Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-End Of The Month


I wouldn't be such a crank if it didn't rain every other day around here. For the fourth straight year in June, we had above normal rainfall, over ten inches of the wet shit. Hard to imagine that I made a week up to Michigan and not come home to a wet basement, it waited three days later.

I did managed to go up to Cedar Rapids on Sunday and do my trail walking. Had to use the downtown trails since the C Street trail out to Highway 30 is full of gnats and ticks and skeeters. Uptown had the US Marine Rock And Blues Band which was a collection of servicemen and women playing some old tunes from the past. From Beginnings to Vehicle and of course Soul Man these folks had a good time playing them. Plus its not my way to slam our defenders of freedom to play the overplayed, I actually enjoyed hearing them. After a half hour, went back on the trail back to the Bar B Q Roundup and hearing some unknown band do AWB's Cut The Cake. But didn't see the need to pay five bucks just to enter and then overpay on overpriced Bar B Q so went to LaSiesta on First Avenue for their famed stuffed burritos. Strange to see the place empty while the Los Glorias across the street was packed but the burritos was good and they gave me tons of rice and beans to the point I couldn't eat it all. But then again what's a day without having some methhead popping out of nowhere needing change for a sandwich, so gave him about 75 cents. Next time I need to bring out the rags and maybe just maybe they'll leave me alone.

Anyway, this week brings us yet another top ten of songs on my player. It might be easier just to do a Friday Five, but I believe in overkill so I'll do a Wednesday Ten instead. Cause there's so much more out there then just five tunes. No Michael Jackson songs to bore you with although one year ago I was down in Arizona and at that place and time a year ago I was in Tucson if memory serves me well. Should be back in the Valley Of The 110 Degree Temps two months from today if the planets align just right.

1. Drop The Gun-Kings Of The Sun 1990 I can't believe it's been 20 years that RCA put it this long lost classic hard rock burner from this much lamented Aussie band. Like their first album but loved their second Full Frontal Attack, it remains a lost classic. Imagine AC/DC with Keith Moon on drums bashing away and you'll get a glimpse of how they sound. This did get some MTV airplay believe it or not and made me camped outside a record store till BJ's in Iowa City had it on sale. Think I played this about three times in a row. Unfortunly, the record didn't sell enough and RCA dropped them and they made a third album to which I have yet to see.

2. My Guardian Angel-The Pistoleros 1997 This band came from Tempe, same as Gin Blossoms and they too had the late great fate that was Doug Hopkins who also got bounced from this band when he couldn't control his booze. And they had a sound that was like the GB's only more darker. This band was led by the Zubia Brothers and the rhythm section was once part of Chuck Hall And The Brick Wall, a blues band if you can believe that. Anyway, they got signed to Hollywood Records and made Hang On To Nothing which they got some help from the likes of Radney Foster, Pat Dinizo from The Smithereens and Gary Louris from The Jayhawks. This song was rumoured to be the last song that Hopkins wrote before he took his life. Alas, the album bombed and Hollywood Records dropped them. But it can be found fairly cheap in the cutouts at your local thrift store. Think I got mine copy from Blockbuster Music (and yes kids, Blockbuster actually had their own music store for about five years in town, two doors down from Barnes & Noble).

3. Waiting For The Rapture-Oasis 2007 They have more best ofs in the last five years than actual albums. In fact there's a new 2 CD best of Oasis out if you care. Basically I think Stop The Clocks works just fine for me but the album sandwiched between the best of was Dig Out Your Soul, and like the preceeding one Don't Believe The Truth was one of the harder rocking albums the Gallagher Brothers put out. Then they got in a big fight and now the band is history but as they say...never say never.

4. Angels Tonight-The Gin Blossoms 1991 The Gin Bunnies go all the way back to 1992 when I first saw them at Chuy's in Tempe (for further explaination check out the Gin Blossoms blog at The R. Smith Review Consortium at and they just played the Bar B Q Roundup Friday Night here in town. Heard it was a good time for everybody. One of many songs written by the ill fated Doug Hopkins.

5. Clone Information/Family Clone-Johnny Guitar Watson 1981 In the late 70s, one of the best funky guitarist out there was Mr. Gangster Of Love himself who had a few hits in the 50s on King Records. But on this effort, Johnny plays everything and what starts of a funky beginning becomes more jazzier. Soon after the album got released, his label went bankrupt and Johnny G would record three more albums before suffering a heart attack on stage in Japan in 1996. Shout Factory reissed the album, with two bonus cuts.

6. Tell Someone Who Cares-The Poor 1994 Another band from down under, making AC DC straight ahead rock, in fact the drummer was either a nephew or cousin of Angus and Macolm Young. One of the managers was the drummer for Angel City, the other major band from Down Under so on paper they should have been ready for stardom. Sony signed them and stuck them on the dead end 550 Label and this was a one and done deal. The album was called Who Cares and I guess nobody did. Produced by Paul (Asia, Rush) Northfield who polished things to a sonic shine that clashed with the music. Another album you can find in the dollar bins across America although some Amazon reviewer says that The Poor are recording a new album. And nobody still cares!

7. Anything That's Rock And Roll-Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 1976 Okay okay, this is my final Tom Petty track for a while and it's off their first album. I remember our old lead singer tried to get us to learn this song but we didn't. I wonder if the old fool has this for a karoke song.

8. I Want To Take You Higher-Sly & The Family Stone 1969 Half Priced Books had a copy of The Woodstock Experience to which one had a classic album (which was Stand! and the other was the actual live performance from Woodstock). Took Epic about 40 years after to issue it and since it has 5 songs from Stand! they thought better not to issue it. But you know judging from what I heard from Woodstock, Sly & The Family Stone put on a excellent show and may have been the best of the batch. Stand!, the album remains one of the definite albums of the late 60s although the 13 minite Sex Machine jam is one track I hit the skip button. But everything else still holds up (although Don't Call Me Whitey N Word, like Sex Machine gets a bit tedious with that talk box that Sly does thoughout both songs). Side note: I remember getting Stand! on vinyl for three bucks at the old Marion TV & Records on Ridiclous Days and my ex GF Janice giving me funny looks about me buying that and Best Of The Hollies (on UA records) that day. Told her it was a Crabb thing and she wouldn't understand. And she didn't.

9. I Don't Mind At All-Bourgeois Tagg 1987 One hit wonder from a band that sounded a bit like Squeeze and Utopia (probably of the fact that Todd Rundgren produced the album Yoyo). The hit didn't sound anything like the album, since it was mostly acoustic guitar and sounded a bit like The Beatles. The followup bombed and the band broke up, Brent Bourgeois went gospel and had some success over there. Michael Urbano, the drummer who later play drum for John Hiatt and later, Smash Mouth.

