Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-RIP Vern Gosdin

Vern Gosdin, the voice they called him died yesterday at age 74 from complications of a stroke.  Vern is best known for Set Them Up Joe and his 1988 CBS album Carved In Stone but goes back as far as 1966 by recording with Gene Clark on Clark's first album since leaving the Byrds, Gene Clark with The Gosdin Brothers.  Gosdin also recorded for Warner Brothers/Elektra, Compleat Records and Columbia.

I do not like the new MSN layout for Christgau's Consumer Guide.  Too damn cumbersome and it don't work on dialup.  Christgau has a thing against  Ryan Adams, he gave both Cardinology and Follow The Lights C grades, but He did give praise for Neil Young's Fork In The Road  (gave it an A minus)

Young's green-car protest album tops his impeach-the-president protest album because he knows more about cars than he does about presidents. In fact, he loves the gas guzzlers of yore so much that he went into the business. His goal: a "heavy metal Continental" that gets 100 mpg on "domestic green fuel." Young's music has never run as smooth as his automobiles, and his Volume Dealers chug along like the reliable transportation they are. But putting his tunes and falsetto into overdrive, he's so into his subject he turns it over 10 different ways. Here be truckers and traffic jams, heroic mechanics and failed bailouts, "the awesome power of electricity" and "cough up the bucks," hoods to get under and worlds to collide. Young sees beyond the "old"--a word that comes up a lot--on-the-road utopianism. But there's not a hint of mea culpa in the guy, or guilt trip either. "Just singing a song won't change the world," he knows that. But songs are his job, and his reserves are apparently inexhaustible. A Minus

Strange email of the day from a woman from Mingles.  And there's a reason why she's still single.  Letter starts as follows...

I'm curious, On the 7th day we rest? You don't happen to know bout clean and unclean food, do you?

Isabella is that you?!? If not, lay off the brown acid baby, it has eaten away most of your brain.

Two thoughts from Bob Lefsetz that make sense.

Miranda Lambert’s "Gunpowder & Lead" is a better rock track than anything by the Hold Steady or TV On The Radio.

Keith Urban can play the guitar better than anybody in Nickelback.

Yeh, I tend to think TV On The Radio is a bit overrated too, mainly their last album which everybody raved about I didn't get it at all.  If you want hear a good album check out the Booker T album Potatoe Hole, with Neil Young and Drive By Truckers helping out.  It's on sale for 8 bucks at Best Buy.

With the side project gaining full steam ahead, I try to keep up on the latest and greatest out there but I seem to be slipping or don't care at all.  But there's some new stuff to talk of.  If it makes you want to buy the music then I did my job.  Besides there is life after classic rock anyway, as I've been trying to tell you the past seven years.

1.  These Things by Tim O'Reagan  2006  Late of The Jayhawks and much later The Leatherwoods, Tim made this tax write off for Lost Highway/Universal and added Gary Louris and Mark Olsen to the recordings.  Didn't sell and made a beeline to the bargain bins. At times sounds alt country like the Jayhawks, other times Matthew Sweet.  Some people still think Wilco is the best rock band of the decade of Y2K.  Me, I perfer The Darkness.

2.  Breaking The Law-Judas Priest 1980  Our cover band is doing this song and had to use this as a reference so that when we go to practice next weekend, I'll remember where the breaks are at.  Never was much into JP as my zit faced classmates of 30 years ago but I think this song was the most new wave sounding Rob Hartford and company got.  On a side note, Gay and Lesbians can now legally get married here in the state of Iowa.  I know channel 9, good for them but I don't want to see that every damn time I turn on the TV.  Have some fucking descendents for a change.  Or when a smoking debate comes up, they gotta show some asshole smoking.  Always amazing when you want to see pics from last weekend's tornado you gotta go online, whereas the newscast is showing smokers or gay married couple.

3.  Yeah Yeah Yeah-The Vibrators 1977  My opinion of the whole thing.

4.  Les Invisibles-Blue Oyster Cult 1988  After the dogpile called Club Ninja, BOC returned with a concept album of sorts and got the original lineup back to do this.  This is more of Albert Bouchard then the rest of the band but Imaginos turned out to be their comeback album but final album with the original lineup.  Fell out of print for years before American Beat Records reissued it along with the much maligned Club Ninja.
5.  You Can't Win Them All-10 Years After 1972  Rock n Roll Music To The World was the last listenable TYA record and Target had this in the three dollar bins.  Alvin Lee was a blazing guitar player but his lyrics were pretty empty most of the time.  But then again comparing this to the crap on KZIA, he's Bob Dylan.  Lotta boogie on RNR Music To The World and I still enjoy it.

6.  Take A Picture-Filter 1999  I never cared much for screamo or whatever Richard Patrick was putting down and listening to his best of The Very Best Things, I'm still not convinced. But the Real Rock Station KRNA continues to play this every day.  They also play that Local H song that's about 15 years old.  I certainly think Local H did better with What Can I Tell You from their ignored Pack Up The Cats album of 1998 to which you can get for a buck (plus 3 dollars shipping and handling) from Amazon dot com.  But then again, I don't think much of the real rock stations, cuz like the top forty stations, there's little substance.  Plus it gives me a fucking headache too.

7.  Be Nice To me-Todd Rundgren 1971  I had a bad month.

8.  39-Queen 1976  The most prettiest song that Queen ever came up and it was the B side to You're My Best Friend.  Sometimes it would be nice to hear this song on the radio but since radio has overkilled the hits, perhaps it's better to discover this yourself in the privacy of your own home.

9.  We Gotta Get Out Of This Place/Don't Bring Me Down/It's My Life Medley-David Johansen 1982  This got some airplay on MTV back when MTV was Music TeleVision and not Moron TV as it is today. Also some airplay on KKRQ in the early 80s.  Johansen you know is the lead singer of New York Dolls (what's left of them) but he did have a cult following in his solo years. He does the Animals proud, in fact does a better version of these songs then Eric Burdon did with the reformed Animals around that time.  Johansen almost blew his street cred with Buster Poindexter with his Hot Hot Hot single a few years later but have reformed the New York Dolls (what's left of them) and actually had made a decent album a few years ago.  Also there's a new New York Dolls album coming out in May with Todd Rundgren producing.  Will it be good you ask?  Stay tuned.

10.  It's All Good-Bob Dylan 2009  New Bob Dylan and no he can't sing, never really did, but has such an understanding of American music and the blues that you can forgive him for that reedy, shotty voice.  Together Through Life it's called and yes we have gone through life together.

Who knows,maybe we'll do better next week.  Stay Tuned.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Crabb Bits: Creed, Flaming Lips, Iowa's Gay Marriage Law

Here something to wet your pants over...Creed has reunited once again for a summer tour and new record.  Just like Limp Bizkit, the crap bands are mounting a comeback.

I have no opinion of the Flaming Lips Song Do You Realize being the Oklahoma rock theme state song.  Never cared much for the Flaming Lips then or now.  She Don't Use Jelly killed it for me.   I'm sure there's a better Leon Russell song that could have been used or The Tractors but my vote still goes for Dwight Twilley's I'm on Fire.

If Jason Aldean is country so is The Flaming Lips.  I know some of y'all out there like Jason's stuff but to me it sounds too cliche and too rock for country.  Of course they gotta stick a loud steel guitar or fiddle to call it country.  Those who asked me to, no I have no intentions of reviewing Jason's latest record.  Unless you like to see me bash it.  Which again I have no intention to.

The next time some weather asshole says on TV that we need more rain I'm going down there personally and smack them upside the head. 

It could have been worse, we got about an inch and half of rain, places to the west of here got around 4 to 5 inches (round Waterloo) but this area got the tornado instead.  Around 5, there was one that rip around Alburnett and Central City, causing a bit of damage to Flying Squirrel area around Pinicon Ridge Park.   Too close for comfort.  Over three years ago, there was a tornado that made a mess out of the Shaw Rd area outside of Anamosa but lifted enough to miss the Wally World.  And the Iowa City Tornado that happened the same day.  But this is the reason why I hate springtime here.  Stalled Stationary fronts, endless trains of rainstorms, flooded basements, misery.  So far this spring the storms have not been as bad as the ones last year, one after another of heavy rain and more ulcers and cusswords.  We have had three weekends of clouds or rain or snow or tornados this year but none of the monsoons, although this weekend was the wettest since the first week of march.  But we were never in a drought as those idiot weathermen were saying.  It's fucking springtime dumbasses, the rainy season is in full effect.  Fuck off on the need rain whine.  We don't need anymore for about two more weeks.

