Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Best Records of 2010

Thought I would get this out of the way.

As we approach another end of the year, the best of lists will be coming out little by little next month and of course I'm sure we will get to see the usual suspects or critic's favorites. I'm sure The Arcade Fire or The National will get to be on some of the more authoritative critics out there or the hip youngsters who dig the new Kanye West or think that Katy Perry's latest was her best. And good for them but as I get older and more selective, I really see no need to review rap artists since they are not my type of "music" to listen to. Bad poetry to beat box or processed tunes and, God forbid Autotuner, most of the music on the radio is a mockery of what used to be. At this point of life I don't need to conform to the next big thing out there. I think I have heard enough to know what I like.

Let's face it, new music isn't what it used to be. There's too much music out there and it's hard to forge a bond with the new unlike the old days of no internet and the thing to do was go over to my friend's house and play the new KISS or even better go to Jeff's house and invade his brother's LP collection and jam out to Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones. Unfortunate for today's youth that the major labels focus only on the flavor of the week, and sadly the music is forgotten a week later. But this year, even the old established acts have found that their new album is released, all that work and effort to find out that the highest chart position is the week after it's released and then it goes south and off the charts. Soundscan doesn't do shit for anybody anymore. Used to be an album had to work its way to the top of the chart but not anymore.

New albums just doesn't have the staying power and besides, the radio conglomerate out there don't support the new music. Look at the classic rock stations, their playlist is outdated and even if Eric Clapton or the Doobie Brothers put a new record out, they would not play it. Nor would top 40. And they both did and both albums charted high and then fell off the charts. Funny how Eric Clapton's latest is here today, and gone the next month without much airplay. Can't complete against I Shot The Sheriff or Black Water. So the music lover is caught in the damnation we all call FM radio and who decides what should be the hit singles gets played to death for months and months on end. Such is the case of Train's dreaded Hey Soul Sister, a song so GD hideous and catchy that KDAT has granted it endless playing, just like they did with Mr. Mister's Broken Wings, or Sheryl Crow's All I Want To Do. So the majority of folks have to scramble to the internet for 30 second song snippets and decide if it's worth buying the album, or just paying 1.99 or 99 cents or whatever the fuck ITunes or Amazon charges. The wave of the future, the download that you can't hold in your hand or read liner notes.

I'm not sure how many albums I have bought and reviewed this year, I didn't bother to keep count. What I liked I held on, what I thought was tolerable or worse sucked got sold at the pawnshop for pennies. The biggest headache was the GD digital pack with the packaging looking like one of those awful Sure-paks that was the rage of the 70s vinyl albums. Some albums I didn't buy due to them being digipaks, I ended up buying the vinyl instead. Some I waited till I found them used and even in the Arizona trip did buy some cds that I wouldn't have bought full price. Crowded House was one of them and I didn't like it much. To the majors, music is no longer meaningful, they're looking for hits and for the best indication of that, try any of the That's What I Call Music Series and suffer. It shouldn't have to be that big news of the year is The Beatles now on Itunes, just like last year when the big news was the Beatles remastered albums on CD. There's no new Beatles or Led Zeppelin or Metallica on the horizon, just whining rappers full of autotuner on processed beats or American Idol rejects over-singing Desmond Child written cliche garbage. But that's the younger generation problem. I'm sure something will come out of the internet and there will be next made star. The best music of the past wasn't always done right and full of bad computer voice overs. The beauty of the music of the past was a missed beat or a flubbed guitar number. Or trying to figure out how Neil Peart played that drum part on La Villa Strangelo Or hearing the chaos that was The Who's My Generation from Live At Leeds. This is why the youth of today go into their dad's collection, because the new music they cannot relate to.

Anyway, the ten best albums of this year are in no running order but in the way that I remember them. Whether or not it means anything, this top ten is based of the bands that I was familiar with. And I'm sure one or two will make the grade of the other best of lists that will appear, mine will be the alternative to what they're putting out. I thought about putting out a turds of the year but all that implies that I just didn't get into the hype of those other so called bands.

So here it is, in rough form. The best of 2010.

1. Jason & The Scorchers-Halcyon Times (self released) In order to get this album you had to order directly to the band themselves and they would send you a copy. Basically Warner and Jason cuts out the middle man and the major labels to deliver what might be their hardest rocking album since Lost & Found a good 25 plus years ago. Dan Baird helps co writes and Perry Baggs, retired from drumming but still lends a hand in the harmony vocals. There wasn't nothing wrong with the Mammoth recordings of the 90s but Halcyon Times goes more in the cow punk past and gets the dirty job done right. I don't think this will make any of the big shot critics and the big shot music magazines out there but that's all right. This is music of I remembered Jason & company and I'm sure it will hold up 30 years from now like Lost & Found still holds up 27 years after the fact. And when you buy directly from the band, your money goes to the band and not EMI nor Universal. Support your favorite band or else.

2. Delta Moon-Hell Bound Train (Red Parlor) Tom Gray amazes me. 30 years ago he was playing new wave keyboards for The Brains and scoring a hit with Money Changes Everything (a even bigger hit for Cyndi Lauper) and in the demise of that band, reinvents himself by switching over to National Steel Guitar and sorting though the old delta blues of such folk as Mississippi Fred McDowell. This is their fifth album and all of them showcase some of that old Southern Delta Blues that nobody plays much anymore. The second straight album Tom Gray has gone without a female counterpoint and he does just fine. The interplay between Gray and Mark Johnson as dueling slide guitars is a rarity in these troubled days and times and the title track proves that you don't need auto tuner or fake computer beats to make excellent music. And the delta blues rock has been that way for over 50 years and then some. Delta Moon continues to keep that tradition alive.

3. Peter Wolf-Midnight Souvenirs (Verve) His Reprise, Mercury and Artmenis albums were good but I thought were a bit overrated. Certainly I missed Wolf's spontaneity and his showmanship when he was fronting the J.Geils Band but his solo stuff were hit and miss. This time out Wolf finally gets it right, with a right combination of rock and blues and R and B. And of course he has guest appearances and I think I perfer Shelby Lynne over Neko Case in the bizarre Green Fields Of Summer and of course Wolf shows his jive side on Overnight Lows. He does outrock The Black Crowes on I Don't Wanna Know and even the Merle Haggard cameo on the final It's Too Late For Me showcase nice Americana. He may have tried too hard on Sleepless or Long Line but on Midnight Souvenirs, he finally gets it right.

4. Los Lobos-Tin Can Trust (Shout! Factory) If anything Los Lobos has been delivering the goods for the past 25 years although the last time I really got involved with them was 1990's The Neighborhood. Cesar Rosas, who always been the harder rocker of this group contributes a couple of Mexican number which are nice but the pairing of Susan Tedeschi on Burn It Down rocks and their version of the Grateful Dead's West LA Fadeaway is a keeper to the point that Public Radio here has been keeping it in rotation. And On Main Street gives you a feeling of walking on down their side of Los Angeles. They had been coasting a bit on their Disney years but Tin Can Trust returns them a more conventional rocking way of sorts.

5. Devo-Something For Everybody (WB) Or Oh No It's Devo part two and I mean that in a good way. Oh No was the spudboys last decent record and Shout was a turd and their Enigma albums were just that. This time out the humor is back and although it's not Are We Not Men? it does make you want to get up and dance. I do get a chuckle out of Don't Shoot Me (I'm A Man) with the line "don't taze me bro".

6. Alejandro Escovedo-Street Songs Of Love (Fantasy) The former Rank & File and True Believer has been carving out a very good solo career. This actually rocks harder than Real Animal, Tony Visconti produces again and AE gets musical help from Bruce Springsteen and Ian Hunter. And of course Chuck Prophet who helps out co writing like he did on Real Animal. I'm in love with love he sings and I tend to believe him. I also tend to think more of him in the Ian Hunter vein rather than the Boss but that's just me.

