Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Crabbys-Best Places For Bargain Hunting

As a season veteran of the bargain hunts, I tend to overdo in the search for good music and obscure LPs from long ago not many people care about anymore. But as I get older and the choices to find a good cd are getting less and lesser around here, it's time for me to compile the places that I can find bargains.

In the case of Arizona music stores, there still remains a good plenty of choices although I didn't venture far from the tried and true. While Tempe's Hoodlum's Music got best of 2010 down there, I must have drove past that place a few times and not known about it. Nor Stinkweeds another Phoenix place of vibes and good cheer. There was a great record store on University but it closed up shop and so did Rockaway. But in the end, it came down to Zia's and FYE and both finished in a dead heat. They still got the inventory but FYE wins by a hair due to more cheaper bargains and a less pushy sales associates. I do miss the old days of Wherehouse Music though. For good vinyl albums it came down to Bookmans vs Zia's again with Bookmans winning that. Always amazes me what I find in the dollar bins at Bookmans but I do give Zia's points for their 50 cent albums to which I found a sealed copy of Oh How We Danced by Jim Capaldi and Pattern Disruptive by Dicky Betts Band. If you leave Phoenix and hit the smaller towns along the way, it's Hastings who seemed to be more cheaper on their cds than Zia's although I may have hit them at the right time with Sony Music Cds starting at 3.99 to 4.99. Completed my crappy 80s Bob Dylan period that way. Hastings may be despised from their pull out of Ames last year but the Arizona locations do bring a interesting find from time to time. Which means that if I'm in the neighborhood at Bullhead City or Kingman or Flagstaff I'll send the GF off to shop while I hang there for a couple hours. Due to the big snowfall of last winter Bookmans in Flagstaff was closed for repairs but should be opened soon just in time for another winter and snowfall to collapse that roof. Let's hope not.

Overall Ratings (4 way tie)
1. Zia's Records & CDs
2. FYE
3. Bookmans
4. Hastings Music

Now Madison, the closest place for CD paradise for me. It used to be that Cedar Rapids had no fewer than 10 good music stores for me to hang at but back in the 1990s. Relics is no more, neither is Rock n Bach and for that matter anyplace else. And Best Buy has cut their CD section in half once again. So, every four months I go up to the Mad City and spend a day seeing the bargains up there. Even if nothing else, they have two Half Priced Books stores up there so there's always a guarantee of finding something in the Clarence bins. They also have two Frugal Muse bookstores with a smaller selection of stuff but on a good day I can find one or two cds of note as well. Pre Played used to be the place to go but they also have cut their CD section more than half and what they do have isn't what it used to be. The alt presses continue to give St Vincent De Paul's the best place to find vinyl but I disagree, what I found wasn't much and there's hardly any parking around that place so Goodwill wins on better selection and more surprises. But then again Mad City Music Exchange remains the best in terms of cheap dollar vinyl. The Exclusive Company (say it with me) has actually begun to in corporate more space in their store for vinyl and the CD space is shrinking as well. As I get older I tend to pretty much park my car around Lake Monona and walk to State Street to go to the Exclusive Company if I spend a couple days up in Mad City. Some days it's worth the effort, most times it isn't. B Sides Records is also on State Street and they more specialty than used.

While I do remain loyal to Mad City Music Exchange and go there when I'm there, I think the best place to find the most recent music is Strictly Discs close by campus. On a given day you can find the new releases in the used bins since the guy does have promo copies out for people to listen to. There's also Sugar Shack on Atwood but must admit I have never been there, their hours closely resemble Mad City Music Exchange and there's not much parking over there. Used to be that the pawnshops up there had some surprises, the old Mister Money store would have used cds stockpiled up to the skies, which did warrant a bit of sorting through crappy old rap cds and old Marah Carey cds to find the hard to find. They closed up and moved across the beltline, and been pretty much a waste of time. However, in the old Circuit City building is a Pawnshop Superstore Pawn America, and they had the biggest collection of used cds, about four rows full and three times more than Best Buy ever did. Again you have to sort through a lotta crappy old rap and Garth Brooks limited edition stuff to find some decent stuff for three bucks and it can be worth it and worth the trip. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Madison and if I was about 30 years younger, would have moved up there to the UW and partied there and would have a collection of 20,000 cds!

1. Half Priced Books (2 locations)
2. Strictly Discs
3. Mad City Music Exchange
4. Frugal Muse (2 locations)
5. The Exclusive Company
6. Pre Played (3 locations)
7. Pawn America
8. Sugar Shack
9. B Sides Music

CR/Dubuque/Quad Cities/Iowa City

On the home front, the only thing we have for new music stores are the big box locations and all of the big box locations have cut their cd section in half the past year. Thank God for Half Priced Books who are celebrating their fifth anniversary at the old Pharmor location where the old Twixt Town Drive In used to be. With Cd Warehouse and CD's Plus closed for over a year, (the latter now where we get our 5 dollar pizza pizza from) HP Books remains hopping and every week seems to have a lot in the dollar bins. Yes I'm biased, it's my second home and I seem to find more oddities at that store then even at the Madison location. HP Books knew where their target audience lived and took advantage of it. The other decent place for cds is Siegal's Jewelry and Pawn to which former Relics head and good friend Bruce Stanley works. And the only person that can tolerate me for more than three minutes. Mister Money Pawn had pretty good selection about 10 years ago but nowadays they have a skeleton section and they're crap anyway. If you want the latest, best place to go is either Moondog Records in Dubuque, Record Collector or Real! Records in Iowa City. Best place for vinyl records is the misleading cds4Change store on Asbury in Dubuque, famous for their dollar albums. Waterloo is SOL for tunes. CDs Plus and maybe the Record Station in Cedar Falls/Independence but never had much luck going there and they're pricey. Quad Cities, has Co Op, the better one is across the river in Moline, likewise the FYE in the mall at Moline. For thrift stores the Goodwills in CR remains the best although the Davenport Salvation Army does take me back in time when I search their vinyl. The St Vincent De Paul in Waterloo is better than the one in Madison but again, the record store scene in Waterloo is nonexistent. As for Des Moines, the less said the better, ZZZZZ Music and FYE in the Mall. Ames lost their Hastings store so going there is only a road trip wasting gas.