If your gay or lesbian, you can now get married here.  And nothing more that I want to see less is two fat lesbos talking it up on the news.  Just like anything when it comes to smoking, the newscast has to show people smoking, now we get to see lesbos talking bout how happy they are and good for them but this is the kind of shit that should be regulated to the web and not on the 6 oclock news.  Why is it that if you want to see tornado pictures you have to go to the web but have to look at lesbians on TV?  No wonder why the news sucks, too many minites going for Kaplan University snake oil commericals and junk news and not enough of the important things.

Band news, I showed up in a fowl mood, having to deal with the turtle and hare traffic.  You know that, the turtle is the fuck for brains going 10 miles an hour and the hare is the asshole behind you going twenty miles faster.  I think Russ finally got the fact that Brandi isn't going to be a part of our supergroup (not that she ever was), and finally got to sing out Dead Flowers but kept fucking up on the final last lines of both verses.  This is not like singing for the TEs whereas you fuck up on the words you get to rewind and start again.  They said it sounded pretty good but next time I need to remember to bring the freaking words so I don't have to guess.  Don't know how singers do this, but then again they have more brain cells than I do.  And more patience.  Each week we do have some sense of direction but it is a week by week basis for me.  Working nights may still prohibit me from doing this fulltime but the guys know that.  Everybody seems to have a lot of tolerance for me it seems.  Even the faithful readers of Crabb.

I'm getting behind in responding to emails to my friends and I hope to get around that in the coming days.  Like Brooksie who used to do a rival top ten till she got promoted in her job and doesn't have much time for it anymore.  or Diggy who talk about maybe spending some time out where he's at and maybe jam out  there.  We'll have to see, only have so many vacation days and not enough time to do what I want.  But it is tempting.

As I write this, I see our very first tulip popping up for the first time this year.  Perhaps the tulips are getting smarter.  Last year they popped up the first week of April and got buried in snowfall the next day and washed away the next weekend.  Hopefully the rain is over....probaly till thursday when another stationary front decides to call this home and the next battlefield of tornados and thunderstorms.
And that's not what we want.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week_Anger Issues

It's been a dry spring so far this year and that's the way I like it.  But we are in the rainy season and I'm sure we'll get more than our share of stalled stationary fronts.  And then that will be one more thing that I'll bitch about.  Thanks everybody for your support of The Top Ten.  It has been renewed for another week.

I finally tried the Jimmy Zack's Pizza Joint for buffet today, they only do it on wednesday and friday of the week and I have to say that Jimmy Zack's reminds me of Zoey's or Pizzeria Uno, pizza that fills you up.  It was a buffet and the price wasn't too bad (6.35 includes pop-cheaper than Cici's) and I only had three big slices of pizza.  Goes to show you they were big pizza slices. Nothing still competes with Naso's but Jimmy Zack's is a nice change of pace.  Don't care for Cranky Hank's in Lindale though. Reminds me a bit like Rocky Roccos when we had that in Iowa City years ago.  Steve Rasmussen would disagree, Rocky was better.

We are almost done with April, a third of the way through this year and I still have yet to compile ten notable albums of this year.  Nothing really stands out although I do like the new JJ Cale Roll On, and Queensryche American Soldier although I seem to space that album out when its time to choose road music CDs.  The new Bob Dylan will get a spin, likewise Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio) and Radio Moscow's new one IF fucking Best Buy will stock it.  Otherwise we'll have to Amazon it.  There's no real plans to go back up to Madison till later in summer.

The Top Ten.

1.  Kick Out The Jams-MC5 1968  The first forty five I've bought new in years and it came during National Record Store Day as one of those special order things.  Original single was the Brothers and Sisters Version, but Rhino went with the MF version guarantee to piss off parents.  I bought this album for 2 bucks in the cutouts in 1975 and my old man didn't like it at all, especially with the noisy side two and Starship.  I think he ordered me to quit playing it after two minutes of that song.  Thankfully he didn't bust it later.

2.  Shot Of Love-Bob Dylan 1981  I had a choice of this or something from the Basement Tapes but since I added a song from that album to a different top ten (Seen at I decided to go with the titled track off Dylan's 1981 album.  The last of his Born Again period, he does start to rock out on this album.  Not as bad as Rolling Stone Magazine would like you to think.

3.  Big Yellow Taxi-The Neighborhood 1971  The only top ten song from this 8 piece choral group who made an album for Big Tree known for their note for note rendition of MacArthur Park.  Seemed like everybody did that song.  Big Yellow Taxi, is a cover of Joni Mitchell's version and I like The Neighborhood's better.  Anything else The Neighborhood's Debut album we can all live without and that includes MacArthur Park.

4.  Drift Away-Humble Pie 1974  Yes that version and it's off Thunderbox, the Pie's flop 1974 album.  By then Peter Frampton was long gone and Steve Marriott and company were spinning their tires in lukewarm R and B and Boogie.  But Greg Ridley does the vocal on this number and it's better than Uncle Kracker's version.  I'm sure had Uncle Kracker been around in 1974, he would have been the guest vocalist on this track.  In terms of Humble Pie I'll take their Frampton years over the Marriott boogie years.  It's called inspiration.

5.  Get Stoned-Stone 1988  Heavy Metal Spinal Tap guys from Finland of all places. Harder and funnier than Metallica and Anthrax combined, Sal at BJ Records was playing this CD and I had to hear the rest of this album.  It was a one off, made on MCA Records' metal label Mechanic and this has been a HM secret.  Were these guys serious or were they trying to be funny?  Or was a big Finish FU to the Hair Metal MFs of Sunset Strip?  Certainly MTV never played this although this was recorded at the Helsinki MTV studios.  Riki Richtman never commented on them on his Headbanger's Ball back in the late 80s, back when MTV played music videos and not this fucking awful reality crap potato they call programming. Yes I missed those days too, I was 27 and had the rest of my life in front of me.  Later in this album, Stone destroys The Final Countdown before blowing it out of the water with Overtake. Why am I telling you this?  You'll never hear this album unless you go through a 100 pages of Amazon used CD titles to get to Stone.

6.  Black Shuck-The Darkness 2003  Remember these guys?  They were the rage of the UK and for a short time in America got airplay on the radio.  Sometimes KRNA plays one of their tracks but I had to get the clean copy of this album, simply of the fact that Justin Hawkins redid the naughty words and adding something that rhymes with the F bomb.  The choice word you ask?  I don't give a Duck. ;-)  The Darkness nevertheless were the most rock sounding of all modern bands this decade.  And they're still around in the UK, with a recent new album but so far Atlantic has no intentions of releasing that in the US.  They figured that the buyers should stick to AC DC, Bad Company or Queen.  With Freddie Mercury that is and not Paul Rodgers.

7.  Small Beginnings-Flash 1972  Peter Banks was the main guitarist for YES till he got bounced out of the band due to being too much of a party animal and Steve Howe replaced him. Banks remains pissed off about it to this day and refuses to participate in any YES reunions.  This was the only hit that he got from Flash, which sounded a bit like YES including the vocalist.  Tony Kaye, also booted from YES plays keyboards on this album although he'd move on to Badger.  Flash would go on to make three more albums before imploding after an off night in Albuquerque one night.  Banks would have a solo career and would stuck top ten gold in 1983 with After The Fire and Der Kommisser.  But even that song when it peaked, ATF broke up anyway. 

8.  Hot Dog-Buck Owens 1989  A top ten country hit for Buck on his second go round with Capitol Records but he recorded it as Corky James around 1955 or 58 (too lazy to look it up) as a rockabilly hit.  This version is a bit more honky tonk.  First of three albums he did with Capitol/Curb before retiring again in 1992 from recording.

9.  Neat Neat Neat-The Damned 1977 The first punk band to record a punk album, beating The Sex Pistols by about a month.  Got Nick Lowe to produced it and it came out on Stiff Records in the mid 70s, (Later on Castle/Sanctuary before Sanctuary went belly up this decade).  I find The Damned to be a bit too much and all over the place after listening to the MCA 1987 Light At The End Of The Tunnel Best of but I guess they deserved their place in history although not on my shelf.  They're still touring although they have excommunicated Rat Scabies (the original drummer) on anything after 1992.  Fun fact, if you do come across the first Damned album called Damned Damned Damned, you will noticed that Castle added the mistake photo that was on the original Stiff album.  To which the back photo wasn't The Damned but rather Eddie And The Hot Rods, another pub punk band that did well in the UK but was ignored in the US.  But I was a fan of Eddie and the Hot Rods.

