. I seldom sleep anymore when we get a damn storm.  I never know if I'm going to get swept down the damn drainage although this storm we had the past couple days spared us from major rains.

They say that water will be like oil in the future and if that's the case we are all water sheiks.  Too bad we can't send this liquid gold in the basement to those that need it. Looks like this area will be in a surplus of moisture in the ground again for the third straight year.  And it is a given that when I go hit Madison town, gas prices will be over two bucks a gallon again.  Just another fact of life.  Makes me wish for the 70s again but then again the old 67 Fairlaine 500 got about 10 blocks a gallon gas.  Pick your poison.

The Great Depression 2 has bargain hunters out and about and I met a few at the local Goodwill in town.  The dude brought out some new CDs for the world to buy at Goodwill and this woman came out just in time to scour and take a Herb Alpert Greatest Hits CD before I knew anything about it.  Oh, they had The Best Of Traffic-Feeling Alright but since I had the 2 cd Smiling Phases and everything else I passed on it.  You got to be careful in terms of Goodwill CDs, I took a look at a 2 CD best of Chicago and it only had one CD in there but Ms. Bargain Lady snatched it out of my hand when I put it back and put it in her cart.  Didn't bother to tell her that there's only one CD but I'm sure she will figure it out eventually.

The Top Ten Of The Week follows.

1.  Something About You-LeBlanc & Carr 1977  A forgotten light rock number from Lenny LeBlanc and Pete Carr, the latter one of the best guitar players to come out of Muscle Shoals and played alongside Duane Allman in the Hour Glass a super group before it's time. This tune managed to scrape the top 40, which is a cover of the Four Tops 1966 number.  Their biggest hit is the haunting Falling, one of the ten best all time soft rock numbers. LeBlanc has moved on to gospel music.

2.  Wake Up-The Muckrakers 2005  I don't know if Rob Carpenter follows the top ten here or not, but he blogs a lot in their My Space site as much as blog over here.  The Muckrakers are kinda like Kentucky's answer to Sister Hazel or the Gin Blossoms in the way they make their music, good for driving around town and they managed to make a big enough buzz for Canada's answer to Pickwick/K Tel Madacy Records to pick up their Front Of The Parade album. Gutsy move and didn't pan out and the only copies of this record I ever seen they had three copys at Moondog Records.  The hack at All Music Guide calls The Muckies a poor mans cross of Barenaked Ladies and Dave Matthews.  I don't see the connection but I do know this is pretty good pop rock of this decade but radio does not play it.  Should I rename this top ten to impress The Muckrakers to read this?  Sometimes I do read the latest happenings from Rob and his daily blogs and once in a while I'll post a comment but I'm sure being a new dad he's got better things to do than seeing one of his songs posted on a top ten that hardly anybody notices.  Keeping good music alive, it's such a solitary job at times.

3.  Summertime Blues-Levon Helm 1978  When I do a lost classic, I make sure they are lost classics.  Helm is the legendary drummer and vocalist for The Band and was the voice of The Band.  Yep, Robbie Robertson can write them but he couldn't sing them with a shit (See Robbie's Geffen albums for proof).  After the band Levon made three albums for ABC/MCA and did a one off with Capitol/Muscle Shoals Sound Records in 1982 to which I knew nothing about till I seen this on a reissue CD that came out for a month.  Bonus track is this number which Levon did sing on a SCTV episode but I think Levon may have the changed some of the words.  Could have swore on the final verse he goes "I kinda like to help you son but you're too dumb to vote"  May have been wrong but that might give me a different insight to sing that song when I play it live myself.  Helm is still around and made a critically acclaimed album of last year Dirt Farmer to which I might check out later.

4.  Everybody Dies-Dramarama 2006  Earlier in this decade VH1 did a remarkable thing and it was called Bands Reunited to which they tried to get some of the more influential 80s band to reunite  and for the most part a lot of them did get back together again. Extreme did reunite but not at time, Romeo Void did for a time as well and even the dreaded Kajagoogoo. And as well as Dramarama although they never broke big here in the Midwest but I did become a fan of theirs.  And they did make this comeback album three years ago and it shows their record influences since they were record collectors.  This one is kinda Nirvanaish and yes everybody dies but it does make you want to sing along with the chorus. 

5.  Where Do You Stand?-Willie Nelson 1970  From the new Naked Willie album but it comes from his Laying My Burdens Down album.  On this effort, Willie's harmonica player Mickey Rapheal wanted to strip away the annoying strings and the Nashville Sound that plagued Nelson's RCA albums of yesteryear and I think Waylon Jennings and Richie Alright tried to do that on the Before His Time album of 1977.  Willie's RCA period showed that he was even a one of a kind star but couldn't get arrested on the charts and Chet Atkins and various producers tried to update and sweetened up the sound but some of the arrangements are questionable at best.  For example this song it starts out people booing to which I found strange to even hear on the slicked up album and the rest of the song sounds like Willie doing a Elvis Presley album.  The new version takes away the crap and so all you hear is Willie and a sparse backing band.  I'm sure Chet and Felton Jarvis had good intentions but it made the song sound so dated now.  Remember Ted Turner and his colorized classic movies? This is Mickey's Black And White version of the Willie colored albums.

6.  The Right Time To Fly-Tommy Keene 2009  Tommy has been around twenty plus years and has made some incredible albums that nobody ever heard but he has his fans out there.  He's a much harder power pop than the Gin Blossoms his new album is just like the others although it's a bit more consistent than Crashing The Ether of three years ago.  Not a classic mind you but still fans will dig it.  I like getting cds from Moondog Music in Dubuque, they have that incense smell that makes you feel like you're in that store all over again. Groovy man.

7.  Something's Burning-Kenny Rogers And The First Edition 1970  Long time ago, our TV station had a variety show from Kenny Rogers that aired in the afternoon, long before infomercials.  The good old days.  Before he became Mr Country Music of the late 70, Rogers had a few hits with Reprise and this was one of them.  Written by Mac (It's Hard To Be Humble) Davis I remember this being number 100 of KCRG's Top 100 songs of 1970.  Or it may have been number 50 hard to tell, I lost the chart years ago.  Fun Fact: Mikey Jones, who played drums on these recordings played in the infamous 1966 Dylan Goes Electric Tour of England and later would go into acting and can been seen in Home Improvement.

8.  Ether-Gang Of Four 1980  Highly Marxist art/punk rockers made their mark with Entertainment! and would influence REM, Nirvana, The Fall and about 1000 other bands since then.  Never got into them myself although when I did pick up this album this weekend I found that I may have missed history in the making.  But I was still into classic rock back then.

9.  Someday-Steve Earle 1986  Steve may have been ahead of his time when he put out Guitar Town and he was one of those artists who was either too rock for country or too country for rock and better than Dwight Yoakam although back then I was more into Dwight than Steve. But Earle was more the rebel than Dwight and anybody else that was riding the new country of 1986 to which Randy Travis figured somewhere into this equation.  But Earle being the rebel, lost a lotta momentum when he got busted for drugs and had to spend some time in jail to which he was reborn and has enjoyed a good music career since then.  MCA has released Live At The BBC this week which showcase Earle during his Copperhead Road Tour.  Sound quality varies but if you're a Steve Earle fan you won't care.