CR/IC/QC/DQ Stores
1. Half Priced Books (Marion)
2. Segal's Pawnshop (CR)
3. Moondog Music (DBQ)
4. CDs4Change (DBQ)
5. Record Collector (IC)
6. Real! Records (IC)
7. Co-Op Records (Moline/Davenport)
8. St. Vincent De Paul (Waterloo)
9. Salvation Army (Brady Street-Davenport)
10. Borders (DBQ)

Thrift Stores-Always a hit and miss, you never know what your going to find but Goodwill is that way. I've been known to find a few interesting things at the Independence location but most of the cool stuff is found in our backyard at the Marion and NE Cedar Rapids area. The SW CR store always seems to get picked clean. It's lesser in the other areas. Which means there are lots of bargain hunters in that neck of the woods. Stuff Etc. is another good place to find things although I don't go there as much as I used to. I do have better luck going to the college towns of Madison and Iowa City/Coralville. Which means if i don't listen to certain cds anymore I usually will donate them to a college town. Better way of getting rid of it and not coming across it up here.

For the big box stores. The bare essentials. Everybody hates Wal Mart but they do have 5 dollar cds and they do sell some a dollar less than Best Buy. Borders, Barnes & Noble are overpriced but have been known to carry essentials in the 7.99 bins. For me, Wally World is on the way home and I do scour that every chance I get but I think in the future as they keep shrinking the cd section that online ordering is the wave of my future. Saves wear and tear on the car.

Big Box Stores (who cares?)
1. Wally World
2. Target
3. Borders
4. Barnes & Noble
5. Best Buy
6. K Mart (do they even sell them anymore?-judging by their selection not really)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Blanda Blackmore Blues

Coming across some research about Ritchie Blackmore I came across the old clip submitted on You Tube of his 1974 cleaning house concert at Cal Jam as Mr. Blackmore went through about five guitars and a few other oddities to throw into the crowd on the 54 minute (edit for time) Space Truckin'. What I think is the highlight is not Ritchie's Bitch complex and meltdown but rather Glenn Hughes and Ian Paice keeping the space trucking beat going. I remembered seeing this on a In Concert series on ABC back around late 74. As much as people like his guitar playing, meeting him in person was a different story. Great guitarist, arrogant prick is the consensus. See Ritchie take his frustrations out on a innocent cameraman.

See the crowd run away from flying monitors and crappy amplifiers that quit working. See Ritchie trying to get those Marshalls working with a out of tune guitar and see him smash it up and get another. And smash that up. See Blackmore play guitar with his foot. It wasn't too much of a surprise to see Blackmore finally leave Deep Purple soon afterward to form Rainbow, and reform Deep Purple with the legendary lineup of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. And see him leave not once but twice. To which the band finally get some stability when Steve Morse replaced him and still plays with them from time to time. In the meanwhile there's Blackmore's Night. And the only person that can put up with him, his wife Candace Night. Haven't heard any of that stuff and not high on the priority list either.

But then again I suppose that I too be pissed off if I had to play a 54 minute of Space Trucking too.

George Blanda passed away Monday, he was 83 years old. He played 26 seasons but his best years were in the AFL with the Houston Oilers and later Oakland Raiders. Forever known as leading the Raiders to five straight victories or ties in the final minute, Blanda made it fun to root for the Raiders. He retired in 1976. If you ever wanted to know more about the grand old man, try to find Wells Trombley's Blanda, one of the best autobiographies ever written.

And now, a collection of songs of the week. Here's hoping I can get the titles and albums right this time.

1. Love Is Ending-The Charlatans 2010 We might as well forgo the UK since they have been around for twenty years whereas The Charlatans USA have been dormant for about the last40. You Crossed My Path was a disappointment but this album starts out nice and loud and has that trippy vibe that we love from this band. Produced by Martin Glover aka Youth from Killing Joke, the new album called Who We Touch. Their best since Tellin Stories.

2. Bombay Calling-It's A Beautiful Day 1970 Time has pretty much forgotten this band although I'm sure the odious bastard Matthew Katz had a lot to do with this too. Katz also killed Moby Grape as well and you can get crappy remastered of Moby Grape's classic albums via San Francisco Sound CDs although for a time Sundazed reissued the albums for about three weeks before Katz threatened his 100 lawsuits to stop that. Sony Music in the UK issued a couple of IABD albums on a single cd and I came across one. This song would later appeared as the beginning of Deep Purple's Child In Time a few months later.

3. Cold Gin-KI$$ 1974 Gotta put the dollar signs in becuz Gene $immon$ loves those dollar signs. Written by Ace Frehley but Gene sings instead since Ace didn't feel comfortable to sing it.

4. Are You Ready For The Country-Waylon Jennings 1976 Neil Young wrote it but Waylon had it top the country charts in 1976. For a country song it sure rocks.