10. Been Down A Lot Lately-The Ocean Blue 2001 Band from Hershey PA, made three good to great albums for Sire and one for Mercury before going independent and making Davy Jones Locker. When I first started doing the top ten of the week, I had a friend that was into The Ocean Blue and made me all the albums that I didn't have (but would via thrift stores and pawnshops) and I guess they sound a bit like a US version of The Smiths or Flesh And Blood era Roxy Music which is a compliment. Although Dave Schelzel is the main songwriter, this song was written and sung by Rob Minning and is my favorite on this album. I think this song also pretty much sums up my feeling for June and the highway of storms and way things have been going. Hopefully next month will be better eh?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On The Subject Of...Moon In June, Cubs, My Everchanging Moods

Well did anybody seen the strawberry or blood red moon last night? A partial luner eclipse that happens every so often? Hope you did cuz I missed it. We had another fucking monsoon last night.

This June has sucked from day one, even when I got of this hell for a week of vacation in Michigan, coming back we have had something like 20 rain days out of 26 in this miserable month. In fact we can't put together more than two dry days without having some fucking front stalled on top of us and giving this state the annual highway of flood storms once again. Been this way since 2007 and we cannot catch a break. I don't know what it is about this fucking set up that gives us all this wet crap, I hate rain with a passion cuz of this highway of storms. Ever since last friday, I have been running fans left and right in the basement due to water coming in from a 3 inch monsoon and still can't get the GD room dried up yet! Only took three days after coming back from Taylor for me to return to my old crabb self again. And even when I wasn't in a bad mood, my co workers thought I was in a bad mood. I wasn't I was quite mellow and everybody thought something was wrong. Even when I am in a rare good mood people think I'm not. Can't win.

The things in life that mean the most to me are the full moon cycle to which I come home from work and play a jamming cd and sit back and take in the light of the moon and see how everything is bright. Mother Nature robbed me of that this past week, when out of all the chances of coming home by the light of the luner, even the partly cloudy night, the moon got covered up and last night we got fucked out of seeing the blood red moon by another fucking storm coming out of Minnesota and not one time did I see it at all due to a constant rain. But we are tired of the storms and the rains that have plaged this state from June 1 onward. It's almost the end of this month and there another chance of the wet shit once again tonight. Maybe in July we will get three dry days in a row which would be a record for this summer 'sarcastic face' but then again we remain skeptical. Thankfully we didn't get a wet basement on my vacation, it waited till I got back. Very thoughtful of you Mother Nature now give us that damn drought I been screaming for since 2008.....

I haven't had the chance to unpack my bags since getting back from Michigan, I worked last Saturday to get the Arizona project out but this weekend it was Florida project that came in. But I decided not to work it since I have a jungle outside to mow and trying to do the usual house chores that don't get done when I'm not around. Problem of getting older is that the body don't respond the way it use to and all that lifting and stacking and pushing paper cores is a tiring job. When it comes to OT, even I don't have a definite answer if I want to work or not, it is to the point that if there's enough staff to cover the printers then I can do my own thing at home. At work I used to have these walks around outside the building to think and come up for the next blogs but most of the time I'm accomplied by a coworker, who continues to bore me about her time at the bar or her ranting about a co worker she was dating twice but went back to his woman whose also a temp worker at our place of workage. I think she does this to push my buttons, she seems to enjoy getting yelled at by myself or when I'm trying to show her how to work a printer, she ends up pushing the wrong buttons and making a bigger mess than before. As much as she would like to find Mr. Right and have that elusive baby and be a mom, a few problems are arising.
1.) If she found a good man she wouldn't know what to do with him, in all fairness wouldn't give him the time of day. All she seems to get are the drunks at bars and the co worker who comes after her after the temp co worker kicks him out of their house. The dude has her wrapped around his finger and no matter what words of advice is given to her, she ignores and goes back to him only to bitch about him two weeks later when he goes back to the other. Confusing? Yes it is when the names are not revealed.
2.) And good guys don't want drunks for a love interest. Miss Co Worker would have her own house by now had she not blown her damn paycheck at the local pub.

And finally, I need a break from the printers to clear my mind and have to hear Miss Co Worker complain about Temp Woman staring her from afar or Mr Love Interest Co Worker trying to talk to her makes me even more crabby. And alas, making Sonya, another co worker retake smoking again. But at least last night, we did get to see the rising full moon for about five minites.

Finally, it's not a good time to be a Cubs fan this year. Especially when the fucking White Sox have won the first four games. Damn White Sox could have a 12 game winning streak and another sweep of the Cubs in this crap they call the Crosstown series which has been one sided. Yesterday, the overpriced crybaby Carlos Zambrano was pitching his usual shit game, one inning four hits, four runs when he boohooed that the infielder weren't driving for sharply hit balls that wizzed past them since Carlos was bascially doing batting practice and the Sox were smacking them left and right. Nothing like the Big Z storming off the mound throwing F bombs and pointing fingers and almost getting into it with Derrick Lee, whose having the worst year as a Cub and Amaris Ramirez ditto. Finally Lou Pinella, the overrated manager who might be fired before the all star break sent Zambrano to the showers but not till Big Z took his frustrations out on a poor defenseless Gatorade cooler. And then cussed at some reporters outside the stadium. Real big man.

The guy has a 91 million dollar contract to which he has left to earn the right way. Zambrano couldn't pitched as a starter, then they threw him into the bullpen and he couldn't pitched worth a shit there either. Then return to the starting lineup and continues to pitch like shit and blame everybody else for not catching hot hit balls. Dave Winfield said it best, Zambrano is like a pit bull, he's fine when hes after the other club but when he turns on you like a pit bull turns on a owner than it's time to go. And Carlos may as well take his big bag of money that he has yet to earn and go someplace else and fuck up some other ball club. The guy pitched one good game and two so sos and the rest total crap. And the Cubs are not getting any return on their investment just like Milton Bradley last year.

Let's face it the Cubs are not going to the playoffs this year. Ramirez can't stop striking out, and D Lee can't stop hitting into DPs. And the damn pitching staff is shaky at best and the hitting is horrible most of the time. So rooting for the Cubs gets to be a boofest to which I throw my rant and raves at the Twitter board and my GF shakes her head from afar and sighs and I tell her it's a Crabb thing. To root and cuss out crappy teams I follow such as the Cubs and the even crappier Orioles and hell yes I don't understand it myself to waste time and energy to care. So I think the best I can describe this is call hoping that somehow these rant and raves will get the Cubs or Orioles to get going and when they start winning it may mean something. Yeah my brother don't understand my screaming at the TV does anything but I have this distorted idea that it might help the team. And it's a hard habit to break.

The Cub stink this year, even Bob Brinley called them a dead assed team and he said it on national television. But Zambrano's actions yesterday may have sealed his fate and way out of Chicago and good riddence if he can't change his bitchy assness. Rest assured he did pitched a no hitter against Houston in 2008 and helped the Cubs get to the playoffs a couple times. He's past his prime now, he too much of a loose cannon to be a team player and if nothing more for the safety of the Gatorade Coolers, it's better to bid Big Z a Big Z you later. And don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

I don't think the season is over but the way the Cubs are playing it may as well be. Hell, they can't even beat the fucking White Sox this year. At least win one fucking game from the White Sox just to shut me up.