10. A Day In The Life-The Beatles 1967

Feel ya, Mr. Mellencamp, but don't mess with Monster Mash. That was my first 45..........

RIP Blender Magazine which will ceast publication.  Blender was alright in terms of reading reviews and looking at near nude chick singers. But just as reliable as Rolling Stone or Spin in terms of reviews.

Top Ten Of The Week-Maladjusted Attitude

Random thoughts

Scott Van Pelt is an annoyance.  SportsCenter sucks if we have to listen to Van Pelt or John Anderson.

The Madison bargain hunt has been postponed (what else is new?) till later.  Complications of getting days off and being short handed had something to do with it plus the fucking weather for this weekend is showers and thunderstorms both days. Wish we can have drought conditions but every time I wish for that, we get more rain or storms.  Hopefully, we won't have to deal with floods this year since the snow melted away.  Let's pray we don't get the forty days and nights of rainstorms that got us into the flood mess last year.

Counting Crows have bid adieu to Geffen Records after 18 years. Guy Hands has resigned as head huncho of EMI records.  EMI has been in a big mess since Terra Ferra bought them out. The major labels are such in a disarray.  Warner Music Group posted a big loss but still gave Edgar Brotman Jr a couple million dollar bonus for doing a shit job.  Seems like the American way of life 2000, do a shit job and get a big bonus.  See it did wonders for AIG and Wall Street.

And there's a promise of a new Lizzy Williams album this year.  Can't wait for that.

Finally, got to eat at Hot Harry's Burritos on Tuesday.  I think I perfer them over Pancheros.  At least they don't burn the steak like Pancheros but then again I kinda turned away from Pancheros, I don't like the way they mix everything up, I prefer my beans and rice and meat layered rather than smashed together.  Yeh, I know it all goes down the same hole but I don't need to get grossed out.

And now the songs of the week.

1.  Super Natural-Everything 1998  Jam band that had a hit with Hootch.  Made a couple albums for Capricorn that went nowhere and then signed to an offshoot of Sire Records.  this track reminds me of One Fine Morning by Lighthouse with terms of beat but that's where it all ends.  This album is easily found in the buck bins in what's left of the cd stores in the state.

2.  Helen Says-Hank 1995  Not Hank Jr, Sr, or the 3rd but a band from Boston that sounded a cross between Del Amitri and the Gin Blossoms.  I guess you can call it alternative rock and Joan Jett was impressed enough to issued their first album on her Blackheart label.  I think alternative rock was the last gasp of good music, seems like everything went downhill after Big Back Forty's Bested in 1997.  Reality shit killed the video star. 

3.  The Clowns Lead The Band-Devonsquare 1991  Another clearance sale cd found, this band started out as an New Age answer to Abba before switching over to a Fleetwood Mac style sound on their second Atlantic platter Bye Bye Route 66, in fact Alana MacDonald sounds a bit like Stevie Nicks, though not as clever or mystical.  But I'm sure none of y'all out there knows about this band, hell I don't even think I have readers anymore.  Just blogging to myself don't mind me.

4.  Woodstock-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 1970  Hard to believe that this year will mark the 40th anniversary of 3 days of peace and love.  And I'm sure that these guys will play at the 40th anniversary if they all stay alive.  Don't look for MTV or VH1 to show this.  It will cut into their reality shit and nobody watches rock concerts anymore anyway.

5.  Tropical Flesh Mandala-Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians 1988  I still have yet to find his new album so I thought I go back into the archives and play one off his Globe Of Frogs album. 

6.  Must Have Been Crazy-Chicago 1979  Yeh Donnie Dacus was no Terry Kath but he did his best on the two albums that he played on.  If Hot Streets bombed, 13 crashed and so did this failed single.  Catchy as hell, it should have gotten up higher on the charts than it did. Maybe it would have better luck had PC Moblee sang it instead.

7.  PT Nuts/Linus And Lucy-Pat Travers 2006  A guitar reworking of the Peanuts classic song. You can't say that Pat doesn't have a good sense of humor.

8.  My Time Ain't Long-Canned Heat 1970  The foretelling of the future of Al Wilson.  Canned Heat was never the same after Wilson hung himself.

9.  Hang On Sloopy-The Beau Brummels 1966  And for their effort of getting on Warner Brothers, they got to do a covers album chosen by their label to further shame them by calling it Beau Brummels 66.  Some of the songs here are not too bad but Warner Brothers didn't do them any favors by ordering them to cover Mrs Brown You Got A Lovely Daughter or These Boots Were Made For Walking.  Good thing it was 2006, otherwise the Beaus may have forced to do American Idol covers!

10.  One In The Sun-Steve Gaines 1977  But wasn't released till ten years later but this song also appeared on the Lynyrd Skynyrd Legend grab bag.  It's too bad that Steve Gaines wasn't given the ablitity to showcase more of his music for had Synyrd continued with both Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines alive that there would be more classics coming from them. Now the only Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke remained from the early band but Medlocke left to formed Blackfoot before returning to Skynyrd in 1997.  However, Skynyrd will have a new album out later in the year.  Just so that you know.
And the Chicago and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young can be called Seastarr's Sis Picks Of The Week, to which Seastarr picks her favorite song of the week.  You can catch her over at Multiply at Yardbird's Roost.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Basketball 2009 Notes

Well, the Hawkeyes are done, the girl Hawkeyes are done and now I'm reading that there will be more defections from the Hawks once again.  I've been hearing about Jake Kelly deciding to leave the hawks as well as Jermain Davis.  And if that happens this will be the third straight year that the Hawks would lose a good basketball player.  Three seasons ago it was Tyler Smith, last year it was Tony Freeman and now it looks like Jake Kelly is gone as well.

It's hard to improve when you have key members defect or get homesick or just leave.  It seems like this will be the third straight year of rebuilding for the hawks and I donno if Todd Lickliter is just too hard on them or what the deal is, seems like he can't keep the players on the team.  But then again, all three were from the Alford era.  But perhaps Todd should just have stayed at Butler if he had to deal with this nonsense.  Oh well, basketball is over, the only team I'm following in the NCAAs is Syracuse since they took out Arizona State.  But I'm sure the Tucson faithful are rejoicing the fact that Arizona is still in there, worst team in the Pac 10 still playing but in all fairness St Mary's should have gone instead.  I know, sour gripes from my view again.

UPDATE:  Paul Palmer, James Peterson all followed Davis and Kelly out the door so now there's four open spots for the BB team for next season.  It also means that unless Lickliter can find some stud JC players that the Hawks will be the doormat of the Big Ten.  Unfortunately, When Jake Kelly's mom died this year Kelly decided that he needed to be closer to home with his father and Terre Haute seem to be his calling.  You can't fault him for that, I'd do the same thing if I was in his shoes.  Peterson, was very reckless in terms of his playing, he did more turnovers than points it seems and Davis wasn't a good fit.  He thought he was Lebon James but played like Rick James and it wasn't pretty.  Palmer played two great games and then teams began to solve him and rendered him useless for the year.