5. Coffee And Cigarettes-Jimmy Eat World 2010 One of the earliest Emo bands that have outlasted most of the competition JEW returns with a brand new album and for the most part it is pretty good although track 8 and 9 are two turds in a row but I'm still listening to the rest of the album and still withholding judgement till I hear it all.

6. Mystic Eyes-Them 1965 Pure evil garage rock from Van Morrison and the boys. Kinda reminds me of driving down a dead end street at 100 miles an hour without any brakes. Morrison sounds like there's hellhounds on his trail and that two note organ at the end of song sounds menacing.

7. Homesick-Train 1998 Hey Soul Sister is the Broken Wings of this decade. And one of the reasons why I'm beginning to hate Pat Monahan. First of all Johnny Colt, the last rock and roller in Train leaves and second they give us Save Us San Francisco, an album so bankrupt for ideas that they recycle The Doobie Brothers' Black Water. Which leaves us with Hey Soul Sister, which is now embalmed all across soft rock radio station around the US. And not only that it's in a fucking commercial. Save Us SF is a piece of crap album, so I take you back to their first album, when they were starting out and making somewhat decent jam band music. But then again you don't need to pay full price, just hang at the pawnshop and they'll have a few copies at a dollar apiece.

8. You Don't Treat Me No Good-Sonia Dada 1992. To which Jerrod Neimann covered and got a top ten country hit this summer and I knew I heard this song before and knew Sonia Dada did it but couldn't find it till I stumbled across it while trying to get the playlist going for the R.Smith Sunday Night Show. Their version doesn't vary much from Neimann's, theirs is about a minute longer. Haven't heard much from Sonia Dada since Test Pattern came out a few years ago. Such a shame, they were a band that I followed once I discovered them. Beaker Street has been known to play a song or two from time to time.

9. Video Inspiration-Axe 1982 One of those many bands of the early 80's that popped up briefly then disappeared soon after. Not sure if this was the hit or the B side Now Or Never but I tended to play this one more than Now Or Never. Before signing with Atco, they made a couple blotched efforts for MCA/Curb (a failed version of the Four Tops I Can't Help Myself comes to mind) but the Offering did give him a FM hit with Rock And Roll Party In The Streets. Fun stuff.

10. Take A Little Walk With Me-Eric Clapton 2010 Was it worth paying an extra five bucks getting the Barnes & Noble bonus track? You tell me. His new album is his best in years and it seems that revisiting Cream, JJ Cale and Stevie Winwood did rejuvenate EC on this album. Of course we get the usual Sheryl Crow grandstanding appearance (ain't there nothing she won't do?) and some guest stars but overall, as EC gets a year closer to the golden years, he sounds as laid back and comfortable in his surroundings. It may not get you to go to B & N for the bonus track but Best Buy does have it on sale for 10 bucks (till 10/2/10).

Blackmore did comment about the Cal Jam episode in this old interview. Take a look.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Trying to play catch up

Got too far behind on my record reviews so here I'm going to incorporate them into what I have been listening to this week.

1. Trainwrecks-Weezer 2010 My interest in Weezer comes and goes but I had to get this album simply of the fact that they named it after Jorge Garcia's character in Lost. Rivers Cromo vocals still tend to grate on my nerves but musically this is just as good as the last Weezer album and maybe better.

2. Rock Bottom-Dickey Betts Band 1988 Little did anybody know that when Mr. Betts would sign with Epic for a solo deal that he would indirectly would figure into the reunited Allman Brothers Band and later Gov't Mule. First time I came across the musical talents of an up and coming talent named Warren Haynes. And the future of southern rock would get brighter once again.

3. Double Trouble-Lynyrd Skynyrd 1976 RIP Leonard Skinner, the by the book gym teacher who would banish Ronnie Van Zant and couple others to the Principal Office for having long hair and in the process became the unwilling participant of a certain band that would become mighty big.

4. One More Rainy Day-Deep Purple 1968

. I was searching about the whatever happened to the original lead vocalist Rod Evans and unfortunately he's one of the biggest causalities of rock and roll. Which is why I don't like Richie Blackmore all that much. Dude is a great guitar player but his ego goes way out in the universe and was the mastermind of getting rid of Evans and Nick Simpler. But it bought brighter days when Ian Gillan and Roger Glover came onboard and Evans went on to Captain Beyond for two albums and retirement before getting conned by evil businessmen to reform a bogus Deep Purple. The DP1980 band played to hostile crowds and bad reviews before the DP dudes led by Richie Blackmore and Bruce Payne sued successfully and Evans ended up sacrificing his royalties from the first 3 DP albums and disappeared altogether. It's a shame really, Evans was a pretty good vocalist and the first Captain Beyond was the hardest rocking album then the first 3 DP albums. But then again Blackmore never got along with Gillan or David Coverdale either and his ego finally showed him out the door and DP replaced him with Steve Morse. Blackmore now hangs with his wife in Blackmore's Night, probably the only person that can put up with him in any band. I heard a Blackmore's Night album and once was enough for me.

5. Mr. Universe-Episode Six 1969 While Deep Purple was going on, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover was in this vocal band called Episode Six, which sounded a bit like the Moody Blues but they also covered The Tokens and even The Lettermen. Supposedly their biggest seller was Love Hate Revenge (reissued in the states on Elektra). Gillan was a great vocalist that could cover anything but this is the only song that would suggest the sound that would be featured on future Deep Purple albums after Blackmore and company booted the original vocalist out the band. Gillan would later redo this song for his own band Gillan after Deep Purple took one of many sabbaticals off.