BTW personal to Ozzy Guillen....Be glad you don't have Big Z on your team, he would have thrown you off the highest pavillion at the Cell when he gets into Pit Bull Mode.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-On The Highway Of Storms

June sucks around here. We have had the majority of days being hit by storms and more storms and as I type this, I noticed that the storms are up to the north and west of here. Looks like they will stay away for another four hours but come before sunrise I'm sure we'll get another round of heavy storms.

Been a warm and muggy month, lots of humidity, lots of angry sun and even more lots of heavy rains. While channel 7 keeps me up to date of the storms out west, it's time for me to put together another top ten of songs of the week. Lots of new wave, some new stuff and of course my classic faves, it's all here in one way or another. Cue em up.

1. Never Say Die-Black Sabbath 1978 Lotta BS fans that call this the worst of the Ozzy Osbourne years I beg to differ. I played this in the car in my senior year and today still think most of this holds up quite well. Actually kind of sounds punkish. Nevertheless, Ozzy would move on to a equally successful solo career and Black Sabbath would catch a second wind with new vocalist Ronnie James Dio with Heaven And Hell 2 years later.

2. 12XU-Wire 1977 They started as punk rockers and then became a bit of art-gothic rock but I believe this is my favorite Wire song, taken from the infamous Live From The Roxy sessions. Was the bonus track on the CD version of Pink Flag.

3. If You See Kay-April Wine 1982 Failed single from their Power Play album which flopped after the big success of Nature Of The Beast a year ago. Smartassed pundits swore that it sounded like they were spelling out fuck with the if you see kay chorus and perhaps they did, although i didn't catch it back then. However, poptart slut Brittney Spears would do her own version of this, renamed If You Seek Amy and not the same song. Fact of the matter is less said about BS the better, and the BS is not related to Black Sabbath BTW.

4. Dear God 2.0-The Roots With Monsters Of Folk 2010 Ya know I do like The Roots, still think of them as the ultimate rap group that have guys play real instruments. In Fact ?uestlove remains one the tightest drummers out there, I'm sure I can rap to his beats. I guess you can call this a alternative cut by having the Monsters Of Folk dudes playing on this. From their new How I Got Over CD, which continues their hit streak of critically acclaimed albums.

5. Sea Of Love-Del Shannon 1981 Recorded with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers this charted fairly high on the Billboard charts. Supposely Del was rumoured to take over Roy Orbinson's spot in the Traveling Wilburys but that didn't happen. Over twenty years have gone by since Del took the easy way out. Still missing him like it was yesterday.

6. Family Entertainment-The Undertones 1979 These guys came from Northern Ireland and made a heck of a debut for Sire Records. Lead vocalist was Fergal Sharkey who would score a number one hit in 1985 on his own but this was fine power punk pop. Rykodisc reissued this on CD and later moved over to Sanctuary Records. Tip: if you find anything in the cutout bins from Sanctuary/Castle/Trojan CDs pick them up.

7. Thing About You-Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 1981 If you seeing a trend of music from the late 70s and early 80s you're right. Last weekend was the reunion class of MHS 1980 so even though I gradurated a year earlier, I had a few friends and couple ex GFs that was a year behind me. Not that I really wanted to meet any of the EX GFs, I know one was there but the other one seemed to have a hatred of this area and stayed in her neck of the woods. Last week I previewed a track from TPs latest Mojo, to which I didn't like all that much. But thought I pull out Hard Promises and feature one of TP's lesser known. This later became a country hit for Southern Pacific a few years later and features Emmy Lou Harris. Fun tune.

8. Talkin' About-3 1988 After Emerson, Lake & Powell closed up shop, Keith Emerson got back with Carl Palmer and somebody named Robert Berry to make a one off for Geffen Records and reviews were mostly negative but they had a minor hit with this song.

9. Poor Planet Earth-Sonny Hill 1968? Something from the Epitaph For A Legend compliation, this sounds like stoned out Chipmunks. Could have been the basis for Funky Tonk by Moby Grape, but maybe not.

10. Later Is Now-Devo 2010 Just in time to revive the music business, a brand new Devo album to make you get back on the dance floor once again. After Oh No It's Devo, the guys made four subpar albums that flopped but the new one Something For Everybody is their best since Oh No. Sure it's no Are We Not Men? and no there's no sure fire hits like Whip It but it is fun music to listen to. And Devo has returned into making fun music again. Check it out and see if I'm not right on that one.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On The Subject Of-HS Reunions, wrong way love

Last weekend, Marion High had their 1980 class reunion to which my good friend Dennis returned from the Arizona desert and was subjected to two days of monsoons Iowa style. I'm sure he had to encounter a big thunderhead on arrival. But he said he had a good time and wished that a few more folk would have shown up. Some do and then some don't and then there are others that wouldn't be caught dead at one.

I saw the MHS school pictures up on Facebook and I gather that one of my high school sweethearts didn't show up. I believe Janice did in 1990 but since then decided that she'd rather stay in Texas. Probably just as well. I don't think she ever forgave me for not asking her out to Homecoming back in 77, nor did I on her for making the rest of my high school years a living hell either. We had chances but as the years go on, it's obvious that we were never meant to be and therefore will never encounter each other again. However, my other high school ask out, Penny was there too. I didn't think she go to such things but she was there. We did get together after high school to make it a go but every time we did, she'd act up and we would break up on the acrimonious terms. Didn't talk to her for over 12 years after the 1994 breakup but she does get her car fixed at my brother's car repair shop and she did inquire about me in 2006. We're now Facebook friends.

My best friend Steve told me she had a Facebook page and I told him yes I know. I know she's out there and I'm sure she knows I am too but I don't see a request coming anytime soon. I also thank God that I didn't graduate in 1980. Update, we did become friends again on FB after accepting her into the FB friends that I do have now.

It's hard to fathom 30 years gone and seeing your classmates, old, gray, balding and fat. Even the good looking chicks of that era have changed and are no longer desireable. I guess Jenny Hanson showed up for the first time in years. She was that class Jessica Simpson, good looking but with no clue. Jenny was a good friend of Janice and so was Heidi. Heidi was always this Miss Goody Two Shoes and we never chatted. She was thought she was above my league.

Dennis and Doug Bonesteel played in my band and Dennis aged fairly well judging from what happened to him, Doug on the other hand looked a lot like my ex boss Denny, even down to the goatee. I really wished I could have gotten together with Doug and Dennis and have a coke or two and talked about the old days but unfortunly I had to work and deal with the typical water in the basement after a 3 inch monsoon that friday night. But who knows, maybe we'll get together somewhere down the line in the future. Maybe I'll look up Doug on the way to the Des Moines FYE store. Or maybe not.

I read a strange story on lunch break.

A story about a woman arrested for filing a fake sexual assault report on her ex boyfriend but what is strange is that she recruited her new boyfriend to harrass her ex and it turned out that I knew her new boyfriend, for he was the son of my ex boss who played bass in one of my old bands of the 1990s and actually is credited for jumpstarting my music career.

I remembered Matthew Gregory hanging around us while we practiced one night to do a kegger out in Atalissa and the dude was wanting to play guitar. He was a likeable youngster, I think he was about 5 or 6. His dad was one of the best bass players I ever played alongside but what we didn't know was that he had a roving eye and that would eventually forced him to quit his job at the old place.