Looks like the honeymoon is getting to be over for Todd and company since I have read a bunch of emails from sportswriters at the press citizen and QC Times and they're beginning to wonder if Lickliter will continue to get recruits who up and bolt after a season of playing here.  I don't think it's dire like Kentucky booting Billy Gillespie after two seasons and the two year grace period for Todd is over.  From here on out, it's a question of what's he going to do to get the team in the right place and Hawk fans, while no way means are like Kentucky fans (a lot of wildcat fans kinda wished they kept old Tubby Smith) the patience is beginning to wear thin, especially with Todd's On the Right Track remark.  And the right track shouldn't mean 11th place in the big ten. Gillespie started out losing 24 games for UTEP before winning 21 the next season.  But the cupboard was bare when Todd got here and it seems like every season the Cupboard is still gathering dust when the Hawks lose players that score.  Certainly anybody can be taught to play stiff defense and the Hawks do it well but we also need scorers that can score, and big men in the middle to score from inside and we haven't had that in three years.  I like Todd Lickliter and really wish that his system will start working but it's not the Butler way anymore.  It's the Iowa Hawkeye way and something needs to work or Todd may not be back for a forth season.  You can only rebuild so long before you become a also ran and it doesn't look all that great when the Hawk women continue to win 20 games a year and make some kind of tournament while the Hawk men go one and gone in the Big Ten Tournies.  I think we need some kind of stable lineup that's going to be around for three years and the coach's son being the point guard for next season ain't going to cut it.

You can blame Todd or the long gone Steve (Prettyboy) Alford for the demise of Hawk basketball and if Alford stayed onward, we could going to the NITs and losing in the first round, wearing ridiculous no name jerseys.  Basically the fall guy is none other than know it all John Bowlsby, the hack AD that forced Tom Davis out of Iowa City and then moved on to make Stanford a laughing stock of the Pac 10.  Well the hawks didn't win any big ten titles for sure, but they always managed to win enough games to get to the NCAAs.  And managed to win the first round most of the time, Davis was very good at winning the first game of the tournaments.  Alford never did if he did I don't remember it although the Hawks did win the Big Ten Tournament in the debut year.  But Bowlsby started the great slide to which the Hawks are now in the bottom in the big ten and with next year assured of being in last place and not making any playoffs since that 26 win season of 2005.  Bowlsby doesn't have to worry about the plight of the Hawks, he's enjoying the Stanford sunshine.  Too bad that Bump Elliott isn't alive to see this mess.

It ain't much better in Iowa State.  Greg McDormett have lost ten players in the time he took over Iowa state so perhaps it's the new instate rivalry game.  To see how many players you can lose.  Oh, you won't get a trophy from this, just a last place finish and angry fans and sportswriters.

As for Steve Alford, he lasted into the second round of the NITs before Norte Dame knocked them off by two points. Something that Alford is very good at, losing games by a bucket.  Wait till next year Lobos fans, now you know how us Hawk fans feel like.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Music Reviews:Hoobastank, Thin Lizzy

Get Your Hands Off My Hoobastank

This decade will go down as the worst decade ever for music.  I donno if it was the Napster debacle, or the shitty compressed CDs or Copy Protected ones that was the reason.   This decade MTV and VH1 finally decided that they would rather do the reality crap and not promote anymore artists or bands out there.  CMT also is more concerned with My Big Fat Redneck Wedding than Taylor Swift it seems.  Radio isn't helping, they don't promote new music and we still can't get Public Radio to come in, since the transmitter took a shit a couple months ago.  And where to buy music anymore, outside of Best Buy or Wally World or Target, one can only hope what HP Books gets in used.

Modern Rock didn't give us a whole hell of lot to get excited about this decade.  Saliva did deliver on their last two albums but for junk rock you could do worse. Such as the case of Hoobastank, the band that has been around since 1994 and has been on Island since 2001 although if Chris Blackwell still owned Island, he would have laugh these guys out of the building.  Island is a far cry from 1969 and even 1979 if you want to get technical about things.

Hoobastank got lucky in 2004 when The Reason topped the MTV top 20 Video, the last gasp year that MTV played videos before 2 AM and The Reason topped the charts on radio for about 3 weeks and got even airplay on Mix 96.5.  Enough to garner the Hoobadoos with one hit wonder legend.  The next album Every Man For Himself bombed without any major hits and copies of this could be found in the dollar bins but I liked enough of that album to give them another chance.  And the chance was blown with their new player For(N)ever, which seems to be a screamo concept album about failed relationships.  To sum the whole album up the lyric "The more you speak/The less I care about you".  And the more Doug Robb screamed this line the less I begin to care about this album.  On I Don't  Think I Love You, the chorus line Robb screams I'm sorry over and over again, and I'm thinking, yeah I'm sorry too, sorry about buying this CD.  Yep love is a bitch and all 11 songs off this album Robb lets us know in uncertain terms that love is a bitch and being a whiner doesn't get you laid as well either.

If there's one good thing about For(n)ever it is that Hoobastank is actually thinking more of what they want rather than what radio wants or what their label wants.  Perhaps they're good as gone as the title suggests.  The album flopped on the Billboard, peaking at a dismal 26 and gone south ever since.  Going by the old Soundscan, this wouldn't even make the top 100 but since CD sales are slacking every year, a number 26 chart debut doesn't even guarnatee you gold to which I don't forsee this album making, unless Island can find a hit out of this.  But appently even the folks who bought into The Reason five years ago have more on and gradurated from high school and rather much listen to something more uplifting than songs such as Who The Hell Am I or Sick Of Hanging On. 

Hoobastank still gets a decent production from Howard Benson who produced their last two albums as well and mix polisher Tom Lord-Alge  makes it radio ready or MP3 ready since the CD sound is too compressed in typical 2000 style.  And the music is so so to good as indicated on lead off track My Turn and it sounds okay till Robb starts screaming and wailing away.  By then, I turned it off around track 7 driving home from Iowa City.  But I did go home and relisten to everything and still did not care much for this album.   And maybe Hoobastank can read the writing on the wall with the title of this album thinking that this may be their last shot with Island.

Perhaps Universal/Island is planning for that 20th Century Masters-The Millennium collection and putting the best Hooba numbers for that best of.  But even with four albums, Universal doesn't have much to work with outside of The Reason and whatever minor that Hoobastank have.  At least with For(n)ever, Hoobastank can say that they did this album their way without major label intrusion but with less radio play as well.  But then again maybe Doug Robb should consider getting laid more often as well.  At least he'll remember getting laid better than  any song off  For(n)ever, an album that you should just  forget.
Grade C minus

Other things-Chris Cornell's latest album Scream I have yet to read a positive review.  And they have been so bad that Cornell may not recover form the backlash of this record.  I always liked Chris as a person and good singer but I have yet to hear a definite album from any of his bands (Soundgarden, Audioslave, etc).