6. Whistle Bait-Lorrie and Larry Collins 1958 I'm surprised Sony Music still has this compilation CD in print. Larry I think was 12 years old when he did this rave up rock number back in the late 50's and it's hard to believe that the late Mitch Miller even put this out on Columbia Records knowing him. Before puberty Larry sounded a bit like Brenda Lee. But he outgrew that in time.

7. Ladies Of The Road-King Crimson 1972 This short lived lineup featured Mel Collins on Sax and Flute, the late Ian Wallace played drums and the late Boz Burrell sang and played bass. The album Islands was a snoozer and this track was the closest thing Robert Fripp ever got to play boogie blues based rock but of course having Collins doing Ornette Coleman free jazz sax turned it back into prog rock. After this album Fripp sacked everybody and started over but before then, turned out a hard to find live album called Earthbound. The only time they ever sounded blues boogie.

8. Sitting At The Wheel-Moody Blues 1983 The Present is where most Moody Blues fans got off the bus and a whole new generation got on board for their trip to MOR land with The Other Side Of Life. I wouldn't have cared but two people told me this album was pretty good, my good TAD who sometimes pays a visit and comments and the other Mark Prindle whose now spending more time in the karaoke bars and taking self portraits of himself at Facebook. My first impression of The Present was boring back in 83 and it really hasn't changed all that much nowadays except when I put on their failed hit single. Long Distance Voyager remains the better of the two or three if you include the half and half Octave. Side one of that album is great whereas the second side sucks.

9. Shot Of Love-Robert Randolph & The Family Band 2010 Interesting cover of the Bob Dylan number by Randolph whose new album is one of the ten best of this year. And of course it was produced by John Henry T Bone Burnett. BTW I didn't buy the new Robert Plant Band Of Joy album. Not because it's bad, it's very good, I didn't buy it due the crappy digipak it came with. If the import is in a jewel case or if I can find the vinyl album then I'll buy it, till then, I'm drawing the line on digipaks. Just don't like them.

10. Jesus Is A Soul Man-Lawrence Reynolds 1969 And finally a one hit wonder from a country artist that managed to hit top forty and the gospel charts with this tune. He sounded a cross between Joe South and George Hamilton IV but the followup bombed and Reynolds disappeared from the charts, just like Rod Evans in 1980. But it's always interesting to find these lost albums to hear what we missed, and then redonate them back to the Goodwill. A passing interest.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Big Bad Crabby

Does it ever end? The Crabb Top Ten? Nope, still going strong with a collection of the new, the familiar and the obscure.

1. Back Stabbers/992 Arguments-The O'Jays 1972 Dedicated to Bill at work. Self explanatory. Funny how I'm yelled at when I don't do nothing at work but when I do I get yelled at. Case in point on Monday, boss told me to get a job out and I chose a printer. Bill came over and asked why I was using that, I told him it was already set up and convenient for me. Bill goes over to cry on a co worker's shoulder that I took his A printer away. Let's get one thing straight-it don't mean fuck if I use that printer or the B printer or the FU printer, it's called work Bill, and I'm surprised that you managed to do any work today. I would have been happy to do it, but you strolled on by and did it yourself. Nice to know you can earn your 20 bucks an hour pay without web surfing all night. Love ya Bill but ever since you had your son you been a pain in the ass for the rest of us. Grow up before your son beats you to it. And if there's a problem, quit going to a third party, that's how you get into deep weeds.

2. I'm So Bad Baby I Don't Care-Motorhead 1991 Must be my theme song at work. Can't win, can't lose for shit anyway. May as well let Lemmy explain it to the rest of the world eh?

3. Sweetest Lie-Goo Goo Dolls 2010 I'm sorry, I loved them growing up in the early 90s, Superstar Car Wash, Boy Named Goo even Hold Me Up were fun Replacements type of punk rock, then they struck gold with Dizzy Up The Girl and since then have gone further and further down the list. Their last album had nothing for me to recommend and their new album is a tad bit better although the old Goos are gone forever but they have shown a bit of their punk past with the lead off track off Something For The Rest Of Us and wished that they could have added a few more songs like this, then the Iris rewrites for hits that will not come. Even the teenage girls who dig Iris have moved on to reality guys.

4. Older Brother-Bob Wiseman 1989 Actually found this album at the FYE in Arizona Mills in the dollar section so thought I checked it out and this is probably the only song that reminds one of Blue Rodeo. Of course Atlantic didn't have a clue on how to promote this so they used it as a tax write off. The album is interesting and eccentric. Probably too eccentric for most tastes.

5. Harps & Angels-Randy Newman 2008 Lot of people don't consider Newman rock and roll and when you mention Randy Newman you get reaction of Short People. I think this song speaks volumes for all of us if you listen to the words. Got some airplay on public radio when it came out.

6. Dixie Lee Junction-Elf 1972 Before Ronnie James Dio started playing Wizards and Demons, he was actually doing southern rock and boogie with Elf. In fact most of this album sounds like it's southern rock to which Rodney Mills recorded their first album but the Deep Purple rhythm section of Ian Paice and Roger Glover produced this. At this time Ronnie was actually the bass player. Useless trivia I know but I thought it was worth pointing out.

7. You're Gonna Get What's Coming-Robert Palmer 1978 Hard to figure Robert Palmer out sometimes. He could be crooner or a soul belter or do boogie rock and roll or techno. At this point he had a top fifty hit with Every Kinda People (written by ex-Free member Andy Fraser) but I found this album closer to be more to my liking. Of course the next year he would hit top 2 with the delightful but overplayed Bad Case Of Loving You (written by Moon Martin who had a top fifty hit Rolene) but that's for another time and another top ten.