7. Tom Jones-Praise & Blame (Island/Lost Highway/Seconds Out) Perhaps the surprise of the year. No longer the big sex symbol of the late 60's early 70's, Tom Jones has gone more toward the sound that T Bone Burnett got out of Robert Plant a couple years ago but went instead with Ethan Johns who's the MVP on this album. Jones sings the religious and songs of redemption and covering the old gospel blues along the lines of Blind Willie Johnson and Pops Staples, and covers a lesser known Bob Dylan number. Johns strips the music down to bare wires and bare bones, with guitar, bass and drums and on occasion backing vocals that don't oversing, which was why the Elton/Leon album didn't appeal to me. Nevertheless Tom Jone may have made his most definite statement and best album of his career. And that's saying a lot.

8. Paul Collins-The King Of Power Pop (Alive) Once upon a time children, Paul Collins was part of a punk band called The Nerves which featured Peter Case (Plimsouls) and Jack Lee, and once they disbanded formed The Beat (no realtion to The English Beat) and made two damn good albums for Columbia before disappearing and becoming a solo artist. This is the first album that Collins has done in the style of The Beat and for over a half hour we get the followup to The Kids Are The Same. Nothing fancy here, three chords, sing along chorus and move on to the next song. The voice is rougher but the fun is there, you just gotta hear it in the song.

9. Eli "Paperboy" Reed-Come And Get It! (Capitol) Perhaps the last gasp of EMI, I was surprised to hear of this dude who had a genuine love of the Stax/Volt sounds and Bobby Blue Bland. I basically gave up on the American Idol wannabes that had no clue on what soul really was. And this was one of the mercy buys, you know you find in the bargain bins and just want to listen to for a laugh and then leave it in the donation pile at Goodwill but this kid is the real deal. Sure he sounds white but he does know a hook when he sings it, on Name Calling, a song once you hear you'll never get out of your head. On Explosion, the final track, Reed reminds me of Roy Head when he announces there's going to be a explosion baby and you'd better believe it. I'm sure he had James Brown in mind but either way, I'm sure nobody in American Idol would attempt such a song like this.

10. Len Price 3-Pictures (Wicked Cool) Brit Punks who still idolize The Kinks and The Who 1965 and not afraid to show it although there's a bit of update in their tunes with a bit of Green Day in the title track. Of course they're also not afraid to add a bit of Small Faces or The Creation too on certain tracks (Guess which ones). I'm sure this will be the last we'll ever hear of The Len Price 3, Wicked Cool Records is no longer associated with Best Buy or FYE for that matter and if we do hear from them it will be strictly import only. But The Len Price 3 does something that none of the bands hogging up the radio will ever do, and that is speak to us via three chords and an English punk whomp that is lacking in the US. Three chords and rock and roll, it spoke to me back then and still speaks to me nowadays if done right. And Pictures is rock goodness.

The runner ups of note.

11. Peter Frampton-Thank You Mister Churchill (A & M/New Door)
12. Widespread Panic-Dirty Side Down (ATO)
13. Robert Randolph & The Family Band-We Walk This Road (WB)
14. Neil Young-Le Noise (Reprise)
15. Asia-Omega (Frontiers)
16. Doobie Brothers-World Gone Crazy (HOR)
17. Belle & Sebastian Write About Love (Matador)
18. Robert Plant-Band Of Joy (Rounder)
19. Bachman & Turner (RBE-Fontana)
20. Gin Blossoms-No Chocolate Cake (429/Savoy)

Reissues of note:

Bob Dylan-The Wittmark Demos 1962-1964 (Columbia)
Long time ago, he was a starving artist trying to get his foot in the door. But even back then, the rough drafts were a lot better than most out there on the radio. Bob Dylan as personal as he gets.

Bob Dylan-The Best Of The Mono Recordings (Columbia)

There are those who perfer the stereo recordings but I remember them better when they were played on the radio and in mono.

The Jayhawks aka The Bunkhouse album (Lost Highway)

1986 long out of print album got the reissue treatment and shows a more Bakersfield side to Gary Louris and Mark Olson. Bakersfield via Minneapolis.

The Blasters reissues via Wounded Bird.

Took the damn major label to finally reissue these but these L.A punks owe more to Eddie Cochran, Elvis and they did to The Gits or Fear or whatever Slash was putting out at that time. However, Non Fiction and Hard Line proved that Dave Alvin replaced John Fogerty as the best damn songwriter of that time.

The Apple Remasters (EMI/Apple)

And finally, the big news wasn't The Beatles finally releasing their music through ITunes but rather EMI's decision of reissuing the Apple albums that The Beatles didn't make. The prize remains James Taylor's S/T and of course Badfinger and for the first time we finally get a US release of their final Apple LP Ass. Which wasn't as good as No Dice or Straight Up. I certainly don't think that it's worth replacing a jewel case version for the new Digipaks but that's up the buyer out there. A good overview would be the Come And Get It Best Of Apple Records which introduce for the first time Chris Hodge's 1972 hit We're On Our Way and Ronnie Spector's Try Some Buy Some and of course Trash's Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight. For the adventurous and rich folk, there's the 17 disc Best Of Apple Records but it's not complete and the biggest complaint is that the packaging is shotty, just like the single disc Apple reissues. For something that's going to cost 250 dollars, the consumer deserves much better.

So ends our 2010 retrospective, review and best of. I think we have done the best we can given the situation that was presented. If not, you're free to do you own best of 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Unfinished Biz-It's About Music-Too many cds, Big Ten

As a music lover of the past (Basically 60s-70s) I came across a fairly new website that celebrates the lesser knowns. Or remember those bands whose album you saw in the 50 cent clearance bins at K Mart years ago or you got those promos for free at Pigeons in Cedar Rapids? Sure you don't, your memory doesn't go back that far. It's called It's About Music and these dudes have albums on CD that I would never think of seeing the day? Robey, Falk & Bod? Kentucky Gambler that album with a killer version of City Life? Sign me up bro! Natural Gas? That super group with Joey Molland, Mark Clarke, Peter Wood and Jerry Shirley? Speaking my language. Anyway this is the website that you have to copy and paste. Also, check out the vinyl listening station to which you can hear the first Sutherland Brothers & Quiver album Slipstream and a few others. Good music from the past dedicated to the complete audiophile. That's me...and you too.  (after trying the link, it has been suspended but not taken down yet)

I spent most of yesterday trying to make room on my shelves for more cds that i have laying in stacks in front of me and had to use the cold room for the less played. I'm thinking that I'll be making a donation to the Salvation Army for some of them. Yesterday when I went to The Salvation Army I have kinda hoping that somebody didn't pick up the Alpha Band LP that I donated last week but it was long gone along with all of the other cds and LPs that I donated. Kinda surprised somebody picked up the Dionne Farris and Saigon Kick that quickly. I guess it all goes to show that despite what Bob Lefsetz tells you, there are people still buying cds and LPs. Not everybody is getting on that IPOD or IPAD wagon, although I'm sure it will be a matter of time before I invest in one of those and start transferring some of my favorite albums to it.

At this point, I have to decide if I'm going to continue to buy new music as well as seek the stuff that I overlooked. Most new albums I only played once or twice and then filed away. Sorry to say nothing stands out, can't get into the autotuned fools or whiner rock that KRNA or Rock 108 plays. And when I buy it's mostly in those Goddam digipaks that never stack right or you scratch the hell out when you take them out of the flimsy packaging. Bruce Springsteen or the idiots at Apple Corp might think its cute but they are not. Either make it vinyl size or make a standard jewel case.

This year which was supposed to be a final year and not expecting to find much, has been one of the busiest and most interesting of CD and album finds. Beyond my dreams and going up to Pawn America last month for the dollar cd special really put the finds over 500 for the year. And then finding some MFSL gold discs for two bucks at Stuff Etc was even more better. Not that I cared much for the Heart album of 1986 but at least when I traded it in, got enough back for gas money. The lure of the hunt continues to call me whenever it happens but my compulsive obsession just about qualifies me for the next Hoarders show next year.

So I'll guess I'll be going through the stuff in the cold room and then go donate some more and try to free up more space. But we all know I'll fill it all back up before we know it.

Good to see my chat buddy from The Roost Starman pop in here making a comment. You know I do miss chatting up the tunes with y'all but I have to admit that I got bored with the friday night chats and trying to talk tunes when nobody wanted to. It's not like it was 10 years ago when we would stay up till morning light and having a good time. Even with my girlfriend coming in for support nobody would say a whole lot and we weren't getting much new music talkers in there, unless they were young folks looking to get laid and talk about Nickle back. Joe was the only other person that would keep things going but I think even he got tired of it all. I don't know if and when we'll do it again. Just seems like a waste of time if we do.