Looks like the Gene Simmons vs Bob Lefsetz get together ended in a draw but I think Lefsetz probaly wins on points of theory.  The complete debate you can find at Lefsetz's website.  Makes you wonder why Simmons would restart up his record label and move it north of the border.  Only success he had was The House Of Lords, which was Gruiffina that made two prissy albums for MCA and whose claim of fame was playing keyboards for Angel, the prissy pop rock band that made a few albums for Casablanca.  Simmons lately has done much better on his reality show on A and E Simmons Family Jewels and give him credit, his kids are a lot more better behaved than Hulk Hogan's.  Shannon Tweed had a lot to do with that I guess.  Then again Lefsetz does have ego as well and thens to repeat himself more often than not but seems like his inside track got the best of Gene.  I'm sure the KI$$ faithful will wait for the new album but since Ace Frehley isn't on it, I will take a pass on it.  We got duped on Psycho Circus and won't get fooled again on the new one.

AIG is high on everbody's hate list, as our wonderful congress gave them yet another billions so they can dole out the bonuses to their overpayed head honchos.  They gotta pay for those soccer teams across the pond or in Mexico.  AIG is one of the reasons for the great depression 2 and that's all I will say about those assholes.  I don't care for Chuck Grassley but he did score some Crabb points about that comment that AIG assholeheads to do the Japanese thing and resign or commit suicide for taking the bonus.  Then again, you can thank the Bush morons for approving the first bailout so that AIG can give those nice soccer uniforms for the English teams.  Hmmm, whatever happened to those AIG soccer commercials they used to show to show how fucking great AIG is.  Asshole Insurance Group, fits their name perfectly.

Thin Lizzy-Still Dangerous (live at the tower theatre 1977)-VH1 Classics

A recently discovered concert from the late great Phil Lynott and company with their classic lineup to which somebody still cared enough to issue this on cd.  It's much shorter than their definite  Live And Dangerous and though that one still remains the ultimate TL expierence but this one isn't too bad.  This is a less polished effort and Glyn Johns keeps things in that way, a bit more louder guitar but without that lousy compressed sound that most new albums are nowadays, you have to turn it up to hear the tunes.  Only three songs that didn't make to to Live And Dangerous and they vary in quality but the jamfest finale Me And The Boys is what the 70s was, good time jamming and the crowd and band getting into it.  Unlike today's bands.  I kinda wish that Scott Gorham would give up the Lizzy ghost, no Phil Lynott, no band but if he rediscovers anything in the archives with Phil and band, I'll be happy to listen to.
Grade B plus

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Rehersal For Retirement

To all the record stores that remain in the 200 mile radius of where I live, I have an important annoucement to make. When I turn 50 years old, I will be retiring from bargain hunting and buying out all the music stores. It will be moot point anyway, we lost so many music stores that we only have one decent one in town, my second home Half Priced Books.

It's funny how the internet has came along and made blogging fun but at the same time was killing off the music stores left and right. It's easier to shop online rather than go into town and maybe being surprised of what you could find at Goodwill or HP books. But everything comes to an end. Just like life.

I've spent 45 years going to music stores and buying 45s, tapes, records, cds what have ye. And some of the most fun moments was riding the bike up to downtown Marion to Marion TV and Records for the weekly single or in the grade school years walking up to the local Woolworths or Ben Franklin for 9 cent records or 4 for a dollar. The fun of going to Arlens or Wells in Waterloo, picking out something in the cheap bins and begging Mom to buy it. Or when we went to visit relatives, going to see what my aunt Cindy and Virginia would have for music. I drove our neighbors up the wall in Webster City when I kept rearranging their 45 collection when I go visit them with Mom. Maybe that's why I never had much social skills outside of what records do you have?

And I may not made much impressions on my ex girlfriends either. When I went up to Spokane to see Isabella, we'd hit the music stores and like me she had a big cd collection but I didn't see much of hers when I was there. In Portland, Lisa was kind enough to take me to Everyday Music when she was sick with the flu and we did the pawnshop bargain hunts. She was into a lot of techno music and had plenty of cds as well. Even in high school, my high school sweetheart couldn't understand what's all the albums that you buy as I showed her that I got bargain copies of Sly and the Family Stone Stand! and The Best Of The Hollies.

Girlfriends came far and few but the music continued to come on a regular basis as I researched things, remembered pawnshops had certain cds that I knew that would still be there when I return to Davenport or Madison or even Phoenix. In fact, music was the only constant in my lifetime and always seems like a visit would bring me a few things to go home and listen to.

I still live for the obscure and the lesser played but it's harder to find them. I know there's a few bargain hunters that like me, go to Goodwill to find the bargains and usually it's more perfect timing than skill. Most of the time, it's more miss than hit, especially when i drive out of town. But the urge of going out of town anymore is more work than play and as I get older, I seem to be a bit less interested in buying out ALL of the stores but rather the selected four or five that I like going to Madison (which includes two Half Priced Bookstores) and Mesa/Phoenix that has Bookman's. I have no clue on how I'll do the Phoenix trip next time I go. They have lost the Virgin Megastore and Tower Records, and Madison had a couple stores go by the wayside as well.

Used to be that Cedar Rapids had 8 to 10 places to buy music but Relics is gone, Rock N Bach is gone and Ratz Records failed. The Woolworth's, Marion TV n Records now a faded memory. And most of the time I scrap more bargain hunting trips than planned. I'd love to open up my own music store but it's a new world and I probaly wouldn't last anyway. Better to make it a Antique store, just like Sweet Living did before the tornado came and put them out of business. But never in my life would I have thought that I'd still be buying out what's left of the stores in business. Thought by now, I'd have a wife, kids, grandkids etc, but I remain the same like I was back in 1979 in high school, a special trip would be going to Cedar Rapids to Record Realm or Krackers for a musical fix, and Iowa City 1979 was like Madison of today, loads of stores, loads of odd records to check out.

Things end. The downloading, the MP3s, crappy music have rendered most of the bargain hunters obsolete or like vultures flying around roadkill, hanging out at HP Books in the Clarence bins to see what's left to listen to. Make no mistake, this bargain hunting vulture still finds them. But the constant bad news keeps coming, bad music, and more music stores closing is a never ending cycle. And after a while things pile up, records, cds etc. Maybe the virtual jukebox on the internet is the way to go, but this old audiophile still wants the physical product. It's always been that way for 45 years.

But ya know it is time. I don't know what I'm going to do once I turn 50 and do the last bargain hunt. I always thought the great sceniro would be sorting through the records at some place and die on the spot. That way, this old spirit would hang around the record store, not haunting it but rather play some old forgotten forty five or album track for what's left of the customers of that store to hear.

My life has always revolve around a turntable, watching the label spin. Doing that in the afterlife doesn't sound too bad either.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Basketball Madness

This is my favorite time of year when it comes to NCAA basketball, the tournaments and who goes to the Big Dance.  Once again it's not Iowa, the Hawkeyes got smoked by Michigan 72 to 43.  Again, one and done wait till next year.  Iowa State didn't do much better either, getting smacked by Oklahoma State last night.  Used to be that the Hawks would find ways of getting into the NCAAs playoffs but that hasn't happened now since 05/06 when they won 26 games, the big legacy of Steve Alford.