8. Emily-Los Lobos 1990 From the overlooked The Neighborhood, I had to go find a copy of this to see what I missed since I used to have this. Has I Can't Understand, a song that was may have been the last number written by Willie Dixon before he passed away. Another track Angel Dance is the latest single from Robert Plant's new album Band Of Joy, a album that's on my want list but knowing it's probably in a digipack. Which may be eco friendly but not when your trying to drive down the road and trying to get it out of the damn thing to put in the player.

9. Roll Over Beethoven-Electric Light Orchestra 1973 Dedicated to TAD who popped up once again, and yes I been listening to a lot more ELO lately. After all found a few of their albums when Hastings had them on sale for 3.99 when I was out in Arizona. The album has a bonus track of Roll Over Beethoven Take One which showcased Jeff Lynne's sense of humor. The thing that ever happened to Ludwig Beethoven come to think of it.

10. For Earth Below-Robin Trower 1975 I do miss Deep Cuts off XM satellite radio since they would dive deep into the classic rock era and play the forgotten faves of the past. Shows there's more to Robin Trower than just Bridge Of Sighs but then again classic rock radio of FM don't play much Trower even off that album. I think I bought this album in the cutouts in high school and later the cd. Still have both.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

observations from the forefront -lou reed vs susan boyle

Some assorted thoughts.

The weather today was like that 9 years ago when extreme Islamic jerks coming out of Saudi Arabia, led by some bearded freak named Bin Laden took down The World Trade Center and rammed into the Pentagon and killed innocent lives. Another plane was smashed in a field thanks to passengers who didn't want to die in the way that the extremists wanted to do. If there's a hell may it be for Mohamed Atta and his cronies. Those events have forever changed the perception of the world and of course the US. I have a dislike for Dubya Bush and his Nazi loving VP and I think they both dropped the ball on a change for the world to come together and denounce what Bin Laden's butt buddies did. One can only hope that for Mohamed Atta Mr. Infidel Asswipe's 72 virgins all look like Dick Cheney as they shove watermelons up Atta's pussy. It's funny, when I think about the events of 9/11 and what Atta did to the world it does reopen old wounds. But we remember the fallen and the ones who tried to help them as the second plane rammed into the buildings. But it seems like where we all should have come together, we all split further apart....

Okay since we got that political thought out of the way....

on reissues of albums.

Enough of the reissues of classic albums or 20th anniversaries or collector's editions of classic albums. The world really doesn't need 3 Doors Down The Better Life or Sheryl Crow Tuesday Night Music Club. It defeats the original purpose of the album and the original songs and basically from what I heard the bonus cuts were left off for good reason. Wire's 154 in original format was a classic in itself but the bonus cuts added nothing. All this is, is the major labels trying to ring more money out of back catalog since they are not interested of trying to promote new bands out there. Usually it's all about the single and the album is nothing more than the 2 singles and oodles of filler to make you buy the crappy thing and then sell it after hearing it. But that's the way it is nowadays, the major labels do not care for the new music, it don't sell but adding a new cut or two or an old live performance around the time of Empire might score some sales.

On Lou Reed vs Susan Boyle

I suppose it's great to hear the old man sticking up to his principals and refuse to let Susan Boyle cover Perfect Day. Not that I expected Lou Reed to jump out there and join Boyle on America's Got Talent (or Britain's Got Talent) but you have to give her kudos for liking Lou Reed's song. It's not easy getting the old grouch to join in (although The Smithereens pulled that out as Lou appeared on two numbers on the 1994 Date With The Smithereens) but the guy is 70 years old and really doesn't need to jump out of the couch to sing along or appear in Glee. Fact remains that Susan Boyle is not a looker who managed to sing her way to a recording contract. But I think she went about it the wrong way, she should have gotten Sheryl Crow to appear on a version of First Cut Is The Deepest. After all Sheryl Crow will do anything to appear on anybody's album it seems. (see Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton, etc etc)

Final thoughts on AZ trip.

I didn't see any dead or beheaded bodies out in the desert while driving around the state. I don't think much of Jan Brewer, she looks like she had about 5 too many face-lifts but I'm sure she'll get reelected since most of Arizona is conservative. So be it. As long as I remain alive there's always a chance I'll return to the desert next year but this trip was the last time I'd invade all of the music stores to find cds. When you get hounded by some tattooed freak asking if your okay about five times doesn't make you want to return but then again I suppose that was the intention since I was probably the oldest person to be there at 9:30 at night. If Vegas comes up next year, I'll frequent the Hastings if I'm there or go visit the FYE next to Fiesta Mall but it won't be high on the list the things to do. And besides, the best place for bargains have been HP books (in many locations around the country). They leave me alone there.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Headphone Classics

While in Arizona I was subjected to plenty of different types of music thanks to XM radio and I hardly played any CDs this time out. But that didn't stop me from getting a few things and then coming back just in time for Half Priced Books 20 percent off sale and finding a couple more things and some books and of course, Dan Fogelberg Phoenix.

Coming soon, an appearance on Hoarders.

Thanks to Brooksie for sitting in. But she has informed me that she's retiring from blogging on her website at My Space. We'll miss her insightful reviews of bands that even I don't know about. She was a part of the Friday Night chats at and later Multiply com at The Roost but as you know life happens and she's off to do her thing. Thanks Donna.