10. The Red Telephone-Love 1968  From Forever Changes, the best non Beatle album ever to come out of the 60s.  While Love is a rock band, they mostly used acoustic guitars on this album and got great arrangements from David Angel.  Unfortunly, Arthur Lee would break up the band and add new members and went into a more hard rock/funk direction with less satisfying results.  And this song we leave you with this observation...."We are all normal and we want our freedom".

So do I.

Jeff Gilbert writes on Satellite radio and how it's getting to suck.

I'm not happy with the direction satellite radio is taking. I really liked the "cross country" station on XM, but since the XM/Sirius merger it's been replaced by "outlaw country," which, to my tastes at least, is a little too county and not enough "alt." I also think The Loft station on XM/Sirius is becoming a bit too mainstream. It's getting harder and harder to find good new discoveries.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

National Record Store Day

I associate Record Stores with Drive Ins. In my youth they were commonplace, and every other day I'd spend lots of time combing through the 45s up at Marion TV and Records and then walk to Town Square Books to pick up the jukebox records that used to play at Ole's Ham n Egger and the Marion Landromat on the edge of town. Back in those days, you could walk into the place, nobody's around and play the jukebox for a while. Back when the landromat was 24 hours, before the idiots would come in after dark and vandalize the place. Even back then you couldn't have anything nice.

But like the drive ins, the record stores in town are now a distant memory. Cedar Rapids used to have Krackers, Record Realm, Record Bar, Record Store, Marion TV, Relics, Rock n Bach and Omni, Co Op Records and Big Apple. I used to consider Relics my second home and paid Saturday Night visits to Rock n Bach before going next door to Desoda's to either get drunk or pick up ladies, mostly the former. All the independend record stores are out of town. Iowa City has two of them, even Dubuque has two stores going on, CDs 4 Change and Moondog Music. The Internet may have killed off all chances of opening up any new stores around here and that's a shame. The only store I consider to be a record store is Half Priced Books in town and that has been a Godsend for the bargain hunter and music collector. In fact, HP Books still amazes me in terms of albums that I have bought there, including last night finding Humble Pie's 1974 flop album Thunderbox, Redd Kross Neuroica and Mose Allison Your Mind Is On Vacation, his 1976 jazz album. I also found some 45s of note from Spike Jones and the late great Earl Palmer. Just like the good old days of lore, I still find them. A gift from the Good Lord and from somebody cleaning out their house.

I decided to stay within a hour driving distance and went to Iowa City to visit the folks at Record Collector and Real Records. to which I bought Billy Paul-360 Degrees of Billy Paul and The Dammed Light At The End Of The Tunnel 2 CD set for MCA back in 1987. And then Real had a vinyl copy of Buck Owens Hot Dog and a CD from Flash, the band that had Peter Banks and Tony Kaye from YES in it. Plus I got a Record Store Day 45 of the MC5 Kick Out The Jams. Even FYE had some bargains as well. So it was a good day for me. Finding more music and to celebrate the second annual National Record Store Day and the turnout was actually pretty good for these record stores I mentioned. I'm sure Moondog and CD's 4 Change had a good turnout as well but I can only go to so many places.

But I'm also sure next year when we had National Record Store Day again I'll be driving old reliable to the music stores of unknown destination. I live for the tunes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-RIP Rocky Hill

Saturday is national record store day.  For the faithful, there is still some record stores out there but none are here in Cedar Rapids.  So patronize Moondog Music and CDs 4 Change at Dubuque, Downtown Discs in Platteville Wisconsin, Record Collector and Real Records in Iowa City, and Mad City Music Exchange, Strictly Discs, Sugar Shack Records  B Sides Music and The Exclusive Company in Madison.  Weather calls for clouds and rain this weekend so I may not make it to any stores.  But support your local record store, for that next year they might not be around.

Another musician passed away this week.  Rocky Hill, older brother of Dusty Hill and best known for I Won't Be Your Fool Anymore, 1988 hit on Virgin Records died on Monday.  He was 62 years old.

Billy Bob Thornton's Boxmasters Canadian Tour got canceled and basically of the fact that Billy Bob raised a big stink on a CBC show.  The Boxmasters were opening up for Willie Nelson, and got booed off the stage a couple times before they pulled the plug on the tour.  I may pull the top ten here if ratings continue to tank as well.  Speaking of which, this is the latest installment of the seven year experiment known as The Top Ten Of The Week, with the usual hit and misses from my player.  Gawd I miss Brooksie and her counterpoint, three years after the fact.

1.  More More More (Part 2) Andrea True Connection 1976  Dedicated to Marilyn Chambers who passed away Monday, Andrea True was a porn star that had a off the wall hit with this song. Buddah Records named the disco version part two and it doesn't vary all that much from the three minite edit.  A very saultry number but time hasn't been too kind to Andrea judging from the way she looks now after VH1 did a story on her one hit.  But then again, nobody stays young and beautiful thirty years after the fact and certainly not after all those x rated films either.

2.  Drinking Wine Spo Dee O Dee-Sticks McGee 1949  A very early Atlantic hit from this blues singer and later covered by Jerry Lee Lewis for a 1973 hit himself.  When I did some blues research at Kirkwood back in 1982, this song was 33 years old.  Come to think of it, Andrea True's song is 33 years after the fact too.  Time flies and it stays the same while we all get older.

3.  Heatseeker-Ac/Dc 1988  The great lost AC DC album was Blow Up Your Video.  Funny how when Wal Mart had that sale on the AC DC back catalog that I couldn't find Blow Up Your Video, nor Fly On The Wall or even Flick Of The Switch which wasn't that bad of an album. Blow Up Your Video suffers from a very bad mix.  Sounded like shit in the car and not much better on the stereo either.

4.  If We Can't Be Lovers-The Star Spangles 2003  Wasn't much of a market out there for a band that sounded like the offspring of the NY Dolls and Iggy Pop. They made one album for Capitol and then disappeared just like that.  Really isn't that bad of a album, but then again it wasn't no match for the real thing of the NY Dolls or Iggy or The Heartbreakers (Johnny Thunders band not Tom Petty).  Somehow, David Johansen reformed what's left of the NY Dolls and made a comeback album a couple years later.  The Star Spangles made another album for a indee label and then broke up it seems.  But then again not too many people care about bands from the decade of 2k0 which is this decade.

5.  Green Onions-Roy Buchanan 1976  A 7 minite jamout with Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn with David Galbardi sitting in for Al Jackson on drums.  Roy does a lotta showing off on guitar. Still gets played a bit on Beeker Street.  Alas, Roy would hang himself in jail in 1988 a sad ending to one of the best guitarist you never heard of.

6.  Drive-Incubus 1999  You know you're getting old when this song is now ten years old.  Hard to believe that Incubus is still around.  Even harder to believe they're still on a major label too.

7.  Shutting Down Detroit-John Rich 2009  The protest song of this day and age. And basically the truth although I don't agree with a lot of John Rich's ideas on his album Son Of A Preacher Man.  A bit too much right wingness.

8.  Superstition-Beck,Bogart & Appice 1973  Deconstuction of a Stevie Wonder hit.  Got played a bit on the underground FM stations of the 70s.  Album got terrible reviews and my opinion of that record is mixed.  This song, sloppy but fun.

9.  I Don't Know Much-Billy Pilgrim 1995 This band made two decent Atlantic albums in the 90s and their harmonies reminded me of a more grounded Rembrandts or Jayhawks but never paid much attention to this duo till I found their album in the dollar bins at HP Books and it's better than Dog Eye View or Matchbox 20. Don't know what happened to Andrew Hyra but Kristian Hall would grow a goatee, put on a cowboy hat and hooked up with Kristen Hall and Jennifer Nettles to form Sugarland and that has paid better dividens for Mr. Hall.

10.  Ordinary People-Neil Young And The Blue Notes 2007  Yes, he is a old crank but dammit we love the old crank just as much as y'all love the old cranky crabb.  Supposely this was done for a possible Blue Notes live album but Neil had a change of heart and sat on this song for 2 decades before putting it out on Crome Dreams 2, perhaps the best record he's done this decade.  Which isn't saying much if you compare it to forgettible stuff such as Are You Passonite? or Prairie Wind and so far the jury hasn't been too kind to his Fork In The Road album released last week.  At 18 minites it's longer than In A Gadda De Vida by Iron Butterfly and a bit more interesting.  My question to y'all is how could Neil remember all these words to this song. 