A lotta hawk fans hate Alford, I'm not one of them.  He did some good things like winning the first big 10 tournament ever, but I never forgave Alford for taking the players name's off their jerseys.  And the uniforms that Alford picked out are freaking ugly.  But then again, you have to feel for New Mexico Lobos, who lost their names and even more uglier uniforms than the Hawks.

Then again the big blame should be leveled on long gone AD John Bowlsby who forced Dr Tom Davis to retire and his final season the Hawks did make the sweet 16 before Steve came along.  Alford left two seasons ago to take the New Mexico Job when Reggie Theus made a ill fated decision to become Sacramento's head coach (He got fired a season and half later) but Alford had become Western Athletic Coach of the year with a 21-10 mark.  More about him later.

I got to watch Syracuse outlast UConn 127-117 in 6 overtimes!  Managed to watch OT number 4 onward and it was a exciting game for 5 before UConn ran out of gas and Syracuse with a lot of subs finally pulled away for the win.  I donno, it seems like I tend to root more for Syracuse when I watch them at this time of year.  Can't say why I don't care much for UConn Huskies, must be their uniforms but it may have been from 2006 when Johnny McNamara led them to the Big East Tournament Title but they got knocked off in the first round in the NCAAs.  But I seem to root for the Orangemen in the playoffs if the Iowa Hawks or Arizona State Sundevils are not playing.

Seems like when Alford left the Hawks, the cupboard was bare but actually Mike Gatens and Jake Kelly didn't follow SA to New Mexico  but we did lose Tyler Smith to Tennessee and various injuries to the Hawks bigmen have render Iowa useless these past two seasons.  I still think Todd Lickliter is a good coach and I still think he'll turn it around, but next season most of the Alford leftovers from two years gone have graduated (JR Angle, we hardly knew ye) so from here on out, the players will be Lickliter's. (with the exception of Petersen and Kelly although Gatens would have been a hawk had I been a coach).  Another subpar 500 season and the Hawkeye nation will be screaming for Todd's head.  They play great defense but they live and die by the 3 point basket and they have died a slow death when they do miss.  They had good moments such as beating Michigan at home and Penn State in OT and Wisconsin but they didn't do much on the road and got their ass handed back to them in a handbasket today from Michigan so they got their revenge again.  Wait till next year.

And although Alford did great in the regular season, Wyoming beat them in the playoffs tonight 72-67 (the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas), and that may have burst their bubble going to the big dance.  And somewhere in Iowa City, the Hawk faithful are dancing in the street on that.

Side note: New Mexico Lobos are in the Mountain West conference.  Can't seem to get my damn facts straight.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-El Punko El Rollo

I guess our last top ten didn't win any new converts over.  Well, guess we won't win any newbies over this on this ten best of the week.  Looks like the Mulitpy ratings are much better than the top ten followers over here.  But if we pulled the plug here, then the unknowns come out to email and keep the Top Ten going.  So be it.

The rainy season came way too early this year with four straight days of rain over the weekend.  I am not a fan of rain, not now not ever.  Going through two historic floods in 15 years will do that to you and pity the dumbass who built his house along the English River outside of Kalona.  Yeh, I love the Wapsi and the Red Cedar but not enough to have the river love me back to pay me a visit.  We are praying that this spring will not be as bad as it was last year.  I rather not see another historic flood ever in this lifetime again.

The Chrome Horse Saloon makes it's grand opening on Friday the 13th with the next night Doug Spinler and the merry gang we call 5 of Hearts will play the next night.  They have taken over the Dillon's building and forced the 3rd Street Live move down to First Avenue whereas they are known as First Avenue Live.  Maybe I'll pay Doug and company a visit one of these years but really can't take the drummer and his disco drums.  Real music should be play on real instruments, not Casio Drums.  Which leads us into the top ten of the week.

1.  Mamma Let Him Play-Doucette 1978  The CD if you still have a copy is worth about 75 bucks on EBAY.  I used to have it but traded it in long time ago and should at least made a copy of the title track.  Nothing else on that album is as good and as rocking as this song.  Jerry Doucette made another album for Mushroom USA records, The Deuce Is Loose to which negative reviews and a smartass critic called it the Douche Is Loose.  I did find a VG copy vinyl album of this for a buck.  Sure beats paying 80 bucks for it used at Amazon.  Fun fact, the reissue came from K Tel records when K Tel was resurrected from the dead in the mid 90s but is now dead again.  Blame Obama on that Rush Limburger.

2.  Perfect Skin-Lloyd Cole 1984  Some things get better with each listen and some become more forgettible as the years go by and I'm thinking that it's the latter with Lloyd Cole. This track got some airplay on KUNI back in the 80s garage rock era and his Geffen debut Rattlesnakes was his best record and remains so.  But I chose to keep his best of that Captiol put out in 1989, after acquiring the masters from Geffen.  But I donno, Cole remains a acquired taste at best and perhaps Robyn Hitchcock is a better choice.  Not for everybody.

3.  Chinese Rocks-The Heartbreakers 1977  The Johnny Thunders led Heartbreakers not Tom Petty, this band was the offshoot of the New York Dolls but with a more rock and roll attitude and not so much punk.  There's a early version of this with original bass player Richard Hell on Hell's overview CD Spurts-The Richard Hell Story, but the best known version is done by The Ramones.  Punk and roll at it's best but Thunders and company does such a looseknit version of this, you'd think they're about ready to trip over their guitars and drums.

4.  Cruel World-Don Hollinger 1967  See blog before this one for comment about Don.  This came from a scratchy ATCO 45 that we won at a Waterloo Drive In around 1968.  This was the B side but it was one of my favorite 45s.  I'd like to find a better copy of a 45 but I don't even known ATCO even put out a stock copy of this song and the only 45 on EBAY they want 40 bucks for it.  My record looks very rough but it does play VG on the turntable.

5.  Circumstances-Rush 1979  B side to Spirit Of Radio, also B Side to The Trees to which I've never seen the 45 of that.  Didn't care much for the live version that came out on Snakes And Ladders Live but I think the studio version I can take better now than 30 years ago. Perhaps when I go see 5 Of Hearts, think I'll ask Doug Spinler if they know it ;-)
And watch them throw me out of the bar on that one.

6.  Middle Cyclone-Neko Case 2009  A weird album from Neko, has it's good moments such as this title track to which I had to hear again while driving to work.  But I still think her best moments are still on the New Pornographers' albums.  Even the reviews have been mixed.  But I think this record is better than the new U2.  And I wish U2 would stop reminding us that THEY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT BAND IN YOUR LIFE cuz they're not in my life.  Unless you're The Who.  And they're not.

7.  Decision Or Collision-Z Top 1989  Or Got me Under Pressure Part 2 cuz it's sounds the same as that song.  No wonder they named the album this track come from Recycler.  Cuz most of the songs sound recycled from other ZZ Top albums. A start of the long decline in sales of ZZ Top albums and the last studio album for Warner Brothers.