It's sad to see Matthew getting caught up in the antics of his GF who for some reason had a hard on of getting back at her ex and unfortunely he's paying the price for that. Who got fed a line of bullshit from Miss Lizzy McDonald about the the ex's abuse. And now will have that on his record. I don't think Matthew will go to jail on this but I'm sure a year's probation might be forthcoming and hopefully a better choice of women the next time out. Yes, I was 23 once and yes I didn't know jack shit about women and wanted to be accepted too but if I had somebody that did the same shit that Miss McDonald pull on me, I'd run away and fast too. But then again I wonder if she would have turned Matthew in on a false abuse charge too.

In the end, this is a hard lesson of life that Matthew learned. And here's hoping that in the next time he would steer clear of such hussies such as Miss McDonald who can't seem to let it go when it's over.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On The Subject Of-Tom Petty, More Michigan Thoughts etc.

I like Tom Petty as much as the next guy. And of course with Rolling Stone touting Mojo, TP's latest four stars it gave me some incentive to purchase it. After all, TP hasn't rocked out since Let Me Up (I had enough) and it's hard to tell why that has. Oh sure, TP would stick a rock and rolling song on his ultra popular Full Moon Fever and Into The Great Wide Open but you'd never knew it with Jeff Lynne's ELOized sound. And I suspect that kicking Stan Lynch out of the band, The Heartbreakers lost that distinct sound, nothing wrong with Steve Ferrone whose sat in quite well the last 15 years but Lynch's looseness is missed by me. With Mojo, Tom goes for a one take feel and a sound toward Chicago styled blues but this album seems to miss the mark. It's too long at 65 minites and the guys, although playing well, seemed not that interested in the songs that Petty thought up. In fact, the only song off Mojo that I liked enough to play more than once was the hard rocking I Should Have Known It, which at least Petty upped the beat and sounded alive. But the rest of the songs just sound blah. Hard to figure since the last album, which was the reunion of Mudcrutch and that album I enjoyed from start to finish but with Mojo, it sounded like Mudcrutch rejects. I still wouldn't count Tom Petty out; perhaps the next album will be that hard rocking return to his late 70s sound. Maybe then he will get his Mojo back but not on this Mojo.

Yesterday while researching TP, I did put on his 1976 debut Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Gone Gator/WB/Rhino) and that album would introduce us to the up and coming rocker and his band. I can tell you that during that Bicentennical year I didn't hear American Girl nor Breakdown on our FM station. Perhaps KRNA did or the long forgotten KFMH 99.7, in fact I didn't hear Breakdown till it came out on the FM soundtrack on MCA. The Byrd's influenced American Girl was covered by Roger McGuinn and I heard that more than TP's. While critics embraced it, I perferred the 1978 followup You're Gonna Get It to which FM radio played I Need To Know and Listen To Her Heart which proved to be great power pop rock and roll. But Shelter Records went down in the hole and Petty found himself on Backstreet/MCA for his breakout 1979 Damn The Torpedos and the overplayed Refugee and Don't Do Me Like That. But then I lost interest on Hard Promises after hearing the cute but again overplayed The Waiting but perhaps I'll take another listen to it since Best Buy has that CD for 8 bucks.

When I hear the early TP and the later day, the one thing is clear is that the early albums clocked around 30 to 35 minites whereas his last couple albums have gone over 60s minites, not counting the Highway Companion solo album done for American and Rick Rubin. A classic Tom Petty album remains 2 and a half or three minites long and gets to the point. Most of the stuff on Mojo is over 4 minites and drag on forever. I guess the key point is Anything That Is Rock And Roll Is Fine With Me but don't bore me on overlong songs that go over 5 minites. Till then, I remain sure that the best Tom Petty was his appearance as Lucky on King Of The Hill.

Two days removed from Michigan and looking at the pictures that my girlfriend made for me on a CD-R it all remains a blur to me of what we did on our vacation. We didn't go into Detroit, we stayed to the west of that. I know she loves to take pictures of me but I was very uncomfortable of seeing the ones taken when we were playing minature golf. I think she took about 40 pictures of me whereas there was only one picture of her in the whole thing. I looked like a degranged Al Bundy in some of them. Unfortunly the best ones of me at Encore Records were taken on her cellphone and are probably lost for the ages. And unfortunly way too many of me at the golf course. I think she should have kept those for herself.

When I was gone from here, my brother said it rained all but one day while gone but thankfully no water in the basement although the grass wasn't mowed due to very wet grounds. My friend at work Sonya said that her trailer court got flooded out by 2 inches of rain in one hour, which also turned downtown Iowa City into a waterway on the road. And the forecast calls for chances of storms for the next full week which is going to send me into a tizzy once again if we get another damn stalled front on top of us. But this is the joy of living in the great midwest in June. The most rainy month of the year and again we are over surplus in soil moisture too. So I'm still waiting for that drought that is owed to us but I'm sure we get more rain instead.

Lucky us.

Top Ten Of The Week-Gotta Get Back To The Music

Since I've been away in Michigan, I've been subject to the same five songs stuck in my head all freaking week. If I hear Train's Hey Soul Sister one more time or that idiot rapper who did Live Like Your Dying again, I'm going to go up to that GD shitty station in Detroit and barracade myself inside with my own tunes.

I didn't have a CD player with me so I'm back to make up for lost time by spinning some of them on CD player. Had the Charlatans UK and Big Country's earworms all week too. I like the songs but don't like them playing over and over and over and over all fucking week.

What did I miss? Tim Bachman being in trouble by touching a young 14 year old in the wrong way. Gin Blossoms coming out with a new album in September on 429 Records (part of Savoy Music Group BTW) Jimmy Dean passed away at age 81 and at age 88 Christopher Lee is making a heavy metal album.

And it's that time of year again. The damn rains won't stop and the earwigs are out.

1. Rocket Man-Elton John 1972 Overplayed, yes I know but I didn't change the channel when I heard it on the radio when I got off the airplane going home. I always get a kick out of Stewie Griffin's take on it when I see it on Family Guy doing it like William Shatner.

2. Get Back-Roy Head 1965 I remembered seeing the album this came from in the Salvation Army store in downtown Marion in the early 1970s and never picked it up. Found it this week at Wazoo's in Ann Arbor and although I think Scepter Records issued this album when Treat Her Right rocketed up the charts on a rival label. It may have been a cash in but Roy Head had a real rocking band (he tears it up on Roscoe Gordon's Just A Little Bit) and Head came close to be a white James Brown. A cover of Jimmy McCracklin's R and B hit.

3. I Should Have Known It-Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 2010 ....That I was going to be disappointed in this new album from TP and company. Another album that Rolling Stone gave four stars calling it a comeback but when I heard it, I thought otherwise. Mojo, is TP's most bluesy for sure and a bit jam band but the majority of songs are slow and damn near put me to sleep except for this hard rocking number. Look, I'm rooting for Tom Petty just like y'all are, and enjoy his role of Lucky in the last season of King Of The Hill but I think I like his Mudcrutch project of last year more. That one seem to be rolling easy and done for fun. Mojo sounds pretty labored and goes on too long. A classic Tom Petty album usually last around 35 minites and has about 10 to 12 songs. A so so TP has 16 and goes over an hour. Which is why Mojo is so so.