1. 10358 Overture-Electric Light Orchestra 1971 Mike Edwards, who played cello but didn't join the band till after the release of No Answer died Friday afternoon while driving and and getting hit by a runaway bale of hay which has to be the strangest way to die that I have heard. The first album No Answer was the only one to feature Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. A strange concept of classical instruments set to rock music but I think it's more classical progressive than progressive rock and roll. Wood would leave to form Wizzard and Jeff Lynne picked up the pieces and would continue the classical rock mode for a couple more albums before scoring a top ten hit with Can't Get It Out Of My Head in 1975.

2. Radio Activity-Kraftwerk 1975 The only band I know that started out using a Gieger Counter for actual instruments. Some say they are more accessible than Neu! but on this song and album they do go into the valley of weird. And sometimes, weird can be good.

3. If I Had More Time-The Godfathers 1988 Why these guys never caught on in the US is beyond me but I enjoyed all of their 3 albums made for Epic. Perhaps they were too much rock guitar driven since most people were into hair metal or prissy keyboard bands, or Tiffany.

4. Head Over Heels-The Yo Yo's 2000 Another band that played Motors type of pub rock and had their album put out on the Sub Pop label at the turn of the century. It was in the dollar section of some Seattle music store that I can't think of the name of while visiting Seattle that year. Interesting to note that when I was in Seattle in 2001 that the whole 5 days I was there it was nice and sunny. No rain whatsoever.

5. Going Back To Birmingham-10 Years After 1974 From the crappy Positive Vibrations album to which I found a copy on Chrysalis instead of the usual Columbia label. Alvin Lee: great guitar player but an average songwriter at best. TYA would break up and then come back 14 years later with the subpar About Time, then Lee would go solo and the rest of the guys replaced him and made three albums the last decade. But I have yet to hear them.

6. When I Touch You-Spirit 1971 For a band that was highly great they only caught my attention on the classic 12 Dreams Of Dr. Sardonious by then they have broken up and the late David Briggs put it all together. Starts out with the John Locke Space Child and then mutates into When I Touch You which rocks with that freaky middle 8 when Randy California lets loose with lotsa screaming. Got this on Mobile Fidelity as one of those original master recordings they were famous for. Then Sony Music reissued it with bonus tracks and a 5.98 list price.

7. Justice-Molly Hatchet 2010 I really should give up reviewing these guys. Their last album Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge was an absolute piece of shit and I shouldn't give Justice a second chance but I heard a decent review and found a used copy so WTF. Actually Justice improves twofold, Dave Hlubek is heard more on this and there is a bit more southern rock than the plastic hair metal guitar overdrive of Bobby Ingram. Phil McCormick will never replace Danny Joe Brown but sometimes he does a nice vocal intimation of D J Brown. But still, Justice could have used better production and a better sound, like Warriors, the recording is shitty but the title track remains one of their better numbers. In fact, you have to go back to Devil's Canyon for their last good album, which was the last album DJ Brown figured in and Phil took over after DJ Brown got too ill to continue. Or so what Bobby Ingram says.

8. First I Look At The Purse-J. Geils Band 1973 Live Full House is classic live Geils and Peter Wolf kicked major ass when he led this band in the early 70s. Sure they make their royalty checks count when they scored big with Centerfold and Freeze Frame but I prefer them in their R and B and rock and roll mode than that 80's production. Don't get me wrong I do like Centerfold but since FM radio plays it everyday I don't see the need to hear it at home anymore. And so it goes.

9. A Saucer Full Of Secrets-Pink Floyd 1969 Deep Tracks, that wonderful XM satellite station that I spent most of the time listening while driving on Arizona played this track but they played the version off Ummagumma then the second album. I tend to think that Pink Floyd pioneered space rock with the live side of Ummagumma. On a side note: Hawkwind, a band that was influenced by ummagumma has a new album out. Heard it rocked.

10. Explosion-Eli "Paperboy" Reed 2010 Finally a light of logic. While kids today are too busy getting into auto tuned rap and Glee like singalongs and more autotuner this dude goes for a R and B vibe aka Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. I understand this guy is more blues based and I haven't heard his early albums but thought I take a chance with his Capitol debut. This guy might be the second coming of Roy Head as he hoots and holler over a smoking James Brown groove from his band. Heard this playing over the speakers at Hastings in Flagstaff last week, sandwiched between the new Godawful Katy Perry album and the Glee covered Dream On. I'd love to see Reed make it but since he's on a dead label (EMI) chances are you won't be hearing this on the radio. And that's a shame. This is God honest soul music done right by a white guy that can bring it. Check it out gang.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Arizona Trip

Sunday night, I hooked up with Dennis Lancaster for the first time in over a decade. Couldn't get together with him last year due to him being a pilot but now that he got furloughed out the past year and half he has returned back to air conditioning repair. We managed to grab a drink in downtown Tempe and although The Library was closed we went upstairs to Hooters for more drinks. Had a frosty drink at some bar and ended up getting a hell of a buzz so was trying to sober up. Can't drink the way I used to. Dennis is a couple years younger but still remains fairly good looking, hard to figure since he hadn't had a girlfriend in a while. The one thing about Hooters, while looking at the waitresses and telling him that when we first moved down here back in 86 they were not even born yet. The dilemma of middle age guys, the chicks are so young they could be our children. Dennis was thinking about rejoining a dating site. Told him good luck with that, avoid the too much work related E Harmony but he said he'll return to Match dot com.

Monday, hung around Tempe and checking out the blown out Tempe rubber dam that broke and they lost Tempe Town Lake. And then went to see what the folks at FYE and Zia's Records had for stuff. Found a few things but got pretty much put off by the pushy clerks always coming around at 10 minute intervals if I was all right or Okay? Just wanted to tell them I got 10,000 cd's at home I think I know what I'm looking for, you probably don't have anyway.