8.  I Will Dare-The Replacements 1984  From their sloppy classic Let It Be, The Replacements were alternative rock's darlings of this time.  But they didn't call this alternative rock, I think they called it the Neo Garage movement.  But didn't they call The Strokes emergence the new Neo Garage movement too?  Hell, I call it rock and roll.  Public and College radio played the hell out of Let It Be in the mid 80s and is regarded as one of the top 10 best albums of the 80s.

9.  What You're Missing-Chicago 1982  They were on the wane and this song only managed to make it as high as number 82 on the Billboard Chart in 1983 but I remember this song since I bought the 45 at Camelot Records at Westdale Mall aka the Mall Of Death.  Credit or blame David Foster for their big comeback on with big hits such as Love Me Tomorrow and Hard To Say I'm Sorry.  I bought Chicago 16 when it came out and thought it sucked on the majority of the album which includes their big hits.  Only two good songs was on this 45 (b side Rescue You) I thought which meant I traded the album in for a couple albums that I don't remember.  I hated David Foster simply of the fact that he turned one of the best horn bands out there to a 2nd rate keyboard band and paved the way for Peter Cetera to turn into Goopy ballad singer with the crapfest Solitaire/Solitude in 1985.  But Cetera wasn't always the goopy crappy ballad singer, he made a helluva debut solo album in 1981.  David Foster, we hate you, you even made The Tubes sound like crap too.  And that's why you're being punished by the powers that be and having spoil brats for your offspring. And while we're at it, your reality show sucks.

10.  Juvenile-The Black Lips 2007  Finally, this generation's answer to 60's Pebbles.  They recorded a live album in Tiujana Mexico and it might be the 40 year answer live record to MC5's Kick Out The Jams.  Appently the crowd had one of those mariaschi spanish bands honking all over the record and the liner notes claim that hookers would dance naked on the stage doing naughty things and I guess you had to be there to see this.  Supposely, The Black Lips lost a few of their instruments and drums trying to get the hell out of Mexico before the drug cartel came calling but there just might be a bit of fibbing there.  Wonder if they got a DVD to this show ;-)

Congrats to Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams for tying the knot.  This means we won't have the usual five albums a year from Ryan anymore but perhaps they're make great music together.

Diggy Kat, my good friend, long lost brother and many things great has put together a downloadable CD of 19 bands that he believes that have made an impact on the independent music scene and I'm honored to say that he has picked a track off The Townedger's Pawnshops For Olivia for inclusion.  Thanks to him and Brown Dog Radio, The Townedgers have been getting some great PR from net sources.  But also this is your chance to hear other great bands with their own great music.  Support independent music and support your local starving artist.  For more info, DECKQ explains it all.

Hello everyone!
Im honored to announce, just put up today for a free download is the release of the compilation cd! (The link is below this message) Compiled by a fellow artist "Vufcup" it features yours truly and a bunch of local and far off independent bands that contributed to it. Entitled "Songs That Made An Impact" thats exactly what it is because we know these tracks will have a postitive and memoriable impact on the listeners. Its such a variety (punk, rock, metal, electronic, etc) so there is definitely something for everybody! These independent artists all willingly contributed for your listening pleasure as a free download. Im honored to be featured with these talented bands.
This cd is apart of you, your world and your generation so get the free copy!!!

.:Support the independent movement:.

=Track List=
1. "Sittin on the Sun" by The Artful Dodger
2. "Now" by The Atomic Squirrels
3. "Exhumed" by Black Chapel
4.  "Lemmings" by Darcy
5. "Down in Mexico" by Death At Ten Paces
6. "Silver Bullet Vampire Hunter" by DECKQ
7. "Deal" by Flamingos by The Yard
8. "Rebel (Without A Cause)" by Malfunktion
9. "Clear" by Nacosta
10. "Coffin Dodgers" by Obliterated
11. "Gay Solo" by The Rarities
12. "Prelude" by Sindarin
13.  "Caffeine and Nicotine (Special edit)" by Sky Keegan
14.  "Son Of A Hero" by Sound Mind
15. "Wake Up" by Spartacus
16.  "Beautiful Intentions (Demo)" by Stephanie Andreus
17.  "I Wonder" by The Townedgers
18.  "Dont Cut, Baby" by Vufcup
19.  "Home" by Wasted Days

Friday, March 6, 2009

Signs Of Spring

Waking up and looking out the window and seeing bird shit on the car.  Feed the birds so they can reward you with birdshit on your car after you wash it and trying to build birdnests around the damn foundation of the house.

The robins are here but a sure sign of spring is the return of the fucking redwing bastard birds that like to attack you from every points known.

Daylight Savings Time is here this weekend.  You can thank W for giving us three more weeks of daylight and one less hour of sleep.  But then again I think I enjoy the sunset later myself.

Flood watches out.  Which means stalled stationary fronts that have forever rains and flood the basement.

Gas prices going up although I have seen that diesel prices at the Casey's next to work is at 1.95 a gallon.  Any trip to Madison I'm sure regular gas will be over two bucks a gallon by then.

High schoolers getting ready to go to the prom, which isn't till the end of April.
I never had to deal with that, hell I never knew where my high school prom was at when I was senior anyway.

Basketball tournaments are here.  Springville girls lost 28-27 to St. ANGSWR.  That seems like a football score.

The City of Marion putting to vote yet another 1 cent option tax.  Didn't they vote No this week? 

While the Viola post office is no more, Springville has opened up a new Casey's to replace the one on the Business 151 route.  Looks like another empty building to contend with.  And the new Casey's is just right off the bloody turnoff.  Wonder how many more major accidents are going to happen on Springville Road/151.

On a good sign, baseball should be starting up next month.  Spring training is okay but ESPN would rather have Mike n Mike reruns instead.
Crabby's top rated TV Channels
1. WGN America
2.  TCM
3.  KFXA
4.  KCRG
5. PBS
6. Big Ten Network
7.  CNN
8.  FX
9.  Cartoon Network
10. Comedy Central

ESPN and ESPN2 follow and I do watch them more than say, the last four channels but I docked them four notches simply of John Anderson, Brad Van Pelt, Chris Berman  and World Series Of Poker.  Berman is a icon but he is responsible somewhat for the new crop of bad comedians turn hosts of Sportscenter.  I'd rather watch paint dry than see the excitement of Poker.  Comedy Central thrives on the thoughts of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who makes more sense defending Rush Dimbulb than hearing Rush defending himself.  FX used to be pretty hip with The Sheild and they have Rescue Me with Denis Leary but since losing Al Bundy and Hank Hill to other channels, I just don't watch FX as I used to.

Cartoon Network still has the mostly dumbass Adult Swim shows and most don't make any sense whatsoever which is why they still rely on Family Guy or King Of The Hill to keep the older crowds.  Only original that makes sense is Robot Chicken. but even that has been dumbed down a lot lately.