 "The record store is the livery stable where I can tie up, feed and groom my ears."    Tom Waits

Monday, April 13, 2009

Death Has No Mercy: Harry Kalas, Marilyn Chambers, The Bird

RIP to Harry Kalas, one of the best voices in sports history who passed away prior to the Phillies playing at Washington.  He was 73.  Harry was also the voice over of NFL Films, and the Chunky Soup commercials as well. I also remember him doing Notre Dame Basketball games back when WGN sports showed them in the early 80s.  Next to Jack Buck, Harry Carey, Jack Brickhouse and Mel Allen, Kalas was just as good as they were.  Kalas also was the voice of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl.  He will be missed.

Marilyn Chambers, the Ivory Snow pitchwoman who became a porn star also passed away.  She was 56 and of course best known in the movie Behind The Green Door and "ahem" Inside Marilyn Chambers.  Later did some B movies and TV Series but never could top her porn performances.

Mark The Bird Fidriych, whose shining moment was his 1976 season with the Detroit Tigers, won 24 games but then injuries ended his career.  Later hooked up with The Orioles for a spell.  Died from a truck repair accident.  He was 54.

As you all know Ed Podolak will return back as commentator for the Hawkeye Football team.    Although I have reservations about meeting the guy a long time ago, I still think he remains a top notch announcer and he does bleed black and yellow.  Here's hoping he will overcome the demons that plagued him to take a semi retirement and get his act together. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crabb Bits: Madison 2009, Clarise 15 years later, Reviews

So much for another trip to Madison.  I think there's a reason why I try to make it a two day thingy rather than one.  The feeling of getting up at 7 to get to ready and take off around 8:30 to make the two hour twenty minute commute.  It marks the 15th year of going there on a yearly basis.  I got it now that I avoid the beltline altogether.  To get to the west side from college town, just follow Regent to Speedway to Mineral Point and it will get you there.  To the east side it's 151 although once again they're tearing up Washington Avenue.  So I didn't go to the PrePlayed store on that side of town.  Didn't want to deal with the rush hour and road construction.  Plus I can only take so much of the dumbass students who seem to walk out in front of cars every chance they get and of course I got more than my share of them.  If they only had a brain.

Highlight was being in Goodwill just in time for the power to go out.  But part of the east side of Madison didn't have working stop lights and it was rush hour and of course, traffic was full of dumbasses as well.  Don't know if there were any accidents but I took the back way into town and avoided most of that and did come back into working stop lights about a mile down the road.  Of course they were red.

Again hindsight tells me that I should have spent another day up there.  We finally got the two days of sunshine that I wanted but due to my impulse judgement I called in work and went out to the road.  Got a awful Breakfast Burrito at McDonalds in Platteville and paid the price all day.  Had a Pollo En Mole at the Los Benevidas before going home but they gave me beef in mole sauce and it was pretty tough.  Should have stuck with their king sized burrito.  And after a day of going through most of the record stores that I knew about and all the HP Books and Frugal Muse Book Stores, I did the walk around Lake Monona before pushing old Purple back on the road, back to home.  In another couple months, I'll venture back up there for a extra day of bike riding and to see if I can bike ride around Lake Monona and get rigor mortis all over again by drinking not enough water.  Funny how 15 years ago, I could do this without any problems, but this one day event tired me out big time.  And I didn't find all that much in terms of bargains either.

Other things of note-A woman out in California bought a Keb Mo Cd from me the other day and I mailed it off Thursday in Cascade before heading to Madison.  She got the cd the next day!  People bitch about the USPS and so do I but I have to admit that I'm very impressed on how they got that cd to California in a day.  Hell, I can't drive that far that quickly.  I definitely need to thin out more cds and after I get done writing this blog, I'll go do that.  It's time for the annual Crabb Easter Day Donation and it's time to give the gift of music to the needy.

April 12, 1994.  I met the one woman who would be a part of my life for just about three years.  I can't remember dates very well, I don't remember her birthday nor her children but I remember that day.  I was downtown CR, bopping around the skyway and I ran into Clarise at some lawyer's place.  She was coming out and I was bopping along as said.  I used to see her at the old DeSoda's hangout and we'd dance a while and cuddle but she then disappeared around the time of the floods of 93 and thought that was the end of it.  But we managed to trade phone numbers and then became a couple.  First two years were fun and things were going well but cracks begin to show around the time my appendix almost brust and starting signing on dotted lines on things that I should have not signed on.  I also remember the Forth Of July 1996, when we got into our first argument and things started to slowly go downhill after that.  Thought about getting married after coming back from the Vegas/Phoenix getaway 96 but we were drifting apart.  I also remember  February 12, 1998, our breakup date.  She was seeing somebody else for the past six weeks and finally told me.  Sure there was tears and sadness but the next couple years I had to find ways of getting my name off the damn trailer and had to get old Purple back after she didn't make the last three car payments and damn near tanked my credit rating.  I still have memories of when things were great and I still think Clarise is a good woman and mother.  I think both her sons have graduated from Prairie and Jesse, the third child will turn 15 in May and wonder if his dad has anything to do with him.    I don't venture much into the trailer court where she lives, it's out of the way.   I do know when I did picked the car back up that the guy she left me for, she booted out of the trailer for abusing her kids.  Which is why I never moved in, her boys would find ways to try my patience.  I haven't seen her in a decade but I'm sure she'd be impressed that I remember a nice sunny day in April and for three years we did our best to be together.

But she could never tame the bargain hunter that was me and she never understood why I jump in a car and go far for more cds.  You can't change fact of life and i'm sure in the end she resented it to the point of accusing me of sleeping around.  To which I replied I got barely time for you, I sure don't have time for anybody else.  Some people like food, or booze or messing around. I just love music.  That's all.

I ask myself how long am I going to review new music and seek bargains.  It's has been a labor of love for 22 years in the CD era but I'm beginning to tire of buying new music in shitty digipaks and  have decided that after the Bob Dylan album (which will probaly be in a shittypak as I now referred them-the Neil Young Fork In The Road and it's sharp corners didn't impressed me) unless it's a band that I follow, that I'm not going to review anymore cds in shitipaks. I know it's a fact of life that most bands don't care for standard jewel cases and more power to them but that's why I didn't spring for the Pearl Jam Ten reissue, even though I saw it for 8 bucks used.  The reason is that try driving down the road and trying to fish out a damn CD that's in a double fold shittipak and just about losing control.  I got rid of a couple decent albums cuz of that.  I don't have the time nor patience for this.  Better just to make a damn copy and sell the cd off and let somebody else scratch it up.  I also noticed that Bob Dylan's reissues of New Morning, Dylan And The Dead, The Basement Tapes and Before The Flood are in this new and unimproved digipaks.  So I'll review the new Bob but anything after this in digipak your on your own.

And finally I got to hear John Rich's Shutting Down Detroit and I found his new album in the two buck bins at HP Books.  The reason why it was two bucks that the Cd was already scratched but not the point of being unplayable.  I think it's the best thing that Rich has done even with Big Kenny out of the picture for this new album but anything after that song is the usual Nashville grandstanding cliche.  And Rich is very right wing although not as bad as Ted Nugent or Rush Dumbass.  While he sings about the Trucking Man or the Solider fighting the wars, he also complaining about folks trying to be him without being in his shoes and paying dues in Nashville.  Only problem is Rich was part of the Lonestar band, that odious pop country band that had a big hit after Rich left the band.  And the usual redneck anthem, To Turn A Country Boy On, (Put on some Wrangler's and cut them thigh high, Crank The Hank and the football game and chug a ice cold beer (and later put out)).   Drive Myself To Drink is a big band arrangement that is out of the ordinary but for the most part John Rich's Son Of A Preacher Man isn't anything to write home about outside of Shutting Down Detroit.  A good reason why there's Itunes anyway.  In other words, your typical country crock of cliche and half inspiriation.

Hoppy easter everybody!

Album grades

Neil Young-Fork In The Road (reprise) B-
Neil Young-Chrome Dreams 2 (reprise) B plus
John Rich-Son Of A Preacher Man (Warner Nashville) B-

History Of Music 2002

As we move on to the next year of stuff reviewed, I still seem to be adding reissues on a regular basis.  But I also tend to review the new it seemed like I overrated some of these albums.  Smashmouth?  Never played it all that much since I gave it a B plus.