Facebook has gotten me in touch with a few of my forgotten friends of the past. Last week I started chatting with Cindy Mast, who used to be Cindy Lemere. I remember her way back in 69 when we first moved to Cedar Rapids and she was going to Monroe. Then we caught up a few years later when they moved to Marion and was part of either fifth or sixth grade. I worked with her in the dishwashing area at the old Applegate's Landing place 32 years ago. Last time I seen her was at her wedding way back in 1983. But somehow she came across my profile and we talked a bit about the past but not a whole lot. That's the power of Facebook. You never know who your going to meet from the past in the present.

So much for the disappointment of The Iowa Hawkeyes this season. What started out to be a promising year turned out to be a joke and losing not only the Heartland Trophy to Wisconsin but today losing Floyd Of Rosedale to a 2-9 Minnesota squad that outplayed the Hawkeyes in every way possible. I have never witnessed a team that did a complete meltdown in November and went 1-3, and should have been 0-4. The defense sucked, no linebackers and playing a Cover 2 setup and no blitzing that everybody figured it out and promptly kicked the Hawk's ass every damn game. Even Indiana outplayed them. Couldn't beat the damn Northwestern Wildcats and the much hated Ohio State Buckeyes. And then watching Minnesota give Floyd of Rosedale a new home. Most of the teams in the Big Ten I like and will root for if they're not playing Iowa. Wisconsin Badgers are 2nd and everybody else to a lesser extent expect the hated Buckeyes and Wildcats. If last season was memorable, this season was forgettible, a defense overrated and a coach that is sadly out of it, Norm Parker needs to retire. I think the weekend that I went up on the Madison Bargain Hunts were the week that Wisconsin beat Ohio State and then the Hawkeyes. I can't blame the prospect for decommitting to Iowa and going to Madison, I would too. So, I'll will be rooting for the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, that's where my heart is at. And yes, I totally enjoyed Wisconsin whopping Northwestern all over Camp Randall 70-23. At least somebody knows how to beat Northwestern, unlike K.F. the overpaid Iowa coach.

As for the Hawkeyes, going to Arizona isn't so bad. That is if you go to a bowl game or at least show up for it and surprise surprise play defense.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Unfinished Biz-Hawkwind

TAD brought up an interesting point on Hawkwind that I thought I'd share a bit with y'all.

Long time ago, Hawkwind was one of many bands on United Artists that you would see in the cutout bins back in the mid 70s and I basically knew nothing of them till I found a copy of Hall Of The Mountain Grill at Goodwill in the old Marion Shopping Center and thought I check it out. Very interesting cover. Side 1 had Psychedelic Warriors which was a UK hit but in edited form. Likewise You'd Better Believe It but nevertheless I never heard any of their music on the radio here. Perhaps Beaker Street played some of the music (and they still do today).

Moving out to Arizona, I finally started finding Hawkwind albums in the used bins and one of the interesting ones was their 1972 live Space Ritual which mirrors the live side of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma but I don't think Pink Floyd would incorporate audio generators and freaky poetry from Bob Calvert. But then again critics didn't care much for Dave Brock playing the same chords over and over for 8 minutes or hearing Nik Turner blasting away with free jazz sax playing. Not for the faint of heart but perhaps something to listen to while smoking a J and having strobe lights blasting away.

The first album was produced with Dick Taylor (formerly of the Rolling Stones) and the only true song off that record was Hurry On Sundown. Everything else seemed to be free form weirdness that wouldn't sound out of place on ESP Disk. The second album In Search Of Space showed more of a space rock direction although the 15 and half minute You Shouldn't Do That would try many a people's patience. I love it as well as their signature tune Master Of The Universe to which Nik Turner did the lead vocal.

When Lemmy joined up, Hawkwind was it's most psychedelic and most freaky. Another long number Brainstorm clocked 11 and half minutes and the amazing Del Dittmer and Dik Mik's bizarre keyboards and generator sounds would go from one song into another. Border-lining on pompousness Time We Left This World Today was a call and response from Dave Brock as the guys would shout the counterpoint. And went on for close to 9 minutes before closing on Lemmy's ominous The Watcher. With Space Ritual Live, you either got it or you didn't. You had to be there in person to really experience the madness and magic that was Hawkwind.

After Hall Of The Mountain Grill, the next album was released through Atco in the US (U.A overseas) was the prog rock sounding Warriors On The Edge Of Time. Adding a second drummer to Simon King (Alan Powell) the record benefit-ted from some poetry from Micheal Moorcock, somewhat space rock, and prog rock it also had some punk rock in the hi energy of Kings Of Speed and (on the CD version) a bonus track of Motorhead, the last song that Lemmy Kilmeister recorded and sang before getting booted out of the band for drug procession and holding up the 1976 tour.

Astounding Sounds Amazing Music, Bob Calvert returns, band goes for a more prog rock sounds and is half good. However Quark Strangeness & Charm was much better as Brock and company returned to a more three chord rock sound and getting rid of Alan Powell leaving Simon King as the only drummer. In the US, this was released on Sire Records at the time of the punk rock revolution and another album I found in the cheap bins. In 1979, Hawkwind moved on to Bronze Records and scored a UK hit with Shot Down In The Night. With Levitation, Simon King left the band for good, replaced by Ginger Baker. Baker stayed on long enough to make the live This Is Hawkwind Do Not Panic and it may have been the best live album that Brock came up with.

But this is where I concluded my listening to Hawkwind, The Xenon Codex (1988) was a half assed effort, poorly recorded for Enigma/GWR by Guy Bridemead (who also screwed up Motorhead's No Sleep At All in that same year) and although I have heard good things about Space Bandits and Electric Teepee (Both on Roadrunner long ago and now out of print). I haven't really thought highly enough of them to really review it. Their new album Blood Of The Earth is out and seems to be nod in the right direction, again what I heard I can't quite recommend.

Hawkwind's glory period was the 70's up to Levitation. EMI reissued all of the United Artists albums and added bonus tracks to boot, best of which is Doremi Fasol Latido which includes Urban Guerrilla a song that was banned by the BBC in 1973. And I still recommend In Search Of Space and Hall Of The Mountain Grill as well. The best overview of Hawkwind seems to be the 3 CD EMI Import Epoch: Eclipse 30 year Anthems which does include Motorhead and Quirk Strangeness And Charm. Life after Lemmy, Quirk Strangeness & Charm plus The Hawklords 25 Years On were their last shining classic moments.

Hawkwind has so many albums and so many compilations that's it hard to review them all. The albums on Bronze were reissued through Castle/Sanctuary (or were) and Virgin did reissued the late 70s albums (they were on Charisma as 1979's 25 Years On and perhaps PXR5. In the mid 1990's I did find The Hawklords Live and This Is Hawkwind-Do Not Panic in the bargain bins and found that Hawklords live was a better live album that Live 79. While it is true that finding the original Hawkwind albums on UA and Sire are rare, you can still find the CDs at varying prices at Amazon. Robert Calvert passed away years ago, Lemmy is still working it with Motorhead and who knows whatever happened to the rest, Dave Brock continues to be the sole remaining original member still playing and sometimes still recording new music.

Update: Nik Turner's latest album might be the closest thing to how Hawkwind sounded back in the early 70s and though it's pricy on vinyl, the CD format of Space Gypsy is worth getting in any formats. On September 19th 2014 Turner will be in the neighborhood at RIBCO in Rock Island.  A big falling out between Turner and Dave Brock over the use of the Hawkwind name unnerved Dave so much that he pulled the plug on a 2013 US tour and this year visa problems curtailed another tour attempt.  Hawkwind has been putting out new albums but none of them really capture that spaced out feeling of vibes, echo, generators and free form sax like Turner's backing band, whose done better Hawkwind sounds than the actual band themselves. The last Hawkwind album Spacehawks was rehashing various songs of the past and yet another version of Sonic Attack, to which one wonders if Brock is becoming prog rock's version of Foreigner.  In the meantime Cleopatra reissued Warrior On The Edge Of Time (remixed by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame but lately has been busy remixing classic albums from King Crimson, Yes and Jethro Tull) which a long time ago appeared briefly on Atco.  Their most prog rock sounding it's also the last to feature Lemmy before being booted out of the band and going on to his own stellar career with Motorhead.  I don't see the need to spend 50 bucks on a import 2 CD and DVD box set of Warriors, it's perhaps my least favorite of the Lemmy years but since I still have it here, I will take a listen to it. 