Since losing The Atlanta Braves, TBS and TNT haven't been on my watch list too much outside of a occasional Home Improvement.  The Baseball game of the week they debuted in place of the Braves is a sell out and a joke and most of the time the games that are shown are blacked out anyway.  Used to be that cable would give us baseball games every day.  But now with WGN slashing Cub and White Sox games down to about half what they used to be and most are on cable channels we can't get.  And all cable channels tend to show the same movies.  Yes I like Swept Away or Forest Gump just like you but really don't need to see both of them every other week.  For music channels, GAC is that.  CMT is now another Viacom Reality channel and the only reason why VH1 hasn't been blocked out yet is that they do show a music related show once in a while.  MTV=Moron TV and nuff said.  VH1 classic seemed to have gone downhill but like Coke, we prefer the original to the original channel and Viacom doesn't get it.  Just add a few more reality shows for the brain dead.  The Weather Channel is just about worthless, five minites of weather, ten minites of commercials and the same program of It Can Happen Here or Storm Chasers or Force Of Nature.  But it is a slight step up to the old PAX network, ION tv, to which over half thier programming goes to infocommericals.  Waste of your time, waste of mine.  But it is a step up from MTV, nuff said.

RIP Hank Locklin died at age 91.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday Olivia

They used to say that I don't remember birthdays very well. I can remember some birthdays but can't remember Clarise, who I was with for 3 years. But I do remember Olivia's, she was born three days after my Aunt Cindy.

Which is today the 6th. And I remember her still. Met her at American Singles when AS was free and we got together two months after being set up by my best friend. I flew out to Portland in 1999 and we spent five days and I've seen the most wildest weather I ever known. She came out here late Decemeber and got to check out our winters which wasn't that bad, it was actually warmer than usual but she did catch a pretty bad cold that lingered on our final get together in March.

I think celebrating the new millenium together in Dubuque was the highlight of this decade. But unfortunely, Olivia hated the winter here. But I could also tell that on our last visit together in Portland that things were not all well. Eventually, we decided to go our seperate ways. She manages to keep in touch whenever possible. She's now married, has a 4 year old daughter to contend with and her daughter is the light of her life. And she does still emails from time to time.

So here's wishing ya a happy 40th birthday Olivia. From the other side of the fence.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week: Viola Post Office Closed Forever

It used to be that going to Arizona or Vegas would meant stopping at the Virgin Megastore which used to have a very good selection of harder to find cds and even cutouts.  It has been announced that all of the Virgin music stores will be closed this year.  Last year when I did go to Phoenix to the Wholesale mall, that Virgin didn't have much of a selection and they looked like they were going into the clothing business as well.  A very disappointing time and I didn't buy anything from them for the first time.  The Vegas Virgin store closed in 2005.  Yet another causality in the Great Depression 2.  And Blockbuster is next on the list.

Another sign of the depression 2, the Viola Post Office is closing down, which means that we'll have to go to Springville or Martelle to mail off sold CDs.  Even though we don't have the box up there anymore, I did go to the Viola PO to do my business and it was easier just to get in and get out.  I'm sure things will survive somehow.  But I can't help but wonder if I'm having the reverse Midas touch of everyplace I visit and eat at goes out of business.  If that's the case The Great Dragon Buffett might want to consider to hang up horseshoes for better luck.

Well, looks like the local option tax passed so once again we'll have to pay more every time we go into Cedar Rapids or Springville to get a pizza.  Hopefully the tax will go where it's supposed to go, to the flood victims but then again not a damn thing has happened since the flood came through and wiped out Time Check and Czech Village.  Although Czech Village has had a few places reopened since then but the landmarks such as the Ellis Blvd A and W is a memory of better times ago.  As for this AIG fiasco, since we're the primary owners of that fucked up place, can't we relieve of the bozos that run that joint?  You can't keep pumping billions into the AIG toilet and flushing it down.  What really pisses me off is that if you watch soccer across the pond, you'll see players wearing jerseys with advertising on them. And most of them come from our good friends AIG.  Why don't somebody give me 20 billion bucks?  I'm sure I'll put it to better use than leasing airplanes and jets to AIG to get them to these soccer games.  Won't be long before we are all out in the streets while Wall Street and AIG continue to do their coke parties and sponsoring soccer teams.

But in the great tradition of things still in operation, The Top Ten Of The WeekTM.

1.  Double Trouble-Otis Rush 1957  Fifty years ago Chicago was the king of the independent record labels.  Vee Jay, Mercury, Chess, the list is pretty big.  Most of them didn't survive very long however but the ones that did managed to make well known hits.  Cobra Records was a blues/rock label that most of the Chess session players moonlight after hours and if you ever hear a Cobra Recording at that time, they have a more looser feel.  I'm sure a few beers and whiskeys had something to do with that too.  Otis Rush was not as well known as his Chess and Vee Jay brothers but this song inspired Stevie Ray Vaughn to the point that he named his band after this song.  Another note about this song is that whoever recorded the songs for Cobra Records didn't know how to record very well, and perhaps that's the reason why this song sounds a lot more doomy and cluttered.  But that also might be the charm.

2.  Kentucky Woman-Deep Purple 1969  Before Ian Gillan, DP had a top twenty hit with this Neil Diamond remake and probably is the most pop sounding of all DP recordings.  although Richie Blackmore would be a guitar god in the 70s, it seems like most of his guitar leads seemed to be out of tune and out of place (check out Hard Road, the B side for further proof).  Seemed like they got more backing vocals as well, even Jon Lord sang background as well as ex Pirate Nick Simpler who'd be gone by the time Gillan joined up.  I seemed to recall that Rod Evans had a big ass afro.  He later formed Captain Beyond and made two good to so so albums for Capricorn before disappearing from the music scene.

3.  Sister Lost Soul-Alejandro Escovedo  2008  I think I included this song on the other top ten that I do for Multiply.com and why not, it's a great and moving song from AE's Real Animal album.  And I heard this play in the background up at Taco Bell last week.  If we had some kind of AOR radio stations or real rock stations that played real rock and roll you'd be hearing this every other hour and not get tired of it.  So what ever happened to all those great radio stations of long ago?  They all got killed off by the Telecommuncations Act Of 1996, one of the reasons why Republicants don't have a majority in congress anymore. And when your spokesman is Rush Dimbulb, the future doesn't look too bright for you even in the Great Depression 2.

4.  I'll Be Standing By-Lizzy Williams 2005  Still the best album that I have heard on My Space.  She should come out here in the springtime.  She would sound great at CSPS.

5.  All Fired Up-Fastway 1984  This was supposed to be the supergroup of the 80s.  Fast Eddie Clarke from Motorhead, Jerry Shirley from Humble Pie, Pete Way of UFO and Robert Plant soundalike David King.  They made a great debut album and the followup  to which I raved about when I heard it. At least on Side 1.  Thought that the first two songs on Side 2 rocked out too but the rest of the album fell apart after that. 25 years later, the album doesn't hold up as well as it did when I first heard it.  But in the cd age it was one of the first cds that i did buy to replaced the album.