1.    Billy Bob Thornton-Private Radio (Lost Highway 52:49) B-
2.    Suicide Machines-Steal This Record (Hollywood 40:00) B-
3.    Smartbomb-Yeah, Well, Anyway....(Razor & Tie 42:02) C
4.    Fred McDowell-I Do Not Play No Rock N Roll (Fuel 2000 42:03) A
5.    Syd Barrett-Wouldn't You Miss Me? (Harvest 72:30) B
6.    Smashmouth (Interscope 44:55) C+
7.    Sam Cooke-Keep Moving On (ABKCO 63:00) A-
8.    Unwritten Law-Elva (Interscope 50:06) C+
9.    Bottle Rockets-Songs Of Sahm (Bloodshot 47:10) B
10.  Merle Haggard-20 Greatest Hits (Capitol 56:16) A-

11.  Stanley Brothers-Man Of Constant Sorrow (Federal/Gusto 23:34) B+
12.  Blasters-Testament The Slash Recordings (Rhino 76:41-79:53) A
13.  311-From Chaos (Volcano 40:06) B
14.  Monster Magnet-God Says No (A & M 56:15) B
15.  Gordon Lightfoot-Complete Greatest Hits (Rhino/WB 74:20) A-
16.  Bad Religion-The Process Of Belief (Epitaph 36:53) B+
17.  Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers-Sonora Hope & Madness (EmmaJamma 44:05) B+
18.  Steve Earle-Sidetracks (E Squared 48:43) B+
19.  Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch 51:48) B-
20.  Elvis Costello-When I Was Cruel (Island 62:03) C+

21. Bonafide Bluegrass & Mountain Music (BMG Heritage 49:58) A-
22. Barenaked Ladies-Greatest Hits Disc One (Reprise 73:31) A-
23. Rush-Vapor Trails (Atlantic 67:20) B
24. Motorhead-Hammered (Metal Is/Sanctuary 53:39) B
25. Bryan Ferry-Frantic (Virgin 49:47) A-
26. Jerry Cantrell-Degradation Trip (Roadrunner 72:27) B
27. Face To Face-How To Ruin Everything (Vagrant 46:09) B+
28. Joe South-Classic Masters (Capitol 38:48) B+
29. Savoy Brown-20th Century Masters (Polydor 56:50) B+
30. Golden Age Of Rock And Roll-The Country Collection (Ace UK 77:31) A

31. Green Day-Shenanigans (Reprise 33:23) B+
32. Charlatans UK-From The Other Side (Beggars Banquet 78:45)  B+
33. Rembrants-Lost Together (J Bird 43:27) B-
34. Bad Company-Merchants Of Cool (Sanctuary 71:12) B+
35. Lisa Loeb-Cake And Pie (A & M 42:39) B
36. Reel Big Fish-Wake Up (Jive 63:05) B
37. Dio-Killing The Dragon (Spitfire/Eagle Rock 45:07) B-
38. The Complete OH OK (Collector's Choice Music 48:40) A-
39. Linda Thompson-Fashionably Late (Rounder 42:15) B
40. Bruce Springsteen-The Rising (Columbia 72:58) B+

41. David Bowie-Heathen (ISO/Columbia 51:41) B-
42. Riddlin Kids-Hurry Up And Wait (Aware/Columbia 48:41) C+
43. Albert King-Born Under A Bad Sign (Stax/Fantasy 34:41) A-
44. Cary Hudson-The Phoenix (Black Dog 36:31) B+
45. 30 Seconds To Mars (Virgin 53:16) B-
46. Queens Of The Stone Age-Songs For The Deaf (Interscope 59:30) A-
47. The Who Sing My Generation (Geffen 47:04) A
48. Phil Lesh-There And Back Again (Columbia 63:20) A-
49. Blue Mountain-Tonight It's Now Or Never (DCN 75:27) B+
50. Green Wheel-Soma Holiday (Island 44:38) D+

51. UFO-Sharks (Sharpel 49:40) B
52. OK GO (Capitol 40:49) B+
53. My Vitriol-Finelines (Epic 48:21) B-
54. Steve Earle-Jeruesluem (E Squared/Artimis 36:27) A-
55. Rhett Miller-The Instigator (Elektra 40:48) A-
56. Ryan Adams-Demolition (Lost Highway 45:21) B+
57. Sonia Dada-Barefootsoul (Razor & Tie 46:03) B
58. Dixie Dregs-20th Century Masters (Mercury 52:20)B+
59. Violet Femmes (Rhino 76:58) A-
60. Big Brother & Holding Company-Be A Brother (Evengeline UK 35:44) A-

61. A Cellar Full Of Motown (Mowtown/Universal 56:36, 56:47)A-
62. 24 Hour Party People S/T (Rhino 77:21) B+
63. Rolling Stones-Forty Licks (Virgin 77:32, 78:42) A-
64. Amy Rigby-18 Again (Koch 64:20) A-
65. Best Of INXS (Rhino 78:32) B+
66. Nirvana (Geffen 49:38) A-
67. Good Charlotte-The Young & Hopeless (Epic 45:54) B-
68. Hank Williams-The Almeria Club (Curb 52:52) B+
69. More Bonafide Bluegrass & Mountain Music (BMG Heritage 48:31) A-
70. Geoff Tate (Sanctuary 49:53) B

71. T Rex-20th Century Boy (Hip O 75:03) B+
72  When The Sun Goes Down-Walk Right In (Bluebird/RCA 79:11) A-
73. When The Sun Goes Down-First Time I Met The Blues (RCA 77:33) B+
74. When The Sun Goes Down-That's Chicago South Side (RCA 76:37) A-
75. When The Sun Goes Down-That's All Right (BlueBird 72:48) A-

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-Smiling Bob

Ed Pololak will return to the broadcasting booth for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team this fall.  Basically I'm not surprised he is a good announcer but still don't have a high opinion on him simply of a childhood meeting of him long time ago and he didn't sign any autographs. Unless you gave him a Budweiser.

Looks like EMI will finally get around to remaster the Beatles' catalog on September 9th so we can buy all The Beatles albums on CD all over again.  I'm thinking I should go get the second installment of the Capitol Albums that EMI put out a few years ago.  Seems to me that the American stereo mix was a lot more livelier than the bland British UK albums that were issued on CD twenty years ago. They do need a upgrade but I wouldn't throw away my pawnshop copies of Beatles For Sale or Hard Day's Night.

You know all the cds that I bought last week?  All but the MXPX and Queensryche CDs are still here, I sold the rest.  Plus the Tommy Keene latest, I donno I think I gave up on him after this especially if he keeps issuing them on digipaks.

Anyway it must be Thursday cuz it's time for yet another top ten of the week.

1.  Here Comes Yet Another Day-The Kinks 1972  They were still making decent music before Ray Davies' concept albums damn near ran him out of town and out of my record collection. Another band on the road song, this didn't get much airplay (it's no Lola) but damn this rocks.  Had the album long time ago, got as a cutout from BJ Records and BJ Records was the best place to find bargain vinyl. Record Collector had the cd and what are they going to do once I retire from bargain hunting?

2.  Dive-Nirvana 1992  Kurt Corbain saved us from hairspray metal although he didn't save us from Bret Michaels Rock Of Love to which the finale of this season is on Sunday night.  BTW did anybody get to see the VH1 rock doc of Do It For The Band-The Girls of Sunset Strip and the hair metal years?  Hard to feel sorry for these skanks which includes Bobbi Brown, the Cherry Pie chick in that Warrant video, whose still looking for love and haven't found it yet.  VH1 should consider her for the next installment of Rock Of Love-The Female Version to which Bobbi Brown could pick her choice of the tattoo covered guys out there.  Or try E Harmony.

3.  Run Mountain-J. E. Mainer 1946  A hit on the King label for this bluegrass pioneer.  Later covered by Flathead on the Straight Outta Boone County compilation for Bloodshot Records in 1997.  Then again, I'm sure none of our faithful readers knows anything about J E Mainer or Flathead.  Perhaps you can get Sheryl Crow to cover it, then maybe you'll know.

4.  I Wonder (What If)-The Townedgers 2008  From The Songs That Made An Impact comp that Diggy put together and seems to be getting some airplay on Unuradio.  Guess I will toot my own horn for a change.  We have links to get your own copy, so make one for you and give on to Bob Lefsetz so he can bitch about that.  And Diggy Kat confirmed that DJ Scorpia did play I Wonder at the end of her show too.  Does this mean I can quit my job and play rock and roll all over again? ;-)

5.  Outlaw Man-The Eagles 1973  This single bombed but did get some airplay on the underground FM stations at that time.  I guess the reason why The Eagles never played this live was that they didn't write it and Don Henley can't play that fast on drums anymore.  It's a bitch getting old or having all that money weigh you down.  Right guys?

6.  Johnny Magic-Neil Young 2009  New Neil single from his Fork In The Road album,  It rocks and comes in a crappy assed digipak, with sharp edges that you can cut bread with.  Do you get the impression that I hate digipaks?  Sure fucking do.