In the end, Hawkwind's classic period begins with Space Ritual and ends with 25 Years On (known as Hawklords)  Ginger Baker's appearance on Levitation is worth hearing as well as This Is Hawkwind Do Not Panic but once the old geezer wanted to take over the band, they showed him the door.  Brock continues to do Hawkwind tours in the UK more often, but the only long standing member other than he is Tim Blake on keyboards.  He's been coasting on overdrive for years but perhaps the success of Space Gypsy might light a fire under Brock's ass and he might make that one last victory lap album. Otherwise, he's content to remake Sonic Attack or Silver Machine. . 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Hot Dog Hosannas

Some news of note:

Eastside Records in Tempe are closing their doors after this year. They were about a block away from Zia's on University and although I didn't frequent them as much as Zia's they do stand out for having a good selection of blues cds that I bought a few years ago. Yet another record store closing down.

A long time ago, I bought a punk album from a band of 9 year olds called Old Skull in the 2.88 section at the old Camelot Records store in Westdale. The record was called Get Outta School and they did made the MTV news around 1988. Basically it was a bunch of 9 year olds making noise and calling it music, hell i did that once too. Anyway, Jean Paul Toulon who did the "vocals" was found dead earlier this month at the age of 30. Cause is unknown but it sounded like a drug overdose. His dad Vern died at the age of 46 in 2001. Get Outta School is one of those albums that you have to listen to once, just to hear it. Nevertheless, that album did garner some airplay on the college stations in the late 80's. RIP Jean Paul.

Vinyl King has expressed an interest of doing a top ten guest appearance. Whenever ya want bro, just send one our way and we put it out, just like we do in Multiply dot com. But in the meantime, this is what's happening on the Top Ten of The Week.

1. Courage-The Tragically Hip 1993 I don't necessarily buy the fact that good music died around The Joshua Tree but rather when Lee Abrams took his fact finding lists of songs that people wanted to hear and never bothered to update it after 1985. I still believe there's plenty of good music that isn't played on the radio anymore. Certainly Napster didn't kill music, it enhanced it before the major labels and the RIAA fucked around and shut them down and sued everybody. The Tragically Hip are one of the biggest bands out of Canada that never broke big in the US, at times they sounded like a Canadian REM but their albums were spotty at best. Last album I reviewed from them, Phantom Container was so bad, I listened halfway and then donated it to Goodwill soon afterward. For me, their best album was Fully, Completely which had this top 30 album cut, which turned out to be their last for the US MCA. But they have recorded for Atlantic, Sire, Universal again, Zoe and a few others. Pick and choose at your own risk.

2. Lick My Decals Off Baby-Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band 1970 The good doctor has been too weird for local tastes and Trout Mask Replica is even more out there than Lick My Decals Off Baby which is more accessible but I'm sure my GF ain't going to listen to this. I'm sure the first words out of her mouth would be "what the fuck is this?" Had to album once, then traded it in for the CD and then sold the CD off and then spent many a time trying to get another copy back. It has been reissued on vinyl from Rhino Records on 180 gram vinyl. And still sounds unlike anything you heard before.

3. Donna Everywhere-Too Much Joy 1992 Always loved these punk pop pranksters and they made three wild and crazy albums for Giant/Warners before being dropped. Part of the fun was reading their liner notes. This did get played a couple times via KRNA or KRUI but outside of that......

4. Lonely Street-Andy Williams 1959 If you pick and choose some of his stuff, he did managed to make some bluesy and gloomy songs of note. The English Beat covered his Can't Get Used To Losing You so he can't be all that bad right? Probably after Buddy Holly, the only other artist that overdubbed his vocals. In my folks house, I was more familiar with the Johnny Tollotson version but next to Can't Get Used To Losing You, this is my 2nd favorite Andy Williams song.

5. Enjoy-The Descendants 1985 Dedicated to the Princess of Farts who pretty explains this song. In fact I wonder if this chick is related to me in some capability. Of course she has her own web site Back to the song itself, Milo sings the praises of butt toast and days of wearing the same socks and not changing them. Ickies.

6. Gardenia-Kyuss 1994 Desert metal rock from a band that idolizes Black Sabbath and prog rock in a way. Or is it called stoner rock? Anyway, this band made four albums for Dali/Elektra before calling it a day and Josh Homme went on to form Queens Of The Stone Age. However, lead vocalist John Garcia and form QOTSA castoff Nick Oliveri and drummer Brent Bjork have gotten back together again. From the Welcome To Sky Valley or S/T album which was the biggest selling album in their history. Or their best known.

7. Common Man-The Blasters 1985 Dedicated to the Republican party. Bullshit politicans who try to pass themselves off as common as you and me, but they have better health insurance benefits than you and me.

8. Turn Into Earth-The Yardbirds 1966 From Roger The Engineer LP. Yep they had Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page but they did their best work with Jeff Beck. A very moody piece from that album.

9. Human Cannonball-Webb Wilder 1989 His best known hit which did get some airplay on the rock stations at that time.

10. Kings Of Speed-Hawkwind 1975 From Warrior On The Edge Of Time, the last album to feature Lemmy would move on to form Motorhead. This album was them trying to be prog rock but they did like three chord rock and roll straight on too. Album came out on Atco and is hard to find so your better off trying to find the CD, which has the original version of Motorhead with Lemmy singing lead. Later versions of that song has Dave Brock singing instead.

Happy Thanksgiving. Gobble Gobble Gobble!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Madison Part 4

Funny how I decided that the last bargain hunt would make a return back to the Badger state and back to my favorite hangout. Out of all the trips to the Mad City, this one was the easiest. And this happened on a weekend too. My guess is that when the UW football team went to Ann Arbor, that the majority of people went up there. Thus, walking on the lakefront of Lake Monona was practically deserted. However I did run into my share of bargain hunters at the music store, a few of them at Mad City Music Exchange and asking the guy about other places to buy forty fives. Usually owners of record stores do not like to mention other stores, especially in these days and times. But I have to admit that this time out, I may have seen to most hunters of 45s out and about this time around. I'm sure the dude would eventually find out that Half Priced Books do have a decent selection of 45s and I did find three of them at the east side store.

Other fun facts of Mad City Part 4.

Last time I stopped at Pawn America Pawn Shop I ended up finding about 32 CDs of note for a dollar apiece. Guess how many CDs I found up there this time out. None! Zero! Nada! Hard to believe eh? First of all they did not have the dollar sale and second of all the cd section was picked apart. Kinda disappointed but I did managed to find other CDs for two bucks at Frugal Muse Books. It was funny to see the clerk raved about me finding Dead Letter Office from REM for two bucks but only bought it since they had 10 percent off in the store as they celebrated 18 years of being in business. The REM Cd was a bit more scratched than I like but what the dude failed to notice that he had John Hartford's Aero Plain in the 2 dollar section and that one sells for over 50 bucks at Amazon. Score one for the bargain hunter. Also he had a Jules Shear Best Of, that I got for 2 buck and sold that one to cover for the gas money getting up to Mad City. Score two for the bargain hunter. And there were a couple more found, a Webb Wilder Hybrid Vigor CD, More Aero Plain Outtakes from John Hartford and so on. Would have bought a few more but they were a bit more scratched up.

Even though the traffic in Madison wasn't as busy as it was last time I was there, I seen three accidents on the streets including a big pile up on the Interstate 90-94 going to Pawn America. But on this trip while I did stop at the HP Books, Mad City Music Exchange and Strictly Discs I didn't stop at the Pre Played stores simply due to time restrictions and plus that I didn't come up with a lot when I did stop there last trip. This time I didn't do State Street so I didn't get to meet the old hag that brought last trip down and put me in a sour mood. Unfortunately my body didn't cooperate at all and thank God the toilets at Monona Terrance were open. The porta pottys put away for the winter I had to search for an open toilet and if Monona Terrance wasn't there, I would have get a new change of clothing. Had to use the loo twice! Could have used the ones at Wah Kee Noodle House but declined since last time I was there, nobody bothered to wait on me and the time before that the food I got sucked. Hard to believe I gave kudos to that place a few years ago.