Tuesday: moved up the I-17 road up to Flagstaff. First time I have been up there and the skies were clear blue and not a cloud in the skies. 84 degrees, nice. The Hastings has returned back to its usual place but Bookman's was closed due to too much snow on the roof and it collapsed back in January. Flagstaff is a small town but with Phoenix like traffic, which meant the traffic sucked. So moved on down Interstate 40 to the old Route 66 turnoff at Crookton Road and spent an hour at my favorite spot Crookton Pass Bridge. It's such a beautiful place to be but the ADOT have paved up the lane to park the car. But I did park off the road and not too many cars past by that way anyway. Then drove down to Seligman to pay a visit to Angel's Barber Shop and Souvenir Shop and chatted with Angel's daughter for a few minutes and bought a shirt for me and one for my girlfriend. Then drove all the way to Kingman and trying to avoid some dumbass hitchhiker trying to hitch a ride who stared me down after passing him. Pretty much told him it's a great night to walk anyway and then spent the night at Kingman and got dinner at Cracker Barrel which did have chicken and dumplings.

Wednesday: Spent the morning in Kingman walking downtown and checking out trains going through town, then hit the road to Bullhead City/Laughlin for the afternoon. And stopping at Hastings store number three but didn't buy anything but decided to drive across the border to Laughlin, the mini Vegas for about an hour and half. Laughlin was the place that Mingles Singles Party of 2005 was held at. I remember the good times of meeting Lenee and Paly and Becky Robinson. I think it was the last time the original Mingles gang met anywhere. I remember Challace talking all the way down there from Vegas and also Becky yelling at Reload for getting drunk and causing a scene on the riverboat. It was an interesting time...... Then got into the car and head down to Needles to check out the gas prices (3.89 a gallon!). Needles is such a depressing place, not much happens in there, too much gang activity and I see a lot of transients walking about in the 109 degree heat. So got back on the road to head to Lake Havasu City to spend the night and take a night walk on London Bridge

Thursday: I think I drove about 300 miles that day leaving Lake Havasu City to Parker to Phoenix and onward to Tucson. Found the old Parker Drive In movie screen still up and still in tatters so took pictures of that and drove down AZ 72 to US 60 and ended up getting stuck in rush hour traffic on 60. Too much road construction and too many red lights. But kept driving through Phoenix to Tucson to spend the night and having mexican at my favorite place El Molinito Then stopped at Zia's to deal with more pushy clerks and watching the freaks come out. Finding nothing, I went back to The Red Roof Inn to spend the night and got a nice front view of passing trains going through town.

Friday: Spent the morning at Old Tucson Studios and hung out and took some self portraits to which I hope I can post later. Then met up with Barbara at the Foothills Mall to chat for about an hour and half. Then returned to El Molinito for another helping of the sampler plate and head back up to Tempe. For the first time I ended up getting into a damn monsoon storm that damn near flooded the road and ended up seeing three accidents on the road, the worst being some white SUV in a ravine the front just about seared off from driving too fast. I avoided the I-10 by going down the frontage road and then to AZ 87 into Coolridge and the back way into Chandler.

Saturday: the final day saw me going to Arizona Mills Mall and dealing with lots of people there. There's a reason why I don't go to malls on the weekends. Way too many people. The Virgin Megastore no longer exists, it's replaced by an FYE store to which I was tortured by Katy Perry's latest album and a few other boy band autotuned crap. Then finished up my farewell to the cd stores with visits to the other FYE in Chandler and the Zia's off Chandler Blvd and then off to Bookmans to close that down.

The biggest thing I noticed out there was so many beggers coming up to you asking for change. Couldn't avoid them whatever place I went to. Even had some fatassed ugly chick outside the Phoenix Bookmans wanting bus fare money. Told her great chance for her to lose a bit of that weight by walking. The spare changers were out in full force. Had some black dude forcing his cup into my face asking if i had any spare change. Glared at him and shook my head and said nope, I used it all by getting this 79 cent drink at Circle K.

For gas prices Tucson was the cheapest at 2.45 a gallon, Mesa averaged 2.65. The desert towns along Route 66 had them at 3.19 a gallon, Flagstaff had one for 2.75 off the main drag to which they were around 3 bucks a gallon. 2.65 in Bullhead City and Kingman and Needles' 3.89 was the highest. For the most part I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, I didn't verture down to the border towns and seeing bodies out in the deserts or beheaded bodies. While the left wingers complained about the SB 1070 Immigration Bill and screaming racial profiling, it was life as usual. In other words, The Arizona Trip was uneventful. Just the way I liked it.

For sunday I didn't get much sleep, packing away and driving down a quiet Superstition Freeway to the airport in Mesa. The rent a car had XM Satellite Radio, the first time I have had a rental car with satellite music and it's a lot better than FM. Too damn bad that FM radio isn't this diverse. My favorite station was Deep Tracks to which we got to hear lots of lost classics from Rory Gallagher, Wishbone Ash, Camel and Moody Blues. Got to hear to lots of Tom Petty and his Buried Treasures program. If I was running a radio station I'd hire him as programmer. So for the most part I didn't listen to many CDs. Didn't have to.

I did find CDs at the places that I used to go to, but it's to the point that I'm too old for the crap that they play in there or at FYE. Or just can't handle to constant badgering from clerks asking if I'm all right or Okay. Bargain hunters work alone and don't need the help. Unless you have a certain out of print Slade CD.