7.  Everything Falls Apart-Dog's Eye View 1995  One hit wonder from some band that made an hour long cd and the only decent song was this.  There was a reason why they made 45s back in the past dudes.  So we didn't have to waste 18 bucks on a piece of shit cd with one decent song.  Found for a dollar.  At least the jewel case is in good shape. Too bad the cd sucks.

8.  Who Listens To The Radio-The Sports 1979  This band was from Australia and made one album for Arista that had this top 30 hit.  But I did find a import cd of their album at the Marion Pawnshop and this varies from the Arista album with four different songs.  This is why I continue to go to pawnshops.  There's always a chance that I might still find some out of print cd of a album I didn't think existed.  Who does listen to the radio nowadays?  Sure ain't me.

9.  Life Is A Song Worth Singing-Teddy Pendergrass 1978  Teddy was the voice of Harold Melvin's Blue Notes and then went solo and became one of love men of soul music.  Had a big hit with Close The Door but I think I enjoy his uptempo soul numbers.  Such as this number to which Johnny Mathis had a hit in 1973.  And Johnny's version was the most uptempo soul number he ever did.

10. Dark As A Dungeon-Slobberbone 1997  To conclude this wonderful weekly top ten, I've chosen another cover from the Boone County compliation from a band that was the closest thing to Uncle Tueplo after that band splintered into Son Volt and Wilco.  A cover of the 1946 country classic by Merle Travis.  I donno, people do email me and ask me why I continue to put out top tens that nobody reads anyway and I respond it's a force of habit.  Because I still care about good music and because it keeps me out of trouble. 

But as I look at new releases and seeing more and more go into crappy digipaks, I'm beginning to think that after this year and after the last 2009 review of a new album that I might just quit buying digipak albums.  I don't play digipak albums like I do jewel cased albums. Digipaks are cumbersome, the fucking cd falls out on the floor and gets more scratched up than jewel cased CDs.  Now I have seen that Bob Dylan's reissues of Dylan N the Dead, The Basement Tapes, New Morning and Before The Flood are now in Digipaks and it's a certain that the new Dylan will be in a digipak too. Eventually I'm going to draw the line.  I didn't buy the Rush Retrospective 3 cuz of Digipak issues and Neil Young got bought simply of the fact that I would review it regardless and not waste a tank of gas to leave it up there.  I am sure it's the wave of the future but if that's the case...

Then I'll buy the damn vinyl.  I don't need a gatefold digipak.

BTW The CR Kernels start baseball play tonight.  Play Ball!

And now we leave you with a couple of comments from the old crank.  Take it away Bob Lefsetz.

On Keith Urban-Defying Gravity.
This album is a disappointment.  The sound of the record can sometimes be great, especially the guitars, but the material is so safe and second-rate, it’s disheartening.

On The Yeah Yeah Yeah's
Never was so much press piled on such an inconsequential act.
I’m not convinced.

And finally, on Elvis Costello and his influence on Diana Krall.

Bottom line, I’m blaming Costello.  Loved him as an angry young man at the Whisky back in the seventies, bought every album and went to every show, but somewhere along the line he started to take himself too seriously.

Let me just speak English.  I HATE Elvis Costello.  Leaving one woman for another and then her for Krall.  And maybe if I actually knew him I might give him a pass, but the audience owns the act, if the act cares about its career.  But at least Elvis was confining his poop to his own career.  Then he got into his wife’s, and hers was negatively affected.

That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
Thanks Bob.

Mea culpa.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crabb Bits: Music Collecting, RSD, Neil Young Review, etc.

Personal To Bob Lefsetz

It's not for me to say whatever you think that the CD or the album format is dead.  You basically made up your mind anyway judging by the last blog you put down.  As a dedicated reading I tend to agree with some of your blogs but not this one.

Maybe the album is history in your book, in your world but in my world it isn't.  I haven't given up on the album and for the past 30 plus years I continue to review them as best as I can.  The digipak will be the death of it all if I continue to get cardboard cuts trying to open the fucking thing or having the damn CD fall out of the digipak on the floor and getting scratched up by shitty workmanship.  Not everybody has high speed net Bob.  Dialup doesn't allow me to download those singles you talk about, and the last couple artists you recommended to us really sucked.  So basically I take your advice with a grain of salt and an eye in the used cd section at HP Books or  If you like singles so much bring back the fucking 45 then.

Record Store Day is something that the record stores around here get to share with us record and cd collectors.  It's not sanctioned by the major labels, the label don't give two shits for us anyway.  Neither do narrow minded ex record A and R men either.  In the forthcoming future, the net will start charging us for use of their site and products.  At some point, I won't be around in the future to celebrate the fruits of the internet and net radio.  It's all irrelevant anyway to the music collector who wants the physical product and not have to rely on downloading and losing everything when your computer crashes.  The Telecom act of 1996 killed everything off anyway, and gave us centralized radio and crap ass pop tarts and shitty rappers.  Live in the future and celebrate it if you must Mr Lefsetz but for us, as long as they make albums that we can hold in our hand, I'll still look forward to New Release Tuesday at the reminding music stores we have around here.  If this is the future you're triumphing, then I'll be happy to piss off and live in the past and be forgotten, just like the hundreds of people who still go to HP Books and look for CDs.  Not everybody spends their fucking waking hours downloading music off the net.

But don't piss on us music collectors who go to the local record store on Record Store Day and want to celebrate of being in a music store that's still open.  The music collector pretty much thinks you're obsolete with your on the sidelines bashing cds and records.  And you can piss off on that.

I live for the album fucker.

Neil Young-Fork In The Road (Reprise)

Neil's infoalbum of his car creation with 10 songs that mostly are rock and roll and for the road and is Neil's most consistent album of this decade although he kinda threw it together.  I think it works better than his Living With War album of three years ago which could have been better.  His high whine is a bit hard to take on lead off When World's Collide, but Johnny Magic does recall the hard rock of Re Act Or or Mirror Ball.  Heard a lotta fans complain that the songs were subpar but I think they were pissed off of the fact that Neil has delayed his long awaited Archives (to June 3 supposedly, but don't be surprised if it gets knocked back).  It won't make people forget Rust Never Sleeps or even Chrome Dreams 2, but take it for what's it worth and listen to it while you're out on a drive.  But you may want to make yourself a copy for here's yet another album in a shitty digipak that is docked two notches simply of the fact that I couldn't get the mutherfucking thing out of the package while driving and getting a paper cut in the process.

Grade B
Hits-Johnny Magic, Light A Candle, Fuel Line

April 9, 1994 A Letter To The Seattle PI on Kurt Corbain

Dear Editor:

It’s one thing to be the victim of an unintentionally stupid act, as were Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Or the victim of a deranged wacko, as was John Lennon. Or the victim of a bona fide accident, like Ritchie Valens, Otis Redding, Harry Chapin or Stevie Ray Vaughn.

It’s quite another thing to feel so depressed and devalued as a human being that you choose to die by your own hand.

Not long ago I attended a memorial for Robert E. Lee Hardwick, a popular Seattle radio personality, who one day parked his car on a lonely mountain road, wrote a note, and shot himself. Hardwick was a much loved, successful, creative genius, on the airwaves and off. Nobody could understand why he would take himself out. Cobain’s action was perhaps more predictable, but no less tragic. Twenty-seven-year-old people should not be killing themselves.

Much will be written and said by so-called experts as to why Cobain did what he did. Radio stations and MTV will play Nirvana til it comes out your pores. But nothing will bring him back. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You can’t change your mind later.

To those of you whose lives were guided by Cobain’s creativity, I extend my sincerest sympathies. As Tina Turner once put it so well, we didn't need another hero. Not this way.

Take care of yourselves and your friends. Don’t ever forget how much you love and need each other.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Death Has No Mercy: Sue Halvorsen, Kurt Cobain 15 Years Later

As I write this, the skies outside are cloudy and lots of wind.  I've noticed this year that we have lots of windy days and that's fine with me.  Last year we had lots of snow and lots of rain to go with that wind and the snow and rain made me hate not so much the snow but the rain that continued for weeks on end.  We're in an Winter Storm Warning but have yet to see the snow come.  But had I known that the weather wouldn't be this bad yesterday, I could have gone to Madison and be all the happy for it.   But all I need is two days to go and will once things settled down.  But not this week, since I would like to go Sue Halvorsen's wake tomorrow to pay last respects to our former co worker who lost her live fighting cancer for a year and half.