Another bad decision was to go to the Laredo for Mexican just before I went back home. I remembered that place for them putting potatoes in their burritos. 2nd time around the peppers were uneven, one was easy to cut and chew, the other one put up a fight to the death and had to use a knife to cut that one. Perhaps I should have gone to Pedro's or some other place. I think the people that came in after me, the guy got sick after a while and left.

Last time the weather was quite warm, this time it was chilly and the breeze blew off the lake so it was a kinda windy chill but I think I liked it better that way. Losing an hour of daylight didn't enable me to really do a full walk but then again, I really wasn't much in a walking mood after a bad case of Montezuma's Revenge times 2.

Finally stopped at Dollar Tree before heading home and chatting up with a female cashier ready to close the store and she was talking about working 2 jobs to pay the bills and give her son a good Christmas. I think she was in her 30's and we talked a bit about Thanksgiving and our plans and pretty much said that I'll be spending it with my folks and taking it easy since all the fools will be out on Black Friday. I guess she really didn't have much to do either, spending it with her child. Being nice I mentioned that being a single mom is a full time job 24-7 and it's much harder than the life that a bargain hunter who comes and goes and works at a job that pays the bills and makes me do the things that I do. I can't say that this was my destiny, nor planned to done this so long in life. Sure back when I was younger say about 15, 20 ago I thought about having a family and having a loving wife but when the time was right back then, I simply picked the wrong one every time out. Or they just said no. After a while I just gave up and lived my life the way I have been before Nicole came into this life.

Despite meeting the Old Hag on State Street, the majority of folks that I have met in Madison have been quite nice an polite and managed to strike up a conversation for a spell. Which is hard to do, I keep to myself and even if they do talk to me, I usually keep it short. I'm sure the clerk at Dollar Tree would have like to gotten to know me better but in the time there, it was closing time, it was time for me to head home and when she asked me if I was leaving the state, I thought about saying actually I did since I'm not from Madison. But I did wish her the best of luck in life and have a good Thanksgiving. And then, got into the car and drove back home.

It's hard to find anybody in life that can put up with the antics of a bargain hunter, who changes like the wind and still remains independent and defiant. My GF does a fine job of putting up with my moods and accepts me who I am even more than I do at times. I doubt if anybody else could put up with me. I can barely put up with myself at times.

But the loner in me still exists and still begs for solitude and basically I couldn't be a step dad, I didn't do a good job of that when I was with Clarice and her boys. With Nicole, its she and I and this woman has a strength of an angel to deal with me but she'll tell you otherwise I'm not that bad. With step kids it's hard to win them over but in Nicole's case her daughter seemed to like me a lot as well as her mom and relatives I've known. BTW her daughter is of the four legged kind. I don't think a lot of myself and of being the guy of anybody's dream simply of the history and my bitter breakups with some of those I've been with. But then again my GF has always been a good judge of character, that's why she picked me.

So in a nutshell going to Madison for the fourth time this year turned out to be the easiest and less annoying since I picked the right time to go. Here's hoping the next time will be just as easy and here also hoping that the next time I get back up there, my guts won't give me fits either.

Thanks Strictly Discs, Half Priced Books East and West, Mad City Music Exchange and Pawn America for the bargains...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Observations From The Forefront-You Get What You Give

I've haven't been a lot of fun of late but even worse since being stuck down in packaging and the thought of being down there till February is making me sick to my stomach. Part of the fun is watching touch guy Philip giving dirty looks whenever you look at the squint but the guy is doof. Surprises me that he got any in his lifetime. Funny how he goes around and acts ghetto but fact that 4 foot 5 white jiggers bragging he's going to get some is comical beyond belief. He's so much a turn off that even Meg Griffin would tell him to piss off. Besides dude, it's not good practice to have your baby's footprint on your arm for the world to see. Might be love to you but the rest of the world, it's just gross and bizarre.

Despite what they tell you, the packaging folk look at us printer people as 2nd rate citizens it seems. We done it our way for so long that it is hard to get used to set breaks, set lunch periods and set exercises and have to wait till the bell sounds to leave. Or get called to do tasks and usually we are the last for the shit jobs aka sealing books. Which will be our fate till printing picks up again. And then to hear them scream MAKE RATE per hour. To which I say you get what we give, nothing more. We'll do our best and then I'll quality check my work before you get it. If I fuck up I rather catch it than have Mr. Slappy Philip tell me about it. I'm too set in my ways and too senile to deal with ghetto whiggers like him. And so it goes.

They don't understand good English either. Bob used to own a record store in Iowa city or Coralville, I may have visited his place once and didn't find anything of value works in packaging and he was asking my employee number and while I was trying to give it to him, I kept getting interrupted by the failed strip dancer talking about something. He interrupted me and said it was on my badge and I said no shit sherlock, if you didn't interrupt me I would have given it to you. No wonder his record store went belly up.

With us losing printing contracts and Vangent taking most of the fall printing away to cheaper companies we have found ourselves farmed out to Packaging land, a place when about a month ago didn't mind being there but a month later so GD sick of it that had I known this was going to be hell, I'd taken my Arizona vacation in November. The Thankgiving Dinner we did celebrate ours with Printing department and I guess one of those took exception of that. Oh you think you're better than us? he said to somebody not me. And I said don't wanna sound rude Norm but we didn't decide this, you hate us, we hate you and if we did share Thanksgiving together, I'd rather go out for fucking pancakes than get acid indigestion stuffing ourselves with your food. We feel like fucking strangers down in packaging and it seems y'all have it out for us. I'm sure you wouldn't think twice of helping yourself to our food if given the chance. We're fucking pricks in your eyes even before we got farmed out.

Here's the thing, I was doing wrapping stuff and putting it on the pallets before you took that away and gave it to Mr. All Everything Philip I told Norm. We are here to do the job, not get yelled at every fucking little thing that happens. Viv, yells at me earlier bout some books that have 2 or 3 of the same serial number in there, and told her I think I got that by reading the listings. Brooke has a damn cow when we have an open container cup. Bob tells us to clean up at 10:45 and then starts yelling we gotta keep working till 11. And then go down there and get yelled at by stating that coats must be put away before the bell starts. I have never been in a department like Packaging at our place of work that degrades you to the point that you don't want nothing to do with these co workers of ours. They don't even acknowledge you when you run into them at Target or WalMart. It isn't Jeff, the manager that I have a problem with. Nor Tanner, they are good guys in their own right although they take the company policy a bit too far at times but then that is why it's called work. But the majority of the perms there tend to look down upon you from other departments and basically I think they wait till Jeff made out the plans to get us from Printing and assign the shitty jobs that the other perms didn't want so here we are. And they do make us feel like outsiders.

My GF, God bless her, knows how much that I hate being there, she tries her best to cheer me up but when I sitting bitching about things via Twitter, she throws her hands up in the air and says I gotta get back to work. It's such a negative being there that I told her, that I'd gladly take a leave of absence without pay just to get the fuck away from that hell department. That's why we saved up for that rainy day fund. Sure, it's a pain in the ass when the cutter jams in the printer but at least we are in charge of our own way in there. At least we can walk away when it gets bad or take lunch when we want to. Being in packaging feels like your freedoms are being taken away and nothing we do seems to pleases the masses there without them screaming bout an open cup, or not making rate. It better not get to that, I'm sure I can pull rate but at my own time and pace and if I have to sacrifice quality over quantity, then I'll just retire and go pick bottles off the side of the road. Or at least start up a used music store that should last longer than Mr. Schafer's

I can see why Ed retired from our place. He saw the dark clouds of being farmed out to packaging and he bailed. Perhaps I should have too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow Comments From You Know Who

Leave it to my sweetheart to buy the new Kid Rock album since I decided to take a pass from it. And now today's guest will tell you about it. From the mind of Miss Nicole.....