4. What's This World Comin To-Chicago 1973 Which is better the original horn driven band of the 70's or the goopy 80's keyboard freaks ruined by David Foster? I choose the former.

5. We Sell Soul-Spades 1966 Known better as the 13th Floor Elevators this was the B side to You're Gonna Miss Me to which I haven't heard till I bought this complation called Epitaph For A Legend at Encore Recordings in Ann Arbor to which I'm guessing is a bunch of unreleased stuff from the International Artists label, which was started by Lelan Rogers, brother of one Kenny Rogers. Not sure if this is the actual 45 or a live performance. Came out on Collectibles in 1993. And the CD mastering on this sucks.

6. Kerosene-Miranda Lambert 2005 Heard this up in Hale at Big Bobs Restrauant and this song still rocks. You gotta give credit to a woman who gives co write credit to Steve Earle. Although I do wonder if hanging around Blake Shelton is going to rub off the wrong way on her. Watch out for that Hillbilly Bone.

7. We're Not In Kansas Anymore-Big Country 1993 10 years before they had a big hit with In A Big Country and hung around but never had any big hits after that. The album this is off, The Buffalo Skinners is their hardest rocking yet and perhaps getting Mike Fraser to mix this to make it sound big. Came out on Chrysalis in the UK and one the fledging Fox Records in the US.

8. Gimme Gimme Teenage Head-Primal Scream 1988 When Bobby Gillespie left the Jesus & Mary Chain in 1986 he was trying to find his own sound. The first album is Byrds like pop while the followup album "Primal Scream" was somewhere around the J&MC noise and Stooges punk rock. Their first album for Creation Records and I think this came out on Matador in the US although I have yet to find that. One of a few things bought up in Ann Arbor at Encore Records.

9. Behind Blue Eyes-The Who 1971 I love The Who and so do you.

10. Sex Bomb Baby-Flipper 1981 Punk rock's Louie Louie. Nuff said.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notes On Michigan 35 Years Later.

When I left Iowa for Detroit it was raining. When I returned back home a week later it was raining. When I saw the clouds disappear about 50 miles out, I saw rivers over their banks and covering some roads. Flooded out Center Point, parts of Iowa City and Kalona. Welcome back home, I hate June in Iowa and the Goddammed highway of storms we get. Out of the 15 days, 12 of them we had rain. Fucking ridiclous.

Getting back to the trip, I noticed that Michigan had some heavy rains up north around Hale but around Taylor, the motel where we both stayed at, we encounted sprinkles instead.

We only did two FYE stores due to the mercy rule. I didn't think my GF would be that all up for hitting all of them. It's a shame that the Southfield FYE closed down but the Taylor FYE is still open. Unfortunly, the FYE stores had pushy help, who bothered me and Nicole and the Taylor FYE and Ann Arbor FYE stores had the same fucking songs played over and over. The problem with music stores is that they have music piped in and that nobody plays choice cds. But I did find a couple things at both stores so it was at least worth the effort to go there.

I got to finally meet Nicole's grandparents and Uncle Doug up in Hale. Hale is about two and half hours from Taylor. I counted something like 105 McDonalds stores on the way up there. Hale is out in the middle of nowhere, about 20 miles from Tawas City, located on Lake Huron. I would have loved to spend more time on Lake Huron but we were pressed for time. Nicole's Grandparents are in their 80s and are super kind and sweet. Grandma, like my mom tends to ask if we had enough food to eat and to take this and that on the way home. If you like to fish and hunt and go boating, Hale is the place to go but if you like to bargain hunt for music, you're out of luck. I guess if you really want to look for music its either Wally World or whatever Saginaw or Flint has to offer.

Ann Arbor, was the day that was chosen for the CD bargain hunt and getting there was a bitch. The GF hated driving into that town, she says that she never been there and have no intention of going back again ever. It is a college town and although I have seen my share of freaks at Madison or Iowa City, Ann Arbor has the most freaked out fools ever. Almost got into a fight with some cumsucker at the mall when he almost ran into me without saying anything and I called him a fucking idiot and threaten to throw my shoe at him. Inconsiderate cuntman. Downtown in the college part, had some ricesmoking fool making a circle around me and Nicole as we crossed the road and I gave him a look to suggest that he should quit smoking old shoe laces. We didn't go to PJ's Music due that they closed but I did make some time to stop at Wazoo's across the U of M and it was nice but it was Encore Records that made the trip all the worthwhile. It's been a long time since I've seen a record store stockpiled with so many albums and cds that 2 and half hours wasn't enough to really sort through it all. If Nicole would have left me there, went home and came back I'll still be there looking through all that music. If I had a heart attack and died on the spot there, it would be a nice place to spent the afterlife there. Encore basically blows all the stores away in terms of inventory. Worth going again if I return there.

The Michigan Trip was more about spending time with Nicole and her family and I think we accomplished that. Her mom and step dad were gracious and friendly and opened up the house so I could do some computer things and OD on Bejeweled. We played a bit of minature golf to which I won one game and Nicole won 3. Plus I got chewed up by about 5 mosquitoes in the process. We also ended up going to see 3 movies in two days at some place called Emagine. It had some nice seats. Got to see Marmaduke, Shrek 4, and The A Team which I'm sure Roger Ebert hated them all. I think I liked Marmaduke better than he did and The A Team had a empty headed plot but it was entertaining to say the very least. And Shrek 4, I liked better than 3 but it paled in comparsion with the first two. But I think Nicole liked them all.

The first four days I was saddled with either jetlag or a bad reaction taken the Waldram to combat motion sickness on the plane. The only place I came across from 35 years ago was a trip to Frankenmuth. I remembered the old Carling Brewery but on the return trip we didn't find it so maybe it was a thing of the past. But we stopped at the Frankenmuth Microbrewery and had some Chicken Parmasen instead. In Hale, we some great pizza from the Bear's Den. We went to the Lumberman's Monument and walked over 220 steps to get to the lake and had to endure a busload of kids who did the steps as a exercise. I didn't have much of a problem going up and down, but Nicole nixed the idea of doing that ever again. And plus what's a Michigan trip without having a bottle of Vernor's to drink? Even had a bottle of Faygo Cola when I got off the plane after arriving. Think I perfer Faygo myself.

Funny thing about vacations is that they're over in a hurry and this one was no exception. Again a big thank you to Nicole, her family, her relatives and everybody else for their hospitality. It was fun.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-FU BP

I didn't catch the MTV movie awards the other night, basically no reason to, but I heard a lotta echoing from those attending out there to give the finger to BP and their lackadasical attitute about stopping the oil flow since they been polluting the gulf with oil since April 20th. Ya think by now somebody would be smart enough to stop it now but guess not. So....all together now....FU BP. May you swim in your oil muck Tony Hayward you limey.

The top ten of the week songs are as follows.