This is it, the final AZ bargain hunts. Thanks to all the music stores and thanks to the pushy clerks asking about my well being. But as I turn 50, I said I would retire from the music stores, but I didn't leave with sadness but with relief that I won't have to do this ever again. I have no idea if and when I'll return to the valley of the sun. But in this short week of going from jumping in the car and driving around, I did have lots of run rediscovering Arizona once again. In short, I got my groove back till i go back to work and lose it all once again.

Thank you Arizona. I'll miss ya.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Arizona Farewell To Music Stores Tour Thoughts

One more day to hang out in the desert before heading home, thought I pop in with a collection of things of notice.

I don't think there's much difference between hanging at FYE or Zia's. In fact, Zia's is the new FYE, went to one place and had no fewer than four people asking me for help. It gets annoying, I can't keep my attention of what I'm looking for and I know if I told them what I was looking for, they wouldn't have it. Simple as that. Bargain hunters tend to go out on their own and look for cds themselves and not asking for any help.

I do noticed that the main Sony CDs are now at 5.99 on sale at Zia's but if you go up north to the Hastings stores in Northern Arizona the same cds start at 3.99 or 4.99 and the main titles at 5.99. In other words Hastings wins out in terms of getting cheap music if you can believe that. And the clerks left me alone.

This trip I didn't hit the pawnshops, I just didn't think that they had much to offer. I also didn't hit the Goodwill all that much either. One can only sort through the same old same old that you see back home. Perhaps it's the sign of the times that I musta have it all.

When you get older, you tend to ignore the crappy autotune rap crap at the music stores and hanging at Zia's or FYE can be worser than getting a root canal. Which is why people stay at home and get music off the web. Hastings tortured me with some Glee type of goofy shit to have some zitface screw up the words to Dream On and then some unknown American Idol Whitney Houston wackoff overscreaming to songs too. Such a shame really that you can hang at the music store without getting ran off with subpar crap tunes.

So today is the final day of the CD search. One more time to hit the local FYE and Zia's and hope that the clerks leave me in peace. And then trying to cram everything neatly in the suitcase on the redeye flight back home. I'll have more of the Arizona wrapup tomorrow. But till then, gotta take advantage of the summertime 110 degree heat before going home in with cooler temps and *sigh* chances of rain.

This vacation just went by way too fast, just like the last one.......

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Guest Host Brooksie

Hey everyone, welcome back to my weekly blog o' tunes, where there is usually something for everyone's enjoyment
The feeling around here is a bit subdued over the past few days, what with the situation in Lebanon and Israel. I feel so badly for all of the innocent civilians who have been caught up in the barrage of shelling, and of course I really hope that the powers that be over there can try to come to an accord and put a stop to the madness. I'm not an expert in world affairs, by any means, just a very concerned human being. And I don't know a solution; all I can do is hope and pray for peace.
All that aside, we welcome some more new folks to the mix: John Mayer, Gary Bennett (of BR549 fame), Bronson Arroyo (you know him, you love him, former Red Sox and current Reds pitcher and a pretty good musician too!), Susan, who is a former high school classmate of mine, and George 'n Sue, personal friends. Thanks and I hope you enjoy my little shindig here!
I discovered this week that Joni Mitchell's page has been taken down! Bummer!! Maybe it was a fan site, and Joni got mad....
Featured indie artists on my page last week were The Muckrakers, Cardello, and Louis Landon (whose gorgeous piano work "Peaceful" is my current tune du jour).
Are you ready to rock? Hit it...
She Belongs To Me - Bob Dylan. I love the Bringing It All Back Home album (ok, which Dylan albums DON'T I love? ) and this song is one of his best love songs ever.
I Can't Explain - The Who. Sure, another overplayed tune, but who cares - it still sounds fresh and exciting, and it's my hands-down favorite from The Who.
No Money Down - Chuck Berry. I had not heard this one before, and it's hilarious as Chuck tells the tale of trying to buy a new car and listing his specifications. Bob Dylan played it on his show last week.
Don't Wanna Cry No More - Anthony Neff. My friend Anthony makes a return visit to my top 10 this week with this excellent number from his Generation X-istential Blues album.
Joe's Garage - Frank Zappa. C'mon, when was the last time you heard a Zappa tune on the radio? I dig this classic garage-rockers lament
Easy Rider - Odetta. She really worked out on this Leadbelly-penned song. What a voice, what a presence!
Ballad Of Easy Rider - The Byrds. Love The Byrds and I love this song. Legend has it that Dylan wrote the lyrics for the first verse on a napkin and handed it to Roger McGuinn.
Freedom Rider - Traffic. This is an excellent funk/jazz/rock fusion tune which you don't hear anymore. Crabb and Diggy and I were having a discussion about Traffic over the weekend, and lo and behold this song popped up on XM the very next day. And it's just coincidence that there are three songs in the list this week dealing with "rider" in one form or another. These things just happen!
Take Me Back To Tulsa - Asleep At The Wheel. A spot-on treatment of the classic Bob Wills toe-tapper.
I Feel So Good - Richard Thompson. What a great tune this is! Richard rocks it up and rips it up as his protagonist tears up the joint and meets a girl
Bonus track: Peaceful - Louis Landon. Once again, I'm featuring this song on my front page right now. It's so beautiful, and yeah, peaceful. Thank you, Louis!
Personal to Jules, Crabb and Gary: thank you, you all made my night!

This blog was saved from Brooksie's My Space site to which she has committed into the ages. I continue to talk to her via Facebook and still am trying to get her to do a new top ten blog for the future.  Here's hoping I can succeed on that.