Kid Rock's new CD released today Born Free is one of his better CD's so far. I got to thinking, he's not really swearing to much in his CD's anymore, especially not using the f-bomb, until I got to track 6 God Bless Saturday. I pretty much laughed when I heard Monday's a Bitch. Thanks Kid Rock, I think I found my new favorite song! lol I was talking with my other half earlier today about how Sheryl Crow seems to be butting her way into a lot of CD's as of late, like this CD that Kid Rock put out. It's the 3rd CD she's been on. Sheryl, please do your own thing and let Kid Rock do his own music. I didn't mind the song that Sheryl Crown and Kid Rock did called Collide which had Bob Seger playing piano on it. Zac Brown came on to do a duet called Flying High which wasn't bad. Trace Adkins came on for background vocals on Rock Bottom Blues. I think my favorite duet was when Martina McBride and T.I. came on for the song Care with Kid Rock. Born Free shows 12 songs on the back, but there's a 13th track that is untitled that seems to be pretty good. You'll have to buy the CD to listen to the track.

Now about Sheryl Crow. Sweetheart, please move on and quite getting onto people's CD's. Kid Rock, the Loretta Lynn Tribute CD and a song with Hannah Montana. Hanna Montana? Are you serious? Can't you do better than that?

I heard on that Josh Groban released another CD. And Glee has put out a Christmas CD. I only know about Glee because I saw it. I almost took a picture of it to show people because I didn't want to believe it myself! Pink is putting out a Greatest Hits CD. Michael Jackson is having a CD put out, the first song Hold My Hand is a duet with Akon. From what I understand Michael Jackson recorded a lot of songs that he intended to use on each of his CD's and because of that I guess the could be more songs from Michael in our future. The man passes away and we end up with more songs. Jessica Simpson is in the process of recording another CD.

That's all from the Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker fan!

And that's all for tonight. That has been Miss Nicole's record review and comment.

Top Ten Of The Week-A Bunch Of Awesome Tunes

Okay, so I'm back after taking a week off. Never a shortage of music around here so let's see what I got for awesome tunes this week.

1. Addiction-The Almighty 1993 Forgotten heavy metal band that made a couple albums for Polydor in the early 90s and got to play at 3rd Street Live around 1993 to promote their album Powertrippin. Labeled at grunge to appease the hip crowd but this was more metal to my ears. Their big hit was Jesus Loves You....But I Don't. Still made albums via imports after Polydor dropped them.

2. Bad Attitude-Honeymoon Suite 1985 Since I've been working in the dreaded packaging department, this song pretty much sums up my feeling after being sent down to Sealing books. This is a fun job, you seal about seven sections of a book with wet tape and sticks to your fingers while asshole seniors scream at you to make rate. God, I wish printing would pick up, I'm getting mighty tired of dealing with these folk and then they expect us to do Thanksgiving dinner in their department? Fuck that, I'm going to IHOP for pancakes.

3. Who Says You Can't Go Home-Bon Jovi 2005 I suppose it's a cold day in hell when I start adding Bon Jovi to my top ten but GD it, his Greatest Hits collection really does show that the dood could put together a catchy single. Although I think he pretty much remains Springsteen light if you strip away the hair metal and reliance on the cliche. Features one Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland on vocal counterpoint, I actually do enjoy this song and do recommend the single edition of Greatest Hits. After all I'm sure he will be the newest induction to the RnRHOF this winter, if not already.

4. Bird Has Flown-Deep Purple 1969 Lamenting the great Rod Evans on lead vocals, he gave the original Deep Purple a unique sound all its own and despite what Martin Popoff tells you, the first 3 DP albums are a worthy addition to your collection. Unfortunately, a bad business deal in 1980 and involving a bogus Deep Purple with only Evans being the familiar ended up getting sued and losing all royalty rights to any DP albums he was with and was never heard from again. Their third album may have been the most prog rock sounding of the trio and sometimes get played on Beaker Street on Sunday Nights. Spitfire/Eagle Rock reissued the first three DP albums with bonus tracks and better sound in the early 2000's but they have seem to gone out of print once again.

5. I Think It's Understood-Octopus 1969 Not to be confused with a UK band that put out an album on Page One Records, this was 4 guys getting to make a record with ESP Disk, the avant garde label out of New York famous for the free form jazz of Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and the out there music of Cromagnon or The Godz. In fact, Octopus was the most rock sounding of anything coming out of ESP Disk, they sounded a bit like Steven Stills fronting The Stooges via Fun House. Not much is known about these four guys, a couple of them would set in on another ESP Disk artist's album and then disappeared. Reissued in the mid 90's via German label ZYX but it's so unknown that Amazon doesn't even have it listed anywhere. Consider it a oddball find at Real Records the other day.

6. A Higher Place-Tom Petty 1994 From his bloated Wildflowers album. It starts out great but by the time this song ends, the rest of the album I can live without hearing again. Sold a ton of this record but I've seen a few in the dollar bins at the pawnshop, in fact I bought this for a dollar at Pawn America up in Madison last month and finally gotten around to playing it.

7. A Minha Menina-Os Mutantes 1968 Translation: My Girl. Band was from Brazil and came across like a crazed Brazil 66 with lotsa of fuzz guitar that was used at that time and place. To picture how this song would sound, think Tremolos Here Comes My Baby with the fuzz guitar from The Great Airplane Strike from Paul Revere & The Raiders. More fun and hi jinx try the David Bryne compiled Everything Is Possible Best Of that Luka Bop/Virgin/WB put out in 1999.

8. I Think I'm Going Bald-Rush 1975 From the problematical Caress Of Steel, not one of my favorite Rush albums but had to pick it up after watching Beneath The Lighted Stage DVD and because it was the last Rush album I have yet to hear. The way they titled this song makes me think somebody was listening to Budgie. Reminds me a lot of Budgie too.

9. Night Ride To Trinidad-Robyn Hitchcock 1982 From the Groovy Decoy album, an record that Hitchcock hated so much that after the original got put out, he redid it and remixed again and still hated it. Really it wasn't that bad of an album, in fact some of it was pretty damn good new wave but that sax sound made it sound like ABC. But still bizarre as Mr. Hitchcock would put it to be. Later reissed on Rhino as The Complete Groovy Decay/Decoy Sessions or Gravy Deco. And he still hates it to this day.

10. Bo Diddley-Buddy Holly 1955 From For The First Time Anywhere compilation that MCA put out on record in 1982 and later on CD a few years later. Compiled by Steve Hoffman, who makes some of the best sounding CDs without the use of 24 bit mastering however this cut seemed to come from a cracked acetate 45, you can hear the pops and scratches, even with CD technology. Not as essential as the original but you can't fault the man from trying. After all anything who covers Bo Diddley has good taste in music anyhow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Weekend Observations

On Jessica Simpson getting married a 2nd time.....Who cares? Not Me. Everybody gets married the trick is to stay married. That's a hard thing to do, sorry that won't last.

On The Football Hawkeyes: Unfortunately our defense is lacking. They can't stop the slant pass. Losing A J Edds, Pat Angerer and Spivey was irreplaceable. Dan Persa played the game of his life, and then goes out for the rest of the season with an torn ACL. In the meantime Northwestern is getting to be just as hated as Ohio State, to which I'm sure will be going up and down the field at will on the Hawkeye defense. Or maybe the Hawks will wake the fuck up and play the game of their season and upset them. I still consider this season a success if Iowa beats OSU and Minnesota.

What I heard from the Bruce Springsteen Promise album I didn't care much. Darkness On The Edge Of Town is a hard album to like but it works on its own without the bonus stuff that makes up The Promise. However it did make me go back to review 18 Songs, that 1999 compliation that you can get for five bucks at Wally World and I think I perfer the songs on that album.

I guess the ratings for the guest blog didn't turn out so well. Guess I'll be back with one of my own top ten this week.

New Kid Rock, I'll let my GF review that one.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Jock Itch Jams

Once in a while, I'll take time off and let a guest blogger take over. Such is the case this week and we welcome Michael Lopez from The Phoenix New Times. He put together a nice little survey of the 10 most overplayed songs you hear at sports arenas. And with a slight deletion of one of his tracks in favor of one of my own (guess which one).