1. On The Border-Al Stewart 1976 I bought the single years ago when it came out. Stewart became a household name with Year Of The Cat which still gets mucho airplay on classic rock radio but I always liked the followup even more. Came out on Janus Records but they were failing and Arista picked the record up soon after.

2. Diamond Mine-Blue Rodeo 1989 On the Crabb show last night for the second time I have introduced a song and gave the wrong band name once again. I cannot understand why I keep doing that, slip of the tongue maybe? Blue Mountain is a whole different band from a different part of the US and no way anything like Blue Rodeo but I started out "and now here's Blue Blue Rodeo...GD IT! I hate to find that I'm getting alzheimer's at so young of a age already. Nevertheless this is the title track from Blue Rodeo's 1989 album produced by Malcom Burn, who best known as Daniel Lanois' sidekick. Check out Bob Wiseman's mad keyboard work in the instrumental break.

3. Here For The Party-Gretchen Wilson 2004 I had a very tense exchange with some fans of a up and coming country star who when I saw her video said that this up and coming country star is moreorless another Penthouse Pinup making a softcore video. And of course they took exception to that. Basically the shelf life of a female country cutie is not much more than a gallon of milk, it spoils after a certain time. And it's not me to predict that this up and coming country star will be forgotten by next year, history has shown that. About six years ago, Gretchen Wilson came out of nowhere and got a number 1 hit with Redneck Woman which features Hank Jr and Kid Rock and she followed that up with this number. Six years later, her big record company rejected her latest album (to which she released on her own and it flopped sad to say since country radio has yet to play it) and to cut losses put out a Best Of. It does remind me of Wilson had some yee haw kicking singles that are still played on the radio today. Country radio today, like anything else lives for the moment and flavor of the day and a cutie is here today gone tomorrow. Wilson's latest is her best effort if you can find it. As for the up and coming country cutie that i talked about, she remains nameless but I can assure you you wont be missing much. She won't have a career that lasted as long as Gretchen Wilson's did.  Britney something, or Miranda Whoever (not Miranda Lambert but another one who recorded a digital single for Warner Brothers that got her video played twice on GAC at that time.

4. Fat Boy Rag-Asleep At The Wheel 1999 "AATW had been nominated for 5 GrammysTM for best instrumental of the year....As a lead singer I am proud of that." Ray Benson.

5. Journey To The Center Of Your Mind-Amboy Dukes 1968 Upon my trip to Michigan I remember that when I was up ther 35 years ago that where we stayed at, the guy lived next doors to a private spot of land owned by Ted Nugent and the consensous was that if you trespass, the Nuge would gun you down and eat you for dinner soon afterwards. It's bizarre to note that when I'm up there it will be 35 years to the week that I last seet foot in Michigan but we won't be nowhere near Nugent's property around Jackson anyway. The Amboy Dukes were one of Michigan's toughest rock and roll bands but I always liked the band when John Drake did the vocals and not OTT Rusty Day. Had this as a single once. Ted Nugent would go on to have some Epic classic albums of the late 70s and then OD on Rush Limbaugh.

6. Clinic Cynic-Widespread Panic 2010 Still jamming away and now having Jimmy Herring helps out bigtime. They also returned to John Keane producing and making their best album since Ain't Life Grand. Can't say that if its record of the year yet but it's in my top three.

7. Second Hand-Bachman Turner Overdrive 1974 Never a critics band, BTO knew a good riff or two and anything with Fred Turner doing those vocals gives it personality. But of course everybody back then had copies of Not Fragile or BTO2 with Taking Care Of Business. For the first time in over 25 years Randy Bachman and Fred Turner are putting out a brand new album and yes I do care enough to buy it since I'm a fan. BTO always brings back great memories, even though TCOB is been radio overkill.

8. Riot Radio-The Dead 60's 2005 Sure The Clash did it better but I always liked this UK band more enough to spin this a few times. However this CD was part of the infamous Sony/BMG copy protected scandal that gave computers major virsus when attempted to play. Copy Protected CDs eventually tanked CD sales and they never recovered. SONY BMG did replace my copy protected cd with a regular copy after I sent it in to complain. The Dead 60s made another album only availble in the UK and then broke up in 2007.

9. Chelsea Dagger-The Fratellis 2007 If you go to a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game chances are you have heard this when the Blackhawks score or win. I have no idea why they picked this one, the story behind the song sure don't have anything to do with hockey but I think the crowd just likes to shout that Doot doot doot doot dadooda doot chorus. I'm sure The Fratellis can't complain when they get royality checks for sure of that song. That is if they do get paid for the use of that song.

10. Tellin Stories-The Charlatans UK 1997 Keeping it UK, The Charlatans lost their well known keyboard player in a car crash and got Primal Scream's Martin Duffy to sub and they made their best sounding album at that time but once again their major label had no idea how to promote this and tried to alter their sound on the less satisfying Wonderland and Us And Us Only to which the lead singer tried that ugly falsetto that Mick Jagger would use for his Stones disco years albums. After leaving Universal, The Charlatans made a decent album for failing Sanctuary records Simpatico before boring us once again with You Crossed My Path. Sure they'll be forever known as band that gave us The Only One I Know, which includes a nice replica of Deep Purple's Hush organ but Tellin Stories remains the best album outside of best ofs that show the world what they could do. And it's still very good a decade and half later.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

On The Subject Of Aerosmith and other things.

I read somewhere that Joe Perry told the Guardian UK that Aerosmith doesn't see the need to write any new material and that they're content to rehash the classics when they go on tour. Seems to me that in the past five years, they were doin some sessions here and there and I guess the situation with Steve Lillywhite didn't pan out eh? Fact is that Joe Perry released more new albums that his regular job band. I mean we can't get enough of Walk This Way or I Don't Want To Miss A Thing since somewhere in the world somebody is playing a Aerosmith song. I'm in favor of making new music when you should, in fact I still like Done With Mirrors better than anything off Get A Grip or Nine Lives. Then again I also think that Aerosmith did better music when they were wacked out on drugs. Getting straight only led them to Jim Vallance or Desmond Child or Marti Fredicksen and though that got them back into the spotlight, those prissy ballads like Angel or Don't Want To Miss A Thing really knocked them down a few notches on the cool meter. Still I don't find myself going to a Aerosmith show, the tickets cost way too much but if I want to remember the good old days then I'll pull out Live Bootleg and relive my lost youth that way.