6.  It's All In The Game-Jimmie Spheeris 1976  A remake of the Tommy Edwards classic, Spheeris has a big cult following out there that fought long and hard to get his albums reissued on CD and they did come out in 1998 for a limited time only.  I guess there's not too many fans in Waterloo, for somebody did bring their collection in and they all sat around gathering dust for a good year and a half till I picked up Ports Of The Heart and Isle Of View.  I'd considered him more MOR and lite rock than New Age.  The CDs have gone out of print except for Isle Of View which can be found as a import but the MP3 albums are availble.  And cheaper that way.  Still perfer CDs though.

7.  Under Five-Batdorf And Rodney 1972  John Batdorf has his own website and sometimes he writes to say that he does get together with Mark Rodney for reunion gigs.  I have him as a friend but I don't think he follows the top ten all that much, not too many do.  B n R did make three albums for various labels, didn't care much for the Atlantic album, never heard the Arista album and the Asylum album I considered their best.  Produced with Bill Halverson who produced CSNY's Deja Vu, The B & R self titled does sound like CSNY if Graham Nash was the main songwriter.  Collector's Choice Music reissued this and the Atlantic album in 2005.

8.  Needles/Ride Down-Handsome 1997  The 90s are full of albums that could have been classic had they got promoted right.  This band fell through the cracks because they were not nu metal but metal rock thanks to ex Helmet Peter Mengele and Cro Mags' Tom Capone. In fact their sheets of metal guitar blew the Helmet album out of the water but Helmet bombed as well.  A victim of poor timing, the Handsome album remains one of the best unheard albums of the 1990s and is worth searching out.

9.  Even In The Quietest Moments-Supertramp 1977  This is one band that I always have trouble listening to.  For every good moment such as Bloody Well Right or Give A Little Bit, we would get Babaji and The Logical Song which to me the former was a rewrite of the latter and I always hated The Logical SOng which means that I never would get Breakfast In America or Supertramp Greatest Hits even if I would see the CDs in the dollar bins.  Perhaps my favorite Supertramp album is the tragic Brother Where Are You Bound, recorded after Roger Hodgson left for an ill fated solo career. Second favorite is the much maligned Crisis? What Crisis?!?  Not that anybody really cares.

10. Square Dance Rock Part One-Magic Sam 1960  Like Otis Rush, Magic Sam recorded for Cobra Records but by 1960 with Cobra out of business, Sam moved down to Chief Records (formed by Mel London) and recorded a few singles.  Magic Sam Meggett was considered to be a blues player but he could also do rock and roll as he did with this number.  Didn't chart at all, but it was a departure from the blues based songs he did with All Night Long and Everything Gonna Be Alright which as basically the same song rewritten a tad different.  Magic Sam would later move on to Delmark, yet another Chicago indee label and make a couple classic blues albums but would pass away young.  The Pirate CD label Charly Records did issued a CD that combined most of his Chief 45s with all of his Cobra hits.  Later Stan Lewis would purchase most of the independent Chicago labels (JOB, Parrott, Cobra, Chief) and compile a good Magic Sam comp for Paula/Jewel in the late 1990s, likewise Otis Rush and others.  And could be found in Best Buy's cut outs in the late 1990s.  I'm thinking that Fuel 2000, has reissued the Jewel/Paula comps earlier in this decade but remain hard to find even if they are in print.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

RIP Paul Harvey

I'm RS Crabb.  Stand by for news!

It's hard to believe that when we lose a icon like Paul Harvey, that we have gotten to rely on his news and comments for the past seventy years although in my case it's more like 35.  The way that he starts out with the greeting stand by for news.  And then during breaks would go Page 2, Page 3 etc.  And then conclude things by bidding Good Day and some of the faithful would turn in later for The Rest Of The Story.  There's a blooper that can be heard on All Time Great Bloopers to which Paul told a story and then had the right timing to do the punch line and go Page 2, leaving the announcer laughing his butt off.   That will be the way we remember Paul Harvey and his one and only way of delivering the stories and the punch line.  Although Paul died yesterday, it seemed like he actually died when his beloved wife Lynne passed away last year and like Johnny Cash losing June  it would be simply a matter of time.  Living 90 years is a big accomplishment in life and though I doubt that even with the advances of modern medicine  I don't foresee me living that long but in Paul Harvey lived a long and fruitful life and 70 years of broadcasting is a feat upon itself.  I consider it to be a sacred honor to hear Paul in this decade although by last year he was part time due to declining health.   Although with Lowell Thomas, Paul Harvey was distinct, one and only and you cannot replace him.  Page 2.

Now the antichrist.  Rush Dimbulb, managed to put his fat face on CNN and FOX yesterday as he tried to explain his right wing propaganda.   So now he's the spokesman for the Republican party so says the liberals.  Well the Republicants have been running and hiding ever since the Taxacrats got into office and since there's no one clear right wing voice  it looks like old Pillhead will be happy to step in.  After all, he's only making 30 million a year to entertain the masses.  I'd certainly would love to see his show fail just like he would like to see the president fail but that's not going to happen.   I don't care for Rush but I don't see the need to forbid people to listen to him.  It's also a pleasure to see him stick his big fat foot in his mouth and we'll be waiting for that.  Now Page 3.

I always like Paul's assessment of government.  Self-government won't work without self-discipline.  He had been saying that for least the time I have listened to him.   Here's a interesting link that Paul gave a lecture to back in 2003 and most of it still rings true today. 
These are the darkest of times right now and I donno if the bottom we have reached yet or will we see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.  But I tend to think with the continue volleying of gas prices and the media jumping on each and every time it goes up, no wonder we have paranoia in the world.  Another advantage of having the internet to read things as they come by.  Page 4.

9 years into the new Millennium and it seems like that it was years ago that we had a surplus in the budget, respected in the world and still having a record store within walking distance. At the end of 1999, it looked like things were looking up for yours truly, had a fine woman to celebrate the new year with as we spent the evening at a East Dubuque bar.  If the end of the world came at 12 AM Jan 1, 2000 then we would have gone to the great beyond happy for a change.  And then the worst general manager in Texas Rangers baseball history became the occupant of the White House for eight years, 9/11 came around and then Iraqi war and Afghanistan war and then the republicants fiddle around and gave tax cuts to their rich buddies and things went to the toilet.  Then we got change in 2007, the republicant doofus got replaced by the female Taxacrat  and the stalemate bickering and here we are, with the biggest deficient in history .  And the taxpayer keeps bailing government out of their messes, such as the first stimulus to keep Wall Street and their ignorance going.  And now the banks and their ignorance.  Think we're not in the great depression 2 now?  One can only hope that something will come to light, if not this might be the United States of China and all the freedoms that we enjoyed ten years ago will be gone ten years from now.  Might be the political prisoner out of all of this. 

Now for what's it worth,
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

RS Crabb....Good day.

For most of my high school years, I used to start out listening to Paul Harvey News And Comment at 7:35 before making the long trek to school.  Paul Harvey passed away today at age 90, following his wife who passed on last year.  Eventually Paul Harvey made his way across the dial to WMT AM 600 after years on KCRG 1600 and even in his old age still managed to do the news and views a couple times a week.

Dedicated to the memory of Paul Harvey