Once upon a time we could go to a baseball game or football or basketball game and get entertained by whoever was playing the organ or having the high school pep band do a rowdy version of Wipe Out during a time out. Those were the days, now instead we have the overplayed rock anthems that most really don't fit in with the ball game. I guess the pep band is afraid to do their own version of Song 2 or Back In Black without fear of being sued by the RIAA eh? I used to be a regular of Kernel games in town but I can only stand so much of Hey Ho Let's Go or Mony Mony or Who Let The Dogs Out. I'm sure Grandpa would be less tolerant. I'm sure the Iowa Hawkeyes opponents are shaking in their shoes when they hear the bell toll introduction to Hells Bells. Anyway, Mr. Lopez will now clue you in on the ten most overplayed songs you hear at sports arenas and basically he's pretty much got it down pat. Take it away.

1. "Crazy Train" - Ozzy Osbourne (1980)
What was that about aging British rockers? As much as "Rock and Roll Part 2" should be in the top spot, Osbourne's "Crazy Train" has since overtaken the spot as the most overplayed sports arena song. Every stadium/arena plays this song multiple times per game. "Crazy Train" is really all about the guitar chord, played by the late, great Randy Rhoads. The song has a heavy message at its core, none of which really matters to sports fans. A song such as "Crazy Train" -- with its killer guitar intro and defiant message -- makes for a perfect sports arena anthem, right? That subtle juxtaposition of "Crazy Train" amongst sports arenas worldwide -- not to mention it has been overplayed to the point of exhaustion -- makes it the top spot on this list of overplayed sports arena songs.

2. "Rock and Roll Part 2" - Gary Glitter (1972)
Look at Gary Glitter. Just look at him. Even a child pornography possession conviction in 2000 couldn't keep this song out of popular sporting events. No -- the NFL simply got another band to cover the song so they could go about playing it without the worry of Glitter's personal life on their collective minds. "Rock and Roll Part 2" -- also known as "The Hey Song" -- has been around for decades now, acting as the quintessential rock anthem for any and all sporting events. I don't know if Glitter himself knew what he was getting into back in 1972 when he recorded the song, but who knew an aging, British glam rocker would come to write one of the most overplayed sports anthems of all time?

3. "Welcome To The Jungle" - Guns N' Roses (1987)
If you thought 2002 was a banner year for arena anthems, then think again -- 1987 is king of the list. First "Mony Mony" and now the insufferable "Welcome to the Jungle." The song is always played before kickoff, tipoff, face-off -- whatever, you name it. It's remarkable to think "Jungle" came off of GNR's debut album Appetite For Destruction, for that band to come out of the gates with guns, ahem, blazing like that. "Welcome to the Jungle" has been used extensively in sports arenas since it was released some 23 years ago, and its safe to say that there will never be another song quite like it. And to think, all it took was that one simple guitar riff...

4. "Mony Mony" - Billy Idol (1987)
Your favorite basketball team just hit a three-pointer to bump their lead to ten points. The opposing team's coach takes a well-needed timeout. Momentum is on your side -- better bust out the "Mony Mony." This particular song -- a cover of the 1968 Tommy James and the Shondells classic -- has been used to utter exhaustion, as is the case for the remaining songs on this list. I don't know if Idol's version is any better, but it sure as hell isn't going anywhere. "Yeah?" Yeah, it's not going anywhere. "Yeah?" Yeah, I just said...oh, dammit.

5. "Thunderstruck" - AC/DC (1990)
While no one is probably going to go changing their name to Truck Thunders anytime soon, "Thunderstruck" remains lodged in the minds of NBA and NFL fans. It's a song built from a guitar riff, which is fitting because that opening riff -- combined with that symbolic grunt/chant -- is the reason any stadium or arena in America plays the song. It is debated whether the song was inspired by a plane lead guitarist Angus Young was aboard that was struck by lightning or if the song was inspired by a M1A1 tank. One aspect about the song is not up for debate -- its rampant usage in American sports.

6. "Sirius" - Alan Parsons Project (1982)
"Aaaaand now..." I'm sure you've heard "Sirius" it a million times, even if you're not a Chicago Bulls fan. What you probably didn't know was the song itself was from the prog rock collaboration between Brits Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons so aptly named the Alan Parsons Project. "Sirius" kicks off the band's 1982 album Eye in the Sky, not to mention every Chicago Bulls home game from about 1992 through 1998.

7. "Start Me Up" - The Rolling Stones (1981)
Just what you need to hear during kickoffs, the tired riff that leads off what used to be a nice rocking Stones tune off the overrated Tattoo You. And every time they play this during NFL kickoffs, Keith and Mick get a bigger royalty check in the mail. And has nothing to do with football. Making a dead man come indeed.

8. "Pump Up The Jam" - Technotronic (1989)
The song off the Space Jam soundtrack that implores you to "pump up the jam, pump it up?" It's Belgian new beat/acid house music. Known worldwide as the first house music song to break into the mainstream, "Pump Up The Jam" came from a collaboration between Technotronic's Jo Bogaert and vocalist Ya Kid K. It remains the only hit for Technotronic, as well as on the playlists of most every stadium DJ in the NBA.

9. "Blitzkreig Bop" - The Ramones (1976)
The debut single from iconic New York punk rockers The Ramones suffers from having an affirmative "hey, ho, let's go" lyric that's supposed to whip crowds into a frenzy, I suppose. Like some of the other bands on this list, I don't think Joey and Co. figured their first ever single would turn into an anthem for sports arenas all across the United States.

10. "Chelsea Dagger" - The Fratellis (2006)
This one is a regional specialty. The seminal, iPod commercial-ed little ditty from Glaswegian rockers The Fratellis gets played every time the Arizona Cardinals score a touchdown out at University of Phoenix Stadium. I'm no expert, but the 53-year-old bricklayer who drives in from Kingman for every home game probably doesn't want to hear Scottish indie rock when Larry Fitzgerald catches a 38-yard bomb from whomever is starting that week for the Cardinals. Alas, "Chelsea Dagger" is joyously blasted through the speakers. Go figure.

Special Mention: Brain Stew-Green Day (1995)

I was grumblings of the Suns' porous, lackadaisical defense during a recent game when a different debate started between my girlfriend and I.

Which Green Day album is "Brain Stew" is on again?

The answer, of course, is 1995's Insomniac.

But a better question is why such an odd query came up during a Suns/Spurs game at US Airways Center? Because the song itself was played over the PA system five times as the Suns imploded.

Pre-American Idiot Green Day seems like an odd choice for NBA fans, but, hey, they can't play Pitbull's "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" back-to-back-to-back.

So, yeah, "Brain Stew" is fodder for American sports arenas these days. That's how bad things have gotten. The current cannon of arena songs is full of totally overplayed, sometimes totally irrelevant or downright inappropriate songs.

Other overplayed songs are featured but not limited to

Jump-House Of Pain

Song 2-Blur

Shout!-Otis Day & The Knights

Cotton Eyed Joe-Rednex

Hells Bells/Back In Black AC/DC

Hey Soul Sister-Train (God stop the insanity) ....

I'm Alright-Kenny Loggins

Thanks Michael Lopez for subbing for Crabby. I'll be back with 10 songs that you won't see on Jock Itch Jams....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Swing To The Right

Imagine my disappointment in the elections yesterday. We booted Chet Culver out and bring back Terry Branstad once again. Guy is going to love those three pension plans he's going to get when he leaves again. May as well give Chuck Grassley the role of king since he's elected to a sixth term and the less said about Steve King the better. But then again, the Democrats have themselves to blame too. Perhaps there's a silver lining to this, when Branstad was Governor I got money back from the state. I'll be counting on that.

Anyway, that's all the politics I can stand, time to put out the week's top ten of the week. Lots of different styles this week, hang on folks, this is going to be one helluva ride.

1. Voices Of Babylon-The Outfield 1989 I have all of their albums and perhaps that's about six too many but I still like Voices Of Babylon the best, kinda reminds me of 90125 by YES (don't ask why) but this record flopped big time and The Outfield were demoted to MCA for a couple albums after that. Patrick Leonard gave it a bright mix typical of the 1980's but I would love to hear this on 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. Heard rumors that Alan Jackman, drummer during their successful period has rejoined Tony and John once again.