She lived 59 years and if you really think about it 59 years isn't a long time on this planet.  Sometimes in life I get so caught up in my ire at stupid drivers, longstanding delayed red lights that I rarely take stock in what I have become in this life and my contributions to it.  But I'm sure Sue would wanted to live longer in her life and all that she touched. 

It also got me to thinking about Kurt Cobain, the leader of the last major important band Nirvana and how he took a shotgun and ended his 27 years on this planet.  I didn't think Nirvana changed all the music that much but the way that they performed it did strike a chord with the generation back then.  I think back then Kurt played it for fun with a eye toward being rich and famous some day and once he got it, couldn't handle it and then blew out his face thus ending a five year period that if anything good came out of it, was that Nirvana made the hair spray pop metal obsolete.  Yep, Bret Michaels won the lottery and came back with his crapfest Rock Of Love shite on VH1 and Poison still does the casino circuit once in a while but for a time, the grunge movement almost buried Poison and Warrant alive in the dirt. 

Even back then, when I first heard Nevermind and hearing Jerry Scott saying that these guys are going to get big I kinda brushed them off.  But once I found a pawnshop copy of Nevermind, I got to hear the twists and turns of poetry that Kurt would sing/scream and found it that he could rhyme it with the best of them.  I did buy In Utero when it came out and the first reaction that I got from it was that Kurt wasn't going to live very long and within a year he'd be gone.  I usually don't get that from the first listen but In Utero turned out to be his suicide note to the world.  An on April 5th, 1994, after surviving a overdose and wanting to be alone in the worst way, Kurt took the only way out he knew to get that.  And left a million fans wondering what happened and why.

Perhaps Kurt had a vision of radio being played full of Nirvana wannabes and neverwas.  Perhaps he heard Nickleback or Hoobastank in his dreams.  In some ways his suicide may have started the death of rock and roll.  It did get Dave Grohl from behind the drumset to start up the Foo Fighters, a more pop rock driven band but after the second record the Foos have yet to come up anything closer to the power and rage of Kurt.  Had Kurt lived on Nirvana would have still made albums but if rage and anger was all that Kurt was good for, then he would have died anyway at any time.  It's a shame really but maybe Cobain thought this was as far as he could go.

But going out with half your face blown to bits shouldn't have been that way.  Still, as he went, so did Nirvana and modern rock as we know it.  The music today isn't as memorable and plays it too safe or goes deep into the cliche of I hate myself and I hate this and that.   If Kurt and Nirvana came around today, there'll be no radio for them.  The other bullet that killed off rock and roll was the Telecom act of 1996 which began centralization of radio and the major label. Cobain was such an outsider and wanted to be that way, he didn't want to be the center of attention.  Sure he wanted the band to be BIG, but with fame and fortune and good reviews come the photohogs who invade L.A, the groupies, the hangerons and the low lifes and perhaps being corner and not be able to go to the local record store without being mugged or groped, he lost his privacy to enjoy the things he used to do and he ended it. 

In 1994, MTV was still showing videos and VH1 before they decided it was cheaper to put together crappy reality shows and bring back hair metal freaks to find and keep on the one night stands that he used to enjoy.  To celebrate the passing, Universal wil reissue the Nirvana albums on vinyl.  No big deal to those who got the cd, it still blares out the intentions of Nirvana with Smells Like Teen Spirit, a song that defined and destroyed Cobain at the same time.  But it also defined to the modern rock bands of today that they could never dupilcate the song's intensity.  Today's bands are only worried about the next tattoo they get or lip ring.  Good music will remain timeless, crap music will be forgotten the next day.

Entertain Us!

And also another trainwreck, Joe Meek, the eccentric producer who was the Phil Spector of Britain who also died under bizarre circumstances, he would have turned 80 years old today.  A strange way to end this strange blog.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

RIP Sue Halverson

Got this via a email from Jeff Harper at Data Input over at the Iowa City Pearson Company that Sue passed away from a year and half battle with cancer.  She was 59.  I worked with Sue in my tenure at data input for four years before moving on the printing side of things.  She was a very good co worker and did a lot of terms of helping me slog through the DI jargon.

She will be missed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rolling Stones Reissues, Keith Urban, etc.

This week I finally got some new music to listen to, first time all year I have bought four new releases and the Queensryche American Soldier is their best in years, it might be better than the Operation Mindcrime album of 20 years ago, certainly better than Mindcrime 2.  Basically a concept album of war through the eyes of the soldier in battle, Geoff Tate based this on a series of interviews he did with WW2, Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans.  Not for the faint of heart but all goes to show you can't count Geoff Tate and company out.

And speaking of company, Bad that is, remember that line of crap of one time only last year?  Well Bad Company is back for a 10 date tour while Paul Rodgers takes a sabbath off from Queen.  Speaking of Sabbath, Heaven And Hell, the Sabbath Ronnie Jame Dio era band will have a new album out this month.  Even with Bad Company, I didn't buy the fact that it was one time only show, they always seem to come back and tour the next time.  Blue Oyster Cult will be making the casino tour this spring/summer and will make a apperance in Dubuque June 13, and Davenport August 21.  Seems like BOC will be spending lots of time in the midwest, playing Algona July 3, Council Bluffs the 4th,  Des Moines the 17th at Rib American Fest and a couple Wisconsin fairs in August.  Might be worthwhile to go see them.

I can't say what got me to jump on the Keith Urban bandwagon, but since I liked his 2006 Love and Pain etc. album I thought I give Defying Gravity a spin and it's a bit more country radio ready than the last album with an eye toward the rock market.  I'm thinking it will be number one on the charts next week.  Of course having Nicole Kidman being your wife doesn't hurt either since Keith dedicates at least two of the ballad love songs to her, at least he doesn't jump on the couch and act like a fool like Nicole's Ex did but good thing come to those who wait.  At least Nicole doesn't have to hear Cruise's sciencetology bullshit and Keith plays way better guitar too and doesn't act like a hypocrite.  But then again I do perfer Keith over Nashville super picker Brad Paisley, whose albums seem to borderline of sappy love/family songs and Paisley can't grow a goatee to save his baby face.  Another nice guy, but Paisley has yet to make an album that I can listen to without making a appointment to see the dentist.  And business has been pretty good for Dental Health Partners this year too.

With Shooter Jennings's Greatest Hits now out, he's no longer a part of Universal South Records, Universal's answer to BNA, the worst label to be a part of.  But in all fairness, I have yet to see any worthiness to Shooter's albums.  Supposely he turned down a offer to join Velvet Revolver, the life after Guns and Roses band for Slash and Duff and Matt and one could only wonder what would have happened.  But then again I don't think Shooter would added much to that band.  He's got the tattoos, the outlaw look, the legacy of being a son to a legend and smokes and drinks like the best of em, but he never convinced me to listen to his music.  Only thing that I remember him by is his title to his first album Putting the O back Into Country, a funny play on words but what does the O stand for.  Not Original, Offensive is too cruel, maybe it's Obsessed?  Naw, probaly Obvilous since every album he has to remind us that he's Waylon's son and has to throw in his Hank Sr or Johnny Cash reference of him being the equation.  But his references to me sound more like Mellencamp than Jennings and a secret desire to be a Hank Jr rather than Sr.  Perhaps being a independent label, Shooter might put together that rock and roll record that he's been yearning for but till he starts walking a mile in his own shoes and being more of a original I'll pass.  Yes we know Waylon's his dad, Jessi Colter his mom but don't need to hear it every album but it did take Waylon a good ten years to find his niche, so Shooter got about 8 more years to develop something of value.

The department of Who Cares. Universal will reissued The Rolling Stones albums from Sticky Fingers on to A Bigger Bang if you really truly care or if you don't have those albums from the past and if you don't, why haven't you?  With this reissue campaign, The Stones would have completed the major label merry go round and the Virgin Albums were the best sounding reissues.  I still have a few of the old CBS reissues and don't see the need to upgrade once again unless we want that loud Compression sound that seems to be the norm of CDs today.  One can only reissue the same album over and over (see Elvis Costello) before people get bored with the reissue campaign.  You don't get any bonus tracks or notes, just another major corporation and over the hill rock band trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of the pissed off consumer.  One can't deny the excellence of Exile On Main Street or Sticky Fingers but each reissue from a major label knocks the star off by a half.  And heaven knows you don't need A Bigger Bang or Bridges To Babylon, hell there's dollar copies all over the internet.  And fucking Universal won't reissue The Brains for fuck's sake but they can reissue another Costello or Stones.  No wonder people quit buying music.

And speaking of....The Who will reissue their 30 Years of Maxium Rock and Roll DVD in expanded form in April 14th.

And John Kay and the hired hands known as Steppenwolf is unretiring with some dates this summer.  John keeps you up to date here.