In my last top ten, I made the inquiry of whatever happened to Bob Wiseman, the multi talented keyboard player of Blue Rodeo and I'm guessing he must have googled and came across last weeks top ten and commented about that. I guess it shows how much the US looks upon it's friends north of the border but Wiseman is a lot better well known up there being busy with his solo career and scoring music for films. But it rekindled my interest in Blue Rodeo and his albums and I listened to all of them up to Lost Together, which may or may not be their best known record in the US. Always thought that the next album Five Days In July was their best selling down here but again what popularity Blue Rodeo had down here was killed by the revised Soundscan to which albums pop up in high positions and then tumble down, unlike the old ways an album had to climb the charts. To these ears Diamond Mine (1989) has grown more upon me than Lost Together, although both albums still are A minuses in my book. Outskirts being a debut and Casino their most pop. Blue Rodeo owes a lot to their canadian bros The Band but upon Diamond Mine that may have been Wiseman's album in the way he plays keyboard, going from Garth and Richard to Augie Meyers and Ray Manzerek and sounding like a madman John Cale on Fuse. Getting Glenn Ditchem from Andrew Cash's band on Lost Together turned out to be a big plus on Lost Together, he turned out to be their best drummer and still continues to play with Blue Rodeo to this day. And they are one of the biggest bands in canada although in the US, they will forever remain a cult band which is a shame. Jac Holzman though so much of them that he reissued their Atlantic albums for his shortlived Discovery label in the 90s. To which I discovered them through the pawnshop myself and bought most of their albums off and on in the early 00s. I donno if calling them Americana would serve a purpose, Canadicana perhaps a better term? Sometimes putting a top ten together doesn't get much interest but in the case of last weeks it did answer my question and I thank Bob for setting the record straight.

The weather here in June sucks. Because we get about 10 to 15 storms in this area and the average is 5.1 inches of rain, which I think is way too much. We seem to get these storms one after another at this time and this year is no exception. It has rained 4 of the 5 first days so far but thankfully it has been less than the last couple years. It also brings up bad memories of the 2008 year to which we had something like 15 inches of rain in a two week span thus causing the great flood of 2008 of 31.3 feet of angry Cedar River that went so far into Cedar Rapids it actually reached my old place of residence on the SW side about four feet. I am not a fan of rain, we get way too much and we get water in the basement and I cuss and scream over that. I need to tell the landlord here that perhaps getting a sunk pump might prevent that. I get nervous when we have a flood watch out or having stall fronts that park over this great state and we get a train of rain going over the same area over and over again. I think last night we dodged a bullet since most of the heavy rain stayed to the south and west of here and went into Missouri. I think the big thing is that most of the storms come from the northwest rather than the south. The 2008 storms, the majority came from the south and thanks to the evil Gulf Of Mexico we got soaked in more ways than one. But with me going to Michigan and spend time with my GF, I get worried that I might come back to a watered down basement and our landlord not watching the place. Which explains why I don't like going anywhere during the rainy season but I need a vacation from my GD job and the printers that continue to fail or break down. My co workers need a vacation from me. So hopefully the next week of being up in Frankenmuth or Hale or Ann Arbor will ease my worried and overblown mind and when I return back here will be a lot more peaceful and easier to get along with. Should be a lotta fun.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Michigan 35 years later.

Today is Jeanette Ratliff's birthday. She turned 45 today. I'm sure she doesn't go by her last name but it was 35 years ago this week that I made my first and only apperance up to Michigan with my mom and dad and one of Mom's friends and family.

1975. A very shitty year. Grandma Ambrose passed away in April and later in the year Grandpa Smith died too. I tried out for little league baseball but this Michigan trip pretty much render me useless when I got back to play baseball. If i didn't strike out, I walked, no in between. The only ball I hit out of the park was a foul ball straight back, and then stuck out on the next pitch. I was stroked to go up to Michigan and Illinois to visit Grandpa and to head out out of town and pitch up more beer cans to take home. That was the big thing, collecting beer cans. Found a shitload of Garten Brau at some Springfield beer store. Plenty of old Stag beer cans as well outside of Lincoln around the lake. Plenty of half filled PBR beer bottles to which being a brat I would throw the damn thing in the air and watch it shattered all over the road. In Palmyra found some old Stag Beer signs outside a bar that me and my brother took home.

We went up to Michigan, my mom's friend had relatives living around Jackson, which was a depressing place from what I remembered but fell head over heels with Jeanette to which we promised to be together forever. She was four years younger than myself and I remember we were running around the yard being brats when the skies opened up and it poured rain like no tomorrow. We kept in touch after that, she came down to Marion the next year, promised to be together forever yadda yadda yadda. We made a promise to stay true till I graduated from high school and then go up there and live happily ever after......

Unfortunly for the young, the attention span is very short and Jeanette never did respond to any letter that I wrote her and I came to find out that she ended up getting knocked up not once, twice but three times before she turned 18 and married the dude who did the nasty. It let me with a broken heart and a bit of anger that I ended up writing a song called All Over Now and gave it to Mom's friend to play for Jeanette at her reception. I guess they didn't like too well and that was the last time I ever made contact with Jeanette again. They divorced and she became born again and ended up being a grandma at 42 but by then it was all in the past.

I never thought that I would be making plans to return to Michigan once again. My GF lives up there and after having her come down here to see how things go when we first met in St Louis last year and then coming here for Christmas it was time for me to venture up there to meet her kinfolk. It's hard to break old habits like going to Arizona in summertime but I did promise my other half that I'd go up there first.

I'm sure there will be places that me and my GF will go outside of record stores. I'm certain we'll make it to Ann Arbor, or anyplace with a FYE. But this trip will not be of only music and cd stores, but rather to visit her kinfolk and visit her places of hanging out. I've never been to Hale but I've seen it on the last Uncle Kracker video that my GF loves to see. There's Frankenmuth, been there and at the old Carling Brewery although I'm sure it's something else now. I tried to talk to my Mom bout where the places we used to go but it brings back painful memories to her that is best left unsaid. But I do remember walking around Frankenmuth and walking around Jackson looking for beercans and going to a Woolworths to buy 45s but at that time I wasn't the serious record hunter. It's all a blur to me.

I'm not sure what to expect when I meet her relatives, I'm not that great around people that I don't know. But my GF will help me through the awkwardness. The way they talk about me up there you'd think the second coming is forthcoming. I don't look at it that way but what do I know? I never had a woman that really went all the way out of her way to impress me but she's a one of a kind.

So, there will be bargain hunts and the meet and greet and sightseeing and hope that the monsoon storms will stay the hell away for that week that I'm up there. I'm sure we'll have fun and perhaps I'll document it here so stay tuned.

It should be an historic event. After all it has been 35 years ago this week since I was up in Michigan.

Top Ten Of The Week-A Cup Of Mug

It's June, it's the beginning of the summer season which begins with a week with my other half in Michigan and ends in the desert in September. Many things are going on and once the calender turned to June we have been getting the fucking monsoon rains that pretty much flood things. Of course last night we had more than our share of rain once again, I'm guessing 1.6 inches of the wet shit and more promises of rain off and on up to getting the hell out of here. So do I build my ark now or later?

Some musical things of note: Now that Dio is dead does this mean Ozzy will return back to Black Sabbath once again? Been hearing it for the past 20 years and all we got was a live album and two songs of so so quality. We learn to never say never when it comes to Ozzy and the Sabs but we also learn not to hold our breath on these things.

Here something to wet your pants over: Desmond Child is writing with Alice Cooper for songs to be called Welcome To My Nighmare 2 with Bob Ezrin producing again. Note to Desmond, your no Wagner or Hunter. Hackwriters are in ample supply in the music industry and tend to make an album suck even more. Sure Desmond figured in the comeback of Aerosmith but he also made Aerosmith suck with a lot of his hack songs. Geez Alice, at least get Corey Taylor or even Bernie Tarpin to write this.