2. Darlin-Tom Jones 1981 Oh yeah, he was Mr. Sex Symbol of the late 60s and early 70s and kept that sex appeal going when he signed to Epic/MAM for a country career that did put out a few hits on the CW chart. Say You'll Stay Till Tomorrow, Green Green Grass Of Home and Darlin which came out on Mercury in the early 80s. I remembered hearing this quite a bit at Super Skate when I went roller skating on Wednesday nights. Tom Jones would return to the pop charts with a remake of Prince's Kiss on Jive and an interesting album for Interscope. His latest album Praise & Blame is more Americana than country and it might just be his best album to date. Check it out when you get a chance.

3. Race With Devil On Spanish Highway-Al DiMeola 1977 Fusion guitar players really don't get the respect they deserve. Steve Morse is Mr. Lightning Fingers with the Dixie Dregs and their albums are hit and miss but the guy can play. So can Joe Satriani and Steve Vai but their music tends to bore me more often than not. DiMeola, part of Return To Forever made some decent albums for Columbia in the late 70s and it may sound rock at times but it's mostly fusion. Later DiMeola started going toward a more Spanish guitar sound and seems to perfer that style but when he picks up a electric guitar he can give the others a run for their money.

4. Beer Can Medley-The Commercials 1989 TVT Records in 1989 put out a album full of commercials from the golden age of TV and you had to be there to truly experience the art of the commercial jingle. We start out When Your Out Of Schlitz, You're Out Of Beer, then on to If You Got The Time We Got The Beer (Miller Beer), and then When You Say Budweiser You Said It All, the latter became When You Say Love, a minor hit for Sonny & Cher in 1972. Next up is My Beer Is Reingold which goes way back to around 1955 and finally we conclude with two Ballantine Beer jingles Make A Ring and the oh so funky Hey, Get Your Cold Beer. The good old days to which beer jingles made you actually want to drink a Miller or Schlitz, before they got dumbed down by bad emo bands, scantly clad babes and dumbass doods who are more interested in seeing their Coor's Light Beer turn blue when it gets cold enough. TeeVee Tunes didn't put out a Commercials Volume 2 since the copyrights probably cost more then they could afford but if you do ever find Commercials Volume 1, pick it up and remember the fun times before everybody just got drunk and stupid.

5. Til The Following Night-Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages 1961 From the bizarre world of Joe Meek, this song predates The Monster Mash and The Cramps and Danzig in terms of singing the praises of vampires and ghouls. More fun than you can handle.

6. It's Good To Be King-Tom Petty 1994 From Wildflowers. Sheryl Crow was so influenced by this album that she would steal the title for her album WildFlower. I'm sure I made it up but anyway TP's Wildflowers remains one of those albums that never grabbed my attention all that much and I didn't care much for this song till recently that I enjoy hearing it once again. The late Michael Kamen did the horns and strings chart.

7. Elementals-Dave Brubeck Quartet 1963 I don't play a lotta jazz but when I do I seem to pull out something from ol Dave and his famous lineup of Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright and Joe Morello but this selection which takes up all of side 2 on Time Changes brings Brubeck and company with a full orchestra conducted by Rayburn Wright (no relation to Eugene). Fun to hear Dave counter with what the orchestra is playing, it comes very close to avant-garde in spots. And watch out for the build up towards the end. Found the album for 75 cents at the Salvation Army in Davenport along with Bossa Nova USA, which was only available as a out of print import. I did see a flyer in Collector's Choice Music that Time Changes is part of a 5 CD box set, documenting Dave's experiment in time changes beginning with Time Out, Time Further Out, Time In, Countdown and Time Changes and is reasonably priced. Mr. Brubeck turns 90 in December. Look for another Brubeck number to hit the top ten by then.

8. Obsession-The Godfathers 1988 Guitar driven UK band had a minor hit with Birth, School, Work, Death (or the Packaging Lament at Pearson INC.) and I have all of their albums that are known to exist. From the second album (first for Epic) and produced by the late great Vic Maile.

9. Medusa-Black Country Communion 2010 Who says rock and roll and boogie are dead? Apparently not these guys which include hot shot guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinan, Jason Bonham and former DP/Trapeze singer shouter Glenn Hughes which remakes this song from the Trapeze album called Medusa. Hughes gets a little annoying with his over the top vocals but Bonamassa's guitar riffing and Jason bashing away makes this rock. Jason said that they had so much fun with this album that they're reading to record the second album.

10. Heft-Fastway 1983 Another supergroup of the 80s that never really caught on, it featured Fast Eddie Clarke from Motorhead, Jerry Shirley from Humbie Pie and Pete Way from UFO and an teenaged unknown named David King and they made a classic metal album with Eddie Kramer producing. Way would later bow out to form Waysted and Fastway would go on to make All Fired Up which was basically the same as the first album and then the wheels fell apart on the crapfest Waiting For The Roar, to which Terry Manning took over and throw keyboards after keyboards on that recording. Anything after All Fired Up you don't need but the first album remains their metal best, which includes the gloom and doom Heft! which would reappear on the Trick Or Treat Soundtrack (and basically the last Fastway album for Columbia).

That's all for this week. Tune in again same time same blogsite for the latest in what's in my player.

Monday, November 1, 2010

McOttos, 2 Dollar Cds and whatever comes to mind

Observations from the forefront.

Sad news to report that McOtto's the famous restaurant off 151 and 64 in Anamosa burnt to the ground this morning. I usually went there if I made a stop at the Wally World there. Famous for good burgers, Happy Joe's Pizza (although more expensive than the one in CR) and their mexican platter, there is talk that they want to rebuild it somewhere down the line. The owner owned the Happy Joe's In Iowa City that got leveled by the Iowa City Tornado of 2006 and had the Coralville Happy Joe's destroyed by the floods of 2008, so he's no stranger to disaster. Thankfully the Subway and McDonalds were spared, McOtto's was a stand alone building so it didn't affect those and the Anamosa Motorcycle Hall Of Fame.

The last blog I wrote didn't turn out very well. The copy and paste made it had to read. In a nutshell it had to deal with me and some goth bitch named Dichelle Williams who bought a 2 dollar cd from me and then gave me a neutral rating due to the "jewel case that was broke as me and that's broke" comment. Which pissed me off big time. Sometimes you get amazon buyers who nothing but to give you bad reviews at the cheapest of purchases and I knew I was going to have trouble with Williams who sent a snotty email saying she knows how Amazon operates and that the post office wasn't open at midnight. To which I replied no shit sherlock. However she did get the cd in two days as I said it would be. First of all, every cd case I sent out isn't cracked or broken as Ms. Goth Williams claimed, that jewel case was one of the older case that don't crack. Perhaps it did get cracked in transit but once I mail it from the post office I have no control on the condition. I'm sure there's a local Wally World or Staples that do have replacement cases Ms. Williams I suggest you go get some. Or sell more DVD's in your shop since your knowledgeable with being a Amazon seller. Nevertheless, I return the favor and gave her a neutral rating in her comment box but be glad that I didn't give you a 2 or 1 for your attitude. And if your broke just like that so called broken jewel case perhaps you shouldn't be buying cds and annoying your fellow sellers with your goth girl BS. Looking back, perhaps I should have just refund the bitch her money and tell her to go troll somewhere else. And save the comedy comments for those who know comedy.

This is why I don't give out ratings anymore till I hear from the buyers. Got burned one too many times for giving them perfect ratings and they come back complaining about cracked jewel cases from post office gorilla's bouncing on them and USPS trucks running them over. A lotta hassle just for a 2 dollar cd.

Ran into Jim Kibler from the old Rock and Bach Music store at HP Books on Halloween and it was the first time I have seen him since they closed Rock n Bach. He says he now works at The Cellar Door on the corner of 1st Ave and 29th Street and they get a lot of consignment stuff. So perhaps I'll mosey up there and see what they have for bargains before the year is out.

Tomorrow it's Election Day which means after 8 PM we are finally free of the fucking political crap ads. Doesn't matter who we vote for, we'll get the same results from our elected officials. So basically I'm not voting for Democrats as much as I'm voting against the Republicans. In the meantime I'll return with the top ten of the week and more of the fun stuff that I'm famous for.

Whatever that may be.