It's a nice day so think i'll go do something before the snow and rains hits tomorrow. May as well go to work instead way i'm feeling right now.

Grades of new albums if anybody really reads them

Queensryche-American Soldier (Atco/Rhino) A-
MXPX-On The Cover 2 (Tooth And Nail) B-
Keith Urban-Defying Gravity (Capitol Nashville) B
Theroy Of A Deadman-Scars And Souviners (Roadrunner) C+
Gomez-A New Tide (According To Our Records) B

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Top Ten Of The Week-Songs That Made An Impact Past, Present And Future

A lot on my plate in terms of music this week.  Looks like April is going to be one of the better months in terms of new music.  Keith Urban, Queensryche, Neil Young, Bob Dylan are just some of the artists that have new albums out and if you're reading this Bob Lefsetz to which I sure you're not, I still buy albums and haven't turned into a mutant yet.

This month also kicks off the local option one cent tax into your purchases in Cedar Rapids and supposedly it's for the flood relief. And of course the Tax bastards want Marion and Hiawatha and the rest that voted no to revote on May 5th.  What part of no don't these Taxacrats understand?  Thankfully Half Priced Books have a Marion address but not Best Buy which is why I stocked up on some new music Tuesday.  So far, I like the new Queensryche American Soldier album (I think it's their best ever, don't know if Isabella would agreed with that but since she's not of this world anymore I guess she'll have to listen to it in the great beyond.  The Keith Urban album plays it too safe although his last album before the best of was his best but so far it's a three star album and should appease his fans. Yeh, I'm at a loss why Keith hasn't crossed over to the MOR side of things (perhaps it's the banjos) but if it was 1989, Keith would be heard on Mix 96.5.  Defying Gravity might more than make up that song he did with Brad Paisley however.  Nothing against Brad Paisley, super guitar player but he still does way too many sappy songs and not enough drinking songs.  Keith is bit more music and fan friendly.  But what do I know?  People don't listen to critics anyway.  Blogging is just a waste of cyberspace.

The Top Ten Of The Week is as follows

1.  Strange Days-The Doors 1967  As we grow older it's hard to believe that the music we all listen to back in our grade school years are now over 40 years old.  Is today's generation going to come up with anything from the likes of Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison or The Beatles?  I donno, but I continue to listen to the new music of today and hope something sticks out.  I sure wish somebody would overhaul radio cuz it's radio is dead in the water and is stinking to high heaven.  I get carpel tunnel just pushing the buttons on the radio trying to find something I can listen to without being overwhelmed by crappy modern rock or shitty rap on top forty.

2.  I'm Tired-Savoy Brown 1969  Beaker Street played this song Sunday night and got me to seek out the best of and play this forgotten 45.  I do have the 45, brought it at a garage sale way back in the early 70s.  Why doesn't classic rock radio open up the archives and play songs like this?

3.  Mule Train-Tennessee Ernie Ford 1949  An Americana classic from six decades ago. Still sounds vital as ever today.  I don't hear country in this but I heard echoes of The Blasters and Rank And File although Tony And Chip Kinman of RAF are trying to do something like Mule Train in the form of Cowboy Nation.  I think I prefer them as Rank And File and prefer Tennessee Ernie Ford of Mule Train over the Gospel songs he did.  Just a matter of choice that's all.

4.  Why's It Feel So Long-Keith Urban 2009  I'm playing the new Keith Urban album and swore that I have heard this song on KHAK while flipping through channels.  Sounds like all the songs off Defying Gravity have been played on the radio.  Or is the fact that they are tailored made for radio?  The next song I'm In, was done by Radney Foster. Hell, I shouldn't review albums while compiling top tens, makes me lose my place and concentration.

5.  Sitting On The Sun-The Artful Dodger 2008
6.  Don't Cut, Baby-Vufcup 2009

Two cuts from the new compilation download called Songs That Made An Impact, lovingly put together with care by Diggy Kat.  He's been working around the clock to promote this and get the word out on the lesser known bands who you would only hear on the underground radio and net stations.  Vufcup is Diggy's personal band and on this one he howls and screams and punk rocks on.  It's always fun to see where Diggy goes from here.  The songs keep getting better and better.  Gotta dig the backward ending on this one. 

7.  Be My Salty Dog-The Blue Rags 1997  Ragtime blues from a North Carolina band that got signed to Sub Pop, which made them stick out like a sore thumb but I always love their debut Rag N Roll to which I bought at Alter Ego, when Erin was still selling cds.  Got to see The Blues Rags at Gabe's in 1998 and they put on a great show although the guitar player Woody, tripped over my size 14 feet on the way to the stage.  Rag N Roll still remains one of the best albums in the late 90s.  Seek and find it.

8.  Hard Drivin Man-J. Geils Band 1970  Centerfold may have scarred them for life but 10 years before J.Geils was a hardcore blues and boogie band.  I perfer their Atlantic years of the early 70s up to Full House, their 1973 Blastfest recorded in the Motor City.  They also made an impression on the pub rockers at that time, Eddie And The Hot Rods does a smokin version of this song in 1977.  Glad MTV gave them their fortune but their fame was already established on this rocker.

9.  It Ain't Easy/Rock And Roll-Detroit With Mitch Ryder 1971  The Fox actually played Rock And Roll one snowy night that made me almost lose control of the car with total surprise that The Fox could play such a forgotten number.  They must have misplaced The Joker.  Detroit was a super Detroit Band with Johnny Bee hooking up with Steve Hunter who would go join Lou Reed on the Rock and Roll Animal album.  Plus WR Cooke, who was a one time Amboy Duke but the vocalist was none other than Mitch Ryder trying to make a comeback after a solo career that wasn't going anywhere.  Detroit made one album for Paramount and then fizzled. Mitch Ryder was on top of his game here, screaming like never before, as if the Detroit Wheels never happened.  For fun and games, call the FOX 100.7 up and request Rock And Roll but with Detroit and not Lou Reed and see what kind of reaction you will get.  MCA reissued this on CD in 1988 and also the record to which I didn't think existed till Tom Woodruff gave me his record collection and this was tucked away somewhere in the middle of all that vinyl.

10.  The House Of The Rising Sun-Frijid Pink 1970  Another one hit wonder from another Detroit band that made one good debut for Parrot and three other turds for various labels.  This was their shining moment, a heavy metal version of The Animals and a folk classics of said song.  What annoys me is that the 45 is a three and half minite edit, another reason why singles suck back when we had 45s.  Way too many edits and not enough complete versions. B Side was Drivin Blues, a fast boogie number that I used to play a lot when Ole's Ham And Egger had a jukebox.  Somehow the 45 master was louder than the album.  I always wanted to play it live in my band.  Anyway House Of The Rising Sun did find its way to a cheap compilation that Polygram/Rebound put out but the Frijid Pink album was never reissued on CD in the USA.  Repertoire Records in Germany reissued it and added two non album cuts as bonus numbers.  One was Heartbreak Hotel which was their last top 100 showing and something called Music For The People which made top 60 but I'd never heard it on the radio.  And may never will.

Bonus Cut-Lemmings by Darcy (Taken from Songs That Made An Impact)

Here at RS Crabb and the Bargain Hunters Network and radio, I try to promote the songs that are played on my player.  If I don't play it, it's not on the top ten.  I know DJ Scorpia and her radio station and the folks at Brown Dog Radio do their best to get the word out. If radio was like it was forty years ago, I'd say a lot of bands would have broke regionally if not national simply of the fact that before corporate the new music was fresh and exciting. Forty years ago the coporations were taken over anyway but in the case of Steve Ross and Warner buying Atlantic and later Elektra he was still willing to give bands three or four albums to develop and grow.  Unlike today to which a band usually gets one shot and that's it.  Songs That Made An Impact will not take over such established crapfest as Now That's What I Call Music (From Corporate Know nothings) and it's a given that all bands won't give up their day jobs but this is a compilation made by a music fan for music fans out there to listen and enjoy.  There are no corporate strings whatsoever, just music from musician who want to make fun music and get the word out.  And Diggy Kat has worked his butt off by promoting this via emails and ads.  Here's hoping it pays out for him.

And for those in the Madison area, guess who's coming up to pay you a visit and to check out your bargain bins at your HP Book Store?

A Final thought from Robert Christgau on why we continue to buy albums, even in a age that the album format is dying.

The album is dying, we are told, and sure it's fallen on hard times. I keep listening anyway because aesthetically the long-form hasn't worn out, and right now I'm feeling evangelical about it.  RC

And so do I...RSCrabb