And speaking of which, Aerosmith is touring once again, which means you'll be paying $$$$ up the arse. However the Fenway Park Concert features J. Geils Band which would be worthy I think, that is if Peter Wolf is still singing with them.....

And now what's playing in the player this week here on Crabb Radio.

1. Green Green-New Christy Minstrels 1962 Half Priced Books had their annual 20 percent off sale this weekend and every day they had something that I overlooked when I went to pay them a visit. The 2 CD Definite NCM for 3 bucks? Does somebody actually take a look of what they get in? Or did they think they couldn't sell this for 10? Anywhichway, The Christy Minstrels was this big folk group that made a bunch of songs for Columbia that sold and most have made their way to the Goodwill bins of dated period pieces but they had a few noted members. Namely Barry McGuire, whose rough and tumble voice gave the NCM their charm. Of course this was their big number 1 hit in 62 and for folk classics Ramblin ranks up there with The Kingston Trio and Chad Mitchell Trio. Kids today have no idea this music exists since anything their parents (or grandparents) listen to sucks. I tell ya boys when I was growing up, we didn't use autotuner in our songs, we actually sang them the way we sang them. I think they call it having its own distinct sound.......

2. My Brave Face-Paul McCartney 1989 This earworm song has been stuck in my head ever since i played it on Saturday and I tell you it sucks having the same song stuck in my head playing over and over. This did get plenty of airplay in the late 80s and Elvis Costello co wrote this and a few others on Flowers In the Dirt. I like the song despite its earwormness but the rest of the album is crap. Back to the donation lane at Goodwill.

3. Fire-Robert Gordon 1978 The Pointer Sisters had a massive hit with this and it reinvented the Pointers from funky soulsters to mainstream pop thanks be to Richard Perry but the original was done by ex Tuff Darts Gordon with guitar work by Link Wray. Fact was Bruce Springsteen actually wrote the song for the Gordon and although it did a bit of airplay it came nowhere near the promised land charts like the Pointers' version. Gordon wasn't that original but he had a genuine love of 50s rock and roll and he did his best promoting this rediscovery of the oldies. Came out on Private Stock Records but the label went belly up but somehow RCA reissued his album when Gordon signed on. Reissued on a 2 on 1 CD from American Beat and found in the 3 dollar bins at HP Books.

4. Blue Days, Black Nights-Buddy Holly 1955 Kinda explains the weather here in Iowa in June eh? One of Buddy's early sides for Decca this is Buddy's rewrite of You're Right, I'm Left, She's Gone which was done by Elvis Presley for Sun. More rockabilly country than rock and roll but even back then Buddy had a eye for detail and a ear for sound. Off the Rev-Ola Gotta Roll Compliation of early Buddy Holly songs that was found in the bargain bins. Remember kids, I just have given you three reasons to scan the bargain bins of your local thrift store or if you still have them, record stores. Good music still can be found.

5. Outskirts-Blue Rodeo 1988 If anybody pays attention to music out there, you'll note that this band from Canada has been around making albums left and right for 25 plus years but this was the first time the US got to hear them. One of very many artists signed to Atlantic and even getting the producer from Rush to produce them (Terry Brown), Outskirts was an interesting album but didn't sell very well. Sounded like a cross between The Band if John Cale played mad keyboards instead of Richard Manuel or Garth Hudson. The oddball was Bob Wiseman who did all these piano interludes on their first three albums before he left and the band settled on becoming a more kinder and gentler Crazy Horse sound. And Blue Rodeo has made a new album this year although I have yet to hear it. And whatever happened to Bob Wiseman? The answer is got it from the man himself who appears in the comment section. PS: perhaps instead of saying oddball, call him a mad genius. Fact of the matter is I thought his contributions to Diamond Mine were the highlights myself. I always enjoy the oddball stuff myself.

6. In My World-The Moody Blues 1981 Credit TAD for reintroducing me to the pre Octave Moodies. I had Long Distance Voyager on vinyl years ago but traded it in after not being impressed with it at first. Perhaps I was turned off by the fade out and into the next song that was missing on Octave or Long Distance Voyager but after almost 30 years of not listening to it, I found a Cd at the pawnshop and gave it another go and found out that I did miss a few songs that were actually pretty good. I won't get into great details about Octave, I liked most of the first side, but the second side hasn't held up very well and Mike Pender may have been dead weight at that point, not that Pat Moraz is much better but his keyboard work did more to LDV than Pender did to Octave. Long Distance Voyager is the only Moody Blues album recorded at their own studio Thereshold and this record may have been their best selling album in years. Sold three times more than Octave ever did.

7. Teaser-Tommy Bolin 1975 The best known guitarist that ever came out of Sioux City Iowa, Bolin was part of the reformed James Gang and Deep Purple to which Purple fans never accepted him since he replaced Richie Blackmore for Come Taste The Band, an album that got malinged when it came out but time has treated that album much better nowadays. Unfortunly, Bolin OD'ed in 1976 which was a shame. He recorded two albums of note in the mid 70s, the uneven Teaser and the much better Private Eyes which they say almost got Bolin into his own spotlight till the drugs won out. For some reason Teaser has been out of print for years whereas Private Eyes remains in print. The guitar effects may be dated but Bolin was ahead of his time. His brother would redo this song for his own band DVC in 1981, which made a forgotten album for the Alfa label.

8. Heartbreaker-Led Zeppelin 1969 Heavy Metal Goodness. Forty years after the fact it still sounds very heavy.

9. You'll Always Have A Home-Eddie Taylor 1956 Taylor was the main guitar player in Jimmy Reed's Vee Jay years and while Reed is better known and had bigger hits, Taylor also recorded a few Chicago styled blues sides which got some airplay on the South Side. As far as I know the only compliation of Taylor's sides came from two labels, the pirate Charly label's Bad Boy and Muse's Street Talkin to which this track was taken from. I also think it's an alternative take since the Bad Boy's version sounds different. Kudos to Earl Phillips who plays drums and bashes cymbals along the way. Phillips also played on some of Howlin Wolf's mid 50s sides for Chess.

10. Mars, The Bringer Of War-Emerson, Lake & Powell 1986 And finally, from a vinyl copy that i found for a dollar this is Emerson and Lake without Carl Palmer but with Cozy Powell which makes a strange case sincero. Powell was more hard rock and metal than Palmer was and the ELPowell album got negative reviews but in actually it sounds more like ELP then ELP did on the waste of plastic Love Beach. Leave it to Keith Emerson to drum up this classical number and ELPize it and make it over the top at the end. Nevertheless, this didn't last too long, Powell would leave to join up Gary Moore and Emerson and Lake had a falling out. The next year Emerson would reunite with Palmer and Robert Berry in the Prog Pop 3 and made a flop album for Geffen. And then a couple years later everybody kissed and made up and Emerson Lake And Palmer returned for a couple of things for Victory. Carl Palmer as of this writing is back with Asia and promoting their latest